Tag: "Peter Smyth"
PodcastOne Launches Premium Service. This just-announced service from podcasting giant PodcastOne will present to subscribers “new exclusive content and interactive opportunities…available from the top podcasters across America, including PodcastOne’s Adam Carolla, Shaquille O’Neal, Steve Austin, Heather Dubrow, Brandi Glanville, Nicole ‘Snooki’ Polizzi, Larry King, Dan Patrick, Rich Eisen, Jay Mohr, Dr. Drew, Penn Jillette, and more. Additionally, a series of Adam Carolla interviews with the top names in music, show business and beyond, will be made exclusively available and commercial free for PodcastOne Premium members [that] brings fans the closest they’ll ever be to their favorite podcast hosts through interactive opportunities, and is available, effective immediately.” The company says the exclusively-available Adam Carolla interview series features talents like Seth MacFarlane, Bryan Cranston, Michael Moore, Seth Rogan, Alec Baldwin, Bob Odenkirk, Kevin Costner and more, all commercial-free. Carolla also moves his entire premium collection to the PodcastOne platform, with new episodes weekly, including the popular “Take A Knee” podcast, along with “Two Chairs and a Mic” and original series’ “Adam’s Best” and “Adam’s Week In Rage.” PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz says, “We’ve been developing new content and opportunities to give our listeners the best experience possible, bringing together our podcast programs, original exclusives and multi-media engagement opportunities. Exclusive content and subscriber-only opportunities and events will make the ‘limited commercials’ perk seem small. This will be the best Premium podcast platform out there.”
BIA/Kelsey: WTOP, Washington Top Biller for 2015; KFI, Los Angeles Back in Top 10. Perennial big biller WTOP, Washington is the #1 biller in the nation for 2015 according to data from BIA/Kelsey. Hubbard Radio’s WTOP has been the top biller five out of the last six years. It was bested in 2014 by KIIS, Los Angeles (which finished #2 in 2015). Major market all-newsers showed well again this year with CBS RADIO’s WCBS-AM, New York (#5); WINS, New York (#9); and WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago (#6) all making the top 10. The company’s sports talk WFAN, New York (#4) was the only sports talker to make the list. Returning to the top 10 after a three-year absence is iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles (#10). The rest of the top 10 consists of iHeartMedia music outlets KIIS, Los Angeles (#2); WHTZ, New York (#3); KBIG, Los Angeles (#7); and WLTW, New York (#8).
Greater Media to Celebrate 60 Years in Broadcasting. Tomorrow (3/31), Greater Media celebrates 60 years in the broadcasting business. The company was founded in 1956 by Yale classmates Peter A. Bordes and Joseph Rosenmiller. It began with the ownership of WESO-AM, Southbridge, Massachusetts and grew to multiple radio stations, cable television, printing, publishing, and telecommunications operations by the mid-1980s. In 1999, the company sold its cable business in order to focus more exclusively on its radio and newspaper operations. Greater Media is the parent company of 21 AM and FM radio stations in Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia, Charlotte, and New Jersey; a group of weekly newspapers in central New Jersey; and several telecommunications towers throughout the United States. Greater Media chairman and CEO Peter Smyth comments, “I am very proud of the achievements of our company over the past 60 years. Greater Media is the culmination of Peter Bordes’ life’s work. I am grateful to our incredible employees for their continued dedication in making Greater Media greater on a daily basis over the past six decades.”
Odds & Sods. Sports media personality and former NFL quarterback Rich Gannon is exiting SiriusXM’s “The Blitz” program to spend more time with his family in Minnesota. Gannon – who’s been with the satcaster for the past seven years – will continue to work for CBS TV’s NFL coverage…..Westwood One is presenting radio play-by-play for the NCAA Men’s Final Four games in Houston on Saturday, April 2 as well as Championship Game on Monday, April 4…..CBS Sports Radio is broadcasting from Houston beginning tomorrow (3/31) live from Westwood One’s radio row at the George R. Brown Convention Center ahead of the NCAA Final Four. Personalities including CBS Sports analyst Doug Gottlieb, former NFL Pro Bowl running back Tiki Barber and sports personality Brandon Tierney will produce content from the scene. Also, various CBS RADIO sports stations, including WFAN-AM/FM, New York; KILT-FM, Houston; and WZGC, Atlanta will broadcast live from the city and will air Westwood One’s play-by-play of the NCAA Final Four games…..Programming pro Louie Cruz is “going home” to Modesto, California to serve as SVP of programming for iHeartMedia’s five-station cluster there that includes: rhythmic oldies KQOD “Mega 100,” hot AC KOSO “B93,” rock KMRQ “Rock 96.7,” and news/talk KFIV “Powertalk.”
The Presidential Race, Brussels and Pakistan Terror Attacks Aftermath, Islamic State Threats in Turkey, Bill Clinton ‘Mistress’ Story, Obama Journalism Lecture, and SCOTUS Public Unions Dues Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/29). The activities of the candidates for president and last night’s GOP town hall meeting in Milwaukee; the aftermath of the terror attacks in Brussels and in Pakistan; the State Department’s ordering of U.S. citizens to leave Southern Turkey in the wake of threats from Islamic State; controversy over tales from an alleged Bill Clinton mistress; criticism of President Obama over his chiding of journalists; and the Supreme Court deadlocks on a move to overturn some states’ laws forcing non-union public sector employees to pay union dues were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
MIW Radio Group Announces 2016 Mentees. The four mentees for this year’s 2016 Mildred Carter MIW Group Mentoring Program have been chosen by the Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio Group. They are: Kathy Byerly, GSM, Neuhoff Media, Decatur, Illinois; Charlie Maxx, PD, Beasley Media Group, Wilmington, Delaware; Brittney Quarles, LSM, Radio One, Richmond, Virginia; and Stephanie Sabota, GSM, Cox Media Group, Tampa. The MIW Radio Group says the mentoring program matches up-and-coming women in the radio industry with female professionals recognized as leaders in all aspects of radio. To date, the Mildred Carter MIW Group Mentoring Program has successfully mentored a total of 35 mentees. MIW spokeswoman Kay Olin says, “It is very rewarding to track the professional growth and success of our mentees. We can clearly see a direct correlation between the participation in this supportive and impactful program and the accomplishments and professional trajectory our mentees achieve.”
Report: iHeartMedia Considering Securities Sale to Retire Debt Due in 2019. According to a report from Bloomberg News, iHeartMedia is looking at a plan to offer up for sale securities in one of its units to help retire some $1.4 billion in bonds. The report states that the company would create a subsidiary called Broader Media LLC. Existing debtholders would be offered the opportunity to exchange for the new obligations. According to Bloomberg, $8.3 billion in debt is coming due in 2019 for iHeartMedia. “iHeart’s plan would erase $192.9 million of 5.5 % unsecured notes due December 2016 that are already considered current,” a source told Bloomberg. “The proposal is also intended to retire the company’s $190 million revolving loan due December 2017, the $850 million of 10% unsecured notes due January 2018 and the $175 million of 6.875% unsecured notes due June 2018.” Read the Bloomberg piece here.
Greater Media Promotes Buzz Knight to SVP of Program Development. Fourteen-year Greater Media staffer Buzz Knight is promoted to SVP of program development for the company. Knight’s new duties include responsibility for “overseeing programming development for all of Greater Media’s radio properties and collaborating with the individual stations to build winning content, digital and brand management strategies.” Greater Media CEO Peter Smyth comments, “Buzz has done an outstanding job overseeing our programming brands across the company over the past 14 years. His insight and leadership plays an important role in the continued success of our company.”
Iowa Caucuses Aftermath/Presidential Race, Battle Against Islamic State, $1.7 Billion Iran Payment Controversy, Zika Virus Concerns, Bill Cosby Sexual Assault Case, Ken Stabler CTE Issue, and Run-Up to Super Bowl 50 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/3). The aftermath of the Iowa Caucuses, the focus on the New Hampshire Primary and the activities of the candidates for president; the U.S. military policy on defeating Islamic State; the controversy over the United States’ $1.7 billion payment to Iran as part of the nuclear agreement; fears about a potential pandemic of the Zika virus; the status of the sexual assault case against Bill Cosby; the results of the post-mortem on NFL great Ken Stabler and its effect on football’s CTE problem; and the week’s activities leading up to Sunday’s Super Bowl 50 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
MIW: Women Gaining in GM and SM Roles; Stagnating in Programming Management. According to data from the most recent Gender Analysis Study from the Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group (culled from data from M Street Publications), since 2004 the number of women serving in general manager positions has risen from 14.9% to 17.3% in 2015. However, a tally of women in program management positions shows a negligible increase of 10.9% in 2015 compared to 10.7% in 2004. MIW spokeswoman Kay Olin states, “Tracking the leadership roles of women in media brings awareness to the continued need to reach back and lift up. There is an incredible talent pool of strong and capable female leaders and they stand ready to make a difference. It is the responsibility of all of us in the media industry to make sure that we are conscientiously and consistently practicing inclusion.”
Odds & Sods. After just a year hosting afternoon drive at iHeartMedia’s news/talk simulcast KALZ-FM/KRZR-AM, Fresno “PowerTalk 96.7 and AM 1400,” Christopher Gabriel exits the station. On his Facebook page, Gabriel states, “Hey folks, here’s a little news: PowerTalk 96.7 and I have parted ways as of this morning. I want to thank them for the opportunity to come to Fresno, work with a ton of talented radio artists and have some fun California adventures. So… what’s next? I guess we’ll see!”…..Former NBA star Dennis Rodman will appear as a special guest at WIP, Philadelphia’s “Wing Bowl 24” tomorrow (2/5) at the Wells Fargo Center. The competitive eating event is pitting last year’s champion, Patrick “Deep Dish” Bertoletti, former champ Molly Schuyler, and the infamous LA Beast, against the field of local eaters. Philadelphia Eagles long snapper Jon Dorenbos will act as the commissioner of Wing Bowl 24. Local rock legend Tommy Conwell will perform the National Anthem. Rodman will also be appearing at the WIP/SugarHouse Casino official after party of Wing Bowl 24. WIP’s Michael Barkann and Ike Reese will broadcast from SugarHouse Casino from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and the casino will feature food and drink specials all day long.
National Signing Day Remote for WQAM, Miami. Remote broadcasts can present any number of technical and/or programming challenges, but the afternoon drive air staff at CBS RADIO’s sports talk WQAM, Miami was able to put on a brave face and forge ahead as it broadcast on Wednesday (2/3) at a local Twin Peaks restaurant. The “Hochman, Crowder, and Krantz” show broadcast live for National Signing Day – the day when top high school athletes announce which college they’re going to attend. Surrounded by the hard-working service staff at Twin Peaks are (from l-r): Channing Crowder, Zach Krantz, and Marc Hochman.
Former Talk Host Benjamin Dover Dead at 57. Former Texas talk show host Benjamin Dover died back on January 1 after complications from pneumonia, according to an obituary published in the Dallas Morning News. Dover was born Lance Blumen. As his obit states, he got into the consumer advocacy business after a near-fatal motorcycle accident in 1989. He not only hosted a radio program on such signals as KLIF and KRLD-AM in Dallas and KFI, Los Angeles, he was a columnist for the Dallas Morning News from 1998 through 2004.
The Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of January 25-29. The activities of the candidates for president – highlighted by Thursday’s GOP debate and candidate Donald Trump’s choice not to participate – were the most-talked-about story during the week. At #2 was the low price of oil and its effects on the world’s financial markets. Coming in at #3 was the boycott by some black entertainment industry figures of this year’s Academy Awards show, followed by U.S. immigration and refugee policy at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. View this week’s entire chart here.
Frontlines of Freedom Adds New Affiliates; Hosts Honored Veteran Guest. The Talk Media Network-syndicated “Frontlines of Freedom” program announces the addition of 10 new affiliate stations, pushing its station roster to 105. The weekly military and veterans talk show is hosted by Denny Gillem, LTC, U.S. Army (Retired). Gillem states, “Our goal is the same today as when we came up with the idea for Frontlines of Freedom: To assist our listeners in better understanding the role of our military, and the challenges our nation faces.” New affiliate stations include: WWRC, Washington; KBNP, Portland; and WGMD-FM, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Talk Media Network CEO Josh Leng reports that the program recently hosted a special guest. “You need to have great content to attract and retain an audience, and the colonel’s interview this week with Chris ‘Tonto’ Paronto, one of the heroes portrayed in the movie 13 HOURS: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, is another example of our commitment to delivering compelling stories and information through ‘Frontlines of Freedom.’” Program host Lt. Col. Denny Gillem is a graduate of West Point and is an Airborne Ranger. He served 22 years in the US Army, including two tours in Vietnam, where he earned seven awards for valor and two Purple Hearts. He also served as a Mideast War Planner and later ran the ROTC program at the University of Tampa.
Odds & Sods. During Super Bowl week, FOX Sports Radio announces it will again present programming from the Bay Area in the build-up to next Sunday’s championship game. “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” “Jay Mohr Sports,” J.T. The Brick, and the Jason Smith show with Michael Harmon will broadcast live from radio row at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, while the Dan Patrick show and the Rich Eisen show will emanate from the site of DirecTV’s remote broadcast at the historic Presidio in San Francisco…..Greater Media promotes Ellen Rubin to senior vice president and general counsel for the company. She’s been with Greater Media since 2003. In 2007 she was promoted to VP and general counsel. Chairman and CEO Peter Smyth states, “Ellen is a brilliant attorney who has been a key player in shaping Greater Media’s future. We are fortunate to have someone like Ellen in our company.”
Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze to Be Available in Tri-State Area Via Cablevision’s Optimum TV. Beginning later this month, Glenn Beck-founded TheBlaze network will be available to New York City and the surrounding area as it will be included in Cablevision’s Optimum Preferred, Silver and Gold Packages. The channel is available to Optimum TV commercial customers with Optimum Business or Optimum Entertainment. Cablevision VP of video product management, Bradley Feldman, states, “Optimum TV is the only cable provider in the Tri-State area to bring our customers original programming from Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze, and the independent network will add more diversity to our strong lineup, providing our customers with more choices that our customers appreciate.” In a statement from Beck’s organization it says TheBlaze “offers a full slate of original news and opinion shows like ‘Real News,’ ‘Wilkow!’ and ‘For the Record,’ late night comedy like ‘The Wonderful World of Stu’ and ‘B.S. of A.,’ family-friendly programming like ‘Liberty Treehouse’ as well as thought-provoking documentaries and original specials. TheBlaze first launched on September 12, 2011 as GBTV and quickly grew into one of the world’s largest online streaming networks with over 300,000 subscribers. One year later, TheBlaze became a television network.”
CBS Q1 2013 Report: Company Up 6%, Radio’s Top 10 Markets Up 2%. The bulk of the discussion during yesterday’s conference call centered around TV for CBS, as it usually does. But CEO Les Moonves stated up front that the company continues to build “on the terrific debut of the CBS Sports Radio Network. We’ve added 20 affiliates to our roster since our last call. In addition, CBS Radio played a major role in this year’s success of the Academy of Country Music Awards. This is a show that perfectly complements our radio audiences, as evidenced by all the artists who mentioned the power of radio in their acceptance speeches.” CFO Joseph Ianniello noted that, comparable to the same period a year ago, the top 10 radio markets were performing up about 2%. Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript. Read more here.
Former Citadel/Cumulus Birmingham Cluster Manager Bill Thomas Sues Company for Unlawful Termination. Add discrimination to that under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Bill Thomas, a.k.a Michael Thomas Stainback, alleges in the complaint filed in United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama that the company knew he had heart ailments that resulted from a 2009 heart attack yet he still performed his job well and even received bonuses based upon performance. Thomas alleges that in February of 2012, after telling Cumulus corporate management that he’d been diagnosed with congestive heart failure, he was terminated by the company six days later. He’s seeking unspecified damages as well as back pay.
‘Freedom Feens’ Show to Join GCN. The “Freedom Feens” weekend talk show co-hosted by Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi will debut on the Genesis Communications Network on Saturday, May 11. Dean and Vedadi describe their program as a “great-sounding, feisty weekend show about free markets, the police state, the war on drugs, the right to keep and bear arms, computer security, honest money, self-defense, self-employment, marriage, do-it-yourself media production, marketing, music and more.” Regarding the title of their program, the duo explain, “‘Feen’ means ‘fiend,’ and the ‘Freedom Feens’ support the rights of the smallest minority, the individual.”
Time to Do Some Spring Cleaning Out at the Transmitter Site. For many of you who broadcast out of the Northwest, Midwest, North, and Northeast, this winter was a bear! Snow, ice and wind can cause issues for your transmission facilities. So it’s time to do a thorough inspection of your transmitter sites – both the main transmitter sites and anywhere you may have an STL transmitter or receiver. In a timely article posted today (5/2) noted engineering consultant and TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray offers up an invaluable “to-do” list to make sure your transmitter remains happy in the coming spring, summer and fall months after enduring a pretty painful and damaging winter. Get the whole story here.
Odds & Sods. WRKO, Boston afternoon drive talk show host Howie Carr broadcasts live from La Verdad Mexican restaurant near Fenway Park this afternoon from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm as he promotes his latest book , Rifleman (Frandel, LLC 2013), a true-crime story about infamous Boston mobster Steven Flemmi. Carr will stay after his program ends to sign copies of the new book…..Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington is conducting its second annual “Communter Idle” contest through Friday, May 3. The contest asks DC commuters to share their daily travel horror story to win prizes and possibly be the grand-prize winner who’ll receive $1,000 in gas money and a limo ride to work courtesy of Reston Limousine. Runners-up will receive $150 gas cards…..It may be a sign of the times that one of the most popular shows on CNN is the new “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” travel and food program that airs on Sunday evenings on the cable news/talk channel. But new CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker is so thrilled with the its performance that he’s already ordered another season of the show that will debut on September 15.
Cinchcast, Inc. Establishes Strategic Advisory Board. One of radio’s technological innovators and dynamic entrepreneurs of the new digital age, Alan Levy – founder and CEO of BlogTalkRadio and its “white-label” sister firm Cinchcast, Inc. – has announced the appointment of two well-known executives to Cinchcast’s new strategic advisory board: Tom Glocer, former CEO of Thomson Reuters and Steve Bornstein, former head of the NFL‘s digital media operations and ABC Sports/ABC, Inc. president and ESPN chairman. Levy tells TALKERS, “It’s an honor to be working with Tom and Steve as we continue to build, develop and scale the Cinchcast and BlogTalkRadio businesses.”
Practically an Exclusive. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) doesn’t do a lot of conservative talk radio shows. But Talk Radio Network star Rusty Humphries – who spent part of his earlier career at KKOH in Reno – was able to secure a no-holds-barred interview with Senator Reid at Humphries’ affiliate station KDWN, Las Vegas. Reid was in his home state while the Senate is on recess and he spoke with Humphries about the hot issues facing Congress. Pictured here are (from l-r): Humphries, Reid, and KDWN program director John Shaffer.
Suspects Arrested in Marathon Bombing, ObamaCare Implementation, Benghazi Cover-Up Charges, and Gay Athletes Flap among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/1). The arrest of more suspects connected with the Boston Marathon bombing case; the cost and implementation of the Affordable Care Act; charges that the Hillary Clinton-run State Department covered up aspects of the Benghazi attack; and the flap in the media over gay athletes were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Weekend Talk Host Pete Sheppard Quits During WEEI, Boston Saturday Program. Telling listeners that he’s no longer happy working for the company, WEEI, Boston weekend talk host Pete Sheppard abruptly quit on-air during his Saturday evening show. Sheppard, who was a long-time fixture on the former Glenn Ordway-hosted PM drive “Big Show” and was fired from that post due to budget cuts in 2010, was hired back for part-time duties about a year ago. Sheppard even went so far as to tease his on-air exit by Tweeting that he had something special coming up. He also specified that his problem was with Entercom management and not program director Jason Wolfe.
Legal Analysis and Brief Historical Background of “Stern Versus Sirius” Suit. Sometimes it is, as Mel Brooks commented in his movie “The History of the World, Part One,” good to be the king. But other times it is not. Howard Stern, the self-proclaimed “King of All Media” took a hit last week when the dismissal of his lawsuit against Sirius XM Radio, Inc. in which he sought more than $300 million in stock awards was upheld by the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court. In order to understand Stern’s lawsuit, which he filed in 2011, it is important to review the history of Stern’s relationship with Sirius. In an illuminating article posted today (4/15) TALKERS legal editor Steve Weisman explains both the background and legal tenets of this important, high-profile (and big bucks) radio industry case. To read it, click here.
Bonneville’s KIRO-AM, Seattle Names Danny O’Neil Late Morning Co-Host. Bonneville’s “710 ESPN Seattle” names market sports journalist Danny O’Neil co-host of the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program alongside Brock Huard. O’Neil replaces Mike Salk who moved to WEEI, Boston earlier this month. The “Brock & Danny Show” debuts today. The station states that in addition to his on-air duties, O’Neil will write a daily Seattle-focused sports column/blog on 710Sports.com. During the NFL season, O’Neil will cover the Seattle Seahawks to provide fans with an inside perspective on the team. O’Neil did three stints with the Seattle Times (1996-97; 1999-2002; 2006-2013) and also wrote for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer from 2002-2006. KIRO-AM vice president and general manager Dave Pridemore states, “We are extremely excited about teaming up Danny O’Neil with Brock Huard on 710 ESPN Seattle. I’m sure our listeners will appreciate the combination of an athlete’s insight and analysis with a journalist’s curiosity and straight forward perspective.” Program director Brian Long says, “Brock and Danny have a natural chemistry and genuine likability that will make for a smart entertaining listen for the Seattle sports fan.”
Encouragement and Advice for Lonely Digital “True Believers” at Radio Stations. Noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller says, “True Believers are the radio folks I talk to who just know deep in their heart of hearts that the brilliant use of our digital tools could help radio be the best it could possibly be. When I talk with them, they often just see so clearly how to fit all our different platforms together and how to use them. Most of them seem to feel a level of frustration, too. I suspect that’s because they are often the one person at work who is both knowledgeable and passionate about the potential of these tools.” If you think that describes you, in an article posted to today in TALKERS, Miller serves up several good ideas on how to lessen your frustration level as well as help position you as the radio/digital expert in your workplace and help accomplish your goals. He suggests starting small, pressing for constant improvement and creating an industry-wide community of like-minded broadcasters. To read Chris Miller’s entire piece, click here.
Glenn Beck Named Recipient of 2013 Freedom of Speech Award. The editorial board of TALKERS magazine has named Premiere Networks syndicated radio host, CEO/founder of Mercury Radio Arts, and founder of TheBlaze, Glenn Beck the recipient of the 2013 Freedom of Speech Award. The award is one of the most prestigious honors presented annually in the talk media industry. The award is presented to an individual in the talk media industry who courageously demonstrates the First Amendment in action, productively promotes its vitality, and inspires increased public awareness of its tenets. It has an extremely colorful history, sparking heated controversial battles on some occasions, and accruing a roster of outspoken, dynamic recipients as diverse as the medium itself. Past honorees include Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern, Michael Savage, Bob Grant, Sean Hannity, Alan Colmes, Al Franken, Juan Williams, Joe Madison, Matt Drudge, Norm Pattiz, Brian Lamb, Jim Farley and more. According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “This is a tough award to present – especially when the recipient is a politically controversial figure — because people who view the world through the lens of partisan politics immediately see the award as an endorsement of the position expressed by the recipient, as opposed to its deeper, principled meaning. The only political position held and espoused by TALKERS magazine is our devotion to the tenets of the First Amendment. Otherwise we are about as non-partisan as you can get.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison adds, “This year’s recipient deserves the award for several reasons: First, he has shown enormous courage and creativity in expressing extremely controversial views on both talk radio and cable television; second, he stood up to the powers-that-be at his biggest single platform and dared to risk (and eventually lost) his lucrative job in the process; three, he demonstrates the vital role of showmanship and entertainment in artfully executing his craft within the commercial marketplace while still getting his points across (which is what this business is ultimately about); and four, he has intelligently designed a model of independent broadcasting through his pioneering development of an entrepreneurial ‘media station’ that serves to inspire others, create jobs and pave the way for the next generation of talk show hosts to carve their meaningful niches in the new 21st Century digital reality.” The 2013 Freedom of Speech Award will be presented to Glenn Beck at Talkers New York 2013. To see the entire up to the minute agenda, click here.
Salem Communications Re-Brands WHK, Cleveland “The Answer.” Following the trend in branding taken by its news/talk stations in New York, Los Angeles, Riverside, Dallas, Houston, Columbus, and Chicago, Salem Communications announced WHK, Cleveland becomes “AM 1420 The Answer.” Salem VP director of spoken word format Phil Boyce says, “As our listeners are preparing to write Uncle Sam that fat check, I can’t think of a better day to give Cleveland ‘The Answer’ to why their taxes are so high. We have the answer for little things like ‘why am I stuck in traffic’ to bigger things like what can conservatives do to win back the White House.” The on-air lineup, consisting of Salem Radio Network programs, remains the same. The station adds morning news anchor Jim McIntyre, “one of the most trusted news voices in Greater Cleveland,” as part of its local news, traffic and weather team. The station is adding a new late night program dubbed, “The 11th Hour,” hosted by McIntyre and Cleveland talk host Tom Kelly that will air at 11:00 pm. The station says the show “will focus on both local and statewide stories that affect the WHK audience, with news updates and interviews of the day’s newsmakers and journalists.” Station general manager Mark Jaycox states, “These are very exciting times at Salem Communications of Northeast Ohio. To be able to take a station like WHK – one rich in Cleveland heritage and Ohio tradition and celebrating its 91st birthday this year – and make it even more relevant and current, while maintaining that strong identity, we are confident our WHK listeners will be pleased with this change.”
Mid-West Family Broadcasting Acquires Wisconsin and Illinois Stations from Maverick for $15.5 Million. Just days after Connecticut-based Maverick Media announced the sale of its Santa Rosa, California stations to Lawrence Amaturo-led Sonoma Media Group, we learn that Mid-West Family Broadcasting is buying Maverick’s Eau Claire, Wisconsin and Rockford Illinois clusters. The stations in the Rockford market are: adult hits WRTB “Bob FM 95.3,” AC WGFB “B103 FM,” rock WXRX, and comedy WNTA-AM/FM “Funny 1330.” In Eau Claire, the stations are: news/talk WAYY, sports talk WEAU “ESPN 1150,” classic rock WECL “92.9 The Big Cheese,” AC WIAL, “I-94,” adult hits WDRK “Bob FM 99.9,” and country WAXX. In a statement, Mid-West Family Broadcasting president Tom Walker says, “We have wanted to grow our company for some time and want to bring the ideals of locally owned radio back to these two cities. The stations in both Eau Claire and Rockford will continue serving their local markets with the quality programming Mid-West Family brings to all its stations.”
Milt McConnell Joins Alpha Broadcasting’s Portland Cluster as SVP and GM. Former Cumulus Albuquerque market manager Milt McConnell is named the senior vice president and general manager at Alpha Broadcasting’s Portland, Oregon cluster. McConnell was part of a recent exodus of staffers from the Albuquerque operations that included longtime KKOB talk host Jim Villanucci. On his new post in Portland overseeing properties including hot AC KBFF “Live 95.5,” triple A KINK, country KUPL “98.7 The Bull,” sports KXTG-AM “750 The Game,” news/talk KXL “FM News 101,” and talk KUFO “Freedom 970,” McConnell says, “I am just thrilled to get back to live and locally owned radio. What Larry Wilson and Bob Proffitt have crafted with these premier brands at Alpha/Portland is incredible and I am excited about growing our influence in this dynamic city. The Alpha culture is very reminiscent of the boom years when we were growing Citadel. The cherry on top is that I get to work with formats that I have experience with and am extremely passionate about.”
Odds & Sods. CBS Radio’s WPHT, Philadelphia debuts its new PM drive program hosted by Dick Morris. The show is airing from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm…..Meanwhile, longtime WPHT personality Michael Smerconish makes his move to SiriusXM Satellite Radio today. The program airs on the POTUS channel from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET….Speaking of SiriusXM, the satcaster began a six-week run of a special program hosted by Breitbart News Network chairman Stephen K. Bannon called “Breitbart News Sunday with Stephen K. Bannon” last night at 7:00 pm ET on its conservative talk SiriusXM Patriot channel. The three-hour call-in show is said to feature commentary and analysis on the stories and narratives that will drive the upcoming week’s news cycle from the editors and contributors of the Breitbart News Network.
Bernie Miklasz to Appear on WXOS, St. Louis Daily. When WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” midday talk host Bernie Miklasz announced he’d be leaving his daily program on the Hubbard Broadcasting sports talker to focus on his work with the St. Louis Dispatch, the station said it hoped to still have him contributing on a regular basis. Now, it’s announced that Miklasz will be a regular guest and will be featured at the following times: Monday afternoons at 4:30 on “The Fast Lane,” Tuesday mornings at 9:30 with “Zach and Rammer,” Wednesday evenings at 5:30 on “The Fast Lane,” Thursday mornings 10:30 with “Zach and Rammer,” and Friday afternoons at 12:30 on the new midday program. Program director Chris “Hoss” Neupert states, “We are thrilled that Bernie Miklasz will still be a part of the ‘101ESPN’ team. His experienced analysis regarding the local St. Louis and national sports scene is immeasurable, and our listeners really value his comments and opinions.”
Longtime Denver Talk Host Rick Barber Facing ALS Battle. Rick Barber was a talk show host on KOA, Denver for more than 30 years. He exited the station in January of 2012 and was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease — amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – several months ago. Now, former fellow Denver talk host Peter Boyles is helping alert the industry to Barber’s situation and providing information where people can make donations. Find that on Boyles’ KHOW, Denver page here.
Greater Media’s Peter Smyth Honored by Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus. Greater Media chairman and CEO Peter Smyth is pictured here at the 12th Annual Good Guys Awards on Thursday, April 11 at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston. The awards event was produced by the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus which honored Smyth for his continued support of women and families in Massachusetts. Smyth is an active philanthropist working with many organizations that advocate for women and families including the United Way of Massachusetts, the New England Baptist Hospital and Emerson College. In addition, he is a supporter of GRLZ Radio, a radio station giving young women a voice in their community. MWPC executive director Priti Rao states, “We were very excited to honor Peter Smyth as one of our Good Guys. His dedicated advocacy to advance women serves as a role model to our community. His support of programs and initiatives that improve the welfare and safety of women and families has been indispensable.” Pictured here are (from l-r): Greater Media VP of corporate communication Heidi Raphael, “HOT 96.9” morning show co-host Pebbles, Greater Media Boston market manager Rob Williams, Smyth, “Hot 96.9” APD and digital media brand manager Jill Strada, WROR general sales manager Matt DiRoberto and Greater Media VP of program development Buzz Knight.
Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio to Feature Greater Media Stations. First it was Cumulus Media striking at deal with Clear Channel to have its radio stations available nationwide via the iHeartRadio digital radio platform, now Greater Media climbs aboard. Beginning in April, Greater Media’s 22 stations in Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit, New Jersey and Charlotte will be available via the iHeartRadio app. Greater Media CEO Peter Smyth states, “We are thrilled to be able to provide our listeners with even greater access to our stations anywhere they may be listening throughout the country with this exciting platform.” Clear Channel president and CEO John Hogan says, “Adding Greater Media to iHeartRadio only improves our leading digital destination for consumers, expanding their ability to find the best and most complete online radio experience anywhere. Clear Channel Radio and Greater Media understand that radio connects local businesses to consumers like no other medium can, and this agreement offers more choices for our listeners which is what they want.”
Don Martin Promoted to Senior Vice President, Sports Programming for Premiere Networks. This is a promotion from his role as vice president and general manager for Fox Sports Radio Network which has been a division of Premiere Networks since it began collaborating on sports programming with Fox Sports more than 10 years ago. In this new role, Martin oversees all sports programming and operations for Premiere. Martin reports to Premiere president of content and affiliations Julie Talbott who says, “This is a well-deserved promotion, as Don’s leadership has been instrumental in the growth and strength of the Fox Sports Radio Network. His expertise, as well as his passion and dedication to this industry, make him a tremendous asset as we expand in the sports arena. With Don at the helm, I’m confident we will continue to see the positive impact and success of our programming.” Under Martin’s watch, FSRN has reached an all-time high of 400-plus affiliates. He continues in his role as general manager and program director of Clear Channel’s KLAC, Los Angeles. TALKERS magazine’s Mike Kinosian recently spoke with Don Martin about his work with Fox Sports Radio and KLAC. See the video in the Talkers TV box on the right side of this page.
KFTK-FM, St. Louis Adds More Local Talk; Expanded Shows for Dana Loesch and Dave Glover. Emmis Communications’ news/talk KFTK-FM, St. Louis is adding more live and local programming to its daily schedule with the expansion of the Dana Loesch and Dave Glover shows. Loesch moves from the 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm slot to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot beginning January 30. Dave Glover, the station’s longtime PM drive host, adds an hour to make his show live from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Program director Jeff Allen says, “Now with more Dana and Dave we can better cover the issues that matter to our St. Louis listeners. This is just another step in our commitment to respond to the local audience and to better cover breaking news anytime it happens.” The expansion of the two shows means TRN’s Laura Ingraham program will exit the station. Dana Loesch also does a live hour on Emmis’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm and Allen says that will continue.
Compass Media Marketing Announces Executive Staff. The newly formed advertising representation firm being organized by Compass Media Networks founder and CEO Peter Kosann announces Paul Gregery is installed as president of sales & marketing; Mary Giesen is named VP of sales planning; and Laura Peyer is New York account manager. The appointments are effective immediately and Peter Kosann says, “We are extremely fortunate to have these executives join us. This is a tremendous first step for our sales organization.” Paul Gregery served at Westwood One for more than eight years in a variety of capacities, including president of sales. Before that, he managed West Coast sales for the AMFM Radio Networks prior to its being acquired by Premiere Networks. Gregery also worked for more than a decade at the ABC Radio Network in a variety of sales positions. He will work out of Compass’ Los Angeles offices. Mary Giesen also worked at Westwood One where she quickly rose through the sales management ranks, ultimately serving as VP of sales planning, traffic & continuity, managing the sales planning staff and overseeing the management of the commercial inventory. She will work out of Compass’ New York offices. Laura Peyer previously served as the sports network sales executive at Skyview Networks, managing advertising relationships with clients throughout the New York, New England and the Midwest markets. Prior to Skyview, she held positions as national broadcast supervisor at MPG and sales planner at Westwood One. She also will work out of Compass’ New York offices.
Glenn Beck’s GBTV to Debut New Roundtable Show. In association with Glenn Beck’s internet news site The Blaze, GBTV will feature “Real News from The Blaze” airing weeknights from 7:00 to 8:00 beginning January 18. GBTV personality Amy Holmes will moderate the roundtable discussion of the day’s news. Participants will include Blaze editor-in-chief Scott Baker, Buck Sexton, Will Cain and S.E. Cupp. GBTV president of programming Joel Cheatwood says, “While GBTV is and will remain an information and entertainment network, we saw a real opportunity to provide the news that our audience is looking for and is too often ignored by the mainstream media. We are passionate about offering our audience a deeply reported and engaging look at the news and are excited to be able to draw on the incredible editorial resources at The Blaze.”
WIP, Philadelphia Brings Brian Haddad Aboard for Creative Services Director Post. The former KDKB-FM, Phoenix morning drive host is named creative services director and part-time host at the CBS Radio sports talk station. Operations manager Andy Bloom says, “We embarked on a three-plus month search to find the person who would make WIP the best-produced station in the country. There is no question we found the most creative mind and talented person to help us accomplish that goal. We view Brian as our new secret weapon.” Brian “Sludge” Haddad joined Sandusky’s rock KDKB-FM in June of 2010 to host the morning show. Previously, he’d worked at Cox Media’s WDYL-FM, Richmond.
KFNS, St. Louis Host Kevin Slaten Goes Solo After Ashlee Feldman Exits. The PM drive show on Grand Slam Sports’ KFNS, St. Louis will go with Kevin Slaten solo for a while after former MTV reality show star Ashlee Feldman exited the program. STLToday.com reports Feldman – a former college basketball player and star of MTV’s “Real World New Orleans” – missed her family in the East and decided to leave the program after a year. Slaten tells the site he’s not certain if he’ll remain solo or be paired up with another partner.
Fisher Communications’ KVI, Seattle Loses PD Travis Box to Home Life. Program director and producer Travis Box announces he’s leaving Fisher Communications to begin the most difficult job he’ll ever undertake – stay-at-home dad! Box has been producing the KOMO-AM/FM “Newsline” program and programmed KVI as it made the recent transition from oldies back to talk. KVI talk host Scott Carty will serve as interim PD.
New Hampshire Primary, Iran Nuclear Ambitions/American Sentenced to Death, Obama Chief of Staff to Exit and Tebow Rallies Boncos Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/9). The GOP New Hampshire Primary race, Iran’s nuclear weapons program and its sentencing to death American Amir Mirzaie Hekmati on charges of being a spy, the Obama Administration’s chief of staff Bill Daley to exit and Tim Tebow’s rallying the Broncos to victory over the Steelers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Program Host Amy Goodman and Staff Settle in 2008 RNC Arrest Case. Amy Goodman hosts the New York-based radio and TV program “Democracy Now” and it was in that capacity that she and her crew were covering the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota when violent protests broke out. While filming the action, her crew was arrested by police insisting they were part of the disturbance. Goodman was also arrested when she came to their defense. Goodman and crew sued the City of St. Paul and the U.S. Secret Service with the assistance of the Center for Constitutional Rights. The settlement includes $100,000 and the promise of police training.
It’s Official: Dodgers Move to KLAC, Los Angeles. After four seasons at Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles, Clear Channel’s KLAC will be the flagship station for Los Angeles Dodgers play-by-play for at least the next three seasons. In a joint statement from the team and Clear Channel Los Angeles, market manager Greg Ashlock says, “The Dodgers are synonymous with Los Angeles. The team has the ability to connect people regardless of age, gender or race. Our Clear Channel stations have multi-demo and multi-cultural appeal that nicely complements the Dodgers brand and will provide unique marketing opportunities. We’re also humbled to have Vin Scully, the greatest play-by-play announcer – period, lead our broadcast team.”
Cumulus Promotes Matt Spaulding to VP/Market Manager for Ann Arbor Cluster. General sales manager at the cluster since 2009, Matt Spaulding is promoted to VP/ market manager by regional vice president Cumulus Midwest Scott Meier who states, “Matt has absolutely earned this ‘battlefield promotion’! He’s embraced the Cumulus Sales Operating System and developed a solid organization operating at double digit growth.” Cumulus Media operates two music FMs and news/talk WTKA and progressive talk WLBY in the Ann Arbor market.
Broadcasters Foundation of America Raises More than $150,000 at Celebrity Golf Tournament. The BFoA’s Celebrity Golf Tournament 2011 pulled in more than $150,000 from the event held September 26 at the Sleepy Hollow Country Club in Tarrytown, New York. Broadcasters and celebrities taking part included: actor Michael J. Fox; Fox Business Network and USRN personality Lou Dobbs; WOR, New York host John Gambling; ABC and ESPN sports broadcaster Sean McDonough; MSG and ABC play-by-play announcer Mike Breen; actress and “Bond” girl Rachel Grant; NHL All-Stars Rod Gilbert, Brian Leetch and Bob Nystrom; ESPN Radio’s Stephen A. Smith and CJ Papa; Super Bowl winner Amani Toomer; CBS-TV’s Maurice Dubois, Don Dahler and Dr. Max Gomez; ESPN SportsCenter hosts John Anderson and Jay Harris; WNYW-TV, New York’s Duke Castiglione; WNBC-TV, New York’s Bruce Beck; actor Gianni Russo; and more. The foundation expects to grant $600,000 in aid this year – an increase of more than 20% over last year and BFoA president Jim Thompson says, “The Celebrity Golf Fundraiser makes it possible for the Foundation to continue its mission of helping broadcasters in need. Our thanks to Greater Media president and CEO Peter Smyth and Katz Television Group president Jim Beloyianis who served as this year’s co-chairs and helped us present a successful event that provided attendees with an opportunity to give back to broadcasters who have nowhere else to turn.”
TRNS Bureau Chief Ellen Ratner Saves Young Blind South Sudanese Boy. In a remarkable display of the power of talk radio when focused on humanitarian projects, a young Christian South Sudan boy, Ker Deng will be shedding light on the horror befalling his homeland and people before a Congressional Committee today. This comes as the result of tireless work on the part of Christian Solidarity International (CSI) and the Washington, DC-based news agency Talk Radio News Service (TRNS) whose years of missions to the region bringing talk show hosts and relief have resulted in the feeding of starving people, the freeing of slaves and the reporting of news mostly ignored by the mainstream press. Ker Deng was just a toddler when Arab slave traders took him and his mother from their village in South Sudan. After burning Ker’s village and stealing everything of value, the raiders massacred most of the men. Ker and his mother were tied to a camel and dragged to a life in captivity. He grew up eating the same grains that his slave master fed his horses. One day, as punishment for letting a goat escape, Ker was hung upside-down from a tree as his master rubbed chili peppers into his eyes. When he was finally cut down, his eyes were so badly damaged that he slowly went blind. After being freed by CSI, Ker is now in the United States at the Wills Eye Institute, where he recently underwent cornea surgery (he’s seen being prepared for surgery in the photo here) that will hopefully restore the sight he lost while tortured at the hands of his captors. Ker is learning English and has started piano lessons at Lighthouse Music School. Ker will share his remarkable story today at 2200 Rayburn House Office Building at a press conference and during a hearing at the U.S. House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights. His mother – along with thousands of other slaves from South Sudan – remains in bondage. Ker, through his interpreter, will tell his story. Ker was brought to the U.S. thanks to CSI CEO John Eibner and Ellen Ratner, the White House correspondent and bureau chief for TRNS and a news analyst on the Fox News Channel (as well as Washington editor for TALKERS). Ratner has traveled multiple times to South Sudan since 2008, just returning on Saturday from another mission.
2012 GOP Candidates, ‘Occupy Wall Street,’ Knox Conviction Overturned and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/3). The Republicans vying for the nomination to face President Obama in 2012, the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protest movement, the overturning of American Amanda Knox’s murder conviction in Italy and the volatile financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
TRN’s Rusty Humphries Shoots Role in “Flicka” Movie. Talk Radio Network personality Rusty Humphries has been spending time in Canada recently on the set of a remake of the classic horse film, “Flicka.” Humphries plays the role of an announcer at a critical horse show in the film. The film stars actor and country music star Clint Black and his wife Lisa Hartman Black. Speaking about his on-set experience, Humphries says, “I am very excited to be shooting ‘Flicka 3’ on location in Canada this week with director Michael Damian, the star of ‘The Young and The Restless’ and songwriter of the hit ‘Rock On’. The shoot went great and Michael Damian could not be nicer. He’s a really good director too.” Humphries is seen here (l) on the set with Damian (r).