Tag: "Ronn Owens"

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

| July 14, 2015

harrisonUpCloseFarOutsmallMichael Harrison Gets ‘Up Close and Far Out’ with Legendary KGO, San Francisco Talkmeister Ronn Owens.  This week’s new installment of Podcast One’s international hit podcast for media freaks, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” is posted today (7/14).  It features a compelling conversation between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and legendary radio talk show host Ronn Owens.  Owens is about to mark his 40th anniversary with the heritage San Francisco outlet KGO – having survived numerous regimes and ownership changes during that four-decade period, including the controversial 2011 reorganization of the station from aowensronn news/talk format to an all-news direction that left Owens the station’s only full-time talk show host.  In addition, Owens recently disclosed publicly that he has been privately dealing with the challenges of Parkinson’s Disease for the past 13 years that has progressed to the point that he will be undergoing a leading-edge form of surgery called Deep Brain Stimulation.  This aggressive procedure, when successful, has been shown to alleviate the incurable neurological disorder’s movement-prohibiting symptoms.  Owens – ranked by TALKERS as one of the 25 most important radio talk show hosts of all time — discusses his career and views on talk radio, including the power of local programming, options beyond the left/right paradigm, the disastrous simulcast of his show on KGO and KABC, Los Angeles in 1997-98 and the impact of cell phones on the format, plus more.  He also candidly talks about his quiet battle with advancing Parkinson’s Disease, his decision to open up about it and details of the exotic form of brain surgery that he will be facing in August.  Harrison says of Owens, “This man is truly one of the giants of the industry.  Just like all the truly great performers of the talk radio arts, he rises above technique and has made it big simply based upon his unique brand of ‘personhood’ – an elusive quality that the Dickey Brothers obviously recognize – and speaks volumes about their nuanced awareness factor.  Add to that, his backbone is of figurative steel as he faces an experimental form of invasive surgery.  Ronn Owens is an inspiration to us all, professionally and personally.  I am so darned pleased to be able to present this podcast to the industry and the world.”  This is a must-listen for members of the professional radio community.  To hear the entire podcast, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right hand column of every page of Talkers.com.

legrettkevinLeGrett Lands iHeartMedia LA Market President Slot. Currently senior vice president of operations for approximately 225 iHeartMedia stations in roughly 50 northeast and midwest markets, Kevin LeGrett is shifting to market president for the company’s eight-station Los Angeles cluster. Executive vice president of operations for iHeartMedia – and the company’s Southern California president – Greg Ashlock (to whom LeGrett will report) comments, “Kevin has a successful track record leading operations and accelerating growth across multiple regions. He has earned the right to lead our largest market. His vast experience managing talent and revenue across so many diverse markets and stations will allow him to bring a unique perspective to our Los Angeles portfolio – a portfolio that I have been blessed to directly manage for the last decade that hosts the most compelling on-air talent and most innovative leaders in the business.” LeGrett states that he is “thrilled” at the “opportunity to lead” the “extremely talented” Los Angeles team. He further states, “iHeartMedia Los Angeles has some of the most iconic brands and beloved personalities in the country. With the instantaneous success of [urban contemporary KRRL] ‘Real 92.3′ and the continued stellar ratings and thriving pop culture events such as ‘Wango Tango’ and ‘Jingle Ball,’ it is an exciting time foriheartmedia logo small the market. I look forward to the opportunity to further build on the team’s already enormous success.” LeGrett, who begins his new duties in three weeks (8/3), joined iHeartMedia five years ago as vice president and market manager for the company’s Rochester stations. He will be leading a Los Angeles group of properties that includes hot AC KBIG “My-FM” and adult contemporary KOST “Coast 103.5,” tied for second in Nielsen Audio‘s June 2015 PPM, each with 5.1 (6+). Also in the top ten this June are iHM CHR KIIS “Kiss-FM” (#4, 4.9) and talk KFI (#8, 3.5). The rest of the company’s Los Angeles cluster consists of aforementioned urban contemporary KRRL “Real 9.2.3″ (formerly urban-rhythmic oldies KHHT “Hot 92.3,” #11, 3.1); alternative KYSR “Alt 98.7″ (#20, 2.3); and sports/Los Angeles Dodgers’ flagship KLAC and talk KEIB (both with .9, tied at #30).

cumulus logoCumulus Media Expands Brand Partnerships Team.  This move includes promotions for two current Cumulus Media staffers.  The company says that in expanding the Brand Partnerships team, it has named Leslie Slender vice president, Brand Partnerships and Events, and Leslie Caraccilo, vice president, Brand Partnerships.  The Brand Partnerships division is responsible for developing “unique experiential opportunities for Cumulus and Westwood One, connecting advertisers to itsslenderleslie listening audiences and leveraging its integrated radio, digital, social and live events platform.”  Slender has been serving as Cumulus New York’s corporate director, events and marketing.  She’ll continue to caracciloleslieoversee marketing and events for Cumulus New York stations.  Caraccilo has been with the company for five years as was most recently senior director of digital monetization.  She’ll continue to oversee digital sales strategy for Cumulus.  Cumulus SVP of Brand Partnership Tommy Page states, “We are excited to welcome these two talented professionals to the Brand Partnerships team.  Leslie Slender is a rare example of a marketer that is not only outstanding at producing and executing live events, but also knows how to package these opportunities for advertisers.  Leslie Caraccilo has done an incredible job of creating custom digital and content solutions for our advertisers across the Cumulus platform. Her understanding of artist programming and deep knowledge of the digital space make her a natural fit for our Brand Partnerships team.  With these strong additions to our already stellar Westwood One events group, all Cumulus and Westwood One partners and advertisers will benefit from this powerhouse team’s expertise.”

familyleadershipsummit15USA Radio Network Helps Sponsor Broadcast of Family Leadership Summit.  A live, five-hour broadcast from the Family Leadership Summit on Saturday, July 18 is being made available for free to broadcasters from USA Radio Networks in cooperation with Truth Radio Network.  The Ames, Iowa event will originate from Iowa State University and be anchored by nationally syndicated host and political commentator Steve Deace and American values expert Steve Noble.  The live broadcast will give voters the opportunity to hear from top conservative leaders and Republican presidential candidates, including: Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Dr. Ben Carson, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, and Bob Vander Plaats.  USA Radio Networks SVP of news operations Russ Jones says, “Iowa is a key battleground state for any presidential candidate.  The Family Leadership Summit is the first major platform the electorate will get to hear how candidates would lead the nation.”

bellartArt Bell Returns to Airwaves in Portland on Monday.  We’ve known for some time now that Art Bell has been preparing to return to hosting a nightly program via his Dark Matter Digital Network, but now Alpha Media announces the originator of “Coast to Coast AM” will bring his new show – “Midnight in the Desert” – to KXL-FM, Portland beginning Monday, July 20.  The show will air from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am local time and will follow Clyde Lewis’ “Ground Zero.”  Alpha Portland SVP/market manager Milt McConnell comments, “Art is an American original in terms of putting the paranormal on the radio landscape.  We are so proud to extend his coverage to the Northwest where there is a rabid appetite for his unique brand of communication.”

2015 Marconi Finalists Announced.  The 2015 Marconi Award finalists have been announced by the NAB.  The annual awards, to be given out during the NAB Radio Show in Atlanta on October 1, are divvied up into 20 categories.  Legendary Station of the Year finalists include: news/talk outlets KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa; WHIO-AM, Dayton; and all-news KYW, Philadelphia.  Major Market Personality of the Year finalists include: Felger & Massarotti from sports talk WBZ-FM, Boston and Hal Jay from news/talk WBAP, Dallas.  View all the finalists here.

malcolmoutloudWYM Media to Distribute Malcolm Out Loud Features.  Through WYM Media Management, radio news commentator Malcolm Out Loud is expanding his daily radio presence with three new features.  “Out Loud News and Comment” is the news of the day with Malcolm’s unique twist; “Out Loud America” is a “relevant and timely commentary from Malcolm”; and “Brink Thinking Out Loud” is “motivational content and inspiring stories and positive events shaping our world.”  Malcolm Out Loud is a motivational speaker, innovator and creator of the popular websites OutLoudAmerica.com and BrinkThinking.com.

kcmo logoKCMO, Kansas City Holds Drive to Assist Mother of Six Caught Shoplifting.  The case of homeless widow and mother-of-six Sarah Robinson was the focus of attention for Cumulus Media’s Kansas City radio stations, led by news/talk KCMO on Saturday as it held a donation drive Saturday for the family.  Robinson was cited for shoplifting at a local Walmart but the officer who responded, Mark Engravalle, decided to pay for the diapers and wipes for her twin two-year-olds and bought shoes for her other girls.  After hearing the woman’s story of desperation, the stations planned a two-hour donation drive that netted cash, diapers, baby wipes, clothing, blankets, food, toiletries and other items.  KCMO morning host Rob Carson hosted both Robinson and Officer Engravalle on his show on Monday.  Officer Engravalle remains touched that he’s changed someone’s life for the better and he is in constant touch with Sarah, who is off the street with her girls in temporary lodging, while something more permanent is being arranged.  The generosity continues with a local law firm offering her a job.

Odds & Sods.  Texas-based talk show host Lynn Woolley is celebrating the 20th anniversary of his talk show.  Woolley says his days as a talk show host go back to 1995 when he and two partners operated KTEM, Kileen-Temple…..The NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes and Capitol Broadcasting Company have reached a multi-year agreement for WCMC, Raleigh “99.9 The Fan” to continue serving as the team’s flagship station through the 2019-20 season.

nbcsportsradio logoCool Job Opportunity.  NBC Sports Radio in Culver City, California is looking for the next great sports talk producer!  Are you totally immersed in all things sports?  Can you oversee and manage a top-notch, daily sports talk show and book compelling guests and newsmakers?  Can you handle show/talent/guest prep, organize formats and rundowns, develop content, fact-check and research, and distribute social media and digital content across platforms?  Do you have excellent live and studio production skills using multiple software programs, including Adobe Audition and Pro Tools?  If you can do all this and have 3-4 year’s major market or network experience, we want to talk to you!  Send a link to work materials, including resume and audio samples, to Jack Silver, Program Director, at jsilver@westwoodone.com.  No calls, please.

WBAPbushmanMurrowWBAP, Dallas’ Bushman Recognized with Regional Murrow Award.  WBAP, Dallas-Fort Worth news staffer Eric Bushman was recently honored with Regional Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association for his reporting on the U.S. Ebola outbreak last year.  Dallas was “Ground Zero” for Bushman’s story, and he was lead reporter from start to finish.  This is the second consecutive year Bushman has been honored with a Murrow Award.  Last year, he received one for his comprehensive coverage of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. WBAP, Dallas operations and program manager Tyler Cox comments, “Eric’s work represents the type of reporting that is the signature of the WBAP news staff: comprehensive, in-depth, and sticking with the story from start-to-finish.”

sandlerGuitarNicole Sandler Auctioning Cool Radio Memorabilia for Radio Or Not.  Progressive talk personality Nicole Sandler is opening up her archives of radio memorabilia for an auction to help support her Radio Or Not digital platform.  Sandler says she’s always vowed to not put her content behind a paywall and this auction – which starts tomorrow (7/15) – will help her costs of operation.  Sandler is not the only radio pro who’s been collecting cool radio and music artifacts oversandlerBillHillary the years.  In fact, TALKERS editors believe one of the interesting, untold stories in the radio biz is just what these personal treasure troves contain.  Sandler’s has some pretty fun items that come from her days producing for Jim Kerr at WPLJ, New York and for Mark & Brian at KLOS, Los Angeles.  Note the autographed guitar pictured above that’s been signed by Johnny Cash, BB King, Les Paul, James Taylor, Roger Daltrey, Todd Rundgren and others.  Then, for political wonks, the Bill and Hillary corkscrew-nutcracker pair pictured here at right make the perfect election year gift!  Sandler’s auction site is: radioornot.com/auction.

2016 Presidential Candidates/Scott Walker Joins Race, Mexican Drug Lord Prison Escape, Iran Nuclear Talks, NYC Eric Garner Settlement, Immigration Policy-Sanctuary Cities, Greek Debt Deal, and MLB All-Star Break Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/13).  The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s entering the primary race; the escape from prison of Mexico’s most notorious drug lord; the conclusion of negotiations between Iran and the West over its nuclear program; New York City’s settlement with the family of Eric Garner over his death at the hands of an NYC cop; the ongoing controversy over the nation’s illegal immigration policy and the country’s sanctuary cities; the Greek debt solution and the effects on the EU; and the Major League Baseball All-Star festivities were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

| July 1, 2015

2015 NYC 150Talkers New York 2015 ‘Variety, the Spice of Life’ Video Posted Today. One of the most interesting panel discussions of the Talkers New York 2015 mega-conference (held on June 12) is posted today on Talkers TV.  Personably moderated by TALKERS GM/broadcast operations David Bernstein and introduced by syndicated “On Call” host Asa Andrew, MD — the colorful session includes (in alphabetical order): Michael “Bax” Baxendale, co-host, WAQY-FM, Springfield, MA “Rock 102”; Dr. Joy Browne, host, GCN; Tony Bruno, host, WIP, Philadelphia; Thom Hartmann, host, WYD Media; Doug Stephan CEO/host, Stephan Multimedia; and Larry Young, host, WOLB, Baltimore.  The main mission of the session is to illustrate that although “talk radio” is usually generalized in the media and the mind of casual observers as being predominantly “right wing political programming hosted by middle aged white males” that – in fact – there is far more of a variety of successful talk shows in the industry than that one stereotype would indicate.  Baxendale represents the hundreds of successful “pop culture” programs heard on music-oriented stations; Browne proves that a relationships/psychology show can survive and thrive for years as a varietal component of the traditional news/talk format; Bruno illustrates that even within the world of all sports talk radio, there is room for a show to attain success that doesn’t limit all conversation to sports, per se; Hartmann proves that there is room in the talk radio universe for a progressive take on the issues; Stephan displays the staying power of a morning “generalist” program that combines politics with lifestyle issues within the context of standard news/talk radio; and Larry Young is a primary example of the viability of urban talk within the spectrum of programming needs and opportunities.  Andrew opens the session by discussing the major sponsorship opportunities available in the health care field for stations airing a weekend show of that nature within its programming menu.  Moderator Bernstein points out that the concept of “variety” also works within the internal structure of a show without being untrue to its mission.  To view the video in its entirety, please click here.

hogeadamHoge Adds WGNplus.com Sports Editor-In-Chief Duties. Already serving as Tribune talker WGN, Chicago’s “Insider” for the NFL‘s Chicago Bears, Adam Hoge is named sports editor-in-chief for WGNplus.com, where he will oversee expansion of digital content including blogs, podcasts and special streaming events. According to vice president of programming and content Todd Manley, “Gettingwgnplus logo Adam’s blog in the WGN family was a huge win for us last year. Now, we plan to capitalize on his coaching skills across our digital platforms. With Tribune Media’s launch of Gracenote Sports, WGN has an even greater arsenal of resources.” Hoge comments, “We live in an ‘on-demand’ world and radio is no different. That really is what WGNplus.com is all about. I am looking forward to working with a great lineup of sports personalities to create the type of content our listeners and readers are seeking.” In addition to being the Bears’ “Insider,” Hoge co-hosts WGN’s “The Beat” each Saturday (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) and Sunday (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm). The first WGNplus.com streaming event is a Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup marathon; it starts this Saturday (7/4) at 12:00 noon.

wptf logoWPTF Taps Lewis as GM. Six-year Cumulus Media Myrtle Beach (South Carolina) market manager David Lewis is named general manager of Curtis Media Group talker WPTF, Raleigh. Curtis Media Group executive vice president Trip Savery remarks, “We are pleased to welcome David to Curtis Media Group. His experiences as an advertising agency principal, publisher, and radio manager will be of great value to our customers. WPTF is one of the most iconic brands in North Carolina; we look forward to evolving the station under David’s leadership.” Lewis comments, “I am excited to join Curtis Media and the WPTF team. I look forward to blending my past experience with the talented group that Don Curtis and Trip Savery already have in place, as we further develop our products and content while providing superior results for our clients.” Lewis – who joins WPTF next Monday (7/6) – was formerly the publisher of Charleston Gourmet Magazine.

owensronnRonn Owens to Undergo Surgical Procedure for Parkinson’s Relief.  San Francisco talk legend Ronn Owens announced to his listeners on Monday (6/29) that he will be part of the largest clinical trial of Parkinson’s Disease treatment through deep brain stimulation in the country.  It’s being done at UCSF and will take place in August.  According to KGO-TV, San Francisco “ABC7,” the KGO-AM talk personality says his symptoms have become obvious over the past year.

businessrockstars logo15Business Rockstars Places Features on Six CBS RADIO Stations.  The deal between Business Rockstars and CBS RADIO calls for six radio stations to air the “Business Rockstars Minutes” and for the “Everything Entrepreneur” podcast to be available online via CBS’ Play.it podcast network.  The radio feature will be heard on news/talk outlets WPHT, Philadelphia; WCCO, Minneapolis; KMOX, St. Louis; KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh; KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas, and WTIC-AM, Hartford.  Business Rockstars Network co-founder and chairman Steve Lehman comments, “With the addition of the new CBS RADIO stations, this brings our Business Rockstars Minutes network above 140 affiliates.  The launch of the “Everything Entrepreneur” podcast on Play.it will bring our entertaining and educational entrepreneurial content to a new audience.”

limbaughrush15Forbes Releases 2015 ‘World’s Highest-Paid Celebrities’ List; Stern at #5, Limbaugh at #11.  The annual “World’s Highest-Paid Celebrities” list for 2015 from Forbes has been released and radiosternhoward personalities making the list again include SiriusXM’s Howard Stern at #5 with an estimated $95 million in earnings (he also works for NBC TV); Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh at #11 with an estimated $79 million in earnings; Premiere Networks/iHeartMedia personality Ryan Seacrest at #21 with an estimated $60 million in earnings; and Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel talk host Sean Hannity at #89 with an estimated $29 million.

Odds & Sods.  The Jacksonville Times-Union reports that 25-year WOKV-AM/FM, Jacksonville program directordorwartmike Mike Dorwart is downsized in what’s being termed at “restructuring” at the news/talk outlet.  He tells the paper he was surprised by his firing but has nothing but positive things to say about his quarter century with the Cox Media Group station…..At the Pensacola cluster of Cumulus Media, Terry Michaels is named full-time promotion director for the group that includes news/talk WCOA…..Former Cincinnati Enquirer media writer John Kiesewetter joins Cincinnati Public Radio’s online platform and radio outlet WVXU-FM.  Kiesewetter’s media blog Media Beat is now located at wvxu.org.  Additionally, Kiesewetter will appear on some of the local programs produced and broadcast on WVXU; WMUB, Oxford, Ohio; and online at wvxu.org, including the daily talk show “Cincinnati Edition” and the weekly arts and culture magazine program “Around Cincinnati.”…..Content creation professionals at Chicago Public Media have reached their first union agreement with management after voting to unionize in December of 2013.  The unit includes anchors, hosts, reporters, producers, editors and those who create digital content.  The two-year contract includes newly established scale rates for each covered position, annual increases, professional development in job classifications as well as progressive discipline and a grievance and arbitration procedure.

freemanian‘Free Talk Live’ Host Ian Freeman Featured in ‘Today’ Piece on Parking Meter Issue. Nationally syndicated talk radio host Ian Freeman – heard on the GCN-distributed “Free Talk Live” with co-host Mark Edge – was featured in a piece on NBC’s “Today” show about his work putting coins in parking meters in Keene, New Hampshire’s public lots in cases where people’s meters are expiring or about to expire.  The New Hampshire Supreme Court recently ruled against the City of Keene in its suit to have the self-proclaimed “Robin Hood of Keene” activists’ meter plugging actions declared illegal.  In the suit, the City also accused Robin Hood of Keene of harassing the meter maids and the request for a “buffer zone” around the workers was sent back to the lower Court.  See the “Today” piece here.

elleranneAuction15Weekend Revenue Generator.  Always on the lookout for creative ways to entertain and add to the bottom line, WCRS, Greenwood, South Carolina owner and air personality Anne Eller poses in the studio during last weekend’s on-air and online auction show called, “Anne’s Trash-to-Treasure Auction.”  The vibrant and colorful local station owner tells TALKERS magazine the on-air and Facebook auction created a buzz in the area with people posting bids online.  “Calling it was like running a three-ring circus!”  The 7:00 am to 9:00 am auction led into Eller’s classic country music show that airs on Saturdays at 12:00 noon.  She says they are making the auction show a regular Saturday morning feature.

cookebrideConsultant Holland Cooke Ties the Knot.  Media consultant and TALKERS magazine contributor Holland Cooke (right) is pictured here with his new bride Lori Pollock (left) at his seaside home on Block Island, Rhode Island on Monday, June 29 shortly after the pair “eloped.”

Chris Christie Enters GOP Race/2016 Presidential Prospects, Trump’s Miss America-Miss Universe Troubles, Fourth of July Terror Threats, Greece Debt Issue/EU Tensions, New York Prison Escapee Caught, SCOTUS ObamaCare and Gay Marriage Rulings, Hillary Clinton Emails Investigation, U.S.-Iran Nuke Negotiations, SC Confederate Flag Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/30).  New Jersey Governor Chris Christie enters the Republican primary race; the legal battles between presidential candidate Donald Trump and NBC over the Miss America and Miss Universe pageants; concerns over radical Islamic threats to Americans over the Fourth of July weekend; the Greek debt problem and its effect on the European Union and world financial markets; the aftermath of the capture of New York prison escapee David Sweat; the Supreme Court’s recent rulings on federal subsidies for the Affordable Care Act and gay marriage; the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private emails used for State Department business; and the South Carolina Confederate flag issue were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

wbrp logoCool Job Opportunity.  Baton Rouge, Louisiana news/talk outlet WBRP-FM “Talk 107.3 FM” is seeking a morning show board op/producer.  This position requires constant attention to detail in regards to time and content, as well as phones and uploading shows to web.  You must be an excellent team player and focused to successfully air a smooth broadcast. This is a live and local show that discusses local events/issues/politics etc.  Interest in those things is helpful.  Must be willing to work early morning shift (and some weekends); have proven ability to multi-task effectively; experience with DAD Systems preferred but not required; have ability to accept direction and be flexible with changes; ability to find, record, and edit audio/quick learner (will be learning Adobe Audition if unfamiliar); be willing to accept responsibility and work under moderate supervision while resolving varied problems; work effectively in a team environment; project an appropriate professional appearance and demeanor.  No phone calls, please.  Send resume/aircheck/social media links to: jobs@gbcradio.comGuaranty Corporation is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

| August 26, 2014

owensronnRonn Owens Goes Public with Parkinson’s Diagnosis. Longtime KGO, San Francisco talk personality Ronn Owens recently went public with the diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease that he received in 2001.  He tells the San Francisco Chronicle he held off on announcing his condition because he didn’t want people feeling sorry for him and didn’t want to be identified by his illness.  Owens tells the Chronicle’s David Wiegand he’s been managing the disease with medications since his diagnosis but felt the time was right for letting his listeners know about it.  “I felt it was important to tell people that you can have it like I have for 12 ½ years and not be severely impacted by it.  It’s possible, and it’s not a death sentence.”  The 68-year-old Owens sounds as though he has no plans to retire from radio if the station still wants him.  Read the entire piece here.

wwj logoCBS RADIO and Townsquare Media Partner on new Michigan News Network.  The new venture will roll out September 2 on 20 affiliate stations.  Both companies announce that the new Michigan News Network will provide affiliated stations across the state with news,wxyt-fm logo sports and other local content produced by CBS RADIO stations WWJ, Detroit “Newsradio 950” and WXYT-FM, “97.1 The Ticket.”  The service offered will include top-of-the-hour broadcasts weekdays from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm and 60-second sports updates three times per day during the same time period.  Townsquare Media will serve as the exclusive syndication partner and manage affiliate relationships.  CBS RADIO president and CEO Dan Mason states, “CBS RADIO’s Detroit stations have served as the authoritative voice of the community for many years, establishing themselves among the market’s most credible brands and news sources.  We are excited to be working with Townsquare to distribute our award-winning programming to listeners across the entire state of Michigan, while also realizing the highest value for our content.”

zollermarthaMartha Zoller to Leave Talk Radio Biz for Political Campaign Gig.  After stepping away from the talk radio business a couple of years ago to run for office herself (an unsuccessful campaign for U.S. Congress), Georgia talk radio personality Martha Zoller is again leaving the radio industry to join David Perdue’s U.S. Senate campaign.  She tells TALKERS that she’s been offered a post in which she’ll be doing surrogate work, training surrogates and messaging as well as focusing on engagement of women and minorities for Perdue’s campaign.  Zoller has been co-hosting the “Zoller & Bryant” morning drive show (with news director Tim Bryant) on WGAU, Athens, Georgia as well as in other parts of the state via the Georgia News Network.  She says she will continue to write for her zpolitics.com site while working for Perdue’s campaign.

wolfejasonJason Wolfe Named to Executive Post with Financial Exchange Radio Network.  Longtime WEEI and WRKO, Boston programmer Jason Wolfe joins The Financial Exchange Radio Network as chief media and marketing strategist.  The network syndicates the WRKO, Boston-based program “The Financial Exchange with Barry Armstrong (pictured below at right) and Kim Carrigan (left)” heard on eight other affiliate stations around New England.  Armstrong is president and CEO of the network.  In this new role, Wolfe will be in charge of building the brand and expanding the reach of the program in addition to developing new marketing and business partnerships that expose the show to a much larger audience.  Wolfe has also been working with former WEEI personality Glenn Ordway as chief content officer for Ordway’s Sportstalkboston.com and will continue in thatarmstrongcarrigan small position.  Wolfe comments, “I’m thrilled to be able to work more directly with Barry, to build on what is already a very successful show.  I’m privileged to have developed strong relationships with all of the major radio operators across the country and I’m extremely confident that as our discussions continue we’ll be able to expand the reach of this program.”  Armstrong adds, “Jason has been working with us as a consultant for several months and has been doing a great job in getting ‘The Financial Exchange’ on additional radio stations.  I know that he will build on that success in his new role as our new chief media and marketing strategist.”

price howardLesson from Napa: Be Prepared for that 3:00 am Telephone Call and Avoid Nasty Pranks While at It. No doubt you remember “it’s three am – and the phone rings…” from a 2008 Clinton for President political ad – arguably the most enduring line from that campaign. And it’s a question broadcasters need to answer BEFORE bad things happen…because bad things tend to happen at the worst possible time. Like 3:20 am PT this past Sunday…when the earth in and around Napa County, California shook like it hadn’t shaken in almost 25 years. At 3:20 am at most stations outside the largest markets – and even at some of the bigs, too – the programming likely is automated, or live via satellite. If anyone actually IS home, they are likely to be the lowest-paid, least-experienced people on the payroll. And that’s OK…we’ve all been there. But it’s only OK if plans are in place to help those folks deal with breaking news when senior managers, more experienced hands – and a full crew – aren’t around to help. If you’re a California station manager, you’ve got a quake plan that takes your staff step-by-step through operations and internal notification, programming and commercial adjustments, and continuous coverage ground rules. You’ve built comprehensive lists of key contacts in local, regional and state government; public and private disaster response groups; academic experts. And you’ve got a network news affiliation to back you up. Because at the end of the day, you’ve got to be fast. You have to be comprehensive. And most of all, you have to be right. In a must-read, informative new piece posted today (8/25) in TALKERS, ABC Television Network director of business continuity and industry expert on emergency preparedness Howard B. Price outlines everything a radio station should do to be ready for an earthquake such as the one that rocked Napa. He also lists things to help you avoid those horrific and embarrassing “pranks” that often accompany fast-breaking news events whereby imposters claiming to be officials get on the air and disrupt the decorum with nasty “gotcha” outbursts. To read the entire article, please click here.

brady billThe Best Talk Station Ever: What the Radio Industry Can Learn from a Truly Special News/Talk Operation. Seasoned radio business pro, Bill Brady, president/CEO of South Florida-based media investment firm, Futures & Options, Inc., serves up a fascinating look at one specific radio station that he says should be studied as the “best news/talk radio station, ever.” Wonder what it is? Hint: It existed in the past and proved there can be a lot more to news/talk radio than just one political point of view. Another hint: It had conservative, liberal, lifestyle, consumer advice, sports and art & entertainment elements delivered by legendary hosts who were at the top of their game and it sounded like no other station in the nation. Oh yes, by today’s standards, it also had extraordinarily high ratings Want to find out more? Read Brady’s entire piece by clicking here.

Host Rick Tryon Ends Political Show on KINX, Great Falls.  According to a story in the Great Falls Tribune, Rick Tryon is ending his daily one-hour political talk show, citing the difficulty of making it financially feasible.  Tryon brokers the “Politics Montana with Rick Tryon” program which consists of him interviewing opinion leaders about political issues.  Tryon tells the paper the listeners have been good to the show but it’s time consuming and he’s ready to dedicate energy to other interests.  Tryon’s last program will be Wednesday (8/27).

engsterjimMore TALKERS Career Moves.  After being unceremoniously let go by longtime employer NPR back in 2004, former “Morning Edition” host Bob Edwards landed at Sirius.  Now, 10 years later Edwards is leaving SiriusXM as the satcaster is cancelling his program.  SiriusXM has not commented publicly on the move but Politico’s Dylan Byers reports the last show will air September 26…..Louisiana talk show host Jim Engster is taking his eponymous talk show from public outlet WRKF, Baton Rouge to Guaranty Broadcasting’s commercial outlet WBRP, Baton Rouge beginning in November.  Engster will move from a one-hour morning program to a two-hour afternoon drive show.

cookehollandYour Podcast Format.  Are you serious about making your podcast stand out from the literally millions of podcasts available on the Internet?  As a professional talk show host you probably are already doing some type of on-demand programming, but are you conscious of the program’s format?  Media consultant Holland Cooke writes that basic radio formatics apply but there is a difference between an AM/FM talk show and a podcast and your execution should reflect the difference.  Cooke says you need to understand how users are consuming your podcast and design the show accordingly.  Read his entire piece here.

alangaryOdds & Sods.  Entertainment pro Gary Alan is currently available to handle fill-in work.  Alan, a South Florida native who’s worked at such signals as WAXY, Miami, says his unique style easily allows him to navigate through politics, sports, entertainment, and today’s social issues with wit and a sense of humor.  He can be contacted at: garyalan@cfl.rr.com or phoned at 407-960-3663…..The regularly scheduled “Ask the Mayor” show on CBS RADIO’s KNX, Los Angeles returns Thursday (8/28) as LA Mayor Eric Garcetti spends an hour with KNX listeners from 10:00 am to 11:00 am fielding calls and answering emailed and Tweeted questions.  KNX anchor Tom Haule hosts the program that airs about every six weeks…..Yahoo! Sports Radio adds “Sports Kings’ NFL Weekly Countdown” to its weekend lineup.  The show debuts Saturday at 7:00 am ET featuring MeanGene “The Sports Machine” and sports host Ronnie Brooks.

wachssmileyWachs and Smiley on Vegas TV.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs (right), poses for a selfie with fellow syndicated radio personality and comic Rickey Smiley (left) at the studios of KVVU-TV, Las Vegas “FOX 5.”  Dr. Wachs appeared on the “MORE” program to discuss nurse practitioners taking over doctors’ duties and Smiley was there to promote his show at the Orleans Theater in Las Vegas last Friday night.

Ferguson Fallout/Michael Brown Funeral, Obama’s Relationship with Fellow Democrats/Mid Term Elections, Napa Earthquake, U.S. Iraq and Syria Military Policy, Ice Bucket Challenge, Russia-Ukraine Tensions, and VMA Awards Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/25).  The funeral of Michael Brown and the fallout from his death at the hands of Ferguson, Missouri police; the looming mid-term elections and chatter about the strained relationships between President Obama and fellow Democrats; the Napa, California earthquake and talk of the future “big one” for California; the military policy of the Obama Administration with regard to military involvement in Iraq and Syria; the ice bucket challenge phenomenon; the military tensions between Russia and Ukraine; and Sunday’s VMA Awards show were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday (8/25).

AM Radio — What Do We Do About It?

| August 20, 2014

By Bill Brady
Futures & Options, Inc.
President/CEO

 

bradybillJUPITER, FL — No entity has suffered more from the disastrous effects of radio consolidation than AM radio.  No format has suffered more than news/talk.  The fates of both are intertwined.

News/talk isn’t just a different format, it’s a different business.  News/talk stations used to be stand-alone operations managed by broadcasters who nurtured and cared for them.  They were sold by dedicated sales teams who knew well the format’s ability to bring customers through their client’s doors.

With the dawn of consolidation, news/talk stations suddenly found themselves in big station clusters with managers who were preoccupied with their other stations.  Often, these were music station GMs without news/talk backgrounds — and they weren’t at all prepared for the cranky, petulant, expense-laden news/talk AMs they were suddenly forced to deal with.

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V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N (or is it?)

| August 28, 2013

Thoughts and observations about some of the best in the West: Ron Owens, K-EARTH 101, and listening to a transmitted signal on hallowed ground

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

cookeBLOCK ISLAND, RI — Vacation and I tend to elude each other.  Although I live in a summertime destination, I bug-out JUST as seasonal funsters invade.  The natural travel cycle for radio consultants is after-the-Spring-book and as-we’re-planning-for the Fall survey and budget-planning for the new year.  OK, OK, it’s also convenient that my perennial seven week non-stop station visit trek occurs during baseball season.  I see the Red Sox everywhere BUT Fenway Park.

And like anyone self-employed, in any industry, I feel like I never stop working!  But I did last week…or at least I intended to.  As I’m sure you do when you hear radio elsewhere-in-your-travels, I couldn’t help listening critically…yet I still experienced radio more like a consumer than a vendor to my client stations.

Three radio notes from my trip, and not just so I can write-it-off, honest…

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

| February 7, 2013

owensronnRonn Owens Signs New Deal with KGO, San Francisco.  The iconic Bay Area talk radio fixture begins his 38th year in the radio business after signing a two-year guaranteed deal with an option for a third year.  Ronn Owens was reported by Bay Area media blogger Rich Lieberman to be on his way out at the Cumulus Media heritage talker back in the fall – a story TALKERS picked up on – but that did not happen and it appears Owens is likely to mark his 40th anniversary in the business at KGO in a couple of years.  At a time when legendary personalities across the country are being ousted from their programs due to budget cuts and programming changes, it’s nice to see a figure of Owens’ magnitude sign up for a new tour of duty!

eaganbraudeBoston Media Personalities Margery Eagan and Jim Braude Land at Pubcaster WGBH.  Boston Herald columnist Margery Eagan and Boston TV and radio personality Jim Braude will begin hosting a daily 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm talk program on public radio outlet WGBH, Boston beginning February 25, almost two months after they exited Greater Media’s WTKK, Boston due to a format change.   Eagan and Braude hosted mornings at WTKK for much of the 13 years they were at WTKK.  The Boston Herald reports the current midday hosts at WGBH – Callie Crossley and Emily Rooney – will be featured on the new program as well.

paiajitFCC Commissioner Ajit Pai to Address AM Band at NAB Show in April.  The National Association of Broadcasters announces FCC Commissioner Ajit V. Pai will lead a session on AM radio revitalization at the NAB Show in Las Vegas on Monday, April 8.  The NAB states, “Broadcasters are exploring the challenges and opportunities related to revitalizing AM radio while continuing to provide the popular, local programming that millions of listeners rely on daily. This session, held within the Broadcast Management Conference, will address possible options for sustaining and enhancing AM radio as a unique entertainment medium.  Commissioner Pai, who has expressed special interest in the future of AM radio, will moderate a panel of AM radio leaders, engineers and policy experts.”

olivertrevorTrevor Oliver Exits Premiere Networks.  After 15 years with Premiere Networks, Trevor Oliver exits his SVP of operations position.  Oliver tells TALKERS magazine he leaves the company on very good terms and that he’s looking forward to his next opportunity.  Oliver, who joined Premiere in 1998, has an excellent reputation in the industry and TALKERS has no doubt he’ll put his numerous talents to use in the business somewhere very soon.

malonesamTalk Host Sam Malone to Return to Houston Airwaves (and Cablewaves!).  Houston radio personality Sam Malone – most recently heard in the market on Dan Patrick-owned news/talk KSEV – will begin a new program on Phonoscope Cable and the show will be simulcast on a local talk radio station to be named later.  The Houston Chronicle reports that Malone, who is serving as president of Phonoscope New Media, says the idea for a video and audio show grew out of his experience with Phonoscope.  “This is where radio will be going in the future.  We need to get the message to smartphones and iPads, not just car radios.”  In addition to KSEV, Malone has also worked at music outlets KRBE and KHMX in Houston.  He tells the Chronicle he’ll announce the radio station he’ll be on next week but says it’s a station he has not worked for in the past.

sweeneyjohnFormer Congressman John Sweeney to Host Albany Talk Show.  Four-term Republican Congressman John Sweeney begins a daily one-hour talk show on Capital Broadcasting’s WGDJ, Albany “Talk 1300.”  Sweeney joined president and general manager Paul Vandenburgh on his morning program to announce he’ll begin the 11:00 am to 12:00 noon program on Monday, February 11.  Sweeney says, “One of the things I miss about being in the public eye is my day-to-day interaction with the people.”  Vandenburgh states, “John has consistently been a leader in the Capital District.  Our goal from day one has been to provide a local product on a daily basis and John will be a marvelous addition.”

ramseyknoxDave Ramsey Knocks ‘em Dead in Knoxville.  Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey presented his “Building Your Legacy” event to a sold-out crowd in Knoxville recently.  Ramsey talked about how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence and worked with his daughter Rachel Cruze, who joined him on stage for the presentation.  Ramsey teamed up with local affiliate WNOX-FM to promote this event.  WNOX general manager Ed Brantley states, “Dave Ramsey’s ‘Building Your Legacy’ was a huge success not only for WNOX-FM and our sponsors but for the community.  Dave’s up-close-and-personal approach captured the sold-out crowd.”

la talk radio logoLA Talk Radio Celebrates 5th Anniversary.  The Los Angeles-based internet talk radio station is celebrating its fifth year “on the air.”  Founder Sam Hasson says, “LA Talk Radio has found its success in emerging radio talent in Los Angeles and the rest of the world.  We now provide over 80 shows of quality programming, giving ambitious hosts a vocal platform where they can build their listening audience.”  LA Talk Radio was born on February 4, 2008, as BBS Talk Radio launched in a “small but comfortable office” in a luxurious high-rise building in downtown Los Angeles.  It wasn’t long before Hasson had three daily shows and six weekly shows and soon thereafter began broadcasting 24 hours a day.

patrickmorgan gunsKTRH and KPRC, Houston’s Matt Patrick Faces Off with Piers Morgan on Gun Issue.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment personality Matt Patrick (r) – whose programs air on KTRH, Houston in AM drive and on sister KPRC in afternoons – is pictured here at a live remote broadcast from Tactical Firearms in Houston.  Patrick tells TALKERS magazine the remote was a “spirited and interactive show to a live audience of listeners.”  Patrick’s program aired live before CNN personality and gun legislation advocate Piers Morgan (c) brought his television show to the same location later that evening to argue for the proposed ban on high volume semi-automatic weapons. “Piers Morgan Tonight” aired from Tactical Firearms after Morgan agreed to come and use the gun range and try to experience why Texans love their guns.  Morgan agreed to appear on the final segment of Patrick’s program in front of a live audience.

kykn gun rallyKYKN, Salem, Oregon’s Bill Post Draws Crowd to Gun Rally.  Willamette Broadcasting’s KYKN, Salem helped draw a crowd of some 3,000 to the Oregon State Capitol on January 19 for a rally dubbed, “Guns Across America.”  A key speaker at the event was 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm talk host Bill Post (at the mic) who addressed the crowd about the gun legislation issue.  The station reports that requests for autographs and photos with Post were overwhelming.

Deficit Reduction Debate; Obama Drone Killing Controversy; Gun Legislation Proposals; Chris Christie Weight Flap and Obama Care Costs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/6).  The debate in Washington over reducing the deficit via tax and spending cuts; President Obama’s insistence on the right to use drones to kill U.S. citizens; the move to enact new gun control legislation; the media flap over Governor Chris Christie’s weight; and the looming costs of the Affordable Care Act were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

| September 27, 2012

Big Changes in Atlanta Talk Radio: Clear Channel to Flip WGST-AM/FM, Atlanta to Spanish or Comedy and Rush Limbaugh Moves to Cox’s WSB-AM/FM.  Exactly what format Clear Channel Media and Entertainment will flip longtime news/talk WGST-AM (which is simulcast on an FM translator at 92.3) to – whether it will be a Spanish format or a comedy format – remains to be seen.  But talk pro Rusty Humphries, who handled PM drive for the station is gone and Premiere’s Glenn Beck ran in his place Wednesday.  The status of morning hosts Rob Johnson and Dave Merlino is not known, however WGST is airing “The Wall Street Journal This Morning with Gordon Deal” in place of Johnson and Merlino.  Humphries, who hosts a separate program that is nationally syndicated via Talk Radio Network, tells TALKERS magazine, “It is always sad to see a news/talk facility such as WGST change to another format but I am grateful for the time I had there and was able to spend doing local radio in Atlanta.  The people at Clear Channel are fine people and I enjoyed working with them.  For me, the good news is that I will have a lot more time to devote to my nationally syndicated TRN program which is growing by leaps and bounds.”  Attempts by TALKERS to get response from Clear Channel management in Atlanta confirming the format change have not been successful.  Meanwhile, across town at Cox Media’s WSB-AM/FM, the station announces Rush Limbaugh, who is heard on WGST, will move to WSB beginning Monday, October 1.  At the same time WSB announces a new long-term deal with Premiere’s Sean Hannity for the PM drive slot and the return of “Atlanta’s Evening News” airing from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm hosted by Erick Erickson.  Cox Media’s Clark Howard will still emanate from WSB for his nationally syndicated program heard on some 200 affiliates across the country but will move to the 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot on WSB.  In order to accommodate the Limbaugh acquisition, the Neal Boortz program moves to the 8:30 am to 12:00 noon slot.

Armstrong & Getty Return Today.  KSTE, Sacramento-based morning duo Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty are back on the air this morning with Armstrong telling Sacramento TV station KTXL “Fox40” that the reason the duo was off the air on Tuesday and Wednesday was due to an “internal” reason and not because of their call to have listeners post cartoons, photos etc. that criticize Islam.  It had been widely reported the two had been suspended for the incident.  In fact, Armstrong tells the TV station the audio file of Monday’s controversial show will return to the online archives soon.  He says they will address the matter first thing today on the program at 6:00 am PT.

Talk Host Phil Valentine Decries Political Correctness.  Writing that the fear of offending those groups of people from which terrorists have sprung has put the shoe on the other foot and now the media is being terrorized, nationally syndicated talk host Phil Valentine laments the state of the media in America.  He says, “I’ve often joked that the only two groups we in talk radio can get away with offending are the deaf and the Amish.  Other offenses might require throwing yourself at the mercy of Jesse Jackson or apologizing to some LGBT group.  Now there is an offense from which you may never come back and that is offending a Muslim.”  Valentine penned this piece for TALKERS after hearing about the case of Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty.  Valentine’s piece is an interesting look at the intersection of politics and media in our current age.  Read it here.

Media Blogger Rich Lieberman Stands By Ronn Owens Story.  Rich Lieberman, who operates the 415 Media blog, wrote a post recently predicting that KGO, San Francisco talk legend Ronn Owens would have his contract – which expires at the end of this year – bought out and he would disappear from KGO early with the station moving in a newsier direction.  TALKERS reported this and Owens responded that Lieberman’s report is “totally made up.”  He also told TALKERS Lieberman has been attacking him for the past year for the changes that have taken place at KGO since Cumulus Media took over the station.  Now, Lieberman tells TALKERS he stands by his story.  “My sources are strong and I believe in them.  This has been a story I have sat on for nearly three weeks.  I finally went with it after talk and e-mailing Bay Area broadcast people familiar with the subject at hand.  I do NOT just dish out any speculation and innuendo without first trying to get it right.”  Apparently, only time will tell what the future holds for Ronn Owens at KGO.

20 Years and Going Strong.  Nationally syndicated talk superstar Dave Ramsey is pictured here holding the pewter statuette of a classic radio microphone given to him by his staff in honor of his 20th anniversary in the talk radio business.  Ramsey’s “official” anniversary is tomorrow – September 28 – and commemorates the day he and some friends took to the air on WWTN-FM, Nashville in a brokered time deal with the then-bankrupt station.  On Friday, a special episode of the program will air and include well-wishes from celebrities, friends and family; glimpses into the party at Ramsey’s Financial Peace Plaza; a look back at the history of the show; and calls from long-time listeners and second-generation callers.  Video of the show will be streamed live online.   Ramsey says, “I’m still surprised and honored that people call me at some of the most difficult and personal moments in their lives.  Giving people hope for their future and seeing lives changed is why I do this every day.”  He also credits his team for helping him achieve the success he has.  “I didn’t do this on my own.  Our producer, Blake Thompson, associate producer, Lara Johnson, engineer Matt Aaron and many other people have made it what it is today.  I have the best crew in radio, and we’ve been together for a long time, which is unheard of in the radio industry.”

The Young Guns of Talk Radio.  Ask anyone, especially those working for the consumer media, and they’ll tell you that personalities working as hosts on news/talk stations are all old, white men.  Radio’s general lack of a “farm system” doesn’t help that misconception much, but the truth is there are young people – some men and some women – working in news/talk radio today.  TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey writes about some of the young broadcasters working in news/talk now.  Not all of them agree that by being young, they have the ability to attract a younger audience to the format.  But some believe it can be a factor.  KNST, Tucson host and PD Garret Lewis, for example, says, “The fact that I’m 35 and my friends are around my age gives me an advantage because I know what makes a person in their late 20s and 30s get fired up emotionally and what interests them.”  Hosts talk with Casey about the issues of the demographic, who inspired them, how they approach their programs and what, if anything, can be done to get young people into the talk business.  Read this story here.

Looking for Political Ad Dollars.  Getting those political ad dollars – even getting them late – is a nice boost to a station’s or group’s revenue.  TALKERS magazine managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian talks with Portland Radio Group president and general manager Cary Pahigian about status of political money.  Pahigian says if you’re not in a potential swing state, the numbers (at least for presidential dollars) for radio are not rosy – at least not yet.  “With the exception of a few states, there does seem to be a lull,” Pahigian says.  He says the same pattern has developed over the past few election cycles.  “Depending on the landscape and circumstances, television is first in line and radio is second.  Everything changes though if there are issues and/or a tight race going on.”  Read Mike Kinosian’s full story here.

Three Senators and a Hopeful.  WIBC, Indianapolis late morning host Greg Garrison was visited by three U.S. Senators and one who hopes to become the next senator from the state of Indiana on his program on Wednesday during a campaign swing through the state capital.  Pictured here (from l-r) are: WIBC’s Todd Meyer, Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), Garrison, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), Indiana State Treasurer and senatorial candidate Richard Mourdock, and Senator Dan Coats (R-IN).

Presidential Campaign Polls, Libya-al Qaeda Connection, Iran/Middle East Tensions, and NFL Referees Status Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/26).  The conflicting presidential election polls; the continuing query into the cause of the Libya terrorist attack; the state of Iran’s nuclear weapons program and the political climate in the Middle East; and the status of the NFL’s referee situation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

| September 26, 2012

Ronn Owens Disputes Reports of His Demise at KGO.  Addressing yesterday morning’s lead story on the TALKERS magazine morning headlines, attributed to San Francisco media blogger Rich Lieberman, KGO talk show host Ronn Owens tells TALKERS there is no truth to the report that his contract will be bought out before it ends on December 31 and that the station will replace him with a newsy program.  Owens also tells TALKERS he has no knowledge of Cumulus Media’s plans beyond his contract but says, “Cumulus has been totally nice to me.”  Owens says Lieberman “has been attacking me for over a year for the changes that have taken place at KGO,” referring to the dismissal of other talk show hosts and staffers that took place after Cumulus assumed control of the station.  Owens says Lieberman’s blog story is “totally made up.”  He says, in fact, his agent is not Don Buchwald but is David Katz.  He also says he does not make a seven-figure salary and never said that his ego is too big to be paid $300,000, as Lieberman reported.  Regarding his future at KGO, Owens tells TALKERS, “San Francisco is the crown jewel of places to live and whatever happens after December 31 happens.”

CBS Radio’s Atlanta Sports FM Will Be “SportsRadio 92.9 The Game.”  Set to debut in mid-October, CBS Radio’s new FM sports talk outlet – the soon-to-be-former Triple A WZGC, Atlanta will take the handle “SportsRadio 92.9 The Game.”  Media chatter around Atlanta is that the station may reveal its lineup as early as next week in order to give the sales staff something concrete to pitch to clients prior to the launch.  Earlier media reports alluded to the possibility that “Two Live Stews” Doug and Ryan Stewart – recently dropped from crosstown WQXI “790 The Zone” – might pop up on the station but TALKERS sources indicate that will not be the case.  The programming philosophy we’re hearing about for this station is being termed as “fresh.”  Stay tuned!

Nation’s Biggest Talk Hosts Sign On to Petition Against TV Networks for Biased Election Coverage.  The missive detailing a complaint against ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN for “rigging this election and taking sides in order to pre-determine the outcome,” is penned by the conservative Media Research Center’s L. Brent Bozell III but it is signed by some of the country’s top nationally syndicated talk show hosts.  Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh, TRN’s Laura Ingraham and Cumulus Media NetworksMark Levin signed the open letter.  In it, Bozell writes, in part: “A free and balanced media are crucial to the health of this country.  It is your duty as journalists – as outlined in the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics – to ‘distinguish between advocacy and news reporting,’ while simultaneously ‘seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues.’  There is a reason why the media are viewed with such disdain by the American public, as evidenced by every recent poll on the issue.”

Armstrong & Getty Reportedly Suspended for Call to Criticize Islam.  The suspension has not been confirmed by Clear Channel Sacramento management but the duo of Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty were off their KSTE, Sacramento flagship station as well as KKSF, San Francisco (where the show is simulcast) on Tuesday morning after the show sent out a press release promoting its call to listeners to post videos and photos critical of Islam and the prophet Muhammad to “flood the world with cartoons, movies and songs saying bad things about Muhammad until they finally grow up.  In other words, free speech,” stated Jack Armstrong.  The political blog The Right Perspective is reporting the duo have been suspended though it doesn’t state a period or confirmation of the sanction.  KTXL-TV, Sacramento produced a piece on the controversy and also was unable to get a comment on record from Clear Channel’s Sacramento management.

Radio’s Strengths in the Media Landscape.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke says the best session he attended at the recent 2012 Radio Show in Dallas was by Arbitron senior VP/marketing Bill Rose and highlighted how “Radio provides opportunities to reach consumers when advertising is relevant to what they are doing.”  Cooke says, “This document [the study cited] is a powerful selling tool, and real instructive to programmers and on-air talent…especially on-air talent that sells (and smart on-air talent does).”  The data Rose used in his presentation was from USA Touchpoints, a national sample that captures media usage, shopping behavior, emotional mindset, via smartphone app, every half hour, from 10-day panelists.  Read Holland Cooke’s report and analysis here.

WWNC, Asheville AM Drive Co-Host Jerri Jameson Moves On.  Morning drive co-host Jerri Jameson announces she will exit the Clear Channel station October 12 to pursue other interests.  Jameson writes on her station blog, “After more than 10 years with Clear Channel Asheville, it is time for me to move on from radio.  It was a difficult decision.  I have gotten to know some truly wonderful people in our great community and for that I will always be grateful.  Waking up each morning to share the daily goings on around town, the state and the world with you has truly been an honor I will treasure forever.”

The Young Guns of Talk Radio.  Ask anyone, especially those working for the consumer media, and they’ll tell you that personalities working as hosts on news/talk stations are all old, white men.  Radio’s general lack of a “farm system” doesn’t help that misconception much, but the truth is there are young people – some men and some women – working in news/talk radio today.  Tomorrow at Talkers.com, executive editor Kevin Casey writes about some of those broadcasters and their thoughts on being young and on the air in the news/talk business.

Willie Geist to Join NBC’s “Today.”  According to Brian Stelter’s Media  Decoder in The New York Times, MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” cast member Willie Geist will become co-host of the 9:00 am hour of NBC’s “Today” program.  The deal has not been officially announced and Stelter reports Geist will still appear on “Morning Joe,” probably during the 6:00 am hour but will give up the “Way Too Early” 5:30 am newscast he’s been anchoring.  It’s also believed Geist will fill in for Matt Lauer when he is absent.

Rumors of Big Names Being Sought to Run CNN.  Sony chairman Howard Stringer is one of the executives rumored to be on the list of those being sought to take charge of struggling CNN when current chief Jim Walton leaves at the end of the year.  The New York Post reports a source inside CNN states, “We should know something in a month, perhaps before the elections. Unlike CNN International, we just don’t have someone with a mission.  We need our Roger Ailes.”  Other media execs reportedly being considered are former NBCUniversal president and CEO Jeff Zucker, former ABC News president David Westin, and former NBC News chief Neal Shapiro.

Odds & Sods. CBS Radio’s all-news KNX, Los Angeles takes its “KNX on Your Corner” live remote series to Glendale, California on October 19.  The day of programming will include features about Glendale’s history, current issues and plans for future growth. Coverage will include live interviews with city officials and other special guests.  The station will continue the series in Beverly Hills on December 7…..SiriusXM will present live coverage of the 2012 Ryder Cup golf tournament.  The biennial event pits the US against Europe and is being played this year at Medinah Country Club in Illinois.

Part of the Skyline.  CBS Radio’s all-news KYW, Philadelphia is now a part of the city’s skyline after the station put up a new, lit call letter sign atop its offices at 400 Market Street in downtown Philly.  The KYW logo and the iconic CBS “eye,” were hung over this past weekend and faces east, making it visible from Camden, New Jersey, I-95 and the Ben Franklin Bridge.  The station notes this was not a simple building procedure.  “The difficult process of hanging an illuminated sign above street level, particularly in the downtown area, took five years before receiving city zoning and art commission approval.  KYW is now the only radio station in Philadelphia County to be granted this right.”

Obama on ‘The View’ and at the UN, Iran’s Bluster, Criticism of Religious Figures, Libya Aftermath, and NFL Replacement Officials Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/25).  President Obama’s Appearance on ‘The View’ and his speech at the United Nations; Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s blustery speech at the UN and his appearance on Piers Morgan; criticism of religious figures; analysis of the aftermath of the Libya attack and furor over the NFL’s replacement officials were some of the most-talked-about-stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

| September 25, 2012

Bomb Scare Empties CBS Radio Los Angeles for More Than Two Hours.  The Wilshire Boulevard studios of CBS Radio’s Los Angeles stations, including all-news KNX and news/talk KFWB were evacuated from about 8:15 am to 10:45 am PT this morning after a promotional clock sent to the station raised suspicions, sent the staff into precautionary mode that brought police and medical personnel to the scene.  According to the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan KNX and K-Earth simulcast sister all-news station in San Francisco, KCBS/740 AM.  The other stations switched to alternative programming from servers.  Shortly before the all-clear was given, KNX returned to the air full-time from emergency studios on the Paramount Studios lot.

WLS, Chicago’s Don Wade to Undergo Brain Surgery.  The morning duo of Don Wade and his wife Roma have been off the air at Cumulus Media’s WLS, Chicago for the past week and now Chicagoans know why.  The 71-year-old WLS AM drive host suffered a seizure on September 13 while in New York for his daughter’s wedding.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports Wade will have the surgery to remove a growth from his brain during an operation scheduled for this Thursday and the duo will remain off the air for the next four to six weeks.  In the meantime, late-morning hosts Bruce Wolf and Dan Proft will sub on the morning show and Jake Hartford and John Kaas will host the 9:00 am to 11:00 am program.

Northern California Hosts Armstrong & Getty Dive into Islam Controversy.  KSTE, Sacramento-based morning drive hosts Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty are putting out a call for not less but more criticism of Islam and the prophet Muhammad on the internet  — in a move that runs contrary to the wishes of the Obama Administration.  Jack Armstrong, responding to the riots and violence in the Muslim world in response to the short film titled, “Innocence of Muslims,” said on the program, “The only response to this is to flood YouTube and flood the world with cartoons, movies and songs saying bad things about Muhammad until they finally grow up.  In other words, free speech.”  He questions why the U.S. government is spending money airing ads with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton denouncing the video.  “I’m horribly disappointed that there are not thousands of Muhammad mocking videos out there on YouTube right now.”

Journal Broadcast Group Promotes Jeff Falconio to Full Time on WTMJ, Milwaukee.  Jeff Falconio has been hosting the “Wisconsin Sports Weekend” show on Journal’s WTMJ, Milwaukee.  Now, he’s upped to a full-time position with the station taking over for Trenni Kusnierek (who left for a TV gig at Comcast SportsNet Boston) beginning October 1.  Falconio will handle sports anchor duties on the PM drive show on WTMJ and co-host the evening “Sports Central” program with Greg Matzek.  In a statement, program director Joe Scialfa says, “We are excited to have Jeff join the sports department in a full-time capacity.  Jeff has been a regular fixture covering Wisconsin sports for 15 years.  His passion for sports and knowledge of our Wisconsin teams make him the perfect person to continue the strong WTMJ sports tradition.”

More Staff Layoffs at Merlin Media’s Chicago Offices.  According to a report in Chicagoland Radio and Media, Merlin Media let go of most of the rest of its off-air staff that had been working at WIQI “FM News 101.1” prior to its return to a music format in July.  The site reports writers, reporters and producers Brad Robinson, Safa Eshmawy, Sarah Engel, James Edwards, Michael Cronin, Megan Buckley, Shannon Beverly and Shannon Ward were all released from their positions on Friday, September 21.

WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta Announces Weekend Program for Belinda Skelton.  The nationally syndicated Neal Boortz program – emanating from Cox Media’s news/talk giant WSB-AM/FM – is produced by Belinda Skelton (who calls it the “perfect job”).  Now Skelton will put her interest (and degree) in interior design and more into play as she hosts “Belinda Skelton’s Atlanta Lifestyles” beginning in January.  Cox Media Atlanta market manager Ben Reed defines the show: “Think of Pinterest, Martha Stewart or the Oprah brand where lifestyle can be defined by everything from food, wine and design to family, entertainment, and local events.”  On the new show, Skelton says, “I can’t think of something more perfect for me than this show.  This speaks to my core being and everything that excites me!”  Although Neal Boortz is retiring from full-time radio work in the new year, Skelton will remain his executive producer managing his daily commentary, appearances, and guest hosting duties.

Odds & Sods.  WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive talk host Simon Conway fills in this Wednesday through Friday for Premiere Networks’ “America Now with Andy Dean.”…..Talk radio pioneer Bruce Williams, who has been hosting a pre-produced program on the internet via his Made in America Broadcast Network, announces he’ll begin hosting live shows from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET starting tomorrow (9/26) and running for “a couple of weeks.”

NBC Radio’s “Miss Monitor” Dies at 89.  Dorothy Ruth “Tedi” Thurman passed away in Palm Springs, California at age 89 on Saturday, September 22.  Thurman was a model who came to fame as the sultry “Miss Monitor” on the old NBC Radio Network.  She held that position doing the weather from 1957 to 1961.  She also was featured as the weather girl on “The Tonight Show” with Jack Paar beginning in 1957.

CNN Stevens Diary Controversy, Obama ‘View’ Appearance, Ahmadinejad Speaks at UN, and Presidential Polls Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/24).  The controversy over CNN’s reporting from the journal of slain U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens after telling his family it would wait for permission; President Obama’s planned appearance on ‘The View’; Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at the United Nations; and the latest in presidential contest polls were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.