Tag: "Rick Feinblatt"

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

| November 13, 2012

Is CBS Radio’s KPTK, Seattle the Next Progressive Talker to Flip?  Seattle-based blog Blatherwatch (cool name!) is reporting the WYD Media-produced Stephanie Miller talk show indicated on Monday’s broadcast that CBS Radio’s KPTK, Seattle would flip from progressive talk after the holidays.  No report on what the station may become and the report has not been confirmed by CBS Radio.  If this comes to pass, it would be the second West Coast progressive talk outlet to recently shuck the format as Clear Channel’s KPOJ, Portland did Monday (11/12).  It’d also be the second progressive talk station that’s been in the format for a relatively long period of time – eight years for each station – and located in “progressive” cities, to change formats.

Stacey Simms to Exit WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte.  “Charlotte’s Morning News” co-host Stacey Simms announces she will exit the Greater Media news/talk outlet after the December 14 edition of the program due to personal reasons.  Simms has co-hosted the show at WBT for 10 years, first with Al Gardner (now in Philly on WWIQ) and currently with Bo Thompson.  Simms is a well-known media personality in the market having worked in television news at WBTV-TV before beginning her talk radio career.  Senior vice president and market manager Rick Feinblatt says of Simms, “Since 2002, Stacey has been instrumental in the development and success of ‘Charlotte’s Morning News’ and has always displayed the highest level of professionalism and dedication to WBT and all our listeners.  We wish Stacey the best as she pursues new opportunities and adventures.”

KFNS, St. Louis Parts Ways with Host Kevin Slaten After Racial Rant.  Sports talk host Kevin Slaten wasn’t an employee of Grand Slam Sports – owner of KFNS, St. Louis – rather he brokered the time and sold his own advertising.  As reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, his contract was cancelled after he went on a rant last Thursday charging African Americans who voted for Barack Obama with being bigoted if they voted for Obama because he’s black.  Station manager Katy Pavelonis tells the paper she asked Slaten to take his conversation in a different direction.  “The topics of Thursday weren’t homing in on where I want to go.”  Slaten was with KFNS previously but was fired from the station in 2008 after putting St. Louis Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan on the air without informing him the conversation was being broadcast.  Speaking of the mixing of sports talk and political talk; WFAN, New York sports talk host Richard Neer has some thoughts on the matter.  See the next story…

The Risk of Talking Politics on a Sports Station.  The 2012 campaign is behind us but WFAN, New York sports talk host Richard Neer has some thoughts on mixing politics and sports talk that some may want to consider for the next election cycle.  Neer says that the very close popular vote in the presidential election – almost a 50/50 split – means it’s possible almost half your audience could disagree with you no matter whom you support, so is it worth “campaigning” for your guy?  Neer writes, “A few undecideds may be persuaded by your arguments, but more likely you’ll either be preaching to the choir or turning off the other side.  Another unintended consequence is if you show yourself to be poorly informed or blindly biased, it could undermine steady listeners’ trust in your authority when it comes to an area that you know more about — sports.”  Read the rest of Richard Neer’s argument for avoiding politics here.

Opinion Piece:  Five Trends About to Make a Buck.  Noted industry idea man and Sabo Media chairman Walter Sabo offers five companies and concepts that he believes are closing in on what he describes as “the event horizon for making profits.”  They include internet radio, Jumpwire Media, kid-targeted tablets (Toys“R”Us), Kickstarter.com, and companies that learn from TMZ.  For the juicy details, click here.

Major Development at Tribune’s WGN, Chicago…New Call-in Number.  Okay, so it’s not the biggest news to come out of Tribune Tower recently, but mid-morning talk host Mike McConnell played up the announcement of the changing of the station’s 46-year-old call-in phone number dramatically in a bit that surely had a fair number of WGN P1s on the edges of their collective seats.  WGN promoted a “change of historic proportions” announcement during morning drive and when it came time for McConnell to break the news, he did so in a dramatic – some might call it melodramatic – fashion, building up to it by reading a list of the names of famous WGN broadcasters who’ve graced the station’s studios over the years.  After delivering the punch line – the new call-in number – he explained that the new studios and the change to all-digital equipment required a new phone number as of today (11/13).

St. Louis Talk Hosts in War Over A-List Guests.  The kinds of battles that happen between mega-broadcasters like David Letterman and Jay Leno can also happen between local talk radio hosts.  The race to get the guest “first” is something most listeners are not aware happens among the hosts at their local media outlets, but St. Louis talk radio fans are learning about an kerfuffle between former station-mates Charlie Brennan at KMOX and McGraw Milhaven at crosstown KTRS (Milhaven previously worked at KMOX).  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes about how the competition has escalated after Milhaven went public with what he considers Brennan’s unfair play.  He points to a memo from publisher Random House’s public relations office regarding a St. Louis appearance by Pulitzer-prize winning author Jon Meacham on December 6 that details the cancellation of Meacham’s appearance on Milhaven’s show due to a conflict with a KMOX live broadcast event at the St. Louis Library and that state’s KMOX’s requirement it be the first radio appearance.  Brennan’s Fontbonne University book club has been booking author appearances in the market for some time.  Brennan tells the paper, “And it’s only a radio exclusive if the author wants to be a KMOX/Fontbonne University selection, which means the book will get a month’s worth of publicity and anywhere from 400 to 800 book buyers at the club’s monthly meetings…I’m not sure why (Milhaven) is making an issue of it.  If he could offer the author a better agreement, I’m sure the author would take it.  Then it would be ‘goodbye Charlie.’”

Bonneville Seattle and NFL’s Seahawks Agree to Multi-Year Extension.  Bonneville’s KIRO-AM was the original radio partner for the Seattle Seahawks when the franchise joined the NFL back in 1976 and has been its sole partner ever since.  Now, Bonneville extends its relationship with the team in a multi-year deal that will have Seahawks games and programming continue on sports KIRO-AM and news/talk KIRO-FM.  The deal also includes the two stations’ coverage of Seattle Sounders soccer, which will have the football club’s matches heard on KIRO-FM.  Bonneville Seattle Media Group vice president and market manager Carl Gardner says, “After 37 years, fans in the Northwest have come to think of Seahawks Radio and KIRO as one and the same, and we’re proud of that tradition.  We also love helping build a new culture and tradition around Sounders FC and Major League Soccer, extending our strong partnership is a win for the fans, for the clubs, and for Bonneville.”

CBS Radio’s Sports WJFK, Washington Improving its Signal.  According to Dave HughesDCRTV.com, CBS Radio sports talk WJFK-FM, Washington is getting some engineering attention to help improve its signal.  By altering the coverage patterns of two of its adjacent channel outlets WJFK should see improved penetration to the northeast, into DC itself and into Prince George’s County.  In order to accommodate WJFK improvement, CBS will move the transmitter for WWMX, Baltimore “Mix 106.5” which will, to a degree, adversely affect its coverage.  Over the years, more than one person associated with WJFK has told TALKERS that the sports talk station suffers from signal problems that are limiting its ratings potential.

Timely Guest.  WNDB, Daytona Beach talk host Marc Bernier (l) is pictured here on the stage at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach interviewing U.S. Senator Bill Nelson in the 85th edition of the Town Hall speaker series at the school.  Nelson, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, answered questions about the scandal involving former CIA chief David Petraeus before a full house of students and the public.

Petraeus Scandal, Benghazi Investigation, ‘Fiscal Cliff,’ Businesses Prepare for ObamaCare, and Post-Sandy Frustrations in New York Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/12).  The widening David Petraeus-Paula Broadwell scandal; the Benghazi attack investigation and Petraeus’ role in it; Washington addresses the “fiscal cliff”; American businesses prepare to pay for ObamaCare; and the post-Sandy frustrations still affecting some New Yorkers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, October 8, 2012

| October 8, 2012

Talk Host Michael Smerconish Takes “Angry is Over” Campaign on the Road.  WYD Media nationally syndicated talk show host Michael Smerconish is known for being independent minded and not locked into party ideology.  Smerconish has been making it known via his radio show, TV appearances and newspaper columns that he believes the country is in real trouble due to the intensely divisive political climate both in Washington, DC and in the media.  He writes in part, “Recently, I have been engaged by many corporations, trade associations and academic institutions to address the cause of the polarized climate and how it can be fixed.  I’ve been calling my speech ‘Angry Is Over,’ and in hearing what I have to say, many audiences are surprised (but not doubting) when I cast significant blame on the talk radio and cable television industry.  Well, it’s true.”  Now, Smerconish is taking his “Angry is Over” message on the road with a live appearance in Scranton, Pennsylvania on November 9 at the Scranton Cultural Center in what he terms the first live appearance of the tour.

Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Names Jason Furst PD.  The Charlotte news/talker announces programmer Jason Furst will take over the program director role at WBT-AM/FM on Monday, October 29.  He’ll replace Carl East who exits the station tomorrow.  Furst comes to WBT from Clear Channel’s upstate New York outlets WHAM and WHTK, Rochester and WSYR-AM/FM, Syracuse.  Greater Media Charlotte market manager Rick Feinblatt says, “We are excited to have Jason join the Greater Media Charlotte family.  His experience made him the perfect choice to lead the WBT-AM/FM team.”

Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno to Replace Premiere Shows with Local Talent.  Stating that the “expansion of its local programming will be phased in over the next 90 days,” Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ-AM/FM says it is accelerating its commitment to live and local programming.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment-owned Premiere Networks is not renewing its deal with the stations for Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and other programs.  Peak and KMJ SVP and market manager Patty Hixson states, “We value program exclusivity and have long anticipated the opportunity to control our own programming locally rather than rely on national talk shows available in so many other places that can be taken from us at the whim of their owners.  Adding 105.9 KMJ-FM over three years ago allowed us to expose our local news and talk shows to the largest available radio audience with crystal clear reception.  Building KMJ NOW, our on-line local news platform, as well as KMJ’s Apple-delivered mobile app have given us tremendous reach to every computer and smartphone on the planet.  KMJ’s future lies in its local programming, and we know we have the best people in the business making it right here in Fresno 24/7.”  The move by Premiere Networks not to renew with Peak signals Clear Channel is preparing to flip an FM to news/talk in the near future.  Currently, CC’s lowest-rated FM is country KHGE.  But it also has three FM’s airing rhythmic AC, soft AC and modern AC in the market.

Radio Legend Bob Grant Retires, Then Unretires.  Talk radio legend Bob Grant, currently heard weekly on Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York on Sunday afternoons, teased that yesterday’s broadcast would be his last but changed his mind several hours later.  According to the New York Daily News, the 83-year-old Grant posted a message on his website on Friday stating, “I am not sick, I am just a tired of [being a] life member of the chorus…I will miss you as much as you say you miss me.”  He apparently had a change of heart and later stated that he would broadcast for the foreseeable future.

Bill O’Reilly and Jon Stewart Host “The Rumble 2012.”  “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart and Fox News Channel star (and host of the Courtside Entertainment distributed “Talking Points” feature) Bill O’Reilly squared off in a debate of the issues on Saturday at George Washington University.  The event was broadcast via a web-only $5 pay-per-view.  A testament to the popularity of these two performers came in the form of numerous people being unable to get through to the server to access the live feed.  Dow JonesPeter Kafka, who writes the AllThingsD column, reports that many people had trouble viewing the show but states he was able to watch without much trouble.  At one point Nox Solutions, which hosted the webcast, Tweeted that due to demand, the servers had been overloaded.

Dave Ramsey Packs Long Beach Convention Center.  Nationally syndicated financial talk star Dave Ramsey presented his only Total Money Makeover Live program of the fall season to more than 9,000 fans in the Long Beach Convention Center for affiliate KFWB, Los Angeles.  Station general manager Valerie Blackburn says, “Yet another great Dave Ramsey event for KFWB!  Having such a successful day with over 9,000 people in attendance is a huge win for us.  We continue to value the close relationship we have with Dave and his team.”  Pictured here are (from l-r): Rachel Cruze, speaker; Diane Sutter, trustee for KFWB; Valerie Blackburn, general manager for KFWB; Dave Ramsey; Danielle Mosher, marketing for KFWB; Rosemary Hernandez, general sales manager for KFWB; Jon Acuff, speaker and author; and Andy Ludlum, program director for KFWB.

Don’t Overlook the Unique Value and Power of Email.  Leading broadcasting digital media consultant Chris Miller advises radio programmers and marketers not be so blinded by social media that they “fall out of love” with good old simple email.  He writes in TALKERS today that email is still a powerful tool to communicate with your listeners, especially if you target adults.  He suggests 1) Make your email a thing of value; 2) Give the listeners something to keep; and 3) Write it very simple and concise.  He also points out the inherent ability email has as a vehicle to carry advertising – something far less convenient to pull off on Facebook and Twitter.  To read Chris Miller’s entire article, click here.

Talk Host Debbie Nigro Begins New Venture Today.  Talk radio pro Debbie Nigro launches a new talk initiative today on Cumulus Media’s WFAS, White Plains, New York and online via the WFASam.com website.  Calling it “innovative female-driven but gender-friendly talk radio,” the new program is the brainchild of the woman who brought her “Working Mom on the Go” syndicated talk show to stations across the country during the 1990s.  This new show airs at 1:00 pm ET four days per week on WFAS.

Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce Operating Internet Radio Station.  The Hunterdon Chamber of Commerce in the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania is operating what may be the country’s only chamber of commerce-owned internet radio station.  Radio host Richard Gerstner is the only employee of the station – and a part-time employee at that – but it’s been on the air for a year with the goal of driving new, local business relationships.  The station drew 12,000 unique visitors in its first year and chamber president Chris Phelan believes that means about one in every 10 or 11 county residents tuned in at some point.  According to a story in the Express-Times, the station currently airs only 10 hours of fresh programming each day, including its 8 am to 10 am daily “Good Morning Hunterdon” flagship program and 38 other shows hosted mostly by Hunterdon business owners.  The rest of the airtime is filled by re-runs.  Phelan says the station is helping to achieve the chamber’s main goal with the station: to build a sense of community.

Odds & SodsOpie & Anthony alumnus Rick Delgado begins a regular internet talk show called the “Ugly American Radio Show” via inravio.com.  Delgado most recently was producer and “third mic” for the “Paul and Young Ron Morning Show” at Clear Channel’s WGBB, Miami.  Delgado was executive producer of the Opie & Anthony show at WNEW-FM, New York from 1998 to 2002…..John Andariese retires from his position as the radio voice of New York Knicks basketball.  Andariese has been involved with Knicks basketball since 1972, serving as the play-by-play voice since the 1998-99 season.  A statement from MSG Networks says Andariese is stepping down to spend more time with his family and to focus on his advertising business.   Brendan Brown will take over the Knicks radio broadcasts…..The Houston Chronicle’s David Barron writes that former Houston Astros player and broadcasters Alan Ashby and Larry Dierker are among two of the possible candidates for the Astros radio booth next season.  The team announced Brett Dolan and Dave Raymond would not return next year.  Former MLB pitcher Steve Sparks is also on the list of possible broadcasters for the club…..SiriusXM is bringing actor/director/writer Chazz Palminteri aboard for his own four-week series called “Ask Chazz.”  The acclaimed star of stage and screen will answer questions about show business and will offer advice about the entertainment industry, as well as business, sports, life and anything else on listeners’ minds.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

| April 26, 2012

ESPN to Take Over Emmis’ Kiss FM in New York Beginning Sunday Afternoon.  The rumors of an FM signal for ESPN’s New York sports talker WEPN were true as ESPN is announcing it will begin simulcasting WEPN, New York on Emmis-owned WRKS-FM (98.7) on Sunday afternoon (4/29).  Rumored talent changes are also taking effect.  Stephen A. Smith is being paired up with Ryan Ruocco for the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm shift and Mike Lupica moves to a 12:00 noon start for his program.  In making the announcement, WEPN VP/GM Dave Roberts states, “This move to the FM dial is in keeping with the trend of sports radio shifting and offers an even broader reach for our content.”  The two stations will simulcast through the summer and in September WEPN 1050 AM will become a Spanish-language sports outlet airing ESPN Deportes content.  A press conference is scheduled for 1:00 pm this afternoon where details will be fleshed out.  As for the urban format of Kiss FM, Emmis is selling the intellectual property of the format to YMF Media and the station will move to WBLS-FM at 107.5.

Feature Series – Part 3:  Walter Sabo on Targeted Topics Vital to FM Talk Success.  In the third of a four-part series for TALKERS on building a successful FM talk station, Sabo Media president Walter Sabo discusses the importance of targeting topics to appeal to the desired demographic.  Sabo says that, unlike AM news/talk, politics is too narrow a subject to bring in the audience necessary to build cume and be successful.  “Common sense suggests that very few of the people you know spend much of their day talking about politics.  That’s why cable channels focused on politics have astonishingly low ratings.  Lower than any radio station in your city.”  Sabo maintains that talk on FM will be successful (gaining younger-demo ratings and revenue beyond what AM news/talkers typically do) only when the topics are carefully chosen to reflect what large numbers of the target demo are talking about.  “Your FM talk station is trying to reach an audience that is drawn to popular water cooler topics because that’s what they hear on all FM music personality shows.  Political talk is what repulses most 18-49 year olds from the AM band.  They are, instead, attracted to the topics heard on CHR, Hot AC and country personality morning shows.  Hit shows.  Those shows are your FM talk competition, not AM talk radio.  Read Walter Sabo’s entire column here.

Cumulus All-News Rumors Heat Up.  There have been rumblings about Cumulus Media preparing to flip underperforming music outlets to all-news in several markets.  Some of this has been based on the registration of domain names with frequencies tied to the phrase “all news.”  But the biggie is in Cumulus Media’s home base of Atlanta where there’s more fuel to add to the fire.  Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor reports hearing a news staff is quietly (but apparently not too quietly) being assembled and some of them include former Atlanta-based CNN Radio staffers and some current and former WGST, Atlanta news people.  Which station will it be?  A leading candidate is classic hits WYAY-FM, Gainesville (at 106.7) according to some intense chatter in the market.

Keith Larson May Be Done at WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte.  The late-morning host at Greater Media’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte told listeners to his program yesterday (4/25) that he expects to leave the station as he’s been notified his contract – set to expire May 24 – will not be renewed.  The Charlotte Observer reports Keith Larson was told his deal would not be renewed but the station would like him to stay on as an at-will employee.  It sounds as though Larson will likely not accept that offer.  WBT general manager Rick Feinblatt tells the Observer he’s disappointed Larson took to the air with talk of the contract since nothing is set in stone yet but Larson told his audience he couldn’t go on the air and not talk about it.  Last year, Larson started the independent advertising and marketing firm Larson Advertising and Media Associates.  He tells the paper that may be where he concentrates his efforts for now.

Syndicated Talk Star Mike Gallagher Says Today’s Talent Must Understand Radio from Business Perspective.  In addition to being one of talk radio’s most consistently successful air personalities, Salem Radio Network‘s Mike Gallagher tells TALKERS that it has never been more important for on-air talent to be fully connected to the business processes that make the industry tick.  He says, “In today’s climate of technological change and financial challenge, you can’t just see yourself as a ‘talent’ who is somehow separate from all the other systems that make a radio station or syndication firm function.  You must have a complete understanding of your company’s P&L as well as maintain relationships with advertisers.  A talent needs to be in constant communication with the sales department and understand their problems.”  Gallagher, who left day-to-day major market radio as a station employee at WABC, New York years ago to launch the groundbreaking syndication firm Dame-Gallagher (with former WGY, Albany owner John Dame) which was later acquired by Salem, will be a featured speaker at the forthcoming New Media Seminar on Thursday, June 7.  The panel:  Making Money in Talk Radio.  Registration, nearing sellout, is open to working media only.  For information call 413-565-5413.

Compass Media Networks to Offer 25 Anaheim Angels Games.  Compass Media Networks makes Anaheim Angels play-by-play an MLB game of the week and will air 25 home and away contests beginning May 29 when the New York Yankees play at the Angels.  As with its other sports programming, Compass will hire a broadcast crew and produce its own gamecasts that will be available nationwide.  Dial Global will manage advertising sales for this multi-year contract.  The company notes that with this deal, it will broadcast well over 160 major sporting events in 2012 including college basketball, college football and NFL football (which includes Dallas Cowboys, Oakland Raiders, and Sunday afternoon doubleheaders).  Compass Media Networks CEO Peter Kosann says, “The Angels have a tremendous brand, fan base and momentum.  We are honored and thankful for this opportunity.”

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  The 2012 NFL Draft begins tonight from Radio City Music Hall in New York and the big event is being covered by the sports media including Fox Sports Radio Network.  The network notes that for the 12th straight year it will cover the event with Fox NFL Insider Jay Glazer leading the coverage.  He’ll be joined by Fox Sports Radio college football draft expert Chris Landry, former USC Trojan and Fox Sports Radio host Petros Papadakis, and former NFL great Lincoln Kennedy…..SiriusXM is also on hand for the NFL Draft.  Chris Russo and Dino Costa of Mad Dog Radio and Gil Brandt, Tim Ryan, Pat Kirwan and Adam Schein of SiriusXM NFL Radio will all be broadcasting from Radio City for the first round on Thursday.  Bill Polian, the former Colts Vice Chairman and personnel guru who joined SiriusXM NFL Radio in January, will also be contributing to the satcaster’s draft coverage…..Syndicated talk host and actress Janine Turner – whose two-hour program is heard on KLIF, Dallas Saturday evenings at 9:00 pm – joins the Roger L. Simon-founded PJ Media as a regular columnist…..Clear Channel Media and Entertainment names Jon Phillips the market manager for its Tulsa cluster that includes sports talk simulcast KTBZ/KAKC.

2012 Presidential Race, SCOTUS AZ Illegal Immigration Case, Euro Zone Economic Jitters, and New U.S. Spy Agency Among Top News/Talk Topics Yesterday (4/25).  The 2012 presidential race; the Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments in the Arizona Illegal Immigration law; continued concerns over economic jitters in euro zone countries; and the announcement of the creation of a new U.S. spy agency were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Fox Sports Radio’s Loose Cannons Live from New Orleans.  Fox Sports Radio Network’s “Loose Cannons” broadcast from New Orleans – the site of the Zurich Classic golf tournament – and hosted special guest Sean Payton.  The suspended head coach of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints spoke about the recent story alleging Saints GM Mickey Loomis eavesdropped on opposing teams’ conversations from his luxury suite and called the allegations “garbage.”  Pictured here are (from l-r): Vic “The Brick” Jacobs, Payton, Steve Hartman and Pat O’Brien.