Kitchin Departs as The Blaze CEO. In a company-wide email, Kraig Kitchin describes the reason for his exit as chief executive officer of Glenn Beck’s The Blaze is owing to outside business obligations. He writes, “The Blaze deserves and needs an exclusively focused leader. That is something I cannot provide, given existing commitments I choose to honor.” The co-founder and former chief operating officer of Premiere Radio Networks says he is not leaving The Blaze. “I will stay, working every day as the interim head of sales with a focus on finding the right person for that position, assisting in the transition, on advertiser growth, program development, and industry relations.” In a separate email, Beck remarks, “I know much of what has happened since December 2014 has been structural and behind the curtain. We were a company swimming in debt. With the hard work of Kraig, [Beck advisor and president of Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts] Jonathan Schreiber, and now [chief financial officer Misty Kawecki], we will be debt-free by summer. This is miraculous and takes all of the downward pressure off of us.” Kitchin’s replacement, digital startup entrepreneur Stewart Padveen, joined Beck’s company last summer; he will be the fourth leader of The Blaze since late-2014. Kitchin took over operations of Beck’s subscription digital and cable television operation last June. Also stepping down, according to The Daily Beast, are director of advertising sales Jeremy Price, and director of marketing Liz Julis.
Presidential Race, Hillary Clinton Emails Investigation, Boko Haram Murders 86 in Nigeria, ‘Grease: Live’ TV Show, Zika Virus Outbreak, and European Immigrant Troubles Among Top Weekend News/Talk Stories. The activities of the candidates for president; the ongoing investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of her private email server for State Department business; the weekend attack on a Nigerian village by Boko Haram that left 86 dead; the Sunday evening production of a live performance of the musical “Grease”; concerns over the spreading Zika virus in South America; the violence and crime being associated with Syrian refugees in European countries were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
StreamGuys-Cox Media Group Partnership Produces Platform for Digital Broadcasts and On-Demand Content. Streaming media provider StreamGuys and Cox Media Group have partnered to produce a “turnkey SaaS streaming platform for live ad-supported broadcasts, on-demand podcasts, and detailed business metrics and reporting across its entire radio network.” The platform is now live across all 60 CMG radio stations in 11 markets. A statement from the companies indicates StreamGuys has “built a rich toolset around its robust, reliable cloud-based content management and delivery network in alignment with the broadcaster’s goals. [Stream Guys’] SaaS approach cleanly and cost-efficiently integrates several recent, innovative StreamGuys SGsuite products and services into the network that enrich streaming player data, accelerate podcast creation, enhance royalty reporting, and monetize streaming initiatives.” CMG senior director of digital audience Tim Clarke comments, “In StreamGuys, we have found an ideal technology partner that understands the same opportunities we see to evolve our radio products. Their infrastructure and technology, along with competitive pricing and expertise in broadcasting, give us incredible flexibility in the management and delivery of our network-wide streaming initiatives.” Clarke also states that StreamGuys’ HTML5 multimedia player – SGPlayer – has rich metadata support that “delivers the relevant information that online audiences seek alongside the audio stream, including song/artist data, album art, recently played tracks and social media links for sharing the experience with other listeners. SGplayer is also an approved Nielsen SDK player, delivering client-side analytics that offer greater insight into online listener demographics than what was possible before.” For on-demand content, StreamGuys’ SGrecast software allows multiple operators to quickly turn linear broadcasts into podcasts and side channels of any length, with near-immediate turnaround to consumers. Clarke notes SGrecast has been “a phenomenal success,” and is used for brief news, traffic and weather in every market; and 24/7 rebroadcasts of high-profile shows after initial airings. StreamGuys EVP Jason Osburn says, “We are elated to deliver a comprehensive SaaS [software-as-a-service] service that, along with our turnkey support, will at once help Cox Media Group solve problems and generate new ideas to push online radio and podcasting forward.”
Odds & Sods. Like most other sports media, SiriusXM is present this week in Santa Clara and San Francisco for the build-up to Super Bowl 50. In addition to programming emanating from NFL Radio Row on the satcaster’s NFL Channel all week, play-by-play of the game will air in seven foreign languages including: Spanish, French, Hungarian, Japanese and Cantonese…..The seventh annual “Let’s Kick Hunger Day” radiothon produced by CBS RADIO’s news/talk WCCO-AM, Minneapolis and Taste of the NFL took place on Thursday, January 28 and raised more than $261,901 for hunger relief. The seven-year total raised from the event is more than $1.4 million. The event is an all-day live radio broadcast designed to generate awareness of hunger in the heartland and to raise funds to help end it. The proceeds benefitted Second Harvest Heartland.
Michelle Jerson to Host Lifestyle Show on ‘AM 970 The Answer’ in NYC. The new program launches on February 7 at 2:00 pm on Salem Communications-owned WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer.” Dubbed “Michelle Jerson’s Passport,” the program is being promoted as “a fresh new lifestyle show” that will “focus on travel, wellness, dining and the arts.” In a press statement, the station notes that Jerson “has represented brands like Travelzoo.com in television and radio segments across the country, showcasing destinations, resorts, airlines and tour companies. She is a longtime travel writer and contributes content to Foxnews.com, The Daily Meal, The Examiner, and her website, Passport Romance. Michelle has spent much of her radio career hosting lifestyle and relationship talk shows on ‘New Jersey 101.5’; WJFK, Washington; and SiriusXM and reporting for Howard Stern’s news team.” Jerson comments, “I am extremely excited to combine all of my passions into one show and can’t wait to bring New Yorkers a fun, entertaining program that will enhance their everyday lives. A huge thank you to Jerry Crowley, Phil Boyce and Darren Yelin for making this happen.”
Talk Hosts Broadcast from SHOT Show in Las Vegas. A number of talk radio personalities broadcast from the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas during the 38th annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trades Show held January 19-22. Pictured here is Salem Radio Network host Mike Gallagher (left) interviewing National Shooting Sports Foundation president and CEO Steven Sanetti (right). Other hosts broadcasting from the radio row were Compass Media Networks host Lars Larson, Radio America personality Dana Loesch, Zimmer Radio’s Gary Nolan, KMED, Medford, Oregon morning driver Bill Meyer and more. Sanetti comments, “America’s firearms industry and the 2nd Amendment have a great friend in talk radio. Our radio row operation adds an extra measure of excitement to the SHOT Show and it’s a real pleasure to have so many broadcasters joining us.”
Radio News Pro Bob Schuman Dead at 65. The industry is mourning the death of radio news pro Bob Schuman. His wife reports that he passed away on Saturday (1/30) at his home in suburban Detroit after a battle with congestive heart failure. During his career, Schuman worked at Detroit signals including WJR, WOWF, WYCD and WOMC. He also worked at WNOE, New Orleans; WSAI and WKRQ, Cincinnati; KLIF, Dallas; WROR, Boston and WZGC, Atlanta. Schuman is pictured here receiving a plaque commemorating his induction into the WYCD Hall of Fame upon his retirement from the station. View this video of Schuman’s farewell from WYCD, produced by Art Vuolo, here.
PodcastOne Reports 1.5 Billion Downloads in 2015. Actually, the advertiser-supported podcast network says that its download total for 2015 surpassed the 1.5 billion mark for its approximately 200-program lineup that includes shows featuring: Adam Carolla, Shaquille O’Neal, Dan Patrick, Steve Austin, Radiolab, Bret Easton Ellis, Freakonomics, Heather Dubrow, Brandi Glanville and more. PodcastOne states it worked with more than 100 major brand partners in 2015. Chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz comments, “When we started this journey three years ago, we wanted to be able to provide national advertisers and our programming partners a single destination for consumers to experience the best that podcasting has to offer. So far, so good. We’re grateful to our hosts, producer-publishers and, of course, our partner Hubbard Broadcasting. We look forward to doing our part in making 2016 the year of the podcast.”
The Presidential Race/Trump-Cruz Birther Flap, Hillary Clinton Email Investigation Intensifies, Sean Penn-El Chapo Controversy, Obama State of the Union, Battle Against Islamic State, Sinking Oil Prices/Financial Markets Activity, NFL Wild Card Weekend, Record Powerball Jackpot, and David Bowie Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/11). The activities of the candidates for president and the related “birther” issue between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz; the intensifying FBI probe into Hillary Clinton’s private email server use; the controversial interview between actor Sean Penn and Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin Guzman; President Obama’s Tuesday State of the Union Address; the battle against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria; plummeting oil prices and the effect on the world’s financial markets; the NFL’s Wild Card weekend games; the record $1.4 billion Powerball jackpot; and the death of rock legend David Bowie were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
JP Peterson Joins WDAE, Tampa to Co-Host Midday Show with Ron Diaz. The iHeartMedia Tampa sports talker adds broadcast sports pro JP Peterson to the midday show, partnering up with current show host Ron Diaz for “The Ron and JP Show.” The station notes that Peterson has covered sports in the Tampa Bay market since 1997, most recently hosting “Extra Inning” and “Inside Pitch,” the Tampa Bay Rays pre- and post-game shows on WDAE. He previously served as the lead sports anchor for WFLA-TV, Tampa where he also did sideline reporting and studio work for the Buccaneers Preseason Broadcasts, covered the Super Bowl, Stanley Cup Finals, four Final Fours and four NCAA National Football Championship Games. WDAE APD John Mamola states, “WDAE is thrilled to add JP Peterson to an already established and successful show and as part of iHeartMedia Tampa. We look forward to Ron and JP’s successful future entertaining Tampa Bay listeners with a lighter side of the sports we all care so deeply about.”
Australian Rock Radio Legend Trevor Smith Shares “Down Under” Perspective of Radio, Music, Politics and Pop Culture. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison is joined on this week’s installment (1/12) of PodcastOne’s hit program for media freaks, “Up Close and Far Out,” by Australian rock radio legend Trevor Smith. Smith, a former program director of the legendary Sidney FM album rocker, Triple-M, is now head of the Australia-based production house Aloha Media (www.alohamedia.com.au/radio/), producers of major syndicated radio programs and specials heard on hundreds of radio stations across the nation/continent. The long-time friends engage in an extensive discussion of all things media from a Land Down Under perspective – radio, music, politics, and pop culture. To listen to the entire conversation, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player boxes located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Rush Limbaugh Turns 65 Today. Happy birthday wishes go out to Premiere Networks-syndicated talk radio legend Rush Limbaugh, who celebrates his 65th birthday today (1/12). The news/talk giant will have been in national syndication for 28 years this August and has long and often been credited will breathing fresh life into the news/talk format and, many would also argue, extending the lifespan of the AM band in America.
PodcastOne to Launch Dramatic Series Called ‘Chilling Tales.’ This new partnership between PodcastOne and Chilling Tales for Dark Nights – a premiere multi-media brand specializing in the production of audio entertainment, short films and published works – will bring both published and unpublished literary projects to life with the new scripted series “Chilling Tales: The Podcast.” The program is being narrated by Master Broadcaster and host of the 2016 iHeartRadio Music Festival, Steve Taylor. Chilling Tales founder and director Craig Groshek comments, “Our content has been made possible over the last few years by dozens of voice actors, actresses, authors, editors, composers and sound designers. We’re thrilled to join the PodcastOne family and share our passion for storytelling with an entirely new audience. We can’t thank Norm Pattiz and rest of the PodcastOne team enough, and we look forward to what the future brings with this new platform partnership.” Pattiz says, “I have long wanted to do a series rooted in literature. These are great works. Not only are we giving voices to stories that went unpublished but deserve to be heard, but, from the content to production value, there’s nothing like this in the podcast arena.”
Salazar Joins Entravision as Political Outreach Director. Former Fox Television Washington, DC account executive Marta Salazar is named political outreach director of Entravision Communications. Salazar will oversee political advertising sales for the company’s radio and television stations. The company’s chief revenue officer Mario Carrera remarks, “We are delighted to welcome Marta to Entravision and have her skills and experience to lead our political sales efforts. Her strong foundations in local market broadcast, in addition to her unique experience in political media, make her the ideal candidate to be our political outreach director. Marta joins us during a presidential election cycle as the United States Latino vote continues to increase in influence in our key battleground markets. We are well positioned and look forward to Marta’s leadership in this important and growing part of our business.” Salazar states, “I am thrilled to be joining the Entravision organization. I am both honored and excited to be at Entravision and look forward to working with the team to help further expand the U.S. Latino voice in this exciting and dynamic political climate. I feel fortunate to be joining such a respected company, committed to both the United States Latino community and to top quality media platforms.” During the 2012 political election season, Salazar – a Florida International University graduate – was responsible for Scripps’ national political advocacy media sales. Entravision owns 23 radio outlets in California; 12 in Texas; four each in Arizona and Colorado; three in Nevada; and two each in Florida and New Mexico.
Odds & Sods. Digital platform Glimmerglass Radio launches its own green-focused radio program in conjunction with its second anniversary. Glimmerglass radio founder John Kosmer calls his platform “a self-contained online streaming talk radio station broadcasting about 50 shows 24/7.” The new program, “Green American Living,” is the only program Glimmerglass Radio produces itself. Kosmer adds, “Our new ‘Green American Living’ show offers radio stations and their listeners extensive in-depth green news reporting on issues that are becoming increasingly important to people around the world. The independent shows aired on Glimmerglass Radio comprise one of the most comprehensive radio green news gathering services in America. ‘Green American Living’ now brings the breadth and scope of that green news reporting to a regularly scheduled, one-hour broadcast intended for distribution.”…..Talk radio personality Hugh Hewitt’s associate producer – Marlon Bateman – has exited the Salem Radio Network in order to join the press operation of GOP presidential hopeful U.S. Senator Marco Rubio…..Sun Broadcast Group’s Marilu Henner (right) is pictured here with rocker Eddie Money (left) who appeared as a guest on her nationally syndicated radio program recently…..Powerball-mania has America talking and SiriusXM is airing a special program tonight at 6:00 PM ET on its Insight channel 121 called, “Dumb Luck Radio: An Idiot’s Guide to Instant Billions.” SiriusXM says the show will be a “live, one-hour, call-in special broadcast, to answer listeners’ questions including, ‘What happens if you actually win the Powerball jackpot?’” SiriusXM’s Kenny Curtis will host and guests will include: psychiatrist Dr. Michael Aronoff discussing the mental health aspects of acquiring unimaginable wealth; plus Eric Bradlow on statistics and a player’s real probabilities of picking the right numbers; and Kent Smetters will explain the best option – lump sum or annuity, finding the right financial investor and investing wisely to protect one’s winnings.
Andy Bloom Exits WIP-FM and WPHT, Philadelphia OM Post. This is being termed a budget-related move as programmer Andy Bloom – until Friday the operations manager for sports talk WIP-FM and news/talk WPHT – exits the CBS RADIO Philadelphia station group. There’s lots of speculation in the Philly media about why Bloom was let go and what this will mean for WIP and WPHT. Bloom tells Philly.com, “It is part of another restructure and strictly a budgetary move. That has happened across the industry over the past several years. It’s been an incredible 8 years with CBS Philly.” Philadelphia Business Journal wonders what this means for news/talk WPHT citing its November 2015 PPM (6+ AQH share Mon-Sun 6A-12M) rating of 1.5. The mag reports Bloom previously noted the current lineup has only been in place for a year and needs time to gel. Local news and opinion site Crossing Broad wonders what Bloom’s exit will mean for WIP, especially afternoon drive personality Josh Innes. Kyle Scott opines that Innes’ future at WIP could be affected by this change, “[H]e was Bloom’s guy and given a long leash with which to do his sometimes-sports thing. I’m assuming a successor will not be as lenient as Bloom. One would wonder if Josh would even want to stick around. A general turmoil has surrounded the station since he came on-board, and most of Bloom’s decisions since can be traced to Innes’ presence.”
Anthony Cumia Arrested on Domestic Battery Charges. New York radio personality Anthony Cumia was arrested on Saturday on charges of strangulation, criminal mischief, unlawful imprisonment and assault. He’s pled not guilty to all and his attorney tells the New York Post, “Mr. Cumia emphatically denies the allegations brought against him and is optimistic that when the truth comes out he will be exonerated.” This comes after a woman described as Cumia’s girlfriend used the app Periscope to request police assistance at Cumia’s Long Island home after claiming Cumia broke her hand, took her phone when she tried to call police and held her captive. The woman uses the handle Dani Golightly. Cumia was released on his own recognizance and ordered to stay away from the woman. Cumia was fired from SiriusXM’s Opie & Anthony show last year after he authored a series of racist Tweets and they went viral.
iHeartMedia Goes Sports in Denver on Former ‘Real Talk 760.’ The calls change from KKZN to KDSP and the new sports talker is branded “Denver Sports 760.” Local programming will include longtime iHeartMedia Denver personality Dave Logan co-hosting the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program with Susie Wargin and Andy Lindahl hosting the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show. (Lindahl also hosts “PrimeTime Sports” on sister KOA from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm.) Also airing on the station will be: Dan Patrick from 7:00 am to 10:00 am; “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; “Jay Mohr Sports” from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm; “Ferrall On The Bench” from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight; Ben Maller from 12:00 midnight to 4:00 am; and “FOX Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman & Mike North from 4:00 am to 7:00 am. iHeartMedia Denver market president Tim Hager states, “We’re excited to serve our listeners, partners and advertisers with a new station featuring original Denver Broncos content and the biggest names in sports.”
California Environmental Regulations Preventing KSCO, Santa Cruz from Addressing Flooding Problem. KSCO, Santa Cruz, California station owner Michael Zwerling is in a tough situation, stuck between California environmental laws and the need to keep his station on the air with current weather conditions creating flooding problems for his transmitter. Zwerling was prevented by sheriffs from digging a trench that would allow flood waters to drain as they usually do after a citizen complained to police about potential violations of the environmental laws. A look into the law indicates Zwerling will have to try to convince officials that his station – as a facility licensed to serve the public – is worthy of protection as well. KSCO has long been recognized as one of the nation’s most community-involved as well as marketing-innovative local talkers in the nation. Zwerling says the solution does not involve harm to the beach or the marine life but activists have risen to challenge his desire to do the minor excavation necessary to abate flood waters. Hear his appeal, broadcast over the KSCO airwaves, here.
Karter Named Radio One Cincinnati OM. Inbound from iHeartMedia Chicago urban contemporary WGCI-FM, Kenard Karter will assume operations manager duties of Radio One Cincinnati. Radio One vice president of programming Colby Tyner comments, “We are excited to be working with Kenard; he is a very smart programmer with a lot of creative energy. Our team in ‘Cinci’ can’t wait to get started.” Station manager Mitch Galvin notes, “Kenard will be bringing strong leadership to our station cluster and a drive to win.” According to Karter, “I am truly humbled and excited about the opportunity to lead the Cincinnati radio brands that the Radio One family has afforded me. I am proud to join a team that is so full of passion and promise.” Prior to his WGCI-FM stint, Chicago native Karter – who begins his Cincinnati duties in three weeks (1/11) – spent four years at San Francisco urban contemporary KMEL, where he was the station’s assistant program director/mid-day talent. Radio One Cincinnati consists of urban contemporary WIZF “101.1 Cincinnati’s Hip-Hop & R&B,” urban-rhythmic oldies WOSL “Old School 100.3,” and WDBZ “Your Talk Station 1230 The Buzz.” According to 6+ stats in the latest (November 2015) Nielsen Audio PPM report for Cincinnati, WIZF ranks #8 with a 4.6 (+.7) from October and its best performance since June (also 4.6); WOSL is #13 (2.5); and WDBZ is #22 (.4). The (6+) market leader is iHeartMedia talker WLW (10.2).
Cumulus Brings New HR Exec Aboard. Human resources pro Todd C. McCarty comes to Cumulus Media from his most recent position as SVP of global human resources for Las Vegas Sands Corporation. Cumulus CEO Mary Berner says, in making the announcement of McCarty’s appointment, “Cumulus has tremendous assets with our reach to 245 million listeners across 90 markets and our outstanding audio content and brands. However, it’s critical that, as we move quickly and efficiently to build on our strengths, we retain and attract top performers on and off-air, and support and motivate them to deliver exceptional performance across all disciplines and markets. Todd stands out among his peers in terms of qualifications and experience and we are fortunate and delighted that he will be leading our effort to consolidate and centralize our key human resources disciplines into a department that has the capabilities and focus to deliver the services and solutions we need to grow our business.” McCarty has served in similar positions at The New York Times Company and The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc.
Odds & Sods. The nationally syndicated Stephanie Miller show is now being aired on the CRN Digital Talk Radio network from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET. Miller’s show is syndicated WYM Media Managemen…..Live radio coverage of the CBS Sports Classic college hoops event from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn was provided by Westwood One Sports. Pictured here calling the games for the network are WW1 sports announcer John Sadak (right) and CBS Sports Radio personality Doug Gottlieb (left) as North Carolina beat UCLA 89-76 and Ohio State upset Kentucky 74-67. WW1 reports more than 300 affiliate stations carried the games…..Andi Poch joins CBS Local Digital Media to serve as SVP Sales. Poch is being charged with managing and executing the overall digital advertising sales strategy for the division. She’ll work closely with the local digital sales teams for CBS RADIO’s 117 stations and the 29 CBS Television stations, as well as the entire national sales group. She comes from Townsquare Media where she was SVP, integrated/digital sales and strategy…..At Townsquare Media, the company brings Susan Kravitz aboard to serve as SVP, head of national digital sales and will oversee the company’s national digital and branded entertainment sales efforts. Kravitz was most recently head of global sales at Say Media.
Entercom Offers New Employee Benefits. Beginning in 2016, Entercom Communications Corp. will begin offering qualified employees three significant new additions to the benefit plan designed to further enhance the quality of life for its staffers. They are: 1) Personal Volunteering Time – a half-day off each quarter to volunteer for a non-profit organization of their choosing; 2) Discounted Stock Purchase Program – Entercom employees will be able to purchase Entercom stock at a 15% discount through a payroll deduction plan; and 3) Student Loan Reimbursement Program – $1,000 per calendar year to reduce outstanding student loans for employees who have graduated within the past eight years. Company CEO David Field states, “We are always looking for ways to improve ourselves and make Entercom a better and stronger organization, and that includes enhancing the quality of life for our team. We have examined benefits programs from leading companies all across the country in a wide range of industries and have honed in on a few highly compelling programs that we think will make outstanding additions to life at Entercom. We are very excited to be delivering these new benefits to our people.”
Making Merry in Vegas. Pictured here enjoying the festivities over the weekend at the Beasley Media Group Las Vegas holiday party are (from left to right): director of sales Cory Cuddeback; market manager Tom Humm; news/talk KDWN program director John Shaffer; and nationally syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs.
Democratic Primary Debate, Star Wars Film Opens and Miss Universe SNAFU Among Top Weekend News/Talk Stories. The coverage of and the aftermath of Saturday night’s Democratic candidates’ debate; the record-breaking opening weekend of the new Star Wars film; and Steve Harvey’s mistake misidentifying the winner of the Miss Universe pageant, were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend on stations airing live talk shows.
Howard Stern Renews with SiriusXM in Landmark 12-Year Audio/Video Deal. The wait is over – Howard Stern and SiriusXM are announcing the two sides have agreed to an extension to keep Stern’s live program on the satellite radio service for another five years. But the new deal also includes an agreement that will allow SiriusXM to use Stern’s extensive audio and video library – drawn from performances, specials, and shows spanning his more-than-30-year broadcasting career – for the next dozen years. The details of the video plans will be announced at a future date. This will be SiriusXM’s first venture into the video realm. Under the new deal, Stern’s show will continue to be broadcast live exclusively from 7:00 am to 11:00 am ET, with replays throughout the day, and on demand online and through the SiriusXM app. Additionally, Stern will continue to produce his Howard 101 channel, which includes current and classic episodes of the Howard Stern show as well as original special programming throughout the day. Stern is currently working a three-day week and the press release does not indicate any changes there so we’ll assume that remains the same. Also, the financial details are not being announced. Stern says, “As a broadcaster, it does not get better than working at SiriusXM and I’m truly excited for the future with this great company. I happen to think that its best days are ahead…I am living a dream here on satellite radio and Jim Meyer is my life partner and the baby we are about to have is our new streaming video app. The joy we are going to bring you in the very near future will make you feel like Christmas is every day. Ho, Ho, Howard…out.” SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein comments, “Howard is better than ever. Howard is a one-of-a-kind interviewer, who always delivers a provocative, engaging and headline-grabbing show. We look forward to providing fans even more and deeper ways to experience Howard, and his world-class talent and insights.” Noting that the deal has been worked on for months, Stern agent Don Buchwald adds, “Jim, Scott, and I have been discussing this arrangement for some time. Obviously, the terms and conditions of a deal of this nature required a lot of give and take, as well as creative thinking on everyone’s part, and I am grateful to them both for the hard work they invested to make this deal a reality. Howard and I are excited to enter into this cutting-edge and truly unique broadcasting agreement with SiriusXM that I believe will further the legacy of Howard Stern.”
Art Bell Tells TALKERS He Doesn’t Want to Be Off the Air. Legendary late night talk host Art Bell abruptly quit his most recent return to a regular program on Friday (12/11), stating that he’s been the victim of attempts on his life that make it impossible for him to do the program. The sudden end to “Midnight in the Desert,” which was steadily picking up affiliate stations, caused some in the business to think, “Oh no, here we go again.” But Bell tells TALKERS magazine he wants to be on the radio. Citing three incidents on October 21, November 23 and December 8, Bell says his wife has said, “Enough.” Bell says, “If this jerk is caught I will be back, if not I will wait for some time to pass without incident and then do some non-scheduled shows. I would like my fellow radio people to know this is not what I want.”
Kirby Wilbur to Host Late Morning Show on KVI, Seattle. Last month, Sinclair-owned KVI-Seattle announced that market conservative talk pro Kirby Wilbur would return to the air and KVI in the New Year. Now, the station announces Wilbur will host the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot, effective January 4. Wilbur will be joined for the first hour by current morning drive host John Carlson, then host the next two hours solo. The station is dropping Glenn Beck’s Premiere-syndicated show to make room for Wilbur. KVI program director Rick Van Cise states, “It’s clear our listeners want more local conservative conversation on Seattle radio. And who better to have back-to-back than two of the original Northwest conservative voices who made KVI great.” Wilbur has been off the radio for the past six years. Most recently he’s been the Washington director for Americans for Prosperity heading up the Washington, DC-based National Journalism Center. Wilbur comments, “I’m glad to be back with a new knowledge of the workings of the other Washington as we address local and national issues affecting all of us here.”
WOWO, Fort Wayne Switches FM Frequencies. This is a bit of a downgrade as far as market coverage is concerned since the move of news/talk WOWO, Fort Wayne’s FM simulcast is from class A FM WFWI to 75-watt translator W298BJ at 107.5 FM. The heritage station has been heard on WFWI’s 92.3 frequency since Federated Media signed it on in March of 2012. Program director Ryan Reker says, “It’s just a different place to listen to us. The change from 92.3 FM to 107.5 FM means our listeners will need to update their radios to get the same news, weather and talk coverage they listen to now.” WOWO-AM is heard very well throughout northeastern Indiana on its 50,000-watt 1190 kHz signal. No plans have been announced for WFWI-FM’s new format.
Talk Host Kate Delaney Talking Pete Rose Across the Country. Nationally syndicated general issues show host Kate Delaney is guesting on scores of radio shows today (12/15) because of her sports expertise and her knowledge of the Pete Rose decision that came down yesterday from the Major League Baseball commissioner’s office. The commissioner is continuing the ban on Rose working in baseball because of his cover-up of his gambling on baseball while manager of the Cincinnati Reds. Prior to her “America Tonight” program, Delaney spent a good part of her career in the sports media world covering 15 Super Bowls, 10 Final Fours, 10 U.S. Opens and numerous other sporting events. She also served as sports director of KRLD, Dallas and did a stretch at sports talk WFAN, New York. In addition to her regular show Delaney currently does a weekend shift on the NBC Sports Radio Network.
Odds & Sods. San Francisco all-newser KCBS-AM is being honored with a special finalist citation by the 2016 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Awards for reporter Doug Sovern’s “Unholy Water,” a series of investigative reports that exposed the San Francisco Archdiocese’s installation of an illegal plumbing system at St. Mary’s Cathedral that poured water on homeless people at night to keep them from sleeping in the cathedral doorways, in the middle of the worst drought in California history. The CBS RADIO-owned station will be recognized at a ceremony hosted by veteran newsman Tom Brokaw at Columbia’s Low Library on January19, 2016…..Former WFED, Washington afternoon drive personality Francis Rose is handling a lot of fill-in work this week and next. Rose is sitting in for Larry O’Connor on WMAL-AM/FM, Washington’s “Drive at Five” all this week, and Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday next week. Rose is also in for Westwood One’s Jim Bohannon tonight and that company’s John Batchelor on Wednesday and Friday of this week…..The 27th annual Holiday Magic Radiothon on Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle to benefit Treehouse raised more than $512,000. Treehouse is a nonprofit organization that addresses the essential education and enrichment needs of kids in foster care…..In advance of tonight’s GOP primary debate, Salem Radio Network talk hosts Michael Medved (left) and Dennis Prager (right) are seen at right broadcasting from the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. Salem Radio Network is partnering with CNN to provide the audio to radio stations across the country. All five SRN daytime syndicated personalities are broadcasting from Las Vegas. Additionally, SRN is presenting both pre- and post-debate programs co-hosted by Hugh Hewitt and Mike Gallagher. Hewitt is also serving as one of the media panelists on the debate…..Premiere Networks announces it is broadcasting four college bowl games. Available to sports stations nationwide, Premiere will distribute the live play-by-play for the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl, Popeye’s Bahamas Bowl, Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl and Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, all of which are produced by RedVoice Productions LLC…..Cumulus Media announces that the 2015 Mitch Albom S.A.Y. Detroit Radiothon raised $1,002,748 during last Thursday’s event. Albom is afternoon drive host on the company’s news/talk WJR, Detroit. This was the fourth year of the charity broadcast and included special guests Hugh Jackman, Paul Stanley, Billy Bob Thornton, Jane Pauley, JK Simmons, Craig Ferguson, Alice Cooper, Dr. Phil, Tim Allen, Howard Schultz, Dave Barry, John Pizzarelli, Mayor Mike Duggan, Bruce Cornblatt, Kevin Eubanks, Charles Woodson, Kirk Cousins, Matt Stafford, Stan Van Gundy, Brad Ausmus, Dan Gilbert, and Bernie Smilovitz. Pictured here is Mitch Albom (at center) on the remote set during the radiothon.
2016 Presidential Race/Tonight’s GOP Debate, Government Shutdown Threat, Paris Climate Summit Agreement, Battle Against IS/Islamic Anti-Terror Alliance, Refugee/Immigration Issues, Looming Freddie Gray Verdict, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/14). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and the build-up to tonight’s GOP primary debate in Las Vegas; the temporary spending bill and the threat of a government shutdown; the agreement that came out of the Paris Climate Summit and the larger topic of global warming; the battle against Islamic State and the news of a Saudi-led anti-terror coalition; the status of Syrian refugees and the issue of immigration policy in the United States; the expected verdict in the first phase of the Freddie Gray trials in Baltimore; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WEEI, Boston Hopes to Re-Do Expensive Red Sox Deal. From a story in the Boston Herald by Gayle Fee comes news that Entercom Boston market manager Phil Zachary is hopeful sports talker WEEI-FM and the MLB’s Boston Red Sox can begin operating with a re-negotiated deal that takes some of the financial burden off the station. Fee reports that the station pays the Red Sox approximately $17 million per season and that steep figure has been tough on the station’s bottom line. The deal is almost 10 years old, having been inked in 2006 before the Great Recession began, before the Red Sox’ play on the field took a nosedive, and prior to WBZ-FM’s arrival on the scene as a sports talk competitor. The speculation is the station notified the team it would not pick up its option for the 2017 and 2018 seasons because of the cost and re-negotiations began. Zachary tells the paper they hope to have a new deal before Christmas. Read the whole piece here.
Round One of November PPM Data Released. The first of four rounds of November 2015 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The survey period was October 8 – November 4. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Twelve Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Odds & Sods. Radio legend Howard Stern tells the New York Daily News he hopes to remain on the radio but that’s about all he’s saying as the end of his second contract with SiriusXM comes to an end after December. Stern was quizzed on the status of his contract negotiations with SiriusXM by the Daily News at the 2015 Get Your Escape On event in NYC and said nothing can be known until the contract is signed. “I can just say I’m interested in continuing on the radio. Where I end up, I don’t know yet.” The 61-year-old broadcaster reportedly makes about $80 million a year from his satellite radio gig…..Matthew Sambolin is back in the fold at Salem Media Group’s New York duo to serve as operations manager, promotions director and social media manager for news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” and Christian talk WMCA “AM 570 The Mission.” Sambolin takes over for Mark DeBoer who stays with the stations as traffic manager…..Westwood One-syndicated talk host Michael Savage, reacting to an RT story in which Gambino crime family figure Giovanni Gambino, Jr. said the mafia would do its part to protect New Yorkers from IS terror attacks, hosted Gambino on his program on Monday (11/23). The pair also discussed Gambino’s work trying to get a screenplay he’s written turned into a movie in Hollywood…..“Free Talk Live,” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge, is airing live this Thanksgiving. Freeman says they continue their tradition of live content. “Your listeners deserve live content no matter what day it is.”…..George Noory, host of Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” says he’ll also be hosting live shows on the holidays this year. “Many people don’t have friends and family to spend the holidays with, so radio is a very special connection for them. Years ago, I made the decision to host live programming during this time of year, and I’ve keep that promise all my career so no one has to be alone.”
Paris Aftermath/ISIS Terror Campaign, Syrian Refugees/U.S. Immigration Policy, 2016 Presidential Race, Thanksgiving Holiday/Black Friday, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/23). The aftermath of the Paris terror attacks and efforts to head off further attacks from ISIS; the policies surrounding relocation of Syrian refugees and the larger question of changes in U.S. immigration policy; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; the coming Thanksgiving holiday, Black Friday and the beginning of the holiday shopping season; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
The State of Women on Talk Radio: Part 3. Today (11/4), TALKERS magazine continues its multi-part story looking at the status of women on talk radio in 2015. Written by special features correspondent Jeff McKay, it addresses one of the most-asked questions TALKERS editors hear: Why aren’t there more women on talk radio? Today we explore the question: What does it take to make it? Obviously, there are women working successfully in the news/talk genre as lead or solo host or part of an equal team. Mandy Connell of KHOW, Denver and WHAS, Louisville says a lot of it is luck applying at stations with open-minded programmers. “I have been very fortunate to cross paths with great PDs who believed in my abilities and were not dissuaded by my gender. Jim Watkins hired me first, then Kelly Carls, Dan Mandis and Greg Foster — none of whom cared that I was female. They just cared that I was good at what I do. I think as more women work their way through the talk radio landscape, the programming issue will solve itself.” Susan Monday hosts the midday show at WXDE, Lewes, Delaware. She believes women who want to succeed at talk radio should be aware how they sound on the radio. “It’s also important — not fair, but important — that a woman’s voice is the right kind of voice. Shrill is not a woman-in-radio’s friend. Luckily years of cheerleading destroyed any hope of shrill for me, but I still counsel women to check their tone when they get upset. Shrill makes me turn the dial. Unless it’s Mark Levin, for whom shrill is a normal speaking voice.” Also in this installment, hear from Salem SVP Phil Boyce, consultant Valerie Geller, WFTL, Fort Lauderdale’s Joyce Kaufman, Greater Media’s Phil Zachary, and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison. Read the entire piece here.
Nielsen’s October PPM Format Report Shows Big Months for News/Talk and Sports Talk. Reporting on the results of its October 2015 PPM survey, Nielsen Audio delivers some stats about listenership based on format, and it bodes well for news/talk and sports talk stations. According to the ratings giant, “news/talk posted its best overall month in nearly two years — a 9.4% share of all listening, which was last matched in November 2013.” For October, news/talk was the most-listened-to format (persons 6+ AQH share). Country was second with 7.9 %, CHR came in tied for third with AC with 7.4%. In the 25-54 demo, news/talk finished fifth with 6.3% of 6+ listeners. Sports talk celebrated a huge jump in listening. “Sports stole the show in October, jumping a full share-point among all listeners aged 6+ from 4.6% in September to 5.6%. This marks a new record for the format. In the 25-54 demographic, October’s 6% (up from 5.1% in September) tied the record set in October and November of 2014.” See the Nielsen story here.
CBS RADIO Division Revenue Dips 6% in Q3 Report. The 2015 third quarter financial report for CBS Corp. was delivered on Tuesday (11/3) and the CBS RADIO division – part of the company’s Local Broadcasting segment that also includes CBS television stations – was down 6% compared to the same period a year ago. What affected the radio division’s revenue from last year to this? CBS attributes the drop to the generally soft radio advertising marketplace, the fewer radio stations it owns this year and less political advertising after last year’s mid-term elections. Political and sports are also very important to the television sector. The company reports the 7% decline in television revenue stems from fewer sports events and the decrease in political.
‘Stuttering’ John Melendez Joins Stephanie Miller Program; Jim Ward Returns. The move of executive producer “Boy Toy” Chris Lavoie to a new career in Palm Springs opens the door for former longtime Howard Stern cast member and “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” announcer “Stuttering” John Melendez to join the Stephanie Miller program as executive producer and co-host. At the same time, Miller is pleased to welcome the return of Emmy award-winner Jim Ward – the man of 1,000 voices – as her new co-host, effective November 16. Ward is known for his impersonations of political figures, celebrities, and newsmakers. Melendez began his duties today (11/4).
Odds & Sods. WOR, New York talk host and NY 1 TV personality Mark Simone will be teaching a master class on Frank Sinatra on November 18 as part of Hofstra University’s two-week symposium on the legendary singer. Simone hosted a long-running Sinatra show on ABC Radio and he’s been the host of numerous Sinatra specials on PBS…..Joining the menu of shows available from PodcastOne is actress Heather Dubrow, a star of the show “OC Housewives.” The weekly program is called “Heather Dubrow’s World” and the first episode features her fellow “OC Housewives” stars Tamra Barney and Shannon Beador…..CBS RADIO all-news KNX, Los Angeles is producing “A Sandwich Generation Forum & Resource Expo” on Saturday, November 14 at the Burbank Airport Marriott Convention Center. TV personality Leeza Gibbons, KNBC-TV weatherman Fritz Coleman, LA County District Attorney Jackie Lacey and prominent medical professionals, professors, attorneys, financial planners and authors are among the 25 speakers who will offer guidance for people facing the complex challenges of caregiving for aging parents and growing children.
2016 Presidential Race, Clinton Foundation Financial Questions, Russian Airliner Crash, U.S. and Russian Roles in Syrian Conflict, U.S. Immigration Policy, Troubled ObamaCare Co-ops, Chipotle E. Coli Outbreak, and Looming Paris Climate Summit Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/3). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016; scrutiny of the Clinton Foundation’s finances; the investigation into the crash of a Russian airliner in the Sinai Desert; the Syrian civil war and the roles of the U.S. and Russian military; debate over the immigration policy in the U.S.; reports of troubled ObamaCare co-ops; the outbreak of E. coli poisoning at Chipotle restaurants in Washington and Oregon; and escalating discussion about climate change as the Paris climate summit approaches were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cool Job Opportunity. SiriusXM Satellite Radio is seeking a producer for the Patriot Channel in its Talk Programming division. The person in this producer position will be responsible for all aspects involved in producing a successful daily talk show on Sirius XM Patriot including studio/technical operations, promotion, production, guest booking, and research. Requirements include a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience. Previous production experience within radio and/or live studio environment preferred. For more about this position and to apply, click here.
KTAR-FM, Phoenix Names Sharpe, West New ‘Arizona’s Morning News’ Hosts. The Bonneville-owed news/talk station is bidding Ned Foster a happy retirement after a 27-year stint with the station. News anchor Connie Weber recently left the morning program after a 10-year term. So, effective November 30, longtime Valley news personality Jim Sharpe and award-winning news anchor Jayme West will be the new hosts of KTAR’s “Arizona’s Morning News.” Bonneville Phoenix vice president of content and operations Ryan Hatch states, “With more than 40 years of combined local news experience, Jim and Jayme are the perfect pair to move the ‘Arizona’s Morning News’ product forward on air, online and on social media. We think their natural chemistry, insatiable curiosity and passion for our community will be warmly received by our audience, which counts on ‘Arizona’s Morning News’ to keep them informed and connected.” Bonneville notes that Sharpe is a 2006 Associated Press Arizona Reporter of the Year and a war correspondent who most recently hosted a nationally syndicated news talk program on USA Radio Networks. He’s also hosted the “Sharpe in the Morning” program on crosstown news/talk KFYI. West is a five-time Arizona Associated Press Reporter of the Year winner and 19-year KTAR veteran who will move to mornings after previously anchoring the news in afternoon drive and hosting “Arizona’s Evening News.”
KOGO, San Diego Announces New Programming Lineup: Hannity Joins for Middays, DeMaio to PM Drive. San Diego news/talk outlet KOGO “News Radio 600” adjusts its program schedule, “with extended news programming, a new timeslot for Carl DeMaio and the addition of top-rated, nationally syndicated talk radio host Sean Hannity,” effective Monday, October 26. iHeartMedia San Diego market president Melissa Forrest states, “We are extremely excited about our new lineup and the addition of Sean Hannity to our team. ‘News Radio 600’ has experienced tremendous ratings growth in the past year and we anticipate these new changes will help evolve our programming to the next level.” A year ago, the station launched new programming with an emphasis on news in morning and afternoon drive and reports the ratings indicate the audience is responding. The daily lineup is: “San Diego Morning News with Ted Garcia & LaDona Harvey,” Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, “DeMaio Report,” and “KOGO Evening News with Ernie Brown.”
ESPN Layoffs Claim KSPN, Los Angeles PD Mike Thompson. The layoffs at sports entertainment giant ESPN – confirmed yesterday by the company – have hit the radio ranks with ‘ESPN LA’ program director Mike Thompson learning that his position is being eliminated. He stated in an email to the Los Angeles Metro Bugle, “It’s been a wonderful 12 years with the Walt Disney Company. I am honored to have worked alongside talented broadcasters to build a record ratings winner among contemporary males never seen before in the format and AM radio in the No. 2 market.” The company is laying off some 300 staffers across all company departments. Although on-air talent is not expected to be affected, it’s unclear how many more behind-the-scenes radio people will be affected.
SiriusXM Reports Q3 Earnings; Net Revenue Up 11%. Satcaster SiriusXM reports its third quarter 2015 financial numbers announcing that revenue was up 11% year-over-year and net revenue was $167 million, compared to $136 million during the same period a year ago. In a statement, Jim Meyer says, “With subscribers at an all-time high of nearly 29 million and record adjusted EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA margin, our third quarter was one of the strongest performances in our company’s history. We are confident of our continued success in the fourth quarter, and we are increasing our guidance for self-pay and total net subscriber additions, revenue, and adjusted EBITDA.” The burning question before SiriusXM is will Howard Stern renew or leave the platform he’s been on for the past 10 years? Meyer would only say in an investors’ conference, “I hope so.” He went on to say, “You should assume we speak quite often and stay tuned for updates. And of course, the best way to hear any news regarding its renewal is to tune into Howard’s show every morning, heck, that’s what I do.”
FAQ: Is There a PD? Radio consultant Holland Cooke writes today about the changing/disappearing role of program director. As he notes in his column published today (10/22) that radio stations are not programmed anymore, they are managed. There are two primary reasons: “Debt service compromises Quality Control. VERY few managers are responsible for a single station. At many talk stations, this manager also does an air shift, before or after Rush. Stations think they can get-away-with-it because… most programming is now non-local. Who’s left to direct? Most talk programming comes off the bird. Music stations are voicetracked or downlinked from the mother ship. Directing is a lost art.” For those managers seeking a real, live PD, read Holland Cooke’s take on what qualities he/she must possess here.
Odds & Sods. The decision is not set in stone yet, but Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that CBS RADIO will likely move Chicago Cubs play-by-play from all-news WBBM-AM to sports talk WSCR “The Score.” WSCR is losing Chicago White Sox play-by-play as Cumulus-owned crosstown news/talk WLS-AM will begin serving as that team’s flagship beginning next season…..John W. Pirkle-owned WNFZ-FM, Knoxville drops news/talk and goes alternative rock as “94Z.” However, the “Rude Awakening” morning show with Mike Howard and Terry West remains on the program schedule. The station also aired a local afternoon show called “The Drive” with Russell Smith. It’s not clear what his and producer Richard Daughtry’s fates are…..CBS RADIO gives Nick Wilson an evening sports talk show on WKRK, Cleveland “92.3 The Fan.” Wilson has been a producer, part-time host and sports anchor at the station. His rise to host of “The Nick Wilson Experiment” comes after Ken Carman moved from that slot to co-host morning drive with Kevin Kiley…..Cumulus Media gives Toledo news/talker WSPD an FM presence in the market as the station is now simulcasting on new translator W221BG at 92.1 FM. The translator is licensed to Rudolph, Ohio, about 25 miles south of downtown Toledo.
KMOX, St. Louis’ Bill Reker Retires. According to a report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, KMOX, St. Louis news anchor Bill Reker is retiring from the station after a 20-year career there. KMOX program director Steve Moore tells the paper, “He is a pro’s pro. Whether it was severe weather or something going on in Ferguson, you knew you had a professional in the newsroom. I’ll miss the level of calm he brought.”
Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi Testimony, Joe Biden’s ‘Won’t Run’ Announcement, 2016 Presidential Race, Russia-Syria Relationship, Paul Ryan House Speaker Bid, Chris Rock to Host Oscars, European Migrant Troubles, and MLB League Championships Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/21). Today’s Benghazi testimony by former Secretary of State and current Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton; Vice President Joe Biden’s announcement that he will not run for president; the activities of the rest of the candidates for president in 2016, notably Dr. Ben Carson’s poll-leading numbers in Iowa; the military relationship between Putin’s Russia and al-Assad’s Syria; Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan’s bid for the Speaker of the House post; comic Chris Rock set to host the next Academy Awards show; ongoing migrant problems in the European Union; and the Major League Baseball playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Holland Cooke
Someone JUST-tuning-in at 14 past the hour on a cloudy morning hears the announcer assure that the next Traffic & Weather Together On-the-Threes update is just nine minutes away. Or “WHAT A NIGHT AT WRIGLEY!” teases a sportscast into spots. Are we naïve enough to think people aren’t toting smartphones?
Yes, you’re really hearing this from a consultant. I do install success templates. In the 21 years since I last had an employer, I’ve paid my mortgage by assuring clients that “nothing I recommend is an experiment.” And the logic of if-it-works-do-it/if-it-doesn’t-don’t becomes even more obvious as radio has overdone what works until it doesn’t; and has cost-cut until innovation becomes cost-prohibitive.
Loyal Fans of Art Bell Pool Resources and Invest in TALKERS Ad Campaign for their Radio Hero. An international group of extremely loyal fans of legendary radio talk show host Art Bell (left) have pooled their financial resources and invested in a major trade publication advertising campaign (see box and banner ads on every page of Talkers.com and the TALKERS email newsletter) on behalf of their favorite broadcaster. The purpose is to let broadcast radio owners, managers and programmers know that the iconic champion of cosmic consciousness, the paranormal and metaphysical subject matter is back in action doing a nightly (12:00 midnight – 3:00 am ET) online radio program via the Dark Matter Digital Network titled “Midnight in the Desert” – and, most importantly, that it is immediately available for syndication on AM and FM radio stations. Launched this past summer, the show is already carried on more than 35 terrestrial stations across the US and Canada. The group, organized largely through social media, issued the following statement:
Art Bell, the legendary king of late night radio, has always had a unique and surprising relationship with his listeners. For us, it’s personal. A pioneer of interactive radio since the 90s, Art has a long history of connecting directly with his fans in ways few, if any, other radio hosts have. Through Art’s early embrace of internet bulletin boards, IRC chats, and even HAM radio, he created a devoted following. These days, Art is a constant presence to his fans through more modern social networking tools, such as message boards, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. He has continued to maintain direct contact with his fans even during the years when he wasn’t on the air, whether updating them on family matters or giving them his observations on the world.
That personal touch allowed Bell to retain tens of thousands of hardcore fans years after his retirement from national broadcasting. That listener loyalty was bolstered by such things as Art calling into fan podcasts, or granting an exclusive two hour fan interview, hosted in his home and posted online for all to hear. Ever active on the pages of the various fan message boards, Art has always gone to his fans and interacted directly.
Now Art is back with a new show, “Midnight in the Desert,” and in true Art Bell fashion he’s bringing his loyal fans with him.
The genesis of the show was a true grassroots effort. Through modern social media, Bell connected with his fans and built the new show from the ground up. The fans chose the name of the show, as well as the show’s theme music, a song composed especially for Art Bell by Crystal Gayle. It turns out that she’s a fan, too. Art also recruited his staff from his fan base, most famously his webmaster of many years Keith Rowland, but also his current producer. A fan runs his official YouTube channel, and fans created no less than 10 commercial trailers to promote the upcoming show. A dedicated group of fans even got an advertisement for the show on an electronic billboard in Times Square. Art Bell doesn’t just broadcast, he inspires his fans through his interactivity with them.
That loyalty continues with this ad campaign on Talkers.com. Art’s fans include everyone from housewives to astrophysicists. It was brought to the fans’ attention by one of their members in the broadcasting profession that TALKERS was the most effective place to get the word out to radio stations that Art Bell is back and many tens of thousands of listeners are waiting to hear him on their local radio stations once again. Because, if there’s one thing Art Bell has in common with all of his fans, it’s their shared passion for good radio.
Please watch a special video from Art by clicking here.
TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “In the 25 years that we have been publishing TALKERS, we have never witnessed this type of display of fan loyalty. It is remarkable and tremendously inspirational for all of us who love radio and have a vested interest in the proliferation of the viability of the FM/AM paradigm. Thank you Art Bell for continuing to be a trailblazer and to his very special fan base for showing us that people will certainly care if we simply ‘do our jobs’ the way we are supposed to.” For affiliate information, interested stations should contact Amy Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org. Art Bell is scheduled to be Michael Harrison’s guest on a forthcoming installment of the international PodcastOne hit, “Up Close and Far Out.” Stay tuned for details.
Emmis Reports Q2 Radio Revenue Flat. Reporting that its net radio revenue was flat at $47.6 million, Emmis Communications releases figures from its second fiscal quarter, which ended August 31. In a press statement, the company notes that “second quarter radio revenues were down 0.5% compared to local radio market revenues [which were] down 1.9%. Our New York cluster performed much better in the second quarter (up 4.3% in a market down 3.4%).” Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan states, “Despite our outperformance, the markets where we operate remain challenged. While we are outperforming in a difficult marketplace, the radio industry is clearly in need of a catalyst and we think we have it with NextRadio. The addition of AT&T and T-Mobile during the quarter continues the momentum for NextRadio, the Emmis-led industry initiative to make FM broadcast radio available on smartphones and tablets. I’m most pleased by the broad industry support we have garnered for the effort, which we believe will revolutionize radio.”
CBS RADIO Suspends 92.9 The Game Atlanta Personality Mike Bell for Jessica Mendoza Tweet. Even though he’s apologized for his ill-advised Tweet about ESPN MLB playoff game analyst Jessica Mendoza, CBS RADIO has suspended the WZGC, Atlanta host until Monday (10/12), according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho. Mike Bell, who co-hosts the afternoon drive show with Carl Dukes on “92.9 The Game,” used a reference from a line in the movie Anchorman to express his displeasure with ESPN’s call to have the U.S. Women’s Softball gold medalist serve as color analyst for the Astros-Yankees game. He Tweeted: “yes tell us T*ts McGhee when you’re up there hitting the softball you see a lot of 95 mile an hour cutters.”
PPM Analysis: MLB Flagships. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his fourth 2015 PPM analysis of the ratings performances (6+, Mon-Sun 6a-12mid) of stations that serve as flagships for MLB franchise play-by-play. This report is based on the September 2015 PPM data (survey period August 13-September 9). Since this report is not based on ratings from actual game time dayparts, it reflects the overall movement of a station with baseball listening as one possible factor. In this report see charts illustrating the AQH shares of stations from August 2015 to September 2015, from September 2014 to September 2015, as well as the market ranks and how the flagships stacked up based on MLB divisions. Click here to read more.
SiriusXM Renews with the NFL Through 2022. There’s no mention of the price satcaster SiriusXM is paying the National Football League for the just-announced six-year extension of the satellite broadcasting and marketing agreement, but SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer and his team obviously value the play-by-play programming. As the Official Satellite Radio Partner of the NFL, SiriusXM will continue to “feature every NFL game live nationwide from the preseason through Super Bowl LVI in 2022 as well as SiriusXM NFL Radio – SiriusXM’s 24/7 radio channel dedicated entirely to the NFL.”
Clinton Gun Control Plan, 2016 Presidential Race, Hillary Clinton Email Server Case, Russia’s Syria Military Campaign, Obama’s TPP Trade Deal, New House Speaker Vote, and MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/7). Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton announces her gun control plan if elected; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; the ongoing matter of Hillary Clinton’s private email server allegedly used for State Department business; the Russian military campaign in Syria and the U.S.’ role in the battle against ISIS; controversy over President Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal; the pending votes on a new GOP House Speaker; and the action in the MLB playoffs were some of the top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cooke: NAB Radio Show Wrap Up. Radio consultant Holland Cooke wraps his coverage of the 2015 NAB Radio Show in Atlanta with this report. In it find HC’s takeaways from sessions that addressed radio commercial creative, selling radio in the multi-media world, consumers’ views of the state of the automobile dashboard, plus AM revitalization and the FCC. Republican FCC commissioner Michael O’Reilly was the only commish to attend and, regarding the contentious issue of an open window for FM translator applications by current AM station owners, he said, “The AM translator solution is the #1 solution. How could it be left out of any package of reforms?” Read Cooke’s report here.
News and News/Talk Well Represented in NAB’s 2015 Marconi Awards. All-news KYW, Philadelphia picked up the 2015 Marconi Award for Legendary Station, announced last night (10/1) at the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show held at this year’s Radio Show in Atlanta. Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP, Washington grabbed the Marconi for Major Market Station of the Year and Cox Media Group’s news/talk KRMG-AM, Tulsa was honored with the Medium Market Station of the Year award. On the talent side, KRMG morning personality Dan Potter picked up the Medium Market Personality of the Year and WSOY, Decatur, Illinois morning host Brian Byers won the Small Market Personality of the Year honor. In the spoken-word format categories, Cox’s WSB-AM, Atlanta won News/Talk Station of the Year and CBS RADIO’s WFAN, New York was honored with Sports Station of the Year. See all the winners here.
September PPM Data and RadioInfo‘s ‘Twelve Takeaways.’ Rather than distributing ratings information for 12-PPM markets apiece over a four-day period as it generally does, Nielsen Audio doubled up its September 2015 schedule. It released data from 23 markets Tuesday (Tampa was delayed) and 24 markets the following day (Wednesday, 9/30). You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations in those 47 markets here. Simultaneous with that, TALKERS magazine’s sister radio trade pub RadioInfo enthusiastically unveils an augmented modification of our already powerful ratings coverage as managing editor Mike Kinosian expands his “Top Ten Takeaways” to encompass all markets every month. In this “Twelve Takeaways” overview, we focus on noteworthy happenings in Riverside, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, Columbus, San Jose, and Austin. The September 2015 survey period covered August 13 – September 9. Check ’em out here.
West Virginia-Based Host Caiden Cowger Becomes ‘Youngest’ Syndicated Talk Personality. Via his own Cowger Nation Media Network, 17-year-old Caiden Cowger embarks on a venture syndicating his eponymous talk show. The program airs on WBUC, Buckhannon, West Virginia; WFSB, Quitman, Georgia; and newest affiliate WXMB, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and others. Cowger says his interest in becoming a talk radio host began at an early age. “When I was around seven or eight, I recall going with my grandpa into a bookstore and picked up a book titled, It’s My America Too, by Ben Ferguson (generally recognized as the youngest talk host – at age 20 – to be nationally syndicated ). I remember thinking, ‘Wow, it would really be neat if I could do something like that.’ About five years later, I began my radio career.” Cowger names Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin as his influences and also recognizes American Family Radio host Bryan Fischer and Fisher’s producer Jeff Reed as being supportive mentors for his talk radio career. See Cowger’s website here.
Odds & Sods. New York City sports pro Jared Max joins the FOX News organization. FOX News Headlines 24/7 brings the radio pro aboard to serve as a sports reporter and provide up-to-the-minute sports coverage for the new SiriusXM satellite radio channel that launches on October 5. Max’s resume includes time working for CBS RADIO’s all-news WCBS-AM, New York; ESPN O&O WEPN, New York; WFAN, New York, and Bloomberg Radio…..The newly partnered Ryen Russillo and Danny Kanell are getting a video simulcast for their ESPN Radio sports talk show. Effective Monday, October 5, the Russillo & Kanell show will be simulcast from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm on the sports giant’s ESPNEWS channel…..A note from E.W. Scripps-owned news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee – the station announces it has re-signed with the NBA’s Bucks to continue to serve as the flagship station for the Bucks Radio Network. Station vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer comments, “The Milwaukee Bucks organization is in a tremendous building and growing phase, and is a vital part of our community. WTMJ has been a proud partner with the Bucks for many years and we’re excited to continue to serve as the Bucks radio home for years to come.”…..In observance of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Entercom’s news/talk WORD, Greenville, South Carolina is presenting a two-hour special program on Tuesday, October 6. The program is being hosted by the station’s Jenna Kochenauer – herself a victim of domestic abuse – with special guest panelists Sharon Totherow, director of local non-profit Domestic Violence Assistance; Judy Munson, assistant solicitor, domestic violence division, 13th Circuit Court; and Carl Smith, a local counselor with experience working with batterers through an intensive treatment and counseling program.
U.S.-Russia Syria Tensions Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of Sept 28 – Oct 2. The military action begin taken in Syria by Russia and President Obama’s meeting with Vladimir Putin over the matter was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week. At #2 was a tie between Donald Trump’s tax plan and the activities of the candidates for president in 2016. Coming in at #3 was the aftermath of Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S., including his reported meeting with Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, followed by the House hearing with Planned Parenthood exec Cecile Richards 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 magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Holland Cooke: Atlanta Conference Coverage. Radio consultant Holland Cooke is in Atlanta covering both the RAIN Summit and the NAB Radio Show. The NAB event kicks off today and runs through Friday morning while the RAIN Summit took place on Tuesday. Cooke reports that attendees experienced panel discussions, key notes and interviews that explored two major questions: what makes good digital content and what is the most effective what to sell that content? For a rundown of some of yesterday’s prime takeaways, check out Holland Cooke’s analysis here.
First Round of September PPM Data Released. A scheduling change at Nielsen Audio for this month means the ratings giant is releasing September PPM survey data in two large batches, instead of the usual four groups of 12 released over four days. The one anomaly is the Tampa market ratings are being held up due to the potential tampering issue, so only 23 markets have been released with the other 24 to be delivered after 5:00 pm today (9/30). You can see all the 6+ data from subscribing stations in the first 23 markets here. Also, Talkers and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Twelve Takeaways” analysis here.
CBS RADIO Names Paul Donovan VP of Engineering. In this corporate role radio engineering pro Paul Donovan will be in charge of engineering, information technology, real estate and capital for the division’s 117 stations across the country. CBS RADIO chief operating officer Scott Herman states, “Paul is recognized as one of the best in the business, and has been an integral part of the CBS RADIO engineering team. With this elevated position, he will be able to demonstrate and share his vast knowledge and expertise with all of our stations. I’m extremely excited to work with him, especially during such a time of change for our industry as we explore new operational technologies.” This is a promotion from Donovan’s previous director of engineering, Northeast region position.
Howie Carr Pens New Crime Novel, Killers. When it comes to organized crime, mobsters, thugs and punks — New England talk radio legend and elite Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr is one of the most experienced and knowledgeable media practitioners in the world today. His role in the bringing down of legendary mob boss Whitey Bulger (subject of the new movie “Black Mass”) is an intrinsic part of both men’s stories and the basis for Carr’s sizzling series of non-fiction best sellers on the topic of Bulger and crime. Now, Carr has turned his talent for rendering the printed word into his second major work of fiction with the release of a riveting new novel, Killers: A Novel (Forge Books, 2015). Whitey Bulger is gone from Boston, but Carr’s fictitious Bench McCarthy is here to take his place. Bench McCarthy is a thug’s thug, a hitman, an underworld jack-of-all-trades running his own mob out of Winter Hill in the Boston-area town of Somerville while simultaneously handling “wet work” for Sally Curto, a half-demented, totally obscene mob boss. After years of gangland peace, Bench and Sally suddenly find themselves clay pigeons for unknown hit crews coming at them from every direction. The motives are as murky as the hitmen themselves, but all roads seem to lead back to the State House, where corrupt pols are battling over a bill to legalize billions of dollars’ worth of new casinos. In order to stay alive as he puts an end to the uprising, the wisecracking Bench must set aside his objections and enlist the help of Jack Reilly, a dodgy ex-cop turned private investigator. The hunter has become the hunted. Killers is a ride through the dark underbelly of Boston crime and politics that could only have been written by the man novelist James Ellroy calls “the Bacon-Banging Boston Bossman”- Howie Carr, the newspaper columnist on whom Whitey Bulger first put out a contract and then called as a defense witness during his 2013 murder trial in Boston. To inquire about booking Carr for a radio interview please contact Emily Mullen at Tor/Forge Books: 647-307-5413 or email@example.com.
Dr. Joy Browne Works on Behalf of Habitat for Humanity. Continuing the kind of non-stop community service activities that earned Dr. Joy Browne a past TALKERS Humanitarian of the Year award, the GCN nationally-syndicated talk legend is pictured recently (9/24) moderating a discussion at Habitat for Humanity New York City’s “Women Build 2015” kick-off event at City Winery in lower Manhattan. Dr. Browne (l) is joined on stage by two women — Selina Sacasa (c) and Kima Payne (r) — who are each receiving a three bedroom house with a deck in Queens (they’ll be next door neighbors). They are single mothers, one with two children and one with three. Their mortgages will be $1200 per month. The event raised nearly $300,000 surpassing its goal of $250,000 toward building new homes for low-income families in New York over the next 10 years.
SiriusXM’s Joe Madison to Launch New Series on ‘Race and Society.’ Urban radio personality Joe Madison – whose morning drive program is heard daily on SiriusXM – is beginning a new series on the satellite service called, “An American Conversation – We Are All Americans.” The satcaster says the first installment of this “ongoing series focused on the need for a national dialogue about race in America” will be “a roundtable discussion on a hotly debated topic in the news: the school to prison pipeline.” The panel will feature leading experts from the worlds of education and politics, including U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan; Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.); Chancellor of D.C. Public Schools, Kaya Henderson; Chief Judge, U.S. District Court, Richard Roberts; and many more. SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein states, “Joe Madison is kicking off a series of candid conversations with the leaders of our nation and our communities. Radio can do more than entertain and Joe is more than just a host behind a mic. He regularly travels across America to hear directly from his listeners, encouraging them to have their voices heard. This is just the start of a series where all Americans, regardless of race, religion, or political affiliation, can learn from one another and lead our nation forward.”
Geller’s Beyond Powerful Radio Now Available as Audio Book. The immensely popular – not to mention incredibly instructive – Beyond Powerful Radio from renowned radio consultant Valerie Geller is now available as an audio book. Geller tells TALKERS magazine she can’t take all the credit because what excites her about the audio book is that the contributors each read their own parts. “So there are actually lots and lots of voices!” The audio version of Beyond Powerful Radio is some 16 hours of content and is available on iTunes and via Audible.com here.
Obama-Putin Meeting at the UN, Trump Tax Plan, 2016 Presidential Race, Planned Parenthood House Hearing, Pope Francis Visit Aftermath, Post-Boehner GOP, Tropical Storm Joaquin Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/29). The meeting between President Obama and Russian president Vladimir Putin over Syria and ISIS; the tax plan laid out by GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump; the activities of the rest of the candidates for president in 2016; the House hearing on Planned Parenthood and the testimony by Cecile Richards; talk about the recent visit to the U.S. by Pope Francis; the state of the GOP as House Speaker John Boehner prepares to exit Congress; and the status of Tropical Storm Joaquin as it approaches the Eastern Seaboard were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Hardin, Zellner, Maynard Receive iHeartMedia Promotions. The “National Programming Platforms” group of iHeartMedia appoints Brad Hardin executive vice president/general manager; Jon Zellner executive vice president of programming operations; and Maynard executive vice president of programming strategy. All three will be New York City-based and report to National Programming Platforms president Tom Poleman, who states, “iHeartMedia’s strength is built on our great programmers working together to develop great content and experiences for our listeners utilizing our unmatched scale. Brad, Jon, and Maynard each have a remarkable amount of hands-on experience programming some of the best local radio stations in the world, making them uniquely qualified to lead our company-wide programming initiatives.” Hardin comments, “I am looking forward to working more closely with the amazing people on our National Programming Platforms team as well as programmers throughout our markets. They are the very best in content creation and live event marketing. I am excited to have the opportunity to further contribute to our future growth, and continuing to demonstrate the power of iHeartMedia’s local and national brands.” Zellner remarks, “iHeartMedia continues to set the industry standard for innovation and one-of-a-kind content. I am honored and very excited to have the opportunity to work with Tom and the programming team on implementing new ideas and strategies for our incredible brands.” Maynard notes that he has “had an incredible experience since joining iHeartMedia. It is extremely motivating to work with a company that is committed to exceeding expectations both internally and with our millions of listeners. The people in this company are what make it great, and I am truly grateful for this opportunity and even more excited for what lies ahead.” Most recently the executive vice president of programming and company-wide active rock/alternative brand manager, Hardin has been with iHeartMedia (and the former Clear Channel) for over 15 years. He was senior vice president of programming for west major markets and has programmed in Tampa, Cincinnati, Dayton, and Louisville. Zellner joined iHeartMedia in 2009 as senior vice president of programming and he is being promoted from executive vice president of programming. His resume includes senior management positions at SiriusXM and CBS Radio. Maynard will work with iHeartMedia’s programmers and oversee the company’s on-air creative directors; he joined iHeartMedia in late-July 2014.
Levin (Again) Lands At #1. Syndicated talk host Mark Levin’s “Plunder and Deceit” will reportedly debut at #1 on The New York Times bestseller list across all three categories of hardcover nonfiction, e-book nonfiction, and the combined list. This will be his fourth consecutive #1 New York Times bestseller. One of Levin’s previous books, “Liberty and Tyranny,” spent 38 weeks on that bestseller list and sold over one million copies. In a statement to Breitbart News, however, Levin emphasizes that he doesn’t “write books for The New York Times – I write them for people who love their country, want to learn about their country, and want to save their country. ‘Plunder and Deceit’ is a particularly important book. It is intended to stir the citizenry, particularly younger people, to understand what big government is doing to them and how its policies are destroying their liberty and prosperity.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison asked Levin, “What is the key to your success as a best-selling author so we can share it with other talk hosts who write books.” Levin immediately acknowledged that he is not the only accomplished author among the ranks of radio talk show hosts – then added, “It takes me a year or more to write a book. It involves extensive research and scholarship. You have to be willing to commit a lot of time to it — most weekends, early mornings, and late nights. I don’t have ghostwriters or co-authors, etc. There’s a difference between being an author and having your name on a book.” Landmark Legal Foundation president Levin is syndicated through Cumulus Media‘s Westwood One; “Plunder and Deceit” was released last Tuesday (8/4).
Hoping His Herd Heads with Him to Fox, Premiere. Speculation has become reality now that one of the worst-kept secrets in recent history is official: After a 12-year association with ESPN (the last two days there being controversial owing to his on-air comments questioning the intelligence of Dominican ballplayers), Colin Cowherd will indeed join Fox Sports and Premiere Networks in just over three weeks (Tuesday, 9/8). That is when he will begin hosting “The Herd,” a three-hour program, which will air simultaneously on Fox Sports Radio Network and Fox Sports1 (12:00 noon – 3:00 pm, Eastern). Fox Sports Radio is produced/distributed by Fox Sports and iHeartMedia subsidiary Premiere Networks. “Colin is one of the most powerful and talented personalities in sports media today,” asserts Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott. “His addition to Premiere’s lineup demonstrates our continued commitment to reaching diverse audiences with the best talent the industry has to offer. We are excited to join with Fox Sports in bringing Colin’s passionate and engaging brand of sports entertainment to millions of people across multiple platforms. By leveraging our combined reach, we’ll have the opportunity to connect with more sports fans than ever before, while delivering unmatched results for our partners.” Cowherd states that, “It is hard to put into words how much fun it is for me, as a broadcaster, to build something with really smart, talented people. I cannot wait for this next chapter in my career to start. Fox Sports is the perfect spot for me at this time in my life.” On Sunday mornings during the NFL season, Cowherd will be part of the Fox-TV “NFL Kickoff” crew. According to Fox Sports national networks president Jamie Horowitz, “Colin is the first person I hired for my first daily studio show at ESPN, so it’s fitting that he’s the first one I’m hiring at FS1. Colin is a unique voice in sports media with a loyal following of fans. We are looking forward to building our daytime programming around him.” Before joining ESPN, Cowherd did a morning drive sports show on KFXX, Portland; was sports anchor at WTVT-TV, Tampa; and sports director of Las Vegas TV station KVBC. He began his career as the play-by-play voice for the Pacific Coast League’s Las Vegas Stars.
Alpha Media and Robbins & Markley Ink Multi-Year Renewal. Heard weekdays on talk siblings KXL, Portland (9:00 am – 12:00 noon) and WMBD, Peoria, Illinois (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm), Scott Robbins and Jamie Markley extend their deal with parent company Alpha Media. Executive vice president of programming, Scott Mahalick states, “Robbins and Markley bring a contemporary style and entertaining flare that connects with the audience in a big way – we are proud they are on our winning team.” Alpha Media Portland senior vice president/market manager Milt McConnell notes, “Robbins and Markley have made a tremendous showing in Portland. Scott and Jamie are two of the best communicators in our business, and we are thrilled to have them for years to come.” Meanwhile, Alpha Media Peoria market manager Mike Wild remarks, “Scott and Jamie reflect real-life, day-to-day; they are [two] of the most genuine personalities anywhere. Their chemistry is unique and they both have an amazing sense for content. The show is a completely fresh approach to talk radio.”
Circle Next Thursday as National Radio Day. Especially when considering that some offbeat things – including specific foods – somehow garner their own special day, it is rather odd that there has not heretofore been a border-to-border celebration dedicated to the medium of radio. That will change one week from today (Thursday, 8/20) when non-commercial radio stations in more than 30 U.S. cities will participate in Seattle-based “not-just-for-profit social enterprise” Brown Paper Tickets’-formulated “National Radio Day.” This year, the FCC has awarded construction permits to nearly 2,000 low-power FMs and as National Radio Day “lead organizer” Sabrina Roach explains, “This is a great opportunity to get to know the new low-power stations by working on a common project together. A low-power FM is like community glue. These new media outlets can become powerful resources that help neighbors to organize, share, and find solutions together. I wanted to introduce an opportunity for all kinds of non-commercial stations to work together and to engage their communities by celebrating radio with listeners and independent producers.” Stations can promote National Radio Day (August 20 is also “National Lemonade Day”) on social media using the hash tag “#NationalRadioDay.” Brown Paper Tickets will provide promotional assistance and support for National Radio Day events organized by all participating U.S. stations. By the way, the significance of choosing August 20 as National Radio Day (which has actually been observed since the early-1990s) is to honor the day in 1920 that Detroit news station 8MK (now CBS Radio-owned WWJ – and still all-news) was licensed by the FCC. On August 31, 1920, 8MK aired the first news radio broadcast featuring local election results. WWJ’s Pittsburgh sibling KDKA-AM debuted on November 20, 1920 and, of course, has long claimed to be the “world’s first commercial radio station.”
NBC Selects Seacrest to Host Late-Night Rio Coverage. With less than a year to go until the opening ceremony of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, NBC-TV announces that its host of live late-night coverage will be KIIS “Kiss-FM,” Los Angeles morning personality/”American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest. During the 2012 London Games, Seacrest was a correspondent and he co-hosted the closing ceremony. NBC Olympics executive producer Jim Bell promises that, “The late-night atmosphere will be electric. We are thrilled to have Ryan Seacrest in the middle of it all capturing Rio’s unique flavor, talking to Olympic athletes, and telling the stories of the day.” Seacrest reflects, “Joining the NBC Olympics team at the 2012 London Games was an exhilarating experience. I appreciate Jim Bell’s confidence, along with everyone at NBC Sports. I can’t wait to reunite with the team of broadcasters and producers for the 2016 Rio Olympics, and I look forward to hosting the live late night show.” Bob Costas hosted NBC’s primetime and late-night Olympic coverage at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games and he has been primetime host for every NBC-covered Olympic Games since 1992. Mary Carillo previously hosted Olympics late-night coverage. The Summer Games from Rio begin August 5, 2016.
Answers From a Presidential Hopeful. During his visit to Arkansas’ GOP headquarters, Republican presidential candidate/junior Texas senator Ted Cruz did on on-air interview with KHTE “The Answer,” Little Rock afternoon drive host Dave Elswick. The two commemorate the occasion with a selfie.
Ready for his Close-up. Part of the enjoyment industry people derive when watching television shows or movies is trying to identify an announcer’s voice when the radio plays in the background, or spotting radio talents used as “extras.” In the country’s #7 film this week, “Rikki and The Flash,” Meryl Streep’s rock singer character struggles and fumbles operating a cash register as a part-time checkout clerk. The camera catches fellow employee “Chris” grimacing at the next register. Portraying “Chris” is Salem Radio Network east coast affiliate relations manager Jim Bligh, who shot his scenes in Westchester County, New York. Advanced film buffs might recognize Bligh from his appearances in “A Beautiful Mind,” Cloverfield,” and “Man on a Ledge.”
Odds & Sods. Two sports programming notes from SiriusXM that take effect next Tuesday (8/18). Former University of Michigan head football coach Brady Hoke will host – alongside Mark Packer – SiriusXM “College Sports Today” twice a week (9:00 am – 12:00 pm ET) throughout the college football season. In addition, former PGA tour professional/television analyst Mark Lye will join radio personality Bruce Murray on the satcaster’s weekly “Let It Fly with Murray & Lye.” The one-hour (8:00 pm – 9:00 pm) program will air every Tuesday night, starting next week. Lye has previously been an analyst on SiriusXM’s pre- and post-round coverage.
Donald Trump Surpasses POTUS as Most Talked About Person on News/Talk Radio Yesterday (8/12). Top topics include the Presidential Race, the Iran Nukes Deal, Immigration Reform and the Chinese Devaluation of the Yuan. According to TALKERS research, fallout from last week’s audience record-breaking GOP debate on Fox News Channel continues to dominate conversation on news/talk radio across America this week and people (and the media) remain fixated on Donald Trump. Very rarely does anyone top the President of the United States as the most-talked-about person for a day, let alone a week. We will know how Trump fares versus Barack Obama by tomorrow morning (8/14) in terms of this week’s survey. Other hot topics include the presidential election in general, Hillary Clinton’s email controversy and the global economic impact of China’s devaluation of its currency.
Tidwell Tapped as iHM San Antonio SVP/Programming. Inbound from Tucson where he was iHeartMedia‘s senior vice president of programming, Lance Tidwell transfers to San Antonio for similar duties. Executive vice president of programming for iHeartMedia major markets Brad Hardin comments, “I am extremely pleased to welcome Lance to the iHeartMedia San Antonio family. Tidwell is a strong talent and has had much success in his tenure with iHeartMedia. His programming acumen and depth of experience will allow him to ramp up quickly and build immediate relationships with the programming and sales team.” San Antonio market president Marlene Trevino remarks, “I am excited that our San Antonio programming operations will be led by Tidwell. He understands our company¹s vision to be innovative with every move. Lance¹s experience collaborating with programming and sales teams will provide us and our partners with unbeatable forward momentum in the continued evolution of our brands in the San Antonio market.” Tidwell notes that he is “grateful” to Trevino and Hardin “for the chance to work with these great brands and team in San Antonio. I am eager to get started and lead the market to continued growth and success.” In addition to having programmed in Seattle, Memphis, Hartford, Monterey-Salinas, and New Haven (Connecticut), Tidwell was chief operating officer for Southern Star Broadcasting. With 6+ share/market ranks from the most recent Nielsen Audio PPM sweep in parentheses (July 2015), iHeartMedia’s San Antonio cluster consists of country KAJA “KJ-97” (6.0, #3); mainstream CHR KXXM “Mix 96.1” (4.8, #5); adult contemporary KQXT “Q-101.9” (4.7, #6); talk WOAI (4.2, #10); rhythmic CHR KZEP “Hot 104.5” (2.1, #19); regional Mexican KQXT-HD3 (1.8, #20); sports KTKR “The Ticket” (.6, #26); and classic country KRPT “B-Buc” (.2, #27).
CBS Radio Q2 Revenue Off 5%. While second quarter revenue for CBS Corp. increased 1% to $3.22 billion from $3.19 billion in 2014, CBS Radio revenue declined 5%. Executive chair Sumner Redstone states, “CBS is at the center of the action during an extremely exciting time in media. We continue to succeed as a result of our world-class content.” According to president and chief executive officer Les Moonves, “This quarter underscores the key steps we are taking to build out our long-term growth strategy. Our premium content remains the cornerstone of our success, and I am confident this fall’s new primetime lineup will lead us to another victory next season.” The company’s local broadcasting revenue was down 2% to $654 million from $665 million, as television station revenue was up 1%, and local broadcasting operating income (OI) fell 8% to $198 million from $215 million. The company posted net earnings of $332 million, down from $439 million in the year-ago period.
Nielsen Audio Releases Third Round of July 2015 PPM Data. The third of four rounds of July 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The July 2015 survey period covered June 18 through July 15. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
National Radio Hall of Fame Nominees Announced. The 24 candidates in six categories were determined by the organization’s steering committee. National Radio Hall of Fame chair Kraig Kitchin brings back public engagement through social media balloting in the “Music Format On-Air Personality” and “Spoken Word On-Air Personality” categories. This is the first time that will be done in the last five years. “This impressive list of nominees represents the best examples of talent with commendable audience relationships past and present,” Kitchin declares. “Each individual and show was selected after extensive deliberation by the steering committee. We are all looking forward to seeing the results as determined by our industry peers and listeners nationwide.” The four nominees to be voted on by a participant panel in the “Longstanding Local/Regional (20 years or more)” category are Tom Barnard (Minneapolis); Johnny Dare (Kansas City); Johnny Holliday (Washington, D.C.); and Ronn Owens (San Francisco). Those in the “Active Local/Regional (10 years or more)” category are “Big Boy” – real name Kurt Alexander (Los Angeles); Preston Elliot and Steve Morrison (Philadelphia); Eric Ferguson and Kathy Hart (Chicago); and Garland Robinette (New Orleans). The four candidates in the “Networks/Syndication (10 years or more)” category include Tom Kent (Cleveland); Dave Ramsey (Nashville); Diane Rehm (Washington, D.C.); and Michael Savage (San Francisco). Those in the “Longstanding Network/Syndication (20 years or more)” category are Bob Kevoian & Tom Griswold (Indianapolis); Bob Kingsley (Weatherford, Texas); “Marketplace” (Los Angeles); and Harry Shearer (Los Angeles). Nominees to be voted on by listeners nationwide in the “Music Format On-Air Personality” category are Delilah (Seattle); Elvis Duran (New York); Steve Harvey (Atlanta); and Ryan Seacrest (Los Angeles). In the “Spoken Word On-Air Personality” category, the nominees are Sean Hannity (New York); Clark Howard (Atlanta); Jim Rome (Los Angeles); and Dr. Laura Schlessinger (Los Angeles). Voting begins today; names of the winners will be revealed in just over three weeks (8/31). The induction ceremony will be held in three months (11/5) at the Museum of Broadcast and Communications in downtown Chicago.
NextRadio, CBI Team To Find Best Radio Spot. College students are encouraged to create/submit a 60-second radio spot, as NextRadio and College Broadcasters Inc. (CBI) join forces to find the “best-of-the-best in radio spot ads.” According to NextRadio president Paul Brenner, there are currently 50,000 – 70,000 radio spots that run each month supporting the NAB National Awareness Campaign, which launched in February; “this is a huge opportunity for students to have their radio spot played nationally among thousands of broadcast stations and heard by millions. We will get the opportunity to showcase rising talent for the radio industry.” CBI president Greg Weston comments, “CBI is thrilled to team with NextRadio to offer students from our media outlets this unprecedented opportunity to have their work appear in front of millions of listeners. Not only will the winners get national exposure for their talent, they will be able to take advantage of the educational opportunities available to them at the National Student Electronic Media Convention.” First-place winner will have his or her 60-second spot included in “flight four” of the NAB National Awareness Campaign, which starts October 1. The contest begins one week from next Monday (8/17) and will run through September 18; winners will be announced September 28.
Westwood One, PGA of America In Multiyear, Multiplatform Deal. Live hole-by-hole coverage of the PGA championship returns to Westwood One for the first time in a decade. In addition, Westwood One will provide short-form updates, as well as a Brad Heller-anchored recap show, “The PGA Championship Tonight.” Senior vice president of sports for Westwood One (and parent company Cumulus Media) Bruce Gilbert remarks, “Westwood One is proud to present the 2015 PGA championship. It is a very exciting time in professional golf with so many terrific stories this year. Our team is prepared and excited to describe the remarkable performance of the world’s best players live from the PGA championship for the next few years.” PGA of America chief commercial officer Jeff Price states, “Westwood One and SiriusXM are synonymous with live, major sports event broadcasting. The PGA of America is delighted that we will partner with these two world-class radio partners to bring the drama and excitement of the PGA championship to fans.” Broadcast coverage from the PGA championship at Whistling Straits Golf Course in Kohler, Wisconsin begins one week from today (Thursday, 8/13). It will run through (Sunday) the 16th and can be heard on SiriusXM, Westwood One Sports affiliates, and WestwoodOneSports.com. SiriusXM PGA tour radio host Earl Forcey will anchor the joint coverage from the 18th tower, while former pro golfer/Golf Channel host Charlie Rymer will be lead analyst. Westwood One’s Ted Emrich will anchor short-form reports from the course, and provide leader board updates during the long-form coverage. Looking ahead, Westwood One Sports will provide PGA championship coverage next year from Baltusrol Country Club in Springfield, New Jersey and, in 2017, from the Quail Hollow Country Club in Charlotte.
2016 Presidential Candidates-GOP Debates, Nashville Theater Attack, Iran Nuclear Deal, Immigration Policy Debate, Hillary Clinton Email Investigation, Baltimore Gets Help with Violence, MH370 Debris Confirmed, and Deflategate Flap Among Top News Stories Yesterday (8/5). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and tonight’s GOP debates; the thwarted attack on a cinema in Nashville on Wednesday; the political battle over the proposed nuclear deal with Iran; the ongoing controversy over America’s immigration policy; the Feds supply help to Baltimore’s police in battling the explosion of murders in the aftermath of the Freddie Gray slaying; the plane debris found last week is confirmed to be from Malaysia Airlines flight MH370; and the NFL’s deflategate case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Nielsen on Voltair and PPM: The Morning After. Yesterday’s Nielsen Audio webinar with PPM client stations regarding upcoming changes to its PPM technology and the Voltair audio processor from Telos Alliance has the industry buzzing. As you know, Nielsen has been testing the Voltair unit and has concluded that it cannot “support” Voltair, saying it found nothing substantial to show the processor positively affects the PPM unit’s ability to pick up the watermark tone that credits listening. A number of managers and programmers have subsequently commented anonymously that they remain unconvinced by Nielsen’s research and presentation. One programmer tells TALKERS, “Their research proved without a doubt that Voltair recorded more listening in certain formats when the PPM was in a noisy environment. However, they did a flip-flop in their presentation, stating that ‘Voltair’s increased recording of listenership was inconclusive.’ Interestingly, at the same time they announced the rollout of an enhanced and more robust watermark which should be in the field by fall. If there was not a problem, then why the new watermark?” But broadcasting consultant Randy Kabrich writes in a blog post today in which, in this instance, he defends Nielsen’s response. He says it’s well known that PPM doesn’t hear all of the codes and because of the 15-minute Quarter Hour ratings method employed in the U.S., it doesn’t need to. “The Media Rating Council has examined every aspect of the PPM very extensively with their audits…[The] policies for stations to receive credit from the PPM codes were put in place many years ago after years of testing because it is known that the PPM meter misses codes! And yet, the results are statically valid. Otherwise no PPM markets would be accredited by the MRC. And don’t you find it interesting that the MRC has agreed to look at Voltair with stations who have gone to them based on their own observations? Look at it from the outside. What do those stations gain? It is almost as if they have post purchase dissonance and need someone to tell them they made the correct decision.” Read Kabrich’s interesting blog piece here.
What Would it Take to Reunite Mike Francesa and Chris Russo? That’s what New York sports talk fans are probably wondering after a passing question to Chris “Mad Dog” Russo by YES Network (and WEPN-FM, New York) personality Michael Kay about whether he’d considering working with WFAN, New York afternoon personality Mike Francesa again received the answer, “Yeah, I would. Definitely. I miss the camaraderie.” Francesa was asked the same question by Newsday and told the paper that he would consider it. Both Russo and Francesa are under contract to their respective employers – Russo through 2016 with SiriusXM and Francesa with CBS RADIO through 2017. It’s no secret that Francesa is unhappy with his relationship with CBS. NJ.com reports that Russo told Kay he handled his 2008 exit from WFAN and the Francesa partnership poorly and wishes he’d been more up front about the situation.
Dirk Van to Retire from Westwood One’s ‘First Light.’ For 26 years, Dirk Van has been the only host of Westwood One’s early morning news magazine “First Light,” but he announces that Thursday, July 30 will be his last day. The company says he “leaves with a legacy of accomplishments and awards.” Dirk also hosts “The Week in Review” news program and has anchored morning drive newscasts throughout his successful career. Van says of his 35-year radio career, “Radio is all about people, and I’ve had the great fortune to work with the best in the business, following in the footsteps of my father, Lyle Van – a radio legend at NBC and WOR — and others greats like Lou Adler, Nick Verbitsky, Tom O’Brien, Ron Nessen, and Bart Tessler. Hosting our morning magazine, ‘First Light,’ has been an amazing experience and has allowed me to work with talented broadcasters for more than a quarter century. Talking to listeners on a daily basis has kept me grounded, and hopefully provided a window into what America is thinking. And to think — we started way back when talk radio was ‘new.’ Helping to create an exciting, new product, Westwood One News, has been especially rewarding, and being a part of its success is a great way to cap a career. And talk about ‘sailing off into the sunset’— that’s exactly what I plan to do, with my beautiful wife, Paula, who has put up with those agonizing broadcasters’ hours all these years. To all my friends at Westwood One, thank you!”
Talk Host Phil Valentine Wins Screenplay Competition. Nashville-based talk show host Phil Valentine picked up first place honors at the Colorado Film Festival in the screenplay competition. The Westwood One-syndicated personality’s “Derek Dickens & The Dream” screenplay is a fictional story of one man’s mid-life crisis that turns him into an international pop sensation when he takes on an imaginary persona through which he lives out his lifelong dream. This 50-year-old fabricates a 20-something British band, with himself at the lead, and it takes the world by storm. He realizes no one is prepared for this kind of success, at any age. Noting that the Colorado Film Festival is watched by industry pros, Valentine jokes, “I’ve been sitting by the phone waiting for a call from Hollywood. I already have Robert Downey, Jr. planned for the lead.” This is not the first accolade for this screenplay; it was a finalist in nine other film festivals, including the Beverly Hills Film Festival, the American Movie Awards, and the Atlanta Film Festival. Valentine has been dabbling in film alongside his radio career for several years now. He recently wrote and produced the award-winning documentary, “An Inconsistent Truth.”
BizTV and BizTalkRadio Enter News Game. The business news reports that will be available to air from 9:00 am to 5:05 pm daily are being produced by Little Rock-based Independent News Network. It is a five-minute, top-of-the-hour product that gives stations the option of running the whole cast or choosing from headlines, market reports or business stories. BizTV and BizTalkRadio EVP Scott Miller says, “We felt there was a void in the marketplace for business news. There are several great resources for news, but our TV and radio affiliates wanted a news product that follows the stock market and provides business centered news stories.”
Odds & Sods. Morning show personality Sergeant Sam Cox is retiring from his gig at Emmis-owned news/talk KLBJ-AM, Austin. Cox has been with the station for 28 years. He served with the Austin Police Department for 31 years and retired from the force in 1995…..WKGN, Knoxville is flipping from regional Mexican to sports talk after Hodges Media purchased the station from Richardo Espinosa for $225,000. The station is using Fox Sports Radio Network programming in addition to local shows. The station will work with the Tennessee Volunteers platform GoVols247.com. Nate Hodges and executive producer Brad Matthews will host the 7:00 am to 10:00 am show and Tom Poisal will host the afternoon drive show…..Talk radio pro Adam McManus sits in for WPGP, Pittsburgh “AM 1250 The Answer” morning personality Rose Tennant August 17-21. He recently did fill-in work for KMJ, Fresno where PD Blake Taylor says, “Adam did a great job filling in at KMJ – lots of energy and thought-provoking topics. Generated tons of calls!”…..Three-time Super Bowl Champion and ESPN analyst Mark Schlereth begins producing a new, weekly podcast on PodcastOne called, “The Stinkin’ Truth.” PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz says, “What a great addition to our network of sports programming. A great athlete and communicator, Mark joins Shaq, Dan Patrick, Steve Austin, Ross Tucker and so many more on that list. Mark’s podcast will be a stand out, and we expect it to deliver a significant audience and become a featured attraction in the podcast world.”
2016 Presidential Candidates, Iran Nuclear Deal, Chattanooga Killings Aftermath, New Planned Parenthood Video, Illegal Immigration-Kate Steinle Death, ‘El Chapo’ Escape-Mexican Corruption, and Sandra Bland Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/21). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016; the fragile state of the Iran nuclear deal and the response from nations around the world; the investigation into terrorist ties to Chattanooga shooter Mohammed Abdulazeez and the aftermath of the slayings; the surfacing of a second video showing a Planned Parenthood doctor haggling over the price of fetus body parts; ongoing talk about the state of the U.S.’s immigration policy and the death of Kate Steinle; talk about Mexican corruption in the wake of drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s escape from prison; and the arrest and subsequent death in jail of Sandra Bland were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Talkers New York 2015 ‘Awards Presentation’ Videos Posted Today. “The Talkers Awards Presentation,” one of the annual highlights of the Talkers New York 2015 mega-conference, is posted today on Talkers TV. The stellar event, masterfully emceed by Jim Bohannon of Westwood One and introduced by Steve Malzberg of Newsmax, took place at the recently held 18th edition of talk media’s longest-running and most important convention. It is broken down into four separate videos — one for each of the awards presented (6/12). These include the “Humanitarian of the Year” award presented to Larry Young of WOLB, Baltimore by TALKERS VP/associate publisher Matthew B. Harrison; the “Woman of the Year” award presented to Robin Quivers, personality, SiriusXM Satellite Radio by Julie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks; the “Lifetime Achievement” award presented to Harvey Nagler, VP, CBS Radio News by Heather Cohen, EVP, the Weiss Agency; and the “Freedom of Speech” award presented to Howard B. Price, director of business continuity, ABC Television Network by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “This awards presentation was one of the most riveting in the history of this publication and convention. The content and emotion expressed by the recipients and presenters alike created a memorable and deeply touching experience for the hundreds in attendance. We are delighted that it translates to video and will be a marvelous experience to be witnessed now by the millions of people around the world interested in this amazing business.” To view the Talkers Awards Presentation videos in their entirety, please click here.
WGN, Chicago’s Nick Digilio Off the Air for Health Reasons. Longtime WGN, Chicago personality Nick Digilio is on personal leave from his 2:00 am to 5:00 am show on the station for undisclosed health reasons. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Digilio had been off the air most of last week, returned on Monday sounding rather weak, and has since been hospitalized while tests are being done to determine the cause of his illness. Digilio has been with WGN since 1985, mostly on a part-time basis, but has been the full-time overnight personality since 2013. Read Feder’s piece here.
WPGG, Atlantic City’s Harry Hurley to Have Street Named in His Honor. The actual sign you see here is the one that will grace St. David’s Place and Atlantic Avenues in Atlantic City, New Jersey in honor of longtime WPGG, Atlantic City morning drive host Harry Hurley. On Wednesday, July 1, the street will be dedicated and Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian, City Council President Frank Gilliam, Jr., Councilman at Large George Tibbitt and Councilman Marty Small Sr. will be among the local dignitaries attending the ceremony. Hurley tells TALKERS magazine he’s humbled by the honor. “I have become the first media/radio personality of any kind to have a street named after him in Atlantic City. The tradition dates back to 1874 and it’s only happened 74 times – and never for a broadcast personality.”
Odds & Sods. This will be the last season of “America’s Got Talent” for Howard Stern. He told his SiriusXM audience that he’s done with the NBC TV program after this summer’s competition, saying he’s too busy. He’s been with the show for four seasons. Now the question is, does Stern re-up with SiriusXM? His contract with the satcaster runs out in December…..New York radio personality Mark Simone is a guest on this Sunday’s edition of “Celebrity TasteMakers” on WPIX-TV, New York. Simone says he’ll take viewers on a tour of the legendary Friars Club…..SiriusXM personality Karen Hunter will host a special program called “White in America,” featuring an all-white panel with Tim Wise, Joan Walsh, Andrew Wilkow, John Fugelsang, Dean Obeidallah, and Boris Epshteyn to engage in an open conversation on the current state of race relations in the United States today. Hunter says, “I felt compelled to put together a panel to finally have a meaningful conversation about race with people who can actually move the needle on the topic – white men and women in media. Race is the one topic we are afraid to tackle in this country. With this panel, I am hoping to offer SiriusXM listeners nationwide the conversation that is not available anywhere else.”
Envision Networks Offers Free Radio Sales School. Through a deal with influence FM, Envision Networks announces it is able to share Radio Sales School with stations. Via a partnership with radio sales trainer Chris Rolando, influence FM is able to offer the 15-day course to radio stations absolutely free. Envision says it’s a great tool for training new sales hires and providing a refresher for more experienced radio sales reps. Rolando brings more than 40 years of broadcasting industry experience to the course. He comments, “No matter where I teach, I find that managers and radio station owners spend a significant amount of their time trying to find and train sales reps instead of managing the actual sales.” The online course features educational videos, quizzes and interactive discussions. In addition to this course, influence FM is offering access to free scripts, pre-produced spots and more to help stations recruit the best candidates possible. influence FM produces radio management software available on a cash or barter basis. This product suite gives users complete control over every step of the sales process including asset management, spot creation and commercial production.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Update. The Envision Networks-syndicated “John and Leah Show” – hosted by John Ziegler and Leah Brandon – becomes part of the program schedule at Evans Broadcasting Company’s KKFT-FM, Reno airing live at 7:00 pm on Sundays…..Radio America-syndicated “The Dana Show” with Dana Loesch adds a number of new stations to its affiliate roster, including: WOWO-AM/FM, Ft. Wayne; WNFZ-FM, Knoxville; KKFT-FM, Reno; KVOI, Tucson; WYAB-FM, Jackson, Mississippi; KIVA, Albuquerque; KQTY-AM, Borger, Texas; KBJT-AM, Fordyce, Arkansas; and WBCF, Florence, Alabama…..The syndicated Paul Finebaum show begins airing on Cumulus Media’s KQSM-FM, Fayetteville, Arkansas “92.1 The Ticket.”
Supreme Court ObamaCare Ruling Tops Talkers TenTM This Week. The United States Supreme Court’s ruling affirming the legality of federal subsidies for health care for states that don’t have their own exchanges was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of June 22-26. At #2 this week was the Charleston church slayings and the related issue of the flying of the Confederate flag in South Carolina and the rest of the South. Coming in at #3 was the fast-track approval of President Obama’s TPP deal followed by the 2016 presidential prospects and the entrance of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Talkers New York 2015 ‘Fireside Chat’ Video featuring Dialogue Between Michael Harrison and John Dickey Posted Today. Billed as a “Fireside Chat” in one of the keynote sessions of the just-concluded Talkers New York 2015 convention, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison conducts a one-on-one conversation with Cumulus Media executive vice president of content & programming, John Dickey. In a series of what Dickey describes as “really tough questions,” Harrison asks him about a wide variety of subjects including how he handles the stress of being significantly responsible for the operation of one of the largest and most complex radio broadcasting companies in the history of the medium; whether or not the platform of radio can ever be accurately measured in terms of ratings; what position talk radio occupies within the overall Cumulus plan going forward; whether or not there is room for qualitative selling and non-traditional revenue generation at large, corporately owned stations; and if there is a future for the personality oriented disc jockey in music radio, among other topics. Dickey responds with thoughtful and candid answers before a fully engaged, packed house of professionals from all segments of the industry in a room so quiet, one could hear a proverbial pin drop. On the subject of stress, Dickey says it is a matter of “balance…balance in life” putting work and family into their proper perspectives. He ties that into programming — repeatedly stating that successful radio formats must maintain an effective balance of elements as they evolve forward with their “natural life cycles.” Dickey discusses the importance of “branding” in today’s commerce, underscoring his company’s commitment to and “heavy investment” in the talk format stating, “We are the ‘custodians’ of some of radio’s greatest brands,” making it clear that Cumulus takes that responsibility very seriously in the talk arena. He makes the point, “We must, however, arrive at an understanding of what constitutes the talk format today” pointing out that talk radio needs to “broaden the conversation” because “people talk about a lot of things.” On the subject of ratings (immediately following a powerful panel discussion about the state of audience measurement moderated by Sean Hannity during which Nielsen’s feet were held to the fire), Dickey is measured and fair in his criticism of Nielsen stating, “The ratings are accurate… but only to a point.” He says, “Nielsen needs to be [more forthcoming] about the ‘margin of error’ [in their metrics] – they owe us more than they are giving us.” Looking back at the conversation, Michael Harrison says, “John Dickey is one of the brightest young men I have ever met in this business and I have no doubt in my mind about his love for and commitment to radio. Neither he nor his brother Lew have easy jobs…and, like all human beings, they are far from perfect, not to mention the entire radio industry is challenged by the circumstances of the times… so operating the second largest ownership group in the history of the medium in the second decade of the 21st century is an extremely daunting task. Unlike so many of today’s powerful executives in both business and government, they admit their mistakes and are always trying to learn and improve.” To view the “Fireside Chat” in its entirety including an introduction by rising talk star Ethan Bearman, please click here.
Nielsen Unveils its Total Audience Report; Radio Leads Weekly Reach of Adults. Senior vice president of the audience insights division at Nielsen, Glenn Enoch, says that in preparing the first-ever Total Audience Report, the company is “using the best available data and have done all we can to make this an ‘apples-to-apples’ comparison, but it is important to remember that these platforms are measured by different methods using different samples and different crediting rules.” Enoch is referring to the challenge of finding one way to express the consumption of three different media platforms – TV, radio and digital. That said, radio practitioners are happy with the results indicating that on a weekly basis, radio reaches 93% of the adult population compared to television’s 87% reach. Digital is broken up into three segments – PC, smartphone, and tablet – and those reach 54%, 70% and 35% of American adults, respectively. However, when one looks at the weekly hours and minutes spent with each medium, television comes out on top across all adult demographics and radio comes in second. The data shows that, for persons 35-49, the average hours/minutes during the week spent with television was 33:05, for radio 13:39, for PCs 6:58, for smartphones 8:52, and for tablets 4:50. In tallying the number of days per week of usage for each medium for persons 18-49, smartphones come out on top with 5.9. Radio is close behind with 5. Television is third with 4.7, followed by tablets at 4.6 and PCs with 3.6. In a memo to his sales stall, Cumulus Media chief marketing officer Pierre Bouvard writes, “While radio is known as a frequency medium, we have always had significant reach. Radio’s reach has remained consistent while television has eroded. Radio now finds itself as America’s number one mass reach medium.”
New York Festivals Winners. Pictured here at Monday evening’s New York Festivals International Radio Program awards ceremony at New York Penthouse are Grand Jury member Geller Media International’s Valerie Geller (center); SiriusXM host Paul Bachman, Bronze Radio Winner in the Best Children/Young Adult Program for “Couch Potato Stew on Kids Place Live” (left); and SiriusXM VP Frank Raphael (right). The New York Festivals International Radio Program awards is an annual radio program competition executed in collaboration with the United Nations Department of Public Information. The United Nations Awards were established in 1990 to honor programs highlighting global concerns of interest to the UN.
Odds & Sods. The Edward R. Murrow Awards from the RTDNA will be handed out on October 12 in New York and CBS Radio News will receive the awards for Best Newscast and Best Continuing Coverage for the third straight year. Outstanding coverage of the downed Malaysian airliner in the Ukraine earned CBS the Best Newscast for its July 18 edition of World New Roundup by Steve Kathan and Paul Farry. The Continuing Coverage award was given for CBS’s yearlong reporting of the war on ISIS.….Chicago media writer Robert Feder is reporting that Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago has secured the rights to Chicago White Sox baseball for a six-year deal that would start with the 2016 season. Currently, White Sox baseball is heard on CBS RADIO’s sports talk WSCR “670 The Score.”…..It didn’t take long for former San Diego Chargers analyst Hank Bauer to find a new gig. The former Chargers player will join Sports USA as a play-by-play analyst for its NFL broadcasts beginning in September. Bauer’s deal to work in the Chargers radio network booth was not renewed after 17 years…..Jon Laaser is named the new radio play-by-play man for Virginia Tech football starting this fall by rights holder IMG. Laaser will work in the booth with color man Mike Burnop.
Alan Colmes Recalls Playing Gunhill Road in His DJ Days. Mainstay radio and TV talker Alan Colmes of FOX News Radio and FOX News Channel is pictured at left at Talkers New York 2015 (6/12) being interviewed for a documentary film being produced about the legendary pop/rock band Gunhill Road that he recalls from his early days as a DJ spinning rock ‘n’ roll. The trio had a great time schmoozing with radio broadcasters from both music and talk formats at the recent mega-conference. Gunhill Road had two FM rock radio album favorites and the hit single “Back When My Hair Was Short” in the early 1970s. They surprised the music world recently by releasing an unexpected album with 19 new tracks titled Every 40 Years (Gunhill Road Records) that has garnered some airplay on AC and triple-A formats as well as a ton of interviews on talk radio – talk show hosts with a taste for pop culture find the group’s personal story fascinating. The group attended the conference to appear with various radio folk in the forthcoming documentary (“Back When My Hair Was Long”) about their extremely unlikely two-part journey from the 1970s to the modern digital era set for theatrical release in 2016 and to promote their latest single, “I’ve Got To Learn To Cry (featuring American Idol’s Julia DeMato). Pictured above: Gunhill Road members (l-r): Glenn Leopold, Steve Goldrich and Paul Reisch with talk radio legend Tom Leykis.
The Dump Buttons Start Season with Narrow Loss. Pictured here after their first game of the season – a very close 10-9 loss to Bloomberg News – are the players on the Cumulus Media New York co-ed softball team, The Dump Buttons. They represent hot AC WPLJ, news/talk WABC, and urban contemporary WNBM. Top row (from l-r): the Don Imus show’s Lou Rufino, WPLJ digital/social media producer Sheila Watko, Joan Hamburg producer Matt Meany, WABC account executives Jamie Roberts and Jose Torres; and Bryce Grafton (Jayde’s boyfriend). Bottom row (from l-r): WPLJ GSM Mary Jo Vetrano, WNBM midday host La Loca; WPLJ morning show co-host, Jayde Donovan; Curtis & Kuby producer Flipper; WABC personality Curtis Sliwa.
The 28th Annual Geraldo Golf Classic. 77WABC personality Geraldo Rivera (left) is here with honoree Steven G. Santino (right) at Monday’s Geraldo Golf Classic at Edgewood Country Club in River Vale, New Jersey. Geraldo’s radio show was broadcast live from the event and golfers participated in contests, watched the broadcast, golfed, and enjoyed an extended cocktail hour in the evening. All proceeds benefit Life’s WORC, which provides support and services for individuals with developmental disabilities.
Charleston Church Massacre Aftermath/Confederate Flag Controversy, Pope’s Climate Encyclical, Obama Trade Deal, 2016 Presidential Prospects, ISIS Activities, Iran Nuclear Program, White House Ransom Policy, and Skinny Jeans Hospitalization Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/23). The aftermath of the Charleston church killings and the related South Carolina Confederate flag issue; the recent climate change encyclical from Pope Francis and the controversy over the beliefs of his science advisor; the revived fast-track trade bill; the activities of the 2016 presidential candidates; the military progress of ISIS and world reaction to its grisly tactics; potential cooperation between the US and Iran and the latter’s nuclear program; the new White House policy that would not legally pursue families that pay ransom for family members held by terrorist organizations; and the case of a woman hospitalized due to ill effects from “skinny jeans” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Agenda Set – 65 Speakers to Address Sold Out Crowd and Tackle Key Industry Issues at Big Apple Talk-Fest. The power-packed, day-long agenda for Talkers New York 2015 is set and promises to provide the event’s sold-out crowd of industry professionals with a stimulating and informative experience. “Add to that,” says TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey, “a marvelous display of the latest technology pertaining to the modern-day industry along with an atmosphere conducive to priceless networking opportunities – and you have one of, if not the, most productive installments in the 18-year history of this colorful convention.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison adds, “We put a tremendous amount of thought and planning into this agenda – maximizing our attendees’ precious time – and I am pleased to say we are ready to send its program guide to the printer.” Harrison continues, “Talkers New York 2015 will address everything from news-talk to sports-talk and beyond — covering just about every popular permutation of spoken word radio heard today on AM, FM, satellite, and internet. We will be discussing the challenges of audience measurement and running broadcast operations large and small. We will explore the nuances of navigating careers in talent, marketing and management as well as working with social media, podcasting and controversial content.” Although all registrations for the event are sold out, there are still a handful of prime sponsorship opportunities available. For information, please call 413-565-5413. Talkers New York 2015 sessions and speeches will be broadcast at a later date on Talkers TV and other media venues, plus it will be a location venue for the shooting of two documentary film projects about talk radio and pop culture currently in production. To see the complete agenda, please click here.
Shaquille O’Neal Podcast to Be Part of PodcastOne Roster. Retired NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal debuts a new audio show on PodcastOne called “The BIG Podcast with Shaq” and featuring co-host John Kincade. PodcastOne says that he’ll invade “the podcast world with his 10 million social media followers and countless millions of fans worldwide…‘The BIG Podcast with Shaq’ is a fun, topical and slightly irreverent weekly talk, news and entertainment show filled with all-star guests, controversy and the crazy life of Shaq himself.” New episodes will be available every Monday. On his debut show, Shaq hosts former teammate and actor Rick Fox, discusses the Deflategate controversy, and responds to recent reports that he threatened to murder Kobe Bryant.
‘Chris Brown’s True Stewardship’ Debuts Today on Salem Signals. The new program produced by Ramsey Solutions and designed for the Christian teaching format is debuting on 20 Salem Media Group stations today. “Chris Brown’s True Stewardship,” is hosted by financial expert, pastor and speaker, Chris Brown. It’s a daily half-hour call-in show “focusing on helping people get control of their money by teaching them biblically based financial principles. Drawing from his experience as a businessman and pastor, Brown provides expert advice and solutions to callers’ questions on various financial issues including debt, retirement, wealth building, and relationships and money.”
Bubba the Love Sponge Airs in Mornings on New Denver Market Pot-Themed Station. Marco Broadcasting creates a talk/rock music hybrid targeted to the marijuana smokers in the Denver market on simulcast KBUD, Golden, Colorado (AM 1550) and translator K231BQ, Golden, branded “Smokin’ 94.1.” Station owner Marc Paskin says, “I have created a unique radio format. There is no radio station anywhere in the country like ‘Smokin 94.1.’ There is not a better fit for our mornings than Bubba the Love Sponge. He loves weed, fast cars, hot girls, and rock music. I think Bubba will take Denver by storm!” Bubba comments, “Rock music and smoking pot have historically gone together like peanut butter and jelly. The Bubba the Love Sponge show has been an advocate for the legalization of marijuana long before it was the cool thing to do. Our listeners understand these facts, which is why many loyal Bubba Army members from my national audience have moved to Colorado since they legalized weed, so it will be like hooking up with old friends. I can’t wait to fire it up in Denver.” Both the AM and FM signals are strongest to the West and Northwest of downtown Denver.
Larry Elder Show to Air on CRN Digital. Los Angeles-based talk host Larry Elder’s three-hour talk show is now airing on CRN Digital Talk Radio. Elder – a longtime KABC, Los Angeles personality – debuted his self-produced talk show online back in January. This program will air from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET.
Odds & Sods. CentralFloridaRadio reports that Jack Bradshaw is the new program director at iHeartMedia’s talk WTKS-FM, Orlando “Real Radio 104.1.” The site notes that Bradshaw started at the station in 1998 as an intern and has been APD in addition to his role on “The Philips Phile” program – a duty he will continue along with his new responsibilities……50kw KTRB-AM, San Francisco is being sold by Pappas Radio receiver Susan Uecker to U.S. International Radio LLC for $6.5 million. The station is being operated under an LMA by Deportes Media airing ESPN’s Spanish sports radio format. That LMA will continue under the new ownership…..Nick Boynton will be back in the radio play-by-play role for the Arizona Coyotes when next the 2015-16 NHL season begins. Boynton was suspended after being charged with disorderly conduct at a Buffalo-area casino. Boynton agreed to a sentence of community service and attendance at an alcohol counseling program. Coyote games air on flagship Bonneville’s KMVP-FM and KTAR-FM in Phoenix…..Former sports talk WUCS, Hartford and Maxim Radio personality Michael Bower is filling in all this week on KFMB, San Diego.
Peter D. Kiernan – Mega-Popular Talk Radio Guest — to Release New Book Next Week. One of the most popular news/talk radio/television guests, Peter D. Kiernan, is set for the launch of his second book, American Mojo: Lost and Found — Restoring Our Middle Class Before the World Blows By (Turner 2015) and will be available for talk media interviews. Kiernan — an award-winning bestselling author — is an entrepreneur, philanthropist and advisor to businesses, non-profits and government. After a multi-decade Wall Street career, he left in 2000 to pursue venture capital start-ups, non-profit work and writing. His first book, Becoming China’s Bitch (Turner 2012), won the International Book Award and was a New York Times bestseller. It also earned Kiernan a loyal following among talk show hosts representing all points of the ideological spectrum – left, right and center — for his articulate analysis of America’s economic challenges and no-nonsense support of the nation’s middle class. In American Mojo: Lost and Found, Kiernan focuses on what he describes as America’s greatest challenge ― and opportunity ― restoring the middle class to its full promise and potential. For information about booking Kiernan please click here.
WRKO, Boston’s Jeff Kuhner Hosts Ted Cruz in New Hampshire. United States Senator and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz (right) appeared with WRKO, Boston morning personality Jeff Kuhner (left) during a Town Hall at Southern New Hampshire University in Hooksett, New Hampshire Saturday, May 30. The two hour event – during which the two discussed the presidential race and took questions from the audience – was broadcast live on WRKO.
SiriusXM’s Joe Madison Hosts ‘Stand Up, Speak Out’ Event in LA. Pictured here is SiriusXM talk personality Joe Madison broadcasting from among the crowd at the satcaster’s exclusive “Stand Up, Speak Out” event to discuss police brutality. The live radio program took place on Saturday, May 28 at the California African American Museum in Los Angeles.
Baltimore Protests Turn Violent. Owing to that fact, Hearst talker WBAL-AM, Baltimore advanced yesterday (Monday, 4/27) to “continuous coverage,” after a weekend of “extensive coverage.” According to WBAL-AM president and general manager Cary Pahigian, “We are sharing resources with our sister station, WBAL-TV (Channel 11), which is flying their helicopter almost nonstop. Our goal is to keep the community up-to-the-minute and to provide an opportunity to discuss and analyze the situation with WBAL-AM talk hosts in a responsible manner. It is very fluid, so we are staying nimble and flexible.” The unrest in the Maryland city increased following the funeral of Freddie Gray, a young black man who died just over one week ago (4/19), after suffering spinal injuries while in police custody. At least one Baltimore building has been torched; several of the city’s police cars have been set on fire; and protesters have thrown bricks at Baltimore police officers. Six Baltimore police officers have been seriously injured in Monday’s violence. Maryland governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard, while Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake states every possible resource is being deployed to “gain control of this situation.”
WFAN Sports Giant Mike Francesa Is Extremely Bullish on Radio – Says the Medium Is Here to Stay on Michael Harrison’s “Up Close and Far Out” Podcast. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison interviews WFAN sports talk superstar Mike Francesa on this week’s installment of the international hit podcast series, “Up Close and Far Out.” In an exclusive 30-minute conversation, Harrison and Francesa cover a variety of fascinating topics including authenticity in broadcasting, internet critics, digital era audiences, radio versus television, changes in pop culture, the phenomenal growth of sports and the future of radio in a world of screens. Francesa credits the authenticity, for which Harrison praises him, in part, to being on the air an unusually long five-and-a-half hours per day, pointing out that you can’t be live on radio that long every day without being your real self. According to Francesa, one of the big changes faced by hosts in both sports and general talk programming today is the audience has as much, if not more, access to information as you do – which means merely presenting news is not enough. A host’s success is dependent on having an interesting “take” on the events of the day. He says the internet has made it much easier to break into broadcasting but much more difficult to get noticed. Of his critics, he states the worst thing that can happen is to be ignored. “If you are ignored, you are dead.” Francesa tells Harrison that he very seldom responds to his critics – refusing to give them the exposure of his larger platform that they seek. In addition to having a growing national following due to television and radio syndication, Mike Francesa has long been one of the highest profile media figures in New York and has been ranked by TALKERS magazine for the past two years in a row in the #1 spot on its “Heavy Hundred” of sports talk radio (“The 100 Most Important Radio Sports Talk Hosts in America”). After several years of being carried by the YES Network, Francesa’s daily local radio show is presently simulcast nationally on Fox Sports 1. In comparing radio to television, Francesa says, “Television is a director’s medium. Radio is a performer’s medium.” He explains, “Radio is unvarnished. It is visceral. It is emotional. Television is more packaged and homogenized.” Regarding the survival and future of radio, Francesa states, “Radio will be here long, long past us. People have been trying to kill radio since the first days of television. They’ve tried to kill radio 40 different times in multiple generations. They will never kill it because its appeal of being live, local, personal and mobile will never be equaled.” Francesa sees the rise of mobile digital media as actually being a good thing for radio, acknowledging that “radio will change.” He confidently says, “It will be enhanced because of the smart phone. It is the new transistor radio. Who carried a transistor radio for the past 30 years? Now everyone does. THAT is an opportunity!” In describing Mike Francesa, Michael Harrison states, “I know Francesa has his share of critics – but that comes with the territory of being ‘out there’ the way he is and being a compelling radio talk show host in the modern era, sports or otherwise. What makes him so successful is he has that special ‘something’ that only a handful of performers have ever had in this business – he rises above technique! All he needs to do is bring his authentic, unique personhood to the airwaves each time he’s on and that – at least to this point – is enough. He is one of my handful of all-time favorites and I am delighted that he is still going strong.” To listen to Mike Francesa on “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” please click here or click on the special player box in the right hand column of every page on Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta Reports from Nepal for Westwood One. Internationally known medical doctor and media figure Dr. Sanjay Gupta is in Nepal doing both media work and helping doctors there deal with the overwhelming number of casualties from Saturday’s earthquake. In addition to his work covering the aftermath for CNN, Dr. Gupta is also doing live hits for Westwood One affiliate stations. His “A Better Life with Dr. Sanjay Gupta” is syndicated by Westwood One. Dr. Gupta was called into action in the operating room, asked to help perform brain surgery on a 15-year-old girl in Kathmandu after a wall of her family’s home fell on her as she collected water outside.
SiriusXM 2015 Q1 Revenue Up 8%. Satellite radio operator SiriusXM delivered its 2015 first quarter financial numbers today (4/28) and, compared to the same period a year ago, revenue was $1.08 billion – up 8%. Net income was $106 million, up 12% from $94 million in the first quarter of 2014. Net income per diluted common share was $0.02 in the first quarter of 2015 and 2014. Adjusted EBITDA was $399 million in the first quarter of 2015, up 19% from $335 million in the first quarter of 2014. The satcaster says that it added 431,000 net new subscribers in the first quarter, a 61% increase from the 267,000 net new subscribers added in the first quarter of 2014. Sirius CEO Jim Meyer says, “The year is off to a fantastic start at SiriusXM. We are increasing our subscriber guidance to approximately 1.4 million net additions and revenue guidance to approximately $4.47 billion after reporting our best first quarter for self-pay subscriber additions since 2008. Our results demonstrate that SiriusXM’s bundle of live news and sports, exclusive talk and comedy, and curated, commercial-free music is resonating with more and more consumers every day,”
Odds & Sods. Nationally syndicated, WABC, New York-based morning personality Don Imus announced to his listeners his simulcast on cable’s Fox Business Network will end on May 29. The program has been airing on both since 2009. Though Imus didn’t elaborate on the reason for the change, The New York Daily News reports Imus and wife Deirdre plan to spend the summer at their new ranch in Texas and that property has no TV uplink facilities. Read the Daily News story here…..Atlanta real estate broker Bryan Crabtree is adding a daily show on Salem Communications’ business talk WAFS, Atlanta “biz 1190,” debuting May 4 and airing from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Crabtree and his wife Mackenzie have been hosting the “Housedog.com Real Estate Show” on both WAFS and sister news/talk WGKA on weekends and that show will continue on both outlets. WAFS station manager Adam Wattenbarger says, “We are so excited to bring Bryan aboard to add to our live and local lineup. biz 1190 is committed to giving the Atlanta community something we’ve been lacking for years – real talk about real issues affecting our neighborhoods.”…..Sports talk personality Tim Brando is wrapping his daily, eponymous show heard on SiriusXM’s College Sports Nation channel. The final show is this Thursday. Brando will continue to be heard on the radio via FOX Sports Radio as he’ll handle play-by-play for college football and basketball as well as the network’s coverage of this June’s US Open golf tournament…..The program “Entertainment This Week” is joining the America’s Talk Radio Network effective May 3. “Mr. Hollywood” Shannon Rose and co-host James Lowe will discuss Hollywood gossip, comics, movies, television, pro-wrestling, and so much more during the “fastest hour on national radio.”
WTMJ, Milwaukee Helps Raise Funds for Accessible Playground Equipment. Last Saturday, Scripps-owned news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee unveiled new accessible playground equipment at a local elementary school for which the station helped raise funds. The need for the equipment came after the station learned of eight-year-old Ben Nelson who uses a wheelchair due to his Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Ben’s family began raising funds for the equipment and WTMJ joined forces with the family and was able to – through the help of listeners – raise $50,000. WTMJ Radio VP/GM Tom Langmyer says, “WTMJ firmly believes we do well by doing good. We serve Wisconsin – and we’re getting behind our air personalities by giving them a month where we use our resources to give back to our community. [Morning host] Jodi Becker is first on our team to lead in this new community betterment initiative. We are pleased to help – and we thank our listeners and great businesses for helping to build this wonderful playground.”
Limbaugh and Mahindra Partner on Tractor Giveaway. For the second year in a row, Rush Limbaugh and Mahindra USA have joined together to give away a Mahindra eMax 22HST with loader to an active duty service member or U.S. military veteran. The winner will be selected in a random drawing on May 26. Last year, more than 4,500 service men and women entered for an opportunity to win a Mahindra tractor. It was awarded to Lieutenant Colonel Mike Petzinger of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, who has served his country for 25 years in the Army.
Music and Pop Culture Figure Andrew W.K. to Host Weekly Show on TheBlaze Radio Network. New to the weekend lineup at Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network is the show “America W.K.,” hosted by musician, writer, TV host and lecturer Andrew W. K. TheBlaze Radio Network says the show will be a “raw and penetrating discussion of what it is to be alive – meaning, motivation, mindset, and making dreams come true, all included in a celebration of life itself – and all with a positive and honest outlook. Andrew will also field questions and input from the audience, adding an engaging interactive component.” Andrew W.K. is probably most known for his 2001 rock album titled, I Get Wet, the cover of which featured a photo of him with a bloody nose. During his musical career he’s penned a number of rock anthems that have appeared in video games, movies and as pro sports team themes. Andrew W.K. (pictured here at left with Glenn Beck at right) says, “When Glenn asked me to do my own radio show on TheBlaze, I was shocked but excited, as I knew he would allow me the unrestrained freedom to say exactly what I wanted. I’m very dedicated to exploring and learning from different people in different places, and always with an open heart. If people never went outside their own box, life would be boring. After all, why would I only want to talk with people who already think exactly like me?”
Baltimore Protests, White House Correspondents Dinner, Bush Criticism of Obama Foreign Policy, Nepal Earthquake Aftermath, SCOTUS Hears Same-Sex Marriage Argument, Clinton Foundation Scrutiny, James Holmes Trial Begins, and the Bruce Jenner Transgender Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/27). The intensifying, violent protests in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray in police custody; the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner and President Obama’s performance; former President George W. Bush comments on Obama Administration’s foreign policy; the devastation in Nepal after Saturday’s earthquake; the Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments as anti-gay marriage statutes in four states are challenged; ongoing scrutiny of the Clinton Foundation financial operations; the opening of the trial of Aurora, Colorado movie theater killer James Holmes; and the chatter about Bruce Jenner’s sex change procedure and his recent interview were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Shannon Succeeds Pinch at Cumulus Atlanta. Former vice president and market manager for Entercom Sacramento – Sean Shannon – is tapped to replace Jon Pinch in a similar position at Cumulus Atlanta. Cumulus senior vice president Jeff Brown comments, “Sean has a track record of innovation and topnotch results. He is a passionate marketer and a strong, determined coach. We are excited to be adding Sean to our talented team in Atlanta.” Shannon remarks, “I could not be more excited about the opportunity to lead these world-class brands in this world-class city. I love this medium and am honored to have a chance to lead this team.” Prior to his Sacramento duties, Shannon, who holds an MBA from the Foster School at the University of Washington, was director of sales for Entercom Seattle. He begins his new assignment in Atlanta next Monday (4/20). Pinch announced his retirement on April 16. He retired from his previous corporate role at Cumulus five months ago but was coaxed into leading the company’s Atlanta station group.
WEEI-FM, Boston Morning Host John Dennis to Enter Alcohol Rehab. In a public statement released to the media, morning personality John Dennis announces he will take time away from the “Dennis & Callahan” show on Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston in order to enter a treatment facility for alcohol addiction. Here’s the text of his statement: “After some long and thoughtful soul searching, I’ve decided to deal with a personal issue once and for all. The role of alcohol in my life is something I’ve wrestled with on and off for more than a few years. I’ve made the decision to take serious steps to eliminate the role alcohol plays in my life before it impacts my health. I’m told it’s an arduous undertaking, but it’s one I’m willing to embrace. I know it can be a lifelong battle, but it’s one I want to fight. To that end, I’ve decided to take some time away from WEEI, tackle this head-on, and set a smart and informed course for a long and healthy life. I want to thank the management at WEEI for their understanding and assistance in this matter, Gerry (Callahan) and Kirk (Minihane) for their unwavering support, and of course Kathy, for her love, patience and compassion. This is the last I will speak on this matter, as I have much work to do, and that’s where my concentration and focus will be. Talk to you all down the road.”
Nielsen Audio Releases Fourth Round of Mach 2015 PPM Data. The fourth and final round of March 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The March 2015 survey period covered February 26 through March 25. You can find the complete 6+ ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Odds & Sods. Longtime Chicago television news anchor Robin Robinson has been hired by CBS RADIO’s all-news WBBM, Chicago. Robinson spent more than 30 working in television news in the Chicago market. She exited WFLD-TV “Fox 32” in November of 2013…..There’s a new news presence at Cape Cod Broadcasting Media the company hires regional news pro Matt Pitta to serve as news director for the station group. In this role, Pitta will be in charge of news content for all the radio stations and its CapeCod.com website. Pitta previously worked for Cape Cod Broadcasting, exiting back in 2002. He takes over for Laura Reckford who moves up to news editor at CapeCod.com…..A programming change at Cumulus Media’s KSCR-AM, Eugene, Oregon will eliminate the business talk format and begin airing a regional Mexican format…..NBC Sports Radio now has a place on SirusXM. A deal between the sports talk network and the satcaster gives the former its own channel. NBC Sports Radio program director Jack Silver says, “We are thrilled to have SiriusXM join our roster. They bring a whole new audience and a wealth of avid sports fans who can now access our content and interact with our hosts no matter where they are around the country.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “The Costa Report” with host Rebecca Costa adds six new affiliate stations including: WZGM, Asheville, North Carolina; WBCF, Florence, Alabama; WHFS, Tampa; WTHU, Thurmont, Maryland; and KKGM, Dallas-Fort Worth…..Both the Stephanie Miller show and Doug Stephan’s “Good Day” are added to the program schedule at KJOZ, Houston. WYM Media Management’s, Debbie Greenbaum comments, “It’s terrific that Houstonians will now be able to listen and interact daily with both Doug Stephan and Stephanie Miller. The combo of ‘Good Day’ leading into the Stephanie Miller show is the perfect way to kick off mornings in Houston.”
2016 Presidential Prospects Top News/Talk Story During Week of April 13-17. With the news of both Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio announcing their intent to run for president next year, the chatter about the 2016 presidential prospects landed atop the Talkers TenTM this week. At #2 were the Iran nuclear negotiations. Coming in at #3 was ISIS military action in Iraq and following at #4 was Obama’s Cuba policy. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on the radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Westwood One Adds Ficke, Hurley. New to the company’s Chicago sales office as vice president of strategic partnerships is Zack Ficke, and as vice president of national partnerships and digital activation, Midwest is Kelli Hurley. The former Premiere Networks’ staffers will report to another Premiere Networks alum – Westwood One executive vice president of Midwest sales Doug Johnston – who states, “I am thrilled to be back together with these two very talented sales individuals. They will be instrumental as we build a customer-centric Midwest region.” According to Westwood One president Steve Shaw, “Doug Johnston has put together an incredible team of sellers in our Midwest region. Zack and Kelli will only enhance our efforts to be the best client partners in the business. We are moving the mark and delivering results across all of our assets.” Ficke comments, “Marketers are increasingly seeking experiential, cross-platform marketing solutions that are both innovative and engaging. Westwood One is uniquely positioned to meet this demand with national scale and local activation opportunities across an impressive array of programming. I am ecstatic to be joining such an accomplished sales organization. I look forward to working more closely with the entire sales organization.” Hurley remarks, “Westwood One’s digital platforms are incredibly dynamic and they offer highly engaging experiences to consumers and advertisers alike. I look forward to leading Westwood One’s digital efforts in the Midwest, while continuing to service clients and agencies in the network radio marketplace.” For the past seven years, Ficke was a Premiere Networks’ national account manager, and he previously had the same title at SiriusXM. Prior to that, he held various sales and account management positions at Marriott’s vacation club division and IT consulting firm Apex Systems. Most recently, Hurley was a Premiere Networks’ national account manager. She previously worked for United Stations Radio Networks and is returning to Westwood One. In addition, she is a former director of sales for TargetSpot.
Allan Handelman Exits WSJS, Winston-Salem. The afternoon drive show radio pro Allan Handelman hosted for Curtis Media Group’s WSJS, Winston-Salem, North Carolina has been cancelled. Handelman – host of the nationally syndicated weekend talk program “Rock Talk with Allan Handelman” – tells TALKERS magazine he’s thankful for the time spent entertaining the station’s listeners. “My afternoon show on ‘600 WSJS’ has come to an end. I want to thank WSJS and especially the listeners for being a part of the best audience in the world. They have been great. Watching the audience grow in the afternoon, while simultaneously witnessing the increased response to my sponsors (the Pet Pantry and C.Crane) has really meant a lot to me. When the right opportunity comes along to reach North Carolina listeners on a daily basis I’ll be there. In the meantime, my weekend syndicated show continues without interruption on FM radio stations across the country and online.” Handelman says he’ll keep fans up to speed on his next move via his website: www.ifitrocks.com. There’s no immediate word from WSJS what will air in the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm daypart.
BIA/Kelsey Reports 2014 Top-Billing Radio Stations; KIIS, Los Angeles Takes Honors. Each year, media consulting firm BIA/Kelsey publishes its list of the top revenue-producing radio stations in America. This year, iHeartMedia-owned CHR KIIS-FM, Los Angeles ousts Hubbard Radio LLC’s all-news WTOP, Washington – the leader for the past four years – by billing $65.9 million during 2014. Simultaneously, the firm reports that the industry billed $14.9 billion last year. The source is BIA/Kelsey’s 2015 Investing In Radio® Market Report. BIA/Kelsey notes that 2014 over-the-air radio revenues were $14.3 billion, with online generating $636 million. The firm forecasts both sources of radio income to continue growing at a slight pace over the next few years, reaching $16.2 billion overall in 2019. BIA/Kelsey chief economist and SVP Mark Fratrik comments, “Local radio stations continue to maintain an important position in the local media marketplace. Last year, a slight decline in over-the-air revenues was offset by an increase in online revenues, resulting in steady overall revenues.” See the chart above to get a view of the top 10 revenue-producing radio stations in the U.S. For more information, broadcasters can visit BIA/Kelsey’s website here.
Report: Ingraham to Launch News Site. Politico’s Dylan Byers is reporting that Courtside Entertainment Group-distributed talk radio personality Laura Ingraham (pictured here) is preparing to unveil a news-oriented website. Byers says insiders say it will be a “conservative news and opinion website.” Byers goes on to write, “One source said that Neil Munro, the political reporter who resigned from the Daily Caller this week, will serve as the site’s editor, though that could not immediately be confirmed. Neither Ingraham nor Munro responded to a request for comment on Tuesday.” Read his piece here.
‘22 Everyday’ – An Important, Powerful Song by Rising Country Star T.J. Bebb Pertinent to News/Talk Radio for Interviews. Subscribers to TALKERS magazine’s sister trade publication in the music arena RadioInfo’s daily email headlines received a download of an outstanding song this morning (4/1) designed to advocate awareness, prevention and education of the tragic fact that there are more than 22 military suicides in America every 24 hours. T.J. Bebb has recorded the song “22 Everyday,” which deals with this alarming statistic. A recent analysis by News21, an investigative multimedia program for journalism students, found that the annual suicide rate among veterans is about 30 for every 100,000 of the population, compared with the civilian rate of 14 per 100,000. The analysis of records from 48 states found that the suicide rate for veterans increased an average of 2.6% a year from 2005 to 2011 — more than double the rate of increase for civilian suicide. Numerous other academic and journalistic studies have corroborated this sad state of affairs. According to RadioInfo music co-editor Duane Doobie Jr., “’22 Everyday’ is a MUST add for every country radio playlist. Not only is it an excellent song by a wonderful artist – it carries a message that should be heard by every American who cares about their country and the brave men and women who courageously defend it.” Born and raised in eastern Pennsylvania, T.J. Bebb now calls Nashville home. Bebb has opened up for numerous national acts including: Loretta Lynn, George Jones, and Craig Morgan among others. He has just released his first Nashville-produced album… a tribute to some of the greatest country singers of all time and also just wrapped up a tour in Brazil where they fell in love with his voice and performance. T.J. has toured with bands and plays solo acoustic shows as well. To learn more about this consciousness-raising initiative, download a copy of “22 Everyday” and, perhaps, arrange to interview T.J. Bebb about the 22 Everyday Task Force and Crisis Line (800-273-2855) please click here.
Odds & Sods. WVON, Chicago names Micae Brown host of the “Urban Business Roundtable” program. The locally produced, 30-minute business program airs three times during the week on WVON and is produced for sponsor Ariel Investments…..The next edition of “KNX On Your Corner,” from CBS RADIO’s all news KNX, Los Angeles takes place in northern Los Angeles County for an in-depth look at the Santa Clarita Valley on Friday, April 24 from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm. The live remote broadcast begins at 1:00 pm from the Salt Creek Grille with Frank Mottek hosting the “KNX Business Hour.” Jim Thornton and Diane Thompson will anchor the afternoon news from 2:00 pm until 7:00 pm from the restaurant…..Gay rights activist Michelangelo Signorile will be comic and actress Rosie O’Donnell’s guest on SiriusXM’s next “Town Hall” show being produced tomorrow (4/2) in the satcaster’s New York studios before an audience of SiriusXm listeners. The show will air on Monday, April 13 4:00 pm ET and on Thursday, April 16 at 2:00 pm ET.
Beasley Promotes Shannon Kelley to Director of Digital Content. The services of Shannon Kelley were acquired by Beasley Broadcast Group along with the Charlotte stations it got in a swap with CBS RADIO. Now, Beasley ups Shannon Kelley to corporate director of digital content. She’ll work out of the Charlotte offices and in this position will focus “on designing and implementing an actionable digital content strategy with the intention of expanding the company’s brands in the digital space, while increasing traffic to websites, streams and apps. She reports to vice president of programming Justin Chase. You can congratulate Shannon at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Indiana Religious Freedom Law Flap, Comedy Central’s Trevor Noah Problem, Iran Nuclear Program Negotiations, Hillary Clinton Email Probe, Germanwings Flight 9525 Investigation, Boston Marathon Bombing Trial, 2016 Presidential Prospects, and Final Four Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/31). The controversy being created over Indiana’s religious freedom law and Governor Mike Pence’s vow to fix the law; criticism of “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah’s anti-Semitic jokes and Tweets; the negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program; the ongoing investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of her personal email for State Department business; the probe into the downing of Germanwings Fight 9525 and the mental state of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz; the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in connection with the Boston Marathon bombing; the potential candidates for president in 2016; and the NCAA Men’s hoops tourney were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Most Now Stream, Podcasting Mainstreams, YouTube is Music Radio, Facebook tops Social
By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Just-released results of the Edison Research/Triton Digital “Infinite Dial 2015” — the 23rd research survey in the series – are must-reading for anyone, in any format, in radio. And “anyone” includes sales.
See the entire slide deck at http://www.edisonresearch.com/the-infinite-dial-2015/
Among highlights from this January/February survey of 2002 Persons 12+ presented by Edison’s Tom Webster and Triton’s John Rosso:
Doug McIntyre Returns to WABC, New York. A change to the afternoon drive programming is made at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York as KABC, Los Angeles morning drive personality Doug McIntyre begins hosting “Right Now with Doug McIntyre” on the station Wednesday, March 4. Cumulus says the new, hour-long talk show will be “focused on the most important stories and personalities in New York. As a native New Yorker, McIntyre brings with him a deep understanding of the Tri-State area’s most pressing issues and how they relate to the national headlines of the day.” McIntyre has appeared on WABC in the past. He created the “Red Eye Radio” show in 2000, first as a one-time post-election recap and then as a local overnight show in Los Angeles, expanding to become a nationally syndicated program in early 2010 with WABC as one of its flagship stations. McIntyre also previously hosted “Talking the News” on WABC in 2009, a weekday morning show that aired before “Imus in the Morning.” McIntyre will continue as host of “McIntyre in the Morning” on KABC “TalkRadio 790.” McIntyre says, “This is a real homecoming for me and I am genuinely thrilled to be returning to 77 WABC. There is no more dynamic and insane city on the planet than New York. The Tri-State area is like a nation unto itself, with its own politics, its own culture and its own sense of humor and I look forward to highlighting the city’s unique stories again.” Prompting this programming change at WABC is Rita Cosby’s decision to end her work hosting “The Ride Home with Rita Cosby.” Citing her “various TV commitments and international speaking engagements” that require her to spend more time away from her daily show, Cosby is stepping down from the daily show but will continue to be heard on WABC hosting her new weekend talk show that will debut on March 8. WABC program director Craig Schwalb says she will “continue to secure exclusive interviews with some of the biggest names making headlines in current events, politics and entertainment.”
PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents an analysis of the performances of all-news-formatted radio stations based on data from the January 2015 Nielsen Audio PPM survey. Kinosian writes, “Historically horrible winter weather conditions and the cessation of all-Christmas music are most likely contributing factors to the truly stunning January 2015 performance of all-news outlets…Although not coming anywhere close to possessing the massive volume of talk outlets, the feat all-news stations accomplished in the most recent sweep is nonetheless exceptionally impressive: Not one news station on the panel of properties we tracked regressed (6+) from Holiday 2014 to January 2015. Read the entire report here.
Marathon-Man Madison. While understandably “exhausted,” SiriusXM‘s Joe Madison achieved his goal of a 52-hour broadcast during which he raised more than $150,000 for the construction of the Smithsonian‘s National Museum of African-American History and Culture. “When you do something for the right reasons – and you have the support of others – you really can do anything,” Madison states. “I hope our SiriusXM broadcast helps cast a spotlight on the need to raise funds for the much needed [museum to be built on the National Mall in Washington, DC].” The Guinness World Record Organization is reviewing the broadcast as a new record. Madison began the marathon this past Wednesday (2/25) at 6:00 am (ET) and continued un-interrupted until Friday (2/27) at 10:00 am (ET).
KSPN, Los Angeles Debuts Live and Local Show with Kelvin Washington and Travis Rodgers. The new program featuring radio and TV pro Kelvin Washington and sports talk radio’s Travis Rodgers will air live on ESPN O&O KSPN, Los Angeles “ESPNLA 710” from 5:00 am to 7:00 am. The show will continue until 9:00 am via ESPNLA.com and the ESPN Radio app. KSPN begins airing ESPN Radio’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd at 7:00 am. Rodgers also hosts “Travis Rodgers Now” on Yahoo! Sports Radio and will continue in that role.
iHeartMedia: Study Shows Consumers Want AM/FM Radio in Cars in Traditional Format. From a press release by iHeartMedia comes news that, according to a research study conducted by Ipsos (a leading global independent market research company) AM/FM radio remains the overwhelmingly preferred audio entertainment option in the car. Further, “while consumers use new streaming services, virtually all consumers – 99% — are comfortable with the current AM/FM in-car radio operation. And 91% of consumers say they prefer physical AM/FM radio buttons and controls built into the car dashboard, rather than AM/FM being an app that appears in the car’s electronic interface (with only 9% saying they would want it changed into a dashboard app).” Other news from the study includes the finding that “while AM/FM radio remains paramount in the car, consumers use their in-car CD player three-and-a-half times as much as they use any digital music service.” Additionally, the report indicates that “AM/FM radio still dominates in-car listening as the top platform used, with 84% of consumers using it in the car, followed by CD players at 64% — but radio still maintains a huge leadership position over the next closest service choice, SiriusXM – which had 22%. Pandora was 18%; iHeartRadio was 8%; HD radio 7%; and Spotify was 7%.” The study, conducted by Ipsos for iHeartMedia in January 2015, surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1036 adults 18-plus.
KGMZ, Oakland A’s Extend Partnership. The deal between KGMZ “The Game” and MLB‘s Oakland Athletics keeps the AL West team’s broadcasts on the Entercom-owned flagship at least through the 2018 season. Market manager Steve DiNardo comments that “The Game” has, “grown as a brand – experiencing consistent ratings and revenue growth during our partnership with the A’s. We are delighted to continue serving as the destination for Oakland A’s radio broadcasts for the next four seasons.” Oakland A’s vice president of broadcasting & communications Ken Pries remarks, “It has been an amazing partnership so far. We look forward to many more seasons of A’s baseball on 95.7 FM and all of the affiliates across the A’s Radio Network.” The A’s primary broadcast team will again consist of Ken Korach and Vince Cotroneo, who are in their 20th year and 10th year, respectively, calling the team’s games. Joining them occasionally will be former MLB catcher Ray Fosse, entering his 30th consecutive season on A’s radio. KGMZ will broadcast all 162 regular-season A’s games and some spring training contests. The A’s and “The Game” first partnered in 2011.
Cumulus Sends The Vibe to Memphis. Score yet another transition to classic hip-hop as Cumulus Media Memphis jettisons talk on WKIM in favor of “98.9 – The Vibe.” Cumulus senior vice president of programming Mike McVay comments “The Vibe” is “designed to capture the spirit and complexity of Memphis. This city has birthed many music types of which this format is one more. ‘The Vibe’ is classic hip hop.” In addition to hosting mid-days on co-owned rocker WXMX “The Max,” Danni Bruns is programming “The Vibe” and she remarks, “Memphis has always been at the forefront of music. Now we have a new ‘Vibe’ – this is our party station.” Late last year, Flinn Broadcasting flipped Memphis alternative outlet WIVG to “throwback hip-hop” as “Bumpin’ 96.” The logo for Memphis’ “Vibe” mirrors that of Indianapolis sibling WRWM, although the latter is using “The Beat” rather than “The Vibe” as its handle. Naughty By Nature‘s “Hip-Hop Hooray” kicked off Friday’s (2/27) noontime launch of Memphis’ “Vibe.” Among persons 6+ in the latest (January 2015) Nielsen Audio PPM ratings report for Memphis, WKIM registers a 1.4, ironically tying it at #19 with WIVG. The 1.4 for WKIM is the station’s best (6+) performance in more than two years – it hit 1.8 in November 2012.
Odds & Sods. Nationally syndicated talk host Laura Ingraham is being tapped to serve as the national chairman for the PAC Citizens for the Republic. The political action committee was originally founded by Ronald Reagan in 1977. A press statement says the PAC’s goal is to lead a “revitalized effort to advocate conservative principles and shine a light on government corruption.”…..Former WKRC, Cincinnati radio host Blake Seylhouwer was found guilty of two counts of negligent assault after an altercation outside his home during which he fired a rifle into the driveway and caused debris to spray up, injuring his wife. Seylhouwer is an area businessman who brokered time from the station for a weekend show…..A grand jury in Hackensack, New Jersey has indicted Alan “Dr. Al” Lupinacci on charges of practicing medicine and conducting surgery without a license. Lupinacci has brokered time from WMCA, New York for his “Learn to Be Healthy” program. His medical license had been suspended in 1995 after he pleaded guilty to 10 counts of criminal sexual conduct with female patients.
Entercom 2014 Q4 Net Revenue Up 2%. That increase over the same period a year ago comes on revenue $101.5 million. For all of 2014, Entercom Communications posted net revenue up 1% over 2013, with total net revenue hitting $379.8 million. Other fourth quarter data includes: station expenses increasing 3% to $63.3 million; station operating income flat at $38.2 million; and free cash flow rising 4% to $23.4 million. For the year 2014, adjusted net income per share was flat at $0.79. Entercom president and CEO David Field says, “After finishing 2014 with modest gains in net revenues, adjusted net income and free cash flow, Entercom is looking forward to a promising year of opportunity in 2015. Our recently announced Lincoln Financial Media acquisition will add a number of terrific new markets and brands to our lineup and should be accretive to shareholders with no material impact on our solid balance sheet. And we are well positioned to capitalize on a number of other significant growth opportunities throughout the organization.” If you remember, Entercom is buying Lincoln Financial Media’s 15 stations in the Atlanta, Denver, Miami and San Diego markets for $105 million. It will sell one of its Denver FMs to comply with FCC regulations.
iHeartMedia Q4 Net Revenue Rises 1%. During its 2014 Q4 conference call, iHeartMedia announced that net revenue was up 1% for both the fourth quarter of 2014 and for the year as a whole. iHeartMedia COO Richard Bressler said during the investors conference call that “political dollars, traffic and weather, as well as national broadcast radio, drove higher revenues in a market that was soft across local radio.” Bressler also touted the performance of the iHeartRadio digital platform, saying it has surpassed 60 million registered users and that total listening hours have risen 14% compared to the fourth quarter of 2013.
Round Three of January PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of January 2015 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The survey period was January 1-28. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
WTEM, Washington to Launch Local AM Drive Show. Currently, Red Zebra-owned WTEM, Washington ESPN980 carries ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike show. But beginning on March 16, the station will pair up longtime morning drive personality Chris Paul with national sports columnist Jason Reid to host “The Man Cave with Chris Paul and Jason Reid.” Red Zebra vice president of programming Chuck Sapienza says the show “will be a blend of sports, comedy and entertainment and we are thrilled to welcome these two talented men to ESPN980.” Chris Paul has worked in radio as part of the Donnie Simpson show on crosstown hip hop WPGC for 16 years and, for the last six years, on the syndicated “Tom Joyner Morning Show.” Jason Reid began his professional journalism career at the Los Angeles Times covering the Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Clippers and providing college basketball analysis. He moved to Washington in 2010 as the beat writer for the Washington Redskins for the Washington Post and was promoted to a sports columnist position in January 2011. Reid will continue writing as a NFL columnist for ESPN.com. Red Zebra CEO Rick Carmean adds, “We have been interested in creating a local morning drive show on ESPN980 for a while. Chris and Jason give us and the Washington, DC sports fan the perfect combination of sports knowledge, humor and personality.”
Odds & Sods. Producer Scott Miller jumps from Tribune’s news/talk WGN, Chicago to Hubbard’s classic rock WDRV to serve on the new Dan McNeil and Pete McMurray morning show…..Celebrity cook Paula Deen works out a deal with Compass Media Networks to launch daily radio vignettes called, “Get Cooking with Paula Deen,” and a weekly long-form podcast called, “What’s Cooking with Paula Deen.” They will debut on May 1…..USA Radio Networks adds “Animal Radio” to its weekend lineup, airing on Saturdays from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm, effective March 7…..New York radio personality Joan Hamburg is hosting a special show on Cumulus Media‘s WABC on February 21 from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm titled, “The Business of Fashion Week,” focusing on the fashion economy and featuring interviews with leading fashion industry insiders…..Alpha Media announces today that KXTG-AM, Portland “750 The Game” enters into a partnership agreement to continue as the official radio station of the Portland Thunder of the Arena Football League…..At the Fort Lauderdale cluster of iHeartMedia, Shari Gonzalez is named VP of sales…..ABC Radio is providing coverage of the 87th Annual Academy Awards this Sunday. Correspondent Jason Nathanson will be live on the red carpet with interviews from the night’s biggest stars. Starting at 8:20 pm ET, ABC News correspondent David Blaustein will anchor twice-hourly, one minute status reports from New York correspondents Alex Stone and Jason Nathanson reporting from backstage at the main event.
Joe Madison to Attempt Marathon Talk Show Record to Benefit Museum of African American History. Talk radio host Joe Madison, as part of Black History Month, will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for hosting the longest talk radio show on Wednesday and Thursday, February 25-26. The current record is 50 hours and the SiriusXM “Urban View” host plans to concurrently raise funds for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, currently under construction on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The non-profit museum is scheduled to open in 2016.
Dave Ramsey’s Smart Money Tour Kicks Off in Denver. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey began his 2015 Smart Money tour in Denver yesterday (2/19) with a sold-out appearance at the Bellco Theatre. The Smart Money tour presents Ramsey’s philosophy on winning with money, getting out of debt, and investing for the future. Financial expert and speaker Chris Hogan appeared with Ramsey on stage. Ramsey and affiliate station KKZN “Real Talk 760” worked together to promote the event. Station program director Greg Foster comments, “The Dave Ramsey show connects with listeners like no other. ‘Real Talk 760’ has been in existence for less than a year, but Dave sold out 5,000 seats to his live event in Denver. Dave’s fans are incredibly loyal, and that translates to new revenue for his stations.” Pictured here at the iHeartMedia Denver studios are (from l-r): iHeartMedia Denver director of integrated media and special events Ryan Clune, general sales manager Jessica Farias, Ramsey, and market manager Pat Connor.
Battle Against ISIS/Islam Criticism Controversy Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of February 16-20. The fight against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and the political controversy over associating Islam with the militant organization was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week. Coming in at #2 was a Texas court’s stay of the Obama amnesty order. At #3 was the 2016 presidential prospects and following at #4 was the rise in European anti-Semitism. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Payola: What Every Broadcaster Should Know. TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes in a piece published today (2/19) that the Payola laws are something all broadcasters should be aware of, regardless of format. While the Payola “scandal” of the late 1950s causes many people to associate Payola with playing records for consideration, any content that’s paid for must be identified. Weisman writes, “The [Federal Communications] Commission has noted that the Sponsorship Identification Laws are ‘grounded in the principle that listeners and viewers are entitled to know who seeks to persuade them.’” Read Weisman’s entire piece here.
McMahon: Listen to Your Creative Voice. Talk radio consultant Bill McMahon says that all of us are born creative. “From a very young age we all have a quiet little voice in our head that comes from somewhere deep inside. It whispers unique and amazing thoughts and ideas to us. In the beginning, we all hear these ideas, get excited, and do something about them. Unfortunately, the bigger and more unusual the ideas, the more resistance we encounter when we try to bring them to life. Eventually, most of us stop listening to that quiet little voice, dismiss its thoughts and ideas, and just try to fit in because it’s too damn hard to do otherwise,” he writes. McMahon believes that the successful content creators are the ones who still, not only listen to that creative voice, but act on some of the ideas it provides us. Read more about his thoughts on creativity here.
Goff Replaces Mannelly at ‘The Score’ in Chicago. The new co-host at CBS RADIO’s sports talk WSCR, Chicago “670 The Score” is Jason Goff. He’ll be working alongside Matt Spiegel on the 9:00 am to 1:00 pm show. The former producer and reporter has also hosted at the company’s Atlanta sports talker WZGC “92.9 The Game” and SiriusXM. “The Score” operations manager Mitch Rosen says, “I’m excited to have Jason back on our team. I believe the combination of Matt Spiegel and Jason Goff will be a great winning combination that the Chicagoland audience will love. The show will be interactive through all of our digital platforms.” Former Chicago Bears long snapper Patrick Mannelly worked as co-host with Spiegel after Dan McNeil exited the same position last June after a long career with WSCR. McNeil recently joined crosstown classic rock WDRV “The Drive” as AM drive co-host.
‘Business Rockstars’ to Be Heard on 11-station Mississippi ‘SuperTalk’ Network. The “Business Rockstars” radio show adds to its affiliate roster by being carried across the 11-station TeleSouth Communications-owned SuperTalk Mississippi network. Saying that this new deal pushes its affiliate tally “well past the 100 U.S. radio mark,” Business Rockstars CEO Steve Lehman comments, “Radio is an important part of our multi-media and social platform. We couldn’t be more excited to add SuperTalk.FM to our rapidly growing list of affiliate stations…Business Rockstars is an entrepreneurial business show that brings together some of the world’s biggest and most accomplished CEOs as well as successful small business owners and entrepreneurs. We look forward to adding new listeners in Mississippi that will benefit from Business Rockstars content.” TeleSouth president and COO Kim Dillon states, “‘Business Rockstars’ is a great show and we’re certain the listeners across the SuperTalk Mississippi network will benefit from their insightful commentary and tips. Entrepreneurship is alive and well in our state. We look forward to inspiring current and future business owners throughout our long and prosperous relationship with the Rockstars team.”
Digital Start-Up Whalerock Gets Attention After Inking Howard Stern to Deal. From a piece in The New York Times comes news that Howard Stern has agreed to a deal with Whalerock to have the latter create a “personal network” to handle digital distribution of his content. This is a separate deal from Stern’s SiriusXM contract and Whalerock owner Lloyd Braun tells the paper he is conscious of the existing contracts of his talent and doesn’t want to get into legal disputes. It appears Whalerock will differ from other digital platforms in that it is targeting established celebrities and designing “personal networks” for each as opposed to providing “space” for content creators on a larger, menu-type platform. As usual, terms of all deals are confidential but other celebs reported to be on board are the Kardashian sisters and rapper Tyler, the Creator. In the piece, Braun says celebs are eager to work with Whalerock because it cuts out the “middleman” of traditional media platforms. The Times’ Brooks Barnes astutely points out that there is still a middleman in these deals – that middleman is Whalerock. Still, it certainly appears that Whalerock’s work handling the aspects of distribution, sales, etc., that celebs don’t want to get involved in themselves is what they get in return for some consideration. Read the entire Times piece here.
Round Two of January PPM Data Released. The second of four rounds of January 2015 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. The survey period was January 1-28. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Latest Obama Approval Ratings, Battle Against ISIS, Stay of Obama Amnesty Order, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Sunday’s Academy Awards, and Frigid Winter Weather Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/18). Recent approval ratings for President Obama and the economy; the battle against ISIS and the controversy over publicly connecting violence with Islam; a Texas court’s stay of President Obama’s amnesty order; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the films and actors nominated for this Sunday’s Academy Awards; and the freezing and snowy weather affecting much of the country were some of the most-talked-about stories on news talk radio yesterday.
Beasley Flips WHFS-AM, Tampa Bay to Money Talk. One of the sports talk outlets Beasley acquired in its swap with CBS RADIO – WHFS-AM – is flipping from sports talk to money talk. The company says “MoneyTalk 1010 AM” will be “the Tampa Bay area’s only exclusively financial talk-formatted radio station…with programming that features valuable and timely information on the financial markets and emerging trends in the economy. Additionally, ‘MoneyTalk 1010’ offers an assortment of health, lifestyle, and general information programs delivered by a wide variety of local and national broadcasters.” Beasley is naming Tampa market radio pro Charlie Ochs general manager of the station. Most recently, Ochs served as a financial professional for Prudential Financial in Tampa. Prior to that, he was an SVP and market manager with CBS RADIO. Beasley Media Group VP and market manager Kent Dunn comments, “The expertise and leadership that Charlie brings to ‘MoneyTalk 1010’ is extremely valuable. This radio station is committed to delivering the most current and up-to-date financial news to the Tampa Bay area.”
If You Think Radio Has Problems with Millennials, TV Faces Immediate 18-34 Crisis – Brings Up Question About Evolution of Radio Ratings. In the New York Post, media columnist Claire Atkinson writes about the dramatic rate at which Millennials are dropping their live television watching habits. She reports that “traditional TV usage — which has been falling among viewers ages 18 to 34 at around 4% a year since 2012 — tumbled 10.6% between September and January.” Read Atkinson’s entire piece here. Radio practitioners are well aware this is not a “sucks to be you” moment; all media are trying to adapt to the changing habits of consumers – especially Millennials and Gen Xers. And tied directly into that is rating all of this consumption so that it can be priced and sold effectively. While radio bemoans the lack of rating non-broadcasting listening, rest assured that while Nielsen hears radio’s cries, it has much more to gain financially by figuring out how to rate non-broadcast video viewing accurately. As Atkinson points out, there is $80 billion in annual TV ad money at stake. In response to this situation, TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison states, “It is going to be a long time until an accurate system of rating radio audience numbers stabilizes to the point of widespread industry acceptance – if ever. This looming fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants period should inspire radio broadcasters to: 1) value the opportunities available in highly specialized local programming based more on direct relationships with advertisers and obvious customer results; and 2) understand the principle whereby the nature of the programming defines the nature of the audience.” Harrison concludes, “The burden will fall upon sales departments to get out there and communicate directly with potential advertisers on a one-on-one, very human level about their businesses and how radio can directly help them connect with specifically-desired customers.” Harrison’s Principle basically means the genre of the programming has to be so clearly distinct and appealing to an obvious segment of the population that it becomes a given whether or not it will attract significant qualitative or quantitative numbers.
Nielsen Audio Releases First Round of January 2015 PPM Data. The first of four rounds of January 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The January 2015 survey period covered January 1 – 28. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Envision Networks Debuts Weekend ‘John & Leah Show.’ The duo of John Ziegler and Leah Brandon first worked together at iHeartMedia’s KFI, Los Angeles. Now, they are hosting a Sunday evening program – 10:00 pm ET – being syndicated by Envision Networks. The company says the program will focus on “media, politics, sports, and pop culture.” Envision president and CEO Danno Wolkoff comments, “John and Leah’s insights, quick wits, and rapport will be a great addition to the stations’ weekends. With entertaining views from a male and female co-host, we are well on our way to offering new content for talk radio.”
Odds & Sods. Joining PodcastOne as sales manager, Western region is digital media and sales pro Dana Senit. The company says that in this new role Senit will “work with local and national advertisers in the Western region to collaborate on digital media initiatives across the network of all-star podcasts to maximize campaign effectiveness through personality-driven strategies.”…..ConnectPal founder and CEO Andy Dean announces his platform has struck a deal with Benztown Radio Networks to bring the latter’s talent to the ConnectPal platform where podcasts featuring such talents as David Tutera, Chris Heben, Dougall Fraser, and A.J. Barrera will be monetized. Benztown has also made an investment – the terms of which have not been revealed – in ConnectPal…..SiriusXM is presenting comprehensive coverage of the 57th running of the Daytona 500, with the live race broadcast, multiple channels carrying in-car audio from some of the sport’s top drivers, and daily coverage from Daytona International Speedway on its NASCAR Radio channel.
A Visit from the Doctor. During a remote broadcast of NBC Sports Radio’s Anita Marks show live from the Harman store on Madison Avenue in New York City, NBA Hall of Fame legend Dr. J, a.k.a. Julius Erving, stopped by to chat with Marks. Dr. J was a special guest during the in-store remote designed to celebrate the exclusive audio partnership between JBL and the NBA. Pictured here are (from l-r): Marks, NBC Sports Radio’s Jon Stashower, Chris Mannix and Erving.
The Battle Against ISIS, The Stay on Amnesty Order, The Cost of ObamaCare for the States, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Rise in European Anti-Semitism, Ukraine Tensions, and Fifty Shades of Grey Film Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/17). The violence perpetuated by ISIS and debate over how to combat the militant organization; a Texas court’s stay on President Obama’s amnesty order; the financial ramifications of the Affordable Care Act on the states; speculation about the potential candidates for president in 2016; the increase in anti-Semitism across Europe; the military tensions in Ukraine; and controversy over the film Fifty Shades of Grey were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
iHeartMedia Expands with SoundBoard Initiative. The company is calling iHeartMedia SoundBoard a “one-of-a-kind audio-centric branded entertainment studio” that will allow its talent to work with advertisers to “produce original long- and short-form audio, video and experiential content that moves seamlessly across radio, apps, and events, creating the next generation of brand storytelling.” Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “As the number one creators of live, daily content, brands have been asking us for more ability to craft original stories that leverage the power of sound to reach consumers when they’re ready to be entertained. We’re launching the first branded audio studio for the digital era to prove the power of radio, the power of live content, and the power of cross-platform programming designed for a media world without walls.” In addition to using national talent such as Ryan Seacrest and Elvis Duran, the company says it will use “the many local personalities who resonate in their communities — and its unique access to the most innovative thinkers in music and entertainment — to develop new original productions that combine the power of live radio with richer storytelling across platforms.” The iHeartMedia SoundBoard Studio will be led by John Sykes, president of iHeartMedia’s Entertainment Enterprises Group; Gayle Troberman, EVP and chief marketing officer of iHeartMedia; and Vanessa Adamo, senior vice president of Entertainment Enterprises.
Bob Bruce to Host Afternoons on KOIL, Omaha. The new local afternoon program on NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha is announced and Bob Bruce is returning to the Omaha market after a 10-year absence to host “The Bob Bruce Radio Experience” from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm, effective February 23. Bruce comes to KOIL from his most recent gig at iHeartMedia’s news/talk WMT, Cedar Rapids. Bruce replaces talk pro Tom Becka who exited the afternoon show at KOIL late last year. About his new gig, Bruce says, “I am thrilled to be a part of a legendary station like KOIL and delighted to be back in Omaha. I love this community and all it has to offer and I will make this show educational and fun for listeners.”
SiriusXM’s Joe Madison Helps Get Dick Gregory Star on Walk of Fame. From a piece by George Curry published in BlackPressUSA comes the story of how talk show host Joe Madison helped get pioneering black comedian Dick Gregory a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Curry writes that after working on the campaign to get The Four Tops a star on the walk, he noticed that Dick Gregory was not on the walk and set out to do something about it. After two failed campaigns, the third time (with help from others) he was able to convince the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to grant him the star. But the hard part was just ahead. Getting a star requires paying $30,000 for construction and maintenance. Madison set out to raise the money and says he appealed to his listeners for $30 contributions and soon the money was in hand. Read Curry’s story here.
Odds & Sods. Longtime San Diego sports talk personality Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton is joining XETV, San Diego “San Diego 6” to serve on the 10:00 pm news on Saturdays and Sundays. News director Don Shafer says, “Lee will bring his unique perspective and knowledge of local, state and national sports to San Diego 6 News.” Lee will bring his signature “Hacksaw’s Headlines” to the sportscast, with his take on the biggest stories of the day…..Cumulus Media sports talker WSKO, Syracuse inks a deal to broadcast Syracuse Chiefs minor league baseball for the next two seasons. Kevin Brown and Eric Gallanty will be in the broadcast booth for play-by-play duties…..According to PennLive, Cumulus Media’s sports talk simulcast WHGB-AM and W243BR, Harrisburg “Sportsradio 96.5” will be carrying Washington Nationals baseball this season instead of Philadelphia Phillies games.
Patriots Win Super Bowl XLIX, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Politicians’ Vaccine Remarks Flap, Battle Against ISIS, Obama Tax Hike Proposal, Suge Knight Charged with Murder, and Bobbi Kristina Brown in Coma Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/2). Patriots win game that is most-watched TV broadcast in U.S. history; the potential candidates for president in 2016; comments by Chris Christie and Rand Paul questioning safety and efficacy of vaccines; the fight against ISIS; the tax hikes proposed by President Obama; rap mogul Suge Knight is charged with murder and more in hit-and-run death; and Whitney Houston’s daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown in a coma were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Entercom Names Tara Servatius and Vince Coakley to Morning Radio Posts on ‘WORD 106.3’ in Greenville. At Entercom’s WYRD, Greenville, South Carolina “WORD 106.3,” new morning programming is announced that includes Tara Servatius hosting “The Tara Show” from 6:00 am to 10:00 am followed by Vince Coakley taking over the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show. The new programming begins on Monday, December 8. Entercom Greenville VP and market manager Steve Sinicropi says, “We are energizing morning radio with the launch of these vibrant, live, and local talk shows. Both Tara and Vince will deliver fresh, and thought-provoking commentary on the issues and news our community cares about most. We are excited about fans joining in the on-air conversation on the only Upstate local news/talk station.” Servatius was most recently with Cumulus Media’s WTMA, Charleston, South Carolina. She also worked at Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte. Coakley – also a WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte alum – had been hosting a Sunday afternoon program on “WORD 106.3.” Longtime WYRD personality Russ Cassell – host of the 8:00 am to 12:00 noon program – passed away in October, prompting changes in the morning lineup.
Tom Becka Exits NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha. Two and a half years after joining NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha, Tom Becka announces his contract with the station has not been renewed. Becka posted a podcast on his TomBecka.com site explaining his exit from the station. He tells TALKERS it wasn’t too shocking as he’d suspected his deal was not going to be renewed. As for KOIL, the station’s GM, Andy Ruback, tells the Omaha World-Herald they’ll announce permanent plans for the afternoon drive daypart in the near future. In the interim, the station is airing TRN’s Sam Sorbo program. Tom Becka can be reached at email@example.com.
Michael Smerconish Options Novel Talk to Warner Bros. The novel published by SiriusXM personality Michael Smerconish about a talk radio host acting out a stereotypical neo-conservative philosophy on the air despite his own convictions in order to be successful,has been optioned to Warner Brothers to become a TV show. Smerconish, who exited AM/FM radio for satellite after a career that included local radio on WPHT, Philadelphia and national syndication via Compass Media Networks, tells Politico that he’s excited about the opportunity. “Like anyone who’s ever written a novel, as I wrote it I envisioned it on the screen. Of course in most cases that doesn’t come to pass and now this looks like it will, and I couldn’t be more excited. I think the story lends itself to TV beautifully. In the world of ‘House of Cards’ and ‘Alpha House,’ I can definitely see ‘Talk’ on a television screen.” Many talk radio practitioners bristle at the implication that conservative talk hosts don’t really believe what they portray on the radio, but just do it because they think that’s what the industry wants. A number of talk professionals also took umbrage with Smerconish’s parting shots at the industry as he left AM/FM for satellite, specifically with his public statements accusing the business of requiring hosts to adhere to an ideologically driven style of talk radio instead of one that addresses issues from multiple perspectives.
Your New PD Gig: D.I.Y. with O.P.M. In a column published today (12/5) in TALKERS, consultant Holland Cooke explains an opportunity that might be perfect for some sales-minded programmers looking to work independently on other people’s radio signals. He’s talking about programming weekend content on a brokered basis. He says, “Parlay your assets into Do It Yourself radio. I’m not talking about podcasting-instead. I’m talking about renting transmitter time. All that many news/talk stations ask of weekend talent is pay-for-play, so consider pay-and-program.” Read more from Holland Cooke here.
Beasley Drops Sports on FM in Tampa. The FM sports talker that CBS RADIO brought to Tampa is gone – playing Christmas music until a new format debuts on January 5. Among Those out with the change at WHFS-FM “98.7 The Fan” are sports talk personalities Anthony “Booger” McFarland, Marc Ryan, Kirk McEwen, Jesse Kage, and Justin Pawlowski. Beasley is still operating WHFS-AM as a sports talker using CBS Sports Radio Network programming.
Odds & Sods. A new podcast from Sports USA featuring former super agent Tom Reich will launch. According to Sports USA president Bob Moore, “Tom and brother Sam Reich bring integrity, respect, experience and a fresh perspective to the podcast and will talk about past stories and current events in their lives and the world of sports.”…..The PAC 5 final game – the prep championship between St. John Bosco and Corona Centennial – will air on LAA 1 LLC-owned KLAA, Anaheim tomorrow (12/6) at 8:00 pm PT. The Emmy-award winning broadcast team of Kevin Turner and Bill Cunerty will call the live play-by-play. The game is being broadcast on the radio for the sixth year in a row on KLAA – home of the Los Angeles Angels and Anaheim Ducks. Fox Sports’ Fred Salas will join the team for the broadcast handling sideline reports and postgame interviews.
Ferguson Aftermath Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of December 1-5. The events that have followed the Ferguson grand jury’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown – including Charles Barkley’s comments and whether to charge Brown’s stepfather Louis Head for inciting a riot – were the top stories on news/talk radio during the week. Following at #2 was the NYC choke hold case tied with the police shooting death of 12-year-old Cleveland youth Tamir Rice. At #3 was the amnesty issue followed by the 2016 presidential candidates at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
DCCC Attorney Responds to Rush Limbaugh’s Demand for Apology. Though the full text of the letter from an attorney for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has not been released (or leaked!) yet, it’s clear from DCCC spokesperson Emily Bittner’s statement to the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple saying, “Our attorney sent a response letter noting that Limbaugh’s claims are absurd.” If you remember, Limbaugh – who rarely responds to critics in this way, unless it’s fodder for show content – through attorney Patricia Glaser demanded an apology and a retraction for what she termed civilly actionable defamation for using part of Limbaugh’s discussion of campus sexual assault out of context to bring in donations to the committee. Whether Limbaugh’s camp takes any further action remains to be seen. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman commented recently about what Limbaugh’s lawyers would need to do in order to prevail in court in a defamation case. He said, “Specifically, as a public figure, in order to be successful in a defamation action, Limbaugh would have to prove that the DCCC acted with malice – that is that they knew what they were saying was a lie or that they acted with a reckless disregard for its truth. Even more problematic for Limbaugh would be that he would have to prove that he was harmed by the comments. In order to be successful in his lawsuit he would have to show that he lost sponsors and/or listeners.”
Beasley Begins to Fill Management Roles in CBS Markets. The transfers of the following Beasley Broadcast Group managers to the soon-to-be-acquired CBS RADIO properties in Tampa will be effective upon the closing of the assets exchange agreement between the two companies. First, Kent Dunn will leave Beasley’s Augusta, Georgia cluster to serve as the vice president and market manager for the new Tampa-St. Petersburg station group. At the same time, Tee Gentry becomes operations manager for the five-station cluster that includes: sports talk duo WHFS-AM and WHFS-FM, hip hop WLLD, country WQYK, classic hits WRBQ, and Spanish WYUU-FM . Dunn has been VP and market manager in Augusta while Gentry’s been serving as operations manager in Augusta.
O’Kelley Moves Up to OM a Beasley Augusta. With the above-mentioned promotion of Tee Gentry from the Augusta, Georgia station group to Beasley’s future Tampa cluster, Chris O’Kelley is upped to OM from his current music director and APD post for country WKXC. The Augusta station group also includes: news/talk WGAC, “580 AM and 95.1 FM News Talk,” CHR WHHD, “HD 98.3, WDRR, adult hits “93.9 BOB FM” WDRR-FM; rock WCHZ-AM and W238AU, “95 Rock,” WGUS-FM “The Southern Gospel Station at 102.7 FM and 93.1 FM,” and news/talk WRDW. He’ll report to new VP and market manager Mark Haddon.
Round Two of November PPM Data Released. The second of four rounds of November 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. The survey period was October 9 through November 5. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Howard Stern Turns Over SiriusXM Channel to Graham Nash. This afternoon at 3:00 pm ET (11/26), Howard Stern will break the format of his SiriusXM channel “Howard 101” to present a special show, “Howard Stern Presents: Graham Nash.” Nash will be playing music from the live boxed set, CSNY 1974, and will “share personal stories and memories about the group’s historic 1974 summer tour. The special will also include an exclusive in-studio acoustic set by Nash, including a performance of ‘Teach Your Children,’ and a new song written in tribute to The Band’s late drummer, Levon Helm.” The program will be re-broadcast over the course of the holiday weekend.
Grand Jury Decision/Ferguson Rioting, Executive Amnesty Order, Obama Ozone Emissions Plan, 2016 Presidential Prospects, and Iran Nukes Negotiations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/25). The protesting and rioting in Ferguson and across the country after the grand jury’s decision not to charge officer Darren Wilson in Michael Brown’s death; controversy over President Obama’s executive order for amnesty for illegal aliens; the new proposal from the Obama Administration for cutting ozone emissions; the potential candidates for president in 2016 and the nuclear negotiations with Iran were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Dave Ramsey Hits the Big Screen. Regular TALKERS readers are kept up-to-date on the live events that nationally syndicated talk star Dave Ramey presents in cities around the country. Now, Ramsey is taking his presentation to the big screen as Fathom Events will produce “Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze Present: The Legacy Journey” for select cinemas nationwide for one night only on Wednesday, November 19 at 7:00 pm local time. The production is from the recent event in Grand Rapids that was taped before a live audience. The event will be presented in nearly 600 select movie theaters around the country through Fathom’s Digital Broadcast Network. Fathom Events is listing the participating theaters on its website. Ramsey states, “‘The Legacy Journey’ is about you taking control of your money; being debt-free, saving and investing. When you start to see your future becoming secure, you will naturally become concerned with the next generations of your family. When you do the things we teach, your vision expands and you start to see the world’s needs and how you can make a difference.” Ramsey’s daughter Rachel Cruze is a seasoned communicator and presenter. She recently published a new book titled, Smart Money Smart Kids, co-authored by Ramsey.
Net Revenue Dips 5% for Beasley During Third Quarter. That figure is for continuing operations – the stations Beasley is keeping, excluding those slated to be sold to CBS. Due to the pending transaction between Beasley and CBS in which it’s trading five of its stations for 14 CBS signals, the company is required to report both continuing operations and discontinued operations. The net revenue from the combination of both continuing and discontinued operations was -5.9%. The company reports that the decline “primarily reflects lower advertising revenue at the Company’s Wilmington and Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville market clusters which more than offset net revenue increases at the Company’s Las Vegas and Ft. Myers market clusters.” Company chairman and CEO George Beasley comments, “We don’t believe third quarter operating results from continuing operations reflect the strength, ratings and local relevance of our platform, as the lower level of reported net revenue from continuing operations is temporarily mismatched with certain expenses that will be better amortized across the Company’s larger revenue base once we complete the asset exchange with CBS Radio. We are very excited by the potential presented by the CBS transaction…The planned asset exchange with CBS Radio addresses these strategic objectives and upon completion, we will expand our owned and operated station base by nine stations increasing Beasley’s portfolio to 53, including 33 FM and 20 AM stations, in 12 markets with approximately 7.7 million weekly listeners. Importantly, we will add completed clusters in the Tampa and Charlotte markets which complement our already strong mid-Atlantic presence.”
Nielsen Q3 Revenue Up 14%. That’s on a constant-currency basis. The company reports that its core top-line growth (excluding the Arbitron and Harris acquisitions) was 3.4%. Nielsen CEO Mitch Barns says that increase was “driven by strong growth in Audience Measurement, double-digit growth in Ad Solutions and double-digit growth in the emerging markets, offset somewhat by anticipated softness in our Insights business in North America.” Barns adds that “Adjusted EBITDA was up nearly 20% or 22% on a constant-currency basis, reflecting the impact of our Arbitron acquisition as well as great execution by our operating units…And our free cash flow of $289 million was up 17% in the quarter versus the prior year.” During yesterday’s investors conference call, Barns discussed the integration of ratings systems for television and digital but only spoke of radio and digital ratings integration in passing, saying the company is “making progress” and it would keep the industry “posted.”
Madison Talk Personality Mitch Henck Returns with Internet Show, Broadcast Plans. After being let go from iHeartMedia’s Madison news/talker WIBA in June, Mitch Henck says he’s been “hounded” by fans to get back behind the mic. Starting Monday, October 27, Henck begins an internet-based talk show airing live daily from 8:00 am to 11:00 am CT. Podcasts of the show will be available after the conclusion of each live show. The program will be web only for the rest of the year but Henck has plans to roll out the show into AM/FM syndication in 2015. The show will take live callers and feature guests. Henck says, “It’s exciting to be back with a great team in place. We’re committed to bringing you the highest quality programming every day. And I can’t wait.”
Former Talk Host Warren Ballentine Convicted in Chicago Mortgage Fraud Scheme. The Chicago-based real estate lawyer was syndicated nationally by Radio One and his talk show was carried by as many as 37 affiliate stations before he was indicted on real estate fraud charges. The Chicago Tribune reports that Warren Ballentine will be sentenced in January and could face up to 30 years in prison for bilking lenders out of some $10 million as part of the fraudulent loan scheme. Ballentine’s attorney says they will appeal and that his client knew nothing of the fraud and served only as the closing agent, accruing about $8,000 in fees for the real estate transactions. He also noted several of Ballentine’s co-defendants testified against him after striking deals with prosecutors. See the Tribune piece here.
Michael Harrison to Serve as Keynote Speaker at College Radio Conference – Agenda Includes Presentation by Holland Cooke. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (pictured here) will deliver the keynote address at the 7th Annual Intercollegiate Broadcasting System East Coast Radio, Webcasting & Media Conference held tomorrow (10/25) at Simmons College in Boston. Harrison’s speech is titled “The Precarious Position of Audio-Only Media in the Age of Video Screens.” Harrison will discuss the psychological processes at play in the different ways in which the human brain processes various forms of sensory stimulation. According to Harrison, “I enjoy speaking at events with college broadcasters because they are still, shall we say, academically inclined and it gives me the opportunity to put on my media theorist hat and address some of the abstract concepts underlying general communications in our electronically accelerated relationships. I believe it is very important for people involved in anything having to do with the aurally based art forms of ‘radio’ and music to at least have an understanding of the mind’s different relationships with the eye and the ear.” Harrison also plans to include a serious discussion of the sensitive relationship between form and content in the art and science of media in his address. Also speaking at the event will be noted media consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke whose address is titled, “The Future of Talk Radio: YOU – The Revolution is Over.” He will identify the major challenges facing talk radio in this new era and offer solutions and encouragement for young broadcasters entering the field. For more information about the one-day event, please click here.
Odds & Sods. The new SiriusXM program hosted by Jenny McCarthy debuts on Monday, October 27. The show is called “Dirty, Sexy, Funny with Jenny McCarthy” and is set to air daily from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET…..NBCSportsRadio.com is unveiling its first-ever digital-only show called “The 2 Robbies ‘Football’ Show”, a Premier League-focused program which stars NBC Sports Group analysts Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe. The soccer show launches tomorrow at 5:00 pm ET…..Sports talk KWTO, Springfield, Missouri “98.7 The Jock” is changing network affiliations, moving from Fox Sports Radio Network to ESPN. The Meyer Communications station inked a three-year deal with ESPN.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is added to the weekend program schedule at WIBC-FM, Indianapolis. The program also recently began airing on KFNN, Phoenix; and KCOX, Jasper, Texas…..The GCN-distributed “Freedom Feens” show is added to the lineup at WSRQ, Sarasota…..The “Motley Fool Money” radio show is part of the weekend programming at WAFS, Atlanta.
Ebola Pandemic Threat Tops Talkers TenTM for Third Straight Week. Discussion about the threat of an Ebola pandemic and the Obama Administration’s handling of the matter was again the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the week of October 20-24. At #2 this week was the terror attacks that happened in Canada. Coming in at #3 was the battle against ISIS in Iraq followed by the looming mid-term elections at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Barry Young’s Retirement from KFYI, Phoenix Pushes Mike Broomhead into Mid-Morning Slot. As TALKERS magazine reported back on March 14 of this year, longtime Phoenix talk radio personality (and president and CEO of WestStar MultiMedia Entertainment) Barry Young (left) is retiring from his daily talk show duties at iHeartMedia-owned news/talker KFYI. Now, the station announces that after Young does his last show on November 7, current afternoon drive personality Mike Broomhead (right) will move to the 7:00 am to 10:00 am slot. Broomhead states, “Barry Young is a legend in this business and will someday soon be in the Arizona Broadcasting Hall of Fame. It has been an honor to work with and learn from him. I’m looking forward to hosting mornings. I want to talk about the issues that concern all of us and find solutions that are best for Arizona. I’m not always right, but I always want what is best.” KFYI program director Neil Larrimore adds, “Mike is a superstar who has worked hard to earn this opportunity. He’s a great host, but even more so, he’s a good man.” The station will begin a search for a new afternoon drive host.
Former WNIR-FM, Akron Talk Host Sues Station Over Harassment Allegation. Former morning drive personality Nancy Jones – who went by the on-air name Maggie Fuller – is suing Media-Com Inc. for reinstatement and/or back pay plus damages alleging she was sexually harassed by current morning drive host John “Couchburner” Denning. The complaint states that Jones, who was a staffer with WNIR-FM, Akron since 1999, began, in 2013, receiving “hostile” and “disrespectful” treatment from Denning, culminating in his using the c-word to describe her to listeners at a promotional event. Jones claims station management did nothing to address her complaints. Read more about this case in the Norwalk Reflector here.
It’s Synchronicity for BizTalkRadio’s Weber. After more than a decade with BizTalkRadio and Lifestyle TalkRadio Network,president Jeff Weber departs the Center Post Holdings company to join Synchronicity in a consulting capacity. Weber asserts that, “Synchronicity’s technology has begun to revolutionize the industry; I don’t make statements like that unless I mean them. Just as John Armstrong created and built DG Systems, this new company of his is totally cutting-edge. It will be a major asset to broadcasters, syndicators, and others who want to reduce costs with a user-friendly and efficient platform.” According to Weber, Synchronicity increases revenue through localization of advertising and real-time accountability. In his 12 years with the former Business TalkRadio Network (now BizTalkRadio and Lifestyle TalkRadio Network), Weber was its executive vice president; acting chief executive officer; and one year ago, became president. Additionally, Weber will consult Connecticut-based Forte Family Broadcasting.
KFWB Selects Koontz as Sports Sales Manager. Former KSPN “ESPN 710,” Los Angeles station manager Bob Koontz joins newly launched all-sports KFWB, Los Angeles “The Beast 980” as sports sales manager. The Southern California native comments that he is “thrilled” to be part of the new sports outlet and that he looks forward “to working with our great talent to help build strategic partnerships and unique opportunities for our clients and listeners.” Prior to becoming KSPN’s station manager (2006 – 2008), Koontz spent six years as the station’s first sales manager. He also held the sales manager title for Los Angeles stations (talk) KABC; (rock) KLOS; (sports-talk) KMPC; (adult contemporary) KIQQ “K-Lite,” and (regional Mexican) KSCA.
McMorris Tapped as Radio One Washington, DC News/Community Affairs Director. “News One Now” weekly contributor Ebony McMorris is appointed news and community affairs director for Radio One Washington, DC. The company’s nation’s capital cluster consists of urban AC WMMJ “Majic 102.3,” urban contemporary WKYS; gospel WPRS “Praise 104.1,” gospel WYCB “Spirit 1340,” and talk WOL. According to Radio One vice president and general manager Alan Leinwand, “We are very fortunate to have Ebony moving into this very important position. She will play an integral role in helping us deliver a first-class news product, while also helping grow our community footprint.” Replacing Sheila Stewart, who passed away 11 months ago, McMorris comments, “Taking over a position held by Sheila is an honor because she mentored me early in my career. I cannot forget her power to connect people. The vision of this company and its staff is unmatched.” In addition to her new duties, McMorris – who has worked with Radio One since 2007 as WOL’s national reporter and host of public affairs programming on “Praise 104.1” and “Majic 102.3” – will serve as a daily reporter for the syndicated “Tom Joyner Morning Show.” McMorris was morning news correspondent on Roland Martin‘s radio show.
ABC News Radio and Hearst Strike Deal for News and Info Service for Baltimore Stations. When Hearst Radio’s news/talk WBAL and rock WIYY in Baltimore begin using ABC News Radio products later this year, it’ll mark a return to the outlets for ABC after more than 10 years absence. In addition to the two stations using ABC’s “premium national, international and entertainment news programming,” ABC Radio will provide music news for WIYY’s website and ABC Air Power, the most immediate, most topical and most complete radio show prep service in the industry today. WBAL and WIYY president and GM Cary Pahigian comments, “From reliable top hour newscasts and breaking news for WBAL and prep and digital support for ‘98 Rock,’ we are delighted to welcome the powerful resources of ABC to Hearst Radio Baltimore.”
Stigall and Ted Cruz Talk the Constitution. Pictured here at the National Constitution Center on September 17th in Philadelphia are WPHT, Philadelphia morning personality Chris Stigall (left) and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) (right). Cruz joined Stigall for a one-on-one discussion about Constitutional conflicts in the news today. The event drew hundreds of WPHT listeners to hear Cruz – a noted Constitutional scholar – discuss the issues.
Consultant Bill McMahon Sounds Off on Key Radio Issues. One of the veteran consultants who’s had a significant influence on the modern era of talk radio as a thinker and innovator is Bill McMahon. He and his company, The Authentic Personality, developed what has been come to be known as the Authentic Personality method, the first formal training process for radio personalities and program directors. Hundreds of radio personalities and program directors in the US and the UK have participated in his Authentic Personality workshops. McMahon was one of the first to recognize Rush Limbaugh‘s “talent on loan from God” and give him a platform for its use. In addition to Rush, he has influenced the careers of many of radio’s biggest stars including Kidd Kraddick and Johnny Vaughan in the UK. Interestingly McMahon was the featured interview in the very first print issue of TALKERS almost 25 years ago. At a time when radio is facing all kinds of new high-tech competition for the consumer’s time and attention, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (who also conducted that first interview in 1990) thought it appropriate to sit down again with McMahon and talk about the current state of radio and radio personalities. In what turned out to be a fascinating 55-plus minutes of conversation, McMahon opines the following observations:
- Very little has changed in terms of radio content/format development since the initial conversation 25 years ago.
- The vast majority of radio’s content over the past 50 or 60 years has been created by the music industry. The radio industry has functioned primarily as the distribution and promotional arm of the music industry. The radio industry has created very little of its own content since the inception of television… with the notable exception of talk radio.
- Major innovations in radio content creation have come from individual on-air talent like Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern, Scott Shannon, etc., not radio industry management.
- Radio is no longer attracting the best and brightest talent. This is a critical and a potentially fatal problem for radio.
- Radio needs to launch an immediate campaign to recruit extraordinary talent who love creating audio entertainment and have ideas for new programs and formats that consumers want and need.
- The radio industry’s desire to create big mass appeal formats and programs goes against everything that’s happening in the world. Things that are succeeding have clearly defined specialties. Think Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern, and Fox News. In this world of unlimited choice where consumers are in control of what they consume and when they consume it, having a clearly defined and distinctive specialty is a must for success.
- The “Fourteen Traits Inherent in the Best Radio Personalities” provide a guide for evaluating and recruiting the kind of talent radio needs to attract to continue to be viable.
To listen to the entire unedited audio conversation between Bill McMahon and Michael Harrison conducted for this story, please click
To contact Bill McMahon call 208-887-5670 or email Bill@AuthenticPersonality.biz
Odds & Sods. A special series is being presented by SiriusXM on the Howard 101 channel. Howard Stern show media producer and aspiring film maker JD Harmeyer interviewed five Hollywood directors while at the 2014 Comic Con International in San Diego earlier this summer and the result the “JD Directors Special” during which Harmeyer interviews “Bridesmaids” director Paul Feig, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” director Jonathan Liebesman, “Children’s Hospital” creator Rob Corddry, “Into the Storm” director Steven Quale and legendary film director and writer Guillermo del Toro. The program airs on Friday, September 19, at 7:00 pm ET…..Westwood One extends its partnership with Harpo Studios and Dr. Mehmet Oz for the daily, one-minute feature, “Daily Dose with Dr. Oz.” Dr. Oz says “Not a day goes by that I don’t get positive feedback from listeners of ‘Daily Dose.’ My goal is to spread the message of good health – body, mind and spirit. Syndication with Westwood One helps to expand that message to an attentive and diverse audience.”
Broadcasters Foundation of America Celebrity Golf Tournament Raises $250,000. Monday’s 2014 Celebrity Golf Tournament at Sleepy Hollow Country Club in Tarrytown, New York helped raise $250,000 for the Broadcasters Foundation of America. More than 150 broadcasters and celebrities turned out in support of the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation, including famed sportscasters, athletes, and actors. Celebrity golfers included: Michael J. Fox; Bruce Beck, WNBC-TV; Craig Carton, WFAN; John Franco, Mets Hall of Famer; Sterling Sharpe, Green Bay Packers Hall of Famer; Tina Cervasio, Fox Sports and MSG Network; Howard Cross, New York Giants great; Maurice Dubois, WCBS-TV; Rachel Grant, actress and philanthropist; Jay Harris, ESPN; Mary Calvi, WCBS-TV; Otis Livingston, WCBS-TV; Sean McDonough, CBS and ESPN; Lonnie Quinn, WCBS-TV; Dana Tyler, WCBS-TV; Chris Wragge, WCBS-TV; and more.
‘Into Tomorrow’ Visits Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin. As part of a whirlwind tour of techie events to cover for his weekly consumer electronics talk show “Into Tomorrow,” host Dave Graveline (center, surrounded by his staff) was in Berlin and is pictured here in front of the historic Checkpoint Charlie. During a two-week period, Graveline covered the IFA in Berlin, the recent Apple event in San Francisco and the annual Intel Developer Forum (IDF).
The NFL and Domestic Violence, the U.S.-led Coalition Against ISIS, Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Prospects, the Mid-Term Elections and a Possible Change in Congressional Majorities, Ebola Virus Pandemic Threat, Australian Terror Plot Foiled and Scotland Secession Referendum Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/17). The continuing controversy over the NFL’s domestic violence policy and the several players facing criminal charges and league suspensions over incidents; the Western coalition of countries vowing to combat ISIS; Hillary Clinton’s visit to Iowa and her prospects for running for president in 2016; the looming mid-term elections and talk about majority changes in Congress; concern over the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa and the possibility of a pandemic; the thwarting of a terror plot in Australia; and today’s referendum in Scotland on seceding from the U.K. were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Tom Leykis Holds eBay Auction; Winner Has Show Hosted from His Own Home. Saying that the Comrex equipment he uses makes doing this sort of remote a no-brainer, radio provocateur, online innovator and talk host legend Tom Leykis (left) is taking his internet radio program on the road for a live broadcast from the home of a lucky listener. The honor of having Leykis and his producer Gary Zabransky host Leykis’ New Normal-produced internet call-in show will go to the highest bidder on the eBay auction going on right now. The winner is invited to have friends over as part of the “studio audience.” Leykis tells TALKERS magazine that he began to realize how easy it is to be away from the studio with great sound quality and the ability to take callers after a chat with Comrex at a Talkers conference. He says, “I found the Comrex Access at your Talkers LA 2013 event and, ever since it arrived, we’re unchained from our studios and doing our shows from almost anywhere we want. It sends my voice at broadcast quality using simple broadband. No expensive ISDN installs, no big entourages to carry so much heavy equipment. I throw the Access into my car with its onboard mixer and some mics and go.” In fact, Leykis says the Comrex BRIC-Link (pictured here) works so well that he’s able to host his show from his ranch in northern Santa Barbara County, his house in Hollywood or anywhere, leaving his Los Angeles studio’s ISDN lines relegated to emergency back-up duty. Check out the Leykis show eBay auction here.
NRG Names Martin Digital Content Manager/Web Designer. Former seven-year Clear Channel Milwaukee director of online content Tim Martin joins NRG Media as digital content manager and corporate web designer. NRG Media chief operating officer Chuck DuCoty states that, owing to “the diversity of formats and listener appeal, this role is an important one to demonstrate NRG’s commitment to digital platform asset development on all NRG Media stations throughout Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin. I have had the pleasure of working with Tim when I was market manager of Milwaukee’s WISN and WLTQ; I can attest to his many talents. With his expertise, I am confident we will develop even more digital solutions to further engage our audience and our advertisers.” Martin observes that he will be “working with some of the nation’s best broadcast talents. This is a welcome challenge, as I will be putting all our broadcast assets to work to extend to the interactive space in every single market we serve. It is going to be a tremendous experience and one that is very meaningful.” Martin – who will continue to be Milwaukee-based – previously spent six years as Clear Channel Milwaukee’s IT manager and webmaster; in addition, he was that cluster’s promotions director (1995-2001).
Hillsdale College to Acquire Radio Station. The independent liberal arts college located in southern Michigan is announcing the acquisition of a radio signal – actually a low-power FM at 101.7 – that will become the school’s student run radio station when it’s fully operational. Hillsdale College is well known to talk radio listeners as it has been referred to often on the medium and has been lauded for its mission of institutional independence and high academic standards by major hosts. The call letters are WRFH – for Radio Free Hillsdale – and, according to FCC regulations must be operational by July of next summer. Writing in the school’s paper The Collegian, Jack Butler notes that broadcaster Vince Benedetto, president/CEO of Bold Gold Media Group, helped the school with the acquisition of the station. Pennsylvania-based Benedetto says he learned of the school through radio. “On a Scranton-area station we bought in 2010, I would hear on-air people — Mark Levin and Hugh Hewitt — talk about the college, and I was impressed with what I heard.” Benedetto tipped school president Larry Arnn to the availability of the signal and helped the school prep its FCC application. Benedetto adds, “It’s generally infrequent to just get to start a brand new radio station. But now the college has the opportunity to starts its very own.” John Miller is the Dow Journalism program director and he says, “I’m confident there will be a high level of student involvement. I want it to be for radio what The Collegian is for journalism.” Benedetto, whose station group spans Pennsylvania and New York State, tells the paper he thinks this will be a great thing for the school’s students. “The college is going to be creating opportunities for students interested in broadcasting. This is in every sense a real radio station. It’s hard to learn radio in a classroom environment because it’s so specific and technical.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison adds, “It is heartening to see an educational institution like Hillsdale College step up to the plate and provide the national conversation – specifically those on the moderate to conservative side of the spectrum — with research and policy papers that are based in legitimate scholarly principles as opposed to purely partisan objectives that seek victory often at the expense of truth. Unfortunately the latter has become a trend that, in my opinion, has sullied the credibility of some of the Washington-based think tanks that have moved away from such principles in recent years as the political discussion in America has coarsened on a very disturbing level – certainly a level that has not been of service to conservative talk radio. I see Hillsdale as a bright hope for the future as it relates to our industry.”
Likely PPM Panelists Big on Radio. One of the conclusions drawn from the most recent NuVoodoo Ratings Prospects Study from NuVoodoo Media Services is that radio remains highly relevant among those who would be inclined to participate in the current PPM ratings system. NuVoodoo VP of research Leigh Jacobs says, “Radio remains strong, particularly among could-be ratings participants. These human periscopes who are inclined to participate in the PPM ratings are beneficial in many ways. In our data, we’ve seen that they’re more highly attuned to paying attention to advertising messages and are more likely to enjoy the contests that radio stations use as part of their promotional arsenal. It’s especially beneficial to radio, since fewer listen daily among those who predicted that they wouldn’t participate in a PPM-style methodology.” NuVoodoo’s VP of marketing Mike O’Connor adds, “Armed with this information and deeper insights beyond, we can help our marketing clients target heavy users of radio with minimal waste. And with Facebook, Google and YouTube at our disposal in 2014, it’s never been more economical to reach them.” The company says it makes the full results of the study available to clients and this update was fielded going into the fall ratings season to make sure NuVoodoo clients have the benefit of the very latest intelligence on emerging social media platforms for use in their marketing and promotion plans.”
Crackin’ Up with Joan Rivers. The death of former radio talk show host Joan Rivers (WOR, 1997-2002) continues to be a news buzz and talk topic as the tragic demise of the multi-media pop cultural icon clearly struck a nerve with the American psyche. Digging through the TALKERS magazine archives, we found these two photos taken of the brilliant comedienne during her appearance at the Talkers New York 2000 conference (“New Media Seminar III”) at the peak of her talk radio career. Pictured above is Joan Rivers addressing the conference and then relaxing and entertaining TALKERS staffers with a non-stop barrage of hilarious wisecracks during the cocktail reception. Pictured at right (l-r): then-WOR, New York PD David Bernstein (currently TALKERS GM of broadcast operations); Joan Rivers; TALKERS business manager and executive assistant to the publisher, Barbara Kurland; the late-Sharon L. Harrison; and TALKERS associate publisher Matthew B. Harrison.
SiriusXM to Simulcast “Ellen.” Starting today (9/8), an audiocast of Emmy-award winning daytime program “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” can be heard on SiriusXM‘s”Stars,” channel 109, and through the SiriusXM internet radio app. The satcaster’s president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein opines that DeGeneres hosts “the most popular nationally syndicated daytime talk show. We know our listeners, whether they are in the car, at home, or on the go, will love being able to tune into the daily show through satellite radio, and not miss a minute.” This represents the first time DeGeneres’ daytime television talker will be available to radio and TV audiences; the new season of that program begins today. In addition to the simulcast, SiriusXM will rebroadcast “Ellen” the following morning at 9:00 am ET.
NJ101.5’s Alan Kasper to Retire. After a 25-year career with WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5,” chief meteorologist Alan Kasper announces he’s retiring from the station. The station says, “For a generation, Alan has been THE weather authority for the state of New Jersey. He is a legendary forecaster — from his broadcast TV days in New York City to his 25 years with New Jersey 101.5, Alan has often stood alone in accurately forecasting some of the worst weather New Jersey has ever seen. His precise track of snowstorms, hurricanes, and other major weather events have allowed residents to properly prepare and undoubtedly saved lives.” Eric Johnson is brand manager for “New Jersey 101.5” and he says, “A generation has grown up listening to Alan Kasper to find out if they had school the next day. While other media incessantly hypes the weather, Alan’s calm demeanor and friendly presentation delivered peace of mind to New Jersey residents. His dedication to bringing this critical information to our listeners is unmatched in the industry.” Meteorologist Dan Zarrow takes over for Kasper as chief meteorologist with the goal to expand Townsquare Media’s digital weather content across online, video and social media. He says, “I’m excited for the challenge. I grew up listening to Alan and will work hard every day to provide the same level of forecasting New Jersey has come to expect from New Jersey 101.5.”
WIP-FM, Philadelphia/Eagles Radiothon Raises $290,000-plus. The money raised during last week’s 2014 Eagles Radiothon on CBS RADIO’s “SportsRadio 94WIP” will go to the Eagles Youth Partnership (EYP) which serves more than 50,000 low-income children in the region with a focus on health and education programming. The three-day auction that ran from September 2 to September 4 offered Eagles fans and 94WIP listeners the opportunity to bid on unique sports and entertainment experience prizes involving their favorite Eagles players and “SportsRadio 94WIP” radio personalities. Participating shows included Angelo Cataldi & The Morning Team, Michael Barkann and Ike Reese, Anthony Gargano and Rob Ellis, and Josh Innes.
ESPN Builds Studio in Clevelander Hotel in Miami for Dan Le Batard. Miami-based sports talk personality Dan Le Batard moves into his new studios today. The facility at Miami Beach’s Clevelander Hotel will be the home of both his daily ESPN2 sports discussion program “Highly Questionable” and his eponymous ESPN Radio program. The set (pictured here) gives a different look but retains that Miami flavor. From its debut in 2011 until 2014, the show has originated from a set modeled after a 1950s Miami home kitchen. Le Batard states, “We are going to conga line from our colorful 1950s kitchen to something South Beach cooler. It’ll feel fun and colorful and like a party — like an ESPN Miami, next to a pool serving drinks.”
Round Four of August PPM Data Released. The fourth of four rounds of August 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The survey period was July 17 through August 13. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Odds & Sods. The ESPN2 program “Colin’s Football Show,” hosted by Colin Cowherd, is sporting a new theme written and performed by comedian and recording artist Rodney Carrington. The show debuted over the weekend (Sunday 9:00 am) and it begins with the tongue-in-cheek tune that asks viewers, “Are You Ready?” for Colin’s Football Show, and the open features Cowherd and Carrington with his band, with cameos by regular guests ESPN The Magazine editor-in-chief Chad Millman and ESPN Radio host Tom Waddle.…..CBS RADIO is partnering with the Travis Manion Foundation to promote the 9/11 Heroes Run. The Travis Manion Foundation is hosting the 9/11 Heroes Run 5K race this month in eight locations around the Greater Philadelphia Region. The annual race series will unite the community to remember the sacrifices of the heroes of the September 11th attacks and the wars fought since. Talk Radio 1210 WPHT, KYW Newsradio, 98.1 WOGL, SportsRadio 94WIP and CBS Sports Radio 610 AM have joined together to send hosts to many of the race locations across the Delaware Valley communities.
Doing What Works at Radio America. Nationally syndicated talk show hosts Darrell Anderson (left) and Maureen Anderson (second from left) – hosts of the program “Doing What Works” – are pictured here at the studios of Radio America. The two paid a visit to their syndicator’s offices and posed for this shot with Rich McFadden (second from right), Radio America operations director and Doug Stephan‘s “Good Day” co-host, and Radio America COO Mike Paradiso (right).
Marilu Henner Takes Atlanta. Nationally syndicated talk show host Marilu Henner is pictured here in the studios of WCFO, Atlanta where she broadcast her Sun Broadcast Group-syndicated program last week. Pictured here with Henner is WCFO general sales manager Jennifer Green.
Cool Job Opportunities: Anchors and Editors and Producers–Oh, My! Westwood One is looking for the best digital-savvy, full-time and part-time network news staff for its Washington, DC-based network news operation. This is a full-service, 24/7 operation supporting many of the top news and talk stations in the country. Candidates will be responsible for writing, producing, and anchoring newscasts, including editing audio and assembling sound cuts. Must have network quality delivery, excellent writing skills, and editorial and news judgment. Producers must have proficiency in digital audio editing, board op skills, and ability to effectively communicate in a fast-paced environment. These positions require demonstrated professional experience anchoring, writing, and producing, preferably at the network level. Interested candidates should send work samples, including anchoring, reporting, and news writing, along with cover letter, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remembering Don Pardo. “It’s Saturday Night Live.” One extremely simple sentence, yet only one exceptional voice will forever be associated with it or capable of making it sing. Don Pardo. The elegant gentleman with the huge booming pipes passed away Monday night (8/18) at the age of 96. His nearly-40 year association with NBC-TV’s “Saturday Night Live” was only one part of a voluminous resume on the network for which he had a lifetime pact. Only Bob Hope had a similar arrangement deal with the network. Revered by virtually anyone who has been behind a microphone, the beloved — and yes legendary — Pardo began his career in radio. The off-camera announcer for a multitude of game shows from “Jeopardy” to “Jackpot,” Don Pardo truly achieved pop culture status. “SNL” hosts and cast members felt they arrived once they heard their names uttered by him. Click here for managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian‘s brief retrospective salute to the Massachusetts native and 2010 inductee in the Television Academy Hall of Fame whose voice and persona were a staple for so many.
SAG-AFTRA Condemns Arrest/Detention of Reporters Covering Ferguson, Missouri Events. SAG-AFTRA represents more than 165,000 actors, announcers, broadcast journalists, dancers, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists, and other media professionals. It released the following statement: “As a union that represents broadcast journalists, including many local St. Louis broadcasters, we strongly support the rights of journalists not to be impeded in their efforts to report the news. Journalists have an obligation to report what is happening in their community, and the world. We ask that law enforcement in Ferguson permit journalists the freedom to do their jobs.”
Ferguson Unrest Tops Conversation on News/Talk Radio – KMOX, St. Louis is on the Scene. As the week develops, TALKERS research indicates the turmoil in Ferguson, MO tops the list of topics of conversation on news/talk radio. Taking advantage of their relative proximity, CBS’s heritage talker KMOX, St. Louis established a significant presence on the scene with mid-morning host Charlie Brennan and afternoon drive host Mark Reardon broadcasting their shows from the very heart of the troubled area amid the intense protests that have followed the police shooting of Michael Brown.
Marina del Rey Spotlighted As Next “KNX On Your Corner” Site. In addition to focusing on important issues and happenings in Marina del Rey (“The Marina”), the 14-hour (5:00 am – 7:00 pm) “On Your Corner” profile by CBS Radio all-news KNX, Los Angeles will feature nearby Playa del Rey, Del Rey, Playa Vista, and Westchester. Civic leaders will be interviewed throughout the special day of programming next month (Friday, 9/12) designed to give listeners insight into the unique attributes of the area. KNX will originate programming from Whiskey Red‘s in Fisherman’s Village. Dick Helton and Vicky Moore will anchor the news from 5:00 am – 9:00 am; Frank Mottek will host the “KNX Business Hour” (1:00 pm – 2:00 pm); and Jim Thornton and Diane Thompson will anchor the 2:00 pm – 7:00 pm news broadcast. “KNX On Your Corner” received a 2013 Golden Mike Award for “Best Feature News” from the Radio & Television News Association of Southern California.
SCBA Schedules Awards Luncheon for Outstanding Achievement in Radio Advertising. The special event of the Southern California Broadcasters Association (SCBA) and SCBA’s Sales Management Council will be held in approximately two months (10/16) at the Sheraton Universal Hotel in Universal City (Los Angeles). Selected regional advertisers will be honored with “Outstanding Achievement in Radio Advertising” awards. Former SCBA Lifetime Achievement Award winner – and current chairman and chief operating officer of U.S. International Media – Dennis Holt will be this year’s keynote speaker. SCBA president Thom Callahan explains that, “Based on last year’s sold-out event, we have expanded the nominating categories and our winning advertisers. We are absolutely thrilled by both client and agency response to this prestigious luncheon. This year’s winners represent the robust diversity and energy of Southern California radio advertisers; we are so proud to honor them. [This year’s festivities] is on-pace to be another record sell-out. The enthusiasm and commitment to Southern California radio will be showcased by senior client management, their agencies, our member stations, and special guests – all coming together on this one special day to honor this year’s Southern California Radio Award winners.” Being recognized this year are: Children’s Miracle Network; First 5 California; Galpin Ford; Morongo Casino; WaBa Grill; and Westside Rentals. Awards in six categories of creative radio commercials, using both Southern California broadcast radio and its digital platforms, are voted on by the Sales Management Council.
Kelly Transfers to Clear Channel WPB as Director of Sales. Clear Channel Sarasota director of sales Bryan Kelly remains in the Sunshine State, but as of next Monday (8/25), he will traverse from the state’s west coast to West Palm Beach on the east coast in a similar capacity. West Palm Beach market manager John Hunt observes, “Bryan produced outstanding sales results in Sarasota and I know he will do the same in West Palm Beach.” Kelly comments, “I look forward to joining the exceptional West Palm Beach team assembled by John Hunt and [Clear Channel regional program manager] Dave Denver. It has been a goal of mine to represent Clear Channel in a fast-paced and competitive market.” Kelly will oversee the sales efforts for Clear Channel’s 10-station West Palm Beach cluster consisting of country WAVW; talk WAXE; talk WBZT; talk WJNO; classic rock WKGR; CHR WLDI; adult contemporary WOLL; oldies WQOL; Spanish contemporary WRLX; and talk WZZR. His previous Clear Channel assignments were in Tampa and Allentown.
WGN.FM To Air “The Big Payoff.” The Suzanne Muchin and Rachel Bellow-hosted show is for entrepreneurs and entrepreneur wannabes; it begins today (Tuesday, 8/19) at 11:00 am on Tribune Chicago’s WGN.FM. “The Big Payoff” will feature guest entrepreneur interviews and conversations about Chicago’s trending innovations and businesses. Video, full show podcasts and segments will be available on demand at WGN.FM. Beginning in roughly four weeks (9/15), segments will air on WGN-AM with Sirott & Murciano. President and general manager Jimmy de Castro advises listeners to, “Get ready for ‘The Big Payoff.’ Two seasoned business and media vets, Rachel Bellow and Suzanne Muchin, tell you like it really is out there in the new business world. It is absolutely worth a listen, whether you are a young entrepreneur; existing business looking for funding; or if you just want entertainment and to learn something.” According to Tribune Media president and chief executive officer Peter Liguori, “‘The Big Payoff’ could not be more timely, as entrepreneurship is a hot topic in Chicago right now.” Muchin remarks, “My roots are here, as are so many people and businesses that I want to bet on with my time, expertise, and network.” Bellow comments that, “Chicago is a special place where money and meaning are both valued which offers the perfect environment for entrepreneurs to launch and grow their businesses. This is the right place and time for us to land at WGN and WGN.FM.” Business partners since 1998, Muchin and Bellow have clarified the brand identity of an $8 billion philanthropy. Over the last seven years, they have founded three consulting agencies with client revenue topping $50 million. Three years ago through a partnership with New York-based 2MarketMedia, they launched “The Dirty Truth.” The two women will maintain a group of brand strategy clients through their consulting firm Mind + Matter Studio. Launched last September, WGN.FM focuses on content development, production, and digital distribution; “.FM” stands for “Freeform Media.”
“Billy Madison Show” and Nineball Radio Enter Syndication Deal. Owing to the just-signed pact with Nineball Radio, the weekday morning “Billy Madison Show” is now available for national distribution. Madison currently airs on Cox Media Group Tampa talker WHPT “The Bone, Real-Raw-Radio” and on CMG San Antonio rocker KISS. Nineball Radio president and chief executive officer Stefan Jones opines, “A show with such chemistry is rare, especially with the support of such a great company like Cox Media Group. Billy is a true professional who preps relentlessly and continually creates a show that is like nothing else being offered in rock syndication. He took KISS from 16th to number one, and he is number one at WHPT. I think the numbers speak for themselves. We are excited to be a part of it.” Madison’s show arrived in San Antonio in late-2011. Jones formed independent creator/clearance house for radio programming and services Nineball Radio as an underground prep service in 2005.
SiriusXM Now Airing “Back-To-School” Programming. The satcaster has a variety of such fare on multiple channels, including “SiriusXM Stars,” “Kids Place Live,” and “Doctor Radio.” Hosts and experts are offering parents practical advice for a stress-free back-to-school season. On “Stars” (SiriusXM channel 109), public health advocate Perri Peltz delves into cyber-bullying and the importance of talking to kids about it, while Denise Albert and Melissa Gerstein provide money-saving back-to-school shopping tips and efficient prepping shortcuts. Alexa Von Tobel shares recommendations to effectively tackle the process of planning/financing higher education and Jenny Hutt offers advice on how to prepare kids transitioning to high school. On “Kids Place Live” (SiriusXM channel 78), “Absolutely Mindy” has a special guest each morning as she encourages a love for school in young listeners, and she shares recipes for healthy lunches. On “Doctor Radio” (SiriusXM channel 81), gastroenterologist Dr. Ira Breite offers advice to prevent stomach problems caused by stress and anxiety related to the start of the school year. Psychiatrist Dr. Michael Aronoff explains how to differentiate the natural rollercoaster of teenage hormones and emotions from the warning signs of depression. For the older child, a cardiac surgeon will discuss sudden cardiac arrest in youth sports and screening kids for heart conditions.
WTMJ, WISports.com Set to Kickoff ”Preps Live.” Live streams of 26 Milwaukee-area high school football games will be available this fall on Journal Broadcast Group’s WISports.com. A Smartphone channel has been created under JBG Milwaukee heritage talker WTMJ’s “Radio League” application, so that listeners can hear the “Preps Live” channel anywhere. Journal Broadcast Group Milwaukee vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer remarks that, “As ‘Wisconsin’s Radio Station,’ WTMJ has a great tradition of sports broadcasting, starting with the Green Bay Packers in 1929. In 2014, we continue to grow in our commitment to play-by-play with the addition of key high school match-ups.” WTMJ sports executive producer Doug Russell declares, “The ability to bring these games to friends and families [who] can’t be in the stands is what WTMJ sports is all about.” Meanwhile, J. Pat Miller, director of marketing & innovation for WTMJ and co-owned adult hits WLWK “The Lake,” points out the “Radio League” app features 10 music formats. “We are excited to add this Wisconsin-based preps sports station to our growing line-up of stations,” Miller notes. Matt Menzl and Alex Uhan headline the team of “Preps Live” football announcers; Journal Broadcast Group Milwaukee plans to offer a full schedule of prep basketball games in the winter.
Odds & Sods. All this week, WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive personality Simon Conway is broadcasting his program from Jerusalem. “The situation in Israel is something my audience comes back to again and again,” remarks Conway, who lived there for a year as a teenager. “I will be bringing some very powerful radio to Iowa.” Conway is part of the “Solidarity Israel” trip organized by former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum.
Affiliate Roundup. Talk Shows USA-syndicated/Tom Gresham-hosted “Gun Talk” adds the following affiliates: KARN-FM, Little Rock; WBRN, Big Rapids, Michigan; WNDA, New Albany, Indiana & WLRS, Eminence, Kentucky; and WINT, Willoughby, Ohio…. Most recent affiliates of “Free Talk Live” hosted by Ian Freeman and Mark Edge include: WPTK, Raleigh; WEZO, Augusta, Georgia, KZLS, Enid, Oklahoma; KSMD, Searcy, Arkansas; KAWW, Heber Springs, Arkansas; and WZTK, Alpena, Michigan.
Talk Host Ethan Bearman Brings Microphone to Israel – Reporting Observations on Interested Talk Shows. Forty-eight hours ago rising talk show juggernaut Ethan Bearman – heard locally at KSFO, San Francisco and nationally via GCN — returned from a whirlwind trip to Israel where he gathered first-hand experience regarding the situation on the ground. During his self-sponsored trip, Bearman did a number of live reports from the scene on KSFO as well as his GCN affiliates plus a number of other interested stations around the US. Bearman first visited the front-line cities of Ashkelon and Sderot, observing the conflict in Gaza. He met with citizens and officials on the ground, observed ambulances bringing the wounded to Barzilai Medical Center, and examined an Iron Dome installation. He then travelled to the West Bank. Delving deep into the region he stopped at settlements, a university, and an industrial zone. His final day involved Old City Jerusalem during a Palestinian “Day of Rage” and a trip to Tel Aviv to see the cosmopolitan city and get a read on how the latest escalation of conflict has impacted day-to-day life there. Bearman tells TALKERS, “While on the hill overlooking the fighting in Gaza, I called in to the KSFO morning show. Sheri Yee answered the phone and put me on live with Brian Sussman and Katie Green. While sharing my experiences, a volley of artillery fired. It was so intense, my call was interrupted. After the call, I turned to look toward Gaza.” Bearman continues, “It was here that I felt the stress, this deep emotion, the subconscious recognition of danger, as I observed smoke in the distance, military vehicles nearby, explosions of a terror tunnel being blown up, the earth shaking from howitzers.” Bearman’s interviews originated in the Voice of Israel studios involving top government officials, former ambassadors, soldiers, a pastor, a Meronite IDF soldier, and others. Bearman also interviewed well-known Israeli actress Sendi Bar (pictured above), from the TV series “The Unit” and Israel’s “Prisoners of War,” known to American audiences as “Homeland.” Bearman says the trip showed the truth on the ground to be radically different than what is regularly portrayed in social media and major international media outlets. He expresses gratitude to the US-based organization America’s Voices in Israel and Israel-based group The Face of Israel for facilitating much of his dramatic access to the action and important guests. Ethan Bearman is available to do interviews about the trip and his observations on talk shows and networks this entire week, telling TALKERS, “I did this trip at my own expense for the sole purpose of bringing an American talk radio voice and set of eyes to the action. I am gratified by the number of stations participating in my commentaries.” Interested broadcasters can reach Bearman by phone at 831-531-7131 or via email at email@example.com.
Florida Talk Host Shannon Burke Debuts on Tampa and Orlando Stations Tonight. After his most recent position as part of the Bubba the Love Sponge syndicated program, Florida talk show host Shannon Burke lands a gig hosting his own program on a pair of signals (actually a trio if you count the translator) in the Sunshine State. Burke’s program begins airing this evening – 7:00 pm to 10: 00 pm on Cox Media Group’s WHPT, Tampa “102.5 The Bone” (Bubba’s home base) and on Star Over Orlando’s sports talk WRSO, Orlando “810 CBS Sports Radio” and its translator W226BT. Burke hosted his own show on Clear Channel’s WTKS, Orlando “Real Radio 104.1” for years. Burke writes on his Facebook page, “After about 90 days of talks and meetings and phone calls I’m happy to finally be able to tell you that starting on Monday at 7pm The Shannon Burke Show will be heard on 102.5 The Bone in Tampa and CBS Sports Radio WRSO Orlando 810am & 93.1FM. Finally I can get some sleep.”
Anthony Cumia’s Internet Show Debuts This Afternoon. A month after being fired by SiriusXM for Tweeting a series of racially charged messages after an altercation with an African American woman in Times Square, Anthony Cumia begins producing his eponymous subscriber-only online video show and podcast today at 4:00 pm. Formerly one half of the Opie & Anthony show with partner Gregg “Opie” Hughes, Cumia tells TheBlaze that he’s completely free of any contractual ties to SiriusXM. “They don’t have a leg to stand on as far as what I want to talk about. I can talk about any of the staff, the management over there — and believe me, I will.” Cumia says in TheBlaze interview that he’s pleased with the number of O&A fans who’ve cancelled their SiriusXM subscriptions as a result of his firing and says the subscriptions to his show have surpassed his initial target. Read the story at TheBlaze here.
George Noory Uses ‘Coast to Coast AM’ to Lead EMP Awareness Campaign. Fearing that enough attention is not being paid to the threat of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack or event, “Coast to Coast AM” host George Noory is announcing a campaign to protect and insulate the U.S. power grid against such an event that experts say could endanger the lives of millions of Americans. The campaign comes right after the news of a recent report by scientists that Earth narrowly avoided a catastrophic X-class solar flare on July 23, 2012, which Noory reported on “Coast to Coast AM” two years ago. Premiere Networks reports that Noory is working with WND (WorldNetDaily) to support and promote the campaign. Noory will regularly welcome scientific experts and government leaders to his program in an effort to inform the public about the vulnerability of America’s infrastructure and the need to retro fit the U.S. power grid, as well as the steps necessary to reduce the magnitude of an EMP event or attack. Noory states, “I implore all individual states, the president and members of Congress to immediately develop a plan to protect our power grid. The preservation of our great nation and the lives of its people are critical. It is not a matter of if, but when we will experience an EMP event or attack. We need to be ready now. I want to thank WND and Joseph Farah for joining this effort, which is imperative to our future.” Noory began this campaign by welcoming F. Michael Maloof, a former senior security policy analyst in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and author of A Nation Forsaken: EMP: The Escalating Threat of an American Catastrophe, to his show for a two-hour conversation. Maloof, whose book is published by WND, discussed the potential dangers of an EMP event; why only a few members of Congress, the military and scientific community are issuing the warnings; and what we should be doing to protect the U.S. from the devastation of an EMP event or attack. Noory also recently welcomed William R. Forstchen, professor of history and faculty fellow at Montreat College in North Carolina and author of One Second After, to discuss updates on the dangers of an EMP event, as well as steps to prepare.
Tribune Completes Spin-Off of Publishing Division; Tribune Media Company Is Born. The spin-off of the publishing businesses of Tribune Company is complete today and two new entities are born: Tribune Publishing and Tribune Media Company. The latter includes the non-publishing properties including news/talk WGN, Chicago and sports talk WGWG-LP, its online audio platform WGN.fm as well as Tribune Broadcasting, WGN America, Tribune Studios, Tribune Digital Ventures, and Tribune Real Estate. Tribune Media Company president and CEO Peter Liguori says, “In the last year, we have executed a strategy designed to embrace a rapidly changing media environment. We doubled the size of our broadcast group, re-launched our national cable network, WGN America, with high-quality original programming, and expanded our digital businesses that power some of the world’s leading media brands. The result is a rich and diverse portfolio of media properties and the birth today of Tribune Media Company.”
Talkers New York 2014 Videos Are All Posted. After two weeks of daily posting of video recordings of the main sessions, speeches and presentations made during last June’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014 — all of the content is now up and available for worldwide viewing on this media station. This amounts to a total of 14 files placed in the actual order that they occurred – starting with Sean Hannity’s opening keynote and concluding with Howard B. Price’s sobering advice for radio to be prepared to function in the public good during times of emergencies. The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms. To view any or all of this tremendously valuable content at no charge, please click here. The Talkers New York 2014 conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo. They will remain posted through the remainder of 2014.
When the Going Gets Tough…Blocked from reporting from the Detroit Lions training camp by – as Greater Media puts it – “the other sports talk station in town,” WMGC, Detroit “Detroit Sports 105.1” had to get creative. The station approached Tech Shop Detroit, whose facility borders the Lions practice field, and obtained permission to broadcast from the Tech Shop parking lot. The station then rented a 50-foot scissors lift from NES Rentals. Today, the station’s Ryan and Rico began broadcasting live for the first time from the scissor lift that you can see in the photo here. Photo: Jimmy Kemp.
Odds & Sods. With the demise of Premiere Networks’ carrying of the 24/7 Comedy format, a former affiliate of the format flips back to sports talk. Clear Channel’s WTGM, Salisbury, Maryland returns to sports programming – a format it last aired in 2012…..SiriusXM kicked off its third annual “SiriusXM College Sports Nation Camp Tour” yesterday (8/3) and will broadcast on location from college football training camps over the next 20 days. SiriusXM College Sports Nation hosts on the tour include Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George; former Alabama QB and National Championship winner Greg McElroy; former head coaches Gene Chizik, Houston Nutt and Dan Hawkins; former college coach and NFL GM Phil Savage; plus college football insiders Jack Arute, Mark Packer, Chris Childers and Taylor Zarzour.
Westwood One Kicks Off NFL Broadcast Season at Hall of Fame Weekend. The NFL’s regular season doesn’t begin until September 4 but the pre-season began this past weekend with the Hall of Fame Game between the New York Giants and the Buffalos Bills and the induction of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s class of 2014. Pictured here is Westwood One analyst James Lofton (far right) with members of the early-1990s Buffalo Bills. Bills great Andre Reed (third from left) was inducted over the weekend in the class of 2014. The other Bills greats who are already in the Hall of Fame are pictured here (from left to right): Thurman Thomas, Jim Kelly, Reed, head coach Marv Levy, Bruce Smith and Lofton.
World Renowned Psychic Star of Talkers New York 2014 Now Available for Radio Interviews. She was one of the most popular figures at the recent Talkers New York 2014 performing so many consecutive healings and readings at a small table in the exhibit area that she didn’t have a moment to even break away for lunch from the long line of attendees seeking a session with her. Kathleen Ann Milner was nothing short of a sensation at the conference on June 20th and since then TALKERS has been flooded with inquiries requesting information of her whereabouts and if and how she can be contacted for both personal readings and on air interviews. We are pleased now to report that Kathleen Ann Milner is available (at least for the remainder of the summer) to appear via telephone on talk shows. Michael Harrison describes her as “a natural side dish for this medium – one of the best and most credible psychics in the nation for those into that kind of thing.” To contact this unusual woman referred to as a “nice kind of oddity” call 571-926-8158 or visit her website at www.KathleenMilner.com.
Cool Job Opportunity. Clear Channel has a rare opportunity at its New York City station group for a full-time producer for News/Talk 710 WOR-AM. This position is based in Tribeca, New York. Responsibilities include: securing guests to appear on the radio program on an everyday basis, regularly scheduling multiple guests with prior approval of the host; you’ll be assigned the tasks of preliminary and final research information needed for the program, prior to the scheduled appearance of the guests; you’ll need to be confident, knowledgeable about the radio industry itself. Must have good writing skills and have the ability to develop great relationships and contacts; excellent judgment in prioritizing multiple stories and meeting deadlines; knowledge of current events and key local news figures; demonstrate organizational skills and must be flexible to multi-task, shift focus, and re-prioritize as the situation dictates; ability to work independently with minimal supervision and have demonstrated ability to use sound judgment and to make independent decisions; must be experienced in utilizing social media effectively; must have digital editing skills. If you’re overflowing with passion for radio and have a true desire to win and a great sense of team, we want to talk to you. Requirements: Must have 2-4 years hands-on radio producing experience in a medium and/or major market. Bachelor’s degree preferred. For more information and to apply, click here. EOE.
Emphatic Fox To Entercom: Apology Denied. After returning from a planned vacation last week, WEEI-FM, Boston morning personality Kirk Minihane reignited the controversy he started with criticism of Fox Sports reporter Erin Andrews’ All-Star Game work by reiterating his disdain for her work. But even his bosses at Entercom, who had been supportive, had to backtrack and he’s now been suspended for this week – without pay. To recap, the unbilled member of the Dennis & Callahan morning show on WEEI had some disparaging things to say the day after the broadcast about an in-game interview conducted by the network’s Erin Andrews. Perhaps only St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright will be the only person to know for certain if he made it a bit easier for Derek Jeter – appearing in his final All-Star contest – to smack a first-inning double, which was the catalyst for three quick AL runs in that frame. Social media was buzzing that Wainwright had indicated he might have grooved the pitch Jeter hit. Andrews questioned Wainwright about it and the pitcher backtracked from that notion, and he said Jeter’s hit was on the up-and-up. Apparently though, the televised exchange between this year’s co-host of (ABC-TV‘s) “Dancing with the Stars” and Wainwright did not sit well with Minihane, who declared of Andrews, “What a bitch – I hate her. What a gutless bitch. Seriously, go away. Drop dead. I mean, seriously, what the hell is wrong with her? First of all, follow-up. Second of all, the guy admitted he did it – he admitted it. He told reporters he threw a couple of ‘pipe-bombs.’ How is that social media’s fault? I hate her – I seriously hate her so much.” A Minihane-issued statement was posted Wednesday night (7/16) on the WEEI website that read: “I used a series of words to describe Erin Andrews’ work at the All-Star Game. My choice of words was wrong. I was wrong to have used them. To all whom I offended – particularly Ms. Andrews – I apologize. There is no place for what was said. It was immature and completely uncalled for. I am often critical of media members and their work and recognize here that I’ve made the kind of mistake I would call out if it was done by another sportscaster or writer. Again, to all involved, I’m very sorry.” But upon returning last week, he commented on the issue and lashed out at Andrews again, saying, “I think she stinks at her job. I don’t think she’s very smart. I don’t think she comes across as very smart. I think Fox only hired her because she is good-looking. I think if she weighed 15 pounds more, she would be a waitress at Perkins. That is what I believe, I do believe that.” It was probably that last comment that prompted Fox Sports president Eric Shanks to inform Entercom the company was pulling its entertainment and sports-related adds off of all Entercom stations and it was that move that brought Entercom CEO David Field into the mix. In the letter to Field, Shanks wrote that Minihane’s comments were “boorish and sexist.” Shanks further maintains that Minihane’s apology was “juvenile and insincere.” Furthermore, the Fox executive writes, “I had hoped by this time we might hear a sincere apology from WEEI, or perhaps someone from your office might have reached out to Fox. None of that has been forthcoming, and needless to say, we are disappointed.” According to Shanks, through film and television businesses, Fox is “a significant advertiser on Entercom stations. I have discussed this issue with our senior management and our various senior marketing executives. At their recommendation, going forward, Fox’s entertainment and sports businesses will not be advertising on your stations for the foreseeable future.” Field reacted by commenting, “Kirk Minihane’s statements regarding Erin Andrews were offensive and deplorable. It is clear by the response from our listeners, advertisers, and employees that Kirk’s efforts to apologize and make this right have been insufficient and ambiguous. We want to make it unequivocally clear that his comments were unacceptable and do not reflect Entercom’s values and standards.” As far as Shanks is concerned, the situation was made “worse,” owing to the fact that the “apology was posted under a banner hailing ‘The Triumphant Return of Kirk Minihane.'” Seemingly lost in the wake of pulled advertising dollars corporate-wide and having to suspend an on-air personality is the fact that in the latest (6+) trends (June 2014), WEEI-FM (3.3) beat cross-town CBS Radio format rival WBZ-FM “The Sports Hub” (2.9) for the first time (total week, 6+) in nearly two years. The last time it happened was August 2012, when WEEI-FM had the advantage over WBZ-FM by a 4.3 – 3.7 count (6+). WBZ-FM won each battle the rest of the year by 4.5 – 4.1 (September); 4.6 – 2.8 (October); 4.1 – 2.5 (November) 4.4 – 3.0 (December); and 4.6 – 2.7 (“Holiday”). The closest WEEI-FM came to WBZ-FM in 2013 was one-tenth in August (3.9 – 3.8); WBZ-FM’s largest (6+) lead in 2013 was in May (5.7 – 2.9). Thus far in 2014, “The Sports Hub” has emerged victorious over WEEI-FM (6+) in January (5.6 – 3.4); February (4.5 – 2.8); March (4.7 – 2.7); April (4.3 – 3.3); and May (5.1 – 3.4). As noted, WEEI-FM beat WBZ-FM in June (3.3 – 2.9, 6+). It will be interesting to see how Entercom handles this situation because the ratings for the Dennis & Callahan show have improved since Minihane joined the show and numerous Boston media watchers agree that his addition has breathed new life into the program.
Stephen A. Smith to Exit WEPN-FM for SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio Channel. That’s according to a report by The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman who writes that Stephen A. Smith will soon exit ESPN O&O WEPN-FM where he co-hosts the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm daily show with Ryan Ruocco to host his own program on the satellite service – reportedly in the same time slot that would lead into Chris “Mad Dog” Russo’s afternoon drive show. Raissman also suggests that a move to SiriusXM could be interesting for the controversial Stephen A. Smith, who caused a stir by his comments in reaction to the two-game suspension the NFL star Ray Rice received for punching out his wife in an elevator. Read Raissman’s column here.
KFWB, Los Angeles to Flip from News/Talk to Sports. Officials at the KFWB Trust are being tightlipped about the reports but LARadio.com’s Don Barrett is reporting that KFWB staffers were called to a meeting on Friday, July 25 and informed their jobs would go away in five weeks when the format changes. Barrett reports that staffers told him the station would go to sports talk using CBS Sports Radio Network which would bring Jim Rome back to the Los Angeles market. He’s been gone from his home market since jumping from Premiere Networks to CBS Sports 18 months ago. Some are questioning whether LA needs another sports talk outlet but it’s probably less about what the market “needs” and more about getting CBS Sports Radio and Jim Rome back into the Los Angeles market. It’d also be a heck of a lot less expensive to program network sports than a mix of network and local news/talk.
Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted. Up Today: Jerry Del Colliano Delivers Special Presentation, “Radio in the Digital Age.” Today (7/28) marks the 10th consecutive business day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last month’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014. The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms. The worldwide showing of these very special videos continues today with a special presentation titled “Radio in the Digital Age” delivered by Inside Music Media publisher Jerry Del Colliano. The longtime industry observer, analyst, and maverick draws upon his experience as both a professional radio broadcaster and former professor of music industry at USC to explain how the traits of the large, coming-of-age millennial generation do not quite mesh with the approach taken by most of the boomers running radio stations today. He implored the full house of broadcasters in attendance to heed the warning, “We must change! We must disrupt! Because the audience is changing.” To view this entire presentation, please click here. Coming tomorrow: A panel discussion moderated by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey titled “The State of Talk Programming.” Featured speakers include: Andy Bloom, OM, WPHT/WIP, Philadelphia; Phil Boyce, VP/spoken word programming, Salem Communications; Bill Hess, PD, WMAL, Washington, DC; Gabe Hobbs, CEO, Gabe Hobbs Media; and Craig Schwalb, PD, WABC, New York. The Talkers New York 2014 conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.
Odds & Sods. Although Stoney Richards is leaving his role at CBS RADIO Pittsburgh’s country WDSY where he’s been APD, music director and afternoon drive personality in order to pursue his acting career, he will maintain his weekend talk show on the company’s news/talk KDKA-AM where he hosts the “Live From The Centre” program…..Speaking of KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh, the station is partnering with local The Education Partnership to help provide new school and classroom supplies to local schools in financial need. This Wednesday (7/30), it will host a call-center in the 84 Lumber Theatre at CBS RADIO Pittsburgh from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm to answer listener questions, collect monetary donations and serve as an outlet for those looking for volunteer opportunities. Also, an onsite collection will take place at KDKA’s studios for the project dubbed “Crayons for Kids.” KDKA-AM morning news host Larry Richert comments, “When I first learned of the great need in our hometown I was shocked! The Education Partnership is such a lean and vital organization. With our help we can deliver on the basic needs of 30,000-plus school students who count on having the basics to learn and grow, starting with crayons!”…..In response to the comments by TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison published by the Boston Herald about the current state of news/talk radio in Boston relative to its colorful past, general manager Phil Redo – now with public broadcaster WGBH, Boston – checks in with his take. He tells TALKERS that (former WTKK-FM, Boston personalities) “Jim Braude and Margery Eagan (pictured here) are doing a fabulous show for us here on WGBH Radio. They have been on the air for nearly 18 months and made a smooth transition from commercial to public. Each day they explore a wide range of topics, from the top local news stories to connecting the dots on major national and international events. They provide an important access point for this community – and to the decision makers who will impact each of us by those decisions. In addition, the governor and AG show up every month to host an hour – as does Boston’s new mayor. Their show Boston Public Radio has grown from below a 1.0 share to above a 4.0 share and in June, ranks in the top 10 both 6+ and 25-54 during their 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot…They have done so well that we’re expanding the program to three hours this fall.”
Unusual General Manager/Sales Manager Opportunity at Talk Station Owned by an “Eccentric.” The self-described “eccentric” (we agree) owner of one of the nation’s leading independent local talk radio stations, KSCO AM 1080, Santa Cruz/Monterey/Salinas/Silicon Valley, Michael Zwerling, is looking for a general manager/sales manager to bring his station’s monthly ad billing up from “a laughable $30,000 per month” (his words not ours) to a “more respectable and completely do-able $300,000 per month.” Asked how a station billing only $30,000 in monthly ad revenue could be considered anything even REMOTELY deserving of being described as “one of the nation’s leading independent local talk radio stations,” Zwerling retorts, “Easy — ad sales have never been our focus in the past; we have done and continue to do very well, thank you, with our ‘royalties from radio’ revenue model we have employed for nearly 18 years. Yet we continue to serve our communities FAR better than most corporate-owned stations, and far better than most other independent stations that can’t AFFORD to serve their communities.” Zwerling continues, “But I started to feel like a fool recently when I realized that just because we don’t NEED to sell advertising — doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t TRY to sell as much advertising as possible — just like any other station being run by anyone with even HALF a brain!” According to Zwerling, the sky is the limit in terms of unique opportunity for the right person with “fire in his/her belly” to bring an additional $270,000 PER MONTH ad revenue into KSCO. But there is a catch. To read the entire story penned by TALKERS staff writer Mona Lipschitz, please click here.
WABC, New York’s Mark Levin to Host Cumulus Media’s “Bark in the Park” Event. The 4th Annual “Bark in the Park” event presented by Cumulus Media’s New York stations WABC, WPLJ, WNSH “NASH FM 94.7,” and WNBM “Radio 103.9” is being hosted by WABC personality Mark Levin Saturday, August 2 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm at Overpeck Park in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey. The stations are teaming up with the North Shore Animal League America and Bergen County Animal Shelter/Adoption Center which will be on site with many dogs up for adoption. The mission is to find a home for as many puppies as possible. Additionally, the day will feature a wide array of vendors, services, food, demonstrations, and activities for families and dog lovers alike.
Apple to Acquire Spoken-Word Aggregator Swell. According to a report in re/code, Apple is paying approximately $30 million to acquire the company Swell, whose current app creates a stream of spoken-word content delivered to iPhones and iPads based on the user’s likes. Liz Gannes writes in her piece that with the acquisition, the Swell app will go away and some analysts believe Apple will integrate the service into existing services such as iTunes Radio. Read Gannes’ re/code story here.
Yahoo! Sports Radio Invades Las Vegas! The crew pictured here is Yahoo! Sports Radio network talent in Las Vegas as the network “took over” Lagasse’s Stadium at The Palazzo Hotel and Casino during the week of July 21-25 broadcasting live for what it dubbed, “Yahoo! Sports Radio Super Week.” From left to right are: Air personalities Steve Czaban, Scott Linn, Geoff Ketchum, Sean Salisbury, Yahoo! Sports Radio CEO David Gow, personalities John Granato and Peter Brown.
By Steven J.J. Weisman
BOSTON — On Tuesday, July 2 Anthony Cumia, of Opie & Anthony fame, had an altercation with an African-American woman in Times Square who objected to his photographing her. The altercation escalated to a point where Cumia says he was physically assaulted by the woman. He chose not to file a criminal complaint against her and explained his actions on Twitter by writing “Because I can take some punches w/out wasting the cops time.” Cumia did, however take to Twitter to vent his anger as to the incident in a series of tweets that were interpreted by many as being racist and misogynistic. Among those who considered the rants offensive was Cumia’s employer, SiriusXM which promptly fired him the very next day and issued a terse statement that reads: “SiriusXM has terminated its relationship with Anthony Cumia of the ‘Opie & Anthony channel. The decision was made and Cumia informed late Thursday, July 3, after careful consideration of his racially charged and hate-filled remarks on social media. Those remarks and postings are abhorrent to Sirius XM and his behavior is wholly inconsistent with what Sirius XM represents.”
Cumia appeared to be surprised by his firing and tweeted the next morning “Sirius decided to cave and fire me. Welcome to bizarro world. Fired for s**t that wasn’t even on the air & wasn’t illegal. So, who’s next?”
He doesn’t get it.
Did SiriusXM Have the Right to Fire Anthony Cumia? A week after satellite broadcaster SiriusXM terminated Anthony Cumia of the “Opie & Anthony” show, TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes about the underlying legal aspects of the case. Weisman explains that – although he hasn’t read Cumia’s contract – most performers who sign a contract these days have a morals clause in their deals that give the employer the right to fire employees who do things while off duty that reflect badly on the company. Weisman offers some history of the morals clause and explains what employees finding themselves in Cumia’s situation might have in their arsenal with which to fight back. Read Weisman’s entire piece here.
KFBK, Sacramento Gives Gubernatorial Nominee Talk Show Appearance. In an effort to do what Clear Channel Sacramento VP of programming Ken Charles says is “covering the biggest stories and the most relevant news for Sacramento and California,” news/talk KFBK welcomed Republican gubernatorial nominee Neel Kashkari to the airwaves, allowing him to host a three-hour show last night (7/10) from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Charles said, “We invited both Kashkari and Governor Brown to host a show with us to provide them a unique forum to speak with the citizens of northern California. We look forward to Kashkari’s appearance tonight and hope we hear from the governor very soon.”
WHYN, Springfield to Name Adam Wright Morning Drive Co-Host. Two weeks after parting company with longtime morning drive co-host Brad Shepard, Clear Channel Springfield, Massachusetts is prepared to announce Adam Hamada Wright will join co-host Bo Sullivan on air for AM drive duties. Wright operates Westfield, Massachusetts based Advertus Media, a creative and media buying agency, and will continue that business in addition to his radio work. He says, “WHYN is a heritage news/talk station and I look forward to carrying on an incredible tradition of broadcasting there. This new additional adventure is the culmination of a lifelong dream of hosting a talk show and the ability to return to radio after 14 years. I will forever be grateful to Sean Davey and Jerry Hyland for coming up with this insane idea and I will honor those who came before me on this storied station, especially Brad Shepard who I consider an amazing talent and friend.”
Dianna Kelly Joins ’98.3 The Torch’ in Des Moines. Taking on the role of news director for Cumulus Media news/talk outlet KWQW “98.3 The Torch” is Dianna Kelly. Cumulus states that the “experienced broadcast journalist and talk personality has held on-air positions for stations in Kansas City, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Fresno, Jacksonville, Grand Rapids, and suburban Nashville. She has been honored with six Associated Press awards for her feature reports.” Kelly says, “What a pleasure to be working with the brightest minds in radio! The future of radio is here and it’s at Cumulus. I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of it.”
Round Three of June PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of June 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The survey period was May 22 through June 18. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page of RadioInfo.com here.
Dino Costa Moves Show Base to NYC. Two months after the former SirusXM sports talk personality Dino Costa began his own internet-based sports talk show at dinocostashow.com, he announces he’s moving his base of operations from Cheyenne, Wyoming to New York City later this summer. Costa explains on his website that he initially hated life in New York when he first went to work for SiriusXM but, to his own surprise, realized he missed the City after moving back to the West and settling in Cheyenne. Costa says his show will be MIA for a week when he and his family make the move back to New York.
Odds & Sods. Mixing it up a bit is Premiere Networks as the syndicator brings rock/talk WMMS, Cleveland and classic rock WDTW, Detroit personality Alan Cox in to sub for Andy Dean on the “America Now” program on Monday, July 14. Though Dean is decidedly conservative, Cox likes to operate more in the pop culture/lifestyle arena. This should be an interesting listen…..A Manhattan street was named for the longtime WINS, New York reporter who passed away last year at age 86, just two weeks after filing his last report for the station. The New York Daily News reports that the corner of W. 43rd St. and 10th Avenue will bear the name “Stan Brooks Way” as a tribute to the journalist who worked for WINS for almost 50 years. Brooks and his wife lived near the intersection…..CBS RADIO’s KNX, Los Angeles continues its “KNX On Your Corner” series with a live remote broadcast from northern Orange County on Friday, July 25. The station says the broadcast will include a series of special reports focusing on important issues in the cities of Brea, La Habra, Yorba Linda and Placentia. Additionally, local civic leaders will appear as special guests throughout the day as KNX gives listeners insight into the unique attributes of the area. “Adding to the local flavor of the day, KNX will broadcast live from Arthur’s Coffee Shop in La Habra. Free refreshments will be offered and the public is invited to meet the people behind the microphones of Southern California’s only all-news radio station.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Update. “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is added to new affiliate stations WAMT, Orlando; KMET-AM, Banning, California; WGRV, Greeneville, Tennessee; WNNG-FM, Unadilla, Georgia; and WFPA, Ft. Payne, Alabama…..Doug Stephan’s “Good Day” program adds 10 new affiliate stations including KLAV, Las Vegas; WELE, Ormond Beach, Florida; KVNA, Flagstaff, Arizona; and WMXB, Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Child Immigration Crisis Top News/Talk Story This Week. The influx of minor immigrants from Central America crossing the Southwestern borders and the immigration policy controversy associated with it was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of July 7-11, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Following at #2 was the ISIS campaign in Iraq. At #3 was the Israeli-Palestinian violence and at #4 was the state of President Obama’s approval ratings. 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 magazine and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
SiriusXM Appears to Be Moving Ahead with Gregg “Opie” Hughes and Jim Norton. A Tweet by one half of the former Opie & Anthony team – Gregg “Opie” Hughes – seems to indicate that SiriusXM will continue to employ Hughes to host a daily show. Comic Jim Norton – a big part of the show – is likely to stay with the show and pick up some of the slack. His Tweet was brief: “Had a long talk with @SiriusXM me and @JimNorton will be back on the radio next Monday to start to figure this out.” Anthony Cumia was fired on July 3 after a series of Tweets deemed racist and vulgar by SiriusXM management. Speaking Cumia, he confirms in a piece published at The Wire that he is preparing to forge ahead with his “Live from the Compound Show” — an online program that will require a subscription fee (though he admits that amount has not been determined). In the piece, Cumia also says he understands that Hughes and Norton are under contract through October so calls from fans for the two to quit in a movement of solidarity with him are unreasonable.
It’s Not Just Anthony Cumia; Georgia Public Broadcasting Fires Clay Bolton After Political/Curse Word Incident. Further illustrating how what you do outside of the office can impact your employment status is the case of (now former) Georgia Public Broadcasting producer Clay Bolton. Bolton was photographed by alternative weekly Creative Loafing wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the phrase “F*ck Cobb County” – a protest of the impending move of the Atlanta Braves to the suburbs. Bolton’s t-shirt company produces the shirts. He was told by GPB that “the recent actions discussed with you today have impacted the professional integrity and credibility that this organization expects of all its employees in the field of radio and television journalism to comply with. In addition, this organization does not tolerate conduct from any employee that may impact, threaten or coerce another employee, a customer, or a member of the public at any time including off-duty hours.” Would Bolton have been spared if the shirt had not used the word “f*ck?” Maybe, but the point is that you can’t be too careful these days and, if there is doubt, check with your employer ahead of time when possible.
Talk Host Dana Loesch Threatened Via Twitter. KFTK-FM, St. Louis-based and Radio America nationally syndicated talk host Dana Loesch went public on her Monday program about a threat she received via Twitter from someone who took issue with her stance on gun legislation (Loesch is poised to publish a new book titled, Hands Off My Gun) and, ironically, threatened her. The Tweet came from someone only identified as Gaganna and the Tweets have since been deleted and the account closed by Twitter. The Examiner reports Loesch has had incidents in the past where gun control supporters have threatened her, ostensibly because of her support of the Second Amendment. Most talk show hosts have received negative correspondence at one time or another but threatening messages can be unnerving since one never knows if the threat is empty or not.
Take Your Audience to the Movies. Media consultant Holland Cooke writes about the new Dinesh D’Souza film, “America: Imagine the World without Her,” and, in addition to giving his take on the film, slips back into consultant mode and recommends talk hosts/talk stations book a private screening and invite listeners to attend. But do much more than that. Cooke offers suggestions for having a post-film Q&A, and even recording the exchange to use as talking points on subsequent talk shows on your station. Read Holland Cooke’s piece here.
Talkers New York 2014 to Be Available on Video Next Week. Video recordings of all the key sessions and presentations at the recent Talkers New York 2014 held on Friday, June 20 will be posted to the TALKERS magazine website (www.talkers.com) next week via a generous sponsorship-grant presented by WYD Media Ad Sales, LLC. On making the announcement, TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “This conference has been widely acclaimed as one of the best in the 17 annual installments of this event. The hours of timely, informational content contained on these videos recorded by “radio’s best friend” Art Vuolo and the TALKERS tech team are absolutely priceless. Although the place was SRO with hundreds of industry professionals in attendance, there are obviously thousands more who couldn’t attend but will now be able to share in the experience of seeing an extraordinary variety of today’s radio leaders speaking about the most important issues facing talk media today and tomorrow.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison adds, “We indeed owe a debt of gratitude to Ron Hartenbaum and WYD Media Ad Sales, LLC for donating the funds necessary for us to be able to make this stunning package of video information available to the working people of the radio industry absolutely free of charge.” The video presentations from Talkers New York 2014 are scheduled to be posted on Tuesday, July 15.
Let Them Eat Cake. With all the Beatlemania half-century anniversary stuff going on this year, this blast from the past – courtesy of Westwood One talk star Jim Bohannon – will certainly take you back. It was January 1, 1965, and KICK, Springfield, Missouri disc jockeys Michael Wolfgang (l) and Jim Bohannon (the nerd on the right), both 20, decided to send the Beatles an 8’ by 3’ cake with their pictures in the icing, to commemorate release of the “Beatles 65” album. Bohannon tells TALKERS, “We traded out the box, the cake, and Campbell’s Express shipping company for publicity, which made the national wires. We even carried the darned thing through the streets of Springfield with police escort to a local retailer’s show window, where it was displayed for a week. Standing between us is Springfield singer Della Rae, promoted at the time as the next Brenda Lee. The Sporty 1340 wasn’t a bad little station then, including Les Garland and newsman Charles McCord. That’s a fair staff for $1.87 an hour.”
Illegal Immigration Crisis, Latest Snowden NSA Data Release, Boehner on Obama Suit, Hillary Clinton Speaking Fees Controversy, Israeli-Palestinian Tensions, Obama-Hillary Relationship, Antarctic Sea Ice Data/Climate Change Debate, and July Fourth Holiday Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/7). The protests in the Southwest over the transfer of illegal aliens and increased debate over the U.S.’s immigration enforcement; a new round of NSA data mining documents released by Edward Snowden; John Boehner’s argument for suing President Obama; ongoing questions about Hillary Clinton’s speaking fees and her financial status; the violence between Israel and the Hamas-controlled Gaza strip; speculation about the relationship between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton; new data about the increasing size of the Antarctic sea ice shelf and debate over climate change; and the Declaration of Independence and Fourth of July Holiday were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WYD Media Ad Sales Debuts. The New York-based sales venture being launched by WYD Media Management is called WYD Media Ad Sales, LLC and former Westwood One EVP of talk sales John Murphy takes the helm as president. WYD CEO Ron Hartenbaum announces the company will focus on personality-created spoken word content that’s distributed across multiple platforms such as audio, digital, video and more. He adds, “Based on his 30-year track record of success in national radio ad sales, specifically in the spoken word format, John is the ideal sales and marketing executive to build WYD Media Ad Sales.” Murphy, who spent more than a decade with Westwood One, comments, “This is the best time to start a new venture that focuses on monetizing spoken word content as the format expands across numerous distribution platforms. I look forward to working with WYD’s existing clients as well as creating new partnerships and content opportunities.” During his career Murphy has repped such talent as: Charles Osgood, Laura Ingraham, Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz, Clark Howard, Herman Cain, Mark Levin, Dennis Miller, John Gibson, John Tesh, Brian Kilmeade, Thom Hartmann, Lars Larson, Neal Boortz and more.
Ginny Morris Transitions to CEO of Hubbard Radio; Bruce Reese to Special Advisor Role. Since 1996, Bruce Reese had been serving Bonneville as president and CEO prior to the acquisition of the Bonneville stations by Hubbard in 2011. He kept his president and CEO role and joined Hubbard. Ginny Morris has been chair of the Hubbard board since 2011. Now, Reese will step back into a special advisor role and Morris will become chief executive officer. The company states that Reese has been “instrumental in the transition when the 17 Bonneville radio stations across four markets (Washington, D.C., Chicago, St. Louis and Cincinnati) were purchased by Hubbard Radio. The acquisition also meant the addition of 547 Bonneville employees.” Morris says, “Working with Bruce over these last three-and-a-half years on the integration, first on the Bonneville assets and subsequently those we bought from Sandusky and merged into a new Hubbard Radio, has been a great experience. Bruce is smart and strategic and he shares many of the values that our family holds dear — a commitment to localism, honesty and integrity. He has helped to establish a great foundation for the company and we are grateful to still have the benefit of his wise counsel.” Reese comments, “Over the last two decades, I’ve had the opportunity to run two great radio companies. After Bonneville was brought into Hubbard Radio, we all worked to preserve the values and spirit of both organizations while creating one corporate identity and culture. The success of the transition has exceeded my hopes, and I am grateful for the trust shown to me by Ginny and the entire Hubbard Radio family. Our company is performing well, and the time is right for Ginny to step into this role. I look forward to continuing to work with the Hubbard team in an advisory capacity while eagerly looking forward to the next chapter in my life.”
O&A Fans in ‘Watch and Wait’ Mode After Anthony Cumia’s July 3 Firing. Fans of the Opie & Anthony show on SiriusXM are waiting to see if co-host Gregg “Opie” Hughes continues the show without longtime partner Anthony Cumia after Cumia was fired from the satcaster on Friday, July 4. By now you’ve probably heard about Cumia’s vulgar rant about his confrontation with an African American woman in Times Square who was reportedly upset she was in his camera’s field of view as he took photos on the street. An altercation took place during which Cumia says the woman began punching him. Police were not called to the scene. Cumia took to Twitter to talk about the incident and used foul language while making the woman’s race part of the issue. After being fired, he Tweeted that SiriusXM “decided to cave” and fired him for something that didn’t happen on air and wasn’t illegal. TALKERS is not aware of the content of Cumia’s contract with SiriusXM but it appears the satcaster was within its rights to terminate him. He’s neither the first nor will he be the last radio personality to lose his gig after a Twitter rant. The advice seems obvious: Your employer will ultimately see what you do in the digital world; consider how the company would view your actions before posting.
Ethan Bearman Produces and Performs One-Hour Independence Day Special on WPHT, Philadelphia. Rising talk star Ethan Bearman, who is regularly heard weekends on Cumulus O&O KSFO, San Francisco and nationally on Genesis Communications Network (GCN), has expanded his broadcasting footprint to include CBS O&O WPHT, Philadelphia. Bearman was smartly recruited by WPHT, PD Jared Hart to do a live hour of Independence Day content last Friday between 3:00 pm and 4:00 pm ET on Philly’s 50k flamethrower and reports from the TALKERS monitoring corps indicate that it was a provocative, informative and powerful hour of spoken word radio. According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “Bearman analyzed the historical, cultural and political fabric of the American institution of the 4th of July in a meticulous and precise manner that had a number of ‘aha!’ moments. He took intelligent calls and made a number of really relevant points that left the audience thinking. I especially like the way he compared the leaders of that period – those folks we call the ‘Founding Fathers’ – to today’s crop of politicians asking the question, “Are there any political leaders today who would sign a document supporting an issue and campaign in which they believed at the significant risk of their lives?” Bearman was part of a larger WPHT July 4th salute in which station morning and midday hosts Chris Stigall and Dom Giordano broadcasted their shows from the Independence Hall Visitors Center.
Jason Lewis to End GCN Syndication Run. As tipped by “Free Talk Live” host Ian Freeman, nationally syndicated talk show host Jason Lewis will cease his syndication efforts with Genesis Communications Network effective August 1. Lewis first ventured into syndication from his Twin Cities home base several years ago with Premiere Networks. After his relationship with Premiere Networks ended, he joined GCN for national syndication three years ago. There’s no indication whether Lewis will leave flagship station KTLK, Minneapolis at that time.
Brad and Britt Debut Podcast Today from Branded Studio. Following up on last week’s report about the new podcast project being produced by talk radio personalities Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire, the two inform TALKERS that when they begin their podcast show – available for download by 3:00 pm ET today – they will be doing so from their sponsored studio: The Brad and Britt Tarheeldentist.com Studio. In a piece about the duo’s exit from WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte in the Greensboro News & Record, Krantz says they believe that money is starting to flow in the direction of audio on demand and are excited about the new venture.
Alpha Media Promotes Portland Cluster Marketing Pro Randi P’Pool to Corporate Position. This promotion for Portland market director of marketing Randi P’Pool comes shortly after the completed merger of Alpha Broadcasting, L&L Broadcasting and Main Line Broadcasting. P’Pool’s new title is corporate VP of marketing and promotions. Alpha Media president/CEO Bob Proffitt states, “I’m very happy Randi has accepted this position, as she has proven to be an invaluable asset to our Portland cluster and now will be true resource to the Alpha Media markets. She is creative, intelligent, and relentless – perfect qualifications for a corporate VP of marketing and promotions.” P’Pool comments, “I owe much gratitude to Bob Proffitt, Scott Mahalick and Larry Wilson for giving me the opportunity to be part of this exciting journey not only in radio but within our company. I look forward to continuing to grow and promote the live and local brand across all of our markets.” Prior to joining Alpha Broadcasting three years ago, P’Pool served with Citadel Broadcasting in the Salt Lake City market.
AdLarge Ups Tom Fleming. Adding more duties at AdLarge Media is Tom Fleming who is promoted to vice president, Midwest sales and sports sales. In this expanded role, Fleming will be responsible for the AdLarge repertoire of live, play-by-play NFL and NCAA football offerings, Yahoo Sports Radio, and all Midwest sales, including the Detroit office. Fleming had been serving as vice president, Midwest sales since joining AdLarge in October, 2013.
Pascagoula, Mississippi Radio Personality Walter Thornton Dead at 53. The Pascagoula-Moss Point community is mourning the death of local morning radio host and sportscaster Walter Thornton, who died over the holiday weekend of an apparent heart attack. The SunHerald reports the 53-year-old broadcaster was a standout high school athlete who remained involved in the local sports scene and became a sports talk host covering the prep scene in the area. Most recently he hosted the morning show and sports talk programs at Tri City Radio-owned WPMO, Pascagoula-Moss Point and sister station WVGG, Lucedale.
Will It Be “Governor Freeman?” Probably not, as “Free Talk Live” host Ian Freeman admits he’d have trouble “governing” anyone even if he beat the odds and is elected. But the co-host of the New Hampshire-based, GCN nationally syndicated show says his goal with the campaign is two-fold: “First, to needle the current governor, Maggie Hassan, on her refusal to decriminalize or legalize cannabis in NH, while admitting she smoked it in college; second, to promote the idea of NH declaring independence from the United States.” Freeman says he’s available for interviews from interested broadcasters about these issues. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Freeman is pictured here at far right while broadcasting from the recent Porcfest 2014 – the yearly camping gathering of libertarians that drew over 1,500 attendees, many of them FTL listeners. Also pictured are (from left to right) Free Talk Live’s Mark Edge, Nick Gillespie of Reason.com, and Jeffrey Tucker of Liberty.me.
Reaching Out to His Peeps. KIDO, Boise morning drive personality Kevin Miller rouses the crowd at the 48th annual Treasure Valley God and Country Festival. Miller tells TALKERS he was honored to fire up the crowd of some 9,000 that attended the festival to honors “faith and the military in Idaho.”
Cool Job Opportunity. Station Group in Little Rock Arkansas is looking to hire a General Manger to oversee all station operations for news/talk and sports talk. Sales acumen and experience in news and sports talk field a plus. Contact Steve Renfro at 479-287-4211 or by email at email@example.com.
Forbes 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 income $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.
Clear 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.
Greater 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, 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.”
SBG 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.”
More 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 creator 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.
Bruce 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 Kraig 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 ‘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.
SCBA’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.
KOIL, 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.
Townsquare Media to Go Public with IPO Hoping to Raise $144 Million. The negative spin on this story is that by going public, Townsquare Media becomes another company that must serve shareholders first – with all that that implies. But the reality is that Townsquare’s backers – Oaktree Capital and GE Capital (with 62% and 18% stakes, respectively) – have poured a lot of cash into building the company’s portfolio of 312 radio stations and number of digital publications. The company is sitting on $645 million of outstanding debt and the IPO would help put a dent in that if it raises the $145 million it hopes for. The one aspect of the company’s balance sheet that is turning radio industry watchers’ heads is that, according to its S1 filing, 26% of its revenue is coming from the non-radio end of its operations. At this point, there is no timetable for the IPO or any report of how much shares will be sold for.
New England Radio Pro Brad Shepard Exits WHYN, Springfield. For the past 11 years, Brad Shepard (left) has co-hosted the morning drive program alongside Bo Sullivan (right) on Clear Channel’s news/talk WHYN, Springfield, Massachusetts. Now, the station appears to be going with Sullivan alone in the driver’s seat as CC’s Jennifer Powers confirms to Masslive.com that “Brad Shepard is no longer part of WHYN mornings. We appreciate all of his contributions during his time with us and wish him well.” Prior to joining Clear Channel Springfield in 2000, Shepard was morning host at crosstown AC WMAS-FM for seven years. The move appears to be budget related like most of the talent cuts taking place at Clear Channel that TALKERS and RadioInfo have reported this week.
TALKERS Career Moves. Las Vegas radio pro Tom Humm inks a new, five-year deal to remain in his vice president and market manager role at Beasley Broadcast Group’s station group there that includes four music stations and news/talk KDWN…..Nicky Sparrow is named the director of sales for the Clear Channel New Orleans station group that consists of six music outlets and news/talk WRNO-FM “Rush Radio 99.5.”
WGN, Chicago to Unveil ‘Walk of Fame.’ This Friday is the day Tribune Company’s WGN Radio will hold the WGN Radio Walk of Fame Induction Ceremony at Pioneer Court in front of Tribune Tower on Michigan Avenue. The ceremony will be broadcast live on WGN with hosts Steve Cochran and Bob Sirott introducing the 2014 Walk of Fame inductees and interviewing them or their family representatives. Being inducted this year are: Spike O’Dell, Orion Samuelson, Kathy O’Malley, Wally Phillips (represented by wife, Barbara Phillips), Judy Markey, Quin Ryan (represented by his cousin, Justin O’Brien), Milt Rosenberg, Jack Brickhouse (represented by wife, Pat Brickhouse), Roy Leonard, and Bob Collins (represented by wife, Christine Collins).
The New York Festivals Announces International Radio Program Award Winners. Monday evening in New York City, the New York Festivals handed out honors to the winners in the 2014 competition The New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards. The broad competition included entries from all over the world in a wide spectrum of categories. Some of the winner from the United States included the American Forces Network; WGBH, Boston; Bloomberg News; and Gary Theroux Productions. Follow this link and you can search for winners based on country or category.
PodcastOne Targets Young Demos with Brody Jenner Show. The half-brother of the Kardashian sisters – Brody Jenner – is entering the world of podcasts with co-host and relationship expert Dr. Mike Dow for a weekly podcast titled, “The Brody Jenner Podcast with Dr. Mike Dow.” Brody – star of MTV’s “The Hills” – will focus on the love lives of celebrities and the podcast’s audience as they engage them through social media. PodcastOne founder and CEO Norm Pattiz says, “Brody Jenner has an amazing connection with exactly the target audience we want to build at PodcastOne. We’re now doing business with over 100 of the nation’s biggest brands. We know where we need to go and we’re betting that Brody and Dr. Mike Dow can help get us there.”
Odds & Sods. “America Now” host Andy Dean will appear on this Friday’s edition of “Real Time with Bill Maher” on HBO at 10:00 pm ET. The Premiere Networks-syndicated talk host will be on with journalist Bobby Ghosh and MSNBC anchor Joy Reid…..Former WEEI, Boston sports talk host Glenn Ordway’s digital effort “The Big Show Unfiltered” makes a move on its SiriusXM platform where it is also heard live from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET. The show moves from channel 108 to channel 220 for Sirius subscribers but remains on 206 for XM subscribers. A press release from Ordway’s organization reports the show’s podcasts (which debuted on March 17) “have generated nearly 312,000 listener hours, up from over 252,000 individual listening sessions. Each of those individual listening sessions, on average, has lasted 1:14, a critical factor in developing listener loyalty.”…..The internet video sports entertainment project 120 Sports debuts this evening at 6:00 pm ET. 120 Sports is collaboration between Time Inc./Sports Illustrated, MLB.com, the NHL, Campus Insiders and Silver Chalice. 120 Sports is described as “a first-of-its-kind network partnership involving multiple leagues and media properties created for the digital generation and the devices it uses most. In 120 Sports, today’s fans will have access to unauthenticated video programming through a new platform built to intuitively integrate video and data in ways they haven’t experienced before. The 120 Sports product will debut as free native applications for mobile and tablet devices as well as a web experience at 120Sports.com and other distribution outlets.
Iraq Turmoil-U.S. Military Role, IRS Scandal Testimony, Influx of Illegals in Southwest, Primary Races/State of the GOP, Hillary Clinton Memoir-Financial Status, News Corp Phone Hacking Trial, LeBron James Watch, and World Cup Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/24). The continuing march of ISIS toward Baghdad and the U.S. military’s potential role in the country’s security; the testimony surrounding the loss of Lois Lerner’s emails by the IRS; the massive influx of minor illegals in the Southwest and concerns about health problems and criminal activity; the primary races for the fall’s mid-term elections and debate over the state of the GOP; Hillary Clinton’s latest memoir and her statements about her financial status; verdicts in the News Corp phone hacking scandal; speculation about the future of NBA star LeBron James; and the hoopla over World Cup action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
John Brennan Upped to Director of Branding and Programming at ‘102.5 The Bone’ in Tampa. The promotion lifts John Brennan from his content manager position to director of branding and programming at Cox Media Group’s WHPT, Tampa “102.5 The Bone, REAL.RAW.RADIO.” In this post he’ll be responsible for all programming operations for WHPT, including talent selection, coaching, scheduling, imaging, brand development, digital strategy and more. Cox Tampa VP and market manager Keith Lawless states, “In his previous role as content manager for WHPT, John demonstrated his clear understanding and vision for this unique format. I am confident in his leadership capabilities and proud to have John in this important role.” Brennan comments, “I am extremely excited to be named the director of branding and programming for ‘102.5 The Bone.’ ‘The Bone’ is one of the most unique stations in radio, with some of the most polarizing and talented personalities in the world, and I get to work with them every day. I am honored that Kim Guthrie, Steve Smith and Keith Lawless have such confidence in me to continue the great success of this station. I feel genuinely lucky to be working for a company that encourages such originality and creativity!” In addition to his previous content manager position, Brennan was also executive producer of the Mike Calta show.
WGN, Chicago Celebrates 90th Anniversary with ‘Walk of Fame.’ As Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago celebrates its 90th year of service to the market, the station will spend the month of June honoring its history with several commemorative projects, videos, “Throwback Thursday” social media posts, and on-air programming featuring highlights throughout the decades. The station says the anniversary celebration culminates on Friday, June 27 when Tribune Media unveils the “WGN Radio Walk of Fame.” Plaques will be installed outside the Allstate Showcase Studio at the Tribune Tower on Michigan Avenue. The 2014 induction will recognize 10 beloved and legendary hosts from the station’s long list of distinguished talent including: Jack Brickhouse, Bob Collins, Roy Leonard, Judy Markey, Spike O’Dell, Kathy O’Malley, Wally Phillips, Milt Rosenberg, Quin Ryan and Orion Samuelson. Bios and career highlights of the inductees can be found at wgnradio.com. The ceremony will broadcast live from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm followed by an anniversary special broadcast, “90 years in 90 minutes” from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm. WGN VP of content Todd Manley says, “Our inaugural Walk of Fame class represents all nine decades of WGN Radio’s life in Chicago. We look forward to honoring even more names who have helped make us the fencepost of conversation for 90 years.”
Bob Pittman Explains Radio’s Resilience to Bloomberg. In a piece for Bloomberg TV, Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman says the reason 92% of Americans tune in to radio at least once per week is because good radio operators know the audiences they are trying to reach and present the content in a way that attracts them. In the piece, he asks Bloomberg’s Cristina Alesci, “Do you think we’re so dumb that we spend hundreds of millions of dollars per year to program radio stations versus just playing the music if that would work?” The piece also features media experts who address radio advertising and how that is evolving to try to keep revenue coming in as more and more advertisers move ad dollars to digital. View the three-minute segment here.
CC Ups VP of Sales Wilcox to SF Market President Post. After yesterday’s announcement that longtime market manager JD Freeman would be retiring from the Clear Channel Media + Entertainment San Francisco cluster, the company announces it is promoting vice president of sales Katie Wilcox to the market president position. Wilcox has been VP of sales since 2009 leading a team of more than 50 sellers, managers and staff to identify opportunities for the seven station cluster. She comments, “Although I have big shoes to fill, my past experience with my partners in programming and operations give me great confidence that this talented team will continue to thrive in the future. I am energized by the challenge ahead and look forward to serving the expanding needs of our listeners, clients and staff.”
Red Zebra Inks Kevin Sheehan to Three-Year Extension at ‘ESPN 980’ Washington. Midday show co-host Kevin Sheehan re-ups with Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington, DC “ESPN 980” for another three years. Sheehan works with Thom Loverro on “The Sports Fix” that airs from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm. VP of programming Chuck Sapienza says, “Kevin has become a fixture in Washington, DC radio and his ratings dominance is a testament to his hard work and preparation.” Sheehan will also continue to host the “Official Redskins Pre-Game Show,” contribute to the Tony Kornheiser show and co-host “Monday Morning Quarterback” after each Redskins football game. Red Zebra CEO Rick Carmean adds, “Kevin Sheehan, Thom Loverro, Doc Walker and Brian Mitchell give us one of the strongest midday lineups in the industry. We are ecstatic to have Kevin in the fold for the next three years.”
An Open Letter to Michael Smerconish from Lars Larson. Nationally syndicated and regional talk radio personality Lars Larson – Compass Media Networks and Alpha Media’s KXL, Portland – writes an open letter to SiriusXM and CNN talk media personality Michael Smerconish, criticizing him for “bashing fellow talk hosts as routinely and regularly lying to listeners.” Larson writes in response to Smerconish’s recent appearance on CBS TV in which he promotes his new book called Talk: A Novel, the protagonist of which is a conservative talk host who ignores his conscience to get a big syndication deal. Read Larson’s open letter here.
First Round of April PPM Data Released. PPM data from the first of four groups of 12 markets for the April 2014 period (March 27 – April 23) has been released by Nielsen Audio. Those markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). TALKERS magazine’s sister publication, RadioInfo, has all the (subscriber) numbers here. Managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the report at RadioInfo.com here.
The Connected Car Ain’t Cheap! As advertisers attempt to follow the consumer to the next hot destination – mobile – the saving grace for traditional media just may be the expense of data. The Wall Street Journal’s Tom Gara writes about GM’s new option for 4G LTE connectivity in some models that turns your vehicle into a Wi-Fi hot spot. But it’s not cheap. Certainly consumers with lots of disposable income may splurge but others are likely to balk at paying up to $50 a month for 5 GB of data on top of their smartphone data plans and other monthly media bills. There are other options: $5 per day for 200 MB – not good enough for video but fine for surfing the web. Still, while its possible data may get less expensive down the road, providers are showing no signs of dropping those prices in the near future. Even though advertisers are feverishly trying to figure out how to reach all those 25-39 year olds glued to their smartphones, the fact that radio is free and easy to use is still what keeps many people tuning in.
Getting to the Heart of it with Carlos Santana. While appearing on ABC’s “Good Morning America” to promote his latest album Corazon, guitar legend Carlos Santana (right) spent some time backstage talking with ABC News Radio’s Andrea Dresdale (left) whose report was available to affiliates.
Timothy Geithner Book, Boko Haram Mass Kidnapping, Ice Melt Prediction/Climate Change, New Benghazi Hearings, NFL Draft, and Donald Sterling CNN Interview Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/12). Former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s memoir and the controversy over interpretations that Geithner was asked to twist the truth about the factors contributing to the federal deficit; the kidnapping of Christian schoolgirls by militant Islamist organization Boko Haram and its request for a prisoner swap with jailed fellow militants; predictions about Antarctic ice melt and the debate over climate change; the effort to hold new hearings on the Benghazi attack; the NFL draft; and the interview Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling gave to CNN’s Anderson Cooper were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cool Job Opportunity. Journal Broadcast Group is seeking a part-time producer for WTMJ, Milwaukee’s midday show with Charlie Sykes. Education:College degree in related field preferred. Skills:Excellent verbal and social communication skills; strong radio news background; effective problem-solving abilities; high work ethics, news judgment and production skills; ability to meet deadlines and detail orientation; ability to read and decipher news source material; operate studio equipment; follow program logs; computer proficiency in digital audio programs. Minimum of one year experience in broadcasting, preferably news/talk radio. Duties:Assist show planning for midday with Charlie Sykes – including show prep materials, audio production and guest booking; develop and maintain extensive contacts; help communicate show material and coordination with Right Wisconsin staff; maintain station commercial log; facilitate breaking news, severe weather and traffic coverage for southeast Wisconsin. Send resume and cover letter to: Eric Brooks, Newsradio 620 WTMJ, 720 E. Capitol Drive, Milwaukee, WI 53212. Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Three Eagles Communications to Sell Stations to Dean Goodman’s Digity. The growing media portfolio of Dean Goodman continues to grow as his Palm Beach, Florida-based Digity Companies agrees to purchase Three Eagles Communications’ 48 stations in markets in Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota. Pending FCC approval, the transaction is expected to close during the third quarter. Three Eagles founder and CEO Rolland Johnson says of the deal, “I think it is an excellent time to be buying stations. Radio seems to have survived the perfect storm and should come out stronger than ever. While on the NAB Board with Dean Goodman 10 to 12 years ago, Dean talked about his vision of buying stations and rolling them up into a diversified company. It is great to have a vision like Dean’s and to be able to follow through with it. Dean is getting a group of hard-working people with award-winning stations who deserve a chance to participate in something as exciting as what Digity offers. I congratulate him on an excellent purchase.” Goodman comments, “Digity is on-air, online, on-demand, on-location, and on-the-go. It connects today’s busy consumers with content they want, people they trust, products they enjoy and things that matter. We are very pleased to have signed the Three Eagles purchase and Digity intends to continue to grow in all areas of its operations.” Digity, through Palm Beach Broadcasting, operates four FM stations in the Palm Beach market. GoodRadio.TV operates 26 radio stations in Midwestern markets. Digity earlier this year purchased 33 radio stations from NextRadio and operates those stations in San Jose, Chicago, suburban Dallas, Saginaw, Canton, Greenville and Myrtle Beach.
Rush Limbaugh Awards Grants in Essay Contest; Tennessee School Reacts. The essay contest Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk star Rush Limbaugh conducted earlier in the 2013-14 school year has been completed with three schools receiving a package of books and a cash gift from Limbaugh and his wife Kathryn. At Hawkins Elementary School in Rogersville, Tennessee, principal Barry Bellamy and first grade teacher Danee Collette are still reeling after receiving a shipment of books from Limbaugh that included American classics The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Where the Red Fern Grows as well as copies of his own bestseller Rush Revere and the New Patriots. According to the Rogersville Review, Bellamy and Collette were even more shocked to receive a check for $15,000 to use as the school sees fit. Collette tells the paper her father is a big Limbaugh fan and told her about the essay contest. She dutifully wrote it and didn’t think much more about it until a Limbaugh staffer called to ask for a shipping address for the books. Collette says the money will probably be used for white boards, desks and tables for the library. She tells the paper, “This is so awesome! I graduated last May, got a job here for the school year, and now this!”
Remembering Ben Hoberman. Very briefly worded mentions of talk radio pioneer Ben Hoberman‘s passing dotted the internet Saturday and Sunday, but precise details regarding his death are not readily available. What we do know though is that the longtime ABC Radio executive was 92 when he died on Saturday (5/3). General consensus within the industry indicates that – with Hoberman at the helm in 1960 – Los Angeles’ KABC-AM was one of the first fulltime talk stations in the country – if not the first. On John Rook‘s Facebook page, the well-known programmer posted that, “When all of the ABC-owned radio stations were introducing Top 40 programming, [Hoberman] envisioned a new kind of format featuring talk. KABC would become top-rated in Los Angeles for decades, a format that gave birth to KGO’s talk format in San Francisco. His success elevated him to the presidency of ABC Radio. Ben Hoberman was a role model for managing radio stations, a total gentleman, and one of the real class guys I have known. My sincerest condolences to all who mourn his passing.” In the early-1970s, John Mainelli was a 20-year-old NABET vacation-relief news writer for KABC and the talk radio consultant recounts, “I had just learned what ‘fortnight’ meant and decided to use it in a script the next chance I got. Mr. Hoberman walked into the newsroom after [KABC morning drive talent] Bob Arthur read the story, saw my name on the filed script, dropped it on my desk and said, ‘If you mean two weeks ago, say it.’ That was ‘Mr. H’ – attention to detail and follow-through.” Hoberman had been with ABC for close to 40 years, much of that time in Los Angeles, where he had been KABC-AM’s general manager. He later was based in New York, running the network’s radio division, then consisting of six AM stations and six FM outlets, as well as syndicated programming as “American Top 40” – then hosted by Casey Kasem. Hoberman, ex-ABC-TV president Elton Rule, and several other investors attempted to raise enough money to take over the entire ABC Radio division. Hoberman is pictured here at right in an undated photo with President Ronald Reagan.
SiriusXM’s Chris Russo Stirs Controversy Over Race on Sports Talk Radio. The flashpoint for a controversy over race and radio was SiriusXM sports talk personality Chris “Mad Dog” Russo’s recent comment to a caller when asked about why there are no black sports talk hosts on his channel. Russo replied that he has not found one “worthy of doing a national talk show.” That started a social media flap. In the New York Daily News’ coverage of the story, Bob Raissman reports that Russo was not apologizing for his comment and told his paper, “The idea that I wouldn’t hire a black talk show host, a Korean talk show host, or a talk show host from Mars is absurd. If there is any person of any ethnicity who wants to get a job at ‘Mad Dog Radio’ and we feel he or she is capable of doing a national talk show at the highest level, I’d put them on in a second. Let’s just say we are not being overwhelmed by resumes.”
Five Simple Engagement Actions. Media consultant Walter Sabo, in a column published today (5/5), writes that it’s very important for listeners to feel that your radio station is “special.” Sabo notes, “It is so important to examine every single second of our programming in every format and ask, ‘How can this be better?’ Too much time is wasted on learning new rules from ‘corporate’ and new organizational structures. If your company is ‘afraid’ of Pandora and other web companies, the solution is better programming. It’s always better programming. Fresh programming ideas come from external sources, solid research and by paying close attention to what audiences do.” And with that in mind, Sabo offers five ways to better engage your audience. Read his piece here.
Journal Broadcast Group’s News/Talk WTMJ and Adult Hits WLWK in Milwaukee Honored with WBA Awards. In the large market category, Journal Broadcast Group’s news/talk WTMJ and adult hits WLWK were recently honored with Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Awards. WTMJ won the following honors: News & Talk Station of the Year; News Operation of the Year; Best News & Talk Radio Show (AM drive) for “Wisconsin’s Morning News with Gene Mueller”; Best News & Talk Radio Show (9:00 am to 5:00 pm) for “Wisconsin’s Afternoon News with John Mercure”; Best Live On-Scene Reporting, Jodi Becker and the WTMJ News Team (Carroll University Lockdown); Best Spot News, Shooting at Children’s Hospital, WTMJ Radio News Team; Best Feature, “Preserving WWII History,” Erik Bilstad; Best Sportscast, Greg Matzek; Best Continuing Coverage, “Say it Ain’t So, Ryan Braun,” WTMJ Radio News & Sports Team; and Best Use of Audio, “Rain, Rain, Go Away,” Erik Bilstad. WLWK was honored for: Best Newscast – Music Format, Lake Mornings with Danny Clayton, Vince Vitrano & Andi Miller; Best Promotional Announcement, “Free Fun Night Out,” “The Lake” staff; Best Commercial – Music Station, Flanners/Just Press Play – Jim Gilles; and Best Humorous Commercial Music Station Love Finds A Way – Jim Gilles.
KTSA, San Antonio Morning Host Trey Ware Mourns Death of 28-Year-Old Son. At Alpha Media-owned talk outlet KTSA, San Antonio, Trey Ware has handled morning drive for the past 21 years – almost half of his broadcasting career. But last week Ware and his wife Nancy suffered the devastating loss of their 28-year-old son Justin who died under circumstances that are being kept private at this time. This is not the first such tragedy for the couple. Ware and his wife lost their daughter Rebekah in 2009 at age 20. In the San Antonio Express-News, writer Jeanne Jakle spoke with Ware who said, “We’re taking it day by day, minute by minute, that’s all we can do…They were the only two we had. April is not a good month for us. We want to expunge April from the calendar.” Other KTSA staffers are sitting in for Ware during this time. Local radio personality Adam McManus has subbed the past few days.
SCBA Goes on the Offensive in TV vs Radio Ad Spend. If there’s a radio trade organization doing more to make the case for radio as an advertising vehicle, we’re not aware of it. The Southern California Broadcasters Association has been very focused on consistently reaching out to the media to present radio’s case versus its competition and in this case, the competitor is TV. The SCBA is releasing a white paper titled, “Traditional Appointment Television’s Technology and Viewership Crisis,” and it zeroes in on the decline in appointment viewing replaced by on-demand viewing that largely allows consumers to skip through commercial sets. SCBA president Thom Callahan states, “The imbalanced ratio of radio to TV ad spending in Southern California is completely unjustified when one looks closely at this SCBA report. Traditional appointment television is under direct attack from a variety of technology giants such as Google TV, Netflix, Amazon TV, YouTube, Hulu, as well as the ominous DVR.” Callahan says the report goes on to show that “radio remains the only real time medium with no tape delay or commercial skipping.” He adds, “Southern California Radio has grown its listenership of Adults 18+ over the past six years by an impressive 7.4% while local general market TV viewership has spiraled downward by -6.5% for early fringe programming and -8.5% for any local news. We are urging every general market TV advertiser to look at their ad spending and decide if they want to invest in the power of radio and our solid growth trends and commanding reach in Southern California vs. the eroding viewership of traditional appointment TV.”
Jeff Katz Honored with Journalism Award. Multi-media personality Jeff Katz was honored recently with an Editor’s Choice Award for his column that appears in the New England-based publication The Valley Patriot. Katz currently is host of the afternoon drive show at Clear Channel-owned news/talk WRVA, Richmond. He also writes for the Boston Herald and self-syndicates the nationally distributed “Katz Commentary.” He is also a public speaker having delivered keynote addresses all over the country. Katz tells TALKERS all of his media ventures embrace his unique philosophy of life, “Not Left. Not Right. Just Real.” Katz (left) is pictured here accepting his Editor’s Choice Award from The Valley Patriot publisher Tom Duggan (right).
Sharp-Dressed Men. The annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner took place in Washington, DC on Saturday evening (5/2) and there was no shortage of media players at the who’s who of news and politics gathering. Pictured here are (from left to right): Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey; ABC News president James Goldston; and ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve Jones. Photo by Jay Snap, LaDexon Photographie.
Nielsen to Present Radio ROI Study to Group Heads. Using phrases such as “they’ve finally cracked the code” and “radio’s ability to deliver sales lift of more than $6, for every dollar spent,” Clear Channel president and CFO Rich Bressler spoke during yesterday’s investor conference call glowingly about the recent Catalina Solutions group study that shows excellent return on investment for consumer packaged goods (CPG) advertisers using radio. He announced that on Monday (4/28), radio group heads will gather for a conference at CC’s New York offices to see a presentation by Nielsen’s Catalina Solutions group that Bressler also called “the first-ever, single source ROI study in the radio sector…Finally, we have the definitive proof of radio’s value.” If you remember, the study in which Nielsen worked with Clear Channel measured the sales impact for the specific media buys of 10 brands, each of which had different combinations of radio networks. Nielsen says that this group of 10 brands, which included eight CPG and two retailer brands, provided the foundation for the first normative database for radio effectiveness. Another key finding was that radio delivers a strong consumer sales response close to the time of purchase. The closer the exposure is to purchase, the higher the response. On another note, Bressler did not respond directly to the recent cuts in the sales departments at Clear Channel but made reference to them in describing the state of the company’s executive structure. “From an organizational standpoint, we create a new major market structure under which four of our senior operating executives are reporting directly to Bob Pittman and myself. This major markets operating group will collaborate directly with our local market management to oversee our operations in our largest and highest revenue generating markets from our core broadcast radio stations to our digital mobile and events business as well as a more expanded coordination with Clear Channel Outdoor.”
SiriusXM Q1 Revenue Up 11%. It was another good quarterly report for satcaster SiriusXM as CEO Jim Meyer reported that his company’s subscription total is up to 25.8 million – an increase during the quarter of 267,000. The all-important free cash flow figure was up 56% on $223 million. Meyer told analysts on Thursday, “Our solid subscriber growth, even faster revenue growth and high contribution margins have produced dramatic growth in adjusted EBTIDA and free cash flow — exactly what you would expect from SiriusXM’s highly scalable business model. We are the world leader in monetizing audio entertainment, and the way this monetization translates in cash flow is also unmatched. Our radios today are only in about 20% to 26% of the cars on the road today. So we believe the opportunity for long term growth remains significant.”
Post Piece Highlights Smerconish’s Drive to Capture Center. In a feature piece by Manuel Roig-Franzia in the Washington Post, media personality Michael Smerconish is profiled and his quest to find a political center that is hot to talk about the issues of the day is front-and-center. The story details Smerconish’s entrance into the media world, his syndicated radio career, his cable TV gigs and his decision to leave AM/FM radio for SiriusXM last year. In discussing this move and critics’ assertions that there is no centrist audience to be found in talk radio, he tells the Post, “I’m the referendum, aren’t I?…I’ve put my livelihood on the line to prove that you can.”
Indianapolis Welcomes Dave Ramsey. Talk radio superstar and best-selling author Dave Ramsey visited Indianapolis yesterday (4/24) as he presented his Legacy Journey LIVE! event at Traders Point Christian Church to a packed house. The event was promoted by Ramsey’s Indy affiliate WFDM “Freedom 95 Radio.” Pilgrim Communications VP and general manager Randy Tipmore says, “As usual when Dave Ramsey comes to Indianapolis, excitement and enthusiasm go up in the entire area as do station sales. Every time Dave comes to town we sell out in record time for record amounts. The Dave Ramsey show is the number-one selling tool we have at ‘Freedom 95.’ Dave Ramsey is pictured here (second from right) with members of the “Freedom 95 Radio” team.
‘ESPN Upstate’ Adds Local Evening Show. Sports media personality Mark Sturgis is tapped to host a live and local evening program on the Entercom-owned multi-cast serving northern South Carolina (the signals include WORD-AM, Spartanburg; WYRD-AM, Greenville; W246BU, Spartanburg on 97.1 FM and WFNC-HD3, Fayetteville, North Carolina). Sturgis moves from his two-hour show on Byrne Acquisition Group-owned sports talk WCCP-FM, Clemson to a 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm nightly show on “ESPN Upstate.” He follows the new “In The Huddle” show with Greg McKinney that airs in afternoon drive. Entercom VP and market manager Steve Sinicropi states, “Our sports coverage in terms of talent, teams and signal coverage continues to get stronger and stronger. ‘ESPN Upstate’ has become the most dominant sports network in the market. Mark has a great live and local show right now, he has a network of sports contacts and he brings a passion for sports, strong knowledge and tremendous energy to the fast-growing ‘EPSN Upstate’ audience. When you have a powerful brand like ESPN and the largest portfolio of radio stations in the Upstate to cross promote, it’s no wonder listeners and talent are coming to ‘ESPN Upstate.’”
Stephanie Miller’s ‘Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour’ Hits Chicago Tomorrow; Albuquerque and Minneapolis Next. Talk show host and comic Stephanie Miller’s comedy roadshow – the Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour lands in Chicago tomorrow and there are still a limited number of VIP tickets available for the event. The show – featuring Miller, John Fugelsang, Carlos Alazraqui, and Stephanie Miller show family members Chris Lavoie and voice deity Jim Ward – is also traveling to Albuquerque on May 10 and rolls into Minneapolis on June 7.
Premiere Networks President Julie Talbott Named Woman of the Year. The editorial board of TALKERS has named Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott as the 2014 recipient of the Judy Jarvis Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Talk Radio Industry by a Woman. The honor, also known as “Woman of the Year,” will be presented to Talbott by last year’s recipient, Heather Cohen, EVP of The Weiss Agency, at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2014 conference on Friday, June 20 as one of the highlights of an awards ceremony at which presentations will also be made for “Lifetime Achievement,” Humanitarian of the Year,” and Freedom of Speech (the recipients of which have yet to be announced). In addition to Cohen, past recipients of this prestigious award include Robin Bertolucci, Stephanie Miller, Laurie Cantillo, Grace Blazer, Kim Komando, Laura Ingraham, Randi Rhodes, Lynn Distler, Adriane Gaines, Ellen Ratner, Gloria Allred, Lisa Evers and its namesake Judy Jarvis, the late independent talk radio syndication pioneer for whom it was first presented posthumously. Upon announcing the board’s choice of Julie Talbott, TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “We all look forward to the day that a special award to a female member of the talk radio community is no longer relevant or necessary – but if you look at the breakdown of the numbers of men versus women in the business, it is clear that we have not yet reached that day.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison adds, “We couldn’t be more delighted having the opportunity to honor Ms. Talbott for her achievements and contributions to not just talk but the entire spectrum of popular radio over the years. She is a bright, creative, dignified and extremely inspirational role model for young women looking to build a career in the radio broadcasting industry.” Julie Talbott started her career in advertising at BBDO, where she spent five years as supervisor of media planning and buying. Her love of radio took her to MJI Broadcasting, where she spent 19 years. As COO of MJI Broadcasting, Talbott was instrumental in growing the company from five people to more than 150. In 1999, Premiere Networks acquired MJI Broadcasting. At that time, Talbott joined Premiere as senior vice president of integrated marketing solutions, focusing on advertising sponsorships. In 2003, she was promoted to executive vice president, affiliate relations. In that role, she oversaw a staff that increased affiliations for programs hosted by Jim Rome, Glenn Beck, George Noory, Bob and Tom, Steve Harvey, Keith Sweat, Elvis Duran, Fox Sports Radio and others. In 2009, Talbott was named VP, content and affiliate relations for Premiere Networks and then promoted in September 2012 to extend that title to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s National Media Groups. In January of this year, she was promoted to president of Premiere Networks. In her current role, Talbott continues to oversee the operation of Premiere Networks radio programs and services and manages business partnerships with talent, while leading and maintaining key affiliate relationships to sell and service Premiere Networks, Total Traffic & Weather Network and iHeartRadio. A native of Kentucky, Talbott received her B.A. from the University of Kentucky and attended the Business Strategy Program at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business in 1996. Talbott lives with her husband and three children in New York. For information about registering for Talkers New York 2014 please call 413-565-5413.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk” is added to the program lineup at the following stations: KAOK, Lake Charles, Louisiana; KFIV, Modesto, California; KWSX, Stockton, California; WCHS, Charleston, West Virginia; and WBBA, Pittsfield, Illinois…..“Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is picked up by new affiliates KQAM, Wichita; WBKV, West Bend, Wisconsin; WHIR, Danville, Kentucky; and WRMN, Elgin, Illinois…..“Into Tomorrow” with Dave Graveline’s weekly program is picked up by KNOX-AM/FM, Fargo.
Dean Cain Visits ABC News Radio. Actor Dean Cain goofs with ABC News Radio entertainment correspondent Joi Marie McKenzie during a visit to ABC News Radio studios to promote the new season of his VH1 series “Hit the Floor” that returns on May 26 at 9:00 pm ET.
Russian Aggression in Ukraine/U.S. Troops in Poland Top News/Talk Stories During Week of April 21-25. The turbulent political state in Ukraine, Russia’s aggression in the region and the arrival of U.S. troops in Poland were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act. Following at #3 was the 2016 presidential race tied with Chelsea Clinton’s pregnancy and at #4 was the deadly attack on Americans at an Afghanistan hospital tied with drone strikes on suspected al Qaeda in Yemen. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Former Connecticut Governor John Rowland Resigns from WTIC, Hartford Show as New Corruption Probe Intensifies. The former Connecticut governor resigned from office in 2004 amidst corruption charges to which he eventually pleaded guilty and served 10 months in federal prison. He began a talk show host career on CBS RADIO’s WTIC, Hartford in 2010 – for the first two years with co-host Pastor Will Marotti of the New Life Church in Meriden before going solo – but now that gig is over as Rowland stepped down yesterday without addressing the new allegations. The Hartford Courant reports that testimony from local businessman Brian Foley and his wife, Lisa Wilson-Foley (a former congressional candidate) stated in federal court that they used a phony consulting contract with Rowland to pay him for political assistance to Wilson-Foley’s failed 2012 campaign. Rowland faces possible indictment by a grand jury. WTIC program director Jenneen Lee tells the paper Pastor Will Marotti will step into the afternoon drive slot beginning Monday. Read the entire Courant piece here.
Big Changes at KARN-FM, Little Rock; PM Driver Dave Elswick Out along with AM Drive’s Bob Steel and ND. Longtime afternoon drive personality and program director Dave Elswick announces via Facebook that he’s out at Cumulus Media’s KARN-FM, Little Rock. Here’s his post: “I ask for your prayers tonight. After nearly 14 years on KARN I was fired by Cumulus Media. Bob Steel and news director Jack Heintz were also fired. I have no idea what will be on the station tomorrow. Know that I love every one of you who have supported me over these years. God Bless.” There were rumors of change at the news/talk outlet swirling but nothing concrete had been put out. As of now, the KARN-FM website lists the AM and PM drive dayparts generically. It’s possible Cumulus is clearing the afternoon deck to move Michael Savage into a live slot from the current late night delayed broadcast.
Criticism of Mets Infielder’s Paternity Leave Reversed as WFAN’s Boomer Esiason Apologizes. The decision by New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy to miss two games to be with his wife in Florida after she delivered their son on Opening Day was a hot topic of conversation on New York sports talk radio and both WFAN afternoon host Mike Francesa and morning drive co-host Boomer Esiason opined that two games was too many to miss. But during the initial chatter, Esiason said that he’d have asked his wife to schedule a C-section in order to be with his teammates for the games. The MLB CBA allows for up to three days of paternity leave. Esiason apologized on WFAN’s morning show today (4/4), calling his comments “insensitive” and expressing contrition for having put the Murphy family’s personal lives “under a spotlight.” He also said his C-section comment was not intended to mean he was telling women what to do with their bodies.
Nielsen Audio Quantifies the Obvious: Opening Day Is Big for Radio. What’s well known to radio practitioners is put into numbers by Nielsen Audio from this season’s Opening Day. While baseball – from a ratings standpoint – will be good to most MLB flagships this year, some of the Opening Day numbers are truly spectacular. In Cincinnati, flagship WLW pulled a 46.6 share with Men 25-54 on a 12+ cume of 270,700. Also, it’s interesting to note the difference in cume and share from the Cubs at Pirates broadcasts where the woebegone Cubs fans in Chicago didn’t appear to have the same passion (via radio, anyway) as the recharged Bucs backers in Pittsburgh. Check out the data here.
Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network Reports Streaming Success. The digital side of Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network reports that it makes its debut as one of the top 20 most-listened-to streams in America, according to Triton Digital‘s February 2014 ranker. TheBlaze president and chief content officer Joel Cheatwood states, “When we launched TheBlaze Radio Network in January 2013 we did so with the goal of being one of the top online radio stations in America. In our first month of accredited measurement, it is exciting to see our single stream on the same list as these established multi-stream services.”
Entercom Boston Boosts Mozdiez to Director of Integrated Media Strategies. It is a position the cluster specifically crafts for Carlson Mozdiez, who is elevated from director of digital operations. New responsibilities for the Syracuse University graduate include developing/executing customer-facing brand messaging, including live events, contesting and promotions, external advertising, websites, video, and social media. Entercom Boston vice president/market manager Phil Zachary comments, “Streamlining our ever-expanding array of digital and marketing channels, which connect the most valuable radio consumers in New England to our brands and our advertisers, makes logistical sense. Carlson is the ideal leader to spearhead these innovative efforts.” Mozdiez remarks that, “It is an exciting time as we continue to develop and optimize the ways people interact with our stations while creating new means for advertisers to access our audiences.” Entercom Boston consists of rock WAAF, sports WEEI-FM, sports WEEI-AM, news/talk WRKO, the Boston Red Sox Radio Network and their respective web properties. Mozdiez joined Entercom in 2002 as promotion coordinator for WEEI and WRKO.
Dennis Miller Celebrates Radio Anniversary. Today marks the seventh anniversary of entertainer Dennis Miller’s nationally syndicated WestwoodOne radio program. The “Saturday Night Live” alum is commemorating the day with special guests including: Mark Steyn, nationally syndicated columnist and author of After America: Get Ready for Armageddon; Bob Saget, comedian and author of Dirty Daddy: The Chronicles of a Family Man Turned Filthy Comedian; Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky; David Spade, comedian; Frank Sinatra Jr.; and fellow SNL alum Dana Carvey.
KDKA-AM’s Larry Richert to Be Roasted for Charity. Pittsburgh talk radio personality Larry Richert – co-host of the “KDKA Morning News on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA” will be the guest of honor at a Roast & Toast on Friday, April 25 to be roasted and toasted by friends and co-workers to benefit the Roxsan Betters Albanese Foundation. This foundation helps financially challenged families with children who are terminally ill or face a life threatening situation. Fellow KDKA-AM talk host Rob Pratte will serve as Master of Ceremonies.
Odds & Sods. When Premiere Networks’ “America Now with Andy Dean” hits the air tonight, WTAG, Worcester morning drive talk show host Paul Westcott will be in the host chair. Westcott has become a regular fill-in for Dean when he’s away…..This weekend’s NCAA Final Four is being covered by SiriusXM. The satcaster says it’ll offer subscribers comprehensive coverage of this weekend’s action plus analysis on the College Sports Nation channel from hoops experts such as three-time ACC Coach of the Year Bobby Cremins, Hall of Fame Michigan State guard Mateen Cleaves, former Villanova and UMass coach Steve Lappas, former University of Vermont coach Tom Brennan, plus Tim Brando, Mark Packer, Chris Childers and Jason Horowitz…..Birach Broadcasting’s sports talker KXRQ, Des Moines announces it’s the newest affiliate for Kansas City Royals baseball play-by-play……Sunrise Broadcasting strikes an agreement with Sea-Comm Media to use the latter’s translator W240AS, Wilmington at 95.9 FM to augment the signal of its sports talk WMFD “ESPN Wilmington,” heard on 630 AM.
ObamaCare Criticism Remains Atop Talkers TenTM. The major political issue of the past year – the passage of the Affordable Care Act – continues to be one of the top news/talk radio stories and was again the most-talked-about topic this week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS. Coming in at #2 this week was the deadly Fort Hood Shooting. At #3 was the looming mid-term elections tied with the potential candidates in the 2016 presidential election, and at #4 was this week’s Supreme Court campaign donation ruling. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Sports Media Personality Glenn Ordway’s Multi-Platform Venture Is Off and Running
By Jason Wolfe
Chief Content Officer
BOSTON — I’ve worked in sports radio my entire broadcast career. When I graduated from Syracuse in 1989, I was privileged to land a job in my hometown of Boston right out of college. Talk about young and green. I didn’t have any idea what radio was all about at that time. I just knew I loved it. Twenty-four years later, it’s amazing how much the medium, and the industry, have changed.
In the old days, hosts flipped on the microphone, yapped about their teams, took calls from passionate fans whose very lives seemingly depended on the outcome of the games, and threw in numerous guests to provide more insight into the topic at hand. It was a pretty simple formula. Information ruled the day and that’s what we did, discuss the information.
Nowadays, to be successful in sports talk radio, and most formats, it’s about much more than providing information. Listeners already have the information you want to discuss, even before you get to the station. You need opinions, humor, edge, attitude, and most of all personality. Fans will listen to hosts they love, and those they hate, because of the personality that exists in both. Personality breeds engagement. Engagement breeds loyalty. Loyalty breeds ratings and ratings breed revenue. That is the formula hosts and shows need to embrace today if they want to win.
Jason Wolfe Joins Glenn Ordway’s New Digital Sports Talk Venture. As the new chief content officer for Sportstalkboston.com, programmer Jason Wolfe rejoins former fellow WEEI staffer and Boston sports media personality Glenn Ordway as the new digital venture, which debuted on Monday (3/17), evolves . Wolfe was VP of programming operations for Entercom New England prior to exiting the company last year. Ordway was afternoon drive host on WEEI for many years. In a statement, Ordway says, “I couldn’t find a more accomplished programmer to extend our efforts to build the best possible content than the Wolfman.” The company lists the local personalities appearing on the new “Big Show Unfiltered,” stating, “Listeners on all platforms will hear former All-Pro nose tackle and Patriot Fred Smerlas, Super Bowl Champion linebacker Steve DeOssie, veteran Boston Herald columnist and best-selling author Steve Buckley, former Comcast Sports Net New England studio host and Boston Celtics sideline reporter Greg Dickerson and long-time Boston sports personality and “Big Show” alum Pete Sheppard, will join the Big O along with new contributors Jerry Thornton of Barstool Sports and comedian Graig Murphy.” Regarding Wolfe, the press statement tallies his accomplishments: “He has spent his entire broadcast career in Boston, including 22 years with WEEI. Under his leadership, the station achieved tremendous success, becoming the #1-ranked sports radio station in the country, and holding the top spot in Boston for six straight years. The station was nominated for six Marconi Awards with four wins, the most recent in 2012. Wolfe also created the Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon which, in partnership with NESN, has raised $31 million for cancer care and research in its 12-year history.” Ordway adds, “It’s our goal to assemble a cast of fun, interesting and compelling personalities. I feel strongly that with this group, we’re well on our way to achieving that.” Wolfe starts with the company on April 10.
NAB Issues Reply Comments on AM Band Revitalization. The FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rule Making regarding its proposals for revitalizing the AM band and NAB, in its reply comments, reiterates its “support for most of these proposals, and suggests certain other policy changes that would further enhance the public’s AM radio service.” In summary, NAB states it “agrees with most comments in favor of opening a filing window for FM translators in which only AM stations may participate, as a means of extending the benefits of cross-service translators to more AM stations and their listeners. While translators obtained in this window should generally remain linked to the acquiring AM station, NAB submits that it would be reasonable to allow such translators to be transferred under certain limited circumstances, such as financial hardship.” NAB also says it supports “relaxation of the proposed limit of one FM translator per AM station, to accommodate AM stations with unusually large or irregularly shaped service areas, as well as opening the filing window to all AM radio stations on an equal basis, regardless of class or ownership structure. The record also demonstrates support for the FM translator processing approaches set forth in the ‘Mattoon’ and ‘Tell City’ waiver cases. Retention of the former, and approval of the latter, will expand the universe of eligible cross-service translators, and foster efficient spectrum use by enabling more translators to be fully utilized.” Read NAB’s entire reply comments here.
CBS RADIO Adds to Its Live Events Division. The expansion of the live events division at CBS RADIO includes the addition of Katie Forte senior producer, strategic events and partnerships. She’ll be based in New York, according to Amy Stevens, senior vice president of strategic events and partnerships. The company says that in the newly created position, Forte will “play a key role in the development and management of signature programs that provide audiences and advertisers with one of a kind experiences with their favorite artists, sports stars, newsmakers and CBS RADIO personalities. Additionally, Forte will serve as a liaison with local venues, arenas and CBS RADIO’s current roster of partners in the entertainment industry, while cultivating new business relationships and opportunities.” Forte comes to CBS RADIO from her most recent position as director, concerts marketing, digital and social media with Madison Square Garden Company.
Sports Talker Dino Costa to Begin Multi-Platform Endeavor. Former SiriusXM sports talk personality Dino Costa announces the coming debut of his new multi-platform sports talk venture on May 5. His new company, Dino Costa Worldwide, LLC, is producing the Dino Costa show it calls “a multi-platform sports media and entertainment forum – combining the elements of radio, television, and newspaper, under one umbrella.” Costa is working on a subscription model ($72 per year) that will include a live, daily four-hour show available in high-definition with a three-camera shoot planned. Other content will include pre-recorded podcast interviews with a host of news-making individuals, pre-recorded video vignettes, and “Costa Chronicles” featuring consistent written word features by Costa. The new show will also feature a mobile app so that all elements of the show may be accessed at anytime, anywhere for those on the go. It’ll all be at DinoCostaShow.com.
Audi to Bring Wi-Fi to 2015 A3 Model. The arrival of wi-fi in the automobile in the United States appears to be coming first from Audi, according to a piece at Technologyreview.com. The story says the German manufacturer will make wi-fi available in its 2015 A3 model and it’s certain other manufacturers will follow. GM already has plans to offer 4G LTE in some 2015 models beginning this summer. Industry watchers know that the digital dashboard is going to expand but how fast that will happen before it can be said to be ubiquitous is up for debate. The Technologyreview.com piece reports Audi will charge $100 for 5 gig of data for six months. If you add that to a consumer’s existing smartphone plan, it becomes clear the dollars add up. Manufacturers are working to make the operation of digital apps acceptable for drivers who can’t be distracted, and that limits what can be done in the vehicle (at least in the front seat). Few are denying this is the future of entertainment and information in the car but reviews of some digital dashboard apps currently available are not glowing. They cite difficulty of operation and unreliability in many cases. But time usually solves these issues and that will be the case here. But for now, service like this will belong to those with a yen for gadgets and a fair amount of disposable income. Read the Technologyreview.com piece here.
Odds & Sods. Talk show host David Webb will moderate a panel discussion about the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 on SiriusXM this evening. “Malaysia Air Mystery – A Listener Roundtable,” will feature a panel of experts including: former CIA agent Bob Baer, former Navy SEAL and pilot Brandon Webb, forensic psychiatrist Michael Aronoff, former National Transportation Safety Board investigator Alan Yurman, former CIA intelligence officer Dr. Michael Scheuer, director of the division of bioethics at NYU Langone Medical Center Dr. Arthur Caplan, security and terrorism professional Kerry Patton, and chief operating officer of Aviation International News Randy Padfield…..The popular public radio program “This American Life,” created and hosted by Ira Glass, will no longer be distributed by Public Radio International after July. Neither side is talking specifics but both have agreed to move on after negotiations for renewal broke down. The show has been distributed by PRI since it debuted in 1997…..CBS RADIO O&O WCCO, Minneapolis is the recipient of 11 awards in the recent 2013 Minnesota Associated Press Broadcasters News Contest. The awards will be presented at the annual awards banquet on Friday, March 28. Among the 10 categories judged, WCCO is receiving eight first place awards and three honorable mentions. First place honors were awarded in the following categories: Best In Show, Best Website, Sport Hard News, Feature, Series/Special, Sports Reporting, Best Newscast, and Sports Play By Play.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge joins the lineup at KNOX, Grand Forks and WBBA, Pittsfield, Illinois…..WestwoodOne’s Jim Bohannon is now heard on KWLZ, Warm Springs, Oregon and KBNW, Bend, Oregon.….WILC, Maryland adds the Genesis Communications Network-distributed Alex Jones show to its lineup…..The “Freedom Feens” with Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi is picked up by WSVG and WAMM, Woodstock, Virginia…..The Genesis Communications Network-syndicated weekend Ethan Bearman program is added to the program schedule on KBY, Anchorage…..Salem Radio Network’s Dennis Prager show is added to the lineup at WNNG, Unadilla, Georgia and WKAL, Rome, New York.
Karel Takes Ireland! Talk show host Charles Karel Bouley writes from across the Pond to let TALKERS know he just finished hosting nine programs from the Emerald Isle – including a St. Patrick’s Day show. While there, Karel led the St. Patrick’s parade in Dublin atop a double decker bus occupied by media from around the world. As he says, “Being openly gay the whole time (take that NYC and Boston)!” Pictured here is Karel (l) interviewing the Lord Mayor of Dublin Oisin Quinn at his home, Mansion House.
Obama vs. Putin Clash Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 17-21. The butting of heads between President Obama and Russian president Vladimir Putin over the latter’s aggressive policies was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Following at #3 was criticism of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act, and at #4 was the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Mike Salk Returns to KIRO-AM as Program Director. The year-long return to his hometown and the afternoon drive co-host slot on Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston didn’t pan out and now sports talker Mike Salk is returning to Bonneville’s KIRO-AM, Seattle “ESPN 710” to serve as the program director. He’s also expected to pick up an air shift that will be announced in the future. Salk worked with Brock Huard on the station before exiting last spring to partner up with Michael Holley at WEEI. In a statement, Salk says, “I could not be more excited about this unique opportunity and the new challenge of running the programming at ‘710 ESPN Seattle.’ Even though I left Seattle last year, it never ceased being home. ‘710 ESPN Seattle’ is a nationally renowned sports station and this opportunity to lead it is an honor. The people in that building are special and I can’t wait to reconnect with all of them.” Station VP/GM David Pridemore adds, “It is gratifying to have Mike return to ‘710 ESPN Seattle’ and 710Sports.com as the program director and eventually as an on-air host. Mike knows the market, our people, the sports talk format, the art and business of radio, and the power and influence of digital media. We are privileged to have Mike at the helm of ‘710 ESPN Seattle.’”
KFYI’s Barry Young Announces Retirement. Talk radio pro Barry Young has been a host at Clear Channel’s KFYI, Phoenix for much of the past 27 years but he’s announcing that he’ll retire from the station in November. Young has held down the mid-morning slot at the station for more than a decade. Young served as the station’s program director from 1988 to 1998. It was during that time he met his future wife, computer expert and talk host Kim Komando. In addition to his work with KFYI, Young is also president and CEO of WestStar TalkRadio Network which syndicates the weekend program hosted by Komando, as well as other radio programs. Young started his career at WGAC, Augusta, Georgia at the age of 14. He went on to work at WRNG, Atlanta; WFAA, Dallas; WNWS, Miami; and WJNO, West Palm Beach before arriving at KFYI in 1987.
RAB: Radio Revenue Flat in 2013. The Radio Advertising Bureau is releasing its report on revenue for the fourth quarter of 2013 and the year as a whole and on revenue of $17.6 billion for 2013, the radio business was essentially flat compared to 2012. Spot revenue dipped 3% in the fourth quarter of 2013 but the industry was lifted by digital (up 18%), off-air (up 11%) and network comp (up 7%). For the total of 2013, spot revenue was down 1% but buoyed by digital (up 16%) and off-air (up 5%). The source of the figures is accounting firm Miller Kaplan Arase based on a pool of more than 100 markets extrapolated for the entire nation. RAB CEO Erica Farber states, “Digital continues to gain momentum among advertisers looking to maximize their use of all radio platforms. Based on the recent Borrell Associates forecast of a 22% rise in digital spending on radio in 2014, this category is poised to surpass the $1 billion mark.” Automotive remained the number one ad category. Ad sectors that gained during 2013 were professional services (up 23%), communications (up 18%), and concerts/theatre/movies (up 12%).
Talking Point: Edison’s Larry Rosin Explores ‘Nationalization’ of Radio. The question of just how far Clear Channel and Cumulus Media will go in eliminating the costly local programming elements from their O&O stations to be replaced by nationally syndicated programs (which they own) is one that’s been discussed much by people in the industry as well as written about in such publications as this. Edison Research president Larry Rosin spoke about it openly at the recent CRS in Nashville and follows that up with a blog piece on the Edison site. Rosin suggests that Clear Channel’s full-steam-ahead move to brand its stations iHeartRadio and Cumulus’ stratagem in the country realm with “NASH FM” are manifestations of the “nationalization” of radio programming by those companies and, while that may save some money and give corporate a monolithic control over programming, ultimately, he believes it’s not going to work. Rosin says the results of his research lead him to that conclusion particularly with regard to younger people and the use of AM/FM radio. “We pretty much hear the same things over and over – they do and will continue to go to radio for unique compelling content – and to be in-the-know on what is happening locally. Young listeners talk to us about the chance to actually meet the personality they hear on the radio and the announcements of local events or concerts. They understand their local radio stations are providing them with something that Pandora and Spotify don’t. So the question is: Will the nationalized radio content be so great, so amazing, so compelling, that the consumers of tomorrow will stay loyal to FM?” So the argument about local versus national programming continues. Perhaps Clear Channel and Cumulus are banking on their reach and relationships with labels and artists to deliver what they consider the best content. Other operators are going the “live and local” route. Time will tell who wins this one. But the cost could be heavy. Read Rosin’s entire piece here.
Cubs Broadcasts Could Leave WGN After 2014 Season. The Chicago Tribune’s Ed Sherman writes that sources indicate Tribune’s WGN, Chicago – broadcaster of Chicago Cubs play-by-play since 1925 – put the rights to carry the games after this season on the market and that CBS RADIO appears to be the most interested. According to the Tribune, CBS is putting together a package that would include airing games on news WBBM and include coverage on its other radio properties. The Cubs reportedly have a current deal that pays the team $10 million per season – per perennially losing season, that is – and the story reports WGN is losing money on the broadcasts. Interestingly, local industry sources in Chicago tell Sherman someone will eventually fork over a lot of cash for Cubs rights. Just which company that is remains to be seen.
Odds & Sods. When the NCAA Division I Men’s tournament begins on Tuesday, March 18, WeswoodOne will offer play-by-play action from 67 games, including the First Four, games from all eight second-round and third-round sites, four regional semifinals and finals venues, and all three games from the NCAA Men’s Final Four at AT&T Stadium in North Texas…..SiriusXM is also presenting coverage of the March Madness tourney and says it’s providing “uninterrupted access to live play-by-play” of all the games. Additionally, On Selection Sunday, the satcaster will provide up-to-the-moment coverage as tournament teams and first round match-ups are announced. Chris “Mad Dog” Russo and Steve Torre will host live from 5:00 to 9:00 pm ET on March 16…..Midwest Communications-owned news/talk WKZO, Kalamazoo is honored with five Excellence in Broadcasting awards from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. The station won Best in Category awards for Community Involvement and Promotional Materials. In addition, Merit Awards were achieved for Play-by-Play from a hockey game that featured Western Michigan University as well as for Best Morning Personality for an interview conducted on “Kalamazoo’s Morning News.” Another highlight for the station was a win of the Best in New Media Award for the coverage of the 2013 Kalamazoo Marathon.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Salem Radio Network-syndicated Mike Gallagher show is added to the program schedule at KLO, Salt Lake City…..Two new affiliates in Arkansas join the Yahoo! Sports Radio network: KVRC, Arkadelphia and KBOK, Malvern are carrying the full schedule of programming…..KNOX, Grand Forks is the newest affiliate station for GCN-syndicated Dr. Daliah Wachs.
ObamaCare Criticism Returns to Top of Talkers TenTM. Scrutiny of the rollout and the effects of the Affordable Care Act was the most-talked-about topic on news/talk radio during the week of March 10-14. Coming in at #2 this week was the 2016 presidential race tied with the Republican special election victory in Florida. At #3 was Obama vs. Putin and the political tensions brought about by the Ukraine and Crimea instabilities. Following at #4 was the lower job approval ratings for President Obama. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
CBS Reports Radio Segment Down 4% in Q4 2013; Company Up 6%. While CBS Corporation CEO, president and director Les Moonves spoke glowingly about the performance of CBS Corporation as a whole during yesterday’s Q4 conference call, the radio segment was not part of the celebration and loss of political advertising was given the lion’s share of the blame. The company’s report indicates that after taking political out of the picture, CBS RADIO was flat compared to the same quarter in 2012. Moonves was upbeat about the radio division saying, “In radio, we continue to put an emphasis on great, local programming, which is leading to bigger audiences. During the most recent ratings period, we had double-digit ranking gains in the highly coveted 25- to 54-year-old demo in many of our major markets, and non-traditional revenue from special events was up double digits over one year ago. Our strategy to combine the company’s local TV and radio websites into a single online presence in every market also continues to pay off. In 2013, revenue was up 21% over the year before, and the momentum is continuing here in ’14, including a new record of nearly 57 million unique users in January. I’m also very pleased with the success of our CBS Interactive business. Revenue was up 14% during the quarter, and we continue to see very rapid growth in mobile ad revenue, which was up 118%, and it helped to increase profit substantially.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. Members can read the whole conference call here.
Nielsen Q4 Revenue Up 11.8%; Rises 5.5% for 2013. Media ratings giant Nielsen Holdings N.V. issues its fourth quarter 2013 and full-year financial reports and states that Q4 revenue was $1.6 billion, an increase of 11.8% over the same period in 2012. For the full year of 2013, the company says its revenue was $5.7 billion, a jump of 5.5% over the full year of 2012. The company reports its free cash flow for 2013 increased 34.5% to $573 million from $426 million in 2012 while cash flow from operations increased 14.9% to $901 million in 2013 from $784 million in 2012. The result is the adjusted net income per share on a diluted basis for 2013 was $2.02, up 19.5% compared to $1.69 in the full year 2012. Nielsen acquired radio ratings firm Arbitron during 2013 and the move paid off. The Arbitron business helped add 9.3% to Nielsen’s Q4 revenue and 2.5% to its 2013 revenue.
CBS RADIO Dallas Ups Paul Mann to KRLD-AM PD. At CBS RADIO’s Dallas cluster, news director Paul Mann is promoted to program director for KRLD-AM “NewsRadio 1080 KRLD” and the Texas State Networks (TSN), effective immediately. Mann has served as news director for KRLD-AM and TSN since June 2006 and in this new role he will be primarily responsible for all programming and talent and will report to Gavin Spittle, vice president of news/talk/sports for CBS RADIO Dallas-Fort Worth. Spittle comments, “Paul has shown tremendous leadership as news director with the sole focus on serving the North Texas community. He’s helped put together a tremendous team which shares a great pride in this heritage station.” Under Mann’s leadership, KRLD-AM has been honored with two national Edward R. Murrow Awards, in 2008 (spot news) and 2013 (newscast).
Stella Prado Kuipers Lands at Salem Los Angeles. The successful, former KOST, Los Angeles program director joins Salem Communications to serve in the sales department working on multi-media marketing for Christian talk KKLA, Los Angeles. Stella Prado Kuipers made her announcement on her Facebook page where she wrote: “A new chapter in my life has begun and I’m proud to announce as of March 3rd I am an employee of Salem Communications Radio Broadcasting company! My position is multi-media marketing and I am thrilled to be a part of this company! I’m sooooo excited!” Kuipers had been with Clear Channel’s AC KOST for 20 years – eight as program director – before she was let go in December of 2012.
Programming Changes at WCTC, New Brunswick, New Jersey. A shuffle in afternoons at Greater Media-owned news/talk WCTC, New Brunswick, New Jersey sees current 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm personality Tommy G move to the afternoon drive slot replacing Newsmax-syndicated host Steve Malzberg. Into the early afternoon slot goes WestwoodOne’s Dennis Miller program. WCTC program director Bert Baron states, “We’re excited to welcome Dennis Miller to the WCTC weekday lineup. He’ll have Central Jersey laughing, thinking, and engaged on a daily basis. I can’t think of anyone I’d rather have doing PM drive on WCTC than Tommy G, one of the most passionate and hard-working people I’ve ever known. This is a BIG WIN for WCTC and for Central Jersey.”
Is Nielsen “Lying” About Millennial Audiences? Noted industry observer Jerry Del Colliano thinks so. Del Colliano published a scathing indictment of the ratings research giant in his daily industry blog Inside Music Media (www.insidemusicmedia.com) this morning (2/12) referring to the Nielsen Audio (formerly Arbitron) report released earlier this week stating that “Millennials” (also known as “Generation Y”) are big fans of AM/FM radio and listen to it on average of 11.5 hours per week. This, of course, flies in the face of what has to this point been conventional industry wisdom strongly suggesting that over-the-air radio is rapidly losing ground as a medium of choice for the millions of 20-something children born to Baby Boomers in the 1980s-90s and now coming of age in the millions – a widespread perception that broadcast business leaders openly fear threatens the future of what is increasingly being marginalized as “terrestrial radio.” Del Colliano writes, “The company that now does PPM ratings which records listening that occurs by accident when meters randomly pick up an encoded radio signal is now weighing in on Millennials…an audience that clearly has no use for what consolidators put on the radio these days.” He accuses the major corporate consolidators in radio of “paying hundreds of millions of dollars to report audience estimates that the company [Nielsen] itself admits in a legal statement are not reliable.” Del Colliano is a veteran program director and radio personality who rose to prominence as the founder and publisher of the trade publication Inside Radio which he built to formidability as an independent journal prior to it being acquired by Clear Channel, which still publishes it. Del Colliano has subsequently served a number of years as a member of the music department faculty at the University of Southern California (USC) teaching and writing courses on “Generational Media” specifically documenting and understanding the traits and habits of the rapidly maturing Millennial generation – a subject that he regularly shares with radio industry leaders via his blog and annual conference.
Speaking of Jerry Del Colliano… TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison recently interviewed Jerry Del Colliano on the TALKERS magazine “experimental” talk radio station, TalkersRadio, (www.talkers.com/talkersradio) as a complete installment of the one-hour, media-discussion program he hosts. The program, recorded two-weeks ago (prior to today’s provocative Del Colliano blog), presents the two industry observers in an in-depth discussion about the very subject of the delicate relationship AM/FM radio and Gen-Y. In it, Del Colliano discusses such issues as Gen-Y’s obsession with authenticity as well as its consumer interest in non-over-the-air digital media. To listen directly to the entire 58:00 installment of this first-time public conversation between Michael Harrison and Jerry Del Colliano, please click
Talk Host Joe Crummey Publishes Non-Fiction Book. Talk radio pro Joe Crummey has just published his first non-fiction book titled, Planking on Headstones: Your Future Outside of Time (School of Eddiness 2013). The veteran of such historic signals as WABC, New York; KFI, Los Angeles; WNBC, New York; KABC, Los Angeles and KFYI, Phoenix penned this new book that “takes the reader on a journey through space-time that’s rich in love, loss, fear and contemplation. With notes of his on-air, quick-wit persona, Planking on Headstones distills complex issues of religion and science into memorable anecdotes that elicit laughter, tears and a sense of connection. Crummey openly shares about his life, from his brain tumor to the death of his parents, as he explains his theories, such as the ‘Fonzie Principle,’ the ‘Boston Market Revelation’ and the ‘Jesus Burger.’ He also explains why he believes the Big Bang is the most evil thing that has ever happened.” Crummy states, “Throughout my career, I often discussed and challenged religious tenets on air with my audience. But after going through the brain tumor experience, my quest for meaning in this life and beyond intensified. I began to understand the importance of thinking outside of time and allowed myself to imagine the impossible while I explored this subject matter.”
Clear Channel Renews Promotional Deal with Relativity. In a statement, Clear Channel says that the renewed cross-media marketing collaboration between it and media company Relativity will include one-of-a-kind campaigns promoting upcoming movies on the part of Clear Channel and Relativity will provide exclusive content created by its filmmakers and talent that will be shared with listeners and viewers through various Clear Channel platforms. “The programs will also include organic promotional support from popular radio personalities such as Ryan Seacrest, Elvis Duran, Dan Patrick and Steve Harvey; naturally integrated film imaging across local stations and iHeartRadio’s national digital and mobile ad units; homepage website takeovers; and national and local on-air commercial inventory.” Clear Channel says previous successful collaborations between the companies included campaigns for the films “Limitless,” “Immortals,” “Act of Valor,” “Safe Haven” and “Free Birds.”
Odds & Sods. Talk media personality David Webb signs on to write a column for DC political publication The Hill. His column will be available every other Wednesday in The Hill’s print edition, online at thehill.com and on The Hill’s app. In addition to his daily SiriusXM talk show, Webb also appears frequently on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity” and “The Five.”…..Sports USA adds a podcast featuring former NFL star and TV personality Fred Dryer to its programming. Sports USA president Bob Moore says, “Fred Dryer is a true NFL legend and a major TV star. We are excited to add Fred’s show to our growing list of digital audio programs…..WNYC, New York names David Lewis its new metro editor. Lewis taught journalism at CUNY for the past seven years.
NAB to Feature RAB Sales and Marketing Sessions. The Radio Advertising Bureau will present five revenue- and growth-oriented presentations at this year’s NAB Show. RAB president and chief executive officer Erica Farber explains that, “The RAB is in the business of helping sellers on the street close deals and help drive revenue for the radio industry. These sessions will drive home key lessons and tools of the trade. NAB Show attendees will find these sessions invaluable to their future success in the broadcast business.” Specifically, the Radio Advertising Bureau’s focus will be “Lunch and Learn – A Discussion on Radio’s Four Significant Issues;” “Concentrating on Core Radio Revenues;” “Creative Radio Commercial Production and Imaging;” and “Rapid-Fire Revenue Generators for Small and Medium Market Radio.” The NAB Show will be held April 5 – 10 in Las Vegas.
WDVI-FM and WHAM in Rochester Hold Radiothon to Benefit Children’s Hospital. Today and tomorrow Clear Channel Rochester stations hot AC WDVI “100.5 The Drive” and news/talk WHAM are broadcasting the annual “Drive For Miracles Radiothon” to benefit Golisano Children’s Hospital live from the lobby of Strong Hospital. Throughout the event, on-air personalities from each station will talk with current and former patients, their families, and the hard-working hospital staff that “creates miracles” every day. Personalities including WHAM’s Chet Walker, Bob Lonsberry, Shari Smith, Joe Lomonaco, and Bob Matthews and WDVI’s Bill Moran, Julie, JP, and “The Mayor” Pete Kennedy will broadcast from the hospital.
BFoA Names 2014 Ward L. Quaal Leadership Awards Recipients. This year’s recipients of the 2014 Ward L. Quaal Leadership Awards have been announced by the Broadcasters Foundation of America. They will be presented at the Foundation’s annual breakfast on Wednesday, April 9, at the Wynn Hotel during the National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas. This year’s recipients are: Jim Beloyianis, past president, Katz TV; Dan Mason, president & CEO, CBS RADIO; Deborah Norville, host, “Inside Edition”; Mary Quass, president & CEO, NRG Media; Perry Sook, chairman/president & CEO, Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Inc.; and Nick Verbitsky, chairman, United Stations Radio Networks. The Leadership Awards are given annually by the Broadcasters Foundation in recognition of career contributions to the broadcast industry and the community at large, and are named in honor of iconic broadcaster Ward L. Quaal.
Winter Weather Hits South and Northeast, ObamaCare Rollout Criticism, Afghanistan Prisoner Release, Paul NSA Suit, Debt Ceiling Raised, the Sochi Olympics and Gay NFL Prospect Comes Out Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/12). The unusually severe winter weather bearing down on the South and the Northeast; scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act and President Obama’s unilateral delay of the employer mandate; Afghanistan’s release of numerous “dangerous” inmates and the state of the U.S.’s relationship with Hamid Karzai; Senator Rand Paul’s suit against the NSA; the GOP’s signing on with Democrats to raise the debt ceiling; the Sochi Winter Olympic Games; and the coming out of NFL prospect Michael Sam were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
KABC, Los Angeles Adds Jillian Barberie to Midday Show. The sound of the midday show at Cumulus Media’s news/talk KABC, Los Angeles changes beginning Monday February 17 as the station adds local media star Jillian Barberie to the lineup co-hosting the new “Mid-Day LA with Jillian Barberie & John Phillips.” The show airs from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm and is part of the station’s move to add more local content to its programming. Barberie is well known to Southern California for her 18 years as co-host of Fox 11’s top-rated morning show, “Good Day LA.” In a statement, the station says that Barberie’s work at Fox 11 “engaged audiences with her real-life stories and electric energy. The sassy, Canadian-born Barberie has made a career out of hanging with the guys. While hosting ‘Good Day LA,’ she also spent a decade on the Fox NFL Pre-Game Show working opposite Curt Menefee, Howie Long and Terry Bradshaw.” Cumulus EVP and COO John Dickey adds, “Jillian’s energy, experience and love for Southern California are unmatched. We’re absolutely thrilled that she’s joining the ‘TalkRadio 790’ team in this important role.” Barberie comments, “I am so excited to be partnered with John Phillips! I couldn’t be happier to be a part of the KABC team, which is such a great place with incredibly talented people. I’ve always felt that there is something unique and liberating about doing radio.”
WYRD-FM, Greenville/Spartanburg, South Carolina Names Vince Coakley Weekend Host. Television and radio pro Vince Coakley joins Entercom’s WYRD-FM, Greenville/Spartanburg, South Carolina “WORD 106.3FM” for a regular Sunday program and as a fill-in personality when station hosts Bob McLain and Russ Cassell are on vacation. The station notes that Coakley’s program is “the Upstate’s only weekend live and local current events talk show” during that daypart, and adds, “Just because it’s the weekend doesn’t mean the news and the discussion about them stops.” Coakley hosted afternoon drive on Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte from June 2011 to July of 2012. He spent 20 years in television news prior to that. He’s also hosted a daily internet radio show called “Revolution Radio.” He says, “I am thrilled to officially join the team at WORD. The station is fearless in giving voice to hosts and listeners who place a premium on liberty. I have come to view the Greenville area as a second home and look forward to spending more time with the people of the Upstate on and off the air.”
TALKERS Posts Part-Three Today of Three-Part Special (2/10-12) Spotlighting Danno Wolkoff and Envision Networks. What broadcasting executive and entrepreneur Danno Wolkoff has accomplished in the span of just 10 years in founding and establishing Cleveland-based national syndication firm Envision Radio Networks is inspiring and a textbook example of creating a force for productivity and jobs in an industry. He took the biggest gamble of his life, grabbing a program and three people laid off by an established firm that would become his largest competitor, and growing an independent syndication empire serving over 1,500 radio stations with everything from prep services to music shows, local news and information to weekend talk shows. His staff has grown over 20-fold in a decade to include an array of producers, salespeople and contract staffers researching, producing, creating and selling more than four-dozen products to radio stations in both the largest and smallest markets. Now known simply as Envision Networks (they dropped the word “Radio” this past week – more on that in today’s installment) continues to not only grow, embracing new technology and catering to those needs, but in the process has become an independent force in syndication. In today’s installment, Wolkoff discusses how, as a result of new technology and social practices, radio has grown to point that it is “more than” simply radio and that operators must work diligently to preserve its history and uniqueness without sacrificing its potential and rightful place within the digital-era. In the words of Michael Harrison, “The emergence of special individuals like Danno Wolkoff is the force that propels an industry such as ours forward. I’ve seen this movie many times before. Danno is the kind of guy who has the makings of being a true giant 10 years down the pike, taking his place among the biggest of the big.” To read part three of TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay’s extensive profile “The Vision of Envision: The Rise of Radio Syndication Entrepreneur Danno Wolkoff and an Emerging Independent Powerhouse” please click here. And if you missed parts one and two published Monday and yesterday, please read them here and here, respectively.
More Details from Entercom’s Q4 Conference Call: The Drop on Boston and WEEI. While Entercom president and CEO David Field acknowledged that 2013 revenue was not where the company would like to have seen it (down 3%), he stated numerous times during Tuesday’s conference call that he believes the company has turned the corner and is “positioned for a strong 2014.” Saying that the company’s strongest-performing markets were San Francisco, Kansas City and Memphis, Field glowed about the ratings of some of the stations in those markets, pointing out the success stories of “The Wolf” and “The Point” in Kansas City, KOIT, KBLX and KGME in San Francisco. He also addressed the state of the Boston market and of sports talker WEEI. “We have some work to do there, but it’s interesting. We have a new leadership there now, which we are very excited about, and I believe we are starting to turn the corner there. And if you look at the fundamentals of Boston, WEEI, our flagship in the market, remains one of the top-rated sports station in the United States. It’s a top-three player in Boston among men. We are about to enter baseball season with the world champion Boston Red Sox and what’s little noted too is our digital play there. We have a major platform there with a team of writers who work for that, and it has become sort of a much visited site for fans. And to put it into context, we do about 1.5 million unique visitors each month, just on the digital side there. So we have a ton of opportunities in Boston and I would expect better things to come in the not-too-distant future there, and again, I think the future’s bright.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. Members can read the whole chat here.
Fernandez Boosted to Journal COO; Graham Upped to SVP/CFO. It’s a promotion for Journal Communications president Andre Fernandez as he is appointed chief operating officer in which he’s assuming operational oversight of the company’s broadcast and publishing segments. His other expanded responsibilities will include corporate human resources; executive vice president of radio Steve Wexler continues reporting to Fernandez. Elsewhere, the company names vice president/controller Jason Graham senior vice president of finance/controller/chief financial officer. Graham will report to chairman/chief executive officer Steven Smith, who states, “Jason has done an excellent job leading our accounting, billing, accounts payable, payroll, and tax teams. He has also contributed to our strategic planning and growth initiatives, which will continue to be an integral part of his expanded role as CFO.” Prior to joining Journal in June 2012, Graham was Brookdale Senior Living‘s vice president/corporate controller.
Odds & Sods. At Sports USA, the company announces that Lyle Gordon is promoted to EVP affiliate relations. Sports USA president Bob Moore says, “Lyle is a centerpiece of our company and his incredible relationships with over 400 radio stations makes Sports USA programming available to a nationwide audience. His experience with all forms of sports programming makes him the perfect person for this job.”…..Nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Ellen Kenner celebrates her 17th anniversary on the radio as she begins broadcasting year number 18 of her Providence-based weekly talk show program…..According to ESPNNewYork.com, when the New York Mets take to the field this season, radio broadcasters Howie Rose and Josh Lewin will be back in the booth as games air on new flagship WOR. Previously, games were heard on crosstown WFAN-FM…..In Nashville, Cromwell Group’s sports talk WPRT-FM, will continue as flagship for the AAA Nashville Sounds this season. The Sounds are the AAA affiliate of the MLB’s Milwaukee Brewers.
Wichita Police Continue to Investigate Death of Steckline Communications Staffer. Authorities in Wichita are investigating the death of 25-year old Daniel Flores, a staffer at Steckline Communications, who was killed sometime between Sunday evening and Monday morning at the company’s studios in West Wichita. Right now, police have little to go on and are asking the public’s assistance in solving the crime. At a press conference on Tuesday, police said they believe the perpetrator(s) were at the station for a reason – that it was not a random attack – but they are not sure at this point why the station or Flores was targeted. Flores had been an employee at Steckline for about a year.
Cool Job Opportunity. Sirius XM’s new Business Radio channel, originating from the Wharton School in Philadelphia, is looking for a business news host/producer. The host/producer will be responsible for anchoring two hours of daily programming on business news including topics ranging from product development to marketing and management strategies. Duties include working with an editorial team, faculty, industry experts and Sirius staff to identify daily content, create segments, and book guests as well as research business topics related to content themes. A Bachelor’s degree and three to five years of experience in news/business reporting and anchoring or equivalent combination of education and experience required. Applicants must be skilled in gathering, researching and reporting business stories as well as interviewing business newsmakers. The focus is on drawing useful business insight and analyses for a lay audience on a tight deadline. This position is based in Philadelphia. For more information please log on to: http://jobs.hr.upenn.edu:80/postings/1269Special.
WFTL’s Joyce Kaufman Jumps with the Golden Knights. Yes, that’s WFTL, Fort Lauderdale talk show host Joyce Kaufman riding tandem with a member of the United States Army Parachute Team “The Golden Knights” over Homestead Air Reserve Base in Homestead, Florida. On another note, Kaufman tells TALKERS the recent Chapter 11 filing of WFTL’s parent company James Crystal Radio is not weighing on her. She says she had faith in the company. “We had a very anxious January, but I knew they would be honorable so I hung in. We received all our money last week and are on schedule to be paid in a timely fashion as the company reorganizes. I love this market. I love this company and as long as they give me the opportunity, I am staying.”
ObamaCare Criticism, Winter Weather Headed for South and East, Obama “I Can Do Anything I Want” Quip, Sochi Winter Games, Congress Raises Debt Ceiling, Hillary in 2016, NSA Spying Scandal, and Gay Football Player Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/11). Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the next winter storm headed for the East and South; President Obama’s “I can do anything I want” quip; the Winter Olympics taking place in Sochi, Russia; Congress’ move to allow the raising of the debt ceiling; speculation about Hillary Clinton’s possible run for president in 2016; the backlash from the NSA spying scandal; and the announcement by NFL prospect Michael Sam that he’s gay were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa Show to Air on Cable’s Fox Sports 1. According to a report by Neil Best in Newsday, sources indicate the cable TV simulcast of New York sports talk icon Mike Francesa’s afternoon drive sports talk program will be Fox’s fledgling Fox Sports 1 cable channel. The deal that had Francesa’s program simulcast on the Fox-owned and Yankees-operated YES Network for the past 12 years ended last week and though the MSG Network was anticipated being the eventual destination for Francesa’s show, the official news of the Fox Sports 1 deal could come sometime this week. Best writes that Fox presumably wants Francesa’s show to help raise its visibility even though it’s a New York-centric show. Interestingly, WEPN-FM’s afternoon host Michael Kay is now seen in Francesa’s old slot on YES and if Francesa does land on Fox Sports 1, the two shows will appear on side-by-side channels 69 and 70 on New York’s Cablevision system.
Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch Radio Networks Outsource Affiliate Relations and Marketing to Compass Media Networks. Executive editor for the Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch Radio Networks John Wordock says in a memo to affiliate stations, “We are deeply committed to our audio business and appreciate our partnership with your station…The Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch Radio Networks will continue to provide the best money news coverage in the business, from Wall Street to Main Street to your street. Together, Dow Jones and Compass look forward to working with you and your station and we’re both dedicated to providing top-notch customer service.” This move to take the affiliate relations and marketing department out of house is not entirely unexpected after the cuts the company made in the fall eliminating executive positions within that department.
Mark Levin to Keynote Tea Party Anniversary Celebration. Nationally syndicated talk show host Mark Levin will serve as the keynote speaker at the five-year anniversary celebration of the Tea Party Patriots taking place in Washington, DC on February 27. Levin, whose program is syndicated by Cumulus Media Networks, says, “The Tea Party, which consists of millions of hard-working taxpayers, is to be celebrated not condemned. The ruling class must be trounced and its media cheerleaders must be exposed if the republic is to survive. The Tea Party is our only hope. It’s a great honor to be asked to speak to such outstanding and courageous patriots.” Other high-profile participants include: Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), and Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots.
Todd Schnitt: Not the Same-Old, Same-Old. Nationally syndicated talk show host Todd Schnitt credits his background in CHR radio and his passion for finding the topics that intrigue him that he believes will also intrigue his listeners for making his show a different-sounding sort of conservative talk radio show. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian’s profile of the man who worked for years as the successful “MJ Kelli” at Clear Channel’s WFLZ, Tampa before branching into drive time talk radio at sister station WFLA delves into the mind of a personality working to grow his national program in the post-Sandra Fluke era. Schnitt says, “My feelings have been bolstered by many experts and consultants in the field regarding the burn on conservative talk radio…You hear the same pounding on Democrats and liberals every single day. It is to the point with a bunch of hosts in my space where you can pull one of their shows from last month and it would sound the same as what they are saying today. I have always approached a talk radio show so that it fits on any conservative radio station, but with more of an intrinsic entertainment value.” Read Mike Kinosian’s story here.
TALKERS Launches Three-Part Special Today, Tomorrow and Wednesday (2/10-12) Spotlighting Danno Wolkoff and Envision Networks. Like many people who go to college with a plan for what they want to do when they graduate, Danno Wolkoff went to Syracuse University with a goal of winding up in television production. Fate, and the prodding from senior management at MJI Broadcasting instead sent him in the direction of sales and affiliate relations. Wolkoff discovered he had a gift for sales, and doubled his income in one year. It was through sales and affiliate relations work that he climbed the corporate ladder at MJI, expanding and growing their sales offices nationwide. When Clear Channel acquired MJI and merged it into Premiere Radio Networks (now simply “Premiere Networks”), he became VP of affiliate relations. However, it wasn’t long before he began to realize that the hands-on and creative approach he had at MJI wasn’t translating to the growth concepts and business model of Premiere and Clear Channel. Wolkoff faced a career crossroads and would make a decision that would change his life and become an important source of programming and services for radio. His vision was “Envision Radio Networks,” (now simply “Envision Networks”) — a highly successful and forward-thinking company that creates over four dozen content products and services for radio stations and media outlets nationwide, customizing solutions for clients, producers and affiliates. It was a company literally founded after another syndication and programming company decided they had a good product that despite making money, didn’t make enough money for their bottom line. What Wolkoff has accomplished in the span of just 10 years is inspiring and a textbook example of creating a force for productivity and jobs in an industry. He took the biggest gamble of his life, grabbing a program and three people laid off by an established firm that would become his largest competitor, and growing an independent syndication empire serving over 1,500 radio stations with everything from prep services to music shows, local news and information to weekend talk shows. His staff has grown over 20-fold in a decade to include an array of producers, salespeople and contract staffers researching, producing, creating and selling more than four-dozen products to radio stations in both the largest and smallest markets. Now known simply as Envision Networks (they dropped the word “Radio” this past week – more on that later) continues to not only grow, embracing new technology and catering to those needs, but in the process has become an independent force in syndication. In the words of Michael Harrison, “The emergence of special individuals like Danno Wolkoff is the force that propels an industry such as ours forward. I’ve seen this movie many times before. Danno is the kind of guy who has the makings of being a true giant 10 years down the pike, taking his place among the biggest of the big.” To read part one of TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay’s extensive profile “The Vision of Envision: The Rise of Radio Syndication Entrepreneur Danno Wolkoff and an Emerging Independent Powerhouse” please click here.
CBS Reports Record Digital Traffic Month. It’s a new record for a single month as CBS Local Digital Media reports its websites and mobile applications attracted 56.8 million unique users during January topping the previous all-time high of 50.6 million in April 2013. The January 2014 number was up 37% compared to a year ago. CBS Local is happy with its performance in this arena last year reporting year-to-year growth of 21% in average unique users per month. CBS Local Media COO Anton Guitano says, “Our continued integration of digital into all parts of our local business is yielding dividends. The great mobile presence our stations have via mobile websites, Radio.com and CBS Local apps creates a presence that gives the consumer a great user experience.”
Lars Larson’s Busy Week: Subbing for KVI’s John Carlson; Keynoting Nevada Republican Dinner. There are few in the talk radio business who work harder than talk show host Lars Larson. Lars tells TALKERS that in addition to his regular radio programs – middays on Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL, Portland and nationally syndicated from 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET via Compass Media Networks – he’s filling in on morning drive today and tomorrow (2/10-11) on KVI, Seattle for John Carlson. This evening he’ll be hosting a station event for KXL and then heads to Reno on Thursday to do both regular shows from affiliate KKFT-FM before keynoting the Washoe County Republicans’ annual Lincoln Dinner on Friday. Lars reports he’ll be able to fly home in time on Friday to spend Valentine’s weekend with his “very patient wife,” Tina.
Michael Smerconish Jumps to CNN. The SiriusXM talk show host is leaving MSNBC and will join up with CNN for a role that includes regular appearances during the week providing analysis and commentary plus a weekly Saturday morning program, reports the Washington Posts’s Eric Wemple. In a release, CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker says, “We are thrilled to have Michael join CNN. At a time when the cable news landscape has become increasingly polarized, his independence and passion for reasoned dialogue makes him the perfect fit for CNN.” Smerconish joins CNN at a time of flux. Zucker has been making programming changes to reverse the cable news/talk channel’s floundering ratings. CNN announced recently it is cancelling Anderson Cooper’s “AC 360 Later.”
Honoring Ann. ABC News Radio White House correspondent Ann Compton (left) is pictured here at the Washington Press Club Foundation’s 70th Annual Congressional Dinner on February 5 at which she was honored with the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award. The award recognizes an individual whose outstanding accomplishments promote the journalistic profession and enhance the role of women journalists.
Odds & Sods. The Akron Beacon Journal reports that weekend and fill-in host Bob Early resigned from his position with WNIR-FM, Akron after a disagreement over a guest for his weekend talk show. Early hosted the Saturday and Sunday evening show on the station and he tells the paper he and management were not in agreement about Early booking the owner of an erotic goods chain on his program. Read the whole story here…..Patrick Ryan joins Magnum Broadcasting to serve as general manager for talk WEEO-FM, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania/ Hagerstown, Maryland and corporate brands strategist. Ryan was most recently local sales manager at Albany Broadcasting. He says, “I’m thrilled to put my talk radio expertise back to work and look forward to buying-building new brands with Michael Stapleford and his incredible team.”…..KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh morning host Larry Richert announced that Pittsburgh Pirates president Frank Coonelly will serve as the keynote speaker at his “Larry Richert Honors Our Hometown Heroes” event at the Lexus Club at PNC Park on Thursday, March 6. The annual even created by Richert honors five ordinary individuals in the community who have done extraordinary things and it benefits the Wounded Warrior Project.
A Good Listen to a Good Guy
By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
LOS ANGELES — Some view their own age and/or that of others as a roadblock – a barrier to achieving an untold number of additional hopes and dreams.
To others, age – more correctly – is merely a meaningless number with no attached strings or restrictions.
It would have been quite easy and understandable for Alex Bennett to take leave and retreat from the business in which he has been an integral part for several decades. After all, the legendary broadcaster was 73 years old when Sirius XM unceremoniously pink-slipped him last June after more than nine years of service at the satcaster (he turned 74 two months ago).
Notwithstanding an imposing and lengthy list of accomplishments and vitae, which the native Californian could trumpet as an entree to retirement, he has become an entrepreneur with “Alex Bennett’s Great American Broadcasts” being the centerpiece of his novel take to talk radio.
Still Pioneering After All These Years – 74-Year-Old Alex Bennett Is Building New Platform and Inventing “New” Talk Format. Some view their own age and/or that of others as a roadblock – a barrier to achieving an untold number of additional hopes and dreams. To others, age – more correctly – is merely a meaningless number with no attached strings or restrictions. It would have been quite easy and understandable for radio legend Alex Bennett to take leave and retreat from the business in which he has been an integral part for several decades. After all, the legendary broadcaster was 73-years-old when Sirius XM unceremoniously pink-slipped him last June after more than nine years of service at the satcaster (he turned 74 two months ago). Notwithstanding an imposing and lengthy list of accomplishments and vitae, which the native Californian could trumpet as an entree to retirement, he has become an entrepreneur with “Alex Bennett’s Great American Broadcasts” being the centerpiece of his novel take on talk radio. Bennett is innovatively and opportunistically using Skype to create “citizen panels” of up to 10 callers per clip interacting with him in on-air conversation at a time. To learn more about this creative venture and the ongoing adventures of one of radio’s truly cooler characters, read TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian’s feature piece posted today (2/5) in its entirety by clicking here.
SiriusXM Reports Revenue Up 12% in 2013. During yesterday’s Q4 conference call, SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer told investors and analysts that the company delivered on all of its guidance for 2013 and enjoyed a revenue spike of 12% for the year plus saw its subscriber base rise to 25.5 million. Meyer, like Mel Karmazin before him, is touting the company’s dedication to increasing free cash flow and, to that end, Meyer reports free cash flow was up 31% to $927 million for the year. Looking back on 2013 Meyer underscored the importance of deals that get SiriusXM radios into new cars and stated the satellite service is now available in 71% of cars sold in the United States. Meyer also spoke about the company’s strategy with regard to the “connected vehicle,” saying, “We’ve acquired a smart team of technology engineers who are accelerating development of our overall connected car architecture, including the combination of satellite receivers with LTE hardware, a strategy that should also yield benefits to our existing audio business…We expect connected vehicle services to deliver close to $100 million of revenue this year, and we expect to grow this at strong double-digit rates over the next many years. We are in the process of fully integrating the CV business into SiriusXM, and its financial results are embedded in our guidance today.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript. Members can check out the entire conference here.
Greater Media Suspends WPEN, Philadelphia’s Mike Missanelli for Gay Slurs. This story goes to show how even a seasoned pro like Philadelphia sports talk host Mike Missanelli can make the mistake of engaging with a critic online. Greater Media has suspended afternoon personality Mike Missanelli after he called a critic a “latent homosexual” in an email exchange. The station issued the following statement, “We are aware of the email communications between Mike and one of his listeners. This individual has been harassing Mike by email for several years, which is cause for concern, and we are working with Mike to try to identify this person and stop the abuse. However, that does not excuse Mike’s conduct. The content of his emails is unacceptable and does not reflect our values as a company. Mike has been suspended and understands that future similar conduct will not be tolerated.” The story broke after the email exchange was posted on Deadspin.com.
Beasley Broadcast Group Beefs Up Digital Division. In announcing the hiring of three new regional digital directors, Beasley reveals its dedication to digital sales efforts. In a statement, vice president of digital Stacey Sedbrook speaks about the expectations after bringing Eddie Thorpe, Adam Meltzer and Carolyn Cope aboard. “The formation of this team will surely be the foundation of our success. Having the right people on my team is as important to me as having the right products and services to sell. Eddie, Adam and Carolyn were hand selected for their talents, capabilities and, most importantly, their nimble thinking. Our objective is to drive revenues for our advertisers, especially those smaller businesses and growing brands in the communities we serve. To achieve this goal, our regional digital directors will assist Beasley’s local market sales teams in creating enhanced advertising campaigns that include digital products and services tailored to the specific needs of our existing and new clients.” Eddie Thorpe comes to Beasley from the Tampa Bay Times where he was senior digital director. He’s responsible for the Miami and Fort Myers-Naples markets. Adam Meltzer is responsible for the Philadelphia and Wilmington, Delaware markets. He most recently was multimedia sales manager for Wicked Local. Carolyn Cope also served with Wicked Local as senior digital account executive of major accounts and is now overseeing the Augusta, Georgia; Fayetteville, North Carolina; and Eastern North Carolina markets (Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville). Sedbrook is responsible for the company’s Las Vegas group.
Klatt Yields the Winning Run. In this case, that is a good thing as The Winning Run is the name of the full-service consultancy that Len Klatt is opening. The former Premiere Networks senior vice president/director of research is gearing the new undertaking – which will have Los Angeles and New York City offices – to national media companies and talent, programming services and advertisers. Among his clients are Sound Mind, Compass Media Marketing, Big Shoes Productions, Reel World, and The Blaze Radio Network. “Len continues to do the best job industry wide in both interpreting audience numbers and explaining them to clients interested in exploring the value premise of audience engagement on radio, online, and in digital media,” comments Sound Mind president Kraig Kitchin, Premiere’s former president/chief operating officer. “We are fortunate to have his talents for the benefit of our sponsors.” Klatt remarks, “It is not just about columns and numbers, it’s about how they can be used to shape the story in such a way to advance my clients’ vision. With The Winning Run, I want to cover all the bases.” Before the nearly two decades he spent at Premiere, Klatt was Westwood One‘s New York City-based director of research. He began his media research career at Media Buying Services International.
Learfield Adds to Footprint with Nelligan Acquisition. One of the leaders in college sports play-by-play rights is adding 41 schools to its roster with the acquisition of Nelligan Sports Marketing. Learfield Sports will now hold the multi-media rights to 92 schools, which puts its total above that of its fiercest competitor – IMG Sports, which holds the rights to 79 schools. Learfield president and CEO Greg Brown tells SportsBusinessDaily, “In some cases, this will open up new markets for us. In other cases, it will further fortify what we’re doing…Early on in our discussions with Providence [Learfield owner Providence Equity Partners], we identified some strategic opportunities that would be productive for our business. Nelligan is consistent with the business we’re already in. This was right down the middle of the fairway for us.” Nelligan Sports founder T.J. Nelligan will remain with the new company in a leadership role. He comments that he doesn’t expect attrition with this merger.
Odds & Sods. Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington is helping the National Multiple Sclerosis Society by naming it the station’s WTOP Charity of the Month recipient for February 2014. Through the program the MS Society will receive more than $20,000 worth of in-kind contributions to support Multiple Sclerosis awareness and programs, including 64 promotional announcements on WTOP and sister station Federal News Radio. Additional content and exposure for MS Society will be included on WTOP.com and FederalNewsRadio.com throughout the entire month of February…..Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago announces the next in its “Blackhawks Live” series when forwards Kris Versteeg and Brandon Saad take part in the live event at the Old Town Pour House in suburban Oakbrook on February 24. The event includes a photo op with the players, an autographed photo and dinner, tax and tip. “Blackhawks Live” is a series of one-hour radio broadcasts hosted over dinner throughout the year featuring current Blackhawks players, legends and management. Blackhawks radio broadcasters John Wiedeman and Troy Murray host the event that includes a question-and-answer format between the hosts and the featured Blackhawks guests…..The New Jersey Broadcasters Association has created PSAs for member stations reminding drivers in the Garden State that it’s illegal to drive a vehicle that hasn’t had the snow and ice properly cleared off it. Interested stations can visit www.njba.com for information…..The Radio Television Digital News Association names WBIR-TV, Knoxville news director Christy Moreno to its board of directors, representing Region 8, which includes Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and West Virginia.
WestwoodOne to Present Exclusive Coverage of Winter Olympics. When the 2014 Olympic Winter Games commence in Sochi, Russia on Friday, WestwoodOne will be the exclusive network for audio coverage. WestwoodOne’s programing will include: shortform coverage Olympic updates three times an hour, 24/7, from February 7- February 23; longform coverage – “Today in Sochi” including two hours of longform coverage for 17 consecutive nights; coverage of all U.S. Olympic Hockey (Men’s and Women’s) plus the gold medal games in Men’s and Women’s hockey regardless of who is playing.
Dana Loesch Visits ‘The View.’ Conservative talk media figure Dana Loesch – who just entered national syndication for her daily talk radio show via Radio America – appeared on ABC TV’s “The View” on Monday in her stead as a host on Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze where she hosts a daily, 5:00 pm program. Pictured here (center) between the program’s Jenny McCarthy (left) and Sherri Shepherd (right), Loesch spoke about her conversion from a progressive liberal to her current conservative philosophy and fielded questions from the four co-hosts.
Obama Administration Splits with Some Democrats, Philip Seymour Hoffman Death/Heroin Use in America, Hillary in 2016, Immigration Legislation/Amnesty Component, ObamaCare Criticism, Financial Markets Activity, and Sochi Olympics Troubles Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/4). The reported rift between Democrats on Capitol Hill and the Obama Administration on some issues; the aftermath of the death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman and the light it’s shed on heroin abuse in America; the prospect of Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016; the proposed immigration legislation working its way through Congress and the possibility of amnesty for current illegals; ongoing scrutiny of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; activity on the U.S. and world financial markets; and reports of the problems Russia is facing getting Sochi ready for the Winter Olympics were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Entercom Promotes Pat Paxton to President of Programming. Fifteen-year programming staffer Pat Paxton is promoted to president of programming for Entercom Communications Corp. Paxton has served as senior vice president of programming since 2001. He began his work with the company in 1999 as OM at the old AC WQSX “Star 93.7.” Entercom president and CEO David Field comments, “Pat has played a vital role in Entercom’s growth and development over his 15 years with the company. He is an energizing leader, a terrific strategist and a deeply knowledgeable programmer. We are truly fortunate to have him on our team.” Paxton says of the promotion, “The past 15 years with Entercom have been tremendously rewarding, both personally and professionally. Our entire Entercom team has worked tirelessly to create one of today’s most admired media companies, which has not happened accidentally. I am proud to have been part of this team and I look forward to continuing to help create the very best audio brands in the industry. Huge thanks to David Field for his vision and leadership that has allowed all of us at Entercom to thrive.”
WTAR, Norfolk Drops Comedy for News/Talk/Sports. The Sinclair-owned AM signal WTAR, Norfolk will drop the comedy format it is currently airing and flip to a hybrid talk/sports format that will feature “The Wall Street Journal This Morning” from 6:00 am to 9:00 am; Fox Sports Radio/DirecTV’s Dan Patrick from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; FSN’s “Jay Mohr Sports” 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; and Cumulus Media Networks’ Michael Savage from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Tony Macrini, morning host at sister talk station WNIS made the announcement on January 20. General manager Lisa Sinclair says, “There’s always something new to talk about and AM 850 WTAR keeps you engaged, informed and always entertained.”
SiriusXM Opens Howard Stern Birthday Bash to Non-Subscribers. When the “Howard Stern Birthday Bash” begins at 4:00 pm ET on January 31 live from the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City, the world will be invited to the party as SiriusXM is opening its internet service at siriusxm.com to non-subscribers. The company says that this unprecedented access to Howard Stern’s live broadcast is a first for SiriusXM and Howard Stern. In addition to SiriusXM subscribers, anyone can stream “Howard Stern’s Birthday Bash,” an evening of unforgettable performances and special appearances from the biggest names in entertainment. The free stream will be available on compatible mobile devices as well as online through simple one-click listening; no need to download an app or enter credentials. Stern comments on the approaching broadcast to celebrate his 60th birthday. “I am honored by the number of performers who want to join me on stage, and the number of fans who want to get in. Now, thanks to SiriusXM, I can give the world access to this event for free through this special internet audio stream in addition to my fans listening on their satellite radios.” The event is being hosted by Jimmy Kimmel with guests including Louis C.K., David Letterman and Sarah Silverman, with musical performances by Jon Bon Jovi, John Fogerty, Steven Tyler and many others.
Hartel to Head Up L&L’s Columbia, South Carolina Group. The new SVP and market manager for L&L Broadcasting’s Columbia South Carolina cluster is Mike Hartel – who most recently served as vice president and general manager of Curtis Media Group’s WBBB, Raleigh. L&L CEO Bob Proffitt says of the move, “We had the huge benefit of having Bill McElveen step up as not only an in-market radio veteran, but to help us in the recruitment process to get the very best fit and talent to manage Columbia. Mike Hartel is a great fit for our Columbia cluster with his excellent track record, interactive focus, and competitive nature – a perfect addition to our growing company.” Hartel comments, “I love what Larry and Bob are creating and I’m thrilled to be a part of their team. There is no place I would rather be than with a company that is hyper-focused on using live and local radio to serve our community, our clients, and our employees.” The L&L Columbia cluster includes sports talk WOIC “ESPN Columbia 1230.”
NYMRAD Announces New Executive Committee. At the New York Market Radio Association (NYMRAD), the executive committee of the board of directors has some new additions and changes in titles: Felix Perez, general manager, Univision Radio New York, moves into the chairman slot replacing Clear Channel Music + Entertainment’s Joe Puglise who remains on the board of directors. Jennifer Donohue, director of sales, CBS RADIO New York, replaces Don Bouloukos as vice chairperson and Alex Cameron, SVP and market manager, Emmis New York, remains on the committee as secretary. NYMRAD executive director Deborah Beagan says, “I am very excited about working with Felix during this seamless transition of the executive committee. Felix has infused energy in his contributions to board meetings and under his leadership we will continue to develop initiatives that will advance radio in the vibrant New York marketplace.” Perez adds, “I welcome the opportunity to work with Deborah and our radio colleagues to advance the value of NYMRAD to its members and aggressively increasing the profile and revenue share of New York radio.”
Holiday 2013 PPM Data Released. The ratings for the Holiday 2013 PPM survey period are being released by Nielsen Audio. The first 12 markets including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union are out and that data can be found at our sister publication RadioInfo.com right here. Additionally, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the first round of the Holiday PPM here.
Odds & Sods. KNX, Los Angeles announces the return of the “Ask the Mayor” program to its airwaves on January 29. The CBS RADIO all-newser states that Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will be in the studio at 10:00 am when the show will be hosted by KNX 1070 news anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman and will “give Angelinos the opportunity to put the mayor in the hot seat.”…..Not so fast, KCAA, Lorma Linda, “Free Talk Live” has been accepting Bitcoins as payment for airtime since 2011. Yesterday, TALKERS reported the Fred Lundgren-owned SoCal station claims to be the first it knows of in the U.S. to accept the cryptocurrency for ad time, but Mark Edge of the independently syndicated “Free Talk Live” program tells TALKERS he and co-host Ian Freeman have been accepting Bitcoins for more than two years. He adds, “We take Litecoin, too.”…..Hoops fanatic and filmmaker Spike Lee is hosting the bi-weekly, “Spike Lee’s Best Seat in the House” program on SiriusXM’s NBA channel. The first show will air on January 30 from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
Eastern Freeze/Western Drought, Sochi Olympics Security Concerns, Chris Christie Scandals Aftermath, ObamaCare Rollout Criticism, Andrew Cuomo Anti-Conservative Remarks, and Roe v. Wade Anniversary Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/21). The snow and cold weather affecting the East and the dry rainy season in the West leading to drought conditions there; concerns about security at the looming Sochi Winter Games; the effects of the recent scandals plaguing the administration of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie; scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; reaction to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s comments about conservative beliefs; and the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
KFI’s Internal Shuffling “Replaces” Limbaugh. Rather than bringing in another host to cover the gaping hole left by Rush Limbaugh, it looks like Clear Channel, Los Angeles talker KFI will adjust the times of some of its existing personalities. Morning talent Bill Handel will apparently get to sleep an extra hour, as he will handle 6:00 am – 10:00 am duties (from 5:00 am – 9:00 am), while Bill Carroll will adjust to 10:00 am – 2:00 pm from 12:00 noon – 3:00pm. In place of their 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm shift, afternoon drivers John & Ken will extend one more hour to 7:00 pm. Tim Conway Jr. remains at 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm, with syndicated talent George Noory following until 5:00 am. As of today, Gary Hoffmann debuts the 5:00 am – 6:00 am “Wake-up Call.” These moves are necessitated owing to Limbaugh transitioning from powerhouse KFI to co-owned, newly re-branded KEIB “The Patriot” (formerly KTLK-AM).
Gann Going to San Antonio as WOAI – KTKR PD. Brian Gann is leaving Journal Broadcast Group Tulsa to program Clear Channel San Antonio news/talk WOAI and sports KTKR “The Ticket.” According to president and market manager Marlene Trevino, “We are very fortunate to have Brian join our team in San Antonio. He brings a wealth of experience to WOAI and KTKR and we look forward to the bright future ahead under his leadership.” Gann comments, “I am excited to have the opportunity to help lead WOAI and ‘The Ticket.’ There is a terrific team in place there and I am honored to be able to join them.” While in Tulsa, Gann was operations manager of adult hits KBEZ “Bob FM,” KFAQ “Tulsa’s Talk Radio,” CHR KHTT “K-Hits,” KVOO “Today’s Country Variety,” and classic country KXBL “Big Country.” He starts his San Antonio assignment in one week (1/30).
Mark Arum Gets Nightly Show at WSB, Atlanta. Traffic reporter Mark Arum is taking over the 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight daily show at Cox Media Atlanta’s news/talk WSB after handling weekend and fill-in roles at the station. This new gig comes in addition to his traffic reporter roles at WSB-TV, news/talk WSB-AM and hot AC WSB-FM “B98.5.” As reported by the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho, Arum replaces Adam Goldfein who exited the late show role at the end of 2013 for personal reasons. Arum tells Ho that he’s been wanting a daily show since his arrival at WSB in 1997. Cox Media did give him a chance to host a daily show at its Stamford and Norwalk, Connecticut stations back in 2008 and he says it provided “invaluable experience.”
Learfield’s Worsham, Boman, Heim Elevated to Senior Positions. Missouri-based Learfield Communications promotes Aaron Worsham, Tom Boman, and Jennifer Heim. Worsham advances from vice president to senior vice president of affiliate relations and operations; broadcast manager Boman is boosted to vice president of broadcast operations; and corporate controller Heim becomes vice president/corporate controller. Worsham and Boman manage the company’s sports operations division, which oversees all aspects related to broadcast talent and station relationships for Learfield Sports’ radio networks as part of its multimedia rights partnerships with university athletic programs. Senior vice president/chief content officer Joe Ferreira comments, “Aaron and Tom have exhibited outstanding leadership and execution skills throughout their tenure at Learfield Sports and have taken our industry-leading audio business to great heights. Producing and managing thousands of broadcasts annually for our 50-plus networks, key flagship and affiliate partners and digital distribution networks is a daunting task. These well-deserved promotions reflect growth and success in all areas.” Meanwhile, chief financial officer Matt Hupfeld states, “Jennifer is a true professional who has proven to be an excellent asset to Learfield. She is well deserving of assuming the vice president role and we know she will continue to do an outstanding job.” Worsham has been with Learfield since 1999. Prior to joining the company in 2006, Boman was a producer with the Los Angeles Dodgers Radio Network and Fox Sports Radio in Los Angeles. CPA Heim’s background includes being a financial manager for Brookstone and a senior auditor for several companies.
Michael Smerconish to Publish First Novel About Conservative Talk Show Host. The book is titled, Talk (Cider Mill Press 2014) and is due out in May. But as Michael Smerconish tells the Washington Post, “My highest purpose is to entertain…a lot of it is fake.” Still, readers of the book about a fictional conservative talk host from Florida who finds himself in the thick of a hotly contested presidential race, will probably find a lot of what transpires culled from the reality of the talk radio business in which Michael Smerconish has dwelt during his career. Now working at SiriusXM after years on AM/FM radio, Smerconish ruffled some feathers when he left for satellite radio saying, in effect, he felt the requirement talk hosts on AM/FM be easily pigeonholed was holding him, and the industry, back. Previews of the book indicate that while this is fiction, Smerconish just may be taking a few shots at the facet of the industry he left behind as he tells his story.
Opinion: Hang On A Minute, Bill. Weighing in on the Bill O’Reilly’s recent “promotion” for Pandora, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian observes: “On the positive side, Bill O’Reilly last week let known his partisanship for one particular iconic American vocal group on his Fox News Channel television program. Conversely, terrestrial music radio programmers just might remember certain comments he made should O’Reilly ever look to them to plug his next book or project on that platform. In an approximately 45-second “Tip of the Day” segment, the “O’Reilly Factor” host gave a thumbs-up to Pandora over terrestrial radio. “Do you like music,” he queried. “I do [and] there are plenty of free ways to get it. The easiest way is to turn on the radio.” So far, so good. Then O’Reilly said, “The problem with the radio is that for every good song there are three bad songs. So, you can hear [good songs] like The Beach Boys‘ ‘Help Me Rhonda,’ [and] ‘Fun, Fun, Fun.’ [Those are] good songs, but then you’ll hear ‘Hang on Sloopy’ – painful.” Off-camera laughter was audible as O’Reilly winced at the thought of The McCoys‘ song. His advice was to have his audience “check out” Pandora.com’s free website. In amazement, he remarked about the logistics of typing “the song you like and you get the song played to you. Then, you get other songs similar to it [so] you are basically creating your own radio station. Let me know what you think.” After having mentioned Pandora by name three times in under one minute, O’Reilly insisted he “had no interest in that website at all.” His motive was to tell his audience because, “I like you.” Not to nitpick the host, but his mention of “Help Me Rhonda” and “Fun, Fun, Fun” sounded like one run-on title, especially since he said, “That is a good song.” Moreover, he was only able to cite one “painful” tune, compared to two good ones. Whether or not by coincidence, the three specific titles O’Reilly mentioned were from the mid-1960s. We wonder if he has heard of YouTube yet.
Plans Underway for Ron Ruth Memorial Benefit. The event celebrating the life of Ron Ruth will take place next month (Tuesday, 2/25) at the New York Friars Club and is being organized by the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) in conjunction with the Broadcasters Foundation. Actively arranging the festivities for their late broadcast colleague are The Friends of Ron Ruth Memorial Benefit Committee consisting of Erica Farber, Norm Feuer, George Hyde, Bill Moyes, Herb McCord, Jeff Smulyan, Jim Thompson, and Erle Younker. A portion of the proceeds from the $250 ticket price will be donated to the Ron Ruth Memorial Fund at the Broadcasters Foundation of America. Ruth was executive vice president of stations for the RAB for 19 years. 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 Radio Advertising Bureau in 1992. Most recently, he was consulting the RAB. He died of a heart attack this past November 16 in Florida.
New York Festivals International Radio Competition Announces Call for Entries. Now through March 19, the New York Festivals is accepting entries for the 32nd annual “World’s Best Radio Programs” competition. This competition is unique in that entries are received from between 30 and 50 nations across the globe each year. Competition executive director Rose Anderson tells TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian that global scope is important, “One thing that is most important to us is that we make New York Festivals Radio Program Awards a destination for people all over the world who are creating radio that is interesting, innovative, and of very high quality.” Anderson adds that the grand jury members (judges) enjoy the high quality of radio they review. “They have consistently written comments that the quality of the entries is fantastic. People are entering material in drama, news, documentaries, talk, and music that continues to make new ways of telling stories. We have had entries from Radio Free Asia; from folks on the scene who described the riots in Cairo; and people from Romania who submitted amazing audio of drama.” With 130 headings, the scope of the competition is wide. To find out more about the New York Festivals Radio Program Awards, click here.
Cumulus ‘Big Game’ Party. The scene here is the Roseland Ballroom in New York City yesterday as Cumulus Media’s hot AC WPLJ; country WNSH “Nash FM 94.7,” and news/talk WABC come together to put on a ‘Big Game Party’ in honor of the NFL’s championship being decided in the nearby Met Life stadium in two weeks. Sunday’s event was hosted by Todd Pettengill of WPLJ. The venue was filled to capacity with over 3,000 guests enjoying a sports expo, playoff viewing party, station games, and food. Former New York Giants wide receiver and NBC Sports Radio Network personality Amani Toomer was on hand meeting the many loyal listeners! Pettengill states, “The first annual Cumulus Big Game Party was an absolute example of synergy. Three radio stations with different audiences, air staff’s, came together to make the perfect circle of success. I can’t wait for next January!” The evening concluded with a performance by Daughtry.
WCBS, New York Producer/Engineer Silva Dies. Radio producer and engineer Carlos Silva died at age 50 after a battle with stomach and esophageal cancer in Lutz, Florida on Sunday (1/19). Silva worked for CBS RADIO’s WCBS, New York where he produced New York Yankees broadcasts. He had also worked game broadcasts for ESPN Radio, the Orlando Magic, Philadelphia Phillies Spanish-language broadcasts, and the old New Jersey Nets.
Cool Job Opportunity. Syndication Specialist Needed – The Dave Ramsey Show, now the 3rd largest syndicated talk show in the nation with more than 530 affiliates, is in need of a Go-Getter willing to take on this growing demand. This person will work with our small- and mid-sized markets. Duties will consist of new market development as well as serving existing affiliates and building relationships. Our organization has been voted Best Place to Work in Nashville for six years in a row for a reason. If you think you have what it takes and are interested in working in an environment where you can learn and grow, we need to talk. Interested candidates apply at: http://www.daveramsey.com/company/view-all-jobs/
Borrell Associates New Study and Forecast Predicts Radio Revenue Flat but Listening Minutes Continue to Decline Over Next Five Years. Research firm Borrell Associates has published a new study titled, “The Future of Legacy Media: With 5 Years of Digital Disruption Ahead, What Happens Next?” As the title implies, it looks at the effect the digital revolution has had over the past five years on time spent with each medium and ad dollars spent and then goes on to predict what is likely to happen over the next five years. The conclusion for AM/FM radio is probably not going to be shocking to most. Borrell predicts that minutes spent with AM/FM radio (which have already dropped from 124.1 in 2008 to 93.5 in 2013, according to the study) will continue to erode even though the number of individuals listening at least once per week (that figure we hear reported by Nielsen Audio so frequently) may remain fairly constant. By 2018 Borrell predicts minutes spent with radio will further drop to 81.9 (for a total decrease from 2008 to 2018 of 34%). On the revenue front, Borrell notes that radio ad spending has dropped by almost a third over the past 13 years and predicts the level the industry is at right now – about $14.3 billion – is roughly where it will be in another five years. Here’s what the study has to say about AM/FM radio’s future: “If trends hold true, traditional radio ad spending will continue to tread water, remaining largely unchanged while growth moves online – especially among national advertisers. Detroit is already equipping some new cars with Pandora service, so even that industry sinecure may have been breached. Losses – where they occur – will be most felt in the larger metros, while suburban and rural areas will still depend on the local flavor of stations that have been good friends to their fathers and grandfathers.” Which media will experience growth in minutes spent with through 2018? Borrell predicts cable TV, out-of-home, video games and pure-play mobile, which it says will have realized a 1,145% increase in minutes spent with during the 10-year period examined in the study. Read more here.
SiriusXM Reports Total Subscribers Top 25 Million. Satellite radio service SiriusXM announces it ended the year 2013 with 25.56 million subscribers – an addition of 1.66 million net subscribers during the course of the year. The company reports that self-pay net additions in 2013 were 1.5 million for the full year, bringing self-pay subscriptions to over 21 million. SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer states, “SiriusXM had an outstanding 2013, and we expect to meet or exceed all other guidance we have provided for the year. Automotive distribution is hitting on all cylinders and an increasing number of households, at all income levels, are subscribing to SiriusXM. In a world where consumers have many choices, millions of subscribers continue to love our unmatched and easily affordable lineup of exclusive talk, live news, major sports events, and commercial-free and curated music channels.” At the same time, the company offers guidance for 2014 that includes: Net subscriber additions of 1.25 million; free cash flow approaching $1.1 billion; revenue of over $4.0 billion; and adjusted EBITDA of approximately $1.38 billion.
2014 International CES: Day Two. Media consultant Holland Cooke reports from Las Vegas where he’s covering the enormous 2014 International Consumer Electronic Show for TALKERS magazine. Some tidbits for radio people include how Yahoo! is revamping its content to fit what consumers want with regard to size and frequency and how new global anchor Katie Couric is integrating “citizen reporting” into her work. Also, read what radio execs attending a session on internet radio are saying about building a connection with consumers in Holland Cooke’s piece here.
Compass Media Brings Research Pro Len Klatt Aboard. Research pro Len Klatt spent the last 16 years with Premiere Networks (ultimately as SVP of research) and 11 years with Westwood One before that. Now, Compass Media Marketing announces it has hired Klatt as a research consultant and advisor, effective immediately. Klatt comments, “It is an incredibly exciting time to be a part of the changing audio entertainment landscape. Compass is well positioned for continued growth and my goal is to work closely with the Compass team to best serve our advertisers, affiliates and programming partners.”
Kirk Minihane Inks Multi-Year Deal with WEEI, Boston. The Boston Globe’s Chad Finn reports that staffer Kirk Minihane – a recently added member of the Dennis & Callahan morning show – has been rewarded for his positive impact on the show and the station with a new multi-year deal. Minihane became part of the morning show featuring John Dennis and Gerry Callahan in February of last year and Finn reports that the morning show has been gaining ratings ground over the past several months. Minihane was already employed by Entercom Boston writing for WEEI.com at the time he joined the show. The Dennis & Callahan show – and the station in general – has been under the microscope since the start-up of CBS Radio’s crosstown WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” debuted, gained ground on WEEI and overtook many of WEEI’s shows in the ratings. Now, Finn reports that the Dennis & Callahan show recently finished in second place in the Nielsen Audio PPM ratings behind WBZ-FM’s Toucher & Rich program with a 9.0 share.
Odds & Sods. At Salem Communications’ New York City news/talker WNYM “AM 970 The Answer,” comic Joe Piscopo is guest hosting the morning show today (1/8) through the end of the week. The permanent morning show slot is vacant right now after Curtis Sliwa split for Cumulus Media’s crosstown news/talk WABC for a midday show with co-host Ron Kuby. The station says Piscopo will “have top name guests, give his take on the news of the day and do a variety of other comedy bits.”…..At Clear Channel’s Cincinnati cluster, Bo Matthews is named vice president of programming for the station group. While Matthews’ recent day-to-day experience has been with music radio – he comes to Cincinnati from the company’s Cleveland cluster where he programmed rock WMMS and CHR WAKS “Kiss FM” – he will ultimately oversee news/talk WLW, talk WKRC and sports talk WSAI in his new position…..In the public radio sphere of the Rochester market, WXXI listeners are hearing new host Evan Dawson in the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot held for so long by market pro Bob Smith. Dawson is a familiar face as he spent six years as morning anchor at WHAM-TV. The new show is called “Connections with Evan Dawson.” Smith stepped down from his position in August after suffering a stroke in the spring. He’s currently in long-term rehabilitative care.
Rick & Bubba Celebrate 20th Anniversary. The nationally syndicated Rick & Bubba show – featuring Rick Burgess and Bill “Bubba” Bussey – celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. The Syndicated Solutions Inc.-distributed program has special plans to commemorate the show’s birth. Burgess and Bussey, along with cast members Calvin “Speedy” Wilburn, “The Real” Greg Burgess, Michael “Helmsey” Helms, Chris “Eddie Van” Adler, along with past/present show interns and related show contributors, will be performing live before sellout crowds during at least five special one-night only events in concert halls/theaters in select cities beginning in May. SSI reports that “each ‘20th Anniversary Tour’ event will include hilarious, unforgettable Rick & Bubba moments, show favorites such as Good ‘ol Boys Theater, Willie & Wanda, The Giant Game of Rick & Bubba Knowledge, The Wacky World, Fact or Crap, and more. There will be prizes, video tributes reliving the past 20 years, musical performances, special Q&A sessions and more…All behind-the-scenes and on-stage activities will be video recorded so excerpts can be shared during the Rick & Bubba show television/radio broadcast, and a full 20th Anniversary documentary will be available later in 2014.” SSI president Bob Carey states, “Congratulations Rick and Bubba…I am so proud of what you’ve accomplished all these years and the special relationship that we share. Although we’ve been business partners for just nine of your 20 years on air together, the Rick & Bubba show continues to evolve and gets better day after day, which is a testament to you both never taking your successes for granted or never stopping to work hard and improve upon yesterday.” Pictured here are (from l-r): Bill “Bubba” Bussey (sitting), Michael “Helmsey” Helms, Rick Burgess (center/sitting), Calvin “Speedy” Wilburn, “The Real” Greg Burgess and Chris “Eddie Van” Adler.
Outstanding Talk Producer on the Loose. One of the personnel casualties of WWRL, New York’s recent switch from progressive talk to regional Mexican Spanish-language entertainment is Jeffrey Haveson. Haveson, an accomplished veteran radio broadcaster is known in talk circles as one of the most hard-working, versatile and dependable producers in the business, is without a home base for the first time in more than a decade. He served at WWRL as an executive producer working with a wide variety of hosts and formats ranging from urban talk to liberal politics and then some. In the words of TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “Jeffrey Haveson is one of the most competent and multi-faceted facilitators of talk programming I’ve ever met. This guy can handle all the chores that go on behind-the-scenes in making a great show happen from nurturing hosts of all political and cultural stripes, booking guests, executing remotes and creating superb production to writing an effective press release and managing social media. He is located in the New York area and should be grabbed by one of the many media outlets looking for a solid producer.” Haveson can be phoned at 973-207-3095 or emailed at email@example.com.
Robert Gates Criticizes Obama in New Book, Dennis Rodman in North Korea, Boehner-Benghazi Connection, Polar Vortex Chills U.S./Global Warming, and Janet Yellen Confirmed New Fed Chief. The new book by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates that is critical of the Obama Administration; the controversy over former NBA star Dennis Rodman’s latest trip to North Korea; questions about what House Speaker John Boehner knew about the Benghazi mission; the frigid temperatures across the U.S. and the connection to global warming; and Janet Yellen is confirmed as new chief of the Federal Reserve were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Long Set To Program Clear Channel, San Diego Combo. Former senior director of programming for Bonneville Seattle’s KIRO-AM “710 ESPN,” Brian Long, has been tapped to program Clear Channel, San Diego’s news/talk KOGO-AM and KLSD “Xtra Sports 1360.” Vice president of programming John Peake comments, “Brian will bring a diverse perspective from multiple markets and stations to our spoken-word brands. We are excited to add Brian’s management and broadcasting experience to the San Diego programming team. We are confident that KOGO-AM and ‘Xtra Sports’ will prosper under his tutelage.” Long previously was assistant program director and “In the Zone” host on Los Angeles’ KSPN “710 ESPN.” Prior to that, the Kansas City native programmed in Palm Springs, California for KXPS “The Team 1010,” KFUT “Fox Sports 1270,” and KNWZ “K-News.” Long begins his San Diego assignment in two weeks (1/21).
Caplis to Host Late Morning Show on KNUS, Denver. Salem Communications-owned news/talk KNUS, Denver adds local TV and radio personality Dan Caplis to the program lineup in the 9:00 am to 11:00 am slot. Caplis – an attorney – most recently worked in radio at Clear Channel’s crosstown news/talk KHOW with co-host Craig Silverman. KNUS general manager Brian Taylor says, “With the upcoming election cycle, plus the compelling local issues that have put Colorado in the forefront recently, it is significant for us to offer another powerful local voice like market veteran Dan Caplis. Combined with Peter Boyles and Steve Kelley, 710 KNUS will now offer more daily, live local conservative talk programming than any other station in the Denver market.”
New Year Changes at Facebook That Affect You. Digital media consultant Chris Miller informs us that Facebook recently made some important changes that affect how users get to show the content they do. Miller writes, “The news and entertainment site Buzzfeed first picked up on it before Facebook made it official. The folks at Buzzfeed noticed that, all of a sudden, online content publishers were getting a huge increase in hits. That group of publishers includes a wide variety of content providers, but the way to think about it is ‘sites that find and write about stuff that others should find interesting.’” Miller says that all social platforms are getting more sophisticated about how they determine what their users will see. Facebook has adjusted their formula that determines what content we all get shown, emphasizing the interesting over the merely silly and self-serving. Here’s how to help insure that more of your posts get shown to your fan base. Read Miller’s column here.
Analysis: 2014 NMX Podcasters Conference. Media consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas this week covering the New Media Expo and the enormous 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show. First up, Cooke reports from the weekend’s happenings at 2014 NMX. Cooke says the standing-room-only crowd was replete with people focused on talking targeted, passionate interests with its audience. “And they’re not just talking to your geographical area. And they are not merely, as clichéd station imaging assures, ‘talking-about what-you’re-talking-about,’” says Cooke. “Instead of belaboring Benghazi, they’re bonding with ‘ovewhelmed adoptive moms, by telling the truth about the post-adoption journey, so they feel validated and encouraged for the road ahead.’ If more station websites offered narrowcast content that’s specifically appealing, and used transmitters to invite those moms to engage, new digital revenue would follow.” Read Cooke’s entire report from 2014 NMX in Las Vegas here.
Jason Rantz Promoted to Daily Evening Show at KIRO-FM, Seattle. Bonneville Seattle news/talk KIRO-FM ups Jason Rantz from his year-old weekend show on the station to the daily 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm program effective this evening. KIRO-FM program director Pete Gammell says, “Jason is an extremely knowledgeable and thoughtful host who always seeks opposing views to further listeners’ understanding. We always strive to connect entertainment to value and discussion to understanding. This is Jason’s strength and I’m sure listeners will agree.” Speaking about his new gig, Rantz states, “I’m excited by the opportunity to talk with Western Washington as a part of KIRO’s weekday team. I’ve enjoyed interacting and engaging the KIRO Radio listeners during my previous weekend show and now I’m thrilled to bring this same dynamic to weeknights. There are so many important issues affecting our community and the nation, and it is vital that we come together to have a civil but challenging and vigorous discussion. I hope my evening show will become that forum.”
Bonneville Gives Sports Talk KTAR-AM, Phoenix FM Simulcast. Shuttering adult hits KPKX “98.7 The Peak,” Bonneville Phoenix gives sports talker KTAR-AM an FM signal on which to simulcast. The company has been building multi-platform sports content destination “Arizona Sports” using the AM radio station and a local sports content-heavy website and now adds an FM signal to the mix. Vice president and market manager Scott Sutherland states, “Putting ‘Arizona Sports’ on FM is an opportunity too big to ignore. Our live, local and exclusive sports content has never been better. We have world-class local talk personalities who deliver powerful opinions and insights that engage, entertain and positively impact the communities we serve. We also have amazing team partners. And all of this attracts a passionate and loyal audience, which in turn, attracts a lot of marketing interest from small and medium business owners, major brands and C-Suite decision makers.” The stations serve as flagship broadcaster for the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks, Phoenix Coyotes, Arizona State University and broadcasts Arizona Interscholastic Association prep sporting events from around the state.
Red Zebra Re-Ups with Steve Czaban at ‘ESPN 980’ in Washington. Red Zebra Broadcasting and sports talk host Steve Czaban have agreed to terms on a new three-year deal that will keep the afternoon drive co-host with WTEM, Washington, DC “ESPN 980” through 2016. Czaban has been co-hosting the afternoon drive time slot for WTEM for the last 13 years. Vice president of programming Chuck Sapienza comments, “Czabe is integral to the success of our station. We look forward to three additional years of Czabe, Cooley and Galdi.” Steve Czaban co-hosts “The Drive with Cooley & Czabe” from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm and also hosts the golf program “Sunday Tee Time,” at 8:00 am on Sunday mornings during golf season.
Glenn Beck’s ‘TheBlaze Radio News’ Launces Today. “TheBlaze Radio News” – the latest AM/FM program offering from Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze – hits stations on the AM/FM dial today after debuting on SiriusXM’s Patriot channel several months ago. The service offers hourly newscasts from anchors and reporters around the nation providing news and information specifically targeted to talk radio listeners. The casts draw on the reporting from TheBlaze television network and its website TheBlaze.com which it says “generates over 20 million unique visitors per month and is one of the 100 most trafficked websites in America.” The service is airing today in markets including Chicago, Houston, Phoenix, Denver, Las Vegas and Birmingham, Alabama.
Compass Names Ingold Sales Exec. Compass Media Networks brings Doug Ingold aboard as senior director of affiliate sales for entertainment & music programming beginning January 20. The company says Ingold “will be based in Los Angeles and assume a vital role in the expansion of Compass’ long-form entertainment and music shows including Big D & Bubba, “Free Beer & Hot Wings,” “Off The Record,” “Out of Order,” Rick Dees and “Skratch N Sniff.” Compass VP of affiliate sales Adam Wilbur comments, “Our entertainment portfolio is growing rapidly and the time is right for us to add someone of Doug’s caliber to spearhead day-to-day affiliate marketing.”
McMurray Show Expands at WGN. According to Chicago media writer Robert Feder, late night talk show host Pete McMurray’s show will expand with a new earlier start time at 10:00 pm (and end at 2:00 am), shaving an hour off David Kaplan’s evening sports talk program. Feder quotes WGN vice president of creative content Todd Manley saying, “Pete has become our all-purpose star in a variety of fill-in roles. I think he gets what we’re trying to do very well, especially in providing lots of video content. Between Pete and [producer] Scott Miller, they do an amazing job of booking great guests and being about the city.” Read the story here.
Hotchkiss Transfers to Charlotte as Director of Sales. As of today (1/6), Keith Hotchkiss is Clear Channel Charlotte’s director of sales. He joins that operation from Cleveland where he was general sales manager of Clear Channel-owned CHR WAKS “Kiss-FM,” news/talk WTAM, rock WMMS, and WMMS-HD2 “99X.” Regional Market Manager Charlie Wilkinson remarks that, “Keith’s proven sales leadership will have an immediate impact in Charlotte. I’m confident he will be an integral part of our success now and well into the future.” Clear Channel’s five-station Charlotte cluster consists of alternative WEND “The End,” CHR WHQC “Channel 96-1,” country WKKT “The Kat,” adult hits WLKO “The Lake,” and classic rock WRFX “The Fox.”
Odds & Sods. WABC, New York radio personality Laura Smith is sitting in for the first few shows with new 5:00 pm program host Pat Kiernan starting today. Smith currently hosts two weekend programs on WABC – “Living Better with Laura Smith” and “The Saturday Café.” Kiernan is an anchor on cable’s NY1 and his show is part of the newly revised program lineup at the station…..Tribune’s WGN, Chicago resumes its “Blackhawks Live” live broadcast promotion on Thursday, January 13 featuring defenseman Duncan Keith at the Old Town Pour House in Chicago. “Blackhawks Live” is a series of one-hour radio broadcasts hosted over dinner throughout the year featuring current Blackhawks players, legends and management. Blackhawks radio broadcasters John Wiedeman and Troy Murray host the event that includes a question-and-answer format between the hosts and the featured Blackhawks guests.
Four New Integrations for iHeartRadio. Clear Channel announces its iHeartRadio digital entertainment platform is headed to dashboards in three auto makes, including Jaguar Land Rover, Volvo and Kia. In addition to these OEMs, iHeartRadio will also be available via platform solution provider Bosch. The company states that in 2014, Jaguar Land Rover vehicles equipped with Bosch SoftTec’s innovative InControl Apps platform, Volvo vehicles equipped with the Sensus Connect infotainment solution and Kia vehicles with UVO will have access to iHeartRadio.
“Oh Doctor!” – Jerry Coleman Passes Away. That was one of the favorite on-air expressions uttered by the 89-year-old Jerry Coleman, whose death was confirmed Sunday night (1/5) by the San Diego Padres, the MLB team for whom he called games since 1972. A portion of the team’s prepared statement read, “On behalf of Padres’ fans everywhere, we mourn the loss of a Marine who was truly an American hero as well as a great man, a great friend and a great Padre.” He played parts of nine seasons with the New York Yankees (1949 – 1957). After retiring, he began a broadcasting career with CBS-TV (1960 – 1962), where he conducted pregame interviews on the network’s “Game of the Week” broadcasts. He did play-by-play for the Yankees on WCBS-AM and WPIX-TV (1963 – 1969), Angels (1970 – 1971), and Padres (1972 to this past season). He also called regular-season and postseason broadcasts for CBS Radio from the mid-1970s to the 1990s. For three years of Coleman’s tenure with the Padres, his on-air partner was sitcom writer par excellence-music radio on-air talent Ken Levine, who writes on KenLevine.blogspot.com, “I loved Jerry. He was your favorite uncle – always cheerful, always there for you. His passion for the game of baseball was infectious and his zest for life was inspiring. Other than having to broadcast meaningless spring training games, I cannot think of anything Jerry Coleman didn’t view in a positive light. He was also incredibly humble. When we were on the road, I picked his brain for hours, and he graciously and patiently answered all of my questions. Jerry Coleman worked Padres games up until his death. He led a rich full life and he would often point out how lucky he was. So many of his friends had died young in a war – he lived to be 89 in relatively good health.” In 2005, Coleman received the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence; two years later, he was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame. As of the 2010 season, he reduced his broadcast schedule to approximately 25 home day games.
By Mike Kinosian
LOS ANGELES — Dazzling omnipresent decorations, magnificent multi-colored lights, hastening hustle and bustle, and a brisk icy chill in the air all underscore that this indisputably is the “most wonderful time of the year.”
Even the most adamant skeptic will find corroboration and confirmation of that fact, simply by turning to at least one local FM music outlet that has transitioned to playing wall-to-wall Christmas tunes.
On such dedicated dial positions, listeners will instantly hear artists from Andy Williams to Garth Brooks to Harry Connick, Jr. to Amy Grant wonderfully warbling about the warm joys crystallized in this “hap-happiest season of all.”
Contemplative scene thoughts of “parties for hosting” and “marshmallows for toasting” support the heartwarming notion.
Visions of sugarplums dance in our collective heads, yet some radio historians cannot help but ratchet up dour “Debbie Downer,” the “SNL” character superbly portrayed by Lexington, Massachusetts native Rachel Dratch. Punctuated with a delivery that sucks the life and enthusiasm from any room, Debbie Downer would suggest this is anything but the happiest season of all, especially in radio.
Some heartless, dastardly things have transpired post-Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day over the years in this business.
News/Talk Radio Remembers JFK. As the nation commemorates the fateful, painful events of November 22 1963, the media at large – newspapers, television and, of course, radio — are focused across the board on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Obviously, the subject is dominating conversation on news/talk radio today in the form of historical documentaries, as well as live talk shows in which every aspect of the almost mythical story is rehashed, retold, analyzed and memorialized. Many shows are spending time giving listeners the opportunity to recall “where they were and what they were doing” when the horrible news was announced. As TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison points out, “This milestone serves as a powerful generational marker in our industry’s obsession with demographics that basically breaks audiences down to two significantly different categories — those who remember JFK and the events of November 22, 1963… and those who don’t.”
Compass Media Marketing Will Represent Tom Leykis. As of the first of next year (January 2014), Compass Media Marketing will be the advertising sales agent for “The Tom Leykis Show.” CMM will do similar duties for the talk show host’s NewNormalNetwork.com and BlowMeUpTom.com. “We are appreciative to the tens of thousands of listeners who are tuning in daily to our show,” Leykis remarks. “The time is right to start aggressively marketing the show to sponsors and we are thrilled to work with the Compass team.” Compass Media Marketing president of advertising sales Paul Gregrey comments that Leykis is a “creative genius” with a “highly engaged and loyal audience. There is limitless upside for growth, both in terms of listenership and sponsors.” Introduced last year, the latest version of Leykis’ talk show is a streaming internet-centric call-in program, which is broadcast daily at 3:00 pm (PT) from Burbank. This past Tuesday (11/19), we mentioned that Leykis put himself up for auction on eBay. The stunt raked in $7,800 for his company and Leykis tells TALKERS, “This promotion worked perfectly for us because it engaged our audience, it brought press attention to our growing brand, and it brought us substantial revenue. For The New Normal, it was nothing short of a homerun. [Furthermore, it] makes it hard to accept the whining of radio stations who say that they ‘can’t monetize’ digital.”
Reports of Renewed TRN Activity Circulating. There’s buzz in the industry that Talk Radio Network CEO Mark Masters is working to bring some of his talent back on the radio hosting live programs. TALKERS sources indicate Masters and talk personality Jerry Doyle have come to terms that have allowed Doyle to return to his program immediately. Doyle and other Talk Radio Network personalities have not been hosting regular live shows for most of the past month or so in the wake of a financial disruption at the company that involved staff layoffs at the Grants Pass, Oregon home offices and numerous legal actions between Masters and current and former employees. Other rumors circulating purported that talk host Rusty Humphries is also soon to be returning to the program schedule at TRN but TALKERS sources report Humphries and Masters have not come to terms that would bring Humphries back to TRN. TALKERS has reached out to Masters for comment but as of this posting there has been no response. Stay tuned.
Geraldo to Remain with Cumulus Media. Any rumors circulating the internet that Geraldo Rivera’s days with Cumulus Media are numbered are untrue says company COO John Dickey. Geraldo – who is based at the company’s WABC, New York and is also heard on its Los Angeles news/talker KABC as well as 45 other news/talk outlets – airs live from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET. Dickey tells TALKERS, “Geraldo is going to be working even more closely with us next year – still anchoring 10:00 am to 12:00 noon on WABC – as well as spearheading our Putting America Back to Work (PABTW) initiative.” Geraldo began his program on WABC, New York in January 2012.
Norm Pattiz Discusses Podcasting and the State of the Radio Industry on TalkersTV. An exclusive video of Courtside Entertainment, LLC/Podcast One CEO Norm Pattiz‘s presentation at the recent Talkers Los Angeles 2013 conference has been posted today (11/22) on TalkersTV (top panel of boxes on right hand side of this page). In what was billed as a “keynote conversation,” with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, the noted industry pioneer, who founded the original Westwood One and created a veritable media empire from scratch, discusses the impact and meaning of podcasting as an extension of the radio industry as well as other important issues of the broadcasting business. During the presentation he asks the provocative question, “When was the last time you can think of a national star that was created on network radio? Been a while, hasn’t it!” He goes on to state, “There’s a demographic national star created in podcasting every week. That’s because in the podcasting world, the only people you have to satisfy are your audiences and consumers.” To view the entire video presentation, see TalkersTV on the upper right side of every page on Talkers.com.
RAB: Third Quarter Radio Spot Revenue Up 1%. The Radio Advertising Bureau reports its 2013 Q3 figures and states after two flat quarters, radio spot advertising rose 1% on sales of $3.684 million. The report also notes that network revenue was down 11% while digital rose 19% and off-air was up 3%. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber states, “The momentum we saw building at the end of Q2 has definitely translated into a positive Q3 for radio in many of our top 10 advertiser categories, led by communications/cellular with a healthy 24% increase. Among key categories, automotive, professional services, health care, home furnishings, all showed substantial increases, as well. Increases from these diverse ad categories illustrate radio’s cross-platform strength to drive traffic and sales – for large corporations to Main Street businesses.”
Chuck Todd Readies to Add Radio Duties. “Unscripted with Chuck Todd” is the name of the one-hour (9:00 am to 10:00 am) Saturday show the veteran journalist will launch in two weeks (12/7) on SiriusXM‘s “P.O.T.U.S.” channel. “In this day and age, people tend to think they have more access to newsmakers and politicians, when in many ways, they actually have less,” Todd comments. “We will aim to help listeners get to know powerful people in a different way – as human beings, not as sound-bite machines. I look forward to talking to many famous amateur political junkies out there who just happen to have day jobs in the worlds of sports, Hollywood, Wall Street and everywhere in between.” According to SiriusXM vice president/general manager of talk programming Dave Gorab, “Chuck will go outside his normal field of reporting and delve into the personal passions and interests of not just politicians but leaders from virtually every field of interest. This show is new territory for Chuck, but will be built on his journalistic savvy and experience.” Todd hosts MSNBC‘s “Daily Rundown” and is NBC News’ chief White House correspondent.
Atlantic City Talk Host Pinky Kravitz Celebrates 55 Years on WOND. Atlantic City talk radio legend Seymour “Pinky” Kravitz is celebrating his 55th anniversary on WOND this afternoon with a special broadcast from the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. The station notes that Kravitz has broadcast more than 169,000 hours of air time (that’s over 701 consecutive days!) from more than 20 remote broadcasting locations and more than a handful of time changes. It boasts that 1400 AM is where South Jersey still turns for “informative and provocative conversation. Pinky Kravitz has become one of the region’s most recognized, trusted and beloved media personalities through what has become the longest running radio program (on one station by one personality) in the country.” Longport Media president Dave Coskey states, “It’s amazing that in an industry where longevity is often measured in months or years that we measure Pinky’s career on WOND in decades. Pinky’s career spans not only decades but generations – generations of listeners all who have spent time in Pinky’s Corner. And his brand is even stronger today than it was in 1958.” Kravitz adds, “I’ve been blessed to not only have the support of my family, a radio station and city for all of these years but also the love and support of an entire region.” In addition to his daily radio show on WOND, Kravitz also hosts a weekly television program on WMGM-TV and writes a weekly column for the Press of Atlantic City.
Saga Communications to Pay Special Cash Dividend. Saga Communications, Inc. announces its Board of Directors is declaring a special cash dividend of $1.80 per share on its Classes A and B Common Stock to be paid on December 12, 2013 to shareholders of record on December 2, 2013. The aggregate amount of the payment to be made in connection with the special dividend will be approximately $10.3 million. This special cash dividend will be funded by cash on the company’s balance sheet.
Paul Finebaum Show to Air on SiriusXM’s ESPN Channel. The formerly Birmingham-based sports talker – now calling Charlotte home and produced and syndicated nationally via ESPN Radio – joins the ESPN Xtra channel on SiriusXM effective Monday, November 25. Paul Finebaum joined ESPN in August after years of success on Cumulus Media’s WJOX-FM, Birmingham. Finebaum’s show airs live from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET.
Honda Displays HD Radio Civic Pride. The Los Angeles Auto Show is not typically where you would expect to find something noteworthy about the radio business. That, however, is where HD Radio developer iBiquity Digital this week announced that the 2014 Civic is the first Honda vehicle to launch integrated audio and real-time traffic information using the HERE mapping service, BTC, and HD Radio technology. iBiquity Digital chief operating officer Jeff Jury comments, “Honda is showing real leadership in bringing the benefits of digital HD Radio data to their vehicles. This is another great example of a leading automaker integrating digital terrestrial technology as part of a connected vehicle strategy.” Honda Civic navigation systems incorporate HD Radio audio and data features, including a way for listeners to view album art and other images on their radio screens. There is subscription-free, real-time traffic information, showing flow patterns, construction alerts, and traffic incidents to drivers. In addition to Honda, other automakers integrating digital traffic and data services include Lexus, Mazda, Mitsubishi and Toyota. More than 30 automakers have announced plans to incorporate HD Radio in over 170 models by the end of this year. Nearly seven-dozen models will feature HD Radio receivers as standard equipment. The 2014 Honda Civic arrives at dealerships next month.
Ron Ruth Memorial Fund Announced. The Radio Advertising Bureau and the Broadcasters Foundation of America are announcing the creation of the Ron Ruth Memorial Fund in celebration of the life and work of Ruth and to benefit the Broadcasters Foundation of America. The BfoA’s mission is to help improve the quality of life of men and women in the radio and television broadcast profession who find themselves in acute need. Donations may be sent directly to the Broadcasters Foundation at 125 West 55th Street, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10019 and please make note that the donation is for the Ron Ruth Memorial Fund. Tentative plans by the RAB are underway to hold a celebration of life with Ron’s many friends sometime in the first quarter of next year and will be made public as soon as they are finalized. RAB CEO and president Erica Farber states, “Ron was an ardent supporter of the Broadcasters Foundation. We at the RAB couldn’t think of a more fitting way to honor and commemorate his life and work.”
Dave Ramsey Takes New York. The actual event took place right across the Hudson River at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark but Dave Ramsey’s New York affiliate – Clear Channel’s WOR – was a partner in promoting the event. Ramsey presented his “Legacy Journey LIVE!” last night (11/21) before a packed house speaking about how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence. His daughter, Rachel Cruze, joined Ramsey on stage. WOR general sales manager Ron Russo says to the Ramsey team, “Thank you for creating an engaging event in an intimate setting where we have the opportunity to connect our listeners with our clients in a truly interactive environment.” WOR sales manager Chris Borelli adds, “The event is not only impeccably prepared and executed, but entertaining and enjoyable. We look forward to many more events like this as long term partners.”
ObamaCare Criticism Top News/Talk Story for Week of November 18-22. The scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was President Obama’s sinking approval ratings. Following at #3 was the talks with Iran about its nuclear policy and debate over economic sanctions on the nation followed by the GOP’s 2014 and 2016 strategy at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.