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Talk Radio Legend Ray Briem Passes Away at 82. Southern California talk radio legend Ray Briem passed away on Wednesday, December 12 at age 82. Briem was a pioneer of talk radio, hosting the overnight program on KABC, Los Angeles from 1967 to 1994. He began his LA radio career at KLAC in 1960. After his retirement from KABC he worked for a short period of time at KIEV. The Los Angeles Times notes that he “consistently drew the highest ratings of any overnight talk host in Southern California, routinely attracting about 15% of the available audience. He was a self-described protégé of Joe Pyne, the legendary in-your-face host of radio talk.” Although recognized for his contributions to the talk radio genre, Briem was a music enthusiast and loved playing records. His career turn to talk was not something he chose willingly. While spinning records at KLAC in the mid-1960s, the station flipped to talk at the behest of Pyne. Briem said he was forced to “love it or leave it.” According to the LA Times, Briem said, “I went into it kicking and screaming. I liked playing the music. I realized what a dumbhead I was. I knew very little about politics or the workings of government, and the first year I was an embarrassment.” Briem adapted and the rest is history. In 2008, Briem was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Current KABC morning host Doug McIntyre was close to Briem and he penned a career tribute to him for TALKERS magazine. Read his tribute here.
It’s Official: Laura Ingraham Joins Norm Pattiz’s Courtside Entertainment Group and Launchpad Digital Media. Yesterday, TALKERS reported that talk media star Laura Ingraham was rumored to be negotiating with Norm Pattiz’s Courtside Entertainment Group to return her nationally syndicated radio program to the air. Now, Courtside confirms the relationship is a go. Here are the details: Ingraham’s program will emanate from flagship WTNT, Washington, DC. Her three-hour talk radio show will return to the air on January 2, presumably in the same 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET time slot. She will also distribute content digitally via Pattiz’s Launchpad Digital Media, a division of Courtside Entertainment Group. Launchpad will digitally stream the live three-hour program online, make it available as an on-demand podcast, and feature new original content from Ingraham’s own Dream in My Head Productions. The Laura Ingraham show will be produced by Dream in My Head Productions with ad representation managed by Courtside. Ingraham states, “I’m thrilled to partner with Norm Pattiz, who helped guide my show after its initial launch in 2001. I am humbled by the outpouring of affection from my listeners over the past few weeks. Courtside’s commitment to our team, our audience, and stations will broaden the national reach of the Laura Ingraham show to new radio markets. The exciting collaboration with Launchpad gives us the opportunity to establish a powerful digital presence — a place where our audience can always find their ‘Healthy Radio Addiction’ on demand. Via Dream in My Head Productions, my team and I are creating original digital programming and new television and multi-media content. I look forward to resuming the conversation with the greatest audience in radio and those who have never listened before — making news, creating laughs, and talking about the things that really matter. People need more laughter and fewer lectures; more fresh insights and fewer stale talking points.” On the deal with Ingraham, Pattiz says, “The wait is over. The most-listened-to woman in political talk is returning to the national airwaves and is making a major move into the on-demand digital space. Laura Ingraham is one of the most popular and well-known personalities in America today. Recognizing the rapidly growing demand for great on-demand digital content, we are honored that Laura has chosen Launchpad to share her wit and wisdom with the widening online audience. Launchpad is currently delivering over 90 million downloads per month, and we are excited to continue adding powerful radio personas like Laura Ingraham to the expanding roster of Launchpad podcast offerings.”
WRKO, Boston’s Jeff Kuhner Leads Child Sexual Predator Bill. Morning drive host Jeff Kuhner is working with Massachusetts State Representative Shaunna O’Connell to craft a package of legislation that would require a mandatory 25-year sentence for persons convicted of child rape. Dubbed the Child Sexual Predator Prevention Act, the bills would also mandate a 40-year sentence for the second offense and a life sentence for the third conviction. Moreover, all level 2 predators would be required to have their information posted online and would be available so the public has access. Kuhner’s action comes after John Burbine was arrested on more than 100 charges of alleged rape and sexual assault of 13 young children. Kuhner notes that currently there is no mandatory sentence for first offense rape of a child in Massachusetts. Kuhner and WRKO will launch a petition on WRKO.com, where they ask constituents to put pressure on Beacon Hill by signing in support of the Child Predator Prevention Act.
Townsquare Media to Flip Bangor, Maine AC to Sports Talk. WEZQ, Bangor will flip from AC to sports talk on January 1 as “92.9 The Ticket” and two sports talk personalities formerly heard in the market on Stephen King-owned WZON will return to the airwaves. Townsquare Media has hired Dale Duff and Clem LaBree to host the two-hour morning show from 6:00 am to 8:00 am. Duff is being given the title brand manager and LaBree will serve as assistant brand manager. The two will also handle local high school play-by-play. The station will be an ESPN Radio affiliate carrying the final two hours of the “Mike & Mike in the Morning” show, “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” “SVP and Russillo” and “Hill and Schlereth.” The station will feature a local PM drive show called “Coach and Company” with Jonathan Coachman and Tim Legler from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Townsquare Bangor GM Tom Preble tells the Bangor Daily News, “This is based on the emergence of sports radio as a whole across the nation…We also wanted to offer a vehicle for our male demographic since we have done very well satisfying our women’s demographics through Q106.5 and Z107.3. We want to cover all the bases.”
TRN Reports Jerry Doyle Show Adding More Affiliates. TRN Enterprises, the arm of Talk Radio Network that syndicates the Jerry Doyle program, reports the show is adding new affiliates to its base of stations inherited when Doyle moved into the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET slot after the departure of Michael Savage from the network. TRN says Jerry Doyle is currently heard on more than 350 affiliate stations. CEO Mark Masters says, “Jerry Doyle is the future of talk radio. He brings massive audiences through word of mouth because he is brilliant and funny, showing both emotional and intellectual range that is beyond rare. Jerry is the vanguard of talk radio’s next evolutionary step, and he has been setting the standard for talk radio’s profitable, saleable and sustainable future for some time now, with commentary that is entertaining, memorable and responsible.”
Odds & Sods. The FCC grants the transfer of the license of WGN, Chicago from WGN Continental Broadcasting Company, Debtor-in-Possession to WGN Continental Broadcasting Company. The move is part of a formality of Tribune’s exit from bankruptcy protection…..Fresno State Athletics, through its exclusive multi-media rights holder, Bulldog Sports Properties, announces it has reached a six-year radio agreement with One Putt Broadcasting and its stations KFIG, Fresno “940 ESPN” and KFPT, Clovis, California “790 ESPN The Deuce.” Beginning with the 2013-’14 athletic season, KFIG will air all football, men’s basketball and baseball games and one-hour seasonal coaches’ shows. Additionally, select women’s basketball, women’s volleyball and softball games will be heard on KFPT.
Broadcaster Tom Jay Dies. Tom Jay (Tom Jaworski) spent his entire career at WSBS-AM/FM, Great Barrington, Massachusetts – working at the stations for more than 40 years. Jay began working at the stations when he was a teenager and, over the course of his career, served as announcer, news anchor, and engineer. He suffered a heart attack and died several days later in Springfield, Massachusetts.
‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle, Portland Mall Shootings, North Korea Rocket Launch, Syria Violence and Egypt Instability Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/12). The political struggle in Washington over the looming tax hikes and spending cuts; the deadly mall shootings in Portland, Oregon; North Korea’s test launch of a long-range rocket; continuing violence in Syria and the U.S.’s recognition of the rebel forces; and the instability in Egypt as citizens protest President Mohamed Morsi were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.