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Sean Hannity Moderates Blockbuster Panel on Audience Measurement at Talkers New York 2015 – See Video Today! One of the highlights of the recently held (6/12) Talkers New York 2015 mega-conference is now posted on Talkers TV – “The State of Radio Ratings.” Moderated by Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel superstar Sean Hannity, the panel includes (in alphabetical order): Phil Boyce, SVP, Salem Media Group; Erica Farber, president/CEO, RAB; Steve Goldstein, CEO, Amplifi Media; Richard Harker, founder, Harker Research; Tom Langmyer, VP/GM, E.W. Scripps; Jon Miller, VP Audience Insights, Nielsen Audio; and Greg Moceri, CEO, Moceri Media. The session is introduced by Brian Kilmeade, host, Fox News Radio/Fox News Channel. The hard-hitting, no-holds-barred conversation addresses the ongoing problem of achieving accurate radio ratings – particularly in the spoken-word formats – during audio media’s transition into the digital era. Issues such as the PPM, the new Voltair device, achieving adequate sample size, and the challenge of rating elusive online listenership are analyzed. Each panelist brings their own insights, problems and solutions to the discussion with Nielsen’s Jon Miller formidably bearing much of the brunt of probing questions and stinging criticism. This video is a must-view for all professional radio broadcasters today. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “I have been organizing and attending industry conferences since 1976. This particular session provides more valuable take-aways than any I have ever witnessed in my entire career, as well as moving the interests of a fairer and more productive radio industry forward. My congratulations to all the participants – especially Jon Miller – for bring their A-games to the table. And Sean Hannity shows what a major league host and moderator he is – above and beyond his skills as a ‘political’ talk show host. Sean’s constituency in this case is everyone who makes, or is trying to make, their living in radio. He delivers a real clinic on how to run a discussion. I give him a 10.” To view the entire session, please click here. Coming tomorrow: An intimate “fireside chat” between Cumulus Media EVP, John Dickey and Michael Harrison.
Telos Alliance’s Dr. Barry Blesser Explains Voltair’s Success. The conclusion drawn by Telos Alliance director of research Dr. Barry Blesser regarding his company’s controversial Voltair products is, “The way that the radio industry handles the current Voltair controversy will influence its likelihood of surviving.” Most industry pros are aware of Voltair and the controversy over the reliability of Nielsen Audio’s PPM measurement system. Those who are not should be getting up to speed quickly and Blesser’s paper illustrates – from Telos Alliance’s perspective at least – what Voltair does, what it doesn’t do, and how it is affecting what radio listeners hear and don’t hear in PPM-rated markets. The selling point for the $15,000 signal processing unit is that it helps stations make up for alleged inadequacies in the PPM technology and Blesser’s paper explains how those inadequacies manifest themselves for radio programmers. One of the issues is Blesser’s assertion that different types of audio are “friendlier” to PPM code tones than others. He says, “Voltair is basically an AGC (automatic gain control) compressor that keeps the tones higher in amplitude when they are on their way to becoming too small. Voltair produces tone energy similar to that of a well-encoded audio signal. The tones are perceived as being louder in part because they are of longer duration. Why does increased duration make a difference? Because the detector cannot identify the frequency of a tone if it is too short. When a tone is relatively constant for the full half second, all is well; but if the tone lasts for less than a tenth of a second, the meter has no idea about its frequency. And the exact frequency is required to determine the meaning of the codes. Tones are truncated when the spectral content of the program is in short bursts. Interestingly, speech is comprised of short spectral bursts.” That last part may not bode well for spoken-word programming. Nielsen says it is testing the Voltair unit, but so far the industry has heard nothing. Blesser writes, “In the decade since PPM was rolled out, radio has changed dramatically as programmers, who, ‘teach to the test’ of PPM’s technical properties, have shortened or eliminated spoken word segments, moved clocks around, and even dumped whole formats. Now, with Voltair providing tremendous insight as a monitoring/measurement tool, this dynamic has accelerated as programmers have proven to themselves the correlation between PPM’s technical underpinnings and raw meter count. Assuming Nielsen refuses to address technical issues raised by Voltair, we can expect this trend to accelerate. Call it the law of unintended consequences where a measurement methodology drives programming decisions, determines careers and discards content, all in service to watermarking success.” Read the entire paper here.
Fly Me to the Moon – Actually the Moons (of Pluto)! TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has been expanding his probes beyond radio deep into the media universe via his international hit Podcast One program “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” This week, he takes his audience of “media freaks” billions of miles across the solar system in advance of NASA’s “New Horizons” mission’s unprecedented fly-by of the Pluto system on July 14. Harrison interviews Dr. Alan Stern, a leading planetary scientist who is the “principle investigator” of this exciting and historic project and the two get into illuminating detail of the solar system’s unfolding new paradigm. There is a lot more to the debate about whether or not Pluto is a “planet” than the mainstream media is indicating… and there is hardly consensus among scientists about the topic. Harrison states, “All these technologically wondrous probes and space satellites are connecting the human nervous system to places that were once considered one-dimensional abstractions, completely out of reach. After all, ‘media’ is the extension of human consciousness by technological means – plain and simple. We used to use drums and smoke signals. Then we accomplished such major feats as laying a trans-Atlantic cable across an ocean. Now we are ‘wiring’ the solar system! Anyone see an amazing pattern here? To listen to Michael Harrison’s exclusive conversation with Dr. Alan Stern, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right hand column of every page of Talkers.com.
New York Festivals Names Winners in 2015 International Radio Program Awards. The winners in this year’s New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards were presented last night (6/22) at the annual gala at Manhattan Penthouse in New York City. The Grand Jury honored RTÉ Ireland with the prestigious title of Broadcaster of Year and TBI Media UK with Production Company of the Year. In addition, three prominent companies earned the coveted Grand Award: New York Philharmonic USA, TBI Media UK, and WNYC-Radiolab USA. Commercial broadcasters from the U.S. that won awards included ESPN Radio, SiriusXM Satellite Radio and Gold Coast Broadcasting’s news/talk KVTA, Ventura, California. The 2015 Grand Jury awarded 3 Grand Awards, 53 Gold trophies, 62 Silver, 58 Bronze, and 117 Finalist Certificates submitted from 32 countries. All entries were judged online by the NYF Radio Awards Grand Jury of radio experts from stations and companies around the globe.
Odds & Sods. Former Cumulus Media executive Marko Radlovic – market manager for Los Angeles stations KABC and KLOS – returns to Spanish Broadcasting System to serve as SVP and West Coast regional manager…..iHeartMedia has a new senior vice president of programming for its New Hampshire stations. Tim Moore is in charge of programming for the station including news/talk WGIR-AM, Manchester; WQSO-FM, Portsmouth; and sports talk WPKX, Portsmouth. He takes over for Jeff Pierce who recently joined Saga Communications’ Portland, Maine station group.
Boston Legends Go to Bat for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Boston talk radio legend Howie Carr (right) chats with WXKS, Boston “Kiss 108” morning personality Matty Siegel (left). The two were at The International in Bolton, Massachusetts for the Ted Rubin Memorial Golf Tournament – a six-year old charity event that has raised more than $1 million for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Dr. Richard Stone’s Leukemia Research. It was Howie Carr’s first live remote since he took ownership of the Howie Carr Radio Network in 2014. Carr jokes, “It’s great to be working with the Jimmy Fund and Dana Farber, especially with an elder radio statesman I’ve always looked up to since my youth – Matty Siegel.”
2015 Gracie Awards. The 2015 Gracie Awards were presented at the New York Hilton on June 22 by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation. This photo shows just a few of the high-profile attendees and winners. (From l-r): Heather Cohen, EVP, The Weiss Agency; Lori Lundin, anchor/reporter WTOP and Gracie winner (also host of the new experimental animal rights show “Vox Animali” on TalkersRadio); Kristen Welch, chair, AWM/F and SVP, global content operations, Discovery Communications, Inc.; Chad Lopez, VP/market manager, Cumulus New York; Kelly Ford, WNSH, New York host and Gracie Winner; Maire Mason, VP/GM WNSH, New York; Valerie Blackburn, VKB Media Consulting and past chair of AWM/F; Pavlina Osta, Gracie Winner; Loren Raye, Gracie Winner and co-host of “The TJ Show,” WODS-FM, Boston; Matt Bosso, WASH-FM, Washington; Emme, supermodel; and Kay Olin, Olin and Associates and past chair of AWM/F.
Madison Rising Releases New Album American Hero RED. That band that bills itself as “America’s most patriotic rock band,” is releasing its American Hero RED album. Madison Rising says the new record is completely remixed and remastered to deliver the cleanest and strongest sound possible. It includes four additional tracks: “Amazing America,” the band’s powerful rendition of the classic Marines’ Hymn, the hauntingly beautiful “Soldier’s Christmas” and its brand-new rendition of the Irving Berlin classic, “God Bless America.” As with the original American Hero album, American Hero RED is anchored by Madison Rising’s best-selling rock rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner.” Originally released in the summer of 2012, both the song and video have become huge hits, catapulting the band into the national spotlight and creating one of the most loyal fan bases in rock music history. The band has recently partnered up with Concerned Veterans for America as well as the Young Marines National Youth Organization and is currently embarking on an ambitious 70-city tour. Madison Rising is on a mission to make great rock music and send a message that American culture is alive and well. Led by navy veteran and former 8404 FMF Corpsman Dave Bray, the band promotes the principles of liberty, independence, smaller government and personal responsibility. For review copies, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charleston Church Massacre/SC Confederate Flag Issue, Obama Uses ‘N-word,’ Pope Francis’ Climate Encyclical, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Taylor Swift-Apple Music Case, and Massive U.S. Govt. Cyber-Breach Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/22). The aftermath of the church massacre in Charleston and South Carolina’s debate over the Confederate flag; President Obama’s use of the “n-word” during an interview; the flap over Pope Francis’ climate change encyclical; the potential candidates for president in 2016; Taylor Swift calls out Apple Music over payments to songwriters and musicians; and concern over the massive security breach at the government’s Office of Personnel Management were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Talkers New York 2015 Is Sold Out. The 18th annual installment of the talk media’s longest-running and most important national convention — Talkers New York 2015 – was declared sold out at the end of business Thursday (5/14). According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “We are gratified by the strong registration response this event has received and we clearly do not like to turn folks away – however, we must abide by New York City’s building codes, not to mention be sensitive to the comfort and safety of our attendees. Plus, intimacy is one of this conference’s historic selling points.” All sessions will be video recorded and posted on Talkers TV shortly after the event for those who could not attend. The convention will be located at the historic India House Club dramatically situated at One Hanover Square in the heart of Manhattan’s financial district. It is an all-day event – 8:45 am to 6:15 pm. For remaining available sponsorship information, please call 413-565-5413. To see the latest agenda, please click here.
Programmer Moves at iHeartMedia Denver. A change in title – and a promotion – for iHeartMedia’s Greg Foster as he moves from SVP of programming to vice president of news, talk and sports for the Denver station group that includes news/talk outlets KOA “Newsradio,” KHOW “TalkRadio 630,” and KKZN “Real Talk 760.” Foster is and will continue to be a brand coordinator for the company’s news/talk and sports stations. With Foster’s new position comes the arrival of Josh Everett to serve as program director for KHOW and KKZN. Everett moves west from the company’s Albany cluster where he’s been serving as program and news director for news talk WGY-AM/FM and sports talk WOFX. Foster says of Everett, “Josh is a rising star in our industry. We’re fortunate to have a programmer of his caliber at the helm of these unique spoken word stations.”
WMEL, Cocoa Beach Names Vince Young Program Director. The AM news/talker serves Florida’s Space Coast and owner John Harper says promoting midday talk personality Vince Young to PD is a “great fit.” Harper states, “I am proud to have Vince Young in the position of program director for WMEL Radio. His abilities, knowledge and personality make him a great fit for the WMEL talk radio family. I know Vince has the trust and confidence of everyone here at WMEL Radio to continue the tradition of great talk radio.” Young’s been with WMEL since 2000 in a variety of capacities – working behind the scenes in the production department, while also broadcasting his eponymous political talk show, currently heard from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Young comments, “I love the WMEL focus on local people, news and community, and I’ve been impressed by the diversity of our team. I’m very proud of the exceptional lineup that WMEL has put together, which includes Dave Ramsey, Doug Stephan, Jim Bohannon and Dana Loesch, among other talk show hosts broadcasting nationally right alongside is our powerful local broadcast team with terrific shows that serve our community’s needs.”
WEEI’s John Dennis to Return to AM Show on Monday. About a month after entering rehab for alcohol addiction, WEEI, Boston morning drive co-host John Dennis tells the Boston Herald’s Steve Buckley that he’s going to return to work on Monday, May 18. Dennis tells the paper he’s already met with co-hosts Gerry Callahan and Kirk Minihane. Station general manager Phil Zachary is quoted saying, “After speaking with his doctor and seeing that glint in his eye, it will be good to have him back in his old routine.” Dennis says he did two weeks of inpatient treatment and has been attending an outpatient program that will continue for another month or so. He tells the Herald, “The smartest thing I did was to come out of the alcoholic’s closet, to steal a phrase. The thing that held me back, the thing I was most afraid of, was going public with this and hearing the response and the reaction, or the criticism, whatever. I didn’t know what to expect.” Read the Herald story here.
Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership Summit Takes Place in San Diego. Earlier this week nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey hosted the EntreLeadership Summit in San Diego at the Omni La Costa Resort. Pictured here at the conference are (from l-r): John Maxwell, Pat Lencioni, Rabbi Daniel Lapin, Ramsey, Christy Wright and Chris Hogan. The speakers provided attendees with knowledge on building company culture, communication, work/life balance and organizational health. Ramsey’s EntreLeadership “is the process of leading to cause a venture to grow and prosper, combining the innovative spirit of an entrepreneur with the passion and drive of a leader. This philosophy is how Ramsey has grown his highly successful company and trained his leadership team since day one.”
Nielsen Audio Releases Fourth Round of April 2015 PPM Data. The fourth of four rounds of April 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The April 2015 survey period covered March 26 through April 22. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Odds & Sods. Sports radio pro Anita Marks is taking on a weekend talk show at ESPN O&O WEPN-FM, New York and will serve as a daily contributor, including anchoring SportsCenter updates. Her weekend program will air Sundays at 11:00 am. Marks was most recently with NBC Sports Radio. She’s also done work for CBS Sports Radio, the MSG Network as well as CBS RADIO’s WFAN, New York…..At pubcaster WFPL, Louisville, James Bickers comes aboard full time as the local host and producer of NPR’s “Morning Edition” and Jonathan Bastian is named the new midday host and producer of the Diane Rehm show, “Fresh Air with Terry Gross,” “Here and Now” and Kentucky’s statewide newscast…..CBS RADIO’s Philadelphia cluster – including news/talk WPHT, all-news KYW, and sports talk WIP – are continuing their relationship with the largest high school rowing event in the world: Stotesbury Cup Regatta presented by Toyota. CBS Radio Sponsorship Group serves as the marketing, media and sponsorship arm for the Stotesbury Cup which has been held continuously on the Schuylkill River since 1927, attracting almost 6,000 high school athletes from some 200 high schools and brings in more than 30,000 spectators over two days.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is now heard on new affiliate WOMI-AM/FM, Owensboro, Kentucky…..“Armed American Radio” with host Mark Walters adds 13 new affiliates including: KNTH, Houston; WWTC, Minneapolis; WGKA, Atlanta; and KYKN, Salem, Oregon…..“Motley Fool Money” with host Chris Hill is now heard on three new Virginia signals: WMNA, Gretna; WIQO, Lynchburg; and WBZS, Roanoke…..“Extreme Genes Family History Radio” adds affiliates KELY, Ely, Nevada and WMXI, Laurel, Mississippi.
Obama Georgetown Speech and Michelle Obama Racism Commencement Tied Atop Talkers TenTM for Week of May 11-15. The content of a speech delivered this week by President Obama at Georgetown University and First Lady Michelle Obama at Tuskegee University last weekend tied for the top spot on the Talkers TenTM as the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week. At #2 was discussion about the political aspects of President Obama’s Pacific Rim trade bill. Coming in at #3 was the case of the deadly Amtrak derailment followed by the Baltimore riots/protests aftermath at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Price: Covering Breaking News at the Worst Time. Last night’s deadly Amtrak train crash in Philadelphia caught many news outlets by surprise and, according to ABC TV director, business continuity Howard B. Price, even the big networks that were on the scene late into the evening made plenty of mistakes. But, he says, local stations need to prepare for the unexpected. “Regardless of the size of your station, or its resources, you simply have to be ready to cover it in a timely, comprehensive and authoritative way. It’s why you have a license. If you were watching cable news last night, you saw waaaay too much speculation as to cause…and more than anything else, you saw talent talking more than they were listening. You also saw stunning displays of what happens when you thrust ill-prepared anchors into continuous coverage and not give them much substance to work with.” Preparing to cover such a news event, especially for a smaller station, takes plenty of foresight and hard work. Price provides some detailed advice for strategizing this preparation. Read his entire story here.
Chris Brown to Be Syndicated in Ramsey-Salem Partnership. The new Christian financial radio program starring pastor and speaker Chris Brown is called “Chris Brown’s True Stewardship” and will launch in June. The joint effort by Dave Ramsey’s Ramsey Solutions and Salem Media Group will debut the show on Salem-owned Christian teaching outlets in 20 markets including Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia and Atlanta. Dave Ramsey says, “Creating a Christian radio show, hosted by Chris Brown, allows Ramsey Solutions to help even more Americans take control of their money. Chris has been speaking to crowds in excess of 10,000 attendees with an incredibly positive response. He is the perfect person to host this new half-hour show!”
Jodi Becker to Leave WTMJ, Milwaukee for Family Reasons. In a memo to staff at Scripps Milwaukee, VP/GM Tom Langmyer praises news anchor Jodi Becker for her work with news/talk WTMJ as he announces she’ll be resigning from the station on May 29 in order to spend more time with her young children. Langmyer writes, “Jodi Becker has been a part of the WTMJ family since 2009. She’s been a leader in our newsroom and a strong voice at WTMJ. During the past few years, Jodi continued to grow greatly as she moved into Wisconsin’s ‘Morning News with Gene Mueller.’ When the structure of the program changed to have more of Gene and Jodi, the news content was broadened and a more conversational approach was added – Jodi excelled even further. Jodi and the ‘Wisconsin’s Morning News Team’ are a big reason for the incredible growth in WTMJ’s overall ratings in the past year or so.
Scott Van Pelt to Leave ESPN Radio Show for SportsCenter Gig. Announced at the ESPN Upfront presentation in New York City on Tuesday was the news that ESPN personality Scott Van Pelt will exit the SVP & Russillo show (co-hosted by Ryen Russillo) later this summer as he transitions to his new role with the sports giant hosting the midnight edition of the cable network’s iconic “SportsCenter” show. ESPN signed him to a new, multi-year extension in the process and says “Van Pelt will put his own, unique spin on the day’s news and highlights while offering the commentary, guests, interviews and insight fans have come to expect from the host of ESPN Radio’s SVP & Russillo.” Van Pelt comments, “It was going to take something remarkable for me to consider a day that didn’t include radio, and this would qualify. To be allowed and empowered to bring some of the sensibility of radio to this space is fantastic.” ESPN Radio has made no comment about what will appear in place of SVP & Russillo on the network.
Nielsen Audio Releases Second Round of April 2015 PPM Data. The second of four rounds of April 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. The April 2015 survey period covered March 26 through April 22. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
New Sleeping with Sirens Podcast to Launch on Podcast One. The Norm Pattiz-founded audio-on-demand platform Podcast One is bringing a new music-oriented program to its stable with the new “We Like It Loud” podcast from Sleeping With Sirens frontman Kellin Quinn. Quinn is also co-founder of the clothing line Anthem Made. Podcast One notes that the band has “102 million streams, 83 million music video views and a debut at #3 on Billboard’s Top 200,” and now the band will being this podcast from the road on its “We Like It Loud” summer tour. Podcast One CEO Norm Pattiz states, “Kellin and Sleeping with Sirens are in the center of the rock scene and continue churning out hits, while focusing heavily on their fans through social media. It will be very exciting to give music fans an insider look at their favorite bands, while incorporating the unique dynamic of taking fans on the road with Quinn and SWS’ upcoming summer tour.”
Odds & Sods. The new vice president of programming for Genesis Communications is Tom Paleveda. He comes to Genesis’ Florida operations from his most recent post with Galaxy Communications of New York and assumes the role vacated by Len Weiner who became PD at Lincoln Financial Media’s sports talker WAXY, Miami in March…..Chicago news pro Robin Robinson adds a new three-hour Monday evening show titled “Robin’s Nest” on urban talker WVON, Chicago to her radio duties. The longtime WFLD-TV, Chicago news anchor recently signed on with CBS RADIO to serve as fill-in anchor on all-news WBBM-AM…..Singer Josh Groban addressed his concerns over alleged ticket price gouging by a Philadelphia venue on Chris Stigall’s WPHT morning show. Groban is appearing in Philly in September and claims he switched venues after learning the first theater was adding $20 to each ticket…..SiriusXM announces that two of the head writers for the David Letterman show will join the satcaster to serve as creative contributors to the “Opie and Jim Norton” show as well as other programming. Brothers Eric and Justin Stangel are Emmy Award-winning writers who’ve been with the Letterman show since 1997…..The Detroit News reports that Cumulus-owned WJR is getting into the bidding process for the play-by-play rights to Detroit Tigers baseball. Currently, CBS RADIO’s WXYT-FM “The Ticket FM 97.1” and WXYT-AM have the rights that end in 2015. The paper also reports that Greater Media sports outlet WMGC “Detroit Sports 105.1” is interested in bidding for the rights. CBS has owned the broadcast rights since 2001.
Tucson Talker to Attempt Guinness Record. The record talk host Jim Parisi of KEVT, Tucson “PowerTalk1210” is shooting for is the Most Interviews in a 24-Hour Period, and he hopes to crack the 350 mark between 10:00 am on May 24 through 10:00 am on May 25. Because it’s Memorial Day Weekend, the One Mart Corporation-owned talk station is attempting the record in honor of America’s veterans who sacrificed for their country. Money will be raised for local veterans’ groups during the attempt. The first 50 or more interviews will be with local veterans, face-to-face in the PowerTalk studios. Parisi says, “Our veterans lay down their lives for us. They sacrificed so that we may enjoy freedoms, one of which is freedom of speech, and broadcasters should never forget that. So a handful of dedicated people at our station will be slightly uncomfortable trying to function for 24-hours without sleep, honoring our servicemen and women, past and present. It’s a simple gesture and the least we can do.”
Michelle Obama Racism Speech, Baltimore Aftermath, Patriots and Tom Brady ‘Deflategate’ Sanctions, Bush-Christie Iraq War Flap, North Korea Executions, Nepal Aftershock, Kerry Visits Putin in Russia, Obama Trade Bill, and South China Sea Military Operations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/12). First Lady Michelle Obama’s commencement address at Tuskegee University in which she discussed her racism experiences; the political and legal aspects of the aftermath of the Baltimore riots and protests; the controversy over the NFL’s sanctions against the Patriots and Tom Brady after the “deflategate” issue; New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s criticism of Jeb Bush’s statement he would have approved Iraq War; the recent spate of executions of government officials in North Korea by Kim Jong Un; Nepal’s suffering a large aftershock to the quake that hit two weeks ago; Secretary of State John Kerry visits Russia and Vladimir Putin; the rancor over President Obama’s trade bill; and the U.S. military’s pondering action in the South China Sea to counter China’s military activities there were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Rich Zeoli Named PM Drive Host at WPHT, Philadelphia. Evening personality Rich Zeoli will move from the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot on CBS RADIO’s WPHT, Philadelphia to the afternoon drive slot being vacated by Dick Morris beginning November 5. Morris has been partnered with Gary R’nel in afternoons since January of 2013. He’s exiting the radio business to return to political consulting full time. CBS RADIO SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield says, “We are thrilled that Rich is moving to afternoons at WPHT. He’s a smart, energetic, entertaining talk show host who can tackle a variety of issues that relate to his audience.” Zeoli comments, “This is a passionate town and we have opinions on everything. I love nothing more than challenging the audience and they challenge me right back. There are many local issues that impact our lives and we need a place to talk about them. That’s what the show is all about and what I plan to bring to afternoon drive on WPHT – a place for the Delaware Valley to talk. I’m just as interested in talking about pop-up beer gardens as I am about NSA spying. What makes this town like nowhere else in America is its passion, and we’ll share a lot of passion on the drive home together.” There’s no comment at this time from WPHT on the status of R’nel after Morris exits.
Round Two of October PPM Data Released. The second of four rounds of October 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. The survey period was August 14 through September 10. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Cooke: DEVOUR iPhoneReporting.com. Radio consultant Holland Cooke is urging news and news/talk professionals to follow the advice he offers in this column to help give your station a chance to compete in the evolving media world. The first tip: DEVOUR WTOP, Washington reporter Neal Augenstein’s iPhoneReporting.com site to learn all the tips and tricks for using the Apple product for news purposes. And pay special attention to that built-in camera. Cooke says, “Beyond improving/refining/optimizing audio gathering, a smartphone camera can capture the photos and video that stations need to compete for ad dollars that are shifting from legacy media to digital.” He goes on to say that it’s the perfect tool for making your station indispensable again. “There’s mounting evidence of the value of radio reverting to local content, which got clobbered during draconian post-consolidation bloodlettings, and as sound-alike syndicated programming seems to have run its course.” For more about the intersection of digital tools and radio, read Cooke’s column here.
Odds & Sods. The Associated Press is reporting that WMAY, Springfield, Illinois talk show host and news pro Greg Bishop is joining the Illinois News Network to be the voice of the INN’s radio efforts. The organization – a reporting service focusing on economic policy and government started by the Illinois Policy Institute in 2012 – is developing a radio division and is bringing Bishop aboard to lead that project. Bishop will continue to host his “Bishop On Air” program on WMAY…..The NBA’s Phoenix Suns and Bonneville’s sports talk simulcast “Arizona Sports” heard on KTAR-AM and KMVP-FM ink a deal to continue broadcasting Suns play-by-play on the stations. This is the 39th season for Suns hoops on KTAR-AM – dating back to when the station was a news/talk outlet. In addition to the games and ancillary programming, a “Suns Spotlight” feature will air on sister news/talker KTAR-FM…..Total Traffic Network Milwaukee staffer Andi Miller is leaving the company to relocate to Wausau, Wisconsin where her husband has accepted a position. Miller has been a regular voice on Journal Broadcast Group’s news/talk WTMJ and adult hits WLWK “The Lake.”
Bressler: Ad World Moving to Buy ROI. During yesterday’s investor conference call, iHeartMedia president and CFO Rich Bressler spoke at length about the company’s plans to become the number one multi-platform media company – the underlying company goal that was the force behind the name change from Clear Channel to iHeartMedia. But from a sales standpoint, Bressler told analysts that, “The advertising world is moving to buy ROI – return on investment – not ratings or impressions as it does today, and we stand to greatly benefit from this trend since we provide huge ROI reflecting our audience size, our scale and the impact we have, none of which have been fully monetized.” The goal of reaching Millennials is important to Madison Avenue and Bressler noted the 4th annual iHeartRadio Music Festival, held last month in Las Vegas, saw social media impressions double from the previous year “reaching over five billion which is on par with the Academy Awards and more than twice the size of the Halftime Show of the Super Bowl.” He says 80% of social media posts related to the festival came from the 18-35 demographic. Bressler delivered the latest data about the iHeartRadio platform saying it now has 56 million registered users and total listening hours are up 10% compared to the same quarter a year ago. Looking at the financials, iHeartMedia reported a net revenue increase of 1% and Bressler said that although the radio industry experienced a soft Q3, the company outperformed the markets based on Miller Kaplan data.
Melissa Etheridge and Ingrid Michaelson to Perform at National Radio Hall of Fame Induction. This is the first Los Angeles induction ceremony after 24 years of the National Radio Hall of Fame event taking place in Chicago. On November 9 at the Cicada in downtown Los Angeles, Charlie & Harrigan, Barry Farber, Ira Glass, Stanley E. Hubbard, Jon Miller, Agnes Moorehead and Dick Orkin will be inducted. Performing at the event will be Melissa Etheridge and Ingrid Michaelson. In addition, a special tribute to Casey Kasem will take place. National radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig Kitchin says, “This is an event that brings us all together to honor and celebrate the best in our business. We have an opportunity to show our support and ensure the vitality of this institution by attending. And if that’s not possible, please consider making a donation to the Museum of Broadcast Communications, which provides a showcase for the National Radio Hall of Fame in Chicago year round.” Noted broadcasters participating in the ceremony will include Ryan Seacrest, Larry King, Rick Dees, Delilah, Michael Jackson, Kerri Kasem and more.
iHeartMedia’s Hartley Adkins Elected RAB Board of Directors Chairman. At its annual board of directors meeting the Radio Advertising Bureau announced new officers and iHeartMedia EVP major markets Hartley Adkins was elected chairman. Also on the board are (RAB duties noted in parentheses): Hubbard Radio chair and CEO Ginny Morris (vice chair); Cox Media Group EVP radio Kim Guthrie (finance chair); Commonwealth Broadcasting president and CEO Steve Newberry (secretary); Cromwell Group president and founder Bud Walters (immediate past chair). Newly elected board members are: Hubbard Radio president and COO Drew Horowitz; Alpha Media EVP southern region Bill McElveen; Emmis COO and CFO Pat Walsh; and Journal Broadcast Group EVP Steve Wexler.
Ebola Pandemic Concerns, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Prospects, Hillary Clinton Jobs Creation Statement Flap, Battle Against ISIS/Domestic Terror Threats, Weather Channel Founder on Climate Change, and World Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/28). The continuing concerns about the spread of the Ebola virus and the U.S.’s policy regarding international travel and quarantines; next week’s mid-term elections and chatter about the presidential prospects for 2016; controversy over Hillary Clinton’s comment that businesses don’t create jobs and her attempts to clarify the statement; the progress of ISIS in Iraq and the increase of “lone wolf” domestic terror attacks; Weather Channel founder John Coleman’s challenging the climate change theory; and the Royals-Giants World Series were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Will Nielsen’s Dominance in Online Measurement Hurt Radio Buys? According to some analysts – most notably J.P. Morgan’s Doug Anmuth – the answer is yes. In a piece published at MediaPost News by Joe Mandese, Anmuth asserts that Nielsen’s Online Campaign Ratings is growing in acceptance and may become the dominant “currency” for digital ratings and that it will drive ad budgets from TV and radio to digital. Mandese writes that though some marketers and agencies prefer comScore’s vCE ratings system used to plan, buy and validate online ad buys, Nielsen’s dominance in the ratings in other media will give it the ability to leverage that into cross-platform ratings. With YouTube’s recent adoption of Nielsen’s ORC system, it’s being predicted by Anmuth the move could “drive material change in TV buyer behavior.” Similarly, Nielsen’s imminent rollout of its streaming audio measurement will affect radio buys. Anmuth writes, “Just as we are seeing a shift in digital video measurement with YouTube, we expect streaming music providers including Pandora to gravitate towards partnerships with traditional measurement providers. Nielsen is deeply engaged in developing the technology to measure streaming radio and it is working to fully integrate Nielsen Audio.” Check out the story here.
Emmis Net Revenue Up 3.4% — on Strength of Publishing. The loss of political advertising that all broadcasting companies are dealing with – the fall of 2012 was a good year for that sector and Emmis’ fiscal Q3 measures September, October and November – affected the company’s 2013 Q3 to 2012 Q3 comparison and the result was a 0.4% increase in revenue for Emmis’ radio division. The publishing segment of the business carried the day with a 9.8% increase in net revenue. Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan says in a statement, “The government shutdown in October, coupled with non-recurring political revenues from the prior year, caused significant headwinds for us and the radio industry. However, Emmis’ ability to grow revenues despite these challenges is a testament to the talent, ingenuity and hustle of the Emmis team. Our radio revenues are rebounding in our fourth fiscal quarter as these challenges have abated and our publishing division continues to post impressive revenue gains. NextRadio, the Emmis-led industry initiative to make FM broadcast radio available on mobile phones via a pre-loaded app, continues to gain momentum and recently exceeded 100,000 activations. I’m excited about the progress we are making and the momentum we have heading into calendar 2014.”
TalkersRadio Hits the Ground Running for 2014 with New Hosts, Shows and Programming Directions. TalkersRadio, the “experimental” talk radio station launched last fall by TALKERS magazine to provide the industry with a “work out space” and “showcase for new talk programming concepts” has, according to its general manager David Bernstein, “hit the ground running” in 2014 with the announcement of several new hosts and shows scheduled to join its programming roster this month. Set for launch this weekend (1/12) is “Radio Lifeboat with DG & Mickey Gooch,” described by Bernstein as “a raw, emotion-packed ‘reality’ show that sure ain’t no cruise.” The one-hour-per-week program, emanating live on Sunday evenings at 7:00 pm ET from Malibu, California, is hosted by the mother/son team of Diane “DG” Gooch and her son Mickey Gooch. The show is basically a weekly therapy and educational support session helping people and families overcome the challenges of addiction. Also debuting this month (1/25) is a new program from Lionel – one of the most iconoclastic, impossible-to-peg, and intellectually stimulating talk show hosts of the modern era. A veteran of such major outlets as WABC and WOR, New York among others, as well as being a podcast pioneer at lionelmedia.com the quirky, satirical and extremely original observer of the human condition has been enjoying tremendous success conceiving, writing, producing and performing daily commentaries on the heritage WPIX-TV, Channel 11 for the past four years in New York City where the ex-prosecutor’s also added his insight and experience as its resident legal analyst. However, he has not forgotten his roots in and love for radio and promises that his 9:00 am to 10:00 am Saturday show will provide Lionel enthusiasts around the country with a version of his work that is “like nothing they have ever heard before. This will truly be Lionel unchained!” Another program getting readied for launch on TalkersRadio in either late-January or early-February is “The Hard Question with Blanquita Cullum.” Hosted by veteran talk show host, Washington-insider, and former member of the United States Broadcasting Board of Governors, Blanquita Cullum, the one-hour-per-week show will cover the hottest and most-pressing economic, environmental and political issues facing the country from a non-partisan, non-ideological perspective. Cullum tells TALKERS, “I’ve been in this business too long to mess around playing the old right versus left game that is quickly getting us nowhere. It is time to get serious – especially having this marvelous platform upon which to perform – and dust off the old journalism skills. Just as the name implies, I will be asking big shots and policy makers from the worlds of energy, finance and government the hard questions. None of that easy, puff-piece stuff. This show is going to get down, dirty and real!” These new shows will join the already-developing programs on TalkersRadio that include “The Brent & Meg Radio Show” hosted by the dynamic husband/wife duo Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald, “Green Connections” hosted by Washington, DC-based energy and sustainability expert, journalist Joan Michelson, “Healed Planet” hosted by well-known talk media star Alan Colmes, “The Robbie Student Show” hosted by record producer and urban philosopher Robbie Student, and “The Talkers Show” hosted by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison. To read more about TalkersRadio, check out a full feature story posted today by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey by clicking here.
Regan Communications Group Names Kahn EVP/Sports Media. Former Entercom vice president and New England market manager Julie Kahn joins public relations firm Regan Communications Group as executive vice president of sports/media. Over and above that, she will be a special advisor to company president/founder George Regan, who comments, “Julie Kahn’s talents, skills, mind, and passion for this business are a grand slam for our company. This is a great start to our new year.” Kahn “had the pleasure” to work with Regan Communications for the nearly 14 years that she was with Entercom. “I am excited to become part of the management team and help Regan continue its growth and success,” she remarks. Among Kahn’s new duties will be working with her former employer – Entercom, Boston – which is one of Regan’s clients. In addition to being a board member of the Boston Sports Museum, Kahn is on the Boston board of directors for the National Sports Management Network. The holder of a JD/MBA from Northwestern University, Kahn began her radio career in WGN, Chicago’s sales department; was general manager of KSAN, San Francisco; and vice president/director of sales for Susquehanna, San Francisco.
Baldwin/McCullough Show Auditions on WNYM, New York. With the move of talk personality Curtis Sliwa to crosstown WABC, Salem Communications news/talk WNYM “Am 970 The Answer” is putting the XtreMedia-produced Baldwin/McCullough program on this afternoon and next Friday as an audition. Actor Stephen Baldwin and media entrepreneur and talk host Kevin McCullough have been hosting the Baldwin/McCullough program as a weekend show for the past several years. Also, Iowa-based talk personality Steve Deace is set to audition in the afternoon drive slot on WNYM next Monday through Thursday.
Midday Changes at Entercom’s ’95.7 The Game’ in San Francisco. The late morning show featuring Sean O’Connell, Matt Steinmetz and producer Justin Kleisley is out and program director Jason Barrett announces “friends since high school” Guy Haberman and John Middlekauff are partnering up for the new 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program. Haberman serves as host of the station’s pre- and post-game shows for Oakland As broadcasts and was host of the evening show at KGMZ during 2013. Middlekauff was West Coast scout for the Philadelphia Eagles for the past two years and served as an NFL analyst for the station since the beginning of the 2013 NFL season. The new pair begin hosting the “Mid-Morning Show” on January 20. Matt Steinmetz had been working at KGMZ in the late morning daypart for the past 18 months. He was joined by O’Connell last February.
Julie Buehler and Geoff Bloom Re-Up with KXPS, Palm Springs. The “Buehler’s Day Off” afternoon drive show at CRC Media West-owned sports talker KXPS, Palm Springs “Team 1010 KXPS” will continue with the station through this year. Sports media pro Julie Buehler and co-host Geoff Bloom joined the station in June of 2012. Buehler comments, “I love the Coachella Valley! Love the vibrancy, the spectrum of sports fans and the rich culture and I’m honored to be a voice for such a passionate community. I know with the vision from CRC Media West and our team’s ability to execute such a thorough game plan, 2014 will be even more groundbreaking, history-making fun than the past 18 months.”
Dan Le Batard Has Baseball Hall of Fame Vote Taken Away. In November, WAXY, Miami and ESPN Radio personality Dan Le Batard – also a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America (which votes for Hall of Fame players) – gave his vote to Deadspin.com in a protest saying his vote has become pretty worthless in the “sanctimonious” atmosphere of the process. There’s a rule against that and the BBWAA board of directors voted to strip Le Batard of his vote this season and beyond. He also will not be able to cover any baseball event this season as a sanctioned BBWAA member.
New Morning Show at WRSO, Orlando. At sports talker WRSO, Orlando “810 CBS Sports Radio,” there’s a new morning team in the 7:00 am to 9:00 am slot. Former TV anchor Dave Baumann and local radio personality Big Joe are taking over the slot. The station is owned by Star Over Orlando and it says the program will soon also be heard on the 93.1 frequency as well.
Odds & Sods. All-newser KNX, Los Angeles continues its “KNX on Your Corner” series on January 31 when it takes an in-depth look at the unique aspects of the Crescenta Valley communities lying between the San Gabriel Mountains and the Verdugo Mountains: La Crescenta-Montrose, La Cañada Flintridge, Sunland and Tujunga. The CBS RADIO station will broadcast live from the Black Cow Cafe in the heart of Old Town Montrose. News anchors Tom Haule and Vicky Moore will kick off the day from 5:00 am to 9:00 am, Frank Mottek will host the “KNX Business Hour” from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm and Chris Sedens and Diane Thompson will be on hand from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm…..KSCO, Santa Cruz talk host Ethan Bearman will host the KSFO Talk Show from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon on Cumulus Media’s KSFO on Monday and Tuesday January 13 and 14. The slot currently has no permanent host…..Talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs – syndicated nationally via Genesis Communications Network – celebrated her 5th anniversary on the radio yesterday (1/9). She tells TALKERS magazine that she began her radio career five years ago on KLAV…..MSNBC shuffles its daily lineup after the departure of Martin Bashir. Alex Wagner moves into the 4:00 pm ET slot previously held by Bashir and the network will feature a rotating cast of hosts for Wagner’s 12:00 noon slot – including Joy Reid who’s been sitting in the 4:00 pm slot lately…..For the 3rd consecutive year, Entercom’s WEEI, Boston will serve as the official radio partner for the 2014 Pan-Mass Challenge August 2 and 3. The PMC – a 190-mile bike event starting in Sturbridge, Massachusetts and ending in Provincetown and the tip of Cape Cod – is the largest single athletic fundraising event in the country and, since 1980, has raised more than $414 million for the Jimmy Fund, which supports adult and pediatric patient care and cancer research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The “Savage Nation” show hosted by Michael Savage is added to the programming at the following stations: WCFO, Atlanta; WVGG, Lucedale, Mississippi; WLBY, Saline, Michigan; KBHS, Hot Springs, Arkansas; KVPI-AM, Ville Platte, Louisiana…..Business talk host Phil Grande’s “Phil’s Gang” show is added to the lineup at KDWN, Las Vegas…..Cumulus Media Networks’ Mark Levin is now heard on WFNC, Fayetteville, North Carolina; WVLK-FM, Lexington; WFNR, Blacksburg, Virginia; KFAY, Fayetteville, Arkansas; and WALG, Albany, Georgia…..Conservative/libertarian Genesis Communications Network-syndicated talk host Jason Lewis is added to the program schedule at KZRG, Joplin, Missouri…..From WYM Media, the Leslie Marshall show joins the programming at KABQ, Albuquerque and Phil Hendrie’s program is now heard on KNEW, San Francisco and KTNF, Chico/Redding, California…..“Freedom Feens” with Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi is added to the programming at WVFT-FM, Tallahassee; WYOO-FM, Panama City, Florida; and KENN-AM/FM, Farmington, New Mexico.
Chris Christie Scandal Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 6-10. The Fort Lee lane closure scandal that’s rocking New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s administration was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week making it the #1 story on the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was former Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ book Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War (Random House 2013), which criticizes President Obama and his administration. Following at #3 was the “polar vortex” chilling much of the nation tied with the companion topic of global warming and at #4 was Janet Yellen being confirmed chief of the Federal Reserve. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Mike Francesa’s A-Rod Interview Creates Media Blitzkrieg in NYC. When embattled New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez (lower right) stormed out of his grievance hearing with MLB officials and went straight to WFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa to kvetch to him, the New York City media reacted with such intense criticism of the broadcast that it only goes to cement Francesa’s standing as the most important sports broadcaster in town. Rodriguez left his MLB meeting regarding allegations of PED use and lashed out at the process and expressed his disdain for Commissioner Bud Selig. Local media outlets accused Francesa of being too easy on — or actually downright chummy with – A-Rod. But, Francesa maintains that he asked all the pertinent questions. He told Newsday, “I felt like I asked him every hard question you could possibly ask him. I don’t think there’s anything I could ask him about that wasn’t asked.” Regardless, it was the interview that every media outlet in town has been aching to get and WFAN’s Mike Francesa got it. As TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison puts it, “It seems that the rest of the Big Apple media don’t ‘get it’ regarding the influence and success of Mike Francesa as a talk show host, as indicated by the extent to which they constantly bash, parody and even mock him. They judge him by their own often-hypocritical journalistic standards and don’t understand that by giving him so much attention – even as severe critics – they feed into the very process that makes Francesa so remarkably successful. It is downright comical how they accuse Francesa of being ‘used’ by A-Rod as some kind of media patsy or suck up when in fact it is they — in their fits of transparent jealousy — who are being used by both Francesa and A-Rod. Regardless of whether he does it consciously or inadvertently, Mike Francesa is a master talk show host of sports or any genre from which most others can learn a thing or two about taking ownership of your targeted turf.”
Eastlan Employs E-Surveys to Enhance Methodology. The 1999-formed Bellevue, Washington-based ratings firm will be augmenting current telephone-based methodology with “e-surveys,” which have been tested the past six months. E-surveys will be integrated into Eastlan’s standard methodology in all markets beginning next spring. “E-surveys will not replace our current methodology but rather enhance it,” stresses chief technology officer Bert Hambleton. “The portion of survey respondents recruited electronically will have the choice to participate via e-survey or through a callback on their cell phone.” Eastlan’s main reason to incorporate e-surveys was to increase participation among young radio listeners, and Hambleton states, “The process has worked very well.” During this year’s pilot e-survey project, Eastlan noticed wider participation among 12 – 49s; the most dramatic increase was in participation among 25 – 44s. Eastlan president/chief executive officer Mike Gould comments that, “It is incumbent upon ratings providers to reach a sample that is as representative of the local market composition as possible. Being able to recruit and survey electronically, in addition to our telephone based methodology, will absolutely improve the long-term viability of our affordable radio ratings service. Best of all, we can do so without raising our rates.” E-survey completion rates were slightly higher among women versus men.
The FCC’s Media Bureau Announces Comment Period Opens for AM Revitalization Proposal. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Matter of Revitalization of the AM Radio Service was published in the Federal Register yesterday and therefore the comment period is open through January 21 and reply comments must be filed by February 18. The Commission is seeking comment on a number of proposals designed to afford relief to AM broadcasters and to revitalize the AM radio band, and also is soliciting further proposals for revitalization of the AM radio service.
Odds & Sods. Salem Communications announces it will increase its quarterly dividend to shareholders by 5% making the payment $0.0550 per share to be disbursed on December 27…..There’s a whole lot of Matt Patrick hitting the airwaves next week. The KTRH and KPRC, Houston talk personality will be heard three times per day on Monday and Tuesday November 25 and 26. He’ll do his morning show on KTRH from 5:00 am to 8:00 am and his afternoon show on KPRC from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Then he sits in for KTRH-based syndicated host Michael Berry from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
Marketing Firm CRN International Names Jim Alkon Marketing Director; Promotes Robert O’Mara. Radio marketing firm CRN International announces it names Jim Alkon marketing director, describing his mission “to extend the profile of the company among consumer brands and advertising agencies.” Most recently, Alkon was managing director of his own consulting firm Meetings and Media. At the same time, CRN ups Robert O’Mara to managing director, strategy and business development, and adds two new sales managers: Amanda Alvarez and Maureen Conlin who take the title associate director of strategy and business development. CRN International describes itself as a company, using the slogan, “We Use Radio Differently,” that extends “the boundaries of radio marketing beyond simple spot advertisements and has customized programs to meet specific business objectives. This has kept the award-winning company on marketing’s cutting edge for close to 40 years, serving prominent clients such as Microsoft, Chrysler, Sears, Kellogg’s, Kraft, Major League Baseball, HBO and Unilever.” President and founder Barry Berman states, “We will continue to be part of the conversation in social media, on our recently relaunched website and in tutorial and perspective pieces on how understanding a client’s very specific business objectives is the first step to developing the right customized marketing campaign. We have been able to employ radio in non-traditional ways to achieve results typically way beyond expectations.”
Buffalo Food Pantries Aided by Entercom Thanksgiving Promotion. Entercom Buffalo and the NHL‘s Buffalo Sabres teamed up earlier today (11/21, 7:00 am to 9:00 am) for a Thanksgiving turkey drive to benefit local food pantries. Any donor dropping off a turkey was given two tickets to an upcoming Sabres game, leading Entercom Buffalo operations manager Tim Wenger to comment, “The Sabres stepped up in a big way to help the community by donating the tickets to this cause; Entercom is honored to join the effort.” The event took place in the parking lot at the Entercom Buffalo offices. Tickets distributed there were for games against the Montreal Canadiens (11/27); New York Rangers (12/5); Ottawa Senators (12/10), and Winnipeg Jets (12/17). Entercom-owned sports outlet WGR is the Sabres’ flagship. The New York State cluster also includes news/talk WBEN; CHR WKSE “Kiss”; alternative WLKK; classic rock WLKK HD2 “The Lake”; adult contemporary WTSS “My Star”; sports WWKB; and rhythmic oldies WWWS “Solid Gold Soul.” All proceeds directly benefitted the Buffalo City Mission and the Food Bank of Western New York.
‘SuperTalk 99.7’ Goes Commercial Free for Rescue Mission Radiothon. Cumulus Media’s news/talk WWTN, Nashville “SuperTalk 99.7 WTN” will drop the spots on Monday, November 25 from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm during its annual Cumulus Nashville Radiothon to raise money for the Nashville Rescue Mission. WTN personality Michael Delgiorno will broadcast live on-site at the Nashville Rescue Mission from 7:30 am to 8:30 am. Cumulus VP and market manager Mike Carpenter states, “This radiothon gives the community an opportunity to give back into the community and really help change people’s lives. There are many ways to get involved with charities, but this one is unique because it’s not just about immediate needs. It helps restore their lives and overcome huge hardships. WTN’s listeners are very giving people who always go above and beyond our expectations in supporting the Mission. We look forward to exceeding our goal again this year.”
Miller’s Mission Kicks into Gear for the Holidays. KIDO, Boise morning drive personality Kevin Miller (center, holding the Chex) is surrounded by staffers at the Boise Rescue Mission and KTVB-TV weather anchor Larry Gebert (second from right) as Miller begins another year of “Miller’s Mission.” Miller is broadcasting from a local Walmart (and living there for an entire week) while collecting items to benefit the Boise Rescue Mission.
Tribune to Cut Roughly 700 Newspaper-Related Jobs. The tightening comes as Tribune plans to sell or spin off its publishing operations – which includes The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and Hartford Courant – in order to concentrate more on television stations. In a memo yesterday (11/20), chief executive officer Peter Liguori informed staffers that the publishing operation’s business units will be organized “by function, rather than by geography.” Specifically, according to Liguori’s memo, “We must take better advantage of Tribune’s unique size and reach.” The goal, he wrote, is to “continue investing in the lifeblood of our business: best-in-class reporting, effective sales, and digital growth. Ensuring the long-term strength of our mastheads will, unfortunately, result in the selective reduction of our publishing staff.” Iconic Chicago talk outlet WGN is Tribune’s lone radio property.
ObamaCare Rollout Criticism, Obama Approval Ratings, UN Climate Talks, U.S.-Afghanistan Security Deal, and ‘Knockout’ Attacks Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/21). The scrutiny over the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and the government’s website; President Obama’s sinking approval ratings; the walkout of member nations at the United Nations climate talks; the shaky state of the proposal for Afghanistan’s security beyond 2014; and the rise in incidents of “knockout” game attacks were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Chris Miller
Chris Miller Digital
SHAKER HEIGHTS — “What’s the return on investment?” That’s one of the questions that’s regularly asked by businesses of all types, while trying to make sense of their place in social media. The more honest statement I hear is, “I know I need to be doing more with social media, but I don’t know what I should do.”
I see social media and content marketing make the needle move for businesses, but there’s one thing you have to do before you’ll see results with it: do it correctly.
The first step in doing it correctly is to come up with a plan. So, here are four steps to your new, effective social media strategy, especially designed for radio stations.
By Michael Harrison
Survival is already happening and it isn’t as much fun as it’s cracked up to be as a spectator sport on the Discovery Channel. In the reality show called terrestrial radio, sooner than later, survival will run out of gas. For terrestrial radio, “survival” is simply a slower form of imminent death.
It should be the goal of terrestrial radio to thrive in the digital era.
Thrive? Is that even possible?
SiriusXM Reports Revenue Up 13% in Q2; Net Subscribers Up 38%. The satellite radio company announced second quarter numbers yesterday and reports revenue for that period was $838 million – up 13% over the same period in 2011. Subscriber growth continues this year as the satcaster saw 463,000 self-pay net adds with the total adds for the year at around 1 million. As for the status between Liberty Media and Sirius – or more specifically, Mel Karmazin whose contract expires in December? Karmazin says his duty is clear, “I can assure you that our board and I are interested in trying to accomplish whatever Liberty wants to do as long as it’s in all of our shareholders’ best interests and that there is no issue involving Mel that has anything to do with the current conversations with Liberty at all. Regarding my contract, it doesn’t expire until the end of the year, and prior to the Q3 earnings call, prior to our next call I think the board and I will deal with it.” Liberty Media has been acquiring SiriusXM stock and holds about 46% of the shares. It has twice asked the FCC to declare it in “de facto control” of the company but the FCC has balked.
Saga Communications Has Stable Q2. Net operating revenue was up 0.7% for Saga Communications and station operating expense decreased 4.6% compared to the same period last year to $22 million. On the radio side, operating income from continuing operations for the second quarter of 2012 was $9.56 million – up from the $8.60 million reported for the same period in 2011.
Big Talent Shuffle in Boston; Local Hosts Out at Clear Channel News/Talker. There’s been a major re-alignment of syndicated talent in Boston and two local talk hosts – Jeff Katz and Jay Severin – are dropped from the program schedule at Clear Channel’s Talk 1200 (WXKS-AM). Almost 2 and ½ years ago, Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh left Entercom’s WRKO, Boston – one of his first major market affiliates after going into syndication from home base WABC, New York – to become the anchor of Clear Channel’s crosstown WXKS-AM – Talk 1200. Now, on August 21, Limbaugh returns to WRKO where management has remade the program schedule with tweaks that include current midday talk host Michele McPhee moving to AM drive alongside Todd Feinburg; current mid-morning host Barry Armstrong hosting “The Financial Exchange” from 9:00 am to 11:00 am and fill-in host and morning show contributor Jeff Kuhner now host of the 11:00 am to 12:00 noon program, “The Kuhner Report.” Additionally, Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” with George Noory returns to WRKO in the 1:00 am to 5:00 am slot from CC’s crosstown WXKS-AM. At Talk 1200, Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity now airs live in PM drive where Jay Severin was and Premiere’s “America Now with Andy Dean” is heard in AM drive in place of Jeff Katz. Regarding the elimination of the Katz and Severin shows, Clear Channel Boston’s Joe Mazzei tells TALKERS, “Unfortunately, these are never easy decisions to make. We appreciate their commitment and service to the station/company over the years, and we wish them all the best.” Mazzei would not comment specifically on the status of Talk 1200 program director Paula O’Connor citing privacy issues but it appears her job has also been eliminated. Katz tells TALKERS he can be reached at email@example.com.
Prime Time Continues to Be Trouble for CNN. Though CNN remains a top-of-mind brand for Americans seeking breaking news coverage, its prime time talk-oriented programming is suffering persistent ratings problems. Deadline Hollywood’s Dominic Patten writes that the cable news/talk network hit a 20-year low in the Nielsen ratings during the week of July 30 – August 5. “‘Piers Morgan Tonight’ at 9:00 pm averaged 314,000 viewers overall, with a mere 81,000 in the 25-54 demo, according to Nielsen. That average is the lowest week Morgan has had since he took over Larry King’s spot on January 17, 2011. During the same time slot over on Fox News, Sean Hannity averaged 1,749,000 total viewers and 324,000 in the 25-54 demo. On MSNBC, the Rachel Maddow show averaged 933,000 total viewers that week, with 271,000 in the key demo.” Patten goes on to note, “‘Anderson Cooper 360’ at 8:00 pm averaged 349,000 viewers for the week, also with 81,000 in the demo. Cooper’s 10:00 pm repeat had 97,000 among the 25-54 demo, the sixth lowest the network has had in two decades, but a slight 259,000 average total viewers for the week. That averaged total viewership was the lowest 10:00 pm weekday hour CNN has had in 20 years.”
ESPN New York 98.7 Adds Bill Parcells Appearance to Michael Kay Show. Legendary NFL coach Bill Parcells will make a weekly appearance on WEPN, New York’s Michael Kay show every Thursday at 4:00 pm beginning September 6. The station is also expanding the role of Hall-of-Famer Joe Namath whose “Joe Namath Report” fills a whole hour of the Michael Kay show on Mondays at 6:00 pm during the season. New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan will appear every Monday at 5:15 exclusively on Kay’s program as well. WEPN VP/GM Dave Roberts says, “We’re focused on serving New York sports fans with the best in news and analysis. The opportunity to work with someone like Bill Parcells allows us to deliver unique insight to our listeners. We’re also thrilled to bring football to fans on the FM dial. We anticipate a very exciting fall between our extensive list of weekly contributors and our complete coverage of both the Jets and Giants.”
Fox Sports Daybreak at Dolphins Camp. “Fox Sports Daybreak” co-hosts Andy Furman and Artrell Hawkins are pictured here interviewing Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Jake Long at Dolphins Training camp in Davie, Florida. HBO’s “Hard Knocks” series is following the Dolphins this season and invited the Fox Sports Radio morning program to take part in the camp. During the two-day broadcast, Furman and Hawkins brought listeners an up-close look at NFL training camps, and talked to Long, defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle, Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin and NFL super-agent Drew Rosenhaus.
WRKO Tea Party. Some of the air staff of the new lineup at Entercom’s WRKO, Boston pose for a photo during a remote broadcast of the Howie Carr show from the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum. It was at Monday’s remote broadcast that the station announced its new program schedule, including the return of Rush Limbaugh to the station. Pictured here are (from l-r): PM drive host Howie Carr; AM drive co-hosts Michele McPhee and Todd Feinburg; morning show producer Bill Cooksey; and Howie Carr show producer Nancy Shack.
Magic Matt Alan’s and Shadoe Stevens’ OutLaw Radio Enters Partnership with RadioLoyalty. Radio legends Magic Matt Alan and Shadoe Stevens are partnering with internet radio firm RadioLoyalty to distribute their “OutLaw Radio” 24–hour radio channel. The programming is billed as “a non-stop, high-energy party featuring celebrity and would-be celebrity guests gathered together by radio legends Magic Matt Alan and Shadoe Stevens. It’s talk radio and irreverent humor broadcast from an 1876 Virginia City, Nevada-style Bar in the Hills of Encino, California.” The RadioLoyalty website says, “The network is a spin-off of the original Outlaw Radio ‘show’ — on the air non-stop for more than a decade – and is the brainchild of Magic Matt Alan. Alan was joined three years ago by radio legend Shadoe Stevens, who loved the show and helped expand the brand. He built the programming into a seven day a week, 24 hour radio channel…For more than 10 years, Matt and a roving cast of characters – The Demons of Decadence – have laughed their way through and around some of the most interesting celebrities on the planet with the slogan: ‘We smoke, we drink, we interrupt.’” The programming can be found at RadioLoyalty.com beginning August 11.
Fleetwood Mac Co-Producer Ken Caillat Celebrates 35th Anniversary of Iconic Album with Book and Press Tour. The co-producer of Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” album is available for radio interviews. Ken Caillat was co-producer for the record that went on to become the third best-selling album of all time and tells all the stories of the making of the record in his new book, Making Rumours: The Inside Story of the Classic Fleetwood Mac Album (Wiley 2012). The publisher states, “Ken recalls experiences from an era of excess, that include the endless partying, relationship dramas and creative struggles that ensued, while writing and recording these classic tracks, “You Make Loving Fun,” “Don’t Stop,” “Go Your Own Way,” “The Chain,” among others.” Caillat is available for interviews. Contact Samantha Schipman at Howard Rosen Promotion at 704-249-3951.
Presidential Election, Wisconsin Sikh Shooting Aftermath, London Olympics, and Mars Landing Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/7). The campaign for president in the 2012 elections; the aftermath of the deadly shootings at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin; the 2012 London Olympics; and the landing of the rover Curiosity on Mars were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Judge to Approve Tribune’s Exit from Bankruptcy; Oaktree Capital Plays Major Role. The private equity firm that also backs Townsquare Media and Dial Global will be part of a group of creditors that will bring Tribune Company out of bankruptcy pending the revision of some of the reorganization plans. Judge Kevin Carey overruled the objections of some of Tribune’s creditors in approving the deal to end the bankruptcy protection that began three-and-a-half years ago and the emergence from which is expected to take several months. Also involved are JP Morgan Chase & Co. and Angelo Gordon & Co. There had been speculation that the company may be broken apart, with the publishing arm separated from the broadcasting division that owns 23 television stations and its lone radio property – WGN, Chicago – but that remains speculation as there does not appear to be a plan to sell anything just yet. The FCC must still approve the transfer of the TV and radio licenses.
Public Radio’s “The Takeaway” Ends Morning Drive Run in September. The show that was designed to be a younger-skewing alternative to NPR’s “Morning Edition” will move out of the AM drive daypart, trim down to one hour and be heard in the mid-mornings beginning in September. The show is a collaboration between WNYC, New York and Public Radio International. According to The Current, the show – hosted by John Hockenberry and Celeste Headlee – has 55 affiliate stations with another 15 carrying it on digital multi-cast channels. Due to the fact that it’s live and produced in New York, the show has had a tough time getting West Coast affiliates because it doesn’t seem as fresh several hours later. Beginning September 3, the one-hour version of the show will feed live at 9:00 am ET.
ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike Debut Weekly NFL Show on ESPN. The morning drive duo of Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic (whose radio network show is also simulcast on ESPN2) will host a weekly football show for ESPN beginning Tuesday, September 11 at 3:00 pm ET called, “Mike & Mike’s Best of the NFL.” It’s a 30-minute program that features highlights from the previous week’s NFL games. ESPN says the duo will “count down the top passes, runs, catches, blocks, defensive plays and other categories from around the league. The show will offer footage that NFL fans have not seen in other highlight packages throughout the weekend.”
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Talk show host Joe Crummey (WABC, KFI, KABC, KFYI) sits in for Cumulus Media’s Geraldo Rivera on KABC, Los Angeles both this week and next. He’ll do it from New York next week as he’s also filling in for the WABC, New York show (Geraldo’s heard on both stations) July 23-25…..Shawn Wheat takes an anchor/reporter post with Morris Communications’ KIBW, Topeka and the Kansas Information Network.
Former Opie & Anthony Show Executuve Producer Steve Carlisi Dies. There are not a lot of details about the passing of Steve Carlisi, but the former executive producer of SiriusXM’s Opie & Anthony show is dead, leaving behind a wife and son. Carlisi was let go by SiriusXM from his producer role in 2010 in a round of budget cuts. Most recently he had worked at Shamrock Communications’ WEZX, Wilkes Barre/Scranton. He also served as a producer for the Danny Bonaduce show when it aired at WYSP, Philadelphia.
Programmer Paul Duckworth Returns to Seattle to Lead Fisher’s KOMO. News/talk programming pro Paul Duckworth returns to the Emerald City, where he formerly led the programming department at Fisher Communications’ KOMO and KVI, to once again head up news radio KOMO. He left Seattle in 2002 and programmed several other stations including KLIF, Dallas and WMAL, Washington, DC. He begins his duties at KOMO on April 16 at the station that features morning and afternoon news blocks surrounding local talk hosts John Carlson in late mornings and Ken Schram in early afternoons. Duckworth spent the last year in retirement in Florida.
Keith Olbermann Promises Legal Action as Tumultuous Term with Current TV Comes to an End. Reports of mercurial news/talk TV personality Keith Olbermann’s contentious relationship with management at Al Gore-founded Current TV have been coming out for some time and, despite recent assurances via press releases that everything between the two sides is fine, Current TV has cut the cord and let Olbermann go, replacing him with former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and his new show “Viewpoints.” Current TV had hoped that Olbermann’s “Countdown” show – brought over after his departure from MSNBC – would be the anchor program around which the network could build, but after just nine months the relationship was too strained to continue. Current TV released the following statement on Friday, March 30: “We created Current to give voice to those Americans who refuse to rely on corporate-controlled media and are seeking an authentic progressive outlet. We are more committed to those goals today than ever before. Current was also founded on the values of respect, openness, collegiality and loyalty to our viewers. Unfortunately these values are no longer reflected in our relationship with Keith Olbermann and we have ended it.” Olbermann has fired back via Twitter and is promising legal action. He states, in part: “I’d like to apologize to my viewers and my staff for the failure of Current TV. Editorially, Countdown had never been better. But for more than a year I have been imploring Al Gore and Joel Hyatt to resolve our issues internally, while I’ve been not publicizing my complaints, and keeping the show alive for the sake of its loyal viewers and even more loyal staff. Nevertheless, Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt, instead of abiding by their promises and obligations and investing in a quality news program, finally thought it was more economical to try to get out of my contract…In due course, the truth of the ethics of Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt will come out. For now, it is important only to again acknowledge that joining them was a sincere and well-intentioned gesture on my part, but in retrospect a foolish one. That lack of judgment is mine and mine alone, and I apologize again for it.”
Rush Limbaugh Reports Audience Hikes. During his nationally syndicated Premiere Networks show last week, Rush Limbaugh broke format briefly to talk about his ratings in the wake of the Sandra Fluke controversy. He stated that he usually doesn’t talk about ratings but because of the high-profile assault on his program’s advertisers (and others’) he felt compelled to report ratings were up at all 600 of his affiliates. The Daily Caller reports Limbaugh stated, “The simple answer is that on the range of all 600 radio stations, our ratings are up anywhere from 10% to 60%, depending on the station…And that’s as detailed as I’m going to get…What I mean by that is we could be up 33% on one station, 12% on another – 60% is the top that we’re up on another. We’re up 50% in a number of places.” The increased interest in Limbaugh’s program was predicted by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison as numerous consumer media outlets quoted TALKERS in covering the unfolding story. Addressing the advertiser issue, Limbaugh also stated, “The advertisers who hung in here are going gangbusters, yes. I mean, that’s the simple truth. The only ones who got hurt are the ones who left. And that’s its own tragedy because they left under false, trumped up, unreal pretenses.”
Another Casualty of the Clear Channel Cuts: Cincinnati Programmer Tony Bender. Program director Tony Bender had been with the Cincinnati cluster of stations since it was owned by Great American Broadcasting in the late 1980s. Until Friday he was serving as program director of talk WKRC and sports WCKY. The Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter reports other staffers let go in the latest round of cuts included promotions director Sherry Rowland, traffic reporter Brian Pitts and two other off-air employees.
Coming Tomorrow: The FCC and You – Part 2 – An Explanation of Obscenity. Don’t miss the second in a series of exclusive TALKERS articles by legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman covering the crucial FCC regulatory information of which every license holder and radio station management employee must be aware. Informal surveys of radio station managers indicate that an alarming number of them are dangerously under-informed about the FCC regulations that pertain to them and their stations. TALKERS editors urge managers to take the time to read this free abridgement (of a forthcoming expanded e-book) and share it with their management teams. Information on the purchase availability of the expanded e-book will be announced via TALKERS soon. In tomorrow’s installment, Attorney Weisman covers the FCC’s position on obscenity.
Battle for Control of SiriusXM Is Brewing. Liberty Media Corp has filed a request with the Federal Communications Commission to take “de facto” control of SiriusXM, setting the stage for a battle between Liberty’s John Malone and SiriusXM CEO Mel Karmazin. Malone’s Liberty Media came to the rescue of SiriusXM three years ago with a cash investment of $530 million when the satcaster needed it most. Now, Liberty’s filing is being contested by SiriusXM as it asks the FCC to “dismiss or deny” the petition. Liberty Media only owns 40% of the company and, though there is precedent for a minority shareholder taking control, it’s not common and many deal watchers are quick to doubt that the FCC will grant even “de facto” control to a minority shareholder. Liberty is arguing that certain provisions of the Investment Agreement inked in 2009 have expired and should result in a takeover. But again, numerous experts in the field of corporate takeovers are saying the Liberty FCC filing is unlikely to result in a control change. Most say if Liberty wants control over SiriusXM it is going to have to acquire more shares the old-fashioned way: Buy them.
Cumulus Media Splits Simulcast of Sports WWLS, Oklahoma City; ESPN Radio Takes Over AM Side. The “Sports Animal” radio network continues to be led by flagship WWLS-FM, Oklahoma City with programming sent to six affiliate stations in five Oklahoma markets, but the AM side of WWLS has split off to broadcast ESPN Radio’s programming lineup. The Oklahoman reports the AM station will continue to air Oklahoma City Thunder play-by-play as well as Oklahoma University and Oklahoma State pre- and post-game programming.
Dan McNeil Set to Return to WSCR, Chicago After Month-long Absence. It’s been a bit over a month since midday co-host Dan McNeil took time off from his program at CBS Radio’s sports talk WSCR, Chicago (co-hosted with Matt Spiegel) for unspecified health issues. He recently announced on his Facebook page that he’s ready to return on April 9 and thanked family and friends for their support, assuring them he’s feeling better. Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports that McNeil’s health issues were not disclosed but that colleagues have alluded to McNeil’s struggles with sobriety.
KFI, Los Angeles Management Meets with Black Activists; Promises Plan to Address Staff Diversity. KFI, Los Angeles afternoon drive duo John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou returned to the air this week after a seven-day suspension for insensitive language about Whitney Houston. Clear Channel Los Angeles management – as well as John and Ken themselves – met with a group of black activists to discuss the situation and, according to the Los Angeles Times, KFI is promising to devise a plan to address the station’s lack of diversity. Activist Jasmyne Cannick tells the paper, “KFI has 14 shows, and 13 of them are hosted by white men. There are no blacks in their newsroom. This fosters an environment where insensitive comments like this can happen. And they are not living up to Clear Channel’s statement of a commitment to diversity.” Management didn’t speak to the Times but local activist Najee Ali seems convinced the station is sincere about addressing their concerns. The Times quotes him saying, “The station pledged to make substantive changes in diversity. They are trying to build a bridge. John and Ken really want to put this behind them and move forward. Their voices are needed in Southern California and they have done some good things. We can’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.”
Entercom Reports 7% Drop in Revenue in 2011 Q4; FM Flips a Factor. During a conference call yesterday announcing Entercom Communications’ financial numbers for the fourth quarter of 2011, CEO David Field referred to his company’s station portfolio as having gone through some pretty big changes in the last 12 months with seven format changes – three in two of the company’s biggest markets. Of course he’s talking about blowing up San Francisco’s country KBWF-FM to create that market’s FM sports talk outlet as well as the changes in Boston to give sports WEEI an FM signal. Also, news/talker KMBZ, Kansas City and WBEN, Buffalo were given FM signals at the expense of music FMs. All this means an immediate loss of revenue that the company hopes will be paid back in time. In a statement, Field said, “These moves significantly enhance our future growth potential and are expected to contribute positively to revenue growth commencing in the second quarter. However, they diluted our fourth quarter revenues by 4%. Excluding political and stations reformatted in 2011, fourth quarter revenues were flat. We are optimistic on 2012 growth, bolstered by improving economic conditions, accelerating performance from newly reformatted stations and political advertising. And we are highly encouraged by strong industry fundamentals as innovation accelerates, audience usage trends remain outstanding and radio remains the most cost-effective major advertising medium.”
MSNBC Beats CNN in February Prime Time Ratings. CNN has been working to re-tool its programming to gain back some of the viewers it has been losing but the cable news/talk channel was not able to pull out a victory over competitor MSNBC in February despite the intense GOP primary election season – including a Republican debate – and the death of Whitney Houston. According to TVWeek, MSNBC averaged 988,000 total viewers during prime time in February to CNN’s 804,000.
Schnitt Happens in Detroit. Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt is pictured here in the studios at affiliate station WXYT, Detroit broadcasting live on Tuesday (2/28) as Michigan Republicans went to the polls to vote in the primary election. Detroit was one of Schnitt’s key stops on the road to the Republican National Convention which will take place in Tampa the week of August 27. Schnitt’s program is based at WFLA, Tampa from which he will bring his listeners a full-access pass.
Cumulus Media Networks Touts Affiliation Surge for “Red Eye Radio.” Since changing the tone of the program through the merger of “Red Eye Radio” with the “Midnight Radio Network” hosted by Eric Harley and Gary McNamara, Cumulus Media Networks reports it has added 22 new affiliates to the station’s roster. With major market O&Os WLS, Chicago and WMAL-AM/FM, Washington leading the pack, the network also reports stations including KCMO, Kansas City; WPRO/WEAN-FM, Providence; WGOW-FM, Chattanooga; and KKOB, Albuquerque have picked up the overnight talk show.
WDBO, Orlando Brings Mel Robbins Aboard for Live Midday Show. Cox Media Group’s WDBO, Orlando notes it will be the first time in 11 years the station will have a local weekday talk host when Mel Robbins takes over the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot, bumping Dial Global’s Clark Howard to the 10:00 pm to 1:00 am shift. Robbins hosts the A&E cable show “Monster in Law” and worked for five years as a public defender in Manhattan. The station says when Robbins isn’t doing her radio show or filming for TV she “travels around the country on speaking engagements for Fortune 500 companies. Robbins has appeared with Dr. Phil discussing her life coaching skills and is a regular on Anderson Cooper’s daytime program, ABC’s ‘Good Morning America,’ a bestselling author, and more.” Robbins’ program will originate from her rural Massachusetts farm but will make frequent trips to Orlando.
Cumulus Gives Myrtle Beach Sports FM Better Signal; Splits AM Simulcast Off. Cumulus Media Group is moving 93.9 The Team (WJXY-FM) to the 100.3 dial position currently occupied by CHR i100.3 (WSEA-FM) beginning March 5. There are programming changes as well. The station becomes ESPN Radio 100.3 and takes the ESPN programming with it as well as the local PM drive show hosted by Aaron Marks. He’s the sports director and will be charged with programming the station. The other change is the AM simulcast on WHSC splits off and becomes Fox Sports Radio 1050. That station will air DirecTV/Premiere Networks’ Dan Patrick live, Premiere’s Jim Rome, Fox Sports Radio programming and play-by-play sports including minor league baseball. WJXY-FM is in a trust to be sold. It’s still unclear if Cumulus will simply move the CHR format over to 93.9 while that signal is on the market. Aaron Marks says of the moves, “We are thrilled with the addition of Fox Sports Radio to our cluster of stations. If there has been one complaint about our station I have heard since I started here last July, it is that Dan Patrick is a great show but doesn’t sound good unless it runs live. The additional station will also allow us to provide the proper coverage to all of our local and regional colleges and professional teams. Every team can have a place to call home for all of their games and we’ll be able to add even more play-by-play than ever before at the high school, college, and pro level.”
Salem Radio Network Talk Star Mike Gallagher Broadcasts Live from WHK, Cleveland. In the wake of the tragic deaths of three high school students in the Cleveland suburb of Chardon, Mike Gallagher traveled to Salem Communications’ O&O WHK, Cleveland to broadcast his program live from the area on Tuesday. Gallagher railed against the news that the suspected shooter was bullied. “That’s ridiculous, in my view, to go down this path, of suggesting that bullying is somehow to blame. It might be part of the story, it might be part of the narrative. It might be factual. This kid’s some freak, who’s a goth who acts weird and is anti-social and he’s gonna get picked on. Well, welcome to the real world…please don’t pretend that the kids who can’t handle it, who say they’re bullied, and therefore have to go get a gun and blow kids brains out somehow aren’t evil. That IS evil. E-v-i-l. They are evil monsters who frankly ought to be executed for what they’ve done. This kid ought to face the death penalty for his cold-blooded acts of violence.”
Business TalkRadio Network Announces New Daily Schedule. Beginning March 5, Business TalkRadio Network adjusts its afternoon schedule with the addition of “The Big Biz Show” with Bob “Sully” Sullivan airing from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET; “Catalyst Radio Show” from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm; and the Tom O’Brien show from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. President and CEO Michael Metter states, “Sometimes in life things work out for a reason and this is truly one of those reasons. We are proud about Bob ‘Sully’ Sullivan coming back to BTRN and even more so that he is anchoring our midday block. With ‘Catalyst Radio’ our partners will truly embrace this Superman of the business world along with Tom O’Brien, a seasoned pro in the financial world. You’ve seen them on many of the national television news outlets now experience them on your radio stations through Business TalkRadio Network.”
Virginia Tech and WJFK-FM, Washington Renew Multi-Year Deal. CBS Radio’s Washington, DC sports talk outlet WJFK-FM and Virginia Tech IMG Sports Network strike a deal that will see Hokies football and men’s basketball play-by-play on the station’s schedule through the 2014-15 season. The deal also includes airing of the weekly “Tech Talk Live” show featuring the school’s football and basketball coaches.
Ohio School Shooting Fatalities Grow, GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Campaign, Rising Gas Prices, and Government Waste Report Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/28). The fatal Ohio high school shooting; the Michigan and Arizona primaries and the larger 2012 presidential race; rising gas prices and Iran’s role; and the new report of redundant government programs and the money they are wasting were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Dave Ramsey Helps Celebrate 90 Years for WOR, New York. Nationally syndicated financial talk sensation Dave Ramsey broadcast his program live from the Big Apple on February 27 – the first day his show aired live on WOR, New York’s program lineup. WOR VP/GM Jerry Crowley says, “Rarely in life, even as broadcasters, do we get the opportunity to affect the lives of many in one fell swoop. Well, WOR is doing just that by airing the advice and wisdom of the great Dave Ramsey daily, in our coveted 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm slot on 710am. At a time when the entire Tri-State area is stressed and in need of help with their finances, WOR comes to the rescue with Dave’s sage knowledge and direction which can, and has, changed the lives of many for the positive. We are blessed to have him.” While there, Ramsey helped WOR celebrate its 90th anniversary on the air. Pictured here (from l-r) are WOR personalities Joe Bartlett, Dr. Joy Browne, Ramsey, Joan Hamburg and Dave Spencer.