Tag: "Rich Zeoli"
Beasley to Acquire Greater Media’s 21 Stations in Seven Markets for $240 Million. The two communications firms surprised the industry last night with an end-of-the-workday announcement that Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. will acquire Greater Media, Inc. The deal is being structured so that Beasley will acquire all of the outstanding stock of Greater Media for an “aggregate consideration of approximately $240 million, subject to adjustments.” Greater Media shareholders are expected to receive approximately $100 million in cash and approximately $25 million in shares of the company’s Class A common stock (at a fixed value of $4.61 per share). In addition, the shareholders of Greater Media will receive the net cash proceeds from the sale of its tower assets, estimated to be approximately $20 million. Beasley will refinance approximately $80 million of debt of Greater Media. The deal will add Greater Media’s 21 radio stations to Beasley’s portfolio and gives Beasley entrance into the major market of Detroit with rock WRIF, classic rock WCSX, and classic hip hop and R&B WMGC. It seriously beefs up its Boston presence by adding five stations to current property ethnic WRCA-AM. Those stations are: classic hits WROR, country WKLB, rhythmic AC WBQT, adult contemporary WMJX, and alternative WBOS. It bolsters Beasley’s Philly and Charlotte holdings with the addition of sports talk WPEN, classic rock WMGK, rock WMMR, and adult hits WBEN in the former and news/talk WBT-AM/FM and hot AC WLNK in the latter. Beasley will be over the station ownership limit in Charlotte and will have to divest a couple of FM signals. Six New Jersey stations are also part of the package. Beasley says it intends to fund the acquisition through borrowings under a new credit facility that it expects to enter into in connection with the closing of the acquisition, together with cash and cash equivalents available to the company and the issuance of Class A common stock as described above. RBC Capital Markets and U.S. Bank have provided committed financing in support of the acquisition. Upon closing, Beasley’s portfolio of stations that it owns and operates will expand to 73 stations (52 FM and 21 AM) in 16 markets. BBG interim CEO and CFO Caroline Beasley says, “The acquisition of Greater Media’s broadcasting and related digital assets represents a transformational growth opportunity for Beasley and is strategically and financially compelling for our shareholders. The transaction increases our broadcast portfolio by approximately 40% and more than doubles our audience reach, giving us both market leading stations and great brands.”
WPHT, Philadelphia Personalities Report from RNC. Covering the Republican National Convention this week are WPHT, Philadelphia personalities Chris Stigall (AM drive) and Rich Zeoli (PM drive). Zeoli tells TALKERS magazine that on Tuesday, the CBS Philadelphia booth drew a big crowd as Breitbart’s Milo Yiannopoulos and author and conservative pundit Ann Coulter joined him for the entire 5:00 pm hour, live from media row (pictured at right). This interview happened just before Yiannopoulos was permanently suspended from Twitter for comments he made about Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones. Meanwhile, Chris Stigall has been pulling double duty at the RNC, first hosting his morning show from 6:00 to 9:00, then serving as a correspondent for the company’s KYW-TV “CBS3” live from the convention floor for the station’s evening news (pictured above).
Rumors of Possible FOX News Talent Exodus If Ailes Forced Out. Coming on the heels of widespread media reports of Fox News chief Roger Ailes’ potential ouster from his long-held position, is a report in Breitbart that indicates some of Ailes’ faithful talent at FNC would be willing to follow him out the door, ostensibly to start a new, competing network. Ailes is being accused by former FNC personality Gretchen Carlson of sexual harassment. Other reports indicate Megyn Kelly has also said Ailes harassed her. The Breitbart piece states that the FNC talent referenced includes Bret Baier, Shepard Smith, Sean Hannity, Greta Van Susteren, and, possibly Bill O’Reilly. However, the piece concludes by saying none of the report is certain and that the situation could change quickly. Read it here.
The Presidential Race/Republican National Convention, Baton Rouge Cop Slayings, Black Lives Matter Movement, Turkey Coup Attempt, Twitter Bans Milo Yiannopoulos, FOX News-Ailes Case, Rio Olympics Troubles, and Garry Marshall Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/19). The activities of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump tied with the action at the Republican National Convention; the aftermath of the slaying of three Baton Rouge police officers; criticism of the Black Lives Matter movement; the failed attempt to overthrow Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan; conservative media figure Milo Yiannopoulos is banned from Twitter after attacks on Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones; the controversy surrounding Roger Ailes’ status with FOX News; the problems facing Rio De Janeiro as it prepares to host the Olympics; and the death of television’s Garry Marshall were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. At the Tulsa operations of Cox Media Group, Mary Garcia is promoted to digital sales manager. In this role, Garcia will work directly with the Cox Local Solutions team, a collaborative effort between Tulsa TV, its six radio stations, and its cable platform. She joined the company 16 months ago as a digital sales specialist. In Tulsa, CMG operates news/talk KRMG-AM/FM, country KWEN “K95.5,” adult contemporary KRAV “Mix 96,” classic rock KJSR “The Eagle 103.3,” and contemporary Christian K289CC “Spirit 105.7.”…..Cumulus Media fills the 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm slot on sports talk WJOX-FM, Birmingham with Alabama natives Joe Hunk and Jon Lunceford. Their new show – “JOX Primetime” – replaces the previous 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm show hosted by Matt McClearin and Scot Harrison…..The NHL’s Florida Panthers and CBS RADIO’s sports talk WQAM, Miami have reached a multi-year contract extension to continue to broadcast play-by-play of Panthers games. Doug Plagens and analyst Bill Lindsay return to the broadcast booth…..Futuri Media announces that broadcast news pro Jill Manuel is joining the company as director, TopicPulse partnership development. The company says her “expertise with broadcast newsroom digital integration and successful history blending compelling journalism and engagement will provide a unique and specialized strategic resource for Futuri’s TopicPulse partners.”
Radio and TV Pro Pat O’Brien New Host of ‘Business Rockstars.’ The “Business Rockstars” media franchise has a new feature talent as radio and television pro Pat O’Brien becomes lead anchor. The company says O’Brien will play an “integral role in the newly revamped daily show that targets the 30 million entrepreneurs and ‘wantrepreneurs’ interested in starting and growing a business.” The company also notes that “Business Rockstars” is available on TV in more than 40 million homes and airs in 150 radio markets. Plus it’s streamed on numerous digital and social media platforms. O’Brien will join a team of hosts including five-time Emmy award winning TV news anchor Thuy Vu, best-selling author and entrepreneur Mark Lack, and correspondents Laurel Mintz (CEO of Elevate My Brand), Darren Kavinoky (“Investigation Discovery” host), Rachel McCord (The McCord List), James Sun (BBC TV’s “Sun Tzu’s ART OF WAR”), and Jessica Naziri (tech expert and content strategist). Business Rockstars chairman and co-founder Steve Lehman says, “Pat is a long-time friend and one of the greatest broadcasters on the planet. He brings a fresh new approach to business interviews with some of the world’s biggest CEOs, disruptors, and entrepreneurs. From hosting six Olympics, to anchoring “Access Hollywood” and “The Insider,” Pat brings a unique perspective in his approach and style to “Business Rockstars.”
Cooke: C.T.A. in Santa’s Sleigh. Radio consultant Holland Cooke reports for TALKERS from the Consumer Technology Association’s annual preview of the enormous Consumer Electronics Show scheduled for Las Vegas in January. (Yes, the Consumer Electronics Association has changed its name to the Consumer Technology Association.) As Cooke notes, the data from the CTA is instructive for radio people. According to CTA research, the top five items being sought by consumers this year are (in order of desire): TVs, tablets, smartphones, notebook/laptop computers, and videogame consoles. Read Cooke’s entire report here.
WPHT, Philadelphia Adds Award-Winning Journalist Dawn Stensland to Rich Zeoli’s PM Drive Show. Respected television journalist Dawn Stensland is joining CBS RADIO’s WPHT, Philadelphia, as part of the afternoon drive show with Rich Zeoli. According to the company, she’ll join him to provide news, traffic and weather updates as well as her views on the day’s trending stories. Stensland joined CBS’ KYW-TV in 1997 and anchored afternoon and evening newscasts. She hosted the “CBS News Saturday” morning network broadcast in New York and in 2001, she began an eight-year run as the anchor of WTXF-TV’s “Fox Philadelphia’s 10 O’Clock News Hour.” She has numerous “Best of Philly” honors from Philadelphia Magazine under her belt. Station OM Andy Bloom comments, “Dawn is a well-known voice and face to the Philadelphia public. She has two decades of success in Philadelphia, New York and other major markets that will be an asset to ‘Talk Radio 1210 WPHT.’ In getting to know Dawn, I’ve been struck by her charismatic presence and infectious laugh. I think the audience will truly enjoy what she brings to the ‘Rich Zeoli Afternoon Show.’”
Colin Cowherd Performing for FOX Sports. The arrival of sports media personality Colin Cowherd at FOX Sports produced satisfying numbers in its first month for the company. According to FOX Sports and radio syndicator Premiere Networks, “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” had a “total reach” of 19.5 million people between September 8 and October 9. Here’s how FOX and Premiere break it down: video clips of the show drew 11.7 million video views via Facebook, YouTube, FOXSports.com, FOXSportsRadio.com, the live-streaming FOX Sports Go app and Twitter video player; on television, a combined 5.8 million viewers watched at least one minute of the program on FS1 and FS2 (based on Nielsen data); and program podcasts ranked #2 in the Sports & Recreation podcast category on iTunes, netting 1.2 million downloads. On the radio, Los Angeles affiliate KLAC “experienced a 106% gain” in its time slot with Men 25-54 over the previous year.
Odds & Sods. Chicago radio legend Milt Rosenberg’s program at Kovas Communications-owned suburban talk station WCGO, Evanston will end soon with the company citing financial reasons for canceling the two-hour afternoon drive program. Rosenberg’s “Extension 720” program aired for years on Tribune’s WGN, Chicago…..iHeartMedia Denver extends its deal to broadcast University of Colorado sports for another four years. The deal extends Buffalos play-by-play on KOA “NewsRadio 850 AM & 94.1 FM” with select games airing on sister station talk KKZN “Real Talk 760.”…..PodcastOne reports that the first episode of “Heather Dubrow’s World” – the new podcast from the “OC Housewives” star – debuted at #3 on the iTunes chart. PodcastOne says that Dubrow trended on Twitter when the episode was released resulting in hundreds of thousands of downloads.
Chris Krok in ‘The Office.’ WBAP, Dallas evening personality Chris Krok (right) is pictured in this selfie with actor John Krasinski (left) at this year’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Krasinski was the race’s Grand Marshal. Krok is celebrating his third year partnering with the track. This year’s “Krok and His Flock” offered listeners a chance to get a tour of the Sprint Cup Series Garage, a concert with Sammy Hagar and the opportunity to hold the American Flag during the National Anthem, all before watching the race.
2016 Presidential Race/Debate Aftermath, Immigration Policy, Hillary Clinton Wig Flap, Climate Change Controversy, University of Missouri Racial Tensions, Veterans Day, Russian Airliner Crash Investigation, and Early Snow Hits Midwest Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/11). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and discussion about Tuesday night’s GOP primary debate in Milwaukee; talk about the United States’ immigration policy; speculation about whether Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton is wearing wigs; the threat of climate change and the international climate talks scheduled for December in Paris; the racial tensions at the University of Missouri; the observance of Veterans Day; the ongoing investigation into the downing of a Russian airliner in the Sinai desert; and early snow hitting the Upper Midwest were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
TALKERS Magazine Presents 2014 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk. Today (10/31), the editors of TALKERS magazine present the third annual Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America. This list ranks sports talk hosts, duos or ensembles from 1 to 100, based upon a set of criteria that includes a combination of hard and soft factors. The genre of sports talk radio has evolved greatly and grown exponentially over the past 10 years to go from being a fringe format to an important sub-genre of spoken-word radio programming. With this in mind, the editors of TALKERS debuted the Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk in 2012 to acknowledge the hard-working air personalities on sports talk radio. The results of this list are, admittedly, subjective. Being true to the realities of the media business, ratings and revenue are two of the major factors – some would say they are the only factors worth considering – but the editors also took into account other qualities that help create a list that is reflective of the industry’s diversity and total flavor and still give credit where credit is due. Those qualities include: courage, effort, impact, recognition, service, talent and uniqueness. The other concrete qualification for inclusion is hosts must be working – that is, have a regularly scheduled professional show on the air at a minimum of one terrestrial or satellite radio station – at the time of publication. Now you know the criteria, so who’s #1 this year? Number two, and three? Click here to find out.
Round Four of October PPM Data Released. The fourth of four rounds of October 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The survey period was September 11 through October 8. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Two More Salem News/Talkers Take ‘The Answer’ Brand. Joining the 11 Salem Communications-owned news/talk station to begin using “The Answer” as their brand are WRC, Washington and KLUP, San Antonio. Beginning November 4, they become “AM 1260 The Answer” and “AM 930 The Truth,” respectively. Salem VP director of spoken word format Phil Boyce comments, “Since this is decision day in America, we felt the perfect time to make the brand name switch was on Election Day, and both markets were ready to go.” Boyce says the brand has resonated with listeners in the markets where the company is using it.
Schechtman Launches Local Digital Effort NapaBroadcasting.com. Napa Valley broadcasting pro Jeff Schechtman – for the past 10 years the GM of radio stations KVON and KVYN in the region – is launching an online radio station targeting the Napa Valley community. Schechtman is partnering with Napa Valley College and the operation’s offices and studios are located on the school’s campus. In a press release, Schechtman notes that since leaving KVON and KVYN, former local talk station KVON flipped to sports using Fox Sports Radio and he says both stations have outsourced their news. “There is currently no original audio reporting and no chance for the community to hear the voices of local leaders, opinion makers or other citizens.” He says his venture hopes to provide that local content. “Suddenly it became clear to me and others in the community that there was a huge need for local programming that wasn’t being served. Napa also provides a unique economic opportunity, because in addition to local news and talk, we can expand the effort to incorporate wine, food and health programing, which has both local and worldwide appeal. We can use the internet for both local, regional and worldwide purposes.” The partnership with Napa Valley College provides both programming and creative personnel. Music programing will also start in January. Schechtman believes that being on a college campus helps provide the energy and creativity that represents what this effort is about. “This is radio for the way we live now,” he explains.
Odds & Sods. With the move of evening host Rich Zeoli from the evening shift to afternoon drive at CBS RADIO’s WPHT, Philadelphia, current afternoon drive co-host Gary R’nel slides back into the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm time slot. R’nel has been working with Dick Morris who exits the station on November 5…..New general managers are named by Salem Communications for its San Diego and Sacramento station groups. Dale Hendry relocates to San Diego to lead the team there. He moves south from the company’s Sacramento cluster where he’s been serving as GM. Taking over Hendry’s role in Sacramento is Mark Durkin who is promoted from his director of sales position. And Scott Hamilton becomes general sales manager in Sacramento.
Big Bax & O’Brien Bash in Springfield. The long-running, highly-successful morning talk team of Bax & O’Brien (Mike “Bax” Baxendale and John O’Brien) of Saga Communications’ classic rocker, WAQY (Rock 102), Springfield, Massachusetts presented their second annual “Thursday Night Live” show last night (10/30). The bawdy, irreverent comedy spectacular played before a sold-out house of more than 200 core fans at downtown Springfield’s prestigious City Stage theater who paid $27 each for the honor of being entertained by a slew of guests and performers that included salty crooner Red Peters & the Alan Pinchloaf Singers, show producer/newsman/sidekick Steve Nagel, a “mystery guest,” comedic appearances by several high-profile local sponsors as well as hilarious video drop ins from Lionel of LionelMedia.com and show regular, Fitsy. Pictured above (l-r): Bax & O’Brien on stage. Pictured at right (l-r): Saga Communications EVP Steve Goldstein and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison with a photo bomb appearance of associate publisher Matthew B. Harrison taken at a selfie machine set up in the theater lobby.
Journal Reports Radio Revenue Up 5.1% in Q3. Bucking the industry-wide third quarter trend, Journal Communications is reporting a downright outstanding quarter for its radio and television division. On the radio side, operating earnings were up 16.1% and the net revenue figure of $21.6 million saw a percentage hike of 5.1%. Television net revenue was up 22.8% but publishing fell 5.4%. The irony here is that Journal is entering into a complex deal with E.W. Scripps that would put the combined TV and radio properties into one company and the publishing platform into another called Journal Media Group. Journal Communications CEO Steve Smith states, “Journal benefitted from continued growth in television retransmission revenue along with significant political and issue advertising spending in a number of our markets. Our focused broadcast sales efforts grew both television and radio revenue, excluding retransmission and political, by approximately 3% and drove television and radio digital revenue up 22% and 31%, respectively.” Journal has fared better than other radio station owners in the political advertising arena by luck of the draw – it owns stations in states and markets with tight and high-profile races and ballot issues.
Another Stop on the ‘WMAL Diner Tour.’ This photo is from the latest stop on the October “WMAL Diner Tour” in which the station broadcasts (each Friday this month) live from a different diner in Maryland or Virginia. It’s all part of the station’s content leading up to Tuesday’s elections. Seen here are (from left to right): guest Ed Henry, Fox News White House correspondent; WMAL “Mornings On The Mall” hosts Larry O’Connor and Brian Wilson.
Mid-Term Elections Take Over Top Spot on Talkers TenTM. After three weeks of the Ebola pandemic threat as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio, the run-up to Tuesday’s mid-term elections was the prevailing topic this week. At #2 was the domestic Ebola cases and the threat of a global pandemic. Coming in at #3 was the battle against ISIS in Iraq and Western citizens joining the radical organization, followed by the 2016 presidential prospects at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Los Angeles Sports Media Legends. The opening of the Los Angeles Clippers 2014-15 season was the reason for the remote broadcast from “Fan Fest” outside the Staples Center in Los Angeles for the team’s flagship KFWB “The Beast 980.” Pictured here are (from left to right): Ralph Lawler, who appears on the station at 7:30 each morning; midday personality Fred Roggin; and late morning syndicated talk host Jim Rome. Additionally, the station’s other weekday personalities Marques Johnson, Jeanne Zelasko, Brett Winterble and George Wrighster appeared at the broadcast.
WOR, New York’s John R. Gambling Announces Retirement. New York City radio legend John Gambling – who followed in the footsteps of both his father and grandfather in entertaining Big Apple radio listeners – told his audience this morning (11/11) that he will retire at the end of the year. Gambling has worked in radio for the past 40 years, 35 of that in New York City. He told listeners his last show will be December 20. John R. Gambling is the grandson of John B. Gambling who was the morning host on WOR, New York from 1925 to 1959 when his son, John A. Gambling assumed the morning host role at the station. John R. co-hosted the “Rambling with Gambling” show with his father John A. on WOR from 1985 to 1991. Gambling states, “I have done and accomplished so much. My radio career has given me the privilege to entertain and inform millions of New Yorkers. Each day, to watch the greatest city on earth from behind the microphone has been a thrill and I’ve been blessed with an audience that has been loyal and engaging. To say it has been exciting doesn’t come close to the joy I have had.” Clear Channel is beginning a search for a replacement morning show.
WPHT, Philadelphia Airs Veterans Day Broadcasts. CBS Radio news/talker WPHT, Philadelphia is airing a day of remote broadcasts in honor of Veterans Day. Today, Rich Zeoli broadcast from the Delaware County Veterans Memorial from 6:00 am to 9:00 am. Midday host Dom Giordano is doing his show live from the 54th Media, Pennsylvania “Annual Veterans Day Parade.” During afternoon drive, “Talk Radio 1210” personalities Dick Morris, Gary R’nel and Rich Zeoli are broadcasting live from The Green Parrot Restaurant in Newtown.
Veterans Day Offers Radio Broadcasters the Opportunity to be Heroes. RadioInfo (TALKERS magazine’s sister publication on the music side) music editor/director Duane Doobie says that although most of the radio industry is open for business as usual today (including the trades), “In the communications business – particularly radio — you can probably do more to honor the true meaning of a holiday as significant as Veterans Day by going to work and raising consciousness about the meaning of the holiday. It sure beats taking a day off and paying tribute to the purpose of the observation by having a backyard barbeque or going to the beach or a sporting event and drinking a lot of beer, watching endless hours of a Twilight Zone marathon… or buying a car, or worse, planning to camp out on the sidewalk in front of a box store fully prepared to stampede your neighbors in order to save money on a new flat screen television or smart phone with the latest bells and whistles.” In a special commentary posted today (11/11) Doobie continues, “Our publisher Michael Harrison has been speaking at major industry events calling upon radio broadcasters to ‘never miss any opportunity to be a hero.’ He says it is a principle of radio broadcasting that strikes a chord into the very heart of what we are all about – a practice that is good for BOTH business and the soul. Thus, I ask you to look around and ask yourself, is your radio station – are you on your show – doing something special today to be a hero? Are you doing anything special today to be a hero by honoring the true heroes in every single market in America… our veterans?” To read Duane Doobie’s entire column, please click here.
ESPN Audio Reorganization Puts Jim Pastor in Charge of ESPN Local. ESPN confirms the changes in the structure of its O&O radio stations and their websites. Former WMVP, Chicago “ESPN 1000” general manager Jim Pastor is named SVP of ESPN Local. This puts him in charge of the company’s three O&O stations (WMVP, Chicago; WEPN-FM, New York and KSPN, Los Angeles) as well as their websites and ESPNDallas.com. Current WMVP VP/GM John Cravens will take the new title vice president of local revenue and KSPN VP/GM Scott McCarthy will become vice president of local content and will report to Pastor. The move separates the national and local sectors with SVP Mo Davenport overseeing ESPN Network Audio. ESPN senior vice president, production business divisions Traug Keller says, “We have identified two key areas – network and local business – to align leaders with division priorities to provide better services and products for our fans. The successful partnership of our ESPN local websites and owned radio stations has helped our local business thrive. Organizing by function will allow us to leverage individual and team strengths across the entire business.”
KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh’s ‘High School Tour’ Brings Teen Issues to the Fore. CBS Radio news/talk station KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh continues its “High School Tour” on Thursday, November 14 as midday talk host Mike Pintek broadcasts live from Woodland Hills High School in Churchill, Pennsylvania. The station states that the “’The High School Tour’ is a chance for KDKA to talk with students in different areas of our region about current events and the issues that affect them. Some of the topics Pintek has focused on are social media concerns, bullying, texting while driving as well as events in the current news cycle. The schools select students that participate in the broadcast.” During the broadcasts, Pintek elicits the perspective of the school’s superintendent, principal or other faculty.
Two More Stops Added to Stephanie Miller’s ‘Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour.’ WYD Media Management nationally syndicated talk show host Stephanie Miller (center) is taking her “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” out on the road again in 2014 and has added two more cities to the itinerary. Miller – along with fellow comedians and radio show contributors Hal Sparks (right) and John Fugelsang (left) – will be visiting the Barrymore Theatre in Madison, Wisconsin on March 29 as well as the Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix on February 14. The tour begins in Seattle on December 14 of this year at the Paramount Theatre.
WXOS, St. Louis Adds Thompson and Wheeler to Air Staff. Hubbard Radio’s sports talk WXOS “101ESPN” brings former MLB player Brad Thompson and sports talk pro Kevin Wheeler aboard the air staff. Wheeler begins hosting an eponymous show on November 25 to air in a yet-to-be-announced daypart. Thompson will join the afternoon drive “Fastlane” show alongside D’Marco Farr and Randy Karraker beginning in January. Thompson has been serving as a fill-in host for the station on its daily programs and most notably subbed for former St. Louis Cardinals star Chris Duncan during his recent recovery from brain surgery. Wheeler is coming to WXOS from his most recent position at crosstown news/talk KMOX where he hosted the “Sports Open Line” show as well as a pre- and post-game shows for both the St. Louis Cardinals and the St. Louis Blues. Program director Chris “Hoss” Neupert says, “Both Brad Thompson and Kevin Wheeler bring unique perspectives and experience to the ‘101ESPN’ team, and I am looking forward to getting them both on the air to enlighten and entertain our listeners.”
Broadcast Engineer Legend George J. Capalbo Passes at 86. Pioneering broadcast engineer George J. Capalbo passed away on Friday, November 8. He is remembered for his contributions to the radio broadcasting industry. Capalbo’s many accomplishments include serving as chief engineer for WRKO, Boston when the station launched as top 40 outlet “Big 68” in 1967. He also built the FM station WAAF, Worcester, now owned by Entercom, that serves both the Boston and Worcester metros. Capalbo is credited by WRKO’s then-general manager Mel Phillips with putting together a state-of-the-art broadcast facility for television and radio “from scratch” at 7 Bulfinch Place in Boston, and with developing WRKO’s radio automation system. Capalbo served as president of engineering for the RKO Radio division and supervised seven AM stations and seven FM stations in markets including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. He is also credited with building the RKO Satellite Network, the first radio satellite delivery network. For the RKO Satellite Network, Capalbo designed the distribution network in New York City as well as the news bureau in Washington, DC. Capalbo enlisted in the Armed forces in 1944 at the age of 17 right out of high school and served for two years until the end of World War II. He left the service with a rank of Radioman Second Class.
WSRQ, Sarasota Partners with Gannett’s WTSP-TV for Content. Florida Talk Radio-owned news/talk WSRQ, Sarasota (also heard on translator W295BH, Sarasota) enters into a deal with Gannett’s WTSP-TV “10 News” to locate two staffers from the television station in the former’s Sarasota studios. Sarasota reporter Isabel Mascareñas, along with “10 News” photojournalist Tim Burquest will be based in the newsroom, allowing “10 News” to quickly cover breaking news and events in the Sarasota area. Additionally, WTSP will provide video, weather radar and custom Sarasota weather forecasts for WSRQ. WSRQ general manager Susan Nilon states, “Our goal is to focus specifically on Sarasota issues. This partnership with ‘10 News’ allows for even better coverage of the wonderful place we call home.”
Embattled Toronto Mayor’s Radio Show Ends. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s weekly radio program that aired on Bell Media’s CFRB, Toronto “Newstalk 1010” has been eliminated from the station’s program schedule by a mutual decision, according to station management. Rob Ford and his brother, Toronto city councilor Doug Ford, hosted “The City with Mayor Rob Ford” that aired Sunday afternoons from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Rob Ford has been at the center of a drug use scandal that has been a major news story not only in Toronto and Canada but across the United States as well.
FCC Tightens Divestiture Trust Policy with Townsquare’s Cedar Rapids Application. The long period of time during which radio stations have sat in divestiture trusts while still putting money into the pockets of the “previous” owners has been a sore spot for some broadcasters, but that is changing as the FCC signals it’s not going to approve long-termed trusts. The commission is approving the transfer of two of Townsquare Media’s Cedar Rapids stations – KKHQ-FM, Oelwein and KOEL-FM, Cedar Falls – to the Cedar Rapids Divestiture Trust on the condition that the term of the trust is two years and the trustee file reports every six months describing the efforts to sell them. In discussing the matter, the commission notes that the economy, and therefore the climate for buying and selling radio stations, is in much better shape than it was in 2008 when Clear Channel created the Aloha Trust. It notes that five years later, 37 of the 57 stations put in the trust have been sold with the sale of two more pending. The commission concludes that “a reasonable limitation on the duration of a divestiture trust will best serve the public interest by requiring the parties to a trust agreement to meet a deadline to place the stations with a new operator to ensure long-term compliance with the requirements of the Local Radio Ownership Rule.”
Glenn Beck Visits Asheville. Premiere Networks nationally syndicated star Glenn Beck is pictured here with WWNC, Asheville, North Carolina afternoon drive talk show host Pete Kaliner at the WWNC studios. Beck did his radio program from the station on November 8 while in town for the celebration of Reverend Billy Graham’s 95th birthday. The event was attended by some 900 well-wishers including Donald Trump and Sarah Palin.
‘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.
WLS, Chicago Celebrates 89th Anniversary with Special Event. Afternoon drive co-host Roe Conn will emcee a star-studded array of the biggest names in Chicago radio – past and present – who will be taking part in a special broadcast this evening from historic Navy Pier to celebrate 89 years of WLS Radio entertaining Chicago. Joining Conn at the event will be some of the biggest names from WLS’ past — Dick Biondi, Catherine Johns and Wayne Messmer – plus special birthday greetings from Larry Lujack, Jeff Hendrix, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Rep. Peter Roskam and Notre Dame Football Coach Brian Kelly. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn will be on hand to present WLS with a special proclamation. “The Big 89” launched the careers of many celebrities, including Gene Autry, Larry Lujack and Bob Sirott. Other local personalities like Dick Biondi and John Records Landecker are still heard on Cumulus Media’s sister classic hits WLS-FM. Landecker states, “When I got into radio I never expected one set of call letters to mean so much to me, and to so many listeners. WLS, ‘The Big 89,’ truly is the 50,000 watt blow torch of the Midwest.” The station debuted on the evening of April 12, 1924 from the Sherman House Hotel in Chicago. The WLS call letters were taken from the nickname – World’s Largest Store – for Sears-Roebuck’s West Side Headquarters on Homan Avenue. Cumulus COO John Dickey says, “What started as the world’s largest store has become one of the world’s legendary stations. Happy birthday 89. You don’t sound a day over 40!”
Appeals Court Sinks Stern’s SiriusXM Suit. A New York state appeals court rejected SiriusXM personality Howard Stern’s argument that the satcaster should have paid him bonus money based on the subscriber count of XM Satellite Radio. Stern, through his production company One Twelve, had argued that when he was paid stock awards for performance based upon subscribers to Sirius, the company should also have counted subscribers to XM which merged with Sirius in 2008. Stern lost the $330 million suit in the lower level court and appealed the decision. But the appeals court – in a one-paragraph decision – stated that Stern’s 2004 contract with Sirius was “unambiguous” and denied the appeal.
Sinclair to Keep Fisher’s Seattle Radio Stations. In reporting yesterday’s announcement of the acquisition of Fisher Communications by Sinclair Broadcast Group, we questioned whether Sinclair – which got out of the radio business almost 14 years ago – would want to keep the three Seattle stations or offload them once the deal is consummated. But during a conference call with analysts, Sinclair chief financial officer, executive vice president, secretary of SCI and secretary of Sinclair Television Group Inc. David B. Amy addressed the radio stations, “Our understanding is that they work very closely with the Seattle television stations, and are complementary to, and benefit the Seattle television stations. So we’ve been in radio in the past, and we’re familiar with what works and what doesn’t work within a television market in that regard. So it will take us some time to, I guess, verify those comments that are being made to us. But at this point, no, we haven’t made any decision to do anything but to continue the way they are.” Fisher owns hot AC KPLZ “Star 101.5,” all-news KOMO-AM and news/talk KVI. Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript of the call. You can read it in its entirety here.
David Field to Speak to Entercom Boston Staffers Today. Bruce Allen’s Boston Sports Media Watch is reporting that Entercom CEO David Field is making an appearance at the Boston offices in a “town hall meeting” style in which he’ll attempt to deal with what Allen is calling a “toxic environment” at the cluster. Allen writes that he’ll presumably “attempt to assuage hard feelings and improve morale. The source says the meeting is to tell employees that ‘everything is fine, and to enjoy the brand.’” This comes on the heels of Boston Red Sox Network air personality Jon Rish’s decision to exit the network as the baseball season is just beginning rather than take what was reported to be a 30% pay cut. Allen also is reporting that his source says Field will take questions from the staff but that questions had to be submitted in advance.
WPHT, Philadelphia Moves Gary R’nel to Afternoon Co-Host Position; Rich Zeoli to Evenings. At CBS Radio news/talk WPHT, Philadelphia, current afternoon drive co-host Rich Zeoli is moving to the 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot as Gary R’nel moves to the afternoon drive slot as new afternoon host Dick Morris’ partner. In February, WPHT announced that political consultant and former Fox News Channel contributor Morris would join the station for PM drive as part of changes to accommodate the move of longtime WPHT host Michael Smerconish to SiriusXM. Zeoli posted the confirmation of his status on his Facebook page when he wrote, “It’s official, starting April 15th I will be moving to 6:00 to 10:00 on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT. Thanks friends for your support and encouragement the last several weeks.”
50 Talk Show Hosts Heading to DC Next Week for Live Broadcasts Discussing and Opposing the Senate Amnesty Bill – More Invited to Participate from Home. Wednesday, April 17 and Thursday, April 18 are the dates set for this year’s annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” mega-radio row held in the nation’s capital by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). 50 talk show hosts will be originating their programs during those two days from Capitol Hill, interviewing a parade of high-profile guests from politics, government, the media and public policy organizations. Due to the overwhelming interest expressed by far more hosts than can be accommodated on the scene at this live event, FAIR is encouraging interested talk show hosts around the country to participate from their home markets with a “concentrated, collective and loud” nationwide push to alert listeners, who might be so pre-disposed, to oppose amnesty. FAIR communications director Bob Dane has issued the following statement to hosts around the nation: “Please join 50 of your colleagues at ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ by devoting some, or all, of your program on April 17 and 18 to talking about the massive immigration giveaway moving through Congress. The bill is complex but the call-to-action is simple. As we did successfully in 2007, we need you to ask your listeners to call their lawmakers, say ‘no,’ and flood the Capitol switchboard on those two days.” For more information click here. http://www.fairus.org/VoicesAgainstAmnesty
NBC Sports Radio Network Adds Weekend Shows. Rounding out its weekend programming, the NBC Sports and Dial Global sports radio network initiative announces that last Sunday, the network debuted “Kup and Schultz,” featuring Miami’s Adam “Kup” Kuperstein and Huffington Post sports columnist Jordan Schultz. “Kup and Schultz” will air regularly on Sundays from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET. Also, the network assigns a weekend show to weekday overnight host Dan Schwartzman as he debuts “Schwartzman Saturdays,” airing from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET. Kuperstein states, “I’m honored to be in such good company on the NBC Sports Radio team. Our show will be a fast-paced, fun, fresh look at sports. I can’t wait to get started!” Schultz adds, “I’m thrilled to be hosting a new show for NBC Sports Radio where I can bring my Huff Post perspective and passion for sports to a new audience. It’s a tremendous opportunity to work with a highly respected network that already provides great sports talk.”
Radio America’s Roger Hedgecock Adds Six New Affiliates. Six more stations add the nationally syndicated and San Diego-based Roger Hedgecock program to their lineups. They are: KMJ-AM, Fresno; KGNC, Amarillo; KION, Monterey-Salinas-Santa Cruz, California; KHQN, Salt Lake City; WLFJ, Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina; KCNR, Redding, California.
NRG Media’s KOZN, Omaha Broadcasts from Bob Gibson Statue Unveiling. NRG Media sports talker KOZN, Omaha “The Zone” broadcast from the recent unveiling of a statue of St. Louis Cardinals great Bob Gibson by the Sarpy County (Nebraska) Sports Commission and the minor league Omaha Storm Chasers at the club’s Werner Park on April 11. During the five-hour live remote, KOZN Damon Benning and Gary Sharp welcomed numerous high-profile guests including former MLB manager Joe Torre. Pictured here are (from l-r): Benning, Torre and Sharp.
Obama 2014 Budget Top Talk Story for Week of April 8-12. President Obama’s Fiscal 2014 Federal Budget along with the sequester and other spending issues were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 was gun legislation proposals followed by North Korea missile threats at #3. At #4 was the immigration reform bill. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
BREAKING NEWS: Clear Channel to Buy Buckley Broadcasting’s WOR. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment and Buckley Radio announced today that Clear Channel is purchasing AM radio station WOR 710 from Buckley Broadcasting Corporation, pending FCC approval. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. “WOR is an iconic New York City brand with a rich history and an exciting future,” states John Hogan, chairman and CEO of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment. “Clear Channel is excited to add WOR as a powerful, high potential complement to our New York brands. We believe WOR makes our already incredible platform even more interesting for listeners, advertisers, and strategic partners and we look forward to the tremendous potential WOR adds to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment New York.” Joseph Bilotta, president and CEO of Buckley Radio tells TALKERS, “For more than 23 years, Buckley Radio has been the steward of one of the most legendary radio stations in broadcasting history and I would like to sincerely thank all of the wonderful people who devoted their time, energy and efforts over the years to WOR Radio.” He continues, “By passing the baton to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, WOR listeners, advertisers and employees will gain access to the unparalleled resources of a worldwide, multi-dimensional media and entertainment company. We have had a great run with WOR and could not be more confident that it is poised for another great run as part of the Clear Channel Media and Entertainment team.” Clear Channel Media and Entertainment currently owns five stations in the New York market including 103.5 KTU, Q104.3, Z100, 106.7 Lite fm and Power 105.1.
Speculation Abounds About the Implications of WOR/CC Deal. Information about this deal was kept even more closely guarded than Romney’s plans to select Ryan as his VP choice. Insiders at the station report that the airstaff had no idea what was going to be announced at an emergency staff meeting called on Friday afternoon for this morning at 9:00 am. Big news like this, however, travels fast once released in a small industry – the buzz being that Clear Channel has now gauranteed a number one market home for two of its major syndicated franchises, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity – currently cleared on Cumulus Media’s WABC. All signs from Cumulus indicating its plan to take news/talk in a different direction lend credence to that speculation. Stay tuned.
Romney’s VP Selection of Paul Ryan on a Saturday Reminds Programmers: Are You Prepared to Cover Breaking News? How your news/talk station handles a breaking news event on any day of the week – either in your market or outside of it – often determines how the people in your market perceive your value as a source of news and even opinion. TALKERS magazine managing editor Kevin Casey reports programmers and hosts across the nation who are dedicated to being the source of news, information and hosting that community “backyard fence” have very similar approaches to covering events such as the recent tragedy in Aurora. It’s all about planning ahead, using the staff you have creatively and being that place where listeners can turn to talk when they need to vent. Read Kevin Casey’s piece here.
Cumulus Rolling Out Geraldo Nationally Today. After recent launches on its O&Os in New York (WABC) and Los Angeles (KABC), Cumulus Media’s syndication division goes national today with the Geraldo Rivera Show. Emanating from New York, the program, titled “Geraldo,” airs between 9:00 am and 12:00 noon ET. Cumulus is banking on Rivera’s middle ground political stance to further underscore its apparent course to modify what some consider news/talk radio’s predominantly conservative and confrontational style. This follows the company’s recent high-profile rollout of former Arkansas Governor/Republican Presidential candidate (and Fox News Channel host) Mike Huckabee’s “more conversational” brand of syndicated news/talk radio. Rivera will reportedly debut on 45 stations including KLIF, Dallas and WCFO, Atlanta with another half dozen expected in coming weeks. Rivera tells TALKERS, “I’m thrilled that just as the nation hurtles toward the highly charged and hard-fought 2012 presidential election, I’ll be coming on the air nationwide. Fasten your seat belts. With America divided along red/blue, right/left lines, I hope to occupy the militant middle and be a referee between ideologies. Everyone is welcome on the radio show, and the conversation is no holds barred.”
Rush Limbaugh Remains #1 on Top Talk Audiences Chart; Listening Dips Slightly in Spring 2012. Premiere Networks nationally syndicated star Rush Limbaugh keeps his long-held spot atop the TALKERS survey of the top talk radio hosts – based on audience data – for the spring 2012 period of March, April and May. Listenership to many news/talk stations and hosts dipped to a small degree during the period in question, although that conclusion cannot be construed to be one that applies to all news/talk stations across the board nor all hosts. The imperfect science of rating radio in and of itself provides caution to those wishing to come to concrete conclusions about the numbers. Reasons for the “spring dip” are being attributed by some media observers to be the result of “political burnout” as the frenzy of the presidential primary season passes, as well as the easing into the traditionally different mindset listeners get into as summer approaches and schedules begin to change. Regardless, news/talk stations typically enjoy a big bounce from presidential election years in the fall ratings periods illustrating the natural ebb and flow of talk radio listenership. To view the entire Top Talk Radio Audiences chart for the spring 2012 period, click here.
Michael Harrison Receives 2012 Ethical Media Award. TALKERS founder and publisher Michael Harrison was honored Friday (8/10) by the California Coast Venture Forum with its 2012 “Ethical Media Award” at the organization’s Fourth Annual Clean Business Investment Summit on the campus of the University of California at Santa Barbara. The award was presented to Harrison by Christie Communications CEO Gillian Christie who praised Harrison as displaying outstanding leadership in his 45 year career as a broadcaster and trade publisher in protecting and defending the principles of free speech in America. In accepting the award, Harrison told the audience of approximately 250 socially responsible entrepreneurs and investors from around California that the precious opportunity in America to start a business or invent a product that bucks the establishment is akin to the rights guaranteed to U.S. citizens by the First Amendment and should never be taken for granted.
KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh Debuts Weekend Car Show. Using in-house talent Vinnie Richichi and Rob Pratte, the CBS Radio news/talk station brings “Drivetime” to the air on KDKA-AM Saturday mornings at 7:00 am. Richichi (pictured here at right) is a midday personality on the company’s sports talk KDKA-FM – 93.7 The Fan – and Pratte ( at left) is a 30-year veteran of KDKA-AM where he’s a sports reporter and host of “Weekend Magazine.” The station states, “‘Drivetime’ will be a weekly mix of ‘guy next door’ car reviews, interviews with interesting and informative guests from the automotive world and interactive calls from listeners. Topics will range from selling a car, how to get the most out of your automotive experience and even include discussions on the best drive-in movies in Pennsylvania. Richichi and Pratte approach the show with humor and the passion both feel about their wheels.” Richichi has been reviewing cars for more than 25 years and produces a “Drivetime” radio feature that airs across America and Canada. He says, “It’s a show that gives people who are into cars a place to talk about what they love with two guys who get grease under their fingernails before every show.”
Sid Rosenberg Returns to Miami Airwaves Today. Trouble-prone (but extremely talented) sports talk show host Sid Rosenberg returns to the airwaves today as morning drive host on WMEN 640, Royal Palm Beach, Florida after losing his job at WQAM 560, Miami shortly after being hit with a DUI charge in April. According to a report in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, that was only his most recent bout with drugs, alcohol and gambling, addictions that had sent him to rehab twice and cost him at least five jobs, by his count. “I don’t blame them. I fired myself. I’m accountable,” said Rosenberg, whose April case is pending. He said he hasn’t had a drink in four months and has attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings daily. He also attends Gamblers Anonymous meetings, going eight months since his last bet. (He lost $750 when Florida State didn’t cover the point spread in its 23-19 win over Miami on Nov. 12.) The report goes on to say that Rosenberg is “really trying” to be humble. That’s the first of AA’s 12 steps to a successful recovery.
Philadelphia Talk Host Dom Giordano Moderates Voter ID Law Panel. WPHT, Philadelphia midday talk host Dom Giordano served as the moderator during yesterday’s “Winning in 2012: Maximizing the Vote and Minimizing the Fraud” panel discussion of Pennsylvania’s Voter ID law sponsored by the Independence Hall Tea Party Association and held on Independence Mall. The program was headlined by American Spectator senior editor John Fund and included: political analyst and election law expert, Rich Zeoli; Linda Kerns, Esquire; a GOTV workshop conducted by Martin Gillespie, NE Regional Director of American Majority, and attorney Matt Rooney of SaveJersey.com.
Odds & Sods. Salem Radio Network morning drive host Bill Bennett has a special connection to newly-named Republican veep choice Rep. Paul Ryan. Chairman Ryan once worked for Bennett years ago when he and Jack Kemp created the Washington think tank Empower America…..According to a report by The Press of Atlantic City the recent shooting death of New Jersey talk show host April Kauffman has sparked a marked increase in applications for gun permits in the city of Linwood. Police there say the number of requests is on its way to doubling last year’s number – a trend they indicate has been prompted by the shooting. No arrests have been made in the case of 47-year-old Kauffman, a businesswoman and radio show host who was known widely as an advocate for military veterans.
Feliz Cumpleanos. ESPN Deportes Dallas (KZMP-AM) celebrates its fifth anniversary as the first ESPN O&O to take the ESPN Deportes Spanish-language sports format. To celebrate, the station broadcast live on August 9 from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm at Ojos Locos in Dallas. Pictured here are: Back Row — fifth from the left (blue shirt) Pete Dits, VP/general manager, ESPN Dallas; sixth from left Rafa Ramos, host of Deportes’ Raza Deportiva; seventh from left Tato Noriega, former Mexican National team player and ESPN Deportes TV personality. Front Row – fourth from left (black shirt) Jim Roberts, senior director/Deportes Local Radio Group and ESPN Deportes Dallas station manager.
There’s No Business Like Show Business. Salem Radio Network talk host Mike Gallagher spent this past weekend appearing onstage in Los Angeles. Gallagher, who—in addition to his daily SRN program and his duties as a regular contributor to the FOX News Channel—is a member of Actor’s Equity, was guest starring in the West Coast production of the Tony Award-winning “MEMPHIS: The Musical.” As he was leaving his dressing room backstage at the historic Pantages Theatre, who walked up to greet Gallagher but legendary director and funnyman Mel Brooks. Brooks essayed the role of backstage theatre critic and gave Gallagher’s performance a big thumbs-up.
Coming Tomorrow. Noted talk radio consultant Holland Cooke presents an informative and provocative piece exploring how you can tell a lot about a news/talk station from its weekend programming — or lack thereof.