Tag: "Premiere Networks"
By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
LOS ANGELES — Nothing short of sweet serendipity is the fact that the positively fetching young woman confidently seated behind the microphone has such a lilting, lyrical name as Meghan Marguerite, although that represents only two-thirds of her alliteration-intensive, attention-getting moniker.
It is her last name – “McCain” – that makes the striking daughter of Arizona Senator and 2008 GOP presidential nominee John McCain particularly intriguing, while simultaneously putting her under more scrutiny than the typical media personality.
T-Mobile Will Activate FM Chip. The decision by T-Mobile was issued Friday (8/14) via Twitter by president and chief executive officer John Legere, whose actual “tweet” reads, “Hey @NextRadio app – We heard you! We’re saying yes to FM and will push our OEM partners to support!” Expanding his remarks, Legere states, “We are excited about T-Mobile joining Sprint and AT&T as the first carriers to officially request their handset makers activate FM radio chips with NextRadio in their device specifications. Activating the FM chip, already present in every Smartphone in America, allows users to download the NextRadio app and engage in a visually compelling, interactive experience with local radio stations, without the data charges and battery drain of streaming.” NextRadio/Tag Station president Paul Brenner instantly and directly replied to Legere with a video message by commenting, “Hey John, we saw your ‘tweet’ and you made our day. It was so great to see T-Mobile say ‘yes’ to the FM chip. The American radio industry is excited to be behind this effort and to work with T-Mobile going forward to make this a great experience for your customers. We have tens of thousands of T-Mobile customers respond to this program. Just like you always said you would do, you listened to those customers. Thank-you and we look forward to working with you in the future.” T-Mobile’s parent company is Deutsche Telekom.
The Howie Carr Northeast Regional Juggernaut Rolls On — Adds WPOP, Hartford. The independent Howie Carr Radio Network, just over a year old, has added iHeartMedia outlet WPOP, Hartford to its ever-growing roster of affiliates in New England and the Northeast. That raises the total to 23 with more reportedly about to be signed. The network is built around the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET daily program of legendary broadcaster/newspaper columnist/author Howie Carr who tells TALKERS, “We have a lot of listeners in Hartford and now they have an easier way to hear the show on 1410 WPOP.” The network’s VP/sales and marketing Kathy Carr adds, “We are excited to add WPOP in Hartford. WPOP is a great addition to the network and will greatly benefit our sponsors.” Stand by. More affiliates to be added shortly.
WPOP Flips to News/Talk. It was the flip from sports talk to news/talk that opened up the door for Boston-based Howie Carr to get his show cleared on WPOP, Hartford as noted in the story above. The iHeartMedia station returns to news/talk after almost 18 years away from the format. Morning drive features “The Vinnie Penn Project” with host Vinnie Penn – a Connecticut broadcasting pro, comic, and writer who’s worked in local radio on CHR WKCI, New Haven “KC101” and news/talk WELI, New Haven as well as on SiriusXM. The rest of the station’s lineup includes: Boston-based “The Financial Exchange” with Barry Armstrong; Bloomberg Radio; Westwood One’s Mark Levin; and Premiere Networks’ “America Now with Meghan McCain.”
Sun Broadcast Group Recognized by Inc. Magazine for Second Year in a Row. The company will be honored at Inc. Magazine’s Inc. 5000 Conference and Awards Ceremony in Orlando later this year for being one of the fastest-growing companies in America. Sun Broadcast Group also is receiving recognition as the fastest-growing company in the broadcast radio industry and the 11th fastest-growing company in all of media. The annual list ranks the country’s fastest-growing private companies according to percentage of revenue growth over three years. Sun reports during that time its revenue jumped more than 629%. It also has added 18 full-time positions between its New York City and Boca Raton offices. SBG CEO Jason Bailey comments, “When we were given the honor of making the Inc. Magazine list in 2014 you could have knocked me over with a feather. Making the list for a second year and being in the top 20% among some of the most incredibly innovative companies in this country is absolutely mind blowing. I’m so proud of the incredible team here at Sun and so thankful to the clients, producers and agency partners who have supported us over the last seven years. The journey has been a mighty one but we always have and will continue to do it our way for the better of our partnerships and for this incredibly industry. Onward!”
PPM Analysis: MLB Flagships. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents this year’s second analysis of the performances of stations serving as flagships for MLB play-by-play – this time based on data from Nielsen Audio’s July 2015 PPM survey (6+). As is often the case, MLB teams that appear to be headed for playoff contention (even in June and July) tend to boost ratings for their flagships. The continuing resurgence of the Kansas City Royals has certainly been good for KCSP – the station performed three full shares better in 2015 than during the same period a year ago. Although interestingly, the division leading Houston Astros have only nudged flagship KBME up 0.3 share (1.3 share, 6+) from a year ago. View Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.
‘98.5 The Sports Hub’ Morning Show Now Seen on Comcast SportsNet New England. The WBZ-FM, Boston morning show “Toucher & Rich” – hosted by Fred Toucher and Rich Shertenlieb – is now being simulcast on regional cable channel Comcast SportsNet. The CBS RADIO sports station currently has an agreement with Comcast to simulcast the station’s afternoon drive show, “Felger & Mazz.” Comcast has sold the title sponsorship to UNO Pizzeria & Grill. Comcast SportsNet New England president Bill Bridgen says, “‘Toucher & Rich’ have been incredibly successful by mixing sports and pop culture into one creative daily show. We are thrilled to expand our relationship with ‘The Sports Hub’ into the morning and further establish Comcast SportsNet as the go-to television source for Boston sports programming.”
Odds & Sods. Late Friday afternoon (4:00 pm, 8/14), Cumulus Media Minneapolis flipped trimulcast WGVX, WRXP, WGVZ, “Sports Talk 105 The Ticket” to classic hip hop as “The Vibe 105.” The latest (July 2015) Nielsen Audio PPM figures for the Twin Cities indicate that “Sports Talk 105 The Ticket” ranked #25 of the 25 stations listed with a .1 (6+). Locked on .3 from January to May, “The Ticket” dipped to .2 in June and then to .1 in July. The other two sports stations in Minneapolis-St. Paul are iHeartMedia‘s KFXN “K-Fan” (4.2, #11) and Hubbard‘s KSTP-AM “1500 ESPN” (1.1, #19)…..ESPN Audio announces the return of its “Fantasy Focus” podcast for a ninth season. Field Yates joins as the new co-host with Matthew Berry. Stephania Bell continues her role as a contributor to the podcast, which is produced daily throughout the NFL regular season. “Fantasy Focus” has also accumulated almost 30 million downloads – second all-time among ESPN podcasts.
Townsquare Media to Add to its Live Events Business with NAME Acquisition. The 2015 second quarter net revenue figure for Townsquare Media, Inc. rose 10.5% on the strength of its Live Events division, which saw a year-over-year increase of 50.4%. Now, the company announces it has entered into a definitive purchase agreement to acquire North American Midway Entertainment, LLC (NAME) for approximately $75.5 million (subject to certain working capital and other adjustments). In a press statement, Townsquare says, “NAME entertains more than 15 million people on an annual basis as the owner and operator of amusement attractions, including over 200 state-of-the-art rides, custom-designed food concessions and family-oriented games at approximately 150 fairs per year across the United States and Canada.” NAME’s management team will join Townsquare and become part of its Live Events division. Townsquare chairman and CEO Steven Price states, “We are excited to partner with NAME’s management team and add NAME’s market-leading mobile amusement parks to our Live Events portfolio. Nearly half of NAME’s current events are within 100 miles of a Townsquare market and fit squarely within our core stated strategy of providing affordable, family-friendly entertainment content.”
Levin (Again) Lands At #1. Syndicated talk host Mark Levin’s “Plunder and Deceit” will reportedly debut at #1 on The New York Times bestseller list across all three categories of hardcover nonfiction, e-book nonfiction, and the combined list. This will be his fourth consecutive #1 New York Times bestseller. One of Levin’s previous books, “Liberty and Tyranny,” spent 38 weeks on that bestseller list and sold over one million copies. In a statement to Breitbart News, however, Levin emphasizes that he doesn’t “write books for The New York Times – I write them for people who love their country, want to learn about their country, and want to save their country. ‘Plunder and Deceit’ is a particularly important book. It is intended to stir the citizenry, particularly younger people, to understand what big government is doing to them and how its policies are destroying their liberty and prosperity.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison asked Levin, “What is the key to your success as a best-selling author so we can share it with other talk hosts who write books.” Levin immediately acknowledged that he is not the only accomplished author among the ranks of radio talk show hosts – then added, “It takes me a year or more to write a book. It involves extensive research and scholarship. You have to be willing to commit a lot of time to it — most weekends, early mornings, and late nights. I don’t have ghostwriters or co-authors, etc. There’s a difference between being an author and having your name on a book.” Landmark Legal Foundation president Levin is syndicated through Cumulus Media‘s Westwood One; “Plunder and Deceit” was released last Tuesday (8/4).
Hoping His Herd Heads with Him to Fox, Premiere. Speculation has become reality now that one of the worst-kept secrets in recent history is official: After a 12-year association with ESPN (the last two days there being controversial owing to his on-air comments questioning the intelligence of Dominican ballplayers), Colin Cowherd will indeed join Fox Sports and Premiere Networks in just over three weeks (Tuesday, 9/8). That is when he will begin hosting “The Herd,” a three-hour program, which will air simultaneously on Fox Sports Radio Network and Fox Sports1 (12:00 noon – 3:00 pm, Eastern). Fox Sports Radio is produced/distributed by Fox Sports and iHeartMedia subsidiary Premiere Networks. “Colin is one of the most powerful and talented personalities in sports media today,” asserts Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott. “His addition to Premiere’s lineup demonstrates our continued commitment to reaching diverse audiences with the best talent the industry has to offer. We are excited to join with Fox Sports in bringing Colin’s passionate and engaging brand of sports entertainment to millions of people across multiple platforms. By leveraging our combined reach, we’ll have the opportunity to connect with more sports fans than ever before, while delivering unmatched results for our partners.” Cowherd states that, “It is hard to put into words how much fun it is for me, as a broadcaster, to build something with really smart, talented people. I cannot wait for this next chapter in my career to start. Fox Sports is the perfect spot for me at this time in my life.” On Sunday mornings during the NFL season, Cowherd will be part of the Fox-TV “NFL Kickoff” crew. According to Fox Sports national networks president Jamie Horowitz, “Colin is the first person I hired for my first daily studio show at ESPN, so it’s fitting that he’s the first one I’m hiring at FS1. Colin is a unique voice in sports media with a loyal following of fans. We are looking forward to building our daytime programming around him.” Before joining ESPN, Cowherd did a morning drive sports show on KFXX, Portland; was sports anchor at WTVT-TV, Tampa; and sports director of Las Vegas TV station KVBC. He began his career as the play-by-play voice for the Pacific Coast League’s Las Vegas Stars.
Alpha Media and Robbins & Markley Ink Multi-Year Renewal. Heard weekdays on talk siblings KXL, Portland (9:00 am – 12:00 noon) and WMBD, Peoria, Illinois (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm), Scott Robbins and Jamie Markley extend their deal with parent company Alpha Media. Executive vice president of programming, Scott Mahalick states, “Robbins and Markley bring a contemporary style and entertaining flare that connects with the audience in a big way – we are proud they are on our winning team.” Alpha Media Portland senior vice president/market manager Milt McConnell notes, “Robbins and Markley have made a tremendous showing in Portland. Scott and Jamie are two of the best communicators in our business, and we are thrilled to have them for years to come.” Meanwhile, Alpha Media Peoria market manager Mike Wild remarks, “Scott and Jamie reflect real-life, day-to-day; they are [two] of the most genuine personalities anywhere. Their chemistry is unique and they both have an amazing sense for content. The show is a completely fresh approach to talk radio.”
Circle Next Thursday as National Radio Day. Especially when considering that some offbeat things – including specific foods – somehow garner their own special day, it is rather odd that there has not heretofore been a border-to-border celebration dedicated to the medium of radio. That will change one week from today (Thursday, 8/20) when non-commercial radio stations in more than 30 U.S. cities will participate in Seattle-based “not-just-for-profit social enterprise” Brown Paper Tickets’-formulated “National Radio Day.” This year, the FCC has awarded construction permits to nearly 2,000 low-power FMs and as National Radio Day “lead organizer” Sabrina Roach explains, “This is a great opportunity to get to know the new low-power stations by working on a common project together. A low-power FM is like community glue. These new media outlets can become powerful resources that help neighbors to organize, share, and find solutions together. I wanted to introduce an opportunity for all kinds of non-commercial stations to work together and to engage their communities by celebrating radio with listeners and independent producers.” Stations can promote National Radio Day (August 20 is also “National Lemonade Day”) on social media using the hash tag “#NationalRadioDay.” Brown Paper Tickets will provide promotional assistance and support for National Radio Day events organized by all participating U.S. stations. By the way, the significance of choosing August 20 as National Radio Day (which has actually been observed since the early-1990s) is to honor the day in 1920 that Detroit news station 8MK (now CBS Radio-owned WWJ – and still all-news) was licensed by the FCC. On August 31, 1920, 8MK aired the first news radio broadcast featuring local election results. WWJ’s Pittsburgh sibling KDKA-AM debuted on November 20, 1920 and, of course, has long claimed to be the “world’s first commercial radio station.”
NBC Selects Seacrest to Host Late-Night Rio Coverage. With less than a year to go until the opening ceremony of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, NBC-TV announces that its host of live late-night coverage will be KIIS “Kiss-FM,” Los Angeles morning personality/”American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest. During the 2012 London Games, Seacrest was a correspondent and he co-hosted the closing ceremony. NBC Olympics executive producer Jim Bell promises that, “The late-night atmosphere will be electric. We are thrilled to have Ryan Seacrest in the middle of it all capturing Rio’s unique flavor, talking to Olympic athletes, and telling the stories of the day.” Seacrest reflects, “Joining the NBC Olympics team at the 2012 London Games was an exhilarating experience. I appreciate Jim Bell’s confidence, along with everyone at NBC Sports. I can’t wait to reunite with the team of broadcasters and producers for the 2016 Rio Olympics, and I look forward to hosting the live late night show.” Bob Costas hosted NBC’s primetime and late-night Olympic coverage at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games and he has been primetime host for every NBC-covered Olympic Games since 1992. Mary Carillo previously hosted Olympics late-night coverage. The Summer Games from Rio begin August 5, 2016.
Answers From a Presidential Hopeful. During his visit to Arkansas’ GOP headquarters, Republican presidential candidate/junior Texas senator Ted Cruz did on on-air interview with KHTE “The Answer,” Little Rock afternoon drive host Dave Elswick. The two commemorate the occasion with a selfie.
Ready for his Close-up. Part of the enjoyment industry people derive when watching television shows or movies is trying to identify an announcer’s voice when the radio plays in the background, or spotting radio talents used as “extras.” In the country’s #7 film this week, “Rikki and The Flash,” Meryl Streep’s rock singer character struggles and fumbles operating a cash register as a part-time checkout clerk. The camera catches fellow employee “Chris” grimacing at the next register. Portraying “Chris” is Salem Radio Network east coast affiliate relations manager Jim Bligh, who shot his scenes in Westchester County, New York. Advanced film buffs might recognize Bligh from his appearances in “A Beautiful Mind,” Cloverfield,” and “Man on a Ledge.”
Odds & Sods. Two sports programming notes from SiriusXM that take effect next Tuesday (8/18). Former University of Michigan head football coach Brady Hoke will host – alongside Mark Packer – SiriusXM “College Sports Today” twice a week (9:00 am – 12:00 pm ET) throughout the college football season. In addition, former PGA tour professional/television analyst Mark Lye will join radio personality Bruce Murray on the satcaster’s weekly “Let It Fly with Murray & Lye.” The one-hour (8:00 pm – 9:00 pm) program will air every Tuesday night, starting next week. Lye has previously been an analyst on SiriusXM’s pre- and post-round coverage.
Donald Trump Surpasses POTUS as Most Talked About Person on News/Talk Radio Yesterday (8/12). Top topics include the Presidential Race, the Iran Nukes Deal, Immigration Reform and the Chinese Devaluation of the Yuan. According to TALKERS research, fallout from last week’s audience record-breaking GOP debate on Fox News Channel continues to dominate conversation on news/talk radio across America this week and people (and the media) remain fixated on Donald Trump. Very rarely does anyone top the President of the United States as the most-talked-about person for a day, let alone a week. We will know how Trump fares versus Barack Obama by tomorrow morning (8/14) in terms of this week’s survey. Other hot topics include the presidential election in general, Hillary Clinton’s email controversy and the global economic impact of China’s devaluation of its currency.
Major Market Swapping Among Entercom, LFM, Bonneville. Official settlement has been reached between Entercom Communications and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding Entercom’s acquisition of Lincoln Financial Media. The proposed transaction involving LFM properties in three markets was announced last December. Another player entered the mix, and as part of the DOJ resolution, Entercom gains entry into the second-largest market by exchanging four Denver stations with Bonneville. Somewhat resembling an MLB mega-swap conducted prior to baseball’s July 31 trading deadline, Entercom is cutting ties with adult contemporary KOSI “Continuous Lite Rock,” KYGO “#1 For New Country,” KKFN “Sports Radio – The Fan,” and sports KEPN “The Zone” in exchange for Bonneville Los Angeles classic rocker KSWD “The Sound” and $5 million in additional consideration. After the dust settles, Entercom will have facilities in four (new for them) top 20 markets – Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami, and San Diego. Leading their respective stations there – and all having the Entercom title of vice president and general manager are: Peter Burton (Los Angeles); Mike Fowler (Atlanta); Doug Abernethy (Miami); and Bob Bollinger (San Diego). Amy Griesheimer remains in place as vice president and general manager of Entercom Denver; she has been with the company since 2002. Entercom president and chief executive officer David Field comments, “We are delighted to be moving forward on our long-delayed acquisition of Lincoln Financial Media and adding their terrific brands, markets, and people to our organization. We are also very excited to be acquiring ‘The Sound,’ the fastest growing radio station in Los Angeles, through our station exchange with Bonneville. Adding Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, and San Diego to our footprint will meaningfully enhance our ability to serve our listeners, customers, employees, and shareholders. This is a great day for Entercom that will enhance our competitive position and bolster our growth potential well into the future.” According to Entercom chief operating officer Weezie Kramer, “Lincoln Financial Media, Bonneville, and their teams have built world-class brands. We are excited about the opportunities to continue to grow these stations and to provide our listeners and customers with the best compelling local content and dynamic, integrated marketing solutions. I am excited to welcome Doug, Bob, Mike, and Peter to Entercom. They are great leaders and managers with a proven track record of success. As we enter these vibrant markets, we are thrilled to have such talented and experienced media veterans at the helm. Amy has been a tremendous leader for Entercom Denver. We know her experience, leadership, and vision will continue to drive ratings, revenue, and audience engagement for our stations [there].” Meanwhile, Bonneville president Darrell Brown remarks, “Denver is a vibrant, growing area where we see great opportunity. The stations we are acquiring are legacy brands and provide a powerful cluster in this market. They align well with our existing portfolio, allowing us to expand our regional footprint. Bonneville’s core mission is building and lifting the communities where we own broadcast properties. We have a commitment to provide quality sports, news, and entertainment products and we are thrilled to serve the Denver market.” After spending seven years as director of sales for Lincoln Financial San Diego, New York native Burton joined Bonneville seven years ago. Entercom Los Angeles will consist of KSWD “The Sound,” which in 12 of the last 13 Nielsen Audio PPM ratings periods, has been in the 3.0 – 3.9 range. In the most recent sweep (June 2015), it ranks sixth (3.7, 6+); “The Sound” registered a 3.9 in March, April, and May. Fowler most recently was director of sales for ESPN Chicago. The LFM cluster that Entercom is acquiring in Atlanta is comprised of hot AC WSTR “Star 94,” which has back-to-back increases (3.0 – 3.2 – 3.8, April-May-June, 6+) to finish #11, and WQXI “ESPN 790 The Zone” (.2, 6+). Abernethy joined Entercom three months ago, following ten years as a Radio One regional vice president. Among the three Miami stations Entercom is picking up from LFM is adult contemporary WLYF “Lite-FM,” which – in May – finally unseated Cox Media Group urban AC WHQT at #1. With consecutive up-trends (6.8 – 7.1 – 7.3, April-May-June, 6+), “Lite” remains at #1. The other two Miami stations Entercom is acquiring are classic hits-oldies WMXJ “Magic 102.7” (4.4, #7, 6+, June 2015) and sports WAXY “The Ticket” (1.9, #20). It was just last week that Bolinger exited CBS Radio San Diego as senior vice president and market manager. As is the case in Miami involving adult contemporary WLYF, Entercom is getting a #1 station (6+) in San Diego with adult contemporary KIFM “Easy 98.1” (5.5, #1, 6+, June 2015). In addition to “Easy,” the San Diego cluster-mates Bolinger will oversee are KSON “New Country” (4.5, #6) and alternative KBZT “It’s About the Music” (2.6, #16). June 2015 (6+) ratings performances for the properties leaving Entercom and joining Bonneville are 5.3, #4 (fourth successive up trend) for KYGO; 4.7, #6 for KOSI; and 2.0, #19 for KKFN; KEPN does not appear in the June sweep. Stations remaining under the Entercom Denver banner are June 2015 pacesetter classic rock KQMT “The Mountain” (6.6, #1, 6+); hot AC KALC “Alice” (4.0, #9); and adult standards KEZW “Studio 1430 – Timeless Music” (.5, #28). They will be joined by Lincoln Financial Media additions rhythmic CHR KQKS “KS-107.5” (3.5, #12, 6+, June 2015); KYGO-HD2 “Comedy 103.1” (#18, trending 1.7 – 1.8, 1.9 – 3.0, 6+); and KRWZ “Cruisin’ Oldies – AM 950” (1.5, #23). Purchase price for Entercom’s Lincoln Financial Media acquisition is $105 million. Approximately three-quarters of it – $77.5 million – is in cash and the remaining $27.5 million in “Series A” perpetual convertible preferred stock held by Lincoln Financial Group. Time Brokerage Agreements will enable Bonneville and Entercom to operate the swapped properties immediately upon closing of the Lincoln Financial Media acquisition. It is anticipated that closing of the Lincoln Financial Media acquisition and beginning of the Bonneville-Entercom TBAs will occur within several business days. Entercom expects the Bonneville transaction will be finalized by fourth quarter.
Connoisseur Media Bought by Management and Petrus Holding Company. Westport, Connecticut-based Connoisseur Media has been bought in a joint effort by the company’s management and Petrus Holding Company, LP, a Perot Company. In a statement issued today, Petrus says existing management team will continue to operate the stations, with Petrus as their financial partner. Connoisseur Media operates 42 radio stations and digital assets in 12 markets across the U.S. Connoisseur CEO Jeffrey Warshaw states, “We are very excited to partner with The Perot Companies to continue our focused and disciplined growth strategy. It is important for us to have a partner who shares our values and supports our long-term growth strategy.” Perot Companies chairman Ross Perot, Jr. says, “The Perot Companies and Connoisseur share common values, an entrepreneurial culture and a long-term approach to operating and building world-class companies. Our investment will allow Connoisseur to continue investing in its people while ensuring it can remain prudently financed, locally focused and innovative.”
Premiere Networks Names Meghan McCain Host of ‘America Now.’ A new, young host has been named for Premiere Networks’ nationally syndicated radio talk show “America Now.” Media personality and author Meghan McCain takes over the role of permanent host of the show that first featured Andy Dean as host. He left the program in July of 2014 to focus on his ConnectPal digital platform. (San Antonio-based personality Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo has been hosting the show on an interim basis.) Premiere says the show will continue to be based in Los Angeles and air live from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET. McCain comments, “I can’t wait to engage listeners across the country as we shine a spotlight on the stories and issues that affect us all. Creating a dialogue to inform, inspire and entertain people is what’s always driven me, and hosting ‘America Now’ is an exciting opportunity to help drive the national conversation. I’m excited to be joining a network with such an amazing lineup of hosts.” Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott states, “Meghan is smart, enthusiastic and outspoken, and we’re excited to have her join our roster of industry-leading programs reaching diverse audiences across America. As talk radio continues to connect with and engage millions of people across multiple platforms, we’re confident Meghan’s unique perspective and experience in politics will resonate with America Now’s national audience and create powerful marketing opportunities for our partners.”
Ross Promoted to News Director at WBAP and KLIF in Dallas. Moving up from her assistant news director position at Cumulus Media’s WBAP and KLIF in Dallas, Freda Ross is the new news director for the stations. Ross has been with WBAP since 1994 and added KLIF duties after Cumulus acquired the station. She is heard daily on KLIF as midday news anchor. Operations and program manager Tyler Cox says, “Freda has earned the respect of her colleagues and is a long-standing, influential leader in the WBAP/KLIF news department. She was the natural choice for this promotion to news director.” Ross comments, “I’m excited to take on the responsibilities of being news director for WBAP and KLIF. Both are well-respected heritage stations that have served the DFW community for decades. I look forward to the opportunity to continue bringing honest, thought-provoking news coverage to our listeners.”
Cox Media Group Makes ‘Major Senior Leadership Changes.’ These executive moves affect the National Ad Platforms, radio and digital businesses of Cox Media Group. They include: Kim Guthrie being named EVP of National Ad Platforms and president of CoxReps, the country’s largest television advertising rep firm based in New York City; Bill Hendrich takes over for Guthrie as EVP of radio and CMG research, based in Atlanta; and Marian Pittman becomes the company’s EVP of digital strategy and will oversee digital’s content and sales from her base in Atlanta. Guthrie’s assumption of the CoxReps presidency comes as Jim Monahan retires from the company after 35 years. The company says new radio EVP Bill Hendrich joined CMG Radio in 1996 in Orlando and has led countless award-winning teams that have produced outstanding creative content for CMG’s radio audiences, quantifiable sales results for customers, and internal and external customer service satisfaction for CMG’s employees and clients. The company’s Orlando VP/GM Susan Larkin is promoted to regional VP of Jacksonville and Orlando Radio. Finally, Pittman makes her move after serving with the company as VP of news and marketing for television.
Jake Gyllenhaal Visits NBC Sports Radio’s Amani Toomer and Dan Schwartzman. The two co-host “Going Deep with Amani & Dan” from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET on the NBC Sports Radio Network and recently hosted actor Jake Gyllenhaal in the studio about his new movie, Southpaw. The film is the story of a boxer who fights his way to the top only to find his life falling apart around him and features Rachel McAdams and Forest Whitaker. Pictured here (from l-r) are: Schwartzman, Gyllenhaal, and Toomer.
Obama Strikes Nukes Deal with Iran, Prison Escape of Mexican Drug Lord, 2016 Presidential Candidates, Bill Cosby Rape Allegations, Illegal Immigration Policy-Kate Steinle Death, Greek Debt Issue, Caitlyn Jenner ESPYs Appearance, the MLB All-Star game, and NASA’s Pluto Mission Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/14). The West’s deal with Iran to end economic sanctions on the nation and allow its nuclear program to proceed; the controversial “escape” from prison of Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; the renewed chatter about allegations Bill Cosby drugged and raped women; the controversy over the U.S.’s illegal immigration policy, the sanctuary cities, and the death of Kate Steinle; the Greek debt solution and its effect on world financial markets; Caitlyn Jenner’s appearance on the ESPYs tonight and her receiving the Arthur Ashe Award; the MLB All-Star game; and NASA’s New Horizons flies by Pluto were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WRKO, Boston Unveils New AM Drive Show and Partnership with The Globe’s Boston.com. It’s been no secret that Entercom’s WRKO, Boston would move morning talk personality Jeff Kuhner to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot after declining to renew Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh show, but the station is now announcing its new morning drive programming. Leading the show will be Boston media pro Kim Carrigan. Former crosstown sports WEEI personality Jon Meterperel will join Carrigan along with show producer David Cullinane. Still more interesting is the station’s joint venture with the Boston Globe Media Partners-owned online platform Boston.com. WRKO says the new show – the “Boston.com Morning Show” – will consist of “four hours of rapid-cadence news, talk and trending live from the newsroom at Boston.com. The show will lean heavily on contributing writers and columnists from the highly-trafficked, regional website as well as national correspondents from ABC News.” The new lineup will be live and local from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm (Barry Armstrong’s Financial Exchange airs from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon and Boston talk legend Howie Carr’s show holds down PM drive) for the first time in more than 20 years, according to the station. Entercom Boston VP/market manager Phil Zachary says this is a logical evolutionary step for the talk format. “On the cusp of the 2016 election cycle, it’s very clear traditional talk radio is facing strong headwinds. As ideological lines blur and new technologies afford almost limitless tractability in audio news options, now is the time to deliver highly targeted, local content that’s unavailable to consumers anywhere else. This new lineup, anchored by our alliance with New England’s second largest news website, squarely positions WRKO for the next decade.” The lineup debuts Monday, June 29.
Talkers New York 2015 “Big Picture” Panel Video Posted Today. “The Big Picture,” one of the major panel discussions at the recently concluded (6/12) Talkers New York 2015 mega-conference, is posted today on Talkers TV. The session covers a range of important issues pertaining to the state of talk media from a wide variety of perspectives. Introduced by TALKERS legal editor (and Bentley University law professor) Steve Weisman and moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (both not pictured here), the panel includes (from left to right): Chris Oliviero, EVP programming, CBS RADIO; Joe Sciacca, editor-in-chief, Boston Herald/Boston Herald Radio; Craig Schwalb, PD, WABC, New York; Karen Hunter, host, SiriusXM Satellite Radio; Alan Colmes, host/commentator, FOX News Radio/FOX News Channel; Julie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks; and Holland Cooke, consultant, Holland Cooke Media. The session covers the position and future of the stick; the psychology of being a talk host; the challenges of local, independent station ownership; the broadening of the news/talk menu as it relates to partisan politics, preserving major market heritage radio brands; the role of urban talk; the glass ceiling in spoken-word radio; the emerging new relationship between radio and newspapers and more. To view the video in its entirety please click here.
New Shows Debut on PodcastOne. Comedian, actress and bestselling author Heather McDonald debuts “Juicy Scoops with Heather McDonald” on PodcastOne, beginning today (6/25). The network says McDonald “asks the questions everyone wants to know and discusses the hottest and most controversial topics each week.” Also “The Fraze & Bentley Podcast,” hosted by radio personality, actor and comedian Frazer Smith, and actor, magician and comedian Jim Bentley launches. PodcastOne says, “The duo is serious about comedy, but it’s all fun and games as they invite podcast regular and burlesque dancer Harper Rose to the mic each week, in addition to a myriad of their famous friends.” Jon Lovitz is the duo’s first celebrity guest.
Three Hosts Quit KLZ, Denver Over Disagreement with Management. Denver talk outlet KLZ is without three of its hosts after Ken Clark, Kris Cook, and Randy Corporon resigned from the Crawford Broadcasting station. According to a story in the Denver Post by Lynn Bartels, The three – who hosted separate shows on the station – had given 30-day notices of their resignation but exited before that period had elapsed after they were instructed not to book former Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo as a guest. Tancredo is playing a role in controversy surrounding Colorado Republican Party Chairman Steve House and station manager Don Crawford Jr. told the hosts he didn’t want Tancredo booked as a guest until Crawford could determine for himself what Tancredo’s role in the call for House to resign was all about. Read Bartels’ story here.
Odds & Sods. It’s being called “a new national headline news service and full-time satellite radio channel produced by a dedicated team of FOX News journalists and contributors.” The joint effort from SiriusXM and FOX News will launch this fall and is part of a multi-year agreement between the two. SiriusXM says the channel, under the watch of FOX News senior vice president of news Jay Wallace, will be “staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year” to “deliver the day’s top stories at any time.”…..Kevin Radich joins CBS RADIO-owned all news KCBS, San Francisco “All News 106.9 FM/740 AM” as weekday sports reporter. Radich served as afternoon sports reporter on Cumulus Media’s crosstown news/talk KGO until earlier this year…..The Radio Television Digital News Association’s Edward R. Murrow Award winners are being announced and there are several to report today. ABC News wins a total of five awards, including the Overall Excellence in Television and Overall Excellence in Radio awards for the second year in a row. ABC News president James Goldston comments to his staff, “I want to extend a special congratulations to [ABC News] Radio for a banner year – winning three more Murrow awards. Radio stations count on ABC News Radio when news breaks. The radio team works tirelessly with unmatched production and groundbreaking reporting every day.” RTDNA recognized the radio division for Breaking News – The Shooting at Fort Hood, Brad Mielke for Sports – Spartan Racing and Writing – Scott Goldberg. (pictured at left is the ABC News Radio staff celebrating its honors.) At the local level, all-news WCBS, New York “Newsradio 880” is honored with “Overall Excellence in Large Market Radio.” The winning entry included coverage of the east Harlem gas explosion, New York City police protests, and the murders of New York Police Department officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu. Also, Rivet Radio – a multi-platform media company that produces customized audio news and feature stories – was recognized for “Best Use of Sound by a Small Online News Organization.” News reporter and producer George Drake Jr. conceived, wrote and produced the piece, “The Story of Marvin the ‘Street Greeter’,” which profiled a Chicago resident spreading joy within the bustling metropolis…..Former WUCS, Hartford and Maxim Radio personality Michael Bower sits in on iHeartMedia‘s sports talker WINZ, Miami for Andy Slater tomorrow from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.
Obama’s TPP Trade Deal, Charleston Church Slayings Aftermath/Confederate Flag Issue, 2016 Presidential Prospects/Bobby Jindal, Freddie Gray Autopsy Results Revealed, OPM Hack, Iran Nukes Negotiations, and Obama LGBT Pride Event Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/24). The U.S. Senate votes to give President Obama fast-track authority over the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement; the aftermath of the Charleston Church slayings and the matter of flying the Confederate flag on public property; the growing list of 2016 presidential prospects grows as Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal enters the GOP primary race; the results of the Freddie Gray autopsy are acquired by the Baltimore Sun; questions about how much information was available to hackers into the Office of Personnel Management; The U.S.’s offer to provide Iran with nuclear technology; and talk about the scene at President Obama’s LGBT pride event at the White House were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Update: The Glenn Beck Defamation Suit. TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman reports on the status of the defamation suit in which Premiere Networks talk host Glenn Beck is defending himself. Saudi Arabian national Abdulrahman Alharbi is suing Beck for defamation after Beck continued to talk about his belief that Alharbi had a role in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing after authorities had investigated him and cleared him of any involvement in the crime. Now, Weisman says the case has taken another legal step after Judge Patti B. Saris allowed Alharbi to amend his defamation lawsuit by adding a count for unjust enrichment. In allowing this count to be added to the complaint, Judge Saris has significantly upped the amount of a possible judgment. Weisman says the case is a long way from trial and that it’s in the discovery phase right now. Read more here.
WCCO Honored by NAB for Service to Community. On Tuesday (6/16), CBS RADIO heritage news/talk station WCCO-AM was honored by the NAB with the National Association of Broadcaster’s Education Foundation’s “Service to Community Award” for the station’s year-round outreach to help the hungry. For the campaign, WCCO engaged listeners, celebrities and charity groups to collect food and replenish food shelves across 59 counties. Pictured here are (from l-r): U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, CBS RADIO Minneapolis SVP and market manager Mick Anselmo, WCCO program director Bob Shomper, and U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison. Photo: CBS.
WPHT, Philadelphia’s Chris Stigall Hosts Sold-Out Book Event with Ann Coulter. Philadelphia morning drive host Chris Stigall (right) brought author and conservative media icon Ann Coulter (left) to the Colonial Theatre near Philadelphia for a sold-out event on Monday, June 15 to talk about, among other things, her latest book, Adios America! (Regnery Publishing 2015). Stigall reports to TALKERS that the conversation touched on a wide variety of topics including Coulter’s friendship with Bill Maher, and her real concern about the state of free speech in comedy and commentary today.
Howie Carr: Presidential Kingmaker! It is no secret that every four years in the weeks and months leading up to the high-visibility New Hampshire presidential primary, radio talk show hosts in the state take on an importance and influence in national affairs that exponentially outweighs what their market size and audience reach would normally deliver. Taking that fact into consideration, regionally syndicated host Howie Carr, whose recently launched, independent Howie Carr Radio Network covers the six New England states like a blanket (and is starting to leak into neighboring New York), has become a potential presidential “king maker.” Carr’s immensely popular afternoon drive program is now affiliated in seven top New Hampshire markets with an eighth reportedly on the way — giving him an unprecedented level of “local” presence in the strategic primary battleground that makes him a must-visit by all candidates hoping to have a shot at winning the crucial election. Carr, who ranked 15th in this year’s TALKERS Heavy Hundred, is considered by many industry observers familiar with his impact in the Northeast as somewhat of a “sleeping giant of news/talk radio” just waiting to invade the nearby Empire State and beyond. To hear a promo currently running on Carr’s network referring to his role in the primary, please click
WSCR, Chicago’s Dan Bernstein Suspended for Tweet. The Chicago sports talk host sat out yesterday’s show (without pay) and will return to the “Boers & Bernstein” show today. This, reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, came after Dan Bernstein revisited rumors that WLS-TV meteorologist Cheryl Scott was romantically involved with one or more Chicago Blackhawks players when he Tweeted: “And the real award for this year’s close connection to the @NHLBlackhawks is @CherylScottWX!!” Scott had vehemently denied the rumors via social media and after Bernstein’s Tweet, Feder reports that WSCR was contacted by WLS-TV management and Scott’s agent protesting the Tweet. This is the second recent Tweet that’s got Bernstein into trouble. Earlier this year he apologized for sexist comments made about Comcast SportsNet Chicago anchor Aiyana Cristal.
‘The John and Leah Show’ Lands on WHAS, Louisville. It’s a return to WHAS, Louisville for talk host John Ziegler, whose new Envision Networks-syndicated weekend show with co-host Leah Bandon is being heard every Sunday night at 10:00. Ziegler was a daily personality on the station earlier in his career and iHeartMedia Louisville senior vice president of programming Kelly Carls says, “John Ziegler is already well known to many fans around Kentuckiana. We’re glad they’ll once again get to hear his well-thought-out, unique take on major events and the news.”
Odds & Sods. The nationally syndicated political weekend show “Beyond the Beltway with Bruce DuMont” celebrates its 35the anniversary next weekend (6/28) with a special program on Sunday preceded by a private gathering on June 24 with frequent program guests from over the years. The show began in 1980 as a 13-week experiment on WBEZ-FM, Chicago to cover the 1980 presidential campaign. In 1991 it went into syndication on public radio. In 1992 it switched to commercial WLS-AM, Chicago and its national profile grew.…..Financial talk host Robert “Bob” Hardcastle – host of the weekend “Money Talk” program on KTRS, St. Louis – has written a memoir of his days as a college baseball player at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale in 1959 titled, College Baseball and Other Shenanigans. Hardcastle is an honored SIUC alumnus from the Class of 1962 and a member of the St. Louis Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame.
2016 Presidential Prospects/Trump Enters Race, Rachel Dolezal Case, Pope Francis’ Global Warming Encyclical, U.S.-Russia Tensions, SCOTUS ObamaCare Subsidies Case, Woman to Be on $10 Bill, ISIS Military Progress, EU Uncertainty Over Greek Debt, and Golden State Warriors Win NBA Title Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/17). The candidates for president in 2016 and Donald Trump’s entrance into the GOP primary; the ongoing talk about former Spokane NAACP head Rachel Dolezal’s “identifying” as black; the leaked encyclical in which Pope Francis calls for global governmental action on climate change; the military tensions between Russia and the U.S.; the Supreme Court to hear arguments over federal ObamaCare subsidies; the Treasury Department’s announcement that a woman will replace Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill in 2020; the progress of ISIS in Iraq and the U.S. military’s policy there; the state of the European Union as Greece warns it can’t pay its debts; and the Golden State Warriors’ victory over Cleveland in the NBA Finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Packed Talkers New York 2015 Conference a Hit with Attendees. Talk media industry practitioners jam-packed the India House in Manhattan’s Financial District on Friday, June 12 for a full day of presentations, panels and speeches as TALKERS magazine celebrated its 25th anniversary serving the talk radio industry at its 18th annual New York-located national conference. The day began with a continental breakfast and reception titled, “Breakfast with Hannity,” sponsored by the Premiere Networks-syndicated talk radio superstar. WFAN, New York sports talk legend Mike Francesa kicked off the presentations with a powerful and informative welcoming speech. Panel discussions included such topics as “The State of Radio Ratings,” “The Big Picture,” “Generating Talk Radio Revenue,” “Programming Talk Radio in 2015,” “Variety, The Spice of Life,” and “Navigating a Talk Host Career.” The program also included a one-on-one “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Cumulus Media EVP, content & programming John Dickey, plus the TALKERS Awards Presentation during which WOLB, Baltimore morning host Larry Young received the “Humanitarian of the Year Award,” Howard Stern co-host Robin Quivers received the “Woman of the Year Award,” CBS Radio News VP Harvey Nagler was presented the “Lifetime Achievement Award,” and ABC Television, director, business continuity Howard B. Price received the “Freedom of Speech Award.” Michael Harrison states, “We are deeply gratified, humbled and grateful by the SRO turnout and the tremendous love and support we have consistently received that has allowed TALKERS and all its various projects to make it to the quarter-century milestone. This conference exuded a level of confidence about the future of the talk industry held by its key players that we haven’t seen in years!” Video of each of the sessions and presentations will be made available online via Talkers TV, along with detailed story and photographic coverage of the conference, beginning next week. Above right, FOX News’ Brian Kilmeade, WFAN’s Mike Francesa and Sean Hannity share a joke. Lower left, Premiere Networks’ Julie Talbott (left) presents the Woman of the Year Award to Robin Quivers (right).
iHeartMedia to Create New Boston Home for Rush Limbaugh on WKOX. Dropping the Spanish music format “Mia 1430,” iHeartMedia will launch “Talk 1430” WKOX on Monday, June 29 with Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh as the centerpiece along with company stalwarts Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck surrounding him. WKOX is licensed to Everett, Massachusetts and its primary signal covers the city of Boston and reaches many of its suburbs. iHeartMedia is going with a sports and talk hybrid using FOX Sports Radio content in addition to syndicated talk programming. Here’s the lineup: “FOX Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman & Mike North” in AM drive; Glenn Beck from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; Limbaugh; Sean Hannity from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; “America Now” from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm; Westwood One’s Mark Levin from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight; and FOX Sports Radio during overnights. iHeartMedia Boston market president Alan Chartrand says, “We are excited to bring this powerful lineup of talk show hosts to our cluster here in Boston. We are confident that the biggest names in the talk radio format will serve our listeners and advertisers well.”
Canada’s Numeris Orders Voltair Units Disabled Until Further Notice. Canada’s Numeris – formerly called the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement – has ordered all Canadian radio stations to disconnect their Voltair units from their audio chains. The audio processor manufactured by 25-Seven – a division of TelosAlliance – has been a controversial topic within U.S. broadcast circles recently for reportedly enabling stations in Nielsen’s PPM markets to “amplify” the encoding that PPM receivers use to “hear” in order to give stations credit for listening. As was discussed at the Talkers New York 2015 conference on Friday (6/12) on the “State of Radio Ratings” panel, Voltair is currently being tested by Nielsen but no such edicts have been issued here. Canada’s Numeris states in a letter to station owners that the order to shut off Voltair comes because of the “importance of a level playing field.” Numeris admists it doesn’t know if the technology is affecting ratings or not but that it expects to have an analysis of Voltair done within 60 days.
Cumulus Media Elevates Hess to Corporate PD of News/Talk. A session moderator at last Friday’s (6/12) “TALKERS New York 2015,” Bill Hess takes on corporate responsibilities in addition to his role as program director of Cumulus Media Washington, DC news/talker WMAL-AM/FM. According to Cumulus executive vice president of content and programming John Dickey, “Bill is one of the format’s best minds. We look forward to sharing him within our company.” Senior vice president of content and programming Mike McVay comments, “This promotion enables us to take advantage of Bill’s previous experience as a corporate programmer and rewards him for the amazing job that he is doing at WMAL.” Hess remarks, “I deeply appreciate – and am incredibly energized by – this opportunity to work with John Dickey, Mike McVay, and our team of talented programmers as we continue to drive the success of the industry’s leading platform of news-talk brands, both on-air and digitally.” Formerly senior vice president of programming for Air America Radio, Hess was brand manager for Clear Channel/iHeartMedia and was PD of talk stations in Providence (WHJJ); Springfield, Massachusetts (WHYN-AM); and Worcester, Massachusetts (WTAG), as well as operations manager of Washington, DC progressive talker WWRC, sports WTEM, and conservative talk WTNT. The Philadelphia native has programmed FM music stations in Washington, DC (adult contemporary WASH and classic rock WBIG); Providence (hot AC WSNE and classic hits-oldies WWBB); Springfield, Massachusetts (hot AC WHYN-FM); and Worcester, Massachusetts (adult contemporary WSRS).
New Course Set at WRKO, Boston. In a press statement announcing the hiring of Alison Harris as sales manager for Entercom’s news/talk WRKO, Boston, VP and market manager Phil Zachary says filling this two-year-vacant post signals the station’s readiness to forward with the next step in its evolution. He comments, “Like every talk radio station in America, WRKO has been evolving with the changing media habits and demographic shifts in our society. We did not want to fill this important position until our course was set for the future and we found the perfect candidate. I’m thrilled we’re now at that point and that Alison was available to us.” Harris is a 22-year media pro who was most recently with Clear Channel Outdoor’s Washington, D.C./Baltimore Division as vice president of sales. The Boston news/talk will part with Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh next month and says it will announce its new, official lineup a little later this month.
Odds & Sods. Boston journalist and talk show host Michele McPhee told her listeners on Friday afternoon that she expects to beat the charges leveled against her after a late night incident on Thursday that resulted in her being arrested for DUI, resisting arrest and assaulting an officer. McPhee – heard on WMEX, Boston in afternoon drive – says she can’t comment specifically on the advice of her attorney. She was pulled over after a police officer reported seeing her car swerve on I-93 in South Boston. The Boston Herald reports she became belligerent with the officer and even sustained a head injury while the officer was arresting her…..Salem Media Group names Randy Bush general manager of its Little Rock station group that includes Christian contemporary KKSP, Christian teaching KDIS and news/talk KHTE “96.5 The Answer.”…..Townsquare Media announces Mike “Sandman” Sanders is the new operations manager for its Billings, Montana cluster that includes news/talk KCHH “Newstalk 95.5.” He was most recently with Riverbend Communications as music director and afternoon personality at adult contemporary KCLE, Idaho Falls “Classy 97.3.”
Nielsen Audio Releases Fourth Round of May 2015 PPM Data. The fourth and final round of May 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The May 2015 survey period covered April 23 through May 20. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
NJBA Conference and Gala Begins This Week. The annual New Jersey Broadcasters Association Conference and Gala opens this week in Atlantic City with his year’s theme: “Broadcast Has New Attitude.” NJBA president & CEO Paul Rotella states, “We’re going to hear from a variety of voices during this conference which will provide you with the latest and most substantial evolution in research, technology and advancement in audience measurement.” During the conference, the NJBA will be honoring FOX News’ Judge Andrew P. Napolitano as its recipient of the Howard L. Green Humanitarian of the Year. Also, Greater Media’s Peter Smyth will induct Dan Finn, Harry Hurley, Dick Swetits, and Kevin Williams into the NJBA Hall of Fame.
‘Get Well’ Wishes to Gabe Hobbs. Longtime radio pro and Gabe Hobbs Media principal, Gabe Hobbs is recovering from a ruptured disc in his lower back. He writes to the industry that he’s been largely unable to communicated while literally “on his back” in the hospital for the better part of the last two weeks. He writes, “As some of you may have heard, I have been hospitalized with a ruptured disk in my lower back for a couple of weeks. My back just seemed to explode on the afternoon of May 26th and I’ve been largely unable to answer emails, phone calls or texts ever since. I couldn’t even sit up or walk for 9 days. I’m finally able to do a little work on the computer and have somewhat cogent phone conversations at this point…My apologies as I know many of you are wondering if I just dropped off the face of the earth. Everyone at TALKERS wishes Gabe a speedy recovery.
WGMD, Rehoboth Beach Afternoon Host Sanctioned by SEC. The new PM drive host at Resort Broadcasting’s WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware – Todd Schoenberger – has been sanctioned by the Securities Exchange Commission for fraud. According to the News Journal, Schoenberger admitted to fraudulent conduct in a case in which he convinced four investors to pony up $130,000 for a hedge fund he said had $65 million under management, but in reality contained no assets at all. Schoenberger began his new gig with the station on June 1 and this story broke later in the week. He was still with the station on Friday (6/5), however it’s unclear what his status with the station will be going forward. Schoenberger has been a regular guest on Fox News, CNBC, CNN and Bloomberg.
WTKS-FM, Orlando Morning Host Russ Rollins Sued by Estranged Wife. The bit aired on iHeartMedia’s WTKS-FM, Orlando “Real Radio 104.1” in which Monsters in the Morning ringleader Russ Rollins was served divorce papers while on the air has led Rollins’ estranged wife Samantha Boomer to sue him. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Boomer, who is being represented by Gloria Allred, is suing alleging defamation and invasion of privacy. The suit seeks damages for emotional distress from the video of the bit and the related social media postings. The complaint states that Rollins (and employer iHeartMedia) “decided to take something that is painful, personal and private and make it public entertainment for profit and ratings. This public disgrace and embarrassment has caused so much pain and disruption that I had to contemplate moving my family from the community that I love.” During the bit, it was implied that Boomer asked that the papers be served while Rollins was on the air. That was not true and iHeartMedia published a retraction on the station’s website but that was too late for Boomer.
Mentally and Emotionally Coping with the Uncertainty of Speech No-Go Zones. According to psychiatrist and TALKERS contributor Renee Kohanski, MD, coping with the uncertainty of “Speech No-Go Zones” can be emotionally challenging to a radio talk show host trying to strike a balance between being provocative, authentic, original and edgy – without falling victim to the often-stifling forces of political correctness that can instantaneously terminate a talent’s career in a puff of controversy. Kohanski offers several tips to talkers on how to manage the stress of this situation and be prepared personally, professionally and even legally for that unwanted knock on the door by the political correctness police. They include such measures as staying up-to-date on industry issues and standards in this regard, keeping documentation of key conversations about artistic expectations with corporate superiors, developing a relationship with a trusted mentor and maintaining a personal support system of advisors and representatives. To read Dr. Kohanski’s entire article, please click here.
Salem Media Group to Buy Two More former Radio Disney Signals. The two stations are in the Dallas and Boston metros. The Texas station is KMKI-AM, Plano, Texas and is a class B with 5,000 watts daytime. The Boston signal is WMKI-AM, another 5,000-watt class B at 1260 on the dial. The prices for the two are $3 million and $500,000 respectively. Salem Media Group already airs its news/talk format in the Dallas market on KSKY and this will be signal number six for the company in that market. As for the Boston station, Salem owns three signals in the market – Spanish Christian teaching on WWDJ, and English Christian teaching on both WROL and WEZE. Will the company bring its news/talk format populated by Salem Radio Network personalities to the market on WMKI? The tantalizing speculation that the company could provide Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh (soon to exit WRKO) with a new home on WMKI if it chooses to go news/talk, is already being discussed by industry watchers. But Limbaugh would likely cost Salem a lot of cash and the company does not have a history of paying big money for a talent like Limbaugh when it has its own stable of quality, conservative talk hosts. Still, eyes will be on Boston as this transaction develops.
WEEO, McConnellsburg, PA Hires Mayor for AM Drive. The Magnum Broadcasting-owned news/talk station serving the Chambersburg, Pennsylvania region is hiring Chambersburg borough Mayor Darren Brown to serve as morning host. A story in Public Opinion News says 35-year-old Brown began doing an “Ask the Mayor” show on WEEO “NewsTalk 103.7 FM” in January of this year and he decided he’d like to try radio full time. Station general manager Patrick Ryan tells the paper he was up for it. “Can you think of a better host for a local news radio show than the mayor? As mayor he certainly knows how to talk. He’s at every ribbon-cutting in town and champions local issues that everyone needs to know about.” The station says he’s currently the “anchor-in-training” for the “First News” program. There’s no word on how the station will handle the equal time issue if and when Brown runs for re-election.
Rush Limbaugh to Air on WNDE, Indianapolis and New Translator. Currently, the iHeartMedia-owned WNDE-AM is a sports talk outlet and there’s nothing in the press release from the company that indicates a format change is imminent – it says the Rush Limbaugh program will be airing along with the local sports talk show hosted by Jake Query and John Schultz as well as the FOX Sports Radio Network programming currently being heard there. The new translator – W248AW at 97.5 FM – is licensed to Franklin, Indiana (approximately 25 miles south of downtown Indianapolis) and should go on air at the end of June. It will simulcast with WNDE effective July 6. Earlier this year, Emmis-owned WIBC-FM announced it would not renew its deal with Premiere Networks to continue carrying the Rush Limbaugh show and will go with local programming in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot.
DGital Media to Acquire WYD Media Ad Sales. After last week’s announcement that former Dial Global and Westwood One execs Spencer Brown and David Landau are launching the audio engagement firm DGital Media comes news that the new company is acquiring WYD Media Ad Sales from founder Ron Hartenbaum. DGital Media says the deal “instantly expands its research, analytics and sales capabilities. As part of the deal, Hartenbaum is named managing director of DGital Media and WYD Media’s John Murphy joins DGital as president. DGital defines its role on the media space as one that “partners with media brands to create, distribute, and monetize spoken-word audio products.” To that end, Spencer Brown says this acquisition “expands DGital’s capabilities in the marketplace providing us with research, analytics accounting and, of course, a deeper sales force. We now have the ability to build creative audio content for client brands and personalities and monetize them on all three major audio platforms – broadcast, satellite and online.” The deal does not include Hartenbaum’s WYD Media Management or the Debbie Greenbaum-run WYM Media. In addition to New York-based WYD Media Ad Sales, new offices in Detroit and Los Angeles (the latter to be headed by Steven Cohen, SVP of West Coast sales) will open. WYD’s current client rosters includes a dozen brands and personalities including FOX News Radio, Thom Hartmann, Michael Smerconish, Ed Schultz, Stephanie Miller, and others. Ron Hartenbaum says, “I have worked with co-founders Spencer Brown and David Landau before and look forward to this new association. Joining DGital gives us the opportunity to expand upon the work we have been doing by broadening our client roster and menu of ad sales solutions.”
NBC Sports Radio Finalizes Belmont Stakes Coverage. More than 175 stations will carry NBC Sports Radio‘s coverage of this Saturday’s (6/6) Belmont Stakes. The broadcast will be produced in partnership with Horse Racing Radio Network (HRRN) and distributed by Westwood One. Having already won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, American Pharoah would garner horse racing’s “Triple Crown” with a victory; Affirmed (1978) was the last “Triple Crown” winner. Among those joining Jon Stashower on his pre-race show (2:00 pm – 5:00 pm, ET) will be American Pharoah trainer Bob Baffert; Steve Cauthen – the last jockey to win the Triple Crown (riding Affirmed in 1978); and racing analysts Hank Goldberg and Paul Lo Duca (a former MLB catcher). HRRN’s Mike Penna anchors coverage of the following two hours (5:00 pm – 7:00 pm, ET), which will include pre-race ceremonies, interviews, predictions, NBC Sports’ Larry Collmus’ call of the race, and post-race interviews. Analysts Jude Feld, and Kurt Becker, as well as former jockeys Sean Clancy and Jeff Bloom, will also be part of the coverage team.
KSPN, Los Angeles Names Mike Trudell Co-Host with Mychal Thompson. The midday show at KSPN, Los Angeles “ESPNLA 710” is now composed of longtime personality and former Laker Mychal Thompson and veteran Lakers broadcaster Mike Trudell. Thompson has been hosting the show with a series of rotating co-hosts. Speaking about the new Thompson & Trudell Show,” ESPNLA VP/GM Scott McCarthy says, “We are thrilled to have Mike join our team as Mychal’s daily on-air partner. The duo of Thompson and Trudell will provide fans with an insightful and entertaining take on everything that matters to the LA sports fan.”
Odds & Sods. Good news for Salem Radio Network personality Michael Medved as he tells his listeners that he has been declared cancer free by his doctors. Medved took leave from his syndicated program from February through April to undergo treatment for throat cancer…..WCBS, New York afternoon news anchor Steve Scott is elected the new president of the New York Press Club, taking over for Larry Seary, who steps aside to assume a trustee role.
WHO, Des Moines’ Simon Conway Helps Raise $25,000 for Puppy Jake Foundation. The Puppy Jake Foundation acquires, trains and delivers service dogs to wounded combat veterans and it’s been the official charity of the Simon Conway show on WHO, Des Moines for the past year. Conway was left speechless during a remote broadcast from a local restaurant after a woman who wished to remain anonymous came in and donated $20,000 to the charity. Conway tells TALKERS, “I was numb for a few seconds. The lady wanted complete anonymity. Her dad was a Vietnam vet who had left her some money and she wanted it to go to a Veteran’s cause. She said she’d been listening to me for weeks and simply had to come in and make the donation. Just incredible.” The restaurant donated 10% of its profits from the broadcast to the cause. Conway is pictured here with a puppy that Puppy Jake Foundation named Simon, in Conway’s honor.
2016 Presidential Prospects, New Obama Approval Numbers, SCOTUS Headscarf Ruling, ISIS Military Progress, Hillary Clinton Email Issue, Caitlyn Jenner case, FIFA Scandal, and NBA and NHL Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/2). The potential candidates for president in 2016 and the entrance of Democrat Lincoln Chafee into the race; new lower approval ratings for President Obama are published; the aftermath of the Supreme Court headscarf ruling; the military success ISIS is having in Iraq and Syria and questions about U.S. military policy in the region; the ongoing probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of private email for State Department business; the case of Bruce Jenner’s transformation into Caitlyn; the FIFA scandal and the exit of Sepp Blatter as president; and the NBA and NHL Finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
LOS ANGELES — Especially when summoned up to describe talk radio personalities, certain words such as “controversial” and “colorful” have a pronounced tendency to come across as a crutch or a hackneyed cliché.
It is simply unrealistic to paint every single talk radio talent as controversial or a genuinely colorful character.
Rather than having either or both of those labels affixed to him, one well-known talk radio entertainer prefers to be called “authentic,” and this Southern California-based personality continues the process of taking a weekend show he co-hosts to a national stage.
Rush Limbaugh’s Boston Situation Has the Industry – and the Media – Talking. After Entercom’s WRKO, Boston announced it would end its relationship with Rush Limbaugh and Premiere Networks when the current contract expired this summer, the show was thrust into the spotlight as radio industry watchers and special interest groups wondered aloud why Entercom is letting Limbaugh go and where the show might land in the nation’s #10 radio market. Recently, Boston media reports have crosstown WMEX management saying that it will not pick up the show. As TALKERS noted during its initial coverage of this story, the list of quality AM signals in Boston likely to add a news/talk program are few and many wonder if the show will end up on a suburban AM. While organizations such as Media Matters might like to take credit for the Entercom decision – that they successfully showed advertisers the show is “toxic” – without detailed comments from Entercom or Premiere Networks, no one can say for sure. However, it’s likely the decision was more financial and less politically judgmental in nature. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Politics is a double-edged sword for talk radio. Taking ownership of it in the era following the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine has proven to be a magic elixir that has given additional life and longevity to not only spoken-word programming but, by osmosis, the entire medium of radio itself. The downside, of course, is the reality that politics – unlike its conceptual cousin, sports – is more than a ‘game’ and people do get hurt. It is a dirty, ruthless business – a blood sport – that often brings out the worst in people that seek victory rather than truth. This mindset has splashed over into the armchair analysis of events in radio. Limbaugh – being the political poster child of the medium – is the target of so much vitriol, from both within and outside the industry, that any bump in the road that he suffers on a business or economic level is seized as evidence of his complete demise directly due to his alleged ‘wrongness’ and ‘toxicity.’ Also fueling the fires of anger seeking to burn Rush at the stake is widespread resentment toward Clear Channel – that runs much deeper than its rebranding as iHeartMedia can sidestep – being the primary symbol of the so-called evils of consolidation. The truth is – just like almost everyone and every company in this business – Rush has an economic set of difficulties and hard choices to make, based on the financial realities of the radio business in 2015 and the fact that his act is more than a quarter century old. Cut him some slack… yes, he has a problem in a couple of major markets — he ain’t the only one. In their zeal to destroy the guy who has lots of miles left in his treads, I hope his critics don’t castrate radio of its greatest asset – the courage to be controversial, irritating, politically incorrect and even ‘wrong.’”
‘The John & Leah Show’ Lands New York Affiliate WNYM. The syndicated weekend talk show “The John & Leah Show” is now being heard on Salem Media Group-owned news/talk WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer.” Hosted by radio pros John Ziegler and Leah Brandon, the Envision Networks-syndicated show that deals with “the week’s news focusing on media, politics, sports and pop culture” airs Sundays at 10:00 pm. Salem Media Group New York VP/GM Jerry Crowley says, “‘AM 970, The Answer’ in New York is excited to air the ‘John and Leah Show’ each Sunday night…John Ziegler and Leah Brandon provide our listeners with up-to-date news and opinion and New Yorkers have a chance to call-in and let them know how they feel about it.”
Cumulus Names Sutherland to Providence VP Market Manager Post. Taking over the VP/market manager position in Providence after Barbara Haynes’ exit last week is John Sutherland, who moves up from his VP of sales position with Cumulus Media’s Worcester, Massachusetts cluster. Prior to joining Cumulus in 2013, he was chief visual officer for Sutherland Marketing Group. He was also a vice president with iHeartMedia. Cumulus SVP Gary Pizzati says, “Placing John at the helm of Cumulus Providence is a perfect fit for that dynamic group of stations and will maximize our position in the market. John has many years of broadcast history in the Northeast and his tremendous track record speaks for itself. This is another example of the opportunities for advancement and growth Cumulus offers to our employees. We congratulate John and are pleased to present him with this well-deserved battlefield promotion.”
Yahoo! Sports Radio About to Score in Vegas. The affiliation between Kemp Communications’ KMZQ “The Score,” Las Vegas and Yahoo! Sports Radio will start next Monday (6/1). Yahoo! Sports Radio chief executive officer David Gow states, “We have had a significant presence in Las Vegas through our great partnership with the [Las Vegas hotel and resort] Palazzo. It is so exciting to welcome our newest Las Vegas partner and to build on our deep connection with the market through a terrestrial signal. It’s going to be a big win for everyone.” KMZQ executive vice president and general manager Marty Basch comments, “Yahoo! has built locally-rooted connections with its national programming across the country. We are excited to be an integral part of its Las Vegas presence. From special events to nightly broadcasts, this is a great opportunity for KMZQ and its listeners to connect locally; get their national sports information; and be represented nationwide.” The lineup on KMZQ will include: Steve Czaban; “Prime Cut” with Sean Salisbury and John Granato; Leigh Steinberg; and “Sports X Radio” with Ken Thomson, who originates his Yahoo! Sports Radio show from the Palazzo. KMZQ is currently a Fox Sports Radio affiliate; the station did not appear in Nielsen Audio‘s April 2015 PPM report for Las Vegas.
Odds & Sods. Talk pro Michael Bower (WUCS, Hartford and SiriusXM’s Maxim Radio) will fill in for WINZ, Miami’s Jeff “Defo” DeForrest on June 8 and 9…..New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. will be a weekly contributor to WEPN, New York “ESPN New York 98.7FM” on the Michael Kay show. Beginning September 3, Beckham will join Kay and co-host Don LaGreca each Thursday to talk Giants football and the NFL.
WGN, Chicago to Induct ‘Walk of Fame’ Class. In a ceremony that will be open to the public (and broadcast live on WGN, Chicago) and hosted by personalities Steve Cochran and Bob Sirott, the station will honor 10 broadcast legends. The WGN Radio Walk of Fame Induction and Ceremony will take place tomorrow (5/29) on Pioneer Court in front of Tribune Tower from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm. The 2015 inductees include: Steve Bertrand, Lyle Dean, Dave Eanet, Steve King, Franklyn MacCormack (represented by Rick Kogan), Lou Manfredini, Johnnie Putman, Ward Quaal (represented by 2014 Walk of Famer Orion Samuelson), Ron Santo (represented by his wife Vicki) and Eddie Schwartz (represented by his brother Hal Ross).
Conservative Commentator Krauthammer to Join Salem Conference. On Wednesday, June 17, Salem Radio Network talk hosts Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher and Michael Medved will host a V.I.P. “Preview Dinner” in Washington, DC to kick-off the 2015 Road to Majority conference and conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer (pictured here at right with SRN VP/News & Talk Programming Tom Tradup at left) will be a special guest. Former SRN talk host and GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum will also be featured at the conference, along with Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee and others.
2016 Presidential Prospects/Rubio Claims Assault on Christianity, FIFA Scandal/Clinton Donations, Deadly Texas and Oklahoma Floods, ISIS Military Progress, Baltimore Violent Crime Wave, Hillary Clinton Emails Issue, IRS Data Theft Case, and NBA-NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/27). The potential candidates for president in 2016 and Marco Rubio’s assertion that Christianity is under assault in America; the FIFA corruption scandal and its donations to the Clinton Family Foundation; the continuing, deadly heavy rains and flooding in Texas and Oklahoma; ISIS’ military successes in Ramadi and Palmyra; the increase in violent crimes in Baltimore since the Freddie Gray case; the ongoing scrutiny of Hillary Clinton’s use of private emails for State Department business; the theft of data from IRS computers that is suspected to have been Russian in origin; and the NBA and NHL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Limbaugh to Leave WRKO, Boston – Again. This is not the first time that Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh might not be heard on the Entercom news/talk outlet. His show was heard on iHeartMedia-owned crosstown WXKS-AM for a little more than two years before returning to WRKO in 2012. Now, Premiere says in a statement that it and Entercom management were unable to come to terms on a renewal deal. “We were unable to reach agreeable terms for the Rush Limbaugh show to continue on WRKO. A final broadcast date will be announced in the near future. Rush Limbaugh airs daily in every measured media market in America, and we look forward to announcing exciting news for our Boston listeners soon.” iHeartMedia flipped WXKS-AM to business news using Bloomberg after its time as a news/talker with Limbaugh and such local personalities as Jeff Katz. It will be interesting to see where the Limbaugh show pops up in Boston. Unless there’s a format flip to talk in the future for an iHeartMedia FM – and we doubt that’s likely – the list of potential quality AM signals that might be a home to the show are few. Still, it’s possible that this is just a stage of the process that will see the two sides come to terms eventually. It would be a shame to see Limbaugh’s show languish on an inferior AM signal – seems like a lose-lose situation for both sides.
Nielsen: Radio Gives ‘Brand Lift’ to American Family Insurance. From a study with the help of Katz Radio Group looking to prove the effectiveness of radio advertising, Nielsen Audio engaged in a study to measure the brand impact of a radio campaign on insurance decision makers (ages 25-64). The analysis included insurance decision-makers who tuned in to one or more stations airing American Family Insurance commercials and compared their engagement with the company to that of decision-makers who did not listen to those stations. Nielsen says, “The results of the study showed that radio increased brand health metrics, particularly among decision-makers seeking new insurance, in the areas of favorability, recommendation and intent to request a quote from American Family Insurance. The study found that insurance decision-makers who heard the campaign were 25% more likely to request a quote from American Family Insurance than those who didn’t hear it. And brand-switchers who were exposed to the campaign were nearly twice as likely to request a quote, highlighting radio’s ability to influence the insurance company’s best prospects.” Read more here.
Howard B. Price: For AM/FM Radio, Doing Good is Good for Business. TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison speaks with the ABC Television Networks director of business continuity, Howard B. Price on this week’s installment of the international hit podcast, “Up Close and Far Out,” about the responsibility licensed AM, FM and television stations have to serve the public with timely and accurate information during both natural and man-made disasters. According to Price, “This is why we hold the license.” Aside from all the entertainment elements that radio provides and that Price says he “enjoys as much as anyone else,” he points out, “That is not, however, why radio stations are licensed – they are licensed to serve the public interest, convenience and necessity.” Price continues, “And while that definition can certainly include quality entertainment and programming that stimulates and enlightens – at the end of the day, what it is all about is being there in times of crisis… making sure that our communities stay informed, that decision-makers have the information that they need in real time, and to be able to apply the necessary time and resources to be able to deal with emergent events. This is the role that radio was born to play.” Price explains what he describes as the essential element of this truth. “If you want to keep people focused on the idea that terrestrial radio is still relevant, that electrons flying out of tall sticks on a single channel is still a very important thing for us to preserve and enhance, then you not only have to talk the talk – you have to walk the walk. And ‘walking the walk’ means that when your community is in crisis, you’ve got to be there to inform them. You’ve got to be able to put people on the street, you’ve got to be able to go to the scene of wherever news is breaking, and make sure that people have the information that they need both to calm them and comfort them as well as provide them with the essential information that allows them to make the right decisions for themselves and their families and businesses.” Price adds, “The old line for radio still exists… you go to any old-time sales manager and he’ll tell you radio is a street business, it’s a retail business and nothing is truer about that than when it comes to reporting the news in local communities.” According to Price, nothing can be more important to the survival of terrestrial radio than remaining visible and relevant to their local communities. He also explains how this philosophy applies to music radio as well as talk and all-news formats, citing examples including how, in the wake of 9/11, Scott Shannon and Todd Pettengill flipped their WPLJ, New York morning music show around “on a dime” from being an entertainment show into serious news mode without the benefit of having a news department. They became “comforters in chief” and did an extraordinary job of rising to the occasion. Price points out that music stations that cede listeners to talk and all-news stations during a serious crisis are foolish to give their listeners reasons to punch out because they might not come back. Harrison and Price also discuss ways in which any radio station – regardless of budgetary and resource limitations – can be fully prepared to serve its listeners in this fashion during a severe emergency explaining that in this day and age of convenient digital communications and citizen journalism, there is no excuse not to be ready to go into action. Michael Harrison states, “Although many people still believe that the idea of radio rising to the occasion and super-serving its audience in times of crisis might seem idealistic, quaint, naïve, and unrealistic – even ‘boy scout’ – that it ironically might be THE answer to AMs and FMs maintaining their importance and relevance going forward.” Harrison concludes this fascinating podcast by suggesting that terrestrial radio should always treat its audience with compassion, empathy, and a deep-seated desire to be helpful and give anyone who might be listening the support they need just getting through the pain, rigors and hardship of day-to-day life as a human being in a highly pressured, dangerous world. To listen to the entire podcast please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box in the right hand column of every page of Talkers.com. “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” is a presentation of Podcast One. Howard B. Price will be receiving the Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech at Talkers New York 2015 on Friday, June 12.
Bobby Bones EAS SNAFU to Cost iHeartMedia $1 Million. The Federal Communications Commission has laid down a $1 million fine for country WSIX-Nashville and Premiere Networks parent company iHeartMedia for the misuse of the EAS tones. The company admits to misuse of the tones and will pay the penalty. The agency writes in its ruling that the “FCC has long prohibited the transmission of actual or simulated EAS tones in circumstances other than a real alert or an authorized test.” WSIX-FM, Nashville – Bobby Bones’ flagship station – aired a false emergency alert during the broadcast of the nationally syndicated show and, as the FCC writes, “broadcast or transmission of emergency tones outside an emergency or authorized test violates FCC regulations designed to protect the integrity of the EAS system. False broadcast of an emergency signal can cause unnecessary public concern and undermine the urgency of real alerts. While commenting on an EAS test that aired during the 2014 World Series, Bobby Bones, the show’s host, broadcast an EAS tone from a recording of an earlier nationwide EAS test. This false emergency alert was sent to more than 70 affiliated stations airing [the show] and resulted in some of these stations retransmitting the tones, setting off a multi-state cascade of false EAS alerts on radios and televisions in multiple states.” In the last six months, the Commission has taken five enforcement actions totaling nearly $2.5 million for misuse of EAS tones by broadcasters and cable networks.
RTDNA: Technology in Newsrooms. The fourth part of a series from the Radio, Television, Digital News Association and Hofstra University professor emeritus Bob Papper focuses on newsroom technology and the plans news directors have to upgrade or add to current equipment. Though the bulk of the article deals with television news, radio is addressed. Papper reports that, according to his questionnaires returned by news directors, plans to acquire new technology have nosedived over the years. “Three years ago, 38% of radio news directors and general managers said they’d be making no technology purchases in the next year. Two years ago, the number rose to 44%. Last year, 69.3% said nothing. This year, the abstention crowd is up to an astonishing 78.6%.” Read more from the study here.
Odds & Sods. Jim Fronk exits Great Eastern Radio’s Concord, New Hampshire where he wore two hats as co-host of the “New Hampshire Wake-Up Show” on news/talk WTPL and as midday jock on sister classic rock WLKZ “104.9 The Hawk.”
Voice of ‘Letterman’ Visits CBS Sports Radio. “Late Show With David Letterman” voice Alan Kalter visited CBS Sports Radio’s “Gio and Jones” program to talk about the final three shows hosted by David Letterman. Kalter chatted about his favorite sports guests on the show and his first day on the job at Letterman. He also teased the surprises to come on the final show that airs Wednesday (5/20) on CBS TV. Pictured here are (from l-r): Gregg Giannotti, Kalter, and Brian Jones.
2016 Presidential Prospects/Iraq Policy Questions, Stephanopoulos Clinton Donations Scandal, Hillary Clinton Emails Case, Deadly Texas Biker Brawl, and Iran Nukes-Gulf Military Actions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/18). The potential candidates for president in 2016 and the issue of the U.S.’s Iraq policy being put before the Republican candidates; the scandal at ABC News over George Stephanopoulos’ donations to the Clinton Foundation; the continuing investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email matter; the deadly biker brawl in Waco, Texas over the weekend that took the lives of nine bikers; and the Iran nuclear program questions and the Gulf nation’s current naval operations in the region were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Entercom 2015 Q1 Revenue Flat. Net revenue for the first quarter of 2015 was $78.4 million – up just a tick from the $87.2 million reported during the same period a year ago. Entercom says station expenses increased 2% to $59.2 million while station operating income decreased 6% to $19.2 million. President and CEO David Field states, “Entercom’s first quarter revenues were up slightly over the prior year as significant market share gains were offset by sluggish advertising conditions. We are very much looking forward to completing our acquisition of Lincoln Financial Media and adding its terrific new markets and brands to our lineup. In the meantime, we are complying with the Department of Justice’s review of this transaction which would provide us with a second-place position with a 32% pro-forma share of the Denver radio market.”
WTIC-AM, Hartford Lays Off News Director Dana Whalen. At the local level, CBS RADIO’s WTIC-AM, Hartford is taking a bit of flak from news junkies and those who’ve worked in the business in the market for the dismissal of longtime station news director Dana Whalen. Hartford Courant columnist and one-time WTIC-AM air personality Colin McEnroe writes an eloquent piece praising Whalen for her professionalism during her long career. He writes, “I’ve heard from many of my former colleagues, all of them shaking their heads over this one.” You can read that piece here.
Halemane Joins Premiere Networks. Vice president of digital media is the title Kavi Halemane is being given. In defining that role, Premiere Networks’ chief product officer Chris Williams comments, “Kavi will be responsible for managing Premiere’s digital media product, editorial, and social strategy. His mission is to grow loyalty and engagement between our talent and audience by delivering a compelling digital platform to extend their brands. Kavi’s previous experience creating world-class digital communities for marquee artists has him perfectly positioned to excel in this role.” According to Halemane, “I’m very excited to be returning to the New York City area to join [Premiere parent] iHeartMedia under Chris Williams. Premiere Networks has a pedigree for great content. I look forward to expanding their brands in digital through this leadership role by infusing new strategic solutions, partnerships, and innovation.” Most recently Beverly Hills-based, Halemane was executive vice president of digital for The Collective. His past credits include marketing-digital strategist for Interscope, Geffen, and A&M Records; head of new media and digital production for PE-KO International Records; and co-founder of howellbands.com.
John Dickey and Michael Harrison to Conduct “Fireside Chat” at Talkers New York 2015. The agenda for Talkers New York 2015 is shaping up to be one of the most powerful in its colorful history. One of the highlights of what promises to be a stimulating day of relevant discussions, presentations, and addresses will be a conversation between Cumulus Media executive vice president of content & programming, John Dickey and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison. The presentation will be conducted in the informal, one-on-one “fireside chat” format. John Dickey is responsible for Cumulus’ sales, programming, marketing, promotion and engineering and will offer comments, opinions and information about a wide variety of issues presently facing talk radio, as well as the entire spectrum of radio formats. Conference director Michael Harrison states, “There are few people as ‘plugged in’ to both the day-to-day operations as well as the big picture of commercial radio in America today than John Dickey. He has extensive, first-hand knowledge about what’s happening in the business and plays an enormous role in influencing policy – plus he has a true passion for radio and its position in our society. I look forward to this session with enthusiasm and plan on it providing our attendees with a lot of valuable takeaways.” The 18th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important annual convention will take place on Friday, June 12, 2015. It will be located at the historic India House Club dramatically situated at One Hanover Square in the heart of Manhattan’s financial district. The all-day event – 8:45 am to 6:15 pm — is on the verge of selling out within a matter of days. Registrations, priced at $299 per person and only open to professionals currently or recently employed in media-related industries, include all sessions, presentations, exhibits and breakfast/lunch/refreshment/and social networking activities. The heavyweight, non-stop agenda will include approximately 65 speakers and 500 attendees will be the allowed limit. Registrations can only be taken over the phone and paid for by credit card. They are not refundable or transferable. For registration, sponsorship and hotel information, please call 413-565-5413. Again, an early sellout is days away, so avoid being shut out by registering now! To see the latest agenda, please click here.
Iconic Rock Singer Is Available for Talk Radio Interviews. News/talk radio hosts seem to enjoy occasionally changing the tempo of their shows by interviewing interesting guests from the world of pop culture. Especially names from the golden era of music and radio that are still actively going strong. Such is the case with Peter Rivera — the legendary original lead singer and drummer for the eternally classic songs “I Just Want to Celebrate” and “Get Ready” by the legendary band Rare Earth. Still in heavy rotation on classic rock radio and strategically placed in many TV commercials, any baby boomer rock aficionado will remember that booming voice and those powerful drums on the group’s long series of hits. During their reign of stardom, Rare Earth sold more than 25 million records with five top 10 singles. (Seven gold, one double-platinum, and two platinum albums.) Peter’s story is one of those all-American classics; a kind of “rags to riches” tale in which an obscure white boy, growing up in a red-brick row house in Detroit, Michigan, finds his way out of the grimy, blue-collar neighborhood that spawned a whole generation of factory workers, dock hands, and “tough-guy” bar brawlers to the big time glitz and glam of the pop music industry. Rare Earth was the first all-white band signed to Motown Records that broke through with hit records. Now at 70, Rivera still puts out a powerful sound and is a striking figure in concerts perched behind his drums and belting out tunes from a brand new album, It Is What it Is. To download the album and set up an interview, please click here.
Odds & Sods. In Chico, California, Chris Singleton takes over the program director duties at talk KYMC from Bob “The Fish” Fischetti. Singleton also programs Huth Broadcasting’s co-owned alternative KVXX…..A new daily feature targeting women is being produced by ABC News Radio. “Your Body,” hosted by ABC News senior medical contributor Dr. Jennifer Ashton, is a new daily audio report geared towards helping women achieve better health and wellness. It debuts on May 26. Dr. Ashton is also seen on ABC TV’s “Good Morning America.”…..In advance of today’s presentation of the 2015 James Beard Awards (for culinary excellence), Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York presented interviews with a selection of New York’s James Beard Award Nominees including: Barbuto’s Jonathon Waxman, Cosme’s Enrique Olvera, and Sullivan Street Bakery’s Jim Lahey. A radio special aired on Sunday night and videos were available via wabcradio.com. WABC program director Craig Schwalb says, “New York’s restaurant business is extremely competitive and the James Beard Award is coveted. These chef nominees give WABC’s audience a rare peek into their businesses and their craft.”
Dr. Oz Hooks On with iHM. Well that didn’t take long. Just this past Thursday (TALKERS, 4/30), we reported that Harpo Productions is pulling the plug on Westwood One-syndicated “The Daily Dose with Dr. Oz.” Now comes word that Dr. Mehmet Oz is entering into partnership with iHeartMedia. According to iHM Networks president Darren Davis, “We have been great fans of Dr. Oz and we are thrilled to be able to give him this much larger platform – from broadcast to digital and mobile. We could not be more excited to be working with him.” Dr. Oz comments, “I have always seen radio as a terrific way to reach people in their daily routines and deliver health information in a way that is fun and easy-to-understand. After many years of visiting iHeartMedia studios all over the country, they were the obvious partner for my brand – given their wildly successful brands, amazing on-air talent, and commitment to the wellness of America.” The Harpo Productions-Westwood One news came shortly after at least 1,000 doctors stated they believe Dr. Oz should resign his faculty position at New York City’s Columbia University. Earlier, 10 doctors sent a letter calling for him to be replaced as Columbia’s cardiothoracic surgeon. It is the doctors’ contention that Dr. Oz has promoted products and made claims unsubstantiated by medical evidence. Results of a poll of 1,300 doctors conducted by doctors’ social network SERMO indicate 57% feel he should resign from Columbia; 4% are calling to have his medical license revoked; and 22% opine he should resign and have his license taken away. Doctors have criticized Dr. Oz for his “disdain for science” and for manifesting “an egregious lack of integrity by promoting quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain.” Late last month (4/23), Dr. Oz answered back by stating he never promotes treatments for his own financial benefit. Dr. Oz was in hot water last June during a Senate hearing for making claims about “miracle” cures and weight-loss supplements. The final Westwood One version of “Daily Dose with Dr. Oz” will be fed to affiliates in approximately four weeks (Friday, 5/29); his iHeartMedia commitment takes effect “the latter part” of this year.
Altoona, Pennsylvania Talk Personality Charlie Weston Dead at 65. Just weeks after being diagnosed with cancer, Altoona, Pennsylvania market talk radio personality Charlie Weston has died at age 65. Weston worked for more than 30 years in the market at news/talk stations WRTA and WFBG. In addition to his talk show work, Weston also called local high school sporting events.
Little Rises to President of Phoenix Market for iHeartMedia. Assuming the position left briefly vacant by Scott Hopeck after he was promoted to the same post at the New York City cluster is Linda Little. She moves up from her SVP of sales position with the station group. Prior to that, she was GSM for adult contemporary KESZ and country KNIX. She also served as integrated media business development manager. She comments, “I have had the privilege of building my media career in Phoenix and am very fortunate to have worked for a company that has given me many opportunities to grow while constantly evolving with the industry.” In this position she’ll oversee news/talk KFYI, talk KOY, and sports talk KGME.
Schreiber Promoted at Mercury Radio Arts. Moving up from his head of strategy and special projects position with Glenn Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts to president of the company is Jonathan Schreiber. In this new post, Schreiber will oversee Mercury’s divisions including digital, radio and publishing and its continued growth in film, television and “digital content across different genres beyond politics and current events.” The company says Schreiber will continue to serve as an advisor to TheBlaze, the company’s news, information and entertainment network led by CEO Betsy Morgan. Schreiber has an 18-year pedigree in the tech, mobile and entertainment businesses. Beck says, “I personally recruited Jonathan to help take our company to the next level. Since joining Mercury, he has played an integral role in both the strategy and execution at Mercury Radio Arts and my overall business philosophy and approach. He is a trusted advisor and this title reflects the leadership position he has and will continue to assume in this new era for both me and our business.
Industry Mourns Don Quayle. The first president of National Public Radio (NPR) has died: Don Quayle was 84 years old. NPR’s Susan Stamberg recalls that Quayle gave her her first radio job. “It was the early-1960s and he was head of the Educational Radio Network – the precursor of NPR – a little network of 12 east coast stations that developed a daily drive-time news show. He hired me to help produce it. When this national network arose, he was an obvious choice to run it. Don was principled, decent, and astute. In the euphoric tumult of our first years, he navigated the choppy seas of building a public radio system. He knew NPR had to serve our listeners, above the competing needs of stations, boards, and funders.” The program to which Stamberg alludes, of course, is “All Things Considered,” which Quayle debuted on NPR in 1971. He headed the network – which now has more than 900 member stations – from 1970 to 1973. Prior to that (1960 – 1962), Quayle managed Boston public outlet WGBH. Five years ago, the Logan, Utah native received an honorary doctorate of humane letters for his “significant contributions” to public broadcasting from his alma mater, Utah State University.
Premiere and TheBlaze to Present Memorial Day Special. The annual Memorial Day radio special produced by Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network returns in 2015 with Premiere Networks handling affiliate relations. The three-hour program – titled “Reflections from a Grateful Nation” – features the hosts, writers and editors of TheBlaze and TheBlaze.com, including: Doc Thompson, Skip LaCombe, Buck Sexton, Jay Severin, Chris Salcedo, Mike Broomhead and others. In addition to special appearances by award-winning actor Gary Sinise, “Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak and members of the military, listeners will hear personal stories and conversations about the meaning of the holiday in this special tribute to those who fought and gave their lives to defend America’s freedom. It’s available to news/talk stations for airing from May 23-25. Interested stations can phone Premiere at 818-377-5300.
Michael Harrison Interviews Boston Herald Editor-in-Chief Joe Sciacca on Weekly Podcast, ‘Up Close and Far Out.’ In a candid and informative interview on the popular weekly podcast “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” Boston Herald editor-in-chief Joe Sciacca discusses his views on a wide variety of media-related topics that include, among others: the state of the newspaper industry in a changing media landscape; the impact of the digital era on journalism; and his experience in being involved with his newspaper’s pioneering effort in online news/talk/sports radio broadcasting – Boston Herald Radio. During the extensive conversation, Sciacca – a 37-year veteran of the newspaper business as a reporter, columnist and editor — tells TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison that the biggest challenge facing journalists in the newspaper business today is “keeping their print product relevant.” He tells Harrison, “I believe this is the greatest time to be leading a news organization in America even though resources are challenging and newspapers are experiencing difficult times in terms of revenue. There really is a great window of opportunity to be creative – to reinvent our business. So when I became editor five years ago after being at the Herald for 32 years, I embraced the challenge because even though I knew the road was going to be difficult to navigate, we have done some incredible things over the last five years and we’ve really transformed what was purely a print organization into a multimedia news organization.” This transformation, of course, includes the launch of Boston Herald Radio – the newspaper’s online talk station that produces 11 hours of original, live content every weekday from a studio located right next to the newspaper’s newsroom. It has proven to be a major source of breaking stories, not only for Boston-area news consumers, but for the media across the country and around the world. Harrison and Sciacca delve into media theory and discuss differences in the psychology between reading stories online as opposed to the printed page. They also analyze the impact of video cameras inside a radio studio and the differences between what Harrison describes as “great radio or bad television.” Sciacca discusses the Boston Herald’s commitment to getting the stories right, rather than just being first – a pressure amplified by the competition generated by the 24 hour non-stop, digital news cycle and he recalls how coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing was particularly challenging because of all the false information that was out there in the general news media’s frenzy to stay on top of the breaking story during its early hours and days. Harrison describes his theories about the emergence of what he calls “stickless” radio broadcasting (meaning radio without the traditional license, transmitter and tower) and the development of the online “media station” in the 21st century. To hear the entirety of this fascinating conversation between two seasoned, front-line media visionaries, please click here, or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” box in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Four More Smartphone Models Can Have FM Chip Activated Via Clip Interactive. According to Clip Interactive, more consumers can exercise the FM chip listening option as it has expanded the phones that can use its technology to include the HTC One M9, HTC Desire 610, Sharp Aquos Crystal and LG G3. Clip Interactive says its application technology connects to this chip, allowing the listener to tune into local stations without having to stream, which depletes data allowances and consumes more battery life. FM chip activation through Clip Interactive mobile apps allows stations to optimize listening options for users. Clip Interactive chief technology officer Peter Shoebridge says, “Activating the FM chip on more devices benefits the listener as they can reduce data usage and enjoy the real-time broadcast. The industry can expect more announcements about additional devices in the coming weeks as we continue our mission to provide interactive radio to the masses.”
Odds & Sods. Appearing in the KFAQ, Tulsa studios this morning is a crew from “Good Morning America” as morning host Pat Campbell interviews attorney Clark Brewster. Reserve Sheriff Deputy Robert Bates hired Brewster to represent him in the case of the fatal shooting of Eric Harris that took place during a drug sting. Bates has been cleared by the FBI of violating Harris’ civil rights but faces a second-degree manslaughter charge for accidently using his pistol instead of a taser on Harris. Pat Campbell tells TALKERS magazine, “Our station has been ground zero for many exclusives on this story, including the only sit-down interview with Sheriff Stanley Glanz. KFAQ news director Tami Marler has been all over this since day one, getting scoops and guests other outlets can’t secure.”…..FOX Sports Radio is presenting “FOX Sports Live 2015 NFL Draftcast” – a multi-platform NFL draft special featuring Jay Glazer, Joel Klatt, Peter Schrager, Mike Garafolo and Don Bell in Chicago. It will air on the network’s more than 400 affiliates nationwide beginning at 8:00 pm ET on Thursday, April 30…..The last Buckley Broadcasting property – KIDD-AM, Monterey, California – has been sold to Saul Levine’s Mt. Wilson Broadcasters for $50,000. Buckley took KIDD-AM dark a few months ago and recently tore down its aging tower structure.
ISIS Violence, Iran Nuclear Program Controversy/U.S. Naval Presence in Yemen, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Police Shootings Controversies, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/20). The reports of ISIS executing Christians; the controversy about negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program and the United States’ naval presence in the waters off Yemen; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the cases of police shooting citizens in Baltimore, Tulsa and elsewhere; and the weekend’s Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
FCC’s Wheeler Agrees to Pursue AM Rule Changes. Patting FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn on the back for work beginning the process of “AM revitalization” while acting chairman, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler writes in a blog post that he’s “committed to taking action in this proceeding so that AM radio will flourish while also preserving the values of competition, diversity, and localism that have long been the heart and soul of broadcasting.” Speaking about AM technical issues, Wheeler says, “In the coming weeks, I intend to conclude this open item with a Report and Order that will buttress AM broadcast service and ease regulatory burdens on AM broadcasters. The proposed Order would adopt specific measures to address practical problems and interference-related issues that have long plagued AM stations across the country. If adopted, these measures will enable AM stations to operate more efficiently in today’s spectrum environment. For example, the proposed Order would give stations more flexibility in choosing site locations, complying with local zoning requirements, obtaining power increases, and incorporating energy-efficient technologies. These actions will help to ease some of the technical limitations that have hindered AM stations in serving their listeners.” In response to Wheeler’s announcement, the NAB’s EVP of communications Dennis Wharton comments, “NAB is grateful Chairman Wheeler has announced plans to circulate an item to his FCC colleagues designed to revitalize AM radio. AM broadcasters have uniquely served local communities for nearly 100 years. The time is ripe for the FCC to follow through on the tremendous efforts of Commissioners Clyburn and Pai so that AM broadcasters can continue to play a vital role in the fabric of our nation. We look forward to working with the chairman and the commissioners to help ensure the item ultimately adopted serves the American public in the best manner possible.”
Cooke: Report from Las Vegas – Day 2. Radio consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas reporting for TALKERS magazine/RadioInfo from not one, but three conferences going on there. Today’s report is from the NAB Show – a convention that Cooke points out is often thought of more as a TV gathering than a radio conference – but there’s still plenty of talk about audio. And, you guessed it, podcasting is one of the show’s darlings. Cooke writes that Edison Research’s Tom Webster showcased the importance of the success of the “Serial” podcast. “HOW impactful is podcasting? ‘Serial’ – a 12-episode true story podcast about a teen murder – has caused The Maryland Court of Appeals to revisit the conviction of Adnan Syed, imprisoned for the 1999 killing of his former girlfriend. To date, it’s been downloaded 68 million+ times. Webster calls this a watershed for podcasting, ‘a watercooler moment, like what ‘House of Cards’ and ‘Orange is the New Black’ did for Netflix. People are talking to each other about listening to a podcast.’” The integration of social media with legacy media is also a hot topic. Read more from Holland Cooke in Las Vegas here.
Nielsen Audio Releases First Round of Mach 2015 PPM Data. The first of four rounds of March 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The March 2015 survey period covered February 26 through March 25. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Premiere Networks and Futuri Media Announce Long-Term Deal. The two companies release the news of a new, exclusive, long-term national sales representation agreement between iHeartMedia subsidiary Premiere Networks and Futuri Media. The partnership includes all of Futuri’s interactive radio programming platform brands: LDR (Listener Driven Radio), Futuri Mobile Apps, and TopicPulse – a social media monitoring system for broadcast stations across the U.S. Additionally, Premiere’s international division will offer Futuri’s systems and services to Canada and, later this year, to the UK and continental European markets. Premiere president Julie Talbott comments, “We love working with forward-thinking companies whose teams are focused on success for local affiliates, and Futuri Media delivers every time. This new agreement testifies to the great working relationship we’ve had for years as Futuri has evolved from LDR. Daniel Anstandig and the Futuri team exemplify Premiere’s ongoing commitment to supporting broadcasters around the world with solutions that drive ratings, revenue, and digital engagement growth.”
Envision Networks and Focus 360 Partner on ‘Powered by Jelli’ Networks. Affiliate sales for Focus 360’s “Powered by Jelli” networks will be handled by Envision Networks as the two firms have entered into a new relationship. Jelli is a cloud-based programmatic advertising platform for broadcast radio, enabling the selling and serving of advertising on behalf of radio station groups and show producers. Focus 360 provides programming, syndication and national advertising sales to thousands of radio stations nationwide. Its “Powered by Jelli” ad networks traffic, serve and report all ad campaigns using Jelli’s RadioSpot platform. Envision president and CEO Danno Wolkoff comments, “We are excited to bring this proven revenue generating opportunity to radio stations. Jelli is offering national advertisers a powerful vehicle to deliver and monitor commercials as they are broadcast while relieving stress on traffic departments to schedule and report those spots every day.”
Michael Harrison and Christopher Ruddy Discuss Politics, Journalism, Commercialism and the Nature of Truth in New ‘Up Close and Far Out’ Podcast. TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison engages in a candid and revealing conversation with Newsmax president/CEO Christopher Ruddy in the sixth and latest installment of his PodcastOne series, “Up Close and Far Out.” Ruddy is the mega-successful founder of a conservative-tilting news organization that began as a website in the late-1990s (Newsmax.com) and has grown into a multi-million dollar empire consisting of, among numerous assets, a dynamic website, monthly print publication (Newsmax Magazine), and most recently, a full-service television news network (Newsmax TV) that holds the potential to give Fox News Channel a run for its money. In the podcast, they discuss what Harrison describes as the tendency of today’s media (and society in general) to “seek victory at the expense of truth.” Harrison praises Ruddy as being somewhat of an exception to that rule – especially in today’s popular political media in which most news publications, websites and electronic media channels cater to the predisposition of their target audiences in an attempt to gain “more eyeballs and eardrums” even if it means distorting or suppressing the facts to conform to the expectations of the target consumer. Harrison points out several significant instances in which Ruddy has actually committed what so many of today’s opinion practitioners consider a sin – he actually changed his mind and renounced formerly held opinions in the face of new evidence and facts. The fascinating discussion delves into Ruddy’s role as a major Republican Party influencer (but not registered member) and his colorful relationship with former President Bill Clinton. Ruddy talks about the coming presidential election and explains the mechanisms often referred to as the Clinton and Bush “machines.” In the “Far Out” section of the podcast following the Ruddy interview, Harrison delves deeper into what he describes as the coming “Quantum Era” that will be marked by the rise of quantum computing that he predicts will relegate the current digital era to “primitive” status. To access the podcast please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right hand column of every page of Talkers.com.
Robin Quivers to Receive ‘Woman of the Year’ Honors at Talkers New York 2015. Longtime Howard Stern show cast member Robin Quivers will be honored at the June 12 Talkers New York 2015 conference where she will be presented with the Judy Jarvis Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to Talk Radio by a Woman – known informally as the ‘Woman of the Year’ award. Robin Quivers is legendary in the radio business – an industry she entered in the late 1970s on a daytime AM station in tiny Carlisle, Pennsylvania. A couple of upward moves later she was cast in the news anchor role at WWDC, Washington “DC 101” when Howard Stern began as morning host there in March of 1981. Thirty-four years later, she’s still holding her own as the “voice of reason” on Stern’s SiriusXM program. Though successful on the radio, Quivers has had to navigate challenging waters in her personal life. A series of health issues forced her to reexamine her approach to healthy living and she is now one of the leaders of the movement to require full disclosure of where our food comes from and what’s in it. Quivers has become a dedicated philanthropist, working hands on with numerous charitable causes both at home and abroad. She does all this while maintaining a rigorous work schedule on the Stern program and on various other media projects. Upon making the announcement of the editorial board’s decision to honor Quivers, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison stated, “This recognition of Robin Quivers is long overdue and can hardly even come close to serving as an accurate reflection of the magnitude of her achievements. She has established a unique place for herself, not just as a talk show personality in the modern era, but as one of the most skilled, accomplished and important radio personalities of all time. It is almost impossible to describe her unique sense of timing and elegance as she practices her skills and artistry every morning within the iconic Stern universe and the indispensable contributions she has made to this amazing show’s ongoing empire in the American pop culture landscape.” Quivers will receive the award, which will be presented by the 2014 recipient Julie Talbott, president of Premiere Networks at Talkers New York 2015 on Friday, June 12 at the India House Club in Manhattan’s Financial District. The conference is for working media industry people only. Registration for the conference, which is on the verge of a sellout, and sponsorship inquiries can be made by calling 413-565-5413. For more information, click here.
Odds & Sods. The deal between Alpha Media Group and Access.1 Communications for the former to acquire stations in Shreveport, Louisiana and Tyler-Longview, Texas has closed. It gives Alpha ownership of: hip hop KBTT, gospel KOKA, urban contemporary KDKS, oldies KLKL, and classic rock KTAL in Shreveport; and country KKUS, adult contemporary KOOI, regional Mexican KOYE, and country KYKX in Tyler-Longview…..Salem Communications reports is has expanded its partnership with Clip Interactive to roll out the latter’s Total Audience Solution platform to all 109 Salem stations in 29 markets nationwide. Salem says it initially implemented Clip Interactive apps for their four Portland stations in 2013, expanding to San Antonio and Atlanta in 2014. After seeing significant revenue gains and user engagement in 2014, Salem chose to expand its partnership and propagate Clip Interactive’s solution nationally…..At the New York operations of iHeartMedia, Anthony Molaee is promoted to director of digital programming and operations for the cluster. SVP of programming Thea Mitchem notes that Molaee has been with iHeartMedia since 2007 and joined the New York operations in December of 2013. Molaee’s promotion comes as Colby Hall joins iHeartMedia’s Entertainment Enterprises team.
Todd Schnitt and Len Berman Attend Mets Home Opener. The New York Mets took the field for their home opener on Monday (4/13), and in attendance at Citi Field were WOR, New York morning personalities Todd Schnitt and Len Berman. WOR serves as the flagship station for the Mets radio network. Pictured here in the broadcast booth are (from l-r): Berman, Wayne Randazzo, Howie Rose, Josh Lewin, and Schnitt.
2016 Presidential Prospects/ Marco Rubio Declares, ISIS Violence, Iran Nuclear Program Negotiations, and MLB Action Among Top Stories Yesterday (4/13). The potential candidates for president in 2016 and the declaration for candidacy by Marco Rubio; the ongoing violence being perpetrated by ISIS and other militant Islamic factions; the negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program; and the weekend’s MLB action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Westwood One Adds Ficke, Hurley. New to the company’s Chicago sales office as vice president of strategic partnerships is Zack Ficke, and as vice president of national partnerships and digital activation, Midwest is Kelli Hurley. The former Premiere Networks’ staffers will report to another Premiere Networks alum – Westwood One executive vice president of Midwest sales Doug Johnston – who states, “I am thrilled to be back together with these two very talented sales individuals. They will be instrumental as we build a customer-centric Midwest region.” According to Westwood One president Steve Shaw, “Doug Johnston has put together an incredible team of sellers in our Midwest region. Zack and Kelli will only enhance our efforts to be the best client partners in the business. We are moving the mark and delivering results across all of our assets.” Ficke comments, “Marketers are increasingly seeking experiential, cross-platform marketing solutions that are both innovative and engaging. Westwood One is uniquely positioned to meet this demand with national scale and local activation opportunities across an impressive array of programming. I am ecstatic to be joining such an accomplished sales organization. I look forward to working more closely with the entire sales organization.” Hurley remarks, “Westwood One’s digital platforms are incredibly dynamic and they offer highly engaging experiences to consumers and advertisers alike. I look forward to leading Westwood One’s digital efforts in the Midwest, while continuing to service clients and agencies in the network radio marketplace.” For the past seven years, Ficke was a Premiere Networks’ national account manager, and he previously had the same title at SiriusXM. Prior to that, he held various sales and account management positions at Marriott’s vacation club division and IT consulting firm Apex Systems. Most recently, Hurley was a Premiere Networks’ national account manager. She previously worked for United Stations Radio Networks and is returning to Westwood One. In addition, she is a former director of sales for TargetSpot.
Allan Handelman Exits WSJS, Winston-Salem. The afternoon drive show radio pro Allan Handelman hosted for Curtis Media Group’s WSJS, Winston-Salem, North Carolina has been cancelled. Handelman – host of the nationally syndicated weekend talk program “Rock Talk with Allan Handelman” – tells TALKERS magazine he’s thankful for the time spent entertaining the station’s listeners. “My afternoon show on ‘600 WSJS’ has come to an end. I want to thank WSJS and especially the listeners for being a part of the best audience in the world. They have been great. Watching the audience grow in the afternoon, while simultaneously witnessing the increased response to my sponsors (the Pet Pantry and C.Crane) has really meant a lot to me. When the right opportunity comes along to reach North Carolina listeners on a daily basis I’ll be there. In the meantime, my weekend syndicated show continues without interruption on FM radio stations across the country and online.” Handelman says he’ll keep fans up to speed on his next move via his website: www.ifitrocks.com. There’s no immediate word from WSJS what will air in the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm daypart.
BIA/Kelsey Reports 2014 Top-Billing Radio Stations; KIIS, Los Angeles Takes Honors. Each year, media consulting firm BIA/Kelsey publishes its list of the top revenue-producing radio stations in America. This year, iHeartMedia-owned CHR KIIS-FM, Los Angeles ousts Hubbard Radio LLC’s all-news WTOP, Washington – the leader for the past four years – by billing $65.9 million during 2014. Simultaneously, the firm reports that the industry billed $14.9 billion last year. The source is BIA/Kelsey’s 2015 Investing In Radio® Market Report. BIA/Kelsey notes that 2014 over-the-air radio revenues were $14.3 billion, with online generating $636 million. The firm forecasts both sources of radio income to continue growing at a slight pace over the next few years, reaching $16.2 billion overall in 2019. BIA/Kelsey chief economist and SVP Mark Fratrik comments, “Local radio stations continue to maintain an important position in the local media marketplace. Last year, a slight decline in over-the-air revenues was offset by an increase in online revenues, resulting in steady overall revenues.” See the chart above to get a view of the top 10 revenue-producing radio stations in the U.S. For more information, broadcasters can visit BIA/Kelsey’s website here.
Report: Ingraham to Launch News Site. Politico’s Dylan Byers is reporting that Courtside Entertainment Group-distributed talk radio personality Laura Ingraham (pictured here) is preparing to unveil a news-oriented website. Byers says insiders say it will be a “conservative news and opinion website.” Byers goes on to write, “One source said that Neil Munro, the political reporter who resigned from the Daily Caller this week, will serve as the site’s editor, though that could not immediately be confirmed. Neither Ingraham nor Munro responded to a request for comment on Tuesday.” Read his piece here.
‘22 Everyday’ – An Important, Powerful Song by Rising Country Star T.J. Bebb Pertinent to News/Talk Radio for Interviews. Subscribers to TALKERS magazine’s sister trade publication in the music arena RadioInfo’s daily email headlines received a download of an outstanding song this morning (4/1) designed to advocate awareness, prevention and education of the tragic fact that there are more than 22 military suicides in America every 24 hours. T.J. Bebb has recorded the song “22 Everyday,” which deals with this alarming statistic. A recent analysis by News21, an investigative multimedia program for journalism students, found that the annual suicide rate among veterans is about 30 for every 100,000 of the population, compared with the civilian rate of 14 per 100,000. The analysis of records from 48 states found that the suicide rate for veterans increased an average of 2.6% a year from 2005 to 2011 — more than double the rate of increase for civilian suicide. Numerous other academic and journalistic studies have corroborated this sad state of affairs. According to RadioInfo music co-editor Duane Doobie Jr., “’22 Everyday’ is a MUST add for every country radio playlist. Not only is it an excellent song by a wonderful artist – it carries a message that should be heard by every American who cares about their country and the brave men and women who courageously defend it.” Born and raised in eastern Pennsylvania, T.J. Bebb now calls Nashville home. Bebb has opened up for numerous national acts including: Loretta Lynn, George Jones, and Craig Morgan among others. He has just released his first Nashville-produced album… a tribute to some of the greatest country singers of all time and also just wrapped up a tour in Brazil where they fell in love with his voice and performance. T.J. has toured with bands and plays solo acoustic shows as well. To learn more about this consciousness-raising initiative, download a copy of “22 Everyday” and, perhaps, arrange to interview T.J. Bebb about the 22 Everyday Task Force and Crisis Line (800-273-2855) please click here.
Odds & Sods. WVON, Chicago names Micae Brown host of the “Urban Business Roundtable” program. The locally produced, 30-minute business program airs three times during the week on WVON and is produced for sponsor Ariel Investments…..The next edition of “KNX On Your Corner,” from CBS RADIO’s all news KNX, Los Angeles takes place in northern Los Angeles County for an in-depth look at the Santa Clarita Valley on Friday, April 24 from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm. The live remote broadcast begins at 1:00 pm from the Salt Creek Grille with Frank Mottek hosting the “KNX Business Hour.” Jim Thornton and Diane Thompson will anchor the afternoon news from 2:00 pm until 7:00 pm from the restaurant…..Gay rights activist Michelangelo Signorile will be comic and actress Rosie O’Donnell’s guest on SiriusXM’s next “Town Hall” show being produced tomorrow (4/2) in the satcaster’s New York studios before an audience of SiriusXm listeners. The show will air on Monday, April 13 4:00 pm ET and on Thursday, April 16 at 2:00 pm ET.
Beasley Promotes Shannon Kelley to Director of Digital Content. The services of Shannon Kelley were acquired by Beasley Broadcast Group along with the Charlotte stations it got in a swap with CBS RADIO. Now, Beasley ups Shannon Kelley to corporate director of digital content. She’ll work out of the Charlotte offices and in this position will focus “on designing and implementing an actionable digital content strategy with the intention of expanding the company’s brands in the digital space, while increasing traffic to websites, streams and apps. She reports to vice president of programming Justin Chase. You can congratulate Shannon at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Indiana Religious Freedom Law Flap, Comedy Central’s Trevor Noah Problem, Iran Nuclear Program Negotiations, Hillary Clinton Email Probe, Germanwings Flight 9525 Investigation, Boston Marathon Bombing Trial, 2016 Presidential Prospects, and Final Four Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/31). The controversy being created over Indiana’s religious freedom law and Governor Mike Pence’s vow to fix the law; criticism of “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah’s anti-Semitic jokes and Tweets; the negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program; the ongoing investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of her personal email for State Department business; the probe into the downing of Germanwings Fight 9525 and the mental state of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz; the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in connection with the Boston Marathon bombing; the potential candidates for president in 2016; and the NCAA Men’s hoops tourney were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Report That WLS-AM, Chicago to Drop Limbaugh Denied by Cumulus. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reported earlier today (3/5) that inside sources at Cumulus Media Chicago say news/talk WLS-AM is preparing to drop Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh from the daily lineup due to sagging ratings and revenue. However, after Feder reported that Cumulus initially had no comment on the matter, the company is now telling him the report is “not at all accurate.” Regular TALKERS readers are aware that WLS-AM has been revamping its lineup, recently announcing the arrival of Jonathon Brandmeier to the program schedule for the 9:00 am to 11:00 am slot but Cumulus is insistent that the initial Limbaugh story is not true.
Cooke: Analysis of Infinite Dial 2015. The Infinite Dial 2015 study was released by the folks at Edison Research and Triton Digital on March 4 and the results are, in the words of consultant Holland Cooke, “must-reading for anyone, in any format, in radio. And ‘anyone’ includes sales.” This year, the annual study was based on data from answers to questions posed to 2,002 persons 12+ (during January and February of this year) and addresses the broad query of media usage in various circumstances. What’s not particularly surprising is the continued rise in preference for Internet-based media by consumers. But the actual numbers shed some light on how and why people are going to a particular medium for content. See Holland Cooke’s summary and commentary on the study here.
PPM Analysis: News/Talk (Part 2). TALKERS magazine managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian presents the second of his two-part analysis of the performances of news/talk stations based on data from the January 2015 PPM survey from Nielsen Audio. This second part focuses on non-commercial talk stations. Kinosian says it’s true that many non-com or public stations more variety outlets, so he clarifies the definition. “Stations comprising this base lean toward spoken-word programming (specifically talk and news – locally originated and/or from NPR). Some might play music as well – from alternative to bluegrass to classical and practically anything else in between. ‘Variety’ or another such label could be affixed to these stations, but we are choosing to group them under ‘talk’ (since that is their primary thrust) with an added ‘noncommercial/public’ designation. See the entire report here.
Don’t Be Shut Out of Talkers New York 2015. Registrations are being booked at a rapid pace as Talkers New York 2015 is heading toward being an early sell-out. A power-packed, informative agenda and fantastic business/career networking opportunities will be part of the day-long conference set for Friday, June 12 at the India House Club in the Big Apple’s historic Financial District. Registrations are priced at $299 per person. Registrations, which are only open to professionals currently or recently employed in media-related industries, include all sessions, presentations, exhibits and breakfast/lunch/refreshment/and social networking activities. The heavyweight, non-stop agenda will include approximately 65 speakers and 500 attendees are again expected. Join such figures as (in alphabetical order): Mike “Bax” Baxendale, Ethan Bearman, Mike Bendixon, David Bernstein, Michael Berry, Jim Bohannon, Phil Boyce, Dr. Joy Browne, Tony Bruno, Howie Carr, Kathy Carr, Kevin Casey, Alan Colmes, Mandy Connell, Holland Cooke, John Dickey, Erica Farber, Mike Francesa, Steve Goldstein, Sean Hannity, Michael Harrison, Ron Hartenbaum, Thom Hartmann, Bill Hess, Karen Hunter, Brad Kelly, Mike Kinosian, Tom Langmyer, Carole Marks, Tom Marr, Jimmy Mathis, Mike McVay, McGraw Milhaven, Greg Moceri, Todd Schnitt, Joe Sciacca, Julie Talbott, David Webb, Dan Yorke, Larry Young and many more as the roster of outstanding speakers continues to be announced in the days ahead. Registrations can only be taken over the phone and paid for by credit card. To register, call 413-565-5413; for sponsorship information, email email@example.com; and for local hotel information please click here.
Lori Lundin Wins a Gracie. A big TALKERS congratulations to WTOP, Washington, DC news reporter Lori Lundin upon being announced a winner of a Gracies Award for her special report titled “Libido in Limbo.” The piece deals with the dearth of sexual dysfunction drugs on the market for women and a new potentially helpful drug, Flibanserin, that has been going through the testing phase. Lundin reports, “Declining hormones, job stress and other problems can take their toll in the bedroom and on relationships. And while the airwaves are saturated with ads for sexual dysfunction drugs for men… where are the sex drive drugs for women?” Lundin’s Gracie Award is for the category “Local Market Outstanding Reporter/Correspondent.” She will receive it from the Alliance for Women in Media at a special awards luncheon at the New York Hilton on Monday, June 22. What makes this award particularly special is the fact that the past few years have been exceptionally challenging for Lundin. She was a breast cancer survivor, still in recovery, when she was let go from her anchor position at Mark Masters’ America’s Radio News Network when that operation unexpectedly shut down in 2013. Facing tough going in a shrinking radio news job market, the seasoned radio newswoman turned to WTOP where she was given part-time and fill-in work as she began to regain her health and get back on her feet. It was during this stint that she has won the aforementioned honor. On hearing about Lundin’s achievement, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “I have been following the saga of Lori Lundin since this outstanding woman first came to my attention during the sad ARNN fiasco. She is not only an extremely talented, intelligent and hard-working broadcast journalist in the truest sense of the term – but she is an extraordinarily brave human being as well. It warms my heart to see her honored with a Gracie in this manner. God bless you Lori! You are an inspiration!” To hear Lori Lundin’s report, please click below.
Odds & Sods. Moving up to program director and web editor at Dot Com Plus-owned sports talk WNSP, Mobile, Alabama is afternoon drive co-host Randy Kennedy. He takes over for Chip Ramsey and he will remain co-host of “The Afternoon Sports Drive” alongside Mark Heim…..Broadcast journalist and bestselling author Jane Velez-Mitchell launches a new show on ConnectPal.com. The former CNN personality will present original video content that takes viewers behind the scenes of her latest venture, the social media news operation –JaneUnChained.com…..College Station, Texas gets an FM sports talker as Brazos Valley Communications flips rock KJXJ “Rock 103.9” to sports using ESPN Radio content and branding the station “ESPN Aggieland.”…..“The Successful Farming Radio Magazine” recently celebrated the 5,000th installment of the daily agricultural radio feature. Show host and creator Darrell Anderson and his wife, Maureen, started North Shore Productions to syndicate and produce the program which debuted January 1, 1996, with 44 affiliate stations, mostly in the Midwest. It now airs on 133 stations in 20 states.
Cool Job Opportunity. KFWB, Los Angeles “980 The Beast” is seeking a Promotion Manager. This person will develop and manage from inception to completion all station promotions, events and contests. Regular activities will include aggressively establishing the station’s street presence; building key relationships; managing, hiring and training Street Team staff; creating collateral materials including writing copy and press advisories; ordering merchandise; managing promo inventory; growing the station’s database and subscription services. Candidate will serve as a liaison between the programming and sales departments to help achieve ratings growth and develop client promotions. See more info and apply here.
Hillary Clinton Email Probe, SCOTUS ObamaCare Case, Fed’s Ferguson Discrimination Report, Iran Nukes Issue, 2016 Presidential Prospects, South Korea Ambassador Attacked, and Winter Weather Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/4). The investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of private email for State Department business; the Affordable Care Act case being heard by the Supreme Court; the scathing report on Ferguson, Missouri’s record of discrimination and harassment of minorities; the issue of a treaty that would allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons; the potential candidates for president 2016; the knife attack of the U.S.’s ambassador to South Korea; and the ongoing wintry weather across much of the country were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Westwood One Announces: Here’s Johnny! Bona fide Chicago radio cult legend Jonathon Brandmeier takes to the national stage next month when Westwood One commences syndicating his daily three-hour eponymous show-gram. Executive vice president of content and programming for Westwood One’s parent company – Cumulus Media – John Dickey comments, “Jonathon is one of the most versatile performers in radio today. We know audiences will enjoy his lively humor and take on each day’s topics. We are thrilled to add ‘Johnny B’ to the Westwood One roster of relevant and relatable talk programming.” Remarking this is an “extremely exciting” time for all those associated with his show-gram, Brandmeier – who has achieved industry success in Los Angeles (on talk KLSX) and Phoenix (on KZZP) as well as in Chicago – notes, “We look forward to continuing to entertain audiences in Chicago and expanding our reach nationwide. Fasten your seatbelts – it is going to be a wild ride.” Simultaneous with Brandmeier’s addition to the Westwood One roster is the departure from it by the program hosted by Dennis Miller. The former “SNL” cast member states that he is “stepping aside from radio at the moment” and that, “it has been a great run. I have had a phenomenal time interacting with my guests and audience, but with so many other commitments, it is hard to maintain a daily talk show. It is time to pass the torch as I move on to explore other opportunities – I wish ‘Johnny B’ lots of luck.” Three top-five market Cumulus-owned AM stations (KABC, Los Angeles, WLS-AM, Chicago, and KLIF-AM, Dallas) have already cleared Brandmeier’s 10:00 am – 1:00 pm (ET) program. In addition, there are affiliates in Salt Lake City (KKAT), Providence (WPRV), and Albuquerque (KTBL) – all are Cumulus Media AM properties.
Steve McCoy to Host Mornings on ‘News Radio 106.7’ in Atlanta. The Cumulus Media news station is changing morning shows, bringing aboard Atlanta market pro Steve McCoy, effective Monday, March 1. McCoy worked at the old WZGC “Z93” in AM drive where he was the longest-running morning personality in the station’s history. He also worked at “Power 99,” WSTR “Star 94” and WSB-FM “B98.5.” WYAY “News Radio 106.7” program director Greg Tantum says, “Steve has had a personal relationship with millions of Atlanta radio listeners for years. Steve’s deep roots in the community bring a one-of-a-kind perspective and understanding to the daily lives of Atlanta residents. Most important, Steve has proven he is the best at entertaining listeners and making them feel good – even in Atlanta traffic.”
Weisman: The Battle Over Net Neutrality. With yesterday’s passage of the FCC’s proposal to reclassify the Internet as a public utility and regulate it, the battle may have just begun. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman, in a timely column examining the matter, writes that this is sure to bring about court challenges by the ISPs. Weisman notes that even though there was support in both the Democrat and Republican parties for preventing ISPs from creating multi-tiered delivery services, there are other issues that Republicans say are problematic. “Opponents of the FCC’s classifying the Internet as a utility are concerned that, by doing so, the FCC would have increased authority to regulate rates and take other actions that they believe would stifle investment by Internet Service Providers and slow innovation. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has said that he is cognizant of the power that classifying the Internet as a utility would provide the FCC, but that he expects to use a ‘light touch’ in regulating the Internet and would ignore powers that the FCC had that did not relate to broadband. The devil is often in the details and it will be important to see whether a ‘light touch’ is reflected in the specific regulations to implement the vote which will not be published for a few days and will not become effective for a few months.” Read Weisman’s entire column here.
Today Is the Last Day to Receive the Early Bird Discount for Talkers New York 2015. Registrations are already being booked at a rapid pace as Talkers New York 2015 is heading toward being an early sell-out. The session will be held as part of the day-long conference set for Friday, June 12 at the India House Club in the Big Apple’s historic Financial District. Registrations are priced at $299 per person with an early-bird, discounted cost of $249 available until 5:00 pm ET this afternoon. Registrations, which are only open to professionals currently or recently employed in media-related industries, include all sessions, presentations, exhibits and breakfast/lunch/refreshment/and social networking activities. The heavyweight, non-stop agenda will include approximately 65 speakers and 500 attendees are again expected. Registrations can only be taken over the phone and paid for by credit card. For registration, sponsorship and hotel information, please call 413-565-5413. More speakers, panelists and agenda updates will be announced next week.
Jim Bohannon to Emcee Awards Ceremony at Talkers New York 2015. Talk radio great Jim Bohannon will reprise his stellar performance as Emcee of the Awards Ceremony at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2015 conference on Friday, June 12. The veteran Westwood One syndicated personality (a past recipient of the TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award) will preside over the presentation of the honors which include awards for: Freedom of Speech, Lifetime Achievement, Woman of the Year and Humanitarian of the Year. Stay tuned for the names of the award recipients as well as those who will be making the presentations.
Rogers Upped to News Director for Entercom Upstate. Morning news personality Lee Rogers is promoted to news director for Entercom’s Upstate South Carolina station group. Rogers anchors the morning news on news/talk WYRD, Greenville “106.3 WORD” during “The Tara Show.” Entercom Upstate OM Mark Hendrix comments, “Lee brings a wealth of news experience and Upstate knowledge. I look forward to Lee expanding 106.3 WORD’s position as the Upstate’s breaking news leader. Listeners will hear more proprietary content on the news that matters most to them.”
Odds & Sods. With the signing of Jonathon Brandmeier to the Westwood One network and the show being picked up by Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM, Chicago, the station cuts ties with John Kass and Lauren Cohn, who were co-hosting the late morning daypart, although Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports the station is auditioning Lauren Cohn for work on the morning show hosted by Big John Howell. Filling in on the late morning program until Brandmeier starts is talk radio pro Tom Becka, who’s on the air there today through March 6…..American political satirist – and five-time Emmy nominee – Will Durst joins the regular panel of humorous pundits on the weekly podcast “The Koz Effect,” which streams live at 7:00 am ET Saturdays via the Radio Titans podcast network…..San Antonio news/talk KTSA is now heard on the FM dial in the market as Alpha Media begins simulcasting the station on translator K296GK at 107.1 FM…..Powell Broadcasting’s news/talk KSCJ, Sioux City, Iowa begins simulcasting its programming on translator K235CA, Sioux City at 94.9 FM…..ABC and PodcastOne are debuting a new, original podcast series which takes an in-depth look at the new television drama “American Crime.” The weekly podcast will be hosted by film critic and radio personality Elvis Mitchell.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Joining Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte is financial talk superstar Dave Ramsey, who will air in the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot. His show is also being added to the evening program schedule at CBS RADIO’s news WNEW-FM, Baltimore/Washington…..The “Good Day” show with host Doug Stephan adds 11 new affiliate stations, including: WQXL, Columbia, South Carolina; WPBQ, Jackson, Mississippi; and KFTL, Gilbert Arizona…..The “Business Rockstars” show with Ken Rutkowski is added to the program schedule at 18 Rocking M Media outlets in Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska and Oklahoma…..“The Financial Exchange” with Barry Armstrong and Kim Carrigan joins the program lineup at WXTK-FM, Cape Cod…..WCGO, Chicago adds Bruce DuMont’s “Beyond the Beltway” to its weekend lineup…..BizTalkRadio clears several shows, including the Ray Lucia program, on new business talk outlet WHFS-AM, Tampa and the 11-station “SuperTalk” chain in Mississippi…..“The Money Pit Home Improvement Show” featuring Tom Kraeutler and Leslie Segrete joins the program lineup at WRKO, Boston.
Hannity Visits Chris Stigall Show at CPAC Radio Row. In this photo, Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity (right, standing at mic) makes an impromptu stop at the WPHT, Philadelphia booth on the radio row at the CPAC conference. He appeared on the morning show hosted by Chris Stigall (far left, seated). During the broadcast Stigall spoke with former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, her daughter Bristol, and potential 2016 candidate Senator Ted Cruz.
Dave Ramsey’s ‘Smart Money’ Takes Sacramento. Nationally syndicated radio talk star Dave Ramsey’s “Smart Money” live event tour continued last night (2/26) in Sacramento as he presented his program about how to win with money, get out of debt and invest for the future at Adventure Church. Financial expert and speaker Chris Hogan joined Ramsey on stage. Local affiliate KSTE helped promote the event. KSTE program director Bill White comments, “Dave Ramsey touches, inspires, and helps people every day. He not only provides a healthy perspective in regards to personal and professional finances but has an overall ‘LIFE’ philosophy that resonates with his audience far and wide. His show isn’t just about money; it’s about life. We’re proud to have Dave on “Talk 650” KSTE, a radio show that’s important and matters to listeners and our clients.” Pictured here are (from l-r): KSTE’s Joel Mordhorst, account executive; Darren Mounts, general sales manager; Ramsey; Michelle Alfano, account executive; Jeff Bussani, account executive; and White.
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Department of Homeland Security Funding Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of February 23-27. The battle in Congress over the funding of the Department of Homeland Security was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was President Obama’s amnesty order tied with the controversial comments made by former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Coming in at #3 was the brutality of ISIS tied with the Iran nuclear weapons program, and following at #4 was the allegation of Bill O’Reilly’s violating the journalistic ethics code. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and it published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Todd Schnitt and Len Berman to Host Mornings on WOR, New York. Legendary New York news/talk station WOR announces it will debut the new morning program, “Len Berman and Todd Schnitt in the Morning,” effective January 26. iHeartMedia says the program will “focus on New York and feature interactive programming, showcasing what local listeners are talking about in news, sports, entertainment and pop culture.” Both Berman and Schnitt are native New Yorkers. Schnitt has been based in Tampa and currently hosts his nationally syndicated, eponymous talk show via Compass Media Networks, which he’ll continue to do in addition to the New York morning show. Berman is an “Emmy-Award winning sportscaster and New York Times best-selling author who has covered just about every major sports event including multiple Super Bowls, World Series and Olympics during his 40-year career in broadcasting. He was a long-time sports anchor for WNBC-TV, New York.” Regular TALKERS readers are aware that Schnitt, in addition to his syndicated talk show, hosted the “MJ Morning Show” on CHR WFLA-FM, Tampa for many years. iHeartMedia market president Joe Puglise says, “Len is a well-known sports reporter and this opportunity will also showcase his other skills and personality. Listeners will immediately engage with Todd’s quick wit and creative take on the things that impact New Yorkers.” Schnitt adds, “Len Berman is the perfect co-host, he is a well-known New Yorker and brings a ton of wit, wisdom and street smarts to the microphone. Together we are very excited to construct a new local, engaging and entertaining morning show for New York.” iHeartMedia tried simulcasting WWDC, Washington “DC 101” morning personality Elliot Segal on WOR after parting company with longtime morning host John Gambling, but that lasted only a month, ending in February of 2014. Regarding his move to NYC, Schnitt adds, “Locating our [Compass syndicated] show in the heart of New York City will be a huge benefit to our national listeners and help drive ratings for our affiliates. I look forward to continuing to work with Compass Media Networks, our affiliates and sponsors.”
Premiere Names Shapiro VP – Sports Programming. Former ESPN Radio program director Scott Shapiro joins Premiere Networks in a newly created position of vice president of sports programming. His duties will include overseeing daily execution of sports content, including the Fox Sports Radio Network. Premiere Networks senior vice president of sports programming Don Martin comments, “Scott’s experience producing some of the most successful, multi-platform sports programming speaks for itself. I am excited for the opportunity to team up with such a class act. His addition reaffirms our commitment to providing the best sports entertainment content the industry has to offer, along with unique and valuable opportunities for our partners.” Shapiro remarks, “I greatly look forward to working with the talented team in place. There is tremendous growth potential and a real opportunity to develop outstanding sports content. The sky is the limit in terms of the talent, infrastructure, and resources available.” In addition to programming ESPN Radio, Shapiro’s resume includes being producer of that sports network’s “Mike & Mike” morning show; he previously was assistant program director/executive producer of WQXI “The Zone,” Atlanta.
Daunais, Walker Get Westwood One EVP – Regional Sales Stripes. Atlanta-based Jim Daunais and Dallas-based Tim Walker are appointed executive vice presidents in Westwood One‘s network sales division. Daunais’ responsibilities are in the southeast region – Walker’s duties are in the southwest. Westwood One president Steve Shaw comments, “Hot off the heels of promoting Kim Bryant to lead west coast sales, we are on an accelerated path to building an exceptional, preeminent sales organization. Jim and Tim are uniquely qualified to lead our southeast and southwest regions. Their respective abilities to manage, strategize, and effectively deliver client solutions will drive more revenue success across our platforms.” Daunais is “excited for the opportunity to continue” his more than 10-year Westwood One career, where he works “alongside Steve and the rest of our incredibly talented management team, and to build upon the company’s rich history as the leader of all things audio.” Walker states he is looking forward “to leading the southwest region and bringing integrated solutions to our clients and agencies.” It is a promotion for Daunais, who joined the company in 2004. Most recently, he was Westwood One’s senior vice president, sales and vice president of southeast sales. His prior background includes being an account executive for MLB‘s New York Mets. Walker is rejoining Westwood One. He spent the last three years as Cumulus Media‘s director of national sales for the southwest region. Prior to that, Walker was national sales manager for Cumulus-owned stations in Dallas and Houston; he had a similar title for CBS Radio Dallas; and he was a Westwood One account executive (2000 – 2002) in the company’s Dallas office.
John McConnell Named EVP at Workhouse Media. Radio management pro John McConnell is named executive vice president for talent and content management company Workhouse Media. In this role, McConnell will oversee Workhouse Media’s East Coast offices and he will serve in a new senior management role for the company. A longtime ABC Radio executive, McConnell has been managing his own firm for the past six years. Workhouse Media principal and CEO Paul B. Anderson comments, “John comes to Workhouse Media with a powerful combined background in programming, syndication and strategy. His track record is both broad and deep, and the industry recognizes his impeccable reputation for integrity and results.”
Odds & Sods. Today (1/20) begins Steve Deace‘s relationship with the USA Radio Networks. With the move from Genesis Communications Network, Deace’s program moves from an evening live airing (9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight) to live in afternoon drive, Eastern Time…..Following the path of New York’s Christian talk WMCA, New York, Salem Communications-owned KKMS, Minneapolis takes on “The Mission” brand. Salem rolled out “The Answer” as the brand for its news/talk stations and it appears likely most if not all of the company’s Christian talk stations will become “The Mission.”…..Tomorrow (1/21) marks the fifth anniversary of the internet program the Nicole Sandler show at radioornot.com. Sandler began her digital program after the demise of Air America Radio in 2010.
Non-Comms Rocking the Boat. For those interested in bold, new developments in music radio, check out Jeff McKay’s piece in our sister publication, RadioInfo, exploring the non-comm stations creating targeted-yet-daring rock and pop formats for hungry audiences. Many listeners still see public radio as either left-leaning news/talk or jazz- and classic music-oriented. But stations such as KCSN, Los Angeles; WXPN, Philadelphia; KCMP, Minneapolis; and KKXT, Dallas are bucking that trend and drawing in younger audiences. Read more here.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Resonates Throughout News/Talk Radio. As reported yesterday (1/19), news/talk radio hosts, programs, stations and networks buzzed with conversation inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – memorializing the birthdate of the slain civil rights leader of the turbulent 1960s. Shows covering the spectrum of political and ideological approaches including urban, progressive and conservative positions all found pertinent subject matter for discussion to commemorate the annual Federal holiday, lifting race relations to the most-talked-about topic of the day. Pictured here is WOLB, Baltimore morning legend Larry Young (third from right) at a ceremony in Baltimore held last week on the actual birthdate of the historic activist. Young – a longtime member of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred – tells TALKERS,“One of my proudest moments was to have planted in 1985 the only MLK Jr. tree on state house property in the USA. On his actual birthdate on January 15 we did a re-dedication and I said, ‘King put before us a serious vision that we would be one nation under God and indivisibly one America.’ And I want to believe that even today I can still believe in his vision.”
State of the Union/Obama Tax Plan, ‘American Sniper’ Film, MLK Jr. Day/‘Selma’ Film, ISIS Violence/Two Japanese Hostages Held, 2016 Presidential Prospects, and NFL Conference Championships Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/19). This week’s State of the Union Address and President Obama’s expected announcement of his tax proposal; the political arguments surrounding the film “American Sniper”; the observation of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday and the concurrent release of the film “Selma”; the ongoing violence perpetrated by ISIS and its threat to execute two Japanese hostages; the potential candidates for president in 2016; and the weekend’s NFL conference championships were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
KMBZ-AM/FM, Kansas City to End Simulcast. Rather than airing the same programming on 980 and 98.1 as it has been since spring 2011, Entercom Kansas City will break off into separate entities, while maintaining the talk format on both dial positions. KMBZ-FM programming will mostly be locally originated; syndicated personalities will comprise the majority of what will be heard on KMBZ-AM. KMBZ-FM’s modified lineup will feature “Kansas City’s Morning News” with E.J. Becker & Ellen Schenk,” (5:00 am – 10:00 am); “Trend KC” with Burns & Monacelli (10: 00 am – 2:00 pm); Dana Wright & Scott Parks (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm); Jonathan Weir (6:00 pm – 9:00 pm – Weir previously did mid-days); and Premiere Networks’ “Ground Zero with Clyde Lewis” (9:00 pm – 12:00 midnight). KMBZ-AM “Talk 980” will include Darla Jaye (5:00 am – 9:00 am – Jaye previously did evenings); Glenn Beck (9:00 am – 11:00 am); Rush Limbaugh (11:00 am – 2:00 pm); Sean Hannity (2:00 pm – 5:00 pm); “America Now” (5:00 pm – 8:00 pm); Westwood One’s Herman Cain (8:00 pm – 10:00 pm); and Laura Ingraham (10:00 pm – 12:00 midnight). Both stations will carry Premiere’s “Coast-To-Coast AM with George Noory” (12:00 midnight – 5:00 am). The transition will take place on Monday, January 5. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio‘s December 2014 PPM report, KMBZ’s AM & FM simulcast ranks eighth, after notching back-to-back gains of three-tenths (4.2 – 4.5 – 4.8). Public KCUR is #16 (2.6) and Cumulus-owned KCMO-AM finishes #19 (1.4).
Round Three of December PPMs Released. The third of four rounds of December 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The survey period was November 6 through December 3. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.
Big Executive Sports Talk Moves Elevate Martin at iHeartMedia and Takes Gilbert to Cumulus. These two position changes for sports radio pros Don Martin and Bruce Gilbert are related as Gilbert exits iHeartMedia where he was most recently SVP of sports operations and joins Cumulus Media and Westwood One as SVP/sports. Back at iHeartMedia, the company promotes current SVP of sports Los Angeles Don Martin by expanding his duties to include Premiere Networks and Fox Sports Radio. As SVP of sports programming for Premiere Networks, Martin will oversee the creation, development and direction of sports programming and content at the company, as well as the FSRN. Martin will continue his SVP of sports Los Angeles role – which includes supervising KLAC – and report to iHeartMedia Southern California president Greg Ashlock. For his new duties, he’ll report to Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott. At Cumulus, the company says Bruce Gilbert will lead the curation, development and execution of all sports content initiatives and will oversee the strategic direction of the company’s owned-and-operated sports stations. He will report to EVP of programming and content John Dickey. Corporate sports PD Jim Mahanay remains in his post reporting to Gilbert. Of this hiring, Dickey comments, “Bruce Gilbert brings years of experience in sports broadcast programming and management to our senior programming team and we’re pleased to welcome him aboard. Bruce will drive the continued growth and development of the industry-leading sports platform at Cumulus and Westwood One, which together comprise the largest pure-play sports radio network in the world and align with the best brands in the business. His addition furthers our commitment to creating and delivering the most exciting content to sports fans and delivering incomparable opportunities for our partners and advertisers.”
WARM-AM, Scranton Returns as Sports Talker. There’s a new sports talker in the Wilks-Barre/Scranton market as Cumulus Media adds WARM-AM to the large mix of signals (10 in all, including simulcasts and translators) airing sports content. The station – last an oldies outlet – had been off the air for three months engineering rehab and emerges today as “Sports Radio 590” using CBS Sports Radio Network programming.
Sydney Siege Illustrates Need for Plan for Broadcasters. The hostage situation in Martin Place in the central business district of Sydney, Australia shows – very dramatically – why broadcasters need a plan in place before an unexpected crisis situation occurs. ABC Television director, business continuity Howard B. Price writes, in an exclusive piece for TALKERS, “In the aftermath of 9/11, many places – New York City chief among them – redrew regulations requiring building operators and their tenants to develop so-called ‘emergency action plans,’ to deal with fire and non-fire emergencies. Among other things, these plans call for the formation and training of ‘emergency action plan directors’ and fire safety teams; some organizations with expansive buildings or campuses have designated site coordinators, and site response teams who may have advanced first aid training and emergency provisions to sustain a lockdown/shelter-in-place order for hours, or even days.” Price asks broadcasters if they – like Channel 7 TV in Sydney – have a plan in place to evacuate their primary business and engineering office if they are required to do so. Read Price’s important piece here.
Odds & Sods. Last Friday, NRG Media-owned news/talker KOIL, Omaha produced its 17th Annual Child Saving Institute Radiothon fundraiser, broadcasting live from Regency Court Mall during which the station raised $73,020…..Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle and Treehouse (a nonprofit education organization for foster children) more than $505,000 for the charity during its 26th Annual Holiday Magic Radiothon on December 11…..Jobs cuts have hit iHeartMedia news/talk WOAI, San Antonio as the San Antonio Express-News’ Jeanne Jakel reports news staffers Michael Main (a near-30-year employee), anchor/reporter Berit Mason, and multimedia journalist Stephanie Narvaez have all been let go from the station.
MediaTracks to Celebrate 25 Years. Next Monday, MediaTracks Communications – the “nation’s leading producer of radio public affairs programming,” is celebrating its 25th anniversary. MediaTracks president and co-founder Shel Lustig says, “High quality public affairs programming is of vital importance to stations nationwide. With today’s smaller staffs and tighter budgets, the need for our programming continues to play an essential part in helping stations meet and exceed their public affairs obligations. We’re extremely proud of our contributions to the industry and our affiliates over the last 25 years.”
Fisher House Foundation Holiday Show Available. Again this year, Fisher House Foundation is making available a news/talk-formatted holiday program that brings attention to wounded warriors, veterans and military families. Fisher House is offering the three-hour, highly produced public affairs show for air between Christmas and New Year’s Day. The show, “Zachary’s Gift,” tells the inspiring story of Fisher House founder Zachary Fisher through heroes served by the foundation’s growing network of no-cost comfort homes built on the grounds of VA and military base hospitals. The radio show is designed to build awareness, not solicit donations. The show is free – neither contract nor barter. Stations may air it multiple times. Executive producer Marshall Adams says, “Many stations are using ‘Zachary’s Gift’ to fill a local, three-hour show on Christmas or New Year’s Day.” The host is Mark Watkins, a radio newsroom vet who recently retired from the anchor booth at WBAP and KLIF Dallas. Jeff Davis is the show’s promo voice. Jonathan Shaffer from WSM Nashville is leading production and imaging. Westwood One is handling affiliate relations pro-bono. To sign up, send a note with your planned air times to Stuart Greenblatt at firstname.lastname@example.org. Marshall Adams can answer questions about content at (412) 856-3400 or email@example.com.
Pros Turn Out for WRHU-FM Alumni Night. WRHU-FM Radio Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York held its fifth annual alumni night at the New York Islanders NHL game on Saturday evening (12/13) at Long Island’s Nassau Coliseum. It was a gala celebration attended by industry people including WINS, New York morning news anchor Lee Harris, who won a team autographed hockey stick in a drawing (pictured); WINS, New York morning sports anchor Marc Ernay; WOR, New York evening host Pete McCarthy and afternoon drive traffic reporter Greg Rice; Weiss Agency EVP Heather Cohen; NASH FM, New York air talent Jason Goldstein; CBS Radio New York marketing director Frank Iemmiti; NY1 news senior editor Dave Fleischer; Hofstra Dean Evan Cornog; Radio Hofstra University director of operations John Mullen; WRHU professional in residence Ed Ingles; and Islanders radio play-by-play voice Chris King and color commentators Julian Coltre, Rich DeKorte, Dan Savarino, and Mark Weiner. WRHU-FM is in its fifth year as the flagship radio station of the New York Islanders and is the only college station in America that serves as the flagship for a professional major league sports franchise. 2014 has been a good year for WRHU-FM. The station was awarded the NAB Marconi for Best Non-Commercial Station of the Year and was ranked number one — best college radio station – by the Princeton Review.
Rosen Rises to OM of Chicago’s WSCR, WXRT. Ten-year WSCR “The Score” program director Mitch Rosen is boosted to operations manager of the CBS RADIO Chicago sports outlet, as well as co-owned triple A WXRT. In a memo to the stations’ staff, CBS RADIO Chicago senior vice president and market manager Rod Zimmerman writes, “Mitch’s organizational skills, management style, and sales focus will help grow the great [WXRT] brand.” Rosen previously programmed the Windy City’s similarly-programmed WMVP “ESPN Radio 1000″ and was Paragon Marketing Group’s vice president of broadcast representation. Norm Winer continues as WXRT program director.
Chad Peterson Named Morning Host at KFKA, Greeley, Colorado. Weld County Colorado native Chad Peterson is the new morning drive host at Broadcast Media LLC’s KFKA, Greeley, Colorado. He’ll anchor the newly re-imaged “Advantage Bank’s Morning Drive” program. Peterson says he’s excited to return to his roots, “Returning to the heritage station in the market – the one I grew up listening to – is a privilege and an honor. I’m excited to serve the community.”
Howie’s Back – Actually He Never Left – Carr Continues on Boston Airwaves with New Flagship and Ownership of 15-Affiliate Regional Network Set for National Expansion. Last week TALKERS reported New England radio legend Howie Carr’s departure from his longtime radio home WRKO, Boston after two decades upon the termination of his most recent employment contract. It was no secret that the relationship between Carr and WRKO owner, Entercom Communications, had been a stormy one with the air personality/Boston Herald columnist and prolific best-selling author likening his departure from the facility to being “sprung from prison.” Beginning today (11/17) Carr brings his 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm daily program up the dial to WUFC 1510 AM as the evolving news/talk outlet also kicks off a return today to branding itself by its original, legendary handle, WMEX. The station, owned by Blackstrap Broadcasting is under the management of Kevin Wallis’s Wallis Communications which reportedly has signed a purchase and sale agreement to take over ownership of the outlet during the first quarter of 2015. More importantly, Carr exits Entercom taking ownership and control with him of his 15 station New England regional network – the Howie Carr Radio Network (HCRN) which includes such heritage outlets iHeartMedia’s WHYN, Springfield, Saga Communications’ WGAN, Portland and WCRN, Worcester owned by Kurt Carberry who will manage affiliate relations and distribution for HCRN. Known for succeeding on both the ratings (adults 25-54) and revenue fronts, Carr has developed a reputation for being extremely listener and affiliate-friendly in terms of live appearances, sales promotions and production services – qualities he says he intends to keep intact as he expands the scope of the network to a larger segment of the Northeast and ultimately across the nation. On joining the new 1510 AM outlet, Carr tells TALKERS, “It’s a real pleasure to finally be working again with people who are truly committed to radio, and to the talk format in particular. Boston remains a great market for talk radio, and WMEX is where it all began, with Jerry Williams talking to James Michael Curley, Malcolm X and so many others. It’s also the station where I started, in 1980, occasionally hosting the Herald Bulldog Edition. I know the new WMEX is going to be a great success for all concerned.” The heritage WMEX calls in Boston go back to 1934 (first at 1500 AM, then 1470 AM before taking up 1510 AM in 1941) and the station was home to many radio greats over the years including Arnie “Woo Woo” Ginsburg. In addition to Carr, the new incarnation of WMEX includes such national personalities in its line-up as Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Dennis Miller, and Alex Jones as well as local shows including the daily “Morning Meeting” provided by Boston Herald Radio. Sales and marketing for the Howie Carr Show and HCRN are being handled by the company’s vice president Kathy Carr who can be emailed at Kathy@howiecarrshow.com.
Sullivan Honored by Habitat for Humanity of Ohio. At its annual conference, Habitat for Humanity of Ohio last week awarded the 2014 Volunteer of the Year award to the 13-year host of Premiere Networks’ “At Home With Gary Sullivan” program. Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati president and chief executive officer Ed Lee notes, “Gary Sullivan is always willing/eager to share/leverage his knowledge and contacts to help expand the reach of Habitat for Humanity in the Greater Cincinnati region. He has truly made a difference in our community and helped transform lives through decent, affordable home ownership. The Habitat mission is brought to life by our volunteers – none do it better than Gary.” Sullivan remarks that he is “embarrassed and humbled by this award, but proud to accept it on behalf of all the hard working Habitat volunteers.” His Saturday and Sunday Premiere Networks radio show is heard in 240 markets. In addition to being a longtime Habitat volunteer, Sullivan is a board member and serves on the “executive” and “development” committees. He has been active in the non-profit Christian housing ministry for over 20 years. He created/hosted “The Hardware Store,” which aired on HGTV for four years in the mid-1990s.
Sales Management Moves at Greater Media Detroit. At the Detroit station group, Greater Media announces Patti Taylor is promoted to general sales manager of classic rock WCSX and rock WRIF. At the same time, Jonathan Ghazal is named sales manager for WMGC “Detroit Sports 105.1.” Taylor has been serving as GSM for WCSX since February of 2013. Ghazal joined Greater Media Detroit as an account executive in October of 2012. Ghazal takes over for Cindy Senkbeil who remains with the WCSX sales team. She’d been sales manager of WMGC since November of last year.
Odds & Sods. Small business expert Jim Blasingame celebrates his 17th year on air hosting “The Small Business Advocate.” The show began as a two-hour daily program on November 17, 1997…..WGN, Chicago promotes Scott Miller to supervising producer. Miller is the executive producer of the Pete McMurray show. His new duties will mean he has oversight of the booking for all of the Tribune radio shows…..The price tag on Hubbard Radio’s purchase of Omni Broadcasting’s 16 Minnesota stations is $8 million dollars. The deal, announced last week, must pass FCC muster…..CBS RADIO Pittsburgh is the media sponsor of the 16th Santa Spectacular taking place at Point State Park this Friday (11/21). The CBS RADIO Pittsburgh stations – including news/talk KDKA-AM and sports talk KDKA-FM – are helping to present the afternoon’s activities that culminate in the lighting of Duquesne Light Tree and fireworks-to-music finale.
KNX, Los Angeles Continues ‘On Your Corner’ Series with Holiday Charity Component. The “KNX On Your Corner” on CBS RADIO’s all-news KNX, Los Angeles continues in December as the station profiles Cerritos on the 12th from Mimi’s Café . Dick Helton and Vicky Moore will anchor the live broadcast from 5:00 am to 9:00 am, Frank Mottek will host the “KNX Business Hour” from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm and Jim Thornton and Diane Thompson will anchor the news from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Listeners can participate on Twitter and Facebook using #KNX OnYourCorner. Mimi’s Cafe will also serve as a drop-off point for KNX’s annual “CHiPs For Kids” holiday toy drive in conjunction with CBS 2 and KCAL 9. New, unwrapped toys will be collected for distribution locally to less fortunate children by the California Highway Patrol.
Backbone Networks Offering TALKERS Readers Free eBook, “16 Tickets to Starting a Talk Radio Station.” Boston-based, digital radio tech firm Backbone Networks – the state-of-the-art broadcasting solutions company that played an important role in the successful launch of TalkersRadio, has published an eBook designed to show talk broadcasters aspiring to set up their own internet talk stations the key steps to take in order to make it happen. According to Backbone president Richard Cerny, “Every successful radio personality can now easily afford his/her own 24/7 station.” Cerny tells TALKERS, “The future of radio is bright but targeting a single distribution medium to reach listeners has many challenges. The future is an integrated view of your listeners. One that encompasses AM, FM, satellite and the internet. The barriers to entry for starting a digital station have been lowered, especially compared to the cost of running a traditional terrestrial radio station. The difference between surviving and thriving depends on your station as a platform, your programming and the fan base you build and maintain.” The newly published eBook is available at no cost to TALKERS readers. To obtain a copy, please click here.
Ferguson Tensions, Latest Hostage Execution/Battle Against ISIS, Net Neutrality, GOP vs ObamaCare, 2016 Presidential Prospects, and DEA Raids NFL Teams Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/17). A state of emergency is declared in Missouri as the decision by the grand jury whether to indict officer Darren Wilson is awaited; the execution of aid worker Peter Kassig over the weekend and the ongoing battle against ISIS in Iraq and Syria; the controversy over net neutrality and the Obama Administration’s support of it; talk of the GOP’s plans to take on the Affordable Care Act; the potential candidates for president in 2016; and the weekend raid of three visiting NFL teams by the Drug Enforcement Agency were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Wall Street Journal to Shutter Radio Division at Year’s End. Inside sources tell TALKERS magazine that the Wall Street Journal is going to shut down its radio division at the end of the calendar year. The announcement was made to staffers today (11/12). The WSJ and MarketWatch Radio Networks division has produced money and finance-focused feature reports as well as the daily morning drive program, “The Wall Street Journal This Morning,” hosted by Gordon Deal and Gina Cervetti plus a weekend edition of that program. It’s unclear how many staffers this change will affect but the company has employees in New York, Washington and South Brunswick, New Jersey.
WSJ Radio Demise a Repercussion from Anti-Limbaugh Campaign? The above story about the end of the Wall Street Journal’s radio products is bringing some strong reactions from within the news/talk radio industry. Former WTOP, Washington vice president of news and programming and current principal of Florida-based News Doctor, Inc, Jim Farley, suggests people are missing the connection with this story. He says, “Since the high-powered leftie campaign against Rush Limbaugh advertisers after the Sandra Fluke controversy, spoken-word brands as benign as AccuWeather and Charles Osgood have been on ‘Do Not Buy’ lists from ad agencies. The announced shutdown today of Wall Street Journal and Marketwatch Radio makes them collateral damage in this chilling war on the First Amendment which is crippling non-controversial, fair and accurate radio news and information outlets.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison reacted quickly to Farley’s comments as well as other buzz generated around the industry per the alleged Limbaugh connection to the demise of WSJ Radio stating, “With all due respect to Jim – a past recipient of the TALKERS Freedom of Speech Award – industry observers and the trade press have been connecting these dots for quite some time now. Consultant Holland Cooke even ran a big headline in his newsletter distributed at our conference in June proclaiming, ‘THE BOYCOTT WENT TOO FAR.’ The problem is nobody seems to know what to do about it or has the clout to do anything about it….or worse, wants to do anything about it. This whole issue is wrought with a social disease common in political circles left and right – namely hypocrisy… the pursuit of victory at the cost of truth… and it is proving extremely detrimental to one of America’s most vibrant platforms of public policy conversation. Perhaps the folks at the NAB and the RAB (and even Media Matters) – if they really care about free speech and fairness, not to mention the beleaguered radio industry as a whole — should mount a unilateral campaign to educate the advertising community that has been unjustly persecuting the ‘innocent’ in its broad-brush blitzkrieg against political controversy. Perhaps the rest of us (meaning anyone even loosely associated with talk radio) should be more vigorously defending Rush instead of conveniently making him the scapegoat for our mounting economic woes, because looking at the big picture – it would be the right thing to do. This whole thing stinks and we are all to blame.”
Glenn Beck Opens Up About Health Issues. Now that he’s feeling better and recent medical treatments have him on the mend, Premiere Networks syndicated talk host and TheBlaze founder Glenn Beck told his audience on Monday that his health issues go back almost five years to when he was still hosting a show on Fox News Channel. Beck said he thought he had a painful form of neuropathy that was affecting his vision, his vocal chords, and his limbs but it turns out that was not the case. He also was not sleeping well, if at all, and says he’s been told he hadn’t had any real REM sleep in 10 years. Since going to the Carrick Brain Centers in Irving, Texas, he’s been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder and adrenal fatigue and since undergoing hormone treatment, physical therapy, and making changes in how he eats, sleeps, and works, he’s “reversed the process.”
WMMS, Cleveland’s Rover Sets Up Fundraiser for Former Producer’s Family. Former producer of the “Rover’s Morning Glory” program on rock/talk hybrid WMMS, Cleveland – Rob Garguilo – exited that show recently to take a similar position with WHPT, Tampa’s Mike Calta program. Tragedy entered his life as his girlfriend Sarah and the couple’s children, 5-year-old Ben and five-week-old Serena were hit by a car while crossing a Largo, Florida street. The three are in critical condition in a Tampa hospital and Garguilo Tweets that Serena is on life support with no signs of brain activity. Now, Shane “Rover” French has set up a GoFundMe.com donation page to assist the family of his former producer. As of Wednesday morning, almost $18,000 has been raised for the family.
What Listeners Will Find Under the Tree. Each year, radio consultant Holland Cooke spends a week in early January in Las Vegas attending and reporting back to TALKERS readers about the technology being displayed at the massive Consumer Electronics Show. 2015 will be no different and recently Cooke was in New York for the annual preview show called CES/Unveiled. He writes that the top five wish-list items for this holiday season are (in order): tablets, notebook computers, TVs, smartphones, and video game consoles. Find out more of what’s being touted as big consumer electronics spending decisions during the next year here.
WAKR, Akron Names Bourquin Afternoon Host. Moving from his most recent position as host and sports director at WHBC, Canton, Sam Bourquin joins Rubber City Radio Group to host the 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm program at WAKR. RCRG president and general manager Thom Mandel says, “Having Sam become available is very serendipitous for us. We think he is smart and talented. He really understands how to communicate with a radio audience. We like that he is committed to our Akron-Canton area and Northeast Ohio.” Bourquin adds, “I’m looking forward to starting a new chapter in radio with a wonderful radio family at the Akron Radio Center. This is a great way to remain connected with old friends, make new friends and remain a part of the greater Akron-Canton community.”
Tough Q3 for Radio One as Radio Division Posts Net Revenue Decline of 8.1%. The company as a whole saw net revenue dip 5.3% but the radio division alone was hit worse as net revenue sank 8.1% compared to the same period a year ago on $112.2 million in net revenue. Radio One CEO Alfred Liggins comments, “Our radio business experienced a very soft quarter. We had a perfect storm of weak market revenues and soft ratings in our four largest markets, and political revenues were less than anticipated. We had some ratings challenges in Washington DC, Baltimore and Atlanta in addition to the new competitor in Houston. Management has taken steps to remedy these issues, including a format change in Houston from news to classic hip hop. The initial ratings for our new station, ‘Boom 92,’ are extremely encouraging, and should mean we reverse the annual $1.5 million of losses that we were incurring on the news format. Outside our top four markets, radio revenues for the third quarter were +1.5% against a flat market. Overall Q4 radio revenue is currently pacing 1.9% and I believe we will have positive momentum going into the New Year. Reach Media experienced a similarly weak third quarter, but is performing better in 4th quarter, consistent with the radio division.”
U.S.-China Carbon Emissions Deal, Lame Duck Congress, Iran Nuclear Talks, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Battle Against ISIS, Upper Midwest Cold and Snow, Net Neutrality Debate, and Kim Kardashian Mag Cover Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/11). Controversy over the carbon emissions deal struck between President Obama and China’s Xi Jinping; the possible legislation to be addressed by the lame duck congress; uncertainly about negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the ongoing fight against ISIS and the organization’s potential alliance with al Qaeda; the early cold and snow hitting the Upper Midwest; debate over the “net neutrality” issue and President Obama’s public statement about it; and Kim Kardashian’s recent nude magazine cover were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Rush Limbaugh Seeks Retraction and Apology from DCCC for ‘False and Defamatory’ Statement. Attorneys for Premiere Networks-syndicated talk star Rush Limbaugh are seeking a retraction and apology from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for what is being termed a “false and defamatory” statement regarding Limbaugh’s on-air discussion about consent for sexual relations. Limbaugh attorney Patricia Glaser writes in a letter to the DCCC that the organization purposely took Limbaugh’s words in which he “condemns the notion that ‘no’ means ‘yes’” regarding sexual relations, and edited them to give the impression that the opposite was said. The DCCC then sent the message out via the internet. The question is, does Limbaugh’s attorney have a case? She cites legal precedent in her letter. TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says it would appear that the comments of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee are way off base. “The email went so far as to ask people to contact Limbaugh’s advertisers to voice their disapproval. However, the same First Amendment that protected Rush Limbaugh when he called Sandra Fluke a ‘slut’ and a ‘prostitute’ may well protect the DCCC in their gross mischaracterization of Limbaugh’s remarks. Specifically, as a public figure, in order to be successful in a defamation action, Limbaugh would have to prove that the DCCC acted with malice – that is that they knew what they were saying was a lie or that they acted with a reckless disregard for its truth. Even more problematic for Limbaugh would be that he would have to prove that he was harmed by the comments. In order to be successful in his lawsuit he would have to show that he lost sponsors and/or listeners.” Limbaugh’s lawyer cites two cases that deal with the narrow issue of whether it is libelous if you use the exact words of someone out of context or edited. Weisman says that while the cases support Limbaugh’s position on the matter, he doesn’t think they are wholly determinative of the case. But he adds, “Ironically, merely by exercising his own First Amendment rights and making his threat of a lawsuit, Limbaugh may have already won the battle by presenting his case to the people without even entering a courtroom.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison comments, “Regardless of whether the DCCC apologizes or whatever the results of Rush’s subsequent lawsuit, Limbaugh is doing a service to our culture by bringing this general, nasty trend to the forefront of conversation by saying enough is enough – and that is the tendency by political types of all persuasions, left and right, these days to seek victory at the expense of truth.” Read the entire letter from Limbaugh’s attorney to the DCCC here.
Cumulus Media Reports Flat Q3. The third quarter of 2014 turned out to be flat on a pro forma basis for Cumulus Media. On an actual basis, net revenue was up $51.4 million – or 19.4% — but that was due primarily to the addition of the operations of Westwood One. Digging a little deeper, the company reports that “broadcast advertising revenue decreased by $12.5 million. Net broadcast advertising revenue was down due to ongoing weakness in several large local markets that began in the second quarter of 2014; however, we believe that weakness has now largely dissipated into the early portion of the current quarter. National spot advertising was generally flat as we continued to take share from small competitors. Network advertising continued to see disruption following the acquisition of Westwood One in December 2013. We believe that process of reorganizing our network sales verticals is also now completed. Digital advertising revenue increased by $6.7 million, primarily due to increased Rdio user generation activity and digital commerce generated by our Sweetjack platform. Political advertising revenue increased by $2.9 million due to additional activity associated with mid-term and gubernatorial elections and license fees and other revenue increased by $2.8 million.” For the first three quarters of 2014, Cumulus’ net revenue was up 1.8% on a pro forma basis.
KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas Brings Jim Villanucci Aboard for Afternoon Drive. After suddenly exiting Alpha Media’s KXL-FM, Portland where he was hosting middays, Jim Villanucci resurfaces at CBS RADIO’s KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas in the afternoon drive slot vacated by the departure of talk host Kevin Wall. Villanucci’s first day on the air was yesterday (11/10). Prior to his stint in Portland, he spent almost 14 years at Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque enjoying high ratings in the afternoon drive slot, but exited that post in March of 2013. Villanucci says that although he misses the KXL staffers in Portland, he’s thrilled to be in Las Vegas working with CBS RADIO SVP/market manager Jerry McKenna and programmer Cat Thomas.
WRKO, Boston Helps Raise $115,000-plus for Fisher House. The personalities on Entercom’s WRKO, Boston spent Monday (11/10) broadcasting live from the Seaport Hotel as part of an effort to raise funds for the Fisher House in Boston. Pictured here are Barry Armstrong and Kim Carrigan hosting “The Financial Exchange.” Morning drive personality Jeff Kuhner also was on hand as the station brought in more than $115,000 for Fisher House. Kuhner says, “The WRKO listeners are the best in the country. Hands down. When we ask them to come through, they do. And they do it in a very big way.” The tally was at $98,000.00 just before 6:00pm, when Entercom CEO David Field donated the $2,000 it took to get over the six-figure mark. The Fisher House Boston is a home away from home where military families can stay while a loved one is receiving in-house treatment at one of the medical centers. The homes enable family members to be close to loved ones at the most stressful times.
Odds & Sods. The broadcast rights for Arkansas State play-by-play are re-upped for another five years by East Arkansas Broadcasters. The agreement allows EAB to continue to originate the broadcast of every Arkansas State game in football, men’s and women’s basketball and baseball from the company’s flagship sports talker KFIN, Jonesboro…..SiriusXM signs PGA pro John Daly to host a six-part series on its PGA Tour channel. The show is called “Hit It Hard with John Daly” and will debut in December.
Eric Dickerson Joins Westwood One’s Jim Gray Aboard USS America. Pictured here is Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson speaking with troops aboard the USS America on Monday (11/10). As part of last night’s Westwood One Monday Night Football broadcast, pre-game and half-time host Jim Gray broadcast live from aboard the brand new naval ship USS America and he was joined by Dickerson during the programs. In honor of Veterans Day, both mingled with the sailors and fielded football questions for Monday Night Football weekly contributors Tom Brady and Larry Fitzgerald.
Lame Duck Congress, 2016 Presidential Prospects, President Obama in China/Russia-China Relationship, Fall of Berlin Wall Anniversary, U.S.-Iran Nukes Talks, Battle Against ISIS, Net Neutrality Issue, Early Cold and Snow, Veteran’s Day, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/10). What the lame duck congress may try to accomplish before the GOP majority takes over in January; a look ahead at the prospects for president in 2016; President Obama’s visit to China and the cozier relationship between Vladimir Putin’s Russia and Xi Jinping’s China; the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall; the talks between the U.S. and Iran about the latter’s nuclear program; the fight against ISIS and reports the organization is considering a merger with al Qaeda; the net neutrality issue and President Obama’s weighing in on the matter; an early blast of cold and snow hit the Upper Midwest; the Veteran’s Day holiday and observances across the country; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck Return to KSFO, San Francisco. This move announced by Cumulus Media comes just a few days after local personality Spencer Hughes exited the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot at KSFO. Now, the company says Rush Limbaugh will occupy that show time while Sean Hannity will air from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm followed by Glenn Beck from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight. Michael Savage and Mark Levin will continue to air in the afternoons. Now the big question is what are Clear Channel’s plans for KNEW “960 The Patriot” after the three Premiere Networks shows jump across the street? A likely option would be to plug in Fox Sports Radio Network programming. We can expect Clear Channel to make its intentions known relatively soon. The start date for the changes is September 29.
Cumulus Media Realigns Executive Structure; Jon Pinch to Retire. Calling this move a part of the goal to “enhance the company’s strategic and operational focus and leverage its business platform,” Cumulus Media president and CEO Lew Dickey announces the company is eliminating the co-COO posts that John Dickey and Jon Pinch have shared for years, the assignment of John Dickey to the new EVP of content and programming position, and the retirement of Jon Pinch after a 45-year career in the business. Lew Dickey says, “Our vision has been to build the radio company of the future and that is exactly what we are achieving. Towards that end, we have strategically broadened the company’s scope and now have in place differentiated distribution channels and multiple content development platforms. To accelerate our plans, we are putting in place a new organizational structure to reflect the company’s strategic evolution, bringing clarity, focus and accountability to key leadership roles in both our station and network groups.” A number of changes will take place in addition to Pinch’s retirement. Cumulus has retained the services of the search firm Spencer Stuart to seek an executive vice president of radio. That person will be “focused on providing day-to-day operational and strategic leadership of Cumulus’ radio station group consisting of its 460 stations in 90 U.S. markets.” Steve Shaw has been promoted from his SVP Cumulus national sales post to president of Westwood One. As for John Dickey, his new position will entail focusing on developing and maximizing content and programming. The company says, “Establishing this focused position recognizes the critical importance of Cumulus’ development and promotion of content and programming across the company’s station group, Westwood One network and other media platforms including Nash and Rdio.”
Sandy Buttweiler Leaves KFGO, Fargo and Radio for Job Outside the Industry. As reported in Prairie Business Magazine, longtime Fargo radio personality Sandy Buttweiler has resigned from her talk show position to take a job outside the radio biz. Buttweiler co-hosted the Jack & Sandy show with longtime partner Jack Sunday at Midwest Communications-owned KFGO, Fargo. As the paper notes, Buttweiler joined KFGO in 1982 and has worked there during three different stints as well as at other stations in the market, including crosstown WDAY. She told listeners there were no problems at the station and that she “was presented with an opportunity about six weeks ago. After careful and thoughtful consideration, it just seemed like the right time to take on this new opportunity.”
‘The News That Makes You Think’ Hits 100 Affiliate Mark. The newest feature from XtreMedia and hosted by Kevin McCullough passes the 100 affiliate mark after just 90 days in production. McCullough’s program – “The News That Makes You Think” – is airing in markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Boston, Phoenix, Tampa, Portland, Nashville, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, and Las Vegas. McCullough tells TALKERS magazine that, when launched in June, his company believed there would be a market for this type of feature and he describes it, saying, “The content is designed to offer a substantive look at national, political, and human interest stories. But every newscast provides information important to families and people of faith. And at the end of the day it’s about telling great stories!” McCullough says that across the Monday-Friday XtreMedia platform, 413 unique stations are airing the company’s programming.
WGN, Chicago Re-Ups Steve Cochran. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WGN, Chicago morning drive personality Steve Cochran signs a four-year contract extension to continue with the Tribune Broadcasting outlet. As Feder points out, over the past year Cochran has performed well for WGN. In the most recent Nielsen Audio PPM survey, Cochran was #2 in the market (Persons 6+) with a 5.4 share. Cochran tells Feder, “Thanks to my amazing staff of Andrea Darlas, Dave Eanet, Orion Samuelson, Mary Vandevelde, Kevin Powell and my son, Ross, 5:00 am is actually fun. Working for Jimmy de Castro, Todd Manley and Larry Wert is as good as it gets — and I feel like we are just getting started.” Read Feder’s column here.
Round Three of August PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of August 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The survey period was July 17 through August 13. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Ethnic WCGO, Chicago Begins Shift Toward Issues Talk Format. The Evanston, Illinois signal has been an ethnic time-brokered station since 1978 but consultant Tim Disa says that with a newly approved power increase to 10,000 watts (daytime), the station is revamping the programming, starting with the 12:00 noon to 6:00 pm daypart. Franklin Raff – a 39-year-old former producer for the G. Gordon Liddy show – is now hosting the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm show, followed by Radio America’s Dana Loesch from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm, and former crosstown WIND personality Geoff Pinkus hosting the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm program. Additionally, the station is carrying Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” with George Noory in the overnight daypart. Disa says the goal of the station is to create “new, more inclusive content – a bit more libertarian and we will be reaching out to a younger generation using humor and common sense.”
Odds & Sods. At the Salem Radio Network operations in Washington, DC, Jeff Matzka is named chief engineer. The operation includes the Washington, DC bureau of the SRN News and the studios of the Bill Bennett “Morning in America” show…..The new flagship station for the NBA’s Washington Wizards is CBS RADIO’s all-news WNEW-FM, Washington (licensed to Bowie, Maryland). The station reports that D.C. area play-by-play broadcaster Dave Johnson will return for his 17th season calling Wizards games, and is joined for the 7th year by analyst Glenn Consor…..Clear Channel’s news/talk WHJJ, Providence and classic hits WWBB “B101” will be the new flagship stations for University of Rhode Island football and men’s basketball this season. WHJJ will also air the 16 Dan Hurley shows featuring the Rams’ head basketball coach.
Celebrating Success. Nationally syndicated talk show host Michael Savage is pictured here aboard his family yacht in the New York harbor addressing representatives from syndicator Westwood One, Cumulus-owned WABC Radio, and several high-profile clients and partners. Using the occasion of the success of his latest book, Stop the Coming Civil War (Center Street 2014), Savage used the tale of his grandfather’s immigration from Russia almost 100 years ago to express why America needs to reward hard work and not take from those who are productive. This event on NYC’s Chelsea Pier also caught the eye of the New York Post’s Page Six.
Mike Gallagher Plays the Cowardly Lion. Regular TALKERS readers know one of Salem Radio Network host Mike Gallagher’s interests is the theatre – Gallagher won a 2013 Tony Award as an investor in the Broadway revival of “Pippin.” In addition to the numerous roles he’s played on the stage over the years, Gallagher (pictured here in full make-up for dress rehearsal) is currently playing the Cowardly Lion in the South Carolina Children’s Theatre production of The Wizard of Oz.
US ISIS Strategy and Journalist Beheadings Top Stories on News/Talk Radio for Week of September 1-5. The controversy over the United States’ military policy regarding the ISIS campaign in Iraq and the recent beheadings of two American journalists tied atop the Talkers TenTM for the week of September 1-5. At #2 this week was the Al Qaeda jihad threat tied with the missing Libyan airliners. Coming in at #3 was the mid-term elections and the prospects for the 2016 presidential race followed by the Justice Department’s probe of the Ferguson, Missouri police department at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Comedienne and Talk Host Joan Rivers Dead at 81. Media personality Joan Rivers will be remembered for her work as a comedienne – most notably for her acerbic red carpet commentary shows and her long stint guest hosting “The Tonight Show” for Johnny Carson – but she was also a radio talk show host who worked for five years both on WOR, New York and the WOR Radio Network. Former WOR program director David Bernstein – who now serves as GM of TALKERS broadcast operations – hired Rivers for her radio gig to replace Barry Gray at the station. Bernstein says, “Joan loved radio. She understood that timing in comedy translates differently on radio than on TV, or any other medium. And she let me teach. She was hungry to conquer a new medium.” Bernstein says Rivers was unlike stars from other media who dabble in radio. “She may have been the hardest-working person I’ve ever supervised. She showed up at the station to do her show even while on vacation. I asked her, ‘What are you doing here?’ She said, ‘My plane came in early, so why not work? I love being on the radio!’” He says Rivers was also very generous to those around her at the radio station. “She filled in for me in Providence at WPRO. She came to Rhode Island, bought lunch for the entire six-station cluster and did every TV interview I could set up. She also hosted Rush’s show for one of the weeks he was out. She knew she’d upset the apple cart, and that pleased her.” Bernstein says managing Rivers left him with no end of funny stories. “I had to tell her she can’t have her nails done during the show because she is not close enough to the mic, not to mention it screws up her concentration. But, perhaps that most memorable night was when she came in for her show straight from cosmetic surgery, and was…uh, unable to do a comprehensive show. I pulled her off after the first break, and instead of anger, she expressed gratitude that I protected her image by taking her off the air that night. As you can imagine, her language had always been an issue. After three bad words, I had to suspend her for a week. Although she was angry, I convinced her that she should go on the media tour to discuss the FCC language rules, and she hit “Entertainment Tonight,” “The Today Show,” “Larry King Live” and a slew of others. It was a Joan Rivers bonanza – great press for WOR – all thanks to Joan’s skilled use of the word ‘shit.’”
Sean Hannity to Lead WDBO-FM, Orlando Live Event. The live stage production is being called “Red, White, & Truth: Solutions for America,” and is presented by Cox Media Group-owned news/talk WDBO-FM, Orlando “News 96.5.” It will take place October 30 at the CFE Arena at the University of Central Florida. Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity, along with Radio America-syndicated personality Dana Loesch, Fox News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade and talk host Herman Cain will present “a dynamic on-stage discussion about current issues in the news, including the 2014 Florida Congressional Gubernatorial races.” Listeners can buy tickets starting at $25 and have the option of a VIP experience that includes a meet-and-greet plus photo op with the hosts. “News 96.5” program director Drew Anderssen says, “We often tell our listeners, ‘when we’re not doing the news, we’re talking about the news,’ and this event gives listeners an opportunity to engage with our hosts in a live, interactive setting, to hear their off-the-cuff remarks on major topics affecting the nation and Central Florida.”
Spencer Hughes Exits KSFO, San Francisco. After a six month stint hosting the late morning show on Cumulus Media’s KSFO, San Francisco, talk personality Spencer Hughes resigns from the station. On his Facebook page and website, Hughes says he refuses to be negative about his departure from the station and says, in part, “I am at peace with my departure from KSFO. It was the home of my talk radio debut back on December 31, 1994. I worked and befriended some of the biggest legends in the business. This New Year’s Eve would have been my 20th anniversary hosting the Spencer Hughes show and I had always envisioned it would be behind the mic of the station that gave birth to my vision and dream 20 years ago.” Hughes promises fans his show will be back “even bigger and better.”
Nielsen Audio Today: 68% of Americans Hear Network Radio. The latest Nielsen “Audio Today Report” indicates that nearly seven in 10 Americans – 68% — are reached by network radio that emanates from such distributors as AdLarge Media, American Urban Radio Networks, Crystal Media Networks, Premiere Networks, United Stations Radio Networks and Westwood One. Among the data Nielsen reports includes: Listeners reached by these networks are highly qualified consumers — 74% of all full-time workers listen to network radio; 69% of those with household incomes over $75,000 per year listen to network radio and 66% of college graduates tune in each week, too. Nielsen also says the study indicates 51.5 million Millennials are “engaging with network radio.” Read the entire study here.
Steve Gallagher Launches Creative Talent, Inc. Longtime broadcasting executive Steve Gallagher announces the formation of Creative Talent, Inc. – a broadcast talent agency focused on talent, content management and representation. Most recently, Gallagher was an EVP with Sun Broadcast Group. He says in a statement, “We are in a new age and never before has the power of the personality and content creator been more important. Never before have there been more platforms, distribution channels and opportunities for all creative talent to advance. At Creative Talent, we are committed to representing the most talented personalities and content creation companies and provide them with the individual attention for them to amass huge success and reach their full potential. At the same time, Gallagher announces his company has formed a strategic alliance with ConnectPal – the platform recently debuted by talk media personality Andy Dean. Dean comments, “Steve Gallagher gets it. Steve is a forward thinker and his great talent relationships are the key to unlocking the future of content distribution. I am extremely excited to work with Steve and Creative Talent, Inc.”
Premiere Networks and DirecTV Renew Dan Patrick Deal. The agreement between Clear Channel’s Premiere Networks and DirecTV for the Dan Patrick sports talk show is renewed, though the term of the deal is not announced. The pact means Premiere Networks will continue providing exclusive ad sales representation and radio distribution for the show and it will continue to be part of the Fox Sports Radio Network lineup.
Round Two of August PPM Data Released. The second of four rounds of August 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. The survey period was July 17 through August 13. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Michael Bloomberg Returns to Bloomberg LP. Nine months after leaving the New York City mayor’s office, Michael Bloomberg has a renewed presence at news organization Bloomberg LP. At the end of this year, current president and CEO Daniel Doctoroff will exit the company and it’s being reported by USA Today that Bloomberg will not seek an immediate successor to Doctoroff but will run the company with the assistance of other company executives. Doctoroff is a close friend of Bloomberg and served as Deputy Mayor until 2008 when he left to become president of Bloomberg LP. He became CEO in 2011. Though the two deny there is any bad blood between them over Bloomberg’s return to the company, it’s being reported that Doctoroff was irked by Bloomberg’s becoming involved again in day-to-day operations.
Odds & Sods. WFAS-AM, White Plains, New York talk show host Lisa Wexler is now heard on WGCH, Greenwich, Connecticut as the 4:00 pm hour of her program is being simulcast on the station…..Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington and WTOP.com become the first U.S. radio partner to enter into an agreement with the Waze Broadcast Program – a network of news media using the Waze navigation service’s real-time information to supplement their traffic reporting. The partnership will allow the WTOP traffic department access to a special version of the Waze app to help reporters identify, capture and report the most newsworthy incidents in real-time. In exchange, WTOP is branding Waze user content when the information is incorporated into reports…..WING-AM, Dayton “ESPN Radio 1410” is adding another hour to the program “Dayton Sports Scene with Mark Neal” — doubling the show to two hours. Alpha Media reports the new show time — from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm — comes as the result of Alpha Media’s recent entry into the Dayton market with the commitment of more “live and local” programming.
‘We’ll Miss You, Ann.’ Those are the words on the cake you see being presented to retiring ABC News Radio White House correspondent Ann Compton aboard Air Force 1. She was toasted in the press cabin en route to Estonia yesterday morning and treated to the rich, chocolate layer cake in celebration of her final flight after 41 years. Upon landing, Ann was invited for a private visit to the front cabin with President Obama. She was given a peek at his private quarters – complete with double-sink bathroom, full shower, and living area — which Ann says still looks the same as when President George H.W. Bush gave her a tour back when the Boeing 747 had its first presidential flight 20 years ago!
Cool Job Opportunity. If you love pro sports, have the passion to sell and have a track record of winning, WTMJ Radio may have the opportunity for you. WTMJ has a rare opening in its sports marketing group for a sports account manager to drive revenue for flagship WTMJ’s Green Bay Packers and Milwaukee Brewers broadcast partnerships. Connect with WTMJ’s director of sales, Tom Sheridan at firstname.lastname@example.org and let him know how you can play a big role on a winning team.
US-UK’s NATO Tactic Against ISIS/Journalist Beheadings, Russia-Ukraine Military Tensions, Hacked Naked Celeb Pics/Apple iCloud Troubles, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Prospects, Ebola Virus Pandemic Threat, Ferguson PD to Be Investigated by Justice Department, and Start of NFL Season Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/3). The US and UK’s plans to seek a NATO coalition to fight ISIS and the beheadings of American journalists; the ongoing military tensions between Ukrainian forces and Russia; the controversy over the hacking of celebrities’ naked photos and questions about the security of Apple’s iCloud; the looming mid-term elections and prospects for the 2016 presidential race; the threat of an Ebola virus pandemic; the U.S. Justice Department’s plan to investigate the Ferguson, Missouri police department; and the start of the NFL season were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Sean Hannity Broadcasts from Israel. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar (and Fox News Channel prime time personality) Sean Hannity broadcasts his Premiere Networks-syndicated radio program from a radio station in Tel Aviv (left) while touring Israel to report on the conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Hannity will host his show from Israel again today (8/5) before returning to the United States. Premiere reports that on his program Hannity has been reporting on numerous aspects of the conflict including “the Iron Dome anti-missile technology protecting the country from militant rockets, the Hamas tunnels used to capture and kill Israelis, what life is like there under constant threat, and more.” At right, Hannity (center, in denim) is pictured standing on a military-style bulldozer interviewing Israeli troops near the Gaza border.
Dr. Joy Browne Returns to the Air in NYC. Formerly based at crosstown WOR, New York (and syndicated from Buckley Broadcasting’s old WOR Radio Network for many years), Dr. Joy Browne is now heard in New York again via Salem Communications WNYM, “AM 970 The Answer.” WNYM VP and general manager Jerry Crowley says, “Joy is a consummate radio pro. Her show was consistently one of the most talked about shows on WOR. Her voice was prematurely silenced across the street, as was John Gambling’s, and it is my pleasure to allow her many fans to find her again.” Browne’s show is currently syndicated via Radio America. She comments, “I am beyond thrilled to be back on the air in New York and working with John Gambling and Jerry Crowley and Lou Dobbs again makes it feel like coming home. We have been besieged by listeners who wanted to know where I went and how to find me, and now they will know.” Salem Communications market VP Phil Boyce adds, “The talk radio format is nothing without superstars who have built that unique bond with their audience. Not all stations understand that anymore, so we are able to make that happen on our New York stations. The addition of Joy Browne proves that.”
Trimmer to Program WRVA and WRNL, Richmond. Moving from Clear Channel’s Rochester, New York cluster where he programmed news/talk WHAM and sports talker WHTK “Sports 1280,” is Aaron Trimmer who heads south to the company’s Richmond, Virginia station group to serve as director of programming for news/talk WRVA and sports talk WRNL-AM. Trimmer – a Richmond native – takes over for PD Jimmy Barrett who now focuses on his WRVA morning drive hosting responsibilities.
Entercom Q2 Revenue Dips 1%. Considering the recent Q2 financial reports by some other broadcasters, the 1% drop in net revenue could be considered a plus. Entercom’s revenue was $100.2 million during the second quarter of 2014. The company reported that free cash flow decreased 21% to $15 million. Entercom CEO David Field states, “Revenue declined 1% from the prior year as results were impacted by sluggish business conditions during the quarter. Operationally, we continue to focus on developing our powerful local brands, content and digital capabilities and building our new SmartReach Digital division. These efforts are enhancing our value to listeners and customers and raising our growth potential. Broadcast radio fundamentals are strong with growing, massive audience reach and a superior ROI to competitive forms of media.” Entercom reduced its outstanding debt by $4.1 million (net of cash) during the quarter. As of June 30, 2014, the company had $7.1 million in cash and $489.8 million of senior debt and senior notes.
Pandora Eyeing Talk and Sports Formats. In an interview with Sonali Basak for Bloomberg, Pandora CFO Michael Herring hints the company is planning to add talk and sports talk content to its service, though the type of content and when it might appear on Pandora is not known at this time. Herring points to the popularity of talk and sports by commuters in autos as the reason for his company’s interest in the formats. “Music’s an important piece of radio listening in the car, but if there’s a place where spoken word is also equally, and more important really, it’s in the car…As the car becomes more important, thinking about other types of content that are important for the car becomes more critical. That’s why Sirius spends so much money on Howard Stern, sports and news.” Basak reports that Pandora is currently available in about 33% of cars while SiriusXM can be accessed in about 71% of autos. Usage by Pandora listeners in cars rose from about 2.5 million people during the second quarter of 2013 to about 7 million during the second quarter of 2014. Read the entire Bloomberg piece here.
Hofstra University’s WRHU Named College Station of the Year. The student-operated station WRHU, Hempstead, New York “88.7 FM Radio Hofstra University” has been named the best college station in the country, according to The Princeton Review. The publication rates colleges in America and, as part of that, also ranks college radio stations. Hofstra University’s WRHU came in #1 this year after being ranked #5 last year. The station is the flagship radio outlet for the NHL’s New York Islanders since 2010 and is the first and only college radio station to have an exclusive broadcasting agreement with a professional sports team. WRHU is a finalist for a prestigious 2014 Marconi Radio Award from the NAB as the top non-commercial station in the country. The station’s reporters have won top honors from the New York Associated Press Association, the Press Club of Long Island, the Society of Professional Journalists and New York Women in Communications. TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison, who began his illustrious radio career on WRHU (when it was still using the call letters WVHC) and is a charter inductee of the WRHU Hall of Fame, states, “I am so proud of this great radio station’s progress and accomplishments over the years since I first broadcast there in 1967. This ranking is a tribute to the fantastic faculty staff running the operation and to the entire Communications Department at Hofstra which, in my opinion, is second to none in American academia.” Harrison sits on the Hofstra University Department of Communication advisory board.
KMG Networks’ Krantz to Work with Sun Broadcast Group. A new partnership struck by Sun Broadcast Group and Krantz Media Group/KMG Networks will have KMG president and CEO Gary Krantz joining SBG as strategic advisor. The companies say that “together, Sun and KMG will focus on new initiatives in content, digital, and services to superserve media partners in the audio entertainment sector. These exciting new opportunities will be separate initiatives from existing and planned partnerships that Sun and KMG are involved with, respectively.” SBG CEO Jason Bailey adds, “Gary and I have known each other for years and have always shared the same exciting vision for this industry. With all that’s going on in the network radio space there are countless opportunities to make a real difference with amazing program partners who share our passion for change. I’m stoked to work more closely with KMG on a professional basis in advancing our mission to make radio an experience for a whole new generation.”
Round One of July PPM Data Released. The first of four rounds of July 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The survey period was June 19 through July 16. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Odds & Sods. Talk radio personality Bradlee Dean, host of the “Sons of Liberty” syndicated radio series, has been honored with the Education Liberty Award from the Education Liberty Coalition for his appearances on their behalf at some 350 high schools in 24 states nationwide. Among the goals which Dean has been promoting is ELC’s campaign for students to study at their own instructional level and for parents to make school choices for their children. Dean’s most recent stop was in Marietta, Georgia…..Genesis Communications‘ sports platform – Sports Talk Florida – is providing “exclusive coverage” of Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp complete with live practice updates, video interviews, and behind-the-scenes developments with reporters Jenna Laine and Amanda Borges. Genesis says that its digital platform, along with the affiliated radio stations WHOO, Orlando and WHBO, Tampa, are keeping Bucs fans informed. The company says, “With a plethora of exclusive photos, written articles and video content covering the Buccaneers, Sports Talk Florida leads the way in merging radio, web-based media, mobile sharing and social media.”
Israel-Hamas Violence, ISIS Iraq Campaign, Ebola Outbreak Scare, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Race, Immigration Reform/Southwest Border Crisis, Russian Ukraine Aggression, and James Brady Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/4). The ongoing violence in the Gaza Strip; the continuing campaign by ISIS to create a caliphate in Iraq and Syria; the threat of the Ebola virus as a possible pandemic; the looming mid-term elections and the possible candidates for president in 2016; the battle in Washington over immigration policies and the border crisis in the Southwest; Russia’s support of Ukrainian rebels and the probe of the downing of Flight 17; and the death of Reagan Administration Press Secretary and anti-gun crusader James Brady were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Andy Dean Leaves Premiere Networks’ ‘America Now’ Program. After three years hosting the nationally syndicated “America Now” show for Premiere Networks, Andy Dean is leaving the radio business to concentrate on his digital endeavor, ConnectPal.com. His last show will be August 8. After that, WOAI, San Antonio-based talk personality Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo will guest host the program until a replacement is found for the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET show. Dean states, “Julie Talbott and Premiere Networks have been wonderful to me, and I am extremely grateful. I have to step down to run my technology company full time. I started ConnectPal.com to help radio stations and hosts make more money, and the company has grown so fast, it is now expanding to all content creators. The idea is simple – anyone can create a profile on ConnectPal, then you post any type of content (podcasts, video, etc.) on your profile – and then you set a monthly price for people to see your profile. This allows any person or station to have a Glenn Beck-style subscription business in less than 60 seconds at no cost.” Talbott comments, “Andy is a tremendous talent and we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished together over the past three years with ‘America Now.’ We wish him all the best as he starts this new chapter of his career.” The “America Now” show is heard on some 130 affiliate stations.
Boston Herald Radio Approaches First Anniversary. The online talk-formatted radio station launched by the Boston Herald on August 1, 2013 is approaching its first anniversary next Friday. In anticipation of the milestone, TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison, a long-time champion of the concept of daily newspapers launching radio stations on their websites, was invited to be interviewed (7/22) in studio about the state of radio on the station’s “Trending Now” program followed by a luncheon at which he addressed a roundtable of Herald editorial and radio staffers. During the radio program, Harrison (pictured here third from the left) was interviewed by “Trending Now” co-hosts Adriana Cohen (far right) and Joe Battenfeld (left) who were joined by the station’s “Morning Meeting” co-host Hillary Chabot (second from left). In addition to friendly chat in which Harrison whimsically recalled his early days as a music radio DJ and program director, the discussion tackled a number of crucial issues about the state of talk radio in Boston as well as the future of terrestrial radio in general. Harrison expressed being “troubled” by the present state of talk radio in the Hub [Boston] pointing out that at one time, Boston was “one of the model cities for talk” with such hosts as the late Jerry Williams, Gene Burns,and David Brudnoy setting the pace emulated by much of the rest of the industry across the nation. Harrison said, “It was just an amazing town for talk radio” but as radio has become “more corporatized” over the years, the quality of Boston talk radio has gone “downhill.” But Harrison said the future of talk radio could be bright if the people who run the “big-time radio stations are able to really create diverse and important programming that people need” because “it’s become a very noisy world” in the digital era. Harrison says, “I am extremely impressed by the work Herald editor-in-chief Joe Sciacca, and his energetic young staff have done in making Herald Radio a vibrant audio arm of the larger news gathering organization that a major daily newspaper is built upon. This entity has a bright and positive stationality all its own and is just chock-full of relevant information and conversation including a non-stop schedule of newsmaker and news-making events. When I say it has a stationality all its own, I mean it doesn’t have that numbing, cookie-cutter sound and attitudinal environment that permeates so much of today’s commercial terrestrial radio of all formats. It hits you right between the ears – hey, this is different… it is indeed talk radio, but it is different…it is FRESH!” Harrison continues, “The programming at Herald Radio is so authentic that I’ve gotten word that a number of terrestrial stations and networks have already enquired about carrying some of their shows.” He concludes, “The marriage of newspapers and online radio is one made in heaven for countless obvious reasons, starting with the facts that newspaper websites already have major traffic of people predisposed to listening to talk radio and they have news, arts, and entertainment resources that go beyond the wildest capabilities of most of today’s debt-choked radio broadcasting companies. As a deep believer in the importance of radio and a lover of the medium, I must say that if the present consolidated owners of the stick [meaning AM/FM platforms] do not ‘get on the stick’ and use their privilege correctly, they might just see newspapers across America turn their websites and online vehicles into the NEW STICK!” To read media reporter Jessica Heslam ’s Boston Herald piece about Harrison’s interview along with an audio link to his entire 25-minute interview please click here.
Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted. Up Today: Norm Pattiz, CEO, Courtside Entertainment Group/Podcast One Receives TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award. Today (7/24) marks the eighth consecutive business day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last month’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014. The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms. The worldwide showing of these very special videos continues today with part 3 of the event’s traditional “Talkers Awards Ceremony” emceed by legendary Westwood One talk show host Jim Bohannon and featuring the presentation of the TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award to Westwood One founder Norm Pattiz, CEO, Courtside Entertainment Group/Podcast One. The presentation is made by Bohannon, the recipient of the honor last year, who in listing this year’s recipient’s long list of achievements, states, “If there’s one word that describes Norm Pattiz it’s “reinvention.” Upon accepting the honor, Pattiz states, “Now we [Podcast One] are pushing hard in the direction of ‘on-demand’ radio. I think of that as radio. I’m sorry – it’s the natural evolution of radio and you as talk show hosts should embrace it because what it does is give you the opportunity to build an audience without having to bundle it through a radio station.” Pattiz cites some of Podcast One’s roster of performers as examples of the power of ‘on demand’ radio: “When people like Adam Carolla, National Public Radio, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and Chris Hardwick (the Nerdist) are reaching a million people every time they put up a podcast – that’s a big deal! And that is something that should be embraced by the entire radio business.” To view this entire presentation, please click here. Coming tomorrow: Part 4 of the Talkers Awards Ceremony in which WYD Media talk show host Thom Hartmann receives the prestigious TALKERS Freedom of Speech Award. The TALKERS conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.
KFI, Los Angeles to Air Three-Hour Immigration Special. This special collaboration between Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles and Univision-owned KMEX-TV, Los Angeles “Univision 34” will air from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm on Friday July 25 and will focus on the immigration crisis at the U.S. border. The program will be co-hosted by correspondents Steven Gregory (right) and Oswaldo Borraez (left). KFI says, “The recent influx of unaccompanied child immigrants has triggered an onslaught of questions from affected border residents and local governments alike. This news special will do a deep dive, not just interviewing those involved but also attempting to answer the tough questions surrounding this escalating situation.” Gregory is based at KFI, Los Angeles and has covered – on the scene – such varied news events as Hurricane Katrina and the Academy Awards. Among his numerous industry accolades are five Edward R. Murrow awards. Borraez serves as a field reporter for Univision 34’s “Noticias Univision 34.” Borraez has received various awards such as the Peabody award for excellence in reporting, Emmy and Golden Mike awards, as well as a Gabriel.
KXL, Portland Personality Lars Larson Featured on Investigation Discovery Show. The Discovery Communications-owned channel Investigation Discovery produced a program called “Dark Temptations” that aired last night (7/23) that looked at the case of serial killer Jerry Brudos who died in prison in 2006 while serving a life term for the murders of three young women in Salem, Oregon in the late 1960s. KXL talk host Lars Larson offered the reporter’s perspective on the case. He says, “Jerome Brudos, a serial killer before the term was even invented, was the creepiest interview I’ve done in 39 years in the news business. I wanted to take a shower after spending two hours locked in a room at the Oregon State Pen with Brudos.” Brudos had an obsession with women’s shoes that allegedly sparked his crimes.
Dukes to Go Solo as Lavar Arrington Leaves WJFK-FM, Washington for NFL Network Gig. To be clear, former Washington Redskins great Lavar Arrington will still make appearances on CBS RADIO’s WJFK-FM, Washington “106.7 The Fan” – an hour-long appearance with Chad Dukes on both Mondays and Fridays – he just won’t be Dukes’ full-time partner. The station is electing to let Dukes handle the afternoon daypart by himself and the show is being re-named “Chad Dukes vs The World,” the same name he’s been using for the 6:00 pm hour he’d been hosting solo.
MLB Baseball Gives Boost to Most Flagship Stations. That’s the conclusion that can be drawn from even a cursory look at the performances of flagship stations for MLB baseball play-by-play in the Nielsen Audio PPM-rated markets. TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian presents his analysis of the stations carrying baseball and, not surprisingly, teams that are winning appear to be translating that into PPM share for flagship stations. In this report Kinosian tracks how flagship stations have performed over the past four PPM surveys, compared to June 2013, how they rank in their respective markets, and how the stations stack up based on MLB divisions. Check out Mike Kinosian’s analysis here.
WLS-AM, Chicago Holds Talk Star Contest. For the third year, Cumulus Media-owned news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago is holding “The Next 89 WLS Talk Star” contest. The winner of the contest will get: a chance to host a two-hour show live on 89 WLS; limo ride to and from the studio; one pair of professional headphones; and a Funjet Vacation for two to Riviera Maya, Mexico. The station is seeking entries prior to the August 3 deadline that must consist of personal information and a 90-second monologue. The finale of the competition will take place live at the Hard Rock Café Chicago on Wednesday, August 20.
The Wall Street Journal & Marketwatch Radio Networks Roll Out Apps. Two new apps are now available from The Wall Street Journal & Marketwatch Radio Networks. The updated apps allow users to listen to “WSJ This Morning,” and such features as “Watching Your Wallet” and “Your Money Matters.” “What’s News” provides updates throughout the day. The Marketwatch app provides market updates throughout the day from the New York Stock Exchange with MarketWatch Stock Talk.
Associated Press Announces Promotions. Broadcast journalist Derl McCrudden is upped to head of international video news for The Associated Press. McCrudden was previously the head of video news gathering. AP VP director of global video Sandy MacIntyre says, “Derl is one of the smartest journalists in the business, a proven leader whose calm demeanor and steely determination mark him out as a natural for this role. Derl brings a vast amount of experience, both in managerial roles and in running big stories in the field. That experience directly translates into not only understanding, but anticipating the needs of AP’s customers.” At the same time, Denise Vance, deputy director of U.S. video, becomes head of U.S. video and radio, continuing to oversee video and audio newsgathering and production in North America.
Odds & Sods. A new offering on Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio is Judith Mancini’s “Dishing With Judith.” The program is being re-launched on Women 4 Women Radio (w4wn.com) and iHeartRadio.com this Friday at 3:00 pm ET live from Burbank, California featuring “celebrities, musicians, artists, authors and anyone with powerful knowledge or a spicy story.” Serving as Mancini’s co-host is Noelle, a fashion designer/blogger, social media expert and founder/CEO of Digital Media Strategy…..ESPN Audio is announcing the return of its “Fall Football Tour” in which Mike & Mike, Colin Cowherd and SVP & Russillo will hit the road to broadcast live in advance of highly anticipated NFL and college football games. The tour begins on Friday, August 29, with a live broadcast from Atlanta in advance of the West Virginia-Alabama game. The nine-stop tour will make its way through Atlanta, Detroit, New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Boston, Baton Rouge, Philadelphia, and Chicago…..NBA great Charles Barkley returns to join Mike Missanelli on Greater Media’s WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic” this Friday as co-host for the entire program – 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm. In another note from WPEN-FM, the station will be the flagship for Temple University football beginning with this season. The station reports it struck a three-year deal with rights-holder Learfield Sports.
Geraldo Attends Central Valley Career Fair. Returning Americans to work has been part of Geraldo Rivera’s mantra since he began hosting his own talk radio show at WABC, New York. In addition to hosting career fairs in NYC, Rivera traveled to the West Coast this week for a job fair organized by the Cumulus Media cluster in Fresno. Pictured here is Rivera (right) with KMJ-AM/FM program director and morning drive personality Blake Taylor (left) in the KMJ studios. Taylor tells TALKERS magazine that “thousands turned out at the first Central Valley Career Fair to meet the mustachioed legend.” Rivera hosted his WABC program from the KMJ studios.
Israel-Hamas Conflict, Flight 17 Downing, Tony Dungy-Michael Sam Comments, Recent ObamaCare Court Rulings, and Clinton Books Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/23). The escalating violence in the Gaza Strip between Hamas and Israel; the political implications surrounding the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and the U.S.’s role in curbing Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Ukraine; controversy over Tony Dungy’s comments that he would not have drafted openly gay football player Michael Sam because of the distraction; the two recent appeals court rulings affecting the Affordable Care Act; and the current books about the Clintons were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WABC, New York Adds Larry Mendte to Weekend Programming Lineup. Joining the WABC, New York Sunday evening lineup is Larry Mendte, who will host a weekly 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm program beginning July 27. The station notes that Mendte is “a familiar voice to the New York metro area, having most recently been a contributor to WPIX-TV’s nightly newscast producing commentaries…Returning to New York on 77 WABC allows Mendte to expand upon these commentaries, talk about New York’s biggest stories, and speak to Tri-State listeners with warmth, wit, and honesty that New York listeners have come to expect from Mendte and 77 WABC.” Mendte co-hosted the morning program on WWIQ, Philadelphia during its time as a news/talk outlet operated by Merlin Media. Mendte also hosts a television news and public affairs show for Me TV in Philadelphia. The show will soon air in New York on Me TV.
Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted. Up Today: Julie Talbott of Premiere Networks Receives the TALKERS “Woman of the Year” Award. Today (7/23) marks the seventh business day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last month’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014. The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms. The worldwide showing of these very special videos continues today with part 2 of the event’s traditional “Talkers Awards Ceremony” emceed by legendary Westwood One talk show host Jim Bohannon and featuring the presentation of the Judy Jarvis Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to Radio by a Woman (also known as the “Woman of the Year” award) by last year’s recipient Heather Cohen, EVP, the Weiss Agency to Julie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks. Talbott delivers an uplifting acceptance address in which she states, “This is really a fun business. But it’s a business…and it’s a tough business and we all have to continue to work together. I know we’re competitors – but we have to work together to really make something great happen.” Continuing on the theme of keeping radio work enjoyable, Talbott discusses her early days as a “pretty naive University of Kentucky small-town girl graduate” looking in New York City for a career area to enter and originally being attracted to the media field because the interviewers – unlike those in other areas of business she explored – seemed to be having fun in their work and were just as successful as the people she met in banking and other fields of business she encountered. She quickly realized, “That’s the creative business I want to be in!” She suggests, “We can’t forget the fun. We have to continually try to find some fun environment for the folks working for us.” To see this entire presentation, please click here. Coming tomorrow: part 3 of the Talkers Awards Ceremony in which Westwood One founder and Courtside Entertainment Group/Podcast One CEO Norm Pattiz receives the TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award. The TALKERS conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.
Entercom Chief David Field Asks Employees to Embrace Change, Lists Accomplishments in Mid-Year Memo. In his twice-annual memo to staffers, Entercom president and CEO David Field writes that everyone in the radio business must embrace change and innovate and challenges employees to do so within the guidelines of what Entercom believes in. He goes on to list those beliefs which start with its dedication to “building the best local radio stations with the best local personalities.” Also, Field speaks about the company’s accomplishments and points to the launch of new radio stations, the debut of its SmartReach Digital local marketing arm, and the “two-minute” promise at Seattle’s alternative “The End” which limits spots to six minutes per hour on the station with never more than 2 minutes of commercials at one time. Read his entire memo here.
WTMJ, Milwaukee to Debut Non-Sports Show Featuring Packers. The show is called “Tauscher and Kuhn” and will feature former Green Bay Packers lineman Mark Tauscher and current Packers fullback John Kuhn. It will air from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm on eight select Tuesdays beginning in September. The Journal Broadcast Group news/talk station has the show sponsored by Associated Bank. The program is not a sports talk show and will instead revolve around the two discussing current events, pop culture and more. Journal Milwaukee VP/GM of radio operations Tom Langmyer says, “WTMJ is committed to developing original, live, local programming and talent for our listeners. Mark and John have great chemistry. This is a chance to hear them unplugged discussing all areas of life, beyond the Xs and Os of sports. We look forward to have Mark and John on our team!” Tauscher says, “One of my favorite things while playing in the NFL was debating and arguing a wide range of topics in the locker room. John was and is always ready for a lively discussion, so I am looking forward to bringing our unique perspectives to the airwaves and having lots of fun along the way.”
Sabo: Five Steps to Managing a Problem. Media consultant Walter Sabo writes that because talk radio’s very purpose is to nurture controversy and opinion, there are ways to handle what might be perceived as a too-controversial event that help avoid “bad” PR and, worse, loss of advertising revenue or the decision to fire employees. Sabo notes that talk radio practitioners should be prepared to combat advertiser boycotts by arming themselves with examples of “controversial programming” on television on which they advertise because, most “family oriented” advertisers do air spots on TV shows that could be considered just as controversial – perhaps more so – than talk radio programming. For examples of this and more of Sabo’s five-step prescription, click here.
Odds & Sods. WPHT, Philadelphia mid-morning personality Dom Giordano is being inducted into the Philadelphia Area Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame in a ceremony that will take place on November 21 at the Hilton Philadelphia. See a complete list of inductees and honorees here…..Former San Francisco Giants pitcher and current team broadcaster Mike Krukow is suffering from a degenerative muscle disease called inclusion-body myositis. Krukow is part of the broadcast team for Comcast Sports Bay Area and for Cumulus Media’s KNBR, San Francisco. The disease is not life-threatening but there is no cure or treatment and it’s forced Krukow to use a cane for balance and to ride in a motorized cart at times…..Jake McCann is named vice president of sales for Cumulus Washington which puts him in charge of the sales effort for news/talk WMAL-AM/FM…..Digital Syndicate Network-owned sports talker WDKT, Beulah, North Dakota re-brands as “KDKT SportsRadio 1410” with the change in network affiliation from Fox Sports Radio to CBS Sports Radio. The station keeps Fox Sports Radio/DirecTV’s Dan Patrick and brings CBS’ Jim Rome back to the market after a year’s absence…..John Harper is named host of Relevant Radio’s “Morning Air” program. Harper joins the Catholic broadcaster after a career that includes time spent with ESPN building the sports giant’s “SportsCenter” into the iconic sports news programming that it’s become.
Bringing the Flight 17 Story Home to Listeners. Reporting from Kiev, Ukraine, ABC News Radio correspondent Aaron Katersky (left) speaks with US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt (right) in Kiev about the downing of Flight 17 and the political ramifications of Russia’s involvement in arming the Ukraine rebels.
ObamaCare Court Rulings, Flight 17 Investigation-Russian Responsibility, Gaza Strip Violence, Tony Dungy-Michael Sam Comments Controversy, Primary Races, Western Drought-California Water Shortage, Bill Clinton’s ‘Energizer’ Flap, and Illegal Child Immigration Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/22). Two separate and different Appeals Courts rulings on tax credits for citizens signing up for the Affordable Care Act; the ongoing investigation into the downing of Flight 17 and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s battle with the West over blame; the escalating violence in the Gaza Strip and Western airlines’ cessation of flights into Tel Aviv; the controversy over Tony Dungy’s comments about not drafting openly gay footballer Michael Sam because of the “distraction” it would cause; the mid-term primary races held on Tuesday; concern over the ongoing Western drought and Southern California’s low water supply; the latest published allegations about Bill Clinton’s paramour dubbed “Energizer”; and the influx of child illegals into the Southwest were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Did SiriusXM Have the Right to Fire Anthony Cumia? A week after satellite broadcaster SiriusXM terminated Anthony Cumia of the “Opie & Anthony” show, TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes about the underlying legal aspects of the case. Weisman explains that – although he hasn’t read Cumia’s contract – most performers who sign a contract these days have a morals clause in their deals that give the employer the right to fire employees who do things while off duty that reflect badly on the company. Weisman offers some history of the morals clause and explains what employees finding themselves in Cumia’s situation might have in their arsenal with which to fight back. Read Weisman’s entire piece here.
KFBK, Sacramento Gives Gubernatorial Nominee Talk Show Appearance. In an effort to do what Clear Channel Sacramento VP of programming Ken Charles says is “covering the biggest stories and the most relevant news for Sacramento and California,” news/talk KFBK welcomed Republican gubernatorial nominee Neel Kashkari to the airwaves, allowing him to host a three-hour show last night (7/10) from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Charles said, “We invited both Kashkari and Governor Brown to host a show with us to provide them a unique forum to speak with the citizens of northern California. We look forward to Kashkari’s appearance tonight and hope we hear from the governor very soon.”
WHYN, Springfield to Name Adam Wright Morning Drive Co-Host. Two weeks after parting company with longtime morning drive co-host Brad Shepard, Clear Channel Springfield, Massachusetts is prepared to announce Adam Hamada Wright will join co-host Bo Sullivan on air for AM drive duties. Wright operates Westfield, Massachusetts based Advertus Media, a creative and media buying agency, and will continue that business in addition to his radio work. He says, “WHYN is a heritage news/talk station and I look forward to carrying on an incredible tradition of broadcasting there. This new additional adventure is the culmination of a lifelong dream of hosting a talk show and the ability to return to radio after 14 years. I will forever be grateful to Sean Davey and Jerry Hyland for coming up with this insane idea and I will honor those who came before me on this storied station, especially Brad Shepard who I consider an amazing talent and friend.”
Dianna Kelly Joins ’98.3 The Torch’ in Des Moines. Taking on the role of news director for Cumulus Media news/talk outlet KWQW “98.3 The Torch” is Dianna Kelly. Cumulus states that the “experienced broadcast journalist and talk personality has held on-air positions for stations in Kansas City, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Fresno, Jacksonville, Grand Rapids, and suburban Nashville. She has been honored with six Associated Press awards for her feature reports.” Kelly says, “What a pleasure to be working with the brightest minds in radio! The future of radio is here and it’s at Cumulus. I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of it.”
Round Three of June PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of June 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The survey period was May 22 through June 18. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page of RadioInfo.com here.
Dino Costa Moves Show Base to NYC. Two months after the former SirusXM sports talk personality Dino Costa began his own internet-based sports talk show at dinocostashow.com, he announces he’s moving his base of operations from Cheyenne, Wyoming to New York City later this summer. Costa explains on his website that he initially hated life in New York when he first went to work for SiriusXM but, to his own surprise, realized he missed the City after moving back to the West and settling in Cheyenne. Costa says his show will be MIA for a week when he and his family make the move back to New York.
Odds & Sods. Mixing it up a bit is Premiere Networks as the syndicator brings rock/talk WMMS, Cleveland and classic rock WDTW, Detroit personality Alan Cox in to sub for Andy Dean on the “America Now” program on Monday, July 14. Though Dean is decidedly conservative, Cox likes to operate more in the pop culture/lifestyle arena. This should be an interesting listen…..A Manhattan street was named for the longtime WINS, New York reporter who passed away last year at age 86, just two weeks after filing his last report for the station. The New York Daily News reports that the corner of W. 43rd St. and 10th Avenue will bear the name “Stan Brooks Way” as a tribute to the journalist who worked for WINS for almost 50 years. Brooks and his wife lived near the intersection…..CBS RADIO’s KNX, Los Angeles continues its “KNX On Your Corner” series with a live remote broadcast from northern Orange County on Friday, July 25. The station says the broadcast will include a series of special reports focusing on important issues in the cities of Brea, La Habra, Yorba Linda and Placentia. Additionally, local civic leaders will appear as special guests throughout the day as KNX gives listeners insight into the unique attributes of the area. “Adding to the local flavor of the day, KNX will broadcast live from Arthur’s Coffee Shop in La Habra. Free refreshments will be offered and the public is invited to meet the people behind the microphones of Southern California’s only all-news radio station.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Update. “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is added to new affiliate stations WAMT, Orlando; KMET-AM, Banning, California; WGRV, Greeneville, Tennessee; WNNG-FM, Unadilla, Georgia; and WFPA, Ft. Payne, Alabama…..Doug Stephan’s “Good Day” program adds 10 new affiliate stations including KLAV, Las Vegas; WELE, Ormond Beach, Florida; KVNA, Flagstaff, Arizona; and WMXB, Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Child Immigration Crisis Top News/Talk Story This Week. The influx of minor immigrants from Central America crossing the Southwestern borders and the immigration policy controversy associated with it was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of July 7-11, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Following at #2 was the ISIS campaign in Iraq. At #3 was the Israeli-Palestinian violence and at #4 was the state of President Obama’s approval ratings. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Clear Channel Makes Corporate Structural Changes; Moves iHeartRadio into Clear Channel Networks Group Division. Along with this change – putting the iHeartRadio platform under the Clear Channel Networks Group banner headed by president Darren Davis – Brian Lakamp remains with the company and is promoted to the new position — president of technology and digital ventures. The company calls Lakamp’s promotion part of its “taking another important step in its continuing transformation to a consumer-driven, technology-fueled company.” Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “Our corporate focus on digital, increasingly leveraging technology to maximize our business, reflects the natural evolution of Clear Channel into a 21st century media company. Creativity is also enabled by technology, and as advertisers’ interest in new and emerging technology options continues to grow, we intend to remain at the forefront of both innovation and creativity. Brian is perfectly positioned to help us – and our consumers, advertisers and content partners – as we continue to build Clear Channel’s digital roadmap for the future.” The new role puts Lakamp in charge of the overall technology platform and capabilities for all of Clear Channel – including its broadcast, digital radio, events and promotions and out-of-home businesses. The company says he will also be responsible for developing the company’s overall place in the worlds of big data and programmatic buying. Putting iHeartRadio under Darren Davis’ purview means he’ll be responsible for the entire business of iHeartRadio as well as Premiere Networks, Total Traffic and Weather Network; and the 24/7 News Network. Davis comments, “I look forward to working with the immensely talented iHeartRadio team to build on the tremendous success of iHeartRadio by utilizing the full promotional and creative power of Clear Channel for iHeartRadio Networks. I’m excited to continue my collaboration with Brian in his new role to leverage new opportunities and maximize emerging technologies across Clear Channel’s national platforms and services.”
Rise Guys Return to Sacramento Radio. Sports talk morning drive personalities Whitey Gleason and Mark Kreidler – known as The Rise Guys – are returning to the Sacramento market on Entercom’s KCTC “ESPN 1320” after leaving the market for San Francisco three years ago. In 2011 they took the gig at Entercom’s KGMZ, San Francisco “95.7 The Game” after years at the company’s KHTK, Sacramento. But earlier this year they exited that station after talent changes were made. Now, they return to the Sacramento market on KHTK’s sister station.
Brock and Salk Show to Air in Mornings on KIRO-AM, Seattle. The recent return of Mike Salk to Bonneville’s Seattle sports talker KIRO-AM “710 ESPN Seattle” as program director after a year-long stint at WEEI, Boston is now bringing about changes to the station’s talent lineup as he and Brock Huard are getting back together on the radio for a morning show from 7:00 am to 10:00 am. The “Brock & Salk” show debuted in 2009 but ended when Salk took the afternoon co-host gig at Entercom’s WEEI, Boston in the spring of 2013. The change means Michael Grey is moving from afternoons to the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot followed by “Bob & Groz” from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. Danny O’Neil, Dave Wyman and Jim Moore will host afternoon drive from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Salk comments, “These changes make an already strong lineup even stronger and this is just the beginning. I’m thrilled with where the station is going and couldn’t be more excited to get behind the mic.”
Frantz Exits WTAM, Cleveland. Talk personality Bob Frantz is let go from his position with Clear Channel’s news/talk WTAM, Cleveland where he appeared alongside Mike Trivisonno on the 9:00 am to 10:00 am show “The Spew” as well as hosting the 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm program. Frantz was doing his second tour of duty with the station – he worked there in the late 1990s before returning in 2006. Replacing him in the evening slot is “The Sports Feed” co-host and Indians reporter Nick Camino.
Round One of June PPM Data Released. The first of four rounds of June 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The survey period was May 22 through June 18. TALKERS magazine’s sister publican RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings at RadioInfo.com here.
Emmis Q1 Report: Radio Revenue Essentially Flat. The results for the first fiscal quarter for Emmis Communications (ending May 31) show the company’s net radio revenue up 22% — but that includes the addition of revenue from WBLS and WLIB, New York which it has been operating under an LMA since March 1. Assuming those stations had been in the fold at the same time a year ago, revenue would have been flat. At the station level, the company reports its stations were up 1.6% compared to local radio market revenue down 5.5% during the fiscal quarter. Emmis president and CEO Jeff Smulyan says, “While our markets continue to be tested, our stations and employees have risen to the challenge and continue to outperform our markets. We continue to believe NextRadio, the Emmis-led industry initiative to make FM broadcast radio available on smartphones and tablets, is a game-changer for the radio industry and will reignite growth. We have spent the last year building out the NextRadio ecosystem, and now we are entering a critical phase to build consumer awareness. I’m proud of our team for its continuing focus on innovation and operational excellence.”
Odds & Sods. WOAI, San Antonio-based talk show host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo’s program is being added to another Clear Channel-owned news/talk station as KEX, Portland picks up the program to air from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. The show is also heard on KPRC, Houston and KHOW, Denver…..Former Dallas Cowboys defensive star Dat Nguyen inks a contract renewal with Alpha Media sports talker KZDC, San Antonio “1250 ESPN.” Nguyen hosts the afternoon drive show where he’s been since joining the station in August of 2012…..ESPN Radio’s “10th Annual ESPY Day Auction” to benefit The V Foundation for Cancer Research is officially underway on eBay and will continue through Wednesday, July 16. This year’s auction of more than 250 items includes tickets to prime sporting events, autographed memorabilia, unique experiences with athletes, celebrities and ESPN and ABC personalities and behind-the-scenes experiences with numerous ESPN programs.
Child Immigration Crisis, Obama Approval Ratings, GOP Picks Cleveland for 2016 Convention, Israeli-Hamas Violence, Costco Pulls D’Souza Book, Palin Joins Impeachment Plea, and Klein’s Blood Feud Criticism Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/8). The influx of minor illegal immigrants in the Southwest and the political battle over immigration enforcement; the lower approval ratings for President Obama; the RNC chooses Cleveland for site of 2016 convention and the importance of Ohio in the next presidential election; escalating violence between the Israelis and Palestinians; the flap over Costco’s decision to stop selling Dinesh D’Souza’s America: Imagine the World Without Her; Sarah Palin returns to the media spotlight calling for the president’s impeachment; and controversy over Ed Klein’s book about the relationship between the Clintons and the Obamas were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Townsquare Media to Go Public with IPO Hoping to Raise $144 Million. The negative spin on this story is that by going public, Townsquare Media becomes another company that must serve shareholders first – with all that that implies. But the reality is that Townsquare’s backers – Oaktree Capital and GE Capital (with 62% and 18% stakes, respectively) – have poured a lot of cash into building the company’s portfolio of 312 radio stations and number of digital publications. The company is sitting on $645 million of outstanding debt and the IPO would help put a dent in that if it raises the $145 million it hopes for. The one aspect of the company’s balance sheet that is turning radio industry watchers’ heads is that, according to its S1 filing, 26% of its revenue is coming from the non-radio end of its operations. At this point, there is no timetable for the IPO or any report of how much shares will be sold for.
New England Radio Pro Brad Shepard Exits WHYN, Springfield. For the past 11 years, Brad Shepard (left) has co-hosted the morning drive program alongside Bo Sullivan (right) on Clear Channel’s news/talk WHYN, Springfield, Massachusetts. Now, the station appears to be going with Sullivan alone in the driver’s seat as CC’s Jennifer Powers confirms to Masslive.com that “Brad Shepard is no longer part of WHYN mornings. We appreciate all of his contributions during his time with us and wish him well.” Prior to joining Clear Channel Springfield in 2000, Shepard was morning host at crosstown AC WMAS-FM for seven years. The move appears to be budget related like most of the talent cuts taking place at Clear Channel that TALKERS and RadioInfo have reported this week.
TALKERS Career Moves. Las Vegas radio pro Tom Humm inks a new, five-year deal to remain in his vice president and market manager role at Beasley Broadcast Group’s station group there that includes four music stations and news/talk KDWN…..Nicky Sparrow is named the director of sales for the Clear Channel New Orleans station group that consists of six music outlets and news/talk WRNO-FM “Rush Radio 99.5.”
WGN, Chicago to Unveil ‘Walk of Fame.’ This Friday is the day Tribune Company’s WGN Radio will hold the WGN Radio Walk of Fame Induction Ceremony at Pioneer Court in front of Tribune Tower on Michigan Avenue. The ceremony will be broadcast live on WGN with hosts Steve Cochran and Bob Sirott introducing the 2014 Walk of Fame inductees and interviewing them or their family representatives. Being inducted this year are: Spike O’Dell, Orion Samuelson, Kathy O’Malley, Wally Phillips (represented by wife, Barbara Phillips), Judy Markey, Quin Ryan (represented by his cousin, Justin O’Brien), Milt Rosenberg, Jack Brickhouse (represented by wife, Pat Brickhouse), Roy Leonard, and Bob Collins (represented by wife, Christine Collins).
The New York Festivals Announces International Radio Program Award Winners. Monday evening in New York City, the New York Festivals handed out honors to the winners in the 2014 competition The New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards. The broad competition included entries from all over the world in a wide spectrum of categories. Some of the winner from the United States included the American Forces Network; WGBH, Boston; Bloomberg News; and Gary Theroux Productions. Follow this link and you can search for winners based on country or category.
PodcastOne Targets Young Demos with Brody Jenner Show. The half-brother of the Kardashian sisters – Brody Jenner – is entering the world of podcasts with co-host and relationship expert Dr. Mike Dow for a weekly podcast titled, “The Brody Jenner Podcast with Dr. Mike Dow.” Brody – star of MTV’s “The Hills” – will focus on the love lives of celebrities and the podcast’s audience as they engage them through social media. PodcastOne founder and CEO Norm Pattiz says, “Brody Jenner has an amazing connection with exactly the target audience we want to build at PodcastOne. We’re now doing business with over 100 of the nation’s biggest brands. We know where we need to go and we’re betting that Brody and Dr. Mike Dow can help get us there.”
Odds & Sods. “America Now” host Andy Dean will appear on this Friday’s edition of “Real Time with Bill Maher” on HBO at 10:00 pm ET. The Premiere Networks-syndicated talk host will be on with journalist Bobby Ghosh and MSNBC anchor Joy Reid…..Former WEEI, Boston sports talk host Glenn Ordway’s digital effort “The Big Show Unfiltered” makes a move on its SiriusXM platform where it is also heard live from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET. The show moves from channel 108 to channel 220 for Sirius subscribers but remains on 206 for XM subscribers. A press release from Ordway’s organization reports the show’s podcasts (which debuted on March 17) “have generated nearly 312,000 listener hours, up from over 252,000 individual listening sessions. Each of those individual listening sessions, on average, has lasted 1:14, a critical factor in developing listener loyalty.”…..The internet video sports entertainment project 120 Sports debuts this evening at 6:00 pm ET. 120 Sports is collaboration between Time Inc./Sports Illustrated, MLB.com, the NHL, Campus Insiders and Silver Chalice. 120 Sports is described as “a first-of-its-kind network partnership involving multiple leagues and media properties created for the digital generation and the devices it uses most. In 120 Sports, today’s fans will have access to unauthenticated video programming through a new platform built to intuitively integrate video and data in ways they haven’t experienced before. The 120 Sports product will debut as free native applications for mobile and tablet devices as well as a web experience at 120Sports.com and other distribution outlets.
Iraq Turmoil-U.S. Military Role, IRS Scandal Testimony, Influx of Illegals in Southwest, Primary Races/State of the GOP, Hillary Clinton Memoir-Financial Status, News Corp Phone Hacking Trial, LeBron James Watch, and World Cup Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/24). The continuing march of ISIS toward Baghdad and the U.S. military’s potential role in the country’s security; the testimony surrounding the loss of Lois Lerner’s emails by the IRS; the massive influx of minor illegals in the Southwest and concerns about health problems and criminal activity; the primary races for the fall’s mid-term elections and debate over the state of the GOP; Hillary Clinton’s latest memoir and her statements about her financial status; verdicts in the News Corp phone hacking scandal; speculation about the future of NBA star LeBron James; and the hoopla over World Cup action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Changes in Evenings at WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte; Krantz & Whitmire Exit. The duo of Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire are out at Greater Media’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte where they hosted the 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm show for the past two years. The station moves late evening host Doc Washburn up to the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot and is airing the newsy “Charlotte at Six” from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Krantz and Whitmire worked together at Curtis Media’s former talk outlet WZTK-FM, Greensboro, North Carolina and at WPTF, Raleigh. Krantz worked at WBT from 1999 through 2003 alongside Richard Spires in afternoon drive. The Charlotte Observer’s Mark Washburn reports that Krantz is unhappy with the lack of support he believes the duo received from station management over the course of their two-year stint. He also says he believes the reason the show didn’t track well with WBT listeners is because of the swerve toward the far right the station took in recent years. “We were hired to break the WBT noon-to-6:00 pm right-wing sewer that had been led by Jeff Katz, Tara Servatius and Vince Coakley. We did that, got high ratings but got no support from management.” Read Washburn’s entire piece here.
Al Gardner Partners with Marty Hurney at ‘ESPN 730’ in Charlotte. Longtime Charlotte talk personality Al Gardner – 14 years as morning drove co-host at crosstown WBT-AM/FM – is paired up with former Carolina Panthers general manager Marty Hurney for the mid-afternoon program (1:00 pm to 3:00 pm) on HRN Broadcasting’s sports talk WZGV “ESPN 730.” The “Hurney and Gardner” show moves to the earlier time slot beginning Monday, June 16 and “The Pulse with Bobby Rosinski and Chris Allison” moves into the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot. In addition to his stint with the Carolina Panthers, Hurney also worked for the Washington Times as a sports writer.
Final Round of May PPM Data Released. PPM data from the final round of four groups of 12 markets for the May 2014 period (April 24 – May 21) has been released by Nielsen Audio. Those markets include: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication, RadioInfo, has all the (subscriber) numbers here. Managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the report at RadioInfo.com here.
Journal News/Talk WTMJ, Milwaukee Credits Ratings Growth to ‘Broader Appeal.’ The just-released PPM numbers for the Milwaukee market show Journal Broadcast Group’s news/talk WTMJ in the top spot (Persons 6+) with a 9.4 share in Nielsen Audio’s May 2014 PPM survey. Vice president and GM of radio operations for the Milwaukee market for Journal, Tom Langmyer, comments, “We returned WTMJ to its roots of being broad in appeal and have seen strong results.” Milwaukee market media observers tell TALKERS the “broader approach” is evident in numerous dayparts, including morning and afternoon drive where hosts Gene Mueller and John Mercure, respectively, are entertaining a wider variety of topics during what had been a more tight rotation of hard-news issues. The station usually sees a summer ratings surge due to its position as flagship station for Milwaukee Brewers baseball, but Langmyer hints recent ratings growth doesn’t appear to be just the result of baseball cume. Meet Tom Langmyer at Talkers New York 2014 on Friday, June 20.
Odds & Sods. Even being on vacation won’t stop WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive personality Simon Conway from cracking the mic when he’s in demand. Today, Conway filled in as morning drive personality on Clear Channel’s WFLF, Orlando “Newsradio 102.5 WFLA” and he’ll be back behind the mic this evening sitting in for Andy Dean on Premiere Networks’ syndicated “America Now” program…..Morning drive host and general sales manager Brian Collamore is taking time away from his on-air duties at Catamount Radio-owned news/talk WYSB, Rutland, Vermont to run for state senate. According to WCAX.com, Collamore will continue his sales duties while running. Collamore says he believes his years of experience on the air have given him the opportunity to interact with the people of the region and learn what their needs are.
ABC News Radio’s Vic Ratner Honored. Longtime ABC News Radio newsman Vic Ratner (left) was honored by the Radio and Television Correspondents’ Association on Thursday evening (6/12) Washington, DC. Ratner, pictured here with ABC News Radio’s Cheri Preston (right), was honored with the Career Achievement Award for Distinguished Reporting on Congress.
Watch Out for Your Ear, Marc! Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson visited the Marc Hochman show in Beasley Broadcasting’s WQAM, Miami studios yesterday prior to attending game four of the NBA Finals. He spent almost an hour on air chatting about the Heat and his own life. Pictured here are (from left to right): Victor Bermudez, Sha Tabb, Hochman, Tyson, and Zach Krantz.
Eric Cantor Defeat Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of June 9-13. The primary election defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and related discussion about the looming mid-term elections was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week. Landing at #2 on the Talkers TenTM was talk about Hillary Clinton’s latest memoir. At #3 was the 2016 presidential race followed by the political instability in Iraq at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Talkers New York 2014 on Verge of Sell Out – Only 20 Seats Left. As of 12:00 noon ET today (6/10) only 20 registrations remain available for Talkers New York 2014, the 17th annual installment of the talk radio and media industry’s longest running and most important national convention. According to the event’s organizers, the sale of registrations will officially close at 5:00 pm ET today. This year’s event – only 10 days away — covers the existential issues facing not only talk radio – but radio in general – as both a business and iconic piece of the broader pop cultural picture. According to its director, Michael Harrison, the gathering will “connect the future of talk radio with its past.” Harrison says, “This conference was way ahead of the curve when it was first launched in the late 90s as ‘The New Media Seminar’ in pointing the way toward radio’s inevitable entry into the digital era. While most other conferences are now acting as if the digital age were something new and obsess on the technical aspects of the medium as if we just discovered websites and social media, this year’s conference will accept the internet, apps, and multi-platform options as a given and concentrate on how we can get back to the basics of what makes ‘radio’ special, important, financially viable and culturally indispensable — regardless of the technology via which it is distributed.” Harrison also points out, “Everyone knows how difficult it is to be a professional in this industry these days between layoffs and economic uncertainty. The movers and shakers – both established giants and up-and-coming prospects – that attend this great event create an infinite set of relationships upon which careers and businesses are built. In other words, not only does this convention offer information and inspiration, it also provides its attendees one of the industry’s most potent annual networking environments and opportunities.” There will be more than 55 industry leaders in speaking roles at the conference which takes place on Friday, June 20 at the iconic India House in the heart of New York City’s historic Financial District. Registration is only open to professionals (and broadcasting students) working in radio and related media. They are neither transferable nor refundable. The cost is $249 per person which includes all sessions, receptions, exhibits, food and refreshments. Registrations can only be booked over the phone with credit card. Call 413-565-5413. Again, the sale of registrations closes as 5:00 pm ET today. For up-to-the-minute agenda information and further details please click here.
Glenn Beck Buys D-Day Flag for $350,000. According to a report in the New York Daily News, Premiere Networks syndicated talk personality Glenn Beck – through his Mercury One charity – purchased a 70-year-old U.S. flag that flew over USS LST 493 involved in the Normandy landing on June 6, 1944. The story notes that the tattered, 48-star flag was part of an anonymous online auction via Bonham’s and had been estimated to fetch between $25,000 and $35,000. Though the auction was anonymous, Beck announced the purchase on his radio show.
KFTK-FM, St. Louis’ Loesch and Glover Honored by MBA. Honors from the Missouri Broadcasters Association were handed out at the organization’s annual banquet in Branson on Saturday, June 7 and two personalities from Emmis’ KFTK “FM News/Talk 97.1” were winners. Midday talk personality Dana Loesch (who is also syndicated nationally via Radio America) and PM drive host Dave Glover took home first-place awards – Loesch for Best Air Personality and Glover for both Spot News and Editorial. KFTK program director Jeff Allen says, “We have been blessed with some of the best local talent in the country at 97.1 and I think these awards are an example of that. Dana and Dave produce unique, compelling content every day and make it sound easy. Believe me, it’s not! Congratulations to them and their staffs.”
Grand Rapids-Based Bill Simonson Goes National with CBS Sports Radio. Sports talk personality Bill Simonson broadcasts a daily program from Cumulus Media’s WBBL, Grand Rapids that airs on nine other signals across Michigan. Now, Simonson is hosting a nationally syndicated version of his “Huge Show” via CBS Sports Radio Network. MLive.com reports Simonson began the 10:00 pm to 2:00 am ET show on Saturday, May 31. In the story, Simonson says his goal is to talk about the hot sports topic of the week with people from all over the country. He notes the big national sports talkers get the high-profile guests but he wants to hear “the voice of the people.”
First Round of May PPM Data Released. PPM data from the first of four groups of 11 markets for the May 2014 period (April 24 – May 21) has been released by Nielsen Audio. Those markets include: New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). TALKERS magazine’s sister publication, RadioInfo, has all the (subscriber) numbers here. Managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the report at RadioInfo.com here.
Nielsen Withholds Los Angeles PPM Data. At this juncture, don’t expect Nielsen Audio to say anything specific about the reason the Los Angeles PPM data wasn’t included in the release of the May 2014 numbers – it’s just saying the data is being withheld for “additional quality control.” Nielsen not being specific about when the data will eventually be released either. When ratings information is withheld, it’s due to newly acquired information that the final report is compromised for one reason or another. When the report is issued, Nielsen will likely offer and explanation to subscribers.
Odds & Sods. According to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Ben Fong-Torres, Deidra Lieberman quietly resigned from Cumulus Media’s KGO last month after moving from the GM post to an AE position. Lieberman succeeded Mickey Luckoff in 2011….The GCN-syndicated “Freedom Feens” show hosted by Michael W. Dean goes daily adding a 1:00 am to 3:00 am ET program to its weekend offering that airs on Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm…..Add a whole bunch more awards for Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington, DC as the all-newser collects eight Chesapeake AP Awards. This year alone, WTOP has won more than 30 major awards for excellence in journalism, including five regional Edward R. Murrow Awards and seven National Headliner Awards…..CBS RADIO all-news KNX, Los Angeles welcomes Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti into its studios tomorrow (6/11) for the regular “Ask the Mayor” program. The show is hosted by KNX anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman. Topics discussed will include: drone use by the LAPD, raising the minimum wage in the city and the LA Kings’ Stanley Cup run.
Bergdahl Prisoner Swap/Terror Suspects Returned, Hillary Clinton Book Tour/2016 Presidential Race, Las Vegas Cop Killings/Gun Control Issue, VA Hospitals Scandal, U.S. Jobs Figures Report, Child Immigration Influx-Arizona Immigrant Dumping, and NBA-NHL Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/9). The aftermath of the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner swap and speculation about released terror suspects returning to the battlefield; Hillary Clinton’s book tour and her prospects for running for president in 2016; the killing of two police officers in Las Vegas and renewed discussion about gun legislation; the continuing commentary about the VA Hospitals scandal and treatment of America’s veterans; the recent U.S. jobs figures report indicating employment on the uptick; the cases of child illegal immigrants being warehoused in Arizona and the dumping of other illegal immigrants in that state; and the NBA and NHL finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Sean Hannity Keynotes Petroleum Conference. Nationally syndicated talk radio star Sean Hannity served as the keynote speaker at the 2014 Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in Bismarck, North Dakota last week. Hannity addressed the attendees at the 22nd annual event, praising the oil boom in North Dakota and urging America to become energy independent. The Premiere Networks personality said, “In spite of government, you have been able to show the entire country that there is an answer out there — the answer is oil, the answer is energy, it’s the lifeblood of our economy…You have shown the country the way, I just hope that America is wise and smart enough to follow North Dakota.” Hannity has been vocal on his radio program about America’s need for energy independence. Through his “Get America Back to Work” campaign, Hannity teams up with companies in oil-rich states to help promote and inform those in need of work of the openings available to them. In the photo here, Hannity is seen on stage at the Bismarck Civic Center.
WABC, New York’s Rita Cosby to Meet with Pope. TALKERS magazine sources report that television and radio journalist Rita Cosby – now co-host of “The Ride Home” on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WABC, New York – is being granted an audience with Pope Francis and will report back to the WABC listeners next week. The talented journalist is getting a “once in a lifetime” chance for an audience and will be in Rome next week. While the technical details are reportedly still being worked out, it’s possible Cosby will co-host the 5:00 pm ET show (alongside Pat Kiernan) from Rome. Cosby’s visit comes as the popular and personable pontiff prepares to meet with sexual abuse victims next month.
CBS RADIO Brings Zinno to Atlanta’s ’92.9 The Game.’ Sports talk personality Mark Zinno is making the move from CBS RADIO’s WJZ-FM, Baltimore “105.7 The Fan” south to sister sports talk station WZGC, Atlanta “92.9 The Game.” Zinno – a former U.S. Special Forces service member who was deployed to Iraq in 2005-06 – hosts the evening show on WJZ and will handle the same daypart at WZGC. He tells DCRTV’s Dave Hughes he’ll miss the Baltimore market but that “it’s the right move for me.”
KSEV, Houston Owner Patrick Wins Primary Race for Texas Lieutenant Governor Seat. Current Texas state senator Dan Patrick – who is also owner of Houston talk station KSEV – won the right to face Democrat Leticia Van de Putte in the general election in the fall after beating three-term Republican incumbent David Dewhurst in yesterday’s primary. In Texas, the lieutenant governor is considered the second most powerful post as he or she controls the senate’s legislative schedule as well as the budget process by also serving as the leader of the legislative budget board.
Odds & Sods. At CBS RADIO’s Atlanta cluster, Andy West is promoted from his creative services director role at sports talk WZGC “92.9 The Game” to imaging director for the entire cluster that includes news/talk WAOK and urban contemporary WVEE…..Townsquare Media’s oldies WJLT, Evansville, Indiana will flip to sports using ESPN programming, according to Tristatehomepage.com. The date of the format flip has not been announced yet.
Thanking a D-Day Survivor. The veteran in the middle of this photo is 97-year-old General Jerome Richard, the oldest surviving member of the Veterans Corps of Artillery and a D-Day survivor. Richard worked with Frank Capra to capture footage of the D-Day invasion for posterity. He appeared at the “Stand With Israel” event hosted by Salem Communications news/talk station WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” and Christian talk WMCA, New York. Pictured with Richard are Kevin McCullough, nationally syndicated host and afternoon personality on WMCA (left), and WIND, Chicago and WNYM personality Joe Walsh (right). Also in attendance at the event were Salem Radio Network personalities Michael Medved, Dennis Prager and Mike Gallagher. WNYM morning host Joe Piscopo also took part in the program.
JT the Brick Emcees American Cancer Society Event. That’s Fox Sports Radio Network personality JT the Brick (right) posing for a shot with University of North Carolina basketball head coach Roy Williams (left) at the recent 7th Annual American Cancer Society Coaches vs. Cancer Las Vegas Golf Classic festivities. JT had the honor of emceeing the event and getting the chance to play golf at Shadow Creek and Southern Highlands in Las Vegas. The multi-day event raised more than $500,000 for the American Cancer Society and drew coaches from around the nation, including event founder and University of Oklahoma head basketball coach Lon Kruger, Williams, University of Nebraska head basketball coach Tim Miles, Kansas State University Head basketball coach Bruce Weber and University of Nevada, Las Vegas head basketball coach Dave Rice.
Cool Job Opportunity. Farm Journal Media seeks a radio affiliate manager. Farm Journal Media is the nation’s leading agricultural media company and in late 2012 added radio to its portfolio with the purchase of the AgriTalk radio network. The primary role of the radio affiliate manager will be to develop new affiliates and provide support to existing affiliates for current and future Farm Journal radio shows syndicated nationally. A secondary role will be to provide maintenance of existing television affiliate relations. Candidate must be highly motivated, organized and have exceptional interpersonal skills in order to communicate effectively with affiliates. Background and experience in radio affiliate relations is highly preferred. All Farm Journal Media platforms will be at your disposal for promotional purposes. Qualifications include, but are not limited to, the following: Bachelor’s degree in communications, marketing or other related field preferred; Also valuable, experience in media sales and/or sales management; excellent negotiation skills; flexibility to travel as necessary; position is based out of South Bend, Indiana; familiarity with agriculture and/or farm programming helpful, but not required; compensation (salary and bonus opportunities) commensurate with experience. Please email a letter of introduction and resume to: Mark DePrez, VP/GM, Farm Journal Radio, email@example.com. No phone calls please.
UCSB Deadly Shootings, VA Hospitals Scandal, 2016 Presidential Race/Mid-Term Primaries, White House Exposes CIA Agent, Climate Change Debate, and NBA/NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/27). The aftermath of the deadly UCSB shootings and the renewed controversy over gun control legislation and mental health care; the continuing conversation about the VA hospital scandals and care for U.S. veterans; speculation over candidates for president in 2016 and the results of primary elections for this year’s mid-term races; the flap over the White House’s exposing a top CIA agent; the ongoing debate over human activities and their relationship to climate change; and NBA and NHL playoff action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Rush Limbaugh’s Camp Responds to Media Matters Piece. The consumer media war against conservative talk radio – led by Media Matters for America – has, in general, not seen a lot of pushback from the program hosts themselves and the producers of the shows. But Premiere Networks-syndicated Rush Limbaugh, the chief target of criticism, fired back at Media Matters after a piece by its senior fellow Eric Boehlert was published in The Huffington Post that proclaimed Limbaugh’s program a ratings failure in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York. Limbaugh program spokesperson Brian Glicklich penned a response to Boehlert’s piece in which he takes Boehlert to task for, primarily, publishing the three stations’ weekly AQH numbers with the implication they are Limbaugh’s numbers before clarifying that later in his piece. He then adds his statistics about changes in Limbaugh’s ratings on those outlets. With just four months under his belt on these stations, one thing is for sure: Limbaugh is still the primary target for Media Matters and scrutiny of the these signals is something the industry will see a lot of over the next year or so.
You’re Here Because of Ben Hoberman. The recent passing of Ben Hoberman – the architect of KABC-AM, Los Angeles’ talk format in the early 1960s – has caused some of the industry’s great thinkers to look back at what made KABC and Hoberman so successful. Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo writes today in TALKERS (5/6) that Hoberman understood the basic premise behind great talk radio: It’s a show. Sabo also says Hoberman followed a number of other prescriptions for success, including these two: He invested in new technology and he embraced fresh, often outrageous talent. Read Walter Sabo’s entire piece here.
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai Address AM Revitalization and Cross-Ownership Rules at PAB Meeting. At the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters meeting in Hershey on Monday (5/5), FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai told the assembly that he wants to implement the workable aspects of the Commission’s AM revitalization program by the fall. He told the gathering, “Small broadcasters and large broadcasters alike want to revitalize AM radio. So do civil rights organizations and those favoring increased ownership diversity. Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, the list goes on. Indeed, I’ve been amazed by the chord that AM revitalization has struck throughout the United States. When I made this proposal in September 2012, I never imagined the response we would receive…Time isn’t on the side of this grand old band, so let’s commit ourselves to getting this done by Halloween. Our proposals will not be a panacea for the real problems confronting AM broadcasters. But they will help. For example, I’ve heard from numerous AM broadcasters desperate for FM translators. That’s why we need to move forward with an FM translator window designed for AM broadcasters. If the FCC acts soon, that window could open next year. In addition to asking for comment in our NPRM on specific proposals, the Commission also solicited other ideas on how to improve the AM band, both in the short term and the long term. And we received many suggestions from station owners, engineers, and listeners. We need to sort through them and figure out which ones merit action and which ones need further study. Beginning this summer, I plan to hold a series of meetings with stakeholders to discuss these proposals. And I invite you to participate. If you have an idea for revitalizing the AM band, don’t be shy. It’s not too late to tell us what you think.” Regarding the cross-ownership rules, Pai is realistic about what can be accomplished, stating, “Unless the courts intervene, I see no prospect that the FCC will bring all of its media ownership rules into the 21st century in the next couple of years. But I do see a glimmer of hope when it comes to the newspaper-radio ownership ban. The Commission has signaled an openness to getting rid of this anachronism. And as the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu put it, ‘a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.’”
Newsweb Radio to Change Programming on Two Chicago FMs. The programming on two of the four stations currently airing Newsweb Radio’s progressive talk programming will cease and begin airing a Polish-language format under a time-brokerage deal. Chicago media writer Robert Feder has the story and he reports WCPT-FM, Arlington Heights at 92.7 and WCPQ-FM, Park Forest at 99.9 will begin airing the Polski.FM-branded format on June 2. Newsweb Radio president Charley Gross tells Feder the move will allow the company to focus progressive talk on its 820 AM flagship, 92.5 FM (which covers mainly the western suburbs and northwest Illinois) and its webstream while providing a source of revenue from the other two stations.
Saga Communications Net Income Down 9%. Although the company’s net operating revenue was up by 0.8% with $29,423,000 realized in the first quarter of 2014, net income for Saga Communications was down 9% from $2,949,000 in 2013 to $2,439,000 this year. Saga’s long term debt dropped from $58,828,000 during the same period in 2013 to $46,078,000 in 2014.
Odds & Sods. Changes in weekend programming at Cumulus Media’s news/talk KSFO, San Francisco put an end to Barbara Simpson’s weekly show…..Clear Channel adds a little FM strength to the market coverage of news/talk WRVA, Richmond. The formerly dark translator W253BI, licensed to Glen Allen, Virginia at 98.5 FM, gives WRVA more potential coverage in the northern part of the market…..The “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” presented by WYD Media nationally syndicated talk media personality Stephanie Miller rolls into Albuquerque for a show at Popejoy Hall on Saturday, May 10. Miller, along with fellow performers John Fugelsang and Carlos Alazraqui, will also do a show in Minneapolis on June 7.
Scianna Named BRN Director of Communications & Marketing. That is a brand new title for Bott Radio Network and the one landing it is Paul Scianna, founder/executive director of the first Missouri-based Family Policy Council associated with Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council. Bott Radio Network president and chief executive officer Rich Bott states that, “This new role is consistent with the exciting growth of Bott Radio Network and will help facilitate our continuing expansion and use of new media platforms to better serve our listeners and broadcast ministry partners. Paul has been a longtime friend of the Bott family, and he has a passion for the mission, vision, and values of BRN. Paul will have a key role in serving our listening audience, broadcast ministry partners and business sponsors, as well as engaging community leaders, pastors and our associates as we implement new ways to advance our vision of getting the word of God into the people of God.” Scianna comments that he is “excited and humbled” to join BRN “at this point in the organization’s 52-year history. Bott Radio Network has established a strong foundation on which we can build to fulfill its vision of broadcasting the timeless message of hope.” Scianna previously was vice president of the college testing company ACT; manager of internal corporate communications for Sprint; and senior vice president of corporate and public affairs for the PR firm Fleishman Hillard.
Enjoying the Accolades. The staff of The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “WSJ This Morning with Gordon Deal” poses with their Excellence in Financial Journalism Award received from the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA) which recognizes reporters from the national and local press whose work was published, posted or broadcast in 2013 and contributed to a better and balanced understanding of business or financial topics. The “WSJ This Morning” crew was honored with one of only 11 awards given by the organization for the program’s coverage of the government shutdown. Pictured here (from left to right) are: Mike Gavin, Gina Cervetti, Deal (holding the award) and Dave Duncan.
Obama WH Correspondents’ Dinner Speech, Mid-Term Election Prognostications, Russian Aggression in Ukraine, Rice Withdraws from Rutgers Speech, and Clean Air Act Battle Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/5). Criticism of President Obama’s highly political speech at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner; the most recent polls indicating Democrats may suffer losses in the mid-term elections in November; continued aggression in Ukraine by pro-Russian forces; former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice withdraws from her speech at Rutgers University; and the political battle over the Obama Administration’s restrictions on power plant emissions as part of the Clean Air Act were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Three Eagles Communications to Sell Stations to Dean Goodman’s Digity. The growing media portfolio of Dean Goodman continues to grow as his Palm Beach, Florida-based Digity Companies agrees to purchase Three Eagles Communications’ 48 stations in markets in Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota. Pending FCC approval, the transaction is expected to close during the third quarter. Three Eagles founder and CEO Rolland Johnson says of the deal, “I think it is an excellent time to be buying stations. Radio seems to have survived the perfect storm and should come out stronger than ever. While on the NAB Board with Dean Goodman 10 to 12 years ago, Dean talked about his vision of buying stations and rolling them up into a diversified company. It is great to have a vision like Dean’s and to be able to follow through with it. Dean is getting a group of hard-working people with award-winning stations who deserve a chance to participate in something as exciting as what Digity offers. I congratulate him on an excellent purchase.” Goodman comments, “Digity is on-air, online, on-demand, on-location, and on-the-go. It connects today’s busy consumers with content they want, people they trust, products they enjoy and things that matter. We are very pleased to have signed the Three Eagles purchase and Digity intends to continue to grow in all areas of its operations.” Digity, through Palm Beach Broadcasting, operates four FM stations in the Palm Beach market. GoodRadio.TV operates 26 radio stations in Midwestern markets. Digity earlier this year purchased 33 radio stations from NextRadio and operates those stations in San Jose, Chicago, suburban Dallas, Saginaw, Canton, Greenville and Myrtle Beach.
Rush Limbaugh Awards Grants in Essay Contest; Tennessee School Reacts. The essay contest Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk star Rush Limbaugh conducted earlier in the 2013-14 school year has been completed with three schools receiving a package of books and a cash gift from Limbaugh and his wife Kathryn. At Hawkins Elementary School in Rogersville, Tennessee, principal Barry Bellamy and first grade teacher Danee Collette are still reeling after receiving a shipment of books from Limbaugh that included American classics The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Where the Red Fern Grows as well as copies of his own bestseller Rush Revere and the New Patriots. According to the Rogersville Review, Bellamy and Collette were even more shocked to receive a check for $15,000 to use as the school sees fit. Collette tells the paper her father is a big Limbaugh fan and told her about the essay contest. She dutifully wrote it and didn’t think much more about it until a Limbaugh staffer called to ask for a shipping address for the books. Collette says the money will probably be used for white boards, desks and tables for the library. She tells the paper, “This is so awesome! I graduated last May, got a job here for the school year, and now this!”
Remembering Ben Hoberman. Very briefly worded mentions of talk radio pioneer Ben Hoberman‘s passing dotted the internet Saturday and Sunday, but precise details regarding his death are not readily available. What we do know though is that the longtime ABC Radio executive was 92 when he died on Saturday (5/3). General consensus within the industry indicates that – with Hoberman at the helm in 1960 – Los Angeles’ KABC-AM was one of the first fulltime talk stations in the country – if not the first. On John Rook‘s Facebook page, the well-known programmer posted that, “When all of the ABC-owned radio stations were introducing Top 40 programming, [Hoberman] envisioned a new kind of format featuring talk. KABC would become top-rated in Los Angeles for decades, a format that gave birth to KGO’s talk format in San Francisco. His success elevated him to the presidency of ABC Radio. Ben Hoberman was a role model for managing radio stations, a total gentleman, and one of the real class guys I have known. My sincerest condolences to all who mourn his passing.” In the early-1970s, John Mainelli was a 20-year-old NABET vacation-relief news writer for KABC and the talk radio consultant recounts, “I had just learned what ‘fortnight’ meant and decided to use it in a script the next chance I got. Mr. Hoberman walked into the newsroom after [KABC morning drive talent] Bob Arthur read the story, saw my name on the filed script, dropped it on my desk and said, ‘If you mean two weeks ago, say it.’ That was ‘Mr. H’ – attention to detail and follow-through.” Hoberman had been with ABC for close to 40 years, much of that time in Los Angeles, where he had been KABC-AM’s general manager. He later was based in New York, running the network’s radio division, then consisting of six AM stations and six FM outlets, as well as syndicated programming as “American Top 40” – then hosted by Casey Kasem. Hoberman, ex-ABC-TV president Elton Rule, and several other investors attempted to raise enough money to take over the entire ABC Radio division. Hoberman is pictured here at right in an undated photo with President Ronald Reagan.
SiriusXM’s Chris Russo Stirs Controversy Over Race on Sports Talk Radio. The flashpoint for a controversy over race and radio was SiriusXM sports talk personality Chris “Mad Dog” Russo’s recent comment to a caller when asked about why there are no black sports talk hosts on his channel. Russo replied that he has not found one “worthy of doing a national talk show.” That started a social media flap. In the New York Daily News’ coverage of the story, Bob Raissman reports that Russo was not apologizing for his comment and told his paper, “The idea that I wouldn’t hire a black talk show host, a Korean talk show host, or a talk show host from Mars is absurd. If there is any person of any ethnicity who wants to get a job at ‘Mad Dog Radio’ and we feel he or she is capable of doing a national talk show at the highest level, I’d put them on in a second. Let’s just say we are not being overwhelmed by resumes.”
Five Simple Engagement Actions. Media consultant Walter Sabo, in a column published today (5/5), writes that it’s very important for listeners to feel that your radio station is “special.” Sabo notes, “It is so important to examine every single second of our programming in every format and ask, ‘How can this be better?’ Too much time is wasted on learning new rules from ‘corporate’ and new organizational structures. If your company is ‘afraid’ of Pandora and other web companies, the solution is better programming. It’s always better programming. Fresh programming ideas come from external sources, solid research and by paying close attention to what audiences do.” And with that in mind, Sabo offers five ways to better engage your audience. Read his piece here.
Journal Broadcast Group’s News/Talk WTMJ and Adult Hits WLWK in Milwaukee Honored with WBA Awards. In the large market category, Journal Broadcast Group’s news/talk WTMJ and adult hits WLWK were recently honored with Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Awards. WTMJ won the following honors: News & Talk Station of the Year; News Operation of the Year; Best News & Talk Radio Show (AM drive) for “Wisconsin’s Morning News with Gene Mueller”; Best News & Talk Radio Show (9:00 am to 5:00 pm) for “Wisconsin’s Afternoon News with John Mercure”; Best Live On-Scene Reporting, Jodi Becker and the WTMJ News Team (Carroll University Lockdown); Best Spot News, Shooting at Children’s Hospital, WTMJ Radio News Team; Best Feature, “Preserving WWII History,” Erik Bilstad; Best Sportscast, Greg Matzek; Best Continuing Coverage, “Say it Ain’t So, Ryan Braun,” WTMJ Radio News & Sports Team; and Best Use of Audio, “Rain, Rain, Go Away,” Erik Bilstad. WLWK was honored for: Best Newscast – Music Format, Lake Mornings with Danny Clayton, Vince Vitrano & Andi Miller; Best Promotional Announcement, “Free Fun Night Out,” “The Lake” staff; Best Commercial – Music Station, Flanners/Just Press Play – Jim Gilles; and Best Humorous Commercial Music Station Love Finds A Way – Jim Gilles.
KTSA, San Antonio Morning Host Trey Ware Mourns Death of 28-Year-Old Son. At Alpha Media-owned talk outlet KTSA, San Antonio, Trey Ware has handled morning drive for the past 21 years – almost half of his broadcasting career. But last week Ware and his wife Nancy suffered the devastating loss of their 28-year-old son Justin who died under circumstances that are being kept private at this time. This is not the first such tragedy for the couple. Ware and his wife lost their daughter Rebekah in 2009 at age 20. In the San Antonio Express-News, writer Jeanne Jakle spoke with Ware who said, “We’re taking it day by day, minute by minute, that’s all we can do…They were the only two we had. April is not a good month for us. We want to expunge April from the calendar.” Other KTSA staffers are sitting in for Ware during this time. Local radio personality Adam McManus has subbed the past few days.
SCBA Goes on the Offensive in TV vs Radio Ad Spend. If there’s a radio trade organization doing more to make the case for radio as an advertising vehicle, we’re not aware of it. The Southern California Broadcasters Association has been very focused on consistently reaching out to the media to present radio’s case versus its competition and in this case, the competitor is TV. The SCBA is releasing a white paper titled, “Traditional Appointment Television’s Technology and Viewership Crisis,” and it zeroes in on the decline in appointment viewing replaced by on-demand viewing that largely allows consumers to skip through commercial sets. SCBA president Thom Callahan states, “The imbalanced ratio of radio to TV ad spending in Southern California is completely unjustified when one looks closely at this SCBA report. Traditional appointment television is under direct attack from a variety of technology giants such as Google TV, Netflix, Amazon TV, YouTube, Hulu, as well as the ominous DVR.” Callahan says the report goes on to show that “radio remains the only real time medium with no tape delay or commercial skipping.” He adds, “Southern California Radio has grown its listenership of Adults 18+ over the past six years by an impressive 7.4% while local general market TV viewership has spiraled downward by -6.5% for early fringe programming and -8.5% for any local news. We are urging every general market TV advertiser to look at their ad spending and decide if they want to invest in the power of radio and our solid growth trends and commanding reach in Southern California vs. the eroding viewership of traditional appointment TV.”
Jeff Katz Honored with Journalism Award. Multi-media personality Jeff Katz was honored recently with an Editor’s Choice Award for his column that appears in the New England-based publication The Valley Patriot. Katz currently is host of the afternoon drive show at Clear Channel-owned news/talk WRVA, Richmond. He also writes for the Boston Herald and self-syndicates the nationally distributed “Katz Commentary.” He is also a public speaker having delivered keynote addresses all over the country. Katz tells TALKERS all of his media ventures embrace his unique philosophy of life, “Not Left. Not Right. Just Real.” Katz (left) is pictured here accepting his Editor’s Choice Award from The Valley Patriot publisher Tom Duggan (right).
Sharp-Dressed Men. The annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner took place in Washington, DC on Saturday evening (5/2) and there was no shortage of media players at the who’s who of news and politics gathering. Pictured here are (from left to right): Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey; ABC News president James Goldston; and ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve Jones. Photo by Jay Snap, LaDexon Photographie.
Beasley Net Revenue Down 2.4% in Q1. Stating that the dip in net revenue comes primarily from “lower advertising revenue at the company’s Miami-Fort Lauderdale and Philadelphia market clusters,” Beasley Broadcast Group announces a Q1 figure down 2.4% on revenue of $24.2 million. But the taxman also bit Beasley as the company reports that a “$0.8 million, or 40.2% year-over-year reduction in first quarter 2014 interest expense related to lower borrowing costs and reduced amounts outstanding, was more than offset by a $1.3 million, or 128.8%, rise in income tax expense primarily due to a change to the company’s federal income tax rate. In addition, the tax rate in the comparable year ago period benefited from a change to the company’s effective state tax rate. As a result, net income and net income per diluted share for the 2014 first quarter of $0.7 million and $0.03, respectively, compared with $2.4 million, and $0.11, respectively, in the comparable year ago period.” Beasley chairman and CEO Geroge Beasley comments, “The first quarter decline in net revenue reflects several factors that primarily impacted our three largest markets, including the severe winter weather which had a negative effect on our operations in the Northeast. Overall, for our five markets that report to Miller Kaplan – which represent approximately 77% of total first quarter revenue – Beasley station cluster revenue declined by 4.3%, while the total revenue for all reporting radio stations in these markets decreased by 0.3% for the quarter. In Philadelphia, our cluster underperformed the market for the first time since mid-2012 as business was significantly impacted by the severe winter weather that pressured billings, particularly among our local customers, and caused our stations to close for the equivalent of approximately three business weeks during the first quarter. In Miami, the first quarter underperformance largely relates to the revenue decline at our AM sports talk station following the departure of a popular afternoon host (Jorge Sedano). On April 1, we addressed this situation directly by re-launching our afternoon drive programming with the addition of another highly rated Miami sports talk show host from a direct competitor in the market (Marc Hochman). Notwithstanding the challenges endured in the first quarter, our ratings and market position in both Philadelphia and Miami remain strong. A final factor which negatively impacted first quarter revenue results was the completion of comprehensive training for our sales team regarding our new digital and NTR initiatives. While this training took our sales teams away from customers for several days, we believe it was essential to drive growth in these areas of our business going forward. Our planned investments in sales and programming and the expansion of our digital offerings, combined with the revenue decline, led to a 12.2% decline in first quarter 2014 SOI compared to year-ago levels.”
Journal Radio Division Revenue Down 4%. While the company as a whole sees revenue climb 3.7% on the strength of TV and retrans, the radio division of Journal Communications was down 4% on revenue of $15.2 million. The company reports that “local advertising revenue, excluding political, decreased 3.2%, primarily due to a decrease in restaurant and financial advertising. Digital revenue, which is reported in local revenue, was $0.6 million, up 7.8%. National advertising revenue, excluding political, decreased 18.0%, primarily due to a decrease in automotive and financial advertising. Total revenue, excluding political revenue, was $15.1 million, down 4.2%. Operating earnings from radio were $2.1 million compared to $2.4 million, a decrease of 11.9%. Radio operating expenses decreased 2.6%, or 0.8% excluding a $0.2 million non-cash building impairment charge recorded in 2013, primarily due to lower programming rights fees.”
Lew Dickey Sounds Pleased with Cumulus Media’s Progress. During yesterday’s investor’s conference call on 2014 first quarter numbers, CEO Lew Dickey explained that Cumulus Media is well-positioned in the broadcast arena but is also heading in the desired direction of broadening its revenue streams and reaching beyond “just the advertiser.” Dickey said, “We’ve now become a very diverse national audio advertising and content platform. Our base is fueled by our strong core broadcast advertising category, anchored by our 460 owned-and-operated stations and again, amplified by now more than 10,000 broadcast radio affiliates throughout the U.S. Moreover, we are developing an emerging growth stream in digital advertising that is gaining real traction to our audio through our Rdio digital audio platform. Licensing also provides the company with a significant second stream of non-advertising-based revenue and should continue to grow nicely as we develop ‘NASH’ and other original content into multimedia brands with multiple revenue streams. Additionally, our content initiatives will provide us with new revenue streams originating from monetizing the consumer, as opposed to just the advertiser, through subscription services.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript, members can check out the entire conference call here.
DirecTV Cancels Artie Lange Show. With three months left on his contract with DirecTV, Artie Lange’s radio talk show is canceled. Lange told listeners to his Monday evening (4/28) show that it would be his last for DirecTV. The program was initially co-hosted by both Lange and fellow comic Nick DiPaolo but DiPaolo left the show last year. During his good-bye to listeners and viewers, Lange said DirecTV was very good to him and the parting, though unfortunate, was amicable. The program was simulcast on DirecTV’s Audience channel in addition to being syndicated on the radio.
Barry Farber’s Language Club Celebrates 30 Years. Talk radio legend Barry Farber’s “Language Club” celebrates its 30-year anniversary with a gathering on Monday, May 28, in New York City. Farber, who founded the club, will also be honored at the celebration, that begins at 6:00 pm at My Place Restaurant, 242 East 79th Street in Manhattan. Farber is currently syndicated nationally via CRN Digital Talk Radio. His program airs weeknights at 8:00 p.m. ET. A press release from CRN states, “Farber, who has been on the airwaves since the mid-1950s, nearly failed Latin in 9th grade. Since then, he has studied 28 languages. He created the Language Club so students and speakers of foreign languages could congregate in a pleasant, social environment and enjoy conversing with each other.” He is also the author of several books, including How to Learn Any Language – Quickly, Easily, Inexpensively, Enjoyably and On Your Own. Club members periodically meet for dinner and conversation at ethnic restaurants throughout New York City. Some members give basic language lessons to each other. CRN president and CEO Michael Horn says, “All of us have so much to learn from Barry Farber. Usually, it’s his takes on politics and life. But I hear he also gives good courses in Dutch, Mandarin, and Hebrew.”
Evans Broadcast Company Stations to Observe D-Day Anniversary Live from Normandy. This June 6, news/talk KKFT Reno, “99.1 FM Talk’ and sister country simulcast KCMY and K273AF “Cowboy Country 102.5” will broadcast live from Normandy in France to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day. Evans Broadcast president and CEO Jerry Evans tells TALKERS this year will be the last recognized by the Normandy Veteran’s Association.
Six Receive NY Hall Call. The 2014 New York State Broadcasters Association‘s Hall of Fame class includes capital region/Syracuse broadcaster John Cooper; Syracuse TV reporter Nancy Duffy; WFAN, New York sports talk host Mike Francesa; renowned sportscaster Marty Glickman; Buffalo television manager Chris Musial; and New York City TV journalist Marvin Scott. Cooper has been with Clear Channel since 2000, and is currently regional program manager for the company’s stations in Albany, Poughkeepsie, and Sussex, New Jersey. Duffy received the Syracuse Press Club‘s Lifetime Achievement Award; she passed away in 2006. All-American football player Marty Glickman had brief careers in professional football and basketball. He was the NBA‘s first TV announcer and the first broadcaster for the New York Nets before the ABA – NBA merger. In the 1960s, Glickman was the sports director of WCBS-AM, New York; he is a member of the Curt Gowdy wing of the Basketball Hall of Fame. Glickman – the voice of the NY football Giants for 23 years and the NY Jets for 11 years – was 83 years old when he died in 2001. While Musial was news director and president/general manager of Buffalo’s WIVB-TV, it was the highest-overall rated television station in the country from sign-on to sign-off. WPIX-TV, New York senior correspondent Marvin Scott is the recipient of seven Emmy awards. Before joining WPIX, he held positions as anchor, correspondent, and producer at CNN, Mutual Broadcasting System, and New York City’s WABC-TV. Regarding his selection to the Hall, Francesa comments, “I am humbled and excited to be recognized by the New York State Broadcasters Association; it is a great honor. Anything with ‘New York’ attached to it means all the more to me.” The afternoon drive (1:00 pm – 6:30 pm) talent recently agreed to a long-term contract extension with WFAN. CBS Radio president and chief executive officer Dan Mason states, “Mike has earned his place in radio history as a great broadcaster. We are thrilled to continue our relationship with sports radio’s most celebrated host.” From 1989 to 2008, Francesa co-hosted the “Mike & Mad Dog Show” with Chris “Mad Dog” Russo and has been overseeing “Mike’s On” since 2008. Francesa occupies the #1 position on TALKERS’ 2013 “Heavy Hundred” of Sports Talk Radio. The June 13 induction ceremony will take place during the Association’s summer conference in New York City.
Donald Sterling Case, Tepid Economy Data, John Kerry Israel ‘Apartheid’ Comment, Russian Aggression in Ukraine, and Chicago Gun Violence Epidemic Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/29). The lifetime ban and fine levied against Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling in the wake of his racist comments recorded by a former mistress; weak economic news and the impact on the Obama Administration’s policies; the aftermath of Secretary of State John Kerry’s statement that Israel is in danger of becoming an apartheid state; Vladimir Putin’s continued military aggression in Ukraine; and the huge uptick in gun deaths in Chicago and the call for more gun laws were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Larry Wilson’s Alpha Broadcasting and L&L to Merge; Company to Buy Main Line Broadcasting for $57 Million. A big two-pronged announcement from Larry Wilson’s Alpha Broadcasting and L&L Broadcasting: First, the two companies will merge into one to be named Alpha Media. Second, the company will purchase 19 stations in four markets from Main Line Broadcasting for $57 million. Here’s what the companies announce. “The current corporate team for Alpha Broadcasting and L & L Broadcasting will remain and operate the company from the corporate headquarters in Portland, Oregon.” Alpha operates six stations in Portland while L&L operates 43 stations in seven markets. L&L has been overseeing the operation of the Portland stations for the last year pursuant to a management agreement with Alpha. Chairman Larry Wilson states, “The merger will be the culmination of a long term plan to ultimately combine the two companies and will allow us to streamline our oversight of all 49 stations to take advantage of the many synergies.” But wait, there will soon be more than 49 stations. The announcement that L & L Broadcasting is entering into an agreement to acquire 19 radio stations from Main Line Broadcasting for $57 million will expand that to 68 stations. Main Line Broadcasting is headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and operates in the Louisville; Richmond-Petersburg, Virginia; Dayton; and Hagerstown, Maryland-Chambersburg, Pennsylvania markets. L & L Broadcasting president and CEO Bob Proffitt comments, “We’ve worked hard to maintain strong community involvement and an intimate connection with our listeners and advertisers in all of our markets. I’m confident that we’ll be able to implement our mission of live and local radio in the Main Line markets.” Main Line CEO Marc Guralnick adds, “I am extremely proud of all of Main Line Broadcasting’s employees who have done a phenomenal job over the years. I am pleased to have these great broadcasters now under the leadership and vision of Larry Wilson and Bob Proffitt. There’s not a better company than L&L Broadcasting to ensure this continued success.”
Randi Rhodes Calls it Quits. Progressive talk show host Randi Rhodes, according to a press statement from syndicator Premiere Networks, “has decided to end her show” as of May 16. The presser says, “We wish Randi well and thank her for her years of incredible creativity and unique voice.” Rhodes – a native New Yorker – was a very successful, longtime local talk host at WJNO, in West Palm Beach who went into syndication with Air America during the early 2000s and moved over to Premiere after Air America’s demise. Last November it was reported that Premiere would be dropping the Randi Rhodes show but two days later that was reversed. There’s been no official statement about today’s news from Rhodes herself.
Talk Personality Michael Smerconish to Be Interviewed at Own Book Club Event. Fans of talk host Michael Smerconish are aware of his regularly scheduled book club events that go back to his days hosting morning drive on WPHT, Philadelphia. The setup was simple: Smerconish would invite an author he enjoyed to come to town and be interviewed by him in front of a live audience. The author would then sign books and mingle with fans. Now, the tables are turning as Smerconish prepares to release his first novel titled, Talk: A Novel (Cider Mill Press 2014), and he will be the one interviewed. On Wednesday, May 7, at the Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, Pennsylvania, Smerconish will sit down with Larry Kane to be interviewed about his new book that deals with “the inner workings of conservative talk radio and campaign politics.”
Third Round of March PPM Data Released. PPM data from the third of four groups of 12 markets for the March 2014 period (February 27 – March 26) has been released by Nielsen Audio. Those markets include: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all the (subscriber) numbers here. Managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the report at RadioInfo.com here.
Odds & Sods. Sitting in for Premiere Networks‘ Rush Limbaugh today (4/18) is TheBlaze national security editor Buck Sexton. The former CIA officer and NYPD Intelligence Division analyst says of sitting in for Limbaugh, “If you told me when I started doing radio in 2013 that by 2014 I would be sitting in for Rush Limbaugh, I would have laughed. Today, it is happening, and what would have sounded like a joke then is the realization of a dream now. I couldn’t be more excited, or more thankful, for the opportunity.”…..NFL broadcasting icon Dan Dierdorf switches to the college ranks after retiring from CBS. He’ll become the color man in the radio booth for University of Michigan football alongside play-by-play man Jim Brandstatter (who makes the shift from his color analyst position after 34 years). Both Dierdorf and Brandstatter played at Michigan during the 1969 and 1970 seasons…..Sports talk personality Jason Goff exits CBS RADIO’s WZGC, Atlanta “92.9 The Game” where he’s been the evening host…..Fox News Channel’s Chris Wallace is staying put at the cable news/talker as he’s inked a multi-year renewal that will keep him hosting “Fox News Sunday” and involved with the news operation’s political and elections coverage…..ABC News Radio’s “Perspective” program produces a special Earth Day edition titled, “Going Green,” and is available to affiliate stations today (4/18). ABC says Iron Chef and host of ABC’s “The Chew” — Michael Symon — shares his gardening tips, the benefits of growing your own vegetables and the many ways you can turn your backyard space into a culinary destination. Experts will also be on hand to debunk common food labels and share their green grocery shopping tips.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Armed American Radio” with host Mark Walters is added to the program schedule at KBIM, Roswell, New Mexico…..The Genesis Communications syndicated “Freedom Feens” with Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi joins the lineup at KLID, Poplar Bluff, Missouri and WQXL, Columbia, South Carolina.
Russian Aggression in Ukraine Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of April 14-18. The continuing aggression by Vladimir Putin’s Russian troops in Ukraine and reports of Jews being targeted with neo-Nazi tactics tied atop the Talkers TenTM chart as the most-talked-about topics on news/talk radio this week. At #2 was criticism of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act. Following at #3 was income tax return day tied with talk of statistics indicating the number of Americans receiving benefits, and at #4 was speculation about candidates for president in 2016. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
By Popular Demand, “Talkers New York 2014” is Bringing Back the Talk Rumble! After several years on hiatus, the legendary (and original) “Talk Rumble” will return to the annual TALKERS conference at Talkers New York 2014. The session features a large group of local and national talk show hosts – representing a variety of ideologies, genders and ethnicities — in a fast-paced, smokin’ debate of the hottest issues of the day. It is moderated by an individual sworn to uphold the principles of political non-partisanship and philosophical even-handedness. This year’s choice to serve in that capacity is WPIX-TV Channel 11, New York commentator (and TalkersRadio host) Lionel. Rumblers include (in alphabetical order): Alan Colmes of Fox News Radio, Mike Gallagher of Salem Radio Network, Thom Hartmann of WYD Media, Joyce Kaufman of WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale/Miami, Kevin McCullough of XtreMEDIA, Lincoln Ware of WDBZ, Cincinnati, and David Webb of Sirius/XM Satellite Radio. Talkers New York 2014 will take place on Friday, June 20 at the India House Club located at One Hanover Square in the heart of New York City’s financial district. More than 60 speakers will be participating in this year’s 17th annual installment of the talk radio industry’s longest-running and most important convention. The event is always an early sellout and only open to communications industry professionals working in or closely associated with talk media. Registrations ($249 per person) are only taken with credit card by phone. Call 413-565-5413.
Journal’s KQTH, Tucson Re-Brands; Shifts Jon Justice to Late Mornings. Leaving the station brand “The Truth” behind, Journal Broadcast Group news/talk KQTH, Tucson is making a few adjustments to its air schedule as well. As per John Schuster’s piece in Tucson Weekly, the station is taking the slogan “104.1 KQTH, Tucson’s News and Talk.” Jon Justice, who’s been heard in morning drive since the station debuted on the FM dial seven years ago, is moving to the 8:30 am to 12:00 noon slot where he’ll compete with Rush Limbaugh, heard on Clear Channel’s KNST from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon. Taking over the morning show on KQTH is program director Bill White, who will host a news wheel show.
Dave Ramsey Presents Live in Raleigh. Nationally syndicated talk superstar Dave Ramsey was in Raleigh on tax day presenting his “Legacy Journey LIVE!” event to a sold-out crowd at the Durham Performing Arts Center. Ramsey’s presentation focuses on how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence. His daughter, Rachel Cruze, joined him on stage. Ramsey worked with Clear Channel affiliate WTKK “106.1 FM” to promote his appearance. WTKK program director Brian Taylor comments, “When Dave comes to town it’s a reminder that our format is not inherently niche. Build it and they will come. Listeners turn out for Dave. Identifying issues and concerns is one thing — it’s quite another to offer practical and actionable solutions we can all accomplish. At WTKK Raleigh, all three numbers are solid: Ratings, revenue and attendance.” Pictured here are (from left to right): Cruze, Clear Channel Raleigh market manager George Allen, Ramsey, program director Brian Taylor and general sales manager Dave Beecher.
KRXA, Carmel Valley Signs Consent Decree in Sponsor ID and Indecency Case; to Pay $15,000. Progressive talk radio outlet KRXA, Carmel Valley, California is owned by Harold S. Ginsberg and is currently in negotiations to be sold to El Sembrador Ministries (which has filed a contingent application to convert it to a non-commercial station). The Consent Decree which will have Ginsberg pay $15,000 revolves around a brokered show that aired in 2009 that the FCC ruled was not properly identified as a sponsored program. Also, the Commission ruled that the same program violated indecency regulations. Though Ginsberg initially argued against both allegations, he reversed course and, due to financial hardship, is paying the fine and exiting the broadcasting business.
Welcoming Sean to Boise. KIDO, Boise morning drive personality Kevin Miller (right) poses for a photo with Premiere Networks talk star Sean Hannity (left) at the recent 2014 Media Solutions Conference in Philadelphia. Both Miller and Hannity worked at WVNN, Huntsville early in their careers and now are both part of the lineup at Townsquare Media’s KIDO, Boise as Sean Hannity’s program is heard there in afternoon drive. Miller tells TALKERS, “Sean has always been great to me since our days at WVNN. It was a pleasure to welcome him to KIDO.”
McCollum Promoted at Idaho Media Group. Local sales manager Mary McCollum is promoted to director of regional and national sales at IdaVend Broadcasting, Inland Northwest Broadcasting and KRPL Inc. McCollum began her career in media as a marketing manager for Ubiquitel (Sprint Wireless), in 2000. She moved to neighboring Clarkston, Washington in 2009, taking a position in Lewiston as sales manager at Pacific Empire Radio Corporation. In 2011, McCollum moved to nationally recognized IdaVend Broadcasting as the sales manager for Inland Northwest Broadcasting and KRPL, Inc. in Moscow. In addition to national and regional sales, McCollum also specializes in political advertising and sponsorship promotions.
Tax Day, ObamaCare Criticism, Boston Marathon Bombing Anniversary, Russian Ukraine Aggression/Obama-Putin Talks, and Harry Reid and Nevada ‘Cattle Battle’ Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/15). The deadline for filing federal and state tax returns and the increased tax rates many Americans are facing; the anniversary of the deadly bombings at the Boston Marathon; the ongoing tensions in Ukraine as pro-Russian factions press for return to Russian rule and President Obama’s talks with Vladimir Putin; Harry Reid’s involvement in the controversy between a Nevada rancher and the Bureau of Land Management were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Radio and KC Shootings Suspect’s Political ‘Campaign.’ The tragic triple slaying in Kansas City over the weekend in which three people lost their lives at the hands of alleged killer Frazier Glenn Cross sparked memories of his write-in political effort almost four years ago that caused grief for numerous Missouri radio stations. In a piece published today (4/14), TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes about the radio advertising case that was spurred by Cross’ “campaign.” Read his piece here.
Veteran Baltimore GM Ed Kiernan to Retire. News/talk WBAL and rock WIYY “98 Rock” vice president/general manager Ed Kiernan informed his staff this past Friday (4/11) that he will be retiring from the Hearst Television Baltimore stations sometime this summer. Hearst Television president Jordan Wertlieb comments, “Having worked closely with Ed for all these years, I know firsthand how he has enhanced all aspects of the radio business he has managed with his enthusiasm, good humor and leadership. With Ed at the helm, WBAL has been among the nation’s most honored radio stations and a major community force through the WBAL Radio Kids Campaign. Throughout his tenure, Ed has built upon 98 Rock’s storied 37-year history, including expanding the station’s presence on the web and in mobile applications.” Hearst director David Barrett comments, “We are so proud of Ed’s stewardship of WBAL and ’98 Rock.’ His commitment and passion for our stations, his team, and the Baltimore community are the hallmark of a truly remarkable career. We have been blessed by his steady leadership and warm friendship, which indelibly mark his years with Hearst.” Before joining WBAL and “98 Rock” in 1991, Kiernan spent 17 years at CBS RADIO. Among the positions he held with that company were vice president/general manager of all-news WCBS-AM, New York and vice president/general manager of CBS Radio Reps. Upon leaving the Baltimore stations, Kiernan will reportedly relocate to New York state where he and his wife own a home.
John Gambling Returns to NYC Radio Today. Just a few months after retiring from his morning show gig at Clear Channel’s WOR, New York, John R. Gambling returns to the air in the Big Apple on Salem Communications’ WNYM “AM 970 The Answer.” Gambling is hosting the two-hour 11:00 am to 1:00 pm show starting today (4/14). When Gambling’s exit from retirement was announced last month, Salem VP director of spoken word format and VP for the New York market Phil Boyce said, “When John Gambling left New York radio last December there was a void created for quality morning radio in this market, and we decided to fill it. John had worked for me for nine years at WABC. Before and after that he worked for [WNYM GM] Jerry Crowley at WOR. Jerry and I looked at each other and thought this was something we could not pass up.”
Clear Channel Study Reinforces Power of Personality Endorsements. The study was the result of collaboration between Clear Channel Media + Entertainment and the University of Southern California surveying 2,700 respondents. It was designed to look into the connection between consumers and radio personalities and gauge the effectiveness of the latter’s influence in directing consumer behavior. In press release from Clear Channel detailing some of the findings, the company concludes that “radio is a far more powerful social force than ever before, particularly because of the conversations fueled by on-air personalities and the connection listeners feel to on-air local and national talent like Ryan Seacrest, Sean Hannity, Delilah and Bobby Bones. CC reports some of the key findings were: 1) When comparing radio personalities to other media personalities, 6 out of 10 listeners said that radio hosts are “like a friend,” whose opinions they trust; 2) With even more ways for consumers and on-air personalities to interact, 4 out of 10 listeners feel personalities make more of an effort to foster a personal connection, making the radio experience inherently more social, particularly when compared to TV or streaming playlist services; 3) Listeners equate an on-air personality endorsement to a friend’s recommendation, more so than they do sponsored Facebook posts, sponsored tweets or television commercials; and 4) More than half of the study participants agreed that they trust brands, products and services their favorite on air personality recommend, a finding that is encouraging smart marketers to undertake unique radio-based campaigns. The press release did not mention breakdowns of results for various demographics.
Wallis Re-Brands WILC, Washington. The Laurel, Maryland-licensed station is being operated by Wallis Communications under an LMA. Management says that after dropping Spanish AC and flipping to talk earlier this year, the station is now using the slogan, “Where Liberty Has a Voice.” Saying the station is “home to a new libertarian and personality-driven radio format, combining brokered and syndicated shows,” Wallis is airing shows by Dr. Kevin Wallis, Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck, WestwoodOne’s Dennis Miller and John Fredericks. Station general manager Lisa Miller says, “The goal is to bring a fresh and unique perspective to new listeners by delivering extraordinary content and viewpoints on important topics like politics, world affairs and much more. We expect that the station will also move into new US markets later this year.”
Salem Radio News Examines Religious-Themed Movies. The Salem Communications-owned news division is presenting a special week-long series focusing on the SONY Pictures film version of the New York Times #1 bestseller Heaven Is For Real. The film is based upon Nebraska pastor Todd Burpo’s account of his son Colton’s near-death experience and the visions of heaven he says happened while doctors were operating on him for a ruptured appendix. SRN News vice president/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (pictured here at left with actor Greg Kinnear) tells TALKERS that although millions of readers made Heaven Is For Real a bestseller, some theologians have raised concerns about the concept of “heavenly travel” and have condemned both the book and the film version that opens nationwide this Wednesday. Kinnear stars in the film. He, along with director Randall Wallace (Oscar-nominated writer of “Braveheart”) and the film’s producer Joe Roth, were interviewed by Tradup for the series. Also part of SRN’s program will be theology bloggers Tom McMann and Michael Patton who have written about the controversy created by Burpo’s book and the film. Tradup adds, “There have been a number of Christian-themed box office hits so far in 2014 including “Son of God,” “NOAH,” and “God’s Not Dead.” I believe – in terms of production values, scope, and the quality of the cast and writing – “Heaven Is For Real” has the potential to eclipse all of them. Regardless of where theatregoers are in their walk of faith, it is quite simply a powerfully emotional film and, as we will present to listeners, the voices for and against it are part of a healthy debate that should serve the church in America well.”
Odds & Sods. WPRO-AM, Providence talk show host John DePetro is named winner of the AP “Best Talk Show” award for Rhode Island. DePetro also had the privilege of sitting in for WestwoodOne nationally syndicated personality Michael Savage for two shows last week. DePetro comments, “It is great to win best talk show, because it is so competitive. I work really hard on my show, and it is rewarding to be recognized for it.”…..On Tuesday, April 15, a memorial service will be held in Boston for the victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Fox News Radio is offering live, anchored coverage of the memorial service. Hosted by FNR’s Jeff Monosso, the broadcast will be available on Fox News Radio affiliated stations across the country as well as on the Fox News Radio mobile app, and on the web at www.radio.FoxNews.com…..Matt Perrault exits Absolute Broadcasting-owned sports talk duo WGAM, Manchester and WGHM, Nashua, New Hampshire where he had served as general manager and afternoon personality for the past three years.
Southern California Broadcasters Association Launches College Outreach Program. In an effort to connect with college students and “engage students on the value of radio and its many digital platforms,” Southern California Broadcasters Association president Thom Callahan is embarking on a series of speaking engagements to take place at broadcast and communications classes at colleges and universities in Southern California and in London, England. The SCBA states that what began as a radio career night at a UCLA radio broadcast class in Los Angeles in March has now expanded to four more speaking engagements over the next 30 days. Callahan will speak with students “about the entire media landscape using research trends, comparative analysis, and a rich narrative of radio’s growth and future in today’s rapidly changing media environment.” Callahan states, “We are honored to have an honest dialog with what will be the next generation of broadcasters, producers, talent, sales executives, and future management. Our goal is to open both minds and hearts to the tremendous future of radio and its many audio and digital platforms.” The SCBA series will be held in April at California State University at both its Los Angeles and Fullerton campuses as well as at Pasadena Community College in Pasadena. The fourth lecture will be broadcast via Skype to the David Puttnam Media Centre at the University of Sunderland in London, England on May 13.
Journalist, State Pol, and Former Station Owner Cele Hahn Dies at 72. For 20 years, Cele Hahn and husband Curt Hahn owned WNNZ, Springfield, Massachusetts – originally an oldies outlet as WLDM before flipping to news/talk. The Hahn’s sold WNNZ to Clear Channel in 1998. In addition to her work as a broadcaster – she was a radio personality on WNNZ along with her ownership role – Cele Hahn was a lifelong journalist, serving with papers including: the Miami Herald, the Huntington (WV) Advertiser, the Sioux City Journal and the Albany Times Knickerbocker News in New York. She ran for state representative as a Republican in Massachusetts and served four terms before retiring in 2002. She is survived by her husband Curt, her children and grandchildren.
Cox Media Group Mourns Death of “Captain” Herb Emory. Atlanta market traffic reporting legend “Captain” Herb Emory died on Saturday from what appears to have been a heart attack. Emory reported traffic for CMG’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM and WSB-TV. WBS reports that according to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Emory stopped to help at a car accident when he suddenly fell ill. He was transported to WellStar Douglas Hospital where he later died. Emory’s funeral will be private, but there will be a Celebration of Life and Memorial Service for Captain Herb which will be open to all the public. Details on that event are forthcoming. Emory had been with WSB Radio and “Channel 2 Action News” since 1991and served as an Alanta traffic reporter since 1971. Emory watched over the interstates during the week and hosted special traffic and NASCAR broadcast programs with his wife, Karen Emory. Captain Herb hosted and produced the “WSB Speed Shop” auto racing from 1993 until 2011. Emory previously was a news/traffic reporter from 1978 through 1991 with WQXI-AM, WSTR-FM and the Georgia Network News.
Limbaugh Commenting on Colbert’s Hiring: “War on the Heartland of America.” Clearly – not everyone was doing cartwheels regarding yesterday’s announcement that CBS-TV has selected Stephen Colbert to replace David Letterman as “Late Show” host when Letterman departs sometime next year. Colbert will gear up for the new assignment by retiring his fake conservative persona (which he has described as a “well-intentioned, poorly informed, high-status idiot”) on Comedy Central‘s “Colbert Report” at the end of this year. Perhaps the most vociferous and vitriolic public comments concerning the late-night succession involving Colbert were made by Rush Limbaugh on Thursday’s (4/10) Premiere Networks broadcast. He claims that CBS-TV’s hiring of Colbert has, “declared war on the heartland of America. No longer is comedy going to be a covert assault on traditional American values, conservative values. Now it is just out in the open. What this hire means is a redefinition of what is funny, and a redefinition of what is comedy, and they’re blowing up the 11:30 format.” Limbaugh and Letterman are hardly allies, yet Limbaugh noted that, “The world is changing – people don’t want the kind of comedy that Carson gave us, or even Letterman gave us. It is the media planting a flag. There is no unity in this hire.” Furthermore, Limbaugh contends that CBS-TV has, “hired a partisan, [a] so-called comedian, to run a comedy show.”
WABC, New York’s John Batchelor to Debut Author Video Series on WABCradio.com. WABC, New York and WestwoodOne syndicated talk show host John Batchelor begins a new online video program titled “John Batchelor Author Series” (sponsored by online bookseller Entitle) in which he “takes his appreciation of literature, history, and political intrigue to a new level” via long-form interviews with today’s most intriguing authors. Batchelor comments, “I used to be an author, and I enjoy the enthusiasm of hearing in depth of a new book, well told by the person who survived the research, the writing and the publishing. It’s fun for me to learn the stories of the making of the stories.” WABC program director Craig Schwalb states, “No one does books better than John Batchelor, and the ‘Author Series’ proves that. This is a natural extension of John’s passion and we hope that his listeners in New York and across the country will enjoy it.” The program launches with an in-depth interview of Thomas Cahill the author of Heretics and Heroes. Future episodes include: Robert Klara author of FDR’s Funeral Train, Eri Hotta author of Japan 1941: Countdown to Infamy and George H. Nash author of The Crusade Years 1933-1955. Fresh episodes will appear weekly on wabcradio.com.
KARN-FM, Little Rock Names PD; Seeks Afternoon Host. Little Rock news/talker KARN-FM names Adam Thomas program director for the station and the Arkansas Radio Network. Thomas takes over for longtime PD and PM drive host Dave Elswick who, along with morning host Bob Steel and news director Jack Heinritz, exited the station last week. Thomas is seeking a new afternoon drive personality for the station and says, “The afternoon show should be a compelling blend of information and entertainment. Opinion and point-of-view are important, but this program must appeal to a broad segment of the Little Rock community. Candidates must have a mastery of current events, a relentless curiosity, and the ability and desire to talk about more than politics. A willingness and ability to engage the audience outside the show via personal appearances, digital media and other channels is a must.” Send resumes and airchecks or links to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Little Rock PM Host” in the subject line. Cumulus Media is an EOE.
Former Governor, WTIC Host John Rowland Indicted on Federal Elections Violations Charges. A week after former Connecticut Governor John Rowland resigned from his afternoon drive talk show on CBS RADIO’s WTIC, Hartford, he has been indicted by a federal grand jury on seven counts related to alleged illegal campaign activity. Rowland, who resigned from the governor’s office in 2004 and eventually served 10 months in prison after being charged with corruption, is this time accused of scheming to work for two Connecticut political campaigns and trying to conceal from both the public and the Federal Elections Commission that he was being paid by the campaigns.
WTJK, Janesville to Flip to News/Talk. The newly acquired Janesville, Wisconsin sports talker that Scott Thompson’s Big Radio purchased from Craig Karmazin’s Good Karma Broadcasting is flipping to news/talk as “The Big AM 1380” beginning Monday, April 14. The station – an ESPN Radio outlet under Good Karma’s ownership – will focus on local content and Scott Thompson will host the morning drive show. The rest of the day will feature: Glenn Smith from 9:00 am to 11:00 am, Andrew Liebetrau & Andy Gannon from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, Tony Huml from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm and Sly from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Program director Andrew Liebetrau comments, “We are incredibly excited to do more for our local listeners, partners and communities. Not only will we have a lot of great new and local content, but we will continue to offer some of the great local programs we have had for years.”
Odds & Sods. Former NFL quarterback Jake Plummer is producing a weekly podcast for Sports USA Network. Sports USA president Bob Moore says, “Jake Plummer is a true superstar with a huge following in the college and pro football sports world. We are excited to add Jake’s show to our growing list of digital audio programs as we continue to produce current, fresh, and informative sports programming.” Plummer is currently an NFL game analyst on Sports USA’s “Sunday Doubleheader” package as well as a college football analyst on the Pac-12 Television Network…..Alison Cuddy exits Chicago Public Media-owned WBEZ, Chicago where she has been serving as arts & culture reporter and producer. She leaves to become program director for the Chicago Humanities Festival…..The “Sports Business Radio” show, hosted by creator Brian Berger, celebrates its 10th year on the air. It debuted on KXL, Portland and then moved to national syndication via Sports Byline USA Network.
Meet the New Boss. The New York-based staff of ABC News Radio poses for a photo with newly named ABC News president James Goldston (at center). Goldston was given a standing ovation by the ABC News Radio staff when he visited them today just hours after getting the top job at the network. Goldston, most recently senior vice president overseeing content and development, succeeds Ben Sherwood who is stepping down from the president position in a few weeks after assisting Goldston during the transition phase.
ObamaCare Criticism Top Talk Story for Week of April 7-11. The ongoing scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act was again the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week. At #2 was the 2016 presidential race tied with this fall’s mid-term elections. Following at #3 was global warming and at #4 was the move to charge former IRS official Lois Lerner with contempt tied with Kathleen Sebelius’ resignation as Health and Human Services Secretary. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Former Connecticut Governor John Rowland Resigns from WTIC, Hartford Show as New Corruption Probe Intensifies. The former Connecticut governor resigned from office in 2004 amidst corruption charges to which he eventually pleaded guilty and served 10 months in federal prison. He began a talk show host career on CBS RADIO’s WTIC, Hartford in 2010 – for the first two years with co-host Pastor Will Marotti of the New Life Church in Meriden before going solo – but now that gig is over as Rowland stepped down yesterday without addressing the new allegations. The Hartford Courant reports that testimony from local businessman Brian Foley and his wife, Lisa Wilson-Foley (a former congressional candidate) stated in federal court that they used a phony consulting contract with Rowland to pay him for political assistance to Wilson-Foley’s failed 2012 campaign. Rowland faces possible indictment by a grand jury. WTIC program director Jenneen Lee tells the paper Pastor Will Marotti will step into the afternoon drive slot beginning Monday. Read the entire Courant piece here.
Big Changes at KARN-FM, Little Rock; PM Driver Dave Elswick Out along with AM Drive’s Bob Steel and ND. Longtime afternoon drive personality and program director Dave Elswick announces via Facebook that he’s out at Cumulus Media’s KARN-FM, Little Rock. Here’s his post: “I ask for your prayers tonight. After nearly 14 years on KARN I was fired by Cumulus Media. Bob Steel and news director Jack Heintz were also fired. I have no idea what will be on the station tomorrow. Know that I love every one of you who have supported me over these years. God Bless.” There were rumors of change at the news/talk outlet swirling but nothing concrete had been put out. As of now, the KARN-FM website lists the AM and PM drive dayparts generically. It’s possible Cumulus is clearing the afternoon deck to move Michael Savage into a live slot from the current late night delayed broadcast.
Criticism of Mets Infielder’s Paternity Leave Reversed as WFAN’s Boomer Esiason Apologizes. The decision by New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy to miss two games to be with his wife in Florida after she delivered their son on Opening Day was a hot topic of conversation on New York sports talk radio and both WFAN afternoon host Mike Francesa and morning drive co-host Boomer Esiason opined that two games was too many to miss. But during the initial chatter, Esiason said that he’d have asked his wife to schedule a C-section in order to be with his teammates for the games. The MLB CBA allows for up to three days of paternity leave. Esiason apologized on WFAN’s morning show today (4/4), calling his comments “insensitive” and expressing contrition for having put the Murphy family’s personal lives “under a spotlight.” He also said his C-section comment was not intended to mean he was telling women what to do with their bodies.
Nielsen Audio Quantifies the Obvious: Opening Day Is Big for Radio. What’s well known to radio practitioners is put into numbers by Nielsen Audio from this season’s Opening Day. While baseball – from a ratings standpoint – will be good to most MLB flagships this year, some of the Opening Day numbers are truly spectacular. In Cincinnati, flagship WLW pulled a 46.6 share with Men 25-54 on a 12+ cume of 270,700. Also, it’s interesting to note the difference in cume and share from the Cubs at Pirates broadcasts where the woebegone Cubs fans in Chicago didn’t appear to have the same passion (via radio, anyway) as the recharged Bucs backers in Pittsburgh. Check out the data here.
Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network Reports Streaming Success. The digital side of Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network reports that it makes its debut as one of the top 20 most-listened-to streams in America, according to Triton Digital‘s February 2014 ranker. TheBlaze president and chief content officer Joel Cheatwood states, “When we launched TheBlaze Radio Network in January 2013 we did so with the goal of being one of the top online radio stations in America. In our first month of accredited measurement, it is exciting to see our single stream on the same list as these established multi-stream services.”
Entercom Boston Boosts Mozdiez to Director of Integrated Media Strategies. It is a position the cluster specifically crafts for Carlson Mozdiez, who is elevated from director of digital operations. New responsibilities for the Syracuse University graduate include developing/executing customer-facing brand messaging, including live events, contesting and promotions, external advertising, websites, video, and social media. Entercom Boston vice president/market manager Phil Zachary comments, “Streamlining our ever-expanding array of digital and marketing channels, which connect the most valuable radio consumers in New England to our brands and our advertisers, makes logistical sense. Carlson is the ideal leader to spearhead these innovative efforts.” Mozdiez remarks that, “It is an exciting time as we continue to develop and optimize the ways people interact with our stations while creating new means for advertisers to access our audiences.” Entercom Boston consists of rock WAAF, sports WEEI-FM, sports WEEI-AM, news/talk WRKO, the Boston Red Sox Radio Network and their respective web properties. Mozdiez joined Entercom in 2002 as promotion coordinator for WEEI and WRKO.
Dennis Miller Celebrates Radio Anniversary. Today marks the seventh anniversary of entertainer Dennis Miller’s nationally syndicated WestwoodOne radio program. The “Saturday Night Live” alum is commemorating the day with special guests including: Mark Steyn, nationally syndicated columnist and author of After America: Get Ready for Armageddon; Bob Saget, comedian and author of Dirty Daddy: The Chronicles of a Family Man Turned Filthy Comedian; Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky; David Spade, comedian; Frank Sinatra Jr.; and fellow SNL alum Dana Carvey.
KDKA-AM’s Larry Richert to Be Roasted for Charity. Pittsburgh talk radio personality Larry Richert – co-host of the “KDKA Morning News on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA” will be the guest of honor at a Roast & Toast on Friday, April 25 to be roasted and toasted by friends and co-workers to benefit the Roxsan Betters Albanese Foundation. This foundation helps financially challenged families with children who are terminally ill or face a life threatening situation. Fellow KDKA-AM talk host Rob Pratte will serve as Master of Ceremonies.
Odds & Sods. When Premiere Networks’ “America Now with Andy Dean” hits the air tonight, WTAG, Worcester morning drive talk show host Paul Westcott will be in the host chair. Westcott has become a regular fill-in for Dean when he’s away…..This weekend’s NCAA Final Four is being covered by SiriusXM. The satcaster says it’ll offer subscribers comprehensive coverage of this weekend’s action plus analysis on the College Sports Nation channel from hoops experts such as three-time ACC Coach of the Year Bobby Cremins, Hall of Fame Michigan State guard Mateen Cleaves, former Villanova and UMass coach Steve Lappas, former University of Vermont coach Tom Brennan, plus Tim Brando, Mark Packer, Chris Childers and Jason Horowitz…..Birach Broadcasting’s sports talker KXRQ, Des Moines announces it’s the newest affiliate for Kansas City Royals baseball play-by-play……Sunrise Broadcasting strikes an agreement with Sea-Comm Media to use the latter’s translator W240AS, Wilmington at 95.9 FM to augment the signal of its sports talk WMFD “ESPN Wilmington,” heard on 630 AM.
ObamaCare Criticism Remains Atop Talkers TenTM. The major political issue of the past year – the passage of the Affordable Care Act – continues to be one of the top news/talk radio stories and was again the most-talked-about topic this week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS. Coming in at #2 this week was the deadly Fort Hood Shooting. At #3 was the looming mid-term elections tied with the potential candidates in the 2016 presidential election, and at #4 was this week’s Supreme Court campaign donation ruling. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Buckley to Sell Connecticut Stations to Connoisseur. Led by Hartford classic hits outlet WDRC-FM, the Connecticut stations Buckley Broadcasting is selling to Connoisseur Media also includes talk WDRC-AM and its simulcast AMs WMMW, Meriden; WSNG, Torrington; and WWCO, Waterbury. The price on this deal is not being made public yet. Buckley is being represented by Richard A. Foreman Associates. In a memo to staff, Buckley president and CEO Joe Bilotta says, “After much reflection, the Board of Trustees has decided that the reality of the evolving competitive landscape, and our sincere desire to see this historic brand continue, are cause for a change in the ownership of our Connecticut properties. Our decision to negotiate with, and eventually sell WDRC-AM/FM to Connoisseur, gives our audience, advertisers, and employees access to the considerable resources of this multi-dimensional media and entertainment company. For over half of a century Buckley Broadcasting has been the steward of these great call letters and there is not a better company than Connoisseur to ensure the continued and accelerated future success of the WDRC brand.”
Fox Sports and Premiere Networks Renew FSRN Deal. The relationship between Clear Channel subsidiary Premiere Networks and Fox Sports goes back to August of 2000 when the two companies agreed to work together to debut the Fox Sports Radio Network. Now, almost 14 years later, the two companies agree to a long-term extension of the partnership. Premiere Networks will continue to produce and distribute Fox Sports Radio Network to its radio affiliates. Additionally, “Premiere Networks and Fox Sports will continue working together across multiple platforms to synchronize the audio, digital, online and television assets of Fox Sports, FOXSports.com and Fox Sports Radio, further extending the reach, visibility and engagement of these brands with millions of consumers. Additionally, with the recently-launched 24-hour television network Fox Sports 1, the radio and television divisions will work closely to increase cross-promotional opportunities and highlight Fox Sports’ established team of top insiders, analysts and personalities.”
Nielsen’s Cross-Platform Report: Smartphone Use Rising, AM/FM Use Decreasing. The numbers are nothing astronomical with regard to the decline in use of AM/FM radio, but they show a trend. According to the March 2014 Nielsen Cross-Platform Report, the hours of use per day for adults 18+ for AM/FM radio have dropped from 2:53 minutes to 2:46 minutes from the fourth quarter of 2011 through the fourth quarter of 2013. At the same time, use of smartphones has risen from :48 minutes per day to 1:07 minutes per day over the same three-year period. Again, this is not a dramatic change but it certainly shows that the use of smartphones continues to rise for adults and the use of the AM/FM radio is declining. You can check out the report here.
And Speaking of Smartphones…The increase in usage of smartphones by Americans has risen to 61% (persons 12+), according to Edison Research and Triton Digital – the two companies presenting their “Infinite Dial 2014” webinar today at 2:00 pm ET. Edison releases this little teaser in advance of today’s event indicating that in 2009 just 10% of Americans owned smartphones. That number climbed to 44% in 2012 and has soared to 61% in 2014 and Edison estimates that means about 160 million people in raw numbers.
Just a Few Slots Left at FAIR’s ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ Radio Row. The topic of immigration reform continues to be a much-discussed one on news/talk radio with related legislation brewing in Congress. The Federation for American Immigration Reform-sponsored “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row taking place April 9 and 10 in Washington, DC is nearing a full slate. FAIR communications director Bob Dane tells TALKERS magazine, “It’s ‘last call’ for one broadcast booth remaining in morning drive, one in afternoon drive, and two in midday.” Broadcast slots are granted on a first-come, first-served basis. Interested hosts should contact Dane 202-328-7004 ASAP to discuss details. Dane says, “Attendees enjoy Capitol Hill access to lawmakers, immigration activists, experts and law enforcement working in tandem to secure our borders and to enforce the rule of law.”
‘Radio Guy’ Jim Lange Remembered. When Jim Lange passed away last week at age 81, he was remembered by most for his role as host of television’s “The Dating Game.” But as TALKERS managing editor and bureau chief Mike Kinosian writes, “Jim Lange was one of the finest ambassadors radio could ever hope to have.” A few years back, Kinosian did a profile of Lange and learned more about his radio career – including why he always kept a radio job even during the heyday of “The Dating Game” and his other TV game shows. He said that if the TV job failed, he always had radio. Lange told him, “I noticed that all the game show hosts were radio guys. They were hired because they could adlib. There is no script on a game show. You have rules, but that is it.” Read Mike Kinosian’s story about Jim Lange here.
Ukraine-Crimea Unrest/Obama vs. Putin, ObamaCare Criticism, MSNBC Programming Changes, Texas Primaries, U.S. Marijuana Policy, and Hillary in 2016 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/4). The crisis in the Ukraine and Crimea and criticism of President Obama’s stance against Russia’s Vladimir Putin; ongoing scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the cable news/talk wars and the performance of new MSNBC programs; Tuesday’s Texas primary elections; the changes in marijuana policy in the United States; and speculation that Hillary Clinton will emerge the the Democratic frontrunner in the 2016 presidential election were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Entercom Revenue Down 2% in Q4; Dips 3% for 2013. The 2013 fourth quarter numbers for Entercom are in and the company reports net revenue was down 2% on $99.6 million though adjusted net income per share was basically flat. Also free cash flow increased by 2%. For the full year of 2013, net revenue dipped 3%. Though station expenses decreased slightly during the year, station operating income decreased by 8% to $125.8 million. Entercom will hold a conference call with investors and analysts at 12:00 noon ET today (2/11). President and CEO David Field says in a statement, “Entercom’s fourth quarter revenues declined 2% while revenues excluding political advertising posted a 2% increase. 2014 began on a solid note with January revenues up moderately over the prior year. We are optimistic about 2014 performance based on improving sales capabilities and execution, strong ratings and meaningful local growth opportunities.”
Beasley Broadcast Group to Work with Propel Marketing for Online Marketing. In an effort to expand its online marketing, Beasley Broadcast Group announces it is engaging Propel Marketing to “assist Beasley’s local clients in building and expanding their online marketing opportunities and solutions.” In a statement, Beasley says that Propel’s products and services include website and mobile site design, search engine optimization, lists and local directories, social media services and online reputation management. It further states that the “agreement affords Beasley’s local account executives access to a robust portfolio of online marketing services. Beasley’s relationship with Propel Marketing enhances the on-air and online advertising opportunities already available to existing and future clients, especially small businesses that typically do not have in-house resources to create and implement successful online marketing campaigns. Propel Marketing will not only create and deliver online marketing solutions, but also provide a dedicated team of specialists to ensure that Beasley’s clients are fully leveraging Propel Marketing products.” Beasley EVP and CFO Caroline Beasley states, “We are extremely excited by this relationship. It gives us the ability to respond to any request a local advertiser may have that involves exploring a digital component. The ability to combine radio’s powerful reach with Propel Marketing’s wide assortment of online products and services will greatly enhance a local advertising campaign.” Newly appointed vice president of digital Stacey Sedbrook adds, “By integrating online marketing with their current radio marketing efforts our clients are able to both extend their audience reach and more efficiently target their messaging. Beasley sales professionals remain the primary contact for our advertising customers. Our goal remains helping local businesses build their brands and grow their revenue. We can now offer integrated marketing solutions under the Beasley Broadcast brand allowing advertisers to streamline their marketing efforts with a trusted local partner.”
TALKERS Posts Part-Two Today of Three-Part Special (2/10-12) Spotlighting Danno Wolkoff and Envision Networks. Like many people who go to college with a plan for what they want to do when they graduate, Danno Wolkoff went to Syracuse University with a goal of winding up in television production. Fate, and the prodding from senior management at MJI Broadcasting instead sent him in the direction of sales and affiliate relations. Wolkoff discovered he had a gift for sales, and doubled his income in one year. It was through sales and affiliate relations work that he climbed the corporate ladder at MJI, expanding and growing their sales offices nationwide. When Clear Channel acquired MJI and merged it into Premiere Radio Networks (now simply “Premiere Networks”), he became VP of affiliate relations. However, it wasn’t long before he began to realize that the hands-on and creative approach he had at MJI wasn’t translating to the growth concepts and business model of Premiere and Clear Channel. Wolkoff faced a career crossroads and would make a decision that would change his life and become an important source of programming and services for radio. His vision was Envision Radio Networks — a highly successful and forward-thinking company that creates over four-dozen content products and services for radio stations and media outlets nationwide, customizing solutions for clients, producers and affiliates. It is a company literally founded after another syndication and programming company decided they had a good product that despite making money, didn’t make enough money for their bottom line. What Wolkoff has accomplished in the span of just 10 years is inspiring and a textbook example of creating a force for productivity and jobs in an industry. He took the biggest gamble of his life, grabbing a program and three people laid off by an established firm that would become his largest competitor, and growing an independent syndication empire serving over 1,500 radio stations with everything from prep services to music shows, local news and information to weekend talk shows. His staff has grown over 20-fold in a decade to include an array of producers, salespeople and contract staffers researching, producing, creating and selling more than four-dozen products to radio stations in both the largest and smallest markets. Now known simply as Envision Networks (they dropped the word “Radio” this past week – more on that later) continues to not only grow, embracing new technology and catering to those needs, but in the process has become an independent force in syndication. In today’s installment, Wolkoff discusses exactly what it takes to build a formidable syndication firm from scratch and shares his view of the changing nature of the syndication business as well as radio in general. In the words of Michael Harrison, “The emergence of special individuals like Danno Wolkoff is the force that propels an industry such as ours forward. I’ve seen this movie many times before. Danno is the kind of guy who has the makings of being a true giant 10 years down the pike, taking his place among the biggest of the big.” To read part two of TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay’s extensive profile “The Vision of Envision: The Rise of Radio Syndication Entrepreneur Danno Wolkoff and an Emerging Independent Powerhouse” please click here. And if you missed part one published yesterday, read that here.
Max Krasny Joins CBS RADIO as VP/Sales and Strategic Alliances. The former WestwoodOne EVP takes on the vice president, sales and strategic partnerships position with CBS RADIO’s Altitude Group division which focuses on helping brands connect with consumers using CBS RADIO stations, along with CBS Television stations and their digital properties, as well as CBS’s outdoor assets. Max Krasny reports to the executive leadership of the Altitude Group: Rich Lobel, executive vice president and CMO, and Sue McNamara, senior vice president, sales. Lobel states, “Max is a seasoned pro who brings a marketing acumen to a client’s business, and knows how to deliver creative excellence that makes brands stand out and get noticed. No one has a better portfolio of local assets under one roof than CBS including: radio, television, out-of-home, live events, websites, mobile and social apps.”
FCC Socks WLS-AM, Chicago with $44,000 Fine. The Forfeiture Order comes from the station failing to identify the sponsor of programming that aired back in 2009. The content was in the form of long-form shows – two two-hour programs, a one-hour show – plus 90-second and 15-second spots and promotional announcements paid for by Workers Independent News. During the two-week period in question, the FCC determined that 11 announcements were aired without proper sponsor identification and issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for $44,000 – 11 violations at $4,000 per. Cumulus argued that the commission had in the past reduced fines to a one-time violation amount and that it should just have to pay $4,000. But the commission ruled that no such precedent had been set and that the forfeiture amounts in failure to identify sponsorships cases reflect the unique aspects of each case and thus the commission considers this case to be comprised of 11 violations, not one.
Former MLB Slugger and Talk Host Jack Clark Apologizes to Albert Pujols. During a discussion on WGNU, St. Louis, sports talk host and former MLB slugger Jack Clark alleged that former Cardinals player Albert Pujols used performance enhancing drugs during his time in St. Louis. Pujols threatened to sue and the station ended the contract between Clark’s co-host Kevin Slaten and Clark, cancelling their show. The station also issued an apology to Pujols. But for a time Clark maintained his assertion about Pujols and even challenged Pujols to a live debate – an invitation Pujols’ attorney refused. Now, Clark issues the aforementioned apology and Pujols agrees to withdraw his lawsuit.
“Market Rally” Readies for March Launch. What is said to be the first-ever, long-form agricultural commodity markets-focused national radio program will debut next month (3/10). That is when Farm Journal Media launches Chip Flory-hosted “Market Rally.” The one-hour weekday program will air at 2:00 pm (CT), immediately following the close of major commodity markets. Farm Journal Broadcast Division senior vice president Brian Conrady remarks that a “really solid group of stations” is already committed to air “Market Rally” and he anticipates “several more” before the program debuts. “The show fills a programming void for many stations,” Conrady comments. “It wraps their day’s farm coverage with a new, information-packed, entertaining program. It is all about markets, which everyone knows farmers cannot get enough of.” Flory notes, “We have a long list of guest analysts anxious to share their market perspective with the audience each day. We will take listener questions/comments via phone, text, and social media. Our goal is to remove as much confusion as possible from this increasingly volatile marketing environment.” Flory remains editorial director of Farm Journal’s “Pro Farmer” newsletter and he will host “Market Rally” from FJB’s new studio in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
The Beatles Played in Washington, Too! As America remembers The Beatles’ arrival in this country 50 years ago this week, much of the attention is focused on the New York-based national broadcast on the “Ed Sullivan Show.” But Cumulus Media’s WMAL, Washington knows that the group’s first public concert was in Washington, DC. Pictured here in the WMAL studios are Fox News Channel chief Washington correspondent – and noted Beatles expert – James Rosen (center) and “Mornings on the Mall” co-hosts Brian Wilson (left) and Larry O’Connor (right) after being on the air for Tuesday’s celebration of The Beatles’ first concert on U.S. soil – in the Nation’s Capital. Among other guests remembering The Beatles on the program were: The Beach Boys’ Mike Love, Rolling Stone Magazine’s David Wild, Herman’s Hermits singer Peter Noone, and local Fox 5 anchor (and former “Good Morning America” weather anchor) Tony Perkins, who discussed his love for the Beatles as an African-American youth growing up in D.C.
Odds & Sods. Baltimore Orioles broadcaster Jim Hunter recently visited his alma mater Seton Hall University and spoke with student staffers at his old college radio station – WSOU-FM – about making it in sports broadcasting today. Hunter, pictured here (third from the right) surrounded by students, stressed to them the importance of preparation, noting that the need to do your homework doesn’t end when you graduate from college. He also shared tips on improving on-air performance and how to tell listeners a good story…..New York City broadcasting legend John Gambling returned to the radio recently, if only briefly, to speak on WABC, New York with Frank Morano on his Sunday “Morning with Morano” program. Morano and Gambling talked about the state of radio today, the tradition of the Gamblings and covering weather events…..For the 18th consecutive year, ESPN Radio is providing comprehensive coverage of NBA All-Star 2014, culminating with an exclusive radio broadcast of the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, February 16. Kevin Calabro will describe the action throughout the weekend with analyst Jon Barry. They will be joined by studio analysts Marc Kestecher and P.J. Carlesimo and reporters Marc Stein and Shelley Smith.
Brent & Meg Honored for Keeping Studio City, California Free of Dog Poop. Although they are heard all over the world on TalkersRadio (weekdays 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm PT), the experimental talk station that lives on this website, the dynamic husband/wife radio duo of Brent & Meg (Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald) believe in the concept of cleaning up your own backyard as well as tackling the issues of greater humanity. This past Saturday evening (2/8) they were honored by some of LA’s top movers and shakers for their community volunteer work in regularly picking up dog poop (no kidding) found on the streets of LA’s Studio City – the neighborhood from which their daily show emanates (as well as their home). The gala appreciation dinner took place at Carla’s Café on the CBS Studio Center lot. Pictured here are (from l-r): State Assemblymember, 46th District, Adrin Nazarian; Los Angeles City Councilmember, 2nd District, Paul Krekorian; Meg McDonald (Brent & Meg Show on TalkersRadio); Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; and Brent Seltzer (Brent & Meg Show on Talkers Radio). Upon learning of Brent & Meg receiving this honor, TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo’s music editor/director Duane Doobie issued the statement: “I seldom listen to talk radio, but when I do, I prefer Brent & Meg. True, like most talk show hosts, they are full of sh*t… but in a helpful, solutions-oriented way.”
ObamaCare Criticism, Hillary Clinton in 2016, Immigration Reform, Winter Olympics, Winter Weather, and Shirley Temple Black Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/10). Scrutiny of the implementation and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the release of new documents about the Clintons and Hillary’s possible run for president in 2016; the move in Washington to pass immigration reform legislation; the Winter Olympics games in Sochi, Russia; a new winter storm reportedly heading for the South and East this week; and the death of former child star and U.S. Ambassador Shirley Temple Black were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Sports Talker Dan Sileo New AM Host at ‘The Mighty 1090’ in San Diego. Sports talk personality Dan Sileo – who’s been working at stations in Florida for the past several years – joins Broadcasting Corporation of the Americas-operated XEPRS, San Diego “The Mighty 1090” where he’s the new morning drive host beginning today (2/3). Sileo most recently was hosting a show at James Crystal Radio’s WMEN, West Palm Beach but was fired from that station in early November of 2013 after shooting off a controversial tweet. Sileo has also worked at Beasley’s WQAM, Miami and Clear Channel’s WDAE, Tampa. He takes over the morning show at “The Mighty 1090” from market pro Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton who will remain with the station in another capacity. Program director Mike Shepard says, “I am thrilled to welcome Dan to ‘San Diego’s Sports Leader, The Mighty 1090.’ Dan is a passionate, outspoken, engaging and incredibly knowledgeable sports radio personality. His track record of major market success is remarkable and Dan is a perfect addition to the Mighty 1090’s top-rated, all-star lineup.”
New Talk Station to Air in DC Market. The Laurel, Maryland-licensed WILC flips from Spanish music to a hybrid of talk and oldies. The ZGS-owned signal is being operated by Wallis Communications under an LMA and the new format debuts today (2/3). In a statement, the company says the program schedule is not complete but the station will be “libertarian and conservative talk radio.” Chief operating officer and general manager Bryan Berner says, “All of us at WILC and Wallis Communications look forward to serving the people of the region and bringing a common sense, fresh perspective to talk radio in the Washington, DC market.” Programming will include Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck, Wallis Communications’ “The Dr. K Show,” “The Capitol Hill Show with Tim Constantine” and WestwoodOne’s Dennis Miller. Overnights will showcase vintage radio as the digitally remastered Wolfman Jack will air.
Mike Gallagher Causes Stir with Hoffman Death Observations. Nationally syndicated talk show host Mike Gallagher’s observations in the aftermath of the untimely death of actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman caused such reaction that his post to his MikeOnline.com site logged more than 50,000 views and drew threats to him, his family and even his dog. Speaking about the suspected heroin overdose that took Hoffman’s life, Gallagher stated, “Another senseless death. This time, one of the greatest actors of our time. I wonder if he started with marijuana…If you want to get pot lovers mad, dare to even ask the question if an Oscar-winning movie star who is found dead in his bathroom with a needle stuck in his arm started with marijuana.” Gallagher has stood firm in his stance against the legalization of marijuana as some states move to legalize and decriminalize the drug.
To Get Listeners to Your Website, Don’t Threaten to Bore Them! Digital media consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller wonders why we tend to turn the marketing part of our brains off when we go “online.” We can write good, tempting ad copy for radio but all we’ve learned goes out the window when it comes to our websites. Miller says that one of the worst ways to get someone to your website is to offer them “all of the details” when they get there. Not very tempting is it? More details. Instead, put your marketing skills to work in the same way you would with a spot. “A good commercial will do a better job getting business through a client’s front door than a bad commercial will. It’s the exact same thing getting people to go from your broadcast to one of your digital platforms…or move from one digital platform to another. Opportunity is knocking.” Read Miller’s entire piece here.
Clear Channel Tweaks Lineup at WVOC, Columbia. The South Carolina news/talk station drops the early evening “Sports Talk” show syndicated by Learfield Sports that aired in afternoon drive and adds Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity for the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot. The “Sports Talk” program is hosted by Phil Kornblut, Kevin McCrarey and Tom Hayes. According to The State, Learfield’s “Sports Talk First Edition” – which aired on CC’s sister sports talk station WXBT “560 The Team” from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm – is also being replaced. A local sports talk show featuring former South Carolina footballer Rick Sanford will air in the time slot instead. Learfield tells the paper it is working to place the shows on new affiliates in the market.
Mike Francesa Fans (and a Few Critics) Gather for FrancesaCon in NYC. Sports talk pioneer Mike Francesa – afternoon drive host on CBS RADIO’s WFAN-AM/FM, New York – said after learning of the weekend event that the participants would probably be half fans, half critics. How the numbers came down is unclear but the fact that an estimated 400 gathered at an Upper East Side bar on Saturday (2/1) to celebrate, imitate and even mock Francesa, shows how big he is in New York. A piece by Jim Baumbach in Newsday tells the story but the short version is as follows: 23-year-old friends Michael Leboff and Ron Haraka came up with the idea of FrancesaCon as a gathering of Mike Francesa fans. Little did they know that not only would people show up in droves, but they came dressed as Francesa, carried the appropriate props (Diet Coke cans), and did some very good imitations of the man himself. Some even came dressed as Francesa’s longtime former partner Chris “Mad Dog” Russo and classic Francesa-Russo back-and-forths took place in the bar. Check out Baumbach’s story in Newsday here.
FCC Grants Tribune Cross-Ownership Waivers. The license renewals for several Tribune-owned television stations were being challenged by the United Church of Christ, the Media Alliance and the Teamsters. The commission handed down rulings on Friday that granted renewals for the licenses though it also granted the petition for reconsideration to the UCC and Media Alliance. The FCC also reaffirmed the permanent waiver for Tribune in the Chicago market where it owns the Chicago Tribune newspaper, WGN-TV, and WGN-AM. In making the decision, the commission ruled that “Given the ‘uniquely long-term symbiotic relationship between [Tribune’s] broadcast stations’ and the Chicago Tribune that provides a special benefit of continued cross-ownership, coupled with the slight cost to diversity in Chicago’s massive media market of continued cross-ownership, Tribune has in fact shown sufficiently ‘unique or special circumstances’ to justify the granting of a permanent waiver of the NBCO (newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership) Rule to its Chicago licensees.”
L&L Closes on Border Media Trust Stations. Seven Texas radio stations that were in the Border Media Trust are now owned by Larry Wilson’s L&L Broadcasting. The stations include San Antonio-licensed outlets news/talk KTSA, sports talk KZDC, adult hits KJXK “Jack 102.7 FM,” regional Mexican KLEY-FM, Jourdanton, regional Mexican KJAH-AM/FM, Pearsall, and CHR KTSM, Floresville. The station group cost L&L $31 million and puts the company into market #28.
Cuts at Cumulus-Owned WestwoodOne Happening; SVP Amy Bolton Exits. The names of those being let go are coming out as Cumulus Media begins the cuts at WestwoodOne that have been expected since the acquisition of then-Dial Global closed. Numerous high-level executives are being shown the door – in many instances where there are duplicative positions between WestwoodOne and the Cumulus Media Networks. Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey is promising investors he can realize $40 million in synergies and eliminating these positions is one of the ways he hopes to accomplish that. WestwoodOne SVP and general manager of news & talk Amy Bolton – who’s been with the organization going back when it was Jones Radio Networks – is let go. Also reportedly out in this round of cuts are: chief marketing officer Christina Albee; EVP/Eastern director Eileen Decker; and SVP of research Paul Bronstein.
Lionel Joins TalkersRadio in Development of New Show to Launch This Weekend. One of the most original personalities in the business, radio talk show host Lionel, is launching a new program on TALKERS magazine’s online radio station, TalkersRadio, tomorrow morning (2/1). The self-titled show “Lionel” will air live on the “experimental” talk show platform Saturday mornings between 9:00 am and 10:00 am ET and run as a regular weekly series. It will feature the intellectually stimulating talk media star in an hour of free-form conversation and reflection about the wide variety of topics that fall within his realm of interest. Lionel describes his plans for the new program as “spoken thought not spoken word” telling TALKERS, “The show will be the editorial cartoon versus the editorial. Broadcast idea topiaries. Stream of consciousness meets targeted subject selection. No left-right paradigm blather. No bumper sticker, playbook, echo chamber drivel. As I feel, as I want, as I please.” A veteran of such major outlets as WABC and WOR, New York among others, as well as being a podcast pioneer at lionelmedia.com, the quirky, satirical and extremely original observer of the human condition has been enjoying tremendous success conceiving, writing, producing and performing daily commentaries on the heritage WPIX-TV, Channel 11 in New York City. The ex-prosecutor Lionel has also added his insight and experience as its resident legal analyst. However, he has not forgotten his roots in and love for radio and promises that his 9:00 am to 10:00 am Saturday show will provide Lionel enthusiasts around the country with a version of his work that is “like nothing they have ever heard before. This will truly be Lionel unchained!” On making the announcement of Lionel’s joining the station, TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein says, “Lionel joining this ‘audio workout space’ is a perfect example of what TalkersRadio is about and hopes to achieve – and that is to provide select people in this business as well as potentially outstanding newcomers with the opportunity to try and develop things that are not being done in the traditional on-air space for the sake of moving the industry forward.”
Cox Flips KONO-AM, San Antonio to Sports Talk. The AM side of the KONO-AM/FM simulcast flips to sports talk using the CBS Sports Radio Network after more than 20 years airing the classic hits format of sister KONO-FM. Cox Media Group San Antonio vice president and market manager Dan Lawrie states, “We’re excited to bring this level of quality sports programming to San Antonio. Additionally, South Texas sports fans should be glad to welcome the return of the Jim Rome show after a two-year absence in the market.” CBS Sports Radio program director Eric Spitz adds, “We’ve put together a tremendous lineup of experienced hosts with strong opinions and personalities who perfectly capture the passion and excitement of the sports fan. With sports, the action never stops, and CBS Sports Radio provides listeners with cutting-edge analysis, high-profile interviews and late breaking news.”
WCKG-AM, Chicago Names Leslie Harris Director of Community Programming. At the Matt Dubiel-run DuPage Radio LLC, market personality Leslie Harris is named director of community programming and host at the suburban talk station. Harris recently exited NextMedia’s suburban rocker WERV “95.9 The River” and Dubiel comments, “Leslie was the full addition I made at WERV and I am over the moon excited to have a Downers Grove rock mamma as part of our local team.”
Good Karma Sells Janesville, Wisconsin Stations to Local Operator. Two stations in the Janesville, Wisconsin market – rock WWHG “105.9 The Hog” and sports talk WTJK “ESPN Radio 1380” – are being sold by Craig Karmazin’s Good Karma Broadcasting to Scott Thompson who operates stations in nearby Monroe, Wisconsin and Freeport, Illinois. The Janesville Gazette reports that Thompson plans to keep the staff already in place at both stations and possibly add an employee. He tells the paper WTJK may air less ESPN content and more local news. Thompson takes over under an LMA while the transaction works its way through the FCC approval process.
WEEI-FM, Boston Begins Friday Night Promotion. In a partnership with local watering hole The Greatest Bar and local media sources Dirty Water TV and DirtyWaterNews.com, Entercom sports talk WEEI-FM begins broadcasting the “Planet Mikey” show with Mikey Adams live from The Greatest Bar Friday, February 7 from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm. The show will feature celebrity guests from the world of sports and entertainment. WEEI brand manager Kevin Graham, citing the bar’s proximity to the TD Garden, states, “It’s a natural fit to partner with the Dirty Water brand and The Greatest Bar. Combining Mikey’s unique entertaining style, the Dirty Water connections for guests and content, and the proximity to the TD Garden will make for a fun atmosphere and a great listen on ‘93.7FM WEEI’ and the WEEI Sports Radio Network.” Bill Fairweather is co-owner of The Greatest Bar and creator of Dirty Water TV. He says WEEI-FM is the perfect radio partner for Dirty Water’s growing array of media entities. “When we decided to add radio to the growing menu of media options that our brand delivers to Greater Boston and beyond, WEEI – with its strong sports focus – was a natural partner for us. Entertainment and celebrity mix very well with sports and The Greatest Bar is the perfect location to bring those topics together. We’re excited to have the opportunity to add these new dimensions to WEEI’s radio offerings.”
Odds & Sods. In honor of Rosa Parks Day on February 4, the Premiere Networks-syndicated Comedy 24/7 format will air special clips of comics of the civil rights era talking about the issue. African American comedians including Dick Gregory, Godfrey Cambridge and Slappy White were outspoken about necessary changes to be made in our society during that time and the format will air special tracks by these comedians and others as they spoke out in the language of the times at :57 after the hour all day on February 4…..Former NFL coach and executive Mike Holmgren will serve as a football analyst with Clear Channel’s sport talk KJR, Seattle next season after handling the same duties in 2013…..Milwaukee Brewers radio play-by-play voice Bob Uecker will step back a little bit from his duties with the team beginning this season as he’ll call fewer road games for flagship WTMJ, Milwaukee. Uecker, who turns 80 this year, will still call all home games and be present for spring training in Arizona.
Joy and Hope Amidst the Misery. Pictured here with children in Port Au Prince, Haiti is Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup. He tells TALKERS he is there with Salem Radio News documenting conditions in Haiti on the fourth anniversary of the devastating 2010 earthquake that left 300,000 dead and millions homeless. He’s embedded with the relief organization Food for the Poor and has been visiting slums, orphanages and feeding centers for the news network’s five-part special series on “The Poorest of the Poor.” Tradup reports that Salem VP/director spoken word format Phil Boyce (who also is serving as operations manager of the New York stations) is there working on documenting the trip for a New York market broadcast.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. New York-based XtreMEDIA announces a number of affiliates joining three of the company’s offerings. First, the daily Kevin McCullough show is added to the program schedule at WCIS-AM, Morganton, North Carolina; WCST-AM, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia; WGEA, Geneva, Alabama; and KNLB-FM, Blythe, California. The nightly Steve Deace program joins the lineup at WGTK-AM, Louisville; WTOH-FM, Columbus; and WWTC, Minneapolis. Finally, the weekend “Baldwin/McCullough” show is now heard on WMRC, Milford, Massachusetts and WYPV-FM, Mackinaw City, Michigan…..The GCN-syndicated “America Tonight” with Kate Delaney joins the program schedule at WKVL, Knoxville.
The State of the Union Address Top Talk Radio Story This Week. According to the Talkers TenTM, the president’s State of the Union Address was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of January 27-31. At #2 this week was criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. Following at #3 was new immigration legislation and the prospect of amnesty and at #4 was the extreme winter weather affecting much of the nation. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
John Hogan’s Exit from Clear Channel Cushioned with Cash. Although the official line from former Clear Channel Media + Entertainment chairman and CEO John Hogan and the company is that he wanted to “spend more time with his family” and the time was right, a fair number of jaded industry watchers will never believe he wasn’t forced out – especially just seven months after he was moved to the company’s New York City offices to work more closely with CC Media Holdings chairman and CEO Bob Pittman. The company’s 8-K filing details what Hogan is walking away with after his time leading the division. Here’s what he can count on: $900,000, representing the amount previously earned by Hogan pursuant to a supplemental incentive plan with respect to 2012 performance; an annual bonus of $77,250 for performance during 2013; and a prorated annual bonus with respect to the days he was employed during 2014. Pursuant to the Separation Agreement and in consideration of the extension by Mr. Hogan of certain restrictive covenants applicable to him, the vesting of 93,076 restricted shares of Class A Common Stock of CCMH granted to Mr. Hogan on October 22, 2012 will be accelerated and CCMH will repurchase 83,938 of such shares (the aggregate repurchase amount of such repurchased shares, the “Repurchase Amount”), provided Mr. Hogan does not revoke the Separation Agreement. Additionally, in exchange for the Separation Agreement, Mr. Hogan’s release of claims and the extension of certain restrictive covenants applicable to him, and provided that Mr. Hogan does not revoke the Separation Agreement, CCB agreed to pay Mr. Hogan: $333,000, representing the remaining amount earned by Mr. Hogan pursuant to a supplemental incentive plan with respect to 2011 performance; an “equity value preservation payment” equal to $1,027,355, paid in a lump sum payment; a lump sum severance payment equal to (x) $1,538,000 minus (y) the Repurchase Amount; a severance payment equal to $3,297,000, paid over 36 months; and a payment of $1,000,000, paid over 12 months, beginning on the first anniversary of the date of separation. Hogan is also entitled to receive continued healthcare coverage for 36 months, continued secretarial services for 6 months, $20,000 in outplacement services, and a housing allowance of $25,000 per month for up to 9 months, which amount is grossed up for certain applicable taxes; provided, that the housing allowance payments will stop if Mr. Hogan ceases to have obligations under the terms of his current lease agreement. CCB also will pay up to $25,000 for Mr. Hogan’s reasonable legal fees incurred in connection with the negotiation of the Separation Agreement.
Sean Hannity to Air on Salem’s WDTK, Detroit. The Motor City destination for Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity show is Salem Communications-owned WDTK. The program will air live in the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot. It previously was heard on crosstown news/talk WJR since its 2001 national debut. WDTK general manager Chris MacCourtney states, “The opportunity to bring Sean Hannity aboard was one we felt we could not pass up. Sean was an instant hit when he came to Detroit and he continues to be one of the most popular talk personalities in the market. He will join an already solid lineup of talk talent on ‘News/Talk 1400.’” Since the first of the year, Hannity’s program had been added to Salem outlets WIND, Chicago; WWRC, Washington; and KSKY, Dallas.
Double Shot of WGN, Chicago News. Two items from Tribune’s WGN, Chicago: First, as Chicago media writer Robert Feder reported over the weekend, assistant program director Alex Quigley has been upped to operations manager at news/talk WGN, Chicago. Quigley worked in the market at former Emmis alternative rock WKQX as interactive program manager. When he first came to WGN he hosted the weekend show “ChicagoNow Radio” and “Chicago Preps Plus.” WGN vice president of creative content Todd Manley said in a memo to staffers, “This is a recognition of Alex’s role in our expanding future…He’ll be mentoring producers and searching for new talent that builds our farm system, coordinating special programming, scheduling, digging deep on ratings analysis, and dreaming big dreams.” Second, longtime television news personality Walter Jacobson brings his “Perspective” commentaries to the station beginning this Thursday. Robert Feder reports that the longtime WBBM-TV anchor who exited the station last February will present his 90-second feature on Thursdays during Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano’s midday show and they will be repeated on the weekend during “The Sunday Spin: Politics with Rick Pearson” program. Jacobson will also appear as a contributor to various shows on WGN. Jacobson tells Feder, “Having been listening to WGN Radio since the day I became a reporter, and believing it’s the best in the business, I’m thrilled to be joining the team. For me, it’s a perfect fit at a perfect time. The station’s coming back, and 2014 is going to be an intriguing and exciting year in Chicago’s wild and woolly politics.”
Salem Communications Buys Eagle Publishing for $8.5 Million. It had been reported recently that this deal was on the way and now it’s official as Salem Communications enters into a deal to purchase the assets of Eagle Publishing that includes conservative book publisher Regnery Publishing, and digital properties RedState.com and HumanEvents.com. In a statement, Salem CEO Edward Atsinger III says, “Eagle is one of the most influential companies in the conservative media space. Its addition to Salem brings together a unique portfolio of conservative media properties and fits with our strategy of integrating traditional media and new media assets all serving the same target audience. The opportunity we like most about this acquisition is that each of Eagle’s businesses matches up so well with Salem’s extensive media platform. With 102 radio stations and a dozen major national websites all targeting the conservative community, this provides a perfect marketing platform to promote Eagle’s products to a wider audience.” The purchase price is $8.5 million and current Eagle CEO Jeff Carneal will exit the organization as a result of the acquisition.
‘A-List’ Talent Jon Bon Jovi and John Fogerty Added to Howard Stern Birthday Broadcast. The January 31 birthday bash broadcast for SiriusXM’s Howard Stern just added two more “A-list” talents as Jon Bon Jovi and John Fogerty will join Steven Tyler, David Letterman and Louis C.K. for the show to be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel live from the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City. On his program, Stern announced, “We have told you on the music side of things that we have Steven Tyler coming by to do a little number in honor of my birthday, I’m so honored…[today] I am excited [to announce that]…Jon Bon Jovi is going to perform…I am very excited to see Jon and thank him for that. And also one of my heroes will perform that night—one of the greats, the all-time greats. A guy whose every record I bought when he was in Creedence Clearwater Revival, and later his solo stuff, John Fogerty will come by to perform two great songs – I won’t say what the songs are, [but] we’re really excited about that…the list just begins there, Robin, it just begins there [there is] a huge amount of musicians coming by to help us out…it’s great.”
Sports Talk Host Jeff Dubay Exits KSTP, Minneapolis in Budget Move. Twin Cities sports talk personality Jeff Dubay, who fought a public battle against drug addiction to return to the airwaves in the market on Hubbard Radio’s KSTP, has left the station in what he says is a budget-related move. The Star-Tribune reports Dubay – who worked at Clear Channel’s “KFAN” sports talk brand for 10 years before a crack cocaine addiction sidelined him – sent social media messages indicating that he was let go from the late morning show he co-hosted with Judd Zulgad because of financial reasons. The station posted a message on its Facebook page confirming the matter was financial and not performance related. The paper reports KSTP waived Dubay’s non-compete and he is free to work in the market if the opportunity arises.
Shannon Staying With the Redbirds. St. Louis Cardinals fans will continue to hear Mike Shannon as the voice of the National League team that appeared in the 2013 World Series, as the former MLB player signs a two-year contract extension. This will be Shannon’s 42nd year as a Cardinals broadcaster and 56th year with the team. According to club president Bill DeWitt, “Mike’s voice has become the soundtrack to St. Louis baseball. We look forward to having him back in the booth this season and for years to come.” It is anticipated that Shannon will call all Cardinals’ home games this year for St. Louis flagship KMOX and roughly 30 road games for the CBS Radio-owned talk station. Fox Sports Midwest‘s Rick Horton and former lefty relief pitcher Al Hrabosky will do the remaining road games. Shannon will continue his work throughout the year on KMOX pre-game, post-game, and morning drive call-in segments.
Great Read! TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison is pictured intensely absorbing the new book authored by independently syndicated talk show host Jim Blasingame titled The Age of the Customer: Prepare for the Moment of Relevance (2014 SBN Books). Blasingame is the longtime host of the very successful program “The Small Business Advocate Show” which is targeted to helping independent entrepreneurs and business owners cope with the day-to-day issues that face people running their own companies during this era of rapidly accelerating change. This book, Blasingame’s third, is “his best work yet,” according to Harrison and “must-reading for anyone out there on the perilous high seas of today’s turbulent marketplace…especially those who are doing it independently without the backing of the Wall Street/banking/big-time money machine.” Harrison goes on to say, “This includes those brave and hardy ‘Davids’ owning and operating independent radio stations and small groups, syndication companies and internet communications startups bucking the death grip of today’s mega-corporate ‘Goliaths.’” The premise of the book is that small business owners are operating at a time that is so momentous it has never happened before. Blasingame, a veteran of TALKERS magazine’s Heavy Hundred, identifies it as an epochal marketplace shift that’s causing the 10,000 year old Age of the Seller to be replaced by the Age of the Customer. With an introduction by Steve Forbes, Blasingame’s book reveals how these two ages are existing concurrently in parallel universes, and how much time business-people have left to join the emerging universe. He says relevance is replacing competitiveness and explains how to recognize when you arrive at the “moment of relevance,” how to connect with “new-influencers” who co-own your brand message; why you must be a good storyteller; the good, the bad and the ugly of social media; and he identifies the “killer app” that wasn’t a part of your past but will dominate your future. Broadcasters interested in learning more about this book and perhaps scheduling Jim Blasingame as a guest can visit AgeoftheConsumer.com or email email@example.com.
WHYY, Philadelphia-Led Local Journalism Center Awarded CPB Grant. The recipient organization of a Corporation for Public Broadcasting grant for $1.5 million is the new multimedia local journalism center (LJC), Keystone Crossroads — a collaboration of Pennsylvania public media stations. The new Keystone Crossroads is led by WHYY, Philadelphia. Pittsburgh’s WQED and WESA FM, Central Pennsylvania’s WPSU and Harrisburg’s WITF will be partner stations. The LJC will focus on the challenges the cities are facing, including a shrinking tax base and crumbling infrastructure, and enormous budget deficits. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting states, “By combining smart storytelling with energetic civic engagement, Keystone Crossroads will help Pennsylvanians see the challenges of their cities more clearly, understand how they are related, and create a forum for potential solutions at both the local and state levels.” CPB president Pat Harrison adds, “Local Journalism Centers are really centers of collaboration comprising public media stations working together to report on local stories with significant impact. This kind of focused collaboration ensures in depth reporting on issues of importance and concern to Pennsylvanians and of interest to all Americans.” In addition to Keystone Crossroads, CPB funds six other LJCs across the country, including: EarthFix based in the Northwest; Fronteras in the Southwest; Harvest in the Midwest; Innovation Trail in upstate New York, the Southern Education Desk in the South, and most recently the Energy LJC in the Rocky Mountains.
Chris Christie Scandal, Hillary Clinton in 2016, New Congressional Spending Deal, ObamaCare Enrollment Status, A-Rod Suspension/Legal Challenge, and Golden Globe Awards Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/13). The ongoing analysis of the Chris Christie lane closure scandal and apology press conference; speculation about Hillary Clinton’s plans to run for president in 2016; the new $1 trillion spending plan approved by Congress; enrollment in healthcare plans via the Affordable Care Act; Alex Rodriguez 162-game suspension and his plans to challenge the arbitration ruling; and the aftermath of Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
TALKERS Magazine Compiles News/Talk Radio’s Most Talked-About Stories and People of 2013. As is customary at year’s end, the research editors of TALKERS magazine compile the most-talked-about stories and people of the just-concluded 12-month period. According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “2013 was an extremely colorful year with a diversity of subjects and people being discussed. There was the usual mix of partisan politics, foreign affairs, economic policy and, of course, the shockingly unexpected such as the Boston Marathon tragedy.” Casey continues, “The President of the United States has always been the most talked about person going back to the very beginning of this publication 24 years ago and George Bush’s involvement in the first Persian Gulf War. Barack Obama, like his predecessors in the modern age of talk broadcasting, has not left talk show hosts wanting for hot material on a daily basis.”
1) ObamaCare Rollout
2) Benghazi Attack Investigation
3) IRS Accused of Targeting Conservative Groups
4) Debt Ceiling/Govt. Shutdown/Sequestration Battle
5) NSA Domestic Spying/Edward Snowden Case
6) Boston Marathon Bombing
7) GOP 2014 and 2016 Strategy
8) Gun Legislation Debate
9) Iran Nuke Threat
10) Syria Civil War
11) Fed Stimulus Policy/Dow Surpasses 16,000
12) DOJ Journalist Investigations
13) Immigration Reform
14) George Zimmerman Trial
15) Afghanistan Security Withdrawl
16) Egypt Violence/Instability
17) N. Korea Nuke Threat
18) Detroit Bankruptcy
19) Pope Francis Replaces Benedict
20) SCOTUS Gay Marriage Ruling
1) Barack Obama
2) John Boehner
3) Nancy Pelosi
4) Harry Reid
5) Hillary Clinton
6) John Kerry
7) Rush Limbaugh
8) Ted Cruz
9) Chris Christie
10) Paul Ryan
11) Kathleen Sebelius
12) Edward Snowden
13) Vladimir Putin
14) George Zimmerman
15) Trayvon Martin
16) Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev
17) Kim Jong Un
18) Pope Francis
19) Ben Bernanke
20) Eric Holder
Radio Industry Sees Major Developments and Changes in 2013. The combined editorial staffs of RadioInfo and TALKERS magazines have posted the 10 biggest stories of importance to the entire radio industry (music and talk) that took place in 2013. They are as follows in order of importance:
1) Nielsen Acquires Arbitron
2) Developments in Emergence of the Connected Car
3) Network Sports Talk Radio Growth Explosion
4) Radio Company-Label Deals/Digital Royalty Rate Issue
5) Cumulus Acquires (Dial Global) WestwoodOne
6) Growth of Digital Music Service Providers
7) Limbaugh and Hannity Station Realignment Deals Negotiated
8) FCC Announces AM Band Revitalization Strategy
9) Progressive Talk Outlets Continue to Disappear
10) Country Music Format Enjoys Resurgence
Industry Mourns WINS, New York Senior Correspondent Stan Brooks. Legendary WINS, New York newsman Stan Brooks passed away yesterday (12/23) at his home at age 86. He’d been serving as senior correspondent for CBS RADIO’s WINS, New York – the station he’d been with for the past 50 years. Brooks started working for the station in 1962 when it was a top 40 station and stayed with it through its transition to all-news. WINS director of news and programming Ben Mevorach says of Brooks, “Like every challenge he has ever faced, Stan met this final one with the same class, dignity and humility that defined every day of his almost 87 years on this earth. There will never be another one like him.” EVP of operations for CBS RADIO Scott Herman adds, “Not only was Stan Brooks a walking encyclopedia on NYC politics he was one of the finest, decent and most dignified men who ever lived. We were lucky to have him on 1010 WINS for the past 51 years and we will never ever forget him.” Read about Brooks’ life and career in a piece from CBS New York here.
JVC Broadcasting Prepares for Launch of ‘Long Island News Radio 103.9’ on Thursday. Long Island-based JVC Broadcasting announces the lineup for its soon-to-be former rock outlet WRCN, Riverhead, New York branded “Long Island News Radio 103.9.” TALKERS reported two weeks ago that the station’s studio will be located in the terminal of the Long Island MacArthur Airports – a physical reminder of the local intentions of this new station for the Long Islanders who use the facility. Now to the lineup: morning drive is being hosted by Jay Oliver; the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show is Fox News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade and Friends; local host John Gomez is handling the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot followed by the local, one-hour show “Breaking it Down with Frank Mackay.” Premiere Networks superstar Sean Hannity is in the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot and Cumulus Media Networks’ Mark Levin airs from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm.
Robby Bowen Upped at CBS RADIO’s ‘105.3 The Fan.’ Sales pro Robby Bowen is promoted to general sales manager for CBS RADIO sports talker KRLD-FM, Dallas “105.3 The FAN.” Bowen joined CBS RADIO Dallas-Fort Worth in February 2005 as an account executive for the station, which was at that time KLLI-FM. During his time there he has served as local sales manager and most recently was senior account director.
Changes in Middays at WJFK-FM, Washington Raise Questions. According to Dan Steinberg’s column in the Washington Post, the midday lineup at CBS RADIO’s sports talk WJFK-FM, Washington, DC is in flux after the station announced Holden Kushner will be moving to other duties including weekends, fill-in and participating in Washington Nationals coverage. Kushner was paired up with Danny Rouhier who reportedly will host the show solo today (12/24) and then be on vacation through December 30. What happens after that is uncertain. The station is expected to announce plans for the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm daypart in the New Year but already the news is cause for speculation. With the arrival of Don Geronimo from the company’s KHTK, Sacramento earlier this fall (currently hosting evenings), DC radio fans are wondering if he’ll return to a daytime show on the station. Geronimo and former partner Mike O’Meara held down afternoon drive at the station when it was a hot talker from 1991 through 2008.
Matt Walsh Exits WLAP, Lexington; Sean Hannity to Air in PM Drive. Writer and talk show host Matt Walsh announces that his contract with Clear Channel’s WLAP, Lexington, Kentucky is up and as the station is filling the afternoon drive slot with Premiere Networks star Sean Hannity, he’s leaving AM/FM talk radio for good. In a post on his blog, Walsh explains that although he has nothing but good things to say about his time at WLAP, he’s going to focus on his blog that he says has “between three and five million people” reading it every month. As for his time at WLAP, he says, “WLAP took a chance on me, gave me a show, gave me the freedom to handle the topics in my own way, and surrounded me with a highly intelligent and passionate supporting cast. I’m grateful for that, as these things are certainly not a given in this industry.”
NAB Acquires Two Events: CCW and SATCON. The National Association of Broadcasters announces it has purchased the assets of the Content and Communications World (CCW) and Satellite Communications Conference and Expo (SATCON) events from JD Events. The two events are held annually in November and are co-located at the Javits Convention Center in New York City. In a press statement, the NAB says that “CCW is the leading media, entertainment and communications technology event of its kind in New York with a focus on content creation, management and delivery technologies. SATCON offers education and exhibits serving companies in the satellite-enabled communications and content delivery industry.” EVP of NAB Conventions and Business Operations Chris Brown comments, “We have made these additions to the NAB event family with the goal of growing both the attendee and exhibitor base of what has emerged as an important East Coast venue for the content community. We look forward to developing this event and serving the unique needs of this very important media market.”
Nieslen Audio December PPM Data Released. The December 2013 PPM ratings data is being released by Nielsen Audio – currently numbers for the first 12 markets have been made public – and that information can be found at the site of TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo. Check out the main page for managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian’s “Ten Takeaways” here or go straight to the full ratings data here.
Odds & Sods. Premiere Networks-distributed 24/7 Comedy – the 24-hour, all-comedy format – will ring in the New Year with a countdown of the top 247 comedy bits from the top 247 comedians. The program is compiled by staff and listeners who voted on 24/7 Comedy’s Facebook page or called the laugh-line at 218-Chuckle. The countdown will air nationwide all day New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day and will feature Chris Rock, Louis C.K., Bill Cosby, George Carlin, Aziz Ansari, Bill Engvall, Jerry Seinfeld and Rodney Dangerfield…..KFMB, San Diego weekend program “It’s Your Money and Your Life” picked up three first place awards from the San Diego Press Club for “Excellence in Journalism.” The show currently originates from La Jolla’s prestigious La Valencia Hotel and airs Saturdays from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm, hosted by Richard Muscio (left) and Joe Vecchio (right).
WPRO: John DePetro Not Serving Suspension. WPRO, Providence program director Craig Schwalb tells TALKERS magazine that the report published at GoLocalProv.com indicating talk show host John DePetro has been suspended until early January is false; DePetro is on vacation. TALKERS reported the GoLocalProv.com story earlier today. DePetro, who has been away from his program since late last week, has been under fire since a local union-led boycott of his station’s advertisers by an organization called “For Our Daughters” ramped up the PR by getting sitting Rhode Island politicians – Governor Lincoln Chafee included – and political operatives to also demand DePetro’s dismissal. This action stems from words DePetro spoke on the air in September when he referred to some union officers as “parasites, union hags” and “whores,” words for which he has apologized. In another wrinkle, a new group has popped up called “RI Citizens for Free Speech,” which is supporting DePetro’s right to voice his opinion without being made target of a “smear campaign.”
Sean Hannity to Air in Washington on Salem’s ‘1260 WRC.’ In the Nation’s Capital, Premiere Networks nationally syndicated superstar Sean Hannity will air on Salem Communications-owned WWRC beginning in the New Year. Current affiliate WMAL was one of the original affiliates for his inaugural syndication rollout the day before 9/11, but because of Cumulus Media’s split with Hannity, he leaves the station at the end of 2013. At WWRC, Hannity’s show will air live from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Salem Washington VP and operations manager David Ruleman states, “Sean Hannity is a perfect fit on ‘1260 WRC.’ He is poised, informed and intelligent like the rest of the Salem lineup. In a city where opinion often trumps knowledge and irrational talk reigns, Washington, DC radio listeners have a choice – ‘Intelligent Talk 1260 WRC.’” Hannity show VP of operations Eric Stanger comments, “We are thrilled to partner with Salem and ‘1260 WRC.’ WWRC is one of the premier news/talk destinations in Washington, DC, and we couldn’t be happier to join their leading lineup of intelligent talkers.”
Michael Harrison: What’s Happening to Progressive Hosts is a Shame and a Waste. Prompted by the recently announced abandonment of the progressive talk format by WWRL, New York and the all-but-drying-up of the genre across the nation, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison issued the following statement: “What’s happening to progressive hosts is a shame and a waste. I say this not for any specific political reason – because neither I nor TALKERS magazine is motivated by politics. Nor do I say it from some self-righteous position of ‘fairness.’ No one knows more than a trade publisher that this is a business and business cannot always be fair. I say it from the perspective of what’s good for our industry from the standpoints of ratings, business and image and the most productive use of some of our most valuable talent/assets.” Harrison continues, “It is 2013 and nowhere is it written in stone that the only way to do news/talk radio successfully at this point is to position stationality entirely by political ideology. Yes, there are clearly more talented stars in this industry who are of a conservative bent for a complex variety of reasons. However, there is not really enough A-level talent among conservative hosts to build entire stations – in many cases more than one per market – around that one singular position, let alone rest the entire reputation of talk radio upon. Granted, there doesn’t seem to be enough liberal-leaning hosts available to power entire stations in the progressive direction either. But talent is talent and there are huge numbers of listeners out there that like political news/talk for its own sake and are willing to listen to someone with whom they disagree – IF that person is talented.” Harrison concludes, “We as an industry should be saluting – not condemning, mocking and, worst of all, wasting the talents, industriousness and guts of such performers as Ed Schultz, Thom Hartmann, Stephanie Miller, Alan Colmes, Leslie Marshall, Karel, Randi Rhodes, Bill Press and a number of others who through hard work in the face of almost insurmountable obstacles have proven themselves worthy of shots on the big stages of this industry. Frankly, if I owned a station and my life were on the line, I’d program talents like Sean Hannity and Thom Hartmann back-to-back in a heartbeat. What harm would happen if every conservative station in America added just one progressive host – either local or national – to their roster? Would radio come to an end? I think not. I think it might be the beginning of a new era in which political news/talk radio breaks out of its own self-inflicted chains and branches out in a wide variety of potentially lucrative directions.”
Jerry Del Colliano: Keep Your Eye on Generation Y. They Hold the Key to the Future of Both Music and Talk Radio. There are over 80 million “Millennials” coming of age, the oldest of whom are already 30-years-old – 12 years older than the youngest 18-49 money demo cherished by advertisers. Millennials have their own technology just as baby boomers had records, radio and TV. Except, according to Inside Music Media publisher Jerry Del Colliano, technology has very little to do with the impact that “Generation Y” is making on media and just about everything else. In an exclusive article posted today (12/17) in sister trade publications RadioInfo and TALKERS, the professorial industry observer and advisor writes, “Sure there is Facebook that they went to college with, and Napster that helped disrupt the record business, iPads, apps, smartphones, Instagram and their latest devilish work – to unbundle cable and make Netflix the new standard for the on-demand content they, well – demand. Radio consolidated about the time the first Millennials were in grade school and the industry just assumed that young listeners would always be there to like radio. The music industry that consisted of old white men who were lawyers thought Napster needed to be sued out of existence – and they succeeded. But the damage was already done.” To read Jerry Del Colliano’s entire piece, please click here.
Clear Channel Gives Added Duties to Premiere EVP Carl Anderson. In a memo to staff, EVP of national programming Darren Davis announces Premiere Networks EVP of programming Carl Anderson gets additional responsibilities including overseeing programming and operations of the Total Traffic and Weather Network and the 24/7 News with both SVPs Kevin Loftus and Chris Berry now reporting to him. Anderson will also have more responsibilities for Clear Channel regional markets for which he’ll report to regional markets president of operations Matt Martin.
NPR Slated To Receive $17 Million in Grants. Much of that money is coming from John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Wallace Foundation, and the Ford Foundation. In addition, there are contributions from individual donors such as NPR acting president/chief executive officer Paul Haaga and Heather Haaga; former NPR Foundation vice chair/trustee emeritus William Poorvu and Lia Poorvu; and former NPR board chair/NPR Foundation trustee Howard Stevenson and Fredericka Stevenson. Each of them is investing in specific elements of NPR’s journalism and innovation strategy. Grant money will fund NPR and member stations WNYC, New York; KPCC, Los Angeles (Pasadena Community College); KQED, San Francisco; WHYY, Philadelphia, WBUR, Boston (Boston University); and Minnesota Public Radio (MPR). Chief content officer Kinsey Wilson comments, “This support will allow NPR to build transformative platforms that secure the future of public media journalism, and represents a powerful vote of confidence for that vision. We will be able to dive deep into issues that are at the center of people’s lives, and drive tremendous innovation in how we engage people with those issues.” Knight Foundation vice president of journalism and media innovation Michael Maness explains, “NPR is responding to the increased demand by audiences for flexibility in consuming content seamlessly across various digital platforms. The platform will allow listeners to engage in new ways with NPR and its member station partners, making the quality journalism that is so important in a democracy more accessible, especially for a new generation.” With 34 total bureaus, NPR expects to launch expanded education and global health and development reporting next spring. It is estimated NPR and its member stations reach a weekly audience of 35 million people.
Crystal Radio Award Entry Date Set. Beginning (Wednesday) January 1, stations may take the first step to be eligible to qualify for an NAB Crystal Radio Award. That is when they can submit online entries describing their community service for calendar year 2013. Cutoff date, meanwhile, is (Friday) January 31, with finalists being revealed in late-February. “Receiving this award is just amazing,” remarks KCVM, Waterloo-Cedar Falls, Iowa program director Teri Lynn, a 2012 Crystal Radio Award honoree. “This is one of the most awesome experiences I’ve had in my entire life.” Judges with broadcast and community service backgrounds choose 50 Crystal Radio Awards finalists and 10 winners. Winners will be announced at the NAB Radio luncheon (Tuesday) April 8 during the 2014 NAB Show in Las Vegas. The Crystal Radio Awards were established in 1987.
The Sky’s the Limit for Upper Demo Champion, Carole Marks. She is one of the longest-running syndicated radio talk show hosts in America, although she purposefully maintains an under-the-radar profile. Perhaps that’s because she’s too busy traveling the world gathering data about the state of upper-demographic populations domestically and abroad in addition to being a champion in the ongoing battle against ageism. For more than two decades of continuous broadcasting, Carole Marks has personally brought listeners of her weekend program, “A Touch of Grey,” to some of the most fascinating and exotic places in the world — from the jungles of Africa to the deserts of Asia to the ice sheets of Antarctica to the Outback of Australia to the cultural hotspots of Europe, the Americas and beyond — gathering relevant information for her 50-plus audience. The nearly 80-year-old dynamo tells TALKERS, “I do what I do to inspire ‘seasoned citizens’ to live their lives to the fullest – physically and intellectually – in addition to using my influence to ‘remind’ Washington not to forget the needs of our senior population. Broadcasting, traveling and teaching are my passions and I am so lucky to have this radio platform to perform these functions.” She adds, “Although I deeply wish the advertising agencies and media in general understood the economic power that can be tapped by serving older people – I have been very fortunate as a radio broadcaster to have had the lion’s share of this huge slice of the population pie almost exclusively to myself for all these years via this specialty talk show.” Carole Marks is pictured here in front of the Petronas Towers, the world famous twin skyscrapers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia during a just-concluded remote from the Far East.
WABC, New York Alumni Gathering. Whom do you recognize in this photo of current and former WABC, New York staffers? Former Sean Hannity producer Jill Vitale a.k.a “Flirty Flipper” organized the annual WABC alumni holiday bash this year and many former (and some current) employees were able to gather and reminisce. Some of those who attended included: Phil Boyce, Laurie Cantillo, Valerie Geller, Mitch Dolan, Mitch Lebe, Curtis Sliwa, Babita Hariani, David Goodman, Jamie Megargee, Andrew Kalb, Lisa Hakim, Richard Bey, Lionel, Noam Laden, Laura Smith and many others.
Congressional Budget Battle, Judge Rules NSA Program Unconstitutional, ObamaCare Criticism, Pope Francis Responds to Rush Limbaugh, and the ‘War on Christmas’ Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/16). The budget proposal that’s passed the House and is headed to the Senate; the ruling by a U.S. District Court judge declaring the NSA collecting of phone records unconstitutional; the scrutiny of the Affordable Care Act rollout; Pope Francis’ declaration that he is not a Marxist; and the argument that the left is waging a “war on Christmas” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cumulus Announces Closing of WestwoodOne Acquisition. Although the Department of Justice’s anti-trust division is still reviewing the merger, Cumulus Media Inc. announces the completion of the $260 million deal. Cumulus says that although the merger was not subject to the pre-closing notification requirements of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, the review is taking place and it can’t predict if the DOJ will elect to seek, or obtain, any remedies, or the effect that any remedies may have on its business, financial condition or results of operations. Cumulus maintains it does not believe the deal raises any anti-competitive issues. Back to the deal, Cumulus notes it consists of approximately $45 million attributable to the equity of WWO and the retirement of $215 million of debt of WWO. Cumulus used cash on hand, including approximately $238 million in cash proceeds from the Company’s previously completed sale of 53 radio stations to Townsquare Media, LLC.
News/Talk #1 Format Reports Nielsen from Client Conference. Among the information shared at this week’s two-day Nielsen Client Conference was the capper at the end of day two when Nielsen director of programming services Jon Miller announced the results of the company’s top ten formats of 2013 based on AQH share in the 48 PPM-rated markets. The news was particularly good for news/talk as it tops the pile with a 6+ AQH share of 9.3. It’s also been a good year for CHR which comes in #2 with an 8.2 share. Following, in order, are: country – 7.8 share; adult contemporary – 7.7 share; hot AC – 5.5 share; classic hits – 5.3 share; urban AC 5.0 share; and sports talk and classic rock tie with a 4.3 share. There was much more discussed as consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke writes about the attending CEOs who lamented the industry’s status quo mentality as well as more presentations about integrating social media into listener interaction, and much more. Read Holland Cooke’s piece here.
Brian Whitman Signs Extension with Salem’s KRLA, Los Angeles. Longtime Los Angeles radio personality Brian Whitman inks a deal to continue his work as morning drive personality on Salem Communications’ KRLA, Los Angeles. Whitman will remain part of “The Morning Answer” on “AM 870 The Answer” alongside Ben Shapiro and Elisha Krauss. Whitman has also worked at such LA signals as KIIS-FM, KLSX-FM and KABC-AM as well as WABC, New York. Salem VP/director, spoken word format Phil Boyce comments, “Brian Whitman is one of the most talented voices on Los Angeles radio, and we are delighted to keep this growing show together for the foreseeable future. I have worked with Brian since 1996 when I hired him at WABC in New York, and used him across the country as one of the funniest voice over guys on the air. But his skills go much beyond comedy voices. He has grown into a very talented talk show host doing morning drive in Market #2.” Whitman adds, “I’ve been truly blessed to be on the air here in Los Angeles since 1991. I am excited about the continued growth of our radio show, our station and our brand. I am so grateful for the truly overwhelming support I’ve received from Salem’s chief executive officer Ed Atsinger, and the entire management team.”
J.D. Hayworth Subs for Cumulus Media Networks as Huckabee Show Winds Down. Governor Mike Huckabee did his last live show for Cumulus Media Networks as his show goes into holiday mode before ending on January 3. Former congressman and talk radio personality J.D. Hayworth is subbing on the network beginning today through January 3 on the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm program. Hayworth says he’ll be on the radio all of next week as well as December 26 and 27 and January 2 and 3. “Governor Huckabee was very gracious to allow me to serve as his guest host on several occasions, and I welcome this opportunity as well. For me, Friday the 13th is a lucky day. I thank Cumulus for entrusting me with ‘Mike’s mic’ into the New Year.”
Erickson to Sub for Rush Limbaugh. The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports that Georgia-based talk show host Erick Erickson will be fulfilling a dream when he sits in for Premiere Networks nationally syndicated superstar Rush Limbaugh over the holidays. Erickson – who serves as editor-in-chief of RedState.com in addition to his radio work – will host Limbaugh’s program on December 20, 24 and 26. Erickson’s regular radio job is afternoon drive personality on Cox Media Group’s WSB, Atlanta where he’s heard from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Erickson tells the AJC, “I’m really excited. It’s one of the few things I ever wanted to do going back to college. I listened to him every day. I’d plan classes around his show so I’d be able to listen in my dorm for a couple of hours.”
Rhode Island Governor Signs on to Petition to Oust WPRO’s John DePetro. According to a report in the Providence Journal, the union-led drive to compel WPRO, Providence to remove talk show host John DePetro from his daily talk show on the station has garnered support from the state’s Governor Lincoln Chafee. The paper reports that the boycott against WPRO’s advertisers – jewelry dealer Alex and Ani has been singled out – is being coordinated by the AFL-CIO‘s secretary treasurer Maureen Martin, who is also the political activities director of the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals. Governor Chafee’s spokeswoman, Christine Hunsinger, confirms to the paper that the governor has signed the petition urging the jewelry store to withdraw its advertising from WPRO as long as DePetro is employed there and also says he won’t go on any other show until DePetro is gone. Lincoln Chafee, a Republican-turned-Democrat who had long been criticized by conservatives in the media as a RINO (Republican in name only), has a history of engaging with instead of ignoring his media critics and DePetro has been a critic of Chafee for some time. DePetro came under fire from the unions after using what they termed demeaning and sexist language in criticizing female union members’ activities. DePetro has since apologized for his choice of words.
Michael Harrison to speak at 2014 Media Solutions Conference in Philadelphia. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will make a rare speaking appearance at another trade publication’s industry conference and serve as a special guest faculty member at Inside Music Media publisher Jerry Del Colliano‘s forthcoming 2014 Media Solutions Conference in Philadelphia on March 26, 2014. The one-day seminar, located at the Rittenhouse Hotel, will help prepare modern-day broadcasters to solve the major problems and meet the pressing challenges facing the radio business during its rapid transition into the digital era. Among the topics to be covered include ways to positively “disrupt” radio before your competition does and understand the sensibilities of the “millennial” generation — as well as learn new ways to present commercials, attract new audiences and develop new sources of revenue. Harrison will be joining “MoreFM” (formerly B-101), Philadelphia owner Jerry Lee as a specially invited faculty speaker at the event. Upon accepting the assignment, Harrison states, “I am honored to play a role in Jerry Del Colliano’s event and work alongside such a dynamic and independent entrepreneur as Jerry Lee. Del Colliano is a brilliant thinker, teacher and observer whose bold voice in this industry continues to contribute to radio’s intelligence, health and survival.” For information about the conference please click here.
MacGregor Joins BTRN as VP/Affiliate Sales. Twenty-five-year media management veteran Mark MacGregor is named vice president of affiliate sales for Business TalkRadio Network. “Mark brings a wealth of experience to this position and our company,” comments BTRN president Jeff Weber. “He has a proven track record of success in affiliation and I am confident he will be a tremendous asset to us as we continue to grow the networks.” MacGregor’s past credits include similar titles to his present BTRN assignment for MyFamilyTV, FamilyNet and ETC Television. Business TalkRadio Network provides long and short form programming to over 1,000 affiliates. It currently features such programs as “Investor’s Edge,” “Real Estate Investor Radio,” and the “CEO Show.”
WFAN, New York’s Boomer & Carton to Host Comedy Show. WFAN, New York morning drive duo Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton will host the “Super Comedy Jam” at the Manhattan Center Hammerstein Ballroom on Wednesday, January 29. Appearing at the show will be an all-star lineup of comedians, including a couple with radio ties. The stars performing will include: Jay Mohr (who also hosts his eponymous sports talk show for Fox Sports Radio Network); Nick Di Paolo (previously partnered with Artie Lange for a late night comedy/sports radio show); Dave Attell; Michael Che; Jeff Norris; and John Pizzi.
Odds & Sods. Clear Channel news/talk outlet KEX, Portland adds another hour to the back end of Michael Castner’s afternoon drive program. Beginning Monday, he’ll broadcast from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Castner joined KEX this summer after spending the last two-plus years hosting a nationally syndicated program for The Wall Street Journal Radio Network…..The next color voice of the Chicago Cubs is former Cubs infielder Ron Coomer. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports Coomer will sit alongside play-by-play Pat Hughes when the 2014 season begins. Coomer takes over for Keith Moreland providing analysis on WGN and affiliates across the Midwest…..Premiere Networks announces the continuation of a long-standing “Coast to Coast AM” tradition as listeners “will be treated to live, holiday-themed programming with a ‘Coast-to-Coast’ twist, including music, special guest appearances and surprises on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve and New Years Day. Host George Noory will be live in studio to celebrate the holidays and ring in the New Year with his loyal audience, who will get the chance to share their favorite Christmas memories and stories of miracles during open lines.”
WPHT Sends Local Hero to Phillies Phantasy Camp. WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive host Chris Stigall (center) poses for a shot with Sergeant First Class Brian Keaton, his wife and two of his children in the WPHT studios. The station, the Philadelphia Phillies and the local chapter of the USO surprised the wounded warrior during Thursday’s program with a trip to the Phillies Phantasy Camp this morning live on the air.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Cumulus Media Networks’ nationally syndicated Mark Levin program is added to the schedule at KOYT, Helena, Montana; the company’s “Savage Nation” with Michael Savage adds the following stations to is affiliate roster: KINN, Alamogordo, New Mexico; WZUS, Decatur, Illinois; WBAP, Dallas; KKOB-AM, Albuquerque; and WLS-AM, Chicago…..Genesis Communications Network-syndicated Jason Lewis is added to the program schedule at KLZ, Denver; WPTK, Raleigh; and KNOX, Grand Forks, North Dakota…..The “Motley Fool Stock Watch” feature joins the programming at KTKZ “AM 1380 The Answer” and KSAC “Money 105.5” in Sacramento.
ObamaCare Criticism Tops Talkers TenTM for 8th Straight Week. The criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the eighth consecutive week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS. Following at #2 this week was the federal budget deal. At #3 was the selfie President Obama took with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thornig-Schmidt and his appearance at the Nelson Mandela memorial service followed at #4 by the nuclear talks with Iran. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
‘Quinn & Rose’ Honor Commitments, Forge Ahead in Post-WPGB Career. Pittsburgh-based talk radio morning show “Quinn & Rose” – Jim Quinn and Rose Tennent – are not looking back after their 10-year relationship with Clear Channel’s news/talk WPGB, Pittsburgh ended last month. As TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian notes in his story about the duo published today (12/12), not only are Quinn and Tennent continuing to operate their web base warroom.com, they are honoring commitments to listeners, charities and businesses made before their exit from the radio station. They have also been keeping in touch via social media with many of their P1s who’ve rallied around the duo. Tennent says, “I thought that I knew our audience was loyal – but I never knew just how loyal and passionate they were about the show. They really seem to care about what is happening to us personally. I am very moved by the response.” Read more about Jim Quinn and Rose Tennent here.
Life After Arbitron: Day One. Media consultant and TALKERS magazine contributor Holland Cooke reports in from the first day of the Nielsen Audio Client Conference & Jacobs Media Summit in Baltimore. Presentations focused on operating radio stations in a multi-platform universe; the importance of solving the problem of competing for ad dollars against media that can provide specific data; and the use of social media. Check out Holland Cooke’s report here.
Year-End Special Available from Premiere and TheBlaze. Premiere Networks announces the availability of an exclusive, three-hour radio special, “TheBlaze: The Year in Your Ear,” – a comprehensive review of 2013 featuring different perspectives from the hosts and writers of TheBlaze, Glenn Beck’s news, information and entertainment network. The company states, “From the government shutdown and North Korea missile threats, to the Boston Marathon bombings and the George Zimmerman trial, listeners will be treated to a recap of the biggest national events, news headlines and stories that shaped America in 2013.” Premiere reports the show is already cleared on KOA, Denver; WOAI, San Antonio; WPGB, Pittsburgh; KPRC, Houston; and KNRS, Salt Lake City, to name a few. It’s available for air between 12/25 and 1/5/14.
The $1.4 Billion Mystery: What Do Women Want? According to Sabo Media chairman Walter Sabo, the talk radio industry continues its modern era tradition of turning down a significant piece of the $1.4 billion advertising budget spent annually by the advertising community on female-targeted talk television. In a newly-posted article, Sabo writes these TV programs discuss:
– Celebrity gossip
– Diet & exercise
– Personal finance
– Balancing home and work
To read Walter Sabo’s entire piece, please click here.
Fred Dryer to Appear in TV Series. CRN Digital Talk Radio personality Fred Dryer (also a former pro football star and a seasoned actor) will appear in a recurring role in the NBC series “Crisis.” Dryer hosts a weekly talk show for CRN called “The PM Show with Fred Dryer” that airs Wednesdays at 7:00 pm ET. CRN CEO Mike Horn says, “Fred is such a talented, multi-faceted actor. He’s also a great guy – so as fans of his work and him as a person, we’re very excited.” Dryer plays Thomas Jefferson Smith, a powerful, confident and wise CIA agent who, despite being in his 60s, can still kick butt. The Rand Ravich thriller centers on Washington’s most powerful players pulled into an international conspiracy. To bring the most powerful people in the world to their knees, the conspirator must threaten what everyone holds most dear. The “Crisis” cast includes other stars such as Dermot Mulroney, Gillian Anderson, Rachael Taylor and James Lafferty.
Salem Communications Spotlighted by Bloomberg Businessweek. The business-focused publication shines a spot on Salem Communications after its recently announced purchase of Twitchy.com from conservative media figure Michelle Malkin. The piece notes that the company is using profits from its radio assets to fund acquisition of digital properties and that fits with its conservative political philosophy. Felix Gillette writes, “The move may signal that the same forces currently driving consolidation in the digital news industry at large are starting to gain momentum among the ranks of conservative news publishers online. Since the advent of the internet, a diverse constellation of conservative news outlets has sprung up across the country, creating a rich buffet for GOP-loving readers – and a major logistical challenge for the advertisers hoping to reach them. In theory, bringing more of the sites under a smaller number of roofs will appeal to the ad buyers who oversee rising digital marketing budgets while simultaneously providing cost savings for the publishers. Thus, the increasing pressure to consolidate.” The piece reports that in fiscal 2012 Salem “generated $108 million of gross profit on $229 million of revenue. Of the company’s operating income, significantly more came from its radio group ($47 million) than from its websites ($3.7 million).” It also points to Politico which says it hears Salem is in talks to buy Eagle Publishing – owner imprints Regnery Publishing, Regnery History, Eagle Financial Publications as well as digital destinations RedState.com and MarkSkousen.com.
ObamaCare Criticism, Budget Deal/GOP Stalls on Nominees, Mandela Tribute Sign Interpreter Controversy, and Obama Selfie-Flirting Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/11). Scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and criticism of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius; the budget deal and the Republicans’ stall tactics on President Obama’s judicial nominees; the controversy over the sign-language interpreter at the Nelson Mandela tribute; and criticism over President Obama’s taking a selfie and “flirting” with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Matt Ray New Anchor of ‘America’s Morning News.’ The Talk Radio Network-produced “America’s Morning News” program has a new permanent host in Matt Ray. Ray — a 12-year broadcast veteran whose stints include KXL, Portland; KGO and KSFO, San Francisco – takes over as anchor of the program heard in more than 140 markets immediately. Ray states, “It is an exciting opportunity to work with the team at ‘America’s Morning News.’ Our focus continues to be journalism without agenda – the key ingredient to the success of ‘America’s Morning News’: compelling, breaking news and interviews delivered in a fast-paced environment.” TRN CEO Mark Masters adds, “Matt was a natural fit and he tested overwhelmingly positive. His credentials are impressive and we think Matt will take the morning news to new levels of success in the years to come. We are thrilled to see Matt on board at AMN.”
Former ’92.5 Fox News’ Fort Myers Morning Host – Now Congressman – Trey Radel Arrested on Cocaine Charges. Congressman Trey Radel won his first political race last November taking Florida’s 19th Congressional District seat as a Republican after Rep. Connie Mack chose to give up the seat and run for the U.S. Senate. But Radel’s experience has been in broadcasting. He was an anchor on WINK-TV and had made the move to radio as morning host on Meridian Broadcasting’s news/talk “92.5 Fox News” in the Fort Myers market (a trimulcast of WFSX-AM/FM and WNOG-AM). He left that gig to run for office. Radel was busted as part of a sting after allegedly purchasing cocaine in Washington’s Dupont Circle. Radel issued the following statement: “I struggle with the disease of alcoholism, and this led to an extremely irresponsible choice. Believe me, I am disappointed in myself, and I stand ready to face the consequences of my actions. However, this unfortunate event does have a positive side: It offers me an opportunity to seek treatment and counseling. As the father of a young son and a husband to a loving wife, I need to get help so I can be a better man for both of them.”
Glenn Beck Promotes New Book on NBC’s ‘Today.’ Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk host – and founder of the digital destination TheBlaze — Glenn Beck, sat down with NBC’s Kathie Lee Gifford on the “Today” show to talk about his new book, Miracles and Massacres: True and Untold Stories of the Making of America (Threshold Editions 2013). In the photo here, Beck is seen being interviewed by Gifford in his Dallas, Texas studios where programming for TheBlaze is produced. During the interview, Beck talked about the desire to provide more detail and color in fleshing out historical characters and events being the impetus for writing this book.
Talk Radio and Social Media Push Local Commercial into the Limelight. WGOW, Chattanooga afternoon drive talk host Brian Joyce tells TALKERS magazine how the power of talk radio and social media helped create a sensation out of a local TV commercial. He says, “Around 2:00 am last Friday morning, I saw a commercial on local television for a small business called Mike’s Golf Shop. It was so awful, so hilarious, and so awesome that I had to share it with my listeners! So I played the commercial on my show Friday afternoon, then I shared it on Facebook and sent it to a friend of mine who writes for Jimmy Fallon. At the time, the commercial had 27 views on YouTube. By Monday morning, it had 64,000 views. Today, it has 70,000 views. Tosh.O just shared it on their Facebook page, MSNBC and Comedy Central featured in on their websites, and Mike’s Golf Shop is trending on Yahoo!” Joyce says the lesson in this story is that it all started on “Talk Radio 102.3.” What’s more, it’s likely to bring in business. “We met with Mike on Monday morning. He was so excited about what we had done for him that now he wants to advertise with us regularly. The power of talk radio and social media is alive and well, and stronger than ever!” You can see the commercial here.
Kevin Matthews to Take On Voice and Imaging Role at WGN.FM. Chicago radio legend Kevin Matthews’ voice is returning to a Chicago-based audio platform after years of full-time work in his resident city of Grand Rapids. According to Chicago media writer Robert Feder, the radio pro that rose to prominence on rocker WLUP-FM “The Loop” will be the imaging voice of Tribune’s online audio platform WGN.FM, currently host to Jonathon Brandmeier’s program and other shows. Matthews, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2008, returned to his hometown of Grand Rapids in 2005 and was a personality at Cumulus Media classic rock WLAV for several years. He’s been out of terrestrial radio for a while but has been contributing to Steve Dahl’s podcast efforts. Matthews will continue to work from his home studio in Grand Rapids.
WestwoodOne to Rank Best Audio Super Bowl Ads. WestwoodOne – the radio home of Super Bowl XLVIII – is preparing to launch its Super Bowl Audio Index, the first-ever consumer-driven index ranking the most creative audio commercials aired during the Super Bowl. The company says that the index will be comprised of all commercials aired on the 700-plus radio stations that broadcast its exclusive, play-by-play coverage of the game. Each of the commercials will be available for consumer voting through WestwoodOne.com on February 2, 2014. Two awards will be announced across WestwoodOne’s on-air and online broadcast network. The first will be Listener’s Choice, selected by consumers through an online voting process that can also be leveraged by marketers through social media, and activated through SoundHound, to create even more engaging experiences for listeners. The second will be Media Choice, selected by an advisory council comprised of leading advertising, media and creative executives across multiple consumer categories. WestwoodOne CEO Paul Caine states, “For brands wanting to engage a captive audience with the largest reach, there is no comparison to the Super Bowl. We created the Index as a new way for all brands to leverage the power of sound and capitalize on this massive advertising moment. The index enables marketers to engage more intimately with 26 million-plus listeners, expanding their campaigns and maximizing their marketing dollars.”
Odds & Sods. SiriusXM superstar Howard Stern announces he will return for another season of “America’s Got Talent.” Stern told listeners to his radio show on Tuesday that although he’d like more personal time, “that big black hole inside of me that demands attention” won and he’ll return for his third season judging on the show…..Main Street Radio Network president Jane Silk will debut her own weekly radio show this Saturday, November 23. Silk, who has provided commentary for her company’s Alan Nathan show, will host the one-hour show which airs live from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm ET…..Chicago radio personalities Steve King and Johnnie Putman – longtime overnight hosts on Tribune’s WGN – are returning to the station for fill-in work. Chicago media writer Robert Feder tips us that the husband-and-wife duo will sub for morning drive host Steve Cochran during Christmas week. King and Putman retired from the station in December of 2011…..AARP has renewed its radio representation agreement with Media Management Group for 2014. MMG continues to be responsible for ad sales, distribution and business development for the Baby Boomer-targeted feature programming. AARP’s radio content can be heard on hundreds of stations across the country.
AdLarge Media and PromoSuite Enter National Advertising Sales Rep Agreement. The exclusive pact covers inventory already measured in Nielsen Audio’s RADAR service and moving into AdLarge’s Return On Investment (ROI) Network. AdLarge co-founder/chief executive officer Gary Schonfeld comments that the partnership “gives our national advertisers access to an enormous amount of inventory, and intensifies our already strong coverage in major markets.” AdLarge co-founder/president Cathy Csukas adds, “Our objective when we created the ROI Network was to offer clients a wide-reaching, RADAR-measured network with solid top-market coverage and a non-controversial format environment. With the inclusion of PromoSuite‘s vast array of music-formatted radio station inventory, we are proud to have surpassed that goal.” Meanwhile, PromoSuite chief executive officer Rocco Macri remarks, “It is inevitable that our two companies struck up a partnership. You have two independent, forward-thinking companies that are agile enough to make quick decisions, yet big enough to have an impact. Together, we will continue to build and maintain relationships within the radio and advertising communities.” Customized advertising sales rep AdLarge was founded in 2010; PromoSuite services more than 1,500 radio stations and is included in all top 50 markets.
Mixing in Pop Culture. Fox Sports Radio Network host Jay Mohr (right) poses for a photo with Black Crowes drummer Steve Gorman (left) in the FSR studios. Gorman was in town to talk about his new tour with the Black Crowes, his new band Trigger Hippy as well as chat about sports. The two discussed the controversial end to the Monday Night Football game between the Patriots and Panthers and Gorman also participated in the first-ever Jay Mohr Sports Front Man Draft. As part of the segment, the crew drafted a team of various band front men, including Steven Tyler, Freddie Mercury and the Black Crowes’ Chris Robinson.
Putting on the Greasepaint. Pictured here are TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (right) and his wife Bernadette Duncan Harrison (left) with TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey (center) in costume for his role as Beadle Bamford in the Monson, Massachusetts-based Greene Room Productions presentation of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
ObamaCare Criticism, JFK Assassination Anniversary, Iran Nukes Talks, Sinking Obama Approval Numbers, Toronto Mayor Case and Midwest Tornadoes Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/19). Scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and the state of the government’s health care sign-up website; the coming anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy; the potential talks with Iran about its nuclear policy and the debate in Washington over increasing economic sanctions against the Islamic state; the sinking approval ratings for President Obama; the bizarre case of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford; and the aftermath of the devastating tornadoes that swept across the Midwest were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio.
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.