Tag: "scott hennen"

Friday, June 1, 2012

| June 1, 2012

Finebaum Case Far from Settled Says Cumulus. Contrary to the story published here earlier today (6/1), there is no settlement on the horizon for Birmingham-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum and Cumulus Media in their contract dispute. Cumulus COO John Dickey tells TALKERS the reported agreement that would end the lawsuits each side is filing against other and allow Finebaum to work out his contract at Cumulus’ sports talk WJOX-FM, Birmingham that ends in January of 2013 and then go to work at Cox Media’s crosstown sports WZNN-FM if he chooses are categorically untrue. “He will never work for Cox in Birmingham,” Dickey says. Jefferson County Circuit Judge Robert Vance had asked the two sides to resume negotiations to settle the contract dispute and report to the court by May 30.

Battle for Control of SiriusXM Heating Up.  John Malone‘s Liberty Media is again filing a request with the FCC to give it “de facto” control of satellite broadcaster SiriusXM. The Commission denied its first attempt back on May 4 but Liberty has since acquired another 6-plus percent of the company’s stock, pushing its total above 46%. It’s petition for reconsideration with the FCC reportedly contains additional information to the Commission. In a filing with the SEC, SiriusXM states, “We’ve been engaged in discussions with Liberty Media to explore possible transactions with respect to its ownership interest in Sirius, although we have not reached agreement with respect to a specific transaction that would be mutually beneficial to both our common and preferred stockholders. There is no assurance that these discussions will result in any specific action or transaction. We do not expect to disclose developments with respect to these discussions.”

Scott Hennen Turns to Listeners for Funding for WZFG, Fargo. Talk show host and businessman Scott Hennen is exploring alternative sources for funding his purchase of The Flag 1100 (WZFG) in the Fargo market. The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead‘s Marino Eccher reports Hennen has created a program whereby fans become “founding fathers” and buy into one of four clubs – Faith, Family, Freedom, and Free Enterprise – for $1,000 (each club limited to 400 members). He’s seeking a total of 1,600 such “founders” to come up with $1.6 million. Hennen tells the paper he has traditional funding sources but decided to seek less traditional forms of funding after sensing his listeners “desire to be part of something bigger.” These fans will not be shareholders or part owners but instead will have input on the station’s weekend programming, behind-the-scenes updates and $1,000 advertising credit. Hennen tells Eccher Tea Party activist Mark Skogerboe will serve as director of the clubs and be an on-air contributor.

NEW MEDIA SEMINAR/NYC Sold Out but Agenda Keeps Growing.  Thursday, June 7 is going to be a big day for talk radio in the Big Apple as some 400 professionals from all aspects of the business converge on the Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side for a one-day conference containing the content mass of a two- or three-day convention.  “Although we have reached capacity in terms of registration,” explains TALKERS VP/managing editor Kevin Casey, “doesn’t mean the agenda is not continuing to grow.”  Casey continues, “This conference has all the aspects of an old fashioned ‘happening’ with a program lineup that is so outstanding, it is attracting a growing number of industry leaders wanting to contribute as speakers and panelists.”  According to conference director Michael Harrison, “We attribute the positive response to this event not only its powerful and relevant agenda, but to the fact that it is so efficiently tuned to the times in terms of its affordable registration fee and compact time demands.  With another one set for Los Angeles in October, this June 7 event has the convenience of a regional conference while delivering the bang of a major national convention.”  Although space is limited for those who will participate in person, the content of this forthcoming NMS which will be video recorded from beginning to end will reach a far wider audience via TALKERS TV in the weeks and months following June 7.  For information call 413-565-5413.  To see the up-to-the-minute agenda, click here.

WEUS, Orlando to Be LMA’d with Intent to Purchase. Star Over Orlando‘s talk outlet WEUS, Orlando is entering into a deal with MultiCorp International to have the latter’s subsidiary – Rivalz Sports Group – operate the station as a sports talk outlet beginning on July 30 with the intent to buy the signal. MultiCorp intends to change the calls to WRSG and hopes to move the stations operations “within a restaurant facility” so diners can enjoy “a first-class restaurant/media experience.” The company states it hopes to expand this model to other markets.

Dr. Laura Launches Online Jewelry Business. SiriusXM talk show host and talk radio pioneer Dr. Laura Schlessinger unveils her “Dr. Laura Designs,” – an online boutique featuring her personally designed and handcrafted jewelry, glass and polymer clay art. The site offers ready-made items or people can commission custom made pieces. Dr. Laura initially began selling jewelry to assist the “Operation Family Fund,” a non-profit organization that provides financial assistance to families of those who are injured or killed while fighting the war on terrorism, and raised more than $1.5 million. Dr. Laura has had a passion for jewelry – making it and glass art that started when, during a particularly difficult time for her family, her then-little son suggested that a new hobby would be helpful. She states, “I never thought I had one ounce of artistic ability, and couldn’t think of what I could do.” After a listener suggested she visit a local bead fest, she says, “I walked by a table filled with Tibetan ornaments and my brain just exploded with creative images. I bought books on jewelry-making and purchased tools, wire, beads and stones and got started.” Dr. Laura’s program currently airs from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm ET on the Sirius Stars channel.

Dave Ramsey to Lead NAB-RAB Radio Show Super Session. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey will lead a Super Session at the September 19-21 Radio Show in Dallas being produced jointly by the NAB and RAB. The panel, titled “Succeeding in This Economic Environment,” taking place on Thursday, September 20 at 9:30 am and, as its title implies, will focus on steps radio station operators can take to achieve success in these tough economic times.

Odds ‘n’ Sods. The Society for Professional Journalism and the Radio Television Digital News Association announce registration is open for their September Excellence in Journalism Conference taking place the 20th through the 22nd in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The conference offers more than 50 professional development sessions…..Former college football coach Rick Neuheisel (UCLA, Washington and Colorado) joins SiriusXM‘s College Sports Nation channel where he’ll appear on the “College Football Playbook” show and co-host the daily “College Sports Today” show with Mark Packer…..Clear Channel Media and Entertainment‘s WFLA, Tampa begins simulcasting on an FM translator at 105.9 licensed to West Tampa…..Las Vegas-based nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs has a small role in an upcoming Showtime reality program. She tells TALKERS, “It’s a one-time small part on  a Showtime reality show but it’s a start!” Wachs says it’s super secret and she can’t even tell us the name of the show, yet.

Stormy Times at Fairfax Media. American media companies are not the only ones dealing with difficult financial situations. TALKERS Australia bureau chief Trevor Smith reports on one of Australia’s major talkback radio-formatted operators – Fairfax Media – as it deals with corporate power struggles and underperforming revenue. Read Smith’s entire piece here.

Rusty Among the Politichicks. That’s Talk Radio Network nationally syndicated talk show host Rusty Humphries on the set of the internet TV show “Politichicks.” Humphries appeared with co-hosts Dr. Gina Loudon, Ann-Marie Murrell, Sonnie Johnson, Morgan Brittany on the recent episode titled, “The Fairness Doctrine: There’s Nothing Fair,” to discuss the “current environment of talk radio as well as why conservative talk radio has become a focus of attack by the mainstream media and liberal politicians.  At the end of the segment, Rusty was formally honored with the title, “PolitiStud.” It’s obvious to see why.

2012 Presidential Race Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 28 – June 1. The 2012 presidential contest was #1 on the Talkers TenTM chart of the week’s most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio for the ninth week in a row. At #2 this week was the Syria massacre aftermath. Following at #3 was Iran’s nuclear ambitions and at #4 was the Euro zone crisis and the global financial markets’ activities. The Talkers TenTM is based on ongoing research from Talkers magazine and consists of the top stories and people discussed on America’s news/talk radio stations during the week. View this week’s entire chart here.

Crue Visits the Cannons. Motley Crue bassist and host of the Premiere Networks-syndicated “Sixx Sense” radio program, Nikki Sixx (r), is pictured here with Fox Sports Radio‘s “Loose Cannons” co-host Pat O’Brien (l). Fox Sports Radio and Los Angeles Dodgers flagship AM 570 Fox Sports LA (KLAC) invited Sixx to throw out the first pitch at a recent Dodgers game. Prior to the first pitch and Sixx’s appearance on the “Loose Cannons” nationally syndicated program, Fox Sports Radio offered listeners the chance to win travel accommodations and tickets to a stop on this summer’s Motley Crue/KISS tour.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

| April 19, 2012

Entertainment Industry Mourns Passing of Dick Clark.  The music, television and radio industries are mourning the passing of pioneer broadcaster Dick Clark, who died on Wednesday after suffering a massive heart attack at age 82.  In addition to his numerous other contributions to the entertainment industry, Clark co-founded United Stations Radio Networks with Nick Verbitsky in 1981.  Verbitsky says, “Dick was an icon to many, but a true friend, partner and mentor to those of us who worked closely with him.  His impact on broadcasting is immeasurable, and his entrepreneurial spirit will be a part of our world at United Stations forever.”

Talk Host Scott Hennen to Purchase WZFG, Fargo.  The conservative talk-formatted WZFG, Fargo – positioned as “1100 AM The Flag” – will return to the control of talk host and station manager Scott Hennen upon FCC approval and the closing.  Hennen announces he’s struck a deal with Great Plains Integrated Marketing to buy back the station he founded in 2008.  Hennen was fired by his investors as president and CEO of GPIM in the fall of 2010.  His program remained on the air at WZFG until May of 2011.  Hennen is currently hosting a nationally syndicated radio show but is not heard in the Fargo market at this time.  His program will return to the station when the new deal begins.

Internet and Terrestrial Radio Are Different Businesses When it Comes to Non-Competes.  That’s the ruling of Stark County (OH) Common Pleas Court Judge Charles E. Brown in the case of two Canton jocks who started a radio show on the internet and were sued by their former employer for violating the non-compete.  Radio hosts Patrick DeLuca and Charlotte DiFranco (pictured here) left their highly rated morning program at WDJQ-FM, Canton after failing to agree to terms on a contract renewal with station owner Don Peterson III.  They started their own station at www.theradiosucks.com and began broadcasting three shows per week after exiting in February and Peterson sued, claiming they violated the non-compete.  Attorney Steve Okey argued his clients were prevented from operating a business that was “the same or essentially the same as a radio station” and their venture does not fit that description.  The judge agreed.  Peterson tells the Youngstown Vindicator he’s disappointed with the decision and will review his options.  This is a case others in the radio and internet radio businesses will be watching closely.

Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington Inks Deal for Sports Content with Dial Global.  Red Zebra Broadcasting announces it has signed a two-year deal with Dial Global Radio Networks to have exclusive rights to March Madness, the NFL package, the NFL playoffs, the Super Bowl, the NFL Draft, Golf’s Majors and the Olympics in the Washington, DC market. Vice president of programming Chuck Sapienza says of the deal, “We want to thank Greg Leader and Sean Thompson of Dial Global for being such great partners.  We could not be more pleased with the relationship and all the great programming Dial Global brings to our listeners.  When you team the Redskins Radio Network with Dial Global’s NFL Package, NFL fans in DC will receive extensive, exclusive coverage of the National Football League on ESPN980.”

Current TV to Add Show Hosted by California Lieutenant Governor.  Former San Francisco mayor and current California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom will debut a new talk show on the Al Gore-founded Current TV network beginning in May.  The New York Times reports the move is designed by Current TV to “keep its progressive agenda on track.”  In a statement announcing the move, co-founder Al Gore states, “He touches many worlds – business, politics, entertainment and activism.  We are honored that Current TV will be bringing his curiosity, intelligence, insights and enthusiasm to television.”  Newsom will continue to serve as lieutenant governor of California.  Current TV is rebounding from the high-profile battle – now in the courts – with former “Countdown” host Keith Olbermann.  It also recently added video simulcasts of talk radio stars Stephanie Miller’s and Bill Press’ nationally syndicated morning radio programs.

TALKERS Publishes 2012 Heavy Hundred.  The 2012 installment of TALKERS magazine’s signature feature, “The Talkers 250 featuring the Heavy Hundred,” is officially posted.  This long-running talk radio industry institution also titled, “The 250 Most Important Talk Radio Hosts in America,” is compiled by the TALKERS editorial board based upon a compilation of both objective and subjective elements including (in alphabetical order):  courage, effort, impact, longevity, potential, ratings, recognition, revenue, service, talent and uniqueness.  Although the list is traditionally drawn from a wide variety of genres representing the breadth of spoken word radio from commercial to public and including everything from traditional news/talk to specialty programming, this year’s installment of the popular feature marks a departure from the custom of including sports talk hosts.  According to TALKERS VP/managing editor Kevin Casey, “Because of the explosive growth of sports talk radio and the number of excellent hosts participating in it across the country, TALKERS will be publishing the genre’s own Heavy Hundred beginning in 2012.”  The TALKERS Sports Talk Heavy Hundred is scheduled for publication this coming June.  To see this year’s entire “Talkers 250 featuring the Heavy Hundred” click here.

23rd Annual Imus Radiothon Begins Today.  77WABC, New York-based Don Imus broadcasts the 23rd Annual Imus Radiothon beginning today and running through tomorrow.  The Radiothon is airing on 77WABC, radio affiliates around the country and on the Fox Business Network.  The two-day event benefits the Imus Ranch for Kids with Cancer, the Tomorrows Children’s Fund and the CJ Foundation for SIDS.  Guests on the program for the Radiothon will include various sponsors and children/siblings who have visited and experienced the Imus Ranch in Ribera, New Mexico.

Warren Ballentine Interviews First Lady Michelle Obama.  Syndication One nationally syndicated talk host Warren Ballentine is pictured here at the White House on April 16 interviewing First Lady Michelle Obama.  Ballentine visited the White House as part of the Summit on Entrepreneurship for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions.  The White House Summit offered the opportunity for Ballentine to provide a national African-American audience for small business owners, government experts and leaders from a variety of HBCUs/MSIs to discuss their numerous opportunities and facilitate solutions to challenges in underserved communities.  Ballentine states, “Doing my show from the White House was such a great honor for me.  The staff was outstanding and the chance to interview First Lady Michelle Obama was truly a blessing and honor.  The First Lady is not only gracious, she is wise, funny, empathetic and truly in tune with the people of America.  This is an experience that I will never forget!”  Ballentine’s interview with the First Lady will be highlighted on his program today (4/19).

2012 Presidential Campaign, U.S. Soldiers Photos Scandal, North Korea Military Ambitions, Trayvon Martin Case Developments and Ted Nugent Comments Concern Secret Service Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/18).  The 2012 presidential campaign; the problems being caused by U.S. soldiers taking photos with the bodies of dead Taliban insurgents; ongoing concerns over North Korea’s military ambitions; judge steps down from Trayvon Martin case; and Ted Nugent’s comments to NRA group draws concern of Secret Service were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Talk Hosts Sound Off on TALKERS TV About the Importance of the Election

| January 12, 2012

14 diverse talk radio personalities from industry superstars to college hosts share their candid views about the impact Election 2012 is having on their shows and talk radio in general in a new montage recorded directly on the floor of the New Hampshire Primary Radio Row produced by TALKERS magazine and Talk Radio News Service earlier this week. They also discuss the growing importance and sophistication of social networking tools such as Twitter and Facebook in the talk broadcasting communications process. Participants include syndicated national hosts Neal Boortz, Roger Hedgecock, Kate Delaney, Scott Hennen and Jeff Santos; local hosts Dan Mitchell, George Russell, Paul Westcott, Steve West, Brian Tilden, Phil Paleologos, and Lee Davis; and college radio up-and-comers Joe Horigan and Emma Bisogo. According to Neal Boortz, “We have to convince people out there that politics is as important to them as Dancing with the Stars.”

Read More

Thursday, January 12, 2012

| January 12, 2012

Talk Hosts Sound Off on TALKERS TV About the Importance of the Election.   14 diverse talk radio personalities from industry superstars to college hosts share their candid views about the impact Election 2012 is having on their shows and talk radio in general in a new montage recorded directly on the floor of the New Hampshire Primary Radio Row produced by TALKERS magazine and Talk Radio News Service earlier this week.  They also discuss the growing importance and sophistication of social networking tools such as Twitter and Facebook in the talk broadcasting communications process.  Participants include syndicated national hosts Neal Boortz, Roger Hedgecock, Kate Delaney, Scott Hennen and Jeff Santos; local hosts Dan Mitchell, George Russell, Paul Westcott, Steve West, Brian Tilden, Phil Paleologos, and Lee Davis; and college radio up-and-comers Joe Horigan and Emma Bisogo. According to Neal Boortz, “We have to convince people out there that politics is as important to them as Dancing with the Stars.”  See this TALKERS TV exclusive video in the TALKERS TV box on this page.

Peak Broadcasting Enters into Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Reorganization.  Peak Broadcasting – owner of 11 radio stations in Fresno, California and Boise, Idaho – is entering into voluntary Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Reorganization after coming to terms with senior lenders. The original financing was led by GE Capital Markets.  Peak lists assets of between $50 million and $100 million and debt of a similar amount.  The good news for staffers is there appears to be no signs the company needs to take drastic steps from an operational standpoint in order to turn the company around.  In a statement, CEO Todd Lawley says, “Operationally, Peak has improved its position in the markets it serves during one of the most difficult periods in radio broadcasting history.  I am confident that Peak will emerge from the restructuring with a stronger financial foundation which complements our market-leading radio positions and allows us to continue to provide premier radio programming in the communities we serve together with the uninterrupted support of our customers, employees, and vendors.”  Peak operates news/talk KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; news/talk KIDO, Boise; and sports KFXD, Boise in addition to seven music-formatted stations in the two markets.  Upon approval of the plan, Peak Broadcasting will be owned by senior lenders that could include Oaktree Captial and Rabobank.

Rachel Crowson Named Co-Anchor at ARNN.  America’s Radio News Network announces news pro Rachel Crowson becomes part of the news network’s on-air staff as a co-anchor.  Crowson is a 20-year news pro who’s worked mostly in the Washington, DC market at operations including Metro Networks, Voice of America and ABC News Radio.  ARNN CEO Mark Masters says, “We welcome Rachel into our exclusive news organization.  Her background and demeanor are a perfect match for our non-partisan, long-form news programming.  Stations continue to tell us they love the long-form news blocks so much they want more.  We have been stunned by the high demand!”

WGN, Chicago’s Studio Moves Up in Tribune Tower.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports that Tribune Company is relocating WGN’s offices and studios – all except the showcase studio that faces Michigan Avenue – from the ground floor to the 7th floor.  WGN has been on the ground floor of Tribune Tower since the station moved there in 1986 from the West Bradley Place studios it shared with WGN-TV since 1961.  VP/GM Tom Langmyer tells Feder, “Our new location in the building will include a fresher and brighter workspace (as the relocated offices, sales area, news department and studios will have windows as well) and the technical operation and new studios will be fully digital, replacing the current analog equipment, much of which has been in service since WGN moved to the Tower 25 years ago.”  Tribune Company plans to lease the current space to a new restaurant to be opened in 2013.  The showcase studio that faces Michigan Avenue will still be the place from which personalities such as AM drive host Jonathon Brandmeier broadcast their shows.

Talk Host Phil Valentine Premiers New Film Attacking Global Warming Theory.  Nashville-based nationally syndicated talk host Phil Valentine announces the premier of “An Inconsistent Truth” – the film he and Rocky Mountain Pictures produced to take on the theory of anthropogenic global warming.  The film will receive a special showing on January 26 at the Regal Hollywood 27 Theatres in Nashville and opens to the public on the following day.  Valentine stars in the film as he sets off in his bio-fueled car Bennie the BioBenz to discover why “a record number of Americans are now skeptical of man-made global warming.”  Valentine says that, while making the film, “What I found is the belief in anthropogenic global warming is wide but shallow.  People who believe in it have no idea why they do.  It’s just what they’ve been spoon‐fed.”  The documentary features noted scientists such as Dr. John Christy, a lead author of the 2001 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on global warming.  Valentine also talks with Dr. Roy Spencer, the lead scientist on NASA’s Aqua Satellite which measures surface temperatures around the globe.  Other scientists in the film include Dr. Fred Singer and Dr. Ken Green.  Valentine also explores the economic ramifications of cap‐and‐trade legislation with current and former policymakers including Speaker Newt Gingrich, Senator James Inhofe, Senator Jim DeMint and U.S. Rep. Greg Walden.  For information on the film or to speak with Phil Valentine, contact Brian Wilson at 615-312-3481.

Compass Media Networks’ “Free Beer & Hot Wings” Morning Show Adds Saturday Program.  The younger, male-demo-targeted “Free Beer & Hot Wings” AM drive show syndicated nationally by Compass Media Networks adds a Saturday morning program to the daily offering for affiliate stations.  The WGRD-FM, Grand Rapids-based program is co-hosted by Gregg Daniels and Chris Michaels along with cast members Eric Zane and producers Joe and Steve and airs on more than 35 affiliate stations across the country.  The program also announces it will be broadcasting live from the Super Bowl radio row in Indianapolis in February.

Florida Syndicated Talk Host Burnie Thompson Hosts “Freedom Rally.”  Florida talk show host Burnie Thompson – who is independently syndicated throughout the state on nine stations – is hosting a “Freedom Rally” in Jacksonville on January 19 he says “is intended to galvanize voters to participate in the upcoming January 31 state primary, and to focus on true limited government and the protection of civil liberties.”  Thompson’s event is co-sponsored by affiliates WBOB, Jacksonville and WYOO-FM, Panama City.  The rally is being held at the Omni Hotel in downtown Jacksonville and will feature country artist Todd Allen Herendeen, WYOO-FM morning host Darrel Day and Fox News Channel contributor Dan Arias.

Compass Media Marketing Announces New Rep Deal with Point-of-Purchase Radio.  The marketing firm newly founded by Compass Media Networks CEO Peter Kosann and managed by president of sales & marketing Paul Gregery lands a deal to exclusively rep POP Radio – a leading in-store audio platform.  Gregery says, “Tens of millions of Americans hear POP Radio’s advertisements every day and it is our mission to leverage the reach of POP Radio for the benefit of our sponsors.”  Compass says it commissioned Edison Research to calculate audience exposure.  “Through actual store visits and face-to-face interviews, Edison Research’s methodology has very accurately measured POP Radio’s listenership by including time spent shopping (a network radio TSL equivalent) and physically counting the shoppers present when the messages air.”  Peter Kosann states, “POP Radio has a huge audience, unique platform and strong brand with national advertisers.  We are appreciative and grateful that POP Radio has joined our growing company.”

Hutchinson Newsmaker Network Launches to Syndicate Weekly Program.  Founded by “Hutchinson Report Newsmaker Hour” host Earl Ofari Hutchinson to syndicate the weekly news program, the new network says it is the first “African-American, West Coast-operated national broadcast network.”  Hutchinson describes his weekly program as featuring “in-depth conversations with the nation’s top elected officials, political leaders and opinion makers in the White House, on Capitol Hill, as well as the nation’s leading political and social issue writers and commentators across the political spectrum. They fully air their views on controversial, topical, and crucial public policy issues, initiatives and legislation.”  The program is heard on affiliates across the country including: KTYM, Los Angeles; WWNL, Pittsburgh; KCNW, Kansas City; WVTJ, Pensacola; and KXKS, Albuquerque.

Southern California Talk Host Given Local Honor.  Captain Mike Whitehead, host of “The Boathouse Radio Show” on the CRN Digital Talk Radio Network, is honored by the Costa Mesa Daily Pilot by being included on its annual “103 Most Influential People of Newport Beach and Costa Mesa.”  Whitehead is a fixture in the community and a boating columnist for the Newport Beach Independent.  CRN Digital Talk CEO Mike Horn says, “Captain Mike has been a big part of Newport Beach and Costa Mesa for many years and we’re thrilled to see him receive this outstanding honor.”

GOP Primary Race, Iran’s Military Ambitions and U.S.-Taliban Talks Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/11).  The race to secure the GOP nomination for president, Iran’s military ambitions and nuclear weapons program and talk of discussions between the U.S. and the Taliban were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

| September 22, 2011

Tara Servatius and Dave Priest New Morning Duo at WRNN-AM/FM, Myrtle Beach.  The Myrtle Beach Sun News reports former WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte talk host Tara Servatius and radio pro Dave Priest replace Steve Porter as host of the station’s morning drive show.  NextMedia Radio market manager Barry Brown says in a release that the station is making changes to better serve the full-time residents of Myrtle Beach.  “WRNN is offering a fresh, new, unique voice to entertain and inform and a new conversation for Myrtle Beach from 6:00 to 10:00 weekday mornings.  WRNN extends a welcome to those who may not regularly listen with the addition of Tara Servatius.”  Porter, who would only say he wishes the station well and is moving on, invested in the station back in 1995 and has been involved in the programming since that time.

GHB Broadcasting’s Sports WIST, New Orleans Adds New Morning Host.  Former Times Picayune Saints beat writer Brian Allee Walsh hosts the morning drive show from 6:00 am to 8:00 am.  WIST general manager Dan Frazier says the show is followed by the Dan Patrick program with the rest of the day featuring local programs:  Larry Holder and New Orleans Hornets studio personality Gus Kattengell host the locally produced “Sports Hangover” show from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm followed by local host Eric Asher from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm and local legend Kaare Johnson from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  The station – the flagship for Tulane University athletics – features a rotating cast of local sports experts and personalities for its weeknight evening programming.

Current TV Names Jason Odell EVP, Technology.  The commentary and information-intensive cable channel announces it brings aboard Jason Odell to oversee IT, web engineering and broadcast engineering.  The company states that Odell “brings two decades of experience in media systems management and broadcast engineering on a number of platforms to Current as the network ramps up its TV and digital programming with a focus on news analysis and political commentary.  Most recently, he consulted for CNN, and helped the network introduce innovations such as augmented reality, and the use of immersive graphics driven by election data, for use in election coverage.”  Odell reports to Current president David Bohrman and says of his new position, “I’m very excited to be a part of Current.  This network has innovation in its DNA.  With the election fast approaching, we have our work cut out for us, but I am confident that with this team and with David Bohrman at the wheel we can get this thing up to ramming speed, and provide viewers with the truth, and a unique, much-needed perspective on politics.”

Genesis Communications Network Adds Two Shows to its Lineup.  GCN begins syndicating the “Common Sense Club” hosted by Scott Hennen airing daily from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET and the Mike Siegel show that airs daily from 11:00 pm to 1:00 am ET.  GCN says of Siegel, “He applies real world expertise delivering solutions to everyday problems.  Mike hails from Brooklyn, and is a communications consultant, a media giant, a big-mouth lawyer, a liberal-turned-conservative and an advocate of business.”  It notes that Hennen, “has been a guest host for Sean Hannity and Jason Lewis.  Named ‘The Rush Limbaugh of the Prairie’ by The Wall Street Journal, Scott has also authored a new book titled, Grassroots: A Common Sense Action Agenda for America about the game-changing force in American politics — the Tea Party movement.”

Media Matters Produces Weekly Show on Sirius XM.  The six-week, two-hour weekly program will air on Sirius XM’s Left channel live Saturdays from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon (with replays on Sunday) beginning September 24.  “Media Matters Radio” will be hosted by Media Matters EVP Ari Rabin-Hart and executive producer Bradley Herring.  The program promises to “systematically analyze a cross section of print, broadcast, cable, radio, and Internet media outlets for conservative misinformation and alert listeners to take action.”

GOP Candidates to Debate, Palestinian-U.N. Statehood Bid, Stock Market Activity and Obama Debt Reduction Plan Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/21).  The 2012 presidential GOP candidates and their debate scheduled for this evening, the Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations, Dow drops in trading and President Obama’s plan to reduce the nation’s debt were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research by TALKERS.

Bob & Tom Comedy Bus Tour Kicks Off.  The Premiere Networks syndicated Bob & Tom show kicked off the Bob & Tom Comedy All-Stars Bus Tour this week with an appearance at Cracker’s Comedy Club in Bob Kevoian’s and Tom Griswold’s home base market of Indianapolis.  The tour – now in its sixth year – features a rotating ensemble of comedians appearing on stages all across America.  This tour will hit cities including: South Bend, Indiana; Dubuque, Iowa; Colorado Springs; Salt Lake City; Boise; Richland, Washington; and more.  Pictured here are (from l-r):  Chick McGee, Dan Cummins, Kristi Lee, Bob Kevoian, Tom Griswold, April Macie, Donnie Baker and Shane Mauss.

Monday, August 29, 2011

| August 29, 2011

All-News and Talk Radio Stations Keep Public Informed During Hurricane Irene.  The hurricane/tropical storm that swept up the East Coast over the weekend pushed radio stations, especially news and talk radio stations, into their familiar and historical roles as providers of timely and emergency information as Irene bore down upon their markets.  While radio of all formats can deliver this kind of information, news and talk radio does so without breaking format – they just alter the type of news, information and talk they provide.  Their P1s expect to be kept informed during these times and the many news and talk stations up and down the East Coast did an exemplary job of being there for their listeners.  (There were simply too many examples of stations serving their listeners this weekend to name them all!)  According to TALKERS monitoring of radio during the Irene event, the approach to coverage went through three basic phases: First, tracking and speculating on the direction, timing and tips for preparing for the storm.  Second, being in the storm itself when the power goes out and all hell is breaking loose (a crucial phase for radio).  Third, the aftermath — the details and politics of recovery.  The past 10 months have provided ample opportunity for coverage of natural disasters with a higher-than-usual occurrence of these, from intense snowstorms to floods to tornadoes and recent earthquakes.  News and talk radio remains the best link to accurate and timely information when the power goes out.  The bigger questions now include: Should emergency preparedness and local, on-the-ground coverage become a more institutional component of the competitive terrestrial radio infrastructure?  Also, should talk radio of all genres focus primarily on super-serving its most loyal fans (who are still in the habit of using radio) or break out of that role and aggressively try to bring new listeners to the format (or in the case of those who have left, back to the format)?  (Photo courtesy of NOAA.)

WJOX-FM, Birmingham Sports Host Finebuam’s Suit Against Citadel Revealed.  Thanks to a judge for unsealing the suits filed by Paul Finebaum against Citadel’s WJOX-FM, Birmingham, we know more about the claims.  The Birmingham News reports Finebaum – who has a deal with Citadel to host a show on WJOX-FM that is regionally syndicated – accuses WJOX-FM of breach of contract when Citadel declared bankruptcy in December 2009.  Finebaum further alleges he was subsequently forced to agree to contract changes under duress that have caused him “great financial impact.”  Finebaum alleges WJOX-FM, GM Bill Thomas threatened to remove his show from its affiliates and Sirius XM if he didn’t agree to a reduction in revenue from the show.  Citadel says Finebaum was fully aware it filed for bankruptcy when he signed the contract addendum in January 2010.  The company also states any talk of removing the show from affiliates was due to poor financial performance that the company did not want to continue.  Finally, Citadel questions why Finebaum is filing the suits now since Citadel exited bankruptcy protection more than a year ago and calls the suits a “pretense by which Mr. Finebaum hopes to avoid fulfilling his obligations under the employment agreement.”  Finebaum is under contract to Citadel through January 2013.

Clear Channel Ousts Vassilaros from WPTI-FM, Greensboro; Simulcasts Raleigh AM Show.  WRDU-FM, Raleigh’s “Morning Rush” program hosted by KC O’Dea and Carmen Connors is now heard on the company’s WPTI-FM, Greensboro as well.  Morning drive host Dimitri Vassilaros – who left his newspaper and part time radio gigs in Pittsburgh in January to take the WPTI-FM job – is out.  Vassilaros hosted a weekend show at CBS Radio’s KDKA and wrote a column for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review prior to heading south.

Michael Harrison Writing a Book with Mike Kinosian about Talk Radio Set for Publication February 2012. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has announced he is writing a book about talk radio, in collaboration with TALKERS special features correspondent Mike Kinosian.  Talkers: The Irrepressible Voices of Radio will be published by Talkers Books and will be part history, part memoir and part commentary based upon radio pioneer Harrison’s 21 years as publisher of TALKERS, 45 years as a professional broadcaster, and his lifelong love affair with popular culture and media.  The primary focus will be Harrison’s observations of many leading figures of contemporary talk radio set against the backdrop of key events connected to the scene’s colorful history.  Material will be drawn from his professional and personal experiences with these extraordinary individuals and supplemented by the extensive database accumulated over the decades in the TALKERS archives.  He also delves back into his own roots as a kid listening to New York City Top 40 in the 1950s and 1960s to becoming an FM album rock groundbreaker on both coasts in the 1970s, an innovator in the trades and eventually one of the driving forces behind the modern talk radio era.  With more than a quarter century of insight and experience at Radio & Records, Inside Radio and now TALKERS — and as one of the radio trade publication world’s most prolific interviewers — collaborator Mike Kinosian brings his formidable radio background and writing skills to the project.  According to Harrison, “Between the two of us we know just about everyone who’s anyone in the talk business from a number of angles.  Mike Kinosian has personally interviewed and written biographical profiles of more than 100 spoken-word radio stars in his illustrious career as an industry chronicler.  His legendary “Mike Kinosian Interviews” remain the gold standard of radio trade journalism.  Having a professional of his stature supporting my efforts in this undertaking is nothing short of inspirational!”  Commenting on his joining forces with Harrison on this ambitious endeavor, Kinosian states, “It is a high honor and a rare privilege to serve as this book’s collaborator, not solely since the subject matter is so personally appealing, but also — and much more significantly — because it is with Michael Harrison.  No one else in the talk radio industry commands Michael’s immense level of respect and credibility.  His behind-the-scenes knowledge of the industry, credentials, accomplishments, detail to recount facts and especially his character are impeccable.”  Among those examined beneath their professional personas are Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern, Sean Hannity, Alan Colmes, Glenn Beck, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, G. Gordon Liddy, Michael Savage, Jerry Williams, Gene Burns and many more.  Harrison shares never-before-published stories about his personal conversations and dealings with Bill Clinton and George W. Bush regarding their relationships with the media.  He finally reveals the back story and truth about his controversial encounter with Al Franken during the future U.S. Senator’s Freedom of Speech Award acceptance at the New Media Seminar.  He talks about his longtime friendship with Alan Colmes, going back to the dreams they shared as part-time MOR jocks on a small Long Island AM daytimer 43 years ago.  He resurrects the colorful decade (1975-1985) he spent as one of the first FM “youth talkers” hosting a trailblazing talk show on L.A.’s legendary rocker, KMET.  Talkers: The Irrepressible Voices of Radio by Michael Harrison with Mike Kinosian promises to reveal a side of talk radio never before exposed to the public.  Summing it up, Kinosian states, “Unsurpassed quality is the dominant theme the two of us have stressed to each other in writing this book.  Based on the early drafts, we are well on our way to accomplishing that goal.”  The promotion of Talkers: The Irrepressible Voices of Radio will be supported with a national tour.

Scott Hennen Signs with Genesis Communications Network for National Distribution.  Talk radio pro Scott Hennen’s Fargo-based talk show, “Common Sense Club,” (heard in North Dakota on KNOX, Grand Forks from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm) will be distributed for national syndication via the Genesis Communications Network.  Hennen tells the Fargo Forum he expects to debut on about a dozen stations.

 

“The Talk” May Be Adding Two New Hosts for this Season.  The CBS daytime TV talk show “The Talk” lost hosts Leah Rimini and Holly Robinson Peete – their contracts were not renewed for the show’s second season.  The network is preparing to fill their slots alongside Sara Gilbert, Julie Chen and Sharon Osbourne with radio host and comedian Sheryl Underwood and Kardashian matriarch Kris Jenner.  Jenner is signed to fill in for Osbourne for the show’s first two weeks of the new season but may stay on as Osbourne’s regular fill in.  Underwood will also be part of the first two weeks but is expected to be a regular this season.

Recognition of a Job Well Done.  CBS Radio’s all-news KNX, Los Angeles was recently recognized by Los Angeles City councilman Dennis Zine for its coverage of Carmageddon – the July shutdown of the 405 Freeway in Los Angeles.  Pictured here from left to right are: traffic reporters Jeff Baugh, Tommy Jaxson and Meghan Reyes; Councilman Dennis Zine, news director Julie Chin, and director of programming Andy Ludlum.