Three Suspended from WPEN-FM, Philly for ‘Dwayne from Swedesboro’ Bit. According to a report in Philly.com from writer Rob Tornoe, Greater Media management has suspended three WPEN-FM employees after the “Dwayne from Swedesboro” bit was revealed earlier this week to be phony. Serving three-day suspensions are program director Matt Nahigian, APD and PM drive personality Jason Myrtetus, and producer Pat Egan. In case you missed it, “Dwayne from Swedesboro” – who exhibited numerous black stereotypes – was a regular “caller” to WPEN-FM’s PM drive Mike Missanelli program. Turns out, though, that “Dwayne” was really white producer Pat Egan and that fact was kept from Missanelli (which is why he’s not been suspended). When the story broke earlier this week, it created intense chatter among Philly sports talk fans and discussion about broadcasting ethics and racial sensitivities among radio people. Crosstown rival Josh Innes was so incensed, he posted a photo of an old actor in blackface with one of his tweets critical of the bit. Innes was let go by CBS RADIO’s WIP-FM on Wednesday and only WIP management knows if that was the sole reason for his dismissal or if it was one of several factors. Regardless, the three will return to work on Wednesday (8/31) and, in the meantime, Greater Media has some damage control to do in Philadelphia.
It’s Official: FCC Releases 2014 Quadrennial Regulatory Review. For some time we’ve known what this review was going to say, but the FCC has now officially released the Quadrennial Regulatory Review with the subtitle “Review of the Commission’s Broadcast Ownership Rules And Other Rules Adopted Pursuant to Section 202 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.” Republican Commissioner Michael O’Rielly sums up his feelings thusly, “…rarely have I seen a proceeding take so long and a document say so much in order to accomplish nothing of value. I dissent.” Ouch! And referring to the release of the 2010 Quadrennial Review in 2016, Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai states, “What took us so long? Based on the ‘substance’ of this Order, I have no idea, for the agency essentially does nothing but stick its head in the sand.” Both commissioners chide their agency for sticking with the ban on Newspaper-Broadcast Cross-ownership, citing arguments with which readers of this trade publication are already very familiar. Pai also laments the commission’s unwillingness to update the Local Radio Ownership Rule, the Radio-Television Cross-Ownership Rule, and the Dual Network Rule. He accuses the agency of defying the courts with regard to diversity. Five years ago, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit vacated the FCC’s definition of “eligible entity.” Pai comments, “Earlier this year, the Third Circuit said ‘enough is enough’ and demanded that the FCC take prompt action on its ‘stalled efforts to promote diversity in the broadcast industry.’ So what does the Commission do here in response to the court? Precisely one thing: It re-adopts the exact same ‘eligible entity’ definition that the Third Circuit rejected in 2011!” Pai goes on to express disappointment with partisanship and procedure that hampers the agency’s ability to serve the industry. “Today’s result is all the more unfortunate because compromise was well within reach. For example, a bipartisan majority of commissioners was willing to repeal the outdated Newspaper-Broadcast Cross-Ownership Rule. But for some reason, we were told that this rule would not be repealed unless all commissioners agreed. And sadly, one chose to exercise that veto. As someone who has been on the losing end of more 3-2 votes than I care to remember, I am baffled by this new requirement for unanimity. We’ve been told for years by the FCC’s leadership that 3-2 votes are what democracy is all about. Except, I guess, when it isn’t.” You can read the FCC’s entire report as well as full commentary by O’Rielly, Pai and Democratic Commissioner Mignon Clyburn here.
The Presidential Race Remains Atop the Talkers TenTM. The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton again this week were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, finishing at #1 on the Talkers TenTM. At #2 during the week of August 22-26 were questions about Clinton Family Foundation donors getting access to Hillary Clinton while she was Secretary of State. Coming in at #3 was the recent skirmishes between Iranian and U.S. naval vessels in the Strait of Hormuz, followed by the terror attack at American University in Kabul. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Odds & Sods. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III is taking part in a special Town Hall show at SiriusXM’s Manhattan studios on August 30. The program before a live, studio audience is being hosted by PGA Pro Bob Ford and SiriusXM’s Taylor Zarzour. Love will answer questions from audience members and discuss the U.S. team as it prepares for the 2016 Ryder Cup, being played September 30 through October 2 at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota…..Some people take it easy at work on Friday – not WHO, Des Moines afternoon personality Simon Conway. For a while now, Conway has also been hosting the morning show on iHeartMedia’s WMT, Cedar Rapids in addition to his afternoon gig. Today, Conway is also filling in for WOAI, San Antonio-based, syndicated talk host Joe Pagliarulo. The duo is pictured at right at the recent Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Conway on the left and Pags on the right…..“America Outdoors Radio,” produced and hosted by John Kruse and presented by Northwest Sportsman Magazine, the American Shooting Journal, California Sportsman Magazine and the Alaska Sporting Journal, adds new affiliates: KBYR, Anchorage; KBYR, Prudhoe Bay; and KBYR, Kuparuk in Alaska as well as WEMB, Johnson City, Tennessee and KBNH, Burns, Oregon.
Glenn Beck Producer Refuses to Name Sources in Boston Marathon Bombing Case. According to Politico’s Josh Gerstein, Glenn Beck producer Joe Weasel is refusing a judge’s orders to reveal the two sources the program relied on when it continued to insist that Saudi student Abdulrahman Alharbi was the “money man” in the Boston Marathon bombing. Alharbi was questioned by police during the investigation and cleared by authorities. He was also injured in the bombing. Still, Beck insisted Alharbi was involved even after authorities cleared him and Alharbi is now suing Beck for defamation. Beck attorney Michael Grygiel says the sources – reportedly Department of Homeland Security officials – are not being identified for journalistic reasons, and because the sources don’t want to be named. Beck stated on his radio show that the sources could be harmed or killed and he noted the shooting death of DNC staffer Seth Rich whom some speculate could have implicated DNC officials in the DNC email scandal. Complicating the matter is that it’s not clear if Weasel, who worked for TheBlaze at the time of the bombing, still works for Beck. As for Beck himself, he had no contact with the sources, so it’s unclear who might be held in contempt if U.S. District Court Judge Patti Saris chooses that route. Read the Politico piece here.
WIP, Philadelphia Cuts Ties with PM Drive Personality Josh Innes. Naturally, CBS RADIO is not offering a reason for letting sports talk personality Josh Innes go four months before his contract expires in December, but the speculation in the Philly media seems focused on his recent ratings slide. And the cherry on the sundae may have been his criticism of archrival Mike Missanelli at crosstown WPEN-FM over that show’s use of a phony African American regular caller who turned out to be a station insider. In criticizing Missanelli over the matter, Innes posted a photo of an old actor in blackface and took some heat for it. Back in July, Philly.com’s Rob Tornoe chronicled Innes’ ratings slide. Noting that after building a strong Men 25-54 lead over Missanelli in the Nielsen PPM ratings, Tornoe reports that Missanelli had rebounded to beat Innes in eight consecutive PPM monthlies – in the June PPMs by some 3.0 AQH share points. Innes had dealt with some challenges, to be sure. Originally partnered with Tony Bruno in the PM drive slot, Bruno abruptly exited the business last summer. Former Eagles star Hollis Thomas and Philly radio pro Spike Eskin became Innes’ on-air partners. Then, in January after programmer Andy Bloom was downsized, Eskin left the show to handle programming duties. For now, WIP is saying that fill-in hosts will appear in the afternoon slot until a permanent show is named.
The Presidential Race/Clinton Family Foundation Questions, Deadly Italy Earthquake, American University Kabul Attack, EpiPen Price Hike Scandal, Iran vs U.S. Destroyer, Leslie Jones Web Attack, MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/24). The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and the controversy over Clinton Family Foundation donors getting access to Clinton while she was Secretary of State; the earthquake that hit central Italy takes the lives of hundreds; the deadly attack on the campus of American University in Kabul; the controversy over the price hike of the EpiPen by manufacturer Mylan; three Iranian patrol boats harass a U.S. Destroyer; the malicious hacking of actress Leslie Jones’ website; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
NBA’s Golden State Warriors Jump to Entercom’s KGME for Flagship Role. The NBA franchise thanked Cumulus’ KNBR for the relationship it’s enjoyed over the years while announcing it is moving across town to Entercom’s KGME “95.7 The Game” for its radio play-by-play and special programming partnership. According to a story in the San Francisco Chronicle, the reason appears to be so the NBA franchise is treated like the featured pro sports franchise. It notes that 12 of the team’s 24 playoff games last season were moved to sister KGO to accommodate San Francisco Giants games. KNBR also is home to the NFL’s 49ers. Warriors president and COO Rick Welts states, “We’re excited about our new partnership with ‘95.7 The Game’ and the opportunity to provide our fans with increased coverage of the Warriors in a centralized location. Under the terms of this partnership, virtually every Warriors game – including the playoffs – will be broadcast on 95.7. Additionally, our fans will benefit from increased programming overall throughout the year, including extended pre- and post-game shows, more in-season programming, a dedicated off-season presence and numerous call-in shows featuring front office staff, players and broadcasters.”
Cumulus Media to Use Twitter’s ‘Moments’ to Curate Station Happenings. The company says it is “among the first radio media companies to use Twitter’s ‘Moments’ and to curate the very best stories from moments around its 452 radio stations and Westwood One’s syndicated programs.” As you may already know, “Moments” are collections of Tweets that share the stories happening on Twitter, curated by Twitter and select partners. Companies granted access to make Moments can use the creative format to tell stories using related, real-time content. Moments unfold across multiple Tweets and involve various points of view, and can be Tweeted or shared via link. Suzanne Grimes, EVP, corporate marketing for Cumulus and president of Westwood One, says, “We are beyond thrilled to be part of this innovative feature from Twitter. It’s the perfect marketing tool for the network and our stations, who pour their hearts and souls into their shows and their events. It allows them to connect with and extend real-time relationships with our listeners, our communities, and our advertising partners.”
Jerry Doyle Tribute Scheduled for September 17 in Las Vegas. Las Vegas-based, nationally syndicated radio talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs announces the date and place for the tribute to late talk personality Jerry Doyle is set for No Regrets Bar in Las Vegas on September 17 from 6:30 pm to 11:00 pm. She says, “Friends and fans want to give him the send-off of a lifetime — music, laugh, love and memories of our beloved entertainer, friend, and brother.”
Odds & Sods. At this year’s Radio Show in Nashville, FCC Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Ajit Pai will be speaking. Commissioner Pai addresses attendees on Thursday at “Keeping Up with the Changing Radio Regulatory Landscape,” and immediately following, will be the session “A Conversation with FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn.”…..Alpha Media’s rock WMFX, Columbia, South Carolina “Fox 102.3” is airing Carolina Panthers play-by-play broadcasts this season. The station will air full coverage of all games, plus pre-game and post-game shows, “Panther’s Talk” each Monday night at 7:00 pm and daily Panther updates…..Entercom partners with Clip Interactive to use the latter’s interactive radio platform for its 129 stations. Using Clip-built mobile apps, Entercom stations can deliver interactive broadcast and stream content feeds to listeners. The Clip platform enables interactivity with all audio content delivered by Entercom stations via broadcast and stream…..SiriusXM is premiering the new album from comedy legend George Carlin. It’s titled, I Kinda Like It When a Lotta People Die, and is the first original recording since Carlin’s passing in 2008. It’s airing on the Comedy Greats and Carlin’s Corner channels on September 1 – two weeks before the album is made available for purchase. Carlin recorded I Kinda Like It When A Lotta People Die at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on September 9 and 10, 2001. Following the attacks on 9/11, Carlin removed and reworked much of the original act for his 2001 special, “Complaints & Grievances.” Now, listeners can hear this material as it was originally conceived, raw and uncensored.
Bernadette Duncan’s Highly Anticipated Book About Talk Radio, Yappy Days, Released Today. The long-awaited book is provocatively titled, YAPPY DAYS: Behind the Scenes with Newsers, Schmoozers, Boozers and Losers (AuthorHouse/Talkers Books, 2016) and it is receiving rave reviews from readers inside and outside the industry. For example, Westwood One syndicated personality Jim Bohannon writes, “How good is a quarterback without the left tackle who has his back? For 26 years, producer Bernadette Duncan was left tackle for some of the biggest quarterbacks in talk radio. From the Super Bowl egos to bone-jarring clashes, Bernadette takes you inside the talk radio huddle. Yappy Days is an MVP – most valuable publication.” Written by the veteran talk show producer and wife of TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, it chronicles her 26-year career in the trenches of big-time talk radio during its most dramatic decades (1983-2009) – set against the backdrop of America’s pre- and post-9/11 realities when in one fateful day, talk radio went from its post O.J. Simpson default of covering celebrity murder mysteries (Gary Condit, Jon-Benet Ramsey, etc.) to an obsession with the reality and ongoing threat of civilian mass murder at the hands of terrorists. She worked for some of the biggest names in the business during their glory days – Sally Jessy Raphael, Larry King, Tom Snyder, Lou Dobbs, Gil Gross, Charles Osgood and many more. She captures through anecdotes and gentle analysis her experiences being a news/talk producer at ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and United Stations Radio Networks as well as local New York City radio landmarks, WMCA and WOR. In addition to dishing insights into “the character of characters,” including literally hundreds of industry and newsmaker names in this extremely candid account, Bernadette makes a compelling case on behalf of the importance of the position of radio producer – which she describes as being “the most under-rated, under-paid and under-appreciated job in commercial media.” Fox Radio and TV star Alan Colmes comments, “Yappy Days is a must read for anyone who ever produced or wants to produce media – and for anyone who ever consumes it. More than a producer’s manual, as you travel with Bernadette on her exciting journey, you realize it’s a life manual as well.” WPGG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley adds, “I couldn’t put the book down. Rarely, if ever do you learn about the radio and television industry from the inside out versus the outside in. With integrity and a flair to properly tell a great story, Bernadette’s Yappy Days delivers the goods.” Although she never worked directly with or for Rush Limbaugh, she interviewed him early in his career for the New York Daily News and crossed paths with him at several key junctures in his career, presenting a compelling study of his evolution in the chapter, “Brushes with Rushes,” that media consultant Holland Cooke describes as “nothing short of poignant.” Bernadette kicks off a national radio/media tour this evening with a guest shot on the Jim Bohannon Show. Producers and hosts interested in booking Bernadette Duncan on their shows can do so by calling Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413. To read a special review and feature story about the book by TALKERS/RadioInfo VP/executive editor Kevin Casey posted today (8/22), please click here. The book is available at Amazon.com.
Stigall Re-Ups with CBS RADIO’s WPHT, Philly. Signing a new, multi-year contract to continue hosting the morning drive show on CBS RADIO’s WPHT is Chris Stigall. Under the terms of the deal, Stigall will continue in his current role, as well as being the face of “Talk Radio 1210 WPHT” with charitable endeavors, events, and digital content creation. Stigall says, “In a blink, five-and-a-half years have come and gone since we launched our show at WPHT. In an ever-evolving industry, I can’t express how grateful I am to CBS RADIO Philadelphia’s leadership for their unflinching support and unwavering commitment.”
Armstrong & Getty Show Added to Four New Cumulus Stations. The KSTE, Sacramento-based “Armstrong & Getty” show adds four new Cumulus Media-owned stations to its growing roster of affiliates. iHeartMedia produces Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty’s program which landed its first Cumulus affiliate earlier this year when venerable KGO, San Francisco added the morning drive program. Now, KKAT, Salt Lake City; KTBL, Albuquerque; KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; and KVEN, Ventura, California are picking up the program.
Cross Platform Media Files for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. Former USA Radio Networks owner Cross Platform Media has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. The Sam Hassell-owned Cross Platform sold USA Radio Networks to Liftable Media back in October of 2015. USA Radio Networks syndicates the growing “Trending Today with Rusty Humphries” program. Triangle Business Journal lists Cross Platform’s assets at $1,200 with near $1.5 million in liabilities.
Former WJBO, Baton Rouge Morning Host Kevin Meeks Dies in Motorcycle Accident. The accident that took the life of 60-year-old Kevin Meeks took place on Friday evening (8/19) in Baton Rouge. The Advocate reports that Meeks turned in front of an oncoming vehicle while riding his Harley Davidson. Meeks worked at WJBO from 1996 through 2015. He co-hosted the morning show on the station with partner Matt Kennedy for 14 of those years. Meeks was let go from the station in 2015.
The Presidential Race, Turkish Wedding Terror Attack, U.S. Race Relations/Milwaukee Cop Shooting Aftermath, Lochte Scandal/Rio Olympics, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton; the deadly attack on a wedding party in Turkey that claimed 51 lives; the state of race relations in the U.S. and the aftermath of the shooting death of an armed black man in Milwaukee by police; the unfolding truth about U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte’s “holdup” in Rio de Janeiro and the wrap-up of the Olympic Games; and the Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. Nationally syndicated talk radio star Glenn Beck is taking part in the American Gospel Celebration taking place in Louisville September 1-3. The event is organized by Pastor John Hagee, founder of the San Antonio mega-church Cornerstone Church. The Premiere Networks talk host will speak on September 3. Hagee says, “Glenn Beck stands on the front lines of key issues facing America today and speaks boldly about the value of faith and freedom. I can think of no one more fitting to join us as we celebrate these two foundational pillars of our nation at the American Gospel Celebration and as we honor those who have sacrificed for us.”…..At CBS RADIO’s KXNT, Las Vegas, the Compass Media Networks-syndicated Todd Schnitt show is added to the program lineup for the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart…..KEIR, Idaho Falls host Mark Richardson is giving up the daily version of his “Probing America” show that airs from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm for a teaching gig at a local high school. He’ll continue to host “Probing America” on the station Saturdays from 7:00 am to 9:00 am…..Southern Illinois Radio Group flips simulcast WINI, Murphysboro/W228DC, Carbondale, Illinois from news/talk to oldies as “COOL 93.5 and 1420.”…..KBET, Las Vegas talk show host Wayne Allyn Root is joining the Las Vegas Review-Journal as a columnist, appearing in the Nevada local section every Wednesday and Sunday, beginning September 7.
Profile: Multi-Media Industry Player Jennifer Horn. TALKERS magazine managing editor profiles industry pro Jennifer Horn, whose curricula vitae includes: vice president of affiliate sales & marketing for CRN Digital Talk Radio; cast member of “Good Day” with Doug Stephan; co-host of “The Jen & Don Show” (with Don Dix); and cast member on KRLA, Los Angeles’ “The Morning Answer” with Brian Whitman, Ben Shapiro, and Elisha Krauss. Horn, daughter of CRN founder Mike Horn, juggles all of these on-air gigs with her CRN position because she’s a radio lover going all the way back to her childhood, and because she enjoys being a woman on the radio able to express her opinions. She says, “With experience on the air, you own your opinions and explain them in an eloquent way. I feel as though I am just getting to that point in my career.” Read it all here.
Konst Makes Progress. A member of the Democratic National Committee platform committee and a former Bernie Sanders surrogate – Nomiki “Nomi” Konst – is named to host “The Filter” on SiriusXM Progress channel 127. The nightly 9:00 pm – 12:00 midnight talk show premieres next Monday (8/15). SiriusXM vice president and general manager of talk programming David Gorab declares, “Nomi is a fresh, fun, and deeply knowledgeable addition to the SiriusXM team. Her engagement in politics began at just 16 when she organized for Hillary Clinton’s New York senate campaign and extended straight to the convention floor in Philadelphia two weeks ago. That kind of passion and dedication to progressive causes makes her an ideal addition to the SiriusXM Progress team.” Konst comments, “At a time when political conversations are sound-bite driven, SiriusXM Progress has led the charge in being a progressive platform that engages in insightful commentary. It is an honor to join a channel that encourages discussion around truly progressive issues and values and empowers a new wave of progressives that have become a force in America.” A political contributor to CBS News and The Hill, Konst is the founder of investigative media start-up The Accountability Project. In 2012, a then-28-year-old Konst vied to be the youngest woman ever to serve in congress, seeking the Tucson seat vacated by Representative Gabby Giffords. Konst was a national co-chair for Barack Obama‘s Gen44 re-election effort and an at-large member of the DNC Council.
TRN Replacing Jerry Doyle Show with Multimedia Talent Robert Davi. Describing him as “a talent so unique that he brings together theatrics, culture, politics and music into a nexus of on-air brilliance,” Oregon-based syndicator TRN Enterprises has announced that well-known actor/singer/director/writer Robert Davi will take over the on-air position vacated by the recent untimely passing of Jerry Doyle. Company CEO Mark Masters states, “I believe, with everything in my bones, that ‘The Robert Davi Show’ will be the most successful show I have ever launched, and, if you don’t believe me – you can stick it your pipe and smoke it: you’ve got one shot at this show – take it while you can.” In addition to his performance work, Davi is also active in numerous public service organizations and charities for which he has received multiple awards. From its inception in 1998, Davi has been the national spokesperson for I-Safe America, a leading Internet safety program. His awards include the FBI’s Man of the Year Award in Los Angeles, the “Military Order of the Purple Heart,” a Special Recognition Award for dedication and service honoring America’s service members and veterans, and, he was named KNX radio’s “Citizen of the Week” for saving a young girl from a fire at her home. Masters tells TALKERS, “We continue to mourn the loss of Jerry Doyle, who truly can never be replaced. We do, however, welcome the powerhouse unique presence, talent and perspectives that Robert Davi brings to this role. I sincerely believe that this is a situation in which the passing of one legend is resulting in the launch of a new legend in the making.”
Ryan Joins Titans Pre- And Post-Game Broadcast Team. Starting tomorrow (Saturday, 8/13), Mickey Ryan will begin contributing to pre-game and post-game radio coverage for games of the NFL‘s Tennessee Titans. He joins Mark Howard and former Titans players Blaine Bishop and Kevin Dyson on the flagship station for the Titans, Cumulus Media Nashville’s WGFX “104.5 The Zone.” Cumulus Media Nashville vice president and market manager Allison Warren comments, “Mickey is one of the most respected and insightful sports commentators in Nashville. He has covered sports at its highest level. His reputation, contacts, and relationships within the sports field are outstanding. We have the strongest ensemble of voices in football analysts and sports commentators – the addition of Mickey to our team makes us even stronger and deeper.” Ryan notes that he has “listened to Titans radio since the very first broadcast. I consider it an honor and the culmination of a lifelong dream to join the best team in NFL radio. I look forward to sharing an upcoming season of Titans football with Mark, Blaine, Kevin, and Titans fans all over our listening area.” Ryan will continue – with Bishop, and Brent Dougherty – co-hosting on “The Zone” in PM drive (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm) each weekday.
SiriusXM Special Brings Kinison Back to Life. The last recorded performance from Sam Kinison will be premiered exclusively on SiriusXM today (Friday, 8/12) at 3:00 pm (ET) on SiriusXM’s Comedy Greats channel 94. Audio of a Kinison performance was extensively enhanced from a poor-quality amateur recording made just days before his death. SiriusXM senior vice president of comedy programming Jack Vaughn comments, “Sam Kinison was one of the most influential and distinct voices in comedy; he was taken from us far too soon. This stand-up special and documentary will give fans new insight on the legendary comic. It is a great jumping-off point for those who were less familiar with his inimitable brand of humor.” Kinison was just 38 years old when he died in April 1992. Earlier this year, SiriusXM produced a documentary and released a never-before-heard extended performance from Bill Hicks.
Mason Ponders Filing Worker’s Comp. On the heels of winning back-to-back gold medals in judo, Kayla Harrison demonstrates her arm bar technique on Westwood One‘s Steve Mason in the syndication company’s Rio production studio. Westwood One’s Olympics coverage of Rio 2016 continues through the closing ceremonies one week from Sunday (8/21).
Trump’s “Second Amendment People” and “Obama Founded ISIS” Controversies Top The News/Talk Radio Stories Over the Week of 8/8-12. The controversial statements made by Donald Trump about “second amendment people” dealing with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama being the “founder” of ISIS were the two most talked about topics on news/talk radio in America this past week according to the research of TALKERS magazine. Other hot topics included the Hillary email controversies, Trump second amendment Flap, US-Turkey relations and South China Sea dispute and a wide variety of general issues pertaining to the presidential election. To see the full TALKERS Stories and People charts for the week, please click here.
Odds & Sods. Changes at Scripps Tulsa find talk KFAQ morning co-host Eddie Huff, morning anchor Richard Linihan, and production director Terry Cooper departing. Also within that cluster, after one year as program director of CHR KHTT “K-Hits 106.9,” John Roberts exits; mid-day talent Tabatha Grammer is upped to assistant PD; and nighttime personality Aly Presser is promoted to mornings. ….. Following Jack Tomczak‘s exit from KTLK-AM “Twin Cities News Talk 1130,” the iHeartMedia Minneapolis outlet names Jon Justice of KQTH, Tucson as KTLK-AM program director Andrew Lee‘s morning co-host. The two worked together when Lee programmed Scripps-owned KQTH. ….. A ten-year run that began with Michael Castner as host comes to an end as Bonneville Salt Lake City cancels evening “Nightside Project.” Current hosts Ethan Millard and Alex Kirry remain with the station though and will do a podcast. Castner is now with iHeartMedia Portland’s KEX.
Soon-to-be-Released Book About Talk Radio Discussed on Harrison Podcast. Veteran talk radio producer, Bernadette Duncan, appears as the guest on this week’s installment of the PodcastOne hit series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” talking about her forthcoming book, scheduled for publication in September, titled Yappy Days: Behind the Scenes with Newsers, Schmoozers, Boozers and Losers (AuthorHouse/Talkers Books 2016). The book chronicles Duncan’s 26-year career “behind the glass” as a New York City-based talk radio producer in the “golden era” between the eighties and first decade of the 21st century. Duncan (who is also married to Michael Harrison) served as a producer for some of the biggest names in talk radio during that period. They include Larry King, Sally Jessy Raphael, Gil Gross, Tom Snyder, Lou Dobbs, Charles Osgood and more. The book explores the quirky egos of radio’s top performers and often-neurotic guests and is set against the dramatically changing backdrop of America’s pre- and post-9/11 realities. It is full of anecdotes and insights about the industry, its people and processes. Duncan explores the complex office politics in this offbeat arena of show business capturing what it takes to be a radio producer – a role she describes as “the most under-rated, under-paid and under-appreciated job in commercial media.” On the podcast, Harrison and Duncan specifically discuss her experiences working with Sally Jessy Raphael – one of the true pioneers of talk radio who paved the way for countless others and was Duncan’s earliest inspiration to enter the field. Duncan talks about the personal growth she achieved working across the glass from Larry King during his media heyday as well as the fiery drama that took place behind the scenes of The Lou Dobbs Show that she helped launch as executive producer. On completing the podcast Harrison says, “There are so many stories and people written about in this book that we hardly scratched the surface in this advance interview – but there will be plenty of time to get deeper into it all when Bernadette goes on tour promoting it next month. Meantime, it was enormously fun having her as a guest on the podcast and I think radio pros and media freaks alike will love it.” To listen to the entire podcast, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Beasley to Acquire Greater Media’s 21 Stations in Seven Markets for $240 Million. The two communications firms surprised the industry last night with an end-of-the-workday announcement that Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. will acquire Greater Media, Inc. The deal is being structured so that Beasley will acquire all of the outstanding stock of Greater Media for an “aggregate consideration of approximately $240 million, subject to adjustments.” Greater Media shareholders are expected to receive approximately $100 million in cash and approximately $25 million in shares of the company’s Class A common stock (at a fixed value of $4.61 per share). In addition, the shareholders of Greater Media will receive the net cash proceeds from the sale of its tower assets, estimated to be approximately $20 million. Beasley will refinance approximately $80 million of debt of Greater Media. The deal will add Greater Media’s 21 radio stations to Beasley’s portfolio and gives Beasley entrance into the major market of Detroit with rock WRIF, classic rock WCSX, and classic hip hop and R&B WMGC. It seriously beefs up its Boston presence by adding five stations to current property ethnic WRCA-AM. Those stations are: classic hits WROR, country WKLB, rhythmic AC WBQT, adult contemporary WMJX, and alternative WBOS. It bolsters Beasley’s Philly and Charlotte holdings with the addition of sports talk WPEN, classic rock WMGK, rock WMMR, and adult hits WBEN in the former and news/talk WBT-AM/FM and hot AC WLNK in the latter. Beasley will be over the station ownership limit in Charlotte and will have to divest a couple of FM signals. Six New Jersey stations are also part of the package. Beasley says it intends to fund the acquisition through borrowings under a new credit facility that it expects to enter into in connection with the closing of the acquisition, together with cash and cash equivalents available to the company and the issuance of Class A common stock as described above. RBC Capital Markets and U.S. Bank have provided committed financing in support of the acquisition. Upon closing, Beasley’s portfolio of stations that it owns and operates will expand to 73 stations (52 FM and 21 AM) in 16 markets. BBG interim CEO and CFO Caroline Beasley says, “The acquisition of Greater Media’s broadcasting and related digital assets represents a transformational growth opportunity for Beasley and is strategically and financially compelling for our shareholders. The transaction increases our broadcast portfolio by approximately 40% and more than doubles our audience reach, giving us both market leading stations and great brands.”
WPHT, Philadelphia Personalities Report from RNC. Covering the Republican National Convention this week are WPHT, Philadelphia personalities Chris Stigall (AM drive) and Rich Zeoli (PM drive). Zeoli tells TALKERS magazine that on Tuesday, the CBS Philadelphia booth drew a big crowd as Breitbart’s Milo Yiannopoulos and author and conservative pundit Ann Coulter joined him for the entire 5:00 pm hour, live from media row (pictured at right). This interview happened just before Yiannopoulos was permanently suspended from Twitter for comments he made about Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones. Meanwhile, Chris Stigall has been pulling double duty at the RNC, first hosting his morning show from 6:00 to 9:00, then serving as a correspondent for the company’s KYW-TV “CBS3” live from the convention floor for the station’s evening news (pictured above).
Rumors of Possible FOX News Talent Exodus If Ailes Forced Out. Coming on the heels of widespread media reports of Fox News chief Roger Ailes’ potential ouster from his long-held position, is a report in Breitbart that indicates some of Ailes’ faithful talent at FNC would be willing to follow him out the door, ostensibly to start a new, competing network. Ailes is being accused by former FNC personality Gretchen Carlson of sexual harassment. Other reports indicate Megyn Kelly has also said Ailes harassed her. The Breitbart piece states that the FNC talent referenced includes Bret Baier, Shepard Smith, Sean Hannity, Greta Van Susteren, and, possibly Bill O’Reilly. However, the piece concludes by saying none of the report is certain and that the situation could change quickly. Read it here.
The Presidential Race/Republican National Convention, Baton Rouge Cop Slayings, Black Lives Matter Movement, Turkey Coup Attempt, Twitter Bans Milo Yiannopoulos, FOX News-Ailes Case, Rio Olympics Troubles, and Garry Marshall Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/19). The activities of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump tied with the action at the Republican National Convention; the aftermath of the slaying of three Baton Rouge police officers; criticism of the Black Lives Matter movement; the failed attempt to overthrow Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan; conservative media figure Milo Yiannopoulos is banned from Twitter after attacks on Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones; the controversy surrounding Roger Ailes’ status with FOX News; the problems facing Rio De Janeiro as it prepares to host the Olympics; and the death of television’s Garry Marshall were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. At the Tulsa operations of Cox Media Group, Mary Garcia is promoted to digital sales manager. In this role, Garcia will work directly with the Cox Local Solutions team, a collaborative effort between Tulsa TV, its six radio stations, and its cable platform. She joined the company 16 months ago as a digital sales specialist. In Tulsa, CMG operates news/talk KRMG-AM/FM, country KWEN “K95.5,” adult contemporary KRAV “Mix 96,” classic rock KJSR “The Eagle 103.3,” and contemporary Christian K289CC “Spirit 105.7.”…..Cumulus Media fills the 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm slot on sports talk WJOX-FM, Birmingham with Alabama natives Joe Hunk and Jon Lunceford. Their new show – “JOX Primetime” – replaces the previous 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm show hosted by Matt McClearin and Scot Harrison…..The NHL’s Florida Panthers and CBS RADIO’s sports talk WQAM, Miami have reached a multi-year contract extension to continue to broadcast play-by-play of Panthers games. Doug Plagens and analyst Bill Lindsay return to the broadcast booth…..Futuri Media announces that broadcast news pro Jill Manuel is joining the company as director, TopicPulse partnership development. The company says her “expertise with broadcast newsroom digital integration and successful history blending compelling journalism and engagement will provide a unique and specialized strategic resource for Futuri’s TopicPulse partners.”
Radio and TV Pro Pat O’Brien New Host of ‘Business Rockstars.’ The “Business Rockstars” media franchise has a new feature talent as radio and television pro Pat O’Brien becomes lead anchor. The company says O’Brien will play an “integral role in the newly revamped daily show that targets the 30 million entrepreneurs and ‘wantrepreneurs’ interested in starting and growing a business.” The company also notes that “Business Rockstars” is available on TV in more than 40 million homes and airs in 150 radio markets. Plus it’s streamed on numerous digital and social media platforms. O’Brien will join a team of hosts including five-time Emmy award winning TV news anchor Thuy Vu, best-selling author and entrepreneur Mark Lack, and correspondents Laurel Mintz (CEO of Elevate My Brand), Darren Kavinoky (“Investigation Discovery” host), Rachel McCord (The McCord List), James Sun (BBC TV’s “Sun Tzu’s ART OF WAR”), and Jessica Naziri (tech expert and content strategist). Business Rockstars chairman and co-founder Steve Lehman says, “Pat is a long-time friend and one of the greatest broadcasters on the planet. He brings a fresh new approach to business interviews with some of the world’s biggest CEOs, disruptors, and entrepreneurs. From hosting six Olympics, to anchoring “Access Hollywood” and “The Insider,” Pat brings a unique perspective in his approach and style to “Business Rockstars.”
Livestream Video Streaming TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations Live on Talkers.com Today. The 19th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest running and most important national convention is taking place today and the entire event is being video streamed live on Talkers.com. The streaming is being provided by Livestream, the leader in providing video streaming services to the broadcasting industry. Livestream, a sponsor of the event, is also exhibiting its services in the technology display area of the conference. For more information about Livestream, please click on www.Livestream.com.
The Presidential Race Stays Atop Talkers TenTM. The activities of the candidates for president – including Donald Trump’s interview with Megyn Kelly and the battle between Bernie Sanders and the DNC – were the most talked about stories on news/talk radio this week. Coming in at #2 was the downing of EgyptAir flight 804 and early suspicions it was a terror attack. Following at #3 were the allegations Facebook has employed bias against conservative issues in its trending stories. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Mike Gallagher in the City of Brotherly Love. Nationally syndicated talk show host Mike Gallagher is pictured here at the posh Union League of Philadelphia where the “The Happy Conservative Warrior” and fellow Salem Radio Network host Hugh Hewitt headlined a forum presented by affiliate station WNTP, Philadelphia titled, “The Future of America.” Today (5/20), Gallagher, Hewitt, fellow SRN personality Larry Elder, and AM 970 The Answer morning host Joe Piscopo will appear at TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations at Hofstra University on Long Island. They will take part in the talk radio conference’s special luncheon discussion, titled “News/Talk Radio and Conservative Politics,” that will be moderated by Salem Media Group SVP Phil Boyce.
Super Tuesday Aftermath/Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM. The results of this week’s Super Tuesday primary elections and events surrounding the presidential race were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 was the Hillary Clinton email server investigation. At #3 was U.S. immigration policy followed by European migrant problems at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Candidates’ Rhetoric Spurs KEX, Portland Host Michael Castner to Come Out. Citing some of the rhetoric coming from the GOP candidates that he believes is rekindling Americans’ “hate and fear,” especially with regard to the candidates’ vows to overturn gay marriage, KEX, Portland talk host Michael Castner came out to his audience as gay. Admitting that he’d kept his sexual orientation secret out of fear and “perhaps even cowardice,” Castner believes he has a responsibility to speak up both for himself and for others who don’t have a voice. Castner observed that both Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have vowed to make overturning the recent Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage a priority and that Trump has indicated he’s also in favor of overturning.
WPHT, Philadelphia Adds Dave Ramsey Show. Nationally syndicated talk star Dave Ramsey’s radio program is being added to the lineup at CBS RADIO’s WPHT, Philadelphia in the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot, effective March 7. CBS RADIO Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “We couldn’t be more pleased to bring Dave Ramsey to WPHT. He has been creating powerful radio broadcasts with the passion and positivity that will fit perfectly into WPHT’s lineup. Combining Dave Ramsey with the great local talent like Chris Stigall, Dom Giordano and Rich Zeoli has everyone at the station excited to bring this new roster to our listeners.” Ramsey Media VP Brian Mayfield adds, “We are excited to join the team at WPHT and to work with another strong CBS Radio affiliate. Philadelphia is already a great market for our brand, and we look forward to what the future holds with this new relationship.”
PodcastOne and WTOP, Washington Partner for ‘Target USA’ Program. A new podcast series is being launched on the PodcastOne platform from Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington and WTOP.com titled, “Target USA.” The program will focus on the threats facing America today and is reported and produced by WTOP national security correspondent JJ Green. WTOP and PodcastOne say Green will investigate the risks, from terrorists to anarchists, and cyber criminals to nation states, diving into the people behind them, the agencies fighting them and their impact on Americans.” WTOP senior regional vice president Joel Oxley states, “As an all-news station with a tight format, our content is consumed in very short form. This partnership with PodcastOne gives us an opportunity to showcase and distribute some of our longer form, in-depth material. Norm Pattiz and his team are pros, and we look forward to this launch and many more opportunities to come.” In the first installment, Director of National Intelligence Jim Clapper opens up in an exclusive interview about the dark threats and dangerous enemies the U.S. faces.
Merrill Cook to Host Mornings on KLO, Salt Lake City. Former U.S. Representative Merrill Cook is joining KLO Broadcasting’s KLO-AM, Salt Lake City to host the 7:00 am to 10:00 am program, beginning on March 14. Station general manager Matt Webb says, “Our audience has been asking for more local, live radio and Merrill is a huge part of that. Merrill Cook is part of the fabric of Utah and, in particular, Utah politics. We’re very excited to have him as part of our radio family.” Cook comments, “I’m thrilled to be part of such a prestigious radio lineup on a legacy station such as KLO. To be on the same station with radio icons like Laura Ingraham, Michael Medved, and Dennis Prager is a true honor.”
Odds & Sods. WABC, New York political editor Rita Cosby (right) poses for a photo with writer and political commentator Ann Coulter (left) at last night’s “Dinner with Rita Cosby: A Night of Political Entertainment & Fun” at Delmonico’s Kitchen in Midtown Manhattan. Cosby hosted the sold-out, intimate dinner event that featured political commentary and conversation, a phone-in interview with Dr. Ben Carson, live discussion with Coulter, and musical performances by Tom Bednarek and actor Dominic Chianese…..WGOW, Chattanooga mid-afternoon talk host Brian Joyce is pictured below with on Tuesday, March 1 taking part in “Reading Across America Week” with the second grade class and Dupont Elementary School. Joyce tells TALKERS magazine that the class’ teacher is a big fan of Joyce’s radio program and invited him to take part in the event…..Tampa Bay radio and TV personality Nancy Alexander launches a podcast titled, “LOL! With Nancy Alexander” on the Radio Influence digital platform. Alexander began her radio career at WRBQ “Q105” on the station’s “Q Morning Zoo” show in the 1980s. She worked at WMTX during the 1990s and 2000s and was a features reporter for WTVT-TV “FOX 13.”…..CBS RADIO Pittsburgh is presenting its third annual ‘eat.drink.PITTSBURGH’ on March 19 at the city’s Wyndham Grand Hotel. The event’s media sponsor is WHIRL Magazine and the event is being presented by Fat Head’s Brewery and Lexus of North Hills. The food fest allows attendees to sample food from dozens of Pittsburgh’s finest restaurants and enjoy new products, wines, beers and more…..Nationally syndicated talk personality Laura Ingraham did her program from the studios of affiliate WBEN, Buffalo today (3/4) prior to serving as keynote speaker at the New York State GOP Convention in the city…..CBS RADIO’s WFAN, New York “Sports Radio 66AM and 101.9FM” and New York City FC announce updates to the soccer club’s radio broadcasting in advance of the 2016 MLS season. Glenn Crooks and Tom Kolker will once again be the English-language announcers. Back for his second year, Roberto Abramowitz will be one of the Spanish-language analysts, alongside new team member John Rojas.
Mark Levin Named Recipient of TALKERS 2016 Freedom of Speech Award. Highly rated, nationally syndicated, Cumulus/Westwood One talk radio personality Mark Levin has been selected by the TALKERS editorial board as the 2016 recipient of the trade publication’s annual Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech. Levin is also the prolific author of numerous New York Times best-selling books about the United States Constitution, American history and conservative ideological principles. He is a respected legal scholar who serves as president of the Landmark Legal Foundation as well as being a highly sought-after public speaker, and host/principal of the newly launched LevinTV digital platform. Levin has a stellar background in both the private and public sectors having served, among many roles, as advisor to several members of President Ronald Reagan’s cabinet and chief of staff for Attorney General Edwin Meese. In making the announcement of Levin’s selection, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Mark Levin is more than a superbly talented and extremely successful talk show host. He is a dedicated legal scholar who consistently displays unbending courage in standing up for the core principles of the Founding Fathers – and that means an unswerving, ongoing defense of the First Amendment – on radio, television and in print. He has been a champion of these principles since morphing from a radio guest to a host back in 2002 and is being honored for a body of work that goes back for many years.” Mark Levin will be presented the award personally by Harrison at the forthcoming TALKERS 2016: Bridging The Generations convention on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY on Friday, May 20.
TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations Agenda Developing; Registration Underway. More than 60 leading industry speakers will fill a power-packed day and evening of panel discussions, special presentations, keynote addresses, exhibits, social networking functions, meals and live broadcasts at the forthcoming 19th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention. TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations will take place on Friday, May 20 on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. The event kicks off at 8:00 am with the traditional “Breakfast with Hannity” opening social. It will conclude 12 hours later with a gala, early-evening reception on the university’s magnificent television soundstage. Located just outside of New York City, Hofstra University’s Lawrence Herbert School of Communication is nationally recognized as one of the nation’s most respected and influential breeding grounds of great broadcasters. The NAB honored WRHU-FM in 2015 with a Marconi Award as the first ever “student operated” non-commercial station of the year! Radio Hofstra University WRHU-FM is also currently ranked number one – best college radio station – by the Princeton Review. WRHU-FM also earned a Pinnacle Award – station of the year – from the CMA. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “2016 marks a great leap forward in the rich and colorful history of this legendary conference. Tapping into the theme ‘Bridging the Generations’ TALKERS 2016 will intensely focus on talk radio’s successful and as seamless-as-possible transition into the digital era concentrating on attracting younger demos, broadening the format menu, modernizing political positioning, enhancing both journalistic and entertainment impact, incorporating all aspects of pop culture, understanding Millennials and the New Authenticity, creating a viable cross-platform presence, embracing the new technology, and of course, podcasting, podcasting and more podcasting.” Harrison adds, “This conference will be inter-generational. I cannot begin to express the level of excitement and pride we have in partnering this year with Hofstra University, its wonderfully dynamic Lawrence Herbert School of Communication and its famous radio station WRHU – clearly one of the greatest, heritage campus outlets in America. Their amazing, state-of-the-art resources will provide an exhilarating backdrop and platform for this gathering. As far as we are concerned, the future of talk media begins now!” The cost of a full registration is $299 per person with a special student rate of $249. Registration is only open to professionals currently or recently (within one year) employed in media-related industries as well as students enrolled in accredited colleges or universities. Registration includes all sessions, presentations, exhibits, receptions, and tours as well as breakfast/lunch/refreshment and social networking activities. Registrations can only be taken over the phone (to verify qualifications) and paid for with a credit card. As in years past, for the sake of intimacy and productivity, total attendance will be limited to 500 and TALKERS 2016 will be an early sellout. No registrations can be sold after that point. All registrations are non-transferable and non-refundable. To register or obtain sponsorship information, please call 413-565-5413. Information about special local hotel discounts for attendees is detailed below. Agenda and speakers to be announced in the days and weeks ahead, leading up to the event. Register now!
Fantastic Group Rate Available at Long Island Marriott for TALKERS 2016. A limited number of rooms are still available for a limited amount of time for the nights of Thursday, May 19 and Friday, May 20 at the fabulous Long Island Marriott hotel located near Hofstra University – the site of TALKERS 2016. To take advantage of the $169 per night rate, book as early as possible by clickinghere or calling reservations at 1-800-228-9290 and telling the agent you are with the TALKERS event group.
Curtis Sliwa to Host WABC, New York’s ‘The Drive at Five.’ The “Drive at Five” program takes the place of “Right Now with Doug McIntyre” and debuts this afternoon (1/5) from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm on Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York. The station calls the show a “fast-paced, comprehensive look at the stories and people that have New York talking.” Curtis Sliwa will continue his role as co-host of “The Curtis and Kuby Show” with Ron Kuby airing from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. In September of 2014 the station aired “The Ride Home” with Pat Kiernan and Rita Cosby at 5:00 pm. Kiernan exited and Cosby did the show solo until moving to weekends with Doug McIntyre (also heard at the company’s KABC, Los Angeles in morning drive) taking over the one-hour show in March of last year. Sliwa states, “My job will be to take people from their suites to the streets and re-connect them with everything that has transpired while they’ve been working their 9-to-5 jobs.”
Spike Eskin Relinquishes On-Air Duties at WIP-FM, Philadelphia. According to a report at Philly.com, WIP, Philadelphia program director Spike Eskin is leaving his on-air role on the Josh Innes program as he absorbs some of the responsibilities of ousted operations manager Andy Bloom. In a budget-related move, Bloom’s OM position was eliminated by CBS RADIO. Eskin and former Philadelphia Eagle Hollis Thomas worked on air with Innes. Thomas remains on the show and the station moves Marc Farzetta from Angelo Cataldi’s AM drive show to afternoons to handle news updates and other duties on the program.
Settlement in Nielsen vs Bubba Case ‘Unlikely.’ According to the most recent court filings that detail the schedule for the discovery process and pre-trial hearings in the civil fraud case being brought against Bubba the Love Sponge by Nielsen Audio, the two sides seem to agree on one thing: a settlement in the $1 million lawsuit is “unlikely.” Nielsen is suing Bubba on civil charges of fraud, conspiracy to defraud, interfering with business and contractual relations and violation of Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Practices Act as the result of his tampering with the PPM ratings process in the Tampa market. Although Bubba admitted to the tampering he says Nielsen is unable to prove damages and the $1 million figure was pulled out of thin air. Nielsen wishes to depose Bubba for up to 14 hours over two days and Bubba says he’s not willing to do that so the court will have to rule on the deposition schedule. If this does go to trial as it’s expected to do, it’ll be in January of 2017.
What do Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Stephen K. Bannon Have in Common? Answer: They are the only three radio talk show hosts to make the prestigious Mediaite “25 Most Influential in Political News Media” list. The list includes leading names from the world of news-gathering and news-delivering organizations including internet, television and radio. Rush Limbaugh came in at #8; Sean Hannity showed strongly at #15; and Stephen K. Bannon appears at #19. Bannon, the executive chairman of Breitbart News LLC (parent company of the Breitbart News Network), is the host of the weekday morning show “Breitbart News Daily” presented on the SiriusXM Satellite Radio Patriot Channel. The 6:00 am – 9:00 am ET show covers the hottest topics of the day featuring Bannon moderating contributions and features from Breitbart correspondents around the nation and world. To see the entire Mediaite list, please click here.
Cumulus Names Rob Brown AM Host at WFTW, Fort Walton Beach. Fort Walton Beach news/talk WFTW “NewsTalk 1260” will launch a new morning drive program next Monday (1/11) featuring longtime local broadcast personality Rob Brown. His eponymous show will air from 6:00 am to 10:00 am. Brown has been serving as a field reporter for local station WEAR-TV. He’s worked in radio in the Florida Panhandle doing news and sports at sports talk WTKE “The Ticket.” WFTW operations manager Hayden Green says, “Rob Brown is a native of the area. He knows the players, he knows the people and he knows great radio. We’re excited to have him on the team and excited about the future of NewsTalk 1260 WFTW.”
Entercom Promotes Three Programmers to Vice Presidents. Three Entercom Communications programmers are awarded vice president stripes today: Jim Fox in Sacramento, Mike Moore in Portland and Bob Barnett in Rochester, New York are promoted to VP of programming for their respective markets. Jim Fox joined Entercom in Sacramento as station manager of active rock KRXQ in 2003 and began overseeing all Entercom Sacramento brands as OM in 2013. Mike Moore joined Entercom to program country KWJJ in Portland and was upped to operations manager for the cluster in January 2013. He also serves as Entercom’s director of country programming. Bob Barnett is a 33-year programmer who oversees all programming for Entercom Rochester. Entercom president of programming Pat Paxton comments, “Jim, Mike and Bob are outstanding leaders with impressive track records of success in their markets. They have each earned this recognition. I could not be happier for them and look forward to many more years of working together.”
CES 2016: Radio vs Robots. Radio consultant Holland Cooke reports from Las Vegas and the annual Consumer Electronic Show. As Cooke says, driverless cars are one of the big “oh wow” items at the show. How the car of the future will affect our hunger for the information and entertainment radio provides while driving isn’t certain yet, but the possibilities they suggest should cause radio people to think about their product. Read Cooke’s report here.
Obama Gun Control Policy, 2016 Presidential Election, Battle Against Islamic State, Oregon Wildlife Refuge Standoff, Iran-Saudi Diplomatic Break, World Financial Markets Activity, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/4). President Obama’s plans to use executive orders to amend gun laws; the activities of the candidates for president this year; the ongoing battle against Islamic State and debate over terror attack prevention; the standoff between armed protestors occupying an Oregon wildlife sanctuary; the break of diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia and the growing Shiite-Sunni rift in the Middle East; turbulent world financial markets open the New Year; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Michael Harrison set to Address Radiodays Europe Conference. TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison has been named one of the key solo speakers at the forthcoming Radiodays Europe conference set for Paris, France March 13-15 at Le Palais des Congrès de Paris. Billed as “The World’s Greatest International Radio Conference,” Radiodays Europe is an annual gathering for radio professionals with 1,300 participants from 60 countries. It is the meeting point for the European radio industry, both private and public, and a destination for radio people from around the world. Harrison’s presentation, titled “Lessons Learned by American Radio at the Dawn of the Digital Era,” will cover both the successes and failures experienced by US radio during its transition into the digital era. Harrison will offer insight into the radio industry’s challenge of successfully integrating its assets and services into an internet-based culture while preserving and enhancing its iconic role as the primary audio medium. Can it be done? Harrison states, “Of course, it can! I intend to lay out the big picture of radio’s path forward with realistic and cautious optimism. I look forward to this opportunity to speak with broadcasters from around the world.” For registration and other information about Radiodays Europe, please click here.
America’s First Internet Radio Billboard? It is according to The New Normal principal Tom Leykis who says the electronic billboard (shown at left) that overlooks the northbound 405 Freeway in Carson, California is the first in America to promote an Internet radio show. The billboard, which just went up on Monday evening (1/4), promotes Leykis’ daily afternoon program.
Andy Bloom Exits WIP-FM and WPHT, Philadelphia OM Post. This is being termed a budget-related move as programmer Andy Bloom – until Friday the operations manager for sports talk WIP-FM and news/talk WPHT – exits the CBS RADIO Philadelphia station group. There’s lots of speculation in the Philly media about why Bloom was let go and what this will mean for WIP and WPHT. Bloom tells Philly.com, “It is part of another restructure and strictly a budgetary move. That has happened across the industry over the past several years. It’s been an incredible 8 years with CBS Philly.” Philadelphia Business Journal wonders what this means for news/talk WPHT citing its November 2015 PPM (6+ AQH share Mon-Sun 6A-12M) rating of 1.5. The mag reports Bloom previously noted the current lineup has only been in place for a year and needs time to gel. Local news and opinion site Crossing Broad wonders what Bloom’s exit will mean for WIP, especially afternoon drive personality Josh Innes. Kyle Scott opines that Innes’ future at WIP could be affected by this change, “[H]e was Bloom’s guy and given a long leash with which to do his sometimes-sports thing. I’m assuming a successor will not be as lenient as Bloom. One would wonder if Josh would even want to stick around. A general turmoil has surrounded the station since he came on-board, and most of Bloom’s decisions since can be traced to Innes’ presence.”
Anthony Cumia Arrested on Domestic Battery Charges. New York radio personality Anthony Cumia was arrested on Saturday on charges of strangulation, criminal mischief, unlawful imprisonment and assault. He’s pled not guilty to all and his attorney tells the New York Post, “Mr. Cumia emphatically denies the allegations brought against him and is optimistic that when the truth comes out he will be exonerated.” This comes after a woman described as Cumia’s girlfriend used the app Periscope to request police assistance at Cumia’s Long Island home after claiming Cumia broke her hand, took her phone when she tried to call police and held her captive. The woman uses the handle Dani Golightly. Cumia was released on his own recognizance and ordered to stay away from the woman. Cumia was fired from SiriusXM’s Opie & Anthony show last year after he authored a series of racist Tweets and they went viral.
iHeartMedia Goes Sports in Denver on Former ‘Real Talk 760.’ The calls change from KKZN to KDSP and the new sports talker is branded “Denver Sports 760.” Local programming will include longtime iHeartMedia Denver personality Dave Logan co-hosting the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program with Susie Wargin and Andy Lindahl hosting the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show. (Lindahl also hosts “PrimeTime Sports” on sister KOA from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm.) Also airing on the station will be: Dan Patrick from 7:00 am to 10:00 am; “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; “Jay Mohr Sports” from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm; “Ferrall On The Bench” from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight; Ben Maller from 12:00 midnight to 4:00 am; and “FOX Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman & Mike North from 4:00 am to 7:00 am. iHeartMedia Denver market president Tim Hager states, “We’re excited to serve our listeners, partners and advertisers with a new station featuring original Denver Broncos content and the biggest names in sports.”
California Environmental Regulations Preventing KSCO, Santa Cruz from Addressing Flooding Problem. KSCO, Santa Cruz, California station owner Michael Zwerling is in a tough situation, stuck between California environmental laws and the need to keep his station on the air with current weather conditions creating flooding problems for his transmitter. Zwerling was prevented by sheriffs from digging a trench that would allow flood waters to drain as they usually do after a citizen complained to police about potential violations of the environmental laws. A look into the law indicates Zwerling will have to try to convince officials that his station – as a facility licensed to serve the public – is worthy of protection as well. KSCO has long been recognized as one of the nation’s most community-involved as well as marketing-innovative local talkers in the nation. Zwerling says the solution does not involve harm to the beach or the marine life but activists have risen to challenge his desire to do the minor excavation necessary to abate flood waters. Hear his appeal, broadcast over the KSCO airwaves, here.
Karter Named Radio One Cincinnati OM. Inbound from iHeartMedia Chicago urban contemporary WGCI-FM, Kenard Karter will assume operations manager duties of Radio One Cincinnati. Radio One vice president of programming Colby Tyner comments, “We are excited to be working with Kenard; he is a very smart programmer with a lot of creative energy. Our team in ‘Cinci’ can’t wait to get started.” Station manager Mitch Galvin notes, “Kenard will be bringing strong leadership to our station cluster and a drive to win.” According to Karter, “I am truly humbled and excited about the opportunity to lead the Cincinnati radio brands that the Radio One family has afforded me. I am proud to join a team that is so full of passion and promise.” Prior to his WGCI-FM stint, Chicago native Karter – who begins his Cincinnati duties in three weeks (1/11) – spent four years at San Francisco urban contemporary KMEL, where he was the station’s assistant program director/mid-day talent. Radio One Cincinnati consists of urban contemporary WIZF “101.1 Cincinnati’s Hip-Hop & R&B,” urban-rhythmic oldies WOSL “Old School 100.3,” and WDBZ “Your Talk Station 1230 The Buzz.” According to 6+ stats in the latest (November 2015) Nielsen Audio PPM report for Cincinnati, WIZF ranks #8 with a 4.6 (+.7) from October and its best performance since June (also 4.6); WOSL is #13 (2.5); and WDBZ is #22 (.4). The (6+) market leader is iHeartMedia talker WLW (10.2).
Cumulus Brings New HR Exec Aboard. Human resources pro Todd C. McCarty comes to Cumulus Media from his most recent position as SVP of global human resources for Las Vegas Sands Corporation. Cumulus CEO Mary Berner says, in making the announcement of McCarty’s appointment, “Cumulus has tremendous assets with our reach to 245 million listeners across 90 markets and our outstanding audio content and brands. However, it’s critical that, as we move quickly and efficiently to build on our strengths, we retain and attract top performers on and off-air, and support and motivate them to deliver exceptional performance across all disciplines and markets. Todd stands out among his peers in terms of qualifications and experience and we are fortunate and delighted that he will be leading our effort to consolidate and centralize our key human resources disciplines into a department that has the capabilities and focus to deliver the services and solutions we need to grow our business.” McCarty has served in similar positions at The New York Times Company and The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc.
Odds & Sods. The nationally syndicated Stephanie Miller show is now being aired on the CRN Digital Talk Radio network from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET. Miller’s show is syndicated WYM Media Managemen…..Live radio coverage of the CBS Sports Classic college hoops event from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn was provided by Westwood One Sports. Pictured here calling the games for the network are WW1 sports announcer John Sadak (right) and CBS Sports Radio personality Doug Gottlieb (left) as North Carolina beat UCLA 89-76 and Ohio State upset Kentucky 74-67. WW1 reports more than 300 affiliate stations carried the games…..Andi Poch joins CBS Local Digital Media to serve as SVP Sales. Poch is being charged with managing and executing the overall digital advertising sales strategy for the division. She’ll work closely with the local digital sales teams for CBS RADIO’s 117 stations and the 29 CBS Television stations, as well as the entire national sales group. She comes from Townsquare Media where she was SVP, integrated/digital sales and strategy…..At Townsquare Media, the company brings Susan Kravitz aboard to serve as SVP, head of national digital sales and will oversee the company’s national digital and branded entertainment sales efforts. Kravitz was most recently head of global sales at Say Media.
Entercom Offers New Employee Benefits. Beginning in 2016, Entercom Communications Corp. will begin offering qualified employees three significant new additions to the benefit plan designed to further enhance the quality of life for its staffers. They are: 1) Personal Volunteering Time – a half-day off each quarter to volunteer for a non-profit organization of their choosing; 2) Discounted Stock Purchase Program – Entercom employees will be able to purchase Entercom stock at a 15% discount through a payroll deduction plan; and 3) Student Loan Reimbursement Program – $1,000 per calendar year to reduce outstanding student loans for employees who have graduated within the past eight years. Company CEO David Field states, “We are always looking for ways to improve ourselves and make Entercom a better and stronger organization, and that includes enhancing the quality of life for our team. We have examined benefits programs from leading companies all across the country in a wide range of industries and have honed in on a few highly compelling programs that we think will make outstanding additions to life at Entercom. We are very excited to be delivering these new benefits to our people.”
Making Merry in Vegas. Pictured here enjoying the festivities over the weekend at the Beasley Media Group Las Vegas holiday party are (from left to right): director of sales Cory Cuddeback; market manager Tom Humm; news/talk KDWN program director John Shaffer; and nationally syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs.
Democratic Primary Debate, Star Wars Film Opens and Miss Universe SNAFU Among Top Weekend News/Talk Stories. The coverage of and the aftermath of Saturday night’s Democratic candidates’ debate; the record-breaking opening weekend of the new Star Wars film; and Steve Harvey’s mistake misidentifying the winner of the Miss Universe pageant, were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend on stations airing live talk shows.
Art Bell Ends Latest Talk Show Effort Citing Attempts on His Life. Quite suddenly on Friday evening, Art Bell posted on his ArtBell.com website that he would not be going on the air that evening – or ever again, in fact – and explained that he and his family are in danger after recent attempts on his life. Here’s what Bell posted: “I am sorry to have to announce this but I will not be on Tonight or any other night, yes I am going to hang it up. Whoever this crazy person is, they are not stopping and it has come to the point that we as a Family do not feel it is worth the risk. While I think the person or persons are after me, my Wife and now my Daughter are really scared, the other night after the latest incident my Daughter was off in the corner of her bed scared to death as the Police cars came screaming up. I will not put my Family through this. As you all know I dearly love what I do but not at the expense of never ending Terrorism. I want to thank those of you who have shown so much support and it has been my joy, short as it has been to have cracked that Mic open for a last time. This was a Family decision. The girls stuck with me and still would but if one of them were harmed because of what I love doing my life would be over.” Bell had returned to AM/FM radio with a late night program called “Midnight in the Desert” via his Dark Matter Radio Network earlier this fall after years away from broadcast radio. To say this is controversial in the minds of his fans is an understatement. Chatter on the website DreadCentral vacillates between those who are sympathetic to Bell’s claim and those who simply don’t believe a word of it. Regardless, Bell is off the air, seemingly for good. The network intends to provide programming to affiliates for the next 30 days with Rowland Communications Network airing either previous Art Bell-hosted shows or Heather Wade hosting the program.
Three More Years at Salem for Mike Gallagher. Nationally syndicated talk radio personality Mike Gallagher will remain in his 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET program on the Salem Radio Network through the end of 2018 after signing a three-year extension. He’s currently heard on some 300 stations nationwide, including new affiliate WIND, Chicago “AM 560 The Answer.” Gallagher states, “After 15 years with Salem, I’m still amazed at how fortunate I am to have a radio home at this amazing company. I’m ecstatic and humbled to be continuing for at least another three years with this world-class organization.” Salem Media Group SVP Phil Boyce comments, “Mike is one of the most talented, entertaining, and informative hosts in the country. What a pleasure it has been to be reunited with him at Salem, and be able to have a small part in the next generation of his talk show host career.”
Legal Analysis: What Do Sam Goldwyn and Geraldo Rivera Have in Common? TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman offers his take on the suit against Cumulus Media filed by ousted WABC, New York talk host Geraldo Rivera:
Sam Goldwyn was a legendary movie producer from the early days of Hollywood. In fact, the G in MGM was for Goldwyn. Goldwyn died in 1974. Geraldo Rivera is a legendary and prize winning investigative reporter and media personality who is very much alive. So what do they have in common? Sam Goldwyn was quoted as saying that “An oral contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.” Once you get over trying to figure out the logic of this statement, the essential truth remains that relying on and proving an oral contract is a difficult task indeed. Geraldo Rivera recently filed a lawsuit in state court in New York alleging that Cumulus Media, Inc., the owner of WABC – 770 AM radio in New York breached an oral, one-year contract with him pursuant to which he was to be paid $600,000 for 2016. In addition, he alleges that Cumulus locked him out of his studio at WABC where he already was working as a talk show host. Geraldo alleges that he had negotiated the contract with then vice president of Cumulus, John Dickey during a lunch meeting in July. However, the contract was never reduced to writing and nothing was signed by the parties. In the fall, there was a change of management at Cumulus in which its founder and CEO Lew Dickey along with John Dickey no longer were involved in active management of the company. Although Cumulus has not, as of the writing of this, responded officially to Rivera’s complaint in court, Cumulus has responded with a statement by Davidson Goldin on behalf of the company which states, “We offered Geraldo Rivera a new contract commensurate with the value of his show and our offer was repeatedly rejected.” As for locking Rivera out of his studio, no contract requires a radio station to give air time to someone under contract. All the station is required to do is to pay the talent. In this case, it would appear that Cumulus would have rather eaten the rest of Rivera’s present contract which would terminate under its own terms at the end of December rather than permit Rivera to air his grievances over the air. As for Rivera, he has stated, “It is not about the money. Because of their unforgivable disrespect, I will fight them and they will end up costing their battered company far more in damages than they expect to save in salary.” What are the real facts? That will be determined in court where Goldwyn’s comment may take on new meaning.
Bubba Lawyers Again Filed Motion to Dismiss Nielsen’s $1 Million Suit. On Friday (12/11), lawyers for Bubba the Love Sponge filed a motion to dismiss the $1 million fraud suit filed against their client by Nielsen Audio. Bubba’s attorneys say that Nielsen can’t prove that it has been damaged by their client’s ratings tampering incident, that allegations of additional attempts to tamper with the ratings have not been proven and Bubba’s already been punished for the one case to which he’d admitted. They also point to Nielsen’s statements after the tampering became public knowledge that the company was able to root out the panelist in question and the rest of the market’s ratings were not adversely affected as proof Nielsen can’t show damages. This filing comes just days after Beasley Media Group re-branded Bubba’s flagship station WBRN, Tampa from “Bubba 998.7” to “98.7 No Rules Rock,” bringing into question whether the business relationship between Bubba and Beasley in Tampa will continue in the New Year.
NYMRAD Issues Third Quarter State of the Market Report. The latest edition of this quarterly report from the New York Market Radio Broadcasters Association is a “comprehensive analysis of the New York marketplace designed to help advertisers understand radio’s impact on consumers and its prominent role in the local advertising landscape.” NYMRAD executive director Deborah Beagan states, “In third quarter, retailers effectively used radio leading up to the holiday shopping season. Radio has always done a terrific job of reaching people on the go, and is a huge benefit for influencing consumers closest to their point of purchase.” Regarding radio advertising in the market, the report’s “research on the department store, mass merchandiser, home improvement, and fast food sectors found that exposure to radio ad campaigns increased sales, number of buyers, and dollars spent. For department stores alone, sales increased by 10%, the number of buyers increased by 3%, and dollars spent per customer increased by 6%.” See the report here.
Odds & Sods. The patriotic rock band Madison Rising is beginning its preparation for its 2016 national tour with the release of its “Soldier’s Christmas” song and video. The presentation honors the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for this nation, along with their families who endure their loss throughout the year and during the holiday season in particular. The band (pictured at right) is on a mission to reignite authentic American culture through great rock music. Its new album American Hero (RED) is dedicated to the men and women of our armed forces, along with the police, firefighters and other first responders. The band just completed a 70-city tour, and is preparing to launch its next stretch on January 9…..Toledo market sports talkers WLQR-FM, Delta, Ohio, flips affiliations from CBS Sports Radio Network to ESPN and begins airing much of the latter network’s sports talk shows. The Cumulus-owned station is keeping local personalities Bob Frantz (3:00 pm to 5:00 pm) and Mike Miller (5:00 pm to 7:00 pm) on the program schedule…..There’s end-of-year programming available from ABC News Radio with programs including: “Playback 2015” with Cheri Preston and Aaron Katersky; a year-end edition of “Perspective”; “World News This Year”; “2015 As it Happened”; “The Economy 2015 Year in Review” with ABC News’ chief business and economic correspondent Rebecca Jarvis and ABC News correspondent Richard Davies…..KEGL, Dallas “The Eagle” afternoon personality Russ Martin is thanking police for their work rescuing him after he was the victim of a home invasion. A story in the Frisco Enterprise reports that three masked men ambushed him outside his home, bound him and stole items from his house before escaping in Martin’s 2010 Dodge Challenger. The men have not been apprehended yet. Martin was not harmed.
‘Tis the Season for Sports Talk Radio. Radio sales maven Al Herskovitz writes in a column posted today that this time of year represents what can be a boon for sports talk radio. With the NFL’s season zeroing in on the playoffs and basketball, hockey and college sports also in high gear, the opportunities to get creative from a sales standpoint are numerous. He notes some of the sponsored segments he’s recently encountered during play-by-play broadcasts. “‘The collision of the game’ sponsored by a vehicle repair shop; The ‘injury time-out’ sponsored by a medical group; ‘The gem of the game’ (the best play) sponsored by a jewelry store. I even heard one that was called ‘The catch of the game.’ It was sponsored by a bait and tackle shop! Laugh if you must, but this special creativity has to be acknowledged.” Read the entire column here.
Sid Mark Signs Contract Extension to Continue Hosting ‘Sound of Sinatra.’ The program has been airing in one form or another in Philadelphia for the past 59 years – the last 16 on CBS RADIO’s WPHT – and radio pro Sid Mark will continue to host the nationally syndicated “Sound of Sinatra” after recently inking a contract extension. Mark comments, “My thanks to the management of WPHT, our sponsors and, of course, my listeners for making this possible. Look forward to a big bash for the 60th.” CBS RADIO SVP/market manager for Philadelphia David Yadgaroff adds, “What Frank Sinatra is to music, Sid Mark is to radio. We are so happy to continue the tradition that Sid started 59 years ago.” As legend has it, “The Sounds of Sinatra” began with a call from a listener, who suggested that Mark spin one hour of Frank Sinatra songs. That tradition developed into “Friday with Frank,” as well as “Sunday with Sinatra,” which presently airs on WPHT on Sundays from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. It’s still heard on more than 100 radio stations from coast to coast and is the only radio program of its kind to have been personally authorized by Frank Sinatra.
Bringing Joy to the Ugly. Nationally syndicated (GCN) talk star Dr. Joy Browne invited listeners to enter photos on Facebook for her annual “Ugliest Christmas Sweater” contest. She came up with two winners – both who work as interns at the York Theatre Company’s current Broadway production of a musical titled “Plaid Tidings.” Pictured (l-r) Daniel Lees, Dr. Joy Browne, and Lucas Camp. York Theatre Company’s slogan is “Where musicals come to life.”
Government Shutdown Threat, Paris Climate Summit and Tomorrow’s GOP Debate Top Weekend News/Talk Stories. The passage of a week-long spending bill and the threat of a government shutdown after this week; the ‘Paris Agreement’ climate deal inked among the U.S. and 185 other countries; and tomorrow night’s GOP primary debate in Las Vegas were some of the top news/talk stories discussed on weekend talk radio programs, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cumulus Media Nabs Rob Stadler for WYAY, Atlanta Mornings. Market news pro Rob Stadler is joining Cumulus Media’s WYAY-FM, Atlanta “News Radio 106.7” to serve as executive producer and host of “The Morning News.” Stadler was the voice for morning news and information on crosstown CHR WSTR “Star 94” for almost 30 years. During that time, he was named “Atlanta’s Best Newscaster” 10 times by the Achievement in Radio Awards (AIR) while serving as the station’s news director. He also earned two Edward R. Murrow awards from the RTDNA for broadcast journalism excellence, and was also recognized by the Georgia Associated Press for “Best Newscast.” He’ll make his inaugural appearance for “News Radio 106.7” as host for the “Making Miracles Marathon” on Friday, December 11, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm and he’ll begin hosting the morning show on December 16. WYAY program director Greg Tantum states, “Rob has been a part of the Atlanta morning landscape for nearly three decades – not only on the radio, but with his community involvement. Rob has the unique ability to blend his deep news background with the understanding of how to keep an audience engaged and entertained while dealing with nightmare commutes in Atlanta.”
Price: It’s Not IF Anymore…But WHEN. It may be a reality that no one wants to face, but ABC Television director, business continuity Howard B. Price writes in a column for TALKERS/RadioInfo today (12/4) that radio stations need to prepare for the possibility that an act of destructive violence can happen in their markets. In reference to Wednesday’s San Bernardino shootings, Price says that local news/talk radio stations he monitored stayed with national programs while the story was breaking. Yes, those shows were talking about the shootings, but he believes stations in the market should “own” the story in a way out-of-market stations don’t have to. “Even if we acknowledge the cost constraints that today make it so difficult to sustain a round-the-clock news operation at most stations, in my personal view, operators do a disservice to their communities if they don’t at least have a PLAN for flushing their formats and throwing any and every live body into coverage of catastrophic local events.” Read Price’s column here.
More from the Nielsen Audio Client Conference. Radio consultant Holland Cooke (pictured here) reports from the first day of the Nielsen Audio Client Conference (formerly the old “Consultant Fly-In”). This batch of notes comes from yesterday afternoon’s sessions and covers Dr. Ed Cohen’s presentation of data from his study, “The Class of 2015: Four Years in the Lives of Digital Natives”; podcasting and its relationship with radio; plus more research about the behavior of radio’s P1s. See Holland Cooke’s notes here.
WIP, Philadelphia’s Wing Bowl 24 Scheduled for February 5 at the Wells Fargo Center. What started as a small promotion 23 years ago has grown into one of sports talk radio’s biggest events that now fills Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center each year. The annual chicken wing eating contest has evolved to present winners in three divisions: the overall winner, the local winner and the collegiate winner. WIP morning show co-host Al Morganti, co-founded Wing Bowl 23 years ago with host Angelo Cataldi, and he says, “In a year where everything has seemed to go wrong with sports in Philadelphia, it never goes wrong at Wing Bowl! We win every year so if you’re disappointed with Philadelphia’s sports teams, you won’t be disappointed with this year’s ‘Game of Bones’ – Wing Bowl 24.” Tickets go on sale on December 8. This year’s event is presented by title sponsors Steven Singer Jewelers and SugarHouse Casino. Prizes this year include: For the overall winner, a 2016 Harley-Davidson FLSTF Softail Fat Boy Motorcycle courtesy of Barb’s Harley Davidson, a custom Wing Bowl 24 championship ring and $10,000 in cash courtesy of Steven Singer Jewelers; the local winner receives a 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe courtesy of Colonial Hyundai of Downingtown; and the top collegiate eater will win $5000 in cash.
Odds & Sods. After 18 years in morning drive Bob Levy and wife Marianne Levy are shuttering the Bob & Marianne in the Morning show on Townsquare Media’s news/talk WOBM-AM, Lakewood Township, New Jersey. Marianne Levy will continue her role with the station on the Preferred Home Health Care-sponsored “Preferred Company” show that airs from 9:00 am to 10:00 am on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays. Taking over mornings on WOBM-AM is Jeremy Grunin, effective January 4. Bob Levy will continue to host the Sunday “Topic A” public affairs program that airs on WOBM-AM and sister AC WOBM-FM…..An FM translator is boosting the signal of Saga Communications’ sports talk simulcast (now trimulcast!) WISE/WYSE in the Asheville, North Carolina market. “ESPN Asheville” is now heard on W247BV at 97.3 FM…..Legendary New York sports talk radio personalities Mike Francesa and Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo are teaming up for a charity reunion show at Madison Square Garden to benefit MSG’s Garden of Dreams Foundation. Sports talk fans have been anticipating some sort of reunion of the two after recent reports of friendly chat between them about the possibility. They haven’t worked together since their split in 2008 when Russo left CBS RADIO’s WFAN, New York for SiriusXM Satellite Radio. The reunion event takes place on March 30…..NUVO managing editor (and Indy radio personality) Ed Wenck conducted an interview with Bob Kevoian of the nationally syndicated Bob & Tom show to mark Kevoian’s retirement from the show and the business at the end of the year. This cool piece touches on everything from how Kevoian and Tom Griswold became radio partners to how their show took off at WFBQ, Indianapolis in the mid-1980s. Check it out here.
San Bernardino Shootings/Gun Control Top Talk Radio Stories This Week. The most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the week of November 30- December 4 was the deadly San Bernardino shootings tied with the related topic of gun control, tying atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the 2016 presidential race. Coming in at #3 was the Paris climate summit followed by Russia-Turkey tensions 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. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Cooke: C.T.A. in Santa’s Sleigh. Radio consultant Holland Cooke reports for TALKERS from the Consumer Technology Association’s annual preview of the enormous Consumer Electronics Show scheduled for Las Vegas in January. (Yes, the Consumer Electronics Association has changed its name to the Consumer Technology Association.) As Cooke notes, the data from the CTA is instructive for radio people. According to CTA research, the top five items being sought by consumers this year are (in order of desire): TVs, tablets, smartphones, notebook/laptop computers, and videogame consoles. Read Cooke’s entire report here.
WPHT, Philadelphia Adds Award-Winning Journalist Dawn Stensland to Rich Zeoli’s PM Drive Show. Respected television journalist Dawn Stensland is joining CBS RADIO’s WPHT, Philadelphia, as part of the afternoon drive show with Rich Zeoli. According to the company, she’ll join him to provide news, traffic and weather updates as well as her views on the day’s trending stories. Stensland joined CBS’ KYW-TV in 1997 and anchored afternoon and evening newscasts. She hosted the “CBS News Saturday” morning network broadcast in New York and in 2001, she began an eight-year run as the anchor of WTXF-TV’s “Fox Philadelphia’s 10 O’Clock News Hour.” She has numerous “Best of Philly” honors from Philadelphia Magazine under her belt. Station OM Andy Bloom comments, “Dawn is a well-known voice and face to the Philadelphia public. She has two decades of success in Philadelphia, New York and other major markets that will be an asset to ‘Talk Radio 1210 WPHT.’ In getting to know Dawn, I’ve been struck by her charismatic presence and infectious laugh. I think the audience will truly enjoy what she brings to the ‘Rich Zeoli Afternoon Show.’”
Colin Cowherd Performing for FOX Sports. The arrival of sports media personality Colin Cowherd at FOX Sports produced satisfying numbers in its first month for the company. According to FOX Sports and radio syndicator Premiere Networks, “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” had a “total reach” of 19.5 million people between September 8 and October 9. Here’s how FOX and Premiere break it down: video clips of the show drew 11.7 million video views via Facebook, YouTube, FOXSports.com, FOXSportsRadio.com, the live-streaming FOX Sports Go app and Twitter video player; on television, a combined 5.8 million viewers watched at least one minute of the program on FS1 and FS2 (based on Nielsen data); and program podcasts ranked #2 in the Sports & Recreation podcast category on iTunes, netting 1.2 million downloads. On the radio, Los Angeles affiliate KLAC “experienced a 106% gain” in its time slot with Men 25-54 over the previous year.
Odds & Sods. Chicago radio legend Milt Rosenberg’s program at Kovas Communications-owned suburban talk station WCGO, Evanston will end soon with the company citing financial reasons for canceling the two-hour afternoon drive program. Rosenberg’s “Extension 720” program aired for years on Tribune’s WGN, Chicago…..iHeartMedia Denver extends its deal to broadcast University of Colorado sports for another four years. The deal extends Buffalos play-by-play on KOA “NewsRadio 850 AM & 94.1 FM” with select games airing on sister station talk KKZN “Real Talk 760.”…..PodcastOne reports that the first episode of “Heather Dubrow’s World” – the new podcast from the “OC Housewives” star – debuted at #3 on the iTunes chart. PodcastOne says that Dubrow trended on Twitter when the episode was released resulting in hundreds of thousands of downloads.
Chris Krok in ‘The Office.’ WBAP, Dallas evening personality Chris Krok (right) is pictured in this selfie with actor John Krasinski (left) at this year’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Krasinski was the race’s Grand Marshal. Krok is celebrating his third year partnering with the track. This year’s “Krok and His Flock” offered listeners a chance to get a tour of the Sprint Cup Series Garage, a concert with Sammy Hagar and the opportunity to hold the American Flag during the National Anthem, all before watching the race.
2016 Presidential Race/Debate Aftermath, Immigration Policy, Hillary Clinton Wig Flap, Climate Change Controversy, University of Missouri Racial Tensions, Veterans Day, Russian Airliner Crash Investigation, and Early Snow Hits Midwest Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/11). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and discussion about Tuesday night’s GOP primary debate in Milwaukee; talk about the United States’ immigration policy; speculation about whether Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton is wearing wigs; the threat of climate change and the international climate talks scheduled for December in Paris; the racial tensions at the University of Missouri; the observance of Veterans Day; the ongoing investigation into the downing of a Russian airliner in the Sinai desert; and early snow hitting the Upper Midwest were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cooke: NAB Radio Show Wrap Up. Radio consultant Holland Cooke wraps his coverage of the 2015 NAB Radio Show in Atlanta with this report. In it find HC’s takeaways from sessions that addressed radio commercial creative, selling radio in the multi-media world, consumers’ views of the state of the automobile dashboard, plus AM revitalization and the FCC. Republican FCC commissioner Michael O’Reilly was the only commish to attend and, regarding the contentious issue of an open window for FM translator applications by current AM station owners, he said, “The AM translator solution is the #1 solution. How could it be left out of any package of reforms?” Read Cooke’s report here.
News and News/Talk Well Represented in NAB’s 2015 Marconi Awards. All-news KYW, Philadelphia picked up the 2015 Marconi Award for Legendary Station, announced last night (10/1) at the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show held at this year’s Radio Show in Atlanta. Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP, Washington grabbed the Marconi for Major Market Station of the Year and Cox Media Group’s news/talk KRMG-AM, Tulsa was honored with the Medium Market Station of the Year award. On the talent side, KRMG morning personality Dan Potter picked up the Medium Market Personality of the Year and WSOY, Decatur, Illinois morning host Brian Byers won the Small Market Personality of the Year honor. In the spoken-word format categories, Cox’s WSB-AM, Atlanta won News/Talk Station of the Year and CBS RADIO’s WFAN, New York was honored with Sports Station of the Year. See all the winners here.
September PPM Data and RadioInfo‘s ‘Twelve Takeaways.’ Rather than distributing ratings information for 12-PPM markets apiece over a four-day period as it generally does, Nielsen Audio doubled up its September 2015 schedule. It released data from 23 markets Tuesday (Tampa was delayed) and 24 markets the following day (Wednesday, 9/30). You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations in those 47 markets here. Simultaneous with that, TALKERS magazine’s sister radio trade pub RadioInfo enthusiastically unveils an augmented modification of our already powerful ratings coverage as managing editor Mike Kinosian expands his “Top Ten Takeaways” to encompass all markets every month. In this “Twelve Takeaways” overview, we focus on noteworthy happenings in Riverside, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, Columbus, San Jose, and Austin. The September 2015 survey period covered August 13 – September 9. Check ’em out here.
West Virginia-Based Host Caiden Cowger Becomes ‘Youngest’ Syndicated Talk Personality. Via his own Cowger Nation Media Network, 17-year-old Caiden Cowger embarks on a venture syndicating his eponymous talk show. The program airs on WBUC, Buckhannon, West Virginia; WFSB, Quitman, Georgia; and newest affiliate WXMB, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and others. Cowger says his interest in becoming a talk radio host began at an early age. “When I was around seven or eight, I recall going with my grandpa into a bookstore and picked up a book titled, It’s My America Too, by Ben Ferguson (generally recognized as the youngest talk host – at age 20 – to be nationally syndicated ). I remember thinking, ‘Wow, it would really be neat if I could do something like that.’ About five years later, I began my radio career.” Cowger names Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin as his influences and also recognizes American Family Radio host Bryan Fischer and Fisher’s producer Jeff Reed as being supportive mentors for his talk radio career. See Cowger’s website here.
Odds & Sods. New York City sports pro Jared Max joins the FOX News organization. FOX News Headlines 24/7 brings the radio pro aboard to serve as a sports reporter and provide up-to-the-minute sports coverage for the new SiriusXM satellite radio channel that launches on October 5. Max’s resume includes time working for CBS RADIO’s all-news WCBS-AM, New York; ESPN O&O WEPN, New York; WFAN, New York, and Bloomberg Radio…..The newly partnered Ryen Russillo and Danny Kanell are getting a video simulcast for their ESPN Radio sports talk show. Effective Monday, October 5, the Russillo & Kanell show will be simulcast from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm on the sports giant’s ESPNEWS channel…..A note from E.W. Scripps-owned news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee – the station announces it has re-signed with the NBA’s Bucks to continue to serve as the flagship station for the Bucks Radio Network. Station vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer comments, “The Milwaukee Bucks organization is in a tremendous building and growing phase, and is a vital part of our community. WTMJ has been a proud partner with the Bucks for many years and we’re excited to continue to serve as the Bucks radio home for years to come.”…..In observance of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Entercom’s news/talk WORD, Greenville, South Carolina is presenting a two-hour special program on Tuesday, October 6. The program is being hosted by the station’s Jenna Kochenauer – herself a victim of domestic abuse – with special guest panelists Sharon Totherow, director of local non-profit Domestic Violence Assistance; Judy Munson, assistant solicitor, domestic violence division, 13th Circuit Court; and Carl Smith, a local counselor with experience working with batterers through an intensive treatment and counseling program.
U.S.-Russia Syria Tensions Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of Sept 28 – Oct 2. The military action begin taken in Syria by Russia and President Obama’s meeting with Vladimir Putin over the matter was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week. At #2 was a tie between Donald Trump’s tax plan and the activities of the candidates for president in 2016. Coming in at #3 was the aftermath of Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S., including his reported meeting with Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, followed by the House hearing with Planned Parenthood exec Cecile Richards at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Rathert Named Morning Host at KSSZ, Columbia, Missouri. Taking over the morning drive program on Zimmer Radio & Marketing Group-owned news/talk KSSZ, Columbia, Missouri “HotTalk 93.9 The Eagle” is Branden Rathert. He was most recently afternoon drive personality at ADX Communications’ WNRP, Pensacola “Newsradio 1620.” Zimmer director of programming Jamie Mac states, “We are excited to welcome Branden to ‘Wake Up Columbia’ on ‘93.9 The Eagle.’ We feel Branden’s unique perspective, where he is able to take a specific topic and come at it in a non-traditional way, will translate very well in the Columbia market. His passion for making great radio, strong work ethic and creativity make him a great addition for our station and the talk radio community here locally.”
CBS RADIO’s Mick Anselmo to Retire. Senior vice president and market manager for CBS RADIO’s Minneapolis cluster, Mick Anselmo, announces he’s retiring from the company at the end of the year. Anselmo has been managing radio stations in the Twin Cities for more than 20 years – for iHeartMedia and the old AM/FM and Chancellor groups – with the last seven spent working for CBS RADIO. The company is searching for Anselmo’s replacement to oversee news/talk WCCO “Newsradio 830,” country KMNB “BUZ’N @ 102.9” and adult hits KZJK “104.1 Jack FM.”
Jeanine Pirro Podcast Debuts on PodcastOne. A new, weekly program featuring FOX News personality and former New York District Attorney Jeanine Pirro is launching on PodcastOne. Titled “Due Process,” the podcast will “provide the legal insight behind breaking news, high profile court cases and political issues, in addition to welcoming analysts and experts on these topics.” The show will also include TED speaker and content strategist Terri Trespicio joining Pirro each Monday. PodcastOne founder Norm Pattiz comments, “Jeanine has the intellect and the energy to do a great podcast. It will be entertaining, interesting, and deal with exciting subjects. It’s great to add her to our lineup, and it’s always good to know a judge.”
Odds & Sods. Southeastern radio pro Dave Cobb is named the general manager for MARC Radio’s seven-station Gainesville, Florida cluster that includes news/talk WRZN “NewsRadio 980.”…..Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania-based Forever Media is buying sports talk WGET “ESPN Sports” and country WGTY in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania from the Times and News Publishing for $4.2 million.
CBS Sports Radio’s Jim Rome Visits Tampa. Nationally syndicated sports talk personality Jim Rome visited affiliate WHBO, Tampa “Sports Talk 1040 The Team” recently, taking part in a meet-and-greet during a live remote at Beef O’ Brady’s Restaurant. The Genesis Communications-owned station says, “Hundreds of Rome fans attended, giving Jim a standing ovation as he entered the restaurant. Jim made it a point to talk to every fan, sign autographs, and take photographs. People were lined up for hours to talk with him.” Pictured here are (from l-r): Rome show producer Kyle Brandt, Genesis president Bruce Maduri, Rome, and Sound Mind LLC chief Kraig Kitchin.
Nielsen Calls Audible to Publishing September Stats. Rather than spreading out the release of ratings information over four days as it typically does with its monthly data, Nielsen Audio is opting to consolidate its September PPM results into two – next Tuesday (9/29) and Wednesday (9/30). The first batch of markets is unaffected by the decision and will get their September numbers next Tuesday as originally planned. Those markets are New York City; Los Angeles; Chicago; San Francisco; Dallas; Houston; Philadelphia; Atlanta; Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island); Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario (Los Angeles’ Inland Empire); San Jose; and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The second group not only moves up one day, it will join group one – meaning 24 (rather than 12) markets will have data released next Tuesday. Group two consists of Washington, DC; Boston; Detroit; Miami; Seattle; Phoenix; Minneapolis; San Diego; Tampa; Denver; Baltimore; and St. Louis. Stations from the remaining 24-PPM markets (groups three and four) get to see the outcome of the September 2015 sweep next Wednesday. Group three is Portland; Charlotte; Pittsburgh; Sacramento; San Antonio; Cincinnati; Cleveland; Salt Lake City; Las Vegas; Kansas City; Orlando; and Columbus. Comprising group four are facilities in Austin; Milwaukee; Indianapolis; Providence; Raleigh; Norfolk; Nashville; Greensboro; West Palm Beach; Jacksonville; Memphis; and Hartford.
Ben Carson Muslim Controversy, Walker Drops Out/2016 Presidential Candidates, Pope Francis’ U.S. Visit, Russia’s Military Support of Syria, Muslim Migrant Issue, VW Emissions Scandal, Afghan Child Abuse Claims, David Petraeus’ Congressional Testimony, and Xi Jinping Visits U.S. Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/22). The controversy over GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson’s statement he would not support a Muslim for president; Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker drops out of the presidential race tied with the activities of the rest of the 2016 presidential candidates; Pope Francis’ visit to the United States; reports of military support for Syria’s Assad regime by Russia; the issue of Muslim immigrants in Europe and the U.S.; the emissions scandal plaguing Volkswagen; the controversy over allegations the U.S. military instructs personnel in Afghanistan to ignore sexual abuse of young boys by Afghan military commanders; former CIA director David Petraeus’ apologizes for relaying sensitive material to former mistress; and Chinese president Xi Jinping visits the United States were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
NextRadio’s Future Analyzed in Indy Business Journal. The business publication based in Emmis’ chairman Jeff Smulyan’s hometown has published a story that looks at the next 12 months – a period it reports experts say “will determine whether Smulyan’s years-long quest ultimately succeeds or fails.” Of course, the Indianapolis Business Journal is referring to NextRadio – the initiative that seeks to have cell carriers activate the FM chips in smartphones. As radio industry watchers are probably aware, NextRadio has deals with Sprint, AT&T and one in the hopper with T-mobile to turn on the FM chips in smartphones sold by those carriers. The next target is Verizon. Obviously, carriers make their money off data usage and the NextRadio app allows users to listen to FM radio stations using a fraction of the data they would use accessing services like Spotify or Pandora. So, gaining the cooperation of carriers is a challenge. The piece also notes that there is a hurdle to leap in getting the advertising industry on board as media buyers tell the paper the radio industry needs to get triple the current total of 4 million users in order to have the attention of the ad industry. But NextRadio president Paul Brenner tells IBJ, “We’ve been talking to national ad agencies in the biggest markets and we haven’t found one yet that hasn’t fallen in love with this in five minutes.” IBJ’s Anthony Schoettle writes, “NextRadio’s interactivity allows stations for the first time to offer coupons and on-the-spot purchase opportunities to listeners. Revenue sharing from these new ads likely will be key in attracting and maintaining deals with cell phone providers.” Read his entire piece here.
Salem Media Group Adds John & Leah Show to Seven O&Os. The Envision Networks-syndicated weekend program “The John and Leah Show” featuring hosts John Ziegler and Leah Brandon is added to seven new stations owned by Salem Media Group. They are: KRLA-AM, Los Angeles; KNTH, Houston; KLFE-AM, Seattle; KCBQ-AM, San Diego; KTKZ, Sacramento; WGTK-FM, Greenville, South Carolina; and WLSS, Sarasota, Florida. Salem Media Group SVP/spoken word format Phil Boyce comments, “John and Leah is a wild ride across all kinds of topics including the hot stories of the week. I promise you will learn something and be entertained. John and Leah have been doing great radio since their KFI [Los Angeles] days, and the ride now continues on Salem stations. Welcome aboard!”
Odds & Sods. Radio news pro Monica Rix is leaving her position at Cox Media Group’s WDBO-FM, Orlando “News 96.5” to become a Manhattan-based reporter for FOX News Radio…..CBS RADIO adds a daily, two-hour live program to its Play.it platform hosted by pro wrestling star Taz, called, “The Taz Show: Bodyslams & Beyond.”…..Former WUCS, Hartford “97.9 ESPN” and Maxim Radio personality Michael Bower is sitting in for Jeff “Defo” DeForrest on iHeartMedia’s sports talk WINZ today (8/24) and tomorrow (8/25)…..The Bubba The Love Sponge Foundation has donated $2,200 to the Gulfport Pirates Youth Football Program. The Gulfport, Florida program has had to overcome financial difficulties, putting its season at risk, as it attempts to overcome a $12,000 deficit. League vice president Sophia Dottin told Bubba their team works with low-income, high-risk children.
Volatile World Markets Top News/Talk Topic Over the Weekend. Issues-oriented talk radio, as monitored by TALKERS magazine, was strongly focused on the financial markets activities both in the United States and across the world during broadcasts over the weekend. The markets – most of which closed sharply down on Friday – opened to volatility this morning (8/24). Aspects of the greater discussion included the relationship between the United States’ and China’s economies, political responsibility for markets stability, and economic recovery and jobs creation in America.
WMAL, Washington’s Larry O’Connor Ties the Knot! Oklahoma City was the site of WMAL, Washington radio personality Larry O’Connor’s marriage ceremony to his lovely bride Meredith. Telling us that it was an honor to serve as his best man, WPHT, Philadelphia morning host Chris Stigall sends TALKERS magazine this great selfie from the nuptials. Pictured (from l-r) are: Stigall, Meredith O’Connor, Larry O’Connor, and maid of honor Jacqueline.
Logan adds WFTW Programming Duties. One-year hot AC WNCV “Coast 93.3” program director and morning talent “Logan” takes on similar responsibilities within the Cumulus Media Fort Walton Beach (Florida) cluster for talk WFTW. Cumulus Media regional vice president Pete DeSimone comments, “Logan has done an outstanding job since joining the Fort Walton Beach/Destin cluster. It has been a pleasure watching him work to make a significant impact in both ratings and revenue with WNCV. I am very excited we are recognizing his talent and affording him additional opportunities to grow with our company.” Corporate program director for news-talk-sports Jim Mahanay remarks, “I am excited anytime we can have a programmer with a fresh perspective enter the news/talk format. Logan has proven himself as a strong music PD and he now has that opportunity in news/talk.” Logan offers a “big thanks” to DeSimone, Mahanay, and Cumulus Media senior vice president of content and programming Mike McVay. “Cumulus has given me opportunities – I am going to grow with them,” Logan states. “I am a huge fan of the news-talk format, and I cannot wait to get audio from Michael Savage.” Prior to joining WNCV, “Logan” spent eight years as morning host/assistant program director/music director for Philadelphia hot AC WISX “Mix106.1.” His resume also includes stops in New York City at CHR WHTZ “Z-100” and in Dallas at hot AC KDMX.
Nielsen Audio Releases Final Round of July 2015 PPM Data. The fourth and final round of Nielsen Audio July 2015 PPM ratings data has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The July 2015 survey period covered June 18 through July 15. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. In addition, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Odds & Sods: This past Monday (8/3), Westwood One host Mark Levin surpassed the one-million level of Facebook “Likes.” His book, “Plunder and Deceit,” was released the following day (Tuesday, 8/4) and it has reached #1 on Amazon‘s “Best Seller” list…..In an October 13 simulcast with CNN, Westwood One will be the exclusive radio provider of coverage from the first Democratic primary debate of the 2016 presidential race. The debate will take place in Nevada, with exact location details to be announced later. CNN will serve as moderator and exclusive national broadcaster of that debate.
Rick Lewis Hits Quarter Century Mark Hosting “Talky” Mornings at Classic Rocker, KRFX, Denver. For over two decades the “Lewis & Floorwax Show” dominated the morning airwaves on iHeartMedia’s KRFX-FM (The Fox), Denver. The show was an excellent example of the widespread genre of music radio morning shows that lean heavily on pop cultural talk content. Suddenly in January of 2014, co-host Michael Floorwax retired from the airwaves, by his own choosing, due to an ongoing chronic health issue that began acting up. His co-host Rick Lewis was encouraged to keep the show going as it had a very loyal fan base and was an extremely dependable “revenue machine.” Lewis re-tooled the mostly spoken word show (that plays approximately two songs per hour), renamed it “The Rick Lewis Show” and forged ahead. Fans were happy and relieved that the show continued. Advertisers continued their support and The Rick Lewis Show has more than survived, it has thrived. Nielsen Audio spring PPM numbers indicate that “The Fox” is the market’s top station among adults 25-54. Ratings are up from 2014 and so is revenue. On July 31, 2015 Rick Lewis celebrated 25 years as the morning radio host at the station – a rarely achieved milestone in the radio industry. Lewis tells TALKERS, “I have many people to thank including my long-time friend and radio partner Kathy Lee who really stepped up her game. Thanks to my long-time partner Michael Floorwax for a helluva run, you are missed!” Lewis adds, “Also the support of the rest of the crew in the morning, Colfax, Dragon Redbeard and Robbyn Hart has been significant. Thanks also to Michael Harrison, a visionary man who gave me my first big break at KMET, Los Angeles in 1984. I was just out of college, working at that heritage radio station with some legendary radio performers. Mike believed in me and gave me my first full time job in LA.” Harrison recalls, “I recognized immediately that this earnest young man was the total package. He had movie star looks, a command of album rock and its culture, and most importantly the ability to adeptly punctuate his jock work with listener calls and artist interviews – a quality I always looked for in DJs during my rock PD days.” KRFX is the FM home of the NFL’s Denver Broncos and the multi-faceted Lewis also hosts the official Denver Broncos pre-game show every week during the football season. And if that isn’t enough Lewis has a band, The Rick Lewis Project, featuring some of the most acclaimed musicians in the region. As a drummer for the band, Lewis has played as opening act with legends such as BB King, James Brown, ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Def Lepard, and The Who among others. When he is not on the radio or playing in his band, Lewis finds time to perform in the Denver area as a stand-up comic. He also recently shot a TV pilot called “Ride Away,” a motorcycle adventure show. The show is currently being shopped and produced by reality TV’s famous bounty hunter Duane “Dog” Chapman and his wife Beth. Lewis believes “the secret to longevity in the business is to have many irons in the fire.” He tells TALKERS, “I still get up every morning and can’t wait to get behind the microphone and entertain the fans in Denver. For years, I always thought KMET in LA would be the pinnacle of my radio career, man was I wrong!”
Beasley Broadcast Group Reports Q2 Results. Second quarter net revenue is up $1.1 million ($25.9 million to $27 million), but Beasley Broadcast Group‘s net income is off by $500,000 ($3 million to $2.5 million). This past December, Beasley and CBS Radio completed a 14-for-five swap involving three markets. CBS Radio acquired two Philadelphia stations (WRDW and WXTU), as well as three Miami outlets (WKIS, WPOW, and WQAM). In exchange, Beasley picked up one Philadelphia station (WIP-FM); six Tampa facilities (WHFS-AM, WHFS-FM, WLLD, WQYK, WRBQ, and WYUU); and seven Charlotte properties (WBAV, WBCN, WFNZ, WKQC, WNKS, WPEG, and WSOC). According to Beasley chair and chief executive officer George Beasley, the company’s second quarter results “reflect a continuation of recent overall industry and market trends.” On a pro forma basis, net revenue decreased 6.0% while SOI declined 8.4%. “The decline in pro forma revenue is primarily attributable to overall weakness in Charlotte, Las Vegas, and Wilmington [Delaware], which resulted in reduced operating leverage and ultimately impacted SOI,” Beasley comments. “We were able to partially offset the revenue decline, however, through cost reductions that resulted in a 4.9% – or $1 million – reduction in station operating expenses. We also made further progress on our debt reduction efforts during the quarter, while continuing our commitment to return capital to shareholders.” Addressing the station swap with CBS Radio, Beasley remarks, “It substantially broadened and diversified our local radio and marketing solutions platform. Since closing, we have been initiating strategies to extract operating and financial synergies. We are actively implementing integration, cost efficiency and operating plans while remaining true to our value proposition by focusing on targeted localism and delivering quality programming, effective online marketing solutions and dedicated service to listeners and advertisers in these markets.” As far as the future is concerned, he notes the company remains “focused on operating our station clusters to match or exceed their market’s revenue performance while further strengthening our balance sheet. We believe our integration, programming, personnel, cost-efficiency and operating changes are now showing progress.”
Barack Obama and Donald Trump were the Most Talked About People on News/Talk Radio this Week. GOP Debate(s) on Fox, the Iran Nukes Deal and Immigration Reform Lead the Topics Discussed. According to TALKERS research, the just-concluding week of August 3-7, 2015 has been dynamic to say the least as the brewing interest in the presidential race of 2016 reached its first major boiling point with yesterday’s (8/6) long anticipated GOP debate(s) on the Fox News Channel and Fox News Radio gathering enormous attention and conversation. Other hot topics included the Iran nuke deal, ISIS activity, immigration reform, race relations, the Planned Parenthood funding issue, Hillary Clinton’s emails, and the Nashville theater attack. To see the entire list of the week’s most talked about topics and people, please click here.
Michael Harrison Chats with Former FEMA Director (and Current KHOW, Denver Talk Host) Michael D. Brown as 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina Approaches. It was almost a decade ago (August 23-31, 2005) that Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast of the United States with winds of up to 175 mph and flood waters of biblical proportions rising from the ocean and falling from the sky — leaving in its wake almost 1,900 fatalities, $108 billion in damages, and countless casualties and lives upended. Michael D. Brown – the Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at the time and Under Secretary of Homeland Security (“Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job”) became the official poster boy for everything that went wrong with the federal government’s too-little-too-late response to one of the greatest disasters in American history. Some of the criticism that fell upon Brown was deserved – but much of it wasn’t. After all, it was an epic crisis and involved numerous overlapping agencies, governments, and politicians charged with making things right. Brown took a severe beating from the media as well as a proverbial bullet for the team and stepped down from his position with the Bush Administration. A lawyer by trade, Brown went on with his life, taking away an enormous amount of wisdom and experience from the episode. Undaunted, he began speaking to groups around the country about the insidious side of politics, and the human complexity of management and team play. He wrote a candid book about his role (and responsibility) in Katrina — Deadly Indifference: The Perfect (Political) Storm, Hurricane Katrina, the Bush White House, and Beyond (Taylor Trade, 2011). He also began a successful talk show hosting career in Denver – first at KOA and then at KHOW, where he presently presides over a daily program 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm MT. In the newly posted installment of the weekly international hit podcast “Up Close and Far Out” (8/4), Brown is interviewed by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison about inside-Washington politics, the war on terror, the nature of the political mind, the psychological profile of presidents, the general state of media and journalism as well as what his life is like as a big market talk show host 10 years after Katrina. To hear this must-listen conversation, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Cool Job Opportunity. Salem Radio in New York is looking for a dynamic individual to join the sales team for “AM970 The Answer,” which is news/talk format, and the legendary WMCA “AM570 The Mission, New York’s Christian Talk.” Compensation is commensurate with degree of experience and skills. This is a fabulous career opportunity for the right individual with one of the finest broadcasting companies in America. Salem Media Group is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Sales experience involving media is a must. Undergraduate degree required. A unique opportunity to work closely with Jerry Crowley and Phil Boyce, two proven winners and innovators. For more information and to apply, click here.
Tidwell Tapped as iHM San Antonio SVP/Programming. Inbound from Tucson where he was iHeartMedia‘s senior vice president of programming, Lance Tidwell transfers to San Antonio for similar duties. Executive vice president of programming for iHeartMedia major markets Brad Hardin comments, “I am extremely pleased to welcome Lance to the iHeartMedia San Antonio family. Tidwell is a strong talent and has had much success in his tenure with iHeartMedia. His programming acumen and depth of experience will allow him to ramp up quickly and build immediate relationships with the programming and sales team.” San Antonio market president Marlene Trevino remarks, “I am excited that our San Antonio programming operations will be led by Tidwell. He understands our company¹s vision to be innovative with every move. Lance¹s experience collaborating with programming and sales teams will provide us and our partners with unbeatable forward momentum in the continued evolution of our brands in the San Antonio market.” Tidwell notes that he is “grateful” to Trevino and Hardin “for the chance to work with these great brands and team in San Antonio. I am eager to get started and lead the market to continued growth and success.” In addition to having programmed in Seattle, Memphis, Hartford, Monterey-Salinas, and New Haven (Connecticut), Tidwell was chief operating officer for Southern Star Broadcasting. With 6+ share/market ranks from the most recent Nielsen Audio PPM sweep in parentheses (July 2015), iHeartMedia’s San Antonio cluster consists of country KAJA “KJ-97” (6.0, #3); mainstream CHR KXXM “Mix 96.1” (4.8, #5); adult contemporary KQXT “Q-101.9” (4.7, #6); talk WOAI (4.2, #10); rhythmic CHR KZEP “Hot 104.5” (2.1, #19); regional Mexican KQXT-HD3 (1.8, #20); sports KTKR “The Ticket” (.6, #26); and classic country KRPT “B-Buc” (.2, #27).
CBS Radio Q2 Revenue Off 5%. While second quarter revenue for CBS Corp. increased 1% to $3.22 billion from $3.19 billion in 2014, CBS Radio revenue declined 5%. Executive chair Sumner Redstone states, “CBS is at the center of the action during an extremely exciting time in media. We continue to succeed as a result of our world-class content.” According to president and chief executive officer Les Moonves, “This quarter underscores the key steps we are taking to build out our long-term growth strategy. Our premium content remains the cornerstone of our success, and I am confident this fall’s new primetime lineup will lead us to another victory next season.” The company’s local broadcasting revenue was down 2% to $654 million from $665 million, as television station revenue was up 1%, and local broadcasting operating income (OI) fell 8% to $198 million from $215 million. The company posted net earnings of $332 million, down from $439 million in the year-ago period.
Nielsen Audio Releases Third Round of July 2015 PPM Data. The third of four rounds of July 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The July 2015 survey period covered June 18 through July 15. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
National Radio Hall of Fame Nominees Announced. The 24 candidates in six categories were determined by the organization’s steering committee. National Radio Hall of Fame chair Kraig Kitchin brings back public engagement through social media balloting in the “Music Format On-Air Personality” and “Spoken Word On-Air Personality” categories. This is the first time that will be done in the last five years. “This impressive list of nominees represents the best examples of talent with commendable audience relationships past and present,” Kitchin declares. “Each individual and show was selected after extensive deliberation by the steering committee. We are all looking forward to seeing the results as determined by our industry peers and listeners nationwide.” The four nominees to be voted on by a participant panel in the “Longstanding Local/Regional (20 years or more)” category are Tom Barnard (Minneapolis); Johnny Dare (Kansas City); Johnny Holliday (Washington, D.C.); and Ronn Owens (San Francisco). Those in the “Active Local/Regional (10 years or more)” category are “Big Boy” – real name Kurt Alexander (Los Angeles); Preston Elliot and Steve Morrison (Philadelphia); Eric Ferguson and Kathy Hart (Chicago); and Garland Robinette (New Orleans). The four candidates in the “Networks/Syndication (10 years or more)” category include Tom Kent (Cleveland); Dave Ramsey (Nashville); Diane Rehm (Washington, D.C.); and Michael Savage (San Francisco). Those in the “Longstanding Network/Syndication (20 years or more)” category are Bob Kevoian & Tom Griswold (Indianapolis); Bob Kingsley (Weatherford, Texas); “Marketplace” (Los Angeles); and Harry Shearer (Los Angeles). Nominees to be voted on by listeners nationwide in the “Music Format On-Air Personality” category are Delilah (Seattle); Elvis Duran (New York); Steve Harvey (Atlanta); and Ryan Seacrest (Los Angeles). In the “Spoken Word On-Air Personality” category, the nominees are Sean Hannity (New York); Clark Howard (Atlanta); Jim Rome (Los Angeles); and Dr. Laura Schlessinger (Los Angeles). Voting begins today; names of the winners will be revealed in just over three weeks (8/31). The induction ceremony will be held in three months (11/5) at the Museum of Broadcast and Communications in downtown Chicago.
NextRadio, CBI Team To Find Best Radio Spot. College students are encouraged to create/submit a 60-second radio spot, as NextRadio and College Broadcasters Inc. (CBI) join forces to find the “best-of-the-best in radio spot ads.” According to NextRadio president Paul Brenner, there are currently 50,000 – 70,000 radio spots that run each month supporting the NAB National Awareness Campaign, which launched in February; “this is a huge opportunity for students to have their radio spot played nationally among thousands of broadcast stations and heard by millions. We will get the opportunity to showcase rising talent for the radio industry.” CBI president Greg Weston comments, “CBI is thrilled to team with NextRadio to offer students from our media outlets this unprecedented opportunity to have their work appear in front of millions of listeners. Not only will the winners get national exposure for their talent, they will be able to take advantage of the educational opportunities available to them at the National Student Electronic Media Convention.” First-place winner will have his or her 60-second spot included in “flight four” of the NAB National Awareness Campaign, which starts October 1. The contest begins one week from next Monday (8/17) and will run through September 18; winners will be announced September 28.
Westwood One, PGA of America In Multiyear, Multiplatform Deal. Live hole-by-hole coverage of the PGA championship returns to Westwood One for the first time in a decade. In addition, Westwood One will provide short-form updates, as well as a Brad Heller-anchored recap show, “The PGA Championship Tonight.” Senior vice president of sports for Westwood One (and parent company Cumulus Media) Bruce Gilbert remarks, “Westwood One is proud to present the 2015 PGA championship. It is a very exciting time in professional golf with so many terrific stories this year. Our team is prepared and excited to describe the remarkable performance of the world’s best players live from the PGA championship for the next few years.” PGA of America chief commercial officer Jeff Price states, “Westwood One and SiriusXM are synonymous with live, major sports event broadcasting. The PGA of America is delighted that we will partner with these two world-class radio partners to bring the drama and excitement of the PGA championship to fans.” Broadcast coverage from the PGA championship at Whistling Straits Golf Course in Kohler, Wisconsin begins one week from today (Thursday, 8/13). It will run through (Sunday) the 16th and can be heard on SiriusXM, Westwood One Sports affiliates, and WestwoodOneSports.com. SiriusXM PGA tour radio host Earl Forcey will anchor the joint coverage from the 18th tower, while former pro golfer/Golf Channel host Charlie Rymer will be lead analyst. Westwood One’s Ted Emrich will anchor short-form reports from the course, and provide leader board updates during the long-form coverage. Looking ahead, Westwood One Sports will provide PGA championship coverage next year from Baltusrol Country Club in Springfield, New Jersey and, in 2017, from the Quail Hollow Country Club in Charlotte.
2016 Presidential Candidates-GOP Debates, Nashville Theater Attack, Iran Nuclear Deal, Immigration Policy Debate, Hillary Clinton Email Investigation, Baltimore Gets Help with Violence, MH370 Debris Confirmed, and Deflategate Flap Among Top News Stories Yesterday (8/5). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and tonight’s GOP debates; the thwarted attack on a cinema in Nashville on Wednesday; the political battle over the proposed nuclear deal with Iran; the ongoing controversy over America’s immigration policy; the Feds supply help to Baltimore’s police in battling the explosion of murders in the aftermath of the Freddie Gray slaying; the plane debris found last week is confirmed to be from Malaysia Airlines flight MH370; and the NFL’s deflategate case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Chris Stigall
Talk Show Host
PHILADELPHIA — A listener called the show today to define talk radio as he saw it. He called it a place where average Americans of all means, politics and professions can discuss and explore important issues. It’s not a matter of being famous, or being a member of an editorial board or Congress. It’s not a nightly news anchor reading the teleprompter, delivering their version of the news. Talk radio is of the people, by the people, and for the people, he said.
Simply, it’s the purest form of honest dialogue available in all of media.
Earlier this week at a live event, a listener explained the importance of talk radio in her life. Not only does it help her through her days as her parents’ full-time caretaker, but she honestly believes there would be no publicly available opposing view to most media coverage today.
iHeartMedia Reports Q2 Revenue Up 4%. The privately-owned iHeartMedia announces its Q2 financial numbers and reports revenue was $841 million – up 4% compared to the same quarter in 2014 – and stating that it saw “strength across the business (core local and national broadcast advertising revenue, traffic and weather business, syndication business and events).” The company says its expenses rose 5% year-over-year attributable to “event production costs, timing of barter and trade expenses, sales compensation expense and costs related to music licenses and performance royalties.” Chief operating officer and chief financial officer Rich Bressler says in a press release, “We’re pleased with the revenue and OIBDAN growth we achieved this quarter. We continue to invest in our capabilities across both iHeartMedia and outdoor to realize the full value of our multi-platform assets. With no significant debt maturities until 2018, we can continue focusing on growing the top and bottom lines across our business segments.” Total debt for the media giant is reported as just shy of $20.4 billion.
Stigall: The Importance of Talk Radio. WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive host Chris Stigall writes in a piece published in TALKERS today about recent events that have given him pause to reflect on the value of talk radio to the greater society. Stigall says that an important cog in the media machine would be missing if talk radio did not exist. He says, “Call talk radio propaganda if you’d like, but it can only thrive if it offers something consumers want to hear and delivers results to advertisers and sponsors. I know in our show’s case we’re blessed with both. Whether it’s Limbaugh’s leading voice of conservatism, Levin’s case for millennials to engage in their country’s political future, Hannity’s demands for more scrutiny of a taxpayer-funded entity, or simple assessments of current and future leaders’ character – talk radio is the only place it’s found consistently.” Read Stigall’s entire piece here.
iHeartMedia Charlotte Hikes Hotchkiss to Market President. Senior vice president of sales Keith Hotchkiss is elevated to market president of iHeartMedia‘s six-station Charlotte operation. Hotchkiss remarks that, “iHeartMedia Charlotte boasts some of the most talented on-air hosts, programmers, and sales professionals in the country. It is my goal to lead and expand, providing innovative solutions for our client partners across all our platforms, while also creating the best radio for our listeners. This is an exciting time to be in the radio industry. I could not be more proud to represent one of the world’s most enterprising media companies in one of the nation’s greatest cities.” Prior to being transferred to Charlotte, Hotchkiss spent more than 15 years at the company’s Cleveland cluster, where he ultimately became general sales manager. With (6+) Nielsen Audio June 2015 PPM market share and market rank in parentheses, iHeartMedia’s Charlotte cluster consists of country WKKT “The Kat” (7.3, #3); classic rock WRFX “The Fox” (6.5, #4); adult hits WLKO “The Lake” (6.3, #5); CHR WHQC “Channel 96-1” (5.3, #7); and WEND “New Rock 106.5 – The End” (3.1, #12 ). WRFX-HD2 “Fox Sports FM 98.7″ does not appear in Charlotte’s June sweep.
Odds & Sods. The news/talk format airing on WMEL, Cocoa Beach, Florida and operated by John Harper’s Broadcast House LLC will move to Genesis Communications’ WIXC (licensed to Titusville, Florida) beginning Sunday, August 9. Rama Communications has been leasing the station to Broadcast House…..Matt Jones’ “Kentucky Sports Radio” will continue to be heard on stations in the Blue Grass State as Jones renews with the network. The show airs from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon on WKJK, Louisville; WLAP, Lexington; and other iHeartMedia stations across the state using the Kentucky News Network…..Christopher “Jack” Johansing is promoted to marketing director at Benztown. He’s been with the company for the past five years serving as coordinator, web, marketing & affiliate relations.
Cecil the Lion Case, 2016 Presidential Candidates-Trump Criticisms, Planned Parenthood Videos Scandal, Iran Nuclear Deal, Bill Cosby Rape Allegations, Samuel DuBose Slaying, Lois Lerner-IRS Case, and the NFL’s Tom Brady Decision Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/29). The case of the Minnesota dentist who hunted a protected lion in Zimbabwe and the public outcry; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and the intense scrutiny of Donald Trump; the aftermath of the release of videos showing Planned Parenthood doctors haggling over the price of body parts from abortions; the proposed nuclear deal with Iran; the rape allegations being leveled against Bill Cosby; the slaying of unarmed motorist Samuel DuBose in Cincinnati by a police officer; new allegations of Lois Lerner destroying evidence in the IRS scandal; and the NFL’s upholding of the four-game suspension of Tom Brady were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WTOP, Washington Names McMearty Program Director. Three months after former programmer Laurie Cantillo and Hubbard Radio parted ways, the company names 23-year staffer Mike McMearty program director for the multi-platform news operation. McMearty moves up from his news director post to the new position of director of news and programming. Hubbard Washington SVP/GM Joel Oxley comments, “Mike has been an integral part of our success for more than two decades. He has led the newsroom to hundreds of industry awards for excellence in journalism, including 18 National Murrow Awards and more than two dozen honors already in 2015. I look forward to him taking the department to new heights.” The station reports that Jim Battagliese continues his role as director of traffic, transit and weather. Mitchell Miller is promoted to senior news director managing the newsroom weekday mornings, Darci Marchese moves up to a full-time news director weekday afternoons, and Jamie Forzato now will manage news operations on the weekends as weekend managing editor. Meera Pal moves to social and digital engagement director reporting to Julia Ziegler, who moves from web and operations manager of FederalNewsRadio.com to become the news director of WTOP.com. All of the changes will take place over the next several weeks.
Talkers New York 2015 Videos Begin Being Posted Today (6/22). Starting today with WFAN, New York superstar Mike Francesa’s opening “Keynote Greeting,” TALKERS will be posting videos of each of the sessions that made Talkers New York 2015’s agenda one of the most successful in the convention’s 18-year history. A session will be added each business day for the next nine days in a row, in the order that they took place at the event, until the entire agenda, video-recorded by Art Vuolo, is posted in a special Talkers TV feature sponsored by independent station owner, Michael Zwerling’s KSCO, Santa Cruz. The entire feature will remain posted for the rest of 2015. To see the opening session with Mike Francesa, please click here. Tomorrow: “The State of Radio Ratings” panel moderated by Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel icon Sean Hannity.
Mike Francesa Opens Talkers New York 2015 on Upbeat Note – See Video Today! In a video posted today (6/22), legendary WFAN afternoon drive personality Mike Francesa sets the tone for what proved to be a realistic, but highly optimistic and solutions-oriented, agenda at the recent industry mega-conference, Talkers New York 2015 (6/12). The tell-it-like-it-is broadcaster – who has been ranked at #1 on the TALKERS “Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk Radio” for the past two consecutive years – blasted the pessimism that he says permeates the radio industry and offered his assessment of the tremendous opportunities available to radio in the digital era. Francesa drew applause form the packed house stating, “It’s amazing the amount of negativity that exists no matter what part of the business you’re in… I’m here to tell you that even though I am a little closer to the finish [of my career] than I am to the start, back [in 1987] when I was pounding on the door at WFAN with Jeff Smulyan – it took me 18 interviews to get hired, folks — I would be as bullish on radio and as gung ho about getting a career and feeding my family on radio NOW… as I was back then.” Francesa discusses the multi-platform nature of programming content today and the need/opportunity to monetize every element of it. He praises the spread of smartphones as being equivalent to a theoretical resurgence of the old transistor radio and thus providing radio with universal portability… something it hasn’t enjoyed in decades. He discusses the importance of branding in today’s media environment and vehemently champions the importance of “live and local” being the key to radio’s survival and purpose in the coming era. To see Francesa’s entire speech, please click here.
Westwood One Names Ron Russo EVP Northeast Sales. Radio sales pro Ron Russo is named EVP, Northeast Region for Westwood One’s network sales division. In this position, Russo will “manage and oversee the New York sales office and be responsible for revenue growth and multi-platform brand integrations across all Westwood One assets, including network sales, spot sales, platform, digital, and events.” Russo will report to Westwood One president Steve Shaw. In a statement from WW1, the company notes that Russo comes to them from iHeartMedia where he was general sales manager for the NYC station group. “In addition to building and overseeing the sales teams, he was instrumental in managing the transition when iHeart purchased WOR-AM from Buckley Broadcasting. He also played an important role in securing the station’s radio rights to the NY Mets.” He worked for CBS RADIO at hot AC WWFS, “Fresh 102.7” before joining iHeartMedia. Russo says, “I am really looking forward to working with this great team of sellers and collaborating throughout the organization as we look for innovative ways to drive and accelerate results for our clients.”
Rob Ellis Lands at WPEN, Philadelphia. Former WIP-FM, Philadelphia personality Rob Ellis debuts on crosstown Greater Media’s WPEN, Philadelphia, partnered up with Harry Mayes. Ellis exited CBS RADIO’s WIP in March after failing to come to terms on a contract renewal with the station. Ellis, who also hosts “Breakfast on Broad” on cable’s Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia, takes over as co-host of the midday show for Eytan Shander, who remains with the company. Former WIP personality Anthony Gargano also joined WPEN late last year as morning drive personality.
Odds & Sods. Both FOX Sports and ESPN are reporting that former San Diego Chargers player and longtime radio play-by-play analyst Hank Bauer has been let go from the radio broadcast team. Bauer served a one-game suspension last season – missing the final preseason game – after he used a Jewish slur during the third preseason game. He later apologized…..Westwood One presents coverage of the NCAA Division I Men’s College World Series Finals beginning this evening from TD Ameritrade Park Omaha in Nebraska. The best-of-three championship series between Vanderbilt and Virginia is being covered by (pictured here in front of the famous Road to Omaha statue standing from left to right) Ted Emrich, Scott Graham, and Kevin Kugler.
Dr. Joy Browne Tours Israel as Guest of Prime Minister – Meets with Victims of Terror. Nationally-syndicated (GCN) talk show host and clinical psychologist, Dr. Joy Browne returns to New York today (6/22) after an intense week-long tour of Israel on a fact-finding/counseling mission that brought her into one-on-one encounters with Israeli victims of terror. Browne (right) is pictured meeting with Israeli citizens at the Jerusalem headquarters of the OneFamily organization during what has been her first visit to the Middle East democracy this week. According to a report in the Jerusalem Post, during the emotionally charged encounter, which was hosted by OneFamily CEO Chantal Belzberg, Browne met with former residents of the US, Canada, and the UK who were physically and emotionally scarred in terrorist attacks across Israel during the past few years. “I am delighted and honored to be here,” Browne tells the Post. “After experiencing the aftermath of 9/11, we all share a common echo and I am impressed with the resilience of the people here who have worked or who are working to transcend fear and are getting on with their lives.” The perennially popular radio personality, in addition to interviewing and counselling victims, also interviewed the organization’s various psychologists and therapists for a future segment on her widely heard program. Browne’s trip to Israel was sponsored by the Office of the Prime Minister and America’s Voices in Israel. (Photo courtesy of the Jerusalem Post and Sarah Levin.)
FOX News Commentators Ellen Ratner and Jim Pinkerton Honored by Grenada’s St. George’s University. Media personalities Ellen Ratner and Jim Pinkerton were recognized with honorary doctorates from St. George’s University in Grenada for their charitable works. Pinkerton and Ratner – who work together as conservative and liberal commentators, respectively, on FOX News Channel’s “FOX & Friends Weekend” on the “Long and Short of It” segment – are known for separate charitable efforts. Pinkerton has been working with the school assisting with its cure strategy for diseases. Ratner has been working for years to provide some of the basic tools for subsistence farming to people in South Sudan. Ratner (third from left) and Pinkerton (fourth from left) are seen here receiving their honorary degrees.
Dallas Newsman Bob Morrison Dies. Former KRLD-AM and WBAP-AM, Dallas newsman Bob Morrison died yesterday (6/21) after a long illness. Salem Radio Network VP, News & Talk Programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS, “When I served its VP/general manager, I hired Bob as news director of the USA Radio Network in 1999, and he brought a professional demeanor to reorganizing USA that was nothing short of amazing. His planning and execution of the national political conventions in 2000 remains a highlight, and nurturing his strong delivery and solid journalistic skills will always remain a highlight of my career.”
Update: The Glenn Beck Defamation Suit. TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman reports on the status of the defamation suit in which Premiere Networks talk host Glenn Beck is defending himself. Saudi Arabian national Abdulrahman Alharbi is suing Beck for defamation after Beck continued to talk about his belief that Alharbi had a role in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing after authorities had investigated him and cleared him of any involvement in the crime. Now, Weisman says the case has taken another legal step after Judge Patti B. Saris allowed Alharbi to amend his defamation lawsuit by adding a count for unjust enrichment. In allowing this count to be added to the complaint, Judge Saris has significantly upped the amount of a possible judgment. Weisman says the case is a long way from trial and that it’s in the discovery phase right now. Read more here.
WCCO Honored by NAB for Service to Community. On Tuesday (6/16), CBS RADIO heritage news/talk station WCCO-AM was honored by the NAB with the National Association of Broadcaster’s Education Foundation’s “Service to Community Award” for the station’s year-round outreach to help the hungry. For the campaign, WCCO engaged listeners, celebrities and charity groups to collect food and replenish food shelves across 59 counties. Pictured here are (from l-r): U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, CBS RADIO Minneapolis SVP and market manager Mick Anselmo, WCCO program director Bob Shomper, and U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison. Photo: CBS.
WPHT, Philadelphia’s Chris Stigall Hosts Sold-Out Book Event with Ann Coulter. Philadelphia morning drive host Chris Stigall (right) brought author and conservative media icon Ann Coulter (left) to the Colonial Theatre near Philadelphia for a sold-out event on Monday, June 15 to talk about, among other things, her latest book, Adios America! (Regnery Publishing 2015). Stigall reports to TALKERS that the conversation touched on a wide variety of topics including Coulter’s friendship with Bill Maher, and her real concern about the state of free speech in comedy and commentary today.
Howie Carr: Presidential Kingmaker! It is no secret that every four years in the weeks and months leading up to the high-visibility New Hampshire presidential primary, radio talk show hosts in the state take on an importance and influence in national affairs that exponentially outweighs what their market size and audience reach would normally deliver. Taking that fact into consideration, regionally syndicated host Howie Carr, whose recently launched, independent Howie Carr Radio Network covers the six New England states like a blanket (and is starting to leak into neighboring New York), has become a potential presidential “king maker.” Carr’s immensely popular afternoon drive program is now affiliated in seven top New Hampshire markets with an eighth reportedly on the way — giving him an unprecedented level of “local” presence in the strategic primary battleground that makes him a must-visit by all candidates hoping to have a shot at winning the crucial election. Carr, who ranked 15th in this year’s TALKERS Heavy Hundred, is considered by many industry observers familiar with his impact in the Northeast as somewhat of a “sleeping giant of news/talk radio” just waiting to invade the nearby Empire State and beyond. To hear a promo currently running on Carr’s network referring to his role in the primary, please click
WSCR, Chicago’s Dan Bernstein Suspended for Tweet. The Chicago sports talk host sat out yesterday’s show (without pay) and will return to the “Boers & Bernstein” show today. This, reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, came after Dan Bernstein revisited rumors that WLS-TV meteorologist Cheryl Scott was romantically involved with one or more Chicago Blackhawks players when he Tweeted: “And the real award for this year’s close connection to the @NHLBlackhawks is @CherylScottWX!!” Scott had vehemently denied the rumors via social media and after Bernstein’s Tweet, Feder reports that WSCR was contacted by WLS-TV management and Scott’s agent protesting the Tweet. This is the second recent Tweet that’s got Bernstein into trouble. Earlier this year he apologized for sexist comments made about Comcast SportsNet Chicago anchor Aiyana Cristal.
‘The John and Leah Show’ Lands on WHAS, Louisville. It’s a return to WHAS, Louisville for talk host John Ziegler, whose new Envision Networks-syndicated weekend show with co-host Leah Bandon is being heard every Sunday night at 10:00. Ziegler was a daily personality on the station earlier in his career and iHeartMedia Louisville senior vice president of programming Kelly Carls says, “John Ziegler is already well known to many fans around Kentuckiana. We’re glad they’ll once again get to hear his well-thought-out, unique take on major events and the news.”
Odds & Sods. The nationally syndicated political weekend show “Beyond the Beltway with Bruce DuMont” celebrates its 35the anniversary next weekend (6/28) with a special program on Sunday preceded by a private gathering on June 24 with frequent program guests from over the years. The show began in 1980 as a 13-week experiment on WBEZ-FM, Chicago to cover the 1980 presidential campaign. In 1991 it went into syndication on public radio. In 1992 it switched to commercial WLS-AM, Chicago and its national profile grew.…..Financial talk host Robert “Bob” Hardcastle – host of the weekend “Money Talk” program on KTRS, St. Louis – has written a memoir of his days as a college baseball player at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale in 1959 titled, College Baseball and Other Shenanigans. Hardcastle is an honored SIUC alumnus from the Class of 1962 and a member of the St. Louis Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame.
2016 Presidential Prospects/Trump Enters Race, Rachel Dolezal Case, Pope Francis’ Global Warming Encyclical, U.S.-Russia Tensions, SCOTUS ObamaCare Subsidies Case, Woman to Be on $10 Bill, ISIS Military Progress, EU Uncertainty Over Greek Debt, and Golden State Warriors Win NBA Title Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/17). The candidates for president in 2016 and Donald Trump’s entrance into the GOP primary; the ongoing talk about former Spokane NAACP head Rachel Dolezal’s “identifying” as black; the leaked encyclical in which Pope Francis calls for global governmental action on climate change; the military tensions between Russia and the U.S.; the Supreme Court to hear arguments over federal ObamaCare subsidies; the Treasury Department’s announcement that a woman will replace Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill in 2020; the progress of ISIS in Iraq and the U.S. military’s policy there; the state of the European Union as Greece warns it can’t pay its debts; and the Golden State Warriors’ victory over Cleveland in the NBA Finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Packed Talkers New York 2015 Conference a Hit with Attendees. Talk media industry practitioners jam-packed the India House in Manhattan’s Financial District on Friday, June 12 for a full day of presentations, panels and speeches as TALKERS magazine celebrated its 25th anniversary serving the talk radio industry at its 18th annual New York-located national conference. The day began with a continental breakfast and reception titled, “Breakfast with Hannity,” sponsored by the Premiere Networks-syndicated talk radio superstar. WFAN, New York sports talk legend Mike Francesa kicked off the presentations with a powerful and informative welcoming speech. Panel discussions included such topics as “The State of Radio Ratings,” “The Big Picture,” “Generating Talk Radio Revenue,” “Programming Talk Radio in 2015,” “Variety, The Spice of Life,” and “Navigating a Talk Host Career.” The program also included a one-on-one “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Cumulus Media EVP, content & programming John Dickey, plus the TALKERS Awards Presentation during which WOLB, Baltimore morning host Larry Young received the “Humanitarian of the Year Award,” Howard Stern co-host Robin Quivers received the “Woman of the Year Award,” CBS Radio News VP Harvey Nagler was presented the “Lifetime Achievement Award,” and ABC Television, director, business continuity Howard B. Price received the “Freedom of Speech Award.” Michael Harrison states, “We are deeply gratified, humbled and grateful by the SRO turnout and the tremendous love and support we have consistently received that has allowed TALKERS and all its various projects to make it to the quarter-century milestone. This conference exuded a level of confidence about the future of the talk industry held by its key players that we haven’t seen in years!” Video of each of the sessions and presentations will be made available online via Talkers TV, along with detailed story and photographic coverage of the conference, beginning next week. Above right, FOX News’ Brian Kilmeade, WFAN’s Mike Francesa and Sean Hannity share a joke. Lower left, Premiere Networks’ Julie Talbott (left) presents the Woman of the Year Award to Robin Quivers (right).
iHeartMedia to Create New Boston Home for Rush Limbaugh on WKOX. Dropping the Spanish music format “Mia 1430,” iHeartMedia will launch “Talk 1430” WKOX on Monday, June 29 with Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh as the centerpiece along with company stalwarts Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck surrounding him. WKOX is licensed to Everett, Massachusetts and its primary signal covers the city of Boston and reaches many of its suburbs. iHeartMedia is going with a sports and talk hybrid using FOX Sports Radio content in addition to syndicated talk programming. Here’s the lineup: “FOX Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman & Mike North” in AM drive; Glenn Beck from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; Limbaugh; Sean Hannity from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; “America Now” from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm; Westwood One’s Mark Levin from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight; and FOX Sports Radio during overnights. iHeartMedia Boston market president Alan Chartrand says, “We are excited to bring this powerful lineup of talk show hosts to our cluster here in Boston. We are confident that the biggest names in the talk radio format will serve our listeners and advertisers well.”
Canada’s Numeris Orders Voltair Units Disabled Until Further Notice. Canada’s Numeris – formerly called the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement – has ordered all Canadian radio stations to disconnect their Voltair units from their audio chains. The audio processor manufactured by 25-Seven – a division of TelosAlliance – has been a controversial topic within U.S. broadcast circles recently for reportedly enabling stations in Nielsen’s PPM markets to “amplify” the encoding that PPM receivers use to “hear” in order to give stations credit for listening. As was discussed at the Talkers New York 2015 conference on Friday (6/12) on the “State of Radio Ratings” panel, Voltair is currently being tested by Nielsen but no such edicts have been issued here. Canada’s Numeris states in a letter to station owners that the order to shut off Voltair comes because of the “importance of a level playing field.” Numeris admists it doesn’t know if the technology is affecting ratings or not but that it expects to have an analysis of Voltair done within 60 days.
Cumulus Media Elevates Hess to Corporate PD of News/Talk. A session moderator at last Friday’s (6/12) “TALKERS New York 2015,” Bill Hess takes on corporate responsibilities in addition to his role as program director of Cumulus Media Washington, DC news/talker WMAL-AM/FM. According to Cumulus executive vice president of content and programming John Dickey, “Bill is one of the format’s best minds. We look forward to sharing him within our company.” Senior vice president of content and programming Mike McVay comments, “This promotion enables us to take advantage of Bill’s previous experience as a corporate programmer and rewards him for the amazing job that he is doing at WMAL.” Hess remarks, “I deeply appreciate – and am incredibly energized by – this opportunity to work with John Dickey, Mike McVay, and our team of talented programmers as we continue to drive the success of the industry’s leading platform of news-talk brands, both on-air and digitally.” Formerly senior vice president of programming for Air America Radio, Hess was brand manager for Clear Channel/iHeartMedia and was PD of talk stations in Providence (WHJJ); Springfield, Massachusetts (WHYN-AM); and Worcester, Massachusetts (WTAG), as well as operations manager of Washington, DC progressive talker WWRC, sports WTEM, and conservative talk WTNT. The Philadelphia native has programmed FM music stations in Washington, DC (adult contemporary WASH and classic rock WBIG); Providence (hot AC WSNE and classic hits-oldies WWBB); Springfield, Massachusetts (hot AC WHYN-FM); and Worcester, Massachusetts (adult contemporary WSRS).
New Course Set at WRKO, Boston. In a press statement announcing the hiring of Alison Harris as sales manager for Entercom’s news/talk WRKO, Boston, VP and market manager Phil Zachary says filling this two-year-vacant post signals the station’s readiness to forward with the next step in its evolution. He comments, “Like every talk radio station in America, WRKO has been evolving with the changing media habits and demographic shifts in our society. We did not want to fill this important position until our course was set for the future and we found the perfect candidate. I’m thrilled we’re now at that point and that Alison was available to us.” Harris is a 22-year media pro who was most recently with Clear Channel Outdoor’s Washington, D.C./Baltimore Division as vice president of sales. The Boston news/talk will part with Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh next month and says it will announce its new, official lineup a little later this month.
Odds & Sods. Boston journalist and talk show host Michele McPhee told her listeners on Friday afternoon that she expects to beat the charges leveled against her after a late night incident on Thursday that resulted in her being arrested for DUI, resisting arrest and assaulting an officer. McPhee – heard on WMEX, Boston in afternoon drive – says she can’t comment specifically on the advice of her attorney. She was pulled over after a police officer reported seeing her car swerve on I-93 in South Boston. The Boston Herald reports she became belligerent with the officer and even sustained a head injury while the officer was arresting her…..Salem Media Group names Randy Bush general manager of its Little Rock station group that includes Christian contemporary KKSP, Christian teaching KDIS and news/talk KHTE “96.5 The Answer.”…..Townsquare Media announces Mike “Sandman” Sanders is the new operations manager for its Billings, Montana cluster that includes news/talk KCHH “Newstalk 95.5.” He was most recently with Riverbend Communications as music director and afternoon personality at adult contemporary KCLE, Idaho Falls “Classy 97.3.”
Nielsen Audio Releases Fourth Round of May 2015 PPM Data. The fourth and final round of May 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The May 2015 survey period covered April 23 through May 20. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
NJBA Conference and Gala Begins This Week. The annual New Jersey Broadcasters Association Conference and Gala opens this week in Atlantic City with his year’s theme: “Broadcast Has New Attitude.” NJBA president & CEO Paul Rotella states, “We’re going to hear from a variety of voices during this conference which will provide you with the latest and most substantial evolution in research, technology and advancement in audience measurement.” During the conference, the NJBA will be honoring FOX News’ Judge Andrew P. Napolitano as its recipient of the Howard L. Green Humanitarian of the Year. Also, Greater Media’s Peter Smyth will induct Dan Finn, Harry Hurley, Dick Swetits, and Kevin Williams into the NJBA Hall of Fame.
‘Get Well’ Wishes to Gabe Hobbs. Longtime radio pro and Gabe Hobbs Media principal, Gabe Hobbs is recovering from a ruptured disc in his lower back. He writes to the industry that he’s been largely unable to communicated while literally “on his back” in the hospital for the better part of the last two weeks. He writes, “As some of you may have heard, I have been hospitalized with a ruptured disk in my lower back for a couple of weeks. My back just seemed to explode on the afternoon of May 26th and I’ve been largely unable to answer emails, phone calls or texts ever since. I couldn’t even sit up or walk for 9 days. I’m finally able to do a little work on the computer and have somewhat cogent phone conversations at this point…My apologies as I know many of you are wondering if I just dropped off the face of the earth. Everyone at TALKERS wishes Gabe a speedy recovery.
Ken Charles to Program All-News KNX, Los Angeles. Longtime iHeartMedia news and talk programmer Ken Charles joins CBS RADIO as the new program director of the company’s KNX, Los Angeles “1070 Newsradio.” Charles, who exited his post as iHeartMedia Sacramento’s vice president of programming and national brand manager for news, talk and sports earlier this year, says of his new post, “I can’t wait to begin working for CBS RADIO, a company committed to local news, and the team of award-winning professionals at KNX, L.A.’s heritage home for local news and traffic. I’m thankful to Chris Oliviero, Scott Herman, [CBS RADIO Los Angeles SVP/market manager] Dan Kearney, and Kevin Weatherly for giving me this incredible opportunity.” Kearney adds, “You’d be hard-pressed to find a programmer with as much experience and success in the news format as Ken. He is one of the most respected managers of news operations in the country and during this seminal, fast-changing period of how people get their news, he is uniquely qualified to build upon KNX’s reputation as Southern California’s news, traffic and information authority.”
Steele Surfaces in Salisbury-Ocean City as Senior VP/Programming. One week from Monday (6/15) is Jimmy Steele‘s start date as iHeartMedia Salisbury-Ocean City, Maryland’s senior vice president of programming. Regional market president Chris Walus states, “Jimmy has an extraordinary record of success in leading operations, developing formats, and coaching top-tier personalities. This – coupled with his remarkable skill for driving breakthrough revenue growth – set Jimmy apart from the pack. Our team is excited and eager for him to start.” Steele remarks that he is “truly grateful and excited for the opportunity to reunite with iHeartMedia” and is looking forward “to working with Chris Walus, along with senior vice president of programming Jon Zellner and regional programming manager Dave Symonds, in advancing our strong and diverse brands in the Salisbury-Ocean City market.” Not to be confused with Emmis vice president of programming/rhythmic CHR KPWR “Power 106,” Los Angeles program director Jimmy Steal, Jimmy Steele previously was operations manager for iHeartMedia San Diego, and Columbus’ regional vice president of programming. The company’s Salisbury-Ocean City operation consists of urban AC WSBY “Magic 98.9”; WJDY “Newsradio 1470”; CHR WKZP “Kiss 95.9”; adult contemporary WQHQ “Q-105”; WTGM “Fox Sports 960”; and country WWFG “Froggy 99.9.”
Columbus’ Wolfe Family to Sell Print Assets, Retain Broadcast Properties. The publishers of the Columbus Dispatch (part of the Dispatch Printing Company) are selling the Columbus, Ohio daily along with 24 suburban weeklies and seven magazines to New York-based New Media Investment Group. The Wolfe family will remain in the broadcasting business with its two television stations – WBNS-TV, Columbus and WTHR-TV, Indianapolis – as well as its RadiOhio subsidiary that operates sports talk radio simulcast WBNS-AM/FM, Columbus. As reported in The Dispatch, chairman and publisher John Wolfe states, “We are proud of our 110-year legacy of family ownership of The Dispatch, and the newspaper’s heritage of quality journalism and community involvement. However, the past two decades of accelerating and challenging change in the newspaper industry made it clear to us that maintaining a single-city, family-owned paper in this environment was untenable long-term.”
NPR’s Lesher Succumbs to Stomach Cancer. Staffers received word yesterday (Wednesday, 6/3) that NPR associate editor for news operations Jim Lesher lost his battle against stomach cancer; he was just 46 years old. NPR managing editor Chuck Holmes explains, “Jim’s value to this newsroom was so apparent that I once joked with him that I was going to make up a wanted poster with his photo: ‘Jim Lesher: Most Wanted Man at NPR.'” Executive producer for newscasts Robert Garcia states, “There is an entire news organization full of heavy and broken hearts. If the measure of a man is how much he is loved and appreciated by others, Jim was successful beyond his wildest dreams.” Washington, D.C.-area native Lesher joined NPR as an intern soon after graduating from Catholic University in 1990. His parents; a sister; and two nephews are among his survivors.
Odds & Sods. San Antonio-based talk show host Adam McManus is sitting in for Iowa talk personality Simon Conway on WMT, Cedar Rapids Monday, June 8 through Wednesday, June 17 from 9:00am to 11:00 am…..Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will make weekly appearances on CBS RADIO’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh “Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan” this season. Roethlisberger will appear Tuesdays at 11:00 am on the “Cook & Poni Show.”…..KOIL, Omaha held its “Bob Bruce Experience 4 Blue” rally in support of the police in honor of officer Kerrie Orozco, who died in the line of duty on May 20, a day before she was to take maternity leave. The “Bob Bruce Experience 4 Blue” was a two-week appreciation campaign during which KOIL broadcast free commercials for merchants providing complimentary services to Omaha law enforcement officers on June 3.
Patriotic Rock Band Madison Rising forms Non-Profit ‘Shows for Heroes.’ Industry pros attending the Talkers New York 2015 conference on Friday, June 12 will see the new video from the patriotic rock band Madison Rising (pictured here). The band just announced that is has formed a 501(c)3 chartered organization that will assist in covering the costs associated with having the group perform at military bases, veteran organizations and first responder events. Madison Rising has an especially strong following among military personnel, veterans and first responders, and is often asked to do performances around the country by organizations that simply cannot afford to cover the costs associated with travel and production. With the creation of Madison Rising Shows For Heroes, tax-deductible contributions from individual and corporate donors will allow Madison Rising to provide more live performances for the men and women who have given so much of themselves.
ISIS Military Progress, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Sinking Obama Approval Ratings, Baltimore Murder Rate Soars, Obama Trade Deal, Duggar Family Scandal, Police Kill Boston Terror Suspect, Texas Open Carry Challenge, Caitlyn Jenner Story, FIFA Corruption Case, and NBA-NHL Finals Amoong Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/3). Concern over ISIS’ military success in Iraq and Syria and the U.S. military’s Iraq policy; the potential candidates for president in 2016 and the entrance of Republican George Pataki and Democrat Lincoln Chafee into the races; chatter about the dip in approval ratings for President Obama; the escalating murder rate in Baltimore in the wake of Freddie Gray’s death; the state of the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal; the sexual scandal plaguing the Duggar family, stars of ’19 Kids and Counting’; the police shooting death of a terror suspect in Boston; the challenge of Texas’ open carry law; Bruce Jenner’s gender transition and new Caitlyn identity; the far-reaching effects of the FIFA corruption case; and the finals in both the NBA and the NHL were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Chris Stigall
Talk Show Host
PHILADELPHIA — Please understand this is personal. It’s not a matter of whether you agree with me or even care about the man. I’m writing this for me. Selfishly. Right now, all I can think about is how much he mattered to me in the most formative years of my life. Saying goodbye to David Letterman is breaking my heart and I’m having a tough time thinking about much else.
I can’t claim to have been watching him since his morning show in the early 80s. I was too young. I found Dave during high school in the 90s. Specifically, when Carson was leaving “The Tonight Show.”
Cumulus/Westwood One Star Mark Levin Continues to Gain Syndication Steam. Dubbed “The Great One” by Sean Hannity, Cumulus/Westwood One syndicated host Mark Levin continues to grow in stature as one of the elite stars in the talk radio industry. Levin, who has written a number of best sellers and is respected as an outstanding constitutional attorney and scholar, has added over a dozen new stations to his affiliate roster of 300-plus in the last quarter alone including KRLA, Los Angeles; WPGP, Pittsburgh; WREC, Memphis; WRVA, Richmond; KTSM, El Paso; KWSX, Stockton; KFIV, Modesto; WBUV-FM, Biloxi; WPGG, Atlantic City; WTKS-AM, Savannah; KWHN, Ft. Smith; WDAK, Columbus, GA; and WFEA, Manchester, MA. According to Michael Harrison, “Levin doesn’t always get the credit he deserves as the true heavyweight he is – but the numbers don’t lie. He has one of the largest audiences of all the political news/talkers in America and is positively adored by the millions of individuals and organizations that make up the heart of the fundamentalist, Constitutionalist core of the conservative movement.” Levin is ranked by TALKERS as #6 on the Heavy Hundred (the 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America) and tied with Glenn Beck as the fourth most-listened-to radio talk show host in the nation.
Nielsen Audio Releases Third Round of April 2015 PPM Data. The third of four rounds of April 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The April 2015 survey period covered March 26 through April 22. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Talkers New York 2015 Will Be Sold Out Today. Based on the diminishing number of registrations still open and the rate at which they are being filled, Talkers New York 2015 – the 18th annual installment of the talk media’s longest-running and most important national convention — will be declared sold out at the end of business today (5:00 pm EDT), a day earlier than anticipated earlier this week. According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “We are gratified by the strong response this event is receiving and we clearly do not like to turn folks away – however, we must abide by New York City’s building codes, not to mention be sensitive to the comfort and safety of our attendees.” Casey continues, “There will be no general registrations sold after 5:00 pm EDT today Thursday, May 14.” The event will be located at the historic India House Club dramatically situated at One Hanover Square in the heart of Manhattan’s financial district. It is an all-day event – 8:45 am to 6:15 pm. Registrations, priced at $299 per person and only open to professionals currently or recently employed in media-related industries, include all sessions, presentations, exhibits and breakfast/lunch/refreshment/and social networking activities. The heavyweight, non-stop agenda will include approximately 65 speakers and 500 attendees will be the allowed limit. Registrations can only be taken over the phone and paid for by credit card. They are not refundable or transferable. For registration, sponsorship and hotel information, please call 413-565-5413. To see the latest agenda, please click here.
Vacca Upped to Executive Producer at WOR, New York. Promoted from producer to executive producer of the “Len Berman and Todd Schnitt In The Morning” show at iHeartMedia’s news/talk WOR, New York is Natalie Vacca. Vacca has been on the WOR staff for the past 18 years, producing such personalities as John Gambling, Barry Farber, Joan Hamburg and Alan Colmes. She says of her new gig, “I have had the honor to work with some of the best talent in talk radio over my career. To add Len Berman and Todd Schnitt to the list couldn’t be more exciting.”
Salem Radio Network to Participate in Conservative DC Conference. The annual “Road to Majority” conference is organized by the Faith and Freedom Coalition and this year Salem Radio Network will broadcast from the event that takes place in Washington, DC June 18-20. SRN personalities Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher and Michael Medved will host a special VIP “preview dinner” on the eve of the conference and will broadcast their talk shows from Washington’s Omni Shoreham Hotel during the conference. The political event will include appearances from 2016 presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio as well as Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Texas Governor Rick Perry plus Gary Bauer, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and FOX News Channel contributor Todd Starnes. SRN VP news & talk programming Tom Tradup states, “The mission of the Faith and Freedom Coalition – that, in essence, the greatness of America lies not in the federal government but in the character of our people…the simple virtues of faith, hard work, marriage, family, personal responsibility, and helping the least among us – dovetails perfectly with the values we hold at SRN. We are proud to partner with Ralph Reed and his team.”
Odds & Sods. This evening (5/14), CBS RADIO SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield will be honored by the Philadelphia Police Athletic League as one of the city’s most distinguished business leaders. Along with SugarHouse Casino general manager Wendy Hamilton and PECO SVP and COO Michael Innocenzo, Rayfield will be feted at PAL’s awards dinner for his “extraordinary contributions in support of PAL’s mission of ‘Cops Helping Kids.’”…..Westwood One News correspondent Bob Costantini is serving as the radio pool reporter today (5/14) from the Camp David Summit as President Obama convenes with six Gulf state leaders to discuss the nuclear deal with Iran.
WSYR, Syracuse’s Joe Galuski Loses Battle with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Off the air at iHeartMedia news/talk WSYR, Syracuse since last fall as he battled non-Hodgkin lymphoma, longtime morning host Joe Galuski has died, the station announced this morning. Galuski, 64, had been with WSYR since 1988 and served as the station’s morning drive host since 1998.
iHeartMedia Recognized at Festival of Media Global Awards. Two honors are bestowed upon iHeartMedia at the Festival of Media Global Awards 2015 – a media industry event that recognizes innovation and leadership in the global advertising field. The awards ceremony took place on May 12 at the Rome Cavalieri in Italy. iHeartMedia was honored with the “Best Media Vendor of the Year” award, which recognizes the creative efforts of a media owner to connect advertiser clients with their audiences, for its work with Diet Coke and Taylor Swift. The multi-platform campaign simultaneously launched Diet Coke’s “Get a Taste” advertising campaign and Taylor Swift’s 1989 album. The program generated approximately 500 million press impressions and 200 million on-air, digital and social impressions for Diet Coke. Taylor Swift’s album 1989, predicted to sell 800,000 units before the iHeartMedia campaign, sold nearly 1.3 million albums in just the first week, and became the No. 1 best-selling album of 2014. iHeartMedia was also named the Silver Winner in the “Best Media Owner Sales Team Initiative” category, which honors a media owner’s local or regional sales teams for their innovative and creative sales packages implemented within the market. In this category iHeartMedia was recognized for its partnership with Bank of America for World AIDS Day. iHeartMedia’s comprehensive cross-platform program across radio, digital, social and outdoor delivered more than 100 million media impressions in 24 hours for “A (RED) Thank You,” a special World AIDS Day event that took place in New York’s Times Square. Additionally, iHeartMedia drove on-air and social conversation, helping to generate over 10 million views of the YouTube (RED) concert video, the most views on (RED)’s YouTube channel in its history, ultimately raising $1 million in donations to (RED) on one day.
Obama Georgetown Speech, Philadelphia Amtrak Crash, Baltimore Riots and Protests Aftermath, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Obama Trade Bill, Iran Nukes Program, and ‘Deflategate’ Penalties Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/13). The scrutiny of President Obama’s speech at Georgetown, including his statements about changing how the media reports; the continuing investigation into the cause of the Philadelphia Amtrak derailment; the ongoing political and legal effects of the Baltimore riots and protests; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the divisiveness in Congress over President Obama’s Pacific Rim trade bill; concern in the Middle East over the Iran nuclear program negotiations; and criticism of the NFL’s sanctions against the Patriots and Tom Brady over the “deflategate” matter were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Ninth Annual ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ Event Kicks Off Today. The annual Washington, DC radio row produced by the Federation for American Immigration Reform is taking place today and tomorrow at the Phoenix Park Hotel on Capitol Hill. As in the eight years prior, the event consists of some 45 radio talk hosts from across the country broadcasting live, debating immigration policy while interviewing members of Congress, law enforcement officials, experts, activists and citizens who live along the border. FAIR says that “this year’s event is focusing on the aftermath of President Obama’s amnesty and his continued abuse of executive power, the GOP’s internal battle over how to tackle immigration and the ongoing border crisis with its implications for national security risks.” Event general manager and FAIR spokesman Bob Dane comments, “Politicians fear and respect the amplitude of talk radio. Hold Their Feet to the Fire speaks for millions of radio listeners and, this year, is proving that the mic is mightier than Obama’s pen.” Pictured here are WIBC-FM, Indianapolis late morning host Greg Garrison (left) and TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison (right). Harrison appeared on Garrison’s program to discuss talk radio’s role in the immigration issue and the relative First Amendment component.
NAB Announces 2015 Crystal Radio Award Winners. At yesterday’s NAB Show Radio Luncheon, the winners of the 2015 Crystal Radio Awards were announced. This was the 28th presentation of the Crystal Radio Awards designed to recognize radio stations for their outstanding, year-round commitment to community service. The winners were chosen from the 50 finalists. They are: news/talk KRMG-FM Tulsa; news/talk WSB-AM Atlanta; country KTTS, Springfield, Missouri; news/talk WSOY, Decatur, Illinois; hot AC WAFL, Milford, Delaware; hot AC WTMX, Chicago; classic rock WDRV, Chicago; news WTOP-FM, Washington; news WINS, New York; and hip hop WUSL, Philadelphia. NAB Crystal Radio Award finalists were chosen by a panel of judges representing broadcasting, community service organizations and public relations firms. Also at the luncheon, Kevin Ryder and Gene “Bean” Baxter (pictured here) of CBS RADIO’s modern rock KROQ, Los Angeles were inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame.
Cooke: Report from NAB Show and NMX in Las Vegas. Radio consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas this week covering the NAB Show and the co-located NMX and files this report. Cooke says two presentations stuck out for him on Tuesday including the NMX’s “Make Your Marketing Memorable with Visual Storytelling” by Ekaterina Walter. For radio practitioners, the internet is the place to use images and Cooke reports some data he heard is eye-opening as Walter said, “Thinking in pictures is our nature. Images act like shortcuts to the brain” and “speak to the heart and tell stories.” She noted that “scientists say the average modern adult attention span is between 2.8 and 8 seconds,” and that “90% of all information transmitted to the brain is visual.” Cooke says the NAB’s “Small and Medium Radio Markets Idea Exchange” alone is “worth the trip.” Read more from Holland Cooke here.
Report: New AM Show Slated for WPEN-FM, Philadelphia. Calling it the “worst-kept secret” in Philadelphia sports radio, a report at Philly.com is saying former WIP-FM personality Anthony Gargano will be paired up with current WPEN-FM midday host Jon Marks for the morning drive show on Greater Media’s “97.5 The Fanatic” before the month is out. Gargano left the CBS RADIO sports talker recently after receiving what he called a “low-ball offer” to remain with the station. Jon Marks had been co-hosting the midday show at WPEN-FM with Sean Brace but Brace exited the station earlier this month. Currently, the station airs ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike show. If Gargano and Marks do end up in mornings together, it leaves a vacancy in the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm show.
Nielsen Audio Releases Second Round of Mach 2015 PPM Data. The second of four rounds of March 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. The March 2015 survey period covered February 26 through March 25. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Rush Limbaugh’s Leukemia & Lymphoma Cure-A-Thon Raises $3.3 Million. Last Friday, Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh program held its 25th annual Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Cure-A-Thon during which Limbaugh dedicated the entire three-hour show to encouraging listeners to join the effort to find a cure for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and to improve the quality of life for patients and their families. During the broadcast and in the days that followed, on-air and online donations for the fundraiser totaled $3.3 million dollars. Over the past 25 years, Limbaugh and his audience have collectively raised nearly $44 million dollars for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Limbaugh states, “I want to thank everyone once again who donated, contributed to our 25th annual Cure-A-Thon last Friday for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Every year, the people in this audience, you, just continue to come through.”
Odds & Sods. Former MLB pitcher Curt Schilling joins Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston as a baseball analyst. The Red Sox star will be part of the Dennis & Callahan show every Wednesday at 8:05 am during baseball season. Schilling is also part of the broadcast team for ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball.”…..KOA, Denver weekend personality Ross Kaminsky is spending some time this week filling in for Rod Arquette on iHeartMedia’s KNRS, Salt Lake City (Tuesday and Friday). Recently, Kaminsky has also filled in for Mandy Connell on KHOW, Denver; Leland Conway on WHAS, Louisville; and for the TRN-syndicated Jerry Doyle.
Marco Rubio Declaration/2016 Presidential Prospects, ISIS Military Action in Iraq, Iran Nuclear Program Negotiations, Obama’s Cuba Policy, Tax Day, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/14). The declaration of his candidacy for president by Florida Senator Marco Rubio and the rest of the field of Republican prospects and Democrat Hillary Clinton; the military action by ISIS in Iraq; the ongoing controversy over Iran’s nuclear program and the negotiations with the West; President Obama’s policy regarding Cuba; chatter about Tax Day; and the young MLB season action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Saga Looks to Lawrence as VP/Group PD. Former Pinnacle Media Worldwide president and chief executive officer Bob Lawrence succeeds Steve Goldstein as vice president and group program director of Saga Communications. Goldstein left Saga late last month after nearly 30 years with the company to start Amplifi Media. Saga president and chief executive officer Ed Christian comments, “We have worked with Bob Lawrence and Pinnacle for years, and have always been impressed with his radio knowledge, analysis, and solutions to problems. He already understands the Saga culture [so] this will be a seamless transition for him and us. I welcome Bob as a member of our team.” Lawrence states, “I am so very honored and thrilled that Ed Christian has invited me to join the many talented managers and programmers at one of the most respected and successful media companies in the industry. Leaving such a labor of love as Pinnacle Media after so many years is indeed difficult. I have created so many wonderful lifelong friendships, but I am very blessed and grateful for this new and exciting chapter with Saga.” Lawrence initiated Pinnacle Media Worldwide at the end of 2000. He previously programmed KIOI “K-101,” San Francisco and, for 10 years, was senior vice president of Broadcast Architecture. His on-air career includes a stint at Philadelphia’s WCAU-FM (now CBS Radio classic hits-oldies WOGL) in 1981.
Westwood One News Celebrates 100-Day Mark with Growing Affiliate Base. It’s been 100 days since Cumulus Media’s subsidiary Westwood One debuted its eponymous news service, and the syndicator says to date it has more than 700 affiliate stations. WW1 calls the service a “next-generation, full-service news network powered by CNN. Westwood One News is filling a void in the marketplace by catering to stations looking to leverage customized news content with greater flexibility and local branding opportunities.” SVP of affiliate sales Dennis Green says, “We are proud to be bringing the news from around the world to stations in an innovative manner. In a short period of time, over 700 stations have joined our growing network and can now provide their listeners with news that offers greater flexibility than any other national radio new network. The future truly is now, and we look forward to welcoming more stations in the next 100 days and beyond!”
Doug Stephan Launches ‘American Family Farmer’ Show. Talk radio industry insiders may be aware that nationally syndicated talk show host Doug Stephan has a second career as a dairy farmer, operating the Eastleigh Farm in the suburban Boston town of Framingham. As a dedicated lifelong family farmer, Stephan is more than qualified to discuss matters germane to the family farming community, and he does so on his new, weekly talk show, “Doug Stephan’s American Family Farmer.” The show will be produced in addition to his news/talk radio program, “Doug Stephan’s Good Day.” American Family Farmer provides information and an advocacy forum targeted specifically to the beleaguered sector of the American agriculture industry comprised of small independent operators – just like Stephan. On American Family Farmer, Stephan is a tell-it-like-it is advocate of the political and economic interests of the farmers his program is designed to serve. Stephan explains, “The family farmers in America have a tenuous relationship with Big Government and Big Ag. It is obvious to most that the many problems we are trying to solve have come about as a result of too much meddling in the affairs of the American family farm. We are aggressively addressing these problems with solution-based discussions each week.” Stephan continues, “We’re dedicated to becoming the voice for hard-working people who play such an important role in the economic and nutritional well-being of our nation and are basically being stepped on by the combined partnership of Big Government and Big Business.” In addition to hosting his new show, Stephan is available for interviews to discuss how American Family Farmer will continue the discussion of the current and future of Big Agriculture and the effect it will have on future generation of American family farmers. For more information on the show, contact Bob K & Associates Radio Consultants at 774-643-6450 or email@example.com.
Michael Medved Updates Fans on Throat Cancer Treatments. Speaking to his listeners for the first time in more than two months, Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk host Michael Medved said the chemotherapy and radiation treatments he received to treat his throat cancer appear to have been entirely successful but they come at a cost. That cost, he says is that one has to recover from these treatments and that’s why he’s been off the air for the past couple of months. Still, Medved says his doctors say he is ahead of schedule for recovery and he hopes to be back on the radio as soon as possible.
Odds & Sods. Philadelphia news pro Tony Hanson is retiring today (4/10) after a 37-year career at CBS RADIO’s KYW, Philadelphia…..Word comes from Louisville that WHAS afternoon talk personality Terry Meiners just inked a deal to continue hosting his show on the iHeartMedia-owned heritage talk station.
Forthcoming Fight Subject of Interest on Talk Radio. The upcoming welterweight championship boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao (May 2) has become a hot topic for the entire talk media, beyond just sports/talk, points out Jackie Kallen, boxing expert and commentator for BoxingInsider,com. Kallen (pictured here) is one of boxing’s first and most successful female managers as well as a seasoned journalist. Since Ali, Tyson, and the quartet of Herns, Hagler, Duran and Leonard, there haven’t been a lot of marquee names in the business. Kallen says that Mayweather has been dubbed the villain because of a dubious past personal history which includes a prison stint for domestic violence, and Pacquiao as the hero, admired in his native Philippines and for his honorable personal and professional behavior here in the US. “Pacquiao is a quiet family man, adored by everyone in his homeland and Mayweather is crass and boastful and flaunts his wealth and is easy to peg as the one in the black hat.” This colorful fight has found its way out of the sports sections and shows and into the front pages and headlines. Talk show hosts seeking to find subjects other than the current political scene are finding this vastly promoted and covered match-up a topic that is engendering lots of general listener interest. Talk hosts and producers interested in booking experts on boxing and this particular fight can find them in the TALKERS Expert Guests section by clicking here.
Iran Nuclear Negotiations/Obama-Netanyahu Relationship Tie for #1 Spot on Talkers TenTM. The ongoing controversy over Iran’s nuclear program and the related tensions between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tied for the most-talked-about stories during the week of April 6-10. Coming in at #2 on the chart was the religious freedom acts in several states and the case of the Indiana pizza joint being targeted by activists for supporting that state’s law. At #3 was the shooting death of an unarmed black motorist by a South Carolina police officer. Following at #4 was the Rolling Stone rape story case. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from Talkers magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Cool Job Opportunity. Greater Media Charlotte is seeking a production/imaging director with WBT and WLNK. The ideal candidate is experienced directing voice talent and must work well in a fast-paced environment and effectively juggle multiple projects. The production/imaging director must possess exceptional imaging and commercial production skills and use creativity to enhance station brands. Concept development, voiceover, and copywriting skills required. Strong communication and interpersonal skills and should possess: Ability to create original ideas and see them though the production process; Extensive experience with digital editing equipment; Skill at developing marketing concepts; Experience in coaching and directing voice talent; Ability to develop systems for organizing production elements; Knowledge of VCreative, Adobe Audition, Audiovault, and Marketron or similar systems; Sense of time management and ability to meet regular deadlines; Basic knowledge of traffic processes and the capacity to interface with traffic and continuity directors; A minimum five years major market production and imaging experience preferred. Charlotte Market experience a plus. Send resume and mp3 to: Greater Media Charlotte, WBT/WLNK Human Resources, One Julian Price Place, Charlotte, NC 28208. firstname.lastname@example.org. 704-338-3079 (fax). No Phone Calls Please. EOE.
Brady: The Power of Legacy Media. Sales and management pro Bill Brady writes in a piece published in TALKERS magazine today (4/6), that we’ve been hit with a barrage of non-stop brainwashing about the “power” of digital media for so long now that hardly anyone questions the validity of the narrative. But he does. And Brady says there are problems with what we’ve been told all these years. “This is the product of the PR machine employed by digital start-ups to build and reinforce their investment value through rounds of funding leading to an eventual IPO. Media consultants who hope to survive as digital experts also contribute mightily to the noise. So do media companies themselves who are complicit in allowing the misguided narrative to go on and on and on.” For those impressed with the digital revenue being reported by traditional media companies, be on guard. Brady says, “Some of the digital revenue reported by traditional media companies is the result of bundling discounts which, in effect, result in broadcast revenue being reported as digital revenue. If it wasn’t for this phenomenon, some companies might actually be reporting year-to-year increases in core broadcast revenues. Their digital revenues, small in comparison to core revenue, would thus be less impressive. But, we would at least be seeing accurate digital revenue figures that are not artificially inflated and the reputation of legacy media would be less tarnished.” Read more of Brady’s cautionary column here.
Radio America’s Dana Loesch Helps Raise $840,000 for Threatened Indiana Pizzeria. The owners of a small-town pizza joint in Indiana may be the recipients of more than $840,000 raised via GoFundMe after Radio America-syndicated radio talk show host Dana Loesch came to their aid. The owners of Memories Pizza were asked by a reporter about their stance on Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. After answering honestly that they supported the law, they became victims of death threats. Loesch heard about the case and started the GoFundMe campaign to help offset the costs of having to shut down the business due to the threats plus the possibility the family may not be able to re-open after the dust settles.
Changes at Greater Media’s Sports Talker WPEN-FM, Philadelphia. A couple of on-air staffing changes took place recently at Greater Media’s Philadelphia sports talk outlet WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic.” Sean Brace exits the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm program he co-hosted with Jon Marks. Brace says in a Tweet that he’d been with the station for seven years and thanks Greater Media for the opportunity. Also, Philly.com is reporting that producer Steve Vassalotti also exited the station last week, though that has not been confirmed. On Friday, evening host Nick Kayal told listeners the show would be his last with WPEN-FM as he’s exiting to join SiriusXM. This round of attrition is fueling speculation that Philly sports talk pro Anthony Gargano will join the station. Gargano – a longtime WIP, Philadelphia personality who recently left that station after receiving what he termed a low-ball offer to remain – appeared on WPEN-FM’s Mike Missanelli show on April Fool’s Day.
Two Apologize for Criticizing Kelly Clarkson’s Weight. Nationally syndicated talk show host Mike Gallagher and Fox News Channel personality Chris Wallace apologized after criticizing singer Kelly Clarkson’s weight during a broadcast of the Mike Gallagher show. Clarkson, who gave birth to her first child nine months ago, recently released a new record and has been performing in public, became the subject of discussion when Gallagher stated to Wallace, “Have you seen Kelly Clarkson?…Holy cow, did she blow up.” Wallace replied, “She could stay off the deep dish pizza for a little while.” Later, both offered apologies as Wallace said in a statement, “I sincerely apologize to Kelly Clarkson for my offensive comment. I admire her remarkable talent and that should have been the focus of any discussion about her.” Gallagher wrote on his website, “I couldn’t possibly feel any worse than I do for making an observation that led to the conclusion that I ‘fat-shamed’ this talented and classy entertainer. It was a really stupid thing for me to do.”
Bringing the Final Four to Radio Listeners. Pictured here at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis is Westwood One radio personality Jim Gray (left) interviewing Wisconsin Badgers coach Bo Ryan (right) for the network’s coverage of the NCAA Men’s Final Four. This interview took place prior to Wisconsin’s upset of previously undefeated Kentucky on Saturday evening.
Odds & Sods. For a story on faith-based entertainment, NBC News visited the studios of Salem Media Group’s WMCA, New York “AM 570 The Mission” to shoot some video of the station’s Dr. AR Bernard hosting his show. Salem SVP/spoken word format for Salem Media Group and Salem Radio Network Phil Boyce tells TALKERS magazine, “The shoot was for a story to air on ‘NBC Nightly News’ on Sunday evening about faith-based entertainment in movies, on TV, and on the radio. They are tying it in to NBC’s broadcast of ‘AD, The Bible Continues,’ which started Sunday night.”…..Sports giant ESPN announces new Spanish-language programming to air on WEPN-AM, New York “ESPN Deportes Radio” this season. DJ George Nenadich talks music and sports on a new show called “Fusion 1050”; Felix DeJesus, the Spanish-language voice of the Yankees hosts “El Mundo de las Grandes Ligas”; and all the news and analysis from local teams will be heard on the new show “Resumen Final.”…..For an update on the status of NextRadio, interested parties can hear from Emmis chairman & CEO Jeff Smulyan as he presents news about the free smartphone app that combines local FM radio broadcast with the internet to create a visually engaging, interactive artist and advertising experience. To register for the webinar that takes place on Tuesday, April 7, from 1:00 pm to 1:30 pm EST, visit the following site: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2755831702406830082.
Futuri Mobile and Apple Watch to Integrate. Shortly after the Apple Watch debuts, Futuri Media’s Futuri Mobile Platform will feature integration with the new Apple product. Futuri says that this will enable TV and radio stations using Futuri’s mobile platform to send alerts to the watch, display information on the broadcasters’ content currently playing on-air, and receive audio from the watch using Futuri’s Open Mic feature. Futuri CEO Daniel Anstandig says, “The release of Apple Watch is this year’s biggest headline in ‘wearable technology,’ and we’re excited to be the first media app developer to announce integration with this breakthrough device. Our team is passionate about creating memorable personal experiences for our clients’ brand audiences. TV and radio users today demand personal, real-time information, and this integration extends our ability to provide live actionable notifications and calls to action for our media partners.”
Tom Lee Tapped to Lead LA’s ‘The Beast 980.’ Radio and sports talk pro Tom Lee is being given the programming reigns to KFWB, Los Angeles “The Beast 980” – the recently flipped sports talker owned by the KFWB Asset Trust. Lee says in a press statement that “Los Angeles sports fans are the greatest and perhaps the most underrated in America.” Lee will have the opportunity to help bring substantive ratings to a radio format that has historically never really achieved – from a pure ratings standpoint – much in the Los Angeles market. Lee continues, “Their passion, the distinct LA attitude and our great sports teams will all be represented by ‘The Beast 980.’” Lee certainly understands successful sports talk as his resume includes some of the industry’s most visible sports talk ventures. He launched FOX Sports Radio in 2000, leading the programming team that created and developed the 24/7 national sports network. Lee has also programmed KESN-FM, Dallas ESPN Radio, as well as sports radio stations WIP, Philadelphia and KJR, Seattle. KFWB Asset Trust Trustee Diane Sutter comments, “Tom has achieved some of the highest ratings of all-sports stations across the country. Our listeners will benefit from Tom’s invaluable skills in producing relevant content, top-notch talent and his experience in working with sports teams.” Lee begins his new gig on March 30.
Steve Goldstein Exits Exec Role at Saga Communications; Launches Podcast Venture. After a career with Saga Communications that spanned almost 30 years, Steven Goldstein leaves his executive vice president position and announces that he is forming a company called Amplifi Media, LLC which will specialize in “the development of digital audio-on-demand (podcast) content.” Goldstein adds, “As connected cars, Bluetooth and smartphones converge, time-shifted audio will grow exponentially. People will listen to content at a time and place of their choosing, just as is occurring rapidly in the television industry with Netflix, DVRs and on-demand video.” A press statement from Amplifi says the company will “concentrate on great storytelling, compelling content and fresh voices on a variety of popular subjects, and will adapt, craft and focus the product for the unique needs of the digital audio business.” Goldstein concludes, “The top of the iTunes podcast chart is dominated by NPR and affiliates. They have done a tremendous job but there is a world of mainstream topics yet to be explored for on-demand-audio. That’s where Amplifi will live.” Goldstein can be reached at 203-221-1400 or via email at email@example.com.
“Healed Planet” Hosted by Alan Colmes Exploring New Worlds of Radio and Listenership. One of the new program/projects launched on TALKERS magazine’s experimental radio platform TalkersRadio has been gaining notable traction in terms of expanded programming topicality and new listenership. “Healed Planet with Alan Colmes” is an experimental talk show conceived and hosted by syndicated Fox News Radio personality Alan Colmes and it serves as a prime example of TalkersRadio carrying out one of its primary missions as a “laboratory/workout gym” for proven talk show hosts to test new concepts and as a showcase for promising newcomers to present their work to the industry. A new “Healed Planet” program is produced at least once per month and is available to TalkersRadio listeners (primarily members of the radio industry) on demand. The program features the multi-platform, news/talk figure that gained international notoriety as the liberal co-host on the iconic left-right political discussion show “Hannity & Colmes” during its successful 12-year run on Fox News Channel in a role quite different than his regular followers might expect. (In addition to being heard nightly on his syndicated radio show, Colmes is also still seen on Fox News Channel as a contributing commentator.) “Healed Planet with Alan Colmes” is an eclectic mix of science, metaphysics, unexplained mysteries, cosmic consciousness and everything else rolling around the fertile mind of Alan Colmes. He describes it as “presenting stimulating conversations with thought-leaders in the human consciousness movement.” At present, three episodes of “Healed Planet” are up and running featuring Colmes in conversation with authors Gabe Berman and George A. Hart, plus a discussion with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison. On having this new vehicle of expression, Colmes tells TALKERS,” I love having a nightly forum where I can give my political views and takes on the issues of the day, and I love having a forum where politics doesn’t matter and we can all talk as human beings without any ideological prism.” According to Colmes, he is basically doing this for fun, stating, “Sometimes it is simply cool to do a media presentation just for the heck of it and explore subjects and styles that don’t necessarily fit into the understandably more-rigid confines of our day jobs, even though my daily radio show is on at night.” TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein states, “It is fun, fascinating, stimulating and informative for talk listeners and people in the industry to hear all the dimensions that make up the personality, creativity and interests one of the nicest and smartest guys in the business – beyond the paradigm of general news/talk radio and TV where – let’s face it – Alan is quite famous. And THAT is what TalkersRadio is all about!” To listen to “Healed Planet with Alan Colmes,” please click here.
WSCR, Chicago Host Apologizes for ‘Childish’ and ‘Crass’ Tweet. From the “haven’t they been paying attention” department comes this story, chronicled by Chicago media writer Robert Feder here. In a nutshell, WSCR veteran talk hosts Matt Spiegel and Dan Bernstein were Tweeting critically about the television presence of Comcast SportsNet Chicago anchor Aiyana Cristal when the two veered into the now-all-too-familiar territory visited by many media personalities these days: they commented on her breasts. To Spiegel’s (and to some degree Bernstein’s) credit, he seems to have realized his error and has apologized profusely via Twitter, admitting that he made a stupid, childish mistake. Feder reports that sources say Spiegel and Bernstein will not be disciplined for the incident.
WGN, Chicago to Induct 10 into Station WoF. When Tribune Media’s WGN, Chicago inducts its 2015 Walk of Fame class during the Steve Cochran show on Friday, May 29, 10 broadcasters will be honored. The ceremony and live broadcast will air from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm at the Tribune Tower. Those to be inducted include: Steve Bertrand, Lyle Dean, Dave Eanet, Steve King, Franklyn MacCormack, Lou Manfredini, Johnnie Putman, Ward Quaal, Ron Santo and Eddie Schwartz. They will be commemorated in bronze plaques placed outside the Allstate Showcase Studio.
Odds & Sods. Bringing a passion of hers to WABC, New York on Sunday nights at 7:00 is Laura Smith who tells TALKERS magazine she’s “psyched” to debut “Above and Beyond with Laura Smith” this weekend. Smith says the program is a revival of the program she hosted on SiriusXM and on WFAS-FM, Westchester several years ago. “It’s a passion of mine as it incorporates conversations with some of the world’s most popular thought leaders and then the biggest celebrity psychics, mediums and astrologers giving free readings live on the air. This Sunday, I have global phenomenon, spiritual teacher and four-time NYT best-selling author, Marianne Williamson plus celebrity medium Thomas John.”…..There’s now an FM signal to complement Delmarva’s news/talk WDEL-AM, Wilmington. The company announces it is using the newly acquired WJKS, Canton, New Jersey to create at trimulcast of the legendary news/talker. In the market the station can be heard on WDEL at 1150 AM, on WJKS at 101.7 FM and via HD-3 on WSTW’s 93.7 FM.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. More stations are airing the Compass Media Networks-syndicated Lars Larson show. New affiliate stations for the KXL, Portland-based talk personality include: WHBY, Green Bay; WLFJ, Greenville, South Carolina; WLEA, Elmira New York; WBRP, Baton Rouge; WNRP, Pensacola; KCRS, Odessa; WDRC-AM, Hartford; and KTIP, Porterville, California. Larson comments on his busy schedule, “I prep from 6:00 am to 12:00 noon on the Left Coast and talk from 12:00 noon to 6:00 pm. I’ll leave the mic when they drag me away. I’ll sleep when I get old.”…..Stephan MultiMedia’s “Good Day” with Doug Stephan is also adding affiliate stations and announces it’s surpassed the 300-station mark with the following new outlets: KTFL, Gilbert, Arizona; KVNU, Logan, Utah; WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island; WDNY, Dansville, New York; WQXL, Columbia, South Carolina; KBIZ, Ottumwa, Iowa; WPBQ, Jackson, Mississippi; WEBY, Milton, Florida; KSCB, Liberal, Kansas; WFEA, Nashua, New Hampshire; and KQEW-FM, Fordyce, Arkansas…..“Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge joins the daily lineup at KWOR, Worland, Wyoming.
Show Prep with Lew Dickey. When Cumulus Media president and CEO Lew Dickey is in New York, he’s more than ready to roll up his sleeves and get to work with the talent at legendary news/talk outlet WABC. Dickey (seated right) is captured here in the office of WABC midday talk duo Curtis Sliwa (seated left) and Ron Kuby (seated floor) as the executive gives Kuby a therapeutic massage to make him more relaxed on the air. Dickey did, however, draw the line when Sliwa demanded that his be a foot massage.
Germanwings Flight 9525 Tragedy Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 23-27. The downing of Germanwings Flight 9525 was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of March 23-27, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. Following at #3 was the tense relationship between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and, at #4, was the potential candidates for president in 2016. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Joe McDonnell: LA Saddened at Giant-Size Talent’s Passing. How “big” was Joe McDonnell in Los Angeles? Consider this: Friday’s (3/13) lead item for several newscasts on the city’s only all-news station, CBS Radio‘s KNX, was that the 58-year-old McDonnell – widely-known as “Big Joe” or “The Big Nasty” – had passed away. “Big” references regarded his weight, approximately 700 pounds at one time; however, the sports talk host underwent gastric bypass surgery and lost roughly more than half of that. “Nasty” became a handle owing to his highly opinionated nature. The overwhelming majority of those familiar with McDonnell’s exemplary on-air work in Los Angeles would quickly associate him with being a “legendary” or “iconic” sports talk radio “fixture” and that would certainly be accurate. He was, however, among the rarest of on-air talents in the country’s second-largest market, in that, in addition to doing a nightly (7:00 pm – 11:00 pm) sports program (“The Joe McDonnell Experience”) on Clear Channel‘s (now iHeartMedia) KLAC, he also did a Sunday (12:00 noon – 2:00 pm) political talk program (“The Joe McDonnell Show”) on co-owned KTLK-AM (now KEIB). Most recently, McDonnell did fill-in work at KNX. Reaction to his death has continued virtually nonstop, with a who’s who in local and national media, as well as executives of major sports franchises, offering condolences. Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia knew McDonnell ever since Scioscia first came up as a catcher in the Dodgers’ organization. “He was a good friend who will be missed. It’s sad,” Scioscia states. On Twitter, Keith Olbermann writes, “Heartbroken to learn of death of LA radio legend, my friend, Joe McDonnell. He leaves us having never held a grudge.” Ken Rosenthal comments, “So sad to hear about the passing of Joe McDonnell, a one-of-a-kind sports personality in Los Angeles and a reporter at heart.” Several years ago, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian, then the special features editor for Inside Radio, did an extensive profile of McDonnell, who freely used the word “idiot” to describe someone with whom he disagreed. It was a trademark of the bombastic on-air persona of “The Big Nasty” and customarily delivered in vitriol by the dean of Los Angeles radio sports talk hosts. McDonnell garnered legions of dedicated fans. Once – to benefit charity – he accepted the challenge of co-workers and successfully completed a four-hour shift without uttering one negative. In his profile, Kinosian shattered the myth about McDonnell and let the truth be told that in real-life, McDonnell was a far cry from the manic personality listeners were accustomed to hearing. Pensive and completely conscientious McDonnell qualified as a native Angelino, having relocated from Philadelphia in 1959 at age three with his parents. “I loved radio and wouldn’t go anywhere without it,” he fondly recalled to Kinosian. “I’d go to bed listening to it and wake up with it. I went through radios [as others] went through socks. Even when doing homework, I had the radio on.” Although thoroughly enthralled by the medium, McDonnell at that time never thought about pursuing a career in it. Family members urged him to be a lawyer, but McDonnell formulated sportswriter aspirations while attending L.A. Valley College and Cal State – Northridge. His radio career was, in his words, “a total accident.” A high school buddy McDonnell hadn’t seen in a while told him he received academic credit for working at a radio station. That was all it took for McDonnell: He scored an interview for a newsroom opening at KGIL in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley and his first day was September 18, 1975 – the day they arrested Patty Hearst. “I was so excited to be there and hung around to watch what everybody did. Then the story broke and I wound up staying until 10:00 pm. I fell in love with radio my first day and knew this was for me.” Freelance sports opportunities later surfaced for him at Mutual, AP Radio, and UPI Radio and he adroitly transitioned into a daily field correspondent. Play-by-play was briefly tinkered with, but long enough for McDonnell to know it didn’t captivate him. Something else did and as he flatly asserted to Kinosian, “My interest in politics is equal to my interest in sports. They are jobs but they are [also] passions. I love being able to show another side of my life. I am very liberal but do not [rubber-stamp] everything simply because that is what [other liberals] say you should do. I take things on a position-by-position basis. It is impossible and disingenuous to be one way on every subject. No one can ever accuse me of being a phony.” The first Gulf War was underway when he hosted a general talk show on KFI, Los Angeles. America’s first casualty came as a result of friendly fire. Soon after that, the victim’s widow drove to KFI one Sunday afternoon and McDonnell did two hours with her. “It was the most gut-wrenching, yet most fulfilling, thing I’ve done on radio,” he told Kinosian. “Quite honestly, I didn’t know I was capable of pulling it off. People heard me do sports and wondered what I knew about [politics]. I had to win them over.” Multiple Golden Microphone award winner McDonnell toiled in the Southland at KMAX and KWNK between 1994 – 1997; won raves doing sports updates for (then-all news) KFWB; and was part of the original 1992 staff transitioning KMPC to all-sports – although the outbreak of the L.A. riots was the considerably more monumental story the night of the format flip. For numerous personal and professional reasons, a five-year run beginning in 2000 as KSPN “ESPN 710,” Los Angeles’ assistant program director and afternoon driver profoundly affected him. “My first three years there were great,” McDonnell declared to Kinosian. “I had a say in what went on and helped build KSPN from the ground up with [KABC & KSPN OM] Erik Braverman who was my KFI producer. Unfortunately when Erik decided he wanted to concentrate on KABC, they brought in people who didn’t share our ideas.” It was one different concept after another and became the beginning of the end for McDonnell there. “They killed morale and dissolved everything we did. I wanted to leave every day the last two years I was there but made so much money I would’ve been put in a mental institution if I quit.” From the minute McDonnell walked into the Burbank offices of KLAC to interview with KLAC general manager/program director & KTLK program director Don Martin, he sensed something different. “This might sound crazy – but I really liked that they made me earn my position. Don put me on KTLK and let me do some KLAC fill-in. It meant a lot when he said I assimilated with the audience and staff. People have this idea you expect everything be given to you.” Being a sports talk host was a 24 hour-a-day job for McDonnell because, “Information doesn’t stop.” His shows were frequently punctuated with “24” and “Da Ali G” clips and laced with abundant/energetic hip-hop tracks as bumpers. At first, longtime “McDonnell – Douglas” partner Doug Krikorian wasn’t part of the equation for the “Joe McDonnell Experience,” although the Long Beach Press-Telegram sportswriter joined the ensemble to deliver weekly “K-Files” reports. After all, it was Krikorian who hung the “Big Nasty” moniker on McDonnell when Big Joe collared/disposed of a rowdy patron one night at their favorite hangout. Naturally, the subject of McDonnell’s weight came up in the Kinosian profile of him and McDonnell said that even before the gastric bypass procedure, the heavy burden he was carrying didn’t really bother him. He did however eventually begin slowing down, getting sick, and spending more time at home. “I stopped going to games because it was uncomfortable. My doctor told me I had to do something. Any addict – and I’m definitely a food addict – thinks you can do it on your own.” That’s the fallacy and something an addict desperately wants to believe but McDonnell stressed it can not be done alone. “It got to the point where I realized I was going to die. I had the surgery and lost 300 pounds. On Christmas Day, I put slabs of turkey and prime rib on a plate [surrounded with] potatoes, stuffing and cranberry sauce. I took it to the table and had a bite of each. Hey look – I’m a food addict and always will be.” The old Joe most likely would’ve avoided on-air surgery mentions. If it did pop up, he probably would’ve been brutal in challenging the person referencing it. A much mellower McDonnell made a conscious decision when he left KSPN that the “Big Nasty” had died. “It was a great vehicle for what I needed – but – that really isn’t me,” he emphasized to Kinosian. “I’m opinionated and will raise my voice but I’m a nice guy and like to have fun. One reason I love my job is it allows me to hang with people.” Conceding it was a “shortcoming” on his part as a talk show host to refrain from mentioning much about his personal life, McDonnell declared, “You can’t be isolated and expect to reach your audience; you have to let them in on your life. For the most part, I refused to do that. Don Martin and I had a long talk about that and he said the best on-air people let you know about them.” A happy, healthy, and exuberant McDonnell chatted up his March 30, 2007 wedding to KLOS’ lovely Elizabeth Cohn (now working at cross-town Bonneville-owned KSWD “The Sound”). “I finally met someone who will put up with me and I [married] the most wonderful person in the world,” McDonnell emphasized in that profile. Joe and Elizabeth worked together for four years inside ABC Radio Los Angeles (now Cumulus Media) and basically didn’t say a word to each other. “She understands I’ll occasionally make fun of her on-air and exaggerate things but my life is now an open book.” Numerous health ailments – some nearly life-threatening – plagued McDonnell and he frequently credited Elizabeth as being the rock who held him together. An avowed movie junkie, McDonnell would go to as many as three or four in one day. It was his way to relax and escape. “One of the biggest benefits of losing weight is I can fit into theater seats. That was honestly a problem before.” Such McDonnell segments as “Who Do You Want To Kick Out Of LA?” gave him a Northeast-sounding vibe, but his entire nearly 40-year career was spent in Los Angeles. The ardent WWE fan told Kinosian, “It would take a million dollar offer for me to leave Los Angeles. In the early-1990s, I had a chance to work for a friend in Nashville and had a big offer to go to Seattle in 1994 but my mother had cancer so I wasn’t about to leave town. There was a preliminary discussion years ago with WFAN, New York about being a reporter/weekend host but Los Angeles is my home. I’m part of the radio landscape.” Eerie now, but McDonnell confided to Kinosian in that lengthy printed conversation, “All the stuff I’ve done is leading up to something. I’ve always felt there was a bigger plan for me and a different path. God has kept me around for a reason – but I don’t know what it is. With what I’ve put myself through, any other person would have been dead by now.” Even at his heaviest, the voracious reader managed to stay in “fairly good shape.” The only weakness until recently was with his knees. According to McDonnell, “The ultimate moment for me would be to somehow find out who really killed John F. Kennedy.” As for the once “Big Nasty,” no cause of death was reported; several reports – including the one on KNX – said he died at Los Angeles’ Good Samaritan Hospital after a “brief illness.” A two-hour Friday night (3/13) Jeff Biggs-hosted show on KSPN paid tribute to McDonnell, who typically aired his “Kick Out” segment Fridays. Poignant, touching, and chillingly appropriate, the final word was given to Elizabeth McDonnell who somehow managed to summon up the strength in her voice to utter she wanted to kick Joe out of LA. Dramatic, goose-bump radio. “When I die,” McDonnell once told Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News, “I want to be cremated and then have a plane spread half of my ashes over Dodger Stadium and the other half over the [ex-home of the Lakers] Forum.”
Westwood One Announces: Here’s Johnny! Bona fide Chicago radio cult legend Jonathon Brandmeier takes to the national stage next month when Westwood One commences syndicating his daily three-hour eponymous show-gram. Executive vice president of content and programming for Westwood One’s parent company – Cumulus Media – John Dickey comments, “Jonathon is one of the most versatile performers in radio today. We know audiences will enjoy his lively humor and take on each day’s topics. We are thrilled to add ‘Johnny B’ to the Westwood One roster of relevant and relatable talk programming.” Remarking this is an “extremely exciting” time for all those associated with his show-gram, Brandmeier – who has achieved industry success in Los Angeles (on talk KLSX) and Phoenix (on KZZP) as well as in Chicago – notes, “We look forward to continuing to entertain audiences in Chicago and expanding our reach nationwide. Fasten your seatbelts – it is going to be a wild ride.” Simultaneous with Brandmeier’s addition to the Westwood One roster is the departure from it by the program hosted by Dennis Miller. The former “SNL” cast member states that he is “stepping aside from radio at the moment” and that, “it has been a great run. I have had a phenomenal time interacting with my guests and audience, but with so many other commitments, it is hard to maintain a daily talk show. It is time to pass the torch as I move on to explore other opportunities – I wish ‘Johnny B’ lots of luck.” Three top-five market Cumulus-owned AM stations (KABC, Los Angeles, WLS-AM, Chicago, and KLIF-AM, Dallas) have already cleared Brandmeier’s 10:00 am – 1:00 pm (ET) program. In addition, there are affiliates in Salt Lake City (KKAT), Providence (WPRV), and Albuquerque (KTBL) – all are Cumulus Media AM properties.
Steve McCoy to Host Mornings on ‘News Radio 106.7’ in Atlanta. The Cumulus Media news station is changing morning shows, bringing aboard Atlanta market pro Steve McCoy, effective Monday, March 1. McCoy worked at the old WZGC “Z93” in AM drive where he was the longest-running morning personality in the station’s history. He also worked at “Power 99,” WSTR “Star 94” and WSB-FM “B98.5.” WYAY “News Radio 106.7” program director Greg Tantum says, “Steve has had a personal relationship with millions of Atlanta radio listeners for years. Steve’s deep roots in the community bring a one-of-a-kind perspective and understanding to the daily lives of Atlanta residents. Most important, Steve has proven he is the best at entertaining listeners and making them feel good – even in Atlanta traffic.”
Weisman: The Battle Over Net Neutrality. With yesterday’s passage of the FCC’s proposal to reclassify the Internet as a public utility and regulate it, the battle may have just begun. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman, in a timely column examining the matter, writes that this is sure to bring about court challenges by the ISPs. Weisman notes that even though there was support in both the Democrat and Republican parties for preventing ISPs from creating multi-tiered delivery services, there are other issues that Republicans say are problematic. “Opponents of the FCC’s classifying the Internet as a utility are concerned that, by doing so, the FCC would have increased authority to regulate rates and take other actions that they believe would stifle investment by Internet Service Providers and slow innovation. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has said that he is cognizant of the power that classifying the Internet as a utility would provide the FCC, but that he expects to use a ‘light touch’ in regulating the Internet and would ignore powers that the FCC had that did not relate to broadband. The devil is often in the details and it will be important to see whether a ‘light touch’ is reflected in the specific regulations to implement the vote which will not be published for a few days and will not become effective for a few months.” Read Weisman’s entire column here.
Today Is the Last Day to Receive the Early Bird Discount for Talkers New York 2015. Registrations are already being booked at a rapid pace as Talkers New York 2015 is heading toward being an early sell-out. The session will be held as part of the day-long conference set for Friday, June 12 at the India House Club in the Big Apple’s historic Financial District. Registrations are priced at $299 per person with an early-bird, discounted cost of $249 available until 5:00 pm ET this afternoon. Registrations, which are only open to professionals currently or recently employed in media-related industries, include all sessions, presentations, exhibits and breakfast/lunch/refreshment/and social networking activities. The heavyweight, non-stop agenda will include approximately 65 speakers and 500 attendees are again expected. Registrations can only be taken over the phone and paid for by credit card. For registration, sponsorship and hotel information, please call 413-565-5413. More speakers, panelists and agenda updates will be announced next week.
Jim Bohannon to Emcee Awards Ceremony at Talkers New York 2015. Talk radio great Jim Bohannon will reprise his stellar performance as Emcee of the Awards Ceremony at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2015 conference on Friday, June 12. The veteran Westwood One syndicated personality (a past recipient of the TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award) will preside over the presentation of the honors which include awards for: Freedom of Speech, Lifetime Achievement, Woman of the Year and Humanitarian of the Year. Stay tuned for the names of the award recipients as well as those who will be making the presentations.
Rogers Upped to News Director for Entercom Upstate. Morning news personality Lee Rogers is promoted to news director for Entercom’s Upstate South Carolina station group. Rogers anchors the morning news on news/talk WYRD, Greenville “106.3 WORD” during “The Tara Show.” Entercom Upstate OM Mark Hendrix comments, “Lee brings a wealth of news experience and Upstate knowledge. I look forward to Lee expanding 106.3 WORD’s position as the Upstate’s breaking news leader. Listeners will hear more proprietary content on the news that matters most to them.”
Odds & Sods. With the signing of Jonathon Brandmeier to the Westwood One network and the show being picked up by Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM, Chicago, the station cuts ties with John Kass and Lauren Cohn, who were co-hosting the late morning daypart, although Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports the station is auditioning Lauren Cohn for work on the morning show hosted by Big John Howell. Filling in on the late morning program until Brandmeier starts is talk radio pro Tom Becka, who’s on the air there today through March 6…..American political satirist – and five-time Emmy nominee – Will Durst joins the regular panel of humorous pundits on the weekly podcast “The Koz Effect,” which streams live at 7:00 am ET Saturdays via the Radio Titans podcast network…..San Antonio news/talk KTSA is now heard on the FM dial in the market as Alpha Media begins simulcasting the station on translator K296GK at 107.1 FM…..Powell Broadcasting’s news/talk KSCJ, Sioux City, Iowa begins simulcasting its programming on translator K235CA, Sioux City at 94.9 FM…..ABC and PodcastOne are debuting a new, original podcast series which takes an in-depth look at the new television drama “American Crime.” The weekly podcast will be hosted by film critic and radio personality Elvis Mitchell.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Joining Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte is financial talk superstar Dave Ramsey, who will air in the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot. His show is also being added to the evening program schedule at CBS RADIO’s news WNEW-FM, Baltimore/Washington…..The “Good Day” show with host Doug Stephan adds 11 new affiliate stations, including: WQXL, Columbia, South Carolina; WPBQ, Jackson, Mississippi; and KFTL, Gilbert Arizona…..The “Business Rockstars” show with Ken Rutkowski is added to the program schedule at 18 Rocking M Media outlets in Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska and Oklahoma…..“The Financial Exchange” with Barry Armstrong and Kim Carrigan joins the program lineup at WXTK-FM, Cape Cod…..WCGO, Chicago adds Bruce DuMont’s “Beyond the Beltway” to its weekend lineup…..BizTalkRadio clears several shows, including the Ray Lucia program, on new business talk outlet WHFS-AM, Tampa and the 11-station “SuperTalk” chain in Mississippi…..“The Money Pit Home Improvement Show” featuring Tom Kraeutler and Leslie Segrete joins the program lineup at WRKO, Boston.
Hannity Visits Chris Stigall Show at CPAC Radio Row. In this photo, Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity (right, standing at mic) makes an impromptu stop at the WPHT, Philadelphia booth on the radio row at the CPAC conference. He appeared on the morning show hosted by Chris Stigall (far left, seated). During the broadcast Stigall spoke with former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, her daughter Bristol, and potential 2016 candidate Senator Ted Cruz.
Dave Ramsey’s ‘Smart Money’ Takes Sacramento. Nationally syndicated radio talk star Dave Ramsey’s “Smart Money” live event tour continued last night (2/26) in Sacramento as he presented his program about how to win with money, get out of debt and invest for the future at Adventure Church. Financial expert and speaker Chris Hogan joined Ramsey on stage. Local affiliate KSTE helped promote the event. KSTE program director Bill White comments, “Dave Ramsey touches, inspires, and helps people every day. He not only provides a healthy perspective in regards to personal and professional finances but has an overall ‘LIFE’ philosophy that resonates with his audience far and wide. His show isn’t just about money; it’s about life. We’re proud to have Dave on “Talk 650” KSTE, a radio show that’s important and matters to listeners and our clients.” Pictured here are (from l-r): KSTE’s Joel Mordhorst, account executive; Darren Mounts, general sales manager; Ramsey; Michelle Alfano, account executive; Jeff Bussani, account executive; and White.
Cool Job Opportunity. Media Advertising & Sponsorship Sales, Ramsey Solutions – The Dave Ramsey Show. This is not a normal job-posting… because this is not a job! We have “one” incredible opportunity available, that will change your life. The only question is “Are you that person?” Ramsey Solutions has an opening for the right person who possesses as a minimum: Proven track-record of closing million dollar deals; Ability to deliver results for your client because you care enough to put together the right solution; Personal integrity that allows your to rise above your competition; Aptitude to hear the word ‘No’ as an opportunity; Fortitude to manage the resources of Radio, Video, Digital, Print, and Event Sponsorships to create unlimited earning potential; Strong working knowledge of what we do and “Why” it works so well every time! This position provides the ability to represent: The Dave Ramsey Show — 3rd Largest Nationally Syndicated Talk Radio Show in the nation; 558 Radio Affiliates nationwide – 8.5 million weekly listeners; 2009 Marconi Award Winner; 2013 NAB Hall of Fame Inductee. Digital Footprint – 1.6 million weekly impressions; Podcast; Online Video Channel/App; Online Audio Stream; iHeartRadio Dedicated Channel. Print Exposure — Two (2) Newsletters with more than 1 million subscribers combined. Live Event Sponsorship — (20) Events each year reaching more than 75,000 in attendance. The opportunity to prove what you can do begins now! If you have what it takes to fill this “one” position then it’s your assignment to get our attention. When we find this person we will commit to providing an incredible work environment, un-paralleled resources with a brand that delivers results, and the ability to control your own earning potential with no corporate imposed ceiling. Apply online at www.daveramsey.com/careers.
Department of Homeland Security Funding Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of February 23-27. The battle in Congress over the funding of the Department of Homeland Security was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was President Obama’s amnesty order tied with the controversial comments made by former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Coming in at #3 was the brutality of ISIS tied with the Iran nuclear weapons program, and following at #4 was the allegation of Bill O’Reilly’s violating the journalistic ethics code. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and it published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Scorpio Selected as iHM’s California Regional PM. Riverside, Fresno, Bakersfield, Monterey, Stockton, and Modesto are the Golden State markets Rob Scorpio will oversee as iHeartMedia‘s regional programming manager. The company’s senior vice president of programming Tony Coles states, “Rob is a proven leader with a great track record. We are thrilled to be able to expand his role within the company.” Scorpio comments, “One of the many great things about iHeartMedia is their commitment to promote within the company. I would like to thank Tony Coles [among other iHM executives] for this opportunity.” Scorpio moves into his new role after being operations manager for iHeartMedia’s Riverside cluster. His past programming credits include KKBT, Los Angeles; KREV, San Francisco; KBXX, Houston; WPGC-FM, Washington, DC; and KFRH, Las Vegas.
Grant Nielsen Stepping Down from Daily KSL, Salt Lake City Wake-Up Duties. After almost 22 years waking up the Salt Lake City market on Bonneville’s news/talk KSL “NewsRadio,” Grant Nielsen announces he’s retiring from his daily co-host of “Utah’s Morning News” gig. He’ll still be a voice on the station in various dayparts. KSL staffer Brian Martin will take over morning host duties alongside Amanda Dickson, effective March 23. Martin currently anchors KSL’s national news with Nielsen and Dickson and is the host of “Utah’s Noon News.” Prior to joining KSL in 2010, he spent 15 years anchoring and reporting television news in Texas, New Mexico, New York, and Utah. Martin says, “I realize I have enormous shoes to fill, but I couldn’t be more excited for this opportunity to help grow the institution that Grant and Amanda have created. To work with Amanda to deliver news to Utahns driving into work each morning is something I will never take for granted.”
Odds & Sods. The film An Inconsistent Truth – produced by Westwood One talk host Phil Valentine’s film production company ExtryGood Productions – is being picked up by NewsmaxTV. The two-year deal means the film will air regularly throughout the contract period, beginning with its debut on NewsmaxTV tomorrow night (2/6) at 9:00 pm ET…..Trevor Carey is named afternoon drive host at iHeartMedia news/talk simulcast KFIV, Modesto and KWSX, Stockton, California “Power Talk 1360/1280.” He most recently was afternoon host at Townsquare Media’s hot AC WJYE, Buffalo (now WMSX)…..Former Fox 29 Philadelphia weatherman John Bolaris will begin hosting a weekly radio show on WTEL, Philadelphia, debuting this Saturday from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. According to a story at Philly.com, the “CenterStage with John Bolaris” program will feature high-profile guests. Joining him for the premiere show will by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and “Mob Wives” star Natalie Didonato…..ESPN is launching “Hometown” – a new division of its customer marketing and sales group that will focus on serving national brands looking to connect with fans in specific markets at their greatest passion point – their love of their favorite teams.
‘Aaron Klein Investigative Radio’ to Air in Philly. The two-hour weekend show “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” – which emanates live from Tel Aviv each Sunday from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET – is now heard on Salem Communications’ WNTP, Philadelphia “NewsTalk 990” as well as on the company’s WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer.” Klein is a Philly native who now works and lives in the Middle East. WNTP program director Mark Daniels says, “‘NewsTalk 990’ couldn’t be more pumped about adding ‘Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.’ There’s nothing else like it, especially on the weekends! If you watch the Sunday talking heads on TV, then listen to Aaron Sunday evening, and you’ll appreciate the difference his global perspective brings.”
Cool Job Opportunity. Federated Media’s heritage WOWO, Fort Wayne is seeking a news director. Fort Wayne, Indiana’s #1 radio station, a 50,000-watt news, weather and talk service station has a rare opening for a full-time news director/anchor to join our Marconi winning team. If you’re hard working, have a dynamic personality, strong news delivery, ability to command attention through storytelling, have successful interactions with on-air partners and want to work for a station the community adores and loves, we’re looking for you. We’re one of Indiana’s premiere news stations celebrating 90 years in the community — and with a 50,000 watt AM signal with a FM simulcast, we’re the most-listened-to station in our market. Responsibilities include news anchoring, reporting breaking news, attending sporting events and other paid appearances, leading a fully staffed newsroom as someone who leads by example and possibly fill-in hosting duties. An ideal candidate is energetic, efficient and capable of multi-tasking in a lively, fast-paced environment. This sometimes requires weekend and evening hours, both on the street and in the radio station. WOWO is also unique because of a local TV partnership. We simulcast one hour every weekday morning on our local NBC affiliate, as well as live TV traffic updates in the afternoon. This means future candidates must be comfortable with frequent TV exposure. You’ll also be working with one of the best crews in the business, along with a great company to back a positive environment. To be considered, please send a resume via e-mail to operations manager Ryan Wrecker at: firstname.lastname@example.org or mail your stuff to Ryan Wrecker, WOWO Radio, 2915 Maples Road, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46816. No phone calls please. Federated Media is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Getting Ready for Love. There is no doubt, with Valentine’s Day rapidly approaching, love is in the air and as far as nationally syndicated talk duo Brent & Meg are concerned, it will be ON the air as well. The husband/wife midday talk team (syndicated by GCN) were spotted by a Studio City, California Walgreens manager with a smartphone camera as they were doing some shopping in preparation for the big holiday coming up at the end of next week. Brent Seltzer tells TALKERS, “Meg and I are in a constant state of simply being in-love and Valentine’s Day week gives us just another excuse to express, demonstrate, explore, discuss and play with it on the air.” Meg McDonald adds, “Being a married couple approaching 30 years together opens the door to so many conversations and aspects about life that make great content for the kind of free-spirited talk radio that we have the opportunity to do every day. Although our show tackles all the issues of the day and is not what you would call a ‘relationships show’ per se, the fact that we have such an established, real relationship as the baseline of our act really comes in handy in bringing a dimension of utter reality to what we do on the air. Valentine’s Day was made for us!”
The Brutality of ISIS/Jordan Threatens Retaliation, Anti-Vaccine Controversy, 2016 Presidential Prospects, GOP’s ObamaCare Replacement Plan, and Brian Williams Recants Helicopter RPG Attack Story Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/4). The world’s reaction to ISIS’ burning a Jordanian pilot alive and that country’s vow to retaliate; the controversy over anti-vaccine comments made by Chris Christie and Rand Paul; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the plan by congressional Republicans to replace ObamaCare; the response to NBC anchor Brian Williams’ admission that he was not aboard a helicopter hit by a RPG in Iraq in 2004 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Bill McMahon: 14 Traits Inherent in Top Radio Personalities. In a piece published today (1/6) in TALKERS magazine, The Authentic Personality CEO Bill McMahon outlines what he calls “reasoned approach to evaluating talent.” McMahon says that in creating this list of traits he “wanted to create a framework to have a meaningful and productive conversation about why a prospective air personality will succeed or fail.” The traits fall into three categories: Personal, content, and performance. The personal traits predict listener appeal and talent motivation. The content traits predict the ability to generate distinctive, appealing and memorable content. The performance traits predict the ability to present attractive content with impact. Read McMahon’s full explanation here.
New Year’s Debuts from Westwood One and NBC Sports Radio. The first full week of the New Year marked the launch of new daily feature from former congressman and House Intelligence Committee chair Mike Rogers. Produced by Westwood One and titled, “Something to Think About with Mike Rogers,” the three, daily, one-minute features “provide listeners with an insider’s way of understanding critical issues and the most-talked-about topics of the day.” On the sports side, the new midday show on the NBC Sports Radio Network hosted by Mike Florio launched Monday. “ProFootballTalkLive with Mike Florio” airs from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm and, as its name implies, features Florio’s “critically acclaimed NFL insight and all-encompassing coverage of the league with the most current news, analysis, and thought-provoking debate.” Debut show guests included Denver Broncos EVP of football operations John Elway, NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino, and Tom Curran of CSN-New England.
WTMJ, Milwaukee Adds Daily Business Show. The program airs from 4:00 am to 5:00 am and is called “Wisconsin Business Today.” Hosted by Danny Clayton, the new program covers news on national and local business with special focus on agribusiness. Journal Broadcast Group Milwaukee Radio Operations VP Tom Langmyer says, “WTMJ is Wisconsin’s Radio Station and waking up to the business of our state and community is a good way to start the day. WTMJ is excited to add yet another hour of live and local programming to our daily lineup.” Clayton also serves as morning host at WTMJ sister classic hits outlet WLWK “94.5 The Lake.”
Odds & Sods. As tipped by Chicago media writer Robert Feeder, three of the former WGWG-LP, Chicago sports talk hosts – Jarrett Payton, Connor McKnight and Adam Hoge – have been given a weekend show on Tribune’s news/talk WGN. “The Game” airs from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Tribune shut down the sports talker after a year on the air…..SiriusXM announces the debut of a new channel called “SiriusXM Insight” that the satcaster says will be a “groundbreaking news, information, and entertainment radio channel offering listeners inspiring ideas and intelligent conversation with an edge. Designed to reach fans that enjoy the eclectic subject matter of public radio, SiriusXM Insight will feature an array of fresh, diverse voices addressing a new era of issues in a lively, smart, and sometimes humorous approach.” Personalities appearing on the channel include: Pete Dominick, Margaret Hoover, John Fugelsang, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Karen Hunter, Dean Obeidallah, Alan Dershowitz, Perri Peltz, Bob Roth, and many more…..The Conclave board of directors elects Lori Lewis board chairperson. Lewis is director of digital & social strategies for Jacobs Media. She takes over for Mark Bolke who served as chair since 2009…..Former Connecticut governor and WTIC-AM, Hartford talk show host John Rowland’s sentencing on campaign law violations has been postponed as he mounts the claim that prosecutors withheld evidence. Read the story in the Hartford Courant here.
Report from the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show. The big, international trade show taking place in Las Vegas this week officially opens today and radio consultant Holland Cooke is on the scene reporting back for TALKERS magazine. Cooke says two major keynoters are Ford Motor Company CEO Mark Fields, who can be expected to provide an update on the “connected car,” and CBS Corp CEO Les Moonves. Read Holland Cooke’s story here.
NYPD-De Blasio Standoff, Bill Clinton/Prince Andrew Palm Beach Pedophile Controversy, Hoodie/Mask Ban Proposal, 2016 Presidential Prospects, New Congress, Mario Cuomo Dies, Winter Cold Spell, Sinking Oil Prices/Eurozone Fears, and NFL Playoff Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/5). The ongoing feud between the NYPD rank-and-file and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio; allegations of Britain’s Prince Andrew and former President Bill Clinton being involved with underage girls in connection with accused pedophile Jeffrey Epstein; the proposal to outlaw the wearing of hoods or masks in public; chatter about the potential presidential candidates in the 2016 race; the influx of 71 new members of Congress; the death of liberal standard bearer Mario Cuomo; the blast of arctic air hitting much of the U.S. this week; the effects of sinking oil prices and the tumbling euro on the world’s financial markets; and the weekend’s NFL playoff action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Top News/Talk Stories of 2014. As is the tradition at TALKERS magazine, the end of the calendar year provides the opportunity to look back and present the industry with a list of talk radio’s most-talked-about stories and people of 2014. Regular TALKERS readers are aware that we present the Talkers TenTM each week – a chart that shows the top stories and people of the week as discussed on news/talk radio based upon ongoing research from TALKERS. This year-end chart uses that data. The accompanying graphic presents the charts for 2014.
Big John Howell to Exit WIND, Chicago. According to a report from Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Big John Howell is exiting his morning drive gig with Salem Communicatons’ news/talk WIND, Chicago “560 The Answer.” Feder writes that Howell was offered a contract renewal but he turned it down. Feder says Howell’s contract runs out at the end of this month but Howell may work into January while the company decides how to replace him. But the rumor is that Howell may jump across the street to join Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM. Howell has hosted the morning show for the past eight years and currently works with Amy Jacobson as co-host.
Anthony Gargano Exits WIP-FM, Philadelphia. Tweeting that his contract offer from CBS RADIO to remain afternoon host on sports talker WIP-FM in Philly was a “lowball” offer, Anthony Gargano exits. He Tweets, “Thanks to WIP and all of the Philadelphia fans for 15 great years! On to the next chapter.” It’s rumored that the station’s Josh Innes will assume Gargano’s role in afternoons where Gargano had been co-hosting with Rob Ellis. There are also rumors that Gargano may pop up at Greater Media’s crosstown competitor WPEN-FM “The Fanatic.”
Round Two of December PPM Data Released. The second of four rounds of December 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. The survey period was November 6 through December 3. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Odds & Sods. According to Jose Lambiet’s Gossip Extra, the Rick Sessa-hosted “American Biker Talk Radio” show is moving from its current station – WSVU, West Palm Beach – to rock-formatted WBGF, Belle Glade, Florida “93.5 The Bar” beginning in January.
Inconceivable Guest Appearance! Nationally syndicated Salem Radio Network talk star Michael Medved (right) poses for a photo outside the studio after interviewing actor Carey Elwes (left) – star of the classic film, The Princess Bride. Elwes stopped by the show’s Seattle studios to chat with Medved – a noted film critic as well as talk personality – about his new book, As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride (Touchstone 2014).
Staff Recognizes End of MarketWatch Radio Network. The air staff of the MarketWatch Radio Network held a farewell party last week to celebrate one last time together. Dow Jones’ exit from the AM/FM radio business at the end of the year spells the end for the business news network founded by Frank Barnako in 1999. Barnako made a special appearance at the party joining staffers (from left to right, also noting stations they served) back row: Tracy Johnke (WBZ-AM, Boston), Andrew O’Day (WINS, New York and WBZ-AM), Alisa Parenti (WBZ-AM and WBBM-AM, Chicago), Joan Doniger (WBBM-AM), Steve Potisk (KNX, Los Angeles and KYW, Philadelphia), Adrienne Mitchell (WBBM-AM, KRLD-AM, Dallas and KCBS-AM, San Francisco), Ann Cates (WCCO, Minneapolis, WBBM-AM, KCBS-AM). Front row: Barnako and WSJ Radio executive editor John Wordock.
BFoA Creates Bill Burton Memorial Fund. The recent passing of beloved radio pro Bill Burton is recognized by The Broadcasters Foundation of America as it establishes the Bill Burton Memorial Fund. Burton, known for his trademark words of encouragement, “Be Fabulous,” died last weekend from head injuries suffered after a fall at his home. He was 85. Former BFoA executive and long-time friend and colleague Carl Butrum states, “Bill’s influence inspired countless individuals in the radio business. Radio owes Bill our gratitude for his wisdom and for imparting to us his boundless positive attitude, which infected everyone who came into contact with him. We mourn his loss, but remember the great man with The Bill Burton Memorial Fund.” Donations to the Bill Burton Memorial Fund are being accepted at the Broadcasters Foundation website at www.broadcastersfoundation.org, or by calling 212-373-8250, or emailing email@example.com.
Sony to Release ‘The Interview,’ New York Police Killings Protests/Obama Racism Remarks, Potential 2016 Presidential Candidates, Joe Cocker Dies, Christmas Holiday, ISIS Violence, and NFL Playoffs Push/Possible Coaching Changes Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/23). The decision by Sony to go ahead and release the movie “The Interview” on Christmas day after all; ongoing police killings protests in New York City and the slaying of two NYC cops over the weekend, plus President Obama’s comments on racism in America; chatter about the potential candidates for president in 2016; the death of rock icon Joe Cocker; the coming Christmas holiday; ISIS violence in Iraq; and the NFL playoff scenario and talk of potential coaching changes after the season were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Doug McIntyre Sticks with KABC, Los Angeles. “McIntyre in the Morning” host Doug McIntyre signs a new deal to remain with Cumulus Media’s news/talk KABC, Los Angeles “TalkRadio 790” for at least the next year. In addition to his radio work, McIntyre tells TALKERS magazine he’ll also be writing a new weekly column for The Daily Beast in addition to the two columns per week he currently is writing for the LA Daily News.
Cataldi Morning Show Re-Ups at WIP, Philly. Longtime Philadelphia sports talk personality Angelo Cataldi inks a long-term renewal of his contract to remain morning host at CBS RADIO’s “SportsRadio 94WIP.” Prior to joining WIP in 1990 as the wake-up personality, Cataldi was the Eagles beat writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer. He was named to the TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk this year, occupying the #9 spot. In a related announcement, the station also signed two members of Cataldi’s morning show ensemble — Al Morganti and Keith Jones — to new contracts. About his new deal, Cataldi says, “It’s a true thrill and honor to know that all my years on the radio will be working for WIP. It’s a rarity for an on-air personality to have their entire broadcasting career, spanning nearly three decades, all at one station. I am grateful to have a great supporting cast and privileged to work for CBS RADIO which trusts me with the morning show on the best sports radio station, in the greatest sports town anywhere.”
‘Huckabee Report’ to Be Distributed by WYD Media. With the start of the New Year, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee – also host of his own weekend show on Fox News Channel – is continuing his daily feature, “The Huckabee Report,” to be distributed by WYD Media Management. The program will be repped by WYD Media Ad Sales. The show is currently syndicated to more than 500 radio stations via Westwood One but that relationship will end after December 31. Huckabee comments, “We’ve had tremendous success over the last six years with ‘The Huckabee Report’ thanks to the great partnerships with hundreds of radio stations. I’m excited about my new partnership and this is a great way to kick off 2015!” WYD says that the feature will retain its current format with morning, midday and afternoon delivery of three unique, modular reports that allow stations to carry one or three minutes of content per report. WYD Media Ad Sales president John Murphy says, “Mike Huckabee is truly a beloved national icon with a powerful following. His ability to connect with his audience and influence public opinion is incredibly valuable to our advertising partners.” In addition to airing on news/talk affiliates, “The Huckabee Report” is also cleared on country- and classic rock-formatted stations.
WPGG, Atlantic City Morning Host Harry Hurley Serves Up Radio Chat with Governor Christie After ‘Cowboys’ Controversy. While much of New Jersey’s Philadelphia Eagles fan base was up in arms over Governor Chris Christie sitting in Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ luxury box on Sunday evening cheering on the Cowboys over the Eagles, WPGG, Atlantic City morning personality Harry Hurley cut the governor some slack during an exclusive radio interview the following morning. Hurley is a big Eagles fan but, unlike many New Jersey fans – and the news media – Hurley excused the governor for cheering for his favorite team and noted that many politicians wear whatever “sports cap” they think will help them get votes. Speaking of votes, Hurley asked Christie if he’s going to run for president and Christie said he and his wife are talking about his options and he’ll decide in 2015 whether to run in 2016.
Fourth Hour and New Affiliates for ‘America’s Morning News.’ The Talk Radio Network Entertainment-syndicated “America’s Morning News” program – hosted by radio news pro Matt Ray – adds a fourth hour to its daily broadcasts and now airs live from 5:00 am to 9:00 am ET. TRNE also announces a number of recent affiliate additions now carrying the programming that’s heard in more than 160 markets across the country. New stations include: WJAS, Pittsburgh; KFNY, Riverside; KDWN, Las Vegas; KGED, Fresno; WPNN Pensacola; KMJM, Cedar Rapids; WNZF, Daytona Beach; WGNS, Murfreesboro, Tennessee; KGGF, Coffeyville, Oklahoma; WRTA, Altoona, Pennsylvania; KMED, Medford, Oregon; and four Wisconsin stations in the Heartlands group – WERL, Eagle River; WATW, Ashland; WFER, Iron River; and WPFP, Park Falls. TRNE CEO Mark Masters comments, “‘America’s Morning News’ continues to deliver a great product every morning to over 160 markets across the U.S., including markets like San Francisco (Cumulus Media’s KSFO AM 560), Seattle (Bonnevilles’ KTTH AM 770) and San Diego (Midwest Television’s KFMB AM 760). We are very proud of our morning news offering, and its growth is a testament to its quality.”
CBS Sports Radio to Broadcast New College Hoops ‘Classic.’ The inaugural “CBS Sports Classic” college basketball showcase will air on the CBS Sports Radio Network on Saturday, December 20. The event produced by CBS Sports will be live from Chicago’s United Center and pits North Carolina against Ohio State in the 1:00 pm ET game followed by UCLA versus Kentucky. It’s the first of three events in the series, as announced earlier this year by CBS Sports. Gary Cohen, current play-by-play announcer for Mets baseball, Seton Hall men’s basketball and Westwood One’s NCAA men’s basketball coverage, will provide play-by-play for the games. He will be joined by analyst Alaa Abdelnaby, current college basketball studio and game analyst for CBS Sports Network. Lance Meadow will contribute to pre-game programming beginning at 12:45 PM, ET, as well as halftime and post-game updates. CBS Sports Radio director of programming Eric Spitz says, “This showcase is noteworthy for CBS Sports Radio as it marks the first time we will broadcast live game coverage across our stations. CBS Sports has assembled a group of legendary college basketball teams, and we couldn’t be more thrilled that our play-by-play debut is happening with this distinguished event.”
Compass Media Announces Business Programming for New Year. In a communication with affiliate stations currently carrying Wall Street Journal Radio Network programming (set to cease via WSJRN on 12/31), Compass Media Networks announces it will continue to produce and distribute business and money reports and details the programming. Anchors for business and money news reports will be Jennifer Kushinka in morning drive, Ray Hoffman in middays and Frank Miller in afternoons. Kushinka has served as morning drive news anchor for “The Wall Street Journal Reports” for the past nine years. Hoffman has anchored CEO Radio short-form reports, aired exclusively on WCBS-AM, New York for the past nine years and was the lead talent for BusinessWeek Radio. Miller has worked for the past six years with Compass providing custom reports to all-news and news/talk stations. Compass also says that Ron Insana, currently with Compass and senior contributor for CNBC, is available for money news reports and commentaries.
Odds & Sods. A new face sits on the board of directors at Business Rockstars, LLC. The corporation announces Andy Schuon has made an equity investment and his joining the board reunites him with Business Roackstars chairman Steve Lehman. Schuon is co-founder of REVOLT Media & TV with Sean “Diddy” Combs. He served on the Premiere Networks board in the past…..WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive personality Simon Conway now has a national platform via iHeartRadio. Conway tells TALKERS that with the 2016 presidential race about to get underway, he’s excited to have his own podcast page on the iHeartRadio platform. Simon calls his program on WHO “an essential and repeated stop on the campaign trail in the ‘First in the Nation’ state for all presidential wannabes.”…..Comic and television star Jimmie Walker is sitting in for Ray Appleton on KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno today and tomorrow (12/17-18) on the midday program. Walker is available for fill-in work. PDs can reach him via his Facebook page.
Obama Amnesty Action, Taliban School Slaughter, Sydney Café Siege, Plummeting Oil Prices/Unstable Russian Economy, 2016 Presidential Prospects, and Congressional Budget Deal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/16). Controversy over President Obama’s executive amnesty action and the court ruling declaring some of it unconstitutional; the slaughter of children and teachers in Pakistan by the Taliban; the aftermath of the siege of a café in Sydney by a self-styled cleric; sinking oil prices and their effect on the Russian economy; the potential candidates for president in 2016; and the congressional budget deal being criticized by conservative Republicans were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WIP-FM, Philadelphia Holds ‘Tailgate Throwdown’ Final Tomorrow. Sports talker “SportsRadio 94WIP” in Philadelphia is hosting the final competition tomorrow (12/13) in the six-week promotion to create the best tailgate recipe. The contest pairs up amateur chefs with the city’s finest executive chefs and WIP personalities Angelo Cataldi, Al Morganti, Rhea Hughes and Glen Macnow. The six winning recipes are competing in the finals where one team will be crowned winner and receive prizes including a Vermont Castings 5 Burner Gas Grill from Dreifuss Fireplaces and a Big Green Egg Smoker from Queen Appliances.
WGOW, Chattanooga Talker Brian Joyce Profiled in Cool Local Mag. Midday talk personality Brian Joyce – heard from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm on Cumulus Media’s WGOW, Chattanooga “Talk Radio 102.3 FM” – was recently profiled in the local Chatter magazine. Joyce tells TALKERS he’s thankful for the PR but says he really was excited to be in Chatter because it’s “a glossy mag that’s popular with hipsters, housewives and society-types — great positioning for a young talk host.” In the piece, Joyce answers profile questions and fills in his personal background info that includes stints as a stand-up comic, financial services worker, and bartender in Ireland (he has dual citizenship in both the US and Ireland). Joyce also tells the mag that in the two years he’d held the midday slot on WGOW, he’s scored the highest ratings the daypart has seen on the station. Check out the piece here.
WPHT, Philadelphia Celebrates Sid Mark’s 58th Anniversary. News/talk outlet WPHT, Philadelphia is honoring the 58th anniversary of the broadcasting career of Sid Mark – host of the legendary “Sounds of Sinatra” program. The sold-out, special event is taking place tonight (12/12) from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Parx Casino’s 360 Lounge. The evening will feature a special live broadcast of the “Sounds of Sinatra” program with special guest Frank Sinatra, Jr. Today also marks what would have been Frank Sinatra’s 99th birthday. Marc Rayfield, SVP/market manager for CBS RADIO Philadelphia says, “WPHT is proud to pay tribute to a living legend. Sid Mark has entertained generations of listeners through the years and it’s wonderful to be able to honor the legacy of Frank Sinatra and celebrate Sid’s amazing career at the same time.” Mark launched the “Sounds of Sinatra” show in Philly 57 years ago.
Odds & Sods. On today’s edition of “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” President Obama is scheduled to be a special call-in guest on the show. The president will appear on the ESPN Radio show and talk about NFL’s conduct policy, NBA players wearing “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirts, Obama’s hometown Chicago Bulls and White Sox, and the upcoming healthcare signup deadline……WMAL, Washington personality Larry O’Connor is sitting in for Dennis Miller on his Westwood One-syndicated talk show today (12/12)…..CBS Corp. announces it has extended the contract of president and CEO Les Moonves. His current deal was set to expire in 2017 but now the terms of the contract will run through June of 2019.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “The Dougherty Report,” hosted by Elizabeth Doughtery and distributed by Genesis Communications Network, is added to the program schedule at WVNJ, Oakland, New Jersey…..The GCN-distributed Dr. Joy Browne program is being added to the lineup at KLOE, Goodland, Kansas.
Police Killings Protests Top Talkers TenTM for Week of December 8-12. The ongoing protests over police killings of unarmed black men were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week. Coming in at #2 was the release of the CIA torture report. At #3 was the government shutdown issue followed by the Jonathan Gruber ObamaCare testimony 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. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
“American Family Farmer” Hosted by Doug Stephan Graduates from Experimental Lab to Terrestrial Platform. For the second time in its first 15 months of operation, TalkersRadio – the experimental talk radio platform launched in September, 2013 by TALKERS magazine – has spawned a program that has been picked up by terrestrial radio. The first TalkersRadio program to be acquired by terrestrial radio was “The Brent & Meg Show” hosted by the husband/wife team of Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald. Now, “American Family Farmer,” hosted by highly accomplished talk show host Doug Stephan, will launch in January 2015 on two terrestrial syndication platforms — Washington, DC-based Radio America and Minneapolis-based Genesis Communications Network (GCN) – and be available for general radio affiliation. According to Stephan, the show is specifically geared to stations located in small- to medium-sized rural markets with signals covering locally owned-and-operated family farms. Although the program is a spoken-word presentation it would fit any number of music-formatted outlets as well as talk because it is only an hour per week and can run any time deemed convenient and appropriate for the station. “American Family Farmer” is an information and advocacy forum targeted specifically to the beleaguered sector of the American agriculture industry that is comprised of small, independent operators. What makes Stephan qualified to host such a specifically targeted program? The answer: In addition to being a dedicated lifelong radio broadcaster, he is also a dedicated lifelong family farmer! The program’s producers emphasize that this show is being marketed and produced as an entity completely separate from the other Doug Stephan properties. “American Family Farmer with Doug Stephan” is now available by barter on a market-exclusive basis. Interested stations should contact Bob K. Telephone: 774-643-6450. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. For the complete details written by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, please click here.
What’s Next for TalkersRadio? TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “The graduation of ‘American Family Farmer’ and ‘The Brent & Meg Show’ to solid terrestrial platforms within the first 15 months of TalkersRadio’s existence is extremely gratifying – especially considering that both programs were conceived as ‘out-of-the-box’ concepts and never would have had the chance to develop into such special properties if it were not for this experimental platform.” According to Harrison, TalkersRadio will go on a one month “hiatus” for technical updates and improvements and come back in early January, 2015 with a new roster of programs headlined by “Healed Planet,” hosted by Alan Colmes, and “The Lionel Show,” hosted by Lionel. Harrison says, “‘Healed Planet’ – which deals with the leading edge of the human consciousness movement – shows a side of Alan Colmes’ wide realm of interests and journalistic skills that most people have not yet had a chance to experience. It’s a truly great radio show ‘in the bud’ and I am enthusiastic about its potential for development. ‘The Lionel Show’ presents the legendary and iconoclastic broadcaster – Lionel – in an unbridled format totally geared to his verbal genius. Although what he says neither breaks the rules of taste nor the bounds of legitimate clear thinking, I don’t think there has been a tightly wound terrestrial operation out there with the courage to put him on the air and let him run free without tinkering with the brilliant product that just oozes from his fertile mind… at least not up until now. I suspect that is about to change and the industry will catch up this year with and gain the benefits of what the ‘real’ Lionel has to offer.” TalkersRadio is powered by Boston-based Backbone Networks. Readers interested in learning more about TalkersRadio should contact Michael Harrison at email@example.com.
Lincoln Financial to Exit Radio Biz; Entercom to Acquire LFM Assets in Four Markets. The deal announced this morning will see Entercom Communications Corp. acquire Lincoln Financial Media from Lincoln Financial Group for $105 million plus working capital. Entercom expects to take over operation of the LFM stations in late January and should close on the purchase in the second quarter of 2015. The agreement includes 15 radio stations in the Atlanta, Denver, Miami and San Diego markets, and it will expand Entercom’s station portfolio to more than 130 stations in 26 markets. The deal allows Lincoln Financial to get out of the media business and focus on its “core lines of business.” Entercom president and CEO David Field comments, “We are excited to announce the acquisition of Lincoln Financial Media and welcome the addition of their outstanding brands and talented broadcasters to Entercom. LFM is a great organization that has done an excellent job serving its listeners, customers and communities over many years and we look forward to building on that tradition. LFM is a perfect fit for us as it bolsters our position in Denver and expands our footprint into Atlanta, Miami and San Diego with terrific brands that have significant growth potential. Furthermore, it fulfills our disciplined acquisition criteria as it enhances our company’s competitive position and growth and should be accretive to shareholders in 2015 while having a minimal impact on leverage.” The stations to be acquired include: Atlanta outlets hot AC WSTR and sports talk WQXI; Denver stations country KYGO, rhythmic CHR KQKS, oldies KRWZ, sports talk KEPN and KKFN, and comedy-formatted translator K276FK; San Diego signals alternative KZBT, country KSON and KSOQ, and adult contemporary KIFM; and Miami outlets AC WLYF, classic hits WMXJ, and sports talk WAXY-AM/FM. The transaction is structured as an acquisition of the stock of LFM with a tax election that allows Entercom to receive a step-up in the tax basis of the station tangible and intangible assets providing additional future tax shields and enhancing future free cash flow. The $105 million purchase price will be paid in the form of $77.5 million in cash and $27.5 million in new perpetual cumulative convertible preferred stock that will be issued to Lincoln. Entercom expects to finance the cash portion of the purchase price through a combination of its existing $50 million revolver, cash on hand, and through other financing sources, if necessary.
Napa Valley Radio Promises New Local Content, Music in 2015. The new digital audio platform Napa Valley Radio – a service of Napa Broadcasting – is promoting new local content plus curated music streaming coming to the site in 2015. Napa Valley Radio is being led by longtime broadcasting executive Jeff Schechtman. The station marked its three-month anniversary with a message to listeners touting its local content – local election coverage including long-form interviews with candidates, local arts & music happenings, and promotion of the area’s wine industry – plus promises of the content to come. In what TALKERS editors consider a creative move, the station has partnered with Napa Community College to bring an infusion of youth to the project. Napa Valley Radio says the New Year will see more content originate by students at NCC and will also bring music shows of various genres to the station. It will be interesting to watch this local media venture as music rights fees are added to the station’s expenses but, regardless, this local approach to the digital audio service is one to watch and Napa Broadcasting appears to be dedicated to serving a broad spectrum of the community with a relevant mix of news, talk and music.
Howard Stern to Return to “AGT.” As tipped by the Hollywood Reporter, SiriusXM star Howard Stern will return to NBC TV’s “America’s Got Talent” as a judge. The show is entering its 10th season. In a Facebook post, Stern writes, “I decided that a life without ‘AGT’ is not worth living. America needs a caring, compassionate and wise judge, and who am I to deny the people what they want? It would be selfish of me to walk away.”
Sports Talker Tony Bruno Heard on BlogTalkRadio. Philadelphia native Tony Bruno – most recently heard on AM/FM radio on Greater Media’s WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic” in middays – is podcasting via BlogTalkRadio. In a statement from BlogTalkRadio, Bruno comments, “Deciding who to partner with was an exhaustive process. BlogTalkRadio is the ONLY company out there with a fully portable stream and call screener system built into one application and when they approached me with their new PRO STUDIO in full HD hosting platform, the choice was clear. I am excited to be a part of a company that is striving to bring both innovation and quality content directly to the fans.” Bruno is producing new shows twice per week, on Mondays and Thursdays.
CBS RADIO Announces Wing Bowl 23. The competitive chicken wing eating event that CBS RADIO’s sports talker WIP, Philadelphia debuted as a promotional prelude to the Super Bowl is in its 23rd year and will be held at the Wells Fargo Center on Friday, January 30 at 6:00 am. The station is presenting the now-nationally famous contest in conjunction with sponsors Steven Singer Jewelers and SugarHouse Casino. The station will broadcast the contest on WIP-FM as well as online via CBSPhilly.com. The $10 ticket price will help benefit the Philadelphia Police Department Survivor’s Fund, The Police Athletic League, the Comcast-Spectacor Charities and other beneficiaries to be named soon. CBS RADIO says that this year’s competition promises to be the biggest party and the prizes have a different twist. The overall winner of Wing Bowl 23 wins a 2015 Harley-Davidson FLSTF Softail Fat Boy Motorcycle courtesy of Barb`s Harley Davidson, along with $10,000 in cash and a Wing Bowl 23 Championship ring both courtesy of Steven Singer Jewelers. For the first time ever, SportsRadio 94WIP and Steven Singer Jewelers will give $10,000 cash to the Overall Runner Up as well. This makes it a $20,000 grand total of cash provided by Steven Singer Jewelers. Once again, WIP has two cars up for grabs: one for the top Local Eater and one for the top College Eater. The Wing Bowl 23 Local Winner has the chance to win a Chrysler 300 and the Collegiate Eater will win a Chrysler 200 both from Barbera`s on the Boulevard. The Wingette of the Year walks away with $5000 cash courtesy of Rumer Cosmetic Surgery and a Riviera Spas, Orchid 5 Person Hot Tub from Diamond Pools. PJ Whelihan’s is the official supplier of wings for WIP Wing Bowl 23, their eighth consecutive year as sponsor and supplier.
Important Guest. Pensacola talk radio personality Brandon Rathert (left), is pictured here with Qatar Ambassador Mohamed Jeham Al-Kuwari (right) in the WNRP “NewsRadio 1620” studios. Rathert tells TALKERS magazine that his program was graced with the presence of the Qatar ambassador through the work of the Panhandle Tiger Bay Club and Edward Howard (pictured here at center). Rather says he and Ambassador Al-Kuwari discussed the differences between the two countries and the similarities of its peoples. The ambassador shared some thoughts on relations between the Arab nations and the U.S. Al-Kuwari also made a $10,000 donation to a local charity.
Police Killings Protests, Potential Government Shutdown, CIA Interrogation Report, Rolling Stone-UVA Rape Story, Battle Against ISIS, Gruber and the ObamaCare Hearings, 2016 Presidential Prospects, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/8). The continuing protests against police killings of black Americans; the looming threat of a government shutdown; the controversy surrounding the CIA interrogation report expected to be released today; the flap over the Rolling Stone story about an alleged gang rape at a UVA fraternity house; the ongoing battle against ISIS; Jonathan Gruber’s appearance before a House committee on the Affordable Care Act; the list of potential presidential candidates in 2016; and the weekend’s NFL action were among the top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
KTRS, St. Louis Morning Host McGraw Milhaven Faults Google for Temporarily Terminating Show’s YouTube Account. St. Louis morning personality McGraw Milhaven tells TALKERS magazine that, as far as he can tell since it’s hard to talk to an actual person at Google, complaints about his show’s video segments dealing with the Michael Brown slaying in Ferguson must have forced the hand of YouTube and it responded by closing the show’s account – at least temporarily since the videos in question have returned to the KTRS550TV account. Milhaven says his show had some 1,700 videos on the site that he thought were gone forever. He says, “We had a police officer on yesterday talking about this Ferguson story and they terminated our account. Censored. All of it. Gone. Taken down, and nothing from YouTube except an email saying we are not allowed to ever post again.” Milhaven posted to his Facebook page a plea for help from fans since CH Holdings – owner of KTRS – is a family business without the resources to fight Google. He wrote, in part, “We, at the McGraw Show on KTRS, admittedly have been sympathetic to the police officers’ story, but we have had all types of guests defending all sides to this very important story. Our videos, which serve as a St. Louis archive over the last two years and have been used by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, CNN, MSNBC, FOX News as well as hundreds of other media outlets, are now lost forever. YouTube has arbitrarily decided they don’t like our current and past content and has cut off our voice.” Google did not respond directly to requests for further clarification of the termination but, as stated at the beginning of this story, the videos are back online.
WIND, Chicago Morning Co-Host Amy Jacobson Loses Suit Against CBS. Former television reporter Amy Jacobson was let go by NBC-owned WMAQ-TV, Chicago in 2007 after she was videoed poolside at the home of Craig Stebic – a man who was deemed a person of interest in the disappearance of his wife Lisa. Competing WBBM-TV “CBS 2” caught her on video and broadcast it. Jacobson then sued CBS for libel for $1 million claiming that she was not a public person at the time the video was taken since she was off duty and not in public. Last year, a judge ruled that Jacobson’s team failed to show CBS fabricated unfavorable content about her, but Jacobson and her lawyer appealed. Now, an Illinois Appeals Court has ruled against Jacobson. Jacobson has been co-hosting the morning show on Salem-owned WIND, Chicago “AM 560 The Answer” since 2010. Lisa Stebic has never been found and although Craig Stebic is still considered a person of interest, no charges have ever been filed against him.
PodcastOne to Distribute and Rep theCHIVE Show. In a deal between Norm Pattiz-founded PodcastOne and “the world’s largest photo entertainment website and app theCHIVE,” the former will exclusively distribute, market and sell advertising for the new weekly podcast produced by theCHIVE. The show – which will focus on theCHIVE’s “fresh, hot, funny and viral male-interest news, lifestyle and social content” – will be produced and hosted by theCHIVE editors John Resig and Bob Phillipp. It will debut on January 22. Pattiz comments, “This is the first of several upcoming announcements about PodcastOne merging editorial and audio media through partnerships with major digital brands. We can’t think of a better partner than theCHIVE to kick off this effort.”
Cumulus Names Dave Milner SVP of West Coast Markets. Moving from iHeartMedia’s Sacramento cluster where he was market president to Cumulus Media is Dave Milner who will serve as senior vice president for West Coast markets. In this role, Milner will report directly to president and CEO Lew Dickey. Milner comments, “I am extremely honored to have been given the opportunity to join Cumulus at the senior vice president level. The company has been assembling top assets in order to provide the best multi-platform solutions and results for its clients, making this a tremendous time to join Cumulus.”
CBS RADIO-Beasley Swap Closes. As expected, the assets swap between CBS RADIO and Beasley Broadcast Group, announced earlier this fall, closed yesterday (12/1). Beasley takes ownership of: sports talk WIP-AM, Philadelphia; in the Tampa market it gets sports talk duo WHFS-AM and WHFS-FM, hip hop WLLD, country WQYK, classic hits WRBQ, and Spanish WYUU-FM; in the Charlotte market it acquires urban contemporary WBAV, sports talk duo WBCN-AM and WFNZ-AM, AC WKQC, CHR WNKS, hip hop WPEG, and country WSOC-FM. In exchange, CBS RADIO takes ownership of five major market outlets including: hip hop WPOW, country WKIS and sports talk WQAM in Miami and Philadelphia outlets country WXTU, and hip hop WRDW. As CBS RADIO notes, this is the first time it will operate radio stations in Miami where it already owns two television stations.
Rob Morris Named VP of Programming for CBS Miami. With yesterday’s closing on the CBS RADIO–Beasley Broadcast Group station swap, CBS announces Rob Morris is named vice president, programming for the Miami stations – hip hop WPOW, country WKIS and sports talker WQAM. Company SVP and market manager Joe Bell comments, “Today marks a new beginning for our cluster of stations in Miami and I’m thrilled to be working with Rob and the great management team at CBS RADIO. We have built a solid foundation in the market with a history of community service and programming excellence. We look forward to the extensive array of assets and expertise that CBS RADIO brings to our operations which will ultimately benefit the listener and our advertisers.” Morris moves southeast from his most recent post as VP of programming for CBS in Tampa where he’s been since July after moving south from CBS’ Minneapolis station group.
KXL, Portland to Use Drones for News Coverage. When news breaks in the Pacific Northwest, consumers of Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM, Portland “FM NEWS 101” may get their coverage thanks to drone technology. Alpha Media has entered into an exclusive partnership with Aerial Technology International to use drones for breaking news coverage. Alpha Media EVP of programming Scott Mahalick says, “KXL continues to innovate by launching the world’s first radio news drone. I’m proud to be working with such a visionary team of people leading the news/talk industry in America.”
Round Four of November PPM Data Released. The fourth of four rounds of November 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The survey period was October 9 through November 5. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
AdLarge Media Recruits Sherman to Head Up Affiliate Marketing. Network radio pro Jessica Sherman is joining AdLarge Media to serve as senior director, affiliate marketing, signaling the company’s expansion into affiliate sales. Sherman has worked at such network radio organizations as Westwood One, Dial Global, Bloomberg, Jones MediaAmerica, SW Networks, and MediaAmerica. AdLarge Media co-founder and president Cathy Csukas says, “Doing a great job for our national advertisers, their agencies, and for our partners was our first priority when we launched AdLarge Media in 2010. We have solidified that core competency, allowing us to extend our services to include affiliate marketing. It’s a natural progression in our growth and our goal of providing our partners a full-service experience.”
Shuffle at KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh Predicted for January. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that former Post-Gazette sports writer Colin Dunlap – currently hosting the 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm show on CBS RADIO’s sports talker “93.7 The Fan” – will move to morning drive host in January when Gregg Giannotti moves from the station to the CBS Sports Radio Network where he’ll host the morning show.
Odds & Sods. A partnership between Yahoo News and SiriusXM will include the launch of “Yahoo News on POTUS,” – a live, weekly show on the POTUS channel dedicated to the Politics of the United States. Yahoo News chief White House correspondent Olivier Knox will host the show that features “live interviews with national leaders in politics and public life as well as special guests tackling current events and more.” The program will debut tomorrow (12/3) at 2:00 pm ET…..Radio sales pro David Bailin joins Sun Broadcast Group as vice president of sales. Bailin most recently was VP of sales in the New York offices of Westwood One. He’s also served with CBS RADIO, Emmis Communications, and Citadel Broadcasting/Impact Marketing Group…..Salem Radio Network president Greg Anderson and his wife Linda were honored by SRN/Dallas staff and management Monday night (12/1) at a surprise dinner at the LaCima Club in Las Colinas. The evening was to recognize Anderson’s work over the years at SRN as his retirement from the company on December 31 approaches.
C. Crane Publishes New Catalogue for 2015. One of the nation’s leading companies in the manufacturing and distribution of radios and radio-related devices, C. Crane Company, Inc., has published the latest in its annual series of catalogues detailing the firm’s brand-new offerings as well as the tried-and-true products for which it has achieved a stellar reputation. The Fortuna, California-based company that has maintained a close working relationship with the radio industry for almost three decades, is also planning a physical move in 2015 to a larger location that will combine its warehouse and office storefront as a single facility. C. Crane president Bob Crane tells TALKERS, “Our company has always been about the best reception and accurate, legible audio tailored for the human voice. By focusing on what we do best we have established a brand and product line that continues to allow us to service the radio listening community.” Set to arrive before Christmas is the new CC Skywave ($89.95) travel radio with AM, FM, shortwave, weather and aviation bands. According to Crane, “Seldom, if ever, has a small, high-performance travel radio been combined with an intuitive layout. You can listen to pilots while they land and perhaps find out why your plane is late.” Another groundbreaking new device offered this year is the CC WiFi-2 internet radio that uses the TuneIn service which has extensive searchable listings and thousands of stored podcasts in a convenient desktop WiFi receiver that also comes with an FM radio built in and can be used as a Bluetooth® receiver. Crane also states, “We feel our top of the line CC Radio-2E ($169.95) has the best reception and audio of any radio made today. It comes with the standard AM and FM bands along with weather and 2-meter ham band for emergency situations. The audio circuit is accurately tuned for the human voice and can now be adjusted for warm musical performance with enhanced bass.” Pictured above is KFI, Los Angeles personality Tim Conway, Jr. trying out the CC Solar Observer ($54.95) specifically designed for emergency use. It can be powered in four different ways including a crank and can charge many different USB type devices including cell phones. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison remarks, “I am a longtime admirer of the C. Crane folks for both their ongoing support of the radio industry and their championing the cause of the radio medium as well. I love their products but believe it or not, my favorite is the simple CC Pocket. It is an elegant little device that picks up where the old Walkman product left off. In an age of complicated gizmos that stand between the listener and instant audio gratification, it features ease of use, great reception, and sharp, well-defined audio.” The CC Pocket (pictured at right) is a little jewel of an AM/FM/weather radio that can be listened-to on a built in speaker or the CC Buds that are tuned to the spoken word. The $64.95 device has five easy-to-use, one-touch memory buttons for each band and stands upright for best audio. Rubber coated sides help with the grip and it has a belt clip, display light, sleep timer, clock and alarm as well as battery and signal strength meters, FM stereo or mono switch. It runs on two AA batteries. Harrison says, “It would be a blessing for the radio industry if somehow 50 million or so of these things suddenly fell out of the sky and into the hands of consumers – after all, one of the primary problems facing AM and FM radio today is the increasing lack of plain ol’ radios out there in the world.” Harrison jokingly adds, “Perhaps they would sell more if they contained an internet/cell phone chip.” C. Crane can be reached via www.ccrane.com.
Ferguson Grand Jury Aftermath, Obama Amnesty Executive Order, Battle Against ISIS, ObamaCare Controversies, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Ray Rice Suspension Overturned, Bill Cosby Rape Allegations, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/1). The issues of racism, crime and police action in minority communities in the wake of the Ferguson grand jury decision; President Obama’s executive order providing a plan for amnesty for illegal aliens; the ongoing battle against ISIS and the reported capture of the ISIS chief’s wife in Lebanon; simmering controversies over the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the overturning of Ray Rice’s suspension from the NFL; the fallout from the renewed allegations of rape against Bill Cosby; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Industry Mourns Passing of Tom Magliozzi. One of the two hosts of the long-running NPR program “Car Talk” died yesterday. Co-host Tom Magliozzi passed away at age 77 after complications from Alzheimer’s disease. Industry insiders know the popular show has been airing reruns for the past two years after Magliozzi and younger brother Ray elected to stop producing new shows. The program was in national syndication from NPR for 25 years after beginning as a Boston-only show. Though the brothers were certainly knowledgeable about all things automotive, it was their infectious personalities and their ability to create hilarious dialogue with callers that made the show so popular. Read NPR’s piece on Magliozzi and “Car Talk” here.
Paul Duckworth to Retire from KOMO and KVI in Seattle. He’s been back at news and talk outlets KOMO and KVI in Seattle for two-and-a-half years, coming out of retirement to program the stations, but now he’s ready to “try my hand at that whole ‘retirement’ thing again.” Paul Duckworth jokes that his two previous retirements ended in a return to work so why should we believe him now?! He says he’s enjoyed his time with KOMO, KVI and the staff there but he’s going to try it again. “No promises, but I think this time it may stick. I love the business, but it’s time for a break…probably a nice LONG one. I’m leaving behind an unbelievable group of people here in Seattle. They’re the best!” Duckwork’s last day will be Friday (11/7). No word about his replacement yet.
2014 MLB Baseball Flagship Station Analysis. TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian presents the fifth of a five-part series of analyses detailing the performances of MLB flagship stations this season – this time including October 2014 PPM data. Again, the flagships in markets where baseball has traditionally been good to its radio outlet and in markets where the team was performing well continue to benefit from increased listenership. In this report Kinosian tracks how flagship stations have performed over the past seven PPM surveys, compared to October 2013, how they rank in their respective markets, and how the stations stack up based on MLB divisions. Check out Mike Kinosian’s analysis here.
Westwood One News Sets Four Anchors. In place for its debut are four anchors for Westwood One News. Dirk Van will cover AM drive; Evan Haning will do middays; Molly Paige will anchor PM drive; and Barbara Kusak will cover evenings. Westwood One executive vice president of news and talk Bart Tessler comments that he is “thrilled” to debut Westwood One News “with some of the industry’s most respected and best-sounding anchors. Following up on our announcement of award-winning beat reporters, these broadcast journalists will enhance our product and add substantial power to our winning team.” Van hosts Westwood One’s “First Light” and “The Week in Review.” He previously anchored newscasts for NBC News Radio; was a reporter for WCBS-AM, New York; and news director of WHN, New York. Paige joined Westwood One’s Washington, DC news operation two years ago. She has worked for several Los Angeles stations; was an anchor/writer/producer for NBC News Radio; and frequently substituted for Jim Bohannon on “America in the Morning.” For nearly a decade, Haning was a reporter/anchor for Washington, DC’s WTOP and has been on-air in the nation’s capital for 30 years. Most recently, he anchored afternoon drive there for CBS Radio‘s WNEW-FM. Kusak was a reporter and Sunday talk show interviewer at Greater Media Detroit classic rocker WCSX; an anchor/reporter at CBS Radio Detroit all-news WWJ; a writer at MSNBC; associate producer at Fox News Channel; and a writer/assignment editor at CBS Radio New York all-news WINS, New York. Westwood One News launches at the end of the year.
Dr. Joy Browne Honored by City Harvest for Helping Provide Food for City’s Homeless. The humanitarian organization City Harvest rescues food from restaurants and stores and delivers desperately needed meals to shelters and underserved areas in New York. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar, Dr. Joy Browne of Genesis Communications Network (GCN) has been a high-profile donor for a decade working on numerous occasions at their distribution centers in addition to being the poster girl in their ad campaigns and as a spokesperson. She was recently honored by the group at a special food demonstration/dinner at the prestigious Institute for Culinary Excellence (ICE) in the Big Apple. Pictured at left: the philanthropic “party girl” having a good time at the event embraced by Ritz Corporation executive Lehi Dowell and at right, a Harvest City poster featuring Dr. Joy Browne at a NYC bus stop.
Ross Mathews Debuts on PodcastOne. Television personality and best-selling author Ross Mathews begins producing a weekly podcast program for the PodcastOne platform, starting Thursday, November 6. The host of E!’s “Live from E!” and the former “Tonight Show” correspondent debuts “Straight Talk with Ross Mathews,” a podcast that showcases “Mathew’s trademark voice and hilarious takes on the latest gossip, entertainment and celebrity news, in addition to featuring visits from his extensive network of celebrity friends.” PodcastOne president Kit Gray comments, “I’ve been a fan of Ross since his days at ‘The Tonight Show.’ His unique connection with celebrities, combined with his love of pop culture, brings a distinct flavor to entertainment gossip and news that consistently pushes the boundaries, which is perfect for podcasting.”
Denenberg Named Chief Technical Officer for iHeartRadio. There’s a new chief technology officer at the iHeartRadio Network as Adam Denenberg joins the company in that role. Denenberg comes to iHeartMedia from the Huffington Post and begins on November 17. In this role he’ll be responsible for the technology strategy and vision for iHeartRadio, the company’s all-in-one digital radio and streaming music service, including technical direction and research and development of new products; he will also oversee the technology infrastructure across iHeartRadio’s network of websites, including the more than 859 local radio station and talent-specific sites. Denenberg will also work closely with other divisions within the company to develop new technology initiatives that create dynamic experiences for iHeartRadio listeners, advertisers and partners.
Odds & Sods. There’s a big remote coming up for WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic” as the Greater Media sports talker welcomes Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic of ESPN Radio to town for a live broadcast from XFINITY Live! The daylong broadcast on Monday, November 10 is free and open to the public. After the Mike & Mike show, “97.5 The Fanatic” will continue to broadcast from XFINITY Live! Harry Mayes and Brian Westbrook (10:00 am to 12:00 noon), The Jon & Sean Show (12:00 noon to 2:00 pm), and Mike Missanelli (2:00 pm to 6:00 pm)…..Kristina Quintos joins CBS RADIO as its new press representative. Quintos come to CBS from J. Walter Thompson where she’s been since January 2013. She was an intern at CBS Entertainment before graduating from New York University with a degree in media, culture and communications…..CBS RADIO’s KNX, Los Angeles presents its next “Ask the Mayor” program where listeners can call in and speak with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti tomorrow (11/5). The program is hosted by KNX anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman.
Michael Medved Honored by Police Union. Nationally syndicated talk show host Michael Medved is pictured here holding his 2014 Quill & Badge Award from the International Association of Police Unions, AFL-CIO. Salem Radio Network says that he received the honor in the wake of his on-air defense of Ferguson, Missouri police and several print columns he authored in USA TODAY.
Mid-Term Elections, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Brittany Maynard Suicide Case, Ebola Pandemic Threat, Battle Against ISIS, Navy Seals-bin Laden Slaying Controversy, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/3). Today’s mid-term elections and the possibility of a Republican takeover of the U.S. Senate; the potential candidates for president in 2016; controversy over the assisted suicide of Brittany Maynard; the ongoing concerns over the Ebola epidemic and the U.S. cases of the virus; the threat ISIS brings to a stable Middle East; the flap over the TV movie detailing the slaying of Osama bin Laden and the violation of the Navy Seals’ code of secrecy and humility; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Dick Morris to Leave WPHT, Philadelphia Talk Show. The notorious political operative has been hosting the afternoon drive program on CBS RADIO’s WPHT, Philadelphia for the past 18 months, but now informs the company he will exit after the mid-term elections to return to the political campaign business, focusing on assisting Republicans in 2016. Dick Morris made the announcement on his Wednesday program and the Philadelphia Daily News is reporting that CBS RADIO Philly SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield says, “He has done a great job for WPHT and we knew his busy schedule might one day make doing a daily radio show difficult.” Rayfield expects to have news of the station’s plans for the daypart as soon as next week. Philadelphia talk radio pro Gary R’nel co-hosts the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show alongside Morris and has been a largely unsung component of the program’s professional smoothness and appeal. Also, it is reported in the Daily News story that noted media consultant Walter Sabo has been seen at the station in recent weeks and has even recently hosted several talk programs during nighttime hours under a fictitious name – fueling speculation that the Sabo Media CEO is either involved in the station as a consultant or even more provocatively as a potential replacement for an on-air talent opening. Although Sabo’s involvement is officially denied by CBS market management, TALKERS magazine editorial intelligence indicates it is not unusual for well-known programming consultants to occasionally moonlight as fill-in talent simply for the sake of keeping their first-hand “feel” for the format active… or as is likely in the case of Sabo, simply for the fun of it. Regarding developments at WPHT, Walter Sabo tells TALKERS, “Under [OM] Andy Bloom and [PD] Jared Hart, WPHT has become a dynamic, Philadelphia radio station. They’ve made a series of great decisions, they will make the right one again.”
New Local Show to Debut on WHBO, Tampa and WHOO, Orlando. The two sports talk stations are operated by Genesis Communications and, although they carry the slogan “The Team,” are branded collectively along with the website of the same name, “Sports Talk Florida.” Now the simulcast adds a new local show to the program lineup. Debuting in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot is “The Front Office,” hosted by Tom Veit, a.k.a. The GM. The station says the program “will take a unique look at the Central Florida sports world giving listeners the perspective from those that make the deals and the sports insiders that know how they’re made. Veit is a seasoned sports executive with over 25 years of experience in the sports and entertainment industry.” Veit comments, “With 10 major professional sports teams and seven all sport Division I collegiate programs in Florida, there needs to be a place during the midday to talk local sports. Every day there will be passionate debates on the hot topics. After spending so many years working in the Central Florida sports scene, the one thing I know is that there is passion from every point of view.”
Westwood One’s Unique Fourth Down. Pro football fans this Sunday (10/26) will experience either pure nirvana or pigskin overkill when Westwood One airs four consecutive NFL games. The league’s “International Series” affair between the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons from London’s Wembley Stadium kicks off the coverage, beginning at 9:00 am (ET). Assigned to that contest are Dave Sims and Mark Malone. Kevin Lee and Ross Tucker will call the Houston Texans versus Tennessee Titans game, which starts at 12:30 pm (ET). Immediately following, the Philadelphia Eagles play the Arizona Cardinals, with Tom McCarthy and Rod Woodson handling play-by-play and analysis duties, respectively. Wrapping up Westwood One’s quadruple-header marathon is the 7:30 pm (ET) tussle between the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints, with Kevin Kugler, James Lofton, and Chris Doering doing the broadcasting honors.
On the Scene in Ottawa. As Canada deals with the attacks at the country’s National War Memorial and Parliament that happened on Tuesday, ABC News Radio‘s Aaron Katersky is on the scene. He’s pictured here just down the road from the Parliament building in Ottawa reporting after Michael Zehaf-Bibeau killed Canadian Army reservist Nathan Cirillo who was serving as a guard at the capitol.
Michael Brown Autopsy Report/Ferguson Tensions, Mid-Term Elections, Ebola Pandemic Threat, Monica Lewinsky Speech, Canadian Killings, Battle Against ISIS, and Renee Zellweger Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/22). The unofficial release of the autopsy report on Michael Brown indicating he was shot at close range and the tensions in Ferguson, Missouri; the looming mid-term elections and speculation about a majority change in the Senate; the Ebola pandemic threat and the Obama Administration’s response; the revisiting of the Monica Lewinsky–Bill Clinton affair after Lewinsky’s recent speech blaming the Drudge Report for “ruining” her life; the recent killings in Canada related to homegrown “jihadists”; the coalition battle against ISIS in Iraq; and the flap over actress Renee Zellweger’s changed appearance were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
CBS RADIO-Beasley Station Swap Announced. It’s sort of close to some of the rumors that had been moving through the industry about CBS RADIO and Beasley Broadcasting Group swapping Florida and Philly stations. Here’s what the companies are announcing: Beasley will take ownership of: sports talk WIP-AM, Philadelphia; in the Tampa market it gets sports talk duo WHFS-AM and WHFS-FM, hip hop WLLD, country WQYK, classic hits WRBQ, and Spanish WYUU-FM; in the Charlotte market it acquires urban contemporary WBAV, sports talk duo WBCN-AM and WFNZ-AM, AC WKQC, CHR WNKS, hip hop WPEG, and country WSOC-FM. In exchange, CBS RADIO will take ownership of five stations. They are the three Miami market signals: hip hop WPOW, country WKIS and sports talk WQAM; and Philadelphia outlets country WXTU, and hip hop WRDW. Despite CBS RADIO’s major market tradition, this move will give it its first Miami holdings. CBS RADIO president and CEO Dan Mason states, “This transaction reinforces our strategy to concentrate on large-market properties. We already have television duopolies in both Philadelphia and Miami, so these new stations will be a terrific complement to our existing local broadcasting portfolio, and a welcome addition to the overall CBS family.” BBG chairman and CEO George Beasley says, “Throughout Beasley Broadcast Group’s 53-year history, we have actively managed our station portfolio with the goal of serving the local communities where we operate, diversifying our operations, managing risk and improving financial results. The asset exchange agreement with CBS RADIO addresses all of these strategic objectives as, upon completion, we will expand our station base by nine stations and add completed clusters in Tampa and Charlotte which complement our already strong mid-Atlantic presence. Furthermore, the transaction is also consistent with our long-term strategy to operate leading clusters in large- and mid-size markets.” These are straight-up swaps — no cash involved — and, obviously, are pending FCC approval.
Can the FCC Really Outlaw ‘Redskins?’ TALKERS magazine legal editor attorney Steven J.J. Weisman writes today in response to the hoopla surrounding both the petition to deny the license renewal of one of Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder’s sports talk stations, but also public comments by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler that he is sympathetic to the movement to change the football team’s nickname. As TALKERS readers are probably aware, three of the FCC commissioners have come out against use of the term during broadcasts and that’s led to the conclusion – drawn largely by the consumer media – that the agency will make the term illegal. Is this possible? See Steven Weisman’s column on this matter here.
Fox Sports Radio Network Renews Jay Mohr. Comedian and actor Jay Mohr began his sports talk radio show on Fox Sports Radio Network in January of 2013. Now, the network reports the two sides have signed a new “long-term agreement” to keep him part of its syndication efforts. FSRN and iHeartMedia say the show is currently heard on more than 150 affiliate stations. About the new deal, Mohr comments, “I’m so happy to be on the air with FOX Sports Radio and iHeartMedia for years to come. I have always been a huge sports fan, and obviously, I have a difficult time keeping my mouth shut. Now, for three hours a day, in upwards of 150 cities, it’s actually my job. This is a dream come true for me. The old cliché is true — ‘Pick a job you like…’ I love this job and hope to have many more multi-year deals after this one!”
New Market Managers for CMG in Atlanta, San Antonio and Tulsa. There are three new market leaders for Cox Media Group to announce today. In Atlanta, former Cox Media group VP Donna Hall is named VP and general manager. She’s been with Cox since 1987. Ben Reed moves from the Atlanta VP/GM post to the same position at the San Antonio station group. And Dan Lawrie jumps from the San Antonio cluster to CMG’s Tulsa properties to serve as VP/GM. CMG EVP of radio Kim Guthrie states, “We are thrilled that we can tap such phenomenal internal talent across Cox for these important leadership positions. Ben, Dan and Donna are proven leaders who know how to build strategic, award-winning teams.”
Westwood One to Rep Sports USA Media. More football to sell for Westwood One as it and Sports USA Media announce an agreement for the former to rep the latter’s Sunday NFL games beginning with the 2015 season. Both Westwood One and Sports USA Media currently broadcast an NFL doubleheader every Sunday afternoon during the regular season. Sports USA founder and CEO Larry Kahn states, “We are thrilled to partner with Westwood One and with the NFL. We have worked with them in various capacities over the years, and they are the gold standard when it comes to the NFL.”
WDNC, Raleigh-Durham Adds Translator to Multi-Cast. With the addition of translator W246CG at 96.5 FM (licensed to Durham), Capitol Broadcasting’s sports talker WDNC “620 The Buzz” is now available to listeners on four signals. Back in April, the company added the station’s signal to W257CS at 99.3 FM (licensed to Morrisville near Raleigh). It is also heard on WCMC-FM’s HD2 channel at 99.9 FM. Company OM and PD for sports programming Dennis Glasgow states, “Capitol Broadcasting is working to ensure that our Raleigh-Durham listeners have the best opportunity to tune into our outstanding sports talk programming, along with Duke football and basketball on FM. In this fast-changing radio landscape, we’re looking for every advantage to grow our listenership for the Triangle sports fan. I think we’ve accomplished that with the addition of these two translators in Raleigh-Durham.”
Kilmeade on Remote from Texas. Today (10/2), Fox News Radio personality Brian Kilmeade is broadcasting his “Kilmeade and Friends” radio show from Irving, Texas, site of the 2014 Warrior Open golf tournament. As part of the broadcast, Kilmeade will interview former President George W. Bush. The radio show will emanate from the Las Colinas Country Club and some of the guests in addition to President Bush will include: General Peter Pace, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; General Peter Chiarelli, former Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army; and wounded warrior Luis Avilar, who has the honor of doing the ceremonial first hit. The Warrior Open is a competitive 36-hole golf tournament, including an 18-hole Pro-Am. The event honors U.S service members who serve and sacrifice to defend the United States of America and heralds the many effective organizations that give their time, talents and resources to support men and women of our military.
Round Three of September PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of September 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The survey period was August 14 through September 10. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Odds & Sods. Joining the growing Cross Platform Media Group, is Russ Jones who is named SVP of news operations for the IRN/USA Radio Network and director of news and public relations for Cross Platform Media. Jones is co-founder of Christian News Service, a news release distribution and content creation firm and publisher of ChristianPress.com. Both entities are now under the CPM umbrella of companies…..CBS RADIO Washington makes staffing changes and out is promotions coordinator Cain McCoy. He’d worked with sports talk WJFK-FM and all-news WNEW-FM.
U.S. ISIS Strikes/Intelligence Debate, U.S. Ebola Case/Pandemic Fears, Secret Service Controversy, Jimmy Carter CNBC Interview, Immigration/Amnesty Issues, Hong Kong Protests, Financial Markets Activities, Washington Redskins Name Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/1). U.S. military strikes on ISIS and discussion about the quality of intelligence information the administration is receiving; the first documented U.S. Ebola case and questions about how a Dallas hospital handled it; the controversy over the effectiveness of the Secret Service after a man got all the way to the East Wing before being apprehended; reflections of President Jimmy Carter as he celebrates his 90th birthday; the immigration legislation and Barack Obama-promised amnesty issues; continuing protests by pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong; the activities on the world’s financial markets; and the ongoing flap over the Washington Redskins’ name were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Barry Young’s Retirement from KFYI, Phoenix Pushes Mike Broomhead into Mid-Morning Slot. As TALKERS magazine reported back on March 14 of this year, longtime Phoenix talk radio personality (and president and CEO of WestStar MultiMedia Entertainment) Barry Young (left) is retiring from his daily talk show duties at iHeartMedia-owned news/talker KFYI. Now, the station announces that after Young does his last show on November 7, current afternoon drive personality Mike Broomhead (right) will move to the 7:00 am to 10:00 am slot. Broomhead states, “Barry Young is a legend in this business and will someday soon be in the Arizona Broadcasting Hall of Fame. It has been an honor to work with and learn from him. I’m looking forward to hosting mornings. I want to talk about the issues that concern all of us and find solutions that are best for Arizona. I’m not always right, but I always want what is best.” KFYI program director Neil Larrimore adds, “Mike is a superstar who has worked hard to earn this opportunity. He’s a great host, but even more so, he’s a good man.” The station will begin a search for a new afternoon drive host.
Former WNIR-FM, Akron Talk Host Sues Station Over Harassment Allegation. Former morning drive personality Nancy Jones – who went by the on-air name Maggie Fuller – is suing Media-Com Inc. for reinstatement and/or back pay plus damages alleging she was sexually harassed by current morning drive host John “Couchburner” Denning. The complaint states that Jones, who was a staffer with WNIR-FM, Akron since 1999, began, in 2013, receiving “hostile” and “disrespectful” treatment from Denning, culminating in his using the c-word to describe her to listeners at a promotional event. Jones claims station management did nothing to address her complaints. Read more about this case in the Norwalk Reflector here.
It’s Synchronicity for BizTalkRadio’s Weber. After more than a decade with BizTalkRadio and Lifestyle TalkRadio Network,president Jeff Weber departs the Center Post Holdings company to join Synchronicity in a consulting capacity. Weber asserts that, “Synchronicity’s technology has begun to revolutionize the industry; I don’t make statements like that unless I mean them. Just as John Armstrong created and built DG Systems, this new company of his is totally cutting-edge. It will be a major asset to broadcasters, syndicators, and others who want to reduce costs with a user-friendly and efficient platform.” According to Weber, Synchronicity increases revenue through localization of advertising and real-time accountability. In his 12 years with the former Business TalkRadio Network (now BizTalkRadio and Lifestyle TalkRadio Network), Weber was its executive vice president; acting chief executive officer; and one year ago, became president. Additionally, Weber will consult Connecticut-based Forte Family Broadcasting.
KFWB Selects Koontz as Sports Sales Manager. Former KSPN “ESPN 710,” Los Angeles station manager Bob Koontz joins newly launched all-sports KFWB, Los Angeles “The Beast 980” as sports sales manager. The Southern California native comments that he is “thrilled” to be part of the new sports outlet and that he looks forward “to working with our great talent to help build strategic partnerships and unique opportunities for our clients and listeners.” Prior to becoming KSPN’s station manager (2006 – 2008), Koontz spent six years as the station’s first sales manager. He also held the sales manager title for Los Angeles stations (talk) KABC; (rock) KLOS; (sports-talk) KMPC; (adult contemporary) KIQQ “K-Lite,” and (regional Mexican) KSCA.
McMorris Tapped as Radio One Washington, DC News/Community Affairs Director. “News One Now” weekly contributor Ebony McMorris is appointed news and community affairs director for Radio One Washington, DC. The company’s nation’s capital cluster consists of urban AC WMMJ “Majic 102.3,” urban contemporary WKYS; gospel WPRS “Praise 104.1,” gospel WYCB “Spirit 1340,” and talk WOL. According to Radio One vice president and general manager Alan Leinwand, “We are very fortunate to have Ebony moving into this very important position. She will play an integral role in helping us deliver a first-class news product, while also helping grow our community footprint.” Replacing Sheila Stewart, who passed away 11 months ago, McMorris comments, “Taking over a position held by Sheila is an honor because she mentored me early in my career. I cannot forget her power to connect people. The vision of this company and its staff is unmatched.” In addition to her new duties, McMorris – who has worked with Radio One since 2007 as WOL’s national reporter and host of public affairs programming on “Praise 104.1” and “Majic 102.3” – will serve as a daily reporter for the syndicated “Tom Joyner Morning Show.” McMorris was morning news correspondent on Roland Martin‘s radio show.
ABC News Radio and Hearst Strike Deal for News and Info Service for Baltimore Stations. When Hearst Radio’s news/talk WBAL and rock WIYY in Baltimore begin using ABC News Radio products later this year, it’ll mark a return to the outlets for ABC after more than 10 years absence. In addition to the two stations using ABC’s “premium national, international and entertainment news programming,” ABC Radio will provide music news for WIYY’s website and ABC Air Power, the most immediate, most topical and most complete radio show prep service in the industry today. WBAL and WIYY president and GM Cary Pahigian comments, “From reliable top hour newscasts and breaking news for WBAL and prep and digital support for ‘98 Rock,’ we are delighted to welcome the powerful resources of ABC to Hearst Radio Baltimore.”
Stigall and Ted Cruz Talk the Constitution. Pictured here at the National Constitution Center on September 17th in Philadelphia are WPHT, Philadelphia morning personality Chris Stigall (left) and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) (right). Cruz joined Stigall for a one-on-one discussion about Constitutional conflicts in the news today. The event drew hundreds of WPHT listeners to hear Cruz – a noted Constitutional scholar – discuss the issues.
Consultant Bill McMahon Sounds Off on Key Radio Issues. One of the veteran consultants who’s had a significant influence on the modern era of talk radio as a thinker and innovator is Bill McMahon. He and his company, The Authentic Personality, developed what has been come to be known as the Authentic Personality method, the first formal training process for radio personalities and program directors. Hundreds of radio personalities and program directors in the US and the UK have participated in his Authentic Personality workshops. McMahon was one of the first to recognize Rush Limbaugh‘s “talent on loan from God” and give him a platform for its use. In addition to Rush, he has influenced the careers of many of radio’s biggest stars including Kidd Kraddick and Johnny Vaughan in the UK. Interestingly McMahon was the featured interview in the very first print issue of TALKERS almost 25 years ago. At a time when radio is facing all kinds of new high-tech competition for the consumer’s time and attention, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (who also conducted that first interview in 1990) thought it appropriate to sit down again with McMahon and talk about the current state of radio and radio personalities. In what turned out to be a fascinating 55-plus minutes of conversation, McMahon opines the following observations:
- Very little has changed in terms of radio content/format development since the initial conversation 25 years ago.
- The vast majority of radio’s content over the past 50 or 60 years has been created by the music industry. The radio industry has functioned primarily as the distribution and promotional arm of the music industry. The radio industry has created very little of its own content since the inception of television… with the notable exception of talk radio.
- Major innovations in radio content creation have come from individual on-air talent like Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern, Scott Shannon, etc., not radio industry management.
- Radio is no longer attracting the best and brightest talent. This is a critical and a potentially fatal problem for radio.
- Radio needs to launch an immediate campaign to recruit extraordinary talent who love creating audio entertainment and have ideas for new programs and formats that consumers want and need.
- The radio industry’s desire to create big mass appeal formats and programs goes against everything that’s happening in the world. Things that are succeeding have clearly defined specialties. Think Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern, and Fox News. In this world of unlimited choice where consumers are in control of what they consume and when they consume it, having a clearly defined and distinctive specialty is a must for success.
- The “Fourteen Traits Inherent in the Best Radio Personalities” provide a guide for evaluating and recruiting the kind of talent radio needs to attract to continue to be viable.
To listen to the entire unedited audio conversation between Bill McMahon and Michael Harrison conducted for this story, please click
To contact Bill McMahon call 208-887-5670 or email Bill@AuthenticPersonality.biz
Odds & Sods. A special series is being presented by SiriusXM on the Howard 101 channel. Howard Stern show media producer and aspiring film maker JD Harmeyer interviewed five Hollywood directors while at the 2014 Comic Con International in San Diego earlier this summer and the result the “JD Directors Special” during which Harmeyer interviews “Bridesmaids” director Paul Feig, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” director Jonathan Liebesman, “Children’s Hospital” creator Rob Corddry, “Into the Storm” director Steven Quale and legendary film director and writer Guillermo del Toro. The program airs on Friday, September 19, at 7:00 pm ET…..Westwood One extends its partnership with Harpo Studios and Dr. Mehmet Oz for the daily, one-minute feature, “Daily Dose with Dr. Oz.” Dr. Oz says “Not a day goes by that I don’t get positive feedback from listeners of ‘Daily Dose.’ My goal is to spread the message of good health – body, mind and spirit. Syndication with Westwood One helps to expand that message to an attentive and diverse audience.”
Broadcasters Foundation of America Celebrity Golf Tournament Raises $250,000. Monday’s 2014 Celebrity Golf Tournament at Sleepy Hollow Country Club in Tarrytown, New York helped raise $250,000 for the Broadcasters Foundation of America. More than 150 broadcasters and celebrities turned out in support of the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation, including famed sportscasters, athletes, and actors. Celebrity golfers included: Michael J. Fox; Bruce Beck, WNBC-TV; Craig Carton, WFAN; John Franco, Mets Hall of Famer; Sterling Sharpe, Green Bay Packers Hall of Famer; Tina Cervasio, Fox Sports and MSG Network; Howard Cross, New York Giants great; Maurice Dubois, WCBS-TV; Rachel Grant, actress and philanthropist; Jay Harris, ESPN; Mary Calvi, WCBS-TV; Otis Livingston, WCBS-TV; Sean McDonough, CBS and ESPN; Lonnie Quinn, WCBS-TV; Dana Tyler, WCBS-TV; Chris Wragge, WCBS-TV; and more.
‘Into Tomorrow’ Visits Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin. As part of a whirlwind tour of techie events to cover for his weekly consumer electronics talk show “Into Tomorrow,” host Dave Graveline (center, surrounded by his staff) was in Berlin and is pictured here in front of the historic Checkpoint Charlie. During a two-week period, Graveline covered the IFA in Berlin, the recent Apple event in San Francisco and the annual Intel Developer Forum (IDF).
The NFL and Domestic Violence, the U.S.-led Coalition Against ISIS, Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Prospects, the Mid-Term Elections and a Possible Change in Congressional Majorities, Ebola Virus Pandemic Threat, Australian Terror Plot Foiled and Scotland Secession Referendum Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/17). The continuing controversy over the NFL’s domestic violence policy and the several players facing criminal charges and league suspensions over incidents; the Western coalition of countries vowing to combat ISIS; Hillary Clinton’s visit to Iowa and her prospects for running for president in 2016; the looming mid-term elections and talk about majority changes in Congress; concern over the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa and the possibility of a pandemic; the thwarting of a terror plot in Australia; and today’s referendum in Scotland on seceding from the U.K. were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Joan Hamburg to Host Weekend Show on WABC, New York. After a long career at crosstown heritage AM news/talker WOR, Cumulus Media announces that New York radio personality Joan Hamburg is joining its news/talker 77 WABC to host a weekly Saturday program to air from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Cumulus says on the show Hamburg “will continue discussing the most important social, economic and political issues that impact listeners’ lives each week. Hamburg will also interview major celebrities and powerful political figures on the program.” In addition, the deal calls for Hamburg to produce weekly features and exclusive programs available in digital formats. Hamburg comments, “How excited I am to join legendary WABC radio and work with Kim Bryant, Craig Schwalb and the rest of the Cumulus family. And what a treat to join their roster of the best talk talent in the country. New York get ready — the conversation is about to begin.”
Talk Host Jim Villanucci Resigns from KXL, Portland. There is little known at this time about what has transpired to cause midday talk show host Jim Villanucci to resign from his position with Alpha Media’s KXL, Portland but a Tweet from KXL’s Lars Larson states simply that Villanucci has resigned for “personal reasons” and that Larson wishes him well. Filling in during the daypart is Victoria Taft.
Tension Between WFAN’s Mike Francesa and Management Over Fox Sports Simulcast. According to a story by Neil Best in Newsday, WFAN, New York afternoon drive superstar Mike Francesa has been ordered by CBS RADIO management – under threat of lawsuit – not to gripe publicly about the simulcast of his show being bumped from cable’s Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 for live sporting events. Best reports that while Francesa didn’t talk specifically about the Fox Sports simulcast issues, he said on his radio show that in contrast to a corporate statement to the contrary, he has been threatened with legal action if he speaks publicly about anything that costs the company money, with the implication being the Fox Sports arrangement. In other words, he could be held liable for any income CBS loses if the Fox Sports relationship dissolves. Read Best’s piece here.
Cisco Cotto Joins CBS RADIO’s WBBM-AM, Chicago. Newsman and talk show host Cisco Cotto is becoming part of the staff at CBS RADIO’s all-news WBBM-AM and WCFS-FM, Chicago, according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder. Cotto has worked in the Chicago market his entire career. He started at CBS’ former all-news WMAQ and has served as news anchor at Cumulus Media’s crosstown WLS-AM (where he also went on to host a talk show) as well as at Salem’s news/talk WIND, and the Moody Bible Institute’s Christian talker WMBI. His position at WBBM and WCFS is anchor/reporter. Read Feder’s entire column here.
KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh Adds Comic Jim Krenn to Friday Program. Joining the “KDKA Morning News with Larry Richert and John Shumway” each Friday is Jim Krenn, a popular Pittsburgh radio personality and comedian. KDKA-AM program director Jim Graci says, “KDKA is delighted to have Jim Krenn on the station each Friday morning. It’s like adding another big bat to an all-star lineup, and will give KDKA listeners another reason to smile heading into the weekend.” Krenn is a Pittsburgh native who worked successfully in Steel City radio for 24 years. He is currently producing a weekly podcast titled, “Jim Krenn: No Restrictions.”
Dreyer Named Director of Integrated Media for NRG. Appointed to the newly created position of director of integrated media for NRG Media is Erica Dreyer. In making the announcement, NRG president and CEO Mary Quass noted that Dreyer recently served in the same post for both Maverick Media of Rockford, Illinois and Mid-West Family Broadcasting of Rockford for the past seven-plus years. Quass states, “Digital media offers the greatest potential revenue growth for radio today. Erica Dreyer has earned seven awards for excellence in the digital arena. Dreyer’s the maverick we need to lead this new department.” In this position, Dreyer will be responsible for infusing new inventory and pricing techniques into NRG’s interactive portfolio. Dreyer will also train and educate sales departments in the station group to produce more sophisticated, high-value integrated solutions for clients and help educate advertisers about integrated solutions for their business needs. Dreyer starts with NRG on September 30.
WPHT, Philadelphia Speaker Series Hosts Senator Ted Cruz. Tonight’s event at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia is the latest in the WPHT Speaker Series and will feature Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) discussing the First and Fourth Amendments. The program takes place in observance of Constitution Day and WPHT morning drive personality Chris Stigall is moderating the discussion.
The Big Issue of the Day. Pictured here are ESPN personalities (from left to right) Jemele Hill, Jane McManus and Cari Champion in the studio during the production of the podcast “espnW Presents: The State of the NFL on ESPN Radio.” The show was a joint effort by espnW and ESPN Radio. Also appearing on the program were espnW personalities Kate Fagan and Sarah Spain. ESPN host Keith Olbermann and National Organization for Women president Terry O’Neill joined the conversation as guests.
The NFL and Domestic Violence, U.S.-Led Coalition Against ISIS, Mid-Term Elections, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Presidential Run, New Benghazi Investigation, Ebola Virus Pandemic Threat, Scotland Succession Referendum, and Obama Amnesty Issue Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/16). The ongoing furor over the domestic violence issues plaguing the NFL; debate over the potential effectiveness of the U.S.-led coalition to combat ISIS; the looming mid-term elections and how they may affect majorities in Congress; Hillary Clinton’s weekend appearance in Iowa and her possible run for president in 2016; the new Benghazi investigation; the status of the Ebola outbreak in Africa and the potential for a pandemic; Thursday’s referendum on whether Scotland breaks away from the U.K.; and Senator Ted Cruz’s effort to prevent amnesty action by President Obama were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Tom Leykis Holds eBay Auction; Winner Has Show Hosted from His Own Home. Saying that the Comrex equipment he uses makes doing this sort of remote a no-brainer, radio provocateur, online innovator and talk host legend Tom Leykis (left) is taking his internet radio program on the road for a live broadcast from the home of a lucky listener. The honor of having Leykis and his producer Gary Zabransky host Leykis’ New Normal-produced internet call-in show will go to the highest bidder on the eBay auction going on right now. The winner is invited to have friends over as part of the “studio audience.” Leykis tells TALKERS magazine that he began to realize how easy it is to be away from the studio with great sound quality and the ability to take callers after a chat with Comrex at a Talkers conference. He says, “I found the Comrex Access at your Talkers LA 2013 event and, ever since it arrived, we’re unchained from our studios and doing our shows from almost anywhere we want. It sends my voice at broadcast quality using simple broadband. No expensive ISDN installs, no big entourages to carry so much heavy equipment. I throw the Access into my car with its onboard mixer and some mics and go.” In fact, Leykis says the Comrex BRIC-Link (pictured here) works so well that he’s able to host his show from his ranch in northern Santa Barbara County, his house in Hollywood or anywhere, leaving his Los Angeles studio’s ISDN lines relegated to emergency back-up duty. Check out the Leykis show eBay auction here.
NRG Names Martin Digital Content Manager/Web Designer. Former seven-year Clear Channel Milwaukee director of online content Tim Martin joins NRG Media as digital content manager and corporate web designer. NRG Media chief operating officer Chuck DuCoty states that, owing to “the diversity of formats and listener appeal, this role is an important one to demonstrate NRG’s commitment to digital platform asset development on all NRG Media stations throughout Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin. I have had the pleasure of working with Tim when I was market manager of Milwaukee’s WISN and WLTQ; I can attest to his many talents. With his expertise, I am confident we will develop even more digital solutions to further engage our audience and our advertisers.” Martin observes that he will be “working with some of the nation’s best broadcast talents. This is a welcome challenge, as I will be putting all our broadcast assets to work to extend to the interactive space in every single market we serve. It is going to be a tremendous experience and one that is very meaningful.” Martin – who will continue to be Milwaukee-based – previously spent six years as Clear Channel Milwaukee’s IT manager and webmaster; in addition, he was that cluster’s promotions director (1995-2001).
Hillsdale College to Acquire Radio Station. The independent liberal arts college located in southern Michigan is announcing the acquisition of a radio signal – actually a low-power FM at 101.7 – that will become the school’s student run radio station when it’s fully operational. Hillsdale College is well known to talk radio listeners as it has been referred to often on the medium and has been lauded for its mission of institutional independence and high academic standards by major hosts. The call letters are WRFH – for Radio Free Hillsdale – and, according to FCC regulations must be operational by July of next summer. Writing in the school’s paper The Collegian, Jack Butler notes that broadcaster Vince Benedetto, president/CEO of Bold Gold Media Group, helped the school with the acquisition of the station. Pennsylvania-based Benedetto says he learned of the school through radio. “On a Scranton-area station we bought in 2010, I would hear on-air people — Mark Levin and Hugh Hewitt — talk about the college, and I was impressed with what I heard.” Benedetto tipped school president Larry Arnn to the availability of the signal and helped the school prep its FCC application. Benedetto adds, “It’s generally infrequent to just get to start a brand new radio station. But now the college has the opportunity to starts its very own.” John Miller is the Dow Journalism program director and he says, “I’m confident there will be a high level of student involvement. I want it to be for radio what The Collegian is for journalism.” Benedetto, whose station group spans Pennsylvania and New York State, tells the paper he thinks this will be a great thing for the school’s students. “The college is going to be creating opportunities for students interested in broadcasting. This is in every sense a real radio station. It’s hard to learn radio in a classroom environment because it’s so specific and technical.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison adds, “It is heartening to see an educational institution like Hillsdale College step up to the plate and provide the national conversation – specifically those on the moderate to conservative side of the spectrum — with research and policy papers that are based in legitimate scholarly principles as opposed to purely partisan objectives that seek victory often at the expense of truth. Unfortunately the latter has become a trend that, in my opinion, has sullied the credibility of some of the Washington-based think tanks that have moved away from such principles in recent years as the political discussion in America has coarsened on a very disturbing level – certainly a level that has not been of service to conservative talk radio. I see Hillsdale as a bright hope for the future as it relates to our industry.”
Likely PPM Panelists Big on Radio. One of the conclusions drawn from the most recent NuVoodoo Ratings Prospects Study from NuVoodoo Media Services is that radio remains highly relevant among those who would be inclined to participate in the current PPM ratings system. NuVoodoo VP of research Leigh Jacobs says, “Radio remains strong, particularly among could-be ratings participants. These human periscopes who are inclined to participate in the PPM ratings are beneficial in many ways. In our data, we’ve seen that they’re more highly attuned to paying attention to advertising messages and are more likely to enjoy the contests that radio stations use as part of their promotional arsenal. It’s especially beneficial to radio, since fewer listen daily among those who predicted that they wouldn’t participate in a PPM-style methodology.” NuVoodoo’s VP of marketing Mike O’Connor adds, “Armed with this information and deeper insights beyond, we can help our marketing clients target heavy users of radio with minimal waste. And with Facebook, Google and YouTube at our disposal in 2014, it’s never been more economical to reach them.” The company says it makes the full results of the study available to clients and this update was fielded going into the fall ratings season to make sure NuVoodoo clients have the benefit of the very latest intelligence on emerging social media platforms for use in their marketing and promotion plans.”
Crackin’ Up with Joan Rivers. The death of former radio talk show host Joan Rivers (WOR, 1997-2002) continues to be a news buzz and talk topic as the tragic demise of the multi-media pop cultural icon clearly struck a nerve with the American psyche. Digging through the TALKERS magazine archives, we found these two photos taken of the brilliant comedienne during her appearance at the Talkers New York 2000 conference (“New Media Seminar III”) at the peak of her talk radio career. Pictured above is Joan Rivers addressing the conference and then relaxing and entertaining TALKERS staffers with a non-stop barrage of hilarious wisecracks during the cocktail reception. Pictured at right (l-r): then-WOR, New York PD David Bernstein (currently TALKERS GM of broadcast operations); Joan Rivers; TALKERS business manager and executive assistant to the publisher, Barbara Kurland; the late-Sharon L. Harrison; and TALKERS associate publisher Matthew B. Harrison.
SiriusXM to Simulcast “Ellen.” Starting today (9/8), an audiocast of Emmy-award winning daytime program “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” can be heard on SiriusXM‘s”Stars,” channel 109, and through the SiriusXM internet radio app. The satcaster’s president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein opines that DeGeneres hosts “the most popular nationally syndicated daytime talk show. We know our listeners, whether they are in the car, at home, or on the go, will love being able to tune into the daily show through satellite radio, and not miss a minute.” This represents the first time DeGeneres’ daytime television talker will be available to radio and TV audiences; the new season of that program begins today. In addition to the simulcast, SiriusXM will rebroadcast “Ellen” the following morning at 9:00 am ET.
NJ101.5’s Alan Kasper to Retire. After a 25-year career with WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5,” chief meteorologist Alan Kasper announces he’s retiring from the station. The station says, “For a generation, Alan has been THE weather authority for the state of New Jersey. He is a legendary forecaster — from his broadcast TV days in New York City to his 25 years with New Jersey 101.5, Alan has often stood alone in accurately forecasting some of the worst weather New Jersey has ever seen. His precise track of snowstorms, hurricanes, and other major weather events have allowed residents to properly prepare and undoubtedly saved lives.” Eric Johnson is brand manager for “New Jersey 101.5” and he says, “A generation has grown up listening to Alan Kasper to find out if they had school the next day. While other media incessantly hypes the weather, Alan’s calm demeanor and friendly presentation delivered peace of mind to New Jersey residents. His dedication to bringing this critical information to our listeners is unmatched in the industry.” Meteorologist Dan Zarrow takes over for Kasper as chief meteorologist with the goal to expand Townsquare Media’s digital weather content across online, video and social media. He says, “I’m excited for the challenge. I grew up listening to Alan and will work hard every day to provide the same level of forecasting New Jersey has come to expect from New Jersey 101.5.”
WIP-FM, Philadelphia/Eagles Radiothon Raises $290,000-plus. The money raised during last week’s 2014 Eagles Radiothon on CBS RADIO’s “SportsRadio 94WIP” will go to the Eagles Youth Partnership (EYP) which serves more than 50,000 low-income children in the region with a focus on health and education programming. The three-day auction that ran from September 2 to September 4 offered Eagles fans and 94WIP listeners the opportunity to bid on unique sports and entertainment experience prizes involving their favorite Eagles players and “SportsRadio 94WIP” radio personalities. Participating shows included Angelo Cataldi & The Morning Team, Michael Barkann and Ike Reese, Anthony Gargano and Rob Ellis, and Josh Innes.
ESPN Builds Studio in Clevelander Hotel in Miami for Dan Le Batard. Miami-based sports talk personality Dan Le Batard moves into his new studios today. The facility at Miami Beach’s Clevelander Hotel will be the home of both his daily ESPN2 sports discussion program “Highly Questionable” and his eponymous ESPN Radio program. The set (pictured here) gives a different look but retains that Miami flavor. From its debut in 2011 until 2014, the show has originated from a set modeled after a 1950s Miami home kitchen. Le Batard states, “We are going to conga line from our colorful 1950s kitchen to something South Beach cooler. It’ll feel fun and colorful and like a party — like an ESPN Miami, next to a pool serving drinks.”
Round Four of August PPM Data Released. The fourth of four rounds of August 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The survey period was July 17 through August 13. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Odds & Sods. The ESPN2 program “Colin’s Football Show,” hosted by Colin Cowherd, is sporting a new theme written and performed by comedian and recording artist Rodney Carrington. The show debuted over the weekend (Sunday 9:00 am) and it begins with the tongue-in-cheek tune that asks viewers, “Are You Ready?” for Colin’s Football Show, and the open features Cowherd and Carrington with his band, with cameos by regular guests ESPN The Magazine editor-in-chief Chad Millman and ESPN Radio host Tom Waddle.…..CBS RADIO is partnering with the Travis Manion Foundation to promote the 9/11 Heroes Run. The Travis Manion Foundation is hosting the 9/11 Heroes Run 5K race this month in eight locations around the Greater Philadelphia Region. The annual race series will unite the community to remember the sacrifices of the heroes of the September 11th attacks and the wars fought since. Talk Radio 1210 WPHT, KYW Newsradio, 98.1 WOGL, SportsRadio 94WIP and CBS Sports Radio 610 AM have joined together to send hosts to many of the race locations across the Delaware Valley communities.
Doing What Works at Radio America. Nationally syndicated talk show hosts Darrell Anderson (left) and Maureen Anderson (second from left) – hosts of the program “Doing What Works” – are pictured here at the studios of Radio America. The two paid a visit to their syndicator’s offices and posed for this shot with Rich McFadden (second from right), Radio America operations director and Doug Stephan‘s “Good Day” co-host, and Radio America COO Mike Paradiso (right).
Marilu Henner Takes Atlanta. Nationally syndicated talk show host Marilu Henner is pictured here in the studios of WCFO, Atlanta where she broadcast her Sun Broadcast Group-syndicated program last week. Pictured here with Henner is WCFO general sales manager Jennifer Green.
Cool Job Opportunities: Anchors and Editors and Producers–Oh, My! Westwood One is looking for the best digital-savvy, full-time and part-time network news staff for its Washington, DC-based network news operation. This is a full-service, 24/7 operation supporting many of the top news and talk stations in the country. Candidates will be responsible for writing, producing, and anchoring newscasts, including editing audio and assembling sound cuts. Must have network quality delivery, excellent writing skills, and editorial and news judgment. Producers must have proficiency in digital audio editing, board op skills, and ability to effectively communicate in a fast-paced environment. These positions require demonstrated professional experience anchoring, writing, and producing, preferably at the network level. Interested candidates should send work samples, including anchoring, reporting, and news writing, along with cover letter, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
WABC, New York Adds Larry Mendte to Weekend Programming Lineup. Joining the WABC, New York Sunday evening lineup is Larry Mendte, who will host a weekly 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm program beginning July 27. The station notes that Mendte is “a familiar voice to the New York metro area, having most recently been a contributor to WPIX-TV’s nightly newscast producing commentaries…Returning to New York on 77 WABC allows Mendte to expand upon these commentaries, talk about New York’s biggest stories, and speak to Tri-State listeners with warmth, wit, and honesty that New York listeners have come to expect from Mendte and 77 WABC.” Mendte co-hosted the morning program on WWIQ, Philadelphia during its time as a news/talk outlet operated by Merlin Media. Mendte also hosts a television news and public affairs show for Me TV in Philadelphia. The show will soon air in New York on Me TV.
Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted. Up Today: Julie Talbott of Premiere Networks Receives the TALKERS “Woman of the Year” Award. Today (7/23) marks the seventh business day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last month’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014. The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms. The worldwide showing of these very special videos continues today with part 2 of the event’s traditional “Talkers Awards Ceremony” emceed by legendary Westwood One talk show host Jim Bohannon and featuring the presentation of the Judy Jarvis Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to Radio by a Woman (also known as the “Woman of the Year” award) by last year’s recipient Heather Cohen, EVP, the Weiss Agency to Julie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks. Talbott delivers an uplifting acceptance address in which she states, “This is really a fun business. But it’s a business…and it’s a tough business and we all have to continue to work together. I know we’re competitors – but we have to work together to really make something great happen.” Continuing on the theme of keeping radio work enjoyable, Talbott discusses her early days as a “pretty naive University of Kentucky small-town girl graduate” looking in New York City for a career area to enter and originally being attracted to the media field because the interviewers – unlike those in other areas of business she explored – seemed to be having fun in their work and were just as successful as the people she met in banking and other fields of business she encountered. She quickly realized, “That’s the creative business I want to be in!” She suggests, “We can’t forget the fun. We have to continually try to find some fun environment for the folks working for us.” To see this entire presentation, please click here. Coming tomorrow: part 3 of the Talkers Awards Ceremony in which Westwood One founder and Courtside Entertainment Group/Podcast One CEO Norm Pattiz receives the TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award. The TALKERS conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.
Entercom Chief David Field Asks Employees to Embrace Change, Lists Accomplishments in Mid-Year Memo. In his twice-annual memo to staffers, Entercom president and CEO David Field writes that everyone in the radio business must embrace change and innovate and challenges employees to do so within the guidelines of what Entercom believes in. He goes on to list those beliefs which start with its dedication to “building the best local radio stations with the best local personalities.” Also, Field speaks about the company’s accomplishments and points to the launch of new radio stations, the debut of its SmartReach Digital local marketing arm, and the “two-minute” promise at Seattle’s alternative “The End” which limits spots to six minutes per hour on the station with never more than 2 minutes of commercials at one time. Read his entire memo here.
WTMJ, Milwaukee to Debut Non-Sports Show Featuring Packers. The show is called “Tauscher and Kuhn” and will feature former Green Bay Packers lineman Mark Tauscher and current Packers fullback John Kuhn. It will air from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm on eight select Tuesdays beginning in September. The Journal Broadcast Group news/talk station has the show sponsored by Associated Bank. The program is not a sports talk show and will instead revolve around the two discussing current events, pop culture and more. Journal Milwaukee VP/GM of radio operations Tom Langmyer says, “WTMJ is committed to developing original, live, local programming and talent for our listeners. Mark and John have great chemistry. This is a chance to hear them unplugged discussing all areas of life, beyond the Xs and Os of sports. We look forward to have Mark and John on our team!” Tauscher says, “One of my favorite things while playing in the NFL was debating and arguing a wide range of topics in the locker room. John was and is always ready for a lively discussion, so I am looking forward to bringing our unique perspectives to the airwaves and having lots of fun along the way.”
Sabo: Five Steps to Managing a Problem. Media consultant Walter Sabo writes that because talk radio’s very purpose is to nurture controversy and opinion, there are ways to handle what might be perceived as a too-controversial event that help avoid “bad” PR and, worse, loss of advertising revenue or the decision to fire employees. Sabo notes that talk radio practitioners should be prepared to combat advertiser boycotts by arming themselves with examples of “controversial programming” on television on which they advertise because, most “family oriented” advertisers do air spots on TV shows that could be considered just as controversial – perhaps more so – than talk radio programming. For examples of this and more of Sabo’s five-step prescription, click here.
Odds & Sods. WPHT, Philadelphia mid-morning personality Dom Giordano is being inducted into the Philadelphia Area Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame in a ceremony that will take place on November 21 at the Hilton Philadelphia. See a complete list of inductees and honorees here…..Former San Francisco Giants pitcher and current team broadcaster Mike Krukow is suffering from a degenerative muscle disease called inclusion-body myositis. Krukow is part of the broadcast team for Comcast Sports Bay Area and for Cumulus Media’s KNBR, San Francisco. The disease is not life-threatening but there is no cure or treatment and it’s forced Krukow to use a cane for balance and to ride in a motorized cart at times…..Jake McCann is named vice president of sales for Cumulus Washington which puts him in charge of the sales effort for news/talk WMAL-AM/FM…..Digital Syndicate Network-owned sports talker WDKT, Beulah, North Dakota re-brands as “KDKT SportsRadio 1410” with the change in network affiliation from Fox Sports Radio to CBS Sports Radio. The station keeps Fox Sports Radio/DirecTV’s Dan Patrick and brings CBS’ Jim Rome back to the market after a year’s absence…..John Harper is named host of Relevant Radio’s “Morning Air” program. Harper joins the Catholic broadcaster after a career that includes time spent with ESPN building the sports giant’s “SportsCenter” into the iconic sports news programming that it’s become.
Bringing the Flight 17 Story Home to Listeners. Reporting from Kiev, Ukraine, ABC News Radio correspondent Aaron Katersky (left) speaks with US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt (right) in Kiev about the downing of Flight 17 and the political ramifications of Russia’s involvement in arming the Ukraine rebels.
ObamaCare Court Rulings, Flight 17 Investigation-Russian Responsibility, Gaza Strip Violence, Tony Dungy-Michael Sam Comments Controversy, Primary Races, Western Drought-California Water Shortage, Bill Clinton’s ‘Energizer’ Flap, and Illegal Child Immigration Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/22). Two separate and different Appeals Courts rulings on tax credits for citizens signing up for the Affordable Care Act; the ongoing investigation into the downing of Flight 17 and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s battle with the West over blame; the escalating violence in the Gaza Strip and Western airlines’ cessation of flights into Tel Aviv; the controversy over Tony Dungy’s comments about not drafting openly gay footballer Michael Sam because of the “distraction” it would cause; the mid-term primary races held on Tuesday; concern over the ongoing Western drought and Southern California’s low water supply; the latest published allegations about Bill Clinton’s paramour dubbed “Energizer”; and the influx of child illegals into the Southwest were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted. Up Today: Joyce Kaufman of WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale Receives the TALKERS “Humanitarian of the Year” Award. Today (7/22) marks the sixth business day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last month’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014. The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms. The worldwide showing of these very special videos continues today with part 1 of the event’s traditional “Talkers Awards Ceremony” emceed by legendary Westwood One talk show host Jim Bohannon and featuring the presentation of the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Radio Broadcaster by Talk Media, Inc. CEO Carole Marks (pictured here at left) to WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale personality Joyce Kaufman (pictured here at right). Kaufman gives a powerful acceptance speech in which she expresses her humble appreciation and encourages her fellow talk show hosts to exercise their radio programs’ full potential as a service to their communities, which she says are becoming increasingly disconnected due in part to the very technology of the modern era. She states, “If not us – who? If we don’t move people from merely talking into actually doing, we are missing the blessing that this platform gives us. If we don’t help the people who deserve our help, we will feed into the notion that we are a dispassionate nation that needs government to take care of us.” View the video of the award presentation here. Coming tomorrow: part 2 of the Talkers Awards Ceremony in which last year’s recipient of the Judy Jarvis Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Radio Industry by a Woman (also known as the “Woman of the Year” award), Heather Cohen EVP, The Weiss Agency presents the honor to this year’s recipient, Julie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks. The TALKERS conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.
Mancow Sues Maverick Radio Partners. From a story in today’s Chicago Tribune, Chicago-based talk show host Erich “Mancow” Muller is suing Maverick Radio Partners – led by Rodney Rainey – for allegedly trying to defraud him of $50,000 purported to be targeted to radio station investments. The Tribune story relates that Muller was approached by Rainey in December 2011 to be an investor in a project that would acquire a number of radio stations — beginning with WFRE and WFMD in Frederick, Maryland – and that the company had financial backing from Spartacus Partners Group. Based on a verbal deal, Mancow transferred $50,000 to Maverick with the understanding it would be held in escrow until Mancow was provided with documented proof that the additional funding for the station purchases was secured. That never happened and when Mancow sought his money back from Maverick, he alleges he received promises the money was on its way but it was never returned. Mancow is suing Maverick for fraud and breach of contract and is seeking the $50,000, plus interest and attorneys’ fees. See the Tribune story here.
Christa Dibiase Named GM of Clark Howard Brands. Accepting the promotion from executive producer of the Clark Howard show to general manager of Clark Howard Brands is Christa Dibiase. Effective immediately, Dibiase will be responsible for overseeing the Clark Howard nationally-syndicated radio show, television products, and all digital products, including ClarkHoward.com and consumer apps. In addition, she will continue to oversee the operation of The Consumer Action Center, a national service outreach that advises the public on money, financial and consumer questions via phone and internet. CMG Atlanta VP/market manager Ben Reed says, “We know Christa was the perfect person to take on this role. She led the radio show to become the most prominent consumer talk show in the country, and has repeatedly demonstrated her leadership abilities. She has been a key collaborative player in our organization over the years, working with radio, digital, television, and newspaper on many successful projects.” Dibiase comments, “I’m grateful for this opportunity to work with Clark and showcase what CMG is all about – collaborating with TV, radio, digital, and newspaper to create and distribute excellent content for our audience. In addition, the assistance provided by the Consumer Action Center is right in line with Clark and CMG’s commitment to serving others in our communities. I’m amazed every day by the 80-plus volunteers who give their time and energy to help others with their consumer dilemmas.”
KVET, Austin Names Sean Adams Midday Personality. Sports talk radio pro Sean Adams lands a daily gig on Clear Channel’s sports talker KVET-AM, Austin “Sports Talk AM 1300 The Zone” where he’ll hold down the 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm show beginning August 4. In addition to hosting “The Adams Theory,” he’ll also have a prominent role in game day broadcasts for University of Texas football. KVET-AM is the flagship station for radio play-by-play. Adams says, “I’m really excited to join the team at ‘AM 1300 The Zone.’ To cover the Texas Longhorns, and sports in general, on the official Longhorn station — backed by the power of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment — is a tremendous opportunity.”
Dan Patrick Broadcasts Live from KXTG-AM, Portland. The shot of Fox Sports Radio/DirecTV personality Dan Patrick is from the Bing Lounge in Portland where Patrick did his show live for Alpha Media affiliate KXTG-AM “750 The Game” on Friday, July 18. In addition to the live broadcast, Patrick and The Danettes also held a listener meet and greet at Buffalo Wild Wings in Beaverton, Oregon from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm where the crew took pictures and signed autographs. Alpha Media EVP of programming Scott Mahalick says, “We were thrilled to be able to bring Dan and the Danettes to the Pacific Northwest. They took time to genuinely connect with the listeners. This is definitely an experience all of us will remember for a long time.” The sports talk station recently began simulcasting on its new translator K274AR at 102.7 FM in the market.
WPHT, Philadelphia Presents Live Event as Part of Speaker Series. Midday talk show personality Dom Giordano will host WPHT, Philadelphia’s next speaker series event tomorrow evening as he’ll conduct a sit-down interview with former Marine Colonel Tom Manion about his book, Brothers Forever. The interview will take place aboard the Battleship New Jersey in Camden, New Jersey. Manion’s book details the courageous lives of his son, Marine 1st Lieutenant Travis Manion who died in the Al Anbar province of Iraq in 2007 and Travis’ former roommate U.S. Navy Seal Brendan Looney who also perished in battle. Manion will sign copies of his book for attendees.
Hangin’ with the Stars in Lake Tahoe. Pictured here is NBC Sports Radio weekend personality Brian Webber (left) with comic and television star Ray Romano (center) and SNL alum and movie and TV celeb Kevin Nealon (right) at the recent American Century Celebrity Golf Championship in Lake Tahoe. NBC Sports Radio broadcast from the charity tournament on Thursday and Friday and throughout the weekend.
Downing of Flight 17/Russian Responsibility Question, Gaza Strip Violence, Illegal Child Immigrants Crisis, NYPD Choke Hold Death Controversy and Clinton, Inc. Book, and Tony Dungy’s Michael Sam Comments Among Top Stories Yesterday (7/21). The continuing global controversy over the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight 17, Russia’s connection to the crash and the United States’ role in determining responsibility; the escalating violence in the Gaza Strip and Secretary of State John Kerry’s role in brokering peace; the influx of illegal child immigrants in the Southwest and the larger topic of immigration reform; the death of a New York City man who was put in a choke hold by police; the new Clinton, Inc. book; and Tony Dungy‘s comment he would not have drafted openly gay football player Michael Sam in order to avoid controversy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WYD Media Ad Sales Debuts. The New York-based sales venture being launched by WYD Media Management is called WYD Media Ad Sales, LLC and former Westwood One EVP of talk sales John Murphy takes the helm as president. WYD CEO Ron Hartenbaum announces the company will focus on personality-created spoken word content that’s distributed across multiple platforms such as audio, digital, video and more. He adds, “Based on his 30-year track record of success in national radio ad sales, specifically in the spoken word format, John is the ideal sales and marketing executive to build WYD Media Ad Sales.” Murphy, who spent more than a decade with Westwood One, comments, “This is the best time to start a new venture that focuses on monetizing spoken word content as the format expands across numerous distribution platforms. I look forward to working with WYD’s existing clients as well as creating new partnerships and content opportunities.” During his career Murphy has repped such talent as: Charles Osgood, Laura Ingraham, Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz, Clark Howard, Herman Cain, Mark Levin, Dennis Miller, John Gibson, John Tesh, Brian Kilmeade, Thom Hartmann, Lars Larson, Neal Boortz and more.
Ginny Morris Transitions to CEO of Hubbard Radio; Bruce Reese to Special Advisor Role. Since 1996, Bruce Reese had been serving Bonneville as president and CEO prior to the acquisition of the Bonneville stations by Hubbard in 2011. He kept his president and CEO role and joined Hubbard. Ginny Morris has been chair of the Hubbard board since 2011. Now, Reese will step back into a special advisor role and Morris will become chief executive officer. The company states that Reese has been “instrumental in the transition when the 17 Bonneville radio stations across four markets (Washington, D.C., Chicago, St. Louis and Cincinnati) were purchased by Hubbard Radio. The acquisition also meant the addition of 547 Bonneville employees.” Morris says, “Working with Bruce over these last three-and-a-half years on the integration, first on the Bonneville assets and subsequently those we bought from Sandusky and merged into a new Hubbard Radio, has been a great experience. Bruce is smart and strategic and he shares many of the values that our family holds dear — a commitment to localism, honesty and integrity. He has helped to establish a great foundation for the company and we are grateful to still have the benefit of his wise counsel.” Reese comments, “Over the last two decades, I’ve had the opportunity to run two great radio companies. After Bonneville was brought into Hubbard Radio, we all worked to preserve the values and spirit of both organizations while creating one corporate identity and culture. The success of the transition has exceeded my hopes, and I am grateful for the trust shown to me by Ginny and the entire Hubbard Radio family. Our company is performing well, and the time is right for Ginny to step into this role. I look forward to continuing to work with the Hubbard team in an advisory capacity while eagerly looking forward to the next chapter in my life.”
O&A Fans in ‘Watch and Wait’ Mode After Anthony Cumia’s July 3 Firing. Fans of the Opie & Anthony show on SiriusXM are waiting to see if co-host Gregg “Opie” Hughes continues the show without longtime partner Anthony Cumia after Cumia was fired from the satcaster on Friday, July 4. By now you’ve probably heard about Cumia’s vulgar rant about his confrontation with an African American woman in Times Square who was reportedly upset she was in his camera’s field of view as he took photos on the street. An altercation took place during which Cumia says the woman began punching him. Police were not called to the scene. Cumia took to Twitter to talk about the incident and used foul language while making the woman’s race part of the issue. After being fired, he Tweeted that SiriusXM “decided to cave” and fired him for something that didn’t happen on air and wasn’t illegal. TALKERS is not aware of the content of Cumia’s contract with SiriusXM but it appears the satcaster was within its rights to terminate him. He’s neither the first nor will he be the last radio personality to lose his gig after a Twitter rant. The advice seems obvious: Your employer will ultimately see what you do in the digital world; consider how the company would view your actions before posting.
Ethan Bearman Produces and Performs One-Hour Independence Day Special on WPHT, Philadelphia. Rising talk star Ethan Bearman, who is regularly heard weekends on Cumulus O&O KSFO, San Francisco and nationally on Genesis Communications Network (GCN), has expanded his broadcasting footprint to include CBS O&O WPHT, Philadelphia. Bearman was smartly recruited by WPHT, PD Jared Hart to do a live hour of Independence Day content last Friday between 3:00 pm and 4:00 pm ET on Philly’s 50k flamethrower and reports from the TALKERS monitoring corps indicate that it was a provocative, informative and powerful hour of spoken word radio. According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “Bearman analyzed the historical, cultural and political fabric of the American institution of the 4th of July in a meticulous and precise manner that had a number of ‘aha!’ moments. He took intelligent calls and made a number of really relevant points that left the audience thinking. I especially like the way he compared the leaders of that period – those folks we call the ‘Founding Fathers’ – to today’s crop of politicians asking the question, “Are there any political leaders today who would sign a document supporting an issue and campaign in which they believed at the significant risk of their lives?” Bearman was part of a larger WPHT July 4th salute in which station morning and midday hosts Chris Stigall and Dom Giordano broadcasted their shows from the Independence Hall Visitors Center.
Jason Lewis to End GCN Syndication Run. As tipped by “Free Talk Live” host Ian Freeman, nationally syndicated talk show host Jason Lewis will cease his syndication efforts with Genesis Communications Network effective August 1. Lewis first ventured into syndication from his Twin Cities home base several years ago with Premiere Networks. After his relationship with Premiere Networks ended, he joined GCN for national syndication three years ago. There’s no indication whether Lewis will leave flagship station KTLK, Minneapolis at that time.
Brad and Britt Debut Podcast Today from Branded Studio. Following up on last week’s report about the new podcast project being produced by talk radio personalities Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire, the two inform TALKERS that when they begin their podcast show – available for download by 3:00 pm ET today – they will be doing so from their sponsored studio: The Brad and Britt Tarheeldentist.com Studio. In a piece about the duo’s exit from WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte in the Greensboro News & Record, Krantz says they believe that money is starting to flow in the direction of audio on demand and are excited about the new venture.
Alpha Media Promotes Portland Cluster Marketing Pro Randi P’Pool to Corporate Position. This promotion for Portland market director of marketing Randi P’Pool comes shortly after the completed merger of Alpha Broadcasting, L&L Broadcasting and Main Line Broadcasting. P’Pool’s new title is corporate VP of marketing and promotions. Alpha Media president/CEO Bob Proffitt states, “I’m very happy Randi has accepted this position, as she has proven to be an invaluable asset to our Portland cluster and now will be true resource to the Alpha Media markets. She is creative, intelligent, and relentless – perfect qualifications for a corporate VP of marketing and promotions.” P’Pool comments, “I owe much gratitude to Bob Proffitt, Scott Mahalick and Larry Wilson for giving me the opportunity to be part of this exciting journey not only in radio but within our company. I look forward to continuing to grow and promote the live and local brand across all of our markets.” Prior to joining Alpha Broadcasting three years ago, P’Pool served with Citadel Broadcasting in the Salt Lake City market.
AdLarge Ups Tom Fleming. Adding more duties at AdLarge Media is Tom Fleming who is promoted to vice president, Midwest sales and sports sales. In this expanded role, Fleming will be responsible for the AdLarge repertoire of live, play-by-play NFL and NCAA football offerings, Yahoo Sports Radio, and all Midwest sales, including the Detroit office. Fleming had been serving as vice president, Midwest sales since joining AdLarge in October, 2013.
Pascagoula, Mississippi Radio Personality Walter Thornton Dead at 53. The Pascagoula-Moss Point community is mourning the death of local morning radio host and sportscaster Walter Thornton, who died over the holiday weekend of an apparent heart attack. The SunHerald reports the 53-year-old broadcaster was a standout high school athlete who remained involved in the local sports scene and became a sports talk host covering the prep scene in the area. Most recently he hosted the morning show and sports talk programs at Tri City Radio-owned WPMO, Pascagoula-Moss Point and sister station WVGG, Lucedale.
Will It Be “Governor Freeman?” Probably not, as “Free Talk Live” host Ian Freeman admits he’d have trouble “governing” anyone even if he beat the odds and is elected. But the co-host of the New Hampshire-based, GCN nationally syndicated show says his goal with the campaign is two-fold: “First, to needle the current governor, Maggie Hassan, on her refusal to decriminalize or legalize cannabis in NH, while admitting she smoked it in college; second, to promote the idea of NH declaring independence from the United States.” Freeman says he’s available for interviews from interested broadcasters about these issues. Contact him at email@example.com. Freeman is pictured here at far right while broadcasting from the recent Porcfest 2014 – the yearly camping gathering of libertarians that drew over 1,500 attendees, many of them FTL listeners. Also pictured are (from left to right) Free Talk Live’s Mark Edge, Nick Gillespie of Reason.com, and Jeffrey Tucker of Liberty.me.
Reaching Out to His Peeps. KIDO, Boise morning drive personality Kevin Miller rouses the crowd at the 48th annual Treasure Valley God and Country Festival. Miller tells TALKERS he was honored to fire up the crowd of some 9,000 that attended the festival to honors “faith and the military in Idaho.”
Cool Job Opportunity. Station Group in Little Rock Arkansas is looking to hire a General Manger to oversee all station operations for news/talk and sports talk. Sales acumen and experience in news and sports talk field a plus. Contact Steve Renfro at 479-287-4211 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Journal Broadcast Group Milwaukee Announces Promotions. From Tom Langmyer, VP/GM of radio operations for Journal Broadcast Group’s Milwaukee stations – news/talk WTMJ and adult hits WLWK “94.5 The Lake” – come the following promotions: Tom Sheridan is promoted to director of sales from his GSM position. The company says in this role, Sheridan has a more clearly defined, overall responsibility and accountability for all top-line revenue at Milwaukee’s radio operations. With his promotion it has eliminated the previous dual reporting structure for interactive and national sales and streamlined the sales organization. Jason Bjorson is elevated from local sales manager to general sales manager. Bjorson will continue to oversee local sales, with additional leadership responsibilities across all other top-line revenue streams. He will oversee sales training, recruit to expand the sales organization, develop general revenue strategies, lead the company’s growing events business and expand local relationships. Katie O’Connell is promoted to executive producer, digital content and social media. This new lead position will drive the company’s content and social media strategies across all platforms. Prior to her current role at Milwaukee’s radio operations, O’Connell served with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, WTMJ-TV, and Journal Interactive. Collin Roth has been promoted to managing editor for Right Wisconsin, working with WTMJ personality Charlie Sykes and leading his content team for this growing digital/subscription-based product. Additionally, Bryan Shore and Steve Frank have been named digital sales associates. Langmyer says, “This solid new structure and excellent team will lead us in product development, cross-platform content and revenue growth. These promotions represent a new leadership structure to drive further growth at Journal’s Milwaukee Radio Operations.”
“Brent & Meg” Graduate from TalkersRadio to Launch New Terrestrial Midday Show on GCN. The husband/wife talk radio team “Brent & Meg” (legendary rock radio personality/newsman Brent Seltzer and award-winning public relations veteran Meg McDonald) have signed a deal with Genesis Communications Network (GCN) to launch a Monday-Friday midday show (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm ET) on Monday, July 7. This development marks the first time a program conceived and launched on TalkersRadio has made the leap from the experimental platform operated by TALKERS magazine to terrestrial radio. “We couldn’t be more delighted,” states TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein, adding, “This marks an exciting milestone for TalkersRadio and is a wonderful testimony to our initial success in carrying out our ongoing mission to be a laboratory where new concepts in talk radio can be developed. I am personally proud of Brent & Meg because I believe what they’ve got to offer midday talk radio has been – with rare exceptions – a missing element from our medium for many years. They are, simply put, sensationally fresh!” TalkersRadio officially began streaming on Talkers.com in September of 2013 and Seltzer and McDonald were among its charter performers. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (who “discovered” Brent & Meg) adds, “Brent & Meg couldn’t be in better hands than with entrepreneurial visionary Ted Anderson who has done such a fantastic job of developing GCN into a budding powerhouse syndication firm. He reminds me of the old record company and studio heads who understood how to build and develop new talent and acts from the grassroots markets up. We sure need more of that in today’s network radio scene.” Harrison goes on to describe “Brent & Meg” as “the newest thing ‘old school’ has to offer – perfect, contemporary husband/wife chat for the midday position…where yesterday meets tomorrow.” To read TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian’s fascinating in-depth account of the Brent & Meg saga posted today (6/18), please click here.
Clear Channel to Put New Audience Targeting Tool to Use for 2014 Political Buys. The new tool is called AuDiO – short for Audience Delivery Optimizer – and what the company calls “a groundbreaking, proprietary radio targeting tool developed specifically for political advertisers.” Clear Channel goes on to say, “This first-of-its-kind radio optimization tool enables local and national political campaigns across the country to precisely target key voter segments using radio — which was confirmed by recent research to be one of the most effective and efficient consumer advertising vehicles.” How does it work? The company says AuDiO matches key information about 245 million Americans who listen to Clear Channel’s 840 U.S. terrestrial radio stations to leading political databases to make actionable predictions about which desired voter segment is listening to which stations at which times. The launch of AuDiO means that Clear Channel is now uniquely able to match broadcast listener data – for any of its 840 stations, at any time of day and in any political district nationwide – to multiple third-party data sources to identify which listeners fall into any given political district and, within that district’s listening audience, which segments are present and in what numbers. CCM+E EVP for political strategy Nathan Daschle comments, “Ninety-two percent of Americans listen to radio every month — but despite radio’s incredible reach, campaigns have never had a tool like AuDiO for radio before. AuDiO takes the guesswork out of radio buying by replacing wild hunches with actionable and precise models so that campaigns know which of their desired target audiences are listening, when and to whom. This means that campaigns, political parties and other groups across America have the ability to use radio in a much smarter way to reach their target voters.”
Nielsen Releases Revised Los Angeles PPM Data. After the controversial case of one Univision Los Angeles programming staffer (who’s been fired) being involved in a PPM household, which delayed the release of May PPM data for the market from last week to this week, the ratings company releases the Los Angeles numbers and revises the April PPM data for the market as well. Those numbers can be found at TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo here. Also, see managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian’s “Takeaway” from the LA ratings here.
Reality Star Nicole ‘Snooki’ Polizzi Podcast Debuts on PodcastOne. Add another colorful celebrity to the lineup of podcasts available through Norm Pattiz-founded PodcastOne as former “Jersey Shore” reality series cast member Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi begins producing a weekly on-demand show for the service. Pattiz comments, “Sometimes I feel like we’re on the Starship Enterprise going where no man has gone before! Taking a star of one medium like Nicole and exposing – in every sense of the word – her on another is what makes this all fun. PodcastOne is pleased to welcome Nicole’s audience to our platform and expose her to the additional hundred million monthly listeners who currently consume PodcastOne programs.”
AdLarge, KMG and Harris Media Partner for Control Room Pro Distribution. Three firms are teaming up to sell and distribute the new Control Room Pro suite of digital production field and studio tools. AdLarge Media will lead the national advertising sales effort, while KMG Networks will spearhead radio station distribution. The two firms share a similar relationship on behalf of several radio and digital products and services. Harris Media founder Lee Harris says, “Most of the new digital and mobile programs for broadcast radio are consumer-facing. We focused on the development of cutting-edge newsroom and radio station field tools that expedite the gathering of news-related material for anchors and streamlined the field reporting process.” Krantz Media Group president and CEO Gary Krantz adds, “Control Room Pro tools already are proven winners in the news/talk marketplace, including top stations like WINS, New York; WCBS-AM, New York; and KYW-AM, Philadelphia. News/talk stations have a high overhead on field equipment and in-studio production programs. These digital products fill a clear marketplace need by increasing productivity and decreasing equipment and production library costs. Radio station affiliates will experience positive bottom line results.”
WIP-FM, Philadelphia and Personality Angelo Cataldi Sell Bobbleheads to Benefit Police Survivors Fund. In cooperation with local business Cottman Transmission & Total Auto Care and the Philly Team Store, CBS RADIO sports talker WIP-FM, Philadelphia and morning drive personality Angelo Cataldi are selling Cataldi bobble-head dolls, a portion of the proceeds from which will benefit the Philadelphia F.O.P. Lodge #5 Survivors Fund. The dolls are being sold for $20 via the station’s website. Both Cottman Transmission and the Philly Team Store are giving dolls away with major purchases. The F.O.P. Lodge #5 Survivors Fund, since its inception, has been invaluable to the members of the lodge who have experienced the most devastating tragedies. The losses incurred by the families of deceased and extraordinarily injured officers cannot be recovered but can be eased through financial support or assistance. This fund continues to be able to provide help for families due to the charitable donations of police family, friends and business partners.
Cromwell’s Bud Walters to Receive National Radio Award. At the coming NAB Radio Show in Indianapolis in September, Cromwell Group founder and president Bud Walters will receive the NAB’s “National Radio Award” during the Radio Show Luncheon on September 12. NAB EVP of radio John David states, “Bud Walters’ exemplary leadership and his enthusiasm for radio have had a positive impact on the industry. We salute Bud for his tireless devotion to serving local communities through the power of radio.” Walters founded his company in 1972. He currently owns and operates 28 radio stations (six AM, 17 FM and five HD2+ translators) in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee.
Iraq Turmoil, Primary Results/State of the GOP, Hillary Clinton Memoir, Benghazi Suspect Prosecution, Child Immigrant Influx, IRS Scandal-Missing Lerner Emails, Soaring Food Prices, and World Cup Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/17). The violence in Iraq as a militant Muslim group vies for power in the state; the victories of Tea Party-backed candidates in the primaries and the future of the GOP; former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s memoir; the plans to prosecute a suspect in the deadly Benghazi attack; U.S. immigration policies and the large numbers of child immigrants pouring across the Southwest borders; the IRS scandal and the loss of Lois Lerner’s emails; the dramatic hike in U.S. meat prices; and American interest in World Cup action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
‘790 The Zone’ in Atlanta Drops Local Shows for ESPN Radio Programming. The Lincoln Financial Media-owned sports talk station will still carry Atlanta Falcons football – serving as the flagship – and will also air SEC football this fall. But the station drops the local sports talk shows for the full ESPN Radio lineup that includes: “Mike and Mike,” “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” “SVP & Russillo,” “The Dan Le Batard Show,” “Sedano & Stink” and the “Freddie Coleman Show.” Additional programming will include “SportsCenter AllNight,” and the live broadcast of NBA and MLB games, as well as other major sporting events. Although Colin Cowherd’s program has been airing in middays, David Archer and Mike Bell hosted the PM drive slot. LFM Atlanta SVP and GM Rick Mack says in a statement, “We are excited to launch a new schedule that provides Atlanta-area listeners with an even more robust slate of sports programming. By tapping more deeply into the talent and reach ESPN provides on a national stage, we will enable ‘790 The Zone’ to continue to set the standard each day for how sports news is communicated to the Atlanta sports fan…Staying connected to the Atlanta Falcons and SEC football are important to us. We believe the changes we have implemented serve two important purposes, including offering more programming variety to our listeners and maintaining the local footprint we have worked so hard to establish.”
Bayne Hosts Mornings at ‘Cities 92.9’ in Bloomington, Illinois. Former congressional candidate Ian Bayne is named host of the morning show on Pilot Media’s news/talk WRPW, Bloomington, Illinois “Cities 92.9.” He began hosting “The Morning Buzz with Ian Bayne on Monday, May 19. Bayne says to listeners, “Those of you who supported my congressional campaign in the Illinois 11th congressional district and had conversations with me about the future of our Republican party, I want to thank you. This is a tremendous opportunity for me to continue to rally the troops and inform the voters. Radio has always been my passion. Many of you know that I have a weekend syndicated show that will continue.” Bayne’s program airs from 5:00 am to 8:00 am.
Second in KTTH, Seattle Debate Series to Take Place Next Month. The title of the second in KTTH, Seattle’s debate series designed to encourage robust discussion of important issues in Western Washington is “Religious Freedom: Where My Rights and Your Rights Collide.” The panel of debaters includes KTTH talk show hosts, Ben Shapiro and Michael Medved as well as expert panelists Rev. Monica Corsaro of the Rainier Beach United Methodist Church, sponsor of the Boy Scouts troop with a gay leader; Huffington Post religion columnist Valerie Tarico; and James Wellman, chair of the UW comparative religion department and author of Evangelical vs. Liberal: The Clash of Christian Cultures in the Pacific Northwest. KTTH’s David Boze will serve as moderator. KTTH program director Jason Antebi states, “With so many important cultural and religious topics working their way through the court, this panel discussion is especially meaningful. I’m proud we can host another debate that tackles issues that matter to the community most, while actually seeking solutions and finding common ground.” The debate will take place on the Seattle University campus on June 26.
WPHT, Philadelphia to Host Congressional Primary Debate. The two Republicans vying for the right to run in November for the New Jersey Third Congressional Seat will meet at CBS RADIO’s WPHT, Philadelphia studios on Wednesday, May 21 for a one-hour debate. Candidates Steve Lonegan and Tom MacArthur will participate in the debate moderated by WPHT personality Dom Giordano from 10:00 am to 11:00 am.
‘TechSurvey 10’ Investigates Social Media Usage. The query into radio listeners’ social media usage and daily habits confirms what you probably suspected: Facebook is still the most-used social media service; and teens are using upstarts Instagram and Snapchat almost as much as Facebook. Asking radio listeners about their social media “cume” – whether they have a profile – and their “TSL” – daily usage, Jacobs Media reports the study shows that, yes Facebook is still the most-used service, but when it comes to what’s used on a daily basis, Twitter and Instagram begin to show their strength. Drilling down to generation “Z” (those 22 and younger), the study shows that, on a daily basis, that demo uses Instagram and Snapchat even more than Twitter. Check out the “cume” and “TSL” for P1s of the various radio formats as part of the data here.
WFED, Washington’s Francis Rose Honored with AFFIRM Award. The host of “In Depth with Francis Rose” will be honored by the Association for Federal Information Resources Management (AFFIRM) as it recognizes individuals and groups in the federal information technology community for leading innovation in government. The Hubbard Radio personality, heard on WFED, Washington and on FederalNewsRadio.com, will be the recipient of a 2014 AFFIRM President’s Award for Media. WFED program director Lisa Wolfe says, “We are very proud of Francis’ recognition from and involvement with AFFIRM. He brings the same energy and effort to their events as he does every day at Federal News Radio.”
Talk Host Doug Stephan and ‘My Cool Inventions’ Partner. Already recognized as one of America’s hardest-working talk personalities, “Good Day” host Doug Stephan will be lengthening his on-air day by another hour. Starting in less than two weeks (6/2), Stephan will be joining “My Cool Inventions” hosts Akos Jankura “The Solutionist” and John Cremeans “The Doctor of Shopology” in the 9:00 am to 10:00 am portion of their daily two-hour program. Affiliates of both shows will merge in the 9:00 am hour, and according to Stephan, “Being entrepreneurs, we are very pleased to be able to provide a substantial platform for these new inventors. Our listeners get to interact in a special way by not only witnessing the process of creation to execution, but getting to voice their opinion as well by voting.” Jankura comments, “We are lifting American families one innovation, one invention, one American at a time. We are looking for people who have a hundred million dollar product idea floating around in their heads and encouraging them to submit their product to us.” Listeners vote for a daily winner Monday through Thursday. Of those four finalists, an ultimate winner is named on Friday. Stephan Multimedia‘s “Good Day” airs weekdays 4:00 am to 10:00 am and Saturdays 7:00 am to 9:00 am on “more than” 350 stations. America’s Talk Radio Network’s “My Cool Inventions” is fed daily 9:00 am to 11:00 am.
Fisher House Memorial Day Special Lines Up News/Talk Affiliates. The three-hour Memorial Day weekend special “Our Greatest National Treasure” has some 125 affiliate stations. The program is a project of the Fisher House Foundation, which provides no-cost housing and other support for the families of wounded warriors while their loved ones receive treatment at military and VA hospitals. It spotlights their stories and shares the role that Fisher House played in their recovery. The show – hosted by KIRO-FM, Seattle morning drive host Dave Ross — may be aired anytime from May 24-26. It was written and produced by Marshall Adams and imaged by Chris Pendl. The promo voice is Chris Cutler. Premiere Networks is distributing the show via FTP. To sign up, contact Kurt Kretzschmar at email@example.com. Promos are provided and custom materials are available upon request. Stations that have signed up already will receive FTP download instructions via email from Premiere.
Kevin Miller Hosts Colorful Gubernatorial Candidate. The governor’s race in Idaho is getting national attention due to the colorful nature of the candidates. One of them – Harley Brown – is seated next to KIDO, Boise morning drive host Kevin Miller (left) in the picture you see here. Harley Brown’s answers and campaign antics earned him a write-up in the Washington Post after last week’s televised debate. The Post’s Jonathan Capehart writes, “Incumbent Gov. Butch Otter shared the stage with state Sen. Russ Fulcher and two other challengers right out of backcountry central casting.” Those challengers are Walt Bayes and the above pictured Brown. One of Brown’s exclamations during the debate was, “I’ve got a master’s degree in raising hell!” Read Capehart’s entire piece here.
VA Hospital Scandal, ObamaCare Criticism, U.S. vs Chinese Hackers, Russia’s Ukraine Aggression, CIA Phony Vaccine Program Policy, and 2016 Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/19). Controversy over the Arizona VA scandal and charges the poor care is widespread; continued scrutiny of the implementation and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the diplomatic battle between China and the U.S. over alleged hacking of U.S. commercial sites by trade secret thieves; Russia’s military incursion into the Ukraine; the White House’s new policy on fake vaccine programs run by CIA operatives; and speculation about candidates for president in 2016 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Ray 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.”
Ron 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.”
NAB 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.
Syndication: 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.
Immigration 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.
Q1 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.
NRG 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.”
Odds & 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.”
A 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.
Entercom 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 leader 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.”
Riley 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 the 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” 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.
First 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.
Odds & 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.
TRN 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.”
Emmis 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.
KSFO, 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.
WGN 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.
Jack 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.
Twin 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.
Chris 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 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 after 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.
Chattin’ 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!
Sittin’ 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.
FCC 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 information 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.”
WGN 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 at 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.
Phil 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.
Gerry 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 market 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.
TALKERS 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.
Radio 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.
Southern 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).
S-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.
Odds & 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 is 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.
Wichita 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.
Clear 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.
TALKERS 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.
Dave 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.
Still 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.
SiriusXM 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 on 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.
Greater 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 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 selected 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.
Klatt 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.
Learfield 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 Marketing. Learfield 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.
Odds & 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.
WestwoodOne 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.
Dana 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.
‘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 “CenterStage 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’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.”)
Envision’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.
CBS 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.
Public 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 Jon 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.
TALKERS 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.
Cool 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Journal Broadcast Group is an equal opportunity employer.
RAB 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 improvement 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.
Sean 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.”
Dan 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.”
Journal 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.”
Cox 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.
Twitter 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.
Odds & 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 e