Thomas Adds CBS Sports Radio VP Stripes. Three-year CBS Radio Boston vice president of programming Mike Thomas takes on additional responsibilities as vice president of sports programming for CBS Sports Radio. Among the Boston stations Thomas supervises is all-sports WBZ-FM “The Sports Hub.” Thomas and Mark Chernoff will oversee the company’s sports properties, as well as CBS Sports Radio; Chernoff is CBS Radio’s vice president of sports stations and vice president of programming for CBS Radio New York, which includes iconic sports outlet WFAN. CBS Radio executive vice president of programming Chris Oliviero states that, “Mike’s creativity and expertise in the format is evident by [WBZ-FM’s] quick ascent in one of the most competitive and passionate sports towns in America. These skills will serve CBS Radio well as Mike joins Mark in guiding our continually growing, industry leading portfolio of both local and national sports brands which combined produces nearly 300 hours a day of original content.” Thomas has programmed CBS Radio Boston classic rocker WZLX the past eight years and “The Sports Hub” the last five. His prior programming credits include KGB, San Diego; WFBQ, Indianapolis; WTUE and WXEG, Dayton; and WYMG, Springfield, Illinois.
Newsmax Publishes Insightful Article About Mike Rogers and the Evolving Role of Politics in News/Talk Radio. Senior editor David A. Patten of Newsmax Media (Newsmax.com and Newsmax Magazine) serves up an informative article that provides fairly objective insight into the recent announcement that at the end of his current Congressional term, U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) will begin a career with Cumulus Media as a radio talk show host. The article presents reaction from outspoken conservative media practitioners who react to Rogers’ plan to approach conservative politics from a “kinder and gentler” perspective than the traditional presentations allegedly offered by the genre’s big players such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, and Michael Savage. In the article, commentator (and former radio talk show host) Michael Reagan labels Rogers’ yet-to-debut new show “RINO radio” (Republican in Name Only.) Conservative media watchdog L. Brent Bozell III charges that Rogers thinks conservative radio listeners are “knuckle-draggers unable to think for themselves, unable to be smart.” Rogers explains to Newsmax TV why he is giving up his coveted chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee to join the likes of Mike Huckabee as politicians who enlisted in the media, stating, “It gives me an opportunity to talk to people all over the country about American exceptionalism, the future of America, the issues of the day, national security, and foreign policy in a way I just don’t hear interjected into the public debate.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, known for his nonpartisan stance on political talk radio, is recruited for comment in the piece saying that Rogers is “more compelling than the average dry politician” — but perhaps not as interesting as the more successful radio talkers. He adds that having a “flair for show business” is at least as important to success in talk radio as whatever policy knowledge a host brings to the table. Harrison states, “Sometimes the goals of success in talk radio are different from the goals of success in politics which goes back to something I said before: Politicians do not make good talk-show hosts.” Whether Rogers can succeed on the same battlefield where so many others from elective office have fallen really depends on how audiences react. And that, Harrison says, “Nobody can predict.” On the positive side of the ledger, Harrison says, “Rogers has savvy media instincts, and can talk credibly on a wide range of issues thanks to his insider knowledge.” The negative side of the ledger: Rogers is a politician. “As a species,” says Harrison, “politicians don’t fully understand the show-business and human-element aspects of talk programming. They see it as another platform to further their political selves, as opposed to their personality selves.” Harrison expounds, “What’s needed are spontaneous expressions that touch people on a human level. That’s not easy for most politicians, who by instinct and training learn to keep their reactions under wraps. I’m not saying Rogers doesn’t have it. I’m just saying we don’t know that he does.” In the article, Harrison hastens to add that he’s rooting for Rogers to do well because his success would benefit the industry. He says that Cumulus “will have to show Rogers that it’s OK to flirt with controversy in expressing his opinion.” The TALKERS publisher concludes, “On the radio dial, there’s no room for squishy Republicans. If he irritates the core of the right-wing that loves talk radio,” says Harrison, “and doesn’t generate interest among the people who want to hear a moderate, he may wind up with nothing.” To read the entire Newsmax article, please click here.
Radio Statesboro, Georgia Eagle Media Close on Five-Station Deal. Neal Ardman‘s Radio Statesboro acquires a five-station Statesboro, Georgia cluster from Georgia Eagle Media. The transaction includes country WHKN, sports WPTB, adult contemporary WPMX, talk WWNS, and classic rock WZBX. Media Services Group‘s Eddie Esserman in the company’s St. Simons Island, Georgia office was the exclusive broker and represented Georgia Eagle Media (the seller) in this deal.
Pardon Me Governor. Even though Matt “Rookie” Michalski poured a bucket of ice and a drink pitcher’s worth of ice directly on Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, the producer/sidekick of Hubbard Minneapolis KSTP-AM’s regionally syndicated “Garage Logic” with Joe Soucheray is (presumably) not in any hot water with the state’s chief executive. The extenuating circumstance is that it was pre-arranged as part of the ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge.” Governor Dayton accepted the dare to be showered with ice yesterday (Thursday, 8/21) at the Minnesota State Fair. Minnesota Twins owner Jim Pohlad nominated Dayton, who in turn, laid down the gauntlet to a fellow Democrat, Minnesota Senator – and former Air America talk host – Al Franken. The “Ice Bucket Challenge” went viral through social media the middle of this year. A common stipulation is that nominated people have 24 hours to comply or forfeit by way of a charitable financial donation to ALS. We have seen numerous media personalities become involved such as Lars Larson, who does daily conservative talk shows on Alpha Media Portland’s KXL-FM and nationally on Compass Media Networks. Portland city commissioner Steve Novick challenged Larson to participate in this charitable soaking. Larson accepted and got drenched yesterday morning (Thursday, 8/21) outside downtown Portland’s PacWest Center. “It was cold, but I loved doing it,” Larson remarks. “ALS is a terrible disease and we raised [more than $700] for the cause. Doing the honors of dumping the ice water on Larson was Alpha Media adult alternative KINK morning drive co-host/news director Sheila Hamilton. The initial shock, Larson comments, “is so cold.” Two of Larson’s listeners did the deed to Novick, who acknowledges, “It was fun and it is great to see people all over the country drawing attention to fighting this disease.”
Klein Proves “You Can Go Home Again.” Twenty years ago, longtime Charlotte resident Jerry Klein was one of the first liberal hosts given the challenging task of trying to balance conservative talk radio, when he took over late-nights at heritage 50,000-watt, “Blowtorch of the South”-turned talker WBT-AM, Charlotte. A few years later, he moved up to a slightly earlier timeslot, but he was dismissed in October 1997. A short-lived self-syndication effort followed before Klein departed for Washington, DC. He landed at WMAL where he learned the business not just as a host, but also as senior producer, and assistant program and marketing director. He rubbed shoulders with many top politicians and media personalities. Three years ago, however, things took a horrific turn for the worse, when he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer and serious liver disease. Klein was informed he had little chance to survive more than a year. Barely a month after a first unsuccessful surgery, Klein awakened one morning only to find his wife had unexpectedly passed away in their bathroom. One year later, unable to work, penniless, and close to homeless, he accepted an offer from friends in Charlotte to stay in a spare bedroom. Klein returned early last year, thinking he was going home to die. This time last year, things suddenly changed again – this time for the better – as Klein’s oncologist indicated Klein’s cancer had mysteriously vanished. Although still battling physical issues, Klein nonetheless began writing for Charlotte’s alternative news weekly, Creative Loafing, just as he did from 1987 – 2001. Moreover and quite astonishingly, one week from today (8/29), roughly 17 years after being fired from WBT, Klein returns to the now Greater Media-owned talker to fill-in for John Hancock (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm). He will do the same Labor Day (Monday, 9/1) for Keith Larson (9:00 am – 12 noon). “Take your pick of clichés,” Klein offers. “Either, ‘Lazarus is still rising,’ or ‘You can go home again.’ One year ago, I would never have dreamed this was possible – I didn’t think I’d be alive. Instead, I’ve been welcomed home in a way that rocks me to my core. People who screamed at me for my positions now come and hug me. I am constantly told how much I was missed. This proves you might have to leave home thinking you’re a failure, only to return to find out you might have been wrong.”
Falcons Call an FM Flagship Audible. Effective with this weekend’s (third) pre-season tilt against the Tennessee Titans at the Georgia Dome, the NFL‘s Atlanta Falcons will move its FM flagship from Lincoln Financial Media hot AC WSTR “Star 94″ to CBS Radio sports outlet WZGC “The Game.” According to a post on the station’s website, “The Game” will be “airing the remaining preseason games and all regular season games for the 2014 – 2015 season.” Lincoln Financial Media’s WQXI “The Zone” continues as the team’s AM flagship station. It is a bit of an oddity that two competing broadcast companies are flagships for the same sports franchise.
Three Outlets to Carry Duquesne Sports. The official radio home of Duquesne football, men’s basketball and coaches’ shows throughout 2014 – 2015 will be Clear Channel Pittsburgh’s WBGG “ESPN 970″ and WWSW-HD2 “94.5 3WS, as well as iHeartRadio. It is a result of a pact with Learfield Sports’ DUQS Sports Properties, Duquesne’s exclusive multimedia rights holder. Market president Tim McAleer remarks, “We are very excited to team up with Duquesne University athletics to bring our listeners even more local sports coverage. The ability to broadcast their specialty sports programming both locally on [WBGG] and on ‘3WS’ HD2, as well as on iHeartRadio allows them to reach fans everywhere.” Duquesne University director of athletics Greg Amodio opines, “It is a great time to follow the Dukes. We trust Learfield Sports with its years of experience in pairing university partners with respected quality broadcast outlets – this will be a terrific partnership with Clear Channel Pittsburgh. We want to create the best fan experience we can, including catering to our base which relies on catching our game action and coaches’ shows on the Duquesne Sports Network.” During the football season, the University’s new radio home for the “Dukes” will air the “Jerry Schmitt Show.” The “Jim Ferry Show” will be broadcast during men’s basketball season, while the “Dan Burt Show” will be carried during the women’s basketball season.
Memphis University School, WMC-AM Continue Partnership. Tonight’s high school football game (Friday, 8/22) between Memphis University School and Brentwood Academy will kickoff the fifth year that Entercom Memphis sports WMC-AM “ESPN 790″ has been MUS’s broadcast partner. WMC-AM will air all of the school’s Friday night football contests. Vice president and market manager Dan Barron comments, “We are proud to be the broadcast home of MUS football and continue to bring high school athletics to Memphis and to the mid-south. MUS “Owls” games are called by Mike Lawhead, Bobby Wade, and Barr Ray. Memphis University School is a college-preparatory independent day school for boys in grades 7 – 12.
Odds & Sods. Starting next Monday(8/25) CBS Sports Radio‘s 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm (ET) “Doug Gottlieb Show” will be simulcast on the CBS Sports Network…..Owing to the station’s decision to abolish news programming, Inland Empire Broadcasting classic hits-oldies KOLA, Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario news director David Wylie exits.
ISIS Beheading, Ferguson Civil Unrest, 2016 Presidential Race, US Ecomomic Indicators, Rick Perry Indictment and Israel-Gaza Warfare are the Top News/Talk Radio Stories for the Week of August 18-22. Although the Ferguson tragedy brought a wide variety of hot issues to the foreground and was the dominant story for most of the past two weeks, the horrific execution of American journalist James Foley at the hands of ISIS extremists captured the top spot collectively at midweek and has dominated conversation since. 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 chart here.
Newsmax TV to Launch on DirecTV Next Month. Wider distribution is ahead for Newsmax Media Inc’s Newsmax TV channel as the conservative news and talk outlet will be available on DirecTV beginning in mid-June. Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy says the deal that will put Newsmax TV in the homes and businesses of 20 million subscribers will start with nine hours of live programming. Currently, Newsmax TV is available online at Newsmax.com. Ruddy states, “Our launch will benefit from the existing Newsmax.com audience that is already in place. This audience will naturally be drawn to our brand of news, features and useful information and consist of one of the highest concentrations of baby boomers on the web. We will immediately plug into that audience to participate in the development and the evolution of the channel prior to a national launch.” Newsmax says that in addition to planned cable and satellite distribution, the new channel will be available via a wide range of “TV Everywhere” platforms just as the “crucial 2014 mid-term election coverage commences.” Ruddy adds, “Newsmax was born online and as the lines between TV and the web blur, we will attract a growing audience that doesn’t differentiate between the two. As a result, we are also well positioned to maximize the opportunities provided by ‘TV Everywhere’ platforms to reach tens of millions of Americans.”
Becker Becomes L&L Broadcasting’s VP/Programming. Former Oasis Radio Fort Wayne, Indiana general manager Phil Becker is appointed vice president of programming for L&L Broadcasting. “As a continuation of our rapid growth, we have been searching for the ideal candidate to help our programming teams execute strategies for on-air, online, and mobile audience growth,” comments L&L Broadcasting president and chief executive officer Bob Proffitt. “Phil is the absolute perfect fit for us and will not only be a dynamic addition to our corporate structure, but a welcoming face to our markets as he helps them continue to evolve.” Senior vice president/director of programming Scott Mahalick states, “We are thrilled to have such a visionary programmer join our team with a winning track record; great passion for the art of the product; business sense; and stellar leadership traits.” Becker remarks that the L&L Broadcasting team is “truly focused on their brands, as well as hiring the best people. The direction and vision of the entire corporate team is an exciting and refreshing approach to the industry that I love.” Prior to becoming Oasis Radio Fort Wayne’s GM, Becker was its operations manager and director of programming. His previous background includes programming tenures at Cox Radio Group Orlando rhythmic CHR WPYO “Power 95.3″; CKEY, Fort Erie Ontario (Buffalo-Niagara Falls); and in Dothan, Alabama for New South Communications. In April, Larry Wilson announced that Alpha Broadcasting and L&L Broadcasting would merge into one company – Alpha Media. When that merger is complete, the company will operate 68 stations.
Apple-Beats Deal Overshadows iTunes Radio’s Non-Music Deals. The just announced deal that Apple is acquiring Beats Music and Beats Electronics for $3 billion is the subject of a lot of chatter in the financial and music/radio sectors. While the music angle is what Apple CEO Tim Cook appears to be focused on, spoken-word audio programming is not escaping Apple’s eye. Almost buried under the Beats acquisition news is Apple’s announcement that it is creating an ESPN channel for iTunes Radio that will make its ESPN Radio content – Mike & Mike, Colin Cowherd, SVP & Russillo, and SportsCenter – available to iTunes Radio listeners. This comes on the heels of the March addition of the NPR channel to the service. Also, 9to5Mac is reporting that the ESPN station will carry this year’s World Cup live. While analysts are speculating largely about how this will affect SiriusXM, obviously this is another platform to compete with AM/FM radio, as well.
Marc James Moves from Charlotte to Atlanta for CBS RADIO. The sudden disappearance of afternoon drive sports talk host Marc James from the lineup at CBS RADIO’s WFNZ, Charlotte “The Fan” is explained as he moves southwest to Atlanta to partner up with Carl Dukes on WZGC “92.9 The Game” to co-host “Game Time” from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm effective Monday, June 2. The station also brings Mark Zinno in from its WJZ-FM, Baltimore “105.7 The Fan,” as TALKERS reported yesterday. WZGC program director Terry Foxx states, “Both Marc James and Mark Zinno bring unique perspectives to the Atlanta radio market. Marc James’ strong opinions will be a solid addition to Carl Dukes’ ability to objectively deliver content and Mark Zinno provides a global vision and a powerful punch to the Night Show.” Back in Charlotte, local blogger Randy Inman writes on his Panther Lair blog that he hears the candidate most likely to replace James on the PM drive show at WFNZ is Chris Kroeger.
South Central Properties Dealt to Midwest Communications. Some extremely successful sticks are about to exchange hands as Wausau, Wisconsin-based Midwest Communications is acquiring South Central Communications’ radio stations. (SummitMedia had announced intentions to buy the group for a rumored price somewhere in the range of $75 million, but that obviously fell apart.) Among the facilities involved are adult contemporary WJXA “Mix 92.9″ and adult hits WCJK “Jack-FM” (both in Nashville); adult contemporary WJXB “Today’s Soft Rock,” rock WVRX “The X,” and classic rock WIMZ (all in Knoxville); and adult contemporary WIKY, country WLFW “The Wolf,” CHR WSTO “Hot 96,” and classic rock WABX (all in Evansville, Indiana). According to South Central chief executive officer J.P. Engelbrecht, “We have found a great steward for our radio stations in Midwest Communications. They are good broadcasters who will build upon the legacy created by our outstanding team.” Midwest Communications chief executive officer Duke Wright comments, “We feel extremely fortunate to be acquiring one of America’s best-run radio groups. South Central and Midwest are entirely family-owned with both families being in the radio business for well over 50 years. We feel there is a lot of commonality between the companies – I am certain we will have much to share with each other.” Nashville AC “Mix 92.9″ is that market’s perennial top-ranked powerhouse (6+): In April’s PPM, it registers an 11.8 (#1, 6+). A similar ratings prowess exists for Evansville AC WIKY, which was #1 (12+) in the fall 2013 book with a robust 16.3. WSTO finished third (9.1); WABX was fifth (5.0); and WLFW ranked seventh (4.1). Nashville’s WCJK ranks eighth in April (6+) with a 5.1. South Central did not subscribe for the latest Knoxville numbers, so its three stations there are not listed. The Wright Family formed Midwest Communications in 1958. Midwest Communications presently owns 63 radio outlets in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Terms of the transaction – for which Kalil & Company was the exclusive broker – were not disclosed.
Jenkins to Enter New Mexico Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame. News pro Judith Jenkins will be inducted into the New Mexico Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame on June 7. The longtime KKOB, Albuquerque morning news anchor also worked at KKOB-TV during her career. In addition to her duties on KKOB’s morning program alongside Ed Hartley, Jenkins also handles news duties for Cumulus’ FM stations in the Albuquerque cluster. She will be the first African American elected to the New Mexico Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame.
Madison Rising Official National Anthem Performer for Talkers New York 2014. When the Talkers New York 2014 conference opens on June 20, at the India House in the Financial District, the band Madison Rising will serve as the official performer of the national anthem. You can check out this band’s rendition of the Star Spangled Banner in the Talkers TV box on the upper right side of this page. Talkers VP/executive editor Kevin Casey says, “Not since Jimi Hendrix laid down his iconic (and controversial!) rendition of the national anthem at Woodstock in 1969 has such a tremendously soul-stirring version of this song, performed in the rock idiom, been recorded. Not only is Madison Rising an extremely talented band, their version of the Star Spangled Banner puts you on the edge of your seat!” For more information about Talkers New York 2014, click here.
Odds & Sods. Omaha talk show host Tom Becka says he’s not looking for a fight with SiriusXM but says, contrary to the satcaster’s claim that host Maggie Linton did the last radio interview with author Maya Angelou before her death on Sunday, he actually did. The KOIL talk host tells TALKERS magazine he did what he believes is her last radio interview on May 13. You can hear that
Thom Hartmann to Receive 2014 Freedom of Speech Award. The TALKERS editorial board has named progressive radio and television talk show host Thom Hartmann as the 2014 recipient of The Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech. The award recognizes broadcasting achievement in raising consciousness and awareness of the First Amendment, displaying courage and commitment in exercising First Amendment rights and contributing to the viability of the First Amendment through deed and example. The award, one of the most prestigious and high-profile honors presented to individuals in the talk media industry, has a colorful (and often controversial) history that goes back to the early 1990s when the modern era of talk radio emerged and the format became recognized as an influential forum of public policy and social change following the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine. It was re-named in honor of talk radio pioneer Gene Burns upon his death in May 2013. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “Gene Burns was the model by which the Freedom of Speech Award and the Annual State of the First Amendment Address delivered at our national conventions were developed. It is only fitting that this institution bears the name of this great champion of the ideals and foundation upon which contemporary spoken-word radio is built.” Last year’s recipient of the Freedom of Speech Award was Glenn Beck. Recent recipients include Rush Limbaugh, Al Franken, Sean Hannity, Alan Colmes, Jim Farley, Juan Williams, Joe Madison, Michael Savage, Norm Pattiz, Bill O’Reilly, Matt Drudge, G. Gordon Liddy and Brian Lamb among many others. Upon making the announcement of Thom Hartmann’s selection as this year’s recipient, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “It is about time the industry recognizes the enormous contributions Thom Hartmann makes in keeping our industry representative of the spectrum of legitimate political ideologies at play in the American marketplace of ideas. Not only has he effectively kept the voice of liberalism alive in this arena with intellectual clarity, poise and civility for more than a decade — he has, in the process, developed and pioneered effective new, multi-media platform models and has amazingly bridged the artificial programming and business gap between commercial and public broadcasting.” The Thom Hartmann Program, launched in 2003 and represented by WYD Media, is on the radio live weekdays 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm ET, and is syndicated by WestwoodOne, Pacifica, and CRN Digital Talk. It’s heard nationally on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio, American Forces Radio, and is simulcast as television on the Free Speech TV network – which airs on both Direct TV and the Dish satellite TV systems, and several hundred cable systems, from Manhattan Neighborhood Networks to smaller systems from Burlington, Vermont to Seattle, Washington. The show is carried online by Progressive Voices on the TuneIn app, by NetRootsRadio, and streams live on its own YouTube and LiveStream channels. Close to 200 commercial and non-commercial radio stations carry Thom Hartmann’s show in the U.S., Ghana, Aruba, and Canada. In addition to radio, this entrepreneurial broadcaster also hosts “The Big Picture” TV show, that is owned and produced by Thom Hartmann and represented by WYD Media. It airs live nationwide on cable and satellite TV at 7:00 pm ET and 10:00 pm ET in an estimated 60 million-plus U.S. households via his licensing agreement with Free Speech TV, and is available in 107 countries in more than 600 million homes around the world via his licensing agreement with RT TV. The Big Picture is also carried by 200-plus community cable systems. It’s also available on Hulu and via Roku on the internet, and has its own YouTube channel. Hartmann’s website this year has had over a million unique visitors, and has an active community with its own user blogs, message board, and chat room. He has over 65,000 Facebook followers, and 37,000 Twitter followers, and over 15 million YouTube views just this year with over 60,000 subscribers to his YouTube channels. He’s the New York Times bestselling, four-time Project Censored Award winning author of 24 books in print in 17 languages on five continents. TALKERS named Thom Hartmann as the eighth most important talk show host in America in 2011, 2012, and 2013 (10th the two previous years), and for three of the past five years the #1 most important progressive host, in its “Heavy Hundred” ranking. The Freedom of Speech Award will be presented to Thom Hartmann at Talkers New York 2014. 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.
Gabe Hobbs Arrested! Noted media consultant Gabe Hobbs is appealing to friends and colleagues to help rescue him from the MDA lockup – he needs $3,500 to be set free. Hobbs tells TALKERS he’s dedicating his efforts to return to civil society to late Clear Channel Omaha/Lincoln operations manager Jim Steel who was lost to ALS in 2007. He says he’s been humbled by the number of people who actually want to see him on the outside and have donated. “But I need more. Prison life just doesn’t suit me and I have no idea how to make a shiv so the best thing would be for me to make bail.” To free Gabe and donate to the MDA click here.
UCSB Killings/U.S. Gun Laws, VA Hospitals Scandal, Prince Charles Anti-Capitalism Speech, Marine Held in Mexico Case, Kerry-Snowden Spat, U.S. GDP Dips, and NBA-NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/28). The aftermath of the deadly shootings at the University of California Santa Barbara and discussion about gun legislation; the continuing investigation into the scandals reported at VA hospitals; reaction to Prince Charles’ speech in which he advocates a new “inclusive capitalism”; the case of the U.S. Marine being held in Mexico on gun charges; Secretary of State John Kerry’s reaction to the Edward Snowden interview; the dip in the U.S. gross domestic product; and the NBA and NHL playoff action were among the top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa Gets Video Deal with Fox 1. After exiting the YES Network for the TV simulcast of his radio show in early February when his contract ran out, New York sports talk icon Mike Francesa’s WFAN show will land on Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 in a deal just announced. The companies say they’ve reached a “multi-year, multi-media agreement.” Fox Sports 1 and 2 general manager and COO David Nathanson says, “We are thrilled to add Mike Francesa to our Fox Sports family of channels. Mike is without question one of the most popular sports personalities in New York and has maintained a significant national reputation through his syndicated NFL show and his WFAN program…He’s knowledgeable and opinionated with an ability to attract top-name guests who appeal to sports fans everywhere. This is a fantastic addition to FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2.” The simulcast begins on March 24 when it will air from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm on Fox Sports 1 and then from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm on Fox Sports 2. It will also be streamed live via Fox Sports GO through participating video providers. Francesa will deliver the Sports Keynote Address at the Talkers New York 2014 conference on Friday, June 20, 2014.
Salk Exits WEEI-FM, Boston After a Year. The homecoming for Boston-bred sports talk personality Mike Salk lasted just about a year. Salk has left the station for a new gig elsewhere (reportedly back to KIRO-AM, Seattle where he was co-hosting with Brock Huard). The changes at WEEI-FM since former afternoon drive personality Glenn Ordway was forced out have been numerous: program director Jason Wolfe exited and the general manager who brought Salk to WEEI – Jeff Brown – abruptly left in September of 2013. Boston Globe writer Chad Finn analyzes the situation and states that although Salk was raised in the area and worked at other Boston AM signals for a time, “his homogenized style, honed during his time at ESPN radio, made him seem like an outsider.” Finn reports the station will begin pairing up a rotating cast of co-hosts for Michael Holley in the PM drive slot as is works to find a permanent replacement for Salk.
KTTH, Seattle Produces ‘Panel Series’ to Debate Policy Issues. Seattle news/talker KTTH is beginning a panel series aimed at “encouraging robust discussion of important issues in Western Washington,” and it will start with an April 9 debate over the proposed $15 minimum wage. Afternoon talk host Ben Shapiro will take part in the debate and morning drive personality David Boze will moderate. Also taking part in the debate will be Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant, National Employment Law Project deputy director Rebecca Smith, and Washington Policy Center vice president for research Paul Guppy. The debate is open to the public.
WNYM, New York to Air ‘The Cats Roundtable.’ New York business mogul and former mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis begins hosting an hour-long Sunday morning program on Salem Communications’ WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” this weekend. The station says the show will feature interviews, listener call-ins and John’s unique take on the news affecting New York. Catsimatidis is CEO of The Red Apple Group and Gristedes Foods. His first guests on the 3/16 program will include former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former New York Governor George Pataki. Catsimatidis comments, “I’m incredibly excited about this. After the mayor’s race, I was struck by how many New Yorkers from all walks of life were anxious to continue the conversation about how to improve our city. As a lifelong fan of local radio, I’m convinced that this is the best way to do that.”
Smith to Named to GSM Post at Cox Tulsa. Moving over from the television side of Cox Media Group’s Tulsa operations is Randy Smith who is named general sales manager for the group that includes classic rock KJSR, AC KRAV, news/talk KRMG-AM/FM, and country KWEN. Cox Tulsa general manager Gene Vidler says, “I am excited to have Randy join our radio cluster. I have known Randy for many years, first as a competitor and more recently as a colleague with our sister TV stations. Randy’s knowledge of the market and his relationships in Tulsa will be a great fit to help our radio cluster continue to grow. Randy is very well respected and well known in the media community.”
KNX, Los Angeles to Air Daylong Programming on Region’s Traffic Problems. Southern California’s traffic problems are legendary and CBS RADIO’s all-news KNX “1070 NEWSRADIO” is presenting what it calls a “comprehensive and unprecedented examination of Southern California’s infamous traffic congestion that often turns the region’s freeways and streets into a continuum of parking lots.” It’s a day-long series titled, “Driven to Gridlock: L.A.’s Never-Ending Sig Alert,” airing on Thursday, March 27 from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm. The station says, “Producers Charles Feldman and Laraine Herman, along with KNX 1070’s award-winning news staff, will explore the past, present and future of SoCal’s traffic situation with help from urban planners, civic leaders, technology experts, law enforcement and commuters. Among the topics to be covered in 26 special reports will be the evolution of our region’s car culture; why traffic congestion will likely worsen before it improves; the future of mass transit; the financial impact of traffic jams on business; coping with an aging infrastructure and growing population; the impact of past ‘solutions’ such as signal synchronization, car pool lanes, ridesharing, and toll lanes; and more-recent ideas like congestion pricing popular in Europe and flexible work schedules.”
Odds & Sods. Hard-working talk radio personality Simon Conway – afternoon drive host at Clear Channel’s WHO, Des Moines – is continuing his fill-in work subbing for Premiere Networks nationally syndicated host Andy Dean. Iron-man Conway is used to double-duty having hosted the morning show at WFLF, Orlando for six days earlier this month…..Public radio WNYC, New York welcomes Sean Bowditch to the organization as executive editor. Bowditch has served in the past as senior producer for “Marketplace Morning Report,” and producer at NPR and WBUR, Boston…..ESPN Radio is expanding its “SportsCenter All Night” program to seven nights a week. Joining veteran ESPN Radio “SportsCenter” host Jay Reynolds, who will continue to host SportsCenter All Night Sunday into Monday through Thursday into Friday, will be John Brickley, who will serve as host of the late Friday and Saturday shows.
Posh Palm Beach Pow Wow! Noticing that more than a handful of his talk radio pals were in Florida’s Palm Beach County at the same time, Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy invited them all to dinner and conversation last evening (3/12) at Donald Trump’s palatial Palm Beach Island estate, Mar-A-Lago. The result was a real yak-fest. Among the many topics of conversation — which ran the gamut from industry gossip to the future of radio in the digital age – was inside-information about Newsmax’s forthcoming plunge into the news/talk television wars. Pictured (l-r): Rush Limbaugh show producer James Golden; WRKO, Boston personality Howie Carr; WFTL, Fort Lauderdale VP/GM Steve Lapa; former U.S. Rep. (R-AZ), talk show host and Newsmax TV contributor J.D. Hayworth; TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison; and Ruddy.
Katz Media Group Helps Raise $170,000 for Broadcasters Foundation of America. After its 5th annual membership drive to support the Broadcasters Foundation of America, Katz Media Group announces this year’s contributions bring Katz’s total support to more than $170,000. The BFoA provides financial assistance to those in the radio and television profession who find themselves in acute need. Katz Radio Group president Mark Gray states, “The Broadcasters Foundation does incredible work for those in need. Every year, our company looks forward to the opportunity to come together and make a difference. I’m enormously proud of our employees continued dedication, which to date has raised more than $170,000 over the past five years. The contributions have even more meaning for Katz as it supports the Stu Olds Memorial Fund, in honor and memory of our former president and CEO.”
ObamaCare Criticism, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Mystery, Obama vs. Putin/Crimea-Ukraine Crisis, 2016 Presidential Race, Winter Weather/Global Warming, and Overtime Pay Hike Proposal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/12). Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane and the theories of its disappearance; President Obama’s standoff with Vladimir Putin over the Crimea-Ukraine crisis; speculation about possible candidates in the 2016 presidential election; the latest bout of winter weather hitting the East and debate over global warming; and President Obama’s proposal to enact mandatory hikes in overtime pay were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
FCC Will Seek Public Comment on Ownership Rules; Reversal of Cross-Ownership Bans Appear Unlikely. Reports are circulating in the media trades that senior FCC officials say FCC chairman Tom Wheeler will propose relaxing cross-ownership bans, but in a blog post dated March 6, that tone is not expressed. Wheeler writes about the Commission’s duty to undertake and complete the 2014 Quadrennial Review. He discusses some of the proposals regarding maintaining current ownership rules that will be open for public comment but many industry watchers say this should not be cause to think a Wheeler-chaired Commission will ultimately relax current cross-ownership bans. Much of Wheeler’s concern in the blog is with television joint sales agreements and he’s clearly out to change those. You can read Wheeler’s entire post here.
Newsmax Chief Chris Ruddy Announces Cable TV News/Talk Project. In a piece in Bloomberg Businessweek, Newsmax founder and CEO Chris Ruddy announces his plans for a new cable news/talk network with Fox News Channel as his target. Ruddy is quoted asking, “How do you have something so successful in cable that nobody else wants to imitate or cut into their market share? It defies reason.” Ruddy tells Bloomberg Businessweek his goal is “to be a little more boomer-oriented, more information-based rather than being vituperative and polarizing.” He says that if he can get 10% to 15% of FNC’s audience, he’s going to be “hugely profitable.” The piece states FNC bills $1 billion a year. He understands the cable carriers don’t want to pay new networks and believes even if he has to pay them to carry the network, he’ll make money. Currently Newsmax TV is online featuring talk media personality Steve Malzberg. Ruddy does not say what the programming will look like when he’s ready to launch in June. Read the entire Bloomberg Businessweek story here.
Odds & Sods. Nationally syndicated “America Tonight” talk host Kate Delaney keeps her sports talk chops sharp as she sits in on the NBC Sports Radio Network this weekend hosting the 11:00 am to 2:00 pm slot both Saturday and Sunday this weekend…..In honor of Women’s History Month, SiriusXM host Julie Mason (left) sat down with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (right) before a live audience at the Newseum in Washington, DC on Tuesday, March 4. It’s part of the “SiriusXM Leading Ladies” series of candid conversations with influential and inspiring women who have forged their own paths to leadership and success.
Dave Ramsey Deep in the Heart of Texas. Nationally syndicated talk radio star Dave Ramsey is pictured here on stage at the Lila Cockrell Theatre in San Antonio as he presented his “Legacy Journey LIVE!” on Thursday (3/6). Ramsey talked about how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence. His daughter, Rachel Cruze, joined Ramsey on stage. Ramsey combined forces with L&L Broadcasting’s news/talk KTSA to promote this event. KTSA GSM Coreena Hazelett comments, “L&L Broadcasting and ‘550KTSA’ are thrilled to partner with the Dave Ramsey team in bringing life-transforming content to entrepreneurs and leaders as well as teaching families how to live now so you can leave a powerful legacy for your family. We, along with our sponsors, sincerely believe in the importance of contributing to the growth of business and the quality of life for families here in San Antonio.” Ramsey also hosted his “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” on Wednesday along with Cruze and speaker Chris Hogan. The content of that presentation was how to run a business using the same common sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 400 team members.
LaNeve Named to Entercom Board of Directors. From the sales and marketing world comes the newest member of the Entercom board of directors as Mark LaNeve joins immediately. He has served as COO of WPP’s Global Team Ford – an agency that serves as the marketing and advertising partner to Ford and Lincoln businesses globally. During his time as chief marketing officer at Allstate Insurance, he led the marketing for the company and developed the long-running “Mayhem” campaign. Entercom president and CEO David Field comments, “Mark LaNeve is a tremendous addition to Entercom’s board of directors. He has led some of America’s most iconic brands and ad campaigns. He will bring a new and fresh perspective to the Entercom board.”
Michael Medved Broadcasts from CPAC. Seattle-based Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk show host Michael Medved (right) is pictured here interviewing Republican Senator from Utah Mike Lee (left) at the radio row at CPAC 2014 taking place in Washington, DC. The event is the American Conservative Union’s annual confab of conservative activists being held at the Gaylord Hotel & Convention Center.
Obama vs. Putin/Ukraine-Crimea Unrest Top News/Talk Stories This Week. The political crisis in Ukraine and Crimea and the scrum between President Obama and Vladimir Putin were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 was ObamaCare Criticism. At #3 was the Israel-Palestinian talks followed by the 2016 presidential race at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a 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 the entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. ABC News Radio adds WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte to its roster of affiliate stations…..Yahoo! Sports Radio announces KXFN, St. Louis flips to sports and takes its lineup of national sports talk hosts.
CBS Reports Radio Segment Down 4% in Q4 2013; Company Up 6%. While CBS Corporation CEO, president and director Les Moonves spoke glowingly about the performance of CBS Corporation as a whole during yesterday’s Q4 conference call, the radio segment was not part of the celebration and loss of political advertising was given the lion’s share of the blame. The company’s report indicates that after taking political out of the picture, CBS RADIO was flat compared to the same quarter in 2012. Moonves was upbeat about the radio division saying, “In radio, we continue to put an emphasis on great, local programming, which is leading to bigger audiences. During the most recent ratings period, we had double-digit ranking gains in the highly coveted 25- to 54-year-old demo in many of our major markets, and non-traditional revenue from special events was up double digits over one year ago. Our strategy to combine the company’s local TV and radio websites into a single online presence in every market also continues to pay off. In 2013, revenue was up 21% over the year before, and the momentum is continuing here in ’14, including a new record of nearly 57 million unique users in January. I’m also very pleased with the success of our CBS Interactive business. Revenue was up 14% during the quarter, and we continue to see very rapid growth in mobile ad revenue, which was up 118%, and it helped to increase profit substantially.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. Members can read the whole conference call here.
Nielsen Q4 Revenue Up 11.8%; Rises 5.5% for 2013. Media ratings giant Nielsen Holdings N.V. issues its fourth quarter 2013 and full-year financial reports and states that Q4 revenue was $1.6 billion, an increase of 11.8% over the same period in 2012. For the full year of 2013, the company says its revenue was $5.7 billion, a jump of 5.5% over the full year of 2012. The company reports its free cash flow for 2013 increased 34.5% to $573 million from $426 million in 2012 while cash flow from operations increased 14.9% to $901 million in 2013 from $784 million in 2012. The result is the adjusted net income per share on a diluted basis for 2013 was $2.02, up 19.5% compared to $1.69 in the full year 2012. Nielsen acquired radio ratings firm Arbitron during 2013 and the move paid off. The Arbitron business helped add 9.3% to Nielsen’s Q4 revenue and 2.5% to its 2013 revenue.
CBS RADIO Dallas Ups Paul Mann to KRLD-AM PD. At CBS RADIO’s Dallas cluster, news director Paul Mann is promoted to program director for KRLD-AM “NewsRadio 1080 KRLD” and the Texas State Networks (TSN), effective immediately. Mann has served as news director for KRLD-AM and TSN since June 2006 and in this new role he will be primarily responsible for all programming and talent and will report to Gavin Spittle, vice president of news/talk/sports for CBS RADIO Dallas-Fort Worth. Spittle comments, “Paul has shown tremendous leadership as news director with the sole focus on serving the North Texas community. He’s helped put together a tremendous team which shares a great pride in this heritage station.” Under Mann’s leadership, KRLD-AM has been honored with two national Edward R. Murrow Awards, in 2008 (spot news) and 2013 (newscast).
Stella Prado Kuipers Lands at Salem Los Angeles. The successful, former KOST, Los Angeles program director joins Salem Communications to serve in the sales department working on multi-media marketing for Christian talk KKLA, Los Angeles. Stella Prado Kuipers made her announcement on her Facebook page where she wrote: “A new chapter in my life has begun and I’m proud to announce as of March 3rd I am an employee of Salem Communications Radio Broadcasting company! My position is multi-media marketing and I am thrilled to be a part of this company! I’m sooooo excited!” Kuipers had been with Clear Channel’s AC KOST for 20 years – eight as program director – before she was let go in December of 2012.
Programming Changes at WCTC, New Brunswick, New Jersey. A shuffle in afternoons at Greater Media-owned news/talk WCTC, New Brunswick, New Jersey sees current 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm personality Tommy G move to the afternoon drive slot replacing Newsmax-syndicated host Steve Malzberg. Into the early afternoon slot goes WestwoodOne’s Dennis Miller program. WCTC program director Bert Baron states, “We’re excited to welcome Dennis Miller to the WCTC weekday lineup. He’ll have Central Jersey laughing, thinking, and engaged on a daily basis. I can’t think of anyone I’d rather have doing PM drive on WCTC than Tommy G, one of the most passionate and hard-working people I’ve ever known. This is a BIG WIN for WCTC and for Central Jersey.”
Is Nielsen “Lying” About Millennial Audiences? Noted industry observer Jerry Del Colliano thinks so. Del Colliano published a scathing indictment of the ratings research giant in his daily industry blog Inside Music Media (www.insidemusicmedia.com) this morning (2/12) referring to the Nielsen Audio (formerly Arbitron) report released earlier this week stating that “Millennials” (also known as “Generation Y”) are big fans of AM/FM radio and listen to it on average of 11.5 hours per week. This, of course, flies in the face of what has to this point been conventional industry wisdom strongly suggesting that over-the-air radio is rapidly losing ground as a medium of choice for the millions of 20-something children born to Baby Boomers in the 1980s-90s and now coming of age in the millions – a widespread perception that broadcast business leaders openly fear threatens the future of what is increasingly being marginalized as “terrestrial radio.” Del Colliano writes, “The company that now does PPM ratings which records listening that occurs by accident when meters randomly pick up an encoded radio signal is now weighing in on Millennials…an audience that clearly has no use for what consolidators put on the radio these days.” He accuses the major corporate consolidators in radio of “paying hundreds of millions of dollars to report audience estimates that the company [Nielsen] itself admits in a legal statement are not reliable.” Del Colliano is a veteran program director and radio personality who rose to prominence as the founder and publisher of the trade publication Inside Radio which he built to formidability as an independent journal prior to it being acquired by Clear Channel, which still publishes it. Del Colliano has subsequently served a number of years as a member of the music department faculty at the University of Southern California (USC) teaching and writing courses on “Generational Media” specifically documenting and understanding the traits and habits of the rapidly maturing Millennial generation – a subject that he regularly shares with radio industry leaders via his blog and annual conference.
Speaking of Jerry Del Colliano… TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison recently interviewed Jerry Del Colliano on the TALKERS magazine “experimental” talk radio station, TalkersRadio, (www.talkers.com/talkersradio) as a complete installment of the one-hour, media-discussion program he hosts. The program, recorded two-weeks ago (prior to today’s provocative Del Colliano blog), presents the two industry observers in an in-depth discussion about the very subject of the delicate relationship AM/FM radio and Gen-Y. In it, Del Colliano discusses such issues as Gen-Y’s obsession with authenticity as well as its consumer interest in non-over-the-air digital media. To listen directly to the entire 58:00 installment of this first-time public conversation between Michael Harrison and Jerry Del Colliano, please click
Talk Host Joe Crummey Publishes Non-Fiction Book. Talk radio pro Joe Crummey has just published his first non-fiction book titled, Planking on Headstones: Your Future Outside of Time (School of Eddiness 2013). The veteran of such historic signals as WABC, New York; KFI, Los Angeles; WNBC, New York; KABC, Los Angeles and KFYI, Phoenix penned this new book that “takes the reader on a journey through space-time that’s rich in love, loss, fear and contemplation. With notes of his on-air, quick-wit persona, Planking on Headstones distills complex issues of religion and science into memorable anecdotes that elicit laughter, tears and a sense of connection. Crummey openly shares about his life, from his brain tumor to the death of his parents, as he explains his theories, such as the ‘Fonzie Principle,’ the ‘Boston Market Revelation’ and the ‘Jesus Burger.’ He also explains why he believes the Big Bang is the most evil thing that has ever happened.” Crummy states, “Throughout my career, I often discussed and challenged religious tenets on air with my audience. But after going through the brain tumor experience, my quest for meaning in this life and beyond intensified. I began to understand the importance of thinking outside of time and allowed myself to imagine the impossible while I explored this subject matter.”
Clear Channel Renews Promotional Deal with Relativity. In a statement, Clear Channel says that the renewed cross-media marketing collaboration between it and media company Relativity will include one-of-a-kind campaigns promoting upcoming movies on the part of Clear Channel and Relativity will provide exclusive content created by its filmmakers and talent that will be shared with listeners and viewers through various Clear Channel platforms. “The programs will also include organic promotional support from popular radio personalities such as Ryan Seacrest, Elvis Duran, Dan Patrick and Steve Harvey; naturally integrated film imaging across local stations and iHeartRadio’s national digital and mobile ad units; homepage website takeovers; and national and local on-air commercial inventory.” Clear Channel says previous successful collaborations between the companies included campaigns for the films “Limitless,” “Immortals,” “Act of Valor,” “Safe Haven” and “Free Birds.”
Odds & Sods. Talk media personality David Webb signs on to write a column for DC political publication The Hill. His column will be available every other Wednesday in The Hill’s print edition, online at thehill.com and on The Hill’s app. In addition to his daily SiriusXM talk show, Webb also appears frequently on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity” and “The Five.”…..Sports USA adds a podcast featuring former NFL star and TV personality Fred Dryer to its programming. Sports USA president Bob Moore says, “Fred Dryer is a true NFL legend and a major TV star. We are excited to add Fred’s show to our growing list of digital audio programs…..WNYC, New York names David Lewis its new metro editor. Lewis taught journalism at CUNY for the past seven years.
NAB to Feature RAB Sales and Marketing Sessions. The Radio Advertising Bureau will present five revenue- and growth-oriented presentations at this year’s NAB Show. RAB president and chief executive officer Erica Farber explains that, “The RAB is in the business of helping sellers on the street close deals and help drive revenue for the radio industry. These sessions will drive home key lessons and tools of the trade. NAB Show attendees will find these sessions invaluable to their future success in the broadcast business.” Specifically, the Radio Advertising Bureau’s focus will be “Lunch and Learn – A Discussion on Radio’s Four Significant Issues;” “Concentrating on Core Radio Revenues;” “Creative Radio Commercial Production and Imaging;” and “Rapid-Fire Revenue Generators for Small and Medium Market Radio.” The NAB Show will be held April 5 – 10 in Las Vegas.
WDVI-FM and WHAM in Rochester Hold Radiothon to Benefit Children’s Hospital. Today and tomorrow Clear Channel Rochester stations hot AC WDVI “100.5 The Drive” and news/talk WHAM are broadcasting the annual “Drive For Miracles Radiothon” to benefit Golisano Children’s Hospital live from the lobby of Strong Hospital. Throughout the event, on-air personalities from each station will talk with current and former patients, their families, and the hard-working hospital staff that “creates miracles” every day. Personalities including WHAM’s Chet Walker, Bob Lonsberry, Shari Smith, Joe Lomonaco, and Bob Matthews and WDVI’s Bill Moran, Julie, JP, and “The Mayor” Pete Kennedy will broadcast from the hospital.
BFoA Names 2014 Ward L. Quaal Leadership Awards Recipients. This year’s recipients of the 2014 Ward L. Quaal Leadership Awards have been announced by the Broadcasters Foundation of America. They will be presented at the Foundation’s annual breakfast on Wednesday, April 9, at the Wynn Hotel during the National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas. This year’s recipients are: Jim Beloyianis, past president, Katz TV; Dan Mason, president & CEO, CBS RADIO; Deborah Norville, host, “Inside Edition”; Mary Quass, president & CEO, NRG Media; Perry Sook, chairman/president & CEO, Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Inc.; and Nick Verbitsky, chairman, United Stations Radio Networks. The Leadership Awards are given annually by the Broadcasters Foundation in recognition of career contributions to the broadcast industry and the community at large, and are named in honor of iconic broadcaster Ward L. Quaal.
Winter Weather Hits South and Northeast, ObamaCare Rollout Criticism, Afghanistan Prisoner Release, Paul NSA Suit, Debt Ceiling Raised, the Sochi Olympics and Gay NFL Prospect Comes Out Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/12). The unusually severe winter weather bearing down on the South and the Northeast; scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act and President Obama’s unilateral delay of the employer mandate; Afghanistan’s release of numerous “dangerous” inmates and the state of the U.S.’s relationship with Hamid Karzai; Senator Rand Paul’s suit against the NSA; the GOP’s signing on with Democrats to raise the debt ceiling; the Sochi Winter Olympic Games; and the coming out of NFL prospect Michael Sam were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Seven AEs Sue Clear Channel Claiming Civil Rights Violations. In a suit filed in the Eastern District of Louisiana by seven current and former AEs working at Clear Channel’s New Orleans stations, the group charges that after the economic downturn of 2008, accounts were redistributed at a meeting in Gonzales, Louisiana in February of 2009 in such a way that helped ease the financial hit Caucasian AEs were taking through the redistribution. The complaint alleges many of the redistributed accounts had been built up by African American AEs. The complaint – filed jointly by Wil Watson, Gary Watson, Prixie Montgomery, Ave Gaines, Darnetta Mahaffy-Nelson, Dinah Campbell, and Brandin Campbell – details salaries before and after the redistribution and concludes, “As a result of the redistribution of accounts, whether intentional or negligent, African-American account executives were disparately, and negatively, impacted, to their severe economic detriment as compared to their Caucasian counterparts…Overall, African-American account executives lost on average more than 40% of their 2008 income in 2008-9. On information and belief Caucasian account executives lost no more that about 15% of their 2008 income, on average, during the same period of time.” Three of the seven were fired, they allege, after complaining about the practices. The seven seek relief, punitive damages, general damages, attorneys’ fees and statutory remedies.
It’s Official: Kevin Graham Named Brand Manager at WEEI, Boston. As rumored late last week, sports talk programmer and personality Kevin Graham is leaving his PD and co-host role at Cumulus Media’s KFNZ, Salt Lake City “1320 KFAN” to become brand manager at Entercom’s WEEI. According to his bio on the KFNZ website, Graham was one of the architects of KFNZ as the station was built in 1996. He’s worked as programmer at KTAR-AM, Phoenix; WXYT, Detroit and other sports talk outlets. In addition to programming KFNZ, Graham co-hosts the “Gunther & Graham” PM drive show with Kyle Gunther. Graham has extensive experience in the digital sports arena assisting in building ArizonaSports.com in Phoenix and as the founder/editor of SportsMashup.com. He’ll begin work at WEEI in September, taking over for longtime programmer Jason Wolfe. Entercom Boston GM Jeff Brown states, “WEEI is more than a radio station; it is an entire sports ecosystem. From our on-air talent to Red Sox play-by-play to WEEI.com, where we had 1.4 million unique visitors just last month, WEEI is a more complete sports brand than ever before. We are thrilled to announce today that Kevin Graham will lead WEEI as our new brand manager. His background both in front of and behind the mic, along with his years of digital sports experience made him the best choice to lead WEEI. Kevin will bring a fresh perspective to the entire WEEI team and our complete package of digital sports assets.” Speaking about his new gig, Graham comments, “I am honored and excited to join the WEEI team. WEEI is one of the most recognizable and powerful sports radio brands in the country. With great resources, amazing talent, and one of the best digital brands in sports, the sky is the limit. I can’t wait to get started, especially with the Red Sox in the midst of such a great season.”
“The State of News/Talk/Sports Programming” Panel Set for Talkers Los Angeles 2013. A diverse and powerful panel of front-line programmers has been set for Talkers Los Angeles 2013 that will explore the major issues of programming within the present-day news/talk/sports realm. Participating panelists include (in alphabetical order): Robin Bertolucci, PD, KFI/KTLK, Los Angeles; Skip Essick, PD, KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; Andy Ludlum, director of news programming, KNX/KFWB, Los Angeles; Don Martin, senior VP sports programming, Fox Sports Radio/Clear Channel Media & Entertainment; Chuck Tyler, PD, KRLA/KKLA, Los Angeles; and Bill White, PD, KQTH-FM/KFFN-AM/FM, Tucson. The panel will be moderated by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey who states, “This will be a fast-moving discussion that will really capture the flavor of today’s talk radio programming scene and do so with a solid Western states perspective – which makes this California edition of our two-part national conference so valuable. It will present a diverse array of formats including news/talk, all-news, and sports talk, as well as company types ranging in size and varied styles of corporate culture.” This third annual installment of TALKERS magazine’s West Coast convention is set for Thursday, October 10 and is already shaping up to be a blockbuster. The gathering is closing in on being an advance sellout some six weeks before the event so it is advisable for media professionals interested in attending to register now. It is again being presented in association with the Los Angeles Press Club and held at the historic Steve Allen Theater on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm. Registrations – $149 per person – can only be taken over the phone. For sponsorship information or to register, call 413-565-5413. More agenda details coming in the immediate days ahead.
New Jersey’s WCTC, New Brunswick Makes Big Local Moves. Saying “there is a thirst for local content in this market,” WCTC, New Brunswick “The Voice of Central New Jersey” PD Bert Baron announces that the longtime news/talk station will debut a new and completely revamped on-air lineup starting Monday, August 26. The Greater Media-owned station is making mass changes to its weekday programming, moving Baron from his two-hour afternoon slot to morning drive, where he will host “Jersey Central with Bert Baron” from 6:00 am to 9:00 am. Baron says his show will include “everything you need to know in New Jersey – news, sports, events, entertainment, politics, lifestyle, traffic and weather.” Following Baron will be the Courtside Entertainment-syndicated Laura Ingraham, who moves up one hour from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm. From 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm, WCTC will carry “The Tommy G Show,” the first time a terrestrial radio station will simulcast a daily internet radio show in New Jersey. “Tommy G is very unique and brings a Jersey angle to what is happening here. He’s a radio name with a great presence in the market. He gets Jersey,” says Baron. Tommy G, who was also named to this year’s TALKERS magazine Frontier 50 – A Selection of Outstanding Talk Media Webcasters – tells TALKERS his show is “all about New Jersey and what Jerseyans are talking about,” and says his show could change the face of local talk radio. “I’m introducing ‘syndi-local’ to talk radio and consulting others on the process, showing that companies can save money while talent can build their own business and brands. It’s a win-win,” says Tommy G, who will be joined on Mondays by the New York Times best-selling author of “The Soprano State,” Bob Ingle. Following Tommy G and replacing the syndicated Mancow is another new show hosted by longtime New York metro area talent Steve Malzberg. Malzberg’s show is syndicated by Newsmax, and will be carried live from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Says Baron, “Steve is a name in the area,” and despite being a national show, it’s expected Malzberg will discuss “a fair amount of local and regional news and topics.” From 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm, WCTC, which is the flagship station for Rutgers University sports, debuts “BTN Live,” a sports talk show about the Big Ten, the NCAA conference Rutgers begins competing in this fall. Baron, who along with Tommy G, is well known for his community involvement, says he believes the changes are not only necessary but that stations must embrace how local content will make them stronger. “We will be much more local in our approach to serving our listeners – from our shows to remote (broadcasts) and our community involvement. For us it will be cost effective. We will make noise in the radio landscape.”
Todd Feinburg Subs in Boston and Louisville. Boston-based talk show host Todd Feinburg is filling in for WBZ-AM, Boston’s Dan Rea on the evening program tonight and tomorrow (8-22/23). Next week he’ll be heard 829 miles away on Clear Channel’s WHAS, Louisville sitting in hosting the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot on both Thursday and Friday, August 29 and 30. The multi-faceted Feinburg spent many years working full time at Entercom’s WRKO, Boston.
WIP-FM, Philadelphia Announces Howie Roseman Show. CBS Radio sports talk outlet “SportsRadio 94 WIP” is announcing Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman will make weekly appearances on the afternoon drive show with Anthony Gargano – accompanied by Eagles play-by-play voice Merrill Reese – every Monday from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm live at Chickie’s and Pete’s in South Philadelphia. The station states, “In addition to discussing each week’s game with Gargano and Reese, Roseman will take calls and talk with fans on site at Chickie’s and Pete’s. The show is the first of its kind. It is the only live weekly interactive radio show with an NFL general manager. The show, sponsored by Miller Lite, can be heard live on 94WIP, online at www.cbsphilly.com and via the Radio.com application for a variety of mobile devices. The show will debut on Tuesday, September 3 due to the Labor Day holiday and be heard on Tuesday, September 10 due to the Eagles-Redskins Monday Night Football debut on September 9. From 5:30 pm to 6:00 pm a leading Eagles player will join the show each week.
Hangin’ with Mike Tyson. Fox Sports Radio Network nationally syndicated host Jay Mohr (l) poses for a shot with former boxer Mike Tyson (r) in the Fox Sports Radio studios in Los Angeles. Tyson visited Mohr’s program to talk about his life after boxing, being a dad and much more. They also chatted about a recent run-in at a frozen yogurt shop, as well as Tyson’s upcoming FOX Sports 1 cable TV show, “Being Mike Tyson.”
Country Act The Lost Trailers Cuts Custom Theme Music for Dial Global’s “Sunday Night Football.” The theme music to Dial Global’s “Sunday Night Footbal” this season is a tweaked version of The Lost Trailers’ single “It’s Goin’ Down Tonight” that features football highlights, sound bites and customized lyrics. The company announces, “The new theme music, performed by The Lost Trailers and powered by Early Shares Music, will debut during the first regular season NFL broadcast on Thursday, September 5 which kicks off at 8:00 p.m. ET. The highly anticipated season opener between the Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens and the Denver Broncos will feature Kevin Harlan and Boomer Esiason behind the microphones.” The band’s founding member Stokes Nielson states, “We are truly excited to be a part of the NFL broadcasts on Dial Global. We are huge sports fans and we can’t wait to help the announcers kick off every Sunday night game, because it’s goin’ down tonight, every Sunday night, all over America!” The band previously collaborated with Dial Global Sports, customizing their top 10 single “Holler Back” for the network’s opening montage in Super Bowl XLIII.
Bradley Manning Verdict/Gender Issues, OK Thrill Kill Case, Averted Georgia School Shooting, NSA Surveillance Program, U.S.-Egypt Tensions, Syria Chemical Weapons Allegations and ObamaCare Implementation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/21). The 35-year sentence handed to Bradley Manning and his desire to begin gender change procedures; the case of three Oklahoma teens suspected of slaying Australian college baseball player Christopher Lane; a Georgia School staffer talks an armed man out of firing and averts a tragedy; the scope of the NSA surveillance program; the U.S. policy regarding Egypt; allegations Syria is using chemical weapons against citizens; and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Mike Huckabee Sounds Positive About Radio to Newsmax. After appearing to sound less than eager to continue his talk radio career in a piece published in Arkansas Business last week, Cumulus Media Networks talk host (and former Arkansas Governor and presidential candidate) Mike Huckabee tells Newsmax he’s hoping to continue his daily talk show. “I’m hoping that we’re going to continue right on. That’s my plan and my hope and so there’s nothing to report other than I’ll be on the air today and next week and, as far as I know, for the long term to come. I’ve enjoyed it. It’s been a terrific outlet for me.” In last week’s piece, Huckabee sounded as though he was considering the cost and benefit of his daily radio show when he told Arkansas Business, “Within the next month, I’ll decide if I want to continue it or not. I’ve got to always weigh how much time I’m putting in it and what the return is. How long it will take to make it what I call hopefully, disgustingly, profitable. That’s what one always hopes for in a deal like this.”
Catching Up with Laura Ingraham. A dozen years have elapsed (April 2001) since Westwood One filled its 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm ET slot with a then-36-year-old, meteoric-rising, dynamo. Association with the Norm Pattiz-founded syndication powerhouse would last more than two years before the conservative-slanted talk talent segued to 9:00 am – 12:00 noon duties for Talk Radio Network in September 2003 where her star continued to rise to national prominence for the next decade during which time she ascended to the position of the most listened-to female political radio talk show host in the country. As of the first of this year though, five-time author and TALKERS magazine “Woman of the Year” recipient Laura Ingraham has reunited with Pattiz, as the illustrious broadcaster, 2009 Radio Hall of Fame inductee, and iconic Los Angeles Lakers fan is distributing Ingraham’s daily talk program through his recently minted Courtside Entertainment Group. “I was off the air for six weeks and I needed to build back my station base,” Ingraham recounts. “We are doing a pretty good job of that thus far. It has been fun, and we have a great team spirit. I treasure that and think we are onto something quite special. Norm and I have known each other since I started in radio, so we have come full-circle and are good friends. After all these years, it is exciting that he and I have started this new venture together.” Multi-media talker Laura Ingraham is not only one of the most successful talk show hosts in America, she is an extremely interesting human being. Read about this attorney’s, cancer survivor’s, and single adoptive mom’s colorful past, transitional present and bright future in an in-depth profile by TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian posted today (5/13) by clicking here.
Ben and Skin Take Over PM Drive on “105.3 The Fan” in Dallas. As many in the Dallas market had predicted when Greg Williams and Richie Whitt were let go from the afternoon drive show on CBS Radio’s KRLD-FM “105.3 The Fan” a month ago, it’ll be Ben Rogers and Jeff “Skin” Wade – Ben and Skin – hosting the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm shift at the sports talker beginning this afternoon. CBS Radio Dallas vice president of news/talk/sports Gavin Spittle says, “We are really excited to bring the energy and excitement of the Ben and Skin Show to our listeners. They are a perfect fit for our lineup and are well known in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, having spent their whole lives here cheering on and suffering alongside fellow sports fans.” Ben and Skin were most recently heard in the Dallas market on ESPN O&O KESN-FM. They exited that station earlier this year after failing to come to terms on a new contract with KESN-FM.
Michael Harrison Tapped to Keynote 38th Annual Conclave Learning Conference. “Radio in the Digital Age: Where Does Talent Fit In?” In what will be a comprehensive-yet-fast-paced overview of the state of broadcast radio and its integration into the digital media world of the 21st century, Talkers publisher Michael Harrison approaches these issues of this new environment from the perspective of the changing role of talent in a keynote address that will take place during Conclave Learning Conference 38 on Thursday, July 18 at 9:00 am. Conclave executive director Bob Shannon says of Harrison, “A visionary, an inventor, a trailblazer, and a writer of powerful words and ideas. Michael is all of these things and more, and the Conclave is very lucky to have him on our teaching faculty this year.” Upon being named keynote speaker at this year’s Conclave Michael Harrison states, “It is an honor to be involved with such a positive organization and participate in its mission to educate and inspire the upcoming generation of radio broadcasters. I can’t think of a better use of all these years of experience that I have been blessed with attaining in such a wonderful industry.” Harrison’s presentation is of importance to both radio personalities and management alike and will examine and offer solutions for what he describes as: 1) The number one problem threatening the survival of FM/AM radio, as we’ve known it – DEBT – along with several other existential threats facing the medium. These include generational/cultural shifts, exotic new media competition, audience measurement shortcomings, and emerging obstacles impairing commercial placement and presentation; 2) The increasing importance of intellectual property as a bargaining chip in talent/management relationships and negotiations. “Who owns what?” will be a key question and consideration in all radio business relationships including those between employees and employers; 3) Talent as entrepreneur. The new media offers today’s talent the opportunity to go into business for themselves on a level never enjoyed by their predecessors of the age gone by; and 4) The human element. Harrison provides an uplifting and inspirational case for radio’s greatest asset – human-to-human communication – as its most vital tool in maintaining a purpose for the medium to continue to play an important role in society and continue to be needed as a cultural institution for many years to come. Michael Harrison is the editor and publisher of two of the radio industry’s leading trade publications, TALKERS and RadioInfo. Mr. Harrison founded Talkers in 1990 and today manages its many divisions and services which include its website, its annual conventions, its regional conferences, and its positive social initiatives. In late 2012, Mr. Harrison assumed the duties of publisher of the major broadcasting trade journal, RadioInfo, which serves a wide spectrum of popular music formats. Among the initiatives being promoted in the revamped publication are a call for radio stations to “reclaim ownership” of the music culture by restoring and nurturing the DJ to prominence as well as the development of music charts that are “specifically targeted to the interests and needs of radio listeners and presentations.” He is an influential pioneer in the radio trade publishing field having served as the first managing editor of Radio & Records during its formative years and radio columnist/record chart consultant for Billboard in the early 1980s. A graduate of Hofstra University where he currently sits on its Department of Communications Advisory Board, Michael Harrison’s background in radio broadcasting and trade journalism is extensive. In a career dating back to 1967, he has served as an on-air program director of such heritage stations as WLIR-FM, Long Island; KPRI-FM, San Diego; KMET-FM, Los Angeles and WZLX-FM, Boston. He was an owner/operator of WSPR in Springfield, Massachusetts. He has been an air personality on a range of stations including the legendary WNEW-FM in New York as well as WCBS-FM and WPIX-FM in the Big Apple, plus, WTIC, Hartford, WWRC, Washington, DC and others. He has hosted and produced hundreds of hours of syndicated radio series and specials for most of the leading networks and syndicators. Conclave Learning Conference 38 takes place in Minneapolis July 17-19, 2013. For more information on the Learning Conference and Conclave educational programs, visit http://www.theconclave.com. Also found on the Conclave website is hotel room reservation information for the Doubletree Park Place Hotel. The Conclave, a 38-year-old 501(c) 3 non-profit corporation offers year-round learning to the industry including webinars, a Speaker’s Bureau, and the annual national media summit Summer Learning Conference. Since 1979, The Conclave has provided over $1 million in media scholarships.
Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio Claims 30 Million-plus Registered Users. The digital audio platform iHeartRadio developed by Clear Channel Media and Entertainment has surpassed the 30 million registered users mark, according to the company. CC states that iHeartRadio has achieved this in less than two years since its launch. Further, since iHeartRadio listeners are not required to create an account to stream broadcast radio stations, the number of registered users reflects only a small snapshot of the service’s overall reach, particularly given the175 million downloads of the iHeartRadio mobile app and more than 60 million monthly uniques across its digital network. Clear Channel president of digital Brian Lakamp states, “iHeartRadio sets the standard for how radio continues to fit into people’s everyday lives. This latest milestone is another clear indication how our full-featured iHeartRadio experience resonates with tens of millions of people — with more coming every day. Being able to draw on Clear Channel’s unparalleled range of resources allows us to continually innovate and improve on the user experience, while giving listeners access to both live radio and custom stations. When you combine this with the strong promotional power of Clear Channel’s broadcast properties across the nation, iHeartRadio is well-positioned to continue or even surpass our current adoption rate.”
Have You Hugged a Lawyer Today? Radio consultant Holland Cooke asks this metaphorical question because if you haven’t, you may be missing out on a great sales – and programming — opportunity. He suggests you consider a targeted approach to pitching attorneys to advertise on your talk radio station, in this case, a female lawyer who specializes in family law (a.k.a. divorce). He even provides some pretty compelling copy in this piece. But it shouldn’t stop there, as Cooke says, “Admittedly, divorce is the legal category’s low-hanging fruit. It’s the back end of ‘The Wedding Industrial Complex,’ fueled by human nature and recession resistant. But there’s plenty else lawyers do that radio sells quite well, and radio has lots more to offer ‘em than :60s.” Find out more, read Holland Cooke’s piece here.
WTOP, Washington’s Websites Get Clean Bill of Health. The websites of Hubbard Radio’s WTOP and WFED in Washington were the victims of cyber attacks that left some users of Internet Explorer vulnerable. Hubbard reports that as of Saturday, May 11, the sites were deemed safe for users no matter which browser they use. Hubbard Washington SVP and general manager Joel Oxley states, “Getting the websites back up and running safely for all users has been our top priority. We take our users’ privacy very seriously, and we have taken steps to prevent similar occurrences. We apologize to our user community for any inconvenience that this incident has caused.” The company says that when the attacks were discovered, an investigation was launched immediately, the malicious code was removed, additional security measures were installed, and federal law enforcement officials were notified of the incident. Hubbard is recommending that users of their sites run security scans on their computers.
Compass Media Networks Announces College Football Schedule. The 2013 college football broadcast schedule for Compass Media Networks is being announced and the 17-game schedule kicks off on August 31 with Georgia at Clemson and ends with the Big Ten Championship game on December 7. Compass notes that all of the games lined up this season include top-ranked teams from the ACC, BIG TEN, SEC and PAC-12. Other big match-ups on the schedule include Alabama at Texas A&M (9/14), Oregon at Stanford (11/7), and LSU at Alabama (11/9).
Lew Dickey Talks Limbaugh on Bloomberg TV. Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey went on Bloomberg TV on May 9 and he spoke – although not in detail about the ratings and sales numbers at his news/talk stations that carry the Rush Limbaugh program – but about the general effect Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke comments had on his stations. About the loss, he told Bloomberg’s Betty Lu, “It was in the millions of dollars and what we said was our news/talk segment…represents about 10% of our business and it’s indisputable that it took a hit because of those events. We’ve moved on, we’re growing again.” Speaking to charges that Limbaugh says Dickey is still blaming him for news/talk problems at Cumulus stations and he might take his program elsewhere when the contract is up, Dickey says, “Sometimes contract negotiations get handled in public, we prefer not to do that…we have the premier talk distribution platform in the business and if you want to be on a big stage in this game, you need to be on our stations in the largest markets. They’re the biggest signals, the heritage brands and everybody knows that.” In what might have been a move to downplay the importance of Limbaugh’s midday show to his stations, Dickey stated that half their revenue comes from morning drive. Lu asked Dickey if he thinks conservative talk hosts are not as big as they used to be and he answered, “I think everything has to evolve…we have to make sure these radio stations do a wonderful job of reflecting the local communities in which they compete and that’s what we’re focused on.”
More Big Changes at Dial Global as Spencer Brown and Ken Williams Resign; Time, Inc. CRO Paul Caine to Take Over as CEO. Dial Global announces that Paul Caine has resigned his post as chief revenue officer at Time, Inc. to become the chief executive officer of Dial Global and become a member of the board of directors. Spencer Brown resigns his post as CEO and Ken Williams does the same as president. The two will stay on until April 4 when the change takes place. The company says, “Caine joins to create a new opportunity for Dial Global to expand the marketing and monetization of audio, starting with the Company’s lineup of premier sports, entertainment and news content that includes the NFL primetime games (including the Playoffs and Super Bowl), the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, CBS Radio News, NBC News Radio, the NBC Sports Radio Network, and the Grammys. As mobile platforms continue to multiply the occasions for listening, the demand for premium digital audio content is growing fast. This represents a substantial, undeveloped opportunity for content providers, distribution partners and marketers alike.” Paul Caine says of joining the company, “Dial Global will propel the growth of audio as the essential medium for the mobile experience. We have premium content, top-tier distribution, and prestigious live event assets. Our opportunity is to expand these experiences for consumers, broaden our repertoire of content partners, and integrate our on-air, digital and live event offerings to create compelling engagement for advertisers.” In a statement from the company, Spencer Brown comments on his exit, “Along with our former partner David Landau, Ken and I have taken Dial Global a long way. Now the company needs a chief executive with a different skill set to steer it through its next phase of growth. We believe Paul is uniquely well-qualified to do just that.”
Cumulus Reports 2012 Q4 Net Revenue Up 1% on Strong Political. Cumulus Media announces 2012 Q4 numbers and financial figures for the whole of 2012. For the fourth quarter of 2012, Net revenue was up $2.9 million – 1% — on revenue of $284.2 million, compared to $281.3 for the same period a year ago.
Lew Dickey Says with Promised Synergies in Place, ‘Cumulus Optimizes’ and ‘Invigorates’ Radio Networks Division. During Monday’s conference call with analysts, Cumulus Media chairman and CEO Lew Dickey explained some of the company’s strategies and recognized the programming efforts that included “launching shows with Governor Mike Huckabee, Geraldo Rivera, Sanjay Gupta and Michael Savage as well as some other initiatives that we have focused on. We also announced the launch of, importantly, the CBS Sports Radio Network in collaboration with CBS, and the launch of Right Now Traffic in partnership with Radiate Media. These give us strong ownership positions going forward into two key verticals, sports and traffic.” Lew Dickey reiterated the company’s happiness with the purchase of the former WFME, Newark, calling it “a tremendous value at just $40 million.” As expected he promoted Cumulus’ country music strategy, saying the new WNSH, New York “enabled us to bring the country format back to New York for the first time since the mid-90s…with a very strong brand, ‘NASH FM.’ The NASH brand was extremely well received by listeners, advertisers, general media and particularly the Nashville entertainment community, and we further capitalized on this with a three-day concert for our advertisers and listeners last month, which was the ‘NASH BASH’ at the Roseland ballroom. NASH FM will become the flagship for our larger national country initiative that we are in the process of rolling out throughout the rest of this year. It will ultimately be a multimedia platform brand for Cumulus, targeting that key audience segment, which is about 85 million Americans. It will be through our O&O group as well as syndicated through our network…as well as through a mult-imedia platform.” Dickey told analysts he expects the NASH FM, traffic, CBS Sports and digital platforms to break even in 2013 and be poised for profit in 2014 saying they are, “in essence, startup businesses, new entrants into respective arenas such as sports, and traffic in particular.” Dickey was asked about the network business, the talk business in particular and he referenced, without naming names, the Rush Limbaugh-Sandra Fluke incident. “Clearly, it’s been well documented that the talk side has been challenged – most of that due to some of the issues that happened a year ago. So there has been residual hangover on the talk side in terms of advertisers sitting out and not placing there…that’s had an impact not only on our network business but it’s had an impact on some of the news/talk stations in the top markets in our O&O group.” Dickey reported that business that is typically placed in the first quarter was, in many cases not placed until the late part of the first quarter of this year and a lot of that business “is now starting to come back into the marketplace.” The Cumulus Media conference call details come courtesy of Seeking Alpha. See more at SeekingAlpha.com.
KPRC, Houston Re-Brands; Adds Janine Turner for Daily PM Drive Show. Clear Channel Houston talk outlet KPRC finalizes its shift from a more “hot talk” format to a more traditional news/talk format and swaps branding, leaving behind the “9-5-0 Radio Mojo” and implementing the new “Houston’s More Stimulating Talk Radio” positioner. The lineup includes: Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo in morning drive; Premiere’s Glenn Beck; local host Michael Garfield; local personality Matt Patrick (who’s also heard in AM drive on sister KTRH); and Janine Turner. Texas-based Turner – the actress known for her work on the 1990s TV show “Northern Exposure” – has been producing her own radio show for a couple of years now and is added to the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot on KPRC.
Greater Media Philly Honored with Top Workplaces Accolades for Second Straight Year. In a survey of employees conducted by Workplace Dynamics for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philly.com, Greater Media’s Philadelphia cluster of stations was named among the Top Workplaces again this year. VP and market manager John Fullam says, “Great companies start with great employees. We believe the workplace environment is an essential part of creating a successful organization. We are fortunate to have such an outstanding team dedicated to serving Philadelphia, our listeners and advertising partners every day.” Greater Media operates rock WMMR, classic rock WMGK, adult hits WBEN-FM and sports talk WPEN-FM.
Arbitron Releases the RADAR March 2013 Radio Network Ratings. Arbitron reports that the RADAR (Radio’s All Dimension Audience Research) March 2013 “is the standard currency for national network radio ratings and measures 46 individual radio networks.” The networks are operated by American Urban Radio Networks, Crystal Media Networks, Cumulus Media Networks, Dial Global Inc., Premiere Networks, and United Stations Radio Networks. The survey concludes “that nearly 180 million Persons 12 and older, or approximately 68% of this demographic, heard one or more network radio commercials in an average week of the survey period.” Further, the survey states commercials that aired on the 46 radio networks measured reached: 68.2 % of Persons aged 12+ (179,923,000 Persons); 68.6% of Persons aged 18+ (163,738,000 Persons); 68.1% of Persons aged 35+ (113,417,000 Persons); 70.9% of Persons aged 18-49 (95,091,000 Persons); and 71.7% of Persons aged 25-54 (89,654,000Persons).
Premiere Networks Touts ‘Strong Rankings’ in RADAR 116. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment-owned Premiere Networks sells 17 of the 46 networks included in Arbitron’s RADAR 116. In this survey, Premiere lays claim to having “earned the number one spot in rankings for AQH and Cume among all 46 measured RADAR networks in RADAR 116 for Persons 12+. Premiere FOX News Advantage ranked number one on an AQH basis for Persons 12+ (All Broadcasts, Monday-Sun 5AM-12M, AQH) and Premiere Spectrum debuted in RADAR 116 as the highest-reaching network for Persons 12+ (All Broadcasts, Monday-Sunday 12Midnight-12Midnight broad daypart, Cume). Premiere also points to the performance of its networks based on lifestyle groupings, stating, “Young Influencers and Premiere Super Moms ranked number one and two, respectively, in reaching Moms 25-54 (Women 25-54 with children under 12). Premiere Super Moms took the lead position followed by Premiere Young Influencers in reach for Working Women 25-54 (work status: full time/part time) among all 46 measured RADAR networks in RADAR 116 (All Broadcasts, Monday-Sunday 12Midnight-12Midnight broad daypart, cume audience). The RADAR 116 sample consists of 395,844 diary keepers/PPM panelists/respondents. PPM panelists comprise approximately 53% of the total respondent listening sample.
Effects of Sequester/Budget Battle, State of the Republican Party, Cyprus Bank Deposit Tax, Steubenville Rape Case, and Tom Perez Named Labor Secretary Nominee Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/18). The budget battle in Washington and the effects of the sequester; analysis of the state of the Republican party and its future; the Cyprus bank deposit tax and its effect on world markets; the guilty verdicts in the Steubenville, Ohio rape case; and President Obama’s nomination of Tom Perez as labor secretary were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Conservative Talk Host Steve Malzberg Begins New Project with Newsmax. Longtime New York City conservative talk host Steve Malzberg – he’s worked at WABC and WOR – is joining the talk media initiative of Newsmax, the Florida-based conservative news and opinion outlet. Malzberg is doing an afternoon drive program (3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET) that will air online in both audio and video formats and for which Newsmax will seek terrestrial radio affiliates. Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy states, “When I first heard Steve Malzberg on WABC he was an innovator in bridging radio content with other media. He developed that talent further at WOR with ratings success and I think he will bring the same type of innovation and success to Newsmax TV.” The program will emanate from Newsmax’s New York City offices and begin on February 4.
Schnitt Versus Bubba: Day 4. The defamation case Compass Media Networks talk show host Todd Schnitt filed against Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) was back in session Tuesday after a break for the Monday holiday. Plaintiff Schnitt took the stand (as did Bubba producer Brent Hatley) and told the jury how his life and career changed after Bubba returned to the air in Tampa in 2008 and the morning show battle began. In order to win the case, Schnitt must convince the jury that he suffered damages and that’s what he tried to do on the stand yesterday as he painted a picture of feeling harassed both via email and telephone and in person through physical confrontations with the “Bubba Army” as Todd Clem’s radio fans are called. WTSP, Tampa reports that when asked if his reputation had been harmed, Schnitt replied, “Yeah, I consider myself, still, a broadcaster in good standing. But um… not as good as it used to be.” That Schnitt and his wife were affected by the battle being waged by Bubba is pretty clear. The goal for Schnitt’s attorney is to get the jury to believe that Bubba the Love Sponge was responsible for their pain and suffering.
WTOP’s Jim Farley to Retire. He’s not going anywhere right away but WTOP, Washington vice president of news and programming Jim Farley announces he’ll work full time through 2013 and step down into a consultant role with Hubbard and WTOP after that. In his official announcement, he says he’ll remain dedicated to the brand. “I bleed WTOP blood and am deeply invested in our continued success. I plan to stay involved until I start to drool conspicuously. I’ll be a proactive resource for Joel Oxley, Laurie Cantillo, WTOP, and Hubbard, and I will visit often. I have so many good friends in this building and spent the best part of my long career here. On to the next chapter, but not until 2014.”
Sports Talk Host Paul Finebaum Begins Sitting Out a 90-Day Non-Compete. Birmingham-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum has exited Cumulus’ WJOX, Birmingham and, according to the Birmingham Business Journal, his representatives say he will not entertain any media offers until the 90-day window has closed. Finebaum had been in a legal battle with Cumulus earlier this year but after numerous back-and-forths in court ended up working to the end of his deal with the company. That deal ended Monday. The smart money is on Finebaum landing at Cox Media’s crosstown WZNN but Finebaum’s camp is saying nothing until the 90-day period is over. (WZNN is one of a number of signals that Cox Media has put up for sale.) The paper also reports that Cumulus does have the right to match any offer Finebaum receives within the 90-day period but after that, Finebaum’s a free agent.
CBS Radio to Flip WNEW-AM, Washington to Sports Talk. For four months, CBS Radio aired “1580 Gov.Biz Radio” on WNEW-AM, Morningside, Maryland in the Washington, DC metro in hopes of competing with Hubbard Broadcasting’s WFED “Federal News Radio.” Now TALKERS learns that CBS will flip the AM signal to sports talk using the national programming from CBS Sports Radio Network. The station will also apply for the WJFK-AM call letters to match up with sister DC sports talker WJFK-FM.
Clear Channel Gives WLW, Cincinnati an FM Presence. It’s not a big presence – 99 watts on the translator W233BG at 94.5 – but according to the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter, the signal reaches most potential listeners within the market’s I-275 loop. Clear Channel bought the translator from Northern Kentucky University and then moved the city of license from Port Union, Ohio to Cincinnati. Kiesewetter reports there’s been no comment from Clear Channel about why the need for an FM presence for “The Big One,” but speculates getting the market dominating talk station on FM where more people are listening is what local management wants in the long run. Another thing to consider is smart phones with radio receivers get FM, not AM.
KHRO, El Paso Talk Host Hector H. Lopez to run for Mayor. KHRO, El Paso afternoon drive host Hector H. Lopez has filed papers to run for mayor of El Paso. The election is May 11 and at this time there’s no indication when Lopez will step down from his radio show.
The VP Meets the Governor. New Townsquare Media regional vice president Greg Janoff (second from right) meets New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (second from left) on Tuesday, January 22 before he goes on the air on WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” for his monthly “Ask the Governor” program. Pictured here with the governor and Janoff are “Ask the Governor” host Eric Scott (right) and New Jersey 101.5 brand manager Eric Johnson (left).
Obama’s Second Term Agenda, Israel Parliamentary Election, Benghazi Attack Testimony, and Gallup American Optimism Poll Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/22). The agenda for President Obama’s second term as outlined in his Inauguration speech; the parliamentary elections in Israel and Benjamin Netanyahu’s likelihood to remain as prime minister; the pending testimony from Hillary Clinton on the Benghazi attack; and the Gallup poll that concludes American optimism is at its lowest point since the Carter Administration were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.