Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze.com Claims Increased Unique Visitors. The website that’s a part of Glenn Beck’s digital efforts is growing rapidly, according to the company. TheBlaze.com reports that, according to data from Omniture, it had its best month ever in March, attracting more than 35 million unique visitors and becoming the 43rd most trafficked site in the U.S. Further, the company claims the site generated 198.7 million page views in one month. TheBlaze president and chief content officer Joel Cheatwood comments, “TheBlaze.com’s mix of original reporting and curation has quickly made it one of the leading sites in America. Editor-in-chief Scott Baker and his team have done a tremendous job and we are proud of how the site continues to grow alongside our TV network.”
Opie & Anthony to Celebrate 20 Years Together at Carolines on Broadway. The hot talk duo of Greg “Opie” Hughes and Anthony Cumia will celebrate 20 years together on the radio as Opie & Anthony with a special edition of its “Unmasked” comedy series broadcast live from Carolines on Broadway – New York City’s premier stand-up comedy nightclub. The program – “O&A20: Unmasked” – will air on SiriusXM live at 4:00 pm ET. SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein says, “We want to toast Opie & Anthony on reaching this milestone and for being one of the most outrageous and daring duos in all of talk radio. SiriusXM has been proud to give Opie & Anthony the freedom to give fans and listeners their intense, edgy talk and uncensored comedy. We are thrilled to have SiriusXM listeners across the country celebrate their decades in radio with an evening that will be without a doubt an outrageous and unpredictable show.”
WEEI, Boston to Stick with Dale Arnold and Michael Holley in PM Drive. Well, for as long as anything is stuck with in radio these days. Those are our words, not those of Entercom Boston vice president and market manager Phil Zachary, who tells the Boston Globe that the station is “going forward with Dale and Holley” several weeks after parting ways with Mike Salk, who returned to his adopted hometown of Seattle to serve as program director at KIRO-AM. Salk and Holley were paired up in afternoon drive for almost a year after Glenn Ordway was ousted from the station (Ordway has subsequently begun his own digital venture SportsTalkBoston that features his “The Big Show Unfiltered” also airing live in PM drive). Michael Holley and Dale Arnold had been partners in middays on WEEI for almost six years before their show was broken up in 2011 to bring Lou Merloni into middays. Boston radio observers speculated that WEEI management felt the knowledgeable-but-not-very-hip Arnold is the antithesis of what CBS is doing successfully at rival WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub,” so they took him out of the daily lineup. Arnold stuck around WEEI hosting weekend shows, sports pre-game programs and doing fill-in work. Now, Zachary tells the paper, “We will continue to evaluate and enhance the program as we start to get some Nielsen feedback.”
SABO: Introverts Are Taking Over the Business World. Media consultant Walter Sabo asks what kind of workforce are you building with respect to the personality types of staffers? Are they introverts or extroverts? Or a mix of the two? According to Sabo, the different personality types prefer to communicate in different ways – extroverts, verbally and introverts, with the written word. “An interesting fact about radio stars is that they are shy as hell. They thrive working alone in a room where they have absolute control of their environment. They hate to meet new people.” With emails and texting taking over the way people – yes, especially young people – communicate, it may just be that introverts are taking over the business world. Read Sabo’s entire column here.
LDR Interactive Adds Two to TopicPulse Executive Team. The growing firm LDR Interactive announces two executives join its TopicPulse leadership team. Hank McMonigle is named vice president, sales for TopicPulse and Dana Hall joins as TopicPulse support and client services manager. The company says in a statement that McMonigle and Hall will lead client development and service for TopicPulse, its real-time, social media monitoring system for local newsrooms and content producers. TopicPulse scans social media including Twitter and Facebook, blogs, comment/message boards, and news sources to track trending topics in a local market. McMonigle comes to LDR Interactive with more than 30 years of experience in the media industry, most recently serving as vice president/general manager at NextMedia Group in Dallas. Dana Hall is a broadcast and music industry journalist who’s covered formats ranging from urban, hip-hop, gospel, rhythmic, and top 40 for Radio & Records, Billboard, Airplay Monitor, and RadioInfo. She also programmed urban outlet WILD, Boston. LDR Interactive CEO, Daniel Anstandig comments, “Hank and Dana bring exceptional talent and perspective to our growing team. They are media industry thought leaders and relationship builders. Their enthusiasm for innovation and forward-thinking mindset is already driving TopicPulse’s growth in the days since they’ve joined our team.”
The 2014 Hersky Award Winners Are Announced. For the 7th year running, TALKERS magazine is proud to deliver news of the winners of the annual Hersky Awards for talk radio advertising excellence. Okay, so maybe the Herskys aren’t as big as some other industry awards, but radio pro Al Herskovitz is an accomplished sales pro and a serious observer of today’s radio advertising landscape and, even though we have a little fun with it, his accolades are delivered with utmost sincerity. Check out his story and why Fox Sports Radio’s Jay Mohr, Compass Media’s Todd Schnitt, Cumulus Media and others are being recognized this year by clicking here.
Catching Up with Lionel: One of Talk Radio’s True Originals Performing at the Top of His Game in Experimental Radio Space. One of the most unique and original performers to grace the airwaves during talk radio’s modern era is a quirky former trial lawyer, prosecutor and talk show caller from Tampa, Florida named Michael William Lebron who is known in his many media-related activities (radio, television, books, live performances) by the professional name “Lionel.” As Lionel, he has enjoyed a stellar career as a talk show host on such great call letters was WABC and WOR in New York, WFLA, Tampa as well as in national syndication on such networks as the WOR Radio Network and Air America. He even hosted a cool show on Court TV. These days he is familiar to New York television viewers as a commentator and legal analyst for WPIX-TV Channel 11 and to the elite audience of industry professionals and hard core talk show fanatics glued to TalkersRadio – the “experimental talk radio space” operated by TALKERS magazine on its website (www.talkers.com) as a laboratory for new ideas and formats for the industry. It is within this endeavor that Lionel has begun raising eyebrows and is receiving praise for having delivered some of his most remarkable spoken-word performances to date. In the words of TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “When Lionel is left to his own on-air devices and not squished into an existing talk ‘format,’ ‘formula’ or cookie-cutter political ideology, he is capable of creating a level of compelling content the quality of which we haven’t heard since the days of Jean Shepherd. All we have done at TalkersRadio is encourage him to do whatever he wants and as a result we have benefited from the brilliant results of that strategy. What he does for us would fit any talk format out there today if the programmers didn’t ‘try to make it fit’ what they think is the only way to make talk radio work.” In a new feature story written by TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian posted today (3/31), we look back at the amazing career of this most unusual talk show host, tap into his views and opinions about the state of the format, and reveal his hopes for the future. To read the entire piece, please click here.
Comrex to Unveil New Streaming Appliance at NAB Show. For broadcasters involved in streaming content and who may be attending the NAB Show in Las Vegas, a visit to the Comrex Corporation booth will be informative. There, the company will introduce the new P1L0T IP Streaming Server. The company states that P1L0T is a dedicated streaming appliance designed with hardened Linux-based hardware and software. There are no moving parts…not even a fan. AES3 and analog balanced inputs, special audio processing options enhanced for streaming and an intuitive web-based interface are included. P1L0T can deliver your source stream to any SHOUTcast/lcecast-based streaming server and, given enough bandwidth, can deliver 100 streams directly to listeners. Listeners connecting to your audio stream have a choice of formats, either HE-AAC, Opus or MP3 because P1L0T is capable of encoding in each mode simultaneously. P1L0T is a compact unit occupying 1/2 U of rack space, at a very low cost. The Comrex booth will be #C2221 in the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Odds & Sods. A new album featuring the songs of Bob Dylan has been released by the Charlie Daniels Band titled Off the Grid and Charlie Daniels visited the Fox News Radio studios in New York City to promote the record. Daniels (right) is pictured here with Fox News Radio morning anchor Dave Anthony (left) who is sporting Daniels’ hat for the photo…..Last week TALKERS announced CBS News Radio was recognized with National Headliner Awards. This week, we have two more to announce. Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington wins seven National Headliner Awards including first place in the Newscast, News Series and Website categories. Also The Wall Street Journal Radio Network is honored with two National Headliner Awards. “Wall Street Journal This Morning with Gordon Deal” takes 3rd place in the Breaking News Category and MarketWatch.com Radio is recognized with a 2nd place finish in the Radio Affiliated Website category…..Chicago Public Media, which operates WBEZ, Chicago, announces Goli Sheikholeslami is named the new president and CEO of the organization. She most recently served as chief product officer at Everyday Health but also served with the Washington Post, leading the digital division.
Sometimes It Is Fool’s Gold. Despite how perceptive you might think you are, or the conscientious pains you take to be aware, there is still a better-than-average chance you were duped about something yesterday – even if it was for a split-second. It is a national pastime and we are not talking about the beginning of the baseball season. Hopefully, the intention is always harmless, yet inevitably, something a bit wonky can happen when the calendar flips to the first day of April. Okay – more specifically – countless on-air April Fool’s Day pranks were hatched yesterday; here is a quick look at two of them – one nationally and the other on a local level. Registered 501(c)3 nonprofit car donation charity Kars4Kids changed their long-running radio jingle, although listeners of more than 50 stations in 14 markets wondered if they were hearing correctly when they heard the new “message.” The radio spot indicated Kars4Kids is launching a new division – Kids4Kars. The kid donation program supposedly provides free pickup of all donations of kids and offers a free lifetime vacation to donors in return. Kars4Kids spokesperson Morris Franco alleges that, “We had been getting requests for this service on social media and from callers for years. People would call up saying they have a kid they would like to donate and wondered what they can get in return. After we got enough of these parents calling, we realized that there was a real need for kid donation that wasn’t being filled by anyone else, so we decided to step up to the plate.” Prospective donors were directed to the charity’s website, where they could “submit a donation” by using an online form. The website stated the program could “accept kids up to age 12 in any condition, provided the donor is the child’s legal parent.” Anyone getting to the confirmation part would receive an “April Fool’s” statement, followed by, “Your kids are worth more than you think.” According to a Boston Medical Center study, 73% of parents pay more attention to their mobile phones than to their children during mealtime. The Kids4Kars campaign encourages parents to ignore their devices during times reserved for their children. “We felt we needed to hit hard to get the gravity of the message across,” Franco states. “With the increasing temptations of our mobile devices, it is harder and harder to stay focused on our children. The shock value of an April Fool’s prank allowed us to wake parents up to the damage they can do to their children by focusing on their devices instead of their kids.” It is estimated that this particular stunt reached at least 50 million people. Meanwhile in Connecticut, Chaz & AJ – the morning team at Connoisseur Media‘s WPLR, New Haven “Connecticut’s #1 Rock Station” and co-owned classic rock WFOX, Stamford-Norwalk “The Fox,” reported that state taxpayers could double their tax rebate check from $55 to $110 by registering with a new database program instituted by the Department of Revenue Service. According to Chaz, it was difficult to establish the exact number of calls the stations received, especially since, “The high volume that came in ultimately caused the phone system to crash. We did not think it would generate that many calls.” Shortly after 9:00 am, the morning duo fielded a call from the Governor’s office and Chaz points out, “They complained that the revenue department was overwhelmed with phone calls – they were not happy.” A voicemail message declared it was an April Fool’s Day joke, but the Department of Revenue Services received calls about the supposed “rebate” throughout the day.
ObamaCare Criticism, Global Warming Debate, Ryan Budget Cuts, Benghazi Hearing, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Investigation, Russian Aggression, and MLB Season Opens Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/1). Scrutiny of the White House’s claim that the Affordable Care Act has reached its stated goals; renewed debate over the theory of man-made climate change; Rep. Paul Ryan’s proposal to cut $5 trillion from the proposed federal budget; today’s House Intelligence Committee hearing at which former deputy CIA director Michael Morell will testify on the Benghazi case; new conflicting information about Malaysia Airlines Flight 370’s last communications and a renewed criminal investigation; Russia’s aggression in Ukraine; and the opening of the 2014 Major League Baseball season were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Salem Communications Posts Q4 2013 Revenue Increase of 3.4%; Broadcast Up 1%. Digital was the key to Salem Communications’ 2013 fourth quarter revenue increase of 3.4% for the company as a whole. The broadcast sector was up 1% on revenue of $47.4 million and broadcast makes up about 60% of the company’s revenue. The company’s publishing sector was flat while internet and e-commerce was up 16.6%. Salem’s outlook for the first quarter of 2014 projects “total revenue to increase 9% to 11% over the first quarter 2013 total revenue of $55.6 million. The company is also projecting operating expenses before gains or losses on the sale or disposal of assets, impairments and stock-based compensation expense to increase 13% to 16% as compared to the first quarter of 2013 operating expenses of $48.2 million. This guidance includes the impact of the hiring of two new senior executives and the financial performance for the recent acquisition of Eagle Publishing. The guidance for the first quarter contemplates a loss of $0.4 million due to the assumption of some unfavorable contracts that will rapidly unwind and the fact that the first quarter is always a soft quarter in the book publishing business with the big titles being released in the spring and in the fall.”
Nielsen Study Ties Station Choice to Buying Behavior. In a release from Nielsen about its recent major market pilot test, the company says that “for the first time, a connection can be drawn between what consumers listen to on the radio and how they spend. This solidifies radio’s place as a valuable marketing platform for advertisers and media planners. The major market pilot test combined proprietary Nielsen data with anonymized panelist credit and debit card purchasing behavior covering more than 24 billion transactions and $2 trillion in annual sales primarily from the retail, travel, digital, restaurant, entertainment, financial services and telecom categories.” Results from the Dallas market, for example, show that listeners to pop radio spend more per buyer annually on casual dining than those listeners who prefer other formats. In the same market, rock and alternative listeners spend more per buyer annually in retail locations than listeners who prefer other formats. News/talk listeners, the study showed, go to the movies more each year that do listeners of other formats. Nielsen SVP of local media product leadership Farshad Family says, “The ability to determine how radio listeners among different formats like pop, news or rock are spending their dollars creates a unique opportunity for radio broadcasters to make a case for the value of their audience. We are just beginning to tell the story about the value of radio’s audience. As we make progress on conducting more links between listening data and purchase data, we will continue to share more insights with the marketplace.”
Ordway’s ‘Big Show Unfiltered’ to Begin Next Month. Longtime Boston sports talk radio host Glenn Ordway is returning with a daily, 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm program (“Big Show Unfiltered”), which will be heard via his SportstalkBoston.com website and on mobile devices. “I am so thrilled to once again be talking local sports in my hometown with the best fans in America,” comments Ordway, who presided over “The Big Show” for 27 years on Entercom-owned Boston sports outlet WEEI. “I look forward to presenting an alternative in the market that will feature the best of the past with some new, innovative elements and voices. There is no reason to hold anything back anymore – it is all unfiltered.” The renamed “Big Show Unfiltered” is set to begin in about two weeks (Monday, March 17) and it will include similar components from his WEEI program, such as “The Whiner Line.” It is believed that down the road, Ordway is planning to have his program air on a terrestrial radio network comprised of New England affiliates. Boston native Mike Salk, who co-hosted a program on Seattle’s KIRO-AM since 2009, replaced Ordway in afternoon drive on WEEI-FM alongside Michael Holley. Ordway’s final show on WEEI-FM was in mid-February of last year.
Logan Exits Shane Media. Stating on his Facebook page that he thought he’d “spend the rest of my working days in this chair at Shane Media,” Lee Logan says the fiscal realities of the industry have him exiting the consulting company and looking for his next great opportunity. Logan had been with Shane for the past seven years and was instrumental in assisting Radio One put its all-news format on KROI, Houston “News 92 FM.”
Freedom’s Voice Broadcasting to Purchase Dark KPTO, Pocatello for $75K. The principal of Freedom’s Voice Broadcasting is Tim Aalders who hosts the “Freedom’s Voice” talk show heard on United Broadcasting Company’s KTKK, Salt Lake City. Ted Austin’s Main Street Broadcasting is the seller for the signal that is currently dark. Aalders plans to expand the reach of his programming into the southeastern Idaho market. This is no announced timetable for KPTO going back on the air.
If Weekends Were Weekdays? Hey, They Are! That so many talk-formatted stations air infomercials on weekends is not news – nor is the programming-versus-sales paradigm so prevalent at many of these stations. Media consultant Walter Sabo says a little-known truth in the business is that Saturday midday is an indicative daypart and the second highest Homes Using Radio daypart. What could this mean to your talk station? Read Walter Sabo’s latest column here to find out.
Odds & Sods. The New York Festivals World’s Best Radio Programs announces the appointment of Michael Freedman, senior vice president and professor at University of Maryland University College to the New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards Advisory Board and GrandJury panel. NYF executive director Rose Anderson comments, “Michael Freedman brings over 35 years of broadcast journalism experience to his role as Advisory Board and GrandJury member. His creative vision and reputation within the industry will be a tremendous asset.”…..ESPN O&O WEPN-AM, New York “ESPN Deportes Nueva York” will continue to air New York Mets play-by-play in Spanish as the team and rights owner Clear Channel (English-language games will be heard on WOR) agree to continue the broadcasts through the 2016 season…..Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington announces the addition of an entertainment section to its WTOP.com site with WTOP.com staffer Alicia Lozano named editor for the section. Director of digital media John Meyer comments, “As WTOP evolves into a digital news operation, we are continuing to dedicate resources to original digital content that will feed not only our website but also our radio and mobile platforms. The Washington area is rife with local stories concerning the arts, music, movies and more. Our entertainment section will bring these stories to life online and on-air.”…..Media consultant Holland Cooke (pictured above at left in the WABC, New York studios with host Laura Smith) is appearing on WABC, New York this weekend on “Saturday Café with Laura Smith.” Cooke, who also blogs at his SurvivalSpeech.com, will offer “9 Tips For YOUR Academy Awards Acceptance Speech.”
The Media Roundtable. TALKERS and RadioInfo sales and marketing specialist Al Herskovitz (standing) was a recent speaker at the Media Roundtable in Sarasota, Florida. His subject was “The Current State of Radio Broadcasting.” The Media Roundtable conducts a monthly meeting that brings together media executives and active participants from all types of media: radio, TV, cable, internet, newspapers, magazines, publishing, motion pictures, theatre arts. The purpose of the group is to review current and future news and developments in the media with an interchange of opinions and questions by those in attendance. The Media Roundtable originated in 1950 in New York City and moved to Florida in 1991 and is unique in the United States. It currently is chaired and managed by longtime TV executive Irwin Starr. While there are some 300+ active members, the luncheon sessions are limited to the first 50 who make reservations. Pictured here with Herskovitz are Starr at far left and media broker Burt Sherwood, second from left.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Envision Networks-syndicated “America Weekend” talk show featuring Paul Harris, Turi Ryder, Rob Carson and other personalities, is added to the program schedule at Ohana Media Group’s KAST, Astoria, Oregon.
‘Religious Rights’ Legislation Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 24-28. The story of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s veto of a “religious rights” bill that would have allowed businesses to discriminate against customers based on religious beliefs was the most-talked-about issue of the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act. Following at #3 was the political unrest in Crimea and Ukraine and the U.S.-Russia tensions accompanying it. And at #4 was the 2016 presidential race, Hillary Clinton’s prospects and the looming mid-term elections this fall. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.