Tag: "news/talk radio"
New Jersey Broadcasters Association Annual Conference a Success in Atlantic City. The 69th annual NJBA convention just wrapped up two-days at Caesars Atlantic City (6/22-23) and by all measures was a successful event. Several hundred broadcasters from the Garden State and beyond gathered to discuss the state of the radio industry both regionally and nationally. The theme of the conference was “The Power of Broadcast” and it included sessions on programming, sales and technology as well as an awards ceremony, Hall of Fame induction and radio row. TALKERS/RadioInfo special features correspondent Jeff McKay was in attendance and provides coverage of the sessions and speakers. To read it in its entirety, please click here.
WGN Extends Its Programming ‘Man’ Through 2019. Six-year vice president of content and programming for Tribune Chicago talker WGN, Todd Manley will continue in that role through (at least) December 2019. WGN Radio president and general manager Jimmy de Castro states, “Todd makes it fun to come to work every day. He is a content musician that drives our incredible spoken-word content across a multitude of platforms.” Manley remarks, “I am in awe of the effort our personalities and producers put forth each day. They are each driven to make sure WGN listeners never ever miss a story. I am grateful to Jimmy de Castro and [president, Tribune Broadcast Media] Larry Wert for the commitment to continue building this great team.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison comments, “I am so pleased to hear this news. Todd Manley is one of the most thoughtful and creative programmers in the talk field today.” Manley’s prior titles at WGN include imaging director and creative director. Before joining the station, he was program director/brand manager of KTRS, St. Louis. In addition, he has worked at cross-town Chicago outlets WXRT (as director/creative content) and WCKG (as production/imaging director). Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio‘s May 2016 PPM survey period, WGN ranks seventh (3.7); CBS Radio all-news WBBM-AM is on top with a 6.4 (6+).
MLB Flagships: Part Three. In the third of a multi-part series, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian recaps the performance of Major League Baseball‘s radio flagships. In a ratings overview based on data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2016 PPM survey period, Mike highlights each key station’s 6+ share; 6+ market rank; month-to-month and year-to-year fluctuations; flagships by league/division; and he unveils a new component to this overview. More than twice as many MLB flagships are in their markets’ top five in May (31%) versus March (14%). Average (6+) year-to-year decreases of MLB flagships in March, April, and May though far outweigh typical increases. See the third installment of this exclusive special feature piece regarding MLB flagships here.
Media Outlets Seek Access to Orlando Shooting 911 Calls. Nearly two-dozen media organizations filed a lawsuit Thursday (6/23) against the city of Orlando asking for the release of city phone recordings related to the mass shooting earlier this month at the Pulse nightclub. The suit challenges the city’s contention that those calls are exempt from public records laws because they record the killing of a person. The media consortium argues that the Orlando shooting is similar to the Sandy Hook school shooting, in which a Connecticut court ruled that related 911 calls were not confidential despite state laws that restricted the release of child abuse records. The media organizations argue that, “There is strong public interest in fully evaluating how first responders and police reacted during the most critical phases of this incredible tragedy. To be sure, the news media do not approach this petition with any preconceived notion that the city somehow acted inappropriately. Indeed, the audio recordings may well serve to substantiate and justify any action taken.” The city of Orlando made its own filing with the court, arguing release of the recordings is exempt under Florida public records law and that the FBI says releasing the recordings could damage the ongoing criminal investigation into the attack that left 49 people dead.
Townsquare Media Atlantic City & The Shore Officially Names Ruble Market President. It is “official,” in that, Michael Ruble had been market president and chief revenue officer for Townsquare Media‘s Atlantic City & The Shore’s (New Jersey) properties on an interim basis. He now handles both of those responsibilities without the “interim” prefix. Senior vice president of operations Rob Williams notes that, “Mike has been an exceptional leader in Atlantic City for years, building a terrific team that has consistently performed at a high level. In Toms River, we have a team with significant strengths and talents; wonderful brands; and the foundation to grow to new heights with Mike’s leadership.” Three of the company’s Monmouth and Ocean County stations include talkers WOBM-AM, WADB, and WPGG. The rest of its outlets in that area are adult contemporary WOBM-FM “Soft Rock 92.7”; hot AC WJLK “The Point”; AC WFPG “Lite Rock 96.9”; sports WENJ “97.3 ESPN“; hot AC WSJO “SOJO 104.9”; classic rock WCHR “The Hawk”; and WPUR “Cat Country 107.3.” Ruble joined Townsquare Media five years ago as market manager-general sales manager. He previously was a market manager-general sales manager with Millennium Radio Group; national sales manager for Citadel Broadcasting; and an account executive with Spring Broadcasting.
WDNC, Raleigh Shifts Reese & Kmac to Mornings. The midday “Sports Shop with Reese & Kmac” is moving into morning drive on Capitol Broadcasting’s WDNC, Raleigh “The Buzz.” According to Capitol’s sports radio operations manager Dennis Glasgow, the program will be the first African-American sports talk morning show in the Raleigh-Durham market. Glasgow comments, “We’ve wanted to bring more diversity to our listeners that would reflect the Raleigh-Durham population, and we will do that by bringing a very entertaining and energetic show with ‘The Sports Shop.’” Reese & Kmac replace “The Morning Show with Mike, Lauren & Demetri.” The company says Mike Maniscalco and Demetri Ravanos have exited the station but Lauren Brownlow will continue regular, on-air appearances on both WCMC-FM “The Fan” and “The Buzz.” In addition to her radio appearances, Brownlow will continue to contribute to WRALSportsFan.com. “The Sports Shop” will be made available via WRALSportsFan.com and with the WRALSportsFan App.
“Brexit” Fallout Felt in U.S. Following yesterday’s “Brexit” vote by Brits to separate from the European Union (Thursday, 6/23), several major United States-based media companies such as Fox, Viacom, Netflix, and Apple opened their stateside trading days down billions of dollars in stock valuation. Netflix and Apple though were among those surging back within the first 10 minutes of the U.S. trading day. The Pound dropped to its lowest valuation in decades, and stock prices overseas sunk. British Prime Minister David Cameron has stepped down, vowing there will be a new PM in place by October. In a statement of support from the White House, President Barack Obama comments, “The people of the United Kingdom have spoken, and we respect their decision. The special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom is enduring, and the United Kingdom’s membership in NATO remains a vital cornerstone of U.S. foreign, security, and economic policy.” Given economic implications domestically and abroad, this is bound to be among talk radio’s biggest topics today.
The Presidential Race Returns to Top of Talkers TenTM. The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the TALKERS TenTM. At #2 was the gun legislation push in congress tied with the investigation into Omar Mateen and the Pulse nightclub massacre. Following at #3 was the Supreme Court’s deadlock on a challenge to President Obama’s immigration executive orders, and at #4 was Thursday’s “Brexit” vote by Britons. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. View this week’s entire chart here.
Beasley Builds News/Talker WJBX in SW Florida. Flipping Spanish sports talk WJBX-AM, Fort Myers and adding translators W268AH, Bonita Springs at 101.5 and W282BY, Fort Myers at 104.3, Beasley Media Group creates “WJBX News Talk and More” to serve Fort Myers, Naples and Marco Island. The station is airing national superstar Dave Ramsey and a lot of FOX News Radio content – Kilmeade & Friends, John Gibson, Tom Sullivan, and Alan Colmes – plus the Compass Media-distributed morning show “This Morning – America’s First News with Gordon Deal.” The station will use CBS Radio News for hourly newscasts. Beasley SW Florida market manager Brad Beasley states, “We’re ready to deliver thought-provoking topics that inform, educate and inspire our audience. Our listeners will hear from a top selection of influential national voices. We’re excited to add WJBX to our incredible lineup of stations here in Southwest Florida!”
WGAN, Portland Morning Host Mike Violette Resigns from Station. Off the air since June 2, WGAN, Portland listeners now know where morning drive co-host Mike Violette has been – riding his motorcycle and playing golf. The 12-year morning personality announced via Facebook earlier this week that he asked to be let out of his contract with the Saga Communications station and the station agreed, giving him a “nice severance package.” Violette implied he was getting a little burned out and now that his kids are done with college and on their own, he wants to see what else is out there. The station will announce his replacement on Friday afternoon during Howie Carr’s live broadcast of his syndicated show as he does the program from WGAN. See the Portland Press Herald story here.
Curtis Media Promotes Trip Savery to President and Chief Operating Officer. North Carolina operator Curtis Media Group promotes Trip Savery to president and COO, what CEO and chairman Donald W. Curtis calls a formality. “We have actually been working this way for the past year.” Savery was SVP and general manager of country WQDR, Raleigh. Savery says, “I am honored to continue my career at Curtis Media Group in this role, and want to thank Don Curtis and the many talented people I have the privilege of working with every day for our continued success.” Savery is a native of Chapel Hill and serves on the board of directors of the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters as vice president of radio. In addition, he serves on the board of visitors of the UNC Children’s Hospital, as well as the board of advisors of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce.
Jim Berk Named CEO of PodcastOne. Media industry executive Jim Berk is appointed to the PodcastOne board of directors and will serve as the company’s CEO. PodcastOne founder and chairman Norm Pattiz says, in making the announcement, “We have created an unmatched footprint in the podcast space and now are building a more robust executive team to allow PodcastOne to take full advantage of our organic growth and strategic opportunities. Jim has done tremendous work in transitioning companies to their next stage of growth, and with him joining the PodcastOne leadership team, our possibilities are endless.” Pattiz, who was CEO, retains his post as executive chairman. Berk comes to PodcastOne from his most recent position as CEO of Participant Media – a “global entertainment company focused on socially relevant film, television, publishing and digital media.” Berk also was president & CEO of Hard Rock Cafe International, Inc. during which the company embarked on a “record expansion of locations with record revenue and profits, while also making Hard Rock a music and television entertainment brand.” Berk was also the founding executive director of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences Foundation (The Grammy Foundation). Berk comments, “It’s exciting to enter this media space during a time of unprecedented expansion as consumer interest for the audio format in on-demand programming is experiencing rapid growth…PodcastOne is already demonstrating impressive year-on-year growth. I look forward to working closely with Norm, Kit, Gary, Greg and the entire executive team to build on their success.”
Orlando Club Massacre Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 13-17. The murders of 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando by a man claiming to support Islamic State was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the senate filibuster and talk about changing gun laws; at #3 was the presidential race and the activities of the candidates; followed at #4 by the slaying of British MP Jo Cox and next week’s vote by Britons on whether to exit the European Union. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Allwood Appointed Promotions Director at CMG Atlanta. Promotions pro Amanda Allwood is heading to Atlanta to serve as promotions director for Cox Media Group’s cluster there. Allwood will oversee promotions and event marketing for adult contemporary WSB-FM “B98.5,” classic hits WSRV “97.1 The River,” urban contemporary WALR “Kiss 104.1 FM” and news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM. Allwood was most recently with SiriusXM in New York as senior manager of promotions and event marketing. She’s also worked in promotions for CBS RADIO in Tampa and CMG in Tampa and Orlando. CMG programmer Chris Eagan says, “Amanda has the critical eye that we need to take our events and promotions efforts to the next level. She understands how crucial it is to integrate sales, programming and digital into one superpower to make these radio brands sparkle!”
Alpha Ups McDaniel to Director of Marketing Post. KBFF, Portland promotions director Kelsey McDaniel is promoted by Alpha Media Portland to director of marketing for the entire cluster. The company says McDaniel is “known by most for her enthusiasm for the music industry, amazing event execution and overall hard work but, she’s also known for her competitive Sunday night BINGO addiction and searching endlessly for the love of her life, a golden retriever puppy.” Alpha Portland SVP/market manager Milt McConnell says, “This is a well-deserved promotion for Kelsey as she is about to celebrate her seventh year with us. She has demonstrated outstanding leadership of our promotions team and has elevated our interaction with listeners and clients on all levels.” If addition to CHR KBFF, Alpha Portland also operates triple A KINK, country KUPL, news/talk KXL-FM, sports talk KXTG-AM/FM, and talk KUFO-AM.
Testimony Continues in Cumulus vs Johnny Burke & Blondie. According to a report from MLive.com, the testimony continued in a federal courtroom in Michigan this week in Cumulus Media’s suit against former WHNN, Saginaw-Bay City morning team Johnny Burke and Bonnie Belger-Holzhei, a.k.a. Blondie. Cumulus attorneys are trying to show that Burke and Belger-Holzhei violated the terms of their contracts by soliciting the radio station’s clients for the Internet radio show they launched after being fired by the station. This week, station operations manager Scott Stine testified that the pair are also using bits and prep service products they used when they worked at WHNN. Stine said they had access to a “shared drive” with station client information but the pair’s attorney argued Cumulus has no proof they ever used the information. Read the MLive.com account here.
Republican FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai Condemns ‘Net Neutrality’ Ruling. Among those in Washington who disagree with the Appeals Court’s 2-1 ruling defining broadband as a common carrier utility service is Federal Communications Commissioner Ajit Pai who states, “I am deeply disappointed by the DC Circuit’s 2-1 decision upholding the FCC’s Internet regulations. For many of the reasons set forth in Judge Williams’ compelling dissent, I continue to believe that these regulations are unlawful, and I hope that the parties challenging them will continue the legal fight. The FCC’s regulations are unnecessary and counterproductive. Indeed, as Judge Williams put it: ‘The ultimate irony of the Commission’s unreasoned patchwork is that, refusing to inquire into competitive conditions, it shunts broadband service onto the legal track suited to natural monopolies. Because that track provides little economic space for new firms seeking market entry or relatively small firms seeking expansion through innovations in business models or in technology, the Commission’s decision has a decent chance of bringing about the conditions under which some (but by no means all) of its actions could be grounded—the prevalence of incurable monopoly.’”
Singer Bo Bice Guest Hosts on WYAY, Atlanta. Atlanta news/talker WYAY “NewsRadio 106.7” welcomed singer Bo Bice to its airwaves as part of its weekly Casting Call Atlanta program. Casting Call Atlanta is the Cumulus Media station’s search for the next Atlanta talk star. As part of the initiative, three listeners with little or no professional radio experience have participated weekly in the Wednesday Radio Fantasy Camp. Each given one hour between 9:00 am and 12:00 noon for live, on-air auditions. Bice was runner-up to Carrie Underwood on the fourth season of “American Idol.” According to a press release announcing Bice’s appearance on the station, Bice is a self-described talk radio fan and regular listener to “NewsRadio 106.7” when at his home in Lake Jackson, Georgia. WYAY PD Greg Tantum says, “Bo’s appearance captures the spirit of the Casting Call program in that it encourages all voices in the Atlanta community to participate. Not just experienced or seasoned personalities. Casting Call affords the opportunity to discuss relevant issues from all the unique perspectives that make up the fabric of the metro area lifestyle.”
Orlando Host Jim Turner Suspended from WBZW for Anti-Gay Facebook Post. According to a report in the Orlando Sentinel, afternoon talk host Jim Turner has been suspended from his gig at Salem Media Group’s business talk WBZW after posting comments on Facebook minimizing the deaths of gay victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre. Turner’s comments criticizing the media’s coverage of “sexual deviancy” have been deleted and his Facebook account closed. It’s not clear how long he’ll be off the air. His presence remains on the WBZW website.
Cumulus Media Ousts Market Manager John Sutherland in Providence Market. This report comes from GoLocalProv.com and indicates that Providence market manager John Sutherland has been let go from his position with Cumulus Media after just a year on the job. Sutherland replaced Barbara Haynes, who managed the five-station cluster for the previous 10 years. The GoLocalProv.com piece references last year’s death of WPRO-AM afternoon host Buddy Cianci and states ratings and revenue are down at the station. However, the news/talk station has seen its (6+) PPM numbers increase over the last three months, rising from 4.8 share to a 5.4 share.
Orlando Massacre Aftermath, Paris Cop Murder, Gun Control, the Presidential Race, London Sexy Ad Ban, Appeals Court Broadband Ruling, and NBA Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/14). The investigation into the possible motives of Omar Mateen and the aftermath of his massacre of 49 at the Pulse in Orlando; the live-streamed murder of a Paris police officer and his wife by an Islamic militant; renewed calls for gun control legislation; the activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton; London’s Muslim mayor bans “sexy ads” in city’s tube stations; Appeals Court affirms ‘net neutrality’; and the Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals series were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Nielsen: Sports Talk Format Seeing Seasonal Surge. This monthly report from Nielsen Audio based on data from its PPM survey shows sports talk seeing a seasonal, format-wide ratings uptick. Moreover, the May 2016 PPM numbers show audience share up slightly compared to previous May reports. Comparing April to May, among persons 6+ the sports talk format jumped from a 4.5% share in April to a 4.9% share in May. The share among 18-34 audience climbed from 3.2% in April to 3.6% in May, and the sports core demo of adults 25-54 rose a half point to a 5.5% share in May.
Odds & Sods. A couple of Salem Radio Network notes to report: First, SRN talk host Larry Elder was a featured speaker at the 17th annual Orange County “Flag Day Celebration.” In addition to his own speech, Elder introduced U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-AK) who discussed the GOP’s 2016 battle to retake to White House. Second, SRN personality Michael Medved welcomed actor/musician Kevin Bacon and musician Michael Bacon to his Seattle studios on June 14. The Bacons are on tour as The Bacon Brothers Band. They discussed the band’s tour, Kevin’s acting career and “America’s deep political divide over this week’s Orlando massacre vs. the unity we had following the 9/11 attacks.” Pictured here are (from l-r): Kevin Bacon, Medved, and Michael Bacon…..Ahead of the 2016 NFL season, Westwood One inks a multi-year partnership with Loyal Ears Digital to provide “Fantasy Free” to affiliate stations. The content provider says that the Fantasy Free package allows stations to tap into the heavily engaged fantasy sports audience with free games that are legal and that “bring all the excitement that comes with fantasy gaming.” The games are integrated into a station’s website, with station and client branding opportunities…..Neuhoff Media CEO Beth Neuhoff is named recipient of the 2016 Vincent T. Wasilewski Broadcaster of the Year honor from the Illinois Broadcasters Association. The award was presented on June 14 on day one of the IBA’s annual two-day convention. IBA immediate past chairman Sarah Hautala says, “Since taking the reins of Neuhoff Communications, Beth has shown strong leadership and has expanded her operations here in Illinois. She continues to support local broadcasting and the interests of broadcasters.”
Analysis: NAB Show – Day 1. Radio consultant Holland Cooke is reporting from the 2016 NAB Show for TALKERS magazine/RadioInfo. From day one of the broadcasting mega-confab in Las Vegas, Cooke reports on the radio-centric panels he attended. NAB CEO Gordon Smith declared in his opening keynote, “No other media industry is as dedicated to supporting our local communities – not Google, not Apple, not Pandora, not cable or satellite.” That sentiment ran through a number of panels during which operators told attendees that in radio’s current era, stations have to be marketing experts for their clients and information and entertainment experts for their local communities. For more about how operators are encouraging creativity in sales and programming, read Holland Cooke’s report here.
Cumulus Re-Ups ‘Murph and Mac.’ Sports talk duo Brian Murphy and Paul McCaffrey will continue to host the morning drive show on Cumulus Media’s sports talk KNBR, San Francisco after signing a contract renewal. Beginning April 25, the program will move up an hour and be heard from 6:00 am to 10:00 am. KNBR operations manager Lee Hammer states, “I’m thrilled to be able to announce that ‘Murph and Mac’ will continue their morning show on KNBR 680. Their show, which blends sports talk and the perfect balance of pop culture and musical references, is the ‘go-to’ destination every morning for sports fans in the Bay Area.” The two have been partners on KNBR for the past 10 years.
The Presidential Race/ New York Primary, SCOTUS Hears Obama Illegal Aliens Executive Order Case, $20 Bill Controversy, Afghanistan Taliban Activity, and Biden Netanyahu Criticism Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/19). The activities of the candidates for president and today’s New York primary election; the Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments in the case challenging President Obama’s executive order protecting some illegal aliens from deportation; the flap over removing Andrew Jackson from the $20 bill and replacing him with a female historical figure; concern over increased violence by the Taliban in Afghanistan; and Joe Biden’s criticism of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
WSB-AM, Atlanta’s Erick Erickson Takes Time Off After Pulmonary Issues. The host of “Atlanta’s Evening News” on WSB-AM, Atlanta – and RedState.com editor-in-chief Erick Erickson – is taking time off from his afternoon drive program to recover from a serious illness. Erickson posted on TheResurgent.com that over the past few weeks his lungs have been filling up with blood clots. Breathing difficulties sent him to see doctors on several occasions before his was diagnosed. Though still in the hospital, Erickson says he is healing and hopes to return to work soon.
John Ziegler Discusses the State of His Syndicated Show (‘John & Leah’) and the Radio Industry in Candid TALKERS Audio Interview. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian recently spoke with Envision Networks-syndicated talk personality John Ziegler about the progress his Sunday evening show is making a year into its national distribution effort that resulted in a major personality profile posted in TALKERS on March 8. The three-hour show that features co-host Leah Brandon (who also serves as WERC, Birmingham morning news anchor) is currently heard on 22 affiliate stations – 15 of which are in the top 28 markets. Ziegler has an impressive set of talk radio credentials that include stints at WHAS, Louisville and KFI, Los Angeles among others. He also has a colorful history in the business that includes its share of controversial, high-profile episodes. In a brand new audio conversation with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison conducted yesterday (4/18), Ziegler says having a wife, child and a female co-host serve to keep him more cautious and mature when it comes to recklessness and stepping over the line – but that hasn’t dampened his edginess and reputation for delivering strong opinions. Ziegler and Brandon are included in the 2016 edition of the TALKERS “Heavy Hundred” and Ziegler will be a participant in the “Talk Rumble” at the forthcoming TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations convention set for Friday, May 20 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. To listen to the entire conversation between Ziegler and Harrison, please click here. To read the March 8 feature story by Mike Kinosian please click here.
Odds & Sods. Entering the business of podcast distribution is the America Out Loud News Portal which debuts six new shows including, “This is Real Life Radio with Host Malcolm Out Loud.” Malcolm Out Loud is the founder of the platform and he says programming pro Gabe Hobbs will consult with the network and provide talent resources for hosts…..iHeartMedia Denver and the Colorado Rockies agree to a five-year extension of their radio broadcast agreement that’ll keep Rockies baseball on KOA, Denver “NewsRadio 850 AM & 94.1 FM” through the 2021 season. Jack Corrigan and Jerry Schemmel will continue as the voices of Colorado Rockies play-by-play…..WCNN, Atlanta “Sports Radio 680 The Fan” account executive Carolina Margarella (pictured at right) took yesterday off from her duties at the Dickey-owned station to run in the 120th Boston Marathon. This year’s race also marked the 50th anniversary of women being allowed to run. Margarella finished the race in 3:25:57, which averages out to a very impressive 7:51 per mile.
In Memoriam: Brent Seltzer. Just over four weeks from now (5/20), the annual TALKERS convention will take place on the campus of Hofstra University. There will be one sadly missing element there, however, following the passing yesterday afternoon (4/18) of our colleague Brent Seltzer (right). The 68-year-old golden-voiced on-air talent/writer/voice over artist died in his sleep at a Los Angeles-area long-term care facility. Always debonair and engaging, Seltzer is survived by his wife, Meg McDonald (left). For the last several years, Seltzer and McDonald served as “official greeters” at the TALKERS New York City and Los Angeles confabs and last year they served as emcees of the NY event. Seltzer succumbed to complications following major surgery. TALKERS founder/publisher Michael Harrison states, “We all mourn the loss of a great broadcaster, wonderful friend, and outstanding human being.” McDonald encourages a celebration of her late husband’s life, stating, “We hope you will raise a glass and toast Brent Seltzer.” Instead of a formal funeral service, Seltzer will be cremated and buried at sea. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that those so inclined make a donation to their favorite animal shelter or animal charity. Seltzer had a legendary career in radio dating back to the late 1960s that included pioneering work in the field of FM rock radio news at such outlets as KGB, San Diego and KMET, Los Angeles among others. His long-running podcast, “Still at Large with Brent Seltzer” had a significant national following early in the podcasting movement and, in recent years, he co-hosted a daily GCN nationally-syndicated husband/wife “chat” program, “The Brent & Meg Show” with McDonald. Those interested in contacting Meg McDonald can do so via email at email@example.com. Approximately two years ago, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian profiled both Brent and Meg. Please click here to read that June 2014 special feature piece in its entirety.
TALKERS ‘Heavy Hundred’ for 2016 Coming Monday, April 11 at 12:00 noon ET. The editorial board of TALKERS magazine has set the date for the posting of the 2016 installment of the publication’s annual feature, “The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America.” This will mark the 21st consecutive year that the talk media trade journal (that is about to mark its 26th anniversary) has been compiling and publishing the list – also known as “The Heavy Hundred.” According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “This year’s list will include a number of familiar faces (and voices) as well as new up-and-comers and some radio pros who are in new situations.” Casey continues, “Needless to say, compiling this list is extremely challenging – especially since it draws upon both objective and subjective factors – and is the source of heated debate every year among our editors for months leading up to its release.”
Talk Radio Hosts Credited for Trump Loss in Wisconsin. GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s second-place finish in the Wisconsin primary yesterday is being attributed, at least in part, by CNN writer Kevin Bohn to the anti-Trump sentiments of a number of the state’s most-listened-to talk show hosts. (CNN is one of many media outlets publishing stories about anti-Trump hosts in the state.) WTMJ, Milwaukee’s Charlie Sykes saw his profile rise dramatically after the audio of last week’s contentious interview with Trump went viral. Crosstown competitors Mark Belling and Jay Weber (WISN-AM) have been critical of Trump as have Vicki McKenna (WIBA, Madison), and Jerry Bader (WTAQ, Green Bay). Bohn reports that Trump lashed out at his critics during pre-election rallies saying, “This morning I was interviewed by a very good radio guy — not the whack job that interviewed me — his name is Sykes? … Oh he is the worst.” You can hear Charlie Sykes’ Trump interview here and read the CNN piece here.
The Presidential Race/Wisconsin Primary, North Korea Nuke Threat, Iran Missile Tests, Battle Against Islamic State, Cal Cops Seize Planned Parenthood Videos, European Migrant Troubles, and MLB Season Open Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/5). The activities of the candidates for president and Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary election; North Korea’s nuclear weapons threat; Iran’s testing of long-range missiles; the ongoing fight against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria; the seizure of videos from anti-abortion activist David Daleiden that purport to show Planned Parenthood illegally selling tissue from aborted fetuses; European nations being overwhelmed by migrants; and the opening of the Major League Baseball season were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. Afternoon drive sports talk personality Marc Hochman gets a two-year extension on his deal to remain host of the “Hochman, Crowder & Krantz” program (with Channing Crowder and Zach Krantz) on CBS RADIO’s WQAM, Miami. Hochman joined WQAM in 2014 after a number of years on the morning show at crosstown WAXY “790 The Ticket.”…..The launch of Denver’s newest sports talk station KKSE “Altitude Sports” includes the syndicated Rich Eisen show from DirecTV. It’s the only “prime time” syndicated program among the slate of local hosts…..Westwood One is producing hole-by-hole coverage of the 2016 Masters Golf Tournament beginning tomorrow (4/7). The network will also broadcast hourly updates and a nightly, half-hour preview and recap show, “Masters Tonight.”…..Pictured here are SVP of programming for USA Radio and host of “Trending Today USA” Rusty Humphries (center) with comics Jeff Foxworthy (left) and Larry The Cable Guy (right) at their show in Phoenix. Humphries tells TALKERS magazine that “Trending Today USA with Rusty Humphries” – which launched back on January 9 – is quickly closing in on 50 affiliates.
Michael Harrison and Richard Neer Discuss Broadcasting, Narrowcasting and Podcasting in Sweeping Conversation About Changes in Commercial Media and Pop Icons over the Decades. In a strikingly organic conversation that covers a wide variety of topics from old-time television to the changing morality of superheroes in entertainment to the differences between quantitative and qualitative marketing – WFAN, New York personality, author and pop culture “renaissance man” Richard Neer joins his old friend Michael Harrison as this week’s guest on the PodcastOne international hit, “Up Close and Far Out.” Harrison and Neer have been engaging in “What if?” and “To be Continued” conversations like this on radio, TV, at industry seminars (and even privately for their own entertainment) on a regular basis for almost 50 years. This podcast marks what Harrison loosely calculates as the 2550th time these talkers have met in this manner since October of 1967. To listen to this “media freak’s verbal salad” in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of www.Talkers.com and www.RadioInfo.com.
Two New Shows Launch from PodcastOne. Digital audio platform PodcastOne partners with Ranker – purveyor of crowdsourced rankings – to present “The Ranker Podcast.” PodcastOne notes that “more than 26 million people visit Ranker every month to vote on an endless series of topics, which spark passionate conversations among the public. Now, notable guests will have an opportunity to weigh in and debate these millions of user votes, with host Daniel Kohn. A journalist and Ranker’s Alternative Media Specialist, Kohn will talk trending and wacky lists with his guests, give the fans an opportunity to create new lists sparked through celebrity conversation, and feature each guest’s own top ten list on a topic of interest to them.” Also, PodcastOne adds more wrestling content to its slate of shows with sports entertainment star and former WCW World Heavyweight Champion Vince Russo launching “The Brand.” New shows will be available five days per week.
Another Cool Job Opportunity. Heritage “News Talk 550 & 92.1” WSVA, Harrisonburg, Virginia has an immediate opening for an afternoon news anchor/reporter. The station is located in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley and is a trusted source of news and information. We are seeking someone ready to help keep our listeners informed and continue our great tradition. To get the job, you’ll need to be motivated, a gifted writer, a wizard at obtaining sound, have a strong delivery and have an understanding of “local” news. Please send T&R to firstname.lastname@example.org. Saga Communications is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Midwest Communications’ Duke Wright to Receive Conclave’s Rockwell Award. The recipient of this year’s Rockwell Award from The Conclave is Midwest Communications president and CEO Duke Wright. The award will be presented during The Conclave’s 41st anniversary celebration on July 14 and 15, 2016 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Minneapolis. The Rockwell Award is given annually to “an individual of unquestioned accomplishment in the radio industry. The Rockwell Award honors those who have contributed to the industry as an inspirational leader, and a person of great accomplishment. The recipient has made lasting and significant contributions within radio, and also to the public radio serves.”
Super Tuesday Aftermath/Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM. The results of this week’s Super Tuesday primary elections and events surrounding the presidential race were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 was the Hillary Clinton email server investigation. At #3 was U.S. immigration policy followed by European migrant problems at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Candidates’ Rhetoric Spurs KEX, Portland Host Michael Castner to Come Out. Citing some of the rhetoric coming from the GOP candidates that he believes is rekindling Americans’ “hate and fear,” especially with regard to the candidates’ vows to overturn gay marriage, KEX, Portland talk host Michael Castner came out to his audience as gay. Admitting that he’d kept his sexual orientation secret out of fear and “perhaps even cowardice,” Castner believes he has a responsibility to speak up both for himself and for others who don’t have a voice. Castner observed that both Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have vowed to make overturning the recent Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage a priority and that Trump has indicated he’s also in favor of overturning.
WPHT, Philadelphia Adds Dave Ramsey Show. Nationally syndicated talk star Dave Ramsey’s radio program is being added to the lineup at CBS RADIO’s WPHT, Philadelphia in the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot, effective March 7. CBS RADIO Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “We couldn’t be more pleased to bring Dave Ramsey to WPHT. He has been creating powerful radio broadcasts with the passion and positivity that will fit perfectly into WPHT’s lineup. Combining Dave Ramsey with the great local talent like Chris Stigall, Dom Giordano and Rich Zeoli has everyone at the station excited to bring this new roster to our listeners.” Ramsey Media VP Brian Mayfield adds, “We are excited to join the team at WPHT and to work with another strong CBS Radio affiliate. Philadelphia is already a great market for our brand, and we look forward to what the future holds with this new relationship.”
PodcastOne and WTOP, Washington Partner for ‘Target USA’ Program. A new podcast series is being launched on the PodcastOne platform from Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington and WTOP.com titled, “Target USA.” The program will focus on the threats facing America today and is reported and produced by WTOP national security correspondent JJ Green. WTOP and PodcastOne say Green will investigate the risks, from terrorists to anarchists, and cyber criminals to nation states, diving into the people behind them, the agencies fighting them and their impact on Americans.” WTOP senior regional vice president Joel Oxley states, “As an all-news station with a tight format, our content is consumed in very short form. This partnership with PodcastOne gives us an opportunity to showcase and distribute some of our longer form, in-depth material. Norm Pattiz and his team are pros, and we look forward to this launch and many more opportunities to come.” In the first installment, Director of National Intelligence Jim Clapper opens up in an exclusive interview about the dark threats and dangerous enemies the U.S. faces.
Merrill Cook to Host Mornings on KLO, Salt Lake City. Former U.S. Representative Merrill Cook is joining KLO Broadcasting’s KLO-AM, Salt Lake City to host the 7:00 am to 10:00 am program, beginning on March 14. Station general manager Matt Webb says, “Our audience has been asking for more local, live radio and Merrill is a huge part of that. Merrill Cook is part of the fabric of Utah and, in particular, Utah politics. We’re very excited to have him as part of our radio family.” Cook comments, “I’m thrilled to be part of such a prestigious radio lineup on a legacy station such as KLO. To be on the same station with radio icons like Laura Ingraham, Michael Medved, and Dennis Prager is a true honor.”
Odds & Sods. WABC, New York political editor Rita Cosby (right) poses for a photo with writer and political commentator Ann Coulter (left) at last night’s “Dinner with Rita Cosby: A Night of Political Entertainment & Fun” at Delmonico’s Kitchen in Midtown Manhattan. Cosby hosted the sold-out, intimate dinner event that featured political commentary and conversation, a phone-in interview with Dr. Ben Carson, live discussion with Coulter, and musical performances by Tom Bednarek and actor Dominic Chianese…..WGOW, Chattanooga mid-afternoon talk host Brian Joyce is pictured below with on Tuesday, March 1 taking part in “Reading Across America Week” with the second grade class and Dupont Elementary School. Joyce tells TALKERS magazine that the class’ teacher is a big fan of Joyce’s radio program and invited him to take part in the event…..Tampa Bay radio and TV personality Nancy Alexander launches a podcast titled, “LOL! With Nancy Alexander” on the Radio Influence digital platform. Alexander began her radio career at WRBQ “Q105” on the station’s “Q Morning Zoo” show in the 1980s. She worked at WMTX during the 1990s and 2000s and was a features reporter for WTVT-TV “FOX 13.”…..CBS RADIO Pittsburgh is presenting its third annual ‘eat.drink.PITTSBURGH’ on March 19 at the city’s Wyndham Grand Hotel. The event’s media sponsor is WHIRL Magazine and the event is being presented by Fat Head’s Brewery and Lexus of North Hills. The food fest allows attendees to sample food from dozens of Pittsburgh’s finest restaurants and enjoy new products, wines, beers and more…..Nationally syndicated talk personality Laura Ingraham did her program from the studios of affiliate WBEN, Buffalo today (3/4) prior to serving as keynote speaker at the New York State GOP Convention in the city…..CBS RADIO’s WFAN, New York “Sports Radio 66AM and 101.9FM” and New York City FC announce updates to the soccer club’s radio broadcasting in advance of the 2016 MLS season. Glenn Crooks and Tom Kolker will once again be the English-language announcers. Back for his second year, Roberto Abramowitz will be one of the Spanish-language analysts, alongside new team member John Rojas.
Mark Levin Named Recipient of TALKERS 2016 Freedom of Speech Award. Highly rated, nationally syndicated, Cumulus/Westwood One talk radio personality Mark Levin has been selected by the TALKERS editorial board as the 2016 recipient of the trade publication’s annual Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech. Levin is also the prolific author of numerous New York Times best-selling books about the United States Constitution, American history and conservative ideological principles. He is a respected legal scholar who serves as president of the Landmark Legal Foundation as well as being a highly sought-after public speaker, and host/principal of the newly launched LevinTV digital platform. Levin has a stellar background in both the private and public sectors having served, among many roles, as advisor to several members of President Ronald Reagan’s cabinet and chief of staff for Attorney General Edwin Meese. In making the announcement of Levin’s selection, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Mark Levin is more than a superbly talented and extremely successful talk show host. He is a dedicated legal scholar who consistently displays unbending courage in standing up for the core principles of the Founding Fathers – and that means an unswerving, ongoing defense of the First Amendment – on radio, television and in print. He has been a champion of these principles since morphing from a radio guest to a host back in 2002 and is being honored for a body of work that goes back for many years.” Mark Levin will be presented the award personally by Harrison at the forthcoming TALKERS 2016: Bridging The Generations convention on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY on Friday, May 20.
TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations Agenda Developing; Registration Underway. More than 60 leading industry speakers will fill a power-packed day and evening of panel discussions, special presentations, keynote addresses, exhibits, social networking functions, meals and live broadcasts at the forthcoming 19th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention. TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations will take place on Friday, May 20 on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. The event kicks off at 8:00 am with the traditional “Breakfast with Hannity” opening social. It will conclude 12 hours later with a gala, early-evening reception on the university’s magnificent television soundstage. Located just outside of New York City, Hofstra University’s Lawrence Herbert School of Communication is nationally recognized as one of the nation’s most respected and influential breeding grounds of great broadcasters. The NAB honored WRHU-FM in 2015 with a Marconi Award as the first ever “student operated” non-commercial station of the year! Radio Hofstra University WRHU-FM is also currently ranked number one – best college radio station – by the Princeton Review. WRHU-FM also earned a Pinnacle Award – station of the year – from the CMA. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “2016 marks a great leap forward in the rich and colorful history of this legendary conference. Tapping into the theme ‘Bridging the Generations’ TALKERS 2016 will intensely focus on talk radio’s successful and as seamless-as-possible transition into the digital era concentrating on attracting younger demos, broadening the format menu, modernizing political positioning, enhancing both journalistic and entertainment impact, incorporating all aspects of pop culture, understanding Millennials and the New Authenticity, creating a viable cross-platform presence, embracing the new technology, and of course, podcasting, podcasting and more podcasting.” Harrison adds, “This conference will be inter-generational. I cannot begin to express the level of excitement and pride we have in partnering this year with Hofstra University, its wonderfully dynamic Lawrence Herbert School of Communication and its famous radio station WRHU – clearly one of the greatest, heritage campus outlets in America. Their amazing, state-of-the-art resources will provide an exhilarating backdrop and platform for this gathering. As far as we are concerned, the future of talk media begins now!” The cost of a full registration is $299 per person with a special student rate of $249. Registration is only open to professionals currently or recently (within one year) employed in media-related industries as well as students enrolled in accredited colleges or universities. Registration includes all sessions, presentations, exhibits, receptions, and tours as well as breakfast/lunch/refreshment and social networking activities. Registrations can only be taken over the phone (to verify qualifications) and paid for with a credit card. As in years past, for the sake of intimacy and productivity, total attendance will be limited to 500 and TALKERS 2016 will be an early sellout. No registrations can be sold after that point. All registrations are non-transferable and non-refundable. To register or obtain sponsorship information, please call 413-565-5413. Information about special local hotel discounts for attendees is detailed below. Agenda and speakers to be announced in the days and weeks ahead, leading up to the event. Register now!
Fantastic Group Rate Available at Long Island Marriott for TALKERS 2016. A limited number of rooms are still available for a limited amount of time for the nights of Thursday, May 19 and Friday, May 20 at the fabulous Long Island Marriott hotel located near Hofstra University – the site of TALKERS 2016. To take advantage of the $169 per night rate, book as early as possible by clickinghere or calling reservations at 1-800-228-9290 and telling the agent you are with the TALKERS event group.
South Carolina Primary Results/Presidential Race, Kalamazoo Slayings, FBI-Apple Encryption Battle, and Syria Cease Fire Process/Russian Military Involvement Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The results of Saturday’s South Carolina primary and the activities of the candidates for president; the deadly shootings in Kalamazoo allegedly by a man who was driving for Uber; the fight between Apple and the FBI over the former’s refusal to decrypt the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino terrorists; and the process to create a cease fire in the Syrian conflict and Russia’s military involvement in the region were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Round Four of January PPM Data Released. The fourth of four rounds of January 2016 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The survey period was December 31 – January 27. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Top Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Nielsen v Bubba Case to Move Forward. Unless there’s a settlement in the suit Nielsen Audio has filed against Bubba the Love Sponge, the case will go to trial. U.S. District Court Judge James Whitmore ruled against Bubba in his bid to have the suit dismissed. Whitmore ruled that Nielsen has “adequately” stated its claim that Bubba allegedly engaged in “willful, wanton, and malicious conduct.” Nielsen is suing Bubba for $1 million claiming his actions to defraud the PPM ratings survey has caused the company irreparable damages.
Milwaukee Progressive Group Begins Effort to Buy Radio Station. A citizens’ organization in Milwaukee says it is beginning a fundraising effort to hopefully purchase a radio station that can give voice to political progressives. In an opinion piece in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, James E. Causey reports about the February 8 fundraiser by Citizen Action of Wisconsin at which executive director Robert Kraig railed about the domination of the market’s airwaves by conservative talk personalities at Scripps’ WTMJ and iHeartMedia’s WISN. The market lost its leading progressive-leaning radio station in 2013 when Milwaukee Radio Alliance flipped WMCS to oldies. At the time, management stated that the 20-year-old format was too expensive to maintain. Courier Communications currently operates WNOV which airs a blend of local and national progressive talk plus urban music.
New Jersey 101.5’s Big Joe Henry Counts Down Polar Plunge Fundraiser. Weekend personality Big Joe Henry is seen here in Seaside Heights, New Jersey counting down the 2016 Polar Bear Plunge into the Atlantic Ocean by some 6,000 people who braved the icy water to benefit Special Olympics New Jersey. More than $1.7 million was raised during the event. Big Joe Henry broadcast his program on Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” live from Spicy Cantina on the Boardwalk.
Ward L. Quaal Leadership Award Winners Named. The recipients of the 2016 Ward L. Quaal Leadership Awards will be honored at the Broadcasters Foundation of America’s annual breakfast on Wednesday, April 20 in the Brahms Room of the Encore Hotel in Las Vegas during the National Association of Broadcasters Show. This year’s winners are: Ray Cole, president & COO, Citadel Communications; Mike Fiorile, vice chairman & CEO, Dispatch Broadcast Group; Scott Herman, COO, CBS Radio; Paul Karpowicz, president & CEO, Meredith Broadcasting Group; Peter Smyth, chairman & CEO, Greater Media; and Julie Talbott, president, Premiere 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.
Mark Levin Launches New Show on Digital Television Platform. WABC, New York-based, nationally syndicated radio talk star and best-selling author Mark Levin is broadening his media presence with a new TV show in partnership with CRTV. LevinTV is a subscription-based digital television platform that Levin calls “America’s new televised Town Hall meeting” and “the next step in the evolution of digital conservative media.” Beginning March 7, the LevinTV program will stream live at 9:00 pm ET and episodes will be available to subscribers on demand. There’s no green screen for Levin; his show will emanate from the “state-of-the-art studio built exclusively for the show” that you see pictured here. (It looks like a legal eagle’s man cave, complete with pool table and a bar.) As for the program itself, Levin and CRTV say it will be “a commercial-free explosion of Mark Levin’s engaging personality, unique intellect and passionate commentary about history, economics, philosophy and the latest political and current events. The show will also feature exclusive, long-form interviews with compelling guests from all walks of life.” Levin comments, “I have the greatest audience in the world and I give them my best every night. I am thrilled we are expanding our Town Hall meeting place for patriots, by taking TV broadcasting to a new level on multiple platforms where I will speak directly to my audience — uncensored, without middlemen, and commercial free.” The regular, full-year price for access to LevinTV is $69 per year or $7.99 per month.
Presidential Race Continues to Ride Top of Talkers TenTM. For another week, the activities of the candidates for president and the issues comprising the election season were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 were the nation’s immigration and refugee policies. Coming in at #3 was the Middle East military escalation including Turkish-Kurdish violence in Iraq and the ongoing Syrian conflict followed by the replacement of Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court and theories about his death at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. View this week’s entire chart here.
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Names Radio Hosts to Elections Advisory Committee. Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick – former talk radio personality and owner of KSEV, Houston – has appointed six members of the media to the state’s Elections Advisory Committee. Each will serve a two-year term on the committee, whose objective is to “evaluate the reporting and tabulation of unofficial election returns in both primary and general elections. The committee then makes recommendations to the office of the Texas Secretary of State.” KSKY, Dallas talk host Mark Davis and KFYO, Lubbock’s Chad Hasty are two talk personalities serving on the committee. The others are: Ross Ramsey of the Texas Tribune, Pedro Rojas of Univision, Mike Ward of The Houston Chronicle, and Jason Whitely of WFAA-TV.
Round Three of January PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of January 2016 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The survey period was December 31 – January 27. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Top Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Zidarevich Upped at Premiere Networks. Sixteen-year FOX Sports Radio manager Annie Zidarevich is promoted to vice president, West Coast operations for Premiere Networks. She’s been with FOX Sports Radio since its inception in 2000, most recently as VP, network operations. In that role she also managed studio operations and program staffing needs for Premiere in Los Angeles. In this new role Zidarevich will oversee all West Coast programming operations for Premiere.
Odds & Sods. Pro soccer comes to CBS RADIO’s Houston cluster after it signs a multi-year deal to broadcast Houston Dynamo matches. Both KILT “Sports Radio 610” and KIKK “CBS Sports Radio” will air games with KIKK serving as the primary outlet for MLS matches. KIKK will also air ancillary programming including “The Players Show” and “The Coaches Show.”…..Podcasting pioneer Carl Kozlowski – founder of the podcast platform RadioTitans – is expanding into live event production and is one of the organizers of FERRIS FEST – a celebration of the 30th anniversary of the release of the John Hughes film, Ferris Beuller’s Day Off. The festival takes place the weekend of May 20-22 in the Chicago area. The highlight of the weekend will be a special screening of the film, accompanied by film cast members and hosted by Chicago Sun-Times film critic (and talk radio pro) Richard Roeper.
NYMRAD Reports New York Spot Revenue Up 3% in Q4 of 2015. That figure is based on data from Miller, Kaplan & Arase and the increase was fueled by growth in the communications, health care and food & beverages categories. Getting more specific, the New York Market Radio report indicates wireless carriers increased their radio spend in the market by 10% during 2015 and public utilities spent 22% more during the year. Health care advertising on radio was up 10% for the year as was the food and beverage category.
Art Bell Ends Latest Talk Show Effort Citing Attempts on His Life. Quite suddenly on Friday evening, Art Bell posted on his ArtBell.com website that he would not be going on the air that evening – or ever again, in fact – and explained that he and his family are in danger after recent attempts on his life. Here’s what Bell posted: “I am sorry to have to announce this but I will not be on Tonight or any other night, yes I am going to hang it up. Whoever this crazy person is, they are not stopping and it has come to the point that we as a Family do not feel it is worth the risk. While I think the person or persons are after me, my Wife and now my Daughter are really scared, the other night after the latest incident my Daughter was off in the corner of her bed scared to death as the Police cars came screaming up. I will not put my Family through this. As you all know I dearly love what I do but not at the expense of never ending Terrorism. I want to thank those of you who have shown so much support and it has been my joy, short as it has been to have cracked that Mic open for a last time. This was a Family decision. The girls stuck with me and still would but if one of them were harmed because of what I love doing my life would be over.” Bell had returned to AM/FM radio with a late night program called “Midnight in the Desert” via his Dark Matter Radio Network earlier this fall after years away from broadcast radio. To say this is controversial in the minds of his fans is an understatement. Chatter on the website DreadCentral vacillates between those who are sympathetic to Bell’s claim and those who simply don’t believe a word of it. Regardless, Bell is off the air, seemingly for good. The network intends to provide programming to affiliates for the next 30 days with Rowland Communications Network airing either previous Art Bell-hosted shows or Heather Wade hosting the program.
Three More Years at Salem for Mike Gallagher. Nationally syndicated talk radio personality Mike Gallagher will remain in his 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET program on the Salem Radio Network through the end of 2018 after signing a three-year extension. He’s currently heard on some 300 stations nationwide, including new affiliate WIND, Chicago “AM 560 The Answer.” Gallagher states, “After 15 years with Salem, I’m still amazed at how fortunate I am to have a radio home at this amazing company. I’m ecstatic and humbled to be continuing for at least another three years with this world-class organization.” Salem Media Group SVP Phil Boyce comments, “Mike is one of the most talented, entertaining, and informative hosts in the country. What a pleasure it has been to be reunited with him at Salem, and be able to have a small part in the next generation of his talk show host career.”
Legal Analysis: What Do Sam Goldwyn and Geraldo Rivera Have in Common? TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman offers his take on the suit against Cumulus Media filed by ousted WABC, New York talk host Geraldo Rivera:
Sam Goldwyn was a legendary movie producer from the early days of Hollywood. In fact, the G in MGM was for Goldwyn. Goldwyn died in 1974. Geraldo Rivera is a legendary and prize winning investigative reporter and media personality who is very much alive. So what do they have in common? Sam Goldwyn was quoted as saying that “An oral contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.” Once you get over trying to figure out the logic of this statement, the essential truth remains that relying on and proving an oral contract is a difficult task indeed. Geraldo Rivera recently filed a lawsuit in state court in New York alleging that Cumulus Media, Inc., the owner of WABC – 770 AM radio in New York breached an oral, one-year contract with him pursuant to which he was to be paid $600,000 for 2016. In addition, he alleges that Cumulus locked him out of his studio at WABC where he already was working as a talk show host. Geraldo alleges that he had negotiated the contract with then vice president of Cumulus, John Dickey during a lunch meeting in July. However, the contract was never reduced to writing and nothing was signed by the parties. In the fall, there was a change of management at Cumulus in which its founder and CEO Lew Dickey along with John Dickey no longer were involved in active management of the company. Although Cumulus has not, as of the writing of this, responded officially to Rivera’s complaint in court, Cumulus has responded with a statement by Davidson Goldin on behalf of the company which states, “We offered Geraldo Rivera a new contract commensurate with the value of his show and our offer was repeatedly rejected.” As for locking Rivera out of his studio, no contract requires a radio station to give air time to someone under contract. All the station is required to do is to pay the talent. In this case, it would appear that Cumulus would have rather eaten the rest of Rivera’s present contract which would terminate under its own terms at the end of December rather than permit Rivera to air his grievances over the air. As for Rivera, he has stated, “It is not about the money. Because of their unforgivable disrespect, I will fight them and they will end up costing their battered company far more in damages than they expect to save in salary.” What are the real facts? That will be determined in court where Goldwyn’s comment may take on new meaning.
Bubba Lawyers Again Filed Motion to Dismiss Nielsen’s $1 Million Suit. On Friday (12/11), lawyers for Bubba the Love Sponge filed a motion to dismiss the $1 million fraud suit filed against their client by Nielsen Audio. Bubba’s attorneys say that Nielsen can’t prove that it has been damaged by their client’s ratings tampering incident, that allegations of additional attempts to tamper with the ratings have not been proven and Bubba’s already been punished for the one case to which he’d admitted. They also point to Nielsen’s statements after the tampering became public knowledge that the company was able to root out the panelist in question and the rest of the market’s ratings were not adversely affected as proof Nielsen can’t show damages. This filing comes just days after Beasley Media Group re-branded Bubba’s flagship station WBRN, Tampa from “Bubba 998.7” to “98.7 No Rules Rock,” bringing into question whether the business relationship between Bubba and Beasley in Tampa will continue in the New Year.
NYMRAD Issues Third Quarter State of the Market Report. The latest edition of this quarterly report from the New York Market Radio Broadcasters Association is a “comprehensive analysis of the New York marketplace designed to help advertisers understand radio’s impact on consumers and its prominent role in the local advertising landscape.” NYMRAD executive director Deborah Beagan states, “In third quarter, retailers effectively used radio leading up to the holiday shopping season. Radio has always done a terrific job of reaching people on the go, and is a huge benefit for influencing consumers closest to their point of purchase.” Regarding radio advertising in the market, the report’s “research on the department store, mass merchandiser, home improvement, and fast food sectors found that exposure to radio ad campaigns increased sales, number of buyers, and dollars spent. For department stores alone, sales increased by 10%, the number of buyers increased by 3%, and dollars spent per customer increased by 6%.” See the report here.
Odds & Sods. The patriotic rock band Madison Rising is beginning its preparation for its 2016 national tour with the release of its “Soldier’s Christmas” song and video. The presentation honors the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for this nation, along with their families who endure their loss throughout the year and during the holiday season in particular. The band (pictured at right) is on a mission to reignite authentic American culture through great rock music. Its new album American Hero (RED) is dedicated to the men and women of our armed forces, along with the police, firefighters and other first responders. The band just completed a 70-city tour, and is preparing to launch its next stretch on January 9…..Toledo market sports talkers WLQR-FM, Delta, Ohio, flips affiliations from CBS Sports Radio Network to ESPN and begins airing much of the latter network’s sports talk shows. The Cumulus-owned station is keeping local personalities Bob Frantz (3:00 pm to 5:00 pm) and Mike Miller (5:00 pm to 7:00 pm) on the program schedule…..There’s end-of-year programming available from ABC News Radio with programs including: “Playback 2015” with Cheri Preston and Aaron Katersky; a year-end edition of “Perspective”; “World News This Year”; “2015 As it Happened”; “The Economy 2015 Year in Review” with ABC News’ chief business and economic correspondent Rebecca Jarvis and ABC News correspondent Richard Davies…..KEGL, Dallas “The Eagle” afternoon personality Russ Martin is thanking police for their work rescuing him after he was the victim of a home invasion. A story in the Frisco Enterprise reports that three masked men ambushed him outside his home, bound him and stole items from his house before escaping in Martin’s 2010 Dodge Challenger. The men have not been apprehended yet. Martin was not harmed.
‘Tis the Season for Sports Talk Radio. Radio sales maven Al Herskovitz writes in a column posted today that this time of year represents what can be a boon for sports talk radio. With the NFL’s season zeroing in on the playoffs and basketball, hockey and college sports also in high gear, the opportunities to get creative from a sales standpoint are numerous. He notes some of the sponsored segments he’s recently encountered during play-by-play broadcasts. “‘The collision of the game’ sponsored by a vehicle repair shop; The ‘injury time-out’ sponsored by a medical group; ‘The gem of the game’ (the best play) sponsored by a jewelry store. I even heard one that was called ‘The catch of the game.’ It was sponsored by a bait and tackle shop! Laugh if you must, but this special creativity has to be acknowledged.” Read the entire column here.
Sid Mark Signs Contract Extension to Continue Hosting ‘Sound of Sinatra.’ The program has been airing in one form or another in Philadelphia for the past 59 years – the last 16 on CBS RADIO’s WPHT – and radio pro Sid Mark will continue to host the nationally syndicated “Sound of Sinatra” after recently inking a contract extension. Mark comments, “My thanks to the management of WPHT, our sponsors and, of course, my listeners for making this possible. Look forward to a big bash for the 60th.” CBS RADIO SVP/market manager for Philadelphia David Yadgaroff adds, “What Frank Sinatra is to music, Sid Mark is to radio. We are so happy to continue the tradition that Sid started 59 years ago.” As legend has it, “The Sounds of Sinatra” began with a call from a listener, who suggested that Mark spin one hour of Frank Sinatra songs. That tradition developed into “Friday with Frank,” as well as “Sunday with Sinatra,” which presently airs on WPHT on Sundays from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. It’s still heard on more than 100 radio stations from coast to coast and is the only radio program of its kind to have been personally authorized by Frank Sinatra.
Bringing Joy to the Ugly. Nationally syndicated (GCN) talk star Dr. Joy Browne invited listeners to enter photos on Facebook for her annual “Ugliest Christmas Sweater” contest. She came up with two winners – both who work as interns at the York Theatre Company’s current Broadway production of a musical titled “Plaid Tidings.” Pictured (l-r) Daniel Lees, Dr. Joy Browne, and Lucas Camp. York Theatre Company’s slogan is “Where musicals come to life.”
Government Shutdown Threat, Paris Climate Summit and Tomorrow’s GOP Debate Top Weekend News/Talk Stories. The passage of a week-long spending bill and the threat of a government shutdown after this week; the ‘Paris Agreement’ climate deal inked among the U.S. and 185 other countries; and tomorrow night’s GOP primary debate in Las Vegas were some of the top news/talk stories discussed on weekend talk radio programs, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Paris Attacks Aftermath and Brussels Tensions Top Weekend News/Talk Stories. The aftermath of the terror attacks in Paris, the question of how to deal with Syrian refugees and specific threats to Brussels, Belgium were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend. The Paris aftermath and the Syrian refugee question ended last week as the top stories, landing atop the weekly Talkers TenTM chart, and they continued to be top points of discussion for news/talk outlets that featured live and local programs or carried live national shows over the weekend.
Cumulus Expands Bill Hess’ Role in DC to Operations Manager. Programming pro Bill Hess – currently serving as program director for news/talk WMAL-AM/FM, Washington and Cumulus Media corporate PD/talk – is adding operations manager duties for the Washington. DC cluster. Hess’ 38-year radio career has provided him with experience across numerous radio formats. In addition to his news/talk and sports radio programming experience, he’s also programmed ACs WSNE, Providence; WHYN-FM, Springfield, MA; and WASH, Washington and classic rock WBIG, Washington. Cumulus SVP, content and programming Mike McVay says, “Bill is an exceptional programmer. The growth that WMAL has experienced under his direction is nothing short of astounding. He has excelled as a corporate PD and will continue in that role. Bill is deserving of this recognition.” Hess says of his new duties, “On the heels of our team’s success at WMAL, I’m thrilled to be working with Louie Diaz on the rebirth of Washington’s legendary ‘Mix 107.3.’ Thanks to Gary Pizzati, Mike McVay, Jake McCann and Beth Cohen for this opportunity.”
Bill Spadea Replaces Jim Gearhart on New Jersey 101.5 AM Drive Show. Back in September, WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” morning drive personality Jim Gearhart suffered a severe concussion at his home while on vacation. Recovery from the injury has been difficult, putting Gearhart on an extended leave of absence. Now, Townsquare Media announces that Gearhart will not be able to return to his duties with the station and that Bill Spadea is assuming the role of host of the morning show. Gearhart had been with the station for the past 25 years and is a member of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame. Spadea has been Gearhart’s chief fill-in since 2014 and voices the station’s daily feature “Bill Spadea’s New Jersey.” Spadea says, “I’ve always looked up to Jim Gearhart as a legend in New Jersey media. His shoes are too large for me to ever fill completely, but I am honored and humbled and will try my best to live up to his legacy of unequaled radio and service to the people of New Jersey.”
Detroit Lions Deny Trying to Silence WXYT-FM’s Mike Valenti. Usually when a radio station ceases to be a pro sports team’s flagship, it’s because of money – either the rights got too expensive or the station was outbid. But CBS RADIO Detroit market manager Debbie Kenyon says in a statement that Lions management wanted to pressure the station into firing talk host Mike Valenti for his staunch criticism of the team’s performance. Kenyon issued the following statement, “CBS RADIO and the Detroit Lions are parting ways. ‘97.1 The Ticket’ has served as the flagship station for the Lions for more than a decade. CBS RADIO says it has been negotiating with the Lions a long time. It is sad to say goodbye, but in the end it came down to the integrity of CBS — the refusal to be censored in talking about the team and making honest assessments on the air about this team.” Crain’s Detroit Business reports the team says that isn’t true. It quotes Elizabeth Parkinson, Lions’ SVP of marketing and partnerships, saying the mandate to fire Valenti in order to get a renewal with the club is “categorically a lie” and that Cumulus simply offered a better deal. But in the Crain’s piece, Valenti’s manager, Mort Meisner, said the team made Valenti’s firing part of the conditions for renewing with the team and that team officials were regularly calling Kenyon to complain about Valenti’s criticism of the team’s performance and its management. Read it here.
Odds & Sods. Conservative talk pro Steve Malzberg – seen nightly on Newsmax TV – is sitting in for Salem Radio Network’s Bill Bennett on his morning drive show, “Bill Bennett’s Morning In America” this Friday (11/27)…..The NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers will remain with iHeartMedia in the Steel City as the team and the company come to terms to keep games airing on rock WDVE and sports talk WBGG-AM/W292DH-FM. The renewed deal extends through the 2018 season and contains elements of promotional support for the Steelers via iHeartMedia’s six Pittsburgh stations.
Legendary WCCO, Minneapolis Personality Charlie Boone Dies at 88. As one half of the morning radio team “Boone and Erickson,” Charlie Boone was a fixture on Twin Cities radio for some 40 years, literally owning the daypart during the halcyon days of AM radio from the 1960s through the 1990s. He died on Sunday (11/22) at the age of 88. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports he and Roger Erickson worked together for 37 years before Erickson’s retirement in 1998. Boone continued to host a solo Saturday morning show from that point until 2010. Boone arrived at WCCO from his previous gig in Fargo in 1959. He and fellow air staffer Erickson hit it off personally and management put them together on the radio in 1961.
Bill Payne Dies at 76. Oklahoma broadcaster Bill Payne passed away in Tulsa on Friday 11/20 at the age of 76. Payne was the founder of the Oklahoma Academy of Radio. Payne was a pioneer in the field of FM broadcasting putting KWHP-FM, Edmond, Oklahoma on the air in 1962. His Payne Radio Group operates 13 stations across eastern Oklahoma. The company continues to be led by Payne’s son Will Payne.
Chick-fil-A Controversy Fires Up Conservative Talk Hosts; Sparks Movement to Support Fast Food Chain. The issues of gay marriage and First Amendment rights have been front and center on news/talk radio this week in the wake of Chick-fil-A COO Dan Cathy’s comments in a Baptist publication about his support for the Biblical definition of marriage that’s grown into a major news story. Some view his statement as bigoted and divisive while others see this as a free speech issue. The case has spurred planned demonstrations by same-sex couples and their supporters as well as conservative media personalities who have encouraged their listeners and viewers to support the fast food chain. Salem Radio Network talk host Mike Gallagher is pictured here (at left) in his studio preparing to enjoy his Chick-fil-A lunch and has been encouraging listeners to post pictures of themselves eating at the restaurant on Facebook. Salem Communications O&O WNYM, New York – AM 970 The Answer – organized a call for support at the Paramus, New Jersey Mall where the station reports some 200 listeners had lined up by lunchtime to support the store. At right is talk show host Kevin McCullough (l) – whose weekend talk show is heard on WNYM – with Salem VP/director of spoken word format Phil Boyce (r) as they prepare to enjoy a sandwich. In the panoramic photo below. The Answer morning drive host Curtis Sliwa can be seen at the far right speaking with a listener while the line of customers spreads across the photo to the left.
Bill Handel’s “Cash Mob” Supports SoCal Toy Store. A “cash mob” organized by KFI, Los Angeles morning drive host Bill Handel put some $9,000 in the register of struggling Corona del Mar toy store Toy Boat, Toy Boat, Toy Boat. Handel appeared at the store from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm but Handel’s listeners patronized the store all day long after hearing Handel speak on the air about the state of the struggling local business. Handel show executive producer Michelle Kube reports many of the people who bought toys donated them to Children’s Hospital of Orange County. Kube states, “This was just the first. We plan to do more of these across all day parts on KFI over the next few months all over the Southland as our amazing listeners have responded with so many requests to help local small business owners!”
Clear Channel Reports Radio Revenue Up 3%. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment – of course, now a private company but one that still publicly reports financials – gives its 2012 Q2 financial report and states revenue was up from $771.8 million in the second quarter of 2011 to $793 million in the second quarter of this year. CFO Tom Casey reports much of that increase was due to national and in categories including automotive, telecommunications, financial services, political and entertainment. Casey noted that national business rose at roughly double the rate of local business.
Comedian and Stephanie Miller Show Cast Member John Fugelsang Gets Current TV Show. Regular Stephanie Miller radio show cast member – and one third of Miller’s “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” – John Fugelsang will have his own Current TV program beginning in the fall. Talk radio host Stephanie Miller’s show is simulcast on the Al Gore-founded cable TV network in which Fugelsang gets some face time, but now he’ll have a solo gig there. In a statement, Al Gore says, “We at Current are eager to bring John’s unique perspective on politics and the world around him to primetime. He’s been a part of the Current family for a while now and we see just how much his voice resonates with our audience. His new show will nicely complement our growing lineup.” Fugelsang has guest-hosted prime time shows on the network including Eliot Spitzer’s and Jennifer Granholm’s programs. The network has not announced what time the show will air.
WQSC, Charleston, South Carolina Flips to Talk. The Kirkman Broadcasting station drops oldies for news/talk and airs largely syndicated programming with the exception of local PM drive host Rocky D. Programming consists of: Cumulus Media Networks’ Imus in the Morning; Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher; Talk Radio Network’s Laura Ingraham; Dial Global’s Dennis Miller and Jim Bohannon; and CBS Radio’s “Overnight America” with Jon Grayson.
California Couple Sentenced in Real Estate Ponzi Scheme; Infomercials Aired on KVTA, Port Hueneme. It’s almost a mystery how stations keep selling infomercials to “investment gurus” who go on to swindle people out of their life savings…but they do. The latest case in this oft-repeating story is that of Kenneth Powell and Kathryn Rose who pleaded guilty to numerous counts of felony fraud related to a real estate investment Ponzi scheme that scammed some $3 million out of 15 people in Southern California. The two broadcast shows called “Academy of Real Estate,” “Money Intelligence” and “The Ken & Katie Show” on KVTA. Investors were asked to put money into real estate development or loans secured by real estate but all investment cash went to pay off previous investors until the scheme went bust. 59-year-old Powell received 18 years in prison and 63-year-old Rose will serve 12 years, 8 months.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Journal Broadcasting’s news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee gave away a fully restored 1969 Chevy Camaro (pictured here) to winner Aaron Guenterberg in its annual “Free Ride” promotion that saw more than 10,000 people enter the contest…..A Saturday morning talk show hosted by Tony Stiles debuts on news/talk KOIL, Omaha this Saturday…..Jacksonville-based sports talk show “Courts and Sports,” hosted by attorney John Phillips, moves from WOKV to crosstown WFXJ, Jacksonville on August 9. Phillips’ regular co-host for the program is Jacksonville Jaguars running back Rashad Jennings…..SiriusXM presents “College Sports Nation Camp Tour” on its College Sports Nation channel beginning today. Hosts Eddie George, Gino Torretta, Rick Neuheisel, Houston Nutt, Randy Cross, Gil Brandt, Jack Arute and Mark Packer will visit 13 camps in 16 days and report to listeners.
20 Gallons of Hat. WLAC, Nashville-based talk host Steve Gill (r) is pictured here with music legend Charlie Daniels (l). Daniels appeared on Gill’s syndicated talk program on Tuesday, July 31 and the two talked politics and the state of the country.
Presidential Race, Chick-fil-A Case, Ted Cruz Texas Primary Victory, Fed Economic Report/Financial Markets Activities, and London Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/1). The campaign for president, the outpouring of support for Chick-fil-A and the issue of same-sex marriage; Tea Party candidate Ted Cruz’s Republican primary victory for U.S. Senate in Texas; the Fed’s economic report and financial markets activities; and the London Olympics were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Jim Horn to Retire from WSBA, York. One of the most well-liked and admired broadcasters in news/talk radio, Jim Horn, is announcing he will be retiring from his dual position as program director and morning co-host at Cumulus Media‘s WSBA, York, Pennsylvania effective August 1, after serving nearly 34 years at the station. For the past four years, he and co-host Gary Sutton have presided over mornings at the station and have earned a spot in the Talkers 250 during each of them. Sutton will remain with the station as Cumulus searches for a new PD and morning co-host. Horn tells TALKERS, “After being with WSBA for almost three and a half decades, I want to take a very long vacation – something I do not remember ever doing – and then take the time to explore new opportunities both inside and outside radio and see if something interesting comes along. I am very excited about entering this new chapter of my life.”
Speculation About FM Sports Signal in New York Heats Up. There’s almost always chatter in the Big Apple about when CBS Radio’s WFAN will finally get an FM signal, but a recent story at FishbowlNY is fueling even more. Jerry Barmash’s piece cites a former CBS Radio employee who indicates the upcoming rights battle for New York Yankees baseball may be the catalyst for CBS Radio to drop “Fresh 102.7” and give The Fan an FM signal. Another factor cited is the coming CBS Sports Radio Network. The company will certainly want to have a New York outlet for its national programming and the source tells Barmash, “I wouldn’t be surprised if CBS uses 660 as a clearinghouse for the CBS Sports Network while 102.7 maintains a local angle.” Getting back to the Yankees, it’s believed this will be the last year for Yankees baseball on WCBS and if CBS wants to try to keep both the Yankees and the Mets (currently on The Fan), it’ll need two sports signals. FishbowlNY’s source says the Yankees are likely to want to buy the time from their next radio outlet and take production and sales in-house.
Programmer Lee Feldman Exiting Beasley’s WQAM, Miami. A plum sports program director position is opening up as WQAM, Miami PD Lee Feldman is preparing to exit the station in two weeks. Assistant PD and Dan Sileo show executive producer Andy King will be serving as the interim program director but the word is the station is seeking a permanent replacement for Feldman.
St. Louis’ Grand Slam Sports Changes Calls, Image of KSLG. The station formerly known as SportsRadio 1380 KSLG in St. Louis becomes KXFN, St. Louis with the handle “The Fan 2” – indicating its position as sister station to “The Fan,” KFNS at 590. The change takes place today and general manager Katy Pavelonis states, “We will now have 590 The Fan and 1380 The Fan 2. This will allow us to cross promote our programming as we continue to be ‘The Voice of the St. Louis Sports Fan.’ Sports fans have become accustomed to the coverage and entertainment we offer as the heritage sports station with 590 The Fan. 1380 The Fan 2 is simply an extension of our brand.” Pavelonis says Grand Slam Sports conducted a study, led by a Saint Louis University MBA class, that revealed most sports fans associate “The Fan” with 1380 sister station KFNS.
Eliot Spitzer Joins NY1’s Political Roundtable Show. Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, who replaced Keith Olbermann on the Al Gore-founded cable channel Current TV, will become a regular panelist on NY1’s “Inside City Hall.” NY1 is Time Warner’s local cable news channel for people living in the Tri-State area. Regular panelists on the program include former New York Mayor Ed Koch and former U.S. Senator Alfonse D’Amato.
Chris Vernon Takes Over Middays at WMFS-AM/FM, Memphis. Sports talk host Chris Vernon moves from KQPN, Memphis to crosstown WMFS-AM/FM to host the 11:00 am to 2:00 pm show on the Entercom sports talker beginning today. Entercom vice president and market manager Dan Barron says, “92.9 FM ESPN is the number one sports and spoken-word station in the market. Adding Chris Vernon enhances that already strong position. Chris is a top talent who brings a high-energy approach and national experience. He’s a perfect fit for Entercom/Memphis and our advertisers.”
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Dial Global nationally syndicated talk host Jim Bohannon will be the announcer for CBS Television’s “Face the Nation” on July 22…..Country singer Hank Williams, Jr. has a new album out with free song downloads for radio stations coming this week. PR maven Janet Fallon says there are a couple of political songs on the disc and the country legend is none too pleased with President Obama…..Illinois talk host Michael Koolidge hosts his annual “Michael Koolidge Show Summer Party” at Perry Rock Restaurant in Rockford, Illinois on Thursday, July 26. Koolidge, whose show is syndicated to numerous markets in Northern Illinois, is throwing the party that’s free and open to the public to thank his listeners for their support for the growing program…..Local Focus Radio president Kay Olin is named chair of the board of directors for the Alliance for Women in Media. Olin will lead the AWM board in its mission to “harness the promise, passion and power of women in all forms of media to empower career development, engage in thought leadership, and drive positive change for our industry and societal progress.”…..Bloomquist Media receives a 2012 Finalist Award from the New York Radio Festival for the Christmas radio program “The Gift, A Holiday Tribute to Military Families.” The program won in the Social Issues/Current Events category and helped raise awareness and funds for the Fisher House Foundation.
By Kevin Casey
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — It’s understood by anyone in the radio business that the big news stories of the day – whether they are local or national stories – generate the topics that drive the conversation on news/talk radio. But what are the roles of the newsroom, the reporter and the regular newscasts on today’s news/talk stations? The move of all-news to FM signals, the development of more national and regional radio news products and the addition of newswheel programs to some of the country’s most respected talk stations seem to indicate radio news has received a shot in the arm. But the decimation of many radio news departments that occurred in conjunction with consolidation still affects many radio operations and raises questions about the relevance of news elements to the successful operation of the modern news/talk station.