Tag: "Randi Rhodes"
By Mike Kinosian
While most will not admit it, they sense such genuine terms of endearment are really euphemisms that bring their mortality into question and are code for “old.”
In an oftentimes, if not all too customary, flavor-of-the-month industry where the next great star is eaten up and spit out after a 26-week run, it would be disingenuous though not to ascribe “icon/iconic” and “legend/legendary” to a talk host who has been top-of-mind for over three-dozen years.
This particular peerless personality has maintained an impeccable status of excellence while breaking basic (unwritten) talk radio rules.
Exemplary on-air work that is approaching four decades has been done without political bent and her legend of loyal listeners actually have meaningful life-altering changes owing to the unparalleled expertise of the program’s sage host. In a male-dominated spoken-word personality arena, this show’s headliner is one of only 12 women on TALKERS’ renowned “Heavy Hundred” of 2014, checking in at #44. (The new list for 2015 will be published within the next few weeks and this writer would not be surprised if she moves up significantly due to recent developments in her dynamic career.)
Added twist to the progressing journey of this generously genial, uncommonly cordial licensed clinical psychologist is that Dr. Joy Browne has taken proprietorship of her daily three-hour program.
Larry Wilson’s Alpha Broadcasting and L&L to Merge; Company to Buy Main Line Broadcasting for $57 Million. A big two-pronged announcement from Larry Wilson’s Alpha Broadcasting and L&L Broadcasting: First, the two companies will merge into one to be named Alpha Media. Second, the company will purchase 19 stations in four markets from Main Line Broadcasting for $57 million. Here’s what the companies announce. “The current corporate team for Alpha Broadcasting and L & L Broadcasting will remain and operate the company from the corporate headquarters in Portland, Oregon.” Alpha operates six stations in Portland while L&L operates 43 stations in seven markets. L&L has been overseeing the operation of the Portland stations for the last year pursuant to a management agreement with Alpha. Chairman Larry Wilson states, “The merger will be the culmination of a long term plan to ultimately combine the two companies and will allow us to streamline our oversight of all 49 stations to take advantage of the many synergies.” But wait, there will soon be more than 49 stations. The announcement that L & L Broadcasting is entering into an agreement to acquire 19 radio stations from Main Line Broadcasting for $57 million will expand that to 68 stations. Main Line Broadcasting is headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and operates in the Louisville; Richmond-Petersburg, Virginia; Dayton; and Hagerstown, Maryland-Chambersburg, Pennsylvania markets. L & L Broadcasting president and CEO Bob Proffitt comments, “We’ve worked hard to maintain strong community involvement and an intimate connection with our listeners and advertisers in all of our markets. I’m confident that we’ll be able to implement our mission of live and local radio in the Main Line markets.” Main Line CEO Marc Guralnick adds, “I am extremely proud of all of Main Line Broadcasting’s employees who have done a phenomenal job over the years. I am pleased to have these great broadcasters now under the leadership and vision of Larry Wilson and Bob Proffitt. There’s not a better company than L&L Broadcasting to ensure this continued success.”
Randi Rhodes Calls it Quits. Progressive talk show host Randi Rhodes, according to a press statement from syndicator Premiere Networks, “has decided to end her show” as of May 16. The presser says, “We wish Randi well and thank her for her years of incredible creativity and unique voice.” Rhodes – a native New Yorker – was a very successful, longtime local talk host at WJNO, in West Palm Beach who went into syndication with Air America during the early 2000s and moved over to Premiere after Air America’s demise. Last November it was reported that Premiere would be dropping the Randi Rhodes show but two days later that was reversed. There’s been no official statement about today’s news from Rhodes herself.
Talk Personality Michael Smerconish to Be Interviewed at Own Book Club Event. Fans of talk host Michael Smerconish are aware of his regularly scheduled book club events that go back to his days hosting morning drive on WPHT, Philadelphia. The setup was simple: Smerconish would invite an author he enjoyed to come to town and be interviewed by him in front of a live audience. The author would then sign books and mingle with fans. Now, the tables are turning as Smerconish prepares to release his first novel titled, Talk: A Novel (Cider Mill Press 2014), and he will be the one interviewed. On Wednesday, May 7, at the Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, Pennsylvania, Smerconish will sit down with Larry Kane to be interviewed about his new book that deals with “the inner workings of conservative talk radio and campaign politics.”
Third Round of March PPM Data Released. PPM data from the third of four groups of 12 markets for the March 2014 period (February 27 – March 26) has been released by Nielsen Audio. Those markets include: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all the (subscriber) numbers here. Managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the report at RadioInfo.com here.
Odds & Sods. Sitting in for Premiere Networks‘ Rush Limbaugh today (4/18) is TheBlaze national security editor Buck Sexton. The former CIA officer and NYPD Intelligence Division analyst says of sitting in for Limbaugh, “If you told me when I started doing radio in 2013 that by 2014 I would be sitting in for Rush Limbaugh, I would have laughed. Today, it is happening, and what would have sounded like a joke then is the realization of a dream now. I couldn’t be more excited, or more thankful, for the opportunity.”…..NFL broadcasting icon Dan Dierdorf switches to the college ranks after retiring from CBS. He’ll become the color man in the radio booth for University of Michigan football alongside play-by-play man Jim Brandstatter (who makes the shift from his color analyst position after 34 years). Both Dierdorf and Brandstatter played at Michigan during the 1969 and 1970 seasons…..Sports talk personality Jason Goff exits CBS RADIO’s WZGC, Atlanta “92.9 The Game” where he’s been the evening host…..Fox News Channel’s Chris Wallace is staying put at the cable news/talker as he’s inked a multi-year renewal that will keep him hosting “Fox News Sunday” and involved with the news operation’s political and elections coverage…..ABC News Radio’s “Perspective” program produces a special Earth Day edition titled, “Going Green,” and is available to affiliate stations today (4/18). ABC says Iron Chef and host of ABC’s “The Chew” — Michael Symon — shares his gardening tips, the benefits of growing your own vegetables and the many ways you can turn your backyard space into a culinary destination. Experts will also be on hand to debunk common food labels and share their green grocery shopping tips.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Armed American Radio” with host Mark Walters is added to the program schedule at KBIM, Roswell, New Mexico…..The Genesis Communications syndicated “Freedom Feens” with Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi joins the lineup at KLID, Poplar Bluff, Missouri and WQXL, Columbia, South Carolina.
Russian Aggression in Ukraine Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of April 14-18. The continuing aggression by Vladimir Putin’s Russian troops in Ukraine and reports of Jews being targeted with neo-Nazi tactics tied atop the Talkers TenTM chart as the most-talked-about topics on news/talk radio this week. At #2 was criticism of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act. Following at #3 was income tax return day tied with talk of statistics indicating the number of Americans receiving benefits, and at #4 was speculation about candidates for president in 2016. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
New York Losing Progressive Talk Outlet WWRL. Progressive talk host Karel – whose Long Beach, California-based talk show is heard on Access.1’s WWRL, New York – reports the station says it will flip to Spanish-language programming on December 27. The station airs progressive talk programming including Ed Schultz, Thom Hartmann, Premiere’s Randi Rhodes, and Leslie Marshall as well as non-political shows including Radio America’s Dr. Joy Browne, WYD Media’s Phil Hendrie plus various health and wellness shows. New York’s Amsterdam News reports the station is telling employees “low advertising revenue” is the reason for the format flip.
Brown Boosted to Bonneville International President. KSL Broadcast Group president Darrell Brown is promoted to president of parent company Bonneville International. Brown will oversee Bonneville’s 12 radio properties in Los Angeles, Seattle, Phoenix, and Salt Lake City, as well as Salt Lake City television outlet KSL-TV. “Bonneville International is known across the industry for its integrity and quality,” he comments. “As a group, these stations are committed to serving and building-up their local communities. I am honored to be part of Bonneville’s legacy.” Brown joined KSL last August, after having previously spent 28 years at McGraw-Hill Broadcasting.
Sports Talker WFAN, New York Sponsors Red Hot Chili Peppers-Headlines Show at Barclay Center. With the Super Bowl just across the river the next day, CBS Radio sports talk giant WFAN, New York is sponsoring a big event across the other river at the Barclays Center titled, “WFAN’s Big Hello to Brooklyn.” The announcement was made this morning as WFAN morning team Boomer Esiason (left) and Craig Carton (right) welcomed Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith (center) into the studio and announced his band will be headlining the show on Saturday, February 1, 2014. The concert will also include: New Politics, MS MR, J. Roddy Walston & The Business, and Basic Vacation. CBS calls it “the biggest weekend in sports and entertainment, and is the exciting conclusion to Barclays Center’s “Kickoff In Brooklyn” series which also includes championship boxing (1/30/2014) and a match-up between the Brooklyn Nets and the Oklahoma City Thunder (1/31/2014). CBS Radio SVP, strategic events and partnerships Amy Stevens says, “The intersection of sports and music is never bigger than during the weekend of the Super Bowl. Red Hot Chili Peppers are an American institution and rock ‘n’roll icons, and what better way to celebrate football’s championship than with this incredible lineup of artists for local fans and the thousands in New York from around the world.”
WFAN’s Mike Francesa to Exit YES Network. The New York TV simulcast of WFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa will end on January 31 after the current contract expires and WEPN-FM afternoon drive host Michael Kay’s program will take over the time slot on the Yankees-owned cable channel. The New York Daily News reports that the change was a financial matter and that CBS Radio was asking more for the rights to the program than YES wanted to pay. The Daily News piece speculates that cable’s Madison Square Garden Network may have the “inside track” with Francesa as he’s considered close to Garden management. The story also notes that fledgling cable channel CBS Sports Network, which is airing WFAN’s Boomer & Carton morning show, is not enticing to Francesa because he fears he’d have to change his content to appeal to the national audience.
Steak Added to WCNN Menu. In addition to existing members Sandra Golden and Brian Finneran, “The Front Row” on Dickey Broadcasting, Atlanta’s WCNN “Sports Radio 680 The Fan” will be comprised of Stephen “Steak” Shapiro as well. Formerly the 17-year host of “Mayhem in the AM” on Lincoln Financial Media’s crosstown WQXI “790 The Zone,” Shapiro has won numerous Georgia broadcasting awards and starts his daily 9:00 am – 12:00 noon assignment on January 2. WCNN president/general manager David Dickey comments, “I am excited to have ‘Steak’ back on ‘The Fan.’ He is one of the best-known and most-talented sports personalities in the country. ‘Steak’ will become an important part of what is already the region’s biggest and most-experienced sports-talk line-up. His homecoming is yet another example of Dickey Broadcasting’s ongoing commitment to invest in the best talent, the best content and the biggest partnerships.” Shapiro, who replaces Ray Mariner, adds, “‘The Fan’ gave me my start and is the reason I moved to Atlanta [from Boston] almost 20 years ago. I am ecstatic to be back doing what I love. ‘The Fan’ has been the number one sports talk station in the south for so many years. To be able to be a part of such a winning team with so many folks I have worked alongside in the past and consider friends is really thrilling.” Shapiro founded Big League Broadcasting in 1997 and was its president for roughly 14 years.
Dare to be Crap-Free. When it comes to online content, it’s easy to think you have a staffing problem or a time management problem or a resources problem, when what you really have is a crap problem. In a new column posted today (12/16) by noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, he writes, “There’s stuff on your site that is irrelevant to your station and is keeping people from finding what they DO want to find there. Your social media is probably influenced more by what everyone else is doing in social media, rather than what will cause your biggest fans to love you all the more.” To read how Chris Miller can help you get crap-free and focused on results for 2014, please click here.
Odds & Sods. Connecticut talk show host Mary Jones announces she’ll retire from Buckley Broadcasting-owned news/talk station WDRC-AM, Hartford as of December 23 in order to spend more time with her husband and enjoy winters in Florida. Jones tells TALKERS it was a big decision but she is excited about the change….. WMAL-AM/FM, Washington “Mornings on the Mall” co-host Larry O’Connor is doing some double duty during the holiday season. O’Connor will sub for WABC, New York-based Geraldo Rivera beginning December 20 through the end of the year (and the end of his national syndication run) and will also sit in for WestwoodOne-syndicated personality Dennis Miller on January 2 and 3 – the last two days of his 10:00 am to 1:00 pm airing (the show begins airing from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm on 1/6)…..“Libertarian-conservative” media personality Wayne Allyn Root will be guest host on Cumulus Media Networks’ “Savage Nation” with Michael Savage from December 23 – 30. Root is author of The Ultimate Obama Survival Guide (Regnery 2013) and serves as a commentator on Fox News Channel and TheBlaze.
KSCO, Santa Cruz Personality Ethan Bearman’s Profile Rising. Talk radio personality and writer Ethan Bearman is getting more recognition in the Santa Cruz market as his locally focused talk show on Zwerling-owned KSCO, Santa Cruz grows in popularity. Recently, Bearman was a go-to media voice for a KION-TV news piece (captured here) on the anniversary of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. View that video here. Also, Bearman, who has intensely covered the hot issue of dirty needles, trash and other refuse in the town’s parks that’s making it unsafe for people to use, was part of a clean-up crew that made the news for its work. Read about that issue in a piece in the Santa Cruz Patch here. Bearman is a visible example of a growing trend in news/talk radio in which talk hosts are eschewing monolithic political party doctrine and instead are approaching their programs on an issue-by-issue basis.
Hawkins Scores With CRN Special. Over the weekend (Saturday, 12/14), former NBA player Tommy Hawkins premiered his CRN Digital Talk Radio holiday special “We Wish You a Jazzy Christmas.” According to CRN chief executive officer Michael Horn, “‘We Wish You a Jazzy Christmas’ is filled with holiday-themed jazz music, along with Tommy’s infectious, warm personality. His love of jazz and the holidays combine for such a treat. It is the perfect accompaniment for an evening by a Christmas tree.” Following a standout collegiate career at Notre Dame (where he was a two-year All-American), Hawkins went on to play in the NBA for the Los Angeles Lakers and Cincinnati Royals (now the Sacramento Kings). He later became vice president of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. For approximately 15 years beginning in 1970, “Hawk” was a staple on Los Angeles siblings KABC and KLOS. As part of his basketball-to-broadcasting transition Hawkins not only became KABC’s sports director, he also did “Sports Snorts” weekday mornings with remarkably talented Frazer Smith on KLOS. In addition to doing weekends on KKJZ “K-Jazz,” Los Angeles, Hawkins has written “Life’s Reflections: Poetry for the People.” His CRN special will play throughout the holiday season.
Over $120,000 Raised in KFXX Special Olympics Radio-thon. Entercom-owned sports outlet KFXX “1080 The Fan” afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) hosts Isaac Ropp (pictured here at left with some female fans) and Jason Scukanec (second from right) anchored the third annual 28-hour Special Olympics Oregon radio-thon, which brought in more than $120,000. Program director Jeff Austin comments, “We are proud to partner with Special Olympics Oregon. The overwhelming support of our station’s staff, our listeners, and advertisers was a testament to the bond Isaac and Suke have with their audience.” Scukanec (“Suke”) states, “We cannot thank our listeners enough – Portland is a special community and this is a very special cause. We talk about sports and high-powered athletes every day, but these Olympians are the real athletes. They are the real champions and we are privileged to honor their spirit and dedication.” Special Olympics Oregon chief development officer Kim Bergstrom adds, “We are honored to partner with [KFXX]. Isaac and Suke’s radio-thon helps raise funds to support year-round sports training and competition opportunities for thousands of individuals with intellectual disability. In addition, they generate immeasurable awareness of the importance of Special Olympics Oregon programs for athletes and their families.” This year’s $120,000 radio-thon total surpassed last year’s mark by more than $45,000.
Broadcast Electronics Bumps Up Bealor To President. Effective immediately, Broadcast Electronics executive vice president of product development Tim Bealor is upped to president of the Quincy, Illinois-based company. “I am honored to be asked to lead BE into its 55th year and the next phase of the company’s growth,” he comments. “Next year is going to be an exciting time for Broadcast Electronics and its customers.” Bealor began his Broadcast Electronics career as a technician in 1975. Over the past 38 years, he has held a variety of technical, support, product management, sales leadership, and marketing positions with the company.
NEW Rosters Coming to SF Talk Outlets. In the banner story first published yesterday (see next item), TALKERS detailed Clear Channel‘s plans for significant changes involving heritage Los Angeles talker KFI and under-performing sibling KTLK-AM – which will be re-branded as “The Patriot.” The City of Angels, however, is not the only locale where the company is mixing things up with its talk properties. As of the first of the year, modified talent lineups will surface on a pair of Clear Channel San Francisco facilities. Changes on “960 KNEW” will include Rush Limbaugh on from 9:00 am – 12:00 Noon, Sean Hannity 12:00 Noon – 3:00 pm, and Andy Dean from 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm; Glenn Beck will continue to air in morning drive (6:00 am – 9:00 am). Casts from Fox News Radio will air at the top and bottom of every hour. Down the dial five clicks to the left on “910 KKSF,” Armstrong & Getty will add an hour (6:00 am – 10:00 am); Frosty Stilwell moves to 10:00 am -1:00 pm; and Randi Rhodes (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm) segues from KNEW. Gil Gross will remain in his afternoon drive slot (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm). Vice president of programming Don Parker comments, “We are excited to continue to grow the live and local programming on ‘Talk 910’ with the expansion of Armstrong & Getty. We are also thrilled to welcome the Bay Area’s leading midday talk personality, Randi Rhodes, to ‘Talk 910.’ The new lineup on ‘960 KNEW’ will be a destination for conservative listeners who follow America’s top personalities – all in one place.” Among persons 6+ this November (PPM), KKSF-AM ranked #17 (2.1, +.1 from October’s 2.0), while KNEW finished at #31 (flat from October’s .4).
Clear Channel Los Angeles Blows Up Progressive Talk KTLK; Creates New Conservative Talker. Progressive talk radio takes another blow as Clear Channel Media + Entertainment prepares to flip KTLK, Los Angeles to “The Patriot AM 1150” in the New Year with the following lineup: Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, PM drive TBA, and Clark Howard. That leaves a midday hole at sister KFI (Limbaugh airs there from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon right now) as the station moves Bill Carroll to the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm slot leaving the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm show host TBA for now. In a statement, program director Robin Bertolucci says, “Los Angeles is one of the most dynamic radio markets in the United States and we want to present the best of talk radio from across the spectrum. These changes are designed to give our current and future programming a home where listeners can find and enjoy their favorite talk show hosts.” Some of the current KTLK air talent will remain with the company. PM drive host David Cruz will still talk local issues Saturdays from 12:00 to 2:00 pm on KTLK. Cruz will also join the KFI news team, reporting local news for the station in addition to his weekend community show. Mo’ Kelly adds another weekend edition of his program to the KFI weekend schedule. His show will air on both Saturday and Sunday from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. The move takes Stephanie Miller, Randi Rhodes and Bill Press off the schedule.
KOGO, San Diego PD Cliff Albert’s Status in Question. The local radio blog SanDiegoRadio.org is reporting that sources tell it longtime KOGO, San Diego program director Cliff Albert (along with talk host Steve Yuhas) has left the building. This has not been confirmed and Albert’s “Cliff’s Notes” commentary on the KOGO website is still active – often a dismissed staffer’s likeness and content are purged upon leaving. Albert has been programming KOGO for the past 17 years.
Steve Murphy to Retire from WCCO, Minneapolis. After 33 years with the station, morning anchor and managing editor Steve Murphy is retiring from the CBS Radio news/talk station at the end of the year. Murphy says that his wife recently retired from her nursing job and he’s ready to hang up the headphones and stay up past 7:30 in the evening. CBS Minneapolis SVP and market manager Mick Anselmo says, “He’ll be sorely missed. Steve is a wonderful example of a professional radio journalist with a great sense of news, a confident, soothing but direct delivery and an uncompromising work ethic that will be difficult to duplicate.” Murphy himself made the news last month after getting mugged and beaten while on the way to work at 2:30 am. He says that incident had no impact on his decision but rather the idea of sleeping past 2:30 am was a huge factor.
Lincoln Financial Media Appoints Prain DOS in Miami. Lincoln Financial Media announces broadcast pro and media sales consultant Jim Prain is named director of sales for the company’s Miami cluster that includes: AC WLYF, “LITE 101.5,” classic hits WMXJ, “MAGIC 102.7,” and sports talk WAXY-AM/FM “104.3 The Ticket.” LFM Miami SVP and general manager Maureen Lesourd states, “I have had the privilege to know Jim throughout his career and find him a highly credible, accountable and strategic thinker. His leadership will help propel our sales effort to meet the growing demands of our clientele and maximize all the on air, online and social media assets we have to offer.” Prain’s media career includes 25-plus years of media management experience in major and large markets, including positions at companies such as ABC, ABC/Cap Cities and Cox Media. He also invested two years as a small business owner in Detroit, where he launched a power sports company. Prain comments, “I’ve had the pleasure of working with Maureen and LFM CEO Don Benson over the years and feel this is the perfect fit for me professionally and personally. My passion for helping our customers, combined with the recent benefits of owning a small business, affords me a unique perspective on both sides of the marketing equation. I’m excited to get started.”
Norm Pattiz and PodcastOne Featured in Bloomberg Businessweek Piece. Westwood One founder and current chairman and CEO of Courtside Entertainment Group and subsidiary PodcastOne, Norm Pattiz, is featured in a piece in Bloomberg Businessweek where he projects revenue from podcasts for his company will reach $8 million for this year. He expects that figure to hit $15 million in 2014. The piece includes more figures: Pattiz says his 200 programs on PodcastOne are averaging 100 million downloads per month and have attracted advertising attention from such corporations as Ford Motor, 21st Century Fox’s Fox, Walt Disney’s ABC, and Hulu.com. Read the entire piece here.
Odds & Sods. Sports talk host Dan Sileo – most recently with WMEN, West Palm Beach – is doing holiday fill-in work at Broadcast Company of the Americas-owned sports talker XEPRS, San Diego “Mighty 1090.” Sileo – who’s also worked at WQAM, Miami and WDAE, Tampa, to name a few – tells TALKERS magazine he’ll be doing morning drive (6:00 am to 9:00 am) from December 23 through 31…..Former WPGB, Pittsburgh morning team Jim Quinn and Rose Tennent hosted a live broadcast in conjunction with a Toy Treasures charity event at a Pittsburgh-area hair salon this morning. The pair signed copies of their book, Thanking Our Soldiers…..Galaxy Communications-owned classic rock duo WTKW, Bridgeport, New York and WTKV, Oswego, New York (Syracuse market) sign up with CBS Radio to be the local affiliate for New York Yankees baseball for the 2014 season.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity becomes part of KTLK, Los Angeles’ lineup in the New Year…..“Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge joins the programming lineup at WMEL, Melbourne, Florida…..Genesis Communications Network-syndicated “Freedom Feens” with Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi is added to the program schedule at WKVL, Knoxville and KINX-FM, Great Falls, Montana.
ObamaCare Criticism Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of December 2-6. Criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act was again the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week. At #2 was the decline in support for President Obama from the Millennial generation. Following at #3 was the Rush Limbaugh–Pope Francis Marxism flap followed by the Iran nuclear weapons talks and the NSA cell phone location database story tied at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. To view this week’s entire chart, click here.
Rumor: Anthony Weiner to Try Talk Radio. Here we go again! Another disgraced politician – this time it’s former congressman and former NYC mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner – is rumored to be in the running for a talk show on one of two New York City radio signals. The New York Daily News is reporting that sources say Weiner is in talks to begin hosting a show on either Cumulus Media’s WABC (where the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot is opening in the New Year) or on Clear Channel’s WOR. WABC operations manager Tony Mascaro tells the paper they are looking at a lot of candidates for the slot but denies Weiner is one of them. The track record of former politicians – especially disgraced ones – succeeding in talk radio is not good. Most managers and programmers are either aware – or find out very quickly – that the tradeoff for hiring such a person is not usually worth it. Yes, one gets instant recognition of the person from the public, but the long hours, challenging work, glamorless working conditions and time needed to get traction in the ratings usually turns off former pols who are used to a different sort of workday. Oh, and then there’s the fact that they almost always have no broadcasting skills whatsoever. Stay tuned, the Weiner-watch is on!
Cumulus Media Holdings to Refinance $2.23 Billion in Debt. According to a Reuters report, Cumulus Media Holdings has set terms on a new $2.23 billion loan that would serve to reduce its interest payments over the course of the loan. The company is marketing a $200 million, five-year revolver and a $2.025 billion, seven-year, first-lien term loan. The proceeds would refinance Cumulus’ current first- and second-lien loans. Moody’s Investor Services VP and senior credit officer Carl Salas is quoted saying, “It’s a meaningful improvement in their annual debt service. They will save upwards of $30 million to $35 million in interest costs which adds nicely to their free cash flow generation.”
CBS Radio’s WJFK, Washington Hears It from Redskins About Game Broadcast Parodies. NFL fans are aware that the Washington Redskins – owned by the litigious and sensitive Dan Snyder – are having a tough season (3-9 right now) after making the playoffs last year. That’s been the source of much frustration on the part of fans and the source of material for WJFK host Danny Rouhier and producer Ajay Atayee who’ve been producing bits that are mock-ups of game broadcasts. Rouhier does the voices of Redskins radio play-by-play announcers Larry Michael and Sonny Jurgensen and splices in actual drops of color man and former ‘Skin Chris Cooley. The hysterically funny bits have been critical of the team’s play, the fan experience at FedEx Field and Snyder’s public image, so much so that, according to the Washington Post, WJFK Redskins beat reporter Grant Paulsen was told by team spokesman Tony Wyllie that the bits are so malicious that they could prompt legal action. This may be water under the bridge since the Post reports Wyllie says after talking with the station and being assured it’s all in good fun, the team has no problem with the station’s content. Since the station has no intention of stopping Rouhier from producing more similarly themed bits, we’ll see how the rest of the season plays out.
KYSR, Los Angeles Morning Personality Kennedy to Host Fox Business Net Show. Former MTV VJ and current morning drive host at Clear Channel’s alternative KYSR, Los Angeles, Lisa Kennedy Montgomery, will begin a new nightly current events talk show on Fox Business Network titled “The Independents” that will premiere on Monday, December 9. The Hollywood Reporter states that Kennedy will co-host with Reason magazine’s Matt Welch, America’s Future Foundation’s Kmele Foster and a rotating panel of money experts. Kennedy herself writes on her KYSR blog that the show will be “aimed at all the mealy-mouthed, partisan faithful out there. Has the 2 party system totally failed you? Yeah, me too! Tune in 4 nights a week on FBN, and just remember, music and politics go hand in hand. I will always hold hands with you.” Kennedy has been a contributor to FBN making regular appearances on “Stossel.”
Vali Named Interim GM of Ohana Broadcast, Hawaii. The name Austin Vali is widely-known in Hawaii radio and, as Ohana Broadcast Company‘s interim general manager, he will oversee four Oahu stations and five Kauai facilities. Owner/president Jason Wolff comments, “Austin brings a wealth of experience, knowledge, and relationships in the Honolulu market. He will be a tremendous asset as we strive to produce the best possible radio for our listeners and clients.” Recently, Vali was vice president/general manager of Cox Media Group‘s three-station Long Island cluster. During his 40-year radio career, he has worked in Pittsburgh, Norfolk, and Louisville; however, Vali is perhaps best known for his experience in Hawaii. Since arriving there in 1978, he worked at Honolulu’s KIKI and KQMQ and he co-owned KRTR-FM and KXME in that market.
PodcastOne Adds Mariel Hemingway Program to Stable. Titled after her best-selling book Running with Nature, actress and author Mariel Hemingway, along with her partner, stuntman, actor, health and wellness expert, Bobby Williams, are launching their new podcast via PodcastOne. The podcast invites listeners to “join them on their adventures; from Hollywood to Holistic healing…transforming relationships to finding the most meaningful ways of living every day, Mariel and Bobby are here bringing laughter, wonder and awe with some great advice.” The first podcast episode “features nutrition tips, a review of her just released documentary called ‘Running from Crazy,’ and exercise tips from Bobby and Mariel’s ‘Meditation Moment.’” PodcastOne COO Greg Batusic says, “Mariel and Bobby offer a refreshing and unique take on life that their fans and new listeners will surely benefit from. We’re happy to have them join our stellar lineup.”
WTOP, Washington’s Bob Madigan to Retire. Drive time news anchor Bob Madigan will retire from his position at Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington, DC at the end of the year. Outgoing vice president of news and programming Jim Farley (also retiring, see next story) says in a memo to his DC staff, “Bob has been in this crazy business of ours for 50 years, 20 of them here at WTOP and WASH when both stations were co-owned. He and I worked for 11 years at NBC News….I have been inflicted on Bob for 27 of his 50 years in the business. By the way, if you are wondering how he got in 50 years ago, he started working in radio during high school.” Farley goes on to say that as WTOP’s “Man About Town,” he “was a one-person ‘good news’ department covering everything from charity galas to scholarship awards and chili cook-offs for a good cause. Bob covered so many events, that in less than a year on the beat, he was emcee, announcer or celebrity judge at many of them. He became a one-man marketing machine for WTOP, getting our name out there in a positive way that was priceless! He was chosen to announce the Inaugural Parade along Pennsylvania Avenue for both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. At the Bush Inaugural Parade he was paired with…Meat Loaf. For years he announced the start of the Race for the Cure live on WTOP. He has a long, long list of awards and honors including a (rare for a journalist) RAMMY Award, “The Duke Zeibert Capital Achievement Award.” RAMMY’s are awarded by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington.
A Farewell to Jim Farley. Radio consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke (right) poses for a selfie with outgoing vice president of news and programming Jim Farley at a retirement bash for the longtime WTOP, Washington programmer at the Newseum in Washington, DC. After 17 years with the station, Farley is “slowing down but not retiring” as he’ll step down from his current post but consult WTOP for the next two years. He’s also open to consult others with their news and/or digital strategies. Current WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo is stepping into the post at year’s end. Cooke reports that modern-day WTOP-ers, Hubbard execs and many alumni toasted Farley at the bash. Among other things said at the farewell party, Farley told staffers, “What a crowd! YOU did it. YOU GUYS do all the heavy lifting, and I got all the credit. I’m gettin’ out before they catch me.”
Good Fences Make Good Neighbors. Usually that’s the case but at the Entercom AM transmitter site in Westwood, Kansas, just how a good fence is defined appears to be the issue. The towers for KMBZ and KUDL are surrounded by residential neighborhoods – that wasn’t the case in the 1930s when the towers went up. According to the Prairie Village Post, now neighbors are challenging the renewal of Entercom’s special use permit for the site claiming they want improvements there. After meeting with residents, a plan commission sub-committee is suggesting the current chain-link fence with barbed wire makes the property look “blighted” and recommends removal of the perimeter fence and replacement with fencing that complies with current code. Entercom fears liability issues without a perimeter fence. In 2008, a trespassing teenager was killed after falling from a tower on the site. Expect some sort of compromise on this issue since moving the station towers would be very difficult yet protection of the transmitters and towers needs to continue for obvious reasons.
Credit to WJFK-FM, Washington’s “Junkies” for Nabbing Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Segment. He’s been one of the hot talk radio topics for the past several weeks (as documented in TALKERS magazine’s weekly top topics chart The Talkers TenTM), so why not book him as a guest? CBS Radio’s “The Junkies” did just that and got a cool 25-minute segment with Toronto Mayor Rob Ford on WJFK-FM, Washington today. Ford, who’s obviously been in the news a bit lately and doesn’t seem to be very mic-shy, talked with the Junkies about football (he offered his NFL picks for the week), the drug use allegations against him, President Obama, and his run for re-election next fall (which he says he’ll win because he has the support of the people).
Odds & Sods. Entercom’s KGMZ, San Francisco is preparing to begin a listener giveaway of tickets and cool memorabilia for its six area pro sports teams. “95.7 The Game” is calling the promotion “The Six Teams of Christmas” and will give listeners a chance to win game ticket packages to see the Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, San Francisco Giants, Oakland As, Golden State Warriors and San Jose Sharks…..CBS Radio’s New York stations (including sports WFAN-AM/FM and all-news WINS and WCBS) are announcing a new promotion: The Firehouse Chili Cook-Off. After entries were submitted from all across the tri-state area, semi-finalists will compete to see whose chili recipe reigns supreme. At establishments in New Jersey and New York, the staple food of firefighters will be cooked, tasted and judged by local sports figures, and one fire company at each event will move into the final round of the competition. The grand prize winner will receive VIP tickets to a 2014 New York Yankees game…..Entercom’s Boston Red Sox flagship WEEI, Boston is broadcasting from the MLB Winter Meetings in Orlando next week. Live coverage of the meetings will begin with Salk & Holley from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm Monday through Wednesday. The Mut & Merloni show will also originate from the Swan and Dolphin Resort from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm Tuesday through Thursday.
Holiday Magic at KIRO-FM, Seattle. Pictured here is KIRO-FM, Seattle afternoon drive duo Ron & Don manning the tote board at last year’s “Holiday Magic Radiothon.” The Bonneville news/talk station, in partnership with Treehouse (a non-profit agency that ensures that kids in foster care have access to the essential services required to help them make it to high school graduation and beyond), are hosting the 25th Annual Foster Child Holiday Magic Radiothon today. The station set a record last year raising more than $500,000. The 12-hour “Holiday Magic Radiothon” helps local foster kids by raising money to provide each child in the program with one significant holiday gift along with support programs and services throughout the year.
Rusty Humphries on the Set in Bucharest. That’s talk show host and actor Rusty Humphries (left) with actor Michael Damian (right) on location in Bucharest, Romania on the set of the romantic comedy Love By Design. Humphries says he plays a reporter covering a big fashion show in New York City. He notes that Bucharest is a popular location to shoot NYC scenes since it can be made to look like the streets of New York and the production costs are much less. The movie also stars Jane Seymour. Humphries was in Bucharest for seven days filming. He tells TALKERS, “I had a blast. I love the fact that I’m having the opportunity to really live out my dreams: radio, TV and film. This is my third major motion picture, and it’s always an honor to be involved with a project as special as this.”
ObamaCare Criticism, NSA Cell Location Database, Obama Millennial Support Diminishing, Detroit Bankruptcy, Bashir Resignation, and Fast Food Minimum Wage Effort Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/5). Analysis of the implementation and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the NSA policy that reportedly gathers the location of cell phone users; the loss of support from Millennials for President Obama; the Detroit bankruptcy case ruling; Martin Bashir’s resignation from MSNBC after his Sarah Palin comments; and the move by organized labor to push for a national minimum wage for fast food workers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Tornado Damage Reported Via Multi-Media on McGraw Milhaven Show. The series of tornadoes that swept across the Midwest on Sunday left serious damage in New Minden, Illinois – about an hour East of St. Louis. The photo you see here is from the video component of KTRS, St. Louis morning host McGraw Milhaven’s online platform. Since the spring, Milhaven has been partnering with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s StlToday.com site to present his program in a video format. Today, he used that medium to his advantage as reporter Michael Golde was able to report back to the studio via Skype and show viewers scenes from the storm-damaged town and converse with Milhaven and news anchor Kelly Jackson. In posting the video on YouTube, Milhaven comments, “KTRS Radio in St Louis is the only radio station in the country to show live video of storm-damaged areas of Ill. to listeners on laptops, desktops and smartphones as well as the radio.”
JVC Media to Flip Rock WRCN, Long Island to News/Talk After Christmas. Longtime rocker WRCN, Riverhead, New York has stopped playing “everything that rocks” and has gone Christmas music through the holidays. But after Christmas, the station will emerge as a news/talk outlet dubbed “LI News Radio 103.9.” JVC Media president and CEO John Caracciolo explains the company’s thinking in a statement: “WRCN has a long history and heritage on Long Island – many of us have grown up with the station and it has become an intricate part of our lives. But as our lives change so does our soundtrack. What we listened to growing up is not necessarily what we listen to now and what was important to us as teenagers maybe doesn’t seem so important anymore. That’s why we made the decision to change WRCN and develop and program a radio station that fits the needs of Long Island…Long Islanders are starving for local news and information. Why should we have to wait 22 minutes to hear about the world when all we really want is Islip to Southampton? What’s the traffic like on the 347 merge or Sunrise Highway in Oakdale? This station will not only serve as your information source but it will be your sounding board for issues that influence your life, your community and your business.” Talent that has been announced to be part of the new format includes Premiere Networks nationally syndicated star Sean Hannity and Cumulus Media Networks personality Mark Levin as well as local hosts Ernie Fasio, Vic Fusco, John Gomez, Kevin Law, Steve Levy, Frank McKay, and Jay Oliver.
Linda Thomas to Exit KIRO-FM, Seattle. Morning news anchor and reporter Linda Thomas announces she will be leaving Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle at the end of the year for a new opportunity that, as she says, “doesn’t involve being at work by 2:00 am.” In a blog post at the company’s Mynorthwest.com, she writes, “My Bonneville Seattle bosses understand and support my decision too, even though they don’t want me to leave. That’s what family members do. I’ll always be grateful for them, and for you.” Thomas first worked at KIRO in 1988 as an overnight editor and became morning drive anchor in 1993. She left the station to work as a freelancer but returned to KIRO-FM as morning anchor in 2010. She adds, “KIRO’s news, talk and online teams are the best in the business. It’s been an honor to work alongside amazing talent. I’ve learned a lot from all my co-workers. They encourage me, challenge me, and make me laugh on a daily basis. I really do love them.”
Michelle Wright Let Go from All-News WYAY, Atlanta. The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho tips us that morning drive co-anchor Michelle Wright has been let go from Cumulus Media’s all-news WYAY, Atlanta “All-News 106.7.” Andy Rose remains in AM drive solo. The speculation is that the recent hiring of Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson to host a talk show in middays and the acquisition of Atlanta Braves baseball required some cuts in other areas of the station and Wright was the unfortunate victim. She was one of the original staffers when Cumulus decided to turn WYAY into an all-news station in May of 2012. She had previously worked at Atlanta-based CNN Radio before joining Cumulus.
CEOs Make the Grade. Clear Channel’s Bob Pittman and Emmis’ Jeff Smulyan were both the subjects of feature stories in newspapers over the weekend – Pittman in The New York Times and Smulyan in the Indianapolis Star. In a Q&A titled, the Value of Dissent, Pittman says he encouraged dissenters in his organization because they serve a valuable purpose. “I want us to listen to these dissenters because they may intend to tell you why we can’t do something, but if you listen hard, what they’re really telling you is what you must do to get something done. It gets you out of your framework of the conventions of what you can and can’t do.” Read that piece here. Jeff Smulyan tells the Star in his Q&A that the best piece of advice he’s received has to do with employer-employee relationships, “Attract the best people, treat them well, and let them do their job. If you want people to go through walls for you, you have to go through more walls for them.” Read that story here.
The View of Radio from the Digital World’s Perspective. Noted radio digital consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller writes, “Those of us in digital media know that our world will continue to change drastically, over and over again. We also know that we will be bigger and better three years…five years…10 years from now. Plus, we hear how radio compares itself to online listening choices, and we see how you use your digital platforms. And here’s what we think.” In a new column posted today (11/18) Miller goes on to state that digital-only people still have “transmitter envy” and that even though more and more people and media are moving online, the stick is still a formidable asset. Regardless, he points out that many digital-only professionals think that over-the-air radio companies are “crazy” for cutting talent, still selling 60-second commercials, and not being cognizant of just how much entertainment is changing. He clearly explains what digital pros see as radio’s “dangerous assumption.” He observes, “I look at a lot of different radio social media, websites, database emails and texting programs, and it’s clear you’re making some dangerous assumptions. Digital content doesn’t work like you think it should. It doesn’t work like you wish it did. It works like it works. We see you on Facebook and Twitter talking about almost anything…except what people really love about you. Your websites are a mish-mosh of broad-based content, but if you look at your web stats, there are fewer than half-a-dozen features at your site that, combined, get the lion’s share of your page views. There is nothing special or exclusive about the emails you send your listeners, and your open rates prove it. Radio people know a lot about how people use radio. Meanwhile, you are using all these other media as if knowing how they work doesn’t matter. One key thing we’re doing to drive our online success is to track everything we can to see what really makes a difference. We don’t have the luxury of having opinions about what should work. Either the clicks are there, or they aren’t. What we do either works, or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t, you dig in, diagnose the problem, and adjust.” To read Chris Miller’s entire column, please click here.
Premiere Reverses Course; Keeps Randi Rhodes on Syndication Menu. There are no reports indicating just what happened between Randi Rhodes and syndicator Premiere Networks but the latter is confirming the widely reported news that Rhodes will continue to be syndicated by Premiere, at least through 2014. Premiere SVP of affiliate relations Peter Tripi emailed affiliates, “In a happy turn of events, we are pleased to announce that Premiere Networks will continue to produce and distribute the Randi Rhodes show. In an industry of constant change, it’s a pleasure to provide good news about a talk talent we think so highly of. We apologize for any inconvenience the previous announcement caused, but look forward to a very successful 2014 with the Randi Rhodes show.” Several weeks ago, Rhodes began telling her audience she was foreseeing the end of her program and later Premiere notified affiliates the relationship would be ending.
It’s Pop-Up Time. No, not the kind of pop-up we associate with websites – pop-up ads – but those retail stores that “pop up” in vacant storefronts during the holiday shopping season. Sales maven and H&H Communications president Al Herskovitz writes about getting these seasonal businesses advertising on your station this year. He notes that many of these retailers are big name brands that choose to expand their physical space during this time of year and they include Vera Bradley, Louis Vuitton and the National Football League. Read Al Herskovitz’s entire column here.
ABC News Radio Offers Kennedy Assassination Programming. As the nation marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, ABC News Radio is offering a two-hour special broadcast, “Three Shots Rang Out: An ABC News Special – The JFK Assassination 50 Years Later,” anchored by ABC News’ Diane Sawyer. It’s an audio-only program that will be heard by ABC News Radio affiliates. In addition, a special expanded show will be available via download at Audible.com as part of a new digital audio relationship between ABC News Radio and Audible. The Audible.com version of this program will include an additional 40 minutes of historical audio available exclusively to Audible listeners.
Ron Ruth Passes. Former 19-year Radio Advertising Bureau executive vice president of stations Ron Ruth died early Saturday (11/16) in Florida of a heart attack. The 75-year-old Ruth had been struggling with health issues the past two months. CBS Radio president and chief executive officer Dan Mason was among those quickly noting their sympathies regarding Ruth’s passing. “I just spoke with him at the Radio Show this past September in Orlando,” Mason writes on Facebook. “He was so up and happy – I am sad tonight.” Also on that social media platform, Tom Birch notes, “Ron lived life to its fullest and was a joy and inspiration to everyone who had the opportunity to know him. Ron was the midwife to Birch Research. He opened doors for me, encouraged me and guided me. I am deeply honored to have worked for Ron at WQAM, Miami in the 1970s, and to have remained friends with him for the next three decades.” According to former RKO General eastern vice president Perry Ury, “Ron Ruth was a friend and our house skeptic at RKO.” Former Tele Media Broadcasting vice president and chief operating officer Ira Rosenblatt adds, “We’ve lost a friend and true broadcaster.” Doing afternoon drive in Boston early in his radio career, Ruth roomed with two other on-air talents who went on to stardom – George Carlin and Jack Burns of Burns & (Avery) Schreiber. He held sales manager positions for Unistar Radio Networks, as well as at the local level in markets such as New York (WOR-FM), Chicago (WNUS), Washington, DC (WGMS), and Buffalo (WYSL). Ruth left Unistar to join the RAB in 1992. Most recently, he was consulting the Radio Advertising Bureau.
A Man of His Word. The man having his head shaved live on the air on Cumulus Media’s WMAL, Washington, DC is former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino. Not too long ago, Bongino said on the WMAL airwaves that he would shave his head if President Obama apologized for the gaffes in the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. And since the president did offer an apology of sorts, Bongino agreed to honor his statement live on the air and did so on Friday, November 15.
Peter Bolger Named OM/PD at WLS-AM, Chicago. Most recently with Clear Channel as director of AM programming in the San Antonio market, Peter Bolger joins Cumulus Media to head up programming and operations at its Chicago news/talk WLS-AM. In a statement, Cumulus COO John Dickey says, “Chicago radio is a competitive and important market where we’re excited to add Peter’s expertise that positions up for future growth. Bolger adds, “I think Chicago radio is the best there is. Fortunately, we have incredible talent and deep resources at WLS. I want to thank John Dickey, Mike McVay and Donna Baker for the opportunity to be part of the historic WLS brand. I can’t wait to get started.”
Walker Announces His Retirement. Six-year Entercom, San Francisco vice president/market manager Dwight Walker has been in radio for 30 years – the last 25 in the Bay Area. He will be departing the company’s four-station (all are on FM) Bay Area operation, which is comprised of adult contemporary KOIT-FM, classic rock KUFX “The Fox,” sports KGMZ “The Game,” and urban AC KBLX. “It has been a fun, rewarding, stimulating, and fantastic time,” he comments. “I have cherished my years with Entercom, a world-class company. The vision of Entercom management and their commitment to radio is what will keep our industry and this cluster moving forward in a thriving and robust way.” Family, travel, and Tahoe will become Walker’s top priorities, but he insists, “San Francisco will always be a part of an amazing and charmed life that I hold near and dear to my heart.” According to Entercom station group president Weezie Kramer, “Dwight Walker is one of the best in the business. Everyone at Entercom deeply appreciates Dwight’s years of hard work and leadership. He will be missed in San Francisco and across the radio industry.” Prior to joining Entercom, Walker was vice president of sales for cross-town Cumulus-owned KNBR, KFOG, and KSAN. For nine years (1997 – 2006), he was general manager of KFOG and KSAN when Susquehanna owned those facilities.
Dave Ramsey Changes Nashville Affiliates. Nationally syndicated financial talk superstar Dave Ramsey moves to a new Nashville affiliate station beginning in the New Year as it joins Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk WLAC to air in the 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm time slot. Since January of this year, Ramsey’s show has been airing on Cromwell Radio Group’s sports talk WPRT “102.5 The Game.” In a piece in The Tennessean, Cromwell’s Bud Walters admits the melding of Ramsey’s show and sports talk wasn’t the best fit and that the move is a mutual one. “We have been friends for more than 20 years, and while we enjoyed this partnership from a personal standpoint, we both realize that from a business perspective our brands would be better served if we return to our respective formats.” Dave Ramsey VP of broadcast Brian Mayfield states, “It’s great to be back on a news/talk station in Middle Tennessee. WLAC has a long-standing tradition of quality radio in Nashville, and now with the addition of our show, offers the top three talk shows in America back to back.” CC Nashville OM Michael Bryan adds, “We’re very excited to add the Dave Ramsey show to WLAC in the New Year. Dave’s a legend in Nashville radio, and this aligns the power of his brand with the very best platform in talk radio. It is a true home run for our listeners and advertisers.”
Ed Schultz to Launch Live Theatrical Tour in 2014. Nationally syndicated radio talk show host and MSNBC star Ed Schultz will be taking a show live to theaters in 2014. Working in conjunction with Ron Hartenbaum‘s WYD Media, “The Ed Tour” commences on Saturday, February 8 with a booking in Fort Lauderdale and then several stops in the West including Seattle on Friday, February 21 with more locations to be announced shortly. WYD Media has paved the way via an effective working model for talk show hosts to take theater-style shows on the road with the wildly successfully “Sexy Liberal Tour” starring Stephanie Miller which has also revved up for a number of dates in the remainder of 2013 and throughout 2014.
Weather Channel and WestwoodOne Renew Ad Sales Agreement. WestwoodOne and The Weather Channel announce that they have signed a multi-year agreement for the former to provide ad sales representation for The Weather Channel’s radio service. The renewal runs through 2016. The Weather Channel provides daily, customized cross-platform weather reports to individual radio stations around the country giving up-to-the-minute information on local weather or critical storm warnings. WestwoodOne CEO Paul Caine says, “We are delighted to continue our partnership with The Weather Channel and to represent its superior brand across the radio community. Weather is a hugely covetable component in the audio space, and serves as a critical resource for listeners. In fact, we have found that listeners are more likely to tune or tap in for weather information than most all other content. We are happy to know we can continue to provide our listeners access to the best weather information available.”
SBS Readies AIRE Radio Networks. Set to debut January 1, Spanish Broadcasting System‘s AIRE Radio Networks will reach listeners in nine of the top 10 markets with a weekly audience reported to be approximately 12 million listeners – roughly one-quarter of the U.S. Hispanic population. AIRE Radio Networks will feature shows focused on current events, health and family, finances, education, sports and entertainment. “This creation solidifies SBS’ expanding presence in Hispanic media and entertainment,” explains SBS chairman/president/chief executive officer Raul Alarcon. “We’re excited about capitalizing on syndication growth opportunities. AIRE Radio Networks will extend our top-ranked offerings to advertisers and listeners nationwide.” Aire Radio Networks senior vice president of network operations & affiliate sales Elisa Torres comments, “We have put together a stupendous lineup to deliver a national platform. With AIRE Radio Networks’ targeted choices and vehicles, we anticipate rapid growth for clients seeking to embrace nationwide Hispanic listeners.” The Aire Networks include the “Advantage Network,” targeting Hispanic men; “Young Adult Network,” geared to Hispanics 18-49; “Millennial Network,” targeting Hispanics 18-34; “Prime Family,” aimed at families on weekends; and “The Mandril Network,” featuring Ricardo “El Mandril” Sanchez of Los Angeles’ KLAX “La Raza.”
WAUK, Milwaukee Sports Talk Personality Steve “The Homer” True Injured in Car Accident. Sports talk host and Marquette University men’s basketball play-by-play voice Steve “The Homer” True was in critical condition yesterday at a Milwaukee hospital after his car was hit by an alleged drunk driver at 10:00 am on Wednesday morning. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports WAUK owner Craig Karmazin issued a statement late last night saying, “I spoke with Homer’s wife, Nancy, tonight. She said Homer is doing pretty well and that doctors want to monitor his condition overnight. On behalf of the True family and all of us at ESPN Wisconsin, I’d like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers.” True suffered a head injury in the crash. He has worked for Karmazin’s Good Karma Broadcasting at WAUK for the past eight years.
NASBA Fires Off Letter to Washington Opposing Elimination of Advertising Deductions. The National Alliance of State Broadcasters Associations submitted an official letter to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp and Ranking Member Sander Levin detailing the opposition by the member state broadcasters associations to the possibility of altering the current deduction businesses may take for advertising expenses. The letter reminds the legislators that any change to the deduction would harm broadcasters, notes that advertising has been part of the allowed deductions since the Tax Code was adopted 100 years ago and that radio stations generally receive 96% of their revenue from advertising (Television’s percentage is 94).
Odds & Sods. Clear Channel’s KBME, Houston – flagship station for Houston Rockets hoops – will simulcast some of the team’s games on other CC stations in the cluster. Some games will air on news/talk KTRH and a select number of Saturday games will simulcast on AC KODA and classic rock KKRW…..ESPN Radio’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” will be broadcasting live from Pardee Plaza on the campus of USC tomorrow in advance of the Stanford at USC game that ESPN Radio will air this weekend.
ObamaCare Rollout Criticism, GOP 2014 Strategies, Iran Nukes Deal, and Typhoon Haiyan Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/13). The debate in Washington over fixing the rollout of the Affordable Care Act or scrapping it altogether; Republican strategies for the mid-term elections in 2014; the proposed nuclear technology development deal between the United States and Iran; and the aftermath of deadly Typhoon Haiyan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WYAY, Atlanta Host Kim Peterson Recovering from Heart Attack. A week after returning to the talk radio business on Cumulus Media’s all-news (now mostly news with Peterson’s midday show) WYAY, Atlanta “All News 106.7,” Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson is off the air and recovering from what doctors say was a serious heart attack. The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports Peterson felt what he described as a “gripping pain” in his chest while driving on Sunday, pulled over and proceeded when the pain subsided. Though he didn’t feel completely better on Monday, the former Marine did the Veterans Day show but finally checked himself into the hospital on Tuesday morning and learned about his condition. It’s not known when he’ll be ready to return to work but producer and sidekick Pete Davis hosted the show on Tuesday and former producer Wayne “No Offense” Kitchens may help out as a substitute host.
Randi Rhodes and Premiere to Part. Though an official statement from Premiere Networks has not been issued, it’s been confirmed that the company will not renew its deal with the progressive talk host and her show will cease being distributed in January. Randi Rhodes started the chat about her relationship with Premiere on her show and listeners took to her website’s message board lamenting the demise of the show. Rhodes has been syndicated by Premiere Networks for more than four years and is heard on approximately 40 affiliate stations. She went national during the movement to develop progressive talk radio in the early 2000s after enjoying success in the South Florida market. She was one of the original personalities that worked for the ill-fated Air America and continued her national efforts after its demise, finally joining Premiere. Her last live show for Premiere will be December 13.
WCCO, Minneapolis News Anchor Steve Murphy Robbed on Way to Work. The CBS Radio news/talk station’s sister TV outlet WCCO reports morning news anchor Steve Murphy was jogging to a bus stop on his way to the radio station on Thursday, November 7 when he noticed a white SUV driving slowly past him. After changing his route the vehicle caught up with him and three men jumped out, grabbed him from behind, choking him and took his wallet while pinning him to the ground. He was able to get on the bus where the driver insisted he should go to the hospital since it was on the route. He was treated for cuts and bruises.
34-Year Old WABC Weekend Talk Show Host Making Waves Across Planet. WABC, New York weekend talker Aaron Klein simply breaks all of the stereotypes of today’s news/talk show hosts. He’s just 34-years old. He does not lean liberal or conservative, nor does he speak in political talking points. He does not love or hate President Obama, or stand on the ground of anyone’s political party. He’s an accomplished author – the writer of six books – and he has another blockbuster book on the way. His radio show doesn’t just talk about the news – in many cases it breaks the news – broadcasting half a world away. According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, the radio industry should know more about this outstanding young journalist. In an exclusive story posted today (11/13) by special features correspondent Jeff McKay, TALKERS presents an in-depth profile of Aaron Klein. To read it, please click here.
British RAB Study Shows Effectiveness of Radio Advertising. A new study from the United Kingdom RAB, which calls it a “world first,” evaluates radio advertising effectiveness in detail in terms of revenue return on investment (ROI) across a broad dataset. Executed by the firm Holmes & Cook, the study used confidential ROI data supplied by nine econometrics agencies representing all major media agency groups, covering over 2,000 individual media campaigns across 517 separate advertising campaigns. For radio sales practitioners, the nugget to show to clients comes from the study’s conclusion that “On average radio advertisers get their money back 7.7 times over, although some categories show exceptional performance, notably automotive and retailer brands, as well as impulse products. This makes radio the medium with the second-highest return on investment (TV is first), out-performing press, outdoor and online.” The study also suggests that since radio (in Britain) carries 6% of all advertising budgets, if budgets were reallocated to give radio a 20% share of total spend – with no increase in overall expenditure – the total campaign ROI raises by over 8%.
KNBR, San Francisco Host Damon Bruce Returns. Off the air for a couple of days after a rant about the negative effects of women on the world of sports, KNBR sports talk host Damon Bruce is returning to work with Cumulus Media San Francisco saying that while Bruce’s words were “regrettable,” he is contrite and will not lose his job over the incident, although he is being taken off the San Francisco 49ers pre-game show. Local media – especially the San Francisco Chronicle – picked up on the story and took Bruce to task for his words but reports indicate he also received a fair amount of support as well.
Consumer Electronics Show Sneak Preview. Radio consultant Holland Cooke offers TALKERS readers a glimpse into the coming Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January. Cooke is an annual attendee covering the event, wading through the truly massive amount of consumer electronics displayed and deciphering just what the trends in consumer technology-related behavior mean to radio operators. He was in New York yesterday for the Consumer Electronics Association‘s annual “Holiday Sales and End-of Year Trend Analysis” and writes about that event here.
Phil’s Gang Returns to Southern California Markets. Nationally syndicated financial talk radio program “Phil’s Gang,” hosted by Phil Grande, is returning to Southern California on Ontario Broadcasting’s KSPA, Ontario “Financial News & Talk” and on North County Broadcasting’s KFSD, Escondido. A statement from the Phil’s Gang organization says, “The ‘Phil’s Gang’ radio show expanding affiliate roster shows unprecedented growth, recently in major markets. This partnership with ‘Financial News & Talk’ will provide ‘Phil’s Gang’ an even broader listening audience so the show’s host Phil Grande can spread dependable, up-to-date news and all the information that Wall Street and the government don’t want you to know.”
New Jersey 101.5 Personalities Go Head-to-Head in Culinary Challenge Benefit. Tonight (11/13) WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” personalities Big Joe Henry (left) and Dennis Malloy (right) will compete against each other in a culinary challenge dubbed “The New Jersey 101.5 Cook-Off” at L’Affaire Fine Catering, in Mountainside, New Jersey. Attendees will pay $15 for admission to sample food from participating New Jersey restaurants and view the cook-off, which will include cooking demonstrations of appetizers and main entrées by the two popular radio personalities. Ten attendees will be randomly picked from the audience to judge Dennis and Big Joe’s appetizers and then entrées. At the end, a winner will be crowned best chef at New Jersey 101.5! A portion of the proceeds will be donated back to the Chef Romanowski Memorial Fund, a 501c3 charity that provides individuals with a passion for the culinary arts the help they need to get into a culinary school. NJ101.5 brand manager Eric Johnson states, “We’re all very excited to see the cook-off in action. The trash talking has been escalating on air for weeks now and will culminate tonight.”
ObamaCare Implementation, Iran Nukes Deal, Philippines Typhoon Aftermath, Toronto Mayor Drug Case, Fate of Amnesty Legislation, and Alec Baldwin Stalker Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/12). Scrutiny of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the possibility of a John Kerry-brokered nuclear arms deal between the U.S. and Iran; the aftermath of deadly Typhoon Haiyan; new turns in the drug use admission case of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford; the question of whether Congress will address the Obama Administration’s legislation to provide amnesty to illegal immigrants; and the happenings at the trial of Alec Baldwin’s alleged stalker were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Entercom Brings Phil Zachary to Boston as VP/Market Manager. A day after losing Jeff Brown to Cumulus Media’s Atlanta operations, Entercom announces Phil Zachary will take over as vice president and market manager effective October 21. Zachary will lead sports talk stations WEEI-FM, ESPN on WEEI-AM, rock WAAF, news/talk WRKO and The Boston Red Sox Radio Network. The company says, “This represents a homecoming of sorts for Zachary, whose first paid radio job was as a part-time, on-air announcer at WAAF. Zachary is a 41-year radio veteran, a Connecticut native and graduate of Holy Cross in Worcester. After beginning his career in Worcester, he moved on to stints in Providence and Boston. While in Boston, Zachary served as operations manager at the old WITS 1510. There his role included direct oversight of both Red Sox and Bruins play-by-play. Zachary comes to Entercom from Curtis Media Group in Raleigh where he was president and chief operating officer, overseeing the company’s entire slate of radio stations, networks, digital and interactive divisions and print publications. Prior to joining Curtis Media in 2002, he was VP/market manager for CBS Radio in Washington. Entercom group president Weezie Kramer says, “Phil is the right person at the right time for Entercom Boston. He is a leader and a listener. He understands the challenges we face but he also sees the tremendous opportunity we have. Phil believes in the strength of our brands, the dynamic nature of our content and the true potential of our team.” Zachary comments, “The only reason to leave a great job in radio is for one of the absolute best jobs in radio. Make no mistake – WAAF, WEEI and WRKO are not only some of the greatest call letters in Boston radio history, but some of the best brands in our industry. This amazing opportunity brings me back to my New England roots and the place I started my radio career. There are great challenges ahead, not to mention best-in-class competition, but I look forward to it and can’t wait to get started.” Management consultant Joel Hollander has been retained by Entercom to assist in the transition.
Turner Broadcasting Content to Be Available on iHeartRadio Talk. A deal between Turner Broadcasting and Clear Channel Media and Entertainment will see select audio content including news from CNN, entertainment clips from TBS‘s “CONAN” and sports programming from Bleacher Report, in its new iHeartRadio Talk feature. The content will also include segments from “Anderson Cooper 360,” “New Day,” “Piers Morgan Live,” and “The Lead with Jake Tapper.” Full episodes of “Anderson Cooper 360,” “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” “State of the Union,” and “Erin Burnett Out Front” will also be accessible via iHeartRadio Talk. Clear Channel president of digital Brian Lakamp states, “This marks yet another significant milestone for iHeartRadio Talk. We are continuing to identify and add quality partners to iHeartRadioTalk to continue to deliver our listeners even more content that is relevant and entertaining anywhere they are.”
Sean Hannity Receives GOP Statesman of the Year Award in Florida. An enthusiastic, record-breaking crowd welcomed Sean Hannity to Sarasota, Florida, this past Friday night (9/27) to witness his acceptance of the Statesman of the Year award. The event, underwritten by the Republican Party of Sarasota County, drew nearly 2,000 people to the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota to hear a lineup of state notables, such as Florida Governor Rick Scott and State Attorney General Pam Bondi, laud the radio and TV talk show host and to listen to his acceptance remarks. TALKERS magazine sales expert Al Herskovitz was in attendance at the event. Hannity in his acceptance, adhered to his well-known partisan positions in line with his radio and TV point of view. However, the speech was generously laced with numerous personal anecdotes about his family, career and upbringing and peppered with much good humor. He even poked a few light-hearted jabs at his former TV co-host, Alan Colmes, but pointed out that Alan and he remain friends. During the VIP reception, Hannity personally and individually greeted a nearly block-long line of well-wishers posing for photos, signing autographs, shaking hands and holding mini-conversations. This step took over an hour by itself. In spite of the frenzied attempts by various factions and individuals in the crowd trying to get the popular talk show host’s attention, literally pulling him in all directions, Hannity remained calm, friendly and good-humored, making it a point to speak with as many individuals in a one-on-one manner as humanly possible. Commenting on Hannity’s ability to “work a room,” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Sean Hannity is more skilled at mingling with a large crowd and making everyone in it feel good than any radio personality I have ever witnessed. He might have a completely opposite view of politics than Bill Clinton – but he shares the former president’s supreme skills at pressing the flesh and connecting with people in person. It is because of this gift, coupled with his steadfast loyalty to the principles and listening constituency he represents, that Sean Hannity would make a magnificent candidate for national office. Obviously, I am not the only one with this opinion as evidenced by Hannity receiving so prestigious an award from the GOP.” The radio talk show industry was well-represented in the audience. Among them was Barb Yoder, the general manager of WGUL, Tampa and WLSS, Sarasota – part of the Salem Broadcasting Group in the area. Also on hand was Andi (she uses only her first name) of the morning team of Ken Walsh & Andi on News/Talk 1260, WFTW, Fort Walton Beach — a Cumulus property. The annual Statesman of the Year award has taken on growing importance. Recent recipients were former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour and financier Donald Trump, who sent along video-taped wishes to Hannity.
TALKERS PROFILE: Bill Meyer of KMED, Medford, Oregon – Super Serving Local Listeners, a Blueprint for Talk Success. If you leave Portland, Oregon and head just over four hours south down Interstate 5, before you reach the California border you’ll drive right into the town of Medford. About 75 miles inland through rugged terrain from the Pacific Ocean, Medford is a small town with a population of 76,000, but is also an economic hub for Southern Oregon and a home for the state’s growing wine industry. Medford is also the home of KMED-AM (1440), a news/talk station owned by Bicoastal Media and the oldest radio station in Medford. Its weekday lineup includes syndicated superstars Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, along with Glenn Beck and Alex Jones. However, what drives the station is their morning show, and extremely talented host Bill Meyer has not only made the morning show his own, he has been able to create a blueprint of how to package a large-market type of local show and imprint that on a small-market audience, giving the station a very sellable show, while the listeners get the interaction and local flavor they would not get with a nationally syndicated program. And, he does it all on his own – without a show producer. Read TALKERS magazine special features correspondent Jeff McKay‘s profile on Bill Meyer and KMED by clicking here.
Journal Goes Spanish Sports in Wichita. Flipping KLIO, Wichita from its true oldies format, Journal Broadcast Group moves to service the Spanish-speaking population in the market with sports talk using ESPN Deportes. Journal Wichita vice president and general manager Eric McCart says, “We are very excited to join with ESPN Deportes to broadcast live 24-hour unparalleled sports content in Spanish, including SportsCenter updates, soccer, Major League Baseball and much more. ESPN Deportes on 1070AM will deliver a passionate and relevant sports listening experience to Latino sports fans who have been underserved in our market. It will also provide a unique opportunity for local advertisers to connect with our community’s growing Hispanic population.”
Odds & Sods. Florida-based talk show host Nicole Sandler is sitting in for Gloria Neal (7:00 am to 10:00 am MT) on Clear Channel’s progressive talk KKZN, Denver today (10/1) through Friday. Sandler will also be subbing for Premiere Networks nationally syndicated host Randi Rhodes the week of October 21 -25…..ESPN Radio begins its 16th season of Major League Baseball playoff game broadcasts tonight. “Sunday Night Baseball” play-by-play voice Dan Shulman and analyst Orel Hershiser will call the National League Wild Card game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates, the National League Division Series (NLDS) between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves, the National League Championship Series (NLCS) and the World Series. ESPN Radio’s “Sunday Night Baseball” team of Jon Sciambi and analyst Chris Singleton will describe the American League Wild Card game (Tampa Bay Rays against the Cleveland Indians), the American League Division Series (ALDS) between the AL Wild Card winner and the Boston Red Sox, and the American League Championship Series (ALCS). Additionally, Dave Flemming and analyst Rick Sutcliffe will call the NLDS between the NL Wild Card winner and St. Louis Cardinals while Michael Kay and analyst Aaron Boone will describe the ALDS between the Oakland Athletics and Detroit Tigers.
SCBA to Honor Radio Advertisers. The Southern California Broadcasters Association and its General Sales Managers Council will honor the Southern California Ford Dealers, AIS Insurance, In-N-Out Burger, and Cedars-Sinai with its annual Outstanding Achievement in Radio Awards on October 24 at a luncheon to be held at the Sheraton Universal Hotel in Universal City. The awards are voted on by the GSM Council and represent the very best in creative radio commercials using both Southern California’s Radio and digital platforms. SCBA president Thom Callahan states, “We are thrilled by the client and agency excitement and response to attending this prestigious Radio Awards luncheon. The senior management from each client honored will be in attendance. These special clients really understand the ubiquitous reach and power of Southern California Radio and we are excited to give them the public recognition they so richly deserve.”
Beasley Broadcast Group Honors Staff with Company Operating Awards. Beasley bestowed Company Operating Awards during its annual management meetings held in Naples, Florida. The company reports it gathered corporate management and station leadership from the 11 markets in which it operates to celebrate achievements and contributions from individual employees and radio stations over the preceding 12 months. The 2013 honorees include: WXTU-FM, Philadelphia – Radio Station of the Year; Tom Humm– General Manager of the Year/Las Vegas; Robin Wood – Business Manager of the Year/Fayetteville, NC; Matt Smith – Sales Manager of the Year/WXTU-FM and WRDW-FM, Philadelphia; Shelly Easton– Program Director of the Year/WXTU-FM, Philadelphia; Charlie McCoy – Engineer of the Year/Augusta, GA; Sam Floyd– CEO Award of Excellence/ Executive Vice President. Founder, chairman and CEO George G. Beasley comments, “Each year, as we honor our company’s highest achievers, I’m reminded of the quality of professionalism within Beasley Broadcast Group. The ladies and gentleman we recognize this year have certainly earned our respect and it is my privilege to acknowledge their accomplishments and congratulate each and every one of them.” Pictured here are (from l-r): Sam Floyd; Mac Edwards (accepting for Robin Wood); president Bruce Beasley; EVP Brian Beasley; Natalie Conner (accepting for WXTU; Shelly Easton & Matt Smith); chairman & CEO George Beasley; EVP/CFO Caroline Beasley; Tom Humm; and Kent Dunn (accepting for Charlie McCoy).
Sean Hannity and Andy Dean Help WOKV, Jacksonville ‘Stand Up for America.’ Cox Media Group’s Jacksonville news/talk outlet WOKV held its annual “Stand Up for America” event at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Jacksonville over the weekend and Premiere Networks stars Sean Hannity and Andy Dean were there. The station reports that “thousands of fans gathered at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts where Hannity and Dean, along with former presidential candidate Herman Cain and veteran Washington reporter Jamie Dupree, appeared on a panel to discuss a wide range of topics, including ObamaCare, Syria, taxes, spending, dependency on foreign oil and much more.” Pictured here are (from l-r): Jamie Dupree, Sean Hannity, Herman Cain and Andy Dean.
Government Shutdown, ObamaCare, U.S.-Iran Relations, Scrapped Hillary TV Movies, and Syria Weapons Inspections Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/30). The eve of the shutdown of the federal government; the beginning stage of the implementation of ObamaCare; relations between the United States and Iran; two scrapped TV movies about Hillary Clinton; and the start of the inspection of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
CBS Sports Radio Network Announces National Morning Show: Tiki Barber, Brandon Tierney and Dana Jacobson. When the CBS Sports Radio Network officially begins on January 2, former New York Giants great Tiki Barber, sports talk personality and current KGME, San Francisco afternoon co-host Brandon Tierney and longtime ESPN broadcaster Dana Jacobson will make up the morning drive show airing from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET. CBS Radio president and CEO Dan Mason states, “CBS Sports Radio has been able to attract some of the most renowned names in the business, and Tiki, Brandon and Dana are just the latest example of the network’s star power. We’ve assembled an impressive group of professional athletes and accomplished broadcasters to bring fans unrivaled sports commentary, and the most entertaining lineup in all of sports radio. The launch of CBS Sports Radio provides an additional way for us to use our content, debuting original programs to millions of listeners across the country on day one. The network’s reach in the major markets is unsurpassed, and the marketplace has taken notice of our depth and broad range of offerings.” CBS Radio is announcing the morning show will clear on such outlets as: WIP-AM, Philadelphia); WFOM-AM, Atlanta; WXYT-AM, Detroit; WJZ-AM, Baltimore; KFNZ-AM and KJQS-AM, Salt Lake City; and WSJZ-FM, Orlando.
Another Look Back at the Harsh Reality of Sandy and its Intense Relationship with Radio. American voters are conditioned every four years to believe that the presidential ballot they are about to cast will be the most crucial such decision they will make in their entire lifetimes. That was certainly a dominant theme of the 2012 campaign, yet less than 10 days before Election Day, something else began percolating that had approximately 20% of the country hitting the “pause” button to politics: Sandy. Innocuous as the name sounds, “Sandy” unfortunately arrived as advertised and now, weeks later, harsh reality remains in its wake. It is impossible to factor precious loss of lives and the shattering of countless dreams into the billions of dollars of wreckage caused by one of the unkindest of oxymorons – a so-called “perfect storm.” As another testament to our democracy, the November 6 election went off without a hitch and the country would ready itself for one of its proudest traditions – setting aside a day of thanksgiving (albeit followed by the dubious recent sales custom known as “Black Friday”). Radio stations though in locales that include the country’s #1 market – New York City – are continuing to focus on what has been consuming them since (roughly) Saturday, October 27. Suffering through Sandy was brutal. For many, enduring the aftermath is considerably worse. As the radio industry returns from the Thanksgiving weekend, TALKERS takes another look back at the our medium’s intense relationship with the “weather event” that was so dominant a factor in current events that it even upstaged a presidential election – as seen through the eyes, lives and dedicated work of broadcasters at CBS Radio‘s all- news WCBS-AM, New York and Cumulus Media‘s news/talk WMAL, Washington, DC. To read TALKERS managing editor/west coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian‘s epic article click here.
WTDY-AM/FM, Madison Drops News/Talk; Stunting with Christmas Music. The Wisconsin State Journal reports that “several broadcasters” have been let go by Midwest Family Broadcasting as the simulcast of news/talk programming on WTDY AM 1670 and WTDY FM 106.7 ended late on Wednesday and was replaced with Christmas music. Talk personality John “Sly” Sylvester and news director Amy Barrilleaux both communicated via social media that they had been let go by the station and that it is flipping formats but that they knew no more. Midwest Family owns seven stations in the market that include: rock WJJO; AC WMGN; rhythmic CHR WJQM; country WWQM; WLMV Spanish music; and oldies WHIT. The word on the street is that the simulcast will become a CBS Sports Radio Network affiliate on January 2 but that has not been confirmed.
ESPN in Agreement for Exclusive Rights to College Football Playoff Contests. The sports giant announces it has reached agreements in principle to obtain exclusive rights to broadcast the games and the affiliated programming for the college football championship and playoff games that will begin after the 2014 season and begin in January of 2015 when the new playoff system begins. ESPN Radio will be part of the broadcast of these games. The announcement was made Wednesday by ESPN president John Skipper and Bill Hancock, executive director of the BCS and the future college football playoffs. Skipper states, “Because of college football’s widespread popularity and the incredible passion of its fans, few events are more meaningful than these games. We are ecstatic at the opportunity to continue to crown a college football champion on ESPN’s outlets for years to come, the perfect finale to our year-round commitment to the sport.” ESPN is in the midst of a four-year agreement for the Bowl Championship Series (BCS). The network televises all five games from the current format, including the Rose, Sugar, Orange and Fiesta Bowls, as well as the BCS National Championship Game. The two BCS National Championship Games on ESPN (2011, 2012) have generated the two largest audiences for any program in the history of cable television. The new playoff will be administered by the Football Bowl Subdivision conferences and independent institutions. The agreement in principle is subject to completion of definitive documentation and all necessary approvals.
Stephen King-Owned WZLO and WZON, Bangor Progressive Talk Simulcast Splits. “The Pulse” website states the stations have split their simulcast of progressive talk and are featuring Christmas music on the FM signal with a “BIG surprise” the station will reveal after Christmas. The stations have been a simulcast for the past 2 ½ years – first as a sports talk station, then as the progressive talk outlet. The FM side had been playing a triple A format prior to the simulcast. WZON at 620 AM continues to air a progressive talk format featuring a local morning show with Don Cookson, WYD Media’s Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz, Premiere Networks’ Randi Rhodes, Thom Hartmann, Cox Media’s Clark Howard and Leslie Marshall.
April NAB Show to Feature Q&A with News Corp’s Chase Carey. The National Association of Broadcasters announces the spring NAB Show scheduled for April 6-11 in Las Vegas will feature a question-and-answer session with News Corporation president and chief operating officer Chase Carey. NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith will conduct the session. Smith says, “As a leading executive of one of the world’s preeminent media companies, Chase Carey has valuable insight into today’s multi-platform global media environment. I look forward to our conversation at the NAB Show and hearing Mr. Carey’s vision of what the future holds for the media business worldwide.” Carey has served in his role at News Corp since July of 2009. Prior to that he was president and CEO at DIRECTV, Inc.
French-Language Quebec Talk Host Suspended for Anti-Semitic Incident. CHMP, Quebec late night talk show host Jacques Fabi has been suspended from his program after allowing a female caller to his program make anti-Semitic statements. The caller was responding to Fabi’s discussion of the violence in Israel and Gaza and blamed the Jews, then went on to intimate that Hitler should have been allowed to finish the job. Fabi never stopped her and, according to complaints to the CRTC and the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, seemed to encourage her rant. The CBC reports station spokesman David Crete said, “The comments that were aired earlier this week are unacceptable…hosts and journalists are subject to ethical rules. If they are not met, penalties are applied.” It is not clear how long Fabi’s suspension will be. CHMP is owned by Cogeco.
British Broadcaster Fined for Anti-Gay Remarks. The British agency that regulates broadcasting content – Ofcom – levied a $6,400 fine against the company that owns a Leeds, England station that serves the South Asian community. The incident stems from a program hosted by Rubina Nasir – known as Sister Ruby – in which she interpreted passages in the Koran that indicated homosexuals should be punished – physically and mentally – for practicing their sexuality. Ofcom ruled the statements made during the broadcast were likely to “encourage or incite the commission of a crime.”
Rock 102 Thanksgiving Tradition. WAQY, Springfield, Massachusetts morning drive team Bax & O’Brien helped gather food and money for those in need in the area with the broadcast of their annual Mayflower Marathon food drive over the Thanksgiving week. Hosts Mike Baxendale (center) and John O’Brien (far right) are pictured here announcing a donation of $10,000 to the Open Pantry – a local organization that provides food to those in need. The annual charity event is a signature of Saga Communications’ “Rock 102” and the Bax & O’Brien morning show during which the duo broadcast continuously for two days while encouraging listeners to fill a Mayflower moving van with food staples for the hungry.
Happy Thanksgiving from All of Us at TALKERS. All of us at TALKERS want to take this opportunity to express our gratitude at Thanksgiving to the hard-working, dedicated members of the radio industry and its associated fields who support and encourage us in this endeavor as readers, contributors and sponsors. PLEASE NOTE: Our regular weekday mid-morning emailed newsletter will not be sent out tomorrow (Thanksgiving) or Friday – but the home of TALKERS (www.talkers.com) will be updated with major breaking stories should they occur, as is the case 365 days per year. We sincerely hope you all have a wonderful holiday with loved ones and reflect on how fortunate we all are to have the opportunity to be in a business and medium that is so vital to preserving the public’s well-being as well as bringing entertainment, happiness, information and opinions to millions each and every minute of the day. May we all have the courage, strength, intelligence and will to keep the spark of radio and talk media glowing through these challenging times and into the promise of yet another golden era.
Andy Stuart Exits Clear Channel Toledo Market Manager Post. More changes at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Toledo cluster a little more than a week after news/talk WSPD programmer and talk host Brian Wilson was let go by the company. Toledo market manager and regional market manager in Northern Ohio Andy Stuart announces he’s leaving the company to take a CEO post at a new technology firm that he and his superiors are not naming due to the secretive nature of the tech business, according to the Toledo Blade.
Salem Communications Prepares to Flip WMUU, Greenville to Conservative Talk. The class C FM at 94.5 that Salem Communications is buying from Bob Jones University-affiliated Gospel Fellowship Association covers a huge part of the Greenville-Spartanburg region. Salem tips via Facebook that the station will be imaged as “Conservative Talk 94.5 FM” and will begin airing the Salem Radio Network slate of conservative talk shows featuring Mike Gallagher, Michael Medved, Dennis Prager, Hugh Hewitt and Bill Bennett on Monday, December 3. The station currently airs a beautiful music format.
WTN, Nashville Raises $120,000 for Nashville Rescue Mission. Cumulus Media news/talk WTN, Nashville “SuperTalk 99.7” pulled in more than $120,000 for the Nashville Rescue Mission during its 2012 Radiothon on Monday, November 19. Vice president and market manager Mike Carpenter states, “We are more than pleased with the results of this year’s Hunger to Hope Radiothon for the Nashville Rescue Mission. Our gracious listeners and clients helped raise over $20,000 above and beyond our original goal. We are very proud to be a part of this effort to support the community through the Nashville Rescue Mission.” The station reports that the effort was spearheaded by talk show personality Michael DelGiorno and the broadcast included all four of the station’s prime daytime hosts, utilizing commercial time as well as much of their normal program content to push for donations. The lineup included Ralph Bristol from 5:00 am to 9:00 am, Michael DelGiorno from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, Dave Ramsey from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm and Phil Valentine from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Additionally, Michael DelGiorno broadcast live from the Nashville Rescue Mission for an hour with Ralph Bristol, pre-empted the Mike Huckabee show by extending his program an hour, and then returned to the studio to raise $45,000 in the final hour of the radiothon at 6:00 pm.
KKLA, Los Angeles Personality Frank Pastore Injured in Motorcycle Accident. Former major league baseball pitcher and Christian talk radio personality Frank Pastore is in critical condition at Los Angeles County USC Medical Center after suffering injuries in a motorcycle accident on Los Angeles’ 210 Freeway on Monday evening. According to The Sun, Pastore – who hosts the PM drive slot on Salem Communications’ KKLA, Los Angeles Christian teaching outlet – was hit by another car while riding his motorcycle and thrown from the bike. Just how extensive his injuries are is not known at this time.
KJAC, Fort Collins Inks Deal with Colorado State University. Front Range Broadcasting sports talker KJAC, Fort Collins “105.5 ESPN” strikes a deal with Nelligan Sports Marketing to serve as the flagship station for Colorado State University athletics. The deal will have KJAC broadcast football and men’s and women’s basketball play-by-play beginning in July of 2013. The contract also calls for production and airing of weekly coach’s shows. Games will also air on Front Range’s KDSP, Denver “102.3 ESPN.”
More Holiday Fill-In Work. Progressive talk host Nicole Sandler is sitting in for Premiere Networks’ Randi Rhodes on her nationally syndicated program for today’s pre-Thanksgiving Day program. Sandler is also scheduled to host Rhodes’ program around the Christmas holidays December 17-21, December 26-28 and on New Year’s Eve day.
WJXL-AM/FM, Jacksonville Raises $54,000-Plus for Cancer Charity. Seven Bridges Radio’s sports talk WJXL-AM/FM, Jacksonville “1010XL” raised more than $54,000 for the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund – New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin’s charity that benefits children battling cancer – during its radiothon on October 25. Pictured here are staffers manning the phones at the 1010XL offices during the one-day radiothon.
Israel-Hamas Violence, ‘Fiscal Cliff,’ Petraeus-Broadwell Scandal, Benghazi Investigation, and Thanksgiving Holiday Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/20). The ongoing attacks between Israel and Hamas; the battle in Washington over how to avoid the “fiscal cliff”; the possible security effects of the Petraeus–Broadwell scandal; the Benghazi investigation and Petraeus’ involvement; and the Thanksgiving holiday were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Clear Channel Pulls the Plug on Progressive Talk KPOJ, Portland. The conspiracy theories from listeners and progressive talk fans are already pouring in – especially on the Portland-area blogs and mainstream media sites – but the notion that Clear Channel Media and Entertainment is flipping KPOJ to sports talk for political reasons and not because of business factors has no basis in reality. According to a piece in the local Willamette Week blog site, KPOJ’s recent 12-plus ratings were around a 1.0 share compared to some of its spoken-word competitors (news/talk KEX and KXL posted a 3.5 share and 5.0 share, respectively). TALKERS is not privy at this time to how well Clear Channel was able to sell KPOJ but it should surprise few in the business that sports content has never been hotter from a consumption standpoint and political talk – whether conservative or progressive – is, from a sales perspective, controversial and therefore a much tougher sell, probably even in a progressive market such as Portland. Local morning talk host Carl Wolfson was gracious in his public statement about the decision saying, in part, “I appreciate the opportunity they gave me for six years to be a voice for progressive causes in our state and nation. I will miss all of my fun friends at work (my excellent producer Paul, remains employed!). I love all of you, my loyal listeners. It has been my honor to give a platform to all of the outstanding groups, volunteers, elected officials and good people who make Oregon so special.” The station, considered one of the nation’s more successful progressive talk outlets for many years, also carried WYD Media’s Thom Hartmann, Premiere Networks’ Randi Rhodes and Mike Malloy.
Fox Sports Radio Takes Over in Portland. Beginning Today, KPOJ, Portland becomes “Fox Sports Radio 620” and carries the full lineup of Fox Sports Radio Network programming that includes “Fox Sports Daybreak,” “Loose Cannons,” Petros & Money, “Fox Sports Tonight” and JT The Brick plus other weekend programming. Clear Channel Portland has the rights to Portland Trailblazers basketball (which airs on sister KEX) and Oregon State Beavers sports and the “Beaver Nation Live” show will continue to air on KPOJ from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm daily. Operations manager Chris Sargent states, “Combining our rich relationship with the Oregon State Beavers and Portland Trail Blazers, and now Fox Sports Radio, this is a win-win situation for us. We expect the new Fox Sports Radio 620 to serve the community with great access to sports information and entertainment, while setting the standard of sports excellence in Portland.”
Brian Wilson Exits WSPD, Toledo. News/talk pro Brian Wilson leaves Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WSPD, Toledo where he’s been program director, news director and afternoon drive talk host for more than seven years. Wilson has long operated his Vacation Relief Services company and has been a host a such outlets as WABC, New York; KSFO, San Francisco; WRC, Washington; and WGST, Atlanta. Wilson says via his Facebook page: “I am glad to have had the opportunity to preach the gospel of freedom and liberty to Northwest Ohio. Wish I had the chance on the air to say thank you and goodbye to my listeners. I will continue to make every effort to spread the message of free markets and liberty.”
Cox Media Splits WDBO, Orlando Simulcast; AM 580 to Sports Talk. The AM/FM simulcast of news/talk on Cox Media’s WDBO, Orlando ends today as the station takes up the ESPN affiliation and begins airing ESPN Radio’s lineup of nationally syndicated programming including “Mike & Mike in the Morning,” “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” and SVP & Russillo. The move adds another sports talk outlet to the market that already includes Clear Channel-owned WYGM “The Game” the Fox Sports Radio affiliate; Star Over Orlando’s WRSO the Yahoo! Sports affiliate; and Genesis Communications’ WHOO “Sports Talk Florida” the NBC Sports Radio affiliate. WDBO’s full program schedule should be known soon and it’s not clear at this point if the station will air any local sports talk.
Unlocking the Secrets of Twitter. One of the radio industry’s most respected digital consultants offers tips on maximizing the use of Twitter to drive listeners to the station and increase ratings. TALKERS columnist Chris Miller of Chris Miller Digital warns that Twitter is not Facebook‘s “little sister” and should not be treated that way. He says broadcasters can use Twitter to effectively enhance their radio brand by creating a “bulletin service” that promotes one element of upcoming programming and one element only; a “customer channel” that opens a link to a real, live customer serviceperson – a recording; and by creating “mico-targeting” initiatives which separates various factions of the total target audience for very specific aspects of the programming of primary interest to them. Read Chris Miller’s entire piece here.
WABC, New York’s Geraldo Rivera to Broadcast Sandy Relief Program. During his midday show today, Cumulus Media Networks’ talk show host Geraldo Rivera will broadcast live from a Salvation Army post on storm-ravaged Island Park on Long Island in order to raise funds for Hurricane Sandy relief. WABC states, “During the broadcast, singer and actress Katharine McPhee will interrupt filming the next season of her TV show ‘Smash’ to announce that she will match every donation dollar-for-dollar up to $50,000 through her charitable foundation, McPhee Outreach (for a total of $100,000).” McPhee says, “I was looking for the organization on the ground that was doing the most to help Hurricane Sandy victims and I found that to be the Salvation Army.” Rivera will be on the air from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm ET. He says, “There is no one who does more with less than the Salvation Army. I’m hoping that my listeners and sponsors will step up and match the McPhee Outreach’s grant to raise more than $100,000 to help people rebuild their lives in the wake of this weather disaster.”
LFM’s KKFN, Denver Re-Signs Clough. Late-morning talk host Sandy Clough re-ups with Lincoln Financial Media’s Denver sports talker KKFN. The terms of the deal were not announced and Clough’s extending his contract with the station comes shortly after the sports talk outlet re-upped fellow air talent Scott Hastings and Joel Klatt.
Aaron Matthews Named PD at WWSR, Lima, Ohio. Maverick Media fills the program director position at sports WWSR, Lima “93.1 The Fan” with market veteran Aaron Matthews. He takes over for Ryan Reker who exited Maverick’s Lima cluster to become program director at Federated Media’s WOWO-AM/FM, Ft. Wayne.
Opinion: Talk Radio’s Renaissance Requires Open-Minded Ownership. Talk host and programmer Tom Becka – currently heard on KRWK, Fargo and KOIL, Omaha – says that the post-election reflection on talk radio’s future reminds him of his days as a stand-up comic traveling the country and talking with people whose concerns went far beyond the political process in Washington, DC. “The truth is what is important to most talk show hosts is not important to most people on the street.” Becka says hosts must be broader in their approach and management has to be willing to change. Read his opinion piece here.
Canada’s CRTC Approves New English-Language Talk Station for Montreal. The new English-language talk formatted station won’t hit the airwaves in Montreal until late spring of 2013 but Canada’s broadcasting regulation agency – the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission has approved the application for the new station. The company applying for the license is owned by three Montreal businessmen and the outlet will be the sister station to the French-language talk outlet that’s also been approved. The French station will operate at 940 AM – a signal that’s been dark in Montreal for two years. Currently, Montreal is served by Astral Media’s English-language talk outlet CJAD.
Arbitrator Rules in Favor of Former XEPRS, San Diego Hosts Scott Kaplan and Billy Ray Smith. Sports talk hosts Scott Kaplan and Billy Ray Smith were fired by XEPRS, San Diego – XX Sports Radio 1090 – in February after Kaplan made derogatory comments about the appearance of Mountain West TV Network sports personality Andrea Lloyd. Kaplan and Smith contended they were let go in violation of their contract which outlined a process by which the station was to address content issues in case of a disagreement. An arbitrator – retired Superior Court Judge Linda Quinn ruled in the hosts’ favor and has awarded the two more than $490,000 in damages based on their respective salaries, commissions, endorsements and incentives as provided by their contracts. U-T San Diego (for which Kaplan now works co-hosting an online TV show called “Scott, B.R. + Amber”) reports Kaplan and Smith feel vindicated with Kaplan stating, “I feel vindicated. They breached the contract. I knew that from the beginning. There was a lot of embarrassment that came with the termination. I spent 11 great years on the radio…I loved what I did and I loved who I worked for.” XEPRS has not paid the duo yet and has filed a motion asking Quinn to reconsider her decision.
NPR Hires Lobbying Firm to Fight GOP Effort to Defund CFPB. Congressional Republicans are again organizing efforts to defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and NPR is hiring the lobbying firm Navigators Global to help shut that down. The Hill reports NPR spokesperson Dana Rehm says that the organization is a content provider but is also a trade organization representing member stations. “It is part of our mission to represent the interests of NPR member stations to Congress, executive, regulatory and judicial bodies. At a time when the federal government is running a large deficit, every program and function of the government deserves to be scrutinized, and a review of federal funding to public broadcasting is fair and to be expected.” Rehm says the firm’s job is to explain “how the federal investment in public radio stations and larger public broadcasting system provides one of the most effective returns of any program authorized by Congress.”
Talk Radio Rises to the Occasion in Covering Aurora Massacre Aftermath. The natural progression of the analysis and coverage of the killing of 12 and wounding of dozens of others at the Aurora, Colorado premiere of “Dark Knight Rises” continues and talk radio is rising to the occasion to serve its listeners with compelling and responsible discussion. Examples of talk outlets rising to a high level of performance through the use of experts in the fields of psychology, law enforcement, media violence, gun control and more are being reported to TALKERS from all over the country. Here two examples of similar coverage: Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt featured an interview with shooting victim Pierce O’Farrill, who was hit three times by bullets from the shooter’s gun. O’Farrill described live on the air the chilling events at the theater, his perspective on the gunman, the death penalty, and his visit with President Obama. XtreMedia president Kevin McCullough tells TALKERS several of his company’s programs – his own Kevin McCullough show, the Saturday evening “Baldwin/McCullough LIVE” broadcast and the Sunday night Dani Johnson show spent the bulk of their collective platforms allowing hurting, confused and stunned listeners to respond to the attacks. Actor Stephen Baldwin took time out from a publicity tour in neighboring Cheyenne, Wyoming (90 minutes from Aurora) to meet with those in Aurora whose lives have been touched by the shootings. While there, CNN‘s Don Lemon asked Baldwin (see photo) to weigh in on his perspective of the events. Baldwin told CNN, “It may be time for those of us in the Hollywood community to re-examine how we advance violence through films, television, and video games. It also blows my mind that someone could purchase 6,000 rounds of ammo in 45 days. I’m a gun enthusiast but a red flag should’ve gone off somewhere.”
Progressive Town Hall Forum in Seattle. Premiere Networks syndicated talk host Randi Rhodes (center) was one of eight panelists who took part in “Showdown 2012: Recapturing Democracy,” a progressive town hall forum presented by Seattle’s Progressive Talk AM1090 (CBS Radio’s KPTK) at the ShoWare Center in Kent, Washington on Saturday, July 21. Rhodes appeared on a panel focused on the evolving role citizens play in the political and public policy process, including strategies to protect our role in democracy and to build a better future for everyone. Panelists in this picture are (from l-r): Congressman Jim McDermott, WYD Media talk host Thom Hartmann, talk host Mike Papantonio, Compass Media Networks talk host Norman Goldman, Rhodes, talk host Sam Seder, talk host Ron Reagan, and panel moderator David Postman, former chief political reporter for the Seattle Times.
KESN, Dallas Renews Contract with Cowboys Great Drew Pearson. ESPN O&O KESN, Dallas – ESPN Dallas 103.3 – announces it is renewing its deal with Dallas Cowboys great Drew Pearson for another season. Under the terms of the contract, Pearson will join “Ben & Skin” co-hosts Ben Rogers & Jeff “Skin” Wade on Mondays from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon, do Friday call-ins to the “Galloway and Company” show, and co-host the “5th Quarter Cowboys” post-game show. Pearson will act as the “go-to guy” for any breaking Cowboys or NFL news, and do a weekly video segment with “Galloway and Company.” Pearson states, “I am very happy and excited to be joining the ESPN Radio team for my third season as Cowboys/NFL analyst. My role with ESPN provides a platform for me to express my sports opinions and it also allows me the opportunity to continue my association with the ‘Worldwide Leader in Sports’ – ESPN – which to me is priceless.”
Old Friends. Dial Global nationally syndicated talk host Dennis Miller (r) poses for a shot with former “Saturday Night Live” cast member and co-star David Spade (c) and show promoter Bill Blumenreich (l) at Miller’s recent live concert at Boston’s Wilbur Theater. Spade snuck into the theater and found his way to Miller’s dressing room where they chatted and caught up.
Fox Sports Radio and Yardbarker Enhance Content Relationship. The latter is described by Fox Sports Radio as a sports opinion site and blog network. It’s a property of Fox Sports Interactive Media and now it and Fox Sports Radio Network will begin working together more closely beginning with incorporating FSRN’s “Loose Cannons” into Yardbarker’s content. FSRN states “‘Loose Cannons’ will feature a daily segment with co-hosts Pat O’Brien, Steve Hartman and Vic ‘The Brick’ Jacobs as they take listeners into O’Brien’s ‘backyard’ for all the dirt from Yardbarker. Fox Sports Radio will soon add similar segments across other network programs. In addition, Yardbarker will feature select content from Fox Sports Radio on its website and social media platforms.” Yardbarker VP of operations Jack Kloster states, “Yardbarker is incredibly excited to partner with Fox Sports Radio and to introduce our content to the loyal listeners of ‘Loose Cannons.’ The partnership is a natural fit. Our content is inherently conversational and Fox Sports Radio is home base for sports conversation.”
Geoff Neuhoff Passes Away at Age 59. Neuhoff Communications president and CEO Geoff Neuhoff died Sunday after falling ill suddenly on Saturday. Neuhoff owned and operated stations in rural Illinois including clusters in Springfield and Decatur. The company operated news/talk WSOY, Decatur and sports talk WFMB, Springfield. Neuhoff COO Mike Hulvey tells the State Journal-Register, “Geoff Neuhoff was a giant among small- and medium-market broadcasters. Geoff demanded from all of us a dedication of greatness and excellence no matter the market size or the power of the station. Geoff believed strongly that innovation was the way forward and he embraced new technologies with enthusiasm. He will be missed by his team, but the legacy he leaves behind will last for years to come.” Neuhoff is survived by his wife and three children.
Aurora Movie Theater Massacre, Penn State Penalties, Syria Instability, and European Debt Worries/Financial Markets Activities Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/23). The aftermath of the massacre at the “Dark Knight Rises” showing in Aurora, Colorado; the severe penalties levied against Penn State in the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal; Syria’s political instability and threat to use weapons of mass destruction; and ongoing concerns over the debt of some European nations and the effect on world financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Victory, But No Clarity at the Supreme Court. The United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of Fox TV and ABC and against the FCC in a decision announced yesterday. The high-profile cases involving fleeting occurrences of nudity and four-letter words on the two TV networks came to an end with the Court ruling as many, including TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman, thought it would: in favor of the broadcasters. But as Weisman writes, the decision was based on a violation of the Due Process clause and ignored the larger question of the FCC’s definition of indecency. “As for the overriding question of the unconstitutionality of the rules themselves, the Court ruled that it did not even have to answer that question because the application of the FCC’s indecency rule was improperly done in a manner that violated the Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment.” Read Weisman’s analysis of the Supreme Court’s decision here.
Sports Talk Radio Gets Another National Network as CBS Radio Teams with Cumulus Media Networks to Offer Talk Shows, News and More. The skyrocketing popularity of sports talk radio is bringing another major network player into the business. CBS announces it will put the resources of CBS Radio and CBS Sports together to build a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week lineup of national programming called CBS Sports Radio. The company is partnering with Cumulus Media Networks which will provide affiliate sales and ad sales for the network and the content will air on 67 of Cumulus Media’s stations. The long-form talk aspect of this network will debut on January 3, 2013 but hourly CBS Sports news updates will begin on September 4 of this year. This entry of CBS into the sports radio game creates a much more crowded field of players once dominated by just a few. Soon ESPN Radio, Fox Sports Radio Network, and Yahoo! Sports Radio will be joined by the recently announced collaboration between NBC and Dial Global – NBC Sports Radio – and CBS Sports Radio. CBS Radio president and CEO Dan Mason states, “For more than two decades we have owned local sports radio and appreciate great talent and programming that resonates with listeners and elicits passionate dialogue and debate. We are bullish our expertise and prior achievements will allow us to successfully complement our existing businesses while expanding into what until now has been a largely unchallenged sector of the radio business.” Exactly how CBS will staff the new national sports talk radio network is something we’ll see develop over the next six months. It certainly has a trough of excellent talent at its local sports talk O&Os and the company indicates affiliate stations will have the opportunity to “regionalize their lineup by choosing from select programs currently featured on CBS Radio or Cumulus sports stations.” That means an affiliate station in the Mid-Atlantic, for example, could elect to carry a program that emanates from WIP, Philadelphia or WJFK-FM, Washington. Regardless of how this new enterprise develops, suffice it to say the sports talk radio business is getting much more competitive.
Genesis Communications Announces End of ESPN Relationship in Tampa and Orlando. ESPN Radio has been a part of Genesis Communications’ WHBO, Tampa and WHOO, Orlando for the past 10 years but president Bruce Maduri says in a statement that they believe it’s time to develop more local – and exclusive – talent. Maduri states, “ESPN Radio makes its once-exclusive programming readily available to the public on multiple audio and video channels and platforms, such as web radio, satellite radio, mobile devices, broadcast television, cable TV and more.” And Maduri cites the cost of the programming as a factor. He says they’ve enjoyed their 10-year relationship with ESPN but will end their relationship with ESPN by October 1.
Meet One of Talk Media’s Hardest-Working Talents: Larry O’Connor. And today is a very busy day for Larry O’Connor. First, he’s filling in for WPHT, Philadelphia’s Chris Stigall in AM drive; after an hour break he fills in for Dial Global’s nationally syndicated Dennis Miller; then he joins Salem Radio Network’s Hugh Hewitt as a guest on Hewitt’s annual live broadcast from Disneyland in Anaheim. Who is Larry O’Connor? The former manager and producer in the Broadway theater industry joined the Breitbart empire writing for Big Hollywood and became Andrew Breitbart’s choice to run the multi-media arm where he came to be in charge of Breitbart TV and he’s now editor of the video and multi-media arm of the Breitbart News Network. Given his position, O’Connor has an interesting view of the talk media landscape and he tells TALKERS magazine, “I have been fortunate to launch my career in this new age where I could broadcast on the internet for relatively low costs and within months build a loyal and vibrant audience with no more promotion than Facebook and Twitter alerts. Streaming my show at Breitbart News has allowed me to cater to the passionate center-right political news junkie that makes up our audience and it perfectly mirrors the hard-core talk radio audience. I am also fortunate to be the multi-media editor and curator for the Breitbart sites which puts me in the position of seeking out the choicest sound bytes which I hope will end up on playlists for talk radio shows from coast to coast. By having that task all day long, it puts me in the news cycle that is in the wheelhouse of talkers up and down the aisle.” The untimely death of Andrew Breitbart certainly affected the late conservative icon’s business but O’Connor tells TALKERS things there continue to move at a lightning pace. “The radical re-design of our site, which was Andrew’s final project, has been a resounding success. But the new design also has put enormous pressure and demands on our dedicated editorial staff because unlike our old blog format, the new design requires us to be on top of the news cycle and constantly posting fresh, relevant content on a constant basis. The loss of Andrew is a void that, frankly, will never be filled. But it is comforting to know that his business partner and long-time best friend Larry Solov is there every day over-seeing us and keeping Andrew’s vision alive and thriving.” Meanwhile, O’Connor continues to be heard at local stations across the nation. He’s recently filled in at such historic signals as WOR, New York; WLS, Chicago; WABC, New York and more.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Nationally syndicated progressive talk star Randi Rhodes hosted an iconic entertainment figure on her Premiere Networks program as Cher called the show on Wednesday to talk about being vilified for speaking out as an entertainer. Cher told Rhodes, “I…try to do my part, try to do more than my part for helping people with my money and with my speaking…They just can only vilify you by just saying the most heinous things. They don’t talk about your ideas, or what you think. They talk about what kind of a person you are and then they vilify what kind of a person you are.”…..CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles spotlights the city of Santa Monica in its next “KNX on Your Corner” event. News anchors will broadcast live from the café Back on the Beach throughout the day and “KNX Business Hour” host Frank Mottek will lead a private networking luncheon for local business leaders, titled, “Your Money, the Markets & the Economy,” with special guest, James Hausberg, managing director and partner of HighTower Advisors at Santa Monica Ford Lincoln…..Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago is named Chicago Market Station of the Year by the Illinois Broadcasters Association for the fifth straight year. At the recent awards ceremony WGN picked up six other first place honors including Best Local Radio Newscast, Best Sports Story, and Best Website…..SiriusXM – in association with ESPN Radio – offers subscribers complete coverage of Wimbledon beginning Monday, June 25 through Saturday, July 7.
CRN Digital Talk Radio Adds Three Telecom Systems to Its Affiliate Roster. Sunland, California-based CRN Digital Talk Radio announces the addition of three new telecommunications systems to its affiliate roster which will carry CRN’s more than 100 shows and talk radio programs on their audio-only video channels for subscribers. Home Net of Kutztown, Pennsylvania; CML Telephone Cooperative Association of Meridien, Iowa; and LISCO (Local Internet Service Company) of Fairfield, Iowa will carry all seven of CRN’s broadcast networks on dedicated audio channels. CRN CEO Mike Horn states, “We are excited to join with Home Net, CML and LISCO and provide their customers with our top-rated and highly entertaining programming for the at-home listening experience.”
‘Fast and Furious’ Case/Executive Privilege Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 18-22. The case of Congressional Republicans’ attempt to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for not delivering documents in connection with the ‘Fast and Furious’ program and President Obama’s invoking executive privilege in the case was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing in the #1 spot on the Talkers TenTM. Following at #2 this week was the 2012 presidential race. At #3 was the G20 Summit and the Russia-Syria connection followed by the Euro Zone debt crisis and the global financial markets activities at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week according to ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View the entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Dave Ramsey show is added to the program schedule at CBS Radio’s KRLD, Dallas…..KFNX, Phoenix picks up Cumulus Media Networks’ Mike Huckabee…..Compass Media Networks’ Free Beer and Hot Wings morning drive show is added to the program schedule at WZGM, Asheville, North Carolina; KBAZ-FM, Missoula, Montana; and WQCK-FM, State College, Pennsylvania…..The Money Pit Home Improvement Show joins the lineup at WMCD-FM, Statesboro, Georgia; WTHQ, Paducah, Kentucky; and KQWC-FM, Webster City, Iowa.
The FCC and You – Part 2: An Explanation of Obscenity. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes the second in a series of exclusive articles covering crucial regulatory information of which all license holders must be aware. Here Weisman outlines the three-pronged guidelines to defining obscenity and discusses some of the court cases that have helped codify the FCC regulations as they stand today. Read more here.
Rivers Radio Launches Progressive News/Talk Station in Atlanta. WGUN, Atlanta debuted as a progressive news/talk outlet yesterday featuring a lineup that includes: Syndication One’s Warren Ballentine, The Ed Schultz Show, Premiere Networks’ Randi Rhodes, WYD Media’s Thom Hartmann, and The Mike Malloy Show. Rivers Radio EVP and general manager Kevin Hemmings states, “Atlanta’s 1010 is excited to be able to offer this incredible lineup to our rapidly growing audience. For the first time in a very long while, the listeners of Atlanta now have a diverse choice of viewpoints and opinions.” WGUN had been airing an oldies/standards format.
Syracuse Talk Personality Jim Reith Joins Pubcasters for New Shows. Longtime WSYR, Syracuse talk show host Jim Reith – a 27-year employee of the station who was downsized in October of 2011 – begins a new career in the public media world when he debuts a 30-minute TV talk show on WCNY-TV, Syracuse in May and a radio talk show on WCNY-FM, Syracuse in the fall. Reith tells the Syracuse Post Standard, “I want to be a local guy doing local topics with local people. I want to inform people about local issues in a more developed way than you can do with a sound bite. And I want to entertain people and have some fun.” Reith’s TV talk show will air daily from 6:30 pm to 7:00 pm starting May 14 and in the fall he’ll begin a daily three-hour radio talk show on classical WCNY-FM’s HD 3 channel.
Cumulus-Finebaum Suits May Reach Settlement Out of Court. If Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Robert Vance has his way, the lawsuits between WJOX-FM, Birmingham-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum and employer Cumulus Media will be settled out of court. According to the Birmingham News, Vance has ordered the two sides to get back to the negotiating table in order to settle the contract dispute. The two sides were in court last week for a hearing before Vance and they appear closer to a settlement. Finebaum is suing over contractual issues that took place when Citadel owned the station and Cumulus is countersuing claiming breach of contract.
Leland Conway Moves to WRVA, Richmond for PM Drive. Lexington, Kentucky talk show host Leland Conway leaves his afternoon drive show at Clear Channel’s WLAP after six years to take over the same time slot at the company’s WRVA, Richmond. Conway fills the slot at WRVA that opened when the station parted ways with Doc Thompson. Back at WLAP, the station will get assistance from WHAS, Louisville talk host Mandy Connell and others filling in Conway’s afternoon show until a permanent replacement can be found.
WTMA, Charleston Morning Host Richard Todd Resigns. Citing the difficulty of being a single parent after the passing of his wife from cancer back in January, WTMA, Charleston, South Carolina morning drive host Richard Todd has resigned from the station. Todd returned to the radio in February after taking some time off subsequent to the death of his wife Mary Todd on January 3. Todd told his audience he would not be leaving his position had it not been for his wife’s passing. He said he isn’t able to focus and prepare the way he needs to in order to execute the show the way he’d like.
Former NFL Players Greg Koch and N.D. Kalu Exit KILT, Houston. The two had been contributors to CBS Radio’s sports talk KILT, Houston where they worked on both its coverage of Houston Texans football and with some of the station’s sports talk shows. Now, the Houston Chronicle reports the two have resigned from the station and the scuttlebutt is that they will resurface at Clear Channel’s crosstown sports talk KBME. KILT program director Gavin Spittle tells the paper, “We appreciated the time they were here. We have been fortunate to build a large staff, and with that will come departures. And with departures comes rebuilding, and we are excited about our future.” Greg Koch is an attorney and N.D. Kalu works in the real estate business in the Houston area.
Former Senator Arlen Specter Hangs Up on GCN’s Jason Lewis. Former Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter grew tired of his time on Genesis Communications Network’s Jason Lewis show – especially of having to sit through commercial breaks – and hung up on Lewis, but not after admonishing him for how the interview was being conducted. Specter was on the program to promote his latest book, Life Among the Cannibals (Thomas Dunne Books 2012). GCN reports Specter was upset Lewis didn’t spend enough time with the Republican-turned-Democrat discussing his book. After the second commercial break he told Lewis, “I gave you 10 minutes. You’ve been over every subject except for my book. I’ve listened to two rounds of your commercials. I think it’s insulting. I’ve been in a lot of interviews in the course of the past 30 years and you are absolutely insulting! I told you the last time around I wasn’t looking to sit around and listen to your commercials, and I didn’t want to hang up on you. But I want to tell you this is no way for anybody to run an interview. I’m as experienced as you are, if not more so. And that’s all I have to tell you, so goodbye!”
WFED, Washington PM Drive Host Francis Rose Available to Comment on Latest Government Waste Scandal. A new report from the Inspector General at the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), the agency that buys goods and services for the Federal government, says leadership spent over $822,000 on a conference attended by about 300 people in October 2010 (over $2700 per attendee). The report says “many of the expenditures on this conference were excessive and wasteful and that in many instances GSA followed neither federal procurement laws nor its own policy on conference spending.” This story has been gaining traction among government waste watchers and is already huge in the nation’s capital. Hubbard Broadcasting’s WFED (sister station to WTOP) uniquely targets its programming to Federal employees – particularly the bureaucracy’s movers and shakers – and is all over this breaking scandal. (See http://www.federalnewsradio.com/445/2812012/GSA-head-Johnson-resigns-two-others-fired.) Afternoon drive host Francis Rose tells TALKERS he is available for live and taped interviews via telephone on talk shows around the country to provide insight into its outrageous details. Rose can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by cell at 202-657-9907.
Jim Rome’s New CBS Sports Network Show Airs Tonight. Sports talk icon Jim Rome begins a new chapter in the TV side of his sports talk career as CBS Sports Network – CBS’ new sports cable channel – broadcasts the first edition of his TV show since Rome parted company with ESPN. Rome appeared on the “Late Show with David Letterman” last week to promote the new show and talk sports. Rome’s new TV program airs nightly at 6:00 ET.
GOP Primary/2012 Presidential Campaign, Syrian Violence, ObamaCare Status, Iran Nukes, Gas Prices and NCAA Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/2). The Republican primary race and the 2012 presidential campaign; the drive to end the violence in Syria, the politics surrounding the legal status of President Obama’s 2010 Affordable Care Act, Iran’s nuclear ambitions; the rising price of gas and the NCAA basketball finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WTMM-FM, Albany Host Bruce Jacobs Apologizes After Making Gay Joke. Talk radio pro Bruce Jacobs finds himself apologizing to the public (and probably fighting for his job) after referring to the WNBA teams the Los Angeles Sparks and the Phoenix Mercury as the “Los Angeles Lesbians” and the “Phoenix Dyke-ury.” Jacbos said in an on-air apology, “My comments yesterday were ridiculous, stupid and amateurish. I apologize for even uttering the comments, whether you heard them or not, whether you were offended or not.” He told the Albany Times-Union he doesn’t believe he should be fired for the remarks. “We live in a society today where no matter what you say, you’re a bigot or you’re a racist. I don’t like it, but it comes with the territory. So obviously I think that’s ridiculous.” Brian Noe, program director of the Townsquare Media sports talk station, e-mailed the paper saying, “Bruce’s insensitive statement is a serious matter that is being dealt with internally.” The station is no doubt feeling pressure from LGBT advocacy groups and others to terminate Jacobs for the misstep.
KABC, Los Angeles Announces New Program Schedule. Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles officially announces its new program lineup and, contrary to earlier reports, it will not include a simulcast of WABC, New York’s Geraldo Rivera. Instead, evening host John Phillips moves from his evening slot to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program. He follows Doug McIntyre and Terri Rae Elmer in the morning drive position. The rest of the day is: Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity, 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; Larry Elder, 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; Cumulus Media Networks’ Mark Levin, 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm; current morning drive host Peter Tilden moves to the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show; and Cumulus Media Networks’ “Red Eye Radio” with Eric Harley and Gary McNamara in the overnight slot. Program director Jack Silver states, “The revamped schedule is a great way for KABC to start the new year. The new lineup puts all of KABC’s incredibly talented hosts into time slots that highlight their strengths.”
WOR, New York Clears Dave Ramsey. Beginning January 2, the independently syndicated Dave Ramsey show will air on Buckley Broadcasting’s WOR, New York in the 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot. WOR VP/GM Jerry Crowley says, “In these rocky economic times, New Yorkers need a voice they can trust to guide them in their money decisions. We are proud to welcome the country’s top name in financial talk radio, Dave Ramsey, to our award-winning lineup in 2012.”
Rush Limbaugh May Be Moving to Clear Channel San Francisco Talk Outlet. Liners promoting Clear Channel’s newly realigned KKSF, San Francisco are reportedly hinting “America’s anchorman” is coming to the station along with the other changes in programming and the new call letters. You may have noticed that Clear Channel left a “to be determined” in the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot in its announcement of the new schedule that we reported earlier this week. Currently, Cumulus Media’s crosstown KSFO has the rights to the Premiere Networks program but it makes sense Clear Channel would want to bring the show into the company fold as it has done in some other markets.
ESPN Radio’s Dan Davis Retires. He’s been one of the primary voices of ESPN Radio’s SportsCenter since 1999. Now, Dan Davis – who began his radio career in 1962 at WEMJ, Laconia, New Hampshire – announces he’s hanging up the headphones to work on his golf game in Florida. Davis joined ESPN’s radio network when it launched in 1992 and became its primary SportsCenter update reporter in 1999.
Talk Pro Tom Donahue Signs with Oracle Broadcasting. Tom Donahue has been self producing webcasts and podcasts for the past six months but announced he’s joined Oracle Broadcasting as of this week (Dec. 19) hosting the live 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET program. Donahue tells TALKERS Oracle “is a bastion of free speech and offers a full spectrum of talk shows. Additionally, Oracle Broadcasting Network has a consistently solid, confirmable loyal listener base! I intend to cultivate my ties with radio stations and really grow my affiliate base.” Oracle is an internet-based network that Donahue says has the fidelity, transmission capabilities and sub-audible tone technology necessary to accommodate station automation.
More Holiday Fill-Ins. CBS Radio’s WFAN, New York takes advantage of its summer promotion/talent search “Fantasy Phenom II” and gives two-hour shows to the runners-up from the contest next week. Neeraj Joshi, Patrick Creighton, Mike McMaster and Pat Totaro will host a 1:00 am to 3:00 am shift during the week…..Nicole Sandler is filling in for Premiere Networks talk star Randi Rhodes through December 30.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Motley Fool Money” with Chris Hill is added to Radio One’s soon-to-be “News 92 FM” (KROI) in Houston…..“The Costa Report” with Rebecca Costa is added to Fisher’s KVI, Seattle as it returns to talk in January.
Payroll Tax Cut Issue/Congress Adjourns Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 19-23. The failure of Congress to agree on an extension of the payroll tax cut before adjourning for the holidays landed atop the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories of the week. Coming in at #2 was the 2012 presidential race. At #3 was post-Kim Jong Il North Korea followed by the euro zone debt crisis and financial markets activity at #4. The Talkers TenTM is published weekly at Talkers.com and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. View the entire chart, including the most-talked-about people of the week, here.
A Brief History of Los Angeles Talk Radio. One of the many highlights of the recent Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum (October 20) was the presentation of the first-ever Talkers Lifetime Achievement Award to LARadio.com publisher and noted radio historian Don Barrett followed by his brilliant presentation of “A Brief History of Los Angeles Talk Radio.” In the speech, Barrett describes growing up in the beach communities of Southern California and being raised on the great rock ‘n’ roll and top 40 stations of the 1950s. He traces the roots of LA talk radio back to Ben Hoberman’s early experiments with all-talk at KABC in the 1960s and follows the richly colorful route of the format all the way through the decades to present-day juggernaut that is KFI, including fascinating details about the personalities who brought it to life. To see this not-to-be-missed exclusive video presentation, click here.
Former KGO, San Francisco Hosts Gene Burns and Len Tillem to Join Clear Channel Bay Area Station; New Lineups for KNEW and KKSF Announced. The program schedules for Clear Channel’s Bay Area talk stations are official a month after the company announced it would swap calls, and change the image of progressive talk station KKGN. As previously reported, the 960 AM frequency becomes KNEW and 910 AM will take the new call letters KKSF. What’s new is that former crosstown KGO talk hosts Gene Burns and Len Tillem will become part of the lineup at the new Newstalk 910 (KKSF). The program schedules for the revamped stations are as follows: KNEW – Premiere Networks‘ Glenn Beck, 6:00 am to 9:00 am; Dave Ramsey, 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; Premiere‘s Randi Rhodes, 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; Compass Media Networks‘ Norman Goldman, 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; Market Wrap, 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm; Dial Global‘s Stephanie Miller, 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm; Dial Global‘s Thom Hartmann, 10:00 pm to 1:00 am. KKSF – Armstrong & Getty, 6:00 am to 9:00 am; to be announced, 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; Fox News Radio‘s Tom Sullivan, 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; Len Tillem, 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm; and Gene Burns, 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Regarding the changes, Clear Channel San Francisco director of operations Don Parker states, “Recent changes in the talk radio market gave us the opportunity to adjust our plans for 960 KNEW. We are excited to broaden 960 KNEW’s position to appeal to a wider variety of Bay Area listeners…We are moving Newstalk 910 into the forefront of the talk genre in the Bay Area. With the addition of Bay Area legend Gene Burns and ‘Radio Lawyer’ Len Tillem to the line-up, we are very excited about the future.”
Rumor: Cumulus Planning FM Talk Flip in Twin Cities. There’s no official word from the company but the talk is hot and heavy in the Minneapolis –St. Paul market that Cumulus Media will flip one of its music FMs to talk in 2012. Cumulus owns classic rock KQRS-FM, active rock KXXR-FM and the classic hits trimulcast of WGVX-FM, WGVY-FM and WGVZ-FM which surround the market. Both the rock stations have done pretty well in the latest Arbitron PPMs so a lot of the chatter has the lower-rated classic hits “Love 105FM” making the switch. Stay tuned.
Wisconsin Public Radio Talk Host Jean Feraca to Retire. The 28-year veteran of Wisconsin Public Radio announces she’ll retire in March from the organization she’s worked at since 1983. Jean Feraca tells the Wisconsin State Journal, “It’s just time.” Speaking to the paper, she hinted at job cuts that clearly have affected her work environment. “I lost everybody in my team earlier this year, and it’s been difficult. This is sensitive stuff and I have to think it through.”
Unresolved Payroll Tax Issue/Congress Recesses, Post-Kim Jong Il North Korea, 2012 Presidential Race and Uncertain Financial Markets Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/20). Congress’ failure to extend the payroll tax cut and its leaving for holiday break, concern over a post-Kim Jong Il North Korea, the GOP race for president in 2012 and the down year for stocks and the ongoing euro zone debt crisis were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing TALKERS magazine research.
Mark Levin Attacks Michael Savage Over Gingrich Offer; Raises Question of Legality of Savage’s Actions. In response to Talk Radio Network star Michael Savage’s offer of $1 million to Newt Gingrich to drop out of the GOP race for the presidential nomination, Cumulus Media Networks talk host Mark Levin broadcast an offer to Savage to quit his radio program for good for the sum of $100,000. Now, clearly Levin is toying with Savage in the spirit of a good old fashioned radio war – according to the Daily Caller, he stated on his program, “Let me tell you, that’s extremely generous on my part because he’s already going nowhere…That’s right — he’s losing affiliates left and right. That’s what happens when you take your audience for granted and take your affiliates for granted.” But Levin also asked if Savage’s offer to Gingrich was a “legal bribe.” TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says the federal government generally leaves the policing of elections to the states but that some states have statutes prohibiting this behavior. South Carolina, for example, specifically prohibits offering or accepting or attempting to offer or accept money or other forms of compensation to induce a person to file or withdraw from an election. Violation could mean a fine of $10,000 or up to a year in jail but Weisman says the likelihood of a South Carolina prosecutor seeking charges in this instance would be slim. They would probably interpret it as a radio stunt and not what the statute was intended to prohibit. Nonetheless, at least in South Carolina, Savage’s offer is technically illegal.
Cumulus Media Networks Partners with Benztown Branding. This partnership brings together two of the industry’s largest production and imaging operations. Under the terms of the deal, Cumulus will manage the affiliation and ad sales for all of the Benztown Branding imaging and production libraries and in return, Benztown will manage the production of Cumulus’ stable of production services. Additionally, Cumulus will handle ad sales for Benztown programs including: “Roundtrip with Dave O,” “Dr. Bruce Hensel,” “The Storm Report,” “Old Farmer’s Almanac,” “The Todd N Tyler Radio Empire,” “The Bring It Minute with Tony Horton” and “Race Report Update.” Cumulus inked a deal to manage ad sales for Benztown’s “Melissa Etheridge Radio Show” earlier this year.” Cumulus Media Networks production libraries and imaging services affected by this deal include: Adrenaline, Ambush, Horsepower, Goldmine, Avalanche and Turbulence. Cumulus SVP of affiliate sales and broadcast services Dennis Green says, “This partnership is an outstanding opportunity to enhance the portfolios of both companies by combining some of the most talented and creative producers and designers in radio with our dedicated sales and affiliation teams. Benztown brings tremendous category knowledge to the table and has an extremely successful track record of delivering innovative services for stations. Working together allows us to broaden the scope of our collective efforts.”
Cincinnati Talk Host Andy Furman Resigns from WQRT. Andy Furman has hosted the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm talk show on Christian Broadcasting System’s WQRT, Florence, Kentucky for the past two years. He tells the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter that his last broadcast is Friday, December 16 but that he can’t say more because he’s “in a precarious situation.” Kiesewetter surmises Furman has a new deal that he can’t talk about just yet. Furman was a longtime sports talk host at Clear Channel’s WLW, Cincinnati but exited that station three years ago. He’s been hosting some weekend programming for Fox Sports Radio Network in addition to his work in Cincinnati.
Jeff Weber to Resign from Blue Star Media Post. Blue Star Media owns and operates the Business TalkRadio Network and the Lifestyle TalkRadio Network as well as stations in the Stamford/Norwalk, Connecticut market and in Las Vegas, Pittsburgh and Boston. Jeff Weber has served as executive vice president of the company for the past 10 years but says he’ll step down at the end of the year. “I am extremely proud of our company’s growth since I joined it. It’s been very gratifying to see us increase the affiliate base of 112 stations airing BTRN’s programming to more than 1,000 now carrying the shows of LTRN and BTRN. In addition, the acquisition of our four radio properties helped round out a solid company.”
Clear Channel Brings Progressive Talk to Milwaukee on an HD-3 Channel. One of the country’s more successful progressive talk outlets is Clear Channel’s WXXM-FM, Madison, Wisconsin – 92.1 The Mic. Now, the company announces it’s simulcasting the station to the larger Milwaukee market on the HD-3 channel of Hip Hop WKKV-FM. Operations manager Tim Scott says, “92.1 The Mic is arguably one of the most successful progressive talk stations in the country. The upcoming presidential election and the political atmosphere in this state makes now the perfect time for progressive talk to expand its message to Wisconsin’s largest market.” It’s interesting to note that WXXM-FM almost flipped from progressive talk several years ago but a strong outcry from fans of the station convinced CC management that Madison was a market worthy of keeping the format. 92.1 The Mic features a stable of syndicated talk including Dial Global’s Bill Press, Stephanie Miller, Thom Hartmann and Ed Schultz plus Fox News Radio’s Alan Colmes, Premiere Networks’ Randi Rhodes plus local talk host Doug Cunningham.
WTDY, Madison Gets FM Simulcast. Mid-West Family Stations takes the 106.7 frequency licensed to Mount Horeb, Wisconsin west of Madison and airs news/talk WTDY on the signal to complement its 1670 AM signal. WTDY-FM at 106.7 is a class A FM situated pretty far to the west of Madison. Fortunately, that part of Wisconsin is pretty flat.
TALKERS Offers Free Ads for Open Jobs. As a service to the talk media industry, TALKERS is making its online Jobs section available to any and all legitimate employers with positions to fill beginning immediately. Broadcasters and talk media-affiliated businesses with job openings should send position descriptions, requirements and contact information to TALKERS managing editor Kevin Casey at: email@example.com. Also, be sure to let us know when the position is filled so we can pull the ad off our site. TALKERS keeps all job posting information strictly confidential and reserves the right to reject any ad for any reason.
2012 Presidential Race, Iran/U.S. Drone Case, End of U.S. Iraq Involvement and Euro Zone Debt Crisis/Markets Reaction Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/13). The ongoing battle between GOP candidates for president in 2012, the case of the U.S. drone Iran claims to possess, the coming end of U.S. military involvement in Iraq, the euro zone debt crisis and the reaction by the world’s financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research by TALKERS.
Clear Channel to End Progressive Talker KKGN in San Francisco. The progressive talk programming currently heard on KKGN, San Francisco – Green 960 – will not go away entirely; it’ll be available online and on the HD-2 channel of sister oldies KKSF-FM, but since so few people have HD radios anyone seeking shows such as Dial Global’s Stephanie Miller and Thom Hartmann and Compass Media Networks’ Norman Goldman will have to find them online. The “death” of Green 960 comes as Clear Channel makes other changes to its Bay Area talk programming. In the New Year, KKGN flips calls to KNEW, picks up the Fox News Radio affiliation and a new lineup including Glenn Beck in AM drive, followed by Dave Ramsey, then Premiere’s Randi Rhodes (the only holdover from Green 960), and Fox News Radio’s John Gibson. Back at what is currently KNEW (910 AM), that station will take on new calls KKSF and become “San Francisco’s Talk 910 – KKSF.” Armstrong & Getty (piped in from Sacramento) remain in mornings with Dial Global’s Clark Howard, Fox News Radio’s Tom Sullivan and a local PM drive show yet to be announced. What does this mean for the progressive format? Obviously it is a setback for the struggling format, simply because of the loss of a major market. Some observers will point to this situation as an example of the format’s inherent weakness by saying it can’t even make it in San Francisco – one of the most liberal regions in the nation. However others will note that it is harder for a radio format targeted to a political orientation to make it in an area heavily populated by like-minded people because it doesn’t serve a unfilled need. Radio, being a niche medium, often works best in an area where the targeted audience is in the minority and it thus serves to galvanize a critical mass necessary to support a format. That is likely the case in San Francisco.
Detroit Media Personality John Mason Hosts PM Drive on WCHB-AM/FM. Longtime Detroit radio and TV personality John Mason is the new PM drive host on Radio One’s urban news/talk WCHB-AM/FM. Mason most recently hosted the morning drive show on Radio One’s WGPR-FM until late October when the company flipped the format to hip hop. Mason is known for his work as an R&B disc jockey but tells the Detroit News he’s ready for the challenge, “Talk is different – I’m comfortable with it. Quite frankly, the timing is in the vibe of the universe. It’s a progression for me.” Mason’s program airs from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
ESPN Affiliation Bumps Local Sports Duo in Denver. When ESPN programming moves from Lincoln Financial Media’s KEPN to Front Range Sports Network’s KDSP-FM in January, morning hosts Vic Lombardi and Gary Miller will be off the air. The two KCNC-TV sports anchors currently host the 7:00 am to 9:00 am program but the infusion of ESPN programming that is coming with the new affiliation will put ESPN’s “Mike & Mike in the Morning” on the station from 5:00 am to 9:00 am. The Denver Post reports the two would like to land another radio sports talk gig in town. With four sports talk outlets in the market, they may be able to latch on somewhere else. Stay tuned.
Sean Baligian Returns to Sports Talk in West Michigan. Sean Baligian exited the Clear Channel sports talk simulcast of WDFN, Detroit and WMAX-FM, Grand Rapids back in October after his show with co-host Ryan Terpstra was cancelled. Now, Baligian returns to Clear Channel’s WMAX-FM to host the PM drive show. Terpstra, who had been hosting the PM drive show solo, will not be a co-host with Baligian but remains with the station in a different capacity. Baligian tells the Grand Rapids Press, “I like the idea of doing my thing again, just doing my show. I think that’s going to be the biggest difference. It’s just kind of me. No disrespect towards Terp, but it was enticing just to do the solo show again.” Baligian says the show will not be simulcast to Detroit and will focus on West Michigan.
Kevin Matthews Podcast Show Now Available Via Steve Dahl’s Internet Station. Chicago radio fans can now get podcasts from two of its famous (or infamous) broadcasters from one source. Steve Dahl has been podcasting for a couple of years now and the two tell Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder that Kevin Matthews is producing a weekly podcast as part of the $9.85 monthly fee for Dahl’s content. Matthews – who had an 18-year career on Chicago radio – had been hosting a morning drive show in Grand Rapids until he was recently let go in a budget move. Now, “Kevheads” need look no further than dahl.com for Matthews’ show. Matthews tells Feder, “My vision is to provide unique content, my personality. What is so exciting about this adventure is no rules. A podcast may last 45 minutes, maybe two or three hours. Content is key. I know when to exit a program.” Steve Dahl says he hopes to expand. “I’m hoping that after we post his first show and he sees the response, he’ll start thinking about making it a daily show. We are set up to do that technically…This is the future of personality radio and anybody who is delivering good content will sooner or later be charging for it.” Matthews returned to Grand Rapids – the city where he got his start in radio – after losing his Chicago radio job. He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2008 and says he prefers to take things more slowly these days.
WXOS-FM, St. Louis Does Live Remote Charity Toy Drive. Hubbard Broadcasting’s ESPN 101 (WXOS-FM) in St. Louis is taking its “Fast Lane” afternoon show on the road to five different locations over the course of five days to solicit toy donations to benefit the St. Louis Crisis Nursery. WXOS-FM program director Kent Sterling says, “We have some of the best jobs in the world, but the most rewarding part of our work is when we dedicate ourselves to helping those who often do without – especially during the holidays.” Pictured here are (from l-r) show hosts Bob Ramsey, an unidentified man, Randy Karraker and D’Marco Farr.
Occupy L.A. Cleared, 2012 Presidential Race, Michael Jackson Doctor Sentenced and European Debt Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/29). The police action to clear the Occupy Los Angeles protesters, the GOP candidates for president in 2012, the sentencing of Michael Jackson doctor Conrad Murray and the ongoing European debt crisis were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.