Tag: "Sean Hannity"

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

| July 1, 2014

beckglennForbes Releases 2014 Celebrity 100 List; Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern Rank.  The highest ranking radio personality on this year’s Forbes 2014 Celebrity 100 list – based on fortune and fame – is Premiere Networks-syndicated star Ryan Seacrest (estimated incomehannitysean $65 million), who tied with Sean “Diddy” Combs at #31.  Premiere Networks host and TheBlaze founder Glenn Beck comes in close behind at #39 with an estimated income of $90 million.  Premiere Networks superstar Rush Limbaugh lands at #59 this year with estimated income of $66 million and SiriusXM icon Howard Stern follows at #62 with $95 million in estimated income.  Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity rounds out the radio people this year at #86 with $30 million in estimated income.

walkerchetClear Channel Ousts Chet Walker from WHAM, Rochester Morning Duties.  After a 35-year career with the station, morning drive co-host Chet Walker is gone from heritage news/talk WHAM, Rochester.  WHEC-TV, Rochester reports that station program director Aaron Trimmer confirmed Walker’s departure with the obligatory “We appreciate all of his contributions during his time with us and wish him well” statement and that the station will unveil its new morning show soon.  Clear Channel – as with most radio companies – does not comment on personnel matters, but some industry watchers believe the recent spate of dismissals from CC stations due not to job performance but is part of a long, slow parsing of the payroll.  This contrasts with previous companywide cuts that had happened en masse and brought about negative PR.  The company cut ties with Walker’s former co-host Beth Adams in 2011.  She joined crosstown public radio outlet WXXI as local host of the “Morning Edition” program in 2012.

ryanricoGreater Media Promotes Ryan and Rico to Daily Show at ‘Detroit Sports 105.1.’  Weekend sports talk personalities Ryan Ermanni (left) and Rico Beard (right) are moving from their weekend slot at Greater Media’s sports talker WMGC, Detroit “Detroit Sports 105.1” to the late-morning slot airing from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon beginning Monday, July 7.  Greater Media Detroit market manager Steve Chessare says, “Ryan and Rico have been with us since day one and have done a phenomenal job with our weekend coverage.  They have had a tremendous run so far and are extremely popular with our dedicated Motor City sports fans.”  The pair are replacing ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd.  Program director Jason Dixon adds, “We are fired up to give Detroit sports fans even more local sports content.  Adding Ryan and Rico to the 10:00 to 12:00 noon slot is the next step in the evolution of ‘Detroit Sports 105.1.’ With Mike and Mike, Ryan and Rico, Matt Dery, Drew Lane and Marc Fellhauer, along with the addition of Detroit Pistons Basketball, I could not be more excited about the future of the station.”

wgn logo newWGN, Chicago Announces Sales Department Changes.  As part of a number of sales department changes at Tribune’s WGN Radio, Steve Tarpley is promoted to national sales manager for all Tribune agency markets, excluding New York and Philadelphia, for news/talk WGN and sports talk WGWG-LP “The Game 87.7.”  Tarpley continues his role as local AE for WGN.  At the same time, sales manager Liz Cullen will take on more responsibilities with the WGN local staff, but continue her national work in New York and Philadelphia.  Sales director Jeff Hill comments, “In Steve’s four-and-a-half years at WGN Radio, he has done a tremendous job in building relationships with both his direct and agency clients.  I’m very confident that he will have the same success in the national arena.”

riveraedSBG Names Rivera-Searles SVP Digital Initiatives; Teases ‘Brand New Day for Radio.’  With the announcement that Edwin Rivera-Searles is named the company’s new SVP of digital initiatives, Sun Broadcast Group, Inc. also promises news later this summer that CEO Jason Bailey says is “the first stage in what will be a brand new day for radio.  It was crucial that we brought in the very best to help implement this amazing plan and Ed Rivera is exactly that.  He truly ‘gets it’.  You won’t find a more well-respected, passionate person in this business and I couldn’t be more excited to finally welcome him to our family!”  Rivera comes to SBG from his most recent post as SVP of ad sales for Westwood One.  Rivera comments, “Joining the executive team of Sun Broadcast Group is a tremendous opportunity and I’m thrilled to be part of this new phase of growth and development for the company.  I’m impressed by what Jason and his team have accomplished in their short history in the network radio space.  I look forward to introducing our customized digital solutions to our agency and client partners later this summer.”

hillaustinMore TALKERS Career Moves.  Talk radio personality Austin Hill joins the six-station Faith Radio network (owned by the University of Northwestern – St. Paul) as host of the “Austin Hill in the Mornings on Faith Radio” program effective July 7.  The program will air from 6:00 am to 8:00 am CT.  Hill is also the harrispaulcreator and host of “Austin Hill’s Big World of Small Business,” a syndicated talk show about entrepreneurship and small business ownership…..Programmer Tim Sebean exits SiriusXM Satellite Radio where he was most recently SVP of entertainment and comedy, working with the Opie & Anthony show and others.  He’d been with the company for nine years, starting in 2005 as SVP of the Howard Stern channels…..Talk radio pro Paul Harris leaves the Envision Networks-syndicated “America Weekend” program.  Harris was one of three anchors for the program.  Turi Ryder and Rob Carson remain with the show.  Harris also is fill-in personality at CH Holdings-owned KTRS, St. Louis.

kitchinkraigBruce DuMont Steps Aside; Kraig Kitchin Named Chairman of National Radio Hall of Fame.  Following through on plans he announced last fall to ease back from some of his responsibilities to the Museum of Broadcast Communications, 70-year-old Bruce DuMont announces he’s resigned from the chairman position of the National Radio Hall of Fame and named new board of directors member KraigRHoF logo Kitchin to the chairman position.  Kitchin, who served as president of Premiere Networks for years, operates his own consulting firm Sound Mind LLC.  In his letter to the NRHOF committee, DuMont writes: I appointed new MBC Board member Kraig T. Kitchin to replace me as Chairman — naming MBC Board members Dennis Green and Karole White as vice chairs of the committee.  As you know Kraig, Dennis and Karole have all been longtime members of the NRHOFSC.  This important move comes in the wake of our recent announcement concerning the November 9th NRHOF induction ceremony taking place in Los Angeles.  It underscores the truly national scope of the NRHOF and will extend our reputation more broadly and hopefully our base of support as well.”

nielsen logoNielsen ‘Audio Demand Landscape’ Study Puts Listeners into Six Categories.  The Audio Demand Landscape study was unveiled at Nielsen’s Consumer 360 Conference on June 24.  Nielsen concludes from the online survey of a panel of 4,950 Americans between the ages of 18-74 (conducted in English in March) during March 2014 about their audio listening attitudes, motivations, behaviors, habits and preferences, that there are basically six types of audio consumers.  (Note that in parentheses is what Nielsen deems each group to be as a percentage of the U.S. population.)  They are: “Music Loving Personalizers” (23%) who are passionate music listeners mainly seeking an emotional benefit by listening.  They prefer free services and often play music in the background; “Discriminating Audiophiles” (18%) are highly engaged consumers who listen to and prefer a wide variety of audio, and are willing to pay for specific content; “Convenience Seeking Traditionalists” (17%) prefer broadcast radio, listening to their favorite stations and hosts, and they routinely listen in the car; “Information Seeking Loyalists” (15%) are heavy broadcast listeners who usually listen to their favorite talk programs for news, education and to stay informed of current events; “Background Driving Defaulters” (14%) are less engaged and typically have the radio on in the car for background entertainment or occasionally news and information; and “Techie Audio Enthusiasts” (13%) are avid consumers of many types of audio.  These listeners are early adopters of new platforms to satisfy their audio needs.  Nielsen says that when considering these groups based on the percent of all audio hours of listening they represent, the “Information Seeking Loyalists” and the “Music Loving Personalizers” account for nearly half (47%) of all audio consumption.  See more here.

callahanthomSCBA’s Thom Callahan Addresses Digital ‘Fraud’ in Column.  The mandate from marketing departments and ad buyers that more and more money be spent on “digital” platforms is a serious problem for traditional media ad sellers.  Southern California Broadcasters Association president Thom Callahan addresses the issue in a blog post titled, “A Responsibility to the Truth.”  In the post, Callahan cites a report by web security firm Incapsula that states in its latest annual reports on web traffic that: 1) 61.5% of all web traffic is NON-HUMAN or Bot traffic as it’s called; 2) 38.5% of all web traffic is Human; and 3) 48.1% of all video ads are not heard or seen by humans.  Callahan goes on to say that the big problem is there is no transparency in digital advertising.  “The sheer size and scope of this fraudulent behavior is costing advertisers over $6 billion a year in wasted advertising to these non-human sites, according to the ad fraud detection firm, White Ops.”  Read more of Callahan’s blog post here.

beckapizzapilgerKOIL, Omaha Raises $80,000 for Tornado Disaster Relief.  In an effort to assist the residents of Pilger, Nebraska who were affected by the twin tornadoes that moved through the area several weeks ago, NRG-owned news/talk KOIL worked with area pizza restaurants who donated 100% of the proceeds from pizza sales on June 23 to the Salvation Army.  Pictured here is KOIL talk personality Tom Becka (center, holding mic) presenting the check to the Salvation Army.  On the day of the “Pizza for Pilger,” Becka interviewed Salvation Army officials, pizza purveyors and Pilger residents impacted by the tornadoes.

SCOTUS Hobby Lobby Case; SCOTUS Health Care Workers Union Case, Illegal Immigrants Influx, ISIS Violence in Iraq, Israel-Hamas Clash, Hillary Clinton Popularity Rating/2016 Presidential Possibilities, and World Cup Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/30).  Two of the Supreme Court’s decisions, including the Hobby Lobby case and the Illinois Health Care Workers Union case; the looming political battle over the recent influx of illegal minors flooding into the Southwest; ISIS declares Iraq and Syria Islamic states and President Obama sends more troops to Iraq; Israel’s threat of strikes against Hamas after the bodies of three kidnapped teenagers are found; Hillary Clinton’s sinking popularity ratings and speculation about the possible presidential candidates in 2016; and World Cup action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

National Journalism Center Plays a Supportive Role with Talk Radio and Media’s Youth

| June 17, 2014

By Jeff McKay
TALKERS
Special Features Correspondent

 

mckayjeffWilbur, Kirby 2014WASHINGTON, DC — In the era of industry-wide consolidation and moves to cut costs with syndication over local talk hosts, longtime radio and media veteran Kirby Wilbur could be the poster child for reinventing a career while helping others to start their own.  Washington, DC-born and Seattle-raised, Wilbur made a name for himself in the Pacific Northwest not from his job as a real estate appraiser, but as a frequent caller to talk shows, a non-paid “hobby” that ultimately led him to his own talk show on KVI in 1993.  For the next 16 years, he was a staple on Seattle airwaves, along with numerous appearances on TALKERS magazine’s “Heavy Hundred” list of the most important radio talk show hosts in America, and also as a fill-in host for the Sean Hannity Show, until he was cut loose from KVI in October, 2009.

Fortunately for Wilbur, his Republican ideology, political activism and ability to articulate points allowed him to move directly into politics, becoming the chairman of the Washington State Republican Party.  During his tenure, Republicans picked up majorities in the Washington State House and State Senate.  However, an offer came his way that has not only changed him, but is also developing a new generation of members of the media.

Read More

Monday, June 2, 2014

| June 2, 2014

hamburgjoanJoan Hamburg Show Cancelled at WOR, New York.  When Clear Channel shuffled the daily lineup at news/talk WOR, New York to make room for Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity the long-running Joan Hamburg show moved to the weekend.  Now, the company cancels the Saturday and Sunday version of the Joan Hamburg show.  Hamburg had been a fixture on WOR since she joined the station in 1979.

elswickdaveDave Elswick Lands at ’96.5 The Voice’ in Little Rock.  Today, longtime Little Rock talk radio personality and programmer Dave Elswick begins hosting the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm show atkhte logo Crain Media Group news/talk KHTE, England, Arkansas “96.5 The Voice.”  (England is about 20 miles southeast of Little Rock).  Elswick was most recently program director and afternoon drive host at Cumulus Media’s crosstown KARN-FM before exiting the station in early April.

beckglennGlenn Beck’s Lawyers Argue in Boston Libel Suit.  In his case against Premiere Networks syndicated talk show host Glenn Beck, Abdulrahman Alharbi claims that Beck’s insistence that Alharbi financed the bombing attacks at the Boston Marathon in 2013 during on-air discussion of the incident reaches the level of libel.  Alharbi claims that Beck’s continued assertion that he was part of the attacks after police questioned him and cleared him as a suspect caused him pain and suffering.  Beck’s lawyers are not arguing Alharbi was part of the plot but they say the threshold for libel is very high and Beck’s actions do not rise to that level.  The Boston Business Journal’s Eric Convey reports that Beck’s attorneys also argue that Beck’s speech is protected by the First Amendment.  In the initial court filing, Alharbi claimed he was the target of harassment via the internet after Beck accused him of being a “bad, bad” person who financed the attacks even after police cleared him.

abacastEntercom Names Abacast Digital Streaming Partner.  The result of this partnership between Entercom and Abacast is that beginning in August of this year, Entercom stations will move to Abacast’s Clarity digital audio streaming and monetization platform.  Entercom will use Clarity for ad insertion, campaign management and reporting, audience metrics, streaming, royalty reporting, and AbaPlay, The Everywhere Player.   Entercom VP digital strategy & enterprise platforms Timentercom Murphy comments, “With the ultimate goal of offering the best listener and advertiser experience, Abacast was the clear choice.  Abacast offers us the most innovative technology in the digital radio industry, and this partnership will allow us to continuously improve the end experience for listeners and advertisers as habits change and move toward mobile and targeted impressions.”  In a statement, the companies say that Abacast Clarity provides Entercom with a cloud-based digital audio monetization service, enabling revenue from in-stream audio ads, synchronized banners for call‐to‐action campaigns, pre-roll video ads, and third‐party ad sales integration.  Later this year, Entercom stations will be equipped with Abacast’s Skip Technology for Live Streams and MusicStart, offering features currently found only in playlist service to live radio streams.  Abacast CEO Rob Green says, “We built our platform with unique targeting and streaming features to serve enterprise customers like Entercom and look forward to a strong partnership.  With Entercom’s wide range of stations and reach combined with Abacast’s industry leading technology we look forward to serving Entercom and providing their entire listener base with a fantastic experience.”

espnupstateEntercom Adds to FM Signals to ‘ESPN Upstate’ in Greenville-Spartanburg.  Growing its “ESPN Upstate” sports talk brand, Entercom announces the addition of two FM signals to the multicast based at WORD-AM, Spartanburg and WYRD-AM, Greenville.  The two signals are translators W290WB, Greenville at 105.9 and W246BU at 97.1 Spartanburg.  The company says that “using optimized antennas and the most advanced broadcasting equipment available, ‘ESPN Upstate’ is now the most powerful and far-reaching sports station in the Greenville/Spartanburg market with two AM signals, 960 AM and 1330 AM; two FM signals, 97.1 FM and 105.9 FM; HD radio at WFBC-HD3; and 24/7 on-line streaming at www.espnupstate.com.”  Entercom’s vice president and market manager Steve Sinicropi comments, “In three short months, ‘ESPN Upstate’ has become the fastest-growing and most powerful sports station in The Upstate.  Adding the powerful ESPN brand to not only one, but two FM signals makes our already-powerful cluster of stations an even better advertiser choice to serve the important male audience.  With 24-hour sports on ESPN Upstate, Clemson Football play-by-play on ‘93.3 The Planet’ and Carolina Panthers play-by-play on ‘Classic Rock 101.1,’ we deliver to an enormous audience.”  In addition to ESPN programming, the stations air local sports talk shows “In the Huddle with Greg McKinney” and “Straight Up with Sturg.”

stephandougDoug Stephan and Dream Big America Celebrate One Year Programming Relationship.  Over the course of the past year, Doug Stephan and Dream Big America have featured more than 100 startups on Stephan’s nationally syndicated “Good Day” every Tuesday during a special segment where entrepreneurs compete to win.  Upon the recent partnership between Stephan’s Good Day and “My Cool Inventions,” the Dream Big America feature moves to Fridays from 9:00 am to 10:00 am ET joining Stephan and “My Cool Inventions” hosts Akos Jankura and John Cremeans.  On June 6, three competing finalists from Monday-Thursday pitch their startup or product live on air.  Listeners vote on their favorite, which is announced the following Friday.  At the end of each month, those Friday finalists compete for the monthly grand prize of $20,000 worth of support and resources.  Stephan says, “I’m very proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish this past year with Dream Big America.  Helping others has always been a priority of mine and this is an ideal way to do that.  These entrepreneurs have a voice on our show and a chance to achieve their dreams.”

conwaysimonOdds & Sods.  It’s Monday morning of no sleeping in for WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive talk personality Simon Conway who tells TALKERS he’s proving once again that “sleep is overrated” as he fills in on Clear Channel’s sister news/talk WFLF, Orlando “Newsradio 102.5 WFLA” on the morning show today (6/2)…..Compass Media Networks announces its 2014 college football play-by-play schedule.  The company notes it has a deal with Learfield Sports, which owns the local rights to more than 70 universities, and thus Compass can choose the games it wishes to make available.  Some of the games Compass is offering this season include: Florida at Alabama on 9/20; Ohio State at Penn State on 10/25; and the Big Ten Championship game on 12/6…..“The Tailgate Tour” commences a new relationship with Yahoo! Sports Radio, after concluding a 14-year association with Fox Sports Radio.  NFuse 360 Marketing managing partner Jay Freedman comments, “We are very excited to be working with Yahoo! Sports Radio.  Many radio stations on ‘game day Saturday’ try to own the position that they are the ‘go-to home’ for sports, and that they are there with the fans but they are not.  The Tailgate Tour will put Yahoo! Sports Radio into the heartbeat of the largest games in the country.”  Gow Broadcasting chief executive officer David Gow states, “This is a great step for us.  Jay and his team are the best in the field.  We are delighted to be onsite with them at some of the biggest games of the season.” Gow Broadcasting – in partnership with Yahoo! Sports – owns and operates Yahoo! Sports Radio. The Tailgate Tour will kick off at the start of college football season and be on the road for 14 straight weeks reaching a schedule and fans in the SEC, Big 10, ACC and Big 12. As The Tailgate Tour’s official radio network, Yahoo! Sports Radio will have complete access to tours assets, as well as a joint promotional platform and sales channel…..Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is signed up to once again make regular weekly appearances on CBS RADIO‘s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh “Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan” for the upcoming NFL season.  Roethlisberger’s show airs Tuesdays at 11:00 am during The Fan’s Cook & Poni Show beginning September 9.  Program director Ryan Maguire comments, “We’re thrilled that Ben has agreed to join us once again every week during the football season.  The Fan has become a destination station for Steeler fans during the week with insight on the team they can’t get anywhere else.”

conclaveTen Added to Conclave’s 2014 – 2015 Board of Directors.  Joining the board are Pittsburgh voiceover talent/producer Drake Donovan; Jacobs Media digital/social media strategist Lori Lewis; Lakeland Broadcasting president Steve Linder; Corus, Vancouver brand manager Ronnie Stanton; KEEZ, Mankato, Minnesota program director Brad Steele; sales broker Phil Strider; Nicolet Broadcasting Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin’s Roger Utnehmer; and RadioGeorge.com founder/CEO George Woods.  Veteran smooth jazz programmer Michael Fisher and WCWI-FM, Adams, Wisconsin operations manager Bob Goff rejoin the board. Conclave board chair/RCS sales manager Mark Bolke remarks, “This newly reformed board is a direct result of the industry outreach the Conclave began over the winter, soliciting the help of interested individuals in helping the organization rise to new challenges.  We are thrilled that so many extremely talented and respected individuals have chosen to come on board for the next year.  The new members, including professionals who are actively engaged in ownership, management, programming, sales, production, research, and new media, add a wealth of experience and perspective to the Conclave.”  Incumbent board members include Bolke; Jane Dyson; Vallie-Richards-Donovan consultant Harv Blain; Conclave executive director emeritus Tom Kay, and BMI vice president of industry relations Dan Spears.

marshallleslieLeslie Marshall Scores Role in Indie Sci-Fi Flick.  Talk media personality Leslie Marshall has a part in a new indie sci-fi film called The App.  The movie stars Sean Faris, Sarah Roemer, Frank Deal, James Saito and Marshall.  According to Variety, production starts today in New York City.  The story centers on “a brilliant mind’s descent into madness.”  Variety writes that “the story was inspired by the massive use of new technologies which intersect with psychopharmacology for therapeutic purposes.”

medvedYaleYalies Reunite in New Haven!  An unlikely gathering of public figures is seen here as Salem Radio Network talk host Michael Medved (center) was in New Haven, Connecticut on Friday, May 30 for his Yale University class reunion.  He was joined by several prominent fellow Yale alums including: longtime Connecticut Senator and 2000 Democratic V.P. nominee Joe Lieberman (second from left) and former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft (right).  All joined Medved on his nationally syndicated radio show.  Also pictured here are: Hadassah Lieberman (left), Dr. Diane Medved (third from left), and Janet Ashcroft (second from right).

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

| May 28, 2014

hannitybismarckSean Hannity Keynotes Petroleum Conference.  Nationally syndicated talk radio star Sean Hannity served as the keynote speaker at the 2014 Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in Bismarck, North Dakota last week.  Hannity addressed the attendees at the 22nd annual event, praising the oil boom in North Dakota and urging America to become energy independent.  The Premiere Networks personality said, “In spite of government, you have been able to show the entire country that there is an answer out there — the answer is oil, the answer is energy, it’s the lifeblood of our economy…You have shown the country the way, I just hope that America is wise and smart enough to follow North Dakota.”  Hannity has been vocal on his radio program about America’s need for energy independence.  Through his “Get America Back to Work” campaign, Hannity teams up with companies in oil-rich states to help promote and inform those in need of work of the openings available to them.  In the photo here, Hannity is seen on stage at the Bismarck Civic Center.

cosbyritaWABC, New York’s Rita Cosby to Meet with Pope.  TALKERS magazine sources report that television and radio journalist Rita Cosby – now co-host of “The Ride Home” on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WABC, New York – is being granted an audience with Pope Francis and will report back to the WABC listeners next week.  The talented journalist is getting a “once in a lifetime” chance for an audience and will be in Rome next week.  While the technical details are reportedly still being worked out, it’s possible Cosby will co-host the 5:00 pm ET show (alongside Pat Kiernan) from Rome.  Cosby’s visit comes as the popular and personable pontiff prepares to meet with sexual abuse victims next month.

zinnomarkCBS RADIO Brings Zinno to Atlanta’s ’92.9 The Game.’  Sports talk personality Mark Zinno is making the move from CBS RADIO’s WJZ-FM, Baltimore “105.7 The Fan” south to sister sports talk station WZGC, Atlanta “92.9 The Game.” Zinno – a former U.S. Special Forces service member who was deployed to Iraq in 2005-06 – hosts the evening show on WJZ and will handle the same daypart at WZGC.  He tells DCRTV’s Dave Hughes he’ll miss the Baltimore market but that “it’s the right move for me.”

patrickdanksevKSEV, Houston Owner Patrick Wins Primary Race for Texas Lieutenant Governor Seat.  Current Texas state senator Dan Patrick – who is also owner of Houston talk station KSEV – won the right to face Democrat Leticia Van de Putte in the general election in the fall after beating three-term Republican incumbent David Dewhurst in yesterday’s primary.  In Texas, the lieutenant governor is considered the second most powerful post as he or she controls the senate’s legislative schedule as well as the budget process by also serving as the leader of the legislative budget board.

Odds & Sods.  At CBS RADIO’s Atlanta cluster, Andy West is promoted from his creative services director role at sports talk WZGC “92.9 The Game” to imaging director for the entire cluster that includes news/talk WAOK and urban contemporary WVEE…..Townsquare Media’s oldies WJLT, Evansville, Indiana will flip to sports using ESPN programming, according to Tristatehomepage.com.  The date of the format flip has not been announced yet.

mcculloughveteranThanking a D-Day Survivor.  The veteran in the middle of this photo is 97-year-old General Jerome Richard, the oldest surviving member of the Veterans Corps of Artillery and a D-Day survivor.  Richard worked with Frank Capra to capture footage of the D-Day invasion for posterity.  He appeared at the “Stand With Israel” event hosted by Salem Communications news/talk station WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” and Christian talk WMCA, New York.  Pictured with Richard are Kevin McCullough, nationally syndicated host and afternoon personality on WMCA (left), and WIND, Chicago and WNYM personality Joe Walsh (right). Also in attendance at the event were Salem Radio Network personalities Michael Medved, Dennis Prager and Mike Gallagher.  WNYM morning host Joe Piscopo also took part in the program.

jtbrickwilliamsJT the Brick Emcees American Cancer Society Event.  That’s Fox Sports Radio Network personality JT the Brick (right) posing for a shot with University of North Carolina basketball head coach Roy Williams (left) at the recent 7th Annual American Cancer Society Coaches vs. Cancer Las Vegas Golf Classic festivities.  JT had the honor of emceeing the event and getting the chance to play golf at Shadow Creek and Southern Highlands in Las Vegas.  The multi-day event raised more than $500,000 for the American Cancer Society and drew coaches from around the nation, including event founder and University of Oklahoma head basketball coach Lon Kruger, Williams, University of Nebraska head basketball coach Tim Miles, Kansas State University Head basketball coach Bruce Weber and University of Nevada, Las Vegas head basketball coach Dave Rice.

farmjournalmediaCool Job Opportunity.  Farm Journal Media seeks a radio affiliate manager.  Farm Journal Media is the nation’s leading agricultural media company and in late 2012 added radio to its portfolio with the purchase of the AgriTalk radio network.  The primary role of the radio affiliate manager will be to develop new affiliates and provide support to existing affiliates for current and future Farm Journal radio shows syndicated nationally.  A secondary role will be to provide maintenance of existing television affiliate relations.  Candidate must be highly motivated, organized and have exceptional interpersonal skills in order to communicate effectively with affiliates.  Background and experience in radio affiliate relations is highly preferred.  All Farm Journal Media platforms will be at your disposal for promotional purposes.  Qualifications include, but are not limited to, the following: Bachelor’s degree in communications, marketing or other related field preferred; Also valuable, experience in media sales and/or sales management; excellent negotiation skills; flexibility to travel as necessary; position is based out of South Bend, Indiana; familiarity with agriculture and/or farm programming helpful, but not required; compensation (salary and bonus opportunities) commensurate with experience.  Please email a letter of introduction and resume to: Mark DePrez, VP/GM, Farm Journal Radio, mdeprez@farmjournal.com.  No phone calls please.

UCSB Deadly Shootings, VA Hospitals Scandal, 2016 Presidential Race/Mid-Term Primaries, White House Exposes CIA Agent, Climate Change Debate, and NBA/NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/27).  The aftermath of the deadly UCSB shootings and the renewed controversy over gun control legislation and mental health care; the continuing conversation about the VA hospital scandals and care for U.S. veterans; speculation over candidates for president in 2016 and the results of primary elections for this year’s mid-term races; the flap over the White House’s exposing a top CIA agent; the ongoing debate over human activities and their relationship to climate change; and NBA and NHL playoff action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

| May 8, 2014

hannityseanMovement Afoot to Curtail Media’s Free Speech?  In a story by Paul Bedard of the Washington Examiner, he writes that Federal Elections Commissioner Lee E. Goodman warns there is brewing sentiment within the FEC to support changing the exemption that the media enjoys regarding support of political candidates and/or issues.  Goodman tells the paper, “I think that there are impulses in the government every day to second guess and look into the editorial decisions of conservative publishers.”  The piece cites Premiere Networks talk star Sean Hannity and the movie division of Citizens United for effectively endorsing candidates.  As the story notes, all media currently enjoys the right to endorse candidates and promote them without being subject to limits or disclosure requirements.  It’s unlikely that such a move would pass legal muster but Goodman’s comments to the Examiner indicate frustration with conservative media on the part of liberal staffers at the FEC.

perryjenniferJennifer Perry Exits WYAY, Atlanta.  The former WGST, Atlanta afternoon news anchor had been the news director at Cumulus Media’s all-news WYAY “All News 106.7” since its inception as a news station 16 months ago, but now the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports Perry is leaving the station for a position outside the radio biz.  The move coincides with the station’s addition of another talk show that begins Monday, May 12 – this one featuring Michael Graham in the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot – to what had been a true all-news format.  There’s no indication the programming changes were part of Perry’s decision to exit.  Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson has been hosting a show from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm since last fall.  Ho also reports that he hears the station will change its handle from “All News 106.7” to “NewsRadio 106.7” in the near future.

iheartradio newCCM+E Teams with Grupo Radio Mexico for iHeartRadio Hispanic Network.  It was a natural progression given Clear Channel Media + Entertainment’s existing relationship with Grupo Radio Mexico syndicating “El Show Del Mandril” via Premiere Networks, but the additional ventures announced today (5/8) take the relationship much deeper.  The launch of the iHeartRadio Hispanic Network will mean listeners to the digital entertainment platformgruporadiomexico will be able to hear Grupo Radio Centro, Grupo Radio Mexico stations and “El Show Del Mandril.”   Grupo Radio Mexico owns and operates 51 radio stations across multiple formats in 13 Mexican markets — including the leading station cluster in Monterrey and Guadalajara.  As part of the deal, beginning later this year, iHeartRadio will become the exclusive digital ad sales provider for these market-leading Mexican stations.  In what CC is calling an industry first, it will replace all local Mexican station ads with consumer-targeted U.S. ads and that this also marks the first time iHeartRadio will provide U.S. listeners with radio broadcasts from leading stations throughout the Mexico Republic.  GRC chairman and CEO Francisco Aguirre says, “This is the second step in the groundbreaking partnership between our two companies.  Bob Pittman and I share a vision to expand both companies beyond their respective borders in a very fast paced and evolving digital landscape.  Our Mexico stations are market leaders across all demographics and we look forward to their natural expansion in the U.S. through the iHeartRadio Hispanic Network.”

lehmansteveBiz Biggies Rock On — The Colorful History and Present-Day Innovation of Industry Entrepreneur Steve Lehman.  Actually there are two stories here.  One is the colorful history about the birth and early days of Premiere Networks which was launched by noted industry entrepreneur Steve Lehman and his partners Tim Kelly, Louise Palanker, and Ed Mann in the mid-1980s and went on to become one of network radio’s greatest successes.  The second story is about the more recent launch of an extremely innovative multi-media, radio-based syndicated program called “Business Rockstars,” hosted by brilliant business expert and organizer of billionaires, Ken Rutkowski.  What is the connection between these two stories?  Steve Lehman.  In a fascinating two-part special feature written by TALKERS managing editor/west coast bureau chiefBusiness Rockstars Logo Mike Kinosian, we are taken on a radio journey that spans three decades from the early days of modern syndication and consolidation to today’s leading edge of multi-platform talk radio. “I saw the need for something that was not ‘old politics’ on talk radio,” declares Lehman, who was fascinated by an article that indicated there are 30 million “wantrepreneurs” in the United States. “I thought that is a great audience to try to educate and to entertain about something I am passionate about — entrepreneurship. ‘Business Rockstars’ is an entrepreneurial business platform that is driven by radio, television, and social media. Those are the springboards to the monetization model, which is live events, content and product sales, and membership.”   Part one begins today (5/8).  Read it by clicking here.

wheelchristianCRN Digital Talk Syndicates ‘Let’s Talk Tech.’  The weekly radio program “Let’s Talk Tech” with host Christian Wheel is now being syndicated nationally by CRN Digital Talk Radio.  The program airs live Saturdays 8:00 pm ET from home base KFWB, Los Angeles.  The show is described as covering everything from “smartphones to the internet, home theater to security, software to digital cameras.”  CRN CEO Michael Horn says, “Christian is fluent in things called ‘C/C++,’ ‘Visual Basic’ and ‘x86 assembly.’  But more important, he’s fluent in radio.  Christian explains tech-related topics so everyone can understand and enjoy them.”

ldrlogoHelp for the Industry from the Experts at LDR Interactive.  The company says that it is launching its #Engage Blog to offer “broadcast solutions to motivate, measure and monetize your audience.”  LDR Interactive says the #Engage Blog shares “perspectives from the leadership team behind the Listener Driven Radio phenomenon and the growing TopicPulse real-time social measurement platform.”   The LDR #Engage Blog will feature insights on motivating, measuring, and monetizing audience engagement by offering a behind-the-scenes look at some of the most successful implementations of real-time, social, local, mobile, and interactive programming across LDR’s partner stations.  LDR says it  will also share unique perspectives from its world-class team of software engineers, broadcast managers, sales managers, and programmers.  Blog posts have been published by CEO, Daniel Anstandig; director of sales, Tracy Gilliam; and TopicPulse support and client services manager, Dana Hall.

sullivanchuckSullivan Heads to Brew Town with Entercom.  From his most recent gig with Cumulus Media in Mobile, Chuck Sullivan heads north to the Dairy State to serve as VP/GM for Entercom’s Milwaukee cluster, taking over for Michael Keck who left for opportunities in the Twin Cities.  Sullivan will oversee CHR WXSS “103.7 Kiss FM,” hot AC WMYX “99.1 The Mix,” and sports talk WSSP “Sports Radio 1250.”  He says, “I couldn’t be more excited about this tremendous opportunity.  Entercom Milwaukee has some of the most powerful and iconic brands, from ‘Kiss FM,’ the most-listened-to station in Wisconsin, to ‘99.1 the Mix’ and ‘SportsRadio 1250.’”

mariottijayOdds & Sods.  The Ayn Rand Institute announces it will begin producing a weekly, two-hour talk radio program hosted by executive director Yaron Brook.  In addition to seeking AM/FM affiliates, the program will air on the digital Liberty Express Network and the Ayn Rand Institute’s own site, aynrand.org.   The show debuts June 9…..Sports talk personality Jay Mariotti expands his digital reach by joining with PodcastOne for distribution of his daily show.  Mariotti’s program is heard via Genesis Communications Network and on his own Mariottishow.com platform…..Lisa Namerow, former SVP of strategic partnerships and audio monetization at Slacker Radio is joining XAPPmedia as senior vice president of business development and publisher relations for the company that provides an interactive audio advertising service.

nielsen logoNielsen to Make Cuts at Three Call Center Locations.  The Baltimore Sun reports that Nielsen will make cuts to its call-out workforce at locations in Sarasota, Florida; Radcliffe, Kentucky and Columbia, Maryland.  The paper reports the call center cuts are part of the company’s efforts to consolidate operations since the acquisition of Arbitron by Nielsen last year.  Though no filing with the Maryland State Department of Labor has been reported, filings have been made in Florida and Kentucky with cuts of 220 and 237 workers being made respectively.

radioonelogoNet Revenue Up 12.1% at Radio One; Liggins Cautious.  The financials from Radio One, Inc. for the first quarter of 2014 are in and the company reports net revenue was approximately $111.1 million, an increase of 12.1% from the same period in 2013.  It reported a net loss of approximately $25.2 million or $0.53 per share compared to $18.1 million or $0.36 per share theligginsalfred same period a year ago.  Radio One president and CEO Alfred Liggins III says, “Reflective of the broader economy, we experienced a slowdown in revenue growth in Q1.  Adjusting for timing differences on major events, consolidated revenue was up by 5.4% compared to Q1 2013.  Looking across the segments, TV One achieved its highest-ever show ratings, with the “NAACP Image Awards Show.”  However, the benefits of the NAACP partnership will be felt over the longer term as during the first quarter, TV One had higher programming amortization associated with the initial telecast of the Image Awards.  Our internet business continued its profitable trajectory and had robust 27.6% revenue growth year-over-year.  Looking ahead, core radio revenue is currently pacing down mid-single digits for the second quarter, but we anticipate markets picking up momentum in the second half of the year as political spending ramps up.”

harrisondickeyCMW14Lew Dickey Is “Bullish on the Stick” – Shares Insights into the Big Picture of Cumulus Media’s Corporate Strategy at Canadian Music Week.  In a “Fireside Chat” between Cumulus Media president/CEO Lew Dickey and Talkers/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison held during the opening sessions of an international radio summit in Toronto, the head of the America radio industry’s second largest group said that he is “bullish” on radio when asked where the stick stands within his company’s long-term strategy.  The 40 minute-conversation took place at 9:30 am Wednesday (5/7) at “Radio Interactive: International Radio Summit” held as part of this week’s ongoing multi-media festival, “Canadian Music Week.”  Dickey made the comment when asked by Harrison how Cumulus plans to balance its attention between the traditional AM/FM federally licensed platform (the “stick”) and all of its many digital age assets. Harrison asked, “Considering the massive amount of capital you have invested in traditional radio, is there the danger of a conflict between the stick and your other media?  More importantly, how do you feel about the future of the traditional radio station in general in this rapidly changing environment?”  Dickey responded that – yes, “times have changed in the past five years alone faster than ever and will probably change even faster in the coming five years” but he is nonetheless “bullish on the stick” and that all of Cumulus Media’s projects and multi-media endeavors are based upon the foundation and strength of traditional radio.  He said, “What we are doing is building upon our radio assets as the foundation of our larger media reach, always keeping in mind the importance of radio as the base of this larger system.”  Dickey went on to say that he personally believes in the uniqueness, importance and future of radio as a vital audio medium and has great respect for the basics that drive its success – music, entertainment, information and especially talent.  He summed it up stating, “In today’s media marketplace, the size of your reach counts.  You can’t effectively compete with emerging and already-existing giants such as Google with limited audience reach – that’s why you have to be able to provide advertisers with a large, multi-media package for maximum exposure which even includes magazines that we have among our assets.  That does not mean we do not value the tremendous importance of radio or the radio station in particular.  It is just that the ability of each station to compete effectively is enhanced when it is connected to a larger set of platforms increasing the reach we can provide to advertisers.”  Acknowledging Harrison as one of the industry’s leading experts on talk radio, he praised the importance of the format “in its broader definition” – even as it applies to music radio — stating, “Talk radio is more than just the political talk that many tend to narrow it down to when referring to the format.  Talk radio is all over the radio in many different forms…it appears on rock and pop music radio as morning shows, it’s in the all-news broadcasts…it is certainly in sports talk and it is our very act of talking that makes radio programming of all formats really work.”  When Harrison complained that there doesn’t seem to be the same level of format innovation today as there was in the past – and that he can’t see how radio can survive if its owners and managers think today’s formats can exist in a ‘snapshot’ and not be replaced by new ones, especially when these rapidly changing times demand it, Dickey smiled and said, “You must have been a fly on the wall at one of our recent corporate meetings!  I specifically asked the question, ‘When was the last time we’ve seen a significantly new format emerge in radio?’  There is no doubt this is a concern that we care about greatly.  However, I want to point out that we have good programming people on our team and we encourage them to be creative in this regard.”  Dickey added, “However, keep in mind, formats DO evolve as the times demand… it is just not always as noticeable as the debut of brand new formats that mark a departure from those that came before them.”  Harrison asked Dickey about audience measurement stats and his view of the PPM in particular to which he responded that “PPM would be far more accurate if we had a larger sample and until that day we have to deal with the potential of large fluctuations that can cause problems especially when dealing with tight margins within the rankings of stations.”  When asked if he counters that with some emphasis on qualitative selling in addition to the quantitative approach – especially on the local level, Dickey responded, “Even on the local level advertisers want data – we are living in an age in which data and measurement play a critical role in just about everything.  So even in situations in which there are no ‘ratings’ per se, it is incumbent upon the sales force to come up with information that conveys something measurable.”  Immediately following the conversation with Dickey, Michael Harrison was asked how he felt it went to which he responded, “That guy is one smart dude!”  Prior to facilitating the chat with the Cumulus head, Harrison delivered the conference’s keynote address titled, “Staying Iconic in the New Pop Culture,” in which he reiterated his basic principles that for music radio to maintain its standing in society it must reclaim ownership of the music culture and not stray from the basic tenets of entertainment, magic, humanity and caring – trusting its future as much on instinct and courage as on research and fear.

Global Warming/Clean Air Act, Boko Haram Kidnappings, Monica Lewinsky Vanity Fair Piece, 2016 Presidential Race/Mid-Term Elections, House Holds Lois Lerner in Contempt, and Russian Aggression in Ukraine Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/7).  The Obama Administration’s push for tougher regulations on power plant emissions and the debate over global warming; the global community’s response to the capture of Nigerian school girls by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram; Monica Lewinsky breaks her silence about affair with President Bill Clinton; the potential candidates for president in 2016 and this fall’s mid-term elections; former IRS official Lois Lerner found in contempt by House; and continued concerns about Russian aggression in Ukraine were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

| April 16, 2014

2014 NYC logo 150By Popular Demand, “Talkers New York 2014” is Bringing Back the Talk Rumble!  After several years on hiatus, the legendary (and original) “Talk Rumble” will return to the annual TALKERS conference at Talkers New York 2014.  The session features a large group of local and national talk show hosts – representing a variety of ideologies, genders and ethnicities — in a fast-paced, smokin’ debate of the hottest issues of the day.  It is moderated by an individual sworn to uphold the principles of political non-partisanship and philosophical even-handedness.  This year’s choice to serve in that capacity is WPIX-TV Channel 11, New York commentator (and TalkersRadio host) Lionel.  Rumblers include (in alphabetical order):  Alan Colmes of Fox News Radio, Mike Gallagher of Salem Radio Network, Thom Hartmann of WYD Media, Joyce Kaufman of WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale/Miami, Kevin McCullough of XtreMEDIA, Lincoln Ware of WDBZ, Cincinnati, and David Webb of Sirius/XM Satellite Radio.    Talkers New York 2014 will take place on Friday, June 20 at the India House Club located at One Hanover Square in the heart of New York City’s financial district.  More than 60 speakers will be participating in this year’s 17th annual installment of the talk radio industry’s longest-running and most important convention.  The event is always an early sellout and only open to communications industry professionals working in or closely associated with talk media.  Registrations ($249 per person) are only taken with credit card by phone.  Call 413-565-5413.

justicejonJournal’s KQTH, Tucson Re-Brands; Shifts Jon Justice to Late Mornings.  Leaving the station brand “The Truth” behind, Journal Broadcast Group news/talk KQTH, Tucson is making a few adjustments to its air schedule as well.  As per John Schuster’s piece in Tucson Weekly, the station is taking the slogan “104.1 KQTH, Tucson’s News and Talk.”  Jon Justice, who’s been heard in morning drive since the station debuted on the FM dial seven years ago, is moving to the 8:30 am to 12:00 noon slot where he’ll compete with Rush Limbaugh, heard on Clear Channel’s KNST from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon.  Taking over the morning show on KQTH is program director Bill White, who will host a news wheel show.

ramseyRaleighDave Ramsey Presents Live in Raleigh.  Nationally syndicated talk superstar Dave Ramsey was in Raleigh on tax day presenting his “Legacy Journey LIVE!” event to a sold-out crowd at the Durham Performing Arts Center.  Ramsey’s presentation focuses on how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence.  His daughter, Rachel Cruze, joined him on stage.  Ramsey worked with Clear Channel affiliate WTKK “106.1 FM” to promote his appearance.  WTKK program director Brian Taylor comments, “When Dave comes to town it’s a reminder that our format is not inherently niche.  Build it and they will come.  Listeners turn out for Dave.  Identifying issues and concerns is one thing — it’s quite another to offer practical and actionable solutions we can all accomplish.  At WTKK Raleigh, all three numbers are solid: Ratings, revenue and attendance.”  Pictured here are (from left to right): Cruze, Clear Channel Raleigh market manager George Allen, Ramsey, program director Brian Taylor and general sales manager Dave Beecher.

krxa logoKRXA, Carmel Valley Signs Consent Decree in Sponsor ID and Indecency Case; to Pay $15,000.  Progressive talk radio outlet KRXA, Carmel Valley, California is owned by Harold S. Ginsberg and is currently in negotiations to be sold to El Sembrador Ministries (which has filed a contingent application to convert it to a non-commercial station).  The Consent Decree which will have Ginsberg pay $15,000 revolves around a brokered show that aired in 2009 that the FCC ruled was not properly identified as a sponsored program.  Also, the Commission ruled that the same program violated indecency regulations.  Though Ginsberg initially argued against both allegations, he reversed course and, due to financial hardship, is paying the fine and exiting the broadcasting business.

millerhannityWelcoming Sean to Boise.  KIDO, Boise morning drive personality Kevin Miller (right) poses for a photo with Premiere Networks talk star Sean Hannity (left) at the recent 2014 Media Solutions Conference in Philadelphia.  Both Miller and Hannity worked at WVNN, Huntsville early in their careers and now are both part of the lineup at Townsquare Media’s KIDO, Boise as Sean Hannity’s program is heard there in afternoon drive.  Miller tells TALKERS, “Sean has always been great to me since our days at WVNN.  It was a pleasure to welcome him to KIDO.”

mccollummaryMcCollum Promoted at Idaho Media Group.  Local sales manager Mary McCollum is promoted to director of regional and national sales at IdaVend Broadcasting, Inland Northwest Broadcasting and KRPL Inc.  McCollum began her career in media as a marketing manager for Ubiquitel (Sprint Wireless), in 2000.   She moved to neighboring Clarkston, Washington in 2009, taking a position in Lewiston as sales manager at Pacific Empire Radio Corporation.  In 2011, McCollum moved to nationally recognized IdaVend Broadcasting as the sales manager for Inland Northwest Broadcasting and KRPL, Inc. in Moscow.  In addition to national and regional sales, McCollum also specializes in political advertising and sponsorship promotions.

Tax Day, ObamaCare Criticism, Boston Marathon Bombing Anniversary, Russian Ukraine Aggression/Obama-Putin Talks, and Harry Reid and Nevada ‘Cattle Battle’ Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/15).  The deadline for filing federal and state tax returns and the increased tax rates many Americans are facing; the anniversary of the deadly bombings at the Boston Marathon; the ongoing tensions in Ukraine as pro-Russian factions press for return to Russian rule and President Obama’s talks with Vladimir Putin; Harry Reid’s involvement in the controversy between a Nevada rancher and the Bureau of Land Management were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, April 14, 2014

| April 14, 2014

weismanstevenRadio and KC Shootings Suspect’s Political ‘Campaign.’  The tragic triple slaying in Kansas City over the weekend in which three people lost their lives at the hands of alleged killer Frazier Glenn Cross sparked memories of his write-in political effort almost four years ago that caused grief for numerous Missouri radio stations.  In a piece published today (4/14), TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes about the radio advertising case that was spurred by Cross’ “campaign.”  Read his piece here.

kiernanedVeteran Baltimore GM Ed Kiernan to Retire.  News/talk WBAL and rock WIYY “98 Rock” vice president/general manager Ed Kiernan informed his staff this past Friday (4/11) that he will be retiring from the Hearst Television Baltimore stations sometime this summer.  Hearst Television president Jordan Wertlieb comments, “Having worked closely with Ed for all these years, I know firsthand how he has enhanced all aspects of the radio business he has managed with his enthusiasm, good humor and leadership.  With Ed at the helm, WBAL has been among the nation’s most honored radio stations and a major community force through the WBAL Radio Kids Campaign.  Throughout his tenure, Ed has built upon 98 Rock’s storied 37-year history, including expanding the station’s presence on the web and in mobile applications.” Hearst director David Barrett comments, “We are so proud of Ed’s stewardship of WBAL and ’98 Rock.’ His commitment and passion for our stations, his team, and the Baltimore community are the hallmark of a truly remarkable career.  We have been blessed by his steady leadership and warm friendship, which indelibly mark his years with Hearst.”  Before joining WBAL and “98 Rock” in 1991, Kiernan spent 17 years at CBS RADIO.  Among the positions he held with that company were vice president/general manager of all-news WCBS-AM, New York and vice president/general manager of CBS Radio Reps.  Upon leaving the Baltimore stations, Kiernan will reportedly relocate to New York state where he and his wife own a home.

gamblingjohnrJohn Gambling Returns to NYC Radio Today.  Just a few months after retiring from his morning show gig at Clear Channel’s WOR, New York, John R. Gambling returns to the air in the Big Apple on Salem Communications’ WNYM “AM 970 The Answer.”  Gambling is hosting the two-hour 11:00 am to 1:00 pm show starting today (4/14).  When Gambling’s exit from retirement was announced last month, Salem VP director of spoken word format and VP for the New York marketwnymlogo Phil Boyce said, “When John Gambling left New York radio last December there was a void created for quality morning radio in this market, and we decided to fill it.  John had worked for me for nine years at WABC.  Before and after that he worked for [WNYM GM] Jerry Crowley at WOR.  Jerry and I looked at each other and thought this was something we could not pass up.”

cclogoClear Channel Study Reinforces Power of Personality Endorsements.  The study was the result of collaboration between Clear Channel Media + Entertainment and the University of Southern California surveying 2,700 respondents.  It was designed to look into the connection between consumers and radio personalities and gauge the effectiveness of the latter’s influence in directing consumer behavior.  In press release from Clear Channel detailing some of the findings, the company concludes that “radio is a far more powerful social force than ever before, particularly because of thehannitysean conversations fueled by on-air personalities and the connection listeners feel to on-air local and national talent like Ryan Seacrest, Sean Hannity, Delilah and Bobby Bones.  CC reports some of the key findings were: 1) When comparing radio personalities to other media personalities, 6 out of 10 listeners said that radio hosts are “like a friend,” whose opinions they trust; 2) With even more ways for consumers and on-air personalities to interact, 4 out of 10 listeners feel personalities make more of an effort to foster a personal connection, making the radio experience inherently more social, particularly when compared to TV or streaming playlist services; 3) Listeners equate an on-air personality endorsement to a friend’s recommendation, more so than they do sponsored Facebook posts, sponsored tweets or television commercials; and 4) More than half of the study participants agreed that they trust brands, products and services their favorite on air personality recommend, a finding that is encouraging smart marketers to undertake unique radio-based campaigns.  The press release did not mention breakdowns of results for various demographics.

wilc logoWallis Re-Brands WILC, Washington.  The Laurel, Maryland-licensed station is being operated by Wallis Communications under an LMA.  Management says that after dropping Spanish AC and flipping to talk earlier this year, the station is now using the slogan, “Where Liberty Has a Voice.”  Saying the station is “home to a new libertarian and personality-driven radio format, combining brokered and syndicated shows,” Wallis is airing shows by Dr. Kevin Wallis, Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck, WestwoodOne’s Dennis Miller and John Fredericks.  Station general manager Lisa Miller says, “The goal is to bring a fresh and unique perspective to new listeners by delivering extraordinary content and viewpoints on important topics like politics, world affairs and much more.  We expect that the station will also move into new US markets later this year.”

tradupkinnearSalem Radio News Examines Religious-Themed Movies.  The Salem Communications-owned news division is presenting a special week-long series focusing on the SONY Pictures film version of the New York Times #1 bestseller Heaven Is For Real.  The film is based upon Nebraska pastor Todd Burpo’s account of his son Colton’s near-death experience and the visions of heaven he says happened while doctors were operating on him for a ruptured appendix.  SRN News vice president/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (pictured here at left with actor Greg Kinnear) tells TALKERS that although millions of readers made Heaven Is For Real a bestseller, some theologians have raised concerns about the concept of “heavenly travel” and have condemned both the book and the film version that opens nationwide this Wednesday.  Kinnear stars in the film.  He, along with director Randall Wallace (Oscar-nominated writer of “Braveheart”) and the film’s producer Joe Roth, were interviewed by Tradup for the series.  Also part of SRN’s program will be theology bloggers Tom McMann and Michael Patton who have written about the controversy created by Burpo’s book and the film.  Tradup adds, “There have been a number of Christian-themed box office hits so far in 2014 including “Son of God,” “NOAH,” and “God’s Not Dead.”  I believe – in terms of production values, scope, and the quality of the cast and writing – “Heaven Is For Real” has the potential to eclipse all of them.  Regardless of where theatregoers are in their walk of faith, it is quite simply a powerfully emotional film and, as we will present to listeners, the voices for and against it are part of a healthy debate that should serve the church in America well.”

deptrojohnOdds & Sods.  WPRO-AM, Providence talk show host John DePetro is named winner of the AP “Best Talk Show” award for Rhode Island.  DePetro also had the privilege of sitting in for WestwoodOne nationally syndicated personality Michael Savage for two shows last week.  DePetro comments, “It is great to win best talk show, because it is so competitive.  I work really hard on my show, and it is rewarding to be recognized for it.”…..On Tuesday, April 15, a memorial service will be held in Boston for the victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.  Fox News Radio is offering live, anchored coverage of the memorial service.  Hosted by FNR’s Jeff Monosso, the broadcast will be available on Fox News Radio affiliated stations across the country as well as on the Fox News Radio mobile app, and on the web at www.radio.FoxNews.com…..Matt Perrault exits Absolute Broadcasting-owned sports talk duo WGAM, Manchester and WGHM, Nashua, New Hampshire where he had served as general manager and afternoon personality for the past three years.

scba logoSouthern California Broadcasters Association Launches College Outreach Program.  In an effort to connect with college students and “engage students on the value of radio and its many digital platforms,” Southern California Broadcasters Association president Thom Callahan is embarking on a series of speaking engagements to take place at broadcast and communications classes at colleges and universities in Southern California and in London, England.  The SCBA states that what began as a radio career night at a UCLA radio broadcast class in Los Angeles in March has now expanded to four more speaking engagements over the next 30 days.  Callahan will speak with students “about the entire media landscape using research trends, comparative analysis, and a rich narrative of callahanthomradio’s growth and future in today’s rapidly changing media environment.”  Callahan states, “We are honored to have an honest dialog with what will be the next generation of broadcasters, producers, talent, sales executives, and future management.  Our goal is to open both minds and hearts to the tremendous future of radio and its many audio and digital platforms.”  The SCBA series will be held in April at California State University at both its Los Angeles and Fullerton campuses as well as at Pasadena Community College in Pasadena.  The fourth lecture will be broadcast via Skype to the David Puttnam Media Centre at the University of Sunderland in London, England on May 13.

hahnceleJournalist, State Pol, and Former Station Owner Cele Hahn Dies at 72.  For 20 years, Cele Hahn and husband Curt Hahn owned WNNZ, Springfield, Massachusetts – originally an oldies outlet as WLDM before flipping to news/talk.  The Hahn’s sold WNNZ to Clear Channel in 1998.  In addition to her work as a broadcaster – she was a radio personality on WNNZ along with her ownership role – Cele Hahn was a lifelong journalist, serving with papers including: the Miami Herald, the Huntington (WV) Advertiser, the Sioux City Journal and the Albany Times Knickerbocker News in New York.  She ran for state representative as a Republican in Massachusetts and served four terms before retiring in 2002.  She is survived by her husband Curt, her children and grandchildren.

emorycaptainherbCox Media Group Mourns Death of “Captain” Herb Emory.  Atlanta market traffic reporting legend “Captain” Herb Emory died on Saturday from what appears to have been a heart attack.  Emory reported traffic for CMG’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM and WSB-TV.  WBS reports that according to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Emory stopped to help at a car accident when he suddenly fell ill.  He was transported to WellStar Douglas Hospital where he later died.  Emory’s funeral will be private, but there will be a Celebration of Life and Memorial Service for Captain Herb which will be open to all the public.  Details on that event are forthcoming.  Emory had been with WSB Radio and “Channel 2 Action News” since 1991and served as an Alanta traffic reporter since 1971.  Emory watched over the interstates during the week and hosted special traffic and NASCAR broadcast programs with his wife, Karen Emory.  Captain Herb hosted and produced the “WSB Speed Shop” auto racing from 1993 until 2011.  Emory previously was a news/traffic reporter from 1978 through 1991 with WQXI-AM, WSTR-FM and the Georgia Network News.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

| March 27, 2014

hannityseanUnusual ‘Ratings Battle’ Between Savage and Hannity Heats Up.  Prior to the rollout of his WestwoodOne-syndicated talk show on Cumulus-owned news/talk stations – many of which had previously carried Premiere NetworksSean Hannity show – Michael Savage took an aggressive stance in both industry and consumer presssavagemichael proclaiming he would beat Hannity in the ratings.  Now, two Nielsen Audio PPM rating periods later, WestwoodOne is waging a PR offensive that many industry watchers note is rarely seen in the syndication business, going so far as to use words like “trounced” and “demolished” with respect to Savage’s ratings versus Hannity’s.  Reporting Nielsen Audio PPM data in the Persons 25-54 demo for major markets New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Dallas, WestwoodOne shows Savage more than doubling Hannity’s AQH share there (NYC 1.1 vs .5, Chicago 1.2 vs .2, San Francisco 1.5 vs .5, and Dallas-Ft. Worth 1.3 vs .5).  Hannity’s camp responds with a memo from premierenetworks newPremiere Networks VP/operations and affiliate marketing for the Sean Hannity show Eric Stanger, who writes, “It’s puzzling that Michael Savage would want to brag about his listening audience.  Despite his claims, the numbers show that Savage is losing thewestwoodone logo audience that he inherited from Sean Hannity in droves, on the radio stations that Sean spent 17 years building.  In New York on WABC as well as on Dallas on WBAP, in the key demo of A25-54, Savage has lost a whopping 49% of the audience that he inherited from Sean Hannity.  Other key markets tell a similar story as you can see below.  All in all, Savage has bled away almost half of the audience on the key stations that were given to him in 2014 (In Los Angeles, where Cumulus has decided not to air the ‘Savage Nation,’ KABC-AM has dropped 27% without Hannity).  Meanwhile, Sean Hannity has more than doubled the total audiences where he has started on new stations after leaving Cumulus in New York, Los Angeles, and Dallas (AQH percentage change December ’13 to February ’14 Persons 12+:  WOR, New York, +108%; KEIB, Los Angeles +172%; and KSKY, Dallas +128%).”  EDITOR’S NOTE:  TALKERS magazine maintains a general policy of not publishing ratings results of contests between individual hosts because there are so many potential situations taking place in the industry it would become editorially unwieldy and impossible to manage accurately and fairly.  This is especially true in regards to reporting on battles between syndicated hosts in which there is often inconsistency from market to market in terms of actual times and number of hours broadcast.  Plus, this publication avoids getting involved in situations hinting of personal vendettas and vitriol between personalities and even competing companies.  In the words of publisher Michael Harrison, “This industry faces enough competitive challenges these days from external sources for us to turn our guns on each other in anything more intense than healthy, sportsmanlike competition.”

eskinspikeCBS RADIO Ups Spike Eskin to PD of WIP-FM and WIP-AM.  Interim program director Spike Eskin is officially the PD at CBS RADIO’s “SportsRadio 94 WIP” and “CBS Sportsradio 610,” the company announces.  Eskin has been filling the role on an interim basis since Jeff Sottolano was named director of programming for CBS RADIO earlier this year.  Previously, Eskin served as sports editor for CBSPhilly.com and did part-time air shifts on WIP-FM, all-news KYW and CBS 3 TV.  Senior vice president and market manager Marc Rayfield says, “Spike is his own person.  He is tenacious, strategic and a proven winner.  We interviewed an extremely talented pool of national and local candidates.  Spike was clearly our best choice.”  Eskin comments, “My career in radio has taken me in many different directions, and has ultimately led me to a job that I feel like I was born to do and I am honored and humbled to have. I’m excited to work with the best air talent in sports radio, and our incredible staff to continue building the legend that is WIP.”

schembrijoeSchembri Upped to VP of Corporate Business Development, Sports Sales and Sponsorships.  This new corporate position lifts Joe Schembri from his VP of business development post.  Now, he’ll be working directly with clients to “create local, regional, and national campaigns that reach and engage consumers by utilizing multiple platforms to drive incremental revenue that include radio, sports play-by-play, event sponsorships, digital, database, mobile and social.”  Entercom station group president Weezie Kramer states, “For years, Joe has been a leader in our company and throughout radio, and I am proud to elevate him to this new position.  Sports has always been a strength of entercomEntercom and, under Joe’s leadership, we will bring a greater platform of products and greater results to our clients.”  Entercom serves as the radio broadcast partner for the Boston Red Sox, Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres, Kansas City Royals, Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Saints, New Orleans Pelicans, Oakland Athletics, Oakland Raiders, San Jose Sharks and several NCAA teams, including this year’s #1 NCAA basketball seeds University of Florida Gators and Wichita State Shockers.  Schembri comments, “This is an exciting time for radio, sports and event marketing.  Entercom is powerfully positioned across the country to build dynamic, multi-platform campaigns that engage our fans, connect them to our clients and generate results that make a difference.”

nymrad logoNYMRAD Registers a +3.26%.  According to the Miller Kaplan New York Market Revenue Report, New York Market Radio (NYMRAD) advertising revenue for the first two months of this year increased 3.26%, when compared to last year’s figures.  Total revenue for February – including “digital” and “network”/”NTR”/”other” were up 2.3%.  New York Market Radio Broadcasters Association executive director Deborah Beagan comments, “The New York market is up, despite the series of storms.”  The “automotive” category there is up 11%, with over $10 million of spending.  Three rapidly growing such advertisers are Land Rover, up 153% from $166,000 last year to $420,000 this year; Tri State Ford Dealers – improving by 48% from $458,000 to $680,000; and Mercedes Benz, up 72% from $265,000 to $455,000.  The “communications/cellular” category sees a 20% gain, with over $8 million of spending.  Rapid such growers included Verizon, up 69% from $1.29 million to $2.17 million; Metro PCS – improving 95% from $1.28 million to $2.50 million; and AT&T, up 67% from $917,000 to $1.53 million.

scba logoLos Angeles Radio Revenue Grows in February.  According to data from Miller Kaplan Arase as reported by the Southern California Broadcasters Association, during February, the Los Angeles radio market saw revenue climb by 3.7% for the month and, on a year-to-date basis through February, the LA total market revenue growth is 3.1%.  SCBA president Thom Callahan states, “This substantial market growth reflects the dynamic power of Southern California Radio and our member radio stations’ determination to begin 2014 on very strong footing.”  On the digital side, the report indicates revenue for the reporting stations in February up 16.8% and a YTD growth rate of 14.7%.  The subsequent “X-Ray” report YTD also reveals substantial new business growth with 336 new advertisers spending $12.7 million.  Key category drivers include: insurance – up 141.7%, cellular/communications – up 45.8%, concerts/theatre/movies – up 34.7%, casinos/lottery – up 32.5%, and education – up 32.3%.

starkjaysonStark Reality for Philly’s WPEN-FM.  ESPN.com senior baseball writer – and Philadelphia native – Jayson Stark will host a one-hour eponymous show on select Mondays throughout the baseball season for Greater Media Philadelphia’s WPEN-FM “The Fanatic.”  The two-time Pennsylvania Sportswriter of the Year will continue to be a Wednesday afternoon contributor on the station’s “Mike Missanelli Show.”  Stark acknowledges that, “I may work for ESPN now, but I’m still a Philadelphian, so the only thing cooler than joining my buddy Mike Missanelli every Wednesday is getting my own personal hour of radio.  I will get to talk to my favorite Philadelphians about the Phillies and the sport they play, mix in a little trivia, and do our best to turn this extravaganza into a show that’s even more fun than spending a summer evening hanging out in Ashburn Alley.”  Stark’s program will emanate live from Newtown, Pennsylvania’s Green Parrot; the debut show is one week from Monday (4/7) between 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm.  Stark has written/reported about MLB for ESPN since 2000.  Before that, he covered the Phillies for the Philadelphia Inquirer.  He appears as an analyst on a variety of ESPN radio and television programs.

delcollianojerryJerry Del Colliano’s “Media Solutions Conference” Draws 100-plus to Philadelphia.  More than 100 radio broadcasters from across the country gathered at the classy Rittenhouse Hotel in Philadelphia yesterday (3/26) to attend noted industry observer and analyst Jerry Del Colliano’s fifth annual “Media Solutions Conference.”  The attendees represented various levels of management, talent and ownership from a variety of radio companies — local, regional and national.  In addition to Del Colliano’s in-depth presentation of information about such topics as understanding the Millennial generation, disrupting radio before its media rivals do, separating radio’s main product into unique on-air and online categories, using video to generate additional revenue streams, reinventing the morning show, time-shifting radio, and reducing the liability of commercials while increasing their effectiveness, attendees were treated to presentations by WBEB, Philadelphia “More FM” owner Jerry Lee, Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel talk star Sean Hannity and TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison.  Jerry Lee discussed a number of tactics and philosophies employed by his company to make it one of the most successful ratings and revenue-generating, leejerryindependent music-formatted, stand-alone FMs in America.  He basically told the attendees that you have to spend money to make money and espoused the benefits of heavy promotion, research and putting together a top-notch team of talent and management in order to reap the rewards radio is still capable of delivering.  He also spoke extensively about the importance of creating effective, listenable commercials and limiting the number of spots perharrisonmichael hour to no more than 12.  Sean Hannity discussed the various keys to attracting younger listeners to the talk format on both radio and television (something he has proven to do very well) and was critical of today’s ratings system that largely ignores listenership to radio on the internet and satellite platforms.  Michael Harrison joined Del Colliano at the end of the conference for a free-wheeling Q&A wrap up of the day’s subject matter.  Harrison encouraged the attendees to trust in their own common sense and intuition, pointing out that all forward evolution in the arts and communication begin with someone taking a stand based on their gut instincts.  According to Harrison, “This was one of the most interesting, informative and well-organized conferences I have ever attended.”  Jerry Del Colliano will be a major speaker at the forthcoming “Talkers New York 2014” on Friday, June 20.  For information call 413-565-5413.

borrell logoBorrell Research Projects Hike in Recruitment Advertising.  Just what radio might realize from the projected 5.8% increase in dollars spent by employers seeking workers via broadcast isn’t certain and the category doesn’t break down radio, TV, and cable.  However, as the recruitment advertising report – subtitled The Long, Gray, Line – states, employers will spend $22.9 billion in the category this year.  “Of that, 84% is spent on online media, and of that, half is being spent on so-called digital services like developing websites, search engine optimization, and managing social media.  That services portion is growing at the fastest clip – nearly 50% growth in 2014 and potentially tripling over the next five years.  By 2018, we foresee a future where employers will spend 67% of their recruitment marketing budgets on digital services, 23% on classic digital advertising, and the remaining 10% on traditional media advertising.”  See more about the report here.

RIhof logoWOR, New York PD Tom Cuddy Leads Rhode Island Radio HoF Class of 2014.  The Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame announces the class of 2014 inductees and they include: current WOR, New York program director Tom Cuddy (who got his start in radio at WPRO-AM in 1980); air personality and programmer Rick Everett (served at WGNG, WSNE, WWLI, WWBB, WRX, and WCTK; current WRNI news anchor/reporter and host Dave Fallon; New England Tech teacher and 30-plus year radio station staffer Paul Perry; the late Carroll “Pappy” Philbrook, who began his career in Rhode Island radio in the 1940s as an engineer at WHIM, WHJJ and WHJY; easy listening pioneer Tony Rizzini; and entertainment icon Saucy Silvia who hosted an entertainment program on WADK for 26 years.  Additionally, the Shepard Award – created to recognize the founders of radio (John and Robert Shepard, owners of the Shepard Department Stores) in the Ocean State and to honor present-day contributors to the industry through leadership, dedication, achievement, innovation and spirit – goes to Janice Skelly.  Skelly began her radio career in 1978, working for WPRO-FM in the sales department, and for most of the next 36 years, she remained a fixture within the sales and business operations of WLKW-AM/FM and WSNE-FM through several ownership changes.

ObamaCare Criticism, SCOTUS Hobby Lobby Case, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Race, Obama vs Putin/Russian Aggression, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Fate, and NSA Data Collection Policy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/26).  Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the Supreme Court Case that will decide the scope of religious exemptions for employer-provided health care; speculation about the political ramifications of the mid-term elections and possible candidates for president in 2016; Russian aggression in Eastern Europe and criticism of President Obama’s handling of Vladimir Putin; the fate of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370; and concern over the NSA’s bulk data collection program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Not the Same-Old, Same-Old

| February 10, 2014

By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS

 

kinosianLOS ANGELES — Tremendous temptation surfaces in the years of profiling talk radio personalities to make an occasional obligatory James Brown-inspired reference.

Specifically, a justifiable desire eventuates to compare certain talk hosts to the late entertainer (as opposed to the CBS-TV and former Sporting News Radio broadcaster of the same name) who – in addition to “The Godfather of Soul” was often dubbed the “hardest-working” person in show business.

Not that those in other genres of this medium are slackers – Ryan Seacrest represents the definitive textbook example of a supremely ambitious music radio star – but a select group of talk radio hosts do the improbable of overseeing multiple long-form weekday programs (often back-to-back).

That handful of Herculean talk realm performers has at various times included, among others, the likes of Thom Hartmann, Rusty Humphries, Lars Larson, Michael Smerconish, and Ed Schultz.  Some such as Alan Colmes and Sean Hannity have had and continue to have a daily radio/daily TV mix.

As laudatory as that most assuredly is, someone in Tampa took conscientiousness and mindboggling to an even more impressive level.

Read More

Monday, February 3, 2014

| February 3, 2014

sileodanSports Talker Dan Sileo New AM Host at ‘The Mighty 1090’ in San Diego.  Sports talk personality Dan Sileo – who’s been working at stations in Florida for the past several years – joins Broadcasting Corporation of the Americas-operated XEPRS, San Diego “The Mighty 1090” where he’s the new morning drive host beginning today (2/3).  Sileo most recently was hosting a show at James Crystal Radio’s WMEN, West Palm Beach but was fired from that station in early November of 2013 after shooting off a controversial tweet.  Sileo has also worked at Beasley’s WQAM, Miami and Clear Channel’s WDAE, Tampa.  He takes over the morning show at “The Mighty 1090” from market pro Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton who will remain with the station in another capacity.  Program director Mike Shepard says, “I am thrilled to welcome Dan to ‘San Diego’s Sports Leader, The Mighty 1090.’  Dan is a passionate, outspoken, engaging and incredibly knowledgeable sports radio personality.  His track record of major market success is remarkable and Dan is a perfect addition to the Mighty 1090’s top-rated, all-star lineup.”

wilc logoNew Talk Station to Air in DC Market.  The Laurel, Maryland-licensed WILC flips from Spanish music to a hybrid of talk and oldies.  The ZGS-owned signal is being operated by Wallis Communications under an LMA and the new format debuts today (2/3).  In a statement, the company says the program schedule is not complete but the station will be “libertarian and conservative talk radio.”  Chief operating officer and general manager Bryan Berner says, “All of us at WILC and Wallis Communications look forward to serving the people of the region and bringing a common sense, fresh perspective to talk radio in the Washington, DC market.”  Programming will include Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck, Wallis Communications’ “The Dr. K Show,” “The Capitol Hill Show with Tim Constantine” and WestwoodOne’s Dennis Miller.  Overnights will showcase vintage radio as the digitally remastered Wolfman Jack will air.

gallaghermikeMike Gallagher Causes Stir with Hoffman Death Observations.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Mike Gallagher’s observations in the aftermath of the untimely death of actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman caused such reaction that his post to his MikeOnline.com site logged more than 50,000 views and drew threats to him, his family and even his dog.  Speaking about the suspected heroin overdose that took Hoffman’s life, Gallagher stated, “Another senseless death. This time, one of the greatest actors of our time.  I wonder if he started with marijuana…If you want to get pot lovers mad, dare to even ask the question if an Oscar-winning movie star who is found dead in his bathroom with a needle stuck in his arm started with marijuana.”  Gallagher has stood firm in his stance against the legalization of marijuana as some states move to legalize and decriminalize the drug.

millerchrisTo Get Listeners to Your Website, Don’t Threaten to Bore Them!  Digital media consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller wonders why we tend to turn the marketing part of our brains off when we go “online.”  We can write good, tempting ad copy for radio but all we’ve learned goes out the window when it comes to our websites.  Miller says that one of the worst ways to get someone to your website is to offer them “all of the details” when they get there.  Not very tempting is it?  More details.  Instead, put your marketing skills to work in the same way you would with a spot.  “A good commercial will do a better job getting business through a client’s front door than a bad commercial will.  It’s the exact same thing getting people to go from your broadcast to one of your digital platforms…or move from one digital platform to another.  Opportunity is knocking.”  Read Miller’s entire piece here.

hannityseanClear Channel Tweaks Lineup at WVOC, Columbia.  The South Carolina news/talk station drops the early evening “Sports Talk” show syndicated by Learfield Sports that aired in afternoon drive and adds Premiere NetworksSean Hannity for the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot.  The “Sports Talk” program is hosted by Phil Kornblut, Kevin McCrarey and Tom Hayes.  According to The State, Learfield’s “Sports Talk First Edition” – which aired on CC’s sister sports talk station WXBT “560 The Team” from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm – is also being replaced.  A local sports talk show featuring former South Carolina footballer Rick Sanford will air in the time slot instead.  Learfield tells the paper it is working to place the shows on new affiliates in the market.

francesamikeMike Francesa Fans (and a Few Critics) Gather for FrancesaCon in NYC.  Sports talk pioneer Mike Francesa – afternoon drive host on CBS RADIO’s WFAN-AM/FM, New York – said after learning of the weekend event that the participants would probably be half fans, half critics.  How the numbers came down is unclear but the fact that an estimated 400 gathered at an Upper East Side bar on Saturday (2/1) to celebrate, imitate and even mock Francesa, shows how big he is in New York.  A piece by Jim Baumbach in Newsday tells the story but the short version is as follows: 23-year-old friends Michael Leboff and Ron Haraka came up with the idea of FrancesaCon as a gathering of Mike Francesa fans.  Little did they know that not only would people show up in droves, but they came dressed as Francesa, carried the appropriate props (Diet Coke cans), and did some very good imitations of the man himself.  Some even came dressed as Francesa’s longtime former partner Chris “Mad Dog” Russo and classic Francesa-Russo back-and-forths took place in the bar.  Check out Baumbach’s story in Newsday here.

fccnewFCC Grants Tribune Cross-Ownership Waivers.  The license renewals for several Tribune-owned television stations were being challenged by the United Church of Christ, the Media Alliance and the Teamsters.  The commission handed down rulings on Friday that granted renewals for the licenses though it also granted the petition for reconsideration to the UCC and Media Alliance.  The FCC also reaffirmed the permanent waiver for Tribune in the Chicago market where it owns the Chicago Tribune newspaper, WGN-TV, and WGN-AM.  In making the decision, the commission ruled that “Given the ‘uniquely long-term symbiotic relationship between [Tribune’s] broadcast stations’ and the Chicago Tribune that provides a special benefit of continued cross-ownership, coupled with the slight cost to diversity in Chicago’s massive media market of continued cross-ownership, Tribune has in fact shown sufficiently ‘unique or special circumstances’ to justify the granting of a permanent waiver of the NBCO (newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership) Rule to its Chicago licensees.”

L&L logoL&L Closes on Border Media Trust Stations.  Seven Texas radio stations that were in the Border Media Trust are now owned by Larry Wilson’s L&L Broadcasting.  The stations include San Antonio-licensed outlets news/talk KTSA, sports talk KZDC, adult hits KJXK “Jack 102.7 FM,” regional Mexican KLEY-FM, Jourdanton, regional Mexican KJAH-AM/FM, Pearsall, and CHR KTSM, Floresville.  The station group cost L&L $31 million and puts the company into market #28.

Friday, January 31, 2014

| January 31, 2014

westwoodone logoCuts at Cumulus-Owned WestwoodOne Happening; SVP Amy Bolton Exits.  The names of those being let go are coming out as Cumulus Media begins the cuts at WestwoodOne that have been expected since the acquisition of then-Dial Global closed.  Numerous high-level executives are beingboltonamy shown the door – in many instances where there are duplicative positions between WestwoodOne and the Cumulus Media Networks.  Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey is promising investors he can realize $40 million in synergies and eliminating these positions is one of the ways he hopes to accomplish that.  WestwoodOne  SVP and general manager of news & talk Amy Bolton – who’s been with the organization going back when it was Jones Radio Networks – is let go.  Also reportedly out in this round of cuts are: chief marketing officer Christina Albee; EVP/Eastern director Eileen Decker; and SVP of research Paul Bronstein.

lionelLionel Joins TalkersRadio in Development of New Show to Launch This Weekend.  One of the most original personalities in the business, radio talk show host Lionel, is launching a new program on TALKERS magazine’s online radio station, TalkersRadio, tomorrow morning (2/1).  The self-titled show “Lionel” will air live on the “experimental” talk show platform Saturday mornings between 9:00 am and 10:00 am ET and run as a regular weekly series.  It will feature the intellectually stimulating talk media star in an hour of free-form conversation and reflection about the wide variety of topics that fall within his realm of interest.  Lionel describes his plans for the new program as “spoken thought not spoken word” telling TALKERS, “The show will be the editorial cartoon versus the editorial.  Broadcast idea topiaries.  Stream of consciousness meets targeted subject selection.  No left-right paradigm blather.  No bumper sticker, talkersradio logoplaybook, echo chamber drivel.  As I feel, as I want, as I please.”  A veteran of such major outlets as WABC and WOR, New York among others, as well as being a podcast pioneer at lionelmedia.com, the quirky, satirical and extremely original observer of the human condition has been enjoying tremendous success conceiving, writing, producing and performing daily commentaries on the heritage WPIX-TV, Channel 11 in New York City.  The ex-prosecutor Lionel has also added his insight and experience as its resident legal analyst.  However, he has not forgotten his roots in and love for radio and promises that his 9:00 am to 10:00 am Saturday show will provide Lionel enthusiasts around the country with a version of his work that is “like nothing they have ever heard before.  This will truly be Lionel unchained!”  On making the announcement of Lionel’s joining the station, TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein says, “Lionel joining this ‘audio workout space’ is a perfect example of what TalkersRadio is about and hopes to achieve – and that is to provide select people in this business as well as potentially outstanding newcomers with the opportunity to try and develop things that are not being done in the traditional on-air space for the sake of moving the industry forward.”

kono-am logoCox Flips KONO-AM, San Antonio to Sports Talk.  The AM side of the KONO-AM/FM simulcast flips to sports talk using the CBS Sports Radio Network after more than 20 years airing the classic hits format of sister KONO-FM.  Cox Media Group San Antonio vice president and market manager Dan Lawrie states, “We’re excited to bring this level of quality sports programming to San Antonio.  Additionally, South Texas sports fans should be glad to welcome the return of the Jim Rome show after a two-year absence in the market.”  CBS Sports Radio program director Eric Spitz adds, “We’ve put together a tremendous lineup of experienced hosts with strong opinions and personalities who perfectly capture the passion and excitement of the sports fan.  With sports, the action never stops, and CBS Sports Radio provides listeners with cutting-edge analysis, high-profile interviews and late breaking news.”

harrisleslieWCKG-AM, Chicago Names Leslie Harris Director of Community Programming.  At the Matt Dubiel-run DuPage Radio LLC, market personality Leslie Harris is named director of community programming and host at the suburban talk station.  Harris recently exited NextMedia’s suburban rocker WERV “95.9 The River” and Dubiel comments, “Leslie was the full addition I made at WERV and I am over the moon excited to have a Downers Grove rock mamma as part of our local team.”

wtjk logoGood Karma Sells Janesville, Wisconsin Stations to Local Operator.  Two stations in the Janesville, Wisconsin market – rock WWHG “105.9 The Hog” and sports talk WTJK “ESPN Radio 1380” – are being sold by Craig Karmazin’s Good Karma Broadcasting to Scott Thompson who operates stations in nearby Monroe, Wisconsin and Freeport, Illinois.  The Janesville Gazette reports that Thompson plans to keep the staff already in place at both stations and possibly add an employee.  He tells the paper WTJK may air less ESPN content and more local news.  Thompson takes over under an LMA while the transaction works its way through the FCC approval process.

weeidirtywaterWEEI-FM, Boston Begins Friday Night Promotion.  In a partnership with local watering hole The Greatest Bar and local media sources Dirty Water TV and DirtyWaterNews.com, Entercom sports talk WEEI-FM begins broadcasting the “Planet Mikey” show with Mikey Adams live from The Greatest Bar Friday, February 7 from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm.  The show will feature celebrity guests from the world of sports and entertainment.  WEEI brand manager Kevin Graham, citing the bar’s proximity to the TD Garden, states, “It’s a natural fit to partner with the Dirty Water brand and The Greatest Bar.  Combining Mikey’s unique entertaining style, the Dirty Water connections for guests and content, and the proximity to the TD Garden will make for a fun atmosphere and a great listen on ‘93.7FM WEEI’ and the WEEI Sports Radio Network.”  Bill Fairweather is co-owner of The Greatest Bar and creator of Dirty Water TV.  He says WEEI-FM is the perfect radio partner for Dirty Water’s growing array of media entities. “When we decided to add radio to the growing menu of media options that our brand delivers to Greater Boston and beyond, WEEI – with its strong sports focus – was a natural partner for us.  Entertainment and celebrity mix very well with sports and The Greatest Bar is the perfect location to bring those topics together.  We’re excited to have the opportunity to add these new dimensions to WEEI’s radio offerings.”

Odds & Sods.  In honor of Rosa Parks Day on February 4, the Premiere Networks-syndicated Comedy 24/7 format will air special clips of comics of the civil rights era talking about the issue.  African American comedians including Dick Gregory, Godfrey Cambridge and Slappy White were outspoken about necessary changes to be made in our society during that time and the format will air special tracks by these comedians and others as they spoke out in the language of the times at :57 after the hour all day on February 4…..Former NFL coach and executive Mike Holmgren will serve as a football analyst with Clear Channel’s sport talk KJR, Seattle next season after handling the same duties in 2013…..Milwaukee Brewers radio play-by-play voice Bob Uecker will step back a little bit from his duties with the team beginning this season as he’ll call fewer road games for flagship WTMJ, Milwaukee.  Uecker, who turns 80 this year, will still call all home games and be present for spring training in Arizona.

traduphaitiJoy and Hope Amidst the Misery.  Pictured here with children in Port Au Prince, Haiti is Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup.  He tells TALKERS he is there with Salem Radio News documenting conditions in Haiti on the fourth anniversary of the devastating 2010 earthquake that left 300,000 dead and millions homeless.  He’s embedded with the relief organization Food for the Poor and has been visiting slums, orphanages and feeding centers for the news network’s five-part special series on “The Poorest of the Poor.”  Tradup reports that Salem VP/director spoken word format Phil Boyce (who also is serving as operations manager of the New York stations) is there working on documenting the trip for a New York market broadcast.

deacesteveTALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  New York-based XtreMEDIA announces a number of affiliates joining three of the company’s offerings.  First, the daily Kevin McCullough show is added to the program schedule at WCIS-AM, Morganton, North Carolina; WCST-AM, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia; WGEA, Geneva, Alabama; and KNLB-FM, Blythe, California.  The nightly Steve Deace program joins the lineup at WGTK-AM, Louisville; WTOH-FM, Columbus; and WWTC, Minneapolis.  Finally, the weekend “Baldwin/McCullough” show is now heard on WMRC, Milford, Massachusetts and WYPV-FM, Mackinaw City, Michigan…..The GCN-syndicated “America Tonight” with Kate Delaney joins the program schedule at WKVL, Knoxville.

The State of the Union Address Top Talk Radio Story This Week.  According to the Talkers TenTM, the president’s State of the Union Address was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of January 27-31.  At #2 this week was criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act.  Following at #3 was new immigration legislation and the prospect of amnesty and at #4 was the extreme winter weather affecting much of the nation.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week.  It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

| January 14, 2014

dollarsignJohn Hogan’s Exit from Clear Channel Cushioned with Cash.  Although the official line from former Clear Channel Media + Entertainment chairman and CEO John Hogan and the company is that he wanted to “spend more time with his family” and the time was right, a fair number of jaded industry watchers will never believe he wasn’t forced out – especially just seven months after he was moved to the company’s New York City offices to work more closely with CC Media Holdings chairman and CEO Bob Pittman.  The company’s 8-K filing details what Hogan is walking away with after his time leading the division.  Here’s what he can counthoganjohn on: $900,000, representing the amount previously earned by Hogan pursuant to a supplemental incentive plan with respect to 2012 performance; an annual bonus of $77,250 for performance during 2013; and a prorated annual bonus with respect to the days he was employed during 2014.  Pursuant to the Separation Agreement and in consideration of the extension by Mr. Hogan of certain restrictive covenants applicable to him, the vesting of 93,076 restricted shares of Class A Common Stock of CCMH granted to Mr. Hogan on October 22, 2012 will be accelerated and CCMH will repurchase 83,938 of such shares (the aggregate repurchase amount of such repurchased shares, the “Repurchase Amount”), provided Mr. Hogan does not revoke the Separation Agreement.  Additionally, in exchange for the Separation Agreement, Mr. Hogan’s release of claims and the extension of certain restrictive covenants applicable to him, and provided that Mr. Hogan does not revoke the Separation Agreement, CCB agreed to pay Mr. Hogan: $333,000, representing the remaining amount earned by Mr. Hogan pursuant to a supplemental incentive plan with respect to 2011 performance; an “equity value preservation payment” equal to $1,027,355, paid in a lump sum payment; a lump sum severance payment equal to (x) $1,538,000 minus (y) the Repurchase Amount; a severance payment equal to $3,297,000, paid over 36 months; and a payment of $1,000,000, paid over 12 months, beginning on the first anniversary of the date of separation.  Hogan is also entitled to receive continued healthcare coverage for 36 months, continued secretarial services for 6 months, $20,000 in outplacement services, and a housing allowance of $25,000 per month for up to 9 months, which amount is grossed up for certain applicable taxes; provided, that the housing allowance payments will stop if Mr. Hogan ceases to have obligations under the terms of his current lease agreement.  CCB also will pay up to $25,000 for Mr. Hogan’s reasonable legal fees incurred in connection with the negotiation of the Separation Agreement.

hannityseanSean Hannity to Air on Salem’s WDTK, Detroit.  The Motor City destination for Premiere NetworksSean Hannity show is Salem Communications-owned WDTK.  The program will air live in the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot.wdtk logo  It previously was heard on crosstown news/talk WJR since its 2001 national debut.  WDTK general manager Chris MacCourtney states, “The opportunity to bring Sean Hannity aboard was one we felt we could not pass up.  Sean was an instant hit when he came to Detroit and he continues to be one of the most popular talk personalities in the market.  He will join an already solid lineup of talk talent on ‘News/Talk 1400.’”  Since the first of the year, Hannity’s program had been added to Salem outlets WIND, Chicago; WWRC, Washington; and KSKY, Dallas.

quigleyalexDouble Shot of WGN, Chicago News.  Two items from Tribune’s WGN, Chicago: First, as Chicago media writer Robert Feder reported over the weekend, assistant program director Alex Quigley has been upped to operations manager at news/talk WGN, Chicago.  Quigley worked in the market at former Emmis alternative rock WKQX as interactive program manager.  When he first came to WGN he hosted the weekend show “ChicagoNow Radio” and “Chicago Preps Plus.”  WGN vice president of creative content Todd Manley said in a memo to staffers, “This is a recognition of Alex’s role in our expanding future…He’ll be mentoring producers and searching for new talent that builds our farm system, coordinating special programming, scheduling, digging deep on ratings analysis, and dreaming big dreams.”  Second,jacobsonwalter longtime television news personality Walter Jacobson brings his “Perspective” commentaries to the station beginning this Thursday.  Robert Feder reports that the longtime WBBM-TV anchor who exited the station last February will present his 90-second feature on Thursdays during Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano’s midday show and they will be repeated on the weekend during “The Sunday Spin: Politics with Rick Pearson” program.  Jacobson will also appear as a contributor to various shows on WGN.  Jacobson tells Feder, “Having been listening to WGN Radio since the day I became a reporter, and believing it’s the best in the business, I’m thrilled to be joining the team.  For me, it’s a perfect fit at a perfect time.  The station’s coming back, and 2014 is going to be an intriguing and exciting year in Chicago’s wild and woolly politics.”

salemcommunicationsSalem Communications Buys Eagle Publishing for $8.5 Million.  It had been reported recently that this deal was on the way and now it’s official as Salem Communications enters into a deal to purchase the assets of Eagle Publishing that includes conservative book publisher Regnery Publishing, and digital properties RedState.com and HumanEvents.com.  In a statement, Salem CEO Edward Atsinger IIIeaglepub logo says, “Eagle is one of the most influential companies in the conservative media space.  Its addition to Salem brings together a unique portfolio of conservative media properties and fits with our strategy of integrating traditional media and new media assets all serving the same target audience.  The opportunity we like most about this acquisition is that each of Eagle’s businesses matches up so well with Salem’s extensive media platform.  With 102 radio stations and a dozen major national websites all targeting the conservative community, this provides a perfect marketing platform to promote Eagle’s products to a wider audience.”  The purchase price is $8.5 million and current Eagle CEO Jeff Carneal will exit the organization as a result of the acquisition.

sternhoward‘A-List’ Talent Jon Bon Jovi and John Fogerty Added to Howard Stern Birthday Broadcast.  The January 31 birthday bash broadcast for SiriusXM’s Howard Stern just added two more “A-list” talents as Jon Bon Jovi and John Fogerty will join Steven Tyler, David Letterman and Louis C.K. for the show to be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel live from the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City.  On his program, Stern announced, “We have told you on the music side of things that we have Steven Tyler coming by to do a little number in honor of my birthday, I’m so honored…[today] I am excited [to announce that]…Jon Bon Jovi is going to perform…I am very excited to see Jon and thank him for that.  And also one of my heroes will perform that night—one of the greats, the all-time greats.  A guy whose every record I bought when he was in Creedence Clearwater Revival, and later his solo stuff, John Fogerty will come by to perform two great songs – I won’t say what the songs are, [but] we’re really excited about that…the list just begins there, Robin, it just begins there [there is] a huge amount of musicians coming by to help us out…it’s great.”

dubayjeffSports Talk Host Jeff Dubay Exits KSTP, Minneapolis in Budget Move.  Twin Cities sports talk personality Jeff Dubay, who fought a public battle against drug addiction to return to the airwaves in the market on Hubbard Radio’s KSTP, has left the station in what he says is a budget-related move.  The Star-Tribune reports Dubay – who worked at Clear Channel’s “KFAN” sports talk brand for 10 years before a crack cocaine addiction sidelined him – sent social media messages indicating that he was let go from the late morning show he co-hosted with Judd Zulgad because of financial reasons.  The station posted a message on its Facebook page confirming the matter was financial and not performance related.  The paper reports KSTP waived Dubay’s non-compete and he is free to work in the market if the opportunity arises.

shannonmikecardsShannon Staying With the Redbirds. St. Louis Cardinals fans will continue to hear Mike Shannon as the voice of the National League team that appeared in the 2013 World Series, as the former MLB player signs a two-year contract extension.  This will be Shannon’s 42nd year as a Cardinals broadcaster and 56th year with the team.  According to club president Bill DeWitt, “Mike’s voice has become the soundtrack to St. Louis baseball.  We look forward to having him back in the booth this season and for years to come.”  It is anticipated that Shannon will call all Cardinals’ home games this year for St. Louis flagship KMOX and roughly 30 road games for the CBS Radio-owned talk station.  Fox Sports Midwest‘s Rick Horton and former lefty relief pitcher Al Hrabosky will do the remaining road games.  Shannon will continue his work throughout the year on KMOX pre-game, post-game, and morning drive call-in segments.

mhblasingamebookGreat Read!  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison is pictured intensely absorbing the new book authored by independently syndicated talk show host Jim Blasingame titled The Age of the Customer: Prepare for the Moment of Relevance  (2014 SBN Books).  Blasingame is the longtime host of the very successful program “The Small Business Advocate Show” which is targeted to helping independent entrepreneurs and business owners cope with the day-to-day issues that face people running their own companies during this era of rapidly accelerating change.  This book, Blasingame’s third, is “his best work yet,” according to Harrison and “must-reading for anyone out there on the perilous high seas of today’s turbulent marketplace…especially those who are doing it independently without the backing of the Wall Street/banking/big-time money machine.”  Harrison goes on to say, “This includes those brave and hardy ‘Davids’ owning and operating independent radio stations and small groups, syndication companies and internet communications startups bucking the death grip of today’s mega-corporate ‘Goliaths.’”  The premise of the book is that small business owners are operating at a time that is so momentous it has never happened before.  Blasingame, a veteran of TALKERS magazine’s Heavy Hundred, identifies it as an epochal marketplace shift that’s causing the 10,000 year old Age of the Seller to be replaced by the Age of the Customer.  With an introduction by Steve Forbes, Blasingame’s book reveals how these two ages are existing concurrently in parallel universes, and how much time business-people have left to join the emerging universe.  He says relevance is replacing competitiveness and explains how to recognize when you arrive at the “moment of relevance,” how to connect with “new-influencers” who co-own your brand message; why you must be a good storyteller; the good, the bad and the ugly of social media; and he identifies the “killer app” that wasn’t a part of your past but will dominate your future.  Broadcasters interested in learning more about this book and perhaps scheduling Jim Blasingame as a guest can visit AgeoftheConsumer.com or email jim@jbsba.com.

cpb logoWHYY, Philadelphia-Led Local Journalism Center Awarded CPB Grant.  The recipient organization of a Corporation for Public Broadcasting grant for $1.5 million is the new multimedia local journalism center (LJC), Keystone Crossroads — a collaboration of Pennsylvania public media stations.  The new Keystone Crossroads is led by WHYY, Philadelphia.  Pittsburgh’s WQED and WESA FM, Central Pennsylvania’s WPSU and Harrisburg’s WITF will be partner stations.  The LJC will focus on the challenges the cities are facing, including a shrinking tax base and crumbling infrastructure, and enormous budget deficits.  The Corporation for Public Broadcasting  states, “By combining smart storytelling with energetic civic engagement, Keystone Crossroads will help Pennsylvanians see the challenges of their cities more clearly, understand how they are related, and create a forum for potential solutions at both the local and state levels.”  CPB president Pat Harrison adds, “Local Journalism Centers are really centers of collaboration comprising public media stations working together to report on local stories with significant impact.  This kind of focused collaboration ensures in depth reporting on issues of importance and concern to Pennsylvanians and of interest to all Americans.”  In addition to Keystone Crossroads, CPB  funds six other LJCs across the country, including:  EarthFix based in the Northwest; Fronteras in the Southwest; Harvest in the Midwest; Innovation Trail in upstate New York, the Southern Education Desk in the South, and most recently the Energy LJC in the Rocky Mountains.

Chris Christie Scandal, Hillary Clinton in 2016, New Congressional Spending Deal, ObamaCare Enrollment Status, A-Rod Suspension/Legal Challenge, and Golden Globe Awards Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/13).  The ongoing analysis of the Chris Christie lane closure scandal and apology press conference; speculation about Hillary Clinton’s plans to run for president in 2016; the new $1 trillion spending plan approved by Congress; enrollment in healthcare plans via the Affordable Care Act; Alex Rodriguez 162-game suspension and his plans to challenge the arbitration ruling; and the aftermath of Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Heeding Headlines Has Gallagher Playing the Hits

| January 13, 2014

By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read More

Thursday, January 2, 2014

| January 2, 2014

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

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

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

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

wind logo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, the Amazon drone story was a publicity stunt.

But 62% of Internet traffic is now robots.

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

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

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

Come along, virtually…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

| December 24, 2013

TALKERS Magazine Compiles News/Talk Radio’s Most Talked-About Stories and People of 2013.  As is customary at year’s end, the research editors of TALKERS magazine compile the most-talked-about stories and people of the just-concluded 12-month period.  According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “2013 was an extremely colorful year with a diversity of subjects and people being discussed.  There was the usual mix of partisan politics, foreign affairs, economic policy and, of course, the shockingly unexpected such as the Boston Marathon tragedy.”  Casey continues, “The President of the United States has always been the most talked about person going back to the very beginning of this publication 24 years ago and George Bush’s involvement in the first Persian Gulf War.  Barack Obama, like his predecessors in the modern age of talk broadcasting, has not left talk show hosts wanting for hot material on a daily basis.”

Stories

1)   ObamaCare Rollout
2)   Benghazi Attack Investigation
3)   IRS Accused of Targeting Conservative Groups
4)   Debt Ceiling/Govt. Shutdown/Sequestration Battle
5)   NSA Domestic Spying/Edward Snowden Case
6)   Boston Marathon Bombing
7)   GOP 2014 and 2016 Strategy
8)   Gun Legislation Debate
9)    Iran Nuke Threat
10)  Syria Civil War
11)  Fed Stimulus Policy/Dow Surpasses 16,000
12)  DOJ Journalist Investigations
13)  Immigration Reform
14)  George Zimmerman Trial
15)  Afghanistan Security Withdrawl
16)  Egypt Violence/Instability
17)  N. Korea Nuke Threat
18)  Detroit Bankruptcy
19)  Pope Francis Replaces Benedict
20)  SCOTUS Gay Marriage Ruling

People

1)  Barack Obama
2)  John Boehner
3)  Nancy Pelosi
4)  Harry Reid
5)  Hillary Clinton
6)  John Kerry
7)  Rush Limbaugh
8)  Ted Cruz
9)  Chris Christie
10)  Paul Ryan
11)  Kathleen Sebelius
12)  Edward Snowden
13)  Vladimir Putin
14)  George Zimmerman
15)  Trayvon Martin
16)  Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev
17)  Kim Jong Un
18)  Pope Francis
19)  Ben Bernanke
20)  Eric Holder

Radio Industry Sees Major Developments and Changes in 2013.  The combined editorial staffs of RadioInfo and TALKERS magazines have posted the 10 biggest stories of importance to the entire radio industry (music and talk) that took place in 2013.  They are as follows in order of importance:

1)      Nielsen Acquires Arbitron
2)      Developments in Emergence of the Connected Car
3)      Network Sports Talk Radio Growth Explosion
4)      Radio Company-Label Deals/Digital Royalty Rate Issue
5)      Cumulus Acquires (Dial Global) WestwoodOne
6)      Growth of Digital Music Service Providers
7)      Limbaugh and Hannity Station Realignment Deals Negotiated
8)      FCC Announces AM Band Revitalization Strategy
9)      Progressive Talk Outlets Continue to Disappear
10)   Country Music Format Enjoys Resurgence

brooksstanIndustry Mourns WINS, New York Senior Correspondent Stan Brooks.  Legendary WINS, New York newsman Stan Brooks passed away yesterday (12/23) at his home at age 86.  He’d been serving as senior correspondent for CBS RADIO’s WINS, New York – the station he’d been with for the past 50 years.  Brooks started working for the station in 1962 when it was a top 40 station and stayed with it through its transition to all-news.  WINS director of news and programming Ben Mevorach says of Brooks, “Like every challenge he has ever faced, Stan met this final one with the same class, dignity and humility that defined every day of his almost 87 years on this earth. There will never be another one like him.”  EVP of operations for CBS RADIO Scott Herman adds, “Not only was Stan Brooks a walking encyclopedia on NYC politics he was one of the finest, decent and most dignified men who ever lived.  We were lucky to have him on 1010 WINS for the past 51 years and we will never ever forget him.”  Read about Brooks’ life and career in a piece from CBS New York here.

wrcn logoJVC Broadcasting Prepares for Launch of ‘Long Island News Radio 103.9’ on Thursday.  Long Island-based JVC Broadcasting announces the lineup for its soon-to-be former rock outlet WRCN, Riverhead, New York branded “Long Island News Radio 103.9.”  TALKERS reported two weeks ago that the station’s studio will be located in the terminal of the Long Island MacArthur Airports – a physical reminder of the local intentions of this new station for the Long Islanders who use the facility.  Now to the lineup: morning drive is being hosted by Jay Oliver; the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show is Fox News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade and Friends; local host John Gomez is handling the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot followed by the local, one-hour show “Breaking it Down with Frank Mackay.”  Premiere Networks superstar Sean Hannity is in the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot and Cumulus Media NetworksMark Levin airs from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

bowenrobbyRobby Bowen Upped at CBS RADIO’s ‘105.3 The Fan.’  Sales pro Robby Bowen is promoted to general sales manager for CBS RADIO sports talker KRLD-FM, Dallas “105.3 The FAN.”  Bowen joined CBS RADIO Dallas-Fort Worth in February 2005 as an account executive for the station, which was at that time KLLI-FM.  During his time there he has served as local sales manager and most recently was senior account director.

wjfkholdendannyChanges in Middays at WJFK-FM, Washington Raise Questions.  According to Dan Steinberg’s column in the Washington Post, the midday lineup at CBS RADIO’s sports talk WJFK-FM, Washington, DC is in flux after the station announced Holden Kushner will be moving to other duties including weekends, fill-in and participating in Washington Nationals coverage.  Kushner was paired up with Danny Rouhier who reportedly will host the show solo today (12/24) and then be on vacation through December 30.  What happens after that is uncertain.  The station is expected to announce plans for the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm daypart in the New Year but already the news is cause for speculation.  With the arrival of Don Geronimo from the company’s KHTK, Sacramento earlier this fall (currently hosting evenings), DC radio fans are wondering if he’ll return to a daytime show on the station.  Geronimo and former partner Mike O’Meara held down afternoon drive at the station when it was a hot talker from 1991 through 2008.

walshmattMatt Walsh Exits WLAP, Lexington; Sean Hannity to Air in PM Drive.  Writer and talk show host Matt Walsh announces that his contract with Clear Channel’s WLAP, Lexington, Kentucky is up and as the station is filling the afternoon drive slot with Premiere Networks star Sean Hannity, he’s leaving AM/FM talk radio for good.  In a post on his blog, Walsh explains that although he has nothing but good things to say about his time at WLAP, he’s going to focus on his blog that he says has “between three and five million people” reading it every month.  As for his time at WLAP, he says, “WLAP took a chance on me, gave me a show, gave me the freedom to handle the topics in my own way, and surrounded me with a highly intelligent and passionate supporting cast.  I’m grateful for that, as these things are certainly not a given in this industry.”

nab logoNAB Acquires Two Events: CCW and SATCON.  The National Association of Broadcasters announces it has purchased the assets of the Content and Communications World (CCW) and Satellite Communications Conference and Expo (SATCON) events from JD Events.  The two events are held annually in November and are co-located at the Javits Convention Center in New York City.  In a press statement, the NAB says that “CCW is the leading media, entertainment and communications technology event of its kind in New York with a focus on content creation, management and delivery technologies.  SATCON offers education and exhibits serving companies in the satellite-enabled communications and content delivery industry.”  EVP of NAB Conventions and Business Operations Chris Brown comments, “We have made these additions to the NAB event family with the goal of growing both the attendee and exhibitor base of what has emerged as an important East Coast venue for the content community.  We look forward to developing this event and serving the unique needs of this very important media market.”

nielsen logoNieslen Audio December PPM Data Released.  The December 2013 PPM ratings data is being released by Nielsen Audio – currently numbers for the first 12 markets have been made public – and that information can be found at the site of TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo.  Check out the main page for managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian’s “Ten Takeaways” here or go straight to the full ratings data here.

musciovecchioOdds & Sods.  Premiere Networks-distributed 24/7 Comedy – the 24-hour, all-comedy format – will ring in the New Year with a countdown of the top 247 comedy bits from the top 247 comedians.  The program is compiled by staff and listeners who voted on 24/7 Comedy’s Facebook page or called the laugh-line at 218-Chuckle.  The countdown will air nationwide all day New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day and will feature Chris Rock, Louis C.K., Bill Cosby, George Carlin, Aziz Ansari, Bill Engvall, Jerry Seinfeld and Rodney Dangerfield…..KFMB, San Diego weekend program “It’s Your Money and Your Life” picked up three first place awards from the San Diego Press Club for “Excellence in Journalism.”  The show currently originates from La Jolla’s prestigious La Valencia Hotel and airs Saturdays from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm, hosted by Richard Muscio (left) and Joe Vecchio (right).

Monday, December 23, 2013

| December 23, 2013

cumulus logoCumulus Announces Completion of Refinancing; $2.025 Billion Loan Due in 2020.  The refinancing of Cumulus Media’s senior secured credit facilities was reported last month and now Cumulus announces that goal has been complete.  The company says it enters into an Amended and Restated Credit Agreement, consisting of a $2.025 billion term loan maturing in December 2020 and a $200 million revolving credit facility maturing in December 2018.  The proceeds from the Term Loan along with cash on hand have been used to repay in full all amounts outstanding under the first and second lien term loans under Cumulus’ pre-existing credit agreements.  The refinancing follows the entry into a $50 million, 5-year revolving accounts receivables securitization facility, which Cumulus entered into on December 6, 2013.  CEO Lew Dickey states, “This highly successful refinancing transaction is expected to increase our free cash flow by greater than $30 million annually, extends our maturities through 2020 and simplifies our capital structure.  We believe our balance sheet has now placed us at a competitive advantage that positions us well for future growth opportunities.”

mcneildanWSCR, Chicago’s Dan McNeil Returns to Air with Apologies and Admission of His Addictions.  Midday sports talk host Dan McNeil had been off CBS Radio’s WSCR, Chicago for the better part of the past two months and while there was no explanation for his absence other than he had personal things to deal with, regular listeners may have suspected McNeil was dealing with substance abuse issues.  It’s not the first time he’s left the air for that reason.  But on Friday, McNeil – whose name had been removed from the show during that time – returned to the air and offered a frank and full mea culpa about his addiction to marijuana and pain pills that’s kept him off the air.  Chicago media writer Robert Feder has posted a transcript of a good chunk of what McNeil said on the radio but what his partner – Matt Spiegel – said to him probably rings true for a lot of the people in his life.  “We are glad that you are back.  But I will not pretend that it is with full-on trust and full-on joy that it was perhaps the first time [you returned].  In the spirit of honesty with you, and I’m sure that some listeners feel that way as well, you and I have always been real with each other.  We’ll continue to be real.  That we felt betrayed.  That we felt betrayed. . .We’re here with you.  We want to be here with you.  But I think you know you have to regain some trust.”  Read Feder’s entire column here.

millerstephfreespeechtvStephanie Miller Show to Air on Free Speech TV.  Fans of progressive talk show host Stephanie Miller rallied to raise funds to get her program back on television via the Free Speech TV network.  Miller – whose radio program is losing its flagship station KTLK as the outlet drops progressive talk and changes programming – was part of a campaign to raise money to bring the show to Free Speech TV.  The goal was $50,000 but fans responded enthusiastically and so far have raised $120,450 to build a studio and support the production of the program on the commercial-free network.  In a statement announcing the successful effort, Miller says, “It was a clear demonstration that, no matter what anyone tries to tell you, progressive media matters.  And it matters enough that regular people are willing to come together and do what the big corporate media conglomerates are afraid to do…give thoughtful, funny and creative progressive voices a way to speak to the people who want to hear them.”  Miller’s show is produced by WYD Media Management and WYD president Ron Hartenbaum says the new studio on the lower level of Miller’s home will “give the listeners and viewers more of a reality-show feel to the production versus a more traditional/sterile broadcast facility.”  Referring to the $120,450 raised for the expanded programming, Hartenbaum says, “We are funded and supported in part by our listeners and viewers.  All advertisers should take strong note that our audience spends money.”

maisanoadamMaisano To Exit Curtis Media Group, Raleigh.  Due to a family member’s health issues, seven-year Curtis Media Group, Raleigh senior vice president/director of sales Adam Maisano will be leaving his position at month’s end.  Maisano comments that it is “with exceedingly mixed emotions” that he departs “this great job,” but he states, “Over the last 18 months I have learned a lot about what is truly important in life.  Right now, family has to come first.”  He wants to return to active radio management by next spring.  Curtis Media Group executive vice president Trip Savery remarks, “Adam has been a great employee.  I, along with everyone at Curtis Media Group, wish him Godspeed in his personal journey and much continued success in his career.”  Curtis Media Group’s Raleigh cluster was the market’s top-biller.  It consists of country WQDR “94.7 ‘QDR,” adult hits WBBB “Radio 96.1,” urban AC WBZJ “The New 96.9,” CHR WWPL “The Pulse,” regional Mexican WYMY “La Ley 101.1,” talk WPTF, talk WPTK, and comedy WFNL “Funny 570.”  Maisano joined the company approximately 12 years ago as national sales manager.  He previously worked in sales for Clear Channel’s Augusta, Georgia stations.

entercomEntercom to Donate KWOD, Salem, Oregon to the MMTC.  The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council will be the recipient of radio station KWOD, Salem Oregon – a donation by Entercom Communications Corp.  The station is currently airing a sports talk format.  The MMTC was founded to promote diversity in broadcast station ownership and uses donated stations to train minorities and women in broadcast operations, sales, management, and ownership and enables them to purchase the stations at a discount from theirmmtc logo market values.  Since MMTC founded its media and telecom brokerage in 1997, it has helped hundreds of interested parties and new entrants with conducting business planning and due diligence and helping new entrants build their professional and financial networks.  MMTC president David Honig states, “Entercom is a terrific example of a company that truly has the public interest at heart.  Thanks to this generous gift to MMTC, we can train more new entrants in broadcast ownership and further our mission of promoting diversity in entrepreneurship.”  Entercom president and CEO David Field adds, “We are very excited to be donating this station and providing a new radio entrepreneur with the opportunity to become a great broadcaster and radio station owner.  We appreciate the leadership of David Honig and the MMTC staff and all they do to help enable these opportunities and mentor minority broadcasters.”

justbobOdds & Sods.  Bob Just a former TRN host who Sean Hannity calls “one of the good Democrats,” returns to the talk radio business, if just for a day, to guest host Hannity’s show on Friday, December 27.  Along with being a grassroots leader, Bob Just is also a longtime WND columnist and Whistleblower Magazine editor-at-Large.   A self-described Reagan Democrat who speaks at Tea Party rallies, Just did the research and development for Hannity’spatrickmatt second New York Times best seller, Deliver Us from Evil…..Houston-based talk show host Matt Patrick will sit in for Bill Cunningham on his nationally syndicated Premiere Networks Sunday night show on January 29.  Patrick says this is the third year in a row he’s done the program and he’s looking forward to presenting his year-in-review program…..Television news anchor and reporter Kimberly Easton joins CBS Radio’s all-news simulcast WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago as a part-time anchor and reporter, according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder.  She fills the slot of Brandis Friedman who moves to WTTV-TV, Chicago in October…..Katie Couric’s television talk show “Katie” will not return for a third season in the fall of 2014.  The New York Daily News reports that Couric and ABC Domestic Television have agreed to end the show’s production in June of 2014 and not continue.  According to the story, ratings were not the issue but the high cost of producing the program was not making it worthwhile.  Couric has signed on to be a “global anchor” for Yahoo! for what is reportedly a deal worth $6 million per year.

ratnervicABC News Radio’s Vic Ratner to Retire.  Longtime ABC News Radio reporter Vic Ratner is retiring at the end of the month after a career that began at ABC with coverage of the Watergate trial in 1973.  During his time with ABC News Radio, Ratner has served as Capitol Reporter, a war correspondent and covered NASA for the network.  In a memo to staffers, ABC News president Ben Sherwood wrote: “Most careers can be captured in words.  Vic’s career is captured in sounds.  In his incredible 40 years on the air for ABC News Radio, Vic has painted vivid pictures for our listeners with a rich and imaginative vocabulary that brought stories to life and gave meaning to ‘Gemini’ and ‘Apollo’ and even ‘filibuster’ and ‘quorum.’  With every syllable, Vic defined and embodied excellence.  When Vic arrived at ABC in 1973, one of his first assignments was the trial of the “Watergate Seven” in Washington.  He has covered every presidential campaign, political convention, inauguration and State of the Union since then, plus almost every space shuttle launch.  He has reported from 54 countries and 49 states.  For the record book, only South Dakota — the Mt. Rushmore State — has escaped his attention.”  Ratner comments to his colleagues, “I have been fortunate to work with and learn from exceptionally talented and innovative people at ABC.  Thanks to all of you for the collaborative effort, which makes us the best.”

wachsrudyHangin’ with Rudy.  Genesis Communications Network-syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs (right) poses for a photo with Daniel Eugene “Rudy” Ruettiger (left) at a Christmas football party over the weekend.  Ruettiger is a motivational speaker and former Notre Dame football player who was the subject of the movie “Rudy.”

Catholic Relevant Radio to Purchase WNTD, Chicago for $14.4 Million.  Relevant Radio has been LMAing the M&S WNTD LLC station since 2007 – that’s when the $14.4 price tag was set – and now Relevant’s executive director Rev. Francis Hoffman says the organization has come up with the cash to complete the transaction for the 1,000-watt daytimer.

bearmanjacobsheartRaising Funds for Children’s Cancer Support.  KSCO, Santa Cruz talk show host Ethan Bearman (right) chats on the air with Team G Foundation co-founder and CEO Kristin Cosnor  (left) during a recent fundraising remote broadcast.  Bearman tells TALKERS magazine he interviewed parents who benefitted from this group while their kids underwent cancer treatment at Stanford and UCSF – one hour to two-and-a-half hours away from their homes on the Central Coast.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

| December 19, 2013

lujacklarryFarewell: Legendary Larry Lujack.  Notwithstanding words such as “legendary” and “iconic” are grossly overused, Larry Lujack was nonetheless an unquestionable legendary, iconic Chicago personality.  The radio world lost a quintessential on-air talent Wednesday night when the 73-year-old “Super Jock” passed away at his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Especially in the Midwest, countless air personalities hoping to advance to the biggest of the big timekinosianmike when AM radio was king would talk up vocals on audition tapes, liberally using signature slogans like “The Big 89,” “The Rock of Chicago,” and “Music Radio, W-L-S.”  Radio pro Mike Kinosian, who serves as managing editor and West Coast bureau chief for TALKERS and its sister publication RadioInfo, wrote a beautiful tribute to the life and career of Lujack.  Kinosian interviewed Lujack in 2003 and Kinosian shares some of Lujack’s thoughts about top 40 radio, the state of the industry at the time and, of course, his own career.  Read Kinosian’s story on RadioInfo here.

shapirobenBen Shapiro Named Afternoon Host at KTTH, Seattle.  Rising young talk radio personality Ben Shapiro joins Bonneville Seattle’s conservative news/talk station KTTH to host the afternoon drive program.  The New York Times best-selling author, Harvard Law School grad and talk media personality will continue his current position with Salem Communications co-hosting the morning drive show at KRLA, Los Angeles alongside Brian Whitman and Elisha Krauss in addition to his new position in Seattle.  Shapiro comments, “I couldn’t be more excited about joining the stellar lineup at AM 770 KTTH.  What I love most is the opportunity to enrich the public discourse.  It’s not often that hosts get that freedom.  Thanks to KTTH’s forward thinking approach, I’m overjoyed to have that opportunity.”  KTTH is now airing live programming in both morning and afternoon drive.  David Boze hosts the morning show.

macnowglenGlen Macnow Remains with WIP-FM, Philadelphia but Rob Ellis Is New PM Drive Co-Host.  As had been predicted by Philadelphia media watchers, including Kyle Scott of CrossingBroad.com, sports talk personality Glen Macnow will move off the afternoon drive show on WIP-FM “SportsRadio 94 WIP” where he’s been co-hosting with Anthony Gargano and remain with CBS Radio Philadelphia in a different capacity.  At the same time, the stationellisrob announces evening host Rob Ellis will join Gargano as co-host of the PM drive show.  Taking over Ellis’ evening show role is Josh Innes who comes to WIP-FM from the company’s KILT, Houston where he’s been hosting PM drive.  CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield announces that Macnow’s new responsibilities will include appearances on all-news KYW and news/talk WPHT while he continues to host his long-running Saturday program from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm WIP-FM with Pro Football Hall of Fame writer Ray Didinger.   Rayfield adds, “I’m pleased we have reached an agreement with Glen that supports his relationship with WIP, and also allows us to increase his presence within the CBS Radio Philly family of stations.  Being able to use his expertise across more of our platforms is a real win for our stations, the listeners and Philadelphia’s passionate sports fan base.”  Beginning in January 2014, Macnow will be heard on KYW’s afternoon broadcast of the “Reporter’s Roundup,” and, during football season, with Harry Donahue on the station’s top-rated morning show.  Additionally, he will be featured during Phillies pre- and post-game shows on WPHT, flagship broadcaster for the local team.

levinmarkCumulus Syndicated Star Mark Levin to be Featured on C-SPAN’s BookTV.  Perennial Heavy Hundred personality Mark Levin will be the featured guest author on C-SPAN‘s extremely popular and prestigious literary program “BookTV’s In Depth” on Sunday, January 5.  Not only is Levin a top-rated radio talker but he is an attorney and nationally recognized expert on Constitutional Law as well as a best-selling author.  The syndicated radio talk show host and former Reagan administration official will spend three hours taking viewers’ calls, Facebook comments,cspanbooktv emails and tweets on topics such as the role of the federal government, recent Supreme Court decisions and the upcoming 2014 elections, among others.  The president of the Landmark Legal Foundation, Levin is the author of five non-fiction books, including “Rescuing Sprite” “Liberty & Tyranny” and his 2013 release, “The Liberty Amendments.”  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says, “Mark Levin is the quintessential example of a radio talk show host who is also a very successful author who actually sells a ton of books time after time.  Talk talent from all sides of the ideological spectrum can learn from his precise way of explaining complex issues from both historical and contemporary perspectives and putting forth his opinions in a compelling and credible manner.”  The live airing of Mark Levin will be Sunday, January 5, from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET on Book TV on C-SPAN2.  Archived on demand editions will be available after the airing at http://booktv.org/.

romanogeneGene Romano Takes on Talent Development Duties with Clear Channel.  There’s a sort of re-alignment going on within the executive ranks of Clear Channel Media + Entertainment’s programming department.  As National Programming Platforms EVP Darren Davis explains in a memo to company staff, some execs are getting more duties and Gene Romano is the latest to take on more.  Davis writes: “You’ve seen over the past several days we’ve been announcing some expanded duties for several of CCM+E’s senior programmers.  It’s all part of an overall strategy to closely link the E/SVPP Team with NPP — so that our local efforts and national efforts are totally in sync.  And today, I have another bit of great news to share.  EVPP Gene Romano will have expanded duties effective today.  In addition to the East Major Markets he oversees, Gene will also oversee Programming Talent Recruitment and Development for CCM+E.  CCM+E has attracted best-in-class programming talent over the past couple of years from a variety of companies and industries.  Gene will lead our efforts to accelerate our recruitment of the very best into our company.  Gene will also work with our E/SVPPs, Brand Managers and VPPs to identify the future stars already inside the company to mentor, grow and provide the tools and resources for their continued advancement with CCM+E.”

hannityseanClear Channel’s Denver News/Talkers Tweak Program Schedules; Hannity and Limbaugh to Air Live.  Program schedule adjustments at Clear Channel’s KOA and KHOW in Denver will take effect in January.  Some of the noteworthy moves are bringing Premiere Networks syndicated star Sean Hannity from an evening delayed broadcast to the live 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm shift on KHOW.  Tom Martino will air from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and an hour is trimmed off Michael Brown’s afternoon show which will air from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Across the hall at KOA, the morning program with Steffan Tubbs and April Zesbaugh expands by an hour to 5:00 am to 10:00 am followed by live carriage of Rush Limbaugh from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.  Local personality Mike Rosen moves from late mornings to the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm shift.

kdkafmlogoOn-Air Lineup Modifications in Store for Pittsburgh’s “Fan.”  CBS Radio Pittsburgh sports outlet KDKA-FM “The Fan” afternoon drive talent Josh Miller will shift to 6:00 am – 10:00 am; Andrew Fillipponi will co-host 10:00 am – 2:00 pm; and Colin Dunlap will succeed Fillipponi at 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm.  Program director Ryan Maguire comments, “This is an exciting step forward in the evolution of ‘The Fan.’  We are eager to showcase this new lineup that highlights the incredible talents of Pittsburgh’s foremost sports experts.  Josh’s unique sense of humor and insight will set the tone for the remainder of the day.  Andrew is a solid, thought-provoking sports talk show host who has shown he can deliver an informative and opinion-driven program.  Colin has grown both as a talk show host and writer in the past year; his work has scored big with our audiences.”  Former Pittsburgh Steelers punter Josh Miller spent 12 seasons in the NFL.  He joined “The Fan” in 2010 as a talk show host and football analyst.  Fillipponi has been with “The Fan” since the station debuted nearly four years ago.  Onetime Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sports writer Dunlap began as a part-time “Fan” host in 2010.  Lineup changes on “The Fan” go into effect Monday, January 6.

kfsq logoPalm Springs’ KFUT Becomes “Fox Sports 1270.”  Yesterday at noon (12/18), MCC Radio transitioned Spanish oldies KFUT, Palm Springs, California to “Fox Sports 1270.”  The station’s lineup includes “Fox Sports Daybreak” with Andy Furman and Mike North (6:00 am – 9:00 am); “Jay Mohr Sports” (9:00 am – 12:00 noon); “Fox Sports Primetime” (12:00 noon – 4:00pm); “TMZ Sports” (4:00 pm – 5:00 pm); and “Petros and Money” (5:00 pm – 7:00 pm). “Fox Sports Radio programming originates in Southern California,” program director Mike Oakes points out.  “We are thrilled to bring it to the desert, serving Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley.  I am especially excited to launch two rising shows in the sports talk universe, ‘Jay Mohr Sports’ and ‘TMZ Sports.’  These are the cutting-edge of the sports talk genre.” Associated with the format flip, the station has changed calls from KFUT to KFSQ.

kdkaNews Staff at KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh Affected by Cuts.  Details aren’t complete but TALKERS hears that lead reporter and morning drive news anchor Adam Kirk has exited CBS Radio’s news/talk KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh as part of the budget-related cuts taking place at the company’s stations across the country.  There are reports that Kirk is not the only news staffer to be let go and that the station is adjusting its news presentation and will eliminate local news in the late night and overnight hours.

wbez logoWBEZ, Chicago Staffers Vote to Join SAG-AFTRA.  The 49 staffers who produce content for Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ, Chicago and its digital properties will be represented by SAG-AFTRA following the staff’s 40-7 vote in favor of the change.  WBEZ criminal and legal affairs reporter Rob Wildeboer says in a statement, “Chicago Public Media is a valuable resource to all Chicagoans.  The staff of CPM cares deeply about this organization and its mission.  Public radio is more than a job.  Staff at CPM are deeply committed to the station and we love our work.  We have great leaders and a committed board and we believe organizing as staff members is an important step to achieving the goals we all share here: producing excellent journalism that serves the public and making this important local institution even stronger than it is today.”

savagemichaelOdds & Sods.  Cumulus Media Networks announces the number of stations carrying the Michael Savage show when it moves to PM drive in Eastern Time and debuts on Cumulus news/talk outlets in the New Year will be more than 200.  Savage says of the move, “This is the culmination of two decades in talk radio.  I was born for drive time where my pace matches that of America.  Everyone dreams of being on the Cumulus powerhouse signals. This is my dream come true.”…..PodcastOne earns props from the iTunes editorial team as two podcasts it makes available are named tops. pattiznorm The “Adam & Dr. Drew Show” is named best new audio podcast of 2013 while the Steve Austin show was selected as the top pick in the sports/recent debuts category.  PodcastOne chairman Norm Pattiz says, “We thank the editorial team at iTunes for selecting these programs.  We will proudly display the ‘iTunes Best of 2013’ badge prominently when presenting and promoting these programs.  Our lineup of the best-of-the-best in podcasting is validated with recognition like this.”…..Motley Fool’s Chris Hill also wins accolades from the iTunes editorial team as his “Investor Beat” podcast has been included among the iTunes Best of 2013.

hdradio logoRadio Companies Get Extension in HD Radio Patent Infringement Case.  As tipped by Radio World, the major radio companies who are being targeted by Delaware Radio Technologies and affiliated company Wyncomm LLC have won an extension for filing replies to the allegations leveled at them in connection with their HD radio transmissions.  They now have until February 24, 2014.  Industry watchers call Wyncomm a patent troll, nonetheless it is seeking damages via a jury trial for what it says are infringements of the patents it holds with regard to voice and data transmission over in-band, on-channel digital broadcasts.  The radio companies being sued include: Beasley Broadcast Group, CBS Radio, CC Media Holdings, Cox Media Group, Cumulus Media, Entercom, Entravision, Greater Media, Hubbard Radio, Radio Disney, Radio One, Saga Communications, Townsquare Media and Univision.

gamblingdinnerA Farewell Party for John Gambling.  As John Gambling prepares to wrap his legendary New York City radio career with his final show on Clear Channel’s WOR tomorrow (12/20), Gambling and former co-workers gathered at a New York eatery to congratulate him on his colorful career.  Gambling is pictured here (second from right) between former news anchor Babita Hariani (right) and former producer Jill Vitale (third from right).  Also in attendance were former WABC colleagues Curtis Sliwa and Ron Kuby, former engineer Frank D’Elia, former call screener Andre Lelong, former intern and current WABC staffer Mike Gunzelman, and WNYM producer and talk host Frank Morano.

carrjagcontest‘Win Howie’s Jag’ Contest Wraps with Live Broadcast.  The holiday contest taking place at Entercom’s WRKO, Boston entered the finalist stage on Wednesday as afternoon drive talk host Howie Carr (right) broadcast live from The Fairways at Woburn Country Club as part of Happy Howie Days.  During the show, Carr and WRKO gave 20 pre-determined qualifiers the chance to “Win Howie’s Jaguar!”  Each of the 20 qualifiers received a $50 gift card to The Green’s Grill and Pub at Woburn Country Club and a gift package, courtesy of Perfect Smiles of Nashua, New Hampshire.  Finalist, John Treggiari of Salem (left), unfortunately was not able to drive off in the 2013 Jaguar XF, courtesy of Jaguar Exeter.  However, he did win a two-night stay at The Old Harbor Inn in Chatham, located on Cape Cod.

Indian Diplomat Incident, ObamaCare Criticism, NSA Spying Program, Rodman Visits N. Korea, Budget Deal, ‘Duck Dynasty’ Patriarch on Hiatus over Gay Comments, and Limbaugh-Pope Francis Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/18).  Tensions between the U.S. and India over the arrest and treatment of an Indian diplomat in New York; criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; scrutiny of the NSA’s spying policies; former NBA star Dennis Rodman’s return visit to N. Korea; the recently passed congressional budget deal; A&E puts “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson on hiatus after gay criticisms in GQ article; and the continuing flap over Rush Limbaugh’s calling Pope Francis a Marxist were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

| December 17, 2013

wpro logoWPRO: John DePetro Not Serving Suspension.  WPRO, Providence program director Craig Schwalb tells TALKERS magazine that the report published at GoLocalProv.com indicating talk show host John DePetro has been suspended until early January is false; DePetro is on vacation.  TALKERS reported thedeptrojohn GoLocalProv.com story earlier today.  DePetro, who has been away from his program since late last week, has been under fire since a local union-led boycott of his station’s advertisers by an organization called “For Our Daughters” ramped up the PR by getting sitting Rhode Island politicians – Governor Lincoln Chafee included – and political operatives to also demand DePetro’s dismissal.  This action stems from words DePetro spoke on the air in September when he referred to some union officers as “parasites, union hags” and “whores,” words for which he has apologized.  In another wrinkle, a new group has popped up called “RI Citizens for Free Speech,” which is supporting DePetro’s right to voice his opinion without being made target of a “smear campaign.”

hannityseanSean Hannity to Air in Washington on Salem’s ‘1260 WRC.’  In the Nation’s Capital, Premiere Networks nationally syndicated superstar Sean Hannity will air on Salem Communications-owned WWRC beginning in the New Year.  Current affiliate WMAL was one of the original affiliates for his inaugural syndication rollout the day before 9/11, but because of Cumulus Media’s split with Hannity, he leaves the station at the end of 2013.  At WWRC, Hannity’s show will wwrc logoair live from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Salem Washington VP and operations manager David Ruleman states, “Sean Hannity is a perfect fit on ‘1260 WRC.’  He is poised, informed and intelligent like the rest of the Salem lineup.  In a city where opinion often trumps knowledge and irrational talk reigns, Washington, DC radio listeners have a choice – ‘Intelligent Talk 1260 WRC.’”  Hannity show VP of operations Eric Stanger comments, “We are thrilled to partner with Salem and ‘1260 WRC.’  WWRC is one of the premier news/talk destinations in Washington, DC, and we couldn’t be happier to join their leading lineup of intelligent talkers.”

harrisonmichaelMichael Harrison:  What’s Happening to Progressive Hosts is a Shame and a Waste.  Prompted by the recently announced abandonment of the progressive talk format by WWRL, New York and the all-but-drying-up of the genre across the nation, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison issued the following statement: “What’s happening to progressive hosts is a shame and a waste.  I say this not for any specific political reason – because neither I nor TALKERS magazine is motivated by politics.  Nor do I say it from some self-righteous position of ‘fairness.’  No one knows more than a trade publisher that this is a business and business cannot always be fair.  I say it from the perspective of what’s good for our industry from the standpoints of ratings, business and image and the most productive use of some of our most valuable talent/assets.”  Harrison continues, “It is 2013 and nowhere is it written in stone that the only way to do news/talk radio successfully at this point is to position stationality entirely by political ideology.  Yes, there are clearly more talented stars in this industry who are of a conservative bent for a complex variety of reasons.  However, there is not really enough A-level talent among conservative hosts to build entire stations – in many cases more than one per market – around that one singular position, let alone rest the entire reputation of talk radio upon.  Granted, there doesn’t seem to be enough liberal-leaning hosts available to power entire stations in the progressive direction either.  But talent is talent and there are huge numbers of listeners out there that like political news/talk for its own sake and are willing to listen to someone with whom they disagree – IF that person is talented.”  Harrison concludes, “We as an industry should be saluting – not condemning, mocking and, worst of all, wasting the talents, industriousness and guts of such performers as Ed Schultz, Thom Hartmann, Stephanie Miller, Alan Colmes, Leslie Marshall, Karel, Randi Rhodes, Bill Press and a number of others who through hard work in the face of almost insurmountable obstacles have proven themselves worthy of shots on the big stages of this industry.  Frankly, if I owned a station and my life were on the line, I’d program talents like Sean Hannity and Thom Hartmann back-to-back in a heartbeat.  What harm would happen if every conservative station in America added just one progressive host – either local or national – to their roster?  Would radio come to an end?  I think not.  I think it might be the beginning of a new era in which political news/talk radio breaks out of its own self-inflicted chains and branches out in a wide variety of potentially lucrative directions.”

delcollianojerryJerry Del Colliano:  Keep Your Eye on Generation Y.  They Hold the Key to the Future of Both Music and Talk Radio.  There are over 80 million “Millennials” coming of age, the oldest of whom are already 30-years-old – 12 years older than the youngest 18-49 money demo cherished by advertisers.  Millennials have their own technology just as baby boomers had records, radio and TV.  Except, according to Inside Music Media publisher Jerry Del Colliano, technology has very little to do with the impact that “Generation Y” is making on media and just about everything else.  In an exclusive article posted today (12/17) in sister trade publications RadioInfo and TALKERS, the professorial industry observer and advisor writes, “Sure there is Facebook that they went to college with, and Napster that helped disrupt the record business, iPads, apps, smartphones, Instagram and their latest devilish work – to unbundle cable and make Netflix the new standard for the on-demand content they, well – demand.  Radio consolidated about the time the first Millennials were in grade school and the industry just assumed that young listeners would always be there to like radio.  The music industry that consisted of old white men who were lawyers thought Napster needed to be sued out of existence – and they succeeded.  But the damage was already done.”  To read Jerry Del Colliano’s entire piece, please click here.

andersoncarlClear Channel Gives Added Duties to Premiere EVP Carl Anderson.  In a memo to staff, EVP of national programming Darren Davis announces Premiere Networks EVP of programming Carl Anderson gets additional responsibilities including overseeing programming and operations of the Total Traffic and Weather Network and the 24/7 News with both SVPs Kevin Loftus and Chris Berry now reporting to him.  Anderson will also have more responsibilities for Clear Channel regional markets for which he’ll report to regional markets president of operations Matt Martin.

nprNPR Slated To Receive $17 Million in Grants.  Much of that money is coming from John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Wallace Foundation, and the Ford Foundation.  In addition, there are contributions from individual donors such as NPR acting president/chief executive officer Paul Haaga and Heather Haaga; former NPR Foundation vice chair/trustee emeritus William Poorvu and Lia Poorvu; and former NPR board chair/NPR Foundation trustee Howard Stevenson and Fredericka Stevenson.  Each of them is investing in specific elements of NPR’s journalism and innovation strategy. Grant money will fund NPR and member stations WNYC, New York; KPCC, Los Angeles (Pasadena Community College); KQED, San Francisco; WHYY, Philadelphia, WBUR, Boston (Boston University); and Minnesota Public Radio (MPR).  Chief content officer Kinsey Wilson comments, “This support will allow NPR to build transformative platforms that secure the future of public media journalism, and represents a powerful vote of confidence for that vision.  We will be able to dive deep into issues that are at the center of people’s lives, and drive tremendous innovation in how we engage people with those issues.”  Knight Foundation vice president of journalism and media innovation Michael Maness explains, “NPR is responding to the increased demand by audiences for flexibility in consuming content seamlessly across various digital platforms.  The platform will allow listeners to engage in new ways with NPR and its member station partners, making the quality journalism that is so important in a democracy more accessible, especially for a new generation.”  With 34 total bureaus, NPR expects to launch expanded education and global health and development reporting next spring.  It is estimated NPR and its member stations reach a weekly audience of 35 million people.

nabcrystalawardCrystal Radio Award Entry Date Set.  Beginning (Wednesday) January 1, stations may take the first step to be eligible to qualify for an NAB Crystal Radio Award.  That is when they can submit online entries describing their community service for calendar year 2013.  Cutoff date, meanwhile, is (Friday) January 31, with finalists being revealed in late-February.  “Receiving this award is just amazing,” remarks KCVM, Waterloo-Cedar Falls, Iowa program director Teri Lynn, a 2012 Crystal Radio Award honoree. “This is one of the most awesome experiences I’ve had in my entire life.”  Judges with broadcast and community service backgrounds choose 50 Crystal Radio Awards finalists and 10 winners.  Winners will be announced at the NAB Radio luncheon (Tuesday) April 8 during the 2014 NAB Show in Las Vegas.  The Crystal Radio Awards were established in 1987.

markscaroletowersThe Sky’s the Limit for Upper Demo Champion, Carole Marks.  She is one of the longest-running syndicated radio talk show hosts in America, although she purposefully maintains an under-the-radar profile.  Perhaps that’s because she’s too busy traveling the world gathering data about the state of upper-demographic populations domestically and abroad in addition to being a champion in the ongoing battle against ageism.  For more than two decades of continuous broadcasting, Carole Marks has personally brought listeners of her weekend program, “A Touch of Grey,” to some of the most fascinating and exotic places in the world – from the jungles of Africa to the deserts of Asia to the ice sheets of Antarctica to the Outback of Australia to the cultural hotspots of Europe, the Americas and beyond — gathering relevant information for her 50-plus audience.  The nearly 80-year-old dynamo tells TALKERS, “I do what I do to inspire ‘seasoned citizens’ to live their lives to the fullest – physically and intellectually - in addition to using my influence to ‘remind’ Washington not to forget the needs of our senior population.  Broadcasting, traveling and teaching are my passions and I am so lucky to have this radio platform to perform these functions.”  She adds, “Although I deeply wish the advertising agencies and media in general understood the economic power that can be tapped by serving older people – I have been very fortunate as a radio broadcaster to have had the lion’s share of this huge slice of the population pie almost exclusively to myself for all these years via this specialty talk show.”  Carole Marks is pictured here in front of the Petronas Towers, the world famous twin skyscrapers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia during a just-concluded remote from the Far East.

wabcalum2013WABC, New York Alumni Gathering.  Whom do you recognize in this photo of current and former WABC, New York staffers?  Former Sean Hannity producer Jill Vitale a.k.a “Flirty Flipper” organized the annual WABC alumni holiday bash this year and many former (and some current) employees were able to gather and reminisce.  Some of those who attended included: Phil BoyceLaurie CantilloValerie GellerMitch DolanMitch LebeCurtis SliwaBabita HarianiDavid GoodmanJamie MegargeeAndrew KalbLisa HakimRichard BeyLionelNoam LadenLaura Smith and many others.

Congressional Budget Battle, Judge Rules NSA Program Unconstitutional, ObamaCare Criticism, Pope Francis Responds to Rush Limbaugh, and the ‘War on Christmas’ Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/16).  The budget proposal that’s passed the House and is headed to the Senate; the ruling by a U.S. District Court judge declaring the NSA collecting of phone records unconstitutional; the scrutiny of the Affordable Care Act rollout; Pope Francis’ declaration that he is not a Marxist; and the argument that the left is waging a “war on Christmas” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, December 9, 2013

| December 9, 2013

segalelliotClear Channel Goes with DC-Based Elliot Segal for WOR, New York Morning Show.  In announcing its new program schedule for news/talk WOR, New York (which includes the Arrival of Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity), Clear Channel Media + Entertainment throws a curveball to industry watchers and names “DC101”limbaughrush morning drive host Elliot Segal the new morning drive show, replacing the retiring John Gambling.  The “Elliot in the Morning” show will continue to air on Clear Channel’s rock WWDC as well as rock WRXL, Richmond “XL 102.”  Segal says, “I’m excited to be coming back to New York, to a station with such a legendary history.  We have built something very special in Washington, DC and Richmond and I’m beyond thrilled that the show will continue airing on DC/101 and XL-102. Now, WOR will be home to ‘Elliot In The Morning’ and I couldn’t be more anxious to get hannityseangoing.”  This move is particularly significant because it is the first time in recent memory that a major market heritage AM news/talk station will be carrying the same show that is running on a major market heritage FM music station.  Although there is nothing new about major FM music stations running talk (or talk-oriented) programs in their lineups (usually in morning drive), this move marks a significant breakthrough in mixing the cultures within a single outlet’s stationality. The implications of this, should it be successful, will be huge.  Clear Channel notes Mark Simone follows Segal from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon.  After that it’s Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Andy Dean and Dave RamseyJoan Hamburg – a longtime WOR personality – moves to weekends with programs airing on both Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon.  President and market manager Joe Puglise states, “This is an incredibly exciting time for WOR.  Bringing America’s top two talk show hosts to our lineup, the entertaining Elliot Segal and his team to the mornings and becoming the flagship station for the Mets will allow us to create unprecedented marketing opportunities for our partners and unbeatable programming for our listeners.”

deptrojohnJohn DePetro Apologizes for ‘Whores’ Comment.  WPRO, Providence late morning talk show host John DePetro has issued an apology for calling union protestors “whores.”  This latest development comes less than a week after TALKERS reported that DePetro had filed a police complaint stating two men had threatened him outside the WPRO studios because of the comment.  Back in September, DePetro railed against the union-supported protest taking place outside a fundraiser for State General Treasurer Gina Raimondo.  During that broadcast he reportedly directed his words toward a female union leader, saying, “What a disgrace.  You are an embarrassment…You are parasites.  You are cockroaches.  You lie.  You are union hags. There’s another word I’d like to use…it begins with a W. and an H. and an O. and an R. and an E. and an S.  See if they can spell that.”  DePetro was off his program last week and the Associate Press reports it’s unclear if his absence had anything to do with the remarks.  Still, he called into his own program and told listeners, “The language I used was not in keeping with the family friendly atmosphere that I try to maintain for the thousands of people who listen to me.  Going forward I intend to approach debates on the current topics that we talk about in a more sensitive style.”

saunderssusanSaunders Begins Daily Talk Show.  WBNQ, Bloomington, Illinois morning drive host Susan Saunders is adding a daily talk show on sister station news/talk WJBC-AM/FM.  Saunders leads the CHR morning show alongside Ray Wagner.  Now, she’s adding a two-hour 9:00 am to 11:00 am talk program to her duties at the Cumulus Media cluster.  She says, “It’s official, and I couldn’t be more excited about joining the legendary, Marconi- and Crystal Award-winning staff of WJBC-AM/FM.  After 15 years (on the morning show), it was time to expand my horizons into pure form talk radio.  Over the last four months I have been auditioning my non-musical style with WJBC’s audience, and it works!”

beasley logo longBeasley Declares Cash Dividend for Share Holders.  The dividend will be paid on January 10 to shareholders of record on December 27 and will pay $0.045 per share.  Chairman and CEO Geroge Beasley states, “The re-initiation of a regular cash dividend reflects the free cash flow generated by our operations as well as our commitment to deliver value to our shareholders, and follows the one-time special dividend of $0.085 paid to shareholders in December 2012. Importantly, taking into consideration the proposed annual capital allocated to dividend payments, based on current conditions we believe Beasley Broadcast Group‘s total free cash flow should provide us with the liquidity needed to further reduce leverage, consider potential station acquisitions and to enhance long-term shareholder value.”

cclogoFlora and DeLucca Join Clear Channel, Phoenix as GSMs.  Coming onboard effective immediately as general sales managers are George Flora and Libia DeLucca.  Flora will oversee sales operations for Clear Channel, Phoenix outlets KFYI “Newstalk 550,” KOY “Business 1230,” and KGME “Fox Sports Radio 910.”  In addition to her GSM duties, DeLucca will assist with brand manager responsibilities for the cluster’s rhythmic hot AC KYOT “Eva 95.5.”  Clear Channel Phoenix vice president of sales Linda Little states, “George Flora is the perfect addition to our sales management team.  He will add a wealth of knowledge and experience in driving revenue and creating solutions for clients utilizing our spoken-word brands.  Libia brings with her years of experience selling integrated marketing solutions with digital, newspaper, and TV assets in Phoenix.  I know she will take her team to new levels as they become even stronger digital marketers for their clients.” Prior to the six years he just spent at ESPN Los Angeles, Flora was with CBS Radio Los Angeles for 12 years.  DeLucca had a 14-year run with Gannett Media Phoenix – most recently as digital sales manager.

wtkw logoYankees Add Syracuse’s Rock “TK 99″ to its Radio Network.  Galaxy Communications, Syracuse classic rocker WTKW “TK 99″ signs a multi-year agreement with CBS Radio to air all 162 regular season games of the NY Yankees beginning with the 2014 season.  Galaxy Communications president/chief executive officer Ed Levine remarks, “We intend to go far beyond just broadcasting the games on the radio in Syracuse.  We’re going to enhance the experience for Yankee fans in Central New York in a myriad of innovative ways.”  CBS Radio vice president of sports programming Mark Chernoff comments, “CBS Radio and the New York Yankees are very excited to be partnering with ‘TK 99′ and Galaxy.  They have shown a great ability through their work with Syracuse University athletics to enhance what is already a strong presence in Syracuse.  We look forward to that continuing with the Yankees.”  In April 2007, WTKW became the flagship play-by-play outlet of Syracuse University men’s football, men’s basketball, and men’s lacrosse games.

kirofm logoKIRO-FM’s Twelve-Hour Fundraiser Collects More Than $489,000.  Local foster children will be aided by money amassed through listener donations and sponsor matching funds via the Bonneville Seattle talk outlet’s 7:00 am – 7:00 pm radio-thon last Thursday (12/5).  KIRO-FM conducted the annual “Holiday Magic” on-air event in conjunction with Treehouse, a nonprofit organization addressing essential education and enrichment needs of kids in foster care. Bonneville Seattle Media Group vice president/market manager Carl Gardner comments, “Again this year, our community has dug deep to support foster children.  Treehouse does a tremendous job of strengthening foster families and helping children realize their full potential.  It is a joy and privilege to connect our generous audience with good neighbors who just need a little help.”  Treehouse chief executive officer Janis Avery remarks, “We are absolutely thrilled with the success of the 25th ‘Holiday Magic’ radio-thon.  We are so grateful to the KIRO radio team and listeners for once again helping Treehouse give 6,000 kids in foster care across Washington State happy holidays.”  Founded in 1988, Treehouse recently set a goal that, by 2017, King County foster kids will graduate high school at the rate of their peers.  Major community contributors to the KIRO-FM radio-thon included Carter Subaru, Safeway Foundation, and GEICO.

wmal logoWMAL-AM/FM, Washington Helps Raise $330k-plus for Fisher House Foundation.  WMAL-AM/FM, Washington program director Bill Hess tells TALKERS magazine that it was a big weekend for the Cumulus Media station and its listeners as the 10th Annual Fisher House Radiothon raised $330,630 for the charity that helps provide housing for the loved ones of U.S. servicemen and women begin treated for injuries suffered in the line of duty.  Hess calls it an “incredible response by our wonderful WMAL listeners” and reports that this year’s total beat last year’s total by $40,000 and the 2011 total by $75,000.  The two-day radiothon was anchored by morning hosts Brian Wilson and Larry O’Connor, along with midday host Chris Plante and weekender Rick Fowler.

beasleylasvegaspartyBeasley Las Vegas Holiday Bash.  The Beasley Broadcast Group Las Vegas cluster took time over the weekend to get together for a holiday party at the Blue Martini.  Pictured here (from l-r) are: Beasley Las Vegas VP of programming Justin Chase, corporate VP of operations Brian Beasley, Beasley Las Vegas general manager Tom Humm, KDWN talk show host Alan Stock, KDWN and syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs, and KDWN program and news director John Shaffer.

Friday, December 6, 2013

| December 6, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 18, 2013

| November 18, 2013

milhaventornadocoverageTornado Damage Reported Via Multi-Media on McGraw Milhaven Show.  The series of tornadoes that swept across the Midwest on Sunday left serious damage in New Minden, Illinois – about an hour East of St. Louis.  The photo you see here is from the video component of KTRS, St. Louis morning host McGraw Milhaven’s online platform.  Since the spring, Milhaven has been partnering with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s StlToday.com site to present his program in a video format.  Today, he used that medium to his advantage as reporter Michael Golde was able to report back to the studio via Skype and show viewers scenes from the storm-damaged town and converse with Milhaven and news anchor Kelly Jackson.  In posting the video on YouTube, Milhaven comments, “KTRS Radio in St Louis is the only radio station in the country to show live video of storm-damaged areas of Ill. to listeners on laptops, desktops and smartphones as well as the radio.”

wrcnlogoJVC Media to Flip Rock WRCN, Long Island to News/Talk After Christmas.  Longtime rocker WRCN, Riverhead, New York has stopped playing “everything that rocks” and has gone Christmas music through the holidays.  But after Christmas, the station will emerge as a news/talk outlet dubbed “LI News Radio 103.9.”  JVC Media president and CEO John Caracciolo explains the company’s thinking in a statement: “WRCN has a long history and heritage on Long Island – many of us have grown up with the station and it has become an intricate part of our lives.  But as our lives change so does our soundtrack.  What we listened to growing up is not necessarily what we listen to now and what was important to us as teenagers maybe doesn’t seem so important anymore.  That’s why we made the decision to change WRCN and develop and program a radio station that fits the needs of Long Island…Long Islanders are starving for local news and information.  Why should we have to wait 22 minutes to hear about the world when all we really want is Islip to Southampton?  What’s the traffic like on the 347 merge or Sunrise Highway in Oakdale?  This station will not only serve as your information source but it will be your sounding board for issues that influence your life, your community and your business.”  Talent that has been announced to be part of the new format includes Premiere Networks nationally syndicated star Sean Hannity and Cumulus Media Networks personality Mark Levin as well as local hosts Ernie Fasio, Vic Fusco, John Gomez, Kevin Law, Steve Levy, Frank McKay, and Jay Oliver.

thomaslindaLinda Thomas to Exit KIRO-FM, Seattle.  Morning news anchor and reporter Linda Thomas announces she will be leaving Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle at the end of the year for a new opportunity that, as she says, “doesn’t involve being at work by 2:00 am.”  In a blog post at the company’s Mynorthwest.com, she writes, “My Bonneville Seattle bosses understand and support my decision too, even though they don’t want me to leave.  That’s what family members do.  I’ll always be grateful for them, and for you.”  Thomas first worked at KIRO in 1988 as an overnight editor and became morning drive anchor in 1993.  She left the station to work as a freelancer but returned to KIRO-FM as morning anchor in 2010.  She adds, “KIRO’s news, talk and online teams are the best in the business.  It’s been an honor to work alongside amazing talent.  I’ve learned a lot from all my co-workers.  They encourage me, challenge me, and make me laugh on a daily basis. I really do love them.”

wrightmichelleMichelle Wright Let Go from All-News WYAY, Atlanta.  The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho tips us that morning drive co-anchor Michelle Wright has been let go from Cumulus Media’s all-news WYAY, Atlanta “All-News 106.7.”  Andy Rose remains in AM drive solo.  The speculation is that the recent hiring of Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson to host a talk show in middays and the acquisition of Atlanta Braves baseball required some cuts in other areas of the station and Wright was the unfortunate victim.  She was one of the original staffers when Cumulus decided to turn WYAY into an all-news station in May of 2012.  She had previously worked at Atlanta-based CNN Radio before joining Cumulus.

pittmanbobCEOs Make the Grade.  Clear Channel’s Bob Pittman and EmmisJeff Smulyan were both the subjects of feature stories in newspapers over the weekend – Pittman in The New York Times and Smulyan in thesmulyanjeff Indianapolis Star.  In a Q&A titled, the Value of Dissent, Pittman says he encouraged dissenters in his organization because they serve a valuable purpose.  “I want us to listen to these dissenters because they may intend to tell you why we can’t do something, but if you listen hard, what they’re really telling you is what you must do to get something done.  It gets you out of your framework of the conventions of what you can and can’t do.”  Read that piece here.  Jeff Smulyan tells the Star in his Q&A that the best piece of advice he’s received has to do with employer-employee relationships, “Attract the best people, treat them well, and let them do their job.  If you want people to go through walls for you, you have to go through more walls for them.”  Read that story here.

millerchrisThe View of Radio from the Digital World’s Perspective.  Noted radio digital consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller writes, “Those of us in digital media know that our world will continue to change drastically, over and over again.  We also know that we will be bigger and better three years…five years…10 years from now.  Plus, we hear how radio compares itself to online listening choices, and we see how you use your digital platforms.  And here’s what we think.”  In a new column posted today (11/18) Miller goes on to state that digital-only people still have “transmitter envy” and that even though more and more people and media are moving online, the stick is still a formidable asset.  Regardless, he points out that many digital-only professionals think that over-the-air radio companies are “crazy” for cutting talent, still selling 60-second commercials, and not being cognizant of just how much entertainment is changing.  He clearly explains what digital pros see as radio’s “dangerous assumption.”  He observes, “I look at a lot of different radio social media, websites, database emails and texting programs, and it’s clear you’re making some dangerous assumptions.  Digital content doesn’t work like you think it should.  It doesn’t work like you wish it did.  It works like it works.  We see you on Facebook and Twitter talking about almost anything…except what people really love about you.  Your websites are a mish-mosh of broad-based content, but if you look at your web stats, there are fewer than half-a-dozen features at your site that, combined, get the lion’s share of your page views.  There is nothing special or exclusive about the emails you send your listeners, and your open rates prove it.  Radio people know a lot about how people use radio.  Meanwhile, you are using all these other media as if knowing how they work doesn’t matter.  One key thing we’re doing to drive our online success is to track everything we can to see what really makes a difference.  We don’t have the luxury of having opinions about what should work.  Either the clicks are there, or they aren’t.  What we do either works, or it doesn’t.  If it doesn’t, you dig in, diagnose the problem, and adjust.”  To read Chris Miller’s entire column, please click here.

rhodesrandiPremiere Reverses Course; Keeps Randi Rhodes on Syndication Menu. There are no reports indicating just what happened between Randi Rhodes and syndicator Premiere Networks but the latter is confirming the widely reported news that Rhodes will continue to be syndicated by Premiere, at least through 2014.  Premiere SVP of affiliate relationspremierenetworks logo Peter Tripi emailed affiliates, “In a happy turn of events, we are pleased to announce that Premiere Networks will continue to produce and distribute the Randi Rhodes show.  In an industry of constant change, it’s a pleasure to provide good news about a talk talent we think so highly of.  We apologize for any inconvenience the previous announcement caused, but look forward to a very successful 2014 with the Randi Rhodes show.”  Several weeks ago, Rhodes began telling her audience she was foreseeing the end of her program and later Premiere notified affiliates the relationship would be ending.

herskovitzalIt’s Pop-Up Time.  No, not the kind of pop-up we associate with websites – pop-up ads – but those retail stores that “pop up” in vacant storefronts during the holiday shopping season.  Sales maven and H&H Communications president Al Herskovitz writes about getting these seasonal businesses advertising on your station this year.  He notes that many of these retailers are big name brands that choose to expand their physical space during this time of year and they include Vera Bradley, Louis Vuitton and the National Football League.  Read Al Herskovitz’s entire column here.

abcnewskennedyABC News Radio Offers Kennedy Assassination Programming.  As the nation marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, ABC News Radio is offering a two-hour special broadcast, “Three Shots Rang Out: An ABC News Special – The JFK Assassination 50 Years Later,” anchored by ABC News’ Diane Sawyer.  It’s an audio-only program that will be heard by ABC News Radio affiliates.  In addition, a special expanded show will be available via download at Audible.com as part of a new digital audio relationship between ABC News Radio and Audible.  The Audible.com version of this program will include an additional 40 minutes of historical audio available exclusively to Audible listeners.

ruthronRon Ruth Passes.  Former 19-year Radio Advertising Bureau executive vice president of stations Ron Ruth died early Saturday (11/16) in Florida of a heart attack.  The 75-year-old Ruth had been struggling with health issues the past two months.  CBS Radio president and chief executive officer Dan Mason was among those quickly noting their sympathies regarding Ruth’s passing. “I just spoke with him at the Radio Show this past September in Orlando,” Mason writes on Facebook. “He was so up and happy – I am sad tonight.”  Also on that social media platform, Tom Birch notes, “Ron lived life to its fullest and was a joy and inspiration to everyone who had the opportunity to know him.  Ron was the midwife to Birch Research.  He opened doors for me, encouraged me and guided me.  I am deeply honored to have worked for Ron at WQAM, Miami in the 1970s, and to have remained friends with him for the next three decades.” According to former RKO General eastern vice president Perry Ury, “Ron Ruth was a friend and our house skeptic at RKO.”  Former Tele Media Broadcasting vice president and chief operating officer Ira Rosenblatt adds, “We’ve lost a friend and true broadcaster.”  Doing afternoon drive in Boston early in his radio career, Ruth roomed with two other on-air talents who went on to stardom – George Carlin and Jack Burns of Burns & (Avery) Schreiber.  He held sales manager positions for Unistar Radio Networks, as well as at the local level in markets such as New York (WOR-FM), Chicago (WNUS), Washington, DC (WGMS), and Buffalo (WYSL).  Ruth left Unistar to join the RAB in 1992.  Most recently, he was consulting the Radio Advertising Bureau.

wmalbonginoA Man of His Word.  The man having his head shaved live on the air on Cumulus Media’s WMAL, Washington, DC is former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino.  Not too long ago, Bongino said on the WMAL airwaves that he would shave his head if President Obama apologized for the gaffes in the rollout of the Affordable Care Act.  And since the president did offer an apology of sorts, Bongino agreed to honor his statement live on the air and did so on Friday, November 15.

Friday, October 25, 2013

| October 25, 2013

pittmanbobBob Pittman Tells Los Angeles Times: ‘Not limited to our towers and transmitters.’  In an interview with the Los Angeles TimesRyan Faughnder, Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman says this is a “time of feast” for radio as the internet has helped radio expand its reach.  Pittman spoke with the Times prior to Wednesday’s Katy Perry album release event at the Burbank studio that is now the company’s iHeartRadio Theater Los Angeles.  Pittman expresses his belief that the company’s multi-media approach to distributing content – AM/FM, internet, live events, and television – is helping create excitement around it that will help the radio business evolve.  “Our view is, we need to be everywhere our listeners are,” Pittman tells the paper.  “We’re about massive reach and we’re about relationships with the consumer.  We build something big, powerful and strong and we’ll figure out how to make money on it.  We’ve built this theater, and we haven’t pre-sold anything.  We don’t know how we’ll make money on it, but it’s important to who we are.  Right now, there’s probably no one that does anything like what we’re doing with the iHeartRadio Theater in L.A., the iHeartRadio Theater in New York, the iHeartRadio music festival and the iHeartRadio Pool Party in the spring.  We’re building out all these major events for our listeners, and they’ll all come together financially, eventually.”  Read the entire L.A. Times piece here.

hannityseanSean Hannity Assists Fired ObamaCare Worker.  Premiere Networks nationally syndicated star Sean Hannity’s recent call to the government hotline set up to assist people with questions about the Affordable Care Act resulted in phone operator Erling Davis getting fired.  Hannity phoned the help line on his program with the goal of showing his audience what people who call the hotline go through and Davis, who was aware she was going to go on the radio and gave her permission to be on the show, took the call.  However, the next day Davis was fired for talking with the media – something she says she was not told was against policy.  Hannity had the woman on his program and told the mother of two he’s going to gift her a salary of $25,000 and help her find a new job. He’s also enlisting help from listeners to visit Hannity.com or email jobs@hannity.com with job opportunities in the Panama City, Florida area to help Davis.

beasleyBeasley Broadcast Group Announces Third Quarter Revenue Rises 5%.  Net revenue for the period ending September 30 was $26 million – up 5% over the same period a year ago.  Same station net revenue increased by 2.7%.  The company reports that the “$1.2 million, or 5%, rise in net revenue during the three months ended September 30, 2013 compared with the same period in 2012 reflects strength in the company’s Philadelphia and Miami-Fort Lauderdale market clusters as well as the acquisition of KOAS-FM in Las Vegas in the 2012 third quarter and KVGS-FM in September 2013.”  Chairman and CEO George Beasley comments, “The third quarter marks Beasleybeasleygeorge Broadcast Group‘s fifth consecutive period of top-line growth as third quarter net revenue rose 5% and same station net revenue increased 2.7%.  Excluding the benefit of political advertising in the year-ago quarter, same station net revenue rose approximately 4.4%.  The third quarter revenue increase reflects growth in local and digital revenue, strength in our largest market clusters in Philadelphia and Miami, and continued growth in Augusta. Overall, for our five markets that report to Miller Kaplan – which represent approximately 76% of our total third quarter revenue – Beasley station clusters grew revenue by 6.8% while the total revenue for all reporting radio stations in these markets declined by 1.4% for the quarter.  Our out-performance continues to highlight our organization-wide focus on strong core programming and targeted localism, both of which are contributing to the company’s ratings strength in its markets.”

siriusxmSiriusXM Reports Q3 Revenue Up 11%.  SiriusXM Satellite Radio reported its 2013 third quarter financial numbers yesterday and says its Q3 revenue was up 11% compared to the same period in 2012 after record revenue of $962 million.  However, net income dropped 17.3% comparing third quarters from this year to last “including losses on extinguishment of debt of $108 million (in 2013) and $107 million (in 2012).”  In a statement, CEO Jim Meyer says, “SiriusXM had a great quarter, with the 513,000 net subscriber additions and the 373,000 self-pay net meyerjimadditions setting post-merger records for the third quarter.  We also saw double-digit growth in revenue for the seventh consecutive quarter, a new quarterly record for adjusted EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA margin, and significant growth in free cash flow.  With continued growth in new automobile sales and an increasing number of existing self-pay subscribers selling their cars and rotating back into our trial funnel, we are increasing our guidance for net subscriber additions and reducing our guidance for self-pay subscriber additions by equal amounts.  We are also pleased to increase revenue guidance for 2013 and introduce new guidance for continued growth in 2014 in both revenue and adjusted EBITDA.”  The company says it expects revenue in 2014 to surpass $4 billion.

millerstephanieStephanie Miller ‘Sexy Liberal Comedy’ Tour Hits Seattle.  WYD Media Management announces another stop on Stephanie Miller’s “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” as it hits the Paramount Theater on December 14.  The program features Miller and comics Hal Sparks and John Fugelsang delivering an “evening of sexy political comedy!”  The “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” has been a very successful money-maker and profile-raiser for Miller’s morning drive radio program which emanates from Clear Channel’s progressive talk KTLK, Los Angeles.

washingtonstacyKFTK, St. Louis Debuts Stacy Washington Weekend Program.  Stacy Washington has been a contributor to the “Allman in the Morning” program on Emmis’ KFTK, St. Louis, a sub for daily host Dana Loesch, a guest on Fox News Channel and TheBlaze TV as well as a writer for Freedom Works and Townhall Magazine.  Beginning Saturday,kftk logo November 2, Washington will hit the St. Louis airwaves each weekend with her own radio show titled, “Stacy on the Right with Stacy Washington” every Saturday from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Program director Jeff Allen says, “We are thrilled to get the chance to add Stacy to our regular weekend lineup.  The show will be issues, lifestyle and opinion as only Stacy can deliver them.  I think the show will attract a big following in a short period of time.”  Stacy Washington is the daughter of an Army police cfficer and budget analyst who spent the majority of her childhood growing up in Germany.  She later enlisted in the Air Force as a weapons system analyst during which time she served on the Elgin Air Force Base Honor Guard and completed a tour of duty in Saudi Arabia in support of Operation Desert Shield.  She comments, “I’m honored to join the major voices of conservative thought on ‘FM NewsTalk 97.1,’ leading the metropolitan St. Louis area in ratings and most importantly,  in reporting the truth.  I can’t wait to get started!”

dahlsteveSteve Dahl Plans Not to Attend Radio Hall of Fame Induction; Ebert Widow Asks Him to Reconsider.  Chicago media writer Robert Feder published an open letter to Chicago radio personalities Steve Dahl and Garry Meier from Chaz Ebert, wife of the late Roger Ebert.  Ebert wrote the letter after Federmeiergarry reported that Dahl said he would not attend the November 9 ceremony at the Museum of Communications in Chicago because of his “general disinterest in the proceedings” and because Meier did not return a phone call to talk about the induction of the pair.  In her letter Ebert asks the two to bury the hatchet and attend the event for the city of Chicago and to help put an end to 20 years of resentment.  But in a post today, Dahl thanks Ebert for her thoughts and kind words but says his numerous attempts over the years to reconcile with Meier and his family have been ignored and he believes the two should go in together, not at separate tables at an event or one without the other.

kalinerpeteNews/Talk WWNC, Asheville Makes News with Resignation of Local Pol After Appearance on ‘The Daily Show.’  An appearance on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” by local North Carolina GOP precinct chair Don Yelton to discuss the North Carolina voter ID law turned into “radio gold” for Clear Channel’s WWNC, Asheville after Yelton resigned from the position on the station’s Pete Kaliner program.  According to WWNC program director Brian Hall, Yelton was made to look rather racist in the edited version of the segment that ran on “The Daily Show” and after he resigned on Kaliner’s program, numerous media outlets – including CNN, The Huffington Post, Salon and The New Yorker – were in contact with WWNC to request confirmation of the resignation and further flesh out the story.

nab logo

NAB Backs Foreign Ownership Proposal.  In response to Acting FCC Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn circulating a proposal that would make it easier for broadcasters to attract foreign investors, NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith states, “NAB applauds Acting FCC Chairwoman Clyburn for proposing that the Commission should consider foreign investment in U.S. broadcast properties the same way it considers such investments in other telecommunications properties.  This is fundamentally fair and will serve the public interest. Permitting new potential sources of capital for American radio and TV stations will strengthen our ability to continue providing compelling news, entertainment and sports programming and to remain competitive in a multichannel digital world.”

infotrak logoOdds & Sods.  The syndicated public affairs program “INFOTRAK” celebrates 10 years on the air on October 26.  The weekly show airs in 24 of the top 25 markets, and in most of the top 100 markets.  WestwoodOne manages national advertising sales for the show.  Host Chris Witting says, “Stations tell us that ‘INFOTRAK’ is the one public affairs show their listeners actually want to hear.  We consider that a real compliment.”…..ESPN Deportes announced the return of “Dream Job: El Reportero,” the nationwide search to find the final member joining the network’s team of soccer experts in Brazil to report from World Cup 2014.  The contest will launch at a live casting event in Los Angeles on November 3 at the Regal Theater starting at 2:00 pm PST.  Returning for its third installment, ESPN Deportes will give aspiring sports journalists across the nation the chance to compete for the opportunity to serve as a social media reporter for ESPN Deportes in Brazil.  Different from the previous casting tours, this year’s search will be driven by social media participation and supplemented by TV studio programs, the network’s top soccer talent, ESPNDeportes.com and ESPN Deportes Radio.

cookeworldseriesHolland at the World Series.   Radio consultant Holland Cooke reports to TALKERS magazine about his adventure making it to last night’s game two of the World Series: Long day yesterday, when I awoke pre-dawn in Minnesota, and began the trek that ended last night at Fenway Park.  It was the third time I’ve been to a World Series game, but only once was being there really about the game.  And how COULDN’T it have been, at game seven in Minneapolis, 1991, a game even Twins fans didn’t want to end, Morris vs. Smoltz, wow.  I had USA Today tickets, when I was doing Sky Radio there then, and we were entertaining darn-Minnesota-nice execs from Northwest Airlines that night…and they WERE entertained.  Also saw Toronto at the Phillies, in those rowdy 700 section seats, in the rain, at the old Vet.  Then last night, bundled-up, just like ya gotta be in April at Fenway.  Being there is less about the game itself than a word we heard repeatedly from Apple CEO Tim Cook at this week’s product introduction event: the “experience.”  ICYMI, you owe it to yourself to watch that Apple event, at apple.com.  Witness the media landscape where we now compete.  When listeners hear your station, what do they “experience?”  On behalf of my client stations that are Your Cardinals Baseball Stations, “Go Redbirds.”  But, just between you and me…

hendriephilTALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  WYM Media’s Phil Hendrie is added to the program schedule at WQXL, Columbia, South Carolina in the 10:00 pm to 1:00 am slot.  The Leslie Marshall show is also added to the station’s programming in the 9:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot…..“Armed American Radio with Mark Walters” is added to the program schedule at the following stations: WHFT, Avon Park, Florida; WENY, Elmira, New York; WENI, Corning, New York; WRTA, Altoona, Pennsylvania; WLVA-AM/FM, Lynchburg, Virginia; WJXY, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and WXJY, Georgetown, South Carolina…..The “Motley Fool Stock Watch” is picked up by affiliates WBNW, Boston; WPLM, Plymouth, Massachusetts; WESO, Southbridge, Massachusetts; and WRAY, Princeton, Indiana…..Talk Media Network announces both “Fat Guys At The Movies” with hosts Kevin Carr and Kristin Dreyer Kramer and “Legends of Success” have been added to the lineup at WDBL, Springfield, Tennessee.  “Legends of Success” has also been added to the schedule at WBCF-AM/FM, Florence, Alabama…..“Freedom Feens” with Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi is added to the program lineup at KIXZ, Amarillo, Texas.

ObamaCare and HealthCare.gov Criticism Top Talkers TenTM.  The scrutiny of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the problems with the HealthCare.gov website was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of October 21-25.  Following at #2 was the infighting in the Republican Party.  At #3 was the state of the economy followed by the recent teacher slayings at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top people and stories discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is posted every Friday at Talkers.com.  To see this week’s entire chart, click here.

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.

Tuesday, October 1, 2012

| October 1, 2013

zacharyphilEntercom Brings Phil Zachary to Boston as VP/Market Manager.  A day after losing Jeff Brown to Cumulus Media’s Atlanta operations, Entercom announces Phil Zachary will take over as vice president and market manager effective October 21.  Zachary will lead sports talk stations WEEI-FM, ESPN on WEEI-AM, rock WAAF, news/talk WRKO and The Boston Red Sox Radio Network.  The company says, “This represents a homecoming of sorts for Zachary, whose first weei logopaid radio job was as a part-time, on-air announcer at WAAF.   Zachary is a 41-year radio veteran, a Connecticut native and graduate of Holy Cross in Worcester.  After beginning his career in Worcester, he moved on to stints in Providence and Boston. While in Boston, Zachary served as operations manager at the old WITS 1510.  There his role included direct oversight of both Red Sox and Bruins play-by-play.  Zachary comes to wrkologoEntercom from Curtis Media Group in Raleigh where he was president and chief operating officer, overseeing the company’s entire slate of radio stations, networks, digital and interactive divisions and print publications.   Prior to joining Curtis Media in 2002, he was VP/market manager for CBS Radio in Washington.  Entercom group president Weezie Kramer says, “Phil is the right person at the right time for Entercom Boston.  He is a leader and a listener.  He understands the challenges we face but he also sees the tremendous opportunity we have.  Phil believes in the strength of our brands, the dynamic nature of our content and the true potential of our team.”  Zachary comments, “The only reason to leave a great job in radio is for one of the absolute best jobs in radio.  Make no mistake – WAAF, WEEI and WRKO are not only some of the greatest call letters in Boston radio history, but some of the best brands in our industry.  This amazing opportunity brings me back to my New England roots and the place I started my radio career. There are great challenges ahead, not to mention best-in-class competition, but I look forward to it and can’t wait to get started.”  Management consultant Joel Hollander has been retained by Entercom to assist in the transition.

iheartradiotalkTurner Broadcasting Content to Be Available on iHeartRadio Talk.  A deal between Turner Broadcasting and Clear Channel Media and Entertainment will see select audio content including news from CNN, entertainment clips from TBS‘s “CONAN” and sports programming from Bleacher Report, in its new iHeartRadio Talk feature.  The content will also include segments from “Anderson Cooper 360,” “New Day,” “Piers Morgan Live,” and “The Lead with Jake Tapper.”  Full episodes of “Anderson Cooper 360,” “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” “State of the Union,” and “Erin Burnett Out Front” will also be accessible via iHeartRadio Talk.  Clear Channel president of digital Brian Lakamp states, “This marks yet another significant milestone for iHeartRadio Talk.  We are continuing to identify and add quality partners to iHeartRadioTalk to continue to deliver our listeners even more content that is relevant and entertaining anywhere they are.”

hannityseanSean Hannity Receives GOP Statesman of the Year Award in Florida.  An enthusiastic, record-breaking crowd welcomed Sean Hannity to Sarasota, Florida, this past Friday night (9/27) to witness his acceptance of the Statesman of the Year award.  The event, underwritten by the Republican Party of Sarasota County, drew nearly 2,000 people to the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota to hear a lineup of state notables, such as Florida Governor Rick Scott and State Attorney General Pam Bondi, laud the radio and TV talk show host and to listen to his acceptance remarks.  TALKERS magazine sales expert Al Herskovitz was in attendance at the event.  Hannity in his acceptance, adhered to his well-known partisan positions in line with his radio and TV point of view.  However, the speech was generously laced with numerous personalherskovitzal anecdotes about his family, career and upbringing and peppered with much good humor.  He even poked a few light-hearted jabs at his former TV co-host, Alan Colmes, but pointed out that Alan and he remain friends.  During the VIP reception, Hannity personally and individually greeted a nearly block-long line of well-wishers posing for photos, signing autographs, shaking hands and holding mini-conversations.  This step took over an hour by itself.  In spite of the frenzied attempts by various factions and individuals in the crowd trying to get the popular talk show host’s attention, literally pulling him in all directions, Hannity remained calm, friendly and good-humored, making it a point to speak with as many individuals in a one-on-one manner as humanly possible.  Commenting on Hannity’s ability to “work a room,” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Sean Hannity is more skilled at mingling with a large crowd and making everyone in it feel good than any radio personality I have ever witnessed.  He might have a completely opposite view of politics than Bill Clinton – but he shares the former president’s supreme skills at pressing the flesh and connecting with people in person.  It is because of this gift, coupled with his steadfast loyalty to the principles and listening constituency he represents, that Sean Hannity would make a magnificent candidate for national office.  Obviously, I am not the only one with this opinion as evidenced by Hannity receiving so prestigious an award from the GOP.”  The radio talk show industry was well-represented in the audience.  Among them was Barb Yoder, the general manager of WGUL, Tampa and WLSS, Sarasota – part of the Salem Broadcasting Group in the area.  Also on hand was Andi (she uses only her first name) of the morning team of Ken Walsh & Andi on News/Talk 1260, WFTW, Fort Walton Beach — a Cumulus property.  The annual Statesman of the Year award has taken on growing importance. Recent recipients were former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour and financier Donald Trump, who sent along video-taped wishes to Hannity.

meyerbillTALKERS PROFILE:  Bill Meyer of KMED, Medford, Oregon – Super Serving Local Listeners, a Blueprint for Talk Success.  If you leave Portland, Oregon and head just over four hours south down Interstate 5, before you reach the California border you’ll drive right into the town of Medford.  About 75 miles inland through rugged terrain from the Pacific Ocean, Medford is a small town with a population of 76,000, but is also an economic hub for Southern Oregon and a home for the state’s growing wine industry.  Medford is also the home of KMED-AM (1440), a news/talk station owned by kmed logoBicoastal Media and the oldest radio station in Medford.  Its weekday lineup includes syndicated superstars Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, along with Glenn Beck and Alex Jones.  However, what drives the station is their morning show, and extremely talented host Bill Meyer has not only made the morning show his own, he has been able to create a blueprint of how to package a large-market type of local show and imprint that on a small-market audience, giving the station a very sellable show, while the listeners get the interaction and local flavor they would not get with a nationally syndicated program.  And, he does it all on his own – without a show producer.  Read TALKERS magazine special features correspondent Jeff McKay‘s profile on Bill Meyer and KMED by clicking here.

espndeportesJournal Goes Spanish Sports in Wichita.  Flipping KLIO, Wichita from its true oldies format, Journal Broadcast Group moves to service the Spanish-speaking population in the market with sports talk using ESPN Deportes.  Journal Wichita vice president and general manager Eric McCart says, “We are very excited to join with ESPN Deportes to broadcast live 24-hour unparalleled sports content in Spanish, including SportsCenter updates, soccer, Major League Baseball and much more.  ESPN Deportes on 1070AM will deliver a passionate and relevant sports listening experience to Latino sports fans who have been underserved in our market.  It will also provide a unique opportunity for local advertisers to connect with our community’s growing Hispanic population.”

sandlernicoleOdds & Sods.  Florida-based talk show host Nicole Sandler is sitting in for Gloria Neal (7:00 am to 10:00 am MT) on Clear Channel’s progressive talk KKZN, Denver today (10/1) through Friday.  Sandler will also be subbing for Premiere Networks nationally syndicated host Randi Rhodes the week of October 21 -25…..ESPN Radio begins its 16th season of Major League Baseball playoff game broadcasts tonight.  “Sunday Night Baseball” play-by-play voice Dan Shulman and analyst Orel Hershiser will call the National League Wild Card game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates, the National League Division Series (NLDS) between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves, the National League Championship Series (NLCS) and the World Series.  ESPN Radio’s “Sunday Night Baseball” team of Jon Sciambi and analyst Chris Singleton will describe the American League Wild Card game (Tampa Bay Rays against the Cleveland Indians), the American League Division Series (ALDS) between the AL Wild Card winner and the Boston Red Sox, and the American League Championship Series (ALCS). Additionally, Dave Flemming and analyst Rick Sutcliffe will call the NLDS between the NL Wild Card winner and St. Louis Cardinals while Michael Kay and analyst Aaron Boone will describe the ALDS between the Oakland Athletics and Detroit Tigers.

scba logoSCBA to Honor Radio Advertisers.  The Southern California Broadcasters Association  and its General Sales Managers Council will honor the Southern California Ford Dealers, AIS Insurance, In-N-Out Burger, and Cedars-Sinai with its annual Outstanding Achievement in Radio Awards on October 24 at a luncheon to be held at the Sheraton Universal Hotel in Universal City.  The awards are voted on by the GSM Council and represent the very best in creative radio commercials using both Southern California’s Radio and digital platforms.  SCBA president Thom Callahan states, “We are thrilled by the client and agency excitement and response to attending this prestigious Radio Awards luncheon.  The senior management from each client honored will be in attendance.  These special clients really understand the ubiquitous reach and power of Southern California Radio and we are excited to give them the public recognition they so richly deserve.”

beasleyawards13Beasley Broadcast Group Honors Staff with Company Operating Awards.  Beasley bestowed Company Operating Awards during its annual management meetings held in Naples, Florida.  The company reports it gathered corporate management and station leadership from the 11 markets in which it operates to celebrate achievements and contributions from individual employees and radio stations over the preceding 12 months. The 2013 honorees include:   WXTU-FM, Philadelphia – Radio Station of the Year; Tom Humm– General Manager of the Year/Las Vegas; Robin Wood – Business Manager of the Year/Fayetteville, NC; Matt Smith – Sales Manager of the Year/WXTU-FM and WRDW-FM, Philadelphia; Shelly Easton– Program Director of the Year/WXTU-FM, Philadelphia; Charlie McCoy – Engineer of the Year/Augusta, GA; Sam Floyd– CEO Award of Excellence/ Executive Vice President.  Founder, chairman and CEO George G. Beasley comments, “Each year, as we honor our company’s highest achievers, I’m reminded of the quality of professionalism within Beasley Broadcast Group.  The ladies and gentleman we recognize this year have certainly earned our respect and it is my privilege to acknowledge their accomplishments and congratulate each and every one of them.”  Pictured here are (from l-r): Sam Floyd; Mac Edwards (accepting for Robin Wood); president Bruce Beasley; EVP Brian Beasley; Natalie Conner (accepting for WXTU; Shelly Easton & Matt Smith); chairman & CEO George Beasley; EVP/CFO Caroline Beasley; Tom Humm; and Kent Dunn (accepting for Charlie McCoy).

hannitydeanwokvSean Hannity and Andy Dean Help WOKV, Jacksonville ‘Stand Up for America.’  Cox Media Group’s Jacksonville news/talk outlet WOKV held its annual “Stand Up for America” event at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Jacksonville over the weekend and Premiere Networks stars Sean Hannity and Andy Dean were there.  The station reports that “thousands of fans gathered at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts where Hannity and Dean, along with former presidential candidate Herman Cain and veteran Washington reporter Jamie Dupree, appeared on a panel to discuss a wide range of topics, including ObamaCare, Syria, taxes, spending, dependency on foreign oil and much more.”  Pictured here are (from l-r): Jamie Dupree, Sean Hannity, Herman Cain and Andy Dean.

Government Shutdown, ObamaCare, U.S.-Iran Relations, Scrapped Hillary TV Movies, and Syria Weapons Inspections Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/30).  The eve of the shutdown of the federal government; the beginning stage of the implementation of ObamaCare; relations between the United States and Iran; two scrapped TV movies about Hillary Clinton; and the start of the inspection of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

| September 26, 2013

savagemichaelMichael Savage Makes It Official: Moves to PM Drive in January.  Cumulus Media Networks talk star Michael Savage confirmed to listeners to his Wednesday evening program that he will move to the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET slot for the live broadcast of his program beginning in January.  As Savage said to fans last month, he will take over the slot currently held by Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity on 60 stations owned by Cumulus Media including a number of major market news/talk stations — WABC, New York; WMAL, Washington; WBAP, Dallas; KSFO, San Francisco; WJR, Detroit; and WLS-AM, Chicago.  Clear Channel is promising to clear Hannity in markets where Cumulus currently airs thehannitysean program.  At WLS, the local program “Roe & Roeper” featuring Roe Conn and Richard Roeper airs from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  If, indeed Savage moves to the 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm CT timeslot, something’s gotta give there.  At WJR, Detroit, Hannity currently airs from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm when local host Mitch Albom takes over from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Even during his long tenure with TRN, Savage’s afternoon broadcast time on the West Coast pushed his live program into the evening hours in the East.  This is his first opportunity for Savage to air live in PM drive in the East.  In an official statement from Cumulus, Savage says, “With this important time slot as well as the iconic Cumulus stations coveted by everyone in radio, I hope to edutain the world.  Politics will always be my mainstay but there is so much more to talk about.  Breaking news and science, religion, films, books have always been my calling cards.  With these new stations, I break out a new deck.”  Commenting on the forthcoming change, TALKERS magazine publish Michael Harrison states, “This move of Michael Savage to afternoon drive on a variety of Cumulus heritage stations coupled with the high-profile accent of Sean Hannity to an almost impenetrable national phalanx of heavyweight Clear Channel sticks such as the legendary WOR, New York, that will welcome his arrival with  major promotion and enthusiasm, is an exciting shot in the arm for news/talk radio in general across America.  Having a choice between Hannity and Savage on the dial during afternoon drive in every major East Coast market (and earlier elsewhere) is sure to increase overall listening and the image of the format for all concerned.”

cainepaulWestwoodOne CEO Paul Caine Speaks on Ad Week Panel.  Speaking on a panel discussion titled, Kings of Content, as part of the events surrounding “Advertising Week” in New York City on Wednesday, WestwoodOne CEO Paul Caine touted the expanding value of audio to advertisers as it moves beyond just the traditional AM/FM radio model.  Caine also echoed the statements made by RadioInfo/TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison during his speech at the NAB/RAB Radio Show last week when he noted that content without the proper platform is not “king,” that a respected and recognized platform is necessary to successfully deliver good content.  Caine stated that the industry needs to build both content and platforms that consumers want.  In explaining the growing nature of audio, Caine said the newer forms of content are those people use when they aren’t able to view a screen or read.  “We have to think about it as long-form, whether that’s an NFL game, which we broadcast, to short-form which is podcasting, to shorter-form which is social audio that can be put into bite-sized content and shared with your friends.”  Caine said the numerous ways in which audio content is now packaged is good for advertisers.  “Companies like ours have been growing in terms of our ability to reach more consumers.”

lm communications logoL.M. Communications Fights Back in Arbitron Copyright Infringement Suit.  Arbitron’s suit for copyright infringement of its radio ratings data against Lexington, Kentucky-based broadcaster L.M. Communications is under order by U.S. District Court Judge Karen K. Caldwell for both sides to meet to see if they can come to a settlement and then file a report with the court.  This comes as L.M. argues Arbitron does not have and cannot own copyright rights to the data.  L.M. states, “Plaintiff… has known, or should have known, that it does not, and cannot, own any copyright rights in any data, information, rankings, or other factual listings, and that it cannot prevent third parties including radio stations from receiving and using this unprotectable data.  Despite this knowledge, Plaintiff has attempted to impermissively extend the scope of any copyright rights it may have, in a calculated campaign to maintain its monopolistic stranglehold on the radio ratings market.  Plaintiff has done so through threats and filing of multiple lawsuits and by improperly manipulating its data to punish nonsubscribers.  This improper manipulation includes, among other things, threatening to gerrymander radio station markets to improperly force subscription to Arbitron’s services, and outright exclusion from the data rankings of non-subscriber stations as if they do not exist at all.  Arbitron has announced plans to implement additional discriminatory practices in the future including combining simulcast data for only subscribing stations to give them an advantage over nonsubscribers.  In doing so, plaintiff has made a mockery of the very ‘facts’ and ‘data’ it seeks to protect.  Plaintiff’s misconduct in engaging in acts of copyright misuse has the effect of rendering Plaintiff’s copyrights, to the extent valid at all, unenforceable.”  According to the judge’s orders, the two sides must have met by October 9 and filed a report by October 19.

boomercartonCBS Sports Network Enters into ‘Boomer & Carton’ TV Simulcast Picture.  The television simulcast of WFAN, New York’s “Boomer & Carton” morning drive show is currently aired on the local MSG Network but that deal ends on Monday.  The New York Daily News is reporting that joining the Yankees-owned YES Network in the bidding process is the show’s parent company-owned CBS Sports Network cable channel.  Although the exclusive negotiation period between the program and MSG has ended, MSG has the right to match any offer.  The Daily News says sources close to the situation say the fledgling cable sports channel was originally interested in simulcasting the CBS Sports Radio Network morning show with Tiki Barber, Brandon Tierney and Dana Jacobson but is now interested in Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton.  As the paper observes, Boomer & Carton are a local show and if they “go national” via CBS Sports Network, would they alter their content to appeal to a national audience?  We’ll probably have the answers to these and other questions before the current deal ends on Monday.

wproWPRO, Providence Takes a Look at Journalism in the Digital Age as Part of Live Debate Series.  The event takes place today from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm at Roger Williams University in Providence with WPRO’s Tara Granahan moderating the discussion.  It’s the fourth in the station’s debate series and it’s titled, “Reading Between the Lines,” andgranahantara examines the complexities of funding and producing journalism in the digital age.  It is being streamed live at 630WPRO.com and will be the center piece of a WPRO Special Report scheduled to air during the “WPRO Morning News with Gene Valicenti” the week of September 30.  Panelists include: Mark Patinkin, columnist for the Providence Journal; Linda Levin, former dean of URI’s Journalism Department; Barbara Meagher, URI professor and former TV reporter; John Howell, owner and publisher of the Warwick Beacon and Cranston Herald; Dan MacGowan, blogger and reporter from WPRI-TV; and Michael Skully, assistant professor of communications at Roger Williams University.

carlsongretchenOdds & Sods.  Fox News Channel unveils new program, “The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson,” to debut in the 2:00 pm ET slot on Monday, September 30.  Carlson left the “Fox & Friends” morning show to focus on this new program.  She was replaced by Elisabeth Hasselbeck.  Carlson says in a statement, “I am thrilled that Roger Ailes has given me the opportunity to host a signature show for Fox that will focus on the real stories of the day.  From in-depth interviews to social media interaction live during the show, I look forward to joining viewers in the afternoon for smart and straight-forward talk.”…..Synergy is going on at CBS Sports Radio Network where Boomer Esiason – co-host of WFAN, New York’s “Boomer & Carton” show and host of the network’s “Sports Minute” feature will call in to the network’s Jim Rome program every Friday at 12:20 ET during football season…..ESPN Radio’s Thursday night game this week is Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech with Bill Rosinski calling the action along with analyst David Norrie and sideline reporter Joe Schad.  Also ESPN Radio’s “SVP & Russillo” will broadcast live tomorrow from the set of ESPN TV’s College GameDay Built by The Home Depot at Myers Quad on the campus of the University of Georgia in advance of the Georgia vs LSU game on Saturday…..SiriusXM debuts a new 24/7 comedy channel called “Just For Laughs” that features over 30 years of stand-up comedy drawn from the comedy archives of the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal, including the work of established comedians, new faces, international superstars, and stand-up from comedians before they were stars…..The New York Times writer Carmen Wong Ulrich joins American Public Media to host the weekend program “Marketplace Money” beginning November 2.

entercomCool Job Opportunity.  Entercom San Francisco (96.5 KOIT, 95.7 The GAME, 102.9 KBLX, 98.5 & 102.1 KFOX) is looking for a web director who can immediately step in and be responsible for developing the voice for all aspects of the organization’s online presence. You must possess the skills to do web design and create and edit high quality video/graphics while maintaining our station’s websites on a daily basis.  In addition to writing, editing, and proofreading site content, this candidate will work closely with the corporate technical team to maintain site standards in regards to new development.  The web director will also be responsible for crafting site promotions, email newsletters and online outreach campaigns.  This job requires prior experience managing online marketing and outreach campaigns, strong attention to detail and an ability to work under tight deadlines.  The ideal candidate must have a STRONG knowledge and love of sports!  Additionally the web director should have an extensive knowledge and understanding of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), SEO, web analytics and digital marketing best practices.  Logistically, the web director implements web pages, maintains content including user clubs, web design, video editing, audio editing, digital and print ready and graphic.  The ideal candidate will be a brand evangelist who doesn’t just think outside of the box but can create a new one!  To be considered, please send your cover letter and resume to SCunningham@entercom.com and JBarrett@entercom.com. You can also find further details about the job responsibilities and skills required for this position in the careers section on http://www.entercom.com.  No phone calls please.  Entercom San Francisco is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

bfoagolfBroadcasters Foundation of America Raises $235,000 at Celebrity Golf Tourney.  The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces it brought in $235,000 to help broadcasters in need at its 2013 Celebrity Golf Tournament on Monday at the Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey.  The organization says the funds come at a time when more broadcasters than ever are in need of assistance.  The Foundation expects to grant more than $850,000 in aid over the next year.  More than 150 broadcasters and celebrities turned out in support of the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation, including 30 sportscasters, athletes, and actors.  Celebrity golfers included Bruce Beck, WNBC-TV; Nick Buoniconti, NFL Super Bowl Champion; Craig Carton, WFAN; Duke Castiglione, Fox 5; Tina Cervasio, MSG Network; Howard Cross, NFL Super Bowl Champion; Maurice Dubois, WCBS-TV; John Franco, New York Mets Hall of Famer; Jay Harris, ESPN; Ann Liguori, WFAN Radio and ESPN; Otis Livingston, WCBS-TV; Sean McDonough, ESPN; Lonnie Quinn, WCBS-TV; Bill Raftery, CBS Sports; Sterling Sharpe, NFL Green Bay Packers Hall of Famer; Mike Woodson, New York Knicks; Chris Wragge, WCBS-TV, and more.

The Effort to Defund ObamaCare, Government Shutdown Threat, Climate Change Controversy, and U.S.-Iran Relations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/25).  The attempt by members of the GOP to defund the Affordable Care Act; the threat of a federal government shutdown; the controversy over the science behind climate change; and the relations between the U.S. and Iran as the latter approaches completion of its nuclear program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

| September 25, 2013

nielsenarbitronNielsen Says No Plans to Reduce Headcount.  In covering the Nielsen conference call with investors that took place on Monday, TALKERS took note of Nielsen CEO David Calhoun’s statement about realizing $20 million in synergies and, due to the fact that broadcasting companies often use that term to define the cost savings from elimination of duplicative positions and consolidation of duties after a merger or acquisition, interpreted his comment to mean the acquisition of Arbitron would mean exactly that for some of the Arbitron staff.  However, Nielsen tells TALKERS, “In fact, there are no plans to reduce headcount at this time, and as a growing business, we have many opportunities to redeploy talent.  Mr. Calhoun’s comment on a ‘logical and steady pace’ was related more to the pace of global expansion.”

wmyt logoTalk Media TV’s WMYT, Wilmington, North Carolina Holds ‘Ribbon Cutting’ Tomorrow.  News/talk outlet WMYT, Wilmington, North Carolina announces the “official ribbon-cutting ceremony” at its Wilmington broadcast studios — sponsored by the North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce – taking placewrightcurtis show logo Thursday, September 26 at 10:30 am.  The station is owned by Talk Media TV principals Curtis Wright and George Bell who put the station on the air on July 22.  The two say they built the station to appeal to conservative talk radio listeners whom they believe had lost a voice in Southeastern North Carolina.  They add, “WMYT 106.7 FM has returned America’s top syndicated conservative talk, subject talk and spoken-word shows to FM and the region.  Since the launch of WMYT 106.7 FM, five new locally produced shows have been added to its lineup, while expanding its audio streaming on the web.”  Wright hosts his “On the Beat” morning drive show from 6:00 am to 9:00 am.  The station also features Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck and Sean Hannity plus Courtside Entertainment’s Laura Ingraham.  George Bell is the former Brunswick County GOP chair and a life-long business professional in the region.  Talk Media TV’s business plan includes acquiring additional radio stations, expanding its internet broadcasting capabilities, and adding cable broadcasting over the next several months.

pittmanbobBob Pittman Stands Up for Radio at Goldman Sachs Ad Week Conference. Clear Channel chairman and CEO Bob Pittman is working the “Advertising Week” events in New York this week and today (9/25) he laid down the case for what he sees as radio’s rightful place in an advertising mix at the “Goldman Sachs Communacopia” investor conference.  The Hollywood Reporter’s Georg Szalai is covering the event and reports Pittman is saying (about radio), “’The sector is way under-represented’ while TV is over-represented in marketers’ media mix…‘TV is wonderful, is very effective, but doesn’t deserve quite as much money as it has.’”  Pittman argues that TV gets three times the rate that radio does but “all the studies show the impact is about the same.”  He then explains how advertisers could benefit by moving 15% of their ad spend into radio.  Clearly, when Pittman says, “There is a huge opportunity in radio…We need to monetize it better, sell it better,” he is trying to get the message through at the agency level, where an industry-wide sea change must take place.

mhNAB2013Michael Harrison’s NAB/RAB Radio Show Address Now Posted on TALKERS TV.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison’s annual address at the NAB/RAB Radio Show drew a standing-room-only crowd and rave reviews from those in attendance.  The speech which runs 56:33 includes an information-packed “countdown” of the 10 most important things AM/FM radio must do to remain culturally relevant and thrive in the digital age of the 21st century.  In this ambitious and far-ranging overview of the state of broadcast radio, the man dubbed by the mainstream press as “The Wise Old Owl of the Radio Industry” connected the dots between Edward R. Murrow broadcasting live on rooftops from World War II bombing raids over London — to Murray the K anointing himself the “Fifth Beatle” — to today’s transitional period between the “old country” of the 20th century to the “new world” of the digital age – to the potential emergence of 21st century “Homo Technicus” listening to internet broadcasts piped directly into the temporal lobes of the brain via nanotechnology.  Harrison fearlessly speaks his mind about today’s debt-soaked radio mega-corporations that have emerged as a result of consolidation – to the dangers of mindless, product-less “branding” that plays to the shortcut mentality crippling today’s creative process in broadcasting. The speech received an ovation and was later described on the air by WSOY, Decatur morning host and Marconi Award winner Brian Byers as “sensational.”  Byers told his listeners it was “smokin’” and a “barn burner” saying, “He fired me up.  I looked around and the rest of the room was electric.  You could feel it in the air.  I can’t tell you how good it was!” To see Michael Harrison’s speech please check out the TALKERS TV box at the top of the right-hand column of this page.

sabowalterWALTER SABO: The Return of the Neat Idea.  Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo celebrates what he says it’s going to take to get radio back in a forward-moving position: the return to creatively operating the business.  In this new column, Sabo writes, “The current economic depression celebrates ‘operators’ — executives with shrewd ‘operating’ skills who are known for their ability to cut costs, cut staffs, sell their story to Wall Street and keep their company within its COMFORT ZONE.  They do not have, nor are they required to have, vision.  Knowing what’s next is the key to growth in any industry.  No vision, no growth.”  Sabo offers five steps to establishing an environment for the birth and implementation of neat ideas with pragmatic results.   Read this important column here.

cookehollandRadio Sales Lead: ObamaCare.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke says forget what people on the radio are saying about ObamaCare, start thinking about how your marketing department can get some of the advertising that’s coming from it.  He recommends a video webinar available from the RAB.  In it, Cooke says veteran broadcaster Dave Burke shares some of his research into the impact of the law on the stakeholders.  Cooke writes, “AP estimates that $684 million will be spent on the initial activation period; and Burke reckons that 2014-2015 and beyond will be even bigger than 2013-2014: ‘I believe that this category, all-in, could be the biggest category on your stations.’”  Read Holland Cooke’s column here.

kassof coContinuing Concern for Radio to Placate Men 18 – 34.  Something new can now be added to the growing list for those who grumble, “They don’t make them like that anymore.” Unfortunately, that item is radio.  A Mark Kassof & Company-conducted research project indicates that more than half (53%) of U.S. radio listeners aged 18 – 64 agree that, “Radio is not as good as it used to be.”  Approximately four in 10 (41%) disagree, while 6% are not sure.  “The perception that radio is not as good as it used to be seems pervasive in the industry,” Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Kassof comments. “This research reveals that a majority of listeners agree.”  The most criticism regarding radio’s overall quality can be found among those 18 – 34, with more than six in 10 (61%) concurring that what they are hearing these days through their radio speakers has slipped; 31% however disagree and the remaining 8% are neutral.  Men tend to be more pessimistic about the current state of the medium than women are.  Consistent with the above-stated trend – and highly noteworthy – Men 18-34 are the most negative, as two of every three in that demo (67%) are of the opinion that radio has seen better days.  Results of this Kassof study are based on slightly less than 1,000 online interviews conducted among U.S. radio listeners earlier this month (9/12 – 9/15).  Reacting to the findings of the Kassof study, TALKERS magazine sister trade, RadioInfo’s  music editor/director Duane Doobie states, “It reminds me of the famous line in Bob Dylan’s ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’ that so powerfully says ‘you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.’”

wbenNo More FM Signal for News/Talk WBEN, Buffalo.  Entercom is dropping the simulcast on news/talk WBEN, Buffalo and will install a different format on WLKK 107.7 licensed to Wethersfield Township (some 30 miles southeast of downtown Buffalo) beginning Thursday, September 26 at 12:00 noon.  WBEN program director Tim Wenger tells Buffalo Business First that research tells the company 95% of the listening to WBEN is done on the huge 930 AM signal.

schnitttoddOdds & Sods.  Compass Media Networks syndicated and WFLA, Tampa-based talk host Todd Schnitt was in court on Monday suing his former attorney Phillip Campbell for legal malpractice.   Campbell was arrested for DUI while representing Schnitt in his defamation suit against Bubba the Love Sponge but the DUI case was dismissed in July after prosecutors agreed Campbell was set up.  Schnitt maintains it damaged his case.  Schnitt paid Campbell $1 million and owes another $1 million but he’s suing to get the first $1 million back, according to myfoxtampabay.com…..The Fourth Period continues its relationship with SiriusXM and the media site that calls itself “hockey’s only lifestyle destination” adds a program dubbed “The Players’ Lounge” to the SiriusXM NHL Network Radio channel airing Friday’s from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET.  This is an addition to “TFP Live” which returns to the channel airing from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm ET hosted by TFP editor-in-chief David Pagnotta and VP Dennis Bernstein.

Government Shutdown Threat, ObamaCare Defunding/Implementation, U.S.-Iran Talks, and Kenya Mall Massacre Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/24).  The looming threat of a government shutdown; the fight to defund the Affordable Care Act and the consequences of its implementation; relations between the U.S. and Iran; plus the ongoing stalemate after a massacre by militant Muslims at a mall in Nairobi, Kenya were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Taking Care of Business

| September 12, 2013

Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS magazine

  LOS ANGELESThose fancying a career in radio typically lead a nomadic existence, as they pay their dues in small markets and relocate numerous times – often before even reaching their 30th birthday.

Tom Sullivan 150Such was not the case however for Tom Sullivan, whose resumé cites just one radio station – Sacramento’s heritage talk outlet KFBK.

Fox News RadioFor the past six years, Sullivan has hosted a three-hour (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm) show on Fox News Radio and he can be seen weekends fronting his own program on the Fox Business Channel.


First Social Media

As a teenager growing up in Seattle, Sullivan made it a top priority to meet one of the Emerald City’s major radio personalities, who graciously wound up asking if he wanted to get a first-hand look at how radio works. “I hung out with him during his shift,” Sullivan fondly recalls. “I had that interest in radio then, but I think many [others that age] did at the time because that is where we got our music. Radio was our social world.”

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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

| July 31, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How Liberals Have It Wrong About
Rush and Sean

| July 30, 2013

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

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

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

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

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

| July 30, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, July 29, 2013

| July 29, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

| July 23, 2013

kinosianmikeBid4Spots: Auction an Alternative to Unsold Inventory.  In a piece published today (7/23), TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian profiles  Dave Newmark’s successful Bid4Spots digital auction initiative.  There was a time when numerous players were getting into thebid4spots logo business of using the internet to deal with unsold inventory on radio stations.  Dave Newmark tells Mike Kinosian why the others failed and how he struggled to find the right business model that would eventually lead to success.  It was during a casual conversation with a software developer when he had an epiphany.  “I immediately thought of those ad exchanges and I realized what they all had wrong.  They had the supply and demand equation backwards.  Forward auctions work well only when the demand is high and the supply is low.  If I could figure out when demand would be at its lowest point – when regular airtime buyers were pretty much gone from the store – it would be as close to ‘next week’ as possible.”  Newmark’s road to success was not a smooth one.  In this fascinating piece he details his trials and tribulations.  He also explains why stations and advertisers are happy with his model of moving unsold inventory.  Read it all here.

tantillojohnAre You a Thinker or a Feeler?  More importantly, are your listeners and callers thinkers or feelers?  In a new TALKERS column posted today (7/23) by branding specialist Dr. John Tantillo, he states that understanding the difference between these two approaches to the issues of the day can have an impact on your show and determine how effectively you orchestrate discussions of them on the air.  Using the examples of the current Zimmerman verdict and Rolling Stone cover controversy, Dr. Tantillo examines the relationship between branding and controversy pointing out that the most important thing to focus upon is how the controversy directly impacts the customer’s (or fan’s) loyalty to the brand and nobody else’s.  He says we should be less concerned about public relations and more interested in “targeted relations.”  To read the entire column, please click here.

smulyanjeffEmmis CEO Jeff Smulyan Named Among ‘Giants of Broadcasting’ Honorees.  This is the 11th annual staging of the “Giants of Broadcasting” that is sponsored by the Library of American Broadcasting.  It celebrates “distinguished leadership or performance in television and radio” and will take place October 16 at New York’s Gotham Hall.  Smulyan is among 11 honorees this year including Anne Sweeney, Alex Trebek, Barry Diller, Morley Safer, Dick Cavett, Robert L. Johnson, David E. Kelley, Richard E. Wiley, Richard Leibner and Carole Cooper.  The Library of American Broadcasting is located at the University of Maryland and the organization states it is “entering its 42nd year serving as the national information resource for the radio and television industries and the academic communities that rely upon it for depth and expertise.  Its collections of historic documents, professional papers, oral and video histories, books and photographs are among the nation’s most extensive.”

cooleychrisRed Zebra Re-Tools Afternoons on WTEM, Washington.  Recently retired Washington Redskins star Chris Cooley becomes part of the new “The Drive with Cooley and Czabe” afternoon program on Red Zebra-owned sports talk outlet czabanpollinWTEM, Washington “ESPN 980″.  Cooley – who just joined the station for Washington Redskins game broadcasts with the company – joins Steve Czaban and WTEM weekend host Al Galdi for the new program that will debut August 1 and will air from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Czaban currently hosts “The Sports Reporters” with Andy Pollin in the afternoon drive slot.  Red Zebra says Pollin remains with the station and will sub for the vacationing Tony Kornheiser beginning August 5.  About the new show, Czaban jokes, “I will work tirelessly to make Chris Cooley the second-most-beloved ex-Redskin tight end on radio in the DC market.”

bergmansandiMEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Mark Jorgenson of Jorgenson Broadcast Brokerage.  In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media broker Mark Jorgenson of jorgensonmarkJorgenson Broadcast Brokerage of Greenville, South Carolina.  Jorgenson was a 12-year veteran of television sales and radio ownership in Southeastern markets before deciding that he liked putting deals together better than he did operating stations.  He says, “I enjoy matching people up with great opportunities and that’s what the brokerage business is all about.”  Jorgenson describes today’s radio station market as “sluggish due to a lack of capital to finance deals.”  He says, “There are plenty of potential buyers and even more potential sellers but without institutional financing to make the deals happen, we won’t see the volume of transactions we’ve seen in the past.  Brokers have to be creative and persistent to make deals happen in today’s financial climate.”  He continues, “There are even radio deals where some portion of the purchase price might be handled with a seller note.  The key is for the buyer to have access to at least some cash.  Private investors, family, and friends are the most likely source to finance new ventures these days.”  To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.

TalkersLA2013Talkers Los Angeles 2013 Is Set for Thursday, October 10.  The third annual installment of TALKERS magazine’s West Coast convention has been set for Thursday, October 10 and its outstanding agenda is shaping up to be a blockbuster.  It is again being presented in association with the Los Angeles Press Club and held at the historic Steve Allen Theater on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm.  TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “We are very enthusiastic about the growth and positive impact of this Southern California gathering.  It started out three years ago as an experimental LA regional get-together and blossomed into an exciting companion to our big New York convention.”  The event - open only to members of the working media – will feature a power-packed day of panel discussions, keynote addresses, special presentations, technology and services exhibits, tremendous networking opportunities and abundant food and refreshments (lunch is sponsored by Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity who will address the attendees from New York).  Speakers already set include (in alphabetical order):  Robin Bertolucci, PD, KFI, Los Angeles; Phil Boyce, VP spoken word format, Salem Communications; Holland Cooke, radio consultant; Skip Essick, PD, KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; Erica Farber,CEO/president, RAB;  Ron Hartenbaum, president, WYD/WYM Media; Rusty Humphries, host, Talk Radio Network;  Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Tom Leykis, president, The New Normal; Don Martin, senior VP sports programming, Fox Sports Radio/Clear Channel Media and Entertainment; Kevin McCullough, CEO, XtreMedia; Mike McVay, senior VP programming, Cumulus Media; Harvey Nagler, VP, CBS Radio News; Norm Pattiz, CEO, Courtside Entertainment/Podcast One; Chris Pendl, creative director, Bonneville Seattle; Walter Sabo, CEO, Sabo Media; Eric Stanger, VP of operations and affiliate marketing, The Sean Hannity Show/Premiere Networks; Alan Stock, host, KDWN, Las Vegas; Paul Vandenburgh, president/GM/host, WGDJ, Albany; and Michael Zwerling, owner, KSCO, Santa Cruz with many more to be announced in the coming days.  The latest broadcasting equipment and remote gear will be on display as presented by Broadcasters General Store and Comrex Corporation.  Registrations – $149 per person – can only be taken over the phone and the event is expected to be a very early sellout.  So don’t wait – avoid being shut out.  For sponsorship information or to register, call 413-565-5413.

wexlerlisaWFAS, White Plains Afternoon Host Lisa Wexler to Run for Judicial Office.  Lisa Wexler is an attorney and currently the PM drive talk host on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WFAS, White Plains, New York.  She tells TALKERS magazine she’s being nominated to run as a Republican for the Probate Judge of Weston and Westport (Connecticut) in November.  “I’ve practiced this area of law for many years, and I’m very excited to run and be able to serve the people with knowledge and compassion.”  Wexler notes the position is part time and, if elected, she will be able to continue her radio work.

WRSB, Canandaigua, New York to Flip to Business Talk.  The station was purchased earlier this summer by Genesee Media Corporation and has been serving the area south of Rochester with a religious format.  According to YNN.com, GMC will brand the station “Business 1310” and will use programming from Bloomberg, NBC News and Marketwatch.  The report also indicates that Genesee intends to add the programming to other AM signals in the region.

wodlingerkevinSonoma Media Group Announces Kevin Wodlinger Is New Local Business Development Manager.  The company says Kevin Wodlinger comes to its five-station Santa Rosa, California cluster from his most recent position in Grand Junction, Colorado as market manager for the Cumulus Media cluster that is now owned by Townsquare Media.  Wodlinger replaces longtime employee Jeriann D’Elicio, who recently announced her resignation.  Michael O’Shea, president of Sonoma Media Group, comments, “Kevin is the real deal – a consummate sales executive with a great track record of teaching, coaching and leading in local business development.  We are delighted to have his expertise and leadership in our building.”  The company operates news/talk KSRO, country KFGY “Froggy 92.9,” classic rock KVRV “97.7 The River FM,” hot AC KMHX “Mix 104.9,” and CHr KHTH “Hot 101.7.”

douglasbrianNew Motor Sports Network to Begin Operations.  The Midwest Racing Radio Network announces it is preparing to begin operations and has named Brian Douglas vice president of broadcast operations.  Douglas also serves as host.  The company states it will initially feature one two-hour motorsports show via live audio stream and podcast in a format for broadcast stations to air daily five days a week.  Also, the network will feature a live one-hour Sunday evening program and a national highlights podcast show containing results, interviews, and the upcoming regional racing schedules as submitted from tracks across the country.

cigardaveTVCigar Dave Goes Live on TV.  Nationally syndicated media personality “Cigar Dave” Zeplowitz is pictured here (at right) hosting the first-ever live televised broadcasts from the 2013 International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Convention at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas.  The telecasts aired live on Sunday, July 14, Monday, July 15 and Tuesday, July 16. Cigar Dave reports his telecasts featured new premium cigar releases and accessories, interviews with premium cigar manufacturers and personalities, and presented viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the IPCPR Convention, that up to now, has been closed to the general public and only open to the trade.  “Cigar Dave” says, “This marks the next evolution of the Cigar Dave Show as we transition into a digital, multi-platform provider of relevant content for Alpha Males. Eighteen years ago, I was the first broadcaster to host a radio show dedicated to cigars and the Alpha Male-lifestyle.  This year’s live IPCPR telecasts commence a major expansion into televised and digital content that appeals to Alpha Males and a new generation of Millennial Males who enjoy cigars, spirits, manly pursuits, and the Good Life.”

Odds & Sods.  Public radio station WKSU, Kent, Ohio drops some of the daily classical music programming to add NPR’s “The Takeaway” with John Hockenberry and “On Point” with Tom Ashford to the midday schedule…..Sun Broadcasting changes the news/talk trimulcast of WFSX-AM and FM and WNOG-AM in Fort Myers.  It keeps WFSX-FM news/talk as “92.5 Fox News” and pairs up the AMs as a sports talk duo “The Fan.”

ObamaCare Implementation, Detroit Bankruptcy, Zimmerman Verdict Aftermath, 2016 Presidential Race, U.S. Syria Policy and British Prince Born Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/22).  The delay of the employer mandate and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the bankruptcy case of the city of Detroit; the aftermath of the George Zimmerman verdict; the potential candidates in the 2016 presidential race; the United States’ policy regarding Syria; and the birth of the son of Prince William and Kate Middleton were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

| July 16, 2013

hubbardbroadcastingHubbard to Buy 10 Sandusky Stations for $85.5 Million.  The deal gives Hubbard Radio five stations in the Phoenix market and five in Seattle.  It includes Phoenix outlets: classic rock KSLX, active rock KUPD, rock KDKB, oldies KAZG-AM, and sports talk KDUS-AM; and Seattle stations: standards, KIXI-AM, CHR KQMV, talk KKNW-AM, AC KRWM, alternative KLCK.  Hubbard board chair Ginny Morris says in a statement, “This is an exciting opportunity to expand Hubbard Radio into two top 20 markets.  We have known and respected the Rau/White family, Sandusky’s owners, for many years.  We admire what they have accomplished and we are honored that they would agree to sell us these established stations.  We are committed to maintaining the dedication to excellence and to community that Sandusky has made such an important part of their radio operations.”  This sale signals the end of the radio business interests for Sandusky as the company turns its total focus to its print and digital operations.  For Hubbard, it bumps the number of stations it will own from 20 to 30.  Hubbard president and CEO Bruce Reese says, “Hubbard is excited about the chance to add these great stations to our existing operations in Chicago, Washington, DC, Minneapolis/St. Paul, St. Louis and Cincinnati.  Sandusky runs very successful radio stations and we plan on continuing that precedent.  We look forward to working with our new colleagues.”

wmgc logoWait Is on to See if Greater Media Flips AC WMGC, Detroit to Sports Talk.  Rumors have been heard in Detroit for a few months now that Greater Media is considering a format flip to sports talk for moribund soft rock “Magic 105.”  Now, those rumors are getting hotter and Crain’s Detroit Business reports in a story by Bill wxyt-fm logoShea that sources say that switch could happen next month.  The publication notes that WMGC’s ratings have been in decline since longtime morning host Jim Harper retired 19 months ago.  But the switch would mean taking on CBS Radio’s highly rated WXYT-FM – no easy feat, even in a market most would consider a “sports town.”  Shea’s report cites insiders saying Greater Media is talking with former employee Drew Lane who – along with partner Mike Clark – were not renewed for the morning show at the company’s rock WRIF two months ago, although they had good ratings and enjoy excellent credibility in the market.  In his piece, Shea states that, “WXYT’s rating dominance is largely because it has the rights to air live all four of Detroit’s professional sports teams’ games.  The radio contracts for the Detroit Lions, Tigers, Red Wings and Pistons don’t expire until 2015, meaning it would be more than a year before a flipped WMGC could theoretically pursue and air pro games.”  Although the value of play-by-play is real, and there’s no doubt the combination of excellent talk show talent and game broadcasts is a winning formula, TALKERS would hesitate to say the station’s success is largely because of play-by-play.  Ultimately it’s all about revenue and rights to those games are very expensive while WXYT’s personalities and the advertising rates they command are extremely valuable to the station.

ramseydaveDave Ramsey Show Jumps to KXLY, Spokane.  Nationally syndicated financial talk star Dave Ramsey’s program moves to Queen B-owned news/talk outlet KXLY, Spokane after years on Clear Channel’s crosstown KQNT.  Dave Ramsey vice president of broadcast Brian Mayfield says, “We are excited to have the Dave Ramsey show as part of the lineup on KXLY in Spokane.  We are equally excited at the opportunity to partner with the team at Queen B Radio in bringing Dave to town with his latest ‘Legacy Journey Live Event’ on October 17.”  Premiere NetworksSean Hannity show is moved from KXLY to crosstown KQNT and KXLY Radio Group VP Brian Paul Lubanski states, “We were one of the early adopters of Sean’s show and thank Sean for 12 great years on KXLY.  I’m very excited to have Dave on our station, he’s kicked our butt in the ratings in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 timeslot the past couple of years!”

wilsonlarryLarry Wilson’s L&L Broadcasting to Acquire YMF Media’s Jackson, Mississippi Cluster.  The six-station Jackson station group Larry Wilson’s L&L Broadcasting is set to buy includes three FMs and three AMs: urban contemporary WKXI “Kixie 107 FM,” hip hop WJMI “99 Jams,” sports talk WRKS “ESPN 105.9 The Zone,” news/talk WJNT, gospel WOAD, and oldies WJQS.  No price has been announced yet but in a statement, Wilson says, “The YMF Media cluster in Jackson will be a great addition to our Mississippi footprint.  As the state capital, Jackson is an energetic and thriving city with endless opportunities for growth.  We’re excited to bring these heritage stations into the L&L family.”

bergmansandiMEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT:  George Kimble of Kozacko Media Services.  In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media broker George Kimble of Kozacko Media Services in Tucson, Arizona.  Kimble has been in radio since he was 13, as his father was a station owner.  By the time he was 17 and a senior in high school, he was also the morning man at his local hometown station.  He went on to be a radio and television station owner himself for some 40 years.  Kimble agrees with the editorial philosophy expressed in this trade publication that there are indeed opportunities for displaced, experienced radio management in local ownership if they are willing to roll up their sleeves and personally work all ends of it.  He states, “There are plenty of good opportunities available.  The prices have come down to the lowest in years — so NOW is certainly the time for action.  While there are no national financial sources of money — local banks will still back an on-scene, experienced operator with the help of the SBA.  And, seller financing is available in a number of smaller market opportunities.”  Kimble shares several hot listings in this piece.  To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.

hartmannThom Hartmann to Receive Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Goddard College.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Thom Hartmann will receive the honorary degree in September from the Plainfield, Vermont-located school.  Goddard College president Barbara Vacarr writes to Hartmann: “This award is designed to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to both the worlds of academe and activism and who, through their work and study, help propel the ideals and aspirations of Goddard College: to advance cultures of rigorous inquiry, collaboration, and lifelong learning, where individuals take imaginative and responsible action in the world.  By bestowing you with this honorary doctorate, Goddard College wishes to honor your lifelong work as an author, commentator, entrepreneur, philanthropist, activist, academician, radio talk show host and lifelong learner.  Your impact is deep and far reaching in a wide array of areas.  Your extensive and groundbreaking work and writing on the subject of ADD would by itself qualify you for this doctorate.  Coupled with your lifelong activism and creativity in the fields of broadcast journalism, communications, progressive politics, and humanitarianism, you are truly an outstanding example of an American citizen actively engaged in engendering civil discourse that is provocative and designed to be.”

nbcsportsradio logoNBC Sports Radio Shows to Broadcast from Celebrity Charity Golf Tourney.  The American Century Championship, the “premiere celebrity golf tournament,” is owned and produced by NBC Sports and sponsored by American Century Investments.  The annual tournament (in its 24th year) features some of the sports and entertainment world’s biggest celebrities and raises funds for local and national charities including Expect Miracles Foundation and American Cancer Society‘s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.  To date, American Century Investments and NBC Sports have raised more than $4 million through the American Century Championship.  Celebrities scheduled to play for the $600,000 purse include: NBC Sports Radio host Rodney Harrison and NBC Sports Radio senior contributor Chipper Jones, as well as Emmitt Smith, Charles Barkley, Aaron Rodgers, Ozzie Smith, Ray Romano, John Elway, Jerry Rice, Marshall Faulk, Goose Gossage, and many more.  Both “Under Center with McNabb & Malone” featuring Donovan McNabb and Mark Malone, and “Amani and Eytan” with Amani Toomer and Eytan Shander will be broadcasting live from the event this Thursday and Friday from the Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course in Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

kileypatrickFormer Talk Host Patrick Kiley Sentenced in Ponzi Scheme.  Seventy-five-year-old Patrick Kiley was the fourth of a group of defendants to be sentenced for his part in a Ponzi scheme that prosecutors say defrauded victims of $194 million.  He was sentenced by a Minnesota judge to 240 months in federal prison.  Kiley hosted a nationally syndicated radio program called “Follow the Money” distributed by the Worldwide Christian Radio Network.  According to WCCO-TV, in Minneapolis, Kiley and co-conspirators “Trevor Cook, Jason Bo-Alan Beckman, Gerald Joseph Durand and Christopher Pettengill – were all solely and jointly ordered to pay $155,359,411 in restitution to their victims.”  Kiley was convicted of 12 counts of wire and mail fraud.

OAzimmermanOpie & Anthony Host Robert Zimmerman, Jr.  In the aftermath of the verdict in the case of George Zimmerman, SiriusXM Satellite Radio hosts Opie & Anthony had Zimmerman’s brother Robert Zimmerman, Jr. in the studio for an extended interview.  During the program, Zimmerman blamed the media for the way the story evolved, saying, “I think when this happened in the beginning, there was just George and Trayvon Martin — for about a day.  And I think that after, in my view, Ms. Fulton and Mr. Martin had grief like any parent would.  I think their grief was exploited — that’s really what I feel in my heart — by Mr. Benjamin Crump and Ms. Natalie Jackson.  And they started a race narrative, a smear campaign that the media was all too happy to…[be a part of].”  Pictured here are (from l-r): Opie Hughes, Zimmerman, Jr., Anthony Cumia, and Jim NortonPhoto: Erik Nagel

funniestreportersNational Media Personalities to Star in Eighth Annual New York’s Funniest Reporter Show Sponsored by TALKERSThe eighth annual New York’s Funniest Reporter Show (www.nyfunniestreporter.com) will take place this Sunday, July 21 at 5:00 pm at Comic Strip Live comedy club on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.  It will feature seven media professionals each doing five minutes of stand-up comedy in order to raise money for the Humane Society of New York.  At the end of the night, a winner will be declared.  Competing in the show this year will be: Peter Schiff of the Peter Schiff Radio Show, Magee Hickey of WPIX Channel 11, Laurie Dhue of Glenn Beck‘s TheBlaze TV, Charles Payne of Fox Business Channel, Janice Dean of Fox News Channel, Bob Bodwon of Choice Media, Chris Serico of Newsday, and Dr. Manny Alvarez of Fox News Channel.  2012’s NYFR Show Champion Clayton Morris of Fox News Channel will be performing but, not competing.  Hosting the show will be comedian Mark Anthony Ramirez.  Show judges will be Jane Velez-Mitchell of HLN, and Mark Goldman and Ryan McCormick of Goldman McCormick PR.  All participants are offered the opportunity to work with a professional comedian and receive a crash course in stand-up comedy.  The Comedy Mentor also helps them to prepare their material and iron out and pre-stage nervous jitters.  The cost of admission is $20.  To make a reservation, please call (212) 861-9386.

millercowgirls KIDO, Boise’s Kevin Miller Cowboys Up.  KIDO morning drive host Kevin Miller is pictured here with the Idaho Rodeo Queens during a recent broadcast live from the Snake River Stampede.

Zimmerman Verdict, Edward Snowden Status, Jenny McCarthy Joins ‘The View,’ ‘Glee’ Star Dies, and SyFy’s ‘Sharknado’ Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/15).  The aftermath of the “not guilty” verdict for George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin; the uncertain status of former NSA consultant Edward Snowden; Jenny McCarthy replaces Elisabeth Hasselbeck on “The View,” “Glee” star Cory Monteith dies in Vancouver, BC hotel; and the sensation over SyFy channel’s “Sharknado” movie were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

| July 10, 2013

siriusxmSiriusXM Moves Past 25 Million Subscriber Mark.  SiriusXM Radio announces it has added 715,000 net new subscribers in the second quarter, and that brings its total subscriber number to more than 25 million.  The satcaster cites strong automotive sales for helping drive 15% growth in net additions over the second meyerjimquarter of 2012 and setting “a post-merger record for quarterly net subscriber additions.”  As a result, SiriusXM is raising full-year guidance for total net subscriber additions to 1.5 million from its previous guidance of 1.4 million.  Company CEO Jim Meyer states, “The new subscriber additions in the quarter have helped SiriusXM reach an exciting new milestone that reflects the popularity and reach of SiriusXM programming and services.  The quarterly results bolster SiriusXM’s leadership position in a dynamic audio entertainment marketplace as we continue our trend of strong, profitable growth.  Additionally, we are raising 2013 subscriber guidance to 1.5 million net additions based on our record performance in the quarter.”  Also, the company reiterated its existing 2013 guidance for 1.6 million self-pay net subscriber additions.

yankees logoClear Channel’s WOR, New York Bidding on Yankees Broadcast Rights.  According to a report by Phil Mushnick and Don Burke in the New York Post, Clear Channel-owned WOR, New York is entering thewor710 bidding war over rights to New York Yankees baseball play-by-play.  The reporters cite inside sources that say the company has offered a figure surpassing the current $14 million CBS Radio pays to air games on its all-news WCBS.  CBS Radio has held the rights for the past 11 years and bidding (contracts for both the Yankees and the Mets expire after this season) was expected to be hot with WFAN’s addition of an FM signal in the market and ESPN-owned WEPN also gaining an FM signal.  Whether Clear Channel really wants the Yankees or not is up for speculation – it’s not unusual for companies to enter into the bidding process to drive up the cost for its competition.  It’s a pretty good bet that CBS Radio wants to keep the Yankees but if the price gets too steep will the company let the games go to WOR?  Time will tell.  Meanwhile, unlike Buckley Broadcasting (WOR’s previous owner) Clear Channel has a lot of experience owning flagship baseball signals at its other stations across the country.

tribuneTribune to Split Broadcast and Publishing Entities into Two Companies.  Tribune Company is reporting that it is beginning the process of dividing its assets into two distinctive companies: Tribune Company will contain WGN-AM, Chicago and all of the television stations and TV production units while Tribune Publishing will be the parent ofwgnlogo its newspapers including the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Hartford Courant and others.  Like similarly structured companies, Tribune is focusing on its entertainment properties and the recent plan to acquire Local TV Holdings’ 19 TV stations is proof of that.  During its long bankruptcy proceedings, Tribune had its newspapers on the market but was unable to execute a deal.  News Corp. just announced it would execute a similar move and is splitting its TV and entertainment holdings (including Fox News Channel) into one company – 21st Century Fox – while keeping its publishing assets in the entity called News Corp.

baribeaurachelRachel Baribeau Exits ’92.9 The Game’ in Atlanta.  One of the cast members of CBS Radio sports talk WZGC, Atlanta “92.9 The Game” exits for a gig with Raycom SportsRachel Baribeau leaves the PM drive show where she appeared alongside Kordell Stewart and Carl Dukes to join the company that owns the television rights to ACC basketball and football and, through a sublicense with ESPN, is the syndicator of ACC football and basketball.  The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports Dukes and Stewart mentioned her departure on the air with Dukes stating, “We love Rachel and we’ll stay in contact with her.  She’s moving on to a great opportunity for herself.”

luciarayNationally Syndicated Financial Talk Host Ray Lucia Fined Over Investment Strategy Claims.  Ray Lucia and his Raymond J. Lucia Cos. Inc. were fined by administrative-law judge Cameron Elliot after the judge agreed with the original SEC complaint that Lucia’s “Buckets of Money” investment strategy – which claimed it had back-testing to support the success of its strategy – had “scant, if any, actual back-tests.”  According to a report in Investment News, Lucia was fined $50,000 and his company was fined $250,000.  Additionally, his advisor registration was revoked by the judge.  Investment News reports that Elliot ruled Lucia “misrepresented for years ‘the validity of purported back-testing in seminars for prospective investors’ interested in his Buckets of Money strategy for retirement savings.”  Lucia and his company have 21 days in which to appeal the decision.

ligginsalfredRadio One and TV One Bring Roland Martin to Radio and TV with “News One Now.”  Radio One president and CEO and TV One chairman Alfred Liggins announces to Multichannel.com that his companies are developing a newmartinroland program featuring former CNN journalist Roland Martin to be called “News One Now” that will debut in the fall prior to the Congressional Black Caucus’ Annual Legislative Conference.   Liggins says, “This is a further evolution of TV One’s commitment to better and more important television for African-Americans, and is also an extension of Radio One’s history and philosophy of making sure we inform, entertain and advocate for the African-American community.  This is the first time a network has approached African-American news on this type of commitment tvone logolevel.”  Liggins adds, “About 50% of African Americans get their news from cable news networks so we now have the opportunity to set the table on a daily basis.  The show will serve as the nexus of black thought – when you talk about what’s happening politically, socially, culturally in our communities, this is the place where people will be able to have those discussions.”  The three-hour radio show will air from 7:00 am to 10:00 am with the last hour simulcast on television via TV One and will “offer news and analysis of politics, entertainment, sports and culture from an African American perspective.”  Martin has been hosting TV One’s Sunday program “Washington Watch” but with the new venture, that show will not return in the fall.

freebeerCompass Media Networks’ ‘Free Beer & Hot Wings’ Morning Show Renews with Flagship WGRD, Grand Rapids.  Townsquare Media’s rock WGRD, Grand Rapids announces it has struck a new deal with the nationally syndicated young male-targeted “Free Beer & Hot Wings” morning drive show hosted by Gregg “Free Beer” Daniels, Chris “Hot Wings” Michels, and Eric Zane.  The new deal keeps the program on the station through 2018.  Townsquare Grand Rapids vice president/general manager Russ Hines tells MLive.com, “Gregg, Chris and Eric continue to entertain and grow their audience every day and amuse their listeners with quality humorous content.  Their decision to stay in West Michigan and continue to raise their families here is another indication of what makes Grand Rapids special.”

hannityseanKQNT, Spokane Adds Sean Hannity for Middays.  Clear Channel-owned news/talk KQNT, Spokane adds Premiere NetworksSean Hannity program to the schedule to air in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm following Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh.  KQNT program director Bob Castle states, “Sean Hannity is a media superstar and his addition to our lineup now provides our listeners and advertisers with the most popular talk show hosts in the country, all on one station.”

fifty & five logoGary Landis Named Director of Client Relations at Fifty & Five.  Former Westwood One vice president and longtime media consultant Gary Landis joins Fifty & Five as director of client relations.  Based in Redondo Beach, California, Fifty & Five is a four-year-old firm that landisgaryspecializes in social media marketing for brands, products and services including the radio industry.  Speaking about his new opportunity, Landis states, “With over 40 years of national broadcasting experience behind me, I am looking forward to working with CEO Lucas Vandenberg and EVP of client relations Peter Evans, plus the most incredible team of social media talent on the planet.  This is not your mother’s social media agency.  Beyond what is being done by every radio station today, there are new ways to employ social media that can profoundly impact the bottom line.”  Peter Evans says, “With Gary’s diverse experience and expertise in the broadcast media, we can only anticipate great things from him in the coming months and years.” Landis can be reached at 612-581-7581 or by e-mail at gary@fiftyandfive.com.

dreambigamerica logoDoug Stephan’s ‘Dream Big America’ Kicked Off This Week.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Doug Stephan – heard around the country on his “Good Day” morning program – debuted the “Dream Big America” first-ever live radio show that pits new entrepreneur ideas against each other.  The inaugural lineup of contestants appeared on Tuesday, July 9, at 9:00 am on “Doug Stephan’s Good Day.”  Three entrepreneurs each pitched their business ideas.  Then a panel of noted business executive/celebrities cross-examined each contestant.  Next, listeners were invited to call stephandougspecial voting numbers to select a weekly winner.  Weekly winners will be invited back to face off in the “Finals Show” on the last Tuesday of the month.  The final winner will receive cash, support and valuable resources for their business, according to Stephan.  The first three entrepreneurs were: Conscious Box, which enables customers to discover healthier, environmentally focused products by sending a monthly sample box of 10-20 products to a subscriber’s front door, presented by CEO Patrick Kelly, Jr.; myEDmatch, a job-matching site for educators that connects schools and teachers with shared missions, beliefs, and goals, presented by CEO Alicia Herald; and Stemulation, the first luxury skin-care product that uses adult mesenchymal stem cells to rejuvenate the skin, presented by president and CEO Laurie Nicoll.  Speaking about the debut program, Doug Stephan says, “What a powerhouse group of entrepreneurs for the ‘Dream Big America’ inaugural show.  We are coming out of the box with a bang!  Each one of these new ventures is very impressive in their own right.  I can’t wait to see how America will vote between these three companies.”  The “Dream Big America” program is a collaboration between Stephan’s “Good Day,” the Kansas City-based Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and its 1 Million Cups start-up education program, and the San Diego-based Nutritional Capital Network.

hasselbeckelisabethElisabeth Hasselbeck to Join Fox News Channel’s ‘Fox & Friends’ Morning Show.  Longtime cast member of ABC TV’s “The View,” conservative Elisabeth Hasselbeck, will become part of Fox News Channel’s morning show, replacing current co-host Gretchen Carlson who is going to be anchoring her own daytime show on the cable news/talker beginning in September.  In a statement, FNC chairman and CEO Roger Ailes says, “Elisabeth’s warm and engaging personality made her a star on ‘The View.’  She has proven to be an excellent conversationalist and I am certain she will make a great addition to our already successful morning franchise.”

mikeandmikeOdds & Sods.  Salem Radio Network announces a month-long, multi-platform initiative in August designed to highlight what it calls “the battle over America’s culture wars” and reporting that SRN’s nationally syndicated talk hosts – as well as the network’s 24/7 Washington, D.C.-based SRN News service – will all focus interviews and special features on “the current challenges to traditional American values.”…..WTOP, Washington’s “Best of Washington” kicks off this week with new and returning “Top 10” categories.  Hubbard’s broadcast and digital news operation says it wants to know the best things in the Washington area.  This week on WTOP.com listeners can nominate their favorites in these ten categories: pizza, local charity, food truck, burger, wings, fries, local brewery, happy hour, farmer’s market, and shopping mall.  During the week of July 15 -19 the finalists will be announced and voting will begin.  The winners of WTOP’s “Best of Washington” will be unveiled weekdays July 22 through August 2…..ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike — Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic – will describe the action over the Citi Field PA system for those at the stadium during the 2013 Chevrolet Home Run Derby, Monday, July 15, at 8:00 pm at the MLB All Star Game festivities.  Greeny and Golic will be positioned on the field to provide commentary and player interviews during this year’s event.

Illegal Immigration Legislation/Amnesty Program, ObamaCare Implementation, George Zimmerman Trial, Egypt Turmoil, Aaron Hernandez Case, NSA Surveillance Program, Texas Abortion Bill, and Mexico Grabs Obesity Crown Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/9).  The debate over new immigration legislation and the proposed amnesty policy; implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the trial of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin; new details linking Aaron Hernandez to the shooting death of Odin Lloyd; debate over the National Security Agency’s surveillance program; the Texas House’s passing of new abortion legislation; and Mexico’s rise to the most obese nation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Self-Syndication is Berry, Berry Good

| May 15, 2013

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

Meet Michael Berry

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

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

Read More

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

| March 12, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

| February 20, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hey Bad Guys – Watch Out!

| February 5, 2013

TALKERS Spotlight: THE WATCHDOGS

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

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

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

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

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Gun Control Issue Surges as Talk Radio Topic

| January 11, 2013

By Kevin Casey
TALKERS magazine

caseywriterSPRINGFIELD, Ma. — The Newtown, Connecticut tragedy has stimulated a tremendous amount of talk about guns in America.  Usually it is one of those topics — like abortion — that hosts and programmers try to avoid because there are seldom new angles and little give and take between sides.  Sandy Hook has changed that.  It is this week’s number one talk radio topic.  So, how have talk hosts and stations been handling this issue?

Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel superstar Sean Hannity says, for him, it’s about more than the isolated issue of America’s gun laws and his programs are approaching it from a larger perspective.  “On the specific issue itself for me it is simple; we protect our money with armed guards, we protect our elected officials with armed guards, and our “Hollywood stars” hannityseanwith armed guards.  If we really want to keep our children safe in school, why not hire retired armed police officers?  Do they deserve less?  Many college campuses already have such guards. The other huge issue I am focused on is the abuse of power and an emerging imperial presidency.  The Constitution is America’s rule of law, we have co-equal branches of Government, separation of powers etc…Obama making recess appointments when the senate is not in recess; Obama using executive orders to adopt amnesty provisions of the failed Dream Act; Biden threatening that executive orders will be used to bypass Congress on the Second Amendment.  Imagine if George Bush tried to bypass Congress on a First Amendment issue!  Pelosi and Democrats are encouraging the president to use the Fourteenth Amendment to bypass Congress and raise the debt ceiling.  All examples of an executive branch power grab.  I am also asking one simple question.  If, God forbid, somebody breaks into your house or place of work, how will you protect yourself?

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Friday, December 21, 2012

| December 21, 2012

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

For users on a mobile device, click here.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Monday, December 3, 2012

| December 3, 2012

Michael Savage Bashes “Bash Obama” Programming Philosophy.  Cumulus Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Michael Savage appeared on WABC, New York’s “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” program last night and told Klein’s audience that talk radio conservatives are “committing suicide” by incessantly criticizing Barack Obama.  Savage, who recently left longtime syndicator Talk Radio Network and subsequently signed on with Cumulus Media Networks, said, “Many people on the conservative side of the dial are making the same mistakes now that the liberals made when Bush was in power.  “Air America went bankrupt, why? Because all they did was…Bush bashing and they were just crazy in the Bush bashing.  Boring.  Boring.  How much could you listen to?  It wasn’t even clever Bush bashing.  This is what’s going on now with the conservatives.  They’re committing suicide.  Just attacking Obama – although he deserves it – is not good radio…Remember one thing, radio is primarily an entertainment medium.  It was not created to be the voice of the Republican Party or the Democrat Party.”  Savage’s program begins airing on Cumulus O&O WABC tonight from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm.

CBS Radio Dallas Offices Hit by Gunfire.  The offices of CBS Radio’s Dallas operations that house its radio stations was hit by gun shots on Friday and police are still investigating the source of the bullets.  CBS Dallas is reporting the shots hit the outside panes of glass on two floors of the 12-story building that abuts the busy Central Expressway.  One of the offices hit was that of NewsRadio 1080 KRLD’s promotions director Matt Stacks.  The other window hit was above the KRLD offices belonging to former police officer and practicing attorney Pete Schulte who tells CBS, “It sounded like a rifle.  It was clearly a loud bang, and as soon as I heard the loud bang the glass shattered in my office.”  Schulte says he was frustrated by how long it took the police to take action.  “I should think police should at least canvass the area to see if they can find anyone with a long gun.”  The CBS story notes police did canvass the area a little over an hour later and that Schulte was told the call had been mis-categorized as a criminal mischief call instead of an active shooter case.  The building also houses CBS Radio’s other Dallas stations including sports talk KRLD-FM “105.3 The Fan,” AC KVIL “103.7 Lite FM,” adult hits KJKK “100.3 Jack FM,” classic hits KLUV, and Spanish WMKV, “Mega 107.5 FM.”

WLS, Chicago Adds Early-Morning Newscast.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder tips that Cumulus Media-owned news/talk WLS, Chicago began a 4:30 am newscast anchored by John Dempsey this morning (12/3).  The move means WLS is cutting the second half of The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “This Morning” program that aired from 4:00 am to 5:00 am.  “The 89 WLS First Morning News at 4:30” also uses ABC Radio News London-based correspondent Tom Rivers as a contributor.

Radio One to Consolidate Syndication One Division with Reach Media in January.  Radio One will increase its ownership stake in Reach Media from 53% to 80%.  The consolidation of Radio One-owned Syndication One and the Tom Joyner- and David Kantor-founded Reach Media will, according to Radio One, create an “assembly of top talent, programming and prime national advertising inventory that make Reach Media the leading radio network with the ability to speak directly to the African-American audience.  In 2013, Reach Media will use its strong affiliate lineup and relationships with leading urban stations to also launch a new network.  Reach Media’s new network is expected to be in the top tier of radio networks and have one of the largest African-American audiences of any radio network.  Reach Media will expand its dedicated sales and marketing staff to sell the radio network advertising inventory along with web and event sponsorships.”  The company will offer talk and music radio talent including: Tom Joyner, Rickey Smiley, Russ Parr, Yolanda Adams, Reverend Al Sharpton, Warren Ballentine and CoCo Brother.  It indicates it has plans to acquire more urban-targeted talent in the near future.  Radio One CEO Alfred Liggins says, “Radio One has a commitment to be the leader in radio and online programming with compelling entertainment and information for the African-American audience.  Combining our assets under Reach Media offers an incredibly broad platform for affiliate stations and advertisers to connect with our loyal audience.”  Reach Media CEO David Kantor states, “In bringing together the most compelling urban programming in radio, we’ve created a platform that can focus on outstanding talent for our affiliates and the delivery of an incredibly responsive consumer base.  We look forward to expanding our offerings and becoming the primary radio network for advertisers to reach African- Americans.”

Pat Miller Returns to PM Drive on WOWO, Fort Wayne.  Longtime WOWO, Fort Wayne talk show host Pat Miller re-joins the station for the afternoon drive slot beginning in January.  Miller exited his full-time role at the station last spring but continued to do a two-hour weekend program.  After Gregg Henson exited the program director and PM drive posts at WOWO at the end of the summer Federated Media plugged in Premiere NetworksSean Hannity.  But Hannity has been moved to the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot with Casey Hendrickson filling in on the PM drive show.  Hendrickson also hosts the morning drive show at Federated’s WTRC-AM/FM, South Bend, Indiana “Michiana’s News Channel.”

Dave Ramsey Moves to Daytime in Atlanta on WCFO.  Nationally syndicated financial talk star Dave Ramsey’s program is moving to new affiliate JW Broadcasting’s WCFO, Atlanta beginning today where he’ll air live in the 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm time slot.  Ramsey’s program most recently was heard in the 10:00 pm to 1:00 am slot on Cox Media’s WSB-AM and WSBB-FM.  Prior to being picked up by WSB in 2011, Ramsey aired in afternoons on Clear Channel’s WGST.  Brian Mayfield, vice president of broadcast for The Lampo Group, says, “We are very excited that Dave can now be heard live in Atlanta.  Our audience has been asking for this, and we are proud to partner with WCFO to deliver on this request.”

Five Practical Digital Lessons Radio Can Learn from the Obama Campaign.  Noted radio digital consultant Chris Miller says broadcasters should look to the recent Obama Campaign’s effective use of digital media for promotional and branding initiatives.  In this piece, he illustrates how 1) all the various platforms we use today are inter-connected and must be treated as such; 2) every platform has a specific purpose and should be used to achieve clearly defined goals; 3) remember that it is all a “show” and just because it is digital or “social media” doesn’t mean it isn’t show biz; 4) make sure your emails are likely to be opened by labeling them with irresistible subject lines; and 5) create “community,” not just “conversation.”  Read Miller’s entire piece here.

Jason Pugh Exits WEFL, West Palm Beach for DC TV Gig.  Jason Pugh is leaving his positions at Good Karma’s “ESPN 760” WEFL, Tequesta, Florida where he partnered with Jeremy Marks-Peltz for the 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm show and his sportscasting gig at WPTV-TV for a position at NBC O&O WRC-TV, Washington, DC.  Pugh also worked in the play-by-play booth for Florida Atlantic University football games.  The Florida Sun-Sentinel reports Pugh joined Good Karma in 2006 and began hosting his own program in 2009.

ESPN New York O&Os Re-Up with NFL’s Jets.  The New York City ESPN O&O stations – WEPN-FM “ESPN New York 98.7” and WEPN-AM “ESPN Deportes New York 1050” announce they have extended their contract to be the exclusive New York radio partners of the NFL’s New York Jets.  Included in the deal are three ancillary programs — the “Jets Player Spotlight” (Mondays at 3:30 pm) a weekly interview with Jets head coach Rex Ryan (Mondays at 5:15 pm) and “Inside the Jets” (Mondays at 7:00 pm).   ESPN New York vice president and general manager Dave Roberts states, “We’re excited to continue our relationship with the Jets.  The Jets have a huge fan base in the New York metropolitan area and we look forward to continuing to serve them.”

XtreMedia Talk Hosts  DoGood.com  Charts Giving Success.  XtreMedia talk show hosts Dani Johnson, Kevin McCullough and Stephen Baldwin began a campaign in April of this year to assist 2,012 orphans with a stated goal of raising $185,000.  After achieving the goal in just eight weeks instead of the eight months they had given themselves, they set about creating DoGood.com and partnered with Kings Ransom Foundation to assist orphaned children and others in need.  Some examples of their success include: In November, Dani Johnson again publicly challenged her listeners to radically help with practical help for victims of hurricane Sandy.  In one weekend’s broadcast the Dani Johnson web and radio community (some of whom were directly impacted by the storm) and working with Kings Ransom Foundation raised in excess of $35,000 to aid specific cases whose stories were of particularly tough loss.  Over the course of five weeks after Sandy, Kevin McCullough was able to rally listeners to his national daily show to provide aid by connecting volunteers to engineering and contracting, clean-up crews, and miscellaneous needs in excess of $25,000 towards help for churches, communities, pastors, and parishioners in hard hit communities in Brooklyn, Queens, The RockAways, and down the Jersey shore.  On December 12, Stephen Baldwin is scheduled to headline a fundraising gathering being hosted by VH1 with proceeds to be donated to hurricane Sandy relief efforts via DoGood.com.  On December 1, the clients and listeners in attendance at Dani Johnson’s “Creating a Dynasty” leadership training weekend raised an additional $113,000 (by auctioning off slices of cheesecake freshly prepared by Dani personally) for the King’s Children’s Home orphanage in Belize that is in need of a new roof for four buildings on its campus.  The total cost for the roofing project will run $200k for all four structures.

Friday, November 30, 2012

| November 30, 2012

November PPMs Generally Good to Talk Radio.  You can call it the “election bounce” if you like but some of the news/talk stations that did well in Arbitron’s November 2012 PPMs were ramping up in October and before.  Plus, the fall has traditionally been a good ratings period for news/talk whether there’s an election or not.  Of course, Hurricane Sandy played a major factor for stations in the New York and Middlesex-Somerset-Union markets.  Some of the stations worth noting include CBS Radio’s New York all newsers WCBS and WINS which jumped from a 3.8 to a 5.3 and a 4.0 to a 4.8, respectively.  Clear Channel’s Los Angeles talk juggernaut KFI continues to thrive inching up to a 5.3 from a 5.1 the month prior.  Cumulus Media’s Chicago news/talker WLS bounced back up to a 4.1 after posting a 3.7 in October.  Likewise in Dallas-Fort Worth for Cumulus as WBAP-AM/FM pops up a half share to a 3.9.  Clear Channel’s KTRH, Houston rose from a 3.4 in October to a 4.1 in November.  In Washington, DC Cumulus’ WMAL-AM/FM jumped from a 3.4 to a 4.2.  In Philadelphia, Merlin Media’s WWIQ hopped from 2.7 in October to a 3.6 in November.  Cox Media’s WSB, Atlanta – which has been maintaining healthy numbers in the PPM for some time – vaults from a 6.8 to an 8.3 this month.  Cumulus’ Detroit talker WJR rose more than a full share from a 4.8 to a 5.9.  Public radio outlet KUOW, Seattle claimed the top spot in the November PPMs with a 5.5 share.  Clear Channel’s KFYI, Phoenix went up a full share from a 4.9 to a 5.9.  Mixed results in Baltimore as Hearst’s WBAL fell from a 5.7 to a 5.0 while WCBM rose from a 3.0 to a 3.8 share.  Good news for pubcaster KOPB, Portland which went from a 5.3 to a 6.2 while Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL jumped from a 4.8 to a 5.5 share.  Clear Channel’s WPGB, Pittsburgh leaped a full share from a 6.9 to a 7.9 share while its Sacramento sister KFBK also enjoyed a significant rise from a 5.6 to a 6.8 share.  In the New Jersey market of Middlesex-Somerset-Union, Townsquare Media’s New Jersey 101.5 (WKXW, Trenton) posted an outstanding 8.6 – up from a 6.2 in October – with help, no doubt, from Hurricane Sandy.  TALKERS’ sister publication RadioInfo has all the PPM data including Mike Kinosian’s analysis of the numbers.  You can find that here.

Laura Ingraham Back on Radio “Soon.”  That’s what the author, pundit and talk show host told Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly.  During one of Laura Ingraham’s regular appearances on Fox News Channel with O’Reilly, he questioned her status in the talk radio world and she told him she will be back on the radio with another syndicator (she left Talk Radio Network at the end of her contract on Tuesday) very soon.  “I’m close to signing a new deal.  I’m very, very close.  But I’ll be back on the air probably in the next several days.”  Ingraham told O’Reilly she informed TRN she would be “terminating the deal” months ago and that it was time to move on.

Talk Host Tom Becka to Exit KRWK, Fargo “101.9 Talk FM.”  Talk radio pro Tom Becka has been serving as program director and talk show host at KRWK, Fargo since it flipped from rock to talk in March of this year.  Becka tells the Fargo Forum he’s returning to Omaha where he’s worked for years and has family.  Becka says any notion his departure has anything to do with the performance of the new format is not correct.  “The station has grown every month.  My experience with Radio Fargo-Moorhead was great and I’m proud of what we accomplished here in a short time. To say I’m leaving because of ratings would be erroneous.”  Radio Fargo-Moorhead is selling its cluster of stations to Midwest Family Communications.  The FCC has approved the license transfers but according to one source, the actual takeover may not happen until the spring.

Todd Schnitt Show to Leave Flagship WFLA, Tampa.  Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt Tweets that his program – airing live from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm – will be off longtime flagship WFLA, Tampa after the December 18 program.  Schnitt further Tweets that the national syndication continues and is expanding under syndicator Compass.  No word what CC has in mind for afternoons at WFLA.  Currently, it delay-broadcasts Premiere NetworksSean Hannity from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm but may have plans to move Hannity to the live PM drive slot.

Jim Isabella Named Evening Host at WNIR, Akron.  Journalist Jim Isabella has been doing fill-in work for WNIR for the past two years.  He now takes over the evening show formerly hosted by the late Tom Erickson who died on November 3 after a long illness.  Isabella most recently worked for the Akron Beacon Journal.   Station owners Bob and Bill Klaus note in a press release that Isabella, who was a frequent caller to the show hosted by the late Howie Chizek who passed away suddenly in June, made them more aware of his talents during his fill-in time in addition to receiving positive response from the station’s listeners.

Odds & Sods.  Watch for Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk host Andy Dean from the network’s “America Now with Andy Dean” on Fox News Channel’s “America’s News HQ” this Sunday at 4:45 pm ET as he sits in a panel discussing the latest headlines in news and politics…..SiriusXM brings the Major League Baseball winter meetings to listeners via its MLB Network Radio and SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio channels.  The meetings take place in Nashville December 2 through 6 and the satcaster will have front office experts Jim Bowden, Jim Duquette and Steve Phillips there hosting various programs with other special expert guests including former pitcher Jeff Nelson.

Bubba the Love Sponge Offers Reward for Arrest of Animal Abuser.  After hearing about the case of a dog found in the Bradenton, Florida area  that had been attacked by someone with an axe, radio star Bubba the Love Sponge put up $1,000 of his own cash on top of the $500 being offered by the Animal Network for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible.  After hearing about the case, Tampa-area philanthropist Gary Kompothecras of the legal and medical referral service 1-800-ASK-GARY added another $1,000 to the reward to make the total $2,500.  Bubba reports to TALKERS that the dog, named Axel, is recovering from his injuries and will be available for adoption once he is healthy again.

Los Angeles Broadcaster David Courtney Dies at 56.  The Southern California radio community is mourning the loss of omnipresent “big voice” David Courtney, who passed away on Thursday, November 29.  Many considered Courtney the voice of Los Angeles sports, since for the past 23 years, he was the public address announcer of the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings.  He performed similar duties for MLB’s Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for 18 years and NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers since October 2008.  Greater Los Angeles area radio listeners knew him for his frequent traffic and sports updates as part of the Total Traffic Network.  Over the last 20 years, Courtney was heard on a number of major Los Angeles radio outlets including KABC and KSPN, as well as KOLA in the Inland Empire.  His other radio background included stints at Houston’s KULF as executive producer of sports programming and that market’s KTRH, where he was weekend news anchor before landing a nightly, three-hour news/talk program.  New York City-born Courtney moved to Los Angeles in 1963 when his father, Alan, became president of MGM Television.  According to Courtney’s Twitter feed, he needed to miss Wednesday night’s Clippers game against Minnesota owing to the fact he was in the hospital awaiting an angiogram.  The 56-year-old Courtney is survived by his wife, Janet Fisher-Courtney.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Cumulus Media NetworksMichael Savage is picked up at Cumulus O&Os WABC, New York and WMAL-AM/FM, Washington for the 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm shift.

‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle Remains Top Talk Radio Topic for Second Straight Week.  The struggle between the Obama administration and GOP congressmen to deal with impending tax hikes and spending cuts was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the Benghazi investigation tied with the Susan Rice-GOP leaders meetings.  Following at #3 was the Israel-Gaza tensions with the clean-up of Hurricane Sandy at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

Friday, November 9, 2012

| November 9, 2012

Political Talkers Take Stock of Positioning in Post-Election Environment.  Contrary to the stereotype often depicted by the mainstream and political press that news/talk radio hosts all fit a standard model, TALKERS magazine observes that this is hardly the case – especially now that the all-consuming election of 2012 is in the history books and political talk show hosts are assessing their personal position strategies for the new chapter of history at hand.  Actually this is a process that has been in play for several years and not exactly a brand new trend sparked by the election.  Key players such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, Jerry Doyle, Rusty Humphries and Michael Smerconish have had significantly different takes on the conservative side of the dial as have hosts the likes of Ed Schultz, Thom Hartmann, Stephanie Miller and Alan Colmes been diverse in their approaches from the left.  However, recently concluded elections – especially presidential contests – have a way of making talent in this arena reassess and reflect upon their strategies.  Read the rest of this story here.

Lincoln Financial Media Re-Signs Two at KKFN, Denver.  Sports talk outlet “104.3 The Fan” KKFN, Denver inks new deals with midday co-host Scott Hastings of the “Drew and Scott” show as well as with morning drive co-host Joel Klatt.  Klatt also handles pre- and post-game programs for Colorado Rockies baseball and does college football color commentary for Fox Sports and his new deal is structured to allow him to continue in those roles.

 

Dave Ramsey Storms Seattle.  In what is being termed his last live event of the fall season, nationally syndicated financial talk sensation and New York Times best-selling author Dave Ramsey recently performed in front of a record crowd his brand new, intimate “Living a Legacy Live Event” in Seattle.  Ramsey spoke to the crowd about how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence.  His daughter Rachel Cruze joined him on stage.  Affiliate KTTH says it saw direct benefits of the live event for their audience and their station.  President and GM Carl Gardner says, “Up close and personal, Dave made a big impression on our clients and his listeners.  He knows how to build a loyal following – one person at a time.”  Ramsey is pictured above with the staff of KTTH.

Francis Rose in for John Batchelor Tomorrow.  WFED, Washington, DC afternoon drive host Francis Rose sits in for Cumulus Media NetworksJohn Batchelor tomorrow night.  Rose – who as a media pro superserving federal government employees on Hubbard’s WFED has a view like few others of Washington, DC culture – is available for guest shots on how the federal government, both executive branch and Congress, are handling the aftermath of the election and the fiscal cliff.  He can be contacted at frose@federalnewsradio.com.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Radio America’s Peter Schiff show is picked up by KQMS-AM/FM Redding, California; WCCF, Punta Gorda, Florida; WBCH, Hastings, Michigan…..Genesis Communications Network’s Alex Jones joins the program schedule at KFNX, Phoenix…..WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish show is now heard on WSJM, Benton Harbor/St. Joseph, Michigan…..Dial Global’s Dennis Miller is added to the program schedule at WFJX, Roanoke, Virginia and WLRT, Lexington, Kentucky…..Cox Media’s Clark Howard is picked up by WHTH, Heath, Ohio (Columbus)…..Dial Global’s Jim Bohannon is added to the program schedule at KGY, Olympia, Washington and WLOB, Portland, Maine…..Dial Global’s “America This Morning” and “America This Week” – both hosted by Jim Bohannon – are picked up by WXDE, Lewes, Delaware…..Cumulus Media NetworksMichael Savage is picked up by KFNX, Phoenix…..“The Money Pit Home Improvement Show” is added to WXDE, Lewes, Delaware; KPSF, Desert Hot Springs, California; and WEZS, Laconia, New Hampshire.

The Presidential Election Tops the Talkers TenTM for Week of November 5 – 9.  The race for president was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week.  Coming in at #2 was the congressional races and the ballot issues.  At #3 was the looming tax increases followed by the deficit issue at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio across America during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s complete chart here.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

| October 18, 2012

Michael Savage Signs with Cumulus Media Networks; Push for Affiliates and Programming Changes at O&O Stations to Begin.  Not too long after vowing he’d be back on terrestrial radio, talk radio host Michael Savage joins Cumulus Media Networks for a syndication deal that will have his program distributed nationally live from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET.  The terms of the contract are not available but in a press release announcing the pact, Cumulus COO John Dickey states, “As we aggressively create radio’s most compelling mix of show hosts the addition of Michael Savage is a milestone in our determined efforts to provide our listeners nationwide with the best programing in the business.”  Savage won freedom from his contract with Talk Radio Network in court several weeks ago, freeing him to sign anywhere for national distribution.  Savage states in the release, “Cumulus and Savage will make radio history.  The turbulent times we live in give talk radio a new power.  This is the biggest move of my radio career and I look forward to reaching many millions of new listeners on their flamethrower signals.”  Savage has broadcast from his home studio in the San Francisco Bay Area for years and most likely will continue to do so.  Cumulus will want to put him on as many O&Os as possible so here’s a rundown of what programming airs during the live broadcast time of Savage’s soon-to-be program.  In San Francisco, O&Os KGO and KSFO air a local evening news show and its own syndicated John Batchelor program respectively; WABC, New York airs Batchelor; KABC, Los Angeles airs its own syndicated Mark Levin; WLS-AM, Chicago airs the last hour of Premiere’s Sean Hannity followed by Levin;  WMAL, Washington airs Batchelor; WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas airs local host Chris Krok; and WJR, Detroit airs Mark Levin.  With Savage’s program to debut next Tuesday, October 23, look for some programming changes on Cumulus Media O&O talk outlets.

Dan Patrick’s Radio and TV Simulcast Exits Fox Sports Net; Speculation About New Cable Partner Begins.  To be clear, we’re talking about the regional cable TV networks when we talk about Fox Sports Net, not Fox Sports Radio Network which distributes the radio version of the DirecTV-produced program.  Dan Patrick’s sports talk show is still available on DirecTV’s Audience Network but Patrick said on his program they expect to have a new cable partner soon and here’s where the speculation begins.  AwfulAnnouncing.com’s Matt Yoder writes that a deal with NBC’s fledgling cable sports network could use a show like Patrick’s in morning drive as a show around which to build the rest of its programming.  As Yoder points out, Dan Patrick already works for NBC hosting “Football Night in America,” so there’s a relationship in place.  If NBC and Patrick agree to work together for the cable TV distribution of his program, whether that would affect the distribution of his radio program or not is unknown.  NBC is also building a sports talk radio network for which it needs quality programming.  However, the Fox Sports Radio Network distribution of the radio program has it on more than 250 stations.  Ad sales for the radio side are handled by Premiere Networks and presumably there is a contract for this relationship.

Mancow TV Show Producer Resigns.  With less than a week to go before the debut of Erich Mancow Muller’s Chicago TV show on Fox Television’s WPWR-TV, director and producer Don DuPree leaves the project.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports DuPree had issues with Fox Television that centered on compensation and job duties unrelated to the Mancow program.  Mancow’s morning radio show — syndicated nationally by TRN-FM — is set to begin a two-hour radio/TV simulcast (during the 6:00 am to 8:00 am CT hours) on Monday, October 22.  DuPree has been involved with the soon-to-debut show for several weeks.  He tells Feder, “I really want to see the show succeed, and I want Mancow to succeed.  Working with Mancow was why I was attracted to the project to begin with, and I’m still a big fan.  I hope I get to work with him again one day.”  DuPree was director of the “Siskel & Ebert” program for 16 years and also served as executive producer for “Ebert & Roeper.”

Talent Shuffle at Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle.  A day after Bonneville announced that morning news anchor Linda Thomas would exit the AM on-air post to take an enterprising new role with the station and its affiliated digital presence, it promotes evening talk host John Curley to host of “Seattle’s Morning News” beginning Monday, October 22.  Curley, a popular media personality in the market who joined KIRO-FM in February of 2011 to host the night show, is partnered up with current AM drive co-host Tom Tangney and news anchor Ursula Reutin.  Program director Larry Gifford states, “John is unbelievably talented.  He brings a lifetime of lessons to add a personal perspective and a storyteller’s sensibility to ‘Seattle’s Morning News.’  He also has an irresistible charm and enough energy to fuel the entire Pacific Northwest.”  Curley spent 14 years hosting “Evening Magazine” on KING-TV and currently serves as a member of the Sammamish City Council.  Exiting the morning program is host Bill Radke.

WBNS-AM/FM, Columbus Suspends Host for Tweet.  RadiOhio’s sports talk WBNS-AM/FM, Columbus “97.1 The Fan” suspends talk host Scott Torgerson – co-host of “The Common Man & The Torg” – after he Tweeted regarding ESPN’s Desmond Howard, “I wish that Desmond Howard would get fired or die so I can watch ‘Gameday’ again.”  It’s uncertain how long Torgerson will be suspended but yesterday he remained off the program with co-host Mike Ricordati.

Genesis Communications Network Purchases New Headquarters.  The company that syndicated such talk radio stars as Alex Jones, Jason Lewis and Bradlee Dean is moving into new headquarters in Burnsville, Minnesota.  The company, headed by CEO Ted Anderson, is moving from its current base in Eagan, Minnesota to a former Coldwell Banker office near I-35W in the Twin Cities region.  The building was purchased for $1.4 million.

Newsweek Announces End of Paper Edition.  This isn’t a radio story but it is an interesting media development.  Editor-in-chief of The Newsweek Daily Beast CompanyTina Brown, announces the iconic weekly news magazine will cease publication of its printed product at the end of this year and will move into a strictly digital business model in 2013.  Brown writes, “Newsweek Global, as the all-digital publication will be named, will be a single, worldwide edition targeted for a highly mobile, opinion-leading audience who want to learn about world events in a sophisticated context.  Newsweek Global will be supported by paid subscription and will be available through e-readers for both tablet and the Web, with select content available on The Daily Beast.”  Brown makes it clear why the transition is taking place.  “It is important that we underscore what this digital transition means and, as importantly, what it does not.  We are transitioning Newsweek, not saying goodbye to it.  We remain committed to Newsweek and to the journalism that it represents.  This decision is not about the quality of the brand or the journalism — that is as powerful as ever.  It is about the challenging economics of print publishing and distribution.”

Second Presidential Debate Aftermath, Presidential Race Polls, Libya Attack Investigation, and MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/17).  Analysis of the performance of the candidates in the second presidential debate; the polls in the presidential race; the ongoing investigation into the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi; and the Major League Baseball playoffs are some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, October 15, 2012

| October 15, 2012

Praise Pours In for Los Angeles Talk Conference - Video Coverage to Come.  It was a packed house sold out two weeks in advance as some 275 talk media broadcasters from across the country, with a distinct emphasis on the Western states, rocked the old Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood this past Thursday (10/11).  Approximately 50 speakers — including Robin Bertolucci, Phil Boyce, Kevin Casey, Holland Cooke, Jerry Doyle, Skip Essick, Ian Freeman, Bill Handel, Heidi Harris, Michael Harrison, Ron Hartenbaum, Sam Hasson, Michael Horn, Rusty Humphries, Karel, Mike Kinosian, Kraig Kitchin, Lars Larson, Kevin LaRue, Garret Lewis, Tom Leykis, Andy Ludlum, Carole Marks, Don Martin, Mike McVay, Stephanie Miller, Bob Moore, Bill Moran, Patt Morrison, Harvey Nagler, Norm Pattiz, Ken Rutkowski, Walter Sabo, Brent Seltzer, Dave Sniff, Eric Stanger, Doug Stephan, Shadoe Stevens, Alan Stock, Chuck Tyler, Jeff Wasserman, Eric Weiss, and Michael Zwerling – tackled a variety of hot industry topics including the economic, technological and cultural challenges facing talk radio broadcasters in 2012.  This full day event was part two of TALKERS magazine’s new 2012 format in which the New Media Seminar was broken into east and west coast segments.  The first was a sellout event held in New York on June 7.  The event has drawn praise from numerous attendees including the following quotes:

“Everybody’s talking about what a great day it was!”

- Norm Pattiz, CEO Courtside Entertainment

“A very interesting day of conversation and revelation from a whole lot of people.”

- Kraig T. Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind

“I was glad I attended.”

- Ron Hartenbaum, CEO, WYD Media

“It struck the perfect balance of schmooze and panel-news and talk!”

- Patt Morrison, KPCC, Los Angeles

“Thanks very much for putting on a great event.”

- Jerry Doyle, TRN

“ It was well worth the trip from England.”

- Graham Mack, BBC, Wiltshire

“An awesome day. It was superb. Can’t wait till the next one.”

- Eric Stanger, VP Operations, Sean Hannity Show/Premiere Networks

“It was great and you know I will be there next time around.”

- Alan Stock, KDWN, Las Vegas

“A hell of a show!  Outta da park!”

Dr. Gina Loudon, Host, PolitiChicks

“What a great time I had. The event was a total success.”

- Shadoe Stevens, Host, MentalRadio, SiriusXM

“Great Event !”

- Steve Lehman, Business Rock Stars

“It was a memorable occasion!”

- Sam Hasson, CEO, LATalkRadio.com

TALKERS magazine will provide extensive video coverage of the event including including panels, special presentations and additional interviews conducted on site beginning tomorrow.  The photo above is of the “Big Picture” panel featuring (from l-r): Don Martin, Ron Hartenbaum, Phil Boyce, Kraig Kitchin, Mike McVay, Harvey Nagler and moderator Michael Harrison.  View a gallery of more photos from the TALKERS New Media Los Angeles here.

Syndicated Talker Lars Larson Say Companies Need to Put Money Back into Programming.  In an exclusive audio interview conducted by consultant Holland Cooke at the recent New Media Seminar in Los Angeles, talk show host Lars Larson says that the most important thing he and all talk show hosts need is to have additional resources to bolster the sound and quality of their on-air product.  The successful host heard in Portland, Oregon on KXL and nationally via Compass Media Networks says, “If you take care of your listeners they will take care of you, ratings-wise.”  Larson also discusses the tenets of what he describes as “talk journalism,” positioning what he does as “information and opinion built from today’s news — solid information, no insanity.”  Listen to the complete conversation here.

Journal Broadcast Group Announces “RightWisconsin” Digital Initiative.  With WTMJ, Milwaukee talk show host Charlie Sykes taking a leadership role in the new venture, Journal Broadcast Group announces it will soon debut a new blog dedicated to conservative political thought called RightWisconsin.  According to a story by Duane Dudek in the Journal-owned Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Sykes describes the effort as a “digital community, a rallying point, a one-stop source for conservatives on the front lines here.”  Sykes says the blog will have a full-time staff and “multiple platforms including mobile tablet and social media applications.”  It also promises commentary from around the state, as Sykes says, “key stories that other media won’t cover.”  In the story, Sykes is quoted saying, “We can do all of this because we have the resources of a major media company behind us, including the state’s biggest radio station and top-rated television station.  In other words, we have built-in platforms for promotion as well as the infrastructure.”  Media Matters called the new venture a “small-scale version” of Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze digital media effort.  Journal VP of radio and television Steve Wexler says of Sykes and WTMJ, “One of the reasons we are successful is because of the many things we are able to do…that have nothing to do with politics.  The talk shows in the middle of the day are right of center, because that’s where the demand is…I am agnostic as a broadcaster about politics.  I look for where there is a demand, and the demand in talk radio is for a more conservative point of view.”  There is no start date announced for RightWisconsin but already, the company reports interest from the community based on early reports of the project.

Townsquare Media Flips WENJ-AM, Atlantic City to Talk.  The Atlantic City market gets a news/talk outlet as Townsquare Media’s WENJ-AM, drops its simulcast of FM sister 97.3 ESPN South Jersey.  According to the Press of Atlantic City, the station will feature regional media personality Harry Hurley in morning drive followed by a slate of syndicated programs that include: Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and Sean Hannity from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; Cumulus Media NetworksMark Levin from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm; John Batchelor from 9:00 pm to 1:00 am and “Red Eye Radio” for overnights.  The station will also return to its roots by taking back its original call letters WPG.  Hurley tells the paper, “The idea is that we are going to have a healthy blend of live and local that people enjoy and some of the biggest names in the country…Glenn Beck is not in this market. Sean Hannity is not in this market.  People are going to notice…We just love the idea of going back and reclaiming the heritage of WPG – for a new generation.”  The station plans to add more local programming between 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm.

KTRH, Houston Talk Host Michael Berry Fires Up Florida Campaign Effort.  Conservative talk show host Michael Berry is responsible for a call-to-action for conservative-minded people who want to spend time in Florida helping those who support Mitt Romney for president get out and vote.  Berry states, “I just threw the idea out there, and listeners across the country responded with an overwhelming willingness to do it.  I was half kidding, because the logistics of such a trip are a nightmare.  But we brought in 50 listeners to volunteer to coordinate this, and what they’ve done is nothing short of amazing.”  The leadership created a website within a couple of days — www.WinFlorida2012.org.  Since Berry’s flagship station KTRH is in Houston, the group will caravan from there beginning on October 28 and arrive in Pensacola, Florida that night.  They will spend the week driving vans to assist locals in voting for Romney during early voting.  One KTRH listener, Kyle Coplen, was tapped by Berry to be a vice chairman for the committee, but he was unable to pay his own expenses.  With a pregnant wife, and a new business cleaning swimming pools, he wasn’t able to spare the $1,000 from his family’s finances for the trip.  Berry offered to pay his expenses for him, but he decided instead to use this as a “teachable moment” and earn the funds through hard work.  Coplen says, “I just made a simple flyer, saying ‘Will Work for Romney,’ which I thought was catchy.  I put the flyer on the doors of houses that had Romney signs in the yards.”  Requests for his work came pouring in, mostly by people impressed by his work ethic and unique need for money.  He says he turned down every offer of a donation, explaining that he wanted to earn his way there, “just as we need to earn our way out of our nation’s problems.”  Michael Berry states, “The stories of people like Kyle amaze me.  There are plenty more.  People want to make this country great.  They refuse to lose this election.  It’s truly inspiring.”

WPHT, Philadelphia’s Chris Stigall Hosts Debate Viewing Parties.  On the heels of a successful debate viewing party at the Philly sports bar Chickie’s & Pete’s, WPHT morning host Chris Stigall is taking it one step further for tomorrow’s presidential debate at Hofstra University.  WPHT listeners and political debate fans will converge upon the Xfinity Live entertainment district in the sports complex area of Philadelphia (where the Wells Fargo Center, Citizen’s Bank Park, and Lincoln Financial Field are located) to watch the debate on a 32-foot, high definition screen.  Stigall and WPHT hosted the previous party at Chickie’s & Pete’s (Stigall is pictured here speaking to KTW-TV from the event) and said it was fun watching presidential debates as you’d watch Sunday afternoon football – complete with bartenders, free appetizers, prizes, and of course wall to wall TVs with the sound blaring.  Stigall says the Xfinity Live center is designed for concertgoers and sports fans to gather pre- and post-event and is hopeful for a big, raucous turnout tomorrow night.

Tom Leykis Shows Off Impressive September Online Numbers.  No, Tom Leykis won’t actually be playing the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California as the press release teases – but the number of people who sampled the show during three weeks in September – 115,684 – is enough to practically fill the iconic football stadium.  Leykis began employing Triton Digital’s Webcast Metrics, which measures unique ip addresses, on September 8.  Leykis states, “It’s great to have accreditation for what we are doing.  Everyone else who does a show on the net brags about having hundreds of thousands of listeners, but they never put their money where their mouth is.”  Leykis, who spoke about his web-based radio program at the TALKERS New Media Seminar in Los Angeles last Thursday (stay tuned for more from that event, including coverage of Leykis’ participation), began his new show on April 2 after a 37-month hiatus from radio.  He says, “I figure at the rate we are going, we should have over 175,000 unique people listening to our show every month.  Again, these will be accurate and honest numbers, not some random Arbitron sample.”

Beasley Talk Hosts Honored by Street Name; Raise Funds for Military Families.  WRXK, Ft. Myers, Florida talk hosts Stan and Haney had the street leading to the Beasley Broadcasting facility in Southwest Florida named after them.  More than 200 loyal fans of the program turned out to christen “Stan and Haney Boulevard” and share in live music, food and celebration. The duo turned the event into a worthy cause as proceeds from the sale of “Stan and Haney Blvd.” t-shirts raised $2,100 for the Stan and Haney D.R.A.F.T. Fund.  Stan says, “Haney and I started the DRAFT Fund nearly nine years ago along with Captain John Lazzaro (USNR).  Thanks to our listeners and the Southwest Florida community we have distributed nearly $40,000 in assistance to local troops and their families.”  The duo are pictured here drinking champagne and announcing the unveiling of the new street sign.

Odds & Sods. KDWN, Las Vegas takes home some awards from the Electronic Media Awards held in conjunction with the Nevada Broadcasters Foundation.  KDWN morning host Alan Stock is recognized with the “Best Radio Talk Show Host” honor and KDWN program director John Shaffer picks up the “Program Director of the Year” honor as well as the “Best Morning Newscast” award…..SiriusXM broadcast live from New York Comic Con 2012 this weekend.  The broadcasts included celebrity interviews, exclusive panels hosted by SiriusXM hosts and fan reactions from the floor – inviting listeners and fans nationwide inside the biggest comics and pop culture convention on the East Coast…..Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” broadcast an interesting program over the weekend on Saturday hosted by John B. Wells that included four of the most influential musicians from the dawn of rock and roll.  Paul Rodgers of Bad Company and Free, Leslie West of Mountain, Jack Casady of Jefferson Airplane and Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull spoke with Wells discussing living through the heyday of rock and what it was like being at the forefront of a musical movement that is still significant today.

Live from South Bend, Indiana.  ESPN Radio’s nationally syndicated morning team Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg broadcast their program from the campus of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana on Friday, October 12.  Golic played football at Notre Dame serving as captain of the team during his senior year.  His sons Jake and Mike, Jr. currently play for the Fighting Irish and his daughter Sydney is a freshman on the swim team.  The duo broadcast in advance of Saturday’s contest between Notre Dame and Stanford from which ESPN’s “College GameDay Built by The Home Depot” also emanated.  In the photo, Golic and Greenberg are holding a pair of swim trunks – a gift from Golic’s daughter Sydney’s swim coach.

Monday, October 8, 2012

| October 8, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, September 27, 2012

| September 27, 2012

Big Changes in Atlanta Talk Radio: Clear Channel to Flip WGST-AM/FM, Atlanta to Spanish or Comedy and Rush Limbaugh Moves to Cox’s WSB-AM/FM.  Exactly what format Clear Channel Media and Entertainment will flip longtime news/talk WGST-AM (which is simulcast on an FM translator at 92.3) to – whether it will be a Spanish format or a comedy format – remains to be seen.  But talk pro Rusty Humphries, who handled PM drive for the station is gone and Premiere’s Glenn Beck ran in his place Wednesday.  The status of morning hosts Rob Johnson and Dave Merlino is not known, however WGST is airing “The Wall Street Journal This Morning with Gordon Deal” in place of Johnson and Merlino.  Humphries, who hosts a separate program that is nationally syndicated via Talk Radio Network, tells TALKERS magazine, “It is always sad to see a news/talk facility such as WGST change to another format but I am grateful for the time I had there and was able to spend doing local radio in Atlanta.  The people at Clear Channel are fine people and I enjoyed working with them.  For me, the good news is that I will have a lot more time to devote to my nationally syndicated TRN program which is growing by leaps and bounds.”  Attempts by TALKERS to get response from Clear Channel management in Atlanta confirming the format change have not been successful.  Meanwhile, across town at Cox Media’s WSB-AM/FM, the station announces Rush Limbaugh, who is heard on WGST, will move to WSB beginning Monday, October 1.  At the same time WSB announces a new long-term deal with Premiere’s Sean Hannity for the PM drive slot and the return of “Atlanta’s Evening News” airing from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm hosted by Erick Erickson.  Cox Media’s Clark Howard will still emanate from WSB for his nationally syndicated program heard on some 200 affiliates across the country but will move to the 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot on WSB.  In order to accommodate the Limbaugh acquisition, the Neal Boortz program moves to the 8:30 am to 12:00 noon slot.

Armstrong & Getty Return Today.  KSTE, Sacramento-based morning duo Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty are back on the air this morning with Armstrong telling Sacramento TV station KTXL “Fox40” that the reason the duo was off the air on Tuesday and Wednesday was due to an “internal” reason and not because of their call to have listeners post cartoons, photos etc. that criticize Islam.  It had been widely reported the two had been suspended for the incident.  In fact, Armstrong tells the TV station the audio file of Monday’s controversial show will return to the online archives soon.  He says they will address the matter first thing today on the program at 6:00 am PT.

Talk Host Phil Valentine Decries Political Correctness.  Writing that the fear of offending those groups of people from which terrorists have sprung has put the shoe on the other foot and now the media is being terrorized, nationally syndicated talk host Phil Valentine laments the state of the media in America.  He says, “I’ve often joked that the only two groups we in talk radio can get away with offending are the deaf and the Amish.  Other offenses might require throwing yourself at the mercy of Jesse Jackson or apologizing to some LGBT group.  Now there is an offense from which you may never come back and that is offending a Muslim.”  Valentine penned this piece for TALKERS after hearing about the case of Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty.  Valentine’s piece is an interesting look at the intersection of politics and media in our current age.  Read it here.

Media Blogger Rich Lieberman Stands By Ronn Owens Story.  Rich Lieberman, who operates the 415 Media blog, wrote a post recently predicting that KGO, San Francisco talk legend Ronn Owens would have his contract – which expires at the end of this year – bought out and he would disappear from KGO early with the station moving in a newsier direction.  TALKERS reported this and Owens responded that Lieberman’s report is “totally made up.”  He also told TALKERS Lieberman has been attacking him for the past year for the changes that have taken place at KGO since Cumulus Media took over the station.  Now, Lieberman tells TALKERS he stands by his story.  “My sources are strong and I believe in them.  This has been a story I have sat on for nearly three weeks.  I finally went with it after talk and e-mailing Bay Area broadcast people familiar with the subject at hand.  I do NOT just dish out any speculation and innuendo without first trying to get it right.”  Apparently, only time will tell what the future holds for Ronn Owens at KGO.

20 Years and Going Strong.  Nationally syndicated talk superstar Dave Ramsey is pictured here holding the pewter statuette of a classic radio microphone given to him by his staff in honor of his 20th anniversary in the talk radio business.  Ramsey’s “official” anniversary is tomorrow – September 28 – and commemorates the day he and some friends took to the air on WWTN-FM, Nashville in a brokered time deal with the then-bankrupt station.  On Friday, a special episode of the program will air and include well-wishes from celebrities, friends and family; glimpses into the party at Ramsey’s Financial Peace Plaza; a look back at the history of the show; and calls from long-time listeners and second-generation callers.  Video of the show will be streamed live online.   Ramsey says, “I’m still surprised and honored that people call me at some of the most difficult and personal moments in their lives.  Giving people hope for their future and seeing lives changed is why I do this every day.”  He also credits his team for helping him achieve the success he has.  “I didn’t do this on my own.  Our producer, Blake Thompson, associate producer, Lara Johnson, engineer Matt Aaron and many other people have made it what it is today.  I have the best crew in radio, and we’ve been together for a long time, which is unheard of in the radio industry.”

The Young Guns of Talk Radio.  Ask anyone, especially those working for the consumer media, and they’ll tell you that personalities working as hosts on news/talk stations are all old, white men.  Radio’s general lack of a “farm system” doesn’t help that misconception much, but the truth is there are young people – some men and some women – working in news/talk radio today.  TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey writes about some of the young broadcasters working in news/talk now.  Not all of them agree that by being young, they have the ability to attract a younger audience to the format.  But some believe it can be a factor.  KNST, Tucson host and PD Garret Lewis, for example, says, “The fact that I’m 35 and my friends are around my age gives me an advantage because I know what makes a person in their late 20s and 30s get fired up emotionally and what interests them.”  Hosts talk with Casey about the issues of the demographic, who inspired them, how they approach their programs and what, if anything, can be done to get young people into the talk business.  Read this story here.

Looking for Political Ad Dollars.  Getting those political ad dollars – even getting them late – is a nice boost to a station’s or group’s revenue.  TALKERS magazine managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian talks with Portland Radio Group president and general manager Cary Pahigian about status of political money.  Pahigian says if you’re not in a potential swing state, the numbers (at least for presidential dollars) for radio are not rosy – at least not yet.  “With the exception of a few states, there does seem to be a lull,” Pahigian says.  He says the same pattern has developed over the past few election cycles.  “Depending on the landscape and circumstances, television is first in line and radio is second.  Everything changes though if there are issues and/or a tight race going on.”  Read Mike Kinosian’s full story here.

Three Senators and a Hopeful.  WIBC, Indianapolis late morning host Greg Garrison was visited by three U.S. Senators and one who hopes to become the next senator from the state of Indiana on his program on Wednesday during a campaign swing through the state capital.  Pictured here (from l-r) are: WIBC’s Todd Meyer, Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), Garrison, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), Indiana State Treasurer and senatorial candidate Richard Mourdock, and Senator Dan Coats (R-IN).

Presidential Campaign Polls, Libya-al Qaeda Connection, Iran/Middle East Tensions, and NFL Referees Status Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/26).  The conflicting presidential election polls; the continuing query into the cause of the Libya terrorist attack; the state of Iran’s nuclear weapons program and the political climate in the Middle East; and the status of the NFL’s referee situation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

| September 12, 2012

CBS Radio Flips WNEW-AM, Washington to Government and Business News.  The AM side of the CBS Radio Washington, DC all-news duo (licensed to Morningside, Maryland) will become “Gov.Biz Radio 1580 AM” on October 1 – putting it in a head-to-head battle with Hubbard’s WFED, Washington.  The station will feature content from The Wall Street Journal Radio Network, Bloomberg Radio and The Hill.  Local programming will include host Nancy Lyons on a morning show called “The Daily Briefing” and a midday program dubbed, “The Capitol Report.”

Pilgrim Communications Adds AM Signal to Indy News/Talk WFDM-FM.  The new and improved 950 AM signal of WXLW will help fill in the coverage of Pilgrim’s news/talk station in the Indianapolis market.  WFDM-FM (“Freedom 95.9”) is licensed to Franklin, Indiana about 25 miles south of downtown Indy.   Vice president and general manager Randy Tipmore says, “Hamilton and Hendricks Counties are not only the fastest-growing counties in Indiana, but also the two most Republican counties in the entire state.  We wanted to better serve those listeners who love our conservative news/talk format which features five of the top six radio talk show hosts in national syndication.  The new 950 AM signal covers two-thirds of Indiana and allows us to expand our audience reach by a factor of 10.”  Tipmore says they chose to debut the new signal on the anniversary of 9/11 “the day that reminds us of the preciousness of America’s freedom.  It is also the anniversary of Sean Hannity‘s launch into national syndication.  On September 12, we’re honored to have Dave Ramsey coming to the Murat Theatre at Old National Centre for his EntreLeadership, 1-day business training event.  It’s the perfect way to celebrate our new simulcast.”

Cumulus Media to Restore Matching 401k for Employees.  The radio operator announces to its 7,000-plus employees that, beginning in October, it will reinstate the matching 401k contribution that it ceased in early 2009 after the real estate crash of 2008 triggered the Great Recession.  Entercom and Journal have also reinstated matching 401k programs for employees since suspending them in order to conserve on cash flow.

Two More Panels Set for the TALKERS Los Angeles New Media Seminar.  As the forthcoming Los Angeles installment of TALKERS magazine’s New Media Seminar nears an early sellout, two more dynamic panel discussions have been added to the growing power-packed agenda.  “The Modern Pioneers” will feature (in alphabetical order): Sam Hasson, president and founder of LATalkRadio.com; Mike Horn, CEO and founder of CRN Digital Talk; Tom Leykis, president and founder of The New Normal; and LA-based national broadcasting legend Shadoe Stevens of “MentalRadio” on SiriusXM and “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.”  A talk personality panel titled “The Challenges of Hosting in 2012” will feature (in alphabetical order):  Lars Larson of Compass Media Networks and KXL, Portland; Bill Handel of KFI, Los Angeles; Heidi Harris of KRLA, Los Angeles; Doug Stephan of  the “Good Day” morning show; and Alan Stock of KDWN, Las Vegas; with more to be announced.  The panel will be moderated by TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian.  Highlights of the event will include the presentation of the TALKERS magazine’s annual “Woman of the Year” award to KFI/KTLK, Los Angeles program director Robin Bertolucci by last year’s recipient, Stephanie Miller of WYD Media and Current TV.  Courtside Entertainment CEO and Westwood One founder Norm Pattiz will deliver the morning keynote address.  Noted talk radio consultant Holland Cooke will deliver a special presentation “Database your Tribe NOW!”  Other highlights include “The State of Local News/Talk Radio,” with (in alphabetical order);  Robin Bertolucci, PD of KFI/KTLK, Los Angeles; Skip Essick, PD of KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; Andy Ludlum, PD of KNX, Los Angeles; Garret Lewis, PD/morning host of KNST, Tucson; Dave Sniff, PD of KFMB, San Diego; and Chuck Tyler, PD of KRLA/KKLA, Los Angeles. It will be moderated by Kevin Casey, VP/executive editor, TALKERS.  The panel “Spoken Word Radio; The Big Picture” features (in alphabetical order): Phil Boyce, VP/director ,spoken word format, Salem Communications; Ron Hartenbaum, president, WYD Media;  Kraig Kitchin, CEO Sound Mind, LLC; and Mike McVay, senior VP/programming, Cumulus Media.  The moderator will be Michael Harrison, publisher, TALKERS.  Additional speakers include (in alphabetical order: Kevin LaRue, program director KSL, Salt Lake City; Don Martin, OM/GM, KLAC, Los Angeles and VP programming, Fox Sports Radio; Patt Morrison, host/commentator KPCC, Los Angeles/Southern California Public Radio; Ken Rutkowski, host of “Business Rock Stars,” KFWB, Los Angeles; and Eric Stanger, vice president of operations, the Sean Hannity Show, Premiere Networks.  As those of you who have been following the development of this amazing conference know, the above is just the tip of the iceberg with a whole lot more scheduled.  The complete up-to-the-minute agenda will be posted tomorrow at Talkers.com.  In total, the seminar will feature more than 60 leading industry speakers who will examine the key issues facing the talk radio/media industries.  It will take place in Los Angeles on Thursday, October 11 at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm being presented by TALKERS in association with the Los Angeles Press Club.  To assure registration, attendees are advised to sign up now.  Registration is a recession-era low $99 which includes everything.  Because it is open only to working media there will be no online registration – only by telephone.  For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.

Clear Channel Flips KVNS, Brownsville, Texas to Sports Talk.  The station – at 1700 AM – switches from classic hits to sports talk on September 17 airing Fox Sports Radio Network’s lineup of “Fox Sports Daybreak,” Dan Patrick, Jim Rome, “Loose Cannons,” Petros & Money, and “Fox Sports Tonight” plus will serve the market as a Dallas Cowboys play-by-play affiliate.  Clear Channel market manager John Richards says, “There are too many sports fans in the valley to not yet have a sports/talk station in the market.  Like advertisers, we know sports fans are passionate about their favorite sports, teams and hosts, so we are very passionate about partnering with Fox Sports Radio for this launch.”

Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel Star Sean Hannity Hits Silver Screen in “Atlas Shrugged: Part II.”  When the second part of the Ayn Rand saga hits theaters in October, moviegoers will get a glimpse of Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel personality Sean Hannity as he plays a cable news TV anchor in one scene.  A still from the flick is seen here as Hannity (far right) sits on the fictitious cable news network set with actual Fox News Channel correspondents (from l-r) Bob Beckel, Juan Williams, and Tamara Holder.  In addition to Hannity’s cameo appearance in the movie, his radio show will be offering exclusive content, movie gear and tickets leading up to the movie’s premiere in Washington, D.C. in October.

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 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 describes the danger facing terrestrial radio as a “five-headed dragon” of  1) smothering debt, 2) exotic media rivals, 3) blurry ratings methodology, 4) an unprecedented generational divide, and 5) 60 and 30 second commercial spots (which when put together in clusters become “PPM pits of purgatory”).   Harrison says “radio must be smart and use its traditional on-air assets in balanced harmony with its unlimited online potential.”  He states, “The cultural heritage of what we  grew up thinking 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.

WFNC, Fayetteville, North Carolina Debuts “Goldy and Jim” AM Show.  North Carolina talk host Curtis Wright had been heard on the Cumulus Media station though he broadcast from the coastal market of Wilmington, North Carolina (his show was also heard there on Cumulus’ news/talk WAAV).  Cumulus recently dropped Wright’s show for the more general interest “Good Morning Fayetteville with Goldy and Jim” (that’s Jim Gold and Jim Cooke).  According to the Fayetteville Observer’s Andrew Barksdale and Paul Woolverton, Wright’s program was very political and, since it emanated from Wilmington, contained a lot of Wilmington political talk.  WAAV, Wilmington has filled the slot Wright occupied with Tyler Cralle.  As for Wright, he’s embarked on an online-only internet TV venture called “Curtis Wright on the Beat Virtual.”

NRG Media’s Omaha Sports Brand “The Zone” to Air UNO Contests.  In a deal brokered by Nelligan Sports Marketing – the exclusive agent for University of Nebraska Omaha sports – NRG Media’s sports talk duo KOZN and KZOT, Omaha – “The Zone” and “The Zone 2” respectively – will air UNO basketball and hockey play-by-play for the next five seasons.  Between the two sports, the stations will air more than 60 games during the 2012-2013 season.  Zone general manager Andy Ruback states, “This is a tremendous partnership for our stations.  Listeners are deeply rooted in the UNO sports tradition and both teams have a following on a regional level.  The dual coverage on both Zone and Zone 2 will mean listeners can always stay in touch with the two premiere sports programs.”

WTOP, Washington Promotes David Dildine to Full-Time Traffic Team.  David Dildine joined WTOP in 2010 during the launch of its in-house traffic center, taking on the weekend afternoon shifts.  Now he becomes a member of the full-time staff where he’ll also work on traffic and weather related features.  Interestingly, Dildine has another passion – storm chasing.  Dildine is a seasoned storm chaser and weather research analyst having worked in Oklahoma and Texas where he chased severe storms and tornados for a living.  WTOP states, “Dildine serves as a valuable resource for WTOP’s traffic, weather and news departments – recently analyzing Hurricane Isaac, flying with Hurricane Hunters into Hurricane Irene and producing popular traffic/news stories such as “DC’s Worst Traffic Merges.”

TuneIn to Be Included in 2013 Chevy Spark MyLink Dash.  Digital audio content aggregator TuneIn strikes a deal with GM to use Livio Connect technology so its app can be integrated into the MyLink Radio dashboard of 2013 Chevrolet Spark models made globally.  According to a release, Livio Connect is a middleware framework protocol that enables hardware devices and mobile apps, now including TuneIn, to connect to and interact with one another.  GM uses Livio Connect technology, which allows owners of Chevy Sparks equipped with the MyLink Radio to enjoy 70,000 stations.  Livio Connect technology bridges the app, featured on iPhone and Android mobile devices, with MyLink.  While connected through Livio Connect, all of the TuneIn buttons and controls from the mobile device will be available on MyLink’s seven-inch touch screen, while the app on the phone itself will be disabled to help promote safer driving.

Schnitt Wows ‘Em in Memphis.  Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt is pictured here in the studio at affiliate WREC, Memphis hosting his program on 9/11.  The previous evening, Schnitt hosted a sold-out “Right Night with Schnitt” where more than 200 WREC listeners paid to attend the event held at the popular Memphis eatery Owen Brennans.

9/11 Anniversary, Chicago Teachers Strike, Obama Convention Bounce, and ‘Fast and Furious’ Report Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/11).  The anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks; the political implications of the Chicago teachers strike; President Obama’s “convention bounce” in the campaign polls; and the inspector general’s report on the Justice Department’s ‘Fast and Furious’ gun-running sting were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

| August 22, 2012

Entercom’s San Francisco Sports Talk Outlet Tweaks Midday Lineup.  KGMZ, San Francisco – 95.7 The Game – alters its midday programming by adding Greg Papa, voice of the Oakland Raiders and Comcast SportsNet Host, to “The Wheelhouse” with current host John Lund and moving the show to 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm beginning September 4.  Lund’s solo show currently airs from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.  The station moves Chris Townsend from his eponymous evening show to the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot for a new show where he’s paired up with Matt Steinmetz — Warriors and NBA Insider for 95.7 The Game and Comcast SportsNet.  Townsend will continue hosting the pre-game “Dugout Show” prior to weekday Oakland Athletics games.  Additionally, the station says it plans to announce a new co-host for “The Drive” alongside Brandon Tierney soon as Eric Davis leaves to join the NFL Network.  That show moves to the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm daypart.  Program director Jason Barrett states, “This is a great day for 95.7 The Game.  We are adding two weekday shows Bay Area sports fans will love.  It’s not often you can add talent like this to your full-time lineup.  Greg Papa is a Bay Area icon and to have him on full-time is terrific.  Chris Townsend has proved he belongs in middays and with Matt Steinmetz as his teammate, the sky’s the limit.  These moves help solidify and better position 95.7 The Game for the future.  We are very excited about these two new shows and can’t wait to announce Brandon Tierney’s co-host in the coming weeks.”

Delmarva Preps for New Delaware Talk Radio Outlet to Debut on September 4.  The simulcast of Delmarva Broadcasting’s country WKTT, Salisbury, Maryland and WZKT, Lewes, Delaware will split on September 4 and the new news/talk outlet on WZKT at 105.9 FM will reportedly feature former WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware personalities Dan Gaffney in the AM drive slot and Jared Morris in the PM drive daypart.  Susan Monday will host middays from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm with a break during the 12:00 noon hour when the “Delaware News Hour” with Alan Loudell will be piped in from WDEL, Wilmington.  Dave Ramsey’s nationally syndicated show will air in evenings and Mark Fowser will serve as news director and AM drive news anchor.

Former Minneapolis Sports Talk Personality Jeff Dubay Sits in on Hot AC Morning Show.  Radio industry watchers know Jeff Dubay as the former KFAN, Minneapolis sports talk host who lost his position with the station in 2008 after being found in possession of crack cocaine during a traffic stop.  Since that time, Dubay has been through rehab and has recently begun speaking out publicly about his trials and tribulations in the media.  Yesterday, Dubay sat in on the morning show at Northern Lights Broadcasting’s Hot AC KTWN, Minneapolis alongside host Eric Perkins.  (The station is owned by the Pohlad family, owners of the Minnesota Twins.)The station is looking for a replacement for personality Tony Fly who recently exited the station.  Consider Dubay’s visit (which continues today and “possibly” tomorrow) an on-air tryout.  The Pioneer PressAmy Carlson Gustafson quotes station SVP and general manager Sam Elliot Gagliardi saying, “You can tell he’s somebody who has been on the radio for a number of years.  You could also tell he was a little rusty and nervous, as is to be expected after being off the air for four years.”  Gagliardi says he has a few more on-air tryouts scheduled over the next couple of weeks.

Hochman and Zaslow Named Morning Team at WAXY, Miami.  The Lincoln Financial Media-owned South Florida sports talk outlet announces Marc Hochman and Jonathan Zaslow are the new permanent morning show team.  Hochman was the longtime executive producer of Dan LeBatard’s PM drive show and Zaslow had been the evening host at the station he also anchored pre-game, halftime and post-game coverage of Miami Heat games.  Program director Tod Castleberry states, “During our vast national search, it became apparent that Hochman & Zaslow had on-air chemistry that was infectious.  Zaslow’s passion for all things Miami sports and Hochman’s ability to find the fun and absurdity in today’s sports world will make for very entertaining listening.”

Odds & Sods.  Two of talk radio’s brightest performers from divergent ends of the political spectrum – Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel superstar Sean Hannity and WYD Media liberal talk maven Stephanie Miller will be on TV together this evening on Hannity’s FNC program at 9:00 pm ET.  Miller and Hannity have always had a playful and entertaining professional relationship – something they’ve exhibited for attendees at numerous TALKERS New Media Seminars over the years.  They are a great example of stars who couldn’t be farther apart politically but can come together professionally and put on a great show…..WXGI, Richmond, Virginia inks a two-year deal to keep Dial Global Radio Networks’ sports play-by-play that includes March Madness, NFL games including the playoffs, the Super Bowl, plus golf’s Majors and the Olympics.  ESPN 950 is owned by Red Zebra and also carries Washington Redskins football…..Dr. Daliah Wachs’ nationally syndicated program moves to the daytime — 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET – beginning September 10…..The NHL’s Nashville Predators sign a five-year contract to remain with Cromwell Group’s WPRT – 102.5 The Game – as its radio flagship station.  Tom Callahan and Stu Grimson serve as the broadcast team.

WTTB, Vero Beach, Florida Newscaster Neal Stannard Dies.  The 55-year-old afternoon news anchor was found dead behind the wheel of his car in a parking lot on August 18.  Neal Stannard is being remembered as a broadcaster who was also very involved in the local community, a theater and movies aficionado who sat on the board of the Vero Beach Theatre Guild and wrote a book titled, Now & Then The Movies Get it Right.

 

Big Sit-Down on the Campaign Trail.  WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive host Chris Stigall (r) scored a sit-down interview with vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (l) during a campaign stop in the Philly suburb of West Chester on Tuesday, August 21.  Stigall tells TALKERS there were several hundred citizens in attendance for the rally.  He’s airing the exclusive interview on his radio show this morning.

Todd Akin Case, Presidential Campaign, Israel-Iran Tensions, and ABC Late Night Shuffle Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/21).  The case of Missouri U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin’s refusal to quit the race after his rape comments; the gearing up of the presidential campaign; concerns over rumblings that Israel is planning to attack Iran before the November U.S. elections; and the shuffling of ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel and “Nightline” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

| August 7, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

| August 1, 2012

CBS Announces Plans for Atlanta FM Sports Talk Outlet.  The rumors of a CBS Radio sports talk station in Atlanta have been buzzing for some time and now CBS Atlanta market manager Rick Caffey announces Triple A Dave FM – WZGC will turn into Sports Radio 92.9 this fall, probably in late September or early October.  The company is moving KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh program director Terry Foxx to Atlanta to become PD of the new station.  Foxx was instrumental in building Pittsburgh’s 93.7 The Fan into the successful station it is.  In a memo to the Atlanta staff, Caffey says of Foxx, “His extensive experience includes stints with ESPN Radio in Bristol, Connecticut and ABC Radio Networks.  We’ve had many conversations about the potential of Sports Radio 92.9 and his vision is exactly what we need to win in this market.  Working with him will be inspiring and I’m confident you’ll also be motivated by his work ethic and energetic personality.”  Atlanta currently has two sports talk outlets: Cumulus Media’s WCNN – Sports Radio 680 The Fan – which also operates on an FM translator in the market; and Lincoln Financial Media’s WQXI – Sports Talk 790 The Zone.  WQXI’s Dave Archer & Mike Bell; Steak Shapiro, Nick Cellini and Chris Dimino; and “Red Zone” hosts Doug and Ryan Stewart plus Tony Barnhart and Wes Durham made it onto the 2012 TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk as did WCNN’s “Rude Awakening” morning show featuring Christopher Rude.  There are not many markets with three sports talk stations but CBS Radio believes in its ability to be successful with the format and its position on the FM dial will give it an advantage purely based on cume using the FM band.  As for Dave FM, the station’s ratings had declined over the past year and the market is served by four other commercial outlets airing a rock-based format.

CBS Signs First Talent to Appear on New Radio Sports Network: Doug Gottlieb.  The former ESPN personality joins CBS Sports where he’ll hold down the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET time slot on the CBS Sports Radio Network when it launches on January 2.  He’ll also be a studio and game analyst for CBS Sports’ television coverage of men’s college hoops and the NCAA Division I championship.  Doug Gottlieb will have a role on CBS Sports’ new cable network hosting a show and will serve as an analyst for college basketball there.  Additionally, he will contribute podcasts and columns to CBSsports.com.  CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus says, “With his ability to host both radio and television shows plus his studio and courtside analysis on college basketball, Doug is a triple threat, and the perfect fit across CBS Sports’ many platforms.  Doug brings a wide fan base and a fresh take on sports, and we are excited to develop a unique show with him on CBS Sports Network.”

Cumulus Media Networks Host Mike Huckabee Weighs in on Chick-fil-A Issue on Tom Joyner Program.  Nationally syndicated talk show host, former Arkansas governor and former U.S. presidential candidate Mike Huckabee appeared on the nationally syndicated Tom Joyner program yesterday with Joyner and cast member Roland Martin to discuss the Chick-fil-A gay marriage controversy.  Huckabee is promoting a “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” today to support the restaurant chain’s president – Dan Cathy – for announcing his “Godly values.”  Huckabee told Martin and Joyner the issue is one of “supporting the right to free speech.”  Huckabee says he wants today’s event to be one of quiet support – not a protest with signs or disturbances.  “It’s about supporting the idea that a person who runs a company has a right to free speech, and has not been disenfranchised from his First Amendment rights because he runs a company, anymore than Ben and Jerry should be disenfranchised from their views, or Jeff Bezos of Amazon, or Howard Schultz of Starbucks.  This is about whether or not people ought to take action, as was being taken against Chick-fil-A, trying to get them thrown off college campuses, mayors trying to say that they shouldn’t have come to their city because they disagreed with the personal views of a person of the company.  Nobody has alleged that Chick-fil-A discriminated against its customers or employees.  That would be something to truly protest.”

Political Season Kicking into High Gear.  Some key primary elections took place yesterday and with the beginning of August, the political season is heating up after a late spring and early summer cooling off.  The primary race in Texas between Republicans running for the U.S. Senate seat of retiring Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison has been one of national interest with Texas Lt. Governor David Dewhurst facing former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz – the latter the recipient of the support of Texas Tea Party groups.  Cruz defeated Dewhurst handily in yesterday’s primary race.  Pictured here is KTRH, Houston talk host Michael Berry (holding the mic) announcing Cruz (approaching from the left) at his victory party in Houston last night.  Cruz had been endorsed by Sarah Palin, Michelle Malkin, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity plus others and had been a favorite of Michael Berry’s since his announcement.  “It is a huge honor to be able to share in this evening of celebration for Ted Cruz and the excitement in the room is only half of what is going to exist in November when we can call Ted ‘Senator Cruz.’”

Talk Host Martha Zoller in Runoff for Georgia Congressional Seat.  The vote tally in yesterday’s primary election for the newly configured 9th Georgia Congressional District has Georgia talk show host Martha Zoller down by just 729 votes with about half the votes counted.  She and Georgia State Representative Doug Collins each have roughly 41% of the votes with third candidate Roger Fitzpatrick, garnering 17% of the vote.  That means Zoller and Collins will head to an August 21 runoff election since neither candidate won 50%-plus-one.

Cumulus Media Simulcasts KNBR’s Damon Bruce in Modesto.  San Francisco sports talk host Damon Bruce’s 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show on KNBR is now being heard 80 miles east in Modesto on the company’s sports talk KESP.  The station carries largely ESPN Radio programming along with DirecTV/Fox Sports Radio’s Dan Patrick.  The addition of Damon Bruce gives the station a regional show that addresses Northern California sports topics.

Artie Lange Reportedly Suspended for Urinating in Studio.  The DirecTV/Premiere Networks duo of Artie Lange and Nick Di Paolo was just Di Paolo for the first two nights of this week after Lange was suspended, according to TMZ.  The gossip site reports that, for some unknown reason, Lange urinated on the floor of the studio and then insisted the show’s two female production assistants clean it up.  When they refused, another male staffer took care of it.

KOA, Denver Shores Up Broncos Coverage with Team Execs and Players.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KOA, Denver unveils some additions to its coverage of Denver Broncos football this season.  First, former Broncos wide receiver Ed McCaffrey will take over the color role in the radio booth alongside play-by-play man Dave Logan on the Denver Broncos Radio Network based at KOA.  Former color man Brian Griese exits to concentrate on his role covering football with ESPN.  Broncos EVP of football operations John Elway, head coach John Fox and quarterback Peyton Manning will have regular roles on the station including Elway’s weekly appearance on the Dave Logan PM drive show; Fox’s weekly shot on the station’s morning drive show and Manning’s weekly hit on Logan’s show.  All three will contribute to game day programming as well.

Morning Personality Elvis Duran Extends Contract with Clear Channel.  WHTZ, New York-based Elvis Duran signs a five-year extension with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment to continue his role as morning drive host on the CHR station and his national syndication effort that currently has him on more than 40 affiliates via Premiere Networks.  The company announces, “Duran will work with Clear Channel on a variety of future endeavors including talent and programming development as well as events.  He will also serve as a spokesperson for the company.”  Clear Channel chairman and CEO John Hogan states, “We are thrilled to extend and expand our partnership with Elvis.  He is a true creative genius with an unparalleled ability to connect with and entertain listeners across the country.  His intelligence, warmth, enthusiasm and wit really resonate with listeners and work incredibly well with our marketing partners.  He is a remarkable talent and an incredible partner for Clear Channel.”

WSB Care-a-Thon Helps Raise $1.5 Million for Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center.  Nationally syndicated WSB, Atlanta-based talk host Neal Boortz recently announced the 12th Annual 95.5 & AM 750 News/Talk WSB Care-a-Thon helped raise $1.5 million for the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center in Atlanta.  Boortz, pictured here with 9-year-old patient Haylee, states, “I’ve been doing this fundraiser for the past 11 years and have been honored to rejoice with kids who beat their cancer and have mourned for those who did not.  No words can express the love we all feel for the staff of the AFLAC Cancer Center and the children and their families who come here for treatment.  Although I’m retiring, I’ll arrange my travels to make sure I’m right back here in Atlanta every year so I can be there for the Care-a-Thon, as long as they’ll have me.”

Presidential Race, Primary Elections, Indian Power Grid Collapse, and Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/31).  The U.S. presidential campaign; primary elections across the country, including the highly watched Republican Texas Senate contest; the collapse of Northern India’s power grid; and the London Olympic games 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.

Sean Hannity Keynote Address at the TALKERS magazine New Media Seminar NYC 2012

| June 18, 2012


Monday, June 11, 2012

| June 10, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, May 25, 2012

| May 25, 2012

Sean Hannity Re-Ups with Fox News Channel.  There had been rumors that Fox News Channel prime time superstar (and Premiere Networks radio talk show star) Sean Hannity was negotiating with the News Corp. cable news/talk giant and now it’s announced the two sides have agreed on a long-term extension.  The duration and money details are few but it’s being reported the new contract keeps Hannity at FNC for “the foreseeable future.”  Hannity is the second-most-watched FNC show after Bill O’Reilly and a major part of its prime time success.  Hannity is quoted saying, “It’s been an honor and privilege to work alongside the incredible team at Fox News, whose talent is unparalleled.  In true Roger Ailes form, he saw something in me that no one else did and afforded me the opportunity to achieve incredible success.  I look forward to many more years to come.”  The news of Hannity’s extended relationship with Fox comes at a perfect time – two weeks before the New Media Seminar in New York City at which he will be personally hosting a special breakfast for all attendees followed by delivering the power-packed event’s keynote speech.  For information about the industry-only conference set for Thursday, June 7 call 413-565-5413.  Today is the final day to register.  To see the complete agenda click here.

TALKERS Top Talk Audiences Winter Report Shows News/Talk Holding Steady.  In today’s highly polarized political climate, there is a tendency toward news/talk radio ratings to be selectively cherry-picked and trumpeted for the purpose of propagandizing partisan interests.  A recent example of this is on display as the normal rises or dips in Rush Limbaugh’s PPM numbers during the two months following the Sandra Fluke controversy are touted by political action groups as a referendum on the public’s reaction to the story and reflective of the nation’s political and social mindset in general.  The truth, as broadcasting professionals realize, is that radio ratings are a complex and inexact process that can only be indicative of measurable trends when looked at over time and distance, taking a multitude of factors into account – especially during the current bumpy transition to the PPM system and the merging of significantly different research paradigms.  According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “The mainstream media approaches radio ratings as though they were motion picture box office numbers or last night’s horse racing results.  The political groups, of course, play into that.  As a result, the public is getting a very inaccurate picture of the reality of this business from skewed partisan perspectives.  Both sides are shamelessly doing this.  Our business has become a political football which is not a good thing.”  The latest installment of TALKERS magazine’s quarterly audience estimates of the most-listened-to news/talk radio hosts (Winter 2012) has been posted today.  See it here.

Gow Communications to Buy KFNC-FM, Houston. That station, along with KHJK-FM, Houston, was put into a pre-packaged bankruptcy proceeding by former owner Cumulus Media last year.  The stations are majority owned by media broker Lawrence Patrick with the rest owned by creditors.  Now, the Houston Chronicle’s David Barron reports David Gow’s Gow Communications (which operates sports KGOW, Houston and Yahoo! Sports Radio) is the winning bidder for the FM signal and has signed a letter of intent to buy it.  Barron reports KFNC-FM billed $2.4 million in 2011.

Sports Talk Radio Scene in Salt Lake City Becoming Clearer.  With the recently announced purchase of KZNS-AM/FM by the Larry H. Miller Group – owner of the NBA’s Utah Jazz – and Cumulus Media’s dedication to keeping former Jazz flagship and crosstown competitor KFNZ a sports outlet by simulcasting the Yahoo! Sports Radio content currently heard on its KJQS, there’s been a lot of turmoil in the Salt Lake City radio sports scene but the picture is clearing.  LHM Group will split the AM and FM signals of KZNS. The FM side will feature “Fox Sports Daybreak” in AM drive, local hosts Jake Scott and Tony Parks from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, Premiere NetworksJim Rome from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm, FSRN’s “Loose Cannons” from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm, and FSRN’s Petros & Money from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  The AM side will consist of local hosts David James and Patrick Kinahan in AM drive, Jim Rome from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, local hosts Scott Garrard and Jake Scott from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm, local hosts Spencer Checketts and Gordon Monson from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm, and local host Steve Brown from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Both stations will air “Fox Sports Tonight” and FSRN’s JT the Brick.  Meanwhile, across town at Utah Radio Acquisition’s KALL – ESPN 700 – former KZNS-AM/FM host Hans Olsen joins the Bill Riley PM drive show effective June 4.

Talk Radio Legend Barry Farber Releases New Book; Will Be Honored at New Media Seminar in New York on June 7.  Pioneering talk radio host Barry Farber is publishing his new book, Cocktails with Molotov (WND Books 2012) on June 5.  The book is described as “a collection of real life short stories that Farber has somehow found himself involved in, where you’ll read of his encounters with Alfred Hitchcock, the King of Albania, and Buzz Aldrin; of his knowledge of 26 foreign languages and how foreign language came through for him in the nick of time.  He shares tales from his childhood in North Carolina and his time spent venturing abroad, from his life as a young reporter and as a seasoned journalist, along with astounding narratives of everything in between.”  Rush Limbaugh is quoted speaking of Farber.  “Barry Farber was a standout when it was difficult to get a talk show.  Unlike today, very few people hosted such shows in Barry’s era.  You had to be among the best to be hired to host long-form talk.  Barry Farber was…the best.  He was defining.  He’s always been in rarified air.”  Barry Farber will be honored with the “TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award” at the New Media Seminar on New York City on Thursday, June 7.

KRLD-FM, Dallas Names Jane Slater and Chris Arnold to Talent Roster.  The CBS Radio sports talk station brings Jane Slater over from its news sister KRLD where she was morning drive reporter to co-host the midday show with Mark Elfenbein for the “Elf and Slater” midday show.  The daypart opened up when Josh Lewin accepted the New York Mets play-by-play gig.  In evenings, the station adds market sports pro Chris Arnold to Gavin Dawson’s “The G-Bag Nation” program which is expanding to the 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot to cover for the departed Arnie Spanier.  In a statement, VP of news/talk/sports programming Bruce Gilbert says, “The addition of Jane and Chris to the full-time staff at 105.3 The Fan illustrates our commitment to be the live and local sports talk station.  Their characteristics, personalities and unique perspectives emphasize our goal to be the voice of the many diverse sports fans across North Texas.”

Federated Media Flips Two Music FMs to Sports Talk.  A new four-station sports talk brand dubbed “The Fan” is being created by Federated Media.  The latest station to announce a flip is South Bend-market classic rock WAOR-FM (licensed to Nappanee, Indiana).  The stations (including WFGA-FM, Ft. Wayne; WLEG-FM, Elkhart, Indiana; and WNIL, Niles, Michigan) will carry local sports talk shows in morning and afternoon drive and carry Fox Sports Radio Network programming the rest of the day.  Federated Media chief operating officer Brad Williams says in a statement, “We are thrilled to bring sports talk to Northern Indiana.  We are a sports-hungry region and now our customers and clients can consume and partner with our stations and Fox Sports Radio 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”  The changes take place June 4.

United Stations Radio Networks Develops Weekly NASCAR Show.  The weekly one-hour program titled, “The Final Lap Weekly” is being hosted by Kerry Murphey and Toby Christie.  Murphey is the producer and host of USRN’s daily feature, “The Final Lap,” which is heard on more than 200 affiliate stations.  USRN EVP of programming Andy Denemark states, “2012 has been another solid year for NASCAR racing with TV viewership and track attendance both up.  At the same time, sports radio is growing exponentially, so we felt it was a great time to bring a new long-form racing talk show to the airwaves.  Kerry Murphey is a proven winner, his team covers the sport like no one else, and this is a great brand extension for Kerry and ‘The Final Lap.’”  The show debuts the weekend of June 2-3.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  WLAC, Nashville-based syndicated talk host Steve Gill begins a promotion with the Nashville Daily’s chain of gas stations to offer 150 listeners up to 15 gallons of gas at just $1.84 per gallon – January 2009 prices – beginning Tuesday, May 29.  Listeners must tune in to Gill to know which location is offering the bargain…..Journal Broadcasting names Mike McQuilliam promotions and marketing director for the company’s Wichita operations…..CBS Radio’s WCCO, Minneapolis extends its contract with University of St. Thomas to air its football games through the 2013 season.

2012 Presidential Race Top Talk Radio Topic for 8th Consecutive Week.  The battle between challenger Mitt Romney and President Obama in this year’s presidential campaign was again the #1 story on the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories and people on news/talk radio for the week of May 21-25.  At #2 was the Euro Zone crisis.  Following at #3 was the financial markets activity and at #4 was Facebook IPO troubles.  The Talkers TenTM is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Fox Sports Radio Network adds four new affiliates owned by Federated Media.  WFGA-FM, Ft. Wayne; WAOR-FM, South Bend; WLEG-FM, Elkhart, Indiana; and WNIL, Niles, Michigan all begin carrying FSRN programming, including Dan Patrick, Jim Rome, “Loose Cannons,” Petros & Money, “Fox Sports Tonight” and more beginning June 4…..WRDU-FM, Raleigh – Rush Radio 106.1 – adds the Allan Handelman show to its weekend lineup.  Handelman’s program was the afternoon drive show at WZKT-FM, Burlington, North Carolina until a recent format flip…..KUFO, Portland picks up Talk Radio Network’s “Watchdog on Wall Street with Chris Markowski”…..“Armed American Radio” with Mark Walters adds six new stations to his affiliate roster including: WGWD-FM, Tallahassee; WWNS, Statesboro, Georgia; and WKEI, Kewanee, Illinois.

 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

| May 17, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, May 7, 2012

| May 7, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, 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