Tag: "Randy Michaels"

Friday, September 20, 2019

| September 20, 2019

Nexstar Closes on Tribune; Former Clear Channel Exec Sean Compton to Lead WGN-AM. Just a day after the FCC approved Nexstar’s acquisition of Tribune Media’s television stations and lone radio asset, WGN-AM, the company closed on the $6.4 billion deal.  At least for now, Nexstar appears it is going to continue to operate news/talk WGN-AM and not put it on the block.  Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Nexstar has named Sean Compton executive vice president in charge of its programming acquisitions, the WGN America and Antenna TV cable networks, as well as WGN-AM.  Regular TALKERS readers may remember that Compton was a Clear Channel (before it was iHeartMedia) programming executive whom Randy Michaels brought from Cincinnati to Chicago in 2008 to serve as SVP of programming and entertainment when Michaels was heading up Tribune.  Compton remained with Tribune after Michaels exited his leadership of the company in 2010.

ABC Radio Rebrands as ABC Audio. In a memo to staff, ABC Audio vice president and general manager Stacia Philips Deshishku announces the company is now officially using ABC Audio instead of ABC Radio for its umbrella brand.  She says, “You’re all aware of the new platforms entering consumers’ lives, from podcast distribution to interactive voice and beyond. ABC Audio recognizes that technology is evolving, but the value of our work remains constant. So, this is as much a commitment to our listeners that they will find our storytelling anytime and everywhere, as it is to you that your excellent work will continue to find the audiences it deserves.”  At the same time, Deshishku announces that Heidi Oringer is promoted to executive director of business strategy, programming and distribution and Abe Velez is promoted to director of business development and strategy.  Oringer was most recently director of affiliate solutions.  Velez has been serving in the business development department.

Michael Savage Recounts Air Force One Experience.  Nationally syndicated talk radio star Michael Savage (above) was asked by President Trump to travel aboard Air Force One with him during his California trip this week.  The Westwood One personality tells a story about his lunch with the president: “While sitting with President Trump on Air Force One, two hot dogs are delivered for the president.  I’m starving at this point.  President Trump looks and he must have seen my eyes dart at the hot dogs, and he says, “You want one?” I said, “Sure.”  He takes one off his plate delicately onto another plate.  He says to me, “Would you like mustard or ketchup?”  Then he mentions, “No, you don’t want that ketchup with sugar on it.  Do you?” I don’t know how he knows this, but I found out that they know what I say on the radio.  President Trump then dollops out the mustard for me from his plate, showing a certain humility and generosity that you may not be aware of from him.  It is in the little things that you could see a person’s behavior.  Here’s the interesting part.  I’m from Queens but I grew up on the other side of Union Turnpike from the president.  He cut his hot dog in pieces and ate them with a knife and fork.  I ate it like I was at a baseball game because I never saw a hot dog eaten with a knife and fork.  That’s because he grew up on the other side of the tracks, but years later we wound up in the same place at the same time sharing his lunch because he’s a very generous and down to earth man.”

Giants Coach Cancels Radio Segment with WFAN’s Mike Francesa. As reported by NorthJersey.com, New York Giants coach Pat Shurmer has notified Entercom’s WFAN, New York that he is no longer going to do the weekly radio interview with afternoon drive host Mike Francesa.  The “Sports Pope” has been extremely critical of the Giants’ offseason moves and its performances in the first two games of the season and it appears Shurmer doesn’t want to be in the hot seat facing Francesa’s criticism each week.  That’s not how Shurmer put it, though.  He said yesterday, “Well, I think that was an organizational decision not to do that.  Most people aren’t aware of this, but I wasn’t contractually obligated to do that spot.  We did it as a courtesy and out of respect for our relationship with the radio station.  So, we just felt like for a while here we just put that to bed for a while and not do it and move forward.”  Francesa talked about it on his show saying, “Listen, not everybody’s cut out for handling what is the real intense spotlight that there is in the city, that comes with these jobs. Being the head football coach of the Giants is a very, very big job.  It gets a lot of attention.  It has a lot of light and heat in the center.  The Giants have unfortunately, from at least my estimation, have become very good at hiding and very good at losing.  That’s my take.  And they need to turn both around.”

New Installment Posted of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The recently launched, one-hour experimental weekend program, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” produced by Goodphone Communications that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC (9/20).  The new episode titled “Storm Clouds of Military, Trade and Partisan War!” looks back at this past week of September 16-20, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Joe Pags, host, Compass Media NetworksThom Hartmann, host WYD Media; Tom Sullivan, host Talk Media NetworkDr. Daliah Wachs, host GCN; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company.  This increasingly acclaimed news/talk radio show airs on WONK-FM on Friday afternoons between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm as a recap and exclamation point for the week-in-review as well as several other stations around the country including KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA and during the weekend on the Virginia Talk Radio Network as well as Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA and the iHeart Radio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

New “Scal & Pals’ Show to Stream on RADIO.COM. The new program will feature co-hosts Brian Scalabrine and Steve Ceruti and will stream live from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm ET on Entercom’s RADIO.COM Sports Digital Network.  It launches Monday (9/23) and will be dedicated to coverage of the NBA.  Entercom president of sports Mike Dee says, “We are excited to launch a digital show that will have mass appeal to all hardcore basketball fans. The lineup of contributors headlined by Scal will feature an interesting and entertaining mix of personalities and perspectives.  We aspire to have this be the best basketball content fans can find anywhere and we are eager to engage with one of the most dynamic fan bases of any sport.”  Scalabrine spent 11 seasons in the NBA playing for the New Jersey Nets, Boston Celtics, and Chicago Bulls.  Ceruti is a long-time producer at ESPN with experience working under Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo.  The new show will also feature commentary from former players such as Caron Butler, current players like Admiral Schofield of the Washington Wizards, longtime sportswriter and broadcaster Ric Bucher, former Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough and more.

Lauter to Lead iHeartMedia’s Madison Operations. Media executive Drew Lauter is named market president for iHeartMedia’s Madison brands.  Lauter, who will report to Minneapolis division president Jeff Tyler, will “oversee the market’s programming, advertising, and operations… as well as create new business and revenue opportunities.”  Tyler says, “I am very excited to welcome Drew’s experience and vision to iHeartMedia.  He’s excited about taking his family to one of the premier cities in the Midwest and I am thrilled that he will be leading a great team and some of our market-leading, legendary brands in Madison.”  Lauter has served with such companies as SonyLucent, Qello Concerts, and Qello Media.

U.S.-Iran Tensions/Saudi Oil Attack Top News/Talk Story for Week of September 16-20. The military tensions between the U.S. and Iran and the related Saudi oil facility attack was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the Lewandowski hearings, tied with the Democrats’ impeachment strategy, and the intelligence Trump whistleblower report.  Coming in at #3 was the new Kavanaugh allegations, followed by U.S.-China relations, the economy, and the Fed rates cuts tied at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

National Radio Talent System Names Alexus Parker Institutes Director. The National Radio Talent System announces the hiring of new institutes director, Alexus Parker. In this position, she will work directly with the broadcasters, universities, and students of the Radio Talent Institutes, and manage social media. National Radio Talent System president Dan Vallie states, “We talked to quite a few people about the position, but Alexus came highly recommended and is very impressive. She is a great fit for our team as we continue to grow the National Radio Talent System and the Radio Talent Institutes across the country.” Previously, Parker was the marketing director for iHeartMedia’s Raleigh, North Carolina station group.

Elizabeth Smart to Keynote Gracies Leadership Awards. The Alliance for Women in Media announces that author and children’s advocate Elizabeth Smart will deliver a keynote address at the Gracies Leadership Awards on Thursday, November 21, 2019, at The Plaza Hotel in New York City.  Smart is known for her 2002 abduction and since then has founded the “Elizabeth Smart Foundation” and worked for change related to child abduction, recovery programs, and national legislation. Alliance for Women in Media Foundation executive director Becky Brooks says, “The Alliance for Women in Media is proud to honor women for their extraordinary accomplishments.  It is our honor to have Elizabeth Smart, a past Gracie winner, as this year’s keynote speaker, as her address will surely inspire and empower all in attendance.”  Find more information on this event and to reserve your seat here.

FOCUS ON HEALTH AND HEALTH CARE: Dr. Daliah Wachs Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  There are many aspects of health and health care in the news from vaping, vaccines, flesh-eating bacteria, opioid abuse, and the high cost of prescription medicine to political debate over which way to go regarding the entire American health care system.  Should we maintain the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and simply build upon it as Joe Biden suggests?  Should we go to single payer universal health care and Medicare for all as promoted by Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders?  Or should we go in a completely different direction with a new plan that has yet to be designed by President Trump and the Republicans?  Nationally syndicated Genesis Communications Network (GCN) radio talk show host Daliah Wachs, M.D. is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Wachs, a member of the TALKERS “Heavy Hundred,” is widely respected for her medical credentials and general political neutrality.  She and Harrison address today’s hot health issues and more from a non-political perspective.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Network News Opportunities. There are three news positions at FOX News open.  The first is an overnight freelance anchor at FOX News Radio.  The job description states: “We are looking for a Freelance Overnight News Anchor to join our Fox News family as on-air talent for FOX News Radio/FOX News Headlines 24/7 Sirius XM Channel 115. As a Radio News anchor you will work under tight deadlines and deliver top notch newscasts. You have a passion for breaking news and the flexibility to work on a days’ notice.” See more and to apply here.  The company also has freelance writer position for FOX News Headlines 24/7 open – see that information here – and a freelance producer/news editor position open that you can learn more about here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Atlanta hot AC WSTR “Star 94.1” has a new program director as Entercom appoints Jerry McKenna to the position, taking over for Ron Roberts.  McKenna was most recently serving as program director for Cape Cod Broadcasting.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

| January 23, 2018

End of Imus Show a Corporate Decision.  Following yesterday’s report of the end of the WABC, New York-based “Imus in the Morning” program, today we learn a little more about why Cumulus is shutting down the program on March 29, even though Imus is under contract through December.  As reported in the New York Daily News, Don Imus himself says that the company – in the midst of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization – can save millions by cancelling the program.  During a bankruptcy reorganization a company must do its best to contain costs wherever it can.  Imus understands the position Cumulus is in, saying he has no intent to speak ill of the company.  He said on the air, “The agreement they had me sign was full of language about, ‘He can’t disparage the company.’  Well I wasn’t going to do that.  I don’t feel like that.”  The program is syndicated nationally via Westwood One.

Sean Hannity Set to Headline TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead!  In keeping with what has become a tradition at the 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention, Sean Hannity will be one of the keynote speakers at TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead!  The event is set for Friday, June 8 in New York City at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan.  The syndicated Premiere Networks talk radio star and prime-time host of the FOX News Channel will host the convention’s “Breakfast with Hannity” morning networking social which will be followed by a one-on-one “fireside chat” with TALKERS founder Michael Harrison.  (NOTE:  Harrison will also conduct a one-on-one chat that same morning with a major radio group CEO to be announced tomorrow.)  Harrison states, “It’s going to be a spectacular start to what promises to be another very special conference.  For me, it’ll be like pitching a double header – interviewing Sean who is arguably the most important host in talk media today and, then, having a dialogue with one of the most influential captains of industry in the radio business.”   The conference will feature top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry with a focus on talk radio and its role in the new digital age and dawn of a rapidly accelerating era.  This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology – the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing the modern day talk broadcaster and broadcasting organization.  It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals.  The event will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch, and a closing cocktail reception.  Harrison adds, “Good things happen at this convention.  We pack three days’ worth of content and activity into one dynamic day in a comfortable space.  It is not to be missed!”  Complete agenda and hotel details will be posted in the coming days and weeks.  As is customary with TALKERS conventions, TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! is only open to members of the professional media industry and communications students.  Because seating is limited, and the event has been an early sellout every year since the 1990s, in order to maintain this policy, non-refundable registrations can only be purchased via telephone with a credit card.  Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments costs $329 per person.  However, an early bird special ($279 per person) is available for those who register before 5:00 pm ET on Friday, February 2.  To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.

KMOX, St. Louis’ Mark Reardon Scoops Radio Competition with Governor Greitens Interview.  St. Louis talk radio host Mark Reardon was the only radio broadcaster that embattled Missouri Governor Eric Greitens spoke with over the weekend, in which he talked publicly about his admitted extra-marital affair while vowing not to resign his position over it.  The story is, obviously, a big deal in Missouri.  There have been allegations of blackmail and other sordid aspects associated with the governor’s affair, all of which he denied to Reardon.  Mark Reardon hosts the mid-afternoon 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm program on Entercom’s KMOX, St. Louis and he played the entire interview for his listeners on Monday’s program.

Premiere Network’s Buck Sexton Launches New Podcast on iHeartRadio.  Conservative media figure and Premiere Networks syndicated radio talk host Buck Sexton launches a new podcast titled, “Shields High,” that “explores the epic struggles that could have extinguished the Western world as we know it.”  In the podcast, Sexton features stories of valiant last stands of armies led by champions from Charles Martel to Don Juan of Austria where the West fought back and won. The series explores those heroes and the momentous battles that reverberate from ancient times to the present.”  Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott comments, “Premiere Networks is dedicated to providing audiences with a wide variety of audio content and programming across multiple platforms, so we’re excited to partner with Buck on this new podcast showcasing his passion for history and storytelling.  We think listeners will enjoy hearing Buck share these epic tales of the quest for freedom and knowledge, which continue to influence the world we live in.”

WXOS, St. Louis Inks Bernie Miklasz to New Deal; Michelle Smallmon Returns to St. Louis Sports Talker.   St. Louis sports media pro Bernie Miklasz signs a contract extension with Hubbard Radio’s WXOS “101 ESPN” to continue hosting his 7:00 am to 10:00 am program.  At the same time, the station welcomes Michelle Smallmon back to work on air with Miklasz and as an online contributor to the station’s 101sports.com.  Hubbard St. Louis Radio vice president John Kijowski says, “With all of his accomplishments, awards, and honors from his on-the-air show hosting and sports writing, we’re thrilled to extend Bernie’s contract with ‘101 EPSN.’”  Smallmon got her start working with Miklasz producing and doing some on-air appearances.  She also produced the afternoon drive “Fast Lane” show.  In 2015, she moved to Bristol, Connecticut to work for ESPN.  Smallmon started as a producer for the weekday evening radio show “Jorge & Jen,” and most recently was producing the Ryen Russillo show.

Television News Pro Lauren Sivan Joins Dr. Drew Radio Show.  The “Dr. Drew Midday Live” program – heard on Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles and KGO, San Francisco – adds TV news pro Lauren Sivan (right) to the show as co-host.  She’s recently made regular appearances as a fill-in co-host with Dr. Drew Pinsky (left), KABC afternoon host John Phillips, and has anchored news during the “McIntyre in the Morning” show on KABC.  Sivan’s TV news resume includes on-air work at KTTV-TV, Los Angeles and FOX News Channel in New York.  About her new gig, she says, “I am thrilled to join Dr. Drew as co-host and to launch the next generation of this dynamic and engaging show.  As a broadcast journalist, I love being able to talk with Dr. Drew and our listeners every day about issues that are relevant and topical – and often controversial.  It’s a great pleasure to not only tell stories on the show, but to break them down and hear what people are really thinking and what really matters to them.”

TALKERS News Notes.  Chicago news/talker WGN revives the “Sports Central” program on its digital platform, wgnradio.com and the WGN Radio app.  The program – for years an evening show hosted by David Kaplan (who’s now at crosstown WMVP) on WGN – will stream from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm daily and will be hosted by Adam Hoge.  He says, “Listeners can interact with ‘Sports Central’ live while also having the freedom to consume it on-demand throughout the day.  There’s no better place to launch than from radio row at the Super Bowl.  I can’t wait to get started!”…..Salem Radio Network host Mike Gallagher is pictured at left at the annual SHOT Show in Las Vegas today (1/23) broadcasting his talk show.  The sportsmen/hunter/outdoor trade show is being held at the Sands Expo Center.  Gallagher says “As an ardent supporter of the Second Amendment, I can’t think of a better — or safer — place to be this week than with friends from 111 countries at the biggest event in outdoor sports.”…..Independent sports website RealGM, teams with PodcastOne to debut the long-running “RealGM Radio” on PodcastOne’s SportsNet lineup.  RealGM Radio features “conversations with the NBA’s best thought leaders, along with in-depth analytics on the sport.” The podcast is hosted by RealGM, The Athletic, and Sporting News writer Danny Leroux…..After five years at their Trinity Centre location in the Financial District of New York City, Sun Broadcast Group announces it has relocate to Midtown Manhattan.  The new, multi-year lease, signed in December, has the network occupying the entire second floor of 363 Seventh Avenue, just steps away from Madison Square Garden.

Report: Mancow in Limbo at ‘The Loop.’  Chicago media writer Robert Feder writes about his chat with WLUP-FM, Chicago morning host Erich “Mancow” Muller and what his status is now that Cumulus has made it known it wants out of its LMA of the station (and sister WKXQ) and it doesn’t want to have to buy the stations from Merlin Media for $50 million.  On the heels of Friday’s report in TALKERS that Cumulus has asked the bankruptcy judge to let it out of a number of financially onerous contracts, including the Merlin deal in Chicago, Mancow talks about possibly working for Merlin chief Randy Michaels.  Read what Mancow – who made a second career out of being a political talk host in the news/talk genre before returning to morning rock radio – told Feder here.

Government Shutdown Ends, DACA Status, Trump-Russia Probe/FBI Texts Issue, Pence in Middle East, Eagles-Patriots Super Bowl Matchup, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/22).  The federal government shutdown ends with Democrats accused of caving to the GOP; the debate over the status of the Dreamers Act and the Trump Administration’s immigration policy; the investigation into possible connections between the Donald Trump campaign and Russian operatives and the related investigation into missing text messages from alleged pro-Hillary Clinton FBI agents; Vice President Mike Pence’s trip to the Middle East and the process for peace talks; the Super Bowl LII match-up between the Eagles and Patriots; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Chicago country outlet WUSN “US*99” names Kenny Jay program director.  He comes to Chicago from his most recent position as program director for Entercom’s former country KMPS, Seattle.  He’s also programmed KMNB, Minneapolis.  Jay will report directly to Entercom Chicago VP of programming Todd Cavanah, who will continue as program director of CHR WBBM-FM “B96.”…..In Miami, Entercom’s adult contemporary WLYF “101.5 LITE FM” names Tamara G., a.k.a. Tamara Gant, co-host of the morning program alongside Julie Guy.  Entercom South Florida SVP and market manager Keriann Worley says, “We are incredibly excited to partner with Tamara G. and bring back together two of South Florida’s most popular radio personalities.  Their chemistry is unmatched and our listeners will benefit from a fun, family-friendly morning show every morning.”  The two previously worked together co-hosting mornings on crosstown WFLC, Miami.  Most recently, Tamara G. was a cast member on the nationally syndicated Michael Baisden show.

Monday, October 24, 2016

| October 24, 2016

MLB Legend Curt Schilling Launches Talk Show on Breitbart.com.  Former Major League Baseball star – and avowed Donald Trump supporter – Curt Schilling is beginning a daily 9:00 am to 11:00 am ET talk show on Breitbart.com today.  Schilling made the announcement to Breitbart News Radio’s Matthew Boyle and said theschillingcurt first two weeks of the program will focus on the election and “getting information out to listeners.”  Schilling added, “I am joining the Breitbart team for one reason.  At the end of the day, when you look at what Breitbart does on a day-in-day-out basis — you can hate all the stories all you want — but, they are backed by sources. They are backed by data.  They are backed by facts.”  As has been widely reported, Massachusetts resident Schilling has expressed interest in challenging Democratic U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren for her seat. Read the Breitbart account here.

CBS RADIO Names Brian McHale SVP, Information Technology.  The senior vice president, information technology is a newly created position for CBS RADIO.  In this role, Brian McHale will be responsible for building and overseeing the company’s first dedicated information technology team, along with effectivemchalebrian technological strategies and infrastructure to support CBS RADIO’s 117 radio stations, digital assets, and the security solutions to protect the company’s multi-platform products.  He’ll also build a structure to support the IT needs of the company’s employees at both the enterprise and local market levels.  CBS RADIO president Andre Fernandez says, “In today’s hyper-digital world, the flow, security and enhancement of information technology is the backbone of any company.  Brian has vast experience with developing and implementing world-class IT infrastructures and will lead CBS RADIO to create a superior system that supports every function of our business.”  McHale was most recently SVP and chief information officer for American Apparel Inc.  He’s also worked with Journal Broadcast Group and Fisher Communications during his career.

Former Philly TV Newscaster Settles with CBS in Email Hacking Case.  This matter is apparently finally settled after some eight years of litigation.  According to a report at Philly.com, television newscaster Alycia Lane cbslogohas agreed to a settlement in her suit against CBS just as it was set to go to trial.  Lane worked at KYW-TV, Philadelphia with newscaster Larry Mendte, whom she accused of hacking her work email account and then sharing personal details and photos with gossip columnists.  Mendte pleaded guilty to the charges and served house arrest and probation, but lost his gig at KYW-TV.  He later worked briefly for the Randy Michaels-run Merlin Media talk station WWIQ-FM, Philadelphia and most recently had been hosting mornings at iHeartMedia’s WILM, Wilmington and WDOV, Dover in Delaware.  Read the Philly.com account here.

The Presidential Race, U.S. House-Senate Races, Friday’s DNS Cyberattack, AT&T/Time Warner Merger, Cubs to Face Indians in World Series, NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton; the races for U.S. House and U.S. Senate seats; the DNS cyberattack that affected Internet access in many parts of the country; the announced acquisition of Time Warner by AT&T and the regulatory hurdles the deal faces; the Chicago Cubs’ victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers and the team’s first World Series appearance since 1948; and Sunday’s NFL action were some of the top news/talk stories over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Sonnenklar Appointed COO of Connoisseur Integrated Solutions.  Former McGavren-Guild CEO Lisa Sonnenklar joins Connoisseur Media as chief operating officer of the company’s integrated solutionsconnoisseur-media-logo division.  In this role, Sonnenklar will oversee the company’s multi-platform efforts in the New York/Connecticut/ New Jersey region.  Connoisseur CEO Jeffrey Warshaw states, “Using our potent mix of radio, digital and event marketing assets, we have been able to get tremendous ROI and visibility for many of our clients.  We are now putting even more firepower into these efforts.  We are delighted to welcome Lisa into the Connoisseur family.”

Herman Cain Show Goes on the Road to McDonough, Georgia.  WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta-based, syndicated talk personality Herman Cain is on the road on Thursday (10/27) recording his show from the historic cainhermanMcDonough Square in McDonough, Georgia from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm ET.  Cox Media Group says the event is free to attend, rain or shine, and will include Cain’s popular “Rapid Fire” segment where he takes questions and comments from the audience and says, “You get a minute…I get a minute.”  Attendees will also have the opportunity to purchase Trump Cards and an autographed copy of the special edition of Cain’s latest book, The Right Solutions: What the President, Congress, and Every Candidate Should Be Working On.

Odds & Sods.  The sports talk format on Flinn Broadcasting’s WHBQ, Memphis is now heard in the Tupelo-Marietta, Mississippi market on Flinn-owned WXWX-FM.  WXWX had been leased to Tele-South Communications but that lease expired on August 1…..AdLarge Media signs a deal to serve as the exclusive network radio sales agent for The Weather Channel radio network.  The Weather Channel has more than 100 radio station affiliates across the country, including in most of the top 10 markets…..ABC Radio’s podcast division announces a new show called “Popcorn with Peter Travers” – hosted by the well-known Rolling Stone movie critic.  Recent episodes include interviews with Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Robert De Niro, Margo Martindale and John Krasinski…..ESPN Radio is providing exclusive national radio coverage of the 112th Major League Baseball World Series between the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians, beginning with game 1 from Progressive Field in Cleveland tomorrow night (10/25).

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Dave Ramsey Welcomed by Houston Fans.  Pictured above is nationally syndicated talk radio star Dave Ramsey taking the stage in Houston at Grace Community Church on Saturday (10/22) before a packed house.  During this stop on the Smart Money 2016 tour, Ramsey presented a day-long Smart Conference that included appearances from Rachel Cruze, Chris Hogan, Dr. Les Parrott, Dr. Meg Meeker, Inky Johnson, Chris Brown and Anthony O’Neal in which they presented attendees with essential information on how to win with money, strengthen their marriages, build parenting skills and excel in their careers.  Ramsey combined forces with local affiliate KSEV to promote the event.   KSEV general manager Bonny English comments, “Thanks to our partnership with the Dave Ramsey show, the KSEV audience gets to experience one-of-a-kind events right here in Houston.  Every time we host a Ramsey live event, our clients and listeners get the unique opportunity to spend quality time with Dave!”

San Antonio Radio Legend Ricci Ware Passes at 79.  Legendary San Antonio DJ and radio personality Ricci Ware died on Friday (10/21) at age 79.  Ware – the father of KTSA morning personality Trey Ware – started his radio career as a disc jockey spinning the hits and transitioned to a talk show host during his 50-plus year career.   warericciWare began in radio in Baytown, Texas and then moved to Austin where he worked for KTBC.  From there he moved to KTSA in San Antonio and gained a reputation as one of the market’s most popular DJs during the 1960s.  After leaving KTSA and working at KBUC where he was co-host of the popular “Ricci and Jud” show, he returned to KTSA to launch his talk radio career.  Son Trey Ware says in a statement, “My hero returned home to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ this morning.  My dad, Ricci Ware was my hero in every sense of the word.  He was the greatest father, grandfather, and great-grandfather who ever lived.  He never met a stranger, and always had a kind word and a smile for others.  God put him here to bring joy to this life, and he did it so very well.”

Saturday, October 4th, 2014

| October 4, 2014

methenykevinVeteran Radio Programmer Kevin Metheny Succumbs to Heart Attack at 60.  Longtime broadcasting executive and major talk radio programmer Kevin Metheny has unexpectedly died yesterday (10/3) afternoon due to what is being reported as a sudden heart attack at the age of 60.  Metheny had been serving as operations manager of Cumulus Media outlets KGO and KSFO in San Francisco since JuneBefore that he was program director of WJR, Detroit, also a Cumulus station. He was a second generation radio professional, the son of broadcaster Terrell Metheny.  John Dickey, EVP programming and content for Cumulus issued the following statement:  “Kevin Metheny’s sudden passing this afternoon is a devastating personal and professional loss for his broadcasting family at Cumulus, and for the entire radio industry. Kevin was a legendary broadcasting talent who touched many lives in his remarkable 44-year career, and whose successes made an indelible mark on radio. His reputation and accomplishments are simply unparalleled and we are grateful for having had the opportunity to work with him as PD of WJR in Detroit and most recently, as operations manager of KGO and KSFO in San Francisco. His Cumulus family extends our deepest sympathies to Kevin’s loved ones. We will miss him profoundly.”  Metheny began working in radio at KWHP, Edmund, Oklahoma and WKY, Oklahoma City.  His long and storied career includes having worked at a number of key radio stations around the country, most notably as programmer of WNBC, New York with Howard Stern (who critically dubbed a character in his autobiographical book Private Parts based on Metheny, “Pig Vomit”) in the 1980s and in more recent times with Jacor, Clear Channel and the Randy Michaels regime at WGN, Chicago. TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison states, “Metheny was one of the major radio programmers of the modern era.  He had a keen understanding of the basics of talk radio and the important role talent plays within it. He wasn’t afraid of controversy nor subjecting himself to criticism. After more than four decades of making a difference in this industry he was still involved in one of the hot spots of action where he was well on his way to engineering a turn-around at the Cumulus operations in San Francisco.  This is a tragic loss for all of us who care about radio.  Our deepest condolences to his family and colleagues.”

 

Monday, July 14, 2014

| July 14, 2014

astorinorobFormer New York Radio Host and Programmer Rob Astorino Under Fire in Gubernatorial Race for Townsquare Media Consulting Income.  Before leaving the radio business full time to run for public office – he’s now the Westchester County Executive – Republican Rob Astorino worked at WFAS, Westchester hosting a sports talk show and also worked at ESPN Radio New York where he was part of the team that transitioned WEVD to sports as WEPN.  Astorino is running for governor and incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo’s campaign is making a deal about Astorino’s side job in which he collects $30,000 to consult Townsquare Media.  According to a piece in the New York Daily News, the governor’s campaign is contending Astorino is violating the Westchester County charter by accepting outside income but Astorino’s camp states the money he earns is not in violation of county rules.  Townsquare VP Alex Berkett tells the Daily News, “Mr. Astorino serves as one of a number of programming consultants that work with Townsquare Media.  This role allows Townsquare to benefit from Mr. Astorino’s considerable professional expertise in radio programming.”  Read the whole Daily News piece here.

cclogoClear Channel Announces Corporate Additions and Promotions.  From Clear Channel president national programming platforms Tom Poleman comes news that former Clear Channel programming executive Marc Chase has rejoined the company.  Chase will serve in the national programming platforms division as VP/strategic services, marketing & innovation.  Chase worked with Tribune during the Randy Michaels years and most recently was with Nuvoodoo.   Other moves at CC include Darren Pfeffer being promoted to senior VP/music & entertainment marketing where he’ll continue to be in charge of CC’s promotions and events, including the iHeartradio Music Festival, the iHeartradio Jingle Ball Tour and the iHeartradio Country Festival.  Also promoted are Marissa Morris and Adellyn Polomski who are VP/artist relations and director of artist relations & programs, respectively.  At the same time as these announcements comes news that Zena Burns is exiting her position as the company’s first digital program director to pursue other interests.

essickskipSkip Essick Exits Cumulus Media’s KMJ-AM and KMJ-FM.  For the past seven years, radio programming pro Skip Essick has been serving as PD at KMJ-AM and KMJ-FM in Fresno.  Essick oversaw the splitting of the two stations into separate news/talk stations while they were owned by Peak Broadcasting.  Last August, Townsquare Media agreed to purchase the stations from Peak and proceeded to sell them to Cumulus Media as part of a deal that saw Townsquare get Cumulus’ Dubuque and Poughkeepsie stations.

schwartzjeffreySchwartz Joins Yahoo! Sports as EVP Corporate Strategy.  This is a newly created position at the Houston-based Yahoo! Sports Radio and the company’s CEO, David Gow, says the arrival of Jeffrey Schwartz “will provide unmatched opportunities for our affiliate and advertising partners to thrive.”  Schwartz is charged with overseeing “business growth and partnerships, in addition to working withyahoosportsradiologo management to advance programming strategy, multi-platform marketing and promotional opportunities, and affiliate and talent relations.”  Schwartz comments, “I look forward to working with the Yahoo! Sports Radio team and the quality sports product they have developed to enhance the brand, as well as opportunities for our partners. Yahoo! Sports, one of the top sports sites in the world, will be a great asset to our strategic plans.”  Schwartz’s experience includes serving as manager of sales and promotion at classic rock WLUP-FM, Chicago “The Loop,” director of operations at sports talk WSCR, Chicago “The Score,” and director of operations at WMVP, Chicago “ESPN 1000.”  Concurrent with Schwartz’s arrival, the company announces Amanda Deutchman joins in the new position of director, marketing and business development.   She most recently was marketing and communications manager for Premiere NetworksFox Sports Radio Network.

simonsjoeSimons New PM Anchor at KXL, Portland.  Joining co-anchor Val Stouffer at Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM, Portland “FM NEWS 101” for the “Portland’s Afternoon News” program is Joe Simons.  He joined KXL last year as a weekend morning news anchor.  Simons previously served as the voice of the University of Idaho Women’s Basketball team for two seasons and hosted TV and radio shows in Idaho while also serving as a field reporter for KQQQ, Pullman, Washington.     Simons says of his new gig, “I’m thrilled to be part of the incredible team at KXL. The amount of experience and talent our staff has is second to none.  I hope to bring my unique perspective and enthusiasm to ‘Portland’s Afternoon News.’”

jacksonkevinKevin Jackson Joins WBOK, New Orleans.  Conservative media personality Kevin Jackson – executive director of The Black Sphere LLC – joins the daily lineup at Bakewell Media-owned urban talk/gospel-formatted WBOK, New Orleans.  Jackson has been producing a program that airs on weekends on Salem Communications-owned Florida outlets WGUL, Tampa and WLSS, Sarasota.  Now his show will air nightly after the Al Sharpton program.  Jackson says, “I’m happy to follow Al Sharpton, because there couldn’t be a bigger difference in thought.  I believe black stations need to allow their listeners varying points of view, and I’m excited about the opportunity to have a predominantly black audience compare my viewpoint to Sharpton and Martin.”

ppmunitRound Four of June PPM Data Released.  The fourth and final round of June 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford.  The survey period was May 22 through June 18.  TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here.  In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page of RadioInfo.com here.

horizonbroadcastingHorizon Broadcasting Re-Launches Local News and Information Site.  What the company calls “the region’s most comprehensive website for local news and community information” – MyCentralOregon.com – has been re-launched by Horizon Broadcasting Group.  The company owns five stations in the Central Oregon region and operates mycentraloregonnews/talk KBNW via an LMA with station owner SummitMedia.  Horizon CEO Keith Shipman says, “We are excited to provide Central Oregon residents with a reliable option for real-time local news and community information.  We found that over 90% of our past visitors to the site were primarily interested in viewing local and national news content, which is where we will place our emphasis.  Local weather forecasts are a prime driver and we will rely on the expertise of AccuWeather to provide forecasts for communities throughout Central Oregon, complete with a 5 day outlooks and satellite radar images.  Visitors to MyCentralOregon.com will find breaking local news from the KBNW news team featuring Glenn Vaagen and Kellen Pierce.  Our national, international, political, entertainment, health and business news content will be robust thanks to our alliances with ABC News and The Wall Street Journal.  Visitors will also be able to get the latest traffic information, including mountain pass conditions, road reports featuring cameras from the Oregon Department of Transportation, school closures and the latest gas prices throughout Central Oregon.”

Odds & Sods.  When the 25th Annual American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament begins this week, NBC Sports Radio Network will broadcast live from Edgewood and Harrah’s Lake Tahoe.  The Westwood One/NBC Sports Group-run networks will broadcast its sports talk shows from the site on Thursday, Friday and throughout the weekend…..KSCO, Santa Cruz announces the addition of the “Wagner & Winick On the Law” program to the station’s weekend lineup.  Monterey College of Law Dean Mitchel Winick and Law Professor Stephen Wagner began hosting the weekly, one-hour radio program last Saturday, July 12…..AL.com reports that South Alabama sports is moving from longtime home Dot Com Plus LLC-owned WNSP-FM, Mobile to Clear Channel’s Mobile station group where Jaguar football games will air on adult contemporary WMXC while Men’s Basketball and Baseball will air on news/talk WNTM.

drakebillSpartanburg-Greenville Personality Bill Drake Dies at 73.  South Carolina radio personality Bill Drake died on July 11 from complications after successful surgery to treat esophageal cancer.  Although Drake also worked in Green Bay and Milwaukee during his career, he spent 29 years as morning host at WSPA, Spartanburg and then did mornings at WOLT-FM for seven years.  His “Awake with Drake” program was last heard on WOLI, Spartanburg.

ausfeldbobAlbany Broadcaster Bob Ausfeld Passes Away.  After years of heart troubles that required longtime Albany broadcaster Bob Ausfeld to have a heart pump implanted, Ausfeld went into surgery last week after a donor heart became available.  Ausfeld did not survive the recovery from the surgery and died over the weekend.  Ausfeld began his broadcasting career in the market at WPTR.  He worked for Townsquare Media through 2011 and joined Albany Broadcasting as general manager for the company.

hochman de la hoyaDe la Hoya Visits Marc Hochman Show.  WQAM, Miami afternoon drive host Marc Hochman (center), and co-host Zach Krantz (right), pose for a pic with fight promoter and Hall of Fame boxer Oscar de la Hoya (left) in Las Vegas.  Hochman brought his show to Las Vegas for a special broadcast last week in anticipation of the Canelo vs. Lara fight at the MGM Grand.

Friday, January 3, 2014

| January 3, 2014

wlup logoCumulus to Acquire Merlin Media’s Chicago Signals – WKQX and WLUP-FM.  Variations of this deal had been rumored in the Windy City for some time.  Scuttlebutt heard in the late fall also had Tribune interested in WLUP-FM due to WGN president Jimmy de Castro’s earlier comments that his company is looking to acquire an FM signal inwkqx Chicago.  But now it comes to pass that Cumulus Media – for a sum yet-to-be-announced – will bring classic rock WLUP-FM and WKQX (currently adult hits WIQI at 101.1) into the company’s portfolio in addition to the alternative format airing on WKQX-LP.  Speaking about the sale, COO John Dickey states, “These great brands will be welcome additions to the two legendary brands we already own in Chicago.”  Dickey says the alternative format under calls WKQX will return to the 101.1 frequency as early as next week.  The company also has no plans to change the classic rock format on WLUP-FM so it’s unlikely it will put the country NASH format on either station in the near future.  The acquisition of the two FM signals from Emmis by Randy Michaels-led Merlin took place in 2011 and the alternative format of WKQX was displaced by a news and talk format that was to target females.  The format never took off and was flipped to adult hits a little less than a year later in July of 2012.

grantbobnmsExclusive Never-Before Seen Video of Special Tribute to Bob Grant.  In 2008, now-defunct trade publication Radio & Records announced that it was going to present the late Bob Grant with its Lifetime Achievement Award at its then-annual convention.  Shortly after making the announcement, the publication rescinded the award in the face of threatened picketers that protested Grant’s selection based on their opposition to his stated views and controversial reputation.  WABC, then owned by Citadel and Grant’s home base at the time, stepped up to the plate and decided to present Grant with its own Lifetime Achievement Award.  The station, represented by its then-VP of programming, Phil Boyce, asked TALKERS magazine if it would be willing to host the ceremony at its annual conference (then known as the New Media Seminar) in New York City that summer.  TALKERS agreed and the ceremony was conducted (amidst protests) at the event’s Friday night cocktail party.  It featured the presentation of the award by Boyce and a magnificent acceptance speech by Grant in addition to a stunning video tribute to Grant’s career produced by renowned industry videographer and historian Art “Radio’s Best Friend” Vuolo.  After the event, the video was filed away in the TALKERS vaults for posterity and never seen again.  Until now, that is.  Upon the sad occasion of Bob Grant’s passing at the age of 84 this past New Year’s Eve, TALKERS has made the video available for public viewing.  To see this historic document which includes Grant’s discussion of talk radio’s role in a free society, its relationship with the First Amendment and the unconstitutionality of the repressive Fairness Doctrine please see the TalkersTV box at the top of the right hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

gormansteveFox Sports Radio Goes to Gorman for Afternoons.  As far as Fox Sports Radio is concerned, the next wave of sports talk talent may be coming from the world of rock music, as the network fills its weekday 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot with The Black Crowes’ founding member/drummer Steve Gorman.  “Steve Gorman Sports” debuts later this month (1/27) with a series of broadcasts leading up to the Super Bowl.  According to Clear Channel senior vicefoxsportsradio logo president of sports operations Bruce Gilbert, “‘Steve Gorman Sports’ is the perfect combination of sports, passion, pop culture, music and entertainment.  Fox Sports Radio is committed to serving sports fans with unique and entertaining insight, stories, and opinions surrounding the natural drama of sports.  Steve Gorman is an excellent addition to our leading, multi-platform, sports entertainment lineup.”  Gorman comments, “This is an amazing opportunity to be able to work with the one network I always felt was a perfect fit for my show.  I know listeners will love hearing athletes and musicians alike talking, laughing, and arguing about our shared passions: sports and music.”  Gorman has hosted several local sports shows; he began “Steve Gorman Sports” as a podcast in 2010.  With all times listed referring to the Eastern time zone, FSR’s revised lineup consists of: “Fox Sports Daybreak” with Andy Furman & Mike North (6:00 am – 9:00 am); “The Dan Patrick Show” (9:00 am – 12:00 noon); “Jay Mohr Sports” (12:00 noon – 3:00 pm); “Steve Gorman Sports” (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm); J.T. “The Brick” with Tomm Looney (6:00 pm – 10:00 pm); “The Jason Smith Show (10:00 pm – 2:00 am); and “The Ben Maller Show” (2:00 am – 6:00 am).

amezcuacarlosCarlos Amezcua PM Drive Host at ‘The Patriot’ in Los Angeles.  The newly transformed conservative talk outlet KEIB, Los Angeles (formerly progressive talker KTLK), now branded “The Patriot AM 1150,” has a new PM drive host as former KTTV-TV, Los Angeles news anchor Carlos Amezcua joins the station.  KEIB’s change includes Premiere Networks nationally syndicated hosts Rush LimbaughSean Hannity and Glenn Beck now airing at the station – Limbaugh slid over from sister news/talk KFI – and also includes The Blaze personality Doc Thompson in early mornings and Westwood One’s Clark Howard in evenings.

mancowGenesis Communications Network and Mancow Partner for Syndication.  Talk radio personality Erich “Mancow” Muller and Genesis Communications Network are partnering to distribute the Chicago-based morning program.  GCN states it is “excited to announce the arrival of the popular Mancow show featuring the notorious Erich ‘Mancow’ Muller and his controversial, snarky, hilarious and hard-hitting brand of talk radio.”

stonedaveLos Angeles Sports Radio Talent Dave Stone Passes. “This is one of the toughest things I’ve ever written.”  With that, iconic Los Angeles sports talk radio/mainstream talk radio programmer and on-air talent Joe McDonnell began his Facebook tribute to longtime Los Angeles sports voice Dave Stone, who passed away earlier this week at age 64.  He’d been diagnosed with ALS.  “I didn’t even know he was sick, which was typical of Dave,” McDonnell states.  “He did not want anyone to fuss over him – even when he was batting a terminal disease.  Dave was my first hire when I was putting together ESPN 710 [KSPN, Los Angeles] in 1999 – 2000.  He put his heart and soul into everything he did there.” Part of that lineup was “McDonnell-Douglas” consisting of McDonnell and veteran Los Angeles sportswriter Doug Krikorian; Stone did sports updates.  “Big Joe” first met Stone in the mid-1970s when they were competing for the job to operate the Dodger Stadium message board. “Dave beat me out, but it became a moment when I met one of the best friends I’ve ever had,” FoxSportsWest.com writer-reporter-columnist McDonnell states.  A notoriously famous Lakers fan, McDonnell nonetheless concedes that Stone might have been just as strong of a partisan of the NBA team.  “We would spend hours talking about [Jerry] West, [Elgin] Baylor, [Wilt] Chamberlain, Darrell Imhoff, and Archie Clark.  If he was a Lakers player, we knew about him.”  Stone was the public address announcer for more than 1,400 Harlem Globetrotter performances and McDonnell writes, “If the phone rang at 3:00 am, it might be Dave calling from Singapore to get the score of the Lakers game.”  In 1991, Stone was working at Huntsville, Alabama’s WVNN-WZYP and he hired a young afternoon drive talent named Sean Hannity. Mike Dunsmore worked with Stone at Fox Sports Radio from 2007 – 2009 and just this past year at NBC Sports Radio, where Stone was an update anchor.  “He had a booming voice, loved the Lakers, and despised [former Lakers player] Kwame Brown,” Dunsmore posts on Facebook. “Dave Stone was a class act.”  Former KLOS, Los Angeles program director Rita Wilde – currently doing evenings at cross-town KSWD “The Sound” – writes, “I had no idea he was sick – he was a great guy.”  McDonnell rhetorically states of Stone, “You have no idea how much I’m going to miss you.”  Services for Stone were held yesterday (Thursday, 1/2) at 2:00 pm in suburban Los Angeles (Simi Valley).

beckatom2012KOIL, Omaha’s Tom Becka Launches Podcast Project.  Talk radio pro Tom Becka – currently hosting afternoon drive at NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha – announces the debut of a weekly podcast project that will be featured at his website tombecka.com.  Becka tells TALKERS, “TomBecka.com is a podcast page where I interview everyday people with a unique story to tell.  Think of it as NPR, but with personality and a pulse.  Some of the interviews that are helping me launch this are a woman who’s a breast cancer survivor, a soldier with PTSD, a drag queen, a woman who accidentally found out her bartender was the child she gave up for adoption 27 years ago, and a couple that practices polyamory.  Every Sunday I will add another podcast and so far I have a rodeo clown, a man with Asperger’s, and a drummer who has spent most of his life working the cruise ships.”  This project allows Becka to step outside of the format of a live, on-air talk radio show but still bring his own personality and style to these interview projects.  He says his ability to negotiate keeping ownership of his digital rights has allowed him to work on these types of initiatives.

schnitttoddOdds & Sods.  There’s been a minor lineup shuffle at Yahoo! Sports Radio where Sean Salisbury moves to the late afternoon “Prime Cut” show alongside current host John Granato.  Leaving that show to host the 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET program is Geoff Ketchum who replaces John Harris…..Compass Media Networks syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt announces changes in his show in a number of markets.  In Schnitt’s home market of Tampa, his program will be delay broadcast on WFLA from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm but will air live on sister station WHNZ from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.   The show will also shift to early evening clearances on affiliates WQSC, Charleston, South Carolina and WTKS, Savannah, Georgia…..“Labor-Lines,” hosted by Vic Fusco, moves from former progressive talker WWRL, New York to its new home at Salem Communications’ WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” where it airs Saturdays at 1:00 pm.

savagemichaelTALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  The Cumulus Media Networks-syndicated “Savage Nation” with Michael Savage is added to the programming lineup at KROP, Yuma, Arizona; KVPI, Lafayette, Louisiana; and WGSO, New Orleans…..Compass Media Networks talk host Todd Schnitt joins the program schedule at KNEW, San Francisco…..Rodger Fredinburg’s “Homeland Security” show joins the weekend program lineup at KMED, Medford, Oregon…..The Genesis Communications Network-syndicated Jason Lewis program is added to the program schedule at KNEW, San Francisco…..Also from GCN, the weekly Steve Sanchez program announces its new flagship station KFNX, Phoenix…..“Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge announces new affiliates: WXBR, Brockton, Massachusetts; WQXL-AM/FM, Columbia, South Carolina; KMMS-AM, Bozeman and KPRK-AM, Livingston, Montana; and KMED, Medford, Oregon…..From Salem Radio Network comes the following affiliate additions: Bill Bennett’s “Morning in America” is added to KVTA, Oxnard-Ventura; Mike Gallagher becomes part of the lineup at KGED, Fresno; the Dennis Prager show is added to WEZO, Augusta, Georgia; and Michael Medved joins the programming at WKEI, Kewanee, Illinois and WTIM-FM, Taylorville, Illinois.

Holidays and Year-in-Review Top Talk Topics for Week of Dec. 30 – Jan. 3.  The holidays and a look back at 2013 were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  Following at #2 was criticism of the Affordable Care Act.  At #3 was the poor rating of Congress by the public followed by winter weather and discussions of global warming tied at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a list of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  To view this week’s entire chart, click here.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

| December 10, 2013

macnowglenWIP-FM, Philadelphia’s Glen Macnow on Vacation While Contract Talks Ensue.  There’s a lot of speculation in Philly about what the outcome of contract talks between CBS Radio and afternoon drive co-host Glen Macnow (who works with Anthony Gargano on “SportsRadio 94”).  First, Macnow tells the Philadelphia Daily NewsMolly Eichel that he left in mid show on Monday (during a live remote from Chickie and Pete’s, no less) to allow Anthony Gargano time to segue into the Howie Roseman show.  “I actually wanted to do it as unobtrusively as possible, just to let people know what was going on.  And I certainly didn’t want to not work today after that great Eagles game yesterday.  I live for shows like today.”  So while he and CBS are in contract talks, Kyle Scott of CrossingBroad.com says he hears Macnow will move to a more part-time role with the station and that the station plans to pair Rob Ellis with Gargano for the PM drive show in the New Year.  The station tells the Daily News it is keeping any and all contract negotiations private.

gardneralAl Gardner Returns to Charlotte for Sports Talk Gig.  Longtime WBT, Charlotte morning drive co-host Al Gardner will be back on the air in Charlotte but this time on HRN Broadcasting’s WZVG, Charlotte “730 ESPN Charlotte” beginning December 16 alongside Lanny Ford on “The Bottom Line” show.  The Charlotte Observer’s Mark Washburn reports that Gardner tells him he’s looking forward to being involved with a local broadcasting endeavor.  “They’re going to grow locally.  That’s what I want to be part of.”  Gardner left WBT more than two years ago to join Randy Michaels’ WWIQ, Philadelphia when the former talk station was launched in 2011.

adamsmarkAdams Returns to Clear Channel Portland as VP/Programming.  CBS Radio Houston vice president of music programming Mark Adams leaves to oversee programming operations for Clear Channel‘s eight Portland stations.  For eight years (2000 – 2008), Adams programmed Clear Channel Portland rhythmic CHR KXJM and was operations manager of then (talk) sibling KXL-AM (now Alpha Broadcasting sports outlet KXTG).  Clear Channel Portland market president Robert Dove comments, “Mark has a proven track record and I know he will lead the Clear Channel Portland cluster to even greater ratings success.” Adams adds, “I am looking forward to working with all the incredible brands and teams in the market, and contributing to their future success.  Portland is one of my favorite cities in the country and it’s exciting to have the chance to return to the Pacific Northwest and do some great radio.”  Prior to joining CBS Radio in April 2008, Adams worked in San Francisco, Milwaukee and Fresno.

bowersbethWSB, Atlanta Ups Bowers to General Sales Manager.  With the promotion of Walt Phillips to director of sales for Cox Media Group’s Atlanta operations earlier this fall, the company boosts Beth Bowers from her local sales manager post at news/talk WSB 750 AM and 95.5 FM to general sales manager.  CMG states that “in addition to continuing the proven tradition of success at news/talk WSB, Bowers will partner with the talented team of GSMs at the other stations in the cluster – ‘97.1 The River,’ ‘KISS 104.1’ and ‘B98.5.’  Together, the team will strategically lead CMG Atlanta’s radio sales organization into the future and offer unprecedented opportunities for advertising clients in the Greater Atlanta market.”  Prior to becoming LSM for WSB in January of 2011, Bowers served as director of marketing for CMG Atlanta.  She comments, “I’m honored to be given the opportunity to lead this legendary station, as well as partner with the most talented sales staff in the country.”

pittmanbobCC’s Bob Pittman Explains View of Media Landscape in AdWeek Essay.  Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman pens a brief piece on his philosophy about dealing with the “disruption” that’s taking place in the media business in AdWeek.  In it, Pittman states that he believes a crucial mistake to make is to follow conventional wisdom and allow yourself to be hyped.  In our business, Pittman says that translates into dumping all other media and putting all your eggs into the shiny new basket that is digital.  Pittman advises to be aware of the behavior of the consumer and further asserts his belief that a mix of media is a winning plan for advertisers in this era.  Read the entire piece here.

nielsen logoNielsen Audio Releases Select Data from RADAR 119.  The December 2013 RADAR (Radio’s All Dimension Audience Research) is data culled from the 48 PPM markets Nielsen measures between September 13, 2012 to September 11, 2013 and it concludes that “more than 178 million persons 12 and older, or approximately 68% of this demographic, heard one or more network radio commercials in an average week of the survey period.  Keep in mind that RADAR reports estimated audiences to network commercials broadcast by affiliates of the subscribing networks and doesn’t purport to account for listening to all network radio programming.  The study concludes that in the top 25 DMAs (designated market areas), network radio adlargelogodemonstrates extensive reach including: 70.5% of persons aged 12+ (92,593,000 persons); 73.7% of persons aged 18-49 (50,599,000 persons); and 74.5% of persons aged 25-54 (48,331,000 persons).  Subscribing networks are happy to release their success stories and AdLarge Media reports that its ROI Network debuted in this report and was “#1 with Adults and Women 18-49; and Women 25-54, Monday-Sunday and Monday-Friday, 5A-8P.”  AdLarge co-founder and president Cathy Csukas states, “We promised our advertisers an expansive network and the results of AdLarge’s ROI Network debut delivered.  The robust female showing bolsters our commitment to help advertisers westwoodone logoconnect with this hard-to-reach demographic that has strong purchasing power.”  WestwoodOne issues a statement saying that it is “proud to be a part of RADAR’s expanding networks within the audio landscape.  In addition to proving that radio is alive and well and that its audiences are broadening, today’s RADAR 119, released by Nielsen Audio, showcases more diversity in network offerings.”  WestwoodOne COO Charles Steinhauer adds, “Overall growth is positive for the audio category, and for RADAR.  Generally, the December RADAR is a non-event because many networks re-configure their lineups and publish special tabs at this time of year, WestwoodOne included.  It is exciting to welcome a new company into the RADAR marketplace and to the Network Radio Research Council.  We look forward to more diversity in the promotion of network radio audiences.”

grandephilOdds & Sods.  The nationally syndicated talk show “Phil’s Gang” with host Phil Grande is expanding to two hours on Radio Colorado Network’s KRCN, Longmont, Colorado airing from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.  Grande describes his show as “thoughtful economy and investing dialogue with news, stock market updates, timely interviews and only Phil tells you what Wall Street doesn’t want you to know.”…..CBS Radio’s sports talker WIP, Philadelphia “SportsRadio 94” is gearing up for “the most infamous annual radio event in the world” – WingBowl 22 – to be held at the Wells Fargo Center on January 31, 2013.  The sponsors include Steven Singer Jewelers and SugarHouse Casino.  The station says this year it is offering the most prizes in the history of the event, including the top prize: $22,000 from Steven Singer Jewelers.  For the first time ever, the contest offers two cars – one for the top local eater and one for the top college eater (two 2014 Chrysler 200’s from Barbera’s on the Boulevard), two bikes for Wingettes (two Harley Davidson 883 Sportster Motorcycles from Barb’s Harley Davidson) and other incredible prizes.  And for the first time ever, Wing Bowl will have a college division, with the top collegiate eater winning one of the cars…..Minnesota Public Radio today announced that Jim Dwyer and Jean Taylor have been elected to MPR’s board of trustees.  Dwyer is chairman and CEO of Michael Foods, a diversified processor and distributor of food products and one of the largest privately held companies in Minnesota.  Taylor is president of Life is Now, a strategy and consulting firm that she founded in 2010, and a principal at Middle A Restaurants, a franchise development company.

scba logoRecord Number of SCBA Radio Sales Training Graduates.  The Southern California Broadcasters Association (SCBA) has just presented certification awards to 31 new – or newer – sales professionals, sales assistants and individuals seeking a sales career in Southern California radio.  That is a record number of people successfully completing the training classes, which were conducted from September 23 – December 5.  SCBA President Thom Callahan comments, “The SCBA is firmly committed to helping our members train the next generation of professional radio sales executives.  Each class and professional instructor brought a special focus for our students.”  Included in the 10-week training curriculum were “New Business Development,” “Strategic Selling,” “Building Client Relationships,” “Interactive Selling,” and “Cold Calling Techniques.”  The SCBA Sales Training Classes is a collaboration of the SCBA and the GSM Council of Southern California.

ObamaCare Criticism, Nelson Mandela Retrospective, Iran Negotiations, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/9).  The scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; remembrances of the life and times of South Africa’s Nelson Mandela; the instability of negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program and Congress’ plans for renewed sanctions; and the snowy action in the NFL over the weekend were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

| November 7, 2013

sportshh2013TALKERS Publishes Second Annual “Heavy Hundred” of Sports Talk Radio.  The editors of TALKERS magazine, with input from industry leaders, have compiled the second annual Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America.  The eagerly anticipated list is posted today (11/7).  Like its long-established “sister list” – the long-running (18 years) annual “Heavy Hundred” that ranks talk radio hosts working in the news/talk and general talk genres – the editors of TALKERS magazine have ranked sports talk hosts, duos or ensembles from 1 to 100 based upon a set of criteria that includes a combination of hard and soft factors.  The results are, admittedly, subjective.  Being  true to the realities of the media business, ratings and revenue are two of the major factors – some would say they are the only factors worth considering – but the editors also took into account other qualities that help create a list that is reflective of the industry’s diversity and total flavor and still give credit where credit is due.  Those qualities include:  courage, effort, impact, recognition, service, talent and uniqueness.  The other concrete qualification for inclusion is hosts must be working – that is, have a regularly scheduled professional show on the air at a minimum of one terrestrial or satellite radio station at the time of publication.  TALKERS salutes the fine broadcasters who made this year’s second annual list!  To see the entire roster, please click here.

parksdarrylDarryl Parks Exits Clear Channel.  The longtime WLW, Cincinnati steward and architect of so many of the talk shows that aired on the station has been let go by Clear Channel.  Programmer Darryl Parks was PD of WLW from 1999 to 2010 when he was promoted to vice president of news/talk operations for the entire company.  He remained based at the Cincinnati cluster and hosted a Saturday morning talk show on WLW.  The Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter broke the news on Wednesday afternoon and in his report calls Parks “arguably the most influential person in Cincinnati radio” during his time as PD of WLW.  As per policy, Clear Channel doesn’t comment on personnel matters but has confirmed that Parks is no longer with the company.  The move is likely a restructuring of management within the company but Parks drew attention to himself last month with a blog post criticizing acting FCC chairwoman Mignon Clyburn’s AM revitalization program and referred to the NAB/RAB Radio Show as a “circle jerk.”

cbsradioCBS Corporation Reveals Q3 Numbers: Radio Up 1%.  For the company as a whole, revenue was up 11% but the radio division’s net revenue rose just 1%.  With so much of CBS’ revenue from television and cable, the company doesn’t spend much time talking about radio.  EVP of investor relations Adam Townsend did single out the fledgling CBS Sports Radio Network, saying, “CBS Sports Radio network continues to help drive our results.  Plus, digital revenue was up 19% in the quarter.  And nontraditional revenue, including our growing local events business, was up 9%.”  The company says it expects the radio division to be up in the low single digits in the fourth quarter.

cclogoClear Channel Radio Revenue Up 3%.  CC Media Holdings issued its third quarter 2013 financial results and the Clear Channel Media and Entertainment division’s revenue increased by 3% or $25 million.  Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “Strategically and financially, our third quarter results reflect the growing strength of our Media+Entertainment business, while we continue to make meaningful progress in moving Outdoor forward internationally and in the Americas.  At Media+Entertainment, we outperformed the entire radio sector in revenue growth, including in our major markets. Increasingly, our radio business is benefiting from our strategic approach to advertising that sets us apart in the marketplace.”  Among numerous other points made about the division’s recent achievements, the company notes that there are now “39 million iHeartRadio registered users as of September 30, 2013, up 114% from the end of the 2012 third quarter, and crossing the 30 million registered user mark faster than Facebook, Twitter, Spotify or Pandora, and second only to Instagram.  iHeartRadio’s total listening hours were up 30% in the third quarter of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012.  Mobile represented 60% of iHeartRadio total listening hours during the quarter.”

katztonyTony Katz to Host Evening Show on WIBC-FM, Indianapolis.  Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis and talk show host Tony Katz have agreed to terms for Katz to debut his “Tony Katz Tonight” program on the station airing from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight beginning Monday, November 11.  Katz will be based out of his Tomorrow Media Network studios in Los Angeles.  Katz most recently hosted a weekend program on Emmis-owned KFTK-FM, St. Louis “FM News Talk 97.1” where he also serves as the regular fill-in for the station’s Dana Loesch.  Katz states, “I’m thrilled to be with Emmis, a company that has fought hard to be strong in this ever-shifting radio landscape.  I’ve had a great relationship with the company, with Dana and especially KFTK program director Jeff Allen, who gave me nothing but support, opportunity and encouragement.  To go from there to the capable and fearless hands of WIBC program director David Wood makes me truly believe that this is the start of a long, profitable relationship.”  Katz is a columnist with TownHall and Christian Post and a frequent commentator on “Fox and Friends” and “The Kudlow Report” on CNBC.  He is also a sought after public speaker.

cunninghambillBill Cunningham’s TV Show Renews on The CW.  WLW, Cincinnati talk show host Bill Cunningham can also claim success in his other media endeavor – the Tribune-produced television talk program “The Bill Cunningham Show.”  Now, Cable & Broadcasting reports that the show has been picked up for another season – its third – by The CW Network which airs the show at 3:00 pm ET.  The TV project was one of those that began back when former Clear Channel radio president Randy Michaels was heading up Tribune.  Former Clear Channel programmer Sean Compton is one of the executives whom Michaels brought to Chicago and has risen to president of programming and entertainment for Tribune Broadcasting.  Compton is quoted in the piece saying, “The growth of ‘The Bill Cunningham Show’ over the past three seasons has exceeded all expectations.  When compared to perceptually bigger shows, Cunningham consistently comes out on top.  His demo conversion steadily yields impressive results and we are extremely proud of this show.”

cookehollandA Peek Inside: NAB Futures 2013.  Radio consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke was recently invited to attend – and deliver a keynote speech! – at the invitation only NAB Futures 2013 that took place in Laguna Beach, California.  Cooke describes it as “a think tank about how broadcasters can embrace and exploit the ‘disruption’ that has changed how consumers consume media.”  He reports back interesting tidbits from such speakers as: James McQuivey, VP and principal analyst at Forrester Research and the author of Digital Disruption: Unleashing the Next Wave of Innovation; Scott Burnell, global lead, business development & partner management at Ford Motor Company; Jason Dorsey, “The Gen Y Guy” who wrote Y-Size Your Business: How Gen Y Employees Can Save You Money and Grow Your Business.  Get Holland Cooke’s scoop on the NAB Futures 2013 here.

westwoodone logoWestwoodOne Opens Creative and Production Studio for Radio Marketers.  Saying that it wants to help marketers develop “world-class audio,” WestwoodOne announces the opening of a full-service Creative Services division to be “powered” in part by TM Studios.  The company says it will “provide multi-platform marketing solutions including on-air, digital and experiential components, built upon the company’s core service producing engaging audio experiences that connect people with their passions in life.  The studio is currently preparing to work with marketers to produce audio ads for WestwoodOne’s broadcast of Super Bowl XLVIII.”  WestwoodOne CEO Paul Caine states, “Audio plays a vital role in the new media landscape and WestwoodOne is uniquely positioned to help marketers integrate creative, multiplatform audio advertising into the mix.  Marketers need a reliable partner who understands how, where and when today’s mobile consumers are interacting with audio and the ability to develop audio content that can stand out from the competition.  Be it mobile, terrestrial or digital consumption, the team at WestwoodOne Studio has the talent and expertise to create the most compelling and effective advertising to give our marketers the most exposure.”

valentinephilPhil Valentine Kicks Off ‘Spreading the Truth’ Tour.  Nashville-based syndicated talk show host Phil Valentine is launching what he’s calling the “Spreading the Truth” tour to promote the newly released DVD of his film “An Inconsistent Truth.”  Valentine will be in Pensacola, Florida at the Cordova Mall on Sunday, November 10 in conjunction with his Pensacola affiliate station WCOA.  Valentine reports that the movie – which challenges the notion of runaway, man-made global warming and takes its title from a twist on Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth – “hit the #1 spot on Amazon.com’s documentary list shortly after its release.  It’s the winner of three film festival awards including the Nevada Film Festival.  The film enjoyed a limited run last year in select theaters and was the top-grossing movie per screen in the entire country its first two weeks out.  It’s the 20th top-grossing nature documentary of all time, out-grossing films like “Cool It, Gasland and Fuel.”  Valentine states, “I think the fact that we hit #1 on Amazon so quickly is a testament to the appetite out there for the truth.  People inherently know carbon dioxide is not some kind of poison.  They instinctively know they’re being lied to.  We just arm them with the facts.”  The Spreading the Truth tour kicks off in Pensacola then moves to Nashville.  Other tour dates are being added.

morelandkeithOdds & Sods.  Chicago Cubs radio color analyst Keith Moreland is stepping down from his role.  WGN, Chicago announces the former Cub has made the decision to leave the broadcast booth to spend more time with his family.  In a note to the WGN staff, Moreland stated, “I would like to thank the fans, the folks at WGN Radio, my colleagues in the booth, the Ricketts family, and the Cubs for this great opportunity.  After spending three years doing it, I’ve simply decided that I want to spend more time at home in Texas.”  Moreland became a permanent fixture with play-by-play broadcaster Pat Hughes in February of 2011…..Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston announces the return of its off-season baseball show “Red Sox Hot Stove,” a weekly, one-hour program hosted by WEEI.com editor Rob Bradford and Red Sox reporter Alex Speier that will air every Thursday night from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm through February.  The program will focus on all off-season moves made by the Red Sox and in Major League Baseball, including free agency and trades, the GM and owners’ meetings and the league’s annual Winter Meetings, taking place this year from December 9-12 at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, FL.  Bradford and Speier will be joined on a recurring basis by Red Sox manager John Farrell, general manager Ben Cherington and assistant general manager Mike Hazen.  In addition, listeners will regularly hear from other managers, general managers, agents and players from around baseball.

zimneymissindy‘There She/He Is, Miss Indiana…’  Okay, so that’s not exactly how the song goes.  Nonetheless, the attractive woman you see here is Mekayla Diehl (right) who was crowned Miss Indiana USA 2014 this past Sunday.  The handsome lad seated and wearing the tiara is Federated Media news and programming guru Jon Zimney of ‘95.3 FM MNC’ (Michiana News Channel) in South Bend, Indiana, and WOWO-AM/FM in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Miss Diehl visited the broadcasting facility to talk about her being crowned to represent the state of Indiana.

ObamaCare Criticism, Election Day Results, Benghazi Case, GOP 2014 and 2016 Strategies, Iran Nukes, Miami Dolphins ‘Bullying’ Story and Tony Dorsett Health Issues Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/6).  The ongoing scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; Tuesday’s election results; renewed criticism of the handling of the deadly Benghazi attacks; Republican prospects and strategies for the mid-term elections in 2014 and the presidential election in 2016; Iran’s nuclear weapons program; controversy over the suspension of Miami Dolphins player Richie Incognito; and former NFL great Tony Dorsett’s admission he suffers from possible effects of football injuries were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

| October 10, 2013

TalkersLA2013Talkers Los Angeles 2013 Takes Place Today.  More than 250 broadcasters from the talk media industries will be gathering in Hollywood, California today to hear more than 57 speakers analyze the key issues facing talk radio and talk internet at Talkers Los Angeles 2013.  Among them, Alpha Broadcasting and L&L Broadcasting CEO Larry Wilson, who will deliver the keynote address, “Radio at the Crossroads,” and Courtside Entertainment, LLC CEO Norm Pattiz and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison who will engage in a keynote conversation, “Okay…Now What?” at the sold-out event.  Talkers Los Angeles 2013 — a presentation of TALKERS magazine in association with the Los Angeles Press Club — takes place today between 9:00 am and 6:15 pm at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood, California.  Full coverage of the conference will be provided at Talkers.com in the coming days and weeks.  To see the up-to-date, power-packed agenda, please click here.

podcastone logoPodcastOne Signs Kathie Lee Gifford to Deal for One-Hour Program.  Bringing marquee talent to the podcast genre is what Courtside Entertainment Group CEO Norm Pattiz promised when he debutedgiffordkathielee PodcastOne.  Now, the company signs “Today” co-anchor Kathie Lee Gifford to host a one-hour podcast on the platform.  When the show debuts on October 23, Gifford will host with her former “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee” partner Regis Philbin.  Gifford says, “I’m so looking forward to this new podcast adventure.  I feel like I’m in an episode of the Jetsons, soaring into unknown territory on my podcast.  It will be the first time for me in a 45-year career where I’ve been able to completely control the content.  And best of all?  I won’t need my hair or makeup done and there’s no need for Spanx!”  Pattiz adds, “What can I possibly say about Kathie Lee Gifford that hasn’t already been said?  How about this – bringing Kathie Lee to on-demand audio via PodcastOne is a very big deal.  We’re doing business with the best of the best, and that list just got better.”  Other PodcastOne personalities and brands include Adam Carolla, Dr. Drew Pinsky, Steve Austin, Dennis Miller, Ron Paul, Jay Mohr, Jillian Michaels, NPR New York, NPR Los Angeles, and “60 Minutes.”

loeschdanaKFTK, St. Louis Personality Dana Loesch Joins Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze.  St. Louis-based talk radio personality and writer Dana Loesch has subbed for Glenn Beck in addition to her full-time work on Emmis’ KFTK, St. Louis and WIBC, Indianapolis.  Now, she’ll serve as a contributor and host for TheBlaze.  In addition to continuing to fill in for Beck, what audio or video contributions Loesch will make remains unclear at this time.  Loesch says, “I’m excited to join TheBlaze team.  I love the fight in this group and their dedication to creating the best content available on multiple platforms.  They’ve been at the forefront of new wave media…I can’t wait to get started.”  Glenn Beck said of her on his TV program, “We are thrilled to have her.  She is one of the people that is on the front lines fighting the good fight.  We have wanted to have her as a part of TheBlaze for a very, very long time.”  Loesch founded the St.Louis-area Tea Party and previously worked as an editor at Breitbart.

mcconnellmikeMike McConnell Exits Tribune’s WGN, Chicago.  Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that talk radio personality Mike McConnell – off the AM 720 signal at Tribune’s WGN since early October and relegated to airing a show on wgnradio.com – is leaving the company.  McConnell came to WGN from Clear Channel’s WLW, Cincinnati where he worked with former Tribune CEO Randy Michaels when Michaels was running WLW and later serving as president of Clear Channel Radio.  When Jimmy de Castro took over the reins of WGN earlier this year, it was suspected that the on-air lineup might change dramatically and that’s what’s happened.  Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder were brought in for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon shift and Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano took over the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show.  Feder reports that sources say McConnell and Tribune have a tentative settlement on the remaining two years of his reported $500,000 annual salary but there’s no official word from Tribune at this time.

dennisshaneKFH, Wichita Brings Shane Dennis Aboard for PM Drive.  Entercom sports talk radio outlet KFH-AM/FM, Wichita the addition of a new live and local sports talk show hosted by Shane Dennis beginning October 21. Dennis comes to the station with a sports pedigree.  He was director of baseball operations for 13 years at Wichita State.  During that time, he worked with Mike Kennedy as color analyst for WSU baseball games.  He pitched for the WSU Shockers from 1991–1994 and earned All-American honors in 1994.  Program director Tony Duesing says, “We’re excited about adding Shane to our powerful sports lineup on KFH.  Shane is a big sports radio fan and he is a great personality who will only make people want to tune in.”

kcoh logoFormer KCOH, Houston Talk Radio Personality Files Civil Suit Against Station President.  Recently, TALKERS reported the case of Houston urban talk radio personality Michael Harris quitting his position at KCOH after alleging station president (and local minister) Jesse Dunn was misusing station funds.  Now, according to a report in the Houston Chronicle, Harris is filing a civil suit against Dunn and the South Houston Community Development Corporation.  The paper reports that in the suit, Harris says Dunn made false representations to induce him to secure two personal lines of credit totaling $130,000 for station financing and back a $38,000 loan for equipment.  Harris also alleges that Dunn was able to acquire a debit card to use on one of the lines of credit and that Dunn has been using those funds for personal expenses including trips to Las Vegas and Louisiana.  Harris’ attorney says no contract exists between the two men and states, point blank, that his client “got hustled.”  Dunn had previously said whatever money he used was his and is currently running recorded announcements on the station assuring listeners that the station’s finances are strong and that claims to the contrary are misrepresentations.

iab logoInternet Advertising Bureau: Digital Ad Revenue Hits $20.1 Billion in First Half of 2013.  According to the Internet Advertising Bureau, that total for the first half of 2013 marks an increase of 18% over the 2012 first-half-year total.  Some other highlights from the organization’s report include:  Report highlights include:  Mobile revenues soared to $3 billion in the first half of 2013, representing triple-digit growth at 145% from $1.2 billion in the same period last year; Digital video, a component of display-related advertising, took in $1.3 billion in revenue during the first six months of 2013, an uptick of 24% over the first half of 2012 at $1.1 billion; Search revenues in the first half of 2013 totaled $8.7 billion, up 7% from $8.1 billion in the first half of 2012; Display-related advertising revenues in the first half of 2013 totaled $6.1 billion, accounting for 30% of revenues in the time period, up 9% from $5.6 billion in the first half of 2012; and the top three advertising verticals accounted for 46% of advertising revenue, including Retail at 20%, Financial Services at 14% and Automotive at 12%.  IAB president and CEO Randall Rothenberg states, “Digital has steadily increased its ability to captivate consumers and then capture the marketing dollars that follow.  Mobile advertising’s breakneck growth is evidence that marketers are recognizing the tremendous power of smaller screens.  Digital video is also on a positive trajectory, delivering avid viewership and strong brand-building opportunities.”

J.D. Hayworth in for Huckabee.  Former U.S. Congressman J.D. Hayworth (and former KFYI, Phoenix talk host) sits in for Cumulus Media Networks nationally syndicated talk personality Mike Huckabee on Friday, October 11 from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET.

Debt Limit/Government Shutdown, ObamaCare Implementation, Obama Approval Ratings, Financial Markets Activity, and Baseball Playoff Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/9).  The struggle in Washington to come to agreement on a debt limit and to undo the government shutdown; the failure of the Obama Administration’s Affordable Care Act website; the sinking approval ratings for President Obama; the response to the government shutdown by the world’s financial markets; and the MLB playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

| August 21, 2013

wgnlogoBig Changes Coming to WGN, Chicago; Cochran to AM Drive and an FM Signal in Tribune’s Future.  The Chicago Tribune lays out some of the changes that will take place at Tribune Company’s legendary radio property on September 3.  With the hiring of radio executive and former WLUP-FM chief Jimmy de Castro in the spring of this year, cochransteveindustry watchers knew changes were afoot.  De Castro wasn’t hired to run things as they were.  And now we know some of the ideas de Castro has been considering over the summer.  Former midday host Mike McConnell – a WLW, Cincinnati alum brought in by former bosses Randy Michaels and Kevin Metheny – has already moved to the company’s online decastrojimmyeffort WGN-2.  Now, Tribune reveals that air personality Steve Cochran – ousted from the station in 2010 – will return to host AM drive.  Current AM drive host Jonathon Brandmeier will move to a digital property dubbed wgnfm.com until the company can acquire an FM signal on which to build a new station.  The paper reports that husband-and-wife team Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano will likely host the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show and overnight host Bill Leff will be partnered with a player-to-be-named-later for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show.  Garrybrandmeierjonathon Meier remains in the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot but is expected to take on a name partner soon.  Another return of talent from the pre-Randy Michaels days are Kathy O’Malley and Judy Markey (former midday “Girlfriends”) who will do a weekend program on WGN.  The AM radio property will also build using blocks from its WGN-TV sibling, starting with the branding slogan “Chicago’s Very Own.”  De Castro says the station will use WGN-TV personalities more often, including Dean Richards and Tom Skilling.  As for the future FM property that will start as a digital station, de Castro says, “We’re going to create it as a radio laboratory.  We’re going to build it up until we get an FM and then we’re going to put them all on a talk FM.”  The story notes that any purchase of an FM will come after the company sheds its newspaper division.  That may happen in 2014 if a buyer (or buyers) can be found.

trn logoJim Watkins Returns to Talk Radio Network.  Radio pro Jim Watkins served with Talk Radio Network for 13 years as director of affiliate relations and executive producer for the syndication company.  Now, TRN Syndications, Ltd. announces it is engaging Watkins “to spearhead several new projects within TRN and to assist in the growth of the existing affiliate base of the multiple TRN networks and many radio stars that TRN watkinsjimsyndicates.”  The company states Watkins will oversee new business development and growth-strategy projects for the TRN Networks that distributes Andrea Tantaros, Jerry Doyle, Rusty Humphries, Erich “Mancow” Muller, Monica Crowley, “America’s Morning News,” Michio Kaku, Louie Anderson, Roy Masters and America’s Radio News Network, and a complete weekend lineup of a variety of talk programming.  CEO Mark Masters says he’s thrilled to have Watkins leading his affiliate department at this most crucial time.  “Jim is deeply entrenched in talk radio and has developed alliances with key programmers across the country.  As the country ramps up into the mid-term elections, talk radio has never been more vital to facilitating the national debate.  Jim really understands the vitality of talk radio better than most people in the industry today.”  Watkins previously programmed news/talk stations for Clear Channel, as well as South-Florida based Meridian Broadcasting, and also served as producer for some of the top air talent in the country, including Michael Savage, Mike Gallagher, Barry Farber, and others.  He adds, “Talk radio reaches the most affluent and loyal audience of any format, and it does so by allowing for a free exchange of ideas which can and does influence public policy in a big way.  To have one of the best rosters of talent to be found anywhere gives me a great sense of pride.”

hartmannNationally Syndicated Host Thom Hartmann Debuts Daily Caller Column.  Liberal talk media star Thom Hartmann begins writing a weekly column for the conservative digital publication Daily Caller in which he addresses an issue from his own perspective followed by a conservative or libertarian rebuttal.  In his first column – dubbed “Liberally Yours” – Hartmann asks the question: Should the Post Office be in charge of your e-mails?  You can read the piece here.  Hartmann – whose radio program is syndicated by WYD Media Management – was recently honored by TALKERS magazine ranked at #7 on the Frontier Fifty 2013 – A Selection of Outstanding Talk Media Webcasters (see that entire feature here).  In addition to his AM/FM radio program, Hartmann’s digital efforts have earned him recognition by TALKERS for his forward-thinking business model that pushes his content into exciting new areas.

beasleyScott Webb Joins Beasley South Florida as Production Director.  Beasley Broadcast Miami announces the appointment of Scott Webb as production director for its three-station cluster that includes hip hop WPOW “Power 96,” country WKIS “99.9 Kiss Country” and sports talk WQAM “560 Sports Radio.”  In this new post, Webb will be responsible for overseeing the voicing and production of commercials for the stations.  Webb owns Scott Webb Radio Imaging based previously in Washington/Baltimore that he founded in 2001.  Prior to launching his own firm, he was creative services director and morning co-host at WJMO, Washington, D.C.  He has also served as creative services director at WHUR, Washington, WMMJ, Washington and KRBV, Dallas.  WKIS operations manager Ken Boesen states, “Scott brings exceedingly strong production skills, top-quality voiceover abilities and a fun work ethic to Beasley Miami.  He’ll be a great addition to the team and will help make our production department the strongest in South Florida.”

celtics logoBoston Celtics and WEEI/WRKO Part Company; Will CBS Radio Swoop In?  The Boston Globe’s Chad Finn reports that Entercom and the NBA’s Boston Celtics have ended negotiations to continue airing games on sports talk WEEI-FM and news/talk WRKO this season after being unable to come to terms.  Now the question is will CBS Radio’s WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” be able to secure the play-by-play rights?  In the ongoing and bloody battle between the two sports talk stations, a snare of Celtics hoops would give WBZ-FM three of the four major sports in town:  Patriots football, Bruins hockey and Celtics basketball – leaving WEEI-FM with Red Sox baseball (no small potatoes, obviously).  As Finn notes in his piece, CBS Radio owns enough stations in the market to cover any conflicts between the several teams’ games.  Finn writes that Entercom and the Celtics had a revenue-sharing agreement under the old deal but it’s unknown if there was also a rights fee.  Historically, CBS Radio has been willing to pay big dollars for play-by-play rights if it believes it can justify the expense down the road.

wknrlogoGood Karma Lets Three Go at WKNR, Cleveland.  In a report on Cleveland.com, Good Karma trims its staff by three as sports talk outlet WKNR “ESPN Cleveland” says goodbye to sports talk host Kenny Roda, Browns beat reporter Will Burge and Indians beat reporter T.J. Zuppe.  Burge tells the news outlet that although he was a little surprised by the changes, he says, “I guess you can never be too surprised in this business when they say they want to meet with you about some big-picture changes.”  Roda Tweeted to fans, “Thanks to all who have made the last 21 years at WKNR a remarkable, unforgettable & amazing journey. I enjoyed sharing it with you all.”

versnickartArt Versnick Named GM at WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.  Resort Broadcasting news/talk WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware “The Talk of Delmarva” announces Art Versnick joins the station to serve as general manager.  In making the announcement, company president David Schoumacher states, “Art is a seasoned broadcast professional who brings great knowledge to our very important heritage radio station.  It was imperative to secure the future of this franchise with a pro, and we’ve done that by bringing his talent to work with our staff.”  Versnick comments, “I’m thrilled to be joining this heritage station – with its local air staff – almost unheard of today in news/talk radio.  The dedication of this staff and ownership to provide Sussex County with quality and local programming will continue and move to the next level in providing listeners and advertisers a local forum.”

wtmjweloveJournal’s WTMJ, Milwaukee Begins Sponsored Live Broadcast Series.  Journal Broadcast Group’s news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee announces the debut of the “We Love Wisconsin Tour” that will see the morning show broadcast live from sites across the state.  Sponsored by All American Window & Door, the first live broadcast event will be Friday, August 23, at the Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend where “Wisconsin’s Morning Newslangmyertom with Gene Mueller” will broadcast from 5:00 am to 8:30 am.  The tour will continue in Wauwatosa in September, Madison in October and Green Bay in November.  Journal Broadcast Group vice president of news/talk programming Tom Langmyer says, “As ‘Wisconsin’s Radio Station,’ WTMJ is excited to celebrate individual communities that make our region so special as a whole. Gene Mueller and his team will explore the history of each town, introduce listeners to special people and discover fun things to do along the way.  We’re pleased to partner with All American Window & Door on this adventure.”  During the live broadcast event, Terri Lodwick, owner of All American Window & Door, will present a $1,000 donation to a local charity.

Odds & Sods. Hubbard Radio Washington D.C. properties WTOP and Federal News Radio are honored with the 2013 Alfred P. Sloan Award for Excellence in Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility for the use of flexibility and other aspects of workplace effectiveness as a workplace strategy to increase business and employee success…..Hubbard Radio’s WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” agrees to a deal through Learfield Sports to carry University of Illinois football play-by-play for this season…..NFL Hall of Famer Joe Namath guests on Sports USA’s “Conversations with Joe Morgan” this week.  Morgan’s program is heard on some 80 affiliates across the country.  Namath’s podcast, produced by Sports USA, debuts next week…..Indiana Radio Watch tips TALKERS that Zach Bonahoom exits Federated Media’s news/talk WOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne where he hosted a Saturday talk show.

NSA Surveillance Program/UK Threatens Guardian, Egypt Violence, ObamaCare Implementation, OK Ballplayer Slaying, and Clinton Foundation Expenses Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/20).  The scope of the NSA surveillance program and the UK’s threats against the Guardian paper; continuing violence in Egypt and the U.S.’s relationship with its government; the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the killing of an Australian baseball player by teens in Oklahoma; and the report of the Clinton Foundation’s travel expenses were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

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