PodcastOne-Commissioned Brand Lift Studies Indicate Positive Results for Advertisers. This series of comprehensive studies by Edison Research was commissioned by PodcastOne and scrutinized the results of advertising tests with five major national consumer brands across five different product and service categories. PodcastOne founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz and Edison Research VP of strategy Tom Webster say that this is a “first-ever study of pre- and post-campaign brand lift for podcast advertisers” and was conducted over the last half of 2016. It shows “significant positive impact of podcast advertising on brand recall, intent to purchase and recall of specific messaging.” Some of the key findings include: 1) More than 60% of listeners mentioned a specific grocery brand post-campaign, up from 7% among listeners in the pre-study; 2) Unaided product awareness increased from the pre-study to the post-study by 47% for a financial services product, by 37% for an automobile aftermarket product and by 24% for a lawn and garden product; 3) In the post-study, over one-third of respondents had a “very favorable” opinion of an automobile aftermarket product, up from 18% in pre-study. In the post-study, 22% said they were “very likely” to consider using a lawn and garden product, up from 16% in the pre-study; 4) Awareness of a specific campaign message for an automobile aftermarket product increased by 60% from the pre-study to the post-study, and for a casual dining restaurant by 76%. Edison says it conducted three separate studies in 2016 on behalf of PodcastOne to examine the effectiveness of podcast advertising for five national brands. Some of these brands were well known, but launching new messaging, while others were lesser-known brands looking for increased awareness and trial. Edison reports that in all cases, online surveys of the audiences of several leading podcasts were conducted before the podcast advertising campaigns ran, and again after each brand had run 4-6 weeks’ worth of advertisements on those podcasts, using the same methodology in each case. The results of these pre- and post-campaign studies showed that these podcast audiences were receptive to brand messages, and showed an increased willingness to consider and/or purchase those brands. PodcastOne’s Pattiz comments, “Our core focus has always been to independently verify that the podcast format provides enhanced brand impact well beyond traditional advertising formats. These results further validate our mult-tiered approach to integrated advertising and measurement.”
TALKERS News Notes. After just five months on the job, it appears that radio personality Arnie States has exited Lotus’ sports talker KUUB, Reno “ESPN Radio 94.5” where he hosted the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm show. States’ info has been scrubbed from the station website. States was previously one-third of the “Rob, Arnie and Dawn” show at KRXQ, Sacramento…..The nationally syndicated “America Outdoors Radio” reports three new stations joining its list of affiliate stations: KPAY, Chico, California; KZWY, Sheridan, Wyoming; and KXLE, Ellensburg, Washington. The weekly show is hosted by John Kruse and covers topics including fishing, hunting and the shooting sports.
Trump Travel Order Battle Tops Talkers TenTM. The court – and public opinion fight – over President Donald Trump’s order temporarily banning travel to the U.S. from seven predominantly Muslim nations was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the confirmation hearings for Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the related rebuke of Senator Elizabeth Warren for impugning Sessions. Coming in at #3 was Democratic senators’ attacks on labor secretary nominee Andrew Puzder, followed by criticism of the U.S.’ Yemen raid on Islamic State targets 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 magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Does the Trump Era Present Fresh Opportunity for a New Chapter in Progressive Talk Media? The leading progressive talk radio host in America, Thom Hartmann, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” They discuss how the passionate galvanization of a large segment of the American public described as the “resistance” movement (to the Donald Trump administration) is sparking new opportunity for the expansion of progressive talk media. Hartmann describes the “explosion” of growth being enjoyed by his multi-platform syndicated radio and television talk shows in terms of affiliates, viewers, callers and social media traffic since the election of the 45th president. Harrison and Hartmann explore the social dynamics involved in tapping into under-served American passions erupting on all ends of the political spectrum – basically agreeing that these are extremely fertile times for news/talk radio of all political persuasions. To listen to this not-to-be-missed conversation in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Greg Solk Named PD for CBS Radio’s WXRT and WJMK in Chicago. Programming pro Greg Solk has a new gig and he gets to remain in his hometown of Chicago. The former Hubbard Radio SVP of programming joins CBS Radio’s crosstown station group to serve as program director and operations manager for legendary rocker WXRT and classic hits WJMK “KHits 104.3.” The company says Solk “joins the Chicago team with a goal of building loyalty among KHits’ engaged adult listeners while also spearheading a new era of growth at XRT, one of Chicago’s most respected radio brands.” CBS Radio Chicago VP of programming Todd Cavanah comments, “Greg grew up listening to XRT as a teenager and spent decades programming against it. This is an unbelievable opportunity for us to have not only a true fan of XRT but a strategic thinker to make XRT the number one rock choice in Chicago. His deep knowledge of music’s past, present and future will keep XRT evolving forward by remembering the heritage of this unique Chicago brand. For ‘KHits,’ Greg brings tremendous knowledge to the classic hits format and we welcome him as a partner on our programming team.” Speaking about this new opportunity, Solk states, “I have been blessed in my career to work for some amazing stations in my hometown, but this opportunity is off the charts. Everyone knows there is no station or staff anywhere in the world that can rival the 45-year heritage of WXRT — ‘Chicago’s Finest Rock.’ I am humbled to be a part of its brilliant legacy. To be asked to also take the reins of ‘KHits’ makes this the most exciting move I can imagine. I can’t wait to join the great team of professionals at CBS Radio. I am honored by the confidence Tim Pohlman, Todd Cavanah and Chris Oliviero have placed in me.”
Music Radio News and Career Moves. In an ongoing effort to illustrate the importance of broadcast radio to the discovery of new music, iHeartMedia is engaging in a world premiere of Katy Perry’s latest single, “Chained to the Rhythm.” All day today, the song will air at the top of every hour (until 11:00 pm) on 150 iHM CHR, hot AC and rhythm stations. iHeartMedia says that “research shows that more than 70% of listeners – including users of on-demand services like Spotify or Pandora – discover new music first on broadcast radio. That’s why broadcast airplay is critical in the success of breaking new music.”…..On Sunday (2/12), WDVD, Detroit morning personality Blaine Fowler partners with Sweet Magnolia’s Southern Cooking in Southfield, Michigan to honor exceptional local women at the “Blaine’s Best Banquet.” The event honors women from Southeastern Michigan who’ve “made outstanding contributions in their community, their workplace, or at home.” Fowler says, “The response has been overwhelming and extremely heartening. We knew we’d get some great stories, though we never expected that we would receive so many! These stories tell of extraordinary commitment, determination, strength, selflessness, caring, and love.” Ten nominated ladies who were hand-selected by Blaine will be honored in front of their friends and families. Blaine will be telling each of their stories, as well as presenting the honorees with a Blaine’s Best commemorative award…..Pictured here at Wednesday evening’s “A Heroes and Friends’ Tribute to Randy Travis” at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena are (from l-r) Kelly Lynn Janson (singer/songwriter Chris Janson’s wife), Chris Janson, NASH director of programming John Shomby, and singer/songwriter and “Mornings with Ty, Kelly & Chuck” co-host Chuck Wicks. Wicks was one of the 30 performers at Wednesday’s tribute. Proceeds from the event went to the Randy Travis Foundation for stroke research.
Charlie XCX Visits Beasley Las Vegas. Pop star and Road Runner/Atlantic Records recording artist Charlie XCX poses for a photo backstage with some of the staff of Beasley Media Group’s hot AC KVGS “Star 107.9.” From left to right are: KVGS morning show co-host Aimee Montgomery, afternoon personality and APD/MD Brian Hammer, Charlie XCX, night jock Chad Letts, and OM/PD John Candelaria.
It’s Official: Trump Names Pai FCC Chairman. On the heels of news reports suggesting that President Donald Trump would name Republican Federal Communications Commissioner Ajit Pai the new chairman, he’s done just that. Pai will lead the three-member commission consisting of Pai’s fellow Republican Michael O’Rielly and Democrat Mignon Clyburn until two more commissioners are named to the body by Trump. Pai’s statement was simple: “I am deeply grateful to the President of the United States for designating me the 34th Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. I look forward to working with the new Administration, my colleagues at the Commission, members of Congress, and the American public to bring the benefits of the digital age to all Americans.” While Pai has been a friend to the radio industry, serving as a commissioner who is sensitive to efforts such as AM revitalization, the speculation is that this FCC will reverse Tom Wheeler-era policies on net neutrality, broadband subscriber data privacy and others.
Rhode Island Talk Host John DePetro Returns to Radio on WADK, Newport. A little more than a month after exiting Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM, Providence, longtime Rhode Island talk radio personality John DePetro returns to the airwaves via 3G Broadcasting’s WADK, Newport, Rhode Island for a show that launches tomorrow (1/25) from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. In announcing the news, DePetro states, “I am now the exclusive owner of the ‘John DePetro Show,’ which gives me full ownership of the content of the show and the freedom in the future to syndicate my popular, highly rated, entertaining program. My listeners should get ready for the most entertaining radio I have ever done, and I will continue to tell it like it is.” DePetro’s deal with the station includes a two-hour Saturday “John DePetro Show Week in Review.” Station owner Bonnie Gomes comments, “John DePetro and I have known each other since the late 80s when we worked together at a Providence radio group. John has a well-known, entertaining program and it matches with our goal of making 1540 AM WADK completely live and local. We are excited to welcome John to our broadcasting family and know that he will bring a new, exciting, entertaining twist to our current programming lineup.”
DGital Media and The Players’ Tribune Partner for Podcast Network. Sports-themed media platform The Players’ Tribune partners with DGital Media to release its first podcast. The Derek Jeter-founded podcast network will feature “oral histories, athlete-hosted podcasts, a flagship show and other topical series.” The first show is “Giant Steps,” an oral history podcast that chronicles the rise of the New York Giants’ first Super Bowl championship in 1986. The 60-minute episode, narrated by Michael Strahan, features first-person accounts from Carl Banks, Harry Carson, Pepper Johnson, Leonard Marshall, George Martin, Elvis Patterson, Lawrence Taylor and Bill Parcells. The Players’ Tribune president Jaymee Messler comments, “‘The Players’ Tribune’ has become a destination for thoughtful, insightful storytelling related to topics both on and off the field. We’re excited to introduce another medium for athletes to share stories and discuss important issues through a unique and intimate listening experience. DGital Media is a terrific partner on the launch of this newest extension of our premium content offerings.”
Trump Withdraws US from TPP, Women’s Marches Aftermath, Trump Federal Hiring Freeze, Deadly Southeastern Tornadoes, ‘SNL’ Writer Suspended, Parliament to Vote on Brexit, and Super Bowl LI Matchup Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/23). President Donald Trump signs executive order withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal; the aftermath of the Women’s March in DC and in cities across the world; Trump enacts federal government hiring freeze; the deadly tornadoes that tore through the Southeast U.S.; a “Saturday Night Live” writer Katie Rich is suspended for her tweet targeting Barron Trump; Britain’s Parliament prepares to vote on the country’s exit from the European Union; and the Super Bowl matchup between New England and Atlanta were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. WABC, New York late morning hosts Sid Rosenberg (left) and Bernard McGuirk (right) are both re-signing with the Cumulus station for new, three-year deals. McGuirk and Rosenberg both still have their roles on the “Imus in the Morning” program. The new deals pertain to their “Bernie & Sid” 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program. Rosenberg tells TALKERS magazine, “I’m excited to spend the next few years at WABC! [Market manager] Chad Lopez and [program director] Craig Schwalb have been a joy to work for and I’m blessed with the best, funniest and most talented partner in the business!”…..Philadelphia sports talker WIP-FM announces the schedule for its Phillies program “The Hot Stove” with Phillies play-by-play team Scott Franzke and Larry Andersen. The hour-long show will air four consecutive Wednesdays at 6:00 pm beginning February 1.
Doug McIntyre and Steve Martin Sell Out Four Nights in Southern California. Pictured above are film and comedy legend Steve Martin (left) and KABC, Los Angeles morning personality Doug McIntyre (right) on stage during one of four performances that took place January 8-11. McIntyre hosts the Distinguished Speakers Series and Martin recently joined him at the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills, the Redondo Beach Center for the Performing Art in Redondo Beach, the Thousand Oaks Civic Art Plaza in Thousand Oaks, and the Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena. Previous guests in the series have included John Cleese, Betty White, Ron Howard and Robert Redford among others. Photo: Sue Swan.
Westwood One Names Switzer VP/GM of Music & Entertainment – Country. This is a return to the Westwood One fold for Bryan Switzer. He served with then-ABC Radio Networks, Citadel Media and Cumulus Media Networks from 2006 through 2014 overseeing Nashville marketing, promotion, and affiliate sales for “American Country Countdown,” the 24-hour formats and more. He returns to the media biz from his most recent executive post with JennsCo Chemical Solutions. As vice president/general manager, music & entertainment-country for Westwood One, he’ll be in charge of the marketing and operations of all owned and represented country shows.
Renda Broadcasting Appoints Steve Granato PD for Fort Myers-Naples Cluster. Taking over for Randy Savage, who left the program director position with Renda Southwest Florida to join Cumulus’ Wilkes-Barre cluster, is Steve Granato. He’ll program the company’s four-station cluster including country WWGR “Gator Country 1019,” adult hits WJGO “1029BOBfm,” hot AC WSGL “Mix 104.7,” and news/talk WGUF “98.9 Naples FM Talk.” Granato previously served with Renda Broadcasting programming the company’s Pittsburgh properties in the early 1990s.
WMMR, Philly Names Brent Porche Overnight Jock. Philadelphia heritage rock outlet WMMR announces Brent Porche is named the station’s new overnight personality. The Beasley Media Group-owned station notes that “it’s rare a radio station that goes eight years between full-time hires. It’s rarer still that the position is for a full-time, overnight air talent.” Porche takes over for Jacky Bam Bam who recently was promoted to the 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show. Porche says of his new gig, “It’s like a lifelong fan rooting for the Eagles and getting hired to play on the team – with all his favorite players! I’m honored to join Preston & Steve, Pierre Robert, Jaxon, Jacky and all the DJs on such a legendary station.”
Jenkins to Lead Alpha Media’s Moberly-Macon, Missouri Station Group. Thirty-year radio pro Mike Jenkins is named market manager for Alpha Media’s Moberly-Macon, Missouri station group that includes, country KRES-FM, oldies KIRK-FM, Christian contemporary KTCM-FM, and news/talk KWIX-AM/FM. Alpha Midwest Region EVP George Pelletier says, “We are pleased to welcome Mike Jenkins to our Alpha operations in Moberly. Mike has a terrific track record of success everywhere he has worked. His reputation of being a great leader, inspired broadcaster and client-oriented sales champion convinced us that he was the right kind of person to lead the Alpha team in Moberly, Missouri.”
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. San Diego CHR KHTS-FM “Channel 93.3 FM” names Ethan Cole evening personality. Cole stays with iHeartMedia having spent that past two years producing the “Matty in the Morning” show for WXKS-FM, Boston “Kiss 108 FM.”.…..Saga Communications names Mark the Shark afternoon drive personality at classic rock WKLH, Milwaukee WKLH-FM “Rock 96-5.” It’s a return to Brew City for The Shark. He served with former rock outlet WQFM (now AC WLDB) during the 1980s and 1990s…..The Cantore + Woods morning show with Chris Cantore and Steve Woods exits Entercom’s alternative KBZT, San Diego “FM 949” after 15 months in the daypart. No word on the new morning drive show yet…..WNKS, Charlotte “KISS 95.1” intern Whitney Thore and the “Maney, Roy and LauRen Show” are back on television for tonight’s (1/24) season premiere of the TLC Network show, “My Big Fat Fabulous Life,” starring Thore. The show follows Thore, a passionate dancer on her way to maintaining a healthy life style through dance and a “No Body Shaming” policy…..iHeartMedia’s Fresno country outlet KHGE “102.7 The Wolf” is hosting the 2017 Acoustic Kick-Off Concert featuring live performances by country music recording artists Hunter Hayes, Casey Donahew and Lucas Hoge tomorrow night (1/25) at the Tower Theater in Fresno. The Wolf program director Nick Cash says, “We love to connect our ‘102.7 The Wolf’ listeners with the hottest new country artists in a live and intimate setting. Hunter has a big, young following in the Central Valley and we can’t wait to sing along with them in the crowd at Acoustic Kick-Off Concert!”
Emmis Communications Reports 2016 Fiscal Q3 Numbers; Radio Segment Basically Flat. For the company as a whole – which includes radio, publishing and emerging technologies – net revenue was down 5.7% compared to the same period a year ago. But publishing took the big hit. Emmis Communications’ radio segment was basically flat – down 0.4%. For the first nine months of the company’s fiscal year (March-November), the radio segment was down 1.2%. In its filing with the SEC, the company explains, “For the nine-month period ended November 30, 2016, our performance exceeded the market average [as per Miller Kaplan data] in St. Louis, but we lagged the market average in New York, Los Angeles, Indianapolis and Austin…Our weak performance in Los Angeles mostly related to a format competitor that began directly competing against our station there in February 2015. The revenue impact has been most pronounced since the fall of 2015. Emmis expects net revenues in Los Angeles will be up slightly from prior year for the three-month period ended February 28, 2017.” Emmis chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan states, “Emmis Radio is not accustomed to underperforming its markets. I was disappointed in our performance, but remain hopeful that recent ratings gains in Los Angeles and Austin, coupled with continued stellar performance in St. Louis, will lead to better performance in fiscal 2018. The general sluggishness in the radio industry makes the need for NextRadio all the more important. NextRadio, the smartphone app that provides free, portable FM radio listening, recently surpassed 10 million downloads and 25 million listening hours. The Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are now FM-enabled across all major wireless carriers in the United States and we reached an agreement with Sprint that keeps NextRadio preloaded on their Android devices. If NextRadio succeeds, as I believe it will, it will help solve major challenges for every radio station, including ours: establishing a one-to-one relationship with our listeners, regaining our portability, and making us relevant to a generation that thinks terrestrial radio is uncool. NextRadio gives us new, interactive revenue opportunities with current and potential advertisers – and it takes the compelling content created every day and provides a new platform for it.”
WABC, New York Expands ‘Bernie and Sid’ Show. New York City news/talker 77 WABC Radio officially announces the expansion of the late morning “Bernie and Sid Show” by an hour – now airing from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon. Both Bernard McGuirk (right) and Sid Rosenberg (left) continue their roles on Cumulus Media’s WABC-based “Imus in the Morning” program – McGuirk as sidekick and Rosenberg as sports anchor. It was a year ago that WABC launched the “Bernie and Sid” show that the station describes as delivering the duo’s “passionate conversation about the biggest topics in New York and across the nation” featuring “incredible guests and interaction with great New York listeners.” WABC program director Craig Schwalb comments, “Bernie and Sid came out of the chute strong and haven’t slowed down. We are thrilled to add more time to this great show.”
FNC Moves Tucker Carlson into Megyn Kelly’s Slot. With Fox News Channel star Megyn Kelly now moving to NBC News, the cable news outlet announces that Tucker Carlson will move to the 9:00 pm ET slot held by Kelly. Carlson launched a 7:00 pm ET show on FNC in November and Fox executive chairman Rupert Murdoch says, “In less than two months, Tucker has taken cable news by storm with his spirited interviews and consistently strong performance. Viewers have overwhelmingly responded to the show and we look forward to him being a part of Fox News’ powerful primetime lineup.” Taking over Carlson’s 7:00 pm ET slot is longtime FNC anchor Martha MacCallum.
Stan Hubbard, Nina Totenberg, and Steve Jones Honored with RTDNA First Amendment Awards. The 2017 First Amendment Awards honorees have been named by the Radio Television Digital News Association. There are five awards that will be presented at a ceremony at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC on Tuesday, March 14. Hubbard Broadcasting CEO, president and chairman Stan Hubbard will receive the First Amendment Leadership Award. NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg will receive the RTDNF Lifetime Achievement Award. ABC News Radio VP and general manager Steve Jones will receive the First Amendment Service Award. Bloomberg Politics co-managing editors Mark Halperin and John Heilemann will receive the First Amendment Award. And, CBS News correspondent Bill Whitaker will receive the Leonard Zeidenberg First Amendment Award. RTDNF chair Kathy Walker comments, “At a time when freedom of the press is facing unprecedented challenges, our honorees stand up for values that are critically important to democracy.”
2017 Consumer Electronics Show. “It’s getting hard to find a computer here.” Media consultant Holland Cooke reports, from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. In today’s report, read how one popular Christmas present is both a radio friend and foe. Click here for more.
Russian Hacking Allegations, Future of ObamaCare, Chicago Torture Case, WaPo Fake News Incident, Trump vs Ford and GM, Obama Lame Duck Actions, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/4). The debate over whether Russia was involved in the hacking of DNC emails and President-Elect Donald Trump’s backing of Julian Assange’s assertion it wasn’t versus the CIA’s belief it was; the Trump Administration’s intention to repeal the Affordable Care Act; the case of a man with special needs tortured live on Facebook in Chicago; criticism of the Washington Post’s incorrect reporting of the Russian hacking of the U.S. electrical grid via a Vermont utility; Donald Trump’s challenges to automakers Ford and General Motors to not move American jobs to Mexico; the actions being taken by President Obama to preserve his administration’s legislation; and the NFL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. In the Orlando market, iHeartMedia announces that talk WTKS-FM “Real Radio 104.1” program director Jack Bradshaw is now also overseeing the programming at sports talk W245CL “96.9 The Game.”…..Sports talk radio programmer Jason Barrett – president of Barrett Sports Media – reports he’s entering the podcasting space with a new, weekly show that will “give media professionals and sports radio and television fans a deeper look into the careers, strategies, and experiences of the industry’s best personalities, contributors, programmers, and executives.” Barrett’s first episode hits the “air” on February 8…..Pubcaster WBUR, Boston – the market’s NPR affiliate is inviting public radio journalists, age 35 and under, to submit entries for the annual Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize. Eligible works will have been broadcast or published between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2016. The $5,000 Schorr Prize – sponsored by WBUR and Boston University, and funded by Jim and Nancy Bildner – recognizes a rising star in public radio and seeks to inspire a new generation of journalists to stretch the boundaries of the medium.
Entercom Splits WAAF, Boston Simulcast; Launches Urban ‘The New 97.7.’ For years, Entercom has been simulcasting rock outlet WAAF (licensed to suburban Westborough) on the 107.3 frequency and on WKAF (licensed to south suburban Brockton) on the 97.7 frequency. Now, the company splits that and launches an urban outlet on WKAF branded “The New 97.7, Boston’s #1 For R&B.” Entercom says for WAAF the simulcast “delivered little appreciable audience beyond the primary station’s booming signal.” Programming the new urban outlet is Chris Malone, who arrives from Cumulus Media’s WRBO and WKIM in Memphis. The station is being consulted by Jay Dixon, KBLX/KRBQ, San Francisco director of programming and operations Elroy Smith, and Sean Ross, VP of music and programming for Edison Research. Entercom New England VP/market manager Phil Zachary says, “Boston has a higher concentration of African-American consumers than San Francisco or Los Angeles, but no rated urban signals. The prospect of reaching almost 8% of the population with one radio station in a top 10 market is almost inconceivable in 2017.”
CBS RADIO Flips WZMP, Philly to AC as ‘Today’s 96.5.’ The former CHR outlet drops the hit intensive “96.5 AMP’ brand and re-positions WZMP as a workplace-friendly adult contemporary as “Today’s 96.5.” Bobby Smith is serving as the station’s program director. He states, “This is a station that will make you forget that you’re still at work, with one great song after another, while delivering on the promise of having fewer interruptions so you can always look forward to hearing another great song.”
iHeartMedia Orlando Promotes Brian Mack and Dwight Ricketts. At the Orlando cluster of iHeartMedia, Brian Mack is being named the new program director for adult contemporary WMGF “Magic 107.7.” In addition, Mack will become the vice president of branding for the cluster. This is a newly created role in which he’ll oversee the marketing strategy for the company’s nine radio stations. He will also continue to serve as the program director for CHR WXXL “XL 106.7.” At the same time, “104.5 The Beat” afternoon personality Dwight “D-Strong” Ricketts is named PD for the hip hop outlet heard on translator W283AN (licensed to Altamonte Springs).
Matt Cord Moves to Mornings at WBEN, Philadelphia. Making the move from rock to adult hits is Matt Cord, who is partnered up with Kristen Herrmann for the morning drive show on Beasley Media’s WBEN-FM, Philadelphia. Cord was most recently evening personality on the company’s sister rock outlet WMMR. Cord says, “Coming from WMMR, I know how important and powerful morning radio can be. Moving to mornings on BEN FM is a great opportunity for me to stay with Beasley Media Group and offer another great option for Philly morning radio listeners. I’m thrilled to work with Kristen, too. She’s super talented. We’re going to have a lot of fun.”
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the Denver market, Kroenke Sports Entertainment names Bo Jaxon program director and morning personality (alongside Jenny D) at its country KWOF “92.5 The Wolf.” Jaxon, who takes over for Ed Hill, continues his role as program director for the company’s hot AC KIMN “MIX 100.”…..In San Francisco, KFOG morning host Matt Pinfield announces he’s taking some time off from duties at the Cumulus Media triple A station to deal with his alcohol abuse issues…..Rick Daniels is named the brand manager at Leighton Broadcasting’s country KYCK, Grand Forks, North Dakota. He replaces Brandon Young…..At Impact Radio Group in Boise, Curtis Booker moves up from APD and afternoon personality to program director for hot AC KZMG “My 102.7.”
PPM Analysis: CHR. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents this analysis of the performances of CHR-formatted stations based on data from the December 2016 PPM survey from Nielsen Audio. Find out which stations saw the biggest (6+) increases from November to December and from December 2015 to December 2016. Also, five CHR outlets ranked #1 in their respective markets (6+) in December. Find out which ones, and more, here.
‘99.9 The Fan’ in Raleigh to Broadcast Town Hall on Race Relations in Sports. As part of its ongoing “Fan Town Hall” series, Capitol Broadcasting’s Raleigh-Durham sports talker WCMC “99.9 The Fan” is presenting a live multi-cast of a town hall focusing on the question, “Do today’s African-American athletes bear any responsibility to commenting on today’s social issues?” The event takes place on Tuesday (8/30) at 7:00 pm. It is being moderated by WRAL-TV anchor/reporter Gerald Owens and features the following seven panelists: sport business professor at UNC-Charlotte Dr. Deborah Stroman, former ECU head football coach Steve Logan, former UNC and NBA player George Lynch, former NC State and NFL player Brandan Bishop, “99.9 The Fan” afternoon drive host Adam Gold, and “Buzz Sports Radio” morning drive hosts Erroll Reese and Kevin McClendon. The social media desk and interaction with Twitter will be managed by 99.9 The Fan’s afternoon drive host Joe Ovies. The program will air with live video and audio on WRAL-TV 2, “99.9 The Fan,” WRALsportsfan.com and the WRALsportsfan app. Capitol Broadcasting sports radio operations manager, program director and executive producer for the Fan Town Hall series, Dennis Glasgow, says, “This discussion is long overdue and we have a diverse and opinionated panel to tackle this polarizing topic. I’m also excited that our viewers and listeners can participate with their feedback and commentary in real time via Twitter.”
Colin Cowherd’s Digital Platform Launches. The launch of FOX Sports Radio and FS1 personality Colin Cowherd’s new digital platform is a cooperative effort between Cowherd, Premiere Networks, and Chris Balfe’s Red Seat Ventures. It’s called TheHerdNow.com and serves as “the digital home for content created and curated by Colin Cowherd including bold opinion pieces, viral news stories, exclusive podcasts, and original video series. The new site also serves as a portal for fans to find stories covering the best moments and interviews from Cowherd’s radio show, as well as the daily podcast and streaming audio of ‘The Herd.’” Cowherd says, “I’ve chosen to work with the best people in the industry and the support I’ve received has been like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I feel incredibly lucky to launch this venture for fans to connect with my best content whenever and wherever they happen to be.”
Hogenson Tapped by RNC for Help with Radio During Campaign. Consultant and radio expert Scott Hogenson is working for the Republican National Committee to consult on and assist with radio for the campaign election cycle. Hogenson started working with the RNC today (8/29). He also served as radio director for the GOP convention in Cleveland this summer. He is president of the Washington, DC public affairs firm Hogenson Communications, LLC. He served in the George W. Bush Administration as deputy assistant secretary for public affairs for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. During his career he has worked on three presidential campaigns as a senior member of the press office at the Republican National Committee.
New Sales Managers Named at Entercom Boston. Moving over from her sales manager position at Entercom’s news/talk WRKO to the same post at rock WAAF is Alison Harris. Assuming the open sales manager post at WRKO is Denise DiLuca, who returns to Entercom from her most recent gig with iHeartMedia as VP of sales in Providence. DiLuca worked in the business development department at Entercom Boston before joining iHeartMedia in 2012. Entercom New England VP/market manager Phil Zachary says both Harris and DiLuca embody the cluster’s inexorable work ethic. “Alison and Denise are natural sales leaders. Both are highly regarded in the marketplace for their uncompromising integrity, outstanding training skills, intensity of focus and ability to recruit the very best local sellers. I have no doubt our Boston cluster will continue to outperform the market with these proven professionals in key roles.”
Scott Robbins Easing Back into Radio on WMBD, Peoria a Year After Heart Attack. Before suffering a major heart attack a year ago, Scott Robbins and on-air partner Jamie Markley were co-hosting a three-hour talk show simulcast on Alpha Media’s WMBD, Peoria and KXL, Portland. But that major health issue put Robbins in the hospital for four months. The Peoria Journal Star, in a piece by Steve Tarter, reports that Robbins is back on the radio with a weekly show airing on WMBD Saturdays from 6:00 am to 8:00 am with co-host Joe Greenwood. After Robbins’ heart attack, David van Camp began filling in alongside Markley and was later named permanent co-host of the show.
Cumulus Ups Hach to VP, Digital for San Francisco. After serving as digital and integrated sales manager for Cumulus Media’s San Francisco and Minneapolis clusters, Justin Hach is promoted to vice president, digital for the company’s San Francisco station group that includes sports talk KNBR, triple A KFOG, classic rock KSAN, news/talk KGO, news/talk KSFO and Asian KSJO. Hach’s charge will be to lead a team that is responsible for all digital and social strategies, development, content and revenue. Vice president and market manager Justin Wittmayer says, “I’m really proud of the team that Justin has built and the way that they’re connecting our brands and fans. His content strategy is driving database growth, engagement, revenue and, most important, a better user/client experience.”
Nigel Burton Partners with Dan Sheldon on KPOJ, Portland for Mornings. Sports talk KPOJ-AM “Rip City Radio 620” adds Pacific Northwest sports analyst Nigel Burton to its morning show with current host Dan Sheldon. The new show is called “Rip City Mornings with Dan and Nigel,” airing weekdays from 6:00 am to -9:00 am. Burton is an analyst for Pac-12 Networks and a college football analyst for CSNNW. Newly appointed “Rip City Radio” program director Rich Moore says, “Adding Nigel Burton with his background and associations is very exciting and we are looking forward to partnering him up with Dan Sheldon in the morning.”
Jess Hanson to Head Up Horizon Broadcasting’s Central Oregon Station Group. Most recently with Townsquare Media’s Abilene, Texas operations, Jess Hanson heads north to join Horizon Broadcasting Group’s Central Oregon media properties as market manager/general sales manager. He’ll oversee the company’s five radio stations – classic hits KQAK-FM, hot AC KWPK “The PEAK 104.1,” AC KLTW “95.7 MY FM,” news/talk simulcast KBNW-AM/FM, and classic country KRCO – as well as the company’s digital assets and event productions. Horizon president and CEO Keith Shipman states, “I am pleased to hand over the day-to-day operations of our Central Oregon assets to an experienced and successful leader. Jess has demonstrated his passion for the radio industry over the past three decades and has built successful sales and programming teams throughout his career. He has a proven track record in broadcast, digital and event sales – all of which are key to our clients’ marketing plans.”
WTMJ, Milwaukee’s Charlie Sykes Announces 2016 Right Wisconsin Award Winners. WTMJ, Milwaukee talk show host Charlie Sykes operates the digital news platform RightWisconsin.com and each year, he presents awards to conservatives in the state. This year – at a banquet to be held this Friday (9/2) – Sykes announces that former Governor Tommy Thompson and Mary Kohler will be presented lifetime achievement awards. Kohler will be presented the Margaret Thatcher Award and Thompson will receive the Ronald Reagan Award. The Thatcher and Reagan Awards are the top honors being given at this fourth annual event. The evening will be hosted by Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and Sykes.
The Presidential Race, Dwayne Wade’s Cousin Killed in Chicago Violence, Italy Earthquake Aftermath, Kaepernick Sits Out National Anthem, Weiner Sexting Again, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton; the Chicago shooting death of Nykea Aldridge, cousin of NBA star Dwayne Wade; the aftermath of the deadly earthquake in central Italy; controversy over NFL star Colin Kaepernick’s sitting out the National Anthem in protest; former U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner caught in another sexting case; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.
Odds & Sods. There’s a new PM drive show on Entercom’s sports talk WROC, Rochester “ESPN Rochester.” Replacing “The Radio Press Box with Scott Pitoniak and Dan Borrello” is “The Sports Bar with Mike Danger and Gene Battaglia.” Danger is also programming WROC in addition to his programming role at sister CHR WPXY…..SiriusXM is enhancing its college sports play-by-play offerings with a new five-year broadcasting agreement with Learfield and IMG. The deal now includes both streaming and satellite radio broadcast rights and greatly expands the number of college games that will be available to subscribers on the SiriusXM app…..Alpha Media is announcing that adult contemporary KUIC, Vacaville, California has become an affiliate of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors. KUIC will air full broadcast of all Warriors games including playoff games for the 2016-2017 season…..WUUB, Jupiter, Florida “ESPN West Palm” is dedicating its Friday night programming to the biggest high school football matchups in the Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast. “Football Night in South Florida” on the Good Karma-operated station is sponsored by Papa John’s Pizza. Also the station adds ESPN’s Paul Finebaum show to its daily lineup, airing from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm…..The final chapter of the Todd Schnitt vs Bubba the Love Sponge defamation suit has been written, but it doesn’t involved either broadcaster – it’s about three of Bubba’s former attorneys. Regular TALKERS readers will remember that attorneys Stephen Diaco, Robert Adams and Adam Filthaut – with the assistance of legal assistant Melissa Personius and then-cop Ray Fernandez – orchestrated the DUI of Schnitt attorney Philip Campbell in hopes of helping their case. (How would that help? We’re not really sure.) Regardless, Diaco tried to man up and voluntarily gave up his law license in hopes the Florida Supreme Court would go easy on his colleagues. No such luck. The Court has permanently stripped Adams and Filthaut of the right to practice law. For more on the case, see Fox13 News’ summary here.
Howie Carr Sits in on WOR, New York. Syndicated, Boston-based talk host Howie Carr made his New York City debut on Friday (8/26) filling in on the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot on iHeartMedia’s 710 WOR for the vacationing “Mr. New York” Mark Simone. Carr’s program is syndicated on numerous signals throughout New England. Pictured above are Carr (left) and Simone (right) who met for the first time at TALKERS magazine’s annual conference in New York several years ago.
Carolyn Fox Candidate for WPRO-AM, Providence PM Drive Gig. That is according to a report from WJAR-TV, Providence. The station published a feature story about the Providence-born radio pro who’s been – among other things – working lately in the real estate business. Carolyn Fox, known in the Providence market for her time at rock WHJY, told the television station that she is under consideration for the drive time show at the Cumulus Media news/talker. It’s part of a “where are they now” story that presents Fox’s colorful radio history in the Northeast. The afternoon drive show opened up after longtime political figure and radio host Buddy Cianci died in January.
Presidential Race, Run-Up to Academy Awards, Apple vs FBI Case, Syrian Ceasefire, and Britain’s Looming EU Exit Vote Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of the candidates for president; the controversy over the slate of nominees for Academy Awards; the battle between Apple and the FBI over the company’s refusal to hack an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino terrorists; the civil conflict in Syria and the brokered cease fire; and Britain’s June referendum on exiting the European Union were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Cooke: Engage in Unconventional Convention Coverage. For news/talk stations planning to cover the Democratic and/or Republican conventions this summer, radio consultant Holland Cooke has some advice: don’t duplicate the national coverage. In other words, make your coverage unique and interesting to your listeners and don’t sound like the network news your station is probably also carrying. Cooke also cautions against airing live reports, instead using your technology to air produced reports with interesting elements. Read more here.
Townsquare Media’s Pro Forma Net Revenue Up 5.4% for 2015. The acquisition of North American Midway Entertainment and the robust performance of Townsquare Media’s live events division contributed to a net revenue increase of 20.4% in the fourth quarter of 2015. However, for the fourth quarter local advertising net revenue was basically flat (down 0.4%). Chairman and CEO Steven Price says, “We believe our diversified strategy remains sound, demonstrated by the stability of our local advertising business and the outsized growth in our other businesses. In addition, we further diversified our business, with approximately half of revenue now derived from sources other than the sale of terrestrial radio advertising.” For all of 2015, local advertising net revenue (excluding political) increased 1.9% compared to 2014.
Odds & Sods. Sports talk personality Dino Costa will serve as host of the morning drive show on Randy Markel-owned KFNS, St. Louis “590 The Fan,” although a start date for the show has not been announced. Costa is currently broadcasting a live, three-hour nightly show via the internet…..Promoted from vice president of sales for the Cumulus Pensacola, Florida cluster to vice president/market manager is Davey Willhoit…..Nationally syndicated talk media personality Leslie Marshall is now part of the Worldwide Speakers Group, which describes itself as “a leading global professional services firm providing distinctive performance and innovative solutions in the global lecture industry to corporate, trade, education, and commercial customers worldwide.”
Nielsen vs Bubba: Round One. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman analyzes the civil suit being brought against morning radio personality Bubba the Love Sponge by Nielsen Audio after the former was accused of and admitted to attempting to manipulate Nielsen’s PPM survey in the Tampa market. In a piece published today, Weisman synopsizes the case and presents his view of Nielsen’s claim that its ratings business has been “damaged irreparably” and it is owned at least $1 million. Read the whole piece here.
Detroit Personality Drew Lane Exits ‘Detroit Sports 105.1.’ Longtime rock WRIF, Detroit morning drive personality Drew Lane has held the afternoon drive position on Greater Media’s sports talk WMGC “Detroit Sports 105.1” since the format launched in August of 2013. But today the company releases a statement expressing regret that it and Lane could not come to terms on a renewal to keep him with the station. “Drew is a phenomenal talent and has been a valued member of the Greater Media family for over 21 years. Both sides regret an agreement could not be reached on the direction of the show moving forward. We are truly sorry to see him go and wish him all the best.” In the interim, midday personality Matt Dery serves as afternoon host.
Dave Ramsey Packs Phoenix’s Comerica Theatre. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar and New York Times best-selling author Dave Ramsey is seen here on stage in Phoenix on Saturday (10/17) speaking to a packed house at the 5,000-seat Comerica Theatre where he presented his Ramsey Solution’s Smart Conference. The day-long conference included Ramsey, along with Chris Hogan, Rachel Cruze, Christy Wright, Chris Brown, Dr. Henry Cloud, Dr. Les Parrott, Dr. Meg Meeker and Michael Jr. providing attendees with “essential information on how to win with money, strengthen their marriages, build parenting skills and excel in their careers.” Ramsey worked with local affiliate KTAR-FM to promote the event. Bonneville owns KTAR-FM and the company’s Phoenix market manager, Scott Sutherland, says, “When Dave Ramsey comes to Phoenix, it’s always a huge deal for our listeners, clients and staff. Dave’s message resonates incredibly well with residents of the valley of the sun, and, not surprisingly, his popularity continues to grow and grow. We only wish that we could get him out to Phoenix more often.” The lead-in show to Ramsey’s program on KTAR-FM is co-hosted by Bruce St. James (right) and Pamela Hughes (left) who are pictured at right posing for a photo with Ramsey (center). Prior to Saturday’s Phoenix event, Ramsey brought his EntreLeadership 1 Day Event to Los Angeles on Thursday (10/15), partnering with iHeartMedia’s KEIB “The Patriot AM 1150.”
Medved Moderates Panel on State of the Middle East. With the recent violence in Israel set as the backdrop, Salem Radio Network personality Michael Medved spent Thursday evening (10/15) in Cleveland at that city’s Jewish Policy Center moderating a panel titled, “What Now? The New Realities of the Middle East.” Pictured here on stage is Medved at the podium and the seated panelists (from l-r) John Podhoretz, Commander Jennifer Dyer (Ret.) and Cliff May. Medved’s SRN program is heard in the market on Salem Media Group-owned news/talk WHK “AM 1420 The Answer.”
Odds & Sods. Reno rock station KRZQ held a Bubba’s Bike for Badges ride on October 10 in conjunction with syndicated morning host Bubba the Love Sponge. The event raised money for the family of fallen police deputy Carl Howell. More than 175 motorcycles and 200-plus people participated, raising $8,000 for the cause…..Today, CBS RADIO Houston partners with the Points of Light Foundation and the Barbara Bush Literacy Initiative to help break the Guinness World Record for the most children reading with an adult in 24 hours. The cluster has been enlisting listeners to donate their time and each of the five CBS RADIO Houston stations will visit a local elementary school to read to students…..SiriusXM announces E! News co-anchor, producer, actress, and two time New York Times best-selling author Maria Menounos will host a new show titled, “Conversations with Maria Menounos,” on its Stars channel. It will be a daily, one-hour show in which Menounos will go “one-on-one with celebrities, leaders in entertainment and the news, and influencer guests who will share their inspirations, personal stories, life journeys and expertise.”…..Former NPR “All Things considered Weekend” host Arun Rath becomes a shared correspondent for NPR and Boston pubcaster WGBH. He’ll be based in the WGBH newsroom and will produce national stories for NPR and local stories for WGBH News.
AWM Hosts ‘Women in Sports’ Breakfast. Members of the all-female sports talk show “We Need to Talk” were part of a panel discussion about women in sports media at this morning’s “Women in Sports” breakfast program presented by the Alliance for Women in Media at 10 on the Park at Time Warner Center in New York City. CBS Sports Radio’s Amy Lawrence (right) is pictured here with multi-sport athlete Swin Cash (left), who is also a cast member on “We Need to Talk,” CBS’ first-ever, nationally televised all-female sports show. Lawrence moderated the panel consisting of talent and executives from CBS Sports Network at the breakfast.
Boston Herald Wins Honor for Boston Herald Radio. The “Innovator of the Year” award comes from a joint conference of the Associated Press Media Editors and American Society of News Editors at Stanford University and was presented to the Boston Herald for “its innovative platform called Boston Herald Radio that is fully integrated with its print, online and video divisions.” The Boston Herald competed against the Los Angeles News Group and The Oklahoman for the honor. Herald publisher and president Patrick J. Purcell states, “This distinguished national award is a tribute to the finest multimedia newsroom in the city led by our cutting-edge Boston Herald Radio platform. I couldn’t be prouder of the incredible work our staff does every day. It is absolutely innovative — and it is incredibly rewarding to see that recognized by our peers in journalism.”
Pop Culture Figures Meet on the Radio. Nationally syndicated talk show host Marilu Henner (left) poses for a photo with musician Fee Waybill (right) after the latter’s appearance on Henner’s program. Henner – herself a pop culture icon as part of the star-studded cast of the classic television sitcom “Taxi” – chatted with Waybill about his work with the 1970s avant-garde rock outfit The Tubes. Waybill’s band, which infused sharp social commentary into its music and combined that with outlandish stage shows during its heyday, is prepping for a 40th anniversary tour.
Jimmy Fallon Guests on Shaq’s PodcastOne Show. “Tonight Show” star Jimmy Fallon appears on this week’s PodcastOne show, “The BIG Podcast with Shaq.” Shaquille O’Neal was recently on “The Tonight Show” and took part in a few games, including “Shaqsticles,” a Fallon podcast creation. This week, Fallon is on Shaq’s podcast and, among other things, gets Fallon to play one of his games. Shaq, known for his terrible impressions, does a series of impersonations that Fallon must guess, including Miss Piggy, Bill Cosby, Mike Tyson and more. Check it out here.
Hearst Baltimore Hires Pahigian as President/GM. Former Saga Communications Portland, Maine president and general manager Cary Pahigian will succeed Ed Kiernan in the same capacity at Hearst Baltimore talker WBAL and WIYY “98 Rock.” Kiernan recently announced his retirement. According to Hearst president Jordan Wertlieb, “Having worked for some of the nation’s most honored radio stations, including most recently overseeing stations of various formats, Cary brings a wealth of experience. He is a passionate advocate for local broadcasting and understands the importance of community service and how it is the fabric of leading radio stations.” Prior to his tenure at Saga’s Portland properties, Pahigian was station manager at heritage Boston outlet WBZ-AM; operations manager and program director of Philadelphia sports station WIP-AM; vice president of operations at Sconnix Broadcasting; and vice president and general manager of Boch Broadcasting on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Chris Markowski and Jenna Laine to Co-Host New AM Show at Genesis’ Tampa and Orlando Stations. On the news/talk simulcast of WWBA, Tampa and WAMT, Orlando, Genesis Communications debuts the new “Your Wake Up Call” morning drive program co-hosted by Chris Markowski and Jenna Laine with news anchor Robert Pankau and entertainment reporter Kurt Shriner. Markowski is known for his nationally syndicated weekend program “Watchdog on Wall Street.” Laine most recently served as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Insider for Sports Talk Florida. Markowski comments, “I couldn’t be more thrilled to be covering all the important news and events in one of the most important areas in the country: Tampa Bay, Orlando and the entire I-4 corridor.” Laine adds, “Whether it’s news or sports, the one constant for me as a journalist has always been ‘people.’ I love telling your stories and I care very much about issues that affect our communities.”
Kitchin Elected to Museum of Broadcast Communications Board. Radio pro and Sound Mind co-president Kraig Kitchin is elected to the board of directors of the Museum of Broadcast Communications. Downtown Chicago’s MBC has housed America’s only National Radio Hall of Fame since 1992. MBC founder-president-chief executive officer Bruce DuMont comments that, “Kraig is one of the most talented and respected radio executives in America. He will bring his energy and vision to the museum, and help raise awareness of our mission nationally.” Kitchin remarks that for over 25 years, “The Museum of Broadcast Communications has done a remarkable job of recognizing great accomplishments in both radio and television. I am thrilled to join the MBC board and help chart the future of the museum and the National Radio Hall of Fame. More than ever, it is important to recognize the great work done by broadcasters behind the microphone and in front of the camera.” Sound Mind was launched in 2008 and offers management services to radio, television, and production companies. Kitchin works with radio personalities in both talk and music genres. He previously was the longtime president/chief operating officer of the Premiere Radio Networks. Kitchin is a member of the National Radio Hall of Fame Steering Committee that supervises the induction process; the NRHOF Class of 2014 will be announced later this week.
Radio Industry Mourns Tom Rounds. With considerable recent focus on the plight and deteriorating health of iconic personality Casey Kasem, it is an unfortunate, eerie twist of irony that the man who in 1970 – with Kasem and producer Don Bustany – launched and marketed “American Top 40 with Casey Kasem” passed away on Sunday (6/1). To state that Watermark founder Tom Rounds was a broadcasting innovator is actually an understatement. Many within the industry are still in shock regarding the death of the 77-year-old Rounds (he would have been 78 this coming Friday, 6/6) who expired in Los Angeles, reportedly from complications related to a “minor surgical procedure.” His wife – Barbara Rounds – was with her longtime husband when he passed away. By the 1980s, “American Top 40” was heard on more than 500 U.S. radio stations. Approximately three years following ABC’s 1982 acquisition of Watermark, Rounds founded and was chief executive officer of entertainment program supplier Radio Express; by the late-1990s, Burbank (California)-based Radio Express was producing most of its own product. It presently handles syndication outside the United States for American radio programs such as “The Rick Dees Weekly Top 40″ and “American Country Countdown.” Radio Express vice president of sales Jessica d’Agostin notes, “We are deeply saddened by T.R.’s passing. We will profoundly miss his humor, his wisdom, and his kindness. He was a great man. He loved his wife, his family, and radio with all his heart. We will continue to move forward at Radio Express in his honor and as a living tribute to the example ‘T.R.’ set for excellence in all things.” Amherst College (Massachusetts) alum Rounds entered radio at the campus station in the late-1950s. Shortly thereafter in a stunt at Hawaii’s KPOI, he would set a record for staying awake on the air for 260 consecutive hours, while doing his show at a department store. By the mid-1960s, he landed in San Francisco to program top 40 KFRC. Among those commenting on Facebook regarding Rounds’ passing is Ed Mann of MannGroup Radio who states, “I’m just sick about it. Tom was my first producer at MannGroup Radio. I had the opportunity to work ideas with him for years after. He was truly one of the great guys in this business. He was my model as a businessman – such a great combination of creative and manager. We had not talked in years, but this hurts plenty. [Mann’s wife] Mindy and I send our condolences to Barbara and the family.” Former Radio & Records (R&R) country editor/Clear Channel director of production Jim Duncan recounts, “When I first moved to Los Angeles from San Diego to be part of R&R, I had lunch with Tom and [R&R founder/publisher] Bob Wilson. He tried to get me to come do some production at Watermark. I chose to work at Westwood One producing shows. I saw Tom many times over the years and he kept trying to get me to work with him. Sorry I didn’t – he was somebody very special.” Veteran programmer and imaging voice Charlie Van Dyke writes, “Tom Rounds, of course, was a successful program director and part of the original Watermark organization that gave birth to ‘American Top 40.’ He was a great friend to me over the years.” Another legendary voiceover talent, Joe Cipriano, states, “I was honored to co-host with Adrienne Walker the ‘World Chart Show’ for Tom for several years.” Former KIIS “Kiss-FM”, Los Angeles general manager Wally Clark is among the many to simply remark, “Sorry to hear this news.” Sabo Media‘s Walter Sabo describes Rounds as a “great gentleman,” while Sonoma Media Group president Michael O’Shea opines that Rounds was, “a great guy. Radio, as an industry, suffered today.” Former Radio Et Cetera sales manager and ex-general manager of suburban Los Angeles adult contemporary FM trimulcast KLIT, KNJO, & KXEZ Rick Lemmo remarks that, “Tom was a true gentleman. I loved working with him in so many ways.” Ed Scarborough, who has programmed numerous stations, including Los Angeles CHR KKHR and San Antonio adult contemporary KQXT, succinctly declares that Rounds was, “a legend.” MultiBrand Media International owner/president Bill Pasha reflects that he recently made a new friend. “His name was Tom Rounds. Through business, I was fortunate enough to enjoy the wit and wisdom of the man who founded the largest syndication company in the U.S., Watermark. He was a good friend of my pals – Toby Arnold and Tom Merriman – who passed away before ‘T.R.’ I enjoyed his war stories of the biz we both love. About three weeks ago, I spent almost two hours on the phone laughing, chatting and learning from this wonderful guy who was not too busy to offer me advice on how to grow my business. Good men are never truly gone. They live on in our hearts and in the contributions they made to our industry. Tom Rounds was one of those guys.” Salem Media of Hawaii program director Phil Abbot summarizes his thoughts by declaring, “I am speechless. Thank you ‘T.R.,’ for all the help and the masterful instruction along the way.” When Norm Garr was on the air in Oxnard-Ventura-Santa Barbara (California), his station was an “AT 40” affiliate. The station’s on-air talents were allowed to buy a copy of the year-end program. “After I left radio and moved into TV,” Garr recollects, “I wrote Tom the next year asking if I could buy a copy of the next year’s year-end show. For the longest time, he sent me a copy at no charge. What a ‘mensch.'” One of Rounds’ former employees, Cindy Jo Hinkleman, remarks, “I am in shock to receive this news about Tom Rounds passing. Working for Radio Express was one of the highlights of my life so far. He believed in me and gave me the most amazing opportunities to shine. He will stay dear to my heart. I will always remember his smile.” Offering philosophical perspective, Mark Brower writes, “I learned a very difficult lesson today on how precious life is. The world lost one of the best. Not only my boss but also a wonderful friend. He was a wonderful teacher of life, a wonderful storyteller and a wonderful person – definitely my mentor. He was very passionate and music was definitely his life. I learned a lot from Tom Rounds – I will never forget you.” His wife Barbara; a daughter Michelle; a son Tommy; a stepdaughter Debbie; and four grandchildren survive Tom Rounds. A memorial service will be held this Sunday (6/8) at 5:00 pm at Forest Lawn in Hollywood Hills. Memorial donations may be made to City of Hope Cancer Center.
Caine to Bloomberg. Former WestwoodOne CEO Paul Caine joins Bloomberg Media Group to serve as chief revenue officer. Caine was with WestwoodOne for not quite a year before that company’s acquisition by Cumulus Media forced him out. Prior to that, Caine spent 23 years at Time Inc. during which he rose to president and group publisher of the Style & Entertainment Group.
Cox Media’s Multi-Media Convergence in Dayton Analyzed. There are only a few instances in which media operators are producing content and selling advertising for radio, TV, newspapers and digital and Cox Media Group’s Dayton operation is one of them. Michael Depp at NetNewsCheck.com writes a multi-part piece on how WHIO-AM/FM and siblings WHIO-TV, the Dayton Daily News and its affiliated digital properties are performing three years after merging the media into one cohesive effort. From a news and information perspective, the piece begins by illustrating how news staffers produce for all four media. Check it out here.
Odds & Sods. One of Charlotte’s favorite summer traditions returns as Greater Media’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM and sister AC WLNK team with the Charlotte Knights minor league baseball club to “SkyShow Charlotte” – a fireworks spectacular – on July 4 at BB&T Ballpark. The station says WBT’s “SkyShow” continues its tradition of providing a great free street festival including a ferris wheel, interactive kids’ activities and live entertainment…..Hubbard Radio-owned WFED, Washington “Federal News Radio” launches a new weekly program titled, “Women of Washington,” a weekly interview series featuring some of Washington D.C.’s most ambitious and influential female executives. The program is hosted by Aileen Black and Gigi Schumm. WFED program director Lisa Wolfe says, “I’m very excited about this particular program, not only because Aileen and Gigi are so well informed about the federal market, but because they have a higher goal to inspire young women to reach and excel at the executive level.”…..World-renowned pastor Joel Osteen gets his own channel on SiriusXM as the satcaster announces the debut of “Joel Osteen Radio” this fall. The programming will include services from his Lakewood Church in Houston as well as content from his catalogue of past sermons and more…..The Voice of America signs a new agreement with digital call-to-listen platform AudioNow for the latter to provide VOA programming inside the United States. The new agreement expands an on-going relationship between VOA and AudioNow, which already distributes programming from VOA in 34 languages by phone.
Bergdahl Prisoner Swap Controversy, Russian Aggression-U.S. Allies Support, Texas Open Carry Demonstration, Male Unemployment Stats, and NBA-NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/2). Controversy over the Guantanamo prisoner swap for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl; Russian aggression in Ukraine and the Obama administration’s seeking $1 billion for NATO allies; the furor over the Open Carry Texas-orchestrated open carry demonstration and the NRA’s response; new statistics indicating one of every six young American males is unemployed; and the NBA and NHL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Clear Channel Goes with DC-Based Elliot Segal for WOR, New York Morning Show. In announcing its new program schedule for news/talk WOR, New York (which includes the Arrival of Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity), Clear Channel Media + Entertainment throws a curveball to industry watchers and names “DC101” morning drive host Elliot Segal the new morning drive show, replacing the retiring John Gambling. The “Elliot in the Morning” show will continue to air on Clear Channel’s rock WWDC as well as rock WRXL, Richmond “XL 102.” Segal says, “I’m excited to be coming back to New York, to a station with such a legendary history. We have built something very special in Washington, DC and Richmond and I’m beyond thrilled that the show will continue airing on DC/101 and XL-102. Now, WOR will be home to ‘Elliot In The Morning’ and I couldn’t be more anxious to get going.” This move is particularly significant because it is the first time in recent memory that a major market heritage AM news/talk station will be carrying the same show that is running on a major market heritage FM music station. Although there is nothing new about major FM music stations running talk (or talk-oriented) programs in their lineups (usually in morning drive), this move marks a significant breakthrough in mixing the cultures within a single outlet’s stationality. The implications of this, should it be successful, will be huge. Clear Channel notes Mark Simone follows Segal from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. After that it’s Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Andy Dean and Dave Ramsey. Joan Hamburg – a longtime WOR personality – moves to weekends with programs airing on both Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. President and market manager Joe Puglise states, “This is an incredibly exciting time for WOR. Bringing America’s top two talk show hosts to our lineup, the entertaining Elliot Segal and his team to the mornings and becoming the flagship station for the Mets will allow us to create unprecedented marketing opportunities for our partners and unbeatable programming for our listeners.”
John DePetro Apologizes for ‘Whores’ Comment. WPRO, Providence late morning talk show host John DePetro has issued an apology for calling union protestors “whores.” This latest development comes less than a week after TALKERS reported that DePetro had filed a police complaint stating two men had threatened him outside the WPRO studios because of the comment. Back in September, DePetro railed against the union-supported protest taking place outside a fundraiser for State General Treasurer Gina Raimondo. During that broadcast he reportedly directed his words toward a female union leader, saying, “What a disgrace. You are an embarrassment…You are parasites. You are cockroaches. You lie. You are union hags. There’s another word I’d like to use…it begins with a W. and an H. and an O. and an R. and an E. and an S. See if they can spell that.” DePetro was off his program last week and the Associate Press reports it’s unclear if his absence had anything to do with the remarks. Still, he called into his own program and told listeners, “The language I used was not in keeping with the family friendly atmosphere that I try to maintain for the thousands of people who listen to me. Going forward I intend to approach debates on the current topics that we talk about in a more sensitive style.”
Saunders Begins Daily Talk Show. WBNQ, Bloomington, Illinois morning drive host Susan Saunders is adding a daily talk show on sister station news/talk WJBC-AM/FM. Saunders leads the CHR morning show alongside Ray Wagner. Now, she’s adding a two-hour 9:00 am to 11:00 am talk program to her duties at the Cumulus Media cluster. She says, “It’s official, and I couldn’t be more excited about joining the legendary, Marconi- and Crystal Award-winning staff of WJBC-AM/FM. After 15 years (on the morning show), it was time to expand my horizons into pure form talk radio. Over the last four months I have been auditioning my non-musical style with WJBC’s audience, and it works!”
Beasley Declares Cash Dividend for Share Holders. The dividend will be paid on January 10 to shareholders of record on December 27 and will pay $0.045 per share. Chairman and CEO Geroge Beasley states, “The re-initiation of a regular cash dividend reflects the free cash flow generated by our operations as well as our commitment to deliver value to our shareholders, and follows the one-time special dividend of $0.085 paid to shareholders in December 2012. Importantly, taking into consideration the proposed annual capital allocated to dividend payments, based on current conditions we believe Beasley Broadcast Group‘s total free cash flow should provide us with the liquidity needed to further reduce leverage, consider potential station acquisitions and to enhance long-term shareholder value.”
Flora and DeLucca Join Clear Channel, Phoenix as GSMs. Coming onboard effective immediately as general sales managers are George Flora and Libia DeLucca. Flora will oversee sales operations for Clear Channel, Phoenix outlets KFYI “Newstalk 550,” KOY “Business 1230,” and KGME “Fox Sports Radio 910.” In addition to her GSM duties, DeLucca will assist with brand manager responsibilities for the cluster’s rhythmic hot AC KYOT “Eva 95.5.” Clear Channel Phoenix vice president of sales Linda Little states, “George Flora is the perfect addition to our sales management team. He will add a wealth of knowledge and experience in driving revenue and creating solutions for clients utilizing our spoken-word brands. Libia brings with her years of experience selling integrated marketing solutions with digital, newspaper, and TV assets in Phoenix. I know she will take her team to new levels as they become even stronger digital marketers for their clients.” Prior to the six years he just spent at ESPN Los Angeles, Flora was with CBS Radio Los Angeles for 12 years. DeLucca had a 14-year run with Gannett Media Phoenix – most recently as digital sales manager.
Yankees Add Syracuse’s Rock “TK 99” to its Radio Network. Galaxy Communications, Syracuse classic rocker WTKW “TK 99” signs a multi-year agreement with CBS Radio to air all 162 regular season games of the NY Yankees beginning with the 2014 season. Galaxy Communications president/chief executive officer Ed Levine remarks, “We intend to go far beyond just broadcasting the games on the radio in Syracuse. We’re going to enhance the experience for Yankee fans in Central New York in a myriad of innovative ways.” CBS Radio vice president of sports programming Mark Chernoff comments, “CBS Radio and the New York Yankees are very excited to be partnering with ‘TK 99’ and Galaxy. They have shown a great ability through their work with Syracuse University athletics to enhance what is already a strong presence in Syracuse. We look forward to that continuing with the Yankees.” In April 2007, WTKW became the flagship play-by-play outlet of Syracuse University men’s football, men’s basketball, and men’s lacrosse games.
KIRO-FM’s Twelve-Hour Fundraiser Collects More Than $489,000. Local foster children will be aided by money amassed through listener donations and sponsor matching funds via the Bonneville Seattle talk outlet’s 7:00 am – 7:00 pm radio-thon last Thursday (12/5). KIRO-FM conducted the annual “Holiday Magic” on-air event in conjunction with Treehouse, a nonprofit organization addressing essential education and enrichment needs of kids in foster care. Bonneville Seattle Media Group vice president/market manager Carl Gardner comments, “Again this year, our community has dug deep to support foster children. Treehouse does a tremendous job of strengthening foster families and helping children realize their full potential. It is a joy and privilege to connect our generous audience with good neighbors who just need a little help.” Treehouse chief executive officer Janis Avery remarks, “We are absolutely thrilled with the success of the 25th ‘Holiday Magic’ radio-thon. We are so grateful to the KIRO radio team and listeners for once again helping Treehouse give 6,000 kids in foster care across Washington State happy holidays.” Founded in 1988, Treehouse recently set a goal that, by 2017, King County foster kids will graduate high school at the rate of their peers. Major community contributors to the KIRO-FM radio-thon included Carter Subaru, Safeway Foundation, and GEICO.
WMAL-AM/FM, Washington Helps Raise $330k-plus for Fisher House Foundation. WMAL-AM/FM, Washington program director Bill Hess tells TALKERS magazine that it was a big weekend for the Cumulus Media station and its listeners as the 10th Annual Fisher House Radiothon raised $330,630 for the charity that helps provide housing for the loved ones of U.S. servicemen and women begin treated for injuries suffered in the line of duty. Hess calls it an “incredible response by our wonderful WMAL listeners” and reports that this year’s total beat last year’s total by $40,000 and the 2011 total by $75,000. The two-day radiothon was anchored by morning hosts Brian Wilson and Larry O’Connor, along with midday host Chris Plante and weekender Rick Fowler.
Beasley Las Vegas Holiday Bash. The Beasley Broadcast Group Las Vegas cluster took time over the weekend to get together for a holiday party at the Blue Martini. Pictured here (from l-r) are: Beasley Las Vegas VP of programming Justin Chase, corporate VP of operations Brian Beasley, Beasley Las Vegas general manager Tom Humm, KDWN talk show host Alan Stock, KDWN and syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs, and KDWN program and news director John Shaffer.
Tornado Damage Reported Via Multi-Media on McGraw Milhaven Show. The series of tornadoes that swept across the Midwest on Sunday left serious damage in New Minden, Illinois – about an hour East of St. Louis. The photo you see here is from the video component of KTRS, St. Louis morning host McGraw Milhaven’s online platform. Since the spring, Milhaven has been partnering with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s StlToday.com site to present his program in a video format. Today, he used that medium to his advantage as reporter Michael Golde was able to report back to the studio via Skype and show viewers scenes from the storm-damaged town and converse with Milhaven and news anchor Kelly Jackson. In posting the video on YouTube, Milhaven comments, “KTRS Radio in St Louis is the only radio station in the country to show live video of storm-damaged areas of Ill. to listeners on laptops, desktops and smartphones as well as the radio.”
JVC Media to Flip Rock WRCN, Long Island to News/Talk After Christmas. Longtime rocker WRCN, Riverhead, New York has stopped playing “everything that rocks” and has gone Christmas music through the holidays. But after Christmas, the station will emerge as a news/talk outlet dubbed “LI News Radio 103.9.” JVC Media president and CEO John Caracciolo explains the company’s thinking in a statement: “WRCN has a long history and heritage on Long Island – many of us have grown up with the station and it has become an intricate part of our lives. But as our lives change so does our soundtrack. What we listened to growing up is not necessarily what we listen to now and what was important to us as teenagers maybe doesn’t seem so important anymore. That’s why we made the decision to change WRCN and develop and program a radio station that fits the needs of Long Island…Long Islanders are starving for local news and information. Why should we have to wait 22 minutes to hear about the world when all we really want is Islip to Southampton? What’s the traffic like on the 347 merge or Sunrise Highway in Oakdale? This station will not only serve as your information source but it will be your sounding board for issues that influence your life, your community and your business.” Talent that has been announced to be part of the new format includes Premiere Networks nationally syndicated star Sean Hannity and Cumulus Media Networks personality Mark Levin as well as local hosts Ernie Fasio, Vic Fusco, John Gomez, Kevin Law, Steve Levy, Frank McKay, and Jay Oliver.
Linda Thomas to Exit KIRO-FM, Seattle. Morning news anchor and reporter Linda Thomas announces she will be leaving Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle at the end of the year for a new opportunity that, as she says, “doesn’t involve being at work by 2:00 am.” In a blog post at the company’s Mynorthwest.com, she writes, “My Bonneville Seattle bosses understand and support my decision too, even though they don’t want me to leave. That’s what family members do. I’ll always be grateful for them, and for you.” Thomas first worked at KIRO in 1988 as an overnight editor and became morning drive anchor in 1993. She left the station to work as a freelancer but returned to KIRO-FM as morning anchor in 2010. She adds, “KIRO’s news, talk and online teams are the best in the business. It’s been an honor to work alongside amazing talent. I’ve learned a lot from all my co-workers. They encourage me, challenge me, and make me laugh on a daily basis. I really do love them.”
Michelle Wright Let Go from All-News WYAY, Atlanta. The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho tips us that morning drive co-anchor Michelle Wright has been let go from Cumulus Media’s all-news WYAY, Atlanta “All-News 106.7.” Andy Rose remains in AM drive solo. The speculation is that the recent hiring of Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson to host a talk show in middays and the acquisition of Atlanta Braves baseball required some cuts in other areas of the station and Wright was the unfortunate victim. She was one of the original staffers when Cumulus decided to turn WYAY into an all-news station in May of 2012. She had previously worked at Atlanta-based CNN Radio before joining Cumulus.
CEOs Make the Grade. Clear Channel’s Bob Pittman and Emmis’ Jeff Smulyan were both the subjects of feature stories in newspapers over the weekend – Pittman in The New York Times and Smulyan in the Indianapolis Star. In a Q&A titled, the Value of Dissent, Pittman says he encouraged dissenters in his organization because they serve a valuable purpose. “I want us to listen to these dissenters because they may intend to tell you why we can’t do something, but if you listen hard, what they’re really telling you is what you must do to get something done. It gets you out of your framework of the conventions of what you can and can’t do.” Read that piece here. Jeff Smulyan tells the Star in his Q&A that the best piece of advice he’s received has to do with employer-employee relationships, “Attract the best people, treat them well, and let them do their job. If you want people to go through walls for you, you have to go through more walls for them.” Read that story here.
The View of Radio from the Digital World’s Perspective. Noted radio digital consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller writes, “Those of us in digital media know that our world will continue to change drastically, over and over again. We also know that we will be bigger and better three years…five years…10 years from now. Plus, we hear how radio compares itself to online listening choices, and we see how you use your digital platforms. And here’s what we think.” In a new column posted today (11/18) Miller goes on to state that digital-only people still have “transmitter envy” and that even though more and more people and media are moving online, the stick is still a formidable asset. Regardless, he points out that many digital-only professionals think that over-the-air radio companies are “crazy” for cutting talent, still selling 60-second commercials, and not being cognizant of just how much entertainment is changing. He clearly explains what digital pros see as radio’s “dangerous assumption.” He observes, “I look at a lot of different radio social media, websites, database emails and texting programs, and it’s clear you’re making some dangerous assumptions. Digital content doesn’t work like you think it should. It doesn’t work like you wish it did. It works like it works. We see you on Facebook and Twitter talking about almost anything…except what people really love about you. Your websites are a mish-mosh of broad-based content, but if you look at your web stats, there are fewer than half-a-dozen features at your site that, combined, get the lion’s share of your page views. There is nothing special or exclusive about the emails you send your listeners, and your open rates prove it. Radio people know a lot about how people use radio. Meanwhile, you are using all these other media as if knowing how they work doesn’t matter. One key thing we’re doing to drive our online success is to track everything we can to see what really makes a difference. We don’t have the luxury of having opinions about what should work. Either the clicks are there, or they aren’t. What we do either works, or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t, you dig in, diagnose the problem, and adjust.” To read Chris Miller’s entire column, please click here.
Premiere Reverses Course; Keeps Randi Rhodes on Syndication Menu. There are no reports indicating just what happened between Randi Rhodes and syndicator Premiere Networks but the latter is confirming the widely reported news that Rhodes will continue to be syndicated by Premiere, at least through 2014. Premiere SVP of affiliate relations Peter Tripi emailed affiliates, “In a happy turn of events, we are pleased to announce that Premiere Networks will continue to produce and distribute the Randi Rhodes show. In an industry of constant change, it’s a pleasure to provide good news about a talk talent we think so highly of. We apologize for any inconvenience the previous announcement caused, but look forward to a very successful 2014 with the Randi Rhodes show.” Several weeks ago, Rhodes began telling her audience she was foreseeing the end of her program and later Premiere notified affiliates the relationship would be ending.
It’s Pop-Up Time. No, not the kind of pop-up we associate with websites – pop-up ads – but those retail stores that “pop up” in vacant storefronts during the holiday shopping season. Sales maven and H&H Communications president Al Herskovitz writes about getting these seasonal businesses advertising on your station this year. He notes that many of these retailers are big name brands that choose to expand their physical space during this time of year and they include Vera Bradley, Louis Vuitton and the National Football League. Read Al Herskovitz’s entire column here.
ABC News Radio Offers Kennedy Assassination Programming. As the nation marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, ABC News Radio is offering a two-hour special broadcast, “Three Shots Rang Out: An ABC News Special – The JFK Assassination 50 Years Later,” anchored by ABC News’ Diane Sawyer. It’s an audio-only program that will be heard by ABC News Radio affiliates. In addition, a special expanded show will be available via download at Audible.com as part of a new digital audio relationship between ABC News Radio and Audible. The Audible.com version of this program will include an additional 40 minutes of historical audio available exclusively to Audible listeners.
Ron Ruth Passes. Former 19-year Radio Advertising Bureau executive vice president of stations Ron Ruth died early Saturday (11/16) in Florida of a heart attack. The 75-year-old Ruth had been struggling with health issues the past two months. CBS Radio president and chief executive officer Dan Mason was among those quickly noting their sympathies regarding Ruth’s passing. “I just spoke with him at the Radio Show this past September in Orlando,” Mason writes on Facebook. “He was so up and happy – I am sad tonight.” Also on that social media platform, Tom Birch notes, “Ron lived life to its fullest and was a joy and inspiration to everyone who had the opportunity to know him. Ron was the midwife to Birch Research. He opened doors for me, encouraged me and guided me. I am deeply honored to have worked for Ron at WQAM, Miami in the 1970s, and to have remained friends with him for the next three decades.” According to former RKO General eastern vice president Perry Ury, “Ron Ruth was a friend and our house skeptic at RKO.” Former Tele Media Broadcasting vice president and chief operating officer Ira Rosenblatt adds, “We’ve lost a friend and true broadcaster.” Doing afternoon drive in Boston early in his radio career, Ruth roomed with two other on-air talents who went on to stardom – George Carlin and Jack Burns of Burns & (Avery) Schreiber. He held sales manager positions for Unistar Radio Networks, as well as at the local level in markets such as New York (WOR-FM), Chicago (WNUS), Washington, DC (WGMS), and Buffalo (WYSL). Ruth left Unistar to join the RAB in 1992. Most recently, he was consulting the Radio Advertising Bureau.
A Man of His Word. The man having his head shaved live on the air on Cumulus Media’s WMAL, Washington, DC is former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino. Not too long ago, Bongino said on the WMAL airwaves that he would shave his head if President Obama apologized for the gaffes in the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. And since the president did offer an apology of sorts, Bongino agreed to honor his statement live on the air and did so on Friday, November 15.
Steve Dahl and Garry Meier to Be Inducted into National Radio Hall of Fame. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that the Chicago-located National Radio Hall of Fame is announcing the class of 2013 feature Chicago radio personalities and former partners Steve Dahl and Garry Meier in addition to other inductees Blair Garner, John Lanigan, Paul W. Smith, Eddie “Piolin” Sotelo, Charley Steiner, and (posthumously) radio manufacturer Powel Crosley, Jr. Dahl, currently busy with his own podcast venture, and Meier, hosting afternoon drive at Tribune’s WGN, Chicago, were superstars in morning drive at WLUP-FM for 14 years before an acrimonious breakup in 1993. Dahl continued to work with other cast members while Meier eventually partnered with Roe Conn at WLS before joining WGN. The Radio Hall of Fame states, “They became the most-talked-about radio team in the city’s history, representing a generation and ushering in an era of content envelope-pushing that was imitated nationwide.” Blair Garner is hosting “America’s Morning Show” at Cumulus Media’s country WNSH, New York. Paul W. Smith hosts the morning program on news/talk WJR, Detroit.
Staff Additions at CBS Radio’s ’98.7 The Fan’ in Tampa. WHFS, Tampa “98.7 The Fan” program director John O’Connell announces additions to the staff at CBS Radio’s Tampa Bay sports talk station. First, veteran sports announcer Jim Lighthall joins Justin Pawlowski on “Fan Interference with Justin Pawlowski and Jim Lighthall” from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon and that show is now being produced by Jeff “Pants” Pantridge who moves up from his position producing the “Kirk and Dinger Morning Show.” Lighthall is a 1990 graduate of the University of South Florida and has been a sports announcer for over 21 years. He is the play-by-play voice of USF men’s basketball, a member of the USF Football broadcast team and has been the station’s 20/20 sports update reporter since the station’s launch. Taking Pantridge’s place producing the AM show is Ed “Special Ed” Grube who joins the station from CBS Radio’s sister hip hop outlet WLLD “WiLD 94.1.” to be head producer for the program featuring Kirk McEwen, Chris “Dinger” Dingman and Roxanne Wilder. O’Connell states, “We are very excited about these additions and what Ed brings to the table. His quick wit, creativity and great sense of humor will bring a new dimension to the ‘Kirk and Dinger Morning Show.’ Ed has the ability to help take the show to the top of the ratings, and like Jim, he’s a big basketball fan who offers a unique perspective.” Also producer Bryan Drake shifts from production duties in middays to the evening “Fabulous Sports Babe Show” airing from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm.
Midday Changes at WTKS, Orlando. Shawn Wasson “The News Junkie” takes over the 11:00 am to 3:00 pm show at Clear Channel’s hot talk WTKS, Orlando “Real Radio 104.1” after Jason “Buckethead” Bailey exits the station. Bailey commented on his departure via Facebook saying he has nothing bad to say about the people or the station. “Can I explain the whole thing and how it panned out? Nope…not right now. It’s not as easy as some people seem to think it is. Will I miss ‘Real Radio?’ More than anyone will ever know. The ‘Real Radio’ gig was a dream come true for me…”
Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Named Station of the Year by NCAB. Greater Media Charlotte announces WBT-AM/FM was named the 2013 Station of the Year award (large market category) this past week during the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters (NCAB) Annual Convention in Greensboro. The winners of this year’s top station awards were determined by a distinguished panel of out of state media executives. The Station of the Year Award was given to radio stations with achievements during 2012 that highlight innovative programming, with an emphasis on audience involvement and promotion, and a commitment to their local community. Greater Media Charlotte vice president and station manager Trip Savery states, “It is fitting that North Carolina’s first and most legendary radio station, WBT would win the inaugural NCAB station of the year award. We are very proud to receive this honor from NCAB.”
TRN Files New Suit Against Courtside Entertainment and Dial Global. In the original suit TRN filed against numerous radio syndication and ads sales organizations alleging antitrust violations Courtside Entertainment was a defendant but a California judge removed Courtside from that complaint ruling it was not connected to the antitrust allegation. Now, TRN files a complaint in United States District Court District of Oregon Portland Division against Courtside and Dial Global alleging tortious interference with both TRN’s contract with Michael Savage and Laura Ingraham. The suit seeks unspecified damages plus legal fees other and further relief.
Arbitron Releases NHL Radio Play-By-Play Stats. Outside of Canada, NHL hockey on the radio has never been considered a radio goldmine in broad terms. But a strike-shortened season may have been a factor in increased interest where the mindset is that every game counts, according to analysis from Arbitron. The ratings company released average game cume (6+) and average game share (Men 25-54) data and draws some conclusions about the sport’s effect on radio audience. Probably most notable is that the teams that performed best for their flagship stations are largely East Coast and Midwest teams that have a long tradition in the league and their fan bases go generations deep in the markets. For example, the top seven teams in terms of average game share (Men 25-54) were (in order): Pittsburgh Penguins, St. Louis Blues, Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins, Minnesota Wild, Detroit Red Wings, and the Philadelphia Flyers. Pittsburgh, whose flagship is Clear Channel’s alternative rock WXDX-FM, was far and away in first with a 33.3 average game share in that demo. Arbitron notes that the young male-skewing alternative flagship station helped achieve this. Also keep in mind that the top two teams, Pittsburgh and St. Louis, have no NBA franchise in their markets with which to compete for audience during the winter months. Arbitron also wonders where the help for radio flagships is from the NHL. “Try finding any radio information on the teams web pages and it’s almost nonexistent. Download a schedule for Outlook, or an Apple product and TV information is everywhere…radio is likely nowhere to be found.”
Drew Lane Begins Podcast Venture. One half of the former WRIF, Detroit Drew & Mike morning drive show – Drew Lane – has partnered up with producers Mike Wolters and Marc Fellhauer to begin producing a podcast called DM&M podcast. Lane’s and Mike Clark’s contracts were not renewed at the Greater Media rock station and former alternative CIMX, Windsor, Canada duo Dave and Chuck the Freak were brought in to take over mornings last month. So far, Mike Clark is not part of the podcast venture.
Odds & Sods. Rob Archer is the new midday news anchor at Clear Channel’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles after the exit of Chris Lane…..At Advanced Media Partners’ Peoria, Illinois stations that includes sports talk WZPN, Stephanie Blue is the new production director…..SiriusXM Radio and Rural Radio LLC announce the debut of Rural Radio, a 24/7 channel devoted to providing a wide variety of programming for and about rural American life, the western lifestyle and agribusiness interests.
Calgary Talk Host Fired After Criticizing Station Flood Coverage. CHQR, Calgary talk show host Dave Rutherford, about whom TALKERS wrote yesterday regarding the looming end of his long-running radio program, was taken off the air on June 25 after criticizing the Corus-owned station for its coverage of the local floods. Rutherford tells the Calgary Sun he’s still not sure of his status but says he was told his program will not return after he lashed out at management for not broadcasting locally on CHQR when the station was evacuated due to flooding and instead piped in programming from CHED, Edmonton.
SCOTUS Gay Marriage Rulings, Obama Climate Change Policy, George Zimmerman Trial, Aaron Hernandez Case, NSA Surveillance/Snowden Asylum, and Obama Africa Trip Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/26). The striking down of the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 by the Supreme Court; the emissions limits to be set by the EPA under the president’s direction; the trial of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin; the case against former Patriots player Aaron Hernandez; the NSA surveillance program and the case of Edward Snowden; and President Obama’s African trip were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
SiriusXM Reports Positive Q1 with Revenue Up 12%; Company Involved in Digital Dashboard Technology Rollout. That 12% percent increase over the same period a year ago is on revenue of $897 million. New permanent CEO Jim Meyer had every reason to be bubbly during his first investor conference call as official chief executive officer of the satcaster. He reports the company grew its subscriber base to a new record high on new subscriptions of 453,000 during the quarter. From a financial perspective he stated, “We are proud to have achieved the highest suggested EBITDA margin in the history of the company in the first quarter. We expect to achieve a 30% adjusted EBITDA margin this year, up from 27% last year and we continue to target 40% plus margins over time. You will see us move over the next few years to become one of the highest margin businesses among major media companies in the United States. Our ability to convert the bulk of that EBITDA in the free cash flow is also unmatched in the subscription media world.” He said the company is riding the “tailwind in the new car market as it recovers.” Meyer told investors the company is committed to having the best content, spoke about new channel additions as well as new talent joining the company and mentioned talk host Michael Smerconish. Addressing the specific question about GM’s plans for its future “digital dashboard,” Meyer said he couldn’t talk about any one manufacturer’s plans but was able to state, “I believe GM is on a leadership strategy in terms of where I believe the auto industry will go in general. And that is, I believe, over a mid and long period of time — you can define how many years that is — you will see automakers move to what I will call embedded connectivity that will be LTE-based that will give them lots of options for what they want to do for their customers and their vehicles. I think it’s very important that Sirius XM participates in that rollout of technology as it occurs over the next three to seven years and that’s exactly what we’re all about when we referred to our connected-car strategy. This is something that…I want to reiterate again today, that we’re moving and reprioritizing a lot of our technical resources and frankly now our commercial programming resources towards making that goal happen as we go out over time.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript. You can read the whole shebang here.
Tom Wheeler Gets Nod from Obama for FCC Chief. On the political side of things, many Democrats wanted to see President Obama select a woman for the post being vacated by Julius Genachowski, but the president nominated a man with a telecommunications background who was very helpful in getting him elected. Politico reports that managing director of Core Capital Partners, Tom Wheeler, (along with his wife) worked Iowa for six weeks straight during the president’s first campaign. Although Wheeler will get some grief from those who are suspicious of his past tenure as a lobbyist with both the National Cable and Telecommunications Association and the CTIA (Cellular Telephone Industry Association), he has experience in the industry having founded numerous cable and communications services businesses. National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon Smith states, “NAB welcomes the nomination of Tom Wheeler as chairman of the FCC. He has the experience and temperament to serve the agency with distinction, and we look forward to working with him.”
Talkers New York 2013 Approaching Sellout Today. At the present rate of registration bookings, all available seats to the forthcoming Talkers New York 2013 will be sold out by the end of business today (5:00 pm ET). The 16th annual installment of the talk industry’s longest-running and most important annual convention has broken the record for reaching advance registration earlier than ever before. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “We are amazed and gratified that this conference has reached a sellout almost five weeks in advance of its actual date, which is a testimony to the vibrancy of the talk format and the enthusiasm of the industry that produces it.” The one-day, power-packed event takes place on Thursday, June 6 in New York City between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm. It features a speaker roster of more than 50 industry leaders from programming, sales, talent, management, technology and ownership. Registration ($199 for all events and food services) is open exclusively to members of the working media and can only be booked by phone with credit card. Call 413-565-5413. For complete registration and sponsorship information including an up-to-the-minute agenda, click here.
Walton & Johnson Take Over Mornings on KPRC, Houston. Just four months after the Walton & Johnson [John Walton (left) and Steve Johnson (right)] morning show was dropped from Clear Channel’s classic rock KKRW, Houston “97.3 The Arrow,” the program is brought back to the Houston airwaves as the new morning program on the company’s news/talk KPRC. The duo was replaced on “The Arrow” by longtime St. Louis radio personality J.C. Corcoran. Clear Channel Houston director of AM programming Bryan Erickson says, “We are thrilled to have Walton & Johnson back on KPRC. They have a proven track record of great ratings and we look forward to them continuing that success on KPRC.” Walton & Johnson made KPRC their flagship beginning in 2007 but moved to “The Arrow” in 2009. Off KPRC as a result of the move is Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo who is based at Clear Channel’s WOAI, San Antonio and is heard there and on other Clear Channel news/talk stations.
Armstrong & Getty to Join KFMB, San Diego in June. Morning show duo Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty will be heard in the San Diego market beginning June 3 as their program bumps current morning host Mike Slater to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot. Armstrong & Getty are based at Clear Channel’s KSTE, Sacramento and heard in other markets in Northern California including San Francisco on KKSF. This is a big move for the duo as they are added to a non-Clear Channel station – Midwest TV’s KFMB. Program director Dave Sniff states, “Like any great radio morning show, Armstrong and Getty have that unique ability to not only connect with the listener but to become their companions. They fit in amazingly well among the great storytellers that are part of 760 KFMB’s character and lineage. They’re not so much a ‘talk show’ as a ‘mock show.’”
Cox Media’s WOKV, Jacksonville Adds 104.5 FM Signal. Market news/talk powerhouse WOKV got a little more powerful as Cox Media Group gives the 104.5 FM signal long-occupied by now-defunct rock station WFYV to the station to boost its coverage of the region. WOKV program director Mike Dorwart says, “Our listeners told us loud and clear that we needed more power. Moving to 104.5 FM means that, for the first time, our listeners can hear us crystal clear, everywhere in northeast Florida, both day and night. The most noticeable improvement will be heard by listeners in Baker, Clay, St. Johns, and Nassau counties. They now have full coverage from WOKV, 24/7, on 104.5 FM. Duval residents will also hear a big difference, especially those who listen at work. Our new signal also gives reliable coverage to listeners in Flagler, Putnam, Bradford, Union and Columbia counties in Florida, as well as Camden and Charlton counties in Georgia.” The station has been simulcast on the 106.5 FM frequency but that class A FM is much smaller. WOKV will continue to be heard on 106.5 as the company directs listeners to the new 104.5 frequency.
Five Critical Steps for Radio to Achieve Success with Online Video. Noted media consultant and TALKERS columnist Walter Sabo outlines five crucial pointers that radio broadcasters should keep in mind when utilizing video in their digital initiatives. In a column posted today (5/1) he suggests: 1) bad equipment is usually the best; 2) online video is NOT television (TV); 3) 80% of all videos are watched within 72 hours of posting; 4) most of the biggest stars of the internet (“webstars”) are self-cast; and 5) late evening is the best time to post. To read the entirety of this timely and informative article, click here.
The End of an Era for Knoxville News/Talk; Country to Take Over 100.3 Frequency. With Journal Broadcast Group’s acquisition of Oak Ridge FM’s news/talk WNOX, Knoxville about to close, the company is preparing to move the country format currently heard on its WCYQ to the much stronger 100.3 signal currently occupied by news/talk on WNOX. A country simulcast will begin tomorrow on the two FMs (5/2) and the news/talk programming now on WNOX will move to Blount Broadcasting’s WKVL, a daytime AM at 850.
KTRS, St. Louis Newest Affiliate for Envision’s ‘America Weekend.’ The weekend news/talk radio program being nationally syndicated by Envision Radio Networks announces CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis is the latest station to add the programming to its weekend offerings. Envision calls “America Weekend” “the winning antidote to bad brokered programming and tiresome ‘Best-of’ shows. Hosted by Paul Harris, Rick Roberts, and Turi Ryder, ‘America Weekend’ is designed to increase ratings while providing an innovative system for maintaining or even increasing revenue from brokered programs. The flexible ‘America Weekend’ system provides the perfect platform to break away for sports and other special programming as needed. Since ‘America Weekend’ is broadcast live via satellite, it is able to stay current by addressing breaking and developing stories of national interest as they happen. The program airs live each Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET.”
Fargo Stations Sales Close: Fargo-Moorhead Radio Cluster to Midwest Communications; Triad Broadcasting Group to Larry Wilson’s L&L. The sales of both of these Fargo market station groups were announced last year and were approved by the FCC months ago. Now the transactions close with Wausau, Wisconsin-based Midwest Communications taking ownership of the former Fargo-Moorhead Radio cluster that includes: news/talk KFGO, sports KVOX, CHR WDAY “Y-94,” country KBVB “Bob FM,” talk KRWK “101.9 Talk FM,” and adult hits KMJO “Popster FM.” Midwest Communications vice president of programming Jeff McCarthy tells the Forum of Fargo Moorhead he doesn’t anticipate any immediate programming changes. Larry Wilson, whose Alpha Broadcasting operates stations in Portland, Oregon, also is a principal in L&L Broadcasting and his company is closing on Triad Broadcasting’s stations that include: oldies KQWB “True Oldies,” classic rock KPFX “The Fox,” hot AC KLTA, country KVOX “Froggy 99.9,” full service KBMW, and rock KQWB “Q98.” Triad vice president and market manager Michael Brooks also tells the paper he does not anticipate any immediate changes.
WEEI Names John Ryder to Red Sox Broadcast Team; Grande and Merloni to Handle Fill-In Role. In announcing John Ryder’s ascension to a permanent role on Red Sox broadcasts as host of pre- and post-game coverage, the company says, “Ryder has been with WEEI since 1998 and is a regular contributor to the ‘Planet Mikey’ show, in addition to hosting ‘Red Sox Review’ and ‘Celtics Rewind’ after Sox and Celtics games.” The company is also announcing that Sean Grande and Lou Merloni will join the broadcasts filling in for Dave O’Brien, who will miss Monday night games during the season due to his responsibilities for ESPN. Grande has been the voice of the Boston Celtics since 2001, after having served as the TV voice of the Minnesota Timberwolves for three years. Merloni is currently co-host of the “Mut and Merloni” show on WEEI 93.7 FM. Merloni also enjoyed a nine-year professional career in Major League Baseball, the first five with the Red Sox. Entercom Boston vice president of programming Jason Wolfe says, “John has done a stellar job in every role we’ve had for him and has absolutely earned this promotion. He’s hosted the pre- and post-game shows for the Sox many times before and was a natural choice for us to fill this important job. Sean’s play-by-play experience speaks for itself. He’s one of the greats in the industry right now, and Lou’s expertise is second to none. There’s no baseball man in Boston who knows the Sox better than Lou.”
Odds & Sods. Result Radio’s Christian contemporary KJJK, Fargo will flip to sports talk on Monday, May 6 using programming from Fox Sports Radio Network including Dan Patrick, Jay Mohr and the “Loose Cannons” with Pat O’Brien and Steve Hartman. The station will continue to serve as a Minnesota Twins affiliate…..Personality J.D. Hayworth – co-host of the “Hacksaw & Hayworth” show on sports talk XEPRS, San Diego – does some news/talk fill-in work this week when he sits in for Cumulus Media Networks host Michael Savage tonight through Friday from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET. He’ll also sit in for the company’s Mike Huckabee tomorrow from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET…..Bouyed by coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing and the Texas fertilizer warehouse explosion, cable news/talk channel CNN has improved in the ratings compared to the same period a year ago. Based on April Nielsen numbers as reported in Deadline.com, CNN saw its total day viewers number rise 79% compared to April 2012. CNN was also up in prime time, achieving an 81% increase in total viewers over the same period a year ago. The network was able to climb over MSNBC into second place behind Fox News Channel in both ratings categories.
Benghazi Cover-up Investigation, ObamaCare Effects, Boston Marathon Bombing Aftermath, Slow Job Growth Reports, and Immigration Legislation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/30). New inquiries into the Benghazi attack; the effects of the Affordable Care Act; the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing and the search for possible co-conspirators; newly released reports indicating slow job growth in the United States; and debate over immigration legislation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.