Tag: "Stephanie Miller"
Company to play major role at forthcoming Talkers New York 2014
By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
LOS ANGELES —Radio’s collective resume is remarkably rich with astounding seminal moments and some breathtaking benchmark events; however, open for conjecture, of course, is the one singularly most important to the medium.
Few can dispute that a 62-minute October 30, 1938 segment would be at – or near – the top of a multitude of related “Top 10″ lists.
That was when, without commercial interruption, the CBS Radio Network aired “The Mercury Theater on the Air” adaptation of H.G. Wells’ 1898 novel “The War of the Worlds.” Directed, narrated, and starring Orson Welles, the program suggested that a Martian invasion was in progress.
As much as any other solitary program, this particular stunning piece of radio history was responsible for linking the medium to the term “theater of the mind.”
Cumulus Announces Completion of Refinancing; $2.025 Billion Loan Due in 2020. The refinancing of Cumulus Media’s senior secured credit facilities was reported last month and now Cumulus announces that goal has been complete. The company says it enters into an Amended and Restated Credit Agreement, consisting of a $2.025 billion term loan maturing in December 2020 and a $200 million revolving credit facility maturing in December 2018. The proceeds from the Term Loan along with cash on hand have been used to repay in full all amounts outstanding under the first and second lien term loans under Cumulus’ pre-existing credit agreements. The refinancing follows the entry into a $50 million, 5-year revolving accounts receivables securitization facility, which Cumulus entered into on December 6, 2013. CEO Lew Dickey states, “This highly successful refinancing transaction is expected to increase our free cash flow by greater than $30 million annually, extends our maturities through 2020 and simplifies our capital structure. We believe our balance sheet has now placed us at a competitive advantage that positions us well for future growth opportunities.”
WSCR, Chicago’s Dan McNeil Returns to Air with Apologies and Admission of His Addictions. Midday sports talk host Dan McNeil had been off CBS Radio’s WSCR, Chicago for the better part of the past two months and while there was no explanation for his absence other than he had personal things to deal with, regular listeners may have suspected McNeil was dealing with substance abuse issues. It’s not the first time he’s left the air for that reason. But on Friday, McNeil – whose name had been removed from the show during that time – returned to the air and offered a frank and full mea culpa about his addiction to marijuana and pain pills that’s kept him off the air. Chicago media writer Robert Feder has posted a transcript of a good chunk of what McNeil said on the radio but what his partner – Matt Spiegel – said to him probably rings true for a lot of the people in his life. “We are glad that you are back. But I will not pretend that it is with full-on trust and full-on joy that it was perhaps the first time [you returned]. In the spirit of honesty with you, and I’m sure that some listeners feel that way as well, you and I have always been real with each other. We’ll continue to be real. That we felt betrayed. That we felt betrayed. . .We’re here with you. We want to be here with you. But I think you know you have to regain some trust.” Read Feder’s entire column here.
Stephanie Miller Show to Air on Free Speech TV. Fans of progressive talk show host Stephanie Miller rallied to raise funds to get her program back on television via the Free Speech TV network. Miller – whose radio program is losing its flagship station KTLK as the outlet drops progressive talk and changes programming – was part of a campaign to raise money to bring the show to Free Speech TV. The goal was $50,000 but fans responded enthusiastically and so far have raised $120,450 to build a studio and support the production of the program on the commercial-free network. In a statement announcing the successful effort, Miller says, “It was a clear demonstration that, no matter what anyone tries to tell you, progressive media matters. And it matters enough that regular people are willing to come together and do what the big corporate media conglomerates are afraid to do…give thoughtful, funny and creative progressive voices a way to speak to the people who want to hear them.” Miller’s show is produced by WYD Media Management and WYD president Ron Hartenbaum says the new studio on the lower level of Miller’s home will “give the listeners and viewers more of a reality-show feel to the production versus a more traditional/sterile broadcast facility.” Referring to the $120,450 raised for the expanded programming, Hartenbaum says, “We are funded and supported in part by our listeners and viewers. All advertisers should take strong note that our audience spends money.”
Maisano To Exit Curtis Media Group, Raleigh. Due to a family member’s health issues, seven-year Curtis Media Group, Raleigh senior vice president/director of sales Adam Maisano will be leaving his position at month’s end. Maisano comments that it is “with exceedingly mixed emotions” that he departs “this great job,” but he states, “Over the last 18 months I have learned a lot about what is truly important in life. Right now, family has to come first.” He wants to return to active radio management by next spring. Curtis Media Group executive vice president Trip Savery remarks, “Adam has been a great employee. I, along with everyone at Curtis Media Group, wish him Godspeed in his personal journey and much continued success in his career.” Curtis Media Group’s Raleigh cluster was the market’s top-biller. It consists of country WQDR “94.7 ‘QDR,” adult hits WBBB “Radio 96.1,” urban AC WBZJ “The New 96.9,” CHR WWPL “The Pulse,” regional Mexican WYMY “La Ley 101.1,” talk WPTF, talk WPTK, and comedy WFNL “Funny 570.” Maisano joined the company approximately 12 years ago as national sales manager. He previously worked in sales for Clear Channel’s Augusta, Georgia stations.
Entercom to Donate KWOD, Salem, Oregon to the MMTC. The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council will be the recipient of radio station KWOD, Salem Oregon – a donation by Entercom Communications Corp. The station is currently airing a sports talk format. The MMTC was founded to promote diversity in broadcast station ownership and uses donated stations to train minorities and women in broadcast operations, sales, management, and ownership and enables them to purchase the stations at a discount from their market values. Since MMTC founded its media and telecom brokerage in 1997, it has helped hundreds of interested parties and new entrants with conducting business planning and due diligence and helping new entrants build their professional and financial networks. MMTC president David Honig states, “Entercom is a terrific example of a company that truly has the public interest at heart. Thanks to this generous gift to MMTC, we can train more new entrants in broadcast ownership and further our mission of promoting diversity in entrepreneurship.” Entercom president and CEO David Field adds, “We are very excited to be donating this station and providing a new radio entrepreneur with the opportunity to become a great broadcaster and radio station owner. We appreciate the leadership of David Honig and the MMTC staff and all they do to help enable these opportunities and mentor minority broadcasters.”
Odds & Sods. Bob Just a former TRN host who Sean Hannity calls “one of the good Democrats,” returns to the talk radio business, if just for a day, to guest host Hannity’s show on Friday, December 27. Along with being a grassroots leader, Bob Just is also a longtime WND columnist and Whistleblower Magazine editor-at-Large. A self-described Reagan Democrat who speaks at Tea Party rallies, Just did the research and development for Hannity’s second New York Times best seller, Deliver Us from Evil…..Houston-based talk show host Matt Patrick will sit in for Bill Cunningham on his nationally syndicated Premiere Networks Sunday night show on January 29. Patrick says this is the third year in a row he’s done the program and he’s looking forward to presenting his year-in-review program…..Television news anchor and reporter Kimberly Easton joins CBS Radio’s all-news simulcast WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago as a part-time anchor and reporter, according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder. She fills the slot of Brandis Friedman who moves to WTTV-TV, Chicago in October…..Katie Couric’s television talk show “Katie” will not return for a third season in the fall of 2014. The New York Daily News reports that Couric and ABC Domestic Television have agreed to end the show’s production in June of 2014 and not continue. According to the story, ratings were not the issue but the high cost of producing the program was not making it worthwhile. Couric has signed on to be a “global anchor” for Yahoo! for what is reportedly a deal worth $6 million per year.
ABC News Radio’s Vic Ratner to Retire. Longtime ABC News Radio reporter Vic Ratner is retiring at the end of the month after a career that began at ABC with coverage of the Watergate trial in 1973. During his time with ABC News Radio, Ratner has served as Capitol Reporter, a war correspondent and covered NASA for the network. In a memo to staffers, ABC News president Ben Sherwood wrote: “Most careers can be captured in words. Vic’s career is captured in sounds. In his incredible 40 years on the air for ABC News Radio, Vic has painted vivid pictures for our listeners with a rich and imaginative vocabulary that brought stories to life and gave meaning to ‘Gemini’ and ‘Apollo’ and even ‘filibuster’ and ‘quorum.’ With every syllable, Vic defined and embodied excellence. When Vic arrived at ABC in 1973, one of his first assignments was the trial of the “Watergate Seven” in Washington. He has covered every presidential campaign, political convention, inauguration and State of the Union since then, plus almost every space shuttle launch. He has reported from 54 countries and 49 states. For the record book, only South Dakota — the Mt. Rushmore State — has escaped his attention.” Ratner comments to his colleagues, “I have been fortunate to work with and learn from exceptionally talented and innovative people at ABC. Thanks to all of you for the collaborative effort, which makes us the best.”
Hangin’ with Rudy. Genesis Communications Network-syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs (right) poses for a photo with Daniel Eugene “Rudy” Ruettiger (left) at a Christmas football party over the weekend. Ruettiger is a motivational speaker and former Notre Dame football player who was the subject of the movie “Rudy.”
Catholic Relevant Radio to Purchase WNTD, Chicago for $14.4 Million. Relevant Radio has been LMAing the M&S WNTD LLC station since 2007 – that’s when the $14.4 price tag was set – and now Relevant’s executive director Rev. Francis Hoffman says the organization has come up with the cash to complete the transaction for the 1,000-watt daytimer.
Raising Funds for Children’s Cancer Support. KSCO, Santa Cruz talk show host Ethan Bearman (right) chats on the air with Team G Foundation co-founder and CEO Kristin Cosnor (left) during a recent fundraising remote broadcast. Bearman tells TALKERS magazine he interviewed parents who benefitted from this group while their kids underwent cancer treatment at Stanford and UCSF – one hour to two-and-a-half hours away from their homes on the Central Coast.
Rumor: Anthony Weiner to Try Talk Radio. Here we go again! Another disgraced politician – this time it’s former congressman and former NYC mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner – is rumored to be in the running for a talk show on one of two New York City radio signals. The New York Daily News is reporting that sources say Weiner is in talks to begin hosting a show on either Cumulus Media’s WABC (where the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot is opening in the New Year) or on Clear Channel’s WOR. WABC operations manager Tony Mascaro tells the paper they are looking at a lot of candidates for the slot but denies Weiner is one of them. The track record of former politicians – especially disgraced ones – succeeding in talk radio is not good. Most managers and programmers are either aware – or find out very quickly – that the tradeoff for hiring such a person is not usually worth it. Yes, one gets instant recognition of the person from the public, but the long hours, challenging work, glamorless working conditions and time needed to get traction in the ratings usually turns off former pols who are used to a different sort of workday. Oh, and then there’s the fact that they almost always have no broadcasting skills whatsoever. Stay tuned, the Weiner-watch is on!
Cumulus Media Holdings to Refinance $2.23 Billion in Debt. According to a Reuters report, Cumulus Media Holdings has set terms on a new $2.23 billion loan that would serve to reduce its interest payments over the course of the loan. The company is marketing a $200 million, five-year revolver and a $2.025 billion, seven-year, first-lien term loan. The proceeds would refinance Cumulus’ current first- and second-lien loans. Moody’s Investor Services VP and senior credit officer Carl Salas is quoted saying, “It’s a meaningful improvement in their annual debt service. They will save upwards of $30 million to $35 million in interest costs which adds nicely to their free cash flow generation.”
CBS Radio’s WJFK, Washington Hears It from Redskins About Game Broadcast Parodies. NFL fans are aware that the Washington Redskins – owned by the litigious and sensitive Dan Snyder – are having a tough season (3-9 right now) after making the playoffs last year. That’s been the source of much frustration on the part of fans and the source of material for WJFK host Danny Rouhier and producer Ajay Atayee who’ve been producing bits that are mock-ups of game broadcasts. Rouhier does the voices of Redskins radio play-by-play announcers Larry Michael and Sonny Jurgensen and splices in actual drops of color man and former ‘Skin Chris Cooley. The hysterically funny bits have been critical of the team’s play, the fan experience at FedEx Field and Snyder’s public image, so much so that, according to the Washington Post, WJFK Redskins beat reporter Grant Paulsen was told by team spokesman Tony Wyllie that the bits are so malicious that they could prompt legal action. This may be water under the bridge since the Post reports Wyllie says after talking with the station and being assured it’s all in good fun, the team has no problem with the station’s content. Since the station has no intention of stopping Rouhier from producing more similarly themed bits, we’ll see how the rest of the season plays out.
KYSR, Los Angeles Morning Personality Kennedy to Host Fox Business Net Show. Former MTV VJ and current morning drive host at Clear Channel’s alternative KYSR, Los Angeles, Lisa Kennedy Montgomery, will begin a new nightly current events talk show on Fox Business Network titled “The Independents” that will premiere on Monday, December 9. The Hollywood Reporter states that Kennedy will co-host with Reason magazine’s Matt Welch, America’s Future Foundation’s Kmele Foster and a rotating panel of money experts. Kennedy herself writes on her KYSR blog that the show will be “aimed at all the mealy-mouthed, partisan faithful out there. Has the 2 party system totally failed you? Yeah, me too! Tune in 4 nights a week on FBN, and just remember, music and politics go hand in hand. I will always hold hands with you.” Kennedy has been a contributor to FBN making regular appearances on “Stossel.”
Vali Named Interim GM of Ohana Broadcast, Hawaii. The name Austin Vali is widely-known in Hawaii radio and, as Ohana Broadcast Company‘s interim general manager, he will oversee four Oahu stations and five Kauai facilities. Owner/president Jason Wolff comments, “Austin brings a wealth of experience, knowledge, and relationships in the Honolulu market. He will be a tremendous asset as we strive to produce the best possible radio for our listeners and clients.” Recently, Vali was vice president/general manager of Cox Media Group‘s three-station Long Island cluster. During his 40-year radio career, he has worked in Pittsburgh, Norfolk, and Louisville; however, Vali is perhaps best known for his experience in Hawaii. Since arriving there in 1978, he worked at Honolulu’s KIKI and KQMQ and he co-owned KRTR-FM and KXME in that market.
PodcastOne Adds Mariel Hemingway Program to Stable. Titled after her best-selling book Running with Nature, actress and author Mariel Hemingway, along with her partner, stuntman, actor, health and wellness expert, Bobby Williams, are launching their new podcast via PodcastOne. The podcast invites listeners to “join them on their adventures; from Hollywood to Holistic healing…transforming relationships to finding the most meaningful ways of living every day, Mariel and Bobby are here bringing laughter, wonder and awe with some great advice.” The first podcast episode “features nutrition tips, a review of her just released documentary called ‘Running from Crazy,’ and exercise tips from Bobby and Mariel’s ‘Meditation Moment.’” PodcastOne COO Greg Batusic says, “Mariel and Bobby offer a refreshing and unique take on life that their fans and new listeners will surely benefit from. We’re happy to have them join our stellar lineup.”
WTOP, Washington’s Bob Madigan to Retire. Drive time news anchor Bob Madigan will retire from his position at Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington, DC at the end of the year. Outgoing vice president of news and programming Jim Farley (also retiring, see next story) says in a memo to his DC staff, “Bob has been in this crazy business of ours for 50 years, 20 of them here at WTOP and WASH when both stations were co-owned. He and I worked for 11 years at NBC News….I have been inflicted on Bob for 27 of his 50 years in the business. By the way, if you are wondering how he got in 50 years ago, he started working in radio during high school.” Farley goes on to say that as WTOP’s “Man About Town,” he “was a one-person ‘good news’ department covering everything from charity galas to scholarship awards and chili cook-offs for a good cause. Bob covered so many events, that in less than a year on the beat, he was emcee, announcer or celebrity judge at many of them. He became a one-man marketing machine for WTOP, getting our name out there in a positive way that was priceless! He was chosen to announce the Inaugural Parade along Pennsylvania Avenue for both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. At the Bush Inaugural Parade he was paired with…Meat Loaf. For years he announced the start of the Race for the Cure live on WTOP. He has a long, long list of awards and honors including a (rare for a journalist) RAMMY Award, “The Duke Zeibert Capital Achievement Award.” RAMMY’s are awarded by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington.
A Farewell to Jim Farley. Radio consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke (right) poses for a selfie with outgoing vice president of news and programming Jim Farley at a retirement bash for the longtime WTOP, Washington programmer at the Newseum in Washington, DC. After 17 years with the station, Farley is “slowing down but not retiring” as he’ll step down from his current post but consult WTOP for the next two years. He’s also open to consult others with their news and/or digital strategies. Current WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo is stepping into the post at year’s end. Cooke reports that modern-day WTOP-ers, Hubbard execs and many alumni toasted Farley at the bash. Among other things said at the farewell party, Farley told staffers, “What a crowd! YOU did it. YOU GUYS do all the heavy lifting, and I got all the credit. I’m gettin’ out before they catch me.”
Good Fences Make Good Neighbors. Usually that’s the case but at the Entercom AM transmitter site in Westwood, Kansas, just how a good fence is defined appears to be the issue. The towers for KMBZ and KUDL are surrounded by residential neighborhoods – that wasn’t the case in the 1930s when the towers went up. According to the Prairie Village Post, now neighbors are challenging the renewal of Entercom’s special use permit for the site claiming they want improvements there. After meeting with residents, a plan commission sub-committee is suggesting the current chain-link fence with barbed wire makes the property look “blighted” and recommends removal of the perimeter fence and replacement with fencing that complies with current code. Entercom fears liability issues without a perimeter fence. In 2008, a trespassing teenager was killed after falling from a tower on the site. Expect some sort of compromise on this issue since moving the station towers would be very difficult yet protection of the transmitters and towers needs to continue for obvious reasons.
Credit to WJFK-FM, Washington’s “Junkies” for Nabbing Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Segment. He’s been one of the hot talk radio topics for the past several weeks (as documented in TALKERS magazine’s weekly top topics chart The Talkers TenTM), so why not book him as a guest? CBS Radio’s “The Junkies” did just that and got a cool 25-minute segment with Toronto Mayor Rob Ford on WJFK-FM, Washington today. Ford, who’s obviously been in the news a bit lately and doesn’t seem to be very mic-shy, talked with the Junkies about football (he offered his NFL picks for the week), the drug use allegations against him, President Obama, and his run for re-election next fall (which he says he’ll win because he has the support of the people).
Odds & Sods. Entercom’s KGMZ, San Francisco is preparing to begin a listener giveaway of tickets and cool memorabilia for its six area pro sports teams. “95.7 The Game” is calling the promotion “The Six Teams of Christmas” and will give listeners a chance to win game ticket packages to see the Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, San Francisco Giants, Oakland As, Golden State Warriors and San Jose Sharks…..CBS Radio’s New York stations (including sports WFAN-AM/FM and all-news WINS and WCBS) are announcing a new promotion: The Firehouse Chili Cook-Off. After entries were submitted from all across the tri-state area, semi-finalists will compete to see whose chili recipe reigns supreme. At establishments in New Jersey and New York, the staple food of firefighters will be cooked, tasted and judged by local sports figures, and one fire company at each event will move into the final round of the competition. The grand prize winner will receive VIP tickets to a 2014 New York Yankees game…..Entercom’s Boston Red Sox flagship WEEI, Boston is broadcasting from the MLB Winter Meetings in Orlando next week. Live coverage of the meetings will begin with Salk & Holley from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm Monday through Wednesday. The Mut & Merloni show will also originate from the Swan and Dolphin Resort from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm Tuesday through Thursday.
Holiday Magic at KIRO-FM, Seattle. Pictured here is KIRO-FM, Seattle afternoon drive duo Ron & Don manning the tote board at last year’s “Holiday Magic Radiothon.” The Bonneville news/talk station, in partnership with Treehouse (a non-profit agency that ensures that kids in foster care have access to the essential services required to help them make it to high school graduation and beyond), are hosting the 25th Annual Foster Child Holiday Magic Radiothon today. The station set a record last year raising more than $500,000. The 12-hour “Holiday Magic Radiothon” helps local foster kids by raising money to provide each child in the program with one significant holiday gift along with support programs and services throughout the year.
Rusty Humphries on the Set in Bucharest. That’s talk show host and actor Rusty Humphries (left) with actor Michael Damian (right) on location in Bucharest, Romania on the set of the romantic comedy Love By Design. Humphries says he plays a reporter covering a big fashion show in New York City. He notes that Bucharest is a popular location to shoot NYC scenes since it can be made to look like the streets of New York and the production costs are much less. The movie also stars Jane Seymour. Humphries was in Bucharest for seven days filming. He tells TALKERS, “I had a blast. I love the fact that I’m having the opportunity to really live out my dreams: radio, TV and film. This is my third major motion picture, and it’s always an honor to be involved with a project as special as this.”
ObamaCare Criticism, NSA Cell Location Database, Obama Millennial Support Diminishing, Detroit Bankruptcy, Bashir Resignation, and Fast Food Minimum Wage Effort Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/5). Analysis of the implementation and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the NSA policy that reportedly gathers the location of cell phone users; the loss of support from Millennials for President Obama; the Detroit bankruptcy case ruling; Martin Bashir’s resignation from MSNBC after his Sarah Palin comments; and the move by organized labor to push for a national minimum wage for fast food workers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Peter Bolger Named OM/PD at WLS-AM, Chicago. Most recently with Clear Channel as director of AM programming in the San Antonio market, Peter Bolger joins Cumulus Media to head up programming and operations at its Chicago news/talk WLS-AM. In a statement, Cumulus COO John Dickey says, “Chicago radio is a competitive and important market where we’re excited to add Peter’s expertise that positions up for future growth. Bolger adds, “I think Chicago radio is the best there is. Fortunately, we have incredible talent and deep resources at WLS. I want to thank John Dickey, Mike McVay and Donna Baker for the opportunity to be part of the historic WLS brand. I can’t wait to get started.”
Walker Announces His Retirement. Six-year Entercom, San Francisco vice president/market manager Dwight Walker has been in radio for 30 years – the last 25 in the Bay Area. He will be departing the company’s four-station (all are on FM) Bay Area operation, which is comprised of adult contemporary KOIT-FM, classic rock KUFX “The Fox,” sports KGMZ “The Game,” and urban AC KBLX. “It has been a fun, rewarding, stimulating, and fantastic time,” he comments. “I have cherished my years with Entercom, a world-class company. The vision of Entercom management and their commitment to radio is what will keep our industry and this cluster moving forward in a thriving and robust way.” Family, travel, and Tahoe will become Walker’s top priorities, but he insists, “San Francisco will always be a part of an amazing and charmed life that I hold near and dear to my heart.” According to Entercom station group president Weezie Kramer, “Dwight Walker is one of the best in the business. Everyone at Entercom deeply appreciates Dwight’s years of hard work and leadership. He will be missed in San Francisco and across the radio industry.” Prior to joining Entercom, Walker was vice president of sales for cross-town Cumulus-owned KNBR, KFOG, and KSAN. For nine years (1997 – 2006), he was general manager of KFOG and KSAN when Susquehanna owned those facilities.
Dave Ramsey Changes Nashville Affiliates. Nationally syndicated financial talk superstar Dave Ramsey moves to a new Nashville affiliate station beginning in the New Year as it joins Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk WLAC to air in the 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm time slot. Since January of this year, Ramsey’s show has been airing on Cromwell Radio Group’s sports talk WPRT “102.5 The Game.” In a piece in The Tennessean, Cromwell’s Bud Walters admits the melding of Ramsey’s show and sports talk wasn’t the best fit and that the move is a mutual one. “We have been friends for more than 20 years, and while we enjoyed this partnership from a personal standpoint, we both realize that from a business perspective our brands would be better served if we return to our respective formats.” Dave Ramsey VP of broadcast Brian Mayfield states, “It’s great to be back on a news/talk station in Middle Tennessee. WLAC has a long-standing tradition of quality radio in Nashville, and now with the addition of our show, offers the top three talk shows in America back to back.” CC Nashville OM Michael Bryan adds, “We’re very excited to add the Dave Ramsey show to WLAC in the New Year. Dave’s a legend in Nashville radio, and this aligns the power of his brand with the very best platform in talk radio. It is a true home run for our listeners and advertisers.”
Ed Schultz to Launch Live Theatrical Tour in 2014. Nationally syndicated radio talk show host and MSNBC star Ed Schultz will be taking a show live to theaters in 2014. Working in conjunction with Ron Hartenbaum‘s WYD Media, “The Ed Tour” commences on Saturday, February 8 with a booking in Fort Lauderdale and then several stops in the West including Seattle on Friday, February 21 with more locations to be announced shortly. WYD Media has paved the way via an effective working model for talk show hosts to take theater-style shows on the road with the wildly successfully “Sexy Liberal Tour” starring Stephanie Miller which has also revved up for a number of dates in the remainder of 2013 and throughout 2014.
Weather Channel and WestwoodOne Renew Ad Sales Agreement. WestwoodOne and The Weather Channel announce that they have signed a multi-year agreement for the former to provide ad sales representation for The Weather Channel’s radio service. The renewal runs through 2016. The Weather Channel provides daily, customized cross-platform weather reports to individual radio stations around the country giving up-to-the-minute information on local weather or critical storm warnings. WestwoodOne CEO Paul Caine says, “We are delighted to continue our partnership with The Weather Channel and to represent its superior brand across the radio community. Weather is a hugely covetable component in the audio space, and serves as a critical resource for listeners. In fact, we have found that listeners are more likely to tune or tap in for weather information than most all other content. We are happy to know we can continue to provide our listeners access to the best weather information available.”
SBS Readies AIRE Radio Networks. Set to debut January 1, Spanish Broadcasting System‘s AIRE Radio Networks will reach listeners in nine of the top 10 markets with a weekly audience reported to be approximately 12 million listeners – roughly one-quarter of the U.S. Hispanic population. AIRE Radio Networks will feature shows focused on current events, health and family, finances, education, sports and entertainment. “This creation solidifies SBS’ expanding presence in Hispanic media and entertainment,” explains SBS chairman/president/chief executive officer Raul Alarcon. “We’re excited about capitalizing on syndication growth opportunities. AIRE Radio Networks will extend our top-ranked offerings to advertisers and listeners nationwide.” Aire Radio Networks senior vice president of network operations & affiliate sales Elisa Torres comments, “We have put together a stupendous lineup to deliver a national platform. With AIRE Radio Networks’ targeted choices and vehicles, we anticipate rapid growth for clients seeking to embrace nationwide Hispanic listeners.” The Aire Networks include the “Advantage Network,” targeting Hispanic men; “Young Adult Network,” geared to Hispanics 18-49; “Millennial Network,” targeting Hispanics 18-34; “Prime Family,” aimed at families on weekends; and “The Mandril Network,” featuring Ricardo “El Mandril” Sanchez of Los Angeles’ KLAX “La Raza.”
WAUK, Milwaukee Sports Talk Personality Steve “The Homer” True Injured in Car Accident. Sports talk host and Marquette University men’s basketball play-by-play voice Steve “The Homer” True was in critical condition yesterday at a Milwaukee hospital after his car was hit by an alleged drunk driver at 10:00 am on Wednesday morning. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports WAUK owner Craig Karmazin issued a statement late last night saying, “I spoke with Homer’s wife, Nancy, tonight. She said Homer is doing pretty well and that doctors want to monitor his condition overnight. On behalf of the True family and all of us at ESPN Wisconsin, I’d like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers.” True suffered a head injury in the crash. He has worked for Karmazin’s Good Karma Broadcasting at WAUK for the past eight years.
NASBA Fires Off Letter to Washington Opposing Elimination of Advertising Deductions. The National Alliance of State Broadcasters Associations submitted an official letter to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp and Ranking Member Sander Levin detailing the opposition by the member state broadcasters associations to the possibility of altering the current deduction businesses may take for advertising expenses. The letter reminds the legislators that any change to the deduction would harm broadcasters, notes that advertising has been part of the allowed deductions since the Tax Code was adopted 100 years ago and that radio stations generally receive 96% of their revenue from advertising (Television’s percentage is 94).
Odds & Sods. Clear Channel’s KBME, Houston – flagship station for Houston Rockets hoops – will simulcast some of the team’s games on other CC stations in the cluster. Some games will air on news/talk KTRH and a select number of Saturday games will simulcast on AC KODA and classic rock KKRW…..ESPN Radio’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” will be broadcasting live from Pardee Plaza on the campus of USC tomorrow in advance of the Stanford at USC game that ESPN Radio will air this weekend.
ObamaCare Rollout Criticism, GOP 2014 Strategies, Iran Nukes Deal, and Typhoon Haiyan Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/13). The debate in Washington over fixing the rollout of the Affordable Care Act or scrapping it altogether; Republican strategies for the mid-term elections in 2014; the proposed nuclear technology development deal between the United States and Iran; and the aftermath of deadly Typhoon Haiyan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Ed Koch the Broadcaster Remembered. The passing of former New York City Mayor Ed Koch early Friday morning elicited some remembrances from two people who worked closely with him – John Mainelli, the program director of WABC who hired him, and Curtis Sliwa, one of his fellow talk hosts at WABC, New York. Mainelli tells TALKERS magazine, “I hired him right after he left office. It wasn’t long before he was #1 in his time slot (11:00 am to 12:00 noon). There was a time when both he, Limbaugh and Bob Grant were #1 in their slots. Ed wanted to know who was the leader of the three, asking me, “How #1 am I?” He was A-No.1. A great guy. A nice guy. A champ. I really, really liked him.” Curtis Sliwa says of Koch’s death, “The passing of Mayor Koch was not only a tremendous loss for our city, but a tremendous loss for the radio dial. Ed Koch was no fan of mine, nor were the Guardian Angels while he was Mayor. While we were colleagues at 77WABC, and I was his lead-in with Lisa, our relationship improved but you wouldn’t call us friends. When I got shot in June of 1992, the first image that I saw hovering over my hospital bed in ICU was that of Ed Koch. Immediately, my first thought was that I’d died and gone straight to Hell without an asbestos suit. I didn’t die though (I think Ed was almost as disappointed as the Gottis about that) and our relationship continued to improve over the years and for a long time, I’ve been proud to call him a friend. He was a regular guest on my radio show on WABC and at ‘AM 970 The Answer.’ He was my colleague at NY1 and he was the only person I’d ever met who loved this city more than I did.” SiriusXM broadcast the special program “Ed Koch: The Voice of Reason,” a two-hour tribute devoted to the life and career of Mayor Koch on its Bloomberg Radio channel on Friday, February 1 at 7:00 pm ET.
Coming to TALKERS This Week: The Talk Radio Watchdog. There was a time in the early days of the modern talk radio era when most markets could lay claim to at least one talk show host considered to be the local “watchdog.” He or she was feared by the power brokers in city hall and had a reputation for having the backs of the regular folks. They are not as prevalent in the format as they once were but they are still out there. Does the industry still value this breed of talk host? Does the public still want to listen to them? Do their station managers support them? TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian speaks with some of today’s “watchdogs” to get answers to these and other questions about their craft. His story comes to Talkers.com this week.
WXOS, St. Louis Adds Bob “Rammer” Ramsey to Mid-Morning Show. Hubbard Broadcasting’s sports talk WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” moves Bob “Rammer” Ramsey to the mid-morning slot alongside Zach McCrite for the “Zach and Rammer” show. McCrite has been on the air in the slot with “The Coach” Rick Venturi who exits the station to be closer to family in Indiana. Ramsey moves to the slot from the evening show he co-hosted with Brian Stull. Ramsey is also the “Voice of the Billikens” – a position he has held for the past 26 years – handling the play-by-play duties for Saint Louis University’s Men’s Basketball games, along with co-host and analyst Earl Austin, Jr.
Michael Graham Debuts Massachusetts-Wide Talk Show Today. Former WTKK, Boston talk radio star Michael Graham begins a new, daily midday talk show today that will air on four stations across Massachusetts. Graham’s program – airing from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm – will be heard on Money Matters Radio’s WBNW, Concord; WPLM-AM, Plymouth; and WESO, Southbridge as well as Carter Broadcasting’s WCRN, Worcester. Graham hosted the mid-morning program on Greater Media’s WTKK, Boston until the station flipped to a music format after the New Year.
How to Pump Up Your Weekend “How-To” Show. Talk radio consultant Holland Cooke says, “Few marketing opportunities can generate more new business than local talk radio…if you use it properly.” Cooke says that weekend how-to shows that are done well provide listeners with two things: information and the chance for interaction. And, he says the programs have a two-fold purpose. “The well-executed show sets the table for what marketers call ‘conversion,’ moving prospects through the sales funnel. And the how-to hosts I coach aren’t just producing new leads. Making what comes out the speaker as engaging and informative and relatable as possible also racks up more Average Quarter Hours for the station.” Read Holland Cooke’s suggestions for producing quality weekend “how-to” programs here.
Odds & Sods. At CBS Radio’s sports talk WHFS, Tampa “98.7 The Fan,” Meredith Walusek exits her role on the Kirk & Dinger morning drive show to join the cluster’s rhythmic CHR WLLD for its Orlando & the Freakshow morning program…..Ryan Giles joins Hubbard Broadcasting’s sports talk KSTP, Minneapolis as director of marketing and promotions. Giles previously served as promotions director and webmaster at Shamrock Communications’ alternative KMYZ “Z-104.5 The Edge” and classic hits KTSO “94.1 The Sound” in Tulsa…..Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington, DC is honoring the local Easter Seals chapter in its Charity of the Month program. The Easter Seals serving DC, Maryland and Virginia will receive more than $30,000 in free air-time and in-kind contributions, including on-air promotions and content on WTOP.com. The WTOP Charity of the Month program highlights one local charity every month in order to raise community awareness, support events and help with fundraising efforts…..WEEI, Boston’s play-by-play of Boston Celtics basketball games is being made available via free streaming on WEEI.com, the WEEI Live mobile app and the new Boston Celtics Mobile App. WEEI’s Celtics broadcast will also be available via the TuneIn app.
A Conversation with Marketron President and CEO, Jeff Haley. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison speaks with Jeff Haley, the president and CEO of media industry software solutions and service giant Marketron. The conversation, which serves as the basis of today’s (2/4) posted TALKERS interview, covers a variety of subjects of importance to radio sales and administrative executives including re-energizing the advertising end of radio and guiding the medium’s evolution into creating integrated cross-platform buys in this new digital era. He talks about the cloud, as well as the new relationship between radio’s front and back offices, the need to reassess FCC regulations moving forward and the balance between local and national programming on the individual station level. On the subject of dealing with the advertising industry’s reaction to controversy on news/talk radio, Haley tells TALKERS, ” Depends what you mean by controversy – and what your appetite is for it. Benign controversy can pull listeners in. That said, controversy that reflects poorly on the station can be a turn off and cause advertisers to abandon. Best to talk to your partners along the way, prepare them, and include them in your decision-making process.” To read the entire TALKERS interview with Jeff Haley, click here.
“Nerd” Talk Show Host Shares Tips on Pulling Off an Expedient International Remote Broadcast. One of the brightest young news/talk hosts on the rise today, Ethan Bearman of KSCO, Santa Cruz and Genesis Communications Network shares the story of his recent adventure in simple-yet-effective remote broadcasting in which he conveniently packed a bag of all the gear necessary to capture an interview with a Times of London reporter under the tightest of security restrictions at the Houses of Parliament in London to get an international perspective on the American presidential election. Check it out by clicking here.
Stephanie Miller Returns to Chicago with Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour. Along with comedy (and radio) partners John Fugelsang and Hal Sparks, WYD Media nationally syndicated talk radio star Stephanie Miller brings her successful “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” back to the Windy City for a date at the historic Chicago Theatre on April 13. The ongoing comedy tour has benefitted from cross-promotion on Miller’s radio program as well as her digital platforms.
CBS Sports Radio Network Announces National Morning Show: Tiki Barber, Brandon Tierney and Dana Jacobson. When the CBS Sports Radio Network officially begins on January 2, former New York Giants great Tiki Barber, sports talk personality and current KGME, San Francisco afternoon co-host Brandon Tierney and longtime ESPN broadcaster Dana Jacobson will make up the morning drive show airing from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET. CBS Radio president and CEO Dan Mason states, “CBS Sports Radio has been able to attract some of the most renowned names in the business, and Tiki, Brandon and Dana are just the latest example of the network’s star power. We’ve assembled an impressive group of professional athletes and accomplished broadcasters to bring fans unrivaled sports commentary, and the most entertaining lineup in all of sports radio. The launch of CBS Sports Radio provides an additional way for us to use our content, debuting original programs to millions of listeners across the country on day one. The network’s reach in the major markets is unsurpassed, and the marketplace has taken notice of our depth and broad range of offerings.” CBS Radio is announcing the morning show will clear on such outlets as: WIP-AM, Philadelphia); WFOM-AM, Atlanta; WXYT-AM, Detroit; WJZ-AM, Baltimore; KFNZ-AM and KJQS-AM, Salt Lake City; and WSJZ-FM, Orlando.
Another Look Back at the Harsh Reality of Sandy and its Intense Relationship with Radio. American voters are conditioned every four years to believe that the presidential ballot they are about to cast will be the most crucial such decision they will make in their entire lifetimes. That was certainly a dominant theme of the 2012 campaign, yet less than 10 days before Election Day, something else began percolating that had approximately 20% of the country hitting the “pause” button to politics: Sandy. Innocuous as the name sounds, “Sandy” unfortunately arrived as advertised and now, weeks later, harsh reality remains in its wake. It is impossible to factor precious loss of lives and the shattering of countless dreams into the billions of dollars of wreckage caused by one of the unkindest of oxymorons – a so-called “perfect storm.” As another testament to our democracy, the November 6 election went off without a hitch and the country would ready itself for one of its proudest traditions – setting aside a day of thanksgiving (albeit followed by the dubious recent sales custom known as “Black Friday”). Radio stations though in locales that include the country’s #1 market – New York City – are continuing to focus on what has been consuming them since (roughly) Saturday, October 27. Suffering through Sandy was brutal. For many, enduring the aftermath is considerably worse. As the radio industry returns from the Thanksgiving weekend, TALKERS takes another look back at the our medium’s intense relationship with the “weather event” that was so dominant a factor in current events that it even upstaged a presidential election – as seen through the eyes, lives and dedicated work of broadcasters at CBS Radio‘s all- news WCBS-AM, New York and Cumulus Media‘s news/talk WMAL, Washington, DC. To read TALKERS managing editor/west coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian‘s epic article click here.
WTDY-AM/FM, Madison Drops News/Talk; Stunting with Christmas Music. The Wisconsin State Journal reports that “several broadcasters” have been let go by Midwest Family Broadcasting as the simulcast of news/talk programming on WTDY AM 1670 and WTDY FM 106.7 ended late on Wednesday and was replaced with Christmas music. Talk personality John “Sly” Sylvester and news director Amy Barrilleaux both communicated via social media that they had been let go by the station and that it is flipping formats but that they knew no more. Midwest Family owns seven stations in the market that include: rock WJJO; AC WMGN; rhythmic CHR WJQM; country WWQM; WLMV Spanish music; and oldies WHIT. The word on the street is that the simulcast will become a CBS Sports Radio Network affiliate on January 2 but that has not been confirmed.
ESPN in Agreement for Exclusive Rights to College Football Playoff Contests. The sports giant announces it has reached agreements in principle to obtain exclusive rights to broadcast the games and the affiliated programming for the college football championship and playoff games that will begin after the 2014 season and begin in January of 2015 when the new playoff system begins. ESPN Radio will be part of the broadcast of these games. The announcement was made Wednesday by ESPN president John Skipper and Bill Hancock, executive director of the BCS and the future college football playoffs. Skipper states, “Because of college football’s widespread popularity and the incredible passion of its fans, few events are more meaningful than these games. We are ecstatic at the opportunity to continue to crown a college football champion on ESPN’s outlets for years to come, the perfect finale to our year-round commitment to the sport.” ESPN is in the midst of a four-year agreement for the Bowl Championship Series (BCS). The network televises all five games from the current format, including the Rose, Sugar, Orange and Fiesta Bowls, as well as the BCS National Championship Game. The two BCS National Championship Games on ESPN (2011, 2012) have generated the two largest audiences for any program in the history of cable television. The new playoff will be administered by the Football Bowl Subdivision conferences and independent institutions. The agreement in principle is subject to completion of definitive documentation and all necessary approvals.
Stephen King-Owned WZLO and WZON, Bangor Progressive Talk Simulcast Splits. “The Pulse” website states the stations have split their simulcast of progressive talk and are featuring Christmas music on the FM signal with a “BIG surprise” the station will reveal after Christmas. The stations have been a simulcast for the past 2 ½ years – first as a sports talk station, then as the progressive talk outlet. The FM side had been playing a triple A format prior to the simulcast. WZON at 620 AM continues to air a progressive talk format featuring a local morning show with Don Cookson, WYD Media’s Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz, Premiere Networks’ Randi Rhodes, Thom Hartmann, Cox Media’s Clark Howard and Leslie Marshall.
April NAB Show to Feature Q&A with News Corp’s Chase Carey. The National Association of Broadcasters announces the spring NAB Show scheduled for April 6-11 in Las Vegas will feature a question-and-answer session with News Corporation president and chief operating officer Chase Carey. NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith will conduct the session. Smith says, “As a leading executive of one of the world’s preeminent media companies, Chase Carey has valuable insight into today’s multi-platform global media environment. I look forward to our conversation at the NAB Show and hearing Mr. Carey’s vision of what the future holds for the media business worldwide.” Carey has served in his role at News Corp since July of 2009. Prior to that he was president and CEO at DIRECTV, Inc.
French-Language Quebec Talk Host Suspended for Anti-Semitic Incident. CHMP, Quebec late night talk show host Jacques Fabi has been suspended from his program after allowing a female caller to his program make anti-Semitic statements. The caller was responding to Fabi’s discussion of the violence in Israel and Gaza and blamed the Jews, then went on to intimate that Hitler should have been allowed to finish the job. Fabi never stopped her and, according to complaints to the CRTC and the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, seemed to encourage her rant. The CBC reports station spokesman David Crete said, “The comments that were aired earlier this week are unacceptable…hosts and journalists are subject to ethical rules. If they are not met, penalties are applied.” It is not clear how long Fabi’s suspension will be. CHMP is owned by Cogeco.
British Broadcaster Fined for Anti-Gay Remarks. The British agency that regulates broadcasting content – Ofcom – levied a $6,400 fine against the company that owns a Leeds, England station that serves the South Asian community. The incident stems from a program hosted by Rubina Nasir – known as Sister Ruby – in which she interpreted passages in the Koran that indicated homosexuals should be punished – physically and mentally – for practicing their sexuality. Ofcom ruled the statements made during the broadcast were likely to “encourage or incite the commission of a crime.”
Rock 102 Thanksgiving Tradition. WAQY, Springfield, Massachusetts morning drive team Bax & O’Brien helped gather food and money for those in need in the area with the broadcast of their annual Mayflower Marathon food drive over the Thanksgiving week. Hosts Mike Baxendale (center) and John O’Brien (far right) are pictured here announcing a donation of $10,000 to the Open Pantry – a local organization that provides food to those in need. The annual charity event is a signature of Saga Communications’ “Rock 102” and the Bax & O’Brien morning show during which the duo broadcast continuously for two days while encouraging listeners to fill a Mayflower moving van with food staples for the hungry.
Salem Communications Pays $4 million for WJKR, Columbus. Salem Communications’ new FM talk outlet in Columbus, Ohio is costing the company $4 million according to the FCC filing. The Radio One station is being LMA’d by Salem until the deal closes. Salem installed its conservative talk format on November 1 and dubbed it “98.9 FM The Answer.” In addition to its numerous news/talk AMs, Salem owns FM outlets that program primarily Christian formats. The new Columbus acquisition is the first FM signal for the secular news/talk format for Salem.
Mike O’Meara Returns to DC Airwaves in January. Dave Hughes’ DCRTV.com reports that Washington, DC radio personality Mike O’Meara will be back on the terrestrial airwaves in the market in January with a two-hour evening program airing on Metro Radio’s WTNT. O’Meara and former partner Don Geronimo dominated Washington, DC talk radio during their time together on CBS Radio’s then-hot talk WJFK-FM before Geronimo took time off following the untimely death of his wife Freda. O’Meara has been producing a popular podcast via his mikeomearashow.com site along with Rob Spewak, Buzz Burbank and Oscar Santana – all of whom are reported to be part of the WTNT program as well. O’Meara briefly returned to terrestrial radio last year when he hosted mornings at Cumulus Media’s classic rock 105.9 The Edge. However, the station dropped music to become the FM signal for WMAL.
Consumer Electronics Show Preview – The Radio Connection. Each year, radio consultant Holland Cooke covers the huge Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas in January for TALKERS magazine. But November always brings the preview of the show and Holland was there as well. He says radio should pay attention for several reasons. The most obvious reason is to get a line on what’s going to be hot for Christmas so AEs can target the appropriate retailers. Holland says the Consumer Electronics Association forecasters predict tablets will dominate this holiday season. The CEA is saying sales of tablets will be up 112% over last year. TVs are going to be big with 20% of American adults saying they plan to buy a television this holiday season. Read more from Holland Cooke here.
Progressive Shows May Find Another Home in Seattle. The news that CBS Radio’s KPTK, Seattle will flip formats in January – not confirmed by CBS but the station will likely become a CBS Sports Radio Network affiliate – has left a sour taste in the mouths of numerous progressive talk hosts and their syndicators. But the local blog SeaTacRadio.com reports that KLAY, Tacoma is planning to add some of the progressive talk shows – reportedly WYD Media’s Stephanie Miller and the Ed Schultz show – currently heard on KPTK to its program schedule. As numerous CBS Radio and Cumulus stations prepare to flip to sports talk in January, KPTK is just another victim of the companywide desire for affiliate stations. While consumers and the consumer press bemoan the proliferation of sports talk (“How many sports stations do we need in this market?”), the answer is that CBS Radio and Cumulus need to have affiliates in as many markets as possible to be able to sell a national sports talk product to national clients.
Main Street Radio Networks Partners with Broadcast Affiliate Sales. Main Street Radio Networks enters into a deal with Broadcast Affiliate Sales for the latter to handle its marketing and affiliate sales for current and future programs. The network syndicates “Battle Line with Alan Nathan” and the “Doctor Evelyn Higgins Show.” Recently the company announced it was working with Salem Radio Networks for distribution of its programming. Main Street president Jane Silk says, “We know BAS will be a great addition to our rapidly growing radio network. Everyone at BAS has an extensive history in the radio industry and an unmatched sales record. Partner Mike Tyler was elected to the NAB Board of Directors and his father John Tyler is the creator of the first ever satellite delivered radio network. These people are the best in the business.”
John McConnell Joins InterNetwork Broadcasting for App Development. Former ABC Radio Networks SVP of programming John McConnell is working with InterNetworks Broadcasting on the development of its Blurt app. The app that lets you record and share 10-second audio updates with the world and McConnell has joined its leadership team in further development of the app. He’ll focus his efforts on new content and distribution partnerships and overall business development. Blurt co-founder Clark Burgard states, “John boasts an impressive track record in radio broadcast and digital media, and his experience will surely enhance our efforts to bring an audio experience to text-based social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter. We’re thrilled to welcome him to the Blurt team.”
Entertainment Radio Network Partners with Men’s Health Magazine to Create Weekly Show. Men’s Health, the well-known men’s magazine, announces a partnership with Entertainment Radio Network (ERN) to create “Men’s Health Live,” a weekly, one-hour branded show that will be distributed across terrestrial radio and a variety of on-demand audio channels. Slated to premiere in January 2013, the program will cover the latest news in health, fitness, nutrition and all things men. Men’s Health editor Peter Moore and Men’s Health contributing editor Gregg Stebben will co-host the show. Moore tells TALKERS, “ERN is the perfect partner and platform to bring the Men’s Health brand’s must-have advice and information for guys to the airwaves on a weekly basis. Guys live in their cars, and with today’s connected dashboard, we’ll be there with them, making sure they reach their ultimate destinations safely, and with abs.” Alan Taylor, CEO of ERN adds, “We are thrilled to be working with Men’s Health. This strategic partnership will add yet another pillar of strength to the largest men’s magazine brand with the addition of a radio and digital audio platform. It will further enable Men’s Health to expand its core audience through our many audio distribution partners such as Aha Radio, Stitcher Radio, iTunes and others.”
Petraeus Scandal, Benghazi Investigation, Obama Administration Cabinet Changes, and ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Issue Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/13). The growing David Petraeus-Paula Broadwell scandal; the investigation into the Benghazi attack; imminent changes in the Obama Administration Cabinet; and the ‘fiscal cliff’ challenges facing the administration and Congress were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Is CBS Radio’s KPTK, Seattle the Next Progressive Talker to Flip? Seattle-based blog Blatherwatch (cool name!) is reporting the WYD Media-produced Stephanie Miller talk show indicated on Monday’s broadcast that CBS Radio’s KPTK, Seattle would flip from progressive talk after the holidays. No report on what the station may become and the report has not been confirmed by CBS Radio. If this comes to pass, it would be the second West Coast progressive talk outlet to recently shuck the format as Clear Channel’s KPOJ, Portland did Monday (11/12). It’d also be the second progressive talk station that’s been in the format for a relatively long period of time – eight years for each station – and located in “progressive” cities, to change formats.
Stacey Simms to Exit WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte. “Charlotte’s Morning News” co-host Stacey Simms announces she will exit the Greater Media news/talk outlet after the December 14 edition of the program due to personal reasons. Simms has co-hosted the show at WBT for 10 years, first with Al Gardner (now in Philly on WWIQ) and currently with Bo Thompson. Simms is a well-known media personality in the market having worked in television news at WBTV-TV before beginning her talk radio career. Senior vice president and market manager Rick Feinblatt says of Simms, “Since 2002, Stacey has been instrumental in the development and success of ‘Charlotte’s Morning News’ and has always displayed the highest level of professionalism and dedication to WBT and all our listeners. We wish Stacey the best as she pursues new opportunities and adventures.”
KFNS, St. Louis Parts Ways with Host Kevin Slaten After Racial Rant. Sports talk host Kevin Slaten wasn’t an employee of Grand Slam Sports – owner of KFNS, St. Louis – rather he brokered the time and sold his own advertising. As reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, his contract was cancelled after he went on a rant last Thursday charging African Americans who voted for Barack Obama with being bigoted if they voted for Obama because he’s black. Station manager Katy Pavelonis tells the paper she asked Slaten to take his conversation in a different direction. “The topics of Thursday weren’t homing in on where I want to go.” Slaten was with KFNS previously but was fired from the station in 2008 after putting St. Louis Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan on the air without informing him the conversation was being broadcast. Speaking of the mixing of sports talk and political talk; WFAN, New York sports talk host Richard Neer has some thoughts on the matter. See the next story…
The Risk of Talking Politics on a Sports Station. The 2012 campaign is behind us but WFAN, New York sports talk host Richard Neer has some thoughts on mixing politics and sports talk that some may want to consider for the next election cycle. Neer says that the very close popular vote in the presidential election – almost a 50/50 split – means it’s possible almost half your audience could disagree with you no matter whom you support, so is it worth “campaigning” for your guy? Neer writes, “A few undecideds may be persuaded by your arguments, but more likely you’ll either be preaching to the choir or turning off the other side. Another unintended consequence is if you show yourself to be poorly informed or blindly biased, it could undermine steady listeners’ trust in your authority when it comes to an area that you know more about — sports.” Read the rest of Richard Neer’s argument for avoiding politics here.
Opinion Piece: Five Trends About to Make a Buck. Noted industry idea man and Sabo Media chairman Walter Sabo offers five companies and concepts that he believes are closing in on what he describes as “the event horizon for making profits.” They include internet radio, Jumpwire Media, kid-targeted tablets (Toys“R”Us), Kickstarter.com, and companies that learn from TMZ. For the juicy details, click here.
Major Development at Tribune’s WGN, Chicago…New Call-in Number. Okay, so it’s not the biggest news to come out of Tribune Tower recently, but mid-morning talk host Mike McConnell played up the announcement of the changing of the station’s 46-year-old call-in phone number dramatically in a bit that surely had a fair number of WGN P1s on the edges of their collective seats. WGN promoted a “change of historic proportions” announcement during morning drive and when it came time for McConnell to break the news, he did so in a dramatic – some might call it melodramatic – fashion, building up to it by reading a list of the names of famous WGN broadcasters who’ve graced the station’s studios over the years. After delivering the punch line – the new call-in number – he explained that the new studios and the change to all-digital equipment required a new phone number as of today (11/13).
St. Louis Talk Hosts in War Over A-List Guests. The kinds of battles that happen between mega-broadcasters like David Letterman and Jay Leno can also happen between local talk radio hosts. The race to get the guest “first” is something most listeners are not aware happens among the hosts at their local media outlets, but St. Louis talk radio fans are learning about an kerfuffle between former station-mates Charlie Brennan at KMOX and McGraw Milhaven at crosstown KTRS (Milhaven previously worked at KMOX). The St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes about how the competition has escalated after Milhaven went public with what he considers Brennan’s unfair play. He points to a memo from publisher Random House’s public relations office regarding a St. Louis appearance by Pulitzer-prize winning author Jon Meacham on December 6 that details the cancellation of Meacham’s appearance on Milhaven’s show due to a conflict with a KMOX live broadcast event at the St. Louis Library and that state’s KMOX’s requirement it be the first radio appearance. Brennan’s Fontbonne University book club has been booking author appearances in the market for some time. Brennan tells the paper, “And it’s only a radio exclusive if the author wants to be a KMOX/Fontbonne University selection, which means the book will get a month’s worth of publicity and anywhere from 400 to 800 book buyers at the club’s monthly meetings…I’m not sure why (Milhaven) is making an issue of it. If he could offer the author a better agreement, I’m sure the author would take it. Then it would be ‘goodbye Charlie.’”
Bonneville Seattle and NFL’s Seahawks Agree to Multi-Year Extension. Bonneville’s KIRO-AM was the original radio partner for the Seattle Seahawks when the franchise joined the NFL back in 1976 and has been its sole partner ever since. Now, Bonneville extends its relationship with the team in a multi-year deal that will have Seahawks games and programming continue on sports KIRO-AM and news/talk KIRO-FM. The deal also includes the two stations’ coverage of Seattle Sounders soccer, which will have the football club’s matches heard on KIRO-FM. Bonneville Seattle Media Group vice president and market manager Carl Gardner says, “After 37 years, fans in the Northwest have come to think of Seahawks Radio and KIRO as one and the same, and we’re proud of that tradition. We also love helping build a new culture and tradition around Sounders FC and Major League Soccer, extending our strong partnership is a win for the fans, for the clubs, and for Bonneville.”
CBS Radio’s Sports WJFK, Washington Improving its Signal. According to Dave Hughes’ DCRTV.com, CBS Radio sports talk WJFK-FM, Washington is getting some engineering attention to help improve its signal. By altering the coverage patterns of two of its adjacent channel outlets WJFK should see improved penetration to the northeast, into DC itself and into Prince George’s County. In order to accommodate WJFK improvement, CBS will move the transmitter for WWMX, Baltimore “Mix 106.5” which will, to a degree, adversely affect its coverage. Over the years, more than one person associated with WJFK has told TALKERS that the sports talk station suffers from signal problems that are limiting its ratings potential.
Timely Guest. WNDB, Daytona Beach talk host Marc Bernier (l) is pictured here on the stage at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach interviewing U.S. Senator Bill Nelson in the 85th edition of the Town Hall speaker series at the school. Nelson, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, answered questions about the scandal involving former CIA chief David Petraeus before a full house of students and the public.
Petraeus Scandal, Benghazi Investigation, ‘Fiscal Cliff,’ Businesses Prepare for ObamaCare, and Post-Sandy Frustrations in New York Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/12). The widening David Petraeus-Paula Broadwell scandal; the Benghazi attack investigation and Petraeus’ role in it; Washington addresses the “fiscal cliff”; American businesses prepare to pay for ObamaCare; and the post-Sandy frustrations still affecting some New Yorkers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Political Talkers Take Stock of Positioning in Post-Election Environment. Contrary to the stereotype often depicted by the mainstream and political press that news/talk radio hosts all fit a standard model, TALKERS magazine observes that this is hardly the case – especially now that the all-consuming election of 2012 is in the history books and political talk show hosts are assessing their personal position strategies for the new chapter of history at hand. Actually this is a process that has been in play for several years and not exactly a brand new trend sparked by the election. Key players such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, Jerry Doyle, Rusty Humphries and Michael Smerconish have had significantly different takes on the conservative side of the dial as have hosts the likes of Ed Schultz, Thom Hartmann, Stephanie Miller and Alan Colmes been diverse in their approaches from the left. However, recently concluded elections – especially presidential contests – have a way of making talent in this arena reassess and reflect upon their strategies. Read the rest of this story here.
Lincoln Financial Media Re-Signs Two at KKFN, Denver. Sports talk outlet “104.3 The Fan” KKFN, Denver inks new deals with midday co-host Scott Hastings of the “Drew and Scott” show as well as with morning drive co-host Joel Klatt. Klatt also handles pre- and post-game programs for Colorado Rockies baseball and does college football color commentary for Fox Sports and his new deal is structured to allow him to continue in those roles.
Dave Ramsey Storms Seattle. In what is being termed his last live event of the fall season, nationally syndicated financial talk sensation and New York Times best-selling author Dave Ramsey recently performed in front of a record crowd his brand new, intimate “Living a Legacy Live Event” in Seattle. Ramsey spoke to the crowd about how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence. His daughter Rachel Cruze joined him on stage. Affiliate KTTH says it saw direct benefits of the live event for their audience and their station. President and GM Carl Gardner says, “Up close and personal, Dave made a big impression on our clients and his listeners. He knows how to build a loyal following – one person at a time.” Ramsey is pictured above with the staff of KTTH.
Francis Rose in for John Batchelor Tomorrow. WFED, Washington, DC afternoon drive host Francis Rose sits in for Cumulus Media Networks’ John Batchelor tomorrow night. Rose – who as a media pro superserving federal government employees on Hubbard’s WFED has a view like few others of Washington, DC culture – is available for guest shots on how the federal government, both executive branch and Congress, are handling the aftermath of the election and the fiscal cliff. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Radio America’s Peter Schiff show is picked up by KQMS-AM/FM Redding, California; WCCF, Punta Gorda, Florida; WBCH, Hastings, Michigan…..Genesis Communications Network’s Alex Jones joins the program schedule at KFNX, Phoenix…..WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish show is now heard on WSJM, Benton Harbor/St. Joseph, Michigan…..Dial Global’s Dennis Miller is added to the program schedule at WFJX, Roanoke, Virginia and WLRT, Lexington, Kentucky…..Cox Media’s Clark Howard is picked up by WHTH, Heath, Ohio (Columbus)…..Dial Global’s Jim Bohannon is added to the program schedule at KGY, Olympia, Washington and WLOB, Portland, Maine…..Dial Global’s “America This Morning” and “America This Week” – both hosted by Jim Bohannon – are picked up by WXDE, Lewes, Delaware…..Cumulus Media Networks’ Michael Savage is picked up by KFNX, Phoenix…..“The Money Pit Home Improvement Show” is added to WXDE, Lewes, Delaware; KPSF, Desert Hot Springs, California; and WEZS, Laconia, New Hampshire.
The Presidential Election Tops the Talkers TenTM for Week of November 5 – 9. The race for president was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week. Coming in at #2 was the congressional races and the ballot issues. At #3 was the looming tax increases followed by the deficit issue at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio across America during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.
Michael Savage Signs with Cumulus Media Networks; Push for Affiliates and Programming Changes at O&O Stations to Begin. Not too long after vowing he’d be back on terrestrial radio, talk radio host Michael Savage joins Cumulus Media Networks for a syndication deal that will have his program distributed nationally live from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET. The terms of the contract are not available but in a press release announcing the pact, Cumulus COO John Dickey states, “As we aggressively create radio’s most compelling mix of show hosts the addition of Michael Savage is a milestone in our determined efforts to provide our listeners nationwide with the best programing in the business.” Savage won freedom from his contract with Talk Radio Network in court several weeks ago, freeing him to sign anywhere for national distribution. Savage states in the release, “Cumulus and Savage will make radio history. The turbulent times we live in give talk radio a new power. This is the biggest move of my radio career and I look forward to reaching many millions of new listeners on their flamethrower signals.” Savage has broadcast from his home studio in the San Francisco Bay Area for years and most likely will continue to do so. Cumulus will want to put him on as many O&Os as possible so here’s a rundown of what programming airs during the live broadcast time of Savage’s soon-to-be program. In San Francisco, O&Os KGO and KSFO air a local evening news show and its own syndicated John Batchelor program respectively; WABC, New York airs Batchelor; KABC, Los Angeles airs its own syndicated Mark Levin; WLS-AM, Chicago airs the last hour of Premiere’s Sean Hannity followed by Levin; WMAL, Washington airs Batchelor; WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas airs local host Chris Krok; and WJR, Detroit airs Mark Levin. With Savage’s program to debut next Tuesday, October 23, look for some programming changes on Cumulus Media O&O talk outlets.
Dan Patrick’s Radio and TV Simulcast Exits Fox Sports Net; Speculation About New Cable Partner Begins. To be clear, we’re talking about the regional cable TV networks when we talk about Fox Sports Net, not Fox Sports Radio Network which distributes the radio version of the DirecTV-produced program. Dan Patrick’s sports talk show is still available on DirecTV’s Audience Network but Patrick said on his program they expect to have a new cable partner soon and here’s where the speculation begins. AwfulAnnouncing.com’s Matt Yoder writes that a deal with NBC’s fledgling cable sports network could use a show like Patrick’s in morning drive as a show around which to build the rest of its programming. As Yoder points out, Dan Patrick already works for NBC hosting “Football Night in America,” so there’s a relationship in place. If NBC and Patrick agree to work together for the cable TV distribution of his program, whether that would affect the distribution of his radio program or not is unknown. NBC is also building a sports talk radio network for which it needs quality programming. However, the Fox Sports Radio Network distribution of the radio program has it on more than 250 stations. Ad sales for the radio side are handled by Premiere Networks and presumably there is a contract for this relationship.
Mancow TV Show Producer Resigns. With less than a week to go before the debut of Erich Mancow Muller’s Chicago TV show on Fox Television’s WPWR-TV, director and producer Don DuPree leaves the project. Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports DuPree had issues with Fox Television that centered on compensation and job duties unrelated to the Mancow program. Mancow’s morning radio show — syndicated nationally by TRN-FM — is set to begin a two-hour radio/TV simulcast (during the 6:00 am to 8:00 am CT hours) on Monday, October 22. DuPree has been involved with the soon-to-debut show for several weeks. He tells Feder, “I really want to see the show succeed, and I want Mancow to succeed. Working with Mancow was why I was attracted to the project to begin with, and I’m still a big fan. I hope I get to work with him again one day.” DuPree was director of the “Siskel & Ebert” program for 16 years and also served as executive producer for “Ebert & Roeper.”
Talent Shuffle at Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle. A day after Bonneville announced that morning news anchor Linda Thomas would exit the AM on-air post to take an enterprising new role with the station and its affiliated digital presence, it promotes evening talk host John Curley to host of “Seattle’s Morning News” beginning Monday, October 22. Curley, a popular media personality in the market who joined KIRO-FM in February of 2011 to host the night show, is partnered up with current AM drive co-host Tom Tangney and news anchor Ursula Reutin. Program director Larry Gifford states, “John is unbelievably talented. He brings a lifetime of lessons to add a personal perspective and a storyteller’s sensibility to ‘Seattle’s Morning News.’ He also has an irresistible charm and enough energy to fuel the entire Pacific Northwest.” Curley spent 14 years hosting “Evening Magazine” on KING-TV and currently serves as a member of the Sammamish City Council. Exiting the morning program is host Bill Radke.
WBNS-AM/FM, Columbus Suspends Host for Tweet. RadiOhio’s sports talk WBNS-AM/FM, Columbus “97.1 The Fan” suspends talk host Scott Torgerson – co-host of “The Common Man & The Torg” – after he Tweeted regarding ESPN’s Desmond Howard, “I wish that Desmond Howard would get fired or die so I can watch ‘Gameday’ again.” It’s uncertain how long Torgerson will be suspended but yesterday he remained off the program with co-host Mike Ricordati.
Genesis Communications Network Purchases New Headquarters. The company that syndicated such talk radio stars as Alex Jones, Jason Lewis and Bradlee Dean is moving into new headquarters in Burnsville, Minnesota. The company, headed by CEO Ted Anderson, is moving from its current base in Eagan, Minnesota to a former Coldwell Banker office near I-35W in the Twin Cities region. The building was purchased for $1.4 million.
Newsweek Announces End of Paper Edition. This isn’t a radio story but it is an interesting media development. Editor-in-chief of The Newsweek Daily Beast Company, Tina Brown, announces the iconic weekly news magazine will cease publication of its printed product at the end of this year and will move into a strictly digital business model in 2013. Brown writes, “Newsweek Global, as the all-digital publication will be named, will be a single, worldwide edition targeted for a highly mobile, opinion-leading audience who want to learn about world events in a sophisticated context. Newsweek Global will be supported by paid subscription and will be available through e-readers for both tablet and the Web, with select content available on The Daily Beast.” Brown makes it clear why the transition is taking place. “It is important that we underscore what this digital transition means and, as importantly, what it does not. We are transitioning Newsweek, not saying goodbye to it. We remain committed to Newsweek and to the journalism that it represents. This decision is not about the quality of the brand or the journalism — that is as powerful as ever. It is about the challenging economics of print publishing and distribution.”
Second Presidential Debate Aftermath, Presidential Race Polls, Libya Attack Investigation, and MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/17). Analysis of the performance of the candidates in the second presidential debate; the polls in the presidential race; the ongoing investigation into the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi; and the Major League Baseball playoffs are some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Sold Out Talkers New Media Seminar Takes Place in Los Angeles Today. Talk media practitioners from all over the country are gathering in Los Angeles today for the West Coast installment of TALKERS magazine’s two-part New Media Seminar 2012 (the first part took place in New York on June 7). The NMS Los Angeles agenda includes solo addresses, panel discussions and the presentation of the “Woman of the Year” award to KFI/KTLK, Los Angeles program director Robin Bertolucci by last year’s recipient Stephanie Miller. More than 55 speakers will be participating including radio talent, PDs, GMs, producers, syndicators and consultants. Courtside Entertainment founder and CEO Norm Pattiz will keynote. KFI, Los Angeles morning drive host Bill Handel will also deliver a solo presentation. Some of the panel discussions to take place include: “The Big Picture: Spoken Word Radio” moderated by RadioInfo/TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison; “The Challenges of Hosting a Talk Show in 2012” moderated by RadioInfo/TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian; “Making Money in Talk Radio: Challenges and Opportunities” moderated by PodJockey host Brent Seltzer; “The State of Talk Programming” moderated by RadioInfo/TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey; “The Modern Day Pioneers” moderated by KPCC, Pasadena personality Patt Morrison; “The Art of the Show” moderated by Bill Moran & Associates president Bill Moran; and much more. There will be more than 50 speakers and approximately 250 attendees at this event. The TALKERS New Media Seminar LA takes placed today from 9:00 am and 5:00 pm in association with the Los Angeles Press Club at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood. Check out the full agenda here. Look for coverage of the event in both RadioInfo and TALKERS in the days ahead.
CBS Radio’s Atlanta FM Sports Talk Announces Lineup and Start Date. WZGC, Atlanta “SportsRadio 92.9 The Game” will debut on October 24 and feature the following personalities in addition to Carl Dukes, whom we already reported is moving to Atlanta from Houston where he worked at Gow Communications’ KFNC. Morning drive will be hosted by well-known TV NFL analyst and 49ers great Randy Cross, NBA-TV personality Rick Kamla, and former crosstown WBTS “95.5 The Beat” host C.J. Simpson. The 10:00 am to 2:00 pm slot will feature former CNN Headline Sports, Fox Sports Radio and Atlanta Braves and Hawks analyst Jerome Jurenovich paired with former Atlanta Falcon and NFL Network personality Jaime Dukes. Joining Carl Dukes on the afternoon drive show will be Rachel Baribeau, most recently with Cox Media’s WZNN, Birmingham “97.3 The Zone” and former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kordell Stewart. The evening show is yet to be announced but TALKERS hears other personalities to be part of the station in either analysis or fill-roles include NBA analyst Bob Neal, former NBA star Dennis Scott, former Toronto Raptors coach Sam Mitchell, two-sport player with the Braves and Falcons Brian Jordan, and former Atlanta Falcon Ovie Mughelli.
Doug Stephan Syndicated Morning Show Reaches Quarter Century Milestone. This month, Doug Stephan‘s “Good Day,” arguably the second longest running syndicated talk radio show in the country, begins its 25th year on the air. Stephan and his crew will be celebrating this major milestone with an ongoing schedule of fun, games and trivia. Every day for the next year, the show will feature clips offering a retrospective of the top news stories, songs, movies and TV shows from the past 25 years. The celebration culminates in October of 2013 with contests that will be coordinated with “Good Day” affiliates enabling listeners from around the country to win trips and other assorted prizes. The show will also be highlighting other companies and organizations celebrating their 25th anniversary along with “Good Day.” “‘Good Day’ is as relevant today as it was 25 years ago,” Stephan tells TALKERS, adding “The show’s success and longevity is a testament to our ability to keep it fresh and fun while keeping our audience informed.”
WLS-AM, Chicago’s Don Wade Preparing to Undergo Chemo and Radiation. From the Windy City, Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports that WLS-AM, Chicago morning drive host Don Wade – after a successful operation to remove a growth from his brain will undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatment soon. His agent, Eliot Ephriam, says the course is not indicative of any bad news but simply the next step in the procedure for the 71-year-old talk personality. In a statement, Wade says, “I’m going to do everything the doctors tell me to do to beat this thing. Nothing has altered my most positive and optimistic attitude. When they say jump, I say: ‘How high?’” Meanwhile, Wade’s wife and radio partner Roma, thanks the many who’ve sent well-wishes. “The outpouring of caring from thousands of you, our radio family, has filled our hearts and our home, our coffee table piled high and overflowing with love. Your letters, cards, emails, messages, flowers and, most important, prayers lift our spirits every single day. Thank you.”
Clear Channel Sacramento Knocked Off Air by Software Glitch. The cluster-wide loss of transmitting signal that Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Sacramento stations experienced yesterday were caused by a software malfunction, according to coverage in the Sacramento Bee. President and market manager Dave Milner tells the paper the cluster recently moved into new studios that have a state-of-the-art software system that went down on Wednesday morning around 7:00 and lasted until engineers could repair the problem around 9:00 am. Milner says the office received a lot of calls from people wondering what happened to their radio stations. “It’s never fun to go through something like this but it makes you aware of how much people rely on you.” The company operates news/talk outlets KFBK and KSTE, classic hits KHLX, urban contemporary KHYL, and adults hits KQKJ.
Odds & Sods. Journal Broadcast Group announces its “2012 Red, White and Blue Election Initiative” – a campaign that commits each of its television news operations and radio news/talk formatted stations to significant election coverage in the 30 days leading up to the November 6, 2012 general election. News/talk stations taking part include: WTMJ-AM, Milwaukee; KTTS-AM and KSGF-AM/FM, Springfield, Missouri; KQTH-FM, Tucson; KFAQ-AM, Tulsa; KFDI-AM and KLIO-FM, Wichita…..Mark Mueller exits Clear Channel’s WRDU, Raleigh where he’s served as the midday news/anchor and reporter since 2009.
Correction! Yesterday TALKERS published the news that the FCC has approved Buckley Broadcasting’s sale of WOR, New York to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment. In the piece we wrote that WOR was New York’s oldest station, having gone on the air in February of 1922. WGY, Albany program director Josh Everett writes to correct the record, stating that WGY-AM went on the air on February 20, 1922 – two days prior to WOR-AM signing on February 22, 1922. Even though we were referencing WOR as New York City’s first station – we want to give credit where credit is due. But wait! Former Citadel Wilkes-Barre chief engineer Phil Galasso writes to tell us we’re both wrong and that WABC – which first went on the air as WJZ – was first out of the gate on October 7, 1921 from the Westinghouse plant near Lackawanna Station in Newark, New Jersey. He says WJZ changed its call letters to WABC on March 1, 1953.
Famous Dodgers Join “What’s Cookin’?” Broadcast. CRN Digital Talk Radio’s “What’s Cookin’ on Wine” program recently broadcast from The Ranch restaurant in Anaheim and had some very special guests on the show. Pictured here in the back row are: Former Dodger pitcher Charlie Hough, “What’s Cookin’ on Wine” host and master sommelier Michael Jordan, third base coach and former Dodger All-Star Tim Wallach. Seated at the table are Hall of Fame Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda and “What’s Cookin’ on Wine” co-host Mike Horn.
Obama Confesses ‘Bad Night’ at Debate, Presidential Race Polls, Libya Consulate Attack Investigation, and Sandusky Sentencing Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/10). The Analysis of the first presidential debate and President Obama’s admission he had a ‘bad night’; the latest presidential race polls; the ongoing investigation into the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya; and the sentencing of former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
NAB/RAB Radio Show Opens in Dallas Today. Thousands of broadcasters from around the nation are gathering at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas for the annual “Radio Show” jointly presented by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB). The theme of this year’s event is ‘Hear What’s Next.” The entire conference, which runs from this morning until the closing Radio Show Luncheon on Friday afternoon, is devoted to the medium of radio and its commercial industry with an eye on the future — from the music royalties issue to the general challenge of integrating into the digital era. CBS Radio president and CEO Dan Mason served as chair of this year’s Radio Show Steering Committee. TALKERS has correspondents on the scene and will provide coverage of the key events as they unfold.
Michael Harrison to Deliver Address This Morning: “Can Terrestrial Radio Thrive in the Digital Era?” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will be presenting an “info-session” at the Radio Show this morning sponsored by this publication in which he addresses the question, “Can terrestrial radio thrive in the digital era?” Harrison says, “Survival is not enough. Survival is just a form of slow death.” In an accompanying article he writes, “Survival is already happening and it isn’t as much fun as it’s cracked up to be as a spectator sport on the Discovery Channel. In the reality show called terrestrial radio, sooner than later, survival will run out of gas. For terrestrial radio, ‘survival’ is simply a slower form of imminent death. It should be the goal of terrestrial radio to thrive in the digital era. Thrive? Is that even possible? Of course it is — but only if the medium’s players, from the very top on down, muster up the will to conquer the daunting obstacles standing before them. It will take vision and courage fueled by bold ideas and action to slay the five-headed dragon threatening terrestrial radio with premature obsolescence.” To read the entire article, click here. If you are in Dallas, you can attend Harrison’s presentation in the Emerald Room at 10:15 am CT.
Entercom Announces Deal with ESPN to Split WEEI, Boston’s AM and FM Signals. Beginning October 5, ESPN Radio’s national sports talk lineup will be heard on WEEI-AM at 850 in Boston and the local talk of Entercom’s Boston sports brand will broadcast solely on WEEI-FM at 93.7. This is a great deal for ESPN, which gets a Boston clear for its sports talk programming and play-by-play, including the entire MLB schedule (including this year’s playoffs), the NBA and college hoops and football. The AM side is being re-branded “ESPN on WEEI.” On the FM side, the Boston sports talker will still be the exclusive home of Red Sox baseball, Celtics basketball and NFL play-by-play. For WEEI’s web presence, ESPNBoston.com will power WEEI.com’s video player with ESPN video content. Entercom president and CEO David Field states, “We are excited to be expanding our partnership with ESPN in such a meaningful way. Combining Boston’s leading sports station, WEEI-FM, and the new ESPN on WEEI 850 AM, together with our ability to cross promote content through our existing mobile and digital platforms, gives passionate Boston sports fans the very best in local and national sports content.”
WSAU-AM/FM, Wausau, Wisconsin Give Political Candidate Free Air Time in Equal Time Deal. Pat Snyder is the morning drive host on Midwest Communications news/talk combo WSAU-AM/FM, Wausau, Wisconsin. He’s also a Republican candidate for State Assembly but his popularity with listeners meant the station didn’t want to take him off the air until it had to. The Wausau Daily Herald reports that since Snyder worked until August 30 – almost two weeks after Democrat Mandy Wright became his opponent on August 14 – Wright became eligible for equal time compensation. So the station will give Wright five-and-a-half hours of time in the form of commercials to air between now and election day. She tells the paper she’s happy with the deal and that the station was “amicable” in dealing with her.
Jim Ingstad’s Radio Fargo-Moorhead to Sell Cluster to Midwest Communications. The six-station cluster of Jim Ingstad’s Radio Fargo-Moorhead will be sold to Wausau, Wisconsin-based Midwest Communications, pending FCC approval. The stations are: news/talk KFGO-AM, sports KVOX-AM, classic hits KBVB-FM, Top 40 WDAY-FM, talk KRWK-FM and CHR KMJO-FM. Six years ago Ingstad bought the stations from Clear Channel – the company that had purchased the stations from him several years prior. No purchase price has been announced.
Bill O’Reilly and Jon Stewart to Debate Prior to the Election. Dubbed “The Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium” and taking place at Washington, DC’s George Washington University on October 6, Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly (also heard on news/talk radio stations via his daily feature distributed by Courtside Entertainment) and “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart will mix it up in a 90-minute debate about election issues. O’Reilly and Stewart have a friendly but adversarial relationship and have both appeared on each other’s shows. According to Deadline.com, the debate will be broadcast over the internet in a pay-per-view model.
WJJG, Chicago Flips Calls to Historic WCKG. Talk outlet WJJG (licensed to Elmhurst, Illinois) is taking the calls of the former CBS Radio hot talk outlet WCKG-FM – once home to Howard Stern, Steve Dahl and others during its heyday. The station says in a statement, “WCKG has boasted Chicago and national radio stars the likes of Bob Sirott, Steve Dahl, Howard Stern, Kevin Matthews, Jonathon Brandmeier, Adam Carolla and Dr. Drew Pinsky, Garry Meier, and Stephanie Miller. Now, WCKG fans can add Mancow Muller, Alex Jones, and Michael Savage to the list of radio superstars linked to WCKG, on AM 1530. General manager Matt Dubiel has been operating the station for the past year and has re-tooled the station’s programming lineup, marketing, studios and engineering. He says he has plans to add live and local talk shows and a suburban showcase studio next. “My mission is to bring WCKG to a worthy DuPage County suburb. It’s high time for DuPage to have a marquee radio station with top-level talent serving our communities and Main Street businesses.”
Managing the Tight Sports Talk Playlist. Sports talk hosts wishing to depart from the small number of stories in which their audience is interested on any given day do so at the risk of massive tune out. WFAN, New York host Richard Neer writes that today’s sports talk host must work that much harder to keep those few topics fresh to serve both the new listeners coming in and the ones who’ve been along for the ride for some time. Doing that and avoiding the temptation to veer off into uncharted waters are two of the biggest challenges for sports talkers. Read Richard Neer’s column here.
Morning Host Hank Bonecutter Let Go from WJZM, Clarksville, Tennessee. The twist here is that Hank Bonecutter, host of “The Bone Show” on news/talk/sports WJZM, Clarksville, Tennessee, is the former owner of the station and he just completed the sale of it to new owners Dave Loos Jr., Greg Walker and Mike Parchman in August. He’d been affiliated with the station since 1973 and bought it in 1994. He tells The Leaf Chronicle, “I have no ill will. They have to do what they have to do. I wasn’t sure I’d stay on to the end of the year anyway…My reporting and all we were doing was not in their whole scope of what the station would be about. I don’t think there’s any question I’ve rubbed a lot of people the wrong way for several years. I’m sure they were taking a lot of heat from some folks in town, but I can’t speak to whether that was part of their decision or not.”
Critics Slamming NBC TV’s Ouster of Ann Curry from “Today.” In a story in the New York Post, many industry watchers are saying the network’s move to bump Ann Curry from its morning news/talk show “Today” is not getting the intended result: improved ratings. In the three months since Curry was replaced by Savannah Guthrie, the ratings have slid further. According to the story, with Ann Curry in the lineup the show averaged 4.94 million total viewers and 2.1 million viewers in the 25 to 54 demo in the 10 weeks before she left. Since then, “Today” has dropped to 4.6 million total viewers and 1.9 million in the 25 to 54 demo in the 10 weeks after she was replaced.
Odds & Sods. CBS Radio gears up for the 29th NewsRadio 1020 KDKA Spaghetti Breakfast being held this Friday from 5:00 am to 9:00 am at the Heinz Hall Garden Plaza in downtown Pittsburgh. The breakfast feast features “KDKA Morning News co-hosts Larry Richert and John Shumway…..WHO, Des Moines PM drive host Simon Conway sits in today through Friday for Premiere Networks’ “America Now” with Andy Dean…..Corporate Turnaround partners with Broadcast Affiliate Sales to debut its new daily radio feature that consists of intriguing stories about ways business can improve and grow. BAS’ Mike Tyler says, “Corporate Turnaround’s daily feature discusses many ways small business can improve their financial condition. This feature will help radio stations get new advertisers. The listeners will enjoy the feature and small business will get much needed information.”
Romney ‘Reliant on Government’ Comments, Media Matters-DOJ Relationship, and Libya U.S. Consulate Attack Aftermath/Muslim World Protests Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/18). The fallout from a secretly recorded video of Mitt Romney speaking to donors about the 47% of President Obama’s base who are “reliant on government”; questions about whether Media Matters for America has a working relationship with the Department of Justice; the aftermath of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya and the ongoing anti-America protests in the Muslim world were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Day One from the Democratic National Convention. WYD Media’s Stephanie Miller (c) is pictured here in an “action” shot that shows the expansive media center in Charlotte from which she is broadcasting her nationally syndicated morning drive program. In this photo, she’s joined by Fox News Radio personality Alan Colmes (l) and Stephanie Miller show regular Jim Ward (r). There are more than 100 talk show hosts joining the news organizations covering the DNC in Charlotte that wraps up Thursday with President Obama’s evening speech accepting his party’s nomination for the ticket.
Greater Media’s WTKK, Boston Makes Brand Change and Boost to News Product Official. As TALKERS magazine reported yesterday, Greater Media news/talk outlet WTKK has re-branded itself and is rededicating itself to providing Bostonians with more news and information and program director Grace Blazer makes that official. She says the station “will provide listeners in the Boston Metropolitan area with consistent ‘live and local’ news, traffic, and weather reports around the clock on-air, online and on their mobile devices. Through a partnership with Total Traffic, Greater Media Boston’s News Talk 96.9 FM-WTKK will deliver newscasts at the top and bottom of the hour 24 hours a day and traffic and weather reports every 15 minutes. In addition, WTKK will refer to itself as NEWS TALK 96.9 both on air and online to more accurately reflect its product.” Blazer says, “We are proud to be the only FM radio station with a 24 hour live and local staff of newscasters delivering timely, local and breaking news, accurate traffic reporting, and dependable weather forecasts. The addition of services to our already strong talk lineup makes News Talk 96.9 FM unique within the Boston market and also presents immediate opportunities for our advertisers.” Total News Source VP Chris Berry says of the new relationship, “An amazing amount of news is generated daily in Boston and New England. We are very pleased to be working around the clock with the team at News Talk 96.9 to assist in gathering and delivering news and information.”
Glenn Beck Gets Apology from American Airlines After Rude Service. The Premiere Networks-syndicated radio host told his audience he was treated rudely by a flight attendant on a weekend flight from Newark to Dallas – ostensibly for his political views – and would never fly American again. Beck told his national radio audience the male flight attendant “fawned over” the other passengers but slammed a can of soda down in front of him and “barked” at him, treating him as “subhuman.” The airline tweeted an apology and went further issuing the following statement, “We are sorry for the experience Mr. Beck had on a recent flight. The comfort and satisfaction of our customers are very important priorities to us and we take these matters seriously. We have reached out to Mr. Beck’s office and are actively looking into the situation.”
Matt Fox Exits NextMedia’s WHBC, Canton. The morning show at NextMedia’s WHBC, Canton, Ohio will consist of co-host Pam Cook and Canton Repository sports columnist Todd Porter for now as Matt Fox exits the station to take a position outside the radio business. The Repository reports Fox cited the early morning hours – a 3:45 wakeup call – as one of the reasons he’s choosing to leave the show he’s been co-hosting with Cook since February of 2011. He took over for Fred Chenevey at that time and the program was his first full-time radio gig. He continues to co-host the “Around the House with Matt and Shari” home improvement show that airs on the local PBS TV outlet.
Big Changes at Chicago Public Media; Big Shoes to Fill at WBEZ. Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports on the announcement that afternoon talk host Steve Edwards is leaving his “The Afternoon Shift” talk show on CPM’s WBEZ, Chicago to take a new post at the University of Chicago. Edwards has been with Chicago Public Media for 14 years, serving in a number of capacities during that time, including as director of content development and program director. It was just last February that the 41-year-old public media pro returned to the air to host “The Afternoon Shift.” On his new position as deputy director, programming at the University of Chicago’s new Institute of Politics, a public policy and public service institute led by David Axelrod, Edwards tells Feder, “What motivates me is trying to create a deeper understanding of the world around me and trying to share that with people. How do I touch and transform people and communities? How do I uncover insights and share them with others? Journalism has been an amazing place where those values and skill sets intersect. And I think my new role at the Institute of Politics represents another place where they do as well.” Meanwhile, CPM has retained Livingston Associates to help find Edwards’ successor. Read Robert Feder’s full story here.
Clear Channel Takes Aim at CNN with Its ClearVision In-Airport TV Network. Providing what it calls an alternative to CNN’s news-only airport network with a debut at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, Clear Channel Outdoor’s Clear Channel Airports division unveils ClearVision. The company says it’ll provide content to travelers from numerous sources, including: “CBS with offerings from CBS News, CBS Entertainment, CBS Daytime, and CBS Interactive, among others; NBC, with shows including The Today Show, Smash, The Voice, Grimm, America’s Got Talent and The Office; daily headlines from around the world from The Wall Street Journal’s WSJ Live; and sports from the Tennis Channel with original programming like the travel series Destination Tennis and highlights from major tournaments like the French Open and US Open.” This is a partnership with connectVISION Digital Networks and CCO says it “provides airports, content partners, and advertisers with an unparalleled ability to reach and engage air travelers – through customized content ranging from local news to top network shows and live events. Airports ultimately will be able to leverage WiFi services to provide travelers accustomed to on-demand content access to the ClearVision network on their smartphones, iPads, and laptops.” There’s no word from Clear Channel on what other American airports with which it’s negotiating but the company sounds very dedicated to this market and you can bet there will be more airport deals announced in the near future.
Sports Biz Today Produces Daily Updates. Sports Biz Today is launching a new daily product called “Sports Biz Update” – a two-minute feature in which host Fred Wallin gives listeners the headlines of what is going on in the world of sports business. Fred Wallin is a veteran of sports talk radio, both locally in Southern California and nationally. Wallin has hosted ‘Dodger Talk,” “Angel Talk,” “Kings Talk,” and “Bruins Talk” on various Southern California radio stations. He has hosted programs on KABC, KFI, KLAC, KIEV, KFOX and 1150 AM in Los Angeles. Nationally, Wallin has hosted programs on The Sports Radio Network, The American Sports Radio Network, Prime Sports, The Sports America Radio Network, and the Cable Radio Network, and presently on Sports Overnight America, Fox Sports Radio Las Vegas and KCAA Riverside, California.
Odds & Sods. Clear Channel names Melissa Forrest market manager for the San Diego cluster. Forrest most recently served with CC at the Atlanta cluster where she was president and market manager in charge of the company’s radio stations, the Total Traffic Network and the Georgia News Network…..TRN and WGST, Atlanta talk show host Rusty Humphries is putting his passion for cigars together with his own brand and is working with Cuban-born cigar-making legends to create his own limited-edition El Presidente cigar. Working with Don Lino creator Nestor Miranda and master blender José “Pepin” Garcia – both Floridians now – Humphries made 300 boxes of the cigars. He says, “It’s not made to be an everyday smoke. There’s not that many of ‘em. I only wanted to do a limited amount. I wanted to honor a president each time. When they’re gone, they’re gone. So each cigar is a collector’s item in its own right.” Humphries is pictured here with U.S. Senator Marco Rubio who declared the cigar “bueno.”…..Nationally syndicated home improvement radio show “The Money Pit” partners with TuneIn to create a 24/7 home improvement channel on the audio service. “Money Pit” co-host Tom Kraeutler says, “We’ve experienced rapid growth of our program through our existing online assets. But with over 40 million monthly active listeners, TuneIn has the infrastructure and leadership to help us expand that listener base in ways never before possible and we’re thrilled with the opportunity to share our home improvement insights with this new audience.”…..Dr. Michio Kaku – renowned theoretical physicist, best-selling author and host of Talk Radio Network’s “Science Fantastic” – has been selected through a vote of IPC members to keynote the trade group’s biggest electronics industry event next spring in San Diego. “Kaku’s keynote will present a vision of life in the year 2100 culled from ideas of 300 of the country’s most influential scientists. He will explore revolutionary advancements in medicine, energy production, artificial intelligence and aeronautics that will forever change our way of life – including innovations like internet-enabled contact lenses, cars that will drive (or even fly) themselves and brain sensors that will let us move objects using only the power of our minds.”…..Mike Rosso joins Continental Electronics as vice president of sales and marketing, where he’ll be responsible for maintaining and developing Continental’s global market presence. Continental bills itself as a “global leader in broadcast transmitter equipment. It is the foremost supplier of advanced RF transmission technology and the world’s most experienced designer and builder of the highest power radio broadcast equipment.”
Fox Sports Radio Network Launches Daily Big Ten Football Show. The new show, an extension of the weekly Big Ten show, debuted yesterday on affiliates including WDFN, Detroit, KFXN, Minneapolis and WSSP, Milwaukee. Dubbed “BTN Live,” the show airs live daily from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET and is hosted by Big Ten Network personalities Dave Revsine, Gerry DiNardo, Howard Griffith and others.
WEEI, Boston Announces Patriots and NFL Coverage. The Entercom sports talk brand – heard throughout New England on numerous company-owned stations and affiliates – announces its fall football programming. VP of programming and operations for Entercom Boston Jason Wolfe reports coverage of Patriots football features the return of Patriots Friday and Patriots Monday that includes exclusive interviews with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Its “Gameday” broadcasts on home game days will emanate from Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill at Patriot Place in Foxborough. WEEI has also secured a number of current and former Patriots players as well as NFL experts – including (WFAN, New York and “NFL Today” host) Boomer Esiason who chats with morning hosts Dennis & Callahan each Monday – to join coverage of the team on its shows throughout the week during the football season. Wolfe states, “We’ve made it a priority to provide Patriots fans with the most compelling and comprehensive coverage of the team that we can. With Patriots Monday and Friday and our slew of NFL Insiders, WEEI will be the place to be to keep up with the Pats throughout the season.” Actual game play-by-play rights are owned by WEEI’s crosstown competitor – CBS Radio-owned WBZ-FM, Boston 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Are Hard Times Hitting Television Talk, Too? The New York Post reports on rumors that Comcast’s NBC is taking a serious look at morning television talk’s “Today” for possible budget cuts in the wake of its “ratings woes.” With the story of Jay Leno’s recent voluntary pay cut to help save staffer jobs at “The Tonight Show,” the story questions whether “Today” co-host Matt Lauer will take the same path there to save the positions of lower-level staffers such as makeup artists and writers. In the piece, one person is quoted saying, “It will be the little people who go first — the makeup people, writers, but these people have families, and it will put pressure on Matt to do the right thing.” Lauer reportedly makes $25 million per year. Commenting on the rumors, a rep for “Today” states there will be “absolutely” no staff cuts at the program.
Michael Strahan Officially Named Kelly Ripa’s Co-Host. The former New York Giants football great is officially named the permanent co-host of the “Live!” show, replacing Regis Philbin, who retired from the show late last fall. Kelly Ripa has been hosting the show solo and with a parade of potential co-hosts doing live auditions since then. But, according to People, Ripa made the announcement official that Strahan would be her new co-host.
Presidential Campaign/Democratic National Convention, National Debts Hits $16 Trillion, and Syria Violence Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/4). The presidential campaign and the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte; the national debt hitting the $16 trillion mark; and the ongoing violence in Syria were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Entercom’s San Francisco Sports Talk Outlet Tweaks Midday Lineup. KGMZ, San Francisco – 95.7 The Game – alters its midday programming by adding Greg Papa, voice of the Oakland Raiders and Comcast SportsNet Host, to “The Wheelhouse” with current host John Lund and moving the show to 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm beginning September 4. Lund’s solo show currently airs from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. The station moves Chris Townsend from his eponymous evening show to the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot for a new show where he’s paired up with Matt Steinmetz — Warriors and NBA Insider for 95.7 The Game and Comcast SportsNet. Townsend will continue hosting the pre-game “Dugout Show” prior to weekday Oakland Athletics games. Additionally, the station says it plans to announce a new co-host for “The Drive” alongside Brandon Tierney soon as Eric Davis leaves to join the NFL Network. That show moves to the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm daypart. Program director Jason Barrett states, “This is a great day for 95.7 The Game. We are adding two weekday shows Bay Area sports fans will love. It’s not often you can add talent like this to your full-time lineup. Greg Papa is a Bay Area icon and to have him on full-time is terrific. Chris Townsend has proved he belongs in middays and with Matt Steinmetz as his teammate, the sky’s the limit. These moves help solidify and better position 95.7 The Game for the future. We are very excited about these two new shows and can’t wait to announce Brandon Tierney’s co-host in the coming weeks.”
Delmarva Preps for New Delaware Talk Radio Outlet to Debut on September 4. The simulcast of Delmarva Broadcasting’s country WKTT, Salisbury, Maryland and WZKT, Lewes, Delaware will split on September 4 and the new news/talk outlet on WZKT at 105.9 FM will reportedly feature former WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware personalities Dan Gaffney in the AM drive slot and Jared Morris in the PM drive daypart. Susan Monday will host middays from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm with a break during the 12:00 noon hour when the “Delaware News Hour” with Alan Loudell will be piped in from WDEL, Wilmington. Dave Ramsey’s nationally syndicated show will air in evenings and Mark Fowser will serve as news director and AM drive news anchor.
Former Minneapolis Sports Talk Personality Jeff Dubay Sits in on Hot AC Morning Show. Radio industry watchers know Jeff Dubay as the former KFAN, Minneapolis sports talk host who lost his position with the station in 2008 after being found in possession of crack cocaine during a traffic stop. Since that time, Dubay has been through rehab and has recently begun speaking out publicly about his trials and tribulations in the media. Yesterday, Dubay sat in on the morning show at Northern Lights Broadcasting’s Hot AC KTWN, Minneapolis alongside host Eric Perkins. (The station is owned by the Pohlad family, owners of the Minnesota Twins.)The station is looking for a replacement for personality Tony Fly who recently exited the station. Consider Dubay’s visit (which continues today and “possibly” tomorrow) an on-air tryout. The Pioneer Press’ Amy Carlson Gustafson quotes station SVP and general manager Sam Elliot Gagliardi saying, “You can tell he’s somebody who has been on the radio for a number of years. You could also tell he was a little rusty and nervous, as is to be expected after being off the air for four years.” Gagliardi says he has a few more on-air tryouts scheduled over the next couple of weeks.
Hochman and Zaslow Named Morning Team at WAXY, Miami. The Lincoln Financial Media-owned South Florida sports talk outlet announces Marc Hochman and Jonathan Zaslow are the new permanent morning show team. Hochman was the longtime executive producer of Dan LeBatard’s PM drive show and Zaslow had been the evening host at the station he also anchored pre-game, halftime and post-game coverage of Miami Heat games. Program director Tod Castleberry states, “During our vast national search, it became apparent that Hochman & Zaslow had on-air chemistry that was infectious. Zaslow’s passion for all things Miami sports and Hochman’s ability to find the fun and absurdity in today’s sports world will make for very entertaining listening.”
Odds & Sods. Two of talk radio’s brightest performers from divergent ends of the political spectrum – Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel superstar Sean Hannity and WYD Media liberal talk maven Stephanie Miller – will be on TV together this evening on Hannity’s FNC program at 9:00 pm ET. Miller and Hannity have always had a playful and entertaining professional relationship – something they’ve exhibited for attendees at numerous TALKERS New Media Seminars over the years. They are a great example of stars who couldn’t be farther apart politically but can come together professionally and put on a great show…..WXGI, Richmond, Virginia inks a two-year deal to keep Dial Global Radio Networks’ sports play-by-play that includes March Madness, NFL games including the playoffs, the Super Bowl, plus golf’s Majors and the Olympics. ESPN 950 is owned by Red Zebra and also carries Washington Redskins football…..Dr. Daliah Wachs’ nationally syndicated program moves to the daytime — 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET – beginning September 10…..The NHL’s Nashville Predators sign a five-year contract to remain with Cromwell Group’s WPRT – 102.5 The Game – as its radio flagship station. Tom Callahan and Stu Grimson serve as the broadcast team.
WTTB, Vero Beach, Florida Newscaster Neal Stannard Dies. The 55-year-old afternoon news anchor was found dead behind the wheel of his car in a parking lot on August 18. Neal Stannard is being remembered as a broadcaster who was also very involved in the local community, a theater and movies aficionado who sat on the board of the Vero Beach Theatre Guild and wrote a book titled, Now & Then The Movies Get it Right.
Big Sit-Down on the Campaign Trail. WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive host Chris Stigall (r) scored a sit-down interview with vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (l) during a campaign stop in the Philly suburb of West Chester on Tuesday, August 21. Stigall tells TALKERS there were several hundred citizens in attendance for the rally. He’s airing the exclusive interview on his radio show this morning.
Todd Akin Case, Presidential Campaign, Israel-Iran Tensions, and ABC Late Night Shuffle Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/21). The case of Missouri U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin’s refusal to quit the race after his rape comments; the gearing up of the presidential campaign; concerns over rumblings that Israel is planning to attack Iran before the November U.S. elections; and the shuffling of ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel and “Nightline” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Sirius XM Stock Soaring While John Malone’s Liberty Media Inches Toward Control. Yesterday’s $2.55 closing figure was satcaster Sirius XM’s (“SIRI”) best showing in more than four years. That’s the good news for CEO Mel Karmazin and his crew. The worrisome news, however, is the undeniable fact that John Malone’s Liberty Media – the company that rescued Sirius XM in 2009 by investing in 40% of the company at a bargain price – is closing in on acquiring the needed 50.1% ownership that would give it a controlling interest. Subsequent to the 2009 bail out, Liberty has been buying Sirius XM stock on the open market recently purchasing about 90 million shares at around $2.50 each. According to TALKERS sister trade publication Radio-Info, those transactions plus a “forward sale” agreement would bring Liberty’s interest to about 48% creating a behind the scenes radio reality show nail-biter.
Rick Roberts Lands at America’s Radio News Network. Veteran radio talk show host Rick Roberts has been named news co-anchor at America’s Radio News Network. Roberts, also a lawyer, has been heard in his 20 year career on such heritage outlets as KOA, Denver; KCMO, Kansas City; KRLD, Dallas; KOGO and most recently KFMB in San Diego. His is known for a distinctive style of getting the story “behind the story.” Commenting on how pleased he is to be working with ARNN CEO Mark Masters, Roberts tells TALKERS, “He is a man of true vision. Masters’ groundbreaking concept of journalism without agenda is needed in America now more than ever.” America’s Radio News Network, which offers 15 hours of syndicated long-form programming per week is now heard nationally on over 340 affiliates taking one or more of its five three-hour news segments.
Sandusky Scandal Impacts Pennsylvania Radio Station. Political scandal and questionable talk host remarks are not the only form of controversy that impacts spoken word radio’s ability to sell advertising and maintain a balanced competitive image. According to an Associated Press report, after 20 years of faithfully broadcasting Penn State football games to its loyal fandom, talker WAEB, Allentown, Pennsylvania finds itself at a crossroads between airing the school’s upcoming season (which kicks off September 1 against Ohio University) and pleasing the overwhelmingly large percentage of listeners who have let the station know they want to hear the games — while dealing with timid sponsors who are less enthusiastic about being associated with the scandal. Station management states they need about 10 sponsors to fund a full season of Penn State football. Prior to the Jerry Sandusky scandal it was always an instant sellout. So far they only have four.
Odds & Sods. The Minnestota Twins will be moving their live broadcasts from Hubbard-owned 1500ESPN, Minneapolis at the end of the season and begin airing games on KTWN 96.3FM beginning with the 2013 season. Their new radio home is owned by the Pohlad family – same folks who own the team. This is the first time the Twins games will be aired exclusively on FM….None other than President Obama was interviewed on sports talker KXNO, Des Moines to talk sports but Politico reports he snuck in a bit of politics when asked how playing sports was similar to being president stating, “It also turns out that political reporters are a lot like sports reporters. They’ve all got opinions, even if they didn’t play.”….Premiere Networks has launched a new satellite radio talk show featuring lifestyle expert and interior designer Moll Anderson heard Saturdays 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET on Sirius XM’s “Talk Radio” XM channel 168…Sports talker WFAN, New York’s annual talent search “Fantasy Phenom 111 Challenge” has narrowed its field to five finalists who will vie for the Grand Prize of a chance to host a once a week air shift on the legendary station for one year. The finals will take place on Friday, August 24 at Bar A in Lake Como, New Jersey. All finalists are New York Metropolitan area locals and were chosen from thousands of fans and listeners who showed up at auditions held at area Simon malls in July as well as online entries.
Obama Leaks, Family Research Council Shooting, Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/15). The ex-Navy SEALS video critical of President Obama for allegedly allowing dangerous leaks involving the shooting of Osama bin Laden and the shooting of a guard at the Washington, DC headquarters of the conservative Family Research Council, followed by the devastating effects of the drought brought on by the heat wave and violence in Syria were the most talked about topics on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing TALKERS research.
Ron Hartenbaum and Liz Laud Expand, Merge with Debbie Greenbaum’s DG Media. It was announced yesterday that broadcasting executive Debbie Greenbaum is joining WYM Media Management LLC as co-founder, managing partner with radio impresario Ron Hartenbaum and Liz Laud. Greenbaum’s business, DG Media will merge into WYM as part of its strategic business expansion into providing what is being described by the trio as “the most comprehensive affiliate sales and marketing for all radio formats.” Hartenbaum, who has worked over the years in developing the shows and careers of a number of the top talents in talk radio, via his New York City-based firm WYD Media Management, LLC, had earlier this year joined forces with affiliate sales and marketing veteran Liz Laud to launch WYM. “Deb is an accomplished industry veteran who has successfully launched a variety of shows and products throughout her career and by bringing the ‘The Leslie Marshall Show’ and Good Parts Media services (‘Mr. Prep’ and ‘The Hookup’) into the fold, immediately adds to our arsenal of affiliate sales opportunities,” says Hartenbaum. “I am thrilled to be able to continue our working relationship with her as a partner in WYM and am very excited about what the future holds.” Greenbaum tells TALKERS, “The opportunity to take my shows to the next level and grow WYM with the integration of Ron’s product at WYD and ground-breaking new shows such as “Istook Live!” and “Zach Sang and the Gang” is incredible. The timing couldn’t be better; we are going to have a lot of fun and a lot of success!” Considered a natural extension of Hartenbaum’s organization, WYM was formed to capture the affiliate marketing opportunities generated from the programming currently managed and produced by WYD which includes the “The Thom Hartmann Program,” “The Stephanie Miller Show,” “The Mike Malloy Show,” “The Michael Smerconish Show,” the “David Webb Show,” “Ring of Fire” and most recently “Istook Live!” (Ernest Istook) and “Zach Sang & The Gang,” a new CHR radio program for 12-34s hosted by pop-culture icon, Zach Sang. “I am beyond ecstatic to be working with Debbie again. We had a lot of fun, and more importantly, a lot of success working together at Westwood One years ago and I can’t believe our good fortune that we get the opportunity to do that again, this time with Ron!” says Laud, whose track record includes stints at Westwood One, Jones Radio and Dial Global.
Stephanie Miller’s “Sexy Liberal” Tour to Play Big Apple. Only nine days before the election, talk radio and Current TV star Stephanie Miller‘s “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” wraps up its 2012 season with what its producers describe as its biggest show ever. The seemingly unstoppable traveling road show — considered by industry observers as a model example of how to bring a talk radio personality to a successful, revenue-generating theatrical platform — has been booked into the prestigious Beacon Theater on Manhattan’s Upper West Side on Saturday, October 27. The production, produced by Ron Hartenbaum’s WYD Management (there he is again) will feature its full line up of “sexy liberals,” Stephanie Miller, John Fugelsang, Aisha Tyler and Hal Sparks with lots of surprises being promised.
Speculation about Clear Channel’s Plans at WOR Continues Including the Possible Addition of Sports Programming. The radio industry remains abuzz about the acquisition of WOR from Buckley Radio by Clear Channel including speculation that the station could become home to some of CC’s top Premiere Network talents such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity should their present New York affiliate WABC follow its owner Cumulus Media’s stated new course toward a modified approach to political news/talk radio. Now Clear Channel chairman and CEO John Hogan adds a sports wrinkle to the speculation hinting that a push for sports radio rights could be in planning. He told the New York Post, “The Yankees radio rights come up next year, so do the New York Jets and there are others,” Hogan says, “If you look around on other news talk stations, sports can be a component. Part of the New York opportunity is that it allows us to think about the entire cluster, think about promo power of five radio stations plus WOR. That’s a really compelling package for sports players and advertisers.”
Is Another New York Deal Brewing – Putting “The Fan” on FM? Ace radio industry reporter Tom Taylor writes in TALKERS sister trade publication Radio-Info: There’s serious talk behind closed doors, and it’s not just about Clear Channel buying WOR (710) from Buckley or the imminent announcement of Family Radio selling commercial-band WFME, Newark (94.7). There could be a swap in the middle part of the FM dial. So maybe, CBS Radio’s all-sports WFAN (660) gets an FM home – but it wouldn’t be 94.7. It might be 99.5, the perch of Pacifica’s non-commercial news/talk WBAI. The play could be WBAI relocating to 94.7 in exchange for desperately-needed cash, and CBS scoring 99.5. Though wringing a decision out of the splintered family around WBAI could take time. Just yesterday, the board failed, on an 8-8 tie vote, to keep WBAI’s GM from signing a costly three-year renewal to keep it at its Wall Street offices and broadcasting from the Empire State Building. Harold Camping-run Family Radio also has debts. It already sold its commercial-band FMs in Philadelphia (to Merlin) and Washington-Baltimore (to CBS). But the real windfall would be New York’s 94.7. This could all be happening pretty fast, perhaps by the time of the NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas, in mid-September. One complication is that WFME has a sister TV station, and they’re operated together. Would Family keep WFME-TV?
Odds & Sods. WHJJ, Providence talk host Helen Glover landed an exclusive interview this morning with George Mendonca, the iconic “Kissing Sailor” who famously graced the cover of Life magazine following the surrender of Japan at the end of World War II. Mendonca is now in his nineties. The interview can be heard on Glover’s web page at http://www.920whjj.com/pages/helen.html…..The New York Post reports convicted former NBA referee Tim Donaghy today was denied permission to continue working as a paid talk radio commentator alongside another man who has several felony arrests in his own past. Brooklyn federal Judge Carol Amon ruled that Donaghy cannot receive paychecks as a radio personality on the nationally syndicated betting advice show “The Sports Connection” and must cut his professional ties with the Philadelphia-based program and its host, Danny Berrelli. The judge noted that an investigation by federal probation officers revealed that Berrelli is actually Daniel Thomas Biancullo — an ex-con with prior arrests for felony interstate gambling in Florida and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute in New Jersey.
Presidential Race Heating Up Top News/Talk Story Yesterday (8/14). The addition of Rep. Paul Ryan to the Mitt Romney Republican ticket has intensified discussion of the 2012 presidential campaign with a huge focus on budget and fiscal policy. Syrian violence ran a distant second and lots of gossip in the sports world over Tim Tebow’s controversial shirtless “Jesus” photo and Chad Johnson’s domestic violence scandal being among the big topics of discussion according to ongoing TALKERS research.
Chick-fil-A Controversy Fires Up Conservative Talk Hosts; Sparks Movement to Support Fast Food Chain. The issues of gay marriage and First Amendment rights have been front and center on news/talk radio this week in the wake of Chick-fil-A COO Dan Cathy’s comments in a Baptist publication about his support for the Biblical definition of marriage that’s grown into a major news story. Some view his statement as bigoted and divisive while others see this as a free speech issue. The case has spurred planned demonstrations by same-sex couples and their supporters as well as conservative media personalities who have encouraged their listeners and viewers to support the fast food chain. Salem Radio Network talk host Mike Gallagher is pictured here (at left) in his studio preparing to enjoy his Chick-fil-A lunch and has been encouraging listeners to post pictures of themselves eating at the restaurant on Facebook. Salem Communications O&O WNYM, New York – AM 970 The Answer – organized a call for support at the Paramus, New Jersey Mall where the station reports some 200 listeners had lined up by lunchtime to support the store. At right is talk show host Kevin McCullough (l) – whose weekend talk show is heard on WNYM – with Salem VP/director of spoken word format Phil Boyce (r) as they prepare to enjoy a sandwich. In the panoramic photo below. The Answer morning drive host Curtis Sliwa can be seen at the far right speaking with a listener while the line of customers spreads across the photo to the left.
Bill Handel’s “Cash Mob” Supports SoCal Toy Store. A “cash mob” organized by KFI, Los Angeles morning drive host Bill Handel put some $9,000 in the register of struggling Corona del Mar toy store Toy Boat, Toy Boat, Toy Boat. Handel appeared at the store from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm but Handel’s listeners patronized the store all day long after hearing Handel speak on the air about the state of the struggling local business. Handel show executive producer Michelle Kube reports many of the people who bought toys donated them to Children’s Hospital of Orange County. Kube states, “This was just the first. We plan to do more of these across all day parts on KFI over the next few months all over the Southland as our amazing listeners have responded with so many requests to help local small business owners!”
Clear Channel Reports Radio Revenue Up 3%. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment – of course, now a private company but one that still publicly reports financials – gives its 2012 Q2 financial report and states revenue was up from $771.8 million in the second quarter of 2011 to $793 million in the second quarter of this year. CFO Tom Casey reports much of that increase was due to national and in categories including automotive, telecommunications, financial services, political and entertainment. Casey noted that national business rose at roughly double the rate of local business.
Comedian and Stephanie Miller Show Cast Member John Fugelsang Gets Current TV Show. Regular Stephanie Miller radio show cast member – and one third of Miller’s “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” – John Fugelsang will have his own Current TV program beginning in the fall. Talk radio host Stephanie Miller’s show is simulcast on the Al Gore-founded cable TV network in which Fugelsang gets some face time, but now he’ll have a solo gig there. In a statement, Al Gore says, “We at Current are eager to bring John’s unique perspective on politics and the world around him to primetime. He’s been a part of the Current family for a while now and we see just how much his voice resonates with our audience. His new show will nicely complement our growing lineup.” Fugelsang has guest-hosted prime time shows on the network including Eliot Spitzer’s and Jennifer Granholm’s programs. The network has not announced what time the show will air.
WQSC, Charleston, South Carolina Flips to Talk. The Kirkman Broadcasting station drops oldies for news/talk and airs largely syndicated programming with the exception of local PM drive host Rocky D. Programming consists of: Cumulus Media Networks’ Imus in the Morning; Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher; Talk Radio Network’s Laura Ingraham; Dial Global’s Dennis Miller and Jim Bohannon; and CBS Radio’s “Overnight America” with Jon Grayson.
California Couple Sentenced in Real Estate Ponzi Scheme; Infomercials Aired on KVTA, Port Hueneme. It’s almost a mystery how stations keep selling infomercials to “investment gurus” who go on to swindle people out of their life savings…but they do. The latest case in this oft-repeating story is that of Kenneth Powell and Kathryn Rose who pleaded guilty to numerous counts of felony fraud related to a real estate investment Ponzi scheme that scammed some $3 million out of 15 people in Southern California. The two broadcast shows called “Academy of Real Estate,” “Money Intelligence” and “The Ken & Katie Show” on KVTA. Investors were asked to put money into real estate development or loans secured by real estate but all investment cash went to pay off previous investors until the scheme went bust. 59-year-old Powell received 18 years in prison and 63-year-old Rose will serve 12 years, 8 months.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Journal Broadcasting’s news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee gave away a fully restored 1969 Chevy Camaro (pictured here) to winner Aaron Guenterberg in its annual “Free Ride” promotion that saw more than 10,000 people enter the contest…..A Saturday morning talk show hosted by Tony Stiles debuts on news/talk KOIL, Omaha this Saturday…..Jacksonville-based sports talk show “Courts and Sports,” hosted by attorney John Phillips, moves from WOKV to crosstown WFXJ, Jacksonville on August 9. Phillips’ regular co-host for the program is Jacksonville Jaguars running back Rashad Jennings…..SiriusXM presents “College Sports Nation Camp Tour” on its College Sports Nation channel beginning today. Hosts Eddie George, Gino Torretta, Rick Neuheisel, Houston Nutt, Randy Cross, Gil Brandt, Jack Arute and Mark Packer will visit 13 camps in 16 days and report to listeners.
20 Gallons of Hat. WLAC, Nashville-based talk host Steve Gill (r) is pictured here with music legend Charlie Daniels (l). Daniels appeared on Gill’s syndicated talk program on Tuesday, July 31 and the two talked politics and the state of the country.
Presidential Race, Chick-fil-A Case, Ted Cruz Texas Primary Victory, Fed Economic Report/Financial Markets Activities, and London Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/1). The campaign for president, the outpouring of support for Chick-fil-A and the issue of same-sex marriage; Tea Party candidate Ted Cruz’s Republican primary victory for U.S. Senate in Texas; the Fed’s economic report and financial markets activities; and the London Olympics were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
10 Things You Need to Know About Live Endorsements. The live endorsement is one of the most powerful advertising vehicles talk radio has to offer. But KTRH, Houston talk show host and TALKERS Heavy Hundred member Michael Berry writes that advertisers and sales personnel too often force the talent into making mistakes that undermine its effectiveness. For starters, Berry says that forcing the talent to work with a script takes away from his or her ability to put the message in unique terms. The best way is to have the talent use the good or service and like it. “We can sell what we like because then it’s not ‘selling.’ It’s simply sharing what we like, and it’s what we do. Make sure your endorser understands you, the individual who owns the business.” Read Michael Berry’s 10 points about live endorsements here.
WYD Media Management Announces Formation of Sister Firm for Affiliate Sales and Marketing. WYD Media founder Ron Hartenbaum states the formation of WYM Media Management LLC will serve the purpose of handling the affiliate marketing strategies for its planned expansion of new talk programming. “WYM is a natural expansion of the business. WYD manages and produces programming, while WYM will focus on multiple platform distribution of that product.” Industry pro Liz Laud joins the company as the first affiliate sales and marketing associate. Hartenbaum says, “Liz is an accomplished industry veteran whose track record from Westwood One, Jones Radio and Dial Global speaks for itself. We are absolutely ecstatic with Liz on the team as WYM’s first affiliate sales & marketing associate.” WYD Media Management has been a key figure in the growth of talk shows such as the “The Stephanie Miller Show,” “The Thom Hartmann Program” and “The Michael Smerconish Show.” Ron Hartenbaum has also worked with numerous highly successful talk talent including Rush Limbaugh, Dennis Prager, Neal Boortz, Mike Malloy, Clark Howard, Mike Gallagher, and “Ring of Fire” with Sam Seder, Mike Papantonio and Robert Kennedy Jr. WYM Media will be based in New York and Los Angeles and is expected to announce new programming shortly. Liz Laud says, “This is a wonderful opportunity to participate in new, fun, informative, and entertaining long form programming and to participate in the growth of WYD as a key player in national radio programming.” She can be contacted at Lizlaud@mac.com or 310-625-9753.
Former San Diego Sports Talk Host Scott Kaplan Joins U-T San Diego TV Initiative. The San Diego newspaper U-T San Diego – formerly known as the Union-Tribune – is developing TV programming for cable and the web and one of its first efforts is a roundtable program designed to discuss San Diego topics. Scott Kaplan (pictured here at left), who most recently worked hosting the AM drive sports talk show at XEPRS, San Diego, is part of the cast alongside Amber Mesker (c) and Billy Ray Smith (r). U-T San Diego CEO John Lynch is quoted in the U-T saying, “We’re going to be, every moment of the day, talking about San Diego. We realize that we have a very valuable asset and that is unique, exclusive content that is hyper-local and all about San Diego — from sports to business to the news.” U-T San Diego was purchased by hotelier Doug Manchester in November of 2011 and so far has spent $3 million constructing a professional studio and hiring about a dozen of the 50 people it will need to operate the station.
Mike Scott Named OM/PD at WCAR, Detroit. Mike Scott previously served as assistant program director and midday host at CBS Radio‘s country WYCD-FM, Detroit. He recently left the market to take the programmer’s post at KZKX-FM, Lincoln, Nebraska but exited that position after just four months. Now, he returns to the Motor City market as operations manager and program director of Birach Broadcasting‘s sports talk WCAR, Livonia, Michigan.
Comrex Corporation’s STAC VIP Gains Skype Certification; Paves Way for Hi-Fi Skype Calls on Talk Radio. The engineers at Comrex Corporation are celebrating the fact that their Comrex STAC VIP VoIP Call Management Systems has passed qualification by Skype to allow it to process Skype calls alongside all other calls for radio call-in shows. This certification means the STAC VIP meets the guidelines to be called “Plugged into Skype” and can carry the Skype logo. What it means to radio talk shows is the ability to have one unit that processes calls from numerous formats – including Legacy POTS, ISDN, VoIP, IP-based PBX systems and now Skype – into the call screener and control unit and onto the radio. Skype provides “studio quality” sound for users. Comrex technical director Tom Hartnett states, “Skype support was an important factor in development of the VIP product. Skype, by its nature, carries very high-fidelity audio when being used between Skype clients. Skype support means stations that use STAC-VIP for their call-ins can take wideband calls from anyone who has Skype installed on their PC or smartphone.”
Talk Radio Legend Barry Farber Featured on TALKERS TV. Pioneering talk radio host Barry Farber – currently heard in national syndication via Talk Radio Network and CRN Digital Talk – was honored at the recent New York City edition of the TALKERS New Media Seminar on Thursday, June 7 with a “Lifetime Achievement Award.” During the event, Farber found time to sit down in front of the Talkers camera and speak about his craft and his career. View the video in the TALKERS TV box on this page.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Independently syndicated talk show host Leslie Marshall is named one of the Top 50 Fabulous Women by Pasadena, California’s THE Magazine. The publication recognizes Marshall for her charity work to build schools and provide education, especially for girls in Islamic countries such as Pakistan, through various charities such as “Shine For Humanity.” She was also recognized for using her talk show to bring people together on issues and to raise awareness of human suffering worldwide in order to change it…..KNX, Los Angeles continues its Business Breakfast series with a June 22 event dedicated to creating a winning culture in the workplace. “KNX Business Hour” host Frank Motek moderates a discussion that includes: Chester Elton, co-author of the New York Times bestseller All In; G.J. Hart, the chief executive officer and president of California Pizza Kitchen; Jodi Walker, president of Success Alliances; and Yvonne Trupiano, director of talent acquisitions at Avis Budget Group…..Michigan-based talk host Michael Patrick Shiels broadcasts his morning drive radio and TV show (heard on WDTW, Detroit; WTKG, Grand Rapids; and seen on Fox 47 TV in Lansing) from Kennebunkport, Maine today, the day after former President George H.W. Bush‘s 88th birthday party. Shiels will interview Bush family and friends at the Cape Arundel Golf Club where the former president’s charity is holding a golf outing…..Tampa-based talk host Bubba the Love Sponge‘s charitable foundation is assisting local mother Christine Dean in paying for her trip to Los Angeles this summer to take part in a fundraiser for St. Baldrick’s Children’s Cancer Research. Gary Kompothecras – founder of the attorney and doctor referral service 1-800-ASK-GARY – heard Dean on Bubba’s program talking about her child’s leukemia diagnosis and her desire to go to L.A. for the event. He donated the $1,000 necessary to make the trip.
Sports Talker Dan Sileo Addresses Power of the NFL in Shaping its Coverage. WQAM, Miami afternoon drive talk host Dan Sileo writes about the problem sports talk hosts – and sports journalists – face covering the mighty National Football League, especially in light of controversies such as the recent Saints bounty case in which several players received suspensions. Read his column here.
Attorney General Eric Holder Under Fire, 2012 Presidential Race, Jerry Sandusky Trial, Texas Beating Death and Los Angeles Kings Win Stanley Cup Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/12). Republican scrutiny of Attorney General Eric Holder in connection with the ‘Fast and Furious’ program; the 2012 presidential campaign; testimony from alleged victims in the Jerry Sandusky case; the beating death of an alleged child molester in Texas; and the Los Angeles Kings’ first franchise Stanley Cup were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Beasley Las Vegas Helps Raise $165k for Children’s Miracle Network. That’s KDWN, Las Vegas-based talk host and physician Dr. Daliah Wachs (r) appearing at the recent radiothon interviewing an unnamed guest. Dr. Wachs reports to TALKERS that Beasley Broadcast Group‘s Las Vegas stations partnered with St. Rose Dominican Hospitals for the cause and brought in $165,000 for the Children’s Miracle Network – a foundation raising money for specialized medical equipment, family needs, and more for pediatric patients.
Entertainment Industry Mourns Passing of Dick Clark. The music, television and radio industries are mourning the passing of pioneer broadcaster Dick Clark, who died on Wednesday after suffering a massive heart attack at age 82. In addition to his numerous other contributions to the entertainment industry, Clark co-founded United Stations Radio Networks with Nick Verbitsky in 1981. Verbitsky says, “Dick was an icon to many, but a true friend, partner and mentor to those of us who worked closely with him. His impact on broadcasting is immeasurable, and his entrepreneurial spirit will be a part of our world at United Stations forever.”
Talk Host Scott Hennen to Purchase WZFG, Fargo. The conservative talk-formatted WZFG, Fargo – positioned as “1100 AM The Flag” – will return to the control of talk host and station manager Scott Hennen upon FCC approval and the closing. Hennen announces he’s struck a deal with Great Plains Integrated Marketing to buy back the station he founded in 2008. Hennen was fired by his investors as president and CEO of GPIM in the fall of 2010. His program remained on the air at WZFG until May of 2011. Hennen is currently hosting a nationally syndicated radio show but is not heard in the Fargo market at this time. His program will return to the station when the new deal begins.
Internet and Terrestrial Radio Are Different Businesses When it Comes to Non-Competes. That’s the ruling of Stark County (OH) Common Pleas Court Judge Charles E. Brown in the case of two Canton jocks who started a radio show on the internet and were sued by their former employer for violating the non-compete. Radio hosts Patrick DeLuca and Charlotte DiFranco (pictured here) left their highly rated morning program at WDJQ-FM, Canton after failing to agree to terms on a contract renewal with station owner Don Peterson III. They started their own station at www.theradiosucks.com and began broadcasting three shows per week after exiting in February and Peterson sued, claiming they violated the non-compete. Attorney Steve Okey argued his clients were prevented from operating a business that was “the same or essentially the same as a radio station” and their venture does not fit that description. The judge agreed. Peterson tells the Youngstown Vindicator he’s disappointed with the decision and will review his options. This is a case others in the radio and internet radio businesses will be watching closely.
Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington Inks Deal for Sports Content with Dial Global. Red Zebra Broadcasting announces it has signed a two-year deal with Dial Global Radio Networks to have exclusive rights to March Madness, the NFL package, the NFL playoffs, the Super Bowl, the NFL Draft, Golf’s Majors and the Olympics in the Washington, DC market. Vice president of programming Chuck Sapienza says of the deal, “We want to thank Greg Leader and Sean Thompson of Dial Global for being such great partners. We could not be more pleased with the relationship and all the great programming Dial Global brings to our listeners. When you team the Redskins Radio Network with Dial Global’s NFL Package, NFL fans in DC will receive extensive, exclusive coverage of the National Football League on ESPN980.”
Current TV to Add Show Hosted by California Lieutenant Governor. Former San Francisco mayor and current California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom will debut a new talk show on the Al Gore-founded Current TV network beginning in May. The New York Times reports the move is designed by Current TV to “keep its progressive agenda on track.” In a statement announcing the move, co-founder Al Gore states, “He touches many worlds – business, politics, entertainment and activism. We are honored that Current TV will be bringing his curiosity, intelligence, insights and enthusiasm to television.” Newsom will continue to serve as lieutenant governor of California. Current TV is rebounding from the high-profile battle – now in the courts – with former “Countdown” host Keith Olbermann. It also recently added video simulcasts of talk radio stars Stephanie Miller’s and Bill Press’ nationally syndicated morning radio programs.
TALKERS Publishes 2012 Heavy Hundred. The 2012 installment of TALKERS magazine’s signature feature, “The Talkers 250 featuring the Heavy Hundred,” is officially posted. This long-running talk radio industry institution also titled, “The 250 Most Important Talk Radio Hosts in America,” is compiled by the TALKERS editorial board based upon a compilation of both objective and subjective elements including (in alphabetical order): courage, effort, impact, longevity, potential, ratings, recognition, revenue, service, talent and uniqueness. Although the list is traditionally drawn from a wide variety of genres representing the breadth of spoken word radio from commercial to public and including everything from traditional news/talk to specialty programming, this year’s installment of the popular feature marks a departure from the custom of including sports talk hosts. According to TALKERS VP/managing editor Kevin Casey, “Because of the explosive growth of sports talk radio and the number of excellent hosts participating in it across the country, TALKERS will be publishing the genre’s own Heavy Hundred beginning in 2012.” The TALKERS Sports Talk Heavy Hundred is scheduled for publication this coming June. To see this year’s entire “Talkers 250 featuring the Heavy Hundred” click here.
23rd Annual Imus Radiothon Begins Today. 77WABC, New York-based Don Imus broadcasts the 23rd Annual Imus Radiothon beginning today and running through tomorrow. The Radiothon is airing on 77WABC, radio affiliates around the country and on the Fox Business Network. The two-day event benefits the Imus Ranch for Kids with Cancer, the Tomorrows Children’s Fund and the CJ Foundation for SIDS. Guests on the program for the Radiothon will include various sponsors and children/siblings who have visited and experienced the Imus Ranch in Ribera, New Mexico.
Warren Ballentine Interviews First Lady Michelle Obama. Syndication One nationally syndicated talk host Warren Ballentine is pictured here at the White House on April 16 interviewing First Lady Michelle Obama. Ballentine visited the White House as part of the Summit on Entrepreneurship for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions. The White House Summit offered the opportunity for Ballentine to provide a national African-American audience for small business owners, government experts and leaders from a variety of HBCUs/MSIs to discuss their numerous opportunities and facilitate solutions to challenges in underserved communities. Ballentine states, “Doing my show from the White House was such a great honor for me. The staff was outstanding and the chance to interview First Lady Michelle Obama was truly a blessing and honor. The First Lady is not only gracious, she is wise, funny, empathetic and truly in tune with the people of America. This is an experience that I will never forget!” Ballentine’s interview with the First Lady will be highlighted on his program today (4/19).
2012 Presidential Campaign, U.S. Soldiers Photos Scandal, North Korea Military Ambitions, Trayvon Martin Case Developments and Ted Nugent Comments Concern Secret Service Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/18). The 2012 presidential campaign; the problems being caused by U.S. soldiers taking photos with the bodies of dead Taliban insurgents; ongoing concerns over North Korea’s military ambitions; judge steps down from Trayvon Martin case; and Ted Nugent’s comments to NRA group draws concern of Secret Service were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cumulus Makes Changes at KLIF, Dallas. The move toward more news in commercial spoken-word radio continues. Cumulus Media Group announces talk station KLIF, Dallas will add morning and afternoon drive news blocks and changes its slogan to “News & Information 570 KLIF.” The AM drive news block begins today (3/26) and features Amy Chodroff (from sister WBAP) and Dave Williams co-anchoring the program. Williams most recently worked at Merlin Media’s all-newser in Chicago. The PM drive news block is expected to begin on April 2. The changes mean morning drive talk host Jeff Bolton is out and PM drive talk host Chris Krok will move to sister WBAP-AM/FM for an evening talk show.
Current TV’s Bill Press and Stephanie Miller Simulcasts Debut Today. The new one-two punch of progressive radio talk stars hitting the air at Al Gore-founded Current TV begins this morning (3/26) as Dial Global syndicated talk hosts Bill Press and Stephanie Miller air TV simulcasts of their morning drive radio programs on Current TV. “Full Court Press: The Bill Press Show” airs from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET and “Talking Liberally: The Stephanie Miller Show” follows from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm ET. The network announces that Senator Chris Coons, (D-DE); Nia-Malika Henderson of the Washington Post; Faiz Shakir of Think Progress; and Lara Setrakian of ABC News and Bloomberg are all scheduled to appear during the premiere week of “Full Court Press.” The first week of “Talking Liberally” will feature Senator Byron Dorgan (ND – Former U.S. Senator and Chairman of The Senate Committee on Energy), as well as comedienne Kathleen Madigan.
Hubbard Broadcasting Names Emily Kopp WFED Morning Anchor. Hubbard Broadcasting announces a permanent addition to the morning drive show on WFED, Washington – the station dedicated to serving the many federal government workers living in the region. Emily Kopp joins host Tom Temin on the morning drive program. Kopp joined Federal News Radio in 2011 after living in the Netherlands where she reported on a freelance basis for various radio network and print outlets. Prior to her promotion, Kopp served Federal News Radio as a federal workforce reporter. Since July 2011, Kopp has produced several compelling series that focused on key human aspects of working for the federal government. WFED program director Lisa Wolfe states, “Emily had been filling in as co-anchor while we’ve been conducting our talent search for the next morning anchor. Her talents were obvious and when we got together to discuss the possibility of making it permanent, it just made sense. I look forward to Emily bringing her well-crafted interview style to mornings. I think she will uncover a lot of news.”
WTEM, Washington Launches New Afternoon Sports Talk Show Today. Red Zebra-owned WTEM, Washington announces the debut of “Inside the Locker Room with Doc Walker and Brian Mitchell” today (3/26). The show teams up former Washington Redskins Doc Walker and Brian Mitchell along with broadcast pro Scott Jackson. Walker continues with the station after 15 years, most recently serving as co-host of the John Thompson show. Both Mitchell and Jackson return to WTEM after several years’ absence. VP of programming Chuck Sapienza states, “With Doc and B-Mitch, ESPN 980’s lineup includes the two most prominent former players in Washington, DC media today. Listeners of the show will receive opinions and insight from professional athletes that is rarely offered on local radio. In addition, Jackson gives the show a ‘point guard’ that every successful program needs.” The show airs from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.
KXTG, Portland Re-Signs John Canzano. “The Bald Faced Truth” host re-ups with Alpha Broadcasting’s sports KXTG on a multi-year deal to remain with the station. John Canzano also writes a column for the Daily Oregonian and is a commentator for KGW-TV, Portland. Upon announcing the deal, Canzano commented, “Sports talk listeners of ‘The Bald Faced Truth’ radio show are smart, educated, good looking, influential and relevant. I love my audience, my sponsors and this station. I’m staying right here because ‘The Game’ is the place to be. Period.”
Southern California Public Radio Names Melanie Sill Executive Editor. The former editor at the Sacramento Bee and the Raleigh News and Observer takes over the executive editor role at Southern California Public Radio. Her duties include overseeing the daily news gathering operations across KPCC, Pasadena’s broadcast, digital and social media platforms. KPCC VP for content Russ Stanton states, “Sill brings a wealth of news and managerial experience to this new position. Most importantly, she has been a force of change in two newsrooms, leading efforts to restructure staffs to better compete in the digital age.” The Southern California Public Radio website announces the non-profit is aggressively working to build out its online news service with ambitions to become the region’s pre-eminent source for information across multiple media.
Jacksonville Gets FM Simulcast for Sports WJXL. Seven Bridges Radio LLC buys the former Gospel WFJO-FM, Jacksonville (a class A FM signal at 92.5) from receiver Scott Savage for $1.95 million and begins an LMA immediately simulcasting its sports station 1010 XL (WJXL). The station was formerly owned by Tama Broadcasting.
Smerconish Visits Boston. Dial Global nationally syndicated talk host Michael Smerconish (center, standing) chats with WTKK-FM, Boston listeners at a private meet & greet on March 20 prior to the national screening of his movie, “Book Club with Michael Smerconish Featuring Chris Matthews’ Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero.” In addition to the meet & greet, Smerconish conducted a curtain call speech before the showing of the film at the Cinema De Lux in Dedham, Massachusetts before a sold out theater. The film appeared at more than 100 theaters across the country on that evening.
Progressive Talk Stars Stephanie Miller and Bill Press Become Featured Current TV Content. The progressive cable and satellite TV channel founded by former Vice President Al Gore is adding Dial Global radio talk show hosts Stephanie Miller and Bill Press to its lineup. Miller’s and Press’ programs will be simulcasts of their radio shows – Miller airing from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET and Press from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET – beginning early this spring. In a statement, Current TV chairman Al Gore says, “I’ve followed Stephanie and Bill for years. They provide the kind of smart, insightful news analysis that our viewers want to hear. Bill brings a vital perspective directly from the heart of the Beltway, and Stephanie’s fresh take on politics and news has a decidedly outsider flair. We’re really looking forward to bringing their voices to our viewers.” WYD Media president Ron Hartenbaum, executive producer of Stephanie Miller’s program, says, “We at ‘The Stephanie Miller Show’ are excited to participate in another radio-based video simulcast program. The bottom line is entertaining talk radio makes great and engaging tune-in programming for video.” Other political talk shows seen on Current TV include: “Countdown with Keith Olbermann,” “The Young Turks with Cenk Uygur,” and “The War Room with Jennifer Granholm.”
Rush Limbaugh Addresses Sandra Fluke Issue, Loss of Advertisers at Beginning on Monday Program. Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk star Rush Limbaugh began yesterday’s program speaking about his apology issued over the weekend to Georgetown University Law student Sandra Fluke for using the terms “slut” and “prostitute” to describe her. Limbaugh stated that he “descended to their level” – meaning liberal political opponents – when he used the two words. “I became like them and I feel very badly about that. I’ve always tried to maintain a very high degree of integrity and independence on this program. Nevertheless, those two words were inappropriate. They were uncalled for. They distracted from the point I was actually trying to make. And I, again, apologize to Ms. Fluke for using those two words to describe her.” Limbaugh addressed the loss of advertisers without going into specifics but appeared not overly concerned about the matter stating he turns down advertising on his program regularly for various reasons and said companies advertise with him to have access to his large audience – that everything about the program is for the audience. Without the audience, Limbaugh said the whole enterprise would be academic. Limbaugh slapped back at exiting advertisers a bit when he said, “They don’t want you or your business.” We don’t expect Premiere Networks to announce which advertisers have dropped their advertising – whether temporary or permanent – but it’s being reported that as many as 13 sponsors have left but eight are being widely reported: Carbonite, Citrix, Go To Meeting, Legal Zoom, Pro Flowers, Select Comfort, Sleep Train and Quicken Loans. For her part, Sandra Fluke appeared on ABC TV’s “The View” and said of Limbaugh’s apology, “I don’t think that a statement like this issued, saying that his choice of words was not the best, changes anything, and especially when that statement is issued when he’s under significant pressure from his sponsors who have begun to pull their support.” So far, two affiliate stations are confirmed to have dropped Limbaugh’s show as a result: KPUA, Hilo, Hawaii and WBEC, Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
Progressive Talk Host Mike Malloy Mocks Tornado Victims on Radio Program. Longtime progressive talk host Mike Malloy self-syndicates his program and in some quarters he’s taking heat for mocking the victims of the tornados that swept through the Midwest late last week. Malloy is quoted by several sources on his Friday program saying, “Their God, if this is the way they want to look at it, keeps smashing them into little grease spots on the pavement, in Alabama, in Mississippi, Arkansas, Georgia and Oklahoma – you know, the Bible Belt…where they ain’t gonna let no g*dd*mn science get in the way, it says in the bible, blah blah blah, so according to their way of thinking, y’know, God with his omnipotent thumb, and so far tonight, has smashed so far 20 people on Highway 12, or whatever the hell highway they live next to.” With the controversy being raised by Rush Limbaugh overshadowing the consumer media, it’s unlikely Malloy’s comments – which could certainly be deemed insensitive to the people affected by the storms – will get enough attention to catch the national media’s eyes. There’s also the fact that Limbaugh’s program is dominating in terms of presence and Malloy’s is not. Regardless, there are media analysts who are pointing to the use of hyperbole, name calling and insensitive language as a sign that more civility is needed in America’s public discourse.
Compass Media Networks to Syndicate Bob Vila Radio Features. Iconic home improvement figure Bob Vila and Compass Media Networks are agreeing to work together to distribute daily home improvement features voiced by Vila exclusively for radio beginning May 1. Of course, Vila is well known for his television programs – “This Old House” (1979-1989), “Bob Vila’s Home Again” (1990-2005), and “Bob Vila” (2005-2007). He now heads up his own home improvement site, BobVila.com. Vila says of the venture, “Radio offers an incredible opportunity to connect with the American homeowner.” Compass Media Networks CEO Peter Kosann says the project hopes to take advantage of the nearly $112 billion spent annually on home improvement. “Bob Vila is truly an American treasure. Radio stations and advertisers will leap at the chance to associate their brands with Bob Vila.”
Cumulus Media Partners with Radiate Media to Produce National Traffic Reporting Service. The combined effort is going to be called “Right Now Traffic” and will be available to stations in April in the top 75 markets. The reports will be powered by the world’s largest traffic flow network, which includes government sensors, toll tag monitoring and billions of GPS data points. Radiate Media’s premier traffic data comes in part from Nokia (formerly NAVTEQ) – a source also used for GPS navigation devices, in-vehicle navigation systems, mobile devices and hundreds of radio and television stations. Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey states, “We’re excited about launching ‘Right Now Traffic’ with Radiate Media. Americans are spending more than 1,000 hours per year in their cars. Our listeners, advertisers and network affiliates all demand accurate and timely traffic information and this partnership enables us to address that need with a best-in-class service.”
Dial Global Amps Up Producers Department for Programming. Dial Global promotes Scot Kirk to the newly created position senior production director and brings James Harness aboard as a producer. The company says Kirk will oversee the creative direction and imaging for all of Dial Global-owned formats, shows and programs. Both Kirk and Harness will be located in Valencia, California and report directly to VP Programming, David Felker. EVP of programming Beau Phillips says, “Since merging with Westwood One, Dial Global now produces a tremendous amount of content. While our programming sounds strong, we’re investing in producers who will set the vision and boost the quality across all DG products.” Scot Kirk brings more than two decades of radio production expertise to his new role, including positions at Jones Radio Networks, KISW-FM and KMTT-FM in Seattle, and KXPK-FM in Denver before joining Dial Global in 2009. James Harness is best known for guiding the creative imaging for KROQ-FM in Los Angeles as well as 92.3 NOW, WXRK-FM and FREE-FM in New York.
Salem Radio Network Holds Urgent Drive for Help for Tornado Victims. The talk hosts syndicated nationally by Salem Radio Network — Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Janet Mefferd, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved and Hugh Hewitt – mounted a daylong appeal yesterday (3/5) to gather donations for food, blankets and other essentials for the people of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee and the other states affected by the tornados that swept through the region over the weekend. The storms caused dozens of deaths and millions of dollars worth of destruction. Oklahoma City-based FEED THE CHILDREN is facilitating and administering the aid.
Sirius XM Beefs Up Election Programming on POTUS Channel. The satcaster ramps up its 2012 presidential election coverage with new programming on its Politics of the United States – POTUS – channel. “Showdown 2012” will air Thursdays from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm with veteran White House and Washington, D.C. correspondents including Jon Decker, Chris Core, Dick Uliano and Louise Schiavone. “CQ Roll Call” airs Wednesdays from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm hosted by CQ Roll Call senior editor Morton Kondracke, editor David Hawkings, and others. “The Flacks” airs Mondays from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm hosted by veteran communications strategists and MSNBC political analysts Karen Finney and Robert Traynham.
Money Radio 1200 Debuts in Palm Springs. CRC Media West’s KPSF, Palm Springs financial talk radio outlet signed on yesterday (3/5). The station was constructed by CRC Media West principals Ronald Cohen and Brian DuBose and modeled after the company’s “Money Radio” outlet serving the Phoenix market. The Palm Springs station features a mix of syndicated and local/regional programming.
WTOP, Washington, DC Names Washington Regional Transplant Community Charity of the Month. The Hubbard Broadcasting media organization says that as part of WTOP’s ‘Charity of the Month’ program, Washington Regional Transplant Community will receive more than $30,000 in free air time and in-kind contributions, including on-air promotions, as well as content on WTOP’s social media platforms and on WTOP.com throughout the month. The WRTC serves as the federally-designated organ procurement organization (OPO) for the Washington metropolitan area. As one of 58 OPOs nationwide, WRTC is the organization that facilitates all deceased organ, eye and tissue donation in our area, serving more than five million residents. WTOP public relations and marketing specialist Robin Newton says, “WTOP is proud to support Washington Regional Transplant Community during the month of March. WRTC has a direct effect on the health of our local community and helping them means strengthening an invaluable resource for our neighbors. Our hope is to spread awareness and garner attention for their work.”
Stephanie Miller Riding High on Radio, Live Show and Comedy Record Success. WYD Media Management and Dial Global syndicated progressive talk radio host Stephanie Miller rolls into 2012 surfing the wave of success she began in 2011 using her popular radio show – and social media – to help promote her “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” and the recently released comedy album of the same name that’s topping the charts. With the help of comedian pals John Fugelsang and Hal Sparks – both of whom make weekly appearances on Miller’s Los Angeles-based radio show – the “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” has been selling out shows across the country and grossed more than $1.4 million over the last 12 months. Miller is astounded by the success of the tour and the album. “Last spring when we performed in Madison, Wisconsin to support the recall efforts of Governor Scott Walker we had no expectations that the show would be as well received as it was, let alone set upon a nationwide tour raising money for locally focused progressive causes,” Miller says. The resulting comedy album, released digitally, has been hugely successful. Miller tells TALKERS, “The ‘Stephanie Miller’s Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour’ has become the first political comedy album to reach # 1 on the comedy charts for iTunes, Amazon and Billboard, and has remained on the Billboard Comedy Album charts for six weeks since its release in late-December, 2011. The idea of progressive comedy making such a connection to people across America must be causing some serious Republican angina…at least I hope so!” Miller, Fugelsang and Sparks continue to hit the road with the live show stopping at the Orpheum Theatre on Phoenix on February 25 and the Chicago Theatre in Chicago on March 3.
WQAM, Miami’s Sid Rosenberg Back in the News with Alleged Gambling Debt. The Miami Herald is reporting that WQAM, Miami PM drive sports talk host Sid Rosenberg has a gambling debt of more than $44,000 he owes to an offshore gambling operation called www.1betvegas.com. Gossip Extra columnist Jose Lambiet quotes a man named Frank Soviero who says he works for the gambling site – based in Costa Rica – and says he’s been in Miami for two months now trying to collect the debt. Soviero tells Lambiet, “We can’t sue Sid since what we do is illegal in the United States. I’ve tried everything. He comes up with 100 bucks here and there, and he gives me a big hug. It ticks me off because I talked my boss into giving Sid a few chances. And I’ve seen [my boss] do things when he gets mad.” Neither Rosenberg nor WQAM have commented to the paper. Rosenberg was off the air for six weeks prior to the holidays and there was speculation then that he was being punished by the station for trying to repay a gambling debt via plugola – something Rosenberg vehemently denied to TALKERS. Station management also did not confirm the story to local media but only said that Rosenberg was off and would return on January 2, which he did. When asked by TALKERS to specifically clarify why he was off the air during that time, Rosenberg did not reply. Read the Miami Herald story here.
WLW, Cincinnati’s Bill Cunningham Gets Big Network Pickup for TV Show. Tribune Company launched “The Bill Cunningham Show” last September on a number of its O&O TV stations. Now, Tribune announces the show is being picked up by the CW Network and will air in the 3:00 pm ET slot beginning in September. Tribune Broadcasting president of programming and entertainment Sean Compton – one of the few remaining former Clear Channel execs brought to Tribune by Randy Michaels – tells the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter, “Since the launch of ‘The Bill Cunningham Show’ six months ago, the show has exceeded expectations and found a strong voice in the daytime talk landscape…The renewal and expansion of the show to a national platform are a testament to Bill’s staying power.” Kiesewetter reports that Cunnigham’s TV show is more popular in New York, Chicago, Miami and Dallas than it is in his hometown of Cincinnati. While taping the show, Cunningham does his WLW program from studios in Manhattan.
Lou Sipolt and Heather Burnside Exit WOW-FM, Des Moines After Five Weeks. The duo moved over to the news/talk sister station from Cumulus Media Group’s classic rock KGGO-FM in January after 13 years as a duo in morning drive there. But after just five weeks hosting the AM drive show on 98.3 WOW (KWQW-FM), Sipolt and Burnside surprised their listeners with an 8:40 am announcement on Friday, February 10 that they were leaving local radio to pursue other interests. Sipolt does a motorsports talk show on Fox Sports Channel. Burnside isn’t saying what she’ll do next.
Fox Business Network Drops Three Prime Time Shows; Will Replay Early Evening Programs. The four- and a half-year-old Fox Business Network cancels the three prime time shows airing between 8:00 pm and 11:00 pm ET – “Freedom Watch,” hosted by Andrew Napolitano; “Power & Money” with host David Asman; and “Follow the Money” with Eric Bolling – and will re-air its 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm programming. The move puts what Fox execs consider their top personalities on in prime time: “The Willis Report” with Gerri Willis; “Cavuto” with Neil Cavuto; and “Lou Dobbs Tonight” hosted by Lou Dobbs. David Asman co-hosts the 4:00 pm “After the Bell” program and will continue in that role while Eric Bolling remains in his role on Fox News Channel co-hosting “The Five.” Fox executive vice president Kevin Magee states, “Neil Cavuto, Lou Dobbs and Gerri Willis are the most trusted names in business news, and this new lineup affords Fox Business viewers additional access to their no-nonsense take on the day’s financial events.”
Talk Show Hosts Wow 275 at American Jewish University Panel. Approximately 275 avid talk radio fans showed up for a two-hour panel discussion held Sunday (2/12) afternoon at American Jewish University in Bel-Air, California. Moderated by veteran Los Angeles broadcaster Bill Moran, the panel featured Bill Handel and Bill Carroll of KFI, Los Angeles; Patt Morrison of KPCC, Los Angeles and Southern California Public Broadcasting; and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison. The fast-paced discussion blended a spectrum of hot topics in the news – everything from health care to Israel/Iran tensions to social media to Whitney Houston – plus behind-the-scenes radio shop talk and ended with a spirited question and answer session with the audience. This was the fifth annual installment of this panel, one of AJU’s most popular events in its outstanding speakers series.
Salem Radio Network and Radio America Reach News Service Deal. A pact between Dallas-based Salem Radio Network and Washington-based Radio America is being struck that will make SRN News the exclusive top- and bottom-of-the-hour news service distributed by Radio America. This move adds some 400 Radio America affiliates as potential carriers of SRN’s news product. SRN president Greg Anderson states, “The potential of adding up to 400 Radio America affiliates to our roster of almost 1,300 current SRN News affiliates is very exciting for us. We look forward to a great partnership with Radio America and their affiliates in the days ahead.” Radio America COO Mike Paradiso comments, “SRN News is a great fit in our lineup of talk programs and will serve our 400-plus stations well in this election year. We’re excited to be partnering with SRN on this venture.”
Blue Star Media Promotes Jon Patch to VP of Affiliate Sales. Jon Patch has been with Blue Star Media Group’s Business TalkRadio Network and Lifestyle TalkRadio Network for the past 15 years serving in numerous capacities, most recently working in affiliate sales and hosting the 21 year-old talk radio show “Talkin’ Pets.” Now, Blue Star ups Patch to vice president of affiliate sales for the organization. Patch says, “I believe in working with our stations as partners and offering the best service possible since, by keeping them happy, it in turn keeps the hosts, listeners and all others involved satisfied and happy as well.”
Bonneville’s Arizona Sports Enters into Marketing Agreement with University of Phoenix. Bonneville International’s Phoenix-based sports media initiative – Arizona Sports – agrees to a broadening of its relationship with University of Phoenix that includes the naming rights to the Arizona Sports studios. Bonneville describes Arizona Sports as “a first-of-its-kind sports marketing and media super brand encompassing all of Bonneville Phoenix sports media properties including: Arizona Sports 620 KTAR-AM, Arizona Sports.com, Arizona Diamondbacks baseball, Arizona Cardinals football, Phoenix Suns basketball, Arizona State football and men’s basketball, ESPN radio, AIA and the Fiesta Bowl.” Bonneville Phoenix VP of news and sports content Ryan Hatch says, “Bill Pepicello (University of Phoenix president) and his entire team have been a great partner of ours for many years. We’re excited that – from “Mike and Mike in the Morning” to “Doug and Wolf” on the drive home – all of our shows will now be broadcast from the University of Phoenix Studios.”
CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles Continues “On Your Corner” Series in Culver City. The CBS Radio Los Angeles all-news outlet will broadcast live from the Culver Hotel in Culver City on Friday, March 9 as part of its series that provides an “in-depth look at Southern California’s diverse communities.” The day’s broadcasts will include civic and business leaders, along with colorful personalities connected to Culver City’s rich history and revitalization who will be featured guests as the city marks its 95th anniversary. Additionally, a business mixer open to the public beginning at 5:00 pm will culminate the day’s events. A special luncheon for invited business leaders will be hosted by Frank Mottek prior to his KNX Business Hour broadcast.
KMOX, St. Louis Holds Spring Training Correspondent Contest. In conjunction with sponsor Lindenwood University, CBS Radio’s KMOX, St. Louis is conducting a contest to give one lucky winner a spring training correspondent position alongside sports director Tom Ackerman in Jupiter, Florida. The winner gets an all-expenses-paid trip and will perform on-air and online Spring Training reports. The station has been holding open auditions for the past month. Nearly 200 people auditioned and 10 finalists have been announced. Listeners to KMOX can vote on their favorite through February 21.
Walter Sabo Leaves COO Position at Merlin Media. Noted radio consultant Walter Sabo has parted ways with Randy Michaels’ Merlin Media, the heavily venture capital-backed firm that acquired a majority share of three radio stations this past summer from Jeff Smulyan’sEmmis Broadcasting including WEMP-FM, New York and WWWN-FM, Chicago and is in the process of picking up a fourth from Harold Camping’s Family Broadcasting – WKDN-FM, in the Philadelphia market. Merlin launched a relatively experimental all-news format at these stations targeted to what Sabo described as “working families” with an emphasis on the 25-54 female demographic. The stations (FM News 101.9 in New York and FM News 101.1 in Chicago) received a tremendous amount of attention (and intense scrutiny) in the media before, during and after their launch prompted by former Tribune Company CEO Michaels’ negatively colorful and controversial profile, in addition to the fact that they were taking a startlingly innovative and youthful approach to delivering the all-news format. Sabo was recruited to serve as architect of this approach due to his impeccable reputation as a longtime champion of the concept of targeting female listeners on FM and proven track record for success with spoken word on FM as a longtime consultant for WKXW-FM, Trenton (New Jersey 101.5). When a notable rise in ratings failed to materialize in immediately subsequent survey periods coupled with widespread criticism by radio industry observers of the stations’ formats and execution – further exacerbated by Michaels receiving negative publicity in the midst of all this for being arrested on DUI charges – the heat was on and Michaels began facing enormous internal and external pressure to modify the programming approach. He succumbed and the Merlin stations began moving in a more traditional all-news direction putting them in head-to-head competition with CBS’s long-established, traditional and wildly successful all-news outlets in New York and Chicago (WINS, WCBS and WBBM). With this repositioning, the challenge of competing against successful, established news outlets has not produced increased ratings and the Merlin all-news initiative has become prematurely tagged throughout the industry as a monumental failure. Sabo’s withdrawal from day-to-day operational and programming decisions, including his subsequent departure from Merlin, has been quietly happening below the radar for some time now. Up until this article’s publication (1/2), there has been no official press release, acknowledgement or statement from either Merlin or Sabo confirming or commenting on his exit. However,TALKERS sources inside Merlin and close to Sabo confirm that it is indeed true with Sabo telling TALKERS,“At this time my work with Merlin is complete. The primary job was to build the most competitive team on and off the air – Merlin has the best. Our initiatives gave investors the confidence to buy a station in a third market and grow the company. GTCR deserves enormous credit for investing in the radio medium. FM spoken-word is so hot that the demand for Sabo Media services has never been greater. Our clients find that our decades of experience in the FM talk format protects their investment and shortens the profit horizon. More importantly my beautiful wife Katie is seven months pregnant during the holidays. That’s the news.” Sabo will continue to serve as CEO of his consulting firm Sabo Media and internet branding and marketing company, HitViews.
Fox Sports Radio Network Debuts New Morning Program Featuring Andy Furman and Artrell Hawkins. Today is the debut of Fox Sports Radio Network’s new morning show – “Fox Sports Daybreak” – heard from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET and featuring former Cincinnati sports talk host Andy Furman and retired NFL defensive back Artrell Hawkins. Furman’s resume includes an 18-year run hosting “Sports Talk” at WLW, Cincinnati and, recently, the PM drive show at WQRT, Cincinnati. Hawkins is a contributor to the Cincinnati Bengals Radio Network. Furman has been hosting a weekend show with former NFL star Lincoln Kennedy for more than a year and that Sunday evening program with Furman and Kennedy will continue. Fox Sports Radio VP/GM Don Martin states, “We couldn’t be happier to have Andy and Artrell hosting our new morning drive program. The combination of a sports talk pro like Andy and a former professional football player like Artrell will be a great addition to our weekday lineup.” Fox Sports Daybreak replaces the Zakk and Jack program on the FSRN schedule.
Cumulus Media Flips WMTI-FM, New Orleans from Oldies to Sports Talk. The Big Easy gets a new sports talk outlet as Cumulus Media drops the oldies on WMTI-FM and goes sports talk with programming from Fox Sports Radio Network, Premiere Networks’ Jim Rome and a PM drive show hosted by New Orleans Hornets broadcaster Gerry Vaillancourt.
New FM Talk Outlet for Little Rock. Crain Media Group drops the active rock on KKSP-FM, Bryant, Arkansas (located to the Northwest of Little Rock) and debuts a talk format it’s calling “Fresh Talk 93.3.” The lineup includes market news personality Neal Gladner in morning drive, Talk Radio Network’s Laura Ingraham, Dial Global’s Clark Howard, Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” and more.
Progressive Talk Appears on WVKO, Columbus. The station at 1580 AM is owned by Bernard Ohio LLC and its website indicates it’s doing business as Clear Conscience Communications. The progressive talk lineup that debuted on January 2 includes Dial Global’s Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz, Thom Hartmann and Bill Press plus Mike Malloy and Leslie Marshall.
Chris Schoenewald Exits Virginia-Based “Daily Constitutional” Program. The regionally syndicated “Daily Constitutional” – based out of WCHV-AM/FM, Charlottesville, Virginia and co-hosted by Joe Thomas and Chris Schoenewald – is undergoing changes as Schoenewald is leaving the program to run for office. He plans to announce which office he’ll seek soon. Thomas tells TALKERS the program will continue. “Adam Forster of Virginia Living Television and private investigator/TV anchor Nikki Lewis will be purchasing Schoenewald’s share and we’re hopeful to continue to grow and help stations in this area program locally oriented talk while freeing up their resources for news and marketing efforts.” The “Daily Constitutional” airs live from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET. In addition, Thomas hosts the morning drive program on WCHV-AM/FM.
Sam Malone in Israel. KSEV, Houston morning host Sam Malone is pictured here inspecting the cockpit of an Israeli F-16 during a tour of the Hatzor Air Force Base while on a trip to Israel. Malone broadcast his program live back to his Houston audience (via the very capable technology of the Comrex ACCESS) during which he interviewed numerous Houstonians serving in the IDF, important Israeli media figures and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat. Malone tells TALKERS magazine his audience loved the content and his marketing department was able to get the broadcast event sponsored.
Iowa Caucuses, Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions, Holiday Sports Action and New Year Retrospectives Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/2). Today’s Iowa Caucuses for GOP candidates, the nuclear ambitions of the Iranian leadership, college and pro holiday sports action and 2011 retrospectives were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Dial Global Co-CEOs New Employment Contracts Revealed. The three co-CEOs of Dial Global have signed four-year employment contracts with the now publicly traded company that pay each a base salary of $600,000 per year. Spencer Brown, David Landau and Kenneth Williams will each get a bonus of $250,000 for this year with future discretionary bonuses based on half their annual salaries. In addition, each is entitled to two years salary if he leaves the company. There are other components such as $15,000 each for an annual country club allowance and a $1,250 per month parking allowance.
Dial Global’s Stephanie Miller to Publish New Book in 2013; Comedy Album Tops iTunes Download Chart. Progressive talk host Stephanie Miller has a deal with Grand Central Publishing – a division of Hachette Book Group – to publish a book titled Sexy Liberal! to hit stores in 2013. In a release from syndicator Dial Global, the book is described as follows: “Mixing the personal and the political, she takes on the politicians, the media, and the issues, with her own unique blend of fearless humor and optimism.” Concurrent with the book announcement, iTunes reports Stephanie Miller’s Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour, Volume 1 is the #1-selling comedy album in the iTunes store. The album features comedy bits from Miller’s live stage show of the same name with comedians John Fugelsang, Hal Sparks and Miller herself. WYD Media Management president Ron Hartenbaum says, “Today’s audience response shows how powerful and impactful marketing on radio can be. We have a vibrant medium, we have an effective medium and we all need to remind advertisers how effective radio is in moving product.” Hartenbaum notes it was announced the album was for sale on Friday, December 16 at 10:00 am and by 10:45 it had reached the #1 spot.
Clear Channel Names Steven Cutler to VP/Corporate Strategy Post. The newly created position is created by CC Media Holdings CEO Bob Pittman as he brings Steven Cutler into the company fold to “execute key initiatives and strategies as determined by the CEO and operating division leadership.” Cutler worked with Pittman at the private investment firm Pilot Group. He has worked in the investment banking industry and also has worked as a financial analyst.
Dave Ramsey Rewards Listeners in “Giving Challenge.” Nationally syndicated financial talk host Dave Ramsey rewards three listeners with $5,000 each for charity work inspired by his Giving Challenge. In early November, Ramsey encouraged listeners to “give like no one else” during the holidays, resulting in some 7,500 stories of how listeners had given of their time and money throughout the year and especially as the holidays approached. Ramsey calculates more than $9 million and some 68,000 hours were donated by listeners reporting their charity work. He then surprised three of the winners of The Giving Challenge with cash rewards of $5,000. Those recognized were: Rayme Dorsey of Champaign, Illinois who organizes an annual golf tournament benefiting Crisis Nursery in honor of her best friend killed in a car accident two years ago at Christmas. Crisis Nursery is dedicated to the prevention of child abuse and neglect; JV Cotterell of Durham, North Carolina. Cotterell founded Triangle Special Hockey to eliminate barriers that keep special needs kids from getting involved in hockey; and Alisha Ballinger of Knoxville, Tennessee. Ballinger works for Knoxville Inner-City Kids Outreach which provides after school programs and service projects for inner city children ages K through 12.
Three New Talk Programs Debut on CRN Digital Talk Radio. Sunland, California-based CRN Digital Talk Radio announces the debut of “The Pet Project” program hosted by well-known Los Angeles radio personality Tammy Trujillo; the current events-themed Mark Larson show and the Christian-themed Janet Mefferd show. CRN describes Trujillo’s new weekly program stating the “award-winning newscaster and pet lover will talk with experts about the latest news on pet products, pet adoption, medical issues and much more about the amazing world of pets.” Larson’s program will air daily from 6:00 am to 9:00 am and Mefferd’s show airs from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm daily.
Payroll Tax Cut Battle/Congress Adjourns, Iowa Caucuses and Post-Kim Jong Il North Korea Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/21). The congressional impasse over extending the payrolls tax cut, the coming Iowa caucuses in the GOP race for president in 2012 and the implications of the death of North Korea’s Kim Jong Il were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
A Brief History of Los Angeles Talk Radio. One of the many highlights of the recent Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum (October 20) was the presentation of the first-ever Talkers Lifetime Achievement Award to LARadio.com publisher and noted radio historian Don Barrett followed by his brilliant presentation of “A Brief History of Los Angeles Talk Radio.” In the speech, Barrett describes growing up in the beach communities of Southern California and being raised on the great rock ‘n’ roll and top 40 stations of the 1950s. He traces the roots of LA talk radio back to Ben Hoberman’s early experiments with all-talk at KABC in the 1960s and follows the richly colorful route of the format all the way through the decades to present-day juggernaut that is KFI, including fascinating details about the personalities who brought it to life. To see this not-to-be-missed exclusive video presentation, click here.
Former KGO, San Francisco Hosts Gene Burns and Len Tillem to Join Clear Channel Bay Area Station; New Lineups for KNEW and KKSF Announced. The program schedules for Clear Channel’s Bay Area talk stations are official a month after the company announced it would swap calls, and change the image of progressive talk station KKGN. As previously reported, the 960 AM frequency becomes KNEW and 910 AM will take the new call letters KKSF. What’s new is that former crosstown KGO talk hosts Gene Burns and Len Tillem will become part of the lineup at the new Newstalk 910 (KKSF). The program schedules for the revamped stations are as follows: KNEW – Premiere Networks‘ Glenn Beck, 6:00 am to 9:00 am; Dave Ramsey, 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; Premiere‘s Randi Rhodes, 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; Compass Media Networks‘ Norman Goldman, 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; Market Wrap, 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm; Dial Global‘s Stephanie Miller, 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm; Dial Global‘s Thom Hartmann, 10:00 pm to 1:00 am. KKSF – Armstrong & Getty, 6:00 am to 9:00 am; to be announced, 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; Fox News Radio‘s Tom Sullivan, 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; Len Tillem, 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm; and Gene Burns, 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Regarding the changes, Clear Channel San Francisco director of operations Don Parker states, “Recent changes in the talk radio market gave us the opportunity to adjust our plans for 960 KNEW. We are excited to broaden 960 KNEW’s position to appeal to a wider variety of Bay Area listeners…We are moving Newstalk 910 into the forefront of the talk genre in the Bay Area. With the addition of Bay Area legend Gene Burns and ‘Radio Lawyer’ Len Tillem to the line-up, we are very excited about the future.”
Rumor: Cumulus Planning FM Talk Flip in Twin Cities. There’s no official word from the company but the talk is hot and heavy in the Minneapolis –St. Paul market that Cumulus Media will flip one of its music FMs to talk in 2012. Cumulus owns classic rock KQRS-FM, active rock KXXR-FM and the classic hits trimulcast of WGVX-FM, WGVY-FM and WGVZ-FM which surround the market. Both the rock stations have done pretty well in the latest Arbitron PPMs so a lot of the chatter has the lower-rated classic hits “Love 105FM” making the switch. Stay tuned.
Wisconsin Public Radio Talk Host Jean Feraca to Retire. The 28-year veteran of Wisconsin Public Radio announces she’ll retire in March from the organization she’s worked at since 1983. Jean Feraca tells the Wisconsin State Journal, “It’s just time.” Speaking to the paper, she hinted at job cuts that clearly have affected her work environment. “I lost everybody in my team earlier this year, and it’s been difficult. This is sensitive stuff and I have to think it through.”
Unresolved Payroll Tax Issue/Congress Recesses, Post-Kim Jong Il North Korea, 2012 Presidential Race and Uncertain Financial Markets Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/20). Congress’ failure to extend the payroll tax cut and its leaving for holiday break, concern over a post-Kim Jong Il North Korea, the GOP race for president in 2012 and the down year for stocks and the ongoing euro zone debt crisis were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing TALKERS magazine research.
Mark Levin Attacks Michael Savage Over Gingrich Offer; Raises Question of Legality of Savage’s Actions. In response to Talk Radio Network star Michael Savage’s offer of $1 million to Newt Gingrich to drop out of the GOP race for the presidential nomination, Cumulus Media Networks talk host Mark Levin broadcast an offer to Savage to quit his radio program for good for the sum of $100,000. Now, clearly Levin is toying with Savage in the spirit of a good old fashioned radio war – according to the Daily Caller, he stated on his program, “Let me tell you, that’s extremely generous on my part because he’s already going nowhere…That’s right — he’s losing affiliates left and right. That’s what happens when you take your audience for granted and take your affiliates for granted.” But Levin also asked if Savage’s offer to Gingrich was a “legal bribe.” TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says the federal government generally leaves the policing of elections to the states but that some states have statutes prohibiting this behavior. South Carolina, for example, specifically prohibits offering or accepting or attempting to offer or accept money or other forms of compensation to induce a person to file or withdraw from an election. Violation could mean a fine of $10,000 or up to a year in jail but Weisman says the likelihood of a South Carolina prosecutor seeking charges in this instance would be slim. They would probably interpret it as a radio stunt and not what the statute was intended to prohibit. Nonetheless, at least in South Carolina, Savage’s offer is technically illegal.
Cumulus Media Networks Partners with Benztown Branding. This partnership brings together two of the industry’s largest production and imaging operations. Under the terms of the deal, Cumulus will manage the affiliation and ad sales for all of the Benztown Branding imaging and production libraries and in return, Benztown will manage the production of Cumulus’ stable of production services. Additionally, Cumulus will handle ad sales for Benztown programs including: “Roundtrip with Dave O,” “Dr. Bruce Hensel,” “The Storm Report,” “Old Farmer’s Almanac,” “The Todd N Tyler Radio Empire,” “The Bring It Minute with Tony Horton” and “Race Report Update.” Cumulus inked a deal to manage ad sales for Benztown’s “Melissa Etheridge Radio Show” earlier this year.” Cumulus Media Networks production libraries and imaging services affected by this deal include: Adrenaline, Ambush, Horsepower, Goldmine, Avalanche and Turbulence. Cumulus SVP of affiliate sales and broadcast services Dennis Green says, “This partnership is an outstanding opportunity to enhance the portfolios of both companies by combining some of the most talented and creative producers and designers in radio with our dedicated sales and affiliation teams. Benztown brings tremendous category knowledge to the table and has an extremely successful track record of delivering innovative services for stations. Working together allows us to broaden the scope of our collective efforts.”
Cincinnati Talk Host Andy Furman Resigns from WQRT. Andy Furman has hosted the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm talk show on Christian Broadcasting System’s WQRT, Florence, Kentucky for the past two years. He tells the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter that his last broadcast is Friday, December 16 but that he can’t say more because he’s “in a precarious situation.” Kiesewetter surmises Furman has a new deal that he can’t talk about just yet. Furman was a longtime sports talk host at Clear Channel’s WLW, Cincinnati but exited that station three years ago. He’s been hosting some weekend programming for Fox Sports Radio Network in addition to his work in Cincinnati.
Jeff Weber to Resign from Blue Star Media Post. Blue Star Media owns and operates the Business TalkRadio Network and the Lifestyle TalkRadio Network as well as stations in the Stamford/Norwalk, Connecticut market and in Las Vegas, Pittsburgh and Boston. Jeff Weber has served as executive vice president of the company for the past 10 years but says he’ll step down at the end of the year. “I am extremely proud of our company’s growth since I joined it. It’s been very gratifying to see us increase the affiliate base of 112 stations airing BTRN’s programming to more than 1,000 now carrying the shows of LTRN and BTRN. In addition, the acquisition of our four radio properties helped round out a solid company.”
Clear Channel Brings Progressive Talk to Milwaukee on an HD-3 Channel. One of the country’s more successful progressive talk outlets is Clear Channel’s WXXM-FM, Madison, Wisconsin – 92.1 The Mic. Now, the company announces it’s simulcasting the station to the larger Milwaukee market on the HD-3 channel of Hip Hop WKKV-FM. Operations manager Tim Scott says, “92.1 The Mic is arguably one of the most successful progressive talk stations in the country. The upcoming presidential election and the political atmosphere in this state makes now the perfect time for progressive talk to expand its message to Wisconsin’s largest market.” It’s interesting to note that WXXM-FM almost flipped from progressive talk several years ago but a strong outcry from fans of the station convinced CC management that Madison was a market worthy of keeping the format. 92.1 The Mic features a stable of syndicated talk including Dial Global’s Bill Press, Stephanie Miller, Thom Hartmann and Ed Schultz plus Fox News Radio’s Alan Colmes, Premiere Networks’ Randi Rhodes plus local talk host Doug Cunningham.
WTDY, Madison Gets FM Simulcast. Mid-West Family Stations takes the 106.7 frequency licensed to Mount Horeb, Wisconsin west of Madison and airs news/talk WTDY on the signal to complement its 1670 AM signal. WTDY-FM at 106.7 is a class A FM situated pretty far to the west of Madison. Fortunately, that part of Wisconsin is pretty flat.
TALKERS Offers Free Ads for Open Jobs. As a service to the talk media industry, TALKERS is making its online Jobs section available to any and all legitimate employers with positions to fill beginning immediately. Broadcasters and talk media-affiliated businesses with job openings should send position descriptions, requirements and contact information to TALKERS managing editor Kevin Casey at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, be sure to let us know when the position is filled so we can pull the ad off our site. TALKERS keeps all job posting information strictly confidential and reserves the right to reject any ad for any reason.
2012 Presidential Race, Iran/U.S. Drone Case, End of U.S. Iraq Involvement and Euro Zone Debt Crisis/Markets Reaction Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/13). The ongoing battle between GOP candidates for president in 2012, the case of the U.S. drone Iran claims to possess, the coming end of U.S. military involvement in Iraq, the euro zone debt crisis and the reaction by the world’s financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research by TALKERS.
Clear Channel to End Progressive Talker KKGN in San Francisco. The progressive talk programming currently heard on KKGN, San Francisco – Green 960 – will not go away entirely; it’ll be available online and on the HD-2 channel of sister oldies KKSF-FM, but since so few people have HD radios anyone seeking shows such as Dial Global’s Stephanie Miller and Thom Hartmann and Compass Media Networks’ Norman Goldman will have to find them online. The “death” of Green 960 comes as Clear Channel makes other changes to its Bay Area talk programming. In the New Year, KKGN flips calls to KNEW, picks up the Fox News Radio affiliation and a new lineup including Glenn Beck in AM drive, followed by Dave Ramsey, then Premiere’s Randi Rhodes (the only holdover from Green 960), and Fox News Radio’s John Gibson. Back at what is currently KNEW (910 AM), that station will take on new calls KKSF and become “San Francisco’s Talk 910 – KKSF.” Armstrong & Getty (piped in from Sacramento) remain in mornings with Dial Global’s Clark Howard, Fox News Radio’s Tom Sullivan and a local PM drive show yet to be announced. What does this mean for the progressive format? Obviously it is a setback for the struggling format, simply because of the loss of a major market. Some observers will point to this situation as an example of the format’s inherent weakness by saying it can’t even make it in San Francisco – one of the most liberal regions in the nation. However others will note that it is harder for a radio format targeted to a political orientation to make it in an area heavily populated by like-minded people because it doesn’t serve a unfilled need. Radio, being a niche medium, often works best in an area where the targeted audience is in the minority and it thus serves to galvanize a critical mass necessary to support a format. That is likely the case in San Francisco.
Detroit Media Personality John Mason Hosts PM Drive on WCHB-AM/FM. Longtime Detroit radio and TV personality John Mason is the new PM drive host on Radio One’s urban news/talk WCHB-AM/FM. Mason most recently hosted the morning drive show on Radio One’s WGPR-FM until late October when the company flipped the format to hip hop. Mason is known for his work as an R&B disc jockey but tells the Detroit News he’s ready for the challenge, “Talk is different – I’m comfortable with it. Quite frankly, the timing is in the vibe of the universe. It’s a progression for me.” Mason’s program airs from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
ESPN Affiliation Bumps Local Sports Duo in Denver. When ESPN programming moves from Lincoln Financial Media’s KEPN to Front Range Sports Network’s KDSP-FM in January, morning hosts Vic Lombardi and Gary Miller will be off the air. The two KCNC-TV sports anchors currently host the 7:00 am to 9:00 am program but the infusion of ESPN programming that is coming with the new affiliation will put ESPN’s “Mike & Mike in the Morning” on the station from 5:00 am to 9:00 am. The Denver Post reports the two would like to land another radio sports talk gig in town. With four sports talk outlets in the market, they may be able to latch on somewhere else. Stay tuned.
Sean Baligian Returns to Sports Talk in West Michigan. Sean Baligian exited the Clear Channel sports talk simulcast of WDFN, Detroit and WMAX-FM, Grand Rapids back in October after his show with co-host Ryan Terpstra was cancelled. Now, Baligian returns to Clear Channel’s WMAX-FM to host the PM drive show. Terpstra, who had been hosting the PM drive show solo, will not be a co-host with Baligian but remains with the station in a different capacity. Baligian tells the Grand Rapids Press, “I like the idea of doing my thing again, just doing my show. I think that’s going to be the biggest difference. It’s just kind of me. No disrespect towards Terp, but it was enticing just to do the solo show again.” Baligian says the show will not be simulcast to Detroit and will focus on West Michigan.
Kevin Matthews Podcast Show Now Available Via Steve Dahl’s Internet Station. Chicago radio fans can now get podcasts from two of its famous (or infamous) broadcasters from one source. Steve Dahl has been podcasting for a couple of years now and the two tell Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder that Kevin Matthews is producing a weekly podcast as part of the $9.85 monthly fee for Dahl’s content. Matthews – who had an 18-year career on Chicago radio – had been hosting a morning drive show in Grand Rapids until he was recently let go in a budget move. Now, “Kevheads” need look no further than dahl.com for Matthews’ show. Matthews tells Feder, “My vision is to provide unique content, my personality. What is so exciting about this adventure is no rules. A podcast may last 45 minutes, maybe two or three hours. Content is key. I know when to exit a program.” Steve Dahl says he hopes to expand. “I’m hoping that after we post his first show and he sees the response, he’ll start thinking about making it a daily show. We are set up to do that technically…This is the future of personality radio and anybody who is delivering good content will sooner or later be charging for it.” Matthews returned to Grand Rapids – the city where he got his start in radio – after losing his Chicago radio job. He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2008 and says he prefers to take things more slowly these days.
WXOS-FM, St. Louis Does Live Remote Charity Toy Drive. Hubbard Broadcasting’s ESPN 101 (WXOS-FM) in St. Louis is taking its “Fast Lane” afternoon show on the road to five different locations over the course of five days to solicit toy donations to benefit the St. Louis Crisis Nursery. WXOS-FM program director Kent Sterling says, “We have some of the best jobs in the world, but the most rewarding part of our work is when we dedicate ourselves to helping those who often do without – especially during the holidays.” Pictured here are (from l-r) show hosts Bob Ramsey, an unidentified man, Randy Karraker and D’Marco Farr.
Occupy L.A. Cleared, 2012 Presidential Race, Michael Jackson Doctor Sentenced and European Debt Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/29). The police action to clear the Occupy Los Angeles protesters, the GOP candidates for president in 2012, the sentencing of Michael Jackson doctor Conrad Murray and the ongoing European debt crisis were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Los Angeles Regional Talk Seminar Set For Thursday. It is being described as “a new kind of industry gathering” — accessible, short and free (including breakfast and lunch) with a power-packed line up of speakers and agenda that could rival the largest of national conferences. Set for Thursday, October 20th between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm, the one-day event, being presented by TALKERS in association with the Los Angeles Press Club, promises to bring together a diverse variety of factions, formats and companies comprising the Southern California talk radio community and tackle a number of the hottest issues facing the industry today. Filled to capacity within two weeks of being announced, the event will feature 30 leading industry speakers including solo presentations by the legendary Larry King of CNN; Westwood One founder Norm Pattiz of Courtside Entertainment; Don Barrett of LARadio.com; consultant Holland Cooke of McVay/Cook Media; and a special guest appearance by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. The keynote speaker is KFI morning titan Bill Handel. Eight major Southern California talk radio station programmers will be on panels including Cliff Albert of KOGO, San Diego; Robin Bertolucci of KFI, Los Angeles; Skip Essick of KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; Don Martin of KLAC, Los Angeles and Fox Sports Radio; John McMullen of Dessert Radio Group, Palm Springs; Jack Silver of KABC, Los Angeles; David Sniff of KFMB, San Diego; and Chuck Tyler of KRLA/KKLA, Los Angeles. Some of the radio personalities speaking will include Andy Dean of Premiere Networks; LaFern Cusack of SCBA and ESPN, Los Angeles; Charles Feldman of KNX, Los Angeles; Roger Hedgecock of KOGO, San Diego and Radio America; Tom Leykis of the New Normal; Stephanie Miller of KTLK, Los Angeles and Dial Global; Doug McIntyre of KABC, Los Angeles and Cumulus Media; Patt Morrison of KPCC-FM, Los Angeles and Southern California Public Radio; John Phillips of KABC, Los Angeles; Josefa Salinas of Hot 92.3 FM, Los Angeles and Doug Stephan of Stephan Multimedia. Rounding out the line-up of presenters and moderators are Jason Insalaco of KFI, Los Angeles; Bill Moran of Bill Moran and Associates; and Kevin Casey, Mike Kinosian and Michael Harrison of TALKERS. There will be displays of the latest remote broadcasting equipment by Comrex Corporation and the latest radios by C. Crane Company. Although the event has reached maximum registration capacity there will be ample opportunity for broadcasters around the country to see and hear much of the event’s activities in the form of stories, photos and videos at Talkers.com shortly after the event. For the complete LARTF agenda, click here.
Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio to Distribute WNYC, New York Programs. Hot on the heels of the launch of its new iHeartRadio, Clear Channel announces it will begin making three of the more popular public radio talk programs from WNYC, New York available to users of the mobile phone app. “WNYC News and Conversation” will feature “The Brian Lehrer Show,” “The Leonard Lopate Show” and the WNYC-Public Radio International production “The Takeaway.” New York Public Radio vice president and chief digital officer Thomas Hjelm says, “We are delighted that Clear Channel will offer a selection of programming from WNYC on iHeartRadio. We are committed to making our programming available to the widest possible audience. Given iHeartRadio’s affinity with talk radio fans, it is an effective platform to extend the reach of our programming among news/talk listeners across the country.”
Sean Hannity Announces Holiday Concert Series to Benefit Troops. Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel superstar Sean Hannity is hosting an exclusive four-city concert series to benefit the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund. “Sean Hannity’s Holiday Concert Salute to the Troops” includes three-time Grammy winner Michael W. Smith, Oliver North and John Ondrasik of the group Five for Fighting, and more. Concerts will take place at New York City’s famed Hammerstein Ballroom on November 27; Pittsburgh’s Byham Theater on December 2; Washington, D.C.’s Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill on December 3; and Atlanta’s Cobb Energy Centre on December 18. Hannity says, “At this time of year it is so important that we not only recognize the sacrifices the men and women of our Armed Forces make, but we also take time out to honor them and pay tribute to the freedoms we’ve been given through their service to our country. These concerts are a great avenue for us to be able to come together as families, enjoy the holiday season and celebrate our troops. I’m honored to have some extremely talented friends join me on stage for what is sure to be a series of very special nights honoring some very special people.” The concert series is being produced by Townsquare Media and benefits Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund which goes to the education of children of U.S. service members who have been killed or permanently disabled in an operational mission or training accident.
Chicago Legend Steve Dahl Returns to Windy City Airwaves on WJJG. Since exiting CBS Radio’s WJMK-FM, Chicago, Steve Dahl has been producing podcasts available at his own dahl.com website. Now, the “Dahlcast” will be part of the lineup at WJJG, Chicago. WJJG general manager Matt Dubiel says, “Steve Dahl is a radio genius and I couldn’t be more pleased to be working with him and his team. This is a huge victory for Chicago radio listeners. These are Steve’s listeners. I’d be delighted if 1530 WJJG reacquaints Dahl fans with Steve and perhaps introduces new fans. That’s what radio is supposed to do! And if you like Steve on 1530, you’ll LOVE getting the Dahlcast Daily.” WJJG recently added Talk Radio Network’s Michael Savage and Mancow to its daily program schedule.
WBAL, Baltimore Midday Host Rom Smith Has Cancer. Ron Smith announced to his listeners today (10/17) that he went to the doctor after experiencing abdominal pain about two weeks ago and tests revealed a tumor on his pancreas. His doctor said the cancer has spread to his liver and lungs. When Smith asked his doctor if it was worth trying to fight, he replied that is was and he’s seen worse cases successfully treated. Smith will undergo chemotherapy and will remain on the air as long as he is able. The 69-year-old Smith has been at WBAL for more than a quarter century.
Cumulus Promotes Two. Stu Gorlick moves from his post as vice president of sales at the company’s Poughkeepsie-based Hudson Valley station group to VP/market manager for the Danbury market. Aaron Hyland leaves his position as VP/market manger at the company’s Fort Walton Beach, Florida to become vice president and market manager at the Hudson Valley station group.