Tag: "Piers Morgan"

Monday, February 24, 2014

| February 24, 2014

espnupstateEntercom Adds Sports Talker ‘ESPN Upstate’ to Greenville Brands.  In the Greenville, South Carolina market, Entercom is taking the WORD-AM and WYRD-AM signals and pairing them with Spartanburg, South Carolina translator W246BU and the HD-3 channel of WFBC and creating the new sports talk brand “ESPN Upstate.”  The station will carry the full ESPN Radio lineup except for the afternoon drive daypart which is being hosted by local personality Greg McKinney.  According to the station, McKinney “has done play-by-play for Greenville High School and national high school powerhouses Byrnes and Dorman High Schools.  He served on the football and basketball broadcast teams for Wofford College.  McKinney was inducted into the Wofford College Hall of Fame as recognition for his contributions to their play-by-play broadcasts.  He currently anchors ‘College Football Today,’ on ‘93.3 The Planet,’ prior to each Clemson football game.  Vice president and market manager Steve Sinicropi comments, “ESPN is the biggest name in sports and adding the most powerful brand in sports makes our dominant cluster of radio stations even stronger.  This past year we have had tremendous success in the sports arena with Clemson football play-by-play, Greg McKinney anchoring our ‘College Football Today’ pregame show, and Carolina Panthers football with our ‘Carolina Kick Off’ pre-game show hosted by The Rise Guys.  Adding ESPN is another major step as Entercom Upstate becomes THE place for sports radio in the market.”

dicarojulieTribune Moves DiCaro to Radio Operations.  In a move reported by Chicagoland Radio and Media, Julie DiCaro moves from her community manager role at the Chicago Tribune’s ChicagoNow site to a new post two floors up at Tribune Tower to WGN Radio where she’s now handling social media for news/talk WGN, online project WGN.fm and new sports talker WGWG “The Game 87.7.”  She will also oversee writing sports blogs for the stations and have an on-air role at WGWG.  DiCaro is an attorney who gave up practicing criminal and family law to pursue her passion of writing about sports.  She founded the Chicago Cubs-intensive blog A League of Her Own as well as the network of female blog writers titled Aerys Sports Network.

toryjohnCFRB, Toronto Talk Host John Tory to Run for Mayor.  Add former CFRB “The Live Drive” talk host John Tory to the growing list of people challenging colorful and embattled Mayor Rob Ford for the Toronto mayoral seat.  Tory has been host of “The Live Drive” since the fall of 2009. He was president and CEO of Rogers Communications from 1995 to 1999 (he is still a member of the Rogers board of directors) and has worked in the offices of notable Canadian politicians including former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.  Tory is resigning from his show to run for office and program director Mike Bendixen is quoted in a story on the “Newstalk 1010” website saying, “We would love John to stick around but…the station supports him in his endeavours in running for political office.”  As for the station’s treatment of him, Bendixen adds, “We’re gonna be just as hard on him as we would be on Rob Ford, as we would be with David Soknacki and Karen Stintz and Olivia Chow and whoever else decides to run.”

sokoljasenSokol to Host Late Morning Show on WAKR, Akron.  Another local program is added to the schedule at Rubber City Radio news/talker WAKR, Akron as news anchor and reporter Jasen Sokol begins hosting a two-hour show airing at 10:00 am today (2/24).  Sokol became part of the station’s news department after working at Kent State-owned WKSU, Kent while attending as a Walton D. Clarke Graduate Fellow.  Vice president of information media for Rubber City Ed Esposito comments, “We are proud to present the next generation of talent from Northeast Ohio.  Jasen is a true pro, with experience during his college career.  He’s smart, asks the questions that need to be asked but most importantly has the northeast Ohio sensibility and sensitivity WAKR listeners have come to expect.”

hunnicuttclayClear Channel Promotes Clay Hunnicutt to EVP and GM of National Programming Platforms.  This is a bump up from his most recent post as EVP of programming for the company’s largest markets.  According to a statement, in this new post, Hunnicutt will “work with [president of National Programming Platforms Tom] Poleman to oversee all aspects of the National Programming Platforms team, which develops and manages Clear Channel’s national programming ­ all on-air and digital content across the company’s radio stations and websites. He will work closely with Clear Channel’s senior and executive vice presidents of programming to emphasize the connection between Clearcclogo Channel’s 850 local radio stations and the National Programming Platforms assets, such as live events like the iHeartRadio Music Festival, iHeartRadio Ultimate Pool Party, iHeartRadio Country Festival and iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Tour, while also leveraging groups like the brand management in-house format team.  He will manage a team of programmers focused on sales integration with station programming , as well as the programming operations center and the Premium Choice network to ensure all content is executed and seamlessly integrated for Clear Channel’s national programming and advertising initiatives.  Hunnicutt will also continue as the company-wide brand manager for Clear Channel’s country stations.”  Poleman comments, “Clay has an unmatched connection with our local markets and knows how to link our national capabilities to our local assets.  He has a great understanding of the day-to-day programming of our local radio stations and what it takes to drive ratings and revenue.  His expertise will ensure our national platforms are of benefit to all of our radio stations nationwide, which gives us a huge competitive advantage.”

westbrianExecutive Changes at Nielsen.  Two executive moves at Nielsen are announced as chief financial officer Brian West is upped to chief operating officer and Jamere Jackson joins the company as CFO from his most recent post with General Electric.  The changes are effective March 10.  West takes over for Mitchell Habib who “moves to the next phase of his career, after a transition period.”  Nielsen CEO Mitch Barns says, “Our company has never been in a better place, due in large measure to Brian’s vision, leadership, and execution over the last seven years.  Brian is a trusted colleague and an exceptional business partner, with a proven track record of value creation.  As a key member of our leadership team, he has played an integral role in defining our growth strategy, allocating capital and delivering value to our shareholders.  His deep understanding of Nielsen’s people, operations, and clients well positions him to drive value in his new role as COO.”

morganpiersOdds & Sods.  The end is near for “Piers Morgan Tonight” on CNNThe New York Times columnist David Carr reports that the date of the final program is not certain but that the continued poor ratings are the reason.  Morgan tells Carr, “It’s been a painful period and lately we have taken a bath in the ratings…Look, I am a British guy debating American cultural issues, including guns, which has been very polarizing, and there is no doubt that there are many in the audience who are tired of me banging on about it.”  He says the show has “run its course and [CNN president Jeff istookernestZucker] and I have been talking for some time about different ways of using me.”…..Chisholm Trail Broadcasting’s KZLS – recently flipped to talk radio as “1640 The Eagle” – adds Ernest Istook’s syndicated talk show to the program quiversrobinschedule.  Istook represented the 5th Congressional District in Oklahoma for 14 years before leaving congress and pursuing other interests including broadcasting.  He says he intends to add more outlets for his program as it grows…..At Cumulus Media’s sports talk KFNZ, Salt Lake City, program director and air personality Tim Montemayor moves from the afternoon drive show where he was co-hosting with Kyle Gunther to the morning drive daypart…..Howard Stern show personality Robin Quivers was honored for Outstanding Literary Work by the NAACP at its “Image Awards” on Saturday, February 22.  Quivers recently published The Vegucation of Robin: How Real Food Saved My Life (Avery 2013).

SCBA colorSCBA Blog Introduces Auto Focus Report.  The latest blog from the Southern California Broadcasters Association and president Thom Callahan has been published and in this edition, Callahan introduces what it calls “an ambitious SCBA initiative to help regional auto dealer associations reach more customers more profitably by simply using more radio.”  Callahan comments, “The auto industry in Southern California and the nation, is facing a challenging year ahead with record new model introductions as well as a loomingcallahanthom factory incentive battle among most manufacturers.  This spells trouble for dealer profitability and makes the need to re-evaluate traditional radio/TV spending levels as an immediate focus.”  The SCBA Auto Focus Report will be “a detailed look at dealer association ad spending levels for radio and TV and compare those budgets to actual sales by dealership.  Using verified Polk Auto Data to document sales by dealership, the SCBA Auto Focus Report will create custom solutions and recommendations for each participating dealer association.”  Callahan adds, “Rather than just waving a ‘radio is great’ flag, we are approaching this project from a business point of view.  We have a compelling story to tell about cost of sales, profitability, and bringing substantive value to radio’s relationship with the auto industry.”

wearableiHeartRadio to Be Featured on Samsung Gear 2.  In the very near future when you’re doing your best Dick Tracy impersonation, your cool, new wrist device will allow you to hear your favorite music and talk programming as Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio is being featured on the new Samsung Gear 2 (pictured here).  The wrist-worn Gear 2 is a new device that keeps Samsung phone users connected with their phones and allows them to receive “Quick Glance notifications, such as texts, emails and phone calls, all on your wrist.”  Now, users will be able to control their iHeartRadio app operations from their wrist, as well.  The industry is calling this new device a “wearable” for obvious reasons.  CC president of digital Brian Lakamp says, “iHeartRadio is dedicated to providing even more access to the music, news and entertainment that our listeners love.  Wearables are an emerging access point for music fans, and Clear Channel continues to make iHeartRadio available everywhere our users are listening.  The sleek design and interface of the Samsung Gear 2 lends itself well to the iHeartRadio user experience and we believe it will be popular among our listeners.”

tradupuziNational Religious Broadcasters Conference Underway.  In Nashville, the National Religious Broadcasters Association conference is taking place and one of the companies with a presence is Salem Radio Networks.  Pictured here is SRN VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (left) presenting and SRN clock to Israeli minister of tourism Dr. Uzi Landau (right).  Tradup reports that Landau spoke about reporting truthfully on world events and warned of Iran’s atomic weapons program.  The conference is billed as an event that networks thousands of Christian communicators, from program producers to authors, pastors to engineers, directors to vendors presenting outstanding internationally known speakers and musicians and giving attendees the opportunity to attend numerous educational sessions on radio, TV, film, church media, internet and leadership, and receive helpful industry training.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison is keynoting a two-hour session today (2/24).

Monday, August 19, 2013

| August 19, 2013

mrc logoEight More Arbitron PPM Markets Gain Accreditation by MRC.  The Media Rating Council gives accreditation to eight more Arbitron PPM markets – making the total number of accredited markets 26.  In making the announcement, Arbitron notes that the MRC is not granting accreditation in the remaining 22 markets at this time.  The eight newly accredited markets include: Cleveland, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Denver-Boulder, Detroit, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood, Pittsburgh, Portland OR, and Nassau/Suffolk (Long arbitronIsland).  They join the 18 markets the MRC is voting to continue accreditation: Atlanta, Baltimore, Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, Chicago, Cincinnati, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Milwaukee-Racine, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Riverside-San Bernardino, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, St. Louis, and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater.  Arbitron executive vice president, service innovation and chief research officer Gregg Linder states, “MRC accreditation for our PPM markets is a company-wide priority at Arbitron, and we are pleased the MRC continues to recognize our ongoing efforts to improve Sample Performance Indicators and other quality metrics in our Portable People Meter ratings services.  Continuous improvement remains our watchword, for PPM and for all our ratings and software offerings and we are focused on earning accreditation for the balance of our PPM markets.”

theblaze logoFormer CNN Producer/Reporter Joins Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze.  Steve Krakauer – former CNN digital producer and media reporter – is named vice president of digital content for TheBlaze.  In his work at CNN, Krakauer oversaw the social and digital output of the CNN domestic U.S. television programs.  He also managed the team that ran @CNN — the network’s flagship Twitter account.  Krakauer joined CNN in November 2010 as the digital producer of “Piers Morgan Tonight.”  At TheBlaze, Krakauer will be responsible for growing the network’s presence across all digital media.  TheBlaze president and chief content officer Joel Cheatwood states, “Steve was one of the first people to truly recognize the growing relationship between digital media and traditional television and has built a remarkable track record integrating the two media.  We are excited to have Steve join TheBlaze as we continue to be at the forefront of creating a television network designed for the 21st century.”

schultzedEd Schultz Returns to Weeknights on MSNBC.  It hasn’t been quite five months since MSNBC moved “The Ed Show” from weeknights at 8:00 pm to a Saturday and Sunday 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot with Ed Schultz saying the move was for personal and professional reasons.  Now, the Hollywood Reporter writes that MSNBC president Phil Griffin asked Schultz to return to weekdays in the 5:00 pm slot replacing the first run of “Hardball with Chris Matthews.”  Matthews’ show will only air at 7:00 pm beginning August 26 when Schultz returns to weekdays.  Griffin told the publication, “Ed has proven himself no matter where we’ve put him.”

nprCEO Gary Nell to Exit NPR to Head Up National Geographic.  NPR CEO Gary Nell announces he’s leaving the public radio company after 21 months on the job.  In a letter to staff, he says, in part, “As president and CEO, supporting NPR’s success – your success – has been my highest ambition.  Working together, we have put NPR on more solid footing to continue to deliver the highest-quality journalism and programming.  We have launched innovative new platforms and made meaningful strides in attracting new audiences and new funding.  We have promoted a series of collaborations in news gathering, development, and a digital future.  And we have an exceptionally strong leadership team in place that is charting an ambitious path for our future.  We also face challenges, including the mandate to bring NPR to break-even cash operations.  We are completing a plan to focus our limited resources which support our essential services to stations and audiences.  We will present that plan to the Board soon, go over it carefully, and make it a reality.”  Nell took over the reins of NPR in December of 2011 after the high-profile departure of former CEO Vivian Schiller.  During her tenure, Juan Williams was fired after making comments on Fox News Channel admitting to feeling nervous when seeing people dressed in Muslim garb on airplanes.  Also, NPR fundraiser Ron Schiller (no relation) was recorded denigrating conservatives at a lunch meeting.

grahamkevinBoston Herald Reports Kevin Graham Will Succeed Jason Wolfe at WEEI-FM, Boston.  There is no confirmation from Entercom Boston market manager Jeff Brown about the Boston Herald’s recent report that KFNZ, Salt Lake City “1320 KFAN” program director and afternoon drive co-host Kevin Graham will take over the program director post at the station.  According to his bio on the KFNZ website, Graham was one of the key architects of KFNZ back in 1996 and has worked as programmer at KTAR-AM, Phoenix; WXYT, Detroit and other sports talk outlets.  In addition to programming KFNZ, Graham co-hosts the Gunther & Graham pm drive show with Kyle Gunther.  Longtime program director Jason Wolfe exited the station last week and the Boston media is rife with speculation about the status of the station’s air talent – especially morning duo John Dennis and Gerry CallahanCBS Radio’s crosstown WBZ-FM “The Sports Hub” has been topping WEEI-FM in recent ratings reports.  Still, the Herald also reports that Dennis and Callahan have been assured that they are not on the chopping block at this point.

talkersradio logoBrent Seltzer and Meg McDonald (“Brent & Meg”) Sign Up as Charter Members of TalkersRadio Lineup.  The married couple team of “Brent & Meg” (Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald, pictured below) join the initial lineup of the soon-to-be-launched experimental internet talk station, TalkersRadio.  They will be hosting a Monday through Friday, two-hour Los Angeles-based program titled, “The Brent & Meg Show,” that will stream live between 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm ET with possible re-streams at other times during the following 24 hours.seltzermegbrent  According to TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein, “There never has been a ‘Brent & Meg Show’ prior to TalkersRadio.  They are coming together to do this specifically because the station is designed for these kinds of experiments.  Although they’ve been married for 28 years and have been in the media business doing everything from amazing short-form features to ground-breaking public relations campaigns for years, the idea of them being on the air live as a team hosting a long-form talk show is the brainchild of Michael Harrison who has been after them to do this for over two years now since hearing them bounce off each other in the ongoing short-form feature ‘Brent Seltzer, Still at Large.’  “I am excited about the potential of this show.  We envision it to be in the tradition of the classic husband/wife chat shows of the golden era – except with its focus fully planted on a 21st century foundation.”  The short-form feature “Brent Seltzer, Still at Large” — written, produced and performed by the couple — has accrued a dedicated multi-platform cult-following on Podjockey.com and XM Satellite Radio after having broken out in 2008 as a hot commodity at KSRO, Santa Rosa.  According to the couple, “Outraged by the cable TV political bloviates, we invented ‘Brent Seltzer, Still at Large’ as a panacea to the anger and complacency that radio was becoming.  We figured that since all the extreme right wingers and extreme left wingers were only preaching to their targeted choirs, we could have an extremely good time talking about anything to everyone.  It is our intention to continue that tradition on the ‘Brent & Meg Show.’  Absolutely no politician, celebrity, corporate business practice, social custom, anything or anybody will be safe from our scathing, biting and hopefully humorous and entertaining observations.  Hey, we just wanna have fun!”

Brent Seltzer is legendary in the annals of West Coast radio having worked as a personality “rock ‘n’ roll newsman” on two of the most storied signals in rock radio history – KMET, Los Angeles and KGB, San Diego — as well as  LA’s KZLA-FM/AM, KNX-FM, and KMPC. He has also been a popular radio writer working for years at companies such as Watermark (“American Top 40”) and its founder Tom Rounds’ celebrated international company, Radio Express.

Born into a Hollywood show business family, Meg McDonald’s mother was the popular character actress Elisabeth Fraser and her father was the dancer Ray McDonald.  Although a native of Santa Monica, her parents divorced when she was very young and her Mom moved to New York to co-star with Phil Silvers in his popular comedy, “You’ll Never Get Rich,” later known as “The Phil Silvers Show.”  As her mother went to work in many classic films, TV shows and Broadway shows, Meg found herself surrounded by gifted writers including Neil Simon, Norman Lear and Gore Vidal.  Returning to LA after a few years, Meg never thought of herself as a performer, so she majored in Journalism at LACC, but chose a career in public relations where she has forged an award-winning history as founder of her own shop, McDonald Media Services.  Strikingly beautiful with a big gorgeous voice, she always wanted to be on-air but was too shy to take the shot, until she met Brent Seltzer. “The Brent & Meg” show debuts on TalkersRadio Tuesday, September 10.  For more information about TalkersRadio call 413-565-5413 or email GM David Bernstein at david@talkers.com.  TalkersRadio streaming is powered by Backbone Networks.

wowoamshowWOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne Morning Show to Begin TV Simulcast.  Federated Media’s WOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne will begin a simulcast of one hour of “Fort Wayne’s Morning News with Charly Butcher on local NBC affiliate WISE-TV “NBC33″ on September 23.  The television outlet will air the 6:00 am hour of  Butcher’s program using several high definition cameras placed in the studio and newsroom at WOWO.  Program director Ryan Wrecker says, “What we’re doing is taking a historic show in the market and advancing it to a new medium.  Finding new platforms for our product is an important part of our station strategy, and we think this is going to make a big impact not only in the market but it’s what should be expected for news/talk stations looking for ways to gain a younger audience share.”  Butcher states, “We’re excited to bring a show we work very hard on every morning to NBC33.  It’s another way for listeners to get a behind-the-scenes look at what we do and get all the information they need every morning.  I’m not excited that I might need to start wearing make-up.”  Pictured above is the WOWO-AM/FM morning show in action (Butcher at right.)

MLB LogoSiriusXM and MLB Reach Six-Year Extension.  Satcaster SiriusXM and Major League Baseball have reached an agreement to extend their relationship for another six years.  As a result, every regular season and post-season game will be available on both Sirius and XM platforms through 2016.  The deal also includes select exhibition games and Spanish-language broadcasts.  SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein states, “Baseball has been an essential part of our programming lineup and we’re very happy to extend our relationship with MLB to deliver the games to our subscribers for many years to come.  We’re especially pleased to now offer the games to SiriusXM subscribers whether they listen through Sirius radios, XM radios, the SiriusXM App or online.”

NPR Producer Teshima Walker Dies at 44.  After a two-year battle with colon cancer, NPR executive producer Teshima Walker passed away on Friday morning.  Walker had been executive producer of the Michel Martin-hosted “Tell Me More” program since 2011.  She’d been with the show in various capacities for four years prior to that.  During her career she had worked at WBEZ, Chicago and served as a producer on the Tavis Smiley program.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

| February 7, 2013

owensronnRonn Owens Signs New Deal with KGO, San Francisco.  The iconic Bay Area talk radio fixture begins his 38th year in the radio business after signing a two-year guaranteed deal with an option for a third year.  Ronn Owens was reported by Bay Area media blogger Rich Lieberman to be on his way out at the Cumulus Media heritage talker back in the fall – a story TALKERS picked up on – but that did not happen and it appears Owens is likely to mark his 40th anniversary in the business at KGO in a couple of years.  At a time when legendary personalities across the country are being ousted from their programs due to budget cuts and programming changes, it’s nice to see a figure of Owens’ magnitude sign up for a new tour of duty!

eaganbraudeBoston Media Personalities Margery Eagan and Jim Braude Land at Pubcaster WGBH.  Boston Herald columnist Margery Eagan and Boston TV and radio personality Jim Braude will begin hosting a daily 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm talk program on public radio outlet WGBH, Boston beginning February 25, almost two months after they exited Greater Media’s WTKK, Boston due to a format change.   Eagan and Braude hosted mornings at WTKK for much of the 13 years they were at WTKK.  The Boston Herald reports the current midday hosts at WGBH – Callie Crossley and Emily Rooney – will be featured on the new program as well.

paiajitFCC Commissioner Ajit Pai to Address AM Band at NAB Show in April.  The National Association of Broadcasters announces FCC Commissioner Ajit V. Pai will lead a session on AM radio revitalization at the NAB Show in Las Vegas on Monday, April 8.  The NAB states, “Broadcasters are exploring the challenges and opportunities related to revitalizing AM radio while continuing to provide the popular, local programming that millions of listeners rely on daily. This session, held within the Broadcast Management Conference, will address possible options for sustaining and enhancing AM radio as a unique entertainment medium.  Commissioner Pai, who has expressed special interest in the future of AM radio, will moderate a panel of AM radio leaders, engineers and policy experts.”

olivertrevorTrevor Oliver Exits Premiere Networks.  After 15 years with Premiere Networks, Trevor Oliver exits his SVP of operations position.  Oliver tells TALKERS magazine he leaves the company on very good terms and that he’s looking forward to his next opportunity.  Oliver, who joined Premiere in 1998, has an excellent reputation in the industry and TALKERS has no doubt he’ll put his numerous talents to use in the business somewhere very soon.

malonesamTalk Host Sam Malone to Return to Houston Airwaves (and Cablewaves!).  Houston radio personality Sam Malone – most recently heard in the market on Dan Patrick-owned news/talk KSEV – will begin a new program on Phonoscope Cable and the show will be simulcast on a local talk radio station to be named later.  The Houston Chronicle reports that Malone, who is serving as president of Phonoscope New Media, says the idea for a video and audio show grew out of his experience with Phonoscope.  “This is where radio will be going in the future.  We need to get the message to smartphones and iPads, not just car radios.”  In addition to KSEV, Malone has also worked at music outlets KRBE and KHMX in Houston.  He tells the Chronicle he’ll announce the radio station he’ll be on next week but says it’s a station he has not worked for in the past.

sweeneyjohnFormer Congressman John Sweeney to Host Albany Talk Show.  Four-term Republican Congressman John Sweeney begins a daily one-hour talk show on Capital Broadcasting’s WGDJ, Albany “Talk 1300.”  Sweeney joined president and general manager Paul Vandenburgh on his morning program to announce he’ll begin the 11:00 am to 12:00 noon program on Monday, February 11.  Sweeney says, “One of the things I miss about being in the public eye is my day-to-day interaction with the people.”  Vandenburgh states, “John has consistently been a leader in the Capital District.  Our goal from day one has been to provide a local product on a daily basis and John will be a marvelous addition.”

ramseyknoxDave Ramsey Knocks ‘em Dead in Knoxville.  Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey presented his “Building Your Legacy” event to a sold-out crowd in Knoxville recently.  Ramsey talked about how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence and worked with his daughter Rachel Cruze, who joined him on stage for the presentation.  Ramsey teamed up with local affiliate WNOX-FM to promote this event.  WNOX general manager Ed Brantley states, “Dave Ramsey’s ‘Building Your Legacy’ was a huge success not only for WNOX-FM and our sponsors but for the community.  Dave’s up-close-and-personal approach captured the sold-out crowd.”

la talk radio logoLA Talk Radio Celebrates 5th Anniversary.  The Los Angeles-based internet talk radio station is celebrating its fifth year “on the air.”  Founder Sam Hasson says, “LA Talk Radio has found its success in emerging radio talent in Los Angeles and the rest of the world.  We now provide over 80 shows of quality programming, giving ambitious hosts a vocal platform where they can build their listening audience.”  LA Talk Radio was born on February 4, 2008, as BBS Talk Radio launched in a “small but comfortable office” in a luxurious high-rise building in downtown Los Angeles.  It wasn’t long before Hasson had three daily shows and six weekly shows and soon thereafter began broadcasting 24 hours a day.

patrickmorgan gunsKTRH and KPRC, Houston’s Matt Patrick Faces Off with Piers Morgan on Gun Issue.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment personality Matt Patrick (r) – whose programs air on KTRH, Houston in AM drive and on sister KPRC in afternoons – is pictured here at a live remote broadcast from Tactical Firearms in Houston.  Patrick tells TALKERS magazine the remote was a “spirited and interactive show to a live audience of listeners.”  Patrick’s program aired live before CNN personality and gun legislation advocate Piers Morgan (c) brought his television show to the same location later that evening to argue for the proposed ban on high volume semi-automatic weapons. “Piers Morgan Tonight” aired from Tactical Firearms after Morgan agreed to come and use the gun range and try to experience why Texans love their guns.  Morgan agreed to appear on the final segment of Patrick’s program in front of a live audience.

kykn gun rallyKYKN, Salem, Oregon’s Bill Post Draws Crowd to Gun Rally.  Willamette Broadcasting’s KYKN, Salem helped draw a crowd of some 3,000 to the Oregon State Capitol on January 19 for a rally dubbed, “Guns Across America.”  A key speaker at the event was 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm talk host Bill Post (at the mic) who addressed the crowd about the gun legislation issue.  The station reports that requests for autographs and photos with Post were overwhelming.

Deficit Reduction Debate; Obama Drone Killing Controversy; Gun Legislation Proposals; Chris Christie Weight Flap and Obama Care Costs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/6).  The debate in Washington over reducing the deficit via tax and spending cuts; President Obama’s insistence on the right to use drones to kill U.S. citizens; the move to enact new gun control legislation; the media flap over Governor Chris Christie’s weight; and the looming costs of the Affordable Care Act were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

| January 8, 2013

cuddytomIt’s Official:  Tom Cuddy to Program WOR, New York.  The rumor of former WPLJ, New York PD Tom Cuddy’s new gig as programmer of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk WOR turns out to be true as the company officially announces his joining the station.  He says of his new position, “I’m beyond excited to be joining a news/talk station that enjoys legendary status in New York.  We have amazing plans to grow WOR and make it the hottest spot on the AM dial.  WOR has one of the best signals on the East Coast.”  Cuddy will work under former WABC, New York general manager Steve Borneman who recently joined WOR, as well.

smithjolanaJolana Smith Named PD at Cumulus Media’s WFAS, Westchester, New York Combo.  In her new position, Jolana Smith will program both the news/talk AM and the adult contemporary FM Cumulus is operating in Westchester.  She comes to the stations from Cox Media’s AC WEZN, Bridgeport, Connecticut “Star 99.9” where she co-hosted morning drive and did the midday shift.  In addition to programming both stations, Smith will host the midday shift on WFAS-FM.  Smith states, “What an amazing opportunity to be part of the Cumulus programming ranks and to be working with SVP/programming Mike McVay and VP/AC format captain Emily Boldon…Somebody pinch me!”

sirotadavidDavid Sirota Exits KHOW, Denver.  Progressive writer and columnist David Sirota exits Clear Channel’s KHOW, Denver where he’d been paired up with conservative Michael Brown for the past six months.  Prior to that Sirota hosted the morning show at progressive talk sister station KKZN.  The Denver Post reports neither side is saying much, obviously agreeing to not discuss the change in the press.  But Sirota confirmed he’s no longer with Clear Channel and CC Denver VP of programing Greg Foster offered the obligatory “we thank him and wish him well” statement.

sanchezrickRick Sanchez Lands Radio Gig at WIOD, Miami.  Former CNN personality Rick Sanchez had been seeking a talk radio gig since his departure from CNN in the fall of 2010.  Now, Sanchez takes over the afternoon drive slot at Clear Channel’s WIOD, Miami, replacing Rich Minaya.  The hiring of Cuban-born and Spanish-speaking Rick Sanchez is interesting in as much as his media experience doing bi-lingual talk and news programs will give him a unique approach to connecting with the Miami audience.  Sanchez was let go from CNN after making a comment on a radio program about Jews as minorities in the media business that was construed at politically incorrect.

deacesteveSteve Deace Show Clears New York City.  The Iowa-based Steve Deace talk show clears the Big Apple on Salem Communications’ WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” airing weeknights from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am.  Deace’s program is in its second year of national syndication.  Deace states, “To go live in New York City after only 13 months in syndication is quite an honor.  There are good hosts on hundreds of radio stations around the country who can’t get cleared in New York City, so I’m well aware of what this means for the future of our show.”  Salem director of spoken-word format Phil Boyce says, “We’re excited to see what one of the real rising talents in our industry can do in the nation’s number one market.  Many of us have been waiting for the next generation of talk radio to emerge, and Deace represents that next generation.”  Deace hosted a local program on WHO, Des Moines prior to going into syndication.  His national show is carried on WHO.

mcculloughkevinDaily Kevin McCullough Show Adds Nine Affiliates in 2013.  The nationally syndicated Kevin McCullough show adds nine new affiliates including: WWRC, Washington, DC; WGKA, Atlanta; KRCN, Denver; and WCRU, Charlotte.  The program is syndicated by McCullough’s XtreMedia Inc. and the recent additions put McCullough’s program over the 300-affiliate mark.  XtreMedia also syndicates the Dani Johnson radio program as well as the weekend Baldwin/McCullough show featuring McCullough and actor Stephen Baldwin.

cookehollandSports Offers Social Success Templates.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas covering the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show but prior to that, he took in the New Media Expo (formerly the Blogworld conference).  Cooke reports on the nuances of understanding and using social media for radio station promotion after hearing Amy Jo Martin’s keynote speech.  Cooke says Martin believes, “One of the fundamental adjustments broadcasters need to make the most of social media is to understand that tools like Facebook and Twitter aren’t just transmitters.  They’re conversations.”  And social media tools can help jocks and talk hosts be more authentic to their audiences.  Read more of Holland Cooke’s analysis here.

jonesmorgancnnAlex Jones Takes on Piers Morgan.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Alex Jones appeared on CNN on Monday evening with host Piers Morgan to debate the gun control issue and the petition to have British citizen Morgan deported in the wake of his high-profile call for new gun laws after the Newtown massacre.  Traditional talk show hosts tend to shy away from gun issues on their programs but the right to bear arms is a cornerstone of Alex Jones’ belief system and a regular topic on his program.  The feisty exchange on CNN was good TV theater and raises Jones’ national profile.  See the program here.

Obama Cabinet Nominations, Debt Ceiling Issue, NFL Playoffs, Gun Legislation Discussion and Aurora Theater Massacre Hearing Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/7).  President Obama’s nomination of Chuck Hagel for defense secretary and John Brennan for CIA chief; the issue of the nation’s debt ceiling; the weekend’s NFL playoff games; debate over changes to the nation’s gun laws; and the hearing in Colorado for Aurora theater massacre suspect James Holmes were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

townsquaremediaCool Job Opportunity.  Townsquare Media has an opportunity for the position of operations manager in Wichita Falls.  If you have experience in country, rock, CHR and news/talk formats this could be the job for you.  The OM will also serve as brand manager for our CHR station, 92.9 NIN, and must have a track record in that format.  You will also host an on-air shift on 92.9 NIN.  In addition to a strong ratings record, candidates should demonstrate a deep, rich understanding of interactive branding including social media, loyalty programs, content creation, e-commerce, streaming platforms, mobile and texting.  This job is much more than picking the hits.  The successful candidate will be a great leader, a talent coach, and a highly organized strategist.  You’ll need exceptional teamwork skills to produce results with experienced talent, programmers, sales and digital teams.  Strong working knowledge of music scheduling systems, digital audio systems and online media platforms are required.  You’ll manage multiple tasks at once, and great communication skills, attention to detail and a sense of humor are all a must.  We work hard and have fun doing it!  If you’re a fun, dynamic, creative, proven winner who loves working in media, contact Chuck Armstrong at Townsquare Media: chuck@townsquaremedia.com.  Townsquare Media is an equal opportunity employer.

Monday, October 1, 2012

| October 1, 2012

Lionel Joins Morning Show at Merlin Media’s WWIQ, Philadelphia.  Talk media personality Lionel – known for his years of expanding talk radio’s dimensions with successful stints in national syndication and in local markets gigs including New York City – joins the morning drive show at Merlin Media’s WWIQ, Philadelphia beginning today.  Lionel, who anchors Tribune’s WPIX-TV, New York’s “Morning News” from 4:00 am to 6:00 am and produces commentaries for the station that air on its 10:00 pm news, will join the program with Al Gardner from 6:00 am to 8:30 am.  In addition to these “traditional media” gigs, Lionel has been operating the digital media station LionelMedia.com for the past several years.

Gregg Henson Named PD at WPGB and WBGG, Pittsburgh.  Sports talk and news/talk pro Gregg Henson takes the programming reins at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk WPGB, Pittsburgh and sister sports talk WBGG “970 ESPN.”  Henson most recently served as director of programming operations at Federated Media’s WOWO, Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Henson says, “I’m excited to return to the Clear Channel family and I look forward to working with the excellent staff at ‘FM News Talk 104.7’ and ‘970 ESPN.’  Pittsburgh’s passionate and loyal Steelers and Penguins fans make this an exciting new opportunity.”  CC Pittsburgh OM David Edgar states, “Gregg has the skills and passion to lead our sports, talk, and news programming on all of our brands in Pittsburgh to new levels of success.  His past experience will be a great asset to the Clear Channel Pittsburgh team.”  Henson replaces Jay Bohannon who exited the cluster last month.

Dave Ramsey Celebrates 20th Anniversary in Radio with Big Nashville Bash including Affiliate Meetings and Gala Live Broadcast.  This past Friday, September 28, nationally syndicated radio talk show host Dave Ramsey marked his 20th year in radio with a special episode of “The Dave Ramsey Show.”  The program took place before a live audience of more than 2,000 listeners in a huge tent in the parking lot of Ramsey headquarters in suburban Nashville.  It included calls from long-time listeners and well-wishes from friends and celebrities such as Brad Paisley, George Stephanopoulos, Mark Cuban, Billy Gibbons, Piers Morgan, Zac Brown, Neil Cavuto, Darrell Waltrip, and Glenn Beck.  Video of the show was streamed live online.  Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam declared September 28, 2012 Dave Ramsey Day in the state of Tennessee.  He presented the proclamation to Ramsey during the first hour of the radio show (see photo).  The show was the culmination of Ramsey’s fifth annual Affiliate Executive Council (AEC) meeting held last week between Wednesday and Friday (9/26-28) in which he and his staff provided some 60 executives from his affiliates across the country with seminars, workshops breakout sessions and entertainment activities experienced in true Nashville fashion.  A highlight of the AEC event was an industry trade panel featuring professionals who have never been on one stage together.  The panel focused on current industry issues and events and was moderated by Radio Advertising Bureau CEO Erica Farber.  Al Peterson from NTS Media Online, Gene McKay from Inside Radio, and Michael Harrison from TALKERS and RadioInfo participated on the panel (see photo).  According to Harrison, “Attending the Ramsey event was an eye opener into how this amazing broadcaster and his superb staff have created a viable, productive partnership with their affiliate radio stations as well as a personal bond with them on a level unmatched by any other syndication company or network in the business.  Ramsey has created a business model and success story worthy of emulation, indeed!”

Syndicators Hit the Deck Running Today to Promote Shows to Stations Left Unprepared for Savage Exit.  After a weekend during which approximately 300 radio station managers who were affiliated with TRN’s Michael Savage Show (“The Savage Nation”) were trying to figure out what to put in the gaping vacancy left in their schedule by the sudden exit of Michael Savage from the airwaves this past Friday, the syndication and network community are readying a mad dash to get to them and have them consider taking any of a number of their available programs as its replacement.  Savage left the airwaves without warning after scoring a victory in a fierce legal battle with TRN to get out of his existing contract (see story below).  Talk Radio Network has teased that it will name Savage’s replacement (as “radio’s October surprise”) – at least within its stable of available hosts – sometime today.

Talk Host Michael Savage Produces First Internet-Only Broadcast.  Former Talk Radio Network nationally syndicate host Michael Savage – who won his arbitration case against the company last week to get out of his contract and left terrestrial immediately thereafter – produced his first Ustream-hosted webcast on Sunday evening (9/30).  Savage broadcast for about an hour.  His website encourages visitors to check back for announcements of future broadcasts.  The video is not being archived for repeat views at this time – so it must be watched live – and chatter on Ustream’s message board reveals some Savage fans are irked by that move.  Could it be that Savage is trying to create an appetite for a pay model?  The arbitrator’s decision voided Savage’s contract with TRN and allows him to work anywhere he likes.  Stay tuned!

TRN’s America’s Radio News Network Inks with Armed Forces Radio Network.  Talk Radio Network-owned America’s Radio News Network announces it has signed an agreement with Armed Forces Radio Network to serve as the top-of-the-hour news on the broadcast service for American military personnel.  American Forces Radio Network Worldwide director Jef Reilly, tells ARN, “The troops want news, not agendas, and I think you’re delivering that.”  ARN/ANN vice president for news John McCaslin says, “Our expanding team of news anchors, producers and board operators is extremely proud to enlist the trust of the millions of men and women of America’s armed forces, who every day put their lives on the line and sacrifice so much for those of us here at home.”

Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington Brings Del Walters Aboard Full Time.  Washington, DC’s all-news WTOP announces broadcast journalist Del Walters is promoted to a full-time position with the station.  WTOP states, “For more than two decades, Walters has been broadcasting in the Washington/Baltimore area, working as an anchor and investigative reporter for various stations including WJLA in Washington and WMAR in Baltimore.  Walters joined WTOP in 2010 as a part-time anchor and reporter but will now step into a full-time role.”

Clear Channel Flips WGST, Atlanta to Spanish Sports Talk.  Last week we reported that Clear Channel Media and Entertainment would be dropping the news/talk at heritage WGST, Atlanta and flipping to either a Spanish-language format or all-comedy.  CC chose to go with Spanish sports talk and debuted 640 ESPN Deportes on Friday afternoon.

Radio Vet Ron Cutler Shares Secrets of his Financial Success in New Radio Biz Book.  Radio veteran Ron Cutler turned a $15,000 investment in this industry into a $10 million payoff and now he’s written a book explaining how he did it.  The colorful radio and business book is titled How I Turned $15,000 into $10,000,000 (HIT) and You Can Too, and it serves up a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse into the radio business.  The advice is based on Cutler’s colorful experience as a top-rated Philadelphia DJ “Ron Diamond”; as the original owner and creator of the legendary KOME, the San Jose FM radio station that he sold to Michael Wiener and Gerald Carrus who formed Infinity Broadcasting making KOME Infinity’s first station; as the creator of 15 hit radio shows and services, Cutler was instrumental in launching the national shows of Rick Dees, Tom Joyner and Cousin Brucie;  as the owner of Cutler Comedy Networks, a leading comedy programming company that serviced more than 4,000 radio stations and was acquired in 1996 by Premiere Radio Networks; and as an entrepreneur in numerous entertainment ventures.  He tells TALKERS, “My path wasn’t an easy one.  At this stage in my life, I’d like to help others get a leg up, particularly during this challenging economy.  Perhaps the lessons that taught me resilience, determination and self-reliance will resonate with others.”   For more information visit www.roncutlerbooks.com. To interview Ron Cutler contact Amir Forester at 310-857-6207 or e-mail  amir@foresterpublicrelations.com.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

| August 8, 2012

SiriusXM Reports Revenue Up 13% in Q2; Net Subscribers Up 38%.  The satellite radio company announced second quarter numbers yesterday and reports revenue for that period was $838 million – up 13% over the same period in 2011.  Subscriber growth continues this year as the satcaster saw 463,000 self-pay net adds with the total adds for the year at around 1 million.  As for the status between Liberty Media and Sirius – or more specifically, Mel Karmazin whose contract expires in December?  Karmazin says his duty is clear, “I can assure you that our board and I are interested in trying to accomplish whatever Liberty wants to do as long as it’s in all of our shareholders’ best interests and that there is no issue involving Mel that has anything to do with the current conversations with Liberty at all.  Regarding my contract, it doesn’t expire until the end of the year, and prior to the Q3 earnings call, prior to our next call I think the board and I will deal with it.”  Liberty Media has been acquiring SiriusXM stock and holds about 46% of the shares.  It has twice asked the FCC to declare it in “de facto control” of the company but the FCC has balked.

Saga Communications Has Stable Q2.  Net operating revenue was up 0.7% for Saga Communications and station operating expense decreased 4.6% compared to the same period last year to $22 million.  On the radio side, operating income from continuing operations for the second quarter of 2012 was $9.56 million – up from the $8.60 million reported for the same period in 2011.

Big Talent Shuffle in Boston; Local Hosts Out at Clear Channel News/Talker.  There’s been a major re-alignment of syndicated talent in Boston and two local talk hosts – Jeff Katz and Jay Severin – are dropped from the program schedule at Clear Channel’s Talk 1200 (WXKS-AM).  Almost 2 and ½ years ago, Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh left Entercom’s WRKO, Boston – one of his first major market affiliates after going into syndication from home base WABC, New York – to become the anchor of Clear Channel’s crosstown WXKS-AM – Talk 1200.  Now, on August 21, Limbaugh returns to WRKO where management has remade the program schedule with tweaks that include current midday talk host Michele McPhee moving to AM drive alongside Todd Feinburg; current mid-morning host Barry Armstrong hosting “The Financial Exchange” from 9:00 am to 11:00 am and fill-in host and morning show contributor Jeff Kuhner now host of the 11:00 am to 12:00 noon program, “The Kuhner Report.”  Additionally, Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” with George Noory returns to WRKO in the 1:00 am to 5:00 am slot from CC’s crosstown WXKS-AM.  At Talk 1200, Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity now airs live in PM drive where Jay Severin was and Premiere’s “America Now with Andy Dean” is heard in AM drive in place of Jeff Katz.  Regarding the elimination of the Katz and Severin shows, Clear Channel Boston’s Joe Mazzei tells TALKERS, “Unfortunately, these are never easy decisions to make.  We appreciate their commitment and service to the station/company over the years, and we wish them all the best.”  Mazzei would not comment specifically on the status of Talk 1200 program director Paula O’Connor citing privacy issues but it appears her job has also been eliminated.  Katz tells TALKERS he can be reached at jeffkatzshow@aol.com.

Prime Time Continues to Be Trouble for CNN.  Though CNN remains a top-of-mind brand for Americans seeking breaking news coverage, its prime time talk-oriented programming is suffering persistent ratings problems.  Deadline Hollywood’s Dominic Patten writes that the cable news/talk network hit a 20-year low in the Nielsen ratings during the week of July 30 – August 5.  “‘Piers Morgan Tonight’ at 9:00 pm averaged 314,000 viewers overall, with a mere 81,000 in the 25-54 demo, according to Nielsen.  That average is the lowest week Morgan has had since he took over Larry King’s spot on January 17, 2011.  During the same time slot over on Fox News, Sean Hannity averaged 1,749,000 total viewers and 324,000 in the 25-54 demo.  On MSNBC, the Rachel Maddow show averaged 933,000 total viewers that week, with 271,000 in the key demo.”  Patten goes on to note, “‘Anderson Cooper 360’ at 8:00 pm averaged 349,000 viewers for the week, also with 81,000 in the demo.  Cooper’s 10:00 pm repeat had 97,000 among the 25-54 demo, the sixth lowest the network has had in two decades, but a slight 259,000 average total viewers for the week.  That averaged total viewership was the lowest 10:00 pm weekday hour CNN has had in 20 years.”

ESPN New York 98.7 Adds Bill Parcells Appearance to Michael Kay Show.  Legendary NFL coach Bill Parcells will make a weekly appearance on WEPN, New York’s Michael Kay show every Thursday at 4:00 pm beginning September 6.  The station is also expanding the role of Hall-of-Famer Joe Namath whose “Joe Namath Report” fills a whole hour of the Michael Kay show on Mondays at 6:00 pm during the season.  New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan will appear every Monday at 5:15 exclusively on Kay’s program as well.  WEPN VP/GM Dave Roberts says, “We’re focused on serving New York sports fans with the best in news and analysis.  The opportunity to work with someone like Bill Parcells allows us to deliver unique insight to our listeners.  We’re also thrilled to bring football to fans on the FM dial.  We anticipate a very exciting fall between our extensive list of weekly contributors and our complete coverage of both the Jets and Giants.”

Fox Sports Daybreak at Dolphins Camp.  “Fox Sports Daybreak” co-hosts Andy Furman and Artrell Hawkins are pictured here interviewing Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Jake Long at Dolphins Training camp in Davie, Florida.  HBO’s “Hard Knocks” series is following the Dolphins this season and invited the Fox Sports Radio morning program to take part in the camp.  During the two-day broadcast, Furman and Hawkins brought listeners an up-close look at NFL training camps, and talked to Long, defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle, Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin and NFL super-agent Drew Rosenhaus.

WRKO Tea Party.  Some of the air staff of the new lineup at Entercom’s WRKO, Boston pose for a photo during a remote broadcast of the Howie Carr show from the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum.  It was at Monday’s remote broadcast that the station announced its new program schedule, including the return of Rush Limbaugh to the station.  Pictured here are (from l-r): PM drive host Howie Carr; AM drive co-hosts Michele McPhee and Todd Feinburg; morning show producer Bill Cooksey; and Howie Carr show producer Nancy Shack.

 

Magic Matt Alan’s and Shadoe Stevens’ OutLaw Radio Enters Partnership with RadioLoyalty.  Radio legends Magic Matt Alan and Shadoe Stevens are partnering with internet radio firm RadioLoyalty to distribute their “OutLaw Radio” 24–hour radio channel.  The programming is billed as “a non-stop, high-energy party featuring celebrity and would-be celebrity guests gathered together by radio legends Magic Matt Alan and Shadoe Stevens.  It’s talk radio and irreverent humor broadcast from an 1876 Virginia City, Nevada-style Bar in the Hills of Encino, California.”  The RadioLoyalty website says, “The network is a spin-off of the original Outlaw Radio ‘show’ — on the air non-stop for more than a decade – and is the brainchild of Magic Matt Alan.  Alan was joined three years ago by radio legend Shadoe Stevens, who loved the show and helped expand the brand. He built the programming into a seven day a week, 24 hour radio channel…For more than 10 years, Matt and a roving cast of characters – The Demons of Decadence – have laughed their way through and around some of the most interesting celebrities on the planet with the slogan: ‘We smoke, we drink, we interrupt.’”  The programming can be found at RadioLoyalty.com beginning August 11.

Fleetwood Mac Co-Producer Ken Caillat Celebrates 35th Anniversary of Iconic Album with Book and Press Tour.  The co-producer of Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” album is available for radio interviews.  Ken Caillat was co-producer for the record that went on to become the third best-selling album of all time and tells all the stories of the making of the record in his new book, Making Rumours: The Inside Story of the Classic Fleetwood Mac Album (Wiley 2012).  The publisher states, “Ken recalls experiences from an era of excess, that include the endless partying, relationship dramas and creative struggles that ensued, while writing and recording these classic tracks, “You Make Loving Fun,” “Don’t Stop,” “Go Your Own Way,” “The Chain,” among others.”  Caillat is available for interviews.  Contact Samantha Schipman at Howard Rosen Promotion at 704-249-3951.

Presidential Election, Wisconsin Sikh Shooting Aftermath, London Olympics, and Mars Landing Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/7).  The campaign for president in the 2012 elections; the aftermath of the deadly shootings at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin; the 2012 London Olympics; and the landing of the rover Curiosity on Mars were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

| June 28, 2012

News Corp. Splits Its Assets in Two.  News Corporation officially announces it will chop its company into two separate, publicly traded companies, one consisting of its entertainment properties and the other its  publishing assets.  The issue was decided at yesterday’s board meeting.  Under the plan, the entertainment division will include the TV and movie businesses – Twentieth Century Fox, the Fox broadcast network, Fox News Channel and the other cable networks.  The publishing arm will consist of the newspapers – The Wall Street Journal, The Times of London and The Australian as well as the other publishing assets — including Harper Collins.  This will presumably also include The Wall Street Journal Radio NetworkSNL Kagan reports the two primary reasons for executing the split are to distance the more profitable entertainment assets from the phone hacking scandal — this reason has been denied by CEO Rupert Murdoch — and to encourage investors who are keen on the entertainment side but not the publishing business.  The first nine months of News Corp.’s 2012 fiscal year saw the entertainment division bring in $18.66 billion in net operating revenue while the publishing division’s net operating revenue was $6.22 billion.  However, analysts are not in agreement that the split will encourage that much investment and ultimately be as valuable to the entertainment side’s stock as it might appear at first blush.

Yahoo! and Clear Channel Agree to Content Sharing Deal.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment and Yahoo! partner on a distribution and cross-promotional deal in which Yahoo! will use the iHeartRadio digital platform as its official digital radio service while Yahoo! will be able to promote its content across CC’s 850 radio stations.  Yahoo! recently entered into deals with ABC News and CNBC to distribute jointly produced content across websites and television.  Interim Yahoo! CEO Ross Levinsohn – who is working to turn the struggling digital media company around and give it a focused direction – says of the pact, “This partnership will expand our ability to provide consumers and advertisers with the best premium content available and provide Clear Channel with unmatched digital reach.”  Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman says, “We were thrilled when Ross approached us about this partnership.  We like the direction Yahoo! is going and by working together we can accelerate growth for the both of us.”

The NFL’s Buffalo Bills Sue Cumulus Over “Incentive Rights Fee.”  Buffalo Bills play-by-play aired on Cumulus Media’s (and previously Citadel’s) WGRF-FM and WEDG-FM, Buffalo for the past 13 seasons through the 2011 season and now the team is suing Cumulus for what it says is the company’s failure to pay the “incentive rights fee” of about $1 million, according to the Buffalo News.  The suit states the incentive rights fee equals half the broadcaster’s gross revenues from the sale of related programming or advertising in connection with any Bills game, after accounting for certain costs.  The suit also contends, “For the 2011 NFL football season, the reasonable value of the exclusive radio broadcast rights and perquisites was believed to be at least $2.4 million, of which an amount believed to be at least $1 million remains due and owing.”  Attorneys for the team say Cumulus was to provide an independent auditor’s report on gross revenue and net revenue for the 2011 season and that has yet to happen.  The Buffalo News reports attempts to get a comment from Cumulus had not been successful.

Tom Leykis and Lionel on Strategies for Taking Talk Content to the Web.  This video from the recent 2012 TALKERS New Media Seminar – New York features The New Normal chief and talk radio legend Tom Leykis and LionelMedia.com personality Lionel discussing from-the-trenches strategies for bringing talk content – live streaming shows and podcasts – to the web.  The biggest challenge to this initiative is letting people know you are there and enticing them to listen.  Hear Leykis and Lionel speak about their work in this medium on this exclusive panel discussion in the TALKERS TV box on this page.  (Videography by Art Vuolo of Vuolo Video)

TuneIn Brings Major Broadcasters Cox Media Group, Emmis and Entercom Aboard.  Digital audio service TuneIn continues to build its roster of content with the signing of three of America’s big broadcasting companies to deals to distribute their audio.  Cox Media Group, Emmis Communications and Entercom radio stations will be heard on the TuneIn service that boasts 30 million monthly active listeners.  In announcing the deal, the chiefs of the three companies tout the enhanced distribution this will give their content.  Cox president Doug Franklin states, “As we transform into a digital media company, Cox Media Group is extending our great local brands to as many digital platforms as possible to seamlessly provide our audiences with the programming they want where and when they want it.  TuneIn leads the industry with their listener-first approach to everything they do, and we are excited to offer our broadcasts to the growing and vastly important digital audience.”  Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan comments, “Emmis is excited by today’s announcement.  We want to follow our listeners and deliver our content to the platforms they choose to use.  The TuneIn platform will provide our listeners from coast to coast another connection point with their favorite radio brands.”  And Entercom president and CEO David Field says, “This is a great deal for Entercom, for TuneIn and most importantly for our listeners. We are very pleased to align Entercom with such an innovative company as TuneIn, which will deliver our terrific local programming to a wider, digitally engaged audience.  Together, Entercom and TuneIn will deliver existing and new fans the best listening experience possible.”

Glenn Hall Named Managing Editor at TheBlaze.  Glenn Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts announces former editor in chief at TheStreet joins TheBlaze as managing editor.  The company states Glenn Hall will “oversee the day-to-day management and long-term editorial planning of TheBlaze.com’s editors and writers.”  Hall served as editor in chief at TheStreet until this past March and, according to comScore audience rankings, helped grow TheStreet into the 10th largest online financial media group, surpassing CNBC.com.  TheBlaze president and chief strategy officer Betsy Morgan says, “In under two years, we have attracted a growing team of over 25 reporters with a diverse range of experience ranging from a former CIA officer to CNN contributors.  We are excited to take our team to the next level with Glenn Hall who brings a strong track record of leading and overseeing high-quality coverage and award-winning journalism to TheBlaze.” Hall comments, “TheBlaze is an amazing web phenomenon that shows media can thrive in the new digital age provided the focus and mission are aligned with the needs of the audience.  I am excited about the opportunity to help grow this brand and raise the bar for digital journalism.”

CNN Suffers Worst Primetime Ratings Quarter in 21 Years; Cable News/Talk Network Makes Programming Changes.  TVNewser reports CNN’s 2012 second quarter primetime ratings were at their worst in 21 years with 446,000 total viewers and 129,000 in the adults 25-54 demo.  Compared to the second quarter of 2011, CNN is down 35% in total viewers in Total Day.  The numbers are similar in primetime with the network down 35% in total viewers and 41% in the adults 25-54 demo.  For individual shows, it’s hard to compare since the schedule has shifted and the same shows didn’t air at the same times last year.  But “Piers Morgan Tonight” (which hasn’t moved) is down 29% in total viewers and 33% in adults 25-54.  There is a bit of good news for the network as TVNewser reports June Nielsen numbers show younger viewers are increasing boosting Piers Morgan 9% in June, Anderson Cooper 5% and Erin Burnett 24%.  Meanwhile, the Time Warner cable news/talk network makes some programming changes: The seven-month-old “Early Start” show sees co-host Ashleigh Banfield move to the 11:00 am ET slot and newcomer John Berman becomes co-host of the program with Zoraida Sambolin.  Also, Kyra Phillips leaves CNN for duties at sister channel HLN.

KOZN, Omaha’s Kevin Kugler Transitions to National Correspondent Duties.  Sports talk host Kevin Kugler, currently co-host of the “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” afternoon show at NRG Media’s KOZN, Omaha – 1620 AM The Zone – will become a national sports correspondent for the station as he moves to a full-time position with the Big Ten Network – the conference’s TV network.  Kugler also serves as a play-by-play announcer for NFL football and NCAA basketball on the Dial Global Radio Networks and he will remain in that capacity.  KOZN program director Neil Nelkin states, “Kevin now gets a chance to cut his teeth as a play-by-play host for the Big 10 and still stay on The Zone.  It has been a joy and a privilege to watch Kevin as he evolved into a national sports correspondent.”  Kugler’s duties with The Zone will be as analyst, interviewer and guest anchor.  On his career transition, Kugler says, “This opportunity affords me the chance to remain on The Zone and stay in Omaha.  Although this is a new chapter for my career, I am still staying on my ‘home’ at 1620 The Zone but I will have even more insight to offer as a result of the various exclusive interviews and event coverage I will be able to do on BTN.”

KXL, Portland Names Dan Mitchinson PM Drive Co-Anchor.  Dan Mitchinson has been evening news anchor at Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle.  On July 9 he begins his new position with Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL, Portland where he’ll co-host the station’s “Portland’s Afternoon News” with Lacey Evans.  In a statement, Mitchinson says, “KXL is certainly one of the best-known news/talk stations in the country and one of the things that excites me the most it’s not just telling stories, but the way we’re able to start conversations with our listeners.  Anyone can read the news or check their Twitter account.  What KXL does best is tell passionate stories that make you feel even more involved with the city I now get to call home.”

The Anticipated ObamaCare Ruling, the Aftermath of the Arizona Illegal Immigration Law Decision, the 2012 Presidential Campaign, the Colorado Wildfires, and Eric Holder Contempt Vote Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/27).  The anticipation of the Supreme Court’s ruling on President Obama’s Affordable Care Act; the aftermath of the Court’s decision on the Arizona illegal immigration law; the ongoing 2012 presidential campaign; the wildfires raging through Colorado and the attempt by House Republicans to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt in connection with the ‘Fast and Furious’ program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, May 18, 2012

| May 18, 2012

Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio Hits 10 Million Registered Users in Eight Months.  The digital media player that Clear Channel Media and Entertainment has been vigorously promoting is growing, according to CC, “faster than nearly all other entertainment platforms, including Pandora, Facebook, Spotify and Instagram.”  The iHeartRadio player has more than 10 million users since the 10 million figure includes just registered users – only required for the custom station service.  Brian Lekamp, president of digital for CCME, states, “iHeartRadio has demonstrated incredibly rapid adoption, more than two times faster than other leading entertainment services – it’s mind-blowing.  We are thrilled with the consumer reaction and feedback.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, using the tremendous promotional power of our broadcast radio properties, has been able to drive this adoption like no other company could.  iHeartRadio offers a great product supported by unparalleled promotional capabilities.”

NPR Facing Fiscal Downturn; May End Year in the Red.  In a piece by Paul Farhi for the Washington Post, the challenging financial situation NPR is dealing with as the U.S. economy continues to struggle is brought to light.  New CEO Gary Knell tells Farhi NPR has operated at a deficit three out of the past four years and had to dip into its endowment fund to cover expenses.  This comes after the brutal 2008 fiscal year in which NPR was forced to cut 7% of its workforce after coming up $23 million short.  The situation for NPR is that corporate underwriting – or advertising – has fallen dramatically.  Instability in some of the corporate positions responsible for fundraising and underwriting have not helped the content provider, either.  NPR states that through March of this year, it was operating at a deficit of $2.6 million beyond what the endowment covers and when the end of its fiscal year rolls around in September, it may still be in the red.  Knell has told employees the last thing he wants to do is cut staffing and programming but he also states NPR cannot continue to operate as it is.  He tells the Post, “NPR has been withdrawing from the bank and we can’t keep doing that,” he said. “We have to be at break-even or be in a positive position on an annual basis, or I can tell you at some point we’re going to have to turn the lights off.”

CNN Suffers Lowest Prime Time Rating in 15 Years.  Time Warner’s CNN is getting more bad news after getting clobbered in the April Nielsen’s released last week.  Now, TVNewser reports “Piers Morgan Tonight” – which aired at 9:00 ET – pulled in just 39,000 viewers in the 25-54 demo on Tuesday, May 15.  The show garnered 284,000 total viewers which was not a record low.  The piece notes the program faced competition in the form of the season finale of “NCIS: L.A.,” “America’s Got Talent” and “Dancing with the Stars” which, all together, had 39 million total viewers.

WOWO, Fort Wayne Reporter Held in Contempt for Phone Use in Court.  WOWO, Fort Wayne news director Dave Wheaton was found in contempt at the Allen County Superior Court for using a station-owned iPhone while covering a guilty plea at a murder case at the courthouse.  Two sheriff’s deputies noticed Wheaton texting on the phone – a violation of court rules – and confiscated the phone.  Wheaton told Judge Fran Gull he did not see the numerous signs warning of the ban on phones in the courtroom to which the judge replied, “Candidly, I don’t believe you,” reports the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette.  The ban has been in effect since 2007 after courtroom attendees were found taking photos.  The judge ordered the phone destroyed but allowed WOWO owner Federated Media to download the contents first.

The State and Future of News on America’s News/Talk Radio Stations.  The rise of digital news sources, today’s quickening news cycle and the economic realities of our times are forcing news/talk radio stations to evaluate their news product and adapt to continue to serve their listeners.  In a feature story by TALKERS managing editor Kevin Casey coming to Talkers.com next week, programmers speak on the record about their news philosophy and its practical application.  KMOX, St. Louis operations director Steve Moore says despite the factors some think puts radio at a disadvantage for news, it’s still a very important element.  “Local news is the foundation for everything we do and that includes providing content and information for our programming staffs.  That relationship goes both ways.  Talent use their connections to flesh out stories that are heard on our newscasts.  A strong, local news department should be the perfect complement to a good talk show host.”  Read what some of today’s top news/talk programmers are saying about the state of news on their stations and in the larger media mix at Talkers.com next week.

Michael Harrison to Speak at New Jersey Broadcasters Association Conference.  June promises to be a busy month for Michael Harrison.  Less than one short week after the New Media Seminar in NYC, the publisher and founder of TALKERS magazine will deliver a special address at the 65th Annual New Jersey Broadcasters Association Conference on June 13.  The address titled, “The Future of the Stick and the Shtick: How Terrestrial Radio can Thrive in the Digital Age,” will provide a realistic focus on the key issues and challenges facing AM and FM radio today as it finds its place in the new and exotic landscape of 21st century technology and culture.  One of the key points that Harrison plans to make is that even though talk radio broadcasters are licking their chops at the prospect of music radio’s demise, one of the keys to talk radio’s growth in the coming years will actually be the survival and revival of music radio as a commercial and cultural force.  Harrison says, “An AM and FM band of only spoken word programming will not be enough to keep terrestrial radio afloat.  For terrestrial radio of all formats to have a healthy place from which to operate, it must reclaim ownership of the music scene - no doubt a daunting task.”  Harrison goes on to say that this can actually be done.  “The music scene in America has a desperate need for big-time leadership in terms of breaking new artists and product as well as defining and creating a cultural environment in which a healthy and  purposeful industry can operate.  This is something that radio has historically done effectively and can do again in the new century.”  Harrison suggests the key to doing this is to bring back the disc jockey as a viable broadcasting art form and the plugged-in music director as a connection to the street and marketplace.  “When music radio gave up its franchise on personalities - on-air talents who can present, deliver, and ‘sell’ a song, it set in motion its own destruction as well as inflicting damage to the music business itself.  It is not too late to correct this.”  The 65th Annual NJBA Conference will take place at Caesar’s Atlantic City June 12-13.  For information call 888-657-2346.

2012 Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for 7th Consecutive Week.  The race for president between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney once again was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of May 14-18, 2012.  Following at #2 was the Greece and Euro Zone fiscal crisis; at #3 was world financial markets activity; and at #4 was President Obama’s gay marriage stance.  The Talkers TenTM is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart of the top stories and people on news/talk radio here.

Commentators of the Year.  That’s ESPN’s Mike Golic – co-host of ESPN Radio’s and ESPN2’s “Mike & Mike in the Morning” show (c) – holding the awards given to him and co-host Mike Greenberg (not pictured) for being named Team ESPN’s Volunteer Commentators of the Year.  Next to Golic are ESPN EVP of production John Wildhack (l) and president of ESPN, Inc. John Skipper (r).  Golic and Greenberg were honored at a luncheon yesterday (5/17) with the award given to an ESPN commentator “who provides positive impact in the community through his or her volunteer efforts.”  The duo led the way on ESPN Radio for the “Don’t Give Up ESPYs V Foundation Auction” which raised more than $800,000 for The V Foundation for Cancer Research.  They have contributed their personal time to emcee the Jimmy V Basketball dinner, and visit military sites, like the Intrepid this year for ESPN’s Veterans Week.  Each received $1,000 to be donated to the charity of their choice and both elected to give it to The V Foundation.

Friday, May 4, 2012

| May 4, 2012

CNN Ratings Cause for Concern at Headquarters.  The executives at Time Warner and subsidiary CNN/U.S. are displeased with cable news/talk channel CNN’s performance in the April Nielsen ratings after much time and money has been spent tweaking the programming there.  The New York TimesBrian Stelter reports that sources say Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes has made his dissatisfaction with the channel’s performance known to his subordinates.  Over the past 18 months CNN has made numerous programming changes including replacing Larry King with Piers Morgan in the 9:00 pm ET slot; the addition of Soledad O’Brien as host of the morning show; and a new 7:00 pm ET show with Erin Burnett.  CNN has long stated publicly that it delivers a unique news product around the clock with which advertisers like being associated.  In fact, the entire CNN unit (including other domestic and international channels) is poised to make a record $600 million in operating profit this year.  The company issued the following statement in response to reports about the April ratings.  “Despite the perennial ratings stories and quotes from anonymous sources, CNN continues to deliver quality journalism which is uniquely valuable to audiences, advertisers and distributors.  In fact, CNN is on track to deliver its highest profits in its history and continues to reach more people on more platforms than any other TV network.”  Still, as Brian Stelter writes, “Performance of CNN/U.S. drives public perception — and employee pride — and declines there may gradually damage CNN’s networks as a whole.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison adds, “CNN would probably do better in both ratings and revenue if they stopped obviously competing with Fox News Channel and MSNBC in trying to be entertaining and opinionated concentrating, rather, on really being journalistic on a level not seen for years on American television.  There is an opening in the marketplace for such a product a mile wide and a deep need and hunger for it by a significant segment of the public.”

CC Media Holdings Reports Q1 Revenue Hike of 3%.  That 2012 first quarter revenue increase comes as CC Media Holdings posts $1.36 billion in revenue compared to the $1.32 for the same period a year ago.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment – which excludes the parent company’s outdoor divisions – was up 6% or $39 million compared to the first quarter of 2011.  CC Media Holdings CEO Bob Pittman states, “Since the start of 2012, we have continued to invest in our rapidly growing digital products and services, while strengthening our operations to better serve our marketing partners and our consumers.  We have enhanced our ability to help our partners take advantage of the unique size and scale of our media, entertainment and outdoor assets, with a particular focus on multi-platform solutions that no other company is able to deliver.”

KTRS, St. Louis Officially Announces Martin Kilcoyne Midday Host.  Monday’s story announced CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis was parting company with midday talk host JC Corcoran and would replace him with KTVI-TV, St. Louis sports director Martin Kilcoyne.  The station makes that official with general manager and partner Mark Dorsey stating, “Martin is a proven broadcaster, both in television and radio, and KTRS looks forward to bringing his personality, wit and opinions to the airwaves.”  Kilcoyne will assume the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show beginning Monday, May 14.  He says of his new gig, “I am thrilled to have an opportunity like this.  I’m a sports guy, but I love to talk about all things.  The plan is to have a show that St. Louis will find lively, topical and fresh.  I’m not Ted Koppel, but I’m also not Ted Baxter.”

First Quarter Positive for Salem Communications.  The first quarter of 2012 has been pretty good for Salem Communications and subsidiary Salem Broadcasting.  The parent company is reporting an increase of 6.1% on revenue of $54.3 million compared to the same period one year ago.  On the broadcasting side, Salem is up 2.9% on revenue of $44 million.  Broadcasting still makes up the bulk of Salem’s revenue but digital continues to perform well rising 33% over the same period in 2011 on revenue of $7.4 million.  The company is bullish about Q2 projecting a revenue increase of a couple percentage points with a total revenue goal of more than $55 million for the quarter.

Legal Battle May Ensue Over Merlin Media’s Blago Billboard.  This billboard pictured here is one of several purchased by Merlin Media in the Chicago area promoting all-news WIQI-FM – FM News 101.1.  Crain’s Chicago Business reports Merlin consultant John Gehron commenting on the marketing campaign saying, “We wanted to have something that we thought would be fun and get people’s attention.”  And apparently it has.  Attorney Sheldon Sorosky, who represents former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich – currently serving a 14-year prison sentence for corruption – says the use of Blagojevich’s image may violate an Illinois law prohibiting one’s image from being used for commercial gain without one’s consent.  Sorosky tells Crain’s it’s called the Right to Publicity Act and it states, “A person may not use an individual’s identity for commercial purposes during the individual’s lifetime without having obtained previous written consent from the appropriate person or persons.”  Sorosky says they have not decided whether to take legal action or not at this point.

Ric Edelman Celebrates 20 Years on the Radio This Weekend.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Ric Edelman, host of “The Truth About Money with Ric Edelman,” marks 20 years on the radio with his broadcast this weekend.  Edelman, an award-winning financial advisor, heard along with financial advisors Brandon Corso and Anderson Wozny, is heard in 56 markets including on WABC, New York; WLS, Chicago; and WMAL-AM/FM, Washington, DC.  He says, “It is a genuine privilege to do this show.  As I always say, ‘Money doesn’t come with instructions,’ so I’m honored for the opportunity to share my knowledge with so many listeners from across the country.”  Edelman, a member of TALKERS 2012 “Heavy Hundred,” is also seen on public television across the country as his TV program of the same name is in its second season.

Pamela Furr to Join New Atlanta All-Newser.  Talk show host and news anchor Pamela Furr confirms via Facebook that she’s headed to Atlanta to become part of the Cumulus Media FM all-news outlet slated for WYAY-FM in a few weeks.  The company has confirmed it will turn the outlet into an all-news station soon and obviously has begun hiring.  Furr most recently worked full time at Clear Channel’s WPTI-FM, Greensboro-Winston-Salem as co-host of the morning drive show.  She’s been freelancing doing news at CC’s WRDU-FM, Raleigh the past few weeks.

Atlanta Business Chronicle to Provide Content for Cumulus’ “All News 106.7.”  When Cumulus Media flips the switch on WYAY-FM, Gainesville, Georgia turning it into “All News 106.7,” the Atlanta Business Chronicle will provide exclusive business updates at :20 and :50.  In a statement, Cumulus co-COO John Dickey says, “Our partnership with the Atlanta Business Chronicle is consistent with our mission of bringing the most credible news and information to Atlantans 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  ABC is the definitive business news brand in Atlanta and 106.7 will be the definitive radio news and information brand in Atlanta.”  ABC publisher Ed Baker states, “It’s exciting that intelligent Atlantans are finally getting a much-needed all-news format.  We’re very excited to be a part of something new and different.  Quality business reporting is more important than ever and this partnership will allow us to deliver something special to our community.”

Cumulus Brings Celebrity News Blogger Perez Hilton Aboard for Nightly Radio Show.  At the same time the company announces that the new “Perez Nights Live” will replace Dial Global’s “Billy Bush Show” on stations where it airs and expects the show to debut on about 50 affiliate stations.  “Perez Nights Live” will feature Perez Hilton and co-host Adam Bomb and will consist of celebrity news chatter and music.  Cumulus co-COO John Dickey states, “Successful contemporary stations all have one thing in common: They keep their listeners on the cutting edge of music and pop culture.  Leading stations in our business set trends.  Perez doesn’t report on pop culture, he is pop culture.  ‘Perez Nights Live’ will take the important evening daypart and turn it into a brand enhancing experience.”

2012 Presidential Race Lands Atop Talkers TenTM for Fifth Straight Week.  The 2012 presidential campaign was again the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of April 30 – May 4, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  The race barely beat the case of Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng which landed at #2 followed very closely by President Obama’s Afghanistan visit and the government’s release of Osama bin Laden documents tied at #3.  The shocking death of retired NFL star Junior Seau came in at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published each Friday at Talkers.com.  View the entire chart for this week here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliation Roundup.  The “At Home with Bob Vila” feature from Compass Media Networks debuted this week on such signals as KOGO-AM/FM, San Diego; WTKK-FM, Boston; KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; KFNN, Phoenix; and KVON, Napa, California…..Courtside Media Group’s “One Minute Clinic with Dr. Drew” is being aired on Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP-FM, Washington…..“The Small Business Advocate with Jim Blasingame” is picked up by WZFG, Fargo; WHTX, Youngstown; and WGGH, Marion, Illinois….. “The Doctor’s Orders Radio Show” with Dr. Kipp Van Kamp is added to WTKI-AM/FM, Huntsville, Alabama and WEKI-AM/FM, Decatur, Alabama.

Profiling Courage.  That’s KIRO-FM, Seattle talk show host Dave Ross (r) pictured with Sgt. Leroy Petry (l).  Ross recently interviewed the Medal of Honor recipient for inclusion in the Memorial Day radio special “A Grateful Nation” – a one-hour program produced by the Fisher House Foundation and distributed by Premiere Networks.  Sgt. Petry is an Army Ranger who lost his hand while saving two comrades after he grabbed and tossed an enemy grenade during a battle in Afghanistan.

Friday, December 16, 2011

| December 16, 2011

Will Howard Stern’s Role on “America’s Got Talent” Hurt NBC’s Ability to Sell Ads?  By now you know that it’s official that Sirius XM’s Howard Stern is replacing Piers Morgan on the very successful summer talent search program, “America’s Got Talent.”  It didn’t take long for the Parents Television Council to react (they probably had the press release ready weeks ago!).  PTC president Tim Winter stated, “In an act of desperation for a flailing network, NBC has hired Howard Stern – a performer who is synonymous with shock, profanity and obscenity – as a judge on a prime-time talent competition.  The once-proud broadcast network has lost its way and has made it clear it holds no concern whatsoever for children and families.  It also risks losing millions in advertising dollars.”  We are not sure about the “flailing network” part – “America’s Got Talent” was the number one non-sports program among the four networks last summer and NBC has probably seriously considered what Stern’s effect on the program will be.  Certainly Stern won’t be interviewing porn stars on the TV show but he does come with a reputation and if the PTC and other groups decide to mount a serious campaign against NBC, will they be able to hurt the network over Stern’s reputation and not what actually transpires on the show?  Stay tuned.

Occupy KGO Draws Protesters to San Francisco Studios.  Earlier this week TALKERS reported the planned Occupy KGO event scheduled for yesterday (12/15) in reaction to Cumulus Media’s firing of Gene Burns, Ray Taliaferro, Gil Gross and several other talk hosts as the station moves to a newsier format.  The protest took place and, according to Matthew Lasar of RadioSurvivor.com, there were about 50 people gathered outside the studios at the height of the activity (accompanying photo from RadioSurvivor.com), including recently dismissed talk host John Rothman.  Lasar says Rothman told him, “Our hope is that Mickey Luckoff, our former president and general manager, is in the process of putting together a deal which would take all of us to one station and hopefully we will go with our advertisers, and we’ll begin all over again.” KGO issues the following statement regarding the protest: “KGO listeners are passionate about their station.  We appreciate their input and feedback as we evolve from a news/talk format to more news and information.”  Occupy KGO protesters say they’ll be back on December 30 for another march.

New KABC, Los Angeles Lineup: Geraldo in, Elder to PM Drive and More.  The Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan reports reliable sources tell him the new lineup for Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles is set and will debut in January.  Already known is that Doug McIntyre and Terri-Rae Elmer will host “McIntyre in the Morning.”  Lycan reports that Geraldo Rivera – emanating from WABC, New York – will host the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show on delay.  Other changes include evening host John Phillips moving from his current slot to a one-hour 9:00 am to 10:00 am program.  Premiere NetworksSean Hannity remains in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot followed by Larry Elder, who moves to the PM drive daypart from late mornings.  Current AM driver Peter Tilden moves to the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show following Citadel Media NetworksMark Levin in the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm position.

Female Demo Innovator Debbie Nigro Targets 40-Plus Female Audience with “Still a Babe” Concept.  One of the holy grails in talk radio programming is figuring out a dependable method of connecting with the underserved, under-reached female market.  If anyone out there has experience and a degree of success in this arena, it’s radio pro Debbie Nigro of “Working Mom on the Run” fame.  Now Debbie Nigro has turned her attention to reaching women ages 40-65 with her StillaBabe.com initiative.  The veteran of WPIX-FM, New York and the aforementioned nationally syndicated “Working Mom on the Run” program which made a big buzz in the 1990s says the “Still a Babe” concept comes from the sum of her life’s experiences.  She tells TALKERS special features correspondent Mike Kinosian, “It is about figuring out how to enjoy your life through it all and being around people who bring out the best in you.  I have great instincts about people and have so much information to share.  My revenue will come from media, product sales, offline events and licensing.  This is a collective power of the purse.  Women want to play with whom they trust.  I let my guard down so they know who I am.”  Nigro’s track record warrants industry attention.  Read more and see her very cool video presentation here.

“Free Talk Live” Jumps into the Fray Between Mark Levin and Michael Savage.  You already know that TRN host Michael Savage offered New Gingrich $1 million to quit the GOP race and, in response, Mark Levin offered Savage $100,000 to quit his radio program.  “Free Talk Live” host and founder Ian Freeman isn’t asking either host to quit his job for money.  Here’s his offer: “‘Free Talk Live’ will give $1,000 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital if Mark Levin and Michael Savage will have lunch with an Orthodox Muslim and also an undocumented immigrant that is working to feed his or her family.  Levin and Savage will have to video record their encounters and do less than 40% of the talking in each conversation.  Each host can earn up to $500 for St. Jude by submitting one video for their lunch with the Muslim and another for the immigrant.  Upon public upload to YouTube and once verified that the host listened in a video to at least 60% of the conversation, $250 will be given to St. Jude.  If by 2012 the hosts have not accomplished this goal, ‘Free Talk Live’ will raise at least $1,000 to be given to St. Jude in the name of peace, freedom, and compassion for other humans.”  If you’re interested in hearing more about this offer from Freeman, e-mail him at ian@freetalklive.com.

Glenn Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts Leases Irving, Texas Studio Space for Production and Live Events.  Since moving his personal residence to Texas, Premiere Networks star Glenn Beck has been working to relocate his Mercury Radio Arts production company to the Lone Star State and now it appears he’s found the space.  The Studios at Las Colinas is an existing facility that’s been home to the production of Hollywood films (“Robocop,” “JFK” and “Talk Radio” to name a few).  Mercury Radio Arts will lease space there for his GBTV studios from Muller Entertainment Studio Operations.  The site comes complete with a 500-plus seat theater for live performances and Beck will invite live audiences for tapings of his eponymous GBTV show.  He will also produce his radio program from the location.  In a release, Beck says, “I have come to know and respect the people of Texas and could not be more excited about GBTV studios – the future home of GBTV and a multi-platform destination for the fusion of entertainment and enlightenment.  We are proud to become part of the Dallas-Fort Worth area and are eager to become good neighbors and members of the local community.”

Cumulus Media Networks Names Jerry King Director of Operations in Dallas.  Mike McVay recently left his consulting firm McVay/Cook & Associates to take the SVP of corporate programming at Cumulus.  Now another McVay/Cook executive joins the Cumulus fold as Jerry King leaves his VP of operations and programming post there for the director of operations position with syndication arm Cumulus Media Networks in Dallas.  King will oversee the network’s Dallas operations, as well as the program directors and the 24/7 satellite delivered radio programming in fourteen different formats originating from Dallas beginning January 1.  Mike McVay states, “Jerry’s multi-format experience and expertise of the radio industry makes him a perfect fit for running our worldwide satellite operations as well as our diverse programming.”

Greater Media Introduces Anthony Michaels as New WLNK-FM, Charlotte PD.  The talk-intensive Hot AC station features Bob & Sheri in AM drive and Matt and Ramona in PM drive.  Anthony Michaels is the evening host and has served as interim PD for the station.  Now, Greater Media Charlotte VP and market manager Rick Feinblatt announces Michaels’ new role as program director.  “Anthony has done an amazing job as interim PD, along with his duties as APD and a night air shift. We look forward to him taking the station to the next level under his leadership.”  Michaels replaces Kris Abrams who exited the post four months ago.

2012 Presidential Race Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 12-16.  The battle between GOP primary candidates and the issues being discussed as part of the 2012 presidential race landed atop the Talkers TenTM chart this week.  The Talkers TenTM is the result of ongoing research into the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio across America and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  Also on the chart this week at #2 is the threatened government shutdown/payroll tax cut issue.  At #3 is the Iraq troop withdrawl and at #4 is NTSB cell phone ban proposal.  View the entire chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Dial Global’s Dennis Miller is picked up by Pamplin’s KKOV, Vancouver, Washington…..“The Handyman Show with Glenn Haege” adds WGDJ, Albany; WILS, Lansing; WGHN, Grand Haven, Michigan; and KSZL, Barstow, California.

Friday, November 11, 2011

| November 11, 2011

Blogworld New Media Expo/Los Angeles Hosts Thousands of Communicators.  It’s true that the majority of the attendees of last month’s Blogworld New Media Expo in Los Angeles last month don’t make a full-time living with their digital efforts but, as consultant Holland Cooke reports for TALKERS from Los Angeles, that is changing quickly and ad dollars “are simply following listeners from The Old to The New.”  Cooke reports what Ford chief marketing officer Jim Farley has to say about new Fords with built-in digital media access, relates thoughts from Edison Research VP/strategy & marketing Tom Webster (keynote speaker at the Blogworld/L.A. event) on understanding digital media and boils down what talk pros can learn from these confabs.  Read Holland Cooke’s report here.

Howard Stern Being Considered for Judge Role on “America’s Got Talent.”  Piers Morgan is stepping down from his role on the NBC reality show “America’s Got Talent” to focus on his nightly CNN program and The Wall Street Journal reports NBC is in talks with Sirius XM talk star Howard Stern to take over Morgan’s role on the program alongside Howie Mandel and Sharon Osbourne.  The paper reports Stern is asking for $15 million per year and to move the show from Los Angeles to New York.  Though the report states the discussions are serious, Howard Stern has a knack for inserting himself into stories like this leaving industry observers to wonder if this is another publicity stunt at which Stern excels so well.  Stern was reportedly considered for a judge role on Fox’s “American Idol” several years ago, as well.

KPAM, Portland to Broadcast Live from ‘Occupy Portland” Eviction.  Portland, Oregon Mayor Sam Adams issued an order giving the ‘Occupy Portland’ protesters until midnight Saturday to leave two downtown parks or be evicted by authorities.  KPAM program director Dennis Glasgow says the station will begin live coverage at 11:00 pm on Saturday evening with anchor and news director Tim Hohl at the radio station studios joined by midday host Victoria Taft, KPAM reporter Mark Provost and Portland Tribune columnists’ Jim Redden and Peter Korn.  Glasgow states, “This is an excellent opportunity for our listeners to enjoy live coverage as it happens at ‘Occupy Portland’ and get the very latest breaking news while the historic event comes to a head.  This type of local programming continues to be our promise to our listeners, that we are the leaders in local breaking news as ‘The Voice of Portland.’”

President Obama to Appear on Westwood One Sports’ College Hoops Broadcast.  Sportscaster Jim Gray will interview President Obama during halftime of this evening’s college basketball game – the Quicken Loans Carrie Classic – being played on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier stationed in San Diego.  Tonight’s Veterans Day game tips off Dial Global/Westwood One’s coverage of the 2011-2012 college basketball season.

MSNBC Reportedly Won’t Let Pat Buchanan Promote His Latest Book.  MSNBC personality Pat Buchanan has been appearing on other cable news/talk channels – CNN, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network – but he won’t be allowed to plug his latest book on the network for which he works.  According to TVNewser, an MSNBC executive says the network has made a conscious decision not to allow Buchanan to plug Suicide of a Superpower (Thomas Dunne Books 2011) because some consider the book’s message to be bigoted.   The theme of the book is described on Amazon.com this way: “America was born a Western Christian republic but is being transformed into a multiracial, multicultural, multilingual, multiethnic stew of a nation that has no successful precedent in the history of the world.”  The groups CREDO Action and ColorofChange.org are pushing for MSNBC to fire Buchanan for his views and “long history of bigoted rhetoric.”

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  WSJRN’s “The Daily Wrap  from the Wall Street Journal with Michael Castner”  picks up 16 new affiliates including WHJJ, Providence; Buckley Broadcasting’s Hartford, Connecticut simulcast of WDRC/WMMW/WWCO/WSNG; KQV, Pittsburgh; and WGIR, Manchester, New Hampshire…..Radio America’s Peter Schiff show adds KKOV, Portland to its roster of affiliates…..the Kevin McCullough show is added to the program lineup at WGCF-FM, Paducah, Kentucky; KAPG-FM, Bentonville/Fayetteville, Arkansas; and KJSB, Jonesboro, Arkansas…..Talk Shows USA-syndicated “Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk” picks up WXKT-FM, Gainesville, Georgia; WKEI, Kewanee, Illinois; WHUB, Cookeville, Tennessee; and WTHQ, Brookport, Illinois.

Special Veterans Day Broadcast.  WXKS, Boston morning drive host Jeff Katz (l) is pictured here with United States Marine Corps General John Kelly (r) at Katz’s special broadcast live from the Fisher House at the V.A. Hospital in Boston.  Katz broadcast a special tribute for the 236th anniversary of the USMC and had an emotional interview with General Kelly whose son Robert was killed in action one year ago.  The general was at the Fisher House to dedicate a garden in memory of his son.

 

Herman Cain Accusations/2012 Presidential Race/GOP Debate Top News/Talk Story for Week of November 7-11.  Landing atop the Talkers TenTM for the week of November 7-11 was the combined story of the accusations of sexual impropriety by candidate Herman Cain, the 2012 presidential race and Wednesday evening’s GOP debate.  Coming in at #2 was the Penn State scandal followed by the Euro Zone economic jitters and Silvio Berlusconi resignation followed by the financial markets activity at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is published every Friday at Talkers.com and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  Click the banner below to view the entire chart.