Sean Hannity Broadcasts from Israel. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar (and Fox News Channel prime time personality) Sean Hannity broadcasts his Premiere Networks-syndicated radio program from a radio station in Tel Aviv (left) while touring Israel to report on the conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Hannity will host his show from Israel again today (8/5) before returning to the United States. Premiere reports that on his program Hannity has been reporting on numerous aspects of the conflict including “the Iron Dome anti-missile technology protecting the country from militant rockets, the Hamas tunnels used to capture and kill Israelis, what life is like there under constant threat, and more.” At right, Hannity (center, in denim) is pictured standing on a military-style bulldozer interviewing Israeli troops near the Gaza border.
Dr. Joy Browne Returns to the Air in NYC. Formerly based at crosstown WOR, New York (and syndicated from Buckley Broadcasting’s old WOR Radio Network for many years), Dr. Joy Browne is now heard in New York again via Salem Communications WNYM, “AM 970 The Answer.” WNYM VP and general manager Jerry Crowley says, “Joy is a consummate radio pro. Her show was consistently one of the most talked about shows on WOR. Her voice was prematurely silenced across the street, as was John Gambling’s, and it is my pleasure to allow her many fans to find her again.” Browne’s show is currently syndicated via Radio America. She comments, “I am beyond thrilled to be back on the air in New York and working with John Gambling and Jerry Crowley and Lou Dobbs again makes it feel like coming home. We have been besieged by listeners who wanted to know where I went and how to find me, and now they will know.” Salem Communications market VP Phil Boyce adds, “The talk radio format is nothing without superstars who have built that unique bond with their audience. Not all stations understand that anymore, so we are able to make that happen on our New York stations. The addition of Joy Browne proves that.”
Trimmer to Program WRVA and WRNL, Richmond. Moving from Clear Channel’s Rochester, New York cluster where he programmed news/talk WHAM and sports talker WHTK “Sports 1280,” is Aaron Trimmer who heads south to the company’s Richmond, Virginia station group to serve as director of programming for news/talk WRVA and sports talk WRNL-AM. Trimmer – a Richmond native – takes over for PD Jimmy Barrett who now focuses on his WRVA morning drive hosting responsibilities.
Entercom Q2 Revenue Dips 1%. Considering the recent Q2 financial reports by some other broadcasters, the 1% drop in net revenue could be considered a plus. Entercom’s revenue was $100.2 million during the second quarter of 2014. The company reported that free cash flow decreased 21% to $15 million. Entercom CEO David Field states, “Revenue declined 1% from the prior year as results were impacted by sluggish business conditions during the quarter. Operationally, we continue to focus on developing our powerful local brands, content and digital capabilities and building our new SmartReach Digital division. These efforts are enhancing our value to listeners and customers and raising our growth potential. Broadcast radio fundamentals are strong with growing, massive audience reach and a superior ROI to competitive forms of media.” Entercom reduced its outstanding debt by $4.1 million (net of cash) during the quarter. As of June 30, 2014, the company had $7.1 million in cash and $489.8 million of senior debt and senior notes.
Pandora Eyeing Talk and Sports Formats. In an interview with Sonali Basak for Bloomberg, Pandora CFO Michael Herring hints the company is planning to add talk and sports talk content to its service, though the type of content and when it might appear on Pandora is not known at this time. Herring points to the popularity of talk and sports by commuters in autos as the reason for his company’s interest in the formats. “Music’s an important piece of radio listening in the car, but if there’s a place where spoken word is also equally, and more important really, it’s in the car…As the car becomes more important, thinking about other types of content that are important for the car becomes more critical. That’s why Sirius spends so much money on Howard Stern, sports and news.” Basak reports that Pandora is currently available in about 33% of cars while SiriusXM can be accessed in about 71% of autos. Usage by Pandora listeners in cars rose from about 2.5 million people during the second quarter of 2013 to about 7 million during the second quarter of 2014. Read the entire Bloomberg piece here.
Hofstra University’s WRHU Named College Station of the Year. The student-operated station WRHU, Hempstead, New York “88.7 FM Radio Hofstra University” has been named the best college station in the country, according to The Princeton Review. The publication rates colleges in America and, as part of that, also ranks college radio stations. Hofstra University’s WRHU came in #1 this year after being ranked #5 last year. The station is the flagship radio outlet for the NHL’s New York Islanders since 2010 and is the first and only college radio station to have an exclusive broadcasting agreement with a professional sports team. WRHU is a finalist for a prestigious 2014 Marconi Radio Award from the NAB as the top non-commercial station in the country. The station’s reporters have won top honors from the New York Associated Press Association, the Press Club of Long Island, the Society of Professional Journalists and New York Women in Communications. TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison, who began his illustrious radio career on WRHU (when it was still using the call letters WVHC) and is a charter inductee of the WRHU Hall of Fame, states, “I am so proud of this great radio station’s progress and accomplishments over the years since I first broadcast there in 1967. This ranking is a tribute to the fantastic faculty staff running the operation and to the entire Communications Department at Hofstra which, in my opinion, is second to none in American academia.” Harrison sits on the Hofstra University Department of Communication advisory board.
KMG Networks’ Krantz to Work with Sun Broadcast Group. A new partnership struck by Sun Broadcast Group and Krantz Media Group/KMG Networks will have KMG president and CEO Gary Krantz joining SBG as strategic advisor. The companies say that “together, Sun and KMG will focus on new initiatives in content, digital, and services to superserve media partners in the audio entertainment sector. These exciting new opportunities will be separate initiatives from existing and planned partnerships that Sun and KMG are involved with, respectively.” SBG CEO Jason Bailey adds, “Gary and I have known each other for years and have always shared the same exciting vision for this industry. With all that’s going on in the network radio space there are countless opportunities to make a real difference with amazing program partners who share our passion for change. I’m stoked to work more closely with KMG on a professional basis in advancing our mission to make radio an experience for a whole new generation.”
Round One of July PPM Data Released. The first of four rounds of July 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The survey period was June 19 through July 16. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Odds & Sods. Talk radio personality Bradlee Dean, host of the “Sons of Liberty” syndicated radio series, has been honored with the Education Liberty Award from the Education Liberty Coalition for his appearances on their behalf at some 350 high schools in 24 states nationwide. Among the goals which Dean has been promoting is ELC’s campaign for students to study at their own instructional level and for parents to make school choices for their children. Dean’s most recent stop was in Marietta, Georgia…..Genesis Communications‘ sports platform – Sports Talk Florida – is providing “exclusive coverage” of Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp complete with live practice updates, video interviews, and behind-the-scenes developments with reporters Jenna Laine and Amanda Borges. Genesis says that its digital platform, along with the affiliated radio stations WHOO, Orlando and WHBO, Tampa, are keeping Bucs fans informed. The company says, “With a plethora of exclusive photos, written articles and video content covering the Buccaneers, Sports Talk Florida leads the way in merging radio, web-based media, mobile sharing and social media.”
Israel-Hamas Violence, ISIS Iraq Campaign, Ebola Outbreak Scare, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Race, Immigration Reform/Southwest Border Crisis, Russian Ukraine Aggression, and James Brady Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/4). The ongoing violence in the Gaza Strip; the continuing campaign by ISIS to create a caliphate in Iraq and Syria; the threat of the Ebola virus as a possible pandemic; the looming mid-term elections and the possible candidates for president in 2016; the battle in Washington over immigration policies and the border crisis in the Southwest; Russia’s support of Ukrainian rebels and the probe of the downing of Flight 17; and the death of Reagan Administration Press Secretary and anti-gun crusader James Brady were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Forbes Releases 2014 Celebrity 100 List; Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern Rank. The highest ranking radio personality on this year’s Forbes 2014 Celebrity 100 list – based on fortune and fame – is Premiere Networks-syndicated star Ryan Seacrest (estimated income $65 million), who tied with Sean “Diddy” Combs at #31. Premiere Networks host and TheBlaze founder Glenn Beck comes in close behind at #39 with an estimated income of $90 million. Premiere Networks superstar Rush Limbaugh lands at #59 this year with estimated income of $66 million and SiriusXM icon Howard Stern follows at #62 with $95 million in estimated income. Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity rounds out the radio people this year at #86 with $30 million in estimated income.
Clear Channel Ousts Chet Walker from WHAM, Rochester Morning Duties. After a 35-year career with the station, morning drive co-host Chet Walker is gone from heritage news/talk WHAM, Rochester. WHEC-TV, Rochester reports that station program director Aaron Trimmer confirmed Walker’s departure with the obligatory “We appreciate all of his contributions during his time with us and wish him well” statement and that the station will unveil its new morning show soon. Clear Channel – as with most radio companies – does not comment on personnel matters, but some industry watchers believe the recent spate of dismissals from CC stations due not to job performance but is part of a long, slow parsing of the payroll. This contrasts with previous companywide cuts that had happened en masse and brought about negative PR. The company cut ties with Walker’s former co-host Beth Adams in 2011. She joined crosstown public radio outlet WXXI as local host of the “Morning Edition” program in 2012.
Greater Media Promotes Ryan and Rico to Daily Show at ‘Detroit Sports 105.1.’ Weekend sports talk personalities Ryan Ermanni (left) and Rico Beard (right) are moving from their weekend slot at Greater Media’s sports talker WMGC, Detroit “Detroit Sports 105.1” to the late-morning slot airing from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon beginning Monday, July 7. Greater Media Detroit market manager Steve Chessare says, “Ryan and Rico have been with us since day one and have done a phenomenal job with our weekend coverage. They have had a tremendous run so far and are extremely popular with our dedicated Motor City sports fans.” The pair are replacing ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd. Program director Jason Dixon adds, “We are fired up to give Detroit sports fans even more local sports content. Adding Ryan and Rico to the 10:00 to 12:00 noon slot is the next step in the evolution of ‘Detroit Sports 105.1.’ With Mike and Mike, Ryan and Rico, Matt Dery, Drew Lane and Marc Fellhauer, along with the addition of Detroit Pistons Basketball, I could not be more excited about the future of the station.”
WGN, Chicago Announces Sales Department Changes. As part of a number of sales department changes at Tribune’s WGN Radio, Steve Tarpley is promoted to national sales manager for all Tribune agency markets, excluding New York and Philadelphia, for news/talk WGN and sports talk WGWG-LP “The Game 87.7.” Tarpley continues his role as local AE for WGN. At the same time, sales manager Liz Cullen will take on more responsibilities with the WGN local staff, but continue her national work in New York and Philadelphia. Sales director Jeff Hill comments, “In Steve’s four-and-a-half years at WGN Radio, he has done a tremendous job in building relationships with both his direct and agency clients. I’m very confident that he will have the same success in the national arena.”
SBG Names Rivera-Searles SVP Digital Initiatives; Teases ‘Brand New Day for Radio.’ With the announcement that Edwin Rivera-Searles is named the company’s new SVP of digital initiatives, Sun Broadcast Group, Inc. also promises news later this summer that CEO Jason Bailey says is “the first stage in what will be a brand new day for radio. It was crucial that we brought in the very best to help implement this amazing plan and Ed Rivera is exactly that. He truly ‘gets it’. You won’t find a more well-respected, passionate person in this business and I couldn’t be more excited to finally welcome him to our family!” Rivera comes to SBG from his most recent post as SVP of ad sales for Westwood One. Rivera comments, “Joining the executive team of Sun Broadcast Group is a tremendous opportunity and I’m thrilled to be part of this new phase of growth and development for the company. I’m impressed by what Jason and his team have accomplished in their short history in the network radio space. I look forward to introducing our customized digital solutions to our agency and client partners later this summer.”
More TALKERS Career Moves. Talk radio personality Austin Hill joins the six-station Faith Radio network (owned by the University of Northwestern – St. Paul) as host of the “Austin Hill in the Mornings on Faith Radio” program effective July 7. The program will air from 6:00 am to 8:00 am CT. Hill is also the creator and host of “Austin Hill’s Big World of Small Business,” a syndicated talk show about entrepreneurship and small business ownership…..Programmer Tim Sebean exits SiriusXM Satellite Radio where he was most recently SVP of entertainment and comedy, working with the Opie & Anthony show and others. He’d been with the company for nine years, starting in 2005 as SVP of the Howard Stern channels…..Talk radio pro Paul Harris leaves the Envision Networks-syndicated “America Weekend” program. Harris was one of three anchors for the program. Turi Ryder and Rob Carson remain with the show. Harris also is fill-in personality at CH Holdings-owned KTRS, St. Louis.
Bruce DuMont Steps Aside; Kraig Kitchin Named Chairman of National Radio Hall of Fame. Following through on plans he announced last fall to ease back from some of his responsibilities to the Museum of Broadcast Communications, 70-year-old Bruce DuMont announces he’s resigned from the chairman position of the National Radio Hall of Fame and named new board of directors member Kraig Kitchin to the chairman position. Kitchin, who served as president of Premiere Networks for years, operates his own consulting firm Sound Mind LLC. In his letter to the NRHOF committee, DuMont writes: I appointed new MBC Board member Kraig T. Kitchin to replace me as Chairman — naming MBC Board members Dennis Green and Karole White as vice chairs of the committee. As you know Kraig, Dennis and Karole have all been longtime members of the NRHOFSC. This important move comes in the wake of our recent announcement concerning the November 9th NRHOF induction ceremony taking place in Los Angeles. It underscores the truly national scope of the NRHOF and will extend our reputation more broadly and hopefully our base of support as well.”
Nielsen ‘Audio Demand Landscape’ Study Puts Listeners into Six Categories. The Audio Demand Landscape study was unveiled at Nielsen’s Consumer 360 Conference on June 24. Nielsen concludes from the online survey of a panel of 4,950 Americans between the ages of 18-74 (conducted in English in March) during March 2014 about their audio listening attitudes, motivations, behaviors, habits and preferences, that there are basically six types of audio consumers. (Note that in parentheses is what Nielsen deems each group to be as a percentage of the U.S. population.) They are: “Music Loving Personalizers” (23%) who are passionate music listeners mainly seeking an emotional benefit by listening. They prefer free services and often play music in the background; “Discriminating Audiophiles” (18%) are highly engaged consumers who listen to and prefer a wide variety of audio, and are willing to pay for specific content; “Convenience Seeking Traditionalists” (17%) prefer broadcast radio, listening to their favorite stations and hosts, and they routinely listen in the car; “Information Seeking Loyalists” (15%) are heavy broadcast listeners who usually listen to their favorite talk programs for news, education and to stay informed of current events; “Background Driving Defaulters” (14%) are less engaged and typically have the radio on in the car for background entertainment or occasionally news and information; and “Techie Audio Enthusiasts” (13%) are avid consumers of many types of audio. These listeners are early adopters of new platforms to satisfy their audio needs. Nielsen says that when considering these groups based on the percent of all audio hours of listening they represent, the “Information Seeking Loyalists” and the “Music Loving Personalizers” account for nearly half (47%) of all audio consumption. See more here.
SCBA’s Thom Callahan Addresses Digital ‘Fraud’ in Column. The mandate from marketing departments and ad buyers that more and more money be spent on “digital” platforms is a serious problem for traditional media ad sellers. Southern California Broadcasters Association president Thom Callahan addresses the issue in a blog post titled, “A Responsibility to the Truth.” In the post, Callahan cites a report by web security firm Incapsula that states in its latest annual reports on web traffic that: 1) 61.5% of all web traffic is NON-HUMAN or Bot traffic as it’s called; 2) 38.5% of all web traffic is Human; and 3) 48.1% of all video ads are not heard or seen by humans. Callahan goes on to say that the big problem is there is no transparency in digital advertising. “The sheer size and scope of this fraudulent behavior is costing advertisers over $6 billion a year in wasted advertising to these non-human sites, according to the ad fraud detection firm, White Ops.” Read more of Callahan’s blog post here.
KOIL, Omaha Raises $80,000 for Tornado Disaster Relief. In an effort to assist the residents of Pilger, Nebraska who were affected by the twin tornadoes that moved through the area several weeks ago, NRG-owned news/talk KOIL worked with area pizza restaurants who donated 100% of the proceeds from pizza sales on June 23 to the Salvation Army. Pictured here is KOIL talk personality Tom Becka (center, holding mic) presenting the check to the Salvation Army. On the day of the “Pizza for Pilger,” Becka interviewed Salvation Army officials, pizza purveyors and Pilger residents impacted by the tornadoes.
SCOTUS Hobby Lobby Case; SCOTUS Health Care Workers Union Case, Illegal Immigrants Influx, ISIS Violence in Iraq, Israel-Hamas Clash, Hillary Clinton Popularity Rating/2016 Presidential Possibilities, and World Cup Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/30). Two of the Supreme Court’s decisions, including the Hobby Lobby case and the Illinois Health Care Workers Union case; the looming political battle over the recent influx of illegal minors flooding into the Southwest; ISIS declares Iraq and Syria Islamic states and President Obama sends more troops to Iraq; Israel’s threat of strikes against Hamas after the bodies of three kidnapped teenagers are found; Hillary Clinton’s sinking popularity ratings and speculation about the possible presidential candidates in 2016; and World Cup action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
KOA, Denver Changes PM Drive Programming to Newsy Bent. Longtime Clear Channel Denver personality Dave Logan remains on KOA, but he loses former Denver Post sports columnist Dave Krieger (who exits the station) and the content will turn away from sports as KUSA-TV, Denver “9News” part-time reporter Susie Wargin joins Logan for the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm talk show portion of “Colorado’s Afternoon News.” From 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm Susan Witkin and Mike Rice co-anchor the all-news part of the show.
Entercom Adds Platforms to Rochester ESPN Sports Talker. The new Rochester market sports talk outlet “ESPN Rochester” debuts on multiple platforms from Entercom Communications. The broadcast is heard on translator W239BF as well as on original signal WROC-AM, an HD2 channel, and several online destinations. Entercom Rochester VP and market manager Susan Munn says, “This is an exciting day for our brand, our clients and, most importantly, our listeners. Since we launched ESPN Rochester in 2008, our goal has been to deliver the most compelling and entertaining brand of national and local sports talk to Rochester. From FM to AM to HD and online streaming, we are putting the best sports content where sports fans demand and access it. ESPN media reaches 58% of men and 81% of avid sports fans nationally and ESPN Rochester has the biggest brands and names in sports from the Bills and Sabres to the #1 sports morning show in the country with Mike & Mike. With ESPN Rochester now on FM, it makes our already powerful cluster of stations an even better advertiser choice to serve the important male audience.”
KFNS-AM, St. Louis GM Marshall Resigns; Sports Talk Stations in State of Flux. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Dan Caesar is reporting that Grand Slam Sports general manager Dan Marshall has resigned his post a week after an altercation between him and KXFN morning host Brian McKenna landed Marshall in the hospital and McKenna in police custody. There are still more questions than answers about what happened and who will be held responsible for the incident. Although McKenna was taken into custody and Marshall was injured, no charges have been filed against McKenna, who took umbrage at being ridiculed on the air by fellow station personality Nick Trupiano. The incident that resulted in fisticuffs happened after McKenna went to the station offices to confront Marshall about what was being said about him on the air. Station operations manager Mike Calvin says there have been no decisions made about on-air talent or whether McKenna – who was fired after the incident – will be offered his position back. Read Caesar’s story here.
Glenn Beck Teams with Fathom Events to Produce National Cinema Event. The name of the July 22 and July 29 “night of action against Common Core” is being called “We Will Not Conform,” and involves nationally syndicated Premiere Networks star Glenn Beck teaming with Fathom Events. It’s a live broadcast direct to cinemas across the country and here’s how Beck and Fathom describe it: “This isn’t a typical show –it’s an interactive experience and a rare opportunity to make a real difference in America’s education system. ‘We Will Not Conform’ is your chance to not only hear from experts like Michelle Malkin, David Barton, and others but to join LIVE with fellow theatergoers across the country to develop tangible strategies in the pursuit of enacting real change in our schools. By the end of the night, the brainpower, experience, and passion of cinema audiences nationwide will be captured in a unified plan of action distributed to all participants.” Tickets for adults are $20.
Doug Stephan Breaking New Ground with Experimental Farm Show. His reputation as a major player in syndicated news/talk radio has been forged by longevity, the ability to change with the times and consistent success. Doug Stephan’s national general issues morning program, “Good Day,” is the second-longest-running weekday syndicated show in talk radio, having launched in October of 1988, with only Rush Limbaugh beating him out during this past quarter century-plus by a mere handful of months (Rush debuted in August of 1988). In addition, Stephan’s program, “The Talk Radio Countdown Show,” is one of the longest running and most successful weekend programs in news/talk radio. Now, in addition to his traditional mainstream talk radio accomplishments, Stephan has been cooking up an experimental show on the platform of TalkersRadio that has been gathering significant interest by industry players and observers alike. The show is a one-hour-per-week information and advocacy forum titled, “American Family Farmer,” and it is targeted specifically to the beleaguered sector of the American agriculture industry that is comprised of small, independent operators. What makes Stephan qualified to host such a specifically targeted program? The answer: In addition to being a dedicated lifelong radio broadcaster, he is also a dedicated lifelong family farmer! Stephan is the owner/operator of several dairy farms in the Boston suburb of Framingham, Massachusetts under the umbrella of Eastleigh Farm. Stephan tells TALKERS, “I have been around cows all my life. I spent all my free time around the animals as a young boy, sort of an island of solitude for me growing up. I went to the farm when I was afraid to be home, or anywhere else. I have kept an alliance with cows over the years on several farms that I have owned — raising heifers and milker replacements for various farms and dealers in Massachusetts.” Stephan continues, “I have become more involved on a wider scale, to the point now where I have several hundred Jersey dairy cows, which provide us with the raw milk we sell, along with cheeses, ice cream and various other diary-related products that have meaning to those in the locavore movement [people who choose to eat locally grown and raised food].” On “American Family Farmer” Stephan takes a position quite different from the affable generalist that is heard hosting his traditional news/talk programs. He is a tell-it-like-it-is advocate of the political and economic interests of the farmers his new program is designed to serve. He explains, “The family farmers in America, of which I am one, have a tenuous relationship with Big Government and Big Ag. It is obvious to most that the many problems we are trying to solve have come about as a result of too much government meddling in the affairs of the American family farm. We are aggressively addressing these problems with solution-based discussions each week. We are dedicated to becoming the voice for these hard-working people who play such an important role in the economic and nutritional well-being of our nation and are basically being stepped on by Big Government in cahoots with Big Business.” According to TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein, “During the four months or so that this amazing program has been on our experimental platform, we have received non-stop inquiries from small market and rural stations around the country asking if it is available in syndication. We have had to turn them away, explaining that it is just an experimental program still in development and that we do not have an infrastructure set up to be able to offer it in syndication. It seems that this show would be a wonderful venue for a wide variety of advertisers that are specifically interested in reaching the people who buy equipment, feed, and other products that support the effort of running a small farm. It is also a sure-fire, powerful one-hour per week place to park local advertisers seeking this audience as well.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison adds, “Giving birth to an ‘out-of-the-box’ program like American Family Farmer has been exactly what we designed TalkersRadio to do. It is especially exciting to see this vehicle being productively utilized by seasoned professionals such as Doug [Stephan], Alan [Colmes] and Lionel to create properties different than what they are generally known for in the industry.” Harrison adds, “Now we have to identify a good home for American Family Farmer out there among established syndicators to partner in the effort of creating a new rural network for the terrestrial dial – or place it on an existing farm-oriented syndicator.” American Family Farmer airs on TalkersRadio (on Talkers.com) Saturday mornings between 8:00 am and 9:00 am ET. Interested syndicators can find out more by emailing Michael Harrison at email@example.com or calling 413-565-5413. Look for a major announcement involving another TalkersRadio program coming later this week. TalkersRadio, powered by Backbone Networks, is an experimental talk radio laboratory run by TALKERS magazine to support the development of new programs and programming ideas for talk radio.
TRN’s Jerry Doyle Launches Kickstarter Campaign for Relaunch of EpicTimes.com. Talk show host Jerry Doyle, whose daily radio program is syndicated nationally by Talk Radio Network, announces the beginning of a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the relaunch and expansion of his flagship website, Epictimes.com. Doyle says money raised through this campaign will support the growth of EpicTimes.com – currently a news curation and aggregation site. He says the updated EpicTimes.com will be a one-stop shop for news-related audio and video content for the politically independent “middle majority” that is currently underserved by the left- and right-leaning news media. The site will also feature podcasts of his radio program as well as other well-known contributors. Doyle comments, “We are trying to create a news outlet that represents the real needs and interests of the American people, which is something that I am very passionate about. EpicTimes.com has always been a place where people can find the news and information they are looking for, not what the media thinks they want or need to hear. Expanding the site allows us to offer more information and give more power to the individual.” Doyle brings aboard Elaine Kunda as CEO of EpicTimes.com. Kunda previously served as CEO of women’s lifestyle digital network B5Media and has worked in various digital media companies since 1998. She adds, “EpicTimes.com presents an exciting opportunity for me. To be involved basically from the ground floor and build a media network of this kind during a time of such frustration by the American people is exactly the kind of challenge I’ve been looking for. Jerry’s passion for this company, his fans and his listeners is infectious. I am looking forward to working with him to make EpicTimes.com a household name.” With the support of contributions from this Kickstarter campaign, the new EpicTimes.com is scheduled to relaunch in September 2014.
Odds & Sods. In recognition of Flag Day this past Saturday (6/14), WPHT, Philadelphia midday personality Dom Giordano and his listeners joined forces with the local VFW to provide flags for the 1,200 veterans whose graves are located in Forest Hills Cemetery in Huntingdon Valley. The VFW and Montgomery County officials were at odds about the oversight that would have left the soldiers’ graves without flags. Giordano’s program was flooded with calls from listeners willing to donate money and flags…..ABC News Radio is offering three one-hour specials ahead of the coming Fourth of July weekend, including: “Second Tour: Military Vets Making a Difference,” “Red White & BBQ” and “Car Crazy: America’s Love Affair With Cars.” ABC’s Aaron Katersky hosts “Second Tour: Military Vets Making a Difference,” which tells the amazing stories of the continued selflessness and strength from men and women who have returned home from war. Scott Goldberg anchors “Red White & BBQ,” featuring all of the best tips to make your summer BBQ the best on the block. And Alex Stone hosts “Car Crazy: America’s Love Affair With Cars,” a show that dishes on the latest technology and safety trends influencing the auto industry today…..NPR appoints Jonathan Hart as its new chief legal officer and general counsel. Hart, who currently serves as a partner in Cooley LLP’s Technology Transactions practice group, joins NPR on July 1.
WEISMAN: The Limits of the First Amendment. TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes in an article published today (6/16) about the pending legal case involving Premiere Networks syndicated talk host Glenn Beck, who is being sued by Saudi Arabian student Abdulrahman Alharbi for defamation. Alharbi was, for a time accused of being involved in the Boston Marathon bombing by Beck even after local authorities had cleared him of any suspicion. Beck’s attorneys are pointing to the First Amendment as part of Beck’s defense. But Weisman says the result may rest on whether Alharbi qualifies and as a public figure, limited public figure or not a public figure at all. Read Weisman’s analysis of the case here.
WHAM, Rochester’s Bob Lonsberry Reprimanded for Transgender Benefits Criticism. Just a week after Entercom fired Kimberly Rae and Barry Beck from rock WBZA “98.9 The Buzz” for their on-air criticism of the City of Rochester’s health care plan that offers health care specific to transgendered employees, WHAM talk show host Bob Lonsberry also criticized the policy in a blog post. We don’t know what happened between the Clear Channel station and Lonsberry – he hasn’t been fired – but the company, through VP and market manager Bob Morgan, did offer the following statement: “Though Bob Lonsberry is entitled to his opinion about the City of Rochester’s health care plan, his blog post and comments about members of the transgender community were insensitive. His remarks do not reflect the position or attitudes of the station or its management. We cannot discuss employee personnel matters, but I can tell you that the station has removed the post and is extending an invitation to local leaders of the LGBT community to meet with Bob Lonsberry and speak on the topic.”
WVON, Chicago Adds ‘Chat Daddy’ to Friday Night Programming. In announcing the addition of Art ‘Chat Daddy’ Sims to the Friday evening schedule at urban talk WVON, Chicago, Midway Broadcasting says the new 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm program “is a lifestyle magazine show that will offer listeners local and national lifestyle stories, relationship advice, celebrity interviews and more.” The station says that Sims has “more than 19 years of media experience in radio, television and print.” Executive producer for the program is Daveda Flute.
Clear Channel Adds ‘This Little Parent Stayed Home’ Show to iHeartRadio Talk Lineup. Bringing a weekly podcast to the iHeartRadio digital platform, Clear Channel and Premiere Networks announce Ally Loprete’s “This Little Parent Stayed Home” program will air on iHeartRadio’s extreme talk radio channel live at 3:00 pm ET on Tuesdays. Clear Channel says it has acquired the program “as part of its newest campaign to reach a more modern listenership.” Loprete is the founder of OurMilkMoney.com, an online search directory that lists the products and services of self-employed parents in more than 120 cities across the nation. Loprete has used her own passion to create a society where parents are given an alternative to expensive daycares and long hours away from home, inspiring a movement that has parents everywhere realizing their power as consumers, and uniting together to rebuild a broken economy with home-based businesses. CCM+E VP of programming Ken Charles states, “Ally Loprete brings a fresh and vibrant perspective that will consistently bring in listeners within the hottest consumer demographic.” Premiere Networks VP of programming Bill May adds, “Ally Loprete has provided us a great opportunity to broaden our reach to a progressive and innovative demographic. Women with children and small business entrepreneurs are making significant progress with the stay-at-home workforce. The listeners of ‘This Little Parent…’ have been extremely loyal and dedicated to the educational and motivational content that Ally had been providing on her digital weekly podcast. She was looking to cast a wider net and we were thrilled to offer her show a new home.”
KIRO-FM, Seattle to Award $10,000 Scholarship to Area High School Student. The culmination of a promotion that began at the beginning of the school year wraps on June 6 as Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle honors one local student with a $10,000 dollar scholarship live on “Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross.” The Standout Student Awards promotion has been a partnership with Comprehensive Wealth Management and the Rotary Club of Lynnwood designed to honor Western Washington students who stand out in the classroom, school and community. Nine students were selected as monthly winners during the course of the school year and each received a $1,000 scholarship. They are eligible for the $10,000 educational scholarship grant.
Odds & Sods. The new “Middays with MFB” debuted on Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston today. The show – starring incumbent host and former Red Sox infielder Lou Merloni, former New England Patriots tight end Christian Fauria and talk show host Tim Benz – replaces the Mut & Merloni show in the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm slot…..Cumulus Media’s KSFO, San Francisco helps raise more than $100,000 for the Fisher House Foundation during a pre-holiday radiothon held on Friday, May 23. Talk host Brian Sussman broadcast from the Fisher House at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System.
Beckman Honored for College Football Work. He still does the daily, late morning talk show at Cumulus Media’s WJR, Detroit, but just seven months after retiring from his 33-year stint as play-by-play announcer for Michigan Wolverines football, Frank Beckman is being honored with the 2014 Chris Schenkel Award from the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame. In a press release from the University of Michigan, the school notes that this honor is among several he’s received over the years including Top Michigan Sportscaster and Michigan Sportscaster of the Year.
‘Mighty 1290 KOIL’ Flashes Back! In Omaha, NRG Media’s “Mighty 1290 KOIL” returned to the glory days of the 1960s over the holiday weekend with a three-hour Sunday special looking back to when the station was a leading top 40 powerhouse. Legendary morning host Roger W. Morgan returned for the broadcast, featuring the biggest hits of the 60s, live from “Loessfest” in Council Bluffs. Among those joining the special were: singer Jimmy Clanton and former KOIL personalities Hal Widsten and Clay Michaels. Pictured here (from left to right) are: current KOIL talk host host Tom Becka, Morgan, and Michaels.
Memorial Day Holiday/VA Scandal, Deadly Santa Barbara Shootings, Russian Aggression in Ukraine, ObamaCare Effects, and NBA/NHL Playoff Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/26). The Memorial Day holiday and the ongoing scandal involving care at VA hospitals; the deadly shooting of six people in Santa Barbara by a UCSB student; Russia’s continued aggression in Ukraine; the effects of the Affordable Care Act; and the playoff action in the NBA and the NHL were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WBEN, Buffalo to Flip Programming. Entercom’s Buffalo news/talk WBEN will move late morning talk show host Tom Bauerle to the PM drive slot currently held by Buffalo market legend Sandy Beach and Beach will shift to the late morning show. Both personalities have been in their current time slots for long periods – Bauerle for the past 11 years after moving to WBEN from the company’s sister sports talk station WGR. The change is expected to take place at the end of July.
How to Be a Talk Show Host. In a candid, tell-it-like-it-is piece posted today (7/22) WHAM, Rochester/WSYR, Syracuse talk star and TALKERS columnist Bob Lonsberry draws upon his vast experience and presents a point-by-point tutorial on how to be a talk show host…or at least how to be a GOOD one. He basically breaks it down to five steps: 1) ignore anyone who tries to tell you how to be a talk show host; 2) focus on listeners; 3) don’t suck; 4) remember that callers are only a tool; 5) stand for something; and 6) get out of the studio. To read all the juicy details, please click here.
Kevin McCullough to Host Daily Local Talk Show on WMCA, New York. Salem Communications announces talk media pro and digital entrepreneur Kevin McCullough will begin hosting a daily one-hour talk show on Christian teaching-formatted WMCA, New York on August 5. Salem states this is a return to WMCA for McCullough who has also been heard on the company’s KKLA, Los Angeles and WMBI and WYLL in Chicago. Salem VP/director of spoken word format Phil Boyce says, “Kevin has proven to be one of the true up-and-coming voices in Christian talk radio and we are delighted he will be able to join our team. His afternoon program will be live and local, tackling issues of concern going on locally and in the world with a Christian world view.” In a statement, Salem says McCullough’s program will include discussion with local ministers about their concerns and how our listeners can relate to and understand major world events in a biblical perspective. “The addition of Kevin will allow WMCA to truly reflect the attitude of the city we serve, and be more responsive to community concerns,” according to WMCA vice president and general manager Jerry Crowley. McCullough continues his talk programs produced and syndicated via his own XtreMEDIA.
NBC Sports Radio Network Lands WCAR, Detroit as Affiliate; Move Adds Fuel to Greater Media Sports Talk Flip. Birach Broadcasting’s WCAR, Detroit is the newest affiliate for the NBC Sports–Dial Global sports talk radio initiative branded NBC Sports Talk Radio. From the sound of the press release it appears the station will carry most if not all of the network’s programming in addition to NFL games distributed by Dial Global. WCAR had been an ESPN Radio affiliate and this move strengthens the suspicions that ESPN will find a partner in Greater Media which is strongly rumored to be prepared to flip AC WMGC, Detroit “Today’s 105.1” to sports talk in August.
‘Free Beer & Hot Wings’ Gets Media Attention for ‘Homeless Vet’ Sting. When WGRD, Grand Rapids-based, Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated morning show “Free Beer & Hot Wings” heard about panhandlers posing as homeless veterans to gain sympathy and earn more money, they sent Producer Joe to a corner in Grand Rapids where a panhandler named Rudy was doing just that. In fact, Rudy had admitted to local TV station WZZM that he was not a veteran. According to AllMichigan.com, and as you can see in the WGRD photo here, Producer Joe showed up where Rudy was panhandling sporting a cardboard sign reading “Liar,” causing Rudy to ride off on a mountain bike. Producer Joe came back to the location the next day and “panhandled” to raise $1,085 for the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. WGRD matched the funds and $2,170 was donated to the home.
The Dismal State of the Radio Remote. According to radio sales and marketing maven Al Herskovitz, TALKERS columnist and president of H&H Communications, the age old programming/sales tool known as the “remote” — which has fallen on hard times — still has the potential to be a winner in the sports talk genre. The remote on-location broadcast was once a staple in the sales rep’s arsenal. It almost has disappeared from the airwaves, particularly from talk radio — and for logical reasons, too. The strength of the talk format comes from the right and left, pro and con, political and social issues topics. A remote could possibly generate a partisan flash mob that might trash Charlie’s Auto Parts and Car Wash. That’s the last thing “good ole Charlie” would want. This is aside from the currently popular radio rows which are not commercially sponsored events for stations or programs and not meant to draw crowds to the location. In a new column posted today (7/22) Herskovitz breaks down the challenges that must be overcome and cites opportunities still ripe for exploitation in doing remotes. To read it, please click here.
Jeff Katz Commentary Added to Arkansas Talk Station. Boston-based talk radio personality Jeff Katz’s “The Katz Commentary” is heard three times daily on WCAP, Lowell, Massachusetts. Now, Katz gets his daily feature added to the program schedule in Central Arkansas on Saline River Media’s news/talk KEWI, Benton. Katz says, “I am thrilled that the voice of Central Arkansas will be adding ‘The Katz Commentary’ to its great lineup. I’m working hard on my Razorback yell, as well.”
Radio Talent Institute Begins Today. The “intensive, 10-day event,” organized by Dan Vallie’s National Radio Talent System in cooperation with the Kentucky Broadcasters Association and Western Kentucky University kicks off the Radio Talent Institute at the school today. The Institute begins with opening comments from WKU President Gary Ransdell; Dean David Lee of Potter College, WKU; and director of journalism and broadcasting, WKU, Dr. Loup Langton, along with Rick McCue from the Kentucky Broadcasters Association and WBKO TV. Former broadcaster, now assistant professor at WKU, Dick Taylor will moderate the event. Sixteen students from the region have been accepted into this year’s Institute. Those students will hear from 36 radio professionals, including Bud Walters, president/owner of the Cromwell Group, Nashville; Steve Newberry, president/CEO, Commonwealth Broadcasting, Glasgow; Christine Hillard, president/COO of Forever Communications, Bowling Green; with Ed Henson of Henson Media, Louisville, opening the institute with “Getting in, Becoming an Entrepreneur.” Also instructing during the event are: Gabe Hobbs of Gabe Hobbs Media leading a session on “On Air, Developing Your Voice, Your Style…You”; Morning Mouth publisher Don Anthony who will deliver “How to Get a Good Job”; plus news/talk radio sessions by WHAS, Louisville talk host Mandy Connell and WKU public radio morning host, reporter and producer Joseph Corcoran. This is the second Radio Talent Institute of the summer and Vallie states, “These students are starting their careers in radio, and we are developing the next generation of broadcasters. The students come with enthusiasm and passion for the business, and it’s very impressive how industry professionals sacrifice their time to come to the campus to teach sessions and give back to the industry.”
Odds & Sods. Matt Dery exits CBS Radio’s sports talk WXYT-FM, Detroit where he was afternoon sports anchor on the Valenti & Foster program after the station did not renew his contract…..Cumulus Media’s KGO, San Francisco renews its deal with IMG College to carry University of California football play-by-play and adds Men’s basketball games to the five-year deal.