Tag: "Sean O’Connell"

Friday, January 10, 2014

| January 10, 2014

nielsen logoWill Nielsen’s Dominance in Online Measurement Hurt Radio Buys?  According to some analysts – most notably J.P. Morgan’s Doug Anmuth – the answer is yes.  In a piece published at MediaPost News by Joe Mandese, Anmuth asserts that Nielsen’s Online Campaign Ratings is growing in acceptance and may become the dominant “currency” for digital ratings and that it will drive ad budgets from TV and radio to digital.  Mandese writes that though some marketers and agencies prefer comScore’s vCE ratings system used to plan, buy and validate online ad buys, Nielsen’s dominance in the ratings in other media will give it the ability to leverage that into cross-platform ratings.  With YouTube’s recent adoption of Nielsen’s ORC system, it’s being predicted by Anmuth the move could “drive material change in TV buyer behavior.”  Similarly, Nielsen’s imminent rollout of its streaming audio measurement will affect radio buys.  Anmuth writes, “Just as we are seeing a shift in digital video measurement with YouTube, we expect streaming music providers including Pandora to gravitate towards partnerships with traditional measurement providers.  Nielsen is deeply engaged in developing the technology to measure streaming radio and it is working to fully integrate Nielsen Audio.”  Check out the story here.

emmisEmmis Net Revenue Up 3.4% — on Strength of Publishing.  The loss of political advertising that all broadcasting companies are dealing with – the fall of 2012 was a good year for that sector and Emmis’ fiscal Q3 measures September, October and November – affected the company’s 2013 Q3 to 2012 Q3 comparison and the result was a 0.4% increase in revenue for Emmis’ radio division.  The publishing segment of the business carried the day with a 9.8% increase in net revenue.  Emmis CEO Jeffsmulyanjeff Smulyan says in a statement, “The government shutdown in October, coupled with non-recurring political revenues from the prior year, caused significant headwinds for us and the radio industry.  However, Emmis’ ability to grow revenues despite these challenges is a testament to the talent, ingenuity and hustle of the Emmis team.  Our radio revenues are rebounding in our fourth fiscal quarter as these challenges have abated and our publishing division continues to post impressive revenue gains.  NextRadio, the Emmis-led industry initiative to make FM broadcast radio available on mobile phones via a pre-loaded app, continues to gain momentum and recently exceeded 100,000 activations.  I’m excited about the progress we are making and the momentum we have heading into calendar 2014.”

talkersradio logoTalkersRadio Hits the Ground Running for 2014 with New Hosts, Shows and Programming Directions. TalkersRadio, the “experimental” talk radio station launched last fall by TALKERS magazine to provide the industry with a “work out space” and “showcase for new talk programming concepts” has, according to its general manager David Bernstein, “hit the ground running” in 2014 with the announcement of several new hosts and shows scheduled to join its programming roster this month. Set for launch this weekend (1/12) is “Radio Lifeboat with DG & Mickey Gooch,” described by Bernstein as “a raw, emotion-packed ‘reality’ show that sure ain’t no cruise.” The one-hour-per-week program, emanating live on Sunday evenings at 7:00 pm ET from Malibu, California, is hosted by the mother/son team of Diane “DG” Gooch and her son Mickey Gooch. The show is basically a weekly therapy and educational support session helping people and families overcome the challenges of addiction. Also debuting this month (1/25) is a new program from Lionel – one of the most iconoclastic, impossible-to-peg, and intellectually stimulating talk show hosts of the modern era. 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 for the past four years in New York City where the ex-prosecutor’s 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!” Another program getting readied for launch on TalkersRadio in either late-January or early-February is “The Hard Question with Blanquita Cullum.” Hosted by veteran talk show host, Washington-insider, and former member of the United States Broadcasting Board of Governors, Blanquita Cullum, the one-hour-per-week show will cover the hottest and most-pressing economic, environmental and political issues facing the country from a non-partisan, non-ideological perspective. Cullum tells TALKERS, “I’ve been in this business too long to mess around playing the old right versus left game that is quickly getting us nowhere. It is time to get serious – especially having this marvelous platform upon which to perform – and dust off the old journalism skills. Just as the name implies, I will be asking big shots and policy makers from the worlds of energy, finance and government the hard questions. None of that easy, puff-piece stuff. This show is going to get down, dirty and real!” These new shows will join the already-developing programs on TalkersRadio that include “The Brent & Meg Radio Show” hosted by the dynamic husband/wife duo Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald, “Green Connections” hosted by Washington, DC-based energy and sustainability expert, journalist Joan Michelson, “Healed Planet” hosted by well-known talk media star Alan Colmes, “The Robbie Student Show” hosted by record producer and urban philosopher Robbie Student, and “The Talkers Show” hosted by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison. To read more about TalkersRadio, check out a full feature story posted today by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey by clicking here.

kahnjulieRegan Communications Group Names Kahn EVP/Sports Media. Former Entercom vice president and New England market manager Julie Kahn joins public relations firm Regan Communications Group as executive vice president of sports/media.  Over and above that, she will be a special advisor to company president/founder George Regan, who comments, “Julie Kahn’s talents, skills, mind, and passion for this business are a grand slam for our company.  This is a great start to our new year.” Kahn “had the pleasure” to work with Regan Communications for the nearly 14 years that she was with Entercom.  “I am excited to become part of the management team and help Regan continue its growth and success,” she remarks.  Among Kahn’s new duties will be working with her former employer – Entercom, Boston – which is one of Regan’s clients.  In addition to being a board member of the Boston Sports Museum, Kahn is on the Boston board of directors for the National Sports Management Network.  The holder of a JD/MBA from Northwestern University, Kahn began her radio career in WGN, Chicago’s sales department; was general manager of KSAN, San Francisco; and vice president/director of sales for Susquehanna, San Francisco.

baldwinmcculloughBaldwin/McCullough Show Auditions on WNYM, New York.  With the move of talk personality Curtis Sliwa to crosstown WABC, Salem Communications news/talk WNYM “Am 970 The Answer” is putting the XtreMedia-produced Baldwin/McCullough program on this afternoon and next Friday as an audition.  Actor Stephen Baldwin and media entrepreneur and talk host Kevin McCullough have been hosting the Baldwin/McCullough program as a weekend show for the past several years.  Also, Iowa-based talk personality Steve Deace is set to audition in the afternoon drive slot on WNYM next Monday through Thursday.

kgmzlogoMidday Changes at Entercom’s ’95.7 The Game’ in San Francisco.  The late morning show featuring Sean O’Connell, Matt Steinmetz and producer Justin Kleisley is out and program director Jason Barrett announces “friends since high school” Guy Haberman and John Middlekauff are partnering up for the new 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program.  Haberman serves as host of the station’s pre- and post-game shows for Oakland As broadcasts and was host of the evening show at KGMZ during 2013.  Middlekauff was West Coast scout for the Philadelphia Eagles for the past two years and served as an NFL analyst for the station since the beginning of the 2013 NFL season.  The new pair begin hosting the “Mid-Morning Show” on January 20.  Matt Steinmetz had been working at KGMZ in the late morning daypart for the past 18 months.  He was joined by O’Connell last February.

buehlerjulieJulie Buehler and Geoff Bloom Re-Up with KXPS, Palm Springs.  The “Buehler’s Day Off” afternoon drive show at CRC Media West-owned sports talker KXPS, Palm Springs “Team 1010 KXPS” will continue with the station through this year.  Sports media pro Julie Buehler and co-host Geoff Bloom joined the station in June of 2012.  Buehler comments, “I love the Coachella Valley!  Love the vibrancy, the spectrum of sports fans and the rich culture and I’m honored to be a voice for such a passionate community.  I know with the vision from CRC Media West and our team’s ability to execute such a thorough game plan, 2014 will be even more groundbreaking, history-making fun than the past 18 months.”

lebatarddanDan Le Batard Has Baseball Hall of Fame Vote Taken Away.  In November, WAXY, Miami and ESPN Radio personality Dan Le Batard – also a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America (which votes for Hall of Fame players) – gave his vote to Deadspin.com in a protest saying his vote has become pretty worthless in the “sanctimonious” atmosphere of the process.  There’s a rule against that and the BBWAA board of directors voted to strip Le Batard of his vote this season and beyond.  He also will not be able to cover any baseball event this season as a sanctioned BBWAA member.

baumannbigjoeNew Morning Show at WRSO, Orlando.  At sports talker WRSO, Orlando “810 CBS Sports Radio,” there’s a new morning team in the 7:00 am to 9:00 am slot.  Former TV anchor Dave Baumann and local radio personality Big Joe are taking over the slot.  The station is owned by Star Over Orlando and it says the program will soon also be heard on the 93.1 frequency as well.

Odds & Sods.  All-newser KNX, Los Angeles continues its “KNX on Your Corner” series on January 31 when it takes an in-depth look at the unique aspects of the Crescenta Valley communities lying between the San Gabriel Mountains and the Verdugo Mountains: La Crescenta-Montrose, La Cañada Flintridge, Sunland and Tujunga.  The CBS RADIO station will broadcast live from the Black Cow Cafe in the heart of Old Town Montrose.  News anchors bearmanethanTom Haule and Vicky Moore will kick off the day from 5:00 am to 9:00 am, Frank Mottek will host the “KNX Business Hour” from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm and Chris Sedens and Diane Thompson will be on hand from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm…..KSCO, Santa Cruz talk host Ethan Bearman will host the KSFO Talk Show from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon on Cumulus Media’s KSFO on Monday and Tuesday January 13 and 14.  The slot currently has no permanent host…..Talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs – syndicated nationally via Genesis Communications Network – celebrated her 5th wachsdaliahanniversary on the radio yesterday (1/9).  She tells TALKERS magazine that she began her radio career five years ago on KLAV…..MSNBC shuffles its daily lineup after the departure of Martin BashirAlex Wagner moves into the 4:00 pm ET slot previously held by Bashir and the network will feature a rotating cast of hosts for Wagner’s 12:00 noon slot – including Joy Reid who’s been sitting in the 4:00 pm slot lately…..For the 3rd consecutive year, Entercom’s WEEI, Boston will serve as the official radio partner for the 2014 Pan-Mass Challenge August 2 and 3.  The PMC – a 190-mile bike event starting in Sturbridge, Massachusetts and ending in Provincetown and the tip of Cape Cod – is the largest single athletic fundraising event in the country and, since 1980, has raised more than $414 million for the Jimmy Fund, which supports adult and pediatric patient care and cancer research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

savagemichaelTALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  The “Savage Nation” show hosted by Michael Savage is added to the programming at the following stations: WCFO, Atlanta; WVGG, Lucedale, Mississippi; WLBY, Saline, Michigan; KBHS, Hot Springs, Arkansas; KVPI-AM, Ville Platte, Louisiana…..Business talk host Phil Grande’s “Phil’s Gang” show is added to the lineup at KDWN, Las Vegas…..Cumulus Media NetworksMark Levin is now heard on WFNC, Fayetteville, North Carolina; WVLK-FM, Lexington; WFNR, Blacksburg, Virginia; KFAY, Fayetteville, Arkansas; and WALG, Albany, Georgia…..Conservative/libertarian Genesis Communications Network-syndicated talk host Jason Lewis is added to the program schedule at KZRG, Joplin, Missouri…..From WYM Media, the Leslie Marshall show joins the programming at KABQ, Albuquerque and Phil Hendrie’s program is now heard on KNEW, San Francisco and KTNF, Chico/Redding, California…..“Freedom Feens” with Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi is added to the programming at WVFT-FM, Tallahassee; WYOO-FM, Panama City, Florida; and KENN-AM/FM, Farmington, New Mexico.

Chris Christie Scandal Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 6-10.  The Fort Lee lane closure scandal that’s rocking New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s administration was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week making it the #1 story on the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was former Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ book Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War (Random House 2013), which criticizes President Obama and his administration.  Following at #3 was the “polar vortex” chilling much of the nation tied with the companion topic of global warming and at #4 was Janet Yellen being confirmed chief of the Federal Reserve.  The Talkers TenTM is a 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, February 11, 2013

| February 11, 2013

DG-logoHorizontalSpencer Brown to Sole Dial Global CEO Post; David Landau Resigns.  In a major top-level management move, Dial Global ditches its three-person CEO structure and Spencer Brown becomes the sole CEO of thebrownspencer corporation.  Former co-CEO David Landau resigns and former co-CEO Ken Williams takes on the president title and reports to Brown.  In a statement, Dial Global says the reason for the changes are to “sharpen the company’s strategic focus and provide greater clarity to its advertising clients, station affiliates, producer partners and stockholders.”  Spencer Brown states, “Along with me and Ken, David has led Dial Global since its formation in 2002, and he has been a cornerstone of the williamskencompany’s growth and success.  I am personally grateful for his significant contributions over the years, and I know that the entire organization feels the same.  While David will certainly be missed, I am excited to lead the company forward and am convinced that Dial Global’s best days lie ahead.”  David Landau adds, “Working with Spencer, Ken and many of the other talented executives at Dial Global over the last 10 years has been one of the most gratifying experiences of my life, both personally and professionally.  I have tremendous respect for Spencer and believe that he has the necessary qualifications and passion to lead the company through its next stage of growth.  I remain a meaningful shareholder of Dial Global and its most ardent supporter.”

weei logoEntercom’s WEEI, Boston Gets Attention in Hometown Media Over Focus Group.  The Boston Globe is reporting that Entercom’s sports brand WEEI, Boston conducted a focus group of 15 young men – believed to be on the younger side of the 25-54 demo – in late January.  The key aspect of this is the subjects are reported to have been converts from WEEI to CBS Radio’s WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub.”  The questions by the moderator of the focus group zeroed in on the perceptions about the morning and afternoon drive personalities, how they discovered WBZ-FM and what they think of various WEEI contributors and co-hosts. WEEI PD Jason Wolfe responded to a question from the Globe in an email simply stating, “These things are common.  All companies do market research from time to time to gain insight into how they can improve.”  Globe writer Chad Finn goes on to give his opinions about the WEEI personalities in the piece.  That WEEI-AM/FM and WBZ-FM are locked in a battle in a lucrative sports town is not news, nor is the fact that WBZ-FM tends to beat WEEI in the younger demos while the strength of Boston Red Sox baseball pumps up WEEI during baseball season.  Clearly each station has its own sound and one doesn’t have to listen very long to hear why they appeal to different demographics.  The question for WEEI is, do they want to re-tool their lineup and alter their programming philosophy to go head-to-head with WBZ-FM for the younger demos or stick with the programming that has made them iconic in the region and sell the fact that they appeal to an older demo that has more disposable income.  Decisions, decisions…

cookehollandAttention Radio Managers:  Time Cannot be Managed – but Tasks Can!  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison once described the job of managing an active radio station as feeding human time and energy into a black hole in space.  No matter how much you shovel in, it keeps demanding more and wants to be fed quicker and quicker.  In today’s frenetic world of inter-connective multi-tasking, this observation rings truer than ever and it impacts all levels of communications industry management.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke offers several valuable ways to navigate the time demands placed upon today’s radio managers.  First of all, he says, “Time cannot be managed – don’t even try!  But tasks can!”  Read Cooke’s strategy for staying on top of the mountain of tasks facing today’s radio manager while avoiding the pitfalls and wipeouts of the non-stop stream of distractions, interruptions and nightmarish disorganization by clicking here.

wvonlogoMidway Broadcasting’s urban talk WVON, Chicago to Address City’s Deadly Violence.  The market’s urban talk outlet is hosting and broadcasting a special live forum this evening addressing the ongoing violence that is plaguing the young African American population.  Station personality Kendall Moore willmoorekendall host the event in front of a live, selected audience.  Appearing on the program will be: Nathaniel Pendleton, father of Hadiya Pendleton; Tio Hardiman, director for Cure Violence Illinois; the Rev. Dr. Michael Pfleger, senior pastor of The Faith Community of Saint Sabina; Richard Wooten, member of the Chicago Police Department; Che’ Rhymefest Smith, recording artist, writer and community activist; Harold “Noonie G” Ward, former high-ranking Gangster Disciple gang leader and members of the Guardian Angels; Chicago’s Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy has also been invited.  The broadcast will air tonight from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

giffordlarryLarry Gifford to Exit Bonneville Seattle.  Programmer Larry Gifford has been at the helm of news/talk KIRO-FM and conservative talker KTTH in Seattle for the past two years.  But Gifford says that after some soul searching, he’s decided to resign from the post.  In a memo to the staff he writes: “I am a big fan of Bonneville Seattle, the brands, philosophies, purpose, and the people who breathe life and personality into our products.  I believe KIRO-FM and KTTH are positioned for success.  I also recognize the stations have both evolved greatly in the two years I’ve been here.  As stations evolve, their leaders need to evolve as well.  As I’ve considered where we are and the road ahead, it has become clear to me that the type of leadership needed to keep moving these stations forward requires someone with different strengths and passions than mine.  So, with mixed emotions, I have resigned my position at Bonneville Seattle.  At Carl’s [GM Carl Gardner] request, I will be here through March 1 to help both stations through this transition.  As to what comes next?  I don’t know.  Though, Becci, Henry and I are planning to go on a month-long RV adventure this Spring to visit friends, favorite places and make some memories.”

raytomTom Ray Resigns from Engineering Post at WOR, New York; Will Launch Consulting Business. After a 15-plus year career based at the former Buckley Broadcasting facility in Manhattan, engineer Tom Ray announces his resignation from the station via Facebook.  He writes in a press release:  After 15-1/2 years, Tom Ray is leaving WOR Radio in New York City. During Tom’s tenure at WOR, he had taken the station from an older analog facility into the digital world, culminating in the move of the WOR studio facility to downtown Manhattan.  This was the world’s first large scale Axia deployment.  Subsequently, he built WOR a new state-of-the-art transmitter facility in the New Jersey Meadowlands, retiring the former Lyndhurst, NJ facility that had served WOR for 40 years…Tom has been on the Board of Directors of the Society of Broadcast Engineers, was Chairman of SBE Chapter 15 in New York City for 9 years, has been on the NAB’s Broadcast Engineering Conference Committee several times, serving as Chairman of the Committee twice. Until the acquisition of WOR by Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, he was corporate director of engineering of Buckley Broadcasting and chief engineer of WOR Radio.  Tom’s immediate plans are to consult as Tom Ray Broadcast Consulting. He can be reached at tomray@tomrayconsulting.com, or at 845-418-5065.

oconnellseanKGMZ, San Francisco Adds Sean O’Connell to Midday Show.  Entercom sports talk KGMZ, San Francisco “95.7 The Game” names college footballer and current MMA fighter Sean O’Connell to the midday program alongside Matt Steinmetz.  O’Connell hosted AM drive and middays at Cumulus’ KFAN, Salt Lake City.  In college, O’Connell played for the University of Utah, where he was a teammate of San Francisco 49ers QB Alex Smith and was coached by Urban Meyer (now with Ohio State).  He was part of the undefeated 2004 team, which won the Fiesta Bowl and finished the season ranked #4 overall.  After finishing his playing days, O’Connell began competing in MMA and was part of the cast of the UFC’s “Ultimate Fighter” Season 8 on Spike TV.  KGMZ PD Jason Barrett says, “To say that Sean O’Connell is a unique talent would be a tremendous understatement.  Bay Area sports fans are going to love his passion, plus, now we also have a guaranteed bodyguard at future events, which will come in handy since our hosts have a tendency to fire up the fan base.” O’Connell begins his duties February 21.

curtiscraigSCPR’s Craig Curtis to Leave Pubcaster.  Program director Craig Curtis will exit his role with Southern California Public Radio at the end of this week.  LA Observed reports it’s not known if Curtis has a new position lined up or if recent turbulence at SCPR (the demise of Patt Morrison’s show and the matching of A Martinez with Madeleine Brand on the KPCC morning show and the popular Brand’s departure soon thereafter) had anything to do with Curtis’ exit.  In other recent news about SCPR, the newsroom staff voted to unionize with SAG/AFTRA.  Curtis received accolades from VP of content Russ Stanton in an email to staffers.  He wrote, in part, “Craig has played an integral role in the growth and success of SCPR.  From his then-perch as program director at Minnesota Public Radio, Craig oversaw the transformation of KPCC’s programming from its music and news format into the 24/7 news and information programming we deliver today.  He also has been involved in the hiring of virtually all of our on-air talent, as well as the broadcast production staff.  He is responsible for KPCC’s distinctive on-air sound which, among other things, boasts a core audience loyalty of 74%, a remarkable achievement.”

katzsnowJeff Katz Reports from the Heart of Nemo!  Talk radio pro Jeff Katz didn’t waste the opportunity to take a few minutes from shoveling the two-plus feet of snow from his Boston-area driveway to appear on radio stations across the country on Friday.  Katz shared his observations with the Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated Todd Schnitt show; Simon Conway’s WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive program and on the Kitty O’Neal and Pat Walsh morning show on Clear Channel’s KFBK, in snowless Sacramento.  We couldn’t help noticing that, in the heart of Boston Bruins country, Jeff is sporting a Montreal Canadiens jacket.  He is truly fearless!

Friday, February 8, 2013

| February 8, 2013

wjox logoCumulus Wins First Round in Birmingham Non-Compete Case.  A federal judge in Birmingham has ruled that sports talk WZNN “ESPN 97.3” program director Ryan Haney cannot work for the Cox Media station until more evidence is heard at a hearing scheduled for March 4.  The Birmingham News reports wznn logoCumulus sought the prohibition after Haney – who had been with its crosstown competitor WJOX for the past 14 years – left the PD job there on January 21and began working at WZNN a week later.  Cumulus claims Haney breached the six-month non-compete in his contract.  Cumulus also states Haney could not work for a competitor during that time without giving Cumulus a chance to match the prospective employer’s offer.  The animosity between the two sports talk stations did not begin with Haney’s case.  In 2012, Cumulus and Birmingham sports talk personality Paul Finebaum engaged in a legal tussle over his employment situation but Finebaum eventually worked out his contract with WJOX and is sitting out a six-month non-compete after which it is widely assumed he’ll join WZNN.  On a side note, Cox Media has put its Birmingham properties – including WZNN – up for sale.

dickeybloombergLew Dickey Tells Bloomberg “We’re Seeing a Shift in Spoken-Word Radio.”  During an appearance on Bloomberg TV’s “In the Loop” program, Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey discussed his company’s plans involving marketing vertically based on the lifestyle appeal to consumers interested in certain types of entertainment.  Although still bullish on Mike Huckabee and Geraldo Rivera, Dickey sounded much more behind sports than news/talk.  “We’re seeing sort of a shift in spoken-word radio from political-based talk over to sports.”  When asked why he stated, “I think people may be tired of all the partisan bickering so the ratings are a bit down in talk but they’re moving up nicely in sports.”  Dickey said the reason sports is so popular among advertisers is because advertisers follow the audience and sports is popular right now.

question mark 1Question of the Day: Why Do Radio Stations Still Announce School Closings?  As the big Blizzard of ’13 begins to rumble across the Northeast (2/8), TALKERS monitors have been hearing morning shows across the region reading the perfunctory long lists of school closings within their listening areas.  While there is no doubt that localism is proving to be a valuable asset to radio – especially when the medium rises to the occasion of serving the public interest during natural disasters and weather events - we have to shake our heads and wonder why so much valuable airtime is spent on reading these seemingly endless lists.  Is it a matter of serving the public or just trying to sound like you’re doing so?  It is a well-known (to parents and students alike) fact that most school districts in America post their snow status on their websites as soon as the information is available.  If stations want in on that action they can list all the closings on their websites as well and announce that availability on the air.  Considering that most, if not all, schools in a region close for blizzards, it would make a lot more sense to only announce those schools that might be choosing to remain open.  Programmers might think that announcing school closings on the air over long chunks of time makes the station sound local and in touch – but in truth, it makes the station boring and seem out of touch.

ktck logoCumulus Birmingham Imports Sports Talk Duo from KTCK, Dallas.  In a story related to the one above, Cumulus sports talker WJOX, Birmingham is bringing the duo of Matt McClearin and Scot Harrison from its Dallas sports outlet KTCK “The Ticket” in to take over the midday slot.  The position opened up after Paul Finebaum exited the PM drive show at the end of his contract and the station moved “The Jox Roundtable” with Lance Taylor, Ryan Brown and Jim Dunaway to the PM drive position.  McClearin and Harrison hosted a weekend program at KTCK.

kinosianmikeTALKERS Spotlight: The Talk Radio Watchdogs.  There was a time in the early days of the modern talk radio era when most markets could lay claim to at least one talk show host considered to be the local “watchdog.”  He or she was feared by the power brokers in city hall and had a reputation for having the backs of the regular folks.  They are not as prevalent in the format as they once were but they are still out there.  Does the industry still value this breed of talk host?  Does the public still want to listen to them?  Do their station managers support them?  TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian speaks with some of today’s “watchdogs” to get answers to these and other questions about their craft.  Read his story here.

whfs logoCBS Radio’s WHFS, Tampa Makes Lineup Changes.  The new FM sports talk station CBS Radio put on the air in Tampa in August undergoes some changes.  “Sportsradio 98.7 The Fan” cuts the morning show with Kirk McEwen and Chris Dingman to three hours and shifts Gary Shelton and Justin “The Commish” Pawlowski to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot.  The PM drive show with Rich Herrera and Anthony “Booger” McFarland moves to 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm and CBS Sports Radio’s Jim Rome slides into the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot.  Evening host Todd Wright exits the station and The Fabulous Sports Babe moves from overnights to the evening show.  CBS Sports Radio Networks’ Scott Ferrall and Damon Amendolara round out the late night and overnight shifts, respectively.

tuneinlogoTuneIn Adds Four Pubcasters to its Offerings.  Digital content aggregator TuneIn announces it has agreed to strategic alliances with major public broadcasters KQED, San Francisco; KCRW, Santa Monica; KEXP, Seattle; and American Public Media, which includes Southern California Public Radio, Minnesota Public Radio, Classical South Florida and nationally distributed programs. TuneIn VP of programming Kevin Straley states, “KQED, American Public Media, KCRW and KEXP have a rich history of offering listeners engaging, cutting-edge programming while supporting the radio community.  Our goal at TuneIn is to bring the best programming from around the world to everyone, for free, wherever they are, and partnering with these respected public broadcasters brings us one step closer to that goal.”  TuneIn also just unveiled a new website design featuring a new content-first display with large album cover photos and trending stations.

wgnlogoOdds & Sods.  Tribune’s WGN, Chicago resumes its “Chicago Blackhawks Live” promotional series on February 18 at the city’s Old Town Pour House.  The promotion is a series of one-hour radio broadcasts hosted over dinner throughout the 2012-2013 season featuring current Blackhawks players, legends, and front office executives with “WGN Sports Night” hosts David Kaplan, Brian Noonan, and Andrea Darlas.  WGN began hosting these events during the 2011-2012 season and sold them out in record time…..SiriusXM announces legendary recording artist Tony Bennett will sit down for an intimate Q&A session with an audience of SiriusXM listeners, moderated by Alec Baldwin, at the SiriusXM studios in New York City as part of its “Townsiriusxm Hall” series.  It’ll take place on Wednesday, February 13, and will air on Valentine’s Day, Thursday, February 14, on the Siriusly Sinatra channel and on the SiriusXM Stars channel…..Clear Channel announces that Houston Astros play-by-play will shift from news/talk KTRH to its sports talk KBME “Sportstalk 790” beginning this season…..In another baseball note, Clear Channel’s WLW, Cincinnati re-ups with the MLB’s Reds through the 2017 season…..The Boston Red Sox and the Jimmy Fund – which benefits Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute – are celebrating their 60th year working together to raise funds for cancer research and treatment.  Part of that celebrating will include the 12th annual Red Sox Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon on Entercom’s WEEI and New England Sports Network on August 27 and 28.  The event, which started in 2002, has raised more than $31 million for research, treatment, and care at Dana-Farber.

kyw scholarshipKYW, Philadelphia Awards Scholarship.  CBS Radio’s KYW Newsradio awards the Richard Monetti Scholarship to local high school student Kimberly Coterwas (second from right) – one of the 86 students to graduate from KYW Newsradio 2012 Fall Newstudies program.  She receives a $2,000 scholarship.  The award was announced at the Newstudies Graduation ceremony on January 31.  The Richard Monetti Scholarship is awarded every year to the Newstudies student who demonstrates the most potential and enthusiasm throughout the six-week student reporter program.  The scholarship is named for Richard Monetti, a 1986 Newstudies graduate who was killed in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988.  Additionally, 11 other students who participated in the Newstudies program received awards.  CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield states, “KYW Newsradio is proud to continue the tradition of introducing high school students to the broadcast industry.  It’s also nice to be able to award those that did exceptionally well, and keep the memory of a former Newstudies graduate alive.”

schiffpeterTALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Radio America’s Peter Schiff program picks up new affiliates for the program including: KPAM, Portland; WGUF, Ft. Myers, Florida; WEZS, Concord, New Hampshire; KFAR, Fairbanks, Alaska; and WTIM, Taylorville, Illinois…..  “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is added to the program schedule at WTBF, Troy, Alabama.  Also, existing affiliate combo WGVA, Geneva and WAUB, Auburn in the Finger Lakes region of New York adds Free Talk Live’s live Sunday show.

Sequester Cuts and Tax Hikes Issue Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 4-8.  The debate in Washington over the coming sequester budget cuts and more tax increases was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, earning it the top spot on the Talkers TenTM.  Coming in at #2 was immigration reform.  At #3 was the costs of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act and at #4 was gun legislation proposals.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio across America based on ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.