Tag: "New York"
Talkers New York 2015 “Programming Talk Radio in 2015” Video Posted Today. One of the most important panel discussions of the Talkers New York 2015 mega-conference (held on June 12) is posted today on Talkers TV. Skillfully moderated by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey and introduced by Radio America syndicated host Dana Loesch, the take-away-packed session includes (in alphabetical order): Carl Anderson, EVP, programming, iHeartMedia; Mike Bendixen, PD, Newstalk 1010, CFRB, Toronto; Valerie Geller, CEO, Geller Media International; Scott Masteller, PD, WBAL, Baltimore; and Mike McVay, SVP, content & programming, Cumulus Media. Subjects covered include keeping the news/talk format fresh and modern, the primacy of content, the relationship today between programming and sales, overcoming widespread negativity about the news/talk format, the benefits and pitfalls of branding, the challenge of hiring good talent, the effective utilization of social media and more. To view the video in its entirety, please click here.
Hunnicutt Exits iHeartMedia to Head New Record Label. A shocker in the radio biz as longtime iHeartMedia exec Clay Hunnicutt leaves his EVP and general manager of national programming platforms position to become president of the new record label Big Loud Records. The move was announced to iHeartMedia staffers via a memo from national programming platforms president Tom Poleman. He writes, “After more than 15 years here with us, Clay Hunnicutt has decided to leave iHeartMedia to become president of Big Loud Records, a record label startup. Clay has not only been a great partner to me in the day-to-day operations of national programming, he’s also become a great friend; I know you all feel the same. He’s been a pioneer and leader in shaping the great company that we are today, and for that I’ll always be thankful.”
Cumulus Media Los Angeles Courts Courtemanche as VP/Sales. Former iHeartMedia Chicago vice president of sales Jason Courtemanche relocates to Los Angeles for a similar position with Cumulus Media talker KABC-AM and classic rocker KLOS. Cumulus Media senior vice president of operations Tom Schurr comments, “I am thrilled to be working with Jason again. He is a smart, competitive, experienced broadcast executive who attracts top talent and produces results for partners and stations. We are excited to have a leader of his caliber joining the team.” Courtemanche remarks, “I am looking forward to this exciting opportunity on the west coast with these two legendary radio stations and the highly respected sales team. I am committed to getting in the trenches and helping make Cumulus the place to be in Los Angeles media.” Prior to his stint at iHeartMedia Chicago, Courtemanche was sales manager for CBS Radio Chicago all-news operation WBBM-AM; general sales manager for iHeartMedia San Diego; and director of sales for San Diego-based MVS International Communications. In pro hockey for six years (1993 – 1999), Courtemache played for various teams in the ECHL, IHL, AHL, WCHL, and CHL.
Bridging the Generational Divide – 17 Year Old Talk Radio Rising Star, Pavlina, Meets Michael Harrison on “Up Close and Far Out” Podcast. It starts out light and chatty but quickly develops into an insightful dialogue that spans the generational divide. Seventeen-year-old, multi-platform talk radio host Pavlina Osta is interviewed by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison on this week’s installment of the international hit Podcast One production “Up Close and Far Out.” “Pavlina” has been remarkably active as a self-motivated “celebrity journalist” since the tender age of 11 — racking up archives of more than 450 interviews with famous figures in show business, music, sports and public policy. She hosts a weekly radio show called “Pavlina’s Kidz Place” heard on Florida stations WAPN, Holly Hill; WAPB, Madison; and WELE, Ormond Beach plus a number more across the Sunshine State and scattered around the country — as well as maintaining a very active website and YouTube presence. She is already a two-time Gracie Award winner and holds the Guinness world record for the most radio interviews conducted in 24 hours. She conducted 347 interviews, each being a unique set of at least five questions. The entire 24-hour period was broadcast live on Ustream.tv and via Live365. Pavlina, a published author and tireless charity volunteer, has attended a number of industry conferences including the last two TALKERS events in New York City where her irrepressible personality, charisma and unique flair for fashion caught the attention of industry leaders – many of whom have begun championing her career. She served a summer internship with Premiere Networks star Sean Hannity in 2014 and is working this summer with Salem stations (WNYM and WMCA) in New York City under the direction of Phil Boyce. She has also received vigorous talent coaching by David Bernstein. Pavlina recently made an appearance on Newsmax TV as a guest of Steve Malzberg further fueling her rocketing profile as a media figure to be reckoned with. Upon interviewing Pavlina for “Up Close and Far Out,” Michael Harrison states, “What this remarkable young woman lacks in polish and sophistication, she more than makes up for in sheer likability. She oozes positive energy, remarkable charisma, unmistakable style and indelible authenticity. Plus, and most important, just under the surface of her ‘contemporary teenage girlishness’ lies an uncommon intelligence and wisdom that are clearly fueling this young woman’s self-motivated juggernaut to stardom. I didn’t treat her like a kid – but, rather, the amazing young woman into which she is clearly developing. I gave her the respect of asking her tough questions. We talked about kids today – sex, drugs, peer-pressure, education, even tattoos and body piercing, plus more.” On being interviewed by Michael Harrison, Pavlina states, “We actually covered more than I’ve ever done in an interview. This was a lot of fun. I appreciate it.” To hear the entire conversation between Michael Harrison and Pavlina, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right hand column of every page on Talkers.com. (Pictured here are Michael Harrison and Pavlina in a selfie taken at Talkers New York 2015 on June 12.)
Voltair and PPM Controversy Getting Play in Consumer Press. The digital publication FiveThirtyEight.com (published by ESPN) just posted a story by Carl Bialik that brings the industry’s concern about the reliability of the PPM technology used by Nielsen Audio to light with more of the public. The piece uses the demise of the smooth jazz format as the primary case against the ratings technology – though it does point out that the talk and classical formats are likely adversely affected by alleged inadequacies in the PPM, as well. Though the piece doesn’t go into detail about how Voltair works, it offers a summary of the processor’s recent history, including the moratorium on it in Canada. The piece also poses the question: If this controversy turns the radio ratings on its head, isn’t that a potential death knell for the entire industry? One anonymous industry executive replies, “When you’re buying on a flawed system, nobody’s winning.” Read the entire article here.
Glen Tacinelli Named 77WABC General Sales Manager. Heading up the sales efforts at Cumulus Media-owned news/talk WABC, New York is Glen Tacinelli, who begins his role as general sales manager on July 13. Tacinelli comes to WABC from Eastman Radio’s New York office, where he’s repped radio stations in more than 137 markets across the United States for the past seven years. Prior to that he served at CBS RADIO’s WCBS-FM, New York. He began his radio career at Arbitron (now Nielsen Audio). Cumulus New York VP/market manager Chad Lopez states, “We are thrilled to welcome Glen Tacinelli as the GSM to the iconic, legendary WABC brand. Glen’s outstanding talent, knowledge of the New York radio market and expertise in selling some of the top AM stations across the country is exactly what we were looking to add to the Cumulus New York team.”
Odds & Sods. Taking home two awards from the Virginia Association of Broadcasting is Monticello Media’s news/talk WCHV-AM/FM, Charlottesville, Virginia. The station was honored with the “Outstanding Newscast” and “Outstanding News Series” awards. Program director Joe Thomas says, “Less than eight years since taking over a station with no local news content, I am so proud of news director John Peterson, his news team and our afternoon drive host Coy Barefoot and their efforts to both inform and entertain our community!”…..Delta Media Corporation welcomes Ben Love to the station’s permanent program lineup on sports talk KLWB-FM, Lafayette, Louisiana “103.7 The Game.” Love, who hosts “Bumper to Bumper Sports with Ben Love,” is an award-winning sports media pro who recently was honored with the Best Website Feature, Best Website Column awards and finished second for Best Website Game Story by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association…..SiriusXM plans regular coverage of Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S. in September on The Catholic Channel. SiriusXM says it will feature around-the-clock coverage each day, including live broadcasts of all of the major events during the Pope’s visit, including his appearance at the World Meeting of Families and Papal Mass in Philadelphia, his speech at the United Nations, the mass at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, and more.
Mason Elected BFA Co-Vice Chair, Treasurer. Recently retired CBS Radio president and chief executive officer Dan Mason is elected co-vice chair and treasurer of the Broadcasters Foundation of America. Broadcasters Foundation chair Phil Lombardo declares that, “Dan is one of the Foundation’s most ardent ambassadors and he gives tirelessly of his time. The entire board is grateful that he is taking on these additional responsibilities to advance our charitable mission of helping broadcasters in need.” As CBS Radio’s president/CEO, Mason oversaw more than 125 stations in 27 markets. The National Association of Broadcasters’ executive committee honored him as its 2012 “National Radio Award” winner for his outstanding leadership in the industry.
SCOTUS Gay Marriage and ObamaCare Rulings, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Trump-NBC Fallout, Iran Nukes Negotiations, NY Prison Escape Aftermath, Greece-EU Tensions, and ISIS Atrocities Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/29). Last week’s rulings by the Supreme Court supporting federal subsidies for the Affordable Care Act and making same-sex marriage legal in all states; the potential candidates for president in 2016; Donald Trump’s skirmish with NBC over the Miss America and Miss Universe pageants; the negotiations between the West and Iran over its nuclear program; the capture of the second escapee from a New York prison and the aftermath of the ordeal; the economic tensions being created by Greece’s inability to pay its debt to the IMF and talk of its exit from the EU; and the ongoing atrocities being perpetrated by ISIS were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WRKO, Boston Unveils New AM Drive Show and Partnership with The Globe’s Boston.com. It’s been no secret that Entercom’s WRKO, Boston would move morning talk personality Jeff Kuhner to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot after declining to renew Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh show, but the station is now announcing its new morning drive programming. Leading the show will be Boston media pro Kim Carrigan. Former crosstown sports WEEI personality Jon Meterperel will join Carrigan along with show producer David Cullinane. Still more interesting is the station’s joint venture with the Boston Globe Media Partners-owned online platform Boston.com. WRKO says the new show – the “Boston.com Morning Show” – will consist of “four hours of rapid-cadence news, talk and trending live from the newsroom at Boston.com. The show will lean heavily on contributing writers and columnists from the highly-trafficked, regional website as well as national correspondents from ABC News.” The new lineup will be live and local from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm (Barry Armstrong’s Financial Exchange airs from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon and Boston talk legend Howie Carr’s show holds down PM drive) for the first time in more than 20 years, according to the station. Entercom Boston VP/market manager Phil Zachary says this is a logical evolutionary step for the talk format. “On the cusp of the 2016 election cycle, it’s very clear traditional talk radio is facing strong headwinds. As ideological lines blur and new technologies afford almost limitless tractability in audio news options, now is the time to deliver highly targeted, local content that’s unavailable to consumers anywhere else. This new lineup, anchored by our alliance with New England’s second largest news website, squarely positions WRKO for the next decade.” The lineup debuts Monday, June 29.
Talkers New York 2015 “Big Picture” Panel Video Posted Today. “The Big Picture,” one of the major panel discussions at the recently concluded (6/12) Talkers New York 2015 mega-conference, is posted today on Talkers TV. The session covers a range of important issues pertaining to the state of talk media from a wide variety of perspectives. Introduced by TALKERS legal editor (and Bentley University law professor) Steve Weisman and moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (both not pictured here), the panel includes (from left to right): Chris Oliviero, EVP programming, CBS RADIO; Joe Sciacca, editor-in-chief, Boston Herald/Boston Herald Radio; Craig Schwalb, PD, WABC, New York; Karen Hunter, host, SiriusXM Satellite Radio; Alan Colmes, host/commentator, FOX News Radio/FOX News Channel; Julie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks; and Holland Cooke, consultant, Holland Cooke Media. The session covers the position and future of the stick; the psychology of being a talk host; the challenges of local, independent station ownership; the broadening of the news/talk menu as it relates to partisan politics, preserving major market heritage radio brands; the role of urban talk; the glass ceiling in spoken-word radio; the emerging new relationship between radio and newspapers and more. To view the video in its entirety please click here.
New Shows Debut on PodcastOne. Comedian, actress and bestselling author Heather McDonald debuts “Juicy Scoops with Heather McDonald” on PodcastOne, beginning today (6/25). The network says McDonald “asks the questions everyone wants to know and discusses the hottest and most controversial topics each week.” Also “The Fraze & Bentley Podcast,” hosted by radio personality, actor and comedian Frazer Smith, and actor, magician and comedian Jim Bentley launches. PodcastOne says, “The duo is serious about comedy, but it’s all fun and games as they invite podcast regular and burlesque dancer Harper Rose to the mic each week, in addition to a myriad of their famous friends.” Jon Lovitz is the duo’s first celebrity guest.
Three Hosts Quit KLZ, Denver Over Disagreement with Management. Denver talk outlet KLZ is without three of its hosts after Ken Clark, Kris Cook, and Randy Corporon resigned from the Crawford Broadcasting station. According to a story in the Denver Post by Lynn Bartels, The three – who hosted separate shows on the station – had given 30-day notices of their resignation but exited before that period had elapsed after they were instructed not to book former Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo as a guest. Tancredo is playing a role in controversy surrounding Colorado Republican Party Chairman Steve House and station manager Don Crawford Jr. told the hosts he didn’t want Tancredo booked as a guest until Crawford could determine for himself what Tancredo’s role in the call for House to resign was all about. Read Bartels’ story here.
Odds & Sods. It’s being called “a new national headline news service and full-time satellite radio channel produced by a dedicated team of FOX News journalists and contributors.” The joint effort from SiriusXM and FOX News will launch this fall and is part of a multi-year agreement between the two. SiriusXM says the channel, under the watch of FOX News senior vice president of news Jay Wallace, will be “staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year” to “deliver the day’s top stories at any time.”…..Kevin Radich joins CBS RADIO-owned all news KCBS, San Francisco “All News 106.9 FM/740 AM” as weekday sports reporter. Radich served as afternoon sports reporter on Cumulus Media’s crosstown news/talk KGO until earlier this year…..The Radio Television Digital News Association’s Edward R. Murrow Award winners are being announced and there are several to report today. ABC News wins a total of five awards, including the Overall Excellence in Television and Overall Excellence in Radio awards for the second year in a row. ABC News president James Goldston comments to his staff, “I want to extend a special congratulations to [ABC News] Radio for a banner year – winning three more Murrow awards. Radio stations count on ABC News Radio when news breaks. The radio team works tirelessly with unmatched production and groundbreaking reporting every day.” RTDNA recognized the radio division for Breaking News – The Shooting at Fort Hood, Brad Mielke for Sports – Spartan Racing and Writing – Scott Goldberg. (pictured at left is the ABC News Radio staff celebrating its honors.) At the local level, all-news WCBS, New York “Newsradio 880” is honored with “Overall Excellence in Large Market Radio.” The winning entry included coverage of the east Harlem gas explosion, New York City police protests, and the murders of New York Police Department officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu. Also, Rivet Radio – a multi-platform media company that produces customized audio news and feature stories – was recognized for “Best Use of Sound by a Small Online News Organization.” News reporter and producer George Drake Jr. conceived, wrote and produced the piece, “The Story of Marvin the ‘Street Greeter’,” which profiled a Chicago resident spreading joy within the bustling metropolis…..Former WUCS, Hartford and Maxim Radio personality Michael Bower sits in on iHeartMedia‘s sports talker WINZ, Miami for Andy Slater tomorrow from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.
Obama’s TPP Trade Deal, Charleston Church Slayings Aftermath/Confederate Flag Issue, 2016 Presidential Prospects/Bobby Jindal, Freddie Gray Autopsy Results Revealed, OPM Hack, Iran Nukes Negotiations, and Obama LGBT Pride Event Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/24). The U.S. Senate votes to give President Obama fast-track authority over the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement; the aftermath of the Charleston Church slayings and the matter of flying the Confederate flag on public property; the growing list of 2016 presidential prospects grows as Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal enters the GOP primary race; the results of the Freddie Gray autopsy are acquired by the Baltimore Sun; questions about how much information was available to hackers into the Office of Personnel Management; The U.S.’s offer to provide Iran with nuclear technology; and talk about the scene at President Obama’s LGBT pride event at the White House were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
“Back to the Future” Moments for PodcastOne’s Agovino. As part of his “weird-new” role as PodcastOne executive vice chair, Mike Agovino is discovering more “differences” in the podcast marketplace than “commonalities” to challenges encountered the last ten years by digital music and broadcast streaming entities. “It is much less about the science of advertising and it is much more about the art of advertising,” he remarks to Mark Ramsey Media president Mark Ramsey in a 30-minute, one-on-one interview during this past week’s hivio 2015 conference. Having spent ten years inside Triton Digital as its chief operating officer, Agovino recounts that the company had “an ad platform, a content delivery network, and it built apps for people. With hundreds of brand names across the canvass, there is a very scientific approach to connecting the right ad to the right person at the right time to create some kind of results,” he declares. “It is so much ‘science’ that, if you live in it long enough, you lose your feel for the ‘art.'” Approximately 27 years ago, self-described Howard Stern “freak” Agovino was living in New York and faithfully listened to the fabled morning man every day. When it was time for the former president of Katz Radio and ex-chief operating officer of Clear Channel Radio Sales to lease a new car, he drove 15 miles out of his way to the Long Island dealership for which Stern regularly voiced a paid endorsement. “That was me saying ‘thank-you’ to Howard,” Agovino emphasizes. “It was not me necessarily wanting” to give that particular establishment the business but “it was me giving appreciation to Howard for all the laughs.” Stern’s “influence” over Agovino to sign the car lease was considerable and as he hastens to add, that meant he had to drive that extra 30-mile (roundtrip) distance “for every service visit” for a three-year period. “It is love for a show,” Agovino insists. “That was not part of my last ten years but it is very much part of what we do at PodcastOne, so it is “back to the future.’ It is digital media, but it is one-to-one and back to the art form of what made me fall in love with radio advertising.” When Agovino gets together with his former Katz co-workers, he points out there is considerable laughter. “We enjoy what we went through back then and we talk about how much fun the business was. More times than not, when you get in a discussion with someone you have known for 25 – 30 years in the audio business, the closer you get to the present moment in the discussion, the less fun you will be having. That sucks for all of us and it is unfortunate.” He has, however, rediscovered the ‘art’ piece of the business and Agovino did not realize how much he missed it. What he has found to become important on the podcast side is that, “It is almost less about targeting a listener and more about making sure you have a great match of product to host. When you try to apply the science of audio impressions to what is happening right now in podcasting, none of the numbers work. They do not make any sense because … there are no rules. We might say to someone who is the right match with the right host we won’t let anyone else in because the credibility of this voice speaking about your brand will last as long as we can continue to make the acquisition of customers in that model an efficient thing for you.” PodcastOne is looking at having its hosts talk about an advertiser a minimum of two minutes throughout the course of an hour without, as Agovino explains, “doing it more than ten seconds at any point – and there is no copy. It has to start from a place of authenticity. The host has to ‘buy-into’ the product or you move onto the next host because it is not going to work for the long haul.” One of the “most traumatic” days in Agovino’s radio sales career occurred when his rep firm lost WMAL, Washington, D.C. but picked up cross-town WTOP the same day. For years, he had been proudly touting WMAL as “the voice of news” in the nation’s capital. “If you approach this with deep sincerity,” he remarks, “it is difficult” to suddenly knock on doors, talking up what had been the competition. “Traditional” ratings metrics, Agovino opines, will not matter that much in this space, although he concedes, “They will happen” and they are “easy enough to produce.” Much more important will be “attribution metrics and convergent metrics. There are many ways to analyze how a particular show produces results within a specific category.” The most recent stats Agovino has seen indicate there are 21.3 million hours of podcasting listening a day. “It is hard to know how big the universe is and how big a piece of that universe you have,” he mentions. A different economic model exists in podcasting since, as Agovino explains, “For the most part, the hosts are taking risks with you and they are not getting guaranteed seven-figure annual checks: We are in this together.” He suggests, “If you have a talent who has influence and impact on a ‘tribe,’ figure out a way to [do a podcast], but you cannot do what you did with streaming. You cannot move it over to digital and expect it to work. This is an infinite dial with niches and sub-niches. Expansion of shows will be tremendous. Things that we are doing and bringing up are ‘kid-in-a-candy store’ stuff for me.”
Public Relations Maven Defines “GMOOT.” After working as public relations director at the Columbia Business School, Richard Laermer founded RLM PR in 1991. He was among the participants at Los Angeles’ hivio 2015 seminar who maintains the audio world is in a state of flux. “Many brands underestimate their audience,” Laermer notes to Mark Ramsey Media president Mark Ramsey in a one-on-one interview. “There is no sense of teasing-out the information about that brand, starting with something small; building upon it; and getting people excited about it.” Referring to Google as the “ultimate PR player, author-media trainer-blogger Laermer states, “They have built upon one message, which is the democratization of everything – even their missteps have always been messaged as the democratization of ‘X,’ ‘Y,’ or ‘Z.’ I respect that a great deal.” One major problem with brands is that everything is short-lived. “In the PR and advertising world, we refer to it as ‘GMOOT,'” Laermer points out of the “Get Me One Of Those” acronym. People who stand behind things “get ahead much faster,” he states. “That seems like common sense but as Aristotle said, ‘There is nothing common about common sense.’ Every single person we interact with – regardless of age – is looking for something to talk about and something to report. If we are consistent, we have the ability to give them that.” It is Laermer’s contention that “public figures” such as on-air personalities and podcasters need to convey what they stand for, “what they believe in, and what they are certain about” because, “These are things that people actually care about. People do want to know what a ‘personality’ thinks about ‘the issues.’ In the land of the tease, you want to be certain that people will come back for more.” Advising that, “It cannot be about the technology,” Laermer states, “It has to be about who are you and what you are putting out there.” Featuring 11 Ramsey-conducted interviews and five presentations, the two-day hivio 2015 conference was held Thursday (6/4) and Friday (6/5) at Hollywood comedy club The Improv.
Ken Charles to Program All-News KNX, Los Angeles. Longtime iHeartMedia news and talk programmer Ken Charles joins CBS RADIO as the new program director of the company’s KNX, Los Angeles “1070 Newsradio.” Charles, who exited his post as iHeartMedia Sacramento’s vice president of programming and national brand manager for news, talk and sports earlier this year, says of his new post, “I can’t wait to begin working for CBS RADIO, a company committed to local news, and the team of award-winning professionals at KNX, L.A.’s heritage home for local news and traffic. I’m thankful to Chris Oliviero, Scott Herman, [CBS RADIO Los Angeles SVP/market manager] Dan Kearney, and Kevin Weatherly for giving me this incredible opportunity.” Kearney adds, “You’d be hard-pressed to find a programmer with as much experience and success in the news format as Ken. He is one of the most respected managers of news operations in the country and during this seminal, fast-changing period of how people get their news, he is uniquely qualified to build upon KNX’s reputation as Southern California’s news, traffic and information authority.”
Steele Surfaces in Salisbury-Ocean City as Senior VP/Programming. One week from Monday (6/15) is Jimmy Steele‘s start date as iHeartMedia Salisbury-Ocean City, Maryland’s senior vice president of programming. Regional market president Chris Walus states, “Jimmy has an extraordinary record of success in leading operations, developing formats, and coaching top-tier personalities. This – coupled with his remarkable skill for driving breakthrough revenue growth – set Jimmy apart from the pack. Our team is excited and eager for him to start.” Steele remarks that he is “truly grateful and excited for the opportunity to reunite with iHeartMedia” and is looking forward “to working with Chris Walus, along with senior vice president of programming Jon Zellner and regional programming manager Dave Symonds, in advancing our strong and diverse brands in the Salisbury-Ocean City market.” Not to be confused with Emmis vice president of programming/rhythmic CHR KPWR “Power 106,” Los Angeles program director Jimmy Steal, Jimmy Steele previously was operations manager for iHeartMedia San Diego, and Columbus’ regional vice president of programming. The company’s Salisbury-Ocean City operation consists of urban AC WSBY “Magic 98.9″; WJDY “Newsradio 1470″; CHR WKZP “Kiss 95.9″; adult contemporary WQHQ “Q-105″; WTGM “Fox Sports 960″; and country WWFG “Froggy 99.9.”
Columbus’ Wolfe Family to Sell Print Assets, Retain Broadcast Properties. The publishers of the Columbus Dispatch (part of the Dispatch Printing Company) are selling the Columbus, Ohio daily along with 24 suburban weeklies and seven magazines to New York-based New Media Investment Group. The Wolfe family will remain in the broadcasting business with its two television stations – WBNS-TV, Columbus and WTHR-TV, Indianapolis – as well as its RadiOhio subsidiary that operates sports talk radio simulcast WBNS-AM/FM, Columbus. As reported in The Dispatch, chairman and publisher John Wolfe states, “We are proud of our 110-year legacy of family ownership of The Dispatch, and the newspaper’s heritage of quality journalism and community involvement. However, the past two decades of accelerating and challenging change in the newspaper industry made it clear to us that maintaining a single-city, family-owned paper in this environment was untenable long-term.”
NPR’s Lesher Succumbs to Stomach Cancer. Staffers received word yesterday (Wednesday, 6/3) that NPR associate editor for news operations Jim Lesher lost his battle against stomach cancer; he was just 46 years old. NPR managing editor Chuck Holmes explains, “Jim’s value to this newsroom was so apparent that I once joked with him that I was going to make up a wanted poster with his photo: ‘Jim Lesher: Most Wanted Man at NPR.'” Executive producer for newscasts Robert Garcia states, “There is an entire news organization full of heavy and broken hearts. If the measure of a man is how much he is loved and appreciated by others, Jim was successful beyond his wildest dreams.” Washington, D.C.-area native Lesher joined NPR as an intern soon after graduating from Catholic University in 1990. His parents; a sister; and two nephews are among his survivors.
Odds & Sods. San Antonio-based talk show host Adam McManus is sitting in for Iowa talk personality Simon Conway on WMT, Cedar Rapids Monday, June 8 through Wednesday, June 17 from 9:00am to 11:00 am…..Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will make weekly appearances on CBS RADIO’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh “Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan” this season. Roethlisberger will appear Tuesdays at 11:00 am on the “Cook & Poni Show.”…..KOIL, Omaha held its “Bob Bruce Experience 4 Blue” rally in support of the police in honor of officer Kerrie Orozco, who died in the line of duty on May 20, a day before she was to take maternity leave. The “Bob Bruce Experience 4 Blue” was a two-week appreciation campaign during which KOIL broadcast free commercials for merchants providing complimentary services to Omaha law enforcement officers on June 3.
Patriotic Rock Band Madison Rising forms Non-Profit ‘Shows for Heroes.’ Industry pros attending the Talkers New York 2015 conference on Friday, June 12 will see the new video from the patriotic rock band Madison Rising (pictured here). The band just announced that is has formed a 501(c)3 chartered organization that will assist in covering the costs associated with having the group perform at military bases, veteran organizations and first responder events. Madison Rising has an especially strong following among military personnel, veterans and first responders, and is often asked to do performances around the country by organizations that simply cannot afford to cover the costs associated with travel and production. With the creation of Madison Rising Shows For Heroes, tax-deductible contributions from individual and corporate donors will allow Madison Rising to provide more live performances for the men and women who have given so much of themselves.
ISIS Military Progress, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Sinking Obama Approval Ratings, Baltimore Murder Rate Soars, Obama Trade Deal, Duggar Family Scandal, Police Kill Boston Terror Suspect, Texas Open Carry Challenge, Caitlyn Jenner Story, FIFA Corruption Case, and NBA-NHL Finals Amoong Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/3). Concern over ISIS’ military success in Iraq and Syria and the U.S. military’s Iraq policy; the potential candidates for president in 2016 and the entrance of Republican George Pataki and Democrat Lincoln Chafee into the races; chatter about the dip in approval ratings for President Obama; the escalating murder rate in Baltimore in the wake of Freddie Gray’s death; the state of the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal; the sexual scandal plaguing the Duggar family, stars of ’19 Kids and Counting’; the police shooting death of a terror suspect in Boston; the challenge of Texas’ open carry law; Bruce Jenner’s gender transition and new Caitlyn identity; the far-reaching effects of the FIFA corruption case; and the finals in both the NBA and the NHL were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Latest Pew Research Report on Political News Consumption Prompts Questions About Ever-Shifting Definition of ‘News.’ The just-published “Millennials and Political News” report from the Pew Research Center is subtitled “Social Media – the Local TV for the Next Generation?” It looks at how three different generations – Millennials, Gen Xers, and Baby Boomers – get their political news today and, not surprisingly, suggests that Millennials get more of their political news from social media than do the other two groups (especially Baby Boomers, who cite Local TV as their primary source). However, the study goes deeper than just that conclusion and presents some interesting data illuminating media usage among these three generations. But the study also reminds us that social media as a conduit of news is personalized from the start. “Understanding the nuances of the social media news environment is complicated: The experience is individualized through one’s own choices, through the friends in one’s network and their proclivities, and through algorithms – all of which can change over time. We are only beginning to understand these complex interactions.” Although good for marketing purposes, does the suggestion that social media makes it easier for people to “swim with their own” make them less likely to be introduced to ideas or opinions they’ve not experienced before? How does the “narrowcasting” of political news affect the electorate? But a question perhaps more relevant to TALKERS readers is what is the definition of a news source? The Pew survey asks respondents about specific programs, networks, newspapers, or news outlets and asks each generation about their use, awareness and trust of each. Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck were listed among the 36 sources for political news (as was Comedy Central’s The Daily Show), and this brings up the old question of whether a talk radio show (or even a TV comedy show) are news programs in the same way the “CBS Evening News” is a news program. The 36 sources were suggested to the respondents by Pew and one has to wonder how different the list of cited political news sources might be if respondents were asked to name their most used and trusted sources, instead of choosing from a list. Regardless, this study certainly serves as a reminder that models of presenting news are changing almost as fast as the definition of what news is. See the Pew study here.
Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke to Host Podcast on TheBlaze Radio Network. The new weekly podcast available from Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network is called “David Clarke: The People’s Sheriff,” hosted by Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke. Saying that Clarke is well known for being “an outspoken defender of individual liberties,” TheBlaze the show will “focus on law enforcement issues, knowing your rights, commentary on current affairs, racial issues, 2nd Amendment matters, and the importance of empowering individuals rather than the state.” On his new venture, Clarke states, “What an honor to be a part of TheBlaze Radio Network! This podcast is an opportunity to add to the conversation of well-thought-out reason on issues confronting America. I look forward to being a part of TheBlaze family, working to keep the public well informed.”
WABC, New York Announces Pre-Tony’s Program with Joan Hamburg. Big Apple talk radio personality Joan Hamburg will be broadcasting a special show this week from the famous Sardi’s Restaurant in the heart of Times Square on 77WABC to celebrate Sunday’s Tony Awards. On Wednesday, June 3, Hamburg will speak with special Broadway guests and 100 of her loyal listeners during this sold-out luncheon event. The show will air on Saturday, June 6 from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Guests will include Tony nominees: Jason Alexander, Geneva Carr, Marc Kudisch, Tyne Daly, Harriet Harris, Brian Darcy James, Christian Borle, Brad Oscar, Chita Rivera, Kelli O’Hara, Robert Fairchild, and Kelsey Grammer.
Leading Progressive Talk Show Host Thom Hartmann Interviewed on Latest Installment of “Up Close and Far Out.” Top 10 Heavy Hundred member and multi-platform talk star, Thom Hartmann, is this week’s guest on PodcastOne’s international hit series, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” Hartmann and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison discuss what they both describe as the “messed up state” of much of the categorical labeling (left, right, center) that is used to describe both talk show hosts and politicians involved in the national discussion of complex issues. Hartmann – branded by industry observers and the media as a “liberal,” and/or “progressive” who approaches his show from a “left” position — says, “There really is no ‘left’ in America as there is in other countries. There is the ‘right,’ the ‘far right,’ and the ‘center.’ No real ‘left’ to speak of.” Hartmann describes himself as a lifelong “serial entrepreneur who hasn’t had an employer in about 40 years.” He says, “There is no truth in the idea that liberals hate business.” Hartmann goes on to cite a number of “fundamental American” issues upon which “both progressives and Tea Partyers agree.” Hartmann cites issues upon which he agrees with conservative Cumulus/Westwood One host Mark Levin (who will be Harrison’s guest on next week’s installment of the podcast) and points out that, although he disagrees with just about every political position taken by Cumulus/Westwood one star Michael Savage, he greatly admires the host’s skill as a talk broadcaster. Hartmann says he loves broadcasting as much as he loves politics. To hear the entire podcast click here or click the player box in the right hand column of every page on TALKERS.com.
Boston Herald Radio Tweaks Lineup. New personalities are being added to the lineup at Boston Herald Radio effective today (6/2). The morning program “Boston Herald Drive” – airing from 7:00 am to 9:00 am – will add John Sapochetti as co-host alongside current personality Adriana Cohen. Sapochetti’s progressive takes will provide some balance to Cohen’s conservative stance. Also, in mid-afternoons, “Fargo Street,” airing from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm and featuring hosts Chris Villani and Tyler Sullivan, will cover “current events, sports and entertainment.” Villani comments, “I love the chance to broaden all of our horizons a bit. It is a big world and there are big conversations to have.” Also announced by the Herald is executive producer Tom Shattuck’s powering up the multimedia center in the Herald’s City Hall bureau to deliver daily news from City Hall.
Odds & Sods. An FM signal is added to Beasley’s South Florida business talk outlet WSBR, Boca Raton. Via translator W245BC – whose primary signal covers an area to the northwest of Fort Lauderdale – the “740 AM MoneyTalk Radio” format will be heard on 96.9 FM as well…..Pubcaster WBUR, Boston is launching a six-week pilot season of “You’re the Expert,” a new science and comedy program hosted by comedian Chris Duffy. Each episode is recorded in front of a live audience and features a guest expert in a specialized field, such as a doctor who studies Neanderthal DNA or a researcher who examines bacteria from the New York Public Transit System. A panel of comedians then uses questions and games to try and guess what the expert does and why his or her field is important…..Salem Media announces that it is declaring a quarterly dividend of $0.065/share payable on June 30 for shareholders of record as of June 16…..Talk show host Charles Butler fills in for Jerry Doyle on his Talk Radio Network program this week.
Miss America Pageant Returns to Atlanta City. And WPGG, Atlantic City morning legend Harry Hurley got to spread the news of the beauty pageant’s return to the city with 2015 Miss America Kira Kazantsev in the studio to talk about it. The pageant returned to Atlantic City in 2013 after six years in Las Vegas.
2016 Presidential Prospects/Lindsey Graham Joins GOP Race, TSA Fails Explosives Test, Patriot Act Expires, SCOTUS Head Scarf Ruling, Hastert Indictment, ISIS Military Success/U.S.-Trained Tajik Colonel Defects, and Bruce Jenner Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/1). The potential candidates for president in 2016 and Republican Lindsey Graham’s entering the race; the controversy over the TSA’s failure to detect fake explosives 97% of the time; the expiration of the Patriot Act and questions about NSA phone surveillance in the aftermath; the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of a Muslim woman who was denied a job because of her head scarf; former GOP House Speaker Dennis Hastert charge with violating banking laws; the military success of ISIS in Iraq and Syria and a U.S.-trained Tajikistan colonel’s defection to ISIS; and the ongoing transition of Bruce Jenner into Caitlyn were among the top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Rush Limbaugh’s Boston Situation Has the Industry – and the Media – Talking. After Entercom’s WRKO, Boston announced it would end its relationship with Rush Limbaugh and Premiere Networks when the current contract expired this summer, the show was thrust into the spotlight as radio industry watchers and special interest groups wondered aloud why Entercom is letting Limbaugh go and where the show might land in the nation’s #10 radio market. Recently, Boston media reports have crosstown WMEX management saying that it will not pick up the show. As TALKERS noted during its initial coverage of this story, the list of quality AM signals in Boston likely to add a news/talk program are few and many wonder if the show will end up on a suburban AM. While organizations such as Media Matters might like to take credit for the Entercom decision – that they successfully showed advertisers the show is “toxic” – without detailed comments from Entercom or Premiere Networks, no one can say for sure. However, it’s likely the decision was more financial and less politically judgmental in nature. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Politics is a double-edged sword for talk radio. Taking ownership of it in the era following the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine has proven to be a magic elixir that has given additional life and longevity to not only spoken-word programming but, by osmosis, the entire medium of radio itself. The downside, of course, is the reality that politics – unlike its conceptual cousin, sports – is more than a ‘game’ and people do get hurt. It is a dirty, ruthless business – a blood sport – that often brings out the worst in people that seek victory rather than truth. This mindset has splashed over into the armchair analysis of events in radio. Limbaugh – being the political poster child of the medium – is the target of so much vitriol, from both within and outside the industry, that any bump in the road that he suffers on a business or economic level is seized as evidence of his complete demise directly due to his alleged ‘wrongness’ and ‘toxicity.’ Also fueling the fires of anger seeking to burn Rush at the stake is widespread resentment toward Clear Channel – that runs much deeper than its rebranding as iHeartMedia can sidestep – being the primary symbol of the so-called evils of consolidation. The truth is – just like almost everyone and every company in this business – Rush has an economic set of difficulties and hard choices to make, based on the financial realities of the radio business in 2015 and the fact that his act is more than a quarter century old. Cut him some slack… yes, he has a problem in a couple of major markets — he ain’t the only one. In their zeal to destroy the guy who has lots of miles left in his treads, I hope his critics don’t castrate radio of its greatest asset – the courage to be controversial, irritating, politically incorrect and even ‘wrong.’”
‘The John & Leah Show’ Lands New York Affiliate WNYM. The syndicated weekend talk show “The John & Leah Show” is now being heard on Salem Media Group-owned news/talk WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer.” Hosted by radio pros John Ziegler and Leah Brandon, the Envision Networks-syndicated show that deals with “the week’s news focusing on media, politics, sports and pop culture” airs Sundays at 10:00 pm. Salem Media Group New York VP/GM Jerry Crowley says, “‘AM 970, The Answer’ in New York is excited to air the ‘John and Leah Show’ each Sunday night…John Ziegler and Leah Brandon provide our listeners with up-to-date news and opinion and New Yorkers have a chance to call-in and let them know how they feel about it.”
Cumulus Names Sutherland to Providence VP Market Manager Post. Taking over the VP/market manager position in Providence after Barbara Haynes’ exit last week is John Sutherland, who moves up from his VP of sales position with Cumulus Media’s Worcester, Massachusetts cluster. Prior to joining Cumulus in 2013, he was chief visual officer for Sutherland Marketing Group. He was also a vice president with iHeartMedia. Cumulus SVP Gary Pizzati says, “Placing John at the helm of Cumulus Providence is a perfect fit for that dynamic group of stations and will maximize our position in the market. John has many years of broadcast history in the Northeast and his tremendous track record speaks for itself. This is another example of the opportunities for advancement and growth Cumulus offers to our employees. We congratulate John and are pleased to present him with this well-deserved battlefield promotion.”
Yahoo! Sports Radio About to Score in Vegas. The affiliation between Kemp Communications’ KMZQ “The Score,” Las Vegas and Yahoo! Sports Radio will start next Monday (6/1). Yahoo! Sports Radio chief executive officer David Gow states, “We have had a significant presence in Las Vegas through our great partnership with the [Las Vegas hotel and resort] Palazzo. It is so exciting to welcome our newest Las Vegas partner and to build on our deep connection with the market through a terrestrial signal. It’s going to be a big win for everyone.” KMZQ executive vice president and general manager Marty Basch comments, “Yahoo! has built locally-rooted connections with its national programming across the country. We are excited to be an integral part of its Las Vegas presence. From special events to nightly broadcasts, this is a great opportunity for KMZQ and its listeners to connect locally; get their national sports information; and be represented nationwide.” The lineup on KMZQ will include: Steve Czaban; “Prime Cut” with Sean Salisbury and John Granato; Leigh Steinberg; and “Sports X Radio” with Ken Thomson, who originates his Yahoo! Sports Radio show from the Palazzo. KMZQ is currently a Fox Sports Radio affiliate; the station did not appear in Nielsen Audio‘s April 2015 PPM report for Las Vegas.
Odds & Sods. Talk pro Michael Bower (WUCS, Hartford and SiriusXM’s Maxim Radio) will fill in for WINZ, Miami’s Jeff “Defo” DeForrest on June 8 and 9…..New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. will be a weekly contributor to WEPN, New York “ESPN New York 98.7FM” on the Michael Kay show. Beginning September 3, Beckham will join Kay and co-host Don LaGreca each Thursday to talk Giants football and the NFL.
WGN, Chicago to Induct ‘Walk of Fame’ Class. In a ceremony that will be open to the public (and broadcast live on WGN, Chicago) and hosted by personalities Steve Cochran and Bob Sirott, the station will honor 10 broadcast legends. The WGN Radio Walk of Fame Induction and Ceremony will take place tomorrow (5/29) on Pioneer Court in front of Tribune Tower from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm. The 2015 inductees include: Steve Bertrand, Lyle Dean, Dave Eanet, Steve King, Franklyn MacCormack (represented by Rick Kogan), Lou Manfredini, Johnnie Putman, Ward Quaal (represented by 2014 Walk of Famer Orion Samuelson), Ron Santo (represented by his wife Vicki) and Eddie Schwartz (represented by his brother Hal Ross).
Conservative Commentator Krauthammer to Join Salem Conference. On Wednesday, June 17, Salem Radio Network talk hosts Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher and Michael Medved will host a V.I.P. “Preview Dinner” in Washington, DC to kick-off the 2015 Road to Majority conference and conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer (pictured here at right with SRN VP/News & Talk Programming Tom Tradup at left) will be a special guest. Former SRN talk host and GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum will also be featured at the conference, along with Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee and others.
2016 Presidential Prospects/Rubio Claims Assault on Christianity, FIFA Scandal/Clinton Donations, Deadly Texas and Oklahoma Floods, ISIS Military Progress, Baltimore Violent Crime Wave, Hillary Clinton Emails Issue, IRS Data Theft Case, and NBA-NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/27). The potential candidates for president in 2016 and Marco Rubio’s assertion that Christianity is under assault in America; the FIFA corruption scandal and its donations to the Clinton Family Foundation; the continuing, deadly heavy rains and flooding in Texas and Oklahoma; ISIS’ military successes in Ramadi and Palmyra; the increase in violent crimes in Baltimore since the Freddie Gray case; the ongoing scrutiny of Hillary Clinton’s use of private emails for State Department business; the theft of data from IRS computers that is suspected to have been Russian in origin; and the NBA and NHL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Former Dial Global/WW1 Execs Launch Program Sales and Distribution Firm. Former Dial Global and Westwood One executives Spencer Brown and David Landau announce they are partnering with Michael Rolnick to form the firm DGital Media. They describe it as “an audio engagement company that partners with media brands to create, distribute, and monetize spoken-word audio products.” The company’s first venture will be the creation of the Re/code Radio network in partnership with Revere Digital LLC. Re/code is a tech news web destination founded by journalists Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher. The first program to be rolled out will be “Re/code Decode” with host Kara Swisher, expected to go live in June. Revere Digital COO Lorenzano Kennett comments, “With the proliferation of mobile devices and the popularity of podcasts, we want to make sure our content is available to our audiences wherever they are – in the car, in the office, etc. By partnering with DGital Media, Re/code will be able to leverage our authoritative content and brand with outstanding audio programming, distribution and monetization.” DGital Media co-founder David Landau adds, “Partnering with Re/code as a brand accomplishes exactly what we set out to do – which is to amplify media brands through audio. The Re/code Radio network will bring the same excellence in reporting and analysis to readers through the spoken word.” Also joining the company as chief content officer is Chris Corcoran, former EVP for content at Dial Global/Westwood One, and as executive vice president for sales and strategy, Grace Carrick, formerly vice president of sales at Dial Global/Westwood One.
Talkers New York 2015 to Mark 25th Anniversary of TALKERS Magazine. The forthcoming 18th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2015 – will also serve as the publication’s 25th “birthday party.” TALKERS was launched by publisher Michael Harrison in June of 1990 with the first issue of TALKERS: The Information-Radio Newspaper hitting the streets on July 23rd of that year. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “This is an important milestone, not only for us, but for the talk radio and media industries as well. That little trade publication provocatively named ‘Talkers’– that dared to refer to the relative handful of spoken-word stations that existed at the time as an ‘industry’ — has chronicled, championed and inspired one of the most colorful and historically significant chapters of American broadcasting ever gathered and archived in one continuous collection. This year’s conference will serve as a milestone honoring that achievement and rich body of work.” Casey adds, “Not only will Talkers New York 2015 have features that make note of this history but we will be publishing a number of retrospectives looking back at the past quarter-century in the days and weeks surrounding the conference and leading up to the official anniversary date in July.” Talkers New York 2015 is sold out but a few choice sponsorship opportunities remain available. For information, please call 413-565-5413. To see the latest updated agenda, please click here.
Alpha Media to Pay $38,250,000 for Morris and JMJ Stations. From a filing with the FCC, we learn the price for the 36 stations that Morris Communications and JMJ operate in Topeka and Salina, Kansas; Amarillo, Texas; Palm Springs and Victor Valley, California; Anchorage and Wasilla, Alaska; Grays Harbor-Hoquiam, Washington and Wenatchee-Columbia River, Washington: $38,250,000. This is not an all-cash deal. Morris will receive $20 million worth of Alpha Holdings private stock (8,196,722 units in the aggregate), $6,585 worth of Alpha Holdings II private stock, and $18,250,000 in cash.
Kate Delaney Joins NBC Sports Radio for Weekend Shows. Sports and news/talk radio pro Kate Delaney is adding weekend talk duties at NBC Sports Radio to her plate as she takes over the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm Saturday and Sunday shows from Anita Marks, who left the network to join WEPN-FM, New York “ESPN New York 98.7FM.” During the week, Delaney is host of the GCN-syndicated “America Tonight” late night news/talk show. NBC says Delaney’s show will feature “players, coaches, experts and analysts…from the locker room to the playing fields and beyond.” Delaney’s sports pedigree includes being the first woman to host a solo sports radio talk show on WFAN, New York City and KRLD, Dallas. She’s covered 15 Super Bowls, 10 U.S. Opens, and 15 Final Fours. She has also been to the Kentucky Derby 10 times along with the other two Triple Crown races, the Preakness and the Belmont. NBC Sports Radio program director Jack Silver comments, “It’s a major coup for us to have Kate with us on the weekends. She connects really well with sports fans. She’s smart, funny, and she knows her way around the world of sports. Kate brings great energy, insight, and opinion to our weekend lineup.”
Odds & Sods. Joining the lineup of weekend talk shows at Talk Media Network is the “Into Tomorrow with Dave Graveline” program. In welcoming the almost-20-year-old program to the company’s roster, Talk Media Network CEO Josh Leng says, “The ‘Into Tomorrow’ team travels the globe to deliver the most comprehensive technology discussion available on radio, each and every week. Talk Media Network is proud to offer radio stations this valuable program via satellite, for easy automation and scheduling.”…..Journalist and talk show host Michele McPhee – formerly with Entercom’s WRKO, Boston – is the new afternoon drive personality at WMEX, Boston, the daypart held briefly by Howie Carr before WRKO again became his syndicated program’s Boston affiliate.
2016 Presidential Prospects, ‘Is FOX News Bad for GOP?’ Flap, Hillary’s Role in Benghazi, Clintons Finances Scrutiny, ISIS Successes in Iraq and Syria, Amnesty Order Loses Round in Court, Obama Accuses Russia of Aggression, FIFA Scandal, Deadly Texas and OK Floods, and NBA/NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/26). The activities of the potential candidates for president in 2016; reaction to historian Bruce Bartlett’s contention that FOX News is “self-brainwashing” conservative voters; more debate over Hillary Clinton’s role in the deadly Benghazi attack; ongoing scrutiny of the Clintons’ financial dealings and income reporting; the success of ISIS in Iraq and Syria and questions about America’s Iraq policy; President Obama’s amnesty order loses round at the Appeals Court level; Obama accuses Russia of military aggression; a report of widespread corruption at FIFA – soccer’s governing body; the deadly flooding in Texas and Oklahoma; and the NBA and NHL playoff action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Johnny Donovan Retires from WABC, New York. Capping a WABC, New York career that goes back to 1972, legend Johnny Donovan is retiring from the Cumulus Media-owned news/talk station. He’s been handling daily announcing and production director duties at WABC. In a press release announcing his retirement, the company notes that Donovan was a music jock during the influential WABC top 40 era. When the station flipped to talk in 1982, he remained on as staff announcer and production director – a position he held for more than 30 years. An amateur radio operator in his youth, Donovan became a DJ on WHVW in Hyde Park, New York after helping build the station in 1963. He went on to work at radio stations in Kingston (WBAZ) and Binghamton (WENE), New York, with a stop at Atlantic City, New Jersey’s WMID. In 1968, Donovan arrived in New York City as an overnight music host on WOR-FM. Four years later, Donovan brought his talent to the AM band and WABC. Cumulus SVP content and programming Mike McVay states, “Johnny Donovan was THE sound of 77 WABC. He joins the ranks of legends like Don Pardo, Ed McMahon and Ernie Anderson. His production and imaging skills are legendary. He will be missed at WABC, but more than that, he will be missed in our industry.” Donovan will continue to be heard as the voice of the Rush Limbaugh show – a position that he’s held since 1988 – and will continue his own voice-over business.
Goodbye, Mr. Letterman. And Thanks! Philadelphia morning drive personality Chris Stigall says farewell to his professional inspiration in a column published at TALKERS today (5/20). Tonight will air the final new episode of “Late Night with David Letterman” and the WPHT, Philadelphia talk host shares his personal admiration — perhaps even obsession – with one of the undisputed legends of late night talk television. In the piece, Stigall explains his attraction to Letterman as a performer. “I was a high school kid with big dreams of hosting his own show one day, but never felt like I was attractive or popular enough to make it. David Letterman taught me there’s something very good, right, and rewarding about being an individual. The more I watched and read about Letterman, the more fixated I became. Not just his comedy – which I loved. It was his ‘damn the torpedoes’ approach to this hallowed thing called television. It was everyday people from his shows’ staff cast in bits. It was random souvenir shop and deli owners turning into unintentional comedy stars.” Read Stigall’s entire piece here.
Creative Promotions Lead to New Sales. Radio marketing pro Al Herskovitz writes in a column published today that a radio sales pro worth his or her salt should never overlook the value of a creative radio promotion to solidify current clients and attract new ones. He says commonplace ticket giveaways and the like are fine but do little to make a client’s goods or services memorable, and such prizes usually go to station P1s anyway. How about having your morning host attempt to give a lion a bath? Sound too dangerous? Read Herskovitz’s entire column here for the details and his thoughts about using the promotion as a sales tool.
Bold Gold Foundation Inaugural Event Draws Hundreds. The inaugural fundraising and awards event for the Bold Gold Broadcast and Media Foundation took place over the weekend at Mohegan Sun Pocono in Northeast Pennsylvania and drew hundreds of supporters who gathered to cheer on and support the organization’s efforts to help prepare tomorrow’s broadcast and media leaders. The Foundation celebrated broadcast radio’s legacy, while positioning to help lead the effort to bring new recruits into the news and talk ranks. Bold Gold president Vince Benedetto laid out the Foundation’s mission, explaining, “Broadcast radio continues to be the modern day town square where the news and issues of our times are related, debated and discussed in communities across America. The power of this medium, now amplified and synergized with the power of mobile and social media, can be positioned to influence the local and national narratives in more powerful ways than ever before. Our work will be focused on helping the best and brightest get the education and resources they need to write the next chapters of communication history.” Honored at the event was Northeast Pennsylvania entrepreneur and philanthropist Bob Tambur. He was presented the 2015 Atlas Award for Citizenship. Benedetto says Tambur is “an example of someone who builds and creates, sees problems and boldly sets out to fix them. He shows what is possible to achieve in a free society and is the standard by which all future recipients will be measured.” Special guest speaker, citizen-journalist James O’Keefe of Project Veritas, provided a riveting audio and video presentation showing his past and ongoing efforts to expose corruption and hypocrisy in government and media. Benedetto says, “James shows what just one person, armed with the courage to report the truth is able to accomplish.” The event was emceed by David Madeira, morning show host of Bold Gold’s Scranton-based talk station, WTRW “94.3 The Talker.”
Odds & Sods. An extension of the affiliation deal just completed between ABC Radio News and Tribune’s WGN-AM, Chicago includes an expansion of shared editorial resources in the Chicago market. Simultaneously, WGN’s Ryan Burrow will be a contributor to ABC News Radio and report from Chicago and around the country. ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve Jones comments, “Ryan Burrow is a talented, award-winning reporter who understands how to tell stories that capture an audience’s interest. Through ABC News Radio’s expanded partnership with WGN, Ryan will cover stories of interest to our national audience from across the Midwest region and around the country.”…..Washington-based political consultant Raynard Jackson sits in for Roland Martin on his nationally syndicated radio show “News One Now” airing from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm ET…..Joe Ligotti is named morning host at WMEX, Boston, replacing the syndicated “Dr. K Show.”
Dee Snider Podcast to Launch on PodcastOne. Musician and media personality Dee Snider is debuting a new, weekly podcast called, “Snider Comments,” on the PodcastOne Network. The program promises to “pull back the curtain on the world of rock and expose the raw and untold stories of current and past rock ‘n’ roll superstars.” PodcastOne CEO Norm Pattiz states, “This is the latest music insider podcast on the PodcastOne Network. There are plenty of places for consumers to listen to their favorite music, but very few to get a more personal, behind-the-scenes view from the artists that live in that world every day. Dee is not only a rock star and an icon, he’s a great personality and a terrific communicator. I couldn’t be more pleased to have him on our network.”
Jim Rome Visits Portland’s KXTG-AM. Appearing in the Portland market from affiliate KXTG-AM “750 & 102.9 The Game” was CBS Sports Radio’s Jim Rome. He hosted his national syndicated sports talk show from Alpha Media’s SKYPE LIVE STUDIO on Friday, May 15. Guests joining Rome in the studio included Oregon Ducks head football coach Mark Helfrich, Portland Trailblazers president Chris McGowan, and Fox Sports analyst Joey Harrington. Pictured here (from l-r) are: Alpha Portland SVP/GM Milt McConnell, KXTG-AM promotions director Derek House, Rome, and KXTG-AM program director Mike Ragz.
Hillary Clinton Email Controversy, Stephanopoulos Clinton Donation Scandal, 2016 Presidential Prospects, ISIS Takes Ramadi, California Oil Spill, N. Korea Nuke Threats, Saudi Beheadings Controversy, and ‘Deflategate’ Matter Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/19). The ongoing talk of Hillary Clinton’s private emails that are alleged to have been used for State Department business; the scandal involving George Stephanopoulos’ donations to the Clinton Family Foundation; the potential candidates for president in 2016 including talk of Democrat Martin O’Malley officially entering the race; the taking of Ramadi, Iraq by ISIS; the coastal California oil spill; North Korea’s saber-rattling and talk of its new nuclear technology; the increase in beheadings in Saudi Arabia; and the latest on the NFL’s “Deflategate” case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Limbaugh to Leave WRKO, Boston – Again. This is not the first time that Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh might not be heard on the Entercom news/talk outlet. His show was heard on iHeartMedia-owned crosstown WXKS-AM for a little more than two years before returning to WRKO in 2012. Now, Premiere says in a statement that it and Entercom management were unable to come to terms on a renewal deal. “We were unable to reach agreeable terms for the Rush Limbaugh show to continue on WRKO. A final broadcast date will be announced in the near future. Rush Limbaugh airs daily in every measured media market in America, and we look forward to announcing exciting news for our Boston listeners soon.” iHeartMedia flipped WXKS-AM to business news using Bloomberg after its time as a news/talker with Limbaugh and such local personalities as Jeff Katz. It will be interesting to see where the Limbaugh show pops up in Boston. Unless there’s a format flip to talk in the future for an iHeartMedia FM – and we doubt that’s likely – the list of potential quality AM signals that might be a home to the show are few. Still, it’s possible that this is just a stage of the process that will see the two sides come to terms eventually. It would be a shame to see Limbaugh’s show languish on an inferior AM signal – seems like a lose-lose situation for both sides.
Nielsen: Radio Gives ‘Brand Lift’ to American Family Insurance. From a study with the help of Katz Radio Group looking to prove the effectiveness of radio advertising, Nielsen Audio engaged in a study to measure the brand impact of a radio campaign on insurance decision makers (ages 25-64). The analysis included insurance decision-makers who tuned in to one or more stations airing American Family Insurance commercials and compared their engagement with the company to that of decision-makers who did not listen to those stations. Nielsen says, “The results of the study showed that radio increased brand health metrics, particularly among decision-makers seeking new insurance, in the areas of favorability, recommendation and intent to request a quote from American Family Insurance. The study found that insurance decision-makers who heard the campaign were 25% more likely to request a quote from American Family Insurance than those who didn’t hear it. And brand-switchers who were exposed to the campaign were nearly twice as likely to request a quote, highlighting radio’s ability to influence the insurance company’s best prospects.” Read more here.
Howard B. Price: For AM/FM Radio, Doing Good is Good for Business. TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison speaks with the ABC Television Networks director of business continuity, Howard B. Price on this week’s installment of the international hit podcast, “Up Close and Far Out,” about the responsibility licensed AM, FM and television stations have to serve the public with timely and accurate information during both natural and man-made disasters. According to Price, “This is why we hold the license.” Aside from all the entertainment elements that radio provides and that Price says he “enjoys as much as anyone else,” he points out, “That is not, however, why radio stations are licensed – they are licensed to serve the public interest, convenience and necessity.” Price continues, “And while that definition can certainly include quality entertainment and programming that stimulates and enlightens – at the end of the day, what it is all about is being there in times of crisis… making sure that our communities stay informed, that decision-makers have the information that they need in real time, and to be able to apply the necessary time and resources to be able to deal with emergent events. This is the role that radio was born to play.” Price explains what he describes as the essential element of this truth. “If you want to keep people focused on the idea that terrestrial radio is still relevant, that electrons flying out of tall sticks on a single channel is still a very important thing for us to preserve and enhance, then you not only have to talk the talk – you have to walk the walk. And ‘walking the walk’ means that when your community is in crisis, you’ve got to be there to inform them. You’ve got to be able to put people on the street, you’ve got to be able to go to the scene of wherever news is breaking, and make sure that people have the information that they need both to calm them and comfort them as well as provide them with the essential information that allows them to make the right decisions for themselves and their families and businesses.” Price adds, “The old line for radio still exists… you go to any old-time sales manager and he’ll tell you radio is a street business, it’s a retail business and nothing is truer about that than when it comes to reporting the news in local communities.” According to Price, nothing can be more important to the survival of terrestrial radio than remaining visible and relevant to their local communities. He also explains how this philosophy applies to music radio as well as talk and all-news formats, citing examples including how, in the wake of 9/11, Scott Shannon and Todd Pettengill flipped their WPLJ, New York morning music show around “on a dime” from being an entertainment show into serious news mode without the benefit of having a news department. They became “comforters in chief” and did an extraordinary job of rising to the occasion. Price points out that music stations that cede listeners to talk and all-news stations during a serious crisis are foolish to give their listeners reasons to punch out because they might not come back. Harrison and Price also discuss ways in which any radio station – regardless of budgetary and resource limitations – can be fully prepared to serve its listeners in this fashion during a severe emergency explaining that in this day and age of convenient digital communications and citizen journalism, there is no excuse not to be ready to go into action. Michael Harrison states, “Although many people still believe that the idea of radio rising to the occasion and super-serving its audience in times of crisis might seem idealistic, quaint, naïve, and unrealistic – even ‘boy scout’ – that it ironically might be THE answer to AMs and FMs maintaining their importance and relevance going forward.” Harrison concludes this fascinating podcast by suggesting that terrestrial radio should always treat its audience with compassion, empathy, and a deep-seated desire to be helpful and give anyone who might be listening the support they need just getting through the pain, rigors and hardship of day-to-day life as a human being in a highly pressured, dangerous world. To listen to the entire podcast please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box in the right hand column of every page of Talkers.com. “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” is a presentation of Podcast One. Howard B. Price will be receiving the Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech at Talkers New York 2015 on Friday, June 12.
Bobby Bones EAS SNAFU to Cost iHeartMedia $1 Million. The Federal Communications Commission has laid down a $1 million fine for country WSIX-Nashville and Premiere Networks parent company iHeartMedia for the misuse of the EAS tones. The company admits to misuse of the tones and will pay the penalty. The agency writes in its ruling that the “FCC has long prohibited the transmission of actual or simulated EAS tones in circumstances other than a real alert or an authorized test.” WSIX-FM, Nashville – Bobby Bones’ flagship station – aired a false emergency alert during the broadcast of the nationally syndicated show and, as the FCC writes, “broadcast or transmission of emergency tones outside an emergency or authorized test violates FCC regulations designed to protect the integrity of the EAS system. False broadcast of an emergency signal can cause unnecessary public concern and undermine the urgency of real alerts. While commenting on an EAS test that aired during the 2014 World Series, Bobby Bones, the show’s host, broadcast an EAS tone from a recording of an earlier nationwide EAS test. This false emergency alert was sent to more than 70 affiliated stations airing [the show] and resulted in some of these stations retransmitting the tones, setting off a multi-state cascade of false EAS alerts on radios and televisions in multiple states.” In the last six months, the Commission has taken five enforcement actions totaling nearly $2.5 million for misuse of EAS tones by broadcasters and cable networks.
RTDNA: Technology in Newsrooms. The fourth part of a series from the Radio, Television, Digital News Association and Hofstra University professor emeritus Bob Papper focuses on newsroom technology and the plans news directors have to upgrade or add to current equipment. Though the bulk of the article deals with television news, radio is addressed. Papper reports that, according to his questionnaires returned by news directors, plans to acquire new technology have nosedived over the years. “Three years ago, 38% of radio news directors and general managers said they’d be making no technology purchases in the next year. Two years ago, the number rose to 44%. Last year, 69.3% said nothing. This year, the abstention crowd is up to an astonishing 78.6%.” Read more from the study here.
Odds & Sods. Jim Fronk exits Great Eastern Radio’s Concord, New Hampshire where he wore two hats as co-host of the “New Hampshire Wake-Up Show” on news/talk WTPL and as midday jock on sister classic rock WLKZ “104.9 The Hawk.”
Voice of ‘Letterman’ Visits CBS Sports Radio. “Late Show With David Letterman” voice Alan Kalter visited CBS Sports Radio’s “Gio and Jones” program to talk about the final three shows hosted by David Letterman. Kalter chatted about his favorite sports guests on the show and his first day on the job at Letterman. He also teased the surprises to come on the final show that airs Wednesday (5/20) on CBS TV. Pictured here are (from l-r): Gregg Giannotti, Kalter, and Brian Jones.
2016 Presidential Prospects/Iraq Policy Questions, Stephanopoulos Clinton Donations Scandal, Hillary Clinton Emails Case, Deadly Texas Biker Brawl, and Iran Nukes-Gulf Military Actions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/18). The potential candidates for president in 2016 and the issue of the U.S.’s Iraq policy being put before the Republican candidates; the scandal at ABC News over George Stephanopoulos’ donations to the Clinton Foundation; the continuing investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email matter; the deadly biker brawl in Waco, Texas over the weekend that took the lives of nine bikers; and the Iran nuclear program questions and the Gulf nation’s current naval operations in the region were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cumulus/Westwood One Star Mark Levin Continues to Gain Syndication Steam. Dubbed “The Great One” by Sean Hannity, Cumulus/Westwood One syndicated host Mark Levin continues to grow in stature as one of the elite stars in the talk radio industry. Levin, who has written a number of best sellers and is respected as an outstanding constitutional attorney and scholar, has added over a dozen new stations to his affiliate roster of 300-plus in the last quarter alone including KRLA, Los Angeles; WPGP, Pittsburgh; WREC, Memphis; WRVA, Richmond; KTSM, El Paso; KWSX, Stockton; KFIV, Modesto; WBUV-FM, Biloxi; WPGG, Atlantic City; WTKS-AM, Savannah; KWHN, Ft. Smith; WDAK, Columbus, GA; and WFEA, Manchester, MA. According to Michael Harrison, “Levin doesn’t always get the credit he deserves as the true heavyweight he is – but the numbers don’t lie. He has one of the largest audiences of all the political news/talkers in America and is positively adored by the millions of individuals and organizations that make up the heart of the fundamentalist, Constitutionalist core of the conservative movement.” Levin is ranked by TALKERS as #6 on the Heavy Hundred (the 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America) and tied with Glenn Beck as the fourth most-listened-to radio talk show host in the nation.
Nielsen Audio Releases Third Round of April 2015 PPM Data. The third of four rounds of April 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The April 2015 survey period covered March 26 through April 22. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Talkers New York 2015 Will Be Sold Out Today. Based on the diminishing number of registrations still open and the rate at which they are being filled, Talkers New York 2015 – the 18th annual installment of the talk media’s longest-running and most important national convention — will be declared sold out at the end of business today (5:00 pm EDT), a day earlier than anticipated earlier this week. According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “We are gratified by the strong response this event is receiving and we clearly do not like to turn folks away – however, we must abide by New York City’s building codes, not to mention be sensitive to the comfort and safety of our attendees.” Casey continues, “There will be no general registrations sold after 5:00 pm EDT today Thursday, May 14.” The event will be located at the historic India House Club dramatically situated at One Hanover Square in the heart of Manhattan’s financial district. It is an all-day event – 8:45 am to 6:15 pm. Registrations, priced at $299 per person and only open to professionals currently or recently employed in media-related industries, include all sessions, presentations, exhibits and breakfast/lunch/refreshment/and social networking activities. The heavyweight, non-stop agenda will include approximately 65 speakers and 500 attendees will be the allowed limit. Registrations can only be taken over the phone and paid for by credit card. They are not refundable or transferable. For registration, sponsorship and hotel information, please call 413-565-5413. To see the latest agenda, please click here.
Vacca Upped to Executive Producer at WOR, New York. Promoted from producer to executive producer of the “Len Berman and Todd Schnitt In The Morning” show at iHeartMedia’s news/talk WOR, New York is Natalie Vacca. Vacca has been on the WOR staff for the past 18 years, producing such personalities as John Gambling, Barry Farber, Joan Hamburg and Alan Colmes. She says of her new gig, “I have had the honor to work with some of the best talent in talk radio over my career. To add Len Berman and Todd Schnitt to the list couldn’t be more exciting.”
Salem Radio Network to Participate in Conservative DC Conference. The annual “Road to Majority” conference is organized by the Faith and Freedom Coalition and this year Salem Radio Network will broadcast from the event that takes place in Washington, DC June 18-20. SRN personalities Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher and Michael Medved will host a special VIP “preview dinner” on the eve of the conference and will broadcast their talk shows from Washington’s Omni Shoreham Hotel during the conference. The political event will include appearances from 2016 presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio as well as Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Texas Governor Rick Perry plus Gary Bauer, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and FOX News Channel contributor Todd Starnes. SRN VP news & talk programming Tom Tradup states, “The mission of the Faith and Freedom Coalition – that, in essence, the greatness of America lies not in the federal government but in the character of our people…the simple virtues of faith, hard work, marriage, family, personal responsibility, and helping the least among us – dovetails perfectly with the values we hold at SRN. We are proud to partner with Ralph Reed and his team.”
Odds & Sods. This evening (5/14), CBS RADIO SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield will be honored by the Philadelphia Police Athletic League as one of the city’s most distinguished business leaders. Along with SugarHouse Casino general manager Wendy Hamilton and PECO SVP and COO Michael Innocenzo, Rayfield will be feted at PAL’s awards dinner for his “extraordinary contributions in support of PAL’s mission of ‘Cops Helping Kids.’”…..Westwood One News correspondent Bob Costantini is serving as the radio pool reporter today (5/14) from the Camp David Summit as President Obama convenes with six Gulf state leaders to discuss the nuclear deal with Iran.
WSYR, Syracuse’s Joe Galuski Loses Battle with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Off the air at iHeartMedia news/talk WSYR, Syracuse since last fall as he battled non-Hodgkin lymphoma, longtime morning host Joe Galuski has died, the station announced this morning. Galuski, 64, had been with WSYR since 1988 and served as the station’s morning drive host since 1998.
iHeartMedia Recognized at Festival of Media Global Awards. Two honors are bestowed upon iHeartMedia at the Festival of Media Global Awards 2015 – a media industry event that recognizes innovation and leadership in the global advertising field. The awards ceremony took place on May 12 at the Rome Cavalieri in Italy. iHeartMedia was honored with the “Best Media Vendor of the Year” award, which recognizes the creative efforts of a media owner to connect advertiser clients with their audiences, for its work with Diet Coke and Taylor Swift. The multi-platform campaign simultaneously launched Diet Coke’s “Get a Taste” advertising campaign and Taylor Swift’s 1989 album. The program generated approximately 500 million press impressions and 200 million on-air, digital and social impressions for Diet Coke. Taylor Swift’s album 1989, predicted to sell 800,000 units before the iHeartMedia campaign, sold nearly 1.3 million albums in just the first week, and became the No. 1 best-selling album of 2014. iHeartMedia was also named the Silver Winner in the “Best Media Owner Sales Team Initiative” category, which honors a media owner’s local or regional sales teams for their innovative and creative sales packages implemented within the market. In this category iHeartMedia was recognized for its partnership with Bank of America for World AIDS Day. iHeartMedia’s comprehensive cross-platform program across radio, digital, social and outdoor delivered more than 100 million media impressions in 24 hours for “A (RED) Thank You,” a special World AIDS Day event that took place in New York’s Times Square. Additionally, iHeartMedia drove on-air and social conversation, helping to generate over 10 million views of the YouTube (RED) concert video, the most views on (RED)’s YouTube channel in its history, ultimately raising $1 million in donations to (RED) on one day.
Obama Georgetown Speech, Philadelphia Amtrak Crash, Baltimore Riots and Protests Aftermath, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Obama Trade Bill, Iran Nukes Program, and ‘Deflategate’ Penalties Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/13). The scrutiny of President Obama’s speech at Georgetown, including his statements about changing how the media reports; the continuing investigation into the cause of the Philadelphia Amtrak derailment; the ongoing political and legal effects of the Baltimore riots and protests; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the divisiveness in Congress over President Obama’s Pacific Rim trade bill; concern in the Middle East over the Iran nuclear program negotiations; and criticism of the NFL’s sanctions against the Patriots and Tom Brady over the “deflategate” matter were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
A Down First Quarter for Cumulus Media. The numbers here are compared to the same period in 2014. Cumulus Media reports 2015 Q1 net revenue dipped 7.2% on income of $271,079,000. Revenue was down across the board at the company in the first quarter and here’s the breakdown: broadcast revenue was $251 million (down 7%) and digital revenue was $8.06 million (down 16.4%). Political ad revenue was down 67.7% and a portion of the net revenue drop was due to an increase in the license fees and other category which rose 9.1%. Breaking down the broadcast revenue a bit further, local and national spot sales were down a bit – 3.6% and 2.4% respectively – but network revenue sank 13% on income of $86.7 million.
Radio One Down 4.8% in Q1. Urban media operator Radio One reports a down first quarter of 2015 on income $105.8 million – a drop of 4.8%. The company saw positive results in its cable TV advertising sector – up 9.9% — and that helped ease some of the decline in other sectors. The radio broadcasting segment was down 9.4%. Radio advertising was down 5.5% and digital advertising dipped 6.1%. Meanwhile, in the category “event revenue & other” Radio One dropped a dramatic 82.6%, due in part to a timing issue relative to annual events.
Inside the Mind of the Sports Radio Fan. Using data from its recent Techsurvey 11, Jacobs Media presents this analysis of the media usage of the typical sports radio fan. Jacobs Media president Fred Jacobs says, “Since our Techsurveys expanded to more than a dozen formats several years back, it has afforded us the opportunity to study how fans of different formats differ when it comes to media and technology use. No group of radio listeners typifies that more than sports radio partisans. In their quest to find a good game, up-to-date info, fantasy sports, draft information, gossip and rumors, these savvy fans use a lot of different media options.” Some of the media habits of sports radio fans that the survey highlights center around the smartphone. Sports radio P1s are very frequent texters and they stream audio and video on a more frequent basis than P1s of other radio formats. For more, see the full story here.
YES-YOU-CAN Sell Rush Limbaugh. Media consultant Holland Cooke presents some tested means of selling the “controversial” leading news/talk radio host – Rush Limbaugh. As Cooke points out, just because there’s been some backlash against Limbaugh’s show and his affiliate stations doesn’t mean stations can’t find sponsors for the show. After, as Cooke observes, “This guy moves product.” In this piece he offers some thoughts on whom to prospect, how to write spots that work and how storytelling can work in your favor. Read it here.
Michael Harrison to Do 60-Second Daily Feature on Media for Boston Herald Radio. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has entered into an agreement with the Boston Herald to write and perform a weekly 60-second feature titled “Michael Harrison on the Media” beginning Monday (5/4) that will be dropped into the pioneering online station’s programming flow several times a day as well as its growing network of terrestrial partners. In it, Harrison explores the direct connection between media and the human condition – past, present and future – commenting on the impact of changing communications technology on society and culture. According to Harrison, “I love the idea of being connected with such a forward-thinking organization as the Boston Herald and its ground-breaking media station, Boston Herald Radio. Creating one of these tight little pieces each week helps sharpen my insights and ability to express them and just like my weekly, longform podcast ‘Up Close and Far Out’ on Podcast One, it gives me the opportunity, at this seasoned stage in my life, to dabble in speculation about the broader scope of media outside the radio industry itself for a worldwide consumer audience of ‘media freaks.’ What fun!” Boston Herald Radio Network executive producer Tom Shattuck tells TALKERS, “I am thrilled to have these exclusive commentaries by Michael Harrison running on our platform!” To hear an installment of “Michael Harrison on Media” please click below.
Spectrum of Talk Radio Programming to Be Addressed on “Variety, the Spice of Life” Panel at Talkers New York 2015. At the Talkers New York 2015 conference taking place on June 12, talk personalities from a variety of styles of programming will discuss the industry, their roles in it, and the future of talk content when they appear on the “Variety the Spice of Life” panel. Moderated by TALKERS general manager of radio operations David Bernstein, the panel will feature: Mike “Bax” Baxendale, morning co-host at classic rock-formatted WAQY “Rock 102,” Springfield, MA; Dr. Joy Browne of Genesis Communications Network; Tony Bruno, WIP-FM, Philadelphia; Thom Hartmann of WYD Media; Doug Stephan of Stephan Multimedia; and Larry Young, WOLB, Baltimore. This panel will present hosts from disparate backgrounds and radio formats, including a rock jock appealing to listeners immersed in rock and pop culture; the industry’s longest-running radio psychologist; a season sports talk pro; a progressive host with a multi-disciplined background; a nationally syndicated morning talk generalist; and an urban personality working mornings and heavily involved in the community on a local station. Bernstein says, “This will be an exciting panel to moderate – there is so much more to talk radio than one would think having it always described in the media as just a bunch of conservative white men talking politics.” Talkers New York 2015 takes place on Friday, June 12 at the India House Club in New York City’s financial district. Space is limited, so register today by calling 413-565-5413. For the full agenda, please click here.
PodcastOne Platform to Host Bossip Podcast. Bossip.com is billed as the “premier online destination for African American popular culture and entertainment news.” Now, it is partnering with PodcastOne to produce the “Bossip Presents: Don’t Be Scared” podcast. A press release says, “The weekly podcast is a viciously funny conversation between Bossip’s awkward, quirky and at times terrifyingly honest trio, Bossip staffer-hosts David Dennis, Jason “Jah” Lee and Danielle “Danni” Canada. PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz comments, “Bossip.com has built a great digital platform that hits the right points of humor and news in entertainment gossip. This new podcast extends their site to the rapidly growing audio-digital platform, and provides a strong content addition to our roster of websites who have turned to podcasting as an impactful way to communicate with their loyal audience.”
Done Deal: Alpha Closes on Coast Radio and Free Lance-Star Stations. There are seven more radio stations officially in the Portland-based Alpha Media fold after the closing took place on the deals with Coast Radio Company and Free Lance-Star Radio. As previously reported when the sales were announced, Alpha gets three California signals from Coast: adult contemporary-formatted trio KUIC, Vacaville, KKIQ, Livermore, and KKDV, Walnut Creek. And from Free Lance-Star it acquires: country WFLS and talk WNTX in Fredericksburg, Virginia; CHR WVBX, Spotsylvania, Virginia; and classic rock WWUZ, Bowling Green, Virginia. Alpha chief Larry Wilson says, “We are very fortunate to be able to work with such great employees at all of the stations. Each cluster is exceptional and brings its own unique attributes to the company, allowing us to build a diverse and dynamic culture.”
Odds & Sods. Talk radio personality Leslie Marshall joins the iHeartRadio platform as her podcast is now being featured there. Marshall also announces she’s begun writing a blog for Blue Nation Review and has penned her first column titled, “It’s 2015 and Sexism Is Alive and Well in Clinton Coverage.”…..Getting a national presence is WINS, New York weekend news anchor David Weiss who has two features that will be distributed by America’s Talk Radio Network. The five-minute “News for You” show features Weiss’ take on the world and national news and the two-minute “Slice of Life” is a more offbeat take on daily life…..In Seattle, Ed Ronco is the new local host of “All Things Considered” on KPLU. He’s been with the station for two years and also hosts a weekly travel segment titled, “Going Places.”
Salem’s Capitol Gang. Posing for a shot at Salem Media Group’s reception at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday evening (4/30) are (from l-r): Salem Radio Network host Dennis Prager, Townhall.com news editor Katie Pavlich, hosts Bill Bennett and Mike Gallagher. The event was to honor freshmen members of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House. It was also attended by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and U. S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Free Talk Live” with hosts Ian Freeman and Mark Edge add new affiliates to their roster including: KIXZ, Amarillo, Texas; Chattanooga market trimulcast WSDT, WEPG, and WSDQ; KTUI, Sullivan, Missouri; and KAZZ, Parowan, Utah and its Cedar City, Utah K253BU at 98.5 FM…..The Marilu Henner show is added to the program schedule at: KTUI, Sullivan, Missouri; WGGH, Marion, Illinois; WIMS, Michigan City, Indiana; KHUC-FM, Pine Bluff, Arkansas.
Baltimore Protests and Violence Top Talkers TenTM. The week of protests, violence and questions about the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody were all facets of the most-talked-about story of the week. Coming in at #2 on this week’s Talkers TenTM was the 2016 presidential prospects. At #3 was scrutiny of the operations of the Clinton Foundation followed by the Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments in the case of four states with anti-gay marriage statutes 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. View this week’s entire chart here.
Baltimore Protests Turn Violent. Owing to that fact, Hearst talker WBAL-AM, Baltimore advanced yesterday (Monday, 4/27) to “continuous coverage,” after a weekend of “extensive coverage.” According to WBAL-AM president and general manager Cary Pahigian, “We are sharing resources with our sister station, WBAL-TV (Channel 11), which is flying their helicopter almost nonstop. Our goal is to keep the community up-to-the-minute and to provide an opportunity to discuss and analyze the situation with WBAL-AM talk hosts in a responsible manner. It is very fluid, so we are staying nimble and flexible.” The unrest in the Maryland city increased following the funeral of Freddie Gray, a young black man who died just over one week ago (4/19), after suffering spinal injuries while in police custody. At least one Baltimore building has been torched; several of the city’s police cars have been set on fire; and protesters have thrown bricks at Baltimore police officers. Six Baltimore police officers have been seriously injured in Monday’s violence. Maryland governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard, while Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake states every possible resource is being deployed to “gain control of this situation.”
WFAN Sports Giant Mike Francesa Is Extremely Bullish on Radio – Says the Medium Is Here to Stay on Michael Harrison’s “Up Close and Far Out” Podcast. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison interviews WFAN sports talk superstar Mike Francesa on this week’s installment of the international hit podcast series, “Up Close and Far Out.” In an exclusive 30-minute conversation, Harrison and Francesa cover a variety of fascinating topics including authenticity in broadcasting, internet critics, digital era audiences, radio versus television, changes in pop culture, the phenomenal growth of sports and the future of radio in a world of screens. Francesa credits the authenticity, for which Harrison praises him, in part, to being on the air an unusually long five-and-a-half hours per day, pointing out that you can’t be live on radio that long every day without being your real self. According to Francesa, one of the big changes faced by hosts in both sports and general talk programming today is the audience has as much, if not more, access to information as you do – which means merely presenting news is not enough. A host’s success is dependent on having an interesting “take” on the events of the day. He says the internet has made it much easier to break into broadcasting but much more difficult to get noticed. Of his critics, he states the worst thing that can happen is to be ignored. “If you are ignored, you are dead.” Francesa tells Harrison that he very seldom responds to his critics – refusing to give them the exposure of his larger platform that they seek. In addition to having a growing national following due to television and radio syndication, Mike Francesa has long been one of the highest profile media figures in New York and has been ranked by TALKERS magazine for the past two years in a row in the #1 spot on its “Heavy Hundred” of sports talk radio (“The 100 Most Important Radio Sports Talk Hosts in America”). After several years of being carried by the YES Network, Francesa’s daily local radio show is presently simulcast nationally on Fox Sports 1. In comparing radio to television, Francesa says, “Television is a director’s medium. Radio is a performer’s medium.” He explains, “Radio is unvarnished. It is visceral. It is emotional. Television is more packaged and homogenized.” Regarding the survival and future of radio, Francesa states, “Radio will be here long, long past us. People have been trying to kill radio since the first days of television. They’ve tried to kill radio 40 different times in multiple generations. They will never kill it because its appeal of being live, local, personal and mobile will never be equaled.” Francesa sees the rise of mobile digital media as actually being a good thing for radio, acknowledging that “radio will change.” He confidently says, “It will be enhanced because of the smart phone. It is the new transistor radio. Who carried a transistor radio for the past 30 years? Now everyone does. THAT is an opportunity!” In describing Mike Francesa, Michael Harrison states, “I know Francesa has his share of critics – but that comes with the territory of being ‘out there’ the way he is and being a compelling radio talk show host in the modern era, sports or otherwise. What makes him so successful is he has that special ‘something’ that only a handful of performers have ever had in this business – he rises above technique! All he needs to do is bring his authentic, unique personhood to the airwaves each time he’s on and that – at least to this point – is enough. He is one of my handful of all-time favorites and I am delighted that he is still going strong.” To listen to Mike Francesa on “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” please click here or click on the special player box in the right hand column of every page on Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta Reports from Nepal for Westwood One. Internationally known medical doctor and media figure Dr. Sanjay Gupta is in Nepal doing both media work and helping doctors there deal with the overwhelming number of casualties from Saturday’s earthquake. In addition to his work covering the aftermath for CNN, Dr. Gupta is also doing live hits for Westwood One affiliate stations. His “A Better Life with Dr. Sanjay Gupta” is syndicated by Westwood One. Dr. Gupta was called into action in the operating room, asked to help perform brain surgery on a 15-year-old girl in Kathmandu after a wall of her family’s home fell on her as she collected water outside.
SiriusXM 2015 Q1 Revenue Up 8%. Satellite radio operator SiriusXM delivered its 2015 first quarter financial numbers today (4/28) and, compared to the same period a year ago, revenue was $1.08 billion – up 8%. Net income was $106 million, up 12% from $94 million in the first quarter of 2014. Net income per diluted common share was $0.02 in the first quarter of 2015 and 2014. Adjusted EBITDA was $399 million in the first quarter of 2015, up 19% from $335 million in the first quarter of 2014. The satcaster says that it added 431,000 net new subscribers in the first quarter, a 61% increase from the 267,000 net new subscribers added in the first quarter of 2014. Sirius CEO Jim Meyer says, “The year is off to a fantastic start at SiriusXM. We are increasing our subscriber guidance to approximately 1.4 million net additions and revenue guidance to approximately $4.47 billion after reporting our best first quarter for self-pay subscriber additions since 2008. Our results demonstrate that SiriusXM’s bundle of live news and sports, exclusive talk and comedy, and curated, commercial-free music is resonating with more and more consumers every day,”
Odds & Sods. Nationally syndicated, WABC, New York-based morning personality Don Imus announced to his listeners his simulcast on cable’s Fox Business Network will end on May 29. The program has been airing on both since 2009. Though Imus didn’t elaborate on the reason for the change, The New York Daily News reports Imus and wife Deirdre plan to spend the summer at their new ranch in Texas and that property has no TV uplink facilities. Read the Daily News story here…..Atlanta real estate broker Bryan Crabtree is adding a daily show on Salem Communications’ business talk WAFS, Atlanta “biz 1190,” debuting May 4 and airing from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Crabtree and his wife Mackenzie have been hosting the “Housedog.com Real Estate Show” on both WAFS and sister news/talk WGKA on weekends and that show will continue on both outlets. WAFS station manager Adam Wattenbarger says, “We are so excited to bring Bryan aboard to add to our live and local lineup. biz 1190 is committed to giving the Atlanta community something we’ve been lacking for years – real talk about real issues affecting our neighborhoods.”…..Sports talk personality Tim Brando is wrapping his daily, eponymous show heard on SiriusXM’s College Sports Nation channel. The final show is this Thursday. Brando will continue to be heard on the radio via FOX Sports Radio as he’ll handle play-by-play for college football and basketball as well as the network’s coverage of this June’s US Open golf tournament…..The program “Entertainment This Week” is joining the America’s Talk Radio Network effective May 3. “Mr. Hollywood” Shannon Rose and co-host James Lowe will discuss Hollywood gossip, comics, movies, television, pro-wrestling, and so much more during the “fastest hour on national radio.”
WTMJ, Milwaukee Helps Raise Funds for Accessible Playground Equipment. Last Saturday, Scripps-owned news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee unveiled new accessible playground equipment at a local elementary school for which the station helped raise funds. The need for the equipment came after the station learned of eight-year-old Ben Nelson who uses a wheelchair due to his Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Ben’s family began raising funds for the equipment and WTMJ joined forces with the family and was able to – through the help of listeners – raise $50,000. WTMJ Radio VP/GM Tom Langmyer says, “WTMJ firmly believes we do well by doing good. We serve Wisconsin – and we’re getting behind our air personalities by giving them a month where we use our resources to give back to our community. [Morning host] Jodi Becker is first on our team to lead in this new community betterment initiative. We are pleased to help – and we thank our listeners and great businesses for helping to build this wonderful playground.”
Limbaugh and Mahindra Partner on Tractor Giveaway. For the second year in a row, Rush Limbaugh and Mahindra USA have joined together to give away a Mahindra eMax 22HST with loader to an active duty service member or U.S. military veteran. The winner will be selected in a random drawing on May 26. Last year, more than 4,500 service men and women entered for an opportunity to win a Mahindra tractor. It was awarded to Lieutenant Colonel Mike Petzinger of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, who has served his country for 25 years in the Army.
Music and Pop Culture Figure Andrew W.K. to Host Weekly Show on TheBlaze Radio Network. New to the weekend lineup at Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network is the show “America W.K.,” hosted by musician, writer, TV host and lecturer Andrew W. K. TheBlaze Radio Network says the show will be a “raw and penetrating discussion of what it is to be alive – meaning, motivation, mindset, and making dreams come true, all included in a celebration of life itself – and all with a positive and honest outlook. Andrew will also field questions and input from the audience, adding an engaging interactive component.” Andrew W.K. is probably most known for his 2001 rock album titled, I Get Wet, the cover of which featured a photo of him with a bloody nose. During his musical career he’s penned a number of rock anthems that have appeared in video games, movies and as pro sports team themes. Andrew W.K. (pictured here at left with Glenn Beck at right) says, “When Glenn asked me to do my own radio show on TheBlaze, I was shocked but excited, as I knew he would allow me the unrestrained freedom to say exactly what I wanted. I’m very dedicated to exploring and learning from different people in different places, and always with an open heart. If people never went outside their own box, life would be boring. After all, why would I only want to talk with people who already think exactly like me?”
Baltimore Protests, White House Correspondents Dinner, Bush Criticism of Obama Foreign Policy, Nepal Earthquake Aftermath, SCOTUS Hears Same-Sex Marriage Argument, Clinton Foundation Scrutiny, James Holmes Trial Begins, and the Bruce Jenner Transgender Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/27). The intensifying, violent protests in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray in police custody; the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner and President Obama’s performance; former President George W. Bush comments on Obama Administration’s foreign policy; the devastation in Nepal after Saturday’s earthquake; the Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments as anti-gay marriage statutes in four states are challenged; ongoing scrutiny of the Clinton Foundation financial operations; the opening of the trial of Aurora, Colorado movie theater killer James Holmes; and the chatter about Bruce Jenner’s sex change procedure and his recent interview were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
iHeartMedia Previews New Podcast Initiative at First-Ever ‘Soundfront’ in NYC. Yesterday, iHeartMedia presented the “Soundfront” event in New York to preview its new original audio programs. The company says this new content “will allow marketers to collaborate with a host of celebrities and talent through customized and creative storytelling.” Speaking about the company’s need to explore the audio-on-demand marketplace is iHeartMedia CMO/EVP Gayle Troberman, who says, “In the age of visual distraction and shorter attention spans, audio has the ability to break through and get heard better than any other advertising. We are seeing increased engagement in audio programming both on air and via podcast, and original audio forces us to get back to the basics of telling stories simply and honestly, which consumers love. We believe most marketers are massively under-invested in the power of sound and the iHeartMedia Soundfront is our opportunity to challenge the industry to explore the creative potential of sound to tell and sell better.” Saying that it is teaming with “a broad spectrum of A-list producers, musicians, actors, music industry veterans and curators,” the company announces some of the people it is working with, including: “Skybound Rundown” (podcast): From the producers of “The Walking Dead” TV show and gaming franchise focusing on the world of indie gaming; “Heart of the Beat” (podcast): Artist and musician Jared Leto will bring sound and storytelling together in this original audio show that allows artists to reveal the method behind their madness; “Who is Marty Hirsch?” (podcast) is the first-ever audio mockumentary, building off successes like “This Is Spinal Tap” and “Almost Famous” to tell a story of a mythical music icon. iHeartMedia has partnered with Trium Entertainment (the creator and executive producer of “The Biggest Loser”) to produce a number of podcasts including: “The Vent” hosted by Jaime Pressly; “Get Mic’d” – a talent search show for the next great iHeartMedia DJ; and “Science of Success” with Jonah Berger. The iHeartMedia-Trium relationship will also produce videocasts and the hiring away of Big Boy from Emmis in Los Angeles is relevant here as he’ll host “Urban Legends with Big Boy,” a hip hop show. “Z100” New York-based personality Elvis Duran will also host a videocast titled, “The Elvis Sessions” in which he “digs throughout the day-to-day gossip and connects with the true passion that drives artists and celebrities.” Other videocasts will include “On the Fly with Paul Costabile” and “My Journey.” iHeartMedia also used the event to announce an expanded relationship with Snapchat, details of which are expected to come in the future. Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel was in attendance discussing iHeartMedia’s unique positioning to “use the power of sound to drive social results.” Pictured here are (from l-r): iHeartMedia Entertainment Enterprises president John Sykes, iHeartMedia president and CFO Richard Bressler, Snapchat co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel, and iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman.
Facing “Weak Markets,” Emmis Seeks Covenant Relief from Lenders. In a filing with the SEC, Emmis Communications presents historical performance data and forward-looking statements as it seeks covenant relief for the quarters ended May 31 2015 through February 28 2017. Emmis says it is outperforming its markets but the problem is that the markets are weak – for example, citing New York figures showing Emmis down 6% while the market as a whole was down 7.3% over the nine-month period ended November 30, 2014. It says the battle between its urban KPWR, Los Angeles and iHeartMedia’s new KRRL (which is benefitting from its luring morning talent Big Boy away from KPWR) is causing it to face “new headwinds.” In New York, the company says the market was weak throughout calendar 2014 – down mid- to high-single digits after being up 5% in calendar 2013. It reports national was off by 30% during the 2014 summer months and down 18% for the nine months ended November 30, 2014. Emmis states that it finished fiscal 2015 under its 6.00x covenant at 5.40x but “wants to constructively manage compliance with sufficient cushion.” It goes on to show its efforts to control costs by noting it has “reduced cash operating costs by $7 million as part of its fiscal 2016 budget.” You can see the entire lender presentation here.
Panel of Radio Hunter-Gatherers to Discuss Generating Revenue in Changing Marketplace. One of the power-packed, panel discussions scheduled for Talkers New York 2015, “Generating Talk Radio Revenue in a Changing Paradigm,” will tackle the many challenges and identify opportunities in the sales end of the business today. The lineup features a diverse array of what TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes as “major league ‘hunter-gatherers’ covering the spectrum of broadcasting situations today.” Moderated by TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian, the lineup presents (in alphabetical order): Vince Benedetto, president/CEO, Bold Gold Media Group; Kathy Carr, VP, sales & marketing, Howie Carr Radio Network; Jerry Crowley, VP/GM, WNYM/WMCA, New York; Ron Hartenbaum, CEO, WYD Media; Tom Leykis, CEO, The New Normal; and Cary Pahigian, president/GM, WBAL/WIYY, Baltimore. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey adds, “This panel will provide a wide variety of valuable takeaways. You have a dynamic, young owner of a medium-sized, up-and-coming group (Vince Benedetto); a seasoned sales and management pro who has masterminded one of the model examples of a powerful and lucrative regional talk network (Kathy Carr); a veteran major market general manager with an impressive sales track record (Jerry Crowley); one of talk radio’s most aggressive impresarios who has built a major sales rep firm and is instrumental in monetizing the careers of numerous syndicated and satellite radio stars (Ron Hartenbaum); an independent, high-profile radio talent who is doing it on his own in cyberspace and showing a profit (Tom Leykis); and a highly accomplished, medium/large market GM who is at the helm of one of the nation’s most historic heritage properties (Cary Pahigian). This is not to be missed.” Talkers New York 2015 is nearing a sellout. For registration and sponsorship information, please click here.
WGN, Chicago Legend Spike O’Dell to Appear on Steve Cochran Show. Former WGN, Chicago personality Spike O’Dell – an inductee in this year’s class of the WGN Radio Walk of Fame – will be a part of the station’s Steve Cochran show tomorrow morning (4/24). Cochran is broadcasting his show from the CMT Studios in Nashville the day after the Chicago Blackhawks play the Predators in game 5 of the first round of the NHL playoffs. O’Dell hosted afternoons on WGN from 1987 to 2000. He took over the morning show after the death of Bob Collins and hosted it until December of 2008.
Hofstra’s WRHU-FM, Signs Deal with New York Cosmos Soccer Franchise. One of the most decorated college radio stations in America, Hofstra University’s WRHU-FM, Hempstead, NY has added another major league sports franchise to its programming roster. The Marconi Award-winning outlet has signed a deal with the New York Cosmos soccer franchise. WRHU-FM will be the team’s official radio partner and flagship for the 2015 NASL soccer season. Students will perform all on and off air roles as they do with the station’s other major league partner, the NHL’s New York Islanders.
Odds & Sods. News/talk KRDO-FM, Colorado Springs is being sold by Optima Communications to Pike’s Peak Television for $2.5 million. Pike’s Peak is a subsidiary of News-Press & Gazette Company which owns KRDO-AM. Optima has been airing the KRDO-AM news/talk format on KRDO-FM for the past nine years…..ABC News is available on the Apple Watch. ABC says the app will “give you the world on your wrist. From real-time news updates with personalized notifications to live video and audio, the app keeps wearers in the know without disrupting the moments that matter.” Some of the features include “Stories In A Second” – “glanceable news that keeps you up to date with what’s breaking and showcases the latest hand-selected stories in all coverage areas.” The app will allow users to dig deeper into stories and video with the ability to seamlessly hand off to the user’s iPhone…..ESPN Radio is broadcasting the 2015 NFL Draft next Thursday (4/30) beginning at 7:00 pm ET with host Dari Nowkhah, NFL analyst Louis Riddick and NFL Insider John Clayton. Freddie Coleman will host post-draft coverage alongside NFL Insider Adam Kaplan on Thursday and Friday at 11:30 p.m…..Yahoo Sports Radio will present a five-hour program next Thursday for the first day of the NFL Draft. Featured on the show will be Steve Bunin and Yahoo Sports Radio host Jonathan Peterlin. Insider analysis will come from former Carolina Panthers general manager and Yahoo Sports Radio host Marty Hurney, and former NFL Quarterback and Yahoo Sports contributor Shaun King. The program airs from 8:00 pm to 1:00 am ET…..ABC News announces Karen Travers, Mary Bruce and Stephanie Ramos join the news organization as multi-platform reporters covering national and international news for all ABC News platforms with an emphasis on NewsOne, Radio and Digital.
FOX Sports Radio to Broadcast from Mayweather vs. Pacquiao Fight. Prior to the May 2 Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao welterweight fight in Las Vegas, FOX Sports Radio will broadcast live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena. The roundtable program will feature JT “The Brick,” Steve Gorman, Tomm Looney and Jeffrey Gorman. Stations wishing to bring some unique expertise to their coverage of this upcoming fight may consider booking Jackie Kallen (pictured here) or Ivan Goldman from Boxing Insider. Kallen has been involved in the sport of boxing for almost 35 years. She started as a boxing journalist, hosted her own talk radio show, then became the publicist for the legendary Kronk Gym in Detroit and eventually segued into management. Her success in the male-dominated business inspired the Meg Ryan film Against the Ropes. Goldman is a New York Times best-selling author. He has written for Columbia Journalism Review, The Nation, Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times. He’s a Fulbright Scholar and an elector for the International Boxing Hall of Fame. To book either, email: email@example.com.
Earth Day/Climate Change, Baltimore ‘Freddie Gray’ Protests, 2016 Presidential Prospects, ISIS Violence, Saudi Strikes on Yemen, Iran Nuclear Program Negotiations, North Korea Nukes Warning, and Gang Member Amnesty Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/22). The observation of Earth Day and the issue of climate change; continuing protests in Baltimore over the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the violence being perpetrated by ISIS; the military strikes on Yemen by Saudi Arabia and the U.S.’ naval presence in the region; the negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program; China’s warning about the underestimated nuclear weapons arsenal held by North Korea; and the case of a gang member accused of murder receiving amnesty under President Obama’s executive order were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
FCC’s Wheeler Agrees to Pursue AM Rule Changes. Patting FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn on the back for work beginning the process of “AM revitalization” while acting chairman, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler writes in a blog post that he’s “committed to taking action in this proceeding so that AM radio will flourish while also preserving the values of competition, diversity, and localism that have long been the heart and soul of broadcasting.” Speaking about AM technical issues, Wheeler says, “In the coming weeks, I intend to conclude this open item with a Report and Order that will buttress AM broadcast service and ease regulatory burdens on AM broadcasters. The proposed Order would adopt specific measures to address practical problems and interference-related issues that have long plagued AM stations across the country. If adopted, these measures will enable AM stations to operate more efficiently in today’s spectrum environment. For example, the proposed Order would give stations more flexibility in choosing site locations, complying with local zoning requirements, obtaining power increases, and incorporating energy-efficient technologies. These actions will help to ease some of the technical limitations that have hindered AM stations in serving their listeners.” In response to Wheeler’s announcement, the NAB’s EVP of communications Dennis Wharton comments, “NAB is grateful Chairman Wheeler has announced plans to circulate an item to his FCC colleagues designed to revitalize AM radio. AM broadcasters have uniquely served local communities for nearly 100 years. The time is ripe for the FCC to follow through on the tremendous efforts of Commissioners Clyburn and Pai so that AM broadcasters can continue to play a vital role in the fabric of our nation. We look forward to working with the chairman and the commissioners to help ensure the item ultimately adopted serves the American public in the best manner possible.”
Cooke: Report from Las Vegas – Day 2. Radio consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas reporting for TALKERS magazine/RadioInfo from not one, but three conferences going on there. Today’s report is from the NAB Show – a convention that Cooke points out is often thought of more as a TV gathering than a radio conference – but there’s still plenty of talk about audio. And, you guessed it, podcasting is one of the show’s darlings. Cooke writes that Edison Research’s Tom Webster showcased the importance of the success of the “Serial” podcast. “HOW impactful is podcasting? ‘Serial’ – a 12-episode true story podcast about a teen murder – has caused The Maryland Court of Appeals to revisit the conviction of Adnan Syed, imprisoned for the 1999 killing of his former girlfriend. To date, it’s been downloaded 68 million+ times. Webster calls this a watershed for podcasting, ‘a watercooler moment, like what ‘House of Cards’ and ‘Orange is the New Black’ did for Netflix. People are talking to each other about listening to a podcast.’” The integration of social media with legacy media is also a hot topic. Read more from Holland Cooke in Las Vegas here.
Nielsen Audio Releases First Round of Mach 2015 PPM Data. The first of four rounds of March 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The March 2015 survey period covered February 26 through March 25. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Premiere Networks and Futuri Media Announce Long-Term Deal. The two companies release the news of a new, exclusive, long-term national sales representation agreement between iHeartMedia subsidiary Premiere Networks and Futuri Media. The partnership includes all of Futuri’s interactive radio programming platform brands: LDR (Listener Driven Radio), Futuri Mobile Apps, and TopicPulse – a social media monitoring system for broadcast stations across the U.S. Additionally, Premiere’s international division will offer Futuri’s systems and services to Canada and, later this year, to the UK and continental European markets. Premiere president Julie Talbott comments, “We love working with forward-thinking companies whose teams are focused on success for local affiliates, and Futuri Media delivers every time. This new agreement testifies to the great working relationship we’ve had for years as Futuri has evolved from LDR. Daniel Anstandig and the Futuri team exemplify Premiere’s ongoing commitment to supporting broadcasters around the world with solutions that drive ratings, revenue, and digital engagement growth.”
Envision Networks and Focus 360 Partner on ‘Powered by Jelli’ Networks. Affiliate sales for Focus 360’s “Powered by Jelli” networks will be handled by Envision Networks as the two firms have entered into a new relationship. Jelli is a cloud-based programmatic advertising platform for broadcast radio, enabling the selling and serving of advertising on behalf of radio station groups and show producers. Focus 360 provides programming, syndication and national advertising sales to thousands of radio stations nationwide. Its “Powered by Jelli” ad networks traffic, serve and report all ad campaigns using Jelli’s RadioSpot platform. Envision president and CEO Danno Wolkoff comments, “We are excited to bring this proven revenue generating opportunity to radio stations. Jelli is offering national advertisers a powerful vehicle to deliver and monitor commercials as they are broadcast while relieving stress on traffic departments to schedule and report those spots every day.”
Michael Harrison and Christopher Ruddy Discuss Politics, Journalism, Commercialism and the Nature of Truth in New ‘Up Close and Far Out’ Podcast. TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison engages in a candid and revealing conversation with Newsmax president/CEO Christopher Ruddy in the sixth and latest installment of his PodcastOne series, “Up Close and Far Out.” Ruddy is the mega-successful founder of a conservative-tilting news organization that began as a website in the late-1990s (Newsmax.com) and has grown into a multi-million dollar empire consisting of, among numerous assets, a dynamic website, monthly print publication (Newsmax Magazine), and most recently, a full-service television news network (Newsmax TV) that holds the potential to give Fox News Channel a run for its money. In the podcast, they discuss what Harrison describes as the tendency of today’s media (and society in general) to “seek victory at the expense of truth.” Harrison praises Ruddy as being somewhat of an exception to that rule – especially in today’s popular political media in which most news publications, websites and electronic media channels cater to the predisposition of their target audiences in an attempt to gain “more eyeballs and eardrums” even if it means distorting or suppressing the facts to conform to the expectations of the target consumer. Harrison points out several significant instances in which Ruddy has actually committed what so many of today’s opinion practitioners consider a sin – he actually changed his mind and renounced formerly held opinions in the face of new evidence and facts. The fascinating discussion delves into Ruddy’s role as a major Republican Party influencer (but not registered member) and his colorful relationship with former President Bill Clinton. Ruddy talks about the coming presidential election and explains the mechanisms often referred to as the Clinton and Bush “machines.” In the “Far Out” section of the podcast following the Ruddy interview, Harrison delves deeper into what he describes as the coming “Quantum Era” that will be marked by the rise of quantum computing that he predicts will relegate the current digital era to “primitive” status. To access the podcast please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right hand column of every page of Talkers.com.
Robin Quivers to Receive ‘Woman of the Year’ Honors at Talkers New York 2015. Longtime Howard Stern show cast member Robin Quivers will be honored at the June 12 Talkers New York 2015 conference where she will be presented with the Judy Jarvis Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to Talk Radio by a Woman – known informally as the ‘Woman of the Year’ award. Robin Quivers is legendary in the radio business – an industry she entered in the late 1970s on a daytime AM station in tiny Carlisle, Pennsylvania. A couple of upward moves later she was cast in the news anchor role at WWDC, Washington “DC 101” when Howard Stern began as morning host there in March of 1981. Thirty-four years later, she’s still holding her own as the “voice of reason” on Stern’s SiriusXM program. Though successful on the radio, Quivers has had to navigate challenging waters in her personal life. A series of health issues forced her to reexamine her approach to healthy living and she is now one of the leaders of the movement to require full disclosure of where our food comes from and what’s in it. Quivers has become a dedicated philanthropist, working hands on with numerous charitable causes both at home and abroad. She does all this while maintaining a rigorous work schedule on the Stern program and on various other media projects. Upon making the announcement of the editorial board’s decision to honor Quivers, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison stated, “This recognition of Robin Quivers is long overdue and can hardly even come close to serving as an accurate reflection of the magnitude of her achievements. She has established a unique place for herself, not just as a talk show personality in the modern era, but as one of the most skilled, accomplished and important radio personalities of all time. It is almost impossible to describe her unique sense of timing and elegance as she practices her skills and artistry every morning within the iconic Stern universe and the indispensable contributions she has made to this amazing show’s ongoing empire in the American pop culture landscape.” Quivers will receive the award, which will be presented by the 2014 recipient Julie Talbott, president of Premiere Networks at Talkers New York 2015 on Friday, June 12 at the India House Club in Manhattan’s Financial District. The conference is for working media industry people only. Registration for the conference, which is on the verge of a sellout, and sponsorship inquiries can be made by calling 413-565-5413. For more information, click here.
Odds & Sods. The deal between Alpha Media Group and Access.1 Communications for the former to acquire stations in Shreveport, Louisiana and Tyler-Longview, Texas has closed. It gives Alpha ownership of: hip hop KBTT, gospel KOKA, urban contemporary KDKS, oldies KLKL, and classic rock KTAL in Shreveport; and country KKUS, adult contemporary KOOI, regional Mexican KOYE, and country KYKX in Tyler-Longview…..Salem Communications reports is has expanded its partnership with Clip Interactive to roll out the latter’s Total Audience Solution platform to all 109 Salem stations in 29 markets nationwide. Salem says it initially implemented Clip Interactive apps for their four Portland stations in 2013, expanding to San Antonio and Atlanta in 2014. After seeing significant revenue gains and user engagement in 2014, Salem chose to expand its partnership and propagate Clip Interactive’s solution nationally…..At the New York operations of iHeartMedia, Anthony Molaee is promoted to director of digital programming and operations for the cluster. SVP of programming Thea Mitchem notes that Molaee has been with iHeartMedia since 2007 and joined the New York operations in December of 2013. Molaee’s promotion comes as Colby Hall joins iHeartMedia’s Entertainment Enterprises team.
Todd Schnitt and Len Berman Attend Mets Home Opener. The New York Mets took the field for their home opener on Monday (4/13), and in attendance at Citi Field were WOR, New York morning personalities Todd Schnitt and Len Berman. WOR serves as the flagship station for the Mets radio network. Pictured here in the broadcast booth are (from l-r): Berman, Wayne Randazzo, Howie Rose, Josh Lewin, and Schnitt.
2016 Presidential Prospects/ Marco Rubio Declares, ISIS Violence, Iran Nuclear Program Negotiations, and MLB Action Among Top Stories Yesterday (4/13). The potential candidates for president in 2016 and the declaration for candidacy by Marco Rubio; the ongoing violence being perpetrated by ISIS and other militant Islamic factions; the negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program; and the weekend’s MLB action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Brady: The Power of Legacy Media. Sales and management pro Bill Brady writes in a piece published in TALKERS magazine today (4/6), that we’ve been hit with a barrage of non-stop brainwashing about the “power” of digital media for so long now that hardly anyone questions the validity of the narrative. But he does. And Brady says there are problems with what we’ve been told all these years. “This is the product of the PR machine employed by digital start-ups to build and reinforce their investment value through rounds of funding leading to an eventual IPO. Media consultants who hope to survive as digital experts also contribute mightily to the noise. So do media companies themselves who are complicit in allowing the misguided narrative to go on and on and on.” For those impressed with the digital revenue being reported by traditional media companies, be on guard. Brady says, “Some of the digital revenue reported by traditional media companies is the result of bundling discounts which, in effect, result in broadcast revenue being reported as digital revenue. If it wasn’t for this phenomenon, some companies might actually be reporting year-to-year increases in core broadcast revenues. Their digital revenues, small in comparison to core revenue, would thus be less impressive. But, we would at least be seeing accurate digital revenue figures that are not artificially inflated and the reputation of legacy media would be less tarnished.” Read more of Brady’s cautionary column here.
Radio America’s Dana Loesch Helps Raise $840,000 for Threatened Indiana Pizzeria. The owners of a small-town pizza joint in Indiana may be the recipients of more than $840,000 raised via GoFundMe after Radio America-syndicated radio talk show host Dana Loesch came to their aid. The owners of Memories Pizza were asked by a reporter about their stance on Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. After answering honestly that they supported the law, they became victims of death threats. Loesch heard about the case and started the GoFundMe campaign to help offset the costs of having to shut down the business due to the threats plus the possibility the family may not be able to re-open after the dust settles.
Changes at Greater Media’s Sports Talker WPEN-FM, Philadelphia. A couple of on-air staffing changes took place recently at Greater Media’s Philadelphia sports talk outlet WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic.” Sean Brace exits the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm program he co-hosted with Jon Marks. Brace says in a Tweet that he’d been with the station for seven years and thanks Greater Media for the opportunity. Also, Philly.com is reporting that producer Steve Vassalotti also exited the station last week, though that has not been confirmed. On Friday, evening host Nick Kayal told listeners the show would be his last with WPEN-FM as he’s exiting to join SiriusXM. This round of attrition is fueling speculation that Philly sports talk pro Anthony Gargano will join the station. Gargano – a longtime WIP, Philadelphia personality who recently left that station after receiving what he termed a low-ball offer to remain – appeared on WPEN-FM’s Mike Missanelli show on April Fool’s Day.
Two Apologize for Criticizing Kelly Clarkson’s Weight. Nationally syndicated talk show host Mike Gallagher and Fox News Channel personality Chris Wallace apologized after criticizing singer Kelly Clarkson’s weight during a broadcast of the Mike Gallagher show. Clarkson, who gave birth to her first child nine months ago, recently released a new record and has been performing in public, became the subject of discussion when Gallagher stated to Wallace, “Have you seen Kelly Clarkson?…Holy cow, did she blow up.” Wallace replied, “She could stay off the deep dish pizza for a little while.” Later, both offered apologies as Wallace said in a statement, “I sincerely apologize to Kelly Clarkson for my offensive comment. I admire her remarkable talent and that should have been the focus of any discussion about her.” Gallagher wrote on his website, “I couldn’t possibly feel any worse than I do for making an observation that led to the conclusion that I ‘fat-shamed’ this talented and classy entertainer. It was a really stupid thing for me to do.”
Bringing the Final Four to Radio Listeners. Pictured here at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis is Westwood One radio personality Jim Gray (left) interviewing Wisconsin Badgers coach Bo Ryan (right) for the network’s coverage of the NCAA Men’s Final Four. This interview took place prior to Wisconsin’s upset of previously undefeated Kentucky on Saturday evening.
Odds & Sods. For a story on faith-based entertainment, NBC News visited the studios of Salem Media Group’s WMCA, New York “AM 570 The Mission” to shoot some video of the station’s Dr. AR Bernard hosting his show. Salem SVP/spoken word format for Salem Media Group and Salem Radio Network Phil Boyce tells TALKERS magazine, “The shoot was for a story to air on ‘NBC Nightly News’ on Sunday evening about faith-based entertainment in movies, on TV, and on the radio. They are tying it in to NBC’s broadcast of ‘AD, The Bible Continues,’ which started Sunday night.”…..Sports giant ESPN announces new Spanish-language programming to air on WEPN-AM, New York “ESPN Deportes Radio” this season. DJ George Nenadich talks music and sports on a new show called “Fusion 1050”; Felix DeJesus, the Spanish-language voice of the Yankees hosts “El Mundo de las Grandes Ligas”; and all the news and analysis from local teams will be heard on the new show “Resumen Final.”…..For an update on the status of NextRadio, interested parties can hear from Emmis chairman & CEO Jeff Smulyan as he presents news about the free smartphone app that combines local FM radio broadcast with the internet to create a visually engaging, interactive artist and advertising experience. To register for the webinar that takes place on Tuesday, April 7, from 1:00 pm to 1:30 pm EST, visit the following site: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2755831702406830082.
Futuri Mobile and Apple Watch to Integrate. Shortly after the Apple Watch debuts, Futuri Media’s Futuri Mobile Platform will feature integration with the new Apple product. Futuri says that this will enable TV and radio stations using Futuri’s mobile platform to send alerts to the watch, display information on the broadcasters’ content currently playing on-air, and receive audio from the watch using Futuri’s Open Mic feature. Futuri CEO Daniel Anstandig says, “The release of Apple Watch is this year’s biggest headline in ‘wearable technology,’ and we’re excited to be the first media app developer to announce integration with this breakthrough device. Our team is passionate about creating memorable personal experiences for our clients’ brand audiences. TV and radio users today demand personal, real-time information, and this integration extends our ability to provide live actionable notifications and calls to action for our media partners.”
PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian provides another thorough ratings assessment, as he updates the status of all-news outlets. You might recall that in January, the format – albeit with a qualifying database of approximately 20 stations in PPM markets – managed to do something rather astounding: It kept all of them out of negative “Holiday” 2014 – January 2015 territory. The natural question now is: Did the format keep this incredible momentum going? Using data from Nielsen Audio‘s February 2015 PPM survey, Mike examines the performances of all-news facilities in sweep-to-sweep and year-to-year comparisons, as well as charting them in terms of 6+ rank and 6+ market share. Additionally, we have a side-by-side look of the format’s ultra-impressive January numbers and – in some cases – ironically similar February stats. See the exclusive all-news analysis and overview here.
KOGO Adds DeMaio For Midday Duty. San Diego talker KOGO is pairing Carl DeMaio and Bob “Sully” Sullivan as co-hosts of the 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm “DeMaio – Sullivan Report.” KOGO program director Brian Long comments, “We are thrilled to welcome Carl DeMaio to our lineup. I have no doubt that, with his experience as a government watchdog and his inside knowledge of politics, this will be the most talked about show in San Diego.” According to DeMaio, “Our show will give San Diegans a vehicle to learn not only about important issues, but to get involved in making a difference and advancing solutions.” In addition to focusing on local news, the three-hour weekday program on the iHeartMedia-owned station will combine investigative journalism to examine stories behind the stories. The 40-year-old, Dubuque, Iowa-born DeMaio (Republican and openly gay) previously served four years (2008 – 2012) on San Diego’s city council representing district five. DeMaio lost to former congressman Bob Filner in San Diego’s 2012 mayoral contest and he was defeated by incumbent Scott Peters two years later in a race for California’s 52nd congressional district seat. He is a Georgetown University alum.
Mohr Wins Big By Horsing Around. As part of its March Madness “Celeb Pick ‘Em” series, USA Today‘s “For the Win” featured an interview with Fox Sports Radio host Jay Mohr. Within the piece, the star of the 2008 – 2010 CBS-TV sitcom “Gary Unmarried” (which co-starred Paula Marshall) revealed how a bet he made on the NCAA men’s basketball tournament netted him an unusual payoff. It was 16 years ago (1999) and St. John’s was making a run to the “Elite Eight” under head coach Mike Jarvis. Mohr was wagering with a friend who kept saying, “Double or nothing.” His friend – a jockey at Santa Anita racetrack – eventually ran out of money. If St. John’s went another round in the tournament, the friend told Mohr he’d give Mohr the horse on which he (the jockey) was sitting. St. John’s – and Mohr – won but since the actor/comedian had a small yard, the horse was not with him very long. For the record, the St. John Red Storm beat Maryland 76 – 62 in the infamous game-winning bet for Mohr, but lost to Ohio State in a squeaker (77 – 74) the next round. According to Mohr, the primary excuse someone should offer for missing work to watch the Final Four should simply be that you are going to watch the tournament. “If you are not in a sports-friendly work environment,” he says, “I would fake a birth.” It is Mohr’s contention that talk radio show callers should push the envelope and “make the host uncomfortable. The crazier they are, the more fun we have when we play it later when we run out of ideas of our own.” So – how did Mohr do with his NCAA brackets this year? Not bad. He correctly has Kentucky and Michigan State in the Final Four, but also included Iowa State and Ohio State, rather than Wisconsin and Duke. He had Duke losing to San Diego State in the third round and Wisconsin falling to Ohio State in the Elite Eight. His prediction for the final game is that Kentucky’s Wildcats will beat Michigan State’s Spartans.
Newsday Reports Tense Relations Exist Between WFAN Sports Talk Legend Mike Francesa and CBS Brass. According to a report yesterday in Newsday (4/2), sports talk WFAN, New York afternoon star Mike Francesa says his relationship with executives at the station’s parent CBS Radio have “never been worse.” In a story written by Neil Best, the iconic media figure who will be delivering the welcoming keynote at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2015 on Friday, June 12, has described his relationship with company brass as “very poor,” “awful” and “terrible.” According to the story, speaking during a break in his show at the Hard Rock Cafe in Manhattan, Francesa said that for legal reasons he cannot go into detail about the nature of the dispute. But he acknowledged one source of tension is his ongoing frustration over his often pre-empted simulcast on Fox Sports 1 and 2, and CBS’ inability or unwillingness to find a contractual solution. The story goes on to report, Francesa did not name the executives with whom he is at odds, but he specifically excluded CBS chief executive Leslie Moonves, who was a target of harsh criticism from him after Moonves fired Don Imus in 2007. What does Moonves make of Francesa’s status with CBS in 2015? “We love Mike,” he said. “He’s done a great job . . . Let him keep doing what he’s doing and getting the ratings he’s doing and I’m very happy with him.” TALKERS magazine’s annual feature “The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America” (also known as the “Talkers Sports Talk Heavy Hundred”) lists Francesa consistently as being THE most important radio sports talk host in the business — local or national – and has been described by Michael Harrison as “one of the treasures of the talk media industry, sports talk or otherwise.” Ironically, Harrison has also described the executives that run CBS Radio, with whom Francesa is likely at odds, as “among the smartest and classiest in the business.” So it would be to the benefit of all parties concerned, including Francesa’s legion of devoted fans and detractors alike, that this dispute is soon settled. To read the entire Newsday piece, please click here.
Proffitt to Pacifica Foundation Radio as Executive Director. In just over five weeks (6/11), former KUHF, Houston chief executive officer and general manager John Proffitt will take over as executive director of Pacifica Foundation Radio. Pacifica national board chair and interim executive director Margy Wilkinson states, “We have spent much of the past year stabilizing Pacifica after a turbulent time. Bringing on permanent, experienced leadership is the next step. While Pacifica still faces significant challenges, I am confident that John can see us through them and put our network back on a path of growth.” National board vice chair Lydia Brazon remarks, “John’s significant experience in radio broadcasting speaks for itself, but it is his recognition of Pacifica’s unique place in today’s media landscape that impresses most. I fully trust John Proffitt can and will rise to the challenge.” Proffitt comments, “I deeply admire the Pacifica commitment to independent news and feature reporting that tell the stories other media outlets frequently ignore or soft-pedal. Its leadership in broadcasting and promoting local art and performance is second-to-none, as is its grassroots support from the community. I consider Pacifica to be a national treasure and feel honored to work for its success.” Recording engineer and producer Proffitt spent 25 years at KUHF; more recently, he was a volunteer fundraiser/host (“Thresholds” and “Open Journal”) at Pacifica Houston’s noncommercial KPFT. He will be based in Pacifica’s Berkeley, California headquarters. The five noncommercial stations Pacifica operates are WBAI, New York; KPFK, Los Angeles; KPFA, San Francisco; KPFT, Houston; and WPFW, Washington, DC.
WABC to Report from the Final Four. In harmony with Cumulus Media sibling Westwood One, New York City talker WABC will have a presence during this weekend’s “Final Four.” Sports reporter Mike Gunzelman will broadcast from radio row in Indianapolis with extended sports reports within “[Don] Imus in The Morning,” “The Geraldo Rivera Show,” and “Right Now with Doug McIntyre.” According to program director Craig Schwalb,”With the continuing dialogue surrounding the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and all the excitement that is college basketball, it is an important intersection; WABC will be in Indianapolis for all of it.” Reports will be featured in newscasts as well as in social media. WABC will produce two live streaming programs, which will debut tomorrow (Saturday, 4/4) and Sunday (4/5) at 12:00 Noon. Live sports streams are separate from the station’s main WABC Radio stream.
KFWB, Clippers to Host Fan Appreciation Night. Flagship outlet of the NBA‘s Los Angeles Clippers – all-sports KFWB “The Beast” – will present a fan appreciation night one week from Monday (4/13) when the Clippers play the Denver Nuggets at Los Angeles’ Staples Center. Various prizes and merchandise will be distributed throughout the game, and a halftime presentation will acknowledge “Beast” on-air personalities and station executives. Performances from the Clippers Spirit will tap things off as part of a 5:30 pm fan festival. Among the prizes is an MVP package that includes Clippers playoff tickets in the private suite of “The Beast” and a meet/greet with a Clippers’ broadcaster.
NAB Reveals Radio Board Election Results. Those voted to the National Association of Broadcasters’ radio board include: Bill Coleman, owner, Team Radio Marketing Group of Ponca City, Oklahoma. Bruce Goldsen, president and general manager, Jackson Radio Works of Jackson, Michigan. Randy Gravley, president and chief executive officer, Tri-State Communications of Jasper, Georgia. Bill Hendrich, vice president and market manager, Cox Media Group Jacksonville. Ed Henson, president, Henson Media of Louisville. Beth Neuhoff, president and chief executive officer, Neuhoff Communications of Springfield, Illinois. Bob Proffitt, president and chief executive officer, Alpha Media of Portland (Oregon). Their two-year terms will begin in two months (June).
Albuquerque Picks Up A Sports Outlet. Newcomer to the format in Albuquerque is KXKS, which transitions to sports from a religious teaching format. According to general manager Eddy Aragon, “We are excited to bring the premier Fox Sports network to the most powerful sports radio signal in the Albuquerque market. Listeners will be able to tune to the 10,000-watt signal of KXKS [at 1190 AM], plus the simulcast signal on 107.5 FM.” Rock of Talk LLC operates KXKS under an LMA with licensee Wilkins Communications. The religious format that previously aired on KXKS moves to Wilkins’ KKIM. KXKS was not among the 21 stations listed in Nielsen Audio‘s fall 2014 ratings book.
St. Louis Sports Outlet Augments On-Air Lineup. Leased by web-based programming provider TalkSTL.com, sports talk KRFT, St. Louis brings in J.C. Corcoran for 7:00 am – 9:00 am duty and Kevin Slaten for 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm chores on the AM day-timer. In just over two weeks (4/20), former East St. Louis, Illinois-licensed WQQX talents Howard Balzer and Charlie “Tuna” Edwards will begin doing a daily 11:00 am – 1:00 pm program. TalkSTL.com co-owner and operator Scott Gertken comments, “We could not be more excited about the lineup we were able to finalize. We have done a whole lot in 10 days.” According to Corcoran, his morning drive show “will be exactly the same thing I have been doing. Anybody who listens to the show is going to hear J.C. Corcoran – they know what they are going to get. It will be a general interest talk show, entertainment, and a heavy dose of my twisted mind.” Gertken says he hopes to have KRFT as a 24-hour operation by next month.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The SBG-syndicated Marilu Henner program is added to the program schedule at: KINX-FM, Great Falls, Montana; WLAD, Danbury, Connecticut; WTHU, Thurmont, Maryland; and WOMI, Owensboro, Kentucky.
Religious Freedom Act Controversy Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of March 30-April 3. The chatter about Indiana’s religious freedom legislation and Governor Mike Pence’s promise to “fix” the law – along with Arkansas’ vow to pass a similar law – was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week. Coming in at #2 was the Iran nuclear program negotiations. Following at #3 was the investigation into the downing of Germanwings Flight 9525, followed by the 2016 presidential prospects at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It’s published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Bouvard Joins Cumulus Media as CMO. Former president of sales for Arbitron – Pierre Bouvard – is named chief marketing officer of Cumulus. The New York City-based media research, sales, and marketing expert will direct Cumulus’ strategy for its local and national brands. Cumulus president and chief executive officer Lew Dickey comments, “Pierre is one of the radio industry’s most effective advocates. He understands the power of our great medium and is uniquely positioned to leverage audience insights to help advertisers take full advantage of our platform to deliver national scale with local activation. Incremental data beyond ratings is rapidly becoming the most important component in advertising decisions; we are excited to have Pierre leading our effort to help our clients achieve a superior return on investment.” Bouvard – who begins his new assignment today (Wednesday, 3/18) – states that, “Cumulus is America’s fastest growing major radio group. Over the last ten years, their national revenues have grown tenfold from $50 million to $500 million. They have transformed themselves into a major market, cross-media national platform through the merger of Westwood One and Cumulus Radio Networks; launch of the ‘Nash’ country music lifestyle brand; and the Rdio online radio partnership. Radio is the soundtrack for the American worker and ‘king of the road.’ Cumulus has impressive solutions for advertisers and agencies to reach the right audience and accomplish their brand and sales objectives.” Most recently, Bouvard was senior vice president of sales for TiVo Research & Analytics. Prior to his lengthy Arbitron tenure, Bouvard was executive vice president of Coleman Insights.
Jack Taddeo Joins NRG Media’s Waterloo/Cedar Rapids Operations. Consultant and radio management pro Jack Taddeo is the new general manager for NRG Media’s Waterloo and Cedar Rapids, Iowa stations: rock KFMW, Waterloo; classic hits KOKZ, Waterloo; sports talk KWLO, Waterloo; and news/talk KXEL, Waterloo. NRG Media chief operating officer Chuck DuCoty comments, “We couldn’t be more pleased to have Jack Taddeo on board. He is an outstanding broadcaster who demonstrates strategic vision, outstanding coaching skills and great leadership.”
Larry Gifford: Radiodays Europe 2015 – Day Three. The overriding theme of the just-concluded three-day radio conference in Milan, Italy was the future of content distribution, according to consultant and talent coach Larry Gifford, who filed a series of special reports for TALKERS magazine. “Talk of the future of radio and audio was pervasive. ‘The connected age,’ ‘second screens,’ and ‘visualizing radio’ were some of the buzz phrases heard throughout the three days. Everyone seemed to be talking about how important it is to embrace video, studio cams, and social media,” Gifford writes. Get more of Gifford’s summary of the event, including some insight into how one Australian morning show is embracing the digital platform, here. (Pictured here is Gifford delivering his “30 Ideas in 45 Minutes” session on Tuesday. Photo by James Cridland.)
Bold Gold Media Forms Foundation for Training Tomorrow’s News/Talk Broadcasters. The broadcasting company that operates nine commercial radio stations in Northeast Pennsylvania and Upstate New York is announcing a new effort “to help prepare tomorrow’s frontline communicators.” Bold Gold Media Group is establishing the Bold Gold Broadcast and Media Foundation – a non-profit organization that is an altogether separate and distinct entity from Bold Gold’s commercial broadcast operations. Bold Gold says the Foundation will focus its efforts on providing funding and resources to educational organizations that train tomorrow’s broadcast and media leaders. While the Foundation encourages young people in all areas of broadcasting, it is currently placing particular emphasis on supporting the advancement and training in the various spoken-word and informational formats such as news and talk. Bold Gold president Vince Benedetto states, “Radio broadcasting is the most powerful, informative, and persuasive medium in the world, and the news and talk formats are extremely demanding, and like all media, evolving… and we need the best and brightest communicators of tomorrow to begin preparing for these fields today. Investing in the future providers of our communication needs is imperative. The most trusted broadcasters have always been those who could provide timely, reliable and compelling information and entertainment you couldn’t find anywhere else… they were live and they were local. That’s still true and even more important than ever, but powerful broadcasting is now about being on-air, online, mobile, social, live and local! That’s what future leaders in our medium need to be preparing for, and the Foundation intends to support efforts that seek to do just that.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “This is a very exciting initiative. Vince Benedetto is a rising young star among station group owners who are passionate about radio and dedicated to having it continue to grow to the fullest extent of its potential.” The Bold Gold Broadcast and Media Foundation will be having its Inaugural Fundraising Event on Tuesday evening the 19th of May at Mohegan Sun Pocono in Wilkes-Barre, PA, and will feature citizen-journalist James O’Keefe, of Project Veritas, as the guest speaker. To support the work of the Foundation and to purchase tickets to the May 19th event, go to www.BoldGold.org, or email the Foundation at: info@BoldGold.org. Meet Vince Benedetto at Talkers New York 2015 on Friday, June 12. To register, call 413-565-5413.
Nielsen Audio Releases Second Round of February 2015 PPM Data. The second of four rounds of February 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington (D.C.), Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. The February 2015 survey period covered January 29 through February 25. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS magazine and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Newsmax Feed Network Achieves 67 Million Uniques in February. According to data from comScore, Newsmax Media’s Newsmax Feed Network posted a record 67.4 million unique visitors last month. The Newsmax Feed Network is a proprietary syndicated headline box that is carried on more than 2,000 websites, making more than 1 billion page impressions monthly. The Feed Network box carries unique Newsmax content headlines along with sponsored advertisements. Newsmax reports that it “has gained enormous traction recently, and a bevy of well-known publisher brands make up the network, including National Review Online, Boston Herald, Breitbart News Network, dozens of local ABC, NBC, and CBS News affiliates via independent television station groups Gray, Nexstar, and Schurz Communications, as well as community newspaper networks Horizon Publications and Gatehouse Media.” Newsfeed Network manager Kevin Mallon comments, “We are very excited about the latest comScore numbers. More and more publishers are choosing to implement the Newsmax Feed because of the relevant and quality content we provide, while yielding them robust revenue from our sponsors.” Company VP of business development Matt D’Lando adds, “Our Feed Network focuses on a clear demographic of 45-plus baby boomers, the largest demographic group in the nation with the highest disposable income.”
WTOP PD Alumni Club. Two former program directors of all news WTOP, Washington, DC – Laurie Cantillo and consultant Holland Cooke — pose for a selfie today at Inside Music Media publisher Jerry Del Colliano’s annual Media Solutions Conference in Philadelphia. Cantillo is a guest speaker at the full-day event discussing methods of increasing radio station website traffic, something she has proven to be able to do quite well before leaving her position at WTOP last week.
Odds & Sods. The internet-based talk show “Behind Enemy Lines Radio” – hosted by NYC Republicans, attorney Gene Berardelli and Army combat veteran Russell Gallo – is joining the AM/FM platform as it will be heard Thursdays at 1:00 pm on Forsythe Broadcasting’s WNJC, Washington Township, New Jersey (Philly market). The show joins the “Conservative Commandos Radio Network” in creating a block of conservative programming heard every day from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm on WNJC…..CBS Sports Radio programming will emanate from Indianapolis beginning April 2 for coverage of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four. Shows airing from the Indiana Convention Center will include Doug Gottlieb and Tiki & Tierney…..Joining the Yahoo Sports Radio national lineup for a daily 10:00 am program is former Carolina Panthers general manager Marty Hurney and his sports talk radio partner Lanny Ford. Together, they host “Inside the Lines,” heard on WZGV, Charlotte “ESPN 730.”…..New to SiriusXM’s Insight channel is a new show called “The Briefing Powered by Dartmouth College,” – an “all-new radio show giving listeners a lively hour that dissects the history, facts, and perspectives shaping the week’s news.” The bi-weekly show will be hosted by Michael Mastanduno, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Nelson A. Rockefeller Professor of Government at Dartmouth.
Pluggin’ Podcasts on Boomer & Carton. Former pro wrestler Taz, a.k.a. Peter Senerchia (center), enjoys a mock choke-hold from Boomer Esiason (left) as he appeared on WFAN, New York along with Craig Carton (right) to promote his new wrestling podcast titled, “The Human Podcast Machine” that is available on Play.It, CBS RADIO and CBS Local Digital’s podcast platform.
Ken Birdsong Celebrates 50 Years in Radio. WENG, Englewood, Florida morning drive host Ken Birdsong is celebrating 50 years in radio on March 27. He started his career when he was just 15 at his hometown station KWOC, Poplar Bluff, Missouri. He then went on to work for stations in the Show-Me State cities of Kennett, Jefferson City, Moberly, and Osage Beach. He also put in a stint in Mt. Airy, North Carolina (the heart of Andy Griffith country) and did afternoons in Las Vegas. In 2002, he joined WENG and served as general manager until 2012.
Iran Nukes/GOP Letter, Israeli Elections/Netanyahu’s Future, Hillary Clinton Email Probe, 2016 Presidential Prospects, OU Racist Song Case, and Dick Cheney Playboy Interview Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/17). Iran’s nuclear program and the controversy over the letter sent to the nation by GOP senators; the Israeli elections and Benjamin Netanyahu’s status on the world stage; the ongoing probe over Hillary Clinton’s use of private emails for State Department business; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the furor over an OU fraternity’s videotaped racist song and the university’s reaction; and Dick Cheney’s criticism of President Obama in his recent Playboy interview were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Joe McDonnell: LA Saddened at Giant-Size Talent’s Passing. How “big” was Joe McDonnell in Los Angeles? Consider this: Friday’s (3/13) lead item for several newscasts on the city’s only all-news station, CBS Radio‘s KNX, was that the 58-year-old McDonnell – widely-known as “Big Joe” or “The Big Nasty” – had passed away. “Big” references regarded his weight, approximately 700 pounds at one time; however, the sports talk host underwent gastric bypass surgery and lost roughly more than half of that. “Nasty” became a handle owing to his highly opinionated nature. The overwhelming majority of those familiar with McDonnell’s exemplary on-air work in Los Angeles would quickly associate him with being a “legendary” or “iconic” sports talk radio “fixture” and that would certainly be accurate. He was, however, among the rarest of on-air talents in the country’s second-largest market, in that, in addition to doing a nightly (7:00 pm – 11:00 pm) sports program (“The Joe McDonnell Experience”) on Clear Channel‘s (now iHeartMedia) KLAC, he also did a Sunday (12:00 noon – 2:00 pm) political talk program (“The Joe McDonnell Show”) on co-owned KTLK-AM (now KEIB). Most recently, McDonnell did fill-in work at KNX. Reaction to his death has continued virtually nonstop, with a who’s who in local and national media, as well as executives of major sports franchises, offering condolences. Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia knew McDonnell ever since Scioscia first came up as a catcher in the Dodgers’ organization. “He was a good friend who will be missed. It’s sad,” Scioscia states. On Twitter, Keith Olbermann writes, “Heartbroken to learn of death of LA radio legend, my friend, Joe McDonnell. He leaves us having never held a grudge.” Ken Rosenthal comments, “So sad to hear about the passing of Joe McDonnell, a one-of-a-kind sports personality in Los Angeles and a reporter at heart.” Several years ago, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian, then the special features editor for Inside Radio, did an extensive profile of McDonnell, who freely used the word “idiot” to describe someone with whom he disagreed. It was a trademark of the bombastic on-air persona of “The Big Nasty” and customarily delivered in vitriol by the dean of Los Angeles radio sports talk hosts. McDonnell garnered legions of dedicated fans. Once – to benefit charity – he accepted the challenge of co-workers and successfully completed a four-hour shift without uttering one negative. In his profile, Kinosian shattered the myth about McDonnell and let the truth be told that in real-life, McDonnell was a far cry from the manic personality listeners were accustomed to hearing. Pensive and completely conscientious McDonnell qualified as a native Angelino, having relocated from Philadelphia in 1959 at age three with his parents. “I loved radio and wouldn’t go anywhere without it,” he fondly recalled to Kinosian. “I’d go to bed listening to it and wake up with it. I went through radios [as others] went through socks. Even when doing homework, I had the radio on.” Although thoroughly enthralled by the medium, McDonnell at that time never thought about pursuing a career in it. Family members urged him to be a lawyer, but McDonnell formulated sportswriter aspirations while attending L.A. Valley College and Cal State – Northridge. His radio career was, in his words, “a total accident.” A high school buddy McDonnell hadn’t seen in a while told him he received academic credit for working at a radio station. That was all it took for McDonnell: He scored an interview for a newsroom opening at KGIL in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley and his first day was September 18, 1975 – the day they arrested Patty Hearst. “I was so excited to be there and hung around to watch what everybody did. Then the story broke and I wound up staying until 10:00 pm. I fell in love with radio my first day and knew this was for me.” Freelance sports opportunities later surfaced for him at Mutual, AP Radio, and UPI Radio and he adroitly transitioned into a daily field correspondent. Play-by-play was briefly tinkered with, but long enough for McDonnell to know it didn’t captivate him. Something else did and as he flatly asserted to Kinosian, “My interest in politics is equal to my interest in sports. They are jobs but they are [also] passions. I love being able to show another side of my life. I am very liberal but do not [rubber-stamp] everything simply because that is what [other liberals] say you should do. I take things on a position-by-position basis. It is impossible and disingenuous to be one way on every subject. No one can ever accuse me of being a phony.” The first Gulf War was underway when he hosted a general talk show on KFI, Los Angeles. America’s first casualty came as a result of friendly fire. Soon after that, the victim’s widow drove to KFI one Sunday afternoon and McDonnell did two hours with her. “It was the most gut-wrenching, yet most fulfilling, thing I’ve done on radio,” he told Kinosian. “Quite honestly, I didn’t know I was capable of pulling it off. People heard me do sports and wondered what I knew about [politics]. I had to win them over.” Multiple Golden Microphone award winner McDonnell toiled in the Southland at KMAX and KWNK between 1994 – 1997; won raves doing sports updates for (then-all news) KFWB; and was part of the original 1992 staff transitioning KMPC to all-sports – although the outbreak of the L.A. riots was the considerably more monumental story the night of the format flip. For numerous personal and professional reasons, a five-year run beginning in 2000 as KSPN “ESPN 710,” Los Angeles’ assistant program director and afternoon driver profoundly affected him. “My first three years there were great,” McDonnell declared to Kinosian. “I had a say in what went on and helped build KSPN from the ground up with [KABC & KSPN OM] Erik Braverman who was my KFI producer. Unfortunately when Erik decided he wanted to concentrate on KABC, they brought in people who didn’t share our ideas.” It was one different concept after another and became the beginning of the end for McDonnell there. “They killed morale and dissolved everything we did. I wanted to leave every day the last two years I was there but made so much money I would’ve been put in a mental institution if I quit.” From the minute McDonnell walked into the Burbank offices of KLAC to interview with KLAC general manager/program director & KTLK program director Don Martin, he sensed something different. “This might sound crazy – but I really liked that they made me earn my position. Don put me on KTLK and let me do some KLAC fill-in. It meant a lot when he said I assimilated with the audience and staff. People have this idea you expect everything be given to you.” Being a sports talk host was a 24 hour-a-day job for McDonnell because, “Information doesn’t stop.” His shows were frequently punctuated with “24” and “Da Ali G” clips and laced with abundant/energetic hip-hop tracks as bumpers. At first, longtime “McDonnell – Douglas” partner Doug Krikorian wasn’t part of the equation for the “Joe McDonnell Experience,” although the Long Beach Press-Telegram sportswriter joined the ensemble to deliver weekly “K-Files” reports. After all, it was Krikorian who hung the “Big Nasty” moniker on McDonnell when Big Joe collared/disposed of a rowdy patron one night at their favorite hangout. Naturally, the subject of McDonnell’s weight came up in the Kinosian profile of him and McDonnell said that even before the gastric bypass procedure, the heavy burden he was carrying didn’t really bother him. He did however eventually begin slowing down, getting sick, and spending more time at home. “I stopped going to games because it was uncomfortable. My doctor told me I had to do something. Any addict – and I’m definitely a food addict – thinks you can do it on your own.” That’s the fallacy and something an addict desperately wants to believe but McDonnell stressed it can not be done alone. “It got to the point where I realized I was going to die. I had the surgery and lost 300 pounds. On Christmas Day, I put slabs of turkey and prime rib on a plate [surrounded with] potatoes, stuffing and cranberry sauce. I took it to the table and had a bite of each. Hey look – I’m a food addict and always will be.” The old Joe most likely would’ve avoided on-air surgery mentions. If it did pop up, he probably would’ve been brutal in challenging the person referencing it. A much mellower McDonnell made a conscious decision when he left KSPN that the “Big Nasty” had died. “It was a great vehicle for what I needed – but – that really isn’t me,” he emphasized to Kinosian. “I’m opinionated and will raise my voice but I’m a nice guy and like to have fun. One reason I love my job is it allows me to hang with people.” Conceding it was a “shortcoming” on his part as a talk show host to refrain from mentioning much about his personal life, McDonnell declared, “You can’t be isolated and expect to reach your audience; you have to let them in on your life. For the most part, I refused to do that. Don Martin and I had a long talk about that and he said the best on-air people let you know about them.” A happy, healthy, and exuberant McDonnell chatted up his March 30, 2007 wedding to KLOS’ lovely Elizabeth Cohn (now working at cross-town Bonneville-owned KSWD “The Sound”). “I finally met someone who will put up with me and I [married] the most wonderful person in the world,” McDonnell emphasized in that profile. Joe and Elizabeth worked together for four years inside ABC Radio Los Angeles (now Cumulus Media) and basically didn’t say a word to each other. “She understands I’ll occasionally make fun of her on-air and exaggerate things but my life is now an open book.” Numerous health ailments – some nearly life-threatening – plagued McDonnell and he frequently credited Elizabeth as being the rock who held him together. An avowed movie junkie, McDonnell would go to as many as three or four in one day. It was his way to relax and escape. “One of the biggest benefits of losing weight is I can fit into theater seats. That was honestly a problem before.” Such McDonnell segments as “Who Do You Want To Kick Out Of LA?” gave him a Northeast-sounding vibe, but his entire nearly 40-year career was spent in Los Angeles. The ardent WWE fan told Kinosian, “It would take a million dollar offer for me to leave Los Angeles. In the early-1990s, I had a chance to work for a friend in Nashville and had a big offer to go to Seattle in 1994 but my mother had cancer so I wasn’t about to leave town. There was a preliminary discussion years ago with WFAN, New York about being a reporter/weekend host but Los Angeles is my home. I’m part of the radio landscape.” Eerie now, but McDonnell confided to Kinosian in that lengthy printed conversation, “All the stuff I’ve done is leading up to something. I’ve always felt there was a bigger plan for me and a different path. God has kept me around for a reason – but I don’t know what it is. With what I’ve put myself through, any other person would have been dead by now.” Even at his heaviest, the voracious reader managed to stay in “fairly good shape.” The only weakness until recently was with his knees. According to McDonnell, “The ultimate moment for me would be to somehow find out who really killed John F. Kennedy.” As for the once “Big Nasty,” no cause of death was reported; several reports – including the one on KNX – said he died at Los Angeles’ Good Samaritan Hospital after a “brief illness.” A two-hour Friday night (3/13) Jeff Biggs-hosted show on KSPN paid tribute to McDonnell, who typically aired his “Kick Out” segment Fridays. Poignant, touching, and chillingly appropriate, the final word was given to Elizabeth McDonnell who somehow managed to summon up the strength in her voice to utter she wanted to kick Joe out of LA. Dramatic, goose-bump radio. “When I die,” McDonnell once told Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News, “I want to be cremated and then have a plane spread half of my ashes over Dodger Stadium and the other half over the [ex-home of the Lakers] Forum.”
WTOP PD Cantillo Departs. Late Friday afternoon (3/13), WTOP, Washington, DC program director (and co-author of “Right Brained Children in a Left Brained World,” 1998) Laurie Cantillo teased her social media followers with this post: “Spring is a time of new beginnings … excited for the future.” That message is actually a follow-up to what was shared earlier in the day with the staff at the Hubbard all-news operation. “The decision has been made to not renew Laurie Cantillo’s contract,” general manager Joel Oxley writes. “The decision was reached mutually by Laurie and me.” In another internal memo, Cantillo states, “Our anchors and reporters have never sounded better and page views for WTOP.com are off the charts. Morale is as high as the International Space Station, where we conducted a historic live interview this morning. We are on ‘TOP’ in every respect, which makes this the right time for me to pursue my next adventure. There is no finer multimedia newsroom in America and I will miss seeing you every day. My immediate plan is to co-create a screenplay and finally get around to writing my next best seller.” Although she notes, “Radio and digital media innovation will continue to be a big part of my life,” she did not indicate if there is a particular station in her future. WTOP news director Mitchell Miller, senior news and sports director Mike McMearty, and managing editor Darci Marchese will share in assuming Cantillo’s duties. WTOP chalked up a mammoth +3.1 to 9.2 (Nielsen Audio PPM, January 2015, 6+) as it progresses from third to first. It is the station’s best mark in exactly one year, equaling the 9.2 it logged in January 2014. WTOP was #1 (6+) for 11 straight monthlies before iHeartMedia adult contemporary WASH took the top spot in December and “Holiday” 2014. Simultaneous with graduating from the University of Colorado, Cantillo landed a full-time reporting job in Boulder and she had a 13-year tenure at Denver’s KOA. She was selected to program KTAR, Phoenix in 1997 and was later recruited by cross-town KFYI in a similar capacity. The former WABC, New York programmer joined WTOP in 2011 and officially became program director there upon the retirement of vice president of news and programming Jim Farley.
Positive 2014 Q4 for Journal Broadcast Group’s Radio Sector. With the merger with E.W. Scripps expected to close in the second quarter of 2015, Journal Communications reports a positive fourth quarter of 2014 – up 13.6% on revenue of $122 million. For the radio sector, the fourth quarter saw revenue rise to $22.1 million – an increase of 7.7% (excluding the change in the fiscal year, revenue increased 5.5%). The company reports that radio political and issue revenue was $0.7 million compared to $0.1 million. Excluding political and issue, total revenue increased 4.9%, local revenue increased 6.5%, though national revenue decreased 0.9%. Automotive revenue, up 13%, was a driver of local growth. For the full year, radio revenue increased 3.0% to $79.1 million. Excluding the change in the fiscal year, revenue increased 2.4%. Radio political and issue revenue was $1.3 million compared to $0.4 million. Excluding political and issue revenue, total revenue increased 1.8%, local revenue increased 2.6%, though national revenue, a small component of our revenue, decreased 6.6%. When the merger deal closes next quarter, Journal and E.W. Scripps will merge their broadcast and digital media assets under a company retaining the E.W. Scripps name and be based in Cincinnati. Their newspapers and community publications and related digital products will comprise a firm to be called Journal Media Group, based in Milwaukee.
KJR, Seattle Re-Ups Levy; Adds Powell for Middays. Morning drive personality Mitch Levy — with iHeartMedia’s sports talker KJR-AM, Seattle for the past 20 years – will continue in his morning drive role after inking a new contract. At the same time, the station announces the arrival of Chuck Powell to host the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show. He most recently was with Bonneville in Phoenix at both sports talk KTAR-AM and the former adult hits KPKX. Former Seattle Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren is also returning to the station this NFL season to serve as NFL expert and contributor.
NSPCA Honors KDWN’s Alan Stock. For the past 10 years, Las Vegas talk show host Alan Stock has been featuring the Pet Pick of the Week in an effort to get local pets adopted. Earlier this week, the Nevada SPCA surprised Stock with special recognition for his work. Pictured here (from l-r) are: Master Magician Lance Burton (former headliner at the Monte Carlo), Stock, and NSPCA president Kathy Jung. She’s holding Keno, who was in this year’s Puppy Bowl before the Big Game.
Kevin McCullough’s XtreMEDIA to Present Holy Week-Themed Radio Drama Across U.S. and International Radio Networks. The audio drama is based on the one-man play being performed in Chicago by actor and radio personality Stephen Baldwin titled, “Heaven, How I Got Here: A Night with the Thief on the Cross.” McCullough says, “Easter weekend on five American radio networks and the biggest networks in the United Kingdom (our first jaunt into international broadcasting) a compelling ‘audio drama’ of the same role Stephen is portraying on stage, will be aired on both religious and mainstream spoken word stations across Europe and America. Thus far 1500-plus stations have signed on and in some clusters/markets like Salem NYC the drama will air nine times from Good Friday evening through end of Easter Sunday. There is no cost to take the broadcast. We commissioned the Grammy and Dove award winning composer Dick Tunney for an original soundtrack, we created a completely digital sound design, and Stephen re-created the character he will portray on stage to give voice to the ‘thief’ to whom Jesus historically said, ‘This day you will be with me in paradise.'” McCullough says stations wishing to take the radio special can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and he’ll be glad to add them to the growing surge of stations gobbling it up.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is now heard on Iredell Broadcasting’s WSIC-AM/FM/TV, Statesville, North Carolina, which includes transmission on over-the-air digital TV channel 21.2…..The GCN-syndicated “America Tonight” with Kate Delaney adds affiliate stations in: WSMN, Nashua; WPBQ, Jackson, Mississippi; KIXW, Victorville, California; KTFL, Higley, Arizona and KLOE, Goodland, Kansas…..Syndication Networks-syndicated “Those Weekend Golf Guys” joins the weekend lineup at KQV, Pittsburgh…..“Business Rockstars” is added to the program schedule at KTMS, Santa Barbara and KTVA, Oxnard/Ventura.
Iran Nuclear Controversy Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of March 9-13. The controversy over President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran and the group of GOP senators who sent a letter to Iran contesting the president’s right to unilaterally make such deals was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week. Coming in at #2 was the probe of Hillary Clinton’s use of personal email for State Department business. At #3 was the 2016 presidential prospects followed by the amnesty/immigration issue at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
TALKERS ‘Heavy Hundred’ for 2015 Coming Tuesday, March 24. The editorial board of TALKERS magazine has set the date for the posting of the 2015 installment of the publication’s annual feature, “The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America.” This will mark the 20th consecutive year that the talk media trade journal (that is about to mark its 25th anniversary) has been compiling and publishing the list – also known as “The Heavy Hundred.” According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “This year’s list will include a number of familiar faces (and voices) as well as new up-and-comers and several veterans who have unfortunately been overlooked in recent years.” Casey continues, “Needless to say, compiling this list is extremely challenging – especially since it draws upon both objective and subjective factors – and is the source of heated debate every year among our editors for months leading up to its release.”
Dave Ramsey’s Smart Money Event Takes Houston. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey was in Houston on March 11 presenting his Smart Money event at Woodlands Church. Ramsey discussed how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence. Financial expert and speaker Chris Hogan joined Ramsey on stage. Ramsey combined forces with local affiliate KSEV to promote this event. In addition to the Smart Money presentation, he also hosted his EntreLeadership 1 Day Event in Houston on Tuesday, March 10. Ramsey, along with Hogan, spoke about how to run a business using the same common sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 400 employees. KSEV general manager Bonny English says, “KSEV loves having Dave to town!” These events are a great opportunity to re-connect in person with our KSEV audience. And the event sponsors are always excited to be part of the Ramsey/KSEV family!”
PodcastOne Earns 19 Nominations for People’s Choice Podcast Awards. When the 10th annual People’s Choice Podcast Awards take place at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino on Tuesday, April 14, PodcastOne will have 19 podcasts vying for honors. The 10th Annual People’s Choice Podcast Awards will take place during NMX 2015 Las Vegas in conjunction with NAB Show. The nominees are selected based on podcast-listener submissions directly to the Podcast Awards. PodcastOne nominees include: The Adam Carolla Show, The Steve Austin Show – Unleashed!, The Dan Patrick Show, Talk is Jericho, The Dr. Drew Podcast, Sex with Emily, Brandi Glanville Unfiltered, Barstool Sports Mailtime, Loveline, Rob Has a Podcast, Eddie Trunk Podcast, Straight Talk with Ross Matthews, Schmoes Knows, Paula White’s Hope for Today, and The Skeptics Guide to the Universe. Voting takes place at podcastawards.com through March 24. The Podcast Awards will be hosted by PodcastOne personalities Dennis Miller and Emily Morse.
Odds & Sods. WABC, New York midday team Curtis Sliwa and Ron Kuby spent a good portion of their Wednesday (3/11) program in the studio with just newsman Ken Duffy after a bomb scare forced all other staffers – including their board op and producer Flirty Flipper – to exit the 17th floor of Madison Square Garden. Sliwa and Kuby refused to leave and did much of the show without callers or commercials in the absence of a board operator…..Westwood One is presenting exclusive coverage of the 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship beginning on Tuesday, March 17. Full play-by-play action from all 67 men’s basketball games includes the First Four, games from all eight second-round and third-round sites, plus the regional semifinals and finals. In addition, Westwood One will broadcast the NCAA Men’s Final Four on Saturday, April 4, and the National Championship Game on Monday, April 6, live from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
WKZO, Kalamazoo Grabs Michigan Station of the Year Title. Pictured here with the Station of the Year Award for WKZO, Kalamazoo is station brand manager Jeremy Lawrence. The Midwest Communications news/talk station received the honor from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters during the annual Broadcast Excellence Awards that took place on Wednesday, March 11 in Lansing. This marks the fifth time that the station has received this award since 2008. The station also picked up six awards for broadcast excellence in the areas of news and agriculture coverage, promotional materials, commercial production and special programming. Lawrence comments, “It is a great privilege to lead this team of talented broadcasters. The Michigan Association of Broadcasters are only making official what we’ve known every single day here at the station, that this is a fantastic group that pour themselves into producing great content every time they come to work. I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of it.”
Iran Letter/Kerry Response, Hillary Clinton Email Probe, OU Racist Song Case, Latest ISIS Violence, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Immigration/Amnesty Issues, and ‘Blurred Lines’ Ruling Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/11). The controversy over the Republican-authored letter to Iran over the proposed nuclear deal and Secretary of State John Kerry’s response to Congress; the continuing probe of Hillary Clinton’s use of personal email for State Department business; the case of University of Oklahoma fraternity brothers’ racist song and the school’s response; the reported execution of a captured Mossad agent by a teenage ISIS member; the potential candidates for president in 2016; President Obama’s amnesty order and its effect on immigration; and the legal case of the “Blurred Lines” song were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Salem Media Group Reports Broadcast Sector Flat in Q4 2014; Net Revenue Up 2.3% for All of 2014. The company’s net broadcast revenue was up 2.3% on revenue of $192.9 million for the entire year of 2014. The fourth quarter of 2014, however, was flat on revenue of $48.8 million. However, the company’s digital and publishing arms performed much better with the digital media sector’s revenue increasing 14.7% to $11.7 million from $10.2 million (compared to the same quarter a year ago). Publishing revenue rose 47% to $5.4 million from $3.7 million (compared to Q4 of 2013).
Rob Ellis Exits WIP-FM, Philadelphia. Telling listeners of his final evening show on CBS RADIO’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia that he’s leaving the station, Rob Ellis lets on that he was not happy being moved from middays – where he was partnered with Anthony Gargano prior to Gargano’s exit from the station last December – to evenings as Josh Innes was moved up from nights to work with Tony Bruno on the new midday show. He teases that he’ll be seen and heard in the market but was not specific.
TALKERS/RadioInfo Publisher Michael Harrison Joins Podcast One to Host Weekly Podcast. TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison and Norm Pattiz have announced entering into an agreement in which Harrison will host a weekly podcast on Pattiz’ PodcastOne, the leader in advertiser-supported, on-demand digital audio with more than 200 programs downloaded over 120 million times every month. Titled, Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison, the podcast, which officially debuted yesterday (3/10), delivers provocative insights into the digital era’s rapidly evolving technology and the effects of these changes on the human condition. In addition to conducting candid, probing conversations with top contemporary thinkers from the arts, science, business and pop culture worlds, Harrison will share personal experiences and perspectives culled from his long-standing career as one of the most influential media observers and analysts in the broadcasting realm for more than four-and-a-half decades. “Up Close and Far Out has found the perfect platform for distribution and promotion with the leading podcaster, PodcastOne, to deliver illuminating insights and stimulating information to the rapidly growing podcast audience in the most modern and timely way possible,” says Michael Harrison. “It will be a pleasure and valuable opportunity to once again be associated with this innovative company’s extraordinary founder, Norm Pattiz.” This marks the first time that Michael Harrison has agreed to take on a regularly scheduled performance role on a platform outside those under the TALKERS magazine umbrella in more than 20 years and he credits that largely to his confidence in Pattiz. Harrison and Pattiz worked together in the mid-1970s when Pattiz was launching Westwood One and Harrison hosted, wrote and produced one of that company’s earliest groundbreaking offerings, The Great American Radio Show with Michael Harrison. “Michael Harrison’s track record of success in predicting, defining and participating in media trends spans the digital divide and is nothing short of extraordinary — and we are excited to expand that from the newspaper, magazine, radio and television commentaries in which he has become a universally recognized resource to the intimate and unfiltered realm of his own regularly scheduled podcast,” says Norm Pattiz, chairman and CEO of PodcastOne. “Bringing his unique brand of articulate analysis and intelligent conversational skills to the table, Michael Harrison knows how to connect with both the professional media practitioner and educated pop culture consumer on a remarkably high and consistent level.” Harrison adds, “Whereas my work in the industry trades focuses primarily on information directly applicable to professionals in the radio, TV and digital realm, this project will be more aggressively speculative and theoretical — targeted to the hardcore ‘media freaks’ in and beyond the industry.” This unique podcast, Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison, will be available on www.PodcastOne.com, the PodcastOne app, www.talkers.com, www.RadioInfo.com, and iTunes. The podcast can be directly accessed at www.podcastone.com/up-close-and-far-out
Odds & Sods. Another podcaster is added to the program lineup at Dupage Radio’s WCKG, Elmhurst, Illinois (suburban Chicago) as “The Dolly McCarthy Show” joins for weekends. WCKG general manager Matt Dubiel says, “We’re always working on new ways to live up to our mission to be the WGN of the suburbs. Adding Dolly – a suburban mother who is involved in suburban organizations and hosts a show about suburban affairs – makes her show a win-win for everyone…and sure beats crazy, political shout-fests!”…..Mahindra USA and Yahoo Sports Radio are hitting the air with a comprehensive, nationwide marketing partnership to support the continued robust growth of the Mahindra brand and the company’s extensive dealer network. As part of the Yahoo Sports Radio campaign and in appreciation of their service, Mahindra is offering First Responders across America an opportunity to win a Mahindra eMax 22 HST tractor with front-end loader. Any active or retired law enforcement, firefighter or EMT is eligible to enter through Yahoo Sports Radio’s website or www.tributetothebrave.com between March 6 – April 4, 2015.
Cumulus New York Talent to Be Honored with Gracie Awards. Broadcasters from Cumulus Media’s New York stations will be honored with three Gracie Awards from the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation during the awards presentation on June 22 at the New York Hilton Hotel. The awards are about recognizing excellence in programming by, for or about women. Capturing Gracie Awards at Cumulus New York are: Rita Cosby, WABC for Outstanding Host-News/Non-Fiction, Local Market Radio; “The Ride Home with Pat Kiernan & Rita Cosby,” WABC New York, for Outstanding Talk Show-News, Local Market Radio; and “NASH Matters with Kelly Ford” featuring the Grace Institute, WNSH “NASH-FM 94.7” for Outstanding Interview Program or Feature, Local Market Radio.
‘The Bigger Picture’ Celebrates Two Years on Los Angeles Airwaves This Month. The idea for the radio program that would become “The Bigger Picture with Timothy Spangler” began when the host returned to the United States in 2012 after spending 10 years in London. Spangler says that the experience gave him “a platform to learn the ways of the world outside the sterile partisan political debates so common in American media.” He says the concept was simple: a live weekly radio show that would focus on international affairs and global events that would approach the stories and guests with ample amounts of humor, familiar to listeners who had grown up on “The Daily Show” and “Colbert Report.” By avoiding domestic political issues – too often talked to death during the week on traditional AM stations – he hoped to give listeners a refreshingly different radio experience. “The world is a funny place,” according to Spangler, “and we just want to share that with as many people as we can.” Joined by college buddies actor David C Fisher and musician Phillip Sparks, the three UCLA alumni decided to launch the show on Salem Media Group’s news/talk KRLA “AM870 The Answer.” “We were drawn to the heritage of KRLA, which is a station anyone who grew up in LA is familiar with.” Spangler says they kick off the Sunday 10:00 pm show with a news round-up featuring the strangest and most puzzling news stories from around the globe – German grandmothers thwarting bank robberies, Venezuelan grocery stores running out of toilet paper – all are fair game. On a more serious note, each week the BIG story goes in depth on a topic or development that has not yet received the attention it deserves – important stories that mainstream media are unwilling to make time for, says Spangler. He also books top-notch guests to talk about the world’s issues. Some recent guests include: Edward Norton, Stevie Wonder, Jim Kerr from the rock band Simple Minds, Lesley Nicol, who plays “Mrs. Patmore” on PBS‘ “Downton Abbey,” Mathew Rhys, star of FX‘s hit drama, “The Americans,” and Jeff Perry, star of the ABC hit television series, “Scandal,” to name just a few. As for the future of the program, Spangler observes that the content is not local market-specific and clearly lends itself to a national audience. Conversations with syndicators and affiliates are ongoing, and the team hopes to bring “The Bigger Picture” to more and more listeners in the months ahead.
Longtime Albany Talk Personality Don Weeks Dies at 76. Four years after retiring from a 30-year stint as morning drive host at WGY, Albany in 2010, Don Weeks passed away at age 76. The Daily Report of Schenectady wrote that Weeks had been in failing health. He lost his wife Suzanne in December of 2014. “Uncle Don” began hosting the morning show in December of 1980 and earned a Marconi Award in 2005. He started in radio in the Capital Region in 1956.
Hillary Clinton Email Probe, Iran Nukes Deal Controversy, OU Sigma Alpha Epsilon Racism Case, Amnesty Issue, 2016 Presidential Prospects, ‘Blurred Lines’ Ruling, and Apple Unveils Watch Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/10). The ongoing investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of private email for State Department business; the battle between Congress and President Obama over the proposed Iran nukes deal; the racial tensions ignited at University of Oklahoma after a fraternity is recorded singing a song with racist lyrics; the GOP’s fight against President Obama’s amnesty orders; the potential candidates for president in 2016; a jury sides with the estate of Marvin Gaye in the “Blurred Lines” case; and Apple unveils its soon to be marketed Watch product were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian presents a report on the performances of sports talk-formatted stations based on data from the January 2015 PPM survey from Nielsen Audio. In this analysis is a chart of the performances of subscribing stations in shares over the past six surveys; fluctuations from the previous Holiday 2014 survey; comparisons from January 2014; market rank over the past three surveys; plus a comparison including the all-news format. View this entire report here.
Lopez Relocates to Cumulus New York as Market Manager. Fourteen-year general sales manager of CBS Radio New York all-news siblings WCBS-AM and WINS Chad Lopez is appointed vice president and market manager of the cross-town cluster owned by Cumulus Media. “Chad is a highly talented and experienced sales leader behind several legendary brands in New York City radio,” comments Cumulus senior vice president Gary Pizzati. “Relationships he has built and the respect he has developed with the ad community over the last 15 years are unprecedented. This was clearly the next and natural step in his career. We are extremely excited to have Chad on our team and as a member of the Cumulus family.” According to Lopez, “Cumulus presented me with a tremendous opportunity to further my career and run an iconic group of stations in my hometown. I couldn’t be more excited and ready to take on this challenge.” A former U.S. Navy officer, Lopez previously was director of sales for CBS Radio New York, and for five years was Dom Camera and Associates’ senior media buyer. Among the stations comprising Cumulus Media New York are hot AC WPLJ (1.9, #18, 6+, January 2015 Nielsen Audio PPM), talk WABC (1.6, #19), and country WNSH (1.5, #20).
Cumulus Q4 Revenue Flat; Up 1.4% for Whole of 2014. The release of fourth quarter and 2014 financial numbers and president and CEO Lew Dickey’s investor’s conference call took place yesterday. While the fourth quarter started out pretty good for Cumulus Media, Dickey notes that – much like the rest of the industry – revenue began to tail off leading up to Thanksgiving and stayed that way through December. Net revenue (pro forma) for the fourth quarter was up 0.3% and up 1.4% for the entire year of 2014. Dickey also said during the call that the company has ceased its search for an EVP of radio after determining that it does not need to fill that position. Jon Pinch held the title until he left to run the company’s Atlanta station group.
Ninth Annual ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ Event Scheduled for April 15 and 16 – Broadcast Spaces Filling Up Fast. The annual Washington, DC radio row produced by the Federation for American Immigration Reform will take place on Wednesday and Thursday, April 15 and 16 at the Phoenix Park Hotel on Capitol Hill. As in the eight years prior, the event will consist of talk hosts from across the country broadcasting live, debating immigration policy while interviewing members of Congress, law enforcement officials, experts, activists and citizens who live along the border. FAIR says that “this year’s event will focus on the aftermath of President Obama’s amnesty and his continued abuse of executive power, the GOP’s internal battle over how to tackle immigration and the ongoing border crisis with its implications for national security risks.” Event general manager and FAIR spokesman Bob Dane comments, “Politicians fear and respect the amplitude of talk radio. Hold Their Feet to the Fire speaks for millions of radio listeners and, this year, will prove that the mic is mightier than Obama’s pen.” For talk show hosts wishing to take part in this year’s radio row, reservations are required and hosts/producers should call now. There are only a handful of spaces left and they will go quickly. There is no cost to attend and all technical engineering and ISDN lines are provided by Silver Lake Audio of New York, the official engineering firm for Hold Their Feet to the Fire. Congressional guests, activists, high-profile media personalities, and immigration experts will be in attendance and available throughout the event for wall-to-wall interviews. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will also be on hand presenting a non-partisan perspective on the First Amendment. Contact Bob Dane or Anna Giaritelli for more information at 202-328-7004 or email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
KIRO-AM, Seattle Announces Lineup Changes. At Bonneville’s Seattle sports talker KIRO-AM “710 ESPN Seattle,” the weekday lineup is being tweaked to add new talent to the daytime programming. The station announces a new late morning program called Justin & Gee Show with co-hosts Justin Myers and Gee Scott. Myers has co-hosted “The Nightwatch” since July 2014 and Gee is best known for his tenure as co-host of “The Barbershop.” At the same time, Tom Wassell makes the transition from nights as he teams up with Bob Stelton and Dave “The Groz” Grosby on the newly re-titled “Bob, Groz & Tom Show.” Wassell has been serving with the station as producer of several KIRO-AM shows over the past three years. Program director Mike Salk adds that Scott will continue to host “The Barbershop” with former Seahawks cornerback Marcus Trufant and ex-Husky running back Terry Hollimon in its new timeslot at 7:00 pm. The station’s programming, dubbed Seattle Sports Radio Network, is also heard on stations in Eastern Washington including KGA, Spokane; KJOX, Kennewick (Tri-Cities market); and KBBO, Yakima.
Pot Is Hot. From a radio listener’s standpoint, the angles that can be addressed with regard to the changing attitudes about marijuana in the U.S. include the medical, business/industrial, recreational, and legal, to name a few. One such radio show – “The National Marijuana News” – has been doing that since June of last year and is gaining traction in the audio media realm. The producers of TNMNews call it “an unbiased and balanced one-hour, weekend show that delivers information that is of interest to the U.S. public…TNMNews helps audiences discern fact from fiction to help listeners unscramble the often perplexing details.” The program was developed by seasoned news producers and media industry professionals and “takes a deep dive beyond the headlines to explore breaking cannabis news, including field segments, interviews, and roundtable discussions. Guests who are experts in alternative health, yoga, the law, and more generate compelling discussions that not only clarify misconceptions but also present an opportunity for listeners to become more knowledgeable.” The producers of the show have teamed with AdLarge Media to market the radio show. AdLarge’s Jessica Sherman, senior director, affiliate marketing, says, “In addition to the many legal marijuana-related products and retailers, there are a plethora of ancillary advertising categories, such as holistic practitioners, yoga instruction classes, green grocers, green products, fast food restaurants, and more. TNMNews is like aficionado or hobby programs that focus on cigars, cars, travel, etc.” For broadcasters confused about how to present unbiased news about marijuana to radio audiences and how to maximize revenue opportunities from this fastest growing industry in America, TNMNews executive producer Martin Wagmaister says, “It’s no longer a debate ‘for or against.’ Americans are looking for answers that will help them with their personal decisions. Our goal at TNMNews is to present all the accurate information available, and to explore every viewpoint out there.” For broadcasters who may be a bit skittish about the topic in general, the show producers say TNMNews and its topic are fully acceptable under the laws that govern radio through the FCC. TNMNews producers conducted extensive research and as long as the show does not promote the selling or buying of marijuana and is focused on disseminating news and information around the topic, TNMNews has the legal right, and the freedom, to talk about marijuana. Recent affiliates of the show include KBYR-AM, Anchorage and KFAR-AM, Fairbanks. Check out show demos here.
Mark Wainwright Subbing for WSYR’s Joe Galuski During Latter’s Recuperation. WSYR, Syracuse morning personality Joe Galuski is still on the mend battling Non-Hodgkins Lyphoma and talk pro Mark Wainwright is scheduled to continue subbing for him through April 17. Also filling in for Galuski when Wainwright is now available is George Kilpatrick. Wainwright says Galuski is “in good spirits and thoroughly expects to be back on the air in the coming months.” Wainwright can be reached at email@example.com.
Odds & Sods. Multi-media star Lionel takes the stage this Saturday, March 7, at 7:30 pm for his show at The Cutting Room in New York City. It’s an evening of Lionel’s patented (out)spoken word and “the immaculate twang of bluegrass” with his trio Lock ’n Load. For tickets and more information click here…..Nationally syndicated morning show Mike & Mike – ESPN Radio’s Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg – will celebrate their 15th anniversary from the Downtown Disney stage at Walt Disney World in Orlando on Friday, March 6. The live show will be open to the public and doors will open at 5:00 am…..KFWB, Los Angeles “The Beast 980” reaches an agreement to carry the MLS’ LA Galaxy games. In addition to streaming every game on “The Beast 980” mobile app, a minimum of 20 games will be broadcast on the station beginning this Friday, March 6, the Galaxy opens the season at the StubHub Center against the Chicago Fire…..Genesis Communications-owned Sports Talk Florida enters into an agreement with the NASL Jacksonville Armada FC to share content and live play-by-play audio streaming.
Talking to Texas’ Top Elected Officials. Texas talk show host Matt Patrick – heard on iHeartMedia’s KTRH and KPRC, Houston and KFXR, Dallas – is pictured here having lunch with Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick (who is a talk radio pro himself and owner of KSEV, Houston). During his two-day visit to Austin, Matt Patrick also interviewed Texas Governor Gregg Abbott and other Texas lawmakers.
Netanyahu to Address Congress, Iran Nuclear Program, Net Neutrality Issue, Homeland Security Department Funding, President Obama’s Amnesty Order, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Hillary Clinton Email Probe, LAPD Skid Row Killing, and Leonard Nimoy Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/2). The controversy over Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress; the growing threat of Iran’s nuclear program; ongoing debate over the potential effects of the FCC’s net neutrality policy; the issue of funding the Department of Homeland Security beyond this week; the political battle over President Obama’s amnesty order; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of personal email for State Department business; the shooting death of a man by LAPD in the city’s Skid Row district; and the death of actor Leonard Nimoy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cool Job Opportunity. We are looking for a quick-witted, comedic-minded entertainer who has natural observational skills and a background in stand-up comedy, comedic acting, improv and natural timing. If your friends think you’re hysterical, you’re the funniest person at any event, or you have a twisted view of life, this job’s for you. Send video links of your work and resume to: firstname.lastname@example.org. An Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO).
Doug McIntyre Returns to WABC, New York. A change to the afternoon drive programming is made at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York as KABC, Los Angeles morning drive personality Doug McIntyre begins hosting “Right Now with Doug McIntyre” on the station Wednesday, March 4. Cumulus says the new, hour-long talk show will be “focused on the most important stories and personalities in New York. As a native New Yorker, McIntyre brings with him a deep understanding of the Tri-State area’s most pressing issues and how they relate to the national headlines of the day.” McIntyre has appeared on WABC in the past. He created the “Red Eye Radio” show in 2000, first as a one-time post-election recap and then as a local overnight show in Los Angeles, expanding to become a nationally syndicated program in early 2010 with WABC as one of its flagship stations. McIntyre also previously hosted “Talking the News” on WABC in 2009, a weekday morning show that aired before “Imus in the Morning.” McIntyre will continue as host of “McIntyre in the Morning” on KABC “TalkRadio 790.” McIntyre says, “This is a real homecoming for me and I am genuinely thrilled to be returning to 77 WABC. There is no more dynamic and insane city on the planet than New York. The Tri-State area is like a nation unto itself, with its own politics, its own culture and its own sense of humor and I look forward to highlighting the city’s unique stories again.” Prompting this programming change at WABC is Rita Cosby’s decision to end her work hosting “The Ride Home with Rita Cosby.” Citing her “various TV commitments and international speaking engagements” that require her to spend more time away from her daily show, Cosby is stepping down from the daily show but will continue to be heard on WABC hosting her new weekend talk show that will debut on March 8. WABC program director Craig Schwalb says she will “continue to secure exclusive interviews with some of the biggest names making headlines in current events, politics and entertainment.”
PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents an analysis of the performances of all-news-formatted radio stations based on data from the January 2015 Nielsen Audio PPM survey. Kinosian writes, “Historically horrible winter weather conditions and the cessation of all-Christmas music are most likely contributing factors to the truly stunning January 2015 performance of all-news outlets…Although not coming anywhere close to possessing the massive volume of talk outlets, the feat all-news stations accomplished in the most recent sweep is nonetheless exceptionally impressive: Not one news station on the panel of properties we tracked regressed (6+) from Holiday 2014 to January 2015. Read the entire report here.
Marathon-Man Madison. While understandably “exhausted,” SiriusXM‘s Joe Madison achieved his goal of a 52-hour broadcast during which he raised more than $150,000 for the construction of the Smithsonian‘s National Museum of African-American History and Culture. “When you do something for the right reasons – and you have the support of others – you really can do anything,” Madison states. “I hope our SiriusXM broadcast helps cast a spotlight on the need to raise funds for the much needed [museum to be built on the National Mall in Washington, DC].” The Guinness World Record Organization is reviewing the broadcast as a new record. Madison began the marathon this past Wednesday (2/25) at 6:00 am (ET) and continued un-interrupted until Friday (2/27) at 10:00 am (ET).
KSPN, Los Angeles Debuts Live and Local Show with Kelvin Washington and Travis Rodgers. The new program featuring radio and TV pro Kelvin Washington and sports talk radio’s Travis Rodgers will air live on ESPN O&O KSPN, Los Angeles “ESPNLA 710” from 5:00 am to 7:00 am. The show will continue until 9:00 am via ESPNLA.com and the ESPN Radio app. KSPN begins airing ESPN Radio’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd at 7:00 am. Rodgers also hosts “Travis Rodgers Now” on Yahoo! Sports Radio and will continue in that role.
iHeartMedia: Study Shows Consumers Want AM/FM Radio in Cars in Traditional Format. From a press release by iHeartMedia comes news that, according to a research study conducted by Ipsos (a leading global independent market research company) AM/FM radio remains the overwhelmingly preferred audio entertainment option in the car. Further, “while consumers use new streaming services, virtually all consumers – 99% — are comfortable with the current AM/FM in-car radio operation. And 91% of consumers say they prefer physical AM/FM radio buttons and controls built into the car dashboard, rather than AM/FM being an app that appears in the car’s electronic interface (with only 9% saying they would want it changed into a dashboard app).” Other news from the study includes the finding that “while AM/FM radio remains paramount in the car, consumers use their in-car CD player three-and-a-half times as much as they use any digital music service.” Additionally, the report indicates that “AM/FM radio still dominates in-car listening as the top platform used, with 84% of consumers using it in the car, followed by CD players at 64% — but radio still maintains a huge leadership position over the next closest service choice, SiriusXM – which had 22%. Pandora was 18%; iHeartRadio was 8%; HD radio 7%; and Spotify was 7%.” The study, conducted by Ipsos for iHeartMedia in January 2015, surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1036 adults 18-plus.
KGMZ, Oakland A’s Extend Partnership. The deal between KGMZ “The Game” and MLB‘s Oakland Athletics keeps the AL West team’s broadcasts on the Entercom-owned flagship at least through the 2018 season. Market manager Steve DiNardo comments that “The Game” has, “grown as a brand – experiencing consistent ratings and revenue growth during our partnership with the A’s. We are delighted to continue serving as the destination for Oakland A’s radio broadcasts for the next four seasons.” Oakland A’s vice president of broadcasting & communications Ken Pries remarks, “It has been an amazing partnership so far. We look forward to many more seasons of A’s baseball on 95.7 FM and all of the affiliates across the A’s Radio Network.” The A’s primary broadcast team will again consist of Ken Korach and Vince Cotroneo, who are in their 20th year and 10th year, respectively, calling the team’s games. Joining them occasionally will be former MLB catcher Ray Fosse, entering his 30th consecutive season on A’s radio. KGMZ will broadcast all 162 regular-season A’s games and some spring training contests. The A’s and “The Game” first partnered in 2011.
Cumulus Sends The Vibe to Memphis. Score yet another transition to classic hip-hop as Cumulus Media Memphis jettisons talk on WKIM in favor of “98.9 – The Vibe.” Cumulus senior vice president of programming Mike McVay comments “The Vibe” is “designed to capture the spirit and complexity of Memphis. This city has birthed many music types of which this format is one more. ‘The Vibe’ is classic hip hop.” In addition to hosting mid-days on co-owned rocker WXMX “The Max,” Danni Bruns is programming “The Vibe” and she remarks, “Memphis has always been at the forefront of music. Now we have a new ‘Vibe’ – this is our party station.” Late last year, Flinn Broadcasting flipped Memphis alternative outlet WIVG to “throwback hip-hop” as “Bumpin’ 96.” The logo for Memphis’ “Vibe” mirrors that of Indianapolis sibling WRWM, although the latter is using “The Beat” rather than “The Vibe” as its handle. Naughty By Nature‘s “Hip-Hop Hooray” kicked off Friday’s (2/27) noontime launch of Memphis’ “Vibe.” Among persons 6+ in the latest (January 2015) Nielsen Audio PPM ratings report for Memphis, WKIM registers a 1.4, ironically tying it at #19 with WIVG. The 1.4 for WKIM is the station’s best (6+) performance in more than two years – it hit 1.8 in November 2012.
Odds & Sods. Nationally syndicated talk host Laura Ingraham is being tapped to serve as the national chairman for the PAC Citizens for the Republic. The political action committee was originally founded by Ronald Reagan in 1977. A press statement says the PAC’s goal is to lead a “revitalized effort to advocate conservative principles and shine a light on government corruption.”…..Former WKRC, Cincinnati radio host Blake Seylhouwer was found guilty of two counts of negligent assault after an altercation outside his home during which he fired a rifle into the driveway and caused debris to spray up, injuring his wife. Seylhouwer is an area businessman who brokered time from the station for a weekend show…..A grand jury in Hackensack, New Jersey has indicted Alan “Dr. Al” Lupinacci on charges of practicing medicine and conducting surgery without a license. Lupinacci has brokered time from WMCA, New York for his “Learn to Be Healthy” program. His medical license had been suspended in 1995 after he pleaded guilty to 10 counts of criminal sexual conduct with female patients.
WAEB, Allentown Talk Host Named in Defamation Suit. Allentown talk show host Bobby Gunther Walsh – heard in AM drive on iHeartMedia’s WAEB-AM — is named in a defamation and slander suit by the city’s District Attorney Jim Martin. The primary defendant in the case is blogger Bill Villa who has called Martin “crooked” and “corrupt” and alleges he “fixes” cases, according to a report in The Morning Call. Villa lost his 25-year-old daughter in a drunk driving accident and Villa claims Martin bargained a plea deal with the man accused of being responsible for his daughter’s death “in secret,” without ever notifying the family. Villa went on Walsh’s WAEB show to talk about his issues with Martin’s work as DA. Read the story here.
Corporate Promotions at Cherry Creek Radio. At the corporate level, Cherry Creek Radio announces eight promotions that affect its 55 O&O stations in 15 Western U.S. markets. Moving up from regional director of sales to EVP and regional manager are: Kelley Cheatwood, John Craft, and Ron Korb. Group PD Bob Guerra rises to EVP/director of programming. Rita Calvin adds EVP stripes to her controller position. Travis Cronen is now VP/director of operations & IT; Ken Eklund is upped to VP of engineering, and Mary Sims becomes VP/director of accounting. Cherry Creek Radio president and CEO Joe Schwartz comments, “With our new financial structure in place and with the many plans we have to grow the company, I feel it was important to recognize these eight individuals for the outstanding work they have done for the company over their tenure at Cherry Creek Radio. Each of these promotions are for employees who have been with the company for at least eight years or more.”
Celebrating Success. Nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Joy Browne (standing) speaks at the recent Success Stories Breakfast Series at Bergen Community College in Paramus, New Jersey produced by Salem Communications New York and its stations news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” and Christian talk WMCA “The Mission.” The event featured numerous speakers telling their stories of success, that also included former NFL star, G-III president and entrepreneur Carl Banks; My Pillow inventor Mike Lindell; Bluerock Energy president and CEO Phil Van Horne; and Bergen Community College director of multicultural affairs Ron McKnight. The program was moderated by WNYM host Kevin McCullough and broadcast live on WNYM by morning show host Joe Piscopo.
Futuri Media Awarded Patents for Instant Alert and Listener Driven Radio. Calling it a “milestone for the company,” Futuri Media CEO Daniel Anstandig announces the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued a patent to him and the company’s chief technical officer Brian Seeders for its “Instant Alert” and Listener Driven Radio (LDR) technology. In a press release, Futuri Media says the patent describes a broad range of methods related to Listener Driven™ programming, including Instant Alerts, where listeners can receive e-mail, SMS text, and tweets moments before their favorite songs play on the air. This is also one of several U.S. and foreign patents and pending patent applications held by the company that describes and protects its unique interactive mobile and social apps. Anstandig comments, “Futuri has invested a significant amount in R&D related to interactive broadcasting as well as social and mobile technology for local broadcasters. The issuance of this patent is a milestone for our company and our many innovative broadcast partners, who have used this and our other technologies to drive ratings and revenue since the company’s launch in 2009.” Futuri CIO Brian Parsons adds, “Protection of our team’s innovations is critical. Our goal is to shape the future of media with social and mobile technology that makes it possible for consumers to embrace and personalize their favorite media brands. Whether it’s an interactive playlist, alerts for your favorite songs, a feature-rich mobile app, or social monitoring, we’re striving to create easy-to-use platforms that deliver innovative and proprietary high value for our partners.”
Odds & Sods. Brooklyn talk host Frankie Russo is crowdfunding to continue to buy time (and hopefully, he says, even more time) on New York’s legendary 77WABC. Russo has been brokering the 1:00 am to 2:00 am Saturday slot for the past year and is now firing up an indiegogo campaign to raise $100,000 to expand his presence on the station…..Hall of Fame basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian passed on February 11 and his funeral was on February 16 at Our Lady of Las Vegas Catholic Church. GCN-syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs (pictured here with Tarkanian on the left) tells TALKERS, “It was a beautiful ceremony with laughter and tears honoring a legend. I went to UNLV 89-93 and witnessed one of the most exciting teams year-after-year win and eventually conquer the National Championship under Jerry’s legacy. Our city is going to great lengths to commemorate such an icon. I knew Jerry to be warm and cuddly and I credit his and the Runnin’ Rebel legacy with the start of the Las Vegas boom in the mid-90s. He helped put UNLV on the map from a once considered ‘casino town’ and made us locals proud to be Las Vegans. Thank you Jerry! You will be missed but never forgotten!”…..NBC Sports Group announces it will present live radio coverage of all three Triple Crown races for the first time on NBC Sports Radio. It will produce radio coverage of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes on numerous broadcast and digital platforms.
Scott Walker Presidential Prospects, Court Blocks Obama Immigration Order, Department of Homeland Security Funding Battle, Brian Williams Suspension, Battle Against ISIS, Fifty Shades of Grey Film, and Cindy Crawford Photo Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/16). Analysis of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s chances of receiving the Republican nomination for president in 2016; a Texas court blocks the Obama amnesty order; the battle in Congress over the funding of the Department of Homeland Security; the aftermath of the Brian Williams suspension; the battle against ISIS and the militant movement’s bloody tactics; controversy over the film Fifty Shades of Grey; and the flap over an unretouched photo of 48-year-old Cindy Crawford were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
LOS ANGELES — Blessed with an enduring ability to captivate a broad base demographic with droll, clever, sometimes-corny witticisms/puns that much sooner rather than later made you laugh, Gary Owens is being fondly remembered by those whose lives he touched by his character and one-of-a-kind classiness.
Even at the zenith of his popularity, Owens had an unrivaled flair to make anyone and everyone with whom he came in contact feel as though he or she were a genuinely important friend of his.
Dignity with which Owens carried himself make those having the privilege to work behind a microphone exude intense pride in saying they are in the same profession.
KFYI, Phoenix Names Rob Hunter News Host. Moving to iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFYI, Phoenix from Bonneville’s crosstown KTAR-FM is news pro Rob Hunter who will become part of the morning drive Mike Broomhead program. The station says Hunter will serve as news anchor during Broomhead’s show and host the 5:00 am to 6:00 am “KFYI Download” program. Hunter has worked in news/talk for the past 15 years but also has radio experience in the AC, hip hop, rock and sports talk formats. KFYI program director Neil Larrimore states, “Rob is a great addition to KFYI mornings. He is smart, versatile and a solid professional. As soon as we heard he was available, we had to snatch him up.” Hunter comments, “I’m beyond thrilled to begin the next chapter of my career at KFYI, one of the country’s great news/talk stations and to becoming part of the vast iHeartMedia family. I’m looking forward to working closely with KFYI’s award winning newsroom, with talk show host Mike Broomhead and with the Valley’s early morning risers.”
Pat Kiernan Exits WABC, New York’s ‘The Ride Home.’ Big Apple media personality Pat Kiernan leaves his gig with Cumulus Media at news/talk WABC to focus on his morning news program that airs on Time Warner Cable’s NY1 channel. Kiernan had been co-hosting “The Ride Home” with television and radio news pro Rita Cosby. Now, with Kiernan out, Cosby is hosting the 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm program solo.
Otstot Named KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno Morning News Anchor. The new morning news anchor at Cumulus Media’s news/talk KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno is Matt Otstot, who joins “Fresno’s Morning News” host Blake Taylor for daily broadcasts later this month. Taylor says of Otstot, “Matt is an enormous talent with a wealth of experience on air. But it’s his work off-air, in the community, which is invaluable. I can’t wait for Matt to bring his energy to the massive KMJ audience.” Otstot has worked at local television outlets KGPE-TV and KSEE-TV as an anchor and reporter. Most recently he was community engagement coordinator at Valley Children’s Hospital. Otstot says, “Working at Valley Children’s was an honor. But, when you’re offered the chance to work for a place with the reputation and success of KMJ, you jump at it. And I hope my passion and energy for morning news resonates with Valley listeners.”
World’s Best Radio Programs Advisory Board Adds Critchlow, Geller. Those competing for New York Festivals’ “World’s Best Radio Programs” will have to impress TBI Media founding director Phil Critchlow and Geller Media president Valerie Geller: Both are named to the international radio program awards advisory board and grand jury. Executive director of the NYF radio program awards Rose Anderson states, “These two thought leaders bring creative expertise and deep knowledge of today’s radio industry. Phil Critchlow and Valerie Geller will add tremendous vision and valuable insights as we engage the worldwide radio community and are responsive to what matters to them.” Critchlow comments, “We at TBI have been lucky enough to win a number of New York Festivals awards, which always means a great deal to the team. I am delighted to become part of the NYF advisory board.” Geller remarks that, “It is stunning and so satisfying on every level to have the opportunity and honor to have the chance to hear the amazing work that news, documentary, and program teams throughout the world are producing/creating. It is an honor and a pleasure to serve as a judge for the NYF awards entries.” BBC-trained Critchlow joined Unique Broadcasting in 1994 and launched The Big Idea 12 years later. He formerly was chair of the UK Radio Independents Group (RIG) and is a fellow of the Radio Academy. Geller has coached radio, television, and internet broadcasters in 35 countries. The former WABC, New York program director and KIOI, San Francisco news director received the Conclave‘s Rockwell lifetime achievement award. Deadline for entering this year’s competition is in approximately six weeks (Thursday, 3/19). A New York City awards ceremony will be held (Monday) June 22.
Odds & Sods. Joining digital podcasting platform BlogTalkRadio is digital media pro Denise Oliver who is named programming consultant and strategist for the organization. Oliver is widely recognized within the industry as a bright programming and consulting mind…..Yahoo! Sports Radio personality John Granato is pictured below (far right) celebrating his son J.T. (John Tyler) Granato’s (second from right) signing to the Rice University football team as starting quarterback this National Signing Day. As a longtime radio and television sports analyst, the Houston-based host has been grooming his son in the sports industry, and even invited J.T. to intern on his national show, “Prime Cut,” with former NFL quarterback Sean Salisbury this year. John Granato comments, “This is a great day for our family. We couldn’t be more proud. Thank God J.T. has his mother’s brains – there’s no other explanation for him getting into Rice.”…..Westwood One syndicated talk host Phil Valentine is headed for the big screen. Valentine has a supporting role in the upcoming film, The Secret Handshake, scheduled for release this spring. Handshake is written and directed by Howie Klausner, who wrote the screenplay for the Clint Eastwood movie, Space Cowboys…..SiriusXM is launching a three-week series of live, call-in shows titled, “African Ancestry Radio,” in which hosts will try to help listeners and celebrities of African descent in their quest to reconnect with their heritage. African Ancestry’s Gina Paige and award-winning producer Shirley Neal will host the program on February 8 with Louis Gossett, Jr. and Aunjanue Ellis as their first celebrity guests.
That’s Entertainment! The photo you see here is a full-stage shot of a live production of KIRO-FM, Seattle’s “Tom & Curley” show that happened at The Triple Door on Friday, January 30. The sold-out program was a live reenactment of the duo’s radio show done in the vein of an old-time variety show, complete with their weekly and daily features and guests, a local high school jazz band, as well as a certain degree of audience interaction and…one pet chicken. The station billed the event featuring hosts John Curley and Tom Tangney as “a night of the best conversation you will ever listen in on as Tom and John bring their entertaining take on the news of the day to a select live audience.”
Longtime Buffalo Radio Newsman Ray Marks Dies. Radio news pro Ray Marks (Markiewicz) died on February 4 after a two-and-a-half year battle with leukemia. During his career, Marks served as news director at WJTN, Jamestown, New York and at heritage Buffalo AM signals WGR and WBEN. WGRZ-TV, Buffalo reports that Marks also taught as an adjunct professor at St. Bonaventure University, Buffalo State College, and Medaille College.
Hometown Hero Sets Balloon Records. After Albuquerque resident and expert balloon pilot Troy Bradley set six new world records by flying across the Pacific Ocean with Russian co-pilot Leonid Tiukhtyaev, Cumulus Media news/talk KKOB got one of the first radio interviews. Pictured here, KKOB PM drive personality Scott Stiegler (right) poses for a shot with Two Eagles pilot Bradley (left) at the radio station. Bradley and Tiukhtyaev landed in the ocean about four miles from the California Baja last Saturday.
The Brutality of ISIS and Jordan’s Vow of Retaliation Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 2-6. The increasingly cruel and violent tactics of ISIS and Jordan’s statement it will seek retaliation for the immolation death of its captured pilot were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the anti-vaccine controversy. Coming in at #3 was the 2016 presidential prospects followed by the Obama tax hike proposal 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. View this week’s entire chart here.
Scorpio Selected as iHM’s California Regional PM. Riverside, Fresno, Bakersfield, Monterey, Stockton, and Modesto are the Golden State markets Rob Scorpio will oversee as iHeartMedia‘s regional programming manager. The company’s senior vice president of programming Tony Coles states, “Rob is a proven leader with a great track record. We are thrilled to be able to expand his role within the company.” Scorpio comments, “One of the many great things about iHeartMedia is their commitment to promote within the company. I would like to thank Tony Coles [among other iHM executives] for this opportunity.” Scorpio moves into his new role after being operations manager for iHeartMedia’s Riverside cluster. His past programming credits include KKBT, Los Angeles; KREV, San Francisco; KBXX, Houston; WPGC-FM, Washington, DC; and KFRH, Las Vegas.
Grant Nielsen Stepping Down from Daily KSL, Salt Lake City Wake-Up Duties. After almost 22 years waking up the Salt Lake City market on Bonneville’s news/talk KSL “NewsRadio,” Grant Nielsen announces he’s retiring from his daily co-host of “Utah’s Morning News” gig. He’ll still be a voice on the station in various dayparts. KSL staffer Brian Martin will take over morning host duties alongside Amanda Dickson, effective March 23. Martin currently anchors KSL’s national news with Nielsen and Dickson and is the host of “Utah’s Noon News.” Prior to joining KSL in 2010, he spent 15 years anchoring and reporting television news in Texas, New Mexico, New York, and Utah. Martin says, “I realize I have enormous shoes to fill, but I couldn’t be more excited for this opportunity to help grow the institution that Grant and Amanda have created. To work with Amanda to deliver news to Utahns driving into work each morning is something I will never take for granted.”
Odds & Sods. The film An Inconsistent Truth – produced by Westwood One talk host Phil Valentine’s film production company ExtryGood Productions – is being picked up by NewsmaxTV. The two-year deal means the film will air regularly throughout the contract period, beginning with its debut on NewsmaxTV tomorrow night (2/6) at 9:00 pm ET…..Trevor Carey is named afternoon drive host at iHeartMedia news/talk simulcast KFIV, Modesto and KWSX, Stockton, California “Power Talk 1360/1280.” He most recently was afternoon host at Townsquare Media’s hot AC WJYE, Buffalo (now WMSX)…..Former Fox 29 Philadelphia weatherman John Bolaris will begin hosting a weekly radio show on WTEL, Philadelphia, debuting this Saturday from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. According to a story at Philly.com, the “CenterStage with John Bolaris” program will feature high-profile guests. Joining him for the premiere show will by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and “Mob Wives” star Natalie Didonato…..ESPN is launching “Hometown” – a new division of its customer marketing and sales group that will focus on serving national brands looking to connect with fans in specific markets at their greatest passion point – their love of their favorite teams.
‘Aaron Klein Investigative Radio’ to Air in Philly. The two-hour weekend show “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” – which emanates live from Tel Aviv each Sunday from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET – is now heard on Salem Communications’ WNTP, Philadelphia “NewsTalk 990” as well as on the company’s WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer.” Klein is a Philly native who now works and lives in the Middle East. WNTP program director Mark Daniels says, “‘NewsTalk 990’ couldn’t be more pumped about adding ‘Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.’ There’s nothing else like it, especially on the weekends! If you watch the Sunday talking heads on TV, then listen to Aaron Sunday evening, and you’ll appreciate the difference his global perspective brings.”
Cool Job Opportunity. Federated Media’s heritage WOWO, Fort Wayne is seeking a news director. Fort Wayne, Indiana’s #1 radio station, a 50,000-watt news, weather and talk service station has a rare opening for a full-time news director/anchor to join our Marconi winning team. If you’re hard working, have a dynamic personality, strong news delivery, ability to command attention through storytelling, have successful interactions with on-air partners and want to work for a station the community adores and loves, we’re looking for you. We’re one of Indiana’s premiere news stations celebrating 90 years in the community — and with a 50,000 watt AM signal with a FM simulcast, we’re the most-listened-to station in our market. Responsibilities include news anchoring, reporting breaking news, attending sporting events and other paid appearances, leading a fully staffed newsroom as someone who leads by example and possibly fill-in hosting duties. An ideal candidate is energetic, efficient and capable of multi-tasking in a lively, fast-paced environment. This sometimes requires weekend and evening hours, both on the street and in the radio station. WOWO is also unique because of a local TV partnership. We simulcast one hour every weekday morning on our local NBC affiliate, as well as live TV traffic updates in the afternoon. This means future candidates must be comfortable with frequent TV exposure. You’ll also be working with one of the best crews in the business, along with a great company to back a positive environment. To be considered, please send a resume via e-mail to operations manager Ryan Wrecker at: email@example.com or mail your stuff to Ryan Wrecker, WOWO Radio, 2915 Maples Road, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46816. No phone calls please. Federated Media is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Getting Ready for Love. There is no doubt, with Valentine’s Day rapidly approaching, love is in the air and as far as nationally syndicated talk duo Brent & Meg are concerned, it will be ON the air as well. The husband/wife midday talk team (syndicated by GCN) were spotted by a Studio City, California Walgreens manager with a smartphone camera as they were doing some shopping in preparation for the big holiday coming up at the end of next week. Brent Seltzer tells TALKERS, “Meg and I are in a constant state of simply being in-love and Valentine’s Day week gives us just another excuse to express, demonstrate, explore, discuss and play with it on the air.” Meg McDonald adds, “Being a married couple approaching 30 years together opens the door to so many conversations and aspects about life that make great content for the kind of free-spirited talk radio that we have the opportunity to do every day. Although our show tackles all the issues of the day and is not what you would call a ‘relationships show’ per se, the fact that we have such an established, real relationship as the baseline of our act really comes in handy in bringing a dimension of utter reality to what we do on the air. Valentine’s Day was made for us!”
The Brutality of ISIS/Jordan Threatens Retaliation, Anti-Vaccine Controversy, 2016 Presidential Prospects, GOP’s ObamaCare Replacement Plan, and Brian Williams Recants Helicopter RPG Attack Story Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/4). The world’s reaction to ISIS’ burning a Jordanian pilot alive and that country’s vow to retaliate; the controversy over anti-vaccine comments made by Chris Christie and Rand Paul; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the plan by congressional Republicans to replace ObamaCare; the response to NBC anchor Brian Williams’ admission that he was not aboard a helicopter hit by a RPG in Iraq in 2004 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
DreX to Host New KGO, San Francisco Talk Show. Music radio personality DreX crosses into the news/talk realm with his new gig as evening host at Cumulus Media’s KGO, San Francisco. The station notes that DreX worked in the market in the past at KSJO, San Jose – now “NASH FM 92.3.” DreX crafted successful CHR night shows in markets including San Antonio, Dallas and Philadelphia. He then shifted to mornings at signals such as WHYT, Detroit and WKSC, Chicago “Kiss FM.” Cumulus SVP of programming Mike McVay comments, “Drex brings a unique perspective to the news/talk format and an uncanny ability to entertain and inform in his own engaging style.” San Francisco VP/market manager Justin Wittmayer adds, “DreX brings his unique voice to KGO nights for a highly compelling program that is fresh, live and local. The Bay Area is in for quite an experience with DreX.”
Malzberg and Newsmax TV Extend Relationship. The new three-year deal keeps talk media pro Steve Malzberg hosting his Newsmax TV daily news and talk program that currently airs from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET. Newsmax says in a statement that Malzberg is “a veteran TV and radio personality, [who] attracts a star-studded roster of news-breaking guests and delivers insightful commentary around topical, often-contentious issues that connect with audiences.” Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy says, “Steve Malzberg is a key member of our on-air team who brings a fearless and informed approach to news/talk programming. Our growing audience is truly responding to him and he will no doubt continue to deliver provocative talk and engagement with his guests as we enter into the pivotal, upcoming presidential election period.”
Mark Levin Show to Air on KRLA, Los Angeles. The Westwood One-syndicated Mark Levin show is moving to a prime spot in Los Angeles, airing live from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm PT on Salem Communications-owned news/talk KRLA, effective February 3. With the change, Salem Radio Network’s Hugh Hewitt will move to the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm timeslot. Salem SVP of spoken word format Phil Boyce comments, “Rarely do you have the chance to add somebody of Mark’s quality in market #2, and we decided it was an opportunity we could not pass up. Hugh Hewitt is also a class act, so running these two back-to-back makes this lineup even stronger.” Levin states, “It’s an honor to join the wonderful lineup at KRLA. I know my great listeners, who include two of my biggest fans in the LA area (my kids, who live and work there!) will appreciate hearing the show LIVE, too!”
WNDB, Daytona Beach Producer Arrested on Child Porn Charges. According to a story by WKMG-TV, Orlando, WNDB, Daytona Beach executive producer Chand Worob has been taken into custody by Daytona Beach police on charges of receiving and distributing child pornography. The story reports police had been investigating the 25-year-old radio station staffer since October. They arrested him at the radio station where he works on the Marc Bernier morning show and served a warrant at his home where they reported finding a laptop with some 500 images on it.
CBS RADIO Ups Zeise at ‘Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan’ in Pittsburgh. The new evening personality at CBS RADIO sports talker KDKA-FM “Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan” is Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sportswriter Paul Zeise. He’s been hosting programs at the station on a part-time basis since 2011. Program director Ryan Maguire says, “Paul has truly developed as a personality and we’re happy we could make him a larger member of our on-air team. Paul has strong ties within the local sports community and will provide unique insight and hard-hitting opinions that will resonate with our listeners.”
Fifth Annual ‘Imus on Broadway’ Happens on February 9. On Monday, February 9, New York radio legend and WABC morning drive personality Don Imus will present the fifth annual “Imus on Broadway” at the Hard Rock Café in Times Square. Ticket sales from the one-night only performance will benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. New York Post theatre columnist Michael Riedel will join Imus as emcee. The evening will showcase live performances from some of Broadway’s top musicals including: Kinky Boots, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, It Shoulda Been You, Honeymoon In Vegas, The Lion King, Cabaret, Into The Woods, Les Miserables, Chicago and more!
WFAN, New York to Begin 5th ‘Fantasy Phenom Challenge.’ Next Sunday (2/8), CBS RADIO sports talker WFAN, New York kicks off the 5th “Fantasy Phenom Challenge” at the Walt Whitman Shops in Huntington Station, New York in which contestants will have the chance to earn on-air shifts on “The Fan.” The station will register the first 100 contestants online and those will audition before a panel of judges at area shopping malls around the region. A change in this year’s competition will allow for finalists to receive personal coaching from one of WFAN’s on-air hosts! Up to 12 participants will move on to round two, where online voting will determine the top six contestants for the final. The finalists will be part of a special St. Patrick’s Day remote broadcast featuring WFAN’s Boomer and Carton show and simulcast on CBS Network. The Finals will be held in late March or early April on Mike Francesa’s afternoon drive show. “Fantasy Phenom” year 4 winner, Dimitri Adrahtas, is completing his one-year stint with the station broadcasting his show to Tri-State area listeners.
Odds & Sods. Longtime Los Angeles talk radio personality Marc Germain, formerly “Mr. KABC,” will host the evening show on CBS RADIO’s KXNT, Las Vegas all next week, February 2-6. Germain has been making his home in Sin City for the past five years and has been hosting a nightly live show and podcast from his TalkRadioOne.com base…..A new, four-year renewal between USC and ESPN O&O KSPN, Los Angeles “ESPNLA” means the station will continue to serve as the flagship radio outlet for Trojan football through the 2018-19 season. The deal also means approximately one-half of USC’s men’s basketball games will also air on “ESPNLA.”…..CBS RADIO’s sports talk WFAN, New York begins its inaugural year of broadcasting the New York City Football Club with Tom Kolker, Glenn Crooks and Roberto Abramowitz handling the announcing duties. For English-language broadcasts, Tom Kolker is the new play-by-play voice and Glenn Crooks will provide in-game analysis. For Spanish-language broadcasts airing on WADO, they will be led by Roberto Abramowitz. A Spanish-language analyst will be named at a later date.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Dr. Joy Browne program – distributed nationally by Genesis Communications Network – is added to the program schedule at: WPTF, Raleigh; WDXR, Paducah, Kentucky; and WVFT, Tallahassee…..As noted earlier in the week, Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity joins the program schedule at Beasley Media Group’s KDWN, Las Vegas while Dave Ramsey moves to a live airing at CBS RADIO’s KXNT, Las Vegas…..The Kim Komando weekend “digital lifestyle” program is now airing on: Entercom’s WRKO, Boston; Townsquare Media’s simulcast KCHH and KBUL-AM, Billings, Montana; and WNBF, Binghamton, New York.
Northeast Blizzard Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of January 26-30. Winter storm Juno and the criticism of forecasters and government officials anticipating the event was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week. Coming in at #2 was the 2016 presidential race followed by ISIS threats tied with Taliban 5 developments at #3. 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. View this week’s entire chart here.
Longtime Rush Limbaugh Staffer Kit Carson Dies After Battle with Cancer. TALKERS magazine has learned from Sound Mind LLC principal Kraig Kitchin that longtime Rush Limbaugh staffer Christopher “Kit” Carson passed away this morning (1/26), in New Jersey. The cause was brain cancer. Kitchin says Carson had suffered a bout of cancer four years ago but found his way to recovery two years later and was given a clean bill of health. In the last several months, the cancer returned. Kit Carson was the “chief of staff” of Limbaugh’s program since the early 1990s. He became part of the program’s staff in 1989. Kitchin says Carson wanted to be an actor, but fell in love with his work on the program. He screened calls, opened and answered the mail, and he took every opportunity to be invaluable. And he became invaluable. Later, he was nicknamed “H.R.” with Limbaugh naming him after Nixon Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman. A clearly shaken, tearful Rush Limbaugh announced the news at the top of his radio program today (1/26). He said, “We are all experiencing a huge void in all of our hearts here today.” Limbaugh praised Carson as never having a bad word to say about anyone and was always a mediating force for good and harmony among the staff. Limbaugh said that Carson was the longest-running employee of the show and quickly proved himself to be the new program’s number one defender, champion and evangelist. Limbaugh also credited Carson with coming up with many ideas and angles that he used as his own on the air—and was also a tremendous force for Rush maintaining optimism and positivity in his work and attitude about life. Clearly he was the one guy who Limbaugh never once doubted – “I had total trust in him.” Limbaugh said, “Even at 58 he had an innocent exuberance about him.” Carson is survived by his wife, Theresa, and two sons.
Now Showing on TalkersTV: Writing Commercial Copy That Produces RESULTS. Just try not to flinch when you hear The Six Most-Dreaded Words in Radio Sales: “We tried radio, it didn’t work.” Even when the retail business and the station fit-like-a-glove — AND the client buys enough frequency — the campaign can flop, and the disappointed advertiser gives up on radio entirely. WHY? Consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke explains, “Too often, it’s because the commercial copy was ineffective. Not surprisingly, this can happen because cutbacks have cost the station a creative department and reps are writing their own spots… too often banging out scripts quickly, so they can get back on the street to close new business — which they’re under pressure to do, because of churn. Why does this often happen? You guessed it: Because clients cancel…because they didn’t get results…because the copy didn’t work. It’s a vicious cycle.” Cooke adds, “Ironically, the same problem is common at stations that HAVE a creative person or department.” And he cites three reasons:
1. The conveyor belt is out of control. With four, five or six stations under one roof, the writer gets overwhelmed.
2. ESPECIALLY this time of year, when stations stage the annual first quarter “one day sale,” piling even more work on the writer; in many cases spots that will air long-term (or until the disappointed client cancels).
3. The writer, back at the station, didn’t share the rep’s in-person contact with the prospect during the important Needs Assessment step. Cooke figures that “account executives are, potentially, better writers than…writers, because they know clients’ stories first-hand.”
“Potentially,” Cooke stipulates, “because account executives need to speak to the listener (the advertiser’s client) the same way they approached the advertiser. Reps are natural sellers, but don’t always apply their persuasive talent to copy writing.” In a video now showing on TalkersTV, Cooke outlines what he calls “the dance steps of a 60-second commercial script,” based on his work helping client station reps craft copy for local retailers. See Cooke relate what he terms “The Five Steps of Selling Anything to Anybody” (how reps got the order) to the copy-writing process. See the TalkersTV box at the top right-hand column of this page and every page of Talkers.com.
KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno Names Musson Co-Host. The new late morning show at Cumulus Media’s Fresno news/talker KMJ-AM/FM launches today as “Broeske & Musson.” KMJ program director Blake Taylor announces the station promotes Christina Musson from station executive producer to co-host of the program alongside John Broeske. Taylor says, “We tried out dozens of potential co-hosts for John, but we only needed to look down the hall for the perfect answer. ‘Broeske & Musson’ is going to be a dynamic show with tons of energy. They’ll continue to deliver the hard-hitting and fun topics of the day that our listeners expect.” Musson has been executive producer the past six years. Her resume also includes production and reporting work at Fresno’s KMPH-TV KGPE-TV as well as KAPP-TV in Yakima, Washington. She says, “I’m excited to take the next step in my career at such an amazing station and to partner with John Broeske – someone I admire and respect. I grew up listening to KMJ, so it’s a dream come true.”
Radio & Television News Association of Southern California Presents Awards. The 65th annual Golden Mike awards were presented by the Radio & Television News Association of Southern California (RTNA) on Saturday evening (1/24) in Universal City. The awards are presented annually for excellence in radio, TV and Internet broadcast journalism. CBS RADIO’s all-news KNX, Los Angeles was recognized with seven Golden Mike awards in the following categories: Best New Broadcast Over 15 Minutes – “KNX Morning News”; Best Live Coverage of a News Story – “LAX Shooting”; Best News Reporting – “Nanny Nightmare” by Charles Feldman; Best Spot News Reporting – “The Great UCLA Flood of 2014” by Desmond Shaw, Ed Mertz, and Pete Demetriou; Best News Public Affairs Program – “Ask the Mayor”; Best Traffic Report – KNX Traffic at 6:15 am; and Best Sports Reporting – “Watts Bears” by Ed Mertz. Pictured above left are (from l-r) KNX staffers Ron Kilgore, Frank Mottek, Kathy Kiernan, James Tuck, Ric Schroeder, Wendy Thermos, and Pete Demetriou accepting the award for Best Live Coverage of a News Story. iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk KFI and reporter Steve Gregory also took home seven Golden Mike awards (see photo at right) in the following categories: Best Radio News Special – “Breaking Down The Border Crisis” by Steve Gregory and Oswaldo Borraez; Best Radio Investigative Reporting – “Mold School” by Steve Gregory and Oswaldo Borraez; Best Radio Light Feature (less than a minute) – “Valentine’s Day Flower Inspection” by Steve Gregory; Best Radio Serious Feature (less than a minute) – “Operation Boo” by Steve Gregory; Best Radio Hard News Series – “Trial Of Jailed Marine In Mexico”; Best Radio Internet News Reporting – “Operation Boo” by Steve Gregory and David Perez; and Best Radio Newscast (under 15 minutes). KFI program director Robin Bertolucci comments, “We have the best news team here at KFI, these folks rock and Steve is a prime example of the caliber of talent that makes us so proud!”
Round Four of Holiday PPM Data Released. The fourth of four rounds of Holiday 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The survey period was December 4 to December 31. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
New York Talk Legend Joe Franklin Dies at 88. The New York talk television and talk radio icon who was famously parodied by Billy Crystal on “Saturday Night Live,” died after a long battle with cancer on Saturday (1/24). Joe Franklin hosted a television program interviewing celebrities and offbeat characters beginning in the early 1950s. He worked in radio later in his career at such stations as WOR, New York and most recently on the Bloomberg Radio Network. Franklin ranked 71st in the 2010 TALKERS magazine 20th Anniversary Heaviest Hundred list (which ranks “the 100 most important radio talk show hosts of all time”) and appeared a number of times as a special guest speaker at the annual TALKERS Convention in New York City. Publisher Michael Harrison would introduce him to the attendees from out of town as a famous New York City “tourist attraction as legendary as the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building and Central Park.” Franklin juggled so many careers in the media that it’s a good thing he stopped to write a book every few years – in fact, 23 in all — to capture his amazingly colorful life. His autobiography Up Late With Joe Franklin (Scribner, 1995) is jam-packed with celebrity-rich-anecdotes — from Eddie Cantor and Rudy Vallee to Howard Stern, for example. According to the Library Journal, “He actually knew those early entertainers and knew many of those currently entertaining.” What originally made him a household name — even before the highly touted “Saturday Night Live” parodies by Billy Crystal — was Franklin’s late night variety program “The Joe Franklin Show,” which ran from 1950 through 1993. The Guinness Book of World Records lists it as the longest running TV talk show in history manned by one host. And what a show it was! Much like visiting your favorite neighborhood hardware store, you never knew what unexpected gems would pop up among the variety and clutter. A sample show would feature a sculptor, belly dancer, an up-and-coming comic, a podiatrist and then maybe a famous actor or singer. According to Publisher’s Weekly (1994), his program’s “total guest list ran between 200,000 and 300,000.” and included such names as Frank Sinatra Jr., Bing Crosby, Marilyn Monroe, John Wayne, Vincent Price, Howard Stern, Buddy Hackett, — as well as first TV exposure for eventual stars like Sammy Davis Jr., Bill Cosby, Woody Allen, Barbra Streisand and Julia Roberts. “It would be easier to list the few who did not appear than to catalogue those who did,” PW says. Franklin started and ended his long show business career in radio. His first job, at 16, was working behind the scenes at WNEW, New York where he became “the record librarian,” (or really “the record picker”) for Martin Block’s popular “Make Believe Ballroom” radio program. Once station management recognized his unique expertise in vaudeville and entertainment trivia, they offered him a 15-minute program dedicated to nostalgia. Eventually that became his calling card and part of the schtick he’d weave into shows, whether radio or television. The self- proclaimed “King of Entertainment” had an encyclopedic knowledge of “all things entertainment” from the first half of the 20th Century: silent films, Broadway stage shows, musicians and singers. With that, he also earned the title the “king of nostalgia.” After his television show ended, Franklin focused on his long-running “Memory Lane” radio program, which ran on WOR on weekend overnights. He’d tell stories about many of the entertainers whose records he would play. In recent years, up until the time of his death, he hosted a weekends-only series of six-minute segments on Bloomberg Radio Network called ‘The Business of Show Business.’ Audio podcasts are still available at Bloomberg.com. Throughout his career, the round-faced, jovial Franklin was commonly called back to television to do guest spots on the big late night and daytime talk shows such as those hosted by Regis Philbin and David Letterman. Considered a good luck charm for the start of a new talk show due to the length of his show’s run, Franklin often kicked off day one of a show – and did so on the first broadcasts of “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and “This American Life.” Though Franklin may never have wanted to act in movies – like his childhood friend Tony Curtis – he did appear as himself in “Ghostbusters” and “Broadway Danny Rose,” just to name two of the 34 titles that IMDb lists. Franklin was born in 1926 in the Bronx, New York. He met his model/actress wife when she was a secretary and he was “a kid of 24 just doing radio… and we were married on the TV show called ‘Bride and Groom,’” where real-life couples tied the knot after being quizzed about their relationship on national television. Perhaps what sums Joe Franklin up best is his favorite personal quote: “It’s nice to be important, but it’s even more important to be nice.”
Odds & Sods. Former “Regular Guys” personality Eric Von Haessler begins hosting his “The Von Haessler Doctrine” show on Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB, Atlanta airing Sundays at 1:00 pm. Since exiting his “Regular Guys” co-host position at Cumulus Media’s crosstown rock WNNX “96 Rock” in June of 2014, Von Haessler has been doing fill-in work at WSB and podcasting…..Boston sports talk personality Danny Picard launches his new eponymous podcast at the same time he debuts his new website and celebrates the opening of his new studio inside Beantown Athletics in Dorchester, Massachusetts. Picard is a weekend personality on Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston and is part of the “Patriots Pre-game and Post-Game Live” shows on Comcast SportsNet New England…..Westwood One is announcing some of the details of its Super Bowl programming as the official network radio partner for the National Football League. It will feature a full schedule of game day programming leading up to kickoff. Westwood One’s live game coverage features Kevin Harlan, handling the play-by-play duties for the Super Bowl for the fifth straight year, and Boomer Esiason, serving as the color analyst. Hall of Famer James Lofton and Mark Malone will once again report from the sidelines. Emmy Award-winning host Jim Gray will anchor the pregame and halftime coverage…..FOX Sports Radio is also on the scene in Glendale, Arizona this week leading up to the Super Bowl. FSRN announces that as part of its continuous coverage “Jay Mohr Sports” news anchor Dan Beyer and J.T. The Brick will broadcast live from radio row while the Dan Patrick show and the Rich Eisen show will broadcast from the DIRECTV Super Fan Festival at the Pendergrast Family Farm in Glendale’s Sports and Entertainment District across from Phoenix Stadium. Also, former NFL player Lincoln Kennedy will broadcast a special edition of the network’s Saturday morning program Gargano & Kennedy…..CBS Sports Radio’s plans for coverage of the big game include live-from-Glendale broadcasts all week by the network’s Jim Rome, Doug Gottlieb and the Tiki Barber and Brandon Tierney program.
Talk Radio Observes Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Although an official federal holiday, most talk radio personnel are working today and many are honoring or simply acknowledging the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his work leading the civil rights movement of the 1960s. For example, the first hour of iHeartMedia superstar Sean Hannity’s national radio show is devoted to talking about the historic civil rights leader’s legacy and relevance to today’s headlines. Given the racial tensions brought about by recent high-profile cases involving fatal confrontations between police and African American men, this year’s observance of Dr. King’s birthday is even more relevant than in recent years. Sirius XM Satellite Radio “Urban View” host Karen Hunter says, “Every day I honor the legacy of Dr. King on my show. So every day we do something special to honor him. Today I will be playing snippets from a speech he gave at UCLA in 1965. I will also be talking about Selma. And I have already spoken to someone who marched today in New York to the UN.” African American news/talk hosts have a variety of perspectives on Dr. King. Charles Butler who hosts a daily syndicated show on Genesis Communications Network writes on his daily blog, “Today is the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday and since 2008 I have conducted a show called ‘The Other Side of MLK,’ and on this eighth show I added several new perspectives. Dr. King evolved over the period he was actively involved in the civil rights movement…I have a very difficult time listening to people that use the sanitized and domesticated version of Dr. King, ‘my children would be judged by the content of their character…,’ while ignoring his call on America to end racism. Today, the prevalence of black high unemployment, income and health disparity, poor schools and environments, criminalization of black Americans, institutional racism, and systematic undermining of the attainment of the American Dream.” At Salem Communications’ secular news/talk stations, many hosts are devoting a segment or two to Martin Luther King. Salem SVP/spoken word format and Salem Radio Network Phil Boyce tells TALKERS magazine, “‘The Morning Answer’ in Los Angeles [KRLA] presented a great segment discussing the difference in the language and rhetoric of MLK vs the race baiters of today. I think conservative hosts are generally more appreciative of Dr. King now, as we have seen what others have said and done who are attempting to take his place.” Much of the commentary planned by hosts has been designed to specifically address their criticism of “so-called” civil rights leaders who have come after the late Dr. King – described to TALKERS by Cumulus heavyweight host Mark Levin as “people who exploit race by putting forth their own attitudes and wrongly use Dr. King’s good name to back up their own take and self-interests.” WFTL, Fort Lauderdale/Miami afternoon star Joyce Kaufman tells TALKERS, “I will be spending today’s show listening to excerpts of his speeches…asking listeners to weigh in on when and why the relations between the black community and the white community fell apart. Jews, for instance, natural allies, now arch enemies. Black pastors who have stopped preaching the gospel to preserve the first black President’s relationship. Would Dr. King have embraced Kwanzaa? I think not. He was a Baptist preacher.” Westwood One/WYD Media syndicated progressive opinion leader Thom Hartmann reports, “We did three hours on it today. The movie ‘Selma’ was perfectly timed, and clearly demonstrates the importance of citizens’ movements. From the Tea Party pushing Republicans to Occupy pushing Democrats; from John Quincy Adams leading the anti-slavery movement in the House to the Suffrage movement nationwide; from the labor movement (with the Ludlow massacre and the Flint Sit Down Strikes) to the gay rights movement – every time America has moved, it’s moved because of an informed, motivated, and activated populace. And the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the greatest teachers of that in modern times.” Fox News Radio syndicated liberal icon Alan Colmes tells TALKERS, “Today’s news cycle proves how prescient Martin Luther King, Jr. was. King, in his most controversial speech, ‘Beyond Vietnam,’ delivered at the Riverside Church in New York City on April 4, 1967, spoke these words:
‘This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one’s tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all mankind… I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. This Hindu-Muslim-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John: “Let us love one another (Yes), for love is God. (Yes) And every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love. . . . If we love one another, God dwelleth in us and his love is perfected in us.” Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day.’”
Colmes concludes, “On our show, we’re are talking about the relationship between the Bible and the Koran, to show that no one religion is superior to another, that there are more similarities than differences, and that tolerance is a key tenet of our republic. That is how we are honoring the legacy of this revolutionary.” Joe Madison of Sirius XM Satellite Radio – consistently one of the most influential thought-leaders in talk radio on the subject of race relations and civil rights — shares, “We aired the results of an essay contest that asked young high school students to assess the political climate in the world today, analyzing the racial challenges that exist and to compare to Dr. King’s life and deeds.” Madison adds, “I actually spoke this morning in Tampa, Florida at the 35 annual Tampa Organization of Black Affairs Breakfast (I was their first speaker 35 years ago). I addressed the three-year gap between the Selma to Montgomery March in 1965 and his assassination in 1968. I asked the question: ‘How would talk radio portray Dr. King?’ His last three years on earth, he alienated many of his allies and antagonized his enemies further. He was portrayed as an extremist and an arsonist as he waged war on poverty, racism and militarism. I suspect most talk radio would not be very supportive of Martin Luther King, Jr.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison responds to Madison’s last statement by telling him that “a number of conservative hosts interviewed for this story say they have been increasingly appreciating and respecting Dr. King as the years go by – especially when compared to some of his high-profile successors in the civil rights movement.” Madison fires back, “I wonder which King they respect? Certainly not the MLK that encouraged the redistribution of wealth, affirmative action and voting rights, especially Sections 4 and 5 which were recently struck down by the SCOTUS.”
Entercom Greenville-Spartanburg Sets New Roles for Hendrix, Stone, McLain. Several noteworthy personnel moves take place at Entercom-owned stations in Greenville-Spartanburg, a South Carolina cluster the company refers to as “Entercom Upstate.” For openers, rock WTPT “93.3 The Planet” and WROQ “Classic Rock 101.1″ operations manager/program director Mark Hendrix takes on additional duties as operations manager for talk WYRD-FM “Word 106.3,” as well as the sports simulcast of WORD-AM and WYRD-AM. He will continue to program WORD-AM and WYRD-AM, both branded as “ESPN Upstate.” He succeeds Bob McLain as OM for “Word 106.3″; however, McLain carries on as the station’s 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm talent and is named operations manager emeritus. Meanwhile, “Classic Rock 101.1″ assistant program director Jay D. Stone is boosted to program director. Stone continues as APD of “The Planet” and maintains his “Classic Rock 101.1″ 12:00 noon – 6:00 pm “The Stoneman” on-air shift. According to Entercom Greenville vice president and market manager Steve Sinicropi, “Mark Hendrix has done an outstanding job programming ‘Classic Rock 101.1′ and ‘93.3 The Planet/WTPT-FM.’ He has coached ‘The Rise Guys’ on ‘The Planet’ to the top of many key morning demos. Hendrix will build on Bob McLain’s excellent work on ‘Word 106.3,’ developing stimulating local talk. I am also pleased that Bob will continue his very popular show. I am happy Jay D. Stone has been elevated to the well-deserved position of program director at ‘Classic Rock 101.1.’ He is the heart and soul of that station.” Hendrix comments, “I am thankful for the great opportunities that Entercom has afforded me over the years. I look forward to working with our talented staffs to deliver exceptional, locally focused programs to our upstate audiences.” McLain remarks, “Entercom Upstate has given me great opportunities to engage with listeners, discuss controversial and important issues, and establish a thought provoking radio brand.” Stone declares that, “Having the opportunity to head up the legendary call letters of WROQ is a big deal. All I can say is that, after working with the top-shelf staff at Entercom Upstate for the past 12 years, the winning tradition will continue at ‘Classic Rock 101.'” Hendrix has been with the company since August 2001, when he became program director of WTPT. McLain began his career at Winston-Salem’s WTOB. Stone was named music director of “Classic Rock 101.1″ in 2003, after holding similar duties at Des Moines classic rocker KGGO.
Marshall’s Multiple Roles with MacDonald Garber. Simultaneous with being named operations director for all MacDonald Garber Broadcasting AM stations, Greg Marshall is appointed general manager for the company’s Cadillac, Michigan cluster. President and chief executive officer Trish MacDonald Garber comments, “Greg’s vast experience with broadcasting and his great passion for it can only contribute to our continued success. As the current acting general manager in Cadillac, I am leaving Greg in capable hands with an upward trajectory that I know he and the team will capitalize on.” Marshall states, “I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with the great staff at the Cadillac stations and the AM radio stations in the company. I am looking forward to this amazing opportunity.” Among the stations in the Cadillac group are hot AC WLXV “Mix 96,” sports WKAD “93.7 FM The Ticket,” and talk WATT “Rush Radio 1240.” Over and above these two new duties, Marshall will continue doing his daily 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm talk show on the company’s WMKT “The Talk Station,” Traverse City-Petoskey, Michigan; the program will soon be simulcast on WATT as well.
Salem Re-Brands Christian Talk WMCA. As had been predicted based upon some recent domain name acquisitions by Salem Communications, Christian talk WMCA, New York – for the past 25 years called “New York’s Christian Talk” – takes on the new slogan “AM 570 The Mission.” The company put together a short video to highlight the charitable work done by the station and its listeners that underscores the reason for taking on the “Mission” moniker. You can view the video here.
Odds & Sods. A report in the Boston Globe by Chad Finn indicates current WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” midday personality Andy Gresh will exit the station soon. He co-hosts the program on the sports talk outlet with former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak and hosts the pre- and post-game shows for Patriots football, for which WBZ-FM serves as flagship. Finn reports that Marc Bertrand of the PM drive “Felger and Massarotti” show will join Zolak on the midday show…..CBS RADIO’s Los Angeles all-newser KNX is presenting special programming this week surrounding the State of the Union Address. In addition to airing the address live at 6:00 pm PT, the station will present a special program on Wednesday (1/21) titled, “Healthcare Uncovered,” from 10:00 am to 11:00 am. The show will examine “the state of Obamacare as the Affordable Care Act enters its second year,” hosted by KNX anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman.
Bob Wilson: Former Bruins’ Radio Voice Passes. Rabid New England sports fans are known for embracing their professional sports franchises, as well as developing a fondness for those who call the games on radio. For well over two decades – including a 1971 – 1972 Stanley Cup-winning campaign – Bob Wilson was behind the radio microphone for the Boston Bruins. The Arlington, Massachusetts native, who retired in 1995, has passed away. Boston Bruins president – and former Bruins’ star player – Cam Neely comments, “For a generation of New England hockey fans, Bob’s legendary voice was synonymous with the Bruins. He will always be a part of our club’s history. Our thoughts are with [Wilson’s widow] Nancy and their children during this difficult time.” Jack Edwards is the club’s play-by-play announcer on cable television’s NESN and he remarks that Wilson was “my greatest inspiration.” Entercom sports WEEI-FM, Boston personality/NESN Bruins host Dale Arnold states that Wilson was “one of the iconic sports voices of our time. He was a kind and classy gentleman – my hero.”Dave Goucher has been the team’s radio voice the past 15 seasons, but Goucher insists that Wilson “is the radio voice of the Bruins.” In 1987, Wilson received the Foster Hewitt memorial award, earning him a place in the broadcasters’ wing of the Hockey Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2007. Wilson was at the TD Garden (home of the Bruins and the NBA‘s Boston Celtics) nearly four years ago (March 26, 2011) when the Bruins officially named the home radio facility “The Bob Wilson Radio Booth.” Bob Castellon (his real name) was 85.
Your Note to “Radio’s Best Friend” Couldn’t Hurt. One of the genuinely great people in the industry isn’t doing well. Just like giving a bowl of chicken soup to someone with a cold or the flu, sending a get-well wish to Art Vuolo certainly couldn’t hurt, and based on a message he posted today (Sunday, 1/18) on his Facebook page, it might go a long way in boosting the spirits of the man widely-regarded as “Radio’s Best Friend.” Coming off organizing yet another wildly successful Los Angeles radio get together, Vuolo underwent knee replacement surgery this past Tuesday (1/13), but he admits, “I hurt a lot. It is difficult for me to sit up in bed to type these words. Hoping I will feel better soon, but right now, my pain level is elevated. All prayers are welcomed.” One of radio’s greatest ambassadors and a countless times videographer of record, Vuolo is in room #154 of the Maple Manor Rehabilitation Center,31215 Novi Road, Novi, Michigan 48377.
Michael Savage and Westwood One Renew Deal; College Scholarships to Be Awarded. Nationally syndicated talk radio star Michael Savage and syndicator Westwood One are announcing the two sides have come to terms on a new, multi-year contract to keep “The Savage Nation” with the company. In a press release, Savage and WW1 say he is “ushering in a new era of talk radio with his groundbreaking ‘Unprotected Talk’ format that he will use to interact with listeners on topical current events and lifestyle issues – with politics of course remaining an important part of the show. Savage is challenging the talk radio industry with his one-of-a-kind program by combining timely political content with the real-life issues that his millions of listeners are talking about every day, including topics such as health, science, religion, culture and more.” At the same time, Savage says he’s set up a $100,000 scholarship fund “for conservative college students,” that will grant five recipients two-year awards totaling $10,000 annually. The scholarship winners will be selected through an essay contest opening January 15 titled, “What Does It Mean to Be an American?” with “the intention of promoting traditional American values.” Savage comments, “I am uniquely positioned to discuss a wide range of topics while maintaining an authentic, unapologetic voice because of my academic background. While others focus on Obamacare, I discuss health issues. I’m not shying away from politics and I’m not running for office like others in the media. Cumulus has allowed me to expand my reach, but my goal has remained the same – to deliver the best, most comprehensive commentary on radio and ‘edutain’ the world in the process. With my new scholarship fund I can now help inspire the next generation by encouraging education and conservative values.”
Ed Crane Exits KFBK, Sacramento as Morning Host. From a story in the Sacramento Bee, morning personality Ed Crane is out at the iHeartMedia news/talk outlet after serving in the post since 2008. The station recently announced it hired talk programming pro Bill White – most recently with Journal Broadcast Group’s Tucson stations – who assumes his new position on Tuesday, January 20. What the station’s plans for AM drive might be is pure speculation at this point. White handled mornings at KQTH, Tucson. Whether he’s headed for the morning show at KFBK or the station wants him to lead the search for a new morning host is unknown. Back to Crane, he tells the Bee that he’s not happy with how his departure was handled saying, “Some untrue things were said that weren’t nice. I don’t get it. We were number 1.”
Whither Christian Talk WMCA, New York? The Salem Communications Christian talk outlet is airing promos on the station promising a change of some sort, but what the legendary NYC signal might morph into is unknown. The promos state, “Beginning Monday, January 19th, WMCA New York’s Christian talk, will be no more. Find out what we will become, Monday, January 19th.” It’s likely that there will be no real format change, just a re-branding of the Christian talk format since ratings are not usually a concern for such a station. Salem already serves the market with secular news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer.”
Documentary Film Debaters to Include Prager, Father Morris. This coming Monday (1/19), Salem Radio Network talk host Dennis Prager will join archdiocese of New York’s Father Jonathan Morris; Eric Metaxas; and Anne Graham Lotz to discuss “Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus.” Their panel discussion will be shown in 650 U.S. theaters through Fathom Events’ digital broadcast network and is slated to follow the theatrical premiere of the Timothy Mahoney award-winning documentary, which chronicles an in-depth archaeological investigation in Egypt as his team attempts to corroborate the biblical text. Twelve years in the making, the film explores the fundamental question if there is any evidence the Exodus story actually happened. Prager has been broadcasting on Los Angeles radio since 1982; his 9:00 am – 12:00 noon (PT) program has been in syndication since 1999. Father Morris is currently the program director of “The Catholic Channel” on SiriusXM Radio. The daughter of Billy Graham, Christian evangelist Lotz founded AnGeL Ministries. Metaxas co-hosts the syndicated weekly Sunday morning program “100 Huntley Street.” Prager’s SRN colleague Michael Medved appears on-camera in the documentary. Fox News Channel‘s Gretchen Carlson will moderate next Monday’s debate.
Rabid Mobile Media Consumption Drives SNL Kagan $9 Billion 2014 Revenue Estimate. The research firm SNL Kagan is reporting that its estimate for 2014 revenue for the mobile entertainment sector is $9.14 billion – up from $2.71 billion just three years ago. The frenetic growth of the mobile media industry is well documented in the radio trades and shouldn’t surprise anyone in this industry, but the figures that SNL Kagan breaks out are interesting, nonetheless. It reports that the mobile music segment was the third largest, contributing 19% to the entertainment sector’s revenue. However, the games category was tops – delivering 59% of the entertainment sector’s revenue in 2014 – with video in second place bringing in 20% of the sector’s revenue. SNL Kagan estimates that the mobile music biz – led by players such as Pandora, Spotify, iTunes and others – accounted for $1.76 billion of the $9 billion total.
Charlie Hebdo Aftermath/Islamic Extremism, ISIS Hack of Pentagon and Centcom, Obama Cyber Security Speech, Bartender Accused in Plot to Kill Boehner, Romney Promises 2016 Run, and Ohio State Wins National Football Title Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/13). The political aftermath of the deadly attack on Parisian magazine Charlie Hebdo and the larger topic of Islamic extremism; the hacking of the Pentagon’s and Centcom’s social media; the cyber-security speech delivered by President Obama; the plot by an Ohio bartender to kill House Speaker John Boehner; the promise by Mitt Romney to run for president in 2016; and Ohio State’s run to the National Championship were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Howard B. Price: Preparedness, Vigilance and Training Important in Wake of Charlie Hebdo Attack. The horrific assault on French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo serves as a sad reminder that attacks on media outlets are not only possible, they happen on an all-too-frequent basis. In a piece published in TALKERS magazine, ABC Television Network director, business continuity Howard B. Price writes that “even with the best security resources and procedures in place, no broadcast facility is immune from criminal acts or terrorism. And being in a small place doesn’t necessarily reduce the risk. But, there are common sense things we all can do to help deter such incidents, mitigate their impact and help assure an investigative trail in the event one takes place.” Read Price’s very important piece here.
Bill White Named KFBK and KSTE, Sacramento Program Director. It’s official: news/talk programming pro Bill White is the new PD at iHeartMedia’s KFBK and KSTE in Sacramento, effective January 20. White – who’s programmed such storied talk outlets as WGN, Chicago; KDKA, Pittsburgh; and WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte – most recently served as PD at Journal Broadcast Group’s KQTH and KFFN in Tucson. White comments, “These legendary stations inform and touch listeners in the Sacramento area every day. I’m honored to be joining the talented team at KFBK/KSTE and look forward to building on their successes.”
Bob Frantz Adds Cleveland News/Talk Duties. Longtime WTAM, Cleveland personality Bob Frantz exited that station in July of last year and in October began hosting an afternoon sports talk show for Cumulus Media on WLQR, Toledo “106.5 The Ticket.” Now, Frantz is adding a daily news/talk program on Salem Communications-owned WHK, Cleveland “AM 1420 The Answer” to his responsibilities. Frantz has been producing commentaries for the Salem station and now begins the daily 9:00 am to 11:00 am talk program. Salem Cleveland GM Mark Jaycox comments, “There has been a very loud cry from Clevelanders to hear Bob Frantz on the air once more, since his mic went silent five months ago. His straightforward, honest approach to news, sports and politics has earned him a strong following among conservatively minded listeners who want more in-depth perspective on news stories that affect our daily lives.”
Ken Charles Exits iHeartMedia. News/talk pro Ken Charles – after a long career with iHeartMedia programming stations in Houston, Miami and Sacramento, to name a few – exits the company. Charles had been serving as the company’s national brand manager for news/talk and sports before his sudden exit. iHeartMedia has been very quiet about this and has, so far, not announced any plans to fill Charles’ corporate post.
HollywoodLife Signs with PodcastOne. What it calls “another, in a series of previously announced partnerships, merging editorial and audio media,” PodcastOne unveils the arrival of the HollywoodLife podcast to its roster of advertiser-supported, on-demand digital audio programs. The weekly podcast is hosted by HollywoodLife.com’s renowned president and editor-in-chief Bonnie Fuller and delivers “discussion, debate and the inside scoop on all the biggest, breaking celebrity news.” It will also feature candid conversations with top TV, music and movie stars. PodcastOne CEO Norm Pattiz says, “Bonnie’s track record of success in editorial content and audience engagement is extraordinary, and we are excited to expand that from the website to the podcast. Providing the best in entertainment and celebrity news, she knows how to connect with the female demographic and affect lifestyle interests in ways no one else can.”
CES 2015: Is Your Station Merely ‘the Linear Feed?’ Radio consultant Holland Cooke continues his reporting for TALKERS magazine from the giant Consumer Electronics Show 2015 in Las Vegas and today (1/8) he focuses on the disruption TV is feeling at the hands of technology that has made about half of television program viewing delayed or on demand. “The linear feed” means live programming in the order that it’s broadcast and Cooke writes that as consumption of media continues to change, radio must address that “the linear feed” only isn’t going to be good enough. Read his piece here to find two ways radio stations can deal with this conundrum.
Aaron Flint Continues to Build State-Wide Montana Talk Show. Thirty-four-year-old Montana National Guard officer Aaron Flint began hosting Northern Broadcasting System’s “Voices of Montana” radio talk show five years ago. Since then the KYYA, Billings-based program has expanded from 10 signals to more than 20 with KLTZ, Glasgow being the latest station to begin airing the program. Flint states, “It’s pretty clear that listener and station demand for local, interactive, engaging content on both AM and FM radio is strong. I went on another military deployment back in 2012, and I was, frankly, a little worried that we may lose some affiliates due to the disruption. But the support for all service members shown by our radio affiliates has just been incredible. The fact that the show has doubled is a strong testament to the support for the community and local programming by independent and corporate-owned stations alike.” Flint has served three tours of duty: in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa. A former staffer on The Hill, he is also a political blogger publishing The Flint Report – a blog the Washington Post has listed as one of the best state-based political blogs.
USA Radio Networks Adds Jim Sharpe to Lineup. The latest addition to USA Radio Networks’ “rapidly growing syndicated programming lineup” is media pro Jim Sharpe who will host “AMERICA CONTINUES,” airing from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET beginning February 2. USA says the show “will advance the significant news stories of the day with a different insight: the kind of insight that only comes when America has had a chance to digest the events of the day and put them into true perspective.” Sharpe’s resume includes winning awards for his work as a war correspondent, and hosting radio shows in markets including: Los Angeles, Dallas, and Phoenix. Sharpe says of his new syndicated show, “The name of the program serves two purposes: We will continue to update America’s truly important stories even as people put their workday behind them. And, we will continue to work on this grand experiment called America. Too many people have given up on the ‘American Dream,’ but ‘AMERICA CONTINUES’ will acknowledge and honor that America is still the planet’s best hope.”
Atlanta’s WWWE Converts to Women’s Radio Network. After having aired Spanish-language music and religious programming as well as sports, Beasley Broadcast Group‘s WWWE, Atlanta transitions to the Women’s Radio Network as “1100 WRNW1.” WWWE general manager Greg Cooper remarks, “Beasley and WWWE are committed to serving the concerns of the Atlanta community. A format focused on the lifestyle of today’s woman gives us a great opportunity to drive our vision for the market forward.” The Women’s Radio Network was previously available only as an online stream: The WWWE affiliation represents the company’s first experience in delivering content on an over-the-air broadcast facility. Hapeville, Georgia-licensed Class D WWWE has not appeared in a monthly Atlanta Nielsen Audio PPM ratings report in recent memory.
Entries Being Accepted for “World’s Best Radio Programs.” Several new categories have been added to the 30-plus-year-old international competition, including “Best Innovation,” “Best Journalist,” and “Best Music Program Host.” New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards executive director Rose Anderson remarks, “Our categories for ‘Sound Art’ and ‘Best Innovation’ recognize the limitless advances of creativity. Our ‘Best Journalist,’ and ‘Best Music Program Host’ categories honor the artistry and dedication of the individuals at the mic.” Advisory board grand jury member/Geller Media president Valerie Geller works with broadcasters in 35 countries “to become more powerful storytellers and communicators.” Geller comments, “Stories are how we track our lives, learn about others, and develop empathy and understanding of the world. At its best, broadcasting informs, entertains, inspires, and persuades. Most importantly, it connects people to one another through our stories. It is satisfying on every level to have the opportunity and honor to hear the amazing work that news, documentary and program teams throughout the world are producing/creating.” NYFIRPA entries are received from radio stations, networks, and independent producers. Among the 2014 winners were the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (“Broadcaster of the Year”) and TBI Media UK (“Production Company of the Year”). Deadline for entering the competition is a little more than two months away (3/19); the awards ceremony will take place Monday, June 22 at New York City’s Manhattan Penthouse.
Creative Talent Inc. Signs Xavier Paul Cadeau. The voice of the Brooklyn Nets – Xavier Paul Cadeau – signs with talent agency Creative Talent Inc. The firm, founded and led by radio pro Steve Gallagher, announces the inking of the actor, comedian and voice-over artist to a management contract encompassing broadcast on-air hosting, live sporting events announcing and corporate and industrial hosting and voiceovers. Cadeau will be appearing on the upcoming HBO television series, “Crime.” Gallagher says, “You’ve heard his promo voice on HBO Sports, narrating on the History Channel‘s ‘UFO Files’, ‘Planet of the Apes’ week on SyFy and he’s been multiple characters on the ‘Grand Theft Auto’ video game series. Xavier Paul is an incredible talent.”
Talk Host Wendy Lowy Sloane Celebrates Radio Show’s Fifth Anniversary. The nationally syndicated “What’s Up with Wendy” radio show – hosted by Wendy Lowy Sloane – prepares to celebrate its fifth anniversary tomorrow (1/9). The BizTalkRadio program is based at WGCH, Greenwich, Connecticut and “showcases interviews with the biggest names in television, movies, music, comedy, fashion, literature, and sports, in addition to self-help segments.” Celebrity guests who will help Lowy Sloane recognize the anniversary include “Parenthood” actress Monica Potter, “Awkward” star Greer Grammer, and Michael Dinan, owner and editor of NewCanaanite.com. The program airs from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon on Fridays on WGCH and nationally on BizTalkRadio Fridays at 7:00 pm ET.
C. Crane Catalogue for 2015 Chock Full of Interesting “Radio” Units. As the role of the AM/FM “airwaves” appliance (commonly referred to as a “radio”) continues to struggle for a place of prominence within contemporary 21st century digital society, the remaining manufacturers and distributors of traditional radios – and still out there aggressively marketing them — play a very important role in the fabric of the broadcasting industry and hold a largely untapped key to its longevity. That being stated, the TALKERS editorial board continues to pore through the annual catalogue of products released by Fortuna, California-based C. Crane, an independent provider of radios who champions the concept of using the airwaves as a ground for mass communications. As C. Crane president Bob Crane puts it: “The freedom of radio listening is truly magical with its huge educational and entertainment benefits.” Crane continues, “Traditional radio and cell phones are dependent on radio waves. The invisible waves deliver mobility without a connection to wires. Radios will be here forever because they are devoted to the act of listening.” Crane sums it up: “When we started this company over 30 years ago, radio waves were broadcast over the air. For the most part, no matter what you listen with, they still are. Receiving radio waves better is what we specialize in. We are here to build the best radios we can to serve [our customers] now and in the future.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (pictured here) adds, “Ever since someone asked the audience of radio professionals at one of our recent New York Seminars, “How many of you have a small AM/FM radio in your possession at this moment and the only one who raised his hand out of several hundred in the room was Art Vuolo, I resolved that as long as I am in the business of serving the radio industry, I will always have a simple AM/FM unit nearby – like my keys, cell phone and wallet… if for nothing more than just principle.” One of the C. Crane units in Catalogue 2015 that Harrison has been carrying around lately is a neat little 5.5 ounce device dubbed the “CC SKYWAVE.” It is a travel pocket radio that features intuitively easy on/off AM, FM, Shortwave, Weather and Aviation bands (you can listen to pilot/control tower conversations to amuse or inform yourself while waiting for a plane) that retails for $89.95. For more information about C.Crane visit www.ccrane.com.
Charlie Hebdo Massacre, New GOP Controlled Congress, Bitter Cold Across U.S, 2016 Presidential Prospects, and Sinking Oil Prices/Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/7). The murder of 12 at the Paris satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo presumably by Islamic radicals and the world’s reaction; the agenda of the new GOP-controlled Congress and reports of John Boehner’s revenge on those who voted against him for House Speaker; the extreme cold hitting much of the U.S.; the potential candidates for president in 2016; and the sinking oil prices, euro concerns and the effects on the world financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Randall Bloomquist Exits Cumulus Corporate PD Post. News/talk pro Randall Bloomquist exits his corporate programming position with Cumulus Media due to “personal family reasons.” Bloomquist – who has programmed such news/talk stations as WMAL, Washington; WGST, Atlanta; WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte; and WRVA, Richmond during his career – joined Cumulus in the fall of 2013 to oversee the company’s news/talk programming. Bloomquist also served time as news/talk editor at the now-defunct Radio & Records trade magazine.
KABC, Los Angeles Launches Judge Cristina, Dr. Drew Midday with New Schedule. The addition of “Dr. Drew Midday with Mike Catherwood” to the daily program schedule on KABC, Los Angeles was announced late last year. What wasn’t known was the addition of Judge Cristina Perez to the daily schedule for the “Live @ Nine” program. Also, with the departure of Larry Elder from the station, Cumulus Media moves Jillian Barberie and John Phillips from middays to the afternoon drive slot. The company says, “‘Judge Cristina Live @ 9’ will focus on topical news throughout the region. Judge Cristina has become a household name as one of the most influential syndicated television hosts from her work hosting court shows on network television, including ‘Justice for All with Judge Cristina Perez,’ (airing mornings on KCAL-TV in Los Angeles), ‘Cristina’s Court’ (FOX) and ‘La Corte de Familia’ (Telemundo). She is the first Hispanic television judge to cross over from Spanish-language television to English-language television. ‘Cristina’s Court’ won three consecutive Emmy Awards. Cumulus EVP of content and programming John Dickey says, “Our live, local and topical programming has been incredibly well received by Los Angeles listeners. We have attracted some of the top talent in the country and continue to bolster the station’s lineup in order to meet the interests of our widening audience.” KABC operations director Drew Hayes adds, “KABC’S goal is to build a radio station that reflects the climate and attitude here. KABC is a sunny and up-tempo station discussing the news of the day, populated with the nation’s leading personalities. With these additions, we have successfully evolved the station to a compelling, entertaining, true Southern California station.”
Jeff Tyler Assumes iHeartMedia Minneapolis Market President Post. Longtime iHeartMedia executive Jeff Tyler is named the market president for the company’s Minneapolis cluster. Tyler has been serving as regional market manager for the company overseeing the Madison and Milwaukee markets as well as operations in Grand Rapids/Muskegon, Michigan; Eau Claire, Wisconsin; and Rochester, Minnesota. He comments, “I am excited to join a tremendous Minneapolis team in one of the best markets in the country. It will be an honor to represent the historic call letters and franchises of the Twin Cities. At the same time, it’s also bittersweet to leave teams in Madison and Milwaukee which have been a big part of my career and life.”
Schnacke Joins iHeartMedia Chicago as VP/Sales. After 17 years with the Chicago cluster now owned by Hubbard (previously by Bonneville), Jerry Schnacke joins crosstown iHeartMedia as vice president of sales. iHeartMedia Chicago market president Matt Scarano comments, “I am thrilled to have Jerry as part of our team. Jerry brings a wealth of expertise, high-level management experience, and a tremendous track record of success to our cluster. I am looking forward to working closely with Jerry in his new role.” Schnacke – who was vice president and market manager of the Hubbard Chicago facilities – remarks, “I am excited to be joining these iconic brands and honored to be on the iHeartMedia Chicago team with Matt Scarano. I am looking forward to working closely with the staff and our clients.” Prior to his Hubbard-Bonneville Chicago tenure, Schnacke was vice president and general manger of the stations Lakeshore Communications owns in Springfield, Illinois. The “Windy City” iHM cluster is comprised of urban contemporary WGCI-FM, gospel WGRB “Inspiration 1390,” CHR WKSC “Kiss-FM,” hot AC WLIT “My-FM,” WNUA “Chicago’s Hit Country,” urban AC WVAZ “V-103,” and the company operates urban talk outlet WVON “The Talk of Chicago” under an LMA. Hubbard Chicago consists of classic rock WDRV “The Drive,” adult contemporary WILV “Chicago’s 100.3,” and hot AC WTMX “The Mix.”
PodcastOne Names Kris Smith Chief Technical Officer. Credited with starting one of the first podcast production companies in 2005, Kris Smith joins Norm Pattiz-founded PodcastOne to serve as chief technical officer. The company says, “Smith has over a decade of experience in the medium, and has spent his career designing and developing digital products.” Pattiz says, “Kris is a pioneer podcaster and innovator. He has been creating podcasts and associated technology well before the medium ever went mainstream. Having him join our team and lead the technological growth of our company is of the utmost importance as we continue to play a larger part in the growth of the industry.” Smith replaces Rob Greenlee who will be starting his own consulting firm, with PodcastOne as its first client.
Israel-Based Talk Host Aaron Klein Joins ConnectPal for Digital Platform. Currently heard in New York City on Salem-owned WNYM “AM 970 The Answer,” New York Times best-selling author Aaron Klein joins ConnectPal.com with daily audio updates. ConnectPal states that “in addition to moving his podcasts exclusively to ConnectPal.com, Klein will distribute a new investigative audio feature throughout the week focused on the hottest breaking news stories. Plus, Klein will launch a ‘Reporter’s Notebook’ for his subscribers on ConnectPal, bringing listeners inside his daily investigative reporting, including his unique style of Middle East reportage.” Klein comments, “I have been searching for the best platform to launch regular audio and insider content throughout the week and have finally found an exciting, highly user-friendly marketplace in ConnectPal.com. I’m thrilled to be joining the portal and look forward to providing invigorating, newsy, exclusive additional content to my growing audience.”
CES 2015: The Connected Car Accelerates. Radio consultant Holland Cooke is reporting from the enormous International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas all this week and today’s report focuses on the connected car. Cooke writes, “The last several years’ conversation about radio’s position in the new-tech dashboard remains largely academic. As new non-AM/FM audio competitors appear there – and drivers’ attention is shared with so many non-audio apps now factory-installed – draconian radio cutbacks continue to dilute the localism that would continue to make stations unique among competitors.” Read more from Sin City here.
CBS Launches ‘Play It’ Podcast Platform. Providing a podcast platform for the company’s talent, CBS RADIO and CBS Local Digital Media announced the debut of Play.it. The company says the “new podcast network brings together digital-exclusive programming from major brands and publishers as well as content from CBS RADIO shows on demand.” The service “offers more than 300 premium content podcasts at launch, including podcasts from well-known CBS RADIO personalities like Boomer Esiason & Craig Carton, Carson Daly, and Kevin & Bean, as well as content from leading news, lifestyle, sports and media brands including 48 HOURS, 60 MINUTES, CBS Sports Radio, Vox, Deadspin, Simon & Schuster and Foursquare, among others.”
CBS Radio, Bloomberg Join Forces. The arrangement calls for Bloomberg Radio to be the primary supplier of business reports for CBS Radio’s owned-and-operated radio stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Boston, Detroit, and three other markets. CBS Radio executive vice president of operations/CBS Radio New York market manager Scott Herman comments, “This partnership will greatly raise the level of our business coverage, enhancing our product in cities from coast to coast. Bloomberg reporters will offer expertise and depth to local business stories of interest, reaching audiences of our individual radio stations.” Bloomberg Radio station manager Al Mayers states, “Partnering with CBS Radio was a natural fit that brings together the leader in news radio with the global leader in business news. It’s an important milestone for Bloomberg as we expand our audience of business decision makers.” United Stations Radio Networks is Bloomberg’s marketing partner, and it will handle advertising sales and sponsorships, as well as distribution. USRN president and chief operating officer Jim Higgins remarks, “With the addition of these great CBS Radio stations to our existing Bloomberg lineup, it clearly makes Bloomberg the preeminent business radio network for advertisers seeking an association with this extremely attractive and desirable audience. We are thrilled to be working with two of the most respected names in journalism.” Bloomberg Radio reporters are providing business news updates twice an hour on CBS Radio all-news stations, and at designated times on other CBS Radio properties.
Buckley Shuts Down Sports Talk KIDD, Monterey. According to a story in the Monterey Herald, Buckley Broadcasting took sports talker KIDD, Monterey “ESPN Central Coast” dark on New Year’s Eve and will try to sell the frequency. Station EVP Kathy Baker confirmed the move and the paper reports that cost was the factor in the decision to shut down the station. Issues related to tower maintenance of the almost 60-year old station appear to have been paramount. The towers reside in a coastal wetland and the company says it will take down the towers.
Odds & Sods. Named to the permanent afternoon drive daypart at iHeartMedia’s Fresno news/talk simulcast of KALZ-FM and KRZR “PowerTalk 96.7 and AM 1400” is Christopher Gabriel. He comes to the market from his most recent gig as morning personality at WDAY, Fargo and begins his new post on January 19…..CBS RADIO all-news KNX, Los Angeles takes a special look at the hacking of the entertainment industry with the program “Lights, Camera, Terror: Hacking Hollywood,” to air on January 13 at 10:00 am PT. Hosted by KNX anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman, the show will feature guests including: Sharon Waxman, editor-in-chief & CEO, The Wrap entertainment website; Matthew Belloni, executive editor, The Hollywood Reporter; Jonathan Handel, entertainment/technology attorney, Troy Gould; and Ross Crystal, KNX entertainment correspondent.
CNBC To Cease Nielsen Ratings Relationship. In a television development that might be of some interest to radio operators, CNBC becomes the first-ever cable outlet to end its ratings relationship with Nielsen. As of the fourth quarter of this year, Cogent Reports will measure CNBC’s business day. CNBC president Mark Hoffman states that throughout the network’s 25-year history, “Traditional measurement companies have struggled to capture CNBC’s audience of business executives, decision makers, and affluent investors who watch our network from their corner offices, trading floors, five-star hotel rooms, country clubs, restaurants and health clubs. We are excited to begin to provide our marketing partners with a more complete understanding of the power and quality of our prestigious audience.” Downplaying the decision of its rival, Fox Business Channel executive vice president of advertising Paul Rittenberg tells The Wall Street Journal, “Only using the numbers you like is a little tough to sell.” Another business player – Bloomberg Television – has never been measured by Nielsen. According to a Nielsen spokesperson quoted in The Wall Street Journal, “For networks with niche audiences like CNBC, pure age and gender-based ratings are not always the best means against which to sell.” The spokesperson notes that Nielsen will continue to measure CNBC’s evening programs. Market Strategies International‘s Cogent Reports will be measuring a television network’s audience for the first time. It will survey over 1,000 investors and financial advisers on their daily media habits; that data will provide CNBC’s ratings. Nielsen figures indicate CNBC’s average 9:30 am – 5:00 pm audience in 2014 was 177,000, which is down 13% from 2013 and off 17% from 2004.
GOP Takes Over Congress/Boehner Vote, Keystone Pipeline Legislation, Sinking Oil Prices/Financial Markets Activity, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Cold Snap, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/6). The official swearing in of the new Congress and the political storm over a contentious vote to return John Boehner to Speaker of the House; the potential fate of the Keystone Pipeline legislation the GOP Congress is promising to revive; sinking oil prices, the state of the euro and the effects on the world financial markets; the potential candidates for president including speculation about Rick Santorum’s possible run; the bitter cold affecting much of the nation; and the NFL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Bill McMahon: 14 Traits Inherent in Top Radio Personalities. In a piece published today (1/6) in TALKERS magazine, The Authentic Personality CEO Bill McMahon outlines what he calls “reasoned approach to evaluating talent.” McMahon says that in creating this list of traits he “wanted to create a framework to have a meaningful and productive conversation about why a prospective air personality will succeed or fail.” The traits fall into three categories: Personal, content, and performance. The personal traits predict listener appeal and talent motivation. The content traits predict the ability to generate distinctive, appealing and memorable content. The performance traits predict the ability to present attractive content with impact. Read McMahon’s full explanation here.
New Year’s Debuts from Westwood One and NBC Sports Radio. The first full week of the New Year marked the launch of new daily feature from former congressman and House Intelligence Committee chair Mike Rogers. Produced by Westwood One and titled, “Something to Think About with Mike Rogers,” the three, daily, one-minute features “provide listeners with an insider’s way of understanding critical issues and the most-talked-about topics of the day.” On the sports side, the new midday show on the NBC Sports Radio Network hosted by Mike Florio launched Monday. “ProFootballTalkLive with Mike Florio” airs from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm and, as its name implies, features Florio’s “critically acclaimed NFL insight and all-encompassing coverage of the league with the most current news, analysis, and thought-provoking debate.” Debut show guests included Denver Broncos EVP of football operations John Elway, NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino, and Tom Curran of CSN-New England.
WTMJ, Milwaukee Adds Daily Business Show. The program airs from 4:00 am to 5:00 am and is called “Wisconsin Business Today.” Hosted by Danny Clayton, the new program covers news on national and local business with special focus on agribusiness. Journal Broadcast Group Milwaukee Radio Operations VP Tom Langmyer says, “WTMJ is Wisconsin’s Radio Station and waking up to the business of our state and community is a good way to start the day. WTMJ is excited to add yet another hour of live and local programming to our daily lineup.” Clayton also serves as morning host at WTMJ sister classic hits outlet WLWK “94.5 The Lake.”
Odds & Sods. As tipped by Chicago media writer Robert Feeder, three of the former WGWG-LP, Chicago sports talk hosts – Jarrett Payton, Connor McKnight and Adam Hoge – have been given a weekend show on Tribune’s news/talk WGN. “The Game” airs from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Tribune shut down the sports talker after a year on the air…..SiriusXM announces the debut of a new channel called “SiriusXM Insight” that the satcaster says will be a “groundbreaking news, information, and entertainment radio channel offering listeners inspiring ideas and intelligent conversation with an edge. Designed to reach fans that enjoy the eclectic subject matter of public radio, SiriusXM Insight will feature an array of fresh, diverse voices addressing a new era of issues in a lively, smart, and sometimes humorous approach.” Personalities appearing on the channel include: Pete Dominick, Margaret Hoover, John Fugelsang, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Karen Hunter, Dean Obeidallah, Alan Dershowitz, Perri Peltz, Bob Roth, and many more…..The Conclave board of directors elects Lori Lewis board chairperson. Lewis is director of digital & social strategies for Jacobs Media. She takes over for Mark Bolke who served as chair since 2009…..Former Connecticut governor and WTIC-AM, Hartford talk show host John Rowland’s sentencing on campaign law violations has been postponed as he mounts the claim that prosecutors withheld evidence. Read the story in the Hartford Courant here.
Report from the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show. The big, international trade show taking place in Las Vegas this week officially opens today and radio consultant Holland Cooke is on the scene reporting back for TALKERS magazine. Cooke says two major keynoters are Ford Motor Company CEO Mark Fields, who can be expected to provide an update on the “connected car,” and CBS Corp CEO Les Moonves. Read Holland Cooke’s story here.
NYPD-De Blasio Standoff, Bill Clinton/Prince Andrew Palm Beach Pedophile Controversy, Hoodie/Mask Ban Proposal, 2016 Presidential Prospects, New Congress, Mario Cuomo Dies, Winter Cold Spell, Sinking Oil Prices/Eurozone Fears, and NFL Playoff Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/5). The ongoing feud between the NYPD rank-and-file and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio; allegations of Britain’s Prince Andrew and former President Bill Clinton being involved with underage girls in connection with accused pedophile Jeffrey Epstein; the proposal to outlaw the wearing of hoods or masks in public; chatter about the potential presidential candidates in the 2016 race; the influx of 71 new members of Congress; the death of liberal standard bearer Mario Cuomo; the blast of arctic air hitting much of the U.S. this week; the effects of sinking oil prices and the tumbling euro on the world’s financial markets; and the weekend’s NFL playoff action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Chip Franklin Named Midday Host at KGO, San Francisco. The next step in returning KGO to its talk roots from the newsy experiment that began a few years ago comes as Chip Franklin takes over the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot beginning December 8. Franklin has had long talk radio stints – most recently with KOGO, San Diego from 2007 to 2013 and with WBAL, Baltimore from 1999 to 2007 – and is also working writing position pieces and prep for guests on “Real Time with Bill Maher,” “Good Morning America” and “Face the Nation.” He also regularly appears at comedy clubs across the U.S. On his new gig, Franklin comments, “The current narrative is that San Francisco is all liberals, progressives and Democrats mixed in with the occasional 4.9. Maybe, but I see it more as a city that simply embraces freedom and more to the point, the free expression of ideas regardless of ideology. Whether it’s politics, art, music or comedy, it all starts with a passion for discovery – discovery of life here in the Bay area, the wider world, and our inner lives.” Cumulus Media EVP of content and programming John Dickey says, “KGO strives to inform and entertain the Bay Area with relevant news and compelling talk hosted by big personalities. Chip Franklin’s point of view, intelligence and wit are going to drive some amazing conversations on KGO.”
Odds & Sods. WABC, New York and CBS “Inside Edition” special correspondent Rita Cosby celebrated her 50th birthday hosting a special benefit for the Wounded Warriors Project at the Hotel Edison in New York City recently. Among the 1,000-plus guests and celebs attending the fundraiser were fellow WABC personalities Curtis Sliwa and Geraldo Rivera. Cosby is pictured here in this photo, (courtesy of Nicole Vranjican), with Broadway’s Tomaczek Bednarek at the event. Read more about the party here…..WPGG, Atlantic City talk show host Harry Hurley is named to the PolitickerNJ’s “2014 Power List.” This is the eighth time Hurley – morning personality on the Townsquare Media news/talk station – has been named to the list…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Tribune’s WGN, Chicago adds former Sun-Times columnist and critic Dave Hoekstra who will host his weekly “Evening Journal” radio program on the station beginning in December. The program will air Saturday evenings.
‘Sports Fix’ Celebrates Five Years on WTEM, Washington. Washington, DC midday sports talk show “The Sports Fix” with Kevin Sheehan and Thom Loverro is celebrating its fifth anniversary on Red Zebra Broadcasting’s WTEM “ESPN 980.” The station says the program “has been a ratings leader, achieving #1-ratings in its time slot throughout the five-year run.” Vice president of programming Chuck Sapienza adds, “‘The Sports Fix’ has been a constant performer. Kevin, Thom and producer Marc Sterne perform at a high level every day and it shows in their consistency and ratings success.”
Clear Channel Satellite Services to Serve iHeartMedia Only. In a story by Leslie Stimson at Radio World, iHeartMedia, the parent company of Clear Channel Satellite Services, is informing clients that it will no longer provide satellite services to non-iHeartMedia operators. Contracts currently existing will be honored until they expire and the company will not accept new ones. A memo from CCSS reads, in part: “In the coming weeks, our team will be working with the existing customers to discuss the best way for a smooth transition to a new provider. Customers with soon-expiring contracts will have the option to continue their service on a month-to-month basis until we’ve found a suitable assignee for the business.”
October Revenue Gains Reported in Los Angeles, San Diego. According to Miller Kaplan Arase‘s October summary report, Los Angeles posted increases of 3% for local spot and nearly double that (5.7%) for national spot. Meanwhile, San Diego was +1.3% local spot and a substantially higher +18% for national spot. Southern California Broadcasters Association president Thom Callahan comments, “Our entire region produced a very robust October as the critical fourth quarter began. The sluggish third quarter performance we had is a distant memory, as advertisers once again looked to Southern California radio for increased market share and real revenue results. Our combined market growth in October should set the stage for a dramatic and positive finish for [fourth quarter] and 2014. Our members’ efforts to provide proactive solutions to client challenges really came together in October. We see enormous positive energy in our markets and our continued regional focus on radio’s ROI is making a difference for all of our member sales teams.” Revenue in the “NTR/Network/Other” category improved last month by a whopping (approximately) 63% in Los Angeles and 26.3% in San Diego. October’s total market revenue for Los Angeles was 7.1%, while San Diego’s was 8.8%. Year-to-date total market revenue though is -2.2% (Los Angeles) and 2.9% (San Diego).
Ferguson Grand Jury Tensions, Jerusalem Terror Attacks, Keystone Bill Vote, Early Cold and Snow, ObamaCare/Gruber Controversy, and Bill Cosby Rape Allegations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/18). The simmering tensions in Ferguson as the public awaits the grand jury’s decision whether to indict Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown; Tuesday’s slayings in a Jerusalem temple; the failed vote in the U.S. Senate to move ahead with the Keystone Pipeline project; the six feet of snow that blanketed Buffalo and the cold affecting the rest of the country; the ObamaCare controversy surrounding plan architect Jonathan Gruber; and the new allegations of rape against Bill Cosby were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Glenn Beck’s Post-Illness Agenda Spotlighted in VICE Interview. After going public with the illness that’s been plaguing him for the past five years (an autoimmune disorder and adrenal fatigue) and the news that he’s beating the afflictions, Glenn Beck is rededicating himself to carrying out the media projects he’s been planning based out of his Texas studios. In the VICE piece that you can read here, Beck says that part of his personal change since dealing with the illness is his desire to produce programming and content that shows hope. “Instead of telling dystopian stories, we also need to look at the good side, look at what we can do: Man can be healthier, more well-connected, and we can end so much pain and suffering in a very good way and turn everything around…I really think that the freedom that is within our grasp is the exact kind of freedom that our Founders hoped someday we would find, but never understood the route that would get us there. Now, with technology, man can truly be as an individual is free.” Beck tells VICE about various projects his company is working on including biographies of Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison.
Crusham Calling It Quits. After more than 44 years in the radio industry, iHeartMedia Minneapolis market president Mike Crusham is retiring. Executive vice president of operations for major markets Hartley Adkins comments, “Mike Crusham has lead iHeartMedia Minneapolis through many successful years. He has built lasting relationships with co-workers and clients alike. His career has been fruitful and his legacy will not be forgotten. I will miss him and wish Mike all the best.” Crusham remarks that the “past nine years at iHeartMedia have been some of my most successful and personally gratifying in the business. iHeartMedia Minneapolis has great brands and stations, combined with a brilliant staff. I have had a tremendous team and a company that has been supportive and instrumental in setting me up to win. I have worked hard and had a blast doing it. I will miss the job and the people tremendously. It is, however, time for me to do something different.” The iHeartMedia Twin Cities cluster consists of CHR KDWB “All The Hits”; KEEY “K-102 Today’s Country”; sports KFXN-FM “The Fan”; classic hits-oldies KQQL “Kool 108″; hot AC KTCZ “Cities 97″; and talk KTLK-AM. Crusham joined iHeartMedia in mid-2005 as Miami’s director of sales. He was later named regional vice president for South Florida and Miami’s market manager. After a 10-month stint as the company’s market manager in Boston, he transferred to Minneapolis. Prior to joining iHeartMedia (formerly Clear Channel), Crusham held a variety of management and sales positions in Houston, Pittsburgh, Austin, Nashville, and Tulsa.
WEEI, Boston Adds Thornton to Air and Digital Platforms. A new personality joins Entercom’s WEEI, Boston, WEEI Network, and WEEI.com. Jerry Thornton is now an on-air host, digital columnist and blogger for the station’s website. He had been active on the station as a part-time program host and was a frequent contributor to BarstoolSports.com. He’s now the third member of the afternoon drive Dale & Holley show featuring Dale Arnold and Michael Holley. The company says that in addition to his reputation as a prolific sports journalist, Thornton is also known across New England as a very popular stand-up comedian. WEEI brand manager Kevin Graham comments, “We’re thrilled to add the talented and versatile Jerry Thornton to our roster. Jerry brings an entertaining outlook on the sports world and has great chemistry with Dale and Holley that will augment the show’s rapid growth. With his ability to write and connect with people via social media, Jerry will also be a huge asset to our already tremendous digital brand.”
John B. Wells’ ‘Caravan to Midnight’ Show Launches in National Syndication. The popular daily cybercast show “Caravan to Midnight” hosted by former “Coast to Coast AM” personality John B. Wells (pictured here) is launching in syndication available to AM/FM stations. Entercom’s WRKO, Boston joins the affiliate roster as the first major market station, airing a Saturday evening edition of the show. The “Caravan to Midnight” program debuted in February of this year. Wells’ show is described as one that “explores and exploits critical news stories that the mainstream media often ignores or superficially covers. With a well-informed curiosity and an unabashed pursuit of the truth, he expertly interviews high-profile guests who bring credible, frightening, entertaining and insightful perspectives to the program.” Wells comments, “Once my commitment to ‘Coast to Coast’ came to an end in January, I had the freedom to create my own platform and the opportunity to connect with like-minded truth-seekers. Not only has my audience followed me, but it continues to increase.” Spearheading the national radio syndication effort and overall brand extension is David Rubini, former CBS RADIO ad executive and current operations executive of C2M Network. He says, “John B. has a long track record for making money for his clients. Given the instant and overwhelming response and support for the ‘Caravan to Midnight’ cybercast, I’m confident his track record is going to get longer.” The radio program is syndicated and distributed by C2M Network, which is owned and operated by Wells and based in Dallas. In addition, Wells plans to develop new talent for syndication with C2M Network. To see a very interesting video demo of the show, click here.
Odds & Sods. TALKERS sources report that conservative media figure Monica Crowley is no longer hosting a radio program. Her weekend show had been syndicated nationally by TRN…..After an 11-year stint at WFXT-TV, Boston “Fox 25,” Doug “VB” Goudie exits the station and its morning news program. Goudie began his media career as an on-air producer and comic foil for Howie Carr on Entercom’s news/talk WRKO, Boston. He tells the Boston Herald that he could be persuaded to work with Carr again and jokes (referencing Carr’s recent auto accident), “I heard Howie’s looking for a driver. I’m available.” The station recently changed hands as part of a swap between Fox TV and Cox Media Group with Cox planning to take the station’s news programming in a hard-news direction…..iHeartMedia-owned Cincinnati outlets WSAI “Fox Sports 1360” and WCKY “ESPN 1530” are joining the Cleveland Cavaliers radio network and will bring Cavs basketball play-by-play to the market. The Cavaliers are Ohio’s only NBA franchise…..Former U.S. Senator and one-time presidential candidate Rick Santorum is joining forces with Salem Radio Network to fight the expected executive orders from President Obama granting amnesty to some 4 million-plus undocumented aliens. Santorum and the network’s hosts will ask listeners to petition the White House, via a SRN digital portal, not to take that action…..Westwood One releases its college hoops schedule for the 2014-15 season. The season kicks off tonight (11/14) with play-by-play from the Quicken Loans Veteran Classic and runs through the March 7 Stanford at Arizona contest.
Re-Thinking Your Website. The purpose of a radio station website has morphed over the past 15 years or so and if you’re concerned your station’s site might be a bit archaic, now’s a good time to revisit it. Mersoft Media director of business development Gabe Barnes writes in a piece for TALKERS magazine that, though it might seem elementary to some, there appear to be many station sites out there that aren’t taking into consideration what the industry knows about how people use websites. For example, Barnes says he still sees stations putting less important content or design in the most-viewed parts of a webpage. “Why waste this space when it can be used for promotions or sponsorship opportunities?” Read his entire piece here.
WABC’s John Batchelor Welcomes Asian Journalists. The photo here shows WABC, New York personality John Batchelor in the studio with a group of visiting Asian journalists. They are participants in the U.S. State Department’s 2014 Edward R. Murrow Fellows Program for Journalists. The visit to WABC was part of a four-city tour for promising young print and electronic reporters. Pictured here behind Batchelor are (from left to right): Pengfei Hou, Guangdong New Express Daily, People’s Republic of China; Haishan Wu, The Economic Observer, Peoples Republic of China; Boma Ardhi Nugroho, Swaragama FM Radio, Indonesia; Fergus Clancy Hunter, Fairfax Media, Australia; Dean Benitez Mario Antos, Metro TV, Indonesia; Hendrick Tze Seung Foh, Radio Television Malaysia.
Play it Again, Charles. The photo at left shows an exclusive client event held at the New York City home of CBS TV and Westwood One personality Charles Osgood as he entertains special agency guests by playing his ornate Steinway piano. After music, drinks, and hors d’ouevres, Osgood, Westwood One executives, and client guests moved on to an exquisite dinner at Quality Italian restaurant.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The GCN-distributed Steve Sanchez show joins the program lineup at KXXT, Phoenix where it will air from 7:00 am to 10:00 am.
Obama Executive Amnesty Plan and Lame Duck Congress Tied Atop Talkers TenTM. The controversy over President Obama’s plans to use executive powers to give amnesty to illegals and what’s likely to come from the lame duck congress tied as the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing in the #1 spot on the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the U.S.-China climate pact. Following at #3 was Russia’s plans to begin patrolling the Gulf of Mexico and at #4 was the comments about fooling the American public by ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Ramsey Packs ‘Smart Conference’ in Los Angeles. The photo you see here shows nationally syndicated talk radio superstar and best-selling author Dave Ramsey on the stage at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles at the sold-out “Smart Conference” that took place on Saturday (11/1). During the day-long conference, Ramsey, along with his daughter Rachel Cruze, Andy Andrews, Dr. Henry Cloud, Dr. Emmerson Eggerichs, Joy Eggerichs, and Dr. Meg Meeker, provided attendees with “essential information on how to win with money, strengthen their marriages, build parenting skills and excel in their careers.” To help promote the event, Ramsey partnered with local affiliate KEIB “The Patriot.” Program director Robin Bertolucci comments, “Dave Ramsey’s listeners are engaged and passionate. They connect with Dave at a very personal and emotional level. The Dave Ramsey show is clearly impacting people’s lives and building powerful bonds with the Patriot audience and our clients.”
Steinhauer Inks Multi-Year Renewal with Westwood One. Syndication giant Westwood One agrees to terms for a multi-year contract renewal with chief operating officer Charles Steinhauer. He’ll continue to oversee the management of the company’s day-to-day operations, including programming, technology, distribution, sports, marketing, affiliate services, research, compliance and strategy, and will report directly to Lew Dickey, chief executive officer for Cumulus Media. In addition to his role at Westwood One, Steinhauer serves as a director on the board of the Media Ratings Council and was chair of the Network Radio Research Council (NRRC). He is also an ARF Ambassador, a member of the RAB Council, and serves on the Nielsen Advisory Board. Lew Dickey says, “Charles is an exceptional talent and a key member of our executive leadership team. We’re excited to extend his contract and look forward to his important contribution as we build Westwood One into the world’s leading audio content company.”
The Rich Eisen Show Debuts Today. The new Rich Eisen program debuts across the Fox Sports Radio Network – clearing some 120 stations that carry the network’s programming. The addition of the DirecTV-produced program in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot affected the network’s lineup, most notably bumping “Jay Mohr Sports” into the afternoon drive slot, Eastern Time.
Odds & Sods. More election coverage to announce from TheBlaze Radio Network. Doc Thompson and Skip Lacombe are set to host the Glenn Beck-founded network’s election night coverage from Mercury Studios in Dallas from 7:00 pm until key races are decided. Jay Severin and TheBlaze TV’s Laurie Dhue and Amy Holmes will be contributing to coverage. TheBlaze notes that this coverage is multi-platform with TheBlaze TV and TheBlaze.com providing complementary coverage and analysis…..United Stations Radio Networks names Willis Damalt the newest rep in the company’s affiliate relations department. In his new role, Damalt will specialize in the affiliate marketing efforts of the company’s offerings for news/talk and sports formats…..This Thursday, CBS RADIO’s KNX, Los Angeles presents a special program called “Ebola Uncovered” from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm. The program is being co-hosted by KNX news anchor Tom Haule and investigative reporter Charles Feldman, who is co-producing the special with Laraine Herman. Reporter Margaret Carrero will contribute to the program which will also stream live on cbsLA.com. Listeners will have the opportunity to ask questions on the radio by calling 866-569-1070 or through Twitter using #knxebola. The guests will include a doctor who is an infectious disease specialist from UCLA, a sociologist from UC Irvine and a local doctor who recently treated Ebola patients in Liberia…..Filling in for morning personality Joe Piscopo on Salem Communications’ WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” are: PBS anchor, syndicated columnist and former New Jersey state legislator Steve Adubato; WNYM Sunday morning host (and former New York mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis; WNYM midday host John Gambling; and Brian Whitman and Elisha Krauss, co-hosts of “The Morning Answer” on the company’s KRLA, Los Angeles.
Entercom Announces Q3 Net Revenue Up 1%. On revenue of $99.8 million during the third quarter of 2014 Entercom is reporting the figure amounts to a 1% increase compared to the same period a year ago. The quarter also saw station expenses increasing 3% and station operating income dipping 3%. Entercom president and CEO David Field states, “Entercom’s performance accelerated during the third quarter, highlighted by a robust September during which revenues increased 7%, up 5% excluding political. Overall, third quarter revenues were up 1.4%, overcoming a weak August. We continue to focus on working to enhance our value to listeners and customers and to increase our growth potential for the future. To that end, we believe our competitive position, execution, and capabilities have all significantly improved over the past year and should enable enhanced performance in the year ahead.” Entercom is presenting an investor’s conference call today.
Tom Leykis Sells Out LA’s Laugh Factory with Show titled “Be Funny Live.” Internet radio maverick Tom Leykis brought a live version of one of his online program’s most popular features, “Be Funny,” to the stage of LA’s famous comedy club, the Laugh Factory this past Thursday evening (10/30) and RadioInfo’s West Coast correspondents report the sold-out event was a hilarious success. The program consists of a parade of characters culled from regular listeners and callers to his daily (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm PT) New Normal show performing parody songs and bits inspired by the news events of the day. Leykis is quoted in an article in the Orange County Register stating, “Every time there is a national tragedy such as the Boston bombing, the Malaysian airliner, Ray Rice, Ebola…every time something happens, these people go to the drawing board and figure out how to make a parody song about all of this horrible stuff. It’s hysterically funny and you wouldn’t want to be caught laughing at it but, people laugh at it because it is off-the-charts funny. A lot of them are full-on productions. We picked a bunch of people that the audience knows to go in and play their hits and then we balanced it out with people who maybe have never called or are relatively new to the show. We picked some people who are great and then some who are unbelievably bad and don’t know it but, they’ll find out the night of the show! [Laughs.]” Leykis’ show can be heard at www.BlowMeUpTom.com.
Build-Up to the Mid-Term Elections. At Embry-Riddle University in Daytona Beach, Florida, WNDB, Daytona Beach talk show host Marc Bernier (left) hosted Fox News political analyst and host of “Political Insiders,” John LeBoutillier (right) at the college’s President’s Speakers Series. The live event on October 31 was broadcast live on WNDB. During the program, LeBoutillier “handicapped” the tight election battles going on around the country.
CORRECTION: TALKERS magazine’s just-released 2014 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk is updated after a technical glitch led an incomplete version to be initially published. The list now includes Mike Missanelli, WIP-FM, Philadelphia tied at #14; Adam Gold & Joe Ovies, WCMC, Raleigh tied at #55 and Orlando Alzugary, WQAM, Miami at #97. We regret any inconvenience this error might have caused. See the 2014 list here.
WWXX License Renewal Objection Draws Response. The FCC is considering whether it should rule if the team name of the NFL‘s Washington franchise (“Redskins”) is indecent. One of that team’s three radio flagships – Red Zebra Broadcasting-owned WWXX – has filed its answer to objections regarding the renewal of its broadcast license. WWXT (92.7) and WWXX (94.3) repeat the signal of primary flagship WTEM “ESPN 980.” Red Zebra states that its response “makes clear that under the Communications Act and the First Amendment, the FCC should not be in the business of censoring the content of radio stations. Any debate about the team’s name and its meaning should be held in the free marketplace of ideas, not in the halls of the FCC or any other governmental agency.” Red Zebra counsel Andrew McBride of Wiley Rein LLP comments, “We hope the FCC will swiftly reject this transparent attempt to use the license renewal process to intimidate broadcasters across the country with the baseless threat that accurately reporting on the Washington football franchise by using the team’s full name violates any law or FCC regulation.” Many consider the name of the DC franchise a slur to Native Americans and they have called on team owner – and Red Zebra primary investor – Dan Snyder to change it. President Barack Obama is among those asking the NFL to endorse a name alteration, as are at least one-half the members of the U.S. Senate. In a preliminary 18-page formal petition to deny renewal of a station’s FCC broadcast license, petitioner John F. Banzhaf III, “a listener to station WWXX, respectfully requests on behalf of himself and others similarly situated, and who are like himself adversely affected or aggrieved, that the agency deny the renewal of this station’s license and any other requests. It deliberately, repeatedly, and unnecessarily broadcasts the word ‘R*dskins’ during most of its broadcasting day, and especially in prime time where its well documented adverse impact on impressionable young Indian as well as non-Indian children is greatest. Through its licensee and controlling owner Dan Snyder, also actively encourages or indeed forces many other broadcasters to likewise broadcast a derogatory racial and ethnic slur contrary to the public interest.” Banzhaf is an American legal activist and a law professor at George Washington University Law School. The Washington Post editorial board has stopped using the team’s name, and a panel of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled the team’s trademark registration four months ago. Even so, Snyder vows to keep the name. TALKERS legal editor Steve J.J. Weisman recently wrote a column about this matter addressing the FCC’s jurisdiction to rule on the issue. Read that piece here.
Cooke: Two Weekend Problems, Two Solutions. In a piece written exclusively for TALKERS, radio consultant Holland Cooke addresses two weekend problems that face talk radio stations and offers a couple of solutions. He says ask-the-expert shows – i.e. brokered programming from local attorneys, real estate agents, veterinarians, etc. – don’t have to sound bad! Coach them so their broadcasts are well-executed and informative. Plus, let these clients use your listen-on-demand capabilities to reach more potential customers and they will be more satisfied with the money they are spending on your station. Read Cooke’s entire piece here.
How Mobile Can Save Your Talk Radio Brand. Digital media pro Gabe Barnes says, in a column exclusive to TALKERS, that he’s surprised by the number of radio execs who are put off by the reported amount of radio app usage that takes place outside of the station’s broadcast range. They see primarily the streaming fees for a listener who’s outside the “market.” The Mersoft Media director, business development says that’s not necessarily bad. “Many of those listening out of the broadcast range are actually local residents or have some ties to that local community. A local advertisement would be just as effective, provided the advertisement is compelling and targeted.” But there are more advantages for getting fans of your programming to go “mobile” with it. Read Barnes’ entire column here.
WTIC, Hartford License Renewal on Enforcement Hold. With the conviction of former Connecticut Governor John Rowland – until April of 2014 the afternoon drive personality on WTIC, Hartford – on campaign fraud charges in the rear view, CBS RADIO’s news/talk WTIC, Hartford is now waiting out an enforcement hold on his license renewal with the FCC. In a story in the Hartford Courant, Edmund Mahony writes that the hold on the process is due to a “payola” complaint to the FCC related to Rowland’s actions promoting a Republican candidate in a primary race without disclosing – either to the radio audience or the FEC – that he was on that candidate’s payroll. The FCC doesn’t comment on the specifics of these matters and CBS RADIO is simply confirming that the process is on hold but the company does not know why. Rowland is set to be sentenced in January. The station certainly took its share of criticism for hiring Rowland after his first conviction in 2004 on corruption charges related to activities while in the governor’s office. Now, the station may be liable for a fine or reprimand, according to experts Mahony cites in his story. Most experts agree a denial of the license renewal for WTIC is unlikely, to say the least.
ESPN Radio to Air World Series. This marks the seventeenth straight year that ESPN Radio has exclusive radio rights to MLB‘s World Series. ESPN “Sunday Night Baseball” lead play-by-play announcer Dan Shulman and analyst Aaron Boone will function in those capacities on the radio broadcasts for the best-of-seven series that commences tomorrow night (10/21) between the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants. Pre-game and post-game coverage will be handled by Jon Sciambi, analyst Chris Singleton, ESPN MLB insider Peter Pascarelli, and Marc Kestecher. Meanwhile, for the tenth successive year, ESPN Deportes Radio will broadcast every game for a Spanish-speaking audience. San Diego Padres Spanish-language announcer Eduardo Ortega will be joined by Renato Bermudez, Armando Talavera, and Jose Francisco Rivera.
Cool Job Opportunity. One of the top newsrooms in the country, KMBZ in Kansas City, has an immediate opening for a Morning Show Executive News Producer. This is a unique opportunity for someone with great writing skills, an appetite for everything news, and a desire to create exclusive content each and every day. Candidates need to have a news background, and a good understanding of news-wheel operations. Reporting experience would be very good as well. “Kansas City’s Morning News” and KMBZ are committed to finding the right person to fill this position. If you have what it takes, send a resume, along with anything else that will make you shine to KMBZJobs@gmail.com. KMBZ and Entercom Kansas City are an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Salem Personalities in Israel. Four Salem Communications Christian teaching talk personalities are accompanying more than 350 listeners on a trip through the Holy Land. Pictured here from left to right are: Mark Daniels, WFIL, Philadelphia; Frank Sontag, KKLA, Los Angeles; Georgene Rice, KPDQ, Portland; and Kevin McCullough, nationally syndicated and WMCA, New York after a lunch on Mt. Carmel in Haifa, Israel. Also joining the listeners and personalities on this trip is Salem Communications radio division president David Santrella.
Doug Stephan and WYD Media Management Partner for Syndication. The new relationship between nationally syndicated radio personality Doug Stephan and Ron Hartenbaum’s WYM Media Management means WYM begins handling affiliate sales for Doug Stephan’s “Good Day” morning show and it will oversee the national launch of “Good Day Weekend,” a three-hour show that will be available for broadcast any time, every weekend. The two partners say the new show will feature “segments and stories in real time, discussing the week’s breaking news with lively interviews of newsmakers and plenty of advice and fun commentary.” Doug Stephan comments, “Ron and his talented team bring a level of professionalism and credibility that will surely take ‘Good Day’ to unprecedented levels. I’m looking forward to working with such a wonderful partner.”
The Village Voice Names Geraldo Best AM Radio Host in NYC. The iconic New York paper is out with its 2014 Best Of Awards and WABC late morning personality Geraldo Rivera takes the Best AM Radio Personality Award. The paper writes, in part, “Geraldo Rivera actually has something to say. The guy understands the issues of the day and has enough confidence in his opinions to call bullshit on blowhards like Bill O’Reilly, which he often does on that toad’s own show with style and red-faced grace.” Check out the full story here.
Full Service FM Signal Begins Serving Muskegon, Michigan. The programming at WFFR, Muskegon, Michigan is a blend of talk and music that launched on Monday, October 13 as a non-profit station operated by Shoreline Broadcasting. Local radio pros – including Andy O’Riley, Bill Marshall and Matt Hendricks – are serving as on-air personalities. According to MLive.com, the station is branding itself, “The Official Radio Station of Muskegon County.” The station is playing music – mostly classic rock – when it’s not airing spoken-word content. O’Riley, who is also serving as the station’s general manager, says on the station’s website, “Our focus will be on making sure that our role as a community asset will be appreciated and used often. Yes, we need to make a living but we also need to be the voice of a community.”
Farm Journal Broadcast to Debut Digital Platform. From Farm Journal Broadcast comes a digital mobile radio service called, “My Farm Radio.” The company says that the new digital effort is set to debut on November 3 and will focus on providing a mix of best-in-class news, weather and markets along with entertaining and informative conversation for America’s farmers and ranchers. It will feature both a live stream and on-demand content. Farm Journal Media SVP of broadcast Brian Conrady says, “All the latest research indicates that for a growing number of farmers and ranchers, mobile devices are rapidly becoming the go-to choice for news and information. While this totally new offering will be a first for agriculture, we expect our audience – and clients – will quickly associate ‘My Farm Radio’ as the Pandora-type app for agriculture.” My Farm Radio will launch with the full portfolio of programs and reports from Farm Journal Media, including “AgriTalk,” “Market Rally,” and “American Countryside.” In addition, the company will be approaching potential programmers to make their shows or reports available on the app, or even own their own channel on the platform.
Big Radio Brings Back Heritage WBEL Calls to Beloit, Wisconsin Station. The Scott Thompson-operated Big Radio company announces a change of call letters as WTJK, Beloit is now WBEL-AM – the calls it originally signed on with in 1948. Thompson says, “The future of AM1380 is in its past…For years, it was the powerhouse radio station not only for Beloit, but for the entire Rock River Valley in both Wisconsin and Illinois. Because it is a full-time 5,000 watt radio station, we intend to bring it back to its glory days. Local news, weather and high school sports together with local, real, non-satellite personalities will air from 5:00 am to 6:00 pm. Now with the addition of WGEZ in Beloit, Big Radio will be able to broadcast on both WBEL and WGEZ from their studios in downtown Beloit.” The WGEZ purchase from Alliance Communications is expected to be approved by the FCC by the end of the year. At the same time, the company announces that Ben Thompson (son of Scott), is named general manager of WGEZ and market manager for Janesville/Beloit. Ben Thompson has been with Magnetar Capital, an Evanston, Illinois-based hedge fund, since graduating from DePaul University in finance and accounting. He will be moving to Beloit and starting effective December 1, 2014.
U.S. Ebola Cases/Pandemic Threat, the Battle Against ISIS, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Prospects, Hong Kong Protests, Financial Markets Activity, and MBL Playoffs and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/14). The case of the second Texas hospital worker to become infected with Ebola and the threat of a pandemic; the coalition battle against ISIS and controversy over the U.S. and Turkish military relationship; the looming mid-term elections and the prospects for the 2016 presidential election; the protests in Hong Kong and China’s response to the matter; the dip in U.S. stocks and the activity in the global financial markets; and the MLB playoffs and NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Veteran Radio Programmer Kevin Metheny Succumbs to Heart Attack at 60. Longtime broadcasting executive and major talk radio programmer Kevin Metheny has unexpectedly died yesterday (10/3) afternoon due to what is being reported as a sudden heart attack at the age of 60. Metheny had been serving as operations manager of Cumulus Media outlets KGO and KSFO in San Francisco since June. Before that he was program director of WJR, Detroit, also a Cumulus station. He was a second generation radio professional, the son of broadcaster Terrell Metheny. John Dickey, EVP programming and content for Cumulus issued the following statement: “Kevin Metheny’s sudden passing this afternoon is a devastating personal and professional loss for his broadcasting family at Cumulus, and for the entire radio industry. Kevin was a legendary broadcasting talent who touched many lives in his remarkable 44-year career, and whose successes made an indelible mark on radio. His reputation and accomplishments are simply unparalleled and we are grateful for having had the opportunity to work with him as PD of WJR in Detroit and most recently, as operations manager of KGO and KSFO in San Francisco. His Cumulus family extends our deepest sympathies to Kevin’s loved ones. We will miss him profoundly.” Metheny began working in radio at KWHP, Edmund, Oklahoma and WKY, Oklahoma City. His long and storied career includes having worked at a number of key radio stations around the country, most notably as programmer of WNBC, New York with Howard Stern (who critically dubbed a character in his autobiographical book Private Parts based on Metheny, “Pig Vomit”) in the 1980s and in more recent times with Jacor, Clear Channel and the Randy Michaels regime at WGN, Chicago. TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison states, “Metheny was one of the major radio programmers of the modern era. He had a keen understanding of the basics of talk radio and the important role talent plays within it. He wasn’t afraid of controversy nor subjecting himself to criticism. After more than four decades of making a difference in this industry he was still involved in one of the hot spots of action where he was well on his way to engineering a turn-around at the Cumulus operations in San Francisco. This is a tragic loss for all of us who care about radio. Our deepest condolences to his family and colleagues.”
To Reach Millennials, Get Real. In a column posted today (9/29), media consultant Holland Cooke reports from the recent Maine Association of Broadcasters conference where a major topic of conversation was reaching the Millennial generation. Cooke writes that the news for radio operators today with regard to this generation is a good news/bad news scenario: The good is that Millennials like the idea of an audio-only medium but the bad news is they don’t want it to sound like it did for generations past – they have very different media sensibilities. “Keeping it real” is the mantra for this generation as comments from the “How Millennials Use Media” panel indicate. Cooke reports college-age panelists said things like, “People our age find radio gimmicky,” and, “Authenticity is a huge factor.” Read Cooke’s entire column here.
Talent Rant in Chicago. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, a war of words was started over the weekend after Windy City radio legend Steve Dahl broke out the heavy verbal artillery against WGN, Jimmy de Castro and pretty much everyone who works on air at WGN. Apparently sparked by his take that WGN president de Castro is a “glory hog” (for appearing in the front row during a group photo of the staff and WGN Walk of Fame honoree Pat Hughes), Dahl let loose with his opinion of the personalities and the station. That brought a return volley from WGN morning personality Steve Cochran who wrote an open letter published by Feder in which he asked, simply, “Why so bitter, Steve?” You can read Feder’s coverage of the Dahl podcast rant here and check out Cochran’s reply here.
Kansas City Woman’s Court Victory at Entercom’s Expense Serves Up Lessons for Broadcasters. Friday’s court victory for a Kansas City law student who was incorrectly identified as a “local porn star” by the “Afentra’s Big Fat Morning Buzz” show on Entercom’s alternative KRBZ “96.5 The Buzz” provides more lessons for broadcasters in how to avoid falling victim to a (in this case) $1 million dollar penalty for something that could have been avoided. As you are probably aware by now, Ashley Patton was misidentified by the morning show as a “local porn star” after confusing her name with that of a text-message suggestion by a listener who wrote to the show that Ashley Payton put pornographic images of herself online. On Friday, the jury awarded $250,000 in actual damages and the two sides agreed to punitive damages of $750,000, which Entercom will not appeal. Entercom had believed that its hosts had not actually engaged in negligent behavior since the identification of Patton was accidental and the station fixed the mistake as soon as it found out about it, as reported in the Kansas City Star’s coverage of the case. But that’s not exactly what happened. It stands to reason the station may have been able to avoid further angering Patton – and avoid the subsequent lawsuit – if it had acted quickly when Patton spoke with program director Scott Geiger hours after the bit aired. According to court records, during that conversation, Geiger questioned Patton’s statement that she was not a porn star, even asking her, “How do you know that you’re not a porn star?” He also promised to call her back after investigating the incident but never did.
Radio America to Syndicate ‘Financial Myth Busting.’ The weekend program “Financial Myth Busting with Dawn Bennett” is being syndicated nationally by Radio America. The show is described as being “designed to help Americans separate financial facts from fallacies.” Host Dawn Bennett is the CEO of Bennett Group Financial Services and she says, “Our message of being true to what is really happening in the financial world as it relates to geopolitical events has struck a chord with listeners. We’ve brought an array of guests on the show to report on subjects that deserve more attention. Partnering with Radio America allows us to take these important ideas to a much larger audience, and I couldn’t be more excited.” Radio America COO Mike Paradiso adds, “Dawn has a way of cutting through the noise and providing clarity in the cluttered world of financial and economic opinion.”
Accepting the Buckley Award for Media Excellence. WABC, New York-based and nationally syndicated talk personality Mark Levin is pictured here accepting the William F. Buckley Award for Media Excellence from the Media Research Center at its 2014 Gala on Thursday, September 25, 2014. Levin joins conservative broadcasters Rush Limbaugh, the late Tony Snow, and Brit Hume as a recipient of the award. During his acceptance speech, Levin made a case for Republican candidates to return to the conservative principles of Ronald Reagan and William F. Buckley.
Odds & Sods. In honor of the 25th anniversary of news personality Brian Lehrer’s time with WNYC, the New York public radio outlet is airing a special program titled, “25 Years in 25 Days: Then and Now with Brian Lehrer.” The “five-week series takes a look back at the defining global and local news stories from each year that Lehrer has been on the air.”…..The United Nations Department of Public Information announces the debut of audio news available to broadcasters via its new in-language mobile app. Audio content from the United Nations in eight languages is now accessible. Covering meetings and events at UN Headquarters in New York, UN Radio also produces news features and analyses on a variety of social, political, economic, development and cultural issues involving the UN and its work.
Joan Hamburg to Host Weekend Show on WABC, New York. After a long career at crosstown heritage AM news/talker WOR, Cumulus Media announces that New York radio personality Joan Hamburg is joining its news/talker 77 WABC to host a weekly Saturday program to air from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Cumulus says on the show Hamburg “will continue discussing the most important social, economic and political issues that impact listeners’ lives each week. Hamburg will also interview major celebrities and powerful political figures on the program.” In addition, the deal calls for Hamburg to produce weekly features and exclusive programs available in digital formats. Hamburg comments, “How excited I am to join legendary WABC radio and work with Kim Bryant, Craig Schwalb and the rest of the Cumulus family. And what a treat to join their roster of the best talk talent in the country. New York get ready — the conversation is about to begin.”
Talk Host Jim Villanucci Resigns from KXL, Portland. There is little known at this time about what has transpired to cause midday talk show host Jim Villanucci to resign from his position with Alpha Media’s KXL, Portland but a Tweet from KXL’s Lars Larson states simply that Villanucci has resigned for “personal reasons” and that Larson wishes him well. Filling in during the daypart is Victoria Taft.
Tension Between WFAN’s Mike Francesa and Management Over Fox Sports Simulcast. According to a story by Neil Best in Newsday, WFAN, New York afternoon drive superstar Mike Francesa has been ordered by CBS RADIO management – under threat of lawsuit – not to gripe publicly about the simulcast of his show being bumped from cable’s Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 for live sporting events. Best reports that while Francesa didn’t talk specifically about the Fox Sports simulcast issues, he said on his radio show that in contrast to a corporate statement to the contrary, he has been threatened with legal action if he speaks publicly about anything that costs the company money, with the implication being the Fox Sports arrangement. In other words, he could be held liable for any income CBS loses if the Fox Sports relationship dissolves. Read Best’s piece here.
Cisco Cotto Joins CBS RADIO’s WBBM-AM, Chicago. Newsman and talk show host Cisco Cotto is becoming part of the staff at CBS RADIO’s all-news WBBM-AM and WCFS-FM, Chicago, according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder. Cotto has worked in the Chicago market his entire career. He started at CBS’ former all-news WMAQ and has served as news anchor at Cumulus Media’s crosstown WLS-AM (where he also went on to host a talk show) as well as at Salem’s news/talk WIND, and the Moody Bible Institute’s Christian talker WMBI. His position at WBBM and WCFS is anchor/reporter. Read Feder’s entire column here.
KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh Adds Comic Jim Krenn to Friday Program. Joining the “KDKA Morning News with Larry Richert and John Shumway” each Friday is Jim Krenn, a popular Pittsburgh radio personality and comedian. KDKA-AM program director Jim Graci says, “KDKA is delighted to have Jim Krenn on the station each Friday morning. It’s like adding another big bat to an all-star lineup, and will give KDKA listeners another reason to smile heading into the weekend.” Krenn is a Pittsburgh native who worked successfully in Steel City radio for 24 years. He is currently producing a weekly podcast titled, “Jim Krenn: No Restrictions.”
Dreyer Named Director of Integrated Media for NRG. Appointed to the newly created position of director of integrated media for NRG Media is Erica Dreyer. In making the announcement, NRG president and CEO Mary Quass noted that Dreyer recently served in the same post for both Maverick Media of Rockford, Illinois and Mid-West Family Broadcasting of Rockford for the past seven-plus years. Quass states, “Digital media offers the greatest potential revenue growth for radio today. Erica Dreyer has earned seven awards for excellence in the digital arena. Dreyer’s the maverick we need to lead this new department.” In this position, Dreyer will be responsible for infusing new inventory and pricing techniques into NRG’s interactive portfolio. Dreyer will also train and educate sales departments in the station group to produce more sophisticated, high-value integrated solutions for clients and help educate advertisers about integrated solutions for their business needs. Dreyer starts with NRG on September 30.
WPHT, Philadelphia Speaker Series Hosts Senator Ted Cruz. Tonight’s event at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia is the latest in the WPHT Speaker Series and will feature Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) discussing the First and Fourth Amendments. The program takes place in observance of Constitution Day and WPHT morning drive personality Chris Stigall is moderating the discussion.
The Big Issue of the Day. Pictured here are ESPN personalities (from left to right) Jemele Hill, Jane McManus and Cari Champion in the studio during the production of the podcast “espnW Presents: The State of the NFL on ESPN Radio.” The show was a joint effort by espnW and ESPN Radio. Also appearing on the program were espnW personalities Kate Fagan and Sarah Spain. ESPN host Keith Olbermann and National Organization for Women president Terry O’Neill joined the conversation as guests.
The NFL and Domestic Violence, U.S.-Led Coalition Against ISIS, Mid-Term Elections, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Presidential Run, New Benghazi Investigation, Ebola Virus Pandemic Threat, Scotland Succession Referendum, and Obama Amnesty Issue Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/16). The ongoing furor over the domestic violence issues plaguing the NFL; debate over the potential effectiveness of the U.S.-led coalition to combat ISIS; the looming mid-term elections and how they may affect majorities in Congress; Hillary Clinton’s weekend appearance in Iowa and her possible run for president in 2016; the new Benghazi investigation; the status of the Ebola outbreak in Africa and the potential for a pandemic; Thursday’s referendum on whether Scotland breaks away from the U.K.; and Senator Ted Cruz’s effort to prevent amnesty action by President Obama were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Radio Television Digital News Association Honors Nagler. This past Friday night (9/5) in Nashville, CBS Radio News vice president Harvey Nagler received the Radio Television Digital News Association‘s John F. Hogan Distinguished Service Award. The honor recognizes an individual’s contributions to the journalism profession and freedom of the press. During his acceptance speech, Nagler stated, “Schools must be incubators for innovation in a field that desperately needs it.” Many years ago, those in radio, television, and print, Nagler remarks, were “the messengers,” who decided what Americans would know. “Today it is the reverse,” he opines. “Everyone can publish – everyone can, at least, perceive themselves as journalists. Content is ubiquitous. It is often hard to discern the big picture from individual snapshots of information that flood our devices. To place context on stories, many still seek out journalistic entities with traditional values. In the end, it proves we still need to be able to turn to journalists and news organizations we can trust.” Believing that the public’s “appetite for news has never been greater,” Nagler emphasizes, “It is our job, our responsibility, our mission to maintain that trust as we broaden our roles on new platforms, while continuing to serve our audiences on our traditional platforms.” Prior to becoming vice president of CBS Radio News nearly 17 years ago, Nagler is credited with establishing the phrase, “traffic and weather together on the eights” when he was director of news programming for CBS Radio New York’s WCBS-AM.
A Case for Accurate Headlines. A story published today in TALKERS magazine by WFAN, New York sports talk host Richard Neer underscores the position talk hosts often find themselves in today when taking on a delicate – and complicated – issue. Neer accurately points out that in today’s media culture, where all content must be immediate, fresh and provocative, there is little time for anything that isn’t black and white or that involves any depth. Neer writes that for the talk host, “There is no tolerance for asking questions that have no easy answers. Certain stories are reported from only one angle. Anyone who carefully parses a statement that the press declares politically incorrect is defined as supporting the dark side. Forget nuance, once you are attacked by the consensus bullies, you can only surrender and apologize, lest you lose your livelihood.” He points to one of the culprits in this matter: the news headline. Neer says so many headlines are misleading and are written purposely that way to tantalize to get people to read the story. But often times, upon closer inspection, it becomes clear the headline is misleading or even the exact opposite of what the text of the story shows. Still, what readers (assuming people actually go on to read the story) often come away with is a “glib conclusion based on the headline.” Read his entire piece here.
Brian Joyce Show Gets Permanent Billing on WGOW, Chattanooga. Mid-afternoon talk show host Brian Joyce tells TALKERS magazine that the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm time slot on Cumulus Media’s WGOW, Chattanooga “Talk Radio 102.3” is now officially called the Brian Joyce show. Since he took over the slot in April of 2012, the daypart had been called “Live & Local.” Joyce also reports that since he began hosting his show, that daypart has gone from 10th in the market among Men 25-54, and 15th in the market among Persons 25-54, to among the top three in both demos, making it the first time in station history that this has been accomplished.
Tribune Sports Talker WGWG-LP, Chicago Announces Changes. A couple of changes to report at the sports talk outlet WGN Radio programs on low-power FM WGWG, branded “The Game 87.7 FM.” In conjunction with Tribune Media, the station announces Chicago Bears’ cornerback Tim Jennings and safety Ryan Mundy will join as on-air contributors appearing on segments during the “Kap & Haugh” and the “Jarrett, Harry & Spike” shows, as well as Jennings co-hosting the weekly hour-long program, “The Jennings & Jarrett Show,” with The Game’s Jarrett Payton. Jennings and Mundy will also provide updates on WGN-TV during the morning and evening news. At the same time, as Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports, Howard Griffith goes to part time with his duties at the station, due to his workload at the Big Ten Network. Griffith had been sharing equal billing with Alex Quigley and Ben Finfer on the station’s afternoon drive program.
Clip Interactive Announces Revenue Successes in Portland and Indy Markets. Saying that it measures its success based on the new advertising dollars that its interactive radio apps bring to its station partners, Clip Interactive announces its apps developed for Alpha Media and Salem Broadcasting in Portland and Cumulus Radio in Indianapolis have generated more than $1 million in new revenue to date in 2014. Further, the company says Clip Radio-powered stations are producing $100,000 of new revenue within 30-45 days of launch and Clip says this shows not only that radio advertising works, but also proves that an innovative and revenue-generating mobile solution is now available and radio advertisers embrace it. Moreover, Clip says this net new revenue is coming from multiple sources including advertisers who are completely new to radio and returning advertisers who previously left radio for digital media. Alpha Media’s president and CEO Bob Proffitt comments, “We are now able to attract advertisers that had previously abandoned the medium for alternative digital solutions. Through the Clip Radio-powered apps, we are able to build a stronger relationship with both our listeners and our advertisers, providing both groups with compelling content that they cannot find anywhere else. We are eager to expand our interactive radio capabilities to our other Alpha Media markets.”
TALKERS Affiliate Roundup. KNEI-FM, Cedar Rapids adds Envision Networks-distributed VirtualNWS Weather Reports featuring meteorologist Laura Huckabee…..The Sun Broadcast Group-syndicated Marilu Henner show joins the programming at KUSH-AM, Cushing, Oklahoma and KJFF, Festus, Missouri.
Obama ‘Theater of Being President’ Comment, Obama Drops Immigration Changes, Ray Rice Cut and Suspended by NFL, U.S. ISIS Strategy-Wednesday Press Conference, Global Warming Controversy, Midwestern Child Respiratory Virus Mystery, Bruce Levenson Scandal, and Joan Rivers Funeral Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/8). Criticism of President Obama’s comment on “Meet the Press” that the “theater of being president” doesn’t come naturally to him; Obama’s decision to not pursue immigration law changes via executive order before the mid-term elections; the Baltimore Ravens cut Ray Rice and the NFL suspends him indefinitely after the full video of him punching out his wife in an elevator is revealed; Wednesday’s scheduled press conference during which President Obama will address the US’s ISIS strategy; increased scrutiny of the global warming theory; the mystery of a respiratory virus affecting thousands of Midwestern children; Atlanta Hawks owner Bruce Levenson’s admission of a racist email forces sale of team; and the weekend funeral of comedienne Joan Rivers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cox Revamps ‘102.5 The Bone’ in Tampa – without Bubba the Love Sponge. Saying that it is “taking the station in a different direction,” Cox Media Group Tampa announces the redesign of talk outlet WHPT, Tampa “102.5 The Bone” and moves afternoon personality Mike Calta to AM drive. The rest of the day looks like this: Billy Madison from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon; Shannon Burke from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; “In Your Face with Drew Garabo” from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm followed by “The Bone Daily Rewind Show” from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm. CMG Tampa VP and market manager Keith Lawless states, “CMG periodically changes direction, talent and format of its various media programs in order to provide our audiences with fresh perspectives and compelling content. ‘The Bone’ has proven to be one of America’s most outspoken radio stations. Tampa Bay can expect ‘The Bone’ to continue to deliver ‘Real, Raw, Radio’ every day.” The station says that although it is discontinuing the Bubba the Love Sponge show, it will continue to be the technical head end to the Bubba Radio Network through the end of 2014. The Bubba the Love Sponge Show is heard on KRZQ, Reno; WTRS, Ocala; WRXK, Ft. Myers; WZLB, Ft. Walton Beach; WYBB, Charleston, South Carolina; and WRSO, Orlando.
Social Media Dominator? Facebook. According to NuVoodoo‘s latest “Ratings Prospects Study,” Facebook remains the prevailing social media outlet of choice among those who are 14 – 54 years old. Moreover, as NuVoodoo vice president of research Leigh Jacobs states, “Despite all the hype surrounding them, both Snapchat and Vine are comparatively small players overall. While other players get more coverage, Instagram has the deepest penetration among teens [14 – 17] after YouTube and Facebook; it is getting traction among [those] 18 – 34. We found continuing positive momentum for Facebook, even among 14-17-year-olds. Other platforms have stronger momentum, but given its tremendous reach, Facebook remains a powerful tool for connecting with listeners.” NuVoodoo executive vice president of marketing Mike O’Connor comments that, “Radio marketing is about influencing the most likely ratings respondents at the lowest cost possible. It is clear from our findings that heavy users of both broadcast and Pandora can be reached in numbers on Facebook and YouTube that rival the home phone of a decade ago. Imagine knowing the exact music taste of everyone and then only calling the most likely listeners. It is that precise targeting and cost-efficiency that makes social media the great equalizer.” NuVoodoo interviewed nearly 1100 respondents, ages 14-54, in all PPM markets for this study.
Brad and Britt Join WJZY-TV, Charlotte for Commentary Duties. Radio talk show hosts-turned-podcasters Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire – formerly of WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte – are now part of the weekend staff at Fox TV O&O WJZY-TV, Charlotte as they begin handling commentary duties on the new show, “Good Morning Carolinas.” They report they will be offering takes on politics and happenings of local and national importance. They’ll also be on the station’s “Ten O’Clock News” on Wednesday (9/3) to offer analysis of the first debate between Senator Kay Hagan (D) and challenger Thom Tillis (R). Of course, they will continue their daily podcast, which is available on iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, SoundCloud, and BradandBritt.com.
WFAN, New York Names Argaman GSM. Promotions in the sales department at CBS RADIO’s sports talk WFAN, New York include WFAN/Yankees Radio Network sales chief Sean Argaman being named general sales manager for WFAN effective immediately. At the same time, CBS RADIO EVP of operations Scott Herman announces Brian Rooney has been promoted to sales manager and will assume additional responsibility working alongside Argaman. Steve Kalman takes over the role of head of Yankees sales.
Michael Berry Helps Raise More than $200k for PTSD Foundation of America. Houston-based talk show host Michael Berry – the “Czar of Talk Radio” – helped raise a total of $207,598 for the PTSD Foundation of America, an organization for which he is the national spokesman. Partnering with Gringo’s and Jimmy Changas, popular Tex-Mex restaurants in the Houston area, and calling upon his listeners to join him at four concerts the restaurants underwrote, Berry and his cohorts donated all ticket revenue to the cause. Berry says, “Live radio has the ability to bring together listeners, show sponsors, and people in need, in real time, and make magic. When the roll is taken up yonder of the effect of radio in communities in America, we should tally all the work being done by local hosts across the country who are doing this in their cities every single day. Every year, I listen to Rush speak from his heart about leukemia and lymphoma during his Cure-a-Thon. And it makes me think that we all need to do more, and use our powerful microphone for good. THIS is what makes radio fun.” Pictured here at the presentation ceremony are (from l-r): Berry, Camp Hope executive director David Maulsby (Camp Hope is run by the PTSD Foundation of America); two unidentified veterans who received peer counseling at Camp Hope; and local restaurateur Russell Ybarra who donated $125,000 and hired the bands to help raise the rest of the money.
Beasley Broadcast Group Announces Corporate Award Winners. At its annual management meeting held at the corporate offices in Naples, Florida this week, Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. gathered corporate management and station leadership from the eleven markets in which it operates to celebrate achievements and contributions from individual employees and radio stations over the preceding twelve months. The 2014 honorees include: WXKB-FM, Fort Myers-Naples – Radio Station of the Year; Brad Beasley – General Manager of the Year/Fort Myers-Naples; Donna Williams – Business Manager of the Year/Augusta, Georgia; AJ Lurie – Sales Manager of the Year/Fort Myers-Naples; Tee Gentry – Program Director of the Year/Augusta; Lamar Smith – Engineer of the Year/Las Vegas; Natalie Conner – CEO Award of Excellence/Executive Vice President. Founder, chairman and CEO George Beasley states, “It is a sincere privilege each year to honor our company’s highest achievers. The level of professionalism within Beasley Broadcast is tremendous. The ladies and gentlemen we recognize for 2014 worked very hard to earn this recognition, and for that they have also earned my respect. I am very proud of each of them.” Pictured here at the corporate meetings are (from left to right): VP of programming Justin Chase; EVP of operations Brian Beasley; VP market manager Kent Dunn (Augusta); chairman and CEO George G. Beasley; president and COO Bruce Beasley; EVP and CFO Caroline Beasley; VP of engineering and CTO Mike Cooney; VP market manager Brad Beasley (SW Florida); retiring VP market manager Natalie Conner (Philadelphia); VP of sales Heather Monahan; director of sales AJ Lurie (SW Florida).
WXKS-AM, Boston Augments UMass Sports Coverage. In Beantown, Clear Channel-owned WXKS-AM “Bloomberg Radio 1200″ signs a three-year deal with the University of Massachusetts department of athletics and multimedia rights holder UMass Sports Properties and Learfield Sports. The pact begins with the 2014 – 2015 athletic season and allows 50,000-watt WXKS-AM to air all UMass football games and men’s basketball contests that do not conflict with Bloomberg programming. Learfield Sports regional general manager Pam Batalis comments that WXKS-AM is “the perfect complement to an already thriving UMass sports network. When you combine the positive momentum building around UMass football with the national attention achieved by our men’s basketball program, the timing was right to deliver these two teams to our significant fan base in the metro-Boston area.” UMass director of athletics John McCutcheon states, “We are very excited to bring [WXKS-AM] on-board as one of our radio partners for football and basketball. The partnership gives us a great home in the Boston media market and really gives those programs fantastic exposure in eastern Massachusetts. When looking at the package and a multi-year agreement, we feel very strongly that this relationship will help us reach our fans and alumni in the eastern-half of the Commonwealth.” Josh Maurer returns for his seventh season handling play-by-play duties for both “Minuteman” football and men’s basketball. Three UMass graduates will join him on football broadcasts: analyst Matt Goldstein, sideline reporter Cody Chrusciel, and program host Adam Frenier. In addition to WXKS-AM, the UMass sports network includes Entercom Boston flagship (sports) WEEI-FM, Entercom sports WVEI, Worcester, and Marshfield Broadcasting adult contemporary WATD-FM, Marshfield. The affiliation begins with tomorrow’s (Saturday, 8/29) football opener against Boston College.
Odds & Sods. With election season kicking into high gear, Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York is presenting the second in a series of exclusive “Election Central” roundtables on Saturday (8/30) at 3:00 pm ET. The program is being hosted by Rita Cosby and features a preview of the November mid-term elections with a discussion featuring some of New York’s most influential political reporters: WNBC’s Andrew Siff, NY1’s Errol Louis, and WPIX 11’s Marvin Scott. The roundtables can also be heard on the “Election Central” page at wabcradio.com…..As in seasons past, CBS RADIO’s WIP, Philadelphia “SportsRadio 94WIP” will produce the “Howie Roseman Show” each Monday during the NFL season. WIP afternoon host Anthony Gargano and Eagles play-by-play announcer Merrill Reese will co-host the program with the Eagles GM live from Chickie’s and Pete’s in South Philadelphia from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm…..Yahoo! Sports Radio announces the debut of its weekend football programming that begins with “Rivals Saturday” and wraps up Sunday night with “Postgame” with Peter Brown.
ISIS Campaign/U.S. Military Policy in Iraq and Syria Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 25-29. Landing atop the Talkers TenTM this week is the ISIS campaign in Iraq and Syria and the Obama Administration’s military policy there. At #2 this week is the mid-term elections and the prospects for the 2016 presidential race. Coming in at #3 is the plans by President Obama to bypass the Congress to sign a global climate change treaty and to use executive orders to pass immigration legislation followed by the Michael Brown death aftermath at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a 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. View this week’s entire chart here.
Sean Hannity Broadcasts from Israel. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar (and Fox News Channel prime time personality) Sean Hannity broadcasts his Premiere Networks-syndicated radio program from a radio station in Tel Aviv (left) while touring Israel to report on the conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Hannity will host his show from Israel again today (8/5) before returning to the United States. Premiere reports that on his program Hannity has been reporting on numerous aspects of the conflict including “the Iron Dome anti-missile technology protecting the country from militant rockets, the Hamas tunnels used to capture and kill Israelis, what life is like there under constant threat, and more.” At right, Hannity (center, in denim) is pictured standing on a military-style bulldozer interviewing Israeli troops near the Gaza border.
Dr. Joy Browne Returns to the Air in NYC. Formerly based at crosstown WOR, New York (and syndicated from Buckley Broadcasting’s old WOR Radio Network for many years), Dr. Joy Browne is now heard in New York again via Salem Communications WNYM, “AM 970 The Answer.” WNYM VP and general manager Jerry Crowley says, “Joy is a consummate radio pro. Her show was consistently one of the most talked about shows on WOR. Her voice was prematurely silenced across the street, as was John Gambling’s, and it is my pleasure to allow her many fans to find her again.” Browne’s show is currently syndicated via Radio America. She comments, “I am beyond thrilled to be back on the air in New York and working with John Gambling and Jerry Crowley and Lou Dobbs again makes it feel like coming home. We have been besieged by listeners who wanted to know where I went and how to find me, and now they will know.” Salem Communications market VP Phil Boyce adds, “The talk radio format is nothing without superstars who have built that unique bond with their audience. Not all stations understand that anymore, so we are able to make that happen on our New York stations. The addition of Joy Browne proves that.”
Trimmer to Program WRVA and WRNL, Richmond. Moving from Clear Channel’s Rochester, New York cluster where he programmed news/talk WHAM and sports talker WHTK “Sports 1280,” is Aaron Trimmer who heads south to the company’s Richmond, Virginia station group to serve as director of programming for news/talk WRVA and sports talk WRNL-AM. Trimmer – a Richmond native – takes over for PD Jimmy Barrett who now focuses on his WRVA morning drive hosting responsibilities.
Entercom Q2 Revenue Dips 1%. Considering the recent Q2 financial reports by some other broadcasters, the 1% drop in net revenue could be considered a plus. Entercom’s revenue was $100.2 million during the second quarter of 2014. The company reported that free cash flow decreased 21% to $15 million. Entercom CEO David Field states, “Revenue declined 1% from the prior year as results were impacted by sluggish business conditions during the quarter. Operationally, we continue to focus on developing our powerful local brands, content and digital capabilities and building our new SmartReach Digital division. These efforts are enhancing our value to listeners and customers and raising our growth potential. Broadcast radio fundamentals are strong with growing, massive audience reach and a superior ROI to competitive forms of media.” Entercom reduced its outstanding debt by $4.1 million (net of cash) during the quarter. As of June 30, 2014, the company had $7.1 million in cash and $489.8 million of senior debt and senior notes.
Pandora Eyeing Talk and Sports Formats. In an interview with Sonali Basak for Bloomberg, Pandora CFO Michael Herring hints the company is planning to add talk and sports talk content to its service, though the type of content and when it might appear on Pandora is not known at this time. Herring points to the popularity of talk and sports by commuters in autos as the reason for his company’s interest in the formats. “Music’s an important piece of radio listening in the car, but if there’s a place where spoken word is also equally, and more important really, it’s in the car…As the car becomes more important, thinking about other types of content that are important for the car becomes more critical. That’s why Sirius spends so much money on Howard Stern, sports and news.” Basak reports that Pandora is currently available in about 33% of cars while SiriusXM can be accessed in about 71% of autos. Usage by Pandora listeners in cars rose from about 2.5 million people during the second quarter of 2013 to about 7 million during the second quarter of 2014. Read the entire Bloomberg piece here.
Hofstra University’s WRHU Named College Station of the Year. The student-operated station WRHU, Hempstead, New York “88.7 FM Radio Hofstra University” has been named the best college station in the country, according to The Princeton Review. The publication rates colleges in America and, as part of that, also ranks college radio stations. Hofstra University’s WRHU came in #1 this year after being ranked #5 last year. The station is the flagship radio outlet for the NHL’s New York Islanders since 2010 and is the first and only college radio station to have an exclusive broadcasting agreement with a professional sports team. WRHU is a finalist for a prestigious 2014 Marconi Radio Award from the NAB as the top non-commercial station in the country. The station’s reporters have won top honors from the New York Associated Press Association, the Press Club of Long Island, the Society of Professional Journalists and New York Women in Communications. TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison, who began his illustrious radio career on WRHU (when it was still using the call letters WVHC) and is a charter inductee of the WRHU Hall of Fame, states, “I am so proud of this great radio station’s progress and accomplishments over the years since I first broadcast there in 1967. This ranking is a tribute to the fantastic faculty staff running the operation and to the entire Communications Department at Hofstra which, in my opinion, is second to none in American academia.” Harrison sits on the Hofstra University Department of Communication advisory board.
KMG Networks’ Krantz to Work with Sun Broadcast Group. A new partnership struck by Sun Broadcast Group and Krantz Media Group/KMG Networks will have KMG president and CEO Gary Krantz joining SBG as strategic advisor. The companies say that “together, Sun and KMG will focus on new initiatives in content, digital, and services to superserve media partners in the audio entertainment sector. These exciting new opportunities will be separate initiatives from existing and planned partnerships that Sun and KMG are involved with, respectively.” SBG CEO Jason Bailey adds, “Gary and I have known each other for years and have always shared the same exciting vision for this industry. With all that’s going on in the network radio space there are countless opportunities to make a real difference with amazing program partners who share our passion for change. I’m stoked to work more closely with KMG on a professional basis in advancing our mission to make radio an experience for a whole new generation.”
Round One of July PPM Data Released. The first of four rounds of July 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The survey period was June 19 through July 16. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Odds & Sods. Talk radio personality Bradlee Dean, host of the “Sons of Liberty” syndicated radio series, has been honored with the Education Liberty Award from the Education Liberty Coalition for his appearances on their behalf at some 350 high schools in 24 states nationwide. Among the goals which Dean has been promoting is ELC’s campaign for students to study at their own instructional level and for parents to make school choices for their children. Dean’s most recent stop was in Marietta, Georgia…..Genesis Communications‘ sports platform – Sports Talk Florida – is providing “exclusive coverage” of Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp complete with live practice updates, video interviews, and behind-the-scenes developments with reporters Jenna Laine and Amanda Borges. Genesis says that its digital platform, along with the affiliated radio stations WHOO, Orlando and WHBO, Tampa, are keeping Bucs fans informed. The company says, “With a plethora of exclusive photos, written articles and video content covering the Buccaneers, Sports Talk Florida leads the way in merging radio, web-based media, mobile sharing and social media.”
Israel-Hamas Violence, ISIS Iraq Campaign, Ebola Outbreak Scare, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Race, Immigration Reform/Southwest Border Crisis, Russian Ukraine Aggression, and James Brady Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/4). The ongoing violence in the Gaza Strip; the continuing campaign by ISIS to create a caliphate in Iraq and Syria; the threat of the Ebola virus as a possible pandemic; the looming mid-term elections and the possible candidates for president in 2016; the battle in Washington over immigration policies and the border crisis in the Southwest; Russia’s support of Ukrainian rebels and the probe of the downing of Flight 17; and the death of Reagan Administration Press Secretary and anti-gun crusader James Brady were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Richard Neer
WFAN, New York
Talk Show Host
NEW YORK — I rarely have a problem with “political correctness.” I believe that avoiding words or phrases that even a small minority find offensive, is a good thing. Why hurt people because we are insensitive or too lazy and set in our ways to change? It’s easier just to amend our vocabulary and apologize when necessary. Using racial or sexist epithets to make a point is not acceptable and these words should bear consequences. WEEI and Sirius have recently dealt with those situations.
What I do fear is that a “gotcha” mentality is running amok, looking to punish anyone who has the temerity to take an unpopular stand. Recent examples are Mark Cuban and Stephen A. Smith.
In Cuban’s case, he was honest about his own shortcomings, illustrative of the fact that we all have prejudices. He made it very clear that he thought society would be better off if we could rid ourselves of these destructive impulses but that we are not there yet, despite all the progress made so far. He used himself as an example, citing how out of concern for his safety, he would avoid characters who dressed like thugs. He implied that if we are honest with ourselves, we might all admit to the same feelings.
Emphatic Fox To Entercom: Apology Denied. After returning from a planned vacation last week, WEEI-FM, Boston morning personality Kirk Minihane reignited the controversy he started with criticism of Fox Sports reporter Erin Andrews’ All-Star Game work by reiterating his disdain for her work. But even his bosses at Entercom, who had been supportive, had to backtrack and he’s now been suspended for this week – without pay. To recap, the unbilled member of the Dennis & Callahan morning show on WEEI had some disparaging things to say the day after the broadcast about an in-game interview conducted by the network’s Erin Andrews. Perhaps only St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright will be the only person to know for certain if he made it a bit easier for Derek Jeter – appearing in his final All-Star contest – to smack a first-inning double, which was the catalyst for three quick AL runs in that frame. Social media was buzzing that Wainwright had indicated he might have grooved the pitch Jeter hit. Andrews questioned Wainwright about it and the pitcher backtracked from that notion, and he said Jeter’s hit was on the up-and-up. Apparently though, the televised exchange between this year’s co-host of (ABC-TV‘s) “Dancing with the Stars” and Wainwright did not sit well with Minihane, who declared of Andrews, “What a bitch – I hate her. What a gutless bitch. Seriously, go away. Drop dead. I mean, seriously, what the hell is wrong with her? First of all, follow-up. Second of all, the guy admitted he did it – he admitted it. He told reporters he threw a couple of ‘pipe-bombs.’ How is that social media’s fault? I hate her – I seriously hate her so much.” A Minihane-issued statement was posted Wednesday night (7/16) on the WEEI website that read: “I used a series of words to describe Erin Andrews’ work at the All-Star Game. My choice of words was wrong. I was wrong to have used them. To all whom I offended – particularly Ms. Andrews – I apologize. There is no place for what was said. It was immature and completely uncalled for. I am often critical of media members and their work and recognize here that I’ve made the kind of mistake I would call out if it was done by another sportscaster or writer. Again, to all involved, I’m very sorry.” But upon returning last week, he commented on the issue and lashed out at Andrews again, saying, “I think she stinks at her job. I don’t think she’s very smart. I don’t think she comes across as very smart. I think Fox only hired her because she is good-looking. I think if she weighed 15 pounds more, she would be a waitress at Perkins. That is what I believe, I do believe that.” It was probably that last comment that prompted Fox Sports president Eric Shanks to inform Entercom the company was pulling its entertainment and sports-related adds off of all Entercom stations and it was that move that brought Entercom CEO David Field into the mix. In the letter to Field, Shanks wrote that Minihane’s comments were “boorish and sexist.” Shanks further maintains that Minihane’s apology was “juvenile and insincere.” Furthermore, the Fox executive writes, “I had hoped by this time we might hear a sincere apology from WEEI, or perhaps someone from your office might have reached out to Fox. None of that has been forthcoming, and needless to say, we are disappointed.” According to Shanks, through film and television businesses, Fox is “a significant advertiser on Entercom stations. I have discussed this issue with our senior management and our various senior marketing executives. At their recommendation, going forward, Fox’s entertainment and sports businesses will not be advertising on your stations for the foreseeable future.” Field reacted by commenting, “Kirk Minihane’s statements regarding Erin Andrews were offensive and deplorable. It is clear by the response from our listeners, advertisers, and employees that Kirk’s efforts to apologize and make this right have been insufficient and ambiguous. We want to make it unequivocally clear that his comments were unacceptable and do not reflect Entercom’s values and standards.” As far as Shanks is concerned, the situation was made “worse,” owing to the fact that the “apology was posted under a banner hailing ‘The Triumphant Return of Kirk Minihane.'” Seemingly lost in the wake of pulled advertising dollars corporate-wide and having to suspend an on-air personality is the fact that in the latest (6+) trends (June 2014), WEEI-FM (3.3) beat cross-town CBS Radio format rival WBZ-FM “The Sports Hub” (2.9) for the first time (total week, 6+) in nearly two years. The last time it happened was August 2012, when WEEI-FM had the advantage over WBZ-FM by a 4.3 – 3.7 count (6+). WBZ-FM won each battle the rest of the year by 4.5 – 4.1 (September); 4.6 – 2.8 (October); 4.1 – 2.5 (November) 4.4 – 3.0 (December); and 4.6 – 2.7 (“Holiday”). The closest WEEI-FM came to WBZ-FM in 2013 was one-tenth in August (3.9 – 3.8); WBZ-FM’s largest (6+) lead in 2013 was in May (5.7 – 2.9). Thus far in 2014, “The Sports Hub” has emerged victorious over WEEI-FM (6+) in January (5.6 – 3.4); February (4.5 – 2.8); March (4.7 – 2.7); April (4.3 – 3.3); and May (5.1 – 3.4). As noted, WEEI-FM beat WBZ-FM in June (3.3 – 2.9, 6+). It will be interesting to see how Entercom handles this situation because the ratings for the Dennis & Callahan show have improved since Minihane joined the show and numerous Boston media watchers agree that his addition has breathed new life into the program.
Stephen A. Smith to Exit WEPN-FM for SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio Channel. That’s according to a report by The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman who writes that Stephen A. Smith will soon exit ESPN O&O WEPN-FM where he co-hosts the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm daily show with Ryan Ruocco to host his own program on the satellite service – reportedly in the same time slot that would lead into Chris “Mad Dog” Russo’s afternoon drive show. Raissman also suggests that a move to SiriusXM could be interesting for the controversial Stephen A. Smith, who caused a stir by his comments in reaction to the two-game suspension the NFL star Ray Rice received for punching out his wife in an elevator. Read Raissman’s column here.
KFWB, Los Angeles to Flip from News/Talk to Sports. Officials at the KFWB Trust are being tightlipped about the reports but LARadio.com’s Don Barrett is reporting that KFWB staffers were called to a meeting on Friday, July 25 and informed their jobs would go away in five weeks when the format changes. Barrett reports that staffers told him the station would go to sports talk using CBS Sports Radio Network which would bring Jim Rome back to the Los Angeles market. He’s been gone from his home market since jumping from Premiere Networks to CBS Sports 18 months ago. Some are questioning whether LA needs another sports talk outlet but it’s probably less about what the market “needs” and more about getting CBS Sports Radio and Jim Rome back into the Los Angeles market. It’d also be a heck of a lot less expensive to program network sports than a mix of network and local news/talk.
Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted. Up Today: Jerry Del Colliano Delivers Special Presentation, “Radio in the Digital Age.” Today (7/28) marks the 10th consecutive business day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last month’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014. The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms. The worldwide showing of these very special videos continues today with a special presentation titled “Radio in the Digital Age” delivered by Inside Music Media publisher Jerry Del Colliano. The longtime industry observer, analyst, and maverick draws upon his experience as both a professional radio broadcaster and former professor of music industry at USC to explain how the traits of the large, coming-of-age millennial generation do not quite mesh with the approach taken by most of the boomers running radio stations today. He implored the full house of broadcasters in attendance to heed the warning, “We must change! We must disrupt! Because the audience is changing.” To view this entire presentation, please click here. Coming tomorrow: A panel discussion moderated by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey titled “The State of Talk Programming.” Featured speakers include: Andy Bloom, OM, WPHT/WIP, Philadelphia; Phil Boyce, VP/spoken word programming, Salem Communications; Bill Hess, PD, WMAL, Washington, DC; Gabe Hobbs, CEO, Gabe Hobbs Media; and Craig Schwalb, PD, WABC, New York. The Talkers New York 2014 conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.
Odds & Sods. Although Stoney Richards is leaving his role at CBS RADIO Pittsburgh’s country WDSY where he’s been APD, music director and afternoon drive personality in order to pursue his acting career, he will maintain his weekend talk show on the company’s news/talk KDKA-AM where he hosts the “Live From The Centre” program…..Speaking of KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh, the station is partnering with local The Education Partnership to help provide new school and classroom supplies to local schools in financial need. This Wednesday (7/30), it will host a call-center in the 84 Lumber Theatre at CBS RADIO Pittsburgh from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm to answer listener questions, collect monetary donations and serve as an outlet for those looking for volunteer opportunities. Also, an onsite collection will take place at KDKA’s studios for the project dubbed “Crayons for Kids.” KDKA-AM morning news host Larry Richert comments, “When I first learned of the great need in our hometown I was shocked! The Education Partnership is such a lean and vital organization. With our help we can deliver on the basic needs of 30,000-plus school students who count on having the basics to learn and grow, starting with crayons!”…..In response to the comments by TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison published by the Boston Herald about the current state of news/talk radio in Boston relative to its colorful past, general manager Phil Redo – now with public broadcaster WGBH, Boston – checks in with his take. He tells TALKERS that (former WTKK-FM, Boston personalities) “Jim Braude and Margery Eagan (pictured here) are doing a fabulous show for us here on WGBH Radio. They have been on the air for nearly 18 months and made a smooth transition from commercial to public. Each day they explore a wide range of topics, from the top local news stories to connecting the dots on major national and international events. They provide an important access point for this community – and to the decision makers who will impact each of us by those decisions. In addition, the governor and AG show up every month to host an hour – as does Boston’s new mayor. Their show Boston Public Radio has grown from below a 1.0 share to above a 4.0 share and in June, ranks in the top 10 both 6+ and 25-54 during their 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot…They have done so well that we’re expanding the program to three hours this fall.”
Unusual General Manager/Sales Manager Opportunity at Talk Station Owned by an “Eccentric.” The self-described “eccentric” (we agree) owner of one of the nation’s leading independent local talk radio stations, KSCO AM 1080, Santa Cruz/Monterey/Salinas/Silicon Valley, Michael Zwerling, is looking for a general manager/sales manager to bring his station’s monthly ad billing up from “a laughable $30,000 per month” (his words not ours) to a “more respectable and completely do-able $300,000 per month.” Asked how a station billing only $30,000 in monthly ad revenue could be considered anything even REMOTELY deserving of being described as “one of the nation’s leading independent local talk radio stations,” Zwerling retorts, “Easy — ad sales have never been our focus in the past; we have done and continue to do very well, thank you, with our ‘royalties from radio’ revenue model we have employed for nearly 18 years. Yet we continue to serve our communities FAR better than most corporate-owned stations, and far better than most other independent stations that can’t AFFORD to serve their communities.” Zwerling continues, “But I started to feel like a fool recently when I realized that just because we don’t NEED to sell advertising — doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t TRY to sell as much advertising as possible — just like any other station being run by anyone with even HALF a brain!” According to Zwerling, the sky is the limit in terms of unique opportunity for the right person with “fire in his/her belly” to bring an additional $270,000 PER MONTH ad revenue into KSCO. But there is a catch. To read the entire story penned by TALKERS staff writer Mona Lipschitz, please click here.
WABC, New York’s Mark Levin to Host Cumulus Media’s “Bark in the Park” Event. The 4th Annual “Bark in the Park” event presented by Cumulus Media’s New York stations WABC, WPLJ, WNSH “NASH FM 94.7,” and WNBM “Radio 103.9” is being hosted by WABC personality Mark Levin Saturday, August 2 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm at Overpeck Park in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey. The stations are teaming up with the North Shore Animal League America and Bergen County Animal Shelter/Adoption Center which will be on site with many dogs up for adoption. The mission is to find a home for as many puppies as possible. Additionally, the day will feature a wide array of vendors, services, food, demonstrations, and activities for families and dog lovers alike.
Apple to Acquire Spoken-Word Aggregator Swell. According to a report in re/code, Apple is paying approximately $30 million to acquire the company Swell, whose current app creates a stream of spoken-word content delivered to iPhones and iPads based on the user’s likes. Liz Gannes writes in her piece that with the acquisition, the Swell app will go away and some analysts believe Apple will integrate the service into existing services such as iTunes Radio. Read Gannes’ re/code story here.
Yahoo! Sports Radio Invades Las Vegas! The crew pictured here is Yahoo! Sports Radio network talent in Las Vegas as the network “took over” Lagasse’s Stadium at The Palazzo Hotel and Casino during the week of July 21-25 broadcasting live for what it dubbed, “Yahoo! Sports Radio Super Week.” From left to right are: Air personalities Steve Czaban, Scott Linn, Geoff Ketchum, Sean Salisbury, Yahoo! Sports Radio CEO David Gow, personalities John Granato and Peter Brown.
WABC, New York Adds Larry Mendte to Weekend Programming Lineup. Joining the WABC, New York Sunday evening lineup is Larry Mendte, who will host a weekly 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm program beginning July 27. The station notes that Mendte is “a familiar voice to the New York metro area, having most recently been a contributor to WPIX-TV’s nightly newscast producing commentaries…Returning to New York on 77 WABC allows Mendte to expand upon these commentaries, talk about New York’s biggest stories, and speak to Tri-State listeners with warmth, wit, and honesty that New York listeners have come to expect from Mendte and 77 WABC.” Mendte co-hosted the morning program on WWIQ, Philadelphia during its time as a news/talk outlet operated by Merlin Media. Mendte also hosts a television news and public affairs show for Me TV in Philadelphia. The show will soon air in New York on Me TV.
Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted. Up Today: Julie Talbott of Premiere Networks Receives the TALKERS “Woman of the Year” Award. Today (7/23) marks the seventh business day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last month’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014. The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms. The worldwide showing of these very special videos continues today with part 2 of the event’s traditional “Talkers Awards Ceremony” emceed by legendary Westwood One talk show host Jim Bohannon and featuring the presentation of the Judy Jarvis Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to Radio by a Woman (also known as the “Woman of the Year” award) by last year’s recipient Heather Cohen, EVP, the Weiss Agency to Julie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks. Talbott delivers an uplifting acceptance address in which she states, “This is really a fun business. But it’s a business…and it’s a tough business and we all have to continue to work together. I know we’re competitors – but we have to work together to really make something great happen.” Continuing on the theme of keeping radio work enjoyable, Talbott discusses her early days as a “pretty naive University of Kentucky small-town girl graduate” looking in New York City for a career area to enter and originally being attracted to the media field because the interviewers – unlike those in other areas of business she explored – seemed to be having fun in their work and were just as successful as the people she met in banking and other fields of business she encountered. She quickly realized, “That’s the creative business I want to be in!” She suggests, “We can’t forget the fun. We have to continually try to find some fun environment for the folks working for us.” To see this entire presentation, please click here. Coming tomorrow: part 3 of the Talkers Awards Ceremony in which Westwood One founder and Courtside Entertainment Group/Podcast One CEO Norm Pattiz receives the TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award. The TALKERS conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.
Entercom Chief David Field Asks Employees to Embrace Change, Lists Accomplishments in Mid-Year Memo. In his twice-annual memo to staffers, Entercom president and CEO David Field writes that everyone in the radio business must embrace change and innovate and challenges employees to do so within the guidelines of what Entercom believes in. He goes on to list those beliefs which start with its dedication to “building the best local radio stations with the best local personalities.” Also, Field speaks about the company’s accomplishments and points to the launch of new radio stations, the debut of its SmartReach Digital local marketing arm, and the “two-minute” promise at Seattle’s alternative “The End” which limits spots to six minutes per hour on the station with never more than 2 minutes of commercials at one time. Read his entire memo here.
WTMJ, Milwaukee to Debut Non-Sports Show Featuring Packers. The show is called “Tauscher and Kuhn” and will feature former Green Bay Packers lineman Mark Tauscher and current Packers fullback John Kuhn. It will air from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm on eight select Tuesdays beginning in September. The Journal Broadcast Group news/talk station has the show sponsored by Associated Bank. The program is not a sports talk show and will instead revolve around the two discussing current events, pop culture and more. Journal Milwaukee VP/GM of radio operations Tom Langmyer says, “WTMJ is committed to developing original, live, local programming and talent for our listeners. Mark and John have great chemistry. This is a chance to hear them unplugged discussing all areas of life, beyond the Xs and Os of sports. We look forward to have Mark and John on our team!” Tauscher says, “One of my favorite things while playing in the NFL was debating and arguing a wide range of topics in the locker room. John was and is always ready for a lively discussion, so I am looking forward to bringing our unique perspectives to the airwaves and having lots of fun along the way.”
Sabo: Five Steps to Managing a Problem. Media consultant Walter Sabo writes that because talk radio’s very purpose is to nurture controversy and opinion, there are ways to handle what might be perceived as a too-controversial event that help avoid “bad” PR and, worse, loss of advertising revenue or the decision to fire employees. Sabo notes that talk radio practitioners should be prepared to combat advertiser boycotts by arming themselves with examples of “controversial programming” on television on which they advertise because, most “family oriented” advertisers do air spots on TV shows that could be considered just as controversial – perhaps more so – than talk radio programming. For examples of this and more of Sabo’s five-step prescription, click here.
Odds & Sods. WPHT, Philadelphia mid-morning personality Dom Giordano is being inducted into the Philadelphia Area Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame in a ceremony that will take place on November 21 at the Hilton Philadelphia. See a complete list of inductees and honorees here…..Former San Francisco Giants pitcher and current team broadcaster Mike Krukow is suffering from a degenerative muscle disease called inclusion-body myositis. Krukow is part of the broadcast team for Comcast Sports Bay Area and for Cumulus Media’s KNBR, San Francisco. The disease is not life-threatening but there is no cure or treatment and it’s forced Krukow to use a cane for balance and to ride in a motorized cart at times…..Jake McCann is named vice president of sales for Cumulus Washington which puts him in charge of the sales effort for news/talk WMAL-AM/FM…..Digital Syndicate Network-owned sports talker WDKT, Beulah, North Dakota re-brands as “KDKT SportsRadio 1410” with the change in network affiliation from Fox Sports Radio to CBS Sports Radio. The station keeps Fox Sports Radio/DirecTV’s Dan Patrick and brings CBS’ Jim Rome back to the market after a year’s absence…..John Harper is named host of Relevant Radio’s “Morning Air” program. Harper joins the Catholic broadcaster after a career that includes time spent with ESPN building the sports giant’s “SportsCenter” into the iconic sports news programming that it’s become.
Bringing the Flight 17 Story Home to Listeners. Reporting from Kiev, Ukraine, ABC News Radio correspondent Aaron Katersky (left) speaks with US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt (right) in Kiev about the downing of Flight 17 and the political ramifications of Russia’s involvement in arming the Ukraine rebels.
ObamaCare Court Rulings, Flight 17 Investigation-Russian Responsibility, Gaza Strip Violence, Tony Dungy-Michael Sam Comments Controversy, Primary Races, Western Drought-California Water Shortage, Bill Clinton’s ‘Energizer’ Flap, and Illegal Child Immigration Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/22). Two separate and different Appeals Courts rulings on tax credits for citizens signing up for the Affordable Care Act; the ongoing investigation into the downing of Flight 17 and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s battle with the West over blame; the escalating violence in the Gaza Strip and Western airlines’ cessation of flights into Tel Aviv; the controversy over Tony Dungy’s comments about not drafting openly gay footballer Michael Sam because of the “distraction” it would cause; the mid-term primary races held on Tuesday; concern over the ongoing Western drought and Southern California’s low water supply; the latest published allegations about Bill Clinton’s paramour dubbed “Energizer”; and the influx of child illegals into the Southwest were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted. Up Today: Joyce Kaufman of WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale Receives the TALKERS “Humanitarian of the Year” Award. Today (7/22) marks the sixth business day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last month’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014. The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms. The worldwide showing of these very special videos continues today with part 1 of the event’s traditional “Talkers Awards Ceremony” emceed by legendary Westwood One talk show host Jim Bohannon and featuring the presentation of the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Radio Broadcaster by Talk Media, Inc. CEO Carole Marks (pictured here at left) to WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale personality Joyce Kaufman (pictured here at right). Kaufman gives a powerful acceptance speech in which she expresses her humble appreciation and encourages her fellow talk show hosts to exercise their radio programs’ full potential as a service to their communities, which she says are becoming increasingly disconnected due in part to the very technology of the modern era. She states, “If not us – who? If we don’t move people from merely talking into actually doing, we are missing the blessing that this platform gives us. If we don’t help the people who deserve our help, we will feed into the notion that we are a dispassionate nation that needs government to take care of us.” View the video of the award presentation here. Coming tomorrow: part 2 of the Talkers Awards Ceremony in which last year’s recipient of the Judy Jarvis Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Radio Industry by a Woman (also known as the “Woman of the Year” award), Heather Cohen EVP, The Weiss Agency presents the honor to this year’s recipient, Julie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks. The TALKERS conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.
Mancow Sues Maverick Radio Partners. From a story in today’s Chicago Tribune, Chicago-based talk show host Erich “Mancow” Muller is suing Maverick Radio Partners – led by Rodney Rainey – for allegedly trying to defraud him of $50,000 purported to be targeted to radio station investments. The Tribune story relates that Muller was approached by Rainey in December 2011 to be an investor in a project that would acquire a number of radio stations — beginning with WFRE and WFMD in Frederick, Maryland – and that the company had financial backing from Spartacus Partners Group. Based on a verbal deal, Mancow transferred $50,000 to Maverick with the understanding it would be held in escrow until Mancow was provided with documented proof that the additional funding for the station purchases was secured. That never happened and when Mancow sought his money back from Maverick, he alleges he received promises the money was on its way but it was never returned. Mancow is suing Maverick for fraud and breach of contract and is seeking the $50,000, plus interest and attorneys’ fees. See the Tribune story here.
Christa Dibiase Named GM of Clark Howard Brands. Accepting the promotion from executive producer of the Clark Howard show to general manager of Clark Howard Brands is Christa Dibiase. Effective immediately, Dibiase will be responsible for overseeing the Clark Howard nationally-syndicated radio show, television products, and all digital products, including ClarkHoward.com and consumer apps. In addition, she will continue to oversee the operation of The Consumer Action Center, a national service outreach that advises the public on money, financial and consumer questions via phone and internet. CMG Atlanta VP/market manager Ben Reed says, “We know Christa was the perfect person to take on this role. She led the radio show to become the most prominent consumer talk show in the country, and has repeatedly demonstrated her leadership abilities. She has been a key collaborative player in our organization over the years, working with radio, digital, television, and newspaper on many successful projects.” Dibiase comments, “I’m grateful for this opportunity to work with Clark and showcase what CMG is all about – collaborating with TV, radio, digital, and newspaper to create and distribute excellent content for our audience. In addition, the assistance provided by the Consumer Action Center is right in line with Clark and CMG’s commitment to serving others in our communities. I’m amazed every day by the 80-plus volunteers who give their time and energy to help others with their consumer dilemmas.”
KVET, Austin Names Sean Adams Midday Personality. Sports talk radio pro Sean Adams lands a daily gig on Clear Channel’s sports talker KVET-AM, Austin “Sports Talk AM 1300 The Zone” where he’ll hold down the 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm show beginning August 4. In addition to hosting “The Adams Theory,” he’ll also have a prominent role in game day broadcasts for University of Texas football. KVET-AM is the flagship station for radio play-by-play. Adams says, “I’m really excited to join the team at ‘AM 1300 The Zone.’ To cover the Texas Longhorns, and sports in general, on the official Longhorn station — backed by the power of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment — is a tremendous opportunity.”
Dan Patrick Broadcasts Live from KXTG-AM, Portland. The shot of Fox Sports Radio/DirecTV personality Dan Patrick is from the Bing Lounge in Portland where Patrick did his show live for Alpha Media affiliate KXTG-AM “750 The Game” on Friday, July 18. In addition to the live broadcast, Patrick and The Danettes also held a listener meet and greet at Buffalo Wild Wings in Beaverton, Oregon from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm where the crew took pictures and signed autographs. Alpha Media EVP of programming Scott Mahalick says, “We were thrilled to be able to bring Dan and the Danettes to the Pacific Northwest. They took time to genuinely connect with the listeners. This is definitely an experience all of us will remember for a long time.” The sports talk station recently began simulcasting on its new translator K274AR at 102.7 FM in the market.
WPHT, Philadelphia Presents Live Event as Part of Speaker Series. Midday talk show personality Dom Giordano will host WPHT, Philadelphia’s next speaker series event tomorrow evening as he’ll conduct a sit-down interview with former Marine Colonel Tom Manion about his book, Brothers Forever. The interview will take place aboard the Battleship New Jersey in Camden, New Jersey. Manion’s book details the courageous lives of his son, Marine 1st Lieutenant Travis Manion who died in the Al Anbar province of Iraq in 2007 and Travis’ former roommate U.S. Navy Seal Brendan Looney who also perished in battle. Manion will sign copies of his book for attendees.
Hangin’ with the Stars in Lake Tahoe. Pictured here is NBC Sports Radio weekend personality Brian Webber (left) with comic and television star Ray Romano (center) and SNL alum and movie and TV celeb Kevin Nealon (right) at the recent American Century Celebrity Golf Championship in Lake Tahoe. NBC Sports Radio broadcast from the charity tournament on Thursday and Friday and throughout the weekend.
Downing of Flight 17/Russian Responsibility Question, Gaza Strip Violence, Illegal Child Immigrants Crisis, NYPD Choke Hold Death Controversy and Clinton, Inc. Book, and Tony Dungy’s Michael Sam Comments Among Top Stories Yesterday (7/21). The continuing global controversy over the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight 17, Russia’s connection to the crash and the United States’ role in determining responsibility; the escalating violence in the Gaza Strip and Secretary of State John Kerry’s role in brokering peace; the influx of illegal child immigrants in the Southwest and the larger topic of immigration reform; the death of a New York City man who was put in a choke hold by police; the new Clinton, Inc. book; and Tony Dungy‘s comment he would not have drafted openly gay football player Michael Sam in order to avoid controversy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted. Up Today: Mike Francesa’s Sports Talk Keynote Address. Today (7/16) marks the second day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last month’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014. The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms. The worldwide showing of these very special videos continues today with the event’s powerful sports talk keynote address delivered by WFAN, New York sports talk radio legend, Mike Francesa. The focus of Francesa’s speech consists of 1) his opinion that the current lack of ratings for online “re-purposed” radio content is damaging radio; 2) the benefits of being live and local; and 3) the burgeoning role of sports in American life. Francesa states, “I have done the same show at the same time on the same station for 28 years. I never wanted to be syndicated. I believe in live and local.” Although respecting the importance of digital and social media, he believes that radio broadcasters place too much emphasis on it to the detriment of their on-air content and performance stating, “I take a limited approach to the new technology…I don’t have a Twitter account.” Regarding sports, itself, as a subject and field of interest to the media, he advises, “I think we are at the beginning of a sports explosion the likes of which you haven’t seen yet. If you’re in the communications business, you’d better get on board. Sports today is what Hollywood was in the 40s and 50s.” To see the entire session, please click here. Coming tomorrow (7/17): RAB, CEO/president Erica Farber moderating the panel, “The State of Radio Advertising and Sales” with Ron Furman, CRO, Westwood One; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Joe Puglise, president/market manager, Clear Channel, New York; and Julie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks. The TALKERS conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.
Dave Elswick Show Expands to Searcy, Arkansas Market. Longtime Little Rock talk radio personality Dave Elswick’s KHTE “96.5 The Voice”-based show will be heard on KSMD, Searcy, Arkansas starting July 21 as the show begins efforts to network across the state. Elswick states, “This is exciting as I will now reach the North Central part of the state. My goal is to touch all Arkansans and keep them informed about what is happening in their state.” Additionally, Elswick tells TALKERS magazine he is in the process of launching a 24/7 online TV station as he explores new platforms.
KKOB, Albuquerque Personality Rides on Soon-to-Be-Deactivated Sub. The market’s namesake nuclear sub USS Albuquerque is being de-activated after 30 years of service to the U.S. Navy. Last week, KKOB, Albuquerque weekend personality Terrie Q. Sayre – pictured here at the periscope of the sub – was able to take a voyage on it. The sub is based in San Diego and during Sayre’s visit, she went out to sea in it and was able to dive to 600 feet, take sharp angle maneuvers, take part in periscope viewing and more. Sayre reports they even did a burial at sea involving a three torpedo salute.
CBS Sports Radio Morning Show Gets Online Video Simulcast. Beginning immediately, the morning drive show hosted by Tiki Barber, Brandon Tierney, and Dana Jacobson on the CBS Sports Radio Network – heard from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET – is available in a live, online video simulcast, especially targeting consumers using mobile and tablet devices. Network director of programming Eric Spitz says, “We are excited to launch yet another way to expose our programming to audiences nationwide. Tiki, Brandon and Dana prove every day to be dynamic and passionate sports hosts, and providing additional access to the show follows the trend of listeners spending more time with the program.”
’99.9 The Fan’ in Raleigh Holds ‘Fan Town Hall.’ Tomorrow morning Capitol Broadcasting-owned sports talk WCMC-FM, Raleigh “99.9 The Fan” is presenting the first-ever “Fan Town Hall” with four of the most influential people in Triangle college sports today at Full Frame Theater in nearby Durham. Panelists will include: Duke athletic director Dr. Kevin White; North Carolina Central athletic director Dr. Ingrid Wicker-McCree; NC State athletic director Debbie Yow and North Carolina athletic director Bubba Cunningham. The 90-minute, commercial-free event will be moderated by WCMC-FM afternoon drive host Adam Gold and WRAL-TV sports anchor Jeff Gravley. Topics to be addressed include the state of college athletics, successes and challenges athletic departments are experiencing and much more. Station program director and OM Dennis Glasgow states, “This is a historical event that’s never been done before in the Triangle, and to bring together these four remarkable people will be a fascinating 90 minutes inside the looking glass of college sports. Our Town Hall format will be less traditional in that we’re encouraging conversation among our special guests, and its unique format will allow social media questions throughout the event.”
Golloher Joins Fox News Radio as Correspondent. Former freelancer Jessica Golloher – who’s been based in Moscow for the past six years – joins Fox News Radio as a correspondent based in New York. In this new role, Golloher will report on breaking news and provide daily live reports while covering stories in the Northeast and across the country. During her time in Moscow, Golloher provided live coverage of stories, including Russia’s annexation of Crimea, the crisis in Ukraine, and the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Golloher previously worked at radio stations in Washington, Boston, Tulsa, and Los Angeles.
Odds & Sods. All-newser KNX, Los Angeles is tackling the Western drought story as it relates to Southern California on July 31 during a day-long program titled, “Running on Empty: Our Epic Drought.” The CBS RADIO station says KNX’s news staff, “led by producers Charles Feldman and Laraine Herman, will look at the impact the worsening drought will have on” the population. KNX will detail what sets the current drought apart from those the state has experienced in the recent past. Among the questions to be answered are what food products might disappear from shelves and which ones will get costlier, who decides who’ll be able to tap into the eroding water supply and what will the long-term effects be on the local environment and wildlife? Seven KNX reporters have conducted more than 50 interviews with California Governor Jerry Brown, representatives from the Metropolitan and Orange County Water Districts, climatologists, environmentalists, farmers and others…..Cumulus Media news/talk WABC, New York reports a coup as former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson appeared on “The Ride Home with Pat Kiernan and Rita Cosby” on Wednesday afternoon to “address publicly for the first time” her departure from the paper. She talked about her reaction to Arthur Sulzberger saying she was let go because of her management style, her feelings about the current state of journalism and more…..Thirty-two year NPR veteran Margaret Low Smith is leaving the public radio network where she’s been serving as senior vice president/news to become a VP at The Atlantic. Smith will also be the president of the publication’s AtlanticLIVE Events division…..CRN Digital Talk Radio announced the winners of its 2014 Food & Wine Awards during an appearance at the 33rd Annual Kapalua Wine & Food Festival at the Kapalua Resort in Hawaii. CRN president & CEO Michael J. Horn and CRN personality “Sommelier of the People” Michael Jordan made the presentations on a special live broadcast of the network’s nationally syndicated “What’s Cookin’ on Wine” show. Michael Browne of the Kosta Browne Winery and Robert Cabral of Williams Selyem shared the Winemaker of the Year honor. Dean Fearing of Fearing’s Restaurant in Dallas, Texas was named Chef of the Year. Zimzala Huntington Beach, California was crowned Restaurant of the Year. Sommelier of the Year honors went to Troy Smith at Montage in Laguna Beach, California. CRN listeners selected the winners from a list of nominees.
SRN’s Dennis Prager Visits Death Row. Nationally syndicated talk show host Dennis Prager is pictured here (right) with an unidentified death row inmate at Angola State Prison in Louisiana – the nation’s largest prison. Prager spent Monday, July 14 at the prison as part of the annual “Returning Hearts Celebration,” organized by the Christian organization Awana. Among that organization’s projects is work with prison inmates. Prager has been lecturing to evangelical pastors all over the country about the American Renewal Project. Prager shared his experiences at the prison with listeners on his programs yesterday and today. During a meeting with the inmate pictured here, Prager asked the man if he felt sorry for himself. “No,” he responded. “But I do regret the things I’ve done.”
NYC Competitors Get Together at Big Fundraiser. These two New York City talk radio personalities – Geraldo Rivera from Cumulus Media’s WABC (left) and Mark Simone from Clear Channel’s WOR (right) – usually compete against each other in the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon time slot. But they are pictured here together as they attend and speak at a fundraiser luncheon for the city’s 100-year-old charity The Police Athletic League of New York City.
Child Immigrant Crisis-Immigration Policy Reform, Eric Holder Racism Comments, Middle East Turmoil, Possible Warren 2016 Presidential Run, Hookah Craze, and Western Drought and Summer ‘Polar Vortex’ Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/15). The ongoing child immigration crisis in the Southwest and debate over who’s responsible and how to fix it; Attorney General Eric Holder’s comments that criticism of the Obama Administration are race-based; the violence between Israel and Hamas and the ISIS campaign in Iraq and Syria; Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren’s recent travels and speculation she’s gearing up for a ‘stealth’ 2016 presidential bid; chatter about the health issues surrounding the current hookah craze; plus the Western drought and the summer ‘polar vortex’ affecting the Midwest were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Former New York Radio Host and Programmer Rob Astorino Under Fire in Gubernatorial Race for Townsquare Media Consulting Income. Before leaving the radio business full time to run for public office – he’s now the Westchester County Executive – Republican Rob Astorino worked at WFAS, Westchester hosting a sports talk show and also worked at ESPN Radio New York where he was part of the team that transitioned WEVD to sports as WEPN. Astorino is running for governor and incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo’s campaign is making a deal about Astorino’s side job in which he collects $30,000 to consult Townsquare Media. According to a piece in the New York Daily News, the governor’s campaign is contending Astorino is violating the Westchester County charter by accepting outside income but Astorino’s camp states the money he earns is not in violation of county rules. Townsquare VP Alex Berkett tells the Daily News, “Mr. Astorino serves as one of a number of programming consultants that work with Townsquare Media. This role allows Townsquare to benefit from Mr. Astorino’s considerable professional expertise in radio programming.” Read the whole Daily News piece here.
Clear Channel Announces Corporate Additions and Promotions. From Clear Channel president national programming platforms Tom Poleman comes news that former Clear Channel programming executive Marc Chase has rejoined the company. Chase will serve in the national programming platforms division as VP/strategic services, marketing & innovation. Chase worked with Tribune during the Randy Michaels years and most recently was with Nuvoodoo. Other moves at CC include Darren Pfeffer being promoted to senior VP/music & entertainment marketing where he’ll continue to be in charge of CC’s promotions and events, including the iHeartradio Music Festival, the iHeartradio Jingle Ball Tour and the iHeartradio Country Festival. Also promoted are Marissa Morris and Adellyn Polomski who are VP/artist relations and director of artist relations & programs, respectively. At the same time as these announcements comes news that Zena Burns is exiting her position as the company’s first digital program director to pursue other interests.
Skip Essick Exits Cumulus Media’s KMJ-AM and KMJ-FM. For the past seven years, radio programming pro Skip Essick has been serving as PD at KMJ-AM and KMJ-FM in Fresno. Essick oversaw the splitting of the two stations into separate news/talk stations while they were owned by Peak Broadcasting. Last August, Townsquare Media agreed to purchase the stations from Peak and proceeded to sell them to Cumulus Media as part of a deal that saw Townsquare get Cumulus’ Dubuque and Poughkeepsie stations.
Schwartz Joins Yahoo! Sports as EVP Corporate Strategy. This is a newly created position at the Houston-based Yahoo! Sports Radio and the company’s CEO, David Gow, says the arrival of Jeffrey Schwartz “will provide unmatched opportunities for our affiliate and advertising partners to thrive.” Schwartz is charged with overseeing “business growth and partnerships, in addition to working with management to advance programming strategy, multi-platform marketing and promotional opportunities, and affiliate and talent relations.” Schwartz comments, “I look forward to working with the Yahoo! Sports Radio team and the quality sports product they have developed to enhance the brand, as well as opportunities for our partners. Yahoo! Sports, one of the top sports sites in the world, will be a great asset to our strategic plans.” Schwartz’s experience includes serving as manager of sales and promotion at classic rock WLUP-FM, Chicago “The Loop,” director of operations at sports talk WSCR, Chicago “The Score,” and director of operations at WMVP, Chicago “ESPN 1000.” Concurrent with Schwartz’s arrival, the company announces Amanda Deutchman joins in the new position of director, marketing and business development. She most recently was marketing and communications manager for Premiere Networks’ Fox Sports Radio Network.
Simons New PM Anchor at KXL, Portland. Joining co-anchor Val Stouffer at Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM, Portland “FM NEWS 101” for the “Portland’s Afternoon News” program is Joe Simons. He joined KXL last year as a weekend morning news anchor. Simons previously served as the voice of the University of Idaho Women’s Basketball team for two seasons and hosted TV and radio shows in Idaho while also serving as a field reporter for KQQQ, Pullman, Washington. Simons says of his new gig, “I’m thrilled to be part of the incredible team at KXL. The amount of experience and talent our staff has is second to none. I hope to bring my unique perspective and enthusiasm to ‘Portland’s Afternoon News.’”
Kevin Jackson Joins WBOK, New Orleans. Conservative media personality Kevin Jackson – executive director of The Black Sphere LLC – joins the daily lineup at Bakewell Media-owned urban talk/gospel-formatted WBOK, New Orleans. Jackson has been producing a program that airs on weekends on Salem Communications-owned Florida outlets WGUL, Tampa and WLSS, Sarasota. Now his show will air nightly after the Al Sharpton program. Jackson says, “I’m happy to follow Al Sharpton, because there couldn’t be a bigger difference in thought. I believe black stations need to allow their listeners varying points of view, and I’m excited about the opportunity to have a predominantly black audience compare my viewpoint to Sharpton and Martin.”
Round Four of June PPM Data Released. The fourth and final round of June 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The survey period was May 22 through June 18. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page of RadioInfo.com here.
Horizon Broadcasting Re-Launches Local News and Information Site. What the company calls “the region’s most comprehensive website for local news and community information” – MyCentralOregon.com – has been re-launched by Horizon Broadcasting Group. The company owns five stations in the Central Oregon region and operates news/talk KBNW via an LMA with station owner SummitMedia. Horizon CEO Keith Shipman says, “We are excited to provide Central Oregon residents with a reliable option for real-time local news and community information. We found that over 90% of our past visitors to the site were primarily interested in viewing local and national news content, which is where we will place our emphasis. Local weather forecasts are a prime driver and we will rely on the expertise of AccuWeather to provide forecasts for communities throughout Central Oregon, complete with a 5 day outlooks and satellite radar images. Visitors to MyCentralOregon.com will find breaking local news from the KBNW news team featuring Glenn Vaagen and Kellen Pierce. Our national, international, political, entertainment, health and business news content will be robust thanks to our alliances with ABC News and The Wall Street Journal. Visitors will also be able to get the latest traffic information, including mountain pass conditions, road reports featuring cameras from the Oregon Department of Transportation, school closures and the latest gas prices throughout Central Oregon.”
Odds & Sods. When the 25th Annual American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament begins this week, NBC Sports Radio Network will broadcast live from Edgewood and Harrah’s Lake Tahoe. The Westwood One/NBC Sports Group-run networks will broadcast its sports talk shows from the site on Thursday, Friday and throughout the weekend…..KSCO, Santa Cruz announces the addition of the “Wagner & Winick On the Law” program to the station’s weekend lineup. Monterey College of Law Dean Mitchel Winick and Law Professor Stephen Wagner began hosting the weekly, one-hour radio program last Saturday, July 12…..AL.com reports that South Alabama sports is moving from longtime home Dot Com Plus LLC-owned WNSP-FM, Mobile to Clear Channel’s Mobile station group where Jaguar football games will air on adult contemporary WMXC while Men’s Basketball and Baseball will air on news/talk WNTM.
Spartanburg-Greenville Personality Bill Drake Dies at 73. South Carolina radio personality Bill Drake died on July 11 from complications after successful surgery to treat esophageal cancer. Although Drake also worked in Green Bay and Milwaukee during his career, he spent 29 years as morning host at WSPA, Spartanburg and then did mornings at WOLT-FM for seven years. His “Awake with Drake” program was last heard on WOLI, Spartanburg.
Albany Broadcaster Bob Ausfeld Passes Away. After years of heart troubles that required longtime Albany broadcaster Bob Ausfeld to have a heart pump implanted, Ausfeld went into surgery last week after a donor heart became available. Ausfeld did not survive the recovery from the surgery and died over the weekend. Ausfeld began his broadcasting career in the market at WPTR. He worked for Townsquare Media through 2011 and joined Albany Broadcasting as general manager for the company.
De la Hoya Visits Marc Hochman Show. WQAM, Miami afternoon drive host Marc Hochman (center), and co-host Zach Krantz (right), pose for a pic with fight promoter and Hall of Fame boxer Oscar de la Hoya (left) in Las Vegas. Hochman brought his show to Las Vegas for a special broadcast last week in anticipation of the Canelo vs. Lara fight at the MGM Grand.
Did SiriusXM Have the Right to Fire Anthony Cumia? A week after satellite broadcaster SiriusXM terminated Anthony Cumia of the “Opie & Anthony” show, TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes about the underlying legal aspects of the case. Weisman explains that – although he hasn’t read Cumia’s contract – most performers who sign a contract these days have a morals clause in their deals that give the employer the right to fire employees who do things while off duty that reflect badly on the company. Weisman offers some history of the morals clause and explains what employees finding themselves in Cumia’s situation might have in their arsenal with which to fight back. Read Weisman’s entire piece here.
KFBK, Sacramento Gives Gubernatorial Nominee Talk Show Appearance. In an effort to do what Clear Channel Sacramento VP of programming Ken Charles says is “covering the biggest stories and the most relevant news for Sacramento and California,” news/talk KFBK welcomed Republican gubernatorial nominee Neel Kashkari to the airwaves, allowing him to host a three-hour show last night (7/10) from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Charles said, “We invited both Kashkari and Governor Brown to host a show with us to provide them a unique forum to speak with the citizens of northern California. We look forward to Kashkari’s appearance tonight and hope we hear from the governor very soon.”
WHYN, Springfield to Name Adam Wright Morning Drive Co-Host. Two weeks after parting company with longtime morning drive co-host Brad Shepard, Clear Channel Springfield, Massachusetts is prepared to announce Adam Hamada Wright will join co-host Bo Sullivan on air for AM drive duties. Wright operates Westfield, Massachusetts based Advertus Media, a creative and media buying agency, and will continue that business in addition to his radio work. He says, “WHYN is a heritage news/talk station and I look forward to carrying on an incredible tradition of broadcasting there. This new additional adventure is the culmination of a lifelong dream of hosting a talk show and the ability to return to radio after 14 years. I will forever be grateful to Sean Davey and Jerry Hyland for coming up with this insane idea and I will honor those who came before me on this storied station, especially Brad Shepard who I consider an amazing talent and friend.”
Dianna Kelly Joins ’98.3 The Torch’ in Des Moines. Taking on the role of news director for Cumulus Media news/talk outlet KWQW “98.3 The Torch” is Dianna Kelly. Cumulus states that the “experienced broadcast journalist and talk personality has held on-air positions for stations in Kansas City, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Fresno, Jacksonville, Grand Rapids, and suburban Nashville. She has been honored with six Associated Press awards for her feature reports.” Kelly says, “What a pleasure to be working with the brightest minds in radio! The future of radio is here and it’s at Cumulus. I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of it.”
Round Three of June PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of June 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The survey period was May 22 through June 18. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page of RadioInfo.com here.
Dino Costa Moves Show Base to NYC. Two months after the former SirusXM sports talk personality Dino Costa began his own internet-based sports talk show at dinocostashow.com, he announces he’s moving his base of operations from Cheyenne, Wyoming to New York City later this summer. Costa explains on his website that he initially hated life in New York when he first went to work for SiriusXM but, to his own surprise, realized he missed the City after moving back to the West and settling in Cheyenne. Costa says his show will be MIA for a week when he and his family make the move back to New York.
Odds & Sods. Mixing it up a bit is Premiere Networks as the syndicator brings rock/talk WMMS, Cleveland and classic rock WDTW, Detroit personality Alan Cox in to sub for Andy Dean on the “America Now” program on Monday, July 14. Though Dean is decidedly conservative, Cox likes to operate more in the pop culture/lifestyle arena. This should be an interesting listen…..A Manhattan street was named for the longtime WINS, New York reporter who passed away last year at age 86, just two weeks after filing his last report for the station. The New York Daily News reports that the corner of W. 43rd St. and 10th Avenue will bear the name “Stan Brooks Way” as a tribute to the journalist who worked for WINS for almost 50 years. Brooks and his wife lived near the intersection…..CBS RADIO’s KNX, Los Angeles continues its “KNX On Your Corner” series with a live remote broadcast from northern Orange County on Friday, July 25. The station says the broadcast will include a series of special reports focusing on important issues in the cities of Brea, La Habra, Yorba Linda and Placentia. Additionally, local civic leaders will appear as special guests throughout the day as KNX gives listeners insight into the unique attributes of the area. “Adding to the local flavor of the day, KNX will broadcast live from Arthur’s Coffee Shop in La Habra. Free refreshments will be offered and the public is invited to meet the people behind the microphones of Southern California’s only all-news radio station.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Update. “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is added to new affiliate stations WAMT, Orlando; KMET-AM, Banning, California; WGRV, Greeneville, Tennessee; WNNG-FM, Unadilla, Georgia; and WFPA, Ft. Payne, Alabama…..Doug Stephan’s “Good Day” program adds 10 new affiliate stations including KLAV, Las Vegas; WELE, Ormond Beach, Florida; KVNA, Flagstaff, Arizona; and WMXB, Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Child Immigration Crisis Top News/Talk Story This Week. The influx of minor immigrants from Central America crossing the Southwestern borders and the immigration policy controversy associated with it was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of July 7-11, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Following at #2 was the ISIS campaign in Iraq. At #3 was the Israeli-Palestinian violence and at #4 was the state of President Obama’s approval ratings. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
WABC, New York’s Rita Cosby Interviews Pope Francis. Calling it an historic conversation, WABC, New York journalist and talk personality Rita Cosby traveled to Rome earlier this week to both meet with Pope Francis and broadcast back to her New York audience from the Vatican. Cosby met with the Pope on Wednesday (6/4) and says that among the topics they discussed was his role in creating peace in the Middle East. On Sunday, the Pontiff will meet in the Vatican for a prayer summit with Israeli president Shimon Peres and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas. Cosby says of her meeting with Pope Francis, “One of the greatest moments of my life. He was extremely engaging and approachable. It is clear he cares deeply about peace in the Mideast and would like to do anything he can to assist this very difficult process.” Cosby discussed her conversation with the Pope on the Thursday 5:00 pm program she co-hosts with Pat Kiernan. Pictured here is Cosby meeting with Pope Francis outside the Vatican. Photo: L’Osservatore Romano.
Livestream Connects Talk Radio with Visual Platforms – Groundbreaking Firm to Play Role at Talkers New York 2014. One of the leading-edge technology companies (founded in 2007) that provides radio stations, networks and shows with an accessible system to stream their content in a video mode – Livestream – will be demonstrating its systems and providing instruction at Talkers New York 2014 on Friday, June 20 in the event’s exhibit area. The company’s chief revenue officer, Sam Kimball will also participate in a panel discussion, “Radio: The Big Picture,” moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison. This signifies the rapidly growing company’s preliminary endeavor at marketing its stellar product to radio, according to Livestream’s GM for news and radio, Clayton Rose. In an exclusive feature story written by TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian posted today (6/6), Rose states, “It has almost been an inbound initiative of us being reactive. We are now at the point where we think there is enough of a market out there that we are going to be more proactive in reaching out and trying to work with radio programmers to live stream their content.” Nearly 150 employees comprising Livestream are found in its Brooklyn global headquarters, or satellite offices in Los Angeles, London, Bangalore (India), and Zaporizhia (Ukraine). Software engineers are responsible for building the Livestream technology. “It is a much dispersed work world we live in,” Rose acknowledges. “You find the best people you can, and if they happen to be software engineers in the Ukraine, that is where you set up an office. It is becoming more and more common. Livestream, SKYPE, and other means of technology are making the world a lot smaller than it used to be.” Current talk radio clients of Livestream include progressive hosts, Thom Hartmann (this year’s freedom of Speech Award recipient), Stephanie Miller and Mike Malloy, as well as KTRS, St. Louis’ morning personality McGraw Milhaven and talk programming on Tucson’s KQTH. To read Mike Kinosian’s entire article, please click here.
New Talk and Sports Outlets in Evansville. There are two companies involved in the changes taking place in the Evansville market. First, The Original Company’s WYFX flips from sports talk as “ESPN Radio 106.7” to news/talk with the new lineup as follows: The WSJRN’s “The Wall Street Journal This Morning” with Gordon Deal; three Fox News Radio shows – Brian Kilmeade, John Gibson and Tom Sullivan; Premiere Networks’ “America Now” with Andy Dean; and WestwoodOne’s Michael Savage. At Townsquare Media’s crosstown WJLT, the station is dropping classic hits and will flip to sports talk using ESPN programming. Tristatehomepage.com reports air personalities Dave Westrich, Julie Michaels, Johnny Kincaid, and Gavin Eddings are out at WJLT as a result of the flip.
Lucky Seven National Radio Hall of Fame Inductees. When the 2014 National Radio Hall of Fame inductees are honored in five months (11/9), the ceremony will take place in Los Angeles, rather than Chicago where every other such event has been held. The NRHOF class of 2014 includes Charlie Brown (Jack Woods) & Irv Harrigan (Paul Menard) better known as “Charlie & Harrigan,” Barry Farber, Stanley Hubbard, Jon Miller, Agnes Moorehead (posthumous), Dick Orkin, and “This American Life” host Ira Glass. Museum of Broadcast Communications founder and president Bruce DuMont confirms that, “The National Radio Hall of Fame is taking the show on the road this year. Many Radio Hall of Famers and several 2014 inductees live in southern California, so it seems like a great time to try something different.” Charlie & Harrigan were first paired in 1966 in Dallas at KLIF. They would later enjoy success in Cleveland, Houston, and San Diego. Farber’s radio career began in the 1950s in New York when he joined WNBC-AM as a producer. He had a 15-year association with New York’s WOR and more than 10 years at cross-town WMCA. He has had national exposure on the ABC Radio Network and – since 2008 – on CRN Digital Talk Radio. Hubbard Broadcasting founder Stanley Hubbard launched WAMD, Minneapolis in 1923. The following year, he started what might have been radio’s first regularly scheduled daily news broadcast, which aired at 6:00 pm each evening. Seven-year San Francisco Giants radio voice Miller (on Bay Area KNBR) has had additional MLB play-by-play experience with the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Oakland A’s, and Texas Rangers. He had a two-decade run with ESPN TV, anchoring “Sunday Night Baseball,” and he covered 13 consecutive World Series for ESPN Radio. Known to many as “Endora” on the TV series “Bewitched,” Moorehead began her career as a singer on St. Louis heritage station KMOX. She passed away more than 40 years ago (April 1974). Orkin attended the Yale School of Drama and he is the creator of the longest-running radio serial of all time, “Chickenman,” which chronicled the exploits of a mild-mannered shoe salesman-turned-crime-fighter. Since 1978, Orkin has created radio commercials through his California-based Radio Ranch production company. “This American Life” host/producer Glass launched the show in November 1995 as “Your Radio Playhouse” on Chicago’s WBEZ. The next summer, it had been picked up for national syndication and the show has won two George Foster Peabody awards. A number of women of the National Radio Hall of Fame will be honored at this year’s NRHOF induction ceremony. They include Eve Arden (“Our Miss Brooks“), Virginia Payne (“Ma Perkins“), Shirley Bell (“Little Orphan Annie“), and Virginia Clark and Julie Stevens (“The Romance of Helen Trent“). Other females to be recognized include comedians Gracie Allen and Jane Ace; Marian Jordan (“Fibber McGee and Molly”) and Gertrude Berg (“The Goldbergs”). Other ladies to be saluted that night are producer Lynne “Angel” Harvey (Paul’s wife) and Cathy Hughes; journalists Ann Compton (ABC News) and Susan Stamberg (NPR);interviewer Terry Gross; singer Kate Smith; urban radio personality (and now daytime TV talk host) Wendy Williams; Chicago talents Yvonne Daniels and Terri Hemmert; and jazz pianist-composer-writer Marian McPartland. Premiere Radio Networks will produce/distribute the broadcast in association with the MBC. Premiere’s nighttime adult contemporary “Love Songs” personality Delilah will host the Hall of Fame ceremony; Westwood One‘s Jim Bohannon will be the announcer.
Odds & Sods. All-news WWJ, Detroit announces Ed Cardenas joins the station to serve as its digital reporter. The CBS RADIO outlet says he’ll serve as a regular on-air contributor and will also provide content for CBSDetroit.com. WWJ program director Rob Davidek says, “Ed is a terrific writer who knows the area and will be finding and telling stories focused on business, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. He will be a great addition to our all-news format.”…..When the 68th Annual Tony Awards kick off on Sunday evening, WABC, New York will begin a “live tweeting analysis.” The station says, it will cover the iconic New York awards show beginning at 8:00 pm ET when “Imus in The Morning” cast members Imogen Lloyd Webber and Mike Gunzelman will be tweeting analysis, reaction, and green room moments live from Radio City Music Hall. WABC program director Craig Schwalb states, “You can’t be in New York and ignore the Tony Awards. With Imogen and Mike, 77 WABC will provide timely and entertaining coverage any fan of Broadway should make a point to follow.”…..Cumulus Dallas announces sports talk KTCK “The Ticket” and the NHL’s Dallas Stars renew their deal for the station to air the team’s play-by-play for the next five seasons.
Norm Pattiz to Receive 2014 TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award. The editorial board of TALKERS magazine has named Norm Pattiz the recipient of the publication’s annual Lifetime Achievement Award for 2014. Pattiz is the founder and former chairman/ CEO of the original Westwood One, which under his leadership was America’s largest radio network and provider of news, sports, entertainment, talk and traffic programming to the broadcast industry. Westwood One owned, managed or distributed NBC Radio Networks, CBS News, CNN Radio, the Mutual Broadcasting System, numerous major league professional sports schedules and events, the Olympic Games and an extraordinarily wide variety of syndicated talk and music shows. In 2010, Pattiz, founded and launched Courtside Entertainment Group. The company produces and finances multi-platform programming and is the radio home of Loveline, Bill O’Reilly, Dr. Drew, Laura Ingraham, Ron Paul and a wide variety of music “super specials.” Recognizing the untapped opportunities in the audio on-demand industry, Pattiz launched PodcastOne at the end of 2012. The company quickly became the leading producer/ distributer in audio on-demand programming. Today, PodcastOne’s popular line-up of personalities and brands include Adam Carolla, Dan Patrick, Steve Austin, Radio Lab, Freakonomics Radio, the Nerdist, Jay Mohr, Kathie Lee Gifford, Dennis Miller, Penn Jillette, Ross Tucker, Yahoo Sports, Bret Eason Ellis, public radio stations WNYC, New York and KCRW, Los Angeles as well as 200 more of the nation’s most popular podcasts. PodcastOne programs are downloaded over 120 million times every month. In 2000, Pattiz was appointed by President Clinton and reappointed in 2002 by President Bush to serve on the Broadcasting Board of Governors of the United States of America. The Board oversees all U.S. nonmilitary broadcasting services, including Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty, Middle East Broadcasting and others. Pattiz was responsible for conceiving and launching America’s Arabic language radio and television services to all 22 countries of the Middle East, plus Farsi language broadcasting to Iran reaching a weekly audience of more than 40 million listeners — an achievement that earned him the TALKERS magazine Freedom of Speech Award in 2002. Pattiz currently serves as a regent of the University of California. He is the chairman of the Regent’s Oversight Committee of the Department of Energy Laboratories and serves as the chairman of the board of the Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos National Security Labs. Pattiz is an inductee of the National Radio Hall of Fame and has been the recipient of numerous professional and leadership awards including the “Giants of Broadcasting Award” from the Library of American Broadcasting. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Pacific Council on International Relations. Upon announcing the selection of Norm Pattiz as the recipient of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “This amazing broadcaster has made an indelible and positive impact on the radio business that is now extending into the digital era with the same force and measurable effect that he began delivering so many decades ago. If Norm Pattiz doesn’t deserve the TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award, nobody does.” The honor will be presented at the gala Awards Ceremony at Talkers New York 2014 by legendary WestwoodOne personality Jim Bohannon on Friday June 20. There will be more than 65 industry leaders in speaking roles at the conference which takes place on Friday, June 20 at the iconic India House in the heart of New York City’s historic Financial District. Registration is only open to professionals (and broadcasting students) working in radio and related media. The cost is $249 per person which includes all sessions, receptions, food and refreshments. Registrations can only be booked over the phone with credit card. Call 413-565-5413. Again, a sellout is expected shortly. For up-to-the-minute agenda information and further details please click here.
Bergdahl Prisoner Swap Controversy Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 2-6. The highly controversial swap of five prisoners with terrorist connections for Taliban-captured Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of June 2-6, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the primary elections and this fall’s mid-term elections. Following at #3 was the 2016 presidential race and, at #4, the VA Hospitals scandal tied with criticism of the Affordable Care Act. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Joan Hamburg Show Cancelled at WOR, New York. When Clear Channel shuffled the daily lineup at news/talk WOR, New York to make room for Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity the long-running Joan Hamburg show moved to the weekend. Now, the company cancels the Saturday and Sunday version of the Joan Hamburg show. Hamburg had been a fixture on WOR since she joined the station in 1979.
Dave Elswick Lands at ‘96.5 The Voice’ in Little Rock. Today, longtime Little Rock talk radio personality and programmer Dave Elswick begins hosting the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm show at Crain Media Group news/talk KHTE, England, Arkansas “96.5 The Voice.” (England is about 20 miles southeast of Little Rock). Elswick was most recently program director and afternoon drive host at Cumulus Media’s crosstown KARN-FM before exiting the station in early April.
Glenn Beck’s Lawyers Argue in Boston Libel Suit. In his case against Premiere Networks syndicated talk show host Glenn Beck, Abdulrahman Alharbi claims that Beck’s insistence that Alharbi financed the bombing attacks at the Boston Marathon in 2013 during on-air discussion of the incident reaches the level of libel. Alharbi claims that Beck’s continued assertion that he was part of the attacks after police questioned him and cleared him as a suspect caused him pain and suffering. Beck’s lawyers are not arguing Alharbi was part of the plot but they say the threshold for libel is very high and Beck’s actions do not rise to that level. The Boston Business Journal’s Eric Convey reports that Beck’s attorneys also argue that Beck’s speech is protected by the First Amendment. In the initial court filing, Alharbi claimed he was the target of harassment via the internet after Beck accused him of being a “bad, bad” person who financed the attacks even after police cleared him.
Entercom Names Abacast Digital Streaming Partner. The result of this partnership between Entercom and Abacast is that beginning in August of this year, Entercom stations will move to Abacast’s Clarity digital audio streaming and monetization platform. Entercom will use Clarity for ad insertion, campaign management and reporting, audience metrics, streaming, royalty reporting, and AbaPlay, The Everywhere Player. Entercom VP digital strategy & enterprise platforms Tim Murphy comments, “With the ultimate goal of offering the best listener and advertiser experience, Abacast was the clear choice. Abacast offers us the most innovative technology in the digital radio industry, and this partnership will allow us to continuously improve the end experience for listeners and advertisers as habits change and move toward mobile and targeted impressions.” In a statement, the companies say that Abacast Clarity provides Entercom with a cloud-based digital audio monetization service, enabling revenue from in-stream audio ads, synchronized banners for call‐to‐action campaigns, pre-roll video ads, and third‐party ad sales integration. Later this year, Entercom stations will be equipped with Abacast’s Skip Technology for Live Streams and MusicStart, offering features currently found only in playlist service to live radio streams. Abacast CEO Rob Green says, “We built our platform with unique targeting and streaming features to serve enterprise customers like Entercom and look forward to a strong partnership. With Entercom’s wide range of stations and reach combined with Abacast’s industry leading technology we look forward to serving Entercom and providing their entire listener base with a fantastic experience.”
Entercom Adds to FM Signals to ‘ESPN Upstate’ in Greenville-Spartanburg. Growing its “ESPN Upstate” sports talk brand, Entercom announces the addition of two FM signals to the multicast based at WORD-AM, Spartanburg and WYRD-AM, Greenville. The two signals are translators W290WB, Greenville at 105.9 and W246BU at 97.1 Spartanburg. The company says that “using optimized antennas and the most advanced broadcasting equipment available, ‘ESPN Upstate’ is now the most powerful and far-reaching sports station in the Greenville/Spartanburg market with two AM signals, 960 AM and 1330 AM; two FM signals, 97.1 FM and 105.9 FM; HD radio at WFBC-HD3; and 24/7 on-line streaming at www.espnupstate.com.” Entercom’s vice president and market manager Steve Sinicropi comments, “In three short months, ‘ESPN Upstate’ has become the fastest-growing and most powerful sports station in The Upstate. Adding the powerful ESPN brand to not only one, but two FM signals makes our already-powerful cluster of stations an even better advertiser choice to serve the important male audience. With 24-hour sports on ESPN Upstate, Clemson Football play-by-play on ‘93.3 The Planet’ and Carolina Panthers play-by-play on ‘Classic Rock 101.1,’ we deliver to an enormous audience.” In addition to ESPN programming, the stations air local sports talk shows “In the Huddle with Greg McKinney” and “Straight Up with Sturg.”
Doug Stephan and Dream Big America Celebrate One Year Programming Relationship. Over the course of the past year, Doug Stephan and Dream Big America have featured more than 100 startups on Stephan’s nationally syndicated “Good Day” every Tuesday during a special segment where entrepreneurs compete to win. Upon the recent partnership between Stephan’s Good Day and “My Cool Inventions,” the Dream Big America feature moves to Fridays from 9:00 am to 10:00 am ET joining Stephan and “My Cool Inventions” hosts Akos Jankura and John Cremeans. On June 6, three competing finalists from Monday-Thursday pitch their startup or product live on air. Listeners vote on their favorite, which is announced the following Friday. At the end of each month, those Friday finalists compete for the monthly grand prize of $20,000 worth of support and resources. Stephan says, “I’m very proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish this past year with Dream Big America. Helping others has always been a priority of mine and this is an ideal way to do that. These entrepreneurs have a voice on our show and a chance to achieve their dreams.”
Odds & Sods. It’s Monday morning of no sleeping in for WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive talk personality Simon Conway who tells TALKERS he’s proving once again that “sleep is overrated” as he fills in on Clear Channel’s sister news/talk WFLF, Orlando “Newsradio 102.5 WFLA” on the morning show today (6/2)…..Compass Media Networks announces its 2014 college football play-by-play schedule. The company notes it has a deal with Learfield Sports, which owns the local rights to more than 70 universities, and thus Compass can choose the games it wishes to make available. Some of the games Compass is offering this season include: Florida at Alabama on 9/20; Ohio State at Penn State on 10/25; and the Big Ten Championship game on 12/6…..“The Tailgate Tour” commences a new relationship with Yahoo! Sports Radio, after concluding a 14-year association with Fox Sports Radio. NFuse 360 Marketing managing partner Jay Freedman comments, “We are very excited to be working with Yahoo! Sports Radio. Many radio stations on ‘game day Saturday’ try to own the position that they are the ‘go-to home’ for sports, and that they are there with the fans but they are not. The Tailgate Tour will put Yahoo! Sports Radio into the heartbeat of the largest games in the country.” Gow Broadcasting chief executive officer David Gow states, “This is a great step for us. Jay and his team are the best in the field. We are delighted to be onsite with them at some of the biggest games of the season.” Gow Broadcasting – in partnership with Yahoo! Sports – owns and operates Yahoo! Sports Radio. The Tailgate Tour will kick off at the start of college football season and be on the road for 14 straight weeks reaching a schedule and fans in the SEC, Big 10, ACC and Big 12. As The Tailgate Tour’s official radio network, Yahoo! Sports Radio will have complete access to tours assets, as well as a joint promotional platform and sales channel…..Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is signed up to once again make regular weekly appearances on CBS RADIO‘s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh “Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan” for the upcoming NFL season. Roethlisberger’s show airs Tuesdays at 11:00 am during The Fan’s Cook & Poni Show beginning September 9. Program director Ryan Maguire comments, “We’re thrilled that Ben has agreed to join us once again every week during the football season. The Fan has become a destination station for Steeler fans during the week with insight on the team they can’t get anywhere else.”
Ten Added to Conclave’s 2014 – 2015 Board of Directors. Joining the board are Pittsburgh voiceover talent/producer Drake Donovan; Jacobs Media digital/social media strategist Lori Lewis; Lakeland Broadcasting president Steve Linder; Corus, Vancouver brand manager Ronnie Stanton; KEEZ, Mankato, Minnesota program director Brad Steele; sales broker Phil Strider; Nicolet Broadcasting Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin’s Roger Utnehmer; and RadioGeorge.com founder/CEO George Woods. Veteran smooth jazz programmer Michael Fisher and WCWI-FM, Adams, Wisconsin operations manager Bob Goff rejoin the board. Conclave board chair/RCS sales manager Mark Bolke remarks, “This newly reformed board is a direct result of the industry outreach the Conclave began over the winter, soliciting the help of interested individuals in helping the organization rise to new challenges. We are thrilled that so many extremely talented and respected individuals have chosen to come on board for the next year. The new members, including professionals who are actively engaged in ownership, management, programming, sales, production, research, and new media, add a wealth of experience and perspective to the Conclave.” Incumbent board members include Bolke; Jane Dyson; Vallie-Richards-Donovan consultant Harv Blain; Conclave executive director emeritus Tom Kay, and BMI vice president of industry relations Dan Spears.
Leslie Marshall Scores Role in Indie Sci-Fi Flick. Talk media personality Leslie Marshall has a part in a new indie sci-fi film called The App. The movie stars Sean Faris, Sarah Roemer, Frank Deal, James Saito and Marshall. According to Variety, production starts today in New York City. The story centers on “a brilliant mind’s descent into madness.” Variety writes that “the story was inspired by the massive use of new technologies which intersect with psychopharmacology for therapeutic purposes.”
Yalies Reunite in New Haven! An unlikely gathering of public figures is seen here as Salem Radio Network talk host Michael Medved (center) was in New Haven, Connecticut on Friday, May 30 for his Yale University class reunion. He was joined by several prominent fellow Yale alums including: longtime Connecticut Senator and 2000 Democratic V.P. nominee Joe Lieberman (second from left) and former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft (right). All joined Medved on his nationally syndicated radio show. Also pictured here are: Hadassah Lieberman (left), Dr. Diane Medved (third from left), and Janet Ashcroft (second from right).
XtreMEDIA Debuts News Package. This short-form news package is titled, “The News That Makes You Think,” and is the fourth broadcast venture from entrepreneur Kevin McCullough. The XtreMEDIA chief hosts nationally syndicated daily shows as well as a WMCA, New York program. He says the new feature is designed for morning drive and middays on affiliate stations. “The content is designed to offer a substantive look at national, political, and human interest stories. But every newscast will also provide information important to families and people of faith. And at the end of the day it’s about telling great stories!” The venture will launch June 2 on WMCA during morning drive. The product is a combined venture of XtreMEDIA Broadcasts and TheBingeThinker.com. McCullough adds, “We expect this to take off quickly. We’ve had requests from stations taking our other shows asking for it for a while but it has been configuring logistics that has slowed the roll out.” For information and market availability, reach out to Kevin McCullough at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rob Dibble Comes Home to Connecticut for PM Drive at WUCS, Hartford. Former MLB star Rob Dibble is taking over the afternoon drive show on Clear Channel’s sports talk WUCS, Hartford “97.9 ESPN” as host of “The Rob Dibble Show with Paul Nanos.” The 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm program will be simulcast on Clear Channel’s WAVZ, New Haven “ESPN 1300.” Dibble – son of award-winning Connecticut radio newsman Walt Dibble – has worked in broadcasting since retiring from baseball in 1996. He most recently worked for Fox Sports Radio Network. He’s also done stints as ESPN, Fox Sports TV and SiriusXM. Dibble comments, “After years of being in the broadcast industry and working around the country, it was always my dream to follow in my father’s footsteps and broadcast out of the great state where I was born. Connecticut has the most passionate sports fans anywhere and I’m lucky to be a part of it with ’97.9 ESPN’ and ‘ESPN 1300!’”
Seattle Talk Media Personality Ken Schram Dead at 66. Longtime KOMO, Seattle personality Ken Schram died at age 66 after a long illness. Schram worked for 35 years at KOMO-AM, Seattle before exiting the station in 2012. He had been handling fill-in duties with Bonneville’s KIRO-FM prior to being hospitalized last fall after suffering kidney failure. During his Seattle career, Schram also worked at KOMO-TV. During his time with KOMO-AM, he co-hosted the left-right “The Commentators” program taking the progressive stance against conservative foil John Carlson.
WOLB, Baltimore Hosts Gubernatorial Debate. Next Thursday morning, Radio One Baltimore’s news/talk WOLB will host a gubernatorial debate on the “Larry Young Morning Show.” Host Larry Young will moderate the debate in which candidates Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Del. Heather Mizeur, and Attorney Gen. Doug Gansler will take part. The debate will air live from 8:00 am to 9:30 am. The debate will be simulcast on the company’s gospel WWIN “Spirit 1400” and sister news/talk WOL, Washington.
Bill to Give Children Access to Ailing Parents Moves Forward. It’s not named after radio legend Casey Kasem, but bill number AB 2034 certainly was the result of work between California Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) and Kasem’s daughter Kerri. Broadcasters are aware of the problems Kasem’s children have faced trying to see their father who is struggling with a form of dementia called Lewy Body Disease. Jean Kasem has refused to allow visits from Kasem’s children from his first marriage. Bill AB 2032 passed the Assembly on a 70-0 vote. The bill seeks to protect children from being denied access to a parent by a parent’s future spouse or child. Assemblyman Gatto says, “Conflict among family members is the last thing our loved ones want to see as they approach their final hours. I hope this bill will help decrease the heartache and stress of families already facing difficult circumstances…The law must do more to keep up with the changing norms of modern families. AB 2034 brings the law into the 21st century and allows family members to focus on caring for their loved ones.”
WestwoodOne’s ‘First Light’ Celebrates 25 Years. The early morning news magazine “First Light” with Dirk Van is celebrating its 25th anniversary on Monday, June 2. Van, host of the show since its debut in 1989, says, “What an honor to be on the air for a quarter century, hosting a show with so many great affiliates – not to mention getting an earful from listeners each day. I’ve always felt I just guided this program along from day to day. The real stars are the First Light crew: producer David Oziel, the man with the Devorecast – Dean Devore, our sports geek Robert Workman, Marketwatcher Charlie Turner, and our peerless movie critic Chuck Rich.”
Chuck Custer Celebrates 30 Years at WGY, Albany. Morning drive co-host and program director Chuck Custer is celebrating 30 years with Albany market news/talker WGY. It was Memorial Day weekend in 1984 when Custer began working for the station anchoring evening newscasts. Since that time he’s served as morning news anchor alongside the legendary Don Weeks, as news director and now program director and morning show co-host with Kelly Lynch. Custer says of his career at the Clear Channel station, “I’ve been truly blessed to have the opportunity to do what I love to do, at a great station, with a group of people – past and present – who mean so much to me.”
Laura Smith on the Wall of Fame. WABC, New York talk personality Laura Smith has been honored in a most unusual way after interviewing Palm Restaurant manager Nick Maracz. Smith tells TALKERS she spoke with Maracz on the radio about the famous New York City eatery on her show “The Saturday Café.” A couple of weeks went by and she received the picture you see here showing her caricature right next to Liza Minelli! Smith says, “The restaurant has been there for 80 years and back in the day, when all the syndicated newspapers and comic book illustrators would go there for lunch but couldn’t afford to pay, they would draw pictures on the wall in exchange for food.”
Savoring the Gracie. Pictured here holding her Gracie Award from the Alliance for Women in Media at the 39th Annual Gracie Awards Gala in Beverly Hills last week is CBS Radio News correspondent Heather Bosch. Bosch was honored for her work in the Soft News Feature category for her story on “Autism on Broadway.” The judges said her submission displayed superior quality in writing, production and programming. Heather has won multiple national awards since joining CBS three years ago after an illustrious career at KIRO-FM, Seattle.
UCSB Killings/Gun Laws Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 26-30. The deadly shootings at University of California Santa Barbara and the debate over gun laws in America that followed were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the VA Hospitals scandal. Coming in at #3 was the dip in the GDP and the state of the U.S. economy followed by the Edward Snowden interview at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.