Tag: "Rusty Humphries"
FCC Kills CIN Study…at Least for Now. The Federal Communications Commission issued a brief statement late Friday afternoon ending the current form of the Critical Information Needs study that has enraged broadcasters since it was announced last May. Recently, as the beginning of the study approached this spring, broadcasters – and many from the public arena – had re-stoked their disapproval. The FCC’s statement on February 28 was: “The FCC will not move forward with the Critical Information Needs study. The Commission will reassess the best way to fulfill its obligation to Congress to identify barriers to entry into the communications marketplace faced by entrepreneurs and other small businesses.” Commissioner Ajit Pai, who had publicly criticized the scope of the study, said, “I am pleased that the FCC has canceled its Critical Information Needs study. In our country, the government does not tell the people what information they need. Instead, news outlets and the American public decide that for themselves. I look forward to working with my colleagues to identify and remove actual barriers to entry into the communications industry. This newsroom study was a distraction from that important goal.”
TALKERS to Postpone Publishing 2014 Heavy Hundred Until Tuesday, March 11. The 2014 installment of one of TALKERS magazine’s most popular and, perhaps, controversial annual features – “The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” – is being readied for publication this coming Tuesday, March 11, 2014. It was originally intended for publication today (3/3) but last-minute developments in the industry regarding the contracts and standing of several key hosts has required adding the extra week for consideration and tabulation. Also known as “The Heavy Hundred” the ranked listing of 100 hosts and talent teams from around the country is based on a number of both quantitative and qualitative criteria and is determined by collective analysis of the TALKERS editorial board. It includes local and national hosts from a variety of genres falling under the umbrella of “general” talk or “news/talk” radio covering politics, health, finance, relationships, consumer tech, popular culture and a variety of specialties. (TALKERS launched a special and separate Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk two years ago.) Hosts on the list are selected from those working at the time of its publication on platforms that include commercial and public AM/FM radio as well as satellite radio (internet-only talk hosts are ranked by TALKERS in an annual feature titled “The Frontier Fifty”). According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “It is no secret that economic restraints facing the industry these past few years have contributed to shrinking the number of individuals working on the air across the nation. Although the 2014 edition of the Heavy Hundred will, of course, include many familiar names, the need for new blood, fresh voices and potential up and comers has never been greater. Readers will find this year’s roster will feature a number of new names and first-timers, which is quite exciting!” Companies interested in sponsoring segments of this widely discussed and read (by hundreds of thousands of broadcasting industry members and consumers/listeners) feature should call 413-565-5413.
CBS RADIO Adds Baltimore, Maryland Content to All-News WNEW-FM. The two-year-old all-news format on CBS RADIO’s WNEW-FM, Bowie, Maryland-licensed station is getting some tweaking as the station will add more Baltimore and Maryland content to its programming in the form of news and traffic, as the company says, “in addition to its extensive coverage of the Washington, D.C. metro.” The company is opening a Baltimore news center beginning today (3/3), which is located at CBS television station WJZ-TV. Other bureaus will follow in Annapolis and Montgomery County throughout the year. Longtime Baltimore radio news anchor Sarah Jacobs has been named bureau chief, overseeing a team of local reporters. Baltimore Sun columnist David Zurawik reported on the changes last week questioning if the changes are the result of the inability to “put a dent” in the ratings at Hubbard’s crosstown WTOP. Some of the changes beginning today include traffic reports every five minutes during peak travel times plus expanded coverage to include “Beltway to Beltway” traffic spanning the entire Baltimore-Washington corridor, from the Baltimore Beltway to the Washington Beltway, and the major arteries that feed them. CBS RADIO SVP and market manager Steve Swenson states, “WNEW reaches 5.3 million people across Baltimore and Washington, and all the counties in between – more than any other local radio station. We’re thrilled to offer area residents around-the-clock news coverage, and serve as the primary destination for all their traffic information needs. Whether driving the two Beltways, I-95, the Baltimore Washington Parkway, I-97, or Route 50, commuters will only need to listen to one station: All-News 99.1FM.” In the Baltimore Sun piece, Zurawik writes that Swenson concedes the location of the WNEW-FM transmitter – near Annapolis – doesn’t cover the DC metro the way most DC-licensed stations do. Swenson tells the paper WNEW-FM “reaches 38% of the DC metro population while it covers more than 75% of the Baltimore metro.”
Don Geronimo to Exit ‘106.7 The Fan’ in Washington. After returning to his longtime stomping grounds at WJFK-FM, Washington “106.7 The Fan” following a stint at the company’s KHTK, Sacramento, Don Geronimo will again leave the station and his evening show. Geronimo Tweeted that he’s going to be on the CBS RADIO payroll for another 30 days and then “off to brighter pastures. You know I have a lot to say on the entire matter, you’ll hear it all soon enuf, ever 4ward.”
PodcastOne Makes Doug Stephan’s ‘Good Day’ Show Available on Demand. Nationally syndicated radio personality Doug Stephan (left) is partnering with PodcastOne to have the service distribute his podcast and have PodcastOne Sales serve as the exclusive rep for his podcast. Stephan’s “Good Day” is now available in a digital format after the original broadcast of the radio program. PodcastOne CEO Norm Pattiz (right) says, “Everybody needs a good day. Now we can make sure that Doug Stephan’s ‘Good Day’ is available 24 hours a day, on-demand, from PodcastOne. This is just another example of the expanding radio footprint that makes the best talent available to the largest possible audience, and on a personal level, having Doug on the podcast lineup brings a big smile to my face and assures me of having my own personal good day.”
Talk Radio Personality Rusty Humphries Joins Washington Times. Longtime TRN-syndicated talk radio personality Rusty Humphries is joining the Washington Times for an “expansive role” in which he will be “a weekly columnist, a blogger and a daily video show host.” The organization notes that “Humphries’ appointment is part of the Washington Times’ aggressive expansion into the many platforms that comprise a modern media company. The audio from Humphries’ video show will also be streamed on the Kaliki-based, on-demand network that was recently established in partnership with the Times. Humphries comments, “I’m excited to become part of the Washington Times family. I am proud to add my voice and my ideas to the excellent work that the Times has been producing for decades.” Times editor and vice president of content and business development John Solomon adds, “Rusty is a rare and special talent. We are thrilled to have his wisdom and his good humor as part of our growing menu of offerings.”
New Lineup from TheBlaze Radio Network; Buck Sexton Show to Weekdays. There’s a new weekday schedule from Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network as the company announces the Buck Sexton show moves to weekdays in the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm ET slot effective March 17. Sexton is also co-host of “Real News from TheBlaze,” he is a former Central Intelligence Agency officer and NYPD Intelligence Division analyst with hands-on expertise in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations around the world. As a result of the move, the Pat & Stu show moves to the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET slot. TheBlaze president and chief content officer Joel Cheatwood states, “Over the past 18 months or so Buck has emerged as a very strong new voice in media. We’re excited to see what he can do with the expanded opportunity on TheBlaze Radio Network.”
Compass Media Networks Welcomes Susan O’Connell. Affiliate relations pro Susan O’Connell is joining Compass Media Networks as a consultant with the goal of managing and enhancing affiliate relations and strategy related to The Wall Street Journal Radio Network. O’Connell has served as senior director, affiliate sales for The Wall Street Journal Radio Network since 2006. Compass exclusively manages affiliate sales and advertising sales for WSJ Radio.
Lawrence Named Director of Sales at Revenue Development Resources. After 14 years of service to the Radio Advertising Bureau, Bob Lawrence becomes director of sales for Revenue Development Resources. He states, “It’s exciting to be representing the valuable services that RDR offers to broadcasters, and to once again team with RDR president/CEO Mark Levy. I look forward to more of the kind of successes that Mark and I achieved during our years working together at the RAB.” Says Levy, “Bob joining us is like old-home week. With former RAB team members Tim Foley and now Bob Lawrence on the team, it’s like working with family again!”
Odds & Sods. Imaging and voice-over pro Pete Gustin leaves his gig with Entercom’s sports talk WEEI-FM and news/talk WRKO after 18 years with the stations. Gustin, who recently launched his own imaging and voice-over service, writes on his Facebook page, “I’ll be partnered with dozens of major national brands, programs, radio stations, TV networks, sports franchises and agencies like Solid Talent with Micaela Stepanovich, CESD Imaging — affiliates and Paul Wintner and Jason Helzner, who are both very much responsible for this new path I’m on.”…..WOLB, Baltimore morning show host Larry Young is honored as a recipient of the 2014 Verizon Community Innovator Award. The company says that Young was the only recipient of the award in the communications field. “We here at Radio One Inc. are very proud of Larry’s many accomplishments and this shows the great works he has done for the community and how he represents his community.”…..Center Post Holdings announces it is re-branding the Business TalkRadio Network to BizTalkRadio to reflect its new partnership with sister network BizTV. Center Post Holdings purchased BTRN last October .
Rick & Bubba Read to 50,000 Kids in 13 States! Nationally syndicated morning show Rick & Bubba (Rick Burgess and Bill “Bubba” Bussey) recognized the National Education Association’s “Read Across America” day today by using technology to read Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs & Ham to an estimated 50,000 students in 800 schools across 13 states. The SSI-syndicated show has made an annual tradition of creating the “world’s biggest classroom” on this day. In the photo here, Rick & Bubba are seen on a screen in one of the classrooms taking part in the event.
Going for Woman of the Year. Nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs (right) is pictured here with two-time cancer survivor Dominic (left) as Wachs gears up to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Las Vegas. Wachs was nominated for Woman of the Year so her goal is to raise $20,000 during the campaign that runs from March 21 through May 31. Wachs tells TALKERS the funds go to cancer research and financial assistance to families with children afflicted with blood cancer. Listeners can help by going to her website at www.drdaliah.com and hitting the “Fight Blood Cancer” link after March 21.
ABC News Radio at the Oscars. Just a couple of hours before winning the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her work in “12 Years a Slave,” last night in Los Angeles, Lupita Nyong’o (right) stops on the red carpet to talk with ABC News Radio’s David Blaustein (left).
By Mike Kinosian
LOS ANGELES — Tremendous temptation surfaces in the years of profiling talk radio personalities to make an occasional obligatory James Brown-inspired reference.
Specifically, a justifiable desire eventuates to compare certain talk hosts to the late entertainer (as opposed to the CBS-TV and former Sporting News Radio broadcaster of the same name) who – in addition to “The Godfather of Soul” was often dubbed the “hardest-working” person in show business.
Not that those in other genres of this medium are slackers – Ryan Seacrest represents the definitive textbook example of a supremely ambitious music radio star – but a select group of talk radio hosts do the improbable of overseeing multiple long-form weekday programs (often back-to-back).
That handful of Herculean talk realm performers has at various times included, among others, the likes of Thom Hartmann, Rusty Humphries, Lars Larson, Michael Smerconish, and Ed Schultz. Some such as Alan Colmes and Sean Hannity have had and continue to have a daily radio/daily TV mix.
As laudatory as that most assuredly is, someone in Tampa took conscientiousness and mindboggling to an even more impressive level.
Rumor: 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 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.”
CBS 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 Jurgensen 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.
KYSR, 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.”
Vali 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.
PodcastOne 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.”
WTOP, 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.
A 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.”
Good 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.
Credit 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).
Odds & 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 reigns 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.
Holiday 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.
Rusty 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.
News/Talk Radio Remembers JFK. As the nation commemorates the fateful, painful events of November 22 1963, the media at large – newspapers, television and, of course, radio — are focused across the board on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Obviously, the subject is dominating conversation on news/talk radio today in the form of historical documentaries, as well as live talk shows in which every aspect of the almost mythical story is rehashed, retold, analyzed and memorialized. Many shows are spending time giving listeners the opportunity to recall “where they were and what they were doing” when the horrible news was announced. As TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison points out, “This milestone serves as a powerful generational marker in our industry’s obsession with demographics that basically breaks audiences down to two significantly different categories — those who remember JFK and the events of November 22, 1963… and those who don’t.”
Compass Media Marketing Will Represent Tom Leykis. As of the first of next year (January 2014), Compass Media Marketing will be the advertising sales agent for “The Tom Leykis Show.” CMM will do similar duties for the talk show host’s NewNormalNetwork.com and BlowMeUpTom.com. “We are appreciative to the tens of thousands of listeners who are tuning in daily to our show,” Leykis remarks. “The time is right to start aggressively marketing the show to sponsors and we are thrilled to work with the Compass team.” Compass Media Marketing president of advertising sales Paul Gregrey comments that Leykis is a “creative genius” with a “highly engaged and loyal audience. There is limitless upside for growth, both in terms of listenership and sponsors.” Introduced last year, the latest version of Leykis’ talk show is a streaming internet-centric call-in program, which is broadcast daily at 3:00 pm (PT) from Burbank. This past Tuesday (11/19), we mentioned that Leykis put himself up for auction on eBay. The stunt raked in $7,800 for his company and Leykis tells TALKERS, “This promotion worked perfectly for us because it engaged our audience, it brought press attention to our growing brand, and it brought us substantial revenue. For The New Normal, it was nothing short of a homerun. [Furthermore, it] makes it hard to accept the whining of radio stations who say that they ‘can’t monetize’ digital.”
Reports of Renewed TRN Activity Circulating. There’s buzz in the industry that Talk Radio Network CEO Mark Masters is working to bring some of his talent back on the radio hosting live programs. TALKERS sources indicate Masters and talk personality Jerry Doyle have come to terms that have allowed Doyle to return to his program immediately. Doyle and other Talk Radio Network personalities have not been hosting regular live shows for most of the past month or so in the wake of a financial disruption at the company that involved staff layoffs at the Grants Pass, Oregon home offices and numerous legal actions between Masters and current and former employees. Other rumors circulating purported that talk host Rusty Humphries is also soon to be returning to the program schedule at TRN but TALKERS sources report Humphries and Masters have not come to terms that would bring Humphries back to TRN. TALKERS has reached out to Masters for comment but as of this posting there has been no response. Stay tuned.
Geraldo to Remain with Cumulus Media. Any rumors circulating the internet that Geraldo Rivera’s days with Cumulus Media are numbered are untrue says company COO John Dickey. Geraldo – who is based at the company’s WABC, New York and is also heard on its Los Angeles news/talker KABC as well as 45 other news/talk outlets – airs live from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET. Dickey tells TALKERS, “Geraldo is going to be working even more closely with us next year – still anchoring 10:00 am to 12:00 noon on WABC – as well as spearheading our Putting America Back to Work (PABTW) initiative.” Geraldo began his program on WABC, New York in January 2012.
Norm Pattiz Discusses Podcasting and the State of the Radio Industry on TalkersTV. An exclusive video of Courtside Entertainment, LLC/Podcast One CEO Norm Pattiz‘s presentation at the recent Talkers Los Angeles 2013 conference has been posted today (11/22) on TalkersTV (top panel of boxes on right hand side of this page). In what was billed as a “keynote conversation,” with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, the noted industry pioneer, who founded the original Westwood One and created a veritable media empire from scratch, discusses the impact and meaning of podcasting as an extension of the radio industry as well as other important issues of the broadcasting business. During the presentation he asks the provocative question, “When was the last time you can think of a national star that was created on network radio? Been a while, hasn’t it!” He goes on to state, “There’s a demographic national star created in podcasting every week. That’s because in the podcasting world, the only people you have to satisfy are your audiences and consumers.” To view the entire video presentation, see TalkersTV on the upper right side of every page on Talkers.com.
RAB: Third Quarter Radio Spot Revenue Up 1%. The Radio Advertising Bureau reports its 2013 Q3 figures and states after two flat quarters, radio spot advertising rose 1% on sales of $3.684 million. The report also notes that network revenue was down 11% while digital rose 19% and off-air was up 3%. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber states, “The momentum we saw building at the end of Q2 has definitely translated into a positive Q3 for radio in many of our top 10 advertiser categories, led by communications/cellular with a healthy 24% increase. Among key categories, automotive, professional services, health care, home furnishings, all showed substantial increases, as well. Increases from these diverse ad categories illustrate radio’s cross-platform strength to drive traffic and sales – for large corporations to Main Street businesses.”
Chuck Todd Readies to Add Radio Duties. “Unscripted with Chuck Todd” is the name of the one-hour (9:00 am to 10:00 am) Saturday show the veteran journalist will launch in two weeks (12/7) on SiriusXM‘s “P.O.T.U.S.” channel. “In this day and age, people tend to think they have more access to newsmakers and politicians, when in many ways, they actually have less,” Todd comments. “We will aim to help listeners get to know powerful people in a different way – as human beings, not as sound-bite machines. I look forward to talking to many famous amateur political junkies out there who just happen to have day jobs in the worlds of sports, Hollywood, Wall Street and everywhere in between.” According to SiriusXM vice president/general manager of talk programming Dave Gorab, “Chuck will go outside his normal field of reporting and delve into the personal passions and interests of not just politicians but leaders from virtually every field of interest. This show is new territory for Chuck, but will be built on his journalistic savvy and experience.” Todd hosts MSNBC‘s “Daily Rundown” and is NBC News’ chief White House correspondent.
Atlantic City Talk Host Pinky Kravitz Celebrates 55 Years on WOND. Atlantic City talk radio legend Seymour “Pinky” Kravitz is celebrating his 55th anniversary on WOND this afternoon with a special broadcast from the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. The station notes that Kravitz has broadcast more than 169,000 hours of air time (that’s over 701 consecutive days!) from more than 20 remote broadcasting locations and more than a handful of time changes. It boasts that 1400 AM is where South Jersey still turns for “informative and provocative conversation. Pinky Kravitz has become one of the region’s most recognized, trusted and beloved media personalities through what has become the longest running radio program (on one station by one personality) in the country.” Longport Media president Dave Coskey states, “It’s amazing that in an industry where longevity is often measured in months or years that we measure Pinky’s career on WOND in decades. Pinky’s career spans not only decades but generations – generations of listeners all who have spent time in Pinky’s Corner. And his brand is even stronger today than it was in 1958.” Kravitz adds, “I’ve been blessed to not only have the support of my family, a radio station and city for all of these years but also the love and support of an entire region.” In addition to his daily radio show on WOND, Kravitz also hosts a weekly television program on WMGM-TV and writes a weekly column for the Press of Atlantic City.
Saga Communications to Pay Special Cash Dividend. Saga Communications, Inc. announces its Board of Directors is declaring a special cash dividend of $1.80 per share on its Classes A and B Common Stock to be paid on December 12, 2013 to shareholders of record on December 2, 2013. The aggregate amount of the payment to be made in connection with the special dividend will be approximately $10.3 million. This special cash dividend will be funded by cash on the company’s balance sheet.
Paul Finebaum Show to Air on SiriusXM’s ESPN Channel. The formerly Birmingham-based sports talker – now calling Charlotte home and produced and syndicated nationally via ESPN Radio – joins the ESPN Xtra channel on SiriusXM effective Monday, November 25. Paul Finebaum joined ESPN in August after years of success on Cumulus Media’s WJOX-FM, Birmingham. Finebaum’s show airs live from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET.
Honda Displays HD Radio Civic Pride. The Los Angeles Auto Show is not typically where you would expect to find something noteworthy about the radio business. That, however, is where HD Radio developer iBiquity Digital this week announced that the 2014 Civic is the first Honda vehicle to launch integrated audio and real-time traffic information using the HERE mapping service, BTC, and HD Radio technology. iBiquity Digital chief operating officer Jeff Jury comments, “Honda is showing real leadership in bringing the benefits of digital HD Radio data to their vehicles. This is another great example of a leading automaker integrating digital terrestrial technology as part of a connected vehicle strategy.” Honda Civic navigation systems incorporate HD Radio audio and data features, including a way for listeners to view album art and other images on their radio screens. There is subscription-free, real-time traffic information, showing flow patterns, construction alerts, and traffic incidents to drivers. In addition to Honda, other automakers integrating digital traffic and data services include Lexus, Mazda, Mitsubishi and Toyota. More than 30 automakers have announced plans to incorporate HD Radio in over 170 models by the end of this year. Nearly seven-dozen models will feature HD Radio receivers as standard equipment. The 2014 Honda Civic arrives at dealerships next month.
Ron Ruth Memorial Fund Announced. The Radio Advertising Bureau and the Broadcasters Foundation of America are announcing the creation of the Ron Ruth Memorial Fund in celebration of the life and work of Ruth and to benefit the Broadcasters Foundation of America. The BfoA’s mission is to help improve the quality of life of men and women in the radio and television broadcast profession who find themselves in acute need. Donations may be sent directly to the Broadcasters Foundation at 125 West 55th Street, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10019 and please make note that the donation is for the Ron Ruth Memorial Fund. Tentative plans by the RAB are underway to hold a celebration of life with Ron’s many friends sometime in the first quarter of next year and will be made public as soon as they are finalized. RAB CEO and president Erica Farber states, “Ron was an ardent supporter of the Broadcasters Foundation. We at the RAB couldn’t think of a more fitting way to honor and commemorate his life and work.”
Dave Ramsey Takes New York. The actual event took place right across the Hudson River at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark but Dave Ramsey’s New York affiliate – Clear Channel’s WOR – was a partner in promoting the event. Ramsey presented his “Legacy Journey LIVE!” last night (11/21) before a packed house speaking about how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence. His daughter, Rachel Cruze, joined Ramsey on stage. WOR general sales manager Ron Russo says to the Ramsey team, “Thank you for creating an engaging event in an intimate setting where we have the opportunity to connect our listeners with our clients in a truly interactive environment.” WOR sales manager Chris Borelli adds, “The event is not only impeccably prepared and executed, but entertaining and enjoyable. We look forward to many more events like this as long term partners.”
ObamaCare Criticism Top News/Talk Story for Week of November 18-22. The scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was President Obama’s sinking approval ratings. Following at #3 was the talks with Iran about its nuclear policy and debate over economic sanctions on the nation followed by the GOP’s 2014 and 2016 strategy at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Drama Continues to Unfold Around Talk Radio Network. On the heels of Talk Radio Network CEO Mark Masters’ announcement on Monday afternoon (9/9) that his ongoing battle with WestwoodOne (formerly Dial Global) over ad sales revenue has caused him to have to shut down the America’s Radio News Network and greatly pare his TRN staff as well as ask those still with the company to work without pay temporarily, come a number of developments over the past 24 hours. First, late morning talk host (and Fox News Channel personality) Andrea Tantaros continues to host her program live as of Tuesday morning. However, sources report to TALKERS that midday talk personality Jerry Doyle is not doing live, new programs and is exploring options to continue his talk show outside of the TRN operational framework. The morning drive “America’s Morning News” went live on Monday and this morning, co-anchors John McCaslin and Lori Lundin reported to work and prepared to do the full program again. Sources indicate McCaslin was unhappy with the state of the support staff and exited after one segment was broadcast. Lundin remained for the rest of one hour before leaving the studios, whereupon affiliates airing the program received repeat feeds of the first hour. In afternoon drive, talk host Rusty Humphries began Monday’s program with the intent of explaining some of what has been going on within the context of the assault by special interest groups on talk radio advertisers but was shut down by engineering staff and a repeat of his program ran on Monday afternoon. Whether Humphries returns to the air live on Tuesday afternoon remains to be seen as the situation at TRN is fluid, to say the least.
Greg Strassell Leaves CBS Radio for Same Post at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment. When news broke yesterday afternoon that Greg Strassell was exiting his SVP of programming post at CBS Radio, it was unknown where he would land. Now, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment announces Strassell is joining the company in the same capacity. CC says, he “will help lead programming initiatives and will report to Matt Martin, president of operations — regional markets. Further, the company says, “Strassell is a multi-format programming veteran whose strategic brand management has impacted many major radio stations across the country…At CBS Strassell oversaw the programming strategies and teams for many brands with a special focus on the company’s pop music station expansion. Prior to CBS he served as vice president of product development and programming for American Radio Systems.
TalkersTV Presents Video Documentary Tour of Boston Herald and Boston Herald Radio. Last week (9/5) TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison visited the Boston Herald newspaper in Boston with a video camera and was given a “point of view” guided tour of the newspaper and its one-month-old, multimedia initiative – Boston Herald Radio. The tour was guided by Boston Herald editor-in-chief Joe Sciacca, Boston Herald Radio executive producer Tom Shattuck and George Capalbo of Backbone Networks. The result is an informative one-hour documentary tour of one of talk media’s leading-edge hot spots. To view this not-to-be-missed content please click on the TalkersTV box on the upper right column on this page.
MEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Cliff Gardiner – Clifton Gardiner & Company, LLC. In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media broker Cliff Gardiner of Clifton Gardiner & Company, LLC located in Denver, Colorado. Like many top-notch professional brokers, Gardiner has a radio background going back to 1956 that includes on-air work, management, and station and network ownership. Regarding his view of the state of station sales today, he says, “We are beginning to see station sale activity awaken a bit from a long sleep. The industry has changed and seems to be embracing a new reality, one that will likely remain in the future. While no one is happy with a much lower EBITDA multiple, the reality is that this has always existed for most other business categories. This adjustment is happening as well as the seeing the necessity for sellers to carefully consider, and embrace, realistic carrybacks for buyers, especially in smaller markets.” To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.
KTRS, St. Louis Fills Gap Left by Steve Cochran. Talk show host Steve Cochran had been doing a midday show for CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis from Chicago where he’s now fully ensconced in the morning drive gig at Tribune’s WGN. To fill the gap, the station moves Martin Kilcoyne to the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm shift and former night personality John Carney to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot with the two co-hosting the 12:00 noon hour.
CBS Radio’s ’98.7 The Fan’ Launches Campaign to Save Rays Baseball. Losing a Major League Baseball franchise would be a blow to CBS Radio’s drive to build a successful sports talk station in the market. But MLB commissioner Bud Selig has stated the league is not happy with the support the market is giving the Tampa Bay Rays in terms of attendance despite the club fielding successful teams. The league states, “Last year, the 30 Major League clubs averaged nearly 2.5 million in total attendance; the Rays, who finished with a 90-72 record, drew 1,559,681, which ranked last in the game.” So WHFS-FM “98.7 The Fan” is launching “Save Tampa Bay Baseball,” a multi-tiered campaign to help keep the Rays in the region. But because St. Petersburg mayor Bill Foster has said Major League Baseball does not “seem interested in a cooperative effort to keep the Rays in the Tampa Bay region for the long term,” the station is taking action. The campaign involves launching the website www.SaveTampaBayBaseball.com to raise awareness that the Rays may be in danger of leaving Tampa Bay, as well as a petition drive to let Major League Baseball know that the Rays belong in Tampa Bay. The “98.7 The Fan” Street Team will canvass the downtown area offering Save Tampa Bay Baseball window stickers to all local merchants who support the Rays. In addition, “98.7 The Fan” will host an official Save Tampa Bay Baseball Rally on September 12 at Ferg’s Sports Bar & Grill – home of the 98.7 The Fan “Fan Cave” – before the Rays vs. Boston Red Sox game. WHFS-FM program director John O’Connell states, “At ‘98.7 The Fan,’ we strongly believe it’s in the best interest of the Tampa Bay community to keep Major League Baseball here. We will support our hometown Rays every way we can, and encourage Rays fans and the Tampa/St. Petersburg community to join us.”
Marlene Trevino Returns to Clear Channel as Market Manager for San Antonio. Marlene Trevino moves to San Antonio from her most recent position with CBS Radio as general sales manager at Spanish KMVK, Dallas “La Grande 107.5.” Now, she’ll head up Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s San Antonio cluster as president and market manager. She says, “Since I am a product of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s training and leadership development, I am most excited about the opportunity to come back to the Clear Channel family. I am proud to have the opportunity to lead a successful market like San Antonio. With the help of the current San Antonio team and the diverse opportunities this market offers, I am thrilled to get started on the efforts that will bring us even greater growth.” She served as senior account executive for the company’s hot AC KDMX in Dallas in 2002.
Robin Quivers Reports She’s Cancer Free. Longtime Howard Stern sidekick Robin Quivers has been away from the SiriusXM Howard Stern studios for most of the past year. She opened up on the program about her status saying she had a mass on her pelvis that doctors were certain was cancer and she underwent surgery to remove what turned out to be a tumor the size of a grapefruit. Quivers said the tumor began in her endometrial tissue and since the surgery has been undergoing chemotherapy. She says the doctors believe her to be cancer free. She has been working from a studio in her home during her treatment.
NuVoodoo Appoints Leigh Jacobs EVP of Perceptual Research. NuVoodoo Media Services CEO Carolyn Gilbert announces Leigh Jacobs – a co-founder of the company – is being charged with heading its perceptual studies services, analyzing consumer research for radio stations, television and newspaper as EVP of perceptual research. Jacobs served as EVP, research, for Critical Mass Media for nearly a decade and was named VP, research, for the Tribune Company in 2008. He specializes in perceptual analysis and consumer insights across radio, television and newspaper, and has consulted with media outlets in every major U.S. media market. Jacobs moved into media research after a 15-year career as program director for AC, hot AC and classic rock stations in Louisville, Detroit, Baltimore and Philadelphia, and for iconic talk station New Jersey 101.5. Gilbert states, “As primary perceptual analyst for Critical Mass Media for many years and later as VP of research for the Tribune Company, Leigh Jacobs distinguished himself as one of the most talented perceptual analysts in media research. He has looked under the hoods of hundreds of America’s top radio stations and given them reliable data and nuanced insights that have helped drive the growth of their audiences and brands. His extensive perceptual work with television news and newspapers while at the Tribune Company makes Leigh the whole package. He’s a research powerhouse and secret weapon for leading media outlets across the radio-television-newspaper spectrum. We are proud to share Leigh’s expertise and insights with NuVoodoo clients.”
Clear Channel Drops News/Talk KEX Simulcast, Debuts Alternative ‘Radio 102.3’ in Portland. The FM simulcast of Clear Channel’s news/talk KEX, Portland is gone as the company creates an alternative rock station to air on translator K272EL. It’s unclear just how much juice KEX was getting from the FM signal – though it has a good location pretty much smack-dab in the middle of the Portland metro. Recent PPM data from Arbitron show KEX riding several shares behind competitor KXL in the 6+ demo.
Emerging Category May Be Looking at an Ad Ban. Billion-dollar industries – with attractive ad budgets – are not exactly popping up every few months, and a relative newcomer that fits that criterion may already be preparing to encounter marketing restrictions. According to a report last week from financial services group CLSA Americas, the Food and Drug Administration will likely propose a television ban for advertising e-cigarettes. It would figure that if television were to be affected, a similar impact would be felt in radio. A Citibank report earlier this year indicated that spending on e-cigarette TV commercials climbed roughly 18% (2011 – 2012), while print ad spending among e-cigarette marketers increased 72%. Whereas tobacco companies have been off radio and television for more than 40 years, the e-cigarette category is unregulated. E-cigarette makers say they will continue marketing their product across a range of media unless – and until – a ban is introduced. Reynolds American spokesperson David Howard told Ad Age last week, “In lieu of regulations, we will look at all mediums – including TV, print, radio, point of sale and direct mail – to communicate with adult smokers.” The FDA is expected to weigh in on the matter next month.
Syria Tensions/Assad Interview, India Gang Rape Conviction, Massachusetts ‘Under God’ Challenge, and NFL Season Kicks Off Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/9). The debate over taking military action against Syria and Bashar al Assad’s interview with Charlie Rose; the conviction of four Indian men in the fatal gang rape of a student; the Massachusetts Superior Court case challenging the saying of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools; and the start of the 2013 NFL season were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Bid4Spots: Auction an Alternative to Unsold Inventory. In a piece published today (7/23), TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian profiles Dave Newmark’s successful Bid4Spots digital auction initiative. There was a time when numerous players were getting into the business of using the internet to deal with unsold inventory on radio stations. Dave Newmark tells Mike Kinosian why the others failed and how he struggled to find the right business model that would eventually lead to success. It was during a casual conversation with a software developer when he had an epiphany. “I immediately thought of those ad exchanges and I realized what they all had wrong. They had the supply and demand equation backwards. Forward auctions work well only when the demand is high and the supply is low. If I could figure out when demand would be at its lowest point – when regular airtime buyers were pretty much gone from the store – it would be as close to ‘next week’ as possible.” Newmark’s road to success was not a smooth one. In this fascinating piece he details his trials and tribulations. He also explains why stations and advertisers are happy with his model of moving unsold inventory. Read it all here.
Are You a Thinker or a Feeler? More importantly, are your listeners and callers thinkers or feelers? In a new TALKERS column posted today (7/23) by branding specialist Dr. John Tantillo, he states that understanding the difference between these two approaches to the issues of the day can have an impact on your show and determine how effectively you orchestrate discussions of them on the air. Using the examples of the current Zimmerman verdict and Rolling Stone cover controversy, Dr. Tantillo examines the relationship between branding and controversy pointing out that the most important thing to focus upon is how the controversy directly impacts the customer’s (or fan’s) loyalty to the brand and nobody else’s. He says we should be less concerned about public relations and more interested in “targeted relations.” To read the entire column, please click here.
Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan Named Among ‘Giants of Broadcasting’ Honorees. This is the 11th annual staging of the “Giants of Broadcasting” that is sponsored by the Library of American Broadcasting. It celebrates “distinguished leadership or performance in television and radio” and will take place October 16 at New York’s Gotham Hall. Smulyan is among 11 honorees this year including Anne Sweeney, Alex Trebek, Barry Diller, Morley Safer, Dick Cavett, Robert L. Johnson, David E. Kelley, Richard E. Wiley, Richard Leibner and Carole Cooper. The Library of American Broadcasting is located at the University of Maryland and the organization states it is “entering its 42nd year serving as the national information resource for the radio and television industries and the academic communities that rely upon it for depth and expertise. Its collections of historic documents, professional papers, oral and video histories, books and photographs are among the nation’s most extensive.”
Red Zebra Re-Tools Afternoons on WTEM, Washington. Recently retired Washington Redskins star Chris Cooley becomes part of the new “The Drive with Cooley and Czabe” afternoon program on Red Zebra-owned sports talk outlet WTEM, Washington “ESPN 980”. Cooley – who just joined the station for Washington Redskins game broadcasts with the company – joins Steve Czaban and WTEM weekend host Al Galdi for the new program that will debut August 1 and will air from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Czaban currently hosts “The Sports Reporters” with Andy Pollin in the afternoon drive slot. Red Zebra says Pollin remains with the station and will sub for the vacationing Tony Kornheiser beginning August 5. About the new show, Czaban jokes, “I will work tirelessly to make Chris Cooley the second-most-beloved ex-Redskin tight end on radio in the DC market.”
MEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Mark Jorgenson of Jorgenson Broadcast Brokerage. In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media broker Mark Jorgenson of Jorgenson Broadcast Brokerage of Greenville, South Carolina. Jorgenson was a 12-year veteran of television sales and radio ownership in Southeastern markets before deciding that he liked putting deals together better than he did operating stations. He says, “I enjoy matching people up with great opportunities and that’s what the brokerage business is all about.” Jorgenson describes today’s radio station market as “sluggish due to a lack of capital to finance deals.” He says, “There are plenty of potential buyers and even more potential sellers but without institutional financing to make the deals happen, we won’t see the volume of transactions we’ve seen in the past. Brokers have to be creative and persistent to make deals happen in today’s financial climate.” He continues, “There are even radio deals where some portion of the purchase price might be handled with a seller note. The key is for the buyer to have access to at least some cash. Private investors, family, and friends are the most likely source to finance new ventures these days.” To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.
Talkers Los Angeles 2013 Is Set for Thursday, October 10. The third annual installment of TALKERS magazine’s West Coast convention has been set for Thursday, October 10 and its outstanding agenda is shaping up to be a blockbuster. It is again being presented in association with the Los Angeles Press Club and held at the historic Steve Allen Theater on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “We are very enthusiastic about the growth and positive impact of this Southern California gathering. It started out three years ago as an experimental LA regional get-together and blossomed into an exciting companion to our big New York convention.” The event – open only to members of the working media – will feature a power-packed day of panel discussions, keynote addresses, special presentations, technology and services exhibits, tremendous networking opportunities and abundant food and refreshments (lunch is sponsored by Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity who will address the attendees from New York). Speakers already set include (in alphabetical order): Robin Bertolucci, PD, KFI, Los Angeles; Phil Boyce, VP spoken word format, Salem Communications; Holland Cooke, radio consultant; Skip Essick, PD, KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; Erica Farber,CEO/president, RAB; Ron Hartenbaum, president, WYD/WYM Media; Rusty Humphries, host, Talk Radio Network; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Tom Leykis, president, The New Normal; Don Martin, senior VP sports programming, Fox Sports Radio/Clear Channel Media and Entertainment; Kevin McCullough, CEO, XtreMedia; Mike McVay, senior VP programming, Cumulus Media; Harvey Nagler, VP, CBS Radio News; Norm Pattiz, CEO, Courtside Entertainment/Podcast One; Chris Pendl, creative director, Bonneville Seattle; Walter Sabo, CEO, Sabo Media; Eric Stanger, VP of operations and affiliate marketing, The Sean Hannity Show/Premiere Networks; Alan Stock, host, KDWN, Las Vegas; Paul Vandenburgh, president/GM/host, WGDJ, Albany; and Michael Zwerling, owner, KSCO, Santa Cruz with many more to be announced in the coming days. The latest broadcasting equipment and remote gear will be on display as presented by Broadcasters General Store and Comrex Corporation. Registrations – $149 per person – can only be taken over the phone and the event is expected to be a very early sellout. So don’t wait – avoid being shut out. For sponsorship information or to register, call 413-565-5413.
WFAS, White Plains Afternoon Host Lisa Wexler to Run for Judicial Office. Lisa Wexler is an attorney and currently the PM drive talk host on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WFAS, White Plains, New York. She tells TALKERS magazine she’s being nominated to run as a Republican for the Probate Judge of Weston and Westport (Connecticut) in November. “I’ve practiced this area of law for many years, and I’m very excited to run and be able to serve the people with knowledge and compassion.” Wexler notes the position is part time and, if elected, she will be able to continue her radio work.
WRSB, Canandaigua, New York to Flip to Business Talk. The station was purchased earlier this summer by Genesee Media Corporation and has been serving the area south of Rochester with a religious format. According to YNN.com, GMC will brand the station “Business 1310” and will use programming from Bloomberg, NBC News and Marketwatch. The report also indicates that Genesee intends to add the programming to other AM signals in the region.
Sonoma Media Group Announces Kevin Wodlinger Is New Local Business Development Manager. The company says Kevin Wodlinger comes to its five-station Santa Rosa, California cluster from his most recent position in Grand Junction, Colorado as market manager for the Cumulus Media cluster that is now owned by Townsquare Media. Wodlinger replaces longtime employee Jeriann D’Elicio, who recently announced her resignation. Michael O’Shea, president of Sonoma Media Group, comments, “Kevin is the real deal – a consummate sales executive with a great track record of teaching, coaching and leading in local business development. We are delighted to have his expertise and leadership in our building.” The company operates news/talk KSRO, country KFGY “Froggy 92.9,” classic rock KVRV “97.7 The River FM,” hot AC KMHX “Mix 104.9,” and CHr KHTH “Hot 101.7.”
New Motor Sports Network to Begin Operations. The Midwest Racing Radio Network announces it is preparing to begin operations and has named Brian Douglas vice president of broadcast operations. Douglas also serves as host. The company states it will initially feature one two-hour motorsports show via live audio stream and podcast in a format for broadcast stations to air daily five days a week. Also, the network will feature a live one-hour Sunday evening program and a national highlights podcast show containing results, interviews, and the upcoming regional racing schedules as submitted from tracks across the country.
Cigar Dave Goes Live on TV. Nationally syndicated media personality “Cigar Dave” Zeplowitz is pictured here (at right) hosting the first-ever live televised broadcasts from the 2013 International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Convention at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas. The telecasts aired live on Sunday, July 14, Monday, July 15 and Tuesday, July 16. Cigar Dave reports his telecasts featured new premium cigar releases and accessories, interviews with premium cigar manufacturers and personalities, and presented viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the IPCPR Convention, that up to now, has been closed to the general public and only open to the trade. “Cigar Dave” says, “This marks the next evolution of the Cigar Dave Show as we transition into a digital, multi-platform provider of relevant content for Alpha Males. Eighteen years ago, I was the first broadcaster to host a radio show dedicated to cigars and the Alpha Male-lifestyle. This year’s live IPCPR telecasts commence a major expansion into televised and digital content that appeals to Alpha Males and a new generation of Millennial Males who enjoy cigars, spirits, manly pursuits, and the Good Life.”
Odds & Sods. Public radio station WKSU, Kent, Ohio drops some of the daily classical music programming to add NPR’s “The Takeaway” with John Hockenberry and “On Point” with Tom Ashford to the midday schedule…..Sun Broadcasting changes the news/talk trimulcast of WFSX-AM and FM and WNOG-AM in Fort Myers. It keeps WFSX-FM news/talk as “92.5 Fox News” and pairs up the AMs as a sports talk duo “The Fan.”
ObamaCare Implementation, Detroit Bankruptcy, Zimmerman Verdict Aftermath, 2016 Presidential Race, U.S. Syria Policy and British Prince Born Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/22). The delay of the employer mandate and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the bankruptcy case of the city of Detroit; the aftermath of the George Zimmerman verdict; the potential candidates in the 2016 presidential race; the United States’ policy regarding Syria; and the birth of the son of Prince William and Kate Middleton were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WGOW, Chattanooga Talk Host Brian Joyce Gets Facebook Suspension; Station Won’t Discipline. According to a story at Nooga.com, management at Cumulus Media-owned news/talk WGOW, Chattanooga will not discipline “Live and Local” show host Brian Joyce after he was suspended from his Facebook account after posting what’s being termed a satirical comment relative to the George Zimmerman–Trayvon Martin case. The story indicated Joyce was flagged by a Facebook friend after posting the following: “Come to think of it, I’m not so sure Hitler was a bad guy. He wasn’t killing Jews, he was simply defending himself and his people against the Jews. He said so himself on many occasions. Granted the Jews had never done anything to Hitler, but then again Trayvon Martin had never done anything to George Zimmerman. This is not murder, it’s not manslaughter. Heck, it’s not even assault with a deadly weapon! It’s self-defense. So how come Hitler gets such a bad rap? If it weren’t for race baiters like the Jews, we probably never even would have heard of Adolph Hitler.” WGOW program director Kevin West told Nooga.com he and Joyce discussed the matter. “We had a conversation and emphasized that most people aren’t going to understand satire. Some people just think literally. I do want to stress that in no way does Brian Joyce believe Hitler was a good man.”
Genesis Communications Network Debuts ‘The Take with Charles Butler.’ Genesis Communications Network adds “The Take with Charles Butler” to its lineup of programs. The show airs live from 8:00 am to 10:00 am ET and is based in Chicago. The network describes him as “one of the most didactic radio show hosts of our time. He is known for his keen, conservative political views. Since 2007, Charles has discussed education reform, economics, gun violence, illegal immigration, national, state, and local elections, political maneuvers and all hot topics affecting Chicago, Springfield, Washington, D.C. and the international issues and the key players.”
Envision Radio Networks Announces Debut of New Feature: ‘Brand Like a Rock Star with Steve Jones.’ Envision Radio Networks introduces a new, daily 60-second feature titled “Brand Like a Rock Star with Steve Jones” that “helps listeners learn life lessons from rock ‘n’ roll’s greatest bands.” Envision states that “using advice from his international best-selling book, Brand Like a Rock Star: Lessons From Rock ‘n’ Roll To Make Your Business Rich and Famous, host Steve Jones takes listeners backstage to reveal the core marketing secrets of rock legends and shows how those strategies can be put into use in everyday life. Jones says, “For every entrepreneur, business owner, marketer, or anyone building their personal brand and career, ‘Brand Like a Rock Star’ is a must-listen.” Describing the show, Envision states that by using rock legends as examples, Jones takes an entirely fresh perspective to self-help. How can you build a brand as consistent as AC/DC? What does it take to start a company as distinct as Bob Dylan? How can you create a business as attention-getting as KISS? Each day, Jones will share a powerful story from rock music history and clearly illustrate how it can be applied to achieve success.
Salem’s Bainbridge, Washington Transmitter Building Destroyed by Fire. The transmitter building for Salem Communications’ talk KLFE and Spanish religion KNTS in Seattle was destroyed after a fire broke out in the facility. Local authorities say the fire started in the 12×12 transmitter building but soon spread to the grassy area outside. Firefighters were called and were able to keep it from spreading too far – a good thing as they note the dry conditions this year could have made it much worse had a local police officer not notice it and called in fire personnel immediately.
Red Zebra Adds Redskins Great Chris Cooley to Game Day Broadcasts. Former Washington Redskins Pro Bowler Chris Cooley becomes part of Red Zebra Broadcasting’s Washington Redskins Radio Network as an in-game contributor. As part of the multi-year deal, “Cooley’s Corner” will be heard quarterly, every game beginning with the pre-season opener in Tennessee on August 8. Cooley joins Redskins Hall of Famer Sonny Jurgensen, Rick “Doc” Walker and Brian Mitchell as former Redskin players who are members of the Washington Redskins Radio Network. Redskins Radio Network executive producer Chuck Sapienza says, “To add a talent and fan favorite like Chris to our team will bring excitement to our broadcast and a level of unpredictability for our listeners.”
Filling in This Week. KDWN, Las Vegas talk show host Alan Stock is sitting in for Talk Radio Network nationally syndicated host Rusty Humphries today and tomorrow (7/17-18) as well as next Monday and Tuesday (7/22-23). Stock tells TALKERS, “It means doing double duty but it’s a blast!”…..Sports talk host Dan Sileo is preparing to fill in on August 2nd and 5th on KLAA, Los Angeles sitting in for Travis Rodgers on the morning drive program. The temp gig is a reuniting of Sileo and KLAA PD Bob Agnew who gave Sileo his start in sports talk radio on KNBR, San Francisco many years ago.
The Broadcasters Foundation of America Announces New Board Members. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces it has named four new members and a new officer to its board of directors. The new members were voted in during the recent board meeting, held in New York City. Saying the new board members “represent a cross-section of radio and television broadcasters, the BFoA welcomes: Brian Cobb, president, CobbCorp; Bill Hoffman, president, Cox Media Group; Brian Lawlor, senior vice president, television, E.W. Scripps TV Station Group; and Dan Mason, president and chief executive officer, CBS Radio. At the same time, the BFoA announces Katz Television Group president and chief executive officer Leo MacCourtney as a new officer. BFoA chairman Phil Lombardo says, “I am proud to welcome these highly accomplished broadcasters and industry leaders to our board. Their example of giving back to our industry by serving as a board member or officer is inspiring. I hope it will motivate others who work in broadcasting to identify ways they can help advance our cause of delivering financial relief to our colleagues who are struggling under the harshest of circumstances.”
Zimmerman Verdict Aftermath, Tsarnaev Rolling Stone Cover, ObamaCare Implementation, and the Edward Snowden Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/16). The aftermath of the George Zimmerman verdict; Rolling Stone magazine’s controversial cover featuring the surviving Boston Marathon bomber; the debate over the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; and the status of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Clear Channel Highlights Artist Promotion Deals at Investor Conference Call; Radio Down 2% in Q1. At the top of the conference call for investors for Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings (the publicly traded arm Clear Channel Media Holdings) chief financial officer and EVP Thomas Casey made it a point to shine a light on Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s work with high-profile artists. He said, “I want to highlight with you one recent example of the opportunity Clear Channel is leveraging to monetize our multi-platform reach, and it’s the launch of the new Justin Timberlake album, ‘The 20/20 Experience.’ I’m using this as an example because it shows how we are constantly working with major advertisers to adjust their specific marketing challenges by developing innovative new products, services, content and events that bring new advertising dollars into the company. Two months ago, Clear Channel utilized most of our key assets: radio, online, mobile, outdoor, entertainment, events, contests and talent relationships, in an innovative and coordinated partnership with national retailer Target to launch Justin Timberlake’s new album. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment ran a first-of-its-kind, two-minute live road block across 800 stations, in essence, a virtual press conference, simulcast across all the stations at the same time that enabled Justin to both introduce his new album and kick off the exclusive ‘iHeart Album Release Party with Justin Timberlake.’” Casey stated there are many other examples of CC using its many platforms to create coordinated campaigns for advertisers. As for the numbers, Casey reported that CC Media Holdings was down 0.5% compared to the same quarter in 2012 and the Media and Entertainment division revenue was down 2%. But he said solid growth in radio and digital was offset by the traffic business that company is continuing to integrate. Addressing the radio division, Casey reported, “For the quarter, national sales for our stations were up 2%, outpacing global. Excluding the impact of political advertising, national sales were up 4%, and local was about up approximately 1%. Our fastest growing larger advertising categories were financial services, retail and telecom. We also saw a strong lift in digital revenue, with our iHeartRadio listening hours growing 31% over the first quarter of 2012. Although today digital listening for the industry represents only 7.6% of all audio listening, we are excited about the growth of iHeart and its new features, content and other innovations.” Speaking to a question about network radio, Casey alluded to Premiere Networks having had a soft start to 2013 and said “that has modulated back” and the company feels good about that aspect of the business. Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the call transcript. See the whole call here.
Journal Communications Q1: Radio Up 6.7%. The radio division of Journal Communications’ Journal Broadcast Group reported an increase of 6.7% on revenue of $15.9 million. The company reports that is 2.8% on a same-station basis. The numbers break down this way: Local advertising revenue, excluding political, increased 7.2%, or 3.3% on a same-station basis, primarily due to an increase in retail advertising; National advertising revenue, excluding political, increased 2.1%, but decreased 1.3% on a same-station basis, primarily due to a decrease in communications advertising; Operating earnings from radio stations were $2.4 million compared to $2.9 million, a decrease of 15.3%; Radio operating expenses increased 11.9%, or 8.1% on a same-station basis, primarily due to employee-related expense increases and a non-cash building impairment charge of $0.2 million.
Talk Radio Day at the United Nations Set for Friday, June 7. After a one-year hiatus, TALKERS magazine announces the revival of its annual international initiative, “Talk Radio Day at the United Nations.” Presented in conjunction with Talk Radio News Service and in association with the United Nations Foundation, the event consists of a massive radio row held in the heart of the United Nations’ iconic headquarters on the East Side of Manhattan. Approximately 20 talk show hosts and programs from around the country are given the opportunity to do live shows or simply record interviews on the scene for later playback with a wide variety of special guests, including UN officials, foreign ambassadors, international policy experts and representatives of the arts and sciences from around the world. “This is one of our most prideful annual events,” states TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “and I am absolutely delighted that we have been able to bring it back after a year off in 2012.” Harrison says, “It accomplishes a number of important things – most notably, it gives a variety of talk show hosts and millions of their listeners in every corner of the country the opportunity to shift gears and discuss international news stories of significant consequence that rarely, if ever, are covered or discussed in the mainstream American media. Some of these stories have enormous implications on war, peace, life and death.” Harrison also points out, “Hosts of just about every political and ideological persuasion have raved about this event over the many years we have been doing it saying that it has proven to be a personally rewarding experience for them as much as it has provided a spectacular bit of special programming to their stations and networks.” Talk Radio Day at the United Nations conveniently takes place the day after Talkers New York 2013 when many talk show hosts are already in New York City. Hosts already on board include Alan Colmes of Fox News Radio, Michael Berry of Clear Channel, Doug Stephan of the “Good Day” show, Martha Zoller of WGAU, Athens, GA, Ethan Bearman of GCN and KSCO, Santa Cruz, Carole Marks of “A Touch of Grey” and more. All equipment and broadcast setups are provided at no cost for the convenience of the participants — but placement is limited and this will fill up rapidly, so interested hosts should call 413-565-5413 quickly to inquire about signing up.
“The Hartmann and Humphries Show” Brings Two Different Hosts, Ideologies and Programs Together for Rare Simulcast. It was one of those spontaneous one-time events that really clicked as TRN syndicated host Rusty Humphries (left) stopped by WYD Media syndicated host Thom Hartmann‘s Washington, DC studio (Hartmann at right) during a recent visit to the nation’s capital and the two personalities did a simulcast of their individual shows which ran on both of their collective affiliates. The Heavy Hundred performers engaged in refreshingly civil but spirited banter bringing their opposite points of view on a number of hot issues to the table. Both hosts tell TALKERS that they enjoyed the experience and received very positive feedback from their respective audiences which encourages them to do it again sometime down the road. In the photo at top left shows the two shots of each host the producer sees in the booth with background images in place. The lower picture shows Humphries and Hartmann chatting in the studio in front of the green screen.
KTRS, St. Louis Morning Drive Show Gets Video Accolades. The McGraw Milhaven morning show on CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis has been producing an online video component of its program for two months and the show has already surpassed the one million viewer minutes mark, according to the station. The station has a full-time video director in Andrew Dowd and he utilizes four HD cameras as well as pictures, graphics, video and sports highlights to help tell the story each morning. Also, guests can “skype” into the show and bring the listener moving pictures to go along with their spoken words. The video segments of Milhaven’s radio show are then re-tweeted and shared through social media. Milhaven tells TALKERS that even St. Louis Post-Dispatch TV critic Gail Pennington gives the video a thumbs up. “It’s the best internet TV I’ve ever seen. It’s so clear, and the video and graphics are amazing.” Milhaven himself tells TALKERS, “We had a feeling people were going to enjoy the enhanced TV side of the broadcast, but we had no idea so many people would embrace it. The time spent listening, or watching I should say, is off the charts. One million viewer minutes in just over two months? Wow, we wanted to let it grow naturally as we worked out all the kinks, but these numbers are better than we had ever expected. All these people watching and we have just scratched the surface of what we can do with the TV side.” In the image you see here is sports reporter Jason Lamar (left) interacting with Milhaven (right).
WEEI-FM, Boston Brings J.T. the Brick Back to Overnights. The Fox Sports Radio Network star has aired on Entercom’s WEEI in the past and, as vice president of programming Jason Wolfe states, with much success. “Even though he’s a diehard Yankees fan, J.T.’s show has always been extremely popular here in Boston. The show was a winner for us when we aired it years ago, and I’m very pleased to be able to bring him back now. Adding J.T.’s show provides a great balance to our overnight portfolio as we already air a very solid program in ESPN Radio’s SportsCenter Tonight on 850 AM.”
Odds & Sods. Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” with George Noory takes over the 12:00 midnight to 4:00 am slot at Emmis’ KFTK, St. Louis beginning Monday, May 6…..Entercom is making sports talk WMC-AM, Memphis a CBS Sports Radio Network affiliate beginning next week. The station will carry the network lineup plus local and regional play-by-play. Entercom also operates ESPN Radio affiliate WMFS-AM/FM in the market…..WEPN-FM, New York “ESPN New York 98.7” adds Mike Westhoff and Ray Lucas to the pre-game show for New York Jets broadcasts this fall. The duo will make regular appearances on WEPN-FM during the season and former Jet Lucas will also continue his role on the post-game show…..Morris Communications’ KHAR, Anchorage flips from adult standards to sports talk using CBS Sports Radio Network programming.
WRKO’s Howie Carr Promotes New Gangster Book. WRKO, Boston afternoon drive host (and longtime Boston Herald columnist) Howie Carr is pictured here with listener Lori Vozzella and her daughter at Thursday’s remote broadcast from La Verdad Mexican Restaurant in the city’s Fenway neighborhood. Carr did his show live from the restaurant to promote his latest book on an infamous Boston crime figure – Steven “Rifleman” Flemmi. Carr’s book, Rifleman (Frandel LLC 2013) details the grisly career of the notorious mobster. Carr has also written books about brothers Billy and Whitey Bulger and Johnny Martorano.
FEMA and Premiere Networks Cooperate on EAS Service. Radio syndicator Premiere Networks and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are announcing a cooperative effort to provide an alternative method for radio stations to receive emergency information during a national emergency. FEMA has added Premiere Networks as a Primary Entry Point station, which delivers information and instructions to the public in an emergency when there is no commercial power. As part of the cooperative effort, Premiere, would use its satellite program receivers in thousands of affiliate radio stations across the country as another tool for delivering national Emergency Alert System (EAS) messages. The radio affiliates would in turn broadcast the emergency messages to the public within its network. FEMA’s Damon Penn states, “This cooperative effort between FEMA and Premiere Networks is one of the latest initiatives to engage the private sector’s cooperation in raising community preparedness across the nation. We count on the broadcasting industry to alert and warn the public through the standard broadcast Emergency Alert System (EAS) including AM, FM, and satellite radio, as well as broadcast, cable and satellite TV, if a national emergency occurs.”
Boston Marathon Bombing Aftermath Remains Top Talk Radio Story for Week of April 29 – May 3. The aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, spurred by the arrests of several of suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s friends and the ongoing investigation into the planning and execution of the attack, was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was immigration legislation. Coming in at #3 was the Benghazi attack investigation followed by Syria tensions at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio across America and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. View this week’s entire chart here.
Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze to Be Available in Tri-State Area Via Cablevision’s Optimum TV. Beginning later this month, Glenn Beck-founded TheBlaze network will be available to New York City and the surrounding area as it will be included in Cablevision’s Optimum Preferred, Silver and Gold Packages. The channel is available to Optimum TV commercial customers with Optimum Business or Optimum Entertainment. Cablevision VP of video product management, Bradley Feldman, states, “Optimum TV is the only cable provider in the Tri-State area to bring our customers original programming from Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze, and the independent network will add more diversity to our strong lineup, providing our customers with more choices that our customers appreciate.” In a statement from Beck’s organization it says TheBlaze “offers a full slate of original news and opinion shows like ‘Real News,’ ‘Wilkow!’ and ‘For the Record,’ late night comedy like ‘The Wonderful World of Stu’ and ‘B.S. of A.,’ family-friendly programming like ‘Liberty Treehouse’ as well as thought-provoking documentaries and original specials. TheBlaze first launched on September 12, 2011 as GBTV and quickly grew into one of the world’s largest online streaming networks with over 300,000 subscribers. One year later, TheBlaze became a television network.”
CBS Q1 2013 Report: Company Up 6%, Radio’s Top 10 Markets Up 2%. The bulk of the discussion during yesterday’s conference call centered around TV for CBS, as it usually does. But CEO Les Moonves stated up front that the company continues to build “on the terrific debut of the CBS Sports Radio Network. We’ve added 20 affiliates to our roster since our last call. In addition, CBS Radio played a major role in this year’s success of the Academy of Country Music Awards. This is a show that perfectly complements our radio audiences, as evidenced by all the artists who mentioned the power of radio in their acceptance speeches.” CFO Joseph Ianniello noted that, comparable to the same period a year ago, the top 10 radio markets were performing up about 2%. Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript. Read more here.
Former Citadel/Cumulus Birmingham Cluster Manager Bill Thomas Sues Company for Unlawful Termination. Add discrimination to that under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Bill Thomas, a.k.a Michael Thomas Stainback, alleges in the complaint filed in United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama that the company knew he had heart ailments that resulted from a 2009 heart attack yet he still performed his job well and even received bonuses based upon performance. Thomas alleges that in February of 2012, after telling Cumulus corporate management that he’d been diagnosed with congestive heart failure, he was terminated by the company six days later. He’s seeking unspecified damages as well as back pay.
‘Freedom Feens’ Show to Join GCN. The “Freedom Feens” weekend talk show co-hosted by Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi will debut on the Genesis Communications Network on Saturday, May 11. Dean and Vedadi describe their program as a “great-sounding, feisty weekend show about free markets, the police state, the war on drugs, the right to keep and bear arms, computer security, honest money, self-defense, self-employment, marriage, do-it-yourself media production, marketing, music and more.” Regarding the title of their program, the duo explain, “‘Feen’ means ‘fiend,’ and the ‘Freedom Feens’ support the rights of the smallest minority, the individual.”
Time to Do Some Spring Cleaning Out at the Transmitter Site. For many of you who broadcast out of the Northwest, Midwest, North, and Northeast, this winter was a bear! Snow, ice and wind can cause issues for your transmission facilities. So it’s time to do a thorough inspection of your transmitter sites – both the main transmitter sites and anywhere you may have an STL transmitter or receiver. In a timely article posted today (5/2) noted engineering consultant and TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray offers up an invaluable “to-do” list to make sure your transmitter remains happy in the coming spring, summer and fall months after enduring a pretty painful and damaging winter. Get the whole story here.
Odds & Sods. WRKO, Boston afternoon drive talk show host Howie Carr broadcasts live from La Verdad Mexican restaurant near Fenway Park this afternoon from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm as he promotes his latest book , Rifleman (Frandel, LLC 2013), a true-crime story about infamous Boston mobster Steven Flemmi. Carr will stay after his program ends to sign copies of the new book…..Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington is conducting its second annual “Communter Idle” contest through Friday, May 3. The contest asks DC commuters to share their daily travel horror story to win prizes and possibly be the grand-prize winner who’ll receive $1,000 in gas money and a limo ride to work courtesy of Reston Limousine. Runners-up will receive $150 gas cards…..It may be a sign of the times that one of the most popular shows on CNN is the new “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” travel and food program that airs on Sunday evenings on the cable news/talk channel. But new CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker is so thrilled with the its performance that he’s already ordered another season of the show that will debut on September 15.
Cinchcast, Inc. Establishes Strategic Advisory Board. One of radio’s technological innovators and dynamic entrepreneurs of the new digital age, Alan Levy – founder and CEO of BlogTalkRadio and its “white-label” sister firm Cinchcast, Inc. – has announced the appointment of two well-known executives to Cinchcast’s new strategic advisory board: Tom Glocer, former CEO of Thomson Reuters and Steve Bornstein, former head of the NFL‘s digital media operations and ABC Sports/ABC, Inc. president and ESPN chairman. Levy tells TALKERS, “It’s an honor to be working with Tom and Steve as we continue to build, develop and scale the Cinchcast and BlogTalkRadio businesses.”
Practically an Exclusive. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) doesn’t do a lot of conservative talk radio shows. But Talk Radio Network star Rusty Humphries – who spent part of his earlier career at KKOH in Reno – was able to secure a no-holds-barred interview with Senator Reid at Humphries’ affiliate station KDWN, Las Vegas. Reid was in his home state while the Senate is on recess and he spoke with Humphries about the hot issues facing Congress. Pictured here are (from l-r): Humphries, Reid, and KDWN program director John Shaffer.
Suspects Arrested in Marathon Bombing, ObamaCare Implementation, Benghazi Cover-Up Charges, and Gay Athletes Flap among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/1). The arrest of more suspects connected with the Boston Marathon bombing case; the cost and implementation of the Affordable Care Act; charges that the Hillary Clinton-run State Department covered up aspects of the Benghazi attack; and the flap in the media over gay athletes were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
“Hold Their Feet to the Fire” Washington Radio Row Scheduled for April 17-18. The annual convergence of radio talk show hosts on Washington, DC to raise awareness about the United States’ immigration policies will take place this year on April 17 and 18. The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is organizing the radio row at which talk hosts from across the country will broadcast live for two days from Capitol Hill debating immigration reform while interviewing members of Congress, law enforcement officials, experts, activists and citizens who live along the border. FAIR says that since the spring of 2007 when “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” successfully helped defeat the McCain-Kennedy Amnesty Bill, the event has grown each year due to mounting public concerns about illegal immigration and talk radio’s expanding influence on the public policy process. The organization also states that with an illegal alien bill likely in spring, this year’s event is expected to be the largest yet with 60 or more hosts attending. FAIR communications director Bob Dane tells TALKERS magazine reservations are required and hosts/producers should call now. There is no cost to attend and all technical engineering, ISDN lines and long distance is included. Silver Lake Audio of New York is the official engineering firm for “Hold Their Feet to the Fire.” Congressional guests, activists, high-profile media personalities, and immigration experts will be in attendance and available throughout the event for wall-to-wall interviews. Dane or event manager Kristen Williamson can be reached at 202-328-7004.
Programmer Gavin Spittle Returns to Dallas as VP of News/Talk/Sports for CBS Radio. Sports and talk programmer Gavin Spittle lets go of the reins at CBS Radio’s sports talk KILT-AM, Houston “SportsRadio 610” to move back to the company’s Dallas cluster to oversee sports talk KRLD-FM “105.3 The Fan,” KRLD-AM “NewsRadio 1080” and the Texas State Networks beginning February 4. Three and a half years ago, Spittle left his VP of news and talk post in Dallas where he programmed KRLD-AM and KRLD-FM when it was hot talk “Live 105.3.” Spittle also oversaw the change of the station to sports talk. On returning to Dallas, SVP and market manager Brian Purdy says, “Under Gavin’s leadership, ‘SportsRadio 610’ dominated Houston sports talk. During his time with the station, ratings among Men 25-54 more than doubled. We’re fortunate to have Gavin as part of our CBS Radio family, and we’re looking forward to having him back in Dallas-Fort Worth.”
Talk Radio Network Welcomes Steve Wall as National Affiliate Consultant. Joining TRN Syndications Ltd. is radio pro Steve Wall as national affiliate consultant. TRN notes that Wall is a “veteran with over 30-years of experience including programming some of America’s highest-rated radio stations across multiple formats in many markets including San Diego, Kansas City, Monterey, Bakersfield, Richmond, and Spokane.” Chief executive officer Mark Masters states, “I am pleased to have Steve in our affiliate department. With our recent launch of ‘The Andrea Tantaros Show’ and the new times for ‘The Jerry Doyle Show’ and ‘The Rusty Humphries Show,’ the timing is perfect to expand our affiliate department to better serve our growing affiliate customer base. Steve is a proven radio professional who can help stations realize their true potential with quality programming.”
Schnitt vs Bubba: Day 5. On the fifth day of testimony in the trial in which Compass Media Networks talk show host Todd Schnitt is suing Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) for defamation, Schnitt was on the witness stand for the second day. Schnitt and his lawyers are trying to convince the jury that Bubba’s “radio war” against him (Schnitt’s MJ Kelli CHR morning show competed against Bubba’s program in the Tampa market) went over the line and fans – known as Bubba’s Army – harassed him and his family. During Schnitt’s testimony Wednesday, he said the incidents where a Bubba fan tried to run him off the road or accosted him at a supermarket in front of his daughter made his family more reclusive and it changed their lifestyle. According to Tampa Bay Online, he testified he should be compensated in the suit to prevent Bubba “from ever doing this in the future.” Schnitt also states that Bubba’s accusation Schnitt rigged a national contest negatively affected his professional integrity. Under cross examination Schnitt admitted he and his family do go out but he said he makes limited public appearances because of the harassment. Before the cross examination he stated, “There’s no amount of damages that will compensate me, my wife my family, for what we experienced. But the jury should award damages that will enable us to believe we did all we could possible to clear our good names.”
Chris Baker Exits KSEV, Houston PM Drive Slot. Talk show host Chris Baker is exiting Dan Patrick-owned news/talk station KSEV, Houston where he’s been PM drive host since February of 2011. The station is bringing market pro Edd Hendee back to the airwaves for the morning drive show. Hendee has been out of radio since the untimely death of his son in February of 2010. Taking over the afternoon slot is Mack Machowicz. The Houston Chronicle’s David Barron reports Baker is not announcing where he may go next but had nothing but good things to say about owner Dan Patrick. “He has been the most gracious and accommodating guy that you could ask to work for. Dan always wants people to better themselves. In this day and age and in this industry, it is rare to have a manager who will always root for peoples’ success.”
Odds & Sods. MSNBC host Martin Bashir has been slowed by a brain tumor diagnosed back in 2008. The Huffington Post reports Bashir missed his regular slot on MSNBC last Friday as the result of a small growth on his pituitary gland. Bashir told DC Fishbowl that when the tumor was diagnosed doctors advised him to take no action but to monitor it monthly…..CNN names Dana Bash chief congressional correspondent. TVNewser reports Bash has been on the Capitol Hill beat since 2006. CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist says in a memo to staff, “Week in and week out, Dana’s reporting and analysis make our air better. And we saw it again yesterday with Dana’s relentless efforts to land interviews in the Capitol Rotunda during our Inauguration coverage.”…..New York Magazine is reporting that Donald Trump is exploring ways to purchase The New York Times. The piece, written by Joe Hagan, notes that “Trump has engaged in more than one meeting to discuss how he might buy the Grey Lady. Details of Trump’s strategy remain scant. And it seems unlikely, to say the least, that the Sulzberger family, which controls the company’s voting shares, would welcome his offer.”
KGMZ, San Francisco Holds Sports Talk Host Contest. Entercom’s 95.7 The Game in San Francisco is executing a sports talk host competition promotion called “Lucky Break 2” – “the return of the Bay Area’s only sports reality competition, where local sports fans compete for the chance of a lifetime: to get paid to host a sports talk show on the radio.” Program director Jason Barrett says, “After seeing the amazing talent and passion that Bay Area sports fans brought to ‘Lucky Break’ last year, we had to bring ‘Lucky Break’ back for 2013. ‘Lucky Break’ is a chance to win one of the best jobs in the world: becoming a sports radio talk show host in a major U.S. market.” ‘Lucky Break 2’ begins with the first open audition on February 5 Halftime Sports Bar in Oakland. It’s being hosted by KGMZ’s Guy Haberman and Gianna Franco and contestants will be coached by Dan Dibley from ‘The Rise Guys’ and Chris Townsend from ‘Bucher & Towny.’ Judges include KGMZ PD Jason Barrett, host John Lund and celebrity athletes from local Bay Area sports teams. Last year’s celebrity judges included Golden State Warriors forward David Lee, San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco 49ers TE Delanie Walker and more. Last year, more than 600 contestants showed up to audition for ‘Lucky Break 1,’ which was eventually won by Daryle “The Guru” Johnson, who can be heard weekends on “95.7 The Game.”
SiriusXM’s Joe Madison to Interview Activist Harry Belafonte. As part of the satcaster’s Town Hall series, talk show host Joe Madison – whose program is also heard on terrestrial station WOL, Washington – will sit down with actor, singer and activist Harry Belafonte at SiriusXM’s New York City studios. Belafonte will also take questions from the audience. The premiere of the program is Friday, January 25 at 5:00 pm ET.
Dick Broadcasting Wins Decision in 12-Year-Old Case. The upshot is that the Tennessee Supreme Court is sending Dick Broadcasting’s suit against John Pirkle’s Oak Ridge FM over WOKI, Knoxville back to a lower court where Dick can sue for damages. (By the way WOKI is currently owned by Cumulus Media.) Here’s the background: In 2000, Dick sold 11 stations to Citadel for $300 million, of which WOKI would have been one. At the time Dick had a time brokerage agreement with WOKI owner Oak Ridge FM to operate WOKI with a clause that gave Dick the right of first refusal to buy the station. Oak Ridge refused to consent to the transfer of the station and honor the transfer. A year later Dick sued Oak Ridge but lost in a lower court but the appellate court ruled the lower court judge should not have dismissed the case. Oak Ridge challenged that at the Tennessee Supreme Court where the six judges ruled unanimously that the appellate court had it right and Dick can sue for damages.
Colorful Broadcaster and Host Blanquita Cullum Returns to Talk Media with New TV Series, “The Hard Question™.” Veteran talk industry figure, Blanquita Cullum (pictured here at the podium) launched ‘The Hard Question™’, her new signature TV series devoted exclusively to the issue of energy in the 21st century, last night (1/23) before a packed audience of well-wishers and reporters at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. The videotaping consisted of two back-to-back lively discussions collectively titled “Setting the Course on Energy” that delved into the future of American energy policy with points of view expressed by panels of diverse experts in the field. The pilot programs were aired on June 24 and July 15 of 2012 on KTRK-TV (ABC) in Houston, Texas and won the top spots in their time periods (visit www.thehardquestion.com to view). The network version will be a weekly debate series on MHz Networks hosted by Cullum. MHz Networks reaches over 42 million households nationwide. “The energy industry is going through a renaissance; it is full of hope,” Doug Cain, CEO of Lake Truck Lines, who served on the first panel: “The President’s Agenda – the Future of Traditional Energy versus Alternatives,” expressed in an interview following the panel discussion. In addition to Cain, the panelists included: W. Herbert Hunt, Petro-Hunt; John Hofmeister, former president of Shell and founder of Citizens for Affordable Energy; Kevin Book, Clear View Energy Partners; Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn, ACORE; David Martineau, Chairman TIPR and Bruce Vincent, Swift Energy. The second panel addressed the question: “Climate Change – Science or Hype?” Panelists included Leighton Steward, Plants Need CO2; former NASA scientist Harold Doiron; Scott Sklar, The Stella Group; Daniel Weiss of the Center for American Progress; Kevin Book, Clean View Energy Partners and David Kreutzer of the Heritage Foundation. Blanquita Cullum, who was a high-profile, nationally-syndicated, “Heavy Hundred” host in the 1990s and early 2000s, left day-to-day radio to become a presidentially appointed, Senate-confirmed governor on the United States Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees all U.S international broadcasting, where she served for a number of years followed by a series of public policy consulting projects. “No issue touches people across the globe like energy, and ‘The Hard Question’ will never shrink from tackling the real-life obstacles of such a life-changing issue,” she tells TALKERS. “Now, as we embark on a new era with the historic re-election of President Obama, the country will set a course on energy that will have critical implications for this planet for decades to come.” Photo by Jamie Cullum.
Cool Job Opportunity. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s “Newsradio WOOD 1300 & 106.9 FM” is looking for its next great News Director. Applicant must have a minimum of three years of experience in a news/talk environment plus be a digital-first (web, mobile, and social media), community-focused leader in covering and reporting local and regional news, traffic and weather. Candidate will also possess excellent communication, leadership, and organizational skills, as well as the ability to coach and lead individuals within our award-winning news operation. Email cover letter and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org. No phone calls please. Clear Channel Radio is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi Testimony, North Korea’s U.S. Threats, Deficit Reduction Battle, U.S. Military Opens Combat Roles to Women and Manti Te’o Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/23). Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s testimony before Congress on the Benghazi attack; new nuclear threats against the United States by North Korea; the battle in Washington over reduction of the deficit; the opening of combat roles to women in the U.S. military and the Manti Te’o phony girlfriend saga were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
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 email@example.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.
Norm Pattiz’s Courtside Entertainment Group forms Podcast Giant Launchpad Digital Media. Courtside Entertainment Group CEO Norm Pattiz (pictured below at left) enters into a partnership with digital, online and podcast sales pioneer Kit Gray (below at right) to form a new division of Courtside Entertainment Group called Launchpad Digital Media. Courtside states that the podcast platform includes some of the biggest names in digital entertainment including: Adam Carolla, Bill Burr, CBS News, Afterbuzz TV with Maria Menuounos, Jay Mohr, Dr. Drew, Chris Hardwick (The Nerdist), Mark & Lynda, Brian & Jill, and Penn Jillette. Launchpad will also be home to the Sideshow Network, The Fake Mustache Network, Riotcast Network, Splitsider Network and the Toad Hop Network making Launchpad one of the industry’s largest players. Kit Gray will serve as president and COO of Launchpad Digital Media. In a statement announcing the new company, Pattiz says, “Podcasts represent one of the fastest growing segments of digital media. Kit Gray has a great track record of success in this important space and brings with him not only knowledge and energy, but the revenue and cash flow to prove it. He brings Courtside instant access not only for our existing programs but for the development of future programming that will live on the Launchpad platform.” Gray states, “Forming a partnership with Norm Pattiz, the founder of Westwood One, with his incredible vision and history of working with the top talent is an unbelievable opportunity. This partnership, as a division of Courtside, allows us to offer all of our existing clients more resources to expand their products and deliver more audience to develop the advertiser support that will benefit us all.” Speaking about this new effort, Patty Newmark of Newmark Advertising says, “The digital space for audio is growing exponentially and has allowed us to extend additional opportunities to our clients. Having a highly respected leader of the radio industry like Norm Pattiz form a new venture with Kit Gray, an expert in the area of digital media, is very exciting. These two innovators working together will create important opportunities within the changing media landscape.” Courtside notes that Kit Gray has represented programming that exceeds a half-billion podcast downloads annually. He’s worked with media agencies throughout the nation, served as a division manager for Clear Channel (Katz 360 Digital), was the director of advertising for Verizon’s EV-DO networks Amp’d Mobile and was the recipient of the “Seller of the Year” award for Katz Media Group.
Mel Karmazin to Leave SiriusXM in February. Just how and when Mel Karmazin was going to leave SiriusXM was really the question – that he was leaving was pretty much a foregone conclusion to most industry watchers. Now we know Karmazin will exit his CEO role with the satcaster and he will resign from the company’s board of directors on February 1, 2013. In a public statement, Karmazin says, “SiriusXM is an extraordinary company with an incredible team. It is an honor to come to work here every day where we truly deliver the best radio on radio. I am incredibly proud of what we have accomplished. Given where we started, it is amazing that SiriusXM has grown to become the largest radio company in the world. With a deep bench of corporate talent, a roster that includes the most in-demand on-air personalities and a wide range of exclusive programming, SiriusXM has never been better positioned than it is today. We continue to grow our subscriber base to record levels and our financial position has never been stronger. Importantly, the commitment to delivering innovative new products and technologies is very strong. SiriusXM has a strong foundation to build on for the future and there is a great team in place to keep the company moving forward. I am confident that SiriusXM’s best years are ahead.” The press release includes a statement from SiriusXM board chairman Eddy Hartenstein. He says, “On behalf of the board of directors, I want to thank Mel for his significant contributions to the company. Under his leadership, the company underwent a transformative merger and a financial restructuring that has enabled SiriusXM to deliver significant value for shareholders. Our record breaking financial results are a testament to Mel’s leadership and strategic planning and we continue to exceed our expectations with all-time high subscriber numbers. Thanks to Mel, we are well positioned for long-term growth and value creation. We will miss Mel – and the board wishes him the very best in his future endeavors.”
More Changes at WGN, Chicago as John Williams to Leave Midday Show. John Williams will continue with Tribune’s WGN, Chicago through the end of the year but, beginning in January, he and his family will return to the Minneapolis area and Williams will give his full attention to his afternoon drive show at CBS Radio’s WCCO which he’s been doing from Chicago for some time. WGN program director Bill White states, “John is a great broadcaster and has been a valued member of the WGN Radio family. While we are sad to see him go, we are happy for John and his family that they are able to return to Minneapolis, where they lived before moving to Chicago. We wish him all the best and know that he will continue to shine in his role at WCCO.” Williams indicates this is a decision he’s been considering for a while. “I decided some time ago to do just one show – as well as I can – and that one will be at WCCO. Both stations and staffs deserve as much.” WGN is seeking his replacement and expects to name the new host of the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm program in the coming weeks.
Shamrock Communications Officially Announces Today’s Launch of KNEWS in Reno. Yesterday, TALKERS reported the debut of one of four new FM signals Shamrock Communications is putting on the air in the Reno market. The company officially announces the launch of KNEZ-FM “107.3 KNews” today and 13-year radio veteran Sean Patrick is a big part of the station. Patrick, who is the station’s news director, will also host the PM drive show as well as serve as the voice of Wolf Pack football and the Reno Bighorns. Director of broadcast operations for the station is Willobee Carlan. Sean Patrick states that with the ever-changing political climate, people want something new, “There’s too much confrontation on the airwaves and not enough conversation. We will bring a much more level-headed conversational tone to political talk. Neither side is 100% right nor 100% wrong. We want you to be a part of the conversation. KNEWS Reno is ‘The Conversation Station!’” The station will air Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck in AM drive followed by Cumulus Media Networks’ Mike Huckabee, WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish and Talk Radio Network’s Rusty Humphries in the evenings.
Mark Levin-founded Landmark Legal Foundation to Sue EPA. Cumulus Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Mark Levin explained the Landmark Legal Foundation’s intent to sue the Obama Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency on his program on Monday. Levin stated the suit centers around new environmental rules set to kick in for which the public has not been given notice. According to The Examiner, the Landmark Legal Foundation requested the documents through the Freedom of Information Act months ago but the records have not been turned over. The organization also petitioned the federal court to block administrator of the EPA Lisa Jackson and her agency from issuing any new regulations until the agency releases the documents.
WEEI, Boston Debuts New Baseball Show. Playing the “hits” in New England on a sports talk station means talking about Red Sox baseball no matter what time of year it is. To that end, Entercom Boston vice president of programming and operations Jason Wolfe announces a new weekly program hosted by Kirk Minihane and WEEI.com Red Sox insiders Rob Bradford and Alex Speier called “Red Sox Hot Stove.” The one-hour program debuts tomorrow night and airs from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm Thursdays through February 14. Wolfe says the program will be focused exclusively on the Red Sox and will include regular interviews with Sox GM Ben Cherington as well as many other Sox beat writers and columnists who will provide unique information and insight. “This is has been a very difficult season for Red Sox fans, but it also means that the off season will be incredibly meaningful. There will be more Red Sox talk this off season than in any other in recent memory given the needs of the team, and this show will provide listeners with the most up to date information as it happens.”
Nationally Syndicated Host Dr. Ken Kronhaus Featured in AARP/Crest Health Campaign. As host of the nationally syndicated Stephan Multimedia weekend production “Good Day Health” and frequent contributor to Doug Stephan’s daily “Good Day” syndicated morning show, Dr. Ken Kronhaus is a well-known voice in health media. Now, he is working with AARP and Crest on a campaign featuring Dr. Kronhaus that includes custom content provided by him promoting the idea that the mouth is the gateway to your overall health. Dr. Kronhaus also serves as AARP health-editor-at-large.
Post-Debate Analysis, Presidential Race Polls, Libya Attack Controversy, and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/23). Analysis of the candidates’ performance in the final presidential debate; the most recent polls of the presidential campaign, new information indicating the White House knew the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was terrorist related; and the turbulent week of activity in the world’s financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Tom Langmyer Exits Tribune’s WGN, Chicago After Eight Years. The vice president and general manager of Tribune’s only radio property – WGN, Chicago – left his position yesterday. Tom Langmyer didn’t comment specifically to TALKERS about the reason for the move but the change appears to have been WGN’s and not Langmyer’s choice. Langmyer joined WGN as general manager in March of 2005 after rising from program director to vice president and general manager of CBS Radio’s KMOX, St. Louis. Now, Langmyer exits after a meeting Monday with Tribune Broadcasting president and CEO Nils Larsen. Langmyer issued the following statement to his staff upon his exit: “I can’t tell you how much I have appreciated the privilege of working with you. WGN is a very special place, and I’m very lucky to have spent nearly eight years as part of it! . . . Looking forward to new challenges ahead!” Like many major market radio stations, WGN has been a turbulent place over the past eight years with four program directors during that time and four different morning drive hosts – not to mention the Sam Zell-engineered takeover of Tribune that brought former Clear Channel radio president Randy Michaels to the helm of the company and the financial trouble that put Tribune into bankruptcy. Langmyer’s departure comes as Tribune nears a long-awaited exit from bankruptcy. There is speculation Tribune will attempt to sell some of its properties and the lone radio station in its portfolio may go “on the block.” As far as management is concerned, director of sales Jeff Hill will serve as general manager in the interim. You can reach out to Tom Langmyer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Talk Outlet Debuts in Reno. After eight years of work and a fair amount of resources invested, Shamrock Communications goes live with one of the four FM stations it is building for the Reno, Nevada market. KNEZ-FM “107.3 K-News” features a mostly syndicated lineup consisting of Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck, Cumulus Media Networks’ Mike Huckabee, WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish, local talk show host Sean Patrick, and Talk Radio Network’s Rusty Humphries.
Michael Savage Re-Enters National Syndication Tonight. Following a protracted battle to get out of his contract with Talk Radio Network, talk host Michael Savage signed with Cumulus Media Networks to distribute his program. The new syndication effort begins tonight as Savage’s live broadcast time moves to 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET.
America’s Radio News Network Names Lori Lundin Mid-Morning Co-Anchor. Talk Radio Network-operated America’s Radio News Network adds news pro Lori Lundin to the 9:00 am to 12:00 pm ET news block as co-anchor alongside Ernie Brown. Prior to joining ARN, Lundin was anchoring mornings nationally on Fox News Radio for over four years. Before that, she was an award-winning reporter on news/talk KFBK, Sacramento. She received the Northern California Radio and Television News Directors Association award for her breaking news coverage while reporting for the station. ARN EVP of news and programming John McCaslin states, “I first heard ARN’s new co-anchor, Lori Lundin when she was anchoring top-of-the-hour and breaking news stories on Fox News Radio. ARN is extremely fortunate to have somebody of her caliber join the team – a news anchor who possesses a rare, unwavering reputation for accurate, complete, and unbiased reporting. Lori Lundin is the exception, not the norm, for members of the Washington Press Corps.”
Business Talk WZAB, Miami Host Sentenced in Pot Growing Case. Edward Woodson, who hosts the 7:00 am to 8:00 am hour on Salem Communications’ business talk WZAB, Miami “880 The Biz,” pleaded guilty to running a marijuana growing operation out of his Miami Shores, Florida home. The 50-year-old lawyer and real estate investor will serve three years’ probation, one of those under house arrest and pay some $25,000 in fines. Woodson brokers the morning drive hour for his program and is not an employee of Salem Communications, but a client.
7 Talk Radio Takeaways from Presidential Debate. Consultant Holland Cooke explains how what is shaping up to be a very close presidential contest – not to mention some hotly contested congressional races – should be played for the “tight game” it is. Holland says, “Smart talk stations promoted debate coverage by reminding that, “IF YOU’LL BE IN THE CAR TONIGHT…” Certainly anyone with the choice would have watched rather than listened. And going forward, it continues to make sense to approach campaign coverage as car radio. Assume that you’re sharing attention.” See more of Holland Cooke’s 7 takeaways here.
Calling in the Experts. Talk host Michael Castner (r) is pictured here with intelligence expert Lieutenant Colonel Tony Shaffer (l) during Shaffer’s visit to The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s studios. Shaffer appeared on “The Daily Wrap from the Wall Street Journal with Michael Castner” to discuss the controversial Benghazi attack that took the lives of four Americans including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
Compass Media Networks Announces College Hoops Schedule. Beginning with the December 6 Vanderbilt vs. Xavier matchup and running through the March 9 Duke vs. UNC game, Compass Media Networks is offering 15 regular season men’s college basketball games this season. The network also has exclusive radio coverage of the Big Ten Conference tournament. Compass says it has an exclusive, multi-year agreement with Learfield Sports – one of the country’s largest broadcast rights holders with colleges and that the deal enables it to pick from among the best games to broadcast (using Compass’ own unique production and broadcast crew); “virtually all basketball games Compass is broadcasting feature top-ranked teams and compelling matchups.” Compass Media Networks CEO Peter Kosann states, “Kudos to our team for selecting such incredible games. From the opening tip to the culmination of our coverage in March as the Big Ten Tournament returns to Chicago, this will be a great season.” See the entire Compass college basketball schedule here.
ESPN’s Dan Shulman Re-Ups. The voice of ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” will continue with the sports media giant after agreeing to a multi-year deal. In addition to Dan Shulman’s role on “Sunday Night Baseball,” Shulman will continue with his play-by-play work for men’s college basketball as well as his ESPN Radio duties calling the post-season games and the World Series. Regarding the 2012 NSSA Sportscaster of the Year, ESPN SVP and executive producer Jed Drake states, “Dan’s one of the most talented and versatile play-by-play commentators in our industry. Dan’s voice has become unmistakable, his storytelling ability is top notch and his penchant for making his colleagues better is an incredible asset to ESPN and to sports fans.” Shulman (r) is pictured here with ESPN’s Doris Burke (l) and Dick Vitale (c).
The Final Presidential Debate, the Latest Poll Numbers, the Continuing Investigation into the Benghazi Attack, Anita Dunn ‘Conflict Issue’ and Lance Armstrong Stripped of Tour de France Medals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/22). The buildup to the final presidential debate before the November 2 election; the latest poll numbers concerning the presidential race; the ongoing investigation of the Benghazi attack that took the lives of four Americans; former Obama Administration communications director Anita Dunn’s controversial status handling PR for firms lobbying the White House; and Lance Armstrong’s being stripped of his seven Tour de France medals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Library of American Broadcasting Presents 10th Annual Giants of Broadcasting Awards. George Beasley and Erica Farber Among Radio People Honored. The President of the United States, the former Governor of Massachusetts, and a slew of luminous personalities from the world of politics attending the Al Smith Dinner last night at the Waldorf-Astoria were not the only “giants” to grace the premises of the East Side Manhattan landmark yesterday. The national Library of American Broadcasting presented its 10th Annual Giants of Broadcasting honors, at a ceremony and luncheon yesterday (10/18) at the iconic hotel. The event, attended by prominent members of the broadcasting, media and corporate communities, was positioned as “celebrating extraordinary leadership or performance in television and radio.” The honorees join 140 “Giants of Broadcasting” who have been honored by the Library since 2003. Bill Baker, president emeritus of WNET, New York and himself a Giant of Broadcasting, served as master of ceremonies. Among the 10 honorees, radio was represented by George Beasley, chairman, CEO and founder of Beasley Broadcast Group and Erica Farber, president and CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau. Both presented upbeat but extremely humble acceptance speeches praising the other honorees and articulating optimistic pictures of radio’s vitality and future. Other inductees included Ted Turner, Norman Lear, Andy Rooney, Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer, Dinah Shore, Sir Howard Stringer and Don Cornelius. The Library of American Broadcasting (LAB) — located at the University of Maryland — is entering its 41st year serving as a major national information resource for the radio and television industries and the academic communities that rely upon it for depth and expertise. Their collection of historic documents, professional papers, oral and video histories, books and photographs are among the nation’s most extensive. LAB is evolving from a conventional library into a “homepage” for the world at large, reaching thousands simultaneously through the Internet. Industry outreach includes lectures, symposia, print and the broadcast media themselves. LAB’s chair is Virginia Hubbard Morris, president of Hubbard Radio. The president/CEO is Donald West, veteran broadcast journalist and former assistant to the president of CBS Inc. The dean of libraries at the University of Maryland is Patricia Steele, and the curator is Chuck Howell.
New England Talk Pro Steve Kass to PM Drive on WSAR, Fall River, Massachusetts. Veteran talk radio host Steve Kass begins new duties as host of the PM drive show on SNE Broadcasting’s WSAR, Fall River, Massachusetts on October 29. The move reunited Kass with programmer Paul Giammarco who serves as general manager at WSAR. Kass and Giammarco worked together at Cumulus Media’s WPRO, Providence. Kass also worked at Clear Channel’s WHJJ, Providence. He states, “Coming back to WSAR is like returning home after being away for 32 years. WSAR provided me with my first opportunity to be a radio talk show host. What a year to start a new adventure in talk radio: Prop 2 ½, the takeover of the American Embassy in Tehran, Governor Reagan, John Anderson, and State Rep. Andy Card, are but a few of the events and guests that occurred in 1979. I have no doubt 2012 and beyond will be even more stimulating as we face so many challenges going forward. Best of all being reunited with Barry Richard and Paul Giammarco, two certified broadcasting pro’s provide the icing on the cake. Let the games begin.”
Jon Meterparel Leaves WEEI, Boston AM Show to Focus on Play-by-Play Career. Longtime morning sports news anchor Jon Meterparel exits the John Dennis and Gerry Callahan morning show on Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston and the WEEI regional network. Meterparel has been the voice of Boston College football and basketball broadcasts for several seasons and said during his farewell to listeners that doing play-by-play has always been his primary career goal so he leaves WEEI to pursue that interest.
Talk Radio and the Presidential Debate: From a Radio Consultant’s Perspective. Leading radio consultant Holland Cooke analyzes the most recent presidential debate from a media perspective and explains why the debates, coverage of the them by news/talk stations, and the aftermath of these contests are good for talk media. Read Holland Cooke’s quick 10-point analysis here.
Talk Radio Network’s Rusty Humphries Features “A-List” Guests in New Time Slot. The nationally syndicated Rusty Humphries program began the week in its new time slot – 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET – and syndicator TRN is pumping up the program’s content with high-profile guests. Featured this week were: former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld; rocker Ted Nugent; Senator Rand Paul (R-KY); Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL); Ann Coulter; Jon Sununu; actor Kevin Sorbo about his book, “True Strength: My Journey from Hercules to Mere Mortal”; Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal; U.S. Representative Allen West; Chuck Yeager; actor David Spade; Dick Morris; political pollster Frank Luntz; and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza.
ESPN Radio Preps for Exclusive MLB World Series Coverage. The Major League Baseball fall classic will be heard exclusively on ESPN Radio and the sports giant is pulling out all the stops on production of the broadcasts. ESPN says, in addition to the play-by-play provided by Dan Schulman and Orel Hershiser, the “Baseball Tonight” crew will also be broadcasting prior to and after each World Series Game. In the photo at left, the “Baseball Tonight” set is on the scene at Opening Day at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles this past April. Pictured are (from l-r): Karl Ravech, John Kruk and Barry Larkin.
Odds & Sods. CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles will host a live edition of the “KNX Business Hour” on at 8:00 am on November 16 at the Los Angeles Convention Center titled, “Secrets to Investing in Today’s World: Where to Put Your Money Now.” KNX is staging this event to provide individuals with an overview of the economic outlook with regard to stocks, bonds, real estate, commodities, precious metals, savings and retirement accounts. KNX’s Frank Mottek will emcee and moderate and guests will include: Beacon Economics founding partner Christopher Thornberg; PIMCO executive vice president Tony Crescenzi; California Association of Realtors chief economist Leslie Appleton-Young; founder and president of Wedbush Securities Ed Wedbush; and TrendMax owner and portfolio manager Zachary Oxman…..TuneIn and London-based talkSPORT enter into an agreement for the former to carry all 380 Barclays Premiere League soccer matches in English, Spanish and Mandarin on its global internet service. TuneIn will also air key FA Cup matches…..ESPN Audio and the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association announce the two have signed a deal to have ESPN serve as the exclusive radio home of the AT&T Cotton Bowl for the next two years. The Cotton Bowl matches the Big 12 against the Southeastern Conference and will be played on January 4, 2013 at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas.
Steve Forbes Visits Idaho. KIDO, Boise morning drive host Kevin Miller (left) poses for a shot with Forbes Media chairman and editor-in-chief Steve Forbes. The business media leader was in Boise for an appearance at the Idaho center speaking about the U.S. and global economies.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “The Daily Wrap from the Wall Street Journal with Michael Castner” is added to the lineup at WERC-AM/FM Birmingham; KIDO, Boise; WZAN, Portland; KPSF, Desert Hot Springs, California; WWNR-AM/FM, Beckley, West Virginia; and WXDE, Lewes, Delaware…..CRN Digital Talk Radio’s Barry Farber show is added to the program schedule at WYPV, Petoskey, Michigan.
Presidential Debate Top Talk Topic for Week of October 15-19. The second presidential debate was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 was the election poll numbers. At #3 was the Benghazi attack investigation and following at #4 was Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio around the country and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See the entire chart here.
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.
Day One from the Democratic National Convention. WYD Media’s Stephanie Miller (c) is pictured here in an “action” shot that shows the expansive media center in Charlotte from which she is broadcasting her nationally syndicated morning drive program. In this photo, she’s joined by Fox News Radio personality Alan Colmes (l) and Stephanie Miller show regular Jim Ward (r). There are more than 100 talk show hosts joining the news organizations covering the DNC in Charlotte that wraps up Thursday with President Obama’s evening speech accepting his party’s nomination for the ticket.
Greater Media’s WTKK, Boston Makes Brand Change and Boost to News Product Official. As TALKERS magazine reported yesterday, Greater Media news/talk outlet WTKK has re-branded itself and is rededicating itself to providing Bostonians with more news and information and program director Grace Blazer makes that official. She says the station “will provide listeners in the Boston Metropolitan area with consistent ‘live and local’ news, traffic, and weather reports around the clock on-air, online and on their mobile devices. Through a partnership with Total Traffic, Greater Media Boston’s News Talk 96.9 FM-WTKK will deliver newscasts at the top and bottom of the hour 24 hours a day and traffic and weather reports every 15 minutes. In addition, WTKK will refer to itself as NEWS TALK 96.9 both on air and online to more accurately reflect its product.” Blazer says, “We are proud to be the only FM radio station with a 24 hour live and local staff of newscasters delivering timely, local and breaking news, accurate traffic reporting, and dependable weather forecasts. The addition of services to our already strong talk lineup makes News Talk 96.9 FM unique within the Boston market and also presents immediate opportunities for our advertisers.” Total News Source VP Chris Berry says of the new relationship, “An amazing amount of news is generated daily in Boston and New England. We are very pleased to be working around the clock with the team at News Talk 96.9 to assist in gathering and delivering news and information.”
Glenn Beck Gets Apology from American Airlines After Rude Service. The Premiere Networks-syndicated radio host told his audience he was treated rudely by a flight attendant on a weekend flight from Newark to Dallas – ostensibly for his political views – and would never fly American again. Beck told his national radio audience the male flight attendant “fawned over” the other passengers but slammed a can of soda down in front of him and “barked” at him, treating him as “subhuman.” The airline tweeted an apology and went further issuing the following statement, “We are sorry for the experience Mr. Beck had on a recent flight. The comfort and satisfaction of our customers are very important priorities to us and we take these matters seriously. We have reached out to Mr. Beck’s office and are actively looking into the situation.”
Matt Fox Exits NextMedia’s WHBC, Canton. The morning show at NextMedia’s WHBC, Canton, Ohio will consist of co-host Pam Cook and Canton Repository sports columnist Todd Porter for now as Matt Fox exits the station to take a position outside the radio business. The Repository reports Fox cited the early morning hours – a 3:45 wakeup call – as one of the reasons he’s choosing to leave the show he’s been co-hosting with Cook since February of 2011. He took over for Fred Chenevey at that time and the program was his first full-time radio gig. He continues to co-host the “Around the House with Matt and Shari” home improvement show that airs on the local PBS TV outlet.
Big Changes at Chicago Public Media; Big Shoes to Fill at WBEZ. Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports on the announcement that afternoon talk host Steve Edwards is leaving his “The Afternoon Shift” talk show on CPM’s WBEZ, Chicago to take a new post at the University of Chicago. Edwards has been with Chicago Public Media for 14 years, serving in a number of capacities during that time, including as director of content development and program director. It was just last February that the 41-year-old public media pro returned to the air to host “The Afternoon Shift.” On his new position as deputy director, programming at the University of Chicago’s new Institute of Politics, a public policy and public service institute led by David Axelrod, Edwards tells Feder, “What motivates me is trying to create a deeper understanding of the world around me and trying to share that with people. How do I touch and transform people and communities? How do I uncover insights and share them with others? Journalism has been an amazing place where those values and skill sets intersect. And I think my new role at the Institute of Politics represents another place where they do as well.” Meanwhile, CPM has retained Livingston Associates to help find Edwards’ successor. Read Robert Feder’s full story here.
Clear Channel Takes Aim at CNN with Its ClearVision In-Airport TV Network. Providing what it calls an alternative to CNN’s news-only airport network with a debut at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, Clear Channel Outdoor’s Clear Channel Airports division unveils ClearVision. The company says it’ll provide content to travelers from numerous sources, including: “CBS with offerings from CBS News, CBS Entertainment, CBS Daytime, and CBS Interactive, among others; NBC, with shows including The Today Show, Smash, The Voice, Grimm, America’s Got Talent and The Office; daily headlines from around the world from The Wall Street Journal’s WSJ Live; and sports from the Tennis Channel with original programming like the travel series Destination Tennis and highlights from major tournaments like the French Open and US Open.” This is a partnership with connectVISION Digital Networks and CCO says it “provides airports, content partners, and advertisers with an unparalleled ability to reach and engage air travelers – through customized content ranging from local news to top network shows and live events. Airports ultimately will be able to leverage WiFi services to provide travelers accustomed to on-demand content access to the ClearVision network on their smartphones, iPads, and laptops.” There’s no word from Clear Channel on what other American airports with which it’s negotiating but the company sounds very dedicated to this market and you can bet there will be more airport deals announced in the near future.
Sports Biz Today Produces Daily Updates. Sports Biz Today is launching a new daily product called “Sports Biz Update” – a two-minute feature in which host Fred Wallin gives listeners the headlines of what is going on in the world of sports business. Fred Wallin is a veteran of sports talk radio, both locally in Southern California and nationally. Wallin has hosted ‘Dodger Talk,” “Angel Talk,” “Kings Talk,” and “Bruins Talk” on various Southern California radio stations. He has hosted programs on KABC, KFI, KLAC, KIEV, KFOX and 1150 AM in Los Angeles. Nationally, Wallin has hosted programs on The Sports Radio Network, The American Sports Radio Network, Prime Sports, The Sports America Radio Network, and the Cable Radio Network, and presently on Sports Overnight America, Fox Sports Radio Las Vegas and KCAA Riverside, California.
Odds & Sods. Clear Channel names Melissa Forrest market manager for the San Diego cluster. Forrest most recently served with CC at the Atlanta cluster where she was president and market manager in charge of the company’s radio stations, the Total Traffic Network and the Georgia News Network…..TRN and WGST, Atlanta talk show host Rusty Humphries is putting his passion for cigars together with his own brand and is working with Cuban-born cigar-making legends to create his own limited-edition El Presidente cigar. Working with Don Lino creator Nestor Miranda and master blender José “Pepin” Garcia – both Floridians now – Humphries made 300 boxes of the cigars. He says, “It’s not made to be an everyday smoke. There’s not that many of ‘em. I only wanted to do a limited amount. I wanted to honor a president each time. When they’re gone, they’re gone. So each cigar is a collector’s item in its own right.” Humphries is pictured here with U.S. Senator Marco Rubio who declared the cigar “bueno.”…..Nationally syndicated home improvement radio show “The Money Pit” partners with TuneIn to create a 24/7 home improvement channel on the audio service. “Money Pit” co-host Tom Kraeutler says, “We’ve experienced rapid growth of our program through our existing online assets. But with over 40 million monthly active listeners, TuneIn has the infrastructure and leadership to help us expand that listener base in ways never before possible and we’re thrilled with the opportunity to share our home improvement insights with this new audience.”…..Dr. Michio Kaku – renowned theoretical physicist, best-selling author and host of Talk Radio Network’s “Science Fantastic” – has been selected through a vote of IPC members to keynote the trade group’s biggest electronics industry event next spring in San Diego. “Kaku’s keynote will present a vision of life in the year 2100 culled from ideas of 300 of the country’s most influential scientists. He will explore revolutionary advancements in medicine, energy production, artificial intelligence and aeronautics that will forever change our way of life – including innovations like internet-enabled contact lenses, cars that will drive (or even fly) themselves and brain sensors that will let us move objects using only the power of our minds.”…..Mike Rosso joins Continental Electronics as vice president of sales and marketing, where he’ll be responsible for maintaining and developing Continental’s global market presence. Continental bills itself as a “global leader in broadcast transmitter equipment. It is the foremost supplier of advanced RF transmission technology and the world’s most experienced designer and builder of the highest power radio broadcast equipment.”
Fox Sports Radio Network Launches Daily Big Ten Football Show. The new show, an extension of the weekly Big Ten show, debuted yesterday on affiliates including WDFN, Detroit, KFXN, Minneapolis and WSSP, Milwaukee. Dubbed “BTN Live,” the show airs live daily from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET and is hosted by Big Ten Network personalities Dave Revsine, Gerry DiNardo, Howard Griffith and others.
WEEI, Boston Announces Patriots and NFL Coverage. The Entercom sports talk brand – heard throughout New England on numerous company-owned stations and affiliates – announces its fall football programming. VP of programming and operations for Entercom Boston Jason Wolfe reports coverage of Patriots football features the return of Patriots Friday and Patriots Monday that includes exclusive interviews with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Its “Gameday” broadcasts on home game days will emanate from Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill at Patriot Place in Foxborough. WEEI has also secured a number of current and former Patriots players as well as NFL experts – including (WFAN, New York and “NFL Today” host) Boomer Esiason who chats with morning hosts Dennis & Callahan each Monday – to join coverage of the team on its shows throughout the week during the football season. Wolfe states, “We’ve made it a priority to provide Patriots fans with the most compelling and comprehensive coverage of the team that we can. With Patriots Monday and Friday and our slew of NFL Insiders, WEEI will be the place to be to keep up with the Pats throughout the season.” Actual game play-by-play rights are owned by WEEI’s crosstown competitor – CBS Radio-owned WBZ-FM, Boston 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Are Hard Times Hitting Television Talk, Too? The New York Post reports on rumors that Comcast’s NBC is taking a serious look at morning television talk’s “Today” for possible budget cuts in the wake of its “ratings woes.” With the story of Jay Leno’s recent voluntary pay cut to help save staffer jobs at “The Tonight Show,” the story questions whether “Today” co-host Matt Lauer will take the same path there to save the positions of lower-level staffers such as makeup artists and writers. In the piece, one person is quoted saying, “It will be the little people who go first — the makeup people, writers, but these people have families, and it will put pressure on Matt to do the right thing.” Lauer reportedly makes $25 million per year. Commenting on the rumors, a rep for “Today” states there will be “absolutely” no staff cuts at the program.
Michael Strahan Officially Named Kelly Ripa’s Co-Host. The former New York Giants football great is officially named the permanent co-host of the “Live!” show, replacing Regis Philbin, who retired from the show late last fall. Kelly Ripa has been hosting the show solo and with a parade of potential co-hosts doing live auditions since then. But, according to People, Ripa made the announcement official that Strahan would be her new co-host.
Presidential Campaign/Democratic National Convention, National Debts Hits $16 Trillion, and Syria Violence Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/4). The presidential campaign and the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte; the national debt hitting the $16 trillion mark; and the ongoing violence in Syria were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Merlin Media Abandons News Format in New York and Chicago. As indicated earlier today, Merlin Media held a major pair of staff meetings in New York and Chicago this morning and as speculated it was to announce a significant change in the operations of its two major properties in these markets. According to reports, the Randy Michaels-headed company flipped WEMP, New York‘s “FM News 101.9” shortly after 10:00 am ET to “New Rock 101.9.” Chicago’s “FM News 101.1” (WIQI) has been recast as a hot AC, “i101.” It has been less than a year since these all news formats were launched with a tremendous amount of industry buzz – but the ratings and critical evaluations fell terribly short of expectations.
Paul Finebaum, Citadel and Former GM Bill Thomas Settle Lawsuit. Birmingham-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum, Citadel and former WJOX, Birmingham general manager Bill Thomas have reached an amicable settlement in their claims regarding Finebaum’s employment at the station, now owned by Cumulus. The terms are not being released but the upshot is Finebaum will work out his contract with the station that ends in January of 2013. Whether he will negotiate to re-sign with the station beyond that or seek to join another broadcast outlet is unknown. In a joint statement, Thomas and Finebaum say that claims were contested and the settlement in no way constitutes an admission by any party concerning the validity or invalidity of any claim, counterclaim, or defense raised in the litigation. Further, Finebuam says, “I am particularly pleased that the claims involving Bill Thomas are resolved. I have known Bill for many years and have valued his advice. We both regret that we became personally entangled in what was essentially a business dispute with former management and we look forward to repairing our relationship.” Cox Media’s crosstown sports talk outlet WZNN continues to express interest in acquiring Finebaum’s services after his deal with Cumulus runs out, as reported in the Birmingham News. But Finebaum’s attorney, Russ Campbell, says his client will issue no comment on his future intentions. The original legal claims included Finebaum’s contention that Thomas and Citadel coerced him into signing a contract addendum that worked against his best interests and Citadel claimed Finebaum negotiated with another party in violation of his contract. Finebaum’s show is heard in some 30 markets in the Southeast and is also available on SiriusXM.
Courtside Entertainment Group Breaks Simone Bienne Out with Daily Features. British psychosexual and relationship therapist Simone Bienne – a co-host on the nightly nationally syndicated “Loveline” radio show – is featured on a new twice-daily vignette called “Lovelink with Simone Bienne.” Each evening Bienne is part of the “Loveline” show with Dr. Drew Pinsky and Mike Catherwood. Now Courtside Entertainment offers what it calls “her unique professional insight with a distinctly female perspective through two, one-minute commentaries every weekday.” Courtside owner Norm Pattiz says, “Simone Bienne is a bottle rocket of energy, insight and intelligence. We are delighted to have lured her across the pond to the States and are confident American radio listeners will be as taken with her charm, wit and knowledge as we are.”
Staff Meetings at Merlin Media’s New York and Chicago Stations Scheduled for Today. As the two all-news FMs approach their first anniversary, the word on the street is that staff meetings have been called for this morning at WEMP-FM, New York and WIQI, Chicago. Industry watchers are aware the ratings for the two all-news stations have not budged much since their debut last August and although there is no insight into what staffers can expect to hear this morning, staff meetings like this usually indicate a major change of some sort.
Drew Anderssen Moves from KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa to WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando. Program director Drew Anderssen, who’s been programming Cox Media’s KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa for the past 12 years, moves to the company’s Orlando cluster to take the program director role at news/talk WDBO-AM/FM beginning August 6. Cox Media Orlando vice president and market manager Susan Larkin says, “Drew has had an incredibly successful track record leading the KRMG brand. His talent and passion for digital innovation will be a great asset not only for WDBO but for our entire cluster.” Anderssen replaces Steve Holbrook who left the Cox Orlando operations in June after almost 30 years with the company.
Scottie Nell Hughes Joins Cast of Politichicks. The online media site Politichicks.TV announces SNH Media president Scottie Nell Hughes joins the staff of the “all-in-one web destination that addresses the concerns of conservatives from the women’s point of view.” Hughes’ company handles PR for talk radio personalities Rusty Humphries, Michael Berry and Mark Skoda, among others. Now she becomes part of the Politichicks team. Politichicks executive producer Beverly Zaslow says, “Scottie Nell brings a valuable energy and passion to a group of dynamic women and her background in talk radio has taught her to think on her feet and not be afraid to ask hard questions.” Hughes joins the other “politichicks” – former “Dallas” cast member Morgan Brittany, “The Young & the Restless” cast member Ann-Marie Murrell, activist Sonnie Johnson and talk radio host Dr. Gina Loudon as co-host.
John Bishop Named Co-Host on KOZN, Omaha’s “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” Show; Gary Sharp Named Station’s Sports Director. There’s been another change in the lineup at NRG Media’s sports talk KOZN, Omaha after Matt Schick – the host recently named to replace Kevin Kugler on the show – accepted a position with ESPNU (ESPN’s college sports channel). John Bishop, most recently program director and co-host of the morning drive show at KOZN’s sister station KLIN, Lincoln, Nebraska, will take over the co-hosting duties alongside Mike’l Severe on “Unsportsmanlike Conduct.” Kugler had announced he would be leaving the show to take a position with the Big Ten Network and will continue to contribute to KOZN on a limited basis. NRG Omaha operations manager Neil Nelkin says, “We hire great talent on the ZONE as it’s a station sports figures and leaders tune to. Bishop is well known throughout sports circles in Nebraska, namely as a distinguished sportscaster with decades of experience with Husker athletics, Creighton sports and the College World Series. Bishop more than has the credentials, experience and the chops for this role on The ZONE…now I want to keep him for a while.” Additionally, Nelkin announces Gary Sharp returns to Nebraska to take the sports director and morning show co-host position at sister station KZOT. Sharp most recently worked with Minnesota Twins minor league club the Ft. Myers Miracle. Prior to that he was sports director at the Nebraska Sports Network. He’ll co-host the KZOT morning show with Jason Peter. He says, “I am extremely excited for the opportunity to return to radio at a great station and most importantly to return to Nebraska. We’ve had some great success here in Fort Myers and I will miss the people and relationships I have developed in baseball. I am sure Jason is chomping at the bit to get started and I am sure we will have some spirited sports conversations that will make great radio.”
Clear Channel Seeks WHBA for Calls for Its New Boston FM. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment will take over the operation of alternative rocker WFNX, Boston on Monday and the request of new call letters WHBA gives no clue as to what format the station will assume when the change takes place. The Boston Globe is planning to put the alternative format online and has already hired some of the WFNX staff to run it. Talk radio fans in Boston might like to see an FM signal for the company’s WXKS – Talk 1200 – but those calls certainly don’t seem very news/talky, do they? Regardless, the wait is on and let the speculation continue!
Cumulus Promotes Dave Crowl, Shuffles Market Managers. Cumulus Chicago market manager Dave Crowl adds more regional vice president duties in addition to continuing to oversee Chicago’s news/talk WLS-AM and classic hits WLS-FM but the company brings Donna Baker up from Houston to take over the market manager position in Chicago. Cumulus RVP Chuck Bortnick steps into Houston to oversee that market and will take on additional RVP duties for the region.
TALKERS magazine Publishes Debut “Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America.” The editors of TALKERS magazine are pleased to announce the publishing of the first annual TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk. A companion to its “sister list” – the annual Talkers 250 Featuring the Heavy Hundred that ranks talk radio hosts working in the news/talk and general talk genres – the editors of TALKERS magazine, with input from industry leaders, present the debut class of this annual feature honoring the sports talk radio industry’s 100 most important hosts, duos or ensembles. In order to create this list, the editors took into account a combination of hard and soft factors and the results are, admittedly, subjective. Staying true to the realities of the media business, ratings and revenue are two of the major factors – some would say they are the only factors worth considering – but the editors also took into account other qualities that help create a list that is reflective of the industry’s diversity and total flavor and still give credit where credit is due. Those qualities include: courage, effort, impact, recognition, service, talent and uniqueness. View the 2012 TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk here.
A Tribute to WFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa. The number-one ranked sports talk host on this year’s TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk is WFAN, New York PM drive host Mike Francesa, who’s spent the past 23 years as dean of sports talk in the nation’s biggest market. Fellow WFAN personality Richard Neer writes that Francesa’s “relentless curiosity and work ethic, along with his relationship with some of the biggest names in television broadcasting, gave him unique insight” that served as a foundation for a sterling sports media career. Read Richard Neer’s tribute to WFAN’s Mike Francesa here.
2012 Presidential Race, Penn State Report, Hillary Clinton in Egypt, Welfare Work Requirement Issue, and Weak Retail Sales Numbers Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/16). The 2012 presidential campaign; the Louis Freeh-led report on the Penn State-Jerry Sandusky case; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to post-election Egypt; the controversy over the Obama Administration’s relaxing of welfare work requirements; and weak retail sales figures were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Istook Enters Syndication Arena. Former 14-year Oklahoma City congressman Ernest Istook will host a daily 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET news/talk show – “Istook Live!” beginning July 16 that, according to its producers, will “drill deep into the hottest issues facing Americans.” A production of the media division of The Heritage Foundation’s sister organization Heritage Action for America, the show will emanate from Heritage’s Robert H. Bruce radio studios at the think tank’s Capitol Hill headquarters. Istook, well-regarded in talk radio circles as a sought-after guest and fill-in host, has been a Distinguished Fellow at the conservative think tank since 2007 and has represented and explained many of its positions on the issues on stations all across the country. Sources at Heritage tell TALKERS that in addition to “getting the real deal about the issues from the most relevant Washington players, Istook will also field calls from listeners across the country.” Istook tells TALKERS, “Amid the punditry and spin of the 24-hour news cycle, we intend to clarify the real threats to freedom and the American Dream, and talk about how American taxpayers can counter those threats.” Heritage Action for America CEO Michael A. Needham states, “Heritage Action worked tirelessly to promote individual liberty and the free enterprise system. Talk radio long has been a part of that effort. Now, ‘Istook Live!’ will further discussion of the biggest issues facing our country and provide Americans with a better understanding of the battle of ideas that shapes the news. We’ll give them virtual access to the halls of Congress and inner-workings of Washington.” The launch, production, syndication and sales of “Istook Live!” will involve the coming together of a variety of formidable forces that TALKERS founder Michael Harrison described as “what appears to be talk radio’s version of the dream team.” Ron Hartenbaum of WYD Media Management and Liz Laud of WYM Media Management will lead syndication and affiliate sales, Gary Shonfeld’s AdLarge Media will handle advertising sales and Gabe Hobbs of Gabe Hobbs Media will consult the project. The show initially will be broadcast via www.istook.com as affiliate stations are built out.
SiriusXM Enjoys Good Q2. The second quarter of 2012 has been good to SiriusXM. The satcaster reports adding 622,042 net subscribers during the period and more than 1 million in the first two quarters of this year. CEO Mel Karmazin says he expects revenue to approach $3.4 billion in 2012. “SiriusXM continues to demonstrate robust growth and strong operating execution despite a challenging economy. Our second quarter subscriber gains mark a record quarter of net additions since the merger of SIRIUS and XM in July 2008. While we continue to be conservative in the face of a weak U.S. economic outlook, customers continue to embrace our unparalleled programming lineup, allowing us to raise subscriber guidance for the second time this year.”
“Loveline” Gains Major Market Clear in Boston. The late night sex and relationships show “Loveline,” featuring Dr. Drew Pinsky, Mike Catherwood and Simone Bienne, is added to the evening schedule at Entercom’s rock WAAF-FM, Boston. The Courtside Entertainment-produced program show tackles listeners’ questions about love, relationships and sexuality with the help of its expert hosts and advice from a regular line up of popular guests. “Loveline” airs on WAAF-FM weeknights from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm.
CNN Enters Digital Audio News Realm with CNN Radio Soundwaves Destination. The digital arm of news giant CNN unveils CNN Radio Soundwaves – “the network’s online destination for news content formatted in an original listening experience.” CNN says this new audio beat will enhance the way users consume news by offering content in four forms: audio, text, photo and video. CNN Radio president Tyler Moody says, “Soundwaves is a new frontier for CNN Radio. Some stories are enhanced by an audio format, and we want to deliver a product that gives people that option. Also, being able to socialize Soundwaves gives us the opportunity to engage in two-way communication with our audience – not just broadcast to fans.” Powered by SoundCloud, users are able to embed sound clips across social networks.
Rusty Humphries Launches New Cigar Line. Talk Radio Network and WGST, Atlanta PM drive talk host Rusty Humphries adds a new product to his line of official Rusty items – the Rusty Humphries El Presidente cigar line and its first product, The George Washington. Humphries says the cigar line, only available in select cigar shops across the country and online via his website, has been met with immediate demand from cigar connoisseurs across the country. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (r), pictured here with Humphries (l) in Atlanta, is a big fan. Humphries has marketed numerous products bearing his name in the past, including beef jerky, Bar-B-Q sauce, salsa and more. He says the cigar venture just makes sense. “One of the reasons I decided to make a cigar line was because after visiting several cigar lounges around the country, I realized that patrons of cigar shops were very loyal not only to their favorite cigar but to talk radio as well. Why not combine the two together?”
Fox Sports Radio Network Talent Broadcast from London 2012 Olympic Games. Fox Sports Radio talent will be front and center when the 2012 Olympic Games begin on July 27. First, Dan Patrick, host of the DirecTV/FSRN sports talk show, and Pat O’Brien, co-host of the “Loose Cannons” show on FSRN, will serve as NBC anchors for the games. “Fox Sports Tonight” co-host (and six-time Olympic gold medalist) Amy Van Dyken will join co-host Rob Dibble with daily updates and interviews from the London games. Also, tennis star Andy Roddick – who co-hosts the “Roddick & Bones” weekend show on FSRN – will be competing in the games on the U.S. tennis team.
WCHV, Charlottesville-Based Joe Thomas to Broadcast from Freedom Fest 2012. Virginia talk show host Joe Thomas – based at WCHV, Charlottesville and regionally syndicated – will take his show on the road to Las Vegas where he will broadcast both his WCHV morning drive show and his regionally syndicated PM drive show from “Freedom Fest 2012” at Bally’s Hotel. Thomas states, “I’m looking forward to reinforcing my show’s theme of free markets, opportunity and liberty from this great annual event.”
CRN Digital Talk Host Larry Manetti Airs Ernest Borgnine Tribute Today. Actor and nationally syndicated talk show host Larry Manetti will pay tribute to his good friend Ernest Borgnine – who passed away over the weekend at age 95 – on his CRN Digital Talk program today. Manetti says, “We were close friends who shared a lot over the years so I’m happy to join with our other good friends and listeners in a tribute to Ernie’s life and work.” Manetti and Borgnine worked together on the upcoming film, “The Man Who Shook the Hand of Vincente Fernandez,” which turned out to be Borgnine’s final film. The film was directed by Elia Petredis, who will appear on today’s program along with actors Robert Wagner and Dennis Farina. Manetti’s program airs live at 4:00 pm PT.
Talk Star Mark Levin to Emcee WABC and WPLJ-FM Promotion. The promotion in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey is the 2nd Annual Bark in the Park being held Saturday, July 14 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm and is designed to allow dog owners and their pets to enjoy a day in the park. Dog lover, author and talk host Mark Levin will emcee the event that will include contests and activities for dogs, with various pet exhibitors, demonstrations and plenty of food and drink. There will be many puppies available onsite for adoption through the North Shore Animal League America and the Bergen County Animal Shelter. Mark Levin will be joined by Mark Simone of 77 WABC and Bill Evans, senior meteorologist for Channel 7 Eyewitness News and will also be broadcast on WPLJ-FM.
Obama Proposes Middle-Class Tax Cut Extension, Weak Jobs Creation Numbers, Affordable Care Law, and 2012 Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/9). President Obama’s proposal to eliminate the Bush tax cuts for Americans making more than $250,000 per year; the weak job creation numbers and their effect on the financial markets; the Affordable Care law and how it will impact employers and families; and the 2012 presidential race were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Marvin Kalb, Howard Stern Top List of Winners at New York Festivals Radio Awards Show. Radio legends and new faces shared the stage at New York Festivals’ 30th annual Radio Awards ceremony in Manhattan Monday to honor the most original and innovative work in broadcasting over the past year. The 2012 edition of the World’s Best Radio Programs featured entries from private stations, public broadcasters and production companies from 28 different countries. George Washington University’s Global Media Institute was awarded The Grand Jury Trophy for the Best Talk/Interview Special with “The Kalb Report-Anchoring 9/11: The Day and The Decade,” a discussion on the impact of the twin tower attacks with Dan Rather, Brit Hume, Charles Gibson and Frank Sesno. Host Marvin Kalb attended the awards ceremony, as did his former colleague Richard C. Hottelet, one of the original “Murrow Boys” who covered the Second World War for the CBS Radio News team led by legendary reporter Edward R. Murrow. (Pictured here is GWU professor and program executive producer Michael Freedman accepting the award.) Some of the most popular American radio hosts like SiriusXM’s Howard Stern and ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap were also honored. The Howard Stern Show won a Gold Trophy for “Stern and SNL,” an in-depth special on Saturday Night Live cast member appearances on the hit morning show, while “The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap” received the top award for best regularly scheduled sports program. On the local level, Clear Channel-owned news/talk KFBK, Sacramento anchor Amy Lewis won the Silver Radio Trophy for Best Health Documentary with her acclaimed “31 survivors in 31 days,” a series of interviews commemorating breast cancer awareness month. Irish state broadcaster RTE had a big night on the international side, winning the Best Broadcaster of the Year Award for the second year running as well as a combined 15 gold, silver and bronze trophies for various segments. Several public radio programs from Australia, Austria, Canada, the Netherlands, the UK, Romania, New Zealand and South Korea were also honored. (Story by Sam Trudeau of the Talk Radio News Service)
Jacobs Media News/Talk Webinar Set for June 26. The last of seven format-specific webinars produced by Jacobs Media and coinciding with the release of data from the firm’s Techsurvey 8 study takes place on Tuesday, June 26 at 2:00 pm ET. This webinar is designed specifically for news/talk practitioners and promises to provide information on the digital, social and media habits of radio listeners from the largest research project in the industry’s history, according to president Fred Jacobs. He states, “Response to the study has been amazing since we released the top-line findings. But the story is deeper in the format data because they’re all different. Each format-centric audience has a digital footprint.” Broadcasters wishing to take part in the webinar can find registration information here.
TALKERS New Media Seminar in New York Receives Rave Reviews; Sights Now Set on L.A. Event October 11. The first of two installments of TALKERS magazine’s innovative and economical one-day model for the New Media Seminar seems to have struck the right chord – at least for the approximately 400 industry professionals who recently packed the Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side on Thursday, June 7. Photo, videos and letters of praise clearly indicate that the first half of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention was a home run that soared, as the saying goes, out of the park. Now as the editors of TALKERS magazine begin to post pictures, videos and comments from the Big Apple “happening,” the industry begins to anticipate part-two of the exciting event scheduled for Thursday, October 11 in Los Angeles. See photo gallery and read more here.
Des Moines-Based Steve Deace Becomes Weekly Columnist at the Register. Syndicated talk radio host Steve Deace is based in Des Moines where his daily two-hour program is heard on Clear Channel’s news/talk WHO. Sunday, June 24 he begins writing a weekly column for the Des Moines Register that will alternate between Saturdays and Sundays. Deace says, “I am excited about this opportunity because it gives me a chance to have a bigger platform to specifically address local issues in the community in which I am raising my children, while at the same time it allows me to continue to pursue the goals we have for our syndicated show.” Deace’s talk program is distributed by The Truth Network. Although a Christian talk network, many of Deace’s affiliate stations are secular outlets.
Rusty Humphries Headlines Conservative Media Conference. Talk Radio Network and WGST, Atlanta talk show host Rusty Humphries (pictured here with columnist and media figure Michelle Malkin) was a featured speaker at the recent “RightOnline” conference produced by Americans for Prosperity and held at the Venetian in Las Vegas. The new media and technology-focused conference spanned two days and Humphries was part of the program at the closing dinner that also included speakers Sarah Palin, Malkin and Scott Rasmussen.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. WLAC, Nashville-based talk host Steve Gill has published – along with co-authors Noelle Federico and Celeste Triola – a new book called, The Patriots Guide to Prayer. The 136-page, 30-day devotional contains quotes from the Founding Fathers and the Bible and Gill says, “Our Founders were men of deep faith and conviction. Almost all of them were well versed in the Bible and relied upon it for both spiritual guidance as well as a foundation for the creation of a new nation. Their words, and the word of God, are as relevant and instructional today as they ever have been.”…..Journal Broadcast Group’s WTMJ, Milwaukee wins a National Edward R. Murrow Award for sports reporting for Dan O’Donnell’s piece about a young boy killed by a drunk driver and his family’s effort to build a baseball field in his honor. The company’s KTTS-FM, Springfield, Missouri wins a National Edward R. Murrow Award for continuing coverage of last year’s tornado that destroyed much of Joplin, Missouri…..CBS Radio’s KILT, Houston reports baseball great Roger Clemens chose to give the local sports talk station’s Barry Warner and Shaun Bijani the first exclusive interview following his acquittal on perjury charges earlier this week. Program director Gavin Spittle says, “I think this is great for local radio and proves that once again, it’s one of the top go-to outlets!”
Public Radio Personality Jim Packard Dies at 70. Jim Packard was a longtime Wisconsin Public Radio personality and also served as the voice of Public Radio International’s “Whad’ya Know?” Packard, who’d been suffering from cardiopulmonary disease, became sick while in New York on June 9 to tape the PRI program. He died on Monday, June 18. He worked for Wisconsin Public Radio from 1981 through 2010.
Euro Zone Debt Crisis, Eric Holder ‘Fast and Furious’ Standoff, 2012 Presidential Race, ‘Flame’ Virus, G20 Summit, and Obama Youth Amnesty Proposal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/19). The debt crisis facing the European Union; Attorney General Eric Holder’s standoff with Congress on ‘Fast and Furious’ program; the 2012 presidential race; U.S. and Israel’s alleged work to create ‘Flame” virus to slow Iran’s nuclear program’; President Obama faces Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit; and the president’s proposal to give amnesty to illegal alien youths in America were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
The Next Generation. “Into Tomorrow” nationally syndicated talk host Dave Graveline – he’s the tall one on the left – gives a local cub scout pack a tour of the new studios for his consumer electronics and technology program. Graveline’s program is produced in South Florida.
Finebaum Case Far from Settled Says Cumulus. Contrary to the story published here earlier today (6/1), there is no settlement on the horizon for Birmingham-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum and Cumulus Media in their contract dispute. Cumulus COO John Dickey tells TALKERS the reported agreement that would end the lawsuits each side is filing against other and allow Finebaum to work out his contract at Cumulus’ sports talk WJOX-FM, Birmingham that ends in January of 2013 and then go to work at Cox Media’s crosstown sports WZNN-FM if he chooses are categorically untrue. “He will never work for Cox in Birmingham,” Dickey says. Jefferson County Circuit Judge Robert Vance had asked the two sides to resume negotiations to settle the contract dispute and report to the court by May 30.
Battle for Control of SiriusXM Heating Up. John Malone‘s Liberty Media is again filing a request with the FCC to give it “de facto” control of satellite broadcaster SiriusXM. The Commission denied its first attempt back on May 4 but Liberty has since acquired another 6-plus percent of the company’s stock, pushing its total above 46%. It’s petition for reconsideration with the FCC reportedly contains additional information to the Commission. In a filing with the SEC, SiriusXM states, “We’ve been engaged in discussions with Liberty Media to explore possible transactions with respect to its ownership interest in Sirius, although we have not reached agreement with respect to a specific transaction that would be mutually beneficial to both our common and preferred stockholders. There is no assurance that these discussions will result in any specific action or transaction. We do not expect to disclose developments with respect to these discussions.”
Scott Hennen Turns to Listeners for Funding for WZFG, Fargo. Talk show host and businessman Scott Hennen is exploring alternative sources for funding his purchase of The Flag 1100 (WZFG) in the Fargo market. The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead‘s Marino Eccher reports Hennen has created a program whereby fans become “founding fathers” and buy into one of four clubs – Faith, Family, Freedom, and Free Enterprise – for $1,000 (each club limited to 400 members). He’s seeking a total of 1,600 such “founders” to come up with $1.6 million. Hennen tells the paper he has traditional funding sources but decided to seek less traditional forms of funding after sensing his listeners “desire to be part of something bigger.” These fans will not be shareholders or part owners but instead will have input on the station’s weekend programming, behind-the-scenes updates and $1,000 advertising credit. Hennen tells Eccher Tea Party activist Mark Skogerboe will serve as director of the clubs and be an on-air contributor.
NEW MEDIA SEMINAR/NYC Sold Out but Agenda Keeps Growing. Thursday, June 7 is going to be a big day for talk radio in the Big Apple as some 400 professionals from all aspects of the business converge on the Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side for a one-day conference containing the content mass of a two- or three-day convention. “Although we have reached capacity in terms of registration,” explains TALKERS VP/managing editor Kevin Casey, “doesn’t mean the agenda is not continuing to grow.” Casey continues, “This conference has all the aspects of an old fashioned ‘happening’ with a program lineup that is so outstanding, it is attracting a growing number of industry leaders wanting to contribute as speakers and panelists.” According to conference director Michael Harrison, “We attribute the positive response to this event not only its powerful and relevant agenda, but to the fact that it is so efficiently tuned to the times in terms of its affordable registration fee and compact time demands. With another one set for Los Angeles in October, this June 7 event has the convenience of a regional conference while delivering the bang of a major national convention.” Although space is limited for those who will participate in person, the content of this forthcoming NMS which will be video recorded from beginning to end will reach a far wider audience via TALKERS TV in the weeks and months following June 7. For information call 413-565-5413. To see the up-to-the-minute agenda, click here.
WEUS, Orlando to Be LMA’d with Intent to Purchase. Star Over Orlando‘s talk outlet WEUS, Orlando is entering into a deal with MultiCorp International to have the latter’s subsidiary – Rivalz Sports Group – operate the station as a sports talk outlet beginning on July 30 with the intent to buy the signal. MultiCorp intends to change the calls to WRSG and hopes to move the stations operations “within a restaurant facility” so diners can enjoy “a first-class restaurant/media experience.” The company states it hopes to expand this model to other markets.
Dr. Laura Launches Online Jewelry Business. SiriusXM talk show host and talk radio pioneer Dr. Laura Schlessinger unveils her “Dr. Laura Designs,” – an online boutique featuring her personally designed and handcrafted jewelry, glass and polymer clay art. The site offers ready-made items or people can commission custom made pieces. Dr. Laura initially began selling jewelry to assist the “Operation Family Fund,” a non-profit organization that provides financial assistance to families of those who are injured or killed while fighting the war on terrorism, and raised more than $1.5 million. Dr. Laura has had a passion for jewelry – making it and glass art that started when, during a particularly difficult time for her family, her then-little son suggested that a new hobby would be helpful. She states, “I never thought I had one ounce of artistic ability, and couldn’t think of what I could do.” After a listener suggested she visit a local bead fest, she says, “I walked by a table filled with Tibetan ornaments and my brain just exploded with creative images. I bought books on jewelry-making and purchased tools, wire, beads and stones and got started.” Dr. Laura’s program currently airs from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm ET on the Sirius Stars channel.
Dave Ramsey to Lead NAB-RAB Radio Show Super Session. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey will lead a Super Session at the September 19-21 Radio Show in Dallas being produced jointly by the NAB and RAB. The panel, titled “Succeeding in This Economic Environment,” taking place on Thursday, September 20 at 9:30 am and, as its title implies, will focus on steps radio station operators can take to achieve success in these tough economic times.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. The Society for Professional Journalism and the Radio Television Digital News Association announce registration is open for their September Excellence in Journalism Conference taking place the 20th through the 22nd in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The conference offers more than 50 professional development sessions…..Former college football coach Rick Neuheisel (UCLA, Washington and Colorado) joins SiriusXM‘s College Sports Nation channel where he’ll appear on the “College Football Playbook” show and co-host the daily “College Sports Today” show with Mark Packer…..Clear Channel Media and Entertainment‘s WFLA, Tampa begins simulcasting on an FM translator at 105.9 licensed to West Tampa…..Las Vegas-based nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs has a small role in an upcoming Showtime reality program. She tells TALKERS, “It’s a one-time small part on a Showtime reality show but it’s a start!” Wachs says it’s super secret and she can’t even tell us the name of the show, yet.
Stormy Times at Fairfax Media. American media companies are not the only ones dealing with difficult financial situations. TALKERS Australia bureau chief Trevor Smith reports on one of Australia’s major talkback radio-formatted operators – Fairfax Media – as it deals with corporate power struggles and underperforming revenue. Read Smith’s entire piece here.
Rusty Among the Politichicks. That’s Talk Radio Network nationally syndicated talk show host Rusty Humphries on the set of the internet TV show “Politichicks.” Humphries appeared with co-hosts Dr. Gina Loudon, Ann-Marie Murrell, Sonnie Johnson, Morgan Brittany on the recent episode titled, “The Fairness Doctrine: There’s Nothing Fair,” to discuss the “current environment of talk radio as well as why conservative talk radio has become a focus of attack by the mainstream media and liberal politicians. At the end of the segment, Rusty was formally honored with the title, “PolitiStud.” It’s obvious to see why.
2012 Presidential Race Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 28 – June 1. The 2012 presidential contest was #1 on the Talkers TenTM chart of the week’s most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio for the ninth week in a row. At #2 this week was the Syria massacre aftermath. Following at #3 was Iran’s nuclear ambitions and at #4 was the Euro zone crisis and the global financial markets’ activities. The Talkers TenTM is based on ongoing research from Talkers magazine and consists of the top stories and people discussed on America’s news/talk radio stations during the week. View this week’s entire chart here.
Crue Visits the Cannons. Motley Crue bassist and host of the Premiere Networks-syndicated “Sixx Sense” radio program, Nikki Sixx (r), is pictured here with Fox Sports Radio‘s “Loose Cannons” co-host Pat O’Brien (l). Fox Sports Radio and Los Angeles Dodgers flagship AM 570 Fox Sports LA (KLAC) invited Sixx to throw out the first pitch at a recent Dodgers game. Prior to the first pitch and Sixx’s appearance on the “Loose Cannons” nationally syndicated program, Fox Sports Radio offered listeners the chance to win travel accommodations and tickets to a stop on this summer’s Motley Crue/KISS tour.
Sirius XM Reports Revenue Up 11%. SiriusXM CEO Mel Karmazin tells analysts the satcaster has seen subscriptions increase by 405,000 compared to the first quarter of 2011. Revenue for Q1 of 2012 was $805 million, an increase of 11% over the same period a year ago. Karmazin states, “SiriusXM is starting the year with tremendous operational momentum. We grew subscribers faster than any first quarter since our 2008 merger of Sirius and XM, and we improved our self-pay monthly churn rate to 1.9% despite implementing a price increase at the beginning of the year. Rising auto sales and our strong execution should enable us to exceed our prior 2012 subscriber growth guidance of 1.3 million, which today we are raising to 1.5 million.” The continued good news for SiriusXM includes: its subscriber growth rate accelerating to boost its subscriber base to an all-time high of 22.3 million; reduced its monthly churn to 1.9%; and was able to show positive free cash flow in the first quarter of a fiscal year for the first time – free cash flow was $15 million for 2012’s Q1. SiriusXM EVP and CFO David Frear states, “Our growing cash flow is reducing our leverage substantially and this improving credit profile should benefit stockholders as we refinance or pay down more than $1 billion of high coupon debt over the next 15 months.”
2012 Q1 Report: CBS Radio Down 2%. CBS Corporation announced its first quarter revenue for 2012 and although the company as a whole was up 12% on revenue of $3.92 billion over the same period a year ago, the revenue for the CBS Radio division was down 2%. Content licensing and distribution revenue were responsible for much of the company’s growth.
Harris to Exit Broadcast Business. Melbourne, Florida-based Harris Corporation employs some 17,000 people worldwide but the bulk of its revenue does not come from the radio equipment sector – not even close. And that’s why the company announces it is divesting itself of the Broadcast Communications arm. The company states a review of its business structure revealed, “the (radio) business is no longer aligned with the company’s long-term strategy. The plan to sell these assets supports our disciplined approach to capital allocation, and we intend to use the proceeds to return cash to shareholders and invest in growing our core businesses.”
KTRH, Houston Talk Host Michael Berry Won’t Be Charged in Fender Bender Case. Former Houston City Councilor and KTRH, Houston talk host Michael Berry will not face charges of hit and run in connection with a parking incident outside an area bar that happened in late January. The District Attorney’s office tells the Houston Chronicle that based on its findings, there will be no charges filed against Berry. It appears there’s no evidence to show Berry’s vehicle hit the car of a club bouncer who told authorities a car matching the description of Berry’s car hit his. The incident happened outside of TC’s Show Bar in Montrose – a club known for gay clientele. The local media made a big deal out of the incident and, in addition to the connection between the conservative Berry and the gay bar, questioned whether the former city councilor received special treatment from authorities investigating the incident. Berry maintained his innocence and excoriated the local media on his radio show for running fast and loose with the facts. He blamed much of the attention he received from the incident on politics.
Merlin Media’s New York Programming Chief Is Mark Austin Thomas. “FM News 101.9” has been without an official programming chief since Liz Aiello was let go in December. Now, it’s being reported that former KABC, Los Angeles news director and news anchor Mark Austin Thomas is in the programmer’s chair. Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor reports an announcement from Merlin Media about Thomas’ status may come as early as this week. All-news WEMP-FM, New York has been holding steady with a .7 share in the monthly PPM ratings.
Dave Milner Named Market Manager at Clear Channel Sacramento. Reports of Jeff Holden’s departure from the building at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Sacramento cluster turned out to be true. The company announces Dave Milner takes over the president and market manager role. Milner has been serving as vice president of sales at Entercom’s San Francisco station group. He previously worked for Clear Channel in the Portland market. Clear Channel EVP of operations, Western Region Susan Karis states, “Dave brings an extensive track record of sales and management expertise with him to the Clear Channel Sacramento market. I’m excited to have him back with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment to lead our business in Sacramento to continued success.”
KFTK-FM, St. Louis Adds Tony Katz to Permanent Weekend Show. Emmis Communications’ KFTK-FM, St. Louis announces regular fill-in talk host Tony Katz gets a weekly Saturday afternoon show airing from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Katz is the go-to fill-in guy for midday talk host Dana Loesch. KFTK-FM program director Jeff Allen says, “Tony is a rising star and I am thrilled that we can launch a fresh, new talent into our Saturday evening line-up. Tony is passionate, informative and most importantly, fun to listen to!” Katz also hosts a regular internet talk program on allpatriotsmedia.com.
Commercials Are Content, Too. The phrase “content is king” may be a cliché but the sentiment is true. However, it’s important to remember that spots are content too and broadcasters should give attention to spot quality, according to H&H Communications president Al Herskovitz. In his latest column for TALKERS, Herskovitz cites examples of commercial copy gone wrong that could have been avoided. Read his piece here.
FM Sports Talker Coming to Twin Falls, Idaho. Lee Family Broadcasting principal Kim Lee tells MagicValley.com that he’ll drop the AC music on KMVX-FM for sports talk on May 24. The station will carry ESPN programming and be the local radio outlet for College of Southern Idaho sports. The school’s radio voice, Jonathan Drew, will join the station as sports director and PM drive host of a local sports talk show.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Bob Throndsen retires from his news director position at Fisher Broadcasting’s KOMO-AM/FM. Throndsen has worked at KOMO radio and KOMO-TV for much of the past 30 years…..The debut of Michael Patrick Shiels’ new morning talk show based at local Fox TV outlet WSYM-TV, Lansing, Michigan will come not this week but next, according to a piece in the Lansing State Journal. Shiels, who recently left his WJIM, Lansing based program after a contract dispute, plans to syndicate the new show to talk radio outlets across Michigan…..KBJR-TV, Duluth sports director Tom Hansen joins KDAL, Duluth-Superior as co-host of the late morning show alongside Dave Strandberg. Hansen maintain’s his position with the television outlet…..Talk show host Tom Donahue, host of Tom Donahue Reports, announces his new flagship network for his syndicated show is Orion Talk Radio. The program airs live from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm daily.
Broadcasters Foundation of America Announces Second Annual Stu Olds Memorial Golf Classic. The Broadcasters Foundation of America sets June 12 as the date of the second annual Stu Olds Memorial Golf Classic – the fundraiser named in honor of the former Katz Media head who died in December of 2010. Since its inception, the fund has raised more than $500,000 to benefit the foundation. The event costs $250 per player and proceeds go directly to the fund. Reservations to take part in the golf outing can be made by calling Jim Thompson at 212-373-8250 or e-mail email@example.com.
2012 Presidential Race, Obama Afghanistan Visit, U.S. ICE Scam and Ohio Bridge Terror Plot Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/1). The 2012 presidential race; President Obama’s visit to Kabul, Afghanistan and the Taliban violence there; the Immigration and Customs Enforcement scandal; and the Ohio bridge terror plot were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Rusty Humphries Has Movie Role in “Flicka” Film. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment just released the movie “Flicka Country Pride” starring Clint Black and Lisa Hartman Black. Appearing in the role of the announcer at the championship horse competition is Talk Radio Network and WGST, Atlanta talk show host Rusty Humphries. Humphries spent several days last November in British Columbia filming his scenes. He says, “It was an honor to be asked to be a part of a major motion picture and to learn from some of the best talent in the movie making business.” In a scene from the film, Rusty is seen here in his announcer role at the judge’s table. Rusty Humphries’ star continues to rise on a number of fronts. He has proven himself over the years to be like “the little engine that could.” In addition to accruing steadily increasing ratings and affiliations, his marketing campaigns continue to attract industry attention with significant sales of such items as Rusty Humphries Beef Jerkey and Rusty Humphries cigars. His position on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred took a leap from #35 in 2011 to #20 in 2012. Meet Rusty Humphries at the forthcoming New Media Seminar in New York City on Thursday, June 7 where he will be appearing as one of the debaters on the Talk Rumble. The industry-only event is near a sellout. For reservations, hotel or sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.
Ed Schultz Added to Growing Lineup of Movers, Shakers and Stars at New Media Seminar. “Big Eddie,” star of MSNBC’s nightly “The Ed Show” and nationally syndicated progressive talk radio sensation has been named to deliver the annual “State of the First Amendment” address at the forthcoming New Media Seminar in New York City on Thursday, June 7. The speech, which has a rich history dating back more than two decades, is a longtime tradition in the talk show industry and will take place during the Freedom of Speech Ceremony at this year’s event. WTOP, Washington VP of news and programming, Jim Farley will be this year’s recipient of the prestigious Freedom of Speech Award. This year’s NMS/NY will feature a lineup of more than 50 industry speakers addressing a variety of topics including the state of programming in talk radio, methods of generating revenue during tough times, the challenge of selling controversy, designing successful digital and social media strategies, the changing role of news, the continuing growth of sports talk, and lots more. A detailed agenda for the June 7 event will be posted at Talkers.com this coming week. This year’s New Media Seminar marks the innovative launch of an updated model sensitive to the tough economic and stressful conditions of the times. Significant restructuring has been applied to lower the costs of registration (only $99), accommodations and travel as well as moving the event from the weekend to a weekday. According to TALKERS founder Michael Harrison, “Both conferences will be national in scope and regional in flavor, a recipe that worked amazingly well at last year’s successful experiment, the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum.” NMS 2012 will consist of two one-day conferences. The first will be held in New York City on Thursday, June 7, 2012 at the Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side. According to its organizers it is on the verge of a sellout. The second – presented in association with the Los Angeles Press Club – will take place on Thursday, October 11 in Los Angeles at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood. Harrison says, “We learned a tremendous amount at last year’s ‘happening’ in L.A. There is something very exciting, fulfilling and productive about one single, power-packed day with no time-wasting fat or money-wasting frills. It was executed purposefully under the radar to test the waters for this new model on a national scale and it succeeded beyond our wildest expectations, reaching maximum registration capacity in a matter of days. Although the New Media Seminar has actually grown consistently larger and has been a sell-out every year of its existence, we recognize that conditions are such that a change would eventually be necessary as well as beneficial to the working person in our business – at least during this stressful period of tight budgets and high industry economic uncertainty. At TALKERS we insist on being ahead of the curve. Industry conferences need to include and be accessible to professionals in the trenches as well as the corporate elite. This new model is a gift to the business.” Because quick sell-outs for each event are expected, registration is limited to working media. (As indicated, New York is on the verge of a sellout.) For registration and sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UPDATE!!! HOTEL INFORMATION FOR NEW YORK ATTENDEES. The Doubletree by Hilton Metropolitan New York at 569 Lexington Avenue (3 blocks away) has rooms available for $359 per night for a limited time. You may register online via www.dtnewyork.com. On the main page, click on reservations and type the letters TNM in the group code box. Or you can call 800-222-8733 and give the code TNM when speaking to the guest services staff.
Arbitron Reports Q1 Revenue Up 5.5%. The first quarter of 2012 has been good to Arbitron Inc. as the company states net income increased 9.6% on revenue growth of 5.5% during the period that ended March 31. Total revenue for the quarter was $106.4 million and it came primarily from annual rate increases, including the continued phase-in of price increases for the PPM. Arbitron CEO Bill Kerr states, “Our results and our activities in the first quarter are well aligned with our long standing priorities for enhancing our core services and for generating revenue growth. We unveiled our marketing mix modeling service at the recent Advertising Research Foundation convention. We expect to have the complete service up, running and ready to improve radio’s visibility among the top agency media planners by the middle of the summer.” Kerr also said, “Digital radio remains a key priority as we continue our work to follow radio onto its new digital platforms in order to quantify this growing audience segment thereby enabling customers to monetize it.” Guidance for the rest of 2012 indicates Arbitron expects revenue to be up between 5% and 7%.
Cox Media Announces Talent Lineup for New Tampa FM Talker “The Bone.” Last week Cox Media Group announced it would drop the rock music on WHPT-FM, Tampa – “The Bone” – built around the success of AM drive talent Bubba the Love Sponge and PM drive counterpart Cowhead. Now, the company announces the rest of the lineup consisting of talent already working in the Cox stable. Following Bubba from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon is former WTKS-FM, Orlando – Real Radio 104.1 – personality Drew Garabo, who currently is AM drive host on the Cox Tampa cluster’s rock WSUN-FM. From 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm Cox imports Billy Madison and his KISS-FM, San Antonio morning show crew for a midday talk program. Following Cowhead in PM drive is Bubba cast member Matt “Spice” Lloyd who’ll host the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm program. Cox Radio Tampa vice president and market manager Keith Lawless says of the new direction of The Bone, “The top-rated performance on our current shows clearly tells us that Tampa Bay likes what they hear and is asking for more. We have worked hard to insure we are giving them what they want with these compelling new shows. This is an exciting time in Tampa Bay radio.”
Clark Howard Sponsors 46th Habitat for Humanity House. Cox Media nationally syndicated financial and consumer issues talk host Clark Howard announces he’s challenging the Tulsa community to help him build a Habitat for Humanity house in the city. Howard is putting up half the money it’ll take to build the house — $35,000 – and is asking listeners to Tulsa affiliate news/talk KRMG-AM/FM to donate the rest. The Tulsa Habitat build will be parallel to a build in Joplin, Missouri that Clark is also sponsoring on the one-year anniversary of the devastating tornado as part of his on-going “Project Home” campaign. The Tulsa home will be the 46th Habitat for Humanity home that Howard has helped sponsor.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. New York talk radio personality Loose Kannon – Rob Stevens – is heard on the WOR, New York internet stream from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm daily beginning Monday, April 23. Stevens previously was heard on Salem Communications’ WNYM, New York internet stream. He tells TALKERS he’ll be heard between former New York Governor David Paterson and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee on the stream…..Main Street Radio Network president Jane Silk is publishing a new book on May 5 titled The Poetic Gourmette (Changing Lives Press 2012). The book is billed as a “compilation of uniquely formed recipes inspired by emotional challenges experienced by the author at the time of creation.” Silk says, “I would move on to cooking and experimenting with various ingredients, which to me were like words. Every time I mixed an ingredient, I was expressing another feeling. When I completed my recipes, I felt that I had dealt with whatever the world had sent my way.”…..ESPN Radio and USC agree to a multi-year deal to allow the sports giant the exclusive national broadcast rights to Trojans home football games…..The Automotive Journalism Society of America names talk host Jeff Shade’s syndicated, KRKO, Seattle-based “Talk About Cars” the “Best Automotive Radio Show” for 2012. Shade’s program is heard on KRKO, Seattle; WIXC, Melbourne, Florida; and WAMT, Orlando to name a few and is gaining new affiliates each week…..KYKN, Salem, Oregon talk host Bill Post’s program is expanded from two to three hours daily, now airing from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. General manager and station owner Mike Frith states, “I’m delighted with the way in which Bill Post has taken the show from a compelling hour to a second hour and now a third hour of great local, Oregon oriented talk. He has consistently kept the show topical, fun and informative and our listeners have responded very positively to the show.”
2012 Presidential Campaign Top News/Talk Story for Week of April 16-20. The ongoing 2012 presidential campaign returned to the #1 spot on the Talkers TenTM chart of the week’s most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio. Following at #2 this week was President Obama’s proposed oil industry regulations. At # 3 was ongoing debate in Washington over the federal budget deficit and the death of the ‘Buffett Rule’ in the Senate. And at #4 was the scandals involving the Secret Service and the Government Services Agency. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is published each Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Revolution on the Hill. That was the name of the first event held on the Capitol Hill lawn on Monday, April 16 and sponsored by former presidential candidate Herman Cain. The purpose of the rally was to draw attention to tax reform, fiscal responsibility and the importance of electing true conservatives in government and included such speakers as Dick Morris, Ralph Reed and Grover Norquist. Also taking part were some important talk show hosts. Pictured here at the event are (from l-r): Cox Media’s Neal Boortz; Talk Radio Network and WGST, Atlanta’s Rusty Humphries; and WLAC, Nashville-based Radio America-syndicated host Steve Gill.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliation Roundup. “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge adds WRHL, Rochelle, Illinois and Montana tri-mulcast KYLW, Billings; KBSR, Laurel; and KHDN, Hardin…..Better Health Network’s Dr. Bob Martin health talk program is added to the weekend lineup at KFWB, Los Angeles.
Heidi Harris Named Morning Drive Host at Salem’s Re-Branded KRLA, Los Angeles and KTIE, San Bernardino. Salem Communications announces its Southern California news/talk outlets KRLA, Los Angeles and KTIE, San Bernardino are being re-branded “The Answer,” following the same plan recently instituted at the company’s WNYM, New York. At the same time, rising talk media star Heidi Harris joins the stations to serve as AM drive host. Harris, a Las Vegas native, most recently hosted the morning drive program at Beasley Broadcasting’s KDWN, Las Vegas. Salem VP/director of spoken word format Phil Boyce says the new morning show and the new name and positioning will make both stations more competitive, with more attitude in the imaging and more opportunities to position the stations in their markets. “We have been using the name ‘The Answer’ in New York since March 12, and could not be happier with the response. The on-air attitude and positioning is much more positive and we decided we could do something similar for KRLA and KTIE. The addition of Heidi Harris to the morning show is a major investment in the future of these stations, so the timing was perfect to combine the new show with the re-branding effort.” Heidi Harris says of her new gig, “I am thrilled and excited to join Salem Communications, a company that has quickly become one of the most respected places to work in radio and a company with a huge commitment to what I do: the news/talk format. I can’t wait to get back on the radio and to do my thing in Los Angeles and the Inland Empire – two great markets for talk – and two great stations. With a teeny bit of talent, 13 years of busting my butt, and most importantly the Grace of God, I have landed my dream job.”
Florida’s Magic Broadcasting Buys Tallahassee Market WGWD-FM; Flips to News/Talk. Panama City, Florida-based Magic Broadcasting II announces it has completed the purchase of classic country WGWD-FM, Gretna, Florida (Tallahassee market) and will flip the station to news/talk today as “Talk Radio 93.3 FM” WGWD. CEO Don McCoy tells TALKERS magazine the station will feature state-syndicated talk hosts Burnie Thompson (12:00 noon to 3:00 pm) and Derrell Day (7:00 am to 10:00 am). Thompson’s guests on today’s program will include Governor Rick Scott, upcoming Florida Senate President Don Gaetz, Florida’s next Speaker of the House Will Weatherford, and U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Tallahassee). McCoy says the company is bringing “Florida’s year-round Town Hall right to the Capital City.” He calls the new format “live, local, fun and exciting! We’re focused on state programming as well as national issues …and always for Floridians.” The station will also air Talk Radio Network/Washington Times-produced “America’s Morning News,” TRN’s Laura Ingraham, Michael Savage and Rusty Humphries, Cox Media’s Neal Boortz and CBS Radio’s “Overnight America with Jon Grayson.”
WNYM, New York’s Curtis Sliwa Featured in New York Post Story About Fiancé and Children. Consummate New Yorker, Guardian Angels founder and talk media personality Curtis Sliwa is a local celebrity in New York but few knew of his home life until a piece in the New York Post this weekend shed light on that aspect of Sliwa’s life. The short version is that Sliwa and fiancé Melinda Katz plan to marry soon and continue raising their two sons – Carter and Hunter – in their Forest Hills, Queens home. Sixteen years ago Katz asked former boyfriend Sliwa for a sperm donation intending to raise any children she bore alone. While pregnant with Hunter, Katz developed complications and called Sliwa – out of her life for years at this point – and he came to her aid and the relationship grew from there. There’s far more to this human interest story featuring one of talk radio’s colorful characters. Read it here.
KBME, Houston Brings N.D. Kalu and Greg Koch Aboard for Mid-Morning Show. When former NFL players N.D. Kalu and Greg Koch left CBS Radio’s crosstown sports talk KILT last month, it was rumored the two might reappear at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s crosstown sports talk KBME. That has been confirmed. The two will host the 10:00 am to 11:00 am “In the Trenches with Koch and Kalu” beginning today (4/16). Koch and Kalu had been hosting a weekend program on KILT and served as commentators on other station programs. Kalu works in real estate in the Houston area and Koch is an attorney.
KOMO, Seattle Morning News Anchor Bill Yeend Retires. Pacific Northwest broadcaster Bill Yeend finished his last airshift at Fisher’s KOMO, Seattle on Friday and begins enjoying his retirement – and probably sleeping in for the first time in a long time – today. For the past 10 years, Yeend has co-anchored the morning news at KOMO with Manda Factor. Yeend began his career at rock KBBX-FM, Seattle in 1968 and moved to crosstown KIRO in 1970. There, he won five Edward R. Murrow Awards for journalistic excellence. Taking over at KOMO alongside Factor is KOMO sports reporter and Seattle Mariners public address announcer Tom Hutyler.
WLS, Chicago Changes Imaging Voices; Drops Jeff Davis and Brings Aboard Scott Fisher. Chicago radio fans are well aware of Jeff Davis’ history with Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS. He started with the station in 1974 when it was the big hit music outlet in the city. He remained with the station through the late 1980s. Davis has been the voice of the station for most of the last 20 years but Cumulus has decided to change the station’s imaging and chooses not to renew Davis’ contract and signs on with Scott Fisher Productions.
Sports KFNC-FM, Houston to Be Hawked at NAB. Station trustee and broker Larry Patrick of Maryland-based Patrick Communications tells the Houston Chronicle he will be actively looking for potential buyers for sports talk KFNC-FM, Houston and its sister Triple A KHJK-FM at this week’s NAB in Las Vegas. KFNC-FM is one of four Cumulus Media stations in the market that went through a pre-packaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy deal to eliminate its debt and make it more attractive to potential buyers. The station is still operated by Cumulus Media but Patrick owns more than 75% of the station. According to Patrick, KFNC-FM boasted $2.4 million in ad sales in 2011. Patrick tells the paper, “The staff is aware of what is happening, and the former owner has every right to bid and buy the stations back. I’ve had inquiries from five or six people and I think there will be real interest.”
Dave Graveline in Croatia. That’s “Into Tomorrow” talk host Dave Graveline (l) and producer Rob Almanza (r) standing on the (usually) sunny Adriatic coastline of Croatia. Graveline and Almanza are there producing the weekend consumer electronics show while Graveline serves as moderator of the Global Press Conference for IFA – that’s the big Consumer Electronics & Appliance show that he broadcasts from in Berlin every September.
Controversy and Misinformation of Radio Advertising Keeps Rush Limbaugh in the News; Host Reportedly Refuses to Take Back Advertiser. The consumer media continues to hang onto the Rush Limbaugh–Sandra Fluke issue with numerous stories and segments being published and produced over the weekend about the extent to which the controversy may be hurting advertising on Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh show as well as a wider swath of conservative talk radio. In addition to the fluctuating count of advertisers that may or may not have left the Limbaugh program (depending on whether or not they actually advertised on the show in the first place as many reports cite firms that did not), outlets such as New York Magazine and The Daily Beast are writing about a memo from Premiere to affiliate stations detailing 98 companies that don’t want their goods or services advertised on controversial programming. The memo gives examples of hosts including Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Tom Leykis (shows how old that memo is), Michael Savage, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity. TALKERS has pointed out to countless consumer media that have contacted our offices regarding this issue that “no controversial programming” dictates are common and practically as old as talk radio itself and not a unique reaction to the Limbaugh case – although certainly reiterated as a result of it. TALKERS has also pointed out that monitoring a station’s internet feed does not reflect the same commercial content as the air feed since union regulations affect the degree to which union talent-voiced spots can air on the web. Meanwhile, the Sacramento Bee is reporting Rush Limbaugh is refusing to take retailer Sleep Train back as an advertiser. The story cites Limbaugh spokesman Brian Glicklich stating the company sought to return to the Limbaugh show and the program replied to the Sacramento-based mattress retailer, “Rush received your requests personally. Unfortunately, your public comments were not well received by our audience, and did not accurately portray either Rush Limbaugh’s character or the intent of his remarks. Thus, we regret to inform you that Rush will be unable to endorse Sleep Train in the future. Rush appreciates your long friendship and your past support, and we wish you good luck in the future.”
Celebrity-Founded Women’s Media Center Piles on Rush Limbaugh. The organization co-founded by Gloria Steinem, Jane Fonda and Robin Morgan is using the Rush Limbaugh controversy to call to arms like-minded activists to petition the FCC to take Limbaugh off the air. In an op-ed piece on CNN.com, the group reasons that Limbaugh – through his language and political opinions – is a purveyor of “hate speech” and therefore is not acting in the public interest. The group is suggesting the stations whose licenses are up for renewal that carry Limbaugh’s program are not serving the “public interest” and need either pull the show or not have their licenses renewed. The group states in the piece, “This isn’t political. While we disagree with Limbaugh’s politics, what’s at stake is the fallout of a society tolerating toxic, hate-inciting speech. For 20 years, Limbaugh has hidden behind the First Amendment, or else claimed he’s really “doing humor” or “entertainment.” He is indeed constitutionally entitled to his opinions, but he is not constitutionally entitled to the people’s airways.” It’s hard to tell what the motive here is – beyond polemicizing – since the FCC does not deal with issues of content in this way during the license renewal process.
Special Interest Group Intent on Hounding KFI, Los Angeles; Picks on Bill Handel’s Comment. Time will tell if the latest salvo from the Los Angeles-based Black Media Alliance sticks to Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles or ricochets back to harm the goals of the very organization that fired it. What’s for certain is the Black Media Alliance is taking a page from other special interest media “watchdog” groups and is recording every minute of KFI’s broadcasts and, when it hears something it doesn’t like, is firing off press releases and hoping for some traction. It used a March 9 broadcast from the Bill Handel show for this purpose. During a segment in which Handel comments on the news of the day with Gary Hoffman and Neil Saavedra, the topic of a California bill that would allow nurse practitioners to perform aspiration abortions came up. Handel commented on a law in Kansas where doctors are required to have the women see sonograms prior to having an abortion and offered his opinion that those who don’t already understand the procedure are “dumb-ass women.” BMA is using this comment to imply Handel has attacked all women. Listen to the segment here. There are numerous issues at play here but TALKERS will address the primary ones. The tenor of Bill Handel’s program hasn’t changed and presumably his advertisers know what they’re buying. If an advertiser boycott of Handel’s program is what the BMA seeks, it may find the going tougher for Handel’s Southern California show than national groups are for the Rush Limbaugh controversy. That’s generally the way these cases work. Handel broke no FCC rules and we believe it’s unlikely he or KFI will apologize – so far neither has. During the discussion, you can hear both sides of the issue being debated by the air talent. This is exactly the kind of public debate of important issues Supreme Court rulings, such as New York Times v. Sullivan, protects and which the Court admits could be controversial. Justice Brennan even wrote of the “profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open.” The most important issue for the BMA is whether this tactic will cause it to be perceived by the public as nitpicking and a pest instead of being seen as an organization with goals of diversity and fairness.
Salem Communications’ WNYM, New York Rebrands as “The Answer.” The New York news/talk outlet formerly known as “The Apple” hits the air today with an altered programming schedule and the new handle, “The Answer.” Salem Communications VP and director of the spoken word format Phil Boyce states, “The new name will more accurately reflect who we are and what the benefit is to listening to us. ‘The Answer’ just popped into my head my first week here, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. We are the answer to so many questions, from ‘what happened while you slept?’ to ‘is it gonna rain?’ to ‘why am I stuck in traffic?’” The company notes the new station lineup is as follows: Salem Radio Network syndicated Bill Bennett‘s “Morning in America” from 5:00 am to 7:00 am, local host Curtis Sliwa from 7:00 am to 10:00 am, Dial Global’s Dennis Miller from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon, SRN’s Dennis Prager from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm, SRN’s Michael Medved from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm; Curtis and attorney Jeffrey Lichtman from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm; and SRN’s Hugh Hewitt from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Boyce says new imaging will create a hip, younger sound for the station, heavy on a New York-style attitude. “New Yorkers are slightly jaded and a little sarcastic, so we wanted the sound of our station to reflect the city we serve.” In describing his collaboration with voiceover talent Lonnie Perkins, Boyce gushed, “I told him to sound like that ‘Mayhem Man’ commercial for Allstate Insurance.” The new imaging includes new top of hour ID’s, promos, and show opens. Boyce wanted to re-arrange the lineup to “put the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle” together in the right order.
Heidi Harris Exits KDWN. Word from Las Vegas is that KDWN, Las Vegas morning talk show host Heidi Harris has exited her position at the Beasley Broadcasting-owned news/talker. Sources inside the station tell TALKERS that the relationship between Harris and KDWN management had been strained for some time now and finally reached the breaking point. Heidi Harris, a multi-repeat member of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred is considered by industry observers to be a rising star. The conservative host has been a regular contributor and guest on the progressive Ed Schultz Show on MSNBC and speaker at the New Media Seminar. Harris has not responded to e-mail requests by TALKERS for comment and confirmation but her presence on the KDWN website has been removed. More details as they are available.
WMAL, Washington Re-Positions AM Drive Show; Mary Katherine Ham Exits. The former “Morning Majority” AM drive show at Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington is now “Mornings on the Mall” with Brian Wilson and Bryan Nehman as Mary Katherine Ham – who joined WMAL last summer – leaves the program. Ham wrote on her blog earlier this week, “It has been a pleasure to work with Bryan Nehman and Brian Wilson – two consummate broadcast professionals who generously taught this n00b as much as they could. And, though I’m new to radio, it’d be hard to imagine a producer more capable than our executive producer Heather Smith, who I remain convinced does not require sleep (in an industrious way, not a vampire way). The folks at the company had a vision for a different, independent role for me at the station, but we just weren’t able to come to an agreement that would make it work, so I’m off to do my other jobs. I’m constantly thankful I have the freedom to make decisions like that, and realize it’s a tremendous blessing to have such options.” Ham is an analyst at Fox News Channel and is a contributing writer for The Daily Caller.
Firesign Theater Founder Peter Bergman Dies. One of the founders of the radio comedy show Firesign Theater has died at age 72 after a battle with Leukemia. Peter Bergman and three fellow comedians — Phillip Proctor, David Ossman and Phil Austin – created the radio program that spawned four must-have comedy albums (released between 1968 and 1972) for college-age hippies of the time. Bergman was hosting a late-night talk show on Pacifica’s KPFK, Los Angeles when he started the Firesign Theater program. Bergman revived the Firesign Theater show on the internet in 2010.
Salem Radio Network Correspondent Dan Hackel Passes Away. Longtime news pro Dan Hackel died in Israel over the weekend after a battle with cancer. He had been Salem Radio Network’s primary correspondent in Israel for the past four years. Hackel was a founding anchor for CNN International and a frequent anchor on Headline News. He served as Washington correspondent covering the White House for ABC News, and he reported on the U. S. Congress for the Mutual Broadcasting System.
TRN’s and WGST, Atlanta’s Rusty Humphries Named Kentucky Colonel. Kentucky colonel is the highest title of honor bestowed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Commissions for Kentucky colonels are given by the governor and the secretary of state to individuals in recognition of noteworthy accomplishments and outstanding service to a community, state or the nation. Other notable Colonels include Bob Hope, Pope John Paul II, Winston Churchill and of course Col. Sanders. Pictured with Colonel Rusty Humphries is Melissa Forrest, president and market manager of Clear Channel Atlanta where Humphries works at news/talk WGST.
Harsh Reality of Today’s Radio Business Forces Clear Channel’s Major “Reduction in Force.” This latest round of firings is focused on Clear Channel’s small and medium markets and is affecting primarily on-air and programming staff. Internally, Clear Channel stations are broken down into three categories: the majors, the mids and the small markets – the latter sometimes referred to by insiders humorously as the stations that are for sale. But in this economy those small stations – many of which were purchased in the late 1990s as the then-Randy Michaels-led radio group was buying stations at an astounding pace – are for all intents and purposes under water. The company analyzed each station in an hour-by-hour fashion to determine how much it costs to program and execute the product versus how much it is making. Programs and hosts whose shows are in the black are likely to be retained; those in the red are those about whom you are reading today. The company is not describing this strategy as cost cutting but leveraging the quality programming it owns and distributing it to the small – or regional – markets. The reality is that Clear Channel has a lot of debt it must pay off and – not unlike the homeowner who bought before the housing bubble burst and owes more than his house is worth – must make drastic cuts and hope that it can continue to engage listeners and serve advertisers with “Premium Choice” programming from afar and managers doing more jobs within the same work day. This situation is unique to neither Clear Channel nor the radio business. The following list of people working in news or at talk stations for CC are reported to have been let go. This list is not complete and doesn’t include those from music-formatted stations. Reports indicate several hundred employees will be out when all is said and done. The list: KFAB, Omaha PM drive host Tom Becka; Clear Channel Hudson Valley news director Cameron Hendrix; WERC, Birmingham, Alabama news director Mark Evans; WHAM, Rochester news anchor Beth Adams; WSYR-AM/FM, Syracuse talk host Jim Reith; KWTX, Waco, Texas PD and morning host Shane Warner; WJBO, Baton Rouge, Louisiana mid-morning talk host Clarence Buggs; and WGY and WOFX, Albany assistant PD Steve Bleznyk.
Cumulus Los Angeles Cuts Include Legendary Jock Jim Ladd. So far the cuts at Cumulus’ Los Angeles stations have not affected any air talent at news/talk KABC. Production directors at both KABC and KLOS-FM – Howard Hoffman and Mike Sherry, respectively – are out as is KLOS-FM program director Bob Buchmann. But Southern California radio fans are shocked to find legendary jock Jim Ladd – ironically, the subject of Tom Petty’s “The Last DJ” – has been sacked. The 63-year-old Ladd received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005.
Lionel Expands Role at New York’s WPIX-TV. What began as his doing a short form commentary running once per day on the evening news has expanded to multiple roles and appearances for the iconoclastic talk radio veteran and podcasting pioneer on the Tribune Company-owned Channel 11 in the Big Apple. Lionel has just debuted his weekday “5@5” segment on the daily newscast in addition to being featured on PIX 11 seven nights a week with fresh video commentary on its 10:00 pm newscast. Lionel, an ex-prosecutor and criminal defense trial lawyer, has also inaugurated his “Lionel’s Law School” segment. Plus, he appears weekly as PIX 11’s resident “News Decoder” on its Monday morning news broadcast and at pix11.com. Lionel’s commentaries are also broadcast nationally through Tribune Company’s affiliates including KPLR 11 in St. Louis. Lionel, a regular TALKERS columnist, has gained national attention as a talk “media station” groundbreaker with his lionelmedia.com.
Rusty Humphries Named National Radio Spokesman for Vietnam Memorial Effort. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is spearheading a campaign to build a multi-media education center adjacent to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC. In addition to his duties as national radio spokesman, Talk Radio Network host Rusty Humphries is leading the “Veterans Day Challenge” to raise funds for the center. He will also serve as emcee at a gala benefit at the Capital Hilton in Washington, DC on November 11 that will feature actor Tom Selleck. Humphries’ father died in Vietnam in 1969 when Rusty was just three years old. Humphries says, “Every time I’m in Washington, I visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, gaze up at my father’s name on Panel 34W, Line 84, and wish that I’d have gotten to know the man whose name appears there, my father. The Education Center at the Wall will provide a living memorial to these heroes – not just the men and women like my dad whose names appear on the Wall, but all veterans, from Bunker Hill to the present day.”
Tom Marr’s Contract at WCBM Extended Again. Veteran talk show host Tom Marr of WCBM, Baltimore has been given another extension of his unique contract until 2015. Marr first signed a no-cut deal with the independently owned heritage station in September of 1977. It was then extended until 2009. Marr reached an agreement on July 3, 2008 with the late owner of WCBM, Nick Mangione, Sr., to extend through 2012. Now Marr has signed an extension with WCMB president Mary C. Mangione that will run until 2015. Upon signing the deal, WCBM VP Nick Mangione, Jr. tells TALKERS, “Ownership is very pleased to have Tom’s commitment to remain on WCBM’s team. Tom performs a public service that is informative, beneficial, and entertaining for our listeners.” Marr comments, “I am delighted that my career will end with WCBM and the Mangione Family Enterprises.” Pictured here at the signing ceremony are: WCBM VP Nick Mangione, Jr. (standing); seated (l-r) are Mangione Family Enterprise attorney Joe LaVerghetta, Mangione Family Enterprise president Mary Mangione, and host Tom Marr.
Clear Channel Adds FM Simulcast to WVOC, Columbia, South Carolina. The victim this time is urban WXBT-FM at 100.1 and, of course, the entire staff of the music station as CC gives news/talk WVOC an FM presence.
Ric Edelman’s “Truth About Money” Public TV Show Heads into Season Two. Author, broadcaster and financial advisor Ric Edelman will produce a second season of his public TV show that shares the same name as his nationally syndicated talk radio show – “The Truth About Money with Ric Edelman.” Season one hit public TV stations across the country earlier this spring and season two will be ready for air in April of next year. Executive producer Russ Hodge says, “Public Television executives and viewers around the country were so taken with the solid financial guidance they received from Ric, they wholeheartedly endorsed the notion of our coming back for another season. It’s no secret Ric is recognized as one of America’s top financial advisors, and in these uncertain economic times, viewers gravitate to his expertise and know-how.”
USRN Offers Kim Iversen Show in New Format. “Your Time with Kim Iversen” has been available in syndication via United Stations Radio Networks talk-intensive music show for Hot AC stations since 2007. Now, after partnering with Entercom – the company that created the show – to bring it into wider syndication earlier this year, USRN announces that show is available as a live feed or a “build your own show” format. Beginning November 13, the live feed will be a two-hour, personality-driven talk show airing live from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET. Stations wishing to continue airing music in the show can use the show segments around music to build a five-hour program. USRN EVP of programming Andy Denemark says, “Kim is an amazing talent, but we found that programmers had varied opinions on how they wanted her show to air. Some wanted strictly a talk block, others were happy with the Hot AC show and still others wanted her content mixed with CHR or alternative music. Now, every affiliate gets their wish!”
ABC Digital Clients Now Get News from ABC Sports. Stations subscribing to ABC Digital for news feeds for their websites now can get sports content from ABC Sports, according to ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve Jones. “By adding sports headlines to our lineup of ABC Digital choices, we’re enhancing our radio customers’ websites at no additional cost to them. Several of our partners have expressed an interest in adding a recognized sports brand and we’re pleased to make ABC Sports – a name steeped in tradition – a new category they can add to their station’s website with the simple click of a button.” ABC Digital service was recently launched by ABC News Radio and Cumulus Media Networks. The ready-to-post online content is produced and updated 24 hours a day and includes breaking news, exclusive stories, photos and graphics. Stations also have the option to brand the service locally, monetizing the content through local sponsorships.
Barb Yoder Moves into GM Seat at Salem Communications’ Tampa Cluster. A series of management promotions at Salem Communications means a promotion for Tampa and Sarasota cluster general sales manager Barb Yoder and an open GSM post at the stations. Yoder moves into the GM post as former GM Chris Gould moves to the corporate level in the vice president of program development position based in Camarillo, California. Gould replaces Ron Walters who is promoted to senior vice president, ministry relations.
Affiliate Relations Pro Rich Rapiti Victim of Dial Global-Westwood One Merger. New York-based affiliate relations pro Rich Rapiti lost his position as part of the consolidation of Dial Global and Westwood One. He’s available for his next challenge and can be reached at email@example.com or 973-809-3049.
Former Cap Cities/ABC COO Dan Burke Passes Away at 82. Dan Burke and partner Tom Murphy are credited with building Cap Cities into a major broadcasting force and buying ABC to create Cap Cities/ABC. The two ran the company for a decade before selling it to Disney in 1996. Salem Radio Network VP of news/talk programming Tom Tradup remembers working for Burke when he was GM of WLS, Chicago. “I will always remember Burke’s steely eyes and his tough questioning (especially at this time of the year during budgeting!) as we s-l-o-w-l-y turned WLS from the 23rd station in Chicago and put it on track to become a top-five news/talk giant. He was firm but fair, and if people in Chicago enjoy WLS in 2011…they probably can thank Dan Burke more than anyone else for showing patience and for keeping others within the company from panicking as WLS grew and ultimately prospered in the #3 radio market in America.”
Program Host Amy Goodman and Staff Settle in 2008 RNC Arrest Case. Amy Goodman hosts the New York-based radio and TV program “Democracy Now” and it was in that capacity that she and her crew were covering the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota when violent protests broke out. While filming the action, her crew was arrested by police insisting they were part of the disturbance. Goodman was also arrested when she came to their defense. Goodman and crew sued the City of St. Paul and the U.S. Secret Service with the assistance of the Center for Constitutional Rights. The settlement includes $100,000 and the promise of police training.
It’s Official: Dodgers Move to KLAC, Los Angeles. After four seasons at Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles, Clear Channel’s KLAC will be the flagship station for Los Angeles Dodgers play-by-play for at least the next three seasons. In a joint statement from the team and Clear Channel Los Angeles, market manager Greg Ashlock says, “The Dodgers are synonymous with Los Angeles. The team has the ability to connect people regardless of age, gender or race. Our Clear Channel stations have multi-demo and multi-cultural appeal that nicely complements the Dodgers brand and will provide unique marketing opportunities. We’re also humbled to have Vin Scully, the greatest play-by-play announcer – period, lead our broadcast team.”
Cumulus Promotes Matt Spaulding to VP/Market Manager for Ann Arbor Cluster. General sales manager at the cluster since 2009, Matt Spaulding is promoted to VP/ market manager by regional vice president Cumulus Midwest Scott Meier who states, “Matt has absolutely earned this ‘battlefield promotion’! He’s embraced the Cumulus Sales Operating System and developed a solid organization operating at double digit growth.” Cumulus Media operates two music FMs and news/talk WTKA and progressive talk WLBY in the Ann Arbor market.
Broadcasters Foundation of America Raises More than $150,000 at Celebrity Golf Tournament. The BFoA’s Celebrity Golf Tournament 2011 pulled in more than $150,000 from the event held September 26 at the Sleepy Hollow Country Club in Tarrytown, New York. Broadcasters and celebrities taking part included: actor Michael J. Fox; Fox Business Network and USRN personality Lou Dobbs; WOR, New York host John Gambling; ABC and ESPN sports broadcaster Sean McDonough; MSG and ABC play-by-play announcer Mike Breen; actress and “Bond” girl Rachel Grant; NHL All-Stars Rod Gilbert, Brian Leetch and Bob Nystrom; ESPN Radio’s Stephen A. Smith and CJ Papa; Super Bowl winner Amani Toomer; CBS-TV’s Maurice Dubois, Don Dahler and Dr. Max Gomez; ESPN SportsCenter hosts John Anderson and Jay Harris; WNYW-TV, New York’s Duke Castiglione; WNBC-TV, New York’s Bruce Beck; actor Gianni Russo; and more. The foundation expects to grant $600,000 in aid this year – an increase of more than 20% over last year and BFoA president Jim Thompson says, “The Celebrity Golf Fundraiser makes it possible for the Foundation to continue its mission of helping broadcasters in need. Our thanks to Greater Media president and CEO Peter Smyth and Katz Television Group president Jim Beloyianis who served as this year’s co-chairs and helped us present a successful event that provided attendees with an opportunity to give back to broadcasters who have nowhere else to turn.”
TRNS Bureau Chief Ellen Ratner Saves Young Blind South Sudanese Boy. In a remarkable display of the power of talk radio when focused on humanitarian projects, a young Christian South Sudan boy, Ker Deng will be shedding light on the horror befalling his homeland and people before a Congressional Committee today. This comes as the result of tireless work on the part of Christian Solidarity International (CSI) and the Washington, DC-based news agency Talk Radio News Service (TRNS) whose years of missions to the region bringing talk show hosts and relief have resulted in the feeding of starving people, the freeing of slaves and the reporting of news mostly ignored by the mainstream press. Ker Deng was just a toddler when Arab slave traders took him and his mother from their village in South Sudan. After burning Ker’s village and stealing everything of value, the raiders massacred most of the men. Ker and his mother were tied to a camel and dragged to a life in captivity. He grew up eating the same grains that his slave master fed his horses. One day, as punishment for letting a goat escape, Ker was hung upside-down from a tree as his master rubbed chili peppers into his eyes. When he was finally cut down, his eyes were so badly damaged that he slowly went blind. After being freed by CSI, Ker is now in the United States at the Wills Eye Institute, where he recently underwent cornea surgery (he’s seen being prepared for surgery in the photo here) that will hopefully restore the sight he lost while tortured at the hands of his captors. Ker is learning English and has started piano lessons at Lighthouse Music School. Ker will share his remarkable story today at 2200 Rayburn House Office Building at a press conference and during a hearing at the U.S. House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights. His mother – along with thousands of other slaves from South Sudan – remains in bondage. Ker, through his interpreter, will tell his story. Ker was brought to the U.S. thanks to CSI CEO John Eibner and Ellen Ratner, the White House correspondent and bureau chief for TRNS and a news analyst on the Fox News Channel (as well as Washington editor for TALKERS). Ratner has traveled multiple times to South Sudan since 2008, just returning on Saturday from another mission.
2012 GOP Candidates, ‘Occupy Wall Street,’ Knox Conviction Overturned and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/3). The Republicans vying for the nomination to face President Obama in 2012, the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protest movement, the overturning of American Amanda Knox’s murder conviction in Italy and the volatile financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
TRN’s Rusty Humphries Shoots Role in “Flicka” Movie. Talk Radio Network personality Rusty Humphries has been spending time in Canada recently on the set of a remake of the classic horse film, “Flicka.” Humphries plays the role of an announcer at a critical horse show in the film. The film stars actor and country music star Clint Black and his wife Lisa Hartman Black. Speaking about his on-set experience, Humphries says, “I am very excited to be shooting ‘Flicka 3’ on location in Canada this week with director Michael Damian, the star of ‘The Young and The Restless’ and songwriter of the hit ‘Rock On’. The shoot went great and Michael Damian could not be nicer. He’s a really good director too.” Humphries is seen here (l) on the set with Damian (r).