Tag: "Philadelphia"

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

| April 8, 2014

marinerrayRay Mariner to Program ‘106.1 The Ticket’ and ‘NASH FM 92.3’ in New Orleans.  In a newly created management position at Cumulus Media’s New Orleans operations, programmer and air personality Ray Mariner begins leading the programming at country WRKN “NASH FM 92.3” and sports talker WMTI “106.1 The Ticket” on April 15.  Mariner most recently was a personality on Dickey Broadcasting’s WCNN, Atlanta “680 The Fan.”  He also served in the market as PM drive personality on Lincoln Financial Media’s CHR WSTR “Star 94.”  Cumulus SVP of programming Mike McVay states, “Ray is a rare breed of programmer and talent.  He has shown his programming acumen by performing and succeeding at the highest level.  We’re excited to have him oversee the programming of both ‘NASH FM 92.3’ and ‘106.1 The Ticket’ in New Orleans.”  Cumulus sports/talk format captain Jim Mahanay adds, “Ray Mariner is a strong addition to Cumulus’ programming team in New Orleans.  He brings a great track record and tremendous talent to this important role at ‘NASH FM 92.3’ and ‘106.1 The Ticket.’  I look forward to having him lead our sports programming in this key market.”

jaworski showRon Jaworski’s WPEN, Philadelphia Show to Air Year Round.  Former Philadelphia Eagles great Ron Jaworski has been hosting a weekly football show on Greater Media’s WPEN, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic” during the regular NFL season but now the station makes his Wednesday evening 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm show a year-round deal.  The station is kicking off the program with a live show from Riley’s Pub at Valleybrook Country Club in Blackwood, New Jersey tomorrow evening (4/9).  Jaworski says in a statement, “I couldn’t be more excited to be extending the Ron Jaworski show to a year-round event. The NFL has become a 12-month league.  It’s going to be fun talking with the Philadelphia fans about free agency, the draft, training camp and eventually when the games get started in September.”

cookehollandNAB Show: Sound Bites from Sin City.  Media consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas reporting for RadioInfo from the NAB Show and here is some of what he’s gleaned from the convention.  Cooke writes that although this convention is not a radio gathering – that’s in Indianapolis in September – he says, “The recurring theme radio people hear here is that stations can’t only be ‘in the radio business’ anymore.”  Sales skills are probably the most important a broadcaster can have these days and there’s a lot of that kind of advice to be had.  During the RAB’s Lunch-N-Learn session, CEO Erica Farber noted that three of radio’s sales mistakes are: being afraid to ask for “The Big Ask”; constant rep turnover; and selling to the same advertisers over and over.  Read more of HC’s report here.

garciatonySyndication: Love or Money?  Moving a radio program into the syndication realm is a challenging venture and it’s a move that can be started for the wrong reasons.  In a column published today (4/8), Global Media Services founder Tony Garcia writes that for a show to have a chance at success in syndication – even one that is successful on the local level – there are a number of questions the producer of the show must answer before moving ahead.  Garcia says, “If you are going to get the attention of program directors, your show and your pitch must to be relevant and compelling.  What is it you are providing for the station and its audience?  Are you solving a problem?  Are you doing something that the station can’t easily do itself?”  Read more about what Garcia suggests a potential show producer must be prepared to answer in his piece here.

holdtheirfeet2014Immigration Radio Row Takes Place in Washington Tomorrow.  The annual radio row – organized by the Federation for American Immigration Reform – is dubbed “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” and the two-day event begins tomorrow at the Phoenix Park Hotel on Capitol Hill.  FAIR says it features the largest gathering ever of talk radio hosts focused on a single issue.  Dozens of hosts from across the country will spend two days discussing immigration policy with listeners, lawmakers, law enforcement, immigration experts, activists and members of the media live from radio row while broadcasting their shows back to their home markets.  Credentialed members of the press are welcome.  In particular, reporters covering the national immigration debate will have access to a wide variety of personalities and perspectives all in one location.  For more information, contact Kristen Williamson, press secretary at: office 202-328-7004/cell 847-651-8611.

snlkaganQ1 Radio Deals Top $300 Million on Strength of WBLS/WLIB Sale.  According to SNL Kagan, first quarter 2014 radio deals topped the $300 million mark in value.  This big quarter was largely the result of the $131 million (8.5 times cash flow) sale of urban contemporary WBLS and gospel WLIB from YMF Media LLC to Emmis Communications Corporation.  The other big deal was the $74 million sale of 10 stations from South Central Communications Corporation to SummitMedia, LLC.  SNL Kagan says that compared to the 2013 average of 7 times cash flow, the average radio cash flow multiple rose by half a point in the first quarter of 2014.

nrgmediaNRG Media Reports Completion of Change in Equity Investors.  The change in equity investors that NRG Media, LLC announced in October of 2013 is complete.  The company says the change solidifies “the new partnership between the Midwest-based media company and Cyrus Capital Partners, an investment management company that actively invests in debt and equity securities on a global basis.”  Cyrus has approximately $4 billion in assets under management and its investor base is comprised of sophisticated long term institutional and high net worth investors.  NRG CEO Mary Quass states, “We look forward to a long relationship with Cyrus Capital Partners and wish to thank Waitt Media and McCarthy Capital for their support over the last 9 years.”

bennettbillOdds & Sods.  Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated morning host Bill Bennett celebrates his 10th year with the network.  His “Morning in America” program was visited on Monday by special guests including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, fellow Salem talk host Mike Gallagher and WestwoodOne personality Mark Levin…..Newsweb Radio adds local gay rights author and activist Wayne Besen to the weekend lineup at WCPT-AM/FM, Chicago to host a weekly Saturday afternoon program called, “I’ve Got Issues.”  Newsweb president Charles Gross says of the progressive program, “We are excited about this hard-hitting new show that will debate the critical local and national issues that affect our lives.”…..CBS Radio News White House correspondent Peter Maer is being awarded the Merriman Smith Memorial Award for Presidential Coverage Under Deadline Pressure.  Maer is receiving the honor for his reports at the Hampton Roads, Virginia shipyard where the president traveled to make his case on last year’s sequestration fight.  The White House Correspondents Association says,  “Peter Maer’s story on the potential impact of budget sequestration did what White House reporters too rarely do: It humanized a national political story, and managed to do so on an extremely tight deadline, no less.”

krokduckA Day at the Races.  WBAP, Dallas talk show host Chris Krok (left) poses for a photo with “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson (right) at the Texas Motor Speedway during its “Duck Commander 500” race held over the weekend.  Also in the photo is Krok’s son Isaac (center).  Krok broadcast his program live from the speedway on Friday (4/4) and then hosted 80 listeners who bought tickets to be part of “Krok and His Flock” on Saturday.  Krok and his listeners were able to tour the garage and pits.

ObamaCare Criticism, IRS Scandal, Russian Aggression in Ukraine, Common Core Controversy, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Search, and Student Athlete Compensation/NCAA Championship Game Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/7).  Ongoing scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the move by House Speaker John Boehner to bring legal action against ex-IRS official Lois Lerner; Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Ukraine and fears he’s preparing to arm Iran; troubles with the Common Core standards as states drop the program; the continuing search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370; and controversy over compensating student athletes and the run-up to the NCAA Championship game were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

| March 27, 2014

hannityseanUnusual ‘Ratings Battle’ Between Savage and Hannity Heats Up.  Prior to the rollout of his WestwoodOne-syndicated talk show on Cumulus-owned news/talk stations – many of which had previously carried Premiere NetworksSean Hannity show – Michael Savage took an aggressive stance in both industry and consumer presssavagemichael proclaiming he would beat Hannity in the ratings.  Now, two Nielsen Audio PPM rating periods later, WestwoodOne is waging a PR offensive that many industry watchers note is rarely seen in the syndication business, going so far as to use words like “trounced” and “demolished” with respect to Savage’s ratings versus Hannity’s.  Reporting Nielsen Audio PPM data in the Persons 25-54 demo for major markets New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Dallas, WestwoodOne shows Savage more than doubling Hannity’s AQH share there (NYC 1.1 vs .5, Chicago 1.2 vs .2, San Francisco 1.5 vs .5, and Dallas-Ft. Worth 1.3 vs .5).  Hannity’s camp responds with a memo from premierenetworks newPremiere Networks VP/operations and affiliate marketing for the Sean Hannity show Eric Stanger, who writes, “It’s puzzling that Michael Savage would want to brag about his listening audience.  Despite his claims, the numbers show that Savage is losing thewestwoodone logo audience that he inherited from Sean Hannity in droves, on the radio stations that Sean spent 17 years building.  In New York on WABC as well as on Dallas on WBAP, in the key demo of A25-54, Savage has lost a whopping 49% of the audience that he inherited from Sean Hannity.  Other key markets tell a similar story as you can see below.  All in all, Savage has bled away almost half of the audience on the key stations that were given to him in 2014 (In Los Angeles, where Cumulus has decided not to air the ‘Savage Nation,’ KABC-AM has dropped 27% without Hannity).  Meanwhile, Sean Hannity has more than doubled the total audiences where he has started on new stations after leaving Cumulus in New York, Los Angeles, and Dallas (AQH percentage change December ’13 to February ’14 Persons 12+:  WOR, New York, +108%; KEIB, Los Angeles +172%; and KSKY, Dallas +128%).”  EDITOR’S NOTE:  TALKERS magazine maintains a general policy of not publishing ratings results of contests between individual hosts because there are so many potential situations taking place in the industry it would become editorially unwieldy and impossible to manage accurately and fairly.  This is especially true in regards to reporting on battles between syndicated hosts in which there is often inconsistency from market to market in terms of actual times and number of hours broadcast.  Plus, this publication avoids getting involved in situations hinting of personal vendettas and vitriol between personalities and even competing companies.  In the words of publisher Michael Harrison, “This industry faces enough competitive challenges these days from external sources for us to turn our guns on each other in anything more intense than healthy, sportsmanlike competition.”

eskinspikeCBS RADIO Ups Spike Eskin to PD of WIP-FM and WIP-AM.  Interim program director Spike Eskin is officially the PD at CBS RADIO’s “SportsRadio 94 WIP” and “CBS Sportsradio 610,” the company announces.  Eskin has been filling the role on an interim basis since Jeff Sottolano was named director of programming for CBS RADIO earlier this year.  Previously, Eskin served as sports editor for CBSPhilly.com and did part-time air shifts on WIP-FM, all-news KYW and CBS 3 TV.  Senior vice president and market manager Marc Rayfield says, “Spike is his own person.  He is tenacious, strategic and a proven winner.  We interviewed an extremely talented pool of national and local candidates.  Spike was clearly our best choice.”  Eskin comments, “My career in radio has taken me in many different directions, and has ultimately led me to a job that I feel like I was born to do and I am honored and humbled to have. I’m excited to work with the best air talent in sports radio, and our incredible staff to continue building the legend that is WIP.”

schembrijoeSchembri Upped to VP of Corporate Business Development, Sports Sales and Sponsorships.  This new corporate position lifts Joe Schembri from his VP of business development post.  Now, he’ll be working directly with clients to “create local, regional, and national campaigns that reach and engage consumers by utilizing multiple platforms to drive incremental revenue that include radio, sports play-by-play, event sponsorships, digital, database, mobile and social.”  Entercom station group president Weezie Kramer states, “For years, Joe has been a leader in our company and throughout radio, and I am proud to elevate him to this new position.  Sports has always been a strength of entercomEntercom and, under Joe’s leadership, we will bring a greater platform of products and greater results to our clients.”  Entercom serves as the radio broadcast partner for the Boston Red Sox, Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres, Kansas City Royals, Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Saints, New Orleans Pelicans, Oakland Athletics, Oakland Raiders, San Jose Sharks and several NCAA teams, including this year’s #1 NCAA basketball seeds University of Florida Gators and Wichita State Shockers.  Schembri comments, “This is an exciting time for radio, sports and event marketing.  Entercom is powerfully positioned across the country to build dynamic, multi-platform campaigns that engage our fans, connect them to our clients and generate results that make a difference.”

nymrad logoNYMRAD Registers a +3.26%.  According to the Miller Kaplan New York Market Revenue Report, New York Market Radio (NYMRAD) advertising revenue for the first two months of this year increased 3.26%, when compared to last year’s figures.  Total revenue for February – including “digital” and “network”/”NTR”/”other” were up 2.3%.  New York Market Radio Broadcasters Association executive director Deborah Beagan comments, “The New York market is up, despite the series of storms.”  The “automotive” category there is up 11%, with over $10 million of spending.  Three rapidly growing such advertisers are Land Rover, up 153% from $166,000 last year to $420,000 this year; Tri State Ford Dealers – improving by 48% from $458,000 to $680,000; and Mercedes Benz, up 72% from $265,000 to $455,000.  The “communications/cellular” category sees a 20% gain, with over $8 million of spending.  Rapid such growers included Verizon, up 69% from $1.29 million to $2.17 million; Metro PCS – improving 95% from $1.28 million to $2.50 million; and AT&T, up 67% from $917,000 to $1.53 million.

scba logoLos Angeles Radio Revenue Grows in February.  According to data from Miller Kaplan Arase as reported by the Southern California Broadcasters Association, during February, the Los Angeles radio market saw revenue climb by 3.7% for the month and, on a year-to-date basis through February, the LA total market revenue growth is 3.1%.  SCBA president Thom Callahan states, “This substantial market growth reflects the dynamic power of Southern California Radio and our member radio stations’ determination to begin 2014 on very strong footing.”  On the digital side, the report indicates revenue for the reporting stations in February up 16.8% and a YTD growth rate of 14.7%.  The subsequent “X-Ray” report YTD also reveals substantial new business growth with 336 new advertisers spending $12.7 million.  Key category drivers include: insurance – up 141.7%, cellular/communications – up 45.8%, concerts/theatre/movies – up 34.7%, casinos/lottery – up 32.5%, and education – up 32.3%.

starkjaysonStark Reality for Philly’s WPEN-FM.  ESPN.com senior baseball writer – and Philadelphia native – Jayson Stark will host a one-hour eponymous show on select Mondays throughout the baseball season for Greater Media Philadelphia’s WPEN-FM “The Fanatic.”  The two-time Pennsylvania Sportswriter of the Year will continue to be a Wednesday afternoon contributor on the station’s “Mike Missanelli Show.”  Stark acknowledges that, “I may work for ESPN now, but I’m still a Philadelphian, so the only thing cooler than joining my buddy Mike Missanelli every Wednesday is getting my own personal hour of radio.  I will get to talk to my favorite Philadelphians about the Phillies and the sport they play, mix in a little trivia, and do our best to turn this extravaganza into a show that’s even more fun than spending a summer evening hanging out in Ashburn Alley.”  Stark’s program will emanate live from Newtown, Pennsylvania’s Green Parrot; the debut show is one week from Monday (4/7) between 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm.  Stark has written/reported about MLB for ESPN since 2000.  Before that, he covered the Phillies for the Philadelphia Inquirer.  He appears as an analyst on a variety of ESPN radio and television programs.

delcollianojerryJerry Del Colliano’s “Media Solutions Conference” Draws 100-plus to Philadelphia.  More than 100 radio broadcasters from across the country gathered at the classy Rittenhouse Hotel in Philadelphia yesterday (3/26) to attend noted industry observer and analyst Jerry Del Colliano’s fifth annual “Media Solutions Conference.”  The attendees represented various levels of management, talent and ownership from a variety of radio companies — local, regional and national.  In addition to Del Colliano’s in-depth presentation of information about such topics as understanding the Millennial generation, disrupting radio before its media rivals do, separating radio’s main product into unique on-air and online categories, using video to generate additional revenue streams, reinventing the morning show, time-shifting radio, and reducing the liability of commercials while increasing their effectiveness, attendees were treated to presentations by WBEB, Philadelphia “More FM” owner Jerry Lee, Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel talk star Sean Hannity and TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison.  Jerry Lee discussed a number of tactics and philosophies employed by his company to make it one of the most successful ratings and revenue-generating, leejerryindependent music-formatted, stand-alone FMs in America.  He basically told the attendees that you have to spend money to make money and espoused the benefits of heavy promotion, research and putting together a top-notch team of talent and management in order to reap the rewards radio is still capable of delivering.  He also spoke extensively about the importance of creating effective, listenable commercials and limiting the number of spots perharrisonmichael hour to no more than 12.  Sean Hannity discussed the various keys to attracting younger listeners to the talk format on both radio and television (something he has proven to do very well) and was critical of today’s ratings system that largely ignores listenership to radio on the internet and satellite platforms.  Michael Harrison joined Del Colliano at the end of the conference for a free-wheeling Q&A wrap up of the day’s subject matter.  Harrison encouraged the attendees to trust in their own common sense and intuition, pointing out that all forward evolution in the arts and communication begin with someone taking a stand based on their gut instincts.  According to Harrison, “This was one of the most interesting, informative and well-organized conferences I have ever attended.”  Jerry Del Colliano will be a major speaker at the forthcoming “Talkers New York 2014” on Friday, June 20.  For information call 413-565-5413.

borrell logoBorrell Research Projects Hike in Recruitment Advertising.  Just what radio might realize from the projected 5.8% increase in dollars spent by employers seeking workers via broadcast isn’t certain and the category doesn’t break down radio, TV, and cable.  However, as the recruitment advertising report – subtitled The Long, Gray, Line – states, employers will spend $22.9 billion in the category this year.  “Of that, 84% is spent on online media, and of that, half is being spent on so-called digital services like developing websites, search engine optimization, and managing social media.  That services portion is growing at the fastest clip – nearly 50% growth in 2014 and potentially tripling over the next five years.  By 2018, we foresee a future where employers will spend 67% of their recruitment marketing budgets on digital services, 23% on classic digital advertising, and the remaining 10% on traditional media advertising.”  See more about the report here.

RIhof logoWOR, New York PD Tom Cuddy Leads Rhode Island Radio HoF Class of 2014.  The Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame announces the class of 2014 inductees and they include: current WOR, New York program director Tom Cuddy (who got his start in radio at WPRO-AM in 1980); air personality and programmer Rick Everett (served at WGNG, WSNE, WWLI, WWBB, WRX, and WCTK; current WRNI news anchor/reporter and host Dave Fallon; New England Tech teacher and 30-plus year radio station staffer Paul Perry; the late Carroll “Pappy” Philbrook, who began his career in Rhode Island radio in the 1940s as an engineer at WHIM, WHJJ and WHJY; easy listening pioneer Tony Rizzini; and entertainment icon Saucy Silvia who hosted an entertainment program on WADK for 26 years.  Additionally, the Shepard Award – created to recognize the founders of radio (John and Robert Shepard, owners of the Shepard Department Stores) in the Ocean State and to honor present-day contributors to the industry through leadership, dedication, achievement, innovation and spirit – goes to Janice Skelly.  Skelly began her radio career in 1978, working for WPRO-FM in the sales department, and for most of the next 36 years, she remained a fixture within the sales and business operations of WLKW-AM/FM and WSNE-FM through several ownership changes.

ObamaCare Criticism, SCOTUS Hobby Lobby Case, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Race, Obama vs Putin/Russian Aggression, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Fate, and NSA Data Collection Policy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/26).  Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the Supreme Court Case that will decide the scope of religious exemptions for employer-provided health care; speculation about the political ramifications of the mid-term elections and possible candidates for president in 2016; Russian aggression in Eastern Europe and criticism of President Obama’s handling of Vladimir Putin; the fate of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370; and concern over the NSA’s bulk data collection program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, March 24, 2014

| March 24, 2014

businessrockstars radioBusiness Rockstars Radio to Debut. Via a strategic alliance with the Wall Street Business Network, “Business Rockstars Radio” will premier its national radio syndication effort on March 31 on 10 major market stations. Business Rockstars Radio, hosted by Ken Rutkowski, features “rockstar” CEOs, entrepreneurs, and start-ups and targets the 30 million “Wantrepreneurs” in the U.S. The March 31 rollout is the “launchrutkowskiken pad” for the national rollout of the program. Salem Radio Division president David Santrella states, “Salem is excited to be adding more compelling and relevant content to our Wall Street Business Network. We thank the Good Life Network for their efforts in securing the Business Rockstars Radio program for our growing business-format platform, and look forward to a long and mutually successful relationship with both the Good Life Network and Business Rockstars Radio.” The program will air live from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET and debut on: KDOW, San Francisco; KVCE, Dallas; KTEK, Houston; WZAB, Miami; WAFS, Atlanta; KKOL, Seattle; WBZW, Orlando; KYCR, Minneapolis; KSAC, Sacramento; and KGU, Honolulu. Business Rockstars Radio co-founder Steve Lehman comments, “Business Rockstars Radio is loaded with powerful entrepreneurial content presented in a fun, fast-paced, two-hour daily show. The program has big name CEOs, entrepreneurs and start-ups that discuss their adventures in starting, growing and funding businesses. These stories inspire and educate listeners, from billion dollar start-ups to business train wrecks.”

greatermedia logoGreater Media Philly Named a Top Workplace. This is the third successive year the company has earned such recognition from an annual survey conducted by the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com.  Hundreds of companies take part in the survey and as Greater Media Philadelphia vice president/market manager John Fullam states, “Great companies start with great employees.  We are fortunate to have an extraordinary team dedicated to serving Philadelphia, our listeners, and advertising partners every day.”  Judges are employees and evaluation for the “Top Workplaces” program is based upon feedback from a fall 2013 employee survey conducted by Workplace Dynamics.  The Philadelphia Inquirer ran a special publication insert yesterday (3/23) to announce the honor.  Greater Media’s four-station Philadelphia cluster consists of adult hits WBEN-FM “95.7 Ben-FM,” WMGK “Philadelphia’s Classic Rock,” WMMR “Everything That Rocks,” and sports WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic.”

agasepaulCumulus Nabs Agase for VP Sales Post in Chicago.  Chicago market sales pro Paul Agase is named vice president of sales for Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM “Chicago’s Talk Leader” and classic rock WLUP “97.9 FM The Loop.”  Most recently, Agase was general sales manager at CBS RADIO’s all-news WBBM.  He’s also worked in the market at sports talk WSCR “The Score,” triple A WXRT, WKSC “103.5 Kiss FM,” and WBBM-FM “B96.”  Cumulus EVP and co-COO John Pinch comments, “Paul has made a significant impact driving sales for Chicago radio.  His talents are an ideal match for Cumulus Chicago’s iconic stations and we are excited to welcome him to the company.”

comrexComrex Welcomes Torelli as Market Development Manager.  Multi-disciplined media pro Joe Torelli joins Comrex Corporation as market development manager.  The company says that in this role, Torelli will spearhead awareness and drive acceptance of the Comrex LiveShot products in the broadcast, education, worship and government markets.  Comrex managing director Kris Specht states, “Joe comes to Comrex with extensive experience on both sides of the broadcast industry starting as a photojournalist at WFLA-TV, Tampa where he first used Comrex products.  Capitalizing on his field experience there and over a decade at NBC News covering world events, he transitioned to design and delivery of market focused products at Avid, Quantel and, most recently, Apple products that became standards in the industry.  That background will help Comrex grow the acceptance of the LiveShot products.”  Torelli says, “I see LiveShot as truly amazing technology and I’m no stranger to highlighting new technology and differentiating features to the market.  I’m excited about the opportunity to help extend LiveShot’s appeal and acceptance.”  Comrex LiveShot delivers live video and audio over a range of IP networks.  LiveShot is used by TV stations and networks to deliver high-quality, low-latency, full-duplex video and audio from anywhere internet access is available.

bearmanethan2Ethan Bearman Adds KGO, San Francisco to His Roster of Radio Homes.  Multi-platform talk show host Ethan Bearman, one of the 2014 first-time members of TALKERS magazine’s newly published “Heavy Hundred,” has just been named regular host of the Sunday 10:00 am to 1:00 pm slot on KGO, San Francisco.  Bearman has also been retained by the Cumulus San Francisco cluster to do fill-in at KGO’s sister station KSFO where he’ll be keeping the mic warm next week for morning host Brian Sussman (also a 2014 Heavy Hundred inductee) between 5:00 am and 9:00 am on April 3 and 4.  The hard-working Bearman also has a two-hour weekend syndicated show carried by Genesis Communications Network (GCN) and is a regular member of the air staff at Michael Zerling’s nationally famous KSCO, Santa Cruz where he hosts 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm weekdays.  Bearman tells TALKERS, “I am blessed and honored to be working with some of the best professionals in the industry – Michael Zwerling is one of the most ardent examples of a broadcaster dedicated to serving the local community and creating breakthroughs in modern marketing techniques.  Ted Anderson is a dynamo of entrepreneurial innovation, who has built GCN into a powerhouse among the up-and-coming syndicators.  And now, the mighty Cumulus, where I am honored to work at one of the truly legendary sets of call letters in America – KGO – with a staff that is the very embodiment of broadcasting professionalism.”  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has been quoted as saying, “I have heard one of the major voices of talk radio’s future and it emanates from a young man named Ethan Bearman.”

cookehollandMedia Usage Research (and What You Can Do With It).  Media consultant Holland Cooke pens a brief synopsis of some of the recent media usage research that’s been published recently and takes it a step further and offers some advice that station operators can use to put their best foot forward.  Smart owners and programmers are not getting depressed about the changing media landscape; they are doing their best to adapt to how people are using media.  Cooke offers some thoughts about working with that mindset.  Read it here.

sorbosamSam Sorbo to Launch Daily Talk Show.  Actress/author and True Feminist CEO Sam Sorbo is beginning a daily, three-hour talk show on Wednesday (3/26).  A press statement says she’s being “tapped by America’s Talk Network, Inc. to host a new daily talk show that will be syndicated and exclusively represented by Talk Radio Network Enterprises.”  The eponymous show will air from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET.    CEO Mark Masters says Sorbo is “an ‘independent conservative,’ an accomplished entrepreneur, who has an uncanny ability to connect with the listeners on a visceral level.”  Sorbo states, “I view it as a privilege to be behind the microphone…Ronald Reagan understood the power of humor, satire and good-natured ridicule in ways that created a massive ‘Big Tent of Voters.’  My goal is to follow that model in creating a ‘Big Tent of Listeners’ for ratings success for our stations.”

kcoh logoHouston Judge Allows KCOH Suit Back Before Court.  The months-long dispute between former KCOH, Houston talk show host Michael Harris and South Houston Community Development Corp. president Jesse Dunn will return to the courts after being dismissed last month.  Harris claims Dunn made false representations to induce Harris into obtaining personal lines of credit totaling $130,000 to finance radio station equipment and operations.  Last month the case was dismissed but Harris’ lawyer Robert Collier argued he was unaware of the motion for summary judgment and didn’t have time to respond.  The suit was reinstated on March 11 and, according to the Houston Chronicle, Collier will ask that the court put KCOH assets into receivership for accounting and control.

eastlanratings logoEastlan Adding Three Markets. Tallahassee, Florida; Columbus, Georgia; and Hammond, Louisiana are the metros that the ratings company will begin surveying this spring.  Eastlan president/chief executive officer Mike Gould comments that, “As Eastlan rolls into our fifteenth year, we are grateful to the small and medium market radio leaders who have recognized the value in carefully scrutinizing their radio ratings/vendor relationship.  We never imagined we would be fortunate enough to become the senior radio ratings provider in the United States.” Nielsen Audio is already measuring Tallahassee and Columbus; Hammond was an unrated metro.  Roughly five months ago, Eastlan added 11 other markets in Texas, Wyoming, Pennsylvania, and Arkansas.

stigallswiftChris Stigall and Taylor Swift Goofing in NYC.  WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive personality Chris Stigall (right) takes what he calls the “ultimate selfie” with pop and country superstar Taylor Swift (left) at the 8th Annual Taste of Hope Wine Dinner to support City of Hope in New York City’s Tribeca on March 20.  This event is just one of the fundraising projects City of Hope produces to help raised funds to cure — and ultimately prevent — cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening diseases.

millernooryCoast to Coast AM from Boise.  Nationally syndicated late-night star George Noory (left) poses for a photo with KIDO, Boise morning drive personality Kevin Miller (right) backstage at the Egyptian Theater in Boise during a visit to the city.  The Premiere Networks-syndicated “Coast to Coast AM” personality was in town for a live show at the Egyptian Theater.  Also pictured here is Noory Productions president Tom Danheiser (c).

BTC logoHD Radio Cited in Growth of Broadcaster Traffic Consortium Revenue.  The Broadcaster Traffic Consortium (BTC), is a nationwide broadcasting network that distributes location-based data — including: local traffic, weather, and fuel prices via radio technology to navigation devices and automobile in-dash systems.  The consortium reports that revenue for 2013 continued to grow and it anticipates more growth in 2014.  The consortium was established in 2007 and since that time its total revenue compound annual growth rate is 50.8%.  The addition of HD Radio technology for traffic data in 2011 comprises 20% of the BTC’s total revenue.  Greater Media CEO Peter Smyth says, “Greater Media is now seeing a return on our investment in BTC.  The transmission of traffic data via our HD signals allows us to be an integral part of the digital dashboard.  We are pleased to see that revenue growth is exceeding our expectations.”  Getting traffic data via HD Radio allows users to avoid eating up their allotted data on bandwidth-intense activities like traffic.  The BTC says, “The smooth launch with auto manufacturers Honda and Mitsubishi last year has opened the door for additional automakers to realize the value of HD Radio Data real-time traffic.”  The founding members of the BTC include: Beasley Broadcast Group; Bonneville International Corporation; Cox Radio, Inc.; Emmis Communications; Entercom Communications Corp.; Greater Media; NPR and Radio One.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

| March 18, 2014

graefejohnEntercom Ups Graefe to Chief Information Officer.  Twelve-year Entercom staffer John Graefe is promoted to a new post as the company’s first chief information officer, responsible for delivering a broad range of IT initiatives to support the company.  Graefe has been the vice president of IT and will continue to lead the team of employees overseeing the company’s IT infrastructure, as well as its strategy and partnerships.  In making the announcement, the company says Graefe is a tech leaderentercom with a unique view of IT innovation and its application in driving business objectives.  In this new role he will take over responsibilities for the company’s analytics and business intelligence initiatives.  He’ll report to EVP/CFO Steve Fisher, who comments, “John has demonstrated outstanding leadership in managing our IT organization while continuing to position IT as a strategic asset and business driver.  I am confident that, as CIO, he will continue to advance Entercom strategic platforms and strategies.”  Graefe says, “I am excited for the opportunity to continue leading the IT team at Entercom and further advancing our initiatives in analytics and business intelligence.   This will continue to enhance Entercom’s position as a leading broadcasting and marketing solutions company.”

rileyjulesRiley Returns to Journal Broadcast Group in Tulsa.  Most recently working as a consultant in the industry, Jules Riley is named operations manager for Journal Broadcast Group’s Tulsa operations, including news/talk KFAQ.  Tulsa VP/GM Bill Berry says, “We are very excited to welcome Jules back to Journal.  She has a stellar reputation in the industry and extensive experience with multiple formats.  I have no doubt that she will do a terrific job as our programming leader.”  Riley was the program director for Journal’s rock KICT “T95” and classic rock KFXJ “104.5 The Fox” in Wichita until 2001 before leaving to lead programming teams in St. Louis, Philadelphia and Phoenix.   She comments, “I am thrilled to rejoin Journal Broadcast Group and work with the phenomenal Tulsa team.  My thanks to Bill Berry, Beverlee Brannigan and Steve Wexler.”

“Trippin’ Out into the Future” with Michael Harrison.  The time has come for the rise of the MEDIA STATION.  When Jerry Del Colliano was asked what role TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison will play at his forthcoming “Media Solutions Conference” in Philadelphia on Wednesday, March 26 – the noted industry observer and analyst described Harrison as a “futurist” and stated “Michael and I will trip out into the future of radio and digital content.”  Harrison’s reaction to delcollianojerrythe comment was that he was extremely flattered by the remark, stating, “Wow, to be in this business for 48 years and still be called a ‘futurist’ is a compliment, to say the least.  Those who know me personally or have heard me speak and read my articles over the decades know that I maintain a very healthy respect for the past and radio’s pop cultural heritage – HOWEVER, they also know that I do so only from the perspective that they help us navigate the wild waters of the future into which we must always be bravely sailing.”  Harrison continues, “There are several things that I am looking forward to discussing at Jerry’s seminar that span my interest in both talk and music radio…but first and foremost, I believe it’s time for the industry to come to terms with the theoretical (and increasingly real) concept of the “media station”harrisonmichael because that is, in fact, where we are heading in terms of platform.  And while many people in this business are running around uttering the half-baked phrase ‘content is king’ and counting their chickens over the seeming ease of entry to the internet — those who have an understanding of media theory and elementary art appreciation understand that without ‘platform,’ content cannot be monetized.  The ‘media station’ will be the platform of today’s radio station (as well as most newspapers and magazines) before this decade is over.  Those who prepare for this and understand exactly what it entails will not only survive — they will thrive — and continue to successfully ride the traditional time-line of our glorious industry from one century to the next.  Those who do not will drown in the vast ocean of noise that is the undeveloped, platform-less internet.”  Harrison will be one of three special guest speakers at the conference.  Along with WBEB, Philadelphia (“More FM”) owner Jerry Lee and nationally syndicated Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel talk star Sean Hannity.  The intensive day-long workshop will focus on a wide variety of digital-era issues currently facing and challenging radio.  These include coming to a better understanding of the Millennial generation, learning to disrupt radio itself before its media rivals do, separating radio’s main product into unique on-air and online categories, effectively using video to generate significant amounts of revenue, reinventing the morning show, time-shifting radio, making commercials less of a liability and much more.  Harrison adds, “I am really looking forward to participating in this conference and tackling these crucial issues with a bunch of smart people from all ends of the business.  Jerry Lee has so much to share about running an independent station in an aggressive, winning way – we could sure use more Jerry Lees in this industry – and Sean Hannity is the very definition of a classy guy who rose to the very top of the talent ladder.  One of the things Sean brings to the table is the ability to attract younger listeners to traditional news/talk – he has done quite alright in already solving questions to which most people are actively seeking answers.”  The event takes place at Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Hotel.  For more information click here.

nielsen logoFirst Round of February PPM Data Released.  PPM data from the first of four groups of 12 markets for the February 2014 period (January 30 – February 26) has been released by Nielsen Audio.  Those markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey).  TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all the (subscriber) numbers here.  Managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the report at RadioInfo.com here.

wnfl logoOdds & Sods.  The station that will benefit from Midwest Communications’ purchase of the construction permit for an FM translator licensed to Howard, Wisconsin (W221DA at 92.1) is sports talk WNFL, Green Bay.  Midwest is buying the CP from David M. Stout for $65,000.  Howard lies northwest and adjacent to the City of Green Bay…..The mystery of the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight 370 has been a boon to the ratings of cable news/talk channel CNN.  The ratings woes of the channel are well known to industry watchers and the recent news has boosted the channel’s ratings above those of its competitors Fox News Channel and MSNBC in recent days.

Crimea Votes to Join Russia/Obama vs. Putin, Malaysian Airline Flight 370 Mystery, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Race, ObamaCare Criticism, Los Angeles Quake, and Lingering Winter Weather/Global Warming Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/17).  The Crimea-Russia case and criticism of President Obama’s handling of Vladimir Putin; the ongoing mystery of the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370; the forecasting of political change with the mid-term elections and speculation about the 2016 presidential race; scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; Monday’s Los Angeles earthquake and concerns about another one; and the chilly weather still affecting the Midwest and East and the global warming controversy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, March 10, 2014

| March 10, 2014

TRN logo 125Cumulus-logo 100ww1 125TRN Companies and Cumulus Media Announce Amicable Westwood One Settlement.   TRN Companies and Cumulus Media announced late Friday afternoon (3/7) that they have agreed to settle outstanding claims arising during previous ownership of WestwoodOne, acquired by Cumulus Media in December, 2013. Lew Dickey, president and CEO of Cumulus Media, said, “While Cumulus Media had no role in the lawsuits filed by TRN Companies, we are pleased to resolve these claims and move forward together. We remain supportive of each other and are optimistic for the future.”  Mark Masters, CEO of TRN Companies, said: “We are pleased to ‘turn the page’ with the new owners of WestwoodOne and have put past issues behind us.  As we build bridges together, we look forward to a mutually beneficial future working with our affiliated stations, customers, Lew and John Dickey and Cumulus Media.”

emmisEmmis to Reward Employees with Stock.  The company states that as part of its 2012 Employee Retention Plan, roughly 75% of its full-time employees are being notified they are eligible to receive what it is saying is “a sizeable stock award.”  The company further states, “Emmis prides itself on being a destination employer in the media and digital industries, and as such, places a high value on cultivating a culture that allows us to attract and retain the best talent in our industries.  The third of Emmis’ Eleven Commandments states: Be good to your people – get them into the game and give them a piece of the pie.”  Eligible employees will receive a pro-rata share of approximately 976,000 shares of Emmis Communications common stock.  Using Friday’s closing price, the 976,000 shares in the Retention Plan will deliver $3,240,000 in value to the 598 employees who qualify for the plan.  To ensure a broad-based distribution, the Plan excluded executive officers and capped the level of salary credit at $50,000.  As an example of the award size, a full-time employee of Emmis who has been with the company since April 2, 2012, with a salary of $40,000 per year will get approximately 1,480 shares. That equates to a market value of $4913.60, using the closing price last Friday, March 7 of $3.32.  The awards will vest on April 2, 2014 and will be distributed to employees shortly thereafter.  It will be their choice whether to hold or sell the stock.

hughesspencerKSFO, San Francisco Names Hughes Late Morning Host.  Cumulus Media’s news/talk KSFO, San Francisco has been trying out talk show hosts in the late morning slot (billed on the station’s website as “KSFO Talk Show”) for the past several months.  Now, the station names Spencer Hughes permanent host of the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program.  Hughes’ resume includes stops at talk stations across America including WRKO, Boston; KGO, San Francisco; KTKZ, Sacramento; and KSRO, Santa Rosa.

decastrojimmyWGN VP/GM Jimmy de Castro Talks Radio and More.  The vice president and general manager of Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago and the new sports talk WGWG “The Game 87.7” spoke candidly with the Chicago Sun-Times for its online video feature “The Sit Down.”  In the interview, de Castro throws out a number quips that’ll interest industry watchers.  For example, he’s not trying to bring young listeners to WGN, “I don’t want a younger audience for ’GN.  I want 35- to 65- or 70-year-old people.”  He says he hasn’t committed a lot of money to his staff.  “I don’t have one contract with one person on our station.  Not one.  They’re all here because of how they feel.  Any time they want, they can walk out the door.”  The one-time WLUP-FM leader also talks about his career and how he views life after all of his success.  See it here.

robertsjackJack Roberts Dies at 62.  Radio executive/on-air personality Jack Roberts died this past weekend in Los Angeles.  Over the course of his career, the 62-year-old Roberts was a general manager, program director, on-air talk host, and producer.  Most recently, the Boston College graduate and Massachusetts native was executive producer for CRN Digital Talk Radio programming, including “What’s Cookin’ Today.”  CRN chief executive officer Michael Horn comments, “Jack truly understood and loved radio.  He became an instant, caring friend to everyone he encountered.”  Roberts thought he could get any guest or celebrity, and Horn remarks, “He almost always booked them.  Guests and talent, but most especially the listeners, enjoyed what they heard.  Jack’s legacy will live on through them and all of us.  That would make him very proud.”  Roberts was a senior producer on syndicated radio programs hosted by Dick Cavett, and Colonel Oliver North.  He was in charge of production for “The Jerry Williams Show” and “The Doug Stephan Show.”  His on-air experience includes stops at Boston’s WRKO, WMEX and WXKS; WPRO, Providence; and WDRC, Hartford – where he became general manager and program director.  Roberts held those titles at WWRC, Washington, DC as well.  Programmer Ron Jacobs writes, “Jack Roberts is great at shining the spotlight on others and not blowing his own horn.”  Funeral services are pending for Roberts, who wrote a radio-themed blog – “HollywoodHillsGroup.com” - that highlighted industry achievements and gave publicity to on-air talent.

barnardtomTwin Cities Star Tom Barnard Talks Podcasting in Profile Piece.  Morning radio personality Tom Barnard – a 43-year Minneapolis-St. Paul market icon – is profiled by the Minneapolis Post.  The star of Cumulus’ rock KQRS speaks about numerous topics – the death of the voice-over business, his rise to fame, and his decision to get more political after 9/11 – in the story and explains his separate business producing and selling ad time for his daily two-hour podcast.  Barnard tells the Post that although he billed roughly $250,000 in 2013, the show is not in the black due to expenses including salaries and the cost of bandwidth.  Barnard and partner Don Shelby (former WCCO personality) are not collecting a salary at this point.  Barnard’s decision to sell ad time and not charge for subscriptions as well as to go after local ad dollars, flies in the face of the way many of the high-profile podcasters are doing it (think Tom Leykis and Adam Carolla).  Read the entire Post story here.

Odds & Sods.  In the Duluth market, Midwest Communications flips standards WGEE, Superior, Wisconsin to sports talk using CBS Sports Radio programming…..Sports radio pro Seth Everett becomes part of the New York Mets broadcasts on Clear Channel’s WOR, New York this season where he’ll be hosting the pre- and post-game programs…..Charlotte Knights minor league baseball will air on Greater Media’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte this summer as the station will carry 10 Saturday night home games and two Friday evening home games.

stigallboltonChris Stigall Broadcasts from CPAC.  The annual Washington, DC gathering of conservative politicians dubbed the Conservative Political Action Conference involves an active radio row and WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive host Chris Stigall (right) was in the middle of all the action last week as he broadcast his show from the event.  He’s pictured here interviewing former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton (left).

wvbr logoWVBR Returns To Collegetown (Ithaca) in New, High Tech Studio Station to Hold March 15th Dedication Ceremony – Keith Olbermann Makes Major Donation.  Proving that grassroots terrestrial radio is alive and well, WVBR-FM is returning home to Collegetown (a proud name sported by downtown Ithaca, New York – home of Cornell University and Ithaca College – per its reputation as being one of the best college towns in America) after a 14-year absence, with a newly-built, state-of-the-art studio.  The new studio is located at 604 East Buffalo Street in Ithaca, next to the Carriage House Café and across from The Connection, Loco Cantina, and the Chapter House.  WVBR has operated out of 957 Mitchell Street near East Hill Plaza afterolbermannkeith leaving its longtime home at 227 Linden Avenue in Collegetown in 2000. It will be officially dedicated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to take place this coming Saturday (3/15).  WVBR-FM is a commercial, non-profit radio station that is owned and fully operated by the Cornell Radio Guild, a group of Cornell University students.  Since 1935, this group’s stated mission has been running a radio station with the goal of training students in broadcasting.  Since 1968, WVBR has been serving Ithaca and Tompkins Counties playing an eclectic mix of classic and modern rock under the banner, “Real Rock Radio.”  WVBR broadcasts over 93.5 FM and 105.5 FM to Tompkins County and the surrounding area. The newly named Olbermann-Corneliess Studios was purchased with donations from station alumni, most notably ESPN host Keith Olbermann.  Olbermann gave what has been described by station management as “a generous donation” with a request that WVBR’s new home studio be named in honor of his late father Theodore Olbermann, as well as the late Glenn Corneliess, his colleague during his years at WVBR who passed away in 1996.  Olbermann, the Corneliess family, and Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick will be among those on hand for the dedication, as well as many station alumni, current staff, and management.  A brand new set of professional equipment, a large vinyl library, a live performance space, three soundproof production booths, and two advanced on-air studios are some of the many highlights of the new space.  “There is no doubt in my mind that 604 East Buffalo Street will feature the best college radio setup in the country,” says Drew Endick, president of the Cornell Radio Guild, Inc. and general manager of WVBR, telling RadioInfo, “We have been trying to expand our content production operations and provide better services for the local community, and we now have the facilities to meet these challenges.”  The new studio will be home to two radio stations – WVBR, which broadcasts with a rock format over FM, as well as CornellRadio.com, which is being launched as a more student-centric, freeform online station.  CornellRadio.com will feature pop, hip-hop, dance, and alternative music, as well as talk shows, comedy programming, and sports content provided by a partnership with the Big Red Sports Network.  Each station will have its own cutting-edge studio within the building.  “This move is extremely important to the goals of our station,” says Michael Mallon, senior vice president of communications.  “The latest technology will not only allow us to create better content for our listeners, but it will also allow the students of Cornell University to learn and train on the same equipment as is used in the big stations in major cities.”  The move is also significant as the station will now be a close walk for most students.  “It’s a perfect location for us, both physically and symbolically,” Mallon continues, “The station is right between the students who operate the station, and the Ithacans who make up most of our listenership.”  ASI Renovations managed the huge project.  The space was already in great condition, but the design presented some big technical challenges.  Sherpa Technologies wired the building for radio operations.  Students and weekend staff led the move, bringing over the entire vinyl and CD collections, as well as other important articles from the old station.

stevensbrucieChattin’ with a Legend.  WFTL, Fort Lauderdale late morning talk host Rich Stevens (right) entertains legendary disc jockey Cousin Brucie (left) in the station’s studios.  Stevens tells TALKERS the pair chatted about numerous topics and took calls from listeners.  While speaking with callers, a 92-year-old local listener phoned in to tell Cousin Brucie he remembers winning a contest 40 years ago that Cousin Brucie executed that sent him on a vacation.  Brucie asked him if he was still there and needed money to get back!

odonnellwmalSittin’ in on WMAL, Washington.  Former Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell (left) is pictured here in the WMAL, Washington studios as she served as guest co-host on the “Morning On The Mall” program today (3/10).  O’Donnell worked with co-host Larry O’Connor (right) while subbing for Brian Wilson.

Friday, February 14, 2014

| February 14, 2014

fccnewFCC Appears to Back Off of Newsroom and Issues Study.  When it was announced last May, the proposed Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs the Federal Communications Commission would be undertaking rankled many lawmakers and broadcasters as it was perceived as an intrusion into broadcasters’ First Amendment rights in addition to being outside the bounds of the FCC’s jurisdiction.  Now, according to a piece in Ad Week, the FCC appears to be backing off, or at least re-defining, the research intended to “study entry barriers” to informationpaiajit media to determine if there are small businesses unable to break into broadcasting.  This would have been determined by quizzing news broadcasters about how they choose their stories.  Last year, some GOP lawmakers termed it an “end-around” the Fairness Doctrine and heavily criticized the study as well as the jurisdiction of the FCC to getting into content matters.  Earlier this week FCC commissioner Ajit Pai penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal arguing that the study is not necessary to filing its required report to Congress every three years on eliminating barriers to entry in the communications industry.  He writes, “This claim is peculiar.  How can the news judgments made by editors and station managers impede small businesses from entering the broadcast industry?  And why does the CIN (critical information needs) study include newspapers when the FCC has no authority to regulate print media?”  Whether or not the first field study slated for Columbia, South Carolina this spring gets underway as proposed or not remains to be seen.  Ad Week reports it was told by an FCC rep that the agency “has no intention of interfering in the coverage and editorial choices that journalists make.  We’re closely reviewing the proposed research design to determine if an alternative approach is merited.”

wgnlogoWGN to Program WKQX 87.7 Beginning Monday.  As tipped by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Tribune’s WGN will begin an LMA operation of WKQX-LP at 87.7 in Chicago starting Monday, February 17.  Feder reports that under terms of the LMA with license holder Venture Technologies Group, the deal commences Monday atbrandmeierjonathon 1:02 pm on the 17th, a minute after Cumulus Media drops the alternative rock simulcast with 101.1 FM.  President and general manager Jimmy de Castro tells Feder, “We’re outgrowing WGN with great talent.  Everything we have said we wanted to do is based on the strength of WGN and our personalities.  It’s all about getting the best spoken-word talent and getting more bandwidth.”  Vice president of creative content for WGN, Todd Manley, will announce a full lineup soon but mornings will begin with Jonathon Brandmeier who’s been doing a morning program on WGN.fm since last September.  Read Feder’s full story here.

hendriephilPhil Hendrie Exits AM/FM Radio.  Talk radio host and satirist Phil Hendrie announces he’s leaving the production and syndication of his daily AM/FM radio program after March 14 in order to fully focus on his podcast and other media ventures.  He’ll continue doing “The World of Phil Hendrie Show” on TuneIn, iTunes, the Sideshow Network and www.philhendrieshow.com.  He says that “Due to the tremendous positive growth this past year owing directly to his fans,” he’s decided that is the area where he should focus all his energies.  He adds, “The digital world is where we have made our living the last seven years so as radio attempts to find itself we’ll put our energy in our digital and online product, our animation project, my one man show and of course TV and film opportunities wherever they may occur.  To our fans, we haven’t gone anywhere!  Our daily show will continue” on digital platforms.

callahangerryGerry Callahan Remark Irks Dunkin’ Donuts; Company Cancels Ads on WEEI Affiliate Stations.  The Boston Globe is reporting that Canton, Massachusetts-based Dunkin’ Donuts has cancelled ad buys on stations in the region airing WEEI, Boston programming after WEEI morning co-host Gerry Callahan made a “disparaging comment,” presumably about the company’s donuts.  In the Globe piece, Entercom Boston VP and marketdunkin logo manager Phil Zachary says Callahan admits he “screwed up badly” with the off-the-cuff remark and that Zachary understands how Dunkin’ Donuts feels.  “You just don’t call somebody’s baby ‘ugly,’ even if it’s unintentional.”  Zachary wouldn’t say what Callahan’s words were.  He says the ad buy was not a lot of money but that’s not the point.  Dunkin’ Donuts has separate ad buys for WEEI, Boston, Callahan’s endorsements and WEEI’s O&O affiliate stations in Providence, Worcester and Springfield.  The Boston deal ended in January before Callahan’s comment.  Dunkin’ Donuts has been a long-time advertiser with WEEI, especially on Red Sox broadcasts which are ready to resume in a few months.  How the incident will affect that remains to be seen.

hhnewsteaserTALKERS to Publish 2014 Heavy Hundred on Monday, March 3.  The 2014 installment of one of TALKERS magazine’s most popular and, perhaps, controversial annual features – “The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” – is being readied for publication Monday, March 3, 2014.  Also known as “The Heavy Hundred” the ranked listing of 100 hosts and talent teams from around the country is based on a number of both quantitative and qualitative criteria and is determined by collective analysis of the TALKERS editorial board.  It includes local and national hosts from a variety of genres falling under the umbrella of “general” talk or “news/talk” radio covering politics, health, finance, relationships, consumer tech, popular culture and a variety of specialties. (TALKERS launched a special and separate Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk two years ago.)  Hosts on the list are selected from those working at the time of its publication on platforms that include commercial and public AM/FM radio as well as satellite radio (internet-only talk hosts are ranked by TALKERS in an annual feature titled “The Frontier Fifty”).   According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “It is no secret that economic restraints facing the industry these past few years have contributed to shrinking the number of individuals working on the air across the nation.  Although the 2014 edition of the Heavy Hundred will, of course, include many familiar names, the need for new blood, fresh voices and potential up and comers has never been greater.  Readers will find this year’s roster will feature a number of new names and first-timers, which is quite exciting!”  Companies interested in sponsoring segments of this widely-discussed and read (by hundreds of thousands of broadcasting industry members and consumers/listeners) feature should call 413-565-5413.

radiomercuryawardsRadio Mercury Awards Final-Round Judging Panel Announced. Chief judge Matt Eastwood helped assemble the jury for the 23rd annual Radio Mercury Awards.  The panel represents radio’s top advertising categories including automotive, communications, financial services, packaged goods, over-the-counter, retail, spirits, and quick-serve restaurants.  Final-round judging panel consists of JWT New York group creative director Jill Applebaum; BBDO New York executive creative director Chris Beresford-Hill; Cog NYC founder Wayne Best; Grupo Gallegos chief creative officer Pablo Buffagni; Young & Rubicam Group New York chief creative officer Jim Elliott; DDB Chicago executive vice president/executive creative director Mark Gross; Publicis New York executive creative director Joe Johnson; and Deutsch New York chief creative officer Kerry Keenan.  “This list is a ‘who’s who’ of well-established creative executives, and perennial award-winning agencies with a long history of creating exceptional, noteworthy creative executions,” remarks Eastwood, who is chief creative officer of DDB Worldwide Communications Group New York.  “More importantly, our panel consists of brilliant thought leaders who have a true love and appreciation for the greatest writer’s medium of all time, radio.”  Radio Creative Fund chair – and Radio Advertising Bureau president/CEO Erica Farber – adds, “We feel so incredibly privileged to have gathered such a pinnacle group of creative ambassadors for this year’s competition.  The bar has been set high, but I am confident this group will help ensure that the mission of the Radio Mercury Awards lives on as we award the best creative audio commercials over the past year.”  Prizes will be handed out in a variety of categories such as “Agency Production,” “Radio Station Produced,” “Student,” “PSA,” “Spanish Language,” and “Best of Show.”  Deadline for submissions is April 1, with the awards event taking place June 4 at New York’s Le Poisson Rouge.

scba logoSouthern California Broadcasters Association to Provide Quarterly Guidance Report. Planning and research material is for California advertising agencies, clients and its members. Southern California Broadcasters Association president Thom Callahan notes that, “The SCBA Quarterly Market Guidance Report fulfills a growing need among California ad agencies and clients to look ahead to the next quarter to learn, plan, create, and execute even more effective radio advertising campaigns based on market conditions, trends, and the upcoming quarter’s business environment.  As an additional service to the advertising community, the SCBA will encourage face-to-face planning and development meetings with advertising agencies and major clients to provide full-year guidance and customization of our extensive market research.”  The QMG report will give current and predictive regional economic data, radio category growth, and commentary on advertising and business trends.  The report uses regional economic development corporation reports, member reports on market trends, Miller Kaplan Arase data, and audience measurement data.  It will be posted late next month for second quarter 2014 guidance on the SCBA’s website (www.scba.com).

hdradio logoS-Class Mercedes-Benz to Have HD Radio. Mercedes-Benz of Mexico is launching its S-Class with HD Radio.  iBiquity Digital is the developer of the digital technology and its chief operating officer Jeff Jury states, “We are very pleased to achieve the key goal of North American standardization with Mercedes-Benz.  With this expansion, Mercedes-Benz drivers across Canada, Mexico and the United States have access to HD Radio technology in their cars.  This coincides with our continuing efforts to bring HD Radio broadcasting to all markets across North America.  By offering the technology as standard, Mercedes-Benz is ensuring that all their customers can enjoy the current services and be ensured of enjoying the coming ‘all-digital’ future.”  The 2014 S-Class is now at dealerships across the United States and Mexico. More than 2,230 digital stations are on-air; over 1,480 HD2 and HD3 digital-only channels broadcast content that can only be heard with an HD Radio receiver.

brunotonyOdds & Sods.  WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic” sports talker Tony Bruno is scheduled to begin making weekly appearances on Keith Olbermann’s ESPN 2 program.  The first appearance will be tonight (2/14) live from ESPN’s Times Square studios in New York City…..Cumulus Media’s KOH, Reno is holding a radiothon today at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa to benefit the Veterans Guest House which provides temporary housing for vets and their families while they are being treated at the Reno VA.  This is the 11th annual radiothon the station has produced for the cause…..CRN Digital Talk Radio announces the winners of its first annual Food & Wine Awards.  CRN Digital Talk Radio ishornmike celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and is home to several food and beverage-oriented programs.  It asked listeners to decide 2013′s Best Chef, Restaurant, Sommelier, and Winemaker.  President and CEO Mike Horn says, “Food and wine are best enjoyed with good company.  Our listeners deciding the year’s best of the best in the culinary and beverage arenas was very much akin to sitting down, honoring some great people, enjoying a fun meal.”  This year’s winners are: Best Chef of the Year – Andrew Sutton – Napa Rose, Anaheim; Best Restaurant of the Year – Gary Danko – San Francisco; Best Sommelier of the Year – Paul Coker – St. Regis, Monarch Beach; and Winemaker of the Year Jeff Stewart – Hartford Family Wines…..Broadcasts of New York Yankees baseball on new flagship sports talk WFAN-AM/FM, New York will debut with the February 27 exhibition game versus the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Yankees games moved from CBS RADIO‘s all-news WCBS after a new contract was negotiated in the fall.

floresdanielWichita Police Make Arrest in Case of Slain Radio Station Staffer.  Police in Wichita have a suspect in custody in the early Monday morning slaying of Steckline Communications employee Daniel Flores.  Authorities say that in responding to a Crime Stoppers tip, they pulled over Antwon Banks who proceeded to stab himself in the stomach.  He’s in a local hospital under police guard and will be booked on felony murder charges when he’s recovered.  He was apparently the ex-boyfriend of Steckline office manager Lisa Bryce, leading authorities to conclude that Flores was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

cclogoClear Channel Commits to Campaign for ‘American Heart Month.’  For the purpose of educating the public about heart disease, its risks and preventative measures, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment is committing more than $1 million worth of on-air media to that end.  Today (2/14), Clear Channel is kicking off a two-week public service announcement campaign across its 840 radio stations to educate listeners on the symptoms of heart disease and stroke in honor of American Heart Month.  Certain Clear Channel stations will air a comedic yet informative public service announcement voiced by Emmy-nominated actress Elizabeth Banks that highlights the signs of heart attack in women, while all other Clear Channel radio stations will air a second PSA, created by the Ad Council and the American Heart Association, to help people recognize and respond to the sudden warning signs of a stroke.

savagemichaelTALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  New station affiliations for Cumulus Media Networks programming this week include: for Michael Savage – WTAR, Norfolk; KMPT, Missoula, Montana; WQSI, Tuskegee, Alabama; and WWBA, Tampa; Phil Valentine – WCOA, Pensacola; Mark Levin – WGKA, Atlanta; KMPT, Missoula, Montana; and WVOC-FM, Columbia, South Carolina…..The Genesis Communications Network-syndicated “Freedom Feens” with Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi is added to the program schedule at KNOX-AM/FM, Grand Forks.

ramseybonesDave Ramsey Counsels Bobby Bones’ Staff and Listeners.  Nationally syndicated financial talk superstar Dave Ramsey (right) sits in on the Premiere Networks-syndicated Bobby Bones show based at WSIX-FM, Nashville, right down the road from Ramsey’s home base of Brentwood.  Ramsey appeared with Bones (left) after Bones show producer Ray lost his truck in a Super Bowl bet and is some $8,000 in debt.  Ramsey talked to the crew and audience about various topics including the terrible odds of gambling, tax withholding, and even the psychology behind using the debt snowball to pay off debt.

ObamaCare Criticism Tops Talkers TenTM.  The most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the week of February 10-14 was the scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act and the delay in the employer mandate, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  Coming in at #2 on this week’s Talkers TenTM was the debt ceiling issue.  At #3 was speculation about Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016 and at #4 was immigration reform.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

| February 5, 2014

bennettseatedsmallStill Pioneering After All These Years – 74-Year-Old Alex Bennett Is Building New Platform and Inventing “New” Talk Format.  Some view their own age and/or that of others as a roadblock – a barrier to achieving an untold number of additional hopes and dreams.  To others, age – more correctly – is merely a meaningless number with no attached strings or restrictions.  It would have been quite easy and understandable for radio legend Alex Bennett to take leave and retreat from the business in which he has been an integral part for several decades. After all, the legendary broadcaster was 73-years-old when Sirius XM unceremoniously pink-slipped him last June after more than nine years of service at the satcaster (he turned 74 two months ago).  Notwithstanding an imposing and lengthy list of accomplishments and vitae, which the native Californian could trumpet as an entree to retirement, he has become an entrepreneur with “Alex Bennett’s Great American Broadcasts” being the centerpiece of his novel take on talk radio.  Bennett is innovatively and opportunistically using Skype to create “citizen panels” of up to 10 callers per clip interacting with him in on-air conversation at a time.  To learn more about this creative venture and the ongoing adventures of one of radio’s truly cooler characters, read TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian’s feature piece posted today (2/5) in its entirety by clicking here.

siriusxmSiriusXM Reports Revenue Up 12% in 2013.  During yesterday’s Q4 conference call, SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer told investors and analysts that the company delivered on all of its guidance for 2013 and enjoyed a revenue spike of 12% for the year plus saw its subscriber base rise to 25.5 million.  Meyer, like Mel Karmazin before him, is touting the company’s dedication to increasing free cash flow and, to that end, Meyer reports free cash flow was up 31% to $927 million for the year.  Looking back onmeyerjim 2013 Meyer underscored the importance of deals that get SiriusXM radios into new cars and stated the satellite service is now available in 71% of cars sold in the United States.  Meyer also spoke about the company’s strategy with regard to the “connected vehicle,” saying, “We’ve acquired a smart team of technology engineers who are accelerating development of our overall connected car architecture, including the combination of satellite receivers with LTE hardware, a strategy that should also yield benefits to our existing audio business…We expect connected vehicle services to deliver close to $100 million of revenue this year, and we expect to grow this at strong double-digit rates over the next many years.  We are in the process of fully integrating the CV business into SiriusXM, and its financial results are embedded in our guidance today.”  Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript.  Members can check out the entire conference here.

missanellimikeGreater Media Suspends WPEN, Philadelphia’s Mike Missanelli for Gay Slurs.  This story goes to show how even a seasoned pro like Philadelphia sports talk host Mike Missanelli can make the mistake of engaging with a critic online.  Greater Media has suspended afternoon personality Mike Missanelli after he called a critic a “latent homosexual” in an email exchange.  The station issued the following statement, “We are aware of the email communications between Mike and one of his listeners.  This individual has been harassing Mike by email for several years, which is cause for concern, and we are working with Mike to try to identify this person and stop the abuse.  However, that does not excuse Mike’s conduct.  The content of his emails is unacceptable and does not reflect our values as a company.  Mike has been suspended and understands that future similar conduct will not be tolerated.”  The story broke after the email exchange was posted on Deadspin.com.

beasley logoBeasley Broadcast Group Beefs Up Digital Division.  In announcing the hiring of three new regional digital directors, Beasley reveals its dedication to digital sales efforts.  In a statement, vice president of digital Stacey Sedbrook speaks about the expectations after bringing Eddie Thorpe, Adam Meltzer and Carolyn Cope aboard.  “The formation of this team will surely be the foundation of our success.  Having the right people on my team is as important to me as having the right products and services to sell.  Eddie, Adam and Carolyn were hand selectedsedbrookstacey for their talents, capabilities and, most importantly, their nimble thinking.  Our objective is to drive revenues for our advertisers, especially those smaller businesses and growing brands in the communities we serve.  To achieve this goal, our regional digital directors will assist Beasley’s local market sales teams in creating enhanced advertising campaigns that include digital products and services tailored to the specific needs of our existing and new clients.”  Eddie Thorpe comes to Beasley from the Tampa Bay Times where he was senior digital director.  He’s responsible for the Miami and Fort Myers-Naples markets.  Adam Meltzer is responsible for the Philadelphia and Wilmington, Delaware markets.  He most recently was multimedia sales manager for Wicked Local.  Carolyn Cope also served with Wicked Local as senior digital account executive of major accounts and is now overseeing the Augusta, Georgia; Fayetteville, North Carolina; and Eastern North Carolina markets (Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville).  Sedbrook is responsible for the company’s Las Vegas group.

klattlenKlatt Yields the Winning Run.  In this case, that is a good thing as The Winning Run is the name of the full-service consultancy that Len Klatt is opening.  The former Premiere Networks senior vice president/director of research is gearing the new undertaking – which will have Los Angeles and New York City offices – to national media companies and talent, programming services and advertisers.  Among his clients are Sound Mind, Compass Media Marketing, Big Shoes Productions, Reel World, and The Blaze Radio Network.  “Len continues to do the best job industry wide in both interpreting audience numbers and explaining them to clients interested in exploring the value premise of audience engagement on radio, online, and in digital media,” comments Sound Mind president Kraig Kitchin, Premiere’s former president/chief operating officer.  “We are fortunate to have his talents for the benefit of our sponsors.”  Klatt remarks, “It is not just about columns and numbers, it’s about how they can be used to shape the story in such a way to advance my clients’ vision.  With The Winning Run, I want to cover all the bases.” Before the nearly two decades he spent at Premiere, Klatt was Westwood One‘s New York City-based director of research.  He began his media research career at Media Buying Services International.

learfieldsports logoLearfield Adds to Footprint with Nelligan Acquisition.  One of the leaders in college sports play-by-play rights is adding 41 schools to its roster with the acquisition of Nelligan Sports MarketingLearfield Sports will now hold the multi-media rights to 92 schools, which puts its total above that of its fiercest competitor – IMG Sports, which holds the rights to 79 schools.  Learfield president and CEO Greg Brown tells SportsBusinessDaily, “In some cases, this will open up new markets for us.  In other cases, it will further fortify what we’re doing…Early on in our discussions with Providence [Learfield owner Providence Equity Partners], we identified some strategic opportunities that would be productive for our business.  Nelligan is consistent with the business we’re already in.  This was right down the middle of the fairway for us.”  Nelligan Sports founder T.J. Nelligan will remain with the new company in a leadership role.  He comments that he doesn’t expect attrition with this merger.

wtoplogoOdds & Sods.  Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington is helping the National Multiple Sclerosis Society by naming it the station’s WTOP Charity of the Month recipient for February 2014.  Through the program the MS Society will receive more than $20,000 worth of in-kind contributions to support Multiple Sclerosis awareness and programs, including 64 promotional announcements on WTOP and sister station Federal News Radio.  Additional content and exposure for MS Society will be included on WTOP.com and FederalNewsRadio.com throughout the entire month of February…..Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago announces the next in its “Blackhawks Live” series when forwards Kris Versteeg and Brandon Saad take part in the live event at the Old Town Pour House in suburban Oakbrook on February 24.  The event includes a photo op with the players, an autographed photo and dinner, tax and tip.  “Blackhawks Live” is a series of one-hour radio broadcasts hosted over dinner throughout the year featuring current Blackhawks players, legends and management.  Blackhawks radio broadcasters John Wiedeman and Troy Murray host the event that includes a question-and-answer format between the hosts and the featured Blackhawks guests…..The New Jersey Broadcasters Association has created PSAs for member stations reminding drivers in the Garden State that it’s illegal to drive a vehicle that hasn’t had the snow and ice properly cleared off it.  Interested stations can visit www.njba.com for information…..The Radio Television Digital News Association names WBIR-TV, Knoxville news director Christy Moreno to its board of directors, representing Region 8, which includes Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and West Virginia.

ww1sochiWestwoodOne to Present Exclusive Coverage of Winter Olympics.  When the 2014 Olympic Winter Games commence in Sochi, Russia on Friday, WestwoodOne will be the exclusive network for audio coverage.  WestwoodOne’s programing will include: shortform coverage Olympic updates three times an hour, 24/7, from February 7- February 23; longform coverage – “Today in Sochi” including two hours of longform coverage for 17 consecutive nights; coverage of all U.S. Olympic Hockey (Men’s and Women’s) plus the gold medal games in Men’s and Women’s hockey regardless of who is playing.

loeschtheviewDana Loesch Visits ‘The View.’  Conservative talk media figure Dana Loesch – who just entered national syndication for her daily talk radio show via Radio America – appeared on ABC TV’s “The View” on Monday in her stead as a host on Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze where she hosts a daily, 5:00 pm program.  Pictured here (center) between the program’s Jenny McCarthy (left) and Sherri Shepherd (right), Loesch spoke about her conversion from a progressive liberal to her current conservative philosophy and fielded questions from the four co-hosts.

Obama Administration Splits with Some Democrats, Philip Seymour Hoffman Death/Heroin Use in America, Hillary in 2016, Immigration Legislation/Amnesty Component, ObamaCare Criticism, Financial Markets Activity, and Sochi Olympics Troubles Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/4).  The reported rift between Democrats on Capitol Hill and the Obama Administration on some issues; the aftermath of the death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman and the light it’s shed on heroin abuse in America; the prospect of Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016; the proposed immigration legislation working its way through Congress and the possibility of amnesty for current illegals; ongoing scrutiny of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; activity on the U.S. and world financial markets; and reports of the problems Russia is facing getting Sochi ready for the Winter Olympics were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, January 24, 2014

| January 24, 2014

kaymichael‘ESPN New York 98.7’ Host Michael Kay to Simulcast on the YES Network.  That’s the afternoon drive slot on the New York cable channel owned by the New York Yankees that’s been home to WFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa for the past 12 years ( a portion of that with former co-host Chris “Mad Dog” Russo).  This was not unexpected as the YES Network announces the multi-year deal that begins on February 3.  This is a good fit for YES as Michael Kay has been the play-by-play man for YES’ New York Yankees telecasts, and the host of the network’s “CenterStageyes logo with Michael Kay” interview show, since the network launched in March 2002.  He also hosts various programming specials on YES.  Network president of production and programming John J. Filippelli says, “Michael Kay is a New York sports institution, having covered the New York sports scene for more than 30 years.  Michael personifies the New York sports scene.  He boasts a constant stream of A-list guests, and gives passionate New York sports fans a platform to exchange their views.  Michael fits in perfectly with our programming lineup.  We also thank Mike Francesa for his 12-year partnership with YES.  Mike – along with Chris Russo when they co-hosted our simulcast for the first six years – played an important role in the launch and growth of YES.  We wish him all the best.”  Kay comments, “I’m really happy Don LaGreca and I are going to be simulcast on YES.  We have a great time doing the ESPN Radio show and that will come through even more with the visual aspect.  While it is still predominantly a radio show, I don’t think you should ignore the camera in the room and we are going to have fun with that.  The national reach of YES is going to allow even more people access.  And the people at YES, where I have worked since the onset, do everything first class so I’m sure the show is going to be presented in a great manner.  I can’t wait.”

nielsen logoNielsen’s ‘Connected Life Report’ Indicates Connected Car Becoming More Important.  The results of a new study by Nielsen dubbed the “Connected Life Report” shows consumers buying new vehicles are increasingly aware of the connected car and for many it is an important feature in buying a new car.  Nielsen says its study reveals “63% of connected car drivers said they looked for built-in features during the car-buying process.  Among those who purchased connected cars, the features drivers said were important included internet-enabled navigation (79%), safety alerts (76%), vehicle diagnostics (74%), and entertainment connectivity such as voice controls for communications and streaming audio (80%).”  When it comes to which connected car features were important to consumers, 42% stated that entertainment connectivity was “very important.”  (Fifty-one percent said emergency connectivity was “very important” and 49% stated internet-enabled navigation was “very important.”)

wherearetheynowEnvision’s ‘Where Are They Now?’ Comes to Madison.  At Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s sports talk WOZN, Madison, Envision Radio Networks’ “Where Are They Now?” with Ahmad Rashad joins the programming.  The company says the daily, 60-second vignette “tracks down all of the big names in sports and gives you their whereabouts since leaving the game.”  With “The Zone 1670 AM” now carrying the program, “Where Are They Now? with Ahmad Rashad” joins over 100 affiliates on the Envision Sports Network.

ricardorickieCBS RADIO’s WIP, Philadelphia to Broadcast ‘Wing Bowl 22’ in Spanish.  In keeping with this year’s theme of “doubles” due to this being the 22nd “Wing Bowl,” the action taking place at the Wells Fargo Center on Friday, January 31 will also be broadcast in Spanish on WIP’s HD3 channel.  WIP host Rickie Ricardo will be the Spanish play-by-play announcer for the world-famous chicken wing eating contest produced by the sports talk station.  Ricardo comments, “It’s an honor for me to be the first Spanish-language voice of this grand event known as ‘Wing Bowl 22!’”  Neither the World Series in baseball nor the postseason action of the NFL has the worldwide impact of the battle between Man vs Chicken Wing.  This will be a monumental moment in my career as well as for the huge Hispanic fan base.  I pledge to add the spice and heat of our culture to each mouthful.”  Ricardo is a radio veteran of 33 years and one of the country’s most high-profile bilingual air personalities.  Ricardo has been the play-by-play announcer for the Philadelphia Phillies Spanish broadcasts for the past seven years.  He is also the Spanish-language voice of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles and programming consultant for cable’s Music Choice Television Networks.

americanpublicmediaPublic Radio Chiefs Support FM Chip Push.  The chief executive officers of both NPR and American Public Media co-authored an opinion piece in the public media trade mag Current.org in which they express support for the move to activate FM chips in smartphones.  NPR acting president and CEO Paul Haaga and American Public Media CEO Jonnpr McTaggart write that because of the public’s need to have access to information during emergencies, the need is critical.  “Because of public radio’s role as a trusted media and information resource and an essential public-safety asset, we hope all stations will join us in calling upon the mobile phone industry to install and activate FM chips in all cellphones and smartphones.”  The two ask public stations to do two things: sign their stations up for NextRadio so listeners already using the app can identify and listen to said stations; and encourage listeners to contact their cell carriers and request they install and activate FM chips in smartphones.  Read the entire piece here.

Chris Christie Scandals Top Talkers TenTM.  The most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of January 20-24 was the Chris Christie scandals.  Coming in at #2 was the scrutiny and criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act.  At #3 was New York Governor Andrew Cuomo‘s and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s attacks on conservatives and following at #4 was the Eastern freeze and Western drought tied with global warming.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  To view this week’s entire chart, click here.

levinmarkTALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Cumulus Media Networks announces the Mark Levin show is added to the schedule at KNTF, Chico, California and the “Red Eye Radio” show joins the programming at KKAT, Salt Lake City and KBHS, Hot Springs, Arkansas…..Radio America’s Peter Schiff show joins the following stations: KFNN, Phoenix; WCKG-AM, Chicago; KLPW, St. Louis; WRSB, Rochester; WBNR, Poughkeepsie; KRAC, Marysville, California; KWBG, Boone, Iowa; and WLNA, Beacon, New York…..The XtreMedia-syndicated Kevin McCullough show is now airing in PM drive at WSHO-AM New Orleans.

wtmj logoCool Job Opportunity.  The Journal Broadcast Group is seeking an executive producer, news/web for news/talk WTMJ Radio/WTMJ.com in Milwaukee.  This full time job requires a bachelor’s degree in journalism, communication, media or related field.  Skills required include: Strong news judgment; ability to work and make vital decisions under pressure; must have sound knowledge of journalistic standards and libel laws; excellent written and verbal communication skills necessary; strong interpersonal, organizational and leadership skills essential; digital/web skills; on-air abilities commensurate with market.  Must have a minimum of 3 years as a reporter/anchor.  Assistant news director, news director or similar background preferred.  Duties will include: lead news staff and day-to-day operations of the news department.  Ensure that news vision, disciplines and standards are effectively implemented and monitored.  Schedule employees to ensure optimum staffing of the 24-hour news operation.  Oversee story assignments.  Report and anchor daily newscasts.  Supervise and participate in severe weather coverage.  Personnel management, maintain budgets and respond to other duties as assigned by the director of programming and news.  Send cover letter, links and resume to: Tom Langmyer, 720 E. Capitol Drive, Milwaukee, WI 53212 or tlangmyer@jrn.com.  Journal Broadcast Group is an equal opportunity employer.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

| January 23, 2014

rabRAB Connects Radio and Home Improvement Spending.  According to the Radio Advertising Bureau’s Finding Consumer Trends (F.C.T.) Report, “when consumers are determining their next home improvement project, radio ads influence that decision.  Also, listener trust is positively influenced when a favorite radio station personality promotes a particular home improvement project or service – especially among 18-34 year olds.”  Radio Advertising Bureau president and CEO Erica Farber adds, “The findings from the survey demonstrate radio’s ability to persuade and influence behavior.  With 75% of the survey respondents being homeowners, it’s clear that radio is a key medium for home farberericanewimprovement companies and services to reach their target audience.”  The study was conducted from October 29 to November 19, 2013 and queried over 12,300 respondents aged 18+ about their home improvement plans, timelines and estimated budgets.  The RAB worked with Presslaff Interactive Revenue on the study and determined some of the top goals of homeowners regarding home improvement projects.  Presslaff president Ruth Presslaff states, “The information from this report provides RAB members with the information they need to drive sales for their stations.  The identification of consumers’ home improvement goals and preferences is certain to open doors for radio sellers and create a dialogue with local home improvement businesses and services.”  The RAB and Presslaff are presenting a webinar on this study on January 30 for members.  To become an RAB member, please call Member Response at 800-232-3131.

hannityseanSean Hannity for Senator? Governor? President?  There’s often speculation in the media about the possibility high-profile personalities – especially those in the news/talk game – would ever run for public office.  Premiere Networks nationally syndicated radio star and Fox News Channel personality Sean Hannity entertained that notion during the #Ask Sean segment of his FNC show on January 21.  His response?  “The answer is ‘yes, I think about it.’” When asked about what office he’d consider, he responded, “I’m leaving New York as you know…so it would be either in Texas or Florida.”  If Hannity does seriously consider a run for office, it would be down the road as he indicates he has ties to New York for the near future – kids in school, etc. – and contractual obligations that have him working in New York.  In case you missed it, Hannity’s plans to leave New York come after Governor Andrew Cuomo made public comments critical of those with traditional conservative values including being pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, and opposed to same-sex marriage.  The idea of Sean Hannity being political office “material” is not new, especially as a concept floated in TALKERS.  Almost a decade ago the print version of this publication featured a bold cover with an artist’s rendition of a gray “mature” version of the handsome radio star delivering a mythical presidential press conference as the nation’s Commander in Chief.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, who is vehemently non-partisan as a function of his role in the broadcasting industry, makes no secret of his admiration for Hannity’s qualities as a person of substance and potential leadership skills outside the radio show world.  Regarding today’s news story, Harrison states, “Regardless of where you stand on his political positions, on the larger playing field of life, Sean Hannity is an extremely authentic human being with remarkable ‘people skills.’  I have witnessed him in action long enough and know enough radio broadcasters over the years to recognize how out of the ordinary he is.  Hannity might be a staunch conservative and Republican Party advocate, which serves a purpose in the mosaic of things in radio and the larger marketplace of ideas – but forget the stereotypes…he is also one of the most compassionate and generous human beings in terms of his day-to-day life, his charitable work, and his dealings with colleagues in the business of all stripes.  He also works a room (from the position of central player) better than anyone I have EVER seen, including Bill Clinton!  I’m not saying Sean Hannity will be president.  But I believe he would be extremely effective as a congressional or gubernatorial candidate in the right situation.  In the meantime, from a purely selfish perspective, I truly hope he forestalls any such ambitions for years to come.  We need people of his talent and character in this business and we need them now.”

spadaforadanDan Spadafora Named Brand Manager at WHTC, Holland, Michigan.  In West Michigan, Midwest Communications brings Dan Spadafora aboard as brand manager and morning drive personality at WHTC, Holland, Michigan (25 miles southwest of Grand Rapids).  Spadafora comes to WHTC from his most recent position with Clear Channel’s sports talk WMAX-FM, Grand Rapids “96.1 FM ESPN” and sister news/talk combo WOOD-AM/FM.  He says in a statement, “Radio to me has always been more than simply a job.  It is about providing a service to the community while also doing something I love.  I want to show that not only is radio alive and well, but this station in town can be a station people can depend on for local news and information.  ‘Holland’s Hometown Station’ should be a news leader.”

wexlersteveJournal Broadcast Group Re-Aligns; Separates Radio and TV.  The move means that Journal Broadcast Group EVP and GM for the Milwaukee TV and radio stations Steve Wexler takes on the new role of EVP of radio for the company.  Debbie Turner is named EVP of television.  Journal Communications president and CFO Andre Fernandez explains, “As we have invested in our broadcast businesses and expanded our geographic footprint over the last decade, we believe that repositioning our broadcast segment around television and radio recognizes the unique expertise we’ve always had in Journal Broadcast Group around each medium.  These changes also ensure the appropriate strategic focus and resourcing for each business, and should help us further improve our operational performance.”

coxmediagroupCox Media Group Announces Openings in Tampa Cluster.  With the promotion of Tim Clarke to director of digital audience and the departure of program director Michael Sharkey, Cox Media Group Tampa has three new programming positions as a result of organizational changes following these events.  Tampa VP and market manager Keith Lawless states, “CMG has invested the last four years in creating some of the biggest and most successful brands in Tampa Bay.  This is a very unique opportunity that CMG Tampa has not seen in decades.  The entire CMG family is eager to welcome the next programming leaders to help take these big brands to the next level.”  Positions include:

  • CMG Tampa Operations Manager (OM): This new position will oversee all programming and content for CMG Tampa’s six top rated FM brands. Those stations include WWRM “Magic 94.9,” WSUN “97X,” WPOI “HOT 101.5,” WHPT “102.5 The Bone,” WDUV “105.5 The Dove,” and WXGL “107.3 The Eagle.”  This individual will oversee all program directors and will report to the Tampa VP/market manager.  The OM will also have PD responsibilities for one or more stations.
  • WPOI/WSUN Program Director:  This individual will be responsible for the branding and growth of Tampa Bay’s most innovative 18-49 brands, “HOT 101.5” and “97X.”  In its third year in format, “HOT 101.5” is a top ranked CHR while “97X” delivers one of the deepest relationships with its listeners as America’s premiere Listener Driven Radio station.  This individual must have a track record of successfully developing brands as well as a deep understanding of emerging digital and social platforms. This position will report to the OM.
  • WHPT 102.5 The Bone Program Director: This person will be responsible for the overall operation of America’s hottest talk radio station.  “The Bone” has one of radio’s largest personalities with the highest ratings, all on Florida’s hottest signal.  The successful candidate will have a track record of successfully operating talk-based formats, working with high-profile talent, and creatively marketing and growing brands like “The Bone.”

Interested candidates should send their resumes and cover letter to Keith Lawless:  1015.Lawless@coxinc.com.

cookehollandTwitter Tip: Think Twice.  Broadcasters using Twitter to connect with their audience are offered some tips from media consultant Holland Cooke who writes the following.  Observation: You won’t lose followers by not Tweeting.  Twitter is a powerful tool.  I myself was a late-adopter, and I’m real impressed.  AND IT’S FREE…and that’s a double-edged sword.  Tip: Pretend that each Tweet costs you a dollar.  Why?  Watch your followers numbers.  They tend to go down right after you’ve Tweeted something, which, apparently, one or more followers didn’t find relevant.  Don’t take it personally!  Whoever just left (and I wish there was a way to know who) might’ve followed you in the first place because an earlier Tweet was as enticing as the one that turned ‘em off wasn’t.  You yourself will un-follow after perhaps even a Tweet doesn’t grab you.  Spam is spam, whatever the platform.  I was recently exposed to some research that demonstrated something you might find unsurprising: Tweets about one’s self get re-Tweeted less than Tweets which link to third party internet content.  In Contagious: Why Things Catch On (Simon & Schuster), Wharton prof Jonah Berger writes, “People like to pass along practical useful information.  News others can use.”  Social media is sharing.  Facebook seems to be degenerating into pictures of what the waiter just delivered.

stigallchrisOdds & Sods.  WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive talk host Chris Stigall got the chance to do an in-studio segment with WestwoodOne syndicated talk host, SNL alum and comic Dennis Miller as the latter was on the East Coast for a stand-up gig at a nearby Delaware casino.  The two talked about Jimmy Fallon succeeding Jay Leno, his take on the job President Obama is doing and a look ahead to a possible Chris Christie-Hillary Clinton race in 2016…..Nationally syndicated Nashville-based talk host Phil Valentine will appear on Fox Business Channel this evening (1/23) to discuss the issue of global warming on John Stossel’s program.  Valentine recently produced the film “An Inconsistent Truth” challenging current global warming conclusions.  Also appearing on tonight’s show are Bill Nye the Science Guy and Marc Morano who runs the website ClimateDepot.com…..Fox Sports Radio Network is announcing it will be broadcasting live from New York next week leading up to Super Bowl XLVIII as it has for the past 13 years.  Beginning Monday, Fox Sports Radio will bring listeners programming and updates from several locations throughout New York City as the Dan Patrick show, “Jay Mohr Sports,” J.T. The Brick and “Steve Gorman SPORTS!” broadcast live from the center of the action…..Once again ESPN Deportes Radio is presenting play-by-play of the Super Bowl in Spanish.  Coverage will begin with a three-hour special Super Bowl preview from the stadium with analysis by Kenneth Garay, Sebastian Christensen, Eduardo Martell, Carlos Arratia and Marcelo Sandrin.  Game coverage starts at 6:00 p.m. with Garay (play-by-play) alongside Christensen (analysis) in the booth, and Sandrin reporting from the field…..The San Franciso 49ers name former NFL player Tim Ryan color analyst for 49ers radio broadcasts.  He replaces Eric Davis and will work with Ted Robinson.  Cumulus Media‘s sports KNBR and rock KSAN serve as flagships for San Franciso football games.

Global Warming/Eastern Freeze-Western Drought, Roe v. Wade Anniversary, ObamaCare Rollout, Bob McDonnell Investigation, ‘Real’ U.S. Unemployment Figures, and Iran Nuclear Deal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/22).  The freezing winter weather affecting the East and the Western drought plus talk of their possible relationship to global warming; the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision that made abortion legal; criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; the investigation of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell on corruption charges; the report that the real unemployment figure in the United States is over 30%; and the deal being struck with Iran over its nuclear program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

| January 21, 2014

millerchrisShort Ideas for a Short Week.  As the industry returns from a holiday weekend, digital media consultant Chris Miller offers some quick thoughts regarding your digital efforts.  If you’re still wondering about the changes Facebook made that affect the way content lines up on your news feed, Miller has three items to consider.  Also check out his thoughts on the type of content you put on your station website and whether that content lines up with your brand’s “message.”  Plus, Chris has a final word about attitude.  Check it all out here.

wiplogoPromotions Conflict at Philly Eatery Brings Abrupt End to Live Broadcast.  The Philadelphia Daily News is reporting that the quick shutdown of a WIP, Philadelphia remote broadcast with afternoon hosts Anthony Gargano and Rob Ellis at Chickie’s & Pete’s may not have been the result of an ISDNwpenamfm breakdown but the fact that rival Greater Media sports talker WPEN personality Jon Marks was also at the establishment for a personal appearance.  The paper reports that about 30 minutes into Gargano’s and Ellis’ broadcast, WPEN’s Marks arrived along with rock WMMR jock Matt Cord for a $1,000 MetroPCS giveaway in another part of the pub.  The Daily News goes on to write that Chickie’s & Pete’s management tried to move Marks and Cord to a different part of the restaurant but Greater Media refused.  CBS tells the paper the ISDN problem was the issue and while no one else is commenting, it appears it could have been nothing more than a scheduling snafu that ruffled the feathers of the stations involved.

wmen logoLinder Joins WMEN, West Palm Beach for Afternoons.  The JCE Licenses-owned sports talk station names Jon Linder host of the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm show, replacing Andy Slater who left for Clear Channel’s sports talk WINZ, Miami “The Sports Animal” in December.  Linder joined WMEN as a fill-in host last year.  He’s worked at Beasley’s WQAM, Miami serving as a sports reporter and studio host during Miami Hurricanes football broadcasts from 2010 through 2012.

rizzotonyCleveland Host Faces Jury Trial in Domestic Violence Charge.  WKNR, Cleveland sports talk host Tony Rizzo will appear in Medina Municipal Court on February 27 for a jury trial after being accused of domestic assault by his wife Catherine Rizzo in December.  Rizzo remains on the air at Good Karma-owned WKNR.  The company issued a statement after the incident leading to the charge calling Rizzo “an exemplary teammate and member of the community and his status with us is unaffected.”  Police were called to Rizzo’s home after his wife called them saying she had locked herself in the bathroom after Rizzo choked her and hit her in the face.  Rizzo pleaded not guilty on December 9.

kcaa logoKCAA, Lorma Linda, California First to Accept Bitcoins for Airtime.  The Fred Lundgren-owned news/talk station that serves the Riverside/San Bernardino market is claiming it’s the first radio station in North America to Bitcoins as payment for advertising and airtime.  The station says it signed its first programming agreement purchased with Bitcoin on January 17.  KCAA utilized a service called “Coinbase” to process the payment.  Lundgren comments, “Our first transaction paid us 9.4 Bitcoins, which Coinbase displayed as approximately $7,200.00 USD. These funds will appear in our bank account in two to three business days.”  Lundgren adds, “The value of Bitcoin as a digital currency will grow as more businesses accept it.  I predict it will become a viable alternative to ever increasing bank charges.”

berrymichael2Houston Talk Host Michael Berry Emcees Senate Campaign Fundraiser.  KTRH, Houston-based talk show host Michael Berry is headlining a fundraiser for U.S. Senate candidate Col. Rob Maness (USAF, Ret.) on Friday, January 24, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  Berry’s program is heard on stations across the U.S. including on WJBO, Baton Rouge from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Maness is running for the Senate seat currently held by Democrat Mary Landrieu.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Sochi Olympics Terror Threats, Syria Torture Allegations, ObamaCare Criticism, Wendy Davis Bio Questioned and Chris Christie Sandy Aid Charge Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/20).  The Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday; concerns over security at the Sochi Winter Games; new allegations of the Assad regime’s use of torture in Syria’s civil conflict; criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis’ life story disputed by critics; and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie faces charges of misappropriating Hurricane Sandy aid were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

| January 15, 2014

scba logoEye-Popping Southern California Broadcasters Association Traffic Data. It would only state the obvious that the love affair Southern Californians have with their cars continues; nonetheless traffic data the Southern California Broadcasters Association (SCBA) developed in cooperation with the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) and the California Household Travel Survey (CHTS) is quite impressive.  It reveals a record-breaking 16.5 million vehicle trips are made each weekday from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm in Southern California.  SCBA president Thom Callahan remarks, “This level of hourly driving activity dramatically showcases the immense mobility and density of Southern California driving habits and the critical role that driving has in our daily lives.  Southern California is a massive car-driving region with our driving population making multiple vehicle trips throughout the working week.  Our region’s astounding amount of daily vehicle trips exceeds the entire populations of most west coast metro areas including San Francisco, Seattle, and Sacramento, as well as multiple state populations including Illinois.  This critical data takes on increased urgency as advertisers wrestle with the best ways to invest their media budgets.  The case for radio advertising has never been stronger.  This data offers 16.5 million compelling reasons why Southern California radio is the solution for any advertiser.”  The Southern California region includes Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, and Imperial counties. Vehicle trips are defined as origin-destination driving and were then aggregated for average weekday by hour for the entire region.

kywmonetti13CBS RADIO’s KYW, Philadelphia Teaches and Rewards the Next Generation.  For more than 47 years, KYW, Philadelphia has been giving high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to learn the radio news business from the pros.  This year, for five weeks beginning in October, students from high schools throughout the Delaware Valley region came to KYW to learn news writing, reporting, ethics and interviewing skills from station managers, editors, reporters and anchors.  After the fall program ends, the station rewards the student deemed to have the most enthusiasm and potential with the Richard Monetti Scholarship – a $2,000 cash award.  This year’s recipient is Avon Grove High School senior Alicia Stearn (pictured here at center).  Stearn was one of 105 students to graduate from the 2013 Fall Newstudies program.  The scholarship was named in honor of the 1986 Newstudies graduate who was killed in the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988.  Pictured here with Stearn are Monetti’s parents Bob and Eileen Monetti.  CBS RADIO Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield states, “KYW Newsradio is proud to continue the annual tradition of introducing high school students to the broadcast industry.  Our hope in rewarding these exceptional students is that they will continue pursuing a media career and become tomorrow’s leaders.”  Rayfield is also a former Newstudies graduate.  At the same time, the station announces Christopher Jastrzembski of La Salle College High School, was recognized with the Mark Drucker Internship Award in honor of KYW Newsradio reporter Mark Drucker, who met an untimely death in 2005. Jastrzembski will spend the summer working in the KYW Newsradio newsroom.

ksco logoAll Hell Breaks Loose On Air at KSCO, Santa Cruz Over Impromptu Duck Dynasty Parody.  While some listeners thought it was a set-up, extremely reliable inside sources assure TALKERS that the wildly emotional outburst that erupted on air at KSCO, Santa Cruz yesterday afternoon (1/14) was in fact quite real.  San Francisco-based 415 Media blogger Rich Lieberman, who also does a show on the independent Michael Zwerling-owned local news/talk outlet, was filling in as host on the afternoon program for rising star Ethan Bearman who was up the road doing some fill-in of his own on KSFO, San Francisco.  During a conversation with his producer/co-host Dave Michaels, Lieberman launched into an impromptu “San Francisco-style” parody of the hit reality TV show “Duck Dynasty” in which he depicted its controversial star Phil Robertson as being gay and having “anal” interest in the mailman.  After a few minutes of the risqué on-air antics, station chief engineer Bill Graff was so offended and concerned about the legality of the broadcast that he burst into the studio and began screaming at Lieberman to stop immediately because he was allegedly in violation of FCC rules regarding indecency and that HE (Graff) would take the blame because as the station’s chief operator he was legally responsible for the transmitter at the time of the broadcast and thus accountable for any offensive language that was broadcasted during his watch (not necessarily legally accurate but that’s another story). He threatened to turn the station off the air if the routine was not halted.   In the meantime, adding to the chaos, station-owner Michael Zwerling, who had not heard Lieberman’s “Duck Dynasty” comments, HAD, however, just received a strongly-worded, very critical email about Lieberman in general from a regular listener that prompted him to go into the live studio to read the email on the air to Lieberman and invite comments from callers (yes, folks, there still ARE stations out there like this).  On the way he encountered the very upset Graff who insisted that Lieberman immediately be pulled off the air and banished from the station for all time. Zwerling explained to Graff that he must first listen to a recording of Lieberman’s comments to determine whether such harsh (or any) punishment was warranted — and (ever the showman) then invited Graff to go on the air to discuss this issue which prompted Graff to burst in on the show.  After he listened to the entire segment, Zwerling concluded that while he respects and appreciates Graff’s position and concern for the welfare and reputation of KSCO, Lieberman’s comments and delivery were “funnier than hell, extremely entertaining, and not requiring any discipline directed at Lieberman.”  To hear a 16 minute audio clip of the radio fireworks, including its setup, please click below to hear the audio.

 

bearmansussmanMeantime, While All the Chaos Was Breaking Out Down the Highway at KSCO (see story above)… Rising star Ethan Bearman – dubbed by Michael Harrison “One of the most exciting new ‘independent’ voices to come along in news/talk radio in years,” took a two day leave from his program at the Santa Cruz news/talker to do a mid-morning fill-in stint at Cumulus O&O KSFO, San Francisco where he received rave reviews.  No surprise, Bearman is a special talent.  He’s pictured here (right) during the changing of the shifts with KSFO morning host and Bay Area media icon Brian Sussman (left).

stockalanTalk Hosts Broadcast from S.H.O.T. Convention in Las Vegas.  Two radio talk show hosts will set up their remote equipment in Las Vegas tomorrow and Friday in Las Vegas convention hall space at the Shooting, Hunting andlarsonlars Outdoor Travel show – S.H.O.T.  Local talk host Alan Stock – heard on Beasley’s KDWN – tells TALKERS magazine the private/closed trade show contacted him several months ago to participate and broadcast live and he says he couldn’t say no.  Nationally syndicated talk host Lars Larson – who also does a regional show from his home base at KXL, Portland – says he’s broadcast from the show in the past and is looking forward to this year’s show where he’ll also be broadcasting on both days.  Larson says rocker and hunting enthusiast Ted Nugent will be on his program to kick off the day-two broadcast on Friday.

deacesteveTalk Hosts Tryout on WNYM, New York.  Syndicated talk radio host Steve Deace is sitting in on the afternoon program at Salem Communications’ New York City news/talk station WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” this week (Monday through Thursday).  The daypart is open since the departure of Curtis Sliwa to crosstown WABC at the beginning of this month.  On Friday, the Baldwin/McCullough program – featuring actor Stephen Baldwin and talk show host Kevin McCullough – will air in the afternoon slot.  Baldwin and McCullough also hosted the show for two days last week.

NFL Championship Sunday Doubleheader on WestwoodOne. With the exception of the Super Bowl itself, this coming Sunday (1/19) is the biggest day of the NFL season. That is when the AFC championship game matches up the New England Patriots versus the Denver Broncos at 2:00 pm Eastern, followed at approximately 6:15 pm by the NFC championship contest pitting the San Francisco 49ers against the Seattle Seahawks. WestwoodOne Sports will broadcast both ends of the “Championship Sunday” doubleheader, as each winner advances to the Super Bowl. The network’s Kevin Harlan (play-by-play), Dan Fouts (analyst) and Tim Ryan (sidelines) will handle the Patriots-Broncos game, while Kevin Kugler (play-by-play), James Lofton (analyst) and Mark Malone (sidelines) have the 49ers-Seahawks assignment. Scott Graham hosts pregame, halftime, and postgame shows for both broadcasts.

siriusxmdiazActress Cameron Diaz Appears on SiriusXM in Live Audience Interview Program.  Hollywood star Cameron Diaz (left) sat down with SELF magazine editor-in-chief Lucy Danziger (right) before a live studio audience at SiriusXM’s New York headquarters recently to talk about health and nutrition and her new book, The Body Book: The Law of Hunger, the Science of Strength, the Power of Knowledge, and Other Ways to Love Your Amazing Body (HarperWave 2014).  The program received its initial airing today and will be re-broadcast this weekend and early next week.

Gates Book Controversy, Florida Movie Theater Killing, Net Neutrality Overturned, New NSA Spy Tactics, John Kerry Middle East Mission, Chris Christie Scandal Fallout, and Obama Executive Order Threats Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/14).  The controversial criticism of a sitting president by former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in his memoirs; the shooting death of a Florida moviegoer by a retired police chief; a court’s overturning of the FCC’s net neutrality policy; new computer spy tactics being used by the NSA; criticism by Israeli officials of Secretary of State John Kerry’s mission to secure an Israeli-Palestinian peace solution; ongoing fallout for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie after the bridge traffic scandal; and President Obama’s threat to use executive orders to enact policies were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

| January 14, 2014

dollarsignJohn Hogan’s Exit from Clear Channel Cushioned with Cash.  Although the official line from former Clear Channel Media + Entertainment chairman and CEO John Hogan and the company is that he wanted to “spend more time with his family” and the time was right, a fair number of jaded industry watchers will never believe he wasn’t forced out – especially just seven months after he was moved to the company’s New York City offices to work more closely with CC Media Holdings chairman and CEO Bob Pittman.  The company’s 8-K filing details what Hogan is walking away with after his time leading the division.  Here’s what he can counthoganjohn on: $900,000, representing the amount previously earned by Hogan pursuant to a supplemental incentive plan with respect to 2012 performance; an annual bonus of $77,250 for performance during 2013; and a prorated annual bonus with respect to the days he was employed during 2014.  Pursuant to the Separation Agreement and in consideration of the extension by Mr. Hogan of certain restrictive covenants applicable to him, the vesting of 93,076 restricted shares of Class A Common Stock of CCMH granted to Mr. Hogan on October 22, 2012 will be accelerated and CCMH will repurchase 83,938 of such shares (the aggregate repurchase amount of such repurchased shares, the “Repurchase Amount”), provided Mr. Hogan does not revoke the Separation Agreement.  Additionally, in exchange for the Separation Agreement, Mr. Hogan’s release of claims and the extension of certain restrictive covenants applicable to him, and provided that Mr. Hogan does not revoke the Separation Agreement, CCB agreed to pay Mr. Hogan: $333,000, representing the remaining amount earned by Mr. Hogan pursuant to a supplemental incentive plan with respect to 2011 performance; an “equity value preservation payment” equal to $1,027,355, paid in a lump sum payment; a lump sum severance payment equal to (x) $1,538,000 minus (y) the Repurchase Amount; a severance payment equal to $3,297,000, paid over 36 months; and a payment of $1,000,000, paid over 12 months, beginning on the first anniversary of the date of separation.  Hogan is also entitled to receive continued healthcare coverage for 36 months, continued secretarial services for 6 months, $20,000 in outplacement services, and a housing allowance of $25,000 per month for up to 9 months, which amount is grossed up for certain applicable taxes; provided, that the housing allowance payments will stop if Mr. Hogan ceases to have obligations under the terms of his current lease agreement.  CCB also will pay up to $25,000 for Mr. Hogan’s reasonable legal fees incurred in connection with the negotiation of the Separation Agreement.

hannityseanSean Hannity to Air on Salem’s WDTK, Detroit.  The Motor City destination for Premiere NetworksSean Hannity show is Salem Communications-owned WDTK.  The program will air live in the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot.wdtk logo  It previously was heard on crosstown news/talk WJR since its 2001 national debut.  WDTK general manager Chris MacCourtney states, “The opportunity to bring Sean Hannity aboard was one we felt we could not pass up.  Sean was an instant hit when he came to Detroit and he continues to be one of the most popular talk personalities in the market.  He will join an already solid lineup of talk talent on ‘News/Talk 1400.’”  Since the first of the year, Hannity’s program had been added to Salem outlets WIND, Chicago; WWRC, Washington; and KSKY, Dallas.

quigleyalexDouble Shot of WGN, Chicago News.  Two items from Tribune’s WGN, Chicago: First, as Chicago media writer Robert Feder reported over the weekend, assistant program director Alex Quigley has been upped to operations manager at news/talk WGN, Chicago.  Quigley worked in the market at former Emmis alternative rock WKQX as interactive program manager.  When he first came to WGN he hosted the weekend show “ChicagoNow Radio” and “Chicago Preps Plus.”  WGN vice president of creative content Todd Manley said in a memo to staffers, “This is a recognition of Alex’s role in our expanding future…He’ll be mentoring producers and searching for new talent that builds our farm system, coordinating special programming, scheduling, digging deep on ratings analysis, and dreaming big dreams.”  Second,jacobsonwalter longtime television news personality Walter Jacobson brings his “Perspective” commentaries to the station beginning this Thursday.  Robert Feder reports that the longtime WBBM-TV anchor who exited the station last February will present his 90-second feature on Thursdays during Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano’s midday show and they will be repeated on the weekend during “The Sunday Spin: Politics with Rick Pearson” program.  Jacobson will also appear as a contributor to various shows on WGN.  Jacobson tells Feder, “Having been listening to WGN Radio since the day I became a reporter, and believing it’s the best in the business, I’m thrilled to be joining the team.  For me, it’s a perfect fit at a perfect time.  The station’s coming back, and 2014 is going to be an intriguing and exciting year in Chicago’s wild and woolly politics.”

salemcommunicationsSalem Communications Buys Eagle Publishing for $8.5 Million.  It had been reported recently that this deal was on the way and now it’s official as Salem Communications enters into a deal to purchase the assets of Eagle Publishing that includes conservative book publisher Regnery Publishing, and digital properties RedState.com and HumanEvents.com.  In a statement, Salem CEO Edward Atsinger IIIeaglepub logo says, “Eagle is one of the most influential companies in the conservative media space.  Its addition to Salem brings together a unique portfolio of conservative media properties and fits with our strategy of integrating traditional media and new media assets all serving the same target audience.  The opportunity we like most about this acquisition is that each of Eagle’s businesses matches up so well with Salem’s extensive media platform.  With 102 radio stations and a dozen major national websites all targeting the conservative community, this provides a perfect marketing platform to promote Eagle’s products to a wider audience.”  The purchase price is $8.5 million and current Eagle CEO Jeff Carneal will exit the organization as a result of the acquisition.

sternhoward‘A-List’ Talent Jon Bon Jovi and John Fogerty Added to Howard Stern Birthday Broadcast.  The January 31 birthday bash broadcast for SiriusXM’s Howard Stern just added two more “A-list” talents as Jon Bon Jovi and John Fogerty will join Steven Tyler, David Letterman and Louis C.K. for the show to be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel live from the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City.  On his program, Stern announced, “We have told you on the music side of things that we have Steven Tyler coming by to do a little number in honor of my birthday, I’m so honored…[today] I am excited [to announce that]…Jon Bon Jovi is going to perform…I am very excited to see Jon and thank him for that.  And also one of my heroes will perform that night—one of the greats, the all-time greats.  A guy whose every record I bought when he was in Creedence Clearwater Revival, and later his solo stuff, John Fogerty will come by to perform two great songs – I won’t say what the songs are, [but] we’re really excited about that…the list just begins there, Robin, it just begins there [there is] a huge amount of musicians coming by to help us out…it’s great.”

dubayjeffSports Talk Host Jeff Dubay Exits KSTP, Minneapolis in Budget Move.  Twin Cities sports talk personality Jeff Dubay, who fought a public battle against drug addiction to return to the airwaves in the market on Hubbard Radio’s KSTP, has left the station in what he says is a budget-related move.  The Star-Tribune reports Dubay – who worked at Clear Channel’s “KFAN” sports talk brand for 10 years before a crack cocaine addiction sidelined him – sent social media messages indicating that he was let go from the late morning show he co-hosted with Judd Zulgad because of financial reasons.  The station posted a message on its Facebook page confirming the matter was financial and not performance related.  The paper reports KSTP waived Dubay’s non-compete and he is free to work in the market if the opportunity arises.

shannonmikecardsShannon Staying With the Redbirds. St. Louis Cardinals fans will continue to hear Mike Shannon as the voice of the National League team that appeared in the 2013 World Series, as the former MLB player signs a two-year contract extension.  This will be Shannon’s 42nd year as a Cardinals broadcaster and 56th year with the team.  According to club president Bill DeWitt, “Mike’s voice has become the soundtrack to St. Louis baseball.  We look forward to having him back in the booth this season and for years to come.”  It is anticipated that Shannon will call all Cardinals’ home games this year for St. Louis flagship KMOX and roughly 30 road games for the CBS Radio-owned talk station.  Fox Sports Midwest‘s Rick Horton and former lefty relief pitcher Al Hrabosky will do the remaining road games.  Shannon will continue his work throughout the year on KMOX pre-game, post-game, and morning drive call-in segments.

mhblasingamebookGreat Read!  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison is pictured intensely absorbing the new book authored by independently syndicated talk show host Jim Blasingame titled The Age of the Customer: Prepare for the Moment of Relevance  (2014 SBN Books).  Blasingame is the longtime host of the very successful program “The Small Business Advocate Show” which is targeted to helping independent entrepreneurs and business owners cope with the day-to-day issues that face people running their own companies during this era of rapidly accelerating change.  This book, Blasingame’s third, is “his best work yet,” according to Harrison and “must-reading for anyone out there on the perilous high seas of today’s turbulent marketplace…especially those who are doing it independently without the backing of the Wall Street/banking/big-time money machine.”  Harrison goes on to say, “This includes those brave and hardy ‘Davids’ owning and operating independent radio stations and small groups, syndication companies and internet communications startups bucking the death grip of today’s mega-corporate ‘Goliaths.’”  The premise of the book is that small business owners are operating at a time that is so momentous it has never happened before.  Blasingame, a veteran of TALKERS magazine’s Heavy Hundred, identifies it as an epochal marketplace shift that’s causing the 10,000 year old Age of the Seller to be replaced by the Age of the Customer.  With an introduction by Steve Forbes, Blasingame’s book reveals how these two ages are existing concurrently in parallel universes, and how much time business-people have left to join the emerging universe.  He says relevance is replacing competitiveness and explains how to recognize when you arrive at the “moment of relevance,” how to connect with “new-influencers” who co-own your brand message; why you must be a good storyteller; the good, the bad and the ugly of social media; and he identifies the “killer app” that wasn’t a part of your past but will dominate your future.  Broadcasters interested in learning more about this book and perhaps scheduling Jim Blasingame as a guest can visit AgeoftheConsumer.com or email jim@jbsba.com.

cpb logoWHYY, Philadelphia-Led Local Journalism Center Awarded CPB Grant.  The recipient organization of a Corporation for Public Broadcasting grant for $1.5 million is the new multimedia local journalism center (LJC), Keystone Crossroads — a collaboration of Pennsylvania public media stations.  The new Keystone Crossroads is led by WHYY, Philadelphia.  Pittsburgh’s WQED and WESA FM, Central Pennsylvania’s WPSU and Harrisburg’s WITF will be partner stations.  The LJC will focus on the challenges the cities are facing, including a shrinking tax base and crumbling infrastructure, and enormous budget deficits.  The Corporation for Public Broadcasting  states, “By combining smart storytelling with energetic civic engagement, Keystone Crossroads will help Pennsylvanians see the challenges of their cities more clearly, understand how they are related, and create a forum for potential solutions at both the local and state levels.”  CPB president Pat Harrison adds, “Local Journalism Centers are really centers of collaboration comprising public media stations working together to report on local stories with significant impact.  This kind of focused collaboration ensures in depth reporting on issues of importance and concern to Pennsylvanians and of interest to all Americans.”  In addition to Keystone Crossroads, CPB  funds six other LJCs across the country, including:  EarthFix based in the Northwest; Fronteras in the Southwest; Harvest in the Midwest; Innovation Trail in upstate New York, the Southern Education Desk in the South, and most recently the Energy LJC in the Rocky Mountains.

Chris Christie Scandal, Hillary Clinton in 2016, New Congressional Spending Deal, ObamaCare Enrollment Status, A-Rod Suspension/Legal Challenge, and Golden Globe Awards Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/13).  The ongoing analysis of the Chris Christie lane closure scandal and apology press conference; speculation about Hillary Clinton’s plans to run for president in 2016; the new $1 trillion spending plan approved by Congress; enrollment in healthcare plans via the Affordable Care Act; Alex Rodriguez 162-game suspension and his plans to challenge the arbitration ruling; and the aftermath of Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Industry Mourns Talk Pioneer Bob Grant

| January 2, 2014

NEW YORK — Bob Grant, who ranked eleventh in TALKERS magazine’s 20th anniversary Heaviest Hundred (published in 2010), which lists “the 100 most important radio talk show hosts of all time,” died on December 31 at  84 years old after a brief illness.

grantbobGrant, whose signature opening line in New York radio was “Let’s be heard!,” drove his rollercoaster career through numerous stations in New York City where listeners followed some of the more racially-charged issues in town.

Brash and confident for a guy who stood 5-foot seven, Grant was described by TALKERS in the July/August 2010 issue as an “infamous watchdog of public figures, 40-plus years in New York radio.”

Upon learning of Grant’s death, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison stated, “He was a founding father of modern talk radio whose influence on broadcasting technique, style and societal role go way beyond the boundaries of conservative broadcasting.”

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Friday, December 13, 2013

| December 13, 2013

westwoodone logoCumulus Announces Closing of WestwoodOne Acquisition.  Although the Department of Justice’s anti-trust division is still reviewing the merger, Cumulus Media Inc. announces the completion of the $260 million deal.  Cumulus says that although the merger was not subject to the pre-closing notification requirements of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act,cumulus logo the review is taking place and it can’t predict if the DOJ will elect to seek, or obtain, any remedies, or the effect that any remedies may have on its business, financial condition or results of operations.  Cumulus maintains it does not believe the deal raises any anti-competitive issues.  Back to the deal, Cumulus notes it consists of approximately $45 million attributable to the equity of WWO and the retirement of $215 million of debt of WWO.  Cumulus used cash on hand, including approximately $238 million in cash proceeds from the Company’s previously completed sale of 53 radio stations to Townsquare Media, LLC.

cookehollandNews/Talk #1 Format Reports Nielsen from Client Conference.  Among the information shared at this week’s two-day Nielsen Client Conference was the capper at the end of day two when Nielsen director of programming services Jon Miller announced the results of the company’s top ten formats of 2013 based on AQH share in the 48 PPM-rated markets.  The news was particularly good for news/talk as it tops the pile with a 6+ AQH share of 9.3.  It’s also been a good year for CHR which comes in #2 with an 8.2 share.  Following, in order, are: country – 7.8 share; adult contemporary – 7.7 share; hot AC – 5.5 share; classic hits – 5.3 share; urban AC 5.0 share; and sports talk and classic rock tie with a 4.3 share.  There was much more discussed as consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke writes about the attending CEOs who lamented the industry’s status quo mentality as well as more presentations about integrating social media into listener interaction, and much more.  Read Holland Cooke’s piece here.

whitmanbrianBrian Whitman Signs Extension with Salem’s KRLA, Los Angeles.  Longtime Los Angeles radio personality Brian Whitman inks a deal to continue his work as morning drive personality on Salem Communications’ KRLA, Los Angeles.  Whitman will remain part of “The Morning Answer” on “AM 870 The Answer” alongside Ben Shapiro and Elisha Krauss.  Whitman has also worked at such LA signals as KIIS-FM, KLSX-FM and KABC-AM as well as WABC, New York.krlalogo  Salem VP/director, spoken word format Phil Boyce comments, “Brian Whitman is one of the most talented voices on Los Angeles radio, and we are delighted to keep this growing show together for the foreseeable future.  I have worked with Brian since 1996 when I hired him at WABC in New York, and used him across the country as one of the funniest voice over guys on the air.  But his skills go much beyond comedy voices.  He has grown into a very talented talk show host doing morning drive in Market #2.”  Whitman adds, “I’ve been truly blessed to be on the air here in Los Angeles since 1991.  I am excited about the continued growth of our radio show, our station and our brand.  I am so grateful for the truly overwhelming support I’ve received from Salem’s chief executive officer Ed Atsinger, and the entire management team.”

hayworthjdJ.D. Hayworth Subs for Cumulus Media Networks as Huckabee Show Winds Down.  Governor Mike Huckabee did his last live show for Cumulus Media Networks as his show goes into holiday mode before ending on January 3.  Former congressman and talk radio personality J.D. Hayworth is subbing on the network beginning today through January 3 on the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm program.  Hayworth says he’ll be on the radio all of next week as well as December 26 and 27 and January 2 and 3.  “Governor Huckabee was very gracious to allow me to serve as his guest host on several occasions, and I welcome this opportunity as well.  For me, Friday the 13th is a lucky day.  I thank Cumulus for entrusting me with ‘Mike’s mic’ into the New Year.”

ericksonerickErickson to Sub for Rush Limbaugh.  The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports that Georgia-based talk show host Erick Erickson will be fulfilling a dream when he sits in for Premiere Networks nationally syndicated superstar Rush Limbaugh over the holidays.  Erickson – who serves as editor-in-chief of RedState.com in addition to his radio work – will host Limbaugh’s program on December 20, 24 and 26.  Erickson’s regular radio job is afternoon drive personality on Cox Media Group’s WSB, Atlanta where he’s heard from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Erickson tells the AJC, “I’m really excited.  It’s one of the few things I ever wanted to do going back to college.  I listened to him every day.  I’d plan classes around his show so I’d be able to listen in my dorm for a couple of hours.”

deptrojohnRhode Island Governor Signs on to Petition to Oust WPRO’s John DePetro.  According to a report in the Providence Journal, the union-led drive to compel WPRO, Providence to remove talk show host John DePetro from his daily talk show on the station has garnered support from the state’s Governor Lincoln Chafee.  The paper reports that the boycott against WPRO’s advertisers – jewelry dealer Alex and Ani has been singled out – is being coordinated by the AFL-CIO‘s secretary treasurer Maureen Martin, who is also the political activities director of the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals.  Governor Chafee’s spokeswoman, Christine Hunsinger, confirms to the paper that the governor has signed the petition urging the jewelry store to withdraw its advertising from WPRO as long as DePetro is employed there and also says he won’t go on any other show until DePetro is gone.  Lincoln Chafee, a Republican-turned-Democrat who had long been criticized by conservatives in the media as a RINO (Republican in name only), has a history of engaging with instead of ignoring his media critics and DePetro has been a critic of Chafee for some time.  DePetro came under fire from the unions after using what they termed demeaning and sexist language in criticizing female union members’ activities.  DePetro has since apologized for his choice of words.

harrisonmichaelMichael Harrison to speak at 2014 Media Solutions Conference in Philadelphia.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will make a rare speaking appearance at another trade publication’s industry conference and serve as a special guest faculty member at Inside Music Media publisher Jerry Del Colliano‘s forthcoming 2014 Media Solutions Conference in Philadelphia on March 26, 2014.  The one-day seminar, located at the Rittenhouse Hotel, will help preparedelcollianojerry modern-day broadcasters to solve the major problems and meet the pressing challenges facing the radio business during its rapid transition into the digital era.  Among the topics to be covered include ways to positively “disrupt” radio before your competition does and understand the sensibilities of the “millennial” generation – as well as learn new ways to present commercials, attract new audiences and develop new sources of revenue.  Harrison will be joining “MoreFM” (formerly B-101), Philadelphia owner Jerry Lee as a specially invited faculty speaker at the event.  Upon accepting the assignment, Harrison states, “I am honored to play a role in Jerry Del Colliano’s event and work alongside such a dynamic and independent entrepreneur as Jerry Lee.  Del Colliano is a brilliant thinker, teacher and observer whose bold voice in this industry continues to contribute to radio’s intelligence, health and survival.”  For information about the conference please click here.

btrnlogoMacGregor Joins BTRN as VP/Affiliate Sales.  Twenty-five-year media management veteran Mark MacGregor is named vice president of affiliate sales for Business TalkRadio Network. “Mark brings a wealth of experience to this position and our company,” comments BTRN president Jeff Weber.  “He has a proven track record of success in affiliation and I am confident he will be a tremendous asset to us as we continue to grow the networks.”  MacGregor’s past credits include similar titles to his present BTRN assignment for MyFamilyTV, FamilyNet and ETC Television.  Business TalkRadio Network provides long and short form programming to over 1,000 affiliates.  It currently features such programs as “Investor’s Edge,” “Real Estate Investor Radio,” and the “CEO Show.”

boomercartoncomedyWFAN, New York’s Boomer & Carton to Host Comedy Show.  WFAN, New York morning drive duo Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton will host the “Super Comedy Jam” at the Manhattan Center Hammerstein Ballroom on Wednesday, January 29.  Appearing at the show will be an all-star lineup of comedians, including a couple with radio ties.  The stars performing will include: Jay Mohr (who also hosts his eponymous sports talk show for Fox Sports Radio Network); Nick Di Paolo (previously partnered with Artie Lange for a late night comedy/sports radio show); Dave Attell; Michael Che; Jeff Norris; and John Pizzi.

castnermichaelOdds & Sods.  Clear Channel news/talk outlet KEX, Portland adds another hour to the back end of Michael Castner’s afternoon drive program.  Beginning Monday, he’ll broadcast from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Castner joined KEX this summer after spending the last two-plus years hosting a nationally syndicated program for The Wall Street Journal Radio Network…..The next color voice of the Chicago Cubs is former Cubs infielder Ron Coomer.  Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports Coomer will sit alongside play-by-play Pat Hughes when the 2014 season begins.  Coomer takes over for Keith Moreland providing analysis on WGN and affiliates across the Midwest…..Premiere Networks announces the continuation of a long-standing “Coast to Coast AM” tradition as listeners “will be treated to live, holiday-themed programming with a ‘Coast-to-Coast’ twist, including music, special guest appearances and surprises on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve and New Years Day.  Host George Noory will be live in studio to celebrate the holidays and ring in the New Year with his loyal audience, who will get the chance to share their favorite Christmas memories and stories of miracles during open lines.”

wphtphantasycampWPHT Sends Local Hero to Phillies Phantasy Camp.  WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive host Chris Stigall (center) poses for a shot with Sergeant First Class Brian Keaton, his wife and two of his children in the WPHT studios.  The station, the Philadelphia Phillies and the local chapter of the USO surprised the wounded warrior during Thursday’s program with a trip to the Phillies Phantasy Camp this morning live on the air.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Cumulus Media Networks nationally syndicated Mark Levin program is added to the schedule at KOYT, Helena, Montana; the company’s “Savage Nation” with Michael Savage adds the following stations to is affiliate roster: KINN, Alamogordo, New Mexico; WZUS, Decatur, Illinois; WBAP, Dallas; KKOB-AM, Albuquerque; and WLS-AM, Chicago…..Genesis Communications Network-syndicated Jason Lewis is added to the program schedule at KLZ, Denver; WPTK, Raleigh; and KNOX, Grand Forks, North Dakota…..The “Motley Fool Stock Watch” feature joins the programming at KTKZ “AM 1380 The Answer” and KSAC “Money 105.5” in Sacramento.

ObamaCare Criticism Tops Talkers TenTM for 8th Straight Week.  The criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the eighth consecutive week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  Following at #2 this week was the federal budget deal.  At #3 was the selfie President Obama took with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thornig-Schmidt and his appearance at the Nelson Mandela memorial service followed at #4 by the nuclear talks with Iran.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

| December 11, 2013

uptonfredCongressmen Question FCC Chair Wheeler About ‘Fairness Doctrine 2.0.’  In a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) requests Wheeler take immediate steps to suspend the field test for the research design of the “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs” the FCC is undertaking.  Supported by Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and 14 other congressmen, Upton charges the initiative is nothing more that the “Fairness Doctrine 2.0” and that the FCC has no jurisdiction to be undertaking a field test of this sort and that its actions are unconstitutional.  Upton states, fccnew“Although the Commission’s stated reason for the reports is to inform the Commission in taking regulatory action to lower ‘market entry barriers for entrepreneurs and other small businesses,’ it is hard to read this and see it for anything other than what it is, Fairness Doctrine 2.0.”  Upton references the study plan which states its goals are to “ascertain the process by which stories are selected, station priorities (for content, production quality and populations served), perceived station bias, perceived percentage of news dedicated to each of the eight CINs, and perceived responsiveness to underserved populations.”  Upton then states, “The Commission has no business probing the news media’s editorial judgment and expertise, nor does it have any business in prescribing a set diet of ‘critical information.’  These goals are plainly inappropriate and are at bottom an incursion by the government into the constitutionally protected operations of the professional news media.”  Upton requests Wheeler’s office respond to seven specific questions about the field test by January 10.  You can read the entire letter here.

sottolanojeffWIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia PD Jeff Sottolano Promoted to Corporate Director of Programming for CBS Radio.  CBS Radio EVP of programming Chris Oliviero announces the promotion of WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia program director Jeff Sottolano to director, programming, CBS RADIO, effective January 2.  Oliviero says, “Jeff has consistentlycbsradio logo and successfully answered every challenge he’s faced during his career at CBS RADIO.  With such diverse format experience and a respected reputation, both in and outside our company, I have no doubt he is ready to tackle this exciting and critical next chapter.  Jeff will be a great complement to our corporate programming team.”  Sottolano’s duties include supporting program directors in 27 major markets who oversee 126 stations.  The company says he “will focus on identifying and recruiting on-air talent, both established and up-and-coming, as well as seek out new format opportunities.  Additionally, Sottolano will maintain ongoing communications with external industry and charitable organizations, and work closely with the division’s digital media business to ensure a seamless cross-platform product and brand experience.”  Sottolano came to CBS RADIO in 2001 as an intern at WZNE, Rochester.  He worked his way up to promotions director in 2002 and to PD and air talent in 2004.  In 2006, Sottolano transferred to WYSP-FM in Philadelphia where he assumed a variety of programming and marketing roles during his tenure, including program director beginning in 2008.  He was instrumental in launching the Danny Bonaduce show that same year, and worked closely with record labels, concert promoters and artists to create one-of-a-kind events and promotions.  In 2011 he assumed programming oversight of sports talk WIP when it began simulcasting on WYSP as “SportsRadio 94WIP.”

clarketimCox Media Group Names Tim Clarke Director of Digital Audience.  Moving up from his role as program director for the company’s CHR WPOI, Tampa “Hot 101.5,” Tim Clarke is promoted to director of digital audience for radio at Cox Media Group.  The company says that in this role Clarke “will be the liaison between CMG’s radio and digital divisions to help drive the digital brand strategy and product development for coxmediagroupgrowing audience and engagement at all CMG’s radio stations.”  EVP of radio Kim Guthrie adds, “We have some of the more cutting edge efforts in the digital space, and it is exciting to be able to dedicate one of our best talents to that effort.  We are evolving our super brands into the digital future, and Tim will play an instrumental role in that overall success.”  In addition to programming “HOT 101.5,” Clarke was director of social media for all six Tampa stations.  His other career highlights include time as PD at WAPE, Jacksonville and music director at WBLI, Long Island.  Clarke comments, “The digital future for CMG’s super brands is extremely bright and filled with tons of opportunity to engage our audiences in even deeper, more personalized and more meaningful ways.  I’m looking forward to working with our teams to serve our users on these growing platforms.”

mohrjayiHeartradio Adds Jay Mohr Sports Channel.  Actor/comedian Jay Mohr does his daily Fox Sports Radio Network program from Clear Channel-owned Los Angeles flagship KLAC. Now, the “Gary Unmarried” star launches “Jay Mohr Sports,” a live digital iHeartRadio station.  “This channel is about the fans and giving them 24/7 access to the show wherever they are,” Mohr enthusiastically states.  “I am so happy to be able to share this with listeners in celebration of the upcoming one-year anniversary of ‘Jay Mohr Sports.’”  The digital iHeartRadio channel features sports talk and entertainment, as well as Mohr’s conversations with athletes and celebrities.

mcmullenjohnMcMullen Named WMBD, Peoria PD.  Talk radio programmer John McMullen joins Monterey Licenses-owned news/talk WMBD, Peoria.  McMullen most recently served as program director at Morris Communications’ “KNEWS” news/talk trimulcast KNWZ and KNWQ, Palm Springs and KNWH, Yucca Valley where he’s been since 2007.  During his career, McMullen has also served with Sirius Satellite Radio.

wgnlogoSteve Bertrand Reunites with Kathy & Judy on WGN.  As tipped by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WGN, Chicago newsman Steve Bertrand will trade off a weekday shift for the Saturday shift during which he’ll be reunited with Kathy O’Malley and Judy Markey during their weekly 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program.  Bertrand will also work with “Mr. Fix-It” Lou Manfredini whose show airs from 7:00 am to 10:00 am on Saturdays.  Bertrand, O’Malley and Markey worked together when the Kathy & Judy show was a regular midday program on WGN from 1989 through 2009.  Feder reports that WGN VP of creative content Todd Manley says Bertrand will continue to work the news desk during Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano’s midday show as well as during Garry Meier’s afternoon program.

wkzologoWKZO, Kalamazoo Names Lawrence Brand Manager.  At Midwest Communications’ Kalamazoo cluster, Jeremy Lawrence is named brand manager for news/talk outlet WKZO and sports talk WQLR.  In addition, Lawrence serves as the afternoon drive co-host on WKZO’s “The Trifecta” program alongside Jim McKinney and Roger Taylor.  Lawrence takes over for Jay Morris who leaves that post to focus on his work as brand manager for the company’s alternative rock outlets WZOX, Kalamazoo and WVIC, Lansing.

yacobushrickNew Market Manager and Director of Sales at Clear Channel Syracuse.  Clear Channel Media + Entertainment announces Rick Yacobush has been named market manager for the company’s five-station cluster in Syracuse and Barbara Miller has been appointed director of sales for the cluster.  Yacobush has been with the CC Syracuse stations for more than 26 years, holding a variety of roles including account manager, general sales manager and director of sales.  SVP of operations for the Northeast Region Kevin LeGrett says, “We are very excited to have Rick Yacobush lead the extremely talented team in Syracuse.  Rick’s sales leadership over the last 18 years has led to unprecedented performance.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment reaches more people in Syracuse than any other media and Rick’s unique ability to maximize our assets will allow us to serve the community as well as our advertisers in a multi-platform fashion.”  Meanwhile, 18-year CC veteran Barbara Miller moves up to director of sales for the cluster and LeGrett says of her, “Barbara has a proven track record of developing revenue growth opportunities.  She has demonstrated the vision and creativity necessary to implement 21st century competitive media strategies for our organization.  She has consistently exceeded revenue targets, while providing leadership and ensuring high quality standards are maintained across the organization.”  The CC Syracuse cluster includes news/talk WSYR, AC WYYY “Y94,” country WBBS “B104.7,” CHR WWHT “Hot 107.9,” and urban contemporary WHEN “Power 620.”

raytomTom Ray Warns Radio Broadcasters to Avoid EAS Confusion and Potential Fines.  TALKERS technical editor and noted engineering consultant Tom Ray passes along the following important information to our readers who program and operate radio stations.  Perhaps you heard about the recent $25,000 fines given out by the Commission regarding EAS violations.  The violations concerned airing either an EAS alert tone, EAS data burst, or sound alikes.  Both are prohibited under part 11 of the Commission’s rules.  Why?  If you are airing the EAS data bursts, this is something that could beeas logo decoded by downstream EAS decoders.  This can be confusing for station personnel, but more importantly, may in fact trigger an EAS alert when an emergency condition doesn’t exist.  And airing of something that sounds like the EAS data bursts and/or the two-tone alert signal starts to desensitize the public to an actual message.  It could, in fact, panic the public.  The recent cases involved EAS like sounds involved in commercials for movies.  In one case, when the cell phone alert apps were downloaded to person’s phones without their knowledge, I heard a television newscast run the sounds the phone made – which sound close enough to an EAS alert that it was a violation – regardless of whether it was news.  Some of this stems from our ways of operating these days.  Spots used to arrive on reel-to-reel tape, and you had to listen to the spot to transfer it to cart before airing and could catch the fact that EAS tones were in a spot.  Today, the spot arrives as a file and most automation systems can take the spot in without anyone listening to it ahead of time.  In the case of the TV newscast, the news producer obviously did not know the FCC regulations.  In the case of ingesting spots directly into your system, they should always be listened to not only for content, but also for problems like distortion.  To take something in without listening to it is irresponsible.  The bottom line – don’t air something that sounds like an EAS alert.  The FCC takes it seriously.  The public takes it seriously.  And it shouldn’t happen.  For more information about this topic Tom Ray can be phoned at 845-418-5065 or emailed at tomray@tomrayconsulting.com.

twitchy logoMalkin Sells Website to Salem Communications.  Conservative media commentator Michelle Malkin has sold her Twitchy.com site to Salem Communications for an undisclosed sum.  Malkin founded the site which serves as a curation destination for Twitter posts and commentary on said Tweets.  Salem Communications has had success with its digital efforts and already operated TownHall.com and HotAir.com in addition to numerous Christian-themed sites.  Salem VP/GM Jonathan Garthwaite comments, “Since its inception almost two years ago, Twitchy has fast become a leader in online news reporting.  They have harnessed the power of social media to create a real-time newswire for the modern, interconnected world.  With the addition of Twitchy to our growing network of news and political websites, there is no better collection of conservative news and opinion on the web.”

localfocus logoLocal Focus Purchased by McGavren Guild Parent.  Genesis Media Holdings picks up Kay Olin and Dave Demer‘s Atlanta-based Local Focus rep firm.  GMH owns McGavren Guild Media, which will operate independently of its new sibling.  In addition, Genesis Media Holdings brings in Cumulus Media director of national sales Kevin Garrity as manager.  GMH chief financial officer Billy McEntee comments, “Local Focus is an innovative firm powered by a team of highly accomplished sales professionals.  We look forward to working with them to provide an even greater level of service to radio stations and advertisers.  Kevin Garrity has excelled at every level of radio sales management.  With his addition and the acquisition of Local Focus, we are poised for rapid expansion and growth.  Management will continue to drive revenue for their respective station partners, while capitalizing on opportunities afforded through the larger Genesis Media group.”  Garrity remarks, “Genesis Media Holdings’ commitment to building their platform and investing in the long-term growth of their properties is very exciting. I look forward to playing an integral part in shaping that growth.”  McGavren Guild Media president Lisa Sirotka-Sonnenklar adds, “I am extremely excited to be working with Kevin to further build McGavren Guild Media.  I look forward to the additional support I will gain from his depth of industry experience.”  Garrity’s background includes 20 years at Interep, the last five of those as president of ABC Radio Sales.  In tandem with these announcements, vice president of revenue Dave Demer becomes president of Local Focus, while the rep firm’s founder Kay Olin will act as a consultant to Genesis Media.  “Kay has been instrumental in facilitating the evolution of Local Focus and preparing it for this next step in its growth,” Demer notes.  “She will add immense value to Genesis Media.”  Previously, Demer held marketing and sales positions with Clear Channel and Cox Media Group. Local Focus represents more than 350 stations.

iglesiasgabriel24/7 Comedy Celebrates Christmas with Gabriel Iglesias.  Premiere Networks-syndicated 24/7 Comedy – the 24-hour, all-comedy format – is celebrating the holiday season with special guest host Gabriel Iglesias.   From December 14 through December 27, the format will feature “The 12 Days of Fluffy” (for 13 days), giving listeners a peek behind the stage persona of the internationally acclaimed comedian and highlighting some of his most popular stand-up bits.  Connecting with listeners every hour throughout “The 12 Days of Fluffy,” fans will also have the chance to hear select tracks from his latest Comedy Central DVD special, “Aloha Fluffy.”

ObamaCare Criticism, Obama Selfie Flap/Castro Handshake, New Budget Deal, India Gay Sex Ruling, Iran Nukes Talks, and NSA Targets Video Gamers Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/10).  The ongoing criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and HHS director Kathleen Sebelius; the flap over President Obama’s “selfie” taken at the service for Nelson Mandela and his handshake with Raul Castro; the new budget deal struck in Congress; India’s high court ruling outlawing gay sex; foundering talks with Iran over its nuclear program; and the NSA’s targeting of video gamers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

| December 10, 2013

macnowglenWIP-FM, Philadelphia’s Glen Macnow on Vacation While Contract Talks Ensue.  There’s a lot of speculation in Philly about what the outcome of contract talks between CBS Radio and afternoon drive co-host Glen Macnow (who works with Anthony Gargano on “SportsRadio 94”).  First, Macnow tells the Philadelphia Daily NewsMolly Eichel that he left in mid show on Monday (during a live remote from Chickie and Pete’s, no less) to allow Anthony Gargano time to segue into the Howie Roseman show.  “I actually wanted to do it as unobtrusively as possible, just to let people know what was going on.  And I certainly didn’t want to not work today after that great Eagles game yesterday.  I live for shows like today.”  So while he and CBS are in contract talks, Kyle Scott of CrossingBroad.com says he hears Macnow will move to a more part-time role with the station and that the station plans to pair Rob Ellis with Gargano for the PM drive show in the New Year.  The station tells the Daily News it is keeping any and all contract negotiations private.

gardneralAl Gardner Returns to Charlotte for Sports Talk Gig.  Longtime WBT, Charlotte morning drive co-host Al Gardner will be back on the air in Charlotte but this time on HRN Broadcasting’s WZVG, Charlotte “730 ESPN Charlotte” beginning December 16 alongside Lanny Ford on “The Bottom Line” show.  The Charlotte Observer’s Mark Washburn reports that Gardner tells him he’s looking forward to being involved with a local broadcasting endeavor.  “They’re going to grow locally.  That’s what I want to be part of.”  Gardner left WBT more than two years ago to join Randy Michaels’ WWIQ, Philadelphia when the former talk station was launched in 2011.

adamsmarkAdams Returns to Clear Channel Portland as VP/Programming.  CBS Radio Houston vice president of music programming Mark Adams leaves to oversee programming operations for Clear Channel‘s eight Portland stations.  For eight years (2000 – 2008), Adams programmed Clear Channel Portland rhythmic CHR KXJM and was operations manager of then (talk) sibling KXL-AM (now Alpha Broadcasting sports outlet KXTG).  Clear Channel Portland market president Robert Dove comments, “Mark has a proven track record and I know he will lead the Clear Channel Portland cluster to even greater ratings success.” Adams adds, “I am looking forward to working with all the incredible brands and teams in the market, and contributing to their future success.  Portland is one of my favorite cities in the country and it’s exciting to have the chance to return to the Pacific Northwest and do some great radio.”  Prior to joining CBS Radio in April 2008, Adams worked in San Francisco, Milwaukee and Fresno.

bowersbethWSB, Atlanta Ups Bowers to General Sales Manager.  With the promotion of Walt Phillips to director of sales for Cox Media Group’s Atlanta operations earlier this fall, the company boosts Beth Bowers from her local sales manager post at news/talk WSB 750 AM and 95.5 FM to general sales manager.  CMG states that “in addition to continuing the proven tradition of success at news/talk WSB, Bowers will partner with the talented team of GSMs at the other stations in the cluster – ‘97.1 The River,’ ‘KISS 104.1’ and ‘B98.5.’  Together, the team will strategically lead CMG Atlanta’s radio sales organization into the future and offer unprecedented opportunities for advertising clients in the Greater Atlanta market.”  Prior to becoming LSM for WSB in January of 2011, Bowers served as director of marketing for CMG Atlanta.  She comments, “I’m honored to be given the opportunity to lead this legendary station, as well as partner with the most talented sales staff in the country.”

pittmanbobCC’s Bob Pittman Explains View of Media Landscape in AdWeek Essay.  Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman pens a brief piece on his philosophy about dealing with the “disruption” that’s taking place in the media business in AdWeek.  In it, Pittman states that he believes a crucial mistake to make is to follow conventional wisdom and allow yourself to be hyped.  In our business, Pittman says that translates into dumping all other media and putting all your eggs into the shiny new basket that is digital.  Pittman advises to be aware of the behavior of the consumer and further asserts his belief that a mix of media is a winning plan for advertisers in this era.  Read the entire piece here.

nielsen logoNielsen Audio Releases Select Data from RADAR 119.  The December 2013 RADAR (Radio’s All Dimension Audience Research) is data culled from the 48 PPM markets Nielsen measures between September 13, 2012 to September 11, 2013 and it concludes that “more than 178 million persons 12 and older, or approximately 68% of this demographic, heard one or more network radio commercials in an average week of the survey period.  Keep in mind that RADAR reports estimated audiences to network commercials broadcast by affiliates of the subscribing networks and doesn’t purport to account for listening to all network radio programming.  The study concludes that in the top 25 DMAs (designated market areas), network radio adlargelogodemonstrates extensive reach including: 70.5% of persons aged 12+ (92,593,000 persons); 73.7% of persons aged 18-49 (50,599,000 persons); and 74.5% of persons aged 25-54 (48,331,000 persons).  Subscribing networks are happy to release their success stories and AdLarge Media reports that its ROI Network debuted in this report and was “#1 with Adults and Women 18-49; and Women 25-54, Monday-Sunday and Monday-Friday, 5A-8P.”  AdLarge co-founder and president Cathy Csukas states, “We promised our advertisers an expansive network and the results of AdLarge’s ROI Network debut delivered.  The robust female showing bolsters our commitment to help advertisers westwoodone logoconnect with this hard-to-reach demographic that has strong purchasing power.”  WestwoodOne issues a statement saying that it is “proud to be a part of RADAR’s expanding networks within the audio landscape.  In addition to proving that radio is alive and well and that its audiences are broadening, today’s RADAR 119, released by Nielsen Audio, showcases more diversity in network offerings.”  WestwoodOne COO Charles Steinhauer adds, “Overall growth is positive for the audio category, and for RADAR.  Generally, the December RADAR is a non-event because many networks re-configure their lineups and publish special tabs at this time of year, WestwoodOne included.  It is exciting to welcome a new company into the RADAR marketplace and to the Network Radio Research Council.  We look forward to more diversity in the promotion of network radio audiences.”

grandephilOdds & Sods.  The nationally syndicated talk show “Phil’s Gang” with host Phil Grande is expanding to two hours on Radio Colorado Network’s KRCN, Longmont, Colorado airing from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.  Grande describes his show as “thoughtful economy and investing dialogue with news, stock market updates, timely interviews and only Phil tells you what Wall Street doesn’t want you to know.”…..CBS Radio’s sports talker WIP, Philadelphia “SportsRadio 94” is gearing up for “the most infamous annual radio event in the world” – WingBowl 22 – to be held at the Wells Fargo Center on January 31, 2013.  The sponsors include Steven Singer Jewelers and SugarHouse Casino.  The station says this year it is offering the most prizes in the history of the event, including the top prize: $22,000 from Steven Singer Jewelers.  For the first time ever, the contest offers two cars – one for the top local eater and one for the top college eater (two 2014 Chrysler 200’s from Barbera’s on the Boulevard), two bikes for Wingettes (two Harley Davidson 883 Sportster Motorcycles from Barb’s Harley Davidson) and other incredible prizes.  And for the first time ever, Wing Bowl will have a college division, with the top collegiate eater winning one of the cars…..Minnesota Public Radio today announced that Jim Dwyer and Jean Taylor have been elected to MPR’s board of trustees.  Dwyer is chairman and CEO of Michael Foods, a diversified processor and distributor of food products and one of the largest privately held companies in Minnesota.  Taylor is president of Life is Now, a strategy and consulting firm that she founded in 2010, and a principal at Middle A Restaurants, a franchise development company.

scba logoRecord Number of SCBA Radio Sales Training Graduates.  The Southern California Broadcasters Association (SCBA) has just presented certification awards to 31 new – or newer – sales professionals, sales assistants and individuals seeking a sales career in Southern California radio.  That is a record number of people successfully completing the training classes, which were conducted from September 23 – December 5.  SCBA President Thom Callahan comments, “The SCBA is firmly committed to helping our members train the next generation of professional radio sales executives.  Each class and professional instructor brought a special focus for our students.”  Included in the 10-week training curriculum were “New Business Development,” “Strategic Selling,” “Building Client Relationships,” “Interactive Selling,” and “Cold Calling Techniques.”  The SCBA Sales Training Classes is a collaboration of the SCBA and the GSM Council of Southern California.

ObamaCare Criticism, Nelson Mandela Retrospective, Iran Negotiations, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/9).  The scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; remembrances of the life and times of South Africa’s Nelson Mandela; the instability of negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program and Congress’ plans for renewed sanctions; and the snowy action in the NFL over the weekend were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, October 28, 2013

| October 28, 2013

brokawtomClear Channel and Tom Brokaw Partner on Daily Features.  The three-times-daily feature is being called “An American Story” and will feature a wide range of topics — from newsworthy current events to historic figures to notable moments in history — which impact the lives of Americans today.   Tom Schurr, president of major markets for Clear Channel, says, “There are few public figures as respected as Tom Brokaw, one of the most trusted journalists in America.  We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to bring his insights and perspectives to our listeners across the country.”   Brokaw adds, “I am grateful to Clear Channel for the opportunity to offer observations on the dynamic changes in America as well as the lessons from our past.  Radio is where I began and it’s good to add it once again to my television duties.”

salespanelThe State of Radio Advertising and Sales.  Fresh from the recent Talkers Los Angeles 2013 conference in Hollywood (10/10), the video of “The State of Radio Advertising and Sales” panel moderated by RAB CEO/president Erica Farber is now posted (10/28) on TalkersTV.  The panelists participating in this comprehensive discussion about the ongoing challenges of generating revenue for radio broadcasting operations include (from l-r):  Terry Fahy, VP/GM, Salem, Los Angeles; Chris Pendl, creative director, Bonneville SeattleRon Hartenbaum, CEO, WYD/WYM Media; Bob Moore, president, Sports USA Media; and Paul Vandenburgh, president/GM/host, WGDJ, Albany.  Erica Farber (far right) is introduced by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison.  To see this exclusive presentation in its entirety, please see the box marked TalkersTV on the upper right hand column of this page.

whptbillboardCox Media Group’s Hot Talk ‘The Bone’ Buys ‘Fire Schiano’ Billboard.  NFL fans in Tampa Bay are not happy with the Buccaneers’ 0-7 record and neither is local hot talk station WHPT “The Bone.”  The station bought a billboard in town that simply says, “Fire Schiano” – referencing the team’s coach Greg Schiano – and has the station’s logo in the bottom right corner.  Program director Michael Sharkey tells ESPN.com, “Our listeners have voiced their opinion that they are tired of a team that, on paper, should have a winning record.  This billboard isn’t a message to the Buccaneers as much as it is a message to our listeners that we are right there with them.”  Photo by Brett McMurphy.

scbagroupBest in SoCal Radio Creative Recognized.  The Southern California Broadcasters Association and its General Sales Managers Council honored the Southern California Ford Dealers, AIS Insurance, In-N-Out Burger, and Cedars-Sinai with its annual Outstanding Achievement in Radio Awards Luncheon on Thursday, October 24, at the Sheraton Universal Hotel in Universal City.  The awards – voted on by the GSM Council – represent the very best in creative radio commercials using both Southern California’s radio and digital platforms.  The event was highlighted by the special appearance of Mayor Eric Garcetti who recognized the “enormous contribution that local Radio makes to the Los Angeles region” and personally congratulated each SCBA award winner.  SCBA president Thom Callahan states, “This SCBA awards luncheon was a huge success for Southern California radio.  We had a complete sell out, recognized great Southern California advertisers, and presented a special lifetime achievement award for Cal Worthington, a southern California auto dealer icon.”  Pictured here are: (seated left to right) Nick Worthington, Worthington Ford; Dennis Shannon, FDAASC chairman, Citrus Motors; Kevin Roberts, FDAASC vice president, Lake Elsinore Ford; (standing): Miles Sexton, president, Point Broadcasting; Mark Casas, SVP/sales, AIS Insurance; Greg Ashlock, president/market manager Clear Channel Los Angeles; Michelle Guzman, director of marketing, In-N-Out Burger; Amber Perry, GSM council chair & GSM, KRTH; Jaime Jimenez, SVP/general manager, Univision Radio; Mark Ribisi, president/CEO, AIS Insurance; Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; Dan Kearney, SVP/market manager, CBS Radio; Thom Callahan, president, SCBA; Marko Radlovic, president/general manager, Cumulus Los Angeles; Val Maki, vice president, Emmis Radio/KPWR.

hewitthughOdds & Sods.  Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk host Hugh Hewitt appeared at a luncheon debate event sponsored by O&O WHK, Cleveland dubbed, “Constitution Under Fire” at a local restaurant.  The program included a debate between Hewitt and noted civil rights attorney Avery Friedman.  Topics discussed included the Affordable Care Act, presidential overreach and the interpretation of the Constitution…..CBS Radio’s WIP-AM, Philadelphia “CBS Sports Radio” agrees with St. Joseph’s University to serve as the flagship station for the school’s men’s basketball play-by-play for the 2013-14 season.  In addition to airing games, the station will again serve as the host for Phil Martelli‘s “HawkTalk” radio show which will air live on Monday evenings from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm and will be held again at J.D. McGillicuddys in Havertown and consist of a call-in format with Martelli and host Joe Lunardi…..Entercom’s WEEI, Boston continues its coverage of the Boston Red Sox-St. Louis Cardinals World Series as today’s sports talk programs are emanating from St. Louis.  After the Dennis & Callahan morning show, the midday Mut & Merloni program airs followed by an extended edition of Salk & Holley beginning at 2:00 pm and leading into the pre-game show with Dave O’Brien and Joe Castiglione and the first pitch of Game 5 at 8:07 pm.

wachsfrenchmaidBusy Fundraising Weekend for Dr. Daliah Wachs.  Nationally syndicated talk show host (and practicing physician) Dr. Daliah Wachs – pictured here in her French maid Halloween costume – is very involved in fundraising for causes in which she believes and this was a busy weekend for her.  First, on Friday (10/25), Dr. Wachs appeared with Las Vegas radio personality Al B Sure at the “Dressed to Thrill” masquerade ball at Michael Jackson’s “Thriller Villa” to benefit the Shine Foundation that assists homeless veterans.  Then on Saturday, Dr. Wachs attended the Monster Mash Car Bash that benefits F.A.S.T. (Finding Autistic Solutions for Tomorrow).

robinhoodrelliefRobin Hood Sandy Relief Fund Drive Takes Place Tomorrow at CC’s New York Stations.  On Tuesday, October 29, Clear Channel’s New York City stations are urging listeners to continue assisting those recovering from last year’s devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy by texting STORM to 50555 to give $10 to the Robin Hood Sandy Relief Fund.  Clear Channel says that in addition to co-producing last year’s 12-12-12 benefit concert, it is continuing “to assist in the relief work in the coming months, or even years, until all of the impacted communities are on the road to recovery.”   The stations are also asking listeners to share their Sandy hero stories with the hashtag #SandyHero to share how those around them managed the storm, and helped others along the way.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

| October 16, 2013

sliwacurtis‘AM 970 The Answer’ New York Host Curtis Sliwa Breaks up Fight During Remote Broadcast.  Leave it to Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa to step away from the microphone just as he’s about to do a live commercial read to stop two New York City tour operators from getting arrested for fighting on the sidewalks of Manhattan.  Sliwa broadcasts his morning program on Salem-owned WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” from the display window at the Hotel Pennsylvania on 7th Avenue (between 33rd and 34th) and this morning (10/16) just as he was heading into a commercial break, he noticed two tour bus operators – likely fighting over territory from which to recruit tourists – getting into a vicious fist fight.  Sliwa left the remote studio to break up the fight and then returned to talk about the incident on the air with both former Governor David Paterson and guest New Jersey political analyst Steve Adubato.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes Sliwa as a real life superhero of sorts stating, “I once had the pleasure of meeting Curtis for lunch in New York.  He shows up at the restaurant in his red satin jacket and beret and people from all over the place were coming up and saying ‘Hi, Curtis’ and giving him the high five.  Between the ‘costume’ and the populist love coming his way, it felt like I was having lunch with Spiderman!”

Hear some of the audio here.

 

arnoldchrisStatus of KRLD-FM, Dallas’ Chris Arnold Uncertain After Plagiarism Charge.  Sports talk personality Chris Arnold has been missing from the midday “G-Bag Nation” program at “105.3 The Fan” after being charged with plagiarizing copy from Cold Hard Football Facts writer Scott KacsmarDallas Morning News writer Barry Horn reports that CBS Radio local management is investigating the case.  After Arnold wrote a piece defending Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and posted it on the station’s website, Kacsmar contacted Arnold via a public Twitter exchange and Arnold admitted to using Kacsmar’s material and apologized.   Arnold asked Kacsmar to appear on the radio but he refused and asked Arnold to apologize on the radio.  To see Kacsmar’s documentation of the allegations of copying, click here.

elanderkenElander to Head Galaxy Communications’ Sports Marketing Unit.  Galaxy Communications is expanding through the creation of a sports marketing unit and it brings in Ken Elander as the venture’s general manager.  In addition to Galaxy Events, the company owns 14 New York State radio stations in Syracuse and Utica-Rome.  Galaxy president/chief executive officer Ed Levine explains that the newly created sports marketing division will focus on “many and varied sports franchises” with which the company has a flagship/affiliate relationship in both of its radio markets.  Levine says, “These include Syracuse University football, basketball, and lacrosse as well as the Utica Comets, Syracuse Crunch, Utica College, Buffalo Bills, and the New York Giants.”  Commenting that he is “proud and excited” to be part of “this ambitious new division,” Elander adds, “Galaxy’s successful sports legacy provides a strong foundation for an even more successful future.”  His background includes stints with Time Warner Cable and Syracuse’s WTVH-TV.

nextradio logoNextRadio and Tagstation Report: More Than 40,000 Downloads of FM Radio App.  According to the mid-October report by Emmis’ TagStation team and NextRadio, the number of downloads of the app to operate the FM receiver on select mobile phones passed the 40,000 mark and is currently enjoying an 84% app retention rate.  The report also notes that “more than 4,000 FM radio stations were tuned to from the app and more than 12,000 hours of listening through NextRadio” have taken place.  The recent release of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is begin given credit for the interest.  It’s also expected that more FM radio-enabled devices will be launched next month.

clarkjackEx-MLB Slugger and Radio Personality Jack Clark Strikes Back in Pujols ‘Juicer’ Allegation Case.  When former MLB star Jack Clark was co-hosting a sports talk show on WGNU, St. Louis with Kevin Slaten, he stated he knew “for a fact” that former Cardinals player Albert Pujols used steroids.  He also told the audience a former trainer told him that Pujols used steroids.  Pujols filed suit against Clark in St. Louis County earlier this month charging Clark’s lies have caused him harm.  Now, Clark is firing back requesting that both parties take polygraph tests and that whoever fails will have to apologize to the other.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Todd Frankel reports Clark’s attorney admits Clark used a poor choice of words since he didn’t have first-hand knowledge of steroid use by Pujols but relied on second-hand reports.  Clark and Slaten had brokered the time for their show on WGNU from insideSTL Enterprises.

scba logoSoCal Radio Revenue Up 7.2% in September.  According to the Southern California Broadcasters Association and Miller Kaplan Arase, LLC, there was a total market revenue surge in the region in September of 7.2%.  SCBA president Thom Callahan says, “September produced impressive growth for the LA radio market.  This critical swing month showcased some great revenue performances from our member stations, which maximized both local and national spot and blew the doors off digital revenue.”  He adds, “On a year-to-date basis, Miller Kaplan Arase is reporting total revenue growth at 3.4% through September.  However, our trend line during 3rd quarter 2013 reveals a 5.2% growth rate YTD for the same period.  Simply put, Q3 was powerful and we see the same trend developing for Q4.”  Callahan says that his organization is encouraged by activity in the insurance category even though the effects of the Affordable Care Act have not met their initial expectations.

btrnlogoSimilar-Named Business Networks Merge.  A transaction involving a Center Post Holdings division and Business TalkRadio Network has some resemblance to Abbott & Costello‘s “Who’s on first?” routine.  Among other entities, Center Post Holdings owns/operates several media companies, including BizTV and Biz Talk Radionetworks.  Here is where things get a bit interesting.  CPH is acquiring Greenwich, Connecticut-biztv logobased Business TalkRadio Network. Consulting operations officer of Business TalkRadio Network parent Blue Star Media Group, Jeff Weber, is named president of the network.  “This acquisition fits nicely in our portfolio of media-centric assets,” notes Center Post Holdings executive vice president Scott Miller.  “A number of programs are carried on both networks and we expect that number to expand as we integrate the operations.  It’s a natural fit for us and we are ready to expand our suite of benefits to small business owners.”  Siblings of Business TalkRadio Network include the Lifestyle TalkRadio Network and Greenwich, Connecticut talk outlet WGCH. Weber was executive vice president of Blue Star Media Group (June 2002 – December 2011) and rejoined the company one year ago (October 2012).  The sale price is not immediately known.

zeolirichRich Zeoli Still Hosting Evening Show at WPHT.  In our coverage of yesterday’s news of Rush Limbaugh’s and Sean Hannity’s return to CBS Radio’s WPHT, Philadelphia, TALKERS magazine delivered a run-down of the station’s new program schedule (beginning October 28) but failed to recognize evening host Rich Zeoli whose program airs from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm currently but will end at 9:00 pm when Sean Hannity’s show starts airing.  TALKERS regrets the omission.

blogtalkradio logoOdds & Sods.  BlogTalkRadio partners with sports fan site SB Nation to create SB Nation Network – a destination for the latter’s official podcasts and a place where other sports audio content can be made available.  In a piece in Tech Crunch, it notes that more than 50 sports talk shows are currently available on the SB Nation Network…..Mike Greenberg, co-host of ESPN’s “Mike & Mike” and author of the New York Times bestselling novel All You Could Ask For announces he and his wife Stacy Steponate Greenberg are donating $100,000 to The V Foundation for Cancerktrs Research to combat breast cancer.  The novel was written to honor the memory of the late Heidi Armitage, a close friend of Mike and Stacy’s, who died from the disease in 2009.  In conjunction with the release of the book, Mike and Stacy created a foundation called Heidi’s Angels, through which all of the author’s profits from the sale of the book are being donated to The V Foundation to support breast cancer research…..CH Holdings’ news/talk KTRS, St. Louis will soon simulcast the audio from KTVI-TV, St. Louis’ 6:00 pm newscast.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports KTRS GM Mark Dorsey says, “KTRS sees an opportunity to provide our listeners a chance to get caught up on their news, weather and sports while on their way home.”

Government Shutdown, Debt Ceiling, ObamaCare Implementation, Immigration Legislation, and MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/15).  The struggle in Washington to re-open the federal government; the looming deadline for the nation’s debt limit; the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the criticism of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius; potential immigration legislation that would grant amnesty to illegals already in the U.S.; and the Major League Baseball playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, September 9, 2013

| September 9, 2013

trn logoTRN Issues Response to Reports of Financial Problems at the Company.  TALKERS magazine has received a press release from Talk Radio Network and CEO Mark Masters in response to reports of financial problems at the company.  Below is the full press statement as received from TRN at 2:30 pm ET on 9/9:

ARE YOU DIAL GLOBAL’S (WESTWOOD ONE’S) NEXT VICTIM?

      The truth about the proposed merger between Dial Global/Westwood One and Cumulus is a dark one for our industry.  Dial Global/Westwood One’s market power in programming and sales representation, combined with Cumulus Network’s programming and distribution power in the top 100 U.S. markets, will have a devastating effect on most every area of the radio industry. Our previous experience with Dial Global/Westwood consists of improper, illegal, and/or unethical conduct that is set forth in the second amended complaint http://www.trn1.com/uploads/files/SecondAmendedComplaint.pdf in our pending antitrust action against Dial Global/Westwood One and others.   If this merger is allowed to occur, the results of our previous experiences with Dial Global/Westwood One will be magnified tenfold to radio stations and content producers, which will be at the mercy of the newly empowered Dial (Westwood One)/Cumulus and the leverage that can be brought to bear by this new behemoth.

If this merger is allowed to occur, the culture of corruption at Dial/Westwood, as described in our second amended complaint, and other filings, will surely infect and spread within the new behemoth entity and victimize the rest of the industry, resulting in a super monopoly.

Sadly, the actions described in the second amended complaint are forcing the TRN companies to cut back to the basic operating essentials pending resolution of the multiple issues raised in their legal actions against Dial Global/Westwood One.  We had hoped that the change in management at Dial Global/Westwood One would bring about a new paradigm focused on correcting the prior harms in a manner which would be helpful to our companies and the industry as a whole.  Sadly, recent events have shown that the opposite is true and that the behaviors that gave rise to the lawsuits against Dial/Westwood One are endemic throughout the Dial/Westwood One monopoly.   The ruthless and unethical behaviors that have continued through multiple executive teams at Dial/Westwood are breathtaking in their scope and arrogance.

We encourage the rest of our industry to stand together, and with us, now.  We have been in business for 20 years, and have had excellent relationships with the other companies in our industry during that time.  But this is a horse of a different color.  Please contact the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition (antitrust@ftc.gov) and the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (antitrust.complaints@usdoj.gov or (202) 307-2040), your state’s Attorney General, and your local member of Congress about the dangers of this proposed merger and its threat to your First Amendment rights, business and products.  As for us, we will continue to pursue Dial Global/Westwood One in federal court and other appropriate forums, for monopoly and other improper behaviors, expose the behaviors described in the second amended complaint,  and achieve ultimate victory from the tragedy that Dial Global/Westwood One have imposed upon our companies and others within the industry.

DIAL/WESTWOOD ONE SCORES INITIAL VICTORY WITH ARNN

The actions described in the second amended complaint with respect to America’s Radio News Network (“ARNN”), and additional actions which will be the subject of future filings, have now succeeded on an interim basis with respect to ARNN.  Specifically, ARNN has been forced to suspend its broadcast operations, effective at the close of its broadcast day on Friday, September 6, 2013, pending the successful outcome of its actions against Dial Global/Westwood.  ARNN has arranged for appropriate feeds to be provided to its affiliates for a reasonable period of time to enable them to secure alternate programming.

AS TO RUMORS OF OTHER ONGOING OPERATIONS

All of the TRN companies have been severely damaged by the Dial Global/Westwood One conduct addressed above and also addressed in the various legal actions which the TRN companies have brought, or will bring, against Dial Global/Westwood.    That conduct has forced all of these companies to make wrenching internal decisions and to take painful internal actions.  As Dial Global/Westwood One has been collecting our advertising revenues, but refusing to pay them over to us or to account for them, these companies have now been forced to reduce as many operating costs as possible.   However, the current rumors of an alleged shutdown of broadcasting operations for non-ARNN programming are unfounded.  Broadcasts of the other programs are continuing without interruption.

CALL TO ACTION!

If Dial/Westwood can do this to us, they certainly can do this to you – so you need to join together, and with us, in opposing this dangerous merger, with as much force as you can muster, so that you can have a future that is not controlled by a monopoly http://www.trn1.com/uploads/files/SecondAmendedComplaint.pdf

wadedonromaDon Wade Passes at 72.  Longtime WLS, Chicago morning personality Don Wade – who hosted the program with his beloved wife Roma – died on Friday at the couple’s Florida home.  It was almost a year ago that Wade suffered a seizure and was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor.  He underwent an operation but never returned to the air at WLS.  Roma Wade posted the following statement on the WLS website (in part): “Last Friday morning, my hero, my best friend, my soulmate left this mortal coil behind and entered the realm of spirit while wrapped in my loving arms.  God blessed us with almost an entire year since Don’s surgery to embrace life, love, family, and adventure, all while knowing that his time on this beautiful earth was drawing to a close.  What a gift!  What a joy to be entrusted with my magnificent man’s care for that precious time.”  Wade began his work at WLS in 1985 with Roma by his side, remaining with the station as it transitioned to talk in 1989 and moving to AM drive.  Current Salem Radio Network VP, news & talk programming Tom Tradup was VP and GM of the station and charged with flipping it to talk including firing some of the most beloved DJs in Chicago history. He says Wade stayed with the newly formatted station, “Don’s infectious good humor, intelligent grasp of the issues, and his uncanny ability to connect one-on-one with men and women throughout Chicagoland convinced me he had to stay.  He and Roma (in those days they kept their marriage a secret) were the very first ‘hires’ I made at the new WLS Talkradio 890.  Over the years, Don’s popularity—and our ratings and revenue—soared as he and Roma woke up countless hundreds of thousands of Chicagoans.”  Chicago media writer Robert Feder has more on Wade’s passing here.

millerchrisMad Social Networking Skills.  Noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller tackles the question, “So what is it that differentiates ‘mad’ social networking skills from ‘casual’ skills, or just plain competency?”  Does it involve video shooting and editing, coding, HTML, or actual IT knowledge?  In a new column posted today (9/9) Miller writes, “There’s more to being a good jock than listening to yourself talk.  There’s more to being a good sales manager than just knowing a lot of clients.  And, there’s more to having ‘mad’ social networking skills than being passionate about posting a ton of stuff!”  He goes through five levels to which truly effective social networking skills must rise to be truly effective.  They are: 1) Know your target; 2) Know how to talk and listen to your target; 3)  Learn how to write well and with style; 4) Understand what fits and doesn’t fit in terms of actual content; and 5)  Actively remain engaged to know if your message is reaching the target.  To read Chris Miller’s entire column, please click here.

iheartradiotalkClear Channel Launched Update App for iHeartRadio Talk.  The beta version of iHeartRadio Talk was released in July was done with what president of digital Brian Lakamp admits is “very limited mobile functionality.”  But now the company is offering new updates for iOS and Android apps to allow users to access more talk content.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment states, “The updated apps will feature a directory for talk that now allows users the ability to browse and select from hundreds of programs.  For the first time ever, segments from ‘The View’ and ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ will be available to coincide with ABC‘s new season.”  CC believes that iHeartRadio Talk is “the first audio platform offering on-demand, listener-created talk content alongside popular news, celebrity and entertainment audiosodes…The service is trending to be a more popular feature for men than women, though iHeartRadio’s demographic has traditionally skewed more female, allowing the digital service to attract a burgeoning audience.”

esiasonboomerBoomer Esiason Debuts on Boston’s ‘Sports Hub.’  The ever-busy Boomer Esiason – co-host of the ‘Boomer & Carton’ morning drive show on CBS Radio’s WFAN, New York, sports TV personality and color man for WestwoodOne’s Monday Night Football broadcasts – is debuting on CBS O&O WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” today.  For the past couple of years, Esiason made a Monday morning appearance on crosstown WEEI, Boston with John Dennis and Gerry Callahan.  The segment was recorded before Esiason went on the air on WFAN.  Now, Esiason continues reaching Boston sports fans with his expertise with WBZ-FM’s Toucher & Rich.

salisburyseanSean Salisbury Teams with John Harris for Midday Show on Yahoo! Sports Radio.  Former NFL quarterback and sports talk media pro Sean Salisbury becomes part of the Yahoo! Sports Radio network lineup as co-host of “The War Room” with John Harris airing from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET daily.  Yahoo! Sports Radio CEO David Gow states, “Sean is a big-time addition to our lineup.  He does his homework, he is insightful and he is not afraid to voice his opinions.   And the combination of Harris and Salisbury provides some of the strongest football coverage in sports – we are delighted to announce his addition at the start of the NFL season.”  Salisbury adds, “I am excited to join Yahoo! Sports Radio and to work with John Harris.  I really look forward to working with the entire team there and creating great shows.  During his media career, Salisbury has worked for ESPN and CBS Radio.  He is currently on the Dallas Cowboys pre-game show for Fox Sports TV in Dallas.

siriusxmExecutive Changes and Promotions at SiriusXM.  An internal memo from SiriusXM president and content officer Scott Greenstein informs staff of some new management changes and congratulates those who’ve been promoted.  First, Jeremy Coleman, head of talk and entertainment for much of the past 10 years is named senior vice president, Howard Stern channels.  Greenstein notes that Coleman “worked closely on the initial development of the channels before Howard’s official launch on SiriusXM in 2006, and is now excited to move over to work with Howard and his team on further growth.”  Also, Tim Sabean is named senior vice president, entertainment and comedy.  He’ll oversee the comedy channels, as well as a variety of other key entertainment assets including: Opie & Anthony, Piolín Radio, Jason Ellis, Ron & Fez, Covino & Rich, and Dino Costa, as well as the Radio Sex channel.  Dave Gorab is promoted to vice president and general manager, talk programming.  Greenstein says Gorab has been instrumental in building the news and political talk channels and will expand his oversight to include politics, news, women’s, family, health, educational, religious and specialty talk programming.

mikemorrisbobsansevereCumulus Sports Talk “105 FM The Ticket” in Minneapolis Adds Local Talk with Help from Tom Barnard.  The Twin Cities sports talk tri-mulcast of WGVX (105.1), WGVZ (105.7), and 105.3 FM – up ‘til now relying on content from CBS Sports Radio Network – is adding a local PM drive program beginning todaybarnardtom featuring Mike Morris (left) and Bob Sansevere (right) from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Tom Barnard – morning institution who’s heard on the company’s rock KQRS – will also be heard on the station as the third hour of Barnard’s podcast will be aired from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm on the sports station.  The Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Neal Justin reports Barnard is bringing former WCCO personality Don Shelby aboard his three-hour podcast as his sidekick and he’ll also be part of the third hour sports talk segment.  KQRS operations manager Scott Jameson tells the paper, “We’ve got two well-performing rock stations and it’s smart to leverage those brands to help our baby brother grow up.”

wtoplogoVeteran Journalist Mike Murillo Joins WTOP, Washington.  Mike Murillo becomes part of the WTOP, Washington staff as an anchor and reporter beginning today (9/9).  Most recently, Murillo worked at Merlin Media’s WWIQ, Philadelphia as anchor/reporter, studio technician and web andmurillomichael social media manager.  Prior to his stint in Philly, Murillo was a reporter at “FM News 101.9” in New York.  Murillo says, “Like many in this business, for years I have admired WTOP from afar.  I am truly excited to now become a member of this amazing news team.”  WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo adds, “Mike does it all.  Not only is he a seasoned anchor and street reporter, he’s a skilled web designer and broadcast technician.  We’re excited to have him join WTOP’s team of broadcast and digital journalists.”

Odds & Sods.  CBS Radio freelance reporter Donna Francavilla tells TALKERS magazine she is returning to TV for the first time in 15 years.  Though she will continue her freelance for CBS Radio, Francavilla has accepted a temporary, part-time on-air position at WBMA-TV, Birmingham, Alabama.  She recently won first, second and third place national communication awards from the National Federation of Press Women, serves as an Edward R. Murrow judge, freelances occasionally for Oprah’s OWN Network, and established a consulting company called Frankly Speaking Communications, LLC…..Cox Media Group’s news/talk WHIO-AM/FM, Dayton is the local affiliate for Cleveland Browns football.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

| August 22, 2013

cclogoSeven AEs Sue Clear Channel Claiming Civil Rights Violations.  In a suit filed in the Eastern District of Louisiana by seven current and former AEs working at Clear Channel’s New Orleans stations, the group charges that after the economic downturn of 2008, accounts were redistributed at a meeting in Gonzales, Louisiana in February of 2009 in such a way that helped ease the financial hit Caucasian AEs were taking through the redistribution.  The complaint alleges many of the redistributed accounts had been built up by African American AEs.  The complaint – filed jointly by Wil Watson, Gary Watson, Prixie Montgomery, Ave Gaines, Darnetta Mahaffy-Nelson, Dinah Campbell, and Brandin Campbell – details salaries before and after the redistribution and concludes, “As a result of the redistribution of accounts, whether intentional or negligent, African-American account executives were disparately, and negatively, impacted, to their severe economic detriment as compared to their Caucasian counterparts…Overall, African-American account executives lost on average more than 40% of their 2008 income in 2008-9.  On information and belief Caucasian account executives lost no more that about 15% of their 2008 income, on average, during the same period of time.”  Three of the seven were fired, they allege, after complaining about the practices.  The seven seek relief, punitive damages, general damages, attorneys’ fees and statutory remedies.

weei logoIt’s Official: Kevin Graham Named Brand Manager at WEEI, Boston.  As rumored late last week, sports talk programmer and personality Kevin Graham is leaving his PD and co-host role at Cumulus Media’s KFNZ, Salt Lake City “1320 KFAN” to become brand manager at Entercom’s WEEI.  According to his bio on the KFNZ website, Graham was one of the architects of KFNZ as the station was built in 1996.  He’s worked as programmer at KTAR-AM, Phoenix; WXYT, Detroit and other sports talk outlets.  In addition to programming KFNZ, Graham co-hosts the “Gunther & Graham” PM drive show with Kyle Gunther.  Graham has extensive experience in the digital sports arena assisting in building grahamkevinArizonaSports.com in Phoenix and as the founder/editor of SportsMashup.com.  He’ll begin work at WEEI in September, taking over for longtime programmer Jason Wolfe.  Entercom Boston GM Jeff Brown states, “WEEI is more than a radio station; it is an entire sports ecosystem.  From our on-air talent to Red Sox play-by-play to WEEI.com, where we had 1.4 million unique visitors just last month, WEEI is a more complete sports brand than ever before.  We are thrilled to announce today that Kevin Graham will lead WEEI as our new brand manager.  His background both in front of and behind the mic, along with his years of digital sports experience made him the best choice to lead WEEI.  Kevin will bring a fresh perspective to the entire WEEI team and our complete package of digital sports assets.”  Speaking about his new gig, Graham comments, “I am honored and excited to join the WEEI team.  WEEI is one of the most recognizable and powerful sports radio brands in the country.  With great resources, amazing talent, and one of the best digital brands in sports, the sky is the limit.  I can’t wait to get started, especially with the Red Sox in the midst of such a great season.”

TalkersLA2013“The State of News/Talk/Sports Programming” Panel Set for Talkers Los Angeles 2013.  A diverse and powerful panel of front-line programmers has been set for Talkers Los Angeles 2013 that will explore the major issues of programming within the present-day news/talk/sports realm.  Participating panelists include (in alphabetical order): Robin Bertolucci, PD, KFI/KTLK, Los Angeles; Skip Essick, PD, KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; Andy Ludlum, director of news programming, KNX/KFWB, Los Angeles; Don Martin, senior VP sports programming, Fox Sports Radio/Clear Channel Media & Entertainment; Chuck Tyler, PD, KRLA/KKLA, Los Angeles; and Bill White, PD, KQTH-FM/KFFN-AM/FM, Tucson.  The panel will be moderated by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey who states, “This will be a fast-moving discussion that will really capture the flavor of today’s talk radio programming scene and do so with a solid Western states perspective – which makes this California edition of our two-part national conference so valuable.  It will present a diverse array of formats including news/talk, all-news, and sports talk, as well as company types ranging in size and varied styles of corporate culture.”  This third annual installment of TALKERS magazine’s West Coast convention is set for Thursday, October 10 and is already shaping up to be a blockbuster.  The gathering is closing in on being an advance sellout some six weeks before the event so it is advisable for media professionals interested in attending to register now.  It is again being presented in association with the Los Angeles Press Club and held at the historic Steve Allen Theater on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm. Registrations – $149 per person – can only be taken over the phone.  For sponsorship information or to register, call 413-565-5413.  More agenda details coming in the immediate days ahead.

wctc logoNew Jersey’s WCTC, New Brunswick Makes Big Local Moves.  Saying “there is a thirst for local content in this market,” WCTC, New Brunswick “The Voice of Central New Jersey” PD Bert Baron announces that the longtime news/talk station will debut a new and completely revamped on-air lineup starting Monday, August 26.  The Greater Media-owned station is making mass changes to its weekday programming, moving Baron from his two-hourbaronbert afternoon slot to morning drive, where he will host “Jersey Central with Bert Baron” from 6:00 am to 9:00 am.  Baron says his show will include “everything you need to know in New Jersey – news, sports, events, entertainment, politics, lifestyle, traffic and weather.”  Following Baron will be the Courtside Entertainment-syndicated Laura Ingraham, who moves up one hour from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm.  From 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm, WCTC will carry “The Tommy G Show,” the first time a terrestrial radio station will simulcast a daily internet radio show in New Jersey.  “Tommy G is very unique and brings a Jersey angle to what is happening here.  He’s a radio name with a great presence in the market.  He gets Jersey,” says Baron.  Tommy G, who was also named to this year’s TALKERS magazine Frontier 50 – A Selection of Outstanding Talk Media Webcasters – tommygtells TALKERS his show is “all about New Jersey and what Jerseyans are talking about,” and says his show could change the face of local talk radio.  “I’m introducing ‘syndi-local’ to talk radio and consulting others on the process, showing thatingrahamlaura companies can save money while talent can build their own business and brands.  It’s a win-win,” says Tommy G, who will be joined on Mondays by the New York Times best-selling author of “The Soprano State,” Bob Ingle.  Following Tommy G and replacing the syndicated Mancow is another new show hosted by longtime New York metro area talent Steve Malzberg.  Malzberg’s show is syndicated by Newsmax, and will be carried live from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Says Baron, “Steve is a name in the area,” and despite being a national show, it’s expected Malzberg will discuss “a fair amount of local and regional news and topics.”  From 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm, WCTC, which is the flagship malzbergstevestation for Rutgers University sports, debuts “BTN Live,” a sports talk show about the Big Ten, the NCAA conference Rutgers begins competing in this fall.  Baron, who along with Tommy G, is well known for his community involvement, says he believes the changes are not only necessary but that stations must embrace how local content will make them stronger.  “We will be much more local in our approach to serving our listeners – from our shows to remote (broadcasts) and our community involvement.  For us it will be cost effective.  We will make noise in the radio landscape.”

feinburgtoddTodd Feinburg Subs in Boston and Louisville.  Boston-based talk show host Todd Feinburg is filling in for WBZ-AM, Boston’s Dan Rea on the evening program tonight and tomorrow (8-22/23).  Next week he’ll be heard 829 miles away on Clear Channel’s WHAS, Louisville sitting in hosting the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot on both Thursday and Friday, August 29 and 30.  The multi-faceted Feinburg spent many years working full time at Entercom’s WRKO, Boston.

wiplogoWIP-FM, Philadelphia Announces Howie Roseman Show.  CBS Radio sports talk outlet “SportsRadio 94 WIP” is announcing Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman will make weekly appearances on the afternoon drive show with Anthony Gargano – accompanied by Eagles play-by-play voice Merrill Reese – every Monday from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm live at Chickie’s and Pete’s in South Philadelphia.  The station states, “In addition to discussing each week’s game with Gargano and Reese, Roseman will take calls and talk with fans on site at Chickie’s and Pete’s.  The show is the first of its kind.  It is the only live weekly interactive radio show with an NFL general manager.  The show, sponsored by Miller Lite, can be heard live on 94WIP, online at www.cbsphilly.com and via the Radio.com application for a variety of mobile devices.  The show will debut on Tuesday, September 3 due to the Labor Day holiday and be heard on Tuesday, September 10 due to the Eagles-Redskins Monday Night Football debut on September 9.  From 5:30 pm to 6:00 pm a leading Eagles player will join the show each week.

mohrtysonHangin’ with Mike Tyson.  Fox Sports Radio Network nationally syndicated host Jay Mohr (l) poses for a shot with former boxer Mike Tyson (r) in the Fox Sports Radio studios in Los Angeles.  Tyson visited Mohr’s program to talk about his life after boxing, being a dad and much more.  They also chatted about a recent run-in at a frozen yogurt shop, as well as Tyson’s upcoming FOX Sports 1 cable TV show, “Being Mike Tyson.”

losttrailersCountry Act The Lost Trailers Cuts Custom Theme Music for Dial Global’s “Sunday Night Football.”  The theme music to Dial Global’s “Sunday Night Footbal” this season is a tweaked version of The Lost Trailers’ single “It’s Goin’ Down Tonight” that features football highlights, sound bites and customized lyrics.  The company announces, “The new theme music, performed by The Lost Trailers and powered by Early Shares Music, will debut during the first regular season NFL broadcast on Thursday, September 5 which kicks off at 8:00 p.m. ET.  The highly anticipated season opener between the Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens and the Denver Broncos will feature Kevin Harlan and Boomer Esiason behind the microphones.”  The band’s founding member Stokes Nielson states, “We are truly excited to be a part of the NFL broadcasts on Dial Global.  We are huge sports fans and we can’t wait to help the announcers kick off every Sunday night game, because it’s goin’ down tonight, every Sunday night, all over America!”   The band previously collaborated with Dial Global Sports, customizing their top 10 single “Holler Back” for the network’s opening montage in Super Bowl XLIII.

Bradley Manning Verdict/Gender Issues, OK Thrill Kill Case, Averted Georgia School Shooting, NSA Surveillance Program, U.S.-Egypt Tensions, Syria Chemical Weapons Allegations and ObamaCare Implementation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/21).  The 35-year sentence handed to Bradley Manning and his desire to begin gender change procedures; the case of three Oklahoma teens suspected of slaying Australian college baseball player Christopher Lane; a Georgia School staffer talks an armed man out of firing and averts a tragedy; the scope of the NSA surveillance program; the U.S. policy regarding Egypt; allegations Syria is using chemical weapons against citizens; and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, July 15, 2013

| July 15, 2013

Talk Radio Stations Answer Call for Live Radio After Zimmerman Verdict.  The number of talk radio stations that rose to the occasion after the George Zimmerman verdict late Saturday night and the following day was, according to TALKERS sources around the country, surprisingly large considering the time (especially in the East) that the verdict was announced.  Certainly there were many stations caught unaware at that late hour but even many of those that were not able to bring local talent in for a live program were prepared enough to air network coverage of the news.  Several TALKERS sources report hearing local talent take to the air in the Pacific Time Zone and put callers on the air to discuss the case.

madisonjoeSiriusXM’s Joe Madison Races to Cover Zimmerman Verdict; Broadcast Response to Case.  High-profile talk media personality Joe Madison lived up to his moniker “The Black Eagle” late Saturday night after the Sanford, Florida jury reached its verdict and found George Zimmerman not guilty of the charges against him in the death of Trayvon Martin.  Minutes after the verdict was announced, Madison went to the SiriusXM Washington, DC broadcast facility to do a live broadcast that aired from 11:00 pm Saturday evening to 1:00 am Sunday morning on the satcaster’s “Urban View Channel.”  Madison opened up the lines to callers to, as he said, “give people a platform to react and share their feelings.”  SiriusXM reports, “It was a powerful show.  Major figures joined the show by telephone – among them Rev. Jesse Jackson; Ben Jealous, president/CEO, NAACP; Marc Morial, president National Urban League; attorney Daryl Parks, co-attorney for the family of Trayvon Martin; and Roslyn Brock, chairwoman of the NAACP.  ‘Urban View’ then went into a special schedule all day Sunday, serving as a sounding board for listener response.  The channel aired live shows taking calls from around the country throughout the day.”

traduptomMedia Coverage of Zimmerman Verdict Analyzed and Criticized.  In the immediate aftermath of the George Zimmerman verdict, the news/talk radio industry is analyzing media coverage of the case – especially from cable news/talk outlets and what some talk radio practitioners tend to call the “left-leaning mainstream media.”  In a somewhat high-profile incident, former temporary Associated Press staffer Cristina Silva, who had left the news organization before the incident, according to the AP, Tweeted: “So we can all kill teenagers now?  Just checking.”  Salem Radio Networks VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS magazine that after learning about this he, as a member of the TV Digital News Directors Association, as well as an AP subscriber, contacted AP executive editor Kathleen Carroll.  She informed Tradup that Silva was “a temp who no longer works for us.”  Breitbart.com reports Silva worked for the AP for the past three years with her last byline being July 9 of this year.  Tradup has more to say about the coverage he witnessed and the radio broadcasts he heard to those he saw on cable TV.  He writes, “Radio (gasp) simply covered the verdict.  ABC, SRN, CBS, local stations…all pretty much the same model:  No scary theme music, no weird camera angles, and no need to manufacture emotions or distort what happened.  Just the facts…Not on cable.  Kate Bolduan and Chis Cuomo on, of course, a special edition of CNN’s “New Day” program, reporting on the verdict with agonized scowls on their faces…presenting video of ‘major cities’ all over America where protesters marched after the verdict had been announced.  An objective viewing of the ‘protests’ revealed turnout to be literally dozens of people.  Cuomo physically wrung his hands as he opined that people nationwide are ‘disturbed’ by the verdict.  Kate Bolduan sat stoically next to him, nodding and grimacing over the jury’s verdict on this travesty of a ‘news’ program.  On MSNBC, Melissa Harris-Perry suggested that ‘all over America, African-American parents are hugging their children tighter’…implying that they are trembling in their homes as a result of the Sanford, Florida jury action.  What unsubstantiated baloney. How insulting to African-Americans.  How insulting to our entire legal system.  The state of broadcast journalism in America has always been pretty low, an occasional Edward R. Murrow notwithstanding.  But the deifying of Trayvon Martin by CNN and other cable myna birds simply to generate ratings makes me happy to instead operate in radio news…where actual facts still matter.  Our TV counterparts have served up disgraceful bias and doctored opinions disguised as ‘news coverage.’”

marconiawardSports Talkers Outshine News/Talkers in 2013 NAB Marconi Award Personality Honors Finalists.  The National Association of Broadcasters announces the finalists for the 2013 NAB Marconi Awards honoring personalities and radio stations for excellence.  The winners will be announced at the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Orlando on September 18.  This year, in the major market and syndicated categories, news/talk personalities are noticeably absent while sports talk talent is prominent.  Fox Sports Radio/Premiere Networks’ Petros & Money are finalists in the syndicated category and in the major market category, WFAN, New York’s Boomer & Carton and KTCK, Dallas’ “The Musers” (George Dunham and Craig Miller) are finalists.  Clear Channel news/talk KFI, Los Angeles is up for Legendary Station, as is Entercom’s sports talk WEEI, Boston and CBS Radio all-newsers KYW, Philadelphia and WBBM, Chicago.  News/talk and sports are dominant in the Large Market Station of the Year category with CBS Radio’s WCCO, Minneapolis; Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM, Providence; Entercom’s WWL-AM, New Orleans; and CBS Radio’s WXYT-FM, Detroit all in contention.  View all of the finalists here.

sedanojorgeJorge Sedano to Exit WQAM, Miami to Join ESPN.  The Florida SunSentinel reports that WQAM, Miami program director and afternoon drive personality Jorge Sedano will leave the station he’s been with for 11 months to take a multi-platform position with sports giant ESPN.  The specifics of his new position with ESPN are unclear but he is expected to start there in the fall.  Sedano is a fixture in sports media in South Florida and has also worked at Lincoln Financial Media’s WAXY.  He took over the program director position at WQAM after four months away from radio in the market during which he pursued TV opportunities.  He replaced Lee Feldman who exited the WQAM PD post for opportunities outside the radio business.  Sedano also hosted the pre- and post-game shows for Miami Heat games on the Sun Sports telecasts.  Obviously, this opens up a great sports talk radio opportunity in South Florida.

imusdonMerlin Media’s WWIQ, Philadelphia Replaces Lionel with Don Imus in AM Drive.  New York-based media personality Lionel – seen by New Yorkers both in the early morning and during evening news casts on WPIX-TV – waslionel piped in alongside former morning host Al Gardner when Merlin turned the station into a talk-formatted outlet after purchasing it from Family Stations, Inc.  Gardner exited the station in March of this year and Lionel remained in AM drive.  In addition to his work with WPIX-TV, Lionel also operates the successful internet venture lionelmedia.com.

millerchrisFeeding the Endlessly Hungry Mouth: Coming Up with Content for Your Social Media Outreach.  Content gathering is a massive headache for a lot of social media experts.  It can take over two hours a day to do it effectively.  Considering the fact that in radio there are a lot fewer full-time social media folks and a lot more people have added some social media duties to their already long job descriptions, it is even tougher to be consistently interesting, funny or helpful.  In a new column posted today by noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, he suggests several types of content.  These include 1) using a lot of photos (they are more convenient and often more effective than videos); 2) posting in-depth articles (all you need is to click to them); 3) posing questions about hot-button stories (talk radio is more adept at this than music radio); and 4) employing the services of Google Alert to help gather material.  To read Chris Miller’s entire piece, please click here.

kernenbobBob Kernen to Serve as VP/COO for jacAPPS.  Jabobs Media’s jacAPPS division – developer of mobile applications – announces internet veteran Bob Kernen will join the company as vice president and chief operating officer.  The company reports that “this move marks a major step in the growth of the company, ranked by Crain’s Detroit Business as the number #2 mobile application developer in Southeast Michigan, and the industry leader in the Business-to-Business category.”  President Paul Jacobs says, “Since its inception in 2008, jacAPPS has been on a consistent, upward trajectory.  As our company nears its fifth anniversary, we needed a visionary with the right blend of media and web experience – and Bob’s the guy.”  Kernen has served as VP/product development and data for Sharecare, creating a digital database, mobile applications, and a comprehensive back-end data system.  Prior to that, he was the co-founder of GrokMusic, oversaw digital product development for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, developed emerging media platforms for A&E Television Networks, and helped develop the digital strategies for Hearst’s Women.com and Microsoft’s Web TV Networks.

katzjeffspeaksJeff Katz Subs in Morning Drive at WRNO, New Orleans.  Former “TALK 1200” Boston (WXKS-AM) morning man Jeff Katz sets his alarm clock pretty early tomorrow morning — if only for a day – as he’ll fill in on Clear Channel’s news/talk WRNO-FM, New Orleans.  Katz provides a thrice-daily commentary heard on WCAP, Lowell-Boston and has recently been heard filling in for Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated host Todd Schnitt and New England Talk Network regional host Michael Graham.

trautmannconradDial Global’s Conrad Trautmann Given ‘Engineer of the Year’ Honor.  Dial Global announces chief technology officer Conrad Trautmann has been named “Chapter Engineer of the Year” by the Society of Broadcast Engineers’ Chapter 15 (SBE 15), which serves the New York City metro area.  Trautmann is the first recipient of this new award, which recognizes the efforts of a specific individual who best furthers the goals and objectives of their SBE Chapter and provides an outstanding example of local/regional leadership and ethics.  SBE 15 chapter chairman Jeff Smith states, “We are thrilled to honor Conrad with our first ‘Chapter Engineer of the Year’ award.  Within Conrad’s 30-plus years of service to SBE 15, he was instrumental in reestablishing the chapter in the 1980s after declining membership and financial troubles caused the Chapter to cease operations.  Conrad is recognized for implementing a model that has made SBE 15 the largest and most financially stable SBE local chapter in the country.”  Trautmann oversees the company’s broadcast engineering, program distribution, back-office IT, and software development.  He is a nationally recognized and respected leader in the broadcast engineering field, with prior senior engineering positions at Dial Global, Westwood One, Metro Networks, Cox Radio, and Chancellor Media.

kroibarajasconductsHe Was Born in a Crossfire Hurricane.  All-news KROI, Houston’s Mike Barajas show off his conducting and Mick Jagger moves as he leads the Houston Symphony Orchestra in a rendition of the Rolling Stones’ classic “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.”  The “News 92 FM” afternoon anchor received a little help from Symphony conductor Brent Havens as he assisted the performance of the works of the Rolling Stones at Jesse H. Jones Hall.  Photo by Robert Land Productions.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

| July 11, 2013

morganmelanieMelanie Morgan Leaves KSFO, San Francisco AM Show.  This was radio and news pro Melanie Morgan’s second go-round with the Cumulus news/talker.  Morgan was a longtime fixture on KSFO alongside Lee Rodgers on the morning drive show when it was owned by ABC Radio (then Citadel) until her departure from the station in 2008.  She worked briefly with Talk Radio Network’s “America’s Morning News” based in Washington, DC but was forced to return to San Francisco to deal with a health issue.  She joined the morning show at KSFO again – this time with Brian Sussman as co-host 18 months ago.  Morgan Tweeted to followers: “Breaking – Melanie Morgan leaves KSFO morning show. No more 2:45 alarms. Amicable parting. Thanks KSFO listeners. God Bless You!”

elleryjackWCTC, New Brunswick, New Jersey Legend Jack Ellery Retires.  Greater Media announces that New Jersey radio legend Jack Ellery is retiring from WCTC, New Brunswick after a career that has spanned 50 years.  Ellery, most recently morning host at the station, has spent the better part of his career at WCTC.  Ellery began as a disc jockey but quickly turned his daily morning show into a forum for discussion on the latest news in Central Jersey and the state, providing insight, wit and humor, as one of the true pioneers of local talk radio.  Greater Media states, “Along the way, the radio veteran was also instrumental in helping WCTC raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for Central Jersey charitable organizations through on-air radiothons and different drives for local residents in dire need.  Ellery capped off his career as one of Central Jersey’s iconic radio personalities with his inclusion in the New Jersey Broadcasters Association’s inaugural class of Hall of Fame inductees last year.  He also received the NJBA’s Lifetime Achievement award at that time.”  WCTC station manager Dan Henrickson says, “Jack has served our community, our advertisers and our audience for multiple decades.  We wish him all the best in the ‘gone fishing’ portion of his life.”

wbz-fm logoBoston Globe Examines Local Sports Talk Radio Battle.  Boston Globe sports columnist Chad Finn takes a deeper look at the ratings war between CBS Radio’s WBZ-FM “The Sports Hub” and Entercom’s WEEI-FM after the Arbitron PPM data for the June period were released late yesterday.  It turns out the NHLweei logo Stanley Cup push by the hometown Bruins – whose games are broadcast on WBZ-FM – was very good news for the station.  Finn digs into the Men 25-54 numbers average from the last three ratings periods (April, May and June) and reports the following: WBZ-FM was #1 in the demo with a 10.2 share and WEEI-FM was tied for 5th place with a 5.5 share; in morning drive WBZ-FM morning show Toucher and Rich were first with a 13.4 share.  WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan were fifth with a 6.0 though Finn notes that D&C were up in June with a 7.0 share.  Things got a little closer in the evenings when play-by-play for the Bruins and the Red Sox were happening.  Finn writes, “In the evenings (7-p.m-midnight), The Sports Hub, featuring the Baseball Reporters, the Adam Jones Show and Bruins game broadcasts, was first with a 13.4 share, including a massive 16.2 in June.  WEEI’s nighttime programming, including the Planet Mikey Show and Red Sox and Celtics broadcasts, was second (9.7, including a 10.2 in June).”  The next couple of surveys will be interesting as WEEI has the monopoly on play-by-play with Red Sox baseball.   Read Finn’s entire column here.

wscr logoChicago Sports Talk War Featured in Tribune.  The Chicago Tribune’s Ed Sherman dives into the Men 25-54 PPM data for what he terms the spring ratings – April, May and June PPM averages – for the market’s major sports talk outlets CBS Radio-owned WSCR and ESPN O&O WMVP.  Sherman reports WSCR finished fourth in the market with a 4.7 share against WMVP’s 16th place finish on a 2.4 share (Men 25-54 Mon-Sun 6:00 am to 12:00 midnight).  Breaking out some of the individualwmvp programs, Sherman reports in morning drive WSCR’s “’Mully & Hanley’ were third at 6.8; ‘Mike & Mike’ were 10th at 2.9 on MVP.  In the afternoon, ‘Boers & Bernstein’ were second at 5.2, while ‘Waddle & Silvy’ were 16th at 2.6 in the first three months of their new time slot for WMVP.”  Sherman also spoke with both program directors – WSCR’s Mitch Rosen and WMVP’s Adam Delevitt – in searching for reasons the stations, which were often very close in ratings in the past, have separated recently with WSCR pulling ahead.  Rosen tells the Tribune, “We’ve stuck with the same lineup for several years.  People get into habits when it comes to listening to stations.  Continuity makes a big difference in radio.”  Delevitt points out what his company sees as its strength in a multi-platform approach.  “With ESPN, you have to focus on all of our platforms.  Nobody can duplicate what we’re doing on every platform.”  You can read Sherman’s entire piece here.

conclaveMichael Harrison to Deliver Keynote Address at The Conclave – Says the Future of Radio Rests Upon the Shoulders of Talent.  The long-running annual industry learning conference, The Conclave, is coming up in just six days!  Set for Wednesday, July 17 – Friday, July 19 at the Doubletree Park Place Hotel in Minneapolis, the 38th installment of this major, non-profit industry institution will feature a packed lineup of speakers from both music and talk radio (click here for the complete agenda).  TALKERS publisher Michaelharrisonmichael Harrison is set to deliver the event’s Keynote Address on Thursday, July 18 at 9:00 am.  The title of his speech is “Radio in the Digital Age: Where Does Talent Fit In?” His presentation will approach today’s key issues – immense debt, generational and cultural shifts, exotic new media, audience measurement shortcomings, plus the increasing importance of intellectual property, talent becoming entrepreneurial, and the humanity that radio should offer and has the potential to still do so well.  Looking ahead to his presentation, Harrison states, “The Conclave is designed as a platform for learning and I intend to use this opportunity to share the experience of my 45-year career in professional broadcasting and present-day insights accrued being the publisher of two leading trades with the young up-and-comers who are hopeful that radio can yet provide them with a rewarding career.  The past, present and future of radio is primarily a story about talent.  I will talk about the survival and ‘thrival’ of talent – upon whose shoulders rests the future of this industry.”

daultondarrenWPEN-FM, Philadelphia Baseball Talk Host Darren Daulton Diagnosed with Brain Cancer.  The former MLB star and host of “Talkin’ Baseball with Dutch” took a break from his regular 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm nightly baseball show on Greater Media’s WPEN-FM “The Fanatic” to have tumors removed from his brain and the result of tests on those tumors showed they are cancerous.  Darren Daulton Foundation president Tony Perri posted a message on Daulton’s official website stating, in part: “Darren has been diagnosed with a Glioblastoma (“GBM”), a form of brain cancer.  He has returned to his Clearwater area home to continue recuperating amongst his immediate family and friends.  He will eventually begin treatments in Florida. Darren and his family wish to thank everyone for their loving support throughout this difficult time.  He is deeply touched. In typical fashion, he again said, ‘Right on; Fight on.’  Darren and his family request that everyone respect his privacy and that of his family during this period of time.  At his urging, I can report that the September 9, 2013 golf tournament that benefits the Foundation will continue as planned.”

wolfsoncarlFormer KPOJ, Portland Talk Host Building Online Progressive Talk Destination.  Carl Wolfson was the morning drive host at Clear Channel’s KPOJ, Portland before the company dropped the progressive talk format andsmithjefferson flipped it to sports talk in November of 2012.  Undaunted, Wolfson created a live, daily morning program on the internet and “Carl in the Morning” has been building a listenership on Wolfson’s internet station.  Now, he’s adding another program to the station as former Oregon State Representative Jefferson Smith begins hosting a program called “Thank You Democracy” two days a week – Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:00 am.  According to Willamette Week, Wolfson writes about the show, “Each episode of ‘Thank You Democracy’ will take a topic and cover that topic from various angles.  The show will benefit from Jefferson’s network of relationships, as well as his experience as an activist, nationally recognized non-profit executive, advisor to elected officials, as well as a candidate and office-holder himself.”

roggerjohnKRMS, Osage Beach, Missouri Host Saves Life of Guest.  It all started when “Ozarks Today” host John Rogger called author and scheduled guest June Barnhart by mistake on Monday July, 8 for an interview scheduled for a different day.  But when he spoke with her he noticed she sounded confused and hung up on him.  Fortunately the author’s publicist had his sister check in with the author’s sister who rushed over to her house to find her in bad shape.  She was dehydrated and confused and was taken to the hospital.  Rogger tells TALKERS magazine that he subsequently found out Barnhart had suffered a mild stroke but doctors say she is expected to make a full recovery.

hochmanburgerHealthy-Schmealthy, Tell ‘em You Want a Hochman Burger!  When WAXY, Miami “AM790 & FM 104.3 The Ticket” morning drive co-host Marc Hochman was asked by Miami Subs Grill to create a namesake burger to be sold at the restaurant, he was only too happy to comply.  Marc is pictured here prepping to dive into a Hochman Burger that is now available at all 32 Miami Subs locations.  (Miami Subs is partly owned by Miami-based rap star Pitbull.)  What’s in a Hochman Burger you ask?  It’s covered with cheddar and BBQ sauce and topped with Funyons!  Tasty…and crunchy, too!

wfan logoWFAN, New York’s Boomer & Carton to Captain Celebrity Softball Game.  Morning drive sports talk duo Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton will choose their sides for the Major League Baseball’s Taco Bell Legends & Celebrities Softball Game during their show on CBS Radio’s WFAN, New York Friday morning at 8:00 am.  Boomer & Carton will be broadcasting live from the All-Star FanFest at the Jacob Javits Convention Center.  The celebrity game is now in its 9th  year as part of MLB’s All-Star Week and will be played before the All-Star Game Tuesday evening at Citi Field.  It will feature celebrities including Chris Rock, Mike Piazza, Kevin James, Darryl Strawberry, George Lopez, Dwight Gooden, Ashanti, Jennie Finch, Chord Overstreet and James Denton, among others.  Boomer Esiason is co-captaining the National League team alongside John Franco and Craig Carton and Bernie Williams will lead the American League team.

Immigration Reform, George Zimmerman Trial, Student Loan Bill, Asiana Airlines Crash Landing, Egypt Turmoil, and Canadian Rail Disaster Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/10).  The battle in Congress over immigration reform and amnesty; the trial of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin; the bill that would address student loan interest rates; the investigation of the crash landing of the Asiana Airlines jet in San Francisco; the civil and political turmoil in Egypt; and the deadly Canadian railroad accident were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, April 12, 2013

| April 12, 2013

wls-am logoWLS, Chicago Celebrates 89th Anniversary with Special Event.  Afternoon drive co-host Roe Conn will emcee a star-studded array of the biggest names in Chicago radio – past and present – who will be taking part in a special broadcast this evening from historic Navy Pier to celebrate 89 years of WLS Radio entertaining Chicago.  Joining Conn at the event will be some of the biggest names from WLS’ past — Dick Biondi, Catherine Johns and Wayne Messmer – plus special birthday greetings from Larry Lujack, Jeff Hendrix, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Rep. Peter Roskam and Notre Dame Football Coach Brian Kelly.  Illinois Governor Pat Quinn will be on hand to present WLS with a special proclamation.   “The Big 89” launched the careers of many celebrities, including Gene Autry, Larry Lujack and Bob Sirott.  Other local personalities like Dick Biondi and John Records Landecker are still heard on Cumulus Media’s sister classic hits WLS-FM.  Landecker states, “When I got into radio I never expected one set of call letters to mean so much to me, and to so many listeners.  WLS, ‘The Big 89,’ truly is the 50,000 watt blow torch of the Midwest.”  The station debuted on the evening of April 12, 1924 from the Sherman House Hotel in Chicago.  The WLS call letters were taken from the nickname – World’s Largest Store – for Sears-Roebuck’s West Side Headquarters on Homan Avenue.  Cumulus COO John Dickey says, “What started as the world’s largest store has become one of the world’s legendary stations.  Happy birthday 89. You don’t sound a day over 40!”

sternhowardAppeals Court Sinks Stern’s SiriusXM Suit.  A New York state appeals court rejected SiriusXM personality Howard Stern’s argument that the satcaster should have paid him bonus money based on the subscriber count of XM Satellite Radio.  Stern, through his production company One Twelve, had argued that when he was paid stock awards for performance based upon subscribers to Sirius, the company should also have counted subscribers to XM which merged with Sirius in 2008.  Stern lost the $330 million suit in the lower level court and appealed the decision.  But the appeals court – in a one-paragraph decision – stated that Stern’s 2004 contract with Sirius was “unambiguous” and denied the appeal.

fishercommunicationsSinclair to Keep Fisher’s Seattle Radio Stations.  In reporting yesterday’s announcement of the acquisition of Fisher Communications by Sinclair Broadcast Group, we questioned whether Sinclair – which got out of the radio business almost 14 years ago – would want to keep the three Seattle stations or offload them once the deal is consummated.  But during a conference call with analysts, Sinclair chief financial officer, executive vice president,komologo secretary of SCI and secretary of Sinclair Television Group Inc. David B. Amy addressed the radio stations, “Our understanding is that they work very closely with the Seattle television stations, and are complementary to, and benefit the Seattle television stations.  So we’ve been in radio in the past, and we’re familiar with what works and what doesn’t work within a television market in that regard.  So it will take us some time to, I guess, verify those comments that are being made to us. But at this point, no, we haven’t made any decision to do anything but to continue the way they are.”  Fisher owns hot AC KPLZ “Star 101.5,” all-news KOMO-AM and news/talk KVI.  Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript of the call.  You can read it in its entirety here.

weei logoDavid Field to Speak to Entercom Boston Staffers Today.  Bruce Allen’s Boston Sports Media Watch is reporting that Entercom CEO David Field is making an appearance at the Boston offices in a “town hall meeting”fielddavid style in which he’ll attempt to deal with what Allen is calling a “toxic environment” at the cluster.  Allen writes that he’ll presumably “attempt to assuage hard feelings and improve morale.  The source says the meeting is to tell employees that ‘everything is fine, and to enjoy the brand.’”  This comes on the heels of Boston Red Sox Network air personality Jon Rish’s decision to exit the network as the baseball season is just beginning rather than take what was reported to be a 30% pay cut.  Allen also is reporting that his source says Field will take questions from the staff but that questions had to be submitted in advance.

wphtWPHT, Philadelphia Moves Gary R’nel to Afternoon Co-Host Position; Rich Zeoli to Evenings.  At CBS Radio news/talk WPHT, Philadelphia, current afternoon drive co-host Rich Zeoli is moving to the 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot as Gary R’nel moves to the afternoon drive slot as new afternoon host Dick Morris’ partner.  In February, WPHT announced that political consultant and former Fox News Channel contributor Morris would join the station for PM drive as part of changes to accommodate the move of longtime WPHT host Michael Smerconish to SiriusXM.  Zeoli posted the confirmation of his status on his Facebook page when he wrote, “It’s official, starting April 15th I will be moving to 6:00 to 10:00 on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT.  Thanks friends for your support and encouragement the last several weeks.”

fair50 Talk Show Hosts Heading to DC Next Week for Live Broadcasts Discussing and Opposing the Senate Amnesty Bill – More Invited to Participate from Home.  Wednesday, April 17 and Thursday, April 18 are the dates set for this year’s annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” mega-radio row held in the nation’s capital by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).  50 talk show hosts will be originating their programs during those two days from Capitol Hill, interviewing a parade of high-profile guests from politics, government, the media and public policy organizations.  Due to the overwhelming interest expressed by far more hosts than can be accommodated on the scene at this live event, FAIR is encouraging interested talk show hosts around the country to participate from their home markets with a “concentrated, collective and loud” nationwide push to alert listeners, who might be so pre-disposed, to oppose amnesty.  FAIR communications director Bob Dane has issued the following statement to hosts around the nation: “Please join 50 of your colleagues at ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ by devoting some, or all, of your program on April 17 and 18 to talking about the massive immigration giveaway moving through Congress.  The bill is complex but the call-to-action is simple.  As we did successfully in 2007, we need you to ask your listeners to call their lawmakers, say ‘no,’ and flood the Capitol switchboard on those two days.” For more information click herehttp://www.fairus.org/VoicesAgainstAmnesty

kupersteinadamNBC Sports Radio Network Adds Weekend Shows. Rounding out its weekend programming, the NBC Sports and Dial Global sports radio network initiative announces that last Sunday, the network debuted “Kup and Schultz,” featuring Miami’s Adam “Kup” Kuperstein and Huffington Post sports columnist Jordan Schultz.  “Kup and Schultz” will air schultzjordanregularly on Sundays from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET.  Also, the network assigns a weekend show to weekday overnight host Dan Schwartzman as he debuts “Schwartzman Saturdays,” airing from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET. Kuperstein states, “I’m honored to be in such good company on the NBC Sports Radio team. Our show will be a fast-paced, fun, fresh look at sports.  I can’t wait to get started!”  Schultz adds, “I’m thrilled to be hosting a new show for NBC Sports Radio where I can bring my Huff Post perspective and passion for sports to a new audience.  It’s a tremendous opportunity to work with a highly respected network that already provides great sports talk.”

hedgecockrogerRadio America’s Roger Hedgecock Adds Six New Affiliates.  Six more stations add the nationally syndicated and San Diego-based Roger Hedgecock program to their lineups.  They are: KMJ-AM, Fresno; KGNC, Amarillo; KION, Monterey-Salinas-Santa Cruz, California; KHQN, Salt Lake City; WLFJ, Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina; KCNR, Redding, California.

kozntorreNRG Media’s KOZN, Omaha Broadcasts from Bob Gibson Statue Unveiling.  NRG Media sports talker KOZN, Omaha “The Zone” broadcast from the recent unveiling of a statue of St. Louis Cardinals great Bob Gibson by the Sarpy County (Nebraska) Sports Commission and the minor league Omaha Storm Chasers at the club’s Werner Park on April 11.  During the five-hour live remote, KOZN Damon Benning and Gary Sharp welcomed numerous high-profile guests including former MLB manager Joe Torre.  Pictured here are (from l-r): Benning, Torre and Sharp.

Obama 2014 Budget Top Talk Story for Week of April 8-12. President Obama’s Fiscal 2014 Federal Budget along with the sequester and other spending issues were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  Coming in at #2 was gun legislation proposals followed by North Korea missile threats at #3.  At #4 was the immigration reform bill.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Friday, March 22, 2013

| March 22, 2013

genachowskiFCC Chairman Julius Genachowski to Step Down.  FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski officially announces his decision to step down from the agency in the coming weeks.  The initial report came from Politico Thursday evening but Genachowski’s departure from the FCC has been expected for some time.  He became chairman in 2009 and has not always been viewed as the friendliest of FCC chairmen to radio as the thrust of his tenure has been promoting broadband as the communications avenue of the future.  Politico reports that there are a number of possible successors to Genachowski and names Core Capital Partners Managing Director Tom Wheeler; current sitting Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel; former ambassador to Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Karen Kornbluh; former FCC chief of staff and primary author of the commission’s National Broadband Plan Blair Levin; and National Telecommunications and Information Administration chief Larry Strickling.  The NAB‘s Gordon Smith offers the following statement on Genachowski’s departure: “NAB salutes Chairman Genachowski for his years of service at the FCC.  The FCC chair is arguably one of the most difficult jobs in Washington, and yet Julius consistently performed with dedication and focus.  We may have disagreed on occasion, but America’s broadcasters wish him well in his journeys ahead.”

foxsportsradio logoFox Sports Radio Network to Offer Big Ten Football Show in Fall.  Working in conjunction with the Big Ten Network, Fox Sports Radio announces it will offer a third season of “BTN Live” – a daily Big Ten football show.  Beginning August 26, the program will be available for air Monday through Friday, 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET.  FSRN says of the show, “Throughout football season, ‘BTN Live’ will take fans inside every Big Ten locker room as teams prepare for games, and provide the latest news, expert analysis, and interviews with players and coaches.  The nightly show will be hosted by Big Ten Network personalities Dave Revsine, Mike Hall and Rick Pizzo, with Big Ten Network analysts Gerry DiNardo, Howard Griffith and other special guests.

jacksonmichaelLos Angeles Talk Radio Legend Michael Jackson Subs on CRN Digital Talk Radio; Richard Riordan and Roger Moore Guest.  Iconic Los Angeles talk radio personality Michael Jackson sits in for Chuck Wilder on his CRN Digital Talk Radio program that airs at 12:00 noon PT today (3/22).  Jackson will speak with high-profile guests former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan and actor Sir Roger Moore.  Jackson states, “I’m pleased to have the opportunity to fill in for Chuck and talk to one of the all-time, legendary actors in Sir Roger Moore and to also chat with one of the city’s greatest leaders, former Mayor Riordan.  Anytime you have outstanding guests as these, you’re always going to have an exciting and compelling show for the audience.  I’m looking forward to it.”

greggcherriKYW, Philadelphia’s Cherri Gregg to Be Honored by Philly NAACP.  This Sunday, the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP will honor 104 influential black women from the Philadelphia area.  KYW Newsradio community affairs reporter Cherri Gregg has been named to the list of honorees.  The NAACP is recognizing African American women comprised of elected officials, entrepreneurs, non-profits, civic leaders, educators, labor leaders, members of the clergy, media, health care providers, government agencies and corporate America leaders.  Gregg says, “I am humbled and excited to be named one of the NAACP’s 104 most influential Black women in Philadelphia.  It’s truly an honor to be included on such a distinguished list of African American women, and this recognition will fuel my continued effort to strive for excellence in covering the communities of Philadelphia.”

clarkrussKBLU, Yuma Host Russ Clark Resigns; Moves to Crosstown KCYK.  Yuma, Arizona TV station KSWT-TV reports talk show host Russ Clark resigned from his program on El Dorado Broadcasters’ KBLU on the air, surprising listeners and his employer.  Clark tells the TV station he’s taking his show across town to MonsterMedia’s country KCYK “Outlaw Country 1400” beginning April 2.  “They had no idea. They took away my morning show and gave me a one-day-a-week, which, I think was an effort to keep me somewhat engaged without having me be directly opposed to them or directly in competition.  But, of course, I need to get back on air.  I need to get back to what I was doing.”  Clark says KBLU management wanted more news and less talk in the AM drive.

wiplogoCBS Radio’s WIP, Philadelphia Personalities to Host Comcast SportsNet Philly Program.  All next week, personalities from CBS Radio’s Philadelphia sports talk outlet WIP will guest host the daily 5:00 pm ET show, “Daily News Live,” that’s seen on the Comcast cable network and the Xfinity ON Demand service.  Al Morganti, Rhea Hughes, Anthony Gargano, Glen Macnow, and Big Daddy Graham will handle hosting duties, each sitting in for one day.  CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield says, “SportsRadio WIP has been the authority in Philadelphia sports radio for 25 years so it will be a treat for Delaware Valley sports fans to see some of their favorite hosts set the agenda on ‘Daily News Live.’  We’re thrilled to showcase our talent on Comcast SportsNet.”

patrickmattPatrick in for Cunningham Sunday Night.  Houston talk show host Matt Patrick will fill in again this Sunday, March 24, for Bill Cunningham on the Premiere Networks nationally syndicated “Live on Sunday Night, It’s Bill Cunningham” program.  Patrick, whose “day job” is hosting the morning drive program on Clear Channel’s KTRH, Houston and the afternoon program on sister KPRC, is a regular fill-in host for Cunningham as well as Portland talk host Lars Larson.

Sequester Effects Top Talk Radio Topic for Week of March 18-22.  This is the fifth straight week that the sequester effects and related budget battle have been at the #1 spot on the Talkers TenTM as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio.  This week, at #2 is President Obama’s trip to Israel.  Coming in at #3 is North Korea’s threats followed by Iran’s nuclear ambitions 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.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

| March 19, 2013

DG-logoHorizontalMore Big Changes at Dial Global as Spencer Brown and Ken Williams Resign; Time, Inc. CRO Paul Caine to Take Over as CEO.  Dial Global announces that Paul Caine has resigned his post as chief revenue officer at Time, Inc. to become the chief executive officer of Dial Global and become a member of the cainepaulboard of directors.  Spencer Brown resigns his post as CEO and Ken Williams does the same as president.  The two will stay on until April 4 when the change takes place.  The company says, “Caine joins to create a new opportunity for Dial Global to expand the marketing and monetization of audio, starting with the Company’s lineup of premier sports, entertainment and news content that includes the NFL primetime games (including the Playoffs and Super Bowl), the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, CBS Radio News, NBC News Radio, the brownspencerNBC Sports Radio Network, and the Grammys. As mobile platforms continue to multiply the occasions for listening, the demand for premium digital audio content is growing fast. This represents a substantial, undeveloped opportunity for content providers, distribution partners and marketers alike.”  Paul Caine says of joining the company, “Dial Global will propel the growth of audio as the essential medium for the mobile experience.  We have premium content, top-tier distribution, and prestigious live event assets.  Our opportunity is to expand these experiences for consumers, broaden our repertoire of content partners, and integrate our on-air, digital and live event offerings to create compelling engagement for advertisers.”  In a statement from the company, Spencer Brown comments on his exit, “Along with our former partner David Landau, Ken and I have taken Dial Global a long way.  Now the company needs a chief executive with a different skill set to steer it through its next phase of growth.  We believe Paul is uniquely well-qualified to do just that.”

Cumulus Reports 2012 Q4 Net Revenue Up 1% on Strong Political.  Cumulus Media announces 2012 Q4 numbers and financial figures for the whole of 2012.  For the fourth quarter of 2012, Net revenue was up $2.9 million – 1% — on revenue of $284.2 million, compared to $281.3 for the same period a year ago.

cumulusLew Dickey Says with Promised Synergies in Place, ‘Cumulus Optimizes’ and ‘Invigorates’ Radio Networks Division.  During Monday’s conference call with analysts, Cumulus Media chairman and CEO Lew Dickey explained some of the company’s strategies and recognized the programming effortsdickeylew that included “launching shows with Governor Mike Huckabee, Geraldo Rivera, Sanjay Gupta and Michael Savage as well as some other initiatives that we have focused on.  We also announced the launch of, huckabeemikeimportantly, the CBS Sports Radio Network in collaboration with CBS, and the launch of Right Now Traffic in partnership with Radiate Media. These give us strong ownership positions going forward into two key verticals, sports and traffic.”  Lew Dickey reiterated the company’s happiness with the purchase of the former WFME, Newark, calling it “a tremendous value at just $40 million.”  As expected he promoted Cumulus’ country music strategy, saying the new WNSH, New York “enabled us to bring the country format back to New York for the first time since the mid-90s…with a very strong brand, ‘NASH FM.’  The NASH brand was extremely well received by listeners, advertisers, general media and particularly the Nashvillenashbashsheltonsmall entertainment community, and we further capitalized on this with a three-day concert for our advertisers and listeners last savagemichaelmonth, which was the ‘NASH BASH’ at the Roseland ballroom.  NASH FM will become the flagship for our larger national country initiative that we are in the process of rolling out throughout the rest of this year. It will ultimately be a multimedia platform brand for Cumulus, targeting that key audience segment, which is about 85 million Americans.  It will be through our O&O group as well as syndicated through our network…as well as through a mult-imedia platform.”   Dickey told analysts he expects the NASH FM, traffic, CBS Sports and digital platforms to break even in 2013 and be poised for profit in 2014 saying they are, “in essence, startup businesses, new entrants into respective arenas such as sports, and traffic in particular.”  Dickey was asked about the network business, the talk business in particular and he referenced, without naming names, the Rush Limbaugh-Sandra Fluke incident.  “Clearly, it’s been well documented that the talk side has been challenged – most of that due to some of the issues that happened a year ago.  So there has been residual hangover on the talk side in terms of advertisers sitting out and not placing there…that’s had an impact not only on our network business but it’s had an impact on some of the news/talk stations in the top markets in our O&O group.”  Dickey reported that business that is typically placed in the first quarter was, in many cases not placed until the late part of the first quarter of this year and a lot of that business “is now starting to come back into the marketplace.”  The Cumulus Media conference call details come courtesy of Seeking Alpha.  See more at SeekingAlpha.com.

kprc logoKPRC, Houston Re-Brands; Adds Janine Turner for Daily PM Drive Show.  Clear Channel Houston talk outlet KPRC finalizes its shift from a more “hot talk” format to a more traditional news/talk format and swaps turnerjaninebranding, leaving behind the “9-5-0 Radio Mojo” and implementing the new “Houston’s More Stimulating Talk Radio” positioner.  The lineup includes: Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo in morning drive; Premiere’s Glenn Beck; local host Michael Garfield; local personality Matt Patrick (who’s also heard in AM drive on sister KTRH); and Janine Turner.  Texas-based Turner – the actress known for her work on the 1990s TV show “Northern Exposure” – has been producing her own radio show for a couple of years now and is added to the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot on KPRC.

greatermediaGreater Media Philly Honored with Top Workplaces Accolades for Second Straight Year.  In a survey of employees conducted by Workplace Dynamics for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philly.com, Greater Media’s Philadelphia cluster of stations was named among the Top Workplaces again this year.  VP and market manager John Fullam says, “Great companies start with great employees.  We believe the workplace environment is an essential part of creating a successful organization.  We are fortunate to have such an outstanding team dedicated to serving Philadelphia, our listeners and advertising partners every day.”  Greater Media operates rock WMMR, classic rock WMGK, adult hits WBEN-FM and sports talk WPEN-FM.

arbitronArbitron Releases the RADAR March 2013 Radio Network Ratings.  Arbitron reports that the RADAR (Radio’s All Dimension Audience Research) March 2013 “is the standard currency for national network radio ratings and measures 46 individual radio networks.”  The networks are operated by American Urban Radio Networks, Crystal Media Networks, Cumulus Media Networks, Dial Global Inc., Premiere Networks, and United Stations Radio Networks.  The survey concludes “that nearly 180 million Persons 12 and older, or approximately 68% of this demographic, heard one or more network radio commercials in an average week of the survey period.”  Further, the survey states commercials that aired on the 46 radio networks measured reached: 68.2 % of Persons aged 12+ (179,923,000 Persons); 68.6% of Persons aged 18+ (163,738,000 Persons); 68.1% of Persons aged 35+ (113,417,000 Persons); 70.9% of Persons aged 18-49 (95,091,000 Persons); and 71.7% of Persons aged 25-54 (89,654,000Persons).

premiere networks 2Premiere Networks Touts ‘Strong Rankings’ in RADAR 116.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment-owned Premiere Networks sells 17 of the 46 networks included in Arbitron’s RADAR 116.  In this survey, Premiere lays claim to having “earned the number one spot in rankings for AQH and Cume among all 46 measured RADAR networks in RADAR 116 for Persons 12+.  Premiere FOX News Advantage ranked number one on an AQH basis for Persons 12+ (All Broadcasts, Monday-Sun 5AM-12M, AQH) and Premiere Spectrum debuted in RADAR 116 as the highest-reaching network for Persons 12+ (All Broadcasts, Monday-Sunday 12Midnight-12Midnight broad daypart, Cume).  Premiere also points to the performance of its networks based on lifestyle groupings, stating, “Young Influencers and Premiere Super Moms ranked number one and two, respectively, in reaching Moms 25-54 (Women 25-54 with children under 12).  Premiere Super Moms took the lead position followed by Premiere Young Influencers in reach for Working Women 25-54 (work status: full time/part time) among all 46 measured RADAR networks in RADAR 116 (All Broadcasts, Monday-Sunday 12Midnight-12Midnight broad daypart, cume audience).  The RADAR 116 sample consists of 395,844 diary keepers/PPM panelists/respondents.  PPM panelists comprise approximately 53% of the total respondent listening sample.

Effects of Sequester/Budget Battle, State of the Republican Party, Cyprus Bank Deposit Tax, Steubenville Rape Case, and Tom Perez Named Labor Secretary Nominee Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/18).  The budget battle in Washington and the effects of the sequester; analysis of the state of the Republican party and its future; the Cyprus bank deposit tax and its effect on world markets; the guilty verdicts in the Steubenville, Ohio rape case; and President Obama’s nomination of Tom Perez as labor secretary were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

| March 14, 2013

morrisdickCBS Radio’s WPHT, Philadelphia to Add Dick Morris for PM Drive.  The station is making programming moves in anticipation of Michael Smerconish’s departure to SiriusXM Satellite Radio in April and announces political consultant, author and media personality Dick Morris will begin hosting the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm shift.  Currently, Smerconish is on from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm followed by Rich Zeoli and Steve Martorano from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  WPHT does not say if Zeoli and Martorano will remain with the station and be moved to the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot or if it has other plans yet to be announced.  CBS Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield states, “Dick is a great addition to our lineup of live and local personalities, and provides a voice that will raise the audiences’ interest in what’s happening in politics today.  As someone who isn’t afraid to express his opinions or make bold predictions, his show won’t just be a win for Philadelphia and WPHT, it’s a win for radio.”

schultzedMSNBC’s Ed Schultz to Move to Weekend Slot.  News/talk personality Ed Schultz announced at the end of his Wednesday evening program that he will be vacating the 8:00 pm ET time slot on MSNBC to begin hosting a two-hour weekend program on both Saturday and Sunday – from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm beginning in April.  Saying it is “a big opportunity for ‘The Ed Show’ and my brand.”  Schultz said on the air that the five-nights-per-week gig isn’t for him and he’s looking forward to more time to prepare stories.  He told viewers, “I raised my hand for this assignment for a number of personal and professional reasons…My fight on ‘The Ed Show’ has been for the workers and the middle class.  This new time slot will give me the opportunity to produce and focus on stories that I care about and are important to American families and American workers.”  MSNBC offered a congratulatory statement from Phil Griffin but is not announcing just yet who will take over the slot leading into the channel’s prime time star, Rachel Maddow.  Schultz’s program has performed well for the network.  On Tuesday, March 12, for example, Schultz came in second to Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly but beat CNN’s Anderson Cooper in most demographics (in Persons 25-54 Schultz grabbed 195,000 to Cooper’s 170,000, according to TVByTheNumbers.com).  Schultz also fared better than his lead-in, Chris Matthews.  Schultz continues to host his nationally syndicated talk radio program.

longbrianBonneville Seattle Announces Programming Appointments.  Vice president and market manager Carl Gardner promotes KIRO-FM news director Pete Gammell to program director for news/talk KIRO-FM; KIRO-FM assistant program director Jason Antebi to PD of sister news/talk KTTH and sports talk KIRO-AM “710 ESPN” program director Brian Long to senior director of programming for the Bonneville Seattle stations.  Gardner says of Long, “Brian is a talented gammellpeteprogrammer and proven ratings winner. He brings experience, focus, and a leadership style that will be invaluable to our content teams on all three stations.”  The programming positions opened up when programmer Larry Gifford announced he would be leaving the KIRO-FM and KTTH stations back in early February.  On Gammell’s rise antebiJasonto PD, Gardner states, “Pete instinctively understands KIRO Radio.  He was born and raised in Tacoma, educated in Seattle, came up through the KIRO Radio newsroom and has been a leader in shaping KIRO’s distinctive blend of news and conversation.  More than anyone, Pete just gets the unique role this station plays in our community.”  Gammell began his radio career at KIRO Radio in 2000 and moved to San Francisco to work as associate news director at KCBS, San Francisco from 2006 to 2008.  Jason Antebi, who will run the day-to-day programming of KTTH and continue in his role as the architect of KIRO Radio Weekends, worked as a producer in Los Angeles at KLSX, KRLA and  KFI (2006-08).  He served as executive producer at Greenstone Media and as an executive producer of the TRN-syndicated Phil Hendrie show.

2013hh logo 3 inchesTALKERS magazine Unveils the 2013 Heavy Hundred.  The editors of TALKERS magazine, with input from industry leaders, present the 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America –– a popular annual feature that has come to be known as the “Heavy Hundred.”  This is one of the most challenging tasks that TALKERS undertakes each year considering that there are thousands of talk show hosts across the country, ranging from national icons to those laboring in relative obscurity.  Aside from the hosts whose sheer numbers and fame demand their inclusion on this list, the selection process is subjective with the goal being to create a list reflective of the industry’s diversity and total flavor as well as giving credit where credit is due.  The TALKERS magazine editors who painstakingly compile this super-list draw upon a combination of hard and soft factors when evaluating candidates.  These include (in alphabetical order): courage, effort, impact, longevity, potential, ratings, recognition, revenue, service, talent and uniqueness.  We acknowledge that it is as much art as science and that the results are arguable.  There is one concrete qualification for inclusion.  Hosts must be working at the time TALKERS magazine initially posts the list in order to be considered.  They must have a regularly scheduled professional show on the air at a minimum of one terrestrial or satellite radio station at “press time.”  The list remains intact from that point forward until the next year’s edition.  In past years, TALKERS magazine has included sports talk hosts in the Heavy Hundred.  Last year, due to the massive growth in the sports talk genre, sports talk radio has earned a Heavy Hundred of its own, the 2013 installment of which will be published by TALKERS in the coming months.  TALKERS magazine salutes the fine broadcasters who made this year’s list.  To view it, click here.

zollermarthaMartha Zoller’s Gettin’ Busy.  Georgia talk show host Martha Zoller recently returned to the radio after an unsuccessful run for Congress last year.  She’s heard on Cox Media Group’s WGAU, Athens in AM drive with co-host Tim Bryant and – she tells TALKERS – now on about 10 affiliate stations across the state.

hrabechrisKMOX, St. Louis Brings Chris Hrabe in from Memphis for Evening Sports Show.  The 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight “Dave Sinclair Sports Hub” has a new host as KMOX brings Chris Hrabe in from Flinn Broadcasting’s WHBQ, Memphis, beginning April 4.  Hrabe (pronounced RAY-bee) will host Cardinals and Blues post-game shows in addition to the aforementioned shift.  He’ll also be responsible for contributing content to KMOX.com.  Director of programming and operations Steve Moore states, “Chris is a terrific addition to our sports team.  He’s a talented and accomplished broadcaster, with roots in the Midwest.  He’s well versed in Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League and his recent career experience has provided him tremendous insight into the Southeastern Conference.  Sports fans in St. Louis will be pleased to hear his fresh insights and we are confident he’ll make an immediate impact on our programming.”

kpopeSavvy Texas Broadcaster Brings Pontiff Selection to Local Audience.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke reports to TALKERS about KTBB, Tyler, Texas owner Paul Gleiser’s taking ownership of the new Pope selection story.  He writes: Station managers across the US were already coping with ownership demands for digital and social media revenue as two news items this week complicated such planning: Arbitron issued a “Social Media Do’s & Don’ts” memo and the Federal Trade Commission issued guidelines for sponsored social media content.  Meanwhile, KTBB, Tyler owner/GM/pundit Paul Gleiser (pictured at left in Vatican City) spent a week in Rome…making money with internet content…in market #142.  Full disclosure: Paul is my longtime, long-suffering client; and, admittedly, his coverage of this week’s papal transition hit the ground running because he covered the same story eight years ago.  In both cases, he sold the sponsorship to – you guessed it – the local Catholic hospital.  And he’s a Methodist!  Other local advertisers fund his on-site coverage of the national political conventions every four years, and the full week he and his sports guy spend at the Super Bowl run-up, and other special stuff.  Those sponsors get extra bang for their buck when the local TV station Paul also filed for let him plug them on the tube.  Win-win-win.  All accomplished with equipment in checked luggage, and an assist from ABC News Radio, of which KTBB is an affiliate.  See/hear/read what Paul filed from Rome here, and ask yourself “Why not?”  What can you craft for advertisers that delivers them, and your listeners, something special?

KINB, Oklahoma City Flips to Sports Talk.  The Kingfisher, Oklahoma-licensed FM station had been airing a standards format for the past two years (it was an alternative outlet before that).  The station is part of the Last Bastion Trust including other stations Citadel had to jettison in order to complete the 2007 ABC Radio deal.  A proposed sale to Ferris O’Brien in 2010 never was consummated and the station’s remained in the trust ever since.  The flip from “105.3 The Martini” to “105.3 The Pro” using CBS Sports Radio Network’s programming happened on March 12.

olbermannkeithOdds & Sods.  Keith Olbermann settles with Current TV over his firing.  According to numerous media reports – including The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline.com – though the details are confidential, Olbermann and Current TV have settled his $50 million suit against the Al Gore-owned cable network that’s in the process of being sold to Al Jazeera…..Clear Channel’s sports KTKR, San Antonio agrees to renew its deal with the Houston Astros to carry the team’s games during the 2013 season…..Mark Evans moves from adult contemporary WIKY, Evansville, Indiana to sunny San Diego to become the news man on the “Mornings with Chip and LaDona” AM drive show at Clear Channel’s KOGO.

Washington Sequester/Deficit Battle, New Pope Named, North Korea Threats, Upstate New York Shootings, and Gun Legislation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/13).  The debate in Washington over the sequester and moves to reduce the budget deficit; Catholic Church names new Pope; ongoing threats by North Korea; fatal shooting rampage in Upstate New York; and gun legislation proposals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.