Nielsen Announces Q1 Financials; Revenue Up 4.4%. In announcing the numbers for the first quarter of 2015, Nielsen N.V. reports revenue was down 2.1% due to the impact of foreign exchange, but up 4.4% on a constant currency basis, compared to the first quarter of 2014. CEO Mitch Barns states, “Nielsen’s first quarter results again illustrate the consistency of our business model and strong execution, with 4.4% total company and 10.0% emerging markets revenue growth on a constant currency basis. These results reflect the 35th consecutive quarter of constant currency revenue growth. In addition, we were pleased to raise our quarterly dividend 12%, as we continue to deliver on our commitment to drive ongoing shareholder value.”
SSI’s Bob and Mary Carey Host Rudy Maxa’s World Travel Show from Iceland. Telling us that he guest hosts the program about every six weeks, Syndicated Solutions Inc. president Bob Carey says the latest show he co-hosted with his wife Mary was from the hot new destination – Iceland. Carey’s company syndicates the “Rudy Maxa’s World” weekly travel show. Among the things Carey discovered about the unlikely tourist destination of Iceland is that geothermal energy and technology make Iceland an ideal place to grow hothouse fruits and vegetables and that The Blue Lagoon geothermal health and wellness spa is becoming a popular destination for American and Canadian travelers who can get there in five hours from the East Coast of North America.
Odds & Sods. WTOP, Washington Capitol Hill correspondent Dave McConnell was honored at the Capitol for his many decades of journalistic service. McConnell was recognized by Congresswoman Eleanor Homes Norton by being entered into the Congressional Record. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Mark Warner also delivered thank you speeches in his honor. McConnell recently celebrated his 50th anniversary with the station. McConnell can be heard live each weekday morning and afternoon, just steps from the House floor, in his hourly “Today on the Hill” segments…..CBS RADIO all-news KNX, Los Angeles will present a special program on the high cost of housing in Southern California on Thursday (4/23). The station says that “not only can fewer people afford to buy a house, LA has become one of the most unaffordable rental markets in the country. Add it up and it makes finding a place to live near your job unlikely and often prevents employers from attracting the most qualified candidates.” The show will feature special expert guests and will be hosted by KNX anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman.
No Performance Bonuses for Cumulus Media Executives This Year. The Compensation Committee of Cumulus Media, Inc. awarded no annual incentive compensation nor long-term incentive awards to Cumulus executives in 2014, according to a Definitive Proxy Statement filed with the SEC. The filing notes that the Compensation Committee would have the discretion to grant the applicable target award if “Cumulus achieved budgeted EBITDA goals, and satisfied other objectives related to managing costs, developing content, achieving gains in market share, as well as successes in strategic planning and implementation and optimizing financial liquidity. In reviewing the performance and compensation levels of the executive officers for 2014 at the completion of that fiscal year, the Compensation Committee determined that the quantitative financial performance objectives were not met at the threshold level. As a result, no annual incentive compensation was paid for 2014.” The filing also reports that no equity incentive awards (stock) were granted either. “In light of the size and timing of equity award grants to the named executive officers in 2013, which awards were made in October of that year, as well as data provided by Meridian Compensation Partners LLC with respect to the compensation of the executive officers, general industry conditions and actual Company performance in 2014, the Compensation Committee did not grant any long-term incentive awards to the executive officers in 2014.” So, what did Cumulus officers make in 2014? Here are a few of the numbers: president and CEO Lew Dickey earned $1,456,000 in total compensation; SVP, treasurer and CFO Joseph Hanna earned $554,125; EVP of content and programming John Dickey earned $881,192; SVP secretary and general counsel Richard Denning earned $509,942; and recently retired EVP and co-COO Jon Pinch earned $757,851.
Raising Awareness for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs (right) reports to TALKERS that she’s been assisting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society with its spring campaign and was recently honored to work with six-year-old leukemia survivor Kennedy (left) as Dr. Wachs accompanied her to her first television interview on KSNV-TV.
Iran Nuclear Negotiations/Corker Bill, ObamaCare Subsidies Addressed by SCOTUS, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Baltimore Police Protests, Yemen Military Action, Ben Affleck ‘Roots’ Cover-Up Case, and Bryan Price Profanity-Laced Presser Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/21). The controversy over the Obama Administration’s role in negotiating a nuclear program with Iran and the bill drafted by Senator Bob Corker that would give Congress the ability to approve or disapprove the final deal; the case before the Supreme Court challenging the legality of health care subsidies as provided by the Affordable Care Act; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the protests against the Baltimore police after the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody; the ongoing Saudi strikes in Yemen and the U.S.’ naval presence in the region; chatter about Ben Affleck’s plea to leave his ancestor’s history of slave ownership out of the “Finding Your Roots” program; and Reds manager Bryan Price’s dropping of 77 f-bombs in a post-game press conference were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Rush Limbaugh Seeks Retraction and Apology from DCCC for ‘False and Defamatory’ Statement. Attorneys for Premiere Networks-syndicated talk star Rush Limbaugh are seeking a retraction and apology from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for what is being termed a “false and defamatory” statement regarding Limbaugh’s on-air discussion about consent for sexual relations. Limbaugh attorney Patricia Glaser writes in a letter to the DCCC that the organization purposely took Limbaugh’s words in which he “condemns the notion that ‘no’ means ‘yes’” regarding sexual relations, and edited them to give the impression that the opposite was said. The DCCC then sent the message out via the internet. The question is, does Limbaugh’s attorney have a case? She cites legal precedent in her letter. TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says it would appear that the comments of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee are way off base. “The email went so far as to ask people to contact Limbaugh’s advertisers to voice their disapproval. However, the same First Amendment that protected Rush Limbaugh when he called Sandra Fluke a ‘slut’ and a ‘prostitute’ may well protect the DCCC in their gross mischaracterization of Limbaugh’s remarks. Specifically, as a public figure, in order to be successful in a defamation action, Limbaugh would have to prove that the DCCC acted with malice – that is that they knew what they were saying was a lie or that they acted with a reckless disregard for its truth. Even more problematic for Limbaugh would be that he would have to prove that he was harmed by the comments. In order to be successful in his lawsuit he would have to show that he lost sponsors and/or listeners.” Limbaugh’s lawyer cites two cases that deal with the narrow issue of whether it is libelous if you use the exact words of someone out of context or edited. Weisman says that while the cases support Limbaugh’s position on the matter, he doesn’t think they are wholly determinative of the case. But he adds, “Ironically, merely by exercising his own First Amendment rights and making his threat of a lawsuit, Limbaugh may have already won the battle by presenting his case to the people without even entering a courtroom.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison comments, “Regardless of whether the DCCC apologizes or whatever the results of Rush’s subsequent lawsuit, Limbaugh is doing a service to our culture by bringing this general, nasty trend to the forefront of conversation by saying enough is enough – and that is the tendency by political types of all persuasions, left and right, these days to seek victory at the expense of truth.” Read the entire letter from Limbaugh’s attorney to the DCCC here.
Cumulus Media Reports Flat Q3. The third quarter of 2014 turned out to be flat on a pro forma basis for Cumulus Media. On an actual basis, net revenue was up $51.4 million – or 19.4% — but that was due primarily to the addition of the operations of Westwood One. Digging a little deeper, the company reports that “broadcast advertising revenue decreased by $12.5 million. Net broadcast advertising revenue was down due to ongoing weakness in several large local markets that began in the second quarter of 2014; however, we believe that weakness has now largely dissipated into the early portion of the current quarter. National spot advertising was generally flat as we continued to take share from small competitors. Network advertising continued to see disruption following the acquisition of Westwood One in December 2013. We believe that process of reorganizing our network sales verticals is also now completed. Digital advertising revenue increased by $6.7 million, primarily due to increased Rdio user generation activity and digital commerce generated by our Sweetjack platform. Political advertising revenue increased by $2.9 million due to additional activity associated with mid-term and gubernatorial elections and license fees and other revenue increased by $2.8 million.” For the first three quarters of 2014, Cumulus’ net revenue was up 1.8% on a pro forma basis.
KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas Brings Jim Villanucci Aboard for Afternoon Drive. After suddenly exiting Alpha Media’s KXL-FM, Portland where he was hosting middays, Jim Villanucci resurfaces at CBS RADIO’s KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas in the afternoon drive slot vacated by the departure of talk host Kevin Wall. Villanucci’s first day on the air was yesterday (11/10). Prior to his stint in Portland, he spent almost 14 years at Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque enjoying high ratings in the afternoon drive slot, but exited that post in March of 2013. Villanucci says that although he misses the KXL staffers in Portland, he’s thrilled to be in Las Vegas working with CBS RADIO SVP/market manager Jerry McKenna and programmer Cat Thomas.
WRKO, Boston Helps Raise $115,000-plus for Fisher House. The personalities on Entercom’s WRKO, Boston spent Monday (11/10) broadcasting live from the Seaport Hotel as part of an effort to raise funds for the Fisher House in Boston. Pictured here are Barry Armstrong and Kim Carrigan hosting “The Financial Exchange.” Morning drive personality Jeff Kuhner also was on hand as the station brought in more than $115,000 for Fisher House. Kuhner says, “The WRKO listeners are the best in the country. Hands down. When we ask them to come through, they do. And they do it in a very big way.” The tally was at $98,000.00 just before 6:00pm, when Entercom CEO David Field donated the $2,000 it took to get over the six-figure mark. The Fisher House Boston is a home away from home where military families can stay while a loved one is receiving in-house treatment at one of the medical centers. The homes enable family members to be close to loved ones at the most stressful times.
Odds & Sods. The broadcast rights for Arkansas State play-by-play are re-upped for another five years by East Arkansas Broadcasters. The agreement allows EAB to continue to originate the broadcast of every Arkansas State game in football, men’s and women’s basketball and baseball from the company’s flagship sports talker KFIN, Jonesboro…..SiriusXM signs PGA pro John Daly to host a six-part series on its PGA Tour channel. The show is called “Hit It Hard with John Daly” and will debut in December.
Eric Dickerson Joins Westwood One’s Jim Gray Aboard USS America. Pictured here is Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson speaking with troops aboard the USS America on Monday (11/10). As part of last night’s Westwood One Monday Night Football broadcast, pre-game and half-time host Jim Gray broadcast live from aboard the brand new naval ship USS America and he was joined by Dickerson during the programs. In honor of Veterans Day, both mingled with the sailors and fielded football questions for Monday Night Football weekly contributors Tom Brady and Larry Fitzgerald.
Lame Duck Congress, 2016 Presidential Prospects, President Obama in China/Russia-China Relationship, Fall of Berlin Wall Anniversary, U.S.-Iran Nukes Talks, Battle Against ISIS, Net Neutrality Issue, Early Cold and Snow, Veteran’s Day, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/10). What the lame duck congress may try to accomplish before the GOP majority takes over in January; a look ahead at the prospects for president in 2016; President Obama’s visit to China and the cozier relationship between Vladimir Putin’s Russia and Xi Jinping’s China; the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall; the talks between the U.S. and Iran about the latter’s nuclear program; the fight against ISIS and reports the organization is considering a merger with al Qaeda; the net neutrality issue and President Obama’s weighing in on the matter; an early blast of cold and snow hit the Upper Midwest; the Veteran’s Day holiday and observances across the country; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
It’s Official: Dahl to PM Drive on WLS-AM, Chicago. This story was first tipped by Chicago media writer Robert Feder but now Cumulus Chicago announces that Windy City radio legend Steve Dahl will indeed return to over-the-air radio after a six-year hiatus and he will replace Roe Conn and Richard Roeper in afternoon drive. Dahl has been podcasting for the past five years on a subscription basis and part of this deal is that Cumulus will partner with Dahl to expand his podcasting network. WLS-AM operations manager Peter Bolger comments, “Chicago and WLS are known for great radio personalities. That’s why I’m proud and excited to have Steve Dahl back on ‘The Big 89.’” Dahl states, “I am ecstatic to not only be a part of the Cumulus radio family, but also a partner with them in the podcast network. This is an important new chapter in radio’s future.”
Mancow ‘Takes Break’ from Radio. Yesterday, TALKERS magazine reported that Erich “Mancow” Muller’s simulcast of his radio show on WPWR-TV, Chicago “My50Chicago” is ending. Today, Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that not only is Mancow’s TV simulcast ending but he’s “taking a break” from broadcasting and will be off radio and TV for a while.
WPHT, Philadelphia’s Dom Giordano to Host Public Interview on Pending Victims’ Rights Bill. Tomorrow morning (10/10) WPHT, Philadelphia late morning host Dom Giordano will present a remote broadcast from Andy’s Diner in nearby Trevose, Pennsylvania during which he’ll interview Pennsylvania State Representative Mike Vereb about his controversial proposed PA House bill that would “stop ‘revictimizing’ by helping to block publicity-seeking criminals. Vereb claims it will increase victims’ rights by allowing the victim of a crime or prosecutors acting on the victim’s behalf to file a civil action to stop conduct by an offender that causes severe mental anguish. A judge would have the power to grant injunctive relief.” The station says the bill is a response to convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal’s recent delivery of a commencement address to about two dozen students at Goddard College. The bill will also will ban Mumia Abu-Jamal from hosting a radio show while in prison. The show takes place at 10:00 am ET.
Emmis Reports Q2 Revenue Dips 1.7%. The 2014 second fiscal quarter financial numbers for Emmis Communications are in and revenue during that period was up 15%, from $41.2 million to $47.6 million. This data includes revenue from WBLS and WLIB in New York, which Emmis began operating under an LMA on March 1, 2014. On a pro forma basis, radio net revenue was down 1.7%. President and CEO Jeff Smulyan states, “While the summer months were challenging for the radio industry, our employees once again delivered revenue share gains. In addition, our most recent ratings significantly outperformed during September, highlighted by ‘Power 106’ holding the top spot in LA with both 18-34 and 18-49 audiences. Pacings have improved, looking much stronger for the fall than the summer. Momentum is continuing to build for NextRadio, the Emmis-led industry initiative to make FM broadcast radio available on smartphones and tablets, as we approach 1 million downloads. Average time spent listening per NextRadio session is 50% higher than the radio broadcasting industry average, and as we have gained significant broadcaster involvement and increased listener satisfaction, we are seeing increased interest from other carriers, handset makers and automakers.” Looking ahead, the company reports its pro forma radio net revenues are pacing up mid- to high-single digits for its third fiscal quarter.
Sam Sorbo Visits Important Affiliate. One of the rising stars of syndication, the extremely personable Sam Sorbo, walks the walk as well as doing the talk thing as she gets out there and visits her affiliate stations around the country. Pictured: the Talk Radio Network host is greeted by the legendary Les Lansing (l), owner of Sorbo’s Grand Rapids outlet WPNW-AM/FM (“The Pledge”). Talented hosts such as Sorbo and the venerable Jerry Doyle have been a significant part of the Mark Masters-owned TRN’s formidable “comeback” effort (after a high-profile financial and programming shake up) which appears to be gaining traction on a daily basis.
Salem’s Anderson Announces Retirement. Salem Radio Network president Greg Anderson is retiring at the end of this year. Salem Communications chief executive officer Edward Atsinger comments, “Launching a new national radio network to serve Christian and conservative audiences was no small undertaking [21 years ago]. When I appointed Greg Anderson to lead this effort, I had enormous confidence in his vision, experience, and determination. Today, I can say that Greg surpassed even my own high expectations. He is, without question, one of the finest radio professionals I have ever worked with.” Anderson remarks that he has been “incredibly blessed to work for great radio stations and great media companies including, for the past 21 years, Salem Communications. I am particularly indebted to Ed Atsinger and Stu Epperson who have supported me along the way in the creation and growth of our national businesses. Most of all, I am in awe of the Salem national team who stop at nothing to accomplish great things year after year. They are simply the best. It has been my privilege and pleasure to have worked with them.” Prior to his 21-year association with Salem, Anderson ran Multimedia Broadcasting‘s Radio Division. His past credits include managing/programming WFBC, Greenville, South Carolina. Other Salem senior executives will assume Anderson’s responsibilities.
Shazam, Sun Broadcast Group Form Digital Partnership. The venture will launch Shazam for Radio. Shazam chief executive officer Rich Riley states, “Shazam users are already ‘shazaming’ music on the radio millions of times each day. Our partnership with Sun Broadcast Group gives radio stations the opportunity to deliver customized content experiences to their audiences, while creating new revenue streams for the stations and their advertisers.” Sun chief executive officer Jason Bailey reflects that when he “started Sun six years ago,” his goal was “to truly make a difference in this industry. This partnership came out of the two most sincere questions we asked ourselves when we started Sun: What is best for listeners, and how do we secure the future of radio in this new digital world? Shazam’s 100 million monthly active users will be able to connect and interact with their favorite radio shows in the most incredible way ever.” Sun and Shazam will produce national countdown shows for multiple formats based on Shazam results in each station’s market. “The Shazam Top 40″ will allow listeners to connect with the show on their phone and desktop.
Odds & Sods. A couple of career moves to report from America’s Talk Radio Network as Bob Appel and Lexi Lapp join the company as affiliate relations representatives. They are part of the team that includes Joe Sparra and David Reeder at ATRN…..Home improvement pro Danny Lipford announces he’s added a public relations manager to his Today’s Homeowner media operations. Stephanie Greenwood will “serve as the media liaison for the ‘Today’s Homeowner’ family of brands, working alongside current and veteran director of marketing and public relations, Tiffany Burtnett…..iHeartMedia will simulcast Cleveland Cavaliers games on rock WMMS, Cleveland in addition to news/talk WTAM, which serves as the NBA team’s flagship station.
Ebola Virus Pandemic Threat/Thomas Eric Duncan Death, Leon Panetta Book, U.S.-Led Anti-ISIS Campaign, North Korea Leadership Question, ObamaCare Policy Cancellations, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Prospects, and MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/8). The death of Ebola victim Liberian national Thomas Eric Duncan in the U.S. and the threat of a global pandemic; Leon Panetta’s Worthy Fights tome critical of the Obama Administration; the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS and the controversy questioning Turkey’s commitment to the cause; questions about the whereabouts of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un; the uptick in health policy cancellations that don’t meet the Affordable Care Act criteria; the looming mid-term elections and speculation about possible candidates for president in 2016; and the MLB playoff action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
CBS RADIO Revenue Up 2%. When CBS Corp. announces its financial numbers, the focus is generally on television, its bread and butter. The corporation as a whole was down for the first quarter of 2014 – revenue dipped 2.27% compared to the same quarter a year ago on revenue of $3.86 billion – mostly as a result of CBS TV having had the 2013 Super Bowl and having two less NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship tournament games this year. Underneath it all, radio – part of the Local Broadcasting division that includes CBS TV O&O stations – was up 2% compared to the first quarter of 2013. During yesterday’s conference call with investors, CEO Les Moonves said the radio division “had a good quarter with steady revenue growth in each month along the way and another strong performance by our CBS Sports Radio Network.”
Entercom Q1 2014 Net Revenue Flat. Revenue for the first quarter of 2014 was flat at $78.2 million compared to the same quarter in 2013 for Entercom Communications Corp. In a statement by CEO David Field, he says, “I am pleased to report that free cash flow increased 19% for the quarter. First quarter revenue was up excluding the effect of our non-renewal of Boston Celtics radio broadcasts, despite the unusually challenging winter weather that impacted many of our markets. We are increasingly enthusiastic about the radio industry’s future growth outlook based on a number of recent developments, most notably the release of the Nielsen Catalina study which showed radio generating outstanding ROI results across 10 major national brands, significantly outperforming other competitive media.”
Darryl Parks Named SVP of Simply Money Media. The Cincinnati-based financial advice firm Simply Money airs an hour-long talk radio show on Clear Channel’s WKRC, Cincinnati nightly from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm and when Darryl Parks was still the PD there, he was instrumental in improving the quality of the show, writes the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter. Now, months after Parks’ VP of news talk operations position was eliminated by CC, Parks joins the financial firm founded by Nathan Bachrach and Ed Finke. Bachrach tells the paper Parks’ role is to “help us craft our message and work with all of our media partners – CNBC, The Enquirer, Fox 19 and Clear Channel.” Parks says, “While I had success doing radio in Cincinnati and other markets, future success will be defined by having expertise across all media. Simply Money Media allows me to use my skills in audio, but also the skills I had in television, digital and print.” Read Kiesewetter’s piece here.
Edison-Triton ‘Moms & Media 2014’ Spotlights Mobile Usage. The “Moms & Media 2014” data presented at the Thursday, May 8 webinar by Edison Research and Triton Digital was culled from the larger “Infinite Dial 2014” study presented by the firms in March. Much of what was presented was not surprising – but it put some hard numbers on what savvy media industry players already suspect. Primarily, it’s that “moms” – defined as a woman having a child under 18 living in her household – are very attached to their mobile devices and are relying on them more and more. Some stats: the majority of moms (59%) are 35+; 60% are employed either full or part time; and 69% own a smartphone (compared to 36% of moms who owned a smartphone in 2011). Some relevant stats for radio operators include: 30% of moms have ever listened to online radio (including AM/FM streams) using a smartphone through a car audio system; 56% have listened to online audio in the past month; and they averaged 12 hours and 4 minutes listening to online radio during the week previous to the study. Check out the slide presentation here.
Gender Analysis Study Released. The Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group (MIW) provides the data that is based on information from well over 11,000 AM and FM stations. According to the study, roughly 18% of those 11,000+ facilities had women general managers this past year, basically flat from 2012 (17.8% – 17.7%). By way of further comparison, it was 14.9% in 2004. Breaking it out by market size, 17.7% of managers in top 100 markets (virtually mirroring the entire sample) were female in 2013, versus 16.8% in 2012. Spokesperson Kay Olin notes that, “The MIWs have been analyzing and publishing gender numbers for the past 14 years. It is important to track the upward growth and impact of women’s leadership in radio. It is always encouraging to see the number of management opportunities grow. We all can make a difference through mentoring and nurturing future leadership.” For whatever reason, it is still easier to find female general managers than it is to locate women program directors. Figures from the past few years regarding women PDs remain fairly consistent – in the one in 10 range. The most recent numbers show females program 11% of all stations in the country; eight years ago, it was 10.7%. There is actually a bit of a year-to-year decline though when the numbers are separated in the top 100 markets only. Women in metros of that size could be found occupying programming chairs in 11% of cases in 2013, off from 11.8% in 2012.
McGavren Guild Names Quarm Dallas Region VP/DOS. Former Katz Radio Group senior account executive Julie Galley Quarm is appointed vice president/director of sales for McGavren Guild‘s Dallas office and will oversee all sales for the independent media rep firm’s clients in that part of the Lone Star State. President/chief executive officer Kevin Garrity declares, “This is a major hire for McGavren Guild and Genesis Media Holdings as we continue to build one of the strongest teams in radio sales. Julie is a very talented executive with great relationships and a stellar track record of developing new business. She will play an integral role in helping our client stations grow their revenue and share.” Quarm comments that, “Under the strong leadership of Kevin Garrity, McGavren Guild is a terrific company with a very bright future. It was an easy decision for me to be a part of the team that will grow key client relationships and develop new opportunities in the Dallas/Fort Worth region.” Prior to joining Katz Radio Group, Quarm was an Interep senior account executive; network account coordinator at Premiere Radio Networks; and senior scheduling coordinator at Nielsen Media Research.
McManus Seeing Major Fill-In Duty. San Antonio-based talk show host Adam McManus tells TALKERS he has been doing a ton of guest hosting lately. During spring break, he broadcast for Chris Krok on Cumulus-owned WBAP, Dallas in mid-March. Later that month he sat in for Joe Walsh on Salem Communications’ WIND, Chicago. In addition to a recent fill-in gig for KTSA, San Antonio’s Sean Rima, McManus has been hosting the morning drive show on KTSA after the tragic death of morning personality Trey Ware’s son Justin. Reach out to McManus at TalkRadioAdam@gmail.com.
Odds & Sods. WTAG, Worcester morning drive host Paul Westcott fills in this evening (5/9) on Premiere Networks‘ “America Now with Andy Dean.”…..At Rocking M Radio, Will Sterrett comes aboard to serve as corporate news director. He’ll work from home base country/farm KXXX, Colby, Kansas where he’ll also be news director. Sterrett was most recently an anchor at Cumulus Media’s news/talk KCMO, Kansas City…..The New York Daily News is reporting that Spero Dedes will not return as the voice of New York Knicks basketball on ESPN O&O WEPN-FM, New York. His contract was not renewed by MSG Network. He joined the Knicks in 2011 after working for the Los Angeles Lakers…..Joining the affiliate relations team at America’s Talk Radio Network is David Reeder. His previous experience includes managing the radio group Marsh Broadcasting and serving as VP/GM at USA Radio Network…..“America Tonight” personality Kate Delaney sits in for GCN-syndicated Jason Lewis on Monday, May 12.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is added to the weekend program schedule at KMYC, Yuba City, California and KLID, Poplar Bluff, Missouri adds the weeknight edition of the program…..Genesis Communications Network-syndicated “America Tonight” with Kate Delaney is added to the program schedule at WQXL, Columbia, South Carolina.
Boomer & Pals Celebrate NFL Draft. A big party was thrown by WestwoodOne at Boomer Esiason’s Stadium Grill at Bowlmor Lanes in Times Square, New York City on Thursday evening prior to the beginning of the 2014 NFL Draft. In addition to serving as analyst on WestwoodOne’s coverage of Monday Night Football, Esiason is also morning drive co-host on CBS RADIO’s WFAN-AM/FM, New York alongside Craig Carton. Pictured here are (from left to right): Esiason, WestwoodOne sports announcers Scott Graham and James Lofton.
Climate Change/New Power Plant Regulations Top News/Talk Stories for Week of May 5-9. Stiffer power plant emissions regulations and the controversy over climate change were the two stories that tied for most-talked-about on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 was the Monica Lewinsky Vanity Fair article. At #3 was the potential 2016 presidential candidates tied with mid-term election chatter and following at #4 was the Boko Haram kidnappings. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View the entire chart here.
Beasley Net Revenue Down 2.4% in Q1. Stating that the dip in net revenue comes primarily from “lower advertising revenue at the company’s Miami-Fort Lauderdale and Philadelphia market clusters,” Beasley Broadcast Group announces a Q1 figure down 2.4% on revenue of $24.2 million. But the taxman also bit Beasley as the company reports that a “$0.8 million, or 40.2% year-over-year reduction in first quarter 2014 interest expense related to lower borrowing costs and reduced amounts outstanding, was more than offset by a $1.3 million, or 128.8%, rise in income tax expense primarily due to a change to the company’s federal income tax rate. In addition, the tax rate in the comparable year ago period benefited from a change to the company’s effective state tax rate. As a result, net income and net income per diluted share for the 2014 first quarter of $0.7 million and $0.03, respectively, compared with $2.4 million, and $0.11, respectively, in the comparable year ago period.” Beasley chairman and CEO Geroge Beasley comments, “The first quarter decline in net revenue reflects several factors that primarily impacted our three largest markets, including the severe winter weather which had a negative effect on our operations in the Northeast. Overall, for our five markets that report to Miller Kaplan – which represent approximately 77% of total first quarter revenue – Beasley station cluster revenue declined by 4.3%, while the total revenue for all reporting radio stations in these markets decreased by 0.3% for the quarter. In Philadelphia, our cluster underperformed the market for the first time since mid-2012 as business was significantly impacted by the severe winter weather that pressured billings, particularly among our local customers, and caused our stations to close for the equivalent of approximately three business weeks during the first quarter. In Miami, the first quarter underperformance largely relates to the revenue decline at our AM sports talk station following the departure of a popular afternoon host (Jorge Sedano). On April 1, we addressed this situation directly by re-launching our afternoon drive programming with the addition of another highly rated Miami sports talk show host from a direct competitor in the market (Marc Hochman). Notwithstanding the challenges endured in the first quarter, our ratings and market position in both Philadelphia and Miami remain strong. A final factor which negatively impacted first quarter revenue results was the completion of comprehensive training for our sales team regarding our new digital and NTR initiatives. While this training took our sales teams away from customers for several days, we believe it was essential to drive growth in these areas of our business going forward. Our planned investments in sales and programming and the expansion of our digital offerings, combined with the revenue decline, led to a 12.2% decline in first quarter 2014 SOI compared to year-ago levels.”
Journal Radio Division Revenue Down 4%. While the company as a whole sees revenue climb 3.7% on the strength of TV and retrans, the radio division of Journal Communications was down 4% on revenue of $15.2 million. The company reports that “local advertising revenue, excluding political, decreased 3.2%, primarily due to a decrease in restaurant and financial advertising. Digital revenue, which is reported in local revenue, was $0.6 million, up 7.8%. National advertising revenue, excluding political, decreased 18.0%, primarily due to a decrease in automotive and financial advertising. Total revenue, excluding political revenue, was $15.1 million, down 4.2%. Operating earnings from radio were $2.1 million compared to $2.4 million, a decrease of 11.9%. Radio operating expenses decreased 2.6%, or 0.8% excluding a $0.2 million non-cash building impairment charge recorded in 2013, primarily due to lower programming rights fees.”
Lew Dickey Sounds Pleased with Cumulus Media’s Progress. During yesterday’s investor’s conference call on 2014 first quarter numbers, CEO Lew Dickey explained that Cumulus Media is well-positioned in the broadcast arena but is also heading in the desired direction of broadening its revenue streams and reaching beyond “just the advertiser.” Dickey said, “We’ve now become a very diverse national audio advertising and content platform. Our base is fueled by our strong core broadcast advertising category, anchored by our 460 owned-and-operated stations and again, amplified by now more than 10,000 broadcast radio affiliates throughout the U.S. Moreover, we are developing an emerging growth stream in digital advertising that is gaining real traction to our audio through our Rdio digital audio platform. Licensing also provides the company with a significant second stream of non-advertising-based revenue and should continue to grow nicely as we develop ‘NASH’ and other original content into multimedia brands with multiple revenue streams. Additionally, our content initiatives will provide us with new revenue streams originating from monetizing the consumer, as opposed to just the advertiser, through subscription services.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript, members can check out the entire conference call here.
DirecTV Cancels Artie Lange Show. With three months left on his contract with DirecTV, Artie Lange’s radio talk show is canceled. Lange told listeners to his Monday evening (4/28) show that it would be his last for DirecTV. The program was initially co-hosted by both Lange and fellow comic Nick DiPaolo but DiPaolo left the show last year. During his good-bye to listeners and viewers, Lange said DirecTV was very good to him and the parting, though unfortunate, was amicable. The program was simulcast on DirecTV’s Audience channel in addition to being syndicated on the radio.
Barry Farber’s Language Club Celebrates 30 Years. Talk radio legend Barry Farber’s “Language Club” celebrates its 30-year anniversary with a gathering on Monday, May 28, in New York City. Farber, who founded the club, will also be honored at the celebration, that begins at 6:00 pm at My Place Restaurant, 242 East 79th Street in Manhattan. Farber is currently syndicated nationally via CRN Digital Talk Radio. His program airs weeknights at 8:00 p.m. ET. A press release from CRN states, “Farber, who has been on the airwaves since the mid-1950s, nearly failed Latin in 9th grade. Since then, he has studied 28 languages. He created the Language Club so students and speakers of foreign languages could congregate in a pleasant, social environment and enjoy conversing with each other.” He is also the author of several books, including How to Learn Any Language – Quickly, Easily, Inexpensively, Enjoyably and On Your Own. Club members periodically meet for dinner and conversation at ethnic restaurants throughout New York City. Some members give basic language lessons to each other. CRN president and CEO Michael Horn says, “All of us have so much to learn from Barry Farber. Usually, it’s his takes on politics and life. But I hear he also gives good courses in Dutch, Mandarin, and Hebrew.”
Evans Broadcast Company Stations to Observe D-Day Anniversary Live from Normandy. This June 6, news/talk KKFT Reno, “99.1 FM Talk’ and sister country simulcast KCMY and K273AF “Cowboy Country 102.5” will broadcast live from Normandy in France to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day. Evans Broadcast president and CEO Jerry Evans tells TALKERS this year will be the last recognized by the Normandy Veteran’s Association.
Six Receive NY Hall Call. The 2014 New York State Broadcasters Association‘s Hall of Fame class includes capital region/Syracuse broadcaster John Cooper; Syracuse TV reporter Nancy Duffy; WFAN, New York sports talk host Mike Francesa; renowned sportscaster Marty Glickman; Buffalo television manager Chris Musial; and New York City TV journalist Marvin Scott. Cooper has been with Clear Channel since 2000, and is currently regional program manager for the company’s stations in Albany, Poughkeepsie, and Sussex, New Jersey. Duffy received the Syracuse Press Club‘s Lifetime Achievement Award; she passed away in 2006. All-American football player Marty Glickman had brief careers in professional football and basketball. He was the NBA‘s first TV announcer and the first broadcaster for the New York Nets before the ABA – NBA merger. In the 1960s, Glickman was the sports director of WCBS-AM, New York; he is a member of the Curt Gowdy wing of the Basketball Hall of Fame. Glickman – the voice of the NY football Giants for 23 years and the NY Jets for 11 years – was 83 years old when he died in 2001. While Musial was news director and president/general manager of Buffalo’s WIVB-TV, it was the highest-overall rated television station in the country from sign-on to sign-off. WPIX-TV, New York senior correspondent Marvin Scott is the recipient of seven Emmy awards. Before joining WPIX, he held positions as anchor, correspondent, and producer at CNN, Mutual Broadcasting System, and New York City’s WABC-TV. Regarding his selection to the Hall, Francesa comments, “I am humbled and excited to be recognized by the New York State Broadcasters Association; it is a great honor. Anything with ‘New York’ attached to it means all the more to me.” The afternoon drive (1:00 pm – 6:30 pm) talent recently agreed to a long-term contract extension with WFAN. CBS Radio president and chief executive officer Dan Mason states, “Mike has earned his place in radio history as a great broadcaster. We are thrilled to continue our relationship with sports radio’s most celebrated host.” From 1989 to 2008, Francesa co-hosted the “Mike & Mad Dog Show” with Chris “Mad Dog” Russo and has been overseeing “Mike’s On” since 2008. Francesa occupies the #1 position on TALKERS’ 2013 “Heavy Hundred” of Sports Talk Radio. The June 13 induction ceremony will take place during the Association’s summer conference in New York City.
Donald Sterling Case, Tepid Economy Data, John Kerry Israel ‘Apartheid’ Comment, Russian Aggression in Ukraine, and Chicago Gun Violence Epidemic Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/29). The lifetime ban and fine levied against Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling in the wake of his racist comments recorded by a former mistress; weak economic news and the impact on the Obama Administration’s policies; the aftermath of Secretary of State John Kerry’s statement that Israel is in danger of becoming an apartheid state; Vladimir Putin’s continued military aggression in Ukraine; and the huge uptick in gun deaths in Chicago and the call for more gun laws were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Nielsen to Present Radio ROI Study to Group Heads. Using phrases such as “they’ve finally cracked the code” and “radio’s ability to deliver sales lift of more than $6, for every dollar spent,” Clear Channel president and CFO Rich Bressler spoke during yesterday’s investor conference call glowingly about the recent Catalina Solutions group study that shows excellent return on investment for consumer packaged goods (CPG) advertisers using radio. He announced that on Monday (4/28), radio group heads will gather for a conference at CC’s New York offices to see a presentation by Nielsen’s Catalina Solutions group that Bressler also called “the first-ever, single source ROI study in the radio sector…Finally, we have the definitive proof of radio’s value.” If you remember, the study in which Nielsen worked with Clear Channel measured the sales impact for the specific media buys of 10 brands, each of which had different combinations of radio networks. Nielsen says that this group of 10 brands, which included eight CPG and two retailer brands, provided the foundation for the first normative database for radio effectiveness. Another key finding was that radio delivers a strong consumer sales response close to the time of purchase. The closer the exposure is to purchase, the higher the response. On another note, Bressler did not respond directly to the recent cuts in the sales departments at Clear Channel but made reference to them in describing the state of the company’s executive structure. “From an organizational standpoint, we create a new major market structure under which four of our senior operating executives are reporting directly to Bob Pittman and myself. This major markets operating group will collaborate directly with our local market management to oversee our operations in our largest and highest revenue generating markets from our core broadcast radio stations to our digital mobile and events business as well as a more expanded coordination with Clear Channel Outdoor.”
SiriusXM Q1 Revenue Up 11%. It was another good quarterly report for satcaster SiriusXM as CEO Jim Meyer reported that his company’s subscription total is up to 25.8 million – an increase during the quarter of 267,000. The all-important free cash flow figure was up 56% on $223 million. Meyer told analysts on Thursday, “Our solid subscriber growth, even faster revenue growth and high contribution margins have produced dramatic growth in adjusted EBTIDA and free cash flow — exactly what you would expect from SiriusXM’s highly scalable business model. We are the world leader in monetizing audio entertainment, and the way this monetization translates in cash flow is also unmatched. Our radios today are only in about 20% to 26% of the cars on the road today. So we believe the opportunity for long term growth remains significant.”
Post Piece Highlights Smerconish’s Drive to Capture Center. In a feature piece by Manuel Roig-Franzia in the Washington Post, media personality Michael Smerconish is profiled and his quest to find a political center that is hot to talk about the issues of the day is front-and-center. The story details Smerconish’s entrance into the media world, his syndicated radio career, his cable TV gigs and his decision to leave AM/FM radio for SiriusXM last year. In discussing this move and critics’ assertions that there is no centrist audience to be found in talk radio, he tells the Post, “I’m the referendum, aren’t I?…I’ve put my livelihood on the line to prove that you can.”
Indianapolis Welcomes Dave Ramsey. Talk radio superstar and best-selling author Dave Ramsey visited Indianapolis yesterday (4/24) as he presented his Legacy Journey LIVE! event at Traders Point Christian Church to a packed house. The event was promoted by Ramsey’s Indy affiliate WFDM “Freedom 95 Radio.” Pilgrim Communications VP and general manager Randy Tipmore says, “As usual when Dave Ramsey comes to Indianapolis, excitement and enthusiasm go up in the entire area as do station sales. Every time Dave comes to town we sell out in record time for record amounts. The Dave Ramsey show is the number-one selling tool we have at ‘Freedom 95.’ Dave Ramsey is pictured here (second from right) with members of the “Freedom 95 Radio” team.
‘ESPN Upstate’ Adds Local Evening Show. Sports media personality Mark Sturgis is tapped to host a live and local evening program on the Entercom-owned multi-cast serving northern South Carolina (the signals include WORD-AM, Spartanburg; WYRD-AM, Greenville; W246BU, Spartanburg on 97.1 FM and WFNC-HD3, Fayetteville, North Carolina). Sturgis moves from his two-hour show on Byrne Acquisition Group-owned sports talk WCCP-FM, Clemson to a 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm nightly show on “ESPN Upstate.” He follows the new “In The Huddle” show with Greg McKinney that airs in afternoon drive. Entercom VP and market manager Steve Sinicropi states, “Our sports coverage in terms of talent, teams and signal coverage continues to get stronger and stronger. ‘ESPN Upstate’ has become the most dominant sports network in the market. Mark has a great live and local show right now, he has a network of sports contacts and he brings a passion for sports, strong knowledge and tremendous energy to the fast-growing ‘EPSN Upstate’ audience. When you have a powerful brand like ESPN and the largest portfolio of radio stations in the Upstate to cross promote, it’s no wonder listeners and talent are coming to ‘ESPN Upstate.’”
Stephanie Miller’s ‘Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour’ Hits Chicago Tomorrow; Albuquerque and Minneapolis Next. Talk show host and comic Stephanie Miller’s comedy roadshow – the Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour lands in Chicago tomorrow and there are still a limited number of VIP tickets available for the event. The show – featuring Miller, John Fugelsang, Carlos Alazraqui, and Stephanie Miller show family members Chris Lavoie and voice deity Jim Ward – is also traveling to Albuquerque on May 10 and rolls into Minneapolis on June 7.
Premiere Networks President Julie Talbott Named Woman of the Year. The editorial board of TALKERS has named Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott as the 2014 recipient of the Judy Jarvis Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Talk Radio Industry by a Woman. The honor, also known as “Woman of the Year,” will be presented to Talbott by last year’s recipient, Heather Cohen, EVP of The Weiss Agency, at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2014 conference on Friday, June 20 as one of the highlights of an awards ceremony at which presentations will also be made for “Lifetime Achievement,” Humanitarian of the Year,” and Freedom of Speech (the recipients of which have yet to be announced). In addition to Cohen, past recipients of this prestigious award include Robin Bertolucci, Stephanie Miller, Laurie Cantillo, Grace Blazer, Kim Komando, Laura Ingraham, Randi Rhodes, Lynn Distler, Adriane Gaines, Ellen Ratner, Gloria Allred, Lisa Evers and its namesake Judy Jarvis, the late independent talk radio syndication pioneer for whom it was first presented posthumously. Upon announcing the board’s choice of Julie Talbott, TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “We all look forward to the day that a special award to a female member of the talk radio community is no longer relevant or necessary – but if you look at the breakdown of the numbers of men versus women in the business, it is clear that we have not yet reached that day.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison adds, “We couldn’t be more delighted having the opportunity to honor Ms. Talbott for her achievements and contributions to not just talk but the entire spectrum of popular radio over the years. She is a bright, creative, dignified and extremely inspirational role model for young women looking to build a career in the radio broadcasting industry.” Julie Talbott started her career in advertising at BBDO, where she spent five years as supervisor of media planning and buying. Her love of radio took her to MJI Broadcasting, where she spent 19 years. As COO of MJI Broadcasting, Talbott was instrumental in growing the company from five people to more than 150. In 1999, Premiere Networks acquired MJI Broadcasting. At that time, Talbott joined Premiere as senior vice president of integrated marketing solutions, focusing on advertising sponsorships. In 2003, she was promoted to executive vice president, affiliate relations. In that role, she oversaw a staff that increased affiliations for programs hosted by Jim Rome, Glenn Beck, George Noory, Bob and Tom, Steve Harvey, Keith Sweat, Elvis Duran, Fox Sports Radio and others. In 2009, Talbott was named VP, content and affiliate relations for Premiere Networks and then promoted in September 2012 to extend that title to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s National Media Groups. In January of this year, she was promoted to president of Premiere Networks. In her current role, Talbott continues to oversee the operation of Premiere Networks radio programs and services and manages business partnerships with talent, while leading and maintaining key affiliate relationships to sell and service Premiere Networks, Total Traffic & Weather Network and iHeartRadio. A native of Kentucky, Talbott received her B.A. from the University of Kentucky and attended the Business Strategy Program at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business in 1996. Talbott lives with her husband and three children in New York. For information about registering for Talkers New York 2014 please call 413-565-5413.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk” is added to the program lineup at the following stations: KAOK, Lake Charles, Louisiana; KFIV, Modesto, California; KWSX, Stockton, California; WCHS, Charleston, West Virginia; and WBBA, Pittsfield, Illinois…..“Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is picked up by new affiliates KQAM, Wichita; WBKV, West Bend, Wisconsin; WHIR, Danville, Kentucky; and WRMN, Elgin, Illinois…..“Into Tomorrow” with Dave Graveline’s weekly program is picked up by KNOX-AM/FM, Fargo.
Dean Cain Visits ABC News Radio. Actor Dean Cain goofs with ABC News Radio entertainment correspondent Joi Marie McKenzie during a visit to ABC News Radio studios to promote the new season of his VH1 series “Hit the Floor” that returns on May 26 at 9:00 pm ET.
Russian Aggression in Ukraine/U.S. Troops in Poland Top News/Talk Stories During Week of April 21-25. The turbulent political state in Ukraine, Russia’s aggression in the region and the arrival of U.S. troops in Poland were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act. Following at #3 was the 2016 presidential race tied with Chelsea Clinton’s pregnancy and at #4 was the deadly attack on Americans at an Afghanistan hospital tied with drone strikes on suspected al Qaeda in Yemen. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Clear Channel Releases Q1 Financials: CCM+E Up 2%. This morning Clear Channel released financial data for the first quarter of 2014 and the Clear Channel Media + Entertainment group – radio stations, Premiere Networks, Total Traffic + Weather, iHeartRadio and related live events – saw income rise 2% compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company says “Media + Entertainment revenue rose $14 million, or 2% compared to the same period of 2013, driven primarily by higher revenues at our traffic and weather business reflecting new product offerings and the impact of strategic sales initiatives, as well as higher national sales fueled by growth in the telecommunications, healthcare and automotive categories, and higher digital advertising revenue benefitting from an increase in total listening hours on our iHeartRadio platform. Partially offsetting these revenue gains was a decline in our local revenues. Operating expenses were up $26 million during the first quarter of 2014 versus the same period in 2013, due primarily to higher compensation expenses driven by investments in our national and digital sales forces, and increased production costs for events such as the iHeartRadio Country Music Festival, as well as greater digital streaming and performance rights expenses driven by increased total listening hours and revenues. OIBDAN decreased $13 million, or 6%, to $200 million in the first quarter of 2014.”
WPHT Personalities to Debate GOP Party, Conservative Movement Future. The WPHT, Philadelphia “Talk Radio 1210″ air staff will be together on the same stage for the very first time today (Thursday, 4/24) at 5:00 pm to participate in “Super Talk Debate” at Victory Beer Hall’s XFinity Live in South Philadelphia. Personalities Dom Giordano, Dick Morris, Gary R’nel, Chris Stigall, and Rich Zeoli will discuss/debate subjects such as the future of social issues in American politics; foreign policy intervention; the GOP’s view on marijuana legalization; and how Republicans can win the Senate in 2014 and the White House in 2016. The format will be presidential debate style. Each participant will be at a podium, make opening and closing statements, and answer questions from the audience and moderator Larry Kane. Rick Grimaldi and Dr. Anthony Mazzarelli will host the post-debate show at 6:30 pm. By voting online, listeners will decide the winner. Voting will continue until next Monday (4/28) at 5:00 pm when Morris and R’Nel will announce the results.
Wilkes-Barre Radio Personality Bud Brown Retires from WILK. Longtime Wilkes-Barre radio pro Bud Brown calls it a career after signing off from Entercom’s news/talk WILK-AM/FM yesterday morning (4/23) after 40 years on the air. PAHomepage.com reports Brown is a native whose career began in New Jersey before he returned home to work at WBRE and then WILK. Brown tells the site, “I got along with all my coworkers. I respected them. I felt mutual respect returning and I think that more than anything else is what I treasure most about all the things about all the days on the air.”
Nielsen Reports Positive First Quarter; Revenue Up 12.9%. That figure is compared to the same period a year ago on revenue of $1.49 billion. Nielsen Holdings N.V. chief executive officer Mitch Barns says, “Nielsen delivered a solid first quarter. Our underlying business performance, which was marked by broad-based revenue growth and strong profitability, was enhanced by the ongoing successful integration of Arbitron. Our clear focus on the key business priorities of our diverse global client base continues to produce steady and consistent results while delivering long-term value for our shareholders.” The company reports that free cash flow for the first quarter of 2014 increased to $13 million from -$15 million in the first quarter of 2013 and cash flow from operations increased to $90 million in the first quarter of 2014 from $54 million in first quarter of 2013. The increases were driven by stronger operating performance and favorable interest payments.
Rover’s Legal Team to Call Howard Stern as Witness in Cleveland Case. When WMMS, Cleveland morning show host Shane “Rover” French appears in court on May 20 to defend himself against 13 charges – including attempted felonious assault, inducing panic and resisting arrest – his lawyer is calling Howard Stern as a witness, according to Fox 8 Cleveland. It’s not clear why Stern would be a relevant witness or if he’ll even appear. Co-host Michael Toomey, a.k.a. Chocolate Charlie, was arrested along with French during the incident that took place over the 2013 Fourth of July holiday weekend in which an off-duty police officer claims French and Toomey shot off illegal fireworks, refused requests to stop, assaulted him and more.
Media World A-Twitter Over FFC ‘Net Neutrality’ Plans. The chatter got so intense over reports about what today’s announcement by the FCC regarding its new open Internet rules will be that FCC chairman Tom Wheeler issued the following statement to counter speculation. “There are reports that the FCC is gutting the Open Internet rule. They are flat out wrong. Tomorrow we will circulate to the Commission a new Open Internet proposal that will restore the concepts of net neutrality consistent with the court’s ruling in January. There is no ‘turnaround in policy.’ The same rules will apply to all Internet content. As with the original Open Internet rules, and consistent with the court’s decision, behavior that harms consumers or competition will not be permitted.” What got people so uptight? Numerous sources – including the Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press, Fox News and others – say today’s announcement will propose that content companies be allowed to pay for faster delivery over the so-called “last mile” connection to people’s homes. The Associated Press writes, “The new rules are meant to replace the FCC’s open Internet order from 2010, which was struck down by a federal appeals court in January. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit affirmed that the FCC had the authority to create open-access rules but said it failed to establish that its 2010 regulations didn’t overreach. While the older rules technically allowed for paid priority treatment, it was discouraged. The new rules spell out standards that such deals would have to meet to be considered ‘commercially reasonable’ and are designed to survive a court challenge in the future. Under the proposed rules, if such a deal for priority access were challenged, the commission would look at its impact on competition, on consumers, on free speech and civic engagement, and whether a broadband provider was acting in good faith.”
The Next Generation(s). At the Cox Media Group Houston office, the sound of the pitter-patter of little feet could be heard as staffers brought their progeny to work for the annual “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.” Altogether, 18 young people (pictured here with some of the parents), ranging from 2 ½ to 13 years of age came to work on Thursday (4/24) to follow their parents on a typical day. Well, a mostly typical day, as activities were planned for every age group. The kids will learn to record a commercial, use their voices for station on-air promotions, participate in social media postings, and see inside the studio as the DJs broadcast live. The daylong activities will be mixed in with some fun as well, including a pizza party for lunch, a dance-off with the digital department, and if activities are too much, “Frozen” will be shown in the afternoon so everyone can take a break from it all. Cox Houston VP and market manager Mark Krieschen says, “This is our first year to implement the program in Houston. I can already feel the excitement in the air as the kids are making themselves right at home.”
Russian Aggression in Ukraine/Obama vs Putin, 2016 Presidential Race-Mid Term Elections, the FCC and Net Neutrality, President Obama’s Asia Visit, and U.S. Drone Strikes in Yemen Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/23). Russia’s involvement in the unrest in Ukraine and analysis of President Obama’s handling of Vladimir Putin; speculation about candidates in the 2016 presidential election and the looming mid-term elections this year; controversy over the FCC’s “open internet” policy to be announced today; President Obama’s visit to Asian nations excluding China; and the state of al Qaeda after U.S. drone strikes on terrorist targets in Yemen were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
SCBA Reports 2014 Starting Off Positive. Calling it “solid, steady revenue growth that sets the stage for a strong first quarter for Southern California radio,” Southern California Broadcasters Association president Thom Callahan reports the results of the Miller Kaplan Arase Market Summary report for January 2014 indicating total market revenue for Los Angeles radio grew by 1.7% in January. Callahan adds, “The 1.7% growth rate for January is, of course, good news for our industry here in Southern California, however, a closer look at what made up that growth reveals a market and region that is healthy and growing.” The Miller Kaplan Arase X-Ray report for Los Angeles radio further describes both strong category growth and exceptional new business development in the first month of the New Year. That growth includes: insurance companies – up 152.1%, education – up 61.5%, concerts/theatre/movies – up 54.6%, communications/cellular/public utilities – up 22.7%, and both the auto category – up at 6.3% and health care – up at 6.4%. Callahan says, “New business development was a significant revenue driver for Southern California radio in January and showcases how new advertisers are rediscovering radio and its effectiveness in building brands and market share for their business. With 297 new advertisers spending $7,408,878 in new business in January alone, it’s clear our SCBA member stations are fully engaged in new business development.”
Journal Communications Reports Q4 2013 Numbers; Radio Down 7.2%. That radio figure does include the loss of political advertising and a quirk of the bookkeeping calendar that took a week away in 2013. Accounting for those issues, Journal reports that on a same-station basis, radio revenue was up 0.7% in the fourth quarter and for the whole of 2013 same-station revenue was up 3.7%. The news for national revenue continues to be negative as Journal’s radio stations saw national drop 22.8% in Q4 and dive 8.9% for the entire year. In a statement, chairman and CEO Steven Smith says, “Journal Communications delivered a solid fourth quarter in a non-political year, driven by gains in core revenue in our broadcast group and improving advertising revenue trends in publishing…Consolidated revenue of $107.4 million was up 11% compared to 2012, excluding the extra week and political revenue in 2012.”
WGWG-LP, Chicago Adds Jarrett Payton to Air Staff. The new sports talk outlet Tribune’s WGN, Chicago is building on the leased WGWG-LP signal announces the addition of Jarrett Payton – son of Bears great and NFL Hall-of-Famer Walter Payton – to the afternoon drive show with Harry Teinowitz and Spike Manton. “The Game 87.7” vice president of creative content Todd Manley tells Chicago media writer Robert Feder, “I think Jarrett is way more than sports royalty in this town. He’s the sort of creative, inventive mind that will help us define the future of this brand.” As Feder reports, Payton’s radio experience includes serving as host of Chicago Bears post-game shows on ESPN O&O WMPV, Chicago.
Talk Host Tom Becka Launches Web-based Podcast Series. Talk radio pro Tom Becka holds down the afternoon program at NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha. Now, Becka is debuting his latest venture – a podcast series available at his website TomBecka.com titled, “Tom Becka Podcast.” Becka has a specific goal with regard to the podcast’s subject matter: letting interesting, everyday people tell stories about themselves – things you might never know unless you asked. Some of the fascinating subjects Becka has covered with his podcast project include: a woman named Kaylee talking openly about what it’s like to live with bi-polar disorder; a local man who’s taken his passion for film and started a new career making films; a conversation with a tattoo artist about the tattoo phenomenon; a man with terminal cancer relating his inspirational thoughts about living and dying; a local man who lives every day with Asperger’s syndrome; and many more. Becka says, “Tom Becka.com is a place where every day people are going to be telling their stories…inspirational stories, life lessons, stories about overcoming adversity.” All the subjects for this project are from the local Omaha area, as Becka says, people who may be your friends, relatives or neighbors. Becka is posting a new episode every Sunday. Check it out here.
Michael Harrison on the Road – Next Big Stop: Jerry Del Colliano’s “Media Solutions Conference” in Philly March 26. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will be one of three special guest speakers at noted industry observer and analyst Jerry Del Colliano’s fifth annual Media Solutions Conference set for Philadelphia on Wednesday, March 26. Along with WBEB, Philadelphia (“More FM”) owner Jerry Lee and nationally syndicated Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel talk star Sean Hannity, Harrison will participate in the intensive day-long workshop that will focus on a wide variety of digital-era issues currently facing and challenging radio. These include coming to a better understanding of the Millennial generation, learning to disrupt radio itself before its media rivals do, separating radio’s main product into unique on-air and online categories, effectively using video to generate significant amounts of revenue and much more. Harrison states, “I am really looking forward to participating in this conference and tackling these crucial issues with a bunch of smart people from all ends of the business. Jerry Lee has so much to share about running an independent station in an aggressive, winning way – we could sure use more Jerry Lees in this industry – and Sean Hannity is the very definition of brains and class. One of the things Sean brings to the table is the ability to attract younger listeners to traditional news/talk – he has done quite alright in an area of the field to which most people are actively seeking answers.” The event takes place at Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Hotel. For more information click here.
Odds & Sods. Nationally syndicated progressive talk show host Leslie Marshall does double duty on Thursday (3/6) as she sits in for Thom Hartmann on his nationally syndicated program…..ESPN O&O WMPV, Chicago adds a weekly program covering Major League Soccer and the local Chicago Fire. The show is dubbed “Chicago Fire Weekly” and it’s being hosted by Fred Heubner and will feature contributions from Kevin Egan, analyst for the Chicago Fire’s television broadcasts…..News/talk WNTX, Fredericksburg, Virginia is again being heard on translator W243BS, Fredericksburg after the latter signal carried the “Fred FM” format for the past 11 months. WNTX is owned by Free Lance-Star, currently going through Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization…..Kevin Calabro re-ups with ESPN where he serves as the lead play-by-play voice on the NBA on ESPN Radio. He’ll continue working with lead NBA analyst Jon Barry, as well as PJ Carlesimo and Stan Van Gundy.
Former Nebraska Radio Owner Mitchell Dies at 89. In Nebraska, John C. Mitchell was a decorated broadcaster who was honored with a Pioneer Award from the Nebraska Broadcasters Association and is a member of the Nebraska Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Trained as an attorney who practiced law until he retired in 2001, Mitchell began acquiring radio stations in 1953 with the purchase of KGFW, Kearney – the station at which he worked in high school. Eventually his Mitchell Broadcasting Corporation would own some 14 stations across the state. Mitchell is pictured here at the mic on KGFW.
Crimea-Ukraine Tensions/Obama vs. Putin, ObamaCare Criticism, Israel-Palestinian Talks, The Oscars, Hillary in 2016, and Marijuana Policy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/3). The military incursions into Ukraine and Crimea by Russia and criticism of President Obama’s handling of Vladimir Putin; scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; U.S. pressure on Netanyahu to convene Palestinian peace talks; Sunday evening’s Academy Awards show; speculation about Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016; and marijuana policy in the U.S. were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Salem Communications Posts Q4 2013 Revenue Increase of 3.4%; Broadcast Up 1%. Digital was the key to Salem Communications’ 2013 fourth quarter revenue increase of 3.4% for the company as a whole. The broadcast sector was up 1% on revenue of $47.4 million and broadcast makes up about 60% of the company’s revenue. The company’s publishing sector was flat while internet and e-commerce was up 16.6%. Salem’s outlook for the first quarter of 2014 projects “total revenue to increase 9% to 11% over the first quarter 2013 total revenue of $55.6 million. The company is also projecting operating expenses before gains or losses on the sale or disposal of assets, impairments and stock-based compensation expense to increase 13% to 16% as compared to the first quarter of 2013 operating expenses of $48.2 million. This guidance includes the impact of the hiring of two new senior executives and the financial performance for the recent acquisition of Eagle Publishing. The guidance for the first quarter contemplates a loss of $0.4 million due to the assumption of some unfavorable contracts that will rapidly unwind and the fact that the first quarter is always a soft quarter in the book publishing business with the big titles being released in the spring and in the fall.”
Nielsen Study Ties Station Choice to Buying Behavior. In a release from Nielsen about its recent major market pilot test, the company says that “for the first time, a connection can be drawn between what consumers listen to on the radio and how they spend. This solidifies radio’s place as a valuable marketing platform for advertisers and media planners. The major market pilot test combined proprietary Nielsen data with anonymized panelist credit and debit card purchasing behavior covering more than 24 billion transactions and $2 trillion in annual sales primarily from the retail, travel, digital, restaurant, entertainment, financial services and telecom categories.” Results from the Dallas market, for example, show that listeners to pop radio spend more per buyer annually on casual dining than those listeners who prefer other formats. In the same market, rock and alternative listeners spend more per buyer annually in retail locations than listeners who prefer other formats. News/talk listeners, the study showed, go to the movies more each year that do listeners of other formats. Nielsen SVP of local media product leadership Farshad Family says, “The ability to determine how radio listeners among different formats like pop, news or rock are spending their dollars creates a unique opportunity for radio broadcasters to make a case for the value of their audience. We are just beginning to tell the story about the value of radio’s audience. As we make progress on conducting more links between listening data and purchase data, we will continue to share more insights with the marketplace.”
Ordway’s ‘Big Show Unfiltered’ to Begin Next Month. Longtime Boston sports talk radio host Glenn Ordway is returning with a daily, 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm program (“Big Show Unfiltered”), which will be heard via his SportstalkBoston.com website and on mobile devices. “I am so thrilled to once again be talking local sports in my hometown with the best fans in America,” comments Ordway, who presided over “The Big Show” for 27 years on Entercom-owned Boston sports outlet WEEI. “I look forward to presenting an alternative in the market that will feature the best of the past with some new, innovative elements and voices. There is no reason to hold anything back anymore – it is all unfiltered.” The renamed “Big Show Unfiltered” is set to begin in about two weeks (Monday, March 17) and it will include similar components from his WEEI program, such as “The Whiner Line.” It is believed that down the road, Ordway is planning to have his program air on a terrestrial radio network comprised of New England affiliates. Boston native Mike Salk, who co-hosted a program on Seattle’s KIRO-AM since 2009, replaced Ordway in afternoon drive on WEEI-FM alongside Michael Holley. Ordway’s final show on WEEI-FM was in mid-February of last year.
Logan Exits Shane Media. Stating on his Facebook page that he thought he’d “spend the rest of my working days in this chair at Shane Media,” Lee Logan says the fiscal realities of the industry have him exiting the consulting company and looking for his next great opportunity. Logan had been with Shane for the past seven years and was instrumental in assisting Radio One put its all-news format on KROI, Houston “News 92 FM.”
Freedom’s Voice Broadcasting to Purchase Dark KPTO, Pocatello for $75K. The principal of Freedom’s Voice Broadcasting is Tim Aalders who hosts the “Freedom’s Voice” talk show heard on United Broadcasting Company’s KTKK, Salt Lake City. Ted Austin’s Main Street Broadcasting is the seller for the signal that is currently dark. Aalders plans to expand the reach of his programming into the southeastern Idaho market. This is no announced timetable for KPTO going back on the air.
If Weekends Were Weekdays? Hey, They Are! That so many talk-formatted stations air infomercials on weekends is not news – nor is the programming-versus-sales paradigm so prevalent at many of these stations. Media consultant Walter Sabo says a little-known truth in the business is that Saturday midday is an indicative daypart and the second highest Homes Using Radio daypart. What could this mean to your talk station? Read Walter Sabo’s latest column here to find out.
Odds & Sods. The New York Festivals World’s Best Radio Programs announces the appointment of Michael Freedman, senior vice president and professor at University of Maryland University College to the New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards Advisory Board and GrandJury panel. NYF executive director Rose Anderson comments, “Michael Freedman brings over 35 years of broadcast journalism experience to his role as Advisory Board and GrandJury member. His creative vision and reputation within the industry will be a tremendous asset.”…..ESPN O&O WEPN-AM, New York “ESPN Deportes Nueva York” will continue to air New York Mets play-by-play in Spanish as the team and rights owner Clear Channel (English-language games will be heard on WOR) agree to continue the broadcasts through the 2016 season…..Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington announces the addition of an entertainment section to its WTOP.com site with WTOP.com staffer Alicia Lozano named editor for the section. Director of digital media John Meyer comments, “As WTOP evolves into a digital news operation, we are continuing to dedicate resources to original digital content that will feed not only our website but also our radio and mobile platforms. The Washington area is rife with local stories concerning the arts, music, movies and more. Our entertainment section will bring these stories to life online and on-air.”…..Media consultant Holland Cooke (pictured above at left in the WABC, New York studios with host Laura Smith) is appearing on WABC, New York this weekend on “Saturday Café with Laura Smith.” Cooke, who also blogs at his SurvivalSpeech.com, will offer “9 Tips For YOUR Academy Awards Acceptance Speech.”
The Media Roundtable. TALKERS and RadioInfo sales and marketing specialist Al Herskovitz (standing) was a recent speaker at the Media Roundtable in Sarasota, Florida. His subject was “The Current State of Radio Broadcasting.” The Media Roundtable conducts a monthly meeting that brings together media executives and active participants from all types of media: radio, TV, cable, internet, newspapers, magazines, publishing, motion pictures, theatre arts. The purpose of the group is to review current and future news and developments in the media with an interchange of opinions and questions by those in attendance. The Media Roundtable originated in 1950 in New York City and moved to Florida in 1991 and is unique in the United States. It currently is chaired and managed by longtime TV executive Irwin Starr. While there are some 300+ active members, the luncheon sessions are limited to the first 50 who make reservations. Pictured here with Herskovitz are Starr at far left and media broker Burt Sherwood, second from left.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Envision Networks-syndicated “America Weekend” talk show featuring Paul Harris, Turi Ryder, Rob Carson and other personalities, is added to the program schedule at Ohana Media Group’s KAST, Astoria, Oregon.
‘Religious Rights’ Legislation Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 24-28. The story of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s veto of a “religious rights” bill that would have allowed businesses to discriminate against customers based on religious beliefs was the most-talked-about issue of the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act. Following at #3 was the political unrest in Crimea and Ukraine and the U.S.-Russia tensions accompanying it. And at #4 was the 2016 presidential race, Hillary Clinton’s prospects and the looming mid-term elections this fall. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
CBS Reports Radio Segment Down 4% in Q4 2013; Company Up 6%. While CBS Corporation CEO, president and director Les Moonves spoke glowingly about the performance of CBS Corporation as a whole during yesterday’s Q4 conference call, the radio segment was not part of the celebration and loss of political advertising was given the lion’s share of the blame. The company’s report indicates that after taking political out of the picture, CBS RADIO was flat compared to the same quarter in 2012. Moonves was upbeat about the radio division saying, “In radio, we continue to put an emphasis on great, local programming, which is leading to bigger audiences. During the most recent ratings period, we had double-digit ranking gains in the highly coveted 25- to 54-year-old demo in many of our major markets, and non-traditional revenue from special events was up double digits over one year ago. Our strategy to combine the company’s local TV and radio websites into a single online presence in every market also continues to pay off. In 2013, revenue was up 21% over the year before, and the momentum is continuing here in ’14, including a new record of nearly 57 million unique users in January. I’m also very pleased with the success of our CBS Interactive business. Revenue was up 14% during the quarter, and we continue to see very rapid growth in mobile ad revenue, which was up 118%, and it helped to increase profit substantially.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. Members can read the whole conference call here.
Nielsen Q4 Revenue Up 11.8%; Rises 5.5% for 2013. Media ratings giant Nielsen Holdings N.V. issues its fourth quarter 2013 and full-year financial reports and states that Q4 revenue was $1.6 billion, an increase of 11.8% over the same period in 2012. For the full year of 2013, the company says its revenue was $5.7 billion, a jump of 5.5% over the full year of 2012. The company reports its free cash flow for 2013 increased 34.5% to $573 million from $426 million in 2012 while cash flow from operations increased 14.9% to $901 million in 2013 from $784 million in 2012. The result is the adjusted net income per share on a diluted basis for 2013 was $2.02, up 19.5% compared to $1.69 in the full year 2012. Nielsen acquired radio ratings firm Arbitron during 2013 and the move paid off. The Arbitron business helped add 9.3% to Nielsen’s Q4 revenue and 2.5% to its 2013 revenue.
CBS RADIO Dallas Ups Paul Mann to KRLD-AM PD. At CBS RADIO’s Dallas cluster, news director Paul Mann is promoted to program director for KRLD-AM “NewsRadio 1080 KRLD” and the Texas State Networks (TSN), effective immediately. Mann has served as news director for KRLD-AM and TSN since June 2006 and in this new role he will be primarily responsible for all programming and talent and will report to Gavin Spittle, vice president of news/talk/sports for CBS RADIO Dallas-Fort Worth. Spittle comments, “Paul has shown tremendous leadership as news director with the sole focus on serving the North Texas community. He’s helped put together a tremendous team which shares a great pride in this heritage station.” Under Mann’s leadership, KRLD-AM has been honored with two national Edward R. Murrow Awards, in 2008 (spot news) and 2013 (newscast).
Stella Prado Kuipers Lands at Salem Los Angeles. The successful, former KOST, Los Angeles program director joins Salem Communications to serve in the sales department working on multi-media marketing for Christian talk KKLA, Los Angeles. Stella Prado Kuipers made her announcement on her Facebook page where she wrote: “A new chapter in my life has begun and I’m proud to announce as of March 3rd I am an employee of Salem Communications Radio Broadcasting company! My position is multi-media marketing and I am thrilled to be a part of this company! I’m sooooo excited!” Kuipers had been with Clear Channel’s AC KOST for 20 years – eight as program director – before she was let go in December of 2012.
Programming Changes at WCTC, New Brunswick, New Jersey. A shuffle in afternoons at Greater Media-owned news/talk WCTC, New Brunswick, New Jersey sees current 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm personality Tommy G move to the afternoon drive slot replacing Newsmax-syndicated host Steve Malzberg. Into the early afternoon slot goes WestwoodOne’s Dennis Miller program. WCTC program director Bert Baron states, “We’re excited to welcome Dennis Miller to the WCTC weekday lineup. He’ll have Central Jersey laughing, thinking, and engaged on a daily basis. I can’t think of anyone I’d rather have doing PM drive on WCTC than Tommy G, one of the most passionate and hard-working people I’ve ever known. This is a BIG WIN for WCTC and for Central Jersey.”
Is Nielsen “Lying” About Millennial Audiences? Noted industry observer Jerry Del Colliano thinks so. Del Colliano published a scathing indictment of the ratings research giant in his daily industry blog Inside Music Media (www.insidemusicmedia.com) this morning (2/12) referring to the Nielsen Audio (formerly Arbitron) report released earlier this week stating that “Millennials” (also known as “Generation Y”) are big fans of AM/FM radio and listen to it on average of 11.5 hours per week. This, of course, flies in the face of what has to this point been conventional industry wisdom strongly suggesting that over-the-air radio is rapidly losing ground as a medium of choice for the millions of 20-something children born to Baby Boomers in the 1980s-90s and now coming of age in the millions – a widespread perception that broadcast business leaders openly fear threatens the future of what is increasingly being marginalized as “terrestrial radio.” Del Colliano writes, “The company that now does PPM ratings which records listening that occurs by accident when meters randomly pick up an encoded radio signal is now weighing in on Millennials…an audience that clearly has no use for what consolidators put on the radio these days.” He accuses the major corporate consolidators in radio of “paying hundreds of millions of dollars to report audience estimates that the company [Nielsen] itself admits in a legal statement are not reliable.” Del Colliano is a veteran program director and radio personality who rose to prominence as the founder and publisher of the trade publication Inside Radio which he built to formidability as an independent journal prior to it being acquired by Clear Channel, which still publishes it. Del Colliano has subsequently served a number of years as a member of the music department faculty at the University of Southern California (USC) teaching and writing courses on “Generational Media” specifically documenting and understanding the traits and habits of the rapidly maturing Millennial generation – a subject that he regularly shares with radio industry leaders via his blog and annual conference.
Speaking of Jerry Del Colliano… TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison recently interviewed Jerry Del Colliano on the TALKERS magazine “experimental” talk radio station, TalkersRadio, (www.talkers.com/talkersradio) as a complete installment of the one-hour, media-discussion program he hosts. The program, recorded two-weeks ago (prior to today’s provocative Del Colliano blog), presents the two industry observers in an in-depth discussion about the very subject of the delicate relationship AM/FM radio and Gen-Y. In it, Del Colliano discusses such issues as Gen-Y’s obsession with authenticity as well as its consumer interest in non-over-the-air digital media. To listen directly to the entire 58:00 installment of this first-time public conversation between Michael Harrison and Jerry Del Colliano, please click
Talk Host Joe Crummey Publishes Non-Fiction Book. Talk radio pro Joe Crummey has just published his first non-fiction book titled, Planking on Headstones: Your Future Outside of Time (School of Eddiness 2013). The veteran of such historic signals as WABC, New York; KFI, Los Angeles; WNBC, New York; KABC, Los Angeles and KFYI, Phoenix penned this new book that “takes the reader on a journey through space-time that’s rich in love, loss, fear and contemplation. With notes of his on-air, quick-wit persona, Planking on Headstones distills complex issues of religion and science into memorable anecdotes that elicit laughter, tears and a sense of connection. Crummey openly shares about his life, from his brain tumor to the death of his parents, as he explains his theories, such as the ‘Fonzie Principle,’ the ‘Boston Market Revelation’ and the ‘Jesus Burger.’ He also explains why he believes the Big Bang is the most evil thing that has ever happened.” Crummy states, “Throughout my career, I often discussed and challenged religious tenets on air with my audience. But after going through the brain tumor experience, my quest for meaning in this life and beyond intensified. I began to understand the importance of thinking outside of time and allowed myself to imagine the impossible while I explored this subject matter.”
Clear Channel Renews Promotional Deal with Relativity. In a statement, Clear Channel says that the renewed cross-media marketing collaboration between it and media company Relativity will include one-of-a-kind campaigns promoting upcoming movies on the part of Clear Channel and Relativity will provide exclusive content created by its filmmakers and talent that will be shared with listeners and viewers through various Clear Channel platforms. “The programs will also include organic promotional support from popular radio personalities such as Ryan Seacrest, Elvis Duran, Dan Patrick and Steve Harvey; naturally integrated film imaging across local stations and iHeartRadio’s national digital and mobile ad units; homepage website takeovers; and national and local on-air commercial inventory.” Clear Channel says previous successful collaborations between the companies included campaigns for the films “Limitless,” “Immortals,” “Act of Valor,” “Safe Haven” and “Free Birds.”
Odds & Sods. Talk media personality David Webb signs on to write a column for DC political publication The Hill. His column will be available every other Wednesday in The Hill’s print edition, online at thehill.com and on The Hill’s app. In addition to his daily SiriusXM talk show, Webb also appears frequently on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity” and “The Five.”…..Sports USA adds a podcast featuring former NFL star and TV personality Fred Dryer to its programming. Sports USA president Bob Moore says, “Fred Dryer is a true NFL legend and a major TV star. We are excited to add Fred’s show to our growing list of digital audio programs…..WNYC, New York names David Lewis its new metro editor. Lewis taught journalism at CUNY for the past seven years.
NAB to Feature RAB Sales and Marketing Sessions. The Radio Advertising Bureau will present five revenue- and growth-oriented presentations at this year’s NAB Show. RAB president and chief executive officer Erica Farber explains that, “The RAB is in the business of helping sellers on the street close deals and help drive revenue for the radio industry. These sessions will drive home key lessons and tools of the trade. NAB Show attendees will find these sessions invaluable to their future success in the broadcast business.” Specifically, the Radio Advertising Bureau’s focus will be “Lunch and Learn – A Discussion on Radio’s Four Significant Issues;” “Concentrating on Core Radio Revenues;” “Creative Radio Commercial Production and Imaging;” and “Rapid-Fire Revenue Generators for Small and Medium Market Radio.” The NAB Show will be held April 5 – 10 in Las Vegas.
WDVI-FM and WHAM in Rochester Hold Radiothon to Benefit Children’s Hospital. Today and tomorrow Clear Channel Rochester stations hot AC WDVI “100.5 The Drive” and news/talk WHAM are broadcasting the annual “Drive For Miracles Radiothon” to benefit Golisano Children’s Hospital live from the lobby of Strong Hospital. Throughout the event, on-air personalities from each station will talk with current and former patients, their families, and the hard-working hospital staff that “creates miracles” every day. Personalities including WHAM’s Chet Walker, Bob Lonsberry, Shari Smith, Joe Lomonaco, and Bob Matthews and WDVI’s Bill Moran, Julie, JP, and “The Mayor” Pete Kennedy will broadcast from the hospital.
BFoA Names 2014 Ward L. Quaal Leadership Awards Recipients. This year’s recipients of the 2014 Ward L. Quaal Leadership Awards have been announced by the Broadcasters Foundation of America. They will be presented at the Foundation’s annual breakfast on Wednesday, April 9, at the Wynn Hotel during the National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas. This year’s recipients are: Jim Beloyianis, past president, Katz TV; Dan Mason, president & CEO, CBS RADIO; Deborah Norville, host, “Inside Edition”; Mary Quass, president & CEO, NRG Media; Perry Sook, chairman/president & CEO, Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Inc.; and Nick Verbitsky, chairman, United Stations Radio Networks. The Leadership Awards are given annually by the Broadcasters Foundation in recognition of career contributions to the broadcast industry and the community at large, and are named in honor of iconic broadcaster Ward L. Quaal.
Winter Weather Hits South and Northeast, ObamaCare Rollout Criticism, Afghanistan Prisoner Release, Paul NSA Suit, Debt Ceiling Raised, the Sochi Olympics and Gay NFL Prospect Comes Out Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/12). The unusually severe winter weather bearing down on the South and the Northeast; scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act and President Obama’s unilateral delay of the employer mandate; Afghanistan’s release of numerous “dangerous” inmates and the state of the U.S.’s relationship with Hamid Karzai; Senator Rand Paul’s suit against the NSA; the GOP’s signing on with Democrats to raise the debt ceiling; the Sochi Winter Olympic Games; and the coming out of NFL prospect Michael Sam were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Entercom Revenue Down 2% in Q4; Dips 3% for 2013. The 2013 fourth quarter numbers for Entercom are in and the company reports net revenue was down 2% on $99.6 million though adjusted net income per share was basically flat. Also free cash flow increased by 2%. For the full year of 2013, net revenue dipped 3%. Though station expenses decreased slightly during the year, station operating income decreased by 8% to $125.8 million. Entercom will hold a conference call with investors and analysts at 12:00 noon ET today (2/11). President and CEO David Field says in a statement, “Entercom’s fourth quarter revenues declined 2% while revenues excluding political advertising posted a 2% increase. 2014 began on a solid note with January revenues up moderately over the prior year. We are optimistic about 2014 performance based on improving sales capabilities and execution, strong ratings and meaningful local growth opportunities.”
Beasley Broadcast Group to Work with Propel Marketing for Online Marketing. In an effort to expand its online marketing, Beasley Broadcast Group announces it is engaging Propel Marketing to “assist Beasley’s local clients in building and expanding their online marketing opportunities and solutions.” In a statement, Beasley says that Propel’s products and services include website and mobile site design, search engine optimization, lists and local directories, social media services and online reputation management. It further states that the “agreement affords Beasley’s local account executives access to a robust portfolio of online marketing services. Beasley’s relationship with Propel Marketing enhances the on-air and online advertising opportunities already available to existing and future clients, especially small businesses that typically do not have in-house resources to create and implement successful online marketing campaigns. Propel Marketing will not only create and deliver online marketing solutions, but also provide a dedicated team of specialists to ensure that Beasley’s clients are fully leveraging Propel Marketing products.” Beasley EVP and CFO Caroline Beasley states, “We are extremely excited by this relationship. It gives us the ability to respond to any request a local advertiser may have that involves exploring a digital component. The ability to combine radio’s powerful reach with Propel Marketing’s wide assortment of online products and services will greatly enhance a local advertising campaign.” Newly appointed vice president of digital Stacey Sedbrook adds, “By integrating online marketing with their current radio marketing efforts our clients are able to both extend their audience reach and more efficiently target their messaging. Beasley sales professionals remain the primary contact for our advertising customers. Our goal remains helping local businesses build their brands and grow their revenue. We can now offer integrated marketing solutions under the Beasley Broadcast brand allowing advertisers to streamline their marketing efforts with a trusted local partner.”
TALKERS Posts Part-Two Today of Three-Part Special (2/10-12) Spotlighting Danno Wolkoff and Envision Networks. Like many people who go to college with a plan for what they want to do when they graduate, Danno Wolkoff went to Syracuse University with a goal of winding up in television production. Fate, and the prodding from senior management at MJI Broadcasting instead sent him in the direction of sales and affiliate relations. Wolkoff discovered he had a gift for sales, and doubled his income in one year. It was through sales and affiliate relations work that he climbed the corporate ladder at MJI, expanding and growing their sales offices nationwide. When Clear Channel acquired MJI and merged it into Premiere Radio Networks (now simply “Premiere Networks”), he became VP of affiliate relations. However, it wasn’t long before he began to realize that the hands-on and creative approach he had at MJI wasn’t translating to the growth concepts and business model of Premiere and Clear Channel. Wolkoff faced a career crossroads and would make a decision that would change his life and become an important source of programming and services for radio. His vision was Envision Radio Networks — a highly successful and forward-thinking company that creates over four-dozen content products and services for radio stations and media outlets nationwide, customizing solutions for clients, producers and affiliates. It is a company literally founded after another syndication and programming company decided they had a good product that despite making money, didn’t make enough money for their bottom line. What Wolkoff has accomplished in the span of just 10 years is inspiring and a textbook example of creating a force for productivity and jobs in an industry. He took the biggest gamble of his life, grabbing a program and three people laid off by an established firm that would become his largest competitor, and growing an independent syndication empire serving over 1,500 radio stations with everything from prep services to music shows, local news and information to weekend talk shows. His staff has grown over 20-fold in a decade to include an array of producers, salespeople and contract staffers researching, producing, creating and selling more than four-dozen products to radio stations in both the largest and smallest markets. Now known simply as Envision Networks (they dropped the word “Radio” this past week – more on that later) continues to not only grow, embracing new technology and catering to those needs, but in the process has become an independent force in syndication. In today’s installment, Wolkoff discusses exactly what it takes to build a formidable syndication firm from scratch and shares his view of the changing nature of the syndication business as well as radio in general. In the words of Michael Harrison, “The emergence of special individuals like Danno Wolkoff is the force that propels an industry such as ours forward. I’ve seen this movie many times before. Danno is the kind of guy who has the makings of being a true giant 10 years down the pike, taking his place among the biggest of the big.” To read part two of TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay’s extensive profile “The Vision of Envision: The Rise of Radio Syndication Entrepreneur Danno Wolkoff and an Emerging Independent Powerhouse” please click here. And if you missed part one published yesterday, read that here.
Max Krasny Joins CBS RADIO as VP/Sales and Strategic Alliances. The former WestwoodOne EVP takes on the vice president, sales and strategic partnerships position with CBS RADIO’s Altitude Group division which focuses on helping brands connect with consumers using CBS RADIO stations, along with CBS Television stations and their digital properties, as well as CBS’s outdoor assets. Max Krasny reports to the executive leadership of the Altitude Group: Rich Lobel, executive vice president and CMO, and Sue McNamara, senior vice president, sales. Lobel states, “Max is a seasoned pro who brings a marketing acumen to a client’s business, and knows how to deliver creative excellence that makes brands stand out and get noticed. No one has a better portfolio of local assets under one roof than CBS including: radio, television, out-of-home, live events, websites, mobile and social apps.”
FCC Socks WLS-AM, Chicago with $44,000 Fine. The Forfeiture Order comes from the station failing to identify the sponsor of programming that aired back in 2009. The content was in the form of long-form shows – two two-hour programs, a one-hour show – plus 90-second and 15-second spots and promotional announcements paid for by Workers Independent News. During the two-week period in question, the FCC determined that 11 announcements were aired without proper sponsor identification and issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for $44,000 – 11 violations at $4,000 per. Cumulus argued that the commission had in the past reduced fines to a one-time violation amount and that it should just have to pay $4,000. But the commission ruled that no such precedent had been set and that the forfeiture amounts in failure to identify sponsorships cases reflect the unique aspects of each case and thus the commission considers this case to be comprised of 11 violations, not one.
Former MLB Slugger and Talk Host Jack Clark Apologizes to Albert Pujols. During a discussion on WGNU, St. Louis, sports talk host and former MLB slugger Jack Clark alleged that former Cardinals player Albert Pujols used performance enhancing drugs during his time in St. Louis. Pujols threatened to sue and the station ended the contract between Clark’s co-host Kevin Slaten and Clark, cancelling their show. The station also issued an apology to Pujols. But for a time Clark maintained his assertion about Pujols and even challenged Pujols to a live debate – an invitation Pujols’ attorney refused. Now, Clark issues the aforementioned apology and Pujols agrees to withdraw his lawsuit.
“Market Rally” Readies for March Launch. What is said to be the first-ever, long-form agricultural commodity markets-focused national radio program will debut next month (3/10). That is when Farm Journal Media launches Chip Flory-hosted “Market Rally.” The one-hour weekday program will air at 2:00 pm (CT), immediately following the close of major commodity markets. Farm Journal Broadcast Division senior vice president Brian Conrady remarks that a “really solid group of stations” is already committed to air “Market Rally” and he anticipates “several more” before the program debuts. “The show fills a programming void for many stations,” Conrady comments. “It wraps their day’s farm coverage with a new, information-packed, entertaining program. It is all about markets, which everyone knows farmers cannot get enough of.” Flory notes, “We have a long list of guest analysts anxious to share their market perspective with the audience each day. We will take listener questions/comments via phone, text, and social media. Our goal is to remove as much confusion as possible from this increasingly volatile marketing environment.” Flory remains editorial director of Farm Journal’s “Pro Farmer” newsletter and he will host “Market Rally” from FJB’s new studio in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
The Beatles Played in Washington, Too! As America remembers The Beatles’ arrival in this country 50 years ago this week, much of the attention is focused on the New York-based national broadcast on the “Ed Sullivan Show.” But Cumulus Media’s WMAL, Washington knows that the group’s first public concert was in Washington, DC. Pictured here in the WMAL studios are Fox News Channel chief Washington correspondent – and noted Beatles expert – James Rosen (center) and “Mornings on the Mall” co-hosts Brian Wilson (left) and Larry O’Connor (right) after being on the air for Tuesday’s celebration of The Beatles’ first concert on U.S. soil – in the Nation’s Capital. Among other guests remembering The Beatles on the program were: The Beach Boys’ Mike Love, Rolling Stone Magazine’s David Wild, Herman’s Hermits singer Peter Noone, and local Fox 5 anchor (and former “Good Morning America” weather anchor) Tony Perkins, who discussed his love for the Beatles as an African-American youth growing up in D.C.
Odds & Sods. Baltimore Orioles broadcaster Jim Hunter recently visited his alma mater Seton Hall University and spoke with student staffers at his old college radio station – WSOU-FM – about making it in sports broadcasting today. Hunter, pictured here (third from the right) surrounded by students, stressed to them the importance of preparation, noting that the need to do your homework doesn’t end when you graduate from college. He also shared tips on improving on-air performance and how to tell listeners a good story…..New York City broadcasting legend John Gambling returned to the radio recently, if only briefly, to speak on WABC, New York with Frank Morano on his Sunday “Morning with Morano” program. Morano and Gambling talked about the state of radio today, the tradition of the Gamblings and covering weather events…..For the 18th consecutive year, ESPN Radio is providing comprehensive coverage of NBA All-Star 2014, culminating with an exclusive radio broadcast of the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, February 16. Kevin Calabro will describe the action throughout the weekend with analyst Jon Barry. They will be joined by studio analysts Marc Kestecher and P.J. Carlesimo and reporters Marc Stein and Shelley Smith.
Brent & Meg Honored for Keeping Studio City, California Free of Dog Poop. Although they are heard all over the world on TalkersRadio (weekdays 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm PT), the experimental talk station that lives on this website, the dynamic husband/wife radio duo of Brent & Meg (Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald) believe in the concept of cleaning up your own backyard as well as tackling the issues of greater humanity. This past Saturday evening (2/8) they were honored by some of LA’s top movers and shakers for their community volunteer work in regularly picking up dog poop (no kidding) found on the streets of LA’s Studio City – the neighborhood from which their daily show emanates (as well as their home). The gala appreciation dinner took place at Carla’s Café on the CBS Studio Center lot. Pictured here are (from l-r): State Assemblymember, 46th District, Adrin Nazarian; Los Angeles City Councilmember, 2nd District, Paul Krekorian; Meg McDonald (Brent & Meg Show on TalkersRadio); Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; and Brent Seltzer (Brent & Meg Show on Talkers Radio). Upon learning of Brent & Meg receiving this honor, TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo’s music editor/director Duane Doobie issued the statement: “I seldom listen to talk radio, but when I do, I prefer Brent & Meg. True, like most talk show hosts, they are full of sh*t… but in a helpful, solutions-oriented way.”
ObamaCare Criticism, Hillary Clinton in 2016, Immigration Reform, Winter Olympics, Winter Weather, and Shirley Temple Black Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/10). Scrutiny of the implementation and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the release of new documents about the Clintons and Hillary’s possible run for president in 2016; the move in Washington to pass immigration reform legislation; the Winter Olympics games in Sochi, Russia; a new winter storm reportedly heading for the South and East this week; and the death of former child star and U.S. Ambassador Shirley Temple Black were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Still Pioneering After All These Years – 74-Year-Old Alex Bennett Is Building New Platform and Inventing “New” Talk Format. Some view their own age and/or that of others as a roadblock – a barrier to achieving an untold number of additional hopes and dreams. To others, age – more correctly – is merely a meaningless number with no attached strings or restrictions. It would have been quite easy and understandable for radio legend Alex Bennett to take leave and retreat from the business in which he has been an integral part for several decades. After all, the legendary broadcaster was 73-years-old when Sirius XM unceremoniously pink-slipped him last June after more than nine years of service at the satcaster (he turned 74 two months ago). Notwithstanding an imposing and lengthy list of accomplishments and vitae, which the native Californian could trumpet as an entree to retirement, he has become an entrepreneur with “Alex Bennett’s Great American Broadcasts” being the centerpiece of his novel take on talk radio. Bennett is innovatively and opportunistically using Skype to create “citizen panels” of up to 10 callers per clip interacting with him in on-air conversation at a time. To learn more about this creative venture and the ongoing adventures of one of radio’s truly cooler characters, read TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian’s feature piece posted today (2/5) in its entirety by clicking here.
SiriusXM Reports Revenue Up 12% in 2013. During yesterday’s Q4 conference call, SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer told investors and analysts that the company delivered on all of its guidance for 2013 and enjoyed a revenue spike of 12% for the year plus saw its subscriber base rise to 25.5 million. Meyer, like Mel Karmazin before him, is touting the company’s dedication to increasing free cash flow and, to that end, Meyer reports free cash flow was up 31% to $927 million for the year. Looking back on 2013 Meyer underscored the importance of deals that get SiriusXM radios into new cars and stated the satellite service is now available in 71% of cars sold in the United States. Meyer also spoke about the company’s strategy with regard to the “connected vehicle,” saying, “We’ve acquired a smart team of technology engineers who are accelerating development of our overall connected car architecture, including the combination of satellite receivers with LTE hardware, a strategy that should also yield benefits to our existing audio business…We expect connected vehicle services to deliver close to $100 million of revenue this year, and we expect to grow this at strong double-digit rates over the next many years. We are in the process of fully integrating the CV business into SiriusXM, and its financial results are embedded in our guidance today.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript. Members can check out the entire conference here.
Greater Media Suspends WPEN, Philadelphia’s Mike Missanelli for Gay Slurs. This story goes to show how even a seasoned pro like Philadelphia sports talk host Mike Missanelli can make the mistake of engaging with a critic online. Greater Media has suspended afternoon personality Mike Missanelli after he called a critic a “latent homosexual” in an email exchange. The station issued the following statement, “We are aware of the email communications between Mike and one of his listeners. This individual has been harassing Mike by email for several years, which is cause for concern, and we are working with Mike to try to identify this person and stop the abuse. However, that does not excuse Mike’s conduct. The content of his emails is unacceptable and does not reflect our values as a company. Mike has been suspended and understands that future similar conduct will not be tolerated.” The story broke after the email exchange was posted on Deadspin.com.
Beasley Broadcast Group Beefs Up Digital Division. In announcing the hiring of three new regional digital directors, Beasley reveals its dedication to digital sales efforts. In a statement, vice president of digital Stacey Sedbrook speaks about the expectations after bringing Eddie Thorpe, Adam Meltzer and Carolyn Cope aboard. “The formation of this team will surely be the foundation of our success. Having the right people on my team is as important to me as having the right products and services to sell. Eddie, Adam and Carolyn were hand selected for their talents, capabilities and, most importantly, their nimble thinking. Our objective is to drive revenues for our advertisers, especially those smaller businesses and growing brands in the communities we serve. To achieve this goal, our regional digital directors will assist Beasley’s local market sales teams in creating enhanced advertising campaigns that include digital products and services tailored to the specific needs of our existing and new clients.” Eddie Thorpe comes to Beasley from the Tampa Bay Times where he was senior digital director. He’s responsible for the Miami and Fort Myers-Naples markets. Adam Meltzer is responsible for the Philadelphia and Wilmington, Delaware markets. He most recently was multimedia sales manager for Wicked Local. Carolyn Cope also served with Wicked Local as senior digital account executive of major accounts and is now overseeing the Augusta, Georgia; Fayetteville, North Carolina; and Eastern North Carolina markets (Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville). Sedbrook is responsible for the company’s Las Vegas group.
Klatt Yields the Winning Run. In this case, that is a good thing as The Winning Run is the name of the full-service consultancy that Len Klatt is opening. The former Premiere Networks senior vice president/director of research is gearing the new undertaking – which will have Los Angeles and New York City offices – to national media companies and talent, programming services and advertisers. Among his clients are Sound Mind, Compass Media Marketing, Big Shoes Productions, Reel World, and The Blaze Radio Network. “Len continues to do the best job industry wide in both interpreting audience numbers and explaining them to clients interested in exploring the value premise of audience engagement on radio, online, and in digital media,” comments Sound Mind president Kraig Kitchin, Premiere’s former president/chief operating officer. “We are fortunate to have his talents for the benefit of our sponsors.” Klatt remarks, “It is not just about columns and numbers, it’s about how they can be used to shape the story in such a way to advance my clients’ vision. With The Winning Run, I want to cover all the bases.” Before the nearly two decades he spent at Premiere, Klatt was Westwood One‘s New York City-based director of research. He began his media research career at Media Buying Services International.
Learfield Adds to Footprint with Nelligan Acquisition. One of the leaders in college sports play-by-play rights is adding 41 schools to its roster with the acquisition of Nelligan Sports Marketing. Learfield Sports will now hold the multi-media rights to 92 schools, which puts its total above that of its fiercest competitor – IMG Sports, which holds the rights to 79 schools. Learfield president and CEO Greg Brown tells SportsBusinessDaily, “In some cases, this will open up new markets for us. In other cases, it will further fortify what we’re doing…Early on in our discussions with Providence [Learfield owner Providence Equity Partners], we identified some strategic opportunities that would be productive for our business. Nelligan is consistent with the business we’re already in. This was right down the middle of the fairway for us.” Nelligan Sports founder T.J. Nelligan will remain with the new company in a leadership role. He comments that he doesn’t expect attrition with this merger.
Odds & Sods. Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington is helping the National Multiple Sclerosis Society by naming it the station’s WTOP Charity of the Month recipient for February 2014. Through the program the MS Society will receive more than $20,000 worth of in-kind contributions to support Multiple Sclerosis awareness and programs, including 64 promotional announcements on WTOP and sister station Federal News Radio. Additional content and exposure for MS Society will be included on WTOP.com and FederalNewsRadio.com throughout the entire month of February…..Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago announces the next in its “Blackhawks Live” series when forwards Kris Versteeg and Brandon Saad take part in the live event at the Old Town Pour House in suburban Oakbrook on February 24. The event includes a photo op with the players, an autographed photo and dinner, tax and tip. “Blackhawks Live” is a series of one-hour radio broadcasts hosted over dinner throughout the year featuring current Blackhawks players, legends and management. Blackhawks radio broadcasters John Wiedeman and Troy Murray host the event that includes a question-and-answer format between the hosts and the featured Blackhawks guests…..The New Jersey Broadcasters Association has created PSAs for member stations reminding drivers in the Garden State that it’s illegal to drive a vehicle that hasn’t had the snow and ice properly cleared off it. Interested stations can visit www.njba.com for information…..The Radio Television Digital News Association names WBIR-TV, Knoxville news director Christy Moreno to its board of directors, representing Region 8, which includes Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and West Virginia.
WestwoodOne to Present Exclusive Coverage of Winter Olympics. When the 2014 Olympic Winter Games commence in Sochi, Russia on Friday, WestwoodOne will be the exclusive network for audio coverage. WestwoodOne’s programing will include: shortform coverage Olympic updates three times an hour, 24/7, from February 7- February 23; longform coverage – “Today in Sochi” including two hours of longform coverage for 17 consecutive nights; coverage of all U.S. Olympic Hockey (Men’s and Women’s) plus the gold medal games in Men’s and Women’s hockey regardless of who is playing.
Dana Loesch Visits ‘The View.’ Conservative talk media figure Dana Loesch – who just entered national syndication for her daily talk radio show via Radio America – appeared on ABC TV’s “The View” on Monday in her stead as a host on Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze where she hosts a daily, 5:00 pm program. Pictured here (center) between the program’s Jenny McCarthy (left) and Sherri Shepherd (right), Loesch spoke about her conversion from a progressive liberal to her current conservative philosophy and fielded questions from the four co-hosts.
Obama Administration Splits with Some Democrats, Philip Seymour Hoffman Death/Heroin Use in America, Hillary in 2016, Immigration Legislation/Amnesty Component, ObamaCare Criticism, Financial Markets Activity, and Sochi Olympics Troubles Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/4). The reported rift between Democrats on Capitol Hill and the Obama Administration on some issues; the aftermath of the death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman and the light it’s shed on heroin abuse in America; the prospect of Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016; the proposed immigration legislation working its way through Congress and the possibility of amnesty for current illegals; ongoing scrutiny of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; activity on the U.S. and world financial markets; and reports of the problems Russia is facing getting Sochi ready for the Winter Olympics were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Entercom Reports Q3 Revenue Down 4%. Bucking the trend of recent third quarter reports from other broadcasters showing generally moderate revenue growth, Entercom’s Q3 2013 financial statement indicated revenue down 4% on $98.4 million. President and CEO David Field stated that station expenses increased 5% and the resulting adjusted EBITDA was down 22% to $26.2 million. Field did tell investors during yesterday’s conference call that the company has been paying down debt, “We also continued to direct our substantial free cash flow towards debt reduction. During the third quarter alone, we cut our net debt by $20 million, and have now lowered our net debt by nearly $450 million over the past six years.” Field reported that local sales were down 5% and national revenue was basically flat. Field admitted the company’s sales effort was the problem, stating that in the markets in which the company operates, total radio revenue was up 1%. “Plain and simple, our sales performance in the third quarter was poor. We failed to get the job done and that is unacceptable. We lagged our radio peers by a significant margin, and failed to capitalize on our strong brands, ratings and marketing capabilities.” Field reminded investors that the company anticipated a down third quarter due to recently enacted changes in the company’s sales strategies and practices and that the changes will make the company stronger in the long run.
Saga Communications Inches Up 1.6% in Net Revenue. For the third quarter of 2013, Saga Communications says the $35.8 million (ex political) resulted in a net revenue increase of 1.6%. CEO Ed Christian told investors during yesterday’s conference call that considering how much the company is down from the loss of political from last year to this, the results are not bad though he had hoped to be up 2%. Christian can be downright chatty during these conference calls and he took the time to reference a Barron’s article indicating America may be at the beginning of decades of slow growth and suggested radio’s prescription for adapting to such an economy is to focus on rebuilding radio’s image. He says research shows people like radio but there needs to be more trust and respect. “If we blend the community – and you can define community any way that you like it – if we blend the community and we blend radio into one, we’ll continue to survive and prosper, even in a 2% GDP world.”
Salem Communications’ Broadcast Division Announces Flat Q3 Numbers. The broadcasting division of Salem Communications was up just a hair – 0.3% on $46 million dollars for the third quarter of 2013 compared to the same period a year ago. During yesterday’s conference call, CFO Evan Masyr broke down the company’s performance by format, reporting, “Thirty-nine of our radio stations are programmed in what we call our foundational format Christian Teaching and Talk, these stations contributed 45% of total broadcast revenue and increased 1% for the quarter. Block programming increased 2.3%, while infomercials were down 29.7% as we continue to reduce the infomercials on our radio stations to improve the overall programming on the stations. Our 26 news/talk stations had a decrease of 6% in revenue for the quarter. Overall, these stations contributed 14% of total broadcast revenue. The revenue from the 12 contemporary Christian music stations contributed 24% of total broadcast revenue and had an increase of 5% for the quarter. Again, we continue to see strong results from many of our music stations, most notably in this quarter Los Angeles and Dallas. The seven stations that we have programmed in Spanish language, Christian Teaching and Talk grew by 26%, and these stations comprised 2% of our broadcast revenue. Finally, with respect to the formats that we focus on the 10 stations in a business talk format, and that format contributed 3% of our broadcast revenue and had a decrease of 2% in revenue.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript. Members can read the entire call here.
Nielsen Promotes Mitch Barns to CEO. The ratings giant – which recently brought radio ratings into its fold with the acquisition of Arbitron – announces that Dwight M. “Mitch” Barns will succeed David L. Calhoun as chief executive officer effective Jaunary 1, 2014. Barns has been with Nielsen for the past 16 years, currently serving as president, global client service, which oversees $5.5 billion in revenue and leads the efforts of Nielsen’s Watch and Buy client service teams worldwide. Upon Barns’ succession, David Calhoun will become executive chairman of the board of directors, at which time Nielsen’s current Chairman of the Board, James M. Kilts, will step down as chairman, but will remain a board member. Calhoun states, “Nielsen is successfully implementing its global strategy, and the time is right to name the next leader to take the company to its next phase of growth. Mitch’s strong track record at the helm of a number of key Nielsen business units around the world – combined with his vision and commitment to our strategic plan – puts the company on solid footing for continued global expansion and value creation. I will continue to remain invested in Mitch’s success in my new role.” Barns adds, “I am honored by this opportunity to serve Nielsen as its chief executive officer, and I am thankful for the board’s vote of confidence. Throughout my 16 years at this company, I’ve been privileged to work side-by-side with talented leaders and associates in Nielsen businesses across the world. I look forward to continuing our work together to anticipate client needs with ongoing innovation and expand our footprint in developing markets, while consistently delivering growth and enhancing shareholder value.”
KFI, Los Angeles Critic Files Petition to Deny License Renewal. It’s probably not surprising to anyone at Clear Channel’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles that Alex Nogales, representing the National Hispanic Media Coalition, has filed a Petition to Deny the station’s license renewal application. Nogales has long been a critic of the station’s programming. It’s hard to say whether Nogales actually believes the FCC would act on his assertions that because hosts such as John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou speak against illegal immigration that their show is “harmful and dangerous” and this could qualify as actionable or whether he just wants to get some publicity by announcing the filing of the Petition. Regardless, as we’ve seen countless times before – and most recently with the Commission’s refusal to deny license renewal for Cumulus’ WMAL-AM/FM, Washington – disagreements with the opinions of talk show hosts are not valid reasons for non-renewal. As it wrote in the recent WMAL case, the FCC states, “The Commission is prohibited from exercising any power of censorship over broadcast stations with respect to content-based programming decisions. A licensee has broad discretion – based on its right to free speech – to choose the programming that it believes serves the needs and interests of the members of its audience.”
Programmer and Consultant Greg Moceri’s Son Tony Writes New Hannity Theme Music. Tony Moceri is the 13-year-old son of talk radio programmer and consultant Greg Moceri and resides in Ada, Michigan. Tony has been playing piano since he was five and currently is a percussionist in his middle school’s band. Greg Moceri tells Mlive.com that, though he’s worked with Premiere Networks star Sean Hannity in the past, his connection didn’t influence the use of his son’s work. He says Hannity’s staff was seeking new music, “They wanted a change and asked for something upbeat and lively for the show opening. I wasn’t thrilled with what I was finding and then I remembered Tony’s piece and sent it to some people that I work with. They all thought it was perfect and so I sent it to Sean. I didn’t tell him where it came from; I didn’t want him to feel obligated. But he loved it and now they are using it.” Hannity told Mlive.com, “Isn’t this a great story? When Greg sent me the music, I thought it was a pop song and wondered why I had never heard it. I have a son about the same age…and I listen to a lot of kids music. I love music and this is spectacular.”
Odds & Sods. Hockey is back and so is WGN, Chicago’s broadcast series, “Chicago Blackhawks Live,” a number of one-hour radio remotes during the 2013-2014 season that take place over dinner and feature current Blackhawks players, legends, and front office executives. It’s hosted by Blackhawks radio broadcasters John Wiedeman and Troy Murray and the season premiere will feature Blackhawks forwards Bryan Bickell and Andrew Shaw. It takes place on November 11 at 7:00 pm at Old Town Pour House in Chicago…..Cuts at Rogers Communications are affecting some of the company’s spoken-word outlets. The Ottawa Citizen reports that CIWW, Ottawa is losing seven staffers as the station will simulcast sister CJCL, Toronto “Sportsnet 590” for weekends and part of the weekday programming. In all, Rogers is reportedly laying off 94 staffers…..MLB‘s Miami Marlins games will be heard on Clear Channel‘s sports talk WINZ, Miami beginning with the 2014 season. This past season, Marlins play-by-play was heard on Lincoln Financial Media‘s WAXY, Miami.
KIRO-FM, Seattle’s Dori Monson to Take on Governor Inslee in Hoops Challenge. KIRO-FM, Seattle talk show host Dori Monson gets to face off with Washington Governor Jay Inslee in a charity basketball game tonight that will be broadcast live on KIRO-FM. The “Clash on the Court” will benefit Food Lifeline and Sports in Schools. The program consists of a five-on-five co-ed game between local youth, coached by Monson and Inslee, followed by a five-on-five game featuring show hosts from KIRO Radio and “710 ESPN Seattle” up against local politicians handpicked by Jay Inslee. The event will conclude with a one-on-one game between Monson and Inslee. Monson jokes, “This may be my first and only opportunity to force a local politician to go right! This proves that, for us aging basketball players, we check our politics at the gym door. I’m thrilled Governor Inslee and I – along with our colleagues – are able to get together to raise money for two great organizations.”
ObamaCare Criticism, Presidential Approval Polls, Election Day, Toronto Mayor Crack Case and NFL Bullying Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/5). Criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; new lower numbers for President Obama’s approval ratings; the high-profile races in Tuesday’s elections, including gubernatorial contests in Virginia and New Jersey; the admission by Toronto Mayor Rob Ford that he’s used crack cocaine in the past; and the accusations of bullying within the Miami Dolphins organization were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Journal Broadcast Group’s Radio Division Posts 3.5% Revenue Gain in Q3. Milwaukee-based Journal Communications issued its 2013 third quarter numbers yesterday and the radio division reports revenue was up 3.5% on $20.5 million compared to the same period a year ago. The company adds, “Local advertising revenue increased 4.3%, primarily due to increases in professional services, retail and medical advertising. National advertising revenue decreased 4.9%, mostly due to declines in media, professional services and restaurant advertising. Operating earnings from radio stations were $3.5 million compared to $3.0 million, an increase of 16.3%. Radio operating expenses increased 1.3% driven by higher employee-related costs and higher broadcast rights fees.”
FCC Issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Revitalization of AM Radio Service. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued yesterday (10/31) by the Federal Communications Commission addressing the revitalization of AM radio service can be found in its entirety here. The six-pronged proposal consists of: opening an FM translator filing window exclusively for AM station owners; modifying the daytime community coverage standards for existing AM stations; modifying the nighttime community coverage standards for existing AM stations; eliminating the AM ‘rachet rule’; permitting wider implementation of modulation dependent carrier level control technologies; and modifying AM antenna efficiency standards. NAB CEO Gordon Smith says the organization supports the move. “NAB salutes the leadership of Acting Chair Mignon Clyburn and FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai for taking a strong interest in revitalizing AM radio, which has a long and storied history of providing America’s hometowns with news, entertainment, sports and community affairs information. AM radio is a cultural touchstone and jobs generator in cities large and small; many of the top revenue-generating stations are on the AM band. We strongly endorse the revitalization proceeding and stand ready to work with the FCC to develop meaningful solutions.”
FCC Denies Virginia Man’s Objection to Renewal of WMAL-AM/FM, Washington’s License. From time to time, the FCC receives objections to the renewal of the license of a radio station and, also occasionally, that is based on the notion that the station’s programming is biased and that it is not serving the public. That is roughly what Kevin M. Raymond of Woodbridge, Virginia claimed when he objected to the renewal of WMAL’s license. Raymond argued that the station has an “incessant bias” against the government throughout all its programs and the station broadcasts “blatant lies on each program” that cannot be considered protected by the right to free speech. On Thursday, the FCC announce its denial of Raymond’s objection. Stating in part, the Commission wrote, “The Objection also questions whether the Station is funded anonymously for political propaganda purposes. The Objection provides no support for this speculative comment. Accordingly, this argument requires no further discussion here…There have been no other violations which, taken together, constitute a pattern of abuse…We have examined the Objection and find that it does not raise a substantial and material question of fact calling for further inquiry or otherwise persuade us that granting the Application would contravene the public interest, convenience, and necessity. The Commission is prohibited from exercising any power of censorship over broadcast stations with respect to content-based programming decisions. A licensee has broad discretion – based on its right to free speech – to choose the programming that it believes serves the needs and interests of the members of its audience.
New Comedy Album Getting Noticed by Talk Show Hosts and Producers. Before the days of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, when it came to politics, some of the most interesting political comments came from music parodies and comedians. Older industry professionals might remember the radio phenomenon of their childhoods called “The First Family” – a comedy album created by talented impersonator Vaughn Meader and a cast of characters parodying the newly elected President John F. Kennedy and his family/administration. After the assassination of the young president, the album disappeared as quickly as it rose to prominence. You don’t really hear much pre-recorded political satire on the radio these days…but that may change. A longtime radio host/producer has joined forces with a longtime entertainment industry executive to put together a political comedy CD that has hit the top of the comedy CD charts in just the initial two weeks of release. For Michael Hardeman (a recurring contributor to the Stephanie Miller radio show) and Marshall Blonstein (a veteran LA record executive), being politically correct means being “Politically Incoherent.” Read all about this exciting project in a new article posted today (11/1) by TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay by clicking here.
The “Talkers Show” Covering Radio and Talk Media Debuts Today on TalkersRadio. As the new experimental internet talk radio station, TalkersRadio, passes its six week milestone, a new crop of programs are slated to launch during the next month. Debuting today is the “Talkers Show” – a daily, one-hour conversation program hosted by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison featuring interviews with members of the talk media industry and related fields. The program is scheduled to air weekdays 12:00 noon – 1:00 pm ET with repeats programmed throughout remaining open slots on the schedule. Today’s initial guests are Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald, hosts of the TalkersRadio program, the “Brent & Meg Radio Thingy” (weekdays 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm ET) and noted Fox News Radio star Alan Colmes, who hosts a show on TalkersRadio titled “Healed Planet” heard on the third Sunday of each month 8:00 pm – 9:00 pm ET. Upcoming scheduled guests include TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein (former PD of WOR, New York; WBZ, Boston; WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford and WPRO, Providence, among others); successful record producer Robbie Student who hosts a daily program on TalkersRadio (weekdays 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm); and Steve M. Fassberg, the media-savvy CEO/founder of the Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Company. Upon beginning this new program, Michael Harrison states, “Hosting this show about talk media is sheer fun for me and having the opportunity to give long form conversational exposure to some of the brightest and most articulate people in our industry is a wonderfully gratifying extension of the services this trade publication is so dedicated to providing.” New shows currently in development for launch on TalkersRadio include “Radio Lifeboat with Diane and Mickey Gooch” – a mother/son co-hosted program focusing on the challenges of drug and alcohol addiction. Diane Gooch is a veteran New Jersey newspaper publisher and a principal in the Washington, DC-based Talk Radio News Service. Mickey Gooch is a young LA actor who has experienced the depths of addiction and is now in recovery. Another show set for launch later this fall is “Green Connection,” a show dedicated to chronicling environmentally friendly industrial developments hosted by noted Washington, DC journalist Joan Michelson. Veteran broadcaster Bob Shannon, executive director of the Upper Midwest Conclave will host a program titled “Stories” in which he will share candid insights into the real-life personal issues facing men and the women they love. Also on tap for launch on TalkersRadio is a brand new program hosted by WPIX-TV, New York personality, Lionel. TalkersRadio is powered by Backbone Networks and heard exclusively on Talkers.com and TuneIn. For more information call 413-565-5413.
WFAN’s Boomer & Carton Open Food Stand at Barclays Center Tonight. At this evening’s Brooklyn Nets game at the Barclays Center, WFAN, New York morning drive duo Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton will open their self-titled food stand located by section 17 of the arena. Both Esiason and Carton will be on hand for the 7:00 pm ribbon cutting of the Boomer & Carton Kitchen at Barclays Center. Some of the menu items – personally designed by the duo – include: the Boom Doggy Dog – a Nathan’s Hot Dog with smothered onions, spicy cheese sauce and crisp bacon; the Chubby Chaser – which includes a Brooklyn Burger, chicken tenders, Nathan’s fries, cheddar cheese, lettuce and tomato, on a brioche bun; Lobster Monster, a Red Hook Lobster Pound sandwich with authentic Brooklyn hot cherry peppers and mustard; and Carton’s Kitchen Chicken – which includes a chicken cutlet, eggplant spread, broccoli rabe, and provolone on ciabatta bread. Boomer & Carton state, “We are thrilled to bring the WFAN brand and our taste for great food to the world class Barclays Center. Since starting our morning show in 2007, we’ve easily gained 50 pounds between the two of us. Clearly we know what tastes good and what people like to eat. Boomer & Carton Kitchen will be a great extension of our show and an amazing partnership for years to come with Barclays Center.”
Two Promoted at WTOP, Washington. Jim Battagliese and Michael McMearty have been promoted at Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington. Battagliese has been upped to director of traffic and weather from director of traffic and transit operations. He will be responsible for the station’s coverage of traffic and weather on air, as well as on its online and social media formats. McMearty, previously senior news director, has been named senior news and sports director and will be responsible for overnight sports news with Dave Johnson and George Wallace.
Tony Dungy Visits KNML, Albuquerque’s ‘Opening Drive’ Show. In town to promote Comcast’s “Internet Essentials” program that provides low-cost internet and low-cost computers to families in need, former NFL coach and current NBC Sports personality Tony Dungy visited both news/talk KKOB where he spoke with morning host Bob Clark and sister sports talk station KNML “610 The Sports Animal” and appeared on the morning “Opening Drive” program. Pictured here (from l-r) are “Opening Drive” host Jeff Siembieda, Dungy, Michael Carlyle and JJ Buck.
ObamaCare Rollout/Sebelius Hearings Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 28-November 1. The scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and the Congressional hearings featuring Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the NSA spying controversy. Following at #3 was more Benghazi cover-up allegations and at #4 was the state of the GOP. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is based on ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. You can see this week’s entire chart here.
‘AM 970 The Answer’ New York Host Curtis Sliwa Breaks up Fight During Remote Broadcast. Leave it to Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa to step away from the microphone just as he’s about to do a live commercial read to stop two New York City tour operators from getting arrested for fighting on the sidewalks of Manhattan. Sliwa broadcasts his morning program on Salem-owned WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” from the display window at the Hotel Pennsylvania on 7th Avenue (between 33rd and 34th) and this morning (10/16) just as he was heading into a commercial break, he noticed two tour bus operators – likely fighting over territory from which to recruit tourists – getting into a vicious fist fight. Sliwa left the remote studio to break up the fight and then returned to talk about the incident on the air with both former Governor David Paterson and guest New Jersey political analyst Steve Adubato. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes Sliwa as a real life superhero of sorts stating, “I once had the pleasure of meeting Curtis for lunch in New York. He shows up at the restaurant in his red satin jacket and beret and people from all over the place were coming up and saying ‘Hi, Curtis’ and giving him the high five. Between the ‘costume’ and the populist love coming his way, it felt like I was having lunch with Spiderman!”
Hear some of the audio here.
Status of KRLD-FM, Dallas’ Chris Arnold Uncertain After Plagiarism Charge. Sports talk personality Chris Arnold has been missing from the midday “G-Bag Nation” program at “105.3 The Fan” after being charged with plagiarizing copy from Cold Hard Football Facts writer Scott Kacsmar. Dallas Morning News writer Barry Horn reports that CBS Radio local management is investigating the case. After Arnold wrote a piece defending Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and posted it on the station’s website, Kacsmar contacted Arnold via a public Twitter exchange and Arnold admitted to using Kacsmar’s material and apologized. Arnold asked Kacsmar to appear on the radio but he refused and asked Arnold to apologize on the radio. To see Kacsmar’s documentation of the allegations of copying, click here.
Elander to Head Galaxy Communications’ Sports Marketing Unit. Galaxy Communications is expanding through the creation of a sports marketing unit and it brings in Ken Elander as the venture’s general manager. In addition to Galaxy Events, the company owns 14 New York State radio stations in Syracuse and Utica-Rome. Galaxy president/chief executive officer Ed Levine explains that the newly created sports marketing division will focus on “many and varied sports franchises” with which the company has a flagship/affiliate relationship in both of its radio markets. Levine says, “These include Syracuse University football, basketball, and lacrosse as well as the Utica Comets, Syracuse Crunch, Utica College, Buffalo Bills, and the New York Giants.” Commenting that he is “proud and excited” to be part of “this ambitious new division,” Elander adds, “Galaxy’s successful sports legacy provides a strong foundation for an even more successful future.” His background includes stints with Time Warner Cable and Syracuse’s WTVH-TV.
NextRadio and Tagstation Report: More Than 40,000 Downloads of FM Radio App. According to the mid-October report by Emmis’ TagStation team and NextRadio, the number of downloads of the app to operate the FM receiver on select mobile phones passed the 40,000 mark and is currently enjoying an 84% app retention rate. The report also notes that “more than 4,000 FM radio stations were tuned to from the app and more than 12,000 hours of listening through NextRadio” have taken place. The recent release of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is begin given credit for the interest. It’s also expected that more FM radio-enabled devices will be launched next month.
Ex-MLB Slugger and Radio Personality Jack Clark Strikes Back in Pujols ‘Juicer’ Allegation Case. When former MLB star Jack Clark was co-hosting a sports talk show on WGNU, St. Louis with Kevin Slaten, he stated he knew “for a fact” that former Cardinals player Albert Pujols used steroids. He also told the audience a former trainer told him that Pujols used steroids. Pujols filed suit against Clark in St. Louis County earlier this month charging Clark’s lies have caused him harm. Now, Clark is firing back requesting that both parties take polygraph tests and that whoever fails will have to apologize to the other. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Todd Frankel reports Clark’s attorney admits Clark used a poor choice of words since he didn’t have first-hand knowledge of steroid use by Pujols but relied on second-hand reports. Clark and Slaten had brokered the time for their show on WGNU from insideSTL Enterprises.
SoCal Radio Revenue Up 7.2% in September. According to the Southern California Broadcasters Association and Miller Kaplan Arase, LLC, there was a total market revenue surge in the region in September of 7.2%. SCBA president Thom Callahan says, “September produced impressive growth for the LA radio market. This critical swing month showcased some great revenue performances from our member stations, which maximized both local and national spot and blew the doors off digital revenue.” He adds, “On a year-to-date basis, Miller Kaplan Arase is reporting total revenue growth at 3.4% through September. However, our trend line during 3rd quarter 2013 reveals a 5.2% growth rate YTD for the same period. Simply put, Q3 was powerful and we see the same trend developing for Q4.” Callahan says that his organization is encouraged by activity in the insurance category even though the effects of the Affordable Care Act have not met their initial expectations.
Similar-Named Business Networks Merge. A transaction involving a Center Post Holdings division and Business TalkRadio Network has some resemblance to Abbott & Costello‘s “Who’s on first?” routine. Among other entities, Center Post Holdings owns/operates several media companies, including BizTV and Biz Talk Radionetworks. Here is where things get a bit interesting. CPH is acquiring Greenwich, Connecticut-based Business TalkRadio Network. Consulting operations officer of Business TalkRadio Network parent Blue Star Media Group, Jeff Weber, is named president of the network. “This acquisition fits nicely in our portfolio of media-centric assets,” notes Center Post Holdings executive vice president Scott Miller. “A number of programs are carried on both networks and we expect that number to expand as we integrate the operations. It’s a natural fit for us and we are ready to expand our suite of benefits to small business owners.” Siblings of Business TalkRadio Network include the Lifestyle TalkRadio Network and Greenwich, Connecticut talk outlet WGCH. Weber was executive vice president of Blue Star Media Group (June 2002 – December 2011) and rejoined the company one year ago (October 2012). The sale price is not immediately known.
Rich Zeoli Still Hosting Evening Show at WPHT. In our coverage of yesterday’s news of Rush Limbaugh’s and Sean Hannity’s return to CBS Radio’s WPHT, Philadelphia, TALKERS magazine delivered a run-down of the station’s new program schedule (beginning October 28) but failed to recognize evening host Rich Zeoli whose program airs from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm currently but will end at 9:00 pm when Sean Hannity’s show starts airing. TALKERS regrets the omission.
Odds & Sods. BlogTalkRadio partners with sports fan site SB Nation to create SB Nation Network – a destination for the latter’s official podcasts and a place where other sports audio content can be made available. In a piece in Tech Crunch, it notes that more than 50 sports talk shows are currently available on the SB Nation Network…..Mike Greenberg, co-host of ESPN’s “Mike & Mike” and author of the New York Times bestselling novel All You Could Ask For announces he and his wife Stacy Steponate Greenberg are donating $100,000 to The V Foundation for Cancer Research to combat breast cancer. The novel was written to honor the memory of the late Heidi Armitage, a close friend of Mike and Stacy’s, who died from the disease in 2009. In conjunction with the release of the book, Mike and Stacy created a foundation called Heidi’s Angels, through which all of the author’s profits from the sale of the book are being donated to The V Foundation to support breast cancer research…..CH Holdings’ news/talk KTRS, St. Louis will soon simulcast the audio from KTVI-TV, St. Louis’ 6:00 pm newscast. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports KTRS GM Mark Dorsey says, “KTRS sees an opportunity to provide our listeners a chance to get caught up on their news, weather and sports while on their way home.”
Government Shutdown, Debt Ceiling, ObamaCare Implementation, Immigration Legislation, and MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/15). The struggle in Washington to re-open the federal government; the looming deadline for the nation’s debt limit; the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the criticism of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius; potential immigration legislation that would grant amnesty to illegals already in the U.S.; and the Major League Baseball playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Southern California Broadcasters Association Touts Big July for Radio Sales. According to the July 2013 X-Ray revenue report from Miller Kaplan Arase, radio advertising revenue in Southern California was up 3.8% over the same period a year ago. SCBA president Thom Callahan says that eight of the top 10 advertiser categories grew over the same period. “On a YTD basis, impressive category growth was recorded in education up 41.5%, transportation up 32.6%, department stores/shopping centers up 40.7% and appliances/electronics up 82.8%. The depth and breadth of July’s results cannot be showcased enough. The critical auto category alone was up 9.6% over last July with beverages, financial services, concerts, grocers, casinos, and professional services all showing double digit growth.” Callahan states the new business acquired over the past year tells the real story with “an astounding 485 new clients who invested a record $30,550,000 through July 2013.” Callahan adds, “Month after month, these documented revenue growth reports starkly conflict with all the ‘radio is dead’ noise we continue to read about in the press. The facts are obvious: Southern California Radio is a potent advertising partner and 485 new advertisers found that out in the first seven months of 2013.”
Still More Rumors of CBS Radio Selling. These rumors about CBS selling its radio stations seem to pop up once or twice a year and they, obviously, have yet to amount to anything. The latest has Cumulus Media supposedly considering making an offer for the CBS Radio stations. So far, Cumulus is not commenting on the speculation but that doesn’t mean anything, either. Although it’s true that if the price is right, everything is for sale. But Les Moonves has stated during numerous investor conference calls that the company likes the radio business because it’s a cash business. Remember, at the Deutsche Bank DbAccess 21st Annual Media and Telecom Conference in March of this year he said, “We like radio. Once again, low-single digit growth, revenue, OIBDA. It’s still a very great cash business with great margins. We still like running it. We have no intent to sell it as many people are watching terrestrial radio today as watching 10 years ago, even with all these things going on with satellite and everything else. It is what it is. We like the business, it produces cash every year. We like having the amount of cash we have, where our balance sheet is certainly in great shape, partially because of radio.” Yes, companies do change their minds, but industry watchers tell RadioInfo any deal for CBS’ stations would have to include off-the-charts money.
Creating a Worldwide Radio Network One “Hobby” Station at a Time. When you think of syndicators, you think of giants like Premiere or Talk Radio Network. When you think of radio stations that carry syndicated programs, heritage stations like New York City’s WABC and KABC in Los Angeles come to mind. What you don’t think is a syndicator setting up their operation, or their entire radio station’s operation, in a bedroom in their home located in rural Oklahoma. You also don’t think anyone working out of a room about the size of a one-car garage distributing 24-hour programming, seven-days-a-week on three continents. What you also don’t think is that anyone can do all of this with an operating budget that equals the pay before taxes of a young adult working full time at a fast-food restaurant. Welcome to the world of radio iconoclast Jan Starks (pictured here in the studio). If you have not heard of Jan Starks, it may be because you’re not one of the 155 people who live in Cowlington, Oklahoma, a tiny town with about 55 households nestled near the Arkansas border. This is the town that Starks calls home, and is also the home of Star Com Media, LLC. Cowlington is also the home of KKRP-AM (1610), a low-power radio station broadcasting with 100mw of power, the same milliwattage that can power a small laser pointer, and just enough to reach the rural population of Cowlington. However, thanks to modern technology, the internet, a few computers, an unusually strong passion for radio and an equally unusual business plan, KKRP-AM is now a part of a legion of stations across the nation just like it, and he hasn’t stopped there. Welcome to the micro-level of today’s broadcasting scene – a provocative mix of over-the-air broadcasting on the smallest, most local of levels boosted to international reach by the power of the internet and human ingenuity. To learn more about Jan Starks, Star Com Media, LLC and micro-broadcasting, read TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay‘s entire article posted today (8/27) by clicking here.
Beasley Broadcasting CEO George Beasley Cuts Ribbon on Appalachian State University Media Complex. Named the George G. Beasley Media Complex, the state-of-the-art broadcasting complex on the campus of Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, was officially opened during a ceremony held last Thursday, August 22. Beasley chairman and CEO George G. Beasley (pictured here at the ceremony) received an undergrad degree in 1958 and completed his Master of Arts in educational administration in 1960 at the school. He stated, “I not only envision Appalachian being one of the top schools in communications in North Carolina, I think that over the next few years it will become the premier school of broadcast communications in the Southeast and maybe one of the top 5 in America…This building isn’t about George Beasley and his family, it’s about the many hundreds of students we expect to come through this building.” The complex is an 18,000 square-foot media facility that houses the Department of Communication’s radio and television studios, classrooms, labs and faculty offices. The department’s 24-hour, student-managed radio station is 90.5 WASU-FM.
Ken Matthews New Afternoon Host at WHP, Harrisburg. The search for a replacement for the recently retired Bob Durgin is over at Clear Channel news/talk outlet WHP, Harrisburg. Ken Matthews, a frequent fill-in host for Durgin, is named the permanent afternoon drive personality. Matthews says, “I’m thrilled to be joining the WHP580 family. The WHP team is an outstanding group of broadcasters and part of a wonderful Pennsylvania community. I’m looking forward to many great conversations with local listeners on and off the radio.” Matthews was morning drive host at Clear Channel’s CHR WAEB, Allentown “B104” from the early 1990s through 2006. CC regional program manager Jeff Hurley states, “Ken is poised and talented – I’m confident he will become one of Pennsylvania’s great newsmakers during the afternoon slot on WHP 580. He’s the perfect host to drive political discussion in Central Pennsylvania. He brings energy and excitement that’s infectious to everyone around him.”
Eliot Spitzer Appears with David Paterson and Curtis Sliwa on WNYM’s ‘Political Roundtable.’ Two of New York’s former governors – David Paterson (l) and Eliot Spitzer (c) – are pictured here at the Statler Grill in Manhattan with Curtis Sliwa (r) on last Friday’s edition of “Political Roundtable” on Salem Communications-owned WNYM, New York “AM970 The Answer.” Paterson and Sliwa host “Curtis & the Gov.” and Spitzer appeared to talk about his run for comptroller of New York. The station says “the format all NYC mayoral and comptroller candidates an unfettered hour of prime airtime to articulate and explain their positions and policies, without the constraints of conforming to a 30-second sound bite. Candidates take questions from Sliwa and Governor Paterson and share their vision for the city as patrons chow down on juicy steaks and fresh seafood.” Curtis Sliwa adds, “This is live and local at its best. No media outlet in New York is covering these important races the way AM970 is.” Others that have participated in the round table have included John Catsimatidis, Joe Lhota, George McDonald, John Liu, Sal Albanese, Bill Thompson, John Burnett, Scott Stringer and Kristin Davis.
MEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Dave Garland of Dave Garland Media Brokers. In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media broker Dave Garland of Dave Garland Media Brokers located in Woodville, Texas. Dave Garland has an extensive background in radio saying, “I spent many years in radio grunt work… on air, sales, etc. My first paid non-college broadcast job was as a photographer for a TV network affiliate and I really got bit hard by the radio bug by hanging out with the folks on the radio side. I now say I have done every job at a station from sweep the floors to being an owner.” Dave says that the buying of a radio station in today’s tight banking environment is a “tough business” but he is available to talk to first-time buyers and see if the right deal can be located for them.” There are lots of stations that are not officially ‘for sale’ but can be acquired if the right buyer comes along.” Per the custom of this feature, Sandi Bergman offers several opportunities for displaced station managers and first-time entrants looking to roll up their sleeves and take on an ownership project. To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.
WTOP Expands Website with Technology Section. Hubbard Radio-owned all-news WTOP, Washington launches a new technology section added to wtop.com with director of digital media John Meyer stating, “Technology touches everything we do today. We are going to tell the stories of how it is affecting lives in our area at work, home, school, and in government.” WTOP veteran award-winning reporter Neal Augenstein is the technology editor and will produce multimedia coverage of the tech category – on-air, online, and via social content. WTOP notes Augenstein is a pioneer when it comes to journalism and technology; he was the first major market radio reporter to do most of his field production on an iPhone, and has written about and hosted multiple seminars on using the latest technology for audio, video, photography and writing. WTOP Tech is the latest expansion of WTOP’s digital footprint following the launch of its Living section earlier this year.
NAB Ups Cumming and Ingram. National Association of Broadcasters promotes Ann Marie Cumming from vice president to senior vice president of communications, reporting to Dennis Wharton. Cumming joined the NAB full time three years ago and her duties have included supporting the department’s public policy outreach and managing media-related activities at the NAB show. The promotion includes new duties but she will continue to oversee the newsrooms at the Radio Show and the NAB Show. Also, Shermaze Ingram is promoted to senior vice president, marketing and creative services. She continues to report to NAB marketing executive vice president Michelle Lehman. Ingraham handles much of the marketing for the Radio Show.
WEEI, Boston Teams with NESN for 12th Annual Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon. Today begins the 12th annual Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon to benefit the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. The annual two-day event is being broadcast live from Fenway Park on Entercom’s sports talk WEEI-FM, Boston and simulcast on regional cable network New England Sports Network. Last year’s broadcast raised $3.4 million bringing the 12-year total to more than $31 million.
U.S. Syria Policy, Miley Cyrus MTV Appearance, Race Relations in the U.S., Financial Markets Activity, and California Wildfire Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/26). The United States’ policy regarding Syria; Miley Cyrus’ controversial performance at the MTV VMAs; the increasing discussion about race relations in America; financial markets activity; and the threat to Yosemite National Park and San Francisco’s water supply as the result of the wildfire in California.
Clear Channel Posts 2% Revenue Increase in Q2. That’s for the Media and Entertainment division – the radio stations, Premiere Networks and Total Traffic Network – on revenue of $805.6 million for the second quarter of 2013 compared to the same period a year ago. During yesterday’s investors’ conference call, chairman and CEO Bob Pittman spoke positively about the growth of iHeartRadio and SVP of investor relations Gregory Lundberg noted that it has 34 million registered users and that represents growth of 162% year-over-year. Regarding the makeup of the company’s revenue, he stated, “National sales for the stations grew 5%, with local up 1%. Excluding the impact of political advertising, in both quarters, national sales rose 7% and local was up 2%. Our strongest performing ad categories remained financial services, retail and telecom. Digital sales continue to grow in the double digits as we monetize our station’s online presence and keep growing iHeartRadio, where total listening hours were up to 36% in the second quarter. We also saw good year-over-year growth at Premiere Networks. Partially offsetting this growth rate were revenue declines in the traffic business from lost contracts and from lower sales resulting from integration activities. Operating expenses increased $42 million or 9%, reflecting a $21 million expense credit from one of our performance rights organizations, which we received in the second quarter of last year.” He stated pacing for the third quarter for the stations was up 3% and up 1% for the division as a whole. Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. Members can read it all here.
Clear Channel Sells Its SiriusXM Interests for $135.5 Million. Way back in 1999 when XM Radio was gearing up its operations, Clear Channel was an initial investor putting in $83.1 million and getting the right to program some of the satcaster’s music and talk channels. Now, CC sells its interest in the company for $135.5 million – the value of the stock – and that means most of the CC-programmed content will disappear from the XM Radio platform. That’ll include some of the company’s music FMs such as hip hop WGCI, Chicago; country signal WSIX, Nashville and hot AC WLIT, Chicago. But two of the CC-radio channels are expected to stay on the XM platform – WHTZ, New York and KIIS, Los Angeles. It also means the talk radio channel on the XM platform will see talent like Glenn Beck, Bob & Tom, Todd Schnitt as well as Fox Sports Radio programming go away.
Arbitron Reports Q2 Revenue Rises 2.9%. As it prepares to be acquired by ratings giant Nielsen, Arbitron issues its 2013 second quarter financial reports and states that on revenue of $107.4 million dollars it is reporting net revenue of $7.1 million or $0.26 per share. The cost of the potential Nielsen deal ate into the company’s earnings before interest and income tax expense (EBIT) as it shelled out $6.1 million during the quarter in preparation for the acquisition. President and CEO Sean Creamer states, “In the second quarter, we maintained focus on our long-term priorities: investing in and growing our core radio services, evaluating and implementing quality initiatives to enhance the value and utility of our offerings, and exploring emerging opportunities with an emphasis on those that allow us to highlight the power and advantages of radio. As the media and advertising marketplaces continue to evolve and new technologies permit consumers to consume content virtually anytime and anywhere, it is important we keep pace with these changes to ensure radio gets full credit for its audience – regardless of the delivery platform. Radio is growing and vibrant – and we are committed to helping the radio industry tell and validate its complete and compelling story.”
The Job of the Program Director in Five Years. According to noted consultant and TALKERS columnist Walter Sabo, if you want to know which way the job of PD is heading in radio, just take a look at what has happened to the same titled position at television stations. In a new column posted today (8/2) Sabo writes “As more on-air content decisions are made at the corporate level and delivered from a central source, the program director job will morph to meet the demands of the tasks that must be completed. Smart companies will evolve the position to one that has been desperately needed: ‘Program and Public Relations Director.'” Sabo goes on to list other combinations of tasks and responsibilities that will be added to the title “Program Director” on the radio station level. To read his entire column, please click here.
KBME, Houston Ousts Adam Wexler and Matt Jackson from AM Drive; Adds Fox Sports Radio’s Jay Mohr to Middays. In a realignment of programming at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s sports talk KBME, Houston, Adam Wexler and Matt Jackson have been let go from the station and their morning drive gig and Lance Zierlein and Adam Clanton take over the AM show. Zierlein co-hosted the afternoon show with Charlie Pallilo but, as the Houston Chronicle notes, had also worked on the morning drive show alongside Wexler and Jackson in the past. Adam Clanton has hosted sports talk radio in the market at CBS Radio’s crosstown KILT as well as having worked at KPRC-TV. The addition of Fox Sports Radio’s nationally syndicated Jay Mohr to the lineup from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm forces some other changes. Greg Koch and N.D. Kalu now air from 9:00 am to 11:00 am; Charlie Pallilo hosts solo from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm; and Matt Thomas is on the air from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.
Michael Harrison to Speak at NAB Radio Show. In what promises to be a riveting and inspirational hour, TALKERS and RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison will address the forthcoming NAB Radio Show in Orlando (September 18-20) on “Radio’s Evolving Role in Popular Culture.” Harrison, fresh off a rousing keynote speech at the Conclave, will further elaborate on the theme of the challenges facing radio in its quest to remain societally iconic in the digital age of the 21st century at a specially scheduled Info-Session sponsored by TALKERS. Harrison says that for radio to remain competitive with all the emerging “exotic” competition of this “wildly new era,” it must maintain “ownership” of the scenes it addresses whether they are music, politics, news, sports or any other expression of the human condition. He says radio should maintain a foreground, active position that protects it from being marginalized as a passive delivery system and discusses options and opportunities to carry out the mission. (To see a brief clip of Michael Harrison’s Conclave keynote speech addressing these subjects please click here. The full speech will be posted to both RadioInfoTV and TalkersTV shortly, stay tuned.) Consultant Holland Cooke introduces this popular annual NAB Radio Show session featuring the venerable programmer, air personality, entrepreneur and trade magazine publisher who has been accurately describing radio and popular media’s road ahead for the past 45 years. The Info-Session is scheduled on Thursday, September 19 between 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm and is open to all attendees of the NAB Radio Show.
Clear Channel Makes Morning Changes at KTCN, Minneapolis. Morning drive talk show host Bob Davis and Clear Channel Minneapolis part company and the station fills the morning drive slot with former evening hosts Jack Tomczak and Ben Kruse, at least for now. Bob Davis had been paired up with Tom Emmer for mornings but Emmer exited the station in June to make a run for the congressional seat being vacated by Michele Bachmann. Davis made national news when, during a discussion about gun control, he said on the air he would tell the Newtown families to “go to hell” for their role in shaping the gun debate. He later apologized for the tenor of his comments.
Radiate Media Promotes Ivan Shulman to President. Seven months after joining Radiate Media as executive vice president of sales and chief revenue officer, the company promotes Ivan Shulman to president. CEO Chris Rothey states, “Ivan has a deep background in sales, marketing and media, and his leadership experience makes him a great fit for us. Since joining us in November of 2012, we have experienced quarter-over-quarter revenue growth, including the launch of Radiate360 – our integrated marketing platform to drive hyper-local business. Ivan will continue to lead that initiative as well as overseeing the day-to -day activities of our broadcast radio, TV and digital lines of business.” The company is bullish on its new product Radiate360 which it describes as “an easy-to-use, online platform that empowers businesses to expand their reach and connect with their customers. With Radiate360’s revolutionary suite of tools, businesses can establish an online presence, engage customers through social and mobile media, and promote to the local audience that matters most.” Shulman says of his promotion, “I joined Radiate because I was excited about future opportunities. Our growth on both the broadcast and digital side has been phenomenal and I look forward to working with broadcasters to help bridge the gap between digital and traditional media.”
Dan Sileo Takes Over Midday Program at WMEN, West Palm Beach. Florida sports talk personality Dan Sileo – most recently midday host at WQAM, Miami – moves into the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm slot at JCE Licenses’ WMEN, West Palm Beach “640 Sports” effective Tuesday, August 6. Sileo – who worked for years at WDAE, Tampa prior to his stint with WQAM – is filling in for Travis Rodgers on KLAA, Los Angeles today and on August 5. Sileo is, by his own admission, an edgy personality whose willingness to push the envelope has gotten him fired from his last two radio gigs. He maintains he achieved excellent ratings while with Clear Channel at WDAE and that the station pulled in a lot of revenue from his program.
Eric Deggans to Leave the Tampa Bay Times for Gig at NPR. Journalist Eric Deggans has covered first music, then media for the Tampa Bay Times for the past 18 years. Now, he exits the Times to become a TV critic and correspondent for NPR News. Deggans has been a contributor to NPR in the past but joins the organization full time. He states in a press release, “For many years, I have been a fan of NPR’s super-smart journalism and I often fantasized of what it might be like to join their ranks as a contributor. A position like this one is beyond my wildest dreams; I’m honored and excited by the opportunity to help shape NPR’s coverage of television and pop culture.” Deggans has been an excellent reporter covering the Tampa Bay media scene over the years but also could be viewed as a polarizing writer. He’s been a critic of talk radio on a number of levels as indicated in his recent book Race-Baiter: How the Media Wields Dangerous Words to Divide a Nation (Palgrave Macmillan 2012). Photo by Carrie Pratt.
Odds & Sods. Dial Global announces it has signed an exclusive terrestrial, three-season deal with London-based talkSPORT to broadcast live coverage of Barclays Premier League, FA Cup and Capital One Cup. The partnership includes play-by-play commentary of nearly 400 soccer matches per year, in both English and Spanish….. “The Black Sphere” talk show host Kevin Jackson joins the advisory board of the Steamboat Institute, an institution that “defends freedom and advocates for liberty.” Jackson says, “Witnessing the progress of the organization first hand, I am overjoyed to be part of the advisory board and play a role in the future direction of the Steamboat Institute, an organization that will undoubtedly mold political discussions and policy in the future.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Update. Statewide syndicated sports talk host Bill Michaels is added to the lineup at WOZN, Madison, Wisconsin…..Kevin Jackson’s “Black Sphere Radio” show is now airing on WEZO, Augusta, Georgia…..Talk Media Network announces affiliate additions for three of its programs: “Fat Guys At The Movies with Kevin Carr & Kristin Dreyer Kramer” joins WKVL, Knoxville; “The Financial Fitness Show with Chip Cummings & Tony Rubleski” is added to WRSB, Rochester, New York; and “Frontlines of Freedom with Lt. Col. Denny Gillem” joins the lineup at WZFG, Fargo.
ObamaCare Implementation Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of July 29 – August 2. The implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the cost of the program was the top news/talk topic during the week. Following at #2 was the Anthony Weiner sexting case and the political fallout. At #3 was the 2016 presidential race followed by the Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity contracts flap at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Rush Limbaugh Celebrates 25 Years in Syndication Today. It was 25 years ago today that Rush Limbaugh began his national syndication based at WABC, New York. When Ed McLaughlin’s EFM Media Management began producing and distributing the Rush Limbaugh program in August of 1988 on 56 affiliate stations, many in the industry thought the idea of a midday national talk radio program was absurd and would fail. But Limbaugh’s EIB Network flourished and the rest is history. Of course, Premiere Networks now syndicates the show that’s heard on close to 600 radio stations. In a statement, Limbaugh says, “The relationship we’ve established here – between the audience and myself – is everything. It’s meant more to me than I’ll ever be able to fully describe. It’s the best three hours of the day! We’re going to do this for a long time to come.” Premiere Networks notes, “Mr. Limbaugh also pioneered an entirely new model for talk radio. Defying industry convention, he does not book guests on his program. Centered on the news of the day, he describes his unique approach as ‘a serious discussion of issues, combined with irreverent humor.’ He has enjoyed uninterrupted status since the early 1990s as the leading talk radio host in the U.S., and the program continues to expand its reach. In the past year alone, ‘The Rush Limbaugh Show’ has experienced an 11% audience increase (Source: Arbitron, Nationwide).
Media Biz Buzzing About Newspaper-Online Radio Ventures. Pictured here is Sabo Media (r) CEO Walter Sabo appearing on Fox Business with “Markets Now” host Dennis Kneale (l) discussing the Boston Herald’s online talk radio station project, “Boston Herald Radio.” Kneale quizzed longtime radio executive and consultant Sabo about what the two media bring to the table in joint ventures such as these. Sabo stated that the talk radio programs can help deliver a younger and more engaged audience to the newspaper world (which has suffered circulation and revenue declines) and the radio shows benefit from working with an experienced news gathering organization. “It allows them to bring those stories to life instantly, which has always been their (the newspaper’s) biggest challenge.” Watch Sabo’s appearance on Fox Business here.
CBS Reports Q2 Revenue for Radio ‘Even.’ CBS quarterly investors’ conference calls have always been pretty much about television and yesterday’s 2013 Q2 call was no different. It’s not that CBS doesn’t care about radio. President and CEO Les Moonves has stated in previous calls that they like radio. He doesn’t gush about it like he does about TV but CBS has no debt on the radio side and therefore it’s a cash business for the company. During yesterday’s call CBS COO Joseph Ianiello termed radio “even” during the second quarter compared to the same period a year ago and told investors the division is pacing flat for Q3. For CBS, total revenue was up 11% year-to-year due mostly to fees paid by television operators to carry CBS TV stations as well as international syndication deals and digital streaming revenue.
Journal Broadcast Group’s Radio Division Up 2.3% in Q2. Journal Communications announced 2013 second quarter financials yesterday and the Journal Broadcast Group breaks out the radio division from the television segment. It reports that, compared to the same quarter a year ago, revenue from radio stations increased 2.3% to $19.9 million, or 4.7% excluding political revenue. Radio political advertising revenue was $0.1 million, compared to $0.5 million. Local advertising revenue — excluding political — increased 5%, primarily due to an increase in retail advertising. National advertising revenue — excluding political — decreased 4.9% to $1.8 million, primarily due to a decrease in media advertising. Operating earnings from radio stations were $3.8 million compared to $4.4 million, a decrease of 13.8% or a decrease of 19.0% excluding acquisition costs in both years. Radio operating expenses increased 7.1%, or 9.3% excluding acquisition costs in both years, primarily due to employee-related expense increases and the impact of credits received from an industry-wide music licensing fee settlement in 2012.
TALKERS Magazine’s Frontier Fifty 2013 Will Be Posted on Wednesday, August 7. The new installment of one of the most popular and certainly important TALKERS magazine annual features — “The Frontier Fifty” — is set to be unveiled this coming Wednesday, August 7. The Frontier Fifty is officially described as a Selection of Outstanding Talk Media Webcasters. This year’s format will depart somewhat from the features’ early approaches by including executives who have built valuable platforms for internet talk broadcasting as well as talent who do talk shows and/or podcasts on the web. In addition it will be a numbered list in which designees are ranked according to importance as determined by the TALKERS editorial board. As followers of this feature know, TALKERS did not publish a 2012 installment of the feature because as the publication’s VP/executive editor Kevin Casey puts it, “This arena has evolved and grown at such a dizzying speed, we wanted to be sure that we presented this important snapshot of the state of the internet talk radio’s movers and shakers as accurately and relevantly as possible. We took an extra year off to study the scene and get it as close to being right as possible…no easy task.” This year’s Frontier Fifty is being sponsored by Broadcasters General Store.
Red Zebra Shucks Two Signals in Norfolk-Virginia Beach for $1.2 Million. Dan Snyder-owned Red Zebra sells sports radio combo WXTG-AM/FM “The Game” to local operator Local Voice Media which will flip the duo to a triple A format soon. The price of the stations and seven acres of property in Hampton is $1.2 million and according to the Daily Press, the stations will continue to air Washington Nationals baseball through the rest of the season and will be Washington Redskins affiliates during the 2013 season. Additionally, the paper reports that two staffers – AE and air talent Greg Bicouvaris and production director Brock Briggs will remain employed with the new owners. Local Voice Media also operates triple A WTYD, Williamsburg, Virginia “92.3 The Tide.” The Daily Press notes Richmond, Virginia investment firm Blue Heron Capital recently completed a $3 million investment in Local Voice Media, formerly known as Davis Media. The firm began investing in the company two years ago and has helped it expand into Columbia, South Carolina and Wilmington, North Carolina.
Quick-and-Dirty Three-Minute Sound Conditioning. Large corporations and government bureaucrats will often spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on soundproofing and sound conditioning for an audio studio. They’ll even spend tens of thousands of dollars simply on the consultants to tell them how to soundproof and sound condition a studio. That may make sense to you if you’ve got venture capital money to burn and don’t mind being out of business in a few years. It may also make sense if you’re working for the government because the money is someone else’s and you think you’ll never go out of business. But according to syndicated talk show host Michael W. Dean, co-host of GCN‘s “The Freedom Feens,” “The rest of us have to make do with what we have.” In a new column posted today (8/1), Dean writes, “The advent of ip hardware codecs has allowed talk radio hosts to produce nationally syndicated shows from our homes. And people working for corporate radio are often called to do remotes in a variety of environments. You can buy portable devices that acoustically isolate a microphone, but using one is basically like sticking your head in a small box. That is not conducive to doing a good show, especially if you’re doing on-the-spot interviews with a variety of guests. Today I’ll show you how to temporarily sound condition a room in three minutes at no cost. This will vastly improve the audio reaching your microphone, and thus, your audience. First, you have to understand the difference between soundproofing and sound conditioning. Many people use these two terms interchangeably. However, they are not the same thing. Soundproofing keeps outside sounds out and inside sounds in. Sound conditioning dampens native reverberation in a room. Effective soundproofing is a lot more expensive and complicated than sound conditioning.” To read Michael W. Dean’s entire column, please click here.
PodcastOne Adds Sports USA Programs to Offerings. Yesterday, TALKERS reported that NFL Hall-of-Famer Joe Namath would begin producing podcasts for Sports USA throughout the 2013 football season. Now, Norm Pattiz-founded PodcastOne and Sports USA announce the Namath podcast as well as “Conversations with Joe Morgan,” “The Ross Tucker Football Show” and “Against the Grain with Dave Miller” will be available via PodcastOne. Pattiz states, “Joe Namath invented the sports media icon as we know it. He knows what it means to break new ground and likes to do things his way. We’re a guaranteed perfect fit. I am looking forward to working with Bob Moore and the talented team at Sports USA as we create great experiences for listeners and opportunities for advertisers.”
MLB Great Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez to Contribute to ‘ESPN Dallas 103.3.’ “Pudge” Rodriguez played for the hometown Texas Rangers twice during his MLB career (he won a World Series ring with the Florida Marlins in 2003) and he and his family are putting down roots in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. ESPN O&O KESN and sister Spanish sports talk “ESPN Deportes Dallas” (KZMP-AM) have brought Rodriguez aboard to serve as a baseball contributor through the rest of the 2013 season. ESPN says Rodriguez will serve in several capacities for both stations including a bi-weekly call-in segment, the voice of featured “Pudge’s Eye” vignettes, as well as personal appearances. ESPN Dallas VP/GM Pete Dits states, “We are extremely excited and proud to have one of the greatest catchers in MLB history as a part of our team. As the radio flagship of the Texas Rangers in English and Spanish, this only solidifies our commitment to bringing the best Rangers and baseball coverage to the sports fans in DFW.”
Journal’s Sports Talk KXSP, Omaha Adds New PM Drive Show. Joe Quinn and Nick Handley are the new afternoon drive sports talk team at Journal Broadcast Group’s Omaha sports talker “590 ESPN Radio” (KXSP). Quinn was producer and co-host for the past three years on Des Moines’ KXNO. Handley, a 14-year sports veteran who most recently co-hosted the “Hail Varsity Radio Show” airing in Lincoln and Columbus, Nebraska was the sports director for the Three Eagles cluster of stations in Columbus. KXSP program director Kurt Owens says, “The new show will be called ‘The Drive’ and will bring a fresh new approach to afternoon sports talk in Omaha. Joe and Nick’s combined experience of covering sports in Nebraska and Iowa mirrors our huge AM 590 signal. AM 590 listeners will really enjoy these two young-yet-experienced broadcasters bringing their perspective to sports each afternoon.”
NBC Sports Radio Network Passes 300-Affililate Mark. The nationally syndicated sports talk radio programming initiative NBC Sports Radio Network – a cooperative effort of Dial Global and NBC Sports – announces it has passed the 300-affiliate mark. Dial Global Sports EVP and general manager Chris Corcoran says, “Signing more than 300 affiliates so quickly is a true testament to the mass appeal of our talent and programming, creativity of our producers, and hard work of our exceptional sales and affiliate teams. We are especially honored to partner with such great radio stations across the country as we work together to connect avid sports fans, consumers, and advertisers. We continue to be motivated to reach more audiences by the amazing feedback we regularly receive from our local station owners, program directors and listeners.”
WEEI-FM, Boston Staffers Take Part in Pan-Mass Challenge. “93.7 FM WEEI” morning drive co-host Gerry Callahan (r) and Entercom Boston vice president and market manager Jeff Brown (l) will take part in the Pan-Mass Challenge – a two-day bike ride across Massachusetts that can be as long as 190 miles – to benefit the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. WEEI will help recognize and celebrate this year’s event with a live broadcast of the Salk & Holley show on Friday, August 2 from 2:00 – 6:00 p.m. from the PMC’s opening ceremonies in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. Billy Starr, founder and executive director of the Pan-Mass Challenge says, “Entercom and WEEI have both been fabulous friends and partners. They have ensured that the PMC message is heard – and understood – far, wide and often.” Jeff Brown comments, “I am proud to continue Entercom’s support of the Pan-Mass Challenge and we are also proud to be raising additional money through our dedicated team of riders and virtual riders. Our own Gerry Callahan will be taking part in his sixth ride and it is such an honor, both for WEEI and for all of us at Entercom Boston, to be a part of this dynamic cause and help the dedicated Dana-Farber doctors and researchers discover cures for cancer.”
ObamaCare Implementation Battle, Anthony Weiner Scandal, NSA Surveillance Program, Chris Christie-Rand Paul Feud, and Looming MLB Suspensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/31). The fight in Washington over the implementation and funding for the Affordable Care Act; the political fallout from the Anthony Weiner scandal; reports of the vast nature of the NSA surveillance program, Republican in-fighting over policy and the Chris Christie–Rand Paul feud; and the expected suspensions of numerous MLB players were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cumulus Q1 Revenue Drops 1.3%. The 2013 first quarter revenue numbers for Cumulus Media were $232 million – a decrease of $3.1 million or 1.3% compared to the same period a year ago. In its filing with the SEC, the company attributes the drop to “lower political revenues and general lower advertising spending in some of our markets.”
Lew Dickey Says Underperforming Stations Improving But Not Fixed; Syndicated Talk ‘Continues to Be Challenged.’ During the Tuesday conference call with investors announcing Cumulus Media’s 2013 first quarter revenue figures, CEO Lew Dickey addressed the syndicated talk division’s performance as well as six of its major market news/talk stations. Quick to address the 10 major market stations he’d blamed for pulling down the entire company’s previous revenue totals, he said, “Several of our big news/talk stations are now growing, including: WABC – which is leading the pack in New York, KABC in Los Angeles, WLS in Chicago, KSFO in San Francisco, WMAL in Washington, D.C. and WJR in Detroit, all are growing. Our team is working very hard, and we’ve adapted to ad market changes. And again, these stations are now posting revenue growth.” He only vaguely touched on the Rush Limbaugh controversy during Q&A saying network sales has been challenged but is starting to pick up. Dickey praised the company’s heritage AM talkers for their potential and stated, “Our charge over the next five years is to continue to expose our audience and all of these major markets to the industry’s most talented performers while developing the next generation of talk radio superstars. By the way, this is true for our sports talk stations as well.” Dickey said that original group of 10 trouble franchises is down to six. “And we confirm our earlier statement that this original group of 10 stations would be negative in the first quarter, flat in Q2 and then rebounding in the back half of the year to post positive full year growth in 2013. And in fact, we can say that we’re actually a little ahead of that schedule right now.” But he also noted that while WBAP, Dallas is starting to come around, KGO, San Francisco – which it turned to largely a news station – is still not where they want it to be. Regarding the company’s deal with CBS Radio and the CBS Sports Radio Network, Dickey reports the rollout has reached almost 300 affiliates and is surpassing expected revenue targets. “We are highly encouraged by our early success and expect CBS Sports Radio to be a material growth driver in 2014 and beyond.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript. You can read the entire transcript here.
Talk Radio Network and Phil Hendrie to End Syndication Effort. Talk Radio Network announces that it will cease syndication of the Phil Hendrie radio program as of June 25, 2013. TRN began syndicating the program in 2007 after it had been parted from its original syndicator – Premiere Networks – for about a year. TRN CEO Mark Masters states, “I believed in Phil then, and I still think he is a comic genius on air. He will always be a radio icon to me. We are proud to have rebuilt the Phil Hendrie show by adding over 100 stations, along with creating robust growth to Phil’s online presence, but, due to world events, the economy, and the state of radio in this country, we have decided to go in another direction in that daypart – we wish Phil all the best in his future endeavors.” From his perspective, Hendrie issues the following statement: “Phil Hendrie has elected not to pursue any further association with Talk Radio Network. As he delves deeper into his successful digital platform and ongoing television and film work, Hendrie remains open to terrestrial radio opportunities, but only those with strong sales, marketing and programming support.”
Cox Media Group Promotes Kim Guthrie to EVP Radio; Jane Williams to EVP Television and Marian Pittman to VP of News & Marketing for TV. Cox Media Group announces several promotions. Kim Guthrie, who had been serving as senior vice president of radio, overseeing all of the company’s radio stations, is promoted to executive vice president of radio and she reports to new CMG president Bill Hoffman. Guthrie joined Cox Radio in 1998 as VP and GM for its Long Island, properties and has been Regional VP for Cox Radio, where her stations have won multiple honors – including Marconi awards, Crystal Awards, New York Air Awards, AWRT Gracie Awards – for programming excellence and outstanding community service. Hoffman says of Guthrie (and EVP of television Jane Williams), “Both are proven CMG leaders and are highly respected throughout the media industry. Kim and Jane, along with our local leadership, have ensured our broadcast stations’ ongoing success, and I am honored to have them in these vitally-strategic executive positions.” At the same time, Marian Pittman is promoted from her post as station manager of WSB-TV, Atlanta to vice president of news & marketing for television for the company.
J Chapman Heads Up Woof Boom Radio to Buy Indiana Stations. The Backyard Broadcasting Muncie, Indiana market stations that Woof Boom is buying include: hot AC WLBC, oldies WERK, sports talk WXFN, news/talk WHBU, and classic rock simulcast WMXQ and WMQX “Max.” Jerry “J” Chapman’s Woof Boom Radio is made up of a group of local investors, headed by Chapman, who have formed Woof Boom Radio, a nod to the longtime dominance of WFBM in Indiana broadcasting from the beginnings of radio in the 1920s until the mid-1970s. The other owners include: Ray Kennedy, Conormara Investments; Jason Farmer, managing director of WestBridge Investments; and Aaron Reitz. In a statement, Woof Boom says of Chapman, “A 17-year radio executive with Indianapolis-based Emmis and most recently with Maverick Media of Rockford, Illinois, Chapman is a graduate of Hanover and literally grew up in the broadcasting industry. His father led Indianapolis WFBM Radio & TV for three decades, and J got an early start in the media business when assigned by his father to mow the grass at the TV station’s north side Indianapolis transmitter site.” Chapman says of his new venture, “I’m very excited to come home and put my years of experience in the vibrant radio industry to good use back in Indiana. The stations we’re acquiring are vital links between listeners and the local community. We intend to utilize those radio resources to help grow our customers’ businesses and to improve the quality of entertainment and information in our new communities. Best of all, the management of this group of stations will be local to serve local needs. We want to make a great thing even better, and Woof Boom Radio intends to start off on the right foot.”
The Secret of Managing Controversy. As the talk radio industry grapples with the dilemma of balancing the two realities of controversy (on the plus side, it attracts loyal audience – on the downside, it attracts enemies and scares advertisers) noted media consultant and TALKERS columnist Walter Sabo offers a simple solution. In an article posted today (5/8) he cites a simple but powerfully effective method used by some of the greatest talk radio managers of all time: Let the hosts be opinionated, controversial and even outrageous – but keep the station itself absolutely neutral! He goes on to explain why this is key to a successful operation. To read Walter Sabo’s entire piece, click here.
Mark Carbonaro Remains with KION, Salinas in News Capacity. Yesterday, TALKERS reported that Mark Carbonaro was out at Clear Channel’s KION, Salinas, California as the company was importing KSTE, Sacramento-based Armstrong & Getty for morning drive. We learn via The Californian that Carbonaro remains with the station handling the morning drive news operations and other news department duties. General manager Rhonda McCormack tells the paper, “We are continuing to evolve our product with new and compelling offerings that will complement Mark’s contributions and allow him more time and flexibility to cover local news and events. It was a business decision. We think Armstrong & Getty will resonate well with the audience on KION. Mark Carbonaro is on Monday – Friday, 6:00 am to 9:00 am with Armstrong & Getty. Mark reports on the local news, sports, weather and traffic, plus expert segments that will run throughout the day, Monday through Friday and on Saturday mornings in the 10:00 am hour, ‘The Saturday Insider with Mark Carbonaro.’”
Cheryl Winer Named National Account Manager for Sun Broadcast Group. Radio sales pro Cheryl Winer is named national account manager for Sun Broadcast Group where she’ll work from the company’s New York City office assisting in servicing the company’s fast-growing roster of agency and client partners. Founder and CEO Jason Bailey states, “2013 has been such an exciting time in our company’s growth. With the addition of Cheryl to our first-class sales team I truly believe we send a clear message to the industry that Sun Broadcast Group is, and will continue to be, the leader in a very new kind of service for network radio advertisers and program suppliers.” Speaking about her new position with Sun, Winer says, “Over the past several years I have been searching for an entrepreneurial environment, which would replicate my experience at Premiere in the early days. I am so very excited to say that I have found that in Sun Broadcast Group! I look forward to participating in the growth of this fast-paced, cutting edge company.”
Arbitron Reports Q1 Revenue Up 5.1%. Income for the ratings firm was down to $0.60 per share for the first quarter of 2013, compared to $0.64 per share during the same period in 2012. However, income was up 5.1% on revenue of $111.8 million compared to the same period a year ago. The company states that costs and expenses increased 8.3% from Q1 2012 to Q1 2013. “In addition to the $3.2 million of expenses related to the pending Nielsen transaction, costs in the quarter increased as a result of planned incremental investments in Arbitron Mobile panels, costs associated with address-based sampling, in-person recruiting, and cell-phone household recruiting.” President and CEO Sean Creamer states, “In the first quarter, we continued to pursue our long-standing objectives: maintaining our investments in the quality of our radio ratings services, growing our core revenue, and entering new markets such as digital radio, cross-platform, and mobile. Our focus on the quality of our core services helped us achieve Media Rating Council accreditation of four additional Portable People Meter markets in February. Our goal remains achieving or maintaining accreditation in all our syndicated radio markets. We continue working to leverage our investment in the PPM technology and consumer panels utilizing our platform in new initiatives such as advertising and promotion effectiveness studies, while enhancing our measurement capabilities for radio and across platforms.”
Saga Communications Q1 Net Revenue Down 1.3%. To use the words of Saga Communications SVP, treasurer and CFO Sam Bush, the first quarter of 2013 was “challenging” for the company. In a conference call with investors, Bush reports that the company saw a dramatic decline in political advertising from the first quarter of 2012 to the same period in 2013. Gross national revenue was also down by more than $500,000 but a good quarter for local revenue helped combat that drop.
Salem Communications Sees 1.3% Revenue Dip in Q1. That’s across the board for all of Salem’s platforms and comes largely because Salem had such an outstanding 2012 in the political advertising category. Breaking things apart a bit, CEO Ed Atsinger reports that the company’s business news segment is doing well, increasing 4% while the news/talk radio division was down 7%. The Christian teaching formats were down 3% though the Christian contemporary group was up 5% compared to the same period a year ago. The Salem Radio Network was down 10% from Q1 in 2012.
WTOP, Washington Site the Victim of Hacking. Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington and its sister WFED had their websites hacked earlier this week. The attacks may have affected visitors using Internet Explorer but not other web browsers. A message on WTOP.com states, “WTOP.com is currently dealing with a malicious cyber attack. We are working diligently to contain and stop the attack, and apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.” The Washington Post reports that an internet security expert says the hackers installed two types of malware – one designed to look like an anti-virus software service that would get the subscriber’s credit card number, the other designed to control clicks from the user’s computer to inflate the number of actual clicks on digital ads.
Benghazi Whistleblower, Cleveland Women Freed from Captivity, Sanford South Carolina Race, Immigration Amnesty Issue and North Korea Threats Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/7). The testimony about the deadly attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi; the case of the Cleveland women freed from captivity after 10 years; the South Carolina race for House seat between Mark Sanford and Elizabeth Colbert Busch; the amnesty for illegal immigrants issue; and North Korea’s military threats were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Mike Huckabee Considers Radio Future in Arkansas Business Story. In a piece that ran in Arkansas Business yesterday, Cumulus Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host – and former Arkansas governor and U.S. presidential candidate – Mike Huckabee speaks openly about his current media projects and how his political experience has helped his media career. Huckabee gives no clear indication he’ll stop doing the daily three-hour show, but neither does he sound all-in when he states, “Within the next month, I’ll decide if I want to continue it or not. I know we will, but it’s just such an incredibly intensive process that I really have to decide that I want to spend that kind of time…” Huckabee describes the long days preparing for the program and how he works that in with his Fox News Channel weekend program. “I’ve got to always weigh how much time I’m putting in it and what the return is. How long it will take to make it what I call hopefully disgustingly profitable. That’s what one always hopes for in a deal like this.” Read the entire story here.
Can Radio Overcome its Smothering Debt and Be a Viable Business in this New Era? That, according to Michael Harrison is THE existential question facing the industry today — and one that TALKERS magazine and RadioInfo tackle head-on in a blockbuster article posted May 2 in BOTH trade publications. Researched and written by TALKERS/RadioInfo west coast bureau chief/managing editor Mike Kinosian, this extensive piece taps deeply into the experience, wisdom and vision of a stellar panel of industry power-players who share their real world perspectives of this pressing issue that directly ties into the future of radio as both a medium and a business. They include (in alphabetical order): Sandi Bergman of MyMediaBroker, Ed Christian of Saga Communications, Erica Farber of the RAB, Charlie Gross of Newsweb Radio Corp., Michael Harrison of TALKERS/RadioInfo, Jerry Lee of WBEB (“B101″) in Philadelphia, Chuck Lontine of Headwaters MB, David Pearlman of American Radio Systems, Ed Perry of WATD in Marshfield, MA, Tom Quinn of Americom Broadcasting, Jeff Smulyan of Emmis Broadcasting, Peter Smyth of Greater Media and Dave Van Dyke of Radiate Media. Upon the publication of this information-packed article, TALKERS/RadioInfo VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “This is one of the most important pieces published in the radio trades in years and I advise anyone in this business who cares about its future to take the time to read it thoroughly. It dives right into the most pressing issue facing all of us today and provides insight from all angles – big-time groups, large and small market stations, investment banks, services providers, and advertising advocates. A piece like this gets to the very heart of what will determine radio’s future – its ability to function and options to consider as a viable business in a daunting, obstacle-ridden environment.” Read Mike Kinosian’s story here.
Mark Carbonaro Out at KION, Salinas, California; Armstrong & Getty In. According to a report in The Californian, local morning drive host Mark Carbonaro’s program has been replaced on KION, Salinas with the Sacramento-based Armstrong & Getty show. Californian writer Jeff Mitchell reports that calls to local management were not returned prior to his deadline. Both KION and Armstrong & Getty’s home station KSTE are owned by Clear Channel.
WNSR, Nashville to Get FM Simulcast in June. Nashville Sports Radio’s WNSR, Nashville will simulcast on 95.9 in addition to its 560 signal early this summer. The station says it will position itself as “Nashville’s SportsRadio 560 on 95.9 FM.” The new FM signal will be located near the Davidson/Williamson County line, providing excellent 24-hour coverage of WNSR’s programming. General sales manager and afternoon host Thom Abraham states, “Before the Predators and Titans, WNSR brought sports programming to the airwaves in Nashville. This station has stayed true to the format for over 15 years and we are now excited to make it available on the FM band. The new logo puts the emphasis on WNSR, which has stood for Nashville’s Sports Radio since 1997, something we are very proud of, and something I have come to appreciate since coming here four years ago.”
Fox News Radio Offers Memorial Day Weekend Specials. The network is offering two hour-long special programs for air during the Memorial Day Weekend. “Remembering Iraq” is hosted by Fox News Channel’s Griff Jenkins and reflects on the 10 years since the United States entered the Iraq War. Jenkins will take a look at the front lines and those who were affected by the war, including the men and women who served as well as their spouses and children. “The Next Disaster” is hosted by Fox News Channel’s Janice Dean. It’s a multi-part series that examines disasters, including tornados, earthquakes and terrorist attacks and how to best prepare for them. Additionally, Dean will take a look at how weather forecasting and other technology have helped people prepare for natural disasters in the past and will also report on the impact of early warnings. More information about the specials can be found on the Fox News Radio affiliate website in the specials section.
Sports Talk WDAE, Tampa Gets FM Simulcast on 95.3. The signal is 250-watt translator W237CW that was most recently simulcasting the audio of Clear Channel’s hip hop WBTP “95.7 The Beat.” CC flips it over to sports talker WDAE. The AM 620 signal of WDAE covers the market just fine but now the station will have an FM presence that’s strongest in St. Petersburg, Pinellas Park and Clearwater.
Benghazi Cover-up Allegations, Syria-Israel Tensions, Obama OSU Commencement, and North Korea Missile Threat Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/6). New information regarding the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and the political ramifications; military tensions between Israel and Syria; President Obama’s commencement speech at Ohio State University over the weekend; and the North Korean missile threat were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Clear Channel Highlights Artist Promotion Deals at Investor Conference Call; Radio Down 2% in Q1. At the top of the conference call for investors for Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings (the publicly traded arm Clear Channel Media Holdings) chief financial officer and EVP Thomas Casey made it a point to shine a light on Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s work with high-profile artists. He said, “I want to highlight with you one recent example of the opportunity Clear Channel is leveraging to monetize our multi-platform reach, and it’s the launch of the new Justin Timberlake album, ‘The 20/20 Experience.’ I’m using this as an example because it shows how we are constantly working with major advertisers to adjust their specific marketing challenges by developing innovative new products, services, content and events that bring new advertising dollars into the company. Two months ago, Clear Channel utilized most of our key assets: radio, online, mobile, outdoor, entertainment, events, contests and talent relationships, in an innovative and coordinated partnership with national retailer Target to launch Justin Timberlake’s new album. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment ran a first-of-its-kind, two-minute live road block across 800 stations, in essence, a virtual press conference, simulcast across all the stations at the same time that enabled Justin to both introduce his new album and kick off the exclusive ‘iHeart Album Release Party with Justin Timberlake.’” Casey stated there are many other examples of CC using its many platforms to create coordinated campaigns for advertisers. As for the numbers, Casey reported that CC Media Holdings was down 0.5% compared to the same quarter in 2012 and the Media and Entertainment division revenue was down 2%. But he said solid growth in radio and digital was offset by the traffic business that company is continuing to integrate. Addressing the radio division, Casey reported, “For the quarter, national sales for our stations were up 2%, outpacing global. Excluding the impact of political advertising, national sales were up 4%, and local was about up approximately 1%. Our fastest growing larger advertising categories were financial services, retail and telecom. We also saw a strong lift in digital revenue, with our iHeartRadio listening hours growing 31% over the first quarter of 2012. Although today digital listening for the industry represents only 7.6% of all audio listening, we are excited about the growth of iHeart and its new features, content and other innovations.” Speaking to a question about network radio, Casey alluded to Premiere Networks having had a soft start to 2013 and said “that has modulated back” and the company feels good about that aspect of the business. Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the call transcript. See the whole call here.
Journal Communications Q1: Radio Up 6.7%. The radio division of Journal Communications’ Journal Broadcast Group reported an increase of 6.7% on revenue of $15.9 million. The company reports that is 2.8% on a same-station basis. The numbers break down this way: Local advertising revenue, excluding political, increased 7.2%, or 3.3% on a same-station basis, primarily due to an increase in retail advertising; National advertising revenue, excluding political, increased 2.1%, but decreased 1.3% on a same-station basis, primarily due to a decrease in communications advertising; Operating earnings from radio stations were $2.4 million compared to $2.9 million, a decrease of 15.3%; Radio operating expenses increased 11.9%, or 8.1% on a same-station basis, primarily due to employee-related expense increases and a non-cash building impairment charge of $0.2 million.
Talk Radio Day at the United Nations Set for Friday, June 7. After a one-year hiatus, TALKERS magazine announces the revival of its annual international initiative, “Talk Radio Day at the United Nations.” Presented in conjunction with Talk Radio News Service and in association with the United Nations Foundation, the event consists of a massive radio row held in the heart of the United Nations’ iconic headquarters on the East Side of Manhattan. Approximately 20 talk show hosts and programs from around the country are given the opportunity to do live shows or simply record interviews on the scene for later playback with a wide variety of special guests, including UN officials, foreign ambassadors, international policy experts and representatives of the arts and sciences from around the world. “This is one of our most prideful annual events,” states TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “and I am absolutely delighted that we have been able to bring it back after a year off in 2012.” Harrison says, “It accomplishes a number of important things – most notably, it gives a variety of talk show hosts and millions of their listeners in every corner of the country the opportunity to shift gears and discuss international news stories of significant consequence that rarely, if ever, are covered or discussed in the mainstream American media. Some of these stories have enormous implications on war, peace, life and death.” Harrison also points out, “Hosts of just about every political and ideological persuasion have raved about this event over the many years we have been doing it saying that it has proven to be a personally rewarding experience for them as much as it has provided a spectacular bit of special programming to their stations and networks.” Talk Radio Day at the United Nations conveniently takes place the day after Talkers New York 2013 when many talk show hosts are already in New York City. Hosts already on board include Alan Colmes of Fox News Radio, Michael Berry of Clear Channel, Doug Stephan of the “Good Day” show, Martha Zoller of WGAU, Athens, GA, Ethan Bearman of GCN and KSCO, Santa Cruz, Carole Marks of “A Touch of Grey” and more. All equipment and broadcast setups are provided at no cost for the convenience of the participants — but placement is limited and this will fill up rapidly, so interested hosts should call 413-565-5413 quickly to inquire about signing up.
“The Hartmann and Humphries Show” Brings Two Different Hosts, Ideologies and Programs Together for Rare Simulcast. It was one of those spontaneous one-time events that really clicked as TRN syndicated host Rusty Humphries (left) stopped by WYD Media syndicated host Thom Hartmann‘s Washington, DC studio (Hartmann at right) during a recent visit to the nation’s capital and the two personalities did a simulcast of their individual shows which ran on both of their collective affiliates. The Heavy Hundred performers engaged in refreshingly civil but spirited banter bringing their opposite points of view on a number of hot issues to the table. Both hosts tell TALKERS that they enjoyed the experience and received very positive feedback from their respective audiences which encourages them to do it again sometime down the road. In the photo at top left shows the two shots of each host the producer sees in the booth with background images in place. The lower picture shows Humphries and Hartmann chatting in the studio in front of the green screen.
KTRS, St. Louis Morning Drive Show Gets Video Accolades. The McGraw Milhaven morning show on CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis has been producing an online video component of its program for two months and the show has already surpassed the one million viewer minutes mark, according to the station. The station has a full-time video director in Andrew Dowd and he utilizes four HD cameras as well as pictures, graphics, video and sports highlights to help tell the story each morning. Also, guests can “skype” into the show and bring the listener moving pictures to go along with their spoken words. The video segments of Milhaven’s radio show are then re-tweeted and shared through social media. Milhaven tells TALKERS that even St. Louis Post-Dispatch TV critic Gail Pennington gives the video a thumbs up. “It’s the best internet TV I’ve ever seen. It’s so clear, and the video and graphics are amazing.” Milhaven himself tells TALKERS, “We had a feeling people were going to enjoy the enhanced TV side of the broadcast, but we had no idea so many people would embrace it. The time spent listening, or watching I should say, is off the charts. One million viewer minutes in just over two months? Wow, we wanted to let it grow naturally as we worked out all the kinks, but these numbers are better than we had ever expected. All these people watching and we have just scratched the surface of what we can do with the TV side.” In the image you see here is sports reporter Jason Lamar (left) interacting with Milhaven (right).
WEEI-FM, Boston Brings J.T. the Brick Back to Overnights. The Fox Sports Radio Network star has aired on Entercom’s WEEI in the past and, as vice president of programming Jason Wolfe states, with much success. “Even though he’s a diehard Yankees fan, J.T.’s show has always been extremely popular here in Boston. The show was a winner for us when we aired it years ago, and I’m very pleased to be able to bring him back now. Adding J.T.’s show provides a great balance to our overnight portfolio as we already air a very solid program in ESPN Radio’s SportsCenter Tonight on 850 AM.”
Odds & Sods. Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” with George Noory takes over the 12:00 midnight to 4:00 am slot at Emmis’ KFTK, St. Louis beginning Monday, May 6…..Entercom is making sports talk WMC-AM, Memphis a CBS Sports Radio Network affiliate beginning next week. The station will carry the network lineup plus local and regional play-by-play. Entercom also operates ESPN Radio affiliate WMFS-AM/FM in the market…..WEPN-FM, New York “ESPN New York 98.7” adds Mike Westhoff and Ray Lucas to the pre-game show for New York Jets broadcasts this fall. The duo will make regular appearances on WEPN-FM during the season and former Jet Lucas will also continue his role on the post-game show…..Morris Communications’ KHAR, Anchorage flips from adult standards to sports talk using CBS Sports Radio Network programming.
WRKO’s Howie Carr Promotes New Gangster Book. WRKO, Boston afternoon drive host (and longtime Boston Herald columnist) Howie Carr is pictured here with listener Lori Vozzella and her daughter at Thursday’s remote broadcast from La Verdad Mexican Restaurant in the city’s Fenway neighborhood. Carr did his show live from the restaurant to promote his latest book on an infamous Boston crime figure – Steven “Rifleman” Flemmi. Carr’s book, Rifleman (Frandel LLC 2013) details the grisly career of the notorious mobster. Carr has also written books about brothers Billy and Whitey Bulger and Johnny Martorano.
FEMA and Premiere Networks Cooperate on EAS Service. Radio syndicator Premiere Networks and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are announcing a cooperative effort to provide an alternative method for radio stations to receive emergency information during a national emergency. FEMA has added Premiere Networks as a Primary Entry Point station, which delivers information and instructions to the public in an emergency when there is no commercial power. As part of the cooperative effort, Premiere, would use its satellite program receivers in thousands of affiliate radio stations across the country as another tool for delivering national Emergency Alert System (EAS) messages. The radio affiliates would in turn broadcast the emergency messages to the public within its network. FEMA’s Damon Penn states, “This cooperative effort between FEMA and Premiere Networks is one of the latest initiatives to engage the private sector’s cooperation in raising community preparedness across the nation. We count on the broadcasting industry to alert and warn the public through the standard broadcast Emergency Alert System (EAS) including AM, FM, and satellite radio, as well as broadcast, cable and satellite TV, if a national emergency occurs.”
Boston Marathon Bombing Aftermath Remains Top Talk Radio Story for Week of April 29 – May 3. The aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, spurred by the arrests of several of suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s friends and the ongoing investigation into the planning and execution of the attack, was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was immigration legislation. Coming in at #3 was the Benghazi attack investigation followed by Syria tensions at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio across America and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. View this week’s entire chart here.
SiriusXM Reports Positive Q1 with Revenue Up 12%; Company Involved in Digital Dashboard Technology Rollout. That 12% percent increase over the same period a year ago is on revenue of $897 million. New permanent CEO Jim Meyer had every reason to be bubbly during his first investor conference call as official chief executive officer of the satcaster. He reports the company grew its subscriber base to a new record high on new subscriptions of 453,000 during the quarter. From a financial perspective he stated, “We are proud to have achieved the highest suggested EBITDA margin in the history of the company in the first quarter. We expect to achieve a 30% adjusted EBITDA margin this year, up from 27% last year and we continue to target 40% plus margins over time. You will see us move over the next few years to become one of the highest margin businesses among major media companies in the United States. Our ability to convert the bulk of that EBITDA in the free cash flow is also unmatched in the subscription media world.” He said the company is riding the “tailwind in the new car market as it recovers.” Meyer told investors the company is committed to having the best content, spoke about new channel additions as well as new talent joining the company and mentioned talk host Michael Smerconish. Addressing the specific question about GM’s plans for its future “digital dashboard,” Meyer said he couldn’t talk about any one manufacturer’s plans but was able to state, “I believe GM is on a leadership strategy in terms of where I believe the auto industry will go in general. And that is, I believe, over a mid and long period of time — you can define how many years that is — you will see automakers move to what I will call embedded connectivity that will be LTE-based that will give them lots of options for what they want to do for their customers and their vehicles. I think it’s very important that Sirius XM participates in that rollout of technology as it occurs over the next three to seven years and that’s exactly what we’re all about when we referred to our connected-car strategy. This is something that…I want to reiterate again today, that we’re moving and reprioritizing a lot of our technical resources and frankly now our commercial programming resources towards making that goal happen as we go out over time.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript. You can read the whole shebang here.
Tom Wheeler Gets Nod from Obama for FCC Chief. On the political side of things, many Democrats wanted to see President Obama select a woman for the post being vacated by Julius Genachowski, but the president nominated a man with a telecommunications background who was very helpful in getting him elected. Politico reports that managing director of Core Capital Partners, Tom Wheeler, (along with his wife) worked Iowa for six weeks straight during the president’s first campaign. Although Wheeler will get some grief from those who are suspicious of his past tenure as a lobbyist with both the National Cable and Telecommunications Association and the CTIA (Cellular Telephone Industry Association), he has experience in the industry having founded numerous cable and communications services businesses. National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon Smith states, “NAB welcomes the nomination of Tom Wheeler as chairman of the FCC. He has the experience and temperament to serve the agency with distinction, and we look forward to working with him.”
Talkers New York 2013 Approaching Sellout Today. At the present rate of registration bookings, all available seats to the forthcoming Talkers New York 2013 will be sold out by the end of business today (5:00 pm ET). The 16th annual installment of the talk industry’s longest-running and most important annual convention has broken the record for reaching advance registration earlier than ever before. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “We are amazed and gratified that this conference has reached a sellout almost five weeks in advance of its actual date, which is a testimony to the vibrancy of the talk format and the enthusiasm of the industry that produces it.” The one-day, power-packed event takes place on Thursday, June 6 in New York City between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm. It features a speaker roster of more than 50 industry leaders from programming, sales, talent, management, technology and ownership. Registration ($199 for all events and food services) is open exclusively to members of the working media and can only be booked by phone with credit card. Call 413-565-5413. For complete registration and sponsorship information including an up-to-the-minute agenda, click here.
Walton & Johnson Take Over Mornings on KPRC, Houston. Just four months after the Walton & Johnson [John Walton (left) and Steve Johnson (right)] morning show was dropped from Clear Channel’s classic rock KKRW, Houston “97.3 The Arrow,” the program is brought back to the Houston airwaves as the new morning program on the company’s news/talk KPRC. The duo was replaced on “The Arrow” by longtime St. Louis radio personality J.C. Corcoran. Clear Channel Houston director of AM programming Bryan Erickson says, “We are thrilled to have Walton & Johnson back on KPRC. They have a proven track record of great ratings and we look forward to them continuing that success on KPRC.” Walton & Johnson made KPRC their flagship beginning in 2007 but moved to “The Arrow” in 2009. Off KPRC as a result of the move is Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo who is based at Clear Channel’s WOAI, San Antonio and is heard there and on other Clear Channel news/talk stations.
Armstrong & Getty to Join KFMB, San Diego in June. Morning show duo Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty will be heard in the San Diego market beginning June 3 as their program bumps current morning host Mike Slater to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot. Armstrong & Getty are based at Clear Channel’s KSTE, Sacramento and heard in other markets in Northern California including San Francisco on KKSF. This is a big move for the duo as they are added to a non-Clear Channel station – Midwest TV’s KFMB. Program director Dave Sniff states, “Like any great radio morning show, Armstrong and Getty have that unique ability to not only connect with the listener but to become their companions. They fit in amazingly well among the great storytellers that are part of 760 KFMB’s character and lineage. They’re not so much a ‘talk show’ as a ‘mock show.’”
Cox Media’s WOKV, Jacksonville Adds 104.5 FM Signal. Market news/talk powerhouse WOKV got a little more powerful as Cox Media Group gives the 104.5 FM signal long-occupied by now-defunct rock station WFYV to the station to boost its coverage of the region. WOKV program director Mike Dorwart says, “Our listeners told us loud and clear that we needed more power. Moving to 104.5 FM means that, for the first time, our listeners can hear us crystal clear, everywhere in northeast Florida, both day and night. The most noticeable improvement will be heard by listeners in Baker, Clay, St. Johns, and Nassau counties. They now have full coverage from WOKV, 24/7, on 104.5 FM. Duval residents will also hear a big difference, especially those who listen at work. Our new signal also gives reliable coverage to listeners in Flagler, Putnam, Bradford, Union and Columbia counties in Florida, as well as Camden and Charlton counties in Georgia.” The station has been simulcast on the 106.5 FM frequency but that class A FM is much smaller. WOKV will continue to be heard on 106.5 as the company directs listeners to the new 104.5 frequency.
Five Critical Steps for Radio to Achieve Success with Online Video. Noted media consultant and TALKERS columnist Walter Sabo outlines five crucial pointers that radio broadcasters should keep in mind when utilizing video in their digital initiatives. In a column posted today (5/1) he suggests: 1) bad equipment is usually the best; 2) online video is NOT television (TV); 3) 80% of all videos are watched within 72 hours of posting; 4) most of the biggest stars of the internet (“webstars”) are self-cast; and 5) late evening is the best time to post. To read the entirety of this timely and informative article, click here.
The End of an Era for Knoxville News/Talk; Country to Take Over 100.3 Frequency. With Journal Broadcast Group’s acquisition of Oak Ridge FM’s news/talk WNOX, Knoxville about to close, the company is preparing to move the country format currently heard on its WCYQ to the much stronger 100.3 signal currently occupied by news/talk on WNOX. A country simulcast will begin tomorrow on the two FMs (5/2) and the news/talk programming now on WNOX will move to Blount Broadcasting’s WKVL, a daytime AM at 850.
KTRS, St. Louis Newest Affiliate for Envision’s ‘America Weekend.’ The weekend news/talk radio program being nationally syndicated by Envision Radio Networks announces CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis is the latest station to add the programming to its weekend offerings. Envision calls “America Weekend” “the winning antidote to bad brokered programming and tiresome ‘Best-of’ shows. Hosted by Paul Harris, Rick Roberts, and Turi Ryder, ‘America Weekend’ is designed to increase ratings while providing an innovative system for maintaining or even increasing revenue from brokered programs. The flexible ‘America Weekend’ system provides the perfect platform to break away for sports and other special programming as needed. Since ‘America Weekend’ is broadcast live via satellite, it is able to stay current by addressing breaking and developing stories of national interest as they happen. The program airs live each Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET.”
Fargo Stations Sales Close: Fargo-Moorhead Radio Cluster to Midwest Communications; Triad Broadcasting Group to Larry Wilson’s L&L. The sales of both of these Fargo market station groups were announced last year and were approved by the FCC months ago. Now the transactions close with Wausau, Wisconsin-based Midwest Communications taking ownership of the former Fargo-Moorhead Radio cluster that includes: news/talk KFGO, sports KVOX, CHR WDAY “Y-94,” country KBVB “Bob FM,” talk KRWK “101.9 Talk FM,” and adult hits KMJO “Popster FM.” Midwest Communications vice president of programming Jeff McCarthy tells the Forum of Fargo Moorhead he doesn’t anticipate any immediate programming changes. Larry Wilson, whose Alpha Broadcasting operates stations in Portland, Oregon, also is a principal in L&L Broadcasting and his company is closing on Triad Broadcasting’s stations that include: oldies KQWB “True Oldies,” classic rock KPFX “The Fox,” hot AC KLTA, country KVOX “Froggy 99.9,” full service KBMW, and rock KQWB “Q98.” Triad vice president and market manager Michael Brooks also tells the paper he does not anticipate any immediate changes.
WEEI Names John Ryder to Red Sox Broadcast Team; Grande and Merloni to Handle Fill-In Role. In announcing John Ryder’s ascension to a permanent role on Red Sox broadcasts as host of pre- and post-game coverage, the company says, “Ryder has been with WEEI since 1998 and is a regular contributor to the ‘Planet Mikey’ show, in addition to hosting ‘Red Sox Review’ and ‘Celtics Rewind’ after Sox and Celtics games.” The company is also announcing that Sean Grande and Lou Merloni will join the broadcasts filling in for Dave O’Brien, who will miss Monday night games during the season due to his responsibilities for ESPN. Grande has been the voice of the Boston Celtics since 2001, after having served as the TV voice of the Minnesota Timberwolves for three years. Merloni is currently co-host of the “Mut and Merloni” show on WEEI 93.7 FM. Merloni also enjoyed a nine-year professional career in Major League Baseball, the first five with the Red Sox. Entercom Boston vice president of programming Jason Wolfe says, “John has done a stellar job in every role we’ve had for him and has absolutely earned this promotion. He’s hosted the pre- and post-game shows for the Sox many times before and was a natural choice for us to fill this important job. Sean’s play-by-play experience speaks for itself. He’s one of the greats in the industry right now, and Lou’s expertise is second to none. There’s no baseball man in Boston who knows the Sox better than Lou.”
Odds & Sods. Result Radio’s Christian contemporary KJJK, Fargo will flip to sports talk on Monday, May 6 using programming from Fox Sports Radio Network including Dan Patrick, Jay Mohr and the “Loose Cannons” with Pat O’Brien and Steve Hartman. The station will continue to serve as a Minnesota Twins affiliate…..Personality J.D. Hayworth – co-host of the “Hacksaw & Hayworth” show on sports talk XEPRS, San Diego – does some news/talk fill-in work this week when he sits in for Cumulus Media Networks host Michael Savage tonight through Friday from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET. He’ll also sit in for the company’s Mike Huckabee tomorrow from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET…..Bouyed by coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing and the Texas fertilizer warehouse explosion, cable news/talk channel CNN has improved in the ratings compared to the same period a year ago. Based on April Nielsen numbers as reported in Deadline.com, CNN saw its total day viewers number rise 79% compared to April 2012. CNN was also up in prime time, achieving an 81% increase in total viewers over the same period a year ago. The network was able to climb over MSNBC into second place behind Fox News Channel in both ratings categories.
Benghazi Cover-up Investigation, ObamaCare Effects, Boston Marathon Bombing Aftermath, Slow Job Growth Reports, and Immigration Legislation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/30). New inquiries into the Benghazi attack; the effects of the Affordable Care Act; the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing and the search for possible co-conspirators; newly released reports indicating slow job growth in the United States; and debate over immigration legislation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Salem’s KRLA, Los Angeles Names Elisha Krauss Co-Host of Morning Show. From her most recent position as senior producer for the nationally syndicated Sean Hannity show, Elisha Krauss joins Brian Whitman and Ben Shapiro as co-host of the morning show, “The Morning Answer,” on Salem’s “AM 870 The Answer.” Krauss says of her new position, “After being behind the scenes in radio for years I know this is a huge opportunity to share my conservative beliefs with the KRLA audience every day.” Salem Communications vice president, director of spoken word format Phil Boyce hired Krauss as an intern at WABC in New York years ago. He says, “Elisha impressed me from the day we first met when she applied to be an intern. She had been home schooled in Oklahoma, but here she was in Manhattan making a name for herself as a freshman and I was immediately impressed with her character, integrity and maturity.” KRLA program director Chuck Tyler says, “Elisha is a great addition to the team. This is a truly unique show for Los Angeles morning drive and I know Brian and Ben are very anxious to get her into the mix.” Krauss takes over for Heidi Harris who exited the program last week.
Cumulus Flips Oldies Trimulcast in Twin Cities to Sports Talk. The CBS Sports Radio Network comes to Minneapolis-St. Paul as Cumulus drops oldies on WGVX, WGVY and WGVZ and brands it as “SportsRadio 105 The Ticket.” (The three sit alongside each other on the dial at 105.1, 105.3 and 105.7, respectively.) The stations are carrying the entire network lineup. In a statement, Cumulus Minneapolis Scott Jameson says, “The passion for sports combined with the power and credibility of the CBS brand makes for engaging and entertaining content. Sports fans in the Twin Cities now have a choice for their daily fox of news and conversation delivered by the best in the business: Jim Rome, John Feinstein, Boomer Esiason, Doug Gottlieb and the entire team on ‘SportsRadio 105 The Ticket.’”
Schnitt Update. These past few months have certainly been interesting for talk show host Todd Schnitt. Despite losing a high-profile defamation suit as plaintiff versus talker Bubba the Love Sponge – then settling the dispute in mediation instead of a return trip to trial court — Schnitt’s nationally syndicated Compass Media Networks’ “The Schnitt Show” been showing continued growth and positive momentum with the recent addition of 15 new affiliates. These include KSTE, Sacramento; WTAX, Champaign; WKBN, Youngstown; KPSF, Palm Springs; WINA-AM, Charlottesville as well as Mississippi Super Talk Radio Network outlets WFMM-FM, Hattiesburg; WFMN-FM; Jackson; WKBB-FM, West Point; WLAU-FM, Laurel; WRQO-FM, Brookhaven; WTCD-FM, Greenwood; WTNM-FM, Oxford; WXRZ-FM, Corinth; WZKR-FM, Meridian; and WWMR-FM, Tupelo. Schnitt’s program originates in the afternoon drive slot at Clear Channel‘s WFLA, Tampa where the local publicity garnered by the recent legal fracas has lifted his profile to the status of household name. Schnitt, a rising member of the “Heavy Hundred” (#26) tells TALKERS that he is continuing to evolve his show with the “right” amount of politics. He states, “I choose the most important issues to cover and do it concisely and informatively with fact, opinion and entertainment value. My content is more diverse than ever and I’m really utilizing my aptitude and experience gained as a 20-plus year CHR morning guy. I feel I’ve constructed a show that my competitors can’t match. The daily political, ad nauseam Obama-bashing and wonk minutiae is burned close to needing dental records.”
NPR to Replace “Talk of the Nation” with “Here and Now.” Calling a move away from opinion programming to storytelling, The New York Times’ Brian Stelter reports that NPR chief content officer Kinsey Wilson says the move to a news magazine from an opinion talk show is “what the audience is looking for and what member stations have been looking for.” The issue was discussed on the March 29 “Morning Edition” program on NPR during which NPR media correspondent David Folkenflick stated that despite the $7 million dollar deficit NPR is facing this fiscal year, that is not the motivation for eliminating “Talk of the Nation” – which is heard on some 400 member stations and, according to NPR, reaches more than 3.5 million listeners. Folkenflick says Wilson told him the move is “more of an effort to insure that the network is investing both personnel and money in places that will make it distinctive and he thinks more original reporting and a greater number of stories from around the country involving member stations will do that trick.” As for host Neal Conan, he was offered to stay with NPR but will exit the program when it ends on June 30. WBUR, Boston-produced “Here and Now” will be produced on the East Coast from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm and updated as needed until 4:00 pm for stations airing it later.
‘The Big Talker’ in Wilmington, North Carolina Flips to All-News. Citing the retirement of morning host Chad Adams from the stations, Hometown Wilmington Media general manager Beau Gunn tells the Port City Daily that “we decided to give Wilmington something it was missing — all-news radio with a focus on local news, sports, traffic and weather.” Gunn says the simulcast on WNTB and WLTT is being branded “Port City Radio” alluding to its relationship with Port City Daily. Port City Radio program director and morning host Aimee Bowen will speak with Port City Daily reporters about the stories behind the stories. Those same reporters will be featured throughout the day. She states, “Port City Radio is your hands-free device for Wilmington news. Everybody is busy. They’re on the go all the time. This is a unique product that gives you unrestricted access to local and national news. Our partnership with Port City Daily creates the ability to provide constant, local content.” The format is using CBS Radio News as well as content from The Wall Street Journal Radio Network.
NHL Lockout Shows How Important Sports Play-by-Play Can Be to Stations. In a piece in the Chicago Tribune analyzing the recent BIA Kelsey revenue figures for Chicago’s top billing stations from 2012, the case of Tribune’s WGN stands out. According the BIA Kelsey, WGN absorbed a revenue hit of more than $5 million from 2011 to 2012 ending the latter year with $30.2 million in revenue. In the piece it’s noted that the NHL lockout affected the Chicago Blackhawks flagship dramatically. WGN director of sales and interim general manager Jeff Hill tells the paper, “We probably took a loss of over $2 million just in Blackhawks fourth quarter revenue. That represented a significant loss in our revenue.” To be clear, Hill says that wasn’t the only reason for the revenue decline. He cited a down year for agri-business and a poor political advertising year for the Chicago market.
Len Tillem Out at KKSF, San Francisco. The 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm Len Tillem show is gone from Clear Channel’s KKSF, San Francisco and the hour is being absorbed by the expansion of the Gil Gross program. Tillem – along with former KGO, San Francisco personalities Ed Baxter and John Rothmann – crossed over to KKSF after being let go by the Cumulus Media news/talk station. Now, Tillem is gone and Baxter and Rothmann remain at the KKSF in a fill-in capacity.
Digital Consultant Advises Keeping Radio Websites Free of Clutter. In his weekly column posted today (4/1) digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller says “less is more” when it comes to putting appropriate time, energy, and space into play when developing a website to extend a radio station’s or show’s presence. He suggests starting by taking inventory of the pages and features that are drawing the most visits and consider them the “important” ones. Others (with a few key exceptions), he says, you should seriously consider taking down. To read Chris Miller’s entire column “Prune Now to Grow Later,” click here.
Bubba the Love Sponge Foundation to Present Check to Family of Murdered Police Dispatcher. On Tuesday, April 2, WHTP, Tampa-based talk show host Bubba the Love Sponge will present a check for $15,000 to the family of slain Tampa police dispatcher Deanna Mendoza. Mendoza’s three surviving children will be the recipients of the money raised through the Bubba the Love Sponge Foundation. Bubba says, “A lot of times, people forget the high-stress job the dispatchers have. People’s lives depend on the efficiency of police dispatchers and I wanted to remember her life and thank her family for her service.” Mendoza was killed in January. Tampa Police Department Major Brian Dugan will join Mendoza’s co-workers and family for the presentation.
NBC Sports Radio Network Goes Live Today. After almost nine months of promotions and planning, the NBC and Dial Global 24/7 sports talk radio network goes live. The network is boasting a starting affiliate base of 257 and is touting its newly designed, revamped website at NBCSportsRadio.com plus a customized NBC Sports Radio mobile app for Android and Apple devices. The network says, “NBCSportsRadio.com features a fresh, modern look with a number of new features — like programming schedules, talent bios and photos, and a terrestrial radio station finder — plus added capabilities including live streaming, station streaming, and social media chatter. The NBC Sports Radio mobile app, powered by Abacast, showcases a branded home page with rotating sponsorship panels and an integration system that syncs audio ads and rotating display ads — a feature that will help advertisers extend their brands. Among its many features, the mobile app also delivers programming content, Facebook and Twitter promotion, and a station information page linking to phone request lines.” NBC Sports Radio EVP and general manager Chris Corcoran states, “Game on! We are pumped and ready to take the field. When you combine our unmatched talent with our stations, our digital assets and our social media presence, it all adds up to an amazing listening and interactive experience for sports fans everywhere.”
Tom Donahue Show Expands to Five Days on KCAA, Loma Linda. Talk radio personality Tom Donahue expands his program from its initial Friday show on Broadcasting Management Services’ KCAA, Loma Linda, California to five days per week beginning today. The “Tom Donahue Reports” program airs live at 1:00 am PT. Donahue says April 1 holds a special significance for him because that is when he got his big break in talk radio replacing the legendary Chuck Harder as a nationally syndicated host for the Sun Radio Network in 1991. He says he plans to offer his show to other stations. The Talk Superstation remains his primary internet station, while Talk Stream Live serves as his streaming digital directory.
Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Up 4% in Q4 of 2012; Premiere National Sales Down. The Media and Entertainment division of CC Media Holdings was up 4% in the fourth quarter of 2012 on revenue of $821.5 million. But that figure was helped greatly by the $40 million in political advertising the division realized. Otherwise it would have been down by as much as $9 million. During yesterday’s conference call with analysts, CFO Tom Casey also said, “We increased national advertising sales by 17% over last year’s fourth quarter, or 3% excluding political, and local revenues grew 5%. We also saw a nice lift in revenue from digital, with our listening hours up 68% over the fourth quarter of 2011, fueled by increased iHeartRadio usage, which reached 118 million total listening hours in December.” But both Premiere Networks and the Total Traffic Network had down fourth quarters and are off to sluggish starts in 2013. The company does not break down specific numbers for these divisions. Casey did say Total Traffic Network is still struggling with the merger of Metro Networks. As for Premiere, he simply said national sales were weak for the division. For the full year of 2012 Casey reported, “Media and Entertainment revenues grew 3% to $3.1 billion. National revenue rose 9%, driven by both our new national advertising efforts and political. Local revenue was up 2% for the year. Our top advertising categories were auto and telecommunications. Political advertising reached $70 million for the year.”
Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to Remain on WABC, New York – for Now. During yesterday’s CC Media Holdings conference call with analysts, chief financial officer Tom Casey did not give specifics when asked about the much-speculated-upon move of Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh from his current and longtime home at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York to Clear Channel’s crosstown WOR. But he did say, “No decisions have been made…we’re working through our options.” Contracts with WABC for both Limbaugh and Sean Hannity run through the end of 2013 and it doesn’t appear CC is preparing to exercise the 90-out clause and move the shows to WOR. Still, the option to move them to WOR in January of 2014 after their deals with WABC end must seem like a nice, clean way of doing it – if that is the company’s ultimate goal.
Sports Talk in Boston Is “Its Own Breed.” That’s the sentiment from sports talk personality Mike Salk, who is preparing to return to his native Boston to join Michael Holley for the PM drive shift on Entercom’s WEEI in mid-March. He says he can’t say enough about the people of Seattle and how much he’s enjoyed his time at Bonneville’s KIRO-AM co-hosting with Brock Huard. But he also says, “The passion and intensity of Boston sports fans – the frustration when things don’t go as they’d like – those things are different in Boston than anywhere else in the country.” Salk will fill the void in the afternoon show that opened when longtime Boston sports personality Glenn Ordway was let go from the station last week. Salk tells TALKERS the fact that Boston is such an intense sports town helps make WEEI “the gold standard for sports radio. It’s why people have always talked about it as one of the biggest sports stations, if not the biggest and most important sports station in the country.” Salk says the opportunity to work in his hometown at WEEI is one thing, but the goal is to capitalize on it and he’s excited about working with Michael Holley. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to talk sports with him every day. Not just talk sports but ‘banter.’ That’s the fun thing about sports radio, it’s not always arguing, it’s not always angry or fighting; I think of it more as bantering – two guys going back and forth with a smile on their faces. Sometimes it gets heated, sometimes it’s just straight fun, but it’s banter.” Salk is a rabid Boston Bruins fan and he says he’s looking forward to getting back to a hockey town. “It’s in my blood. I grew up watching those games.” Salk and Huard helped build the midday show at KIRO-AM to the point they hit the #1 mark in men 25-54 last September. He’s been a part of the ESPN Radio network since 2007, hosting “SportsCenter Saturday” and serving as a regular fill-in host over the past few years. Prior to going to Seattle in 2009 he worked for ESPN 890 in Boston (WAMG) for four years co-hosting middays with Bob Halloran. Vice president of programming Jason Wolfe says, “Mike Salk has a proven record of success, and I couldn’t be more excited to bring him back home to Boston. He’s a very skilled broadcaster, a fun personality and a passionate sports fan. I’m really looking forward to the new dynamic that he and Michael Holley will provide on a daily basis.”
Emmis Adds FM Translator to Sports WFNI, Indianapolis Brand. The translator W298BB at 107.5 FM is simulcasting part of sister WFNI-AM’s programming but is carrying ESPN Radio’s midday programming of Colin Cowherd and SVP & Russillo from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. In a statement, Emmis Indianapolis SVP and market manager Charlie Morgan says, “The launch of ‘FM 107.5 The Fan’ demonstrates Emmis’ deep commitment to making ‘The Fan’ Indy’s dominant sports brand. Given that Emmis is credited with creating the first sports talk station in the United States, it only seems fitting that we would deliver the city’s first FM sports station to Indy’s sports-loving fans.”
Illinois Attorney and Radio Host Found Liable in Missing Money Case. Illinois attorney Kathleen Niew, her husband and her law firm were found partially liable in DuPage County Court for the some $2.3 million that a local couple claims Niew misappropriated. Niew hosts a brokered financial advice program on Salem Communications’ WIND, Chicago. The couple, Jamal and Leda Khoury, deposited the money in an account controlled by Niew. According to the Chicago Tribune, her former attorney stated in court filings that the Niews are victims of the same crime as a third party is responsible for the missing money.
Odds & Sods. Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington reports a big January in the Arbitron PPMs. Vice president of news and programming Jim Farley says the station went up dramatically from January a year ago in the 25-54 demo. He also says, “WTOP is # 1 25-54 full week and both drives, #2 nights and #3 middays and weekends. Note the incredible 11.4 share in persons 25-54 in morning drive and the even more eye-popping 14.4 women 25-54. Full week we’re also # 1 with women 25-54 and I give the credit on that to WTOP PD Laurie Cantillo.”…..In another note from WTOP, the station announces it is adding Wall Street Journal Network news anchor Joan Jones to its roster of news anchors. Jones has been a network business anchor for Dow Jones/Wall Street Journal Radio Network since 2008, writing and anchoring network broadcasts and customized business updates for major market stations. Prior to joining WSJ, Jones was the morning news anchor at WPHT in Philadelphia and the morning co-host of “Chris and JJ” on Philly’s B101. She states, “What an honor to join this legacy radio station and to work alongside the best in the business.”…..WFLA, Tampa-based news anchor Martin Giles is retiring from Clear Channel on March 1. In a report from the Tampa Bay Times, the 76-year-old Giles says he’s leaving the place he’s been for 28 years due to the workload where the company requires them to do news for Orlando, Jacksonville, Tallahassee and other markets as well. “It’s an overload of work they were handing us. I’ve had a little trouble with it…I am really worn out when I go home on Friday.”…..The Heritage Foundation-produced “Istook Live!” talk show – hosted by former Oklahoma Congressman Ernest Istook – adds C.J. Wheeler as co-host and executive producer. In the additional role of executive producer, Wheeler will oversee the show’s content across radio, digital and TV platforms.
Sequestration/Deficit Reduction, Gun Control Issue, Immigration Reform, Soaring Gas Prices, and Oscar Pistorius Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/19). The Washington battle over who’s responsible for the looming sequestration; the ongoing dialog over new gun control measures; the Obama Administration’s policy on immigration reform; the fast-rising prices at the pump; and the murder case of Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Sirius XM Reports Revenue Up 11%. SiriusXM CEO Mel Karmazin tells analysts the satcaster has seen subscriptions increase by 405,000 compared to the first quarter of 2011. Revenue for Q1 of 2012 was $805 million, an increase of 11% over the same period a year ago. Karmazin states, “SiriusXM is starting the year with tremendous operational momentum. We grew subscribers faster than any first quarter since our 2008 merger of Sirius and XM, and we improved our self-pay monthly churn rate to 1.9% despite implementing a price increase at the beginning of the year. Rising auto sales and our strong execution should enable us to exceed our prior 2012 subscriber growth guidance of 1.3 million, which today we are raising to 1.5 million.” The continued good news for SiriusXM includes: its subscriber growth rate accelerating to boost its subscriber base to an all-time high of 22.3 million; reduced its monthly churn to 1.9%; and was able to show positive free cash flow in the first quarter of a fiscal year for the first time – free cash flow was $15 million for 2012’s Q1. SiriusXM EVP and CFO David Frear states, “Our growing cash flow is reducing our leverage substantially and this improving credit profile should benefit stockholders as we refinance or pay down more than $1 billion of high coupon debt over the next 15 months.”
2012 Q1 Report: CBS Radio Down 2%. CBS Corporation announced its first quarter revenue for 2012 and although the company as a whole was up 12% on revenue of $3.92 billion over the same period a year ago, the revenue for the CBS Radio division was down 2%. Content licensing and distribution revenue were responsible for much of the company’s growth.
Harris to Exit Broadcast Business. Melbourne, Florida-based Harris Corporation employs some 17,000 people worldwide but the bulk of its revenue does not come from the radio equipment sector – not even close. And that’s why the company announces it is divesting itself of the Broadcast Communications arm. The company states a review of its business structure revealed, “the (radio) business is no longer aligned with the company’s long-term strategy. The plan to sell these assets supports our disciplined approach to capital allocation, and we intend to use the proceeds to return cash to shareholders and invest in growing our core businesses.”
KTRH, Houston Talk Host Michael Berry Won’t Be Charged in Fender Bender Case. Former Houston City Councilor and KTRH, Houston talk host Michael Berry will not face charges of hit and run in connection with a parking incident outside an area bar that happened in late January. The District Attorney’s office tells the Houston Chronicle that based on its findings, there will be no charges filed against Berry. It appears there’s no evidence to show Berry’s vehicle hit the car of a club bouncer who told authorities a car matching the description of Berry’s car hit his. The incident happened outside of TC’s Show Bar in Montrose – a club known for gay clientele. The local media made a big deal out of the incident and, in addition to the connection between the conservative Berry and the gay bar, questioned whether the former city councilor received special treatment from authorities investigating the incident. Berry maintained his innocence and excoriated the local media on his radio show for running fast and loose with the facts. He blamed much of the attention he received from the incident on politics.
Merlin Media’s New York Programming Chief Is Mark Austin Thomas. “FM News 101.9” has been without an official programming chief since Liz Aiello was let go in December. Now, it’s being reported that former KABC, Los Angeles news director and news anchor Mark Austin Thomas is in the programmer’s chair. Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor reports an announcement from Merlin Media about Thomas’ status may come as early as this week. All-news WEMP-FM, New York has been holding steady with a .7 share in the monthly PPM ratings.
Dave Milner Named Market Manager at Clear Channel Sacramento. Reports of Jeff Holden’s departure from the building at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Sacramento cluster turned out to be true. The company announces Dave Milner takes over the president and market manager role. Milner has been serving as vice president of sales at Entercom’s San Francisco station group. He previously worked for Clear Channel in the Portland market. Clear Channel EVP of operations, Western Region Susan Karis states, “Dave brings an extensive track record of sales and management expertise with him to the Clear Channel Sacramento market. I’m excited to have him back with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment to lead our business in Sacramento to continued success.”
KFTK-FM, St. Louis Adds Tony Katz to Permanent Weekend Show. Emmis Communications’ KFTK-FM, St. Louis announces regular fill-in talk host Tony Katz gets a weekly Saturday afternoon show airing from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Katz is the go-to fill-in guy for midday talk host Dana Loesch. KFTK-FM program director Jeff Allen says, “Tony is a rising star and I am thrilled that we can launch a fresh, new talent into our Saturday evening line-up. Tony is passionate, informative and most importantly, fun to listen to!” Katz also hosts a regular internet talk program on allpatriotsmedia.com.
Commercials Are Content, Too. The phrase “content is king” may be a cliché but the sentiment is true. However, it’s important to remember that spots are content too and broadcasters should give attention to spot quality, according to H&H Communications president Al Herskovitz. In his latest column for TALKERS, Herskovitz cites examples of commercial copy gone wrong that could have been avoided. Read his piece here.
FM Sports Talker Coming to Twin Falls, Idaho. Lee Family Broadcasting principal Kim Lee tells MagicValley.com that he’ll drop the AC music on KMVX-FM for sports talk on May 24. The station will carry ESPN programming and be the local radio outlet for College of Southern Idaho sports. The school’s radio voice, Jonathan Drew, will join the station as sports director and PM drive host of a local sports talk show.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Bob Throndsen retires from his news director position at Fisher Broadcasting’s KOMO-AM/FM. Throndsen has worked at KOMO radio and KOMO-TV for much of the past 30 years…..The debut of Michael Patrick Shiels’ new morning talk show based at local Fox TV outlet WSYM-TV, Lansing, Michigan will come not this week but next, according to a piece in the Lansing State Journal. Shiels, who recently left his WJIM, Lansing based program after a contract dispute, plans to syndicate the new show to talk radio outlets across Michigan…..KBJR-TV, Duluth sports director Tom Hansen joins KDAL, Duluth-Superior as co-host of the late morning show alongside Dave Strandberg. Hansen maintain’s his position with the television outlet…..Talk show host Tom Donahue, host of Tom Donahue Reports, announces his new flagship network for his syndicated show is Orion Talk Radio. The program airs live from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm daily.
Broadcasters Foundation of America Announces Second Annual Stu Olds Memorial Golf Classic. The Broadcasters Foundation of America sets June 12 as the date of the second annual Stu Olds Memorial Golf Classic – the fundraiser named in honor of the former Katz Media head who died in December of 2010. Since its inception, the fund has raised more than $500,000 to benefit the foundation. The event costs $250 per player and proceeds go directly to the fund. Reservations to take part in the golf outing can be made by calling Jim Thompson at 212-373-8250 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
2012 Presidential Race, Obama Afghanistan Visit, U.S. ICE Scam and Ohio Bridge Terror Plot Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/1). The 2012 presidential race; President Obama’s visit to Kabul, Afghanistan and the Taliban violence there; the Immigration and Customs Enforcement scandal; and the Ohio bridge terror plot were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Rusty Humphries Has Movie Role in “Flicka” Film. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment just released the movie “Flicka Country Pride” starring Clint Black and Lisa Hartman Black. Appearing in the role of the announcer at the championship horse competition is Talk Radio Network and WGST, Atlanta talk show host Rusty Humphries. Humphries spent several days last November in British Columbia filming his scenes. He says, “It was an honor to be asked to be a part of a major motion picture and to learn from some of the best talent in the movie making business.” In a scene from the film, Rusty is seen here in his announcer role at the judge’s table. Rusty Humphries’ star continues to rise on a number of fronts. He has proven himself over the years to be like “the little engine that could.” In addition to accruing steadily increasing ratings and affiliations, his marketing campaigns continue to attract industry attention with significant sales of such items as Rusty Humphries Beef Jerkey and Rusty Humphries cigars. His position on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred took a leap from #35 in 2011 to #20 in 2012. Meet Rusty Humphries at the forthcoming New Media Seminar in New York City on Thursday, June 7 where he will be appearing as one of the debaters on the Talk Rumble. The industry-only event is near a sellout. For reservations, hotel or sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.
Salem Communications Ends 2011 with Positive 4th Quarter. The last three months of 2011 were good for Salem Communications as the company reports revenue is up 6.2% over the same period a year ago. Radio revenue was up 2.8% and internet revenue rose 37.1%. The company reports that as a result of the positive news it will begin paying a dividend of 3.5 cents per share to shareholders.
Talk Host Doc Thompson Lands at Detroit’s WXYT. Talk show host Doc Thompson – most recently working at both WLW, Cincinnati and WRVA, Richmond – takes over the PM drive show at CBS Radio’s WXYT, Detroit beginning Monday, March 12. Program director Rona Danziger says, “Doc is a great talent and we’re excited to have him live and local in afternoon drive talking about the issues affecting Detroit, southeast Michigan, and the rest of the country. Doc’s brand of entertaining and informative talk radio will be exactly what rush hour listeners need to get through their afternoon drive. Todd Schnitt, one of the hottest syndicated talents in the business, will immediately follow Doc. This is a powerful one-two punch as we grow Talk Radio 1270’s conservative brand of talk in Detroit.” CBS created the Talk Radio 1270 news/talk outlet last fall after splitting the former AM/FM simulcast of sports WXYT-FM. About his new gig, Doc Thompson says, “Detroit has a history of great radio and I’m very excited to be part of it. We are living in stressful times and the news can be pretty depressing. I offer a unique and compelling viewpoint with lots of humor and fun.”
Entercom Kansas City Names Krista Klaus Host of Midday Show on KMBZ Business Channel. Local broadcast and business print journalist Krista Klaus is named host of the “Kansas City Power Lunch” airing from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm on Entercom’s new KMBZ Business Channel (KUDL 1660 AM) beginning April 2. Klaus most recently served as associate editor for special projects at the Kansas City Business Journal. She spent 15 years in the TV news business working at WFLA-TV, Tampa; KMBC-TV, Kansas City; and KCTV-TV, Kansas City. KMBZ Brand of Stations program director Jack Landreth states, “The level of business credibility cannot be matched by anyone other than Krista and her local business expertise. Her ability to connect with our local business leaders is just another way that the ‘KMBZ Business Channel’ will successfully super-serve this niche format.”
“Mancow TV” Specials to Air on Fox News Channel This Month. Talk Radio Network personality Erich Mancow Muller is set to tape two editions of “Mancow TV” before live studio audiences in New York on March 17 and 24, according to Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder. The shows will be taped in the afternoon on those days and air in prime time with reruns on the 18th and 25th of March as well. Feder reports Mancow is a bit sketchy about the content of the shows but says they will involve presidential politics. Mancow does tell Feder they had planned to do a segment with Andrew Breitbart but must now scramble to change their plans as a result of his passing. Mancow is excited about the shows and says, “To come out of the confines of my cramped radio studio and to be on TV around the world is a terrifying prospect, but it’s also very exciting and thrilling. Other radio hosts have made great transitions to TV on Fox. Wouldn’t that be wonderful if that happened for me, too?”
TRN’s Phil Hendrie Plays Role in Los Angeles Animation Festival. Talk show host, television actor and animation voice star Phil Hendrie walks the red carpet at the Los Angeles Animation Festival on Saturday, March 10 where he’ll be reunited with co-stars of Trey Parker’s and Matt Stone’s 2004 film, “Team America: World Police,” for a reunion screening of the film at the Regent Showcase Theater in Los Angeles. Hendrie will also take part in a Q&A prior to the screening alongside fellow castmates Daran Norris and the Chiodos Brothers. Hendrie, in addition to his nightly radio show on TRN, is working on his third episode as a recurring character on Fox TV’s hit show, “The New Girl.”
Broadcast Tower to Return to Lower Manhattan at One World Trade Center. Developers of the soon-to-be-complete One World Trade Center – the 1,776 foot skyscraper being constructed at the site of the former Twin Towers destroyed on September 11, 2001 – say they will add broadcasting to its summit making it the region’s tallest broadcast TV/radio facility. As part of an arrangement now being finalized with The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, The Durst Organization would oversee construction and operation of a new, state-of-the-art broadcast facility atop the tower. The installation would offer television and FM radio broadcast capabilities. The Durst Organization says that with a 408-foot spire reaching an ultimate height of 1,776 square feet, One World Trade Center’s broadcast center is expected to attract a number of prestigious broadcast partners, while promising to generate significant revenue for the project in return for a relatively modest capital investment. The new venture will employ full redundant power and the One World Trade Center broadcast center would be marketed together with a broadcast tower atop 4 Times Square, also operated by The Durst Organization. The two towers would together serve as a primary and back-up facility, creating an economy of scale for broadcast tenants. The Durst Organization president Jody Durst states, “Broadcasting from the top of One World Trade Center is both an economic and symbolic achievement. It’s hard to imagine a more appropriate setting for an ultra-modern broadcast facility than the pinnacle of the world’s most iconic building. At the same time, the facility would serve as a source of ongoing revenue for the property.” Port Authority of New York and New Jersey executive director Patrick Foye says, “This expanded use of One World Trade Center makes perfect sense. The Durst company brings great experience and expertise in managing broadcast facilities, and their team understands the emerging dynamics in the broadcast marketplace over recent years. With an ideal operator in place, the center would help Lower Manhattan reclaim its status as one of the city’s elite broadcast venues.”
GOP Primary/Super Tuesday Lands Atop Talkers TenTM Chart for Week of March 5-9, 2012. The Republican primary race highlighted by this week’s Super Tuesday elections was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS. Close behind at #2 was the larger 2012 presidential race. At #3 was the Rush Limbaugh controversy and at #4 was Iran’s nuclear ambitions tied with U.S.-Israel relations. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week that is published each Friday at Talkers.com. View the entire chart here.
Talk About a P1 Listener! KDKA, Pittsburgh AM drive host Larry Richert (r) is pictured here with 106-year-old Lucy Treccase at her home at the Concordia Lutheran Ministries in Cabot, Pennsylvania. During a previous visit to the facility, KDKA-TV meteorologist Dennis Bowman had discovered that Ms. Treccase had actually heard KDKA’s first broadcast of the 1920 Harding-Cox election returns on November 2 of that year. Both Richert and Bowman interviewed Ms. Treccase for their respective stations. Richert is seen here presenting her with a plaque commemorating the historic broadcast.
Big Promotion for John Hogan; Exec Moves Up to Chairman and CEO for Clear Channel Media and Entertainment. Clear Channel Media Holdings continues to express its confidence in the man who was promoted from COO to president and CEO of Clear Channel Radio in 2002 after the departure of Randy Michaels. In announcing John Hogan’s promotion and contract extension through 2015, the company touts Hogan’s record of developing the creative and successful integration of sales, promotional and programming initiatives across multiple platforms. Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman states, “Under John’s strong leadership and vision, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment has integrated the company’s assets so that it is today the leading media and entertainment company in the U.S. with a greater reach than any other radio or television outlet. It provides a one-of-a-kind national platform for partners in addition to the powerful local activation market by market and demo by demo.” Hogan says, “I am pleased and honored to be named to this position, which is a clear endorsement of the soundness of our strategy, the value of our assets, and the depth of the incredible team we are building here. I appreciate the energy and vision that Bob Pittman has brought to the organization and look forward to pursuing with Bob the vision we share as we continue to push the boundaries of the definition of entertainment, giving our audience what they want now and in the future.”
Bill Thomas Out as Market Manager at Cumulus Birmingham. Cumulus Media Group regional manager John Walker is set to oversee the Birmingham cluster in addition to his responsibility for the Huntsville stations after the departure of Bill Thomas. There’s no reason to believe that the ongoing legal battle between WJOX-FM, Birmingham personality Paul Finebaum and the company is the sole reason for Thomas’ exit but the possibility exists that Thomas’ role in how the situation was handled could have been a factor. Remember that Finebaum claims he was strong-armed by Thomas into signing a contract amendment that was less beneficial to him. That set the legal wheels in motion that includes Cumulus’ recent decision to countersue Finebaum claiming he violated his contract by engaging in negotiations with a competitor and sharing confidential company information.
Journal Broadcast Group Reports Positive Q4; Slight Uptick for 2011. On the strength of increasing automotive in the fourth quarter of 2011, Journal Broadcast Group reports a revenue increase of 2.3%. For the entire year, Journal’s revenue rose 1.6% on $70.4 million compared to 2010. While those numbers aren’t staggering, they beat the negative reports that had become so common over the past few years. Interestingly, unlike many other radio groups, Journal notes the fourth quarter of 2011 was its best quarter.
Phil Hendrie Ends Local KFI, Los Angles Saturday Show; Busy TV Schedule Cited. Los Angeles-based radio and television talent Phil Hendrie tweets to fans he is ending his KFI, Los Angeles-only Saturday evening show after this weekend’s performance due to the increasing amount of TV work he’s getting combined with his nightly radio show syndicated by Talk Radio Network. Radio trade AllAccess.com reports it has confirmed the news. Hendrie is doing voice work on Fox Television’s “Napoleon Dynamite” and has upcoming work on Fox’s “New Girl.” Hendrie thanks KFI program director Robin Bertolucci and the KFI staff for their help with the weekend show.
CBS Radio’s WQYK, Tampa Changes Midday Show. “The King David Show” featuring Toby David and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Shaun King is off the air at CBS Radio’s 1010 Sports (WQYK), according to the Tampa Bay Times’ Tom Jones. Jones reports that WQYK assistant program director Mike Pepper says the station is airing Yahoo! Sports’ Tim Brando in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot for now but would like to fill that hole with a local show. The station needs time to find the right show. He didn’t rule out either David or King being part of the station in the future. Toby David tells the paper, “I appreciated the time I worked with Shaun and have a great amount of respect for him. I also enjoyed working at CBS Radio and have nothing but the utmost respect for those people and I hope to land on my feet locally.”
CCME Announces National Imaging Team. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment organizes the imaging of its radio formats under the Kelly Doherty-led National Programming Platforms group. The function of this reorganization is to create 15 format-specific imaging coordinator positions and those experts will “produce and distribute compelling and diverse on-air promotional audio spots for Clear Channel’s National Programming initiatives, including format-specific creative efforts across iHeartRadio, Artist Integration Programs and large-scale contests and events including the iHeartRadio Music Festival.” Doherty states, “This team includes the top producers in each format. The talent, expertise and ingenuity that this new Imaging Team brings together is unmatched and I am excited to lead such a top-notch group.” Scott Stanley is named news/talk imaging coordinator and Bob Schmidt is the sports imaging coordinator.
Thaddeus Matthews Off the Air at WPLX, Memphis After Court Ruling. The case involving Memphis talk host Thaddeus Matthews and WPLX, Memphis owner William Pollack took another turn recently after Chancellor Arnold Goldin of the Shelby County Court denied an injunction Matthews had sought to continue broadcasting his program on WPLX. Matthews made national news with a YouTube broadcast video of his on-air encounter with Republican congressional candidate Charlotte Bergmann which ended with Matthews refusing to shake Bergmann’s hand because he didn’t want her “whiteness” to rub off on him. According to The Commercial Appeal, last week’s court ruling revolved around a dispute over money owed by Matthews to Pollack. Matthews leases the time from Pollack and the latter claims he’s owed in excess of $85,000 in fees. Matthews disputes that figure and vows to continue his legal battle while broadcasting his program on the internet.
Rob Otto Joins WCAR, Livonia, Michigan in Sports Director Role. Detroit sports media pro Rob Otto joins Birach Broadcasting’s WCAR, Livonia (west of Detroit) as sports director for the reformatted station positioned as ESPN 1090, according to Michiguide.com. The site reports Otto “will also be tasked with providing local, on-air sports updates for WCAR and helping the station establish local programming and marketing. He’ll also be moving his sports-related blog from MLive.com to ESPN 1090’s website at espn1090.com.” Otto has worked in the Detroit market at WXYT-FM, WWJ, WDFN and WHMI-FM.
Opinion: Talk Host Phil Valentine Says Prohibition of Ethnic References Reeks of Controlling the Language. Nashville-based Dial Global syndicated talk host Phil Valentine responds to TALKERS sports editor Richard Neer’s column (When it Comes to Ethnic Slurs, Just Don’t Go There, 2/23/12) that in this age of political correctness, what is said or written in the media – the ESPN/Jeremy Lin case is a great example – doesn’t have to actually be offensive, it just has to sound that way. Read Phil’s column here.
GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Campaign Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 20 – 24. The GOP primary race and the 2012 presidential campaign tied atop the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week. The primary and the issues surrounding the campaign that leads up to the November 5 general election were #1 for the fourth consecutive week. Landing at #2 was Iran’s nuclear ambitions. At #3 was rising gas prices at U.S. pumps and at #4 was the protest in Afghanistan over the desecration of Korans at a U.S. base. The Talkers TenTM chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio is published each week at Talkers.com and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. See the entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliation Roundup. Dial Global’s “Overnight America with Jon Grayson” picks up KFWB, Los Angeles for the 10:00 pm to 3:00 am slot…..Cumulus Media Networks’ “Red Eye Radio” is added for the overnight slot at WPRO, Providence…..“Motley Fool Money” with host Chris Hill adds KPQ, Wenatchee, Washington and KPSF, Palm Springs – Money Radio 1200.
Clear Channel Media Holdings Reports 2011 Revenue Up 5%. The entire company’s full-year revenue was $6.16 billion. For the former radio division – now known as Clear Channel Media and Entertainment – revenue for the year 2011 grew 2%. That number would have been a negative one had it not been for the acquisition of Westwood One’s Metro Traffic. During yesterday’s conference call, CFO Tom Casey indicated the company is very bullish on its iHeartRadio app. He noted it had 48 million downloads last year and stated the Pandora-like custom music feature will remain commercial free for the foreseeable future.
KTRH, Houston Talk Host Michael Berry Addresses Traffic Incident/Gay Bar Issue. Former Houston city councilman and KTRH, Houston talk host Michael Berry spent the better part of an hour on the morning leg of his talk program yesterday (2/21) addressing his alleged hit-and-run of a parked car outside a bar in Houston on January 31 – sort of. Berry did not address the actual hit-and-run issue in detail stating he couldn’t talk about that – Berry has not been charged with any crime. But he did say he was in the bar, drank a beer and used the restroom. He went on to excoriate KPRC-TV for making his patronage of a bar where some of the patrons “happen to be gay” an issue. He spoke at length against anti-gay sentiment in the conservative and religious communities and took his critics to task for rushing to judgment without the facts. Still, the Houston police are investigating to see if the officers looking into the hit-and-run complaint did a thorough job before concluding there was no reason to charge Berry.
Wisconsin Talk Host Pat Snyder to Run for State Office. WSAU, Wausau, Wisconsin talk show host Pat Snyder announces he will run for state assembly in the fall on the Republican ticket. Already one of his potential opponents is challenging Snyder’s decision to announce his intention to run and remain on the radio. Democrat Jeff Johnson tells WSAU he believes station owner Mid-West Communications is making a mistake, “I think they are opening themselves up to some liability. The case could be made very easily that they are providing an in-kind donation every time they let him on the air.” The station reports equal time rules do not allow a political candidate to work as a radio announcer within 60 days of a general election and within 45 days of a primary election. Radio station managers have said Snyder will leave the show at the end of July if he does have a primary opponent or at the end of August if he does not.
WOWO, Fort Wayne Strikes News and Weather Deal with Indiana’s News Center. Federated Media news/talk outlet WOWO, Fort Wayne announces it has entered into a partnership with Indiana’s News Center to have the operation’s meteorologists Chris Daniels, Curtis Smith and Jason Meyers do weather reports on WOWO and go live on the station with reports during severe weather situations. WOWO provides live traffic reports for INC as well as a simulcast each morning between WOWO personality Charly Butcher and INC anchors Ryan Elijah and Mary Collins. WOWO and INC will also share web stories and news reporters. WOWO operations manager Gregg Henson states, “All of our talent are now multi-platform digital journalists so it only makes sense that the WOWO and INC newsrooms would work together to generate and gather the most relevant content for our customers across all platforms. Viewers and listeners in Fort Wayne can now receive all of our content wherever they want it – radio, TV, mobile and online.”
Compass Media Marketing Client POP Radio Adds Stores. This isn’t a talk radio story but an interesting note about marketing at the point-of-purchase. Radio marketing and syndication pro Peter Kosann’s new venture, Compass Media Marketing, is handling ad sales for client POP Radio – a service that provides in-store audio and advertising for stores. POP Radio recently added the Roundy’s food store chain to up its reach to 18,465 stores. In an age when digital marketing gets so many of the headlines in business and trade publications, it’s interesting to note how popular and effective audio advertising still is for certain types of products – in this case packaged goods. Often the same product will be marketed in the home via TV or radio, in the car on terrestrial radio and again through the use of audio at the point of purchase. POP Radio notes its audience estimates are based on data conducted by Edison Research. An annual update to this data is planned for later this year. Until then, advertisers currently utilizing POP Radio will enjoy a significant bonus in their audience delivery due to the addition of the Roundy’s stores.
Red Wolf Broadcasting to Sign on New FM News/Talk Station in Connecticut. The New London Day is reporting Red Wolf Broadcasting is preparing to sign on a new FM news/talk station next week to serve the markets of New London, Connecticut and the eastern end of Long Island, New York. WJJF-FM at 94.9 is licensed to Montauk, New York. The station is bringing WXLM, Groton, Connecticut talk host Lee Elci aboard to host the AM drive show and will air programming from Talk Radio Network including Laura Ingraham and Michael Savage as well as Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher. Station owner John Fuller tells the paper they intend to deliver local content to the region. The station will be positioned as “94.9 News Now and Stimulating Talk.” In addition to hiring Elci, the station is hiring a local news staff. “We’re going to be out at town hall meetings and out at news conferences.”
The Life of WBZ, Boston Legend Dave Maynard to Be Celebrated Feb. 29. Boston radio personality Dave Maynard passed away on February 9 in Citrus Hills, Florida after a long battle with Parkinson ’s disease. His life is being celebrated Wednesday, February 29 at 11:00 am at Saint Cecilia’s Parish, 18 Belvidere Street in Boston’s Back Bay and his family is inviting the public to attend. Maynard was a long time WBZ radio and TV personality and member of the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Election, Corporate Tax Reform Plan, Iran Tensions, Rising Gas Prices, and Koran Desecration-Afghan Protests Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/21). The issues surrounding the GOP primary race and the 2012 presidential election; the clash between President Obama and congress over corporate tax reform proposals; Iran’s nuclear ambitions and its oil strategies; rising gas prices in the U.S.; and the reported Koran desecration at a U.S. military base in Afghanistan and the resulting protests were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Joe Madison and the First Lady Talk Fitness. SiriusXM talk host Joe Madison recently interviewed First Lady Michelle Obama about the second anniversary of her “Let’s Move” fitness campaign at the “Faith and Community Groups Leading the Way” event in Longwood, Florida on February 11. Mrs. Obama’s campaign to eliminate childhood obesity was the subject and the two spoke at length about the importance of physical activity. Pictured here are (from l-r): First Lady Michelle Obama, Sherry Madison and Joe Madison.