Tag: "Robert Feder"

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

| October 8, 2014

dahlsteveSteve Dahl to WLS-AM for Afternoons?  That’s the report from Chicago media writer Robert Feder (whose column is now behind the Tribune paywall).  Feder writes that the official announcement could come this week, according to his sources, that Windy City radio legend Steve Dahl will replace Roe Connwls-am logo and Richard Roeper in the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot on the Cumulus Media news/talk outlet sometime in November.  Dahl, who most recently made Chicago news after a public criticism of Tribune’s crosstown WGN and, specifically, station president Jimmy de Castro and morning personality Steve Cochran, has been operating his own subscription podcast business for the last couple of years.  Feder predicts that he will continue that venture in addition to the WLS-AM gig.  Stay tuned…

kroi logoRadio One Kills Houston All-Newser.  The three-year experiment of all-news on KROI, Houston is over as Houston media blogger Mike McGuff breaks the story.  Station anchor Lanny Griffith went public with the news on Facebook writing: “The whole staff has been FIRED.  We thank you for your support and I will be fine.  We are heartbroken cause we put everything into this station but it just wasn’t meant to be.  Thanks to Radio One for all you did for all of us and our families.”  The station has flipped to “B92” – all Beyonce – as the market awaits the new format for the station.  Radio One RVP Doug Abernethy states, “We’re proud of the work we did with ‘News92.’  We hired established and trusted Houstonian journalists from the radio, print and television news industries.  We also invested in community relations, infrastructure, marketing, promotions and sales.  Unfortunately after three years of a valiant effort, the difficult decision had to be made.”  The station posted the following message on its website:  We’d like to thank the ‘News92’ staff for their outstanding service, our advertisers and each of you our listeners and web visitors for your support.  This difficult decision is a result of sustained poor ratings performance and significant financial losses over the past three years despite the substantial financial and human resources we invested.  Unfortunately, the market hasn’t shown a sustainable appetite for news radio, but each of you motivated us daily to produce a high-quality news program.  Together, we made history.”

rabbloriHorizon Names Rabb PD at KBNW, Bend.  At the Horizon Broadcasting Group news/talk simulcast of KBNW, Bend, Oregon and translator K238BH, Bend at 104.5 FM, Lori Rabb is named PD and host of the “Central Oregon’s Morning News” program.  Rabb jumps across town from Combined Communications-owned KBND where she was news director and morning news anchor.  Horizon president and CEO Keith Shipman comments, “Lori Rabb is an award-winning broadcast journalist and we are delighted to have her join our team and help us take our news and talk programming to the next level.”

mancowChanges in the Air for Mancow’s TV Simulcast in Chicago.  According to a report in MediaBistro’s TVSpy, the radio-TV simulcast of the Mancow radio show is ending.  The radio program has been airing on Fox TV O&O WPWR-TV “My50Chicago.  The site also reports that a bigger role for Erich “Mancow”Muller may be in the works as Fox’s WFLD-TV, Chicago is reportedly developing other projects for him that may include a movie review show.

cainhermanHerman Cain to Begin Digital Venture.  Following fellow former presidential candidate Sarah Palin, nationally syndicated radio personality Herman Cain is debuting the HermanCainChannel.com – a subscription site powered by TAPP.  The new venture is described as “a subscription-based online network offering Cain supporters unprecedented access to and interaction with him.”  Cain is the executive editor of the channel overseeing “all content posted to the channel, which includes daily videos and commentary on important issues facing Americans, excerpts from his popular nationally syndicated radio show, and inspirational segments on Cain’s personal journey, which took him from modest beginnings to the heights of American business and politics.”  Cain is charging users $9.99 per month or $99­ per year.  TAPP was co-founded in March of this year by Jeff Gaspin, former chairman of NBC Universal Television; Jon Klein, former president of CNN/U.S.; and Michael Greer, former chief technology officer of The Onion.

Odds & Sods.  At CBS’ Philadelphia operations, Eagles running back LeSean McCoy will join both KYW-TV “CBS 3” and “Sportsradio 94WIP” as an on-air contributor.  McCoy will be featured with sports director Beasley Reese in weekly analysis on “Eyewitness News” following Thursday Night Football on CBS in addition to his “Toyota Sunday Kick Off” appearance on Sunday mornings.  On the radio, McCoy will join Anthony Gargano and Rob Ellis every Friday at 5:00 pm and is featured on “The Chickie’s and Pete’s Players’ Lounge with LeSean McCoy” hosted by Ike Reese and Gargano each Monday at 6:00 pm…..Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow is making regular appearances on Seven Bridges Radio’s sports talk WJXL, Jacksonville “1010XL” during the football season.  Tebow, who played high school football at Jacksonville’s Nease High, will join “The Drill” every Tuesday to talk SEC football with hosts Dan Hicken and Jeff Prosser.

kykn logoCool Job Opportunity.  We’re the DOMINANT conservative talk station in medium market Salem, Oregon.  1430 KYKN is CONNECTED WITH OUR LISTENERS.  We are seeking an enthusiastic personality to work in and out of our national programming.  Excellent people, production, and social networking skills required.  Become a WELL KNOWN LOCAL PERSONALITY in this thriving capital city, both on the air and out and about our community. Send resume, mp3s, and social media links to Gator J. Gaynor:  Gator@KYKN.com. EOE.

U.S Ebola Cases and Pandemic Threat, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Prospects, U.S. ISIS Policy/American Teen Tries to Join ISIS, Leon Panetta Book, SCOTUS and Gay Marriage, Seattle Renames Columbus Day, Ferguson Protestors Clash with Cardinals Fans, and MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/7).  The U.S. cases of Ebola, the extent of the virus in Africa and the threat of a pandemic; the looming mid-term elections and the prospects for the 2016 presidential race; the U.S. military-led coalition strikes against ISIS, Turkey’s failure to assist and the case of the U.S. teen arrested for trying to join ISIS; Leon Panetta’s Worthy Fights book; the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear challenges to lower court rulings against gay marriage bans; Seattle to rename Columbus Day “Indigenous Persons Day”; the clash between Ferguson protestors and Cardinals fans at Busch Stadium; and MLB playoff action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, June 27, 2014

| June 27, 2014

hayworthjdJ.D. Hayworth to Host Late Morning Show on Newsmax TV.  One of the new programs on the Newsmax TV channel that is launching on both DirecTV and DISH Network is called “America’s Forum” with former U.S. Congressman and talk radio personality J.D. Hayworth.  The show will air from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET and begins during the network’s soft launch this summer before the hard launch this fall.newsmaxtv logo  Hayworth, who has hosted a regular show in his home market on news/talk KFYI, Phoenix during his talk radio career, says he’s excited about engaging and serving the expanding audience on Newsmax TV.  Newsmax Media founder and CEO Chris Ruddy says, “J.D. Hayworth is a smart, informed, and passionate host who is not afraid to speak his mind, and as a result we expect him to be one of our most watched and discussed personalities.  With his experience in Washington, DC, we believe he can give our viewers unique insight into how Washington works.”

kasemtesimonyLegislation Inspired by Casey Kasem Ordeal Passes Legislative Hurdle.  A bill making its way through the California legislative process that would give adult children reasonable access to an ailing parent cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee hurdle on a 6-0 vote.  The bill was inspired by the Casey Kasem family’s well-documented situation.  The bill was sponsored by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) and it would protect children from being denied access to a parent by a parent’s future spouse or child.  Since introducing the legislation in January, Assemblyman Gatto has been contacted by hundreds of people who have been denied access to their ailing parents, and has been working closely with several of them, including radio and television personality Kerri Kasem (pictured here during testimony earlier this week).  Recently, Kasem spoke publicly for the first time since her father’s passing last week.  She shared her struggle to obtain even basic visitation rights during Casey’s final hours.  She also emphasized that her story is not unique to celebrities, a point underscored when she presented a stack of letters representing a small sample of the thousands of letters she has received from folks across the country with similar stories of heartache.  View that video here.  Kasem said, “I saw my father every single week, talked to him every day, until he lost his voice, every day on the phone, and we were cut off for no reason last July.  If this bill had been in place, my dad would still be alive today.”  Former radio industry pro, attorney, and district chief of staff for Assemblyman Gatto, Jason Insalaco, played an important role in crafting this bill.  Insalaco has worked at numerous Southern California radio outlets – including former hot talk KLSX and news/talk KFI – during his career.

mcneildanStatus of WSCR, Chicago’s Dan McNeil Uncertain.  From Chicago media writer Robert Feder, sports talk personality Dan McNeil has been off the air at CBS RADIO’s WSCR as he’s in contract negotiations and guest hosts have been filling in with 9:00 am to 1:00 pm co-host Matt Spiegel.  Feder reports that McNeil, who’s had his share of personal issues – dealing with substance abuse and depression – makes about $300,000 and is seeking in the neighborhood of $500,000 in his new contract.  Feder also reports McNeil has made no secret of the fact he’d like to be in afternoon drive, not middays.  Read Feder’s entire story here.

didingerrayCBS Radio Philly in Done-Deal with Didinger.  Among facets of the just-signed pact with CBS Radio-owned Philadelphia sports outlet WIP-FM, Saturday’s 10:00 am – 1:00 pm “Ray Didinger and Glen Macnow Show” will be expanded to include a Sunday version.  WIP operations manager Andy Bloom declares, “Ray is one of the most respected and revered authorities in Philly sports.  Our simple goal was to ensure Ray spends his entire radio career playing for one team, CBS Radio Philadelphia.  We think with this agreement we have accomplished that goal.”  Pro Football Hall of Fame writer Didinger is “very happy” to continue his relationship with WIP.  “I am delighted that I will now be able to partner with my good friend Glen Macnow on Sundays, as well as Saturday.  With the level of interest in the Eagles this season, we will have plenty to talk about.”  Didinger will do commentary on all-news sibling KYW, and each Friday during the football season, he will appear with (CBS Radio Philadelphia talk outlet) WPHT morning driver Chris Stigall.

mackgrahamBritish Broadcaster Graham Mack Produces Outstanding Audio Podcast Depicting His Experience at Talkers New York 2014.  Internationally known, award-winning broadcaster Graham Mack attended the recent Talkers New York 2014 conference (6/20) and compiled an array of on-the-scene audio interviews with its participants into a Radio Academy podcast (28:42) that has already drawn positive attention around the world.  In addition to his highly decorated special programs which have been heard on some of the most prestigious networks in the world including the BBC, Mack is the program director and morning show host on BOB-FM in Hertfordshire.  He hails from Liverpool and spent his early adulthood and career in Australia. The podcast includes conversations with Michael Harrison, Sean Hannity, Brent & Meg, Tom Leykis, Joe Piscopo, and Phil Boyce.  To hear it in its entirety, please click here.  Stay tuned to Talkers.com for more coverage of Talkers New York 2014.  Videos covering most of the conference will be posted after the July 4th weekend.

gratnerchuckFifty and Done For Salem’s Gratner.  After spending 50 years in radio – the last 23 as general manager of Salem Communications Pittsburgh – Chuck Gratner will retire next Tuesday (7/1). Twelve-year Salem Pittsburgh general sales manager Tom Lemmon will succeed Gratner. According to Salem radio division president David Santrella, “Salem is blessed to have so many outstanding general managers taking care of business in our markets around the country – Chuck has been one of our strongest for all these years.  Chuck has earned his reward for a job well done.  We wish him many more years of success, only this time with a fishing rod instead of a radio tower.”  Regional operations vice president Linnae Young – who oversees Pittsburgh – comments, “We have been so fortunate to have had Chuck’s wisdom and expertise all these years managing our stations in Pittsburgh.  While Chuck will be sorely missed, we are pleased to have Tom ready to take on this new responsibility.”  Gratner began his radio career as an on-air talent in greater Los Angeles at KNJO, Thousand Oaks.  He was part owner of KCNO, Grass Valley, California; worked in Dallas at KRLD, KCBI, and KLTY; and spent time in Sacramento at KCRA and KROY.

mayesharryOdds & Sods.  With the departure of Tony Bruno from Greater Media’s sports talk WPEN-FM, Philadelphia (reported yesterday at TALKERS), Harry Mayes goes solo in the late morning shift with evening host Nick Kayal sitting it at least temporarily…..The man known as “Radio’s Best Friend,” Art Vuolo, will appear on news/talk KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh this weekend as a guest on Stony Richards’ Saturday evening program beginning at 6:00 pm.  In addition to being responsible for chronicling much of radio’s modern history on video, Vuolo also has served as the official videographer for the Talkers New York conference for the past several years…..Bradley George is the new senior anchor/correspondent and local host for “Morning Edition” on Georgia Public Radio.  He comes to GPR from Nashville Public Radio’s WPLN where he was news anchor and “Morning Edition” local host…..ABC TV’s “The View” will look very different next season as at least two of the show’s hosts – Jenny McCarthy and Sherri Shepherd – are leaving.  According to TMZ, executive producer Bill Geddie is also exiting.  One report indicates all but Whoopi Goldberg are out as the network is “cleaning house.”

wrjn logoMagnum Finds Bliss in Milwaukee-Area Quartet.  In a recently announced deal, Magnum Communications is acquiring four greater Milwaukee properties from Bliss Communications, the parent company of Racine Broadcasting and West Bend Broadcasting.  Stations involved are two AM talk outlets WRJN and WBKV; adultwbkv logo contemporary WEZY “Lite Rock 92.1″; and country WBWI.  Magnum Communications president Dave Magnum points out that as a result of this acquisition, “My co-workers and I will program radio signals connecting from Milwaukee to La Crosse.  When my late wife, Lynn, and I started from scratch 23 years ago, we wanted to grow across Wisconsin.  I’m blessed to work with so many talented and loyal individuals, many of whom have been on board since the early-1990s.”  Bliss president Sidney “Skip” Bliss remarks, “These stations have been an important part of Bliss Communications for 17 years in Racine, and 43 years in West Bend.  We have enjoyed our relationship with the communities and all of our terrific employees.  This sale, however, represented an opportunity for me to pass the ownership of these great radio stations on to another Wisconsin broadcasting family.  The staffs of the Racine and West Bend stations have served a large number of listeners and advertisers for many years.  We sincerely appreciate the dedication and commitment of this outstanding group of associates.”  Bliss – which publishes The Janesville Gazette - will continue operating the stations until the FCC approves the transaction, exclusively brokered by Media Services Group Chicago office director Bob Heymann.

GOP Primary Controversies/State of the GOP Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of June 23-27.  The recent controversial GOP primary races – including Thad Cochran’s victory this week – along with talk about the state of the GOP heading into mid-term elections and the 2016 presidential election tied for the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week.  At #2 was the shrinking U.S. GDP.  Coming in at #3 was the IRS scandal and the missing Lois Lerner emails followed by the SCOTUS scuttling President Obama’s recess appointments followed 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.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

| May 21, 2014

wgn logo newWGN Announces Garry Meier Moves to Digital Platform, John Williams Returns to WGN Radio.  A big change in Windy City talk radio as Garry Meier leaves the PM drive slot he’s hosted since 2009 on WGN Radio to handle the same shift at meiergarryTribune’s wgn.fm internet station.  Coming back to WGN is John Williams who left 18 months ago to move to the Twin Cities where he hosts the afternoon drive show on CBS RADIO’s WCCO – a position he’ll continue to hold.  The new schedule at WGN looks like this: Steve Cochran in mornings, Williams from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon, Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano from 12:00 noon williamsjohnto 3:00 pm, Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder move into the afternoon drive slot from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm, followed by Pete McMurray from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm, Patti Vasquez from 11:00 pm to 2:00 am and Nick Digilio from 2:00 am to 5:00 am.  Speaking about bringing Williams back to WGN, VP of content Todd Manley states, “John crafts radio shows that are laced with such unique wit and wisdom that you don’t want to miss a minute.  John was born to be on both of these great stations.  We give many thanks to our friends at WCCO for so graciously sharing him.”  Station president and general manager Jimmy de Castro comments, “Garry is perfect for wgn.fm because he understands both the potential of spoken word and that the future of radio is programming to tech-savvy, mobile audiences.  His approach to entertain interactively through digital media propels us into the future.  This is a great start to the revamp of our entire online and mobile products including our apps, websites and on-demand content distribution.”

kaufmanjoycebillboardJoyce Kaufman Named by TALKERS, Humanitarian of the Year.  Talk radio personality Joyce Kaufman – 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm host at James Crystal Radio, Inc.-owned WFTL, Fort Lauderdale – has been named by the TALKERS editorial board as the 2014 recipient of the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Talk Radio Broadcaster.  Also referred to as “Humanitarian of the Year,” the award is named in honor of Sharon L. Harrison, the late wife of Michael Harrison and mother of Matthew B. Harrison, who played an instrumental role in the radio trade publication business going all the way back to her days as an associate editor at Radio & Records during its formative years in the early 1970s through the launch of TALKERS magazine in 1990.  In making the announcement of Joyce Kaufman’s selection, TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “Ms. Kaufman embodies so many of the values that are vital to the continued importance of radio as an iconic resource serving the best interests of society.  She is quintessentially local and deeply connected to her South Florida community.  She has been fiercely loyal to her station, co-workers and management during WFTL’s recent financial challenges.  And most importantly, she has a string of community-service achievements and awards to her credit that could reflect the productive output of more than 10 broadcasters, let alone one hard-working individual.  She is a veritable force of nature in the Fort Lauderdale/Miami2014 NYC logo 150 region and richly deserves recognition as an inspiration to the entire industry.”  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says, “Most hosts and broadcasters who have received this award have been so recognized because of one or a handful of charitable and community initiatives that they have championed.  In the case of Joyce Kaufman, there are actually too many to begin listing.  To sum it up, she has been a hero to women, children, veterans, the poor and the disabled via her constant, tireless work and support of such organizations as Toys for Tots, the Patriot Guard Riders (for deployments, returning troops, funerals and veterans’ memorials), Hispanic Women of Distinction (raising money for free medical care for needy families), the Palm Beach Stand Down House (supporting homeless veterans), the Never Again Pledge Rides (for Holocaust remembrances), and so many others.  She has co-anchored the local Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon, raised 6,000 pair of shoes for the Salvation Army and has been the recipient of more than 10 major awards during her 20 year radio career including the American Legion Post 304 ‘Veterans Advocacy Award,’ the Film Recording & Entertainment Council ‘Radio Personality of the Year,’ the Husky Rescue of South Florida ‘Champion Award,’ the Wounded Warriors Foundation ‘Hero’s Hero Designation,’ the ‘Latina Pioneer of the Year,’ the Broward County ‘Law Enforcement Champion of the Year,’ the  Americans Against Hate ‘American Hero Award,’  the ‘Italian American Heritage Award,’ the Chabad of South Florida ‘Defender of Israel Award,’ the Stand Down House ‘Veteran Advocate of the Year Award’ and the FAIR ‘We the People Award,’ among many others.  The list of individuals whom she has helped simply as a talk show host on a radio program – and not necessarily affiliated with an organization – is endless.”  Harrison continues, “Joyce Kaufman has never been one to shy away from controversy and is as bold in her stance on issues close to her heart – popular and unpopular – as she is in defending the weak and disadvantaged within her community.  She is as aggressive in her advocacy of free speech as she is in serving the needy.”  Past recipients of the Humanitarian of the Year Award, one of the most prestigious in radio, include Boomer Esiason, Clay Hunnicutt, Joe Madison, Sean Hannity, Dr. Joy Browne, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, and Scott Hennen.  It will be presented to Joyce Kaufman at Talkers New York 2014 on Friday June 20.  For information on the event please click here.

mclainbobEntercom Ups McLain to OM at Greenville News/Talk and Sports Stations; Hendrix Named PD at ‘ESPN Upstate.’  A couple of programming management moves take place at Entercom’s Greenville, South Carolina cluster as longtime news/talk “WORD 106.3” (WYRD-FM) talk personality Bob McLain is named operations manager for both WYRD-FM and sports talk multi-cast “ESPN Upstate.”  At the same time, Mark Hendrix – programmer of the company’s classic rock WROQ – takes on PD responsibilities for “ESPN Upstate.”  Entercom Greenville VP/market manager Steve Sinicropi states, “The professionalism, hendrixmarkexperience and passion that Bob McLain and Mark Hendrix bring to ‘ESPN Upstate’ will help lead a powerful ESPN Radio brand that is becoming the fastest-growing sports station in South Carolina.”  Bob McLain adds, “The addition of the ESPN brand to our already powerful cluster of stations allows Entercom to better serve the important male audience.  I have worked with Mark Hendrix for more than a decade and his experience and knowledge will be invaluable as we turn ‘ESPN Upstate’ into THE dominant sports station in the market.”  On February 24, “ESPN Upstate” debuted on WORD-AM and WYRD-AM.  They are also heard on 97.1 FM and WFBC-FM HD-3 and will soon be heard on translator W290BW at 105.9 FM.

garciatonyWhat’s Your Point of Difference?  When it comes to syndicating a radio show, explaining to a potential affiliate station how it benefits that station can take more than just examples of ratings success in other markets.  Global Media Services founder Tony Garcia writes about advice for defining the difference between your show and the competition.  He says you already know what your target audience is.  “Since you already know what it is, start there, and from there take a look at what you are bringing to the show and to your potential affiliates that’s different from what’s already out there, or what’s unique about your approach to the material.”  Incorporating that into a marketing message is the next step.  Read Garcia’s entire column here.

milliondollarmediaSaurer Named CEO at Million Dollar Media.  Broadcast industry pro Bill Saurer is named the chief executive officer for Million Dollar Media, effective June 2.  Saurer also serves as president/CEO of Principle Broadcasting Network/Universal Mediasaurerbill Access.  Million Dollar Media describes itself as “the largest provider of insured contests to the media industry, and provides web-based contesting, rebate programs, sports pools, sweepstakes and promotions to a wide array of clients including professional sports teams, ad agencies, auto dealers and Fortune 500 companies around the United States and Canada.”  Million Dollar Media partner Henry Ferry comments, “We are tremendously excited to add someone of Bill Saurer’s talent, ability and experience to our team.  Both [partner] Ken Scott and myself have worked directly for Bill in the past, so we have first-hand experience of his management expertise.  As a founding partner, close friend and now CEO, we expect this dynamic to help continue the explosive growth our company has experienced, and look forward to where he will help lead us.”  Million Dollar Media, Principle Broadcasting Network and Universal Media Access are all portfolio companies of Mercury Capital Partners.

oshaughnessywilliamTaking Care of Our Own.  WVOX and WVIP, New Rochelle president and editorial director William O’Shaughnessy – who also serves as chairman of the Broadcasters Association of America’s Guardian Fund – pens an appeal to those in the industry who’ve benefitted so much from success over the years but who haven’t considered engaging in philanthropy to help those broadcasters who’ve fallen on hard times.  In his own inimitable fashion, O’Shaughnessy writes about the important mission the BFoA serves.  Read it here.

andersonmollgraciesGracies Gala Takes Place in Beverly Hills.  In Beverly Hills last night (5/20), women working in all forms of media were honored by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation at the historic Beverly Hilton Hotel, at the 39th Annual Gracie Awards Gala.   Television personality Aisha Tyler hosted the gala that recognizes exemplary programming created for women, by women, and about women in all facets of media, including radio, television, cable, and new media.  The awards program also encourages the realistic and multifaceted portrayal of women in entertainment, news, features, and other programs.  Pictured here is iHeartRadio host Moll Anderson arriving on the red carpet.   Also honored were Premiere Networks syndicated country morning personality Bobby Bones and show cast member Amy  and SiriusXM’s Julia Cunningham.  AWMF chair Kay Olin comments, “The Gracies is such a special celebration, and it is a privilege for the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation to honor the work of our talented Gracie winners.  It is truly inspiring to be in a room with so many industry professionals who have come together to recognize exceptional programming for women, by women, and about women.”  Photo courtesy of Leroy Hamilton.

knusdebateTalking Issues.  The Colorado gubernatorial candidates lined up (literally and figuratively) for a debate that was broadcast live on Salem Communications-owned news/talk KNUS, Denver .  The 90-minute event took place before a live audience on the campus of Colorado Christian College.  Pictured here are (from left to right): Colorado State Senator Mike Kopp, Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler, KNUS afternoon personality Steve Kelley, and former U.S. Congressman Bob Beauprez.

VA Scandal, Primary Super Tuesday, Global Warming, Americans on Disability, Russian Military Aggression, U.S.-China Hacking Conflict, and NHL and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/20).  The growing probe into poor treatment of veterans at the nation’s VA hospitals; the run-up to the Super Tuesday Primary elections; debate over humanity’s role in climate change; the increasing number of Americans receiving disability payments; Russia’s continued military aggression; conflict between the U.S. and China over charges brought against Chinese hackers by the U.S. government; and the NHL and NBA playoff action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

| May 6, 2014

limbaughrushRush Limbaugh’s Camp Responds to Media Matters Piece.  The consumer media war against conservative talk radio – led by Media Matters for America – has, in general, not seen a lot of pushback from the program hosts themselves and the producers of the shows.  But Premiere Networks-syndicated Rush Limbaugh, the chief target of criticism, fired back at Media Matters after a piece by its senior fellow Eric Boehlert was published in The Huffington Post that proclaimed Limbaugh’s program a ratings failure in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York.  Limbaugh program spokesperson Brian Glicklich penned a response to Boehlert’s piece in which he takes Boehlert to task for, primarily, publishing the three stations’ weekly AQH numbers with the implication they are Limbaugh’s numbers before clarifying that later in his piece.  He then adds his statistics about changes in Limbaugh’s ratings on those outlets.  With just four months under his belt on these stations, one thing is for sure: Limbaugh is still the primary target for Media Matters and scrutiny of the these signals is something the industry will see a lot of over the next year or so.

sabowalterYou’re Here Because of Ben Hoberman.  The recent passing of Ben Hoberman – the architect of KABC-AM, Los Angeles’ talk format in the early 1960s – has caused some of the industry’s great thinkers to look back at what made KABC and Hoberman so successful.  Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo writes today in TALKERS (5/6) that Hoberman understood the basic premise behind great talk radio: It’s a show.  Sabo also says Hoberman followed a number of other prescriptions for success, including these two: He invested in new technology and he embraced fresh, often outrageous talent.  Read Walter Sabo’s entire piece here.

paiajitFCC Commissioner Ajit Pai Address AM Revitalization and Cross-Ownership Rules at PAB Meeting.  At the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters meeting in Hershey on Monday (5/5), FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai told the assembly that he wants to implement the workable aspects of the Commission’s AM revitalization program by the fall.  He told the gathering, “Small broadcasters and large broadcasters alike want to revitalize AM radio.  So do civil rights organizations and those favoring increased ownership diversity.  Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, the list goes on.  Indeed, I’ve been amazed by the chord that AM revitalization has struck throughout the United States.  When I made this proposal in September 2012, I never imagined the response we would receive…Time isn’t on the side of this grand old band, so let’s commit ourselves to getting this done by Halloween.  Our proposals will not be a panacea for the real problems confronting AM broadcasters.  But they will help.  For example, I’ve heard from numerous AM broadcasters desperate for FM translators.  That’s why we need to move forward with an FM translator window designed for AM broadcasters.  If the FCC acts soon, that window could open next year.  In addition to asking for comment in our NPRM on specific proposals, the Commission also solicited other ideas on how to improve the AM band, both in the short term and the long term.  And we received many suggestions from station owners, engineers, and listeners.  We need to sort through them and figure out which ones merit action and which ones need further study.  Beginning this summer, I plan to hold a series of meetings with stakeholders to discuss these proposals.  And I invite you to participate.  If you have an idea for revitalizing the AM band, don’t be shy. It’s not too late to tell us what you think.”  Regarding the cross-ownership rules, Pai is realistic about what can be accomplished, stating, “Unless the courts intervene, I see no prospect that the FCC will bring all of its media ownership rules into the 21st century in the next couple of years.  But I do see a glimmer of hope when it comes to the newspaper-radio ownership ban.  The Commission has signaled an openness to getting rid of this anachronism.  And as the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu put it, ‘a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.’”

wcpt logoNewsweb Radio to Change Programming on Two Chicago FMs.  The programming on two of the four stations currently airing Newsweb Radio’s progressive talk programming will cease and begin airing a Polish-language format under a time-brokerage deal.  Chicago media writer Robert Feder has the story and he reports WCPT-FM, Arlington Heights at 92.7 and WCPQ-FM, Park Forest at 99.9 will begin airing the Polski.FM-branded format on June 2.  Newsweb Radio president Charley Gross tells Feder the move will allow the company to focus progressive talk on its 820 AM flagship, 92.5 FM (which covers mainly the western suburbs and northwest Illinois) and its webstream while providing a source of revenue from the other two stations.

sagaSaga Communications Net Income Down 9%.  Although the company’s net operating revenue was up by 0.8% with $29,423,000 realized in the first quarter of 2014, net income for Saga Communications was down 9% from $2,949,000 in 2013 to $2,439,000 this year.  Saga’s long term debt dropped from $58,828,000 during the same period in 2013 to $46,078,000 in 2014.

millerstephanieOdds & Sods.  Changes in weekend programming at Cumulus Media’s news/talk KSFO, San Francisco put an end to Barbara Simpson’s weekly show…..Clear Channel adds a little FM strength to the market coverage of news/talk WRVA, Richmond.  The formerly dark translator W253BI, licensed to Glen Allen, Virginia at 98.5 FM, gives WRVA more potential coverage in the northern part of the market…..The “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” presented by WYD Media nationally syndicated talk media personality Stephanie Miller rolls into Albuquerque for a show at Popejoy Hall on Saturday, May 10.  Miller, along with fellow performers John Fugelsang and Carlos Alazraqui, will also do a show in Minneapolis on June 7.

sciannapaulScianna Named BRN Director of Communications & Marketing.  That is a brand new title for Bott Radio Network and the one landing it is Paul Scianna, founder/executive director of the first Missouri-based Family Policy Council associated with Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council.  Bott Radio Network president and chief executive officer Rich Bott states that, “This new role is consistent with the exciting growth of Bott Radio Network and will help facilitate our continuing expansion and use of new media platforms to better serve our listeners and broadcast ministry partners.  Paul has been a longtime friend of the Bott family, and he has a passion for the mission, vision, and values of BRN. Paul will have a key role in serving our listening audience, broadcast ministry partners and business sponsors, as well as engaging community leaders, pastors and our associates as we implement new ways to advance our vision of getting the word of God into the people of God.”  Scianna comments that he is “excited and humbled” to join BRN “at this point in the organization’s 52-year history.  Bott Radio Network has established a strong foundation on which we can build to fulfill its vision of broadcasting the timeless message of hope.”  Scianna previously was vice president of the college testing company ACT; manager of internal corporate communications for Sprint; and senior vice president of corporate and public affairs for the PR firm Fleishman Hillard.

wsjdealawardgroupEnjoying the Accolades.  The staff of The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “WSJ This Morning with Gordon Deal” poses with their Excellence in Financial Journalism Award received from the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA) which recognizes reporters from the national and local press whose work was published, posted or broadcast in 2013 and contributed to a better and balanced understanding of business or financial topics.  The “WSJ This Morning” crew was honored with one of only 11 awards given by the organization for the program’s coverage of the government shutdown.  Pictured here (from left to right) are: Mike Gavin, Gina Cervetti, Deal (holding the award) and Dave Duncan.

Obama WH Correspondents’ Dinner Speech, Mid-Term Election Prognostications, Russian Aggression in Ukraine, Rice Withdraws from Rutgers Speech, and Clean Air Act Battle Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/5).  Criticism of President Obama’s highly political speech at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner; the most recent polls indicating Democrats may suffer losses in the mid-term elections in November; continued aggression in Ukraine by pro-Russian forces; former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice withdraws from her speech at Rutgers University; and the political battle over the Obama Administration’s restrictions on power plant emissions as part of the Clean Air Act were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, February 17, 2014

| February 17, 2014

wgwg logoWGN-Programmed FM Debuts Today as Sports Talk ‘The Game 87.7.’  Chicago media writer Robert Feder has the scoop following Friday’s announcement that Tribune’s WGN, Chicago will LMA WKQX-LP at 87.7 beginning today.  Last week Feder tipped us that Jonathon Brandmeier would do mornings when Tribune begins programming the station, but now he informs us the station will be thewgnlogo market’s first FM sports talk station branded “The Game 87.7.”  In addition to Brandmeier in mornings, the rest of the lineup will be: current WGN evening sports host David Kaplan and Chicago Tribune sports columnist David Haugh in middays, followed by WGN’s Alex Quigley and Big Ten Network’s Howard Griffith hosting an early afternoon show.  Former WMVP personality Harry Teinowitz and Spike Manton will host late afternoons with WGN’s Mark Carman hosting the evening show.  Overnights will feature programming from NBC Sports Radio Network.  WGN’s Jordan Bernfield will serve as full-time sports reporter.  Making the move over to the FM from WGN, Kaplan is giving up his “Sports Central” show on WGN and late night host Pete McMurray is bumped into the 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm slot.  Read Feder’s entire column here.

vitalejill‘Flirty Flipper’ Returns to WABC to Produce ‘Curtis & Kuby.’  It’s a return to the studios at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York for Jill Vitale (a.k.a. Flirty Flipper) who served as Sean Hannity’s producer beginning in 1999 when he was a local NYC-only show.  During her time there she also produced John Gambling’s program before leaving in 2011.  Now, she returns to produce the midday show featuring Curtis Sliwa and Ron Kuby.

kevt logoTucson Talk Personality Jim Parisi to LMA KEVT.  Market talk radio pro Jim Parisi is taking over the operation of One Mart Corp.-owned KEVT under an LMA and is re-branding the former Spanish music station as news/talk radio outlet “Power Talk 1210.”  Tucson Weekly reports Parisi will serve as general manager in addition to hosting the 7:00 am to 10:00 am program.  Other personalities will include Providence, Rhode Island-based Steve Kass for 5:00 am to 7:00 am and John C. Scott for the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm program.  Fox Sports Radio Network programming will air in evenings and on weekends.  Parisi tells the paper, “I’ve come to a point that the only way to be happy is doing what I believe in.  I’m not doing anything that doesn’t reflect how I truly feel, so it will be the most genuine station I can be a part of.  We should have more local programming than most anyone in town.  We want to be as local, but as budget conscious, as we can so that we don’t go away.”

knbrlogoKNBR, San Francisco Takes Beating Over Olympics Coverage.  When Cumulus Media-owned sports talk outlet KNBR, San Francisco cut away from its coverage of the U.S.A.-Russia men’s hockey game during the shoot-out (which the U.S.A won!) to air “Hooked on Golf,” critics took to the internet to blast the station for the move.  The sports media critique site AwfulAnnouncing called the station out and posted a series of Tweets from fellow critics.  One Tweet came in from a Ryan Covay, who appears to be a KNBR staffer, saying, “I’m @ryancovay at home, not at station.  I imagine it’s because there are specific shows that need to air.  Apologies.”  It’s not been confirmed by KNBR but it appears the “Hooked on Golf” show is a brokered show that broadcasts live from a golf course in San Mateo.  That could explain the decision to cut away.

johnsondaniXtreMEDIA Expands Dani Johnson Show to Daily Format.  More than two years ago, the Dani Johnson show debuted on weekends on premier affiliate WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer.”  Now, the program moves to a daily format beginning today (2/17) and Johnson’s program will be available seven days per week.  XtreMEDIA states that “Johnson’s brand of ‘No Excuses, Just Results’ is now heard/seen in more than 66 million television householdsXtreMedialogo nationally, heard in more than 112 terrestrial radio markets, cleared on SiriusXM, and streamed/accessed by hundreds of thousands of social media users on her wesbite, social media pages, and her proprietary smartphone app.  And now she is accessed seven days a week.”  Johnson adds, “I can’t believe how much fun I’m having doing a daily show.  My true desire is to continue to help push people to achieve results in all areas of their lives, so that they can take back control, build financial resources, build stable marriages and families, and ultimately feed orphans and help those who need it most.”  XtreMEDIA CEO Kevin McCullough comments, “Dani connects with people — especially in this hyper-partisan environment — in ways that few people can.  The beauty of her show is that it doesn’t matter where you are on the spectrum of success, if you apply exactly what she shows you, you achieve better results.”

nrb logoMichael Harrison to Speak in Keynote Session at National Religious Broadcasters Convention.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will serve as a keynote speaker next week at the NRB International Christian Media Convention 2014 in Nashville.  The event, which runs February 22-25 and is preceded by a one-day Digital Media Summit on February 21, is billed as an event that networks thousands of Christian communicators, from program producers to authors, pastors to engineers, directors to vendors presenting outstanding internationally known speakers and musicians and giving attendees the opportunity to attend numerous educational sessions on radio, TV, film, church media, internet and leadership, and receive helpful industry training.  Harrison, whose two-hour session will take place on Monday, February 24 at 2:00 pm, states, “I am really looking forward to participating in this event and spending time getting to better know people from the faith-based sector of the radio and media industries.  It will certainly give me the opportunity to embellish one of the key points of my own personal view of what radio needs to do to be a viable and productive entity in the digital era – and that is to never miss any opportunity to be a hero…to literally serve the community… to spread hope and inspiration…to talk about the many crisis and challenges facing people in everyday life and help them cope.  I recommend this course of action to all broadcasters – but this is a community where it is already proven to be a winning strategy.  I am honored to be a part of this event.”  The conference will take place at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville.  For more information please click here.

rothmanloriOdds & Sods.  On the Fox Business News cable TV simulcast of Cumulus Media NetworksDon Imus show, Lori Rothman is the new business news update reporter.  TVNewser reports that Rothman is moving into the morning role after serving as part of the early-afternoon “Markets Now” crew.  She’s joining FBN’s Connell McShane and Dagen McDowell…..Clear Channel names Brent Henslee operations manager for the company’s six-station Macon, Georgia cluster that includes sports talk WPLA “Fox Sports 1670” and all-comedy WIBB…..KCRW, Santa Monica personality Matt Miller announces he will run as a Democrat for the seat in Congress being vacated by the retiring Henry Waxman.  Miller is co-host of “Left, Right & Center” on the public radio station.  He’s also a columnist for the Washington Post.  Several Democrats are competing in the primary for the party’s nomination to run in the general election.

hendersonangeloDetroit Media Personality Angelo Henderson Dead at 51.  WCHB, Detroit talk show host Angelo Henderson passed away on Saturday (2/15) at age 51 after an illness.  The Radio One Detroit cluster issued the following statement on the WCHB website: “We at Radio One Detroit are devastated by unexpected news today.  We regretfully must confirm the passing of one of our on-air icons Angelo B. Henderson.  Henderson has been with Radio One Detroit for 15 years and was the host of the popular talk show “Your Voice with Angelo Henderson” on Newstalk AM1200/99.9FM WCHB for the past 6 years.”  Vice president and general manager Kathy Stinehour adds, “Angelo was a strong pillar in the community, I am saddened by his untimely passing and he will be greatly missed by the entire Detroit community and his Radio One Detroit family.”  In addition to his broadcasting work Henderson was a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

| January 29, 2014

journalbroadcastgroupTom Langmyer Promoted to VP/GM of Journal’s Milwaukee Radio Ops.  Radio programming and management pro Tom Langmyer rises to vice president and general manager of Journal Broadcast Group’s Milwaukee operations.  In this new post he’ll oversee news/talk WTMJ, adult hits WLWK “94.5 The Lake” and thelangmyertom company’s radio sports play-by-play operations in Milwaukee.  Langmyer, who’s served as VP/GM of WGN, Chicago; VP/GM of KMOX, St. Louis and vice president of news/talk programming for CBS RADIO, to name a few, came to Journal as vice president, news/talk programming in August 2013.  His promotion comes as Journal EVP – Radio Steve Wexler moves into that new role and away from his day-to-day general manager role to focus on Journal’s 35-station radio division.  Wexler comments, “Tom is a trusted leader with a well-known track record of success.  Our radio stations are in excellent hands with Tom at the helm.  Tom has already made significant contributions to our company, and I’m thrilled to have a broadcaster of his caliber running our flagship stations.” Langmyer will continue to support Journal’s spoken-word stations as vice president of news/talk programming.

wls-am logoWLS, Chicago Re-Tools 5:00 pm Hour.  As detailed in a column by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Cumulus Media Windy City news/talk WLS-AM will end the sports-focused 5:00 pm hour of the Roe & Roper show after today’s broadcast.  The “89 WLS Sports Pregame Show” during which Roe Conn and Richard Roeper are joined by “Fox 32” sports anchor Lou Canellis ends after a year during which Feder reports “listeners tuned out in droves.”  Under new operations manager and program director Peter Bolger, the drive time hour will revert to news/talk programming.  Read Feder’s column here.

goldenmikeawardThe ‘Golden Mike’ Awards Set for February 24 in NYC.  The annual black-tie fundraiser presented by the Broadcasters Foundation of America takes place on Monday, February 24 at the Plaza Hotel in New York with an all-star cast of guests and performers.  This year’s “Golden Mike Award” honors BMI president Del Bryant.  This annual gala is one of the biggest fundraisers for the BFoA – the charity that helps TV and radio professionals whose lives have been affected by serious illness, accidents, and other life-alteringschiefferbob circumstances.  The evening will be hosted by Bob Schieffer, the acclaimed anchor and moderator of CBS’s “Face the Nation.”  Entertainment will feature the legendary Kris Kristofferson, recent recipient of a GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award and a Country Music Hall of Famer who ranks kristoffersonkrisamong the most versatile of American talents.  Also joining the program in honor of Bryant is culinary and home style expert Sandra Lee, who will be a presenter.  The evening is also attracting famed singer/songwriters from rock to country, including Michael Bolton and Mac Davis.  Bryant has spent more than four decades at BMI, working with singer/songwriters and broadcasters alike.  He played the leading role in re-engineering and modernizing BMI’s royalty distribution system.  Bryant directed the implementation of the structure introduced in 1987 as part of an aggressive writer acquisition campaign that marked a sharp turn-around at BMI and attracted many of the best new writers across key genres of music.  Heralding from a musical family, Bryant is the son of noted songwriters Boudleaux and Felice Bryant, who penned such classics as “Bye, Bye Love,” “Wake Up Little Susie,” and “All I Have To Do Is Dream.”  The Broadcasters Foundation of America has distributed millions of dollars in aid to hundreds of broadcasters who lost their livelihood through a catastrophic event, debilitating disease, or unforeseen family tragedy.  Individual membership is only $150 a year and can make a difference in the life of a colleague who has fallen on desperate times.  Donations can be made as a personal gift to the Foundation and corporate contributions are accepted through the Angel Initiative.

sekoffroySekoff to Keynote NAB Show Disruptive Media Conference.  At the Digital Media Wire-co-produced Disruptive Media Conference segment of the coming NAB Show in Las Vegas, Huffington Post founding editor Roy Sekoff will present the keynote address on Wednesday, April 9.  Sekoff’s keynote will address how the rise of online video and viewers’ growing desire to engage with content is significantly impacting programming, distribution and advertising in media and entertainment.  Before helping to launch HuffPost and HuffPost Live, Sekoff was a writer and on-air correspondent for Michael Moore‘s “TV Nation.”  His writing has appeared in numerous publications, including The Village Voice and The London Times.  Sekoff is a frequent guest on a wide-range of TV and radio shows, including MSNBC and Fox News.  The Disruptive Media Conference, produced in partnership with Digital Media Wire, gathers professionals who oversee the digital and interactive divisions within their companies to explore developments in online video, mobile and branded entertainment.

charestbrettAmerican Target Network Expands Radio Initiative.  The American Target Network “creates unwired media networks that deliver flexible, customizable national, regional and local advertising buys at deeply discounted rates.”  The company announces it is expanding its radio initiative by hiring Brett Charest as vice president of radio networks.  Charest was most recently media buying director at Barrington Media Group.  He began his career in radio at Hartford’s WMRQ-FM and then moved into marketing and promotion with Clear Channel, where he was responsible for four stations.  Charest then jumped to the agency side, becoming operations manager at Mediaworx LLC.  ATN vice president of ad sales Kevin Hayes states, “With Brett’s strong experience in packaging results-oriented radio campaigns with major market radio stations and national ad agencies, he is the ideal executive to lead American Target Network’s radio expansion.  He has established himself as one of the foremost experts on the direct marketing side of radio, and we know that his relationships, strategic planning and astute buying expertise will open the doors we need to create a new level of leadership in this arena.”  Charest will operate out of American Target Network’s West Coast office and be primarily responsible for network development and affiliate relations.

micscarfOdds & Sods.  A new podcast is being offered by Sports USA featuring sports agent Leigh Steinberg.  Sports USA president Bob Moore says of the new “Leigh Steinberg on Sports,” “Leigh is an American sports icon and the preeminent sports agent of all time.  His experiences over more than 40 years working with America’s top athletes will power this exciting weekly show. ‘Leigh Steinberg on Sports’ will cover anything and everything about sports, the personalities involved, and the most important issues of the day.”…..That “boing” sound from your spring-loaded mic stand bothering you?  “Freedom Feens” co-host Michael W. Dean has a quick solution (see photo): “Wrap a scarf around the springs of a microphone scissor arm to prevent ‘boing!’ sounds from leaking into the mic when you move it.  Plus it looks totally rock ‘n’ roll, kind of 70s freeform FM music radio. Plus, visual cues can inspire shifts in talk style.  An influence of 70s freeform FM music radio can be fun and useful in talk radio.”

WW1graymanningMedia Day at Super Bowl XLVIII.  As America gears up for Sunday’s game, Tuesday saw the players and the media converge during Media Day.  Pictured here is WestwoodOne Sports reporter Jim Gray (left) interviewing Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (right) for broadcast over the radio network.  While it looks like Gray and Manning are having a good coxmohrsportsconversation, Media Day is often looked at as drudgery by the players and a source for very little new or insightful commentary from the media’s perspective.  Fox Sports Radio’s Jay Mohr decided to challenge his crew to have some fun with it as they tried to inject as many “Jay Mohr Sports sound drops” into their questions for the players as possible.  Anchor Dan Beyer and associate producer Matty Cox (pictured here at right interviewing Denver Broncos linebacker Wesley Woodyard) competed to see who could sneak the most sound drops into their conversations.  Phrases such as “dead giveaway,” “that’s terrific,” “Long Liland,” “New York City” (accent included), and “Jonathan Quick – there’s a reason why that is his last name.  What’s that for?  Because he’s quick,” were used.

State of the Union Address, Winter Weather, ObamaCare Rollout, Financial Markets Activity, Immigration Legislation, and Super Bowl Run-up Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/28).  The anticipation of the president’s State of the Union Address; the cold and snow hitting the Midwest, South and East; criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; activity in the world’s financial markets; immigration reform legislation that includes amnesty for illegal aliens; and the run-up to Super Bowl XLVIII were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio on Tuesday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

| October 31, 2013

wpht logoJared Hart to Program WPHT, Philadelphia.  CBS Radio Philadelphia announces Jared Hart is joining the company to program news/talk WPHT “Talk Radio 1210” beginning November 11.  Hart is currently assistant program director and producer of the Ronn Owens program at Cumulus Media’s KGO, San Francisco.  The move reunites Hart and WPHT morning drive host Chris Stigall who worked together at KCMO, Kansas City when Hart was Stigall’s producer.  CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield states, “Jared is part of a new breed of aggressive talk radio programmers.  We are thrilled to welcome him to WPHT.”  Operations manager Andy Bloom adds, “It’s exciting to bring in somebody with Jared’s vast range of experiences.  He’s going to be a terrific addition to the WPHT programming brain trust.”

wnfzwkvl logoJohn Pirkle Expands Talk Radio in Knoxville.  The talk radio programming heard on WKVL, Knoxville is now also being heard on John Pirkle-owned FM signal WNFZ at 94.3 and the simulcast is being branded “KnoxTalkRadio.”  The programming features the “Rude Awakening” morning show with Mike Howard and David “Shyne” Thompson and well as the local sports talk PM drive program “The Drive” with Russell Smith and Richard Daugherty.  Syndicated shows include independently syndicated Dave Ramsey, Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck, Sean Hannity and “Coast to Coast AM” plus WestwoodOne’s Herman Caine and Genesis Communications Network-distributed Alex Jones.  In a one-sheet targeted to local advertisers, Pirkle and sales manager Chuck Borchard tout the strength of the two signals and reference their history building strong local brands such as WOKI-AM/FM and former market talker WNOX-FM.

cbslogoCBS and Nielsen Cooperate on Cross-Platform Measurement Study.  The two companies announce that they are working together in Nielsen’s first-ever trial to measure cross-media campaigns on local television and radio.  The trial will focus on combining CBS local TV audience data with CBS Radio nielsen logoaudience data to “build a foundation that measures unduplicated reach and time spent across both media.  In addition, the trial will measure reach and frequency for campaigns that run on both local TV and radio. The test results will expand local media planning analytics and develop more robust inputs for marketing mix modeling.  As this pilot test develops, Nielsen intends to open participation across a wider group of clients for the benefit of the industry.”  CBS chief research officer David Poltrack says, “In today’s multi-platform advertising environment, it is not enough to set full campaign reach and frequency targets.  The advertiser must distribute the exposure to their message over time – and in a manner that assures that each potential purchaser is exposed to that message in a consistent manner before each purchase occasion.  With our strong combination of television and radio stations in major markets and the extension of these local stations over online and mobile platforms, CBS is uniquely positioned to provide advertisers with the combination of market penetration and controlled frequency distribution needed to optimize the return from their media investments in these markets.  Armed with this new cross-platform, local market custom analysis, each advertiser will be able to use these powerful media to their full potential and both TV and radio stations nationwide will benefit.”  The test will combine data from Nielsen’s Local People Meter panel with data from the newly acquired Nielsen Audio’s PPM panel to provide the cross-platform measurement. Results will be shared in late Q1 2014.  Earlier this year, Nielsen announced the successful completion of a two-week technical trial with CBS aimed at capturing and measuring viewing of television content on mobile devices using Syncbak technology.

mcneildanWSCR, Chicago Sports Talk Personality Dan McNeil Taking Time Away.  The situation at CBS Radio’s sports talker WSCR was first tipped to us by Chicago media writer Robert Feder who reported that midday personality Dan McNeil let the station know on Monday that he would not be reporting for work due to what colleagues are saying are personal and family problems.  McNeil – who works alongside Matt Spiegel on the program – has been out since then.  Lawrence Holmes has been taking his place.  Feder reports that Spiegel tweeted: “For the many asking, Mac is physically fine.  And this is not a repeat of a prior event.  He’ll update you when he wants to. Not my place.”  Spiegel is referring to McNeil’s absence from the station in 2012 during which he underwent treatment for depression and substance abuse.

lagojimTalk Host Jim Lago Battles Sudden Hearing Loss.  KKXT, Corpus Christi morning drive talk host Jim Lago is working with his doctors to treat a sudden loss of hearing that happened to him on October 16.  Lago’s doctors are not sure what has caused the almost complete loss of hearing accompanied by a constant ringing sound he hears but as of today (10/31), Lago is wearing hearing aids and reports on the station’s website that everything sounds different and says, “First day of wearing hearing aids. Bionic Hearing, artificial ears not sure it’s all it’s cracked up to be.” Lago is still able to do his radio program but says when having a conversation he has to concentrate very hard on listening to the other person.  Obviously, Lago is not the first talk show host to deal with hearing loss.  Rush Limbaugh was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder that took away his hearing several years ago.  He received cochlear implants and wears hearing aids to this day.

saverytripTrip Savery Returns to Curtis Media to Head Up Raleigh-Durham Market.  Prior to joining Greater Media’s Charlotte cluster to serve as VP and station manager at news/talk WBT-AM/FM and hot AC WLNK (including the Bob & Sheri Radio Network), Trip Savery was SVP and market manager of Curtis Media’s WQDR and WWMY in Raleigh.  That curtis media group logowas almost four years ago and now Savery comes back to Curtis to serve as EVP of Curtis Media Group and market manager for the Raleigh-Durham properties – including country WQDR, news/talk WPTF, rock WBBB, Spanish WYMY, and comedy WFNL – starting November 7.  Savery says, “I am thrilled to return to my radio roots in Raleigh to work again with Don Curtis and my many friends at Curtis Media Group.  At the same time I want to thank Peter Smyth and Rick Feinblatt for the tremendous opportunity they have provided me at Greater Media Charlotte over the past three and a half years.”  Don Curtis adds, “Trip is one of North Carolina’s brightest, young broadcast executives.  In addition to his recent experience of managing Charlotte’s top two stations, he has good knowledge of our company and its people.”

tuneinlogoTuneIn Now Carries 100,000 Radio Stations.  Digital audio content aggregator TuneIn announces it has surpassed the 100,000-station mark – what it calls “the most radio stations ever in one place.”  In addition to the domestic stations available via TuneIn, the service has also been adding international content including live sports content from Germany’s Bundesliga soccer league as well as Korea’s MBC and France’s RFI.  TuneIn boasts a reach of 40 million monthly active listeners, its app available in more than 50 vehicle models and on over 200 connected devices.

deanmichaelwProtect Your Podcast Rights.  “Freedom Feens’ co-host Michael W. Dean writes about the current legal issue facing all podcasters – the demand for money from podcasters by the holder of a patent inherent in the technology that podcasters use.  Dean advises those concerned to check out and air a public service announcement designed to help support the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s fight against what it terms a “patent troll” in this case.  As Dean says, podcasters including the likes of Adam Carolla have been served with demands for fees for using the patent-protected technology that allows podcasting to take place and applies to any and all current or future podcasters.  Read Michael W. Dean’s entire piece here.

thomaslindaKIRO-FM, Seattle’s Linda Thomas Hosts Social Media Seminar for Local Businesses.  The 90-minute luncheon is called “Zero to Social in 90 Minutes” and “The Morning News on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM” co-host Linda Thomas is hosting the lunch presentation and panel discussion taking place on November 18.  The station says it will teach local businesses how to grow in today’s ever-changing world of social media.  The seminar will review the current social media landscape, best practices, tips and insight on quality content that drives attention and return-on-investment through social media.  Thomas states, “Businesses of all sizes want to connect with customers through social media.  Many businesses tend to hesitate because they don’t know where to begin with social media.  This seminar will create a game plan.  Our all-star panel will reveal social media steps and strategies to help any business connect with current customers and discover new ones.”  Guests include: digital marketing pro Shauna Causey, The Fearey Group president Andrew Blank and KING-TV social manager Evonne Benedict.

madisonjoeOdds & Sods.  SiriusXM personality and longtime activist Joe Madison is tackling the Washington Redskins name controversy issue with a special two-hour roundtable broadcast tomorrow from 7:00 am to 9:00 am (with encore airings to follow).  The program promises to represent a multitude of perspectives both pro and con the team’s name.  Some of the 20 or so panelists will be: ESPN’s Kevin Blackistone, WOLB, Baltimore’s Butch McAdams, USA Today sports reporter Christine Brennan, The Nation sports reporter Dave Zirin, WAMU, Washington’s Michael Lee Pope, USA Today columnist Jarrett Bell and Washington Post columnist Mike Wise…..AdLarge Media extends its agreement for adlargelogoexclusive national advertising sales representation of Sports USA’s live play-by-play coverage of NFL and NCAA football through the 2014 season.  Sports USA president Bob Moore states, “The team at AdLarge understands how to create customized packages for advertisers that maximize the benefits of our live sports play-by-play coverage and sports programs.  We are looking forward to continued success from our partnership.”…..After announcing his departure from Business TalkRadio Network last week, Jon Patch says he’s now distributing his “Talkin’ Pets” program via Genesis Communications Network.  He’s also seeking his next gig in affiliate relations and programming.  Reach him at 813-888-5043 or jonpatch@talkinpets.com…..The NFL’s Chicago Bears are looking into creating the team’s own content to air on an HD channel on CBS Radio’s WCFS as the current contract between the two allows.  Team president Ted Phillips tells the Chicago Tribune that they understand the HD radio penetration is not that high yet due to the relatively small number of radios in the market and they would have to consider if the cost of producing programming is worth it.

stocktononESPNJohn Stockton Visits ESPN’s SVP & Russillo.  The studios of ESPN’s “SVP & Russillo” program were graced by former NBA All-Star John Stockton who appeared on the program to talk about hoops.  Pictured here in the studio (from l-r) are: Stockton, Danny Kanell (who was subbing for host Scott Van Pelt) and Ryen Russillo.  Photo: Rich Arden/ESPN Images

ObamaCare Rollout and Website Problems, NSA Spy Controversy, Benghazi Cover-up Allegations, Financial Markets Activity and World Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/30).  The effects of the rollout of ObamaCare and the hearings on Capitol Hill about the website problems; the NSA’s spying on world leaders; the allegations of cover-up by the Obama Administration over the Benghazi incident; activity in the world’s financial markets and the Red Sox-Cardinals World Series were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, August 26, 2013

| August 26, 2013

ktrsKTRS, St. Louis at Center of Skirmish Over Texas Governor Rick Perry’s Industry Recruitment Blitz.  CH Holdings-owned news/talk stations KTRS, St. Louis is making national news after station manager Mark Dorsey canceled an ad campaign bought by the state of Texas that sought to convince Missouri businesses they’d be better off moving to the more industry-friendly Texas where “businesses flourish and jobs are created.”  Dorsey posted a statement on the KTRS website saying, in part: “When the order was placed, KTRS was under the assumption these commercials were going toperryrick promote tourism to Texas.  Once we, the management of KTRS realized these commercials were instead focused on stealing locally owned companies away from St Louis, we suspended airing these commercials immediately.  We understand people have different viewpoints on public policy and we welcome that debate everyday on our airways.  But as one of the few remaining locally owned radio stations in the country, we feel the need to stand strong with other small locally owned businesses and defend our region.  Governor Rick Perry, Don’t mess with Missouri, and don’t mess with St Louis.”  In the ad, Perry criticizes policies of the Missouri governor and state legislature, accusing them of being less friendly to business.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the ads are running on radio and TV stations in St. Louis and other Missouri markets as Perry prepares to visit the region this week.

nielsen logoReport: ESPN at Center of Nielsen-Arbitron Deal.  The New York Post reports today that Disney-owned ESPN could be the media company that has the biggest say in whether the Federal Trade Commission approves Nielsen’s $1.26 billion purchase of Arbitron.  At issue here is the multi-media use of Arbitron’s PPM in which – via Project Blueprint – ESPN is licensing the technology to measure audience consumption of its product overarbitron television, radio, smartphones, tablets and computers.  The Post reports that sources tell it, “The license expires soon, and the ability of ESPN to squeeze a promise from Nielsen that it will be able to continue to license the software is likely integral to the merger getting federal approval.”  The FTC’s concern is that if the new Nielsen-Arbitron owns both the old set-top box methodology for rating television and the PPM technology for on-the-go measurement, there will be little ability for competitors to emerge.  The FTC is expected to decide this week whether to challenge Nielsen’s purchase of Arbitron.

digilionickNick Digilio New Overnight Host on WGN, Chicago.  Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that longtime WGN, Chicago part-time personality Nick Digilio will assume the overnight talk host position beginning September 4.  Digilio takes over for Bill Leff who moves to the daylight hours co-hosting the new 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program.  Digilio will also host the 8:00 pm to 12:00 midnight Saturday show.  As Feder reports, Digilio first appeared on WGN in 1985 on Roy Leonard’s midday show to talk about movies.  It developed into a regular segment and then into part-time work.  As a way of paying back his mentor, Digilio will have the now-retired Leonard on his Saturday program in a regular segment to talk about movies.  About his new position with Tribune’s WGN, Digilio tells Feder, “I couldn’t be more thrilled.  And I really want to thank everyone who has supported me through the years.”

limbaughrushRush Limbaugh Announces New Deal with Cumulus; Will Move to WOR, New York in January.  Confirming what many in the industry have been expecting all along, Rush Limbaugh announced on his radio program Friday that Premiere Networks, EIB and Cumulus Media agreed to terms earlier this week to renew his program for three more years beginning in January of 2014 and running through the end of 2016.  He told listeners that the one change would be his move from Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York to Clear Channel’s crosstown WOR, New York beginning in January.  Limbaugh’s program is currently heard on 35 Cumulus Media-owned stations.

laymandickWHO, Des Moines Newsman Dick Layman Dies Suddenly at 59.  Morning drive news anchor Dick Layman served with Clear Channel’s WHO, Des Moines for the past 16 years.  He died Friday, August 23 suddenly and at this time it is not known publicly what the cause of death was.  WHO news director Jim Boyd posted the news of Layman’s death on the WHO website and wrote about Layman, in part: “Dick was also from the old school of broadcast journalism.  The school that said ‘confirm and reconfirm the facts’ before they would be put into a story for you to hear.  He cared about content and quality.  But he also was someone who could take the most complicated of stories and boil them down to the bare fact so you could understand it…and to do so at times in 20 seconds or less…There is a hole right now in the WHO Radio Family…a hole that won’t close easily and there is a chair in our newsroom that will be very, very difficult to fill.  That’s what happens when you have a man the caliber of Dick Layman on your team.  Our prayers go out to his wife, Janet, and daughter Meredith.”

kxro logoTyler Media to Debut Sports Talk ‘107.7 The Franchise’ Today.  According to Oklahoma City online publication The Lost Ogle, Tyler Media’s plans to bring a new sports talk outlet to the city will become reality today around 2:00 pm when KRXO flips from classic rock to sports talk.  The lineup will be largely local and is reportedly as follows: “The Show” with Steely, Lump and (John) Rohde; “The Mid-day Mayes” with Sam Mayes; “The Gee Men” with Kelly Gregg and Erik Gee; and “Casillas & Company” with Tony Casillas and David Garrett in PM drive.  The station will be an NBC Sports Radio Network affiliate.  Oklahoma City has about seven other sports talk outlets in and around the market including Cumulus Media’s WWLS-FM “The Sports Animal.”

conwayetalWHO, Des Moines PM Drive Host Simon Conway Producer Changes.  Afternoon drive host Simon Conway (r) reports that his long-serving producer Andrew Downs (l) is moving to the cluster’s sister sports talk station KXNO where he’ll serve as assistant program director.  Taking over for Downs is Des Moines native Jenna Wizenburg who moves back to the market from Florida.  Conway states, “I always said I had the best producer in the building.  Andrew has rightly been recognized and although I will miss him, he richly deserves this opportunity.  I have worked with Jenna before at WFLA, Orlando and I’m excited as we begin this adventure together.”

gallagherannieMike Gallagher to Shave His Head for Fallen Officers Fund.  Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher is preparing for his role in the South Carolina Children’s Theatre Production of “Annie” (he’s pictured here in the Greenville Journal with lead actress Georgia Kay Wise).  Gallagher decided that instead of going with a skull cap for the role as the chrome-domed Daddy Warbucks, he would shave his head on Wednesday at Frank’s Gentleman’s Salon on Coffee Street in Greenville if listeners put up $5,000 or more via his Gallagher’s Army Fallen Officers Fund which provides grants to families of police officers killed in the line of duty.  The goal was reached and Gallagher will play the role with an authentic pate when the show opens on September 6.  Photo courtesy of the Greenville Journal.

hendricksoncaseyOdds & Sods.  Retired NFL coach and executive Mike Holmgren will make regular in-studio appearances on KJR, Seattle’s Mitch Levy program this season.  Holmgren, who left his general manager position with the Cleveland Browns after the team changed owners, still resides in Seattle after coaching the Seahawks for 10 seasons…..Blaine Thompson’s Indiana Radio Watch reports Federated Media’s WOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne adds the “Casey Hendrickson Weekend” program to its lineup in place of “Fox News Sunday.”  Hendrickson hosts the PM drive show on Federated’s WTRC-AM, Elkhart, Indiana and WTRC-FM, Niles, Michigan.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

| June 6, 2013

nms2013logoFINALLY, IT’S HERE!  Talkers New York 2013 Takes Place in the Big Apple Today (6/6).  The 16th annual installment of TALKERS magazine’s annual convention takes place in New York City today.  Featuring a roster of more than 55 speakers, the event formerly known as “The New Media Seminar” has been sold out since May 1 – a record-breaking 37 days in advance.  The entire agenda will be broadcast live and raw in real time on TalkersRadio between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm today.  To access TalkersRadio, click here.  To see the latest up to-the-minute agenda, click here.  “We are very pleased to be able to broadcast this event on TalkersRadio,” says publisher Michael Harrison, “especially since it was such an early sellout.”  Harrison adds, “This will be the first official broadcast on TalkersRadio, our new internet streaming talk radio station.  It will give our readers, who could not attend, a gavel-to-gavel ear on the proceedings.  We are excited to do this.”  TalkersRadio is powered by Backbone Networks Corporation.  Check with Talkers.com for complete coverage of the conference.

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CBS Corp. Announces Joseph Ianniello Named COO.  CBS Corp. president and CEO Leslie Moonves announces chief financial officer Joseph Ianniello has been named chief operating office for the company.  In this new role he’ll still hold financial operation responsibilities but will join the negotiating team on content deals with pay TV and streaming providers.  In a statement, Moonves says, “He’s been a game-changing CFO, but he’s also so much more than that.  He is a tough negotiator, a great manager, and someone who brings energy, passion and a great sense of teamwork to anything he does.  He is also someone who has developed incredible trust and admiration on Wall Street, with our shareholders, our board of directors and my superb senior management team, of which he is an integral part.  I am proud to promote Joe to this new position, which not only recognizes the many contributions he has already made, but sets him up for all the great work yet to be done.”

rosenmitchMitch Rosen Sticks with WSCR, Chicago.  Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports he spoke with sports talk WSCR, Chicago program director Mitch Rosen about the rumor he was going to be the next program director at WGN, Chicago and that Rosen is not interested in the job.  Feder writes that Rosen says he was approached by new WGN president Jimmy de Castro about the position but doesn’t want to leave “The Score.”  Rosen states, “I was flattered by the interest at WGN.  I’m grateful for the team we have here, and I continue to grow this brand that is 21-plus years old.  I love what I do.  I love working at The Score.”  Programmer Bill White was let go from his PD post at WGN earlier this week.

weei logoWEEI, Boston Announces Summer Hoops Show.  Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston announces the debut of “Celtics Summer Cooler,” a new program hosted by Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell that will air on Saturdays from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm beginning June 8 and run through September 28.  WEEI says, “Grande and Max comprise one of the longest-running broadcast teams in NBA history, having called over 1,200 games between them, and have been the voices of the Celtics since 2001.  This new show will provide Celtics fans with the most comprehensive news and analysis of the team, from the draft to the summer league and right up to training camp. Listeners can expect to hear from Celtics front office personnel, players, beat writers and columnists, and national media members from around the league.  Entercom Boston VP of programming and operations Jason Wolfe says, “This is going to be the most interesting offseason for the Celtics since 2007 when Danny pulled off the big trades for KG and Ray Allen. Celtic fans deserve a show that will be devoted to the team’s efforts this summer, and no one knows the strategy better than Grande and Max.”

radiomercury1Radio Mercury Winners Celebrated.  The 22nd annual reception for the Radio Mercury Awards took place at the Highline Ballroom in New York City on Wednesday, June 5.  This year’s Best of Show Award was given to Barton F. Graf 9000 LLC for their radio campaign, “A Long Day of Childhood” for Ragu/Unilever.  Pictured here (from l-r) are: Bill Cimino, Y&R Midwest; Dave Suarez and Danny Gonzalez, Barton F. Graf 9000 LLC; Erica Farber, RAB; and Gerry Graf, Barton F. Graf 9000 LLC.  This year’s event was produced by the Radio Advertising Bureau and presented by Clear Channel Media & Entertainment.  Speaking about the Best of Show winner, Y&R Midwest chief creative officer Bill Cimino said, “The work from Barton F. Graf 9000 was the standout radio creative, especially the Ragu campaign, and the Integrated Little Caesars campaign.”  Cimino served as chief judge for this year’s Radio Mercury Awards. RAB CEO Erica Farber stated, “All of tonight’s winners epitomize the level and standard of excellence that we always hope to award at the Radio Mercury Awards.  These winning spots and campaigns are true testaments to radio’s ability to engage consumers, build brands and inspire the next generation of creative minds.”

kzonvolleyKOZN, Omaha Welcomes Volleyball Champ.  NRG Media’s KOZN, Omaha “1620 The Zone” recently welcomed U.S National Indoor Volleyball team member Foluke Akinradewo to the studios where she was part of the station’s “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” program.  Akinradewo won the gold medal and the MVP award at the 2010 FIVB World Grand Prix.  Pictured here are (from l-r): KZON producer Josh Peterson, co-host John Bishop, Akinradewo, and co-host Mike’l Severe.

NSA Phone Records Seizure, Child Lung Transplant Case, IRS Scandal, Eric Holder Under Fire, Dow Drops Below 15,000, and Susan Rice-Samantha Power Appointments Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/5).  The court ruling mandating Verizon turn over Americans’ phone records to National Security Agency; the case of a 10-year-old lung transplant patient; the deepening IRS scandal; Attorney General Eric Holder under fire for DOJ actions; the Dow sinks below 15,000 in anticipation of jobs report; and President Obama’s appointments of Susan Rice and Samantha Power were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, March 15, 2013

| March 15, 2013

ksco logoKSCO, Santa Cruz Is an Independent Talker that Flies in the Face of Corporatism.  The news/talk radio station in question is not owned by a hedge fund or multi-billion dollar conglomerate.  Nor is it in debt.  Its ownership group doesn’t occupy the top floors of a big-city skyscraper.  You will not see the morning or afternoon show brandishing seven-figure contracts, nor the corporate PD flying into town on the company Lear jet, or the “brand manager” moving from market to market implementing new strategies to grow the market cluster.  The fact of the matter is none of the above elements – which have become somewhat commonplace in today’s radio industry – exist at this station.  10k KSCO (1080 AM) is located in Santa Cruz, California, in a neat stand-alone building (that also houses its smaller sister station KOMY 1340 AM – a facility that its owner uses as a developmental farm club) on a piece of land that overlooks the Pacific Ocean.  It would be the envy of any real estate developer in a town known for its college, its beach and boardwalk, liberalism, the state park land and forests that surround it, and is an 80-minute drive from San Francisco.  KSCO is also one of the last “mom & pop” radio stations left in the United States.  It has not only survived the Telecommunications Act of 1996, it has thrived despite consolidation based upon several key factors, including vision by its family ownership, a shocking format change by a chief competitor, along with a non-traditional revenue approach, and a solid and real commitment to a local audience.  To understand KSCO, how it operates and its success, you have to understand the people who run the highly successful news/talk station.  TALKERS correspondent Jeff McKay writes a special feature about a special station.  To read it, click here.

gardneralAl Gardner Gone from WWIQ, Philadelphia Morning Show.  At Merlin Media’s WWIQ, Philadelphia “IQ 106.9,” morning co-host Al Gardner is out and, though TALKERS has not had a response yet to its inquiry from management about the move, chatter in the Philly radio scene is they want to take the morning show in a less “conservative” direction.  Morning show co-host Lionel and news director Michelle Murillo are still listed on the station’s web page, but it’s unclear what the station’s plans are for the future of the daypart.

mcnabbdonovanNBC Sports Radio and Dial Global Name McNabb and Malone PM Drive Hosts.  Six weeks after teasing the former NFL quarterback would be part of the NBC Sports Radio Network 24/7 lineup, it’s announced Donovan McNabb, andmalonemark another former NFL QB Mark Malone, will pair up for the network’s 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm program called, “Under Center with McNabb & Malone” beginning April 1.  Mark Malone has been serving as an analyst for Dial Global Sports‘ Sunday afternoon NFL package and he also hosts “NFL Insider” each week.  Dial Global EVP/GM Chris Corcoran says, “We’ve got two quarterbacks, two leaders, two competitive former professional athletes and two current media personalities who know all sports – you know this is going to be a fun ride for sports fans!”

wind logoSalem Chicago Confirms New Joe Walsh Show.  As Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reported last week, one-term Republican Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh begins a new 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm talk show on Salem Communications’ WIND beginning Monday, March 25.  General manager Jeff Reisman states,walshjoe “There are few politicians in Illinois or anywhere in the country that garner as much attention as Joe Walsh.  Joe is an outspoken defender of freedom, and because of his firsthand experience in Congress, he brings a unique perspective to the national conversation as our country searches for answers during these challenging times.”  Walsh’s arrival bumps Salem Radio Network’s Hugh Hewitt to the 2:00 am to 5:00 am slot.  Feder quotes Walsh saying, “We’re at a crucial point in this country, and I’m excited to take the debate right to listeners throughout Chicagoland via the airwaves.  The radio program will be a great platform to help grow a freedom movement which is already gaining momentum right here in Illinois.  I intend to do with this program what I did as a U.S. congressman — speak plainly, speak directly, not worry about political correctness, and engage in respectful, engaging debate with all viewpoints.  This is just too important of a time for all of us to do anything less.”  Walsh’s agent tells Feder if things go well the show could go national.

grandephil‘Phil’s Gang’ Returns to Denver on KRCN.  The nationally syndicated business talk show “Phil’s Gang” – hosted by nationally recognized investor and entrepreneur Phil Grande – returns to the Denver airwaves on KRCN 1060 “The Biz” at 1:00 pm beginning Monday, March 18.  Radio Colorado Network general manager Les Haber states, “We are excited and very pleased that Phil Grande is back in Denver because he is one of the best investment talk show hosts in the country.  Phil Grande brings insightful information that is very current and very cutting edge to an audience that will benefit from his program.”  Grande’s show is independently syndicated to stations across America and he describes his program as providing “all the information that Wall Street and the government doesn’t want you to know.”

wzgc am showCBS Radio’s “92.9 The Game” Atlanta Adds Kristen Ledlow to AM Drive Show.  The five-month-old Atlanta CBS Radio sports talker brings Kristen Ledlow aboard the “Opening Drive” morning show with Rick Kamla and Randy Cross.  Ledlow takes over for CJ Simpson who leaves the program to be the in-game host of the WNBA’s L.A. Sparks broadcasts.  Ledlow comes to the station after serving as the Southeast field reporter with Fox Sports NEXT in Atlanta.  She’s also worked as television host and sideline reporter with ABC News in Tallahassee and as co-host on ESPN Radio in Tallahassee.   WZGC program director Terry Foxx states, “We were very fortunate that Kristen was available.  She has tremendous passion, an incredible personality and a love for sports.”

fisherhouselogoFisher House Foundation Offers Second Annual Memorial Day Program for News/Talk Stations.  For the second year in a row, the three-hour “A Grateful Nation” program is being offered for broadcast by news/talksladescott stations this Memorial Day weekend.  The program is a project of the Fisher House Foundation which provides no-cost housing and other support for the families of wounded warriors while their loved ones are being treated at military and VA hospitals.  The radio special debuted last year as a one-hour program, but was expanded to a three-hour format in its second year due to popular demand.  The program includes profiles of several wounded warriors who have overcome serious injuries to build full and happy lives.  It also looks at how today’s America remembers her fallen heroes and cares for the loved ones left behind.  It’s hosted by Scott Slade, award-winning host of “Atlanta’s Morning News” on Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/FM.  Slade states, “It’s so important that we continue to remember and support our volunteer military and their families.  These folks make incredible sacrifices to protect our freedom and keep us safe.  I’m honored to tell their stories.”  Produced by Bloomquist Media and distributed by Premiere Networks, interested stations can get more information and sign-up for “A Grateful Nation,” by contacting Kurt Kretzschmar at 602-374-6351 or kkretzschmar@premiereradio.com.

russilloryenRussillo and Ryan Come Off the Bench for Celtics Broadcast.  ESPN Radio personality Ryen Russillo and Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan will sub for Cedric Maxwell alongside Sean Grande in the radio booth for WEEI, Boston’s broadcast of Saturday’s Boston Celtics vs Charlotte.  Russillo co-hosts ESPN Radio’s SVP & Russillo show.

oneamerica logoHerring Broadcasting and The Washington Times Partnering on New Conservative Cable News/Talk Channel.  Various media reports indicate a new conservative-slanted cable TV news/talk channel is scheduled to hit cable systems beginning around July 1, 2013.  Deadline.com reports it’ll be called One America News, and be a combined effort of The Washington Times and Herring Broadcasting, owner of WealthTV.  President Charles Herring is quoted saying his family’s company has invested “hundreds of millions of dollars” into the San Diego-based media outlet that will broadcast a combo of news and conservative talk and expects to be available in about 10 million to 20 million homes to start.  The story also quotes Herring saying he plans “to open up another front and give independents, libertarians and all kind of different voices under the conservative umbrella an opportunity to express themselves.”

wilderchuckChuck Wilder Returns to CRN Digital Talk Radio Show.  Veteran radio host Chuck Wilder will be back behind the mic of his “Talkback with Chuck Wilder” program on March 18 on CRN Digital Talk Radio after being on medical leave since late January.  With Wilder out, a number of top radio personalities have been sitting in including: Barry Farber, Frank Morano of New York City’s WNYM AM 970, actor P.J.  Ochlan of the TV series “Castle,” Jennifer Horn, of “Doug Stephan’s Good Day,” Larry Van Aalst of CRN’s “What’s Cookin’ on Wine: Sonoma Report,” and actor and radio host Fred Dryer, among others.  Wilder says, “I’m extremely pleased to have such great talent filling in for me during my leave and I’m especially happy to hear how great our audience has responded to them in the interim.   It’s been a great experience to listen to the show these last two months, but I’m looking forward to returning to the studio and getting back to work.”  The show airs 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm PT on CRN and its affiliates across the country.

nms2013logoEclectic Group of Visionaries Set for “Big Picture” Panel at Talkers New York 2013.  The stellar roster of speakers at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2013 continues to be unveiled.  The lineup is being set for this year’s “Radio: The Big Picture” panel.  Moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, the panel’s speakers include (in alphabetical order): Jeremy Coleman, SVP/talk and entertainment, Sirius XMSteve Goldstein, EVP, Saga Communications; Ron Hartenbaum, CEO, WYD/WYM Media; Mike McVay, SVP/programming, Cumulus Media; Tom Ray, president, Tom Ray Consulting; Walter Sabo, chairman, Sabo Media; and Dennis Wharton, VP/communications, NAB. “It is always an invigorating challenge to moderate these ‘Big Picture’ panels because of the diversity of specialties brought to the table by the movers and shakers participating,” says moderator Harrison.  “The idea is to create a lightning-fast informal chat session giving serious insights to at least 15 burning issues relevant to the industry.”  Talkers New York 2013 takes place Thursday, June 6 and is on track to being an early sellout.  Because of space limitations, registration is only open to working members of the media and can only be taken via telephone at 413-565-5413.  Stay tuned to Talkers.com for more agenda details about speakers, panels, presentations and award recipients coming in the immediate days ahead.

gallagherCPAC2013Mike Gallagher Live from CPAC.  Salem Radio Network syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher is in Washington, DC broadcasting his program live from the site of CPAC 2013.  He’s pictured here talking on the air with former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich and oil industry expert Scott Noble about energy policy.  CPAC 2013 takes place through this weekend.

Sequestration and Budget Battle Stay Atop Talkers TenTM for Fourth Straight Week.  The debate in Washington over the sequestration and the nation’s budget deficit and national debt was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  Coming in at #2 was the naming of Pope Francis as leader of the Catholic Church.  At number #3 was the costs of the Affordable Health Care Act followed by North Korea’s military threats 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 published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s chart here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

| April 25, 2012

Feature Series – Part 2:  Walter Sabo on Finding and Nurturing FM Talk Talent.  In the second of a four-part series for TALKERS on building a successful FM talk station, Sabo Media president Walter Sabo writes that the best FM talk hosts come from the ranks of successful music jocks.  “I look for talent who have invested their time doing excellent radio taking advantage of a strong format.  A great CHR jock has remarkable broadcasting skills.  He/she is taught the importance and necessity of getting to the next event.”  Sabo says talent must be willing to prep two hours for every hour they are on the air and that matching this type of host with a skilled radio programmer presents the best opportunity for great success with targeted talk on the FM band.  Read part 2 of this series here.

KMBZ, Kansas City Names Jonathan Weir Late Morning Host.  The search for a new late morning talk host at Entercom’s KMBZ, Kansas City began when Chris Merrill took a talk host position at Clear Channel’s KOGO, San Diego earlier this year.  Merrill’s been doing double duty while the search was on.  Now, KMBZ program director Jack Landreth announces Jonathan Weir comes aboard to host the 9:00 am to 11:00 am show.  “Jon’s enthusiasm and unique approach to his audience instantly drew me in as a listener first.  His ability to weave his life experiences into the fabric of the show is a real quality that endears him to his listeners.”  Weir comes from Entercom’s WSKY, Gainesville, Florida where he was producer and co-host of “The Drive Time Happy Hour” program.  Weir, a St. Louis native, states, “I couldn’t be happier to be joining such a landmark station in the Midwest.  I’m inspired and so thankful to everyone at KMBZ for giving me this incredible opportunity.  I look forward to the challenge of living up to the incredible standards set by KMBZ, and the chance to be close to my family again is a great bonus.”  Weir begins his new gig on April 30.

Talk Legend Barry Farber to Receive TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award.  Talk show host Barry Farber, still heard regularly on both Talk Radio Network and CRN Digital Talk, has been named the 2012 recipient of TALKERS magazine’s annual “Lifetime Achievement Award.”  The venerable host, named in 2002 and 2010 by TALKERS as one of the most important radio talk show hosts of all time, has been performing regularly scheduled talk shows on radio since 1960 when he started a groundbreaking program on WINS, New York.  He is credited by historians as being one of the seminal pioneers and architects of today’s talk radio.  Farber, also a prolific and accomplished author, has a new book coming out this summer titled Cocktails with Molotov: An Odyssey of Unlikely Detours (WND Books).  The award will be presented to Barry Farber by Michael Harrison at the forthcoming New Media Seminar in New York City on Thursday, June 7.  This event, nearing a sellout, is open to members of the working media only.  For registration information call 413-565-5413.

Merlin Media LMAs Third Chicago FM Signal.  Merlin Media is agreeing to lease the signal of Venture Technologies Group-owned WLFM-LP, Chicago at 87.7 on the dial to program and sell advertising on it.  Of course there’s a ton of speculation about what Merlin will do with the low-power smooth jazz outlet.  According to the Chicago Tribune, the station has been faring well with the smooth jazz format – garnering a 1.6 share in the March PPM.  Since the deal was announced, news from Merlin’s FM News 101.1 has begun airing on the station.  Though the Tribune notes Randy MichaelsRadioactive LLC has applied for the WKQX-FM call letters of the former alternative rock station (now FM News 101.1) and that’s leading to rumors the station will flip to alternative rock.  Program director and midday host Rick O’Dell confirms via the station website that a format change will take place Monday (4/30) but doesn’t say to what.

Rodney King Visits Rev. Al Sharpton.  The 20th anniversary of the verdict in the case of the Los Angeles police officers accused of beating motorist Rodney King is Sunday, April 29.  The acquittal of the four officers sparked the riots that consumed part of the city for days.  King (pictured here at left) visited Syndication One talk show host Rev. Al Sharpton to discuss the historic event and his new book, The Riot Within: My Journey from Rebellion to Redemption (HarperOne 2012).

Steve Dahl Reduces Staff at Podcast Venture.  New-tech broadcasting models are subject to the same economic forces that affect terrestrial radio and Chicago’s Steve Dahl is making changes to keep his podcast initiative going.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports the Chicago radio legend let three staffers go recently — technical producer Pete Zimmerman, assistant technical producer Jim Ruffatto and assistant Stephanie Fallara – in order to continue operating in a way that works for him.  Dahl wrote on his blog, “It was not a decision I came to easily, but I think that it was the right move for the show.  I know when I am not growing as an entertainer and I know what I need to do to keep that process moving forward.  It’s ‘The Steve Dahl Show, and that at some point is the brand that I need to protect, not only for my own creative integrity, but in order to support my family.”  Dahl recently added two staffers – Dag Juhlin, director of creative services and Eric Drogoszewski, marketing/operations director – to his subscription-supported venture.

Backstage in Phoenix.  Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk star Glenn Beck (third from right) poses for a photo with KFYI, Phoenix hosts and staffers backstage at the Phoenix stop on his “Unelectable Tour II” on Friday, April 20.  Beck is hitting the road this spring bringing his standup comedy routine to audiences in Southern and Southwestern cities.  Pictured here with Beck are (from l-r): KFYI GSM Jim Wilson, KFYI early morning host Jim Sharpe, KFYI PM drive host Mike Broomhead, Beck, KFYI program director Neil Larrimore, and Mike Broomhead show executive producer Andrew Fountaine.

2012 Presidential Race, North Korea Nukes Test, Euro Zone Jitters, Secret Service Scandal and SCOTUS Hears AZ Illegal Immigration Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/24).  The presidential campaign and Mitt Romney’s Northeastern states primary sweep; North Korea’s threat to test nuclear weapons very soon; economic sluggishness in the euro zone; more dismissals in the Secret Service hooker scandal; and the Supreme Court’s hearing of the Arizona illegal immigration legislation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

| February 7, 2012

Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey Addresses “Inherently Inefficient” Nature of Old-Line Media Business Model in Bain Capital News Story.  The chief executive officer of the second largest radio station operator in America is one of several Atlanta-based business executives to speak to the Atlanta Journal Constitution about his business and the role private equity firm Bain Capital played in its progress.  The piece ran Sunday (2/5) online and in print and was written from the perspective of giving insight into Bain Capital – the company formerly run by presidential candidate Mitt Romney.  However it also probes the nature of corporate radio as it rides the rough surf of an economic downturn and a dramatically changing media business – complete with layoffs and job consolidation.  The story notes Cumulus CFO Joseph Hannan explained to investors at a recent conference that they had to “wholesale re-engineer the way these operations work” in order to cut costs and that the company learned this process while working with the private equity firms.  Hannan said the company was able to cut $70 million in costs.  Lew Dickey tells the AJC the business has to work that way to survive.  He says old-line media companies have become “inherently inefficient.  We run the business as efficiently as technology permits us to do.”  Interestingly, Bain Capital took a loss on its involvement with Cumulus.  Cumulus ended up buying out Bain and the other private equity partners.  It worked with other private equity firms to engineer the Citadel Broadcasting deal and it remains to be seen whether that will turn out to be a wise investment for them or whether they will suffer the same fate as Bain.  Through it all, Dickey remains confident and tells the AJC he believes his company will add jobs – albeit in different sectors – during this year.  “By the end of the year, we’ll have a net increase in jobs. They’ll be different jobs.  That’s how business evolves.”

Exit of CBS Radio CHR Programmer and 92.3 Now PD Dom Theodore Fires Up Speculation About Sports or News Moving to the New York Signal.  There was big news in the CHR world yesterday as CBS Radio’s format captain and PD of 92.3 Now (WXRK-FM, New York) Dom Theodore left the building.  For those awaiting the (some say) way overdue addition of an FM signal for sports talk WFAN, this move gives them plenty to talk about.  Still others believe one of CBS Radio’s all-newsers – WINS or WCBS – could end up with an FM simulcast.  Right now it’s all guesswork but rumors that the rest of the on-air staff at 92.3 Now may have received news of its imminent demise along with Theodore’s departure have the message boards in the Tri-State area red hot with chatter.

Courtside Entertainment Group Names Rich Rapiti Senior Director of Affiliate Relations.  Longtime affiliate relations pro Rich Rapiti is reunited with Westwood One founder Norm Pattiz in his new role as senior director of affiliate relations for Pattiz’s Courtside Entertainment Group.  Rapiti will be based in New York City.  Courtside president Bob Moore says, “Rich Rapiti is a unique guy.  He has worked in the radio business his entire adult life and has mastered the art of working with radio stations in providing quality programming.  We are extremely excited about having Rich on our team.”  Speaking about his new position, Rapiti states, “I am thrilled to be the newest member of the Courtside team.  Rarely does the opportunity occur where you can work with the likes of a Norm Pattiz and his executive team.”

XEPRS, San Diego Makes AM Drive Changes; Scott Kaplan Exits, Dave Palet and Jeff Dotseth In.  After 11 years at the station, morning drive host Scott Kaplan and co-host Billy Ray Smith are out as hosts of the program.  Station VP/GM Tex Meyer says in a press release the change was made “after very careful consideration and evaluation of several important factors.”  However, many San Diego media observers are saying Kaplan’s recent unflattering on-air comments about Mountain West broadcaster Andrea Lloyd put management over the top and forced its hand.  Broadcast Company of the Americas brings San Diego market veterans Dave Palet and Jeff Dotseth in to take over the morning drive show.

WGN, Chicago Holds “Cubs Song” Contest.  Musically inclined Chicago Cubs fans are being encouraged to write a tribute song to their favorite baseball team and have the chance for it to become part of Cubs radio broadcasts all season long.  Tribune Company’s WGN – flagship for Chicago Cubs baseball – will be the judge of the winning submission for this unique promotion.  Here are the rules: Write an original song about the Chicago Cubs and e-mail it as an .mp3 file attachment to cubssong@wgnradio.com by February 29, 2012.  The lyrics must mention the Cubs and WGN Radio, but may not mention names of individual players, coaches or Cubs management.  Songs longer than four minutes will be disqualified.  You must also include your name, address, daytime phone number, e-mail address, and age in the e-mail.  Entries on behalf of a group must provide the required information for each member of the group.  WGN will post up to 10 finalists on its website and give fans the chance to vote on the winner.  The writer/performer of the winning entry will have the chance to get the song recorded in a professional studio and perform it live during Jonathon Brandmeier’s Opening Day broadcast on WGN.

WBNS-FM, Columbus Debuts “Off-Season with Bobby Carpenter.”  The NFL season is over – more or less – until the draft in April and RadiOhio sports talker 97.1 The Fan (WBNS-FM) is taking advantage of the year-round interest in the National Football League by creating a weekly, Friday afternoon show co-hosted by former Ohio State standout and current Detroit Lions linebacker Bobby Carpenter and WBNS-TV’s Beau Bishop.  Director of programming and operations Jay Taylor announces the one-hour show airs from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm featuring talk about the NFL, the upcoming draft and Buckeye football and debuts this Friday, February 10.

CNN Names Jim Acosta to National Political Correspondent Role.  The cable news channel announces Jim Acosta is promoted to national political correspondent where he’ll appear regularly on several CNN programs including “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” and “John King, USA,” according to TVWeek.  CNN SVP and Washington bureau chief Sam Feist states, “Jim has been an outstanding addition to the political team.  He has emerged as one of the key reporters on the campaign trail and his astute reporting skills will only help to position the network to dominate this important election cycle.”

CBS Radio Renews with MLB’s Phillies; Games to Air on WIP-FM.  CBS Radio’s news/talk WPHT, Philadelphia has been the longtime flagship for Philadelphia Phillies baseball and the company and team just struck a new multi-year deal to keep the team with CBS Philadelphia.  This season the games will also air on sister sports WIP’s new FM signal as well.  CBS Radio Philadelphia VP/market manager Marc Rayfield states, “It’s a very exciting time for WPHT and WIP, and this partnership with the Philadelphia Phillies only adds to the interest audiences have in these two leading radio stations.  We look forward to the future with the most thrilling team in baseball.”

Talk Host Steve Cochran Ready to Return to Action After Health Scare.  Chicago-based talk host Steve Cochran – who handles the afternoon program at Salem Communication’s WIND, Chicago and hosts the late morning program for KTRS, St. Louis (which is rerun in the evening) from his home in the Chicago area – took himself off the air last week and went to the hospital after feeling chest pains, according to Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder.  Cochran underwent some tests and was prescribed medication and reports he hopes to be back on the radio soon.  Cochran tells Feder, “The doctor said I’ll be 125 percent, which is great news unless you really hate my show.”

More TV Work for TRN’s Phil Hendrie.  Los Angeles-based, nationally syndicated talk radio personality Phil Hendrie scored a recurring role on the hit Fox TV show “New Girl.”  Hendrie says, “The entire cast and crew is so hard working, gracious and welcoming.  It’s an honor to get to work with them.”  Last year, Hendrie taped an episode of the ABC-TV hit show “Modern Family” in which he plays the recurring character “Boots.”  That episode is to air soon.  Pictured here is the cast of “New Girl” – from left to  right: Max Greenfield, Lamorne Morris, Hannah Simone, Hendrie, Zooey Deschanel and Jake Johnson.

Romney Surges in GOP Primary, Super Bowl Aftermath, Syria Violence and Closure of U.S. Embassy and New Iran Sanctions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/6).  Mitt Romney’s victory in Nevada over the weekend and his continuing lead over competitors, the aftermath of the Giants’ victory in Super Bowl XLVI, continuing violence in Syria and the U.S.’s closure of its embassy there and new sanctions levied against Iran were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

| January 26, 2012

WLS, Chicago Puts Local TV News Brothers Together for Weekend Show.  WLS, Chicago operations director Drew Hayes announces the debut of a new Sunday afternoon talk show co-hosted by local TV reporters Dan and Anthony Ponce.  Anthony Ponce works at NBC O&O WMAQ-TV as a general assignment reporter while Dan Ponce is a general assignment reporter at Tribune’s WGN-TV.  Dan also co-founded the nationally recognized a capella singing group Straight No Chaser.  Together they will recap the top national and local stories and give listeners a chance to grade the media.  “There’s always so much more to report beyond the time we have on TV.  This is the perfect opportunity to tell the story behind the story,” says Dan.  “We’re hoping to give listeners a peek into the world of Chicago journalism and hear their opinions about the week’s biggest stories and how they’re covered,” adds Anthony.  Drew Hayes states, “Dan and Anthony have enormous energy, contacts and hands-on experience with Chicago’s biggest news stories which they combine with an organic sense of entertainment.  More importantly, the Ponce Brothers bring an enthusiastic thirst for feedback giving WLS listeners a unique opportunity to talk back to the ‘news media.’”

CBS Radio Closes on Purchase from Family Stations Inc.  Less than a week after firing up its all-news format on WNEW-FM, Washington, DC at 99.1 (licensed to Bowie, Maryland), CBS Radio closes on the station that made the format shift possible.  CBS Radio bought WLWL-FM, Annapolis at 107.9 from Family Stations, Inc for a reported $8.5 million (CBS has not officially stated the purchase price) in November of last year.  That allowed CBS to move its Spanish “El Zol” format to the 107.9 frequency and debut the all-news WNEW-FM on the 99.1 frequency.

Carolyn Polke Promoted to SVP of Digital at Glenn Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts.  Glenn Beck’s production company, Mercury Radio Arts, announces Carolyn Polke is promoted to senior vice president of digital for the company she’s been with since 2006.  She is responsible for the continued development and marketing of GBTV, GlennBeck.com and Mercury’s other e-commerce initiatives.  Mercury president and COO Christopher Balfe says, “Mercury is leading the way in developing innovative digital platforms to connect with readers, viewers, and listeners around the globe.  Carolyn is an incredibly talented leader and I’m thrilled to have her in charge of building and managing our most important products.”  Polke works out of Mercury’s New York City headquarters.

WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange to Host Talk Show on RT Network.  He’s reviled in some quarters and hailed as a hero of transparency in others and soon Australian national Julian Assange will be talking with “iconoclasts, visionaries and power insiders” on a planned 10-program series produced and aired by the former Russia Today cable channel known as RT.  The network boasts a worldwide audience of 430 million people.  There is no announced start date for the program but Assange is currently under house arrest in Great Britain as he fights extradition to Sweden on sex crime charges.

Urban, Female-Targeted “Café Mocha” Program Inks Ads Sales Rep Agreement with Cumulus Media Networks.  The two-year-old, weekend syndicated variety program is currently heard in 20 markets across the country.  It’s co-hosted by Grammy-nominated artist MC Lyte, actress/comedienne Loni Love and broadcast pro Angelique Perrin.  The show was created and is produced by Sheila Eldridge who says, “It’s an exciting time for us as we grow our various brand extensions and answer the requests of our listeners to be everywhere and to go mobile.  Our new ‘Café Mocha To Go’ on-demand app has been a huge success, offering listeners’ uncut content, exclusive celebrity interviews, social commentary, on-demand music mixes by MC Lyte, and inspirational messages.  Our goal is to expand the on-air experience for listeners and increase our global presence!”  The show is a blend of urban music, interviews with celebrities and newsmakers, conversations and advice.  It’s produced by Miles Ahead Broadcasting.

Clarification.  Yesterday’s piece on Santita Jackson’s program at WVON, Chicago needs a bit of clarification.  According to Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder, Jackson’s late morning program has been off the station since December and she is working on developing a nationally syndicated program.  Midway Broadcasting chairman and WVON GM Melody Spann Cooper tells Feder, “Santita’s goal is to have a national platform and I need some time to get over a little [financial] slump.  When she rolls out on a national level, I will clear this market for her, let her use our studios and give her all the support I can give her.”

Gingrich-Romney Primary Battle, Obama State of the Union Aftermath and Euro Zone Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/25).  The fierce battle between Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney for votes in next week’s Florida primary, analysis of President Obama’s State of the Union Address and revived concerns about the economic stability of the Euro Zone were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, September 26, 2011

| September 26, 2011

Don Barrett’s “Labor of Love” Closes its Doors after 15 Years.  LARadio.com uploaded its final daily news on Saturday – actually the news was a goodbye from publisher Don Barrett.  Barrett started tracking and posting news of Los Angeles Radio People – LARP – in 1996 and his self-described “labor of love” was unique in the American radio scene: a regional radio-only news service for fans, insiders and Southern California radio history freaks.  While the service was appreciated by many current and former LARP and their fans, the times aren’t kind to a subscription-based business model and Barrett was forced to shut the daily news feeds down.  Los Angeles-based personality Doug McIntyre who hosts Cumulus Media’s nationally syndicated “Red Eye Radio” and WABC, New York’s “Talking the News,” wrote a letter to TALKERS magazine about the end of LA Radio.com published in the current print edition.  It reads:  “In radio as well as in life, change is the only thing that stays the same.  Shows get the axe, new shows try their luck, formats flip as battalion after battalion of consultants airlift in to fix mornings, tweak afternoons or transform imagining.  In Southern California, the man who kept track of it all wasn’t actually in the radio industry — he’s a movie publicist by trade — but harbored a deep love for the spoken word and those who do the speaking.  Don Barrett’s LARadio.com website was the morning must-read for 15 years in Los Angeles. Sadly, for his small army of fans, the final posting was uploaded on September 24th andLARadio.com is no more.  Focusing mostly on the Southern California radio scene, all formats were covered with countless breaking industry stories first reported by Barrett.  ‘LARadio.com was the glue that held the industry together,’ says KABC Los Angeles’ John Phillips.  ‘In an industry where people don’t get to see each other often, Don’s website created a community.’  And that community could sometimes be contentious, snarky, occasionally nasty, but always 100% real.  Barrett’s LARadio.com forum allowed radio professionals and partisans learn, leak and love the medium that has been sadly and inexplicably ignored by other media, despite the incredible reach and connection to its audience.  There are other great radio writers around America, including David Hinckley of the New York Daily News and Gary Lycan of the Orange County Register, but Barrett’s column went a step beyond reporting, it was in a way a shoulder to cry on; therapy for a community of professionals whose world was shrinking consolidation and recession and the fickle fate of changing tastes and trends.  Broadcasters down on their luck physically or financially always found a sympathetic ear from Barrett and his readers. Increasingly rare job openings were posted. Practical advice for career development or re-invention was offered on a daily basis. Profiles of working pros both on-air and off-air included put a spotlight on the many unheralded craftsmen who rarely got the respect they merited.  Making the ‘LA.Radio.com Annual Top 10 Readers Poll’ was always an honor, even though everyone knew Vin Scully would and should win. We were okay with fighting for 2nd place.  And of course, there were always rumors and personal feuds just to keep it fun.  After carrying the torch for a decade and a half, Don is ready to move on.  The Los Angeles radio community will miss our daily dose of Don, but will never forget his love for the art and craft of radio and those who make it happen.”  TALKERS is pleased to present Don Barrett as a special solo speaker at the forthcoming Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum set for October 20. At that time he will be presented with a special TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award for what publisher Michael Harrison describes as “Don Barrett’s years of unique, selfless service and invaluable contributions to the Southern California radio broadcasting community.”  Harrison adds, “All of us at TALKERS appreciate just what intense dedication such a commitment demands.  Thus, we are honored to honor one of our own.”  For complete information about the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum click here.

Elite Broadcast Panel Discusses Social Media at SMW Panel in Chicago.  Social Media Week – last week’s international four-day, nine-city conference devoted to discussing the big-picture impact of social media – included activities in Los Angeles and Chicago.  These cities represented the U.S. among concurrent activities also taking place in Beruit, Berlin, Bogata, Buenos Aires, Glasgow, Milan, Moscow, Rio de Janeiro, San Paulo and Vancouver.  The week closed in Chicago this past Friday evening with an insightful and often hilarious panel titled, “Reinventing a Media Career on Alternative Platforms.”  Panel participants included Emmy winning WGN-TV reporter, Nancy Loo; Robert Feder, the authority on the Chicago radio and television community for 28 years at the Chicago Sun Times, and now with his daily blog through Time Out Chicago; Richard Roeper, co-host of Roe/Roeper on WLS-AM, Chicago Sun-Times columnist, and former co-host of Ebert & Roeper “At the Movies.”  Completing the quartet was very-longtime Chicago talk radio host Steve Dahl who currently produces and hosts a subscription-based podcast.  Bill Adee, VP digital for the Chicago Tribune moderated the event and kept things rolling along quite effectively in spite of all the jokes and jabs among the panelists.  Some of the notable comments from this quartet of traditional media pros who have reinvented themselves to be received on alternative digital platforms include Steve Dahl stating, “CBS paid me to not work for two and a half years.  I started podcasting out of boredom for something to do.  It was either that or drinking.  I bought dahl.com in 1995 and paid a lot for it.  As a comparison, the Chicago Tribune bought their domain in 1998.  I can do my complete show in ninety minutes, vs. Roe (Conn at WLS) who takes a whole shift because of all of the commercials.  What is your time worth?  The podcast model does not support advertising because no one will sit there and listen to twenty minutes of commercials.  Content has always been king, even more so now.  Talent will win out.”  Robert Feder said, “There was a time when I had no cell phone and didn’t know how to text.  After 28 years at the Chicago Sun Times I had to learn a lot or call it a day.  I had to see media as part of the real world, get educated or get ready to take tickets at Disney World.  The Sun Times was happy with the way things were for 30 years.  You can’t depend on big media anymore.  They’re like the old Hollywood Studios that did everything.  Now we’re all independents.  Journalists have to find out where the audience is – where people are receiving their information.  Quality of content is what matters.”  Nancy Loo added, “Web metrics are as important as broadcast ratings.  Generation Z has never picked up a newspaper…all their info is from tablets and phones.” Loo then raised the question, “17% Twitter vs. 80% on Facebook — are twitterers the more influential crowd, the media elite, those with the ability to get their point across in a concise, clear fashion?”  Roeper shared his perspective: “I acquired the richardroeper.com domain in the late 90’s after a series of frustrating conversations with Disney who was reluctant to do original content on their website.  I activated it when I left “Ebert & Roeper” and in 2008 started tweeting from the Oscars.” Regarding people who comment, he asked, “How much time do these people have on their hands?  My favorite is YouTube because you get the global idiocy like the kid from Finland who wants to kill you because you gave ‘The Green Lantern’ a bad review.”  (Story covered for TALKERS by Beverly Padratzik)

Report:  Sports Talk War in Boston Hits WEEI’s Glenn Ordway in the Wallet.  A report in the Boston Globe states WEEI, Boston “Big Show” co-host Glenn Ordway took a big hit in the paycheck recently after a clause in his contract was exercised by Entercom that allows it to reduce his compensation based on the program’s ratings.  According to the piece, Ordway’s salary has been almost halved from its $1 million annual level.  Many programmers and talent are paid bonuses for hitting certain ratings goals but, according to the Globe report, sources say Ordway’s contract had a clause that allows the company to cut his pay if the show’s ratings dropped out of the top three in the Men 25-54 demographic in the Boston PPM.  It’s not clear how often the ratings are calculated for this purpose as Boston gets PPM ratings monthly, but the Globe’s report appears based on the seasonal Arbitron “books.”  It states “The Big Show” was #5 in that demo in the Spring Book.  CBS Radio’s WBZ-FM has given WEEI competition in the sports talk format in which it previously enjoyed a monopoly since signing on in August of 2009.  Ordway’s contract was signed in January of that year.

YouSendIt to Launch Half Million Dollar Talk Radio Advertising Campaign.   YouSendIt, Inc. – a leading business content collaboration service – has announced it is embarking upon its first national radio advertising campaign designed to reach professionals who listen to a wide range of talk radio programs while they commute.  The campaign utilizes five leading talk personalities who will share their own personal experiences using YouSendIt and recommend it to their listeners.  The campaign will run from today until the end of the year.  Participating hosts include Howard Stern, Sirius Satellite Radio; Jim Rome, Premiere Networks; Mark Levin, Cumulus Media; Neal Boortz, Dial Global; and Stephanie Miller, Dial Global. Sandra Vaughan, chief marketing officer of YouSendIt, tells TALKERS, “YouSendIt is well known for its file transfer service, but today we offer much more. By leveraging a proven medium such as radio, we are able to introduce our business content collaboration services and mobile application to a broader audience. Listeners will enjoy hearing how these radio personalities are using our new services.”

Westwood One Gets into the Web Content Game.  With its new WestwoodOneSports.com, the syndicator begins competing directly in the consumer content business with a website that offers sports fans network exclusive radio audio.  The company states the new site “features pregame interviews with coaches and players, exclusive online commentary from Westwood One broadcasters, including Boomer Esiason, Jim Gray, James Lofton, Terry Donahue, Eddie George, Mark Malone, Tony Boselli and more. In addition, WestwoodOneSports.com features broadcast schedules, announcer bios and a station finder to help fans locate local stations airing Westwood One Sports broadcasts.”  Other attractions include Tom Brady’s Monday Night Football pre-game conversation with Jim Gray, 1995 Heisman Trophy-winner Eddie George’s “Heisman Watch,” Hall of Fame wide receiver James Lofton’s interview with a fellow Pro Football Hall of Famer on “Legend to Legend,” and College Football Hall of Famer Terry Donahue’s coach’s perspective on NCAA Football in “T.D.’s Extra Point.”

Michael Savage’s Abuse of Power Debuts at #4 on NYTimes Bestseller List.  Talk Radio Network star Michael Savage’s new fiction thriller debuted at #4 on the New York Times Bestseller List this weekend. Abuse of Power (St. Martin’s Press 2011) – the story of a “smeared network journalist who uncovers a terrorist plot” — is Savage’s first novel.  He’s written 26 books over the course of his career with eight bestsellers to his name.  The book’s protagonist – Jack Hatfield – is a hardened war correspondent who’s “smeared as a bigot and extremist by a radical leftist media-watchdog group, he ultimately loses his job and finds himself working in obscurity as a freelance news producer in San Francisco.”  It is there he uncovers a terrorist plot that sets the story in motion.  Savage has said he used his experience being banned from Britain by former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith as a catalyst for his book.

CBS Radio’s WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia Deals Programming to Atlantic City Outlet.  Longport Media’s WBSS, Atlantic City and CBS Radio’s WIP-AM/FM Philadelphia have a deal in which the former is airing WIP’s programming 24/7 as the station flips from news/talk to sports.  The change took place on Friday (9/23).  There are no details on the financial structure of the deal.

Orlando’s Shannon Burke Goes “Internet Only.”  The former WTKS-FM, Orlando talk host – who served time on a weapons charge that cost him his job at the Clear Channel hot talk outlet – is leaving his current terrestrial radio job at Star Over Orlando-owned WEUS, Orlando to host the PM drive time slot on RadioIO.  He’ll be on the “Bubba’s Army” video channel, the same on which Bubba the Love Sponge’s program is distributed in morning drive.

Sage Analysis.  WNDB, Daytona Beach talk show host Marc Bernier (l) covers the Fox News/Google GOP candidates debate with expert analysis from Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol (r) on his afternoon drive program.  Bernier was part of the radio row at the event held in Orlando, Florida.

 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

| September 7, 2011

Larry King to Address Breakfast at “Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum 2011.”  Some of the most important names in American talk radio will be assembling for six power-packed hours of give and take at what is aptly being described as a “new kind of industry gathering.”  Now the addition of one of the most legendary of the legends brings the roster of heavyweights over the top as Larry King signs on as the special breakfast speaker for “Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum 2011.”  The first of its kind event is being presented by TALKERS in conjunction with the Los Angeles Press Club on Thursday, October 20 between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm. Organizers report that as of 4:00 pm ET yesterday the free (including continental breakfast and lunch) mega-regional event has reached capacity for reservations.  However names of attendees will still be taken for a standby list on a first-come basis.  (The event is open only to members of the working media and press.)  Some 30 speakers have been recruited including keynoter Bill Handel, morning host of KFI, Los Angeles; and special guest solo speakers Norm Pattiz, CEO, Courtside Entertainment; Don Barrett, publisher, LARadio.com; and Holland Cooke, consultant, McVay/Cook Media.  Moderators, panelists, presenters and introducers include (in alphabetical order):  Cliff Albert, KOGO, San Diego; Robin Bertolucci, KFI, Los Angeles; Kevin Casey, TALKERS; Chris Crump, Comrex Corporation; Skip Essick, KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; Charles Feldman, KNX, Los Angeles; Jessica Gillette, C. Crane Company; Michael Harrison, TALKERS; Roger Hedgecock, KOGO, San Diego/Radio America; Jason Insalaco, KFI, Los Angeles; Mike Kinosian, TALKERS; Tom Leykis, The New Normal; Don Martin, KLAC, Los Angeles/Fox Sports Radio; Doug McIntyre, KABC, Los Angeles/Citadel Media; John McMullen, Desert Radio Group, Palm Springs; Stephanie Miller, KTLK, Los Angeles/Dial Global; Bill Moran, Bill Moran & Associates; Patt Morrison, KPCC-FM, Los Angeles/Southern California Public Radio; John Phillips, KABC, Los Angeles; Josefa Salinas, Hot 92.3, Los Angeles; Jack Silver, KABC, Los Angeles; Dave Sniff, KFMB, San Diego; Doug Stephan, Stephan Multimedia; H. Leighton Steward, Plants Need CO2; Chuck Tyler, KRLA/KKLA, Los Angeles; and Jeff Wasserman, Life Coach Media.  TALKERS managing editor Kevin Casey states, “This event has taken off like a rocket. It is extremely gratifying to see so much interest in this new concept. Part of its charm and appeal is its intimacy.  That being said, if we don’t cut off registrations at this point we’ll have to move it from the Los Angeles Press Club at the Steve Allen Theater to the Staples Center.”  For further information, click here.

Cox Media Group Birmingham Makes Offer to Paul Finebaum.  Birmingham-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum’s legal action against employer Citadel probably won’t be settled in the very near future, especially since recent attempts to settle the dispute out of court appear to have failed, but he may have a place to go if he leaves Citadel’s WJOX-FM.  The Birmingham Business Journal reports CMG Birmingham GM David DuBose has made an offer to Finebaum to join his new sports talk WZNN-FM should his separation from Citadel be legally executed.  Finebaum is in a battle with Citadel over compensation and contract language.  TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman recently wrote about the case and you can read that here.  DuBose tells the Journal of the conditional offer, “Cox certainly is interested in Mr. Finebaum, but it is all contingent on his release from his existing contract or from a court order that his contract is no longer valid.”

Governor David Paterson Hits Ground Running on WOR, New York.  If local is the goal with the hiring of former New York Governor David Paterson on Buckley’s WOR, New York, he accomplished that yesterday.  He hosted the two candidates for former Congressman Anthony Weiner’s job on his first program after taking over for Steve Malzberg in the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot.  Bob Turner and David Weprin appeared for an in-studio debate.  Former Governor Eliot Spitzer and former NYPD and Los Angeles Police Department commissioner Bill Bratton also joined Paterson yesterday.

Salem Communications Announces October 3 Start for Steve Cochran on WIND, Chicago.  Longtime WGN, Chicago talk show host Steve Cochran – let go from the Tribune station in June of 2010 — will begin his 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm air shift on Salem’s crosstown WIND on October 3, according to Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder.  Cochran’s joining the station was announced last month but a start date was not announced.  Cochran currently holds two air shifts at CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis – 10:00 am to 12:00 noon and 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm – and Cochran says he’ll continue both but, obviously, something has to give with the 6:00 pm hour at KTRS.

Steve Gill Show Adds Local Hour to WLAC, Nashville Program.  The Steve Gill show is nationally syndicated via Radio America from its base at Clear Channel’s WLAC, Nashville from 5:00 am to 8:00 am.  Beginning Monday, September 12, the program adds the 8:00 am to 9:00 am hour on WLAC only.  Gill says, “We are thrilled to add an extra hour in morning drive that allows us to provide more local talk and listener interaction.   Additionally, we will continue to provide the A-list guests, commentary and remote broadcasts that we always have.  The combination of national impact and local availability to our affiliates is what sets us apart from other syndicated shows and we will provide more local emphasis in the Nashville and Middle Tennessee areas with the additional hour.”

Premiere Networks’ Andy Dean Gains Major Market Clearance.  Premiere’s “America Now” with Andy Dean clears WSB, Atlanta and 95.5 FM.  Prior to gaining national syndication through Premiere Networks, Dean hosted the nightly overnight program on the Cox Media Group station.  WSB, program director Pete Spriggs says, “Andy just breaks through.  He’s extremely smart and informed, but there’s also a great flippant sense of humor to go with all the incredible content.  You can’t stop listening.  His potential is really unlimited.”

Tony Bruno Returns to WPEN-AM/FM, Philadelphia.  Bruno left the midday show he co-hosted with Harry Mayes back in June to concentrate on his Fox Sports Radio syndicated late-night “Into the Night” show.  Now, WPEN-AM/FM announces Bruno returns to his place alongside Mayes (12:00 noon to 2:00 pm) on October 3.

 

Westwood One Snags Tom Brady and Larry Fitzgerald for National Broadcasts.  Westwood One spices up its pre-game show broadcasts with commitments from Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald to appear for weekly interview segments with Jim Gray during NFL games.  Brady will appear weekly during Monday Night Football pre-game broadcasts and Fitzgerald will also make weekly appearances during broadcasts of select games.  Gray says, “We have the best quarterback and the best wide receiver in the NFL joining us now every week.  In fact, they could be the best two players in the league, period, and we will be the only ones to have them both on a regular basis.  I am looking forward to a great season.”

Arbitron Promotes Two.  Jon Miller is upped from his post as an embedded account manager for CBS Radio to director of programming services where he’ll be the primary resource for radio programmers.  Jenny Tsao moves from PPM market manager to programming and marketing operations manager where she’ll develop training content, presentations and studies to help Arbitron’s clients better understand and utilize the company’s services to make programming decisions.

Obama Jobs Plan, European Economic Turmoil and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/6).  President Obama’s plan to announce his jobs creation package before a joint session of Congress tomorrow, the uncertainty over European economic stability and the effect on U.S. financial markets were three of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

“Ay Dios Mio, FIU!” That’s former CNN personality Rick Sanchez in the booth as color analyst for Florida International University’s football broadcasts (from video posted on the Chicago Tribune’s website).  Sanchez is working the broadcasts without compensation (his two sons attend the school) but reviews of his initial performance were largely positive.  Some say he was a bit too exuberant in his praise of the home team but his knowledge of the game and professional broadcaster technique added to the broadcast.  He even came with his own catch-phrase for the game, “Ay dios mio, FIU,” which translates to, “Oh, my God, FIU!”  FIU has a large number of students of Hispanic heritage.