Tag: "Peak Broadcasting"

Monday, July 14, 2014

| July 14, 2014

astorinorobFormer New York Radio Host and Programmer Rob Astorino Under Fire in Gubernatorial Race for Townsquare Media Consulting Income.  Before leaving the radio business full time to run for public office – he’s now the Westchester County Executive – Republican Rob Astorino worked at WFAS, Westchester hosting a sports talk show and also worked at ESPN Radio New York where he was part of the team that transitioned WEVD to sports as WEPN.  Astorino is running for governor and incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo’s campaign is making a deal about Astorino’s side job in which he collects $30,000 to consult Townsquare Media.  According to a piece in the New York Daily News, the governor’s campaign is contending Astorino is violating the Westchester County charter by accepting outside income but Astorino’s camp states the money he earns is not in violation of county rules.  Townsquare VP Alex Berkett tells the Daily News, “Mr. Astorino serves as one of a number of programming consultants that work with Townsquare Media.  This role allows Townsquare to benefit from Mr. Astorino’s considerable professional expertise in radio programming.”  Read the whole Daily News piece here.

cclogoClear Channel Announces Corporate Additions and Promotions.  From Clear Channel president national programming platforms Tom Poleman comes news that former Clear Channel programming executive Marc Chase has rejoined the company.  Chase will serve in the national programming platforms division as VP/strategic services, marketing & innovation.  Chase worked with Tribune during the Randy Michaels years and most recently was with Nuvoodoo.   Other moves at CC include Darren Pfeffer being promoted to senior VP/music & entertainment marketing where he’ll continue to be in charge of CC’s promotions and events, including the iHeartradio Music Festival, the iHeartradio Jingle Ball Tour and the iHeartradio Country Festival.  Also promoted are Marissa Morris and Adellyn Polomski who are VP/artist relations and director of artist relations & programs, respectively.  At the same time as these announcements comes news that Zena Burns is exiting her position as the company’s first digital program director to pursue other interests.

essickskipSkip Essick Exits Cumulus Media’s KMJ-AM and KMJ-FM.  For the past seven years, radio programming pro Skip Essick has been serving as PD at KMJ-AM and KMJ-FM in Fresno.  Essick oversaw the splitting of the two stations into separate news/talk stations while they were owned by Peak Broadcasting.  Last August, Townsquare Media agreed to purchase the stations from Peak and proceeded to sell them to Cumulus Media as part of a deal that saw Townsquare get Cumulus’ Dubuque and Poughkeepsie stations.

schwartzjeffreySchwartz Joins Yahoo! Sports as EVP Corporate Strategy.  This is a newly created position at the Houston-based Yahoo! Sports Radio and the company’s CEO, David Gow, says the arrival of Jeffrey Schwartz “will provide unmatched opportunities for our affiliate and advertising partners to thrive.”  Schwartz is charged with overseeing “business growth and partnerships, in addition to working withyahoosportsradiologo management to advance programming strategy, multi-platform marketing and promotional opportunities, and affiliate and talent relations.”  Schwartz comments, “I look forward to working with the Yahoo! Sports Radio team and the quality sports product they have developed to enhance the brand, as well as opportunities for our partners. Yahoo! Sports, one of the top sports sites in the world, will be a great asset to our strategic plans.”  Schwartz’s experience includes serving as manager of sales and promotion at classic rock WLUP-FM, Chicago “The Loop,” director of operations at sports talk WSCR, Chicago “The Score,” and director of operations at WMVP, Chicago “ESPN 1000.”  Concurrent with Schwartz’s arrival, the company announces Amanda Deutchman joins in the new position of director, marketing and business development.   She most recently was marketing and communications manager for Premiere NetworksFox Sports Radio Network.

simonsjoeSimons New PM Anchor at KXL, Portland.  Joining co-anchor Val Stouffer at Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM, Portland “FM NEWS 101” for the “Portland’s Afternoon News” program is Joe Simons.  He joined KXL last year as a weekend morning news anchor.  Simons previously served as the voice of the University of Idaho Women’s Basketball team for two seasons and hosted TV and radio shows in Idaho while also serving as a field reporter for KQQQ, Pullman, Washington.     Simons says of his new gig, “I’m thrilled to be part of the incredible team at KXL. The amount of experience and talent our staff has is second to none.  I hope to bring my unique perspective and enthusiasm to ‘Portland’s Afternoon News.’”

jacksonkevinKevin Jackson Joins WBOK, New Orleans.  Conservative media personality Kevin Jackson – executive director of The Black Sphere LLC – joins the daily lineup at Bakewell Media-owned urban talk/gospel-formatted WBOK, New Orleans.  Jackson has been producing a program that airs on weekends on Salem Communications-owned Florida outlets WGUL, Tampa and WLSS, Sarasota.  Now his show will air nightly after the Al Sharpton program.  Jackson says, “I’m happy to follow Al Sharpton, because there couldn’t be a bigger difference in thought.  I believe black stations need to allow their listeners varying points of view, and I’m excited about the opportunity to have a predominantly black audience compare my viewpoint to Sharpton and Martin.”

ppmunitRound Four of June PPM Data Released.  The fourth and final round of June 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford.  The survey period was May 22 through June 18.  TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here.  In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page of RadioInfo.com here.

horizonbroadcastingHorizon Broadcasting Re-Launches Local News and Information Site.  What the company calls “the region’s most comprehensive website for local news and community information” – MyCentralOregon.com – has been re-launched by Horizon Broadcasting Group.  The company owns five stations in the Central Oregon region and operates mycentraloregonnews/talk KBNW via an LMA with station owner SummitMedia.  Horizon CEO Keith Shipman says, “We are excited to provide Central Oregon residents with a reliable option for real-time local news and community information.  We found that over 90% of our past visitors to the site were primarily interested in viewing local and national news content, which is where we will place our emphasis.  Local weather forecasts are a prime driver and we will rely on the expertise of AccuWeather to provide forecasts for communities throughout Central Oregon, complete with a 5 day outlooks and satellite radar images.  Visitors to MyCentralOregon.com will find breaking local news from the KBNW news team featuring Glenn Vaagen and Kellen Pierce.  Our national, international, political, entertainment, health and business news content will be robust thanks to our alliances with ABC News and The Wall Street Journal.  Visitors will also be able to get the latest traffic information, including mountain pass conditions, road reports featuring cameras from the Oregon Department of Transportation, school closures and the latest gas prices throughout Central Oregon.”

Odds & Sods.  When the 25th Annual American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament begins this week, NBC Sports Radio Network will broadcast live from Edgewood and Harrah’s Lake Tahoe.  The Westwood One/NBC Sports Group-run networks will broadcast its sports talk shows from the site on Thursday, Friday and throughout the weekend…..KSCO, Santa Cruz announces the addition of the “Wagner & Winick On the Law” program to the station’s weekend lineup.  Monterey College of Law Dean Mitchel Winick and Law Professor Stephen Wagner began hosting the weekly, one-hour radio program last Saturday, July 12…..AL.com reports that South Alabama sports is moving from longtime home Dot Com Plus LLC-owned WNSP-FM, Mobile to Clear Channel’s Mobile station group where Jaguar football games will air on adult contemporary WMXC while Men’s Basketball and Baseball will air on news/talk WNTM.

drakebillSpartanburg-Greenville Personality Bill Drake Dies at 73.  South Carolina radio personality Bill Drake died on July 11 from complications after successful surgery to treat esophageal cancer.  Although Drake also worked in Green Bay and Milwaukee during his career, he spent 29 years as morning host at WSPA, Spartanburg and then did mornings at WOLT-FM for seven years.  His “Awake with Drake” program was last heard on WOLI, Spartanburg.

ausfeldbobAlbany Broadcaster Bob Ausfeld Passes Away.  After years of heart troubles that required longtime Albany broadcaster Bob Ausfeld to have a heart pump implanted, Ausfeld went into surgery last week after a donor heart became available.  Ausfeld did not survive the recovery from the surgery and died over the weekend.  Ausfeld began his broadcasting career in the market at WPTR.  He worked for Townsquare Media through 2011 and joined Albany Broadcasting as general manager for the company.

hochman de la hoyaDe la Hoya Visits Marc Hochman Show.  WQAM, Miami afternoon drive host Marc Hochman (center), and co-host Zach Krantz (right), pose for a pic with fight promoter and Hall of Fame boxer Oscar de la Hoya (left) in Las Vegas.  Hochman brought his show to Las Vegas for a special broadcast last week in anticipation of the Canelo vs. Lara fight at the MGM Grand.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

| May 14, 2013

brothersjoyceIndustry Mourns Death of Dr. Joyce Brothers.  Before there was a Dr. Laura Schlessinger or a Dr. Joy Browne on the radio and in talk media, there was a Dr. Joyce Brothers.  Named by TALKERS magazine as the 72nd most important radio talk show host of all time (“Heaviest Hundred”), Joyce Bauer Brothers, the mother of media psychology, died yesterday at the age of 85 surrounded by her family.  The cause of death has not been disclosed.  Dr. Joyce Brothers exploded into the public conscience in 1955 after appearing on the TV game show “The $64,000 Question,” the most popular program at the time.  She was the second person to ever win the entire payment and she was the first woman.  Those qualities alone may have made her an instant celebrity, but add into the mix this unexpected element: she answered obscure questions on the subject of boxing while pitted up against boxers.  After that, she landed an opportunity to do commentary for CBS Sports during a boxing match between Carmen Basilio and Sugar Ray Robinson.  Thus began her television career.  By 1958, Dr. Brothers was hosting a new kind of television talk show – one where she took mailed-in questions from viewers on the subjects of love, marriage, childrearing, and sex.  It was that last subject during an innocent era of the late 1950s which summoned the NBC executives into the control room one day.  They sweated through her response to a question about premature ejaculation and then waited for the calls to come in – calls of complaints.  In the book Making Waves, the 50 Greatest Women in Radio and Television, Dr. Brothers says, “Their white faces drained of blood, and they were waiting for phone calls of complaints and horror.”  Sure enough the calls did come in – but “were all positive – men saying ‘This is something I’ve had all my life and you’ve helped me.’”  There was not one complaint among them, she recalled.  And from that point forward, “I went on my own way and I was on my own way,” a path that lasted decades during which she was often cited as one of the most admired women in America.  Her ability to take private issues public with genuine compassion, grace and intelligence — and never embarrass or offend someone – was the key to her connection to the viewer and listener.  The only topic she declined to ever discuss?   “Mental illness,” she once explained. “I am not trying to do therapy on the air.  If I think there is even a possibility that people need therapy, I suggest they seek professional help.”  Though her media career began in television, she made a significant foray into radio on NBC Radio/Westwood One and is widely credited with spearheading the call-in psychology shows that became a traditional genre of talk radio.  Over the years, she appeared frequently as a guest on talk shows such as “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” and “Late Night with Conan O’Brien.”   Dr. Brothers also landed numerous television roles – many of which were comedic cameo appearances on sitcoms and even ended up in an animated version of herself on “The Simpsons.”   She was the author of nine books including most recently Widow, in which she dispenses advice to women who have lost a husband (hers died in 1989).  Her articles have appeared in Readers’ Digest, Good Housekeeping and Parade.  Born to attorney-parents who worked together in their own law practice, Dr. Brothers grew up in Far Rockaway, Queens.  She credits her off-the-charts memory for her ability to cite details for things she only read once.  Not only did she skip two grades in high school, but then she went on to graduate with honors.  After winning a scholarship to Cornell University where she was forced to major in Home Economics (to retain the scholarship), she discovered psychology and achieved a double-major.  She went on to get her doctorate at Columbia University.  Dr. Brothers married medical student Milton Brothers in 1949 and left a teaching position in 1955 at Hunter College in New York City to be a stay-at-home mother for her newborn daughter.  It was when their money got tight that Dr. Brothers hoped to take home the prize from “The 64,000 Question.”  The rest, as they say, is history.

brownejoyDr. Joy Browne Credits Pioneer Dr. Joyce Brothers with Making Psychology Accessible.  One of the leading radio psychologists of the last quarter century, Dr. Joy Browne (syndicated 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm daily by Radio America) tells TALKERS, that in addition to the media pioneer being an enormous influence on her career, not to mention talk radio and TV in general, the late Dr. Joyce Brothers was a giant figure in America popular culture because “she made psychology accessible to the masses.”  Browne, who worked on a number of occasions with Brothers, describes the legendary broadcaster as being one of the “most focused people I’ve ever met in this business.”  Browne recalls, “Dr. Joyce Brothers could accomplish almost anything she wanted to do simply by putting her brilliant mind to it…whether it was remembering minutia about boxing to win a game show… to knowing exactly what to do to promote her books… to distilling complex topics down to their basic essence so people could understand them.  She had an amazingly disciplined mind.”

valentinephilTalk Host Phil Valentine Alleges Experiencing IRS Harassment as Political Payback.  In an op-ed piece posted today (5/14) exclusive to TALKERS, Nashville-based Cumulus Media syndicated conservative host Phil Valentine claims that he has been repeatedly audited by the IRS over a number of years for no wrongdoing on his part which he believes is tied to his on-air political positions.  He also says that he has spoken a number of his liberal friends on radio who’ve told him they have experienced the same thing.  He writes, “The revelation on Friday (5/10) that the IRS was targeting conservative groups came as a shock to much of America, especially those on the right side of the aisle.  Once the story broadened on Monday to include more groups and more abuse it became apparent that there’s something big going on here.  For me, it was all simply a confirmation of something I’ve been experiencing for some time.  In fact, I’ve been chronicling the experience on my radio show.”  Valentine encourages fellow talk show hosts who have been experiencing the same thing but are afraid to complain because of how “frightening” the IRS can be, to stand up and come forward.  To read his entire opinion piece, please click here.

cookehollandSome On-Air Do’s And Don’ts from a Leading Consultant.  One of the hardest-working consultants (and TALKERS columnist) in the radio business today, Holland Cooke shares some helpful tips to sharpening up on-air performance (sort of like an old “aircheck meeting”) and keeping people listening longer.  In a new article posted today (5/14) Cooke suggests prepping better, listening better (while on the air), and speaking in the second person singular.  He advises not to talk like a radio guy (avoid terms like “remote” broadcast – people think a remote is what they use to change TV channels), do not waste listeners’ time, and SEDUCE listeners into giving you more of their time.  Cooke writes, “The way Arbitron ratings are calculated – diaries or PPM — keeping listeners even just five more minutes each time they tune in could as much as DOUBLE your ratings.  So when you tease, really tease!”  To read Holland Cooke’s entire column, click here.

curleyjohnJohn Curley Back on Evenings at KIRO-FM, Seattle.  The night shift was the original slot John Curley had when he joined Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle but he moved to morning drive in November of 2012.  Just two months later the station replaced him in AM drive with Dave Ross and he’s been off the air since.  Now, program director Pete Gammell pairs Curley up with current evening host Andrew Walsh.  Gammell says in a statement, “With John’s comfortable style and storytelling skills he naturally fits well in a nighttime setting.  Partner John’s entertaining approach with Andrew’s newsy perspective and you have a completely new dynamic and compelling show.”

barksingaInga Barks Adds PM Drive Show to Hosting Responsibilities.  Bakersfield, California-based talk radio personality Inga Barks begins hosting the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm program on Buckley Broadcasting’s KNZR, Bakersfield.  She’ll handle this program in addition to her evening talk show heard on Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ-AM, Fresno.  Barks previously worked in the Bakersfield market on American Media General’s news/talk KERN.

harrisheidiLas Vegas Talk Personality Heidi Harris Debuts Daily Feature.  Las Vegas-based talk show host Heidi Harris – most recently heard in Los Angeles on Salem Communications’ KRLA – is producing a daily feature dubbed the “Heidi Harris Files” that is airing on Silver State Broadcasting’s news/talk KBET.  The three- minute vignette will air on KBET three times daily at 7:30 am, 12:30 pm and 4:30 pm.  Harris has also worked at CBS Radio‘s KXNT and Beasley Broadcasting‘s KDWN in the Las Vegas market.

Bruce Newbury to Host Local Show on WADK, Newport, Rhode Island.  3G Broadcasting is adding a local program to its news/talk WADK, Newport with Bruce Newbury hosting his “Talk of the Town” show.  Newbury also hosts a weekend food and cooking show on Cumulus Media’s WPRV, Providence and he’ll continue in that role.  Newbury’s 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program will debut on May 22.

NYFtrophyNew York Festivals Announces 2013 Radio Programs and Promo Awards Finalists.  This international competition isn’t limited to spoken-word programs as the list of categories indicates, but many of the categories include news, long-form and community service components in the spoken-word realm.  As you’ll notice by scanning the list of finalists from the United States (which will compete with finalists from other countries with winners announced June 17 in New York) many programming finalists were produced at public radio stations or companies.  However, commercial broadcasters including ESPN and SiriusXM were well represented.  ESPN had finalist entries including the “Best News Documentary or Special” for “Outside the Lines and The Sporting Life: A Fight for Faith.”  SiriusXM was also represented as it was a finalist with “Best Interview” for “Bob Edwards Talks with Children’s Book Author Jack Gantos,” among others.  Bloomquist Media is a finalist in both the “Community Service” and “Profiles/Community Portraits” categories for “A Grateful Nation.”  See the entire list of finalists here.

hayworthgranddadTwo Generations of Hayworth Men Grace San Diego.  Talk radio personality (and former Arizona Congressman) J.D. Hayworth is currently co-host of the morning drive program alongside Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton on XEPRS, San Diego “The Mighty 1090.”  On a recent visit to the station’s partners in downtown San Diego – Fox Sports San Diego – J.D. Hayworth noticed a huge black and white photo of Babe Ruth crossing home plate.  Hayworth tells TALKERS magazine, “Imagine my surprise when I looked up and saw this HUGE photo of my grandfather, Ray Hayworth, a catcher for the Detroit Tigers, reaching to tag Babe Ruth at home plate!  My grandfather greets passersby outside the building, while the Bambino’s image is seen inside the lobby!”

Obama Benghazi Reaction, IRS Target Allegations, Justice Department AP Phone Records Search, Syria Tensions, and Philly Abortion Doctor Found Guilty Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/13).  The president’s reaction to recent Benghazi testimony and the GOP’s push to continue searching for answers; the IRS’ alleged targeting of conservative groups; the Justice Department’s investigation into phone records at the Associated Press; ongoing tensions in Syria; and the conviction of Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

| February 5, 2013

marksandbraceGreater Media’s Sports Talk WPEN-FM, Philadelphia Tweaks Daily Lineup.  The Philadelphia sports talker promotes two from their Saturday program to a daily midday show.  Jon Marks and Sean Brace began holding down the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot on Monday.  Marks most recently co-hosted with Tony Bruno and Brian Baldinger, weekdays 10:00 am to 12:00 noon and 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm respectively.  Sean Brace (as Jon did before him) also produced the Mike Missanelli show for the past year.  As a result of the move, Brian Baldinger moves to the evening show where he co-hosts with Joe DeCamera for the 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm program.  Program director Matt Nahigian says, “Jon Marks’ and Sean Brace’s on-air chemistry has been on display every Saturday morning for the past two years.  The two young and up-and-coming sports talk hosts have created a fun and irreverent show that the Fanatic Philadelphia fans enjoy.”

wjox logoMore Legal Tussles Between Cumulus and Cox Media in Birmingham.  Sports talk outlets WJOX and WZNN in Birmingham are at it again it court, this time over programmer Ryan Haney’s move from WJOX to WZNN.  At issue is the non-compete clause in Haney’s contract.  The Birmingham News reports that Citadelwznn logo (Cumulus) is arguing Haney is in breach of his contract with the company by leaving to work for direct competitor WZNN “ESPN 97.3 The Zone.”  Further, Citadel wants a temporary restraining order against Haney to prevent him from working while the case works its way through the system.  Citadel also wants the court proceedings blacked out to the media because in arguing its case it will have to disclose confidential and proprietary business information.  A judge is set to hear arguments this morning (2/5).  Haney’s non-compete was for the period of one year after exiting WJOX which he did in early January.  Haney had been with WJOX since 2004.

weismanstevenYour Radio Station is Vulnerable to Identity Theft.  We all are aware of the dangers of identity theft and many of us do our best to protect ourselves individually from the dire consequences of having our identities stolen.  But what about your radio station?  Does it even know that there is a problem?  Recently we have learned that both The New York Times and the Washington Post had their computers breached by Chinese hackers and this was not the first time.  The hacking into The New York Times and the Washington Post do not appear to be financially motivated, but that is of little solace.  Why would an identity thief hack into the computers of your radio station rather than attack the computers of big corporations such as Bank of America?  Well, the answer is that they are attacking the computers of the big corporations, but they also are looking toward the computers of small corporations as the low hanging fruit of computer hacking.  Radio stations make enticing targets.  Hacking into the computers of radio stations and other small corporations that may not be in the Fortune 500 not only can provide information that can be stolen to access your radio station’s bank accounts, but it can also provide personal information about employees (some of whom are famous and even controversial), such as Social Security numbers as well as billing and payment information about your advertisers and other companies with which you do business that can be used to make all of these people and entities victims of identity theft.  This is happening to small businesses every day.  One of the reasons that it is happening is that not enough businesses, small and large, but particularly small, are doing enough to safeguard the security of the data in their computers. According to TALKERS legal editor Steve Weisman the problem is not as bad as you think.  It is far worse.  Read his important article addressing the problem and offering solutions here.

eisensonalan

Programming Pro Alan Eisenson Joins Media Management Group as EVP of Business Development.  Talk radio programmer Alan Eisenson most recently was in charge of programming Clear Channel’s Northern California news/talk stations: heritage KFBK-AM/FM and KSTE, Sacramento as well as KKSF and KNEW, San Francisco.  Now he joins New York-based Media Management Group as executive vice president of business development.  The firm states, “In his new capacity Eisenson will enable MMG to expand its range of services, including performance and tactical support, and maximizing client audience growth across all media and technology platforms.”  MMG president and CEO Jeff Schwartz states, “I have known Alan for over 12 years, since he was program director at WEVD here in NYC.  He is one of the most talented programmers and talent managers in the business and will enable us to offer additional value to our current and prospective clients.”

muellerchrisCBS Radio’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh “Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan” Promotes Two.  Late night sports talk host Chris Mueller is upped to the afternoon drive slot as part of the program hosted by Joe Starkey and Josh Miller weekdays from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Mueller is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad.  He has been with “The Fan” since its February 2010 debut.  About Chris Mueller, program director Ryan Maguire says, “In Chris, we feel we have a dynamic personality who really had great chemistry with Joe Starkey and Josh Miller.  That speaks volumes because we had some very talented candidates that we were looking at for this position.  He earned this, and we’re excited at what lies ahead.”  Moving into the late night slot is weekender Colin Dunlap, who was most recently hosting the 8:00 am to 11:00 am weekend program.  Dunlap is a former Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sports writer.  In addition to his on-air duties at “Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan,” Dunlap will also serve as the featured sports columnist for 937thefan.com.

cookehollandHow to Pump Up Your Weekend “How-To” Show – Part 2.  Talk radio consultant Holland Cooke says, “Few marketing opportunities can generate more new business than local ‘how-to’ weekend talk radio…if you use it properly.”  In this follow-up to yesterday’s piece, Cooke offers four basic tips to maximizing the productivity and quality of these shows:  1) Stay relentlessly on topic; 2) Keep your information in layman’s language; 3) Don’t say “goodbye” at the end of the show; 4) Listen to the show yourself, after some time has gone by so you hear it more objectively.  Read Holland Cooke’s suggestions for producing quality weekend “how-to” programs here.

hillaustinAustin Hill and Brian Wiley Join KINF-AM/FM, Boise.  Impact Radio Group news/talk KINF-AM/FM, Boise brings talk pro Austin Hill aboard for the morning drive program beginning Monday, February 11.  Also being added to the program schedule is Brian Wiley who will bring his “Money Show with Brian Wiley” to the station for the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot.  Both Hill and Wiley previously worked at Peak Broadcasting’s crosstown KIDO.  Austin Hill’s weekend syndicated show “Austin Hill’s Big World of Small Business” airs on Saturdays on KINF.

Obama Gun Legislation Tour, Obama Cabinet Nominees, Super Bowl XLVII, Immigration Reform, and Death of Ed Koch Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/4).  President Obama’s tour of the country to promote his gun legislation; cabinet nominations for President Obama’s second term; the aftermath of Super Bowl XLVII; the debate over immigration reform legislation; and the death of former NYC Mayor Ed Koch were among the top news/talk stories discussed on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

| January 22, 2013

hayesdrewProgrammer Drew Hayes Moves to KABC, Los Angeles.  News/talk programming pro Drew Hayes is leaving his OM position at Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM, Chicago to take up the PD reins at the company’s KABC, Los Angeles.  That station has been without a PD since Jack Silver exited last summer to program the NBC Sports Radio/Dial Global sports talk initiative.  The WLS-AM programming duties will be assumed by PD Tracy Slutzkin who served as APD under Hayes before being promoted to program director.  It’s been a tumultuous four months for WLS-AM with longtime morning duo Don Wade and Roma being forced to leave their position due to Don Wade’s health and the sudden death of midday talk host Jake Hartford last week.  WLS vice president and market manager Donna Baker says, “Drew has led WLS through some unique challenges and his leadership is respected and appreciated.  We wish him and his family the very best in LA.  I’m confident Tracy will continue to lead WLS forward to great success.”  About his latest move to the West Coast Hayes says, “It’s a thrill to return to LA and I am appreciative of the support and confidence Cumulus has shown in me.  I am looking forward to helping re-energize one of the greatest sets of call letters in the most exciting city.”  Hayes previously programmed KABC in the late 1990s when the station was owned by ABC/Disney.

hillmikeSuper Bowl Media Week Begins Next Monday.  It’s the most wonderful time of the year for many sports talk radio people who get to leave their studio confines behind and re-locate to a (usually) warm location to take part in the media buildup surrounding the Super Bowl.  Beginning Monday, ESPN reports that, in addition to their slate of live broadcasts from New Orleans, Mike Hill of the Hill & Schlereth program will serve as a special behind-the-scenes reporter filing stories online.  ESPN states, “Adding to ESPN Radio’s already comprehensive coverage will be the deployment of Mike Hill, co-host of the nightly Hill & Schlereth, as a behind-the-scenes reporter for ESPNRadio.com.  He will provide clandestine chronicles of ESPN Radio-related activities in New Orleans, providing a perspective unique to ESPN Radio.com’s previous Super Bowl coverage.”

odonnelldanDan O’Donnell Jumps to WISN, Milwaukee.  News anchor and talk show host Dan O’Donnell moves from Journal Broadcast Group’s WTMJ, Milwaukee to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s crosstown news/talk WISN where he’ll take on news anchoring duties as well as do fill-in work for the station’s talk hosts, provide commentary and take charge of the station’s “Common Sense Central” online initiative.  In a statement, O’Donnell says, “This is an incredible opportunity, but it is at least somewhat bittersweet because of the amazing people I’ve had a chance to meet and work with over my many years at Newsradio 620 WTMJ.  I’ve made friendships there that I consider lifelong and will always love and cherish every minute I spent at my first broadcast home.  Yet I am looking forward with all of my heart to beginning this exciting new chapter in my professional life and hope that you will join me on what I hope will be one heck of an adventure.”

imusdon“Imus on Broadway” Charity Fundraiser Scheduled for February 11.  The 3rd Annual “Imus on Broadway” event is taking place on February 11 at the Hard Rock Café in Times Square.  For the event, New York Post theater columnist Michael Riedel will emcee the promotion and join 77WABC-based Don Imus for a “best of Broadway” review featuring performances by the cast of some of the biggest shows on Broadway including: “Patsy Cline,” “Chicago,” “Hands on a Hard Body,” “Mamma Mia,” “Mystery of Edwin Drood,” “Nice Work if You Can Get It,” “Once,” “Rock of Ages,” and “Wicked.”  All ticket sales for the event benefit the Imus Ranch for Kids with Cancer.

crnlogoCRN Digital Talk Radio Celebrates 30th Anniversary.  The Sunland, California-based CRN Digital Talk Radio is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and is marking the occasion with special on-air programming, its all-new online magazine and by hosting the “1st annual Food and Wine Awards.”  Founder and CEO Michael Horn began CRN (Cable Radio Network) in 1983 with a little seed money and lots of enthusiasm.  It all began when Horn saw a trade publication article about how Los Angeles rock station KMET-FM was garnering a 7-share in thehornmike Phoenix market.  It turned out that the station was sending its audio into a dedicated channel with cable providers in that market.  He says, “I thought that it was a great idea to try to bring radio to television and give cable subscribers the variety and cutting edge programming that only radio can offer.”  Soon, Horn’s fledgling service was serving a number of Los Angeles-area cable companies who saw the value of radio programming on their cable lineup.  Today, CRN is available on scores of cable and telecommunications providers as well as radio stations across the country, offering more than100 shows along with a stellar roster of top syndicated programs hosted by radio veterans such as Barry Farber, Dennis Prager, Fred Dryer, Robert Conrad, Mancow and Doug Stephan, among others.  Horn states, “As part of our anniversary, we’re launching ‘CRN Digital Mag,’ our new online magazine aimed at listeners who want to know more about their favorite shows and personalities.”  Capping the year-long celebration will be the “CRN Food and Wine Awards,” scheduled for the fall which will honor the Los Angeles area’s top eateries as well as the California’s great wineries and winemakers.

santosgilThe End of an Era for New England Patriots Fans.  The longtime voice of New England Patriots football radio broadcasts is retiring.  Gil Santos called his last game on Sunday as the Pats lost to the Baltimore Ravens.  Based out of CBS Radio’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub,” Santos spent 36 years calling 744 games for the club – a record he shares with former Philadelphia Eagles play-by-play voice Merrill Reese.  Santos signed off Sunday’s broadcast by telling listeners, “Thank you very much for allowing me to be the voice of the Patriots for 36 wonderful years.  I enjoyed every minute of it.  I hope the next guy enjoys it as much as I did, and realizes it’s a privilege, not a job.  This is Gil Santos, thanking you all for 36 wonderful years.”  Santos’ longtime partner – former Patriot Gino Cappelletti – retired as the color analyst prior to this season.

watkinsjimAffiliate Relations Pro Jim Watkins Joins Sun Broadcasting Group.  Jim Watkins had been with Talk Radio Network for 13 years, most recently as director of affiliate relations and executive producer.  Now he becomes part of the Boca Raton, Florida-based Sun Broadcasting Group as vice president of programming.  Sun EVP Steve Gallagher says of Watkins, “Jim is a class act and brings an impressive background to Sun.  We are confident our advertisers, content providers and radio affiliates will profit from his vision, creativity and expertise.  Jim has a keen sense of what great product sounds like and we’re excited to have him at Sun.”

comptonlawnshotBest Seat in the (White) House.  ABC News Radio White House Correspondent Ann Compton is pictured here reporting from her unique vantage point of a plot of grass on the White House lawn as she covers yesterday’s Inauguration Day Parade.  Thanks to digital technology and the work of amazing companies such as Comrex Corporation that have developed reliable remote broadcasting equipment, Compton is able to deliver high-quality reports from the field and allow her radio reports to be up-to-the-minute.

Filling In.  Sitting in for Compass Media Networks’ talk show host Todd Schnitt on his nationally syndicated show on Wednesday is KFAQ, Tulsa morning drive host Pat Campbell.

kmjlogoCool Job Opportunity.  KMJ-AM/FM in Fresno has an immediate opening for the position of Director of Agri-Broadcasting.  If you are experienced in gathering, writing, and reporting local news and agri-business news, are knowledgeable about the multitude of farm products and issues in the Central Valley of California, have a sense of curiosity, urgency, and know today’s broadcast environment, this could be your new home for a long time.  Send your resume and mp3 sample of your work to skip.essick@peakbroadcasting.com.  Peak Broadcasting is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

knx logoKNX, Los Angeles Picks Up Six Golden Mike Honors.  At the 63rd Annual Golden Mike awards dinner held in Universal City over the weekend, CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles was honored with six Golden Mike Awards.  The awards are presented by the Radio & Television News Association of Southern California annually for excellence in radio, TV and internet broadcast journalism excellence.  KNX took home honors for: Best News Broadcast Over 15 Minutes; Best Spot News Reporting; Best Hard News Series Reporting; Best Feature News; Best Traffic Report; and Best Business and Consumer Reporting.

fergusonkrokBlue Ribbon Winners.  WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas talk show hosts Ben Ferguson (left) and evening talk host Chris Krok (right) display the blue ribbons they won for coming in first place in the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo’s annual Celebrity Goat Milking Contest this past weekend.  In order to claim the bragging rights, Ferguson and Krok had to beat the staffers NBC 5, the Star-Telegram newspaper and other radio stations from the Metroplex.

Inauguration Day, Debt Ceiling/Deficit Deduction Debate, North African Terror Threats, and Prince Harry Taliban Slaying Comments Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/21).  The Inauguration Day festivities and speeches; the debate over reducing the nation’s deficit and dealing with the debt ceiling; terror threats from North Africa; and Prince Harry’s comments to the press about killing Taliban in Afghanistan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, December 21, 2012

| December 21, 2012

wor710WOR, New York Eliminates Air Staff as Clear Channel Takes Over.  Yesterday, WOR, New York began making changes to its staffing – both on-air and off – in preparation for Clear Channel Media and brownejoyEntertainment’s takeover of the station a couple of months after the $30 million purchase of the venerable New York City signal.  Buckley Broadcasting CEO Joe Bilotta announced that CC’s acquisition of the station patersondavidhas officially closed and he thanked the station’s employees for their service.  The air staff we know are out include Dr. Joy Browne, PM drive host and former New York Governor David Paterson, and the news staff.  Syndicated programs that have been dropped immediately include: Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher, Talk Radio Network’s Jerry Doyle and Cumulus Media NetworksMike Huckabee.  Those local talent still with the station as of today (12/21) include morning host John Gambling and midday host Joan Hamburg.  Nationally syndicated Dave Ramsey is also still listed on the station’s program schedule.  Off the air, WOR Radio Network director of affiliate relations Willis Damalt has been let go.  Governor Paterson appeared on the Curtis Sliwa morning program on Salem Communications‘ crosstown WNYM “970 The Answer” to talk about the changes. Hear his discussion with Sliwa by clicking below.

For users on a mobile device, click here.

kalz logoClear Channel Officially Announces New Fresno Talk Combo; Jay Bohannon Named PD.  That Clear Channel was going to flip an FM music outlet in the Fresno market to talk is not news; Peak Broadcasting received notice Premiere Networks was exercising its out-clause on such shows as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity earlier in the fall, so the clues were not hard to follow.  Now, the company bohannonjayannounces hot AC KALZ, Fowler “Alice 96.7” and sports talk KRZR, Visalia will become “Power Talk 96.7 FM/1400 AM” on January 1.  The program schedule includes Limbaugh, Hannity, Glenn Beck, “America Now” with Andy Dean, and “Coast to Coast AM” with George Noory, plus local host Bill Manders from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm and Talk Radio Network’s Jerry Doyle.  The company also welcomes back program director Jay Bohannon who previously programmed its WPGB, Pittsburgh.  Company regional programming manager Tony Banks says, “We have assembled top-notch talent behind the mic and behind-the-scenes with program director Jay Bohannon, who is one of the premiere news/talk programmers in the country.  He has a proven track record of winning in every market he has led.”

wnox logoJournal Broadcast Group Adds News/Talk WNOX, Knoxville to Its Cluster.  Milwaukee-based Journal Broadcast Group buys news/talk WNOX, Knoxville from Oak Ridge FM, Inc. for an undisclosed amount, adding the outlet to its three-station cluster there.  Prior to Citadel Broadcasting’s filing for bankruptcy protection in December of 2009, it operated WNOX under an LMA from Oak Ridge.  In 2010, Citadel gave up operation of the station and Oak Ridge resumed control.  No word on if or when Journal will take over under an LMA.  The sale must go through the usual FCC approval process.

mccullough truth netDoing Good for Christmas.  XtreMedia CEO Kevin McCullough (r) sits in Truth Broadcasting Corporation’s the Truth Network studios in Winston-Salem, North Carolina with an unidentified host as he broadcasts across the Truth Network to affiliate stations working to reach the Do Good Christmas goal of supporting 800 orphans for the next year.  TALKERS has written previously about McCullough’s Do Good charity developed to raise funds to assist orphans across the globe.  On Thursday, McCullough spent some 18 hours on the radio, across numerous formats, working to attain the goal.  He appeared on the “Truth Network” along with News/Talk AM 980 “The Eagle” and “The Light” Black Gospel Music Network to attempt to feed 800 Orphans for the entirety of 2013.  He says, “They had me hoppin’ formats and stations for what seemed like every fifteen minutes.  But it was worth it to know that 800 children in Africa and Central America in particular are going to be fed this Christmas and all through next year until Christmas 2013 because of the efforts.”  McCullough hosts his own daily radio talk show, a weekend program with actor Stephen Baldwin called “Baldwin/McCullough LIVE.”  His company also produces the Dani Johnson radio show as well as the national television syndication for “Hannah Help Me” hosted by Hannah Keeley.

patrickmattHoliday Fill-In Work for Matt Patrick.  Talk host Matt Patrick – AM drive on KTRH, Houston and PM drive on KPRC, Houston – will fill in for Bill Cunningham on his Premiere Networks nationally syndicated Sunday evening show on Sunday, December 30.

FSNmohrpetrosmoneyFox Sports Radio’s Petros & Money Take Over ‘NFL on Fox’ Studios.  The nationally syndicated, Los Angeles-based Petros & Money show – hosted by Petros Papadakis and Matt “Money” Smith – broadcast a special program before a live, studio audience of contest winners on the set of television’s “NFL on Fox” program.  Pictured here are Smith (l) and Papadakis (r) welcoming new Fox Sports Radio host Jay Mohr (c) to the network.  Joining Petros & Money on this show were special guests Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long, Jay Glazer, “UFC Tonight” star Leeann Tweeden and the first-ever female UFC fighter Ronda Rousey.

 

Gun Law Changes Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of December 17-21.  The national debate over making changes to the gun laws in the U.S. was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, pushing the “fiscal cliff” issue off the top where it’s been for the past four weeks.  Coming in at #2 were the mental health care system tied with the aftermath of the Newtown massacre.  At #3 was the “fiscal cliff” negotiations and following at #4 was the Benghazi-State Department report.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week.  It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

| December 20, 2012

obamabarackPresidential Election Tops List of Most-Discussed Stories on News/Talk Radio in 2012.  Obama is Most Talked-About Person.  According to TALKERS magazine’s tabulations, the Presidential Election ranks as the most-talked-about story of 2012 on the nation’s news/talk radio stations and programs.  According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “It isn’t even close.  The election stood out far and away as a topic in its own right, as well as a catalyst for so many of the other subjects that comprise the meat and potatoes of news/talk conversation ranging from economics to foreign policy to personality gossip.  It is difficult to track and calculate a list of this nature because stories and subjects overlap and play into and off of each other.  The presidential race is both an ongoing process and then a climactic event that brings so many different issues into play; it permeates the very fiber of what this format is all about.”   Casey adds, “Interestingly, there is so much overlap and interplay between stories that even with the effort to sort them out individually certain stories are so connected that we list them as ties in the Top 10 – such as the connection between the so called Fiscal Cliff and Euro Zone Troubles, or the Benghazi Attack and the Petraeus-Broadwell Scandal.”

The following are the 10 most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio in 2012:

1)      2012 Presidential Election

2)      ‘Fiscal Cliff’/Euro Zone Troubles

3)      SCOTUS ObamaCare Decision

4)      Benghazi Attack/Petraeus-Broadwell Scandal

5)      Newtown Massacre/Aurora Theater Slayings

6)      Syria Revolt/Egypt Instability

7)      Rush Limbaugh “Slut” Controversy

8)      Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Ambitions

9)      Trayvon Martin Case

10)    Hurricane Sandy

Other major news/talk radio topics worthy of mention include the Wisconsin Recall Election, the “Fast and Furious” Investigation, the Sandusky Trial and the Facebook IPO.

President Barack Obama tops the TALKERS list of the most-talked-about people on news/talk radio in 2012 which according to limbaughrushKevin Casey is no surprise: “The President of the United States has topped this survey in all of the 22 years that TALKERS magazine has been conducting it – election year or not.  This includes George Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.”  It is interesting to note that Rush Limbaugh is on this year’s list – not the first time it has happened – indicating what a huge newsmaker the format’s most-listened-to-player is in addition to being someone who talks about key figures.  According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “The colorful people who perform on this great stage love to talk about the medium itself.  Limbaugh, of course, is constantly in the news and has long been an ongoing topic as well as talker.  Others who fit this bill over many years include Howard Stern, Michael Savage, Don Imus and Dr. Laura Schlessinger to name the standouts. They sure do bring a lot to the table.”

The following are the 10 most-talked-about people on news/talk radio in 2012.  Note, in cases in which two people are intrinsically connected in terms of the story in which they were co-players, they are listed as tied for their position:

1)      Barack Obama

2)      Mitt Romney

3)      John Boehner

4)      Hillary Clinton

5)      John Roberts

6)      David Petraeus/Paula Broadwell

7)      Christopher Stevens/Susan Rice

8)      Adam Lanza/James Holmes

9)      Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman

10)    Rush Limbaugh/Sandra Fluke

tantarosandreaTRN Entertainment Debuts the Andrea Tantaros Show in January.  National talk programming syndicator Talk Radio Network Entertainment announces it is bringing political commentator, syndicated columnist and Fox News Channel personality Andrea Tantaros to the radio for a three-hour program to air live in the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET slot formerly held by Laura Ingraham.  Tantaros is a co-host of the popular FNC program, “The Five.”  TRNE describes the program saying it “will engage listeners who want to be informed and entertained with smart, edgy, and funny but matterajasonresponsible commentary on politics, pop culture, Wall Street and entertainment.  The show is designed to attract the broadcast spectrum of listeners profitably for its station affiliates.”  Tantaros will be joined by Jason Mattera, a two-time New York Times best-selling author, the youngest editor of a national periodical, Human Events, and the host of “The Jason Mattera Show” on weekends at WABC in New York.  TRNE CEO Mark Masters says, “In a post 2008–2009 economy, we have been seeking shows that are highly entertaining, yet responsible and profitable for our station affiliates and advertisers.  Andrea has the ability to do both.  She’s a fresh voice who will inject new energy to the airwaves.”  Tantaros says she’s delighted to partner with TRN on this project.  “They’re the best in the business at making sure affiliates and audiences get hard-hitting and informative commentary that keeps them coming back for more.  I promise you this: it’s going to be fun.”

DG-logoHorizontalLaunchpad Digital Media and Dial Global Partner for Podcast Programming.  This deal gives Dial Global an avenue for podcasting from its talent pool — Dennis Miller, “Loveline,” Billy BushCharles Osgood, country programming, DG Sports and NBC Sports Radio – via the Courtside Entertainment digital division Launchpad Digital Media.  Dial Global co-CEO Spencer Brown states, “Defining great media means delivering the highest quality content to the largest launchpad logobrownspenceraudience.  This new partnership with Launchpad Digital Media significantly augments Dial Global’s capability to do both by opening new creative avenues for top talent and new doors for advertisers to access the widening on-demand podcast audience.”  Courtside Entertainment founder and Launchpad chairman Norm Pattiz says, “Since we announced our move into podcasting the response has been off the charts.  The partnership between Kit Gray and Courtside establishes Launchpad with a proven track record of revenue generating success.  We have now added new programming which is currently delivering over 90 million downloads per month, including our deal with Dial Global.  We are excited to partner with Dial Global to bring some of the most well-known and trusted brands in sports, news and entertainment to the growing roster of Launchpad podcast offerings.”

kinosianmikeNovember Was Very Good to All-News Radio.  Arbitron’s November PPM data was, in general, very good to the nation’s all-news outlets.  Recently, TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian detailed his analysis of news/talk’s November PPM data, concluding it was generally a very good month for that format.  Here, Kinosian runs the numbers for major all-news outlets and gives four-month trends for those stations.  See his analysis of the nation’s all-news stations here.

kmjlogoKMJ-AM/FM, Fresno Names John Broeske and Jennifer Lipp Midday Partners.  Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno announces a new local talk program that will air from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm on both KMJ-AM and KMJ-FM, beginning January 2.  The John and Jen show will feature current KMJ-FM morning drive host Jennifer Lipp (who will continue to host the 6:00 am to 8:00 am program) and longtime Fresno market radio lippjenpro John Broeske.  A release from KMJ says Broeske has been a talk host, programmer, manager and consultant.  He led the station from 1987 to 2007, “directing it to the leadership position that continues to this day.”  KMJ and Peak Broadcasting SVP Patty Hixson says, “There is simply no better choice for this important time slot than the merger of two of the biggest names in Central California radio…they will bring their extensive experience and name recognition to a broad-based, advertiser-friendly show that will be a big success on KMJ for years to come.”  Operations manager Skip Essick adds, “The John and Jen show will be a fast-paced, topical, entertaining view of life in Central California as lived by two people who know the area very well.  From politics to pop culture, local or national, if it matters to the Central Valley, it will be covered by John and Jen on KMJ every day.”

pinkusgeoffWCKG, Chicago Adds Geoff Pinkus for Middays.  Suburban talk outlet WCKG, Elmhurst, Illinois announces local personality Geoff Pinkus will host the midday show on “The Voice of DuPage County” beginning January 7.  In a press release, Pinkus states, “For years I was told I’d get a daily show ‘when hell freezes over!’  The Twinkie is gone.  The Mayan calendar is ending…and now WCKG finally decides to hire me?  Coincidence?  Maybe.  All I know is I’ve got some storable food, water stockpiles, good cigars, and a microphone ready.  Starting January 7, 11:00 am, we’re rockin’ the suburbs.  We’re going to have fun on the radio again with real people.”  WCKG airs “Mancow in the Morning,” and Dan Patrick among other syndicated programs.

jonesadamCBS Radio’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” Tabs Adam Jones for Evening Show.  With the departure of Damon Amendolara to CBS Radio Sports Network to host his “D.A. Show” in the overnight slot on the network, CBS Boston woos Adam Jones away from ESPN to take over the 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm program on “98.5 The Sports Hub.”  Jones had been working for ESPN Radio handling a fill-in role and hosting the online Adam Jones show.  Before that he had been working with WBZ-FM as a fill-in host and co-hosting a weekend show with Boston sports writer Dan Shaughnessy.  CBS Radio Boston vice president of programming Mike Thomas says, “It’ll be great to have Adam back at ‘The Sports Hub.’  We had a lot of very good candidates apply for this job, but with his previous work here and the experience he gained after leaving ‘The Sports Hub,’ Adam was the clear choice.  Damon did a fantastic job coming into this market and hosting the evening show.  I’m confident Adam can pick up where D.A. left off and continue to grow the audience.”

nielsen logoNon-Subscriber Station Exec Speaks His Mind on Arbitron/Nielsen Merger.  Fred Lundgren, CEO of talker KCAA, Yoma Linda, California, hopes that Nielsen will change what he describes as thearbitron “exclusionary methodology” of Arbitron.  In an opinion piece posted today (12/20) in TALKERS, Lundgren writes, “Moreover, let’s hope Nielsen’s acquisition will lead to comprehensive listener surveys across all platforms, which will add value to our industry, rather than further draining resources from traditional media already stagnated by the economy and over-consolidation.”  In a biting commentary, Lundgren asks, “According to Arbitron, nobody listens to KCAA.  Are we to believe that KCAA has no listeners to any of 50-plus locally produced, weekly programs on subjects ranging from a vegan lifestyle to marijuana legalization?  According to Arbitron, no one listens to any broadcaster on KCAA, not even Roseanne Barr, Joyce Riley, Don Imus, Dave Ramsey, Alex Jones or Ed Schultz.   Read Fred Lundgren’s article here.

noorygeorgePremiere Networks’ George Noory Hosts “End of the World” Show Friday.  With the ancient Mayan calendar possibly predicting the end of the world on Friday the 21st, “Coast to Coast AM” personality George Noory is hosting a special “End of the World” edition of his program.  The show will feature a number of special guests and experts, including author/prophecy expert John Hogue and author/lecturer/aerospace engineer Mike Bara, who will share their predictions, in addition to conversations with listeners.  Noory shared his own doomsday prediction in a December 19 Huffington Post story in which he states, “Any calamity that might occur doesn’t affect one, it affects all of us, and we’ll get through it together as a team, one way or another.”

hayworthjdTalk Host J.D. Hayworth Keeps Busy This Holiday Season.  Former Arizona Congressman and talk radio pro J.D. Hayworth is all over the radio this holiday season on a series of fill-in gigs.  Hayworth tells TALKERS magazine he’s sitting in on the morning show at Clear Channel’s “Rush Radio” in North Carolina – WPTI, Greensboro and WRDU, Raleigh – December 26 – 31.  He’ll be in afternoon drive on Cumulus’ KABC, Los Angeles December 24 – 28 (with a break on Christmas Day).  Plus, he’ll sit in for Mike Huckabee on his national program December 26 – 28 and January 2 – 4.  Additional appearances include guest stints at KSFO, San Francisco; WLS, Chicago; and WMAL, Washington…as well as continuing fill-in work in Philly on WPHT.

tuneinlogoTuneIn Adds 18 Broadcasters to the Service.  Digital content aggregator TuneIn announces it has signed deals with 18 more broadcasters to distribute their programming via TuneIn’s global digital application.  New broadcasters include Doug Stephan’s “Good Day” program, Motley Fool Radio, Progressive Voices and others.  The company states, “This news comes at a period of continued growth and momentum for TuneIn, which has 40 million monthly active listeners, 70,000 AM, FM, HD and Internet radio stations and more than two million on-demand programs streaming from every continent.  As part of these alliances, TuneIn will provide each broadcaster with access to free, industry-leading tools, such as analytics through TuneIn Amplifier, and access to the audio service’s ad platform.”

Gun Law Changes, Mental Health Care System, ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Debate, Benghazi-State Department Report, and Mayan ‘Doomsday’ Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/19).  The debate over changes to America’s gun laws; discussion about mental health care and screenings in the U.S.; the debate in Washington over avoiding the “fiscal cliff”; the report on the State Department’s handling of the Libya situation; and the Mayan calendar’s “end of the world” prediction were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

| December 4, 2012

Howard Stern Returns for Another Season on “America’s Got Talent.”  The rest of the judges panel is not set but SiriusXM superstar talk host Howard Stern announced to his listeners on Monday that he’s back for another season of “America’s Got Talent.”  Access Hollywood reports Stern said, “I really feel my work is unfinished there.  I really do think I can find a superstar act.  I really just feel like I can do something great.”  Stern says he’ll miss Sharon Osbourne, who has elected not to return to the program this season.  But in true Howard Stern fashion, he mentioned he’s concerned about who the other judges will be, saying if they’re not good, it makes the job a drag.  “That’s gonna make the job tedious, and boring and aggravating.”

KIRO-FM, Seattle Promotes Andrew Walsh to Evening Host.  Producer and radio personality Andrew Walsh is named the host of the evening program on Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle, filling the slot left open when John Curley was promoted to anchor of the station’s morning drive show.  Walsh has been a fill-in host at the station in addition to his work as producer of the “Ross and Burbank Show” and co-host of the “Too Beautiful to Live” podcast with Luke Burbank.  Program director Larry Gifford states, “Andrew continues to impress me with his news sense, story-telling ability, self-effacing humor and unique point of view.  Andrew will be a terrific addition to our daily KIRO Radio programming lineup.”  Walsh started his radio career in New Hampshire where he served as a public radio producer for eight years.  He spent one year at KUOW Public Radio in Seattle as producer.  About his new position, Walsh says, “I’m going to use this show to try to pull listeners a little closer to their radios, and sometimes pull them right into the radio with us.  I see this as a chance to develop a new type of relationship with the KIRO audience — and not the unhealthy kind that my therapist keeps warning me about.”

Sabo Media Launches Internet Radio Initiatives; Enters into Relationship with Party 934.  Media consultant Walter Sabo announces his company, Sabo Media, through its Internet Radio Initiatives, is identifying “several online entertainment companies that are at the cutting edge of presenting fresh, new shows.”  One of the products of that is his new relationship with The Freeform Radio Initiative’s PARTY 934.  Sabo states, “PARTY 934 curates its programs in a stunning, easy-to-use manner.  The shows are passionate, fun and involve the community.  It is in the best spirit of progressive rock, free-form radio and compelling talk radio.  In working with PARTY 934 we will help the organization achieve its goals in content creation while preserving the spirit of citizen broadcasters…For a decade we have advised media clients to deliver on the promise of the first name of the internet: World Wide.  PARTY 934 brings that promise to life, giving listeners a fresh, global radio experience.”  Party 934 is an official project of The Freeform Radio Initiative, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.  It is the mission of The Freeform Radio Initiative and Party 934 to provide diverse and innovative online broadcasting that reflects the interests and concerns of the community, thus, creating broad cultural and educational experiences for communities impacted negatively by the lack of digital and technological advancement in innovative new media.  Freeform Radio Initiative founder Scott McWilliams says, “Walter is helping to make our on-air personalities more professional.  As a station that encourages ‘regular people’ to do radio shows, people like Walter mentor and guide our personalities to be the best they can be.  Walter is a great addition to our team because of his extensive background and attention to detail.  We are glad to have him on board.”

Dave Ramsey to Be Inducted into NAB Hall of Fame.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Dave Ramsey will be inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters’ Broadcasting Hall of Fame at the NAB Show in April.  The NAB’s executive vice president of radio John David says in announcing the honor, “Dave Ramsey has influenced countless Americans through his sound financial advice and inspirational messages.  We are pleased to induct him into NAB’s Broadcasting Hall of Fame.”  The induction will take place during the NAB Show Radio Luncheon, on Tuesday, April 9 in Las Vegas and sponsored by ASCAP.  Ramsey will join such radio greats as Bob Uecker, Gerry House, Ron Chapman, Vin Scully, Jack Buck, Harry Carey, Larry Lujack, Rick Dees, Dick Purtan and Dick Orkin in the Broadcasting Hall of Fame.

KIDO, Boise and Host Kevin Miller Help Score Cash for Local Animal Shelter.  Peak Broadcasting’s KIDO, Boise and morning drive talk host Kevin Miller (pictured here as you-know-who at a recent fundraiser) worked to help the local Canyon County Animal Shelter take second place in the national ASPCA/Rachael Ray $100,000 Adoption Challenge.  The Canyon County Animal Shelter, with the help of Peak Broadcasting donating PSA time to the cause and Kevin Miller’s PR stunt of living in a cage for a week, won the second-place prize of $50,000.  The shelter was able to get 2,082 animals adopted coming in second only to San Antonio, which won the first-place prize.

Talk Pro Jeff Katz Heard in Miami This Week.  Talk radio personality Jeff Katz, most recently working for Clear Channel at its former news/talk outlet WXKS-AM, Boston, is heard this week in Miami as he fills in on Clear Channel’s news/talk WIOD in the afternoon drive slot today, Thursday and Friday.

‘Fiscal Cliff’ Status, Syria Chemical Weapons Charge, Jovan Belcher Case, and UN Internet Regulation Plans Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/3).  The ongoing posturing in Washington over the coming “fiscal cliff”; intelligence claims that Syria is preparing chemical weapons to use on rebel fighters; the murder-suicide of NFL player Jovan Belcher and Bob Costas’ anti-gun comment; and the UN-proposed internet regulations were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

| November 28, 2012

“The Answer” Gets Manhattan Street-Level Presence.  Salem Communications’ WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” has Manhattan street-level presence as the PM drive show featuring Curtis Sliwa and Jeffrey Lichtman are now hosting their show from a studio in the department-store type window setting at the historic Hotel Pennsylvania in Midtown Manhattan.  Pictured here are  Sliwa (r) and Lichtman (l) hosting a recent edition of their program.  Salem Communications vice president director of spoken-word format Phil Boyce states, “This not only gives our hosts a bird’s-eye view of Midtown Manhattan, but allows literally thousands of daily passersby to see ‘Curtis & Jeffrey’ and ‘WNYM AM 970 THE ANSWER’ prominently displayed in the heart of our listening area.  This marquee location on 7th Ave and 33rd Street, is located across from the Long Island Railroad, Penn Station, a subway hub, Macy’s and is around the corner from the NJ PATH train.  The value of this degree of exposure and publicity for our station and two of our best known hosts is incalculable.  It’s also across from the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden, which on any given night might host the Knicks, the Rangers or innumerable other sporting and entertainment events.”

Russ Rollins and Dirty Jim Re-Up with WTKS, Orlando; Daniel Dennis Exits.  The Monsters in the Morning program at Clear Channel’s hot talk WTKS, Orlando is one talent fewer after co-host Daniel Dennis declines to sign a new three-year contract with the station.  Program founder and host Russ Rollins, along with co-host Dirty Jim, both signed new three-year deals to continue broadcasting the AM drive program on the station but Dennis tells the Orlando Sentinel he didn’t want the contract but would rather have continued as an at-will employee.  He hosts a weekly internet talk show called, “A Mediocre Time with Tom and Dan” that can be heard at tomanddan.com.

Alan Eisenson Exits Clear Channel Sacramento.  Talk radio programmer Alan Eisenson leaves his position as operations manager for Clear Channel’s Sacramento cluster where he served as operations manager for news/talk KFBK-AM/FM and talk KSTE.  Eisenson was also in charge of programming at CC’s San Francisco talk outlets KKSF and KNEW.

Odds & Sods.  SiriusXM brings iconic film star and polarizing historical figure Jane Fonda to its “Town Hall” series.  The actress will be part of the “SiriusXM Town Hall” on Thursday, December 6 at 10:00 am when she’ll sit down with journalist Perri Peltz and speak about her new yoga DVD and take questions from the audience…..On Thursday, November 29, radio pro Turi Ryder will sit in for John Williams on Tribune’s WGN, Chicago on the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm program…..ABC TV’s “Good Morning America” is preparing to do something it hasn’t done in 17 years: Win the coveted November sweeps.  Broadcasting & Cable reports the show is beating NBC’s “Today” in both total audience and viewers 25-54 as the end of the sweeps approaches.

CNN Has a New Chief: Jeff Zucker.  That’s not official but The New York Times and Deadline.com are reporting that Time Warner has agreed to terms with former NBCUniversal CEO and current executive producer of Katie Couric’s syndicated talk show, Jeff Zucker.  The official announcement is expected to be made very soon.  Zucker would replace Jim Walton at CNN.  Walton announced he would leave the cable news channel at the end of the year.  CNN has been roundly beaten up in the consumer press for its woes in the prime time ratings race but it should be noted that, ratings aside, CNN continues to be a profitable operation for Time Warner.  Still, Zucker’s charge would be to revitalize its prime time ratings that have fallen farther behind Fox News Channel and are regularly challenged by MSNBC.

ESPN Begins Jimmy V Week for Cancer Research; Announces $1 Million Donation to the Cause.  Yesterday began sports entertainment broadcaster ESPN’s Jimmy V Week for Cancer Research and the company announced it is committing $1 million to the fundraising effort for the endowment fund.  ESPN executive chairman George Bodenheimer made the announcement on Tuesday, November 27 and Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg made it public via their radio and TV program that day.  ESPN’s sixth annual Jimmy V Week for Cancer Research – a multiplatform initiative which drives awareness of and donations to The V Foundation for Cancer Research – tipped off yesterday at 7:00 pm ET with a simulcast of former NC State coach Jim Valvano’s 1993 ESPYs speech across ESPN domestic media networks, as well as on the ABC SuperSign in Times Square.  The week will conclude with the Jimmy V Women’s and Men’s Basketball Classics Presented by Corona Extra on Monday, December 3 and Tuesday, December 4.  For more information on Jimmy V Week for Cancer Research, visit ESPN Media Zone.

Broadcasters Foundation of America Launches Holiday Giving Campaign.  The organization that exists solely to assist broadcasters in need is announcing the start-up of its Holiday Giving Campaign.  The Broadcasters Foundation of America – which disbursed more than $675,000 in assistance last year – is urging broadcasters to become members and to spread the word about this campaign.  BFoA chairman Phil Lombardo says, “The Broadcasters Foundation exists solely to provide financial relief to broadcasters in need.  These are individuals who we have worked with over the years, and whose lives have been devastated by unthinkable circumstances.  Aid from the Broadcasters Foundation can be life-saving, in many cases.  I urge every broadcaster to consider making a donation or becoming a member.”  Over the past 60 years, the Broadcasters Foundation has distributed millions of dollars in aid to hundreds of broadcasters who lost their livelihood through a catastrophic event, debilitating disease, or unforeseen family tragedy.  In addition, one-time emergency grants are provided in the aftermath of a devastating circumstance or natural disaster, like the Joplin tornadoes and Hurricane Sandy.  Individual membership is only $150 a year and can make a difference in the life of a colleague who has fallen on desperate times.  To become a member, make a personal donation to the Guardian Fund, or a corporate contribution to the Angel Initiative, please contact the Broadcasters Foundation at 212-373-8250, info@thebfoa.org, or visit the website at www.broadcastersfoundation.org.

‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle, OECD Global Economy Report, Black Friday/Cyber Monday Numbers, Benghazi Attack/Susan Rice-GOP Meeting, and Powerball Jackpot Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/27).  The battle in Washington over tax hikes and entitlement program changes; the OECD global economy report that predicts slow growth over the next two years; initial numbers from holiday season’s two big shopping days; the spat over U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice’s meeting with GOP leaders; and the $500 million Powerball jackpot in Wednesday’s drawing were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, October 8, 2012

| October 8, 2012

Talk Host Michael Smerconish Takes “Angry is Over” Campaign on the Road.  WYD Media nationally syndicated talk show host Michael Smerconish is known for being independent minded and not locked into party ideology.  Smerconish has been making it known via his radio show, TV appearances and newspaper columns that he believes the country is in real trouble due to the intensely divisive political climate both in Washington, DC and in the media.  He writes in part, “Recently, I have been engaged by many corporations, trade associations and academic institutions to address the cause of the polarized climate and how it can be fixed.  I’ve been calling my speech ‘Angry Is Over,’ and in hearing what I have to say, many audiences are surprised (but not doubting) when I cast significant blame on the talk radio and cable television industry.  Well, it’s true.”  Now, Smerconish is taking his “Angry is Over” message on the road with a live appearance in Scranton, Pennsylvania on November 9 at the Scranton Cultural Center in what he terms the first live appearance of the tour.

Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Names Jason Furst PD.  The Charlotte news/talker announces programmer Jason Furst will take over the program director role at WBT-AM/FM on Monday, October 29.  He’ll replace Carl East who exits the station tomorrow.  Furst comes to WBT from Clear Channel’s upstate New York outlets WHAM and WHTK, Rochester and WSYR-AM/FM, Syracuse.  Greater Media Charlotte market manager Rick Feinblatt says, “We are excited to have Jason join the Greater Media Charlotte family.  His experience made him the perfect choice to lead the WBT-AM/FM team.”

Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno to Replace Premiere Shows with Local Talent.  Stating that the “expansion of its local programming will be phased in over the next 90 days,” Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ-AM/FM says it is accelerating its commitment to live and local programming.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment-owned Premiere Networks is not renewing its deal with the stations for Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and other programs.  Peak and KMJ SVP and market manager Patty Hixson states, “We value program exclusivity and have long anticipated the opportunity to control our own programming locally rather than rely on national talk shows available in so many other places that can be taken from us at the whim of their owners.  Adding 105.9 KMJ-FM over three years ago allowed us to expose our local news and talk shows to the largest available radio audience with crystal clear reception.  Building KMJ NOW, our on-line local news platform, as well as KMJ’s Apple-delivered mobile app have given us tremendous reach to every computer and smartphone on the planet.  KMJ’s future lies in its local programming, and we know we have the best people in the business making it right here in Fresno 24/7.”  The move by Premiere Networks not to renew with Peak signals Clear Channel is preparing to flip an FM to news/talk in the near future.  Currently, CC’s lowest-rated FM is country KHGE.  But it also has three FM’s airing rhythmic AC, soft AC and modern AC in the market.

Radio Legend Bob Grant Retires, Then Unretires.  Talk radio legend Bob Grant, currently heard weekly on Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York on Sunday afternoons, teased that yesterday’s broadcast would be his last but changed his mind several hours later.  According to the New York Daily News, the 83-year-old Grant posted a message on his website on Friday stating, “I am not sick, I am just a tired of [being a] life member of the chorus…I will miss you as much as you say you miss me.”  He apparently had a change of heart and later stated that he would broadcast for the foreseeable future.

Bill O’Reilly and Jon Stewart Host “The Rumble 2012.”  “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart and Fox News Channel star (and host of the Courtside Entertainment distributed “Talking Points” feature) Bill O’Reilly squared off in a debate of the issues on Saturday at George Washington University.  The event was broadcast via a web-only $5 pay-per-view.  A testament to the popularity of these two performers came in the form of numerous people being unable to get through to the server to access the live feed.  Dow JonesPeter Kafka, who writes the AllThingsD column, reports that many people had trouble viewing the show but states he was able to watch without much trouble.  At one point Nox Solutions, which hosted the webcast, Tweeted that due to demand, the servers had been overloaded.

Dave Ramsey Packs Long Beach Convention Center.  Nationally syndicated financial talk star Dave Ramsey presented his only Total Money Makeover Live program of the fall season to more than 9,000 fans in the Long Beach Convention Center for affiliate KFWB, Los Angeles.  Station general manager Valerie Blackburn says, “Yet another great Dave Ramsey event for KFWB!  Having such a successful day with over 9,000 people in attendance is a huge win for us.  We continue to value the close relationship we have with Dave and his team.”  Pictured here are (from l-r): Rachel Cruze, speaker; Diane Sutter, trustee for KFWB; Valerie Blackburn, general manager for KFWB; Dave Ramsey; Danielle Mosher, marketing for KFWB; Rosemary Hernandez, general sales manager for KFWB; Jon Acuff, speaker and author; and Andy Ludlum, program director for KFWB.

Don’t Overlook the Unique Value and Power of Email.  Leading broadcasting digital media consultant Chris Miller advises radio programmers and marketers not be so blinded by social media that they “fall out of love” with good old simple email.  He writes in TALKERS today that email is still a powerful tool to communicate with your listeners, especially if you target adults.  He suggests 1) Make your email a thing of value; 2) Give the listeners something to keep; and 3) Write it very simple and concise.  He also points out the inherent ability email has as a vehicle to carry advertising – something far less convenient to pull off on Facebook and Twitter.  To read Chris Miller’s entire article, click here.

Talk Host Debbie Nigro Begins New Venture Today.  Talk radio pro Debbie Nigro launches a new talk initiative today on Cumulus Media’s WFAS, White Plains, New York and online via the WFASam.com website.  Calling it “innovative female-driven but gender-friendly talk radio,” the new program is the brainchild of the woman who brought her “Working Mom on the Go” syndicated talk show to stations across the country during the 1990s.  This new show airs at 1:00 pm ET four days per week on WFAS.

Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce Operating Internet Radio Station.  The Hunterdon Chamber of Commerce in the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania is operating what may be the country’s only chamber of commerce-owned internet radio station.  Radio host Richard Gerstner is the only employee of the station – and a part-time employee at that – but it’s been on the air for a year with the goal of driving new, local business relationships.  The station drew 12,000 unique visitors in its first year and chamber president Chris Phelan believes that means about one in every 10 or 11 county residents tuned in at some point.  According to a story in the Express-Times, the station currently airs only 10 hours of fresh programming each day, including its 8 am to 10 am daily “Good Morning Hunterdon” flagship program and 38 other shows hosted mostly by Hunterdon business owners.  The rest of the airtime is filled by re-runs.  Phelan says the station is helping to achieve the chamber’s main goal with the station: to build a sense of community.

Odds & SodsOpie & Anthony alumnus Rick Delgado begins a regular internet talk show called the “Ugly American Radio Show” via inravio.com.  Delgado most recently was producer and “third mic” for the “Paul and Young Ron Morning Show” at Clear Channel’s WGBB, Miami.  Delgado was executive producer of the Opie & Anthony show at WNEW-FM, New York from 1998 to 2002…..John Andariese retires from his position as the radio voice of New York Knicks basketball.  Andariese has been involved with Knicks basketball since 1972, serving as the play-by-play voice since the 1998-99 season.  A statement from MSG Networks says Andariese is stepping down to spend more time with his family and to focus on his advertising business.   Brendan Brown will take over the Knicks radio broadcasts…..The Houston Chronicle’s David Barron writes that former Houston Astros player and broadcasters Alan Ashby and Larry Dierker are among two of the possible candidates for the Astros radio booth next season.  The team announced Brett Dolan and Dave Raymond would not return next year.  Former MLB pitcher Steve Sparks is also on the list of possible broadcasters for the club…..SiriusXM is bringing actor/director/writer Chazz Palminteri aboard for his own four-week series called “Ask Chazz.”  The acclaimed star of stage and screen will answer questions about show business and will offer advice about the entertainment industry, as well as business, sports, life and anything else on listeners’ minds.

Friday, October 5, 2012

| October 5, 2012

Entercom’s Sports WEEI Splits AM and FM Signals Today.  The AM and FM signals of Entercom’s Boston-based sports talk radio giant WEEI split earlier this morning with the Boston FM signal at 93.7 continuing the local talk with the established lineup of Dennis & Callahan, Mut & Merloni, “The Big Show” with Glenn Ordway and Michael Holley, and “Planet Mikey” with Mike Adams.  The AM signal at 850 is now “ESPN on WEEI” and features the lineup of ESPN Radio sports talk shows beginning with “Mike & Mike in the Morning,” “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” SVP & Russillo, “ESPN Today,” Hill & Schlereth or play-by-play, “SportsCenter Tonight,” and “SportsCenter All Night.”  Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic are broadcasting from Gillette Stadium this morning to celebrate their arrival in the Boston market.  ESPN senior vice president, production business divisions Traug Keller states, “We’re pleased to team with Boston’s preeminent sports radio outlet and one of the nation’s best radio broadcasting companies in Entercom to bring the number one national network into New England.  This move, coupled with the existing presence of ESPNBoston.com, provides Boston’s passionate fans the best of ESPN’s national and local coverage and analysis.”

Cox Media Group to Debut Georgia News Service in January.  The multi-media service will be based out of Cox Media Group’s WSB, Atlanta studio and bring together the assets of WSB, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution and ABC TV affiliate WSB-TV to produce news content.  Scott Smith – market manager for Cox Media in Athens, Georgia – is being charged with heading the operation.  Cox Media Atlanta vice president and general manager Ben Reed says, “The Cox name has long been synonymous with excellent news coverage throughout the state of Georgia.  This gives us the opportunity to bring our experience and assets together in order to provide a high-quality news service to outlets across the state of Georgia.  We believe the Georgia News Service will very quickly become an invaluable audio, visual, and digital resource for news outlets across the state.  We look forward to providing them with the high-caliber news coverage that has become a Cox tradition.”  Clear Channel has been operating the Georgia News Network out of former news/talk WGST’s studios but is closing down the bureau.

ESPN Radio Extends Contract of Ryen Russillo; Changes Name of Afternoon Show to ‘SVP & Russillo.’  Ryen Russillo has been the co-host of the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET Scott Van Pelt show on ESPN Radio since May of 2009.  Now, the sports entertainment giant extends Russillo’s deal and, to give him more visibility, changes the name of the show from “The Scott Van Pelt Show” to “SVP & Russillo.”  He says, “Over the last three years ‘The Scott Van Pelt Show’ has been my number one priority, and I couldn’t be happier that, for the next few years, it will remain my priority.  I believe in the direction of this show and am really looking forward to where we are going.”  In addition to his co-hosting duties with Van Pelt, Russillo also hosts the 12:00 noon to 7:00 pm ET edition of College GameDay during the football season.

Dave Ramsey Goes West.  Nationally syndicated talk radio sensation Dave Ramsey was in Phoenix and Fresno this week for two live events.  First, Ramsey presented his brand new, intimate “Living a Legacy Live Event” in Fresno for the benefit of the audience and affiliate KMJ-FM.  Ramsey discussed how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence.  His daughter, Rachel Cruze, joined Ramsey on stage.  Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ-FM saw the direct benefits of the live event for their audience and their station.  PD Skip Essick says, “Dave Ramsey has an incredible, loyal following, and selling out Saroyan Theater not only speaks to the quality of talent we have in him, but the drawing power of ‘105.9, The FM KMJ.’”  Ramsey hosted his “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” in Phoenix on Wednesday for a packed house at Central Christian Church.  Brett Rogers is the sales manager for affiliate KTAR-FM and he says, “KTAR is proud to be a part of bringing this unique training to Arizona’s business community.  Through this event, we’ve been able to bring some of our best local partners and provide them the opportunity to change their business and also personally meet Dave Ramsey and have a money-can’t-buy experience.  This event has given us the opportunity to engage with our clients in a unique, personal environment.”  Dave Ramsey is pictured here with the sales staff of Bonneville’s KTAR-FM.

Brown Corners Hickenlooper.  That’s KHOW, Denver talk show host (and former Undersecretary of Homeland Security in the Bush Administration) Michael Brown in the center with the microphone trying to get Democratic Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper (left) on the air on KHOW during the live broadcast prior to Wednesday’s presidential debate at the University of Denver.  Brown co-hosts “The Rundown” with author, columnist and talk host David Sirota during PM drive on KHOW and program director Dan Mandis tells TALKERS the duo have had a hard time getting Governor Hickenlooper to appear on their program so Brown took advantage of the governor’s appearance at the event to ask some questions.  However, shortly after this photo was taken the governor had to make other appearances and promised to stop by the KHOW remote broadcast booth later but did not.

WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia’s Angelo Cataldi Donates to Heart Association.  Making good on his pre-season pledge to donate $10 to the American Heart Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania in honor of Richie Ashburn Memorial Homeruns for Hearts for each home run hit by the Phillies this season, WIP morning drive host Angelo Cataldi is pictured here writing the ceremonial check for $1,580 dollars matching the Phillies’ 158 homers.  The Homeruns for Hearts event was designed to give ordinary citizens the chance to live out their major league dreams. It made its debut in 1997, after the sudden passing of Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn, who succumbed to heart disease. In addition, the event also honors longtime Phillies announcer Harry Kalas, who also died of heart disease in 2009.

Stitcher Launches Podcast and On Demand Radio Awards.  The web aggregator Stitcher has announced the launch of the Stitcher Awards, to celebrate the best of on demand radio and podcasts for 2012. Listeners can nominate their favorite shows across 20 different categories – from Best Comedy to Best New Show. Stitcher now has over 10,000 different shows streaming on demand. Nominations will be open until October 19th. Fans can nominate their shows every day for the next two weeks at www.stitcher.com/stitcherawards or on the company’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/stitcherradio.  The finalists will be announced shortly afterwards for each category and the winners will be named live in San Francisco in December.

Rick Kaplan Joins NAB as EVP, Strategic Planning. The National Association of Broadcasters announces that former top FCC staffer Rick Kaplan has been hired as executive vice president, Strategic Planning. In this newly created position that will deal primarily with television, Kaplan will lead NAB’s efforts related to spectrum and innovation policy. His first day is Oct. 22. “We are delighted to announce the hiring of Rick Kaplan, whose credibility and integrity are well-recognized both at the Commission and in telecom circles in Washington,” says NAB president/CEO Gordon Smith. “His expertise on spectrum issues will benefit broadcasters greatly as we work with policymakers to ensure a robust local television business for decades to come.”

Odds & Sods.  Mixed martial arts is a big draw for the young male demo and “UFC on FX” has been good to the Fox-owned cable channel.  Fox Sports Radio Network has been simulcasting “UFC on FX” and continues with tonight’s “UFC on FX: Browne vs. Bigfoot” live from the Target Center in Minneapolis.  After the fights, mixed martial arts expert Larry Pepe hosts a Fox Sports Radio wrap-up show with interviews and call-ins from 7 pm to 10 pm PT…..Talk host Tom Donahue announces he’s ending his daily live internet talk show due to financial considerations but will continue with various multi-media projects including his new YouTube channel, podcasts and blog.  Donahue says he remains available for guest hosting and for guest interviews…..Dave Raymond and Brett Dolan are out as the radio play-by-play announcers for Houston Astros baseball.  The club announces it is beginning the search for their replacements immediately.  Clear Channel’s KTRH, Houston is the club’s flagship station.

NJBA Comments Incorporated into Federal Legislation.  Pro-radio crusader Paul S. Rotella, president/CEO of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association, reports positive progress in his organization’s efforts to influence the interests of the radio industry in government circles. The House of Representatives recently passed the FEMA Reauthorization Act of 2011 (H.R. 2903), which authorizes the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) and makes improvements to the system including language that broadcasters requested in several key areas: 1. The bill creates an IPAWS Advisory Committee to ensure that the various federal agencies that have a part in the governance of the IPAWS are conducting an ongoing dialogue with message disseminators. (Broadcasters will be represented on the IPAWS advisory committee); and 2. The bill establishes a comprehensive and periodic training program to instruct and educate Federal, State, Tribal, and local government officials in the use of the Common Alerting Protocol enabled Emergency Alert System.  Importantly, the bill requires that this training be integrated into the National Incident Management System, which is the Department of Homeland Security’s emergency management doctrine used across the United States to coordinate emergency preparedness and incident management and response.  By incorporating the NJBA’s comments regarding EAS training into the National Incident Management System, state and local emergency managers will have to participate in EAS training in order to receive federal homeland security grant funding. The bill now heads to the Senate, which has been considering its own IPAWS bill.

14.8 Million More Americans Watched the Presidential Debate.  According to a report from TVbytheNumbers, the first presidential debate of the 2012 campaign on Wednesday evening saw a big spike in the number of people who tuned in compared to the first debate in 2008 between Barack Obama and John McCain.  Then, 52.4 million Americans tuned in.  On Wednesday, 67.2 million people watched the debate on one of the 12 networks that carried it.  Of the big three networks that carried it, ABC grabbed the most viewers with 11.2 million.

First Presidential Debate Victory Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 1-5.  The build-up to the first presidential debate and the post-debate analysis was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week and landed atop the Talkers TenTM.  The investigation of the Libya consulate attack that claimed the life of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and others was #2.  At #3 was the controversy over President Obama’s 2007 speech before a black audience in which he questions why the largely African-American victims of Hurricane Katrina didn’t receive the same assistance as victims of other disasters.  Following at #4 was analysis of the presidential campaign polls.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top people and stories discussed on news/talk radio during the week, based on ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

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