Tag: "Rush Limbaugh"

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

| April 15, 2014

limbaughrushRush Limbaugh’s ‘Cure-A-Thon’ Raises $3 Million-plus for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  Last Friday (4/11), Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Rush Limbaugh held his annual “Cure-A-Thon” to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the show-long effort helped raise more than $3 million for the cause.  The annual event is executed in a relatively low-profile manner, that is, without a lot of promotion outside of Limbaugh’s program.  The large amount of money raised is indicative of the loyal and generous nature of his audience.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, who listened to the entire program, comments, “Limbaugh did a masterful job of not simply asking for contributions, but educating his listeners about the diseases of blood cancer and the progress that is being made in finding the cure.  It was compelling radio.  Add to that his skill in weaving into the flow of the show other topics of the day from ObamaCare to his contrarian take on the selection of Colbert to replace Letterman and it was quite apparent that after all these years he is still an extraordinarily skilled talk broadcaster.”

bouloukosdonDon Bouloukos to Retire from CBS RADIO New York.  After 16 years with CBS RADIO and a career that spans 41 years, CBS RADIO New York senior vice president and market manager Don Bouloukos announces he’s retiring from the company effective June of this year.  Bouloukos first joined CBS RADIO in 1998 following the acquisition of American Radio Systems Inc. where he was co-chief operating officer.  Bouloukos comments, “It is never an easy decision to leave an industry you love, and a company and cluster of stations that have been such an important part of your life.  But after 41 years, it is time.”  Current CBS RADIO executive vice president, operations, Scott Herman will take over for Bouloukos and add supervision of the New York cluster to his duties.  The CBS RADIO New York group consists of all-news WCBS-AM, classic hits WCBS-FM, sports talker WFAN-AM/FM, all-news WINS-AM, CHR WNOW-FM and hot AC WWFS-FM.  Bouloukos continues, “I’ve been very fortunate to work for a company that allows you to operate stations as if they were your own and I take great pride in what we have been able to accomplish over the years.  Working with Dan Mason and Scott Herman has been an absolute pleasure.  My only regret is that I am not 21 years old and starting all over again.”

stouffervalKXL, Portland Names Val Stouffer News Anchor.  Radio news pro Val Stouffer joins Alpha Broadcasting’s Portland news/talker KXL “FM NEWS 101.”  The station reports that Stouffer will be part of the “Portland’s Afternoon News” program as co-anchor alongside news anchor Dan Mitchinson.  Stouffer’s news radio experience includes stops at the old WMAQ and WLS in her hometown of Chicago.  She’s also worked in Seattle at both KIRO and KOMO.  Alpha Broadcasting director of programming Scott Mahalick says, “Val is a win for KXL.  She brings significant news/talk knowledge and incomparable experience that will benefit not only our afternoon daypart but our entire station.”

nielsen logoFirst Round of March PPM Data Released.  PPM data from the first of four groups of 12 markets for the March 2014 period (February 27 – March 26) has been released by Nielsen Audio.  Those markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey).  TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all the (subscriber) numbers here.  Managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the report at RadioInfo.com here.

quinnrixBringing Creativity and Heightened Localism to the Radio Sales Department — with a Biographer.  Ft. Worth, Texas-based multimedia storyteller, biographer and marketing strategist Rix Quinn delivers a unique mix of creative writing and a down-home vocal presentation to any station’s local marketing arsenal, regardless of market size.  Learn more about this fascinating wordsmith and his ideas for adding new dimensions to local radio sales that straddle both the medium’s on-air and online space.  In a new article by special features correspondent Jeff McKay, Quinn says, “The service I provide is to help small businesses tell their story in features that run 250-300 words, which is fairly short, focusing on the unique experiences of the owner-manager of the business or the unique product or service that the business provides.”  He adds, “That can also include short-form generic features that ‘celebrate’ the tradition and community service of general local business categories such as stand-alone ice cream parlors, mom & pop hardware stores, garden supply centers, independent book stores, jewelry stores…the list is endless.  At the conclusion of each feature, the station tags it with individual examples of the category that are non-competitively located in different parts of the coverage area and makes them available to the advertisers at a very reasonable cost.”  To read McKay’s piece about Rix Quinn in its entirety, please click here.

ingrahamlauraLaura Ingraham Adds ABC Contributor to Her CV.  The announcement came on Sunday’s “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos that conservative media personality Laura Ingraham will join ABC News as a contributor.  She’s not giving anything up for the new role, either.  She’ll remain a Fox News Channel contributor and regular fill-in host for Bill O’Reilly as well.  She’ll also continue hosting her daily three-hour Courtside Entertainment Group-syndicated radio talk show.

shannonbobThe Conclave’s Bob Shannon Steps Down After Health Scare.  The executive director of The Conclave resigned from the Minneapolis non-profit on Monday, April 14, citing health issues.  Bob Shannon says in a statement, “Upon my return from the NAB late Thursday evening, I experienced a medical episode that brought paramedics to my home in the middle of the night.  Fortunately, the problem wasn’t as life threatening as was originally thought, but it has prompted some soul searching on my part.  Therefore, after consulting with my physician and my family, I have decided to curtail all business activities for the foreseeable future and will be resigning all of my obligations over the next few weeks.  Sadly, that includes the Conclave.”  Conclave chairman Mark Bolke comments, “Obviously, Bob’s health and well-being is my primary concern, and I respect his decision.  As executive director of the Conclave, Bob brought with him the passion of a real radio broadcaster.  Not only in regards to what made it so compelling in the past, but a vision of what it still can be.  He is a champion of the medium, and never afraid to tell it like it is.  It’s been a pleasure serving with Bob, a true gentleman, and we wish him the very best.”

antinrobinPussycat Dolls Founder Robin Antin Joins PodcastOne.  The founder of the modern burlesque troupe The Pussycat Dolls – dancer, choreographer and actress Robin Antin – is producing a weekly podcast available on PodcastOne.  Fresh programs will be available on Tuesdays.  Her debut show today (4/15) will feature Kim Kardashian and Antin’s brother, famed hair stylist Jonathan Antin.  PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz says, “I’m really looking forward to this podcast.  Not only will it attract a huge audience, but working with Robin will be big time fun.  Her millions of fans will have unprecedented access as they listen to her every week on PodcastOne.com.”

gastineaumikeOdds & Sods.  At Clear Channel’s Seattle sports talker KJR, the station is debuting a show for local soccer fans dubbed, “Seattle Soccer Talk Live” and hosted by longtime market sports personality Mike Gastineau, who returns to the station he left two years ago.  The weekly show will air live from local pubs on Tuesday evenings at 7:00 and will focus on the MLS Seattle Sounders FC.  Gastineau recently self-published a book about the Sounders franchise…..The Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch Radio Networks picked up a few Excellence in Financial Journalism Awards from the NYSSCPA and New York Financial Writers Association.  Marketwatch.com Radio won honors for “Housing on Fire: Tips for Buyers and Sellers” by Alisa Parenti with producer Tracy Johnke; and the Wall Street Journal Radio Network was honored for The Wall Street Journal This Morning with Gordon Deal for his 16-day segment series addressing “the government shutdown’s impact on real people, the economy and business.”

cbsphillyCBS RADIO Philadelphia Prepares for 5th Annual Earthfest Celebration.  The Philadelphia cluster of CBS RADIO stations is partnering with the Clean Air Council to help sponsor its 5K Run for Clean Air at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Saturday (4/19).  CBS Philly SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield comments, “The CBS RADIO stations are proud to partner with the Clean Air Council in their mission to improve our region’s environmental and public health. As a huge voice in the region, we have a responsibility to use our power and reach to support such important issues.”  CBS RADIO Philadelphia participation will include the KYW Newsradio Kidcast Mobile Studio, that gives kids a chance to be a KYW news anchor.  WPHT “Big Money” host Steve Cordasco will present his weekly radio program live from 7:00 am to 10:00 am and will discuss the growing popularity of green or socially conscious investing.

beckaplugeBecka Takes Plunge for Boy with Cancer.  KOIL, Omaha talk show host Tom Becka is pictured here standing in the 50-degree waters of Lake Manawa in Council Bluffs, Iowa after jumping in on Monday, April 14 to raise money for a local boy with cancer.  Becka was part of a group of radio personalities and local politicians who took the “plunge,” including adult hits KOOO, Omaha’s Crash Davis and hot AC KQKQ, Omaha’s Jenny Olive.  The stunt was to benefit Landon Shaw, a Missouri boy with cancer who has inspired Facebook fundraising challenges.  On Friday before the plunge, the water was 60 degrees but a chill – along with some snow – moved through the area and the water was down to 50 degrees on Monday!

wjbcawardCelebrating ‘Station of the Year’ Honors.  Bloomington, Illinois news/talk WJBC was recently honored with the Illinois Associated Press Station of the Year Award.  Since 1999, the Cumulus Media-owned station has won the award three times.  It is given to one radio or television station in the state for its work with the Associated Press for continuing cooperation and contribution.  WJBC news director Stephanie Pawlowski says, “We are proud to continue in WJBC’s long tradition of community service.  The Associated Press has been a great resource for WJBC over the years and we are pleased to assist such an amazing organization in any way we can.”  WJBC has a seven-member news team, including an agribusiness reporter, and says that it produces more local coverage than any other station in Central Illinois.  Pictured here with the award are (from left to right): Bryan Bloodworth, sports writer; Adam Studzinski, news reporter/anchor; Pawlowski; Eric Stock, news reporter/anchor/sports director; Zac Dietmeier, news reporter/anchor; and Dan Westhoff, operations manager.

Boise and Denver Radio Personality Jon Duane Hellhake Dies.  On the radio he went by the name Jon Duane, both during his 10-year stint on the “Morning Zoo” at KPPL, Denver and as morning personality on KIDO, Boise.  Jon Hellhake passed away on Friday, April 11 after a two-year battle with cancer.  The Idaho Statesman reports the Boise native discovered radio in college and, after working in Denver, co-hosted the morning show at KIDO from 1998 through 2008 with Chris Kelly.

Kansas City Slayings, 2016 Presidential Race, Russian Aggression in Ukraine, Limbaugh-Colbert Flap, ObamaCare Criticism, Tax Day, and Blood Moon Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/14).  The killing of three in Kansas City by neo-Nazi, former political “candidate”; speculation about possible 2016 presidential candidates; Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and the taunting of a U.S. destroyer by a Russian fighter jet; the criticism by Rush Limbaugh of CBS-TV’s choice of Stephen Colbert to replace David Letterman; scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; income tax returns become due on Tuesday; the first of four “blood moon” eclipses to take place over the next 18 months and some prophecies related to them were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, April 11, 2014

| April 11, 2014

limbaughrushLimbaugh Commenting on Colbert’s Hiring: “War on the Heartland of America.”  Clearly – not everyone was doing cartwheels regarding yesterday’s announcement that CBS-TV has selected Stephen Colbert to replace David Letterman as “Late Show” host when Letterman departscolbertstephen sometime next year.  Colbert will gear up for the new assignment by retiring his fake conservative persona (which he has described as a “well-intentioned, poorly informed, high-status idiot”) on Comedy Central‘s “Colbert Report” at the end of this year.  Perhaps the most vociferous and vitriolic public comments concerning the late-night succession involving Colbert were made by Rush Limbaugh on Thursday’s (4/10) Premiere Networks broadcast.  He claims that CBS-TV’s hiring of Colbert has, “declared war on the heartland of America.  No longer is comedy going to be a covert assault on traditional American values, conservative values.  Now it is just out in the open.  What this hire means is a redefinition of what is funny, and a redefinition of what is comedy, and they’re blowing up the 11:30 format.”  Limbaugh and Letterman are hardly allies, yet Limbaugh noted that, “The world is changing – people don’t want the kind of comedy that Carson gave us, or even Letterman gave us.  It is the media planting a flag.  There is no unity in this hire.”  Furthermore, Limbaugh contends that CBS-TV has, “hired a partisan, [a] so-called comedian, to run a comedy show.”

batchelorjohnbookshowWABC, New York’s John Batchelor to Debut Author Video Series on WABCradio.com.  WABC, New York and WestwoodOne syndicated talk show host John Batchelor begins a new online video program titled “John Batchelor Author Series” (sponsored by online bookseller Entitle) in which he “takes his appreciation of literature, history, and political intrigue to a new level” via long-form interviews with today’s most intriguing authors.  Batchelor comments, “I used to be an author, and I enjoy the enthusiasm of hearing in depth of a new book, well told by the person who survived the research, the writing and the publishing.  It’s fun for me to learn the stories of the making of the stories.”  WABC program director Craig Schwalb states, “No one does books better than John Batchelor, and the ‘Author Series’ proves that.  This is a natural extension of John’s passion and we hope that his listeners in New York and across the country will enjoy it.”  The program launches with an in-depth interview of Thomas Cahill the author of Heretics and Heroes.  Future episodes include: Robert Klara author of FDR’s Funeral Train, Eri Hotta author of Japan 1941: Countdown to Infamy and George H. Nash author of The Crusade Years 1933-1955.  Fresh episodes will appear weekly on wabcradio.com.

karnlogoKARN-FM, Little Rock Names PD; Seeks Afternoon Host.  Little Rock news/talker KARN-FM names Adam Thomas program director for the station and the Arkansas Radio Network.  Thomas takes over for longtime PD and PM drive host Dave Elswick who, along with morning host Bob Steel and news director Jack Heinritz, exited the station last week.  Thomas is seeking a new afternoon drive personality for the station and says, “The afternoon show should be a compelling blend of information and entertainment.  Opinion and point-of-view are important, but this program must appeal to a broad segment of the Little Rock community.  Candidates must have a mastery of current events, a relentless curiosity, and the ability and desire to talk about more than politics.  A willingness and ability to engage the audience outside the show via personal appearances, digital media and other channels is a must.”  Send resumes and airchecks or links to cumulusradio.jobs@cumulus.com with “Little Rock PM Host” in the subject line.  Cumulus Media is an EOE.

rowlandjohnFormer Governor, WTIC Host John Rowland Indicted on Federal Elections Violations Charges. A week after former Connecticut Governor John Rowland resigned from his afternoon drive talk show on CBS RADIO’s WTIC, Hartford, he has been indicted by a federal grand jury on seven counts related to alleged illegal campaign activity.  Rowland, who resigned from the governor’s office in 2004 and eventually served 10 months in prison after being charged with corruption, is this time accused of scheming to work for two Connecticut political campaigns and trying to conceal from both the public and the Federal Elections Commission that he was being paid by the campaigns.

wtjk logo newWTJK, Janesville to Flip to News/Talk.  The newly acquired Janesville, Wisconsin sports talker that Scott Thompson’s Big Radio purchased from Craig Karmazin’s Good Karma Broadcasting is flipping to news/talk as “The Big AM 1380” beginning Monday, April 14.  The station – an ESPN Radio outlet under Good Karma’s ownership – will focus on local content and Scott Thompson will host the morning drive show.  The rest of the day will feature: Glenn Smith from 9:00 am to 11:00 am, Andrew Liebetrau & Andy Gannon from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, Tony Huml from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm and Sly from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Program director Andrew Liebetrau comments, “We are incredibly excited to do more for our local listeners, partners and communities.  Not only will we have a lot of great new and local content, but we will continue to offer some of the great local programs we have had for years.”

sportsusaOdds & Sods.  Former NFL quarterback Jake Plummer is producing a weekly podcast for Sports USA Network.  Sports USA president Bob Moore says, “Jake Plummer is a true superstar with a huge following in the college and pro football sports world.  We are excited to add Jake’s show to our growing list of digital audio programs as we continue to produce current, fresh, and informative sports programming.”  Plummer is currently an NFL game analyst on Sports USA’s “Sunday Doubleheader” package as well as a college football analyst on the Pac-12 Television Network…..Alison Cuddy exits Chicago Public Media-owned WBEZ, Chicago where she has been serving as arts & culture reporter and producer.  She leaves to become program director for the Chicago Humanities Festival…..The “Sports Business Radio” show, hosted by creator Brian Berger, celebrates its 10th year on the air.  It debuted on KXL, Portland and then moved to national syndication via Sports Byline USA Network.

ABCNewsRadiocrewMeet the New Boss. The New York-based staff of ABC News Radio poses for a photo with newly named ABC News president James Goldston (at center).  Goldston was given a standing ovation by the ABC News Radio staff when he visited them today just hours after getting the top job at the network.  Goldston, most recently senior vice president overseeing content and development, succeeds Ben Sherwood who is stepping down from the president position in a few weeks after assisting Goldston during the transition phase.

ObamaCare Criticism Top Talk Story for Week of April 7-11.  The ongoing scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act was again the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week.  At #2 was the 2016 presidential race tied with this fall’s mid-term elections.  Following at #3 was global warming and at #4 was the move to charge former IRS official Lois Lerner with contempt tied with Kathleen Sebelius’ resignation as Health and Human Services Secretary.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

| February 6, 2014

gustinpeteImaging with Style and Class in a PPM World.  Your imaging should not try to beat the listener over the head with your message, says voice-over and creative services pro Pete Gustin. Instead, “when done right, your radio imaging will give your listeners the overall impression that you are exactly what you tell them you are.  It’s extremely powerful in fact.”  What’s the difference?  Gustin points out that “the local car dealerships scream about their deals and discounts.  The car manufacturers, however, brand their vehicle lines with high-end music, breathtaking imagery, top-notch actors and subtle innuendo.  Don’t be a local car dealer screaming at your listeners.”  Read more of Gustin’s useful pointers for getting station imaging tuned up for connecting with modern consumers here.

nielsenstateoffeb2014Nielsen Releases Audio Study Charting Use of Radio.  A new report from Nielsen titled “State of the Media: Audio Today 2014” is a graphics-intense, 15-page summary of the use of radio among the population based on data culled from the Nielsen RADAR 119 December 2013 and the Nielsen National Regional Database Spring 2013.  The study illustrates what most industry insiders probably already know – that the majority of radio listening among all demographics is done outside the home, and that Millennials listen to less radio during a given week than their older fellow media consumers.  But the report also notes that “overall, midday is the highest-rated daypart,” due most likely to high at-work listening, though the 7:00 am hour is still the one with the most people listening to radio.  The comparison of the three generations – Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials – shows the difference in the use of radio on a weekly basis.  Some may quibble with the results.  For example, the report states that 88.2% of Men 12-17 hear at least 5 minutes of radio during the week compared to 95% of Men 45-54 who hear at least 5 minutes of radio.  There are industry observers who will claim the 88.2% figure is probably too high – that fewer are actually listening to radio – but the figure doesn’t pretend to show heavy users of radio, just those who’ve heard at least 5 minutes during the week.  Regardless, the study does show the lower number of young consumers hearing AM/FM radio on a weekly basis compared to the rest of the population.  Nielsen promises to update and expand on the study on a quarterly basis.  See the entire study here.

clearchannelClear Channel and Horizon Media Enter into Cross-Platform Partnership.  Media services agency Horizon Media and Clear Channel are announcing a partnership they call a “$100 million multi-year, cross-platform” relationship.  In a statement, Clear Channel says this pact will create “first-to-market integrated marketing partnership opportunities for Horizon clients and exclusive access to select Clear Channel platforms including out-of-home, horizonmediabroadcast, mobile, events and digital.”  Horizon’s clients include such ubiquitously marketed products as Corona beer, GEICO insurance, The History Channel and Silk.  Clear Channel adds that the relationship will “provide Horizon Media with exclusive rights across key events and promotions, including select Artist Integration Programs, World Premieres, customized shows at Clear Channel’s iconic iHeartRadio Theaters in New York and Los Angeles, as well as special events created just for Horizon clients.  In addition, the agency will have access to the full array of creative talent at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment for special content creation opportunities.  The partnership will also allow for the co-creation of new psychographic targeting systems utilizing Horizon’s proprietary tools and insights fused with unique music and consumer research built on Clear Channel Media’s industry-leading national reach.  The valuable research insights developed throughout the partnership will fuel further media mix model development.”  Horizon founder and CEO Bill Koenigsberg states, “We’re excited about this ground-breaking partnership and the positive impact it will have for our clients’ business.  I’ve been impressed with the transformation of Clear Channel into a multi-platform company that can provide national reach while activating locally and providing measurable ROI.”

kapelmikeMike Kapel Named PD at WDAY, Fargo.  At the Forum Communications-owned news/talker WDAY, Fargo, market pro Mike Kapel takes over the program director position.  He’ll also host the mid-morning 9:00 am to 11:00 am program.  According to the Fargo Forum, Kapel is a native who’s worked in music radio for the past 20 years.  Operations manager Jim Manney says, “There is nobody that I trust more than Mike to take over the day-to-day operations of 970 WDAY.”  Kapel comments, “I am excited to lead the charge into a new era.  As someone who grew up here and as somebody who understands the importance of WDAY to the community, it’s an exciting place to be.”

stephanbignocapDoug Stephan Joins TalkersRadio in Development of New Show – “American Family Farmer” — to Launch This Weekend.  One of the longest-running syndicated personalities in the business, “Good Day” host Doug Stephan, is launching a new program into development on TALKERS magazine’s online radio station, TalkersRadio, this Saturday morning (2/8).  The one-hour program which will air Saturdays at 8:00 am ET with repeat broadcasts throughout the week is a significant departure from Stephan’s generalist weekday morning show, “Good Day” which is heard on hundreds of terrestrial stations and is one of the most-listened-to on-air talk shows in the country.  The new program is titled “The American Family Farmer with Doug Stephan” and it taps into a side of the seasoned broadcaster not often displayed publicly in his career thus far as a broadcaster – and that is his alternate career as a farmer.  Yes, Doug Stephan is an independent dairy farmer operating two family farms for a number of years in the Boston suburb of Framingham, Massachusetts.  In this capacity, Stephan is on top of the numerous issues — many of crisis proportions — facing today’s small farmer in America.  He tells TALKERS, “There is a pressing need for a no-nonsense talk show that serves as antalkersradio logo advocate for the interests of the small, independent, family farmer in this great country of ours that is being squeezed on all ends by the combined interests of the mega-corporate agricultural giants – backed by the government – economically and otherwise.”  Stephan continues, “This is an area close to my heart and because I am deeply entrenched in this business, as well as broadcasting, I know the issues first-hand and like the back of my hand.”  The program will feature commentaries and observations by Stephan, the latest information of value to family farmers and interviews with experts from agriculture, academia and government.  Stephan says, “We aim to make a big difference.”  On making the announcement of this new program’s launch, TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein states, “We are extremely focused on bringing this program to its fullest potential on the ‘experimental’ radio platform that is TalkersRadio.  The on-air syndicated potential of this show is absolutely enormous with literally hundreds of rural and small market stations across the heartland of America ripe to carry such a powerful vehicle with so important a mission.  Meantime, our job at TalkersRadio is to provide Doug Stephan with a ‘safe’ workout space to bring this project up to speed, as we are doing with the growing roster of hosts such as Alan Colmes, Lionel, Brent Seltzer, Meg McDonald, Robbie Student, the Gooches and their projects that are already incubating on this exciting stage.  And we are only just getting started!  Man, I am really loving this job!”

limbaughrushNot So Fast.  Attorney and activist Sandra Fluke will not run for the seat being vacated by Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA) after all.  Fluke tells the Los Angeles Times that her filing papers in the state of California was a preliminary move and that she has decided that she can accomplish more of her goals in a “better way.”  Fluke’s national profile skyrocketed after Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut” as part of a critique of the provision that Catholic organizations be forced to provide birth control to students and employees under the Affordable Care Act.  The incident ignited a backlash against Limbaugh and talk radio in general by special interest groups such as Media Matters for America.

wow-fm logoCool Job Opportunity.  Cumulus Media-owned news/talk WOW-FM, Des Moines is looking for a morning host/program director to lead the station to the next level of success.  This person will play a huge role in shaping WOW’s sound by generating great local content and overseeing the presentation of the station’s syndicated programming, imaging and on-air promotion.  The successful candidate will have the proven ability to host an information-intensive morning show along with a basic understanding of news/talk programming principles and a desire to develop professionally.  Salary is commensurate with experience and ratings history.  Resumes, ratings history, references and mp3 should be sent in confidence to cumulusradio.jobs@cumulus.com with the subject “Des Moines News/Talk PD.”  Cumulus Media is an EOE.

ObamaCare Criticism, Sochi Horror Stories, Hillary in 2016, Financial Markets Activity, Marijuana Laws, and IRS Targeting Scandal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/5).  Continuing scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; reports from the Winter Olympics site of widespread unpreparedness as the games get ready to open on Friday; the speculation that Hillary Clinton will run for president in 2016; the selling of stocks in financial markets around the world on weak factory reports in the U.S. and China; controversy over the implementation of the new marijuana laws in various states and the effects the changes may be having; and the House hearing investigating allegations of the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, January 20, 2014

| January 20, 2014

kfilogoKFI’s Internal Shuffling “Replaces” Limbaugh.  Rather than bringing in another host to cover the gaping hole left by Rush Limbaugh, it looks like Clear Channel, Los Angeles talker KFI will adjust the times of some of its existing personalities.  Morning talent Bill Handel will apparently get to sleep an extra hour, as he will handle 6:00 am – 10:00 am duties (from 5:00 am – 9:00 am), while Bill Carroll will adjust to 10:00 am – 2:00 pm from 12:00 noon – 3:00pm.  In place of their 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm shift, afternoon drivers John & Ken will extend one more hour to 7:00 pm.  Tim Conway Jr. remains at 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm, with syndicated talent George Noory following until 5:00 am.  As of today, Gary Hoffmann debuts the 5:00 am – 6:00 am “Wake-up Call.”  These moves are necessitated owing to Limbaugh transitioning from powerhouse KFI to co-owned, newly re-branded KEIB “The Patriot” (formerly KTLK-AM).

gannbrianGann Going to San Antonio as WOAI – KTKR PD.  Brian Gann is leaving Journal Broadcast Group Tulsa to program Clear Channel San Antonio news/talk WOAI and sports KTKR “The Ticket.”  According to president and market manager Marlene Trevino, “We are very fortunate to have Brian join our team in San Antonio.  He brings a wealth of experience to WOAI and KTKR and we look forward to the bright future ahead under his leadership.”  Gann comments, “I am excited to have the opportunity to help lead WOAI and ‘The Ticket.’  There is a terrific team in place there and I am honored to be able to join them.”  While in Tulsa, Gann was operations manager of adult hits KBEZ “Bob FM,” KFAQ “Tulsa’s Talk Radio,” CHR KHTT “K-Hits,” KVOO “Today’s Country Variety,” and classic country KXBL “Big Country.”  He starts his San Antonio assignment in one week (1/30).

arummarkMark Arum Gets Nightly Show at WSB, Atlanta.  Traffic reporter Mark Arum is taking over the 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight daily show at Cox Media Atlanta’s news/talk WSB after handling weekend and fill-in roles at the station.  This new gig comes in addition to his traffic reporter roles at WSB-TV, news/talk WSB-AM and hot AC WSB-FM “B98.5.”  As reported by the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho, Arum replaces Adam Goldfein who exited the late show role at the end of 2013 for personal reasons.  Arum tells Ho that he’s been wanting a daily show since his arrival at WSB in 1997.  Cox Media did give him a chance to host a daily show at its Stamford and Norwalk, Connecticut stations back in 2008 and he says it provided “invaluable experience.”

learfieldsportsLearfield’s Worsham, Boman, Heim Elevated to Senior Positions. Missouri-based Learfield Communications promotes Aaron Worsham, Tom Boman, and Jennifer Heim.  Worsham advances from vice president to senior vice president of affiliate relations and operations; broadcast manager Boman is boosted to vice president of broadcast operations; and corporate controller Heim becomes vice president/corporate controller.  Worsham and Boman manage the company’s sports operations division, which oversees all aspects related to broadcast talent and station relationships for Learfield Sports’ radio networks as part of its multimedia rights partnerships with university athletic programs.  Senior vice president/chief content officer Joe Ferreira comments, “Aaron and Tom have exhibited outstanding leadership and execution skills throughout their tenure at Learfield Sports and have taken our industry-leading audio business to great heights.  Producing and managing thousands of broadcasts annually for our 50-plus networks, key flagship and affiliate partners and digital distribution networks is a daunting task. These well-deserved promotions reflect growth and success in all areas.”  Meanwhile, chief financial officer Matt Hupfeld states, “Jennifer is a true professional who has proven to be an excellent asset to Learfield.  She is well deserving of assuming the vice president role and we know she will continue to do an outstanding job.”  Worsham has been with Learfield since 1999. Prior to joining the company in 2006, Boman was a producer with the Los Angeles Dodgers Radio Network and Fox Sports Radio in Los Angeles.  CPA Heim’s background includes being a financial manager for Brookstone and a senior auditor for several companies.

talksmerconishMichael Smerconish to Publish First Novel About Conservative Talk Show Host.  The book is titled, Talk (Cider Mill Press 2014) and is due out in May.  But as Michael Smerconish tells the Washington Post, “My highest purpose is to entertain…a lot of it is fake.”  Still, readers of the book about a fictional conservative talk host from Florida who finds himself in the thick of a hotly contested presidential race, will probably find a lot of what transpires culled from the reality of the talk radio business in which Michael Smerconish has dwelt during his career.  Now working at SiriusXM after years on AM/FM radio, Smerconish ruffled some feathers when he left for satellite radio saying, in effect, he felt the requirement talk hosts on AM/FM be easily pigeonholed was holding him, and the industry, back.  Previews of the book indicate that while this is fiction, Smerconish just may be taking a few shots at the facet of the industry he left behind as he tells his story.

kinosianmikeOpinion: Hang On A Minute, Bill.  Weighing in on the Bill O’Reilly’s recent “promotion” for Pandora, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian observes: “On the positive side, Bill O’Reilly last week let known his partisanship for one particular iconic American vocal group on his Fox News Channel television program.  Conversely, terrestrial music radio programmers just might remember certain comments he made should O’Reilly ever look to them to plug his next book or project on that platform.  In an approximately 45-second “Tip of the Day”oreillybill segment, the “O’Reilly Factor” host gave a thumbs-up to Pandora over terrestrial radio.  “Do you like music,” he queried. “I do [and] there are plenty of free ways to get it.  The easiest way is to turn on the radio.”  So far, so good.  Then O’Reilly said, “The problem with the radio is that for every good song there are three bad songs.  So, you can hear [good songs] like The Beach Boys‘ ‘Help Me Rhonda,’ [and] ‘Fun, Fun, Fun.’  [Those are] good songs, but then you’ll hear ‘Hang on Sloopy’ – painful.”  Off-camera laughter was audible as O’Reilly winced at the thought of The McCoys‘ song.  His advice was to have his audience “check out” Pandora.com’s free website.  In amazement, he remarked about the logistics of typing “the song you like and you get the song played to you.  Then, you get other songs similar to it [so] you are basically creating your own radio station.  Let me know what you think.”  After having mentioned Pandora by name three times in under one minute, O’Reilly insisted he “had no interest in that website at all.”  His motive was to tell his audience because, “I like you.”  Not to nitpick the host, but his mention of “Help Me Rhonda” and “Fun, Fun, Fun” sounded like one run-on title, especially since he said, “That is a good song.”  Moreover, he was only able to cite one “painful” tune, compared to two good ones.  Whether or not by coincidence, the three specific titles O’Reilly mentioned were from the mid-1960s.  We wonder if he has heard of YouTube yet.

ruthronPlans Underway for Ron Ruth Memorial Benefit. The event celebrating the life of Ron Ruth will take place next month (Tuesday, 2/25) at the New York Friars Club and is being organized by the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) in conjunction with the Broadcasters Foundation.  Actively arranging the festivities for their late broadcast colleague are The Friends of Ron Ruth Memorial Benefit Committee consisting of Erica Farber, Norm Feuer, George Hyde, Bill Moyes, Herb McCord, Jeff Smulyan, Jim Thompson, and Erle Younker.  A portion of the proceeds from the $250 ticket price will be donated to the Ron Ruth Memorial Fund at the Broadcasters Foundation of America.  Ruth was executive vice president of stations for the RAB for 19 years.  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 Radio Advertising Bureau in 1992.   Most recently, he was consulting the RAB. He died of a heart attack this past November 16 in Florida.

NYFtrophyNew York Festivals International Radio Competition Announces Call for Entries.  Now through March 19, the New York Festivals is accepting entries for the 32nd annual “World’s Best Radio Programs” competition.  This competition is unique in that entries are received from between 30 and 50 nations across the globe each year.  Competition executive director Rose Anderson tells TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian that global scope is important, “One thing that is most important to us is that we make New York Festivals Radio Program Awards a destination for people all over the world who are creating radio that is interesting, innovative, and of very high quality.”  Anderson adds that the grand jury members (judges) enjoy the high quality of radio they review.  “They have consistently written comments that the quality of the entries is fantastic.  People are entering material in drama, news, documentaries, talk, and music that continues to make new ways of telling stories.  We have had entries from Radio Free Asia; from folks on the scene who described the riots in Cairo; and people from Romania who submitted amazing audio of drama.”  With 130 headings, the scope of the competition is wide.  To find out more about the New York Festivals Radio Program Awards, click here.

cumulusroselandCumulus ‘Big Game’ Party.  The scene here is the Roseland Ballroom in New York City yesterday as Cumulus Media’s hot AC WPLJ; country WNSH “Nash FM 94.7,” and news/talk WABC come together to put on a ‘Big Game Party’ in honor of the NFL’s championship being decided in the nearby Met Life stadium in two weeks.  Sunday’s event was hosted by Todd Pettengill of WPLJ.  The venue was filled to capacity with over 3,000 guests enjoying a sports expo, playoff viewing party, station games, and food. Former New York Giants wide receiver and NBC Sports Radio Network personality Amani Toomer was on hand meeting the many loyal listeners!  Pettengill states, “The first annual Cumulus Big Game Party was an absolute example of synergy.  Three radio stations with different audiences, air staff’s, came together to make the perfect circle of success. I can’t wait for next January!”  The evening concluded with a performance by Daughtry.

WCBS, New York Producer/Engineer Silva Dies.  Radio producer and engineer Carlos Silva died at age 50 after a battle with stomach and esophageal cancer in Lutz, Florida on Sunday (1/19).  Silva worked for CBS RADIO’s WCBS, New York where he produced New York Yankees broadcasts.  He had also worked game broadcasts for ESPN Radio, the Orlando Magic, Philadelphia Phillies Spanish-language broadcasts, and the old New Jersey Nets.

ramseyshow logoCool Job Opportunity.  Syndication Specialist Needed – The Dave Ramsey Show, now the 3rd largest syndicated talk show in the nation with more than 530 affiliates, is in need of a Go-Getter willing to take on this growing demand.  This person will work with our small- and mid-sized markets.  Duties will consist of new market development as well as serving existing affiliates and building relationships.  Our organization has been voted Best Place to Work in Nashville for six years in a row for a reason.  If you think you have what it takes and are interested in working in an environment where you can learn and grow, we need to talk.  Interested candidates apply at: http://www.daveramsey.com/company/view-all-jobs/

Heeding Headlines Has Gallagher Playing the Hits

| January 13, 2014

By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS

LOS ANGELES — Neither long ago (relatively speaking) nor far away in some remote galaxy, teenagers were so routinely enthralled by their local radio station of choice that summoning up the courage to actually go visit it was a personal seminal moment.

When one Dayton high school junior made such a trek in 1978, nothing short of a series of mind-boggling events followed.

Eager to see what his favorite facility looked like, this 17-year-old requested a tour, and what immediately caught his attention wasn’t a piece of equipment or seeing someone involved in the on-air process. Rather, it was a bulletin board memo, which read that the station was “still looking for a young talk-master.”

Completely fearless, he knocked on the program director’s door and confidently declared he could do that. As luck would have it, the night talent at the talk station was out with the flu.

Improbable reality number one was that, while the PD had planned to fill-in for his ailing talent, he remarkably, inexplicably said the young visitor should go ahead and give talk radio hosting a try – that night.

Either the program director was one of the foremost assessors of raw talent imaginable or, at the other end of the spectrum, had temporarily taken leave of his senses.

Regardless, the high school student did a four-hour shift and was so impressive in what was – in essence – an on-air audition that, defying logic, he was hired.

Read More

Thursday, January 2, 2014

| January 2, 2014

grantbobIconic Talk Show Host Bob Grant Dead at 84.  Just months after retiring from his weekend talk show at WABC, New York, Bob Grant passed away on New Year’s Eve after what’s being described as a brief illness.  Grant began his talk radio career at KABC in Los Angeles in the mid-1960s but rose to fame when he came to New York and began a regular talk show at WMCA in 1970.  Grant’s career saw him move around the New York radio dial; he worked at WABC and WOR and – for a time – WWDB-FM, Philadelphia.  He is regularly cited by today’s conservative talk radio practitioners as the man who pioneered the opinionated, call-it-as-you-see-it style of issues-oriented talk radio upon which the modern era of the format was built.  Read more about his legendary career here.

sliwakubyCurtis & Kuby Return to WABC, New York.  Cumulus Media names Curtis Sliwa and Ron Kuby midday talk hosts at WABC, New York – returning one of the most popular local talk teams to the station where they first worked together more than 13 years ago.  The Curtis & Kuby show aired on WABC from 2000 to 2007 pairing the conservative Sliwa with the ultra-liberal Kuby for a show that was very successful.  Cumulus COO John Dickey says in a statement, “We’re delivering on our pledge to invest in localized content that will entertain, inform and engage listeners while also providing advertisers unique opportunities to reach their customers on a sustained basis.  Sliwa adds, “Ever since I left 77 WABC, everywhere I go people have asked me if and when I would ever reunite with Ron Kuby, because that was a great show!  At a time when New Yorkers are starved for information and entertainment, I’m thrilled that we’ll be able to offer it to them on the greatest news/talk station this country has ever seen.”  And Kuby comments, “I am thrilled to be back at legendary 77 WABC radio with the Curtis & Kuby show — it is a new day for New York City and a new afternoon for Newkiernanpat York radio!”  Sliwa has most recently been hosting both morning and afternoon shows at Salem’s crosstown WNYM “AM 970 The Answer.”  In addition to the Curtis & Kuby show, Cumulus is adding a local hour from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm hosted by NY1 TV anchor Pat Kiernan.  Kiernan states, “My first broadcasting job was in radio so this is a natural way for me to extend my connection with New Yorkers.  I see this as a great way for listeners to reconnect after the workday.  We’re going to hit the big local stories, but we also want to plug into the conversation of the day.  That can include anything from pop culture to sports to the hot topic on Twitter.”  These moves come as the station transitions the late morning Geraldo Rivera show to local content and adds the Cumulus Media Networks nationally syndicated Michael Savage for the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm slot.

wabcWABC, New York Names Craig Schwalb PD; Tony Mascaro Takes WPRO, Providence Programming Post.   Along with the programming changes announced above, Cumulus Media announces Craig Schwalb is being promoted to program director of WABC, New York from the company’s WPRO, Providence.  At the same time, Tony Mascaro moves from his operations manager post at WABC to program director of WPRO and sister business news outlet WPRV.  The company states that Schwalb has nearly two decades of news, talk and sports programming experience with roles held in markets including New York City, Detroit, St. Louis and Raleigh.  Prior to joining Cumulus, Schwalb was thewpro logo senior director of talk programming for SiriusXM.  Schwalb says, “WABC has inspired countless broadcasters over the years and to now lead WABC into its next phase will be an absolute pleasure.  Without a doubt, working alongside Cumulus NYC market manager Kim Bryant, COO John Dickey, SVP programming Mike McVay and corporate program director Randall Bloomquist, will be an honor.”  Speaking about his return to Providence, Mascaro comments, “I am thrilled to be returning to Providence where it all started for me.  WPRO-AM is a legendary radio station with an amazing line-up of talent.  I wish everyone at WABC continued success for the future.  Thanks to John Dickey, Mike McVay, Randall Bloomquist and Providence market manager Barbara Haynes for this opportunity to program a heritage radio station in a great radio market.”

hannityseanSean Hannity to Air Live on KVI, Seattle.  Premiere Networks nationally syndicated superstar Sean Hannity returns to Seattle’s “Talk Radio 570” KVI today airing live in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot.  This marks a reunion with the station on which his show debuted in 2001.  Program director Paul Duckworth states, “We’re thrilled to bring Sean back to KVI.  Listeners deserve to hear Sean’s program live and get the most up-to-the-minute news, information and analysis.”  Hannity adds, “From the very first day I went on the air and that red light went on, I have been in love with radio.  I’m thrilled, excited, ecstatic, exuberant to be back on America’s original conservative talk station, ‘Talk Radio 570 KVI.’”  In addition, “The Hannity Encore” will air on the station Sundays from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

wind logo

WIND, Chicago Expands Morning Show; Adds Sean Hannity.  Salem Communications-owned news/talk WIND, Chicago announces the expansion of the morning drive show co-hosted by Big John Howell and Amy Jacobson plus the addition of Premiere’s Sean Hannity show to the lineup.  Beginning Monday, January 6, Bill Bennett‘s “Morning in America” returns live to the station for the 5:00 am to 6:00 am hour.  Howell and Jacobson will air in the expanded 6:00 am to 11:00 am slot.  Westwood One’s Dennis Miller remains in the 11:00 am to 2:00 pm slot but now airs live.  Sean Hannity also airs live from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm.  WIND general manager Jeff Reisman comments, “Sean Hannity is an ideal fit on ‘AM 560 The Answer.’  Sean is one of the premier news/talk personalities and his style will fit nicely with our outstanding lineup of local and national hosts.”

kaplandavidWGN, Chicago Gives David Kaplan New Contract.  Talk host and reporter David Kaplan inks a new, multi-year contract with Tribune’s WGN, Chicago.  Kaplan hosts the eponymous nightly sports talk show that airs from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm and serves as afternoon drive sports reporter as well as host of the Cubs and Blackhawks Confidential programs.  Kaplan comments, “It’s a thrill to continue my career at WGN Radio where I have spent the last 18-plus years.  I’m thankful to work for the best mind in radio, Jimmy de Castro, and I’m blessed to be able to talk sports in my hometown of Chicago on the best radio station in America.”  De Castro adds, “We are driven to deliver live and local programming to our listeners.  Kap has his finger on the pulse of Chicago sports and we’re excited for him to be a part of our multi-dimensional future.”

jamesmarcMarc James Goes Solo at “The Fan” in Charlotte.  CBS RADIO announces WFNZ, Charlotte “Sports Radio 610 The Fan” afternoon drive personality Marc James begins hosting the afternoon drive slot on the station solo as former co-host Taylor Zarzour leaves the show to host “Bleacher Report Radio” on SiriusXM‘s sports zone channel.  James and Zarzour had been co-hosting “The Drive” since they were paired up in 2011.  The station says Zarzour will continue to remain a part of the WFNZ family by calling into the show with Marc weekly.  Zarzour says, “I’ll be forever grateful for the opportunity that OM DJ Stout and market manager Bill Schoening gave me at WFNZ.  I am extremely proud of the success that we had in my three years on the show and have no doubt Marc and the crew will continue to grow the audience.  I am excited about my next opportunity but will continue to be a part of the WFNZ family.”  The show’s other cast members include The Q.C.B., Hitman, and Jayweezie.  Stout says, “Although it is bittersweet to see Taylor go, he has done a great job for us and we will miss his talent and professionalism.  We’re excited for Marc to take on this opportunity.  He is a top notch talent and we look forward to him taking The Drive to the next level.”  James comments, “Taylor Zarzour is probably the hardest working person in sports talk radio.  He made me a better host, but more importantly a better man.  I look forward to taking ‘Sports Radio 610 WFNZ the Fan’ to unparalleled heights in the future. Charlotte is hands down one of the best sports towns in America and we will continue to make Charlotte proud to call WFNZ THE best sports talk station in the city.”

xmas story albumThe Miracle of “A Christmas Story.”  Ever the radio historian, noted media consultant Walter Sabo reminds us about the power of story-telling as an audience-building device.  In a new column posted today (1/2) Sabo discusses the movie “A Christmas Story” which was based on the synthesis of dozens of radio monologues created and delivered by the late and legendary talker Jean Shepherd.  Shepherd broadcast on WOR, New York from 1958-1975.  His nightly monologues were not bedtime stories.  According to Sabo, they were subversive proclamations, challenging authority wrapped in imagery of American traditions.  Shepherd worked without a script, but with massive prep.  Some of his shows took months to come to fruition in his imagination.  He recorded every show.  The importance of Shepherd’s work is that it was not on NPR or an obscure station.  WOR was the number one station in audience and revenue in America through most of his reign.  It was a talk station that appealed primarily to women—about 70% of the cume was female.  About 70% of the hosts were women.  There were many other dominant talk stations at the time that appealed primarily to women such as KMOX, WCCO, WGN and WBZ.  Shepherd’s audience was young, more male.  His show often presented a youngster’s perspective on the idiocy of authority, success, day-people and capitalism.  He bashed advertising, radio, television and anything that was mainstream or plastic. In other words he trashed, on every level, the success of his employer: The number one radio station in America owned by General Tire and Rubber.  He did that every night.  There is much contemporary talk broadcasters can learn from this slice of radio history.  To read Sabo’s entire piece, please click here.

nielsen logoNieslen Audio December PPM Data Released.  The December 2013 PPM ratings data has been released by Nielsen Audio.  Numbers for all 48 PPM-rated markets have been made public and that information can be found at the site of TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo.  Check out the main page for managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian’s “Takeaways” here or go straight to the full ratings data here.

ces2014Coming Next Week: The 2014 International CES.  Media consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke will report from next week’s 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.  He teases the event asking, “How dizzying is the-pace-of-change?”  Media are now asked NOT to refer to this massive, mind-boggling event as “The Consumer Electronics Show,” because whassup here has transcendedcookeholland hardware.

Sure, there’ll be gadgets aplenty in an exhibit hall bigger than 30 football fields, many of ‘em obsoleting whatever seemed so-cutting-edge last year.  But many of the ways technology is changing our everyday lives are…invisible, “The Internet of Things.”

Yes, the Amazon drone story was a publicity stunt.

But 62% of Internet traffic is now robots.

Maybe your refrigerator isn’t (yet) auto-ordering milk; and none of us are riding driver-less cars.

Yet already, patients can enable doctors to monitor real-time vital signs.

Soon, your alarm clock could wake you earlier if the route you commute has a traffic tangle.  And your thermostat will auto-adjust, based on the changing weather forecast.  Traditional radio information hooks are no longer franchises.  If you think I’m exaggerating, look at your iPhone.

Come along, virtually…

Look for my coverage here next week in TALKERS and RadioInfo; and follow my real-time Tweets @HollandCooke.  I’ll also be reporting for the Jim Bohannon show and “America in the Morning,” and on my client stations.

And it’ll be a ‘Vegas convention two-fer.  Again this year, I’ll also be covering NMX, the New Media Expo, formerly “Blogworld,” before-that “The Podcast & New Media Expo,” which, a decade ago, already drew twice-as-many attendees as radio conventions.

With media consumers now in on-demand pick-N-choose mode — and with advertising and marketing money flowing to the digital platform — these internet content creators’ work is now instructive to what TALKERS and RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison has termed broadcast stations’ “survival and ‘thrival.’”

pattiznormNorm Pattiz to Keynote NMX 2014.  Speaking of the New Media Expo, Courtside Entertainment Group CEO Norm Pattiz will be among the three media execs keynoting the conference when it gets underway this weekend in Las Vegas.  Speaking alongside tech expert Leo Laporte and Stitcher CEO Noah Shanok, Pattiz – Westwood One founder and CEO of Podcast One – will address the former Blogworld conference at 9:00 am on Monday, January 6.  The title of the keynote address is “The Future of Podcasting.”

wmyt logoWMYT, Wilmington Adds Programming.  Talk Media TV-owned news/talk WMYT, Wilmington, North Carolina announces program additions to is schedule beginning with its “Super Saturdays” lineup.  The station says the new addition to its “Super Saturdays,” which consists of eight local shows, is “The Car Doctor with Val Boudreau.”  Also, the station announces it is bringing the new “The Blaze News” regular news updates to listeners airing every 15 minutes, saying “’The Blaze News’ spots, in addition to our Fox Business News spots, will expand our national news content and coverage!”  WMYT is also adding Premiere NetworksAndy Dean to the daily schedule airing weeknights from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm.

ktxx logoAustin Sports Talker KTXX-FM Purchased By Local Group.  The Austin American-Statesman reports that longtime market media personality Bob Cole heads up an ownership group that is purchasing sports talk KTXX-FM “The Horn” and its sister AM signal KWNX from Total Austin Sports Radio for an undisclosed sum.  Cole – who serves as the Texas Longhorns stadium announcer and is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Texas Radio Hall of Fame – tells the paper the station will remain sports but that “We’re going to do something a little different, that fills a hole that no one else in the market is filling.”  Earlier this year the group purchased country outlet KOKE where Cole hosts the morning show.

keib logoOdds & Sods.  Clear Channel changes the call letters of KTLK, Los Angeles to KEIB – a nod to its new centerpiece, Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh, whose Excellence in Broadcasting network moniker is often shortened to EIB.  The station flipped from progressive talk to conservative talk as of today (1/2) and the station’s brand is “The Patriot.”  Limbaugh moved over from sister news/talk KFI…..CBS RADIO’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia “SportsRadio 94 WIP” is giving away a pair of tickets to Saturday night’s Eagles-Saints NFC Wild Card game at Lincoln Financial Field to the person “who needs them the most.”  The station iswiplogo telling listeners to make a banner that says “94WIP I Need Eagles Playoff Tickets,” make it big, creative and hang it where WIP can see – as long as it’s legal.  On Friday afternoon, the station will send its spotters out to select the best banner and will award the tickets accordingly…..ESPN Radio returns to the Columbia, South Carolina market after a 17-month absence on L&L Broadcasting’s WOIC “ESPN Columbia 1230 AM.”  WOIC flipped from news/talk on January 1 and is carrying much of the ESPN Radio lineup.  It will also air local programs “The Zone” hosted by Duane “The Shot Doctor” Everett from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm and “Sports Hotline” with Bobby Gist and Ernest Robinson from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm…..The “Positive Business with Patricia Raskin” show announces the addition of new co-host Lynda Adams.  “Positive Business” airs every Friday from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm on business talk WPRV, Providence where it’s been heard for the past four years.

Monday, December 9, 2013

| December 9, 2013

segalelliotClear 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”limbaughrush 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 hannityseangoing.”  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 RamseyJoan 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.”

deptrojohnJohn 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.”

saunderssusanSaunders 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 logo longBeasley 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.”

cclogoFlora 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.

wtkw logoYankees 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.

kirofm logoKIRO-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 logoWMAL-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.

beasleylasvegaspartyBeasley 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.

Friday, December 6, 2013

| December 6, 2013

knew logoNEW Rosters Coming to SF Talk Outlets. In the banner story first published yesterday (see next item), TALKERS detailed Clear Channel‘s plans for significant changes involving heritage Los Angeles talker KFI and under-performing sibling KTLK-AM – which will be re-branded as “The Patriot.”  The City of Angels, however, is not the only locale where the company is mixing things up with its talk properties.  As of the first of the year, modified talent lineups will surface on a pair of Clear Channel San Francisco facilities.  Changes on “960 KNEW” will include Rush Limbaugh on from 9:00 am – 12:00 Noon, Sean Hannity 12:00 Noon – 3:00 pm, and Andy Dean from 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm; Glenn Beck willkksf logo continue to air in morning drive (6:00 am – 9:00 am).  Casts from Fox News Radio will air at the top and bottom of every hour.  Down the dial five clicks to the left on “910 KKSF,” Armstrong & Getty will add an hour (6:00 am – 10:00 am); Frosty Stilwell moves to 10:00 am -1:00 pm; and Randi Rhodes (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm) segues from KNEW.  Gil Gross will remain in his afternoon drive slot (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm).  Vice president of programming Don Parker comments, “We are excited to continue to grow the live and local programming on ‘Talk 910′ with the expansion of Armstrong & Getty.  We are also thrilled to welcome the Bay Area’s leading midday talk personality, Randi Rhodes, to ‘Talk 910.’  The new lineup on ’960 KNEW’ will be a destination for conservative listeners who follow America’s top personalities – all in one place.”  Among persons 6+ this November (PPM), KKSF-AM ranked #17 (2.1, +.1 from October’s 2.0), while KNEW finished at #31 (flat from October’s .4).

kfilogoClear Channel Los Angeles Blows Up Progressive Talk KTLK; Creates New Conservative Talker.  Progressive talk radio takes another blow as Clear Channel Media + Entertainment prepares to flip KTLK, Los Angeles to “The Patriot AM 1150” in the New Year with the following lineup: Glenn Beck, Rushktlklogo Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, PM drive TBA, and Clark Howard.  That leaves a midday hole at sister KFI (Limbaugh airs there from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon right now) as the station moves Bill Carroll to the 10:00 am limbaughrushto 1:00 pm slot leaving the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm show host TBA for now.  In a statement, program director Robin Bertolucci says, “Los Angeles is one of the most dynamic radio markets in the United States and we want to present the best of talk radio from across the spectrum.  These changes are designed to give our current and future programming a home where listeners can find and enjoy their favorite talk show hosts.”  Some of the current KTLK air talent will remain with the company.  PM drive host David Cruz will still talk local issues Saturdays from 12:00 to 2:00 pm on KTLK.  Cruz will also join the KFI news team, reporting local news for the station in addition to his weekend community show.  Mo’ Kelly adds another weekend edition of his program to the KFI weekend schedule.  His show will air on both Saturday and Sunday from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  The move takes Stephanie Miller, Randi Rhodes and Bill Press off the schedule.

albertcliffKOGO, San Diego PD Cliff Albert’s Status in Question.  The local radio blog SanDiegoRadio.org is reporting that sources tell it longtime KOGO, San Diego program director Cliff Albert (along with talk host Steve Yuhas) has left the building.  This has not been confirmed and Albert’s “Cliff’s Notes” commentary on the KOGO website is still active – often a dismissed staffer’s likeness and content are purged upon leaving.  Albert has been programming KOGO for the past 17 years.

murphysteveSteve Murphy to Retire from WCCO, Minneapolis.  After 33 years with the station, morning anchor and managing editor Steve Murphy is retiring from the CBS Radio news/talk station at the end of the year.  Murphy says that his wife recently retired from her nursing job and he’s ready to hang up the headphones and stay up past 7:30 in the evening.  CBS Minneapolis SVP and market manager Mick Anselmo says, “He’ll be sorely missed.  Steve is a wonderful example of a professional radio journalist with a great sense of news, a confident, soothing but direct delivery and an uncompromising work ethic that will be difficult to duplicate.”  Murphy himself made the news last month after getting mugged and beaten while on the way to work at 2:30 am.  He says that incident had no impact on his decision but rather the idea of sleeping past 2:30 am was a huge factor.

prainjimLincoln Financial Media Appoints Prain DOS in Miami.  Lincoln Financial Media announces broadcast pro and media sales consultant Jim Prain is named director of sales for the company’s Miami cluster that includes: AC WLYF, “LITE 101.5,” classic hits WMXJ, “MAGIC 102.7,” and sports talk WAXY-AM/FM “104.3 The Ticket.”  LFM Miami SVP and general manager Maureen Lesourd states, “I have had the privilege to know Jim throughout his career and find him a highly credible, accountable and strategic thinker.  His leadership will help propel our sales effort to meet the growing demands of our clientele and maximize all the on air, online and social media assets we have to offer.”  Prain’s media career includes 25-plus years of media management experience in major and large markets, including positions at companies such as ABC, ABC/Cap Cities and Cox Media.  He also invested two years as a small business owner in Detroit, where he launched a power sports company.  Prain comments, “I’ve had the pleasure of working with Maureen and LFM CEO Don Benson over the years and feel this is the perfect fit for me professionally and personally.  My passion for helping our customers, combined with the recent benefits of owning a small business, affords me a unique perspective on both sides of the marketing equation.  I’m excited to get started.”

pattiznormNorm Pattiz and PodcastOne Featured in Bloomberg Businessweek Piece.  Westwood One founder and current chairman and CEO of Courtside Entertainment Group and subsidiary PodcastOne, Norm Pattiz, is featured in a piece in Bloomberg Businessweek where he projects revenue from podcasts for his company will reach $8 million for this year.  He expects that figure to hit $15 million in 2014.  The piece includes more figures: Pattiz says his 200 programs on PodcastOne are averaging 100 million downloads per month and have attracted advertising attention from such corporations as Ford Motor, 21st Century Fox’s Fox, Walt Disney’s ABC, and Hulu.com.  Read the entire piece here.

sileodanOdds & Sods.  Sports talk host Dan Sileo – most recently with WMEN, West Palm Beach – is doing holiday fill-in work at Broadcast Company of the Americas-owned sports talker XEPRS, San Diego “Mighty 1090.”  Sileo – who’s also worked at WQAM, Miami and WDAE, Tampa, to name a few – tells TALKERS magazine he’ll be doing morning drive (6:00 am to 9:00 am) from December 23 through 31…..Former WPGB, Pittsburgh morning team Jim Quinn and Rose Tennent hosted a live broadcast in conjunction with a Toy Treasures charity event at a Pittsburgh-area hair salon this morning.  The pair signed copies of their book, Thanking Our Soldiers…..Galaxy Communications-owned classic rock duo WTKW, Bridgeport, New York and WTKV, Oswego, New York (Syracuse market) sign up with CBS Radio to be the local affiliate for New York Yankees baseball for the 2014 season.

hannityseanTALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Premiere NetworksSean Hannity becomes part of KTLK, Los Angeles’ lineup in the New Year…..“Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge joins the programming lineup at WMEL, Melbourne, Florida…..Genesis Communications Network-syndicated “Freedom Feens” with Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi is added to the program schedule at WKVL, Knoxville and KINX-FM, Great Falls, Montana.

ObamaCare Criticism Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of December 2-6.  Criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act was again the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week.  At #2 was the decline in support for President Obama from the Millennial generation.  Following at #3 was the Rush Limbaugh-Pope Francis Marxism flap followed by the Iran nuclear weapons talks and the NSA cell phone location database story tied at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week.  It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  To view this week’s entire chart, click here.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

| December 5, 2013

weineranthonyRumor: Anthony Weiner to Try Talk Radio.  Here we go again! Another disgraced politician – this time it’s former congressman and former NYC mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner – is rumored to be in the running for a talk show on one of two New York City radio signals.  The New York Daily News is reporting that sources say Weiner is in talks to begin hosting a show on either Cumulus Media’s WABC (where the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot is opening in the New Year) or on Clear Channel’s WOR.  WABC operations manager Tony Mascaro tells the paper they are looking at a lot of candidates for the slot but denies Weiner is one of them.  The track record of former politicians – especially disgraced ones – succeeding in talk radio is not good.  Most managers and programmers are either aware – or find out very quickly – that the tradeoff for hiring such a person is not usually worth it.  Yes, one gets instant recognition of the person from the public, but the long hours, challenging work, glamorless working conditions and time needed to get traction in the ratings usually turns off former pols who are used to a different sort of workday.  Oh, and then there’s the fact that they almost always have no broadcasting skills whatsoever.  Stay tuned, the Weiner-watch is on!

cumulus logoCumulus Media Holdings to Refinance $2.23 Billion in Debt.  According to a Reuters report, Cumulus Media Holdings has set terms on a new $2.23 billion loan that would serve to reduce its interest payments over the course of the loan.  The company is marketing a $200 million, five-year revolver and a $2.025 billion, seven-year, first-lien term loan.  The proceeds would refinance Cumulus’ current first- and second-lien loans.  Moody’s Investor Services VP and senior credit officer Carl Salas is quoted saying, “It’s a meaningful improvement in their annual debt service.  They will save upwards of $30 million to $35 million in interest costs which adds nicely to their free cash flow generation.”

rouhierdannyCBS Radio’s WJFK, Washington Hears It from Redskins About Game Broadcast Parodies.  NFL fans are aware that the Washington Redskins – owned by the litigious and sensitive Dan Snyder – are having a tough season (3-9 right now) after making the playoffs last year.  That’s been the source of much frustration on the part of fans and the source of material for WJFK host Danny Rouhier and producer Ajay Atayee who’ve been producing bits that are mock-ups of game broadcasts.  Rouhier does the voices of Redskins radio play-by-play announcers Larry Michael and Sonny wjfkfmJurgensen and splices in actual drops of color man and former ‘Skin Chris Cooley.  The hysterically funny bits have been critical of the team’s play, the fan experience at FedEx Field and Snyder’s public image, so much so that, according to the Washington Post, WJFK Redskins beat reporter Grant Paulsen was told by team spokesman Tony Wyllie that the bits are so malicious that they could prompt legal action.  This may be water under the bridge since the Post reports Wyllie says after talking with the station and being assured it’s all in good fun, the team has no problem with the station’s content.  Since the station has no intention of stopping Rouhier from producing more similarly themed bits, we’ll see how the rest of the season plays out.

kennedyKYSR, Los Angeles Morning Personality Kennedy to Host Fox Business Net Show.  Former MTV VJ and current morning drive host at Clear Channel’s alternative KYSR, Los Angeles, Lisa Kennedy Montgomery, will begin a new nightly current events talk show on Fox Business Network titled “The Independents” that will premiere on Monday, December 9.  The Hollywood Reporter states that Kennedy will co-host with Reason magazine’s Matt Welch, America’s Future Foundation’s Kmele Foster and a rotating panel of money experts.  Kennedy herself writes on her KYSR blog that the show will be “aimed at all the mealy-mouthed, partisan faithful out there.  Has the 2 party system totally failed you?  Yeah, me too!  Tune in 4 nights a week on FBN, and just remember, music and politics go hand in hand. I will always hold hands with you.”  Kennedy has been a contributor to FBN making regular appearances on “Stossel.”

ohana logoVali Named Interim GM of Ohana Broadcast, Hawaii.  The name Austin Vali is widely-known in Hawaii radio and, as Ohana Broadcast Company‘s interim general manager, he will oversee four Oahu stations and five Kauai facilities.  Owner/president Jason Wolff comments, “Austin brings a wealth of experience, knowledge, and relationships in the Honolulu market.  He will be a tremendous asset as we strive to produce the best possible radio for our listeners and clients.”   Recently, Vali was vice president/general manager of Cox Media Group‘s three-station Long Island cluster.  During his 40-year radio career, he has worked in Pittsburgh, Norfolk, and Louisville; however, Vali is perhaps best known for his experience in Hawaii.  Since arriving there in 1978, he worked at Honolulu’s KIKI and KQMQ and he co-owned KRTR-FM and KXME in that market.

runningwithnaturePodcastOne Adds Mariel Hemingway Program to Stable.  Titled after her best-selling book  Running with Nature, actress and author Mariel Hemingway, along with her partner, stuntman, actor, health and wellness expert, Bobby Williams, are launching their new podcast via PodcastOne.  The podcast invites listeners to “join them on their adventures; from Hollywood to Holistic healing…transforming relationships to finding the most meaningful ways of living every day, Mariel and Bobby are here bringing laughter, wonder and awe with some great advice.”  The first podcast episode “features nutrition tips, a review of her just released documentary called ‘Running from Crazy,’ and exercise tips from Bobby and Mariel’s ‘Meditation Moment.’”  PodcastOne COO Greg Batusic says, “Mariel and Bobby offer a refreshing and unique take on life that their fans and new listeners will surely benefit from.  We’re happy to have them join our stellar lineup.”

madiganbobWTOP, Washington’s Bob Madigan to Retire.  Drive time news anchor Bob Madigan will retire from his position at Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington, DC at the end of the year.  Outgoing vice president of news and programming Jim Farley (also retiring, see next story) says in a memo to his DC staff, “Bob has been in this crazy business of ours for 50 years, 20 of them here at WTOP and WASH when both stations were co-owned.  He and I worked for 11 years at NBC News….I have been inflicted on Bob for 27 of his 50 years in the business.  By the way, if you are wondering how he got in 50 years ago, he started working in radio during high school.”  Farley goes on to say that as WTOP’s “Man About Town,” he “was a one-person ‘good news’ department covering everything from charity galas to scholarship awards and chili cook-offs for a good cause.  Bob covered so many events, that in less than a year on the beat, he was emcee, announcer or celebrity judge at many of them.  He became a one-man marketing machine for WTOP, getting our name out there in a positive way that was priceless!  He was chosen to announce the Inaugural Parade along Pennsylvania Avenue for both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.  At the Bush Inaugural Parade he was paired with…Meat Loaf.  For years he announced the start of the Race for the Cure live on WTOP.  He has a long, long list of awards and honors including a (rare for a journalist) RAMMY Award, “The Duke Zeibert Capital Achievement Award.”  RAMMY’s are awarded by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington.

cookefarleyA Farewell to Jim Farley.  Radio consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke (right) poses for a selfie with outgoing vice president of news and programming Jim Farley at a retirement bash for the longtime WTOP, Washington programmer at the Newseum in Washington, DC.  After 17 years with the station, Farley is “slowing down but not retiring” as he’ll step down from his current post but consult WTOP for the next two years. He’s also open to consult others with their news and/or digital strategies.  Current WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo is stepping into the post at year’s end.  Cooke reports that modern-day WTOP-ers, Hubbard execs and many alumni toasted Farley at the bash.  Among other things said at the farewell party, Farley told staffers, “What a crowd!  YOU did it.  YOU GUYS do all the heavy lifting, and I got all the credit.  I’m gettin’ out before they catch me.”

kmbzGood Fences Make Good Neighbors.  Usually that’s the case but at the Entercom AM transmitter site in Westwood, Kansas, just how a good fence is defined appears to be the issue.  The towers for KMBZ and KUDL are surrounded by residential neighborhoods – that wasn’t the case in the 1930s when the towers went up.  According to the Prairie Village Post, now neighbors are challenging the renewal of Entercom’s special use permit for the site claiming they want improvements there.  After meeting with residents, a plan commission sub-committee is suggesting the current chain-link fence with barbed wire makes the property look “blighted” and recommends removal of the perimeter fence and replacement with fencing that complies with current code.  Entercom fears liability issues without a perimeter fence.  In 2008, a trespassing teenager was killed after falling from a tower on the site.  Expect some sort of compromise on this issue since moving the station towers would be very difficult yet protection of the transmitters and towers needs to continue for obvious reasons.

junkiesCredit to WJFK-FM, Washington’s “Junkies” for Nabbing Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Segment.  He’s been one of the hot talk radio topics for the past several weeks (as documented in TALKERS magazine’s weekly top topics chart The Talkers TenTM), so why not book him as a guest?  CBS Radio’s “The Junkies” did just that and got a cool 25-minute segment with Toronto Mayor Rob Ford on WJFK-FM, Washington today.  Ford, who’s obviously been in the news a bit lately and doesn’t seem to be very mic-shy, talked with the Junkies about football (he offered his NFL picks for the week), the drug use allegations against him, President Obama, and his run for re-election next fall (which he says he’ll win because he has the support of the people).

kgmzlogoOdds & Sods.  Entercom’s KGMZ, San Francisco is preparing to begin a listener giveaway of tickets and cool memorabilia for its six area pro sports teams.  “95.7 The Game” is calling the promotion “The Six Teams of Christmas” and will give listeners a chance to win game ticket packages to see the Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, San Francisco Giants, Oakland As, Golden State Warriors and San Jose Sharks…..CBS Radio’s New York stations (including sports WFAN-AM/FM and all-news WINS and WCBS) are announcing a new promotion: The Firehouse Chili Cook-Off.  After entries were submitted from all across the tri-state area, semi-finalists will compete to see whose chili recipe cbsfirehousereigns supreme.  At establishments in New Jersey and New York, the staple food of firefighters will be cooked, tasted and judged by local sports figures, and one fire company at each event will move into the final round of the competition.  The grand prize winner will receive VIP tickets to a 2014 New York Yankees game…..Entercom’s Boston Red Sox flagship WEEI, Boston is broadcasting from the MLB Winter Meetings in Orlando next week.  Live coverage of the meetings will begin with Salk & Holley from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm Monday through Wednesday.  The Mut & Merloni show will also originate from the Swan and Dolphin Resort from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm Tuesday through Thursday.

kirofmhollidaymagicHoliday Magic at KIRO-FM, Seattle.  Pictured here is KIRO-FM, Seattle afternoon drive duo Ron & Don manning the tote board at last year’s “Holiday Magic Radiothon.”  The Bonneville news/talk station, in partnership with Treehouse (a non-profit agency that ensures that kids in foster care have access to the essential services required to help them make it to high school graduation and beyond), are hosting the 25th Annual Foster Child Holiday Magic Radiothon today.  The station set a record last year raising more than $500,000.  The 12-hour “Holiday Magic Radiothon” helps local foster kids by raising money to provide each child in the program with one significant holiday gift along with support programs and services throughout the year.

humphriesdamian2Rusty Humphries on the Set in Bucharest.  That’s talk show host and actor Rusty Humphries (left) with actor Michael Damian (right) on location in Bucharest, Romania on the set of the romantic comedy Love By Design.  Humphries says he plays a reporter covering a big fashion show in New York City.  He notes that Bucharest is a popular location to shoot NYC scenes since it can be made to look like the streets of New York and the production costs are much less.  The movie also stars Jane Seymour.  Humphries was in Bucharest for seven days filming.  He tells TALKERS, “I had a blast.  I love the fact that I’m having the opportunity to really live out my dreams: radio, TV and film.  This is my third major motion picture, and it’s always an honor to be involved with a project as special as this.”

ObamaCare Criticism, NSA Cell Location Database, Obama Millennial Support Diminishing, Detroit Bankruptcy, Bashir Resignation, and Fast Food Minimum Wage Effort Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/5).  Analysis of the implementation and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the NSA policy that reportedly gathers the location of cell phone users; the loss of support from Millennials for President Obama; the Detroit bankruptcy case ruling; Martin Bashir’s resignation from MSNBC after his Sarah Palin comments; and the move by organized labor to push for a national minimum wage for fast food workers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

| November 27, 2013

huckabeemikeMike Huckabee and Cumulus Media Networks Call it Quits on Daily Talk Show.  Governor Mike Huckabee’s daily commentaries will continue after the New Year but the daily, three-hour talk show will not.  Writing on Facebook, Huckabee says, “I have loved doing the Mike Huckabee show, and its success of going from launch to over 200 stations in less than two years is significant, but the contract was at a decision point for both Cumulus Media and me, and we mutually agreed to conclude.”  Huckabee’s program debuted in April of 2012 with the conservative politician and media personality (who is still seen on weekends on Fox News Channel) promising to host a “different” kind of talk show that offers “more conversation, less confrontation.”  There’s no way to know how successful CMN was in selling the show or how much money Huckabee made but it stands to reason the show was not making enough to justify continuing the effort on the part of either party.

bellpaulMedia Exec Paul Bell Named Business Director for Rush Limbaugh Print and Digital.  Premiere Networks announces the appointment of Paul Bell to the position of business director of Rush Limbaugh print and digital subscriptions.  Bell most recently worked with Dow Jones/The Wall Street Journal and will remain based in New York where he’ll report to CCM+E president of content and affiliate services for national media groups Julie Talbott.  Bell’s focus will be on all aspects of Limbaugh’s subscription businesses including oversight of strategic planning, directlimbaughrush marketing, circulation management, and subscriber acquisition and retention for Rush 24/7; The Limbaugh Letter; as well as The Limbaugh eLetter, the recently-launched digital version of the publication now available via desktop and on mobile devices.  While with Dow Jones/The Wall Street Journal, Bell was charged with overseeing strategy and business operations of The Wall Street Journal Sunday, the WSJ Wine Club and the WSJ and MarketWatch Radio Networks, as well as audio podcasting content licensing.  Prior to that, Bell served as vice president, radio and executive director of The Wall Street Journal Radio Network for seven years.  Julie Talbott states, “We couldn’t be happier to welcome someone of Paul’s caliber to our team.  His extensive background in direct marketing and business operations are a winning combination as we continue to grow Rush Limbaugh’s loyal print subscriber base and digital platforms.”

katzjeffspeaksJeff Katz to Host PM Drive on WRVA, Richmond.  Program director Jimmy Barrett tells TALKERS magazine that talk radio pro Jeff Katz is assuming the afternoon drive show from Clear Channel talk host Leland Conway who’s beenwrva logo doing that program and the midday show on the company’s WHAS, Louisville since the early fall.  With Conway now focused on Louisville, Katz can dedicate his attention to Richmond.  Barrett states, “We’re excited to have someone with Jeff’s experience anchoring our afternoon drive.  Jeff is funny, informative and a great match for the Richmond audience.  Best of all, he’s coming here because this is where he wants to raise his family.”  Katz has been part of the start-up at the Boston Herald’s online venture Boston Herald Radio hosting the morning show.  Katz has been a columnist for the Herald and produces commentary features that air on a number of affiliate stations.  He worked for Clear Channel in Boston on WXKS-AM prior to that station’s flip to sports talk.  He starts at WRVA on Monday, December 2.

greenconnections logo“Green Connections with Joan Michelson” to Debut on TalkersRadio this Saturday.  An exciting new weekly program geared to the environmental movement in modern industry and culture is set for launch this weekend on TalkersRadio – the online experimental talk radio station at Talkers.com.  The program will originate with brand new, one-hour installments on Saturdays at 3:00 pm ET that will be repeated at various timesmichelsonjoan throughout the week.  The program’s tag lines are “live green, work green, earn green” and “making cleantech cool.”  Its host and producer, Joan Michelson, is a highly respected and accomplished Washington, DC-based journalist who specializes in energy and sustainability.  She serves as the green expert on WTOP, Washington and has a blog on the Huffington Post, in addition to a number of major media platforms.  Describing the new show, Michelson tells TALKERS, “We inform, engage, and connect people with the cool things and opportunities in energy and sustainability.  Our stories range from politics and business, to jobs, gadgets, tips and the arts.  I am very excited about bringing this groundbreaking show to such an innovative radio platform as TalkersRadio.”  In announcing the launch, TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein says, “This entertaining and informative program is a radio show whose time has come.  There is a huge information-hungry audience for this and potential advertisers are sprouting up all over the nation creating an exciting new arena of economic growth making it incredibly fertile for talk radio.  Joan Michelson brings a personal likability as well as tremendous knowledge to the discussion.  We are proud to be giving birth to and nurturing what promises to be a major broadcasting entity.  This SO fits the mission of TalkersRadio.”

millerdennisWestwoodOne Bumps Dennis Miller to Noon ET Start.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Dennis Miller’s WestwoodOne program will move to a new time beginning in January.  The company announces the show’s live air time will shift from the current 10:00 am to 1:00 pm ET slot to 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET effective January 6.  WestwoodOne CEO Paul Caine says, “WestwoodOne is happy to have the Dennis Miller show as part of our best-in-class lineup and programming.  Miller attracts a very large and opinionated audience who are actively engaged across audio platforms, including digital.  His show is a prime example of the critical role audio plays in cross-platform integration – a key element in the future of audio.”  Miller, who resides in California, currently hits the air live at 7:00 am PT.  He adds, “Thanks for letting me sleep in and continue to do the job that I love!”

salemcommunicationsSalem Communications Adds AM Signal to Miami Properties.  With the purchase of WOCN-AM, Miami from Deportes Media of Florida, Salem Communications will have another AM signal in the market to complement business talk WZAB, Christian talk WHIM and Spanish Christian formatted WKAT.  The price is $1.2 million for the station and its assets and another $1 million for the property on which the station and its transmitter sit.  WOCN-AM is a class C AM at 1450 currently operating at 1,000 watts in a non-directional pattern.

totaltraffic logoTotal Traffic + Weather Network Partners with TomTom.  The two companies believe the multi-year partnership will augment both their businesses.  Clear Channel’s Total Traffic + Weather Network says the arrangement will combine “TomTom’s industry leading real-time and predictive traffic flow data with Total Traffic + Weather Network’s traffic incident, construction and congestion data to create the mosttomtom logo comprehensive traffic solution available in North America.  The combined data offering will be available across multiple platforms including radio, television, automotive, online and mobile.”  CCM+E EVP engineering & systems integration Jeff Littlejohn states, “We are thrilled about this partnership.  Every day, more than 200 million drivers and thousands of our affiliates depend on TTWN for their traffic information.  We value that trust and are dedicated to delivering the most precise traffic data available. Therefore, we strive for best-in-class, strategic partners to advance our offerings. TomTom is a committed and innovative leader in traffic products. We are excited about creating new solutions together to provide the fastest, most accurate traffic information to drivers every day.”

topturkeysOdds & Sods.  Jack Callaghan leaves the sales end of the business to return to the mic at Clear Channel’s WTAM, Cleveland where he’s the new news director.  Callaghan was most recently eastern regional sales manager at Santa Clara, California-based Beat the Traffic…..Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM and 99.7 FM in Providence produces its second annual “Top Turkeys” countdown that celebrates the notable and notorious from Southern New England.  This year’s winners included Rhode Island native and “Jersey Shore” star Pauly D confirming he’s a baby daddy; former Cranston Mayor Steve Laffey announcing a run for governor only to pull out three days later; and calamari – often a punch line for jokes in Rhode Island – failed to be voted the Official State Appetizer after the State Senate declined to vote on it altogether.  WPRO-AM PD Craig Schwalb says, “Thanksgiving offers WPRO the perfect opportunity to poke fun at some of the most interesting and most absurd news stories that occurred in the great state of Rhode Island this year.”  Check out the web feature here.…..ESPN Deportes Radio reaches what it terms a “sub-license agreement” with Fox to broadcast the UEFA Champions League.  The coverage kicked off with two live double headers: Zenit vs. Atlético and Ajax vs. Barcelona yesterday and CSKA Moskva vs. Bayern and Real Madrid vs. Galatasaray today (11/27).

crowleyjerryIt’s Like Déjà Vu All Over Again.  It is an extremely unlikely narrative – but it actually is happening.  When Clear Channel took over ownership of heritage radio station WOR, New York from Buckley Radio about a year ago, they moved it from its location in an iconic building on Trinity Place next to the historic Trinity Cemetery about a block from Wall Street to their already-established headquarters in a different part of lower-Manhattan.  And as we all know, they also made staff changes in both programming and management. These changes included the departure of longtime WORsantellinoelia VP/GM Jerry Crowley and his executive assistant Noelia Santelli.  Being, as TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes “one of the most savvy, connected and well-liked broadcasting executives in the Big Apple,” it didn’t take long for another radio company to recruit Crowley (as well as Santelli) for their own New York operation.  That company was Salem Communications for whom Crowley brought his talents as VP/GM of talkers WMCA (570) and WNYM (The Answer).  At that time, these stations were located close-by at Salem’s operation across the river in New Jersey.  Now for the good part — on December 9, Salem is taking advantage of the marvelous radio broadcasting space vacated by Clear Channel on Trinity Place and moving the operations of both stations into the same suite of offices and studios previously occupied by WOR.  That means that Crowley and Santelli (who is now Salem New York’s national sales manager and executive assistant to the general manager) will be moving back to their original offices and even the same desks and furniture!  Amazing!

Thanksgiving Holiday, ObamaCare Criticism, Iran Nukes Deal, Immigration Legislation, CBS Gives Lara Logan LOA, and Alec Baldwin Loses MSNBC Gig Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/26).  The holiday weekend and the weather-affected travel situation; scrutiny of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the negotiations for an Iranian nuclear program deal; President Obama’s proposed immigration legislation; the leave of absence given to CBS reporter Lara Logan in connection with the “60 Minutes” Benghazi report; and Alec Baldwin’s MSNBC show gets cancelled after reports of his “homophobic” language and on-set behavioral issues were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

| October 15, 2013

limbaughrushRush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity Return to Philly on WPHT.  CBS Radio brings Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh back to Philly on its news/talk WPHT.  Premiere’s Sean Hannity will also return to the station delay broadcast in the evening.  WPHT drops no daytime local programming but changes the times of the current shifts to accommodatewpht logo Limbaugh.  Morning drive host Chris Stigall wraps his show at 9:00 am, Dom Giordano airs from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon.  After Limbaugh, Dick Morris and Gary R’nel begin the PM drive show at 3:00 pm.  It does appear that Casey Bartholomew’s late night program will end to make way for the Hannity show.  CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield states, “We couldn’t be more pleased to bring Rush and Sean home to WPHT.  They are leaders in the format and the standard by which talk radio is measured.  Rush will be the lead-in for Dick Morris who has been developing a strong program the past six months.”

savagemichaelMichael Savage to Conference Call with New Station Management.  On Thursday at 12:00 noon ET, Cumulus Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Michael Savage will host a conference call with program directors and station managers in anticipation of his move to the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET show time to which the program moves in the New Year.  In a statement, Savage says, “I am thrilled that the new timeslot debut is just around the corner.  This call will give station managers the chance to hear direct from me what the coveted drivetime means for ‘The Savage Nation.’”  The company reports that the program will air on more than 200 affiliates of Cumulus Media Networks, including 60 stations owned and operated by Cumulus.  It says “Some of the cities where ‘The Savage Nation’ will air during drivetime include: New York (WABC), Chicago (WLS), Dallas (WBAP), Washington(WMAL), San Francisco (KSFO) and WJR (Detroit).

bobandtomBob & Tom to Leave Premiere Networks for Cumulus Media Networks.  Longtime WFBQ, Indianapolis-based morning drive team Bob Kevoian (left) and Tom Griswold (right) – known simply as Bob & Tom – are leaving longtime syndicator Premiere Networks and are partnering with Cumulus Media Networks for “operational and advertising sales” beginning in January 2014.  The show is currently heard on some 130 affiliate stations across the country as well as on the American Forces Radio Network.  Griswold states, “We have enjoyed a tremendous relationship with Premiere Networks and Clear Channel Media & Entertainment for many years.  Cumulus Media stations have always supported the Bob & Tom show in some of our largest markets, and once I had an opportunity to meet with John Dickey, it became clear that our visions aligned for the future.  We really appreciate the years of dedication from Julie Talbott and the staff at Premiere Networks, and we look forward to continuing to work with Clear Channel stations in the future.”

wdbz logoCincinnati Trombo Looks to Lewis as VP/GM.  Radio One‘s Blue Chip Broadcasting, Cincinnati appoints John Lewis vice president/general manager.  He will oversee urban contemporary WIZF “The Wiz,” urban oldies WOSL “Old School 100.3,” and talk WDBZ “The Buzz.”  Regional vice president Jeffrey Wilson comments, “John brings an outstanding blend of experience, vision, professionalism, and integrity to our mission to lead and serve the people of Cincinnati.”  Lewis notes, “I look forward to helping Radio One, Cincinnati realize its full potential.”  Lewis previously held management positions for Cumulus-owned stations in Lexington, Kentucky; Pensacola, Florida; and Albany, Georgia.

murphyjimBrahmin Broadcasting Brings in Murphy as Group PD.  Veteran programmer Jim Murphy is appointed group program director for 24 Brahmin Broadcasting Western Division stations. Murphy – who most recently was director of career services at the Ohio Center for Broadcasting - will begin his new duties next Monday (10/21); he will be based in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  “Jim will direct and oversee the programming and operations for all our Western stations,” explains Brahmin Broadcasting Corporation president Steven Silberberg.  “Jim started his broadcast career in New England, but for the last 20 years, he has managed the day-to-day operations and programming for a number of top broadcast companies in the Rocky Mountain West.”  Murphy spent 15 years at Jones Radio Networks, where he was vice president/country and recently programmed Cumulus country outlet KATC, Colorado Springs for 14 months.

krel logoFormer MLB Pitcher Mark Knudson to Manage KREL, Colorado Springs.  Radio Colorado Network announces former Major League Baseball pitcher Mark Knudson is named general manager for its sports talk outlet KREL, Colorado Springs “ESPN 1580.”  After retiring from baseball Knudson entered sports media working as an on-air host at KOA, Denver; AM 950 ‘The Fan’ and ESPN Radio.  He’s also been a contributing editor for Mile High Sports Magazine and helped launch Mile High Sports Radio.  Additionally, the company announces Warren McCarty is named program director for the station.  McCarty spent 11 years in pro football coaching, scouting, and in management prior to launching the “My Passion is Football” radio show.

garcettiericKNX, Los Angeles Begins Quarterly ‘Ask the Mayor’ Show.  Newly elected Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will make his first appearance on CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles on October 24 at 10:00 am for the first in a quarterly series of “Ask the Mayor” programs.  The live, listener call-in-formatted show will be hosted by KNX news anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman and, says the station, “will give Angelinos the opportunity to put the mayor in the hot seat.”  Angelinos can call the show or Tweet their questions to the mayor.

gallaghermikeOdds & Sods.  CBS Radio names Craig Heist sports reporter at its Washington, DC cluster.  Heist will do sports updates on all-news WNEW-FM and on sports talker WJFK-FM.  Heist worked in the market for almost 15 years at Hubbard’s crosstown all-news WTOP…..Texas Governor Rick Perry appeared on Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher show on Monday to promote his Americans for Economic Freedom non-profit that will buy ads on cable news/talk and talk radio to promote conservative policy.  On Gallagher’s show he said of the organization, “These are some folks that wanted to highlight the differences in policies between the states, and identify what works to create jobs, freedom and opportunity.”…..WEEI, Boston midday sports talk host (and former Red Sox player) Lou Merloni is sitting in the broadcast booth alongside Joe Castiglione and Dave O’Brien as a commentator for all of the ALCS games at Fenway Park.  Merloni co-hosts the midday show on WEEI with Mike Mutnansky.

sandersbobChicago Radio Legend Bob Sanders Passes.  Chicago media writer Robert Feder tips us that longtime WBBM-AM, Chicago personality Bob Sanders has died at age 89.  Sanders and his wife Betty were a duo who reigned in middays on WBBM-AM as the station transitioned from music to talk and later all-news.  Sanders joined WBBM in 1956 and the two began broadcasting as a husband-and-wife team in 1972.  They were let go from the station in 1982 and worked at crosstown WCFL for two years after that.

goslingooseFormer KDKA Sports Personality Goose Goslin Dies.  CBS Radio’s KDKA, Pittsburgh reports that Marvin “Goose” Goslin died over the weekend.  Goslin, who retired from radio in 2003, was a sports personality on the station for 25 years.  During much of his time at KDKA, Goslin would do both morning and afternoon drive sports.  He is also being remembered for singing the national anthem before Penguins games and for knowing how to sing the Canadian national anthem in French.

Government Shutdown, Debt Ceiling, ObamaCare Implementation, MLB Playoffs and ‘Redskins’ Controversy Among Top News Stories Yesterday (10/14).  The negotiations on Washington to end the government shutdown and its effects; the congressional battle over the debt ceiling; the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the Major League Baseball playoffs; and the controversy over the Washington Redskins name were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, October 4, 2013

| October 4, 2013

kkoblogoStill More Positive News/Talk Radio Stories.  For the past several days, TALKERS magazine has been writing about some of the individual success stories of news/talk stations that are performing well or even enjoying a ratings bounce during a time when the mainstream media (and some of the trades) are presenting the idea that news/talk radio is dead, dying or, at the very least, suffering from some malady.  TALKERS editors believe this too-broad approach to describing the state of a whole radio format that’s heard across an entire continent is detrimental to the industry.  And apparently many of the industry’s practitioners agree as we are being besieged with accounts of success from PDs, talent andkoil logo anonymous station staffers (who want to keep a low profile).  Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque has long been a ratings-getter in the market and program director Pat Frisch tells TALKERS things are going particularly well for new PM drive host Scott Stiegler.  “He is #1 Persons 25-54 in afternoon drive.  It took Stig kmjlogojust six months to take the afternoon show from 8th to 1st in Persons 25-54.  They are also listening to the Stig show an hour longer a week than they were six months ago in the key demo.”  Frisch also commends Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh for his recent success.  “The rock of the station, Rush, is #1 Persons 25-54 and they are listening an hour longer per week to Rush in the key demo, as well.  Conservative talk still works and works well if you are a true conservative and stick to your principals.”  At NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha, talk radio pro Tom Becka says his story – exiting crosstown KFAB, doing a year in Fargo, and returning to the market on KOIL – is indicative of how success can be achieved without headline-grabbing stats. “We hit our sales quota for the year two months ago and I am beating or competitive with KFAB in my time slot in the demo.  Advertisers that are looking ahead to 2014 are putting us in their mix when we were a non-issue at this time last cainhermanyear.  I don’t have to beat (Clear Channel’s) KFAB to win.  But it is good to know that good local programming that responds to the needs of the listeners still wins.”  Reports from KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno (a Peak station soon to be owned by Cumulus Media) indicate the station’s efforts to rebuild its programming after losing Premiere shows to Clear Channel’s new crosstown news/talker have worked in “retaining format leadership in the Fresno market.”  Finally, TALKERS is getting reports that the Cox Media Group-WestwoodOne effort syndicating Herman Cain is getting good traction and results. The WSB-AM, Atlanta-based Cain is #5 in that market with Men 25-54 (6.1 share); #1 at WHIO, Dayton with Men 25-54 (10 share); and #3 with Men 18-49 at KRMG, Tulsa (8.1 share).  Thanks to all the folks who’ve reported positive news/talk stories over the past few days.  We look forward to hearing – and reporting – more of them in the future!  For those attending the Talkers Los Angeles 2013 conference at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood next Thursday, this will be one of the focal points of the event.

wqamlogoWQAM, Miami Names Andy King PD; Channing Crowder and Brandon Guzio to PM Drive.  Beasley Broadcast Group’s Miami sports talker WQAM fills the afternoon drive slot and program director position that had been open since Jorge Sedano left to join ESPN.  The station ups APD Andy King to PD. kingandy King started at WQAM in 2005 as producer of the Dan Le Batard show, eventually became executive producer of the Jorge Sedano show and took the position of assistant program director in May 2012.  WQAM reports that in King’s first crowderchanningyear there, he helped the station grow nearly a full share point in the coveted Men 25-54 target audience.  The new permanent PM drive program is the Channing Crowder show featuring the former University of Florida and Miami Dolphins star along with co-host Brandon Guzio.  Crowder began his radio career with WQAM while still playing professional football and joined the station full time in October 2012 as co-host of the “Kup & Crowder” show.  Guzio joined the station’s Jorge Sedano show in 2013 and is also currently the host of “The Post Game Show” following every Miami Dolphins game.  With Crowder moving to afternoons, longtime WQAM personality Captain Curtis Stevenson joins Adam Kuperstein for the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm “Kup & Curtis” show.

ktthanniv logoPrime Opportunity for Conservative Talker in Seattle.  As Bonneville’s conservative talk outlet KTTH, Seattle celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, program director Jason Antebi tells TALKERS he is preparing to add another local talk show to the station’s lineup.  Antebi says, “The station has been sharpening its vision – who do we want to talk to, what do we talk about and what unique value can we provide to our listeners?  We are passionate about our beliefs, yet we also want to move the community conversation forward in a meaningful way and make a difference where we live and work.  I’m lucky to work at a company like Bonneville where we’re able to truly provide a place to passionately advocate for traditional American values (like freedom, community, and personal responsibility) without having to be a bomb-thrower.”  Antebi says he’ll be looking for “talk show hosts who feel they have what it takes to stay on top of breaking news with insightful, civil and forward-thinking analysis and constructive conversation.”  Those interested in learning more about the position should contact him at jantebi@bonneville.com.

wolfsoncarlProgressive Talk Radio to Return to Portland on New FM.  KXRY, Portland (HERP of 8 watts at 91.1 MHz) is currently dark but owned by not-for-profit Common Frequency, Inc. and is expected to go on the air as a non-commercial station in the near future with a progressive talk and music hybrid format.  Writing on BlueOregon.com, Carla Axtman says the goal ofhartmann “XRAY.FM” is to fill the gap left by the demise of former progressive talker KPOJ.  It plans to air former KPOJ AM drive host Carl Wolfson (who is running his own internet station) as well as WYD Media’s Thom Hartman, who made Portland his home base for a number of years.  Axtman also writes, “Why the sudden audio activism? October 2013 marks the only opening for new independent radio licenses granted by the FCC – a one-week window after a 15-year battle.  Congress has allowed commercial radio stations to snatch up nearly all available frequencies (and the ears of billions of listeners) for a long time. This is XRAY.FM’s chance to bring Thom Hartmann, Carl Wolfson and the music of independent artists back to your local dial.  XRAY.FM is partnering with community organizations around Oregon to make sure that the whole state can enjoy the sweet sounds of progressive radio once again.”

rutherforddaveOdds & Sods.  The Los Angeles Lakers and ESPN agree to extend the club’s relationship with KSPN, Los Angeles “ESPNLA” for another seven years with the station airing Lakers play-by-play through the 2019-2020 season.  John Ireland and Mychal Thompson will continue to call the games…..WBBM-AM and WCFS, Chicago part-time anchor and reporter Brandis Friedman leaves CBS Radio to join public television station WTTW-TV, Chicago as a full-time correspondent for the “Chicago Tonight Program,” according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder…..Dave Rutherford begins contributing daily commentaries to Rogers’ CFFR, Calgary.  Rutherford exited Corus’ crosstown CHQR where he hosted a talk show prior to the expiration of his contract after he criticized that station’s coverage of the flooding in Alberta in June.

levinmarkTALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Cumulus Media NetworksMark Levin show becomes part of the programming at WEZO, Augusta, Gerogia; KVML, Sonora, California; and WLVA, Roanoke, Virginia…..Cumulus’ Mike Huckabee is added at WGDJ, Albany; KVRC, Arkadelphia, Arkansas; and WBKK, Wilton, Minnesota…..The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “The Wall Street Journal This Morning” is added to the lineup at KOKC, Oklahoma City and KJCE, Austin.  Additionally, KFAQ, Tulsa expands its carriage of the show to 4:00 am to 6:00 am…..GCN’s “The Freedom Feens” with Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi is added to the program schedule at WSZL, Barstow, Californnia…..“Armed American Radio” with Mark Walters joins the programming at WGTK, Louisville, Kentucky.

McKenzieHudsonJennifer Hudson on ABC News Radio.  Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson (right) sits down with ABC News Radio’s Joi-Marie McKenzie (left) to discuss her latest movie “The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete” which hits theaters on October 11.

Government Shutdown Tops Talkers TenTM.  The shutdown of the federal government and the political battle to re-open was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of September 30 – October 4.  Coming in at #2 this week was the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  At #3 was U.S.-Iran relations and at #4 was the IPCC’s climate change report.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week.  It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

| September 19, 2013

radioshow2013Radio Show Leadership Breakfast.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke was on the scene for TALKERS Thursday morning at the NAB/RAB Radio Show Leadership Breakfast to report all of the great one-liners delivered by some of the industry’s most outspoken leaders.  Alpha Broadcasting and L&L Broadcasting chief Larry Wilson’s brutally frank assessment of the concept of voice tracking and the state of radio commercials were some of the highlights.  Wilson was joined by Cumulus Media’s Lew Dickey, NRG Media’s Mary Quass, and Connoisseur Media’s Jeff Warshaw as the group heads were interviewed during the program.  Read Holland Cooke’s coverage of the Leadership Breakfast here.

cookehollandNAB/RAB Radio Show Day 1.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke reports from Orlando and sales was on HC’s mind as he sat in on sessions throughout the day yesterday.  Sales expert Paul Weyland’s session on producing better commercials  was chock-full of useful tidbits that sales people and production personnel can take to the bank.  Plus, get Holland’s summary of some of the key speeches – RAB CEO Erica Farber’s presentation at the Advertiser Luncheon, NAB CEO Gordon Smith’s speech and acting FCC chairman Mignon Clyburn’s address.  Read more here.

gellerryderConsultant Valerie Geller Wows at “Art of Storytelling” Session.  Geller Media International consultant Valerie Geller presented a session targeted largely, but not exclusively, to talk radio talent and programmers titled, “The Art of Storytelling.”  In addition to Geller, talk show host Turi Ryder (recently of WGN, Chicago and heard nationally on Envision Radio Network’s “America Weekend”) and nationally syndicated personality Phil Hendrie (who appeared via phone from L.A. due to illness) took part.  The session focused on developing the skills of effective storytelling – a skill crucial to pulling in and keeping listeners.  Geller stated, “The key to growing an audience one by one by one is to engage them.  And the crack cocaine of engagement is, ‘Let me tell you a story, once upon a time…’ and the moment you think in your heart of hearts, ‘and then what happened?’ we have now hooked the fish and that is the essence of human communication.  It is the essence of the pleasure in connection with other people, the essence of humor…the story is the goal of the power of radio.”

dbagnation‘105.3 The Fan’ in Dallas Moves ‘G-BAG Nation’ to Middays.  KRLD-FM, Dallas’ Gavin Spittle says, “We are excited to move Gavin and Chris and the ‘G-BAG Nation’ to middays, as well as to welcome the newest Nation member, (former Rangers pitcher) Mike Bacsik.  The Nation has great entertainment value; it makes you feel like you’re part of a big, fun, crazy family.”  Spittle is vice president of news/talk/sports for CBS Radio Dallas-Fort Worth and he’s talking about Gavin Dawson’s (left) and Chris Arnold’s (right) program and the new lineup.  The other change is “K&C Masterpiece” taking over the 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm timeslot at the station, moving in from the weekend schedule.  Spittle says, “’K&C Masterpiece’ is a natural fit for the evening timeslot as Kevin Hageland and Cory Mageors have done a great job for us. They’re both native North Texans who have followed our local teams their entire lives.”

sykescharlieWTMJ, Milwaukee Host Charlie Sykes and Journal’s RightWisconsin.com Name Margaret Thatcher Award Winner.  Former Wisconsin Lt. Governor Margaret Farrow is honored with the first annual Margaret Thatcher Award celebrating Farrow’s “contributions, courage and leadership as one of Wisconsin’s ‘Iron Ladies.’”  RightWisconsin.com is a business unit of the Journal Broadcast Group and WTMJ, Milwaukee midday personality Charlie Sykes serves as editor-in-chief.  Farrow will receive the award at a black-tie dinner on October 18 at which Wisconsin Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and Sykes will host the awards event.

wpenamfmOdds & Sods.  Greater Media’s sports talk WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “The Fanatic” announces “The Peter Laviolette Show,” featuring Philadelphia Flyers coach Peter Laviolette will debut on October 1 from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm and air weekly throughout the season with co-hosts former Flyer and radio play-by-play color analyst Chris Therien plus Jason Myrtetus…..Hubbard Radio’s sports talk WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” signs a contract extension to air St. Louis University men’s basketball games through the 2014-15 season with an option for a third season.  Bob Ramsey and Earl Austin, Jr. will continue to call the games…..Digital content aggregator TuneIn announces a partnership with Radio Disney that will bring the kids- and tweens-friendly radio format to the TuneIn platform.  TuneIn CEO John Donham says, “TuneIn strives to make the best content available to people regardless of where they are.  With Radio Disney on TuneIn, millions of people can enjoy some of the best family friendly programming available, for free.”

ok2talk logoNAB Announces ‘Unprecedented’ Support for ‘OK2Talk’ PSA Campaign.  The National Association of Broadcasters announces local radio and TV stations across America have donated airtime valued at over $12 million for its ‘OK2Talk’ mental health public service announcement campaign that includes over 106,600 airings on local TV and radio stations.  NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith says, “NAB salutes the efforts of broadcasters across America to make a real difference on the issue of mental health.  As stewards of the airwaves, local radio and television broadcasters and our network partners have a unique megaphone and a remarkable capacity to change attitudes in a positive way.  Mental health issues are often the common thread in tragedies like the Navy Yard shooting this week.  We thank our broadcast brothers and sisters for their support for the NAB campaign, and urge them to continue carrying these pro-social messages that encourage a meaningful dialogue on mental health.”  The PSA campaign, launched on July 23, directs people to OK2TALK.org, a Tumblr-based community where teens and young adults struggling with mental health problems can share personal stories of recovery, tragedy, struggle or hope.  By inviting young people, their families and friends to add their voice in a safe, moderated space, the campaign encourages an organic conversation about mental health challenges and recovery stories. The site also includes resources for those seeking help.

knx logoKNX, Los Angeles to Report Live from Sunday’s Primetime Emmy Awards.  CBS Radio all-news KNX, Los Angeles boasts its coming coverage of the Primetime Emmy Awards show from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday.  KNX says it will be the only radio station reporting live from the Emmys beginning at 3:00 pm PT featuring news anchors Jim Thornton and Brian Ping along with KNX’s entertainment reporter Ross Crystal.

donahuetomTalk Host Tom Donahue Takes on New Roles.  Talk radio pro Tom Donahue is named program and promotions manager at Talk Stream Live.  Donahue has served TSL as a media consultant previously.  At the same time, Donahue is debuting a new program called “TSL Talks” – a joint venture “teaming the digital and social media platform of Talk Stream Live” with Donahue’s experience.  The interview-formatted program will “seek to engage our political and media guest newsmakers and elicit their candid comments for dissemination in micro clips and long form interviews through TSL’s cutting edge social and new media venues.”  Also, Donahue is returning to Orion Talk Radio to host a weekly talk show beginning Sunday, September 22 at 7:00 pm ET.

The Only Thing We Have To Fear Is… Ourselves.

| September 13, 2013

Jason Bailey
Sun Broadcast Group, Inc.
CEO

baileyjasonNEW YORK — It was another sad week for network radio as more great people: mothers, fathers, sons and daughters… dreamers of great ideas, writers of great content, communicators of the stories that shape our world, were sent to the unemployment line. Was it greed? Was it failure to evolve? Was it competition? Maybe. But in my humble opinion it was something simpler yet more devastating… Fear. Fear to be bold, fear to take risks and most important, fear to defend.

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Monday, August 26, 2013

| August 26, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, August 1, 2013

| August 1, 2013

limbaughrushRush Limbaugh Celebrates 25 Years in Syndication Today.  It was 25 years ago today that Rush Limbaugh began his national syndication based at WABC, New York.  When Ed McLaughlin’s EFM Media Management began producing and distributing the Rush Limbaugh program in August of 1988 on 56 affiliate stations, many in the industry thought the idea of a midday national talk radio program was absurd and would fail.  But Limbaugh’s EIB Network flourished and the rest is history.  Of course, Premiere Networks now syndicates the show that’s heard on close to 600 radio stations.  In a statement, Limbaugh says, “The relationship we’ve established here – between the audience and myself – is everything.  It’s meant more to me than I’ll ever be able to fully describe.  It’s the best three hours of the day!  We’re going to do this for a long time to come.”  Premiere Networks notes, “Mr. Limbaugh also pioneered an entirely new model for talk radio.  Defying industry convention, he does not book guests on his program. Centered on the news of the day, he describes his unique approach as ‘a serious discussion of issues, combined with irreverent humor.’  He has enjoyed uninterrupted status since the early 1990s as the leading talk radio host in the U.S., and the program continues to expand its reach.  In the past year alone, ‘The Rush Limbaugh Show’ has experienced an 11% audience increase (Source: Arbitron, Nationwide).

saboonfoxbusMedia Biz Buzzing About Newspaper-Online Radio Ventures.  Pictured here is Sabo Media (r) CEO Walter Sabo appearing on Fox Business with “Markets Now” host Dennis Kneale (l) discussing the Boston Herald’s online talk radio station project, “Boston Herald Radio.”  Kneale quizzed longtime radio executive and consultant Sabo about what the two media bring to the table in joint ventures such as these.  Sabo stated that the talk radio programs can help deliver a younger and more engaged audience to the newspaper world (which has suffered circulation and revenue declines) and the radio shows benefit from working with an experienced news gathering organization.  “It allows them to bring those stories to life instantly, which has always been their (the newspaper’s) biggest challenge.”  Watch Sabo’s appearance on Fox Business here.

cbsradio logoCBS Reports Q2 Revenue for Radio ‘Even.’  CBS quarterly investors’ conference calls have always been pretty much about television and yesterday’s 2013 Q2 call was no different.  It’s not that CBS doesn’t care about radio.  President and CEO Les Moonves has stated in previous calls that they like radio.  He doesn’t gush about it like he does about TV but CBS has no debt on the radio side and therefore it’s a cash business for the company.  During yesterday’s call CBS COO Joseph Ianiello termed radio “even” during the second quarter compared to the same period a year ago and told investors the division is pacing flat for Q3.  For CBS, total revenue was up 11% year-to-year due mostly to fees paid by television operators to carry CBS TV stations as well as international syndication deals and digital streaming revenue.

journalbroadcastgroupJournal Broadcast Group’s Radio Division Up 2.3% in Q2.  Journal Communications announced 2013 second quarter financials yesterday and the Journal Broadcast Group breaks out the radio division from the television segment.  It reports that, compared to the same quarter a year ago, revenue from radio stations increased 2.3% to $19.9 million, or 4.7% excluding political revenue.  Radio political advertising revenue was $0.1 million, compared to $0.5 million.  Local advertising revenue — excluding political — increased 5%, primarily due to an increase in retail advertising.  National advertising revenue — excluding political — decreased 4.9% to $1.8 million, primarily due to a decrease in media advertising.  Operating earnings from radio stations were $3.8 million compared to $4.4 million, a decrease of 13.8% or a decrease of 19.0% excluding acquisition costs in both years.  Radio operating expenses increased 7.1%, or 9.3% excluding acquisition costs in both years, primarily due to employee-related expense increases and the impact of credits received from an industry-wide music licensing fee settlement in 2012.

frontier50 graphicTALKERS Magazine’s Frontier Fifty 2013 Will Be Posted on Wednesday, August 7.  The new installment of one of the most popular and certainly important TALKERS magazine annual features — “The Frontier Fifty” — is set to be unveiled this coming Wednesday, August 7.  The Frontier Fifty is officially described as a Selection of Outstanding Talk Media Webcasters.  This year’s format will depart somewhat from the features’ early approaches by including executives who have built valuable platforms for internet talk broadcasting as well as talent who do talk shows and/or podcasts on the web.  In addition it will be a numbered list in which designees are ranked according to importance as determined by the TALKERS editorial board.  As followers of this feature know, TALKERS did not publish a 2012 installment of the feature because as the publication’s VP/executive editor Kevin Casey puts it, “This arena has evolved and grown at such a dizzying speed, we wanted to be sure that we presented this important snapshot of the state of the internet talk radio’s movers and shakers as accurately and relevantly as possible.  We took an extra year off to study the scene and get it as close to being right as possible…no easy task.”  This year’s Frontier Fifty is being sponsored by Broadcasters General Store.

wxtg logoRed Zebra Shucks Two Signals in Norfolk-Virginia Beach for $1.2 Million.  Dan Snyder-owned Red Zebra sells sports radio combo WXTG-AM/FM “The Game” to local operator Local Voice Media which will flip the duo to a triple A format soon.  The price of the stations and seven acres of property in Hampton is $1.2 million and according to the Daily Press, the stations will continue to air Washington Nationals baseball through the rest of the season and will be Washington Redskins affiliates during the 2013 season.  Additionally, the paper reports that two staffers – AE and air talent Greg Bicouvaris and production director Brock Briggs will remain employed with the new owners.  Local Voice Media also operates triple A WTYD, Williamsburg, Virginia “92.3 The Tide.”  The Daily Press notes Richmond, Virginia investment firm Blue Heron Capital recently completed a $3 million investment in Local Voice Media, formerly known as Davis Media.  The firm began investing in the company two years ago and has helped it expand into Columbia, South Carolina and Wilmington, North Carolina.

deanmichaelwQuick-and-Dirty Three-Minute Sound Conditioning.  Large corporations and government bureaucrats will often spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on soundproofing and sound conditioning for an audio studio.  They’ll even spend tens of thousands of dollars simply on the consultants to tell them how to soundproof and sound condition a studio.  That may make sense to you if you’ve got venture capital money to burn and don’t mind being out of business in a few years.  It may also make sense if you’re working for the government because the money is someone else’s and you think you’ll never go out of business.  But according to syndicated talk show host Michael W. Dean, co-host of GCN‘s “The Freedom Feens,” “The rest of us have to make do with what we have.”  In a new column posted today (8/1), Dean writes, “The advent of ip hardware codecs has allowed talk radio hosts to produce nationally syndicated shows from our homes.  And people working for corporate radio are often called to do remotes in a variety of environments.  You can buy portable devices that acoustically isolate a microphone, but using one is basically like sticking your head in a small box.  That is not conducive to doing a good show, especially if you’re doing on-the-spot interviews with a variety of guests.  Today I’ll show you how to temporarily sound condition a room in three minutes at no cost.  This will vastly improve the audio reaching your microphone, and thus, your audience.  First, you have to understand the difference between soundproofing and sound conditioning.  Many people use these two terms interchangeably.  However, they are not the same thing.  Soundproofing keeps outside sounds out and inside sounds in. Sound conditioning dampens native reverberation in a room.  Effective soundproofing is a lot more expensive and complicated than sound conditioning.”  To read Michael W. Dean’s entire column, please click here.

podcastone logoPodcastOne Adds Sports USA Programs to Offerings.  Yesterday, TALKERS reported that NFL Hall-of-Famer Joe Namath would begin producing podcasts for Sports USA throughout the 2013 football season.  Now, Norm Pattiz-founded PodcastOne and Sports USA announce the Namath podcast as well as “Conversations with Joe Morgan,” “The Ross Tucker Football Show” and “Against the Grain with Dave Miller” will be available via PodcastOne.  Pattiz states, “Joe Namath invented the sports media icon as we know it.  He knows what it means to break new ground and likes to do things his way.  We’re a guaranteed perfect fit.  I am looking forward to working with Bob Moore and the talented team at Sports USA as we create great experiences for listeners and opportunities for advertisers.”

kesn logoMLB Great Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez  to Contribute to ‘ESPN Dallas 103.3.’  “Pudge” Rodriguez played for the hometown Texas Rangers twice during his MLB career (he won a World Series ring with the Florida Marlins in 2003) and he and his family are putting down roots in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.  ESPN O&O KESN and sister Spanish sports talk “ESPN Deportes Dallas” (KZMP-AM) have brought Rodriguez aboard to serve as a baseball contributor through the rest of the 2013 season.  ESPN says Rodriguez will serve in several capacities for both stations including a bi-weekly call-in segment, the voice of featured “Pudge’s Eye” vignettes, as well as personal appearances.  ESPN Dallas VP/GM Pete Dits states, “We are extremely excited and proud to have one of the greatest catchers in MLB history as a part of our team.  As the radio flagship of the Texas Rangers in English and Spanish, this only solidifies our commitment to bringing the best Rangers and baseball coverage to the sports fans in DFW.”

kxsp the drive logoJournal’s Sports Talk KXSP, Omaha Adds New PM Drive Show.  Joe Quinn and Nick Handley are the new afternoon drive sports talk team at Journal Broadcast Group’s Omaha sports talker “590 ESPN Radio” (KXSP).  Quinn was producer and co-host for the past three years on Des Moines’ KXNO.  Handley, a 14-year sports veteran who most recently co-hosted the “Hail Varsity Radio Show” airing in Lincoln and Columbus, Nebraska was the sports director for the Three Eagles cluster of stations in Columbus.  KXSP program director Kurt Owens says, “The new show will be called ‘The Drive’ and will bring a fresh new approach to afternoon sports talk in Omaha.  Joe and Nick’s combined experience of covering sports in Nebraska and Iowa mirrors our huge AM 590 signal.  AM 590 listeners will really enjoy these two young-yet-experienced broadcasters bringing their perspective to sports each afternoon.”

nbcsportsradio logoNBC Sports Radio Network Passes 300-Affililate Mark.  The nationally syndicated sports talk radio programming initiative NBC Sports Radio Network – a cooperative effort of Dial Global and NBC Sports – announces it has passed the 300-affiliate mark.  Dial Global Sports EVP and general manager Chris Corcoran says, “Signing more than 300 affiliates so quickly is a true testament to the mass appeal of our talent and programming, creativity of our producers, and hard work of our exceptional sales and affiliate teams.  We are especially honored to partner with such great radio stations across the country as we work together to connect avid sports fans, consumers, and advertisers.  We continue to be motivated to reach more audiences by the amazing feedback we regularly receive from our local station owners, program directors and listeners.”

callahanbrownpanmassWEEI-FM, Boston Staffers Take Part in Pan-Mass Challenge.  “93.7 FM WEEI”  morning drive co-host Gerry Callahan (r) and Entercom Boston vice president and market manager Jeff Brown (l) will take part in the Pan-Mass Challenge – a two-day bike ride across Massachusetts that can be as long as 190 miles – to benefit the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.  WEEI will help recognize and celebrate this year’s event with a live broadcast of the Salk & Holley show on Friday, August 2 from 2:00 – 6:00 p.m. from the PMC’s opening ceremonies in Sturbridge, Massachusetts.  Billy Starr, founder and executive director of the Pan-Mass Challenge says, “Entercom and WEEI have both been fabulous friends and partners.  They have ensured that the PMC message is heard – and understood – far, wide and often.”  Jeff Brown comments, “I am proud to continue Entercom’s support of the Pan-Mass Challenge and we are also proud to be raising additional money through our dedicated team of riders and virtual riders.  Our own Gerry Callahan will be taking part in his sixth ride and it is such an honor, both for WEEI and for all of us at Entercom Boston, to be a part of this dynamic cause and help the dedicated Dana-Farber doctors and researchers discover cures for cancer.”

ObamaCare Implementation Battle, Anthony Weiner Scandal, NSA Surveillance Program, Chris Christie-Rand Paul Feud, and Looming MLB Suspensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/31).  The fight in Washington over the implementation and funding for the Affordable Care Act; the political fallout from the Anthony Weiner scandal; reports of the vast nature of the NSA surveillance program, Republican in-fighting over policy and the Chris Christie-Rand Paul feud; and the expected suspensions of numerous MLB players were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

| July 31, 2013

cumulusMore Q2 News from Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey.  Yesterday TALKERS reported Cumulus Media’s second quarter revenue figures and the fact that Lew Dickey largely avoided the Rush Limbaugh-Sean Hannity flap by saying he wouldn’t discuss it because they are still in contract negotiations.  He addressed other topics TALKERS readers may be interested in: those 10 “code red” stations (big news/talkers bringing down the rest of the company); the health of the CBS Sports Radio Network project for which Cumulus is handling affiliate and ad sales; and the state of network talk programming.  First, Dickey told investors the number of “code red” stations is down from 10 to 1 but didn’t specify which station still lags.  Second, hedickeylew states the CBS Sports Radio format is on 300 affiliate stations and is exceeding its revenue plans.  “We’re highly encouraged by our early success and expect CBS Sports Radio to be a material growth driver for our company in 2014 and beyond.”  And third, addressing the state of the Cumulus Media Networks (which includes syndicated talk – Huckabee, Savage, “Red Eye Radio” – as well as a lot of music programming) Dickey reports it’s been a bit “choppy” but he sees it settling down.  “It grew for us in the second quarter and we look for it to be positive in the back half of the year.  It’s a pretty fragmented space that ultimately begs for more consolidations… it did turn in a positive performance for us in second quarter.”  Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript.  Members can see the entire conference call here.

abramsonnancyWall Street Journal Radio Network Executive Director Nancy Abramson to Exit Post.  Radio management pro Nancy Abramson tells TALKERS the company is reorganizing its management structure and she is moving on.  She says she’ll remain with the company through mid-September to assist with the transition.  As for the rest of the staff with which the industry is familiar, Abramson says the affiliate team of Susan O’Connell and Susan Moran will continue to service  the affiliates of “The Wall Street Journal Report,” “The Wall Street Journal This Morning,” “The Dow Jones Money Report” and “MarketWatch.com Reports.”  John Wordock and Patrice Sikora will continue to oversee the news product for The Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch.com Radio Networks.  Abramson says she is excited about new opportunities and looking forward to the next adventure.  Abramson has served with WSJRN since 1996.

mccannjakeGreater Media Promotes Jake McCann to Director of Sales for Detroit Stations.  Jake McCann moves from Greater Media’s Philadelphia stations where he was general sales manager at sports talk WPEN “97.5 The Fanatic” and classic rock WMGK.  In Detroit he’ll be in charge of sales for rock WRIF, classic rock WCSX and currently-AC-but-rumored-to-soon-be sports talk WMGC.  The fact that McCann has experience selling sports talk could be part of the reason McCann is making this move if, as expected, WMGC flips to sports in August.  In a statement, Greater Media Detroit market manager Steve Chessare says, “Jake is the right person to lead our three station sales operation in the Motor City.  His passion, dedication and leadership are exactly what we need to take our three outstanding radio properties to the next level.”

wcfn sports logoRadio One Gives Up on FM Sports in Cincinnati.  After seven months, WCFN, Cincinnati “FM 100.3 The Fan” has let go most of its staff, cut ties with CBS Sports Radio Network and flips back to an urban oldies format as “Old School 100.3.”  The Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter reports that production manager Rob Williams was the only staffer to survive the change.  Tom GambleRichard SkinnerWill ChambersChad BrendelRick UcchinoRick BroeringJeremy Lance, former Reds pitcher Joe Price, and Steve Harris all exited the station on Tuesday morning.  Richard Skinner, who hosted “Two Angry Guys” along with Tom Gamble, tells Kiesewetter he’s not angry about the change, “Radio is so cyclical, that you know your time is coming (to get fired).  They (Radio One) didn’t seem to have a plan of attack, and they’re pulling the format at a time of the year when all the people are listening for football and baseball.”  Clear Channel operates two sports talk stations in the market – WSAI, a Fox Sports Radio affiliate and WCKY, which uses ESPN Radio programming – both of which air largely national shows.

cookehollandHolland Cooke: Radio from the Newspaper.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke adds to the discussion about newspapers entering into the digital talk radio streaming business that’s been a major part of industry chatter in the wake of the Boston Herald’s announcement about the creation of Boston Herald Radio coming Monday, August 5.  Cooke has experience in this arena and he offers advice to publications considering the move.  Among some dos and don’ts: don’t separate the studio from the newsroom (the sound of busy reporters is crucial!); don’t assume good reporters make good talk hosts; do promote you’re emanating from a storied newsroom; and do make content available for download and later playback.  Read Holland Cooke’s entire piece here.

kroi logo‘News 92 FM’ and ‘Yahoo Sports Radio 1560’ in Houston Agree to Content Sharing Deal.  Radio One’s all-news KROI and Gow Media’s sports talk KGOW in Houston agree to a content sharing deal that will have KROI producing newscasts for KGOW and the latter producing sports updates and actualities for KROI.  Here’s how it will work: kgow logoBeginning in early August, “News 92 FM” reporters will provide hourly, short-form news updates to “Yahoo Sports Radio 1560,” initially for use on nights and weekends, and ramping up to a full broadcast schedule shortly thereafter.  In like manner, “Yahoo Sports Radio 1560” reporters will provide sports updates and actualities twice per hour for integration into the “News 92 FM” broadcast clock between 7:00 pm and midnight daily, and from 6:00 am to noon on weekends.  Radio One RVP Doug Abernethy and Gow Media CEO David Gow began discussing the possibility earlier this year.  Abernethy states, “Research suggests that news and sports stations have shared listener bases. So this makes sense for both stations.  We have the best newsgathering and reporting resources in the city, and ‘Yahoo Sports Radio 1560’ enjoys an equivalent reputation in the world of sports.  We’re leveraging our respective strengths so that the ‘News 92 FM’ listener can get a quick sports update from ‘Yahoo Radio 1560,’ and their listeners can get top-flight news from ‘News 92 FM.’”

zwerlingmichaelZWERLING: The Smartest Programming Move I Ever Made for My Radio Stations.  You might be surprised to learn which syndicated host turned out to be so spectacularly successful for outspoken, independent radio station owner Michael L. Zwerling at his widely admired AM combo of KSCO and KOMY, Santa Cruz, California that he felt compelled to share it with the entire industry.  Then again, you might not.  Find out the answer and more in a new exclusive TALKERS opinion piece posted today (7/31) by clicking here.

sportsusa‘Broadway Joe’ Joins Sports USA for Weekly Podcast.  Sports USA announces NFL great Joe Namath will join the company to produce a weekly podcast for the company during the 2013 football season.  Sports USA president Bob Moore says Namath’s podcast will begin in the middle of August and run through this year’s Super Bowl.  Moore states, “It doesn’t get bigger than Joe Namath!  Joe is extremely passionate about football and his insights are amazing.  This podcast will give him the platform to reach all of his fans across the country and beyond.”  Namath comments, “I’m thrilled to join the Sports USA team with my new weekly podcast.  I look forward to expressing my opinions on both the NFL and college football each week from the beginning of the season all the way through the Super Bowl.”

rollinsvsbubbaWTKS, Orlando’s Russ Rollins to Face Bubba the Love Sponge in Wrestling Match.  Yes, you read that right.  As you see in the poster here, it’ll take place at the Arena Bowl in Orlando on August 17 and feature “The Monsters” vs “Bubba’s Army” as Russ Rollins & The Demon take on Bubba the Love Sponge & Kevin Nash with Marc Mero as a special guest referee.  Rollins tells TALKERS it’s the “Battle of the #1 morning shows!” and pits Clear Channel against Cox Media in front of 15,000 to 16,000 screaming fans!

2016 Presidential Race, Weiner Sexting Scandal, NSA Surveillance Program, ObamaCare Implementation, and Bradley Manning Verdict Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/30).  The possible candidates in the 2016 presidential election; the ongoing backlash from the Anthony Weiner sexting scandal; new developments in the NSA surveillance program case; the costs of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; and the verdict against Bradley Manning in the Wikileaks case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Sales Lead, Programming Heads-Up:
“The Fixer Mindset”

| July 30, 2013

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Remember that riveting scene in “Mission Impossible III?” At a swank Vatican City reception, the MI force kidnaps Philip Seymour Hoffman’s villainous character…and nobody knows. The switcheroo is high tech. In a back room, a 3D printer creates a mask that enables Cruise to masquerade as the abducted Hoffman, and walk right out the front door.

Don’t shrug this off as something you only see in the movies. Elsewhere in Hollywood, one Jay Leno has spent a small fortune on high-end 3D printers, to produce otherwise-unavailable engine parts for his couple hundred collectable cars. At the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show, there’ll be an entire Tech Zone dedicated to 3D printing; so look for my CES coverage here in January, and listen for my reports on “America in the Morning” and my client stations.

Back when ex-DJs my age got into radio, we played the hits. And “a hit” was a song, on a 45-rpm vinyl disc, sold in brick-and-mortar storefronts. Now, songs are digital downloads from Amazon and iTunes. And the definition of “television” has broadened to include Hulu, Netflix, and other interlopers investing aggressively in their own hits. Real soon, “a hit” will be 3D print software code. You’ll order the part or gadget you need from Amazon or iTunes, and the author will print-and-ship to order.

If I had a 3D printer, the first thing I’d print is another 3D printer. But I digress.

Here’s what all this means to radio…

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How Liberals Have It Wrong About
Rush and Sean

| July 30, 2013

By Alan Colmes
Fox News Radio/Fox News Channel
Host/Commentator

colmesalanNEW YORK — Headlines have been blaring all over the digital universe about Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity being tossed off the air by Cumulus and losing 40 stations in key markets.

However, in the words of the legendary Paul Harvey, readers are not being told the rest of the story. Cumulus and Clear Channel have been buying up stations in major markets. Limbaugh and Hannity are syndicated by Premiere, which is owned by Clear Channel. Rather than pay fees to Cumulus to carry these shows it makes more sense to put them on their own properties, reduce local talent costs, and save those fees. The two top-rated talkers aren’t going anywhere. They’re just changing dial positions and, in many cases, to better signals.

Seeing liberal bloggers declare victory about how a boycott of these shows’ sponsors led to this makes my hair stand on end for four reasons.

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

| July 30, 2013

cumulusCumulus Revenue Up 3.1% in Q2; No Comments from Lew Dickey on Limbaugh Situation.  As Cumulus Media prepares to hold an investors’ conference call this morning at 11:00 am ET, the company releases Q2 revenue figures that highlight a 3.1% increase in net revenue on $289.7 million compared to the same quarter one year ago.  The company notes, “This increase was attributable to a $4.3 million increase in local advertising revenue, a $3.9 million increase in revenue related to digital initiatives and a $2.8 million increase in revenue due to the addition of stations in the Bloomington and Peoria markets we acquired from Townsquare Media in July 2012.  These increases were partially offset by a decrease of $2.3 million in cyclical political revenue.”  Chairman and CEO Lew Dickey issued the following statement, “This was a solid quarter earmarked by revenue growth and strong expense management.  Our targeted growth initiatives are ramping on schedule and our merger integration and problem market turnarounds are largely complete.”  During today’s investors’ conference call, Dickey pre-empted any questions about negotiations with Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity saying he wouldn’t comment while the company is in negotiation mode.  When asked later the call if the company makes money on the Rush Limbaugh program, Dickey reiterated his unwillingness to comment but said he’ll have more to say after the process is complete and believes that will be sooner rather than later.  Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the call transcript.  Members can see the whole call here.

bresslerrichardCCM&E Parent Clear Channel Media Holdings Names Richard Bressler President and CFO.  Richard Bressler has served as chief financial officer of Time Warner and Viacom and managing director at Thomas H. Lee Partners.  His installment as president and CFO of Clear Channel Media Holdings means he replaces Tom Casey, who served in that position for the past three years.  The company says, “As president of CC Media Holdings, Inc. and Clear Channel Communications, Inc., Bressler will work closely with Bob Pittman on the further development of strategies and initiatives to ensure that Clear Channel capitalizes on its unique assets.”  In a statement, Pittman comments, “I know Rich very well, and we have even worked together – twice – at Time Warner.  He has been an invaluable strategic partner for us in his position at Thomas H. Lee Partners, and now he will play an even bigger role in helping Clear Channel fully maximize our unparalleled assets, working closely with me, John Hogan and William Eccleshare and the rest of our leadership team to continue to build the leading multi-platform media and entertainment company in the U.S. with global reach.  I recruited Rich for this role because there are few people who have as deep an understanding as he does of our company and the opportunities we have to lead the industry in helping marketers meet the demands of increasingly connected consumers.  I’m confident that he’ll add another layer of expertise and experience as we take the company to its next level of growth, and will be a tremendous leader for our financial team.  His keen strategic, financial and analytical skills will be a huge asset to all of Clear Channel.”  In reporting this story The Wall Street Journal notes that “CC Media reported that its [2013] first-quarter loss sharply widened as revenue dropped, while sister company Clear Channel Outdoor logged a wider loss amid higher expenses tied to interest, depreciation and amortization.”

colmesalanAlan Colmes: Regarding Limbaugh and Hannity, the Liberals Have it All Wrong.  Fox News Radio talk show host and Fox News Channel commentator Alan Colmes, who is also publisher of the liberal blog alan.com, writes an opinion piece for TALKERS magazine in which he states that liberals who are jumping for joy over the mainstream press stories trumpeting Rush Limbaugh’s and Sean Hannity’s possible departure from 40-some Cumulus Media talk stations, need to examine the facts.  Colmes says, “Seeing liberal bloggers declare victory about how a boycott of these shows’ sponsors led to this makes my hair stand on end for four reasons.”  The first reason, Colmes says, is the most important in that “that’s not at all what happened.”  Read Colmes’ entire piece here.

limbaughrushRush Limbaugh Addresses Premiere-Cumulus Negotiations on Monday Program.  Rush Limbaugh didn’t go into any detail – because it wouldn’t be appropriate while negotiations are going on – but he did address the flap that began with a Politico piece that ran over the weekend alleging that Cumulus Media is considering dropping his and Seanhannitysean Hannity’s programs from some 40 O&O stations due to a breakdown in contract renewal talks.  Limbaugh told listeners that “what you’re being treated to is just a public business negotiation.”  He implied one party is leaking to the press but assured listeners nothing is likely to change but if it does, the program will be available on even more stations.  “And someday, someday I am looking so forward to being able to detail all of this for you, but suffice to say nothing is gonna happen that you will notice.  Nothing is going to change…You are gonna be able to get this radio program on as many, if not more, radio stations down the road than it’s on now.”

siriusxmArt Bell to Return to Broadcasting Via SiriusXM.  Rumors of Art Bell’s return had been bubbling for several weeks but now the cat is out of the bag as SiriusXM announces the man who took late-night talk of all things paranormal to the front burner of popular culture in the late 1990s will return from self-imposed retirement with a nightly show on thebellart satcaster.  Bell’s new program, “Art Bell’s Dark Matter,” will air from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET and will debut from a studio in Bell’s rural Nevada home on September 16.  SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein says, “We are excited to be the exclusive home of Art Bell, who has captivated a nation of listeners throughout his career with his intelligent and inquisitive, yet entertaining style.  Art Bell left terrestrial radio after the biggest possible successes.  We are honored that Art now wants to work with SiriusXM to write his next chapter.  His vision takes advantage of our best strengths and his new show will be uncensored, unrestricted, uncluttered and utterly unique.  With his return to radio on SiriusXM, he will be able to reach millions of longtime listeners and new fans everywhere in the nation.”  Bell tells the AP’s David Bauder he’s excited about working on satellite radio, “It seems to me they are the next step in technology.  I’ve always been a technological junkie.  The mix of what they’re giving me, the freedom that they’re giving me, is priceless.”  After Bell left the Premiere Networks-syndicated “Coast to Coast AM,” George Noory took over as the regular host.  He recently signed a contract renewal to continue that role and TALKERS spoke with him about his work.  See the next story for more.

noorygeorgeGeorge Noory to Lead Legions of Late Night Listeners for Years to Come.  Premiere Networks and “Coast to Coast AM” host George Noory recently announced the two sides had just inked a new contract to keep Noory in the host position for years to come.  TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian took the occasion of this new deal to speak with Noory about his career, the “Coast to Coast AM” program and much more.  Noory says one of the things about his audience that amazes him is the spread of its demographics.  “We have received phone calls from 11-year-olds and we hear from people in their 90s.  This show is very strong [among 25-54s], but talk radio skews a little older – especially at night.  People in older demos still have a lot of money and our advertisers are very happy.  People will say that their father used to listen to Art Bell and now they listen to me.  This is an all-encompassing show that blankets the entire population.”  Read Mike Kinosian’s entire story here.

bergmansandiMEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Roger Rafson of CMS Station Brokerage.  In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media broker Roger Rafson of CMS Station Brokerage in Pittsburgh.  Rafson has been in radio since he was 11 years old and has a passion for the medium.  He is also optimistic about the deal business and agrees with this publication’s philosophy that now is a good time for out-of-work top executives and first-time entrants to get into ownership and roll up their sleeves at some really fine local opportunities.  His company specializes in small- and medium-market station sales.  He says, “I’ve never felt comfortable pontificating about the state of the media brokerage/station sales category as a whole.  What I can tell you about is what comes across my desk.  Yes, we are busy.  We sold 14 stations in 2012 and already in 2013 we’ve sold nine.  I do get the sense that the worst of the recession is behind us.  Better days lie ahead.”  He offers up several of these opportunities as well.  To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.

handelmanallanAllan Handelman Returns to the Air in Triad Market.  Curtis Media Group’s WSJS, Greensboro, North Carolina announces talk show pro Allan Handelman makes his return to the Triad market after a 16-month hiatus.  Beginning Monday, August 5, Handelman takes over afternoon drive on “The Triad’s NewsRadio 600 WSJS.”  His predecessor, Bob Campbell, is leaving talk radio to pursue his passion in music radio.  WSJS operations manager Matt Clark states, “WSJS airs more locally originated news and talk programming than any other radio station in the region.  Allan Handelman brings world-class credentials to our lineup while upholding our core mission of reflecting the unique tastes and perspectives of local listeners across the Piedmont Triad.”  Handelman was last heard in the market on the former “FM Talk 101.1” WZTK where he hosted a daily show from 2005 to 2012.  The station abandoned the talk format in April, 2012.  Handelman continued his national syndication efforts with both “The Allan Handelman Show” and “Rock Talk.”  Handelman says he’s eager to be back on local radio.  “I really missed that afternoon connection with North Carolina listeners from the Triad region.  There are so many interesting things to talk about that most other shows either neglect or don’t know how to handle.”

cookehollandSales Lead, Programming Heads-Up: “The Fixer Mindset.”  Radio consultant Holland Cooke writes that the mindset of the contemporary American talk radio listener is ripe for the picking (or selling, if you prefer) of goods and services that appeal to their post-recession desire to make more last longer.  But it’s about more than just sending a sales guy or gal out to see if the local independent auto shop wants to advertise on your radio station.  There’s a whole thought process that goes along with programmers and sales staffers approaching this client base the right way…plus, there are cool digital opportunities awaiting the client and the marketing department.  Read Holland Cooke’s insights here.

wepnlogoOdds & Sods.  Dickey Broadcasting’s sports talk WCNN, Atlanta “680 The Fan” announces it has signed Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan to appear every Tuesday during football season on its “ The Front Row” program with Ray Mariner, Sandra Golden and former Falcon Brian Finneran…..ESPN O&O WEPN-FM, New York extends its reach onto Long Island beginning Monday, August 5 as the station’s programming will be simulcast on Livingstone Broadcasting’s WLIR-FM, Hampton’s Bay, New York from 12:00 noon to 12:00 midnight.  That includes shows hosted by Mike Lupica, Stephen A. Smith & Ryan Ruocco, Michael Kay, and David Rothenberg…..KOZN, Omaha PM drive co-host John Bishop will handle play-by-play duties for broadcasts of Creighton University Men’s basketball this season.  He’ll be accompanied by color analyst and former Bluejay Nick Bahe who begins a daily midday sports talk program on NRG Media’s KOZN on August 5.

sternbethHoward Stern’s Wife Beth to Guest Host ‘Animal Radio’ This Weekend.  Beth Stern is well known as a model, actress, the wife of radio legend Howard Stern and an animal rights activist.  This weekend she’ll be the guest host on the nationally syndicated “Animal Radio” program.  Beth Stern serves as the spokesperson for the North Shore Animal League and she spends countless hours fostering animals, cats in particular, in her New York home.  The Stern’s live with four adopted cats — Walter, Apple, Leon Bear and Charlie Boy.  This doesn’t include the many cats that she’s fostering until they are able to adopt them.  Beth (pictured here with a canine friend) says she uses her husband’s SiriusXM show to help find good homes for some of the animals.  When asked if her highly visible husband is involved in the fostering process, she replies, “He’s right there with me. He photographs them.  He names them.  He cried like a baby the other day when I had to hand-off a litter of cats to their new family.”

Limbaugh-Hannity/Cumulus Flap, Weiner Case Political Ramifications, Immigration Legislation, Pope Francis Gay Comments, and ObamaCare Implementation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/29).  The mainstream media coverage of negotiations between Premiere Networks and Cumulus Media over carriage of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity; the political repercussions of the Anthony Weiner sexting scandal; the battle in congress over immigration legislation and amnesty; comments by Pope Francis about homosexuality; and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Coasting to Victory Outside the Mainstream

| July 30, 2013

Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS magazine

LOS ANGELES — Summon up the term “theater-of-the-mind” and hardcore historians of the medium will instantly link it to what many consider one of radio’s authentic seminal points.  In fact, roughly three months from now, that benchmark event will celebrate its 75th anniversary.

Rewind the clock to Halloween 1938, when a then-23-year-old Orson Welles and The Mercury Theater terrified America with “The War of the Worlds.”

Albeit that some classified the adaptation of an alien invasion as a tremendous hoax or fraud, it was inarguably compelling radio.

In its own way, such theater – or mystery – of the mind surfaces nightly on Premiere Radio’s four-hour (1:00am – 5:00am, Eastern Time) “Coast To Coast AM,” overseen with graceful aplomb by the tremendously eloquent George Noory.

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Monday, July 29, 2013

| July 29, 2013

bostonheraldradio logoBoston Herald Radio Launches August 5 at 6:00 am ET.  The concept of the full-blown, digital-age “media station” predicted and described for the past decade by Michael Harrison and other radio industry visionaries will be taking a giant leap toward coming to fruition at 6:00 am ET on August 5.  The Boston Herald newspaper is unveiling its ambitious new initiative “Boston Herald Radio” – a Boston-centric news/talk/sports radio station that will begin its life as a venue for four live three-hour shows running weekdays from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm.  These programs include:

katzjeffspeaks-          6:00 am to 9:00 am – “Live from the Newsroom with Jeff Katz” (Katz is a well-known talk industry personality most recently heard in Boston on WRKO and Talk 1200.)

-          9:00 am to 12:00 noon – “Morning Meeting with Jaclyn Cashman and Hillary Chabot” (Cashman is a former Springfield, MA TV anchor/reporter and multimedia consultant and Chabot is the chief political reporter with the Boston Herald.)

-          12:00 noon to 3:00 pm – “The Michael Graham Show” (Graham is a former WTKK host and current Boston Herald op-ed grahammichaelcolumnist.)

-          3:00 pm to 6:00 pm – “Sports Town with Jon Meterparel and Jen Royle” (Meterparel is a former WEEI personality and current Boston College play-by-play announcer and Royle is an Emmy-award winning Major League Baseball reporter, TV/radio host.)

This will be the first news/sports/talk radio platform in the Boston market backed up by a full multimedia newsroom under the brand of a major newspaper and one of a handful of such operations beginning to pop up around the country.  News reports will be provided capalboshattuckthroughout the broadcast day by Boston Herald editors and reporters.  Feature elements will include Boston Herald music, TV, movie reviews, political and business reports, style and food segments as well as live reports from staff reporters who travel with all four major teams and provide extensive high school sports coverage.  The stream will be managed by Backbone Networks (the same company working on the forthcoming mid-August launch of TalkersRadio) and carried by Tune In as well its home base on the Boston Herald website and its mobile news and sports apps.  The shows will be streamed from a studio adjacent to the Boston Herald newsroom.  The studio team includes executive producer Tom Shattuck (formerly of WRKO and WTKK) and two part-time producers (Shattuck pictured at right, is here with Backbone Networks VP of engineering development George Capalbo, at left).  Boston Herald editor-in-chief Joe Sciacca tells TALKERS, “Consumers want news and information that is mobile, and they want to be active participants connecting and collaborating on the issues of the day, not passive receptors being lectured to.  That is our mission in print, online, in video presentations and now Boston Herald Radio.”  Sciacca adds, “I see myself not as a newspaper editor but as the leader of a news organization that creates high-quality, original content for use across platforms — whether it is print, web or broadcast.”   According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, who was writing and speaking about the potential of newspaper websites providing radio broadcasters with powerful platforms to operate on the internet as long as 10 years ago,  “This amazing development in Boston marks the tipping point in the evolution of the digital-age news and entertainment platform.  The brilliant and obvious idea of newspapers and radio stations rubbing their two sticks together (literally and figuratively) will send sparks flying that will potentially proliferate into a  21st century ‘media station’ wildfire.  By ‘media station’ I mean an online platform that has the cultural stationality of a radio station, a television station, a newspaper and a magazine combined – all in one location – fueled and synergized by the combined resources of each.”  Harrison maintains that the internet alone is not a practical platform.  He says, “By itself, the internet has no form, no definition and no prestige, similarly neither do the so called ‘airwaves’ of 20th century audio and video media.  The key is to build prestigious, well-defined platforms that will sail across the internet — the way ships, yachts and ocean liners sail the seas and the way glorious theaters give Broadway its pizzazz or great stadiums separate the big leagues from sandlot baseball.  If an actor, dancer or musician is performing ‘on Broadway,’ that could mean they are doing their act on the stage of the Winter Garden or on the sidewalk in front of the Winter Garden.  It is the same thing with the internet.  Prestigious, well-resourced platforms give you a place to put the key to monetization: a box office!”  Walter Sabo, CEO of the New York City-based consultancy firm Sabo Media (whose clients have included SiriusXM Satellite Radio, Parade magazine and numerous leading radio firms and talent), says, “When Jeff Katz or Michael Graham are on the air doing their shows in a studio right next to the Boston Herald newsroom, they will be one door away from an-in house news gathering and processing operation that employs hundreds of journalists.  This is a brilliant move!”  Sabo adds that his firm has been developing a new division for the past several months that will specialize in advising newspapers in executing this kind of move, stating, “I have been hearing from a number of publications – dailies and weeklies – that are very interested in pursuing these exciting new opportunities, but they realize that they not only need people with on-air broadcast experience, but people who have broadcasting management insight as well.  The Boston Herald was smart to hire Tom Shattuck.”  Summing up the synergy aspect of his new media station, Boston Herald editor-in-chief Sciacca tells TALKERS, “Our multimedia reporters are producing award-winning purcellsciaccavideo reports every day, producing broadcast-quality segments with compelling interviews and streaming content.  Is this a TV newsroom?  An online newsroom?  A radio station?  A newspaper?  It’s today’s Boston Herald.”  He continues, “The power of Boston Herald Radio when it comes to breaking news will be incredible.  Listeners can be confident they will be not only engaged and entertained by our talk shows, but will be insiders on breaking news in real time.”  Boston  Herald publisher and president Patrick J. Purcell (pictured at left with Joe Sciacca, right, in the Boston Herald newsroom) says, “Internet radio is exploding and it makes sense that the Herald rounds out our multimedia platform with talk radio programming.  It’s perfect synergy.  Boston Herald Radio will be fast-paced, uncensored, entertaining, completely interactive and, most important, very respectful to our listeners.  We have a terrific team of seasoned hosts who are smart, respected and extremely versatile.  They live in our communities and fully understand and appreciate the complexities of issues folks care about.”

sabowalterMemo to Newspapers on the Verge of Launching Radio Stations on Their Websites:  Do it Correctly!  Noted radio consultant Walter Sabo is no stranger to working in the intersection between print media and talk radio.  In a new advice column posted today (7/29), he offers several key points from a list of essential ingredients that are required for talk-oriented media stations based on publication websites to achieve success and longevity.  He advises newspaper executives to hire experienced radio executives to lead the station as well as seasoned, accomplished talk hosts to execute it.  He suggests protecting and growing the brand by taking advantage of the traffic already on the website and creating programming that delivers topics in which newspaper readers are already interested.  Most of all, understand that talk show hosts are like newspaper columnists – more so than reporters.  Listeners realize this and do not expect the spoken word of opinion to mimic the printed word of editorial fact and objectivity.  To read Walter Sabo’s entire piece, please click here.

cumulusAnother Report of a Cumulus Split from Limbaugh and Hannity.  We’ve heard these rumors before about Cumulus Media dropping Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and the latest comes from Politico.  The mag reports that inside sources say Cumulus is not satisfied with the results of negotiations to reduce the cost of airing the Limbaugh and Hannity programs on their 40-some news/talk stations that carry them.  Both contracts reportedly are limbaughrushup at the end of this year.  As most industry insiders are aware, there are cash considerations as well as inventory that airs outside the actual programs associated with carrying Limbaugh and Hannity and that, presumably, is what the bone ofhannitysean contention is.  Politico does report that a Cumulus spokesperson said the company does not comment on negotiations with talent under contract.  Cumulus holds its Q2 conference call tomorrow morning but don’t hold your breath waiting for Lew Dickey to comment on the Limbaugh/Hannity issue.  The tone of the Politico piece makes it sound as though this is about the politics of Limbaugh and Hannity and whether the “Sandra Fluke case” is still haunting the sales efforts.  If that were the case, negotiations over the cost of the programs would be irrelevant.  Ultimately, the Dickeys’ decision will likely be based upon whether they make enough money off of Limbaugh and Hannity to justify the cost while considering what the company could do with personalities such as Michael Savage, Mark Levin and Mike Huckabee to cover the time slots now held by Limbaugh and Hannity.

millerchrisThe Social Media Trick You Don’t Know You Know.  Although the term “call to action” has a slightly different application in broadcasting than it does in social media, it is increasingly growing in importance as a concept to managing content in the digital arena.  In a new column posted today (7/29), noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller says that radio broadcasters can apply “call to action” concepts with which they are very familiar from their broadcasting experience to social media with merely a few tweaks and turns of a phrase.  To read Miller’s entire column, please click here.

kjce-am logoEntercom Splits KJCE-AM/FM, Austin Simulcast; New Lineup for KJCE-AM.  The FM side of Entercom’s KJCE, Austin becomes an urban AC outlet as the new “96 R&B” featuring Premiere NetworksSteve Harvey in morning drive.  KJCE-AM remains news/talk as “News Radio 1370” with some additions to the lineup, returning Talk Radio Network’s “America’s Morning News.”  Entercom Austin vice president and market manager Alan Kirshbom states, “By bringing back ‘America’s Morning News’ from 5:00 am to 8:00 am and moving Courtside Entertainment’s Laura Ingraham to live programming from 8:00 am to 11:00 am, KJCE once again proves it is Austin’s and Texas’ Talk Station.”  The station is also bringing back Dial Global’s Dennis Miller to air from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm followed by Dave Ramsey and Premiere NetworksSean Hannity.

kroi logoRadio One’s All-News KROI, Houston Partner with KHOU-TV for Weather.  Radio One all-news “News 92 FM” announces a partnership with CBS TV O&O “KHOU 11” for the latter to provide weather for KROI.  Radio One regional vice president Doug Abernethy states, “Why compete with the best when you can team up with the best?  KHOU 11 has built a stellar reputation as a local weather leader in Houston and we are thrilled to welcome KHOU 11 and their outstanding meteorologists to join our 24-hour ‘News 92 FM’ team to provide our audience the best, most accurate, up-to-the-minute weather coverage.”

michaelsbillSyndicated Bill Michaels Sports Talk Program Adds Madison.  Based at Entercom sports talk WSSP, Milwaukee, the statewide syndicated Bill Michaels program announces it will add Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s WOZN-AM, Madison “The Zone” beginning August 8.  The midday sports talk show airs live from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and is in its second year of syndication.  “We’re delighted to welcome another Mid-West Family Broadcasting station to the Bill Michaels Sports Network,” says Michael Keck, vice president and market manager for Entercom Wisconsin.  “Bill’s enthusiasm and talent is contagious and that’s a big reason we continue to grow.”  Michaels comments, “This is a dream come true.  I feel like I’m now able to reach all Wisconsin sports fans.  I’m anxious to connect with the strong sports fan base that is represented in Mad-town.”

jacksonkevin‘The Black Sphere’ Radio Show Gaining Traction.  The Kevin Jackson-hosted “Black Sphere Radio Show” announces it adds WEZO, Augusta, Georgia to its list of affiliate stations.  Earlier this year the program added Salem Communications’ WGUL and WLSS in the Tampa-St. Petersburg and Sarasota markets.  Program senior producer Mickey White says, “Kevin is gaining in popularity and we will be adding markets and new sponsors in the very near future.  Kevin’s blend of entertainment with politics is getting lots of attention.  We are in talks with stations across the country, including some large market stations in Nevada, Colorado and California and we expect to make a lot of big announcements in the near future.”

rhodesaustinMan Arrested After Threatening WGAC, Augusta’s Austin Rhodes.  A 25-year old Augusta, Georgia man was taken into custody last week and held on $2,600 bond after allegedly threatening WGAC, Augusta talk show host Austin Rhodes with bodily harm.  After Darnell Tyray Chambers made what Rhodes considered a threatening statement about him on Facebook, he reported the threat as per Beasley Broadcast Group company policy.  According to the Columbia County News-Times, police arrested Chambers on charges of making terroristic threats and acts.

handel20yearsKFI, Los Angeles Celebrates 20 Years of Bill Handel.  Clear Channel news/talk giant KFI, Los Angeles is celebrating the 20th anniversary of Bill Handel as the morning drive talk personality on the station.  Handel began hosting the program in July of 1993 but the station says it will officially celebrate the anniversary with an extravaganza for listeners in November but on Friday, July 26, Rich Marotta, Michelle Kube, Mike Nolan, Neil Saavedra and Gary Hoffmann reminisced about their favorite Handel moments during the 5:00 am hour of the program.  To say that Handel is important to the station’s success would be an understatement.  Handel is consistently one of the highest-rated daily talk radio programs in the country in terms of cume.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

| July 24, 2013

iheartradiotalkClear Channel Moves Full-Steam Ahead into Digital Talk with iHeartRadio Talk.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment announces its newest digital platform – actually a custom feature of the existing iHeartRadio – dubbed iHeartRadio Talk.  The company calls it “the first mass-market audio platform with the ability to offer on-demand, listener-created talk content alongside popular news, celebrity and entertainment ‘audiosodes.’”  The company also says iHeartRadio Talk will feature “Daily Pulse,” a customizable talk channel featuring the most up-to-date news and culture highlights, which allows users to add content that is most important to them.  Clear Channel president of digital Brian Lakamp states, “Talk radio listeners are some of the most dedicated and engaged listeners in the world, and now with iHeartRadio Talk, we are giving those listeners access to their favorite talk content anywhere they are.  Plus, for the first time ever, listeners who have been accepted into the iHeartRadio Talk library will be able to record and instantly share their perspective on any topic they choose – it’s basically like offering ‘audio Twitter.’  We are giving a voice to the everyman, and at the same time are enabling iHeartRadio users to discover and enjoy thousands of ‘audiosodes’ from the best talent around the country – something only Clear Channel is able to offer.”  As part of the initiative, Clear Channel has struck a deal with ABC TV to have the new feature include audio from “Good Morning America,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and “The View.”

courtsidelogoCourtside Entertainment Brings Greg Batusic Aboard as COO.  Norm Pattiz’s Courtside Entertainment Group announces former Westwood One executive Greg Batusic joins the company in the newly created position of chief operating officer.  Batusic will be based in Los Angeles and report to Pattiz where he’ll be in charge of day-to-day operations of both Courtside Entertainment Group and Launchpad Digital Media/Podcast One.  Norm Pattiz comments, “In the early years of Westwood One, Greg helped lead the way to the multi-billion dollar network radio business.  Now, while we do the same thing to on-demand audio, Greg’s expertise and leadership will be invaluable.  He knows what it takes to build a company and an industry from the ground up and I’m happy to be working together again.”  Batusic spent 15-plus years with Westwood One.  During his career he has also served as executive vice president of global sales for Gibson Guitar.  Prior to Gibson, he co-founded The Promotional, L.L.C. and served as the managing partner of the promotion company.  He oversaw all operational business, marketing development and revenue generation through high profile promotional programs.  Batusic says, “It’s my great pleasure to be working with Norm again.  The vibe at Courtside is very much the same as it was at Westwood One – a lot of life, contagious energy and innovative ideas.  I’m excited to be a part of it.”

raytomCASE STUDY:  How to Launch an Independently Syndicated Talk Show.  In a highly informative column posted today (7/24) noted radio engineering consultant and TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray outlines a step-by-step guide to launching an independently syndicated talk show using “Ron Ananian: The Car Doctor” as a case study.  In it, Tom ananianrondiscusses every detail: from building a studio to purchasing satellite time; covering details such as getting the audio from the studio to the satellite, acquiring a toll-free, call-in line; launching an affiliate relations campaign, handling sales and audio production; as well as offering podcasts and building an accompanying website.  Ray says, “Going into independent syndication, while not simple to do, will give you a great sense of satisfaction.”  Actually, if you have a good show, launching an independently syndicated program is quite do-able.  To read Tom Ray’s entire column, which is sure to help you get started, please click here.

sabowalterFive Tips to Instant Cume Growth.  Since the advent of PPM, many programmers have ceased worrying about certain elements that were deemed vital to the diary method but are now considered unimportant in the age of PPM.  They are especially ignoring past-proven, cume-builders based on the premise that once people are listening — you already got ‘em.  This is a huge mistake.  Unless you have a major billboard, TV and newspaper advertising campaign in place you cannot afford to waste the power of your own air in generating cume.  In a new column posted today, noted radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Walter Sabo addresses the AM radio problem of cume shrinkage and offers five tips to turn this negative trend around.  To read the column, please click here.

entercomEntercom CEO David Field Addresses Employees in ‘Midyear Update.’  In a companywide memo, Entercom CEO David Field delivers what’s termed a “midyear update” that serves as both a pep talk for the immediate future and a slap on the back for what the company has achieved thus far.  Field states that coming fielddavidout of the company’s management meetings in Minneapolis last week where they heard presentations on the state of the business and what the company can do to grow he believes, “We have terrific content, large audiences, outstanding personalities, great ratings, and powerful listener engagement.  I found the meetings extremely motivating and informative and really enjoyed the time with our team of top-notch programming leaders.”  Field then goes on to address numerous items under the subheadings Investing in Our People, Investing in Our Future, Making Entercom a Better Place to Work, and Why We Matter.  Finally, he waxes positive about the radio business, “And radio is thriving.  More people listen to AM/FM radio than ever before in history.  And AM/FM radio has more than 9x the combined listening of all satellite and internet radio combined.  The addition of our digital platforms has enabled us to engage our audiences and serve our advertisers in unprecedented ways.  We have generated hundreds and hundreds of case studies demonstrating our effectiveness in delivering results for our customers.”  To read David Field’s entire memo, click here.

kkoblogoKKOB, Albuquerque Records 52nd Straight #1 Book.  Cumulus Media’s news/talk KKOB, Albuquerque notches its 52nd straight Arbitron ratings book at the top of the heap for Persons 12+ in the Spring ’13 ratings clarkbobperiod.  AM operations manager Pat Frisch tells TALKERS magazine the station is #5 in the market with Men 25-54 (Mon-Sun 6A-Mid) and notes “TSL is driving KKOB up to nine hours, two hours more than the Winter ’13 book.”  Frisch also states, “The station is being driven by the king of mornings, Bob Clark (6:00 am to 10:00 am), and midday giant Rush Limbaugh (10:00 am to 1:00 pm).  Both had over a nine-share in their time slots in the Spring book.  I am finishing up my 14th year here at KKOB and 13 of those years have been at #1 and all of this is accomplished because of a great staff that gets it.”

wdmt logoEntercom to Flip WDMT, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to Sports Talk.  Speaking to the local Times-Leader, Entercom general manager Ryan Flynn says that although the adult alternative format heard on WDMT “The Mountain” had done “OK from a ratings standpoint” over the past 10 years, the company has not been able to monetize the format.  With that, the station will become “The Sports Hub 102.3” on August 5.  It’ll use NBC Sports Radio Network programming but will air a local, three-hour sports talk show in afternoon drive.  The host(s) for that program have not been named.  It’s interesting to note that the “Sports Hub” moniker is also used by CBS Radio in Boston on WBZ-FM which is in vicious competition with Entercom’s WEEI.

mccluresaraSara McClure Named VP of Sales at CC Sacramento.  Sara McClure is a veteran of Northern California radio sales, most recently serving with Entercom in numerous sales capacities.  Now she joins Clear Channel Media and Entertainment as vice president of sales for its six-station Sacramento cluster that includes: news/talk KFBK-AM/FM, talk KSTE classic hits KHLX “Classic 93.1,” adult hits KQJK “93.7 Jack FM,” and rhythmic oldies KHYL “V101,” .  McClure worked with a Bay Area ad agency beginning in 1995 and has also served with CBS Radio.  She says, “With my background in multimedia integrated selling, I know the timing is right to make my move to Clear Channel.  I am looking forward to teaming up with [market president] Dave Milner to lead the Sacramento cluster and leverage the company’s industry-leading capabilities.”

wfsx-wnog logoThom Abraham to Host AM Drive on Fort Myers Sports Duo.  As TALKERS reported on July 23, Sunabrahamthom Broadcasting is splitting the two AM signals off its news/talk trimulcast WFSX-AM/FM and WNOG-AM “92.5 Fox News.”  The sports duo “The Fan” will feature Nashville-based Thom Abraham in the 6:00 am to 9:00 am slot.  Abraham – whose show is heard in Nashville on WNSR as well as on WNTC, Drakesboro, Kentucky and WZZN, Huntsville, Alabama – was heard in the Fort Myers market on former sports talk WJBX from 2001 to 2004.

Celebrity Promotion for ObamaCare, Zimmerman Verdict Aftermath, IRS Scandal, MLB Suspends Ryan Braun, Detroit Bankruptcy Fallout, and Anthony Weiner Internet Sex Issues Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/23).  The implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the Obama Administration’s use of celebrities to promote the controversial law; issues of crime and race relations in the wake of the George Zimmerman verdict; the IRS policy targeting conservative groups and individuals; MLB suspends Ryan Braun for PEDs – A-Rod believed to be next; the fallout from Detroit’s bankruptcy filing; and the new allegations of sexual dalliances by New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

How to Be a Talk Show Host

| July 22, 2013

By Bob Lonsberry
WHAM, Rochester/WSYR Syracuse
Talk Show Host

lonsberrybobMOUNT MORRIS, NY — Let me tell you how to be a talk show host.

Step one: Ignore anybody who tries to tell you how to be a talk show host

This is fundamentally a solo business and the more you try to be like someone else, or the more closely you follow the consultants and the bosses, the less effective you will be.

Certainly, there are general rules of the business, ways to hold listeners and maximize ratings, to move through a clock and broadcast professionally. You must know and execute the formatics, but you must be their master, not their slave. They give you structure, but you give yourself voice.

Somewhere, down deep, you either have it or you don’t, and the key to your success will be being true to yourself. Likewise, the key to the continued success of the form will be the quality and variety of rising hosts.

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Talk Hosts are Wise to Add Writing to their Communication Toolbox

| May 31, 2013

By Lisa Wexler
WFAS-AM, Westchester, NY
Talk Show Host

wexlerlisaWESTCHESTER, NY — “Honey, you’re famous,” my husband Bill called upstairs to me on Saturday morning. Really, why so? “Rick the shoe man says he read your op-ed in the Connecticut Post and he agrees with you. He wants me to tell you that. He thinks you are right, told me to thank you for writing it.”  Made my day. I haven’t seen Rick the shoe man in about three years. He doesn’t live or work within my radio range. Unless he takes the trouble to find me on iHeartRadio or on-line, I don’t reach this man. Not unless I make the effort to write as well as speak.

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An Open Letter of Advice to Rush Limbaugh

| May 20, 2013

By Dr. John Tantillo
Branding and Marketing Group, Inc.
President

tantillodrNEW YORK – A Letter To Rush Now!

Dear Rush,

We need to talk.

Why?

Because many out there hate your brand (and you) and if nothing is done proactively in the short run, failure is assured in the long run.

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Monday, May 20, 2013

| May 20, 2013

tantillojohnOpen Letter to Rush:  Marketing and Branding Expert Warns Host to Do a “Brand Over” Before it is Too Late.  Author, broadcaster and branding consultant, Dr. John Tantillo, tells Rush Limbaugh that he must act quickly to offset the negative campaigning being waged against him, his style of talk and, resultantly, all of talk radio in the commercial/advertising arena.  In an open letter to the star host posted today exclusively in TALKERS (5/20), Tantillo suggests, “Rush, when products reach the maturity stage, the textbook answer is to address it by stressing product benefits and differences.  In your case, Rush this is rather easy.  You wrote the book on talk and created an entire lucrative advertising model around it.  You simply are all about talk and making a profit from it.  This is something that they cannot take away from you, or as I would like to say: ‘It’s your brand.’  And because this is your brand, you should work from there when commencing your brand over.   That’s right — brand over, not that inane ‘make over’ where consultants who don’t really know you,  advise you to become something that you are not.  No, Rush, a brand over, is for you and will take the Rush from the inside and makes the necessary alterations to the outside.  All good! Your centering mission should be: ‘To thy own brand be true,’ where any and all changes about your brand come from there.”  Tantillo offers a compelling 10 step strategy that Rush can take to turn around the campaign being waged by his critics and set himself on a successful course for the next stage of his maturing brand.  To read the letter in its entirety, please click here.

clyburnmignonMignon Clyburn in as Acting Chairperson of the FCC.  As announced, Julius Genachowski has exited the Federal Communications Commission where he was chairman and commissioner Mignon Clyburn will serve as acting chair until the confirmation process for the new chairman has taken place.  Nominee Tom Wheeler’s confirmation has been delayed until later in June.  Last week the Commerce Committee announced the confirmation hearings would not take place this week.

millerchrisTime to Clean Up Digital Space for Summer.  With Memorial Day weekend about to roll around, digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller suggests this is a good time to start making big moves in small chunks and get your website and social media initiatives up to speed with a little upgrading.  In a new column posted today (5/20) Miller offers a punch list of items you can work on each week between now and Labor Day to get your website and social media fixed up, and ready to totally support your on-air product this fall!  They include writing down your goals, taking something OFF your website, picking fonts and colors, freshening your Facebook page cover photo, checking your tabs for relevance, cutting back on posts by setting and raising your standards, focusing Twitter on something specific, and properly prioritizing Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest by de-emphasizing them as social sites and using them more for storage and as content channels.  To read Chris Miller’s entire article, click here.

wolfcharlieInternationally Known American Broadcaster Living and Working in London Shares his Perspective on the Radio Business from the Other Side of the Pond.  They might be speaking English, but the comparisons break down quickly after that.  American radio broadcaster Charlie Wolf has been living and working in the UK for years, holding on-air positions at a number of leading British media outlets from the legendary “pirate radio” to the BBC.  During these years, he has become somewhat of an in-house UK “go-to” guy explaining, debating and in most cases defending the American position on issues as seen from the English point of view.  In an exclusive commentary posted today (5/20) in TALKERS, Wolf shares his observations and insights about how very different talk radio is in the UK than it is in the US.  To read his entire provocative piece, click here.

mccaslinspeech‘America’s Morning News’ Host John McCaslin Addresses Small Business Finance Conference.  America’s Radio News Network executive vice president John McCaslin (holding mic) is pictured here at the 2013 NADCO “Game Change” conference held over the weekend.  The conference was for companies certified by the Small Business Administration to provide loans for small businesses, which create two-thirds of the nation’s new jobs.  McCaslin, who also hosts the nationally syndicated “America’s Morning News” program, told the packed house at San Diego’s Hotel Del Coronado where he thinks the economy — and the unrelated overnight trio of scandals rocking President Obama — are headed in the coming months.  The veteran newsman was among the “Inside Washington” speakers.  Besides much-needed job creation, the four-day conference — sponsored by Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse, and Wells Fargo — centered on the new VetLoan Advantage Program for members of the U.S. military returning home from overseas deployment.

OAadkinsetalWorlds Collide on Opie & Anthony’s SiriusXM Show.  SiriusXM’s Opie & Anthony are known for broadcasting the unusual but this collage of guests from disparate worlds really takes the cake.  Picture here are (from l-r) comic Colin Quinn, celebrity chef Guy Fieri, SiriusXM host Anthony Cumia, country music superstar Trace Adkins, SiriusXM host Opie Hughes, and comic Tom Papa.  The collision happened on the O&A show last week as the four guests all happened to be scheduled for the same day and appeared on the program at the same time.

rabRadio Advertising Bureau Unveils New ‘State-of-the-Art’ Website.  The RAB proudly announces the debut of the new www.RAB.com .  Calling it an “updated, fresh design,” the RAB says the new site was created “with today’s mobile salesperson in mind.”  The site uses a responsive design that automatically reacts to a visitor’s screen size, so RAB members can search for vital sales intelligence, consumer insights and sales material support no matter if they’re on their desktop, in the office, or using any mobile device including tablets and smart phones.  The section for radio managers, account executives and associate members is navigated through the 7 Steps to Selling Success, a set of principles reinforced through RAB Professional Development training and certification courses.  It features sections devoted to prospecting, appointments, research, creative, and proposals and presentations.  Managers will also find their own dedicated section with important links to RAB Professional Development, management articles, and sales tips.  Radio account executives will find a number of new farberericaand exciting features including “Trending Now on RAB.com.”  Based on real-time traffic across the new RAB.com, account executives will see what topics, articles, reports, etc. are growing in popularity.  Favorite RAB services such as Articles on Demand, Instant Backgrounds, prospecting reports, consumer profiles, commercial scripts, mp3 commercial audio and RAB’s co-op library are all available on the site with easy-to-find functionality.  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber says, “The RAB prides itself on delivering the most current products, information and resources to our members.  Redesigning this site with total mobile capabilities was a ‘must have.’  In order to remain competitive, our members need to access current services and data while on the go.”

rayfieldmarcCBS Radio Philadelphia’s Marc Rayfield to Be Inducted into Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.   CBS Radio proudly announces that Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield is being inducted into the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in a special ceremony on Monday, May 20.  Rayfield will be inducted along with basketball coach Larry Brown and seven other talented honorees.  The Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and Adolph and Rose Levis Museum (PJSHOF) is celebrating its 16th anniversary at a reception to today at 5:30 pm.  Rayfield is the vice president of WIP SportsRadio, one of the nation’s most respected all sports stations.  WIP is known for innovation in business such as the first studio naming rights partnership in the United States with Tastykake.  WIP is home to Angelo Cataldi and the morning team.  The station also annually hosts one of the largest radio promotions in the country, Wing Bowl, prior to the Super Bowl in front of a sold-out crowd at the Wells Fargo Center.  Rayfield  is currently responsible for live broadcasts of the Phillies, Eagles and Philadelphia Union as well as Temple, St. Joe’s and Villanova athletics.

Self-Syndication is Berry, Berry Good

| May 15, 2013

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

Meet Michael Berry

Michael Berry #1LOS ANGELES — Granted, it doesn’t quite convey the magnitude of Howard Stern’s “King of All Media” bravado, but “Czar of Talk Radio” is the tongue-in-cheek manner Michael Berry refers to himself. “If President Obama can name a czar for everything, then I’m the ‘Czar of Talk Radio,’” Berry reasons.

The moniker took off when he started it four years ago and Berry has capitalized on it. “Other talk hosts say they wish they branded it before I did.”

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

| May 8, 2013

cumulusCumulus Q1 Revenue Drops 1.3%.  The 2013 first quarter revenue numbers for Cumulus Media were $232 million – a decrease of $3.1 million or 1.3% compared to the same period a year ago.  In its filing with the SEC, the company attributes the drop to “lower political revenues and general lower advertising spending in some of our markets.”

dickeylewLew Dickey Says Underperforming Stations Improving But Not Fixed; Syndicated Talk ‘Continues to Be Challenged.’  During the Tuesday conference call with investors announcing Cumulus Media’s 2013 first quarter revenue figures, CEO Lew Dickey addressed the syndicated talk division’s performance as well as six of its major market news/talk stations.  Quick to address the 10 major market stations he’d blamed for pulling down the entire company’s previous revenue totals, he said, “Several of our big news/talk stations are now growing, including: WABC – which is leading the pack in New York, KABC in Los Angeles, WLS in Chicago, KSFO in San Francisco, WMAL in Washington, D.C. and WJR in Detroit, all are growing.  Our team is working very hard, and we’ve adapted to ad market changes. And again, these stations are nowlimbaughrush posting revenue growth.”  He only vaguely touched on the Rush Limbaugh controversy during Q&A saying network sales has been challenged but is starting to pick up.  Dickey praised the company’s heritage AM talkers for their potential and stated, “Our charge over the next five years is to continue to expose our audience and all of these major markets to the industry’s most talented performers while developing the next generation of talk radio superstars.  By the way, this is true for our sports talk stations as well.”  Dickey said that original group of 10 trouble franchises is down to six.  “And we confirm our earlier statement that this original group of 10 stations would be negative in the first quarter, flat in Q2 and then rebounding in the back half of the year to post positive full year growth in 2013. And in fact, we can say that we’re actually a little ahead of that schedule right now.”  But he also noted that while WBAP, Dallas is starting to come around, KGO, San Francisco – which it turned to largely a news station – is still not where they want it to be.  Regarding the company’s deal with CBS Radio and the CBS Sports Radio Network, Dickey reports the rollout has reached almost 300 affiliates and is surpassing expected revenue targets.  “We are highly encouraged by our early success and expect CBS Sports Radio to be a material growth driver in 2014 and beyond.”  Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript.  You can read the entire transcript here.

hendriephilTalk Radio Network and Phil Hendrie to End Syndication Effort.  Talk Radio Network announces that it will cease syndication of the Phil Hendrie radio program as of June 25, 2013.  TRN began syndicating the program in 2007 after it had been parted from its original syndicator – Premiere Networks – for about a year.  TRN CEO Mark Masters states, “I believed in Phil then, and I still think he is a comic genius on air.  He will always be a radio icon to me.  We are proud to have rebuilt the Phil Hendrie show by adding over 100 stations, along with creating robust growth to Phil’s online presence, but, due to world events, the economy, and the state of radio in this country, we have decided to go in another direction in that daypart – we wish Phil all the best in his future endeavors.”  From his perspective, Hendrie issues the following statement: “Phil Hendrie has elected not to pursue any further association with Talk Radio Network.  As he delves deeper into his successful digital platform and ongoing television and film work, Hendrie remains open to terrestrial radio opportunities, but only those with strong sales, marketing and programming support.”

guthriekimCox Media Group Promotes Kim Guthrie to EVP Radio; Jane Williams to EVP Television and Marian Pittman to VP of News & Marketing for TV.  Cox Media Group announces several promotions.  Kim Guthrie, who had been serving as senior vice president of radio, overseeing all of the company’s radio stations, is promoted to executive vice president of radio and she reports to new CMG president Bill Hoffman.  Guthrie joined Cox Radio in 1998 as VP and GM for its Long Island, properties and has been Regional VP for Cox Radio, where her stations have won multiple honors – including Marconi awards, Crystal Awards, New York Air Awards, AWRT Gracie Awards – for programming excellence and outstanding community service.  Hoffman says of Guthrie (and EVP of television Jane Williams), “Both are proven CMG leaders and are highly respected throughout the media industry.  Kim and Jane, along with our local leadership, have ensured our broadcast stations’ ongoing success, and I am honored to have them in these vitally-strategic executive positions.”  At the same time, Marian Pittman is promoted from her post as station manager of WSB-TV, Atlanta to vice president of news & marketing for television for the company.

chapmanjJ Chapman Heads Up Woof Boom Radio to Buy Indiana Stations.  The Backyard Broadcasting Muncie, Indiana market stations that Woof Boom is buying include: hot AC WLBC, oldies WERK, sports talk WXFN, news/talk WHBU, and classic rock simulcast WMXQ and WMQX “Max.”  Jerry “J” Chapman’s Woof Boom Radio is made up of a group of local investors, headed by Chapman, who have formed Woof Boom Radio, a nod to the longtime dominance of WFBM in Indiana broadcasting from the beginnings of radio in the 1920s until the mid-1970s.  The other owners include: Ray Kennedy, Conormara Investments;  Jason Farmer, managing director of WestBridge Investments; and Aaron Reitz.  In a statement, Woof Boom says of Chapman, “A 17-year radio woofboom logoexecutive with Indianapolis-based Emmis and most recently with Maverick Media of Rockford, Illinois, Chapman is a graduate of Hanover and literally grew up in the broadcasting industry.  His father led Indianapolis WFBM Radio & TV for three decades, and J got an early start in the media business when assigned by his father to mow the grass at the TV station’s north side Indianapolis transmitter site.”  Chapman says of his new venture, “I’m very excited to come home and put my years of experience in the vibrant radio industry to good use back in Indiana.  The stations we’re acquiring are vital links between listeners and the local community.  We intend to utilize those radio resources to help grow our customers’ businesses and to improve the quality of entertainment and information in our new communities.  Best of all, the management of this group of stations will be local to serve local needs.  We want to make a great thing even better, and Woof Boom Radio intends to start off on the right foot.”

sabowalterThe Secret of Managing Controversy.  As the talk radio industry grapples with the dilemma of balancing the two realities of controversy (on the plus side, it attracts loyal audience – on the downside, it attracts enemies and scares advertisers) noted media consultant and TALKERS columnist Walter Sabo offers a simple solution.  In an article posted today (5/8) he cites a simple but powerfully effective method used by some of the greatest talk radio managers of all time:  Let the hosts be opinionated, controversial and even outrageous – but keep the station itself absolutely neutral!  He goes on to explain why this is key to a successful operation.  To read Walter Sabo’s entire piece, click here.

kion logoMark Carbonaro Remains with KION, Salinas in News Capacity.  Yesterday, TALKERS reported that Mark Carbonaro was out at Clear Channel’s KION, Salinas, California as the company was importing KSTE, Sacramento-based Armstrong & Getty for morning drive.  We learn via The Californian that Carbonaro remains with the station handling the morning drive news operations and other news department duties.  General manager Rhonda McCormack tells the paper, “We are continuing to evolve our product with new and compelling offerings that will complement Mark’s contributions and allow him more time and flexibility to cover local news and events.  It was a business decision.  We think Armstrong & Getty will resonate well with the audience on KION.  Mark Carbonaro is on Monday – Friday, 6:00 am to 9:00 am with Armstrong & Getty.  Mark reports on the local news, sports, weather and traffic, plus expert segments that will run throughout the day, Monday through Friday and on Saturday mornings in the 10:00 am hour, ‘The Saturday Insider with Mark Carbonaro.’”

winercherylCheryl Winer Named National Account Manager for Sun Broadcast Group.  Radio sales pro Cheryl Winer is named national account manager for Sun Broadcast Group where she’ll work from the company’s New York City office assisting in servicing the company’s fast-growing roster of agency and client partners.  Founder and CEO Jason Bailey states, “2013 has been such an exciting time in our company’s growth.  With the addition of Cheryl to our first-class sales team I truly believe we send a clear message to the industry that Sun Broadcast Group is, and will continue to be, the leader in a very new kind of service for network radio advertisers and program suppliers.”  Speaking about her new position with Sun, Winer says, “Over the past several years I have been searching for an entrepreneurial environment, which would replicate my experience at Premiere in the early days.  I am so very excited to say that I have found that in Sun Broadcast Group!  I look forward to participating in the growth of this fast-paced, cutting edge company.”

arbitronArbitron Reports Q1 Revenue Up 5.1%.  Income for the ratings firm was down to $0.60 per share for the first quarter of 2013, compared to $0.64 per share during the same period in 2012.  However, income was up 5.1% on revenue of $111.8 million compared to the same period a year ago.  The company states that costs and expenses increased 8.3% from Q1 2012 to Q1 2013.  “In addition to the $3.2 million of expenses related to the pendingcreamersean Nielsen transaction, costs in the quarter increased as a result of planned incremental investments in Arbitron Mobile panels, costs associated with address-based sampling, in-person recruiting, and cell-phone household recruiting.”  President and CEO Sean Creamer states, “In the first quarter, we continued to pursue our long-standing objectives: maintaining our investments in the quality of our radio ratings services, growing our core revenue, and entering new markets such as digital radio, cross-platform, and mobile.  Our focus on the quality of our core services helped us achieve Media Rating Council accreditation of four additional Portable People Meter markets in February.  Our goal remains achieving or maintaining accreditation in all our syndicated radio markets.  We continue working to leverage our investment in the PPM technology and consumer panels utilizing our platform in new initiatives such as advertising and promotion effectiveness studies, while enhancing our measurement capabilities for radio and across platforms.”

sagaSaga Communications Q1 Net Revenue Down 1.3%.  To use the words of Saga Communications SVP, treasurer and CFO Sam Bush, the first quarter of 2013 was “challenging” for the company.  In a conference call with investors, Bush reports that the company saw a dramatic decline in political advertising from the first quarter of 2012 to the same period in 2013.  Gross national revenue was also down by more than $500,000 but a good quarter for local revenue helped combat that drop.

salemcommunicationsSalem Communications Sees 1.3% Revenue Dip in Q1.  That’s across the board for all of Salem’s platforms and comes largely because Salem had such an outstanding 2012 in the political advertising category.  Breaking things apart a bit, CEO Ed Atsinger reports that the company’s business news segment is doing well, increasing 4% while the news/talk radio division was down 7%.  The Christian teaching formats were down 3% though the Christian contemporary group was up 5% compared to the same period a year ago.  The Salem Radio Network was down 10% from Q1 in 2012.

wtoplogoWTOP, Washington Site the Victim of Hacking.  Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington and its sister WFED had their websites hacked earlier this week.  The attacks may have affected visitors using Internet Explorer but not other web browsers.  A message on WTOP.com states, “WTOP.com is currently dealing with a malicious cyber attack.  We are working diligently to contain and stop the attack, and apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.”  The Washington Post reports that an internet security expert says the hackers installed two types of malware – one designed to look like an anti-virus software service that would get the subscriber’s credit card number, the other designed to control clicks from the user’s computer to inflate the number of actual clicks on digital ads.

Benghazi Whistleblower, Cleveland Women Freed from Captivity, Sanford South Carolina Race, Immigration Amnesty Issue and North Korea Threats Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/7).  The testimony about the deadly attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi; the case of the Cleveland women freed from captivity after 10 years; the South Carolina race for House seat between Mark Sanford and Elizabeth Colbert Busch; the amnesty for illegal immigrants issue; and North Korea’s military threats were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, May 6, 2013

| May 6, 2013

limbaughrushLimbaugh-Cumulus Talk Radio Sales Issue Plays Out in Consumer Press.  In a piece in the New York Daily News published over the weekend, the war of words over challenged sales of talk radio time at Cumulus Media properties (specifically WABC) became public as the paper quoted a “source close to Limbaugh” said, in effect, that Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey needs to stop blaming Rush Limbaugh for sales trouble at his news/talk stations.  Dickey has made public dickeylewstatements – at both investor conference calls and in media appearances – about the negative effect of Rush Limbaugh’s February 2012 Sandra Fluke “slut” controversy that he says is still dragging down sales at his major market news/talk stations.  As the Daily News story reports, Cumulus claimed that the high-profile controversy was responsible for lost millions in the first two quarters of 2012.  But the story quotes the Limbaugh source stating, “Dickey keeps complaining about falling revenue, but his stations have long lagged behind their competitors in sales by a substantial margin.  Rush Limbaugh’s ratings have outperformed every other program on WABC and many other Cumulus stations for years.”  The piece notes that Cumulus is not commenting on this latest salvo.  Limbaugh’s Premiere Networks contract with WABC, New York expires at the end of 2013 and with Clear Channel’s recent purchase of crosstown WOR, some industry watchers expect his program will move to WOR in 2014.

savagemichaelMichael Savage-TRN Actions Still in the Courts.  The legal activity surrounding talk radio host Michael Savage’s successful bid to free himself from his Talk Radio Network contract last fall and subsequently sign on with Cumulusmastersmark Media Networks is still in the courts.  Michael Savage celebrated a Thursday, May 2 ruling in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in which Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers upheld the arbitration panel’s decision to release him from his contract and award him $863,454 plus other money from earnings.  Responding to the ruling, Original Talk Radio Network CEO Mark Masters states, “We are appealing this ruling.  We are confident of a successful outcome for OTRN in this next round of appeals.”  Speaking to World Net Daily, Savage attorney Dan Horowitz says the case “establishes the ability of radio talent to break away from an employer like any other employee.”

becknraGlenn Beck Delivers Keynote Address at NRA Convention.  Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk radio host and television and digital media entrepreneur Glenn Beck delivered the keynote address at this year’s NRA Convention held in Houston over the weekend.  He’s pictured here during the speech holding a rifle given to him prior to an appearance in Kentucky.  His 1 hour and 40 minute presentation was far more than a typical keynote delivered from behind a podium.  Glenn Beck’s skills as a speaker and performer were clearly evident as he kept the audience rapt and engaged during what might have been an interminable amount of time to witness a lesser talented public speaker work.  The politics of his message aside and from a purely industrial standpoint, his keynote at this event was a great example of how a top-notch communicator effectively delivers a message and shows why he stands above so many of his colleagues.  See the speech here.  Glenn Beck will also be speaking at the Talkers New York 2013 industry conference (although for a shorter period of time) on Thursday, June 6 where he will be receiving the 2013 Freedom of Speech Award.

weismanstevenPhotograph Case Brings Legal Issues Home for Broadcasters.  TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says the legal issues surrounding the use of a photograph of a young man with Down Syndrome by Cox Media’s WHPT, Tampa on its website are numerous and serve as an excellent case from which broadcasters can learn.  As we reported recently, the family of the young man – Adam Holland, who was 17 when the picture of him was taken in 2004 – is suing Cox Media in federal court in Tennessee for invasion of privacy, misappropriation of a likeness, defamation, intentional infliction of emotion distress and violation of a Tennessee statute regarding commercial exploitation of a person’s photograph.  Weisman writes that photos such as the one of Adam Holland can become internet memes — images, videos, photographs or phrases that rapidly spread throughout the internet by way of search engines, social networking services, social news sites or video hosting services.  Weisman states, “Often these memes may be altered for purposes of parody of the original work, a use that is protected in accordance with a long line of court decisions.  However, other times there are serious intellectual property issues when an original work is used or adapted for commercial purposes as was the case with the use by WHPT.  While the exception to the intellectual property laws of ‘fair use’ may apply when a piece is altered and used, as often is done on the internet, for non-commercial purposes, this defense does not apply when intellectual property is used for commercial purposes.”  Read more of Weisman’s analysis of this case here.

millerchrisUsing Facebook to Turn News/Talk Radio Social Media Initiatives into a “Loyalty Content Marketing” Program:  In a new article posted today (5/6), noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chis Miller advises readers, “You can turn your social media into a ‘loyalty content marketing’ program for those ultra-passionate fans you have.”  Miller points out, “Unfortunately, just about all news/talk stations with a Facebook page have the same problem.  There’s a lot of content posted about news.  However, there is almost no content about what the talk shows are doing.  I’m sure syndication is one reason for this; if the talk host is not in the building, how are you going to know what he or she is planning to talk about, and when?  Even so, this is a problem with local talk hosts, too.  I don’t see a lot of social media content about local shows.  Those local talk host posts that I do see often don’t offer a lot of specifics.  I’m not told when to listen; I’m not told why I would want to listen; I’m not invited to engage.”  Miller shares a couple of basic but extremely valuable tips about how to use Facebook and Twitter more effectively for your news/talk station.  To read the entire article, click here.

cookehollandHolland Cooke Asks:  Do Your Station Promos Sound ‘Like Blah, Blah, Blah?’  In a new article posted today (5/6) noted radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke tackles the ever-important goal of increasing Time Spent Listening (TSL).  He says one of the keys to accomplishing this is to make effective use of station promos stating:  “Nothing we say about the station on air adds listeners, because the only people who hear promos are already listening.”  He says it is vital to think about your demos and specifically what they are doing and care about while listening when writing and producing promos.  He addresses each of these considerations in the article, concluding, “Give a listen, outside the station and outside the box.  Every time you hear your station say-something-about-itself – live format language, or produced promo — ask yourself: Will THAT cause a listener to come back again another time?”  To read Holland Cooke’s entire column, click here.

rakestrawgregIndiana Sports Broadcaster Greg Rakestraw to Program WFNI, Indianapolis.  Emmis Communications announces Indiana sports broadcaster Greg Rakestraw is the new program director for its sports talk WFNI, Indianapolis “1070 The Fan.”  The position opened up when Alan Furst left WFNI and sister news/talk WIBC-FM to join Radio One’s all-news KROI, Houston back in December.  The company upped then-WFNI PD David Wood to programmer for WIBC, leaving the slot open.  Rakestraw has worked at numerous Indianapolis stations including sports talkers WNDE and WXLW as well as at cable TV operation Home Town Sports Indiana.

deptrojohnWPRO, Providence Late-Morning Host John DePetro to Host Live Interview Series.  WPRO, Providence talk show host John DePetro is hosting a live interview series at the newly re-opened Greenwich Odeum theater in East Greenwich, Rhode Island.  On Wednesday, May 8, DePetro will host former Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri, Alex and Ani CEO Giovanni Feroce, and Father Bernie Healey, pastor of Our Lady of Mercy, who also serves as Chaplain of the Rhode Island Capitol Police.  He’ll speak with each for 30 minutes before a live audience as part of a fundraiser for the theater as all proceeds will go to the Odeum.  DePetro says he chose the three guests for their interesting background and ability to tell good stories.  He also likes the chance to facilitate a discussion before a live audience, telling the Warwick Beacon, “All of these people are very, very well skilled in the art of being good conversationalists.  I’m more of a mechanism to get them to tell their stories.  It’s been really fun to put it together with the speakers. They’ve been very receptive.”

greenbergthemessMike Greenberg Survives “The Mess.”  ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg proudly brandishes the trophy he was awarded for completing the “Mike & Mike the Mess” obstacle course at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World.  Greenberg (second from left) is pictured here with his family – wife Stacy, son Stephen and daughter Nicole – after making good on his wager with co-host Mike Golic in the “Mike & Mike Sheets of Integrity Challenge Presented by Werner Ladder.”  The annual challenge pits the two hosts against each other as they fill out their March Madness brackets prior to the annual college hoops tourney.

Jacobs Media Summer School 4 to Kick Off Conclave jacobssummerschoolLearning Conference.  The Conclave announces the high impact sessions for Jacobs Media’s Summer School 4 which kicks off the 38th annual Conclave Learning Conference on Wednesday, July 17.  Executive director Bob Shannon states, “Conclave 38 begins with what has become a tradition, the fourth annual Jacobs Media Summer School.  This year, as part of our commitment to provide ideas that folks can actually take back to work and use, we’ll learn how winners think, how great morning shows are built, and how non-media companies are using social media in ways radio has never thought of. And, that’s just the first day of this year’s Conclave.  Stay tuned for more agenda announcements this week.”  The Summer School curriculum will include: One-to-one with Jaye Albright; Talent Development; Mobile 2.0; Simply Social; Inside the Mind of Dave Hamilton; Jobs To Do and much more.  Jacobs Media president Fred Jacobs says, “We have a great lineup for this year’s Summer School, including the star power of Rockwell inductee Jaye Albright to the legendary Dave Hamilton.  Plus, the social media guru from the Mall of America – Bridget Jewell – and Target stores – Joe Curry.  And we’ll have great sessions including social media effectiveness, what’s new in mobile apps and the challenge of the ‘digital dash.’”

Can the Radio Station Overcome Smothering Debt and Become
a Viable Business Again?

| May 2, 2013

Mike Kinosian, Managing Editor
RadioInfo and Talkers

LOS ANGELES — Chalk it up to misreading the economic tealeaves or perhaps to good old-fashioned avarice, but several radio groups have fallen victim to the, “(S)he who has the most toys, wins” hypothesis.

Debt #1Monopoly Board“Winners” managing to run the board in today’s all too real game of Radio Monopoly are rewarded by becoming further ensconced in deeper, darker, debt.

Administer sodium pentothal to a cross-section of radio managers and the overwhelming majority will vociferously state that, owing to its cookie-cutter nature and mounting pressure to deliver grossly unrealistic percentages to the bottom line, the business is no longer fun. Countless executives at high-billing, strong ratings performing outlets have been unduly placed in the gut-wrenching position of laying off personnel and making other vital cutbacks – forced to share the load of paying for what could be considered out-of-control acquisition sins at the corporate level.

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Leave It To Leykis To Blow It Up

| March 19, 2013

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

mcmahonfieldmarshallLOS ANGELES — Master marketer Vince McMahon continues to build a vast “Sports Entertainment” empire largely owing to his uncanny knack of giving the “universe” of WWE fans the product they crave, a philosophy congruous with that of Massachusetts-born entrepreneur Marshall Field, who stressed that his Chicago-based department stores should, “Give the lady what she wants.”

Simon & GarfunkelThose taking heed of Messrs. McMahon and Field will – as Paul Simon & Art Garfunkel intoned in 1970 – “Keep the Customer Satisfied” (the “B” side of “Bridge over Troubled Water”).

Not only is the same applicable to an intensely entertaining and astute talk radio personality, it is his program’s cornerstone mantra.

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Keeping It Local is KSCO’s Key to Success

| March 15, 2013

By Jeff McKay
TALKERS
Special Features Correspondent

SANTA CRUZ, CA — The news/talk radio station in question is not owned by a hedge fund or multi-billion dollar conglomerate.  Their ownership group doesn’t occupy the top floors of a big-city skyscraper.  You will not see the morning or afternoon show brandishing seven-figure contracts, nor the corporate PD flying into town on the company Lear jet, or the “brand manager” moving from market to market implementing new strategies to grow the market cluster.

The fact of the matter is none of the above elements – which have become somewhat commonplace in today’s radio industry – at this station exist.

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

| March 12, 2013

podcastone logoPodcastOne to Distribute CBS Evening News.  Norm Pattiz-founded Lauchpad Digital Media’s new PodcastOne.com enters into an agreement with CBS to present the “CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley” as a podcast available at the destination website.  The PodcastOne.com site also features CBS products “CBScbseveningnews image Weekend Roundup,” “Face the Nation” and “60 Minutes.”  PodcastOne.com launched in February and the company says it is “home to over 200 popular podcasts including Adam Carolla, Dennis Miller, Ron Paul, Penn Jillette, Laura Ingraham, Maria Menounos, Tom Green, Dr. Drew and many more.”  On the deal with CBS, Pattiz states, “Anytime we can work with CBS Radio News on anything, we jump at it.  Our relationship with them at Westwood One goes back over two decades and we’re delighted to be working with them now in the on-demand digital world.”  CBS Radio News vice president Harvey Nagler says, “We are excited to work with Launchpad in expanding CBS Radio News’ on-demand audio offerings and making our newscasts available for audiences to enjoy whenever, wherever and however they like.”

radioonelogoRadio One Awards Bonuses to Founder Cathy Hughes and CEO Alfred Liggins.  In a filing with the Securities Exchange Commission, Radio One announces bonuses of $1.5 million for company CEO Alfred Liggins and $500,000 for founder Cathy Hughes.  The company’s compensation committee decided that ligginsalfredHughes’ involvement in sales activities of its One Solution division “resulted in significant advertising commitments and revenue generation.”  For Liggins, the bonus was based upon the radio division’s 2012 performance.  The committee decided that “the radio division had met its EBITDA plan for the calendar year 2012.”  The committee also noted that Liggins’ involvement in TV One – which saw revenue up 8% and the division’s EBITDA increased to approximately $40 million – was also reason for the bonus.

atsingeredSalem Communications Signs New Contract with CEO Ed Atsinger.  The new contract for CEO Ed Atsinger to continue in that role with Salem through 2016 takes effect after his current deal ends on June 30.  For the next three years, Atsinger will make base salaries of $925,000 in 2013-14, $950,000 in 2014-15, and $975,000 in 2015-16.  That contract will expire on June 30 of 2016.  As is usually the case with chief executive officers, Atsinger will be eligible for bonuses at the discretion of the board of directors.

kantar media logoRadio Ad Spending Up 3% Says Kantar Media; Network Radio Up 16%.  The figures for ad spending across all media according to research from Kantar Media were recently released and, according to the company, radio ad spending was up 4% in the fourth quarter of 2012 and up 3% for the whole of 2012.  For the year, local radio spending was flat; national spot radio was up 3% and network radio – despite a down fourth quarter (-2%) – was up 16%.  National spot radio spending enjoyed a very good Q4 – up 8%.  Kantar Media North America chief research officer Jon Swallen comments on ad spending across all media.  “The advertising market has grown for three consecutive years and in 2012 it added more than $4 billion in spend, with the Summer Olympics and political advertising contributing about one-half of the gain.  Large advertisers also played a significant role.  After reducing their media budgets in 2011 as a precaution against slowing economic growth, the top 100 marketers reversed course in 2012 and invested more.”

limbaughrushOn the Nashville Talk Radio Scene, Premiere Networks Begs to Differ.  Last week TALKERS ran an item from WWTN, Nashville-based talk host Phil Valentine in which he claims to have the highest-cuming talk show in the marketvalentinephil based on the Arbitron Fall 2012 survey and beats  Premiere Networks hosts Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck.  Premiere tells TALKERS that, while technically that’s true, the claim is misleading.  The company states, “Valentine has five more hours of programming per week than Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity, and 10 more hours of programming than Glenn Beck — a key factor in Cume calculations; Rush has a larger Average Quarter Hour, Share and TSL; Valentine is on the FM dial during PM Drive in his home market; not only are they in different dayparts, but the Avg. Weekly Cume for the market is also greater during PM Drive than it is for 11:00 am to 2:00 pm; the PUR is also greater.”

grahammichaelTalk Host Michael Graham Announces Digital Initiatives.  Talk radio personality Michael Graham – who spent the past seven years hosting a show at Greater Media’s former news/talk WTKK, Boston – announces a new digital component to his brand to coincide with his recently announced Massachusetts-wide show heard on three Bay State signals.  Graham says his show is now able to be heard online and via smartphones through an app available at his site MichaelGraham.com.  That’s also where he’s operating his blog.

harrisonmichaelMichael Harrison Talks Candidly About Radio and its Future on WNYM (970 The Answer), New York.  In an interview conducted by weekend talk show host Frank Morano (morning host Curtis Sliwa‘s executive producer) this past Saturday morning (3/9), TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison discusses his views on the state and future of AM/FM radio.  In it Harrison states that the longevity of what is increasingly being marginalized as “terrestrial radio” will be determined by its broadcasters themselves and their dedication to preserving its legacy and pertinence to life in the 21st century.  Harrison offers his unfiltered remedy for radio’s problems and offers a simple-but-powerful formula for its continued relevance.  To hear Frank Morano’s interview with Michael Harrison click

 
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wachspawnstarDr. Daliah Wachs Becomes a Pawn Star!  Las Vegas-based medical doctor and nationally syndicated talk show host Daliah Wachs appeared on the March 11 edition of History Channel’s super-successful “Pawn Stars” show.  She’s pictured here with the show’s Rick Harrison during a break in the shoot.  During the program Daliah brought in an old pair of dental pliers used for tooth extraction and sold it for $170.  Members of the TALKERS editorial board who saw the show last night raved that Daliah was “articulate, charming, and her adorable self.”

KKOBbreakingbadBreaking Bad at KKOB.  Stars of the AMC hit series “Breaking Bad” visited Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque – the city in which the quirky and compelling series is set – to discuss the show’s final season and much more.  Pictured here are (from l-r): actor Bryan Cranston, who plays protagonist Walter White; actor Steven Michael Quezada, who plays DEA agent Steven Gomez; KKOB morning show host Bob Clark; and morning show producer Jeniffer Davis.

North Korea Threats, New York Soda Ban Stayed, Unemployed and Job Seekers Down, Papal Conclave, Washington Sequester Battle and Funding of ObamaCare Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/11).  North Korea’s nuclear threats and dismissal of 1953 truce; New York Mayor Bloomberg’s sugary drinks ban hits judicial roadblock; unemployment figures down along with numbers of unemployed still seeking work; the search for a new Pope; the ongoing battle in Washington over the sequester; and Republican funding attacks on the Affordable Care Act were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Smerconish: Canary in Talk Radio’s
Coal Mine?

| March 11, 2013

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

BLOCK ISLAND — To local radio talkers, syndication is The Promised Land.  So when an accomplished, high-profile personality relinquishes his hard-won 80-affiliate roster to migrate to satellite radio, my phone rings.  I’m being asked:

  • Should I pitch his affiliates?  Should I pitch his network?
  • Should I try to get on SiriusXM?
  • IS it over?

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

| February 20, 2013

cclogoClear Channel Media and Entertainment Up 4% in Q4 of 2012; Premiere National Sales Down.  The Media and Entertainment division of CC Media Holdings was up 4% in the fourth quarter of 2012 on revenue of $821.5 million.  But that figure was helped greatly by the $40 million in political advertising the division realized.   Otherwise it would have been down by as much as $9 million.  During yesterday’s conference call with analysts, CFO Tom Casey also said, “We increased national advertising sales by 17% over last year’s fourth quarter, or 3% caseytomexcluding political, and local revenues grew 5%.  We also saw a nice lift in revenue from digital, with our listening hours up 68% over the fourth quarter of 2011, fueled by increased iHeartRadio usage, which reached 118 million total listening hours in December.”  But both Premiere Networks and the Total Traffic Network had down fourth quarters and are off to sluggish starts in 2013.  The company does not break down specific numbers for these divisions.  Casey did say Total Traffic Network is still struggling with the merger of Metro Networks.  As for Premiere, he simply said national sales were weak for the division.  For the full year of 2012 Casey reported, “Media and Entertainment revenues grew 3% to $3.1 billion.  National revenue rose 9%, driven by both our new national advertising efforts and political.  Local revenue was up 2% for the year.  Our top advertising categories were auto and telecommunications.  Political advertising reached $70 million for the year.”

limbaughrushRush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to Remain on WABC, New York – for Now.  During yesterday’s CC Media Holdings conference call with analysts, chief financial officer Tom Casey did not give specifics when asked about thehannitysean much-speculated-upon move of Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh from his current and longtime home at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York to Clear Channel’s crosstown WOR.  But he did say, “No decisions have been made…we’re working through our options.”  Contracts with WABC for both Limbaugh and Sean Hannity run through the end of 2013 and it doesn’t appear CC is preparing to exercise the 90-out clause and move the shows to WOR.  Still, the option to move them to WOR in January of 2014 after their deals with WABC end must seem like a nice, clean way of doing it – if that is the company’s ultimate goal.

salkmikeSports Talk in Boston Is “Its Own Breed.”  That’s the sentiment from sports talk personality Mike Salk, who is preparing to return to his native Boston to join Michael Holley for the PM drive shift on Entercom’s WEEI in mid-March. He says he can’t say enough about the people of Seattle and how much he’s enjoyed his time at Bonneville’s KIRO-AM co-hosting with Brock Huard.  But he also says, “The passion and intensity of Boston sports fans – the frustration when things don’t go as they’d like – those things are different in Boston than anywhere else in the country.”  Salk will fill the void in the afternoon show that opened whenholleymichael longtime Boston sports personality Glenn Ordway was let go from the station last week.  Salk tells TALKERS the fact that Boston is such an intense sports town helps make WEEI “the gold standard for sports radio.  It’s why people have always talked about it as one of the biggest sports stations, if not the biggest and most important sports station in the country.”  Salk says the opportunity to work in his hometown at WEEI is one thing, but the goal is to capitalize on it and he’s excited about working with Michael Holley.  “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to talk sports with him every day.  Not just talk sports but ‘banter.’  That’s the fun thing about sports radio, it’s not always arguing, it’s not always angry or fighting; I think of it more as bantering – two guys going back and forth with a smile on their faces.  Sometimes it gets heated, sometimes it’s just straight fun, but it’s banter.”  Salk is a rabid Boston Bruins fan and he says he’s looking forward to getting back to a hockey town.  “It’s in wolfejasonmy blood.  I grew up watching those games.”  Salk and Huard helped build the midday show at KIRO-AM to the point they hit the #1 mark in men 25-54 last September.  He’s been a part of the ESPN Radio network since 2007, hosting “SportsCenter Saturday” and serving as a regular fill-in host over the past few years.  Prior to going to Seattle in 2009 he worked for ESPN 890 in Boston (WAMG) for four years co-hosting middays with Bob Halloran.  Vice president of programming Jason Wolfe says, “Mike Salk has a proven record of success, and I couldn’t be more excited to bring him back home to Boston.  He’s a very skilled broadcaster, a fun personality and a passionate sports fan.  I’m really looking forward to the new dynamic that he and Michael Holley will provide on a daily basis.”

wfni logoEmmis Adds FM Translator to Sports WFNI, Indianapolis Brand.  The translator W298BB at 107.5 FM is simulcasting part of sister WFNI-AM’s programming but is carrying ESPN Radio’s midday programming of Colin Cowherd and SVP & Russillo from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.  In a statement, Emmis Indianapolis SVP and market manager Charlie Morgan says, “The launch of ‘FM 107.5 The Fan’ demonstrates Emmis’ deep commitment to making ‘The Fan’ Indy’s dominant sports brand.  Given that Emmis is credited with creating the first sports talk station in the United States, it only seems fitting that we would deliver the city’s first FM sports station to Indy’s sports-loving fans.”

niewkathleenIllinois Attorney and Radio Host Found Liable in Missing Money Case.  Illinois attorney Kathleen Niew, her husband and her law firm were found partially liable in DuPage County Court for the some $2.3 million that a local couple claims Niew misappropriated.  Niew hosts a brokered financial advice program on Salem Communications’ WIND, Chicago.  The couple, Jamal and Leda Khoury, deposited the money in an account controlled by Niew.  According to the Chicago Tribune, her former attorney stated in court filings that the Niews are victims of the same crime as a third party is responsible for the missing money.

wtoplogoOdds & Sods.  Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington reports a big January in the Arbitron PPMs.  Vice president of news and programming Jim Farley says the station went up dramatically from January a year ago in the 25-54 demo.  He also says, “WTOP is # 1 25-54 full week and both drives, #2 nights and #3 middays and weekends.  Note the incredible 11.4 share in persons 25-54 in morning drive and the even more eye-popping 14.4 women 25-54.  Full week we’re also # 1 with women 25-54 and I give the credit on that to WTOP PD Laurie Cantillo.”…..In another note from WTOP, the station announces it is adding Wall Street Journal Network news anchor Joan Jones to its roster of news anchors.  Jones has been a network business anchor for Dow Jones/Wall Street Journal Radio Network since 2008, writing and anchoring network broadcasts and customized business updates for major market stations.  Prior to joining WSJ, Jones was the morning news anchor at WPHT in Philadelphia and the morning co-host of “Chris and JJ” on Philly’s B101.  She states, “What an honor to join this legacy radio station and to work alongside the best in the business.”…..WFLA, Tampa-based news anchor Martin Giles is retiring from Clear Channel on March 1.  In a report from the Tampa Bay Times, the 76-year-old Giles says he’s leaving the place he’s been for 28 years due to the workload where the company requires them to do news for Orlando, Jacksonville, Tallahassee and other markets as well.  “It’s an overload of work they were handing us.  I’ve had a little trouble with it…I am really worn out when I go home on Friday.”…..The Heritage Foundation-produced “Istook Live!” talk show – hosted by former Oklahoma Congressman Ernest Istook – adds C.J. Wheeler as co-host and executive producer.  In the additional role of executive producer, Wheeler will oversee the show’s content across radio, digital and TV platforms.

Sequestration/Deficit Reduction, Gun Control Issue, Immigration Reform, Soaring Gas Prices, and Oscar Pistorius Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/19).  The Washington battle over who’s responsible for the looming sequestration; the ongoing dialog over new gun control measures; the Obama Administration’s policy on immigration reform; the fast-rising prices at the pump; and the murder case of Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Hey Bad Guys – Watch Out!

| February 5, 2013

TALKERS Spotlight: THE WATCHDOGS

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

LOS ANGELES —  Contrasted to national talk radio hosts who can sometimes get deeply mired in a monotonous right against left (or vice versa) onslaught, many of their local counterparts emerge as bona fide folk heroes for standing up against a coterie of injustices inflicted on their fellow residents.

Actions taken by this band of “watchdogs,” in the overwhelming number of instances, have nothing to do with political leanings or a partisan playbook.

johnandkencarrhowieLegendary for rooting out the “bad guys,” afternoon talk hosts “John & Ken” (John Kobylt & Ken Champiou) expose what they consider dirty dealings to their very large audience on Los Angeles’ KFI.  Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, WRKO, Boston’s Howie Carr is a thorn in the side of the “powers that be” in New England.  Everywhere in between, intense professional satisfaction comes when they go toe-to-toe with pit bull-like tenacity against the establishment. In that same sort of imagery, “hold their feet to the fire” has actually become a talk radio slogan as on-air talents attempt to expose and defeat “the bad guys.”

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Peacock Sports Network Playing The Hits

| January 3, 2013

Part Two of a Special Feature

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
LOS ANGELES — As sure as 2013 has arrived, personal resolutions have been made, and a plethora of prognostications will bombard us.

crystalball130Equally as predictable is that not long into this brand new year, those well-meaning self-promises will be severely compromised, and one’s forecasting ability becomes cloudy-looking, at best.

Here, however, is something that could actually be a trend this year: Don’t be surprised if clusters with multiple talk stations jettison one of those signals to sports.

Associated with that, we very well might witness a spate of under-performing (primarily talk) outlets transition to sports.

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Friday, December 21, 2012

| December 21, 2012

wor710WOR, New York Eliminates Air Staff as Clear Channel Takes Over.  Yesterday, WOR, New York began making changes to its staffing – both on-air and off – in preparation for Clear Channel Media and brownejoyEntertainment’s takeover of the station a couple of months after the $30 million purchase of the venerable New York City signal.  Buckley Broadcasting CEO Joe Bilotta announced that CC’s acquisition of the station patersondavidhas officially closed and he thanked the station’s employees for their service.  The air staff we know are out include Dr. Joy Browne, PM drive host and former New York Governor David Paterson, and the news staff.  Syndicated programs that have been dropped immediately include: Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher, Talk Radio Network’s Jerry Doyle and Cumulus Media NetworksMike Huckabee.  Those local talent still with the station as of today (12/21) include morning host John Gambling and midday host Joan Hamburg.  Nationally syndicated Dave Ramsey is also still listed on the station’s program schedule.  Off the air, WOR Radio Network director of affiliate relations Willis Damalt has been let go.  Governor Paterson appeared on the Curtis Sliwa morning program on Salem Communications‘ crosstown WNYM “970 The Answer” to talk about the changes. Hear his discussion with Sliwa by clicking below.

For users on a mobile device, click here.

kalz logoClear Channel Officially Announces New Fresno Talk Combo; Jay Bohannon Named PD.  That Clear Channel was going to flip an FM music outlet in the Fresno market to talk is not news; Peak Broadcasting received notice Premiere Networks was exercising its out-clause on such shows as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity earlier in the fall, so the clues were not hard to follow.  Now, the company bohannonjayannounces hot AC KALZ, Fowler “Alice 96.7” and sports talk KRZR, Visalia will become “Power Talk 96.7 FM/1400 AM” on January 1.  The program schedule includes Limbaugh, Hannity, Glenn Beck, “America Now” with Andy Dean, and “Coast to Coast AM” with George Noory, plus local host Bill Manders from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm and Talk Radio Network’s Jerry Doyle.  The company also welcomes back program director Jay Bohannon who previously programmed its WPGB, Pittsburgh.  Company regional programming manager Tony Banks says, “We have assembled top-notch talent behind the mic and behind-the-scenes with program director Jay Bohannon, who is one of the premiere news/talk programmers in the country.  He has a proven track record of winning in every market he has led.”

wnox logoJournal Broadcast Group Adds News/Talk WNOX, Knoxville to Its Cluster.  Milwaukee-based Journal Broadcast Group buys news/talk WNOX, Knoxville from Oak Ridge FM, Inc. for an undisclosed amount, adding the outlet to its three-station cluster there.  Prior to Citadel Broadcasting’s filing for bankruptcy protection in December of 2009, it operated WNOX under an LMA from Oak Ridge.  In 2010, Citadel gave up operation of the station and Oak Ridge resumed control.  No word on if or when Journal will take over under an LMA.  The sale must go through the usual FCC approval process.

mccullough truth netDoing Good for Christmas.  XtreMedia CEO Kevin McCullough (r) sits in Truth Broadcasting Corporation’s the Truth Network studios in Winston-Salem, North Carolina with an unidentified host as he broadcasts across the Truth Network to affiliate stations working to reach the Do Good Christmas goal of supporting 800 orphans for the next year.  TALKERS has written previously about McCullough’s Do Good charity developed to raise funds to assist orphans across the globe.  On Thursday, McCullough spent some 18 hours on the radio, across numerous formats, working to attain the goal.  He appeared on the “Truth Network” along with News/Talk AM 980 “The Eagle” and “The Light” Black Gospel Music Network to attempt to feed 800 Orphans for the entirety of 2013.  He says, “They had me hoppin’ formats and stations for what seemed like every fifteen minutes.  But it was worth it to know that 800 children in Africa and Central America in particular are going to be fed this Christmas and all through next year until Christmas 2013 because of the efforts.”  McCullough hosts his own daily radio talk show, a weekend program with actor Stephen Baldwin called “Baldwin/McCullough LIVE.”  His company also produces the Dani Johnson radio show as well as the national television syndication for “Hannah Help Me” hosted by Hannah Keeley.

patrickmattHoliday Fill-In Work for Matt Patrick.  Talk host Matt Patrick – AM drive on KTRH, Houston and PM drive on KPRC, Houston – will fill in for Bill Cunningham on his Premiere Networks nationally syndicated Sunday evening show on Sunday, December 30.

FSNmohrpetrosmoneyFox Sports Radio’s Petros & Money Take Over ‘NFL on Fox’ Studios.  The nationally syndicated, Los Angeles-based Petros & Money show – hosted by Petros Papadakis and Matt “Money” Smith – broadcast a special program before a live, studio audience of contest winners on the set of television’s “NFL on Fox” program.  Pictured here are Smith (l) and Papadakis (r) welcoming new Fox Sports Radio host Jay Mohr (c) to the network.  Joining Petros & Money on this show were special guests Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long, Jay Glazer, “UFC Tonight” star Leeann Tweeden and the first-ever female UFC fighter Ronda Rousey.

 

Gun Law Changes Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of December 17-21.  The national debate over making changes to the gun laws in the U.S. was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, pushing the “fiscal cliff” issue off the top where it’s been for the past four weeks.  Coming in at #2 were the mental health care system tied with the aftermath of the Newtown massacre.  At #3 was the “fiscal cliff” negotiations and following at #4 was the Benghazi-State Department report.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week.  It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

| December 20, 2012

obamabarackPresidential Election Tops List of Most-Discussed Stories on News/Talk Radio in 2012.  Obama is Most Talked-About Person.  According to TALKERS magazine’s tabulations, the Presidential Election ranks as the most-talked-about story of 2012 on the nation’s news/talk radio stations and programs.  According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “It isn’t even close.  The election stood out far and away as a topic in its own right, as well as a catalyst for so many of the other subjects that comprise the meat and potatoes of news/talk conversation ranging from economics to foreign policy to personality gossip.  It is difficult to track and calculate a list of this nature because stories and subjects overlap and play into and off of each other.  The presidential race is both an ongoing process and then a climactic event that brings so many different issues into play; it permeates the very fiber of what this format is all about.”   Casey adds, “Interestingly, there is so much overlap and interplay between stories that even with the effort to sort them out individually certain stories are so connected that we list them as ties in the Top 10 – such as the connection between the so called Fiscal Cliff and Euro Zone Troubles, or the Benghazi Attack and the Petraeus-Broadwell Scandal.”

The following are the 10 most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio in 2012:

1)      2012 Presidential Election

2)      ‘Fiscal Cliff’/Euro Zone Troubles

3)      SCOTUS ObamaCare Decision

4)      Benghazi Attack/Petraeus-Broadwell Scandal

5)      Newtown Massacre/Aurora Theater Slayings

6)      Syria Revolt/Egypt Instability

7)      Rush Limbaugh “Slut” Controversy

8)      Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Ambitions

9)      Trayvon Martin Case

10)    Hurricane Sandy

Other major news/talk radio topics worthy of mention include the Wisconsin Recall Election, the “Fast and Furious” Investigation, the Sandusky Trial and the Facebook IPO.

President Barack Obama tops the TALKERS list of the most-talked-about people on news/talk radio in 2012 which according to limbaughrushKevin Casey is no surprise: “The President of the United States has topped this survey in all of the 22 years that TALKERS magazine has been conducting it – election year or not.  This includes George Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.”  It is interesting to note that Rush Limbaugh is on this year’s list – not the first time it has happened – indicating what a huge newsmaker the format’s most-listened-to-player is in addition to being someone who talks about key figures.  According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “The colorful people who perform on this great stage love to talk about the medium itself.  Limbaugh, of course, is constantly in the news and has long been an ongoing topic as well as talker.  Others who fit this bill over many years include Howard Stern, Michael Savage, Don Imus and Dr. Laura Schlessinger to name the standouts. They sure do bring a lot to the table.”

The following are the 10 most-talked-about people on news/talk radio in 2012.  Note, in cases in which two people are intrinsically connected in terms of the story in which they were co-players, they are listed as tied for their position:

1)      Barack Obama

2)      Mitt Romney

3)      John Boehner

4)      Hillary Clinton

5)      John Roberts

6)      David Petraeus/Paula Broadwell

7)      Christopher Stevens/Susan Rice

8)      Adam Lanza/James Holmes

9)      Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman

10)    Rush Limbaugh/Sandra Fluke

tantarosandreaTRN Entertainment Debuts the Andrea Tantaros Show in January.  National talk programming syndicator Talk Radio Network Entertainment announces it is bringing political commentator, syndicated columnist and Fox News Channel personality Andrea Tantaros to the radio for a three-hour program to air live in the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET slot formerly held by Laura Ingraham.  Tantaros is a co-host of the popular FNC program, “The Five.”  TRNE describes the program saying it “will engage listeners who want to be informed and entertained with smart, edgy, and funny but matterajasonresponsible commentary on politics, pop culture, Wall Street and entertainment.  The show is designed to attract the broadcast spectrum of listeners profitably for its station affiliates.”  Tantaros will be joined by Jason Mattera, a two-time New York Times best-selling author, the youngest editor of a national periodical, Human Events, and the host of “The Jason Mattera Show” on weekends at WABC in New York.  TRNE CEO Mark Masters says, “In a post 2008–2009 economy, we have been seeking shows that are highly entertaining, yet responsible and profitable for our station affiliates and advertisers.  Andrea has the ability to do both.  She’s a fresh voice who will inject new energy to the airwaves.”  Tantaros says she’s delighted to partner with TRN on this project.  “They’re the best in the business at making sure affiliates and audiences get hard-hitting and informative commentary that keeps them coming back for more.  I promise you this: it’s going to be fun.”

DG-logoHorizontalLaunchpad Digital Media and Dial Global Partner for Podcast Programming.  This deal gives Dial Global an avenue for podcasting from its talent pool – Dennis Miller, “Loveline,” Billy BushCharles Osgood, country programming, DG Sports and NBC Sports Radio – via the Courtside Entertainment digital division Launchpad Digital Media.  Dial Global co-CEO Spencer Brown states, “Defining great media means delivering the highest quality content to the largest launchpad logobrownspenceraudience.  This new partnership with Launchpad Digital Media significantly augments Dial Global’s capability to do both by opening new creative avenues for top talent and new doors for advertisers to access the widening on-demand podcast audience.”  Courtside Entertainment founder and Launchpad chairman Norm Pattiz says, “Since we announced our move into podcasting the response has been off the charts.  The partnership between Kit Gray and Courtside establishes Launchpad with a proven track record of revenue generating success.  We have now added new programming which is currently delivering over 90 million downloads per month, including our deal with Dial Global.  We are excited to partner with Dial Global to bring some of the most well-known and trusted brands in sports, news and entertainment to the growing roster of Launchpad podcast offerings.”

kinosianmikeNovember Was Very Good to All-News Radio.  Arbitron’s November PPM data was, in general, very good to the nation’s all-news outlets.  Recently, TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian detailed his analysis of news/talk’s November PPM data, concluding it was generally a very good month for that format.  Here, Kinosian runs the numbers for major all-news outlets and gives four-month trends for those stations.  See his analysis of the nation’s all-news stations here.

kmjlogoKMJ-AM/FM, Fresno Names John Broeske and Jennifer Lipp Midday Partners.  Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno announces a new local talk program that will air from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm on both KMJ-AM and KMJ-FM, beginning January 2.  The John and Jen show will feature current KMJ-FM morning drive host Jennifer Lipp (who will continue to host the 6:00 am to 8:00 am program) and longtime Fresno market radio lippjenpro John Broeske.  A release from KMJ says Broeske has been a talk host, programmer, manager and consultant.  He led the station from 1987 to 2007, “directing it to the leadership position that continues to this day.”  KMJ and Peak Broadcasting SVP Patty Hixson says, “There is simply no better choice for this important time slot than the merger of two of the biggest names in Central California radio…they will bring their extensive experience and name recognition to a broad-based, advertiser-friendly show that will be a big success on KMJ for years to come.”  Operations manager Skip Essick adds, “The John and Jen show will be a fast-paced, topical, entertaining view of life in Central California as lived by two people who know the area very well.  From politics to pop culture, local or national, if it matters to the Central Valley, it will be covered by John and Jen on KMJ every day.”

pinkusgeoffWCKG, Chicago Adds Geoff Pinkus for Middays.  Suburban talk outlet WCKG, Elmhurst, Illinois announces local personality Geoff Pinkus will host the midday show on “The Voice of DuPage County” beginning January 7.  In a press release, Pinkus states, “For years I was told I’d get a daily show ‘when hell freezes over!’  The Twinkie is gone.  The Mayan calendar is ending…and now WCKG finally decides to hire me?  Coincidence?  Maybe.  All I know is I’ve got some storable food, water stockpiles, good cigars, and a microphone ready.  Starting January 7, 11:00 am, we’re rockin’ the suburbs.  We’re going to have fun on the radio again with real people.”  WCKG airs “Mancow in the Morning,” and Dan Patrick among other syndicated programs.

jonesadamCBS Radio’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” Tabs Adam Jones for Evening Show.  With the departure of Damon Amendolara to CBS Radio Sports Network to host his “D.A. Show” in the overnight slot on the network, CBS Boston woos Adam Jones away from ESPN to take over the 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm program on “98.5 The Sports Hub.”  Jones had been working for ESPN Radio handling a fill-in role and hosting the online Adam Jones show.  Before that he had been working with WBZ-FM as a fill-in host and co-hosting a weekend show with Boston sports writer Dan Shaughnessy.  CBS Radio Boston vice president of programming Mike Thomas says, “It’ll be great to have Adam back at ‘The Sports Hub.’  We had a lot of very good candidates apply for this job, but with his previous work here and the experience he gained after leaving ‘The Sports Hub,’ Adam was the clear choice.  Damon did a fantastic job coming into this market and hosting the evening show.  I’m confident Adam can pick up where D.A. left off and continue to grow the audience.”

nielsen logoNon-Subscriber Station Exec Speaks His Mind on Arbitron/Nielsen Merger.  Fred Lundgren, CEO of talker KCAA, Yoma Linda, California, hopes that Nielsen will change what he describes as thearbitron “exclusionary methodology” of Arbitron.  In an opinion piece posted today (12/20) in TALKERS, Lundgren writes, “Moreover, let’s hope Nielsen’s acquisition will lead to comprehensive listener surveys across all platforms, which will add value to our industry, rather than further draining resources from traditional media already stagnated by the economy and over-consolidation.”  In a biting commentary, Lundgren asks, “According to Arbitron, nobody listens to KCAA.  Are we to believe that KCAA has no listeners to any of 50-plus locally produced, weekly programs on subjects ranging from a vegan lifestyle to marijuana legalization?  According to Arbitron, no one listens to any broadcaster on KCAA, not even Roseanne Barr, Joyce Riley, Don Imus, Dave Ramsey, Alex Jones or Ed Schultz.   Read Fred Lundgren’s article here.

noorygeorgePremiere Networks’ George Noory Hosts “End of the World” Show Friday.  With the ancient Mayan calendar possibly predicting the end of the world on Friday the 21st, “Coast to Coast AM” personality George Noory is hosting a special “End of the World” edition of his program.  The show will feature a number of special guests and experts, including author/prophecy expert John Hogue and author/lecturer/aerospace engineer Mike Bara, who will share their predictions, in addition to conversations with listeners.  Noory shared his own doomsday prediction in a December 19 Huffington Post story in which he states, “Any calamity that might occur doesn’t affect one, it affects all of us, and we’ll get through it together as a team, one way or another.”

hayworthjdTalk Host J.D. Hayworth Keeps Busy This Holiday Season.  Former Arizona Congressman and talk radio pro J.D. Hayworth is all over the radio this holiday season on a series of fill-in gigs.  Hayworth tells TALKERS magazine he’s sitting in on the morning show at Clear Channel’s “Rush Radio” in North Carolina – WPTI, Greensboro and WRDU, Raleigh – December 26 – 31.  He’ll be in afternoon drive on Cumulus’ KABC, Los Angeles December 24 – 28 (with a break on Christmas Day).  Plus, he’ll sit in for Mike Huckabee on his national program December 26 – 28 and January 2 – 4.  Additional appearances include guest stints at KSFO, San Francisco; WLS, Chicago; and WMAL, Washington…as well as continuing fill-in work in Philly on WPHT.

tuneinlogoTuneIn Adds 18 Broadcasters to the Service.  Digital content aggregator TuneIn announces it has signed deals with 18 more broadcasters to distribute their programming via TuneIn’s global digital application.  New broadcasters include Doug Stephan’s “Good Day” program, Motley Fool Radio, Progressive Voices and others.  The company states, “This news comes at a period of continued growth and momentum for TuneIn, which has 40 million monthly active listeners, 70,000 AM, FM, HD and Internet radio stations and more than two million on-demand programs streaming from every continent.  As part of these alliances, TuneIn will provide each broadcaster with access to free, industry-leading tools, such as analytics through TuneIn Amplifier, and access to the audio service’s ad platform.”

Gun Law Changes, Mental Health Care System, ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Debate, Benghazi-State Department Report, and Mayan ‘Doomsday’ Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/19).  The debate over changes to America’s gun laws; discussion about mental health care and screenings in the U.S.; the debate in Washington over avoiding the “fiscal cliff”; the report on the State Department’s handling of the Libya situation; and the Mayan calendar’s “end of the world” prediction were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

You’re Fired? Timing is Everything.

| December 11, 2012

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — If you haven’t already noticed, you’ve got to see this.  Grab a copy of USA Today.  Any day will do, but it has to be the newsstand hard copy.  No digital version will work.

Radio is reeling from another Clear Channel bloodbath, just in time for Christmas.  It wasn’t the first, it won’t be the last, and it’s not just Clear Channel.  But heartless timing.  The nerve of ‘em.

In the words of Eric Stratton, Rush Chairman: “Let me tell you the story of another loser…”

Read More

Friday, December 7, 2012

| December 7, 2012

Broad Cuts at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Claim Talk and Sports Staffers.  The end-of-the-year cuts taking place within Clear Channel is claiming numerous people in the programming end of the company’s radio stations.  Some of the talk and sports personnel who’ve been let go include:  Eric Chase, afternoons at sports WDFN, Detroit; Rich (Michaels) Minaya, afternoons, talk WIOD, Miami; Josh Sabrowsky, producer, sports KJR-AM, Seattle; Mike Morris, morning co-host, sports KFXN, Minneapolis; Don Ayers, morning producer, talk KOGO, San Diego and Jeff More, afternoon producer, KOGO; Steve Versnick, program director, talk WFLA, Tampa, and sports WDAE, Tampa; Catherine Brown, program director, talk WTKS, Orlando; “Bull,” midday producer, WTKS; and “Cabin Boy,” nights, WTKS.  This list is not necessarily complete as more reports of affected industry people are still coming in.  We’ll continue to update this list as more information becomes available.

Day 2 from the Arbitron Client Conference.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke covered the two-day Arbitron Client Conference for TALKERS that concluded yesterday (12/6).  Three points that dominated yesterday’s discussions and presentations are – as Cooke describes them – scary talk about in-car, straight talk about sports, and plain talk about politics.  Read Holland Cooke’s report from Annapolis here.

Entercom’s WEEI, Boston Names Kevin Winter AM Drive Sports Anchor.  When Jon Meterperel left the Dennis & Callahan morning drive show on Entercom’s WEEI, Boston earlier this fall to pursue his play-by-play career, that opened up a prime sports anchor/on-air role at the sports talk giant.  Now, Entercom announces Massachusetts native Kevin Winter will serve in that role.  Winter worked at the crosstown Boston ESPN affiliate and has served in a variety of studio host capacities including national SportsCenter anchor for all ESPN Radio shows including “Mike and Mike in the Morning.”  Additionally, he has been the pre- and post-game host for ESPN’s coverage of college football and basketball.  He says, “I’m very grateful and excited for the opportunity to join WEEI, particularly ‘Dennis and Callahan.’  This opportunity presents new and exciting challenges for me and I’m anxious and ready to get started.  I’m coming home!”

Rush Limbaugh’s Two If By Tea Initiative Raises More than $1 Million for Charity.  Nationally syndicated talk radio star Rush Limbaugh announces the charitable efforts of his Two If By Tea product initiative have surpassed his goal of $100,000 by 10 times, with $1 million going to charities including the Marine Corps – Law Enforcement Foundation.  Limbaugh, who started the tea company with his wife Kathryn in June of 2011, says, “We ran the numbers, and we are thrilled to announce that because of you, Two If By Tea has donated over $1 million in product and monetary donations to incredible causes.”  Limbaugh says in starting the tea company he wanted to create an American business.  “I personally wanted to experience firsthand all of the requirements, the licenses, the fees needed to take a product to market from nothing.  Our goal was to create jobs and manufacture with all American-made products in a fun, unique way.”

Steve Deace Show Hits 50-Affiliate Mark.  The Iowa-based Steve Deace program announces it has hit the 50-affiliate goal in its first year in national syndication.  With the addition of KXBR, Duluth; KVOI, Tucson; and WYAB, Jackson, Mississippi, Deace’s independently syndicated evening talk show (9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET) climbs to the 50-station plateau.  Deace left his position at Clear Channel’s WHO, Des Moines (the station that remains his flagship affiliate) to pursue his goal of national syndication success.  He states, “I am honored and humbled to have achieved such success in such a short time.  When I left the award-winning and legendary WHO last year to find out what other opportunities were out there, I had no idea this was possible.”

Jeff Schechtman Steps Down at Wine Country’s KVON and KVYN, Napa, California.  With the possible sale of the news/talk and hot AC duo on the horizon, Wine Country Broadcasting owner Roger Walther and general manager Jeff Schechtman jointly announce Schechtman will step down from his role as GM in January to pursue other opportunities.  Schechtman states, “Ten years is a long time in any one job, and with the possible potential sale of the station, it seems an ideal time to move on to pursue some projects I’ve been thinking about for quite some time. There is always a tendency to get stale after too long in one job and in one place.”

Gow Communications Closes on KFNC, Houston.  Sports talk station 97.5 The Ticket has been operated by David Gow’s Gow Communications under an LMA since September.  Now, the company closes on the station it purchases from AR Broadcast Holdings for $5 million.

CBS Sports Radio Names Chris Moore and Brian Jones Evening Hosts.  The national sports radio network CBS Radio will debut on January 2 has been fitted with the final piece of the programming puzzle.  Hosting the 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET slot will be veteran play-by-play announcer and talk host Chris Moore and former NFL player and current CBS Sports Network analyst Brian Jones, who have been named as co-hosts of CBS Sports Radio’s evening show.  Their program will emanate from CBS Sports Radio’s New York City studio in Tribeca and will be heard on several stations, including WIP-AM, Philadelphia, WFOM, Atlanta, WXYT-AM, Detroit, WJZ-AM, Baltimore, KJQS, Salt Lake City and WSJZ, Orlando.

‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 3-7.  The political fight in Washington over how to avoid the “fiscal cliff” was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM for the third straight week.  Coming in at #2 was Syria’s chemical weapons threat.  At #3 was the Egypt Morsi protests and following at #4 was the looming ObamaCare costs.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers .com.  See this week’s complete chart here.

Talk Must Expand Beyond Politics to Survive

| November 19, 2012

By Doug Stephan
Stephan MultiMeda

 

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. — Reading the statements by Spencer Brown at Dial Global about what has happened to the advertising agencies’ attitudes toward controversial programming gives me cause to want to add my perspective as an independent producer with almost 25 years of syndicated radio experience…pretty much the same amount of time as Rush Limbaugh.

First and foremost, I’m a champion of and cheerleader for the format.  But what is represented here is the same quandary that faces the Republican Party…relevance.

Read More

Friday, November 16, 2012

| November 16, 2012

Rush Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke Comments Cited in Dial Global’s SEC Filing.  Talk radio has long been saddled with the label of “controversial programming” that makes it a difficult sell on the national level.  Agencies have numerous other marketing options through which clients can get out their message.  Especially for family-oriented goods and services, why take a chance on “controversial programming?”  But Rush Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke comments last March brought renewed bad PR to the format and, as was discussed at both of TALKERS magazine’s New Media Seminars this year (June in NYC and October in Los Angeles), the scarlet letter weighs heavy upon the talk radio business.  So much so that Dial Global – in reporting to the SEC – cited Limbaugh (not by name) as part of the reason the company is taking a $67.2 million impairment charge.  Here’s what the company says: “We normally perform the required impairment testing of goodwill on an annual basis in December of each year.  As a result of several factors, which had a significant impact on our fourth quarter bookings and sales, we performed an interim analysis of our goodwill carrying value as required by ASC 350, Intangibles-Goodwill and Other.  We believe our 2012 results were adversely impacted by, among other things, late cancellations in ad buys (which we believe was a by-product of the election and renewed economic uncertainty), competitive factors, such as a greater diversity of digital ad platforms (into which ad budgets have flowed) and increased competition from our major competitors, and advertisers’ response to controversial statements by a certain nationally syndicated talk radio personality in March 2012.”  Talk radio is unlikely to become “family friendly” in the eyes of agencies anytime soon and talk sellers appear resigned to having to carve out new niches of advertisers and work hard to get and keep them.  For big corporations with a lot of debt, that’s not a comforting thought.

Dial Global Voluntarily De-Lists from the NASDAQ.  As a result of the company’s low volume of trading combined with other factors, including the associated costs of maintaining its listing on the NASDAQ, Dial Global announces it will undertake the delisting process beginning on or around November 26 and be completed on or around December 6 of this year.  Dial Global will remain a publicly traded company – it reports no plans to go private – but the stock will be traded on the OTC Pink Sheets.

Envision Radio Networks Develops “America Weekend” Program.  Calling it the “next generation of weekend talk radio,” Envision Radio Networks says the new “America Weekend” program is “a break from the usual brokered programming and rerun political fare of most news/talk stations, ‘America Weekend’ covers the lighter side of news and lifestyle issues facing today’s on-the-go talk listeners while maintaining revenues from paid hosts.”  Envision states the show provides six hours of live programming on both Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00 am until 3:00 pm EST and accommodates up to four local expert slots per hour, with frequent break-away points for sports, weather or other local programming. Since the programming is broadcast live via satellite, ‘America Weekend’ is able to stay current by addressing breaking and developing stories of national interest as they happen.  Anchoring the show will be “top-level, nationally recognized” hosts joined by high-profile guests.  Programmer and consultant Kipper McGee is executive producer of the show and he states, “It’s been said that ‘weekdays are for ratings, weekends are for revenue.’  However, now we’re seeing the damage that poorly rated weekend programming is causing weekday shows.  Listeners are forced to find other weekend options, and increasingly are not finding their way back to the radio station.”  Envision president and CEO Danno Wolkoff says, “‘America Weekend’ is all about maintaining revenue opportunities for radio stations from long-form brokered programs in a new and innovative way.  We have always believed that there is a better way for radio to monetize its Saturday and Sunday programming without sacrificing quality.  Finally, ‘Content is King’ again on weekends.”  Interested stations can visit www.envisionradio.com or contact Melissa Bachtel at 216-831-3761 or melissab@envisionradio.com.

CBS Sports Radio Network Names Damon Amendolara Overnight Host.  When CBS Radio’s new national sports network debuts on January 2, WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” evening host Damon Amendolara — “D.A.” — will be the network’s overnight host manning the 2:00 am to 6:00 am shift.  Amendolara has been with the Boston sports talker since it debuted in 2009.  He is also the sideline reporter for the New England Revolution on Comcast and a frequent guest and fill-in host for CSN’s Sports Tonight/Sports Sunday.  He serves as an anchor on CSNNE’s “Pregame Live” and “Postgame Live,” appears on Fox 25 Boston, while contributing to NFL Films and the NFL Network’s Top 10 series, ESPN News’ Air Check and NFL Films Presents on ESPN.  CBS Sports Radio director of programming Eric Spitz says, “D.A. is an all-star in Boston and his energy and understanding of the sports world will no doubt translate to a national platform.  Damon is certainly the man to keep listeners engrossed overnight, and his work at stations across the country, covering a multitude of different sports, will be beneficial to our listeners.  His success and following on our local radio station and his charitable endeavors in the community prove he will make a great addition to our already outstanding lineup at CBS Sports Radio.”

WTOP Newsman Donates iPhone to Newseum.  It’s unclear whether WTOP, Washington news reporter Neal Augenstein was the first American radio news reporter to use the iPhone as his “sole” reporting tool, but Augenstein sure has attracted a lot of interest after it became known how he was using the device.   Poynter.org reports the donation to the Washington, DC museum of news and related technology.  Newseum Curator of Collections Carrie Christoffersen tells Poynter.org, “We collect all sorts of things that relate to changes in news technology.  It was really interesting to us, since he’s doing all of his audio interviews, editing, video work, all on his iPhone, with some supplement from an iPad.  He’s enabled himself to be very, very on-the-go.”  There are no immediate plans to display the device but Christoffersen says their exhibits are always changing.  Augenstein is pictured here being interviewed recently for Talkers TV about his use of the iPhone for reporting.  Check out the cool five-minute video here.

Odds & Sods.  Radio pro Turi Ryder fills in on Tribune’s WGN, Chicago for midday talk host John Williams today…..Filling in today for Talk Radio Network’s Rusty Humphries is KDWN, Las Vegas morning drive host Alan Stock.

Inside the Locker Room.  In the photo here, KLAC, Los Angeles and Fox Sports Radio Network hosts Petros Papadakis (l) and Matt “Money” Smith (r) interview Los Angeles Lakers greats Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (second from left) and Jerry West (second from right) at a recent live listener event.  Abdul-Jabbar and West offered Lakers faithful their takes on the team’s new coach and the team’s prospects for the 2012-13 season.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Tom Gresham’s “Gun Talk” weekend program is added to the lineup at KAVA-AM/FM, Pueblo, Colorado; WEZS, Laconia, New Hampshire; and KOHI, St. Helens, Oregon…..“America Tonight” with Kate Delaney is picked up by WLSC, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina…..Fox Sports Radio Network programming is added to new affiliate KOPJ, Portland…..ESPN Radio programming is picked up by Cox Media’s WDBO-AM, Orlando.

Petraeus-Broadwell Scandal Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of November 12-16.  The ever deepening scandal involving ex-CIA director David Petraeus and biographer Paula Broadwell was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  At #2 this week was the Benghazi attack investigation.  At #3 was the “fiscal cliff” Washington lawmakers are facing followed by Obama Administration Cabinet changes at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly ranking of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio.  It is published at Talkers.com every Friday.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Today, Talk Radio Will Vote

| November 7, 2012

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Yesterday, voters chose.  Now it’s our turn.

Smartest thing I heard early this morning: Local hosts, many of ‘em righties, asking callers “What happened?”  Today and tonight, we’ll hear if national hosts smell the coffee as well.

We’ll spend days — and books are already being written — analyzing the 2012 vote.  And beyond politics, there are radio programming implications, actual Average Quarter Hour consequences.

What’s already apparent is that voters didn’t conform to the prevailing talk radio narrative:

Read More

Monday, November 5, 2012

| November 5, 2012

KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa Promotes Dan Potter to AM Drive Show.  There’s been a lot of movement among Cox Media Group staffers between properties lately.  It started with long-time KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa program director Drew Anderssen moving to the company’s WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando at the end of the summer.  Then it was announced that WDBO morning host Jim Turner would retire and KRMG AM drive personality Joe Kelley would move to Orlando to take over the morning show there.  Now, KRMG announces that it is promoting “Tulsa’s Afternoon News” host Dan Potter and he will slide into the morning drive chair beginning November 19.  Potter says, “Under Joe Kelley’s leadership, the ‘KRMG Morning News’ has become the single most important morning show in Oklahoma, both in terms of content and listenership.  I hope to continue the growth Joe started and to attract new listeners to the show.  I am humbled, honored and very excited for this opportunity.  I anchored newscasts on a similar morning show in Dallas-Fort Worth for over 15 years and am constantly impressed by KRMG’s commitment to covering breaking news better than anyone.  You could take this newsroom and this product and put it in any major market in the country and be competitive.”

ESPN Audio Debuts New PM Drive Show with Jonathan Coachman.  A new sports talk show from ESPN Audio debuts this afternoon hosted by ESPN studio anchor Jonathan Coachman.  The 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET show will have Coachman initially joined by a rotating array of ESPN on-air personalities to present three hours of personality-driven opinion, analysis, humor and interviews covering the news of the day, as well as interaction with listeners via e-mails, texts and calls.  The program is available to terrestrial affiliates as well as being heard via the ESPN app, espnradio.com, TuneIn and SiriusXM.  During his time at ESPN, Coachman has hosted “NBA Tonight,” “College Football Live,” “NASCAR Now,” and “ESPN2 Friday Night Fights.”  Coachman says of the new venture, “To say I am excited about ‘Coach’ & Company would be an understatement, but it’s going to be about our entire team – our production team and the team of fans at home – who will all have a hand in hopefully making it a successful show.  I am very serious about sports, but people can expect above all else a show that is fun.  And, with my background in the WWE, I feel I can really bring an entertainment value to the show in a strong way.”

Clear Channel’s Columbia, South Carolina Country Jocks Pull Double Duty; Host PM on News/Talk WVOC.  Jonathon Rush and Kelly Nash – known to their country WCOS, Columbia listeners and Rush & Nash, hosts of the “Morning Rush” program – begin a new chapter in their careers hosting the “Afternoon Rush” on sister news/talk WVOC.  The station parted ways with PM drive host Keven Cohen last week.  Rush and Nash will continue to host their morning program on “My Country 97.5.”  In a statement, Kelly Nash says, “This is an opportunity I’ve dreamed of for years.  We can play the world’s greatest music for the greatest music fans in the morning and talk with the most passionate radio listeners every afternoon.”

WOWO-AM/FM, Ft. Wayne Names Ryan Reker PD.  Federated Media’s heritage WOWO-AM/FM, Ft. Wayne, Indiana announces the hiring of Ryan Reker as program director.  Reker comes to the station after a management shuffle that saw Gregg Henson (now at Clear Channel’s WPGB and WBGG, Pittsburgh) exit the post and Federated’s own Woody Zimmerman oversee the station briefly before being reassigned to oversee the company’s Warsaw, Indiana cluster.  Reker most recently served as program director and morning host at Maverick Media’s classic rock WEGE-FM and as program director of sports talk WWSR-FM, both in Lima, Ohio.  Reker also worked at Clear Channel’s news/talk WOOD-AM in Grand Rapids and Entercom’s sports WSSP, Milwaukee.  He says of his new position, “WOWO is a unique station with very unique listeners.  I love the reputation and passion they’ve built with the community.  I’m honored and excited for the opportunity to work with such a great group of broadcasters.”

How to Write a Professional Radio Facebook Post (Part 2).  Radio digital consultant Chris Miller was so amazed by the high level of interest in his previous TALKERS piece, “Start Doing THIS Right NOW on Facebook,” published here last week, that he decided to share a few more tips to help you get your radio station’s pages and posts right!  Miller writes, “A lot of us radio folks see the value in social media.  Still, many could use some help working it in a way so you’re building your brand, instead of just spinning your wheels.  Many of the mistakes businesses make on Facebook have to do with how your write what you post.  We tend to speak in marketing-ese or like we’re scripting a promo.  That’s a huge error that may have people consistently hiding your content.”  Read Miller’s entire article explaining how to write a post that works for you, here.

President Obama Friendly to African American-Targeted Radio.  President Obama is credited with being the first presidential candidate to seriously use social media to assist his election and re-election efforts but he’s also been a user of radio programs that target the urban audience.    SiriusXM talk radio star Joe Madison (whose program is also heard on terrestrial outlet WOL, Washington, DC) tells TALKERS magazine the president reached out to him early and often.  “His administration nurtured a relationship with black talk radio since he first took office.  I have had access to most members of his cabinet.  They have addressed issues related to the black community and the general population.  Contrast that with Romney’s campaign, we have not received a single news release or response to appear on my show.”  In fact, Madison will host the president on his radio show today.  Madison says he believes the get-out-the-vote effort targeted to black radio by the Obama campaign appears to be working.  “I believe the early voting we’ve seen in our community is due to black talk radio encouraging our audience to vote.  Yesterday in Dade County, Florida, voters were in line until 1:00 am.”

Report:  Actor John Cusack to Produce and Star in Film About Rush Limbaugh.  The Huffington Post reports that actor John Cusack’s company, New Crime Productions, is putting the finishing touches on the script of a movie about Rush Limbaugh tentatively titled “Rush.”  The story quotes actress/director Betty Thomas (who also directed Howard Stern’s “Private Parts”) saying she will direct and that production starts sometime next year.

NBC Sports Radio Names Stan Van Gundy NBA Senior Analyst.  The former head coach of the Orlando Magic joins the NBC Sports Radio network as senior analyst for the NBA.  Stan Van Gundy will call into network shows each week during the NBA season.  He’ll talk exclusively to NBC Sports Radio affiliates and co-host for an hour every Friday during the NBA season, on a show soon to be announced.  NBC Sports Ventures senior vice president Rob Simmelkjaer states, “We are thrilled to add one of the most respected and outspoken coaches in the NBA to the NBC Sports Radio roster.  Our listeners will get to enjoy Stan’s unique insight into events and storylines around the league on a weekly basis.”

 

KABC, Los Angeles’ Doug McIntyre Emcees Bennett Film Opening.  KABC, Los Angeles morning drive host Doug McIntyre had the opportunity to emcee the Los Angeles opening of the new Tony Bennett documentary titled, “The Zen of Bennett” before a sold-out crowd at the Landmark Theater.  McIntyre tells TALKERS, “The distributor of ‘The Zen of Bennett’ is a fan of the documentary I made with my wife, ‘Trying to Get Good: The Jazz Odyssey of Jack Sheldon.’  Since I had a background in music — specifically the Great American Songbook and jazz, and have a ton of experience doing these kind of interviews (Robert Redford, Betty White, etc.,) – he recommended me to Tony’s manager, Danny Bennett.  I had met Tony a number of times before but this was the first chance I had to really spend some time with him, a thrill for me, probably less so for Tony.”  McIntyre says the event was not a KABC promotion but the station did give away tickets to the premiere.

“Free Talk Live” Celebrates 10 Years on the Radio.  “Free Talk Live” – the evening and weekend independently syndicated talk program hosted by Ian Freeman and Mark Edge – celebrates its 10th anniversary.  Freeman writes, in a memo to affiliates and the industry, that the program began in Florida after a format change at the station at which he was working.  “In 2001, rock WYNF, Tampa flipped to hot talk and was using content from Orlando’s successful ‘Real Radio’ WTKS-FM as well as the other ‘Real Radio,’ WZZR-FM in West Palm Beach.  After a year of this, I approached management, Big Jim Davis and Ron White, and pitched the idea of a local show for the weekend.  I said we’d be willing to do it for free.  They gave us the green light and ‘Free Talk Live’ was born, at first on Sunday nights.  The response from the audience was so spectacular that it was within the first few weeks that we were asked to take over weeknights.  Clear Channel ended up flipping the format of the station back to rock in 2003, but FTL continued online, then on another station in town, then another, until I approached the Genesis Communications Network and asked them if they were looking for new programs.  We started in syndication as a weekend show and within a few weeks were offered weeknights.  Since then we have continued doing our live Saturday show (our most popular) and added a live Sunday show as well.   We’ve grown to over 110 AM/FM affiliates and are also heard all week on XM.”

Odds & Sods.  Former New Orleans Saints quarterback and current WWL, New Orleans PM drive co-host Bobby Hebert was ejected from the press box at Saturday’s LSU-Alabama game for ignoring warnings not to create a disturbance by cheering.  The Times-Picayune reports the press box was stuffed with 947 credentialed media people and police escorted Hebert out in the fourth quarter of LSU’s 21-17 loss…..Proving that she CAN hang with Democrats, on Friday night (11/2), KRLA, Los Angeles morning drive host Heidi Harris sang in the Barbra Streisand concert at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.  She was in the choir for “Make Our Garden Grow.”…..Kim Komando, host of the eponymous nationally syndicated weekend computer talk show is appointed to the Phoenix-located Musical Instrument Museum’s President’s Cabinet. The President’s Cabinet is comprised of Valley leaders who provide guidance and support to MIM’s president and director, Dr. Bill DeWalt.  Komando joins the ranks of other notable Phoenix-area business leaders and philanthropists and will assist MIM with furthering its mission.

WNIR, Akron Host Tom Erickson Mourned.  Talk show host Tom Erickson died on Saturday (11/3) after a long battle with peritonitis.  He was 58.  Erickson was the evening host on Media-Com’s WNIR, Akron.  He worked for nearly 30 years in the radio and television news end of the media business and became a talk show host at WNIR in 2001.  He was on medical leave to deal with his health issues and last appeared on the radio in early June.

From WMAL’s Swing State Road Show.  Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington, DC has been touring the “swing state” of Virginia broadcasting from diners across the commonwealth as the election approaches.  The tour wrapped up on Friday with the final road show broadcast featuring former House Speaker (and former presidential candidate) Newt Gingrich.  Pictured here are (from l-r): Breitbart columnist and WMAL guest co-host Larry O’Connor, Gingrich, and WMAL’s “Mornings on the Mall” host Brian Wilson.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

| October 16, 2012

Norm Pattiz Delivers Straight Talk About Talk Industry at TALKERS New Media Seminar Los Angeles.  Presenting the keynote speech at last Thursday’s TALKERS New Media Seminar Los Angeles, Courtside Entertainment Group CEO and Westwood One founder Norm Pattiz told the crowd that packed the Steve Allen Theatre that Rush Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke controversy has been a serious blow to the nationally syndicated talk radio business.  He said that although the hype in the consumer media has died down, people on the streets trying to sell “controversial” talk radio at the national level are finding it harder than ever and he fears the national talk syndication model may be permanently harmed.  He also commented on the current structure of major broadcasting companies burdened with a high debt load that hampers programming.  Pattiz said the days of two stations battling creatively in a market are almost gone because the corporations are singularly concerned with reducing their debt load and are not able to focus their energies on building and supporting programming and personalities with which they can compete in the advertising wars.  See Pattiz’ speech from the New Media Seminar in the Talkers TV box on the right side of this page.

WCCO, Minneapolis to Partner with Countertop Manufacturer for Street-Level Display and Studios.  According to a piece in the St. Paul Business Journal, CBS Radio’s news/talk WCCO and quartz countertop manufacturer Cambria are planning a showroom on the Second Ave. street-level space in the building that houses WCCO and CBS Radio’s other stations.  The story notes the retail space has been vacant since 2008.  A spokesperson for Cambria says the details of the partnership between CBS and Cambria will be made public over the next 90 days but it’s expected the space will have a slab gallery and could also contain a highly visible street-level broadcast studio.

Cleveland Browns Radio Rights Up for Grabs.  Crain’s Cleveland Business is reporting that the NFL’s Cleveland Browns, whose contract with Clear Channel’s news/talk WTAM and rock/talk WMMS expires after this season, are opening up the radio rights for play-by-play for bids.  Crain’s says “all signs are pointing to Clear Channel” retaining those rights, but it appears any serious bids from competitors may raise the price of the club’s radio broadcasts.  CBS Radio may be interested in adding a sports play-by-play franchise for its year-old sports WKRK “92.3 The Fan.”  The two companies were recently involved in bidding for Cleveland Indians play-by-play with Clear Channel coming out on top and winning a five-year renewal deal to keep the games on WTAM.

TRN’s Rusty Humphries Wraps “Obama’s Failing Agenda Tour.”  Nationally syndicated talk show host Rusty Humphries, seen here boarding a private jet, was part of the Americans for Prosperity-sponsored “Obama’s Failing Agenda” tour through several swing states this fall.  Humphries was part of the bus tour through Ohio and Florida and he says of his time on the tour, “I always welcome the opportunity to get out of the studio and talk one-on-one with the people in America to see exactly what they are feeling.  I could not have picked a better way to prepare for this new time slot, than by spending a few days listening to people’s frustrations about what is going on in our country and how they want real change.”  Humphries is referring to his new Eastern Time PM drive air time on Talk Radio Network.

Global Security Systems and iBiquity Digital Team Up for Comprehensive EAS Messages.  The system is currently installed and operational on two Greater Media HD Radio stations in the Detroit market where chief engineer Mike Kernen (pictured here in the Greater Media Detroit studios) says, “The combination of HD Radio Technology and capabilities provided by GSS offers the most complete alert and warning content in the broadcast radio environment.”  Global Security Systems, LLC (GSS) — the systems integrator and service provider of GSSNet, ALERT FM and Alert Studio — and iBiquity Digital Corporation, the developer of FM and AM HD Radio Technology and Active Radio, have teamed up to deliver this comprehensive Emergency Alert System (EAS) that provides emergency audio and text content over analog FM and HD Radio System.  The system is Common Alert Protocol (CAP) — compatible and Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) — compliant.  In addition, multi-channel HD Radio technology empowers emergency officials to potentially broadcast different languages using different channels during a crisis.  iBiquity Digital president and CEO Bob Struble states, “It’s particularly gratifying to know that by providing  expanded alerting capabilities of HD Radio System through our relationship with GSS, we are part of a comprehensive radio broadcasting solution that may save lives in local communities across the country.”

Tuesday’s Second Presidential Debate, Presidential Race Polls, Taliban-Wounded Pakistani Teen Case, and Freefall from Space Story Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/15).  Tonight’s second presidential debate; the trends in the presidential race polls; the case of the 14-year-old Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban for advocating for education for women; and Felix Baumgartner’s freefall from 24  miles above the Earth’s surface were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, October 8, 2012

| October 8, 2012

Talk Host Michael Smerconish Takes “Angry is Over” Campaign on the Road.  WYD Media nationally syndicated talk show host Michael Smerconish is known for being independent minded and not locked into party ideology.  Smerconish has been making it known via his radio show, TV appearances and newspaper columns that he believes the country is in real trouble due to the intensely divisive political climate both in Washington, DC and in the media.  He writes in part, “Recently, I have been engaged by many corporations, trade associations and academic institutions to address the cause of the polarized climate and how it can be fixed.  I’ve been calling my speech ‘Angry Is Over,’ and in hearing what I have to say, many audiences are surprised (but not doubting) when I cast significant blame on the talk radio and cable television industry.  Well, it’s true.”  Now, Smerconish is taking his “Angry is Over” message on the road with a live appearance in Scranton, Pennsylvania on November 9 at the Scranton Cultural Center in what he terms the first live appearance of the tour.

Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Names Jason Furst PD.  The Charlotte news/talker announces programmer Jason Furst will take over the program director role at WBT-AM/FM on Monday, October 29.  He’ll replace Carl East who exits the station tomorrow.  Furst comes to WBT from Clear Channel’s upstate New York outlets WHAM and WHTK, Rochester and WSYR-AM/FM, Syracuse.  Greater Media Charlotte market manager Rick Feinblatt says, “We are excited to have Jason join the Greater Media Charlotte family.  His experience made him the perfect choice to lead the WBT-AM/FM team.”

Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno to Replace Premiere Shows with Local Talent.  Stating that the “expansion of its local programming will be phased in over the next 90 days,” Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ-AM/FM says it is accelerating its commitment to live and local programming.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment-owned Premiere Networks is not renewing its deal with the stations for Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and other programs.  Peak and KMJ SVP and market manager Patty Hixson states, “We value program exclusivity and have long anticipated the opportunity to control our own programming locally rather than rely on national talk shows available in so many other places that can be taken from us at the whim of their owners.  Adding 105.9 KMJ-FM over three years ago allowed us to expose our local news and talk shows to the largest available radio audience with crystal clear reception.  Building KMJ NOW, our on-line local news platform, as well as KMJ’s Apple-delivered mobile app have given us tremendous reach to every computer and smartphone on the planet.  KMJ’s future lies in its local programming, and we know we have the best people in the business making it right here in Fresno 24/7.”  The move by Premiere Networks not to renew with Peak signals Clear Channel is preparing to flip an FM to news/talk in the near future.  Currently, CC’s lowest-rated FM is country KHGE.  But it also has three FM’s airing rhythmic AC, soft AC and modern AC in the market.

Radio Legend Bob Grant Retires, Then Unretires.  Talk radio legend Bob Grant, currently heard weekly on Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York on Sunday afternoons, teased that yesterday’s broadcast would be his last but changed his mind several hours later.  According to the New York Daily News, the 83-year-old Grant posted a message on his website on Friday stating, “I am not sick, I am just a tired of [being a] life member of the chorus…I will miss you as much as you say you miss me.”  He apparently had a change of heart and later stated that he would broadcast for the foreseeable future.

Bill O’Reilly and Jon Stewart Host “The Rumble 2012.”  “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart and Fox News Channel star (and host of the Courtside Entertainment distributed “Talking Points” feature) Bill O’Reilly squared off in a debate of the issues on Saturday at George Washington University.  The event was broadcast via a web-only $5 pay-per-view.  A testament to the popularity of these two performers came in the form of numerous people being unable to get through to the server to access the live feed.  Dow JonesPeter Kafka, who writes the AllThingsD column, reports that many people had trouble viewing the show but states he was able to watch without much trouble.  At one point Nox Solutions, which hosted the webcast, Tweeted that due to demand, the servers had been overloaded.

Dave Ramsey Packs Long Beach Convention Center.  Nationally syndicated financial talk star Dave Ramsey presented his only Total Money Makeover Live program of the fall season to more than 9,000 fans in the Long Beach Convention Center for affiliate KFWB, Los Angeles.  Station general manager Valerie Blackburn says, “Yet another great Dave Ramsey event for KFWB!  Having such a successful day with over 9,000 people in attendance is a huge win for us.  We continue to value the close relationship we have with Dave and his team.”  Pictured here are (from l-r): Rachel Cruze, speaker; Diane Sutter, trustee for KFWB; Valerie Blackburn, general manager for KFWB; Dave Ramsey; Danielle Mosher, marketing for KFWB; Rosemary Hernandez, general sales manager for KFWB; Jon Acuff, speaker and author; and Andy Ludlum, program director for KFWB.

Don’t Overlook the Unique Value and Power of Email.  Leading broadcasting digital media consultant Chris Miller advises radio programmers and marketers not be so blinded by social media that they “fall out of love” with good old simple email.  He writes in TALKERS today that email is still a powerful tool to communicate with your listeners, especially if you target adults.  He suggests 1) Make your email a thing of value; 2) Give the listeners something to keep; and 3) Write it very simple and concise.  He also points out the inherent ability email has as a vehicle to carry advertising – something far less convenient to pull off on Facebook and Twitter.  To read Chris Miller’s entire article, click here.

Talk Host Debbie Nigro Begins New Venture Today.  Talk radio pro Debbie Nigro launches a new talk initiative today on Cumulus Media’s WFAS, White Plains, New York and online via the WFASam.com website.  Calling it “innovative female-driven but gender-friendly talk radio,” the new program is the brainchild of the woman who brought her “Working Mom on the Go” syndicated talk show to stations across the country during the 1990s.  This new show airs at 1:00 pm ET four days per week on WFAS.

Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce Operating Internet Radio Station.  The Hunterdon Chamber of Commerce in the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania is operating what may be the country’s only chamber of commerce-owned internet radio station.  Radio host Richard Gerstner is the only employee of the station – and a part-time employee at that – but it’s been on the air for a year with the goal of driving new, local business relationships.  The station drew 12,000 unique visitors in its first year and chamber president Chris Phelan believes that means about one in every 10 or 11 county residents tuned in at some point.  According to a story in the Express-Times, the station currently airs only 10 hours of fresh programming each day, including its 8 am to 10 am daily “Good Morning Hunterdon” flagship program and 38 other shows hosted mostly by Hunterdon business owners.  The rest of the airtime is filled by re-runs.  Phelan says the station is helping to achieve the chamber’s main goal with the station: to build a sense of community.

Odds & SodsOpie & Anthony alumnus Rick Delgado begins a regular internet talk show called the “Ugly American Radio Show” via inravio.com.  Delgado most recently was producer and “third mic” for the “Paul and Young Ron Morning Show” at Clear Channel’s WGBB, Miami.  Delgado was executive producer of the Opie & Anthony show at WNEW-FM, New York from 1998 to 2002…..John Andariese retires from his position as the radio voice of New York Knicks basketball.  Andariese has been involved with Knicks basketball since 1972, serving as the play-by-play voice since the 1998-99 season.  A statement from MSG Networks says Andariese is stepping down to spend more time with his family and to focus on his advertising business.   Brendan Brown will take over the Knicks radio broadcasts…..The Houston Chronicle’s David Barron writes that former Houston Astros player and broadcasters Alan Ashby and Larry Dierker are among two of the possible candidates for the Astros radio booth next season.  The team announced Brett Dolan and Dave Raymond would not return next year.  Former MLB pitcher Steve Sparks is also on the list of possible broadcasters for the club…..SiriusXM is bringing actor/director/writer Chazz Palminteri aboard for his own four-week series called “Ask Chazz.”  The acclaimed star of stage and screen will answer questions about show business and will offer advice about the entertainment industry, as well as business, sports, life and anything else on listeners’ minds.

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.

Please Stop Copying

| September 17, 2012

By Walter Sabo
Sabo Media
Chairman

NEW YORK — Each talk host has a unique set of life experiences, opinions and feelings. When a host is encouraged and allowed to express their unique world view, the result is compelling radio and the cume grows. Tragically, and it is tragic, at some point most hosts are told to “sound more like…” or “did you hear so and so today?”

The reason Howard Stern, Rush Limbaugh, Dr. Laura have been so successful is that they copy no one.  You may be surprised to learn that Howard Stern has never listened to most of the other hosts he’s bashed.

When working with talent it is never wise to encourage them to listen to other hosts because it destroys their internal navigation system. Each host has stories they want to tell, ideas they want to present and blessed opinions that must be heard. When they are forced to monitor other hosts, their own instincts soften and ultimately crumble.

Read More

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

| August 29, 2012

Other Defendants Named in Mark Masters’ TRN Lawsuit Against Dial Global Claiming Monopoly Practices.  As reported yesterday (8/28) by TALKERS, these companies, referred to generally in the industry as Talk Radio Network (TRN), include The Original Talk Radio Network, Inc., Talk Radio Network Enterprises, LLC and Talk Radio Network-FM, Inc.   They have initiated the filing of a Federal action against Dial Global, Inc. and multiple other parties, asserting antitrust, anti-monopoly and other claims. The complaint, which demands a jury trial, is titled “Complaint for Violations of the Sherman Act and the Cartwright Act, and for Fraudulent Inducement, Interference with Contract and Interference with Prospective advantage.”  In addition to Dial Global, it specifically names: Excelsior Radio Networks, Triton Radio Networks, Triton Media Group, Oaktree Capital Management, Verge Media Companies, Courstide, LLC, Compass Media Networks, Compass Media Marketing, and WYD Media Management.  Individuals named include Spencer Brown, David Landau, and  Ken Williams of  Dial Global, Ron Hartenbaum of WYD, Peter Kosann of Compass, and Norm Pattiz of Courtside.  To see the entire complaint click here.

Big Staffing Changes at Federated Media in Fort Wayne.  Last week TALKERS reported the departure of WOWO, Fort Wayne program director Gregg Henson and his replacement by Woody Zimmerman.  Now, after almost 18 years with Federated Media, chief operating officer Mark DePrez announces his departure from the company.  Brad Williams, who had been overseeing the Indiana markets of South Bend, Elkhart and Warsaw, will also be in charge of the company’s Fort Wayne and Auburn, Indiana markets as he becomes COO.  But that’s not all, as Indiana Radio Watch reports national sales manager Mary DePrez, production director Steve Starbrelz (this November would mark his 35th year there), classic hits WMEE, Fort Wayne middayer Zack Skyler, country WQHK, Fort Wayne GSM Suzee Leavell and several sales staffers have also left the building.  IRW also reports Clint Marsh becomes GM of the South Bend properties.  On his tenure with Federated Media, DePrez states, “After almost 18 years I’m leaving Federated Media.  We accomplished great things in Fort Wayne but all good things must come to an end.  I am grateful to the Dille family for the four promotions over those 18 years including my recent tenure as COO.  For a decade it has been my distinct honor to be the custodian of such iconic brands as WOWO, WQHK (K-105) WMEE and more recently WBYR (98.9 The Bear).  I am immensely proud of the talented team we assembled and know they will continue to do great things.”  DePrez is available for his next challenge.  He says, “For employers looking for an executive obsessed with top line performance and profit optimization they can contact me at markdeprez2@gmail.com or 260-385-2574.”

ESPN and Major League Baseball Agree to $5.6 Billion Deal.  The new contract between ESPN and MLB goes through 2021 and runs an average of $700 million per year for TV, digital, radio and other rights.  ESPN is currently paying about $305 million per year for TV and about $50 million for radio rights.  The new contract would almost double that but gives ESPN more flexibility, some playoff game rights as well as international rights.  For radio it means increased ESPN Radio rights, including the additional right to co-exist during two Saturday windows per team, per year.

Patt Morrison’s Southern California Public Radio Show Cancelled.  The popular Southern California public radio figure will remain with the organization but Patt Morrison’s six-year-old afternoon program will end on September 10.  The move is part of a series of programming changes at KPCC, Pasadena that include the expansion of the Brand & Martinez program and the addition of the “BBC News Hour” and “The World.”  KPCC VP for content Russ Stanton is quoted telling the Los Angeles Daily News, “While the show may be leaving, Patt isn’t.  What we’re trying to do is take a lot of the segments that she’s produced – which are very popular with a large part of our listening audience – and spread those a little more throughout the programming day when there are a lot more listeners than there are in the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot.”  SCPR notes Morrison will still cover the Democratic National Convention for the organization.

NBC Sports Radio and Dial Global Announce More Sports Talk Hires.  As NBC Sports Radio continues to prepare for the September 4 launch of the new network, more hosts and sports anchors are being hired.  Former NFL star Amani Toomer will team with Eytan Shander (most recently with SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio) for a 10:00 am to 1:00 pm ET sports talk show.  Dan Schwartzman  – who’s worked for WPEN, Philadelphia and ESPN in New York – will host an overnight show from 1:00 am to 5:00 am ET Tuesdays through Saturdays and Kay Adams joins the network as sports anchor working the 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm shift Monday through Friday.  Dial Global is NBC’s partner in ad and affiliation sales and distribution.

Forbes Releases New Highest Paid Celebrities List.  Four radio stars landed on the Forbes list of the most recent Highest Paid Celebrities.  Of the 21 celebs noted this time around, Howard Stern is the highest at #7 (although he makes a ton of cash from his SiriusXM gig, the NBC TV job helps!); Glenn Beck comes in at #11; Rush Limbaugh lands at #15 and Ryan Seacrest follows at #19.

Larry King to Host Coverage of the RNC on YouTube’s Elections Hub Channel; Premiere Networks’ Andy Dean Joins King on Panel.  Longtime CNN star and broadcasting icon Larry King is now working with Ora TV – the digital on-demand TV network funded by Mexican media magnate Carlos Slim Helu – and Ora TV is partnering with YouTube to produce the Elections Hub channel.  Tonight, King will host coverage of the Republican National Convention live from Los Angeles featuring a roundtable of well-known celebrities and guests on the special series “Ora 2012 with Larry King” from 11:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET.  Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk host Andy Dean will take part on the panel.

Entercom and University of Florida Enter into Sales Agreement.  The college and Entercom Communications have struck a deal which will have Entercom provide sales for the school’s two radio stations – country WRUF-FM and sports talk WRUF-AM.  It’s a seven-year deal that begins in September.  The university notes that the deal “will provide the College with a guaranteed monthly revenue.  Additionally, the stations will participate in a revenue share agreement with Entercom that allows for additional revenue to flow to the stations based on monthly sales performances.  In addition to the joint sales agreement, Entercom is launching an academic enhancement initiative to create internships and student opportunities for the College’s students at the company’s stations in Gainesville and around the country.  These student involvement opportunities, subject to faculty approval, will include sales, digital marketing programming, news, sports, public relations, strategic communications and promotions.”  The stations’ operations director, Jerry Butler, will stay on and co-ordinate the relationship between the stations and Entercom.

Hundreds of Talk Show Hosts from Across Country Broadcasting from RNC.  The invention of the “radio row” – largely developed in the modern talk radio era by Washington, DC-based Talk Radio News Service – has really come into its own at the Republican National Convention in Tampa.  Numerous networks and syndicators have set up shop in elaborate clusters of tables, microphones, remote equipment, banners and, of course, big talking personalities on both sides of the mic.  One of the biggest of these assemblages is again hosted by Talk Radio News Service for its affiliates which include the likes of Rusty Humphries, Phil Valentine, Roger Hedgecock and many more.  TRNS bureau chief Ellen Ratner tells TALKERS, “We have more stations than ever – about 40 stations and programs.  The RNC gave us a prime spot, right next to their booking office.  We are not in the arena but in the building next to it that houses all the press.  Other than press conferences, some longer television interviews and hall confrontations between the news media, radio row is the only place to have an in-depth conversation.  Radio might have lost some of its audience to the internet, but you would never know it from radio row.  Big time politicians want to be there and obviously feel they will get a chance to say what they want. It is still the spot to be and the place to be heard.”

WMAL Morning Hosts on the Scene in Tampa.  The final day of the Republican National Convention is today and talk radio and the national press have been busy bringing the political talk home to their constituents.  Pictured here are WMAL-AM/FM, Washington morning drive team Brian Wilson (c) and Bryan Nehman (r) interviewing former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton (l).

Republican National Convention, Tropical Storm Isaac, and Iran-Syria Connection Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/28).  The progress of tropical storm Isaac and the activity from the Republican National Convention in Tampa Bay were two of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio.  The growing connection between Iran’s military and the violence in Syria was also a major topic.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

| August 7, 2012

New Sports Radio Network Entrant NBC Announces First Round of Talent Hires.  The venture between NBC Sports and Dial Global that debuts September 4 – NBC Sports Radio Network – is beginning with an evening sports talk show hosted by Erik Kuselias (airing 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET).  The morning drive sports updates from the network will be delivered by Jon Stashower.  Kuselias has been working with NBC on its cable sports network.  He’s worked for the Golf Channel as well as ESPN.  Stashower has also worked at ESPN.  Expect some more talent announcements prior to the network’s post-Labor Day debut.

Dead Air: A Dynamic Reminder for Talk Show Hosts.  Vocal dynamics is not a discipline that is really taught to broadcasters anymore.  With more and more talk talent coming to the medium from outside the traditional communications schools, talent who use the dynamics of their voices effectively are becoming rare.  WFAN, New York talk host Richard Neer offers some suggestions about employing these techniques and the reasons why they are still valid for today’s broadcasters.  Read Richard’s piece here.

Salem Communications Posts Q2 Revenue Increase of 3.9%; Broadcast Up 2.1%.  That’s the good news for Salem.  On the downside, operating income for the entire company dropped 61.1% and the company realized a net loss of $1.8 million or $0.07 net loss per share.  Though the broadcast division revenue was up 2.1%, station operating income decreased 3.1%.  Internet is still the big winner for Salem with Q2 revenue up 16.6% and operating income up 42.8%.

Federated Media Joins iHeartRadio.  Indiana-based Federated Media adds its 17 radio stations to the iHeartRadio digital platform owned and operated by Clear Channel Media and Entertainment.  Federated Media’s markets include Fort Wayne, South Bend and Elkhart-Goshen, Indiana.  Stations now heard on the platform include heritage news/talk WOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne.  Federated Media chief strategy officer James Derby says, “We’re very excited to partner with iHeartRadio.  We want to offer our customers and clients both terrestrial and digital listening experiences.  It’s important that we partner with those that are open to shared content and opportunities.  iHeartRadio is very popular in our local markets and we’re happy to now be a part of it.”

TuneIn Announces New Funding; Increase in Monthly Active Listener Stats.  Digital audio service TuneIn reports it has just acquired new sources of funding led by General Catalyst Partners with participation from Jafco Ventures, Google Ventures and existing business partner Sequoia Capital totaling $16 million.  TuneIn will use the new funding to scale the company’s technical and business operations worldwide.  At the same time, the company reports its monthly active listeners figure has increased to 40 million.  TuneIn CEO John Donham says, “Our mission is to deliver the best listening experience possible, and it is so meaningful to us that 40 million people have chosen to listen to the world – every month – through TuneIn.  This investment will help us fulfill our mission while increasing our headcount and growing our product development and marketing initiatives.”  TuneIn says its service is available anywhere there is an internet signal and offers 70,000 stations and two million on-demand programs.

AdLarge Media Becomes Sales Rep for Gow-Operated Yahoo! Sports Radio.  Houston-based Gow Broadcasting operates Yahoo! Sports Radio and the company announces it enters into an agreement with AdLarge Media for the latter to sell national advertising for Yahoo!’s radio, streamed audio and mobile platforms.  AdLarge Media CEO Gary Schonfeld states, “Yahoo! Sports Radio has a highly respected lineup of sports journalists and commentators, including Tim Brando, Dan Wetzel, Pat Forde, Steve Czaban, and more.  Yahoosports.com is the number one sports website on the internet.  With that as our base, Yahoo! Sports Radio delivers insights and reports from sports experts that fans relish, creating an engaging environment for advertisers to reach an extremely passionate audience.”

Odds & Sods.  Texas-based Clear Channel talk host (KTRH and WOAI) Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo fills in for Premiere Networks star Glenn Beck on his radio show today and Friday…..ESPN Radio now offers an app for smartphones using the Windows Phone platform and is available in the Windows Marketplace.  ESPN reports its app is now available on all three major smartphone operating systems…..SiriusXM is broadcasting coverage of the 2012 PGA Championship beginning this Thursday from the Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina.

Presidential Race, Wisconsin Sikh Shooting, London Olympics, and Mars Landing Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/6).  The campaign for president in the 2012 elections; the fatal shootings at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin; the 2012 London Olympics; and the landing of the rover on Mars were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, August 6, 2012

| August 6, 2012

Dave Ramsey Joins the iHeartRadio Platform.  Nationally syndicated personal finance talk radio host Dave Ramsey becomes part of the Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s iHeartRadio digital platform beginning today becoming the first independently syndicated personality channel available on the platform.  Ramsey’s show won’t air live though.  The service will provide fans 24/7 access to the previous day’s content of the Dave Ramsey show and it will be updated daily on weekdays at 5:00 pm ET.  Ramsey VP of broadcast Brian Mayfield states, “We are very proud of what the Dave Ramsey show has achieved with the help of our 500-plus existing radio affiliates.  This new partnership with iHeartRadio provides the perfect platform to expose Dave’s straight talk on life and money to a new audience that now consumes media through mobile and online applications.”

Entercom Reports Q2 Revenue Flat.  The second quarter of 2012 saw revenue flat at $104.6 million compared to the same quarter a year ago for Entercom.  But the reduction in expenses of 5% produced a 10% rise in station operating income.

Entercom’s WEEI to Split AM and FM Signals; AM to Become ESPN Outlet.  In a story from the Boston Globe, Entercom’s Boston sports talk brand WEEI will soon split the current simulcast of the radio station and make the 850 AM signal a full-time ESPN Radio outlet.  WEEI has had a relationship with ESPN Radio for almost three years now with the station airing some ESPN programming and ESPN personalities such as Buster Olney making appearances on WEEI programs.  It’s expected the regular national lineup of ESPN Radio shows will air on the signal when the split takes place in the early fall.

Mike Costa to Co-Host PM Drive at Xtra Sports 1360 in San Diego.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s San Diego cluster moves Mike Costa from his position as host of “The Show “ on rock KIOZ to co-host of the PM drive show on sports talk KLSD – Xtra Sports 1360 effective today.  Costa is partnered up with Judson Richards for the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm program.  Costa, who’s been a sideline reporter for San Diego Chargers football for radio broadcasts, will continue in that role.

Award-Winning Journalist.  WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta assistant program director Condace Pressley (c) accepts the 2012 Pioneer Journalist Award from actor Malcolm Jamal Warner (l) and Atlanta Association of Black Journalists president Tenisha Bell of CNN (r).  Pressley received the honor during the 30th Pioneer Black Journalists Awards on July 29.  The awards ceremony is a presentation of the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists.  Tenisha Bell says of Pressley, “Condace has spent her career mentoring and supporting young journalists who aspire to walk in her footsteps.  She has always been an avid supporter of AABJ and its mission and I am thrilled that our membership has chosen her for this well-deserved award.”

Half-Hour Weekend Talk Show’s Success Inspires Music Show Syndicator to Eyeball More Spoken Word Offerings.  Los Angeles-based MannGroup Radio, headed by radio vet and co-founder of Premiere Radio Networks, Ed Mann, has avoided talk radio for almost the entire 14 years of its existence as an independent syndicator of such fare as GrooveWorx Imaging and music libraries, CPR consulting with Paige Nienaber, She Prep with Beth Bacall and other products geared to music stations.  In early 2011, MG took on the marketing of a short 30 minute-per-weekend program for talk stations called “Issues Today with Bob Gourley,” the success of which has obviously meant a great deal to Mann.  The fast-paced half hour, hosted by veteran broadcaster and Southern California-based journalist Bob Gourley, chronicles topical subjects from health to the economy.  It began at KPPC where Gourley served as public affairs director.  In a recent extremely candid conversation with the TALKERS editors, Mann reveals, “Extreme polarized talk has always left a sour taste in my mouth, particularly the very far right and left issues that never resolve on a broadcast forum, yet, as an avid listener of talk radio, I’ve always been starved for an intelligent, entertaining approach to issues for the day.  As we’ve taken on this relatively small but meaningful program, Bob Gourley’s ‘Issues Today,’ and watched how it’s grown and how the affiliates and listeners embrace it, I’m more encouraged than ever to hear from producers, stations and hosts in the hope of developing and marketing other like-minded programs for national distribution that can cut a swath in talk radio without sitting on either side of the seesaw and sticking their tongues out at each other.  Some have already come my way, and I sense a shift in the marketplace.  Our company is jazzed at the notion of collaborating with producers, hosts and radio stations who can see the need on the listener level for level-headed broadcasting.”  Independent hosts and producers can contact Mann at 310-346-4991 or via e-mail at ed@manngroupradio.com.

Fourth Station Joins the “Sports Animal Network.”  KITO, Vinita, Oklahoma drops country and becomes the fourth station to join Oklahoma’s “Sports Animal Network.”  The station is airing content from the Tulsa version of the network from KYAL, Muskogee/Tulsa.  The programming includes shows from Cumulus Media’s WWLS, Oklahoma City as well as Yahoo! Sports Radio.  The station will also broadcast Oklahoma University, Oklahoma State University and Tulsa football.

Odds & Sods.  Clear Channel’s WHAM and WHTK, Rochester will be the local radio home of the 95th PGA Championship to be played next summer – August 5 – 11, 2013 – at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester…..The NFL’s San Francisco 49ers will air on heritage news/talk KGO, San Francisco this season after airing on Cumulus Media’s sports KNBR and rock KSAN…..Stephen Giuttari becomes the operations manager for Townsquare Media’s Albany cluster that includes sports talk WTMM…..WXKS, Boston – Talk 1200 – morning drive host Jeff Katz is subbing for Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated personality Todd Schnitt today and Friday…..Account manager Cody Hicks announces his exit from Lincoln Financial Media’s sports talk 790 The Zone — WQXI, Atlanta — where he worked his way up from promotions assistant to marketing director to account manager in eight years…..WFED, Washington morning drive host Francis Rose will be a regular substitute for Cumulus Media NetworksJohn Batchelor live from New York once per month.  Rose will also be a stand by fill-in host as needed for the program working from Cumulus’ studios at WMAL, Washington…..The NBA’s Portland Trailblazers jump across town as the team’s new radio flagship is Clear Channel’s KEX, Portland.  Games had been heard on Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL for the past 12 seasons.

Katz and West Catch Up.  Old friends Jeff Katz, host of the morning drive show at Clear Channel’s Talk 1200 – WXKS, Boston – and Congressman Alan West, representing Florida’s 22nd Congressional District, pose for a photo on a recent Sunday during which the two participated in a series of speaking events around the Greater Boston area.  Katz got to know West while the congressman was running for office and Katz was working at South Florida talk station WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale.

Friday, July 20, 2012

| July 20, 2012

Sports Talk King Mike Francesa Credits Colleagues at WFAN for his Success with Special Salute to Former Partner Chris Russo.  In a special statement issued to TALKERS, afternoon drive superstar Mike Francesa – named the Most Important Sports Talk Radio Host in America in the recently released “2012 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk” — expresses his gratitude to “all the people who have helped make WFAN the iconic station it has become.”  He congratulates his teammates at the station that also made the list and particularly credits his former on-air partner Chris Russo (currently at SiriusXM Satellite Radio) saying, “I wouldn’t be commanding the top spot in the Hundred without his enormous contribution to my career.”  The TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk has generated enormous mainstream press and internet chatter propelling the Big Apple mainstay into the national spotlight. Here is Francesa’s complete statement: “I commend Talkers for recognizing the importance of sports talk as a viable and efficient format in radio programming.  In this the 25th year of WFAN, there are over 600 sports talk stations across our nation.  I am honored to have been chosen by your editorial board to top the list.  It is a special distinction to be cited by professionals who understand our medium so well.  I accept this honor for all the people who have helped make WFAN the iconic station it has become and congratulate my FAN colleagues who made the list – Boomer Esiason, Craig Carton, Joe Benigno, Evan Roberts, Steve Somers, and especially my partner of almost 20 years, Chris Russo.  I wouldn’t be commanding the top spot in the Hundred without his enormous contribution to my career.  Again, I am very grateful for the honor and wish you continued success. 

All the best

Mike

2012 Marconi Award Nominees Announced; CBS Radio Sports Talk Hosts Mike Francesa and Angelo Cataldi Up for Major Market Personality of the Year.  The winners of the 2012 NAB Marconi Awards will be announced on September 20 at The Radio Show in Dallas.  This year’s nominees include sports talk radio personalities Mike Francesa of WFAN, New York and Angelo Cataldi of WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia for Major Market Personality of the Year.  Both Francesa and Cataldi were named to the 2012 TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk this week – Francesa at #1 and Cataldi at # 10.  DirecTV/Fox Sports Radio Network personality Dan Patrick is the lone sports talk figure up for Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year.  He’s up against talk hosts Neal Boortz and Dial Global’s Dennis Miller and music radio hosts Elvis Duran of Premiere Networks and Reach Media’s Tom Joyner.  Other spoken-word nominees include: KYW, Philadelphia; WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte; and WFAN, New York for Legendary StationJan Mickelson from WHO, Des Moines is the lone talker up for Medium Market Personality of the YearHubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington is nominated for Major Market Station of the Year.  News/talk WOKV-AM/FM, Jacksonville and sports talk WXYT-FM, Detroit are up for Large Market Station of the Year.  WHO, Des Moines and WTIC-AM, Hartford are nominated for Medium Market Station of the Year.  The nominees for News/Talk Station of the Year are: KCBS-AM, San Francisco; KFGO, Fargo; WBBM-AM, Chicago; WGN, Chicago; and WTOP, Washington, DC.  Nominees for Sports Station of the Year are: KTCK, Dallas; WEEI, Boston; WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia; WSCR, Chicago; and WXYT-FM, Detroit.

Glenn Beck Plans Major Expansion at TheBlaze.  The talk media superstar and digital media pioneer tells WXKS-AM, Boston morning drive host Jeff Katz during a recent appearance on his program that he intends to hire as many as 200 new staffers for TheBlaze in the coming months.  TheBlaze – the multi-media news and programming initiative of Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts – already has approximately 120 employees.  The news came within the context of an on-air conversation between Katz and Beck about the state of business in America under the Obama administration.  Beck also alluded to the ease with which he’s been able to build his business – and create jobs – since moving away from New York City to the Dallas, Texas area.

Tai Irwin Hosts Final Morning Show on Alternative Rock WFNX, Boston.  Radio personality (and faculty member at The New England Institute of Art) Tai Irwin reprising the role he played for 10 years at alternative rock WFNX, Boston today (7/20) as the station broadcasts its final day of alt-rock before Clear Channel takes control later in the day.  Irwin and other personalities were invited to do one last show and Irwin tells TALKERS WFNX “launched me into the national talk scene due to my talk show and industry convention presence where I met and befriended Gene Burns and Jerry Williams, before I eventually left to work for Kevin Straley at WRKO.  During my time there I interviewed everyone from Noam Chomsky and Jerry Brown to Mitt Romney.”  In addition to his work at the NEIA, Irwin is involved with tom Leykis’ New Normal where he’ll debut a new podcast called, “The Tai-rade” very soon.  As for what Clear Channel will do with the new FM signal, speculation runs the gamut from an FM signal for news/talk WXKS-AM to a brand new classic hits format.  We’ll know soon enough.

Washington, DC Talk Host Andy Parks Gets Multi-Media Marketing Initiative.  Washington talk radio personality Andy Parks – a long-time figure on crosstown WMAL – is heard in PM drive on Metro Radio Inc.’s WTNT as well as on WashingtonTimes.com.  The show is called “Andy Parks Live from the Washington Times” and the paper is devising a multi-media marketing ploy to create awareness of the show.  Using the line, “Online.  On the Air.  On Your Doorstep.”  The Times is promoting Parks’ show with a reference to President Obama’s controversial statement about jobs creation not belonging to builders of small businesses and employs the phrase, “Andy Begs to Differ” in bold print in an ad in the newspaper.  The Times says it plans to begin a digital initiative using the same campaign technique in the near future.

Flip to Talk for Florence, South Carolina FM; Station Nabs Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh.  Miller Communications moved its plans to flip to talk up a couple of weeks when Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh became available after crosstown WJMX-AM/FM dropped Limbaugh’s program.  WFRK-FM added Limbaugh to the schedule three days after WJMX dropped the show declaring to SCNow.com that decreased listenership, advertiser skittishness and increased costs associated with the show forced the decision.  WFRK-FM CEO Harold Miller says the station will launch as a talk outlet officially on August 1 but could only say “Kinard and Koffee in the Morning” will be part of the lineup as other deals for programming are still in the works.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Cox Media Group names Ben Reed vice president and market manager for its Atlanta station group that includes news/talk WSB-AM/FM.  He takes over for Dan Kearney who moved south to become VP/market manager for Cox Media Group Miami…..Houston talk radio personality Matt Patrick hosts the final live debate between Texas Senatorial candidates Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and former Texas State Solicitor Ted Cruz on his PM drive show on The 9-5-0 KPRC this afternoon at 3:20.  The primary election is July 31…..New England Patriots football great Gino Cappelletti announces he is retiring from his post as color man for radio broadcasts of Patriots football games – a job he’s held for the past 32 years.  Cappelletti has worked alongside Gil Santos for the past 28 years.  Comcast SportsNet is reporting WBZ-FM, Boston – 98.5 The Sports Hub – host and former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak will likely be named Santos’ partner in the booth…..Midway Broadcasting Corporation’s WVON, Chicago hosts the 2nd Annual Taste of WVON neighborhood festival tomorrow from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm at Lorraine Dixon Park in Chicago.  The event features more than 60 food and craft vendors and live entertainment…..Tribune’s WGN, Chicago has a weekend full of special broadcasts planned to celebrate the induction of Cubs legend Ron Santo into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday.  WGN’s Dave Eanet will report from Cooperstown throughout the weekend and a special Ron Santo Hall of Fame edition of Cubs Confidential will air Sunday from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm featuring broadcast clips from the Ron Santo Cubs Legend CD.  The station will also delay broadcast the induction ceremony after Sunday’s Cubs game…..ESPN Deportes brings Mexican soccer great Francisco Gabriel de Anda aboard to join the network’s team of expert analysts.  De Anda will be integrated into Futbol Picante’s table of analysts Fridays and Saturdays, and become part of ESPN Futbol Center, the program dedicated to Mexican and International soccer.

Talk Host Tom Becka Calls on Nebraska Listeners to Protest Penn State.  November 10 is the date of the Nebraska Cornhuskers vs Penn State and Fargo, North Dakota-based talk host Tom Becka is rallying his listeners who hear his show from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm on KKAR, Omaha to donate their tickets for the game to local kids who may never get the chance to see a big game.  Becka says, “I am calling on my listeners in Nebraska to donate their Penn State tickets to any children’s group or give it to some kids in the neighborhood that normally wouldn’t be able to go.  I’d love to see the stands loaded with children for any Penn State away game.  That way kids get to see a game and the fans get to protest in a civil manner the neglect of Joe Paterno and the Penn State program.”  The NCAA is currently reviewing the Penn State situation and although the “death penalty” is a possibility for the football program, it probably would not go into effect until next season.

2012 Presidential Race Remains Atop Talkers TenTM for Second Straight Week.  The various storylines relative to the November presidential election were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of July 16 – 20.  Coming in at #2 this week was the report of increased jobless claims.  At #3 was Fed chairman Ben Bernanke’s testimony before Congress about the state of the U.S. economy and at #4 was President Obama’s unveiling of the $1 billion Master Teacher Corp program.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result of ongoing research from Talkers.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View the entire chart here.

Mike & Mike on David Letterman.  ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic recently made their 9th appearance on CBS TV’s “Late Night with David Letterman” and the day was documented by Greenberg’s wife Stacey – aka Mrs. Greeny – for ESPN Front Row, where fans get a behind-the-scenes look at their favorite personalities.  Pictured here are (from l-r): Mike Greenberg, Stacey Greenberg, actress Kyra Sedgwick, and Mike Golic taken backstage.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “The Daily Wrap from The Wall Street Journal with Michael Castner” is added to the program schedule at Clear Channel’s WRDU, Raleigh and WERC-AM/FM, Birmingham…..The “Motley Fool Money” radio show featuring host Chris Hill adds affiliates WPLM, Plymouth, Massachusetts; WBNW, Concord, Massachusetts; and WESO, Southbridge, Massachusetts.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

| July 18, 2012

Merlin Media Ends FM News Operations in New York and Chicago.  Industry watchers are beginning the post-mortem on Merlin Media’s all-news formats at WIQI, Chicago and WEMP, New York after yesterday’s announcement by the company that it is flipping the two signals to classic hits and alternative rock, respectively.  In making the announcement, Merlin president Randy Michaels stated, “It was a difficult decision to make, but after a year of minimal audience engagement, coupled with the format’s inherent expense, I felt it was time to make a change.”  Perhaps the most obvious challenge to the endeavor was the fact that in both Chicago and New York, Michaels’ stations were going up against entrenched news stations in markets that didn’t seem to be crying out for more radio news, primarily because they are already being served by well-respected and well-listened-to all-news outlets.  WBBM-AM/FM, Chicago and WCBS and WINS in New York were tough opponents to challenge in the radio news game – not to mention the public radio stations in both markets that have loyal audiences and dedicate resources to covering local news.  The ratings for the two stations seemed to bear that out.  The initial concept of trying to reach women with a news product fell flat.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison told the Chicago Tribune, “When you say, ‘This is for women and here’s what we’re talking about,’ it can come across as insulting.  It’s presumptuous.”  Harrison also told the paper, “To reinvent the wheel, when in fact the wheel is not broken, is difficult.”  He said the station’s focus on stereotypically female topics like cooking, fashion and child rearing also turned off listeners.  There are reports 27 staffers are out in Chicago with a similar number in New York, leaving a host of veteran radio news people looking for their next opportunity this morning.  Meanwhile, another wrinkle to this story pertains to industry rumors and speculation that Merlin had plans to eventually morph its New York and possibly Chicago all-newsers into traditional news/talkers.  The recent addition of Rush Limbaugh to Philadelphia property WWIQ after his departure from CBS Radio‘s WPHT had tongues wagging about the possibility of such a move happening in New York when Cumulus Media‘s contract with Premiere Networks for Limbaugh on WABC ends – especially with Cumulus developing Mike Huckabee (currently airing on crosstown competitor WOR) as a more “civil” alternative to Limbaugh.  This brings up another question: Are the Merlin moves to music just a temporary measure?

Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk Draws Intense Traffic to Talkers.com; Testament to Sports Talk Format’s Popularity.  The recently published Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America, has generated so much traffic to Talkers.com that – at times – navigation on the site slowed to a crawl, forcing the IT staff at Talkers.com to increase the site’s bandwidth to accommodate the visitors.  This massive interest in America’s sports talk radio personalities is indicative of the format’s popularity with both consumers and from within the media industry.  TALKERS VP/managing editor Kevin Casey states, “Sports talk radio is off-the-charts popular in so many markets across the country – reflecting the importance of sports in American popular culture.  The interest in the Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk from people working within the business is one thing, but the attention from consumers of sports talk and the rabid sports blogosphere is astounding.  The passion that exists for the format, the personalities, as well as the games and athletes themselves, shows why this talk radio genre is such an effective marketing tool for businesses at the local and national level.”  The 2012 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk can be found here.

Cumulus Media’s WPRO, Providence Names Craig Schwalb Program Director.  Craig Schwalb comes to Cumulus Media’s news/talk WPRO and 99.7 (and sister WPRV) in Providence from SiriusXM where he served as senior director of talk programming.  He’s also worked at WKRK, Detroit; WNEW, New York; WRBZ, Raleigh; and EZ Communications, St. Louis.  He replaces Paul Giammarco who recently resigned from the station.  Cumulus SVP Mike McVay states, “We are excited to have Craig join Cumulus.  We want the freshest and best minds in the industry…and he is clearly among the best.”  Speaking about his new opportunity, Schwalb says, “The chance to program one of the country’s legendary radio stations, complete with great talent, a great news presence and great influence in a terrific city was a no brainer for me and my family.  I am looking forward to working with Providence market manager Barbara Haynes and of course John Dickey, Mike McVay, Jim Mahaney, and everyone at Cumulus.”

Recent Affiliate Adds Push America’s Radio News Network Past 300 Mark.  In fact, when combined with the TRN/Washington Times’ “America’s Morning News” program, the affiliate total jumps past 320 for the news programming offered by Talk Radio Network’s ARNN.  The content syndicator notes that recent affiliate additions in Columbus, Ohio; Phoenix; Memphis; Ft. Myers/Naples; Charleston, South Carolina; and others for the five three-hour news block programs are indicative of the strong demand for quality news-oriented radio content.

Talk Host Andrew Wilkow to Host Prime Time Show on TheBlaze.  The online TV network TheBlaze – a digital product of Glenn Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts company – announces SiriusXM talk personality Andrew Wilkow will host a new, one-hour news and talk show to debut later this summer.  TheBlaze says the exact start date and the name of the program will be announced later.  TheBlaze president and chief content officer Joel Cheatwood states, “TheBlaze is building a primetime lineup filled with both established talent and the voices of the future. Andrew Wilkow’s strong independence and ‘no sacred cows’ approach to the news, issues and events of the day are perfect fits for TheBlaze as we continue to expand our programming.”  TheBlaze notes it already produces three hours of prime time shows including “the comedy news show ‘The B.S. of A,’ the reality show ‘Independence USA’ and other programming throughout the day led by Glenn’s show, the news show ‘Real News’ and the kid’s show ‘Liberty TreeHouse.’ The network airs over 35 hours of original programming per week and will soon provide video content on a 24/7 basis.”

Talk Icon Larry King’s Internet TV Show Debuts.  Larry King’s new internet TV show – a 30–minute news and interview show – debuted last night with Seth McFarlane as his first guest.  The program is a joint venture between Hulu and Ora TV.  Ora TV is a digital venture being funded by Mexican media magnate Carlos Slim Helu.  In a statement about the new program, Larry King says, “I have always been driven to innovate, from my time on radio, to the first call-in show on national television to being an early adopter of online columns and Twitter…I love being able to interact directly with audiences and digital TV allows me to do this in new and powerful ways.”  This evening, King’s guest will be Meghan McCain with actor Matthew McConaughey on tap for Thursday’s show.

2012 Presidential Campaign, Summer Heatwave/Crops Threatened, Negative Economic Forecasts, Global Debt Crisis and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/17).  The 2012 presidential campaign; the nationwide summer heat wave and the threat to the corn and grains crops; negative economic forecasts; the global debt crisis and the financial markets activities were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

| June 12, 2012

WPHT, Philadelphia Announces New Limbaugh-Free Schedule; Names Buzz Bissinger and Steve Martorano PM Drive Hosts. With Premiere Networks talk star Rush Limbaugh headed across town to Merlin Media‘s new WWIQ-FM, CBS Radio‘s news/talk WPHT announces Pulitzer Prize-winning author and pundit Buzz Bissinger will take over PM drive with co-host Steve Martorano. Bissinger moves into PM drive as WYD Media‘s Michael Smerconish slides into the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot (his live air time for national syndication). CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP Marc Rayfield states, “With the presidential election only a few months away, there couldn’t be a better time to heighten our focus on how today’s issues affect our friends, relatives and neighbors. The addition of Buzz to the lineup and presenting Michael’s program live to the audience gives us an incredible advantage as a station created in Philadelphia by Philadelphians for Philadelphians. Buzz has one of the most compelling voices in Philadelphia today. He’s intelligent, honest and hard hitting. He doesn’t play favorites; his only goal is to pursue the truth and no one in local media is more qualified to do so.”

Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Reorganizes Operating Management Team.  Two Clear Channel executives get promoted as the company restructures. Tom Schurr is named president of operations for major markets and Matt Martin is the new president of operations for regional markets. The changes also include the promotion of Tom O’Connell from SVP of operations for the Northeast regional markets to EVP of operations where he, along with EVP of operations Hartley Adkins, will report to Tom Schurr. Matt Martin was previously SVP of operations for the West region. CCME chairman and CEO John Hogan says, “As a company, we put a priority on recognizing our high performers with advancement opportunities to grow and develop their careers. The proven leadership, experience and performance results of Tom, Matt and Tom M. have shown that they are the perfect candidates to help continue to reinvent how our evolving markets operate.  They have all earned the opportunity to grow their careers and will be an integral part of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s exciting future.” As a result of the moves, EVP of the Western Region Susan Karis exits the company.

New Jersey Broadcasters Association Convention Begins this Evening.  The 65th Annual NJBA Conference and Gala kicks off this evening at Caesar’s Atlantic City. The event, considered by industry observers as one of the most innovative statewide radio conventions in America, begins at 6:00 pm with a spectacular opening reception overlooking the ocean and picks up tomorrow morning with a full schedule of speakers, sessions and presentations under the theme, “The Best is Yet to Come!”  Headline solo presentations will be made by Howard L. Green Humanitarian Award honoree Steve Forbes and TALKERS founder Michael Harrison who will address the topic, “How Terrestrial Radio Can Thrive in the Digital Age.”  Special presentations will be made by ratings expert Charles Sislen and marketing guru John Tkac.  For information call 800-345-7253.

Joy Behar Signs Up with Al Gore’s Current TV.  “The View” cast member Joy Behar will continue her role on that show but will begin a new 6:00 pm ET show – probably called “The Joy Behar Show” – in September. Until then she’ll make appearances on the network including filling in for Eliot Spitzer on “Viewpoint” next week while he’s on vacation. The program will feature a regular, rotating cast of pundits, experts and journalists as cast members to discuss political and social issues. Current TV founder and chairman Al Gore says in a statement, “Joy Behar is a beloved veteran television personality with her finger on the pulse of what viewers care about. Millions of Americans tune in daily to hear her take on the issues along with her inimitable style. We are honored that Current TV will be Joy’s new prime time home.” Until December of 2011, Behar hosted a prime time show on HLN.

MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan to Exit Cable Channel to “Walk the Walk.”  That’s not Dylan Ratigan‘s quote but that’s what the host of his eponymous MSNBC 4:00 pm ET show implies he plans to do. Ratigan, whose three-year-old program (he came over from CNBC in 2009) has often taken on the power structure in American politics – including the close ties between the banking industry and Washington – is quoted by The New York TimesBrian Stelter saying, “Once you’ve said your piece, you can either keep saying it – and then it’s a job, good job, pays well, everybody knows your name, it’s great – or you can decide what you’re going to do about it. And the answer is, I don’t know. But I do know, in order to figure it out, I have to dismount.” MSNBC will move Martin Bashir into the 4:00 pm slot and craft a new show for the 3:00 pm hour.

Gregg Hersholt Debuts as Co-Host of KOMO, Seattle AM Program.  Fisher Radio announces Gregg Hersholt returns to the Emerald City as co-host of KOMO-AM/FM, Seattle’s “The KOMO Morning News” alongside Manda Factor. Hersholt worked at Bonneville International‘s crosstown KIRO for 26 years before departing for Portland to work at KXL. Program director Paul Duckworth says, “We’re so excited to have Gregg join us. He’s a terrific storyteller, knows the news business and is a name that is synonymous with Seattle.”

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Radio talk show host Akos Jankura (whose show is heard Saturday afternoons on WFLA, Tampa), along with his father and daughter rode as “Team 3 Generations” in the 200 meter bicycle competition “Endridge Ride to Conquer Cancer” in Ontario, Canada. The event raised some $18 million to benefit The Princess Margaret Foundation…..Slacker Radio and ESPN team up to offer a collection of ESPN stations designed to stream ESPN shows and sporting events on Slacker’s service. Four of the stations will feature content from ESPN’s O&Os in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas…..In honor of Father’s Day, SiriusXM launches a week-long series of special programming with Men’s Health Radio. The channel will be hosted by Men’s Health editor Peter Moore and will spotlight a different topic each day: why guys don’t go to the doctor and why they should; how to eat like a man and not look like a Neanderthal; tips from the editor-in-chief David Zinczenko’s bestselling books Eat This! Not That!; and much more…..The “Bobby Likis Car Clinic” show is giving away “The Ultimate Father’s Day Gift Package” this Saturday that includes an Escort Radar detector and a subscription to Escort Live – “social networking for the road.”

Radio Newsman Chris Stanley Passes Away at 64.  Radio news pro Chris Stanley spent the last five years of his career at Fox News Radio. Prior to that he worked at CBS Radio‘s KNX, Los Angeles. Stanley, who died on Saturday, June 10 after a heart attack, had retired from Fox News Radio in April.

2012 Presidential Race, Jerry Sandusky Trial, Commerce Secretary Car Crashes, and Spain Bailout/EU Uncertainty Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/11).  President Barack Obama‘s campaign to win re-election in the face of Mitt Romney‘s challenge; the trial of former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky; U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson takes medical leave after two auto accidents in Los Angeles; and a bailout for Spain and the uncertainty of the stability of the euro were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, June 11, 2012

| June 10, 2012

Right and Left Come Together at the TALKERS New Media Seminar to Denounce the Practice of Organized Advertiser Boycotts.  They might not agree on many things but a love for the business of talk broadcasting and its role as a vehicle for the practice of the First Amendment can indeed make for strange political bedfellows.  In a rare display of unity, two of the highest-
profile and distinctly politically opposite talk show hosts in the business condemned the increased practice of organized advertiser boycotts by political organizations as a means of shutting down voices on radio and television with which they disagree. 
Conservative host Sean Hannity (Fox News Channel and Premiere Networks) and progressive host Ed Schultz (MSNBC and the independently syndicated Ed Schultz show) delivered their powerful remarks at the TALKERS New Media Seminar in New York City on Thursday, June 7.  Hannity included the statement as part of his keynote address which opened the conference.  Schultz presented his opinion while delivering the event’s “Annual State of the First Amendment Address.”  During his presentation at the non-partisan, industry-wide gathering, Hannity played excerpts from a variety of well-known talk show hosts making controversial statements on the air that subsequently resulted in calls for advertiser boycotts and/or the firing of the hosts.  The clips included hosts from all over the spectrum – left, right and popular culture (still referred to by many as “shock jocks”) – with ear-perking clips from Don Imus, Howard Stern, Opie & Anthony, Mike Malloy and more.  Both Rush Limbaugh’s reference to Sandra Fluke and Ed Schultz’s description of Laura Ingraham as “sluts” were included to underscore the point that no single faction of the talk radio universe was exempt from participating in the practice of political or artistic controversy.  Hannity’s remedy: Change the dial.  Schultz concurred.  Both made their cases for the sake and survival of the talk radio industry as well as protecting the spirit of the First Amendment. Stay tuned to Talkers.com for complete coverage of the New Media Seminar in the coming days and weeks.

Cumulus Media Officially Announces Geraldo Rivera Rollout.  This has been expected since shortly after Geraldo Rivera made his talk radio debut on Cumulus Media‘s WABC, New York and KABC, Los Angeles in the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot. Now, Cumulus says it will expand the show to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET time slot and begin a national rollout on August 13. In a statement, Cumulus Media COO John Dickey says, “When Geraldo agreed to host shows for Cumulus stations in New York and L.A. we had a hunch there’d be substantial national listener interest in his incisive and insightful style. And now we’re thrilled that with Geraldo such a success in those two markets, the show will be available across the country.”

Glenn Beck Renews with Premiere Networks for 5 Years and a Reported $20 Million per Year.  That figure is according to The New York TimesBrian Stelter who cites a “person with direct knowledge” saying the deal will pay Glenn Beck $100 million over the course of the new, five-year deal. In addition to handling affiliate and ad sales for Beck’s 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET nationally syndicated radio show, Premiere Networks also assists in ad sales for some of Beck’s non-radio efforts including his internet video channel GBTV on which his daily afternoon talk show is broadcast.

NBC Partners with Dial Global for Syndication of Sports Radio Content as NBC Sports Radio Network.  According to what Rob Simmelkjaer, senior vice president of NBC Sports Ventures and International tells USA Today, the new project will start with hourly sports updates and a couple of short-form features. But Simmelkjaer says NBC hopes to have two three-hour evening sports talk shows (one each for 7:00 pm and 10:00 pm ET starts) ready for syndication by fall. He says, “The goal is to start with a beachhead of programming and gradually expand to 24 hours per day, seven days per week maybe in 3 to 5 years.” Dial Global will handle affiliate and ad sales for the service and Simmelkjaer says it will be sold in tandem with Dial Global’s NFL radio broadcasts.

Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire Surface at Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte.  Talk show hosts Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire had most recently hosted the morning drive show on Curtis Media Group‘s WZTK-FM, Burlington, North Carolina before the station flipped formats to Spanish music earlier this year. Now, the duo will replace Vince Coakley in the PM drive slot beginning July 2. In June of last year, Coakley took over the afternoon show for Tara Servatius who currently hosts mornings on WRNN-AM/FM, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. WBT program director Carl East says, “These guys bring a great sense of energy and fun to the air. Those who have been in Charlotte for a while already know what Brad is capable of. They are very clever observers of the issues of the day, whether they are local or national. The audience is going to love engaging them.” Brad Krantz previously hosted afternoons at WBT alongside Richard Spires for four years from 1999 to 2003.

KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas Names Chuck Meyer News Director.  CBS Radio‘s news/talk KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas brings news pro Chuck Meyer aboard as news/director and anchor for the station’s PM drive news block. Meyer previously served as news director at WIOD, Miami and KING, Seattle and as program director at KVET, Austin and KCUB, Tucson. KXNT-AM/FM program director Andrew Paul says, “Chuck brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to our staff. We are thrilled to have him lead our news team on multiple platforms.” The move allows former news director Joe Gillespie to focus on his duties as host of the station’s morning drive news program.

Jay Cutler to Join WMVP, Chicago for Weekly Appearance.  ESPN Chicago announces Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler will be live in the studio with ESPN 1000′s Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman each Monday from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm. In announcing the multi-year deal, ESPN 1000 president and general manager John Craven states, “ESPN Chicago could not be more excited to welcome Jay Cutler to our already solid on-air lineup. Waddle & Silvy’s extended access to Jay will give Bears fans his insights into the game and a glimpse of his personality they have never heard before both on air and online.” ESPN has sold the show to Miller Lite, the official beer of the Chicago Bears.

Talk Host Michael Smerconish to Welcome NAB Crystal Radio Award Winners Tonight.  Nationally syndicated WYD Media talk host Michael Smerconish will use the “magic” of technology to gather together all 10 NAB Crystal Radio Award winners at the NAB Education Foundation’s “Service to America” black-tie fundraiser taking place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC this evening. Smerconish will welcome the winners to the stage and acknowledge their accomplishments.

The End of an Era as NPR’s “Car Talk” Hosts Retire in September.  Hosts of the ubiquitous weekend public radio show “Car Talk” on NPR – brothers Tom and Ray Magliozzi – will retire in September and record no more calls from Americans with questions usually having to do with their cars. But the show will go on for at least a few more years. NPR will continue to produce the show with previously aired audio from the show’s dense library of content. TALKERS magazine spoke with “Car Talk” producer Doug Berman several years ago for a feature story about the production of weekend talk programs. Unlike many shows, car talk is not a “live” call-in show. Calls are recorded during the week or callers are asked to call in at specific production times. As a result, the show has probably gathered more content than necessary at times and, in addition to “repurposed” content, there may be some calls to “Car Talk” that have not seen the light of day. Also, Berman tells the Boston Herald that they’ve reviewed the ratings for new shows and repeats and have found no difference. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison was asked about the future success of “Car Talk” by the Los Angeles Times and he stated, “Not many shows that are maintenance, how-to shows can carry it off where people listen to be entertained. That makes the show extremely potent.”

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Cox Media Group‘s WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta nabs 11 from the Georgia Association of Broadcasters. Among the accolades WSB picked up include “Station of the Year” large market and “Best Radio Program” and “Best Talk Host” honors for WSB-based nationally syndicated star Neal Boortz…..Beasley Broadcasting‘s news/talk WGAC, Augusta, Georgia wins the Georgia Association of Broadcasters “Radio Station of the Year” award in the mid-sized market category. The station’s personalities also were individually recognized with coveted “Gabby” Awards: News director and morning show host  Mary Liz Nolan won “Best Newscast; sports director Ashley Brown won “Best Sportscast” and “Best Sports Story or Series” and Dallas Reece was honored for the year’s “Best Commercial.”…..WBZ, Boston news anchor Joe Mathieu interviews “CBS Evening News” anchor and managing editor Scott Pelley at the WBZ NewsRadio Business Breakfast about his first year as anchor of CBS’ evening news program Tuesday, June 12 at 8:00 am…..Fox Sports Radio continues its coverage of mixed martial arts with simulcasts of FX‘s “UFC on FX: Fight Night.” FSRN simulcast last Friday’s program and will do it again on June 22 at 9:00 pm ET with a two-hour post-fight call-in show beginning at 11:00 pm ET.

You’re Never Too Old…to Play Pro Football.  That’s 50-year-old Stan Nawalaniec of the Stan & Haney PM drive show on Beasley Broadcasting‘s hot talk WRXK-FM, Bonita Springs, Florida – 96 K-Rock Talk That Rocks – suited up with two unidentified players on the United Indoor Football League‘s Florida Tarpons. Stan signed on for a one-game deal with the undefeated team and was a member for its last regular season game Saturday, June 9 played at Southwest Florida’s Germain Arena in Estero.

Let the Talent Be Talent: 10 Things You Need to Know About Live Endorsements

| June 10, 2012

By Michael Berry
Talk Show Host
KTRH, Houston

HOUSTON – When I listen to Rush Limbaugh, I zone out during the commercials. Except, that is, when the “commercial” comes from Maha-Rushi’s lips. I’ve never heard anyone deliver a better live endorsement than El Rushbo. It doesn’t feel like advertising at all. He makes me feel it’s his personal opinion, which is why I tuned in to him in the first place. I want to know his opinion of Obama’s latest move, and I’ll listen when he tells me where to shop.

Clients pay a premium for live endorsements on radio. It has been my experience as a talk show host that they then sometimes do everything possible to undercut the effectiveness of it. So, here are my list of suggestions to ad agencies, sales reps, and yes, even clients (the people who pay our bills) as to how we, the talent, can get better results for you. Help us help you. To sales reps and talent: I wrote this in hopes you could send it to your clients, whether direct advertisers or ad agencies. Let me be the bad guy and this can be your conversation starter.

  1. Don’t write a script. Any talent that needs a script isn’t worth the fee you pay for his endorsement. If all he’s doing is reading a script, have someone else read it. Hire a professional voice, or produce a better spot. Listeners can tell when a talent is reading your ad. You won’t get results. But if he uses your good or service and believes in it, you will get results. We can sell what we like because then it’s not “selling.” It’s simply sharing what we like and it’s what we do. Make sure your endorser understands you, the individual who owns the business. If you started the business out of your garage; if you are there every single day; if you answer when the phone rings to the main line, he should note that. People want a personal touch. He should share that you have it. Read More

Monday, May 21, 2012

| May 21, 2012

The State of News in News/Talk Radio.  The rise of digital news sources, today’s quickening news cycle and the economic realities of our times are forcing news/talk radio stations to evaluate their news product and adapt to continue to serve their listeners.  In a feature story by TALKERS managing editor Kevin Casey, some of today’s top news/talk programmers speak on the record about their news philosophy, how they are integrating digital tools, news as a cume builder, the relationship between news and talk and their thoughts on the state of journalism.   Read this feature piece here.

NOW-Organized Protest of Rush Limbaugh at WMAL, Washington Fizzles.  The National Organization for Women-sponsored “Enough Rush” campaign got off to an ignominious start outside the studios of affiliate WMAL, Washington, DC Friday, May 18 as just seven protesters marched.  As reported by Fox News, NOW announced the campaign against the Premiere Networks talk radio superstar in April and has partnered with Media Matters for America to target affiliate stations and their advertisers.  Friday’s event in DC was part of a national protest scheduled for that day.  Reports of substantial protests at other Limbaugh affiliate stations have not surfaced.

Cox Media Offers to End Paul Finebaum Issue with Contract Buyout.  The Birmingham Business Journal is reporting that Cox Media – which put sports talk outlet WZNN-FM, Birmingham on the air last September – is again offering to buy out sports talk host Paul Finebaum’s contract with Cumulus Media and its WJOX-FM, Birmingham.  Regular TALKERS readers are aware of the ongoing legal battle between Cumulus and Finebaum that goes back to when the station was part of the Citadel group.  Finebaum’s popular sports talk show has been based at WJOX-FM and regionally syndicated.  While Cumulus would probably like to stop paying legal fees in the ongoing dispute, it may not want to have Finebaum working for a competing station in the market – at least not right away – however it’s likely he’ll end up working there eventually.  There’s no response yet from Cumulus on the offer.

RAB Reports Radio Revenue Up 1% in First Quarter of 2012.  The Radio Advertising Bureau issued a report on Friday, May 18 concluding advertising revenue for all of radio was up 1% for the first quarter of 2012 – the third consecutive Q1 increase – for total revenue of $3.814 billion.  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber states, “Q1 2012 results confirm that radio commands a solid position in brands’ total marketing plans.  While advertisers continue to capitalize on radio’s spot and network efficiencies, they’re increasingly utilizing local digital capabilities and audience engagement that this medium affords.”  From a category standpoint, spot revenue was flat, network was up 8%, digital rose 10%, and off-air was up 3% for Q1 in 2012 compared to the same period in 2011.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  WXKS, Boston – Talk Radio 1200 – morning drive talk host Jeff Katz wins two Associated Press Awards – one for “Best Talk Show in Boston” and the other for “Best Public Affairs Broadcast” for his special remote from the Fisher House in Boston…..Salem Radio Network talk host Dennis Prager co-hosts CNBC’s “The Kudlow Report” alongside Brian Sullivan tonight at 7:00 pm ET.  SRN states, “With the just-launched IPO for Facebook as well as the unfolding 2012 battle between Mitt Romney and President Obama, Dennis Prager brings his unique background as a talk radio host, author, lecturer and societal observer to CNBC in what will surely be an eye-opening experience for ‘Kudlow Report’ viewers!”…..SiriusXM announces veteran soccer commentator and former player and coach Ray Hudson will host ‘The Football Show’ alongside fellow soccer experts Charlie Stillitano, Neil Barnett and John Harkes.  Hudson has been a commentator for Gol TV since 2004 and is widely known for his elaborate and excitable play-calling style.  Also from SiriusXM, three-time SEC Coach of the Year Houston Nutt has joined SiriusXM as an analyst on its 24/7 college sports channel.  Nutt will host multiple shows each week on SiriusXM College Sports Nation including ‘College Sports Today’ with Mark Packer and ‘College Football Playbook’ with Jack Arute…..Former WGNU, St. Louis talk host Leonardo Drisdel was found guilty of the 2005 murder of Cassandra Kovack on Friday.  He’ll be sentenced on June 29.

Clark Howard to Help Break Ground for New Home for Joplin Tornado Victims.  Cox Media syndicated talk show host Clark Howard heads to Joplin, Missouri tomorrow along with a team of his listeners to break ground on a new home for a family that lost its home to last spring’s tornado that hit the city.  Howard will broadcast his Tuesday program live from the build site to recognize the one-year anniversary of the tornado.  Clark Howard is funding the Joplin home himself.  However, he joined forces with Cox’s KRMG, Tulsa to promote the build and KRMG even had advertisers chip in for a storm shelter for the house and due to the listeners’ overwhelming support for the build in Joplin, they teamed with Clark to build a home in Tulsa this past weekend.  The home is being funded by monies raised by listeners and Howard.  He says, “I love Habitat for Humanity because it is a hand up and not a hand out.  Homeowners have to meet strict qualification guidelines and put in hundreds of hours of sweat equity to build their own home and other Habitat homes.  It is not a free house.  It is a low-cost mortgage.”

Vic “The Brick” Jacobs Rides the Zamboni at L.A. Kings Game.  Yes, that’s Fox Sports Radio sports talk host Vic “The Brick” Jacobs – of the network’s “Loose Cannons” show – on the zamboni during last Thursday’s L.A. Kings NHL playoff game.  In addition to being at the Staples Center in Los Angeles for the game, Jacobs (decked out in his Kings jersey and crown) did a post-game interview with Kings rookie Dwight King who scored the winning goal.

The State of News in News/Talk Radio

| May 21, 2012

By Kevin Casey
TALKERS magazine
VP/Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — It’s understood by anyone in the radio business that the big news stories of the day – whether they are local or national stories – generate the topics that drive the conversation on news/talk radio.  But what are the roles of the newsroom, the reporter and the regular newscasts on today’s news/talk stations?  The move of all-news to FM signals, the development of more national and regional radio news products and the addition of newswheel programs to some of the country’s most respected talk stations seem to indicate radio news has received a shot in the arm.  But the decimation of many radio news departments that occurred in conjunction with consolidation still affects many radio operations and raises questions about the relevance of news elements to the successful operation of the modern news/talk station.

Read More

Thursday, May 17, 2012

| May 17, 2012

Sean Hannity Named to Keynote New Media Seminar in New York on June 7.  The Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel superstar has been named to headline an agenda of talk media industry luminaries that includes leaders from the ranks of talent, programming, management and sales.  Sean Hannity tells TALKERS his address will cover such pressing industry issues as confusion over non-rated platforms, attempts to silence opposition speech, proliferation of multi-media talk venues and the imminent explosion of a wide variety of content. He says, “My speeches in the past have focused on the theme, ‘the best is yet to come,’ which I still fully believe – but we face a number of present-day obstacles that have popped up along the way that we as an industry must address and overcome.”  Hannity joins the ranks of more than 60 speakers who will be addressing a capacity gathering of 500 attendees at the East Coast installment of this year’s New Media Seminar (the West Coast installment is set for Los Angeles on October 11).  Organizers expect the industry-only New York segment to be sold out by early next week.  For last-minute registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.  To see the latest complete agenda, click here.

Clear Channel Agrees to Buy Alternative WFNX-FM, Boston for Rumored $11 Million.  Stephen Mindich is the publisher of the Boston Phoenix alt-weekly who’s owned WFNX-FM since 1983.  He says the station has been difficult to keep afloat since the recession began in late 2008 so he’s selling it to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment.  Now, the format rumor mill begins grinding and there’s certainly reason for CC to give low-ranking news/talk outlet WXKS – at 1200 on the AM dial – an FM boost.  The station carries Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity and despite the talent of morning drive talk pro Jeff Katz and PM drive market vet Jay Severin the station continues to underperform.  As is customary, CC is not tipping its hand about a format change but local media reports indicate 17 of the 21 staffers at the station have been notified of their termination.  Releases from both parties do not indicate if Clear Channel will begin operating the station under an LMA or wait for FCC approval of the sale.

Report:  Streaming Media East Confab Provides Insights for Talk Radio.  Talk radio consultant Holland Cooke delivers nuggets like this: “It’s not how many Friends you have, it’s how many are talking about you,” as he distills some of the advice on building media brands via Facebook (and more) that he gathered at this week’s Streaming Media East conference in New York City.  Read Holland’s entire report here

Forbes Releases World’s Most Powerful Celebrities List for 2012; Limbaugh, Beck, and Stern Make the Grade.  The annual World’s Most Powerful Celebrities List has been released by Forbes and Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk host Rush Limbaugh is the highest-ranked radio talk host at #19.  Fellow Premiere host Glenn Beck is close behind at #23 and SiriusXM talk star Howard Stern landed at #30.  Forbes ranks celebs based on how they score in five factors: money, TV/radio, press, web and social.

Utah Jazz Owner to Buy KZNS-AM/FM, Salt Lake City.  The Larry H. Miller Group – owner of the NBA’s Utah Jazz – is finalizing a deal to buy sports talk KZNS-AM/FM, Salt Lake City which would become the radio base for the team.  Currently, LHM Group is LMAing crosstown KFNZ but that deal ends this month and owner Cumulus Media is not interested in continuing to LMA the station, according to a report in the Salt Lake Tribune.  LHM Group and Utah Jazz president Randy Rigby tells the paper the group will put together the best sports talk hosts from both KZNS and KFNZ, “This is going to be a super sports powerhouse radio station.”  It is currently negotiating with talent and did not disclose which of the two stations’ current hosts will end up working at KZNS.  The station is owned by the SLC Divestiture Trust operated by Larry Patrick.

Courtside Entertainment Group’s “Loveline” Partners with Ustream for Web Video Distribution.  Fans of Courtside Entertainment Group’s “Loveline” radio show hosted by Dr. Drew Pinsky, Simone Bienne and Mike Catherwood will be able to see streaming video of the program via Ustream.  In addition to the program being seen live on ustream.tv, affiliate stations will have access to the embedded Ustream player for fans to view and interact with on their websites.  Courtside vice president Katie Walsh states, “By partnering with Ustream to offer a video component of ‘Loveline,’ we are able to provide fans with more access and interaction than ever before.  We look forward to extending our reach and providing fans with more ways to connect with ‘Loveline’ through Ustream.”  Courtside reports that after working with Ustream for a month, it saw a 107% increase in “Loveline” viewers on its Ustream channel – more than doubling “Loveline” viewership in a one-month period.

Daily “Sports Biz Today” Program Debuts in Syndication May 21.  The AudioTracks Broadcasting Services-produced “Sports Biz Today” program hosted by Fred Wallin and Howard Bloom goes live and into national syndication on Monday, May 21.  Both Wallin and Bloom have long sports media resumes: Wallin has worked at Fox Sports Radio and The Sports Radio Network as well as at ESPN and Fox Sports Net and Bloom publishes SportsBusinessNews.com and has worked with Fox Sports Radio and Sporting News Radio to name a few.  The program is available for terrestrial stations via Cable Radio Network and is also being broadcast on the web via Passionate Talk Radio and Mile Hi Radio.  It airs live from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm ET.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  CBS Radio names Danny Bortnick vice president and director of sales for its Washington, DC cluster that includes sports talk WJFK-FM and all-news WNEW-FM…..SiriusXM adds “Dan Dunn’s Happy Hour” to its lineup on the SiriusXM Stars Too channel.  The weekly show hosted by the former Playboy writer and mixology expert will air live on Thursday evenings at 7:00…..The nationally syndicated Dawson McAillster-hosted “The Hopeline” names Jessica McVay-Kershner on-air co-host/internet radio coordinator for the show.  Jessica is the daughter of long time consultant and current Cumulus Media VP/programming Mike McVay…..James Ingstad-owned KJOX, Kennewick, Washington – 1340 ESPN Tri-Cities – begins airing programming from Bonneville’s KIRO, Seattle from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.  The station is also the market’s affiliate for Seattle Mariners baseball….. The regionally syndicated, Rochelle, Illinois-based Michael Koolidge program expands to WTAD, Quincy, Illinois and WKAN, Kankakee, Illinois…..KMOX, St. Louis business reporter Rick Desloge died on Monday at age 63 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Montreal Broadcaster Ted Bird Joins CKGM, Montreal Morning Show.  Popular Montreal radio personality Ted Bird becomes part of the morning show at TSN Radio 990 (CKGM, Montreal) alongside Elliott Price and Shaun Starr.  Bird will focus on the Montreal sports scene.  He tells Broadcaster Magazine Canada, “I am extremely excited to join Elliott and Shaun on TSN Radio 990 and indulge in my passion for talking sports.  I feel privileged to work for the flagship radio station of the Montreal Canadiens and hitch my wagon with the TSN brand.  It will be an interesting off-season for the Canadiens, so we’ll have lots to talk about.  I can’t wait to get started.”  Bird recently left CHRK-FM, Montreal in a well-publicized  split that ended with him working at a Canadian aboriginal station.

2012 Presidential Race, Greece Teeters on Brink, Upcoming NATO Summit, Trayvon Martin Case and Budget Debate Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/16).  Some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday included the 2012 presidential race; the precarious state of Greece’s fiscal situation and its effect on the euro; the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago, new information in the Trayvon Martin case; and the U.S. budget debate in Washington, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

| May 15, 2012

Power-Packed Agenda Set for New Media Seminar June 7.  According to TALKERS magazine VP/managing editor Kevin Casey, “In all the years we have been presenting radio industry conferences, I do not remember one quite like this in which so many outstanding speakers were packed into a single day’s event.  Our innovative model designed for an economically challenging era seems to be striking a very positive chord.  The New York City installment of 2012’s bi-coastal conference is only a few days away from being sold out.”  More than 60 industry leaders will address the key issues facing talk media between 9:00 am to 6:30 pm on Thursday, June 7 at the Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side.  For registration and sponsorship information for this industry-only event call 413-565-5413.  To see the agenda click here.

Rush Limbaugh Named “Famous Missourian”; Choice Irks State Democrats.  Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk star Rush Limbaugh was inducted into the Hall of Famous Missourians yesterday in a closed ceremony at the state capitol in Jefferson City.  A bronze bust of the talk host was unveiled during the event.  State Democrats were disturbed by the ceremony that was not announced until 20 minutes prior to it beginning.  It took place in the chambers of the House of Representatives and Democrats were not allowed in.  Missouri House Speaker Steven Tilley told the Kansas City Star the ceremony was closed because of the controversy and so that Limbaugh and his family could attend and be “treated respectfully.”  Democrats were not invited because earlier they signed a letter protesting the induction.  In a speech at the induction Limbaugh stated, “This is something I never, ever thought would happen to me…I want to express my deep gratitude. I’m exceptionally proud to accept this honor, and really very humbled.”  Limbaugh joins the ranks of such famous Missourians as Mark TwainHarry Truman and Dred Scott.

Dial Global’s Dennis Miller to Perform with Adam Carolla in November.  Nationally syndicated talk host Dennis Miller had comedian, TV star and podcaster Adam Carolla on his program yesterday (5/14) and the two announced they will perform live on stage together at the City National Grove in Anaheim on November 16.  Miller tells Carolla, “You know what I think about the way your mind works – it’s genius.”  In addition to his radio program, Dennis Miller has been doing live performances with Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly on their “Bolder and Fresher Tour 2012.”  The duo recently performed at New York City’s Town Hall.

Anniversary Bash.  Journal Broadcasting’s KQTH-FM, Tucson – 104.1 The Truth – celebrated its fifth anniversary on Saturday, May 12 at the Casino Del Sol Resort.  Program director Ryan McCredden tells TALKERS, “The listeners, speakers, staff and sponsor response to the event was tremendous and we’re looking forward to another five great years of ‘The Truth’ in Tucson!”  Pictured here are (from l-r): Author and townhall.com writer Katie Pavlich, Radio America’s Roger Hedgecock, author and commentator S.E. Cupp, Talk Radio Network’s Jerry Doyle, KQTH-FM morning host Jon Justice and midday host James T. Harris.

New York Festivals Announces 2012 Radio Program and Promotion Awards World’s Best Radio Programs Finalists.  The New York Festivals breaks down the entries by country.  For the United States among commercial talk broadcasters, ESPN Radio is named a finalist in the Best Human Interest Story and Best Investigative Reporting categories.  “The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap” is a finalist for Best Regularly Scheduled Sports Program.  SiriusXM’sHoward Stern is a finalist for Best Special Event.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFBK, Sacramento is a finalist in the Health/Medical category.  Winners will be honored at a gala awards ceremony on June 18 at New York City’s Manhattan Penthouse.  See the entire slate of finalists here.

 

Compass Media Networks Names Booth Talent for Baseball Broadcasts.  For its 25 broadcasts of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim games Compass Media Networks recently announced it would distribute, the company has named its game coverage talent.  Former New York Mets general manager and current SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio morning host Steve Phillipswill be analyst for the broadcasts.  Others, whose appearance on the broadcasts will be determined by travel schedule and other commitments, include play-by-play announcers Chris Carrino and Steve Quis and analyst and former MLB player and executive Darryl Hamilton.

CBS Radio’s Stacie Schmidt Moves from Las Vegas to Cleveland.  Stacie Schmidt currently serves as director of marketing for CBS Radio’s Las Vegas cluster that includes news/talk KXNT-AM/FM.  She’s moving back to her home town of Cleveland to take the integrated sales and marketing position at CBS Radio’s cluster there that includes sports WKRK-FM – 92.3 the Fan.

Obama Newsweek Cover, 2012 Presidential Race, Euro Zone Hangs in Balance, JP Morgan Chase Loss and California Debt Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/14).  The “first gay president”Newsweek cover; the 2012 presidential race; the future of the euro zone as countries threaten to leave; the $2 billion loss at JP Morgan Chase; and California’s enormous debt problem were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Brooklyn in the House.  Sure, it’s easy to get supermodel and actress Brooklyn Decker to visit your radio show when hubby Andy Roddick is co-host of the program.  Decker is pictured here in the Fox Sports Radio studios with husband and tennis great Andy Roddick (c) and radio personality Bobby Bones (l).  The “Roddick and Bones” show airs on weekends on the FSRN.  During the interview Decker promoted her two new films, “Battleship” and “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” both being released on May 18.

Friday, May 11, 2012

| May 11, 2012

Entercom Reports Q1 Revenue Down 3%.  Some format changes in several markets and the usual first quarter doldrums can be blamed for the down performance of Entercom in Q1 of 2012, Entercom CEO David Field told analysts during the Q1 conference call.  Field states seven format changes that took place in 2011 – including three in major markets like Boston and San Francisco – have affected revenue.  But Field sees positive things ahead as he tells analysts May and June are pacing up and the third quarter of this year looks healthy.  Political ad spending is a major factor in improving revenue.  Other points mentioned by Field: Entercom cut expenses by 4% and was able to pay down $17.4 million of its senior debt leaving $592 million in senior debt.

Emmis Revenue Down but Jeff Smulyan Promises Greatly Deleveraged Emmis.  During his conference call with analysts, Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan reported net revenue down 11% — down just 3% when excluding the stations majority owned by Merlin Media – for the quarter ending February 29.  But Smulyan says his company is paying down debt – some $1.5 billion to date – and when current transactions are complete Emmis will be one of the least-leveraged companies in the radio business.  With recent transactions, Emmis is now a company operating clusters in Indianapolis, Austin, St. Louis, Terre Haute, and, of course its two major market signals: Hot 97 in New York and Power 106 in Los Angeles.

KILT, Houston Brings Nick Wright Aboard for AM Drive Co-Host Duties.  Currently hosting at Entercom’s KCSP, Kansas City, sports talk host Nick Wright moves south to join John Lopez on the morning show at CBS Radio’s KILT, Houston.  The position opened when Marc Vandermeer took a full-time position with the NFL’s Houston Texans, although Vandermeer will still be heard on the station doing Texans play-by-play.  KILT program director Gavin Spittle says of Wright’s hire, “We’re really excited to welcome Nick to our talented roster of hosts.  He has tremendous energy, passion and a history of ratings success.  His excitement to pair up with John Lopez is equal to our excitement to add him to our number one sports lineup for many years to come.”

Dial Global’s Dennis Miller and Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly Play Town Hall in New York Saturday Night.  As part of the duo’s “Bolder and Fresher Tour 2012,” Dial Global nationally syndicated talk show host Dennis Miller and Fox News Channel star Bill O’Reilly – also heard on the radio via his Courtside Entertainment Group-syndicated “Talking Points” commentaries, will appear at Town Hall in NYC tomorrow night.  During the program each host takes a turn doing a monologue for the crowd.  Then the two sit down together to discuss and riff on the big issues of the day.  Upcoming shows include stops in Indianapolis, Chicago and Atlanta.

New Jersey Talk Host Found Shot Dead in Her Home.  Authorities in Linwood, New Jersey report 47-year-old April Kauffman was found shot to death in the bedroom of her home in that town.  She co-hosted a weekly talk radio show at WOND, Pleasantville, New Jersey during which she advocated for veteran’s causes and other issues.  The Associated Press is reporting that authorities have not made any arrests in the killing.

 

Michelle Jerson to Host Talk Shows at WWIQ-FM, Philadelphia.  Former New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Michelle Jerson is doing some fill-in work at Merlin Media’s new WWIQ-FM, Philadelphia.  She begins today by hosting the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot – eventually to be the home of Rush Limbaugh when the Premiere Networks superstar migrates over from his current Philly home at WPHT.  Jerson, who hosted a relationships program during her time at NJ101.5, tells TALKERS that she’ll do a non-political program today.

WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte to Air UNC Football and Hoops.  Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte is the official Charlotte affiliate for University of North Carolina football and basketball play-by-play after agreeing to a deal with the university’s rights holder, Tar Heel Sports Properties.  WBT will carry all games plus coaches’ shows featuring football coach Larry Fedora and basketball legend Roy Williams.  Tar Heels Sports Properties general manager Gary Sobba states, “We’re excited about this new partnership and bringing two terrific brands back together.  WBT has a very strong signal and will provide excellent coverage for the Tar Heel faithful in the Charlotte metro area.”

2012 Presidential Race Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 7-11.  The 2012 presidential race landed atop the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio for the sixth consecutive week.  Close behind at #2 was President Obama’s gay marriage stance.  At #3 was longtime Indiana Republican Senator Dick Lugar’s loss in the primary election and at #4 was Russian President Vladimir Putin’s snubbing of President Obama by backing out of the G-8 at Camp David.  The Talkers TenTM is based on ongoing research by TALKERS and is published at Talkers.com every Friday.  View the top 10 stories and people as discussed on news/talk radio here.

Dave Ramsey Broadcasts from Tucson.  Nationally syndicated personal finance talk show star Dave Ramsey is pictured here in Tucson conducting his EntreLeadership Master Series at the Westin LaPaloma in Tucson.  Keeping with the theme of the week, today’s broadcast will focus on business and leadership questions from callers to the radio program.  Ramsey’s organization explains that EntreLeadership “combines the innovative spirit of an entrepreneur with the passion and drive of a leader.  This philosophy is how Ramsey has run his highly successful company and trained his leadership team since day one.  At EntreLeadership Master Series, Ramsey condenses 20 years of business and leadership wisdom into a seven day event.  Business owners and leaders who attend walk away with practical ideas that can improve their communication, organization, team culture, finances, negotiating and selling skills, marketing, advertising, and ability to make tough decisions.”  Last September, Ramsey’s latest best-seller, EntreLeadership, debuted at number one on the New York Times bestseller list.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

| May 9, 2012

Boomer Esiason to be Honored at New Media Seminar.  WFAN, New York morning co-host and football legend Boomer Esiason has been named the 2012 recipient of the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Radio Talk Show Host.  Esiason (pictured here with son Gunnar) will be presented the award and speak at the New Media Seminar in New York City on June 7 during the event’s Freedom of Speech Luncheon.  Esiason was inspired to begin the foundation when his son Gunnar was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis in 1993.  It has proven to be extremely effective as a dynamic partnership of leaders in the medical and business communities joining with a committed core of volunteers to heighten awareness, education and the quality of life for those affected by cystic fibrosis, while providing financial support to research aimed at finding a cure.  Esiason says, “One of the first lessons I learned in youth football was that winning requires all of the individual athletes on a team to come together, to cooperate and to support each other.  It’s a lesson I think also applies to cystic fibrosis.  I am honored to be receiving this award.”  For more information about the Boomer Esiason Foundation click www.esiason.org.  Boomer Esiason is one of more than 50 talk media industry leaders scheduled to speak at the June 7 gathering.  The New Media Seminar is on the verge of a sellout.  For information about registering for this industry-only conference, please call 413-565-5413.

New York State Appellate Court Rules in Favor of Talk Host Bob Lonsberry.  The New York Law Journal reports the New York Appellate Division, Fourth Department has sided with WHAM, Rochester and WSYR-AM/FM, Syracuse talk host Bob Lonsberry and employer Clear Channel Media and Entertainment in a case that boils down to First Amendment rights.  The case revolves around Lonsberry’s on-air conversation with the sister of John Gisel who was acquitted of murder after a shooting death in a hunting situation.  During the conversation, Lonsberry asked the woman how it felt to have a “cold blooded murderer” in the family and if he “put a notch in the stock of his gun after he kills people.”  The Gisel family sued for defamation but the court ruled Lonsberry’s comments were “obviously intended to be caustic and confrontational, rather than factual” and that his words were “non-actionable expressions of pure opinion.”  Gisel may have believed Lonsberry’s comments were made with malice, thus giving him a case.  And, though not all opinion is protected by the First Amendment, it was in this case.  Read TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman’s analysis of the decision here.

Rush Limbaugh Strikes Back with “Rush Babes for America” Campaign.  Premiere Networks talk star Rush Limbaugh is taking on the notion his program is anti-women – something he tells his listeners is implied by the National Organization for Women’s “Enough Rush” campaign – and opens a “Rush Babes for America” Facebook page.  During his program he told listeners, “What ‘Rush Babes for America’ is about is posting stories and ideas that happen here on the program…and inviting all of you to participate in conversations on Facebook with other women about what matters to you.  As a means of demonstrating just what a minority the National Organization for Women and its so-called affiliates really are.”  Last month, NOW announced its “Enough Rush” campaign to target the talk show host for removal from the air but, so far, there’s been no information released by NOW beyond the initial announcement.

Liberty Media Ups Ante in Bid for Control of SiriusXM.  Liberty Media chairman John Malone appears determined to take control of SiriusXM after being shot down by the FCC last week in his bid to get de facto control over the company with just 40% of the satcaster’s stock and five of the 13 seats on the board of directors.  Liberty is acquiring another 302 million shares of the stock for $602 million – that’s $2.15 per share – to hike its total ownership to 45.2% of SiriusXM’s stock.  Last week the FCC ruled that Liberty’s filing was incomplete.  Now, it appears Liberty is preparing for another crack at that FCC application for control.

Saga Communications Radio Revenue Up 3%.  The first quarter of 2012 was kind to Saga Communications which reports revenue for the radio and TV company was up 4.3% while radio alone was up 3% from the same period a year ago on revenue of $25.2 million.  Saga CEO Ed Christian spoke during yesterday’s conference call about his belief in the core aspect of being a radio and TV operator which he says is selling to local advertisers.

Clear Channel Breaks Up Sports Simulcast on WHTK-AM/FM, Rochester.  Sports talk has been simulcast on Clear Channel’s WHTK-AM/FM, Rochester since 2009 but now the company debuts a new oldies outlet on the FM side and leaves the sports to the AM band.

Compass Media Networks Announces 2012 College Football Schedule.  Compass Media Networks makes its 2012 college football schedule public.  Compass is presenting more than 16 college football games for the 2012 season beginning with Miami at Boston College on September 1, including heritage matchups such as Auburn vs Alabama and Wisconsin vs Ohio State and culminating in the Big Ten Championship game on December 1.  Compass Media CEO Peter Kosann states, “We are once again thrilled to offer our affiliates and partners access to some of the nation’s top match-ups.”  Dial Global is handling ad sales for Compass Media’s college football broadcasts.

Greeny Dances.  ESPN Radio and ESPN2 star Mike Greenberg is pictured here with professional dancer Anna Trebunskaya dancing to “Livin’ La Vida Loca” live on both the radio and cable TV simulcast.  Greenberg lost the “Sheets of Integrity” March Madness challenge to “Mike & Mike” partner Mike Golic and paid his gambling debt by donning the sequined outfit and taking to the dance floor.  Celebrity judges Jerry Rice and Hines Ward both gave Greenberg an 8 for his performance while Greenberg’s wife Stacy gave him a 9.

2012 Presidential Race, NC Gay Marriage Ban, Terror Plot Foiled, Dick Lugar Ousted in Primary and Euro Zone Anti-Austerity Backlash Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/8).  The 2012 presidential race; the ban on gay marriage in North Carolina; the foiling of the al Qaeda plot to blow up U.S. Airliners; Republican Indiana Senator Dick Lugar loses his primary race; and Euro Zone countries fight back against anti-austerity measures were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Get Well, Art Voulo!  TALKERS sends get well wishes out to “radio’s best friend” Art Vuolo who’s in the hospital dealing with a case of cellulitis.  Art is pictured here modeling the latest in hospital johnny fashion while convalescing.  We’re noticing there is no table-top or portable radio (with ear buds) in the picture which forces us to ask if this is the real Art Vuolo.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

| May 8, 2012

Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey Reports Limbaugh Boycott Cost Company Millions.  During Monday’s first quarter conference call with analysts, Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey announced that the advertiser boycott of Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh show – which is carried on 38 Cumulus-owned stations – cost his company “a couple of million” in the first quarter of 2012 and another “couple of million” in the second quarter.  Dickey says everything seems pretty much back to normal for June but he blames about 1% of the company’s 3.5% drop in revenue on the Limbaugh boycott.  Dickey also addressed the debut of the Mike Huckabee show which airs live in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot and is seen by some observers as a direct competitor to Limbaugh.  He says they are very close to having Huckabee on 200 affiliates and he’s viewing the show as a long-term project.

Cumulus Media’s 2012 Q1 Revenue Down 3.5%.  The first quarter of 2012 saw Cumulus Media report net revenues down 3.5% on earnings of $245.3 million – down from $254.2 million for the same period a year ago.  Free cash flow was up almost 95% to $37 million, up from $19 million for the first quarter of 2011 and EBITDA was up 12.2% to $76.8 million.  CEO Lew Dickey states, “The first quarter of 2012 was marked by significant progress in our integration of Citadel as we build Cumulus into a robust platform company that strategically monetizes content, distribution and technology.  Complementing this progress was the continued deleveraging of our balance sheet, as well as strategic portfolio management that will enable us tremendous financial flexibility going forward.”

FCC Up to Full Complement.  Six months after they were nominated, Republican Ajit Pai and Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel have been confirmed by the U.S. Senate to seats on the Federal Communications Commission.  Senator Charles Grassley had been keeping the confirmation from taking place due to his concern over the commission’s handling of the LightSquared case.  Grassley has been investigating the FCC’s dealings with the troubled satellite venture suspecting that LightSquared has been given special treatment by the commission.

Pat Miller Cuts Back Duties at WOWO, Fort Wayne; Gregg Henson to PM Drive.  Afternoon drive talk show host Pat Miller is leaving his role at the legendary Federated Media station to focus on his own local business.  Director of programming operations Gregg Henson takes over the PM drive host duties effective immediately.  Miller will remain with the station in several capacities.  He’ll host a weekly Saturday afternoon program and he’ll make regular appearances as the station’s expert political analyst.  Henson says of Miller, “Pat is a great asset to WOWO and we look forward to redeploying him in other areas to take advantage of his strengths.  He is a tremendous resource.  Pat’s loyalty and love for Fort Wayne are indisputable and we look forward to his continued relationship with WOWO.”  Henson assumed the programming duties at WOWO and sister station WKJG a year ago.  He says he’s excited about taking over the PM drive show.  “WOWO has a special relationship with this community and I look forward to being a part of it.”

Talk Radio Hosts Converge on Washington, DC for “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” Radio Row.  More than 60 talk radio hosts are in Washington, DC today and tomorrow for a radio row sponsored by the Federation for American Immigration Reform.  The event is being led by Radio America syndicated talk show host Roger Hedgecock who organized the first radio row dedicated to this issue in 2007 to protest the Senate Amnesty Bill.  Talk show hosts taking part have the opportunity to interview numerous legislators and experts on illegal immigration and related topics over the course of the two days.  FAIR communications director Bob Dane tells TALKERS, “Once again, talk hosts from across the country are gathering to focus on immigration reform and this election year is the most critical of all.  The Obama administration continues to dismantle interior enforcement at a frightening pace and is using unconstitutional backdoor methods to grant amnesty to hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens.  With November looming, May is the ideal time to set clear expectations for candidates of all stripes.  Responsive politicians respect and listen to the electronic town hall of talk radio and ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ is a yearly bellwether of public sentiment on the immigration issue.”

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Peter Sessa has been the vice president of marketing and communications at Westwood One for the past five years.  He stayed with the operation after it was merged with Dial Global but now exits and is seeking his next opportunity…..Tribune’s WGN, Chicago eliminates a news position as midday anchor Jim Gudas is let go for financial reasons…..Phil Cioppa joins the Greenwich, Connecticut-based Business TalkRadio Network where his show which “tackles global and national events and translates them into how they affect the average American’s pocketbook” now airs on some 140 affiliates…..SiriusXM announces it is launching an expanded suite of 30 play-by-play channels dedicated to streaming the official radio broadcasts of every MLB team on the SiriusXM Internet Radio App and online at SiriusXM.com…..WTOP-FM, Washington offers prizes to listeners in the area with the worst commute.  Dubbed “Commuter Idle,” listeners must submit stories of their commute online and the winner receives $1,000 in gas money and a limo ride.  Runners-up get $150 gas cards…..Merlin Media’s WEMP-FM, New York lets managing editor Doug O’Brien go.  The Former WINS, New York staffer has been with FM News 101.9 since its inception last summer…..Yahoo! Sports Radio pairs up Yahoo! Sports columnist Dan Wetzel with college sports writer Pat Forde for a weekly Thursday evening sports talk show on the network…..Bonneville’s KSL, Salt Lake City (the AM side) celebrates its 90th anniversary serving the market…..Sports USA announces its 18-game college football schedule for this fall that kicks off with Michigan State hosting Boise State and wrapping up with the Sun Bowl on New Year’s Eve.

Putin Returns, Anti-Austerity Backlash in Europe, 2012 Presidential Race, New American Obesity Stats, Student Loan Rate Debate, and Terror Plot Foiled Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/7).  The return of Vladimir Putin to power in Russia; voters in Europe show anti-austerity backlash; the 2012 presidential race; the latest statistics on obesity in America; Congress to take on student loan rate debate; and a plot to destroy a U.S. airliner is foiled were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Generations.  Television stars Robert Conrad (l) and Jorge Garcia (r) pose for a photo at the Paley Center for Media in Los Angeles at the grand opening of an exhibit titled, “50 Years of Warner Brothers.”  Conrad, who hosts a weekly talk radio program on CRN Digital Talk Radio, was the star of “The Wild, Wild West.”  Garcia starred in “Lost” and currently is featured in “Alcatraz.”

 

Monday, May 7, 2012

| May 7, 2012

Merlin Media’s Philly FM Talker Debuts Today.  News/talk outlet WWIQ-FM, Philadelphia (licensed to Camden, New Jersey) debuts its morning show today co-hosted by market TV news personality Larry Mendte (pictured here).  Former WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte morning host (and Philly native) Al Gardner is co-hosting the program with Mendte.  Over the weekend Mendte posted a YouTube video promoting the new station being operated by the innovative Randy Michaels and his Merlin Media.  In it, Mendte asks Philadelphians to submit suggestions for the new station (ideas used could win the people who submit them Phillies tickets!).  He also suggests the current news outlets – other stations, the newspapers and TV are outdated and/or in trouble financially and he believes WWIQ-FM will give listeners what they need.  In the video, Mendte is clearly ribbing CBS Radio’s all-news KYW even though he doesn’t mention the company or station by name.  See Mendte’s video here.  WWIQ-FM has been stunting with wall-to-wall Sean Hannity for several weeks and today it’s believed the station will debut with the morning show, Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity and Glenn BeckRush Limbaugh is expected to move over from WPHT soon.  Other programming has yet to be announced.

FCC Says “No Go” to Liberty Media’s SiriusXM Takeover Bid.  Liberty Media had petitioned the Federal Communications Commission to take “de facto” control of SiriusXM after supplying $530 million to the satcaster in 2009 to help it avoid bankruptcy.  But, as SiriusXM CEO Mel Karmazin said recently, “Forty percent is not the new 50 percent.”  Liberty Media owns 40% of SiriusXM as a result of the 2009 deal but the FCC denied its request saying that Liberty’s filing lacked details and rejected its claim for control.  During the recent SiriusXM Q1 conference call with analysts, Mel Karmazin stated the company’s relationship with Liberty was not “combative.”  Liberty Media has five of the 13 seats on the SiriusXM board of directors.

WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas Names Ben Ferguson Late Morning Host.  Cumulus Media’s WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas cut ties with market legend Mark Davis after the two sides were unable to agree on a new contract.  Now, Memphis-based talk host Ben Ferguson is named permanent host of the 9:00 am to 11:00 am program.  Ferguson had been filling in during the time slot since Davis left the air.  He hosts the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm program at Cumulus Media’s WKIM-FM, Memphis and will continue to host that show as well.  Additionally, Ferguson is the host of his own nationally syndicated weekend program that is heard on both WKIM-FM and WBAP-AM/FM.  Ben Ferguson was the first recipient of the Young American Broadcasters‘ scholarship award given at the TALKERS New Media Seminar several years ago.  Ferguson won the award while still in college and, due in part to winning the award, fulfilled his dream of becoming a working radio talk show host.

St. Louis Personality John Carney Joins News/Talk KTRS for Nights.  Gateway City radio personality John Carney – son of the late KMOX, St. Louis legend Jack Carney – joins CH Holdings’ news/talk KTRS to host the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight program beginning June 4.  Carney most recently was a jock at CBS Radio’s crosstown classic hits KEZK-FM – Fresh 102.5 – until he exited that station in April.  He also worked at KMOX for 11 years prior to KEZK-FM.  Carney’s addition to KTRS comes as the station shuffles its programming.  Chicago-based talk host Steve Cochran had been hosting two programs on KTRS – 10:00 am to 12:00 noon and 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm – in addition to his afternoon drive show at WIND, Chicago.  Cochran will continue to host the late morning show.  John Hadley’s sports talk show slides down to the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot and Martin Kilcoyne takes over the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show formerly hosted by JC Corcoran.

KTAR-FM, Phoenix and News Director Part Company.  Bonneville International and news director Adam Thomas part ways after less than a year together.  Thomas joined KTAR-FM in June of 2011 – Thomas moving west from Minneapolis where he’s worked at CBS Radio’s WCCO.  Thomas had also worked for Bonneville at KSL, Salt Lake City prior to joining WCCO.  Details on Thomas’ exit from KTAR-FM are few but it appears there’s a news director position to be filled in Phoenix.

WTDY, Madison Promotes Amy Barrilleaux.  Mid-West Family Stations announces WTDY-AM/FM, Madison afternoon anchor and “Everything@Five” host Amy Barrilleaux is promoted to news director for the station.  WTDY-AM/FM program director Rex Charger says, “I am pleased to announce Amy Barrilleaux as WTDY news director.  Amy has been instrumental in helping grow our news product and brand and I look forward to her continued leadership in the newsroom.  Amy will continue to anchor afternoon newscasts and host ‘Everything@Five.’”

Media Personality Jack Rice Hosts Weekend Talk Program in Twin Cities.  Talk media personality Jack Rice – who left the daily talk radio business more than two years ago – returns to a regular talk program with his Sunday morning show on KTNF, Minneapolis airing from 7:00 am to 9:00 am.  Jack Rice is a former CIA agent, a practicing attorney in Minneapolis and is regularly seen on such news/talk media outlets as MSNBC, CNN and Al Jazeera offering expert analysis on issues, especially those surrounding foreign intelligence and terrorism.  He previously hosted daily talk shows on WCCO, Minneapolis and KOGO, San Diego.  His investigative style of talk radio, his travels to the world’s hot spots and willingness to put himself in harm’s way to get the story earned him the Freedom of Speech Award from TALKERS magazine in 2009.  Of his new program, Rice states, “I’m very excited to be back on the air on a regular basis.  This business gets in your blood and once you’re in, you’re in.  And while I recognize the realities of the business, nothing allows for a deep connection with an audience like radio.”  Rice tells TALKERS he is exploring the possibility of developing a national program dedicated to international events including terrorism, the economic collapse in Europe, the Chinese economic juggernaut, the drug wars in Mexico and more.  He says his experience as a former CIA officer and international journalist give him a unique experience and take on such events.

Dave Ramsey Live in Grand Rapids.  Nationally syndicated personal finance talk sensation Dave Ramsey filled the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids on Saturday, May 5 for his “Total Money Makeover Live” event there – more than 8,000 fans attended.  Ramsey is heard on news/talk WOOD-AM/FM and Clear Channel Grand Rapids market manager Tim Feagan says, “Having another sellout with Dave is the only way I know of for a news/talk station to touch thousands of our core listeners.  Music stations can sometimes do it by owning a concert, but when it comes to the talk format Dave is it!”  Pictured here during Ramsey’s visit to Grand Rapids are (from l-r): Feagan, Ramsey, WOOD general sales manager Henry Capogna, and WOOD program director Phil Tower.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

| May 1, 2012

Clear Channel’s WMMS-FM, Cleveland Disciplines Morning Talent for Off-Color Comment.  “Rover’s Morning Glory” cast member Dominic Dieter has been disciplined in response to comments made on the morning show – though the extent of the discipline is not known.  A father e-mailed the show stating he saw his daughter kissing another girl and asked what he should do.  Dieter responded he should have a friend “screw [her] straight.”  For obvious reasons, a bad joke about raping a young woman in response to her possible homosexuality raised the ire of some listeners and caught the attention of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.  To the credit of CC’s local management, it acted quickly.  The station met immediately with GLAAD representatives, took Dieter off the air (for how long has yet to be determined) and had him record an apology which included the following.  “I want to genuinely apologize to anyone who may have been offended by what I said.  I regret what I did say.  My comments were inappropriate.  They were inexcusable, and just downright stupid.  And I want to make it clear; there was absolutely no intention to promote physical or sexual violence.”  CC Cleveland operations manager Keith Abrams stated to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, “We take matters of this nature very seriously; his comment was thoughtless and unacceptable, and we apologize to those who were offended.  We can assure you the appropriate disciplinary action has been taken, and Dieter has since apologized on air and is fully aware that what he said was unacceptable.  We also want you to be aware that during Friday’s broadcast, he was in fact immediately criticized on-air by the other hosts of the show, and the rest of the segment was dedicated to a productive discussion about the acceptance of all lifestyles.  It included call-ins and commentary from members and friends of the gay community.  WMMS supports the gay community and again, we deeply apologize.”  GLAAD’s Aaron McQuade tells the paper the station has also invited the gay rights group Equality Ohio to join its community advisory board.

Cumulus Media and Townsquare Media Pull Off Big Deal.  This deal gives each side what it wanted but it reportedly took about a year to finalize.  Here’s who gets what:  Townsquare Media gives its stations in Peoria, Illinois and Bloomington, Illinois to Cumulus plus $116 million while getting from Cumulus the stations in 11 small markets – Kileen-Temple, Texas; New Bedford, Massachusetts; Odessa-Midland, Texas; Binghamton, New York; Bangor, Maine; Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Grand Junction, Colorado; Augusta-Waterville, Maine; Bismarck, North Dakota; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and Presque Isle, Maine.  Industry watchers are noting that Cumulus is very happy to get the cash infusion it needs after spending $2.4 billion on the Citadel deal and Townsquare Media is happy to focus on the local aspect of small and mid-size market radio.

Cumulus Media’s News/Talk KCMO, Kansas City Adds FM Signal.  Kansas City news/talker KCMO begins an FM simulcast on 103.7 – a translator that had been simulcasting the company’s classic rock KCFX-FM.  The signal is 250 watts but covers the heart of the Kansas City metro.  Cumulus Kansas City SVP and market manager Mark Sullivan states, “This is an exciting day for KCMO Talk Radio as it provides us a platform to continue to be successful into the future.”  In a statement, the company notes that John Dickey, co-chief operating officer for Cumulus commented in a recent article in the Atlanta Business Chronicle that “having this format on FM is really the future!”

Courtside Entertainment Group Adds Dr. Drew Feature to WTOP, Washington.  The “One Minute Clinic with Dr. Drew” finds a home on Hubbard Broadcasting’s major market WTOP, Washington.  DC joins New York, Los Angeles and Chicago in receiving Dr. Drew Pinsky’s latest media project – 60-second commentaries covering relationship advice and hot topics plus the latest news from the medical world.  WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo states, “In addition to breaking news, Campaign 2012, traffic, and weather coverage, WTOP brings listeners useful and relevant information on health, relationships, and consumer issues.  Dr. Drew offers practical, actionable content that’s appointment listening on WTOP.”

Greater Media’s Philly Sports Combo Grabs NHL’s Flyers for Multi-Year Deal.  There’s an aggressive acquisition of play-by-play rights going on in Philadelphia as Greater Media’s sports talk combo – WPEN-FM 97.5 The Fanatic and WPEN-AM 950 ESPN Radio – adds Flyers hockey to their programming beginning with the 2012-2013 season.  This comes just days after the stations grabbed 76ers basketball from CBS Radio’s crosstown WIP.  Flyers games will be broadcast on both sports outlets and a few will air on rock WMMR-FM.  Comcast-Spectacor (Flyers owner) president Peter Luukko says, “We’re thrilled to be working with a partner that is 100% committed and excited about the Philadelphia Flyers.  We’re also happy that the Sixers have moved over to Greater Media Philadelphia along with us.  Greater Media is an incredible partner that offers extensive promotional support for the Flyers on all their stations.”

CBS Radio Violated Sixers Contract Reports Philly Daily News.  The reason Greater Media was able to snag the 76ers for the playoffs this year though CBS Radio had the rights to the team’s play-by-play throughout this season is because CBS violated the contract, according to the Philadelphia Daily NewsDan Gross.  The paper reports CBS Radio failed to give the Sixers proper notice before bumping an April 3 game to classic hits WOGL-FM.  Gross writes that after the deal with Greater Media was consummated, Sixers CEO Adam Aron stated, “The Sixers’ rapidly growing fan base will no longer have to set their radios to ‘scan’ to find where their Sixers will be aired.”  CBS Radio market manager Marc Rayfield told the paper the two sides parted ways amicably.

Michael Harrison Set to Address 2012 Radio Show on State of Talk Radio.  In what has become an industry tradition running more than a decade, TALKERS magazine founder and publisher Michael Harrison will again deliver the annual “State of Talk Radio” address at the NAB/RAB Radio Show.  Harrison will speak on Wednesday, September 19 between 10:30 am and 11:45 am at a special Info-Session sponsored by TALKERS.  The national conference will take place this year September, 19-21 at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas.  Harrison’s address is open to all 2012 Radio Show registrants.

Rush Limbaugh Helps Raise $3.3 Million for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Premiere Networks superstar Rush Limbaugh dedicated three hours of his nationally syndicated talk show on April 13 to raising funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Including a personal donation of $400,000, as of April 20 the cure-a-thon has brought in pledges of $3.3 million.  This is the 22nd year Limbaugh’s program has held the cure-a-thon and has helped raise more than $34 million for the organization during that time.

Federated Media to Add FM Simulcast to Sports WKJG, Fort Wayne.  Beginning June 4, Federated Media will flip Froggy 106.7 — WFGA-FM, Ft. Wayne (licensed to Hicksville, Ohio) to sports simulcasting WKJG – ESPN 1380.  At that time the station will also add a local PM drive show featuring sister rock WBYR-FM operations manager Stiller and WKJG PD and WOWO APD Brian LaMartina.  Federated Media COO Mark DePrez states, “The Stiller and Brian show is the first step toward combining the world renowned ESPN brand with an increased local connection.  Peter Drucker said concentration is the key to all economic success.  In Fort Wayne, we have gone from seven to five brands to serve this community more effectively, efficiently and most importantly more profitably.  It sounds cliché but it is true that when one door closes another opens.  We salute the staff of Froggy 106.7 for their years of dedication and commitment to community radio.”

2012 Presidential Race, Escaped Chinese Activist, EPA vs Oil and Gas Industries, White House Correspondents Dinner, and Bin Laden Death Anniversary Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/30).  The 2012 presidential campaign; the case of escaped Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng on the eve of visit to China by Hillary Clinton; EPA administrator resigns after comments about making an example of oil and gas companies; the aftermath of the White House Correspondents Dinner; and the anniversary of the death of Osama bin Laden were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

Dr. Daliah Wachs Helps Organization Raise $17, 000 for Autism Charity.  Las Vegas-based nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs helped the Finding Autistic Solutions for Tomorrow organization raise some $17, 000 during its FAST for Kids Gala on April 28 at the Las Vegas Hotel and Casino.  The event was hosted by local Fox TV news personalities Heidi Hayes and Ted Pretty.  Pictured here is Dr. Daliah Wachs (l) promoting the fundraiser on Fox 5 News.

Monday, April 23, 2012

| April 23, 2012

Tom Leykis’ Return to Talk Draws Loyal Audience to Web-Based Content.  Off the radio for more than three years after CBS Radio blew up KLSX-FM, Los Angeles and his contract kept him from working for anyone other than CBS, Tom Leykis returned to the microphone on April 2 for an internet-delivered talk show.  The show is broadcast live at www.blowmeuptom.com at 3:00 pm PT and on a 24/7 streamed replay via major media players – Tune In, Windows Media Player, iTunes, iPhone, Shoutcast and Winamp.  Leykis says the numbers for the first week of the show were impressive: The total number of listeners from April 2 to Monday, April 9 was 401,180.  The average number of show listeners for that week in any 15 minute period totaled 1,575 and the average time spent listening by each listener was a half hour each day in the seven-day week.  “These numbers are way higher than what we’d anticipated.  We’re way farther along in our progress than I ever could have imagined.  Kind of makes you wonder what competing alternative content like this will ultimately mean for radio.”  Leykis, who will be speaking at the New Media Seminar in New York City on June 7, tells TALKERS that the combination of doing a daily show and running his own business has made him “more focused than ever” stating, “Now is the time for talk talent to think of themselves as more than employees…they must think entrepreneurially for their own survival.  The way to start is by developing a healthy relationship with your advertisers.”

Act Quickly!  Word just in from Bob Dane, event manager for this year’s annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row is that due to larger than expected demand, they expanded the number of broadcast booths.  As of 10:00 am ET this morning (Monday, April 23), Dane reports there is now one remaining, fully equipped booth in morning, midday and afternoon drive left.  And it’s first come, first serve.  This event is a must-attend-and-no-reason-not-to given that everything is turnkey and at no cost for the convenience of the participating broadcasters…and if you act fast, possibly a hotel room can be part of the package – but availability is extremely limited.  Hold Their Feet to the Fire 2012 is staged annually by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, this year, May 8-9 in Washington, DC focusing on immigration issues facing the candidates in this heated election year.  Contact Bob Dane at 202-328-7004.

Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly Close to Re-signing with Fox News Channel.  The New York Times reports it has confirmed through anonymous sources that Fox News Channel superstars Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly are ready – as early as next week – to sign contract extensions with News Corp.’s cable news/talk network that would keep them in the fold through the 2016 elections.  FNC is declining to comment on the story but the sources seem to indicate that the deals to keep the two most-watched personalities on the network in place for four more years are being cemented quickly and should be announced within the next week or so.  Sean Hannity’s national talk radio show is syndicated by Premiere Networks and Bill O’Reilly’s daily commentary is syndicated to talk radio stations across the country via Courtside Entertainment Group.

NOW Attempts to Inject Life into Anti-Rush Limbaugh Campaign.  The National Organization for Women is firing up a campaign called “Enough Rush” aimed at getting the Premiere Networks talk superstar’s show cancelled.   As these things usually do, the blowback suffered by Rush Limbaugh from his Sandra Fluke comments has all but disappeared.  But NOW – working in conjunction with the anti-conservative organization Media Matters for America – is reigniting its efforts to end Limbaugh’s program.  NOW president Terry O’Neill states, “For more than two decades, Rush Limbaugh has degraded women, people of color and anyone who doesn’t look or think like him.  Like bullies everywhere, Limbaugh uses the age-old tactic of savaging one woman for the purpose of intimidating all women away from the public square.  Rush’s hostile, hateful speech is destructive to our public discourse, our communities and our democracy.”  NOW is organizing rallies in a number of cities designed to build momentum for the campaign.  Meanwhile, PPM ratings for the month of March indicate publicity generated by the campaign against Limbaugh has actually increased his ratings in many markets.

Arbitron Drops Diary-Based Ratings in Seven Markets.  Lack of enough subscribers to make it profitable can be credited for Arbitron Inc.’s decision to eliminate the diary-based ratings in Saginaw-Bay City-Midlands, Michigan (market #139); Ann Arbor, Michigan (#155); Wilmington, North Carolina (#162); Dubuque, Iowa (#237); Columbus-Starkville-West Point, Mississippi (#261); Sebring, Florida (#276); and Mason City, Iowa (#283).

WPRO, Providence Talk Host and Former Mayor Buddy Cianci’s Daughter Dies.  The colorful two-time former mayor of Providence – and PM drive talk host at Cumulus Media’s WPRO/WEAN-FM, Providence – Buddy Cianci has lost his daughter to an apparent drug overdose.  Nicole Cianci’s death at her home in the city was reported Friday and Cianci issued the following statement, “This is a tragic and emotional time for Nicole’s mother and I.  Our entire family appreciates your thoughts, prayers and sentiments.  We ask that our family’s privacy be respected during this difficult time.”  Nicole Cianci was Buddy Cianci’s only child and the mother of his three grandchildren.

TALKERS to Publish Four-Part Series by Walter Sabo on FM Talk this Week.  Sabo Media president Walter Sabo, one of the earliest and most accomplished proponents of FM talk, has written a powerful and informative four-part series on the hot topic that will run exclusively in TALKERS this week.  In the series, one of radio programming’s most prolific visionaries delves into such areas as mistakes to avoid, finding and inspiring great hosts, methods to develop cume, topic management, the differences between AM and FM “share”  and much more.  The series begins tomorrow (Tuesday, April 24) and will run every day this week through Friday.  Sabo will be a featured speaker at the forthcoming New Media Seminar in NYC on June 7.

WFLA-FM, Tallahassee AM Drive Show’s Eggers Exits to Join Think Tank.  Eric Eggers is producer and on-air co-host of the WFLA-FM, Tallahassee’s morning drive show hosted by Preston Scott.  He announces he’s leaving the Clear Channel Media and Entertainment station and the program he’s been producing for the past seven-plus years to join the Government Accountability Institute – a non-profit think tank based in Tallahassee and founded by conservative author Peter Schweizer.  Eggers tells Tallahassee.com, “Peter wrote his last book about insider trading in Congress.  And so it’s going to be more projects along the same vein in terms of focusing on corruption, cronyism, looking at some of the ways the current federal government system is broken and failing us — not looking out for the little guy.”

Ed Tyll Begins Regular Web-Based Talk Show Tonight.  Longtime talk radio host Ed Tyll begins a new regular talk program broadcast via the internet at TalkRadioX (http://talkradiox.com/) at 8:00 pm ET.  TalkRadioX was co-founded by Dan Delgado and Antubert Johnson – two personalities who’ve made the TALKERS “Frontier Fifty” list of internet talk show hosts blazing a trail in the world of web-based programming since the list began being published three years ago.  (The 2012 “Frontier Fifty” list will be published at Talkers.com in September.)  Tyll says TalkRadioX is “a 24-hour streaming talk station that boasts an original line up of enthusiastic talkers, reminiscent of when talk radio was both fun and informative.”  Dan Delgado tells TALKERS, “Getting someone of Ed Tyll’s caliber and stature in the industry is something we at TalkRadioX had been looking to do for some time.  We’re thrilled to be getting someone with his experience on the station.  What he brings in terms of talent and energy is something that will bring all of us to the next level.”  Tyll states, “TalkRadioX represents a key moment in the history of a format that I love hosting.  It’s the perfect place for what I do on the air.  I’m convinced that my success with the Casey Anthony trial in Orlando will be eclipsed by the enormous potential of this network’s unique combination of terrestrial radio and world wide web radio listenership.”  During his career, Ed Tyll has worked at numerous major market talk stations as well has having been nationally syndicated.

The Fight for Freedom in Afghanistan.  WNDB, Daytona Beach talk show host Marc Bernier (l) is pictured here interviewing author and former Army Ranger Captain Sean Parnell (r) as the two discuss his new book Outlaw Platoon: Heroes, Renegades, Infidels and the Brotherhood of War in Afghanistan (William Morrow 2012).  The interview was conducted before a live audience at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and is the 78th such event – broadcast live on WNDB – in Bernier’s live interview series.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

| April 17, 2012

All-Hannity Stunt Points to New FM Talker in Philly.  Merlin Media dropped the Christian talk on its new WKDN-FM, Philadelphia and began airing Premiere NetworksSean Hannity round the clock.  The move seems to back the speculation that Merlin will not follow the footsteps of its New York and Chicago FMs with an all-news format but will go news/talk.  It’s expected the station will soon clear Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh and possibly Glenn Beck as well as it builds an FM talk station with Philadelphia native son Al Gardner as PD and morning drive host.  Merlin also changed the call letters of the station to WWIQ-FM.

News/Talk KFI, Los Angeles Wins March PPM Battle.  It’s not often a commercial news/talk station is ranked the top station in a PPM market, but Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFI, Los Angeles topped sister Top 40 KIIS-FM by a tenth of a point to win the March PPM contest with a 4.9 share.  A few news/talk stations have landed in the top spot in the monthly PPMs – Journal Broadcasting’s WTMJ, Milwaukee has a track record of dominance in that market as does Cox Media‘s WOKV-AM/FM, Jacksonville – but for the most part, the number one slot is usually nabbed by a music or all-news station.  It goes to show the astounding cume KFI has in the market.

Clear Channel Reorganizes Marketing Structure; Tim Castelli Replaces Charlie Rahilly.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment makes a major move to “unify and align its marketing offerings under one umbrella” with the creation of a new, unified sales and marketing group led by former AOL executive Tim Castelli.  CC states, “This move, the latest in the company’s transformation to a fully integrated, multi-platform media and entertainment company, creates an unprecedented opportunity for partners to tap into the company’s unparalleled reach of 237 million people a month (the largest of any radio or television outlet in America) and unmatched collection of media assets.”  CCME chairman and CEO John Hogan says, “This is an entirely new way to leverage the unmatched national reach with local engagement capabilities of Clear Channel Radio Sales, Strategic Partnerships, Clear Channel Connections, Digital, event sponsorships and Premiere Radio Networks Sales supported by innovative programs and world class custom marketing insights.”  In addition to Castelli’s hiring, Clear Channel announces Condé Nast’s Holly Lang joins the company as senior vice president, marketing solutions.  Lang is responsible for conceiving and implementing innovative marketing programs for national advertisers, with a special focus on consumer brands.  Also, Chris Monteleone, formerly vice president of partner strategy at Madison Square Garden, has been named senior vice president, event sponsorship sales and development.

New Jersey 101.5 Gives Steve Trevelise the Evening Show.  Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM, Trenton – New Jersey 101.5 – announces part-time staffer Steve Trevelise is named permanent host of the evening show on the station.  Trevelise has been sitting in hosting the evening program since the station parted ways with Michelle Jerson.  Now, brand manager Eric Johnson states, “There are few in radio that I know who sound more Jersey than Steve!  We are thrilled he is bringing his passion and knowledge of the state to weekday evenings on New Jersey 101.5.  Having been here part-time for a few years now, he has worked hard to earn this position and knows how to relate to our more than 1 million listeners.”  In addition to his radio career, Trevelise is a stand-up comic and has performed at comedy clubs throughout New Jersey.  He currently owns and operates Sarcasm Comedy Club in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

Midway Broadcasting’s WVON, Chicago Joins iHeartRadio.  The Windy City’s urban talk outlet, WVON, is the latest station to join Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s mobile/digital radio service iHeartRadio.  Midway Broadcasting chairman Melody Spann Cooper states, “I think this is a win-win for both WVON and iHeartRadio.  We’ll reach a national audience, our listeners will have the benefit of taking the station wherever they go by using their smart phones, and iHeartRadio gets the benefit of our best-in-class urban talk format.”  The station says it is embarking on an aggressive promotional campaign to introduce iHeartRadio and to educate its listeners on its usage.

Gabe Hobbs Named Strategic Advisor at Listener Driven Radio.  Former Clear Channel news/talk and sports corporate programmer Gabe Hobbs joins Listener Driven Radio to spearhead the company’s LDR.TopicPulse – what the company describes as “a new system that offers real time social media topic tracking, so news/talk stations can see what local audiences are talking about up-to-the-second.”  LDR further describes LDR.TopicPulse as “valuable real-time information to show producers and hosts on which topics and news stories are ‘getting buzz’ in their market on social media.  The system scans all available news sources, local blogs, Facebook posts, Tweets and other social media.  Then, producers can see a report – which is updated to the second – on the hottest trending topics and their shelf life.”  On his new position, Hobbs states, “LDR’s team is the finest group of interactive innovators in the country.  I’m proud to join the team to translate the success LDR is having at music radio to the news/talk/sports formats.”

Salem Radio Network Host Dr. Richard Land Responds to Plagiarism Accusations.  Southern Baptist Dr. Richard Land – host of the “Richard Land Live” Saturday program syndicated by Salem Radio Network – responds to accusations he pulled direct commentary for a monologue about the Trayvon Martin case from an editorial by Jeffrey Kuhner of the Washington Times.  Land admits he failed to provide verbal attribution on the program for using some content and apologizes.  Land states he did not intend to deceive and always posts his source material on his program’s website.  SRN VP of news and talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS, “SRN stands firmly behind Dr. Richard Land, whose ethical standards and intellect are recognized around the world.  An oversight in giving an on-air mention to a source he clearly posted on his website hardly rises to the level of ‘plagiarism.’  That standard is reserved for individuals like Vice President Joe Biden, who was forced to abandon his 2008 presidential campaign when it was revealed he was recycling entire speeches from British Labour Policy figure Neal Kinnock. Or President Obama himself, who was found to be lifting entire sections of speeches formerly delivered by his friend DeVal Patrick, the Governor of Massachusetts.  It says a lot about Richard Land that he has acknowledged that he can do better…and that he has pledged to do just that.”

Dial Global Names Michael Schreck SVP/Director of Corporate Sports.  In his new position as senior vice president and director of corporate sports, Michael Schreck will be responsible for sports sales and marketing as well as league and team negotiations for Dial Global.  Co-president and CEO David Landau states, “Michael has a proven track record of success in cultivating both advertiser and league partnerships.  With his leadership, we are looking forward to continuing to define great moments for our advertisers and the millions of sports fans our broadcasts touch.”

Dave Ramsey Invades San Antonio.  Nationally syndicated talk radio star Dave Ramsey (pictured here on stage in San Antonio) addressed more than 6,000 fans during the presentation of his “Total Money Makeover Live.”  Ramsey also spoke before some 1,000 local business people  as he presented his EntreLeadership 1-Day event.  Affiliate KTSA, San Antonio benefitted from Ramsey’s appearance in town.  General sales manager Coreena Hazelett says, “One of the invaluable things about Dave’s Live Event visit is the time he puts aside for our sponsors.  The clients really get the opportunity to connect one on one with Dave, and they are moved by his desire to see their businesses succeed.  He’s not just a host on the radio, he’s a true partner who’s committed to the success of our station and our advertisers.”

Secret Service Prostitute Scandal, 2012 Presidential Race, ‘Buffet Rule’ Blocked by Senate GOP, GSA Wasteful Spending and ObamaCare Status Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/16).  The backlash against the Secret Service after agents found in prostitution scandal in South America; the 2012 presidential race including the flap over Ann Romney homemaker comments; the Senate GOP’s blocking of the ‘Buffet Rule’ to tax the super rich; the investigation into wasteful spending by the General Services Administration and the legal status of ObamaCare were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

| April 11, 2012

CBS Radio’s WPHT Touts New “Live and Local” Lineup.  With WYD Media talk show host Michael Smerconish soon to air live on his flagship station WPHT, Philadelphia as he replaces Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh, CBS Radio is promoting its dedication to “live and local” talk radio on the Philly news/talker.  Philadelphia market manager Marc Rayfield states, “We pride ourselves on being local and serving Philadelphians first.  Having Michael broadcast live is another example of our commitment to the audience.  The November election is one of the most important ever and WPHT will continue to offer a local platform no matter what side of the aisle you sit on.”  WPHT’s morning show (for years hosted by Smerconish) is hosted by Chris Stigall, Dom Giordano is late morning talent, Smerconish takes over 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm, Gary R’nel hosts evenings and the station promises to bring a new live and local PM drive show to the station to replace Smerconish’s delayed broadcast.

BIA/Kelsey Reports Radio’s On-Air Revenue Flat in 2011.  The quarterly “Investing in Radio Market Report” from BIA/Kelsey indicates revenue from over-the-air radio rose a modest 0.4% over 2010 numbers to $14.1 billion in 2011.  While the revenue for over-the-air was basically flat, digital revenue rose 15.1% to reach $439 million.  In the report, BIA/Kelsey predicts online revenue will continue to grow at a fast pace to $505 million in 2012 and to $767 million in 2016.  Political spending in 2012 is also expected to boost total radio revenue by as much as 3.5% over 2011 figures.  BIA/Kelsey VP and chief economist Mark Fratrik says, “Although radio’s revenue ascent has been slow since its bottoming in 2009, the industry always picks up steam in an election year and is continuing to prove itself as a valuable local advertising medium, particularly as the integration between over-the-air and online improves.  News stations, in particular, continue to be leaders in many markets by creating comprehensive over-the-air and digital portfolios of ad products and formats to drive deeper advertiser engagement and prove their value in the ad buying mix.”

All-News WCBS Tops New York Revenue Pile for Third Straight Year.  Although revenue was actually down from year-to-year – billing dropped from $49 million in 2010 to $47.5 million – all-news WCBS was still the top biller in the Big Apple, according to Crain’s New York Business.  The story includes analysis of the BIA/Kelsey report in the story above.  The top five revenue-generating stations in New York for 2011 were:  WCBS, CHR WHTZ-FM, lite rock WLTW-FM, all-news WINS, and sports talk WFAN.

Sports Talk Host Dan Sileo Takes Over PM Drive at WQAM, Miami.  Former WDAE, Tampa talk show host Dan Sileo is joining Beasley Broadcasting’s sports talk WQAM, Miami to replace Sid Rosenberg as host of the PM drive show.  Sileo exited Clear Channel Media and Entertianment’s WDAE several weeks ago after a number of years with the station.  Beasley Broadcasting VP/market manager Joe Bell tells TALKERS, “I have followed Dan’s career for years and am very excited about his joining our team!  Dan has a passion for sports, has demonstrated ratings success and at heart is a “Miami guy” having played on two UM National Championship football teams.

Production Talent Changes at Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM.”  With longtime production voice Ross Mitchell leaving the show to pursue other interests, Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” announces Dick Ervasti and Charles Thomas join the program.  The network states, “Dick Ervasti now lends his voice to the program’s introductions, while Charles Thomas voices on-air announcements and promos, as well as “Somewhere in Time with Art Bell.”  Based in Minneapolis, Ervasti is a veteran voice actor with credits ranging from “America’s Most Wanted” and the blockbuster film “Transformers,” to The History Channel and the CBS hit drama “NCIS.”  Thomas also has a wide range of credits, which include commercials for Samsung, Chevy Silverado, The Home Depot, the Syfy original series “Warehouse 13” and Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance.”

Talk Radio Pioneer Bruce Williams Returns to Biz Via Podcast.  Iconic talk radio star Bruce Williams, who left his regularly aired radio show several years ago, is returning to the business with new podcasts available three days per week.  The podcasts are being produced from calls to Williams during other times.  Fans with questions for Williams are being asked to call during specific times when Williams will be able to record their conversations – today from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm ET, for example.  An e-mail blast from his office states, “Remember, this Wednesday April 11 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm ET, Bruce will be taking calls off the air which will air next Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  Tuesday, April 17 and Thursday, April 19 of next week he will be live taking calls from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET.  For now this will be the weekly schedule. Think of all those questions you wanted to ask him for the last two years and were not able to and give him a call, even if it’s to just welcome him back.  The call in number is 855-85-CALL TAE (855-852-2558).  The show will also be on iTunes with the past seven shows available.  All shows will be available at www.taeradio.com.

WGOW-FM, Chattanooga Names Brian Joyce Midday Host.  Brian Joyce most recently worked at Entercom’s WRKO, Boston hosting a weekend talk program.  His bio lists his varied work experience including: truck driver, bartender and stand-up comic, among others.  Joyce tells the local Nooga.com that he considers himself part of the “radical center.”  “This is the new movement, especially in my head, for politics.  There will be issues where I will fall far to the left or far to the right.  And maybe people won’t understand it at first.  I don’t think media addresses this currently.” WGOW-FM news director Kevin West says Joyce’s hiring sends a signal about how they’d like the station to sound, “I want it to be a place where it is not predetermined what you’re going to get with any issue.  I think Brian is going to surprise a lot of people.”  Joyce’s program airs from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm on the Cumulus Media news/talk outlet.

“The Wall Street Journal This Morning” Airs in Denver.  The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s morning drive – or early morning drive in Mountain Time – program “The Wall Street Journal This Morning with Gordon Deal” clears large market KOA, Denver.  Station operations director Greg Foster states, “‘The Wall Street Journal This Morning’ helps reinforce 850 KOA’s news image during the early ‘executive drive time’ hours.  More than just money news – ‘The Wall Street Journal This Morning’ is a perfect lead-in to our ‘Colorado’s Morning News.’”

NBC May Be Preparing to Give Matt Lauer More Air Time.  News of “Today” show star Matt Lauer’s contract extension with NBC to remain with the program for many more years broke over the weekend.  Now, it’s being reported that NBC is considering expanding the Lauer franchise – possibly by developing the “Today’s Professionals” segment in which Lauer bats around the hot topics of the day with talent such as Star Jones, Donny Deutsch and Dr. Nancy Snyderman – into either a fifth hour of “Today” or another show altogether.  TVGuide reports the details are not set in stone but it also reports Lauer’s new deal with NBC gives him a share in the ownership of any new show outside of “Today.”

Santorum Drops Out of GOP Race/2012 Presidential Campaign, Facebook Buys Instagram, North Korean Rocket Test, Trayvon Martin Case and Ozzie Guillen’s Castro Flap Among Top Stories on News/Talk Radio Yesterday (4/10).  Rick Santorum’s suspension of his campaign for the GOP nomination and the larger 2012 presidential race, Facebook’s $1 billion purchase of Instagram, North Korea’s new rocket test, the Trayvon Martin case and Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen’s Castro comments were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

| April 10, 2012

Current TV Fires Back at Keith Olbermann.  Fledgling network Current TV is countersuing former “Countdown” host Keith Olbermann in the wake of his messy departure from the operation.  Entertainment Weekly reports the Al Gore-founded network is calling Olbermann’s $70 million suit against the network “frivolous” and “riddled with falsehoods and distortions.”  “Current seeks a determination that it is no longer obligated to pay Mr. Olbermann who, having already been paid handsomely for showing up sporadically and utterly failing to keep his end of the bargain, now seeks to be paid tens of millions more for not working at all.”  The complaint also refers to Olbermann’s April 3 appearance on “Late Night with David Letterman” during which he stated the situation was “my fault” and admitted “I screwed up.”  Current TV filed its complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Rumor Confirmed: Limbaugh to Leave WPHT, Philadelphia; Michael Smerconish to Air Live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm.  Yesterday (4/9) TALKERS reported the rumor that Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh would leave longtime affiliate WPHT and be replaced by WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish live in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart.  CBS Radio is confirming that switch will take place with Premiere Networks saying Limbaugh will appear elsewhere in the market, though neither source is giving specifics on when the changes will take place.  Absent another major signal talk outlet in Philly, speculation is that Merlin Media will take new acquisition WKDN-FM, Philadelphia (licensed to Camden, New Jersey) news/talk in the near future and put Limbaugh on the station.  Meanwhile, Michael Smerconish returns to a live broadcast (he’s currently being delayed to PM drive) on WPHT, the station where he hosted a very successful AM drive program for many years.

WSCR, Chicago’s Dan McNeil Clears Air with Listeners About Absence.  Chicago sports talk host Dan McNeil told his listeners his absence from CBS Radio’s WSCR for the past six weeks was due to what he could best describe as a nervous breakdown that resulted from his ceasing to take the mood stabilizer Lamictal.  McNeil says after he stopped taking the drug he became depressed and sought treatment for depression and substance abuse.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports McNeil was open and honest with his listeners saying, “I know with you listeners I have a lot of work to do to regain your trust, as I’m doing with the most important people in my family.  And I hope you’ll give me the benefit of the doubt and give me a chance to re-earn that trust.”  McNeil co-hosts the midday show at WSCR alongside Matt Spiegel.

Sid Rosenberg to Be Off WQAM, Miami This Week.  After an arrest on Thursday of last week on DUI and driving with a suspended license charges, WQAM, Miami talk host Sid Rosenberg was on the air last Friday.  But he was not hosting his show yesterday and the Miami Sun-Sentinel reports WQAM program director Lee Feldman stating he’ll be off the air all week.  It’s unclear what Rosenberg’s status with the station is – whether he’s been suspended or is out for medical reasons – but he is not expected to return to the station this week.

CRN Digital Talk Radio Expands into the Hawkeye State.  Sunland, California-based CRN Digital Talk Radio announces it has struck a deal with Iowa Network Services to bring its six audio HD channels to cable subscribers in the state.  CRN chief executive officer and founder Michael Horn states, “We are pleased to join with Iowa Network Services and provide their customers with our top-rated and highly entertaining talk radio programming.”  Iowa Network Services is based in Des Moines and serves 57 independent telecommunications firms providing internet, data, telephone and cable television service throughout Iowa.  INS video content manager Sarah Roeder says, “INS is excited to bring CRN Digital Talk Radio to Iowa.  The diverse programming will add value to our existing content.”  CRN Digital Talk Radio states it offers more than 100 original shows along with a stellar roster of top syndicated programs hosted by radio veterans such as Lou Dobbs, Barry Farber, Dennis Prager, Cindy Laverty, Laura Ingraham, Mancow, Michael Savage and Doug Stephan among others.  “Iowa Network Services subscribers will also enjoy the popular Robert Conrad show, featuring the TV legend, as well as the Larry Manetti show, starring the former ‘Magnum P.I.’ star.”

KNST, Tucson Hosts Arizona Congressional Race Debate.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KNST, Tucson is hosting a debate among the four Republican candidates vying for the Congressional seat vacated by former Congresswoman Gabriel Giffords earlier this year.  KNST morning host Garret Lewis will moderate the debate along with National Republican Committee member Bruce Ash.  Candidates Frank Antenori, Jesse Kelly, Martha McSally and Dave Sitton will face off in the April 17 primary to determine who will battle Democrat Ron Barber and Green Party candidate Charlie Manolakis in the June 12 special election.  The debate will take place Thursday evening at the Quail Creek Country Club and will be broadcast live on KNST and 97.1 FM.

Hubbard Broadcasting’s WFED, Washington Wins “Headliner Award” for Website.  Hubbard Broadcasting’s Federal News Radio announces it has been honored with a 2012 National Headliner award for a second place win in the category of Radio-Affiliated Website.  Federal News Radio web manager Julia Ziegler states, “What makes FederalNewsRadio.com so successful is the fact that everyone on our staff contributes to the web product – from our reporters and web staff, to our producers and anchors.  Our most innovative web projects always come from staff members bringing their individual skills, knowledge and ideas together.”  WFED, Washington program director Lisa Wolfe says, “We offer a lot of interactivity with our surveys, multi-media features, radio interviews on demand, photo slide-shows and videos.  We have improved the graphic experience with some excellent data visualization.  The goal is to push our capabilities to be in the vanguard of digital journalism.”

KQTH-FM, Tucson Morning Host Jon Justice Hospitalized for Heart SurgeryJon Justice hosts the morning drive show at Journal Broadcasting’s news/talk KQTH-FM, Tucson.  He suffered a heart attack in 2009 and explains via the station’s video blog (pictured here) from the ICU that doctors will operate on him to fix a prior valve replacement that needs repair.  Justice says doctors expect him to recover quickly and he hopes to be home from the hospital by the weekend.

Jerry Doyle Live on the Strip.  That’s Talk Radio Network star Jerry Doyle broadcasting live from the Suncoast Hotel and Casino on April 6.  Doyle and flagship station KDWN, Las Vegas co-produced the appearance which will become a monthly live broadcast at which Doyle’s fans can take part in what he calls “radio magic.”  After Doyle’s three-hour broadcast, he took questions from fans and talked about “the things they won’t let me talk about on the radio.”

 

GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Campaign, Tepid Jobs Report/Stock Market Activity, Status of Obama Care, Syrian Violence and Mike Wallace Passes Away Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/9).  The Republican primary race and the 2012 presidential campaign; the falling Dow on the heels of a weak jobs report; the Supreme Court’s Obama Care hearing and analysis of the law’s impact on the nation’s deficit; an increase in Syrian violence; and the death of journalist Mike Wallace were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Take Me Out to the Ballgame.  That’s Bob Kevoian of the nationally syndicated Premiere Networks Bob & Tom show at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati on Opening Day leading the fans in the traditional 7th inning stretch singing of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”  Bob & Tom produced a live remote broadcast from the Whiskey Bar in downtown Cincinnati on Opening Day.  Members of the Bob & Tom crew, including Tom Griswold and Kristi Lee, participated in the Opening Day parade in Cincinnati.  Griswold and Lee rode in affiliate Fox 92.5’s car in the parade.

Monday, April 9, 2012

| April 9, 2012

Cumulus Media Networks’ Mike Huckabee Debuts Today.  The number of affiliates set to air the Mike Huckabee show is pegged at somewhere between 175 and 200.  The eager anticipation of Huckabee’s debut would not be so intense were it not for the facts that the show airs live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET – the same time period as Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh – and that the latter is recovering from the backlash and intense consumer media scrutiny that followed the Sandra Fluke controversy.  Regardless, the industry will certainly be watching how Huckabee’s Cumulus Media Networks program takes off but the consumer media appears to be salivating at the notion that Limbaugh has “competition.”  The fact, of course, is that every radio show has competition of one sort or another and Limbaugh has faced high-profile talent in his daypart in the past – most notably from Fox News Channel superstar Bill O’Reilly for a number of years.  Mike Huckabee will succeed if he hosts a compelling program that grabs listeners.  Broadcasters understand that will happen or not independent of what other talk show hosts are doing or whether they are facing a “crisis.”  As TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison told Politico in a piece published over the weekend, “This isn’t an election, it’s an industry.  There’s room for both, just like there’s room for Letterman and Leno.  Yes, every competitor hurts Limbaugh.  But Huckabee is basically just another competitor.  If he takes a little away from Limbaugh, fine.  But he also has the potential to expand the talk radio audience.”

Rumors of Major Syndication Changes in Philadelphia and New York; Smerconish to Bump Limbaugh from WPHT.  And possibly more than that…but first things first.  A very hot rumor out of Philadelphia has WYD Media-produced Michael Smerconish’s nationally syndicated program airing live 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm on CBS Radio’s news/talk WPHT– where Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh does right now.  Smerconish is currently delayed to PM drive on WPHT.  Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor wrote about the other part of this rumor in his morning blast on 4/6: Merlin Media may be planning to go talk and not all-news on WKDN-FM, Philadelphia  – its new property which is still airing Christian programming from prior owner Family Stations.  With former WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte morning drive host (and Philly native) Al Gardner hired to program and possibly host mornings at WKDN-FM and Rush Limbaugh possibly soon-to-be-available (plus Premiere’s Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck available, as Tom Taylor points out), a move to talk would be much less personnel intensive and would enjoy the ability to grab three of the biggest news/talk personalities in the business.  But there’s more…other chatter coming out of New York is that Merlin Media has been talking to Premiere Networks about bringing Rush Limbaugh to its all-newser FM News 101.9 (WEMP-FM) if Cumulus Media decides to put new national syndication rollout Mike Huckabee on WABC in Limbaugh’s place.  Then one would have to ask the question, “Would Merlin do the same with WWWN-FM, Chicago if Cumulus bumped Limbaugh in exchange for Huckabee on its news/talker WLS?”  Stay tuned.

KFAQ, Tulsa Talk Host Pat Campbell Responds to Deadly Shootings.  KFAQ, Tulsa morning drive talk host Pat Campbell tells TALKERS his program responded very quickly to a series of shootings in the city in which five citizens – all African American – were shot and three died.  Campbell says he hosted a special Saturday noontime edition of his program to address the crimes and seek the public’s assistance in capturing suspects.  He tells TALKERS,I had the mayor in the studio urging calm but more importantly, cooperation with the police.  We urged listeners that might have any information to call the Crime Stoppers Hotline and the good news is that a tip came in around 4:00 pm that led to the arrest of the suspects early Sunday morning. This is an example of talk radio at its best!  Rather than becoming a wedge like we’ve seen in the Trayvon Martin case, 1170 KFAQ brought the community together and got the bad guys off the street.”

WQAM, Miami Standing By Sports Talk Host Sid Rosenberg After DUI Arrest Last Week.  WQAM, Miami afternoon sports talk host Sid Rosenberg was back on the air on Friday after spending most of Thursday in jail following an early morning arrest on DUI and driving on a suspended license charges.  Rosenberg, who has spoken publicly about past substance abuse issues and has talked of having twice been to rehab, is being supported by his superiors at the Beasley sports talk outlet.  The Miami Herald reports WQAM program director Lee Feldman stating, for now, Rosenberg is not being suspended.  WQAM general manager Joe Bell declined to comment to the paper.

Matt Lauer to Remain with NBC’s “Today.”  The months of speculation about the future of television talk host Matt Lauer have come to an end as NBC announced Lauer has signed a multi-year contract to remain with the network’s morning news magazine program.  The buzz in the industry included rumors Lauer would rejoin Katie Couric at rival ABC.  Though Couric is set to begin a new chapter in her career at ABC with her own daytime talk show, ABC’s “Good Morning America” has been closing the ratings gap between it and “Today.”  On Lauer’s signing, NBC News president Steve Capus tells The New York Times, “Matt is the franchise, and our franchise player has decided to keep leading our team.”  The Times story notes that “Today” has been in first place in the morning news show ratings for the past 16 years.

Fox News Channel Brings Santita Jackson Aboard as Contributor.  The daughter of Rev. Jesse Jackson left Midway Broadcasting’s WVON, Chicago due to budget cuts last fall.  Now, Santita Jackson is named a contributor for Fox News Channel.  Santita Jackson is also producer of Jesse Jackson’s weekly Premiere Networks-syndicated talk show “Keep Hope Alive.”

Raubin Pierce Leaves On-Air Position with WIBW, Topeka for Management Post at Manhattan Broadcasting.  Raubin Pierce co-hosted the “On the Other Hand” talk show with co-host Megan Mosack at Morris Communications’ WIBW, Topeka and served as the company’s director of information technology.  He’s left those duties to become operations director and head of new media at Manhattan Broadcasting in Manhattan, Kansas.  The company operates four stations in the Manhattan market including news/talk KMAN.  Pierce tells the Topeka Capital-Journal, “This was just a fantastic opportunity.  There was just no way that I couldn’t do this.”

Longtime South Florida Broadcaster Patricia Anderson Dies from Cancer at 54.  Trish Anderson was well known on South Florida radio.  During her career she worked as a producer, voice-over talent, sports reporter and traffic reporter at stations including WINZ and WIOD, Miami.  Anderson battled breast and bone cancer.  She passed away on March 31.

Johnny B at Wrigley Field.  That’s WGN, Chicago morning drive host Jonathon Brandmeier (center with sunglasses) surrounded by the Chicago band The Fold at the Captain Morgan club at Wrigley Field on Opening Day.  The Fold won the station’s contest to write an original song celebrating the Chicago Cubs.  The winning song – “Let’s Go Cubbies” – is being played at the beginning of each Cubs game broadcast on WGN this season.  The band was with Brandmeier on Opening Day to perform the song live at WGN’s pre-game broadcast and live remote.

Friday, April 6, 2012

| April 6, 2012

“Olbermann, You Blew it!”  Those are the word of TALKERS columnist Mona “The Lip” Lipschitz as she castigates former Current TV talent Keith Olbermann for his messy exit from Current and his mega-million dollar suit against the fledgling network.  Lipschitz calls Olbermann out stating, “At least Al Gore is attempting to widen the commercial media platform available to progressive talkers in this country, not to mention sign you to a big fat friggin’ contract with enough dough that could keep countless of the families you claim to be so concerned about under their roofs and fed through this economic and political crisis.”  Read more of Lipschitz’s searing analysis of the Olbermann-Current blow-up here.

Dallas Talk Radio Institution Mark Davis at Contract Loggerheads with Cumulus Media.  WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas talk radio host Mark Davis writes on his blog that his status with the Cumulus Media-owned news/talk station is “not departure, but impasse.”  He confirms his contract with the station has expired and he has been off the air all this week – his contract expired last Friday – as a result of his and the company’s inability to come to terms on a new deal.  Cumulus Media is not responding to requests for comment.  Davis hosts the late morning program between AM drive and Rush Limbaugh’s midday show.  Cumulus operates both WBAP-AM/FM and news/talk KLIF in the market and industry watchers are wondering how the debut of Cumulus Media NetworksMike Huckabee program will affect the programming on the stations.  One would assume Cumulus wants to see Huckabee’s show in a major market like Dallas