Compass Media’s Gordon Deal Celebrates 10th Anniversary Hosting Morning Show; Two Sides Sign Contract Extension. Nationally syndicated morning host Gordon Deal is celebrating the 10th anniversary as host of “This Morning –America’s First News with Gordon Deal” at the same time syndicator Compass Media Networks is announcing it has inked Deal to a multi-year contract extension. Regular TALKERS readers remember that the program was developed by the old Wall Street Journal Radio Network and then WSJ decided to exit the radio business, Compass took over syndication of the Deal-hosted show and helped push it to its current affiliate mark of some 300 news/talk stations in 95 of the top 100 markets. Deal comments, “Has it really been ten years? Wow! Pride and gratitude are the words that come to mind at a time like this. First, thank you to our affiliates, sponsors and listeners. Second, our team puts a tremendous amount of work into our program and I would be remiss not to sincerely thank all our contributors, producers, and staff.” Jennifer Kushinka serves as the program’s main news anchor and Michael Gavin is executive producer and contributor.
Salem Media Group Q3 Broadcast Net Revenue Up 1.9%. For the company as a whole, net revenue for the third quarter of 2015 was down 3% on income of $67.5 million. But Salem Media Group’s broadcast division’s net revenue was $49.2 million, up 1.9%. Salem’s digital segment saw revenue dip 1% and the publishing sector was down almost 30%. For the first nine months of 2015, net broadcast revenue was basically flat at +0.4%.
Price: When the Lights Go Out. Yesterday (11/9) was the 50th anniversary of the Great Blackout of 1965 – an event that cast some 30 million people into darkness in New York City, much of the Northeast and Ontario for as long as 13 hours. ABC Television director of business continuity Howard B. Price writes that the anniversary is a good reminder for broadcasters to have their emergency plans updated and ready to implement. “That’s what we do, we broadcasters: We inform, we comfort, we calm an audience – help them through crises, and reassure them that things will turn out alright. And in so doing, we become an integral part of their everyday lives. But to do that, we have to have well-rehearsed emergency plans and protocols in place – and we have to resource them properly – to maintain our role as ‘first informers.’” Read Price’s entire piece here.
Odds & Sods. Portland sports talker KXTG-AM “750 & 102.9 The Game” is now a CBS Sports Radio affiliate. The Alpha Media station is adding the network’s “Gio & Jones,” “Ferrall on the Bench,” and “After Hours with Amy Lawrence” shows to the lineup that features the Dan Patrick show, Jim Rome and “The Bald Faced Truth with John Canzano.”…..Westwood One names marketing and sales pro Erik Neubart senior director, sports marketing & sales. In this position, Neubart will work directly with the company’s agency client partners to create “innovative, multi-platform brand integrations and marketing solutions across the Westwood One sports assets —Westwood One Sports live play-by-play and the NBC Sports Radio and CBS Sports Radio 24/7 sports talk formats. Neubart is based in New York City and reports directly to Julie Boruchov, VP, sports sales.
Art Vuolo Video Exhibit to Reside at Museum of Broadcast Communications. American radio chronicler Art Voulo is contributing his video library “A History of the American Disc Jockey” to The National Radio Hall of Fame, located within the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago. Well known as “Radio’s Best Friend” among radio pros, Vuolo has been videotaping radio personalities both on the air and behind-the-scenes since the late 1970s. This future exhibit is being spearheaded by Chicago broadcasting executives John Gehron of AccuRadio, Lisa Miller of Miller Broadcast Management, and Harv Blain of Vallie Richards Donovan Consulting, and will highlight nearly 40 years of Vuolo’s work with more than 700 disc jockeys from coast to coast, including many of radio’s most creative personalities. More than 1,000 videos will be available for viewing at the museum. National Radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig Kitchin says, “The trust Art Vuolo created between himself and hundreds of radio personalities while capturing their on-air magic in video form has turned into a treasure trove of memories everyone should be able to see. Many personalities are in the National Radio Hall of Fame; many more are deserved of nomination. The collection of work should be heard and seen by all who are interested.” Vuolo comments, “I am honored to present my video library to The National Radio Hall of Fame at The Museum of Broadcast Communications and am absolutely overwhelmed with the support of the radio industry.”
2016 Presidential Race/Tonight’s GOP Debate, Starbucks Holiday Cups Controversy, U of Missouri President Resigns, Obama Immigration Order Blocked, UVA Fraternity Sues Rolling Stone, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/9). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and the run-up to this evening’s GOP primary debate in Milwaukee; the controversy created by Starbucks’ decision to change its holiday cup designs to avoid potentially religious sentiments; racial tensions at the University of Missouri and the president’s decision to resign his post; President Obama’s executive order on immigration is blocked by a Court of Appeals; the University of Virginia fraternity named in the retracted gang rape story sues Rolling Stone for $25 million; 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.
The State of Women on Talk Radio: Part 4. Today (11/5), TALKERS magazine continues its multi-part story looking at the status of women on talk radio in 2015. Written by special features correspondent Jeff McKay, it addresses one of the most-asked questions TALKERS editors hear: Why aren’t there more women on talk radio? Today we explore the question: What is the future for women on talk radio? Consultant Valerie Geller says that developing shows hosted by women, like most new programs, takes time. “Oprah’s audience was made for women, hosted by a woman and got a huge female audience. You also have to give shows time to grow and find their audience. Both Rush and Sean had that. Many female hosts are given an opportunity, but management gets scared and pulls the plug too soon — shows take time to grow — you have to be willing to believe in, develop and then give a talent the time it takes to grow, male or female.” At Tribune’s WGN, Chicago, VP/content and programming Todd Manley says his station has numerous female voices – both in news and on talk host positions – and they’ve been brought aboard because they have specific attractive qualities. Wendy Snyder co-hosts middays and Patti Vasquez hosts solo at night. Manley says, “Wendy is just simply curious. She flies into every show without pretense. Plus, she has an engaging lack of filter, which works for her because she’s loving. Patti has an investigative gene and she’s quickly becoming Chicago’s favorite community activist. You throw in her comic genius and you get great laughs with the tears.” Read the entire piece here.
iHeartMedia Q3 Consolidated Revenue Down 3.1%. For the third quarter of 2015, iHeartMedia is reporting that although its consolidated revenue increased slightly during the period, unfavorable impact from movements in foreign exchange rates caused its reported consolidated revenue to drop to $1.57 million – down 3.1% compared to the same period a year ago. The iHeartMedia segment, excluding Americas Outdoor and Internation Outdoor, saw revenue increase $22 million, or 3%, excluding political advertising revenues. On a reported basis, revenue increased $16 million, or 2%, during the third quarter 2015 as compared to the third quarter 2014 driven primarily by sponsorship revenue related to the iHeartRadio Music Festival, barter and trade revenue and digital revenue. Partially offsetting these increases was a decrease in political advertising revenues, lower core broadcast radio revenue and prior year revenue from the radio towers sold this year during the second quarter of 2015.
Townsquare Media Q3 Revenue Up 4.2% on Pro Forma Basis. There are a number of ways to look at the third quarter financial numbers announced by Townsquare Media and the company’s acquisition of non-radio assets is important in sifting through the numbers. The 4.2% increase in net revenue on a pro forma basis means “pro forma for the acquisitions of WE Fest and NAME [North American Midway Entertainment] on October 31, 2014 and September 1, 2015, respectively, as well as for the divestiture of certain of our towers on September 1, 2015.” However, the company’s net revenue for Q3 increased over the same period a year ago by 9.7% (excluding the NAME acquisition) and 7.1% including NAME and on a constant currency basis. In a press release, chairman and CEO Steven Price states, “We believe our third quarter performance again demonstrates the strength of our diversified strategy. Our results were in line with our guidance and our strong cash flow generation also allowed us to strengthen our balance sheet through the voluntary repayment of $20 million of our outstanding term loan debt.” Looking a little closer, local advertising net revenue increased just $0.6 million, or 0.7% over the same period a year ago.
Art Bell’s ‘Midnight in the Desert’ Clears on KABC, Los Angeles. Many in the talk radio industry are by now aware that late-night paranormal talker Art Bell has returned to hosting a nightly program that is being offered in syndication to AM/FM stations. The former host of “Coast to Coast AM” is putting his show on the internet via his ArtBell.com but recently began affiliate efforts. Now, TALKERS learns the show is now being cleared on Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles, delayed by an hour from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am PT. Bell recently spoke with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison on Harrison’s hit podcast for media freaks called “Up Close and Far Out” on the PodcastOne platform. Listen to it here.
Radio One’s Radio Segment Down 6.6% in Third Quarter. Chief executive officer and president Alfred Liggins says the radio segment of Radio One continues to be challenged with its stations underperforming. The dip of 6.6% in net revenue compared to the markets in which they operate – down just 2.2% — should change in the future. “We are seeing some signs of stabilization in our Washington, DC and Houston clusters, as well as strong performances from Dallas, Philadelphia and St Louis. During the quarter we experienced double-digit ratings growth in 11 of our 15 markets, and our four largest markets showed ratings growth of 15% on average from July to September. This positive ratings momentum should lead to improved monetization in 2016.” The company’s TV One and Reach Media have performed better, helping to offset the radio sector’s performance. The company as a whole reports net revenue up 3.3% for the quarter. Liggins adds, “Fourth quarter core radio advertising revenues, excluding political advertising, are currently pacing (8.3%) YTY. We remain focused on correcting our underperforming radio clusters, while delivering increased cash-flow through overall cost containment, and revenue growth in the cable television business. I am excited that David Kantor has accepted the role as CEO of our radio platform, including our local stations, network and syndication business. Bringing together all of our radio assets under one leadership structure will enhance our ability to compete and transform our business for the future.”
Saga Communications Q3 Net Revenue Down 1.6%. The third quarter report from Saga Communications, Inc. shows the company’s net revenue was down 1.6% on income of $33.8 million. The company also reports that free cash flow increased 11.3% to $5.5 million for the quarter and station operating expense decreased $2.0 million to $24.3 million. For the nine month period from January through September 30, net revenue was down just 0.4% on income of $97.3 million.
Adam Carolla Re-Ups with PodcastOne. One of podcasting’s most successful personalities is continuing his relationship with the Norm Pattiz-founded PodcastOne advertiser-supported podcast network. Carolla Digital and Adam Carolla ink an exclusive sales and marketing deal for an additional five years. On top of repping the Carolla Digital lineup of programs, the companies will work closely on production and development of new programming. Carolla has been represented by PodcastOne since the company launched. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. Pattiz comments, “I learned one lesson very early in life – if you want to do something, do it with the best. I’ve been working with Adam since his ‘Loveline’ days and I hope that my obituary is read on his show first.”
Michael Harrison Talks About the State of Journalism with CBS News Radio VP, Harvey Nagler. In the latest installment of the international hit PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out,” Michael Harrison engages in an in-depth conversation about electronic journalism in the digital age with CBS News Radio VP Harvey Nagler. Nagler is one of the most respected and decorated executives in the realm of radio journalism. The two discuss the role of news on radio today as well as radio’s changing role in the convergence of traditional platforms. It is a substantive conversation covering everything from media responsibility and the impact of citizen gatekeepers on the state of truth to the evolving mission of journalism schools and emerging opportunities for young people entering the field of news in this very new environment. Harrison and Nagler reflect upon the legacy of Edward R. Murrow and compare what he did in the 1940s and 50s to today’s multimedia 24 hour news cycle. Yes, they even mention Donald Trump and the public’s ever-increasing fascination for politics as an entertaining spectator sport in the current presidential election cycle. To listen to the entire conversation, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” player box located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
KABC, Los Angeles to Be Subject of Panel Discussion at SoCal Media Convention. The convention at the Holiday Inn Media Center in Burbank is being presented by SPERDVAC – the Society to Preserve and Encourage Radio Drama, Variety And Comedy and it takes place this weekend. In addition to a lot of recreations of Golden Age of Radio theatre and celeb appearances, there will be panel discussions. One will feature talk about legendary Los Angeles station KABC. Moderating it will be radio pro and former KABC host Bill Moran. On the panel will be Eric Tracy, Carole Hemmingway, Tommy Hawkins, Royale Oaks, George Green, Ira Fistell, and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (via Skype). Moran says they discuss what made KABC legendary and how the station’s talk programming has changed since it assumed the spoken-word format in the 1960s. For more information about the convention, visit sperdvac.com.
C. Crane’s Impressive New Building. The family-owned-and-operated C. Crane company has been in business since it was founded at the Crane family’s kitchen table in 1983 selling AM antennas for the love of talk radio. Pictured here, you see the staff of the AM/FM radio and accessories vendor posing during the ribbon-cutting outside C. Crane’s newly remodeled 14,000 square foot facility. Local dignitaries and employees decided they might as well celebrate Halloween at the same time since a big move like this is kind of scary. Company founder Bob Crane says the new digs provide improved efficiency and better access for customers to the new showroom. He says, “Our ability to design and manufacture new proprietary radio products has dramatically accelerated with the new facility.”
2016 Presidential Race, Tuesday’s Election Results, Russian Airline Crash, Syria-Russia Relationship, Illinois Cop Case, European Migrant Troubles-U.S. Immigration Policy, and Quentin Tarantino Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/4). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016, including the controversy surrounding Donald Trump’s scheduled appearance hosting “Saturday Night Live” this weekend; the results of various gubernatorial and mayoral elections on Tuesday; the investigation into the crash of a Russian airliner in the Sinai and the possibility ISIS is responsible; the military relationship between Syria and Russia; the case of the Illinois cop, at first thought killed by attackers and now believed to have committed suicide to hide his theft of funds; the ongoing migrant troubles in European countries and U.S. immigration policy; and the flap over director Quentin Tarantino’s support of a rally against deadly police violence were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
The State of Women on Talk Radio: Part 3. Today (11/4), TALKERS magazine continues its multi-part story looking at the status of women on talk radio in 2015. Written by special features correspondent Jeff McKay, it addresses one of the most-asked questions TALKERS editors hear: Why aren’t there more women on talk radio? Today we explore the question: What does it take to make it? Obviously, there are women working successfully in the news/talk genre as lead or solo host or part of an equal team. Mandy Connell of KHOW, Denver and WHAS, Louisville says a lot of it is luck applying at stations with open-minded programmers. “I have been very fortunate to cross paths with great PDs who believed in my abilities and were not dissuaded by my gender. Jim Watkins hired me first, then Kelly Carls, Dan Mandis and Greg Foster — none of whom cared that I was female. They just cared that I was good at what I do. I think as more women work their way through the talk radio landscape, the programming issue will solve itself.” Susan Monday hosts the midday show at WXDE, Lewes, Delaware. She believes women who want to succeed at talk radio should be aware how they sound on the radio. “It’s also important — not fair, but important — that a woman’s voice is the right kind of voice. Shrill is not a woman-in-radio’s friend. Luckily years of cheerleading destroyed any hope of shrill for me, but I still counsel women to check their tone when they get upset. Shrill makes me turn the dial. Unless it’s Mark Levin, for whom shrill is a normal speaking voice.” Also in this installment, hear from Salem SVP Phil Boyce, consultant Valerie Geller, WFTL, Fort Lauderdale’s Joyce Kaufman, Greater Media’s Phil Zachary, and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison. Read the entire piece here.
Nielsen’s October PPM Format Report Shows Big Months for News/Talk and Sports Talk. Reporting on the results of its October 2015 PPM survey, Nielsen Audio delivers some stats about listenership based on format, and it bodes well for news/talk and sports talk stations. According to the ratings giant, “news/talk posted its best overall month in nearly two years — a 9.4% share of all listening, which was last matched in November 2013.” For October, news/talk was the most-listened-to format (persons 6+ AQH share). Country was second with 7.9 %, CHR came in tied for third with AC with 7.4%. In the 25-54 demo, news/talk finished fifth with 6.3% of 6+ listeners. Sports talk celebrated a huge jump in listening. “Sports stole the show in October, jumping a full share-point among all listeners aged 6+ from 4.6% in September to 5.6%. This marks a new record for the format. In the 25-54 demographic, October’s 6% (up from 5.1% in September) tied the record set in October and November of 2014.” See the Nielsen story here.
CBS RADIO Division Revenue Dips 6% in Q3 Report. The 2015 third quarter financial report for CBS Corp. was delivered on Tuesday (11/3) and the CBS RADIO division – part of the company’s Local Broadcasting segment that also includes CBS television stations – was down 6% compared to the same period a year ago. What affected the radio division’s revenue from last year to this? CBS attributes the drop to the generally soft radio advertising marketplace, the fewer radio stations it owns this year and less political advertising after last year’s mid-term elections. Political and sports are also very important to the television sector. The company reports the 7% decline in television revenue stems from fewer sports events and the decrease in political.
‘Stuttering’ John Melendez Joins Stephanie Miller Program; Jim Ward Returns. The move of executive producer “Boy Toy” Chris Lavoie to a new career in Palm Springs opens the door for former longtime Howard Stern cast member and “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” announcer “Stuttering” John Melendez to join the Stephanie Miller program as executive producer and co-host. At the same time, Miller is pleased to welcome the return of Emmy award-winner Jim Ward – the man of 1,000 voices – as her new co-host, effective November 16. Ward is known for his impersonations of political figures, celebrities, and newsmakers. Melendez began his duties today (11/4).
Odds & Sods. WOR, New York talk host and NY 1 TV personality Mark Simone will be teaching a master class on Frank Sinatra on November 18 as part of Hofstra University’s two-week symposium on the legendary singer. Simone hosted a long-running Sinatra show on ABC Radio and he’s been the host of numerous Sinatra specials on PBS…..Joining the menu of shows available from PodcastOne is actress Heather Dubrow, a star of the show “OC Housewives.” The weekly program is called “Heather Dubrow’s World” and the first episode features her fellow “OC Housewives” stars Tamra Barney and Shannon Beador…..CBS RADIO all-news KNX, Los Angeles is producing “A Sandwich Generation Forum & Resource Expo” on Saturday, November 14 at the Burbank Airport Marriott Convention Center. TV personality Leeza Gibbons, KNBC-TV weatherman Fritz Coleman, LA County District Attorney Jackie Lacey and prominent medical professionals, professors, attorneys, financial planners and authors are among the 25 speakers who will offer guidance for people facing the complex challenges of caregiving for aging parents and growing children.
2016 Presidential Race, Clinton Foundation Financial Questions, Russian Airliner Crash, U.S. and Russian Roles in Syrian Conflict, U.S. Immigration Policy, Troubled ObamaCare Co-ops, Chipotle E. Coli Outbreak, and Looming Paris Climate Summit Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/3). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016; scrutiny of the Clinton Foundation’s finances; the investigation into the crash of a Russian airliner in the Sinai Desert; the Syrian civil war and the roles of the U.S. and Russian military; debate over the immigration policy in the U.S.; reports of troubled ObamaCare co-ops; the outbreak of E. coli poisoning at Chipotle restaurants in Washington and Oregon; and escalating discussion about climate change as the Paris climate summit approaches were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cool Job Opportunity. SiriusXM Satellite Radio is seeking a producer for the Patriot Channel in its Talk Programming division. The person in this producer position will be responsible for all aspects involved in producing a successful daily talk show on Sirius XM Patriot including studio/technical operations, promotion, production, guest booking, and research. Requirements include a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience. Previous production experience within radio and/or live studio environment preferred. For more about this position and to apply, click here.
Beasley Media Group Q3 Financial Data Shows Mixed Results. Last December’s asset swap with CBS RADIO – in which it exchanged five stations in Philly and Miami for 14 CBS stations in Tampa, Charlotte and Philly – makes this third quarter financial report from Beasley Media Group a bit more complex. It’s required to report the five stations CBS received under discontinued operations for the 2014 third quarter, despite having operated them through November 2014. Therefore, on a combined basis, third quarter top-line revenue was up 7%, but on a pro forma basis third quarter net revenue decreased 4.5% while station operating income declined 12.2%. The company says, “The decline in pro forma revenue largely reflects weakness in Charlotte, Las Vegas, Fayetteville and Wilmington, which reduced operating leverage and impacted SOI. However, we continue to make progress with the Tampa-St. Petersburg and Charlotte integration initiatives and reduced combined station operating expenses in these markets by approximately $700,000, while company-wide cost reductions led to a 1.5% reduction in third quarter station operating expenses. We are now approximately 11 months into our integration and transition plan related to the asset exchange and despite it being more difficult and time consuming than expected, we believe our success in expense management combined with our ratings strength should lead to financial benefits from the swap in late 2016. In the meantime, we continue to make progress in reducing debt, while returning capital to shareholders. During the third quarter we made credit facility repayments totaling $3 million, reduced borrowings to $90.2 million at September 30, 2015 and declared our eighth consecutive quarterly cash dividend.” In issuing its forward looking statements, Beasley says it remains “focused on operating our station clusters to match or exceed their markets revenue performance while further strengthening our balance sheet. We believe our ratings and programming are in great shape and look forward to benefiting from the integration, programming, personnel, cost-efficiency and operating changes put in place over the last year.”
Sean Hannity Packs iHeartRadio Theatre in Los Angeles. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Sean Hannity appeared in Los Angeles recently to a standing room only house at the iHeartRadio Theatre. Hannity is heard on iHeartMedia’s KEIB, Los Angeles and the station reports that listeners were treated to breakfast and more than an hour of political conversation, jokes, personal stories and Q&A with the Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel personality. Pictured here backstage at the iHeartRadio Theatre are (from l-r): iHeartMedia Los Angeles market president Kevin LeGrett, Hannity, and KEIB and KFI program director Robin Bertolucci.
‘Detroit Sports 105.1’ Adds Two Personalities to Revamped Lineup. With the recent exit of longtime Detroit radio personality Drew Lane from the PM drive daypart last week, Greater Media’s sports talk WMGC “Detroit Sports 105.1,” adds two new personalities to its new lineup. Drew Sharp joins Matt Dery for the new afternoon program and Sean Baligian is now part of the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show with Tom Mazawey and Marc Fellhauer. Baligian has been hosting the afternoon show on iHeartMedia’s Grand Rapids sports talk WMAX “96.1 FM ESPN.” He also works for USA Hockey and is in his seventh year as the voice of Wayne State Football. Drew Sharp is a 30-plus year Detroit Free Press columnist. Program director Dave Shore says, “This new lineup is very exciting and we will continue bringing Detroit the most knowledgeable and most thought-provoking talent in sports radio.”
Round Four of October PPM Ratings Released. The fourth and final round of October 2015 PPM data from Nielsen Audio is released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. You can find all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his Twelve Takeaways from this round of data at our sister publication’s site here. The October 2015 PPM survey covered September 10 through October 7.
Bringing Joy to the Visually and Hearing Impaired. Hardly a week goes by when past-recipient of the TALKERS Humanitarian of the Year award, GCN-syndicated talk star Dr. Joy Browne is not involved in a high-profile charitable initiative. This past Wednesday (10/28) America’s leading relationships talker performed the role of honorary ring master at the Big Apple Circus presentation of “Circus of the Senses” – a specially adapted performance of “The Grand Tour” – at New York’s Lincoln Center for children and adults with vision or hearing impairments and other disabilities allowing them to experience the joy and wonder of the circus. Dr. Browne (l) is pictured in full ringmaster regalia with Big Apple Circus regular ringmaster John Kennedy Kane (r). Browne tells TALKERS, “It was a wonderful experience introducing the show. Through the use of audio headsets, Braille descriptive programs, American Sign Language interpreters, and a special ‘touch session’ after the show, anyone and everyone could experience and enjoy the extravaganza!”
GOP Debate and 2016 Presidential Race Top News/Talk Stories for Week of October 26-30. Wednesday evening’s GOP primary debate and the 2016 presidential race tied for the top spot on the Talkers TenTM this week. At #2 was Paul Ryan’s ascension to the Speaker of the House. Coming in at #3 was the congressional budget deal followed by the U.S.-Russian military skirmishes 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.
KTAR-FM, Phoenix Names Sharpe, West New ‘Arizona’s Morning News’ Hosts. The Bonneville-owed news/talk station is bidding Ned Foster a happy retirement after a 27-year stint with the station. News anchor Connie Weber recently left the morning program after a 10-year term. So, effective November 30, longtime Valley news personality Jim Sharpe and award-winning news anchor Jayme West will be the new hosts of KTAR’s “Arizona’s Morning News.” Bonneville Phoenix vice president of content and operations Ryan Hatch states, “With more than 40 years of combined local news experience, Jim and Jayme are the perfect pair to move the ‘Arizona’s Morning News’ product forward on air, online and on social media. We think their natural chemistry, insatiable curiosity and passion for our community will be warmly received by our audience, which counts on ‘Arizona’s Morning News’ to keep them informed and connected.” Bonneville notes that Sharpe is a 2006 Associated Press Arizona Reporter of the Year and a war correspondent who most recently hosted a nationally syndicated news talk program on USA Radio Networks. He’s also hosted the “Sharpe in the Morning” program on crosstown news/talk KFYI. West is a five-time Arizona Associated Press Reporter of the Year winner and 19-year KTAR veteran who will move to mornings after previously anchoring the news in afternoon drive and hosting “Arizona’s Evening News.”
KOGO, San Diego Announces New Programming Lineup: Hannity Joins for Middays, DeMaio to PM Drive. San Diego news/talk outlet KOGO “News Radio 600” adjusts its program schedule, “with extended news programming, a new timeslot for Carl DeMaio and the addition of top-rated, nationally syndicated talk radio host Sean Hannity,” effective Monday, October 26. iHeartMedia San Diego market president Melissa Forrest states, “We are extremely excited about our new lineup and the addition of Sean Hannity to our team. ‘News Radio 600’ has experienced tremendous ratings growth in the past year and we anticipate these new changes will help evolve our programming to the next level.” A year ago, the station launched new programming with an emphasis on news in morning and afternoon drive and reports the ratings indicate the audience is responding. The daily lineup is: “San Diego Morning News with Ted Garcia & LaDona Harvey,” Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, “DeMaio Report,” and “KOGO Evening News with Ernie Brown.”
ESPN Layoffs Claim KSPN, Los Angeles PD Mike Thompson. The layoffs at sports entertainment giant ESPN – confirmed yesterday by the company – have hit the radio ranks with ‘ESPN LA’ program director Mike Thompson learning that his position is being eliminated. He stated in an email to the Los Angeles Metro Bugle, “It’s been a wonderful 12 years with the Walt Disney Company. I am honored to have worked alongside talented broadcasters to build a record ratings winner among contemporary males never seen before in the format and AM radio in the No. 2 market.” The company is laying off some 300 staffers across all company departments. Although on-air talent is not expected to be affected, it’s unclear how many more behind-the-scenes radio people will be affected.
SiriusXM Reports Q3 Earnings; Net Revenue Up 11%. Satcaster SiriusXM reports its third quarter 2015 financial numbers announcing that revenue was up 11% year-over-year and net revenue was $167 million, compared to $136 million during the same period a year ago. In a statement, Jim Meyer says, “With subscribers at an all-time high of nearly 29 million and record adjusted EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA margin, our third quarter was one of the strongest performances in our company’s history. We are confident of our continued success in the fourth quarter, and we are increasing our guidance for self-pay and total net subscriber additions, revenue, and adjusted EBITDA.” The burning question before SiriusXM is will Howard Stern renew or leave the platform he’s been on for the past 10 years? Meyer would only say in an investors’ conference, “I hope so.” He went on to say, “You should assume we speak quite often and stay tuned for updates. And of course, the best way to hear any news regarding its renewal is to tune into Howard’s show every morning, heck, that’s what I do.”
FAQ: Is There a PD? Radio consultant Holland Cooke writes today about the changing/disappearing role of program director. As he notes in his column published today (10/22) that radio stations are not programmed anymore, they are managed. There are two primary reasons: “Debt service compromises Quality Control. VERY few managers are responsible for a single station. At many talk stations, this manager also does an air shift, before or after Rush. Stations think they can get-away-with-it because… most programming is now non-local. Who’s left to direct? Most talk programming comes off the bird. Music stations are voicetracked or downlinked from the mother ship. Directing is a lost art.” For those managers seeking a real, live PD, read Holland Cooke’s take on what qualities he/she must possess here.
Odds & Sods. The decision is not set in stone yet, but Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that CBS RADIO will likely move Chicago Cubs play-by-play from all-news WBBM-AM to sports talk WSCR “The Score.” WSCR is losing Chicago White Sox play-by-play as Cumulus-owned crosstown news/talk WLS-AM will begin serving as that team’s flagship beginning next season…..John W. Pirkle-owned WNFZ-FM, Knoxville drops news/talk and goes alternative rock as “94Z.” However, the “Rude Awakening” morning show with Mike Howard and Terry West remains on the program schedule. The station also aired a local afternoon show called “The Drive” with Russell Smith. It’s not clear what his and producer Richard Daughtry’s fates are…..CBS RADIO gives Nick Wilson an evening sports talk show on WKRK, Cleveland “92.3 The Fan.” Wilson has been a producer, part-time host and sports anchor at the station. His rise to host of “The Nick Wilson Experiment” comes after Ken Carman moved from that slot to co-host morning drive with Kevin Kiley…..Cumulus Media gives Toledo news/talker WSPD an FM presence in the market as the station is now simulcasting on new translator W221BG at 92.1 FM. The translator is licensed to Rudolph, Ohio, about 25 miles south of downtown Toledo.
KMOX, St. Louis’ Bill Reker Retires. According to a report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, KMOX, St. Louis news anchor Bill Reker is retiring from the station after a 20-year career there. KMOX program director Steve Moore tells the paper, “He is a pro’s pro. Whether it was severe weather or something going on in Ferguson, you knew you had a professional in the newsroom. I’ll miss the level of calm he brought.”
Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi Testimony, Joe Biden’s ‘Won’t Run’ Announcement, 2016 Presidential Race, Russia-Syria Relationship, Paul Ryan House Speaker Bid, Chris Rock to Host Oscars, European Migrant Troubles, and MLB League Championships Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/21). Today’s Benghazi testimony by former Secretary of State and current Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton; Vice President Joe Biden’s announcement that he will not run for president; the activities of the rest of the candidates for president in 2016, notably Dr. Ben Carson’s poll-leading numbers in Iowa; the military relationship between Putin’s Russia and al-Assad’s Syria; Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan’s bid for the Speaker of the House post; comic Chris Rock set to host the next Academy Awards show; ongoing migrant problems in the European Union; and the Major League Baseball playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
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.
TALKERS Publishes Second Annual “Heavy Hundred” of Sports Talk Radio. The editors of TALKERS magazine, with input from industry leaders, have compiled the second annual Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America. The eagerly anticipated list is posted today (11/7). Like its long-established “sister list” – the long-running (18 years) annual “Heavy Hundred” that ranks talk radio hosts working in the news/talk and general talk genres – the editors of TALKERS magazine have ranked sports talk hosts, duos or ensembles from 1 to 100 based upon a set of criteria that includes a combination of hard and soft factors. The results are, admittedly, subjective. Being true to the realities of the media business, ratings and revenue are two of the major factors – some would say they are the only factors worth considering – but the editors also took into account other qualities that help create a list that is reflective of the industry’s diversity and total flavor and still give credit where credit is due. Those qualities include: courage, effort, impact, recognition, service, talent and uniqueness. The other concrete qualification for inclusion is hosts must be working – that is, have a regularly scheduled professional show on the air at a minimum of one terrestrial or satellite radio station at the time of publication. TALKERS salutes the fine broadcasters who made this year’s second annual list! To see the entire roster, please click here.
Darryl Parks Exits Clear Channel. The longtime WLW, Cincinnati steward and architect of so many of the talk shows that aired on the station has been let go by Clear Channel. Programmer Darryl Parks was PD of WLW from 1999 to 2010 when he was promoted to vice president of news/talk operations for the entire company. He remained based at the Cincinnati cluster and hosted a Saturday morning talk show on WLW. The Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter broke the news on Wednesday afternoon and in his report calls Parks “arguably the most influential person in Cincinnati radio” during his time as PD of WLW. As per policy, Clear Channel doesn’t comment on personnel matters but has confirmed that Parks is no longer with the company. The move is likely a restructuring of management within the company but Parks drew attention to himself last month with a blog post criticizing acting FCC chairwoman Mignon Clyburn’s AM revitalization program and referred to the NAB/RAB Radio Show as a “circle jerk.”
CBS Corporation Reveals Q3 Numbers: Radio Up 1%. For the company as a whole, revenue was up 11% but the radio division’s net revenue rose just 1%. With so much of CBS’ revenue from television and cable, the company doesn’t spend much time talking about radio. EVP of investor relations Adam Townsend did single out the fledgling CBS Sports Radio Network, saying, “CBS Sports Radio network continues to help drive our results. Plus, digital revenue was up 19% in the quarter. And nontraditional revenue, including our growing local events business, was up 9%.” The company says it expects the radio division to be up in the low single digits in the fourth quarter.
Clear Channel Radio Revenue Up 3%. CC Media Holdings issued its third quarter 2013 financial results and the Clear Channel Media and Entertainment division’s revenue increased by 3% or $25 million. Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “Strategically and financially, our third quarter results reflect the growing strength of our Media+Entertainment business, while we continue to make meaningful progress in moving Outdoor forward internationally and in the Americas. At Media+Entertainment, we outperformed the entire radio sector in revenue growth, including in our major markets. Increasingly, our radio business is benefiting from our strategic approach to advertising that sets us apart in the marketplace.” Among numerous other points made about the division’s recent achievements, the company notes that there are now “39 million iHeartRadio registered users as of September 30, 2013, up 114% from the end of the 2012 third quarter, and crossing the 30 million registered user mark faster than Facebook, Twitter, Spotify or Pandora, and second only to Instagram. iHeartRadio’s total listening hours were up 30% in the third quarter of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012. Mobile represented 60% of iHeartRadio total listening hours during the quarter.”
Tony Katz to Host Evening Show on WIBC-FM, Indianapolis. Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis and talk show host Tony Katz have agreed to terms for Katz to debut his “Tony Katz Tonight” program on the station airing from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight beginning Monday, November 11. Katz will be based out of his Tomorrow Media Network studios in Los Angeles. Katz most recently hosted a weekend program on Emmis-owned KFTK-FM, St. Louis “FM News Talk 97.1” where he also serves as the regular fill-in for the station’s Dana Loesch. Katz states, “I’m thrilled to be with Emmis, a company that has fought hard to be strong in this ever-shifting radio landscape. I’ve had a great relationship with the company, with Dana and especially KFTK program director Jeff Allen, who gave me nothing but support, opportunity and encouragement. To go from there to the capable and fearless hands of WIBC program director David Wood makes me truly believe that this is the start of a long, profitable relationship.” Katz is a columnist with TownHall and Christian Post and a frequent commentator on “Fox and Friends” and “The Kudlow Report” on CNBC. He is also a sought after public speaker.
Bill Cunningham’s TV Show Renews on The CW. WLW, Cincinnati talk show host Bill Cunningham can also claim success in his other media endeavor – the Tribune-produced television talk program “The Bill Cunningham Show.” Now, Cable & Broadcasting reports that the show has been picked up for another season – its third – by The CW Network which airs the show at 3:00 pm ET. The TV project was one of those that began back when former Clear Channel radio president Randy Michaels was heading up Tribune. Former Clear Channel programmer Sean Compton is one of the executives whom Michaels brought to Chicago and has risen to president of programming and entertainment for Tribune Broadcasting. Compton is quoted in the piece saying, “The growth of ‘The Bill Cunningham Show’ over the past three seasons has exceeded all expectations. When compared to perceptually bigger shows, Cunningham consistently comes out on top. His demo conversion steadily yields impressive results and we are extremely proud of this show.”
A Peek Inside: NAB Futures 2013. Radio consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke was recently invited to attend – and deliver a keynote speech! – at the invitation only NAB Futures 2013 that took place in Laguna Beach, California. Cooke describes it as “a think tank about how broadcasters can embrace and exploit the ‘disruption’ that has changed how consumers consume media.” He reports back interesting tidbits from such speakers as: James McQuivey, VP and principal analyst at Forrester Research and the author of Digital Disruption: Unleashing the Next Wave of Innovation; Scott Burnell, global lead, business development & partner management at Ford Motor Company; Jason Dorsey, “The Gen Y Guy” who wrote Y-Size Your Business: How Gen Y Employees Can Save You Money and Grow Your Business. Get Holland Cooke’s scoop on the NAB Futures 2013 here.
WestwoodOne Opens Creative and Production Studio for Radio Marketers. Saying that it wants to help marketers develop “world-class audio,” WestwoodOne announces the opening of a full-service Creative Services division to be “powered” in part by TM Studios. The company says it will “provide multi-platform marketing solutions including on-air, digital and experiential components, built upon the company’s core service producing engaging audio experiences that connect people with their passions in life. The studio is currently preparing to work with marketers to produce audio ads for WestwoodOne’s broadcast of Super Bowl XLVIII.” WestwoodOne CEO Paul Caine states, “Audio plays a vital role in the new media landscape and WestwoodOne is uniquely positioned to help marketers integrate creative, multiplatform audio advertising into the mix. Marketers need a reliable partner who understands how, where and when today’s mobile consumers are interacting with audio and the ability to develop audio content that can stand out from the competition. Be it mobile, terrestrial or digital consumption, the team at WestwoodOne Studio has the talent and expertise to create the most compelling and effective advertising to give our marketers the most exposure.”
Phil Valentine Kicks Off ‘Spreading the Truth’ Tour. Nashville-based syndicated talk show host Phil Valentine is launching what he’s calling the “Spreading the Truth” tour to promote the newly released DVD of his film “An Inconsistent Truth.” Valentine will be in Pensacola, Florida at the Cordova Mall on Sunday, November 10 in conjunction with his Pensacola affiliate station WCOA. Valentine reports that the movie – which challenges the notion of runaway, man-made global warming and takes its title from a twist on Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth – “hit the #1 spot on Amazon.com’s documentary list shortly after its release. It’s the winner of three film festival awards including the Nevada Film Festival. The film enjoyed a limited run last year in select theaters and was the top-grossing movie per screen in the entire country its first two weeks out. It’s the 20th top-grossing nature documentary of all time, out-grossing films like “Cool It, Gasland and Fuel.” Valentine states, “I think the fact that we hit #1 on Amazon so quickly is a testament to the appetite out there for the truth. People inherently know carbon dioxide is not some kind of poison. They instinctively know they’re being lied to. We just arm them with the facts.” The Spreading the Truth tour kicks off in Pensacola then moves to Nashville. Other tour dates are being added.
Odds & Sods. Chicago Cubs radio color analyst Keith Moreland is stepping down from his role. WGN, Chicago announces the former Cub has made the decision to leave the broadcast booth to spend more time with his family. In a note to the WGN staff, Moreland stated, “I would like to thank the fans, the folks at WGN Radio, my colleagues in the booth, the Ricketts family, and the Cubs for this great opportunity. After spending three years doing it, I’ve simply decided that I want to spend more time at home in Texas.” Moreland became a permanent fixture with play-by-play broadcaster Pat Hughes in February of 2011…..Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston announces the return of its off-season baseball show “Red Sox Hot Stove,” a weekly, one-hour program hosted by WEEI.com editor Rob Bradford and Red Sox reporter Alex Speier that will air every Thursday night from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm through February. The program will focus on all off-season moves made by the Red Sox and in Major League Baseball, including free agency and trades, the GM and owners’ meetings and the league’s annual Winter Meetings, taking place this year from December 9-12 at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, FL. Bradford and Speier will be joined on a recurring basis by Red Sox manager John Farrell, general manager Ben Cherington and assistant general manager Mike Hazen. In addition, listeners will regularly hear from other managers, general managers, agents and players from around baseball.
‘There She/He Is, Miss Indiana…’ Okay, so that’s not exactly how the song goes. Nonetheless, the attractive woman you see here is Mekayla Diehl (right) who was crowned Miss Indiana USA 2014 this past Sunday. The handsome lad seated and wearing the tiara is Federated Media news and programming guru Jon Zimney of ‘95.3 FM MNC’ (Michiana News Channel) in South Bend, Indiana, and WOWO-AM/FM in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Miss Diehl visited the broadcasting facility to talk about her being crowned to represent the state of Indiana.
ObamaCare Criticism, Election Day Results, Benghazi Case, GOP 2014 and 2016 Strategies, Iran Nukes, Miami Dolphins ‘Bullying’ Story and Tony Dorsett Health Issues Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/6). The ongoing scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; Tuesday’s election results; renewed criticism of the handling of the deadly Benghazi attacks; Republican prospects and strategies for the mid-term elections in 2014 and the presidential election in 2016; Iran’s nuclear weapons program; controversy over the suspension of Miami Dolphins player Richie Incognito; and former NFL great Tony Dorsett’s admission he suffers from possible effects of football injuries were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Journal Broadcast Group’s Radio Division Posts 3.5% Revenue Gain in Q3. Milwaukee-based Journal Communications issued its 2013 third quarter numbers yesterday and the radio division reports revenue was up 3.5% on $20.5 million compared to the same period a year ago. The company adds, “Local advertising revenue increased 4.3%, primarily due to increases in professional services, retail and medical advertising. National advertising revenue decreased 4.9%, mostly due to declines in media, professional services and restaurant advertising. Operating earnings from radio stations were $3.5 million compared to $3.0 million, an increase of 16.3%. Radio operating expenses increased 1.3% driven by higher employee-related costs and higher broadcast rights fees.”
FCC Issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Revitalization of AM Radio Service. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued yesterday (10/31) by the Federal Communications Commission addressing the revitalization of AM radio service can be found in its entirety here. The six-pronged proposal consists of: opening an FM translator filing window exclusively for AM station owners; modifying the daytime community coverage standards for existing AM stations; modifying the nighttime community coverage standards for existing AM stations; eliminating the AM ‘rachet rule’; permitting wider implementation of modulation dependent carrier level control technologies; and modifying AM antenna efficiency standards. NAB CEO Gordon Smith says the organization supports the move. “NAB salutes the leadership of Acting Chair Mignon Clyburn and FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai for taking a strong interest in revitalizing AM radio, which has a long and storied history of providing America’s hometowns with news, entertainment, sports and community affairs information. AM radio is a cultural touchstone and jobs generator in cities large and small; many of the top revenue-generating stations are on the AM band. We strongly endorse the revitalization proceeding and stand ready to work with the FCC to develop meaningful solutions.”
FCC Denies Virginia Man’s Objection to Renewal of WMAL-AM/FM, Washington’s License. From time to time, the FCC receives objections to the renewal of the license of a radio station and, also occasionally, that is based on the notion that the station’s programming is biased and that it is not serving the public. That is roughly what Kevin M. Raymond of Woodbridge, Virginia claimed when he objected to the renewal of WMAL’s license. Raymond argued that the station has an “incessant bias” against the government throughout all its programs and the station broadcasts “blatant lies on each program” that cannot be considered protected by the right to free speech. On Thursday, the FCC announce its denial of Raymond’s objection. Stating in part, the Commission wrote, “The Objection also questions whether the Station is funded anonymously for political propaganda purposes. The Objection provides no support for this speculative comment. Accordingly, this argument requires no further discussion here…There have been no other violations which, taken together, constitute a pattern of abuse…We have examined the Objection and find that it does not raise a substantial and material question of fact calling for further inquiry or otherwise persuade us that granting the Application would contravene the public interest, convenience, and necessity. The Commission is prohibited from exercising any power of censorship over broadcast stations with respect to content-based programming decisions. A licensee has broad discretion – based on its right to free speech – to choose the programming that it believes serves the needs and interests of the members of its audience.
New Comedy Album Getting Noticed by Talk Show Hosts and Producers. Before the days of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, when it came to politics, some of the most interesting political comments came from music parodies and comedians. Older industry professionals might remember the radio phenomenon of their childhoods called “The First Family” – a comedy album created by talented impersonator Vaughn Meader and a cast of characters parodying the newly elected President John F. Kennedy and his family/administration. After the assassination of the young president, the album disappeared as quickly as it rose to prominence. You don’t really hear much pre-recorded political satire on the radio these days…but that may change. A longtime radio host/producer has joined forces with a longtime entertainment industry executive to put together a political comedy CD that has hit the top of the comedy CD charts in just the initial two weeks of release. For Michael Hardeman (a recurring contributor to the Stephanie Miller radio show) and Marshall Blonstein (a veteran LA record executive), being politically correct means being “Politically Incoherent.” Read all about this exciting project in a new article posted today (11/1) by TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay by clicking here.
The “Talkers Show” Covering Radio and Talk Media Debuts Today on TalkersRadio. As the new experimental internet talk radio station, TalkersRadio, passes its six week milestone, a new crop of programs are slated to launch during the next month. Debuting today is the “Talkers Show” – a daily, one-hour conversation program hosted by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison featuring interviews with members of the talk media industry and related fields. The program is scheduled to air weekdays 12:00 noon – 1:00 pm ET with repeats programmed throughout remaining open slots on the schedule. Today’s initial guests are Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald, hosts of the TalkersRadio program, the “Brent & Meg Radio Thingy” (weekdays 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm ET) and noted Fox News Radio star Alan Colmes, who hosts a show on TalkersRadio titled “Healed Planet” heard on the third Sunday of each month 8:00 pm – 9:00 pm ET. Upcoming scheduled guests include TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein (former PD of WOR, New York; WBZ, Boston; WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford and WPRO, Providence, among others); successful record producer Robbie Student who hosts a daily program on TalkersRadio (weekdays 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm); and Steve M. Fassberg, the media-savvy CEO/founder of the Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Company. Upon beginning this new program, Michael Harrison states, “Hosting this show about talk media is sheer fun for me and having the opportunity to give long form conversational exposure to some of the brightest and most articulate people in our industry is a wonderfully gratifying extension of the services this trade publication is so dedicated to providing.” New shows currently in development for launch on TalkersRadio include “Radio Lifeboat with Diane and Mickey Gooch” – a mother/son co-hosted program focusing on the challenges of drug and alcohol addiction. Diane Gooch is a veteran New Jersey newspaper publisher and a principal in the Washington, DC-based Talk Radio News Service. Mickey Gooch is a young LA actor who has experienced the depths of addiction and is now in recovery. Another show set for launch later this fall is “Green Connection,” a show dedicated to chronicling environmentally friendly industrial developments hosted by noted Washington, DC journalist Joan Michelson. Veteran broadcaster Bob Shannon, executive director of the Upper Midwest Conclave will host a program titled “Stories” in which he will share candid insights into the real-life personal issues facing men and the women they love. Also on tap for launch on TalkersRadio is a brand new program hosted by WPIX-TV, New York personality, Lionel. TalkersRadio is powered by Backbone Networks and heard exclusively on Talkers.com and TuneIn. For more information call 413-565-5413.
WFAN’s Boomer & Carton Open Food Stand at Barclays Center Tonight. At this evening’s Brooklyn Nets game at the Barclays Center, WFAN, New York morning drive duo Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton will open their self-titled food stand located by section 17 of the arena. Both Esiason and Carton will be on hand for the 7:00 pm ribbon cutting of the Boomer & Carton Kitchen at Barclays Center. Some of the menu items – personally designed by the duo – include: the Boom Doggy Dog – a Nathan’s Hot Dog with smothered onions, spicy cheese sauce and crisp bacon; the Chubby Chaser – which includes a Brooklyn Burger, chicken tenders, Nathan’s fries, cheddar cheese, lettuce and tomato, on a brioche bun; Lobster Monster, a Red Hook Lobster Pound sandwich with authentic Brooklyn hot cherry peppers and mustard; and Carton’s Kitchen Chicken – which includes a chicken cutlet, eggplant spread, broccoli rabe, and provolone on ciabatta bread. Boomer & Carton state, “We are thrilled to bring the WFAN brand and our taste for great food to the world class Barclays Center. Since starting our morning show in 2007, we’ve easily gained 50 pounds between the two of us. Clearly we know what tastes good and what people like to eat. Boomer & Carton Kitchen will be a great extension of our show and an amazing partnership for years to come with Barclays Center.”
Two Promoted at WTOP, Washington. Jim Battagliese and Michael McMearty have been promoted at Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington. Battagliese has been upped to director of traffic and weather from director of traffic and transit operations. He will be responsible for the station’s coverage of traffic and weather on air, as well as on its online and social media formats. McMearty, previously senior news director, has been named senior news and sports director and will be responsible for overnight sports news with Dave Johnson and George Wallace.
Tony Dungy Visits KNML, Albuquerque’s ‘Opening Drive’ Show. In town to promote Comcast’s “Internet Essentials” program that provides low-cost internet and low-cost computers to families in need, former NFL coach and current NBC Sports personality Tony Dungy visited both news/talk KKOB where he spoke with morning host Bob Clark and sister sports talk station KNML “610 The Sports Animal” and appeared on the morning “Opening Drive” program. Pictured here (from l-r) are “Opening Drive” host Jeff Siembieda, Dungy, Michael Carlyle and JJ Buck.
ObamaCare Rollout/Sebelius Hearings Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 28-November 1. The scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and the Congressional hearings featuring Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the NSA spying controversy. Following at #3 was more Benghazi cover-up allegations and at #4 was the state of the GOP. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is based on ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. You can see this week’s entire chart here.
Lew Dickey: Cumulus to Hire 50 More Sales Staffers. During the Cumulus Media Q3 conference call with investors yesterday, CEO Lew Dickey said the dividends of investing in the company’s sales strategy are paying off. Dickey told analysts, “We’ve made a lot of investment in training over the last couple of years that is really now gaining traction…in fact, as we look into 2014, we’ve now given the order here to go and hire 50 more people as we get down to the end of the year based on anticipated demand as we get into ’14. So we really have a very well-functioning sales organization today that is the byproduct of an awful lot of work on systems and training — everything from pricing to CRM to activity management, improving coverage, ad packaging – all the different things that we’ve been working on to make us more competitive in the local market.” When asked about radio’s share of the ad market versus television and other media, Dickey was very bullish, saying, “I would say that…radio in general is, I think, starting to experience a little bit of a renaissance as we’re starting to see a much greater buzz for the medium for audio advertising in general. The space seems to be expanding. And people are realizing the value of audio advertising and how efficiently they can do it on a mass market basis with great targetability using local broadcast radio. So it’s a terrific value for advertisers and I think they’re starting to realize it…I think it’s a trend that’s going to take some time to play out. But I do think that it is a tailwind rather than a headwind, I think, that we’re experiencing as we move into 2014, and that’s all positive.” Updating analysts on what he calls the company’s four key growth initiatives – CBS Sports Radio, Nash FM, Right Now Traffic and SweetJack – Dickey said the country brand Nash FM will finish rolling out across the country in early 2014 with all of the company’s country stations taking on the “Nash” brand. He called WNSH, New York the “second-most-listened-to” country station in America. He said the CBS Sports Radio Network exceeded expectations for 2013 and that upfront sales on the network for 2014 are “off to a strong start.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript. Members can read the entire transcript here.
Senate Confirms Tom Wheeler as FCC Chairman; Republican Michael O’Rielly Also Confirmed. After being nominated by President Obama in May, the U.S. Senate finally votes on the confirmation of Tom Wheeler to replace Julius Genachowski as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Wheeler, former managing director at DC-based Core Capital Partners LP as well as a former lobbyist in the wireless and cable TV industries, states, “I am humbled by the Senate’s confirmation and I look forward to taking the oath of office in the coming days. I am deeply grateful to President Obama for his confidence in nominating me for this position. Chairwoman Clyburn has led the Commission with dedication and vision for six months. We all owe Chairwoman Clyburn a huge thank you. The Chairwoman, along with Commissioners Rosenworcel and Pai and the FCC staff dealt with important issues that kept policy and the country moving forward.” Michael O’Rielly comes from inside Washington as he most recently was an advisor to Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn. He fills the seat of Republican Robert McDowell. NAB CEO Gordon Smith comments, “NAB strongly supported the nominations of both Tom Wheeler and Michael O’Rielly and we are pleased with their confirmation. We also salute the superb job done by Mignon Clyburn during her tenure as acting chair. Broadcasters look forward to working with a full complement of commissioners in the months and years ahead.”
KOA, Denver Apologizes After F-Bomb Goes Out Over the Air. Morning drive co-host Steffan Tubbs at Clear Channel’s KOA, Denver thought the mic was off when he made a comment about reality television star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi but his assessment about her appearance that contained the f-word went out over the air. Listeners began commenting on the station’s Facebook page and the station issued the following statement: “We are aware of a recent inappropriate comment that was made on-air by Steffan Tubbs. While Steffan made the comment in what he thought was a private conversation, it was still thoughtless and insensitive and we apologize to anyone whom it offended. We take matters of this nature very seriously and we will take appropriate disciplinary action.”
Premiere Expands Relationship with TMZ to Offer ‘TMZ Sports’ Program. Premiere Networks has been working with entertainment news organization TMZ since the two partnered on the “TMZ Radio” vignette in 2011. Now, the pair announced the development of “TMZ Sports” – a new one-hour, weekday radio program available to sports and news/talk stations. Premiere states that the show is “an adaptation of the sports entertainment website, www.tmzsports.com – where TMZ is constantly breaking exclusive stories. At ‘TMZ Sports,’ hits, runs and errors are totally out of bounds because it’s all about the personalities and athletes. The show is centered around the ensemble of reporters in the TMZ newsroom who break these exclusive stories that have an impact on the players, their future and the teams. ‘TMZ Sports’ also welcomes guests, athletes and people from all over the world sounding off on Skype, phones and various social media.” The Hollywood-based show is available to stations between 7:00 pm and 12:00 midnight local time. Stations adding the show so far include KLAC, Los Angeles; WINZ, Miami; KBAD, Las Vegas; WHOO, Orlando; and KXIC, Iowa City/Cedar Rapids. TMZ executive producer Harvey Levin says, “The show is going to attract people who love sports so they can learn more about the athletes they follow. It will also attract lots of people who don’t follow sports but like watching the drama and the fun.” Clear Channel SVP of sports operations Bruce Gilbert adds, “The launch of ‘TMZ Sports’ on radio and iHeartRadio is a natural extension of the powerful and relevant TMZ brand. TMZ’s unmatched ability to break stories and present in-depth, unfiltered, entertaining information on all things sports will provide fans with great insight into the stories they are talking about with their friends.”
Mike Horn’s CRN Digital Talk Radio Celebrates 30th Anniversary. Thirty years ago, Los Angeles -based radio broadcaster Michael Horn had what, at the time, was considered a wild, if not inconceivable notion of placing radio station audio onto cable television systems around the country. Whether or not such a wacky idea would survive three decades down the road is not something over which Horn anguished. Instead, he immersed himself in concentrating on doing something new and different. As passionate as founder/chief executive officer Horn was regarding the idea of launching CRN (Cable Radio Network), no one could have predicted that it would morph into the juggernaut it has become today as CRN Digital Talk Radio. Some transmutation of the long-standing cliché that television is simply “radio with pictures” perhaps triggered Cable Radio Network not only to come to fruition but also to thrive. In addition to producing its own shows, CRN over the last three decades has collaborated with other broadcasters seeking cable coverage and has syndicated programs to terrestrial broadcast radio. Across multiple networks, Horn’s 1983-founded property has originated/and or distributed dozens upon dozens of different programs. Read TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian‘s special feature posted today (10/28) profiling Mike Horn and looking back at the colorful history of CRN by clicking here.
Gary Larkin Joins Clear Channel as EVP of Total Traffic Network and Weather Network. A statement from Clear Channel Media and Entertainment notes that Gary Larkin has spent much of his career with Fox Sports Media Group where he was SVP of digital sales. Clear Channel states that its newly re-branded Total Traffic and Weather Network (TT+WN) “reaches more than 200 million monthly listeners across more than 200 markets, and the expanded division now includes weather reports and localized weather information such as surf and heat index reports to its portfolio as well as new sponsorship opportunities.” CCM+E chairman and CEO John Hogan says, “Gary has a proven track record of driving revenue and achieving success in tough and demanding sales environments and will be a great leader for our Total Traffic and Weather Network sales division. By working closely with our local and national sales teams, Gary will be able to seamlessly integrate the massive reach and unique assets of the Total Traffic and Weather Network’s platform into our offerings for clients. We’re very pleased to have him on board in such a key position and eager to put his experience, expertise and leadership to work.”
Defamation Suit Against WHAS, Louisville’s Terry Meiners Dismissed. The defamation suit filed against WHAS, Louisville talk show host Terry Meiners by Louisville Metro Police officer Sam Cromity has been dismissed by a Jefferson Circuit Court judge. The case goes back to March of 2011 when Meiners was pulled over by Cromity and issued a speeding ticket. Meiners poked fun at the officer on his radio show because he felt Cromity was confrontational during the traffic stop and began referring to him as “Black Barney” – a reference to TV’s Barney Fife and the black Mustang Cromity was driving. Meiners beat the speeding ticket in 2012 and Cromity filed his suit claiming that Meiners’ words on the radio were “irresponsible, reckless and dangerous.” The judge ruled Meiners’ words were “non-actionable expressions of opinion.”
Confer Radio Talent Institute to Take Place at Bloomsburg University Next Summer. Dan Vallie’s National Radio Talent System is locating a Radio Talent Institute at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania next July 7 through 16. Broadcaster Kirby Confer – owner of 70 radio properties – is sponsoring the program. Confer says, “When I was asked to be the Kellar Radio Talent Institute keynote speaker at Appalachian State University a few years ago, I found myself engaged with dozens of young people vitally interested in all phases of radio. The quality of the mentor teachers assembled for the 10 day ‘radio immersion’ was amazing. I thought at the time, ‘this is just what our industry needs,’ and as the digital age is upon us, it couldn’t come at a more opportune time. Art Kellar started something very important by sponsoring the Kellar Radio Talent Institute and I’m excited to be able to extend the National Radio Talent System to Pennsylvania and the Northeast United States starting next summer at Bloomsburg University.” The mission of Vallie’s National Radio Talent System includes having a Radio Talent Institute on a college campus in every region or state in America so students can attend in their home state, and so radio stations can recruit from their own region of the country, or nationally. The Institutes are taught by radio professionals, which insures students/young broadcasters learn what you need them to know. Vallie says that 70% of the students who have completed the Institute have gotten their first job in radio or a related field and are working for CBS, Clear Channel, Beasley Broadcast Group, Entercom, Greater Media, Curtis Media, Centennial Broadcasting, CNN and others.
Odds & Sods. Jay Vise exits the digital content manager position at Entercom’s news/talk WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans where he’s been for the past six years…..ESPN Radio announces that NBA veteran Jon Berry will serve as the lead analyst for the network’s coverage of NBA action for the next three seasons. Berry will team with ESPN Radio’s Kevin Calabro during this season. Also, ESPN Radio says that P.J. Carlesimo will work with Marc Kestecher on select NBA game broadcasts this season…..At SiriusXM, Duke University coach Mike Krzyzewski returns to host his weekly “Basketball and Beyond with Coach K” this season with the first program airing tomorrow (10/31) at 6:00 pm ET on the SiriusXM College Sports Nation channel.
Florida Talk Host Bob Haa Dies at 65. Longtime WWJB, Brooksville, Florida talk show host Bob Haa (pronounced Hay) passed away on Monday, October 28 after what is being reported as related to cardiac and respiratory complications. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Haa missed several weeks of his program last year due to respiratory issues. The paper quotes WWJB station manager Steve Manuel saying, “In my opinion, Bob was the best at what he did. He had a passion for it and an edge that could stimulate callers and feedback. And that’s what you want to have in this business.”
ObamaCare Implementation and Website Troubles, Staged Fallen Soldiers Ceremonies Controversy, State of the GOP, NSA Spying Case, and the World Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/29). The problems with the Affordable Care Act enrollment site and the rollout of ObamaCare; controversy over the Defense Department’s admission of the staged return of fallen American soldiers; the divisions within the Republican Party; the case of the NSA spying on heads of state; and the World Series were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Bob Pittman Tells Los Angeles Times: ‘Not limited to our towers and transmitters.’ In an interview with the Los Angeles Times’ Ryan Faughnder, Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman says this is a “time of feast” for radio as the internet has helped radio expand its reach. Pittman spoke with the Times prior to Wednesday’s Katy Perry album release event at the Burbank studio that is now the company’s iHeartRadio Theater Los Angeles. Pittman expresses his belief that the company’s multi-media approach to distributing content – AM/FM, internet, live events, and television – is helping create excitement around it that will help the radio business evolve. “Our view is, we need to be everywhere our listeners are,” Pittman tells the paper. “We’re about massive reach and we’re about relationships with the consumer. We build something big, powerful and strong and we’ll figure out how to make money on it. We’ve built this theater, and we haven’t pre-sold anything. We don’t know how we’ll make money on it, but it’s important to who we are. Right now, there’s probably no one that does anything like what we’re doing with the iHeartRadio Theater in L.A., the iHeartRadio Theater in New York, the iHeartRadio music festival and the iHeartRadio Pool Party in the spring. We’re building out all these major events for our listeners, and they’ll all come together financially, eventually.” Read the entire L.A. Times piece here.
Sean Hannity Assists Fired ObamaCare Worker. Premiere Networks nationally syndicated star Sean Hannity’s recent call to the government hotline set up to assist people with questions about the Affordable Care Act resulted in phone operator Erling Davis getting fired. Hannity phoned the help line on his program with the goal of showing his audience what people who call the hotline go through and Davis, who was aware she was going to go on the radio and gave her permission to be on the show, took the call. However, the next day Davis was fired for talking with the media – something she says she was not told was against policy. Hannity had the woman on his program and told the mother of two he’s going to gift her a salary of $25,000 and help her find a new job. He’s also enlisting help from listeners to visit Hannity.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org with job opportunities in the Panama City, Florida area to help Davis.
Beasley Broadcast Group Announces Third Quarter Revenue Rises 5%. Net revenue for the period ending September 30 was $26 million – up 5% over the same period a year ago. Same station net revenue increased by 2.7%. The company reports that the “$1.2 million, or 5%, rise in net revenue during the three months ended September 30, 2013 compared with the same period in 2012 reflects strength in the company’s Philadelphia and Miami-Fort Lauderdale market clusters as well as the acquisition of KOAS-FM in Las Vegas in the 2012 third quarter and KVGS-FM in September 2013.” Chairman and CEO George Beasley comments, “The third quarter marks Beasley Broadcast Group‘s fifth consecutive period of top-line growth as third quarter net revenue rose 5% and same station net revenue increased 2.7%. Excluding the benefit of political advertising in the year-ago quarter, same station net revenue rose approximately 4.4%. The third quarter revenue increase reflects growth in local and digital revenue, strength in our largest market clusters in Philadelphia and Miami, and continued growth in Augusta. Overall, for our five markets that report to Miller Kaplan – which represent approximately 76% of our total third quarter revenue – Beasley station clusters grew revenue by 6.8% while the total revenue for all reporting radio stations in these markets declined by 1.4% for the quarter. Our out-performance continues to highlight our organization-wide focus on strong core programming and targeted localism, both of which are contributing to the company’s ratings strength in its markets.”
SiriusXM Reports Q3 Revenue Up 11%. SiriusXM Satellite Radio reported its 2013 third quarter financial numbers yesterday and says its Q3 revenue was up 11% compared to the same period in 2012 after record revenue of $962 million. However, net income dropped 17.3% comparing third quarters from this year to last “including losses on extinguishment of debt of $108 million (in 2013) and $107 million (in 2012).” In a statement, CEO Jim Meyer says, “SiriusXM had a great quarter, with the 513,000 net subscriber additions and the 373,000 self-pay net additions setting post-merger records for the third quarter. We also saw double-digit growth in revenue for the seventh consecutive quarter, a new quarterly record for adjusted EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA margin, and significant growth in free cash flow. With continued growth in new automobile sales and an increasing number of existing self-pay subscribers selling their cars and rotating back into our trial funnel, we are increasing our guidance for net subscriber additions and reducing our guidance for self-pay subscriber additions by equal amounts. We are also pleased to increase revenue guidance for 2013 and introduce new guidance for continued growth in 2014 in both revenue and adjusted EBITDA.” The company says it expects revenue in 2014 to surpass $4 billion.
Stephanie Miller ‘Sexy Liberal Comedy’ Tour Hits Seattle. WYD Media Management announces another stop on Stephanie Miller’s “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” as it hits the Paramount Theater on December 14. The program features Miller and comics Hal Sparks and John Fugelsang delivering an “evening of sexy political comedy!” The “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” has been a very successful money-maker and profile-raiser for Miller’s morning drive radio program which emanates from Clear Channel’s progressive talk KTLK, Los Angeles.
KFTK, St. Louis Debuts Stacy Washington Weekend Program. Stacy Washington has been a contributor to the “Allman in the Morning” program on Emmis’ KFTK, St. Louis, a sub for daily host Dana Loesch, a guest on Fox News Channel and TheBlaze TV as well as a writer for Freedom Works and Townhall Magazine. Beginning Saturday, November 2, Washington will hit the St. Louis airwaves each weekend with her own radio show titled, “Stacy on the Right with Stacy Washington” every Saturday from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Program director Jeff Allen says, “We are thrilled to get the chance to add Stacy to our regular weekend lineup. The show will be issues, lifestyle and opinion as only Stacy can deliver them. I think the show will attract a big following in a short period of time.” Stacy Washington is the daughter of an Army police cfficer and budget analyst who spent the majority of her childhood growing up in Germany. She later enlisted in the Air Force as a weapons system analyst during which time she served on the Elgin Air Force Base Honor Guard and completed a tour of duty in Saudi Arabia in support of Operation Desert Shield. She comments, “I’m honored to join the major voices of conservative thought on ‘FM NewsTalk 97.1,’ leading the metropolitan St. Louis area in ratings and most importantly, in reporting the truth. I can’t wait to get started!”
Steve Dahl Plans Not to Attend Radio Hall of Fame Induction; Ebert Widow Asks Him to Reconsider. Chicago media writer Robert Feder published an open letter to Chicago radio personalities Steve Dahl and Garry Meier from Chaz Ebert, wife of the late Roger Ebert. Ebert wrote the letter after Feder reported that Dahl said he would not attend the November 9 ceremony at the Museum of Communications in Chicago because of his “general disinterest in the proceedings” and because Meier did not return a phone call to talk about the induction of the pair. In her letter Ebert asks the two to bury the hatchet and attend the event for the city of Chicago and to help put an end to 20 years of resentment. But in a post today, Dahl thanks Ebert for her thoughts and kind words but says his numerous attempts over the years to reconcile with Meier and his family have been ignored and he believes the two should go in together, not at separate tables at an event or one without the other.
News/Talk WWNC, Asheville Makes News with Resignation of Local Pol After Appearance on ‘The Daily Show.’ An appearance on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” by local North Carolina GOP precinct chair Don Yelton to discuss the North Carolina voter ID law turned into “radio gold” for Clear Channel’s WWNC, Asheville after Yelton resigned from the position on the station’s Pete Kaliner program. According to WWNC program director Brian Hall, Yelton was made to look rather racist in the edited version of the segment that ran on “The Daily Show” and after he resigned on Kaliner’s program, numerous media outlets – including CNN, The Huffington Post, Salon and The New Yorker – were in contact with WWNC to request confirmation of the resignation and further flesh out the story.
NAB Backs Foreign Ownership Proposal. In response to Acting FCC Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn circulating a proposal that would make it easier for broadcasters to attract foreign investors, NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith states, “NAB applauds Acting FCC Chairwoman Clyburn for proposing that the Commission should consider foreign investment in U.S. broadcast properties the same way it considers such investments in other telecommunications properties. This is fundamentally fair and will serve the public interest. Permitting new potential sources of capital for American radio and TV stations will strengthen our ability to continue providing compelling news, entertainment and sports programming and to remain competitive in a multichannel digital world.”
Odds & Sods. The syndicated public affairs program “INFOTRAK” celebrates 10 years on the air on October 26. The weekly show airs in 24 of the top 25 markets, and in most of the top 100 markets. WestwoodOne manages national advertising sales for the show. Host Chris Witting says, “Stations tell us that ‘INFOTRAK’ is the one public affairs show their listeners actually want to hear. We consider that a real compliment.”…..ESPN Deportes announced the return of “Dream Job: El Reportero,” the nationwide search to find the final member joining the network’s team of soccer experts in Brazil to report from World Cup 2014. The contest will launch at a live casting event in Los Angeles on November 3 at the Regal Theater starting at 2:00 pm PST. Returning for its third installment, ESPN Deportes will give aspiring sports journalists across the nation the chance to compete for the opportunity to serve as a social media reporter for ESPN Deportes in Brazil. Different from the previous casting tours, this year’s search will be driven by social media participation and supplemented by TV studio programs, the network’s top soccer talent, ESPNDeportes.com and ESPN Deportes Radio.
Holland at the World Series. Radio consultant Holland Cooke reports to TALKERS magazine about his adventure making it to last night’s game two of the World Series: Long day yesterday, when I awoke pre-dawn in Minnesota, and began the trek that ended last night at Fenway Park. It was the third time I’ve been to a World Series game, but only once was being there really about the game. And how COULDN’T it have been, at game seven in Minneapolis, 1991, a game even Twins fans didn’t want to end, Morris vs. Smoltz, wow. I had USA Today tickets, when I was doing Sky Radio there then, and we were entertaining darn-Minnesota-nice execs from Northwest Airlines that night…and they WERE entertained. Also saw Toronto at the Phillies, in those rowdy 700 section seats, in the rain, at the old Vet. Then last night, bundled-up, just like ya gotta be in April at Fenway. Being there is less about the game itself than a word we heard repeatedly from Apple CEO Tim Cook at this week’s product introduction event: the “experience.” ICYMI, you owe it to yourself to watch that Apple event, at apple.com. Witness the media landscape where we now compete. When listeners hear your station, what do they “experience?” On behalf of my client stations that are Your Cardinals Baseball Stations, “Go Redbirds.” But, just between you and me…
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. WYM Media’s Phil Hendrie is added to the program schedule at WQXL, Columbia, South Carolina in the 10:00 pm to 1:00 am slot. The Leslie Marshall show is also added to the station’s programming in the 9:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot…..“Armed American Radio with Mark Walters” is added to the program schedule at the following stations: WHFT, Avon Park, Florida; WENY, Elmira, New York; WENI, Corning, New York; WRTA, Altoona, Pennsylvania; WLVA-AM/FM, Lynchburg, Virginia; WJXY, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and WXJY, Georgetown, South Carolina…..The “Motley Fool Stock Watch” is picked up by affiliates WBNW, Boston; WPLM, Plymouth, Massachusetts; WESO, Southbridge, Massachusetts; and WRAY, Princeton, Indiana…..Talk Media Network announces both “Fat Guys At The Movies” with hosts Kevin Carr and Kristin Dreyer Kramer and “Legends of Success” have been added to the lineup at WDBL, Springfield, Tennessee. “Legends of Success” has also been added to the schedule at WBCF-AM/FM, Florence, Alabama…..“Freedom Feens” with Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi is added to the program lineup at KIXZ, Amarillo, Texas.
ObamaCare and HealthCare.gov Criticism Top Talkers TenTM. The scrutiny of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the problems with the HealthCare.gov website was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of October 21-25. Following at #2 was the infighting in the Republican Party. At #3 was the state of the economy followed by the recent teacher slayings at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top people and stories discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is posted every Friday at Talkers.com. To see this week’s entire chart, click here.