Tornado Damage Reported Via Multi-Media on McGraw Milhaven Show. The series of tornadoes that swept across the Midwest on Sunday left serious damage in New Minden, Illinois – about an hour East of St. Louis. The photo you see here is from the video component of KTRS, St. Louis morning host McGraw Milhaven’s online platform. Since the spring, Milhaven has been partnering with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s StlToday.com site to present his program in a video format. Today, he used that medium to his advantage as reporter Michael Golde was able to report back to the studio via Skype and show viewers scenes from the storm-damaged town and converse with Milhaven and news anchor Kelly Jackson. In posting the video on YouTube, Milhaven comments, “KTRS Radio in St Louis is the only radio station in the country to show live video of storm-damaged areas of Ill. to listeners on laptops, desktops and smartphones as well as the radio.”
JVC Media to Flip Rock WRCN, Long Island to News/Talk After Christmas. Longtime rocker WRCN, Riverhead, New York has stopped playing “everything that rocks” and has gone Christmas music through the holidays. But after Christmas, the station will emerge as a news/talk outlet dubbed “LI News Radio 103.9.” JVC Media president and CEO John Caracciolo explains the company’s thinking in a statement: “WRCN has a long history and heritage on Long Island – many of us have grown up with the station and it has become an intricate part of our lives. But as our lives change so does our soundtrack. What we listened to growing up is not necessarily what we listen to now and what was important to us as teenagers maybe doesn’t seem so important anymore. That’s why we made the decision to change WRCN and develop and program a radio station that fits the needs of Long Island…Long Islanders are starving for local news and information. Why should we have to wait 22 minutes to hear about the world when all we really want is Islip to Southampton? What’s the traffic like on the 347 merge or Sunrise Highway in Oakdale? This station will not only serve as your information source but it will be your sounding board for issues that influence your life, your community and your business.” Talent that has been announced to be part of the new format includes Premiere Networks nationally syndicated star Sean Hannity and Cumulus Media Networks personality Mark Levin as well as local hosts Ernie Fasio, Vic Fusco, John Gomez, Kevin Law, Steve Levy, Frank McKay, and Jay Oliver.
Linda Thomas to Exit KIRO-FM, Seattle. Morning news anchor and reporter Linda Thomas announces she will be leaving Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle at the end of the year for a new opportunity that, as she says, “doesn’t involve being at work by 2:00 am.” In a blog post at the company’s Mynorthwest.com, she writes, “My Bonneville Seattle bosses understand and support my decision too, even though they don’t want me to leave. That’s what family members do. I’ll always be grateful for them, and for you.” Thomas first worked at KIRO in 1988 as an overnight editor and became morning drive anchor in 1993. She left the station to work as a freelancer but returned to KIRO-FM as morning anchor in 2010. She adds, “KIRO’s news, talk and online teams are the best in the business. It’s been an honor to work alongside amazing talent. I’ve learned a lot from all my co-workers. They encourage me, challenge me, and make me laugh on a daily basis. I really do love them.”
Michelle Wright Let Go from All-News WYAY, Atlanta. The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho tips us that morning drive co-anchor Michelle Wright has been let go from Cumulus Media’s all-news WYAY, Atlanta “All-News 106.7.” Andy Rose remains in AM drive solo. The speculation is that the recent hiring of Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson to host a talk show in middays and the acquisition of Atlanta Braves baseball required some cuts in other areas of the station and Wright was the unfortunate victim. She was one of the original staffers when Cumulus decided to turn WYAY into an all-news station in May of 2012. She had previously worked at Atlanta-based CNN Radio before joining Cumulus.
CEOs Make the Grade. Clear Channel’s Bob Pittman and Emmis’ Jeff Smulyan were both the subjects of feature stories in newspapers over the weekend – Pittman in The New York Times and Smulyan in the Indianapolis Star. In a Q&A titled, the Value of Dissent, Pittman says he encouraged dissenters in his organization because they serve a valuable purpose. “I want us to listen to these dissenters because they may intend to tell you why we can’t do something, but if you listen hard, what they’re really telling you is what you must do to get something done. It gets you out of your framework of the conventions of what you can and can’t do.” Read that piece here. Jeff Smulyan tells the Star in his Q&A that the best piece of advice he’s received has to do with employer-employee relationships, “Attract the best people, treat them well, and let them do their job. If you want people to go through walls for you, you have to go through more walls for them.” Read that story here.
The View of Radio from the Digital World’s Perspective. Noted radio digital consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller writes, “Those of us in digital media know that our world will continue to change drastically, over and over again. We also know that we will be bigger and better three years…five years…10 years from now. Plus, we hear how radio compares itself to online listening choices, and we see how you use your digital platforms. And here’s what we think.” In a new column posted today (11/18) Miller goes on to state that digital-only people still have “transmitter envy” and that even though more and more people and media are moving online, the stick is still a formidable asset. Regardless, he points out that many digital-only professionals think that over-the-air radio companies are “crazy” for cutting talent, still selling 60-second commercials, and not being cognizant of just how much entertainment is changing. He clearly explains what digital pros see as radio’s “dangerous assumption.” He observes, ”I look at a lot of different radio social media, websites, database emails and texting programs, and it’s clear you’re making some dangerous assumptions. Digital content doesn’t work like you think it should. It doesn’t work like you wish it did. It works like it works. We see you on Facebook and Twitter talking about almost anything…except what people really love about you. Your websites are a mish-mosh of broad-based content, but if you look at your web stats, there are fewer than half-a-dozen features at your site that, combined, get the lion’s share of your page views. There is nothing special or exclusive about the emails you send your listeners, and your open rates prove it. Radio people know a lot about how people use radio. Meanwhile, you are using all these other media as if knowing how they work doesn’t matter. One key thing we’re doing to drive our online success is to track everything we can to see what really makes a difference. We don’t have the luxury of having opinions about what should work. Either the clicks are there, or they aren’t. What we do either works, or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t, you dig in, diagnose the problem, and adjust.” To read Chris Miller’s entire column, please click here.
Premiere Reverses Course; Keeps Randi Rhodes on Syndication Menu. There are no reports indicating just what happened between Randi Rhodes and syndicator Premiere Networks but the latter is confirming the widely reported news that Rhodes will continue to be syndicated by Premiere, at least through 2014. Premiere SVP of affiliate relations Peter Tripi emailed affiliates, “In a happy turn of events, we are pleased to announce that Premiere Networks will continue to produce and distribute the Randi Rhodes show. In an industry of constant change, it’s a pleasure to provide good news about a talk talent we think so highly of. We apologize for any inconvenience the previous announcement caused, but look forward to a very successful 2014 with the Randi Rhodes show.” Several weeks ago, Rhodes began telling her audience she was foreseeing the end of her program and later Premiere notified affiliates the relationship would be ending.
It’s Pop-Up Time. No, not the kind of pop-up we associate with websites – pop-up ads – but those retail stores that “pop up” in vacant storefronts during the holiday shopping season. Sales maven and H&H Communications president Al Herskovitz writes about getting these seasonal businesses advertising on your station this year. He notes that many of these retailers are big name brands that choose to expand their physical space during this time of year and they include Vera Bradley, Louis Vuitton and the National Football League. Read Al Herskovitz’s entire column here.
ABC News Radio Offers Kennedy Assassination Programming. As the nation marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, ABC News Radio is offering a two-hour special broadcast, “Three Shots Rang Out: An ABC News Special – The JFK Assassination 50 Years Later,” anchored by ABC News’ Diane Sawyer. It’s an audio-only program that will be heard by ABC News Radio affiliates. In addition, a special expanded show will be available via download at Audible.com as part of a new digital audio relationship between ABC News Radio and Audible. The Audible.com version of this program will include an additional 40 minutes of historical audio available exclusively to Audible listeners.
Ron Ruth Passes. Former 19-year Radio Advertising Bureau executive vice president of stations Ron Ruth died early Saturday (11/16) in Florida of a heart attack. The 75-year-old Ruth had been struggling with health issues the past two months. CBS Radio president and chief executive officer Dan Mason was among those quickly noting their sympathies regarding Ruth’s passing. “I just spoke with him at the Radio Show this past September in Orlando,” Mason writes on Facebook. “He was so up and happy – I am sad tonight.” Also on that social media platform, Tom Birch notes, “Ron lived life to its fullest and was a joy and inspiration to everyone who had the opportunity to know him. Ron was the midwife to Birch Research. He opened doors for me, encouraged me and guided me. I am deeply honored to have worked for Ron at WQAM, Miami in the 1970s, and to have remained friends with him for the next three decades.” According to former RKO General eastern vice president Perry Ury, “Ron Ruth was a friend and our house skeptic at RKO.” Former Tele Media Broadcasting vice president and chief operating officer Ira Rosenblatt adds, “We’ve lost a friend and true broadcaster.” Doing afternoon drive in Boston early in his radio career, Ruth roomed with two other on-air talents who went on to stardom – George Carlin and Jack Burns of Burns & (Avery) Schreiber. He held sales manager positions for Unistar Radio Networks, as well as at the local level in markets such as New York (WOR-FM), Chicago (WNUS), Washington, DC (WGMS), and Buffalo (WYSL). Ruth left Unistar to join the RAB in 1992. Most recently, he was consulting the Radio Advertising Bureau.
A Man of His Word. The man having his head shaved live on the air on Cumulus Media’s WMAL, Washington, DC is former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino. Not too long ago, Bongino said on the WMAL airwaves that he would shave his head if President Obama apologized for the gaffes in the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. And since the president did offer an apology of sorts, Bongino agreed to honor his statement live on the air and did so on Friday, November 15.
WOR, New York’s John R. Gambling Announces Retirement. New York City radio legend John Gambling – who followed in the footsteps of both his father and grandfather in entertaining Big Apple radio listeners – told his audience this morning (11/11) that he will retire at the end of the year. Gambling has worked in radio for the past 40 years, 35 of that in New York City. He told listeners his last show will be December 20. John R. Gambling is the grandson of John B. Gambling who was the morning host on WOR, New York from 1925 to 1959 when his son, John A. Gambling assumed the morning host role at the station. John R. co-hosted the “Rambling with Gambling” show with his father John A. on WOR from 1985 to 1991. Gambling states, “I have done and accomplished so much. My radio career has given me the privilege to entertain and inform millions of New Yorkers. Each day, to watch the greatest city on earth from behind the microphone has been a thrill and I’ve been blessed with an audience that has been loyal and engaging. To say it has been exciting doesn’t come close to the joy I have had.” Clear Channel is beginning a search for a replacement morning show.
WPHT, Philadelphia Airs Veterans Day Broadcasts. CBS Radio news/talker WPHT, Philadelphia is airing a day of remote broadcasts in honor of Veterans Day. Today, Rich Zeoli broadcast from the Delaware County Veterans Memorial from 6:00 am to 9:00 am. Midday host Dom Giordano is doing his show live from the 54th Media, Pennsylvania “Annual Veterans Day Parade.” During afternoon drive, “Talk Radio 1210” personalities Dick Morris, Gary R’nel and Rich Zeoli are broadcasting live from The Green Parrot Restaurant in Newtown.
Veterans Day Offers Radio Broadcasters the Opportunity to be Heroes. RadioInfo (TALKERS magazine’s sister publication on the music side) music editor/director Duane Doobie says that although most of the radio industry is open for business as usual today (including the trades), “In the communications business – particularly radio — you can probably do more to honor the true meaning of a holiday as significant as Veterans Day by going to work and raising consciousness about the meaning of the holiday. It sure beats taking a day off and paying tribute to the purpose of the observation by having a backyard barbeque or going to the beach or a sporting event and drinking a lot of beer, watching endless hours of a Twilight Zone marathon… or buying a car, or worse, planning to camp out on the sidewalk in front of a box store fully prepared to stampede your neighbors in order to save money on a new flat screen television or smart phone with the latest bells and whistles.” In a special commentary posted today (11/11) Doobie continues, “Our publisher Michael Harrison has been speaking at major industry events calling upon radio broadcasters to ‘never miss any opportunity to be a hero.’ He says it is a principle of radio broadcasting that strikes a chord into the very heart of what we are all about – a practice that is good for BOTH business and the soul. Thus, I ask you to look around and ask yourself, is your radio station – are you on your show – doing something special today to be a hero? Are you doing anything special today to be a hero by honoring the true heroes in every single market in America… our veterans?” To read Duane Doobie’s entire column, please click here.
ESPN Audio Reorganization Puts Jim Pastor in Charge of ESPN Local. ESPN confirms the changes in the structure of its O&O radio stations and their websites. Former WMVP, Chicago “ESPN 1000” general manager Jim Pastor is named SVP of ESPN Local. This puts him in charge of the company’s three O&O stations (WMVP, Chicago; WEPN-FM, New York and KSPN, Los Angeles) as well as their websites and ESPNDallas.com. Current WMVP VP/GM John Cravens will take the new title vice president of local revenue and KSPN VP/GM Scott McCarthy will become vice president of local content and will report to Pastor. The move separates the national and local sectors with SVP Mo Davenport overseeing ESPN Network Audio. ESPN senior vice president, production business divisions Traug Keller says, “We have identified two key areas – network and local business – to align leaders with division priorities to provide better services and products for our fans. The successful partnership of our ESPN local websites and owned radio stations has helped our local business thrive. Organizing by function will allow us to leverage individual and team strengths across the entire business.”
KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh’s ‘High School Tour’ Brings Teen Issues to the Fore. CBS Radio news/talk station KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh continues its “High School Tour” on Thursday, November 14 as midday talk host Mike Pintek broadcasts live from Woodland Hills High School in Churchill, Pennsylvania. The station states that the “’The High School Tour’ is a chance for KDKA to talk with students in different areas of our region about current events and the issues that affect them. Some of the topics Pintek has focused on are social media concerns, bullying, texting while driving as well as events in the current news cycle. The schools select students that participate in the broadcast.” During the broadcasts, Pintek elicits the perspective of the school’s superintendent, principal or other faculty.
Two More Stops Added to Stephanie Miller’s ‘Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour.’ WYD Media Management nationally syndicated talk show host Stephanie Miller (center) is taking her “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” out on the road again in 2014 and has added two more cities to the itinerary. Miller – along with fellow comedians and radio show contributors Hal Sparks (right) and John Fugelsang (left) – will be visiting the Barrymore Theatre in Madison, Wisconsin on March 29 as well as the Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix on February 14. The tour begins in Seattle on December 14 of this year at the Paramount Theatre.
WXOS, St. Louis Adds Thompson and Wheeler to Air Staff. Hubbard Radio’s sports talk WXOS “101ESPN” brings former MLB player Brad Thompson and sports talk pro Kevin Wheeler aboard the air staff. Wheeler begins hosting an eponymous show on November 25 to air in a yet-to-be-announced daypart. Thompson will join the afternoon drive “Fastlane” show alongside D’Marco Farr and Randy Karraker beginning in January. Thompson has been serving as a fill-in host for the station on its daily programs and most notably subbed for former St. Louis Cardinals star Chris Duncan during his recent recovery from brain surgery. Wheeler is coming to WXOS from his most recent position at crosstown news/talk KMOX where he hosted the “Sports Open Line” show as well as a pre- and post-game shows for both the St. Louis Cardinals and the St. Louis Blues. Program director Chris “Hoss” Neupert says, “Both Brad Thompson and Kevin Wheeler bring unique perspectives and experience to the ‘101ESPN’ team, and I am looking forward to getting them both on the air to enlighten and entertain our listeners.”
Broadcast Engineer Legend George J. Capalbo Passes at 86. Pioneering broadcast engineer George J. Capalbo passed away on Friday, November 8. He is remembered for his contributions to the radio broadcasting industry. Capalbo’s many accomplishments include serving as chief engineer for WRKO, Boston when the station launched as top 40 outlet “Big 68” in 1967. He also built the FM station WAAF, Worcester, now owned by Entercom, that serves both the Boston and Worcester metros. Capalbo is credited by WRKO’s then-general manager Mel Phillips with putting together a state-of-the-art broadcast facility for television and radio “from scratch” at 7 Bulfinch Place in Boston, and with developing WRKO’s radio automation system. Capalbo served as president of engineering for the RKO Radio division and supervised seven AM stations and seven FM stations in markets including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. He is also credited with building the RKO Satellite Network, the first radio satellite delivery network. For the RKO Satellite Network, Capalbo designed the distribution network in New York City as well as the news bureau in Washington, DC. Capalbo enlisted in the Armed forces in 1944 at the age of 17 right out of high school and served for two years until the end of World War II. He left the service with a rank of Radioman Second Class.
WSRQ, Sarasota Partners with Gannett’s WTSP-TV for Content. Florida Talk Radio-owned news/talk WSRQ, Sarasota (also heard on translator W295BH, Sarasota) enters into a deal with Gannett’s WTSP-TV “10 News” to locate two staffers from the television station in the former’s Sarasota studios. Sarasota reporter Isabel Mascareñas, along with “10 News” photojournalist Tim Burquest will be based in the newsroom, allowing “10 News” to quickly cover breaking news and events in the Sarasota area. Additionally, WTSP will provide video, weather radar and custom Sarasota weather forecasts for WSRQ. WSRQ general manager Susan Nilon states, “Our goal is to focus specifically on Sarasota issues. This partnership with ‘10 News’ allows for even better coverage of the wonderful place we call home.”
Embattled Toronto Mayor’s Radio Show Ends. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s weekly radio program that aired on Bell Media’s CFRB, Toronto “Newstalk 1010” has been eliminated from the station’s program schedule by a mutual decision, according to station management. Rob Ford and his brother, Toronto city councilor Doug Ford, hosted “The City with Mayor Rob Ford” that aired Sunday afternoons from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Rob Ford has been at the center of a drug use scandal that has been a major news story not only in Toronto and Canada but across the United States as well.
FCC Tightens Divestiture Trust Policy with Townsquare’s Cedar Rapids Application. The long period of time during which radio stations have sat in divestiture trusts while still putting money into the pockets of the “previous” owners has been a sore spot for some broadcasters, but that is changing as the FCC signals it’s not going to approve long-termed trusts. The commission is approving the transfer of two of Townsquare Media’s Cedar Rapids stations – KKHQ-FM, Oelwein and KOEL-FM, Cedar Falls – to the Cedar Rapids Divestiture Trust on the condition that the term of the trust is two years and the trustee file reports every six months describing the efforts to sell them. In discussing the matter, the commission notes that the economy, and therefore the climate for buying and selling radio stations, is in much better shape than it was in 2008 when Clear Channel created the Aloha Trust. It notes that five years later, 37 of the 57 stations put in the trust have been sold with the sale of two more pending. The commission concludes that “a reasonable limitation on the duration of a divestiture trust will best serve the public interest by requiring the parties to a trust agreement to meet a deadline to place the stations with a new operator to ensure long-term compliance with the requirements of the Local Radio Ownership Rule.”
Glenn Beck Visits Asheville. Premiere Networks nationally syndicated star Glenn Beck is pictured here with WWNC, Asheville, North Carolina afternoon drive talk show host Pete Kaliner at the WWNC studios. Beck did his radio program from the station on November 8 while in town for the celebration of Reverend Billy Graham’s 95th birthday. The event was attended by some 900 well-wishers including Donald Trump and Sarah Palin.
Jacobs Media’s TechSurvey9: News/Talk Breakout. Consulting firm Jacobs Media held a webinar yesterday in which it broke out data relative to the news/talk format from its all-radio TechSurvey9. A key point for talk radio programmers comes from the answers to the question, “Why are you listening to less AM/FM radio than in the past?” The study indicates 49% said it was because they are not enjoying the programming. The next most common response was because of a lifestyle change. After that, the responses were: 17%, too many commercials; 10% listening to SiriusXM; and 9% listening to internet radio. Some of the key points from the study indicating unique attributes of regular users of news/talk radio:
- They are big users of email – especially for building a relationship with their favorite news/talk station. They are less likely to connect with the station via Facebook or Twitter.
- 74% report their primary reason for listening to AM/FM radio is for news, traffic and weather information and 42% cited the need to find out what’s going on locally – much higher than users of other radio formats.
- News/talk users are #2 in owning a car with a digital dashboard (compared to other format fans) with 13% reporting they own one.
- Social media use for news/talk fans indicates they are far more likely to be on LinkedIn – likely due to the “professional” status of many listeners. They are least likely of all format fans to “like” a Facebook page and are not especially frequent users of Twitter compared to other format P1s (although use of Twitter increased 17% over the 2012 survey).
- 65% of news/talk listeners downloaded digital radio apps and, compared to users of other radio formats, were more likely to download your station’s app and the TuneIn app.
- Compared to the same study period one year ago, news/talk fans’ use of internet radio rose 15%; saw a 36% increase in the use of tablet devices; and a 19% increase in the use of the digital dashboard.
Paul Finebaum to Join ESPN August 1. The formerly Birmingham, Alabama-based sports journalist and talk show host will change his home base to Charlotte for his new gig with ESPN. Paul Finebaum, who had a tumultuous last two years with Cumulus Media at WJOX in Birmingham, will not be moving to SummitMedia’s crosstown WZNN “97.3 The Zone” as many industry watchers had suspected. Instead, Finebaum will take his radio program to ESPN where it will air on ESPN Audio and the ESPN-owned SEC Network, destined to debut in August of 2014. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Finebaum will also make 100 appearances on ESPN’s cable TV channels. After entering into a couple of legal battles with former long-time employer Cumulus Media over the course of several years, Finebaum agreed to work out his contract and exit radio in order to sit out his non-compete and start fresh somewhere else. He left WJOX in January of this year.
Clear Channel Announces Bid to Push Back Debt with Bond Exchange. Clear Channel Communications announces it is seeking to push off some debt until 2021 via a $2.1 billion bond exchange. The company is offering to swap $796.3 million of 10.75% notes due in 2016 and $1.28 billion of 11% payment-in-kind notes due in 2016 for the new debt that would come up in 2021. The notes will pay 12% in cash and 2% through the issuance of payment-in-kind notes. Bloomberg’s Mary Childs reports, “Free cash flow at the San Antonio-based broadcaster hasn’t exceeded $340.9 million in any year since its 2008 buyout by Bain Capital Partners LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP. Credit-default swaps tied to the bonds of the company, which owes about $20.8 billion total, are at about the lowest in two years, a sign investors are open to refinancing, Bloomberg data show.”
Cox Enterprises Announces $1 Million Donation to Oklahoma Tornado Relief. The parent company of Cox Media Group – Cox Enterprises – announces that in partnership with the James L. Cox Foundation it is donating $1 million in support of relief and recovery efforts. “Cox Enterprises is committed to supporting the victims of this terrible storm,” says Jim Kennedy, chairman of Cox Enterprises. “As a company that operates multiple businesses in Oklahoma, we are committed to helping our employees and the communities we serve recover from this disaster. In providing this assistance, we also encourage others to support the local relief and recovery efforts.” Cox Enterprises operates multiple companies in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, including: Cox Communications, Total Resource Auctions – Oklahoma City, Total Resource Auctions – Tulsa, news/talk KRMG, Fox23, My41, country KWEN, Tulsa “K95,” hot AC KRAV, Tulsa “Mix 96” and rock KJSR, Tulsa “Rock 103.” “In this difficult time of recovery and rebuilding, our hearts go out to the families affected by the tornadoes,” states Percy Kirk, senior vice president and general manager, Cox Communications Oklahoma. “This gift is a symbol of our commitment to our community and it is our hope that it will provide comfort and relief to many.” In addition to the cash donation and in-kind public service announcements, Cox’s local media properties in Tulsa are hosting a series of community fundraisers.
CBS Radio’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh Hosts Remote Auditions for Sports Talk Host. CBS Radio Pittsburgh sports talk outlet “Sports Radio 93.7 The Fan” is hosting open auditions for a weekend sports talk show on the station. The open auditions rounds begin this weekend and will take place at five different locations over the next four weeks. The company states, “Participants will be judged by station personnel on their ability to rant on a random sports topic. Ten entrants from the open auditions will be selected to move on to the semifinal round to be held at the Tilted Kilt in the North Shore on Monday, June 24. From there, the top four entrants will move on to the Finals at Sidelines Bar and Grill in Sewickley to be judged during a live broadcast with Andrew Fillipponi on KDKA-FM on Thursday, June 27 from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Program director Ryan Maguire says, “We’re looking for the next great Pittsburgh sports talk show host – someone who can grow into a superstar. We’re eager to see which member of this passionate fan base can take advantage of this very rare opportunity.”
‘Frontlines of Freedom’ Returns to WOOD, Grand Rapids for Flagship Station. The Talk Media Network-syndicated program dedicated to all things military and hosted by retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Denny Gillem returns to its original flagship station WOOD, Grand Rapids. Talk Media Network’s Josh Leng reports that the weekend “Frontlines of Freedom” program will air live from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm on WOOD beginning June 1. Gillem says of the move, “Six years ago my co-founder and I created ‘Frontlines of Freedom’ on WOOD radio. June 1 is the show’s six-year anniversary. It’s a great honor to be returning to our roots at the finest station in West Michigan.” The program began in 2006 as a special Memorial Day show called, “A Colonel’s Salute to Veterans” that won a Michigan Broadcasters Association award. One year later the weekly program was founded at WOOD. Phil Tower, director of news & content programming at Clear Channel’s WOOD, states, “Few persons are held in such high regard as the men and women of our military, so it’s a natural fit to welcome ‘Frontlines of Freedom’ back to our WOOD radio lineup.”
Tony Stiles to Join The Next News Network. Talk radio personality Tony Stiles, host of his eponymous program heard Saturdays on NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha “The Mighty 1290,” announces he’s accepted the news anchor position at Chicago-based internet news network The Next News Network. Stiles states, “I am honored that after only seven months on the air in Omaha, that my show, ideas and personality has resonated nationally through a loyal audience by word-of-mouth, radio and internet access. This coming Friday night I will continue my role of frequent anchor until I assume the daily desk in early summer.” The Next News Network founder Gary Franchi says, “As the founder of Next News Network, I became aware of Tony’s ability to attract an audience as I followed his rapid growth and heard his show. Tony is a perfect fit for our 24/7 internet newscast which, like Tony, is the first of its kind.”
CBS News Reporter Tells WPHT, Philadelphia’s Chris Stigall Her Work and Personal Computers Compromised. In a story that has since gone viral after being picked up by numerous consumer news outlets, with the allegations the DOJ has been investigating AP and Fox News reporters as the backdrop, CBS News investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson told WPHT, Philadelphia AM drive host Chris Stigall her work and personal computers are being analyzed as part of an investigation. Attkisson said she could not point the finger at the DOJ but the speculation is that it’s a possibility. Attkisson has been reporting on the Benghazi attacks story.
Sports USA Announces College Football Schedule. Sports USA unveils its 2013 schedule of college football contests saying it “consists of 18 games featuring the best teams in college football. Defending national champion Alabama, unbeaten Ohio State, Texas A&M, (with Heisman Trophy winning QB Johnny Manziel) Michigan, Florida, and LSU will be among the teams featured this year.” Sports USA president Bob Moore says, “We are pleased to provide these incredible matchups to our nearly 400 affiliates nationwide. Additionally, we are providing a sideline reporter for each game.” The season kicks off with USC at Hawaii on August 29 and wraps up with the Independence Bowl on December 31. Other key match-ups include Florida at LSU on October 12, Michigan versus Michigan State on November 2 and Alabama at Auburn on November 30.
Odds & Sods. “America Tonight” nationally syndicated talk show host Kate Delaney is doing some fill-in work this weekend for NBC Sports Radio Network. Delaney, who earlier in her career worked at WFAN, New York, will sit in from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET on May 26 and from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm on May 27…..CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles continues its “KNX on Your Corner” remote broadcast series on June 7 as it takes a comprehensive look at the Orange County city of Fullerton. During the live broadcast from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm, community leaders including Mayor Bruce Whitaker, council members, Chief of Police Dan Hughes and other special guests will be interviewed. Additionally, a special series by KNX investigative reporter Charles Feldman will look at the double-barreled impact on the city of the “Great Recession” and the high-profile fatal beating of a homeless man, Kelly Thomas, by members of the Fullerton Police Department nearly two years ago.
ESPN to Begin Mega-Layoffs. At this point the company’s only public statement has been, “We are implementing changes across the company to enhance our continued growth while smartly managing costs. While difficult, we are confident that it will make us more competitive, innovative and productive.” It’s unclear how many ESPN Audio staffers will be affected but the company, which employs about 4,000 in the United States and another 3,000 in other parts of the world, could be in the hundreds according to some reports. ESPN is a huge source of revenue for principle parent Disney (20% is owned by Hearst) but some industry watchers speculate that ESPN’s increasing costs in acquiring precious play-by-play contracts – especially considering new entrants into the field including CBS Sports Network and Fox Sports 1 – is forcing it to be more cost-conscious.
IRS Protest Led by WIND, Chicago’s Joe Walsh. Former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh is pictured here (with megaphone) on the street outside the Dearborn Street offices of the Internal Revenue Service in Chicago protesting the agency’s targeting of conservative and religious groups. The rally was organized and led by Walsh, who hosts his own evening talk show on Salem Communications’ WIND, Chicago, “AM 560 The Answer.” Walsh states, “It’s time to send a message that our First Amendment rights will not be denied by an out-of-control administration.” Dozens of protesters joined Walsh during the lunchtime gathering.
IRS Targets Conservatives, DOJ Fox News Investigation, Oklahoma Tornado Aftermath, Benghazi Attacks Case, and Anthony Weiner to Run for NYC Mayor Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/21). The IRS’ targeting of conservative groups; the investigation by the Department of Justice into Fox News Channel reporters; the aftermath of the deadly Oklahoma tornado; the ongoing scrutiny of the Benghazi attack and disgraced former NY Congressman Anthony Weiner’s bid for mayor of New York were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.