Tag: "Salem Radio Network"

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

| October 1, 2014

klaclogoDodgers-KLAC Broadcast Deal Gives Team Equity in Station.  Indeed, the newsworthy part of this story is the Los Angeles Dodgers acquiring an equity position in KLAC, Los Angeles as part of the renewal for play-by-play flagship rights.  Neither side is going into details, so what “an equity position” means is not clear.  The team and station owner iHeartMedia made thedodgers logo announcement Tuesday about the multi-year agreement renewing KLAC’s broadcast rights of the Dodgers regular season games, select spring training games and potential post-season games.  The deal must be approved by Major League Baseball.  Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten comments, “We are looking forward to expanding KLAC’s content in this new partnership for our passionate and loyal fan base.  We will be teaming up with the fantastic creative team at iHeartMedia on a number of projects and initiatives to enhance our fans’ engagement.  And what better team to tell the story than from broadcast talent of Vin Scully, Rick Monday and Charley Steiner.”

theblaze logoAnother Cable Network for Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze.  The Glenn Beck-founded video platform TheBlaze gets carriage on Suddenlink – one of the top 10 cable companies in the U.S.  A Wikipedia entry shows Suddenlink with approximately 1.2 million subscribers.  TheBlaze says this addition means its “24/7 news, opinion and entertainment network” is now available on 77 television providers nationwide including 10 of the top 25.  TheBlaze president of business development Lynne Costantini says, “We are pleased that Suddenlink decided to launch TheBlaze in response to customer demand, validating the appeal of our original programming to a broad audience.  We look forward to providing additional value and choice to Suddenlink’s customers, growing our respective businesses together in partnership.”

eisenrichRich Eisen Program Available on PodcastOne.  When the DirecTV-produced Rich Eisen show airs on October 6, an audio version of the program will become available via PodcastOne as the sports media star begins a relationship with Norm Pattiz’s programming-on-demand platform.  Eisen, the former ESPN personality who’s been with the NFL Network since its inception, has produced a podcast via NFL Media for the past four years.  Eisen quips, “The podcast form is in this show’s DNA, so I am overjoyed to have the Rich Eisen show in the PodcastOne family.  Plus, this leaves me one step closer to my dream of getting Norm Pattiz’s Lakers tickets.”  Pattiz replies, “My courtside seats are now a lock.  Rich is a pro’s pro.  Sports talk on demand is a digital segment that’s breaking big in the podcast universe and we are excited to engage this passionate fan base with the exceptional content Rich consistently creates.  His expertise and talent are a great addition to our roster which includes Dan Patrick, Ross Tucker, Steve Czaban and all of Yahoo! Sports.”

opienortonOpie Hughes and Jim Norton Re-Up with SiriusXM.  Any hopes the Opie & Anthony fans had that when the contract came up, Opie Hughes (right) and partner Jim Norton (left) would walk away in protest of former co-host Anthony Cumia’s firing this summer are dashed as Hughes and Norton announce via Twitter that they have “not resigned, but re-signed” with the satcaster.  The show is billed as “Opie with Jim Norton.”  Cumia was fired by SiriusXM after a series of Tweets from him that used vulgar and racial terms to describe an encounter he had with an African America woman in Times Square earlier this year.

ppmunitRound Two of September PPM Data Released.  The second of four rounds of September 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis.  The survey period was August 14 through September 10.  TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here.  In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.

doylejerryOdds & Sods.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Jerry Doyle adds two new stations to his affiliate list.  The Talk Radio Network-syndicated show is now heard on Midwest Communications’ news/talk WKZO, Kalamazoo and Frank Iorio-owned WJAS, Pittsburgh…..At the Fresno operations of Cumulus Media, Michael Knight is named news director for KMJ-AM and KMJ-FM.  Knight comes to KMJ after spending last several years with KFWB, Los Angeles…..Alpha Media’s KXL-FM, Portland “FM News 101 KXL” picks up three Oregon Association of Broadcasters Awards.  Delivered at this past weekend’s 2014 OAB Fall Conference, KXL won accolades for: Best Single Story Newscast by reporter, Rosemary Reynolds on a piece covering Robert Yuille; Best Investigative Reporting for the K-9 Shooting earlier this year; and Best Newscast for the coverage on the shooting of Officer Robert Libke……Sports USA announces a new twice-weekly podcast from baseball Hall-of-Famer and Emmy Award-winning analyst Joe Morgan is being produced.  Dubbed, “Conversations with Joe Morgan,” it debuts on Thursday (10/2).  The company says each week Morgan will create one new podcast featuring the topics of today along with one “Classic Conversation” featuring a mixture of over 100 of the greatest sports and celebrity interviews he has conducted…..Entercom‘s Milwaukee sports talker WSSP is now simulcasting on translator W289CB at 105.7 FM.  The station has re-branded as “Sportsradio 105.7 The Fan.”

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foleyjackWestwood One Appoints Foley to its Business Development Division. Former Radio Disney Group business development manager Jack Foley joins Westwood One as a business development vice president.  Westwood One president Steve Shaw states, “Jack’s outstanding record of success in radio, event sponsorship, digital, in-store audio, and experiential marketing is an ideal match for this position.  He has the ability to leverage all of our platforms and to create powerful marketing solutions for our clients.”  New York City-based Foley comments that he is “thrilled” to join the “great team at Westwood One” as “we put the power of sound to work for our valued clients.  Westwood One offers unsurpassed assets from which to build integrated marketing programs that deliver exceptional value and ROI.  I look forward to activating these deep connections in a way that serves all stakeholders, content providers, marketers, and consumers.”  Foley’s past credits include Entercom Boston’s vice president and director of sales; Clear Channel’s (now iHeartMedia) regional vice president for sales (Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Maine); president and owner of mergers/acquisitions brokerage Transworld Advisors; and senior vice president of business development for Opus 3 Mobile.

medvedsmileyAgreeing to Disagree.  Nationally syndicated talk show hosts Michael Medved (left) and Tavis Smiley (right) pose for a photo after their on-air discussion about the day’s hot issues.  Salem Radio Network’s Medved hosted Smiley – whose weekly radio show is distributed by PRI – on his program to talk about issues and Smiley’s new book, Death Of A King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Final Year (Little, Brown & Company, 2014).  Medved’s camp reports the two sparred over: black unemployment, economic inequity in minority communities and failing schools after six years of the Barack Obama presidency, to name a few.

U.S. ISIS Policy, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Hopefuls, Obama Amnesty Policy, White House Trespasser/Secret Service Controversy, U.S. Ebola Case/Pandemic Threat, and NFL Controversies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/30).  The military strikes against ISIS and speculation about U.S. intelligence breakdowns; the looming mid-term elections and the prospects for the 2016 presidential race; controversy over a possible Obama Administration amnesty program; the recent White House trespasser case and questions about the Secret Service’s effectiveness; the first U.S. Ebola virus case and concerns over a possible pandemic; and the domestic violence cases that have rocked the young NFL season were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, May 12, 2014

| May 12, 2014

wyay logo newIt’s Official: Cumulus Shifts WYAY, Atlanta to News/Talk.  As you can see, the official brand still employs the word “news,” but the all-news format is gone as Cumulus Media’s WYAY, Atlanta becomes “Newsradio 106.7.”  The change comes with the debut of the Michael Graham show in the 8:30 to 12:00 noon slot today (5/12).  The other shows that are part of the station’s talk lineup include Cumulus Media’s John Batchelor show which airs from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am and “Red Eye Radio” in thegrahammichael overnight slot.  Both morning drive and afternoon drive will remain news programs.  The station is the home of Atlanta Braves baseball and partners with WAGA-TV “Fox Five” and The Atlanta Business Chronicle.  Cumulus EVP and co-COO John Dickey says, “‘Newsradio 106.7’ is Atlanta’s best resource for in-depth news and compelling, entertaining talk about the things that matter most in our lives.  Our five-star news team, in partnership with ‘Fox Five,’ tells listeners what’s happening locally, nationally and around the world.  Our fresh talk personalities, including Michael Graham and Kim Peterson, help the audience understand, respond and sometimes even laugh about those events.”

kkzn logoProgressive Talk to Disappear from KKZN, Denver.  The story from Clear Channel’s Denver station group is that the progressive talk format on KKZN is ready to be dumped, although an official announcement has yet to be made and what will take its place is not yet known.  KCNC-TV personality Gloria Neal had hosted the evening show on KKZN until last week when she was let go.  She posted on her Facebook page that the format would change and all current hosts would be gone from the station.

rutkowskikenSecond of Two-Part Special on “Business Rockstars” – Meet Quintessential “Connected” Host, Ken Rutkowski.  The second of our two-part series on “Business Rockstars” centers on the host of this daily, two-hour program who has a somewhat similar style to Charlie Rose and adroitly produces the same meaty results, although the centerpiece guests he gets to “hang out with” each day are “very cool people” who — in the business world — turn nothing into something.  “That is the angle I like,” comments “Business businessrockstars logoRockstars” host/co-founder (with Steve Lehman)/co-owner/president Ken Rutkowski.  “How many people can say that almost every one of the 1,500 people they have talked with in the last two years is ‘amazing’?  We have three or four ‘amazing’ guests on every day.”  Some have entire chapters of their life they have never shared, yet Rutkowski — named in 2009 as an intelligence analyst at the Oprah Winfrey Network — elicits nuggets from them.  “They have tips to help people,” he remarks. “By listening to the show, it is almost like getting a nice degree in business — but in a fun way.”  To read part-two of the TALKERS special feature on “Business Rockstars with Ken Rutkowski” by managing editor Mike Kinosian posted today (5/12), please click here.

limbaughrushRush Limbaugh Salutes U.S. Military with Tractor Giveaway.  With Memorial Day 2014 as the backdrop, Premiere Networks talk star Rush Limbaugh is teaming up with Mahindra USA to give away one Mahindra Max 22 tractor to an active duty or veteran of the U.S. military.  The winner will be selected in a random drawing on May 26.  Mahindra USA is an active supporter of the military and offers the “Mahindra Pride Military Appreciation Program,” recognizing the commitment of members of the armed forces.  The Military Appreciation Program offers an extra $200 rebate for active and retired U.S. military personnel with the purchase of a new Mahindra tractor and qualifying implement.  It also supports Operation Finally Home with its “Build To Rise” program, which provides custom-built, mortgage-free homes to our heroes and their families.  Limbaugh states, “I’d like to thank Mahindra, the world’s number-one-selling tractor, for their generosity.  And God bless all of you who protect our freedom.  We are pleased to join with Mahindra USA in giving away one of their spectacular tractors to a deserving active duty or veteran of our military.”

gallaghermikeCrowd-sourced Film Hits Goal on Mike Gallagher Show.  The drive to raise funds by a group of independent filmmakers to produce a film about controversial Philadelphia abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell hits its goal of $2.1 million – three days before their deadlineduring the Mike Gallagher show on Friday, May 9.  Gallagher says,I am so grateful and proud of our listeners who contributed literally tens of thousands of dollars today to help make this important movie a reality.”  Listeners to Gallagher’s program—as well as audiences of fellow Salem Radio Network hosts Bill Bennett, Hugh Hewitt and others—were asked to contribute start-up funds for the projectIf the $2.1 million had not been raised by midnight on May 12, all donations would have been returned to listeners and the film would not have been produced.

merlonilouWEEI-FM, Boston Tweaks Midday Talent.  A change in the midday lineup at Entercom’s sports talk WEEI-FM, Boston as Mike Mutnansky exits the “Mut & Lou” show and will stay with the company in another capacity to be announced later.  Joining Lou Merloni for the new midday show, dubbed “Middays with MFB,” is former NFL tight end Christian Fauria and New England native, 970 ESPN Pittsburgh sportsbenztim personality and Clear Channel Pittsburgh sports director Tim Benz.  The new lineup takes place later this month.  WEEI program director and brand manager Kevin Graham says, “We are thrilled with the new team we have assembled.  This show will be the only sports radio program in New England that offers listeners insight from a former major leaguer and a former NFL player.  When you add in fauriachristianthe sports radio experience of New England native Tim Benz, listeners will hear a brand new sound in the market.”  Fauria played four seasons with the Patriots earning Super Bowl rings at Super Bowl XXXVIII and XXXIX.  More recently Fauria has worked as a college football analyst for CBS, does color commentary for Patriots preseason games locally on WBZ-TV and hosts a pre-and-post-game show during the NFL regular season.  Benz was born in Boston and is a graduate of Syracuse University.  He served as a radio beat reporter for the Pittsburgh Steelers and also worked at stations in Columbus, Salt Lake City and Syracuse.

mohnjarlMohn Moving to NPR as President/CEO.  Current Southern California Public Radio (SCPR) chairman Jarl Mohn is appointed president and chief executive officer of NPR.  When Mohn begins his NPR term in July, he will be succeeding Paul Haaga Jr., who has been acting president/chief executive officer since last year.  NPR board chair/ideastream Cleveland chief operating officer Kit Jensen remarks, “We are delighted to welcome Jarl.  His background as a successful media executive and innovator makes him ideally suited to lead NPR as it continues to expand its reach and play a unique role in public service journalism and cultural programming. Jarl has a deep commitment to the public radio system, love of radio and passion for quality journalism.  He has demonstrated throughout his career a keen ability to identify media and consumer trends.  He has exhibited a strong track record on diversity and fairness.”  According to Mohn, “This is not a job for me – it is a mission.  I love public radio and NPR.  It is a national treasure and it is more important now than ever.  I want to make sure that the NPR staff, the member stations, and the others who make it happen have everything they need to do their best work.”  Mohn was the founding president and chief executive officer of Liberty Digital; president and chief executive officer of E! Entertainment Television (January 1990 – December 1998); executive vice president and general manager of MTV and VH1 (1986 – 1990); and was a WNBC-AM, New York on-air talent in the 1970s.

harrisheidiOdds & Sods.  Las Vegas talk show host Heidi Harris returns to the airwaves in the market hosting a daily, one-hour show on Silver State Broadcasting’s KBET, Las Vegas.  Harris tells TALKERS magazine the show begins this evening (5/12) at 6:00 pm…..At Kirkman Broadcasting’s news/talk WQSC, Charleston, South Carolina, the Bryan Crabtree show expands, adding the 7:00 am hour.  As of June 2, Crabtree’s program will air from 7:00 am to 10:00 am.  He says, “I have spent the past 15 years informing listeners how to solve our communities’ problems and find solutions to society’s challenges.  The response has been incredible andcrabtreebryan humbling.  We will continue to grow our audience in Charleston by focusing on the stories that matter to citizens of the Lowcountry of South Carolina.”…..Beginning July 1, Compass Media Networks becomes the exclusive advertising sales agent for the on-demand audio programming of CBS Radio News.  The programming includes audio podcasts of “60 MINUTES,” “FACE THE NATION,” “Weekend Roundup,” “CBS EVENING NEWS,” “What’s In The News,” “Tech Talk,” “Not Just Another Story” and “Reporters Notebook.”…..CBS RADIO news/talk outlet WCCO-AM, Minneapolis announces an extension in its partnership with the broomheadmikeUniversity of St. Thomas to broadcast Tommie football through the 2016 season.  WCCO-AM’s Dave Lee will continue to provide play-by-play for the Tommies, along with WCCO-AM’s Eric Nelson doing color commentary…..KFYI, Phoenix afternoon host Mike Broomhead partnered with U.S. Senator John McCain to hold a Town Hall meeting on May 9 at which they welcomed Arizona veterans and their families to discuss the Phoenix VA Health Care System and how it has recently affected them.  Case workers from McCain’s staff were on hand to answer questions and to help get veterans the services they need.

katzparadeBonAirKatz Serves as Grand Marshall.  WRVA, Richmond PM drive talk show host Jeff Katz is pictured here with his ride for the Bon Air Victorian Day Parade.  On Saturday, May 10, Katz served as the Grand Marshall for one of the oldest civic parades in Richmond.  Katz tells TALKERS magazine that although the official Grand Marshall’s hat was rather Victorian…the Grand Marshall’s ride, this cool 2014 Mustang convertible, was anything but.

Cool Job Opportunity.  Midwest Communications seeks news directorBelieve it or not there are still rewarding jobs in radio news. WHBL, Sheboygan, Wisconsin is looking for a news director who will be given the freedom to create and the tools to win.  You’ll spend as much time in the field as you do in the newsroom.  Wewhbl logo need someone who is a triple-threat: strong on-air skills, a good reporter, and a good writer.  We set the news standard in our market.  It’s on-air and on our website before it’s in the newspaper.  We do some enterprise reporting.  We do some investigative work.  If you have a passion for news, whether on the radio or online, we want to talk with you.  We offer a competitive salary and a full benefits package.  Send your resume and mp3 to WHBL brand manager Kelly Meyer at: kelly.meyer@mwcradio.com or snail mail to Kelly’s attention at: 2100 Washington Avenue, Sheboygan, WI 53081. No phone calls, please.  Midwest Communications is an Equal Opportunity Employer by choice.  Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.

scanlandanRadio News Pro Dan Scanlan Dies.  Radio news pro Dan Scanlan died over the weekend after suffering a heart attack on Saturday morning at his northern Virginia home.  He was 74.  Scanlan’s career included stops at such storied radio news franchises as WINS, New York, AP Radio, Mutual/Westwood One (as both anchor and Senate correspondent), as well as freelance work for CBS Radio and WCBS, New York.  Most recently he was weekend anchor on NBC News Radio.  Earlier in his career he worked at WHYN-AM, Springfield, Massachusetts.

conwaysimonWHO, Des Moines’ Simon Conway Grabs Charity Drive Honors.  In a contest among a number of radio talk show hosts to see who could help raise the most cash for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society sponsored by talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs, WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive personality Simon Conway came in first after raising almost $4,500.  Wachs dubbed her talk host challenge FROST (fundraising radio host).  She says hosts wishing to considered for the next round of FROST, write to her at: doctordaliah@hotmail.com.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

| April 8, 2014

marinerrayRay Mariner to Program ‘106.1 The Ticket’ and ‘NASH FM 92.3’ in New Orleans.  In a newly created management position at Cumulus Media’s New Orleans operations, programmer and air personality Ray Mariner begins leading the programming at country WRKN “NASH FM 92.3” and sports talker WMTI “106.1 The Ticket” on April 15.  Mariner most recently was a personality on Dickey Broadcasting’s WCNN, Atlanta “680 The Fan.”  He also served in the market as PM drive personality on Lincoln Financial Media’s CHR WSTR “Star 94.”  Cumulus SVP of programming Mike McVay states, “Ray is a rare breed of programmer and talent.  He has shown his programming acumen by performing and succeeding at the highest level.  We’re excited to have him oversee the programming of both ‘NASH FM 92.3’ and ‘106.1 The Ticket’ in New Orleans.”  Cumulus sports/talk format captain Jim Mahanay adds, “Ray Mariner is a strong addition to Cumulus’ programming team in New Orleans.  He brings a great track record and tremendous talent to this important role at ‘NASH FM 92.3’ and ‘106.1 The Ticket.’  I look forward to having him lead our sports programming in this key market.”

jaworski showRon Jaworski’s WPEN, Philadelphia Show to Air Year Round.  Former Philadelphia Eagles great Ron Jaworski has been hosting a weekly football show on Greater Media’s WPEN, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic” during the regular NFL season but now the station makes his Wednesday evening 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm show a year-round deal.  The station is kicking off the program with a live show from Riley’s Pub at Valleybrook Country Club in Blackwood, New Jersey tomorrow evening (4/9).  Jaworski says in a statement, “I couldn’t be more excited to be extending the Ron Jaworski show to a year-round event. The NFL has become a 12-month league.  It’s going to be fun talking with the Philadelphia fans about free agency, the draft, training camp and eventually when the games get started in September.”

cookehollandNAB Show: Sound Bites from Sin City.  Media consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas reporting for RadioInfo from the NAB Show and here is some of what he’s gleaned from the convention.  Cooke writes that although this convention is not a radio gathering – that’s in Indianapolis in September – he says, “The recurring theme radio people hear here is that stations can’t only be ‘in the radio business’ anymore.”  Sales skills are probably the most important a broadcaster can have these days and there’s a lot of that kind of advice to be had.  During the RAB’s Lunch-N-Learn session, CEO Erica Farber noted that three of radio’s sales mistakes are: being afraid to ask for “The Big Ask”; constant rep turnover; and selling to the same advertisers over and over.  Read more of HC’s report here.

garciatonySyndication: Love or Money?  Moving a radio program into the syndication realm is a challenging venture and it’s a move that can be started for the wrong reasons.  In a column published today (4/8), Global Media Services founder Tony Garcia writes that for a show to have a chance at success in syndication – even one that is successful on the local level – there are a number of questions the producer of the show must answer before moving ahead.  Garcia says, “If you are going to get the attention of program directors, your show and your pitch must to be relevant and compelling.  What is it you are providing for the station and its audience?  Are you solving a problem?  Are you doing something that the station can’t easily do itself?”  Read more about what Garcia suggests a potential show producer must be prepared to answer in his piece here.

holdtheirfeet2014Immigration Radio Row Takes Place in Washington Tomorrow.  The annual radio row – organized by the Federation for American Immigration Reform – is dubbed “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” and the two-day event begins tomorrow at the Phoenix Park Hotel on Capitol Hill.  FAIR says it features the largest gathering ever of talk radio hosts focused on a single issue.  Dozens of hosts from across the country will spend two days discussing immigration policy with listeners, lawmakers, law enforcement, immigration experts, activists and members of the media live from radio row while broadcasting their shows back to their home markets.  Credentialed members of the press are welcome.  In particular, reporters covering the national immigration debate will have access to a wide variety of personalities and perspectives all in one location.  For more information, contact Kristen Williamson, press secretary at: office 202-328-7004/cell 847-651-8611.

snlkaganQ1 Radio Deals Top $300 Million on Strength of WBLS/WLIB Sale.  According to SNL Kagan, first quarter 2014 radio deals topped the $300 million mark in value.  This big quarter was largely the result of the $131 million (8.5 times cash flow) sale of urban contemporary WBLS and gospel WLIB from YMF Media LLC to Emmis Communications Corporation.  The other big deal was the $74 million sale of 10 stations from South Central Communications Corporation to SummitMedia, LLC.  SNL Kagan says that compared to the 2013 average of 7 times cash flow, the average radio cash flow multiple rose by half a point in the first quarter of 2014.

nrgmediaNRG Media Reports Completion of Change in Equity Investors.  The change in equity investors that NRG Media, LLC announced in October of 2013 is complete.  The company says the change solidifies “the new partnership between the Midwest-based media company and Cyrus Capital Partners, an investment management company that actively invests in debt and equity securities on a global basis.”  Cyrus has approximately $4 billion in assets under management and its investor base is comprised of sophisticated long term institutional and high net worth investors.  NRG CEO Mary Quass states, “We look forward to a long relationship with Cyrus Capital Partners and wish to thank Waitt Media and McCarthy Capital for their support over the last 9 years.”

bennettbillOdds & Sods.  Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated morning host Bill Bennett celebrates his 10th year with the network.  His “Morning in America” program was visited on Monday by special guests including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, fellow Salem talk host Mike Gallagher and WestwoodOne personality Mark Levin…..Newsweb Radio adds local gay rights author and activist Wayne Besen to the weekend lineup at WCPT-AM/FM, Chicago to host a weekly Saturday afternoon program called, “I’ve Got Issues.”  Newsweb president Charles Gross says of the progressive program, “We are excited about this hard-hitting new show that will debate the critical local and national issues that affect our lives.”…..CBS Radio News White House correspondent Peter Maer is being awarded the Merriman Smith Memorial Award for Presidential Coverage Under Deadline Pressure.  Maer is receiving the honor for his reports at the Hampton Roads, Virginia shipyard where the president traveled to make his case on last year’s sequestration fight.  The White House Correspondents Association says,  “Peter Maer’s story on the potential impact of budget sequestration did what White House reporters too rarely do: It humanized a national political story, and managed to do so on an extremely tight deadline, no less.”

krokduckA Day at the Races.  WBAP, Dallas talk show host Chris Krok (left) poses for a photo with “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson (right) at the Texas Motor Speedway during its “Duck Commander 500” race held over the weekend.  Also in the photo is Krok’s son Isaac (center).  Krok broadcast his program live from the speedway on Friday (4/4) and then hosted 80 listeners who bought tickets to be part of “Krok and His Flock” on Saturday.  Krok and his listeners were able to tour the garage and pits.

ObamaCare Criticism, IRS Scandal, Russian Aggression in Ukraine, Common Core Controversy, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Search, and Student Athlete Compensation/NCAA Championship Game Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/7).  Ongoing scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the move by House Speaker John Boehner to bring legal action against ex-IRS official Lois Lerner; Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Ukraine and fears he’s preparing to arm Iran; troubles with the Common Core standards as states drop the program; the continuing search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370; and controversy over compensating student athletes and the run-up to the NCAA Championship game were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, January 13, 2013

| January 13, 2014

cclogoClear Channel Media + Entertainment Chairman and CEO John Hogan Retires; Position Eliminated.  In a move that comes as a surprise to many, John Hogan is retiring from Clear Channel Media + Entertainment as chairman and CEO and will take on the title of chairman emeritus.  At the same time, his position will not be filled and folks in the CCM+Ehoganjohn division will report to CC Media Holdings chairman Bob Pittman and president and CFO Rich Bressler as Pittman announces he’s signed a five-year extension of his contract.  In a statement this morning, Pittman says, “John Hogan has made tremendous contributions to Clear Channel during his tenure – particularly during the unprecedented economic headwinds our country, our industry and our company, faced in 2008 and 2009.  He has been an pittmanbobexcellent partner for me and for Clear Channel’s leadership as we have evolved into the only multi-platform media company with national reach and the ability to execute locally.  As my friend and partner in Clear Channel Media + Entertainment, John has been an important element in Clear Channel’s transformation into a multiplatform media company.  There is never a perfect time to make big decisions like this, but his logic was compelling and making this change at the start of a new year made sense.  We thank him for his long service and the enormous positive impact he’s had on both our company and the radio industry, and we are delighted that John will remain part of the family with his title of Clear Channel Media + Entertainment chairman emeritus.”  Hogan joined Clear Channel when Jacor – for which he was serving as senior vice president of radio – was acquired by the company in 1999.  He became president and CEO of Clear Channel Radio in 2002 and took on the chairman and CEO of CCM+E role in 2012.

bauerletomWBEN, Buffalo Talk Host Tom Bauerle Is the Subject of Talk Himself After Police Visits to His Home.  From a piece published in the Buffalo News, we learn that there is concern among WBEN, Buffalo afternoon drive host Tom Bauerle’s Williamsville, New York neighbors and local police about his recent behavior that some might describe as paranoid.  Here’s the short version: the paper reports that police responded to a 911 call to Bauerle’s home last Wednesday where Bauerle complained he was under surveillance by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s operatives.  Police found Bauerle in his backyard with a loaded weapon.  He surrendered the weapon to police – who were not able to find evidence of anyone spying on Bauerle – and was also willing to surrender additional weapons in his home to his attorney.  The paper also reports that Bauerle’s neighbors held a recent meeting with the talk host after he sent them emails raising the issue of him being “watched.”  Neighbors told the paper his concerns seemed “quirky” and “made you scratch your head.”  Nonetheless, Bauerle – who was off the air last Wednesday and Thursday but returned to the air on Friday to explain his absence was due to hitting a “physical wall of exhaustion” – did agree to a voluntary psychiatric evaluation on Wednesday of last week.  No reports have been released yet and the Buffalo News received its information from neighbors and interviews with police officers who are remaining anonymous until the report is released.  No charges have been filed in connection with the incident.  Read the Buffalo News story here.

gallaghermikeProfile: Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher.  Talk radio personality Mike Gallagher has been in the business since he talked his way into a substitute position at WAVI, Dayton while a junior in high school in 1978.  Thirty-six years later and heard in syndication across the country, Gallagher tells TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian that he’s still going strong after a career that’s seen him in morning drive at WABC, New York; in business for himself running his own syndicated show; and moving on with his career after the heartbreaking loss of his wife Denise to endometrial cancer in 2008.  His philosophy about programming a talk show remains simple, “I go where my gut takes me.  You have to reflect the ‘hits,’ and in our business, the ‘hits’ mean the headlines.”  He tells TALKERS that he has always stayed on top of how his show is performing from a business perspective.  “It is self-preservation, and my secret to longevity.  I learned many years ago that ratings in our business are very volatile, and in particular, talk radio ratings can be cyclical.  We are subjected to a political season and a post-political season, so ratings go up and down.  I will always win, however, if I deliver revenue…I know where we are to the penny at any given point, and right now, I’m 7% over my January budget.  It is a tough environment, so I am very proud of that.  We are fighting and scrapping for every dollar.  I have always viewed the radio show as a business.  I learned that many years ago from Greg Anderson.”  Read Mike Kinosian’s entire profile of Mike Gallagher here.

kfbk logoKFBK, Sacramento FM Signal Changes.  News/talk KFBK, Sacramento’s FM simulcast had been 92.5 for much of the past two years.  But after Christmas, Clear Channel Sacramento flipped KFBK’s FM signal to 93.1 – most recently the location of classic hits KHLX.  Now we know that the company made the switch so that it could turn the better 92.5 signal into new country outlet “The New B92.5.”  The 93.1 frequency is licensed to Pollock Pines – some 40 miles west of downtown Sacramento – whereas the 92.5 signal is centered on the market and provides full-market coverage.

canzano logoKXTG-AM, Portland Sports Talker Named Sportswriter of the Year.  Midday sports talk host John Canzano – heard from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daily on Alpha Broadcasting’s KXTG-AM, Portland – is named 2013 Oregon Sportswriter of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association and Hall of Fame.  Finalists for the award were nominated by NSSA members from mid-October to mid-November.  Final balloting took place during the month of December.   In addition to his work on KXTG-AM, Canzano writes for the Oregonian and makes regular appearances on KGW-TV.  Oregonian editor and vice president of content Peter Bhatia states, “John is a terrific columnist and reporter.  He brings something special to our city and state every day and it is great to see that recognized.”  KXTG-AM PD Bernie Bokenyi adds, “I am honored to have John as a part of our team on ‘750 The Game.’  His commitment to readers, listeners and viewers every day is unmatched.”  Canzano comments, “This market offers the most compelling news anywhere in the country.  I love working and living here and being able to bring that to readers and listeners and viewers.  We’re different than other markets — we have an ongoing dialogue.”

longjaleighLong Named Co-GSM at WSB, Atlanta.  At Cox Media Group’s Atlanta Radio, Jaleigh Long is named new co-general sales manager for news/talk WSB where she’ll work alongside fellow GSM Beth Bowers.  Director of sales Walt Phillips says, “Jaleigh Long has a proven track record of leading her teams from the front.  Her focus has and will continue to be on developing talent and driving new business development initiatives.  She’s strategic in her problem solving and decision making with an extensive background in digital ad products and strategy.  Partnering with current GSM Beth Bowers only strengthens our position when it comes to coaching and leading this team into a new era at news/talk WSB.”  Long spent the last seven years as GSM for South Central Media in Evansville, Indiana.

sportsusaBrandon Randazzo Named Social Media Director at Sports USA.  The executive producer of Sports USA’s “Conversations with Joe Morgan,” and podcasts “Leigh Steinberg on Sports” and “Odds Are with Jimmy Vaccaro” is upped to director of social media for the company,  Sports USA president Bob Moore says Brandon Randazzo “is a go-to guy with a vast history of getting the job done.  His background in programming, producing, promotions, and voicing radio stations tied to his skill set of social media makes him the ideal person for this position.  Brandon will front all of our social media platforms going forward.”  Randazzo comments, “Sports USA is one of the most respected names in radio.  Their relationship with a significant network of over 400 radio affiliates and massive audience will increase the exposure of our social media platforms every day.  I am excited for this opportunity to expand the Sports USA brand into social media.”

hollandbrianTalk Personality Brian Holland to Host Syndicated Overnight Show.  The program is called “The Graveyard Shift” and host Brian Holland is planning to self syndicate it beginning March 17.  In a statement, Holland says, “Overnights are often a forgotten daypart because everyone assumes that one show is unstoppable.  That was true a few years ago, but now, the fact of the matter is when a program isn’t challenged, it’s of course going to stay number one.  We are getting a lot of attention from stations that are either concerned with the drop in their overnight audience, or are looking for something serious and sustainable to carry in that daypart.”  Holland’s press release states the program will focus on the paranormal and what he calls “fringe topics,” but will also cover popular culture, movie news, video game news, and other topical items.  Each program will feature at least one guest for an interview, listener phone calls and emails, and a look at current affairs from all walks of life.  The show was formerly syndicated by Harris Broadcasting Network but ceased after the death of that company’s principal.

Three Broadcasters Facing Legal Action for Copyright Infringement.  Orange County California-based Mavrix Photographs LLC has filed complaints against Clear Channel, CBS Radio and Townsquare Media for copyright infringement in the United States District Court Central District of California.  Mavrix claims that the three companies all posted images it owns – specifically, images of pop star Katy Perry – to some of their stations’ websites with full knowledge that the photos did not belong to them.  As in the past, Mavrix is seeking $150,000 per illegal use per company but it is more likely that the issue will be settled out of court for less than what Mavrix seeks.  Still, the lesson for website operators is that – especially with celebrity photos – the companies that own the copyrights will seek out violators and will file complaints if they recognize their property being used without permission.

wwtn logoCool Talk Radio Opportunity.  WWTN-FM, Nashville seeks full-time midday host.  This is a rare opportunity in the city The New York Times calls “it!”  Nashville is on the rise and WTN is the dominant talk station in Music City.  We are a live and local operation.  With the addition of this position the station is live and local from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm every weekday.  And “yes,” we usually beat Rush.  This is not an entry level job.  We are looking for some authentic, fresh energy – someone that is a people person and will weave themself into the fabric of the community in short order.  Expect to work social media and participate in public events.  We’re looking for someone who is a voracious consumer of news and info – someone that brings solutions with the problems, someone with a sense of hope.  You should be as good as any trial lawyer at convincing people of your position using indisputable logic to connect the dots.  You can’t ‘just’ do national-political; you have to sound like Nashville.  You must be good at sensing the mood of the community and covering a wide range of emotions.  If you are just angry, don’t bother applying.  Being a fan of and having interest in country music is a plus.  Email resume, references, optional cover letter, and un-scoped air-check to cumulusradio.jobs@cumulus.com put “WWTN-FM Nashville Host” in subject line.  Cumulus Media is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer

Heeding Headlines Has Gallagher Playing the Hits

| January 13, 2014

By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read More

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

| November 5, 2013

bellartArt Bell Says Adios to SiriusXM After Six Weeks.  On his website, late night talk radio icon Art Bell writes that he’s leaving SiriusXM where his “Art Bell’s Dark Matter” program was airing after just six weeks for three reasons: SiriusXM’s web player is notoriously unreliable, causing a loss of subscribers and a degraded listening experience for those who remain listening online; for a “caller driven” show, the caller pool for Art’s show is just too small; and international listeners have no legitimate way to hear the show.  SiriusXM has not commented on Bell’s post nor any issues the two parties may be having.  TALKERS editors can’t help but wonder how these points weren’t discovered and dealt with prior to the announcement Bell would be joining the satcaster, especially in light of Bell’s additional comments.  They are: “This is not the first time that we have heard issues relating to the internet platform offered up by SiriusXM.  There have been a host of issues from the functionality to being booted off, to having longer shows reset from the beginning after an hour and a half, making it almost impossible to listen to a two hour show on demand.”  The post is written in third person and continues: “The departure of Bell, as unfortunate as it is, should be a signal to SiriusXM.  The company has a compelling product, great content, and great potential, but in some ways has lost the edge that it once had.  The frustrations of Bell can be heard on other channels as well.  Opie & Anthony, Howard Stern, Jay Thomas, and others have all at times expressed a great deal of frustration.  In some ways, the complaints of on air personalities ring back to the old FM days of terrestrial radio, a path that many consumers and on air personalities could not wait to get away from.”

millerstephanieMichael Medved and Stephanie Miller to Debate in Chicago.  WYD Media Management syndicated progressive talk host Stephanie Miller – based out of KTLK, Los Angeles – and KTTH, Seattle-based Salem Radio Networkmedvedmichael syndicated personality Michael Medved will meet in the Windy City for a debate of the hot issues of the day on Thursday at The Meadows Club in Rolling Meadows, Illinois.   The event is titled “The Great Debate 3” and will be moderated by WGN-TV political analyst Paul Lisnek.  Medved is heard in the market on Salem O&O WIND “AM 560 The Answer” and Miller’s show is carried on WCPT.  Issues debated will include: Will the Affordable Care Act be fully implemented or repealed?  Which is the bigger threat to American prosperity: big business or big government?  Is it constitutional for the NSA to spy on foreign leaders or the American people?

sileodan

Sports Talker Dan Sileo Fired from WMEN, West Palm Beach for Tweet.  Yesterday TALKERS magazine reported that Florida sports talk host Dan Sileo – who previously worked for WDAE, Tampa and WQAM, Miami prior to joining WMEN  “640 Sports” – Tweeted that he’d pay $1,000 to whichever player “took out” Florida State player Devonta Freeman because he felt Freeman was disrespecting his alma mater Miami during Florida State’s crushing win over the Hurricanes.  He then deleted the Tweet and apologized but that wasn’t enough for James Crystal Radio which let him go on Monday.  Sileo wrote on his Facebook page: “I want to first start this letter off by saying…We thank 640 AM SPORTS for having us on the station the last few months…was VERY COOL!!….With that…640 and myself are parting ways over a TWEET I made about an FSU player who I thought was DISRESPECTING the UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI…It was a moment of emotion when I said I would like to pay $1,000 for anybody to take him out…..NOW….I NEVER thought ANYBODY would take that serious but they have…a MOUNTAIN of BACKLASH has come against 640 and my family…There are NOW DEATH THREATS against me and my family and I have hired a private COP to protect US….So we UNDERSTAND that some of U took my comment serious…..AGAIN….Was just an EX Player saying a feeling that was wrong….To FSU…we APOLOGIZE…NO WAY would I ever want a kid hurt…..GOOD LUCK TO 640 AND THE CANES!”

sternhowardJimmy Kimmel to Host Howard Stern Birthday Bash on SiriusXM.  The satcaster says that for the first time on satellite radio the infamous Howard Stern Birthday Bash show will be heard on the evening of January 31, 2014 tokimmeljimmy commemorate Stern’s 60th birthday.  Jimmy Kimmel is expected to host the live broadcast from a major New York venue with an audience of VIPs and fans.  As he loves to do, Stern will reveal more about the show – including VIP guests, performers and the special location – over the next few months on his SiriusXM show.  Stern says, “With this birthday bash, we are finally one step closer to making my birthday the national holiday it deserves to be.”  Kimmel adds, “I am honored and excited to take part in a celebration of the life of my friend and hero Howard Stern.  This should be the best BaBa-birthday party ever.”

libertymedia logoLiberty Media Reports SiriusXM Q3 Financials: Revenue Up 11%.  Although Liberty Media acquired a controlling interest of SiriusXM in January of this year, Liberty is reporting the satcaster’s financial numbers separately because it “believes the presentation of financial results as reported by SiriusXM is useful to investors as the comparability of those results are best understood in the context of SiriusXM’s historical financial presentation.”  Highlights of SiriusXM’s earnings include: record revenue of $962 million, up 11% from third quarter of 2012; net income of $63 million; adjusted EBITDA grew 21% to a record $296 million; the company repurchased $1.6 billion in shares from January 1 through September 30, 2013.  Initial 2014 guidance is: revenue of over $4 billion and adjusted EBITDA of approximately $1.38 billion.

kassanmichaelMichael Kassan Media-Focused Feature to Begin on WOR, New York.  The Clear Channel news/talk outlet announces that “Medialinked — Inside Advertising and Media with Michael Kassan” debuts today.  The company says the new show offering industry reports from the highly influential business and media strategist will also be available on iHeartRadio and at wor710.com.  Kassan, who is founder, chairman and CEO of MediaLink and also serves as special advisor to CC chairman Bob Pittman, will provide a daily inside look at the advertising and media worlds featuring exclusive interviews with his personally selected list of major media and advertising figures as well as commentary on significant industry topics.  Special features will also include Kassan’s expert analysis and reports on key industry events including Ad Week, Association of National Advertisers (ANA), American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAA), Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and more.  Clear Channel New York market president Joe Puglise says, “Michael Kassan is an internationally recognized media specialist and his expert opinion will provide WOR listeners inside analysis of the media and advertising industry.  His passion and enthusiasm for the industry will resonate well with WOR listeners and provide an avenue for partners and advertisers to engage in the conversation.”

martinroland newsonenowbig‘News One Now with Roland Martin’ Debuts.  Radio One’s radio and television project featuring former CNN star Roland Martin debuted on Monday.  “News One Now with Roland Martin” is a three-hour radio show being syndicated by Radio One in which the third hour of the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm daily program is simulcast on the company’s TV One cable channel.  On the program’s premiere, Martin discussed topics including the controversial death of Kendrick Johnson; the Detroit mayoral race; Africa’s economic boom as well as spoke with Radio One and TV One CEO Alfred Liggins about minority ownership in the media.  Martin told the Houston Chronicle’s David Barron that this program, especially on the TV side, will bring important black Americans into the media to talk about today’s issues.  “This is a chance for us to show the breadth and depth of black America.  When was the last time you saw a black economist talking on television?  Other than Colin Powell, when was the last time you saw a black general talking about the military?  We can showcase that talent.”

bellaviadavidDavid Bellavia’s Stint at WBEN Buffaloed by Employer.  Last month Entercom announced that frequent fill-in and weekend talk show host David Bellavia was being given his own late night talk show – airing from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am – on news/talk WBEN.  Now, after just two weeks hosting the program, Bellavia has had to step down from the show after his full-time employer objected to his taking the position.  Not only will Bellavia not host his own daily program, he’s apparently not working for WBEN at all, including as the go-to fill-in personality for Sandy Beach and Tom Bauerle when they are away, which he had been doing in the recent past.  Reports from Buffalo indicate that Bellavia’s employer had a change of heart about his work with WBEN.  Michael Caputo is filling in for Sandy Beach and the station is running “Best of” programming in the late night slot.

ObamaCare Criticisms, 2014 and 2016 Elections, Virginia Governor Race, Dolphins Suspend Player for Misconduct, and New Jersey Mall Scare Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/4).  The ongoing scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; speculation about the GOP’s prospects in the 2014 mid-term elections and the 2016 presidential race; today’s Virginia governor contest, the suspension of a Miami Dolphins veteran over allegations of misconduct toward another rookie teammate; and the tensions caused by the suicide of a man at a New Jersey mall were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, October 28, 2013

| October 28, 2013

brokawtomClear Channel and Tom Brokaw Partner on Daily Features.  The three-times-daily feature is being called “An American Story” and will feature a wide range of topics — from newsworthy current events to historic figures to notable moments in history — which impact the lives of Americans today.   Tom Schurr, president of major markets for Clear Channel, says, “There are few public figures as respected as Tom Brokaw, one of the most trusted journalists in America.  We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to bring his insights and perspectives to our listeners across the country.”   Brokaw adds, “I am grateful to Clear Channel for the opportunity to offer observations on the dynamic changes in America as well as the lessons from our past.  Radio is where I began and it’s good to add it once again to my television duties.”

salespanelThe State of Radio Advertising and Sales.  Fresh from the recent Talkers Los Angeles 2013 conference in Hollywood (10/10), the video of “The State of Radio Advertising and Sales” panel moderated by RAB CEO/president Erica Farber is now posted (10/28) on TalkersTV.  The panelists participating in this comprehensive discussion about the ongoing challenges of generating revenue for radio broadcasting operations include (from l-r):  Terry Fahy, VP/GM, Salem, Los Angeles; Chris Pendl, creative director, Bonneville SeattleRon Hartenbaum, CEO, WYD/WYM Media; Bob Moore, president, Sports USA Media; and Paul Vandenburgh, president/GM/host, WGDJ, Albany.  Erica Farber (far right) is introduced by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison.  To see this exclusive presentation in its entirety, please see the box marked TalkersTV on the upper right hand column of this page.

whptbillboardCox Media Group’s Hot Talk ‘The Bone’ Buys ‘Fire Schiano’ Billboard.  NFL fans in Tampa Bay are not happy with the Buccaneers’ 0-7 record and neither is local hot talk station WHPT “The Bone.”  The station bought a billboard in town that simply says, “Fire Schiano” – referencing the team’s coach Greg Schiano – and has the station’s logo in the bottom right corner.  Program director Michael Sharkey tells ESPN.com, “Our listeners have voiced their opinion that they are tired of a team that, on paper, should have a winning record.  This billboard isn’t a message to the Buccaneers as much as it is a message to our listeners that we are right there with them.”  Photo by Brett McMurphy.

scbagroupBest in SoCal Radio Creative Recognized.  The Southern California Broadcasters Association and its General Sales Managers Council honored the Southern California Ford Dealers, AIS Insurance, In-N-Out Burger, and Cedars-Sinai with its annual Outstanding Achievement in Radio Awards Luncheon on Thursday, October 24, at the Sheraton Universal Hotel in Universal City.  The awards – voted on by the GSM Council – represent the very best in creative radio commercials using both Southern California’s radio and digital platforms.  The event was highlighted by the special appearance of Mayor Eric Garcetti who recognized the “enormous contribution that local Radio makes to the Los Angeles region” and personally congratulated each SCBA award winner.  SCBA president Thom Callahan states, “This SCBA awards luncheon was a huge success for Southern California radio.  We had a complete sell out, recognized great Southern California advertisers, and presented a special lifetime achievement award for Cal Worthington, a southern California auto dealer icon.”  Pictured here are: (seated left to right) Nick Worthington, Worthington Ford; Dennis Shannon, FDAASC chairman, Citrus Motors; Kevin Roberts, FDAASC vice president, Lake Elsinore Ford; (standing): Miles Sexton, president, Point Broadcasting; Mark Casas, SVP/sales, AIS Insurance; Greg Ashlock, president/market manager Clear Channel Los Angeles; Michelle Guzman, director of marketing, In-N-Out Burger; Amber Perry, GSM council chair & GSM, KRTH; Jaime Jimenez, SVP/general manager, Univision Radio; Mark Ribisi, president/CEO, AIS Insurance; Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; Dan Kearney, SVP/market manager, CBS Radio; Thom Callahan, president, SCBA; Marko Radlovic, president/general manager, Cumulus Los Angeles; Val Maki, vice president, Emmis Radio/KPWR.

hewitthughOdds & Sods.  Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk host Hugh Hewitt appeared at a luncheon debate event sponsored by O&O WHK, Cleveland dubbed, “Constitution Under Fire” at a local restaurant.  The program included a debate between Hewitt and noted civil rights attorney Avery Friedman.  Topics discussed included the Affordable Care Act, presidential overreach and the interpretation of the Constitution…..CBS Radio’s WIP-AM, Philadelphia “CBS Sports Radio” agrees with St. Joseph’s University to serve as the flagship station for the school’s men’s basketball play-by-play for the 2013-14 season.  In addition to airing games, the station will again serve as the host for Phil Martelli‘s “HawkTalk” radio show which will air live on Monday evenings from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm and will be held again at J.D. McGillicuddys in Havertown and consist of a call-in format with Martelli and host Joe Lunardi…..Entercom’s WEEI, Boston continues its coverage of the Boston Red Sox-St. Louis Cardinals World Series as today’s sports talk programs are emanating from St. Louis.  After the Dennis & Callahan morning show, the midday Mut & Merloni program airs followed by an extended edition of Salk & Holley beginning at 2:00 pm and leading into the pre-game show with Dave O’Brien and Joe Castiglione and the first pitch of Game 5 at 8:07 pm.

wachsfrenchmaidBusy Fundraising Weekend for Dr. Daliah Wachs.  Nationally syndicated talk show host (and practicing physician) Dr. Daliah Wachs – pictured here in her French maid Halloween costume – is very involved in fundraising for causes in which she believes and this was a busy weekend for her.  First, on Friday (10/25), Dr. Wachs appeared with Las Vegas radio personality Al B Sure at the “Dressed to Thrill” masquerade ball at Michael Jackson’s “Thriller Villa” to benefit the Shine Foundation that assists homeless veterans.  Then on Saturday, Dr. Wachs attended the Monster Mash Car Bash that benefits F.A.S.T. (Finding Autistic Solutions for Tomorrow).

robinhoodrelliefRobin Hood Sandy Relief Fund Drive Takes Place Tomorrow at CC’s New York Stations.  On Tuesday, October 29, Clear Channel’s New York City stations are urging listeners to continue assisting those recovering from last year’s devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy by texting STORM to 50555 to give $10 to the Robin Hood Sandy Relief Fund.  Clear Channel says that in addition to co-producing last year’s 12-12-12 benefit concert, it is continuing “to assist in the relief work in the coming months, or even years, until all of the impacted communities are on the road to recovery.”   The stations are also asking listeners to share their Sandy hero stories with the hashtag #SandyHero to share how those around them managed the storm, and helped others along the way.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

| October 15, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

| October 8, 2013

abramsonnancyNancy Abramson Joins Clear Channel as Director of Digital Affiliates.  Radio pro Nancy Abramson becomes part of the Clear Channel family in the newly created role of director, digital affiliates for national media groups.  Abramson spent almost 18 years with The Wall Street Journal Radio Network before exiting last month.  She will be based in New York and report to Julie Talbott, president of content and affiliate services for national media groups.  The company says that in this new position, Abramson will be focused on the company’s digital partnerships with radio ownership groups and stations.  She will provide a dedicated point of contact for communication and conducting business surrounding the company’s digital platforms including iHeartRadio as well as Clear Channel’s Premiere Networks programming, personality websites and audio streams.  Prior to her work with The Wall Street Journal Radio Network, Abramson held the role of manager network programming for ABC Radio Networks.  Talbott says of Abramson, “Nancy’s proven track record of successfully leading affiliate sales and marketing efforts in the news/talk format, as well as her amazing relationships with broadcasters, makes her a tremendous asset for us.  Her passion and expertise are a winning combination, and we are very fortunate to have her join our team.”

hannitySalem’s Hewitt and Prager Appear on FNC’s New Time “Hannity” Program.  As Fox News Channel shuffles its primetime lineup and Sean Hannity’s program moves to the 10:00 pm ET time slot, Salem Radio Network personalities Hugh Hewitt and Dennis Prager joined Hannity on his “Great American” panel last night (10/7).  FNC introduced the new addition to the primetime slate: Megyn Kelly’s “The Kelly File.”  Kelly’s show appears at 9:00 pm ET leading into “Hannity.”  Greta Van Susteren’s “On the Record” kicks off primetime at 7:00 pm with “The O’Reilly Factor” following at 8:00 pm ET.

geronimodonDon Geronimo Exits Sports Talk KHTK, Sacramento.  Although his photo and references to his 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show are still on the KHTK website, reports are that radio pro Don Geronimo has exited the CBS Radio station.  Geronimo’s presence on the station has been replaced by Jason Ross and Dave “Deuce” Mason.  Geronimo had been with the Sacramento sports talker for several years, both in morning drive and during the afternoons daypart.  Geronimo and former partner Mike O’Meara had a long and successful run at WJFK, Washington when the station was a hot talk outlet in the 1990s.

Sara Lee Kessler On Air at WOR.  New York news pro Sara Lee Kessler is handling news anchor duties for Clear Channel’s news/talk WOR, New York as well as the company’s 24/7 News programming.  Kessler is well known to New Yorkers for her 18-year stint at WOR-TV.  She also worked at Merlin Media’s New York all-news venture WEMP.

pendlchrisThe Radio Broadcaster’s Guide to Getting the Most from Posting Video to YouTube.  It goes without saying you probably have a YouTube Channel for your show or station.  And yes, there’s a lot of talk around what makes a video good – but how can you get the most out of the video you’ve posted on YouTube?  In a new column posted today (10/8), Bonneville Seattle creative director Chris Pendl looks at how to make money from your videos, how to get users who find your video on YouTube to tune-in to your show, and other tips to make the most of your online video efforts.  To read this valuable article in its entirety, please click here.

bausemerharoldMEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Harold Bausemer – RadioStationsForSale.Net.  In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media broker Harold Bausemer of RadioStationsForSale.Net located in Braintree, Massachusetts.  Bausemer has a background in radio having worked in just about every position in the business including AE, SM, GSM, GM, COO of a small group and as an owner operator.  But he also has a background as a real estate broker and as such he brings a bit of a different background to his media broker strategies.  He says, “Being in real estate, I am a believer in multiple listings and have co-brokered many deals which is not common in media brokering. Most brokers in this business have self-interest to the point of detriment to their listing clients. Usually (not always) I don’t ask who a listing of mine will be presented to by a co-broker. If they have a relationship with or inquiry from someone and can bring in an offer, my client wins and even at half commission, I win.”   He offers up several opportunities he has among his listings that would be of interest to displaced radio station personnel and first-time entrants. To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.

kxl logo‘FM News 101’ in Portland Wins Seven OAB Awards.  Alpha Broadcasting news/talk KXL, Portland “FM News 101” takes home seven Oregon Association of Broadcasters Awards, including Station of the Year for the 3rd consecutive year.  Other awards garnered by the station include: Best On Air Personality for Clyde Lewis, host of “Ground Zero with Clyde Lewis”; Best Newscast from Dan Mitchinson and Lacey Evans covering the Clackamas Town Center Shooting; Best Investigative Reporting from Rosemary Reynolds; and Best Single News Story from Dan Mitchinson.  Alpha Broadcasting director of programming Scott Mahalick states, “These awards honor the talent of a truly live and local team that is passionate about what they do.  I’m proud to be working with world class broadcasters.”  News director Rebecca Marshall adds, “I am so thrilled to see FM News 101 KXL receive this award again.  We have such a hard working team both out in the field and inside the station.  They’re real pros.  I feel lucky to be working with them.”

hartmannThom Hartmann Program Joins Lineup at Two Non-Coms.  The Thom Hartmann show is now part of the program schedule at public radio stations WBAI, New York and KBOO, Portland, Oregon.  As TALKERS reported last week, Hartmann’s show will also air on a new FM signal set to debut in Portland, KXRY “X-RAY FM.”  Thom Hartmann’s program has been serving public radio stations for several years now, providing commercial-free feeds of the show.

lipforddannyDanny Lipford Show Reaches 100-Affiliate Mark.  The independently syndicated, weekly two-hour “Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford” radio show hits the 100 affiliate milestone.  Mobile, Alabama-based Lipford says, “By using the same successful formula as our Emmy-nominated ‘Today’s Homeowner’ TV show, now in our 16th season on 221 stations, our radio program gives homeowners the most relevant and current home improvement information every week of the year.  Our listeners love the fun, fast-paced style of the show and our ability to make them laugh while giving them the information they crave.”

karelWWRL, New York Adds ‘Karel Show’ to Thursday Lineup.  Long Beach, California-based Karel has his syndicated radio program added to the Thursday evening lineup at WWRL, New York as part of a special block of programming dedicated to LGBT programming.  His program airs at 8:00 pm ET.  He says, “Any time you can clear a market like New York in any way, for 10 minutes, an hour or 15 is a good thing.”  WWRL general manager Adriane Gaines states, “I’m really looking forward to hearing Karel on the radio station.  General sales manager Mike Hill has been a great ‘Karel Show’ champion here, and his support for the show is paying off.”

dibblemovieFox Sports Radio’s Rob Dibble Makes TV Cameo.  Rob Dibble, former MLB pitching star and co-host of Fox Sports Radio’s “Fox Sports Tonight” (alongside Amy Van Dyken), is pictured here in a cameo role for ABC’s new primetime series “Back in the Game” that stars James Caan.  Dibble, who was a two-time National League All-Star and relief pitcher on the 1990 World Series champion Cincinnati Reds, played a prison inmate named “Senseless Paul” who was part of a group recruited to teach a little league team how to bat.

ricebrownBrown and Rice Visit NBC Sports Radio Network.  In New York City to promote their Golf Channel show “Big Break NFL Puerto Rico,” NFL Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (right) and College Football Hall of Famer and Heisman Trophy winner Tim Brown stopped by the NBC Sports Radio studios.  Rice talked golf and football with late morning host Brian Kenny and Brown joined early afternoon host Newy Scruggs.

Government Shutdown, Debt Debate, U.S. Terror Raids, and ObamaCare Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/7).  The ongoing battle on Washington over ending the government shutdown; the debate over the debt ceiling; United States terror raids in North Africa; and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, July 15, 2013

| July 15, 2013

Talk Radio Stations Answer Call for Live Radio After Zimmerman Verdict.  The number of talk radio stations that rose to the occasion after the George Zimmerman verdict late Saturday night and the following day was, according to TALKERS sources around the country, surprisingly large considering the time (especially in the East) that the verdict was announced.  Certainly there were many stations caught unaware at that late hour but even many of those that were not able to bring local talent in for a live program were prepared enough to air network coverage of the news.  Several TALKERS sources report hearing local talent take to the air in the Pacific Time Zone and put callers on the air to discuss the case.

madisonjoeSiriusXM’s Joe Madison Races to Cover Zimmerman Verdict; Broadcast Response to Case.  High-profile talk media personality Joe Madison lived up to his moniker “The Black Eagle” late Saturday night after the Sanford, Florida jury reached its verdict and found George Zimmerman not guilty of the charges against him in the death of Trayvon Martin.  Minutes after the verdict was announced, Madison went to the SiriusXM Washington, DC broadcast facility to do a live broadcast that aired from 11:00 pm Saturday evening to 1:00 am Sunday morning on the satcaster’s “Urban View Channel.”  Madison opened up the lines to callers to, as he said, “give people a platform to react and share their feelings.”  SiriusXM reports, “It was a powerful show.  Major figures joined the show by telephone – among them Rev. Jesse Jackson; Ben Jealous, president/CEO, NAACP; Marc Morial, president National Urban League; attorney Daryl Parks, co-attorney for the family of Trayvon Martin; and Roslyn Brock, chairwoman of the NAACP.  ‘Urban View’ then went into a special schedule all day Sunday, serving as a sounding board for listener response.  The channel aired live shows taking calls from around the country throughout the day.”

traduptomMedia Coverage of Zimmerman Verdict Analyzed and Criticized.  In the immediate aftermath of the George Zimmerman verdict, the news/talk radio industry is analyzing media coverage of the case – especially from cable news/talk outlets and what some talk radio practitioners tend to call the “left-leaning mainstream media.”  In a somewhat high-profile incident, former temporary Associated Press staffer Cristina Silva, who had left the news organization before the incident, according to the AP, Tweeted: “So we can all kill teenagers now?  Just checking.”  Salem Radio Networks VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS magazine that after learning about this he, as a member of the TV Digital News Directors Association, as well as an AP subscriber, contacted AP executive editor Kathleen Carroll.  She informed Tradup that Silva was “a temp who no longer works for us.”  Breitbart.com reports Silva worked for the AP for the past three years with her last byline being July 9 of this year.  Tradup has more to say about the coverage he witnessed and the radio broadcasts he heard to those he saw on cable TV.  He writes, “Radio (gasp) simply covered the verdict.  ABC, SRN, CBS, local stations…all pretty much the same model:  No scary theme music, no weird camera angles, and no need to manufacture emotions or distort what happened.  Just the facts…Not on cable.  Kate Bolduan and Chis Cuomo on, of course, a special edition of CNN’s “New Day” program, reporting on the verdict with agonized scowls on their faces…presenting video of ‘major cities’ all over America where protesters marched after the verdict had been announced.  An objective viewing of the ‘protests’ revealed turnout to be literally dozens of people.  Cuomo physically wrung his hands as he opined that people nationwide are ‘disturbed’ by the verdict.  Kate Bolduan sat stoically next to him, nodding and grimacing over the jury’s verdict on this travesty of a ‘news’ program.  On MSNBC, Melissa Harris-Perry suggested that ‘all over America, African-American parents are hugging their children tighter’…implying that they are trembling in their homes as a result of the Sanford, Florida jury action.  What unsubstantiated baloney. How insulting to African-Americans.  How insulting to our entire legal system.  The state of broadcast journalism in America has always been pretty low, an occasional Edward R. Murrow notwithstanding.  But the deifying of Trayvon Martin by CNN and other cable myna birds simply to generate ratings makes me happy to instead operate in radio news…where actual facts still matter.  Our TV counterparts have served up disgraceful bias and doctored opinions disguised as ‘news coverage.’”

marconiawardSports Talkers Outshine News/Talkers in 2013 NAB Marconi Award Personality Honors Finalists.  The National Association of Broadcasters announces the finalists for the 2013 NAB Marconi Awards honoring personalities and radio stations for excellence.  The winners will be announced at the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Orlando on September 18.  This year, in the major market and syndicated categories, news/talk personalities are noticeably absent while sports talk talent is prominent.  Fox Sports Radio/Premiere Networks’ Petros & Money are finalists in the syndicated category and in the major market category, WFAN, New York’s Boomer & Carton and KTCK, Dallas’ “The Musers” (George Dunham and Craig Miller) are finalists.  Clear Channel news/talk KFI, Los Angeles is up for Legendary Station, as is Entercom’s sports talk WEEI, Boston and CBS Radio all-newsers KYW, Philadelphia and WBBM, Chicago.  News/talk and sports are dominant in the Large Market Station of the Year category with CBS Radio’s WCCO, Minneapolis; Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM, Providence; Entercom’s WWL-AM, New Orleans; and CBS Radio’s WXYT-FM, Detroit all in contention.  View all of the finalists here.

sedanojorgeJorge Sedano to Exit WQAM, Miami to Join ESPN.  The Florida SunSentinel reports that WQAM, Miami program director and afternoon drive personality Jorge Sedano will leave the station he’s been with for 11 months to take a multi-platform position with sports giant ESPN.  The specifics of his new position with ESPN are unclear but he is expected to start there in the fall.  Sedano is a fixture in sports media in South Florida and has also worked at Lincoln Financial Media’s WAXY.  He took over the program director position at WQAM after four months away from radio in the market during which he pursued TV opportunities.  He replaced Lee Feldman who exited the WQAM PD post for opportunities outside the radio business.  Sedano also hosted the pre- and post-game shows for Miami Heat games on the Sun Sports telecasts.  Obviously, this opens up a great sports talk radio opportunity in South Florida.

imusdonMerlin Media’s WWIQ, Philadelphia Replaces Lionel with Don Imus in AM Drive.  New York-based media personality Lionel – seen by New Yorkers both in the early morning and during evening news casts on WPIX-TV – waslionel piped in alongside former morning host Al Gardner when Merlin turned the station into a talk-formatted outlet after purchasing it from Family Stations, Inc.  Gardner exited the station in March of this year and Lionel remained in AM drive.  In addition to his work with WPIX-TV, Lionel also operates the successful internet venture lionelmedia.com.

millerchrisFeeding the Endlessly Hungry Mouth: Coming Up with Content for Your Social Media Outreach.  Content gathering is a massive headache for a lot of social media experts.  It can take over two hours a day to do it effectively.  Considering the fact that in radio there are a lot fewer full-time social media folks and a lot more people have added some social media duties to their already long job descriptions, it is even tougher to be consistently interesting, funny or helpful.  In a new column posted today by noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, he suggests several types of content.  These include 1) using a lot of photos (they are more convenient and often more effective than videos); 2) posting in-depth articles (all you need is to click to them); 3) posing questions about hot-button stories (talk radio is more adept at this than music radio); and 4) employing the services of Google Alert to help gather material.  To read Chris Miller’s entire piece, please click here.

kernenbobBob Kernen to Serve as VP/COO for jacAPPS.  Jabobs Media’s jacAPPS division – developer of mobile applications – announces internet veteran Bob Kernen will join the company as vice president and chief operating officer.  The company reports that “this move marks a major step in the growth of the company, ranked by Crain’s Detroit Business as the number #2 mobile application developer in Southeast Michigan, and the industry leader in the Business-to-Business category.”  President Paul Jacobs says, “Since its inception in 2008, jacAPPS has been on a consistent, upward trajectory.  As our company nears its fifth anniversary, we needed a visionary with the right blend of media and web experience – and Bob’s the guy.”  Kernen has served as VP/product development and data for Sharecare, creating a digital database, mobile applications, and a comprehensive back-end data system.  Prior to that, he was the co-founder of GrokMusic, oversaw digital product development for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, developed emerging media platforms for A&E Television Networks, and helped develop the digital strategies for Hearst’s Women.com and Microsoft’s Web TV Networks.

katzjeffspeaksJeff Katz Subs in Morning Drive at WRNO, New Orleans.  Former “TALK 1200” Boston (WXKS-AM) morning man Jeff Katz sets his alarm clock pretty early tomorrow morning — if only for a day – as he’ll fill in on Clear Channel’s news/talk WRNO-FM, New Orleans.  Katz provides a thrice-daily commentary heard on WCAP, Lowell-Boston and has recently been heard filling in for Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated host Todd Schnitt and New England Talk Network regional host Michael Graham.

trautmannconradDial Global’s Conrad Trautmann Given ‘Engineer of the Year’ Honor.  Dial Global announces chief technology officer Conrad Trautmann has been named “Chapter Engineer of the Year” by the Society of Broadcast Engineers’ Chapter 15 (SBE 15), which serves the New York City metro area.  Trautmann is the first recipient of this new award, which recognizes the efforts of a specific individual who best furthers the goals and objectives of their SBE Chapter and provides an outstanding example of local/regional leadership and ethics.  SBE 15 chapter chairman Jeff Smith states, “We are thrilled to honor Conrad with our first ‘Chapter Engineer of the Year’ award.  Within Conrad’s 30-plus years of service to SBE 15, he was instrumental in reestablishing the chapter in the 1980s after declining membership and financial troubles caused the Chapter to cease operations.  Conrad is recognized for implementing a model that has made SBE 15 the largest and most financially stable SBE local chapter in the country.”  Trautmann oversees the company’s broadcast engineering, program distribution, back-office IT, and software development.  He is a nationally recognized and respected leader in the broadcast engineering field, with prior senior engineering positions at Dial Global, Westwood One, Metro Networks, Cox Radio, and Chancellor Media.

kroibarajasconductsHe Was Born in a Crossfire Hurricane.  All-news KROI, Houston’s Mike Barajas show off his conducting and Mick Jagger moves as he leads the Houston Symphony Orchestra in a rendition of the Rolling Stones’ classic “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.”  The “News 92 FM” afternoon anchor received a little help from Symphony conductor Brent Havens as he assisted the performance of the works of the Rolling Stones at Jesse H. Jones Hall.  Photo by Robert Land Productions.

Friday, July 12, 2013

| July 12, 2013

wgnlogoBob Sirott and Marianne Murciano Upped to Full Time at WGN, Chicago.  The husband-and-wife team have been hosting the 9:00 pm Sunday evening program on Tribune’s WGN, Chicago and now the company announces they will become part of the legendary news/talker’s full-time lineup.  The question is, where?  Station officials are justsirottmurciano saying the change will take place “later this summer.”  But with midday personality Mike McConnell holding down the 10:00 am to 3:00 pm shift, it’s not a bad guess it’ll be sometime in the midday hours.  WGN president and general manager Jimmy de Castro says, “Bob’s respected reputation and vast experiences on radio and television make him the perfect fit for ‘Chicago’s Very Own 720.’  I’m excited to expand Bob’s role and allow him to share more of his rich Chicago stories.  And Marianne adds another strong female voice to the tradition of WGN Radio.”  Sirott hosted “The Noon Show” on WGN Radio from 2007 to 2010 and currently co-anchors the “Fox Chicago News at 9” weeknights with Robin Robinson.  He’s also worked at CBS Radio’s WBBM-FM and Cumulus Media’s WLS radio and garnered national and local Emmy awards for his work on CBS, NBC and PBS television.  Murciano has co-anchored WFLD-TV’s “Fox Thing in the Morning” with Sirott and working as a feature reporter for WTTW-TV’s “Chicago Tonight.”  Sirott comments, “When I was growing up in Chicago, WGN was the ‘Radio home of millions throughout mid-America,’ and this is still very much true. Marianne and I are thrilled to call WGN our radio home.”

tylermediaOK City to Get New Sports Talk Outlet.  Tyler Media will move classic rocker KRXO from its 107.7 FM frequency to new translator K283BW at 104.5 (it will also be simulcast on 107.7’s HD2 channel) and 107.7 will become a full-fledged sports talk station.  Tyler media president Ty Tyler says in a statement that they are still in the process of hiring local talent and are not ready to release information about how the station will be branded but he says, “We are excited to expand our portfolio of stations.  A big league city needs a big league sports station.”  Tyler does say the station will air Oklahoma University play-by-play and plans to air a full slate of NFL games as well.  The Oklahoman speculates that local sports talk personality Mike Steely, who most recently was heard on crosstown Cumulus sports talk WWLS “The Sports Animal” but hasn’t been on the air since June 29, will join the new station.

lonsberrybobAward-Winning Talk Host Bob Lonsberry Offers Advice to Producers.  In a powerful, tell-it-like-it-is column posted today (7/12), WHAM, Rochester/WSYR, Syracuse talk show host Bob Lonsberry writes an open letter-style “Note to Talk Radio Producers” in which he offers advice to the person on the other side of the glass that so many talk show hosts have been grumbling about for years.  In this not-to-be-missed piece, Lonsberry advises: 1) listen to the show (claiming producers do not always pay attention to what is on the air); 2) be a broadcaster (if he the host gives you the chance to say something on the air – be ready); 3) handle callers well (don’t just “screen” them – rate them and rank them); and 4) think like a reporter (be proactive and creative in gathering information and booking guests). And that’s just for starters. To read Lonsberry’s entire piece, please click here (and then pass it on to every producer you know).

wilkersonkennethLongtime New Orleans Sports Broadcaster to Be Remembered.  WWL, New Orleans sports radio fixture Kenneth Wilkerson lost his battle with cancer last week and funeral services are scheduled for next Tuesday.  Wilkerson began his career with Entercom’s WWL as a sideline reporter for New Orleans Saints games in 1997.  He moved into the sports talk radio realm as co-host of WWL’s “Sports Talk” with co-hosts including the late Buddy “D” Diliberto and former Saints QB Bobby Hebert.  Wilkerson was diagnosed with cancer 15 months ago.

SONY DSCSRN’s Mike Gallagher Thrilled with Success of First Responders Bible Project.  A while back TALKERS wrote about Salem Radio Network talk show host Mike Gallagher’s First Responders Bible project in which – via his Gallagher’s Army charitable foundation – he distributes King James Bibles to first responders corps across the country to help the individuals deal with the daily stresses of the occupation.  So far, thousands of specially produced King James Bibles have been distributed to first responders throughout the country as part of an effort to help these men and women gain the spiritual fitness needed to cope with the stress they face each time they are called to respond to an emergency.  The First Responders Bible includes a spiritual fitness guide as well as counseling and spiritual tips on how to stay strong and faith-filled when faced with catastrophic life-or-death situations.  Gallagher says, “These police officers and EMTs and firefighters encounter all kinds of ghastly things in the course of their day-to-day duties.  This Bible serves as a spiritual fitness manual for these oftentimes husbands, wives, sons, daughters, mothers, and fathers.”  Mike Gallagher’s foundation director Joey Hudson (who also serves as Gallagher’s business manager) says, “I am excited to say we were well received.  Many sheriffs expressed that our ministry was much needed, and we did not have a single person not accept a Bible and they promised to have their chaplains follow up with us to request shipments for more.  Additionally, we had a number of requests to attend future state sheriffs’ meetings in the coming year.”  For more information on Gallagher’s Army and the First Responders Bible, visit gallaghersarmy.com.  In the photo here, Joey Hudson is seen at the organization’s booth at the annual conference of the National Sheriffs’ Association held last month in Charlotte.

ratharunOdds & Sods.  NPR names Arun Rath host of “Weekend All Things Considered” airing on Saturdays and Sundays.  Rath states, “‘Weekend All Things Considered’ manages to cover the full range of human experience in an hour.  It’s hard work but the payoff is amazing.  I’m especially excited to join the show as it reinvents itself at NPR West.  The intense diversity of Los Angeles is invigorating – all the racial, economic and political diversity smashed together – it’s what’s best and most exciting about America.”…..Clear Channel’s rock WPYX, Albany “PYX 106” re-ups with the NFL’s New York Giants to broadcast play-by-play for the next three seasons.

bearmanethanTALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Premiere Networks Sean Hannity program is added to the program lineup at Clear Channel’s KQNT, Spokane…..GCN-distributed “Smoke Filled World” hosted by Ethan Bearman has its first hour added to the program schedule at TalkSuperstation.com…..GCN-syndicated Dr. Daliah Wachs’ daily program is picked up by WVNJ, Oakland, New Jersey…..Farm Journal Media’s “AgriTalk” radio program is added to the lineup on SiriusXM’s new Rural Radio Channel and AM stations KFRM, Clay Center, Kansas; KNDK, Langdon, North Dakota; and KMBS, West Monroe, Loiusiana.

Immigration Reform/Amnesty Top Talk Radio Story This Week.  The issues surrounding immigration legislation and amnesty for illegal aliens currently in the United States were #1 on the Talkers TenTM this week.  Other stories on the chart of this week’s most-talked-about are, at #2, Egypt civil and political turmoil.  At #3 is ObamaCare criticism followed by the Asiana Airlines crash landing at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Monday, June 10, 2013

| June 10, 2013

nms13bigpictureTalkers New York 2013 a Success.  Approximately 500 media pros from talk radio (AM/FM, satellite, internet), talk television, the music industry and press gathered in New York City this past Thursday for the 16th annual installment of the national Talkers Convention.  The highlights of this event were too numerous to immediately cover (more than 55 speakers, presentations, award ceremonies, and exhibits packed into nine dynamic hours) but the editorial staff of TALKERS magazine is busily working on sorting out the stories, photos, video, and comments from the day for a series of articles and coverage beginning today with additional stories, photos and video every day this week.  Today, TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian’s overview coverage of the conference, along with detailed reporting on some of the panels and speeches, can be found hereTALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “It was a historic day for the talk radio industry.  We can proudly say this conference was pitch-perfect and we are going to have tremendous content for coverage in the days ahead.  All of us at TALKERSnms13farbermoderating are extremely humbled and grateful for the widespread industry support and valuable individual participation marking this milestone in our long series of conferences dating back to the early 1990s.”  Next on the agenda: Talkers Los Angeles 2013 set for Thursday, October 10 at the Steve Allen Theater in Los Angeles, presented in association with the LA Press Club.  Also a working-media-only event, registration opens at 10:00 am ET today (6/10).  Registrations – $149 per person – are only taken by phone for this conference at 413-565-5413 and it is expected to be a very early sellout.  Pictured above is TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison moderating the “Radio: The Big Picture” panel.  From left to right are: Harrison; Kraig Kitchin, CEO Sound Mind, LLC; Walter Sabo, chairman, Sabo Media; Ron Hartenbaum, president, WYD/WYM Media; Jeremy Coleman, SVP, talk & entertainment programming, Sirus XM Satellite Radio; Steve Goldstein, EVP, Saga Communications; Tom Ray, president, Tom Ray Consulting; Dennis Wharton, VP communications, National Association of Broadcasters; and Mike McVay, SVP programming, Cumulus Media.  The lower photo shows Radio Advertising Bureau CEO/president Erica Farber (left) moderating “The State of Radio Advertising and Sales” panel from the audience during the attendee Q&A segment.  H&H Communications president Al Herskovitz (mic in hand) is pictured asking a question of the panel.

colmesUNTalk Radio Day at the United Nations Delivers International Content to Millions of Listeners Across America and Around the World.  The seventh annual installment of “Talk Radio Day at the United Nations” took place this past Friday (6/7) meeting and surpassing all expectations.  The ambitious mega-radio row that took place the day after “Talkers New York 2013″ featured approximately 25 radio talk show hosts from across the US and around the world (including China International Radio) broadcasting live and/or recording interviews with UN officials, ambassadors, international issues experts and leaders from the iconic headquarters of the world organization on Manhattan’s East Side.  A presentation of TALKERS magazine produced in conjunction with Talk Radio News Service and the United Nations Foundation, participants in the event include such broadcasters as Alan Colmes, Doug Stephan, Dr. Joy Browne, Thom Hartmann, David Webb, Lisa Wexler, Ethan Bearman, Mark Riley, Dr. Evelyn HigginsMartha Zoller, Ed Woodson, Timothy Spangler, Vinnie Penn, Gary Duff, Brent Seltzer, Meg McDonald and many more.  The event was carried live on the brand new TalkersRadio.  Pictured at the radio row is Fox News Radio personality Alan Colmes interviewing Lyall Grant, the UK Ambassador to the United Nations.  Look for stories, photos and additional coverage of the event right here throughout this coming week.

gallagherjohnJohn Gallagher to Cumulus Toledo for Market Manager Post.  Most recently serving as vice president of sales for Cumulus Media’s Kansas City operations, John Gallagher heads East to Toledo where he assumes the vice president and market manager position for the company’s Toledo stations that includes: country WKKO, hot AC WMMM, classic hits WRQN, sports talk WLQR, classic rock WXKR, and AC WMIM, Monroe, Michigan.  He takes over for Matt Spaulding who moves to Cumulus’ Ann Arbor cluster as market manager.  Cumulus regional vice president Dave Crowl states, “John’s operating experience and background in this area of the Midwest as well as his strong skill sets in generating revenue growth make him a perfect choice to manage our Toledo/Monroe radio stations.  He has led our Kansas City radio stations to outstanding sales results.  We expect his leadership to provide continued growth momentum for Cumulus Toledo/Monroe as well.”

patelneeravWPTR, Schenectady Flips from Oldies to Sports Talk.  Empire Broadcasting’s oldies WPTR, Schenectady/Albany flips to sports talk using CBS Sports Radio Network programming.  Chief operating officer Neerav Patel tells The Business Review’s Barbara Pinckney the goal was to bring Jim Rome back to the market.  “Plus CBS is hot when it comes to football and March Madness.  We thought this was a better fit for us.”  Using CBS Sports Radio also gives the station a morning drive show that stars former New York Giants star Tiki Barber.  As noted in Pinckney’s piece, WPTR is the third sports talker in the market that includes Clear Channel’s WOFX, Albany and Townsquare Media’s WTMM.

emmertomWTCN, Minneapolis Talk Host Tom Emmer Quits to Run for Congress.  Tom Emmer, one half of the Davis & Emmer morning drive show on Clear Channel’s news/talk WTCN, Minneapolis “News Talk 1130,” is leaving the program to begin campaigning full time for the congressional seat currently held by Republican Michelle Bachman who has announced she will not seek re-election in 2014.  Clear Channel Minneapolis operations manager Gregg Swedberg tells the Minneapolis Star Tribune the company is still considering what to do with the morning drive show.  “This hit us fairly quickly.  We were caught by surprise.  We’re hammering out different ideas, including leaving Bob Davis alone, teaming him up with someone else, or doing something completely different.”  The paper reports that the Davis & Emmer show ranks 11th in the morning drive competition in the Twin Cities among adults 25-54 and is 8th among men 25-54.

biakelseyBIA Kelsey Predicts Auto Spend on Radio Up 15% Over Five Years.  According to BIA Kelsey’s Media Ad View Plus forecast, the auto industry will increase local auto ad spending on radio by 15% between 2012 and 2017 with the total local ad spend reaching $17.5 billion.  Not surprisingly, online and mobile will see the biggest increases in ad spending from the auto industry, according to chief economist Mark Fratrik,  “By 2017, automotive dealers will focus on video, spending 11.4% of their $2.4 billion online ad budget on video display.”  Additionally, the categories of real estate and restaurants are both expected to increase over that period of time as well.

windgolf‘AM 560 The Answer’ in Chicago Raises $20k for Honor Flight Chicago.  Salem Communications’ WIND, Chicago “AM 560 The Answer” afternoon drive talk show host Steve Cochran (at right) is pictured here doing his program live from Bolingbrook Golf Club after the June 7 charity golf outing that raised $19,224 for the Honor Flight Chicago program that will send 27 WWII veterans to Washington, DC to see the WWII Memorial built in their honor.  The sold-out fundraiser was sponsored by Culver’s and saw 142 golfers join Cochran and WIND morning show co-host Amy Jacobson to raise money for the cause.  Pictured here with Cochran are WIND program director Marcus Brown (c) and operations manager Eric Thomas (l).

unitednationsMusings on the United Nations.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke visited the United Nations on Friday, June 7 while the “Talk Radio Day at the United Nations” radio row was taking place.  In addition to his take on the radio row, Cooke offers his thoughts about stepping into and touring the iconic building on the East Side of New York City.  Read Holland Cooke’s column here.

tonyawardIt’s a Tony Award for Mike Gallagher!  Although Salem Radio Network talk show host Mike Gallagher is an accomplished stage actor, he didn’t pick up the Tony Award for his stage work – he got it for being angallaghermike investor in the revival of “Pippin” for helping finance the production and making revival on Broadway possible.  Gallagher is a member of Actor’s Equity and says his investment was “well south of $1 million” but he’s thrilled to receive his latest award for his avocation in professional theatre.  “Having appeared on Broadway myself in the musical “Memphis,” it really thrills me to own this piece of theatre history.” Gallagher is currently appearing as Mayor Shinn in “The Music Man” at Lyric Stage in Dallas/Ft. Worth and he will play Daddy Warbucks in “Annie” in South Carolina this September.

katerskyzimmermanBig Talk Show Topic This Week.  ABC Radio’s Aaron Katersky is pictured here outside the courthouse in Sanford, Florida at the trial of George Zimmerman – charged in the death of Trayvon Martin – as the jury selection process begins.  The defense asked for a delay in the trial telling Judge Debra Nelson the prosecution was slow in turning over evidence but she denied that request and the case is proceeding.  The shooting death of Martin was a big topic on news/talk radio when it took place and it’s expected to be a major topic throughout the summer as issues of racial profiling, Florida’s “stand-your-ground” law, and gun violence come into play.

Friday, March 15, 2013

| March 15, 2013

ksco logoKSCO, Santa Cruz Is an Independent Talker that Flies in the Face of Corporatism.  The news/talk radio station in question is not owned by a hedge fund or multi-billion dollar conglomerate.  Nor is it in debt.  Its ownership group doesn’t occupy the top floors of a big-city skyscraper.  You will not see the morning or afternoon show brandishing seven-figure contracts, nor the corporate PD flying into town on the company Lear jet, or the “brand manager” moving from market to market implementing new strategies to grow the market cluster.  The fact of the matter is none of the above elements – which have become somewhat commonplace in today’s radio industry – exist at this station.  10k KSCO (1080 AM) is located in Santa Cruz, California, in a neat stand-alone building (that also houses its smaller sister station KOMY 1340 AM – a facility that its owner uses as a developmental farm club) on a piece of land that overlooks the Pacific Ocean.  It would be the envy of any real estate developer in a town known for its college, its beach and boardwalk, liberalism, the state park land and forests that surround it, and is an 80-minute drive from San Francisco.  KSCO is also one of the last “mom & pop” radio stations left in the United States.  It has not only survived the Telecommunications Act of 1996, it has thrived despite consolidation based upon several key factors, including vision by its family ownership, a shocking format change by a chief competitor, along with a non-traditional revenue approach, and a solid and real commitment to a local audience.  To understand KSCO, how it operates and its success, you have to understand the people who run the highly successful news/talk station.  TALKERS correspondent Jeff McKay writes a special feature about a special station.  To read it, click here.

gardneralAl Gardner Gone from WWIQ, Philadelphia Morning Show.  At Merlin Media’s WWIQ, Philadelphia “IQ 106.9,” morning co-host Al Gardner is out and, though TALKERS has not had a response yet to its inquiry from management about the move, chatter in the Philly radio scene is they want to take the morning show in a less “conservative” direction.  Morning show co-host Lionel and news director Michelle Murillo are still listed on the station’s web page, but it’s unclear what the station’s plans are for the future of the daypart.

mcnabbdonovanNBC Sports Radio and Dial Global Name McNabb and Malone PM Drive Hosts.  Six weeks after teasing the former NFL quarterback would be part of the NBC Sports Radio Network 24/7 lineup, it’s announced Donovan McNabb, andmalonemark another former NFL QB Mark Malone, will pair up for the network’s 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm program called, “Under Center with McNabb & Malone” beginning April 1.  Mark Malone has been serving as an analyst for Dial Global Sports‘ Sunday afternoon NFL package and he also hosts “NFL Insider” each week.  Dial Global EVP/GM Chris Corcoran says, “We’ve got two quarterbacks, two leaders, two competitive former professional athletes and two current media personalities who know all sports – you know this is going to be a fun ride for sports fans!”

wind logoSalem Chicago Confirms New Joe Walsh Show.  As Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reported last week, one-term Republican Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh begins a new 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm talk show on Salem Communications’ WIND beginning Monday, March 25.  General manager Jeff Reisman states,walshjoe “There are few politicians in Illinois or anywhere in the country that garner as much attention as Joe Walsh.  Joe is an outspoken defender of freedom, and because of his firsthand experience in Congress, he brings a unique perspective to the national conversation as our country searches for answers during these challenging times.”  Walsh’s arrival bumps Salem Radio Network’s Hugh Hewitt to the 2:00 am to 5:00 am slot.  Feder quotes Walsh saying, “We’re at a crucial point in this country, and I’m excited to take the debate right to listeners throughout Chicagoland via the airwaves.  The radio program will be a great platform to help grow a freedom movement which is already gaining momentum right here in Illinois.  I intend to do with this program what I did as a U.S. congressman — speak plainly, speak directly, not worry about political correctness, and engage in respectful, engaging debate with all viewpoints.  This is just too important of a time for all of us to do anything less.”  Walsh’s agent tells Feder if things go well the show could go national.

grandephil‘Phil’s Gang’ Returns to Denver on KRCN.  The nationally syndicated business talk show “Phil’s Gang” – hosted by nationally recognized investor and entrepreneur Phil Grande – returns to the Denver airwaves on KRCN 1060 “The Biz” at 1:00 pm beginning Monday, March 18.  Radio Colorado Network general manager Les Haber states, “We are excited and very pleased that Phil Grande is back in Denver because he is one of the best investment talk show hosts in the country.  Phil Grande brings insightful information that is very current and very cutting edge to an audience that will benefit from his program.”  Grande’s show is independently syndicated to stations across America and he describes his program as providing “all the information that Wall Street and the government doesn’t want you to know.”

wzgc am showCBS Radio’s “92.9 The Game” Atlanta Adds Kristen Ledlow to AM Drive Show.  The five-month-old Atlanta CBS Radio sports talker brings Kristen Ledlow aboard the “Opening Drive” morning show with Rick Kamla and Randy Cross.  Ledlow takes over for CJ Simpson who leaves the program to be the in-game host of the WNBA’s L.A. Sparks broadcasts.  Ledlow comes to the station after serving as the Southeast field reporter with Fox Sports NEXT in Atlanta.  She’s also worked as television host and sideline reporter with ABC News in Tallahassee and as co-host on ESPN Radio in Tallahassee.   WZGC program director Terry Foxx states, “We were very fortunate that Kristen was available.  She has tremendous passion, an incredible personality and a love for sports.”

fisherhouselogoFisher House Foundation Offers Second Annual Memorial Day Program for News/Talk Stations.  For the second year in a row, the three-hour “A Grateful Nation” program is being offered for broadcast by news/talksladescott stations this Memorial Day weekend.  The program is a project of the Fisher House Foundation which provides no-cost housing and other support for the families of wounded warriors while their loved ones are being treated at military and VA hospitals.  The radio special debuted last year as a one-hour program, but was expanded to a three-hour format in its second year due to popular demand.  The program includes profiles of several wounded warriors who have overcome serious injuries to build full and happy lives.  It also looks at how today’s America remembers her fallen heroes and cares for the loved ones left behind.  It’s hosted by Scott Slade, award-winning host of “Atlanta’s Morning News” on Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/FM.  Slade states, “It’s so important that we continue to remember and support our volunteer military and their families.  These folks make incredible sacrifices to protect our freedom and keep us safe.  I’m honored to tell their stories.”  Produced by Bloomquist Media and distributed by Premiere Networks, interested stations can get more information and sign-up for “A Grateful Nation,” by contacting Kurt Kretzschmar at 602-374-6351 or kkretzschmar@premiereradio.com.

russilloryenRussillo and Ryan Come Off the Bench for Celtics Broadcast.  ESPN Radio personality Ryen Russillo and Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan will sub for Cedric Maxwell alongside Sean Grande in the radio booth for WEEI, Boston’s broadcast of Saturday’s Boston Celtics vs Charlotte.  Russillo co-hosts ESPN Radio’s SVP & Russillo show.

oneamerica logoHerring Broadcasting and The Washington Times Partnering on New Conservative Cable News/Talk Channel.  Various media reports indicate a new conservative-slanted cable TV news/talk channel is scheduled to hit cable systems beginning around July 1, 2013.  Deadline.com reports it’ll be called One America News, and be a combined effort of The Washington Times and Herring Broadcasting, owner of WealthTV.  President Charles Herring is quoted saying his family’s company has invested “hundreds of millions of dollars” into the San Diego-based media outlet that will broadcast a combo of news and conservative talk and expects to be available in about 10 million to 20 million homes to start.  The story also quotes Herring saying he plans “to open up another front and give independents, libertarians and all kind of different voices under the conservative umbrella an opportunity to express themselves.”

wilderchuckChuck Wilder Returns to CRN Digital Talk Radio Show.  Veteran radio host Chuck Wilder will be back behind the mic of his “Talkback with Chuck Wilder” program on March 18 on CRN Digital Talk Radio after being on medical leave since late January.  With Wilder out, a number of top radio personalities have been sitting in including: Barry Farber, Frank Morano of New York City’s WNYM AM 970, actor P.J.  Ochlan of the TV series “Castle,” Jennifer Horn, of “Doug Stephan’s Good Day,” Larry Van Aalst of CRN’s “What’s Cookin’ on Wine: Sonoma Report,” and actor and radio host Fred Dryer, among others.  Wilder says, “I’m extremely pleased to have such great talent filling in for me during my leave and I’m especially happy to hear how great our audience has responded to them in the interim.   It’s been a great experience to listen to the show these last two months, but I’m looking forward to returning to the studio and getting back to work.”  The show airs 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm PT on CRN and its affiliates across the country.

nms2013logoEclectic Group of Visionaries Set for “Big Picture” Panel at Talkers New York 2013.  The stellar roster of speakers at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2013 continues to be unveiled.  The lineup is being set for this year’s “Radio: The Big Picture” panel.  Moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, the panel’s speakers include (in alphabetical order): Jeremy Coleman, SVP/talk and entertainment, Sirius XMSteve Goldstein, EVP, Saga Communications; Ron Hartenbaum, CEO, WYD/WYM Media; Mike McVay, SVP/programming, Cumulus Media; Tom Ray, president, Tom Ray Consulting; Walter Sabo, chairman, Sabo Media; and Dennis Wharton, VP/communications, NAB. “It is always an invigorating challenge to moderate these ‘Big Picture’ panels because of the diversity of specialties brought to the table by the movers and shakers participating,” says moderator Harrison.  “The idea is to create a lightning-fast informal chat session giving serious insights to at least 15 burning issues relevant to the industry.”  Talkers New York 2013 takes place Thursday, June 6 and is on track to being an early sellout.  Because of space limitations, registration is only open to working members of the media and can only be taken via telephone at 413-565-5413.  Stay tuned to Talkers.com for more agenda details about speakers, panels, presentations and award recipients coming in the immediate days ahead.

gallagherCPAC2013Mike Gallagher Live from CPAC.  Salem Radio Network syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher is in Washington, DC broadcasting his program live from the site of CPAC 2013.  He’s pictured here talking on the air with former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich and oil industry expert Scott Noble about energy policy.  CPAC 2013 takes place through this weekend.

Sequestration and Budget Battle Stay Atop Talkers TenTM for Fourth Straight Week.  The debate in Washington over the sequestration and the nation’s budget deficit and national debt was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  Coming in at #2 was the naming of Pope Francis as leader of the Catholic Church.  At number #3 was the costs of the Affordable Health Care Act followed by North Korea’s military threats 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 published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s chart here.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

| March 6, 2013

nielsen logoAcquiring Arbitron Adds to the Total Media Mix for Nielsen.  At day two of the Deutsche Bank DbAccess 21st Annual Media and Telecom Conference, Nielsen president of Global Media Products & Advertiser Solutions Steve Hasker says that the acquisition of Arbitron will add another two hours per day to its understanding of the media to which consumers arehaskersteve exposed.  “If you think about media consumption here in the U.S. as one geographic example, we cover about five hours per day for the average consumer through television audience measurement…That is the bedrock of our ‘Watch’ business.  To that, we hope to add radio, which is another two hours of consumers’ time.  And we felt that this was a very important part, both of understanding the media exposure and what consumers watch and what they listen to, but also a very important part of the overall media mix particularly for local advertisers.  And so the ability to capture this data and combine it with our TV data and our digital information, which is online and mobile through products like ‘Online Campaign Ratings,’ ‘Brand Effect’ and the ‘Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings,’ put it all together and we’re covering around about eight hours of a consumer’s time per day exposed to media…think about that as coverage of everything except for print and we think that those are the most valuable parts of the media mix and are central to our proposition of understanding consumer behavior at a very, very deep level.”

walshjoeSalem’s WIND, Chicago to Air Evening Show with Former Congressman Joe Walsh.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports that one-term Tea Party congressman Joe Walsh will begin a two-hour early evening talk show on Salem Communications’ WIND, Chicago on March 18.  Although Salem was not commenting officially, Walsh spoke openly to Feder.  The “Joe Walsh Unplugged” show will air from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm and will often emanate from locations around the state as he indicates his recent travels to push the Tea Party ideals are part of his desire to create a movement.  He tells Feder, “We are going to make this a real grass-roots push and advocacy thing, and the radio show is going to be a key part of that.”  Feder reports the show is expected to be officially announced on March 14 when Walsh appears at “Obama 2.0: The Road Ahead,” a public event sponsored by WIND.  Expected to be there with Walsh will be WIND afternoon host Steve Cochran, Salem Radio Network host Michael Medved and Illinois Policy Institute’s John Tillman.

shawsteveCumulus Media Names Steve Shaw SVP of National Sales.  In his new role with Cumulus Media, the former president of Katz Radio Group will be based out of New York.  Steve Shaw most recently served as president of Cox Digital Solutions where he founded the digital rep group Cox Cross Media.  Cumulus executive vice president and co-COO Jon Pinch says, “Having run Katz Radio for years, Steve is the natural choice for this position.  He understands the national marketplace, has key relationships with buyers and sellers, and is well known for high integrity and an intense work ethic.  Steve will work closely with our team of national sales managers, our partners at Katz, Mike Pallad, myself, and other senior management at Cumulus.”  On his new position, Shaw states, “I am thrilled to be joining Cumulus Media – they operate some of the best brands in radio and I look forward to helping design and implement great solutions for our national advertising partners.  Our combination of scale and quality programming will allow us to deliver great results that drive our customers’ businesses.”

trisselbrookeRAB Names Brooke Trissel Senior Vice President, Membership.  The Radio Advertising Bureau announces that, as part of its mission to serve its members, it is appointing Brooke Trissel senior vice president, membership.  In this position Trissel will partner with the RAB’s Membership team to enhance and communicate the organization’s core membership benefits to existing and new members.  She’ll report to president and CEO Erica Farber and will be based at RAB Dallas.  Farber states, “I’m thrilled for Brooke to join the RAB in this capacity where she brings her vast experience in radio broadcasting to super-serve our growing membership.  Brooke is the consummate radio executive who will work closely within the organization and our members to meet their needs in a changing radio and media landscape.”  Trissel grew up in a radio family that owned and operated Oklahoma-based Omni Media Group.  She served in many roles within the company including sales manager for KWOX-FM/KMZE-FM and station manager for KOMI-TV in Woodward, Oklahoma.  Most recently, she has been overseeing marketing and sales as the vice president of News/Talk/Sports MediaOnline with prior experience selling advertising and sponsorships at Radio & Records.  Trissel also worked in affiliate sales with ABC Radio Networks in Dallas.  She says, “I’ve long been a fan of the RAB’s products and services and I’m excited to partner with Erica and the Membership team to share all the exciting enhancements taking place at the organization with our members.”

boortzbookNeal Boortz Pens Talk Radio Memoir.  The title of the book is Maybe I Should Just Shut Up and Go Away (Carpenters Son Publishing 2013).  In it, iconic formerly Atlanta-based talk radio legend Neal Boortz looks back at his 42 years on the radio as a talk show host.  The promotion for the book says, in part, Boortz “shares the often-hilarious reality of what happens behind the scenes when you’re a talk radio icon.  Longtime friend with national radio greats Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, he tells how those relationships began in the hot seat of competition…Though early predictions by those who knew him in his youth cast Boortz as a sure prospect to become a preacher, he took a different route to educating the masses.  Longtime listeners are certain to become enthusiastic readers as Boortz finally tips his hat to more than four decades of teeing up controversy, political education and general entertainment for audiences across the country to enjoy—and tells all they’ve been wanting to know but couldn’t get anyone to share until now.”

nms2013logoArbitron to Present “Special PPM Report on the State of the Spoken Word” at Forthcoming TALKERS Conference.  The agenda for the forthcoming “Talkers New York 2013″ continues to grow as Arbitron, Inc. has joined the roster of presenters with a special in-depth statistical insight into the research company’s findings about the news/talk, sports talk, all-news, and NPR formats’ performance in a PPM world.  It will also include a special look at listening habits and listener direction trends on the AM dial.  The presentation will be delivered by Arbitron’s director of programming services Jon Miller who spearheaded a similar presentation analyzing country radio at the recent CRS inmillerjon Nashville.  In making the announcement, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says, “We were so impressed with the extraordinary value of the country conference presentation we checked out to see if they have a similar study pertinent to talk radio.  As it turns out they do and we are delighted to make it available to our attendees.”  Talkers New York 2013 is the 16th annual installment of the industry’s longest-running and most important national talk radio convention.  It will take place on Thursday, June 6 and is open only to members of the working media.  Registration is $199 per person which includes all sessions, attractions and food services.  An advance sellout is expected.  For registration (phone only) and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.  Stay tuned to Talkers.com for more exciting agenda details to be announced in the coming days.

wxos logoWXOS, St. Louis Crowns ‘Sportscaster Factor’ Winner.  Hubbard Broadcasting’s WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” announces it finished its first-ever “Sportscaster Factor” competition on Saturday, March 2 and has named Brett McMillan winner of the inaugural competition for which he gets bragging rights and a weekend show on the station.  McMillan, a student at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri, beat out 175 other competitors in the competition.  During Saturday’s final round at the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, 101ESPN’s Randy Karraker, PD Kent Sterling and APS Chris “Hoss” Neupert trimmed the 38 semi-finalists down to 16 finalists, and then to the eight who competed for the coveted spot.  Sterling says of the promotion.  “This was a great competition.  We never had any inkling that there were so many talented broadcasters in St. Louis.  Everyone knows this is a great sports town, but it’s also a great broadcasting city.  When this started, we would have been really happy with any of the final eight – and most of the rest of the sixteen finalists.  In Brett, we think we have found exactly what this competition was designed to find – a host that is really good today, will be better down the road, and someone we would not have found otherwise.  I fully anticipate doing this again.  It was fun for the contestants and for us.  Not only did we find a solid host, we found several who might end up working for 101ESPN one day.”

flintaaronOdds & Sods.  Montana talk host Aaron Flint gets props from the Washington Post for his political blog “The Flint Report” as part of the paper’s “Best State-Based Political Blogs” piece.  Flint, who broadcasts a daily talk radio show that airs on 17 stations across Montana, including Connoisseur Media’s KYYA, Billings, is an officer in the Montana Army National Guard and served three tours in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa.  Of his media work, he says, “Every day, I hope to take a wide range of experiences to show audiences the bigger picture, or to give them a side of the story they won’t get anywhere else.”…..Programmer Peter Bolger is promoted to director of AM programming at Clear Channel’s San Antonio cluster.  Bolger has served as program director for news/talk WOAI and sports talk KTKR since joining the cluster inkatzjeffspeaks 2007……CBS Sports Radio Network’s John Feinstein debuts a weekly hour-long segment called “One-On-One” as part of his late morning show on the network in which he interviews a sports newsmaker.  The first installment is today from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon with Bob Costas.  Upcoming guests for the segment include sports figures and celebrities such as NBA Commissioner David Stern, professional golfer Tom Watson and NBA champion Steve Kerr…..Talk radio pro Jeff Katz sits in for Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated host Todd Schnitt on his Monday, March 11 and Wednesday, March 13 programs.

sliwacubaCurtis Sliwa Boasts Five-Hour ‘Commemoration’ of Hugo Chavez.  WNYM, New York “970 The Answer” talk personality Curtis Sliwa tells TALKERS magazine his was the only station to “commemorate” the late Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez yesterday.  Sliwa states, “We got the news yesterday afternoon and did two hours on the “Curtis & Jeffrey” show from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm and then continued this morning from 6:00 am to 9:00 am on my solo show.  Additionally, we discussed his career as a TV and radio talk show host as the host of “Alo Presidente.”  You may think that we were comrades in arms because of our red berets and our battles with cancer.  That couldn’t be further from the truth.”  Pictured here is Sliwa in Cuba several years ago leading an anti-Castro and anti-Chavez chant among like-minded Cuban citizens.

Sequester Impact, Hugo Chavez Dies, Iran/North Korea Nuclear Threats, and High-Flying Dow Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/5).  The impact of the sequester and the ongoing battle over federal budget issues; the death of Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez; Iran’s and North Korea’s nuclear threats; and the still-soaring Dow were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, February 1, 2013

| February 1, 2013

rodgersleeLongtime KSFO and KGO, San Francisco Personality Lee Rodgers Dies.  San Francisco talk radio host Lee Rodgers – who spent the last part of his career on the radio in the market co-hosting morning drive with Melanie Morgan on KSFO – died on Thursday while being operated on for a heart condition.  Rodgers had been dealing with heart ailments for some time and Thursday’s surgery was, according to a blog post by his widow Susan, risky but something Rodgers was willing to undergo.  Rodgers and Morgan were ousted from their KSFO morning show position in February of 2010.

kochedFormer Talk Host Ed Koch Dies at 88.  Ed Koch was known to most as a former U.S. Representative and the former mayor of New York City but he was also a progressive talk radio host after his days in New York City Hall.  He worked at WABC, New York in the middays in the mid-1990s.  He was respected by conservatives and liberals alike and often referred to as the “sane liberal” by conservatives.  In recent years, Koch also hosted a Friday evening program on Bloomberg Radio’s WBBR, New York.

escarsegaronCumulus Names Ron Escarsega OM for KGO and KSFO, San Francisco.  Moving up from Cumulus Media’s Los Angeles cluster where he served as assistant program director for news/talk KABC, Ron Escarsega takes the position of operations manager for news KGO and news/talk KSFO.  Cumulus news/talk/sports corporate programmer Jim Mahanay states, “Ron has done a great job for us in Los Angeles. We’re excited at the skills he brings north to the Bay Area.”  Escarsega says, “I’m excited for the new challenge to work with two iconic stations KGO and KSFO.  I appreciate the confidence Cumulus has shown in me and look forward to the new challenge.”  KGO and KSFO program director Paul Hosley exits the company.

nms2013logoDate Set for TALKERS New York City Conference.  Save the date!  The 16th annual TALKERS Conference is set for New York City on Thursday, June 6, 2013.  Formerly called “The New Media Seminar” the event – now simply titled TALKERS New York 2013 – will again take place at the comfortable and modern Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side.  It will be a power-packed full day of special addresses, panels, presentations, and social networking opportunities tackling the key issues facing talk radio and its relationship with the new talk media (internet, satellite, cable TV) as well as the general radio industry including music radio and the changing role of the disc jockey.  According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “This will be a TALKERS conference for the new era.  Our presentation this year will be so fresh and vital to the survival and ‘thrival’ of the business that we actually are moving beyond the title ‘New Media Seminar.’  It is not to be missed.”  Stand by for full registration, sponsorship and unfolding agenda details posted here before the end of the week.  Registrations will not go on sale until next Monday, February 4 after which, due to limited space and seating, it is expected to be a rapid sellout.  Registration will be limited to members of the working media only.

riverageraldoGeraldo Rivera Contemplating U.S. Senate Run in 2014.  Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York-based midday talk personality Geraldo Rivera said on his radio program on Thursday that he’s considering a run for the U.S. Senate in 2014.  He told listeners, “I mention this only briefly – fasten – I am and have been in touch with some people in the Republican Party in New Jersey.  I am truly contemplating running for Senate against Frank Lautenberg or Cory Booker in New Jersey.”  The Christian Science Monitor examines Rivera’s chances here.  Though New Jersey is a fairly blue state, whether this is Rivera musing out loud or he’s serious about this will become clearer over time.  He wouldn’t be the first to turn a talk radio gig into a U.S. Senate seat.  Al Franken did it in Minnesota.

gallaghermikeSalem Radio Network Teams with USCCA for Second Amendment Protection Petition.  The petition – which obtained its 60,000th signature during Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher show on Thursday (1/31) – is a combined effort of the United States Concealed Carry Association and Salem Radio Networks.  The petition is intended to be delivered to Congress to request that the Second Amendment be honored as Washington works on gun legislation in the wake of the Newtown massacre.

wdbo logoCox Media’s WDBO, Orlando Produces Student-Led Gun Legislation Debate.  The event took place yesterday evening on the University of Central Florida campus where pre-law students in the Moot Court program debated the issue before a live audience and live on WDBO.  The debate was moderated by midday personality Mel Robbins. Station program director Drew Anderssen stated, “Student safety is at the core of the gun control debate in Washington.  The politicians have spoken.  Our talk hosts have spoken.  But, we haven’t heard a long-form discussion on the issue from students.  Thanks to the UCF Moot Court Team, we’re able to present our auditorium and radio audiences with a truly bi-partisan discussion on an issue that will shape our nation’s future from people who represent our nation’s future.”

donahuetomTalk Host Tom Donahue Returns to Terrestrial Radio on KCAA, San Bernardino.  Talk radio pro Tom Donahue – who’s been producing his own talk show in various digital formats recently – is taking to the airwaves of Southern California on Broadcasting Management Services’ KCAA, Loma Linda (San Bernardino market) for a weekly Friday program airing at 6:00 pm.  Donahue’s program remains part of the internet Talk Superstation lineup.  He says he plans to grow his station affiliate base and eventually expand beyond his new weekly endeavor.

stockalanOdds & Sods.  KDWN, Las Vegas morning drive host Alan Stock sits in for Rusty Humphries on his Talk Radio Network nationally syndicated show this afternoon (2/1)…..WTOP, Washington, DC reporter Neil Augenstein came to the rescue of a Virginia man whose car had been pulled down the road and into a ditch by flood waters early Thursday morning.  Augenstein came upon the van while driving in the early morning hours.  He was able to confirm that man was okay and phoned authorities to send a rescue crew…..Premiere Networks “Coast to Coast AM” star George Noory is stewartmarthaprofiled in St. Louis Magazine.  Noory splits his time between St. Louis and Los Angeles and in the piece speaks about his journey from news broadcasting to radio and how it influences the show today plus more…..SirusXM launches a new Martha Stewart program called, “Martha Live.”  This program debuts February 19 and will be a daily, two-hour live program airing from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm ET and will feature segments including “Ask Martha,” with live call-ins; “Mostly Martha,” with high-profile guest interviews and discussions; segments hosted by Martha’s favorite experts; as well as curated segments from Martha’s vast archives of radio and television.

freemanedgeTALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge adds WGSO, New Orleans; WLNI, Lynchburg, Virginia; and WGAW, Gardner, Massachusetts to its roster of affiliates…..WREC, Memphis adds the Dave Ramsey program to its lineup…..“Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford” picks up its 75th affiliate station with the addition of WTYS, Marianna, Florida.  Lipford also produces a companion syndicated television program of the same name…..Chris Markowski’s “Money Minutes” feature is added to the Salem Tampa stations.

Immigration Reform Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of January 28.  The Obama Administration’s proposal for immigration reform was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of January 28 – February 1.  Coming in at #2 was the report of the shrinking GDP in the U.S. tied with the Obama Administration’s shutting down of the bi-partisan jobs council.  At #3 was the Chuck Hagel confirmation hearing followed by Gabrielle Giffords’ gun legislation testimony at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result of ongoing research form TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s chart here.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

| January 30, 2013

cookehollandBlogging to Grow Your Tribe.  Radio personalities and station programmers have great opportunities to use social media and blogging to build more interactivity and loyalty with fans and P1s, writes radio consultant Holland Cooke.  In today’s piece, Cooke passes on some very salient points from the recent New Media Expo.  He notes that the old paradigm of radio sales is passé and radio personalities are positioned to take advantage of the new paradigm.  “The E-word en vogue is engagement, and money is flowing to digital opportunities that talk-with customers, rather than simply talk-at-‘em.”  Cooke states that blogging has concrete benefits for anyone in the personality business.  “If you’re an on-air host, blogging can deepen your connection with listeners, especially if you’re working music radio, and keep hearing ‘keep it moving.’  Blogging can also become the digital ‘inventory’ that agencies now expect to see included with on-air spots…or for you to monetize yourself.”  Read Holland Cooke’s entire piece here.

duncanchrisChris Duncan Returns to WXOS, St. Louis After Near Four-Month Absence.  Former St. Louis Cardinals star and current member of “The Fast Lane” PM drive program on Hubbard Radio’s WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN,” Chris Duncan returned to his full-time position after almost four months.  Duncan has been dealing with intensive surgeries, treatments and physical/occupational therapy for a brain tumor, which was diagnosed in 2012.  He has been absent from his full-time co-host seat since October 8, 2012 but recently has been appearing on “The Fast Lane” for brief interviews during his treatment.  He expresses his gratitude for all of the listener and fan support during his ordeal.  “I’m really excited and grateful to be back on ‘The Fast Lane’ with Randy [Karraker] and D’Marco [Farr].  I’m blessed to work at a great place like ‘101 ESPN’ with such outstanding people, and the timing couldn’t have been better with spring training a couple of weeks away.”  Program director Kent Sterling states, “Having Chris back makes the station whole again.  He’s such a positive person on ‘101 ESPN’ and in the halls that he was missed on many levels.  To have him back every day makes everyone smile around here, and hopefully the same is true for listeners of ‘The Fast Lane’.”

ramseydaveDave Ramsey Takes Over Evenings in Memphis.  Nationally syndicated financial talk superstar Dave Ramsey will be the evening talk talent at Clear Channel’s WREC, Memphis on April 19 when “The Daily Wrap” from The Wall Street Journal Radio Network ends.  WREC program director Forrest Goodman states, “Dave has a powerful track record on radio.  I am excited to add him to the station, where we feature the strongest names in talk, like RushHannity and Beck.”

gallaghermikeWelcome Back to Mike Gallagher After Recent Hospitalization.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Mike Gallagher returns to the air today after being hospitalized in Greenville, South Carolina for double pneumonia early last week.  The Salem Radio Network host tells TALKERS, “It was like Christmas in January for Piers Morgan, Bill Maher and Alan Colmes — Mike Gallagher with no voice.  But I’m tanned, rested and ready to fight the good fight again starting Wednesday.”

kynsMapleton Shifts KYNS, San Luis Obispo from Progressive Talk to All-News.  Mapleton’s KYNS, San Luis Obispo has been a progressive talk outlet since the days of Air America but now the signal is airing an all-news format under the brand “SLO Radio News 1340.”  The station is using the long-form news blocks from America’s Radio News Network.

madisonjoeOdds & Sods.  Talk personality Joe Madison will be the host for SiriusXM’s “Roots Town Hall” featuring original cast members from “Roots,” the groundbreaking television mini-series.  Madison will interview LeVar Burton, Leslie Uggams, and Louis Gossett, Jr. before a select group of listeners at the SiriusXM studios in New York City.  The program will commemorate the start of Black History Month and air live Tuesday, February 5 at 2:00 pm ET…..Buckley Radio names Mary Lou Gunn general manager of its Bakersfield cluster that includes hot AC KLLY, news/talk KSMJ, news/talk KNZR, and rhythmic oldies KKBB…..Clear Channel’s WTAM, Cleveland renews its agreement with Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians to be the flagship station through the 2017 season.  As part of the deal, CC will air 144 of the games on FM rock station WMMS…..ESPN Audio prepares to debut a new podcast on February 4 featuring Michael Smith and Jemele Hill called, “His & Hers with Michael Smith and Jemele Hill.”  Smith is host of “Numbers Never* Lie,” and Hill is an ESPN.com columnist and frequent contributor on various ESPN shows.

Immigration Reform, Kerry Confirmed/Hillary in 2016?, New Pro Athlete Doping Probe, North Korea Nuke Threat, and Gun Control Debate Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/29).  The debate over immigration reform legislation; John Kerry’s succeeding Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State and Clinton’s possible run for president in 2016; the latest pro athlete doping probe; North Korea’s nuclear threat; and the controversy over gun control proposals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, January 4, 2013

| January 4, 2013

simonemarkMark Simone Begins Late Morning Show on WOR, New York.  Longtime WABC, New York personality Mark Simone is heading downtown to begin a new chapter in his career with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WOR.  Simone tells TALKERS he’s excited to begin hosting the daily 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program.  He says, “It’ll be a fast and fun daily look at what’s going on in the world, the city, entertainment, politics, tech, gossip, food, nightlife, my life, lives and whatever else they want to talk about.  Lots of great guests and listener calls, too.”  Simone says his 13 years at WABC wor710were great.  Management was always good to him and he’s finding it hard to leave his fellow co-workers but he’s encouraged to be re-joining general manager Steve Borneman who recently left WABC and is now with WOR.  “He’s a great leader and the best GM we ever had on the 17th floor at WABC and everyone on the air there would tell you that they would follow him anywhere.  He’s also hiring the best and smartest programming mastermind around.  This is just the beginning.  So, while I hate leaving the best co-workers in radio, it may not be long before many of them decide to join me here.”  Simone’s program fills the slot on WOR previously held by Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher.

valicenti show logoWPRO, Providence Makes AM Drive Change; Gene Valicenti to Anchor.  Cumulus Media’s WPRO & 99.7 FM, Providence announces WJAR-TV co-anchor Gene Valicenti (pictured at left) is the new host of its “WPRO Morning News” program.  The station says “Gene brings more than 20 years of Rhode Island news broadcasting experience to the ‘WPRO Morning News’ each and every weekday.  With an intimate knowledge of Rhode Island and neighboring Massachusetts, the ‘WPRO Morning News with Gene Valicenti’ will help listeners get their weekday started with news, traffic, weather and the unique touch of Gene Valicenti.”  For more than two years Valicenti has been hosting his eponymous Saturday morning show on WPRO.  He says, “Rhode Island has been waking up to WPRO since the days of Salty Brine.  It goes without saying that hosting the ‘WPRO Morning News’ is a real honor for me.”  TALKERS columnist and respected industry consultant Holland Cooke, who happens to be a longtime resident of Rhode Island, comments that he believes this to be a very good move.  “I’ve been a big Gene Valicenti fan for years, but who here in Rhode Island isn’t?  His NBC10 newscasts have consistently led the ratings.  Beyond those impressive news chops, Gene’s approach to talk radio demonstrates what I hear as a welcome new trend, an antidote to the format’s caricature.  His Saturday radio show SMILES more than most other talkers I hear; and, though topical, he’s not obsessed with politics.  Gene strikes me as ‘a next-gen Salty Brine.’”  In related news, current morning news host Tara Granahan is promoted to assistant program director for the station.

kinosianmikeTALKERS magazine’s Sports Radio Feature, Part 3.  Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian wraps up a special three-part sports talk radio feature with a look at the December 2012 PPM ratings for sports talk stations in those markets.  Numbers freaks will enjoy checking out how some of the nation’s most prominent sports talk outlets performed during that period.  Peruse that data here.  Mike Kinosian’s three-part feature kicked off with a thorough look at the new CBS Sports Radio Network that debuted on Wednesday.  If you missed that, read it here.  The second part of this piece covered the new sports talk venture from NBC and Dial Global that premieres its weekend programming tomorrow prior to a full launch in April.  You can read that piece here.

noorygeorgeGeorge Noory Celebrates 10 Years as Host of ‘Coast to Coast AM.’  It was 10 years ago this weekend that George Noory took over the permanent host gig at Premiere Networks’ super-successful overnight program “Coast to Coast AM” and he plans a special show Sunday evening to celebrate.  The show will feature appearances by many fan-favorite guests, including paranormal investigator Joshua P. Warren and internationally known psychic Joseph Jacobs.  Noory will also share memorable interviews and highlights from the past decade.  Of the anniversary, Noory says, “It’s amazing how fast 10 years goes by and I’m looking forward to 10 more.  We have grown the affiliate base from 445 stations when I came on to 564, and have increased our digital, multi-platform audiences tremendously.  I want to thank my staff of dedicated producers and engineers, our affiliates, as well as the entire Premiere Networks team – they are the best in the business.”  Premiere Networks EVP of news, talk and sports programming Carl Anderson states, “After 10 successful years, George continues to take ‘Coast to Coast AM’ to new heights.  His ability to not only entertain and engage his loyal following of sleep-deprived listeners across multiple platforms, but also deliver positive results for stations and sponsors, is what makes him a stand-out star in the world of talk radio.  We look forward to celebrating many more milestones together.”

DG-logoHorizontalBig NFL Weekend for Dial Global Sports.  The first round of the NFL playoffs is here and Dial Global is providing radio broadcasts of the four Wild Card round games this weekend.  Play-by-play of the NFL playoffs has been a successful venture for Dial Global (and Westwood One before that).  Last year, the company commissioned a study by Edison Research to calculate listenership to the playoff games and the Super Bowl which, according to Edison, pulled in 23.1 million unique listeners to last year’s championship game, underscoring how many Americans aren’t able to be near a TV and turn to the radio to hear the big game.

snlkaganSNL Kagan Reports Current TV-Al Jazeera Deal a Challenge for Middle East Operator.  The pending $500 million sale of Al Gore-founded cable news/talk channel Current TV to Qatar-operated Al Jazeera is a bounty for Al Gore and Joel Hyatt but will likely be a big hurdle for Al Jazeera.  SNL Kagan states, “We think Al Jazeera may have to drop the license fee to zero in order to gain widespread support for carrying the channel in the U.S., a move that would certainly imperil its economic model, which relies upon license fees for 80% of the network’s revenue.  But maybe this is the only way for Al Jazeera America to gain a solid foothold in the U.S…In the U.S., the channel is available only in New York; Washington; Burlington, Vt.; Toledo, Ohio; and Bristol, R.I., versus 250 million households across the world in 120 countries.”

weei logoEntercom’s WEEI Expands Its Brand in the Granite State.  New England’s Boston-based WEEI sports talk radio brand expands in New Hampshire adding its eighth affiliate – Great Eastern Radio’s WZEI, Meredith.  WZEI is a class A FM covering the Lakes Region of New Hampshire.  The station will carry the entire WEEI daily sports talk lineup, its weekend programming and Boston Celtics basketball.  Great Eastern CEO Jeff Shapiro says, “We are very excited to bring coverage of everything New England sports to the Lakes Region of New Hampshire with 101.5 WZEI.  Great Eastern Radio and WEEI have a great partnership that has been key to great sports programming in northern New England for the past few years, and we look forward to extending that for years to come!”

kgologoKGO, San Francisco Wins Regional News Awards.  Cumulus Media’s KGO, San Francisco picks up two 2012 awards for broadcasting excellence from the NorCal Radio Television News Directors Association.  The station won “Best News Broadcast” for the in-depth coverage of the Occupy protest and closure of the Port of Oakland anchored by Bret Burkhart and Chris Brecher; produced by Linnea Edmeier and Laura Podolak.  The judges said it “grabs you right out of the box (with) passionate and engaged reporting (and) paints a good word picture of what was going on.”  KGO reporter Scott Lettieri won “Best Light Feature Reporting” for his “Spotlight 810” piece on inmates performing Shakespeare in San Quentin.  The judges said it was “interesting and meaningful,” with a “great mix of dramatic Shakespeare readings, music, (and) inmate reflections on what they’re gaining personally by taking part.”  KGO program director Paul Hosley says, “We’re humbled by these awards.  The 5:00 pm hour is highly popular with listeners and features contributions from the entire news team.  We’re thrilled to have Scott Lettieri recognized for his remarkable work as well.  Scott is a master story teller and it showed in this report about inmates performing Shakespeare behind bars.”

Bloomberg’s WBBR, New York Celebrates 20th Anniversary.  Bloomberg’s WBBR, New York is celebrating its 20th anniversary as Bloomberg Radio – the 24-hour business and financial news outlet in the Big Apple.  To mark the occasion, anchor Tom Keene and reporter Charlie Pellett will join staffers at the New York Stock Exchange to ring the closing bell.

‘Fiscal Cliff’ Legislation Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of December 31 – January 4.  Debate over and passage of the laws designed to avoid the “fiscal cliff” was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, putting it at #1 on the Talkers TenTM.   Coming in at #2 was the Boehner House Speaker vote.  At #3 was financial markets activity followed by Hurricane Sandy aid legislation at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

| November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving from All of Us at TALKERS.  All of us at TALKERS want to take this opportunity to express our gratitude at Thanksgiving to the hard-working, dedicated members of the radio industry and its associated fields who support and encourage us in this endeavor as readers, contributors and sponsors.  PLEASE NOTE:  Our regular weekday mid-morning emailed newsletter will not be sent out tomorrow (Thanksgiving) or Friday – but the home of TALKERS (www.talkers.com) will be updated with major breaking stories should they occur, as is the case 365 days per year.  We sincerely hope you all have a wonderful holiday with loved ones and reflect on how fortunate we all are to have the opportunity to be in a business and medium that is so vital to preserving the public’s well-being as well as bringing entertainment, happiness, information and opinions to millions each and every minute of the day.  May we all have the courage, strength, intelligence and will to keep the spark of radio and talk media glowing through these challenging times and into the promise of yet another golden era.

Andy Stuart Exits Clear Channel Toledo Market Manager Post.  More changes at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Toledo cluster a little more than a week after news/talk WSPD programmer and talk host Brian Wilson was let go by the company.  Toledo market manager and regional market manager in Northern Ohio Andy Stuart announces he’s leaving the company to take a CEO post at a new technology firm that he and his superiors are not naming due to the secretive nature of the tech business, according to the Toledo Blade.

Salem Communications Prepares to Flip WMUU, Greenville to Conservative Talk.  The class C FM at 94.5 that Salem Communications is buying from Bob Jones University-affiliated Gospel Fellowship Association covers a huge part of the Greenville-Spartanburg region.  Salem tips via Facebook that the station will be imaged as “Conservative Talk 94.5 FM” and will begin airing the Salem Radio Network slate of conservative talk shows featuring Mike Gallagher, Michael Medved, Dennis Prager, Hugh Hewitt and Bill Bennett on Monday, December 3.  The station currently airs a beautiful music format.

WTN, Nashville Raises $120,000 for Nashville Rescue Mission.  Cumulus Media news/talk WTN, Nashville “SuperTalk 99.7” pulled in more than $120,000 for the Nashville Rescue Mission during its 2012 Radiothon on Monday, November 19.  Vice president and market manager Mike Carpenter states, “We are more than pleased with the results of this year’s Hunger to Hope Radiothon for the Nashville Rescue Mission.  Our gracious listeners and clients helped raise over $20,000 above and beyond our original goal.  We are very proud to be a part of this effort to support the community through the Nashville Rescue Mission.”  The station reports that the effort was spearheaded by talk show personality Michael DelGiorno and the broadcast included all four of the station’s prime daytime hosts, utilizing commercial time as well as much of their normal program content to push for donations.  The lineup included Ralph Bristol from 5:00 am to 9:00 am, Michael DelGiorno from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, Dave Ramsey from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm and Phil Valentine from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Additionally, Michael DelGiorno broadcast live from the Nashville Rescue Mission for an hour with Ralph Bristol, pre-empted the Mike Huckabee show by extending his program an hour, and then returned to the studio to raise $45,000 in the final hour of the radiothon at 6:00 pm.

KKLA, Los Angeles Personality Frank Pastore Injured in Motorcycle Accident.  Former major league baseball pitcher and Christian talk radio personality Frank Pastore is in critical condition at Los Angeles County USC Medical Center after suffering injuries in a motorcycle accident on Los Angeles’ 210 Freeway on Monday evening.  According to The Sun, Pastore – who hosts the PM drive slot on Salem Communications’ KKLA, Los Angeles Christian teaching outlet – was hit by another car while riding his motorcycle and thrown from the bike.  Just how extensive his injuries are is not known at this time.

KJAC, Fort Collins Inks Deal with Colorado State University.  Front Range Broadcasting sports talker KJAC, Fort Collins “105.5 ESPN” strikes a deal with Nelligan Sports Marketing to serve as the flagship station for Colorado State University athletics.  The deal will have KJAC broadcast football and men’s and women’s basketball play-by-play beginning in July of 2013.  The contract also calls for production and airing of weekly coach’s shows.  Games will also air on Front Range’s KDSP, Denver “102.3 ESPN.”

More Holiday Fill-In Work.  Progressive talk host Nicole Sandler is sitting in for Premiere NetworksRandi Rhodes on her nationally syndicated program for today’s pre-Thanksgiving Day program.  Sandler is also scheduled to host Rhodes’ program around the Christmas holidays December 17-21, December 26-28 and on New Year’s Eve day.

WJXL-AM/FM, Jacksonville Raises $54,000-Plus for Cancer Charity.  Seven Bridges Radio’s sports talk WJXL-AM/FM, Jacksonville “1010XL” raised more than $54,000 for the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund – New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin’s charity that benefits children battling cancer – during its radiothon on October 25.  Pictured here are staffers manning the phones at the 1010XL offices during the one-day radiothon.

Israel-Hamas Violence, ‘Fiscal Cliff,’ Petraeus-Broadwell Scandal, Benghazi Investigation, and Thanksgiving Holiday Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/20).  The ongoing attacks between Israel and Hamas; the battle in Washington over how to avoid the “fiscal cliff”; the possible security effects of the Petraeus-Broadwell scandal; the Benghazi investigation and Petraeus’ involvement; and the Thanksgiving holiday were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, October 29, 2012

| October 29, 2012

Radio Stations Across the Northeast Totally Focused on Hurricane Sandy.  Or at least radio stations with a shred of competitiveness, pride, community concern and a modicum of resources are focused on the storm and its impact on their listeners.  Considering how much the consciousness of the radio broadcasting industry has been raised this past couple of years regarding the medium’s role in providing community support during natural disasters coupled with the amount of time the industry has had to prepare for this slow-developing storm, we can expect the next couple of days to be among modern radio’s finest hours. (Image courtesy NOAA)

New Jersey Broadcasters Association to Sandy:  Bring it On!  NJBA president Paul S. Rotella tells TALKERS that New Jersey broadcasters are prepared for the storm stating, “Are we ready? Of course; that’s because we usually stand ready, often prepared for anything—that’s what local radio is all about: being prepared, being nimble, and being informative, with real information our listeners need. It’s amazing how dedicated local broadcasters are, especially in New Jersey where local radio means so much to our state!  We’ve been preparing since Friday. As you know, our great NJ broadcasters have responded to extreme and hazardous weather events magnificently in the past and we expect them to continue this fine tradition of selfless service in the face or Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath.”  Read the entire text of Rotella’s statement here.

New Jersey Likely Ground Zero as Sandy Moves Inland; Broadcasters Foundation Steps Up to the Plate.  Slow-moving Hurricane Sandy has already taken more than 60 lives in the Caribbean and it is moving north and is expected to turn west and move inland hitting the coast of New Jersey first as it sweeps up the Eastern Seaboard.  The New Jersey Broadcasters Association has been in communication with stations in the state helping them prepare for coverage of the storm.  NJBA president Paul Rotella relates that the FCC is available “24-7…during the storm to answer calls about service outages, to assist where possible in restoring any lost service, and to issue emergency authorizations for temporary facilities.  As we have written before, the FCC has been helpful in past disasters — seemingly able to bridge bureaucratic barriers that might otherwise delay the restoration of communications services.”  Rotella also alerts broadcasters in the region that the Broadcasters Foundation of America may be of assistance to broadcasters in need.  “Broadcasters Foundation of America president Jim Thompson asked that I reach out to those state associations in the path of Sandy to remind them that the BFoA is there for broadcasters in times of unexpected need, especially broadcasters caught in the crosshairs of the approaching storm, or in its aftermath…As you may recall, the BFoA responded rapidly to the deadly tornadoes across the Midwest last year with $41,000 in emergency grants dispatched almost immediately after the tornadoes hit.  Emergency grants can be used to buy food, clothing and even emergency shelter, especially for broadcasters suffering substantial and even catastrophic loss in the wake of the storm.  Broadcasters (and even association execs) may apply for an emergency one-time $1,000 grant by contacting Jim or his staff.  As you know, Jim’s dedicated team reviews and responds to emergency grant applications quickly and with unmatched compassion.  You and your members can reach Jim at 212-373-8250 or via email: jim@thebfoa.org.”

Orlando Radio Institution Jim Turner to Retire from WDBO.  Jim Turner has been with Cox Media’s WDBO, Orlando since it was a music outlet joining the station as afternoon jock in 1972.  He made the transition to morning drive host 12 years later and was chosen by then program director David Bernstein to lead the station as it changed from a music station to a news and information outlet.  Now, 40 years later, Turner will retire from the radio business and KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa morning host Joe Kelly will take over the morning role at WDBO.  Kelly will join WDBO on November 19 and will transition into the morning role.  A final broadcast for Turner has not been announced.  WDBO program director Drew Anderssen states, “Jim is a broadcast icon.  He has been revered as one of the premier morning hosts in America for many years, a true professional, and a great man.  We stand by Jim in celebration of his 40 years of community service and dedication to Central Florida as he begins to write a new page in his life.  He will truly be missed as the daily voice of morning news in Orlando radio.”  In Tulsa, program director Levi May begins the search for the replacement of Joe Kelly.  May states, “We are very excited about the opportunity to bring new, outstanding talent to KRMG and further grow our listening audience.  KRMG is dedicated to being Tulsa’s number one station for news, weather, and traffic and we will always remain committed to that pledge.”

Martha Zoller to Return to Radio in 2013.  Gainesville, Georgia-based talk show host Martha Zoller left her radio show on WXKT, Gainesville this year to run for Congress in the 9th Georgia District.  She lost a close race in the Republican primary and now says she will return to the radio in January of 2013 though she’s not saying where just yet.  In the meantime, Zoller will appear on Talk Radio Network-produced morning program “America’s Morning News” tomorrow morning to discuss the Campaign to Fix the Debt.  Zoller sits on the steering committee for the campaign.

Premiere to Handle Ad Sales for 24/7 Comedy.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s 24/7 Comedy format will have ad sales and national syndicated handled by the company’s Premiere Networks.  24/7 Comedy debuted in 2010 and currently had about 30 affiliates and boasts a library of more than 15,000 comedy bits.  Clear Channel president of content and affiliate services for national media groups Julie Talbott says, “24/7 Comedy provides stations with the unique opportunity to own comedy in their market with an audience engaging format.  Comedy has universal consumer appeal across all forms of media, so we’re excited to deliver this ratings-winning format to more radio stations across the U.S.”

Salem Preparing for LMA of Columbus FM; Conservative Talk Lineup Appears Likely.  The domain 989TheAnswer.com registered to Salem Communications seems to indicate that the company will flip Radio One’s WJKR, Columbus “JackFM” to its conservative news/talk format positioned with its “The Answer” slogan.  Salem, which is purchasing the station from Radio One, will assume operation of the station on Thursday, November 1 under an LMA and it’s expected the slate of Salem Radio Network programs – Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Michael Medved, Hugh Hewitt, and Dennis Prager – will occupy the program schedule.

Start Doing This Right Now on Facebook!  It’s a common belief that Facebook has drastically cut back on how many people see radio’s branded posts, so that broadcasters using the platform have to buy more advertising.  That may well be the case!  However, the Facebook folks are not only concerned about money, they’re also concerned about their version of time spent listening.  They want users to visit more often; and they want them to scroll further down their news feeds than they do now.  They may be limiting how much stuff people see from commercial enterprises, so that it doesn’t crowd out what they see from their friends and family.  In any event, according to radio digital consultant Chris Miller, radio can overcome these obstacles.  So, Miller presents TALKERS readers with the state-of-the-art techniques that will help you get seen more, and engaged with more often.  If you’re doing it right, that will then lead to more on-air and online usage of your radio station, which is the ultimate goal.  To read Chris Miller’s exclusive article, click here.

Comedian Adam Carolla Joins Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News Channel Program.  Comedian, radio host and producer of the one of the most popular podcasts Adam Carolla is becoming part of Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor” as a contributor.  Bill O’Reilly – who still maintains a talk radio presence with his Courtside Entertainment-distributed “Talking Points” daily features – already uses comedian and Dial Global nationally syndicated talk host Dennis Miller as a contributor.  Miller usually appears on Wednesdays while the Hollywood Reporter states Carolla will likely be a regular part of Monday’s programs.

WQAM’s Dan Sileo Gets TV Shot.  WQAM, Miami sports talk host Dan Sileo appears on the little screen this weekend when he joins the ACC Network when he appears on the pregame show from Charlotte with hosts Jeff Fischel and Dorsey Levens.  The program hits the air at 11:00 am ET on Saturday.

 

 

Gone to the Dogs.  KIDO, Boise morning drive host Kevin Miller is living in a cage at the Canyon County Animal Shelter to promote the shelter’s Mission Pawsible Challenge that involves getting the most pets adopted out to families.  It’s part of the 3rd annual ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge.  By saving the most lives in the challenge, the shelter could win up to $100,000 that would go to helping feed, home, and keep all of the animals at the shelter healthy!  Miller is spending the 25th through the 31st of October in the cage you see here while broadcasting his program each morning.  Miller tells the Idaho Press he “would be lost” without his dogs Alabama and Carolina, so doing whatever he could for the shelter seemed right.  “We’ll be here to the final hour, the final minute, the final second, to get as many of these four-legged family members a forever home.”

Friday, September 14, 2012

| September 14, 2012

Bryan Nehman to Take Over Morning Drive on WBAL, Baltimore.  Anne Arundel County, Maryland native Bryan Nehman is named the successor to the morning drive show at Hearst’s news/talk WBAL, Baltimore after Dave Durian – who’s been with the station for 20 years – steps down from his position this fall.  Nehman has been half of the “Brian and Bryan” show on Cumulus Media’s WMAL, Washington with Brian Wilson but tells the Baltimore Sun’s David Zurawik the WBAL job is too good to pass up.  “Number one, it’s a great station, and I love the fact that they’re local, local, local.  It’s very hard to find that in radio these days.  Almost everywhere you go, it’s syndicated in radio.  The company is fantastic from everything I heard.  And then, there’s the city.  I’m a Maryland boy through and through.”  WBAL program director Dave Hill tells the paper, “Bryan is one of the brightest young men that I’ve met, and he is the guy who’s going to lead WBAL into the next 20 years of broadcasting.”  Durian’s last day hosting the AM drive show is not certain – though mid-October has been suggested.  Durian will remain with the station to do special assignments.

Trip Savery Upped to VP/General Manager at Greater Media Charlotte.  Director of sales Trip Savery is promoted to the vice president and general manager position at Greater Media’s Charlotte cluster that includes news/talk WBT-AM/FM and personality AC WLNK.  Savery joined Greater Media in March of 2010.  He’ll continue to perform director of sales duties and will now serve as acting market manager under senior vice president and general manager Rick Feinblatt who says of Savery, “Trip’s outstanding performance as DOS of Greater Media Charlotte has earned him this well-deserved promotion.”

August Sports Scoreboard.  Sports talk radio is one of radio’s hottest formats right now.  It has the kind of listener engagement that advertisers crave, it brings adult men with disposable income to the table and its content focuses on one of the hottest aspects of American pop culture in the early 21st century – professional sports.  Sports as a radio moneymaker is evidenced by the recent launching of not one but two new players in national sports talk content – CBS Sports Radio Network and NBC Sports RadioTALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian has taken a look at the ratings of 40 of America’s sports talk outlets and compiled them in this “scoreboard-style” feature.  Check out the rankings in Kinosian’s piece here.

Killer Endorsement Spots: Advertisers’ (and your) Best Buds.  Consultant Holland Cooke says the best way radio can fight the competition for ad dollars (Google, Pandora, et al) is for personalities – talk hosts and jocks – to use the credibility and relationships they’ve built up to their advantage.  Cooke says, “Radio is an intimate medium, with decades of cred’ to the two generations which control most retail spending.  So the local DJs and talkers who will survive the ongoing bloodbath do so by being more than just voices.  Properly applied, the trust you have earned with listeners can sell-sell-sell, in a way that makes Arbitron numbers irrelevant.”  How to do that?  Holland has some suggestions.  Read his piece here.

Re-Branding Drives Success for Home Improvement Host Danny Lipford.  Mobile, Alabama-based home improvement talk show host Danny Lipford says his weekend program is gaining new affiliates since he re-branded his program.  Now called “Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford,” the former “Homefront” show is garnering renewed interest, according to Lipford.  “SuperTalk Mississippi was the first group to come on board with our name change from ‘Homefront’ to ‘Today’s Homeowner.’  The response to the name change has been tremendous.”  Danny Lipford has made over 150 television appearances on shows such as “Rachael Ray,” “Live with Regis & Kelly,” “CNN’s Your Bottom Line,” and “The Early Show on CBS.”  He also produced a television program of the same name.

Talk Hosts Play Role in Family Research Council “Values Voter Summit.”  This weekend’s Family Research Council “Values Voter Summit” in Washington, DC will feature a number of high-profile talk show hosts.  Salem Radio Network’s Bill Bennett will introduce GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan.  The congressman once worked for Bennett at the think tank Empower America before he entered public service in the Congress.  SRN talk personality Dennis Prager will serve as a keynote speaker with his speech addressing “the need for American values to triumph around the world.”  Other talk personalities appearing this weekend will include Premiere Networks star Glenn Beck, Talk Radio Network’s Laura Ingraham and Cumulus Media Network’s Mike Huckabee.

WGN, Chicago’s John Williams to Attempt New Speed Golf World Record.  WGN midday host John Williams and a group of his listeners will attempt to break the world record for the fastest round of golf on Sunday at Carriage Greens Country Club in Darien, Illinois.  Dubbed “King John & His Royal Court’s Speed Golf World Record Challenge,” this will be the second attempt at a world record by Williams and crew after last year’s inaugural event.  Williams has assembled a team of 200 listeners for this Sunday’s event, which will play out in a speed golf relay format.  Golfers will be assigned locations along the course based upon their best club and will hit the ball to each other in progression. The current world record is 7 minutes, 56 seconds.

Leslie Marshall Represents America Progressive Talkers in Dublin.  Nationally syndicated progressive talk host Leslie Marshall will be in Dublin, Ireland next week where she says she’ll “represent the Left/Democrats at an international debate on the U.S. Presidential race at the U.S. Embassy, in Dublin, Ireland.”  She’ll also appear at Dublin’s Boston College as well as speaking at the Women For Election luncheon about women in the U.S. Election.  Additionally, she’ll be a guest on Dublin’s “The Right Hook” talk radio program on Monday, September 17.

Talk Radio Pro Roger Fredinburg Re-enters Biz with “Homeland Security Radio.”  Roger Fredinburg was nationally syndicated by Talk Radio Network back in the 1990s.  His program was the lead-in to “Coast to Coast AM” back when it was hosted by Art Bell.  Fredinburg exited the business in 2004 after saying he became “frustrated with redundant voices and re-packaged news, each agonizing hour of talk radio parroting the last.”  He got into the national advertising agency business.  Now, Fredinburg tells TALKERS he’s getting back into the talk business due to his concerns over recent developments in the Middle East.  He says that, combined with his recognition of a growing communications gap between the public sector and private citizens as relates to Homeland Security, has awakened his passions and he is determined to make a positive difference using talk radio.  He’ll keep the focus and a watchful eye on Homeland Security and bring HS insiders to the airwaves to connect with average Americans via talk radio.  Genesis Communications Network is syndicating the program on Sundays from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET.

Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeaderhip Hits Indy.  Nationally syndicated talk host Dave Ramsey (pictured here third from the left) brought his super-successful EntreLeadership Seminar to Indianapolis on Wednesday in conjunction with the launch of the new AM/FM simulcast of his affiliate station, “Freedom 95.”  Here he poses with the station’s staff.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  XtreMEDIA’s Kevin McCullough adds five new affiliate stations: WLES, Richmond, Virginia; KTIA, Des Moines; KUTR, Salt Lake City;  WCRU, Charlotte; and WBRG, Lynchburg, Virginia…..Also, the XtreMEDIA-produced Dani Johnson show is added to WETR, Knoxville, Tennessee and WHKT, Norfolk, Virginia…..The nationally syndicated talk show “Phil’s Gang,” with host Phil Grande, is added to the program schedule at KFNN, Phoenix and KPSF, Palm Springs, California…..Fox Sports Radio Network adds its daily lineup of sports talk shows to KVNS, Brownsville, Texas…..”The Captain’s America” host Matt Bruce announces a new flagship home — WXJB-FM, Homosassa, Florida (“News-Talk For The Nature Coast of Florida”) — for his program that is syndicated by Phoenix Broadcasting…..The weekly military talk radio program, “Frontlines of Freedom” hosted by Denny Gillem, LTC, US Army (Ret) is added to the weekend schedule at Midwest Communications’ WKZO, Kalamazoo, Michigan and its simulcast WZKO, Portage, Michigan.

Libya Consulate Strike/Obama Foreign Policy Record Top News/Talk Stories for Week of September 10-14.  The violent attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya that resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the assessment of President Obama’s foreign policy record tied for the most-talked-about-stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  Following at #2 was the anti-American violence taking place in the Muslim world tied with President Obama’s relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.  At #3 was President Obama’s “convention bounce” in the polls and at #4 was the rise in jobless claims.  The Talkers TenTM is a ranking of the top people and stories discussed on news/talk radio during the week.  It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

| September 6, 2012

Glenn Beck’s The Blaze Fires Up Digital Audio Network; Jay Severin Among Talk Talent.  It’s called – what else? – TheBlaze Radio Network and the new online radio channel will be heard via Beck’s own TheBlaze iPhone and iPad apps as well as via iHeartRadio and at TheBlaze.com.  Beck’s company says the network will be the new exclusive home for “renowned nationally syndicated talk radio personality and Marconi Award-nominee Jay Severin.”  The lineup will also include a simulcast of Beck’s radio show, a re-launched show hosted by Stu Burguiere and Pat Gray as well as audio simulcasts of TheBlaze TV shows.  Dom Theodore, through his consulting firm RadioAnimal, LLC, will serve as the network’s program director.  When the network launches later this month, the lineup will be: the Glenn Beck program from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET;  Pat and Stu from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm; Jay Severin from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm; the simulcast of Beck’s TV show from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm and a simulcast of “Real News from the Blaze” from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  TheBlaze chief content officer Joel Cheatwood states, “We are excited to continue making TheBlaze a destination for news, information and entertainment programming across multiple platforms.  Jay is an incredible talent and is the perfect host to launch The Blaze Network.”

SEC Charging Financial Talker Ray Lucia with Violating Laws, Conducting Misleading Investment Seminars.  The Securities and Exchange Commission announces it is charging nationally syndicated talk host and financial advice author Ray Lucia with violating several sections of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.  The SEC says Lucia’s investment seminars, dubbed “Buckets of Money,” mislead potential investors when Lucia claimed his strategy “had been empirically ‘backtested’ over actual bear market periods.”  Further, the SEC states, “Lucia and RJL have admitted during the SEC’s investigation that the only testing they actually performed were some calculations that Lucia made in the late 1990s – copies of which no longer exist – and two two-page spreadsheets.”  The upshot, according to the FCC, is “Lucia and RJL left their seminar attendees with a false sense of comfort about the Buckets of Money strategy.”  SEC Los Angeles regional director Michele Wein Layne says, “The so-called backtests weren’t really backtests, and the strategy wasn’t proven as they claimed.”  The SEC is seeking “financial penalties and other remedial action in the proceedings.”

KTRH, Houston Talk Host Michael Berry’s the Flashpoint of Controversy in Houston After Tweet.  Former Houston city councilman Michael Berry and talk host at Clear Channel’s news/talk KTRH is the subject of chatter in Houston after a tweet he sent during Michelle Obama’s speech on Tuesday evening has some charging Berry used racist lingo.  Here’s what Berry tweeted: “Several black people were shot by other black people in Chicago while Michelle was speaking.”  He hash tagged it #knuckadeads.  Some say “knucka” or “nucka” is substitute slang for “nigga.”  Berry replies to My Fox Houston reporter Isiah Carey that he meant no racist intent and said Mrs. Obama has used the term to mean hard-headed, like knucklehead.  Carey writes Berry said he was trying to show the Obama administration’s lack of concern over the black-on-black violence in Chicago.

KMJ-FM, Fresno Names Jennifer Lipp AM Drive Host.  Peak Broadcasting brings popular Fresno radio personality Jennifer Lipp to morning drive on the FM side of its KMJ news/talk duo.  Lipp and former co-host Chris Daniel dominated mornings at crosstown rock KRZR in the late 1990s and early 2000s.  Daniel moved on to KMJ and Lipp worked at classic rock KKBZ, Fresno until Lotus Broadcasting let her go in November of 2011.  Now Lipp will host the morning show and Chris Daniel moves from the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot to 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm on KMJ-FM.  On her new gig, Lipp states, “It is a dream come true to grow with the KMJ brand.  This is the most exciting endeavor of my career and I am looking forward to the journey with both the listeners who have joined me in the past and those I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting.”  Lipp begins her new show on September 10.

Use Twitter to Help Save Your Job!  Consultant Holland Cooke explains how the Twitter era is forcing talk hosts, news staffers and DJs to “keep it moving” to keep the listener/reader engaged and make money in the process – if those media people use social media efficiently and wisely.  Cooke explains how he advised his clients covering the Republican and Democratic National Conventions to use Twitter to deliver content like no one else and how to make money with it.  Read this enlightening and smart advice here.

Clear Channel Albany Names Josh Everett Program Director for WGY and WOFX.  In addition to programming news/talk WGY-AM/FM and sports talk WOFX, Josh Everett will oversee the News Hub which provides news for 10 Clear Channel Media and Entertainment markets in the Northeast.  CC regional programming manager John Cooper states, “Josh’s extensive background in news/talk as well as sports programming will be an invaluable addition to WGY’s rich heritage and will help us grow WGY, Fox Sports and our News Hub.”  Everett comes to Albany from Clear Channel’s Lexington, Kentucky cluster where he programmed news/talk WLAP and managed local production of the University of Kentucky Wildcats coverage.

Michael Harrison to Speak at the NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will deliver an address provocatively titled, “Can Terrestrial Radio Thrive in the Digital Era?” at the forthcoming NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas.  According to Harrison, “The main challenge concerning FM and AM broadcasting at this perilous time in its rich and colorful history is making the transition to the digital age without prematurely sacrificing the value of the stick which is still the economic foundation of this industry and main source of livelihood for its practitioners.”  Harrison also believes that it is important for “radio to be smart and use its traditional on-air assets in confident balanced harmony with its unlimited online potential.”  He states, “The cultural heritage of what we all grew up to think of as ‘radio’ is deeply rooted in the traditions of over -the-air transmission and it is vitally important that in its rush to put everything it has into one internet basket, radio avoids losing its core identity, its soul, that separates it from being just another online music or informational utility.”  Harrison advises that just as talk radio has claimed “ownership” of politics in America and sports radio has claimed “ownership” of the country’s sports juggernaut, “music radio must reclaim its lost ownership of the music culture.”  He says the first step in accomplishing this is to bring back the colorful DJ as the backbone of the radio station’s presentation and the street savvy music director as its ear to what’s really going on out there.  Radio must not only ‘relate’ to this element, it must aggressively lead it as well.”  Harrison will be speaking at a special info-session sponsored by TALKERS magazine on Wednesday, September 19 between 10:15 am and 11:15 am.  All Radio Show registrants are encouraged to attend.

Day Three at DNC in Charlotte.  President Obama’s nomination acceptance speech will cap the three-day Democratic National Convention this evening and talk hosts, news networks and reporters spent yesterday covering the political chatter, campaigning and critiques of this convention.  Talk Radio Network O&O news organization America’s Radio News Network is one of the national radio news operations on the ground at this convention.  ARNN tells TALKERS co-anchors Lori Lundin and Rachel Crowson along with producers and technical staff, have been supplying live interviews and news updates to all five of the three-hour, long-form news programs the network offers.  Guests on the network from yesterday included: Eleanor Smeal, a two-time president of the National Organization for Women; Diana Degette (D-CO), chief deputy whip; Cumulus Media Networks host and journalist Geraldo Rivera; and acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank, among others.  ABC News Radio and Salem Radio Network are also covering the convention and ABC’s Steve Jones (l) and Salem’s Tom Tradup (r) took a moment to pose for this shot from the convention center for TALKERS.

Talent Shuffle at Alpha Broadcasting’s Sports KXTG, Portland.  A programming shift at “750 The Game” in Portland brings DirecTV/Fox Sports Radio syndicated host Dan Patrick to the station for morning drive beginning today.  The move bumps morning host Chad Doing to the PM drive slot and current afternoon host John Canzano to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show.  Business and marketing expert Brian Berger gives up his midday show but remains with the station to dispense his wisdom on the station’s various programs and online.

DirecTV Gives “The Nick and Artie Show” a TV Simulcast.  The syndicated radio version of the sports and entertainment-centric show hosted by comedians Nick Di Paolo and Artie Lange has been produced by DirecTV since its inception.  Now DirecTV does for “Nick and Artie” what the company’s Dan Patrick has enjoyed – a TV simulcast on DirecTV’s Audience Network channel.  Airing from 10:00 pm to 1:00 pm ET beginning tomorrow night, the company says the duo will “tackle TV with the most outrageous observational humor to be found anywhere.  The guys will review and give their unique takes on the day’s top sports and entertainment stories, along with celebrity interviews, movie reviews, live musical performances and a variety of in-studio segments, from cooking with Artie’s Mom to a game of pool.”

WTOP Promotes Dick Uliano to Full-Time Anchor/Reporter.  The veteran Washington newsman has been working with Hubbard Radio’s WTOP part time as well as contributing to SiriusXM’s POTUS channel and doing part-time anchoring at NPR.  Now, Dick Uliano joins the full-time staff at WTOP.  Uliano’s previous experience includes time spent with the Associated Press and CNN Radio.

Odds & Sods.  NFL great Joe Namath – who is part of Michael Kay’s show on ESPN O&O WEPN-FM, New York where he hosts the “Joe Namath Hour” – discusses the upcoming NFL season in a media conference call today at 10:00 am ET….. Former New Jersey 101.5 night host Tommy G returns to host “New Jersey Today” on Greater Media’s WCTC, New Brunswick from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm on Monday, September 10 and Friday, September 14.  He fills in for station PD Bert Baron, who says, “Tommy G is one of the biggest stars in all of New Jersey radio.  I’m blessed that a talent of his caliber, record of success and current following is a mere phone call away.  He’s a ratings winner that simply makes my station sound better.”…..JC Corcoran has been heard on the airwaves in Chicago as he’s been filling in on Tribune’s WGN.  The longtime St. Louis personality most recently hosted a program at KTRS.  Corcoran tells TALKERS he’ll have Fox Sports star Joe Buck on his show on WGN on Sunday morning at 10:00 am.  Corcoran says Buck is already predicting trouble with the NFL replacement officials, telling him, “I think something catastrophic could happen early in the season that could cost a team a ballgame.”….. Cumulus Media’s sports talk KNBR, San Francisco will serve as the flagship station for Golden State Warriors basketball through the 2015-16 season, the station announces.  It’s been the flagship of the NBA club since the 1976-77 season with the exception of one season in the 1980s.  Cumulus president and CEO Lew Dickey and Warriors co-executive chairman and CEO Joe Lacob appeared on the Murph & Mac show on Wednesday to announce the new deal.

Talk Radio Network’s Jerry Doyle Featured Speaker at Liberty PAC.  The Liberty Political Action Conference takes place September 13-15 in Chantilly, Virginia and funds “Congressman Ron Paul’s political activities as he travels the country to fight for the principles that many hold dear: Liberty, Limited Government and a strong, pro-American foreign policy.”  The three-day conference will include training sessions and personal one-on-one meetings with various speakers and supporters.  Jerry Doyle will be one of the speakers at the conference.

Presidential Campaign/Democratic National Convention, Arizona Immigration Ruling and Hillary Clinton in China Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/5).  The coverage of the Democratic National Convention and the presidential campaign; a federal judge’s ruling that Arizona officers can inquire about immigration status while pursuing information about other crimes; and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s trip to China were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

| September 4, 2012

Radio Coverage of Campaign 2012 Shifts to Charlotte.  The Democratic National Convention gets underway in Charlotte, North Carolina today and runs through Thursday.  Talk show hosts and news staffers from stations of all formats are ensconced in their radio row remote studios preparing to report to their markets over the next three days.  The non-partisan Talk Radio News Service will operate a booth on radio row and more than 100 talk show hosts will broadcast from the city – either in the convention center itself or from “alternative” sites – as they work to bring the Democratic message to their listeners or attempt to counter the message of the Obama campaign.  Salem Radio Network’s Bill Bennett – host of “Morning in America” – will broadcast from the city.  Bennett is seen here (r) enjoying a pre-convention meal at a Charlotte eatery with “Morning in America” regular guest and Fox News Channel contributor Byron York (l).  Joining them for the shot at center is former Tennessee Democratic congressman and MSNBC contributor Harold Ford, Jr. who stopped by to say “hello.”  While eating there Bennett was surrounded by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, Soledad O’Brien of CNN and former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack among other Democrats  He tells TALKERS, “I enjoyed unnerving my Democratic friends.”

Jorge Sedano Joins WQAM as PD and PM Drive Host.  The Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson reports that South Florida sports media personality Jorge Sedano is taking the program director role at Beasley Broadcasting’s sports talk WQAM that was left vacant when Lee Feldman exited for interests outside of the media field.  Sedano, who left Lincoln Financial Media’s WAXY, Miami in April to pursue TV work, will also become the afternoon drive host while current PM drive guy Dan Sileo will move to the 11:00 am to 1:00 pm slot left vacant by Michael Irvin’s recent departure.  South Florida media chatter indicates Sileo was originally being considered for the midday slot but was hired for PM drive when he became available after exiting WDAE, Tampa and Sid Rosenberg was suddenly let go from the PM drive slot.  Sedano recently was hired to host the pre- and post-game shows for Miami Heat games on the Sun Sports telecasts.  He also is a part-time sportscaster for WFOR-TV, Miami – CBS4.  Sedano tells the Herald, “From a lifestyle perspective, this makes the most sense.  When I left 790, I needed to harness my skills and work on the craft and it’s led me to this position on the TV side, so it obviously paid off.   I felt if I wanted to get back in radio, and it was a perfect situation, I would get back.  This is perfect situation.  I can put my imprint on the radio station.”

A Huge Day for the Expansion of Sports Talk Radio.  It has been 25 years since WFAN, New York signed on as the first all sports talk radio station – an experiment that was considered bold and certainly risky on the part of then-owner Jeff Smulyan’s Emmis Broadcasting.  But it certainly did prove to be a risk worth taking as sports talk radio has gone on to be one of the hottest and dynamic genres of radio in the industry – second only to political news/talk in the spoken word realm.  Today the sports juggernaut picks up even more steam with the launch of two more major networks joining the ranks of four other biggies in what is becoming a crowded super-competitive marketplace.  NBC Sports Radio, in partnership with Dial Global, takes to the airwaves today and CBS Sports Radio is also going nationwide with the first phase of its rollout.

Greater Media’s WTKK, Boston Re-Images as “NewsTalk 96.9.”  The FM talk outlet has re-branded itself as “NewsTalk 96.9” The station’s website is still 969bostontalks.com but the station seems to be promoting its news coverage more – with emphasis on the “24-hour news center.”  There are no programming changes to the station and, as you can see in the image here, the station is promoting its coverage of all things election 2012.

Judge Denies Preliminary Injunction in Emmis Case; Shareholder Meeting Scheduled for Today.  Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan was pleased with Friday’s ruling in which U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Evans Barker denied the injunction request of five preferred shareholders who wanted to stop the company’s shareholder meeting today at which they will vote on a plan to take some of the rights away from preferred shareholders and not pay some $10 million in past-due dividends.  Judge Barker ruled that the shareholders group “failed to meet any of the threshold requirements for injunctive relief.”  She also noted that had she granted the injunction, “both Emmis’ stock price as well as its efforts to refinance before the November 2012 deadline could be seriously and adversely affected.”  The minority shareholders group claims today’s vote is a “blatant attempt to grab wealth” from them but Emmis denies that and counters the move is designed to cut expenses and to improve the company’s fiscal health.  Jeff Smulyan controls the common stock’s voting power and therefore today’s vote is expected to go his way.  It should be noted that the judge’s decision last week does not stop the minority shareholder group from suing for damages after today’s vote takes place.  The group has not indicated one way or the other if it intends to take such action.

WPRO, Providence Provides Live Political Debates.  Cumulus Media’s WPRO & 99.7 FM in Providence hosts congressional debates this week.  Today at 6:00 pm, Democrats Anthony Gemma and David Cicilline ( who’ll face off in the primary next week) will appear on the air.  The debate will be moderated by WPRO news director Bill Haberman.  Tomorrow at 6:00 pm, Republican candidates for Congress in the Second Congressional District — Michael Gardiner, Michael Riley, Don Robbio and Kara Russo will debate before moderator Bill Haberman and guest panelists Tara Granahan and Andrew Gobeil from the “WPRO Morning News.”  The station is also making the debates available via video on WPRO.com with an accompanying, live Tweet Chat.

J.D. Hayworth Sits in on New KVI, Seattle in PM Drive.  Talk show host and former Arizona U.S. Rep. J.D. Hayworth will warm the PM drive chair for Cumulus Media Networks talk host Mark Levin until he can become part of the Fisher Communications news/talk station’s newly revamped lineup on September 24.  Hayworth, who hosted his own successful talk show on KFYI, Phoenix for years, will also sub as co-host on the morning drive show at Cumulus’ KSFO, San Francisco this week – Wednesday through Friday as well as next Monday.

Radio Pro Jay Andrews Returns to Alma Mater to Manage Student Station and Host AM Drive Show.  North Georgia media pro, former station owner and radio personality Jay Andrews is doing his first morning drive program on Brenau University’s WBCX, Gainesville, Georgia today as he returns to the college to do the radio show and manage the student radio station.  Andrews tells AccessNorthGa.com, “The choice to go back to 89.1 WBCX was an easy one.  Brenau University is my alma mater, and having the opportunity to manage this remarkable student station, return to the air, and most importantly help students learn the radio, TV and internet media businesses is quite an honor.”  During his career, Andrews has worked as a radio personality on numerous North Georgia stations.  He owned WDGR, Dahlonega, Georgia, and he managed Jacobs Media Corporation’s WDUN, WMJE and WGGA in Gainesville.  On the new morning show Andrews says, “It’s a whole different animal from a format and production standpoint.  Since it is technically a morning show it will move faster.  We will also attempt to open the format up to more listeners by taking phone calls, interviewing Brenau newsmakers, and also become more involved in the community.  We will work toward having regular contributors covering news, and current and historical events.  As always we will try do this with style, great hit music, and humor.”

“Poorman” Finds On-Air Home at Small California Station.  Jim Trenton, the original “Poorman” of California radio and creator of the mega-successful syndicated program “Loveline” will turn 60 next year.  The fame he enjoyed while co-hosting the show has become a distant memory.  The successful radio and TV series is primarily (and rightfully) associated with Dr. Drew Pinsky. Trenton’s stardom quickly faded after he was fired from “Loveline” for encouraging thousands of listeners to join him for a midnight surprise birthday party on the front lawn of a co-worker…and listeners showed up, by the thousands…but that was almost 20 years ago.  The Poorman continues to feel bitter about losing the show he feels he created.  Since then, he has either been fired or stormed away from a dozen stations.  His career has never recovered.  Ah, but now his career has been given a spark of new hope.  Courageous station owner Fred Lundgren, CEO and president of news/talker KCAA, San Bernadino/Riverside, California has taken a chance and hired Trenton to host a daily one-hour show at 12:00 noon on the “station that leaves no listener behind.”  Read Lundgren’s humorous account of why he put one of radio’s notorious bad boys back on the air and how it’s going by clicking here.

WABB-AM, Mobile Sold by Dittman Broadcasting to Omni Broadcasting.  Fort Walton Beach, Florida-based Omni Broadcasting filed on Friday (8/31) with the FCC to transfer the license of news/talk outlet WABB (1480 AM), Mobile for a reported purchase price of $106,000.  Omni also closed the same day to purchase time for the Ticket Sports Network until the close of the sale.  Earlier this year the companion WABB-FM (97.6) was sold to the Educational Media Foundation for $3.1 million, which in turn sold the assets of that station to Cumulus Media in return for WRQQ-FM, Belle Meade, Tennessee and WDLT-FM, Chickasaw, Alabama, giving Cumulus upgraded coverage of the Mobile market with the 97.6 FM signal.

TAB President and Radio Advocate Ann Arnold Dies.  The widely popular Ann Arnold, longtime president of the Texas Association of Broadcasters, died Saturday (9/1) at her office at the age of 67 after battling leukemia for many years.  Arnold headed the organization since 1987.  She had been a strong defender of Texas’ open government laws and during her tenure doubled the membership of the TAB.   “Ann Arnold was an extraordinary and inspiring woman,” says TAB chairman Mary Mike Hatcher of Bryan Broadcasting.  “She was fearless in her advocacy for local radio and television broadcasters, for the public’s right to know how elected officials run our government, and in her long fight with cancer.”  TAB VP Oscar Rodriguez adds, “Ann was passionate about Texas and optimistic about the future.  She cherished the opportunity to help local broadcasters strengthen their communities and had yet to find the challenge that would daunt her.” (Photo: Mike Wenglar)

Presidential Campaign/Democratic National Convention, Isaac Aftermath, Rising Gas Prices and Iran-Israel Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/3).  The presidential campaign and the approaching Democratic National Convention; the aftermath of Tropical Storm Isaac; the rising price at the pump for gasoline; and Iran’s threats to strike American bases if Israel takes military action against it were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

| August 28, 2012

Mark Masters’ TRN Companies File Lawsuit against Dial Global Claiming Monopoly Practices.  These companies, (usually referred to generally in the industry as Talk Radio Network (TRN), include The Original Talk Radio Network, Inc., Talk Radio Network Enterprises, LLC and Talk Radio Network-FM, Inc.   They have initiated the filing of a Federal action against Dial Global, Inc. and multiple other parties, asserting anti-trust, anti-monopoly and other claims.  In announcing that action, Mark Masters, CEO of the plaintiff companies, states, “This is a sad but necessary day for us.  But the steps we take today are for the sake of the entire community of independent spoken word syndicators, and independent radio networks who depend on outside sale representation for their very financial survival.  These independent producers, syndicators and networks serve America’s over 10,000 commercial radio stations, helping them save costs, and increase quality at a critical time to those stations’ survival in the current difficulties they face in navigating today’s national economic environment.  Today, we reluctantly are forced to bring this action, as the largest group of independent spoken word syndicators/networks in the United States.  In doing so, we hope this signals a beginning of the end to active monopoly and anti-competitive actions within radio’s independent spoken word syndication markets.”  In the suit TRN lists a variety of marketplace operational grievances against Dial Global citing the recent demise of CNN Radio News as a prime example: “The plaintiff companies note in particular that the recent destruction of CNN Radio (which was on over 1,100 radio stations in the US and had been operating for over 20 years), going into a presidential election, in favor of its immediate replacement by a branded news operation, at the election of its sales representatives, is a telling example of the threat posed by the ability of a small handful of unelected Wall Street executives who have achieved sufficient dominance in one sales market to force changes in the separate independent spoken word market, and the threat posed to other independent spoken word syndicators absent prompt corrective actions.”  Masters goes on to state, “The sudden death of CNN Radio News, after 20 years, and in a presidential election year besides, is a veritable canary in a coal mine for independent spoken word syndication in radio.”  The idea to file this lawsuit has obviously been brewing in the mind of Mark Masters for some time now.  Attendees at the recent industry gathering presented by TALKERSmagazine, “The New Media Seminar” in New York on June 7 might recall the TRN CEO hinting during his luncheon address about the possibility that his company might be taking unprecedented legal action against an alleged radio industry monopoly.  Seems he meant it.  TALKERS contacted Dial Global CEO David Landau who said, “No comment.”

Broadcasts and Interviews Abound as Talk Radio Shows Emanate from Tampa.  The official activities at the Republican National Convention may have been put on hold for a day but the skies cleared and planned broadcasting activities went on pretty much unabated at the Tampa Bay Times Forum Convention Center where the RNC will officially resume today.  Talk hosts, news professionals, celebrities and political commentators gathered and took advantage of the day to talk about the presidential race and all that goes with it.  Pictured here is Salem Radio Network talk host Mike Gallagher (r) speaking with actor Jon Voight (l) who spoke with Gallagher on the record for his nationally syndicated program.  Voight told Gallagher, “Much of the Hollywood community has ‘blood on our hands’ for taking leftist positions in the 60s and 70s.”  He says he’s “atoning” for that by supporting Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.  “He’s serious, he’s a problem solver and he’s been in public service all his life.”  Meanwhile, XtreMedia president and nationally syndicated talk host Kevin McCullough (l) had the opportunity to chat with Minnesota Senator and former presidential candidate Michele Bachmann (r) on radio row inside the convention center at the Talk Radio News Service booth.  Cumulus Media Networks syndicated talk host – and career journalist – Geraldo Rivera (r) meets up with news colleague Sam Donaldson of ABC News (l) at the news organization’s booth inside the convention center.  Meanwhile, as Isaac bears down on the Gulf Coast and moves straight towards New Orleans…

Gulf Coast Radio Stations Prepare to Keep Citizens Informed.  The people of Louisiana and the rest of the Gulf Coast are understandably nervous.  It has been seven years since Hurricane Katrina roared through this region making history and leaving an indelible mark on the lives of millions of people.   During that natural disaster — and a number of others both before and since – good ol’ terrestrial radio has risen to the occasion, in many cases putting competitive barriers aside, and served the community.  In preparation for the coming storm, Entercom’s WWL-FM/AM went into wall-to-wall coverage mode preparing its listeners with updates on the approaching storm’s direction and progress.  The radio station’s website this morning looks like something you would expect to see from the Weather ChannelGuaranty Broadcasting Group reports to TALKERS it is all over the storm today with simulcasts on their various formats in the market that began at 5:30 am.  Talk 107.3 FM began live simulcast coverage on Eagle 98.1’s 100,000 watt signal. Matt Kennedy and Brian Haldane are leading coverage with the Talk 107.3 FM morning show. Darren Gauthier and Scotty Drake will provide mid-day coverage. The husband and wife team of Bill and Karen Profita will anchor afternoon coverage. 104.5 ESPN’s Charles Hanagriff and Matt Moscona will take on coverage until midnight on the Talk 107.3/Eagle 98.1 simulcast.  Bill and Karen Profita will return with the overnight shift beginning at midnight.  The Talk 107.3 FM/Eagle 98.1 simulcast will continue throughout the hurricane as proves to be necessary.  The simulcast will also feature live coverage from Guaranty’s TV partner WAFB Channel 9 with continuous updates from chief meteorologist Jay Grymes.  Guaranty VP/market manager Gordy Rush tells TALKERS, “We are thrilled to bring unprecedented 24-hour live and local coverage to South Louisiana with the names and voices that carried this region through the likes of Katrina and Gustav.” (Image courtesy of NASA)

CBS Sports Radio Names Eric Spitz Director of Programming; Chris Oliviero to Supervise New Division.  WFAN, New York program director Eric Spitz is named the director of programming for CBS’ new sports talk radio network and the company announces CBS Radio SVP of programming Chris Oliviero will take on a supervisory role in the new sports talk venture.  Spitz is a longtime WFAN employee, beginning his tenure there as a desk assistant back in 1987 when the station first debuted.  Spitz split from WFAN for a period in 2002 when he was named vice president, operations and programming for Westwood One’s Shadow/Metro Traffic but returned to WFAN in 2005.  In a statement, Oliviero comments on the new management structure.  “Eric has a unique skill set ideal for building a sports radio network as proven by his tremendous success at WFAN.  Eric has been involved with the pioneering radio station since the beginning and watched the format grow from its infancy to what is now one of the most successful in the industry.  His perspective is exactly what’s needed to launch a sports radio brand that can stand the test of time.  And his selection for this critical position proves the value we are putting on leadership with a strong editorial track record in sports programming.  We are also fortunate to be able to call on the expertise of Mark Chernoff, who is without a doubt the most successful sports radio program director of all time.  Mark has been one of the principals helping to lay the foundation for CBS Sports Radio and his continued guidance will be a huge advantage as we craft programming we are confident will be of great interest to our affiliates around the country.”  The 24/7 sports programming network will launch on January 2, 2013 with Cumulus Media Networks as syndicator and sales partner.

WRKO, Boston Promotes Bill Cooksey to Assistant PD.  Morning show executive producer Bill Cooksey will keep his duties managing the production of the Todd Feinburg and Michele McPhee morning drive show at Entercom’s WRKO, Boston as he adds the assistant program director tag to his business card.  Cooksey will effectively take over the day-to-day operations of WRKO with this promotion.  WRKO PD Jason Wolfe says, “Bill has more passion for WRKO than anyone and has earned this promotion.  He’s smart, aggressive, and a true leader.  His efforts over the past several years have been outstanding and I’m really looking forward to working with him in this new capacity.”  Cooksey started at WRKO in 2006 and became executive producer of the morning show in 2010.  Of his promotion, Cooksey states, “I’m honored by this promotion and couldn’t be more excited about the future of WRKO.  We’ve made several big changes in recent months and top to bottom WRKO is a stronger radio station today than ever before.  WRKO has been home for me for the last six years. I am proud of what we accomplished and I look forward to building on those accomplishments in the future.”

Cincinnati Talk Host Eric Deters to Surface at Rock Trimulcast.  Just days after leaving Christian Broadcasting System’s WQRT, Cincinnati due to clashes with management, talk host Eric Deters (who has also worked at Clear Channel’s WLW, Cincinnati subbing for Bill Cunningham and hosting his own weekend show) will take over the morning show at Class X – the classic rock trimulcast that’s heard on WMWX, Miamitown, Ohio; WKCX, Crittenden, Kentucky; and WYNS, Waynesville, Ohio.  No official start date for Deters has been given.

Local Fan Wins Eagles Season Tix in Celebrity Call-In Contest on WPEN-AM/FM, Philadelphia.  Kristin Lee of Willow Grove, Pennsylvania won Eagles season tickets in PM drive host Mike Missanelli’s Celebrity Call-In Contest in which listeners had to work their connections to urge a celebrity to call in to Missanelli’s program on 97.5 The Fanatic.  Lee convinced P-Diddy to phone in and she was awarded the tickets on Friday, August 24.  The impressive list of celebrities to call in during the contest included: actor Colin Quinn, actress Anne Hathaway, golfer Gary Player, model Cheryl Tiegs and musician Alicia Keys, to name a few.

Fox Sports Radio Develops Weekend Golf Show with Hank Haney.  The program will air live from 8:00 am to 10:00 am ET beginning Saturday, September 8 and FSRN has nabbed SupremeGolf.com as the title sponsor for the show.  Hank Haney – legendary golf instructor and author of a recent best-selling book – “will take listeners beyond the green to provide expert analysis on today’s players and events, talk with celebrities, insiders and golf fans, and provide insight on how to become a better golfer.”  Senior vice president, sports programming for Premiere Networks, Don Martin, states, “We’re excited to give listeners the opportunity to interact with one of the best golf instructors in the world every weekend.  Hank’s many years of experience and expertise in golf will provide our listeners with tremendous insight into the sport, and access to the best players on the course today.”

Republican National Convention, Tropical Storm Isaac and the Death of Neil Armstrong Were Among the Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/27).  The Republican National Convention in Tampa Bay; the effect of Tropical Storm Isaac on the convention and its path toward New Orleans; and the death of legendary astronaut Neil Armstrong were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, August 27, 2012

| August 27, 2012

Talk Hosts and News Operations Deal with Logistical Issues and Weather as Republican National Convention Begins in Tampa Today.  The Republican National Convention, a huge “radio row” and live broadcast draw for many radio stations and networks around the country, begins today and talk hosts, programmers and news staffers are dealing with what is already a complex couple of days of remote broadcasting being amplified by the threat from Tropical Storm Issac.  Today’s first day of the RNC is being canceled due to the storm and broadcasters are having to make contingency plans as a result.  From a logistical standpoint, hosts and news staffers may be forced to cram planned interviews and guest appearances originally scheduled across three days into two days on Tuesday and Wednesday.  As for live broadcasts scheduled from the convention center for today, that will depend on how quickly the storm moves through the area.  Salem Radio Network VP of news & talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS SRN’s equipment on radio row is set up but its two early Monday shows – Mike Gallagher and Dennis Prager – will originate from Salem Communications O&O WGUL, Tampa and the Michael Medved and Hugh Hewitt programs will broadcast from the convention center radio row later today.

Lincoln Financial Media Buys Miami FM for Sports Talk Simulcast with WAXY.  West Palm Beach FM WMSF at 104.3 will change hands from Palm Beach Broadcasting to Lincoln Financial Media for a reported $13 million and the latter will use the signal to give sports talk “790 The Ticket” WAXY an FM presence in the South Florida market.  Palm Beach acquired the station from CBS Radio earlier this year.  Palm Beach has applied to move the 104.3 signal from West Palm Beach to Miami and that application is still pending the FCC.  LFM will begin operating the station under an LMA prior to FCC approval of the sale.

Program Director Jay Bohannon Exits Clear Channel’s WPGB, Pittsburgh.  When Clear Channel fired up the Pittsburgh FM talk outlet in January 2004, Jay Bohannon was named the program director.  During his tenure at the station, he was responsible for working with morning show team Jim Quinn and Rose Tennent and bringing the program into syndication.  He also led news/talk branding and imaging for the company.  Bohannon is available for his next opportunity.  Reach out to him at radiojaybo@comcast.net.

Salem Communications to Buy WMUU, Greenville from Bob Jones University.  The station – owned by the Christian college’s Gospel Fellowship Association – currently programs a combo of Christian teaching and beautiful music but that will end when Salem Communications takes over and turns the Greenville, South Carolina FM at 94.5 into a news/talk outlet using programming from the Salem Radio Network.  No price has been announced nor has a start date for an LMA.

WOR Low Price Tag Cause of Angst for AM Radio Owners.  As the dust settles in the aftermath of the recently announced sale of Buckley Broadcastings’ heritage outlet WOR, New York to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, the cold hard reality of the low price tag is beginning to settle in and it is being perceived as a seriously bad indicator about the value and future of AM sticks.  Industry observers and players alike remember stories about the late Buckley Broadcasting CEO Rick Buckley turning down offers as high as $150 million for the station as recently as a decade ago.  In 2001, Disney paid then-owner The Forward newspaper $78 million for WEVD (1050 AM) to find a New York City outlet for ESPN Radio – a station with a significantly inferior signal than WOR’s.  An article in the New York Daily News reports on the topic: “One of the many nervous discussions in radio these days revolves around the future of AM stations — that is, if they have a future.”  Perhaps the revelations of the WOR deal will usher in an industry station deal cycle marked by what TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes as the “lesser fool” theory.

Former Eagles Star Brian Dawkins Joins 97.5 The Fanatic for NFL Coverage.  Former Philadelphia Eagles star Brian Dawkins will be part of the Friday coverage of NFL football on Mike Missanelli’s program each week at 4:10 pm on Greater Media’s WPEN-AM/FM, Philadelphia.  Program director Matt Nahigian says, “There is no one that Eagle fans love and relate to more than Brian Dawkins.  We had him on our air about a month ago and the response we received via Twitter and Facebook about wanting to hear him each week was staggering.  I am thrilled to bring his passion and insight to the Delaware Valley on a week to week basis.”

KLIN, Lincoln Nebraska Names David Dwinell AM Drive Co-Host; Kevin Thomas Promoted to PD.  Dwinell has been working at KLKN-TV, Lincoln as promotions director.  He leaves that position to return to radio where he’ll take the radio moniker Dave Miller as he sits beside Jack Mitchell on NRG Media’s Lincoln news/talker.  The slot on the station’s morning show opened up when John Bishop left the show to go across the hall and join NRG’s 1620 The Zone for its “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” program.  At the same time, KLIN PM drive host Kevin Thomas takes on the program director duties at the station that were previously held by John Bishop.  He’ll continue to host the 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm “Drive Time Lincoln” show.  Also, the sports director post – also previously held by Bishop – goes to Chris Whitney.

Buckley Broadcasting Flips KYZZ, Salinas, California to Sports.  The classic hits format disappears from KYZZ as the former “Z97.9” becomes part of the simulcast of “630 ESPN” KIDD, Monterey and becomes known as “97.9 ESPN Central Coast.”

Programmers Owe it to Themselves to See Obama Movie.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke says of the new movie “Obama’s America 2016,” “If you work in talk radio, you owe it to your audience to understand what all those network commercials in your show are selling.  And as an insider, you’ll recognize the event you’re attending as a theatrical ‘infomercial,’ a rented theater.”  Cooke says that regardless of your personal political viewpoint, as a content creator the film is instructive in numerous ways.  Read Holland Cooke’s analysis here.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie Cuts Ribbon at NJ 101.5 Studio.  Townsquare Media’s New Jersey 101.5 celebrated the opening of its refurbished main studio on August 23 and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was on hand to cut the ribbon.  NJ 101.5 program director Eric Johnson reports the main studio got some brand new carpeting and – more important – new broadcasting equipment to bring the station into the digital era.  PM drive hosts Deminski &Doyle were on the air when the switch was made and the monthly “Ask the Governor” program followed.  Christie was there for the program and made the new studio “official” with his gubernatorial ribbon cutting and he even worked the new digital board (pictured here) during the station’s 8:00 pm newscast.

Dale “The Truckin’ Bozo” Sommers Dies at 68.  The cause of death is not yet public but Dale Sommers had been dealing with unspecified health issues since he left the WLW, Cincinnati overnight program in 2004.  Although he retired from the show at that time, he resumed the program on satellite radio and hosted it until earlier this year when he again gave it up.  As the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter reports, Sommers’ program made national news twice when it helped solve crimes.  The first time was in 1984 when he was talking off the air with a regular caller who went by the name of “Mississippi Lady,” a convenience store clerk in Camilla, Georgia “when he heard her tell someone, ‘You can’t come back here’ before quickly hanging up the phone.  Sommers called Camilla police, who were familiar with his ‘Bozo Show’ and a store clerk known as the ‘Mississippi Lady.’ Within minutes, an officer apprehended the robber.”  His program was also credited with assisting police is catching the DC sniper in 2002 after a listener heard Sommers give the car’s license plate number over the radio.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

| August 23, 2012

Tom Owens Out at Clear Channel.  With the constant comings and goings of radio people these days – even executives – it’s tough to call anything a “shocker,” but Tom Owens has been part of the Clear Channel organization since its merger with the old Jacor back in 1998.  Owens began with Jacor as programmer at rocker WEBN, Cincinnati and moved up to the top of the corporate programming ladder there before the merger.  He was the head of Clear Channel programming until last fall when Tom Poleman was named president of national programming platforms and Owens was given the EVP of programming research and strategy title.  During his time there, Owens was no stranger to the pink slip process – of course, participating in it from the position of handing them out.  Now, as CC consolidates its programming research and ratings research groups into the national programming platforms division under Poleman, Owens leaves the company.  The official word from Clear Channel is that Owens will still contribute to its strategic programming on a “consultant basis.”  Sometimes in modern-day corporate jargon, that’s a nice way of saying, sayonara.

Emmis Picks Up Two Stations in Terre Haute.  The purchase of sports talk combo WSDM-FM at 92.7 and WSDX-AM at 1130 (both licensed to Brazil, Indiana) from Crossroads Investments must be approved by the FCC but Emmis will be operating the duo under an LMA beginning September 1.  Emmis Terre Haute general manager James Connor says in a statement, “We are excited to add the ESPN brand to the Emmis Terre Haute cluster of stations which includes WWVR-FM classic rock 105.5 The River and HI-99 WTHI-FM the Wabash Valley’s Country Station.  We will continue to serve the listeners of Terre Haute, Brazil and the surrounding communities with quality programming and our continued commitment to community service.”  In addition to ESPN programming, the combo airs local sports talk host Vaso Michels’ 5:00 am to 7:00 am program.

Talk Host Martha Zoller Loses Bid for Congress in Runoff Election.  Gainesville, Georgia-based talk host Martha Zoller – who left her talk radio career to run for the new 9th Congressional District seat in Georgia – lost the Republican primary runoff to Georgia State Representative Doug Collins.  In a message to supporters, Zoller stated, “I do not know what the future holds for me but I do know that there’s still work to be done.  Don’t stop fighting for what you believe … don’t give up hope in the future of this great nation … and don’t for a second believe that your efforts over the last year were in vain.”  Whether or not Zoller makes a talk host comeback is uncertain but she has hinted to the Georgia media that she is not done with her political aspirations.

Super Agent Eric Weiss Played Significant Role in Heidi & Frank/KLOS Marriage.  One of the most prominent behind-the-scenes movers and shakers in the radio talent rep business, Eric Weiss of the LA-based Weiss Agency, first had the idea that Heidi and Frank would make a good fit in mornings at KLOS as far back as one year ago.  According to Southern California radio historian Don Barrett of LARadio.com, Weiss had the idea that the duo would be perfect for mornings at the heritage LA album rocker when rumors began to surface that Mark & Brian might be heading into their final contract year before he even represented them stating, “I pursued the idea – spoke with both sides about it, and was able to help bring it to fruition.”  There’s a huge lesson and insight in this for those who wonder how big time media talent agents operate.  It is not just a matter of “get me a job.”  Top agents smell potential connections and often put themselves in the mix as catalysts to a marriage before the main parties involved even think of it themselves.  At RadioInfo and TALKERS, we are often asked by zealous-but-unproven talent yet to earn a track record if we can “recommend a good agent.”  Our answer:  “Any agent who would sign you as a client at this point in your career wouldn’t be a ‘good’ one.”

Karel Program to Air on CRN Digital Talk Radio.  San Francisco-based talk host Charles Karel Bouley’s “The Karel Show” begins daily distribution via CRN Digital Talk Radio.  The famously liberal and openly gay talk host began his talk career in 1998 on KFI, Los Angeles with his late partner Andrew Howard.  Since then he’s also worked at KGO, San Francisco.  CRN president and CEO Mike Horn states, “Karel raises questions, brings humor and creates compelling conversation with listeners and guests alike and we’re especially pleased to bring his outstanding show to CRN.”  Karel has a national profile through his radio career, his books, blogs, syndicated columns (Huffington Post) and television appearances as both commentator and actor.  He says, “CRN continues to blaze a trail in delivering content to listeners across America.  I’m so glad they are taking the show.  From the beginning, Mike Horn has been an advocate and I knew we’d get to this day.”  The program airs live on CRN 2 from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET.

SiriusXM Board of Directors Sued by Shareholders; Suit Has No Merit Says TALKERS Legal Editor.  The City of Miami Police Relief and Pension Fund, a SiriusXM shareholder, is contending that the SiriusXM board of directors has failed to prevent John Malone-led Liberty Media from assuming control over the satcaster.  The suit, filed in Delaware Chancery Court, contends Malone and other Liberty-appointed members of the board are preventing other board members from “adopting anti-takeover provisions even if doing so would be in the best interests” of shareholders.  Late yesterday, Delaware Chancery Court Judge Leo Strine ruled he would not stop Liberty from acquiring more shares as the plaintiffs had requested.  He further stated he would hear expedited motions within the next month to decide if the investors’ case should go forward.  But TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says what Liberty is doing is within its legal rights.  In fact, Weisman says SiriusXM could be in breach of contract if it attempted to stop Liberty’s actions.  Read Weisman’s exclusive analysis here.

Fox NFL Analyst Mike Pereira to Appear on KNBR, San Francisco This Season.  NFL fans know former NFL VP of officiating Mike Pereira as the guy the Fox play-by-play team cuts away to when there’s a questionable call on the field that needs illumination.  Now, Pereira will be part of the KNBR morning show with Gary Radnich and Larry Krueger for “The Rule Book” show Monday mornings at 9:30 during the NFL season.  Program director Lee Hammer states, “We’re excited to have Mike join the KNBR family.  In every NFL game, we see calls that leave fans in total disbelief.  As the former head of officiating for the NFL, Mike will not only explain the rule, but try to explain why the official made the call.  Mike no longer works for the league, so he’ll be critical when necessary and have the freedom to say when the officials clearly missed the call.”  With the possibility of the league’s officials sitting out due to a contract dispute with the league and replacement officials working games, this could be a huge programming coup on Monday mornings for KNBR!

Mancow Chicago Video Simulcast a Done Deal.  The “Mancow Experience” will be seen by Chicagoans on WPWR-TV – channel 50 in Chicago – from 6:00 am to 8:00 am beginning this fall .  The Chicago Tribune reports what was teased earlier this summer is being confirmed by station management.  The other aspect of this news for Erich “Mancow” Muller is that his show will have a new physical home base as production of the TRN nationally syndicated radio program will move to WPWR’s North Michigan Avenue studios.  WPWR VP and general manager Mike Renda says, “This fall, Chicagoans will get a backstage pass into one of the most provocative radio programs in this market.  Viewers will have unlimited access into Mancow’s madness, with a live, unedited simulcast that will bring this dynamic voice to life.”  Mancow’s show is heard in the market on suburban WJJG.

New York’s WFAN Scores Eli Manning Appearances.  New York Football Giants flagship WFAN, New York signs Giants QB Eli Manning to a multi-year deal to have Manning join PM drive host Mike Francesa at 5:05 the day after every Giants game during the season and the post-season.  Vice president of programming for CBS Radio New York and WFAN operations manager Mark Chernoff says, “As the team’s flagship radio station, we’re proud to be the leading source of Giants news for football fans across the tri-state area.  Having Eli every week is guaranteed to give listeners the best commentary, insight and discussion with a perspective only he can offer on the New York Giants.  This will be appointment radio at its best.”

Salem Radio Network Gears Up for Convention Coverage.  Dallas-based Salem Radio Network is prepping to cover the Republican National Convention in Tampa beginning on Monday. SRN vice president of news & talk programming Tom Tradup reports a full battery of SRN news staffers — including White House correspondent Greg Clugston and SRN U.S. Senate correspondent Linda Kenyon — will join SRN talk hosts Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved and others at the network’s broadcast headquarters in the Tampa Bay Times Forum.  Tradup tells TALKERS magazine, “We’ll either present superb Republican Convention coverage or the most over-staffed hurricane coverage in the history of 21st century radio…or both!”  Tradup states the organization will also cover the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte the following week, and will include what it calls a “truth squad” led by former Secretary of Education Bill Bennett who hosts SRN’s “Morning in America” program.

NRG Media’s “The Zone” Omaha Sports Outlet Launches “Fully Interactive” Post-Game Show.  Sports talk KOZN, Omaha announces the debut of the “Big Red Over-Reaction” post-game show that will immediately follow Nebraska Cornhuskers football games this season.  The station is touting the program as  “fully interactive” saying it “will immediately feature fan reaction via on-air and digital and social media, providing instant vent-and-release by Cornhusker fans nationwide via over-the-air call-in, Twitter tweets, Facebook posts, Huskermax.com and e-mails.”  The show will feature The Zone’s legendary former Husker National Champion Blackshirt Jason Peter.  Peter will be joined by “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” co-hosts John Bishop and Mike’l Severe and Jason’s morning show co-host Gary Sharp of “Sharp & Peter in the Morning.”  NRG Media Omaha general manger Andy Ruback says, “We have the talent and the capability to deliver a program that the market has never seen before.  Our personalities have a combined total of nearly 100 years of experience with Nebraska football and we believe that fans will appreciate our unique approach to post-game programming that they have never had before.”

Yahoo! Sports Radio Names Doug Russell and Mark Carman PM Drive Hosts.  The slot opened up when Yahoo! host Travis Rodgers was moved to the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET slot on the network.  Doug Russell moves up from the network’s evening program and Mark Carman has worked at Houston Texans flagship KILT, Houston as well as WGN, Chicago.

Organization Files Petitions with FCC to Deny Renewal of Fox-Owned TV Stations.  The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington is asking the FCC to deny renewal of the broadcast licenses of three Fox TV stations – two in Washington, DC and one in Baltimore – because of News Corp.’s involvement in hacking scandals in England, according to The Hill.  TV licenses, like radio broadcast licenses, come up for renewal every eight years and the three stations in question applied for renewal in June.  Their licenses are set to expire in October.  According to the story, CREW asked the commission to pull the licenses to all 27 Fox-owned TV stations back in May – citing the clause in FCC regulations that it only grants licenses to those of “good character” – but the FCC has taken no action.  The commission rarely takes action in cases of ethics complaints and it is not expected to act on CREW’s complaint.

Presidential Campaign, Todd Akins Campaign Status, Prince Harry Naked Partying Incident, Merkel-Euro Zone Tensions, and Hurricane Threatens Tampa GOP Convention Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/22).  The U.S. presidential campaign; Missouri Rep. Todd Akins campaign status in wake of “legitimate rape” comment; the fallout over Prince Harry’s naked partying in Las Vegas; German chancellor Angela Merkel’s difficult decision regarding Greece and the future of the euro zone; and the hurricane threat to next week’s GOP convention in Tampa were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

| August 2, 2012

Chick-fil-A Controversy Fires Up Conservative Talk Hosts; Sparks Movement to Support Fast Food Chain.  The issues of gay marriage and First Amendment rights have been front and center on news/talk radio this week in the wake of Chick-fil-A COO Dan Cathy’s comments in a Baptist publication about his support for the Biblical definition of marriage that’s grown into a major news story.  Some view his statement as bigoted and divisive while others see this as a free speech issue.  The case has spurred planned demonstrations by same-sex couples and their supporters as well as conservative media personalities who have encouraged their listeners and viewers to support the fast food chain.  Salem Radio Network talk host Mike Gallagher is pictured here (at left) in his studio preparing to enjoy his Chick-fil-A lunch and has been encouraging listeners to post pictures of themselves eating at the restaurant on Facebook.  Salem Communications O&O WNYM, New York – AM 970 The Answer – organized a call for support at the Paramus, New Jersey Mall where the station reports some 200 listeners had lined up by lunchtime to support the store.  At right is talk show host Kevin McCullough (l)  – whose weekend talk show is heard on WNYM – with Salem VP/director of spoken word format Phil Boyce (r) as they prepare to enjoy a sandwich.  In the panoramic photo below.  The Answer morning drive host Curtis Sliwa can be seen at the far right speaking with a listener while the line of customers spreads across the photo to the left.

Bill Handel’s “Cash Mob” Supports SoCal Toy Store.  A “cash mob” organized by KFI, Los Angeles morning drive host Bill Handel put some $9,000 in the register of struggling Corona del Mar toy store Toy Boat, Toy Boat, Toy Boat.  Handel appeared at the store from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm but Handel’s listeners patronized the store all day long after hearing Handel speak on the air about the state of the struggling local business.  Handel show executive producer Michelle Kube reports many of the people who bought toys donated them to Children’s Hospital of Orange County.  Kube states, “This was just the first.  We plan to do more of these across all day parts on KFI over the next few months all over the Southland as our amazing listeners have responded with so many requests to help local small business owners!”

Clear Channel Reports Radio Revenue Up 3%.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment – of course, now a private company but one that still publicly reports financials – gives its 2012 Q2 financial report and states revenue was up from $771.8 million in the second quarter of 2011 to $793 million in the second quarter of this year.  CFO Tom Casey reports much of that increase was due to national and in categories including automotive, telecommunications, financial services, political and entertainment.  Casey noted that national business rose at roughly double the rate of local business.

Comedian and Stephanie Miller Show Cast Member John Fugelsang Gets Current TV Show.  Regular Stephanie Miller radio show cast member – and one third of Miller’s “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” – John Fugelsang will have his own Current TV program beginning in the fall.  Talk radio host Stephanie Miller’s show is simulcast on the Al Gore-founded cable TV network in which Fugelsang gets some face time, but now he’ll have a solo gig there.  In a statement, Al Gore says, “We at Current are eager to bring John’s unique perspective on politics and the world around him to primetime.  He’s been a part of the Current family for a while now and we see just how much his voice resonates with our audience.  His new show will nicely complement our growing lineup.”  Fugelsang has guest-hosted prime time shows on the network including Eliot Spitzer’s and Jennifer Granholm’s programs.  The network has not announced what time the show will air.

WQSC, Charleston, South Carolina Flips to Talk.  The Kirkman Broadcasting station drops oldies for news/talk and airs largely syndicated programming with the exception of local PM drive host Rocky D.  Programming consists of: Cumulus Media NetworksImus in the Morning; Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher; Talk Radio Network’s Laura Ingraham; Dial Global’s Dennis Miller and Jim Bohannon; and CBS Radio’s “Overnight America” with Jon Grayson.

California Couple Sentenced in Real Estate Ponzi Scheme; Infomercials Aired on KVTA, Port Hueneme.  It’s almost a mystery how stations keep selling infomercials to “investment gurus” who go on to swindle people out of their life savings…but they do.  The latest case in this oft-repeating story is that of Kenneth Powell and Kathryn Rose who pleaded guilty to numerous counts of felony fraud related to a real estate investment Ponzi scheme that scammed some $3 million out of 15 people in Southern California.  The two broadcast shows called “Academy of Real Estate,” “Money Intelligence” and “The Ken & Katie Show” on KVTA.  Investors were asked to put money into real estate development or loans secured by real estate but all investment cash went to pay off previous investors until the scheme went bust.  59-year-old Powell received 18 years in prison and 63-year-old Rose will serve 12 years, 8 months.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Journal Broadcasting’s news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee gave away a fully restored 1969 Chevy Camaro (pictured here) to winner Aaron Guenterberg in its annual “Free Ride” promotion that saw more than 10,000 people enter the contest…..A Saturday morning talk show hosted by Tony Stiles debuts on news/talk KOIL, Omaha this Saturday…..Jacksonville-based sports talk show “Courts and Sports,” hosted by attorney John Phillips, moves from WOKV to crosstown WFXJ, Jacksonville on August 9.  Phillips’ regular co-host for the program is Jacksonville Jaguars running back Rashad Jennings…..SiriusXM presents “College Sports Nation Camp Tour” on its College Sports Nation channel beginning today.  Hosts Eddie George, Gino Torretta, Rick Neuheisel, Houston Nutt, Randy Cross, Gil Brandt, Jack Arute and Mark Packer will visit 13 camps in 16 days and report to listeners.

20 Gallons of Hat.  WLAC, Nashville-based talk host Steve Gill (r) is pictured here with music legend Charlie Daniels (l).  Daniels appeared on Gill’s syndicated talk program on Tuesday, July 31 and the two talked politics and the state of the country.

Presidential Race, Chick-fil-A Case, Ted Cruz Texas Primary Victory, Fed Economic Report/Financial Markets Activities, and London Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/1).  The campaign for president, the outpouring of support for Chick-fil-A and the issue of same-sex marriage; Tea Party candidate Ted Cruz’s Republican primary victory for U.S. Senate in Texas; the Fed’s economic report and financial markets activities; and the London Olympics were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

| July 26, 2012

Talk Media Personality Ed Schultz Reveals Wife Wendy is Battling Ovarian Cancer.  Syndicated talk radio host and MSNBC personality Ed Schultz has been off of both of his programs for the past week and took the time yesterday to call in to his radio show to speak with guest host Mike Papantonio to announce that his wife Wendy is being treated for ovarian cancer.  Schultz told his audience they received the diagnosis last Wednesday and Wendy underwent surgery on Tuesday of this week.  “The doctors feel like they got all of it.  It was a very successful surgery, but we got a long way to go.”  Schultz took the opportunity to thank the staffs of both of his programs for their help in covering while he’s been away and said he will be missing from both programs for some time, although how long is not known.  “Doing a radio and TV show isn’t exactly what I’m thinking about right now.  I’m going to be with my wife through all of this…We both feel like we’ve been through the wringer and you lose track of time, you lose track of what you’re doing.  And everything changes, but we’re going to be OK.  We’re going to get through it.”  The staff of TALKERS magazine wishes the best to Ed and Wendy at this challenging time in their lives.

Clear Channel Names Clay Hunnicutt EVP of Programming.  This is a big move up for the SVP eastern region and VP of country as Clear Channel Media and Entertainment announces Clay Hunnicutt becomes executive vice president of programming for the company.  The promotion also puts Hunnicutt in charge of programming in markets including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Washington, Baltimore and San Diego.

Morning Hosts, Former Employer Settle in Potentially Precedent-Setting Case.  When Q92 (WDJQ, Canton, Ohio) morning hosts Pat DeLuca and Charlotte DiFranco left the D.A. Peterson, Inc.-owned station after their contracts expired in February of this year and began an internet radio show, Peterson demanded the two cease their project saying it was in violation of their non-compete.  The two sued Peterson and in April Stark County Common Pleas Judge Charles E. Brown Jr. ruled the two forms of communicating – webcasting and terrestrial radio – were different enough that the duo were not in violation of their non-compete.  Peterson responded by asking they be prohibited from webcasting or streaming within a 60-mile radius of the station (although TALKERS is not sure how that would be accomplished or enforced).  Judge Brown denied that request but did rule DeLuca and DiFranco may not use tapes of programs they did while working for Peterson and that they must return the tapes.  Also, Brown ruled Peterson owes the two back pay for vacation.  As it stands the sides are agreeing to settle the dispute and Peterson says the two will be paid when all the tapes have been returned.  Whether this case sets any sort of precedent regarding the difference between terrestrial and internet broadcasting in future disputes is obviously unknown at this point, but is nonetheless an interesting ruling as far as talent and employers are concerned.

Courtside Entertainment’s “One Minute Clinic with Dr. Drew Pinsky” Clears Boston.  The twice-daily medical advice and “life enhancing insight” feature from Courtside Entertainment gets a major-market clear on Greater Media’s WTKK, Boston, adding the city to its other major markets — New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington DC.  Courtside Entertainment Group president Bob Moore says the power of Dr. Drew Pinsky’s brand is astounding.  “There are 15 million Google searches related to health and wellness every day, and 75 million related to celebrities.  Calling Dr. Drew!  Drew knows what listeners want and we are pleased to partner with the legendary WTKK to ensure they get it.”

Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington Brings Fox 5 Washington Sports Director Aboard for Football Show.  WTTG-TV, Washington, DC acting sports director Dave Ross will join Red Zebra’s ESPN980 — WTEM – for the month of August to fill in for Tony Kornheiser in the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot and host the “NFL This Morning” program.  WTEM says the show will cover everything Redskins and the entire NFL.  “Over the five weeks, Dave will have daily Redskins guests as well as live reports from all 32 NFL cites while going in-depth on every team in the league.  The show will originate from Redskins Park, where ESPN980 has an exclusive studio.”  WTEM president and CEO Rick Carmean states, “Redskins coverage is our wheelhouse and this show will continue our dominance in that area.  There is no better way to begin that coverage than with Dave Ross at Redskins training camp.”

Delmarva Broadcasting to Debut FM Talk Station on September 4.  The station will be positioned as Delaware 105.9 and former WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Maryland program director and morning host Dan Gaffney – who just last week announced his departure from that station – will be part of the new station’s lineup.  Delmarva is splitting the FM simulcast of country WKTT, Salisbury, Maryland – currently broadcast on both the 97.5 signal of WKTT and WZKT’s 105.9 licensed to Lewes, Delaware to the northeast.

WTKK, Boston Adds Andelmans for Friday Middays.  The Andelman brothers – Dave, Dan and Michael – have hosted “The Phantom Gourmet Radio Show” on Saturdays on the station since April of 2007.  Dave Andelman is CEO of Phantom Gourmet, Inc. which produces not only the radio show but a TV show of the same name that airs in Boston, Providence and in Maine in addition to some of Beantown’s biggest food-centric public events.  Now, the three will host a Friday show from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm that will “cover anything that’s topical,” according to Dave Andelman.  Program director Grace Blazer tells TALKERS, “The Phantom Gourmet and the Andelman Brothers are staples on Boston radio, TV, and genius at throwing big events all over New England.  Over the past five-plus years, the Andelman brothers have connected on-air, online and in person with 96.9’s listeners and advertisers and we’re delighted to bring their family to yours on Fridays in addition to Saturdays.  Let the fader begin.”  The three are the sons of well-known Boston sports media personality Eddie AndelmanDoug Meehan continues to host the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm show Monday through Thursday.

Mark Tauscher Joins Journal’s Packers Broadcasts.  Retired Green Bay Packers lineman Mark Tauscher becomes part of the broadcast team for Journal Broadcast Group’s radio and TV coverage of the team’s games this season.  Tauscher will provide pre- and post-game analysis on the Packers Radio Network and pre-game analysis on the Packers TV Network.  Journal director of network operations Carl Moll states, “Mark brings listeners and viewers a fresh perspective on how players think and react to game situations in the NFL. His knowledge adds dimension to the Packers coverage originated by Journal’s radio and TV networks.”

Midwest Communications Buys Backyard Broadcasting’s Sioux Falls Cluster.  There’s no price on the transaction being disclosed yet but the seven-station cluster that includes news/talk KELO and sports KWSN but the stations will become part of Midwest Communications’ portfolio pending FCC approval.  The sale leaves Backyard Broadcasting with stations in three markets: Muncie, Indiana; Williamsport, Pennsylvania; and Olean, New York.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  XtreMedia CEO Kevin McCullough, host of his own nationally syndicated daily talk radio program and co-host of the “Baldwin/McCullough Live” weekend program with Stephen Baldwin, announces his company is producing a new TV program beginning in September called, “Hannah Help Me.”  The show stars former PBS personality and mother of seven Hannah Keeley who will help mothers who are wrestling with the mess of life to gain insight and strategies in coping with the worries of parenthood…..WFED, Washington AM drive co-host Francis Rose is filling in for Cumulus Media Networks talk host John Batchelor on his Saturday evening WABC, New York-based program this weekend…..Cloud-based advertising software company Abacast announces veteran media executives Ivan Braiker of Hipcricket and John Maffei of Playsino are named to the company’s board of directors…..The syndicated weekend automotive show “America on the Road,” hosted by Mike Anson and Jack Nerad, ends production this weekend after 23 years.  Anson says, “Weʼve been contemplating shutting down for about a year, but wanted to wait until all of our current advertising contracts had concluded.”…..NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart will be guesting on the United Stations Radio Networks-syndicated program, “The Final Lap Weekly” this coming weekend.  The program is produced and co-hosted by Kerry Murphey in California…..SiriusXM delves into the vast “Twitter-verse” with its newest program, “Politics Powered by Twitter,” heard on the satcaster’s POTUS political talk channel.  The one-hour daily show airs live at 6:00 pm ET and is described as a “new radio format that reports to listeners exclusively what politics are being talked about on Twitter, including trends and Tweets from politicians, journalists and celebrities who have active voices on the key political issues, electoral races and breaking news.”

Overflow Crowds Attend Dallas Premiere of Obama Movie.  The Dallas premiere of the Dinesh D’Souza-produced political film “2016: Obama’s America” was a huge hit as two theaters in a local multiplex were filled with viewers for the film that goes into national theatrical release the first week of August.  Pictured here with D’Souza (c) are Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher (r) and Salem Communications talk host Mark Davis (l) who is hosting morning drive on the company’s 660 The Answer – KSKY, Dallas.

Presidential Campaign, Aurora Massacre Aftermath, Syria Instability, and Jobs Market Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/25).  The ongoing presidential campaign; the aftermath of the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting; the violence and political implications associated with Syria’s instability and the flat jobs market were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, June 18, 2012

| June 18, 2012

EXCLUSIVE: Sean Hannity’s New Media Seminar Keynote Address on TALKERS TV.  The rousing speech delivered by Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel talk media superstar Sean Hannity at the start of the New Media Seminar in New York on Thursday, June 7 is now playing on TALKERS TV.  Introduced by TALKERS founder Michael Harrison, who described the upbeat talk show host as a “fine man who could be a governor or a president,” Hannity discusses a wide range of issues facing talk radio today from selling PPM numbers to the challenges of accurately rating a multi-platform medium to overcoming organized advertiser boycotts.  See and hear this event in the TALKERS TV box on the right side of this page.  Look for more video from the New Media Seminar to be playing on TALKERS TV at www.talkers.com in the coming days and weeks.

CBS Radio Sell-Off Talk Getting Heated Again.  This time a piece by Richard Morgan in The Deal Magazine cites CBS president and CEO Les Moonves’ desire to make CBS a true player in Hollywood – with big studio muscles – as the reason the corporation may be considering selling its outdoor, print and radio assets.  Morgan writes, “Investment bankers are confident that, after orchestrating a take-private, CBS brass could still muster resources to pursue what has long been the apple of Moonves’ eye (aside from Julie Chen, that is): acquire a movie studio, one along the lines of mini-major Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., the addition of which would transform half-decade-old CBS Films into a bona fide major.”  Advertising-reliant media such as outdoor and radio, although they deliver cash flow, are not favorites because of their reliance on advertising.  Morgan quotes a banker discussing CBS Radio, “Moonves doesn’t really like it that much but it delivers huge cash flows.”  The banker states he believes the company’s 127 radio stations will eventually be sold.  The theory is the outdoor, print (Simon & Schuster) and radio could fund a take-private move and give CBS the funds it needs to become a Hollywood pure player.

Robin Bertolucci Named 2012 Woman of the Year.  The TALKERS magazine editorial board has announced the selection of KFI/KTLK, Los Angeles program director Robin Bertolucci as the 2012 recipient of the Judy Jarvis Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Talk Radio Industry by a Woman.  The presentation will be made at the forthcoming Los Angeles installment of the TALKERS New Media Seminar at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood on Thursday, October 11, 2012.  The event, presented by TALKERS magazine in conjunction with the Los Angeles Press Club, is the second half of this year’s innovative bi-coastal format for the talk industry’s most important and longest running national convention.  The prestigious award is named in honor of the late Judy Jarvis – a pioneer in the independent talk syndication movement of the 1990s – who was stricken with lung cancer and died in the prime of her life and career in 2000.  Since then, this award has been presented each year at the NMS to a series of outstanding industry women including Laurie Cantillo, Grace BlazerAdriane Gaines, Randi Rhodes, Laura Ingraham, Lisa Evers, Gloria Allred, Lynn Distler, Kim Komando and Ellen Ratner.  The award was first presented posthumously to Judy Jarvis.  Last year’s recipient was Stephanie Miller who will participate in the presentation.  Bertolucci began her luminous career in talk radio in 1987 as a desk assistant at KGO, San Francisco and was eventually promoted to that station’s executive producer position.  She served as program director of KOA, Denver before joining Clear Channel in Los Angeles in 2002.  According to TALKERS VP/managing editor Kevin Casey, “As a talk programmer, Ms. Bertolucci represents the best this industry has to offer – regardless of gender.  All of us at TALKERS look forward to the day when there will not be a need to shine the spotlight specifically on women who set an inspirational example for others in this business.  But unfortunately that day has yet to arrive and until it does, we will continue to present this award as an annual tradition.”  TALKERS will begin posting detailed information about New Media Seminar/Los Angeles on Monday morning here at www.talkers.com.  For information call 413-565-5413.

WNIR, Akron Talk Host Howie Chizek Dies at Age 65.  The longtime WNIR-FM, Akron talk show host was travelling to Florida to take part in charity work when he suffered a heart attack.  Howie Chizek had worked at WNIR-FM for the past 38 years, most recently hosting the station’s midday program and a Saturday show.  WNIR-FM president Bob Klaus tells the Associated Press Chizek was travelling with underprivileged youths and chaperones to Walt Disney World as part of an annual charity program.  Klaus states, “He was an absolutely amazing talent who had gigantic charisma.  And behind the scenes he was a very warm, gentle man…He just loved to make the world a better place by giving kids an opportunity to develop and grow into productive members of society.”

WFAN Kicks Off Third Annual “Fantasy Phenom Challenge.”  On Thursday, July 12 CBS Radio’s WFAN, New York begins auditioning sports talk radio fans who think they can do sports talk radio and, once again, the winner will have the opportunity to earn an air shift on WFAN.  This year, the station is opening the contest to duos.  For three consecutive weeks in July, a panel of judges will listen to up to 100 from each week’s auditions hopefuls do their sports talk shtick.  Those who move to the next round are eventually whittled down to five finalists who will compete at Mike Francesa’s “End of Summer” bash on August 24.  Last year’s winner – John Jastremski – was no stranger to media having gone to Syracuse University to study journalism and worked at campus stations.  He still works at WFAN.  Station OM Mark Chernoff says, “Our Fantasy Phenom enters its third year and it is bigger and better than ever.  We look forward to our new twist of allowing teams of two to compete in Fantasy Phenom 3.”

Legal Scholars Debate ObamaCare.  Salem Radio Network talk host – and Chapman University constitutional law professor – Hugh Hewitt (c) moderated a debate between two legal scholars over the outcome of the United States Supreme Court’s looming decision on the legality of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.  The event took place on Wednesday, June 13 at the Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, California and was a standing-room-only success.  At Hewitt’s left is constitutional law professor John Eastman, to his right is Erwin Chemerinsky.  This photo is courtesy of the Whittier Daily News.

 

Greater Media’s Bob & Sheri Celebrate U.S. Army’s Birthday and Flag Day with Remote Events.  WLNK-FM, Charlotte-based morning drive talk hosts Bob & Sheri wrapped up a patriotic week of live events that began the weekend of June 8-10 at affiliate WCTW-FM, Catskill, New York where Bob & Sheri participated in the Hudson, New York Flag Day Parade and the Hudson River Cruise (where they are pictured here with listeners aboard the boat).  Listeners lined the streets to see Bob & Sheri pass by and select listeners were chosen to attend a private boat cruise.  On Wednesday, June 13, the duo traveled to Fort Bragg near Fayetteville, North Carolina to help celebrate the 237th birthday of the U.S. Army.  They participated in a meet-and-greet for affiliate station WQSM-FM.  They broadcast live during the Army’s annual four-mile birthday run on the morning of June 14.

AM570 Fox Sports L.A. Celebrates Kings Stanley Cup Victory.  KLAC – AM570 Fox Sports L.A. – the radio home of the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings covered the team’s Stanley Cup celebration and parade with a day of live broadcasts.  “Loose Cannons” Pat O’Brien and Steve Hartman broadcast from the AM570 stage outside the Staples Center arena, while co-host Vic “The Brick” Jacobs walked the parade route taking photos with fans and sharing the excitement with listeners.  Petros & Money took the parade route bus ride with the Kings players, providing fans with play-by-play of the action. The Loose Cannons then brought the broadcast into the arena’s visitor box, with live coverage of the rally celebration and post-reactions from key player Dustin Penner, head coach Darryl Sutter and AEG president and CEO Tim Leiweke.  Following the incredible events, Petros & Money hosted a three-hour local program that included reliving their memorable experiences and inviting listeners on-air to share their reactions.  Pictured here is Loose Cannon Pat O’Brien interviewing Dustin Penner.

Monday, June 4, 2012

| June 4, 2012

Tom Leykis and Lionel to Discuss Their High-Profile Pioneering Digital Efforts at NMS.  Two questions (or variations thereof) regularly fielded by the TALKERS editorial staff these days are “How’s Tom Leykis doing with his new online talk show?” and “What’s Lionel up to these days with his online project?”  Both will be answered in detail straight from the horses’ mouths at the New Media Seminar’s Digital Workshop in New York City this Thursday, June 7.  As West Coast-based Leykis approaches the two-month mark into the launch of his “New Normal Network” online project and East Coast-based Lionel chalks up two years of operating “LionelMedia.com,” both individualistic graduates of the terrestrial talk show scene continue to gain traction on both the audience and revenue fronts as the industry watches with great interest.  Leykis tells TALKERS, “We had over 1.1 million sessions from our debut on April 2nd until April 30th. That number would most closely approximate cume. In our first week of 24/7 streaming, we had exactly 401,180 listeners. That was more listeners than the weekly cumes of 14 L.A./Orange County radio stations in March.”  On the revenue front, Leykis is also very pleased with immediate results saying, “At the current pace, we will make over 100K in revenue, but we are conservatively estimating 100K for the year.”  Leykis explains the key to making an online radio operation work is to provide specific listeners something they cannot get anywhere else.  He tells TALKERS, “You really have to super-serve your P1s…even in the process of selling advertising.  We go out into the marketplace and ask radio-friendly businesses the question, ‘Are you being priced out of radio?’  Because our operating costs are so much lower than radio we can offer these small businesses very affordable deals.  And when you specifically target business owners who are already in your audience as listeners, well it just makes a lot of sense.  This is what we are doing and it is working.”  Lionel describes his digital effort to TALKERS as follows: “This month is the second anniversary of the launch of LionelMedia.com, a paid subscription podcasting outlet. I podcast an hour daily of uninterrupted, unedited, commercial and break-free freeform-yet-structured spoken word. It, frankly, knows no peer. Every day I post news stories, columns, ideas, opinions and the like that supplement the subject or content of that day’s podcast. I’ll also attach a YouTube video of my latest PIX11 commentary on myriad subjects. To be most precise: I do exactly what I want. Let that sink in. My podcasts are not profane or blue in the least — in fact they could be played in their entirety on terrestrial radio. That, I feel, is a drawing point and basis for much of our success.”  Although Lionel no longer does a terrestrial radio talk show, he does regularly scheduled commentaries on Tribune television stations including New York’s WPIX channel 11 and Merlin Media’s all-news FMs in New York, Philadelphia and Chicago in addition to appearing as a regular guest on a number of terrestrial radio talk shows…exposure that helps drive traffic to his online media station.  The Digital Workshop will be moderated by Ellen Ratner of Talk Radio News Service and Dan Patterson of KoPoint.  The June 7 industry-only New Media Seminar/NYC is an advance sellout.  For information call 413-565-5413.

Wisconsin Recall Spurs Question of “Equal Time” on Milwaukee News/Talk Outlets – and Beyond.  Progressive political groups are charging Clear Channel‘s WISN, Milwaukee and Journal Broadcasting‘s WTMJ, Milwaukee with violating the FCC‘s “Zapple Doctrine” which mandates “equal time” to all qualified political candidates within 60 days of an election under certain circumstances. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes that talk hosts often benefit from exemption from the “Zapple Doctrine” by qualifying as a “news interview program.” But that exemption is not always a slam dunk. Read Weisman’s column about how the courts tend to interpret this section of FCC regulations here.

WPLJ-FM, New York OM Tony Mascaro to Program WABC?  Some posts on the New York Radio Message Board indicate inside sources are reporting Cumulus Media New York is naming CHR WPLJ-FM operations manager Tony Mascaro program director of its news/talk WABC. As of the posting of this item, there is no confirmation or denying of the report from Cumulus. WABC APD Chuck Armstrong has been serving as interim program director for the station filling the role left vacant when Laurie Cantillo exited the post last fall. Stay tuned.

Tony Kornheiser Re-Ups with WTEM, Washington for Two Years.  The Red Zebra Broadcasting station announces high-profile personality Tony Kornheiser renews his deal to remain host of the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program on ESPN 980 WTEM, Washington, DC. As part of the new contract, Kornheiser will contribute to the Washington Redskins Radio Network‘s “Official Pre-Game Show” during the football season. WTEM CEO Rick Carmean states, “Tony’s unique brand of humor and entertainment fits perfectly into our strong and highly rated midday lineup.” Kornheiser is joined weekdays by a rotating cast of co-hosts including Gary Braun, Jeanne McManus, Torie Clark, David Aldridge and longtime producer Nigel. Frequent contributors include Tony’s “Pardon the Interruption”co-host Michael Wilbon.

WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta Gives Adam Goldfein Nightly Program.  Local attorney and auto dealership owner Adam Goldfein has hosted a weekend program about cars on Cox Media‘s WSB-AM/FM for some time. Now, the station adds more air time to his schedule. The consumer issues expert begins hosting a program airing nightly from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Goldfein had been filling in for Clark Howard on the station and Cox Radio Atlanta VP and market manager Dan Kearney tells the Atlanta Journal Constitution, “He was doing a great job filling in for Clark Howard and his Sunday show was getting great ratings. We wanted him on more consistently.” 

Stephen King’s WZON, Bangor Drops Local Sports Talk; Dismisses Two.  Give WZON, Bangor owner Stephen King credit for manning up and personally delivering the news to sports talk hosts Dale Duff and Clem LaBree that they were being dismissed for financial reasons. Duff and LaBree hosted the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm sports talk show on WZON-AM as well as covering a slew of local sports events, including high school and college games. The Bangor Daily News reports King told the two the change had nothing to do with the quality of their work but because the programming was losing money. WZON-AM had ceased being a full-time sports talk station in November of 2010 and was carrying much of the progressive talk format from sister WZON-FM ­- The Pulse. Duff had been with the station for 19 years. Both are receiving severance from the company. Duff and LaBree’s show will be replaced by a simulcast from WZON-FM although the station will continue to air sports play-by-play.

SRN’s Tom Tradup Makes Statement on End of “Richard Land Live” Program.  The Ethics and Religious Liberty Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention issued two reprimands to Dr. Richard Land for comments he made about the Trayvon Martin case that it deemed “irresponsible, insensitive and racially charged.” It also ended his radio program that it produced that was distributed via Salem Radio Network. The controversy surrounding the statements was enhanced further by allegations Land read them from another published opinion that was not cited. SRN vice president of news/talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS, “Theologians have a different perspective on talk radio than the rest of our industry does. What some see as “hurtful language” on the Trayvon Martin case is, in reality, part of a free and open exchange of ideas and opinions that is the keystone of talk radio. And by talk radio standards, nothing Dr. Land may have failed to “fully attribute” on the air or on his website rose to the level of so-called plagiarism. Nevertheless, we respect the ERLC’s decision and thus the final edition of ‘Richard Land Live’ aired Saturday, June 2.

Twin Cities Radio Personality Dark Star Dies at Age 66.  Longtime Minneapolis radio personality Dark Star – real name George Chapple – was found dead in his home in Minnetonka, Minnesota. He co-hosted the “Sports Show” along with Sid Hartman on CBS Radio‘s WCCO, Minneapolis during part of his 25 years on the air there before accepting a buyout from the station in November of 2010. Recently he had been working at crosstown KFAN. He failed to show up for his Friday show there and authorities found him dead in his apartment.

Compass Media Marketing Named Exclusive Radio Sales Agent for Point-of-Purchase Service.  This story is really about the acquisition of InStore Broadcasting Network by POP Radio and the new company becomes InStore Audio Network. It delivers in-store advertising messages to more than 33,000 retail outlets – grocery, drug stores, etc. – and provides music content to some 14,000 stores. The company is enlisting Compass Media Marketing as exclusive national radio sales agent. Compass CEO Peter Kosann says, “I have been a longtime partner with POP Radio and the expanded footprint of the new company creates an exciting and compelling media product that network radio buyers will need to consider.”

KSFO, San Francisco Listeners Help Raise $135k for Fisher House Construction.  Cumulus Media‘s news/talk KSFO, San Francisco held a Memorial Day weekend fundraiser for the Fisher House Foundation that began with a live remote broadcast of Brian Sussman‘s morning drive show. Sussman (r) is pictured here interviewing Fisher House representative Cindy Campbell (l). Fundraising continued over the Memorial Day weekend and more than $135,000 was collected for the construction of the Palo Alto Fisher House which provides no-cost housing and the comforts of home for family members of military personnel while their loved ones rehab and recover from various injuries and ailments. Sussman states, “This gift of over $135,000 illustrates the abundant generosity of our KSFO radio family. The Fisher House provides our troops and their families with genuine American hospitality and it’s an honor to be associated with their vital endeavor.

Iowa Farm News Broadcaster Mark Pearson Dead at 54.  Mark Pearson worked at Iowa Public Television where he hosted the “Market to Market” show and at Clear Channel‘s WHO, Des Moines where he co-hosted “The Big Show,” a program that highlighted agricultural news. Pearson died of an apparent heart attack at his home on Sunday. WHO talk show host Jan Mickelson told the Des Moines Register, “Everyone at every level in the farm community respected the guy.”

Thursday, May 31, 2012

| May 31, 2012

Harris Poll Respondents Say TV and Radio Talk Shows Have Too Much Political Influence.  A recent poll by Harris Interactive – an April telephone poll of 1,016 adults – suggests 65% of Americans believe television and radio talk shows have too much political power and influence. That’s a 14-point shift from the 51% who believed the same thing when the poll was first conducted in 1994 and a 12-point jump from just last year. This is obviously a poll about perception and groups that are perceived by the public to have power and money, in general, ranked high in the “too much” influence in Washington category while those traditionally perceived to be less wealthy and “for the people” ranked lower in that regard. For example, small business, public opinion and non-profits were deemed by the respondents to have “too little” power and influence in Washington. Churches and religious groups and opinion polls fell somewhere in the middle. It’s clearly difficult for anyone to gauge the exact influence any group has in Washington across the large spectrum of issues that arise over time.

Cox Media Group Sets Sights on Young Americans with iHigh Investment. The announcement that Cox Media Group is investing $11.7 million in the Kentucky-based tech company iHigh signals its interest in finding ways to reach young demos via digital media. iHigh provides free web-based tools and live video streaming capabilities that enable organizations to connect to their audiences by broadcasting live content on the internet to PCs, smartphones, tablets and any other internet-connected device. Developed initially to support high school athletics and having spread to colleges and other affinity groups, iHigh enables students, coaches, boosters and other school supporters to easily connect with parents, their communities and local and national advertisers, anywhere and at any time. Cox Media Group president Doug Franklin states, “This strategic investment in iHigh is a long-term opportunity for Cox Media Group, and aligns with our mission of creating scalable content and advertising services businesses. We believe iHigh’s solutions – giving audiences the ability to watch any event live over desktops, tablets or smartphones – are uniquely designed to help organizations reach a devoted and distributed fan base, while giving advertisers a highly targeted and hyper-local approach to reaching their customers. We’re looking forward to growing with iHigh, reaching new markets and expanding opportunities for dedicated fans and advertisers alike.”

Steve Bryant Joins KHTK, Sacramento’s Don Geronimo Morning Show. Versatile media talent Steve Bryant will become part of the AM drive show on CBS Radio‘s sports talk KHTK, Sacramento hosted by Don Geronimo. Bryant most recently handled weekend duties at WGMD-FM, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. He was a longtime host on home shopping channel QVC and is known for crafting song parodies which have aired on Geronimo’s program. Bryant will begin his new duties on June 11.

CNN Adds New Personality to Early Morning Show. The cable news/talk network brings John Berman aboard to join Ashleigh Banfield and Zoraida Sambolin as hosts of its “Early Start” show that airs from 5:00 am to 7:00 am ET. Berman had been a correspondent with ABC News contributing to “Good Morning America.” He’ll also contribute to other CNN programs including “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.” CNN EVP Ken Jautz states, “We are so fortunate to have this talented and seasoned journalist join our morning show and become a regular presence on our air throughout the day. John is a skilled reporter with a passion and personality that shines through, whether he’s covering the political season or his beloved Red Sox.”

Copper Thieves Knock Sports KQTM-FM, Albuquerque Off the Air.Team Broadcasting‘s KQTM-FM, Albuquerque – ESPN Radio 101.7 – is on backup power for at least another day after copper thieves ripped some 200 feet of copper out of the ground by affixing it to the back of a vehicle and driving away. Station general manager David Dominguez tells KKOB-TV he’s very surprised no one was hurt because they cut live wires and could easily have been electrocuted. Repairs at the sports talk signal are estimated to be around $20,000.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WGY-AM/FM, Albany renews with IMG College to continue to broadcast Syracuse University men’s basketball and football play-by-play through the 2016-17 season. The company’s sister sports talker WOFX will also carry select games…..Salem Radio Network News goes “across the pond” next week to cover Queen Elizabeth II‘s Diamond Jubilee. The network is using part-time British resident and former Chicago TV executive Fred Weintraub to cover the event……CNBC names Kelly Evans co-host of “Worldwide Exchange” alongside Ross Westgate. Evans replaces Christine Tan who remains with the cable network to host its “Managing Asia” program…..Clear Channel Media and Entertainment names Nick Gnau president and market manager for its Detroit operations. Gnau replaces Til Levesque.

2012 Presidential Race, Donald Trump-Wolf Blitzer Flap, Syria Civilian Massacre, Wisconsin Recall Election and Iran Nukes Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/30). The battle between President Obama and Mitt Romney; the tense CNN segment with Wolf Blitzer interviewing Donald Trump; the aftermath of the Syrian civilian massacre; next week’s recall election of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and the ongoing concern over Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to research from TALKERS.


Monday, May 21, 2012

| May 21, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, April 26, 2012

| April 26, 2012

ESPN to Take Over Emmis’ Kiss FM in New York Beginning Sunday Afternoon.  The rumors of an FM signal for ESPN’s New York sports talker WEPN were true as ESPN is announcing it will begin simulcasting WEPN, New York on Emmis-owned WRKS-FM (98.7) on Sunday afternoon (4/29).  Rumored talent changes are also taking effect.  Stephen A. Smith is being paired up with Ryan Ruocco for the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm shift and Mike Lupica moves to a 12:00 noon start for his program.  In making the announcement, WEPN VP/GM Dave Roberts states, “This move to the FM dial is in keeping with the trend of sports radio shifting and offers an even broader reach for our content.”  The two stations will simulcast through the summer and in September WEPN 1050 AM will become a Spanish-language sports outlet airing ESPN Deportes content.  A press conference is scheduled for 1:00 pm this afternoon where details will be fleshed out.  As for the urban format of Kiss FM, Emmis is selling the intellectual property of the format to YMF Media and the station will move to WBLS-FM at 107.5.

Feature Series – Part 3:  Walter Sabo on Targeted Topics Vital to FM Talk Success.  In the third of a four-part series for TALKERS on building a successful FM talk station, Sabo Media president Walter Sabo discusses the importance of targeting topics to appeal to the desired demographic.  Sabo says that, unlike AM news/talk, politics is too narrow a subject to bring in the audience necessary to build cume and be successful.  “Common sense suggests that very few of the people you know spend much of their day talking about politics.  That’s why cable channels focused on politics have astonishingly low ratings.  Lower than any radio station in your city.”  Sabo maintains that talk on FM will be successful (gaining younger-demo ratings and revenue beyond what AM news/talkers typically do) only when the topics are carefully chosen to reflect what large numbers of the target demo are talking about.  “Your FM talk station is trying to reach an audience that is drawn to popular water cooler topics because that’s what they hear on all FM music personality shows.  Political talk is what repulses most 18-49 year olds from the AM band.  They are, instead, attracted to the topics heard on CHR, Hot AC and country personality morning shows.  Hit shows.  Those shows are your FM talk competition, not AM talk radio.  Read Walter Sabo’s entire column here.

Cumulus All-News Rumors Heat Up.  There have been rumblings about Cumulus Media preparing to flip underperforming music outlets to all-news in several markets.  Some of this has been based on the registration of domain names with frequencies tied to the phrase “all news.”  But the biggie is in Cumulus Media’s home base of Atlanta where there’s more fuel to add to the fire.  Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor reports hearing a news staff is quietly (but apparently not too quietly) being assembled and some of them include former Atlanta-based CNN Radio staffers and some current and former WGST, Atlanta news people.  Which station will it be?  A leading candidate is classic hits WYAY-FM, Gainesville (at 106.7) according to some intense chatter in the market.

Keith Larson May Be Done at WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte.  The late-morning host at Greater Media’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte told listeners to his program yesterday (4/25) that he expects to leave the station as he’s been notified his contract – set to expire May 24 – will not be renewed.  The Charlotte Observer reports Keith Larson was told his deal would not be renewed but the station would like him to stay on as an at-will employee.  It sounds as though Larson will likely not accept that offer.  WBT general manager Rick Feinblatt tells the Observer he’s disappointed Larson took to the air with talk of the contract since nothing is set in stone yet but Larson told his audience he couldn’t go on the air and not talk about it.  Last year, Larson started the independent advertising and marketing firm Larson Advertising and Media Associates.  He tells the paper that may be where he concentrates his efforts for now.

Syndicated Talk Star Mike Gallagher Says Today’s Talent Must Understand Radio from Business Perspective.  In addition to being one of talk radio’s most consistently successful air personalities, Salem Radio Network‘s Mike Gallagher tells TALKERS that it has never been more important for on-air talent to be fully connected to the business processes that make the industry tick.  He says, “In today’s climate of technological change and financial challenge, you can’t just see yourself as a ‘talent’ who is somehow separate from all the other systems that make a radio station or syndication firm function.  You must have a complete understanding of your company’s P&L as well as maintain relationships with advertisers.  A talent needs to be in constant communication with the sales department and understand their problems.”  Gallagher, who left day-to-day major market radio as a station employee at WABC, New York years ago to launch the groundbreaking syndication firm Dame-Gallagher (with former WGY, Albany owner John Dame) which was later acquired by Salem, will be a featured speaker at the forthcoming New Media Seminar on Thursday, June 7.  The panel:  Making Money in Talk Radio.  Registration, nearing sellout, is open to working media only.  For information call 413-565-5413.

Compass Media Networks to Offer 25 Anaheim Angels Games.  Compass Media Networks makes Anaheim Angels play-by-play an MLB game of the week and will air 25 home and away contests beginning May 29 when the New York Yankees play at the Angels.  As with its other sports programming, Compass will hire a broadcast crew and produce its own gamecasts that will be available nationwide.  Dial Global will manage advertising sales for this multi-year contract.  The company notes that with this deal, it will broadcast well over 160 major sporting events in 2012 including college basketball, college football and NFL football (which includes Dallas Cowboys, Oakland Raiders, and Sunday afternoon doubleheaders).  Compass Media Networks CEO Peter Kosann says, “The Angels have a tremendous brand, fan base and momentum.  We are honored and thankful for this opportunity.”

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  The 2012 NFL Draft begins tonight from Radio City Music Hall in New York and the big event is being covered by the sports media including Fox Sports Radio Network.  The network notes that for the 12th straight year it will cover the event with Fox NFL Insider Jay Glazer leading the coverage.  He’ll be joined by Fox Sports Radio college football draft expert Chris Landry, former USC Trojan and Fox Sports Radio host Petros Papadakis, and former NFL great Lincoln Kennedy…..SiriusXM is also on hand for the NFL Draft.  Chris Russo and Dino Costa of Mad Dog Radio and Gil Brandt, Tim Ryan, Pat Kirwan and Adam Schein of SiriusXM NFL Radio will all be broadcasting from Radio City for the first round on Thursday.  Bill Polian, the former Colts Vice Chairman and personnel guru who joined SiriusXM NFL Radio in January, will also be contributing to the satcaster’s draft coverage…..Syndicated talk host and actress Janine Turner – whose two-hour program is heard on KLIF, Dallas Saturday evenings at 9:00 pm – joins the Roger L. Simon-founded PJ Media as a regular columnist…..Clear Channel Media and Entertainment names Jon Phillips the market manager for its Tulsa cluster that includes sports talk simulcast KTBZ/KAKC.

2012 Presidential Race, SCOTUS AZ Illegal Immigration Case, Euro Zone Economic Jitters, and New U.S. Spy Agency Among Top News/Talk Topics Yesterday (4/25).  The 2012 presidential race; the Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments in the Arizona Illegal Immigration law; continued concerns over economic jitters in euro zone countries; and the announcement of the creation of a new U.S. spy agency were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Fox Sports Radio’s Loose Cannons Live from New Orleans.  Fox Sports Radio Network’s “Loose Cannons” broadcast from New Orleans – the site of the Zurich Classic golf tournament – and hosted special guest Sean Payton.  The suspended head coach of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints spoke about the recent story alleging Saints GM Mickey Loomis eavesdropped on opposing teams’ conversations from his luxury suite and called the allegations “garbage.”  Pictured here are (from l-r): Vic “The Brick” Jacobs, Payton, Steve Hartman and Pat O’Brien.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

| April 24, 2012

Feature Series:  Walter Sabo on FM Talk.  Sabo Media president Walter Sabo writes a special four-part series on the successful implementation of talk on FM this week at Talkers.com.  In the first installment, Sabo explains the importance of proper format execution in order to build cume.  “You rarely hear formatic structure on any talk station – you’ll hear long periods without a host name, station name, phone number – and that’s why talk stations tend to have low, vulnerable cumes.  Applying formatics to talk is hard work, but completely achievable.”  Too often, talk radio shows sound formatically different from one another even though they are placed back-to-back on a station.  That can be addressed by coaching formatics, says Sabo.  “That means that your hosts have to handle all elements in the same manner as every other host, just like music DJs.  That does not mean they should have the same opinions.  That is not desirable.”  Read more here.

Chris Sargent Named Operations Manager at Clear Channel Portland.  Chris “Sarge” Sargent has been serving as program director at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk KEX, progressive talk KPOJ and classic hits KFBW-FM (where he also handled morning drive) in Portland, Oregon.  Now, he’s upped to operations manager for the seven-station cluster.  Vice president and market manager Robert Dove states, “I’ve been fortunate to have Chris Sargent working alongside Tommy Austin the last three years and the luxury of having two operations managers in the building, which certainly made my search a lot easier.  I know Chris’s leadership along with the help and guidance of Brad Hardin, our senior vice president of programming, will lead to continued ratings success and revenue growth for our Clear Channel cluster in Portland.”

Cumulus Media Flips Pensacola FM to Talk.  The former adult hits WJLQ-FM, Pensacola changes call letters to WCOA-FM and begins a partial simulcast of sister news/talk WCOA-AM.  The new News Talk 100.7 is simulcasting the 6:00 am to 8:00 am hours of WCOA-AM’s morning drive show with Jim Sanborn and Don Parker, then breaks away to air the WMAL, Washington-based  Chris Plante show until 11:00 am.  Cumulus Media Network’s Mike Huckabee follows from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm.  The rest of the day is: Phil Valentine from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm, Cumulus Media’s Mark Levin from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm and John Batchelor from 8:00 pm to 12:00 midnight and Cumulus Media’s “Red Eye Radio” for overnights.

Richard Neer:  Prioritize to Stay on Top of the Busy Sports World.  TALKERS sports editor Richard Neer offers some thoughts on staying atop of the busy sports world – especially now with NHL and NBA playoffs, MLB action and NFL offseason activity heating up.  Neer writes that sports talk hosts may find two or more events scheduled for the same night.  “Obviously you can’t watch every minute of every game.  And, oh by the way, you do have a life apart from the job.  There are family and friends who deserve attention and other cultural aspects of life that should be acknowledged lest you become too narrowly focused.  So, how can you juggle all these priorities and stay current with your demanding job?”  Find out here.

Changes Coming to Sports WQXI, Atlanta.  Management at Lincoln Financial Media’s sports talk WQXI, Atlanta – Sports Talk 790 The Zone – is tweaking the schedule as reported by the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho.  The morning drive show, “Mayhem in the AM,” is extended to 6:00 am to 11:00 am as is the PM drive show of Mike Bell and David Archer who move earlier to the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm time slot.  That leaves a midday show of 11:00 am to 2:00 pm to be filled and the station currently employs Tony Barnhart and Wes Durham as well as “Two Live Stews” Doug and Ryan Stewart.  Ho notes that Barnhart and Durham are contractually allowed to take May and June off since they work long hours the rest of the year at non-radio station jobs.  Ho also reports Barnhart’s and Durham’s ratings are better than the Stews but their availability in May and June presents a complication.  GM Andrew Saltzman tells the paper they expect to have the schedule squared away in the near future.

Dennis Prager Publishes New Book.  Salem Radio Network syndicated talk show host Dennis Prager begins promoting the publication of his latest book tonight (4/24) with an appearance on Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity program.  The book, Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph (Broadside Books 2012), centers around Prager’s argument that humanity has a choice between American values and its two alternatives: Islamism and European-style democratic socialism.  Prager suggests the American value system is the most viable method of creating a good society.

KCBS, San Francisco Newsman Bob Melrose Retires After 36 Years.  Longtime KCBS, San Francisco reporter Bob Melrose retires from the CBS Radio station after 36 years at the venerable all-news outlet.  Melrose’s career covering news in Northern California included come of the highest visibility cases and colleagues recall how Melrose had a knack for being there when news broke.  A retrospective in the San Jose Mercury News notes Melrose covered the Jonestown massacre, the discovery of murdered 12-year-old Polly Klaas’ body and many other stories important to the region and the nation.

Voice Over Pro Jim Cutler Recognized by Fisher House.  Voice over pro Jim Cutler (pictured here holding his plaque) was recently honored by the Fisher House Foundation for his pro bono work for the charity.  Cutler provided the voice over work for a number of Fisher House projects, including this year’s Memorial Day radio special titled, “A Grateful Nation.”  The Fisher House Foundation provides no-cost housing and assistance to the families of America’s servicemen and servicewomen while they recover at VA and military hospitals.

2012 Presidential Campaign, France Presidential Elections, Secret Service Scandal, Euro Zone Jitters, SCOTUS to Hear AZ Immigration Law Case and John Edwards Trial Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/23).  The 2012 presidential campaign; the surprise showing of French far-right National Front candidate Marine Le Pen in France’s presidential elections; the growing Secret Service scandal; trouble in Europe as some euro zone countries battle to beat debt issues; the coming Supreme Court hearing of the Arizona illegal immigration law; and the beginning of the John Edwards campaign finance wrongdoing trial were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

| April 17, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, March 12, 2012

| March 12, 2012

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 HannityTALKERS 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.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

| March 6, 2012

Progressive Talk Stars Stephanie Miller and Bill Press Become Featured Current TV Content.  The progressive cable and satellite TV channel founded by former Vice President Al Gore is adding Dial Global radio talk show hosts Stephanie Miller and Bill Press to its lineup.  Miller’s and Press’ programs will be simulcasts of their radio shows – Miller airing from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET and Press from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET – beginning early this spring.  In a statement, Current TV chairman Al Gore says, “I’ve followed Stephanie and Bill for years.  They provide the kind of smart, insightful news analysis that our viewers want to hear.  Bill brings a vital perspective directly from the heart of the Beltway, and Stephanie’s fresh take on politics and news has a decidedly outsider flair.  We’re really looking forward to bringing their voices to our viewers.”  WYD Media president Ron Hartenbaum, executive producer of Stephanie Miller’s program, says, “We at ‘The Stephanie Miller Show’ are excited to participate in another radio-based video simulcast program.  The bottom line is entertaining talk radio makes great and engaging tune-in programming for video.”  Other political talk shows seen on Current TV include: “Countdown with Keith Olbermann,” “The Young Turks with Cenk Uygur,” and “The War Room with Jennifer Granholm.”

Rush Limbaugh Addresses Sandra Fluke Issue, Loss of Advertisers at Beginning on Monday Program.  Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk star Rush Limbaugh began yesterday’s program speaking about his apology issued over the weekend to Georgetown University Law student Sandra Fluke for using the terms “slut” and “prostitute” to describe her.  Limbaugh stated that he “descended to their level” – meaning liberal political opponents – when he used the two words.  “I became like them and I feel very badly about that.  I’ve always tried to maintain a very high degree of integrity and independence on this program.  Nevertheless, those two words were inappropriate.  They were uncalled for.  They distracted from the point I was actually trying to make.  And I, again, apologize to Ms. Fluke for using those two words to describe her.”  Limbaugh addressed the loss of advertisers without going into specifics but appeared not overly concerned about the matter stating he turns down advertising on his program regularly for various reasons and said companies advertise with him to have access to his large audience – that everything about the program is for the audience.  Without the audience, Limbaugh said the whole enterprise would be academic.  Limbaugh slapped back at exiting advertisers a bit when he said, “They don’t want you or your business.”  We don’t expect Premiere Networks to announce which advertisers have dropped their advertising – whether temporary or permanent – but it’s being reported that as many as 13 sponsors have left but eight are being widely reported: Carbonite, Citrix, Go To Meeting, Legal Zoom, Pro Flowers, Select Comfort, Sleep Train and Quicken Loans.  For her part, Sandra Fluke appeared on ABC TV’s “The View” and said of Limbaugh’s apology, “I don’t think that a statement like this issued, saying that his choice of words was not the best, changes anything, and especially when that statement is issued when he’s under significant pressure from his sponsors who have begun to pull their support.”  So far, two affiliate stations are confirmed to have dropped Limbaugh’s show as a result: KPUA, Hilo, Hawaii and WBEC, Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

Progressive Talk Host Mike Malloy Mocks Tornado Victims on Radio Program.   Longtime progressive talk host Mike Malloy self-syndicates his program and in some quarters he’s taking heat for mocking the victims of the tornados that swept through the Midwest late last week.  Malloy is quoted by several sources on his Friday program saying, “Their God, if this is the way they want to look at it, keeps smashing them into little grease spots on the pavement, in Alabama, in Mississippi, Arkansas, Georgia and Oklahoma – you know, the Bible Belt…where they ain’t gonna let no g*dd*mn science get in the way, it says in the bible, blah blah blah, so according to their way of thinking, y’know, God with his omnipotent thumb, and so far tonight, has smashed so far 20 people on Highway 12, or whatever the hell highway they live next to.”  With the controversy being raised by Rush Limbaugh overshadowing the consumer media, it’s unlikely Malloy’s comments – which could certainly be deemed insensitive to the people affected by the storms – will get enough attention to catch the national media’s eyes.  There’s also the fact that Limbaugh’s program is dominating in terms of presence and Malloy’s is not.  Regardless, there are media analysts who are pointing to the use of hyperbole, name calling and insensitive language as a sign that more civility is needed in America’s public discourse.

Compass Media Networks to Syndicate Bob Vila Radio Features.  Iconic home improvement figure Bob Vila and Compass Media Networks are agreeing to work together to distribute daily home improvement features voiced by Vila exclusively for radio beginning May 1.  Of course, Vila is well known for his television programs – “This Old House(1979-1989), “Bob Vila’s Home Again” (1990-2005), and “Bob Vila” (2005-2007).  He now heads up his own home improvement site, BobVila.com.  Vila says of the venture, “Radio offers an incredible opportunity to connect with the American homeowner.”  Compass Media Networks CEO Peter Kosann says the project hopes to take advantage of the nearly $112 billion spent annually on home improvement.  “Bob Vila is truly an American treasure.  Radio stations and advertisers will leap at the chance to associate their brands with Bob Vila.”

Cumulus Media Partners with Radiate Media to Produce National Traffic Reporting Service.  The combined effort is going to be called “Right Now Traffic” and will be available to stations in April in the top 75 markets.  The reports will be powered by the world’s largest traffic flow network, which includes government sensors, toll tag monitoring and billions of GPS data points.  Radiate Media’s premier traffic data comes in part from Nokia (formerly NAVTEQ) – a source also used for GPS navigation devices, in-vehicle navigation systems, mobile devices and hundreds of radio and television stations.  Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey states, “We’re excited about launching ‘Right Now Traffic’ with Radiate Media.  Americans are spending more than 1,000 hours per year in their cars.  Our listeners, advertisers and network affiliates all demand accurate and timely traffic information and this partnership enables us to address that need with a best-in-class service.”

Dial Global Amps Up Producers Department for Programming.  Dial Global promotes Scot Kirk to the newly created position senior production director and brings James Harness aboard as a producer.  The company says Kirk will oversee the creative direction and imaging for all of Dial Global-owned formats, shows and programs.  Both Kirk and Harness will be located in Valencia, California and report directly to VP Programming, David Felker.  EVP of programming Beau Phillips says, “Since merging with Westwood One, Dial Global now produces a tremendous amount of content.  While our programming sounds strong, we’re investing in producers who will set the vision and boost the quality across all DG products.”  Scot Kirk brings more than two decades of radio production expertise to his new role, including positions at Jones Radio Networks, KISW-FM and KMTT-FM in Seattle, and KXPK-FM in Denver before joining Dial Global in 2009.  James Harness is best known for guiding the creative imaging for KROQ-FM in Los Angeles as well as 92.3 NOW, WXRK-FM and FREE-FM in New York.

Salem Radio Network Holds Urgent Drive for Help for Tornado Victims.  The talk hosts syndicated nationally by Salem Radio NetworkBill Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Janet Mefferd, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved and Hugh Hewitt – mounted a daylong appeal yesterday (3/5) to gather donations for food, blankets and other essentials for the people of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee and the other states affected by the tornados that swept through the region over the weekend.  The storms caused dozens of deaths and millions of dollars worth of destruction.  Oklahoma City-based FEED THE CHILDREN is facilitating and administering the aid.

Sirius XM Beefs Up Election Programming on POTUS Channel.  The satcaster ramps up its 2012 presidential election coverage with new programming on its Politics of the United States – POTUS – channel.  “Showdown 2012” will air Thursdays from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm with veteran White House and Washington, D.C. correspondents including Jon Decker, Chris Core, Dick Uliano and Louise Schiavone.  “CQ Roll Call” airs Wednesdays from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm hosted by CQ Roll Call senior editor Morton Kondracke, editor David Hawkings, and others.  “The Flacks” airs Mondays from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm hosted by veteran communications strategists and MSNBC political analysts Karen Finney and Robert Traynham.

Money Radio 1200 Debuts in Palm Springs.  CRC Media West’s KPSF, Palm Springs financial talk radio outlet signed on yesterday (3/5).  The station was constructed by CRC Media West principals Ronald Cohen and Brian DuBose and modeled after the company’s “Money Radio” outlet serving the Phoenix market.  The Palm Springs station features a mix of syndicated and local/regional programming.

WTOP, Washington, DC Names Washington Regional Transplant Community Charity of the Month.  The Hubbard Broadcasting media organization says that as part of WTOP’s ‘Charity of the Month’ program, Washington Regional Transplant Community will receive more than $30,000 in free air time and in-kind contributions, including on-air promotions, as well as content on WTOP’s social media platforms and on WTOP.com throughout the month.  The WRTC serves as the federally-designated organ procurement organization (OPO) for the Washington metropolitan area.  As one of 58 OPOs nationwide, WRTC is the organization that facilitates all deceased organ, eye and tissue donation in our area, serving more than five million residents.  WTOP public relations and marketing specialist Robin Newton says, “WTOP is proud to support Washington Regional Transplant Community during the month of March.  WRTC has a direct effect on the health of our local community and helping them means strengthening an invaluable resource for our neighbors.  Our hope is to spread awareness and garner attention for their work.”

 

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

| February 29, 2012

KFI, Los Angeles Management Meets with Black Activists; Promises Plan to Address Staff Diversity.  KFI, Los Angeles afternoon drive duo John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou returned to the air this week after a seven-day suspension for insensitive language about Whitney HoustonClear Channel Los Angeles management – as well as John and Ken themselves – met with a group of black activists to discuss the situation and, according to the Los Angeles Times, KFI is promising to devise a plan to address the station’s lack of diversity.  Activist Jasmyne Cannick tells the paper, “KFI has 14 shows, and 13 of them are hosted by white men.  There are no blacks in their newsroom.  This fosters an environment where insensitive comments like this can happen.  And they are not living up to Clear Channel’s statement of a commitment to diversity.”  Management didn’t speak to the Times but local activist Najee Ali seems convinced the station is sincere about addressing their concerns.  The Times quotes him saying, “The station pledged to make substantive changes in diversity.  They are trying to build a bridge.  John and Ken really want to put this behind them and move forward.  Their voices are needed in Southern California and they have done some good things.  We can’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.”

Entercom Reports 7% Drop in Revenue in 2011 Q4; FM Flips a Factor.  During a conference call yesterday announcing Entercom Communications’ financial numbers for the fourth quarter of 2011, CEO David Field referred to his company’s station portfolio as having gone through some pretty big changes in the last 12 months with seven format changes – three in two of the company’s biggest markets.  Of course he’s talking about blowing up San Francisco’s country KBWF-FM to create that market’s FM sports talk outlet as well as the changes in Boston to give sports WEEI an FM signal.  Also, news/talker KMBZ, Kansas City and WBEN, Buffalo were given FM signals at the expense of music FMs.  All this means an immediate loss of revenue that the company hopes will be paid back in time.  In a statement, Field said, “These moves significantly enhance our future growth potential and are expected to contribute positively to revenue growth commencing in the second quarter.  However, they diluted our fourth quarter revenues by 4%.  Excluding political and stations reformatted in 2011, fourth quarter revenues were flat.  We are optimistic on 2012 growth, bolstered by improving economic conditions, accelerating performance from newly reformatted stations and political advertising.  And we are highly encouraged by strong industry fundamentals as innovation accelerates, audience usage trends remain outstanding and radio remains the most cost-effective major advertising medium.”

MSNBC Beats CNN in February Prime Time Ratings.  CNN has been working to re-tool its programming to gain back some of the viewers it has been losing but the cable news/talk channel was not able to pull out a victory over competitor MSNBC in February despite the intense GOP primary election  season – including a Republican debate – and the death of Whitney Houston.  According to TVWeek, MSNBC averaged 988,000 total viewers during prime time in February to CNN’s 804,000.

Schnitt Happens in Detroit.  Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt is pictured here in the studios at affiliate station WXYT, Detroit broadcasting live on Tuesday (2/28) as Michigan Republicans went to the polls to vote in the primary election.  Detroit was one of Schnitt’s key stops on the road to the Republican National Convention which will take place in Tampa the week of August 27.  Schnitt’s program is based at WFLA, Tampa from which he will bring his listeners a full-access pass.

Cumulus Media Networks Touts Affiliation Surge for “Red Eye Radio.”  Since changing the tone of the program through the merger of “Red Eye Radio” with the “Midnight Radio Network” hosted by Eric Harley and Gary McNamara, Cumulus Media Networks reports it has added 22 new affiliates to the station’s roster.  With major market O&Os WLS, Chicago and WMAL-AM/FM, Washington leading the pack, the network also reports stations including KCMO, Kansas City; WPRO/WEAN-FM, Providence; WGOW-FM, Chattanooga; and KKOB, Albuquerque have picked up the overnight talk show.

WDBO, Orlando Brings Mel Robbins Aboard for Live Midday Show.  Cox Media Group’s WDBO, Orlando notes it will be the first time in 11 years the station will have a local weekday talk host when Mel Robbins takes over the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot, bumping Dial Global’s Clark Howard to the 10:00 pm to 1:00 am shift.  Robbins hosts the A&E cable show “Monster in Law” and worked for five years as a public defender in Manhattan.  The station says when Robbins isn’t doing her radio show or filming for TV she “travels around the country on speaking engagements for Fortune 500 companies.  Robbins has appeared with Dr. Phil discussing her life coaching skills and is a regular on Anderson Cooper’s daytime program, ABC’s ‘Good Morning America,’ a bestselling author, and more.”  Robbins’ program will originate from her rural Massachusetts farm but will make frequent trips to Orlando.

Cumulus Gives Myrtle Beach Sports FM Better Signal; Splits AM Simulcast Off.  Cumulus Media Group is moving 93.9 The Team (WJXY-FM) to the 100.3 dial position currently occupied by CHR i100.3 (WSEA-FM) beginning March 5.  There are programming changes as well.  The station becomes ESPN Radio 100.3 and takes the ESPN programming with it as well as the local PM drive show hosted by Aaron Marks.  He’s the sports director and will be charged with programming the station.  The other change is the AM simulcast on WHSC splits off and becomes Fox Sports Radio 1050.  That station will air DirecTV/Premiere NetworksDan Patrick live, Premiere’s Jim Rome, Fox Sports Radio programming and play-by-play sports including minor league baseball.  WJXY-FM is in a trust to be sold.  It’s still unclear if Cumulus will simply move the CHR format over to 93.9 while that signal is on the market.  Aaron Marks says of the moves, “We are thrilled with the addition of Fox Sports Radio to our cluster of stations.  If there has been one complaint about our station I have heard since I started here last July, it is that Dan Patrick is a great show but doesn’t sound good unless it runs live.  The additional station will also allow us to provide the proper coverage to all of our local and regional colleges and professional teams. Every team can have a place to call home for all of their games and we’ll be able to add even more play-by-play than ever before at the high school, college, and pro level.”

Salem Radio Network Talk Star Mike Gallagher Broadcasts Live from WHK, Cleveland.  In the wake of the tragic deaths of three high school students in the Cleveland suburb of Chardon, Mike Gallagher traveled to Salem Communications’ O&O WHK, Cleveland to broadcast his program live from the area on Tuesday.  Gallagher railed against the news that the suspected shooter was bullied.  “That’s ridiculous, in my view, to go down this path, of suggesting that bullying is somehow to blame.  It might be part of the story, it might be part of the narrative.  It might be factual.  This kid’s some freak, who’s a goth who acts weird and is anti-social and he’s gonna get picked on.  Well, welcome to the real world…please don’t pretend that the kids who can’t handle it, who say they’re bullied, and therefore have to go get a gun and blow kids brains out somehow aren’t evil.  That IS evil.  E-v-i-l.  They are evil monsters who frankly ought to be executed for what they’ve done.  This kid ought to face the death penalty for his cold-blooded acts of violence.”

Business TalkRadio Network Announces New Daily Schedule.  Beginning March 5, Business TalkRadio Network adjusts its afternoon schedule with the addition of “The Big Biz Show” with Bob “Sully” Sullivan airing from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET; “Catalyst Radio Show” from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm; and the Tom O’Brien show from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  President and CEO Michael Metter states, “Sometimes in life things work out for a reason and this is truly one of those reasons.  We are proud about Bob ‘Sully’ Sullivan coming back to BTRN and even more so that he is anchoring our midday block.  With ‘Catalyst Radio’ our partners will truly embrace this Superman of the business world along with Tom O’Brien, a seasoned pro in the financial world.  You’ve seen them on many of the national television news outlets now experience them on your radio stations through Business TalkRadio Network.”

Virginia Tech and WJFK-FM, Washington Renew Multi-Year Deal.  CBS Radio’s Washington, DC sports talk outlet WJFK-FM and Virginia Tech IMG Sports Network strike a deal that will see Hokies football and men’s basketball play-by-play on the station’s schedule through the 2014-15 season.  The deal also includes airing of the weekly “Tech Talk Live” show featuring the school’s football and basketball coaches.

Ohio School Shooting Fatalities Grow, GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Campaign, Rising Gas Prices, and Government Waste Report Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/28).  The fatal Ohio high school shooting; the Michigan and Arizona primaries and the larger 2012 presidential race; rising gas prices and Iran’s role; and the new report of redundant government programs and the money they are wasting were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Dave Ramsey Helps Celebrate 90 Years for WOR, New York.  Nationally syndicated financial talk sensation Dave Ramsey broadcast his program live from the Big Apple on February 27 – the first day his show aired live on WOR, New York’s program lineup.  WOR VP/GM Jerry Crowley says, “Rarely in life, even as broadcasters, do we get the opportunity to affect the lives of many in one fell swoop.  Well, WOR is doing just that by airing the advice and wisdom of the great Dave Ramsey daily, in our coveted 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm slot on 710am.  At a time when the entire Tri-State area is stressed and in need of help with their finances, WOR comes to the rescue with Dave’s sage knowledge and direction which can, and has, changed the lives of many for the positive.  We are blessed to have him.”  While there, Ramsey helped WOR celebrate its 90th anniversary on the air.  Pictured here (from l-r) are WOR personalities Joe Bartlett, Dr. Joy Browne, Ramsey, Joan Hamburg and Dave Spencer.

 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

| February 23, 2012

Hot Rumor!  Dial Global’s Thom Hartmann and Ed Schultz are cooperating to deliver a one-two punch of top progressive talk radio.  TALKERS columnist Mona Lipschitz reports her sources indicate two of the industry’s biggest progressive talk radio hosts – both syndicated by Dial Global and currently distributed live at the same time – are agreeing to be heard live back-to-back in order to give affiliates six straight hours of quality lib talk!  Read more here.

 

Non-Com WAMU-FM, Washington News Director Resigns on Principle.  Depending on whom you ask, former WAMU-FM, Washington news director Jim Asendio is either a very principled journalist or a relic of the past.  Asendio resigned from the popular public radio station as news director after learning that some of his reporters were to attend a get-together with high-profile donors and he was expected to attend as well.  Asendio tells the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple that, after learning about the “major station event” and indicating to management that he would not attend because it broke down the “firewall” between the journalistic and the business aspects of operating the station, he was told his refusal would signal he was not part of the team and that would be a problem.  Instead, Asendio chose to resign his position.  Licensee American University has no comment on the matter and Asendio says he wishes his newsroom “all the success.”

Opinion:  When it Comes to Ethnic Slurs, Just Don’t Go There.  In his latest column, TALKERS sports editor Richard Neer writes that American broadcasting standards are changing.  Anyone who is on the air or writes for broadcast has to be especially aware of and sensitive to words and phrases that can be interpreted as ethnic slurs.  As the recent cases involving sports media giant ESPN and New York Knicks star Jeremy Lin and KFI, Los Angeles’ John and Ken and the death of Whitney Houston illustrate, there are no more excuses for not “getting it.”  Read more here.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, Premiere Networks’ Delilah, Fox Sports Radio’s Deb Carson and Greater Media’s Sheri Lynch Among 2012 Gracie Award Winners.  The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation announces the 2012 national winners of the 37th Annual Gracie Awards to be presented on May 22 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles.  The Gracies recognize “exemplary programming created for women, by women and about women in all facets of media and entertainment, as well as individuals who have made contributions to the industry.  The awards program also encourages the realistic and multifaceted portrayal of women in entertainment, news, features and other programs.”  MSNBC star Rachel Maddow is being recognized in the “Outstanding Host – News/Non-Fiction” category.  Premiere Networks late-night radio host Delilah is named the winner in the “Outstanding Host – Entertainment/Information” category.  Fox Sports Radio national sports anchor Deb Carson wins for “Outstanding Reporter/Correspondent.”  Greater Media Charlotte-based talk host Sheri Lynch (of the Bob & Sheri show) wins for the Sheri Lynch Commencement Address in the “Outstanding Talk Show – Entertainment/Information” category.

Legendary Actress Hosting South Florida Talk Show.  Show biz star Jo Ann Pflug – you probably remember her from her role as Lt. Maria “Dish” Schneider in the movie M*A*S*H – hosts a weekend talk show on Seaview Radio based at WSVU, North Palm Beach, Florida.  Her unique show on this standards station targets the demo beautifully.  TALKERS columnist Mona Lipschitz writes about Ms. Pflug’s show, and the station, in her latest column here.

CKWX, Vancouver Traffic Reporter Bruce Williams Dies Unexpectedly.  Bruce Williams was a longtime traffic reporter and air personality at Rogers Media’s CKWX, Vancouver BC.  He had been treated for colon cancer in 2010 but recovered quickly and returned to work at News 1130.  Station program director Treena Wood states, “We extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to Bruce’s family at this difficult time, and our hearts and thoughts are with them.”  Vice president and general manager Geoff Poulton said, “Bruce will be remembered for his humility and as the first to lend a hand.  He was the calm voice of reason for the afternoon commute, and will be deeply missed by all the entire Rogers Radio family and his loyal listeners.”

SRN’s Dennis Prager Does Live Event in Torrance, California on Sunday.  The Salem Radio Network talk show host will appear at the James Armstrong Theater in Torrance, California on Sunday, February 26 to deliver a presentation titled, “Happiness is not a feeling: It’s a moral obligation.”  The event is produced by the Torrance Cultural Arts Foundation and sponsored locally by Toyota Motor Sales USA.  TCAF promotes Dennis Prager’s presentation stating, “One of America’s most popular speakers, Dennis Prager is truly a 21st century Renaissance Man.  He’s a syndicated columnist and radio show host, bestselling author, a classical-music conductor, even a respected authority on morality, religion and happiness.  Dennis comes to the Armstrong for another of his entertaining and enlightening speeches… reminding us that Happiness is not a feeling: It’s a moral obligation.”

GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Campaign, Syria Violence Claims Journalists, Afghanistan Protests, Iran Nuclear Ambitions, and Rising Gas Prices Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/22).  The looming Michigan and Arizona GOP primaries and last night’s Republican debate in Phoenix; the ongoing violence in Syria and the deaths of two journalists there; continuing protests in Afghanistan over the desecration of a Koran at a U.S. military base; Iran’s nuclear ambitions; and rising gas prices in the United States were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

| February 14, 2012

“Hold Their Feet to the Fire” Immigration Radio Row Set for May 8 and 9 in Washington.  What has become a major annual talk radio event is again shaping up to be an important focal point for the issue of America’s immigration policy.  Federation for American Immigration Reform announces the “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row, led by nationally syndicated talk host Roger Hedgecock, will take place May 8 and 9 in Washington, DC.  This annual event began in 2007 when hosts converged on Capitol Hill and helped defeat the Senate Amnesty Bill.  This year FAIR expects more than 60 talk hosts to take part in the broadcasts.  FAIR communications director Bob Dane states, “Once again, talk hosts from across the country are gathering to focus on immigration reform and this election year is the most critical of all.  The Obama administration continues to dismantle interior enforcement at a frightening pace and is using unconstitutional backdoor methods to grant amnesty to hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens.  With November looming, May is the ideal time to set clear expectations for candidates of all stripes.  Responsive politicians respect and listen to the electronic town hall of talk radio and ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ is a yearly bellwether of public sentiment on the immigration issue.”  For talk hosts interested in attending, there is no cost to broadcast – all technical engineering, ISDN lines and long distance is included.  Congressional guests, activists, high-profile media personalities and immigration experts will be in attendance and available throughout the event for wall-to-wall interviews.  Contact event managers Bob Dane or Kristen Williamson at 202-328-7004 for further information and to reserve a broadcast slot.

Beasley Broadcasting Develops Male-Targeted Southwest Florida FM Talk Station.  Referencing the success it had in the past when Howard Stern was still on terrestrial radio in AM drive, Beasley Broadcasting’s Southwest Florida cluster alters the programming of two of its FM signals in the Ft. Myers/Naples market turning classic rock WRXK-FM into “96 K-Rock Talk That Rocks.”  The station features Bubba the Love Sponge in AM drive followed by local hosts Zito and Garrett in the midday and Stan and Haney from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Evenings and overnights include the syndicated Lex and Terry, Premiere’s Nick and Artie and Fisher Entertainment’s John and Jeff.  Vice president and market manager Brad Beasley states, “In the early 1990s when Joe, Stan and Mark Haney did mornings, we saw that listeners responded positively.  In the late 1990s through 2004, Howard Stern did mornings and created a huge following.  Over time we have found that Southwest Florida listeners really enjoy entertaining talk, so beginning Monday that’s what 96 K-Rock will provide.”  Beasley morphs alternative WJBX-FM into a blend of new and heritage rock as “99X – Southwest Florida’s Rock Station.”

WKZO-AM/FM, Adds Local PM Drive News Block; WSJ’s Daily Wrap.  Mid-West Communications’ news/talk WKZO-AM/FM, Kalamazoo, Michigan adds a local news hour called “Kalamazoo’s Afternoon News” from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm followed by the Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s Daily Wrap with Michael Castner from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  Program director Jay Morris tells the Kalamazoo Gazette the station elected to change the programming and drop Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck due to ratings in the time slot that he said had been dropping over the course of the past year and a half.

Genesis Communications Network Announces Addition of Baldwin-McCullough Show and Dani Johnson Show.  Two weekend talk shows join the lineup at Genesis Communications Network.  The first is the Baldwin-McCullough show co-hosted by actor Stephen Baldwin and talk media personality Kevin McCullough.  The show was founded in 2008 and now gets a new distribution channel via GCN for its live Saturday 9:00 pm ET broadcasts.  The network also announces the debuts of the Dani Johnson show airing Sundays at 9:00 pm ET.  Johnson is a success coach who’s authored several best-selling books and has co-founded charities to assist those in need.

Lou Dobbs Financial Feature Debuts with Salem Radio Network.  When Lou Dobbs decided to end his long-form radio show with United Stations Radio Networks to focus on his Fox Business Network duties, sources close to the matter said it was likely Dobbs would develop a daily feature to remain on radio.  Now, that’s come to fruition as Salem Radio Network will distribute the three-times-daily “Lou Dobbs Financial Report” – delivered before the opening bell on Wall Street, during the midday and after the closing bell – beginning February 20.  Dobbs States, “There has never been in American history when up-to-the-minute business reports are more important to men and women from coast to coast.  I’m really looking forward to my new partnership with SRN and the opportunity it provides to reach an entirely new audience on a daily basis.”

Israel-Iran Tensions, Whitney Houston Death/Grammy’s, President Obama’s 2013 Budget and the 2012 Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/13).  The escalating tensions between Iran and Israel in the wake of attacks on Israeli diplomats and Iran’s purported nuclear weapons program; the death of singer Whitney Houston and Sunday’s Grammy’s broadcast; President Obama’s 2013 budget and the 2012 presidential race were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

 

Monday, February 13, 2012

| February 13, 2012

Stephanie Miller Riding High on Radio, Live Show and Comedy Record Success.  WYD Media Management and Dial Global syndicated progressive talk radio host Stephanie Miller rolls into 2012 surfing the wave of success she began in 2011 using her popular radio show – and social media – to help promote her “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” and the recently released comedy album of the same name that’s topping the charts.  With the help of comedian pals John Fugelsang and Hal Sparks – both of whom make weekly appearances on Miller’s Los Angeles-based radio show – the “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” has been selling out shows across the country and grossed more than $1.4 million over the last 12 months.  Miller is astounded by the success of the tour and the album.  “Last spring when we performed in Madison, Wisconsin to support the recall efforts of Governor Scott Walker we had no expectations that the show would be as well received as it was, let alone set upon a nationwide tour raising money for locally focused progressive causes,” Miller says.  The resulting comedy album, released digitally, has been hugely successful.  Miller tells TALKERS, “The ‘Stephanie Miller’s Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour’ has become the first political comedy album to reach # 1 on the comedy charts for iTunes, Amazon and Billboard, and has remained on the Billboard Comedy Album charts for six weeks since its release in late-December, 2011.  The idea of progressive comedy making such a connection to people across America must be causing some serious Republican angina…at least I hope so!”  Miller, Fugelsang and Sparks continue to hit the road with the live show stopping at the Orpheum Theatre on Phoenix on February 25 and the Chicago Theatre in Chicago on March 3.

WQAM, Miami’s Sid Rosenberg Back in the News with Alleged Gambling Debt.  The Miami Herald is reporting that WQAM, Miami PM drive sports talk host Sid Rosenberg has a gambling debt of more than $44,000 he owes to an offshore gambling operation called www.1betvegas.com.  Gossip Extra columnist Jose Lambiet quotes a man named Frank Soviero who says he works for the gambling site – based in Costa Rica – and says he’s been in Miami for two months now trying to collect the debt.  Soviero tells Lambiet, “We can’t sue Sid since what we do is illegal in the United States.  I’ve tried everything.  He comes up with 100 bucks here and there, and he gives me a big hug.  It ticks me off because I talked my boss into giving Sid a few chances.  And I’ve seen [my boss] do things when he gets mad.”  Neither Rosenberg nor WQAM have commented to the paper.  Rosenberg was off the air for six weeks prior to the holidays and there was speculation then that he was being punished by the station for trying to repay a gambling debt via plugola – something Rosenberg vehemently denied to TALKERS.  Station management also did not confirm the story to local media but only said that Rosenberg was off and would return on January 2, which he did.  When asked by TALKERS to specifically clarify why he was off the air during that time, Rosenberg did not reply.  Read the Miami Herald story here.

WLW, Cincinnati’s Bill Cunningham Gets Big Network Pickup for TV Show.  Tribune Company launched “The Bill Cunningham Show” last September on a number of its O&O TV stations.  Now, Tribune announces the show is being picked up by the CW Network and will air in the 3:00 pm ET slot beginning in September.  Tribune Broadcasting president of programming and entertainment Sean Compton – one of the few remaining former Clear Channel execs brought to Tribune by Randy Michaels – tells the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter, “Since the launch of ‘The Bill Cunningham Show’ six months ago, the show has exceeded expectations and found a strong voice in the daytime talk landscape…The renewal and expansion of the show to a national platform are a testament to Bill’s staying power.”  Kiesewetter reports that Cunnigham’s TV show is more popular in New York, Chicago, Miami and Dallas than it is in his hometown of Cincinnati.  While taping the show, Cunningham does his WLW program from studios in Manhattan.

Lou Sipolt and Heather Burnside Exit WOW-FM, Des Moines After Five Weeks.  The duo moved over to the news/talk sister station from Cumulus Media Group’s classic rock KGGO-FM in January after 13 years as a duo in morning drive there.  But after just five weeks hosting the AM drive show on 98.3 WOW (KWQW-FM), Sipolt and Burnside surprised their listeners with an 8:40 am announcement on Friday, February 10 that they were leaving local radio to pursue other interests.  Sipolt does a motorsports talk show on Fox Sports Channel.  Burnside isn’t saying what she’ll do next.

Fox Business Network Drops Three Prime Time Shows; Will Replay Early Evening Programs.  The four- and a half-year-old Fox Business Network cancels the three prime time shows airing between 8:00 pm and 11:00 pm ET – “Freedom Watch,” hosted by Andrew Napolitano; “Power & Money” with host David Asman; and “Follow the Money” with Eric Bolling – and will re-air its 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm programming.  The move puts what Fox execs consider their top personalities on in prime time: “The Willis Report” with Gerri Willis; “Cavuto” with Neil Cavuto; and “Lou Dobbs Tonight” hosted by Lou Dobbs.  David Asman co-hosts the 4:00 pm “After the Bell” program and will continue in that role while Eric Bolling remains in his role on Fox News Channel co-hosting “The Five.” Fox executive vice president Kevin Magee states, “Neil Cavuto, Lou Dobbs and Gerri Willis are the most trusted names in business news, and this new lineup affords Fox Business viewers additional access to their no-nonsense take on the day’s financial events.”

Talk Show Hosts Wow 275 at American Jewish University Panel.  Approximately 275 avid talk radio fans showed up for a two-hour panel discussion held Sunday (2/12) afternoon at American Jewish University in Bel-Air, California.  Moderated by veteran Los Angeles broadcaster Bill Moran, the panel featured Bill Handel and Bill Carroll of KFI, Los Angeles; Patt Morrison of KPCC, Los Angeles and Southern California Public Broadcasting; and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison.  The fast-paced discussion blended a spectrum of hot topics in the news – everything from health care to Israel/Iran tensions to social media to Whitney Houston – plus behind-the-scenes radio shop talk and ended with a spirited question and answer session with the audience.  This was the fifth annual installment of this panel, one of AJU’s most popular events in its outstanding speakers series.

Salem Radio Network and Radio America Reach News Service Deal.  A pact between Dallas-based Salem Radio Network and Washington-based Radio America is being struck that will make SRN News the exclusive top- and bottom-of-the-hour news service distributed by Radio America.  This move adds some 400 Radio America affiliates as potential carriers of SRN’s news product.  SRN president Greg Anderson states, “The potential of adding up to 400 Radio America affiliates to our roster of almost 1,300 current SRN News affiliates is very exciting for us.  We look forward to a great partnership with Radio America and their affiliates in the days ahead.”  Radio America COO Mike Paradiso comments, “SRN News is a great fit in our lineup of talk programs and will serve our 400-plus stations well in this election year.  We’re excited to be partnering with SRN on this venture.”

Blue Star Media Promotes Jon Patch to VP of Affiliate Sales.  Jon Patch has been with Blue Star Media Group’s Business TalkRadio Network and Lifestyle TalkRadio Network for the past 15 years serving in numerous capacities, most recently working in affiliate sales and hosting the 21 year-old talk radio show “Talkin’ Pets.”  Now, Blue Star ups Patch to vice president of affiliate sales for the organization.  Patch says, “I believe in working with our stations as partners and offering the best service possible since, by keeping them happy, it in turn keeps the hosts, listeners and all others involved satisfied and happy as well.”

Bonneville’s Arizona Sports Enters into Marketing Agreement with University of Phoenix.  Bonneville International’s Phoenix-based sports media initiative – Arizona Sports – agrees to a broadening of its relationship with University of Phoenix that includes the naming rights to the Arizona Sports studios.  Bonneville describes Arizona Sports as “a first-of-its-kind sports marketing and media super brand encompassing all of Bonneville Phoenix sports media properties including: Arizona Sports 620 KTAR-AM, Arizona Sports.com, Arizona Diamondbacks baseball, Arizona Cardinals football, Phoenix Suns basketball, Arizona State football and men’s basketball, ESPN radio, AIA and the Fiesta Bowl.”  Bonneville Phoenix VP of news and sports content Ryan Hatch says, “Bill Pepicello (University of Phoenix president) and his entire team have been a great partner of ours for many years.  We’re excited that – from “Mike and Mike in the Morning” to “Doug and Wolf on the drive home – all of our shows will now be broadcast from the University of Phoenix Studios.”

CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles Continues “On Your Corner” Series in Culver City.  The CBS Radio Los Angeles all-news outlet will broadcast live from the Culver Hotel in Culver City on Friday, March 9 as part of its series that provides an “in-depth look at Southern California’s diverse communities.”  The day’s broadcasts will include civic and business leaders, along with colorful personalities connected to Culver City’s rich history and revitalization who will be featured guests as the city marks its 95th anniversary.  Additionally, a business mixer open to the public beginning at 5:00 pm will culminate the day’s events.  A special luncheon for invited business leaders will be hosted by Frank Mottek prior to his KNX Business Hour broadcast.

KMOX, St. Louis Holds Spring Training Correspondent Contest.  In conjunction with sponsor Lindenwood University, CBS Radio’s KMOX, St. Louis is conducting a contest to give one lucky winner a spring training correspondent position alongside sports director Tom Ackerman in Jupiter, Florida.  The winner gets an all-expenses-paid trip and will perform on-air and online Spring Training reports.  The station has been holding open auditions for the past month.  Nearly 200 people auditioned and 10 finalists have been announced.  Listeners to KMOX can vote on their favorite through February 21.

 

The Changing Program Director/Talent Dynamic

| November 8, 2011

Critiquing talk radio talent in the modern era proves challenging as the role of the PD and structure
of the industry undergo massive changes 

By Mike Kinosian
Special Features Correspondent

“This could hurt your feelings, but it is being said for your own good.”

Such verbiage has been the basis for any one of countless program director-conducted aircheck sessions throughout the years in every conceivable radio format.

Quite possibly even more so than ever and as hyperbolic as it may sound, a program director supremely performing duties as a motivating talent coach is worth his or her weight in gold, silver, bronze and platinum.

“Directing” is, of course, a derivative form of the program director title.  Analyzing on-air personalities while simultaneously providing key components of constructive criticism, positive encouragement and guidance was once a basic calling card for anyone aspiring to be an upper-echelon programmer.  To say it is a dying, if not lost, proficiency is the height of understatement.  It is however clearly a two-way process, deeply rooted on a foundation of reciprocated trust.  If or when that is shattered, progression for the two parties becomes tenuous at best.

Achieving the elusive goal of “success” can have its downsides since that particular nebulous description can lead one to think he or she is above any form of critique or direction – especially from someone they perceive to be a “lowly” program director.  Chaos becomes the inevitable and seamy result.

Read More

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

| October 26, 2011

Westwood One Founder Norm Pattiz Describes Beginnings of Westwood One. During his special remarks at last week’s historic Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum (10/20), Westwood One founder (and current CEO of Courtside Entertainment) Norm Pattiz shared the story of the early days of the ground breaking syndication firm that he started in one office in Westwood back in the late 1970s.  Telling the packed house of talk media professionals that he launched the company with “$10,000 and a working wife,” Pattiz describes how his background as a well-connected former L.A. television sales manager served to bring sponsorships to packaged radio programs — thus shifting the network radio business model from a direct cash to barter system and opening the door to the tremendous growth that followed.  He talks about Westwood One’s first show being an urban radio cross-over Motown special stating, “Being a television guy and not a radio guy, I didn’t know the rules of radio and if you don’t know the rules, you can’t be limited by them.”  Pattiz’s speech can be seen exclusively on TALKERS TV. If you are using a mobile device, click here to view the video.

Cumulus Budget Ax Chops Through Chicago.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports Cumulus corporate dictates have taken a toll on the producer staff at news/talk WLS, Chicago and the programming and airstaff at sister oldies WLS-FM.  Afternoon drive “Roe & Roeper” executive producer Jock Hedblade and “Don Wade & Roma” morning drive show producer Zack Christenson both have been let go along with WLS-FM program director Michael LaCrosse and Chris Papendick, producer of the Greg Brown PM drive show on WLS-FM.  The other change includes operations director Drew Hayes remaining solely responsible for WLS and no longer overseeing WMAL, Washington as he has for the past several years.  Bill Hess was recently promoted to PD at WMAL.  Hayes’ oversight began when WMAL was without a programmer.

Q3 Reports:  Arbitron Up; Journal’s Radio Bright Spot in Down Quarter.  Arbitron reports third quarter revenue up 6.1% over the same period one year ago and states it expects revenue for the entire year to be up somewhere between 6% and 8%.  During a conference call, Arbitron CEO Bill Kerr noted that the company’s completion of the rollout of the Portable People Meter in the 48 top radio markets helped the company achieve its goals.  He also gave an update on the status of its Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement-sponsored project to develop a “single-source panel” for measuring TV, internet and mobile usage.  Kerr says they expect to present their work to CIMM during the fourth quarter.  At Journal Communications, while TV and publishing are languishing, radio has been pretty good to the Milwaukee-based company.  Radio was up 2.7% year-over-year while the company posted a 4.4% loss overall for the quarter.  Flagship news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee posted record ratings under the PPM as the station benefitted from the success of the NFL’s Green Bay Packers, MLB’s Brewers and the recall elections across the state that brought in political dollars in a non-election year.

Michigan Sports Talker Sean Baligian Exits Clear Channel.  The “Sean and Terp Show” aired in PM drive on Clear Channel’s WDFN, Detroit and was simulcast to Grand Rapids on WMAX-FM.  With Baligian’s departure from the company, Ryan Terpstra continues to host the afternoon show on WMAX-FM, Grand Rapids and WDFN will feature a series of guest hosts as the station seeks its next permanent host for the daypart.  Via Facebook, Baligian says farewell to fans and hopes to announce a new gig soon.  The program was originally “Sean, Terp and Killer” and recently lost co-host Tom “Killer” Kowalski who died unexpectedly in August of heart failure at age 51.

Journal Names J. Pat Miller Promotion and Marketing Manager in Milwaukee.  Journal Broadcast Group’s Milwaukee operations announces classic hits WLWK-FM midday host and program director J. Pat Miller moves to a new position as promotion and marketing manager for the company’s WLWK-FM and news/talk WTMJ.  Journal states Miller “will work with the radio sales departments and programming teams to coordinate promotions, events and interactive platforms and will assume day-to-day oversight of the stations’ promotions department, as well.”  Programmer John Roberts joins Journal to handle programming at WLWK-FM.

Town Hall Takes on Los Angeles.  KRLA, Los Angeles’ sold out NTR event on Saturday evening (10/22) pulled a crowd of 1,400 into the Alex Theatre in Glendale, California.  The Salem Communications station produced the annual “Town Hall” event that featured Salem Radio Network talk show hosts plus special guests.  Pictured here (from l-r) are: SRN’s Mike Gallagher, columnist, author and pundit Ann Coulter, SRN’s Dennis Prager, KDWN, Las Vegas AM drive host Heidi Harris (who served as moderator for the program), and SRN personality Michael Medved.  The panelists batted around the current hot news stories including the 2012 presidential race.  They also fielded questions from the audience.

‘Occupy Wall Street,’ 2012 Presidential Race, Libya/Middle East Stability and Euro Zone Economic Tension Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/25).  The ongoing ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement, the GOP candidates for president, political strife in Libya and the Middle East and the shaky state of the Euro Zone’s economy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, October 10, 2011

| October 10, 2011

Civil Disobedience Nets Host Jail Sentence.  TALKERS Heavy Hundred member Ian Freeman, co-host of the nationally syndicated talk show “Free Talk Live,” didn’t set out to spend 59 days in jail — but he believes so strongly in what he talks about on the air and how he lives his life that that’s exactly what he did.  Freeman served 59 days of a 90-day jail sentence (he got early release for good behavior) for obstructing a police officer who was arresting a young woman for an open container violation in Keene, New Hampshire.  Many talk show hosts have strong beliefs and “walk the walk,” but as someone who believes the government is too invasive in people’s lives (and positions his show as a reflection of that philosophy), Freeman makes a habit out of protesting police enforcement of victimless crimes.  He says the authorities in the New England community in which the national show is based see him as “a leader of people with such beliefs” and that’s why he believes a judge gave him a 360-day sentence with 270 days suspended.  Facing the consequences of his commitment was not only personally challenging, but professionally as well.  Freeman tells TALKERS being away from the show for 58 programs left co-host Mark Edge to handle the nightly broadcast with the help of guest co-hosts.  Most programs would be in trouble if their lead personality were gone for that period of time.  Freeman, who created the program, says the unique nature of “Free Talk Live” is that it’s not the “Mark and Ian” show.  He explains, “I didn’t want it to be a show about the personalities as much as it is about the ideas and the concept of open phones and a pro-liberty discussion forum…the idea of the show has always been to have it be able to continue in my or Mark’s absence.”  Freeman says that they have a great crew of friends and volunteers who helped Mark Edge during his time in jail and even though it was Edge’s first time sitting in the “first chair,” he’s heard nothing but good things about how the show went in his absence.  “We didn’t lose any affiliates while I was gone.”  In fact, Freeman says he had the opportunity to hear the show from jail on a local affiliate and had his first real opportunity to hear it as a program director instead of as a part of the show.  He even phoned in on the hotline from jail once or twice with programming advice!  Freeman tells TALKERS he certainly does not want to spend more time in jail but that won’t change how he handles the show or his own life.  “I still firmly believe that more people need to practice civil disobedience and non-cooperation.  I agree with the oft-cited statement that ‘all that’s needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.’  I just can’t sit idly by and watch as my peaceful neighbors continue to be caged for all manner of nonsense – whether it be an RV being parked in their yard, smoking a marijuana cigarette, drinking a little bit of beer – whatever…I can’t get on the air with listeners and advocate non-cooperation with the government if I’m not willing to do it myself.  That would make me feel like a hypocrite.”  “Free Talk Live” is a formidable independently syndicated national show with an impressive growth trend heard on 109 affiliates across the country on stations as disparate as conservative news/talk WSPD, Toledo and progressive talk outlet WXXM-FM, Madison.  In these days of both civil disobedience and peaceful demonstrations erupting on the streets of America and the fracturing of the rigid left/right political categories prevalent within the news/talk radio landscape, it stands out as an important emerging talk media industry entity.

WWRL, New York Broadcasts from ‘Occupy Wall Street’ Protest.  Access.1 Communications’ WWRL, New York is broadcasting from the heart of the ongoing ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protest in Manhattan.  WWRL morning drive host Mark Riley is broadcasting his program this morning (10/10) from 6:00 am to 9:00 am from Zuccotti Park on Liberty Street between Trinity Place and Broadway.  Rev. Al Sharpton’s nationally syndicated program will also broadcast from the same location from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm today.  WWRL general manager Adriane Gaines states, “We feel it is particularly important to expand the platform for ‘RL’s culturally diverse audience by being on site of this historic movement.”  The ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement began on September 17 and continues to be a major story on talk radio.

Cumulus Promotes WJR, Detroit GM to Market Manager.  Tom O’Brien is upped from his GM post at news/talk WJR, Detroit to market manager for the Cumulus properties in the Motor City that include music FMs WDVD and WDRQ.  Regional vice president of Cumulus Midwest Scott Meier says, “Tom has absolutely earned this promotion!  He’s led WJR to a new standard and has embraced the Cumulus Sales Operating System with a vision of incremental growth.”  O’Brien has served as GM of WJR since February of this year.

Entertainment Radio Network (ERN) Partners with eBay Motors for Expanded Online Distribution.  In what is being described as “the first of many new programming and distribution opportunities” that the company is identifying for 2012 and beyond, Entertainment Radio Network, the Oregon-based syndicator of specialty shows covering primarily automotive, consumer electronics, popular science and technology subjects, announces its distribution partnership with eBay Motors, one of the internet’s leading automotive destinations.  Effective immediately, all ERN shows will be distributed through the modJOBS site on the eBayMotors.com landing page to 14 million unique visitors per month.  modJOBS is also supported via social media links to Facebook and Twitter.  ERN president (and former ABC Radio Networks EVP) John McConnell tells TALKERS, “eBay Motors has an extraordinary audience – nearly one billion page views per month.  I believe this kind of distribution is very much a part of radio’s future and we are thrilled that Entertainment Radio Network is the first to be working with eBay Motors new audio programming initiative.  We are all accustomed to talking about TSL (time spent listening), but now get ready to consider stickiness as well – eBay Motors’ average shopper spends 35 minutes per day online, often with credit cards at the ready.”  McConnell recently joined ERN CEO (and on air personality) Alan Taylor as president and a partner in the company.

CBS Radio and NFL’s Houston Texans Sign Long-Term Extension.  CBS Radio’s sports KILT, Houston and country KILT-FM will remain the flagship stations for Houston Texans football for many years to come as the team and CBS agree to a long-term extension of their deal.  Texans football has been affiliated with KILT for the past 10 seasons.

Andy Greenberg Begins Local TV Segment Based on Radio Feature.  KFAB, Omaha-based motivational radio personality Andy Greenberg – host of “Your Weekend HIgh with Andy Greenberg” – is now appearing on KPTM-TV, Omaha on the Sunday evening broadcast beginning October 16.  Greenberg transitioned to his current role as a speaker, trainer and broadcaster after 35 years in the sales and marketing business.  He says, “I am thrilled to be part of the Fox 42 Sunday Night News broadcasts that continue the Fox tradition of broadcasting innovations and have been the forefront and hallmark of the network and its affiliates.”

Salem Radio Network Celebrates Talk Format with “SRN Talk-Tober Month” Promotion.  Rock radio fans certainly remember the “rocktober” moniker assigned to the 10th month of the year on many AOR stations back in the day.  Now, Salem Radio Network honors the talk radio format in its own way declaring it “SRN Talk-Tober Month” and Irving, Texas Mayor Beth Van Duyne joins the celebration by issuing a proclamation in honor of the Irving-based syndicator and all talk radio serving the metro area.  As part of the proclamation, Van Duyne states, “The talk radio industry in North Texas includes a number of talk radio stations including KSKY; WBAP-AM/FM; KRLD; and KLIF which strive to promote a free and open exchange of opinions on the premise that City of Irving residents and others throughout the area have the right to exercise free speech.”

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

| October 5, 2011

 

Merlin Faces Pressure after Disappointing Arbitrons.  The upside of having a high-profile roll out for the launch of a new format is gaining the thrust of free publicity generated by lots of consumer press and enjoying the accompanying media/advertising buzz that generates early believers and revenue.  The downside is facing the instantaneous criticism that comes with unrealistic expectations when they are not fulfilled – an insidious process that can quickly erode the confidence of investors, advertisers and employees, setting in motion the radio equivalent of an unharmonious locker room in sports and frightened ownership.  That is the price Merlin Media and its colorful, controversial CEO Randy Michaels are facing in the wake of two early but extremely disappointing report cards issued by Arbitron reflecting the anemic initial audience numbers of their innovative all-news properties, FM News 101.1 in Chicago (0.2, 6-plus) and FM News 101.9 in New York (0.5, 6-plus).  The “ouch factor” is especially biting in Chicago where FM News 101.1 is being measured against CBS Radio O&O WBBM’s 105.9 FM simulcast which launched a pre-emptive competing all news format on FM and garnered a solid 1.0, 6-plus share on top of its big AM numbers for the same period.  Whereas much of this “chatter” has remained contained within under-the-radar industry conversations and media blogs, the hard facts surfaced big-time publicly this morning in an all-too-blunt article by reporter Robert Channick in the Chicago Tribune headlined “FM News 101 finds meager audience, early ratings show” describing what happened in the following terms: “The first full month of ratings for Chicago’s two FM news stations didn’t bring good news for Merlin Media. Its FM News 101.1 (WWWN-FM) ranked 48th, with a minuscule 0.2 share for September, according to Arbitron results released Tuesday. The station was trounced by CBS Radio’s simulcast of WBBM-AM 780 on sister station 105.9 FM, which garnered an additional 1.0 share. The combined AM-FM listenership for WBBM Newsradio was 6.4, topping the Chicago market. The survey covered Aug. 18 to Sept. 14.”  The article goes on to quote a confident Michaels as stating, “It’s a work in progress; it’s very, very early.” Michaels adds, “You’re looking at the very first couple of weeks after we blew up a rock station, and I can’t think that too many people who were listening to (Q101.1) would be listening to spoken word.”  The story reports that Michaels is urging patience in assessing the Chicago station’s success offering the revealing explanation, “I think that we’re still in the process of revamping and finding the right approach.”   Seasoned talk media industry professionals know that Michaels is correct in his ongoing assertion that it takes time for a spoken word format to gain ratings traction.  However a larger question spawned of the times looms – in today’s PPM world in which listener loyalty and station image take a back seat to instantaneous, real-time listening, set against the backdrop of a very uncertain economy, and exacerbated by an impatient media’s hunger for the instantaneous results of a high-profile business launch, does Michaels have the time to bring his ambitious endeavor to fruition before his nervous investors start pressing the panic button?

Cumulus Watch: Bob Moore Out in Los Angeles.  KABC and KLOS-FM, Los Angeles general manager Bob Moore is out at the Cumulus stations and former Spanish Broadcasting System chief revenue officer Marko Radlovic rejoins the company he worked for almost a decade ago.  Radlovic resigned from his post at SBS on September 28 where he also served as senior vice president and general manager at the company’s two Los Angeles stations.

Townsquare Media Steals One from Cumulus.  Townsquare Media hires Matt Hanlon for the newly created position of vice president of sales in which he’ll oversee all aspects of the company’s sales efforts.  Hanlon leaves his Michigan-based position as regional vice president for Cumulus to join Townsquare.  He was an RVP for Citadel – now Cumulus – in charge of some 85 markets in the Midwest.

Beck, Ingraham, Levin and Bennett Featured Speakers at DC Summit.  The Values Voters Summit takes place this weekend at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC and joining numerous conservative speakers, Republican officeholders and most of the GOP presidential candidates are Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck, Talk Radio Network’s Laura Ingraham, Cumulus Media NetworksMark Levin and Salem Radio Network’s Bill Bennett.  The event is co-sponsored by a number of conservative action groups including the Family Research Council and the American Family Association  as well as conservative think tanks including The Heritage Foundation.

Bell Media Launches TSN Radio in Montreal and Winnipeg.  With a continued focus on local sports, The Team 990 in Montreal (CKGM) is being rebranded as TSN Radio 990 and Sports Radio 1290 in Winnipeg (CFRW) becomes TSN Radio 1290.  The stations debut just in time for the launch of the NHL season.  Both TSN stations promise to feature extensive live NHL hockey coverage with TSN Radio 990 airing Montreal Canadiens games and TSN Radio 1290 the home of the Winnipeg Jets.  Both stations are available nationally online at TSN.ca and on TSN Mobile.  The newly re-branded TSN Radio stations will work closely with Bell Media‘s market-leading all-sports radio stations in Vancouver and Ottawa.

Canada’s Radio Regulator Rules Broadcasters Must Identify Repeat Programs.  Acting after a complaint about a 2010 edition of the CFRB, Toronto program “Friendly Fire,” the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council recently ruled that repeat broadcasts of call-in shows must be identified as such.  The CFRB show in question was a repeat of a program that encouraged listeners to call in or text questions to program participants.  In its ruling, the CBSC wrote, in part: “At the very least, it would be courteous to the audience’s sensibilities to advise them that a program or an episode of a program is being repeated…Where, however, it is a part of the original broadcast that persons were invited to contact the station, as in any call-in show, the lack of courtesy in failing to advise listeners not to call becomes an inconvenience if not an annoyance.  Where, as in the matter at hand, listeners are invited, not just to call, but also to text the station, the inconvenience turns to expense.”

2012 GOP Candidates, ‘Occupy Wall Street,’ U.N. Syria Resolution and Bernanke Testimony Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/4).  The GOP candidates for the Republican nomination in 2012 – including Herman Cain’s rise in the polls, the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protests, Russia and China’s veto of a U.N. resolution against Syria and Fed chairman Ben Bernanke’s testimony before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Old Friends.  Salem Radio Network’s “Morning in America” host Bill Bennett (r) and his producer Chris Beach (c) bump into presidential candidate Herman Cain (l) outside the Fox News Channel studios in New York City.  Cain, who hosted a talk radio program on WSB, Atlanta before giving up the show to run for office, had been a regular fill-in host for Bennett’s show.  Bennett told Cain he’s welcome back on the show anytime if his presidential campaign doesn’t end up victorious and Cain replied Bennett is welcome to visit him in the White House if he wins.

 

Monday, September 12, 2011

| September 12, 2011

TALKERS Publisher Michael Harrison Says Talk Radio’s Future is Significantly Tied into its Relationship with the Automobile.  In a newly published article that outlines the tenets of his “Annual State of Talk Radio Address” to be delivered at the NAB/RAB Radio Show in Chicago on Wednesday morning, Harrison writes, “Now, more than ever, talk radio’s relationship with the automobile is vital and must be carefully protected.  The PPM is forcing radio to be programmed to precisely where people are, what people are doing, and how people are feeling during the potential listening process.  Group listening is out, solo listening is in.  Activity and mindset of the listeners are now all important considerations.  The automobile plays and will continue to play a growing role in determining talk radio’s future.”  The article titled “The Clock is Ticking,” which appears in the September print issue of TALKERS as well as on Talkers.com, covers the 10 things broadcasters need to know about the enormous changes taking place in talk radio at this very moment.  In it Harrison covers a wide array of brewing industry trends among which he states intellectual property (IP) will increasingly dominate talk radio’s legal concerns, radio station values will continue to depreciate, there are lessons to be learned from sports talk radio, news/talk “stationality’ is rapidly evolving beyond the extreme left and right options, the invasion of FM will intensify, the PPM is increasing the need for top notch weekend and part-time talent, and the internet is rewiring the human nervous system.  The address is scheduled for Wednesday morning between 10:30 am and 11:45 am and is open to all attendees of the conference.  Harrison will be introduced by McVay/Cook & Associates consultant Holland Cooke who will be making a presentation of his own about talk radio’s relationship with the automobile at the forthcoming Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum 2011 on October 20 – Southern California being a place where the importance of automobile listening habits is most pronounced.  To read the full Michael Harrison article, click here.

Glenn Beck’s GBTV Two-Hour Broadcast Debuts This Afternoon.  From 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET this afternoon Glenn Beck’s P1s will be viewing the webcast that, for all intents and purposes, replaces Beck’s popular Fox News Channel show in their minds.  The Wall Street Journal published a piece on Beck’s debut and reports that GBTV now has some 230,000 subscribers at $9.95.  It also projects that Beck could take in some $20 million in revenue its first year.  Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts is developing more programming for GBTV including children’s shows to come later this fall.  Beck tells the paper the goal is to reach younger people, “I don’t know anybody under 30 who is watching television the way I watched television. Technology has allowed people to change the way they consume the news, and we want to be where people are going.”

Saul Levine Loses at FCC in KFWB Trust Case.  The Mt. Wilson Broadcasting owner has been vocal in his criticism of CBS Radio’s KFWB, Los Angeles continuing to be operated in a trust stating that, basically, nothing has changed and CBS still owns and operates the station that is technically for sale in violation of a number of FCC precedents and that the FCC erred in granting the Divestiture Application.  On Friday the commission ruled against Mt. Wilson stating the station needs to be operated so as to get the best possible price in a sale.  It rules “the trust agreements require the Trustee to: ‘use all commercially reasonable efforts to preserve intact the present business organization of the Station and the Station’s relationships with its customers, suppliers and others having business dealings with it.’”

WTOP-FM, Washington Takes Ownership of Public Opinion Poll Feature.  Television networks and news organizations – usually associated with heritage newspapers – have long joined forces with polling organizations to jointly present poll results.  Now Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP  Radio begins working with the non-partisan, Virginia-based Heart and Mind Strategies research consultancy to present the polling data on issues relevant to the greater Washington, DC metro.  The first WTOP Beltway Poll presents public opinion on issues including terrorism and national security, the economic climate and voter confidence.  WTOP VP of news and programming Jim Farley says, “This is the first of a series of WTOP Beltway polls comparing and contrasting the views of voters in Virginia, Maryland and DC with voters nationally in partnership with the respected Heart and Mind Strategies.  This one reveals some surprising findings and interesting insights into public opinion of residents across the Washington metropolitan area ten years after 9/11.  We will be digging deeper into the issues raised and examining them more closely through a series of stories on WTOP and WTOP.com ranging from national terror alerts to looking at how prepared area residents and workplaces are in the case of a major disaster, to their lack of confidence with the present leadership in Congress and the White House.”

CMG Promotes Charlsie Moore to GSM.  Cox Media Group Atlanta Radio ups Charlsie Moore to general sales manager in charge of the account executives representing the group’s FM stations – including news/talk WSB-FM.  CMG Atlanta VP of sales Rob Babin says, “Charlsie is a proven sales coach and has done an incredible job of developing sales talent.  I’m confident that she will continue to lead our sales team to higher levels and ensure that our stations are among the top billing stations in the country.”

Filling in This Week.  Michael Bower (former Sirius XM Maxim Radio host) sits in at CBS Radio’s KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas today and tomorrow from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

Mike on Broadway!  Salem Radio Network host Mike Gallagher wrapped up a week in a cameo role as a disc jockey in the Broadway production “Memphis” yesterday (9/11).  Gallagher has been acting with various regional theatre companies for the past several years.  He says the thrill of making it to Broadway in the Tony-winning musical was the dream of a lifetime.  “This was a culmination of a lifelong dream to appear on Broadway, and the cast — although politically liberal for the most part — welcomed me with open arms.  I’ll never forget this week!”

Friday, August 26, 2011

| August 26, 2011

Glenn Beck Israel Event Featured on GBTV Media Station.  Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk star Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Courage” rally in Israel did not get the same press his “Restoring Honor” rally at the National Mall in Washington, DC one year ago did.  However, Beck’s address before the reported crowd of 1,700 near Jerusalem’s Temple Mount and the reported 3,000 watching from a nearby viewing station was both beamed live to and archived on GBTV.com – the new media station programmed by Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts company.  Beck’s new live, streaming “TV show” debuts on September 12 on GBTV.com and no doubt Beck hopes it will replace his Fox News Channel program that ended in June in the minds of many of his hard-core P1s.  Regardless of criticism leveled at Beck by consumer media journalists for his message, one can argue that Beck and his staff may just be building a sterling example of well-programmed, revenue making digital news/talk content (media station) for the new era.

Cox Announces FM Sports Coming to Birmingham While Crosstown WJOX-FM Host Paul Finebaum Sues Employer Citadel.  Cox Media Group confirms to the Birmingham Business Journal that it will flip country WNCB-FM to sports on Tuesday, August 30.  General manager David DuBose says Eli Gold and Stan White will co-host the morning drive show, Matt Coulter – a former WJOX-FM host – will handle the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show and the station will be a Yahoo! Sports (formerly Sporting News Radio) affiliate.  Meanwhile, across town Citadel’s WJOX-FM and popular market sports personality Paul Finebaum are in a legal tussle.  At issue it appears is Finebaum’s contention that Citadel has not shared revenue for his program according to the terms of his contract and the sum in question exceeds $75,000, again according to the Birmingham Business Journal.  Finebaum’s attorney, Russ Campbell, refused to comment to the Journal but WJOX-FM general manager Bill Thomas issued a statement saying, “I feel very confident that the actions of Citadel and its employees with respect to Paul have been appropriate, and I expect that to be demonstrated if his lawsuit continues.”  Finebaum, whose popular show is known for superserving rabid fans of SEC football and basketball, is under contract with WJOX-FM through January of 2013.  The Citadel station serves as the flagship for Finebaum’s program.  Cox’s DuBose says if Finebaum’s legal situation clears up, they would be interested in talking to him.  

Cox Media Group Names Format Captains.  Cox Media Group elevates seven program directors to format leaders for the company who will report to new director of radio programming Steve Smith.  WHIO-AM/FM, Dayton OM/PD Nick Roberts (who also oversees news/talk programming in the Louisville cluster) is named the format leader for news/talk.  CMG Group VP Ben Reed says of the move, “CMG has tapped into the amazing talent that exists within our radio businesses to help chart an even more competitive course that will provide the best music and news/talk formats for our valued listeners.  Industry veteran Steve Smith, who joined CMG last month, will oversee this proven team and will provide a cohesive link between our local markets and our group vice president leadership team.”

Norm Pattiz’ Courtside Entertainment Group Teams with Westwood One for First Special Broadcast:  Bill O’Reilly’s Presidential Town Hall.  The three-hour special broadcast event in which Republican candidates for president in 2012 will answer questions from Fox News Channel star Bill O’Reilly is scheduled for November 7, airing live from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET.  Pattiz announced the formation of Courtside Entertainment and its relationship with Westwood One to distribute content at the beginning of the year.  Now, the partners offer their first special program.    Westwood One president Rod Sherwood states, “Bill O’Reilly knows the Republican political landscape inside and out, and his ‘Presidential Town Hall’ will bring his unrivalled wit and wisdom to radio listeners early in the campaign season.”

KMBZ-AM/FM, Kansas City Wins Kansas Association of Broadcasters Station of the Year.  Entercom’s news/talk KMBZ-AM/FM is named the Large Market Station of the Year by the Kansas Association of Broadcasters for 2011.  The station also wins seven other news and programming awards.  Program director Neil Larrimore says this is a great honor for KMBZ.  “This is truly the result of a TEAM effort across the board!  Everyone at KMBZ works hard every day to make sure that the best news and talk radio product is put on the air, and these awards are testaments to their dedication to that mission!  There is a reason Kansas City trusts NewsRadio 98.1 FM & 980 AM KMBZ.”

Salem Radio Network Announces 9/11 Anniversary Programming.  SRN VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup says SRN will produce a 90-minute live special titled, “9/11: America 10 Years Later,” on Sunday, September 11 anchored by SRN News White House correspondent Greg Clugston.  The program airs from 8:30 am to 10:00 am.  SRN News Senate correspondent Linda Kenyon — who was at the Pentagon the day of the attack — and SRN News House correspondent Wally Hindes will join Greg on the program live from SRN’s Washington, DC studios.  Salem also plans a weeklong series of reports leading up to the September 11 broadcast.

Ric Edelman Celebrates 3,000th Broadcast of TV Program.  Independent financial advisor, author and broadcaster Ric Edelman announces his public television program “The Truth About Money with Ric Edelman” just celebrated its 3,000th airing.  The program, produced by 3 Roads Communications, has been picked up by more than 175 public TV stations.  Edelman hosts an independently syndicated weekend radio program of the same name that is heard across the nation.

WHO, Des Moines PM Drive Host Simon Conway to Emcee Political Rallies.  Iowa talk show host Simon Conway announces he’ll be emcee for the Presidential Candidate picnic taking place at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines on Saturday, August 27.  Attendees already confirmed include: Texas Governor Rick Perry, Congressman Ron Paul, Congressman Thad McCotter and former New York Governor George Pataki (who is rumored to be ready to announce his candidacy).  Conway says he’ll also emcee the Sarah Palin “Restoring America” rally in nearby Indianola, Iowa on September 3 where some believe Palin will announce her candidacy.

Sports USA’s Joe Morgan Show Debuts.  Baseball Hall-of-Famer and broadcaster Joe Morgan debuted his new one-hour daily radio show on Monday, August 22.  For its first week on air, Morgan’s interview-intensive program featured conversations with baseball greats Morgan conducted at the recent Baseball Hall of Fame induction.  Sports USA president Larry Kahn says of Morgan’s new show, “‘The Joe Morgan Show’ is unique content for sports fans to tune in to because Joe has conversations with athletes and allows us to listen to stories most people have never heard before.  Listeners will have more insight as a fan because Joe can get closer to these athletes in a relaxed setting compared to regular members of the media doing interviews.”

Urban Talk Host Bev Smith Reportedly Ending Radio Show.  According to the Redding News Review, American Urban Radio Network talk host Bev Smith’s show will end soon.  The reports are not clear.  Redding News Review reports one source saying Smith is battling breast cancer although there has been no official word from AURN on the status of Bev Smith’s program.  The program is fed live from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm nightly.

 

2012 Presidential Race/Obama Vacation Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 22-26.  The GOP candidates and the issues facing the nation as the 2012 presidential campaign season heats up – combined with chat about President Obama’s vacation – landed atop the Talkers Ten chart for the week of August 22-26.  Coming in at #2 was the turmoil in Libya.  At #3 was the violence in Syria and at #4 was the financial markets instability.  The Talkers Ten is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio across America based on ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  To view this week’s entire chart, click the banner below.

Honoring a Pioneering Company.  KDKA, Pittsburgh morning drive host Larry Richert (l) is seen here with KDKA promotions staffers Lisa Herald (to Richert’s right), Chelsea McCartney (far right), and Ed Reis (in top hat) portraying the celebrated entrepreneur and engineer George Westinghouse.  KDKA broadcast from Westinghouse’s Cranberry, Pennsylvania campus to help celebrate its 125th year in business.  Westinghouse Corporation put KDKA on the air on November 2, 1920 and the rest, as they say, is history!

TALKERS Weekly Affiliation Roundup.  The Wall Street Journal Radio Network clears “The Daily Wrap from The Wall Street Journal with Michael Castner” on WTKK-FM, Boston…..TRN’s “Watchdog on Wall Street” with Chris Markowski picks up KWKC, Abilene, Texas.