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Nielsen Investigating ‘Evidence of Ratings Tampering’ in Tampa Market; Bubba the Love Sponge at Center of Scrutiny. The statement issued on Friday by Nielsen Audio doesn’t mention Beasley Broadcasting’s WBRN-FM, Tampa-based personality Bubba the Love Sponge, but Beasley has been informed of the investigation by Nielsen and the company says it is cooperating. It isn’t commenting on Bubba’s status with the company but the station is airing “best of” content today (9/28). Nielsen stated on Friday, “We became aware of evidence of attempted ratings distortion activity in the Tampa market. We are working to resolve this issue and will provide additional details when they become available. Nielsen is committed to maintaining the highest standards of data integrity and acts swiftly to ensure that those standards are upheld.” Nielsen will be delaying the September 2015 PPM report for the Tampa/St. Petersburg market. The rest of the markets will be released as scheduled, tomorrow and Wednesday.
Carl Anderson Named Tucson Market President for iHeartMedia. Company programmer Carl Anderson will take on the role of market president and SVP of programming for iHeartMedia’s seven-station Tucson cluster. Anderson added brand manager for the company’s news/talk/sports stations to his EVP of programming Midwest responsibilities back in March. Now, along with the new role in Tucson, Anderson will retain the news/talk/sports brand manager responsibilities. Anderson comments, “The career opportunities within iHeartMedia are truly amazing. I’m honored and humbled in this new venture of leading the Tucson team as well as remain engaged as brand manager for news/talk/sports. This combined role enables me to grow in a new position while furthering my passion of developing and growing spoken-word programming for the company.” iHeartMedia’s Tucson holdings include hot AC KMIY “My92.9,” CHR KRQQ, country KYWD “Wild Country 97.1,” hip hop KOHT “HOT 98.3,” news/talk KNST, and Spanish music outlets KTZR and KXEW.
FOX Sports’ Colin Cowherd Lashes Out at ESPN. A piece by Matt Bonesteel in the Washington Post details the recent comments by sports talk personality Colin Cowherd on his Fox Sports Radio Network-syndicated show in which he criticizes former employer ESPN. The foundation for Cowherd’s criticism is the company’s conservative nature. He says the company has become increasingly “reactionary” over the past “three or four years.” He specifically criticized the “Mike & Mike in the Morning” show, saying, “We used to call it ‘Mickey and Mickey in the morning.’ It’s very Disney, it’s very safe, it’s very likeable, nobody’s going to get yelled at. It’s a very easy place for advertisers to come in, park their insurance commercial and nobody’s going to be offended.” Cowherd left ESPN in August after 12 years for a new deal with FOX Sports. He was taken off the air by ESPN a week before his final show after comments about the education level of Dominican baseball players caused a stir. Read Bonesteel’s piece here.
National Talk Shows to Reap Super PAC Money from Promise I. As reported in the New York Post by Claire Atkinson, the Super PAC Promise I – supporting GOP presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz – will spend $1 million on a national talk radio ad campaign. Atkinson reports the programs destined to be part of the buy include Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity as well as the Laura Ingraham show. See her story here.
Focus 360 Adds Stations to Programmatic Radio Network. Nine new radio stations are being added to the programmatic networks “Powered by Jelli” from Focus 360. The company is working in conjunction with Envision Networks for affiliate sales. Jelli’s cloud-based programmatic ad platform “traffics, serves and reports campaigns allowing stations and show producers to generate incremental revenue with virtually no time constraints added to in-house sales teams.” Envision president and CEO Danno Wolkoff says, “Ad agencies are increasingly demanding programmatic buying opportunities, and the Focus 360 radio networks powered by Jelli’s technology platform fulfill this growing need. Jelli’s platform delivers and monitors commercials as they are broadcast, relieving stress on station traffic departments by not requiring them to schedule and report those spots every day.”
WOR, New York’s Mark Simone Raises Funds for Charity at Cantor Fitzgerald. The annual 9/11 Charity Day at financial firm Cantor Fitzgerald brings celebrity traders into its offices to execute trades with the commissions going to various charities. WOR, late morning personality Mark Simone and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani are two of the celebs who participate each year. Pictured here is Simone manning the phones. During the day, Simone made a $750 million trade of U.S. treasury bonds – the biggest trade of the day. All together, $12 million was raised for charity. Simone’s portion of the commission is being donated to the The Police Athletic League of New York City. Cantor Fitzgerald’s offices were at the top of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 and the company lost 700 employees that day.
Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted. Up Today: Erica Farber Moderates “The State of Radio Advertising and Sales” Panel. Today (7/17) marks the third day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last month’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014. The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms. The worldwide showing of these very special videos continues today with the event’s powerful “State of Radio Advertising and Sales” panel moderated by Erica Farber, president/CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB). The panel features an array of heavyweight radio executives including Ron Furman, CRO, Westwood One; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Joe Puglise, president/market manager, Clear Channel, New York; and Julie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks. According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “The scope of important radio sales issues clearly covered and illuminated during this session is nothing short of extraordinary. We are delighted to be able to make such solid and useful content available to the entire industry.” Among the topics covered: Dealing with spoken word radio’s loss of advertisers due to the much-publicized backlash against controversy; selling against and effectively utilizing digital; what’s being done about the need for accurate ratings in the digital era; the role of the on-air personality in driving sales; and the state of small/medium market station revenue, among others. Erica Farber begins the panel by referring to earlier remarks made by Sean Hannity, Phil Boyce and Greg Moceri critical of the present-day Nielsen Audio system that doesn’t include tallies of digital platform listenership. She states, “I don’t want anyone to walk away thinking that this is not being addressed. It is very complicated and we [the RAB, major radio industry leaders and Nielsen] are trying to figure it out.” Regarding advertiser boycotts, Ron Furman admits, “We have hard work to do. [Once you have lost advertisers due to their discomfort with controversy] it is hard to get them back.” On that same topic, Julie Talbott advises, “The key is to find businesses that want to grow.” Kraig Kitchin notes, “Hosts who have the ability and interest in selling products and services will go the longest way.” Joe Puglise points out, “WOR is pacing up [revenues] double digits.” He credits the significant income increase at the heritage talker acquired by Clear Channel in 2012 to its relatively recent addition of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to its roster – both having been long-time staples of cross-town rival WABC. If any singular statement sums up the basic sentiment expressed by the panel it is Julie Talbott’s observation: “It is a different kind of sale today. It is a more sophisticated sale.” To see “The State of Radio Advertising and Sales” panel, please click here. Coming tomorrow: “Radio: The Big Picture” moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison featuring panelists Steve Goldstein, EVP, Saga Communications; Sam Kimball, CRO, Livestream; Tom Langmyer, VP/news/talk programming, Journal Broadcast Group; Tom Leykis, CEO, The New Normal; Mike McVay, SVP, Cumulus Media; and Walter Sabo, CEO, Sabo Media. The TALKERS conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.
Boston Sports Host Apologizes for Calling Erin Andrews a “Gutless Bitch” and Telling Her to “Drop Dead.” This past Tuesday’s MLB All-Star Game was, in essence, a Derek Jeter tribute. Retiring at the end of the year, the Yankees shortstop participated in his final mid-year classic. Fox was elaborate in its coverage; Jeter had success at the plate; and American League/Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell stretched the substitution process for Jeter, enabling the popular infielder to enjoy an isolated, extended standing ovation. It had all the components of a great story, particularly since the AL won 5-3. Perhaps only St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright will be the only person to know for certain if he made it a bit easier for Jeter to smack a first-inning double, which was the catalyst for three quick AL runs in that frame. Social media was buzzing that Wainwright had indicated he might have grooved the pitch Jeter hit. Fox reporter Erin Andrews questioned Wainwright about it and the pitcher backtracked from that notion, and he said Jeter’s hit was on the up-and-up. Apparently though, the televised exchange between Andrews and Wainwright did not sit well with Entercom-owned sports WEEI-FM, Boston personality Kirk Minihane. On (yesterday) Wednesday morning’s “(John) Dennis & (Gerry) Callahan” program, Minihane declared of Andrews, “What a bitch – I hate her. What a gutless bitch. Seriously, go away. Drop dead. I mean, seriously, what the hell is wrong with her? First of all, follow-up. Second of all, the guy admitted he did it -he admitted it. He told reporters he threw a couple of ‘pipe-bombs.’ How is that social media’s fault? I hate her – I seriously hate her so much.” A Minihane-issued statement was posted last (Wednesday) night on the WEEI website that read: “I used a series of words to describe Erin Andrews’ work at the All-Star Game. My choice of words was wrong. I was wrong to have used them. To all whom I offended – particularly Ms. Andrews – I apologize. There is no place for what was said. It was immature and completely uncalled for. I am often critical of media members and their work and recognize here that I’ve made the kind of mistake I would call out if it was done by another sportscaster or writer. Again, to all involved, I’m very sorry.” The Boston Globe is reporting that Entercom VP/market manager Phil Zachary says Minihane was contrite, chose to issue the apology and will not be suspended or fired. This is not surprising since many media watchers in Boston have credited Minihane’s role on the Dennis & Callahan show as very positive for the show and the station.
Syndication: Behind-the-Scenes Preparation. In this next installment of a multi-part series on syndicating radio programs, Global Media Services founder Tony Garcia writes about handling an important – but not so sexy – aspect of syndicating a radio program: being prepared when it comes to the business end of the project. Those parts of the business include the finances, production, distribution and marketing of the program. It may seem obvious, but the financial aspect is crucial and making sure all facets of the business are accounted for from a money standpoint is mandatory. Garcia writes, “Once you have established a budget, you’ll know the entire cost of syndicating your show. Be prepared to float the show financially for at least two years in order to give the show enough time to find affiliates and audience.” Read Garcia’s entire piece here.
Talk Media TV Expands Video Platform; WMYT, Wilmington-based Talker Curtis Wright to Be Featured. North Carolina-based talk media personality Curtis Wright (pictured below) – co-owner and executive producer of Talk Media TV and a personality on WMYT, Wilmington – is continuing his efforts to expand the company’s video production capabilities and web online presence through the establishment of new production ventures with both InNova TV Networks and National Productions. Wright announces that to support this effort to expand the creation and distribution of new broadcast and video content, Talk Media TV and WMYT 106.7 FM will be moving to newly constructed broadcast and office facilities which will be shared by all three companies. He says this allows WMYT to commence ‘live web video streaming’ of its many original, local, live broadcast shows. Wright says, “We formed Talk Media TV and WMYT 106.7 FM just over a year ago to create a truly multi-media, multi-broadcast company that can create and distribute original broadcast content using all of the emerging communications technologies and platforms. This new association with both InNova TV Networks, which will be supplying us our web and internet ‘virtual channel’ for live video streaming, and National Productions, which will be supporting our expanding original video productions, takes us closer and closer to reaching our original ‘vision’ for our company and services to our clients.” Talk Media TV will be taking two recently created segments that appear on Wright’s WMYT show and produce them for the Talk Media TV “virtual channel.” Those segments are “Constitutional Path to Liberty” with Dr. Greg Brannon and “Cape Fear Capital Connections” with Thomas E. Vass.
Rivlin Joins Sun Broadcast Group. Former Westwood One vice president of affiliate sales Ron Rivlin is tapped to become Sun Broadcast Group’s senior vice president of programming and affiliate relations. Rivlin will oversee the affiliate sales department’s focus on “The Marilu Henner Show,” “Nashville Music Minute,” and “AccuWeather en Espanol.” SBG chief executive officer Jason Bailey comments, “Lately, I have had the honor of welcoming some of the greatest men and women in radio to our team. Today, I get that pleasure yet again. As we begin to finalize our 2015 lineup, we needed the best of the best to lead the charge. Anyone who knows Ron can tell you he is exactly that. I am honored that he chose to join our family.” Rivlin states that he is, “over-the-moon excited to be joining [all] the radio pros at Sun Broadcast Group, which represents a new generation of media companies. [It is] laser-focused on the needs of affiliates, advertisers and, of course, listeners. I cannot wait to share what is coming next.” Before his Westwood One tenure, Rivlin was Triton Digital Media’s vice president of interactive solutions, and ABC Radio Networks’ senior director.
Heaving Bricks at Radio. Radio sales maven Al Herskovitz writes today (7/17) about his frustration with radio’s current image crisis that, he says, is largely radio’s own fault. Herskovitz cites examples from his hometown market in which he hears long-outdated spots on the air as well as old, pre-recorded weather forecasts still on the air and almost no community profile for stations that purport to serve the local market. The fixes for these problems are not hard to imagine, as Herskovitz illustrates. Read his piece here.
John Gambling Laments Loss of Mayoral Sit-Downs. Stating that he’s been talking with New York City’s mayors for the past 15 years, WOR personality John Gambling Tweeted about his frustrations trying to book Mayor Bill de Blasio, a story picked up by the New York Daily News. Gambling began his regular chats with the City’s mayors, first with Republican Rudy Giuliani and then with Republican Michael Bloomberg. But de Blasio, a Democrat, has not responded to repeated requests to join the program. Gambling tells the paper, “My views of his policies are what they are, and they’re obviously 180 degrees from where he is. I’ve been sitting with mayors for 15 years… I’m always willing to let somebody speak their mind. I’d like to have a conversation with the mayor.” Read the Daily News piece here.
Ingraham Endorses Tennessee Senate Candidate. Next Tuesday (7/22), Laura Ingraham will be in Nashville where she will attend the “Restore America” rally. The Courtside Entertainment Group host is backing Tennessee Senate candidate Joe Carr, who is trying to unseat incumbent Lamar Alexander in next month’s (8/7) primary. “Anti-amnesty” conservative talk host Ingraham supported Dave Brat, who – last month – defeated Representative Eric Cantor in Virginia’s seventh Congressional District. Brat and Carr oppose reform that would grant amnesty to immigrants. In addition to criticizing Alexander for supporting the comprehensive immigration bill that passed the Senate last year, Ingraham called Carr, who opposes the bill, “terrific” on immigration. Carr, Alexander, Brat, and Cantor are all Republicans. Ingraham, and in some instances talk radio in general, has been credited with Brat’s victory by such publications as Politico, and these stories received a lot of attention, especially among political wonks and the cable news/talk channels. TALKERS believes that the reality is not quite so clear and the conclusion that any talk show host’s support of a candidate that leads to victory in an election – regardless of the party affiliation – is a very difficult thing to prove.
Child Immigration Crisis, Israel-Hamas Violence, ISIS Campaign in Iraq and Syria, Eric Holder Racism Controversy, Clinton and Warren Potential Presidential Bids, Obama Lawsuit Move, and Summer Polar Vortex Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/16). The ongoing influx of child illegal immigrants and the Obama Administration’s policy dealing with the crisis; the heightened violence in the Gaza strip; the continuing campaign by ISIS to bring about a caliphate in Iraq and Syria; chatter about Eric Holder’s comments that criticism of the Obama Administration is based in racism; the potential 2016 presidential bids by Hillary Clinton and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren; the move in the U.S. House to sue President Obama over his unilateral actions regarding the Affordable Care Act; and the summer polar vortex affecting much of the Midwest were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.