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Wisconsin Talk Host Walks Off Morning Show Citing ‘Hurricane of Hate.’ Longtime Eau Claire, Wisconsin talk host John Murphy walked off his morning drive program in the middle of the show on Thursday (10/13), saying he’s tired of the “political venom” from callers to the program. Murphy did return to Mid-West Family Marketing’s sports-information formatted simulcast WAYY/W286CK in Eau Claire to host a new, non-political show airing from 7:00 am to 10:00 am, appropriately called, “The No Politics Zone.” The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram reports that Murphy says even rules about no discussion of political races didn’t seem to work – and may not for the new show either. “We found that no matter what topic we brought up, people used that opportunity to weasel their political opinions in.” Murphy had been hosting the “WAYY Morning Show” that served as a forum for listeners on local, state and national issues for the past 14 years. Murphy co-hosts the new show with current station personalities Luc Anthony and Dan Kasper.
Hillsdale College/TALKERS Magazine Presidential Election Talk Radio Debate in DC Aired Live on C-SPAN2; Available on Talkers TV Now. The Hillsdale College/TALKERS magazine Presidential Election Talk Radio Debate that took place in Washington, DC this past Friday (10/14) was aired live on C-SPAN2. For those who wish to see the event, the video is now posted on Talkers TV. The debate was moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and the panel of participants included: (in alphabetical order): Thom Hartmann, syndicated host, WYD Media; Hugh Hewitt, syndicated host, Salem Radio Network; Joyce Kaufman, afternoon host, WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale/Miami; Joe Madison, morning host, SiriusXM “Urban View” channel; Larry O’ Connor, morning co-host, WMAL, Washington, DC; and Chris Stigall, morning host WPHT, Philadelphia. Also appearing on the program were Matthew J. Spaulding, associate VP, Hillsdale College and Vince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media Group. The event took place at Hillsdale’s Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship at 227 Massachusetts Avenue, NE, Washington, DC. To view the entire debate, please click here or click on the Talkers TV box located at top of the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Ed Levine’s Galaxy Communications to Buy Western Massachusetts Radio Group. Syracuse, New York-Based Galaxy Communications announces it has signed a definitive agreement to buy the six-station radio group operating as Berkshires Media Group from parent company Gamma Broadcasting for an undisclosed sum. The stations are: hot AC WBEC-FM, Pittsfield; news/talk WBEC-AM, Pittsfield-AM; classic hits WUPE-AM/FM, North Adams; AC WSBS-AM, Great Barrington; and AC WNAW-AM, North Adams. Levine says, “These six radio stations do a tremendous job of serving their communities with great local radio. They have thrived under the ownership of Gamma Broadcasting, which has done a wonderful job. I look forward to working with market manager Peter Barry and the entire staff of radio professionals.” Gamma president Bruce Danziger adds, “We feel confident placing our terrific stations and people in Ed Levine’s capable hands. This is a special group, led by Peter, and we know Ed’s oversight will continue to bring good results for our people and the community.”
Jeff Smulyan’s Go-Private Bid Fails. The CEO of Emmis Communications extended this offer deadline three times, but that still wasn’t enough for the special committee of independent directors and his $4.10 per share offer to take the company private failed. As the Indianapolis Business Journal reports, this was the third time over the last 10 years that Jeff Smulyan had bid to take the company private. Emmis stock closed at $3.99 on Friday (10/14). The IBJ also notes that Smulyan’s offer represented a 25% premium to Emmis’ average closing share price over the 90 days prior to the announcement of the deal, but investors obviously felt the offer was way too low. Smulyan appears to be finished trying to take the company private and writes to shareholders that he looks “forward to continuing to work with you as we move Emmis forward as a public company.”
CBS to Break Out Radio Performance During Quarterly Reports. As the company states, this is in advance of its separating the CBS RADIO segment from the rest of the company and the expected initial public offering for the new radio company. The company explains that “beginning with the filing of the Company’s Form 10-Q for the third quarter of 2016, the Company’s previously reported operating segment, Local Broadcasting, will be separated into the following two operating segments: (1) Local Media and (2) Radio. In connection with this new segment presentation, the presentation of intercompany revenues has been revised, including station affiliation fees paid by Local Media to the CBS Television Network. The following financial information reflects the new segment and intercompany presentations for all periods presented.” What we’re seeing in the report is that although radio segment revenue has been down slightly over the last six quarters, station operating income has improved.
Odds & Sods. The Beasley sports talker in Charlotte – WFNZ “610 the Fan” – has been simulcasting on the FM band via translator W273DA at 102.5 leased from the Educational Media Foundation. Now, Beasley files to buy the translator for $150,000…..…..Jay Morris is exiting his brand manager role with Midwest Communications’ Kalamazoo station group where he programmed alternative WZOX, news/talk WKZO, and sports talk WQLR for a gig outside of the radio biz. Cluster director of operations and programming Steve Mills assumes PD duties on an interim basis…..Amani Abraham transitions from the anchor/reporter role at Rubber City Radio’s country WQMX and news/talk WAKR in Akron to WKYC-TV, Cleveland to serve as a reporter.
The Presidential Race, WikiLeaks Clinton Doc Dump, ‘SNL’ Election Skits, Battle Against ISIS in Mosul, Kaepernick Starts vs Bills/Anthem Protests, MLB Playoffs, and Sunday’s NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton; the dump of emails between Hillary Clinton and her staff by WikiLeaks; Donald Trump’s displeasure of the portrayal of him in “SNL” skits; action in the battle against Islamic State in the Iraqi city of Mosul; the National Anthem protests and counter-protests against Colin Kaepernick prior to his start in Buffalo; the weekend’s MLB playoff action and Sunday’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
KABC, Los Angeles Adds John Phillips to AM Drive. Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor is reporting Cumulus Media’s KABC moves talk host John Phillips to the “McIntyre in the Morning with Terri Rae Elmer” program with host Doug McIntyre and news anchor Elmer. Phillips had been the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon host at KABC until the company began developing Geraldo Rivera in the late-morning slot on WABC, New York and then adding him to KABC. For a while, Phillips was doing just the 9:00 am hour and a lot of fill-ins around the schedule. Now, it looks as though Phillips becomes a morning drive cast member at KABC. Earlier in his radio career, Phillips was sports anchor and executive producer for KABC’s “McIntyre in the Morning Show” and he also produced the station’s Al Rantel program. He also served as a newswriter at crosstown KNX, Los Angeles.
Beasley Broadcast Group Q2 Revenue Down 2.8%. Total revenue was down to $24.8 million for the second quarter of 2012 – a drop of 2.8% compared to the same period in 2011. Beasley Broadcast Group attributes the lower revenue to declines at its Fayetteville, North Carolina cluster. However, station operating income was up 11.6% for the period reflecting declining station operating expense and more than offsetting the lower revenue. Chairman and CEO George Beasley says, “Our second quarter revenue performance principally reflects overall industry weakness in the first month of the quarter, a revenue decline at our Fayetteville cluster partially related to lower levels of auto advertising and lower revenue in the Ft. Myers market due to the fact that in the year-ago period we hosted a concert. While net revenue was down mid-single digits in April, low single-digit revenue growth resumed in May and June and extended through July. The company’s streamlined operating structure and ongoing expense management initiatives combined with a music license fee settlement drove the $1.1 million rise in 2012 second quarter station operating income.”
Estate of the Late Neil Rogers Settled; Feds Take the Balance. According to Jose Lambiet’s “Gossip Extra,” the late Miami talk host had about $4 million to his name four years ago but he loved to play the ponies and was not a very savvy personal finances guy, so after the lawyers get paid and the IRS takes about $500,000, there’s basically nothing left in his estate. Longtime friend, agent and estate executor Norman Kent tells Lambiet Rogers basically spent his money. He cashed in taxable annuities prior to his 2010 death from multiple medical issues at age 68. The piece also notes Rogers spent about $700,000 on a home in Toronto where he lived with a 21-year-old man when he wasn’t in South Florida or Amsterdam. Several of Rogers’ friends had been contesting his wills – apparently there were more than one that conflicted – but ultimately, there appears to have been little left over which to fight.
Compass Media Networks Expands and Extends Relationship with Learfield Sports. This is for college basketball and football play-by-play – the arena in which Compass Media Networks has been expanding so rapidly. Learfield Sports is the exclusive broadcast and sports marketing partner to more than 50 of the nation’s leading colleges and universities including Alabama, Boise State, Indiana University, Iowa, NC State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, Purdue, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, University of North Carolina, Wisconsin and the Big Ten Conference. Under the terms of the extension Compass retains first right of refusal to broadcast any Learfield Sports home football and men’s basketball games, retains the exclusive national radio rights to broadcast The Big Ten Football Championship Game and the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament, and will broadcast expanded coverage of regular season men’s basketball and football games. The exact number of games Compass will broadcast has yet to be determined but the new agreement calls for a minimum of 20 football and 20 men’s basketball games to be broadcast. Compass Media Networks will then produce a unique, national, play-by-play broadcast of these games available to radio outlets across the country. Compass CEO Peter Kosann states, “Learfield Sports has been a wonderful partner. We are honored to continue this partnership and will continue to expand the breadth and depth of our coverage.”
Journalist and Radio Host Indicted on Felony Wiretapping Charges. “Free Talk Live” co-host Adam “Ademo” Mueller faces three counts of felony wiretapping after recording on-duty public officials while preparing a vlog about a case of alleged police misconduct, according to “Free Talk Live” host Ian Freeman. The comments were part of a video report posted on the site CopBlock.org. He tells TALKERS, “A public official who is on duty and in a public space has no expectation of privacy, the First Circuit Court of Appeals has already ruled on this in Glik v. Cunniffe. The person who should face consequences is the officer who threw that poor kid into a table during lunch at the school cafeteria, not the journalist who reported about it.” Freeman says each charge of felony wiretapping could carry seven years, meaning Mueller faces up to 21 years in prison if convicted.
NPR and WWNO, New Orleans Partner for Non-Profit News Source. University of New Orleans-owned classical and news/talk WWNO is entering into a partnership with NPR to staff and operate the “non-profit multimedia newsroom” neworleansreporter.org. The site plans to create reports for WWNO and will be available on a mobile app and for other local and national outlets free of charge. NPR president and CEO Gary Knell states, “NPR is honored to join with the University of New Orleans and WWNO as they launch this ground-breaking news service. We are excited about the opportunity to provide national support for this critically important local effort to serve the public in creative and new ways.”
CNN Worldwide President Jim Walton to Resign at Year End. Saying he believes “CNN needs new thinking,” Jim Walton will end his 30-year career at the cable news broadcaster when his contract expires in December, according to TVWeek. Walton says the new thinking “starts with a new leader who brings a different perspective, different experiences and a new plan, one who will build on our great foundation and will commit to seeing it through. And I’m ready for a change. I have interests to explore and I want to give myself time to do it.” Walton has been in the leadership role at CNN Worldwide for almost 10 years. Turner Broadcasting CEO Phil Kent leads the search for Walton’s successor.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. KFAQ, Tulsa morning drive host Pat Campbell fills in for late-morning talk host Charlie Sykes on Journal Broadcast Group’s WTMJ, Milwaukee August 1-3…..Talk show host and former Congressman J.D. Hayworth sits in for WPGB, Pittsburgh-based Quinn & Rose every day this week except Wednesday. On that day, he’s filling in on the KCMO, Kansas City AM drive program…..Federated Media’s news/talk WOWO, Ft. Wayne, Indiana adds Notre Dame football to its fall sports schedule…..Britain’s UTV Media announces its talkSport network acquires exclusive rights to broadcast Football Association’s FA Cup in the UK and the worldwide rights to talkSport International scheduled to launch on August 18…..KTRB, San Francisco – 860 AM ESPN Deportes – will carry Spanish-language play-by-play of San Francisco 49ers football through the 2018 season.
Chicken: Banned in Boston? That’s WRKO, Boston PM drive host Howie Carr (l) with, well…a chicken (r). Carr is wearing a t-shirt with a caricature of Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and holding a Chick-fil-A sandwich – both of which Carr and staff gave out to people on the streets in front of Boston City Hall after Mayor Menino jumped on the anti-Chick-fil-A bandwagon and threatened to prevent the company from opening a restaurant in the neighborhood after the company’s president publicly supported those campaigning against gay marriage. Menino has since backed off the threat to stop the restaurant from opening the Boston store.