Tag: "super bowl"

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

| January 27, 2015

price howardGetting It Partly Wrong and Absolutely Right.  Disaster preparedness expert Howard B. Price – director, business continuity for ABC Television – writes in a piece in TALKERS today (1/27) that even though parts of the Northeast escaped the dire predictions of Winter Storm Juno, it’s better that people were overprepared.  For those upset with officials for shutting down roads and, in some cases, entire cities, Price says, “No one should EVER blame the messengers for decisions governments and businesses take based on scientific facts that were trumped – as they sometimes are – by the forces of nature.  Better to plan for what turns out to be unnecessary, then to be caught flat-footed when circumstances are worse than you anticipated.”  Keep in mind that as we publish this piece on Tuesday, parts of New England are indeed getting a lot of snow, combined with high winds.  Read more from Price here.

foxcarolynCarolyn Fox: My Prescription for Radio Success.  Radio pro Carolyn Fox writes about the key tenets to help personalities succeed in the radio business – even in this era.  In this piece she presents five points radio personalities should understand in order to have success in a business that’s contingent upon connecting with listeners.  “Great radio is nothing more than real humans connecting with other real humans aurally,” Fox says, “Don’t overcomplicate the message because my kid is banking on you to resuscitate radio so he too can pay back his college loans.”  Read Carolyn Fox’s piece here.

leykistomnonameTom Leykis’ The New Normal Reports 2014 Profit.  It’s been three years since Tom Leykis – free from the confines of his old contract with CBS RADIO – debuted his own internet talk program via a digital platform operating within his company The New Normal LLC.  Leykis says that his gross revenue for 2014 was $524,952, an increase of 60% over 2013’s gross, and a net profit of $2,187.  He goes on to say that this profit “will most likely exceed the combined net profits of the radio industry’s two largest companies (representing 1,310 or 11% of all US commercial radio stations).”  Pointing to the balance sheets of large radio operators iHeartMedia and Cumulus Media, Leykis says “iHeartMedia has not earned a net profit since at least 2008 according to its own 10K report.  Despite recent claims of ‘accelerated growth,’ iHeart’s best showing since 2008 was the second quarter of 2010 when it showed a net of negative $204.2 million…Cumulus Media, which is number two to iHeartMedia in stations owned, has shown a slight profit in 2014, with earnings per share for 2014 so far reported at $0.04 per share and net revenue of $159.34 million as of the third quarter of 2014.”  TALKERS editors note that while profits are certainly a challenge for companies with large debt service, it can be argued that the two companies mentioned (and the others not) employ thousands of people, support workers’ families and in turn contribute to the economy in a bigger way than a small company that actually earns a profit.  Still, Leykis says his point is that it doesn’t take big corporate backing to produce a successful media venture.  “In the end, this news doesn’t exactly make my day.  I made a fantastic living in the radio business and I still have many friends in the industry who are afraid of what the future holds.  I could have retired young and lived comfortably forever.  This project is to show radio folks that there’s a future for them if they’re willing to work hard.”

Westwoon One Super Bowl AdsWestwood One to Recognize Excellence in Audio Creativity. It has become an annual event for the syndicator to recognize the best radio commercials within perhaps the year’s biggest sporting event – the Super Bowl. Westwood One‘s senior vice president of sports sales & marketing Brandon Berman explains that the Cumulus Media division created the “Sound Awards” to “connect with – and to encourage – marketers, creatives, and brands to join forces and showcase the power of sound. Our Super Bowl broadcast is the perfect environment for advertisers to leverage their commercial creative, thanks to our incredible reach and sheer volume of audience across platforms. Following the crowning of a Super Bowl Champion, we look forward to crowning an advertising champion.” Westwood One’s play-by-play coverage of SuperSeahawks - Patriots Bowl XLIX between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks originates this Sunday (2/1) from suburban Phoenix (Glendale). The “Super Bowl Sound Awards for Excellence in Audio Creativity” will feature national ads airing on Westwood One’s Super Bowl XLIX broadcast, as well as SiriusXM Radio, NFL.com/Audiopass, NFL Mobile from Verizon, and on the American Forces Radio Network. Last year’s winner, Motel 6, earned the top spot with a parody on how to use AutoCorrect.  Other top vote getters were Tilted Kilt, Subway, Exergen, and Taco Bell. Voting opened yesterday (Monday, 1/27) at 3:00 pm (ET) and runs through next Tuesday (2/3) at 12:00 noon; winners will be announced next Wednesday (2/4).

XEPRS-AMXEPRS-AM, Padres Extend “Mighty” Agreement. The pact between Broadcast Company of the Americas’ sports outlet XEPRS-AM “The Mighty 1090″ and the National League West San Diego Padres covers this year’s MLB season and next year. BCA president Mike Glickenhaus comments, “We are very excited to continue our relationship with the Padres. We believe very strongly in the [team's] vision for theSan Diego Padres future and we are looking forward to being a part of it.” Padres president Mike Dee remarks, “We are thrilled and excited because this really is a good partnership. ‘The Mighty 1090′ is where San Diego fans go for their sports and the Padres are glad to be part of it.” XEPRS-AM has been the Padres’ flagship since 2004; the station is licensed to Rosarito Beach, Baja California (Mexico).

Odds & Sods.  Former Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Mike Rogers joins Hudson Institute as a Distinguished Fellow.  In this role, he’ll focus on cyber-warfare and security, counterterrorism, and national security policy.  Rogers currently hosts the nationally syndicated feature “Something to Think About withrogersmike Mike Rogers” for Westwood One and is a CNN national security contributor…..At the Omaha cluster of NRG Media, AM radio operations manager Neil Nelkin announces he’s leaving the position and the station group he’s been at for more than two decades.  The company’s Omaha AM properties include: sports talkers KZOT and KOZN, news/talk KOIL, and Spanish-language KMMQ…..There’s a changing of traffic reporters at Tribune’s WGN, Chicago as the station informs traffic service Radiate Media that it’s dropping 10-year personality Leslie Keiling and will replace her with Judy Pielach, according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder…..Ashley Lopez is named political reporter for Kentucky Public Radio’s WFPL, Louisville.

Johnjay and RichJohnjay and Rich Suggest Non-Traditional Super Bowl Accommodations. Capitalizing on the fact that this Sunday’s Super Bowl is being played in their flagship market, Phoenix-based syndicated morning talents Johnjay and Rich maintain they are prepared to rent out their studio. Emphasizing they are offering the “full Super Bowl experience,” the duo cites computers, buffet breakfasts/lunches, convenient parking, and color television as tongue-in-cheek selling points to would-be renters. According to a video they shot, the 3.5-day rate to rent their studio is approximately $160.

WW1probowl15Busy Week in Arizona for Westwood One.  Pictured here is the crew that covered last weekend’s NFL Pro Bowl game at University of Phoenix Stadium – also the site of this weekend’s Super Bowl XLIX.  Westwood One is the exclusive national radio partner of the NFL.  From left to right are: producer Aaron Cummins, announcer Scott Graham (the voice of NFL Films), executive producer Howard Deneroff, and NFL Hall of Famer Rod Woodson.

Obama Tax Plan, ‘American Sniper’ Film Controversy, 2016 Presidential Prospects, East Coast Blizzard, and Super Bowl/DeflateGate Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/26).  The proposal by President Obama to hike taxes on the rich to assist the middle class; the controversial responses to the film “American Sniper”; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the blizzard hitting the East Coast; and Sunday’s Super Bowl and chatter about the DeflateGate issue were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, January 26, 2015

| January 26, 2015

limbaugh logoLongtime Rush Limbaugh Staffer Kit Carson Dies After Battle with Cancer.  TALKERS magazine has learned from Sound Mind LLC principal Kraig Kitchin that longtime Rush Limbaugh staffer Christopher “Kit” Carson passed away this morning (1/26), in New Jersey.   The cause was brain cancer.  Kitchin says Carson had suffered a bout of cancer four years ago but found his way to recovery two years later and was given a clean bill of health.  In the last several months, the cancer returned.  Kit Carson was the “chief of staff” of Limbaugh’s program since the early 1990s.  He became part of the program’s staff in 1989.  Kitchin says Carson wanted to be an actor, but fell in love with his work on the program.  He screened calls, opened and answered the mail, and he took every opportunity to be invaluable.  And he became invaluable.  Later, he was nicknamed “H.R.” with Limbaugh naming him after Nixon Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman.  A clearly shaken, limbaughrushtearful Rush Limbaugh announced the news at the top of his radio program today (1/26).  He said, “We are all experiencing a huge void in all of our hearts here today.”  Limbaugh praised Carson as never having a bad word to say about anyone and was always a mediating force for good and harmony among the staff.  Limbaugh said that Carson was the longest-running employee of the show and quickly proved himself to be the new program’s number one defender, champion and evangelist.  Limbaugh also credited Carson with coming up with many ideas and angles that he used as his own on the air—and was also a tremendous force for Rush maintaining optimism and positivity in his work and attitude about life.  Clearly he was the one guy who Limbaugh never once doubted – “I had total trust in him.”  Limbaugh said, “Even at 58 he had an innocent exuberance about him.”  Carson is survived by his wife, Theresa, and two sons.

cookeTalkersTVNow Showing on TalkersTV: Writing Commercial Copy That Produces RESULTS.  Just try not to flinch when you hear The Six Most-Dreaded Words in Radio Sales: “We tried radio, it didn’t work.”  Even when the retail business and the station fit-like-a-glove — AND the client buys enough frequency — the campaign can flop, and the disappointed advertiser gives up on radio entirely.  WHY?  Consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke explains, “Too often, it’s because the commercial copy was ineffective.  Not surprisingly, this can happen because cutbacks have cost the station a creative department and reps are writing their own spots… too often banging out scripts quickly, so they can get back on the street to close new business — which they’re under pressure to do, because of churn.  Why does this often happen?  You guessed it: Because clients cancel…because they didn’t get results…because the copy didn’t work.  It’s a vicious cycle.”  Cooke adds, “Ironically, the same problem is common at stations that HAVE a creative person or department.”  And he cites three reasons:

1.  The conveyor belt is out of control.  With four, five or six stations under one roof, the writer gets overwhelmed.

2.  ESPECIALLY this time of year, when stations stage the annual first quarter “one day sale,” piling even more work on the writer; in many cases spots that will air long-term (or until the disappointed client cancels).

3.  The writer, back at the station, didn’t share the rep’s in-person contact with the prospect during the important Needs Assessment step.  Cooke figures that “account executives are, potentially, better writers than…writers, because they know clients’ stories first-hand.”

“Potentially,” Cooke stipulates, “because account executives need to speak to the listener (the advertiser’s client) the same way they approached the advertiser.  Reps are natural sellers, but don’t always apply their persuasive talent to copy writing.”  In a video now showing on TalkersTV, Cooke outlines what he calls “the dance steps of a 60-second commercial script,” based on his work helping client station reps craft copy for local retailers.  See Cooke relate what he terms “The Five Steps of Selling Anything to Anybody” (how reps got the order) to the copy-writing process.  See the TalkersTV box at the top right-hand column of this page and every page of Talkers.com.

mussonchristinaKMJ-AM/FM, Fresno Names Musson Co-Host.  The new late morning show at Cumulus Media’s Fresno news/talker KMJ-AM/FM launches today as “Broeske & Musson.”  KMJ program director Blake Taylor announces the station promotes Christina Musson from station executive producer to co-host of the program alongside John Broeske.  Taylor says, “We tried out dozens of potential co-hosts for John, but we only needed to look down the hall for the perfect answer.  ‘Broeske & Musson’ is going to be a dynamic show with tons of energy.  They’ll continue to deliver the hard-hitting and fun topics of the day that our listeners expect.”  Musson has been executive producer the past six years.  Her resume also includes production and reporting work at Fresno’s KMPH-TV KGPE-TV as well as KAPP-TV in Yakima, Washington.  She says, “I’m excited to take the next step in my career at such an amazing station and to partner with John Broeske – someone I admire and respect.  I grew up listening to KMJ, so it’s a dream come true.”

knxawards15Radio & Television News Association of Southern California Presents Awards.  The 65th annual Golden Mike awards were presented by the Radio & Television News Association of Southern California (RTNA) on Saturday evening (1/24) in Universal City.  The awards are presented annually for excellence in radio, TV and Internet broadcast journalism.  CBS RADIO’s all-news KNX, Los Angeles was recognized with seven Golden Mike awards in the following categories: Best New Broadcast Over 15 Minutes – “KNX Morning News”; Best Live Coverage of a News Story – “LAX Shooting”; Best News Reporting – “Nanny Nightmare” by Charles Feldman; Best Spot News Reporting – “The Great UCLA Flood of 2014” by Desmond Shaw, Ed Mertz, and Pete Demetriou; Best News Public Affairs Program – “Ask the Mayor”; Best Trafficgregorysteveawards Report – KNX Traffic at 6:15 am; and Best Sports Reporting – “Watts Bears”  by Ed Mertz.  Pictured above left are (from l-r) KNX staffers Ron Kilgore, Frank Mottek, Kathy Kiernan, James Tuck, Ric Schroeder, Wendy Thermos, and Pete Demetriou accepting the award for Best Live Coverage of a News Story.  iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk KFI and reporter Steve Gregory also took home seven Golden Mike awards (see photo at right) in the following categories: Best Radio News Special – “Breaking Down The Border Crisis” by Steve Gregory and Oswaldo Borraez; Best Radio Investigative Reporting – “Mold School” by Steve Gregory and Oswaldo Borraez; Best Radio Light Feature (less than a minute) – “Valentine’s Day Flower Inspection” by Steve Gregory; Best Radio Serious Feature (less than a minute) – “Operation Boo” by Steve Gregory; Best Radio Hard News Series – “Trial Of Jailed Marine In Mexico”; Best Radio Internet News Reporting – “Operation Boo” by Steve Gregory and David Perez; and Best Radio Newscast (under 15 minutes).  KFI program director Robin Bertolucci comments, “We have the best news team here at KFI, these folks rock and Steve is a prime example of the caliber of talent that makes us so proud!”

ppmunitRound Four of Holiday PPM Data Released.  The fourth of four rounds of Holiday 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford.  The survey period was December 4 to December 31.  TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here.  In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.

franklinjoeNew York Talk Legend Joe Franklin Dies at 88.  The New York talk television and talk radio icon who was famously parodied by Billy Crystal on “Saturday Night Live,” died after a long battle with cancer on Saturday (1/24).  Joe Franklin hosted a television program interviewing celebrities and offbeat characters beginning in the early 1950s.  He worked in radio later in his career at such stations as WOR, New York and most recently on the Bloomberg Radio Network.  Franklin ranked 71st in the 2010 TALKERS magazine 20th Anniversary Heaviest Hundred list (which ranks “the 100 most important radio talk show hosts of all time”) and appeared a number of times as a special guest speaker at the annual TALKERS Convention in New York City.  Publisher Michael Harrison would introduce him to the attendees from out of town as a famous New York City “tourist attraction as legendary as the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building and Central Park.”  Franklin juggled so many careers in the media that it’s a good thing he stopped to write a book every few years – in fact, 23 in all — to capture his amazingly colorful life.  His autobiography Up Late With Joe Franklin (Scribner, 1995) is jam-packed with celebrity-rich-anecdotes — from Eddie Cantor and Rudy Vallee to Howard Stern, for example.  According to the Library Journal, “He actually knew those early entertainers and knew many of those currently entertaining.”  What originally made him a household name — even before the highly touted “Saturday Night Live” parodies by Billy Crystal — was Franklin’s late night variety program “The Joe Franklin Show,” which ran from 1950 through 1993.  The Guinness Book of World Records lists it as the longest running TV talk show in history manned by one host.   And what a show it was!  Much like visiting your favorite neighborhood hardware store, you never knew what unexpected gems would pop up among the variety and clutter.  A sample show would feature a sculptor, belly dancer, an up-and-coming comic, a podiatrist and then maybe a famous actor or singer.  According to Publisher’s Weekly (1994), his program’s “total guest list ran between 200,000 and 300,000.”  and included such names as Frank Sinatra Jr., Bing Crosby, Marilyn Monroe, John Wayne, Vincent Price, Howard Stern, Buddy Hackett, — as well as first TV exposure for eventual stars like Sammy Davis Jr., Bill Cosby, Woody Allen, Barbra Streisand and Julia Roberts.  “It would be easier to list the few who did not appear than to catalogue those who did,” PW says. Franklin started and ended his long show business career in radio.  His first job, at 16, was working behind the scenes at WNEW, New York where he became “the record librarian,” (or really “the record picker”) for Martin Block’s popular “Make Believe Ballroom” radio program.   Once station management recognized his unique expertise in vaudeville and entertainment trivia, they offered him a 15-minute program dedicated to nostalgia.  Eventually that became his calling card and part of the schtick he’d weave into shows, whether radio or television.  The self- proclaimed “King of Entertainment” had an encyclopedic knowledge of “all things entertainment” from the first half of the 20th Century:  silent films, Broadway stage shows, musicians and singers.  With that, he also earned the title the “king of nostalgia.”  After his television show ended, Franklin focused on his long-running “Memory Lane” radio program, which ran on WOR on weekend overnights.  He’d tell stories about many of the entertainers whose records he would play.  In recent years, up until the time of his death, he hosted a weekends-only series of six-minute segments on Bloomberg Radio Network called ‘The Business of Show Business.’  Audio podcasts are still available at Bloomberg.com.  Throughout his career, the round-faced, jovial Franklin was commonly called back to television to do guest spots on the big late night and daytime talk shows such as those hosted by Regis Philbin and David Letterman.   Considered a good luck charm for the start of a new talk show due to the length of his show’s run, Franklin often kicked off day one of a show – and did so on the first broadcasts of “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and “This American Life.”  Though Franklin may never have wanted to act in movies – like his childhood friend Tony Curtis – he did appear as himself in “Ghostbusters” and “Broadway Danny Rose,” just to name two of the 34 titles that IMDb lists.   Franklin was born in 1926 in the Bronx, New York.  He met his model/actress wife when she was a secretary and he was “a kid of 24 just doing radio… and we were married on the TV show called ‘Bride and Groom,’” where real-life couples tied the knot after being quizzed about their relationship on national television.  Perhaps what sums Joe Franklin up best is his favorite personal quote: “It’s nice to be important, but it’s even more important to be nice.”

Odds & Sods.  Former “Regular Guys” personality Eric Von Haessler begins hosting his “The Von Haessler Doctrine” show on Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB, Atlanta airing Sundays at 1:00 pm.  Since exiting his “Regular Guys” co-host position at Cumulus Media’s crosstown rock WNNX “96 Rock” in June of 2014, Von Haessler has been doing fill-vonhaesslerericin work at WSB and podcasting…..Boston sports talk personality Danny Picard launches his new eponymous podcast at the same time he debuts his new website and celebrates the opening of his new studio inside Beantown Athletics in Dorchester, Massachusetts.  Picard is a weekend personality on Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston and is part of the “Patriots Pre-game and Post-Game Live” shows on Comcast SportsNet New England…..Westwood One is picarddannyannouncing some of the details of its Super Bowl programming as the official network radio partner for the National Football League.  It will feature a full schedule of game day programming leading up to kickoff.  Westwood One’s live game coverage features Kevin Harlan, handling the play-by-play duties for the Super Bowl for the fifth straight year, and Boomer Esiason, serving as the color analyst.  Hall of Famer James Lofton and Mark Malone will once again report from the sidelines.  Emmy Award-winning host Jim Gray will anchor the pregame and halftime coverage…..FOX Sports Radio is also on the scene in Glendale, Arizona this week leading up to the Super Bowl.  FSRN announces that as part of its continuous coverage “Jay Mohr Sports” news anchor Dan Beyer and J.T. The Brick will broadcast live from radio row while the Dan Patrick show and the Rich Eisen show will broadcast from the DIRECTV Super Fan Festival at the Pendergrast Family Farm in Glendale’s Sports and Entertainment District across from Phoenix Stadium.  Also, former NFL player Lincoln Kennedy will broadcast a special edition of the network’s Saturday morning program Gargano & Kennedy…..CBS Sports Radio’s plans for coverage of the big game include live-from-Glendale broadcasts all week by the network’s Jim Rome, Doug Gottlieb and the Tiki Barber and Brandon Tierney program.

Sports Talk After the Super Bowl

| April 1, 2014

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor

 

LOS ANGELES —When the industry adopted electronic-based measurement in the form of Nielsen Audio’s (formerly Arbitron) PPM, it was universally known that January would be a “down” month for those stations that played all-Christmas music during the December and “Holiday” survey periods.

Another significant ratings trend though that conversely has flown considerably under the radar is that – in February – all-sports stations tend to hit the skids.

Typically, the Super Bowl is played the first Sunday in February and, for whatever reason, sports outlets take a bit of a hit immediately after that mega-event.

Good news though is that it does not usually become a prolonged funk for these facilities, as we are presently on the threshold of the 2014 MLB season, which coincides with the tail end of “March Madness.” In addition – and perhaps to a lesser extent – playoffs loom in the NBA and NHL.

Read More

Endorsements Should Be Interesting

| March 4, 2013

By Michael Berry
Host
The Michael Berry Show

berrymichaelwriterHOUSTON — All I ever hear radio industry execs talk about is ratings and revenues, as if the two go hand in hand.  With music stations, that may be true.  But talk radio’s future will be determined by our ability to get results for our advertisers.  That includes, but is not limited to, ratings, and it probably has more to do with ratings in categories currently seen as less, or altogether un-, important; namely, 55 and up, or 35-64.

Ratings are not an end in themselves, but rather a pricing mechanism by which advertisers determine the rates they will pay.  In an industry which measures itself primarily, indeed almost exclusively, on the 25-54 demo, it’s good to remember how many people are active consumers who don’t fit into those niches.  Twenty-five-year-olds don’t buy houses, or improve them.  Their bodies aren’t breaking down, so they don’t need all the medical advancements of companies willing to advertise those services.  They are not investing, banking, exercising, losing weight, restoring vision, or maintaining a house that needs everything from new pipes to electrical to roofing to driveway pavers to a pool.  In short, radio can still be very profitable as our society ages by appealing to direct-buy advertisers.  But only if radio can yield results for the client.  Think about it: listeners tune to music radio to zone out to music, and when someone talks it’s a distraction.  Listeners tune to talk radio to be engaged, and the talk by the host is what they sought.  If the host’s endorsement of a product could be as compelling as his discussion of Obama’s hypocrisy, imagine the boon to advertisers.   Winning the ratings war for most listeners under 54 does not necessarily yield financial returns to the people who pay for advertising.  It is not the size of the audience, but rather the size of the response for the advertiser, that will build loyalty in clients.  So how do we get results for clients, especially live, direct clients? Read More

Blogging to Grow your Tribe

| January 30, 2013

More Thoughts from the Recent New Media Expo

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — In olden times, radio, like other ad media, sold exposure, audience tonnage. Sales reps would show-off ratings rankers… which I always thought was daffy. Would you go to a job interview with nine other applicants’ resumés?

• But there our call letters were, in black and white, atop the page of whichever-demographic-we-sorted. Reps recited the Reach + Frequency spiel, promising that a radio ad schedule would help the retailer “build brand.” “We’ll make you the best-known” among all-who-sell-what-you-sell. Repetition, y’know?

• Fast forward to present day: Mere message exposure doesn’t do it anymore. The E-word en vogue is engagement, and money is flowing to digital opportunities that talk-with customers, rather than simply talk-at-‘em.

Read More

Friday, January 25, 2013

| January 25, 2013

schnitttoddSchnitt vs Bubba Trial Delayed for One Day After Schnitt’s Attorney Arrested for DUI.  It’s a rather bizarre twist in what is a high-profile case in Tampa.  The judge in the case granted a one-day delay in the trial after Charles Philip Campbell, Jr. was taken into custody Wednesday evening on suspicion of DUI.  He refused to take a blood alcohol test andbubba was released on $500 bond.  The trial will resume today as nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt is suing Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) for defamation.  Schnitt spent most of two days on the witness stand Tuesday and Wednesday.  Clem’s attorney tried to score a few public sympathy points telling Fox 13 Tampa, “I’m shocked that the case was continued.  I feel horrible for this jury that has been sequestered and pulled from their jobs, their lives and their families.”  He told the TV station he didn’t understand why Schnitt’s other attorneys couldn’t handle the case.

martinezjrKFI, Los Angeles Adds J.R. Martinez for Sunday Evening Program.  The “Dancing with the Stars” champ, best-selling author and retired U.S. Army soldier begins his permanent role as host of the 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm Sunday program on Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles this Sunday.  J.R. Martinez was deployed to Iraq in 2003 and, shortly after arriving, his Humvee hit a roadside bomb that trapped him inside the burning vehicle.  He suffered severe burns over 34% of his body and spent 34 months at Brooke Army Medical Center recovering.  In October of 2012 he published Full of Heart: My Story of Survival, Strength and Spirit (Hyperion 2012) that became a New York Times best-seller.  KFI program director Robin Bertolucci says, “He’s so inspirational and dynamic.  He filled in for Bill Carroll during the holidays and I just had to have him join our line up!  I’m thrilled he jumped at the opportunity and I’m excited to see what he will do with his own show.”  Martinez replaces the David Cruz program.  Cruz is concentrating on his four-hour daily program on sister progressive talk station KTLK.

wcnnfrontrowWCNN, Atlanta Goes Local in Late Mornings.  Dickey Broadcasting’s sports talker WCNN, Atlanta “Sports Radio 680 The Fan” is adding the new local show “The Front Row” for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart.  The show stars Ray Mariner, Sandra Golden and Brian Finneran (pictured here from left to right).  Golden and Finneran are also part of the “Rude Awakening” AM drive show (which will be trimmed by an hour to a 9:00 am stop beginning Monday).  Mariner was co-host of the morning show on Lincoln Financial Media’s crosstown CHR WSTR “Star 94” until he exited that post back in May of 2012.  The show replaces Fox Sports Radio/DirecTV’s Dan Patrick program.

cookehollandAre You Ready for Some Baseball?  Okay, so much of the country is in Super Bowl mode right now, but radio consultant Holland Cooke reports to TALKERS that with so many news/talk stations (as well as sports talk signals) carrying MLB play-by-play in their markets, now’s a good time to begin preparing to take advantage of those expensive rights.  Cooke writes about ways to take ownership of the play-by-play beginning during spring training.  Once the season starts, use brief promotional slots – like top-of-the-hour IDs – to promote the next game.  Check out more on this in Holland Cooke’s Friday piece here.

esiasonboomerBoomer Esiason Tackles TV and Radio on Super Bowl Sunday; Dial Global Handles Exclusive Radio Coverage.  The NFL’s Super Bowl is usually the biggest TV event of the year but for the millions of Americans who can’t be near a TV, Dial Global’s exclusive radio play-by-play delivers the game.  This year, Boomer Esiason and Kevin Harlan will be in the booth calling the game for Dial Global.  But Boomer is also a CBS Sports employee (in addition to his AM drive work on WFAN, New York) and he’ll be on CBS TV as part of the pre-game show and the halftime broadcast.  After he finishes the pre-game show from the field, he’ll move upstairs to the radio booth to call the game with Harlan.  Talk about a busy day for Boomer!  Dial Global’s coverage of the event also includes such experienced talent as James Lofton, Mark Malone, Jim Gray and Scott Graham.  Joining Jim Gray for pre-game and halftime programming are NFL stars Tom Brady and Larry Fitzgerald.  Hall of Fame defensive back Rod Woodson will also be part of the extended pre-game program.

wfva logoWFVA, Fredericksburg, Virginia Returns to News/Talk on Monday.  After two years as an adult standards-formatted station, Centennial Broadcasting’s WFVA, Fredericksburg returns to airing a news/talk format using largely syndicated talent.  The program schedule will include: Cumulus Media NetworksDon Imus, Mike Huckabee, Mark Levin and Michael Savage as well as Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck.  Ten year WFVA veteran Ted Schubel will continue as the station’s news director and will also host a one-hour local program titled, “Town Talk With Ted,” airing weekdays at 8:00 am.  The show will introduce listeners to local businesses, non-profit leaders, and political figures who influence the Fredericksburg region.  Centennial Fredericksburg market manager Tom Hamilton says, “It has been nearly two full years since WFVA changed from a news/talk station to adult standards format.  During that time, we have paid attention to what our listeners have said.  Overwhelmingly, they told us they wanted news/talk back on WFVA.  By providing many of the most-listened-to talk show hosts in the nation, along with community involvement, local news and public affairs programming, we will better serve our listeners, our local businesses and our community.”

jonesalexKFNX, Phoenix Adds New Syndicated Programming.  Genesis Communications Network’s Alex Jones is part of the new lineup at Francis Battaglia-owned KFNX, Phoenix where he airs in the overnight time slot.  Also added to the station’s program schedule is Dial Global and Cox Media’s Herman Cain from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm; Dial Global’s Dennis Miller from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon; and Cumulus Media NetworksMichael Savage who returns to the station to air in the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot.

Obama Second Term Agenda Top News/Talk Story During Week of January 21-25.  The second term agenda of President Obama as outlined in his Inauguration Day speech was the top story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  Following at #2 this week was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi testimony.  At #3 was the battle in Washington over reducing the deficit and at #4 was the North Korea nuclear threat.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio across America and is based on ongoing research from TALKERS.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

| January 22, 2013

hayesdrewProgrammer Drew Hayes Moves to KABC, Los Angeles.  News/talk programming pro Drew Hayes is leaving his OM position at Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM, Chicago to take up the PD reins at the company’s KABC, Los Angeles.  That station has been without a PD since Jack Silver exited last summer to program the NBC Sports Radio/Dial Global sports talk initiative.  The WLS-AM programming duties will be assumed by PD Tracy Slutzkin who served as APD under Hayes before being promoted to program director.  It’s been a tumultuous four months for WLS-AM with longtime morning duo Don Wade and Roma being forced to leave their position due to Don Wade’s health and the sudden death of midday talk host Jake Hartford last week.  WLS vice president and market manager Donna Baker says, “Drew has led WLS through some unique challenges and his leadership is respected and appreciated.  We wish him and his family the very best in LA.  I’m confident Tracy will continue to lead WLS forward to great success.”  About his latest move to the West Coast Hayes says, “It’s a thrill to return to LA and I am appreciative of the support and confidence Cumulus has shown in me.  I am looking forward to helping re-energize one of the greatest sets of call letters in the most exciting city.”  Hayes previously programmed KABC in the late 1990s when the station was owned by ABC/Disney.

hillmikeSuper Bowl Media Week Begins Next Monday.  It’s the most wonderful time of the year for many sports talk radio people who get to leave their studio confines behind and re-locate to a (usually) warm location to take part in the media buildup surrounding the Super Bowl.  Beginning Monday, ESPN reports that, in addition to their slate of live broadcasts from New Orleans, Mike Hill of the Hill & Schlereth program will serve as a special behind-the-scenes reporter filing stories online.  ESPN states, “Adding to ESPN Radio’s already comprehensive coverage will be the deployment of Mike Hill, co-host of the nightly Hill & Schlereth, as a behind-the-scenes reporter for ESPNRadio.com.  He will provide clandestine chronicles of ESPN Radio-related activities in New Orleans, providing a perspective unique to ESPN Radio.com’s previous Super Bowl coverage.”

odonnelldanDan O’Donnell Jumps to WISN, Milwaukee.  News anchor and talk show host Dan O’Donnell moves from Journal Broadcast Group’s WTMJ, Milwaukee to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s crosstown news/talk WISN where he’ll take on news anchoring duties as well as do fill-in work for the station’s talk hosts, provide commentary and take charge of the station’s “Common Sense Central” online initiative.  In a statement, O’Donnell says, “This is an incredible opportunity, but it is at least somewhat bittersweet because of the amazing people I’ve had a chance to meet and work with over my many years at Newsradio 620 WTMJ.  I’ve made friendships there that I consider lifelong and will always love and cherish every minute I spent at my first broadcast home.  Yet I am looking forward with all of my heart to beginning this exciting new chapter in my professional life and hope that you will join me on what I hope will be one heck of an adventure.”

imusdon“Imus on Broadway” Charity Fundraiser Scheduled for February 11.  The 3rd Annual “Imus on Broadway” event is taking place on February 11 at the Hard Rock Café in Times Square.  For the event, New York Post theater columnist Michael Riedel will emcee the promotion and join 77WABC-based Don Imus for a “best of Broadway” review featuring performances by the cast of some of the biggest shows on Broadway including: “Patsy Cline,” “Chicago,” “Hands on a Hard Body,” “Mamma Mia,” “Mystery of Edwin Drood,” “Nice Work if You Can Get It,” “Once,” “Rock of Ages,” and “Wicked.”  All ticket sales for the event benefit the Imus Ranch for Kids with Cancer.

crnlogoCRN Digital Talk Radio Celebrates 30th Anniversary.  The Sunland, California-based CRN Digital Talk Radio is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and is marking the occasion with special on-air programming, its all-new online magazine and by hosting the “1st annual Food and Wine Awards.”  Founder and CEO Michael Horn began CRN (Cable Radio Network) in 1983 with a little seed money and lots of enthusiasm.  It all began when Horn saw a trade publication article about how Los Angeles rock station KMET-FM was garnering a 7-share in thehornmike Phoenix market.  It turned out that the station was sending its audio into a dedicated channel with cable providers in that market.  He says, “I thought that it was a great idea to try to bring radio to television and give cable subscribers the variety and cutting edge programming that only radio can offer.”  Soon, Horn’s fledgling service was serving a number of Los Angeles-area cable companies who saw the value of radio programming on their cable lineup.  Today, CRN is available on scores of cable and telecommunications providers as well as radio stations across the country, offering more than100 shows along with a stellar roster of top syndicated programs hosted by radio veterans such as Barry Farber, Dennis Prager, Fred Dryer, Robert Conrad, Mancow and Doug Stephan, among others.  Horn states, “As part of our anniversary, we’re launching ‘CRN Digital Mag,’ our new online magazine aimed at listeners who want to know more about their favorite shows and personalities.”  Capping the year-long celebration will be the “CRN Food and Wine Awards,” scheduled for the fall which will honor the Los Angeles area’s top eateries as well as the California’s great wineries and winemakers.

santosgilThe End of an Era for New England Patriots Fans.  The longtime voice of New England Patriots football radio broadcasts is retiring.  Gil Santos called his last game on Sunday as the Pats lost to the Baltimore Ravens.  Based out of CBS Radio’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub,” Santos spent 36 years calling 744 games for the club – a record he shares with former Philadelphia Eagles play-by-play voice Merrill Reese.  Santos signed off Sunday’s broadcast by telling listeners, “Thank you very much for allowing me to be the voice of the Patriots for 36 wonderful years.  I enjoyed every minute of it.  I hope the next guy enjoys it as much as I did, and realizes it’s a privilege, not a job.  This is Gil Santos, thanking you all for 36 wonderful years.”  Santos’ longtime partner – former Patriot Gino Cappelletti – retired as the color analyst prior to this season.

watkinsjimAffiliate Relations Pro Jim Watkins Joins Sun Broadcasting Group.  Jim Watkins had been with Talk Radio Network for 13 years, most recently as director of affiliate relations and executive producer.  Now he becomes part of the Boca Raton, Florida-based Sun Broadcasting Group as vice president of programming.  Sun EVP Steve Gallagher says of Watkins, “Jim is a class act and brings an impressive background to Sun.  We are confident our advertisers, content providers and radio affiliates will profit from his vision, creativity and expertise.  Jim has a keen sense of what great product sounds like and we’re excited to have him at Sun.”

comptonlawnshotBest Seat in the (White) House.  ABC News Radio White House Correspondent Ann Compton is pictured here reporting from her unique vantage point of a plot of grass on the White House lawn as she covers yesterday’s Inauguration Day Parade.  Thanks to digital technology and the work of amazing companies such as Comrex Corporation that have developed reliable remote broadcasting equipment, Compton is able to deliver high-quality reports from the field and allow her radio reports to be up-to-the-minute.

Filling In.  Sitting in for Compass Media Networks’ talk show host Todd Schnitt on his nationally syndicated show on Wednesday is KFAQ, Tulsa morning drive host Pat Campbell.

kmjlogoCool Job Opportunity.  KMJ-AM/FM in Fresno has an immediate opening for the position of Director of Agri-Broadcasting.  If you are experienced in gathering, writing, and reporting local news and agri-business news, are knowledgeable about the multitude of farm products and issues in the Central Valley of California, have a sense of curiosity, urgency, and know today’s broadcast environment, this could be your new home for a long time.  Send your resume and mp3 sample of your work to skip.essick@peakbroadcasting.com.  Peak Broadcasting is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

knx logoKNX, Los Angeles Picks Up Six Golden Mike Honors.  At the 63rd Annual Golden Mike awards dinner held in Universal City over the weekend, CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles was honored with six Golden Mike Awards.  The awards are presented by the Radio & Television News Association of Southern California annually for excellence in radio, TV and internet broadcast journalism excellence.  KNX took home honors for: Best News Broadcast Over 15 Minutes; Best Spot News Reporting; Best Hard News Series Reporting; Best Feature News; Best Traffic Report; and Best Business and Consumer Reporting.

fergusonkrokBlue Ribbon Winners.  WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas talk show hosts Ben Ferguson (left) and evening talk host Chris Krok (right) display the blue ribbons they won for coming in first place in the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo’s annual Celebrity Goat Milking Contest this past weekend.  In order to claim the bragging rights, Ferguson and Krok had to beat the staffers NBC 5, the Star-Telegram newspaper and other radio stations from the Metroplex.

Inauguration Day, Debt Ceiling/Deficit Deduction Debate, North African Terror Threats, and Prince Harry Taliban Slaying Comments Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/21).  The Inauguration Day festivities and speeches; the debate over reducing the nation’s deficit and dealing with the debt ceiling; terror threats from North Africa; and Prince Harry’s comments to the press about killing Taliban in Afghanistan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, January 4, 2013

| January 4, 2013

simonemarkMark Simone Begins Late Morning Show on WOR, New York.  Longtime WABC, New York personality Mark Simone is heading downtown to begin a new chapter in his career with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WOR.  Simone tells TALKERS he’s excited to begin hosting the daily 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program.  He says, “It’ll be a fast and fun daily look at what’s going on in the world, the city, entertainment, politics, tech, gossip, food, nightlife, my life, lives and whatever else they want to talk about.  Lots of great guests and listener calls, too.”  Simone says his 13 years at WABC wor710were great.  Management was always good to him and he’s finding it hard to leave his fellow co-workers but he’s encouraged to be re-joining general manager Steve Borneman who recently left WABC and is now with WOR.  “He’s a great leader and the best GM we ever had on the 17th floor at WABC and everyone on the air there would tell you that they would follow him anywhere.  He’s also hiring the best and smartest programming mastermind around.  This is just the beginning.  So, while I hate leaving the best co-workers in radio, it may not be long before many of them decide to join me here.”  Simone’s program fills the slot on WOR previously held by Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher.

valicenti show logoWPRO, Providence Makes AM Drive Change; Gene Valicenti to Anchor.  Cumulus Media’s WPRO & 99.7 FM, Providence announces WJAR-TV co-anchor Gene Valicenti (pictured at left) is the new host of its “WPRO Morning News” program.  The station says “Gene brings more than 20 years of Rhode Island news broadcasting experience to the ‘WPRO Morning News’ each and every weekday.  With an intimate knowledge of Rhode Island and neighboring Massachusetts, the ‘WPRO Morning News with Gene Valicenti’ will help listeners get their weekday started with news, traffic, weather and the unique touch of Gene Valicenti.”  For more than two years Valicenti has been hosting his eponymous Saturday morning show on WPRO.  He says, “Rhode Island has been waking up to WPRO since the days of Salty Brine.  It goes without saying that hosting the ‘WPRO Morning News’ is a real honor for me.”  TALKERS columnist and respected industry consultant Holland Cooke, who happens to be a longtime resident of Rhode Island, comments that he believes this to be a very good move.  “I’ve been a big Gene Valicenti fan for years, but who here in Rhode Island isn’t?  His NBC10 newscasts have consistently led the ratings.  Beyond those impressive news chops, Gene’s approach to talk radio demonstrates what I hear as a welcome new trend, an antidote to the format’s caricature.  His Saturday radio show SMILES more than most other talkers I hear; and, though topical, he’s not obsessed with politics.  Gene strikes me as ‘a next-gen Salty Brine.’”  In related news, current morning news host Tara Granahan is promoted to assistant program director for the station.

kinosianmikeTALKERS magazine’s Sports Radio Feature, Part 3.  Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian wraps up a special three-part sports talk radio feature with a look at the December 2012 PPM ratings for sports talk stations in those markets.  Numbers freaks will enjoy checking out how some of the nation’s most prominent sports talk outlets performed during that period.  Peruse that data here.  Mike Kinosian’s three-part feature kicked off with a thorough look at the new CBS Sports Radio Network that debuted on Wednesday.  If you missed that, read it here.  The second part of this piece covered the new sports talk venture from NBC and Dial Global that premieres its weekend programming tomorrow prior to a full launch in April.  You can read that piece here.

noorygeorgeGeorge Noory Celebrates 10 Years as Host of ‘Coast to Coast AM.’  It was 10 years ago this weekend that George Noory took over the permanent host gig at Premiere Networks’ super-successful overnight program “Coast to Coast AM” and he plans a special show Sunday evening to celebrate.  The show will feature appearances by many fan-favorite guests, including paranormal investigator Joshua P. Warren and internationally known psychic Joseph Jacobs.  Noory will also share memorable interviews and highlights from the past decade.  Of the anniversary, Noory says, “It’s amazing how fast 10 years goes by and I’m looking forward to 10 more.  We have grown the affiliate base from 445 stations when I came on to 564, and have increased our digital, multi-platform audiences tremendously.  I want to thank my staff of dedicated producers and engineers, our affiliates, as well as the entire Premiere Networks team – they are the best in the business.”  Premiere Networks EVP of news, talk and sports programming Carl Anderson states, “After 10 successful years, George continues to take ‘Coast to Coast AM’ to new heights.  His ability to not only entertain and engage his loyal following of sleep-deprived listeners across multiple platforms, but also deliver positive results for stations and sponsors, is what makes him a stand-out star in the world of talk radio.  We look forward to celebrating many more milestones together.”

DG-logoHorizontalBig NFL Weekend for Dial Global Sports.  The first round of the NFL playoffs is here and Dial Global is providing radio broadcasts of the four Wild Card round games this weekend.  Play-by-play of the NFL playoffs has been a successful venture for Dial Global (and Westwood One before that).  Last year, the company commissioned a study by Edison Research to calculate listenership to the playoff games and the Super Bowl which, according to Edison, pulled in 23.1 million unique listeners to last year’s championship game, underscoring how many Americans aren’t able to be near a TV and turn to the radio to hear the big game.

snlkaganSNL Kagan Reports Current TV-Al Jazeera Deal a Challenge for Middle East Operator.  The pending $500 million sale of Al Gore-founded cable news/talk channel Current TV to Qatar-operated Al Jazeera is a bounty for Al Gore and Joel Hyatt but will likely be a big hurdle for Al Jazeera.  SNL Kagan states, “We think Al Jazeera may have to drop the license fee to zero in order to gain widespread support for carrying the channel in the U.S., a move that would certainly imperil its economic model, which relies upon license fees for 80% of the network’s revenue.  But maybe this is the only way for Al Jazeera America to gain a solid foothold in the U.S…In the U.S., the channel is available only in New York; Washington; Burlington, Vt.; Toledo, Ohio; and Bristol, R.I., versus 250 million households across the world in 120 countries.”

weei logoEntercom’s WEEI Expands Its Brand in the Granite State.  New England’s Boston-based WEEI sports talk radio brand expands in New Hampshire adding its eighth affiliate – Great Eastern Radio’s WZEI, Meredith.  WZEI is a class A FM covering the Lakes Region of New Hampshire.  The station will carry the entire WEEI daily sports talk lineup, its weekend programming and Boston Celtics basketball.  Great Eastern CEO Jeff Shapiro says, “We are very excited to bring coverage of everything New England sports to the Lakes Region of New Hampshire with 101.5 WZEI.  Great Eastern Radio and WEEI have a great partnership that has been key to great sports programming in northern New England for the past few years, and we look forward to extending that for years to come!”

kgologoKGO, San Francisco Wins Regional News Awards.  Cumulus Media’s KGO, San Francisco picks up two 2012 awards for broadcasting excellence from the NorCal Radio Television News Directors Association.  The station won “Best News Broadcast” for the in-depth coverage of the Occupy protest and closure of the Port of Oakland anchored by Bret Burkhart and Chris Brecher; produced by Linnea Edmeier and Laura Podolak.  The judges said it “grabs you right out of the box (with) passionate and engaged reporting (and) paints a good word picture of what was going on.”  KGO reporter Scott Lettieri won “Best Light Feature Reporting” for his “Spotlight 810” piece on inmates performing Shakespeare in San Quentin.  The judges said it was “interesting and meaningful,” with a “great mix of dramatic Shakespeare readings, music, (and) inmate reflections on what they’re gaining personally by taking part.”  KGO program director Paul Hosley says, “We’re humbled by these awards.  The 5:00 pm hour is highly popular with listeners and features contributions from the entire news team.  We’re thrilled to have Scott Lettieri recognized for his remarkable work as well.  Scott is a master story teller and it showed in this report about inmates performing Shakespeare behind bars.”

Bloomberg’s WBBR, New York Celebrates 20th Anniversary.  Bloomberg’s WBBR, New York is celebrating its 20th anniversary as Bloomberg Radio – the 24-hour business and financial news outlet in the Big Apple.  To mark the occasion, anchor Tom Keene and reporter Charlie Pellett will join staffers at the New York Stock Exchange to ring the closing bell.

‘Fiscal Cliff’ Legislation Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of December 31 – January 4.  Debate over and passage of the laws designed to avoid the “fiscal cliff” was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, putting it at #1 on the Talkers TenTM.   Coming in at #2 was the Boehner House Speaker vote.  At #3 was financial markets activity followed by Hurricane Sandy aid legislation at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

| February 8, 2012

More Than 23 Million Tuned in to Radio Broadcast of Super Bowl According to Edison Research.  On the heels of the Dial Global-commissioned survey to determine the radio listenership to the NFC and AFC Championship games two weeks ago, DG follows up to ask Edison Research to study how many people listened to at least a portion of its Westwood One-produced broadcast of the Big Game.  Edison reports that via a live telephone interview survey conducted Monday after the game, “listeners accessed the live broadcast in multiple listening environments, including the home, while driving, at work and other locations, on over 680 stations nationwide.”  Given the money Dial Global spends for the rights to sports broadcasts throughout the year – and especially the NFL playoffs product – Co-president and CEO David Landau is delighted with the results.  “We are again excited, but not surprised, to see that our research findings highlight the strength of the Dial Global brand and the ongoing demand for radio broadcast coverage of live sporting events.  Dial Global is committed to showcasing the value of our content and exemplifying our commitment to being the most innovative, service focused company in the industry while supporting our affiliates and advertisers.”

Journal Communications Ups CFO Andre Fernandez to President.  The former NBC Universal SVP – with Journal Communications as chief financial officer since October of 2008 – keeps his CFO role but adds the president title.  Former president Steven Smith stays in his chairman and CEO position.  Smith says the new title recognizes the role Fernandez plays in the corporation.  “He has been instrumental in the continuing evolution of our business, the steady focus on building our local media brands and the sustained investment in our digital business.  Andre has also helped us maintain our strong financial disciplines which have led to Journal’s consistently improving balance sheet.  We look forward to Andre’s increased operational responsibilities across the company.”

WRKO, Boston Expands Midday Financial Show with Barry Armstrong.  The talk program hosted by the founder of the Armstrong Advisory Group is being renamed “The Financial Exchange with Barry Armstrong” and airs from 9:00 am to 11:00 am daily.  Vice president of AM programming for Entercom New England Jason Wolfe says, “Barry has done an excellent job with this program since its inception, and given the state of the economy in our country, I’m really looking forward to him being able to continue sharing his expertise in the business and financial arena, an arena that is still very top of mind for our audience.”  The station notes that Armstrong’s program regularly features heavyweight guests such as CNBC’s Larry Kudlow and Rick Santelli, Pimm Foxx from Bloomberg News, Fox Business’s Stuart Varney, and Eric Rosengren, CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.  The move means TRN’s Laura Ingraham airs in the 11:00 am to 1:00 pm slot and Jen Brien follows from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.

Disney’s ABC News and Univision in Talks to Create New Cable News Channel.  The Wall Street Journal reports the two companies are in serious talks about creating a new cable news channel that would “broadcast in English, in an effort to keep pace with changing demographics among U.S. Hispanics and reach a new audience of English speakers.”  Neither company is commenting and the piece notes that the deal is far from done.  If it does happen, the operations center for the new channel would be based in Univision’s corporate home of Miami.  The initiative would be a departure for Univision by entering in to an English-language broadcast entity but an interesting aspect of the story as the WSJ notes the recognition that “U.S.-born Hispanics, who often speak English more than Spanish, are now fueling Hispanic population growth more than Spanish-speaking immigrants.”

American Jewish University in Los Angeles Presenting Talk Radio Discussion.   The fifth annual talk radio discussion presented by AJU is set to take place this Sunday, February 12.  Moderated by veteran broadcaster Bill Moran, the panel’s scheduled speakers include KFI, Los Angeles, personalities Bill Handel and Bill Carroll; Patt Morrison of KPCC-FM, Los Angeles and Southern California Public Radio; and Michael Harrison, founder of TALKERS.  Open to the public, the discussion will cover a variety of topics including Middle East tensions, health care, the economy, immigration reform, social media, the environment and a behind-the-scenes discussion about the talk media industry.  The event takes place between 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm at the AJU’s Familian Campus, 15600 Mulholland Drive in Bel-Air.  Admission: $25.  For more information or reservations call 310-440-1246.

WEEI, Boston Super Bowl Party Benefits Boomer Esiason Foundation.  Entercom’s sports talk WEEI, Boston held a Super Bowl party on Saturday, February 4 at Buca di Beppo in downtown Indianapolis.  The event raised $10,000 for the Boomer Esiason Foundation to fight cystic fibrosis.  Esiason – morning drive co-host at CBS Radio’s WFAN and Dial Global play-by-play analyst for Monday Night Football broadcasts – is a regular contributor to WEEI appearing weekly with John Dennis and Gerry Callahan during the NFL season.  Pictured here are (from l-r): Rich Saultz, VP of operations for Buca di Beppo, Boomer Esiason, Entercom VP/market manager Jeff Brown and WEEI VP of programming Jason Wolfe.

Colorado/Missouri/Minnesota Races, Obama Health Care Law Birth Control Controversy, Syria Violence, and California’s Prop 8 Overturned Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/7).  The GOP primary and caucus races in Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota, President Obama’s health care legislation and the mandatory birth control provisions that are creating controversy, ongoing violence in Syria and its role in the global stage, plus the overturning of California’s Prop 8 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

| February 1, 2012

Super Bowl XLVI Ground Zero for Sports Radio This Week.  The annual American ritual that is the NFL’s championship game is more than just a sports broadcasting event and has been for many years.  But this year’s game between the New England Patriots and New York Giants is especially intriguing and is creating enormous content, revenue and positive imaging for the spoken-word stations taking part on a level that rivals and perhaps exceeds a national political convention.  Some 100 sports stations, talk stations and network programs are filling the radio row and broadcasting from Indianapolis this week.  CBS Radio’s WFAN, New York is promising to deliver more than 50 hours of coverage leading up to, during and after the game with hosts Mike Francesa, Boomer & Carton, Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts.  Entercom’s WEEI, Boston is similarly situated in Indy broadcasting most of its programs from the site including Dennis & Callahan, Mut & Merloni and “The Big Show.”  Numerous sports talk stations from markets outside New England and New York broadcast from the site as are the networks – ESPN, Fox Sports Radio and others.  Sirius/XM Satellite Radio sports talk maverick Dino Costa is on the scene telling TALKERS, “You have no idea how much fun it is to be here and to be broadcasting from this amazing event.”  Dial Global has the national radio rights to the game (Giants and Patriots local rights carriers WFAN and WBZ-FM, respectively, can broadcast the game) and has cleared the game broadcast on more than 650 stations and has sold out the inventory.  Football is traditionally considered a television sport but football fans can’t always be near a television (or internet video feed) and that usually gives radio a healthy audience – as evidenced by Dial Global’s Edison Research-commissioned poll indicating more than 29 million Americans listened to at least a portion of the conference championship games this year.

KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa Shifts Network Programming; Adds PM Drive News Hour.  Cox Media Group’s news/talk KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa brings market news and talk pro Dan Potter back to the station to host a 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm program called “The KRMG Afternoon News with Dan Potter.”  Program director Drew Anderssen says, “KRMG listeners have told us it’s more important than ever for us to give them more frequent news, weather and traffic reports on their way home from work.  So, we’re taking action to address those needs.”  The station is also shifting Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity from a one-hour delay to their live air times of 11:00 am to 2:00 pm and 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm CT respectively.  “With this change, listeners will now be able to hear what Rush and Sean have to say about events as they happen, not one hour later,” Anderssen states.  Dan Potter previously served as KRMG news director and morning news anchor before leaving the station in 2010 to attend to family matters.

Garrett Lewis Appointed to PD Post at KNST-AM/FM, Tucson.  Clear Channel Tucson ups morning drive host Garrett Lewis to the program director position, replacing former PD Chris Patyk.  Lewis – host of the “Morning Ritual” AM drive show since February of 2010 – signs a two-year deal to continue anchoring the morning show and stepping into the programmer’s role as well.  CC Tucson operations director Chris Pickett states, “Being able to keep Garrett is a big part of the evolution of KNST to FM.  His show has become must-listen radio and with his direction, I am confident that KNST will soar to new heights in the not-so-distant future.”

Current TV Enlists Guest Hosts for Ailing Keith Olbermann.  According to Mediaite, “Countdown” host Keith Olbermann’s chair is being filled by Bill Press and others while he recovers from a case of bronchitis.  Earlier, TALKERS reported that former New York Governor and CNN personality Eliot Spitzer was sitting in for Olbermann.  That was not correct as Bill Press has been hosting the show the past four nights.  However, Mediaite is reporting that Spitzer will host the program tonight (2/1).  Speculation is that Olbermann and Current TV have been butting heads lately – something founder Al Gore has publicly denied – and that Current TV may be testing the waters to see who might be a good fit for the network if Olbermann exits.

ESPN Radio Gets Back into the Detroit Metro on WCAR.  The Birach Broadcasting-owned station is licensed to Livonia, Michigan west of Detroit on the way to Ann Arbor.  Sima Birach, Jr. says, “Detroit is nationally recognized as one of the top three sports towns in America and we are ecstatic to bring the full force of the ESPN brand to Detroit’s loyal sports fans.  In addition to local programming which features some of Detroit’s iconic sports figures, we’re confident we’ll serve our listeners with the content they’ve been longing for.”  The station will carry the full lineup of ESPN Radio programming.

Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Puts ESPN Deportes on Chicago Translator.  The deal between Clear Channel and ESPN places the latter’s Spanish-language sports format on what has been a translator for Educational Media Foundation’s Christian WNKV-FM, Norco, Louisiana – we’re assuming EMF and CC have a deal for the latter to handle the programming.  According to ESPN, the 3-watt signal in Chicago at 95.7 FM covers “downtown Chicago and will also reach largely Hispanic/Latino neighborhood communities, including Cicero, Berwyn and Pilsen.”  ESPN Deportes Radio GM Oscar Ramos says, “This expansion is a milestone for the ESPN Deportes brand and yet another step forward in our effort to make ESPN Deportes Radio available to Hispanic sports fans nationwide.  We are thrilled with our agreement with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment to bring our comprehensive programming to Chicago fans while also providing a great platform for advertisers.”

Thom Hartmann’s “Big Picture” TV Show Gets International Distribution.  Dial Global nationally syndicated progressive talk host Thom Hartmann produces a TV program called “The Big Picture” which is already distributed to Free Speech TV and RT America.  Now, RT International announces it will distribute Hartmann’s show to cable systems elsewhere including the UK and Europe, Africa, Australia and South America.  RT International states it has a reach into 100 countries containing a half-billion households.  Hartmann says, “This is such an important time, with a U.S. presidential election as important as any I can remember, a global financial crisis, and tensions in the Middle East seeming to rise once again.  I look forward to the opportunity to share my common-sense progressive views on these issues and more with viewers throughout the globe.”

Talk Host Phil Valentine’s Global Warming-Challenging Film Debuts.  Nashville-based talk show host Phil Valentine’s movie “An Inconsistent Truth” hit the theater in Nashville last weekend and grossed more than $20,000.  Valentine produced and stars in the film that challenges anthropogenic global warming with Phil taking the role of a conservative Michael Moore-type documentary host.  (The film was co-produced by Ann Cates and executive producers David Harper, Joseph Edwards and Michael Costanza.)  Valentine used the power of his talk show in Nashville to promote the movie and drew good crowds based on the one-weekend gross.  This kind of project is indicative of the kind of promotional power a good talk show host can have with a quality product like Valentine’s movie.  Valentine says he’s thrilled with the first weekend’s showing in Nashville.  “We thought we may have something but we had no idea the response would be this strong.  I’m speechless.”  Valentine and distributor Rocky Mountain Pictures are weighing their next move in distributing the movie across the country over the next couple of weeks.  Check out the trailer here.

Valerie Geller Consults PBS Documentary.  The president of Geller Media International, Valerie Geller – a leading talk radio consultant – participated as an advisor to the PBS documentary film “Daisy Bates – First Lady of Little Rock” airing nationally on PBS-TV stations tomorrow  night (2/2) and in New York City on February 5.  The Independent Documentary Series production tells the story of  Daisy Bates, a complex, unconventional, and largely forgotten heroine of the civil rights movement who led the charge to desegregate the all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957.  In addition to being an informative slice of history, the film is a conversation starter bringing up a number of compelling and controversial questions. The “Little Rock Nine” faced unimaginable verbal abuse and threats to their very lives. Was it ethical for Bates’s NAACP to put children on the front lines of the desegregation battle — even if they volunteered to be there or chose to be there?  Geller tells TALKERS, “One of the joys of consulting work is the opportunity to help other people achieve their dreams. I’m honored to have had the chance to work with documentary producer Sharon La Cruise on her film.

Dave Vieser Exits WCHU-AM/FM, Ithaca Morning Show.  Management at the Saga Communications news/talk station tells CNYRadio.com that Dave Vieser left his APD and morning co-host role for personal reasons.  The move leaves program director/news director Geoff Dunn as solo host of the morning drive show but the station states on its website, “We are currently working on a transition plan for a new host of the program.  We will miss Dave, and wish him well.”

Florida GOP Primary, Syria Violence, Occupy DC, and Taliban-Pakistan Link Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/31).  Mitt Romney’s victory over Newt Gingrich in the Florida primary, the ongoing violence in Syria, the Occupy DC movement that is clashing with authorities and the suspected link between the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s government were some of the most-talked-about stories in news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.