Bannon Is the Latest in a Long Line of High-Profile Radio Talkers to Make a Splash in Politics. Whereas most of the media coverage of Breitbart News, LLC chairman Stephen K. Bannon’s appointment this week as CEO of the Donald J. Trump presidential campaign, portrays him primarily as a “pugilistic” media/business/financial figure, the controversial iconoclast was also a rising talent in the world of talk radio. Until taking leave this week to join the Trump campaign, Bannon has served during the past year as the anchor/lead personality on the “Breitbart News Daily” 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET program on the SiriusXM Satellite Radio “Patriot” channel – a position he performed so effectively that it landed him on the 2016 edition of the TALKERS “Heavy Hundred” list of the 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America. According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “I distinctly got the impression, talking to Bannon, that he viewed himself as a ‘team-player’ in an ensemble production and not as the specific star of the show. However, the TALKERS editors felt that he was a very distinct and powerful voice on the program worthy of inclusion on the prestigious list which focuses on stand-out personalities.” Harrison adds, “There is an irony to Bannon now finding himself on the same team with former Fox News Channel head Roger Ailes – also involved with the Trump camp as a consultant. Bannon viewed Fox as being a significantly different type of news reporting agency than Breitbart and aggressively approached the organization as a prime competitor. He seemed quite proud of his depiction of Breitbart as being more news and journalistically oriented than Fox – as well as the rest of today’s big news media players – and more about reporting facts than personality-oriented opinion. This could be an example of politics making strange bedfellows.”
WEEI, Boston Morning Personality John Dennis Steps Away from Daily Duties. After 19 years as co-host of the morning show on Entercom’s sports talk WEEI, Boston, John Dennis is leaving his role as co-host of the program to deal with health issues. In a statement announcing the move, Dennis says he’s making the decision on the advice of his doctors that he reduce his workload. Dennis has been partnered with Gerry Callahan since the show launched. Kirk Minihane joined the program in 2013. Entercom Boston vice president and market manager Phil Zachary says the show will continue with Callahan and Minihane. “John is a Boston radio icon and will remain an important part of the WEEI family going forward. To that end, we have been working with John to define a new role for his considerable talents.” Zachary says Dennis will work with station advertisers, act as an ambassador to sponsors and community organizations, and occasionally host WEEI programs. “Most important to him is that John will continue his compassionate work with our annual Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon and will appear in our live broadcasts from Fenway Park, August 29 and 30.” In April of 2015, Dennis took a leave of absence from the station to enter rehab for alcoholism.
Jan Mickelson Returns to WHO, Des Moines Airwaves. After suffering a stroke in November of last year that made him unable to host his daily 9:00 am to 11:30 am show on iHeartMedia’s WHO, Des Moines, Jan Mickelson returned to the air hosting a half-hour segment of his program live from the Iowa State Fair yesterday (8/18). Mickelson’s show has been hosted by fill-in personalities since last fall. Mickelson told KCCI-TV, Des Moines that after suffering the stroke and being treated in Iowa he traveled to China for a 2,400 needle acupuncture treatment and says he has a lot of his mobility back. Mickelson will continue to host the 11:00 am to 11:30 am portion of the show as he continues to rehabilitate.
Jeff Smulyan Offers to Take Emmis Communications Private. Via his E Acquisition Corp., Emmis Communications chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan is offering to take Emmis private by acquiring outstanding, publicly held shares of Emmis for $4.10 per share in cash. That’s a 3% premium above the August 18 closing price of Emmis’ stock ($4.00). Smulyan has backing lined up from Falcon Investment Advisors. The offer also includes the commitment to sell many of its publishing assets as well as WLIB-AM, New York and its four Terre Haute, Indiana signals – country WTHI, classic rock WWVR, hot AC WFNB, and sports talk simulcast WFNF/W258BA.
The Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of August 15-19. The presidential campaign, including Donald Trump’s staff changes that bring Breitbart chief Stephen K. Bannon aboard to head the campaign, was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week. Close behind at #2 was the aftermath of the shooting death of an armed black man by police in Milwaukee. Coming in at #3 was the Rio de Janeiro Olympics and the controversy over a phony robbery claim by U.S. swimmers, followed by the battle for Aleppo and Russia’s involvement in the Syrian conflict 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.
Odds & Sods. If you live in the Charlotte area, you might want to know that Greater Media’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM is seeking an experienced board operator. It’s a part-time position of between 15 and 20 hours per week, including nights and weekends. If you’re interested, contact program director Jason Furst at firstname.lastname@example.org …..High School athletics is on the schedule this school year at E.W. Scripps’ news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee’s digital platform. “Preps Live” is broadcasting high school football play-by-play in 2016, airing 26 contests via WTMJ.COM and the WTMJ Radio App.
Community Conversation. On Wednesday afternoon, E.W. Scripps-owned news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee held a “Community Conversation” to address the shooting death of a young black man by a Milwaukee police officer and the protests that followed. WTMJ vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer tells TALKERS magazine, “The community response has been overwhelming. It’s WTMJ’s responsibility to help provide some longer-term historical context on this story. The visceral reactions to Saturday’s events need to be countered with real in-depth perspective. It’s really the story of a decades-long shift in the economy and social structure of an American city. Similar stories have unfolded across the country, particularly in the Midwest and Northeast. These stories require more than ‘video showbiz’ of demonstrations and quick sound bites. We hope to make a difference, with a more thoughtful and deeper approach in our coverage.” Pictured here in the WTMJ studio are (clockwise from the left): WTMJ afternoon anchor/host, John Mercure; Reverend Willie Briscoe, minister, New Covenant Baptist Church; Toron Brown, businessman and Sherman Park resident; Earl Ingram, president, Earl Ingram Media and former talk show host at WMCS, Milwaukee.
iHeartMedia Second Quarter Net Revenue Rises 1.2%. That figure is based on net revenue of $1.6 billion during Q2 of 2016, compared to the same period in 2015 and that is for the whole company. Separating the radio and digital business from the outdoor segment, iHeartMedia reports an increase of 3.2% in net revenue due in large part to live events, the traffic and weather services, broadcast and digital advertising, as well as the Premiere Networks syndication segment, especially news/talk.
Townsquare Media Reports Q2 Financials; Radio Segment Up 3.5%. The company reports on its two business segments – Local Marketing Solutions, which includes radio plus its digital products, and Entertainment, which provides live events and music and lifestyle content. During Q2, Local Marketing Solutions pro forma net revenue increased $2.9 million, or 3.5%, to $86.7 million (including political). For the first half of 2016, Local Marketing Solutions net revenue increased $8.8 million, or 5.8%, to $161.9 million (including political). Townsquare Media chairman and CEO Steven Price says, “We are pleased to report solid results for the first half of 2016, with pro forma net revenue and Adjusted EBITDA increasing approximately 4% over the prior year, with strength in our Local Marketing Solutions segment. In the second quarter, we delivered net revenue growth of 16.7% over the prior year. On a pro forma basis, net revenue increased 2.1%, which was in line with our expectations, and Adjusted EBITDA increased 4.1%, which exceeded our guidance. In addition, we were able to strengthen our balance sheet through the repurchase of $17 million of Unsecured Senior Notes.”
Saga Communications Reports Net Revenue Up 6.1%. That figure – comparing Q2 of 2016 with the same period a year ago – is based on net revenue of $36.4 million for the whole company. The Saga Communications radio division’s net revenue mirrors that at +6.1% on net revenue of $30.8 million. However, on a pro forma basis, the radio net revenue dipped 1.7%. Saga notes that free cash flow increased 15.6% to $6.5 million. Operating Income increased 12.6% to $8.4 million. Station operating expense increased 4.6% to $25.4 million (station operating expense includes depreciation and amortization attributable to the stations). Same Station net revenue increased 0.8% to $34.2 million and same station operating expense was flat at $24.0 million. Net income for the period was $4.8 million ($0.82 per fully diluted share compared to $0.77 for the same period last year).
Radio One Delivers Positive Second Quarter; Net Revenue Up 2.4%, But Radio Flat. That 2.4% is for the company as a whole, for which net revenue was approximately $122.7 million compared to the same period in 2015. Station operating income was approximately $48.9 million, an increase of 5.5%. Radio One breaks its net revenue report into six categories: Radio Advertising, Political Advertising, Digital Advertising, Cable Television Advertising, Cable Television Affiliate Fees, and Event Revenues & Other. The company says, “Net revenues from our radio broadcasting segment decreased 0.2% for the quarter ended June 30, 2016, versus the same period in 2015. We experienced net revenue growth in eight of our radio markets (most significantly in Washington D.C., Charlotte and Cleveland); however, this growth was offset by declines in other markets (with Columbus, Philadelphia, Houston and Detroit experiencing the most significant declines). Reach Media’s net revenues increased 2.8% in the second quarter of 2016, compared to the same period in 2015.”
Nashville Sports Personality George Plaster Exits ‘102.5 The Game’ for University Gig. After a Nashville sports media career that’s spanned 30-plus years, WPRT “102.5 The Game” afternoon drive sports talk radio host George Plaster is leaving the station to take the position of associate athletics director for marketing at Nashville’s Belmont University. The Tennessean reports that Plaster’s friend Scott Corley, athletics director at the school, approached him about the position and Plaster was intrigued with the notion. Over time he became very interested and told the paper, “It’s probably the one scenario that I would’ve considered leaving radio.” Plaster joined Bud Walters’-owned WPRT in 2011 after exiting Cumulus Media’s crosstown WGFX “104.5 The Zone.”
Nielsen Audio Releases Third Round of July 2016 PPM Data. The third of four rounds of July 2016 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The June 2016 survey period covered June 16 through July 13. You can find the complete 6+ ratings numbers from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Twelve Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here
JVC Drops Classic Hits Simulcast in Gainesville; Launches News/Talk Format on WYGC. The classic hits will be heard on JVC Media’s WXJZ, Gainesville “WOW 100.9” and WYGC, licensed to High Springs (northeast of Gainesville) flips to news/talk as “104.9 The Talk of Gainesville.” The company says the station will air from its “downtown Gainesville studios with non-stop local news, weather, and traffic in addition to the legendary ‘Imus in the Morning’ and FOX News’ Brian Kilmeade.” WYGC program director and JVC Media VP Matthew Goldapper says, “‘104.9 The Talk of Gainesville’ will be locally programmed to allow our community to discuss issues important to Gainesville residents.”
The Presidential Race, US Cash Payment to Iran, Deadly London Knife Attacks, Wikileaks-Benghazi Emails, Black Lives Matter Movement, Rio Olympics Troubles, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/3). The activities of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump; the controversy over the US’ payment of $400 million to Iran the day Americans were released from Iran; the deadly knife attack in London that left several wounded and one woman dead; the claim by Wikileaks’ Julian Assange that emails indicate the U.S. was arming jihadists in Syria via Benghazi; the Black Lives Matter movement; the problems facing Rio De Janeiro as it prepares for the Olympic opening ceremony; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Tom Arnold’s ‘100% Honest. Pretty Much’ Launches from PodcastOne. Hollywood’s Tom Arnold is joining the PodcastOne platform with his new podcast, “Tom Arnold. 100% Honest. Pretty Much.” PodcastOne says the show will cover everything from his career, to life as a husband and father of two, followed by an interview each episode, “as some of the funniest people around bring laughter and something extremely embarrassing about themselves to reveal to the audience.” PodcastOne founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz says, “Tom has shared his humor and entertainment with the world for decades, and it’s great to now bring him to the podcast world. It’s the perfect platform to let loose, hang out and have a great time – with all his fans.”
Radio One and Edison Research to Release Race Relations Study Results. Urban media company Radio One says it engaged Edison Research to conduct the study into the “true state of race relations in this country.” The results will be revealed on Friday (8/4 at 11:00 am ET via conference call) and Radio One teases that a key finding is “Black and White Americans are more closely aligned than previously thought on improving race relations in the country and share broad agreement on practical solutions.” Radio One commissioned the study “on the heels of outrage, protests and emotional responses after the shooting of two black men by police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota and the subsequent shooting of five police officers in Dallas (study fielded prior to Baton Rouge police shooting).
Odds & Sods. This report in from the Los Angeles base of The New Normal, home of Tom Leykis’ digitally distributed program: the special wine made just for Leykis and his fans is almost gone. Leykis tells TALKERS magazine that they surpassed 1,000 bottles sold of the 2014 Pedal to the Metal Santa Ynez Valley Syrah. Sales will end August 31 and they will likely have sold all 120 cases by that date. Leykis has another money-making event on the horizon. The show has rented the biggest suite at Dodger Stadium – holds 70 – for an upcoming game and has sold it out. Tickets range in price from $299 – $349. The show grossed $21,000…..DirecTV’s Rich Eisen will report from Canton, Ohio during this week’s Pro Football Hall of Fame festivities. He’ll broadcast live today and tomorrow with guests including: Brett Favre, Kevin Greene, Orlando Pace, Eddie DeBartolo, and Tony Dungy.
Greater Media Drops Sports Talk on WMGC, Detroit. You have to give Greater Media Detroit management credit for having the chutzpah to take on CBS RADIO’s dominant sports talker WXYT-FM, but after three years and little ratings traction, the company is ending the expensive venture and is airing the ‘Detroit Oldies’ format (also heard on WCSX-HD2) on WMGC until a new format is unveiled. Regarding the end of “Detroit Sports 105.1,” Greater Media Detroit VP/market manager Steve Chessare says, “The change comes after much careful consideration of the direction of the station’s format and overall ratings over the past three years. We would like to thank our dedicated listeners and the entire ‘Detroit Sports 105.1’ staff for their many contributions to the station in the Motor City. They are true professionals and we are very grateful to them.” The last three Nielsen Audio PPM survey numbers (Persons 6+) comparing WMGC to competitor WXYT-FM were indicative of the gap between the two stations: March – WMGC 0.8, WXYT-FM 5.2; April – WMGC 0.9, WXYT-FM 6.5; May – WMGC 0.8, WXYT-FM 7.3.
Talk Host Joe ‘Pags’ Pagliarulo Renews with iHeartMedia. WOAI, San Antonio-based talk show personality Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo is also heard on iHeartMedia’s KPRC, Houston in the afternoon drive daypart. The company says that under the new, multi-year deal, Pags will continue in these roles. Pags’ program is also syndicated across the country and is heard on almost 50 additional stations. Pags also serves as the host of the iHeartMedia program “The Weekend with Joe Pags” that is aired on iHM stations nationwide. Pagliarulo says, “I am thrilled to continue with iHeartMedia. I am proud to have called iHeartMedia home for more than a dozen years and knowing this fantastic relationship will continue for many more years to come is simply amazing.
NYPost: iHM Creditor Would Rather See Bankruptcy Than Take Company’s Current Offer. Following up on Wednesday’s story about iHeartMedia’s SEC filing indicating that talks between it and a group of senior lenders about restructuring are far apart, the New York Post is reporting that a different lender – not involved in the negotiations referenced – says it would rather see iHeartMedia go into bankruptcy than accept the company’s current offer. That lender believes it could get 90 cents on the dollar in bankruptcy, and that would be better than the interest rate cut and year’s extension on the term that iHM is offering. However, that lender also told the paper he’d prefer a reasonable offer by iHM to seeing the company go into bankruptcy. Read the Post story here.
Deadly Istanbul Airport Terror Attack, the Presidential Race, ‘Brexit’ Aftermath, GOP Benghazi Report, Rio Olympics Troubles, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/29). The terror attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport that killed 42 and wounded hundreds; the activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton; the aftermath of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union; the Republicans’ final report on the deadly Benghazi attacks; the myriad troubles Rio De Janeiro is facing as it prepares to host the Summer Olympics; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
FCC Commissioner Pai Piles on Criticism of Wheeler’s Ownership Rules. In a statement commenting on FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s decision not to change the Commission’s ownership regulations – including eliminating the cross-ownership ban preventing radio and newspapers from being owed by the same companies in the same markets – FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai says, “The FCC’s rules should reflect the media marketplace of today. Unfortunately, Chairman Wheeler’s media ownership proposal reflects the world that existed in the 1970s. Last month, the FCC had no problem approving not one, but two multi-billion dollar cable mergers. Last year, it signed off on AT&T’s acquisition of DirecTV. Yet, it now gets the vapors at the prospect of a newspaper in Scranton, Pennsylvania owning a single radio station. Whatever the motivation for the Chairman’s proposal, it has nothing to do with the evidence in the record, principled decision-making, or the law. Indeed, given current trends, it is likely that the Commission’s newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership restrictions will outlive the print newspaper industry itself.” Ouch! Broadcasters for years have lamented the Commission’s unwillingness to rescind this restriction. And now, at a time when there has never been more access to different media sources, the refusal to budge seems incomprehensible to many.
PodcastOne-Jericho Network Partnership to Launch Charles ‘Konnan’ Ashenoff Show. This is the first show to come from PodcastOne’s partnership with podcast host Chris Jericho for production, distribution and product marketing of his The Jericho Network. Latino Lucha Libre legend Charles Ashenoff, known to wrestling fans worldwide as Konnan, is the first host to debut on the network. Future podcasts will take full advantage of Jericho’s involvement and interest in wrestling, music, paranormal activity and pop-culture in general. All podcasts on The Jericho Network will be available exclusively at PodcastOne.com, the PodcastOne app and iTunes. PodcastOne founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz says, “Chris’ podcasts continue to be among the most successful on PodcastOne’s lineup. There are a lot more things that we can do together, and the Jericho network will give us the vehicle and time necessary with which to do that.”
iHeartMedia Promotes Josh Everett to Louisville-Based Director of Spoken Word Position. Louisville native Josh Everett is coming home to serve as director of spoken word programming for iHeartMedia’s Kentucky-Indiana region. He’ll take over for the retiring Kelly Carls. In addition to his broader duties, Everett will program WHAS, Louisville “NewsRadio 840” – the station at which he got his start as a board operator after graduating from the University of Louisville. Everett has been program director for the company’s KHOW and KDSP in Denver. He’s also previously programmed WLAP, Lexington, Kentucky and WGY and WOFX in Albany. iHeartMedia Kentucky-Indiana Region president Earl Jones says, “Josh understands the spoken word brands and our listeners’ expectations.” Kelly Carls and his team have built a strong foundation for WHAS by providing quality news, weather and traffic coverage. We’re confident that Josh will keep us moving forward and help us reach new listeners with all of our spoken word brands.”
Day Two of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association’s Annual Convention Underway in Atlantic City. The annual two-day NJBA conference wraps at the end of today. Speakers taking part in today’s program included TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison who spoke during the Morning Opening Session. Harrison addressed the future of radio, spoke about the state of talk radio and the state of music radio as both battle for attention in the rapidly growing audio entertainment space. He cautioned radio broadcasters to never forget that radio’s greatest strength is the specialness of audio – the ability to create theater of the mind. He also noted that one of the most important things broadcasters can do is remain vigilant in protection of the First Amendment. Harrison is pictured here (left) appearing on WPGG, Atlantic City’s morning program with personality Harry Hurley (right).
The Presidential Race, House Gun Legislation ‘Sit-In,’ ‘Brexit’ Vote, Battle Against Islamic State, Orlando Massacre Investigation, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/22). The activities of the candidates for president, including Donald Trump’s “attack speech” on Hillary Clinton; attempts to take up gun legislation in the U.S. House and the “sit-in” by U.S. Representatives; today’s vote by Britons on whether to leave the European Union or not; the ongoing military campaign to fight Islamic State in the Middle East and the charge domestic authorities face in preventing attacks in the U.S.; the investigation into the motives and actions of Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Cooke: Notes from the Connected Mobility Conference. AM/FM radio’s relationship with the automobile is its lifeline, so any time business professionals are getting together to talk about the state or future of the auto, it’s important to radio. Consultant Holland Cooke is on the scene in New York at CE Week and yesterday took in the Connected Mobility Conference. Cooke reports on some of the data and thoughts from industry leaders on the effects of Car-Sharing and Ride-Sharing, as well as a look to the future of autonomous cars. Read it here.
Day Two of Hold Their Feet to the Fire. Today (6/23) is day two of the “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row in Washington, DC. This year’s event is the ninth annual one to take place in DC and is organized by Federation for American Immigration Reform. Some 50 talk show hosts from all over the country are broadcasting their shows and debating immigration policy while interviewing members of congress, law enforcement officials, experts, activists and citizens who live along the border. Just a few of the personalities taking part in this year’s radio row include: Westwood One’s Phil Valentine; Genesis Communications Network’s Mike Siegel; Anne Eller, WCRS, Greenwood, NC; Neal Larson, KID, Idaho Falls; Kevin Miller, KIDO, Boise, and Bill Meyer, KMED, Oregon who is pictured here (left) interviewing FAIR executive director Bob Dane (right).
Cooke: Think Radio Is Challenged? Try TV. Radio consultant Holland Cooke writes today about the challenges facing not just radio but TV, as well. For those who thought that digital technology and consolidation is only affecting radio and newspapers, new statistics show TV is now reeling. Cord-cutting is the bane of the TV biz. Cooke reports that 60% of American homes have Internet-connected TVs and more than half of US households subscribe to an on-demand video service. And radio’s ability to be local remains its saving grace. At this Friday’s TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations conference at Hofstra University on Long Island, Cooke will present, “Talk Media: The Next Generation,” during which Cooke will present advice for news/talk operators. Read more here.
Michael Graham Named MediaDC Creative Director. Joining MediaDC – parent company of Washington Examiner, The Weekly Standard, and Red Alert Politics – is WYAY, Atlanta “NewsRadio 106.7” late morning personality Michael Graham. He is named to the newly created position of creative director. The company calls it “part of an expansion of multi-media and social media projects.” MediaDC says Graham also helped create the award-winning Boston Herald Radio online platform, has guest-hosted for Glenn Beck and Laura Ingraham, and also hosts the popular Weekly Standard podcasts. MediaDC president and COO Stephen Sparks says, “We’re creating terrific content that should be made more available, and Michael will help us make that happen.”
JVC Media’s ‘LI News Radio’ to Address Political Corruption. In an effort to give voice to Long Island residents in the wake of recent convictions of New York politicians on various corruption charges, JVC Media’s news/talk WRCN, Riverhead, New York “LI News Radio” is presenting the “Citizens State of Suffolk County” this Thursday (5/19). From 12:00 noon to 6:00 pm, “LI News Radio” will turn over its airwaves to the residents of Suffolk County. They will have the opportunity to “sound off on issues, politics and the recent and constant corruption from our elected officials.” JVC Broadcasting VP of news operations Matt Goldapper says, “103.9 LI News Radio’s phones and email have been inundated by residents who are disgusted and need to vent, they are tired of not having their voice heard and politicians not listening to their concerns. This is why we created LI News Radio.” Station morning host Jay Oliver adds, “Suffolk County residents are done with all the corruption and abuse of power by their elected officials and they want them to know it.” The six-hour open phones program will allow “local leaders, community residents and concerned citizens” to be heard.
Livestream Set to Video Stream TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations Live on Talkers.com. The 19th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest running and most important national convention is an early sellout but don’t despair – the entire event will be video streamed live on Talkers.com. The streaming will be provided by Livestream, the leader in providing video streaming services to the broadcasting industry. Livestream, a sponsor of the event, will also be exhibiting their services in the technology display area of the conference. Livestream helps broadcasters monetize their content and reach their audience wherever they are. Whether they are syndicating their primary content, looking to broadcast live on their website/apps, or producing ancillary content for their online viewers, Livestream has the tools to make it as easy as possible. Viewers can watch on any device, including desktops, tablets, mobile devices, and Roku-connected TVs. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “This is the first time we have chosen to actually broadcast video of this event live on the internet. We are delighted to be associated with the pros at Livestream on this project. Now thousands of people around the world will be able to watch the TALKERS convention while it’s happening. For more information about Livestream, please click on www.Livestream.com. For the full convention agenda, please click here.
iHeartMedia and Debt Holders Still Negotiating. Today (5/16) is the day the temporary restraining order against certain of the company’s debt holders’ notices of default expires, but given the recent SEC filings by iHeartMedia and said creditors, both sides are still working to find a compromise. Should they not come to terms, the two sides will be back in court arguing over whether iHeartMedia’s transfer of Clear Channel Outdoor stock to its own Broader Media Inc. violated the existing debt covenants. If the court were to find iHeartMedia violated those terms, as much as $6 billion in debt could come due within 60 days, likely triggering bankruptcy. Clearly, both sides want to avoid that scenario. This story is very fluid as more action on the part of the company and its creditors is expected today.
WOWO, Fort Wayne Releases 90th Anniversary Station History in Podcast Format. The venerable Fort Wayne news/talk station celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2015, a milestone for which it created a two-and-a-half hour audio history of its operation. Now, the station is making the documentary available for download. Program director Ryan Wrecker says, “We look back at the past 90 years of WOWO Radio history, along with some never-before-heard pieces of audio and memorable moments that made the station legendary.”
Odds & Sods. At ABC News Radio, Scott Goldberg is named midday anchor on the Information Network. Goldberg assumes the position formerly held by Cheri Preston, who left the midday daypart to become morning drive anchor on the Information Network…..In San Antonio, Geoff Sheen exits iHeartMedia’s KTKR-AM “Ticket 760” where he was afternoon drive personality. In another case of iHeartMedia’s Austin and San Antonio stations sharing staff and programming, KTKR will air sister sports talker KVET-AM, Austin’s afternoon show, “The Sports Buffet” with hosts Craig Way and Rod Babers.
The Presidential Race, Iran Nuclear Ambitions, April Global Temp Record-Global Warming, Woody Allen Allegations, Venezuela Unrest, Facebook Anti-Conservative Allegations, NBA and NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of the candidates for president; concerns over Iran’s nuclear ambitions and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s public allegations on Sunday that Iran intends to attack Israel; global temperature data indicating April was the warmest April on record; renewed Woody Allen child molestation allegations as his new film debuts at the Cannes Film Festival; political and economic unrest in Venezuela; Facebook responds to charges it has tweaked its trending stories to avoid pro-conservative issues; and the NBA and NHL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Michael Harrison Issues Plea to Help the ‘Working People’ of the Radio Industry When Personal Tragedy Strikes. TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison sent out a massive email blast to all of his trade publications’ thousands of subscribers this past Friday afternoon (5/13) containing a personal video message calling for the “working people” of the radio industry to support the Broadcasters Foundation of America (BFOA). The BFOA is a non-profit 501(c) (3) in operation now for more than six decades. The mission of the Broadcasters Foundation of America is to improve the quality of life and maintain the personal dignity of men and women in the radio and television broadcast profession who find themselves in acute need. The Foundation reaches out across the country to identify and provide an anonymous safety net in cases of critical illness, advanced age, death of a spouse, accident and other serious misfortune. According to Harrison, “Radio is a tough business – especially for its ‘working people’ – the people in the trenches doing the shows, selling the spots, managing the stations, engineering the equipment and making the day-to-day wheels go around.” He continues, “Since the crash of ’08 and consolidation stretching the limits of economic integrity – life has been downright brutal for the working people of the radio industry. However, we persevere – because radio people are driven and resilient. We always find a way to make a living…even if we have to turn to the dreaded last resort of seeking employment in another business to put food on the table and a roof over our heads. After all, we are talented, creative, resourceful and in tune with people, the street and the times. All handy assets if you have to go into PR, real estate sales or teaching – unless personal tragedy strikes. And unfortunately, sometimes it does. When radio professionals are stricken by horrible accidents or catastrophic illnesses that make it impossible to work, hold a job or make a living in ANY business, the results can be disastrous. Especially, if they don’t have a nest egg to fall back on… which unfortunately is the case for so many folks in this business struggling to make ends meet when the rent is due or from mortgage to mortgage payment. Radio is one of the only forms of mass media and entertainment in which charity and community involvements are part of its fundamental fabric. How many other forms of media are so quick to raise money for victims of disaster as radio? A significant percentage of the stories we cover in the trade press are about radio broadcasters rising to the occasion to help people in need – sick children, homeless veterans, single moms, victims of natural disasters, and catastrophic illnesses. Helping people is a key part of all our formats. It’s what we do. But who’s out there to help individual broadcasters when WE are stricken by tragedy and have the rug pulled out from under us? That’s when the Broadcasters Foundation of America steps up to the plate.” To see and hear Michael Harrison’s dramatic presentation in its entirety, please click here.
By Howard B. Price
ABC Television Network
Director, Business Continuity
Weekend before last, it was the unexpected passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Network radio and TV were all over it – smart local stations used those resources, and were all over it, too.
But local radio stations WITHOUT a network news affiliation likely found themselves behind the eight ball – unable to meaningfully respond beyond whatever they were able to pass along from social media and news websites. Better than nothing, but not good enough.
By Holland Cooke
LAS VEGAS — Many of 20,000+ new tech products on display here relate to two key radio listening venues. Yesterday’s column described a car less-futuristic than you might think, and a dashboard many broadcasters find intimidating. ICYMI, click here.
Keys are now obsolete.
Among (literally) acres of smart-home products:
- The Schlage Sense Smart deadbolt lets you tell Siri to unlock your door.
- Fenotek’s “Hi” is a video doorbell – HD of course – with a motion sensor and alarm. So you can greet and admit visitors from anywhere in the world, on your smartphone. It’s one of a bunch of “virtual butlers” on display here. Some let you sign-for-deliveries remotely.
- Products like these deepen users’ bond with smartphones, where smart broadcasters are also publishing.
Once inside the house, you’ve entered “The Internet of Things,” meaning devices-talking-to-each-other. The number of things-connected-to-the-internet exceeded the-number-of-people-on-the-planet back in 2008; and by 2024, more than 50% of Internet traffic to homes will be from appliances and devices.
By Holland Cooke
LAS VEGAS — Robots are all-over-the-place here…but don’t picture humanoids walking around. Most sit still, waiting to help, like ATMs or supermarket self-checkout or movie theater ticket kiosks we’re accustomed to.
Seen the TV commercials for Amazon’s Echo? Ask Alexa…anything. News, sports, weather, or other radio staples; including music you’d like her to play…anything at all. She’ll read you an audiobook, or look-up information you need; so you’ll be spending lots of time with her.
Mizzou Protests and Race Relations Tie for Top News/Talk Stories of the Week. The protests taking place at the University of Missouri, the ouster of the school’s president and chancellor and the related topic of race relations in the U.S. tied atop the Talkers TenTM for the week of November 9-13 as the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio. At #2 was the 2016 presidential race and Tuesday’s GOP debate. Coming in at #3 was U.S. immigration policy and the striking of President Obama’s immigration order, followed by the Syria-ISIS violence at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It’s published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Dinner with Curtis & Kuby. WABC, New York midday team Curtis Sliwa and Ron Kuby entertained listeners during an intimate dinner and political conversation event at Delmonico’s Kitchen on West 36th Street in New York. Forty of the duo’s strongest supporters reserved their spots for “Dinner with Curtis & Kuby: A Night of Political Entertainment and Fun,” kicking off Election Central. The two answered questions from the attendees and discussed the current political race, social issues, and much more. Pictured here at the event are (from l-r): Curtis Sliwa, Cumulus New York VP/market manager Chad Lopez, 77WABC program director Craig Schwalb, and Ron Kuby.
Doug McIntyre and John Cleese Take the State Together. KABC, Los Angeles and WABC, New York personality Doug McIntyre (left) spent four nights last week performing with Monty Python legend John Cleese (right). The show played before packed houses in Beverly Hills, Redondo Beach, Thousand Oaks and Pasadena, California.
Odds & Sods. Detroit general manager Chris MacCourtney is promoted within Salem Media Group to operational vice president for the company’s radio division, effective January 1. MacCourtney is currently overseeing Salem’s Detroit duo – conservative news/talk WDTK “The Patriot” and Christian teaching WLQV “Faith Talk 1500.” When he begins his new duties, he’ll also be in charge of the operations of the company’s stations in Columbus, Ohio and Louisville, Kentucky…..Entercom Kansas City extends its deal with the World Series champion Kansas City Royals for sports talk KCSP “610 Sports Radio” to continue serving as the flagship station for Royals play-by-play. The new four-year contract runs through 2020 and includes all 163 regular season games plus the team’s off-season “Hot Stove Show.”
World Famous Comic Strip Artist/Writer Guy Gilchrist Joins Michael Harrison on ‘Up Close and Far Out.’ The writer and artist responsible for producing the iconic “Nancy” syndicated newspaper comic strip for the past 20 years and was hand-picked back in the 1980s by Jim Henson to produce the newspaper version of “The Muppets,” Guy Gilchrist, joins Michael Harrison for an in-depth conversation about media and popular culture in the new installment of Podcast One’s international hit, “Up Close and Far Out,” posted today (11/10). Harrison sets the stage looking back at the impact cartoons, comics and puppets had on his development as a “media freak” growing up in New York in the 1950s and 1960s. Then, he and Gilchrist discuss a variety of related issues including the critical “controversy” over the new weekly Muppets show launched this season on ABC-TV, the evolution of the beloved characters Nancy and Sluggo, as well as the state of political cartoons, cartoonists and Freedom of the Press in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo murders in Paris earlier this year. In addition, they talk about the impact digital media is having upon the newspaper comic strip industry. To hear this fascinating conversation in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” players located in the right-hand columns of every page on Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Fox Radio and TV Host Brian Kilmeade Writes Historical Book About Thomas Jefferson’s Early American War Against Muslim High Seas ‘Terrorists.’ It is described as “the forgotten war that changed American history” and now it is the subject of a major new book about the fledgling American nation’s naval battles against Tripoli, Tunis, Algiers and Morocco – the Barbary Wars. The book is the fourth by Fox News Channel co-host (“Fox & Friends”) and Fox News Radio host (“Kilmeade & Friends”) Brian Kilmeade and co-writer Don Yaeger titled, Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates (Sentinel, 2015). According to Kilmeade, “The challenges we face today are not so different than Jefferson’s, and we’ve much to learn from his boldness and from the courage of the Marines and sailors who died to protect their country.” To listen to an in-depth conversation between Brian Kilmeade and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison about the book and the history it addresses, plus a lot more, please click
By Mike Kinosian,
At an imposing height of six feet six inches, Thompson commanded instant respect – yet was also the very definition of an affable gentleman. Sheffield, Alabama-born Fred Dalton Thompson distinguished himself by representing The Volunteer State of Tennessee in the United States Senate from December 1994 – January 2003.
Approximately two-dozen movie credits, as well as his portrayal of District Attorney Arthur Branch on NBC-TV’s “Law & Order: Trial by Jury,” saturated his remarkably robust resume.
By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — This past month, I presented at two state broadcasters’ association conventions: Illinois and Iowa. My topics: “The Six Most-Dreaded Words in Sales: ‘Radio Doesn’t Work,’” specific techniques for creating commercial copy that produces better results; “How Millennials Use Media”; and “Quick, Actionable Sales Ideas to Make Money Selling Digital.”
Here are the common threads from all three sessions…
Recent years’ radio revenue data has many shrugging that “flat is the new up.” Less so in small and medium markets, where local direct retail comprises more of radio’s income than in big markets where transactional business is the ball game. And in every market, digital is the shiny object sucking dollars away from legacy media. Especially ours. Ask car stores: Detroit is telling them to move radio money online.
Talkers New York 2015 ‘Fireside Chat’ Video featuring Dialogue Between Michael Harrison and John Dickey Posted Today. Billed as a “Fireside Chat” in one of the keynote sessions of the just-concluded Talkers New York 2015 convention, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison conducts a one-on-one conversation with Cumulus Media executive vice president of content & programming, John Dickey. In a series of what Dickey describes as “really tough questions,” Harrison asks him about a wide variety of subjects including how he handles the stress of being significantly responsible for the operation of one of the largest and most complex radio broadcasting companies in the history of the medium; whether or not the platform of radio can ever be accurately measured in terms of ratings; what position talk radio occupies within the overall Cumulus plan going forward; whether or not there is room for qualitative selling and non-traditional revenue generation at large, corporately owned stations; and if there is a future for the personality oriented disc jockey in music radio, among other topics. Dickey responds with thoughtful and candid answers before a fully engaged, packed house of professionals from all segments of the industry in a room so quiet, one could hear a proverbial pin drop. On the subject of stress, Dickey says it is a matter of “balance…balance in life” putting work and family into their proper perspectives. He ties that into programming — repeatedly stating that successful radio formats must maintain an effective balance of elements as they evolve forward with their “natural life cycles.” Dickey discusses the importance of “branding” in today’s commerce, underscoring his company’s commitment to and “heavy investment” in the talk format stating, “We are the ‘custodians’ of some of radio’s greatest brands,” making it clear that Cumulus takes that responsibility very seriously in the talk arena. He makes the point, “We must, however, arrive at an understanding of what constitutes the talk format today” pointing out that talk radio needs to “broaden the conversation” because “people talk about a lot of things.” On the subject of ratings (immediately following a powerful panel discussion about the state of audience measurement moderated by Sean Hannity during which Nielsen’s feet were held to the fire), Dickey is measured and fair in his criticism of Nielsen stating, “The ratings are accurate… but only to a point.” He says, “Nielsen needs to be [more forthcoming] about the ‘margin of error’ [in their metrics] – they owe us more than they are giving us.” Looking back at the conversation, Michael Harrison says, “John Dickey is one of the brightest young men I have ever met in this business and I have no doubt in my mind about his love for and commitment to radio. Neither he nor his brother Lew have easy jobs…and, like all human beings, they are far from perfect, not to mention the entire radio industry is challenged by the circumstances of the times… so operating the second largest ownership group in the history of the medium in the second decade of the 21st century is an extremely daunting task. Unlike so many of today’s powerful executives in both business and government, they admit their mistakes and are always trying to learn and improve.” To view the “Fireside Chat” in its entirety including an introduction by rising talk star Ethan Bearman, please click here.
Nielsen Unveils its Total Audience Report; Radio Leads Weekly Reach of Adults. Senior vice president of the audience insights division at Nielsen, Glenn Enoch, says that in preparing the first-ever Total Audience Report, the company is “using the best available data and have done all we can to make this an ‘apples-to-apples’ comparison, but it is important to remember that these platforms are measured by different methods using different samples and different crediting rules.” Enoch is referring to the challenge of finding one way to express the consumption of three different media platforms – TV, radio and digital. That said, radio practitioners are happy with the results indicating that on a weekly basis, radio reaches 93% of the adult population compared to television’s 87% reach. Digital is broken up into three segments – PC, smartphone, and tablet – and those reach 54%, 70% and 35% of American adults, respectively. However, when one looks at the weekly hours and minutes spent with each medium, television comes out on top across all adult demographics and radio comes in second. The data shows that, for persons 35-49, the average hours/minutes during the week spent with television was 33:05, for radio 13:39, for PCs 6:58, for smartphones 8:52, and for tablets 4:50. In tallying the number of days per week of usage for each medium for persons 18-49, smartphones come out on top with 5.9. Radio is close behind with 5. Television is third with 4.7, followed by tablets at 4.6 and PCs with 3.6. In a memo to his sales stall, Cumulus Media chief marketing officer Pierre Bouvard writes, “While radio is known as a frequency medium, we have always had significant reach. Radio’s reach has remained consistent while television has eroded. Radio now finds itself as America’s number one mass reach medium.”
New York Festivals Winners. Pictured here at Monday evening’s New York Festivals International Radio Program awards ceremony at New York Penthouse are Grand Jury member Geller Media International’s Valerie Geller (center); SiriusXM host Paul Bachman, Bronze Radio Winner in the Best Children/Young Adult Program for “Couch Potato Stew on Kids Place Live” (left); and SiriusXM VP Frank Raphael (right). The New York Festivals International Radio Program awards is an annual radio program competition executed in collaboration with the United Nations Department of Public Information. The United Nations Awards were established in 1990 to honor programs highlighting global concerns of interest to the UN.
Odds & Sods. The Edward R. Murrow Awards from the RTDNA will be handed out on October 12 in New York and CBS Radio News will receive the awards for Best Newscast and Best Continuing Coverage for the third straight year. Outstanding coverage of the downed Malaysian airliner in the Ukraine earned CBS the Best Newscast for its July 18 edition of World New Roundup by Steve Kathan and Paul Farry. The Continuing Coverage award was given for CBS’s yearlong reporting of the war on ISIS.….Chicago media writer Robert Feder is reporting that Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago has secured the rights to Chicago White Sox baseball for a six-year deal that would start with the 2016 season. Currently, White Sox baseball is heard on CBS RADIO’s sports talk WSCR “670 The Score.”…..It didn’t take long for former San Diego Chargers analyst Hank Bauer to find a new gig. The former Chargers player will join Sports USA as a play-by-play analyst for its NFL broadcasts beginning in September. Bauer’s deal to work in the Chargers radio network booth was not renewed after 17 years…..Jon Laaser is named the new radio play-by-play man for Virginia Tech football starting this fall by rights holder IMG. Laaser will work in the booth with color man Mike Burnop.
Alan Colmes Recalls Playing Gunhill Road in His DJ Days. Mainstay radio and TV talker Alan Colmes of FOX News Radio and FOX News Channel is pictured at left at Talkers New York 2015 (6/12) being interviewed for a documentary film being produced about the legendary pop/rock band Gunhill Road that he recalls from his early days as a DJ spinning rock ‘n’ roll. The trio had a great time schmoozing with radio broadcasters from both music and talk formats at the recent mega-conference. Gunhill Road had two FM rock radio album favorites and the hit single “Back When My Hair Was Short” in the early 1970s. They surprised the music world recently by releasing an unexpected album with 19 new tracks titled Every 40 Years (Gunhill Road Records) that has garnered some airplay on AC and triple-A formats as well as a ton of interviews on talk radio – talk show hosts with a taste for pop culture find the group’s personal story fascinating. The group attended the conference to appear with various radio folk in the forthcoming documentary (“Back When My Hair Was Long”) about their extremely unlikely two-part journey from the 1970s to the modern digital era set for theatrical release in 2016 and to promote their latest single, “I’ve Got To Learn To Cry (featuring American Idol’s Julia DeMato). Pictured above: Gunhill Road members (l-r): Glenn Leopold, Steve Goldrich and Paul Reisch with talk radio legend Tom Leykis.
The Dump Buttons Start Season with Narrow Loss. Pictured here after their first game of the season – a very close 10-9 loss to Bloomberg News – are the players on the Cumulus Media New York co-ed softball team, The Dump Buttons. They represent hot AC WPLJ, news/talk WABC, and urban contemporary WNBM. Top row (from l-r): the Don Imus show’s Lou Rufino, WPLJ digital/social media producer Sheila Watko, Joan Hamburg producer Matt Meany, WABC account executives Jamie Roberts and Jose Torres; and Bryce Grafton (Jayde’s boyfriend). Bottom row (from l-r): WPLJ GSM Mary Jo Vetrano, WNBM midday host La Loca; WPLJ morning show co-host, Jayde Donovan; Curtis & Kuby producer Flipper; WABC personality Curtis Sliwa.
The 28th Annual Geraldo Golf Classic. 77WABC personality Geraldo Rivera (left) is here with honoree Steven G. Santino (right) at Monday’s Geraldo Golf Classic at Edgewood Country Club in River Vale, New Jersey. Geraldo’s radio show was broadcast live from the event and golfers participated in contests, watched the broadcast, golfed, and enjoyed an extended cocktail hour in the evening. All proceeds benefit Life’s WORC, which provides support and services for individuals with developmental disabilities.
Charleston Church Massacre Aftermath/Confederate Flag Controversy, Pope’s Climate Encyclical, Obama Trade Deal, 2016 Presidential Prospects, ISIS Activities, Iran Nuclear Program, White House Ransom Policy, and Skinny Jeans Hospitalization Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/23). The aftermath of the Charleston church killings and the related South Carolina Confederate flag issue; the recent climate change encyclical from Pope Francis and the controversy over the beliefs of his science advisor; the revived fast-track trade bill; the activities of the 2016 presidential candidates; the military progress of ISIS and world reaction to its grisly tactics; potential cooperation between the US and Iran and the latter’s nuclear program; the new White House policy that would not legally pursue families that pay ransom for family members held by terrorist organizations; and the case of a woman hospitalized due to ill effects from “skinny jeans” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Baltimore Protests Turn Violent. Owing to that fact, Hearst talker WBAL-AM, Baltimore advanced yesterday (Monday, 4/27) to “continuous coverage,” after a weekend of “extensive coverage.” According to WBAL-AM president and general manager Cary Pahigian, “We are sharing resources with our sister station, WBAL-TV (Channel 11), which is flying their helicopter almost nonstop. Our goal is to keep the community up-to-the-minute and to provide an opportunity to discuss and analyze the situation with WBAL-AM talk hosts in a responsible manner. It is very fluid, so we are staying nimble and flexible.” The unrest in the Maryland city increased following the funeral of Freddie Gray, a young black man who died just over one week ago (4/19), after suffering spinal injuries while in police custody. At least one Baltimore building has been torched; several of the city’s police cars have been set on fire; and protesters have thrown bricks at Baltimore police officers. Six Baltimore police officers have been seriously injured in Monday’s violence. Maryland governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard, while Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake states every possible resource is being deployed to “gain control of this situation.”
WFAN Sports Giant Mike Francesa Is Extremely Bullish on Radio – Says the Medium Is Here to Stay on Michael Harrison’s “Up Close and Far Out” Podcast. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison interviews WFAN sports talk superstar Mike Francesa on this week’s installment of the international hit podcast series, “Up Close and Far Out.” In an exclusive 30-minute conversation, Harrison and Francesa cover a variety of fascinating topics including authenticity in broadcasting, internet critics, digital era audiences, radio versus television, changes in pop culture, the phenomenal growth of sports and the future of radio in a world of screens. Francesa credits the authenticity, for which Harrison praises him, in part, to being on the air an unusually long five-and-a-half hours per day, pointing out that you can’t be live on radio that long every day without being your real self. According to Francesa, one of the big changes faced by hosts in both sports and general talk programming today is the audience has as much, if not more, access to information as you do – which means merely presenting news is not enough. A host’s success is dependent on having an interesting “take” on the events of the day. He says the internet has made it much easier to break into broadcasting but much more difficult to get noticed. Of his critics, he states the worst thing that can happen is to be ignored. “If you are ignored, you are dead.” Francesa tells Harrison that he very seldom responds to his critics – refusing to give them the exposure of his larger platform that they seek. In addition to having a growing national following due to television and radio syndication, Mike Francesa has long been one of the highest profile media figures in New York and has been ranked by TALKERS magazine for the past two years in a row in the #1 spot on its “Heavy Hundred” of sports talk radio (“The 100 Most Important Radio Sports Talk Hosts in America”). After several years of being carried by the YES Network, Francesa’s daily local radio show is presently simulcast nationally on Fox Sports 1. In comparing radio to television, Francesa says, “Television is a director’s medium. Radio is a performer’s medium.” He explains, “Radio is unvarnished. It is visceral. It is emotional. Television is more packaged and homogenized.” Regarding the survival and future of radio, Francesa states, “Radio will be here long, long past us. People have been trying to kill radio since the first days of television. They’ve tried to kill radio 40 different times in multiple generations. They will never kill it because its appeal of being live, local, personal and mobile will never be equaled.” Francesa sees the rise of mobile digital media as actually being a good thing for radio, acknowledging that “radio will change.” He confidently says, “It will be enhanced because of the smart phone. It is the new transistor radio. Who carried a transistor radio for the past 30 years? Now everyone does. THAT is an opportunity!” In describing Mike Francesa, Michael Harrison states, “I know Francesa has his share of critics – but that comes with the territory of being ‘out there’ the way he is and being a compelling radio talk show host in the modern era, sports or otherwise. What makes him so successful is he has that special ‘something’ that only a handful of performers have ever had in this business – he rises above technique! All he needs to do is bring his authentic, unique personhood to the airwaves each time he’s on and that – at least to this point – is enough. He is one of my handful of all-time favorites and I am delighted that he is still going strong.” To listen to Mike Francesa on “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” please click here or click on the special player box in the right hand column of every page on Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta Reports from Nepal for Westwood One. Internationally known medical doctor and media figure Dr. Sanjay Gupta is in Nepal doing both media work and helping doctors there deal with the overwhelming number of casualties from Saturday’s earthquake. In addition to his work covering the aftermath for CNN, Dr. Gupta is also doing live hits for Westwood One affiliate stations. His “A Better Life with Dr. Sanjay Gupta” is syndicated by Westwood One. Dr. Gupta was called into action in the operating room, asked to help perform brain surgery on a 15-year-old girl in Kathmandu after a wall of her family’s home fell on her as she collected water outside.
SiriusXM 2015 Q1 Revenue Up 8%. Satellite radio operator SiriusXM delivered its 2015 first quarter financial numbers today (4/28) and, compared to the same period a year ago, revenue was $1.08 billion – up 8%. Net income was $106 million, up 12% from $94 million in the first quarter of 2014. Net income per diluted common share was $0.02 in the first quarter of 2015 and 2014. Adjusted EBITDA was $399 million in the first quarter of 2015, up 19% from $335 million in the first quarter of 2014. The satcaster says that it added 431,000 net new subscribers in the first quarter, a 61% increase from the 267,000 net new subscribers added in the first quarter of 2014. Sirius CEO Jim Meyer says, “The year is off to a fantastic start at SiriusXM. We are increasing our subscriber guidance to approximately 1.4 million net additions and revenue guidance to approximately $4.47 billion after reporting our best first quarter for self-pay subscriber additions since 2008. Our results demonstrate that SiriusXM’s bundle of live news and sports, exclusive talk and comedy, and curated, commercial-free music is resonating with more and more consumers every day,”
Odds & Sods. Nationally syndicated, WABC, New York-based morning personality Don Imus announced to his listeners his simulcast on cable’s Fox Business Network will end on May 29. The program has been airing on both since 2009. Though Imus didn’t elaborate on the reason for the change, The New York Daily News reports Imus and wife Deirdre plan to spend the summer at their new ranch in Texas and that property has no TV uplink facilities. Read the Daily News story here…..Atlanta real estate broker Bryan Crabtree is adding a daily show on Salem Communications’ business talk WAFS, Atlanta “biz 1190,” debuting May 4 and airing from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Crabtree and his wife Mackenzie have been hosting the “Housedog.com Real Estate Show” on both WAFS and sister news/talk WGKA on weekends and that show will continue on both outlets. WAFS station manager Adam Wattenbarger says, “We are so excited to bring Bryan aboard to add to our live and local lineup. biz 1190 is committed to giving the Atlanta community something we’ve been lacking for years – real talk about real issues affecting our neighborhoods.”…..Sports talk personality Tim Brando is wrapping his daily, eponymous show heard on SiriusXM’s College Sports Nation channel. The final show is this Thursday. Brando will continue to be heard on the radio via FOX Sports Radio as he’ll handle play-by-play for college football and basketball as well as the network’s coverage of this June’s US Open golf tournament…..The program “Entertainment This Week” is joining the America’s Talk Radio Network effective May 3. “Mr. Hollywood” Shannon Rose and co-host James Lowe will discuss Hollywood gossip, comics, movies, television, pro-wrestling, and so much more during the “fastest hour on national radio.”
WTMJ, Milwaukee Helps Raise Funds for Accessible Playground Equipment. Last Saturday, Scripps-owned news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee unveiled new accessible playground equipment at a local elementary school for which the station helped raise funds. The need for the equipment came after the station learned of eight-year-old Ben Nelson who uses a wheelchair due to his Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Ben’s family began raising funds for the equipment and WTMJ joined forces with the family and was able to – through the help of listeners – raise $50,000. WTMJ Radio VP/GM Tom Langmyer says, “WTMJ firmly believes we do well by doing good. We serve Wisconsin – and we’re getting behind our air personalities by giving them a month where we use our resources to give back to our community. [Morning host] Jodi Becker is first on our team to lead in this new community betterment initiative. We are pleased to help – and we thank our listeners and great businesses for helping to build this wonderful playground.”
Limbaugh and Mahindra Partner on Tractor Giveaway. For the second year in a row, Rush Limbaugh and Mahindra USA have joined together to give away a Mahindra eMax 22HST with loader to an active duty service member or U.S. military veteran. The winner will be selected in a random drawing on May 26. Last year, more than 4,500 service men and women entered for an opportunity to win a Mahindra tractor. It was awarded to Lieutenant Colonel Mike Petzinger of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, who has served his country for 25 years in the Army.
Music and Pop Culture Figure Andrew W.K. to Host Weekly Show on TheBlaze Radio Network. New to the weekend lineup at Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network is the show “America W.K.,” hosted by musician, writer, TV host and lecturer Andrew W. K. TheBlaze Radio Network says the show will be a “raw and penetrating discussion of what it is to be alive – meaning, motivation, mindset, and making dreams come true, all included in a celebration of life itself – and all with a positive and honest outlook. Andrew will also field questions and input from the audience, adding an engaging interactive component.” Andrew W.K. is probably most known for his 2001 rock album titled, I Get Wet, the cover of which featured a photo of him with a bloody nose. During his musical career he’s penned a number of rock anthems that have appeared in video games, movies and as pro sports team themes. Andrew W.K. (pictured here at left with Glenn Beck at right) says, “When Glenn asked me to do my own radio show on TheBlaze, I was shocked but excited, as I knew he would allow me the unrestrained freedom to say exactly what I wanted. I’m very dedicated to exploring and learning from different people in different places, and always with an open heart. If people never went outside their own box, life would be boring. After all, why would I only want to talk with people who already think exactly like me?”
Baltimore Protests, White House Correspondents Dinner, Bush Criticism of Obama Foreign Policy, Nepal Earthquake Aftermath, SCOTUS Hears Same-Sex Marriage Argument, Clinton Foundation Scrutiny, James Holmes Trial Begins, and the Bruce Jenner Transgender Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/27). The intensifying, violent protests in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray in police custody; the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner and President Obama’s performance; former President George W. Bush comments on Obama Administration’s foreign policy; the devastation in Nepal after Saturday’s earthquake; the Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments as anti-gay marriage statutes in four states are challenged; ongoing scrutiny of the Clinton Foundation financial operations; the opening of the trial of Aurora, Colorado movie theater killer James Holmes; and the chatter about Bruce Jenner’s sex change procedure and his recent interview were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Most Now Stream, Podcasting Mainstreams, YouTube is Music Radio, Facebook tops Social
By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Just-released results of the Edison Research/Triton Digital “Infinite Dial 2015” — the 23rd research survey in the series – are must-reading for anyone, in any format, in radio. And “anyone” includes sales.
See the entire slide deck at http://www.edisonresearch.com/the-infinite-dial-2015/
Among highlights from this January/February survey of 2002 Persons 12+ presented by Edison’s Tom Webster and Triton’s John Rosso:
TALKERS Consumer Electronics Show coverage by radio consultant Holland Cooke
You might already have a Slingbox. I do and I love it. I can watch whatever’s on my TV or DVR back home, anywhere, on my computer, iPad or iPhone. DVR is timeshifting, Slingbox is place-shifting. It’s not a service with a recurring fee. It’s a small box.
New here this week? Sling TV, in-cahoots-with Dish Network. It’s an internet TV service, and it includes ESPN, TBS, TNT, CNN, and other networks. $20 per month, no contract, cancel any time. This is just the newest streaming video system, so-called “Over the top TV.” The biggest one is Roku, which I also have; an inexpensive box or dongle with no recurring fee. Others are Google Chromecast, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV.
By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Before all the firings radio has suffered since, it might’ve seemed overstated when – four years ago — I wrote here: “tough decisions are being made, in meetings you’re not invited to. Possibly in meetings your boss is not invited to.”
My column then declared that, “if you’re in radio, you’re in sales;” and offered tips for improving the endorsement spots that only local personalities can deliver, and other ways to become a more conspicuous contributor to your station’s revenue. ICYMI: http://www.radio-info.com/2012/11/02/now-that-youre-in-sales/
Cutbacks since then – and, likely, still to come – only underline the need for on-air talent to be as sales-supportive as possible, if not actually carrying a list. To that end, this guidance about writing effective commercial copy, a task talent is often better-at than station reps, whose time is better spent pounding the pavement.
Clear Channel Becomes iHeartMedia. This is a major name change for a heritage radio company, but, as the press release indicates, it reflects the company’s belief that it’s become a “one-of-a-kind multi-platform media company” that has moved beyond just radio. Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “iHeartMedia reflects our commitment to being the media company that provides the most entertainment to the most engaged audiences wherever they go, with more content and more events in more places on more devices. We have massive consumer reach and influence across our platforms because we know how to program the live content people want to hear, see and share right now, we are the largest mobile media company in existence — more than 60 percent of our broadcast usage is out of home, compared to just 30 percent for other mobile devices — and we deliver more live programming than any other media company today, built on the national and local on-air personalities who are the heart of our powerful broadcast radio franchises. Combined with Clear Channel Outdoor’s reach of over half a billion people worldwide across 30 countries and five continents, it’s clear that no other company can match our reach or broad spectrum of media platforms.” Clear Channel Outdoor will retain its name. Pittman adds, “In a world where 2x ROI is judged as successful, Nielsen has shown that radio delivers 6x ROI on average. It’s because we combine the power and predictably of mass reach with the immediacy and relevance of live programming and the unique and powerful engagement that consumers have with their favorite radio stations and personalities. The opportunity for the new iHeartMedia is to use all of these industry-leading assets together in new ways — extending our massive reach and cultural influence across radio, outdoor, digital, social and live events to make it easier for advertisers to deliver the most relevant, real-time messages across all our platforms at scale, amplified by social media and mobile, to get a superior ROI to other media.”
Michael Harrison: “The Systematic Abandonment of ‘Radio’ by ‘Radio’ is a Disturbing Trend.” TALKERS and RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison warns of what he terms “a disturbing half-baked trend, that although understandable in the big picture of communications, poses an unnecessarily sped-up threat to the livelihoods of everyone in the radio business – not to mention the fundamental role of audio-media in both the spoken-word and musical arts.” Harrison acknowledges, “The move away from the word ‘radio’ in the lexicon of our industry is certainly understandable from a sales and marketing standpoint and it makes total sense to create unified multi-media platforms for today’s mega-consolidated, corporate behemoths to compete effectively in the ‘noisy’ world of the emerging digital era. However, those who work in the media arts that are fundamentally built upon aural foundations – spoken-word shows and music creation – will face increasingly limited opportunities to present their wares to an interested consumer base as venues and business opportunities evaporate at an exponential rate.” Harrison observes, “As we move more and more into a world of screens and not speakers, the only talent that will have a chance to survive in a bottom-line driven, corporate environment will be those whose assets are visually gifted. That does not bode well for the brilliant wordsmiths and musical geniuses who most likely do not have faces for television. It also does not hold much of a future for the deeper aspect of communication that is aurally based – a means of expression that runs deep within our very humanity, holding a unique and special place within our brains.” Harrison concludes, “Those of us who are still proud of and value the role of ‘radio,’ audio-oriented music, and the theater of the mind, must give considerable consideration as to what the role, if any, audio-only media will have in this new age. It can and must be respected and preserved within this inevitable, emerging grid or we face the likely prospect of devolving overnight from making great radio and music to extremely cheesy television.”
Tim Lewis Named PD, Afternoon Host at WJBC, Bloomington, Illinois. Thirty-year radio pro Tim Lewis is the new program director and afternoon personality at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WJBC, Bloomington “The Voice of Central Illinois.” Lewis was most recently with KBLY, Idaho Falls hosting AM drive and serving as program director. He’s also worked at such heritage signals as KSL, Salt Lake City; KOA, Denver; and WLW, Cincinnati and has received numerous industry awards. During the 1990s, he hosted a nationally syndicated sports talk show on the One on One Sports Radio Network, eventually clearing more than 250 stations. Cumulus EVP, programming and content John Dickey states, “Tim Lewis’ long and diverse experience in spoken-word radio make him the perfect choice to lead the remarkable WJBC programming team and guide the station to even greater success.”
Laura Ingraham Show Podcast Debuts. The nationally syndicated Laura Ingraham show is now heard on demand via PodcastOne as the Norm Pattiz-founded and let podcast producer and distributor launches the new program format. A press statement from PodcastOne notes, “Laura’s phenomenally successful radio program, which airs on over 200 stations, has been a radio staple for a long time but market conditions have now made it very difficult for an independently produced program to get distribution in many of the major markets.” Pattiz adds, “As undeniably great as Laura’s program is, it doesn’t air on a single Clear Channel (now iHeartMedia) station. Her ability to make and influence news is a well-known fact. So as of this week, the Laura Ingraham show can be heard in every market in the country as well as around the globe, on-demand from PodcastOne. Obviously, Laura’s fans are finding her and significantly expanding her radio audience.”
Odds & Sods. Former Spanish sports talk WODT, New Orleans has flipped to English-language sports as “Fox Sports 1280.” The iHeartMedia-owned station had been airing ESPN Deportes content…..The Philadelphia Phillies and CBS RADIO’s WIP and WPHT have signed a one-year deal to keep Phillies play-by-play on the company’s stations through the 2015 season. Phillies management tells the Philadelphia Business Journal that the one-year pact will allow the sides to hopefully work on a long-term deal before the end of next summer…..espnW and ESPN Radio are collaborating on special program dealing with domestic violence in the NFL and the Ray Rice case. It’s called “espnW Presents: The State of the NFL” airing on ESPN Radio and ESPNRadio.com at 9:00 pm ET. The program is being hosted by Jemele Hill and Cari Champion. espnW voices Jane McManus, Kate Fagan and Sarah Spain, who have been sharing their perspectives on issue, will be featured.
Marc Hochman Show Voice Schnellenberger Honored. Florida football legend and “voice” of “The Marc Hochman Show w/ Zach Krantz” on WQAM, Miami, Howard Schnellenberger, was honored on Saturday as Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton renamed its football field “Howard Schnellenberger Field.” Schnellenberger has coached for the Miami Dolphins, Miami Hurricanes, and Florida Atlantic University among many other teams. Fans of the Hochman show know Schnellenberger voices all its opens, rejoins, and imaging. Pictured here are (from left to right): Hochman, Schnellenberger, and Krantz.
The Conclave Announces Student Scholarships. Continuing the scholarship program that’s been part of The Conclave’s mission since 1979, the 2014 Conclave Scholarships are announced. The five scholarships available from educational institutions include: The Bill Gavin Memorial Scholarship which includes application fees, books & supplies and tuition valued at $16,200, awarded by the Specs Howard School of Broadcast Media Arts, Southfield, MI. Competition for this scholarship will begin shortly with details forthcoming; The Dennis Becker Memorial scholarship which is a half tuition scholarship valued at $17,000, awarded by the Sanford Brown College, Mendota Heights, Minneapolis; The Conclave Music Industry Scholarship which is a 25-50% tuition discount valued up to $20,000 awarded by the McNally Smith College of Music, St. Paul, Minnesota; and details regarding The Marc Birger Memorial Scholarship to Kean University and The Doug Lee Memorial Scholarship will be announced soon. For information about the 39th Conclave visit www.http://theconclave.com.
Journalist Training Session Available at Seattle College Broadcasters Conference. At next month’s CBI National Student Electronic Media Conference in Seattle (October 20-25) KUOW, KPLU, NPR and College Broadcasters Inc. are offering a unique training opportunity. The student media project is seeking student applicants to their first event. The week-long session is an opportunity for college and graduate students to learn from professional journalists. A committee of journalists will select up to six students to pair one-to-one with public media journalists and college multimedia instructors from around the country. Three students will be selected from the Seattle/Tacoma area. The Student Multimedia Project will emphasize multimedia storytelling focused on character development. Students who are selected for the project will each find a person to focus on for their story — someone doing something interesting who is willing and available to be interviewed. Students will produce a radio story about the person and then tell their story differently for the web. NPR consultant and project manager Doug Mitchell says, “NPR and its member stations support the Project because it allows us to discover and groom a diverse pool of young talent. The Project gives public media professionals a chance to see if students have what it takes to do the work and lets our industry build a pipeline of new professionals who understand our way of storytelling.”
The NFL and Domestic Violence, Hillary Clinton in Iowa/2016 Presidential Prospects, Obama Forms ISIS Coalition, Mid-Term Elections, Scotland Separation Referendum, and Ebola Pandemic Threat Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/15). The furor over domestic violence cases in the NFL and the league’s plans to address the situation; Hillary Clinton’s weekend visit to Iowa and the probability she’ll run for president in 2016; President Obama’s formation of a coalition to fight ISIS; the looming mid-term elections; the build-up to Scotland’s Thursday referendum to leave the United Kingdom; and the threat of an Ebola pandemic were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
NAB/RAB Radio Show & RAIN Summit coverage by consultant Holland Cooke
INDIANAPOLIS — An advertiser on one of my client stations recently asked, “Aren’t you guys worried about SiriusXM?” With Pandora and iTunes and satellite radio and podcasting now competing for attention and ad dollars, it’s not hard for AM/FM radio to feel surrounded. Yet, “despite a constantly changing audio landscape, broadcast radio controls more than half of the more than four hours a day that Americans spend with all sources of audio,” according to Edison Research.
You may have read about Edison’s recently-fielded “Share of Ear” study, billed as first-ever measurement of all audio consumption. Topline numbers initially released:
Borrell Associates Releases Political Advertising Outlook; Radio’s Share to Shrink. But that’s not entirely unexpected by those who’ve been involved in political ad buys over the past few years. Even though Borrell estimates the total ad spend this year alone to be $8.3 billion, the media that will see an increase are cable and online. TV will lose market share at the expense of cable – due, Borrell concludes, to the more highly targetable nature of cable’s niche programming. While online is expected to see a big increase, it’s still a small part (3.3%) of the total political ad spend for 2014. Radio’s share is shrinking – from 6.5% of the total ad spend in 2010 to an estimated 5.8% this year. But that money — $485 million – is money the industry is banking on. Another item of note from Borrell is that 54% of the total ad spend comes in September and October. The ability to narrowly define a medium’s audience helps a political ad buy and if radio executives can show campaigns that they have a desired audience, the likelihood of getting the buy increases. For more information, see the Borrell Associates site here.
Clark Takes Helm of Journal’s Tucson Radio Stations. Assuming the VP/GM position at Journal Broadcast Group’s Tucson operations is Leon Clark, who comes to the company from his most recent post as sales manager for the digital audio aggregator TuneIn. Journal operates four stations in the market: adult contemporary KMXZ “94.9 Mix FM,” news/talk KQTH-FM, rhythmic oldies KTGV “106.3 The Groove,” and sports talk KFFN “ESPN Tucson.” Journal EVP – Radio Steve Wexler comments, “Leon’s broadcast and digital experience, as well as his strong leadership track record, makes him a great fit with Journal and our Tucson team. He embodies our core values of integrity, excellence, determination and innovation and I’m thrilled to welcome him to our company.” Clark comments, “I am honored to lead the Tucson team forward and to become part of a broadcast group that shares the same core values that I do. We have some incredible opportunities ahead of us and I look forward to much success for our Tucson team.”
WGN, Chicago Returns the Bird to Service. As Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports, Tribune Company news/talker WGN, Chicago is bringing the iconic marketing mascot the Bird – appropriately named Chicago – back into service to be the face of some of its marketing efforts. Instead of being a TV and print icon, the Bird will be a social media avatar for the station. Vice president of content and programming Todd Manley tells Feder, “The idea is to give the Bird a new life in a new space and really have it be the voice of Chicago through listening to WGN Radio.” Read Feder’s story here.
KSFO, San Francisco’s Bearman Talks Soccer and More During Weekend Remote. Rising talk radio star Ethan Bearman (pictured here at right) speaks with San Jose Earthquakes president Dave Kaval (left) outside Stanford Stadium during a Saturday evening broadcast on Cumulus Media’s KSFO, San Francisco. Bearman broadcast his program from the stadium on the occasion of the MLS match between San Jose and the Los Angeles Galaxy dubbed the California Classico. Bearman says the excitement of the World Cup and the biggest fireworks show in the Bay Area brought some 50,000 people out for the event. He says that although KSFO is not a sport talk-oriented station, the interview with Kaval, two-time MLS goalkeeper of the year and former Earthquake Joe Cannon plus the local non-sports topics make for a show that was a bit hit with the listeners and fans in attendance.
Geary Exiting Entercom Communications Post. Citing his desire to return to the political communications end of the business, Entercom director of strategic communications Kevin Geary announces he’s leaving his position with the company to focus full time on his political communications firm, Independence Strategy. Geary’s been with Entercom for the past three years and, during that time, he’s kept his own company in business. But he says he misses the political communications biz and wants to return. “The closer we got to the 2014 elections it was clear just how much I missed it. With 3 ½ years in corporate and media communications, I know I can offer clients a unique combination of political, business perspectives.”
Greater Media Sports Talkers to Air USA World Cup Game. As the USA soccer team continues its bid for the World Cup, Greater Media-owned WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic” and WMGC, Detroit “Detroit Sports 105.1” will air the USA vs Belgium match live on Tuesday, July 1 at 4:00 pm ET. In addition WPEN-FM Mike Missanelli is broadcasting live from Pagano’s leading up to the match. Fans who join Missanelli in Center City will be able to watch the match on a 20-foot-by-17-foot screen, as well as on the televisions inside Pagano’s. WPEN-FM program director Matt Nahigian says, “We had an overwhelming amount of listeners asking us to air the US vs Germany game and it continued for Tuesday’s matchup. We’re excited to be able to provide the radio call of the game to our listeners.”
SCBA Reports 2014 Starting Off Positive. Calling it “solid, steady revenue growth that sets the stage for a strong first quarter for Southern California radio,” Southern California Broadcasters Association president Thom Callahan reports the results of the Miller Kaplan Arase Market Summary report for January 2014 indicating total market revenue for Los Angeles radio grew by 1.7% in January. Callahan adds, “The 1.7% growth rate for January is, of course, good news for our industry here in Southern California, however, a closer look at what made up that growth reveals a market and region that is healthy and growing.” The Miller Kaplan Arase X-Ray report for Los Angeles radio further describes both strong category growth and exceptional new business development in the first month of the New Year. That growth includes: insurance companies – up 152.1%, education – up 61.5%, concerts/theatre/movies – up 54.6%, communications/cellular/public utilities – up 22.7%, and both the auto category – up at 6.3% and health care – up at 6.4%. Callahan says, “New business development was a significant revenue driver for Southern California radio in January and showcases how new advertisers are rediscovering radio and its effectiveness in building brands and market share for their business. With 297 new advertisers spending $7,408,878 in new business in January alone, it’s clear our SCBA member stations are fully engaged in new business development.”
Journal Communications Reports Q4 2013 Numbers; Radio Down 7.2%. That radio figure does include the loss of political advertising and a quirk of the bookkeeping calendar that took a week away in 2013. Accounting for those issues, Journal reports that on a same-station basis, radio revenue was up 0.7% in the fourth quarter and for the whole of 2013 same-station revenue was up 3.7%. The news for national revenue continues to be negative as Journal’s radio stations saw national drop 22.8% in Q4 and dive 8.9% for the entire year. In a statement, chairman and CEO Steven Smith says, “Journal Communications delivered a solid fourth quarter in a non-political year, driven by gains in core revenue in our broadcast group and improving advertising revenue trends in publishing…Consolidated revenue of $107.4 million was up 11% compared to 2012, excluding the extra week and political revenue in 2012.”
WGWG-LP, Chicago Adds Jarrett Payton to Air Staff. The new sports talk outlet Tribune’s WGN, Chicago is building on the leased WGWG-LP signal announces the addition of Jarrett Payton – son of Bears great and NFL Hall-of-Famer Walter Payton – to the afternoon drive show with Harry Teinowitz and Spike Manton. “The Game 87.7” vice president of creative content Todd Manley tells Chicago media writer Robert Feder, “I think Jarrett is way more than sports royalty in this town. He’s the sort of creative, inventive mind that will help us define the future of this brand.” As Feder reports, Payton’s radio experience includes serving as host of Chicago Bears post-game shows on ESPN O&O WMPV, Chicago.
Talk Host Tom Becka Launches Web-based Podcast Series. Talk radio pro Tom Becka holds down the afternoon program at NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha. Now, Becka is debuting his latest venture – a podcast series available at his website TomBecka.com titled, “Tom Becka Podcast.” Becka has a specific goal with regard to the podcast’s subject matter: letting interesting, everyday people tell stories about themselves – things you might never know unless you asked. Some of the fascinating subjects Becka has covered with his podcast project include: a woman named Kaylee talking openly about what it’s like to live with bi-polar disorder; a local man who’s taken his passion for film and started a new career making films; a conversation with a tattoo artist about the tattoo phenomenon; a man with terminal cancer relating his inspirational thoughts about living and dying; a local man who lives every day with Asperger’s syndrome; and many more. Becka says, “Tom Becka.com is a place where every day people are going to be telling their stories…inspirational stories, life lessons, stories about overcoming adversity.” All the subjects for this project are from the local Omaha area, as Becka says, people who may be your friends, relatives or neighbors. Becka is posting a new episode every Sunday. Check it out here.
Michael Harrison on the Road – Next Big Stop: Jerry Del Colliano’s “Media Solutions Conference” in Philly March 26. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will be one of three special guest speakers at noted industry observer and analyst Jerry Del Colliano’s fifth annual Media Solutions Conference set for Philadelphia on Wednesday, March 26. Along with WBEB, Philadelphia (“More FM”) owner Jerry Lee and nationally syndicated Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel talk star Sean Hannity, Harrison will participate in the intensive day-long workshop that will focus on a wide variety of digital-era issues currently facing and challenging radio. These include coming to a better understanding of the Millennial generation, learning to disrupt radio itself before its media rivals do, separating radio’s main product into unique on-air and online categories, effectively using video to generate significant amounts of revenue and much more. Harrison states, “I am really looking forward to participating in this conference and tackling these crucial issues with a bunch of smart people from all ends of the business. Jerry Lee has so much to share about running an independent station in an aggressive, winning way – we could sure use more Jerry Lees in this industry – and Sean Hannity is the very definition of brains and class. One of the things Sean brings to the table is the ability to attract younger listeners to traditional news/talk – he has done quite alright in an area of the field to which most people are actively seeking answers.” The event takes place at Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Hotel. For more information click here.
Odds & Sods. Nationally syndicated progressive talk show host Leslie Marshall does double duty on Thursday (3/6) as she sits in for Thom Hartmann on his nationally syndicated program…..ESPN O&O WMPV, Chicago adds a weekly program covering Major League Soccer and the local Chicago Fire. The show is dubbed “Chicago Fire Weekly” and it’s being hosted by Fred Heubner and will feature contributions from Kevin Egan, analyst for the Chicago Fire’s television broadcasts…..News/talk WNTX, Fredericksburg, Virginia is again being heard on translator W243BS, Fredericksburg after the latter signal carried the “Fred FM” format for the past 11 months. WNTX is owned by Free Lance-Star, currently going through Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization…..Kevin Calabro re-ups with ESPN where he serves as the lead play-by-play voice on the NBA on ESPN Radio. He’ll continue working with lead NBA analyst Jon Barry, as well as PJ Carlesimo and Stan Van Gundy.
Former Nebraska Radio Owner Mitchell Dies at 89. In Nebraska, John C. Mitchell was a decorated broadcaster who was honored with a Pioneer Award from the Nebraska Broadcasters Association and is a member of the Nebraska Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Trained as an attorney who practiced law until he retired in 2001, Mitchell began acquiring radio stations in 1953 with the purchase of KGFW, Kearney – the station at which he worked in high school. Eventually his Mitchell Broadcasting Corporation would own some 14 stations across the state. Mitchell is pictured here at the mic on KGFW.
Crimea-Ukraine Tensions/Obama vs. Putin, ObamaCare Criticism, Israel-Palestinian Talks, The Oscars, Hillary in 2016, and Marijuana Policy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/3). The military incursions into Ukraine and Crimea by Russia and criticism of President Obama’s handling of Vladimir Putin; scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; U.S. pressure on Netanyahu to convene Palestinian peace talks; Sunday evening’s Academy Awards show; speculation about Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016; and marijuana policy in the U.S. were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
TALKERS Three-Part Special Feature
The Vision of Envision: The Rise of Radio Syndication Entrepreneur Danno Wolkoff and an Emerging Independent Powerhouse
By Jeff McKay
Special features Correspondent
NEW YORK — Since he ventured out on his own and started what has become not only a highly successful syndication company, but one that can truly serve the needs of both the largest and even the smallest radio station, Danno Wolkoff has known that he cannot simply rest on his laurels. Wolkoff will be the first to admit that his company, in order to be and remain successful, must change with radio’s changing times from how companies do business and manage their own businesses, to how companies must do more with less, and the ever-changing technology that could cost a company listeners and their survival.
Envision Networks has changed with the changing times in radio, something Wolkoff identifies as being driven by technology which is now the catalyst for these changes and placing traditional radio at a crossroads.
By Chris Miller
Chris Miller Digital
SHAKER HEIGHTS – “Sorry, I quit paying attention!”
What attention span can we ask for these days to sell something? One of my clients created a 40-second video for an email project, and I was momentarily concerned it was too lengthy to keep people watching. Another client buys two :60 spots back-to-back on TV to show mini-documentaries.
And yet … we’re still offering to sell :60 spots, loaded up back-to-back, as if it’s 1990.
Good luck selling a lengthy ad online. When YouTube lets us skip the rest of an ad a few seconds in, and Facebook measures your ad in characters instead of columns or inches, don’t six-minute sets of :60s make you at least a little nervous? Roy Williams, the “Wizard of Ads,” says “Clarity is the new creativity.” Or, if I lost you during that last sentence, “Less is more.”
By Duane Doobie
SPRINGFIELD, MA — Although it is difficult to quantify these things, it seems that the importance of Veterans Day, as it is reflected and acknowledged in our popular culture, has grown over these past years – although those of us at RadioInfo and our sister publication TALKERS are indeed working today and I see our fellow online radio trade publications are out there in full editorial bloom as well.
I also observe that most radio stations’ offices are staffed and running today in business-as-usual mode. So Veterans Day does not fall into the same category of holidays as the other federally-demarcated 24-hour periods that warrant universally acknowledged “day off” status such as the “Big Six” – New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day (unless you work at the post office, a bank, or government agency).
By Al Herskovitz
BRADENTON, Fla — With cries of woe, beating of breasts and the rending of garments, radio sales reps are responding to the mournful tune being sung by predictors of the medium’s imminent demise. It is the same song we heard many, many years ago with the emergence of television. “It’s all over for radio,” they wailed. “Nobody’s going to listen to the radio anymore when they can watch TV.” But sharp management, innovative programmers, and clever promotion beat that notion into the ground.
We heard that tune again with the FM explosion. “Nobody’s going to listen to AM radio anymore when they have FM.” Then talk radio expanded across the AM band to such a degree that national leaders, columnists and commentators, public figures go bonkers when a program host says something that they deem controversial or are against something they said or did. Only today as I write this I read a column in a major metropolitan daily that railed against Rush Limbaugh. If nobody is listening, what are they worried about? After all he’s just a talk show host on AM radio.
Latest Gallup News Poll Puts Radio at Back of the Pack. The just-released Gallup poll of Americans’ news consumption habits provides good news for television but not such good news for radio and print. According to the study, among persons 30 to 49 years old, 50% named television as their preferred news medium, 28% said the internet was their first choice; 7% said radio and 6% said print. Among the 18 to 29 demographic, radio fell behind print at just 3%. While this study will be interpreted by some as another nail in the coffin for radio news, the reality is it’s not as cut-and-dried as that. First, even radio practitioners would be hard pressed to expect radio to be considered a primary news source across a broad spectrum of the population in this day and age. It’s hardly surprising that television and the internet are first and second, respectively. It’s the very reason that forward-thinking radio news operations are moving into the digital world. Most radio news people would admit that they are focused on serving people during their commute – something that television cannot do although is something that the internet is becoming better at doing as it gains access to moving vehicles. Other factors to be considered are more nebulous. In major markets with heritage radio news operations radio probably enjoys a better place in the minds of news consumers. Survey the top 10 media markets only and radio may fare a bit better on a percentage basis. Also, as part of a morning radio show (in just about any format), the news segment may not even be thought of by the listener as a “news program” yet it remains an indispensable part of most radio morning shows.
And Speaking of News. Longtime radio programmer and media creative officer Lee Abrams is preparing to debut his new video news service called TouchVision. Abrams, along with co-founders Steve Saslow and Brandon Davis are calling the new service “the revolutionary way to reach America’s new mainstream on all devices with a complete re-imagination of news and information.” The live, 24/7 channel will differ from most news platforms in that it will feature no anchors. Content airs simultaneously online, on TV, on phones and tablets. TouchVision says, “The story is the star.” TouchVision also states the programming is “a partnership with broadcasters on a DMA-exclusive basis using their digital assets.” The programming clock indicates time for local news, weather and sports in addition to the unique programming elements and world and national news coverage. You can check out TouchVision’s site here.
Audience Research: The Dunkin’ Donuts Method. Radio consultant Holland Cooke reports from his summer tour of client stations across America. He writes that programmers can learn a lot from eavesdropping on conversations at donut shops and lunch counters. He predicts, “You’ll note a disconnect between what you hear, and lots of what talk radio is trying to force-feed ‘em. Example: While cable and radio pundits are shocked…SHOCKED…by revelations about beyond-Patriot Act NSA surveillance, coffee gulpers shrug that they’ve suspected it all along. I’ve overheard parents say they’re using the story as an opportunity to wag a finger in their kids’ faces about what they disclose online.” Read Holland Cooke’s entire piece here.
MEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Jerry Proctor of The Proctor Group, Inc. In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media broker Jerry Proctor of The Proctor Group, Inc. Proctor brings years of experience to the broker business and describes the deal scene as follows: “Television is undergoing a consolidation revolution such as occurred in the radio business a few years ago. Consequently, television station prices are returning to pre-recession levels and the consolidations continue with prices still climbing. Radio is still suffering some of the lingering effects of the recession. Station prices are recovering but that part of the broadcast industry is being held back due to the lack of available financing. That’s one of the reasons you see so many LMA opportunities….many with purchase options attached. The larger and dominant companies in radio are primarily trading among themselves with some small amount of consolidations continuing. That leaves the lower tier of stations more available to smaller operators. Many owners in this tier of stations are now retiring and want to sell. I view NOW as being an excellent time to acquire those stations….if the buyer can find the financing to buy. Unfortunately, a buyer today MUST have more than two nickels to rub together if they’re going to boot-strap a station purchase!” To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.
KCBS, San Francisco’s Hal Ramey Returns to Work After Lengthy Vocal Problem. Sports anchor Hal Ramey returned to work at KCBS, San Francisco on July 1 after almost four months off the air due to a nodule on his vocal cords. The Walnut Creek Patch reports that back in February, Ramey noticed his voice was getting a little hoarse. Doctors advised him to give it a little rest but it just got worse. He was told to rest it completely – no talking at all – but after a while it only shrank 60% and doctors decided to operate. The non-cancerous growth was removed on May 9 and Ramey was able to return to work seven weeks later.
Odds & Sods. WHP, Harrisburg afternoon drive host Bob Durgin will retire from his position there on August 2 after a 24-year career at the station. Clear Channel is beginning a search to replace Durgin…..CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles announces the next in its “On Your Corner” series in which the all-news outlet will spotlight San Pedro and the Palos Verdes Peninsula on Friday, July 19 with a day of live broadcasts from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm. The station says it will focus on key issues and happenings in San Pedro and the Port of Los Angeles, along with the peninsula communities of Palos Verdes, Rancho Palos Verdes, Rolling Hills and Rolling Hills Estates. Civic leaders and other guests will be featured during the special broadcast to give Southern Californians insight into the unique attributes, history and future development in the area.
‘Radio and the Connected Car’ Super Session Scheduled for 2013 Radio Show. The National Association of Broadcasters and the Radio Advertising Bureau announce the 2013 Radio Show in Orlando will feature a Super Session titled, “Radio and the Connected Car” taking place on Thursday, September 19 at 9:15 am. The NAB and RAB say the panel will feature “leading strategists, analysts and researchers discussing developments in the connected car, what consumers want and where the technology is headed. This session will reveal data from surveys, focus groups and consumer clinics along with sneak peeks at what car makers and their suppliers have in store for the dashboard of the future. Participants will offer specific recommendations on what radio can do now to maintain its prominence in the automobile for years to come.” Participants will include: Roger C. Lanctot, associate director, Global Automotive Practice at Strategy Analytics; and Fred Jacobs, president of Jacobs Media. Bill Rose, senior vice president, marketing at Arbitron, will provide introductory remarks.
Charlie Vogt Appointed CEO of Harris Broadcast. Charlie Vogt comes to Harris Broadcast from his most recent position as president and CEO of GENBAND where he led a company transformation that encompassed six acquisitions, including Tekelec SSG, NextPoint Networks and Nortel’s VoIP Business. Harris Broadcast, recently acquired by The Gores Group, defines itself as “a global supplier of networking, routing and software solutions that create, manage, transmit, distribute and monetize multimedia content.” Vogt succeeds Harris Morris, who was appointed president of Harris Broadcast when it was a subsidiary of Harris Corporation in 2010, led the company through its divestiture process and guided the transition period to The Gores Group ownership, including the completion of fiscal year 2013. Harris Broadcast chairman and board member of Dish Network, Carl Vogel, states, “Charlie’s proven track record of taking companies with powerful and promising technology to the next level uniquely positions him to lead this business. His decision to join Harris Broadcast as president and CEO likewise reflects the promise and potential behind the company’s market-leading technology, marquee customers and exceptional employees. Charlie will bring to Harris Broadcast vision, leadership, creativity and operational discipline as well as an entrepreneurial and customer-first culture.” Vogt says of his new position, “I couldn’t be more enthusiastic about joining Harris Broadcast, especially at a time when broadcasters, cable networks and multi-channel content distributors are experiencing so much change – from the impact of on-demand to content delivery on multiple screens and the digital transition to video and audio over IP. I have spent my professional career building businesses, fostering an entrepreneurial culture and introducing disruptive technologies that transform business models. I look forward to leading the Harris Broadcast team to accelerate innovation in areas that will enable the company to experience market-leading growth.”
ESPN Radio Begins Annual ‘Don’t Give Up ESPYS V Foundation Auction.’ ESPN Radio announces it is presenting the “9th Annual Don’t Give Up ESPYS V Foundation Auction” going on now through July 17. The online and on-air public auction features hundreds of items and experiences for bid to raise money and awareness for The V Foundation for Cancer Research. The event has raised more than $5.7 million over the first eight years of the fundraiser. A majority of the nearly 200 experiences and items in the auction will be available online via www.espnradio.com or ebay.com (now through July 17) while a total of 18 fan “experiences” will be auctioned live on air across ESPN Radio’s national shows on July 17 from 6:00 am to 12:00 noon ET. Listeners can call 1-800-4JimmyV or log onto www.jimmyv.org to both donate and bid on items and experiences in the radio-thon, with the highest bidder at 59 minutes past each hour winning the experience.
Asiana Air S.F. Crash Landing, Egypt Turmoil, ObamaCare Criticism, Immigration Reform/Amnesty, and Eliot Spitzer Comptroller Candidacy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/8). The crash landing of an Asiana Airlines jet at the San Francisco airport; the violence and turmoil in Egypt after a military-forced change of regimes in the Middle Eastern state; ongoing concerns over the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; legislation addressing illegal immigration and a proposal for amnesty for illegals already here; and former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s plans to run for comptroller of New York City.
Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze to Be Available in Tri-State Area Via Cablevision’s Optimum TV. Beginning later this month, Glenn Beck-founded TheBlaze network will be available to New York City and the surrounding area as it will be included in Cablevision’s Optimum Preferred, Silver and Gold Packages. The channel is available to Optimum TV commercial customers with Optimum Business or Optimum Entertainment. Cablevision VP of video product management, Bradley Feldman, states, “Optimum TV is the only cable provider in the Tri-State area to bring our customers original programming from Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze, and the independent network will add more diversity to our strong lineup, providing our customers with more choices that our customers appreciate.” In a statement from Beck’s organization it says TheBlaze “offers a full slate of original news and opinion shows like ‘Real News,’ ‘Wilkow!’ and ‘For the Record,’ late night comedy like ‘The Wonderful World of Stu’ and ‘B.S. of A.,’ family-friendly programming like ‘Liberty Treehouse’ as well as thought-provoking documentaries and original specials. TheBlaze first launched on September 12, 2011 as GBTV and quickly grew into one of the world’s largest online streaming networks with over 300,000 subscribers. One year later, TheBlaze became a television network.”
CBS Q1 2013 Report: Company Up 6%, Radio’s Top 10 Markets Up 2%. The bulk of the discussion during yesterday’s conference call centered around TV for CBS, as it usually does. But CEO Les Moonves stated up front that the company continues to build “on the terrific debut of the CBS Sports Radio Network. We’ve added 20 affiliates to our roster since our last call. In addition, CBS Radio played a major role in this year’s success of the Academy of Country Music Awards. This is a show that perfectly complements our radio audiences, as evidenced by all the artists who mentioned the power of radio in their acceptance speeches.” CFO Joseph Ianniello noted that, comparable to the same period a year ago, the top 10 radio markets were performing up about 2%. Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript. Read more here.
Former Citadel/Cumulus Birmingham Cluster Manager Bill Thomas Sues Company for Unlawful Termination. Add discrimination to that under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Bill Thomas, a.k.a Michael Thomas Stainback, alleges in the complaint filed in United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama that the company knew he had heart ailments that resulted from a 2009 heart attack yet he still performed his job well and even received bonuses based upon performance. Thomas alleges that in February of 2012, after telling Cumulus corporate management that he’d been diagnosed with congestive heart failure, he was terminated by the company six days later. He’s seeking unspecified damages as well as back pay.
‘Freedom Feens’ Show to Join GCN. The “Freedom Feens” weekend talk show co-hosted by Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi will debut on the Genesis Communications Network on Saturday, May 11. Dean and Vedadi describe their program as a “great-sounding, feisty weekend show about free markets, the police state, the war on drugs, the right to keep and bear arms, computer security, honest money, self-defense, self-employment, marriage, do-it-yourself media production, marketing, music and more.” Regarding the title of their program, the duo explain, “‘Feen’ means ‘fiend,’ and the ‘Freedom Feens’ support the rights of the smallest minority, the individual.”
Time to Do Some Spring Cleaning Out at the Transmitter Site. For many of you who broadcast out of the Northwest, Midwest, North, and Northeast, this winter was a bear! Snow, ice and wind can cause issues for your transmission facilities. So it’s time to do a thorough inspection of your transmitter sites – both the main transmitter sites and anywhere you may have an STL transmitter or receiver. In a timely article posted today (5/2) noted engineering consultant and TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray offers up an invaluable “to-do” list to make sure your transmitter remains happy in the coming spring, summer and fall months after enduring a pretty painful and damaging winter. Get the whole story here.
Odds & Sods. WRKO, Boston afternoon drive talk show host Howie Carr broadcasts live from La Verdad Mexican restaurant near Fenway Park this afternoon from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm as he promotes his latest book , Rifleman (Frandel, LLC 2013), a true-crime story about infamous Boston mobster Steven Flemmi. Carr will stay after his program ends to sign copies of the new book…..Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington is conducting its second annual “Communter Idle” contest through Friday, May 3. The contest asks DC commuters to share their daily travel horror story to win prizes and possibly be the grand-prize winner who’ll receive $1,000 in gas money and a limo ride to work courtesy of Reston Limousine. Runners-up will receive $150 gas cards…..It may be a sign of the times that one of the most popular shows on CNN is the new “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” travel and food program that airs on Sunday evenings on the cable news/talk channel. But new CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker is so thrilled with the its performance that he’s already ordered another season of the show that will debut on September 15.
Cinchcast, Inc. Establishes Strategic Advisory Board. One of radio’s technological innovators and dynamic entrepreneurs of the new digital age, Alan Levy – founder and CEO of BlogTalkRadio and its “white-label” sister firm Cinchcast, Inc. – has announced the appointment of two well-known executives to Cinchcast’s new strategic advisory board: Tom Glocer, former CEO of Thomson Reuters and Steve Bornstein, former head of the NFL‘s digital media operations and ABC Sports/ABC, Inc. president and ESPN chairman. Levy tells TALKERS, “It’s an honor to be working with Tom and Steve as we continue to build, develop and scale the Cinchcast and BlogTalkRadio businesses.”
Practically an Exclusive. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) doesn’t do a lot of conservative talk radio shows. But Talk Radio Network star Rusty Humphries – who spent part of his earlier career at KKOH in Reno – was able to secure a no-holds-barred interview with Senator Reid at Humphries’ affiliate station KDWN, Las Vegas. Reid was in his home state while the Senate is on recess and he spoke with Humphries about the hot issues facing Congress. Pictured here are (from l-r): Humphries, Reid, and KDWN program director John Shaffer.
Suspects Arrested in Marathon Bombing, ObamaCare Implementation, Benghazi Cover-Up Charges, and Gay Athletes Flap among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/1). The arrest of more suspects connected with the Boston Marathon bombing case; the cost and implementation of the Affordable Care Act; charges that the Hillary Clinton-run State Department covered up aspects of the Benghazi attack; and the flap in the media over gay athletes were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Ruthless and cunning, Congressman Francis Underwood (Oscar® winner Kevin Spacey) and his wife Claire (Robin Wright) stop at nothing to conquer everything. This wicked political drama penetrates the shadowy world of greed, sex, and corruption in modern D.C.
But you won’t see it at the multiplex. Or on HBO, or Showtime. Or on TNT, FX, or other basic cable channels which are now so aggressively producing top-shelf original programming. “House of Cards” is an original Netflix series.
Radio in the Northeast Should Be Prepared for a Potential Perfect Storm. Last year, it was the Halloween Snowprise – an early cold snap fed by a lot of moisture that produced a foot of snow in some places, and felled leaf-laden trees and power lines, blacking out parts of the northeast US for days. This year – Halloween Week could bring a trick some meteorologists are already calling “potentially historic” – a strong tropical storm or hurricane named Sandy, with the Northeast again in the crosshairs. This rare climatic event could be what one network weather anchor called an “atmospheric bomb” – produced by a hurricane colliding head-on with a strong cold front. The jet stream bows northward as it approaches the coast, sucking the storm closer to land, instead of pushing it out to sea. The scenario is eerily reminiscent of the 1991 “Perfect Storm,” which left 12 people dead and more than $200 million in damage after it slammed into the East Coast. Power outages and flooding were widespread. Now is the time to prepare. Howard B. Price of ABC News urges broadcasters in the Northeast to learn the lessons of two radio group operators, who faced serious operational challenges following the EF-5 tornado that leveled a third of Joplin, MO in May 2011, and Hurricane Irene in August 2011, whose impact was felt across the Northeast for days. To read his timely and informative article click here.
CBS Radio’s Atlanta Sports Talker Debuts. WZGC-FM, Atlanta “SportsRadio 92.9 The Game” sprang to life yesterday afternoon at 2:00 pm ET with the PM drive show “Game Time” with Carl Dukes, Kordell Stewart and Rachael Baribeau the first show to hit the air. The trio talked Georgia sports, national sports and introduced the rest of the air staff to the listening audience. The station lineup consists of: “Opening Drive” hosted by Rick Kamla, Randy Cross and C.J. Simpson in morning drive; Jerome Jurenovich and Jamie Dukes from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm; “Mac & Jason at Night” with Mac McDonald and Jason Goff from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm; “Overtime” with Jim Murray from 10:00 pm to 2:00 pm; and “The Mitch Evans Experience” from 2:00 am to 6:00 am. Programming the latest CBS Radio sports talk FM to go on the air is Terry Foxx.
KJRB, Spokane Drops Talk Shows for All-News Programming. Mapleton’s news/talk KJRB, Spokane, Washington is eliminating most of its talk shows for an all-news approach. The station drops TRN’s Laura Ingraham and Jerry Doyle and Cox Media’s Neal Boortz for TRN-operated America’s Radio News Network news blocks airing from 3:00 am to 7:00 pm. The station maintains its local financial program from 12:00 noon to 12:30 pm and the KHQ-TV local news simulcast from 5:00 pm to 5:30 pm. It also continues to air The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “Daily Wrap” with Michael Castner in the evenings and CBS Radio’s “Overnight America” program.
Columbus Sports Talker Fired After Inappropriate Tweet. Dispatch Broadcast Group has fired sports talk host Scott Torgerson about a week after he Tweeted, jokingly, that he wished for the firing or death of ESPN’s Desmond Howard. Torgerson – former co-host of “The Common Man & The Torg” PM drive show on WBNS, Columbus “Sports Radio 97.1 The Fan” – was initially suspended after the Tweet began to create a firestorm of criticism. Ironically, the station used Twitter on Wednesday (10/24) to notify its fans that Torgerson was no longer with the company. As AwfulAnnouncing.com’s Matt Yoder notes in his blog, ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit – a former Ohio State quarterback and still beloved personality in Columbus – got involved in denouncing Torgerson’s Tweet and that probably added to the momentum necessary to make Dispatch let Torgerson go. The fact that WBNS is an ESPN affiliate may or may not have been a contributing factor. As of now, Mike Ricordati continues to host the PM drive show solo. This is not the first case of a talent being fired for an insensitive or inappropriate Tweet and it won’t be the last. Hosts who are hired to push the envelope and also use social media to do so for the purposes of promoting their act and their program have to be careful. There are certain subjects that must be avoided. Wishing death, injury or some other personal assault on someone – even as a joke – is likely to get the host in trouble and probably fired.
Larry King’s Third Party Candidate’s Debate Produced by Ora TV. One way to look at it is that broadcasting legend Larry King’s days of hosting A-List politicians and celebrities for his interviews and debates is over as he has moved to the digital television network Ora TV. But others might see fledgling internet TV stations as the future and all it will take is a smash internet TV show to capture the public’s interest and the medium will begin to compete seriously with broadcast and cable TV. Now, Ora TV seems to be shooting for niche programming and Tuesday’s broadcast of King moderating a third party candidate’s debate provided that. King hosted Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party, Jill Stein of the Green Party, Virgil Goode of the Constitution Party, Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party for a program in which the four largely explained how they differ from the Democratic and Republican party candidates. The debate was broadcast from the Chicago Hilton Hotel with a live audience. King explained at the start, “We think all voices should be heard. I think this is a noble cause.” CSPAN did air the program on cable TV in the U.S. Pictured here are Kristina Tobin, chair of the Free & Equal Elections Foundation (l) and Larry King (r).
Karel Joins Huffington Post Live Web Program. Long Beach, California-based talk host Karel – heard on KGO, San Francisco and in syndication across the country – appeared on the Huffington Post’s half-hour roundtable talk show “HuffPost Live.” The webcast program is hosted by Huffington Post’s Jacob and Alyona and usually features talent from afar piped in via web video batting around the issues of the day. Karel is pictured here in his home studio via webcam on the “HuffPost Live” program.
Odds & Sods. CBS Radio extends its deal with the NFL’s Chicago Bears to continue airing Bears play-by-play and other Bears-related programming on its Chicago signals. The games will continue to be heard on all-news WBBM-AM/FM with programming such as “Bears All Access” airing on sports talk WSCR “The Score.” The terms of the new deal was not announced…..Legendary college basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski returns to SiriusXM for his weekly “Basketball and Beyond with Coach K” program. This is the eighth season Krzyzewski has hosted the program on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog channel. For last night’s season opener, Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter and Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino were guests…..Emmis’ KFTK, St. Louis “FM NewsTalk 97.1” is working with Americans for Prosperity on a promotion to sell gas to 200 lucky listeners for the “pre-Obama Administration” price of $1.84 per gallon. FM NewsTalk 97.1’s Randy Tobler will broadcast live from the Country Club Car Wash in O’Fallon, Missouri from 8:00 am to 10:00 am on Saturday, October 27.
WPRO, Providence Hosts Rhode Island Candidates Debate. Cumulus Media’s WPRO & 99.7 FM in Providence hosted the candidates for the 1st Congressional District in Rhode Island for an hour-long, uninterrupted debate. Pictured here at left is Democratic Congressman David Cicilline and, at right, Republican challenger Brendan Doherty in the studios at WPRO. Not pictured is moderator and WPRO news director Bill Haberman who facilitated the contest. In addition to airing the debate live on the radio with analysis during the Matt Allen program that followed the debate, WPRO provided a video stream and a live, interactive Tweet chat at 630wpro.com.
Benghazi Terrorism Question, Presidential Race Polls, Debate Aftermath, World Series and Hurricane Sandy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/24). The conflicting reports of who knew the Benghazi attack was an act of terrorism and when they knew it; the presidential race polls; analysis of the presidential debates; the Giants-Tigers World Series; and the looming threat to the U.S. from Hurricane Sandy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Chris Miller
Chris Miller Digital
SHAKER HEIGHTS — I can tell that we radio folks are more stressed out than ever, because I’ve been in on a few conversations recently where the subject was how people out there don’t understand the value of radio anymore. That’s a change from the previous sentiment, which was that we just needed to get more compelling content on our websites and in our social media. The feeling seems to be now that we have to make potential fans and clients understand what we’re all about, and what we offer.
Then, I see here in TALKERS (10/17) last Wednesday that Bonneville in Seattle is putting one of their key on-air people “in the driver’s seat for bringing unique, local content to both KIRO-FM and the company’s digital space, MyNorthwest.com.” So wrap your head around this. Linda Thomas, who’s been part of KIRO-FM’s morning drive news block … that’s morning drive in the 13th largest market … is moving online. That’s a real commitment on Bonneville’s part.
NAB/RAB Radio Show Addresses Variety of Industry Issues. Thousands of broadcasters from around the nation are gathering at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas for the annual “Radio Show” jointly presented by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB). The event opened yesterday and runs until Friday afternoon. The annual conference began with an overview of its mission presented by NAB CEO Gordon Smith who trumpeted radio’s role as “first informers” in the all-too-familiar cases of natural disasters and emergencies. Smith appealed to radio broadcasters to unify as “one voice” in dealing with Congress; expressed opposition to any pending or future “performance tax” levied on radio; and called for the industry to continue pressuring wireless companies to activate radio chips on smartphones. RAB CEO Erica Farber also addressed the crowd, encouraging radio broadcasters to present agencies and advertisers with more than just traditional spot campaigns. One of the biggest concerns of attendees reflected on the floor and at the sessions is an industry-wide debate over the pros and cons of terrestrial radio streaming. There is clearly a difference of views held on the subject of streaming by radio mega-groups Clear Channel and CBS — which basically represents a schism that runs throughout the industry — as well as on the issue of paying artists and labels royalties, CBS head Les Moonves stated, “The idea that we have to pay them to put their music on our radio stations is absurd.” On the other hand, CC, which is about to present its giant iHeartRadio Music Festival this weekend, entered a royalty deal with the Big Machine Label Group.
Overheard at the Radio Show. Longtime radio programmer, station owner and consutant Clark Smidt has an ear to the ground at the Radio Show sharing some gathered comments for RadioInfo readers:
“PPM has redirected programming. 40+ adult numbers is where the money is.”
– Dave Van Dyke, Radiate Media
“The news that local radio is working and making money needs to hit Wall Street for the bankers to hear about it.”
– Media broker, Ralph Meador
“Listeners are most interested in what to invest in and refinancing their homes.”
– Syndicated financial personality, Barry Armstrong, .
“We’ve done well mixing live local shows with paid programs.”
– Kurt Carberry, president, Carter Broadcasting, WCRN, Worcester
“The deals are starting to reappear but financing is still tight. I’m seeing 8 x BCF.”
– Richard Kozacko, Media broker
“We’re doing very well with local talk shows. Remotes are giving us great community access and support.”
– Edward Perry, owner WATD, Marshfield, MA
“Throughout the entire downturn, we’ve been up each year. It’s because we’re local. However, political on radio isn’t a big factor, so far.”
– Larry Adams, controller, Mahaffey Enterprises, Springfield, MO
“So far political is a disappointment; it’s on TV. We deliver with eight stations serving our market.”
– Cary Pahigian, market manager, Saga Communications, Portland, ME
“We continue to do well because we’re local and we take care of our people. We might not do the 35-40% margin that some other companies want, but our people are important to us.”
– Bill Baldwin, EVP, Hall Communications
“The audience comes to us to hear the new hits. We use YouTube and sales research to determine the playlist. But, listeners also come to us for local fun and personality. Plus, we have a marching band and a rock band!”
– Julie Hein, general manager, KZIA, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
TRN’s Mark Masters Announces the Formation of The Organization of Independent Radio Syndicators, Networks, Journalists and New Media Companies. With Talk Radio Network chief operating officer William Crawford named the founding president, he offers this statement on the formation of the organization: “Today, I am proud to announce a new non-profit organization designed to assist the community of independent radio syndicators, networks, journalists and new media companies. We have discovered an amazing kinship with most everyone we have spoken with about the issues this organization addresses. When the idea for creating this organization was finally floated about, the response was so overwhelmingly positive that we have molded the attached Mission Statement and Statement of Purpose out of the very input of the independents we have spoken with. The main purpose of the organization is to provide educational information and other support to its membership.” In part, the newly formed organization lists as its statement of purpose: 1) To embrace, support and assist (when and where possible) any legitimate producer of independently syndicated programming, radio network creating independent programming and independent news organization or new media company creating such programming (This item one does not encompass financing or financial support, as this is a non-profit and not a financing or equity operation); 2) To abide at all times with and support the laws of the constitution of the United States of America; 3) Within this organization, we will establish a university program to provide education to aspiring on-air talent, investigative journalists, independent syndicators, network executives, new media creatives and sales representation firms; 4) The future for independent syndicators, networks, new media companies and the sales companies that will represent them must be that healthy competition will always continue to expand the marketplace of ideas, so that the human mind can be challenged to new heights of personal development, innovation, creativity and accomplishment; 5) To use the full power of this membership to prosecute anti-competitive acts, fomented by those less ethical than our members, and see that such corporations and/or individuals are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. This is a portion of the statement of goals. To find out more about this organization, its website is www.independentradiosyndicators.org.
WCAR, Detroit “ESPN 1090” Names Mark Wilson OM, Evening Host. Birach Broadcasting brings Detroit radio and TV personality aboard to host the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm sports talk program and serve as the station’s program director and operations manager. Wilson will manage the station’s continuing transition from a talk outlet to its recent flip to sports as an ESPN affiliate. He says, “We already have two of the most talented personalities in the history of Detroit sports radio. Damon ‘The Dog’ Perry has a proven track record locally and nationally; he’s wild! Art Regner is known far and wide as the Red Wings hockey guru on top of being one of the most outspoken voices in Michigan sports talk.” Additionally, owner Sima Birach, Jr. says the company is building new studios in suburban Bingham Farms. He states, “We’re very excited to have Mark on board. He’s a veteran guy who has been in Detroit radio and TV for years and won awards doing it. Mark is already making a big difference.”
Dial Global and the NFL Extend Radio Play-by-Play Deal. The National Football League has been a partner with Dial Global going back to the late 1980s when Westwood One (merged with Dial Global a year ago) began syndicating the league’s games to radio stations. Now, the two sides agree to a contract extension that will have Dial Global as the exclusive radio partner through the 2017 season. NFL SVP of broadcasting and media operations Howard Katz says, “We are excited to continue partnering with Dial Global to offer our fans NFL play-by-play radio broadcasts. With Dial Global’s national affiliate base, every fan across the country will have access to all prime time and Thanksgiving games.”
NY State Broadcasters Association Announces HoF Class of 2012. The 2012 class of the New York State Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame will be inducted at a ceremony in New York City on November 1. This year’s inductees include radio personalities Scott Shannon and Joan Hamburg. Shannon is one half of the “Scott & Todd in the Morning Show” on WPLJ, New York. In addition to serving as PD at WPLJ, he also programs “The True Oldies Channel,” a nationally syndicated radio network operated by Cumulus Media Networks and heard on 60 broadcast stations in the U.S. Joan Hamburg hosts the midday show on WOR, New York. She began her radio career broadcasting consumer segments on the long-running “Rambling with Gambling” morning show on WOR before eventually earning her own show. Highlights from her show are combined to create a two-hour nationally syndicated weekend show. Hamburg is known for broadcasting from “remote locations” in the community, including Sardi’s, The Hamptons, Canyon Ranch and the Villages in Florida. With her daughter, Liz, Joan is part of the first mother-daughter radio team in the country. This year’s other inductees are: Mike Wallace, CBS News and co-editor of 60 Minutes; Len Berman, TV sports broadcaster; Jackie Robinson, TV anchor/reporter; and Rich Funke, TV anchor/reporter.
Rick & Bubba Morning Show Gets TNN Simulcast. The Birmingham, Alabama-based nationally syndicated Rick & Bubba morning show announces it will have a TV simulcast on cable’s TNN beginning November 1. TNN will air the program live Monday through Friday from 6:00 am to 11:00 am, a two-hour Saturday morning version of the show and a one-hour “best-of” each evening from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET. Rick Burgess’ and Bill “Bubba” Bussey’s program is heard on about 60 radio affiliates nationally.
Dennis Miller Emcees Mitt Romney Event. Dial Global nationally syndicated talk host Dennis Miller will emcee “An Evening with Governor Mitt Romney” this Saturday evening at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. Miller says, “I’m introducing Romney this Saturday and then voting for him on November 6.”
Broadcasters Foundation of America Raises $200,000 at Celebrity Golf Tourney. More than 150 broadcasters and celebrities turned out in support of the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation, including almost 30 sportscasters, athletes, and actors. The BFoA reports $200,000 was raised to help assist broadcasters in need. The charity expects to disburse some $700,000 in aid this year. In the photo seen here are some of the celebrity participants (from l-r): Don Dahler, WCBS-2 TV; Rachel Grant, actress; Dana Tyler, WCBS-2; Selanee Henderson, LPGA Futures; Nisha Sadekar, LPGA, All-American Collegian; Coach Michael Woodson, NY Knicks; Seema Sadekar, LPGA Futures; John Schriffen, ABC News Network anchor; Herb Williams, New York Knicks; Maurice Dubois, WCBS-2; Jeremy Schaap, ESPN; Michael Gargiulo, WNBC-TV; CJ Papa, SportsNet anchor, Fios 1 news anchor; Jim Thompson, Broadcasters Foundation; Amani Toomer, Dial Global-NBC Sports Radio Network; Ann Liguori, WFAN; Jack Mulcahy, actor; Rick Cerone, New York Yankees; Deb Placey, NY Islanders Host; Duke Castiglione, FOX- 5; Sean McDonough, ESPN, ABC Sports; Anita Marks, WFAN; Jim Spanarkel, CBS Sports, ESPN, Fox Sports; Nick Buoniconti, NFL Hall-of-Famer; Jim Todd, New York Knicks assistant coach; Bill Raftery, CBS Sports; Tina Cervasio, MSG – NY Knicks & NY Red Bulls Host; Chad Cascadden, NY Jets; Bobby Carpenter, NJ Devils; Scott Knight, Knight Quality Media; and Phil Lombardo, Broadcasters Foundation.
Romney 47% Issue, ObamaCare Effects, Presidential Race Polls, Anti-America Protests in Muslim World, Libya U.S. Consulate Attack Analysis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/19). The campaign effect of Mitt Romney’s “47% dependent on government” comments; the effects ObamaCare will have when fully implemented; the polls in the presidential race; continued anti-America protests in the Muslim world; and the analysis of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Holland Cooke reports to TALKERS from Blogworld/New York
By Holland Cooke
MCVAY/COOK & ASSOCIATES
NEW YORK – “Internet attention span?” That’s dang near an oxymoron, we’ve learned, via piles of research, and by observing our own behavior. Thus the tips we’ve heard about writing short, keyword-rich sentences and paragraphs. Keep the eye moving, for just…another…sentence.
It’s familiar lore to radio talent, especially with PPM demonstrating how on-air programming needs to be relevant, one…moment…at…a…time. Heck, Twitter trains us to keep it down to 140 characters! A useful discipline – quite applicable to writing anything for radio.
But, as iPod and iPhone have, stable mate iPad is, once again, demonstrating how facile new devices change the way we consume information/entertainment content – and how we interact.
For several years, Michael Harrison has urged radio talk hosts to migrate to what he terms the “media station,” and these new devices are, in radio parlance, “receivers.”
Clearly observable trend: Longer-form internet content is gaining in popularity for two reasons:
1. iPad – and Kindle/Nook/other tablet devices – make longer text content easier to consume than on small smartphone screens, or less-portable desktop computers, or even less-instant-on notebooks and netbooks.
2. “Internet advertising” for consumer products is becoming the next oxymoron. As a society, we’ve become banner-blind; and we can set our browsers to block ads. That controversial Facebook IPO exposed its vulnerability as an ad medium.
Accordingly, co-founder of the crowd sourcing market place for professional writers Contently.com, Shane Snow, told Blogworld attendees that brands are shifting from online advertising to sharable content of interest to their customers; and they’re spending to create “really good, high-quality content,” done by freelancers he called “real journalists.”
Example: Pepsi.com. Think “the kind of stories you’d see in the BACK of magazines.”
Snow’s company feeds this beast, with the banner atop its web site proclaiming: “Contently empowers professional journalists and bloggers to build careers doing what they love.”
Radio news people — now such an endangered species — might investigate www.Contently.com/network and other similar opportunities online.
As Contently’s Manifesto trumpets: “Quality is king. Freelance is the future. Anyone can be a publisher.”
News/Talk consultant Holland Cooke covers conventions for Talkers. See/hear/read more atwww.HollandCooke.com; and follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke.
By Michael Harrison
NEW YORK –– This issue marks the 21st anniversary of TALKERS. What debuted on July 20, 1990 as a 12 page tabloid –– self-described as “The Information Radio Newspaper” –– has evolved into a multi-platform, full-service trade organization consisting of a monthly print magazine, an expanding website, a daily headlines news service, an extensive industry database and a dynamic planner of special events such as the New Media Seminar, Talk Radio Day at the United Nations, It’s Time to Talk About Domestic Violence Day, the Heritage Forums, Info-Sessions at the NAB Radio Show and numerous radio rows.
TALKERS has paralleled, reflected and stimulated the growth of talk radio during its modern era and subsequently brought these services to the expanding communications arena we presciently dubbed “talk media” years ago.
I believe this is just the beginning. As Sean Hannity proclaimed during his memorable speeches at the New Media Seminar, “The best is yet to come.”
Yes, this is a period of daunting change and challenges…technologically, socially, and economically –– but the opportunities being spawned by this unsettling transition are virtually endless.
Beginning with this issue, all content slated for publication in the print editions of TALKERS magazine will be simultaneously posted at Talkers.com in addition to the ongoing rollout of exciting new features. This information will be presented to our readers at no extra charge. TALKERS serves the interests of the talk media industry on a day-to-day, hour-to-hour, even minute-to-minute level. We believe in practicing what we preach. The expansion of Talkers.com into a fully functional “media station” is underway. Dedicated practitioners live this business 24/7 and so does TALKERS.