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Sean Hannity to Host Breakfast Social and Deliver Morning Kick-Off Address at TALKERS New York 2013. In what has become an annual tradition at the national TALKERS conference, Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel talk superstar Sean Hannity will again host a major networking event and deliver the morning kick-off address at the annual TALKERS conference. In making the announcement TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “We all get to see a side of Sean that he saves for his colleagues in the industry – one of the most knowledgeable, articulate, and charismatic experts on the nuts and bolts of the business of spoken-word radio. When Sean shows up at this event and addresses the industry on the state of ratings, research, advertising, affiliate relations and all the behind-the-scenes issues with which we as an industry are concerned, the left-versus-right paradigm that so dominates our airwaves disappears and it becomes apparent just what a broadcast industry statesman we have within our ranks. He is a tremendous asset to this important gathering as well as the business of radio and television.” Hannity will be one of a stellar lineup of industry luminaries being scheduled to speak at the event with more details of the roster and agenda to be announced next week. Registrations for the 16th annual TALKERS New York City Conference are on sale now! Save the date: Thursday, June 6, 2013. Formerly called “The New Media Seminar” the event – now simply titled “TALKERS New York 2013” – will again take place at the comfortable and modern Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side. It will be a power-packed, full day of special addresses, panels, presentations, and social networking opportunities tackling the key issues facing talk radio and its relationship with the new talk media (internet, satellite, cable TV) as well as existential general radio industry issues including music radio and the changing role of the disc jockey. According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “This will be a TALKERS conference for the new era. Our presentation this year will be so fresh and vital to the survival and ‘thrival’ of the business that we actually are moving beyond the title ‘New Media Seminar.’ It is not to be missed.” As indicated, registrations are now on sale. A full registration entitling the attendee to all presentation and food events is $199. Due to the pressures of limited space and seating, there are no partial registrations. This event is traditionally a rapid sellout. IMPORTANT: Registration will be limited to members of the working media only and can only be taken over the phone. For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413. Stay tuned for specific agenda details right here at Talkers.com.
The Price Tag for Cox Media’s Stations Going to SummitMedia: $66.25 million; Connoisseur to Pay $40 million. The paperwork for the deal between Cox Media Group and the two buyers of its properties in six markets is being filed and now we know the price tags. SummitMedia will pay $66. 25 million for the former’s radio properties in five markets. The stations SummitMedia is in the process of acquiring are: Birmingham (WAGG-AM, WBHJ-FM, WBHK-FM, WENN-AM, WZZK-FM, WZNN-FM, WBPT-FM, and CMG’s contract rights for WALJ-FM); Greenville, South Carolina (WJMZ-FM, WHZT-FM); Hawaii (KRTR-AM/FM, KPHW-FM, KCCN-FM, KINE-FM, KKNE-AM); Louisville (WRKA-FM, WVEZ-FM, WSFR-FM, WQNU-FM); and Richmond (WHTI-FM, WKHK-FM, WKLR-FM, WURV-FM). Connoisseur will pay $40 million for the Southern Connecticut stations that include: WPLR-FM, WEZN-FM, WFOX-FM, and contract rights for WYBC-FM.
RAB: Radio Up 4% in 2012 Q4. According to a report by the Radio Advertising Bureau, radio ended 2012 on a high note with Q4 revenue up 4% over 2011 comps, to $4.34 billion. The report notes this was the highest growth recorded over the past eight quarters and since the strong rebound gains registered throughout 2010. Full-year spending was up for the third consecutive year and totaled $16.482 billion (an increase of 1% over 2011). RAB president and CEO Erica Farber says, “The resurgent automotive industry and the closely-contested presidential political race provided the main impetus for 2012’s positive spot performance. Our medium also enjoyed strong increases in Q4 spending by advertisers in the key communications and financial services categories.” The chart here shows comparisons of spot, digital and off-air.
CBS Radio Reports 2012 Q4 Revenue Up 1%. Most of the talk during the CBS conference call yesterday was about television. Not surprising since that’s where CBS is performing extremely well. The talk of CBS possibly selling its radio division did not come up as it has so often in the past. In fact, CEO Les Moonves’ only mention of radio during the call was in connecting the new CBS Sports Radio Network to Super Bowl programming when he said, “The Super Bowl was also very good for us in radio, where we debuted our CBS Sports Radio network just a few weeks before the game. When we announced this venture last year, we had less than 100 affiliates. Now we’re already at 250. The Super Bowl was a tremendous launching pad for this franchise, and we look forward to good things to come.”
Clear Channel Breaks Up AM/FM Simulcast of News/Talk KNST, Tucson. It looks like Clear Channel is going to leave news/talk on FM in Tucson to Journal’s crosstown KQTH “104.1 The Truth.” A new country format debuted on KNST FM – “Wild Country 97.1” – ending the AM/FM simulcast of the news/talk format that’s been in effect since November of 2011. News/talk remains the format on the AM 790 frequency.
Attorney and Talk Radio Personality Warren Ballentine Pleads Not Guilty in Bank Fraud Case. Lawyer and former Syndication One talk radio personality Warren Ballentine pleaded “not guilty” in U.S. District Court of Northern Illinois. He faces multiple charges of fraud after begin charged by a federal grand jury with two counts of bank fraud, two counts of making false statements to lenders, and one count each of mail fraud and wire fraud. The indictment is seeking a forfeiture of some $9,775,000. Ballentine hosted a nationally syndicated midday program distributed by Syndication One but the program was cancelled after the news of his indictment went public.
TRN’s Andrea Tantaros Picking Up Affiliates at Steady Clip. On the heels of her positive write-up in the New York Observer, Fox News Channel and Talk Radio Network personality Andrea Tantaros is adding new affiliates and getting praise from existing affiliate PDs, reports TRN CEO Mark Masters. Yesterday, TALKERS reported the Observer story that profiled Tantaros as one of the cast members of FNC’s “The Five” and host of her own syndicated talk radio program. Tantaros filled the slot left vacant by the departure of Laura Ingraham from the TRN lineup and programmers, including KENZ, Reno’s Sean Patrick are pleased with her performance. Patrick says, “Andrea Tantaros is a fabulous addition to our lineup. She is the breath of fresh air that conservative talk radio has been lacking, a female perspective that is conversational. She is a rising star in the format and we are proud to have her on our station.” Buckley Radio of Connecticut VP/GM Eric Fahnoe states, “We’re thrilled with the lively and engaging perspective that the Andrea Tantaros show brings to ‘The Talk of Connecticut’ station lineup. Andrea’s fresh presentation addresses contemporary issues and perfectly aligns with the direction we wanted to take our programming in 2013!”
This Year, Jerusalem. The Middle East is a non-stop, hot-spot of political, ethnic and social intrigue replete with complex nuances often lost in the day-to-day mainstream press - making it a valuable destination for talk show hosts to do first-hand, fact-finding missions and live broadcasts with a parade of fascinating interviews. In the past decade, America’s Voices in Israel, with advice from TALKERS magazine, has sponsored dozens of radio talk show hosts representing a spectrum of political perspectives on such trips to the Holy Land. SiriusXM Patriot Channel host David Webb is broadcasting from Israel this week on one such journey where he met up with Fox News Channel and Cumulus Radio host Mike Huckabee in Jerusalem in addition to interviewing numerous leaders of government, industry, health, arts and science. Webb (right) and Huckabee (left) are pictured above previewing the upcoming U.S. presidential visit to Israel in March. Webb is also pictured (at right) in the radio broadcasting studio of the Jerusalem Post holding an old copy of TALKERS magazine on display featuring a cover shot of TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and syndicated host Doug Stephan meeting with Israel’s current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Odds & Sods. Former Massachusetts Republican Senator Scott Brown is the newest contributor to join Fox News Channel. Brown served the final two years of the term of the late Ted Kennedy before losing a re-election bid to Elizabeth Warren. Fox EVP of programming Bill Shine says, “Senator Brown’s dedication to out-of-the box thinking on key issues makes him an important voice in the country and we are looking forward to his contributions across all Fox News platforms.”…..Two daytime TV talk shows have bitten the dust within the last week. “The Ricki Lake Show” was canceled by Twentieth Television and just yesterday the Los Angeles Times reported “The Jeff Probst Show” is being canceled at the end of its second season.
State of the Union Address Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 11. According to the ongoing research from TALKERS, the president’s State of the Union address was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio, landing atop the Talkers TenTM for the week of February 11-15. Following at #2 was the Christopher Dorner case. At #3 was the sequester deadline tied with deficit reduction and the Chuck Hagel and Jack Lew hearings were tied at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Schnitt vs. Bubba: Monday Recap. After the news of Todd Schnitt’s attorney being arrested on DUI charges and allegations that Bubba The Love Sponge’s attorneys set him up for the arrest became the predominant aspect of the case on Friday and both sides asked for mistrials for varying reasons, Hillsborough County Judge James Arnold on Monday did not grant a mistrial saying the jury had not been compromised and testimony went forward. But not before Arnold agreed to throw out five of the 16 defamation counts against Bubba (Todd Clem). One in which Bubba accused Schnitt of possibly engaging in plug-ola, three in which he called him a “fraud,” and another in which he called him a “snitch.” The other 11 counts remain. Schnitt’s team rested its case on Monday and Bubba’s lawyers called former Clear Channel Radio president Randy Michaels, under whom both Schnitt and Bubba worked at one time, to the stand. Michaels first complimented both Schnitt and Bubba for being talented radio performers. He said that the feud between the two had gotten too intense and he asked them to “tone it down.” He told the jury the language Bubba used when saying he wanted a funeral for MJ Kelli (Schnitt’s CHR morning show moniker) was hyperbole and not to be taken literally. Also taking the stand was a former producer for Schnitt who now works for Bubba who testified that Schnitt spoke on the air jokingly about his wife’s “tramp stamp” tattoo – an effort by the defense to ask the jury that if Schnitt could joke about his wife being a “tramp,” how is Bubba’s calling her a “whore” any different? The defense is expected to continue its arguments today.
Nationally Syndicated Talk Host Warren Ballentine Charged with Mortgage Fraud. The Chicago-based attorney and host of the Warren Ballentine show distributed nationally via Syndication One is being indicted on charges related to an alleged mortgage fraud scheme. The Justice Department reports that a federal grand jury returned indictments for two counts of bank fraud, two counts of making false statements to lenders and one count each of mail fraud and wire fraud. The UPI reports the indictment is seeking a forfeiture of some $9.7 million in fraud proceeds. The feds allege Ballentine plotted with others to obtain more than two dozen fraudulent mortgage loans and that he represented buyers at closings knowing that they weren’t qualified for home mortgages in Chicago and its southern suburbs. Ballentine is expected to be arraigned next week. Meanwhile TALKERS sources close to Ballentine say he maintains his innocence and that the truth will come out. His talk show is currently heard on some 37 affiliates across the country including WVON, Chicago.
Clear Channel’s KFAN Network Re-Signs Dan Barreiro. Sports talk host Dan Barreiro and Clear Channel Media and Entertainment agree on a multi-year contract extension for the KFXN, Minneapolis-based sports talk host. Barreiro hosts the afternoon drive program on the company’s KFAN sports talk brand that is distributed to numerous stations across Minnesota. CC Minneapolis vice president of programming Gregg Swedberg says, “Dan has been the top afternoon drive talk personality in the market for decades and has many loyal listeners all over the country through iHeartRadio. We are delighted that Dan will be with us for a long time.”
Chris Baker Lands at KFAB, Omaha for PM Drive. Talk radio pro Chris Baker’s next gig is at Clear Channel’s KFAB, Omaha where he’ll host the afternoon drive program. Baker – a veteran of the Houston, Minneapolis, Miami and Omaha markets – recently exited the Dan Patrick-owned KSEV, Houston talk outlet. He says, “Since my family and I are in Omaha to visit friends and relatives on a regular basis, it’s only natural that I would want to put down root here. KFAB is a legendary Midwest radio powerhouse and I’m excited to work with Gary Sadlemyer and the whole crew.” His new gig begins February 11.
Odds & Sods. NBC Sports Radio Network brings former NFL star Donovan McNabb aboard to eventually be part of a daily sports talk show to begin on April 1. Until that time, McNabb will begin as a weekly contributor as the build-up to the Super Bowl takes place. McNabb will serve as a lead NFL analyst and will call in to affiliate station programs…..Former Yahoo! Sports Radio personality Tim Brando begins a new gig with SiriusXM Satellite Radio where he’ll host his eponymous program on the SiriusXM College Sports Nation channel. Brando’s program will continue to be simulcast on cable TV’s CBS Sports Network…..WTOP, Washington news anchor Richard Day has retired from the Hubbard Broadcasting all-news brand. Vice president of news and programming Jim Farley says Day’s retirement was handled with no fanfare at Day’s request…..Chicagoland Radio and Media reports that WFLD-TV sports anchor Lou Canellis is beginning a regular hour-long, daily appearance on WLS-AM, Chicago’s “Roe & Roeper” PM drive program with Roe Conn and Richard Roeper. Canellis is now part of the 5:00 pm hour every day to talk sports on the Cumulus Media station. The blog speculates that the move is part of a greater effort to add sports content to the station to improve its ratings…..The “4th Period Live” program returns to SiriusXM’s NHL Network for its second season beginning Saturday, February 2 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET. The show is hosted by David Pagnotta, 4th Period‘s editor-in-chief from Toronto and Dennis Bernstein, its Los Angeles-based senior writer. The show is an extension of TFP’s brand of hockey lifestyle content that includes a highly visited website (www.thefourthperiod.com) and quarterly print magazine available on newsstands throughout North America.
Huckabee Visits Reno. Cumulus Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Governor Mike Huckabee is pictured here with KNEZ, Reno news director and afternoon drive host Sean Patrick at the sparkling new studios of the Shamrock Communications news/talk station. Huckabee’s program is carried by “KNEWS” – a new FM signal and news/talk brand that Shamrock recently put on the air in the market.
Southern California Sports Personality Joe Cala Named to Hall of Fame. KNX, Los Angeles sports anchor Joe Cala was inducted into the Southern California Sports Broadcasters Hall of Fame at the organization’s 22nd annual awards luncheon at the Lakeside Golf Club in Toluca Lake, California. Cala has been with KNX for the past six years and spent the previous 32 years at crosstown KFWB. The SCSB has served as a major forum for recognizing and advancing sports broadcasting in Southern California since 1958. Its Hall of Fame includes Dick Enberg, Tom Harmon, Don Drysdale, Chick Hearn, Gil Stratton, Stu Nahan, Vin Scully and Jim Hill, to name a few.
Town Hall Meeting in Boise Addresses Second Amendment. You’re looking over the shoulder of KIDO, Boise morning drive host Kevin Miller as he addresses the more than 300 area residents who attended the Peak Broadcasting station’s Town Hall Meeting to discuss Second Amendment issues in the wake of the Obama Administration’s call for stricter gun legislation. Miller tells TALKERS that the event was covered locally by two of the market’s television stations.
KOIL, Omaha Adds Weekend Affordable Care Act Program. The program is called “America’s Healthcare Challenge” and is hosted by Sean McGuire. The goal of the program is to provide valuable insight into implementation of the Affordable Care Act and prepare decision makers for looming penalties and taxes in the law. McGuire states, “This is currently the only radio show of its kind in the US. Business owners are clamoring for credible information and answers to their questions like how employees’ benefits will change next year and what innovative ways exist to curb rising healthcare costs constantly squeezing bottom lines all over the country…I was a part of the research team for the Senate Finance Committee five years ago. The law originated conceptually in the Senate and I have read the bill multiple times. It is my desire to bring my listeners information they need to know as if they were Members of Congress.”
Justice Sotomayor Visits SCPR. United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor (right) poses for a photo with Southern California Public Radio special correspondent Patt Morrison (left) during an appearance at KPCC, Pasadena’s Crawford Family Forum. The venue was packed with local high school and college students, as well KPCC listeners who came to hear Sotomayor speak about her life and promote her new autobiography My Beloved World (Knopf 2013). Patt Morrison interviewed Sotomayor as part of the appearance.
ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg Announces New Novel to Benefit the V Foundation. Nationally syndicated ESPN Radio and ESPN 2 personality Mike Greenberg announces the publication of his first novel titled, All You Could Ask For (William Morrow 2013). In making the announcement from the Super Bowl radio row in New Orleans, Greenberg stated that all of the author’s proceeds from the sale of the book will benefit The V Foundation for Cancer Research. Greenberg says, “I wrote this book to honor the memory of a good friend of mine and my wife Stacy’s named Heidi Armitage, who lost her battle with breast cancer in 2009 at the age of 43. The V Foundation is an obvious organization to work with. Mike Golic and I have been honored to be a part of many great V Foundation events over the years. I’m so proud of our connection to the V Foundation.”
Dr. Daliah Wachs at the Podium. Practicing family physician and nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs is pictured here at the Nevada Academy of Family Physicians at their conference in Lake Tahoe this past weekend. About 200 were at this lecture where Dr. Wachs spoke about avoiding pitfalls in family medicine, educating them on the liabilities doctors face and what lawsuits have been successful. Dr. Wachs’ program is syndicated by Genesis Communications Network.
Michael Savage Bashes “Bash Obama” Programming Philosophy. Cumulus Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Michael Savage appeared on WABC, New York’s “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” program last night and told Klein’s audience that talk radio conservatives are “committing suicide” by incessantly criticizing Barack Obama. Savage, who recently left longtime syndicator Talk Radio Network and subsequently signed on with Cumulus Media Networks, said, “Many people on the conservative side of the dial are making the same mistakes now that the liberals made when Bush was in power. “Air America went bankrupt, why? Because all they did was…Bush bashing and they were just crazy in the Bush bashing. Boring. Boring. How much could you listen to? It wasn’t even clever Bush bashing. This is what’s going on now with the conservatives. They’re committing suicide. Just attacking Obama – although he deserves it – is not good radio…Remember one thing, radio is primarily an entertainment medium. It was not created to be the voice of the Republican Party or the Democrat Party.” Savage’s program begins airing on Cumulus O&O WABC tonight from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm.
CBS Radio Dallas Offices Hit by Gunfire. The offices of CBS Radio’s Dallas operations that house its radio stations was hit by gun shots on Friday and police are still investigating the source of the bullets. CBS Dallas is reporting the shots hit the outside panes of glass on two floors of the 12-story building that abuts the busy Central Expressway. One of the offices hit was that of NewsRadio 1080 KRLD’s promotions director Matt Stacks. The other window hit was above the KRLD offices belonging to former police officer and practicing attorney Pete Schulte who tells CBS, “It sounded like a rifle. It was clearly a loud bang, and as soon as I heard the loud bang the glass shattered in my office.” Schulte says he was frustrated by how long it took the police to take action. “I should think police should at least canvass the area to see if they can find anyone with a long gun.” The CBS story notes police did canvass the area a little over an hour later and that Schulte was told the call had been mis-categorized as a criminal mischief call instead of an active shooter case. The building also houses CBS Radio’s other Dallas stations including sports talk KRLD-FM “105.3 The Fan,” AC KVIL “103.7 Lite FM,” adult hits KJKK “100.3 Jack FM,” classic hits KLUV, and Spanish WMKV, “Mega 107.5 FM.”
WLS, Chicago Adds Early-Morning Newscast. Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder tips that Cumulus Media-owned news/talk WLS, Chicago began a 4:30 am newscast anchored by John Dempsey this morning (12/3). The move means WLS is cutting the second half of The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “This Morning” program that aired from 4:00 am to 5:00 am. “The 89 WLS First Morning News at 4:30” also uses ABC Radio News London-based correspondent Tom Rivers as a contributor.
Radio One to Consolidate Syndication One Division with Reach Media in January. Radio One will increase its ownership stake in Reach Media from 53% to 80%. The consolidation of Radio One-owned Syndication One and the Tom Joyner- and David Kantor-founded Reach Media will, according to Radio One, create an “assembly of top talent, programming and prime national advertising inventory that make Reach Media the leading radio network with the ability to speak directly to the African-American audience. In 2013, Reach Media will use its strong affiliate lineup and relationships with leading urban stations to also launch a new network. Reach Media’s new network is expected to be in the top tier of radio networks and have one of the largest African-American audiences of any radio network. Reach Media will expand its dedicated sales and marketing staff to sell the radio network advertising inventory along with web and event sponsorships.” The company will offer talk and music radio talent including: Tom Joyner, Rickey Smiley, Russ Parr, Yolanda Adams, Reverend Al Sharpton, Warren Ballentine and CoCo Brother. It indicates it has plans to acquire more urban-targeted talent in the near future. Radio One CEO Alfred Liggins says, “Radio One has a commitment to be the leader in radio and online programming with compelling entertainment and information for the African-American audience. Combining our assets under Reach Media offers an incredibly broad platform for affiliate stations and advertisers to connect with our loyal audience.” Reach Media CEO David Kantor states, “In bringing together the most compelling urban programming in radio, we’ve created a platform that can focus on outstanding talent for our affiliates and the delivery of an incredibly responsive consumer base. We look forward to expanding our offerings and becoming the primary radio network for advertisers to reach African- Americans.”
Pat Miller Returns to PM Drive on WOWO, Fort Wayne. Longtime WOWO, Fort Wayne talk show host Pat Miller re-joins the station for the afternoon drive slot beginning in January. Miller exited his full-time role at the station last spring but continued to do a two-hour weekend program. After Gregg Henson exited the program director and PM drive posts at WOWO at the end of the summer Federated Media plugged in Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity. But Hannity has been moved to the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot with Casey Hendrickson filling in on the PM drive show. Hendrickson also hosts the morning drive show at Federated’s WTRC-AM/FM, South Bend, Indiana “Michiana’s News Channel.”
Dave Ramsey Moves to Daytime in Atlanta on WCFO. Nationally syndicated financial talk star Dave Ramsey’s program is moving to new affiliate JW Broadcasting’s WCFO, Atlanta beginning today where he’ll air live in the 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm time slot. Ramsey’s program most recently was heard in the 10:00 pm to 1:00 am slot on Cox Media’s WSB-AM and WSBB-FM. Prior to being picked up by WSB in 2011, Ramsey aired in afternoons on Clear Channel’s WGST. Brian Mayfield, vice president of broadcast for The Lampo Group, says, “We are very excited that Dave can now be heard live in Atlanta. Our audience has been asking for this, and we are proud to partner with WCFO to deliver on this request.”
Five Practical Digital Lessons Radio Can Learn from the Obama Campaign. Noted radio digital consultant Chris Miller says broadcasters should look to the recent Obama Campaign’s effective use of digital media for promotional and branding initiatives. In this piece, he illustrates how 1) all the various platforms we use today are inter-connected and must be treated as such; 2) every platform has a specific purpose and should be used to achieve clearly defined goals; 3) remember that it is all a “show” and just because it is digital or “social media” doesn’t mean it isn’t show biz; 4) make sure your emails are likely to be opened by labeling them with irresistible subject lines; and 5) create “community,” not just “conversation.” Read Miller’s entire piece here.
Jason Pugh Exits WEFL, West Palm Beach for DC TV Gig. Jason Pugh is leaving his positions at Good Karma’s “ESPN 760” WEFL, Tequesta, Florida where he partnered with Jeremy Marks-Peltz for the 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm show and his sportscasting gig at WPTV-TV for a position at NBC O&O WRC-TV, Washington, DC. Pugh also worked in the play-by-play booth for Florida Atlantic University football games. The Florida Sun-Sentinel reports Pugh joined Good Karma in 2006 and began hosting his own program in 2009.
ESPN New York O&Os Re-Up with NFL’s Jets. The New York City ESPN O&O stations – WEPN-FM “ESPN New York 98.7” and WEPN-AM “ESPN Deportes New York 1050” announce they have extended their contract to be the exclusive New York radio partners of the NFL’s New York Jets. Included in the deal are three ancillary programs — the “Jets Player Spotlight” (Mondays at 3:30 pm) a weekly interview with Jets head coach Rex Ryan (Mondays at 5:15 pm) and “Inside the Jets” (Mondays at 7:00 pm). ESPN New York vice president and general manager Dave Roberts states, “We’re excited to continue our relationship with the Jets. The Jets have a huge fan base in the New York metropolitan area and we look forward to continuing to serve them.”
XtreMedia Talk Hosts DoGood.com Charts Giving Success. XtreMedia talk show hosts Dani Johnson, Kevin McCullough and Stephen Baldwin began a campaign in April of this year to assist 2,012 orphans with a stated goal of raising $185,000. After achieving the goal in just eight weeks instead of the eight months they had given themselves, they set about creating DoGood.com and partnered with Kings Ransom Foundation to assist orphaned children and others in need. Some examples of their success include: In November, Dani Johnson again publicly challenged her listeners to radically help with practical help for victims of hurricane Sandy. In one weekend’s broadcast the Dani Johnson web and radio community (some of whom were directly impacted by the storm) and working with Kings Ransom Foundation raised in excess of $35,000 to aid specific cases whose stories were of particularly tough loss. Over the course of five weeks after Sandy, Kevin McCullough was able to rally listeners to his national daily show to provide aid by connecting volunteers to engineering and contracting, clean-up crews, and miscellaneous needs in excess of $25,000 towards help for churches, communities, pastors, and parishioners in hard hit communities in Brooklyn, Queens, The RockAways, and down the Jersey shore. On December 12, Stephen Baldwin is scheduled to headline a fundraising gathering being hosted by VH1 with proceeds to be donated to hurricane Sandy relief efforts via DoGood.com. On December 1, the clients and listeners in attendance at Dani Johnson’s “Creating a Dynasty” leadership training weekend raised an additional $113,000 (by auctioning off slices of cheesecake freshly prepared by Dani personally) for the King’s Children’s Home orphanage in Belize that is in need of a new roof for four buildings on its campus. The total cost for the roofing project will run $200k for all four structures.
Radio News Services Prepare for Election 2012 Coverage. Fox News Radio announces its schedule for coverage of the 2012 election. The network will provide live coverage beginning at 7:00 pm ET. Fox News Radio senior national correspondent Rich Johnson and political analyst Jeff Birnbaum will co-anchor the coverage along with Fox News Channel’s Heather Nauert who will be reporting on the race results. In addition, many of the FNR affiliates across the country will be covering the election as well as the congressional and gubernatorial contests. ABC News Radio will also begin its live coverage at 7:00 pm and it will run until 1:00 am unless longer coverage is deemed necessary. ABC’s Aaron Katersky is anchoring with assistance from correspondents Vic Ratner, Ann Compton, Steven Portnoy and Alex Stone. As we reported last week, America’s Radio News Network is providing election coverage to affiliate stations. The team of John McCaslin, Lori Lundin and Chris Salcedo will broadcast “Election Night 2012” to affiliates from 9:00 pm to 3:00 am ET. McCaslin states, “Before the winners are even announced, we will have for listeners the final state-by-state exit polling – including crucial battleground states like Ohio, Florida and Virginia – as quickly as the polls close in each state. Once the voting stops, we will be able to closely examine various exit-polling data and get a clear signal of the ultimate results. Take the all-important race for the White House: if President Obama or Mitt Romney were to win certain key battleground states – with the right combination, this could be as few as two of the states – we would be able to suggest which candidate will be taking the oath of office on January 21, 2013.”
Talker Warren Ballentine to Interview President Obama Today. President Obama will push a get-out-the-vote message when he visits with Syndication One nationally syndicated talk host Warren Ballentine on his talk show today in the 11:00 am ET hour. Yesterday, TALKERS spoke with SiriusXM and WOL, Washington talk host Joe Madison who said President Obama has made himself and his cabinet available to urban talk outlets such as his during the course of the president’s term. Ballentine, a lawyer by trade, is heard on 37 affiliate stations across the country.
ESPN Radio’s Jim Durham Passes Away at 65. Jim Durham was the lead play-by-play analyst for “The NBA on ESPN Radio.” He died over the weekend at his home in Tomball, Texas. No cause of death has been announced. Senior vice president and general manager, ESPN Radio Mo Davenport says, “Jim was a respected play-by-play specialist who combined a tremendous gift for storytelling with a Hall of Fame voice. He’s been a dedicated friend and a trusted teammate to so many at ESPN for two decades and he will be greatly missed. Our thoughts are with his wife Helen and the entire Durham family.” In 2011 Durham was honored by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame with the Curt Gowdy Media Award, presented annually to members of the print and electronic media whose longtime efforts have made a significant contribution to the game of basketball.
Talk Host Michelle Jerson Promoting New Web Venture. Relationship talk host and news reporter Michelle Jerson – who has worked at such outlets as WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5; WJFK, Washington and SiriusXM’s Howard 100 channel – has developed a new web venture at her site called PassportRomance.com. The content-rich travel website combines her experience as a relationship host and travel expert. As the former television, web, and radio correspondent for Travelzoo.com, she is now giving readers first-hand accounts and ideas of where to travel if they are single looking for love, seeking the perfect first trip with a new partner, or planning a romantic honeymoon or anniversary close to home or abroad. Jerson is also creating radio segments to promote her site and will appear on Merlin Media’s WWIQ, Philadelphia “IQ 106.9” on the morning show with Al Gardner and Lionel this Friday. Stations interested in booking Michelle as a guest can reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WZON, Bangor Morning Host Lives in “Hobbit Hole” to Raise Awareness of Those Who can’t Afford Heat. Talk host Pat LaMarche hosts “The Pulse Morning Show” on WZON-AM/FM, Bangor Maine and she’s been living in a “hobbit hole” – basically a non-insulated and unheated garden shed – to raise awareness and funds for those in the region who have trouble heating their homes during the brutal Maine winters. LaMarche tells local TV outlet WABI that all funds raised will go to help winterize homes, especially of the elderly, disabled and homes with children. LaMarche is bundled up and is hosting the program from inside the wooden shed and she tells the TV station that it’s very uncomfortable and difficult to function due to the cold. She says for families with children, it’s even more challenging. “If you had to go to school every day and your choice is cold water or going to school un-bathed and kids make fun of you, and your life is extremely unpleasant because you’re cold and then you get picked on at school.”
Romney vs. Obama, Voter Fraud Issues, Sandy Aftermath, and Libya Investigation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/5). The final push before election day between President Obama and Mitt Romney; allegations of voter fraud in early polling; the aftermath of Sandy in the hard-hit areas of New York and New Jersey; and the investigation into the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Feature Series – Part 2: Walter Sabo on Finding and Nurturing FM Talk Talent. In the second of a four-part series for TALKERS on building a successful FM talk station, Sabo Media president Walter Sabo writes that the best FM talk hosts come from the ranks of successful music jocks. “I look for talent who have invested their time doing excellent radio taking advantage of a strong format. A great CHR jock has remarkable broadcasting skills. He/she is taught the importance and necessity of getting to the next event.” Sabo says talent must be willing to prep two hours for every hour they are on the air and that matching this type of host with a skilled radio programmer presents the best opportunity for great success with targeted talk on the FM band. Read part 2 of this series here.
KMBZ, Kansas City Names Jonathan Weir Late Morning Host. The search for a new late morning talk host at Entercom’s KMBZ, Kansas City began when Chris Merrill took a talk host position at Clear Channel’s KOGO, San Diego earlier this year. Merrill’s been doing double duty while the search was on. Now, KMBZ program director Jack Landreth announces Jonathan Weir comes aboard to host the 9:00 am to 11:00 am show. “Jon’s enthusiasm and unique approach to his audience instantly drew me in as a listener first. His ability to weave his life experiences into the fabric of the show is a real quality that endears him to his listeners.” Weir comes from Entercom’s WSKY, Gainesville, Florida where he was producer and co-host of “The Drive Time Happy Hour” program. Weir, a St. Louis native, states, “I couldn’t be happier to be joining such a landmark station in the Midwest. I’m inspired and so thankful to everyone at KMBZ for giving me this incredible opportunity. I look forward to the challenge of living up to the incredible standards set by KMBZ, and the chance to be close to my family again is a great bonus.” Weir begins his new gig on April 30.
Talk Legend Barry Farber to Receive TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award. Talk show host Barry Farber, still heard regularly on both Talk Radio Network and CRN Digital Talk, has been named the 2012 recipient of TALKERS magazine’s annual “Lifetime Achievement Award.” The venerable host, named in 2002 and 2010 by TALKERS as one of the most important radio talk show hosts of all time, has been performing regularly scheduled talk shows on radio since 1960 when he started a groundbreaking program on WINS, New York. He is credited by historians as being one of the seminal pioneers and architects of today’s talk radio. Farber, also a prolific and accomplished author, has a new book coming out this summer titled Cocktails with Molotov: An Odyssey of Unlikely Detours (WND Books). The award will be presented to Barry Farber by Michael Harrison at the forthcoming New Media Seminar in New York City on Thursday, June 7. This event, nearing a sellout, is open to members of the working media only. For registration information call 413-565-5413.
Merlin Media LMAs Third Chicago FM Signal. Merlin Media is agreeing to lease the signal of Venture Technologies Group-owned WLFM-LP, Chicago at 87.7 on the dial to program and sell advertising on it. Of course there’s a ton of speculation about what Merlin will do with the low-power smooth jazz outlet. According to the Chicago Tribune, the station has been faring well with the smooth jazz format – garnering a 1.6 share in the March PPM. Since the deal was announced, news from Merlin’s FM News 101.1 has begun airing on the station. Though the Tribune notes Randy Michaels’ Radioactive LLC has applied for the WKQX-FM call letters of the former alternative rock station (now FM News 101.1) and that’s leading to rumors the station will flip to alternative rock. Program director and midday host Rick O’Dell confirms via the station website that a format change will take place Monday (4/30) but doesn’t say to what.
Rodney King Visits Rev. Al Sharpton. The 20th anniversary of the verdict in the case of the Los Angeles police officers accused of beating motorist Rodney King is Sunday, April 29. The acquittal of the four officers sparked the riots that consumed part of the city for days. King (pictured here at left) visited Syndication One talk show host Rev. Al Sharpton to discuss the historic event and his new book, The Riot Within: My Journey from Rebellion to Redemption (HarperOne 2012).
Steve Dahl Reduces Staff at Podcast Venture. New-tech broadcasting models are subject to the same economic forces that affect terrestrial radio and Chicago’s Steve Dahl is making changes to keep his podcast initiative going. Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports the Chicago radio legend let three staffers go recently — technical producer Pete Zimmerman, assistant technical producer Jim Ruffatto and assistant Stephanie Fallara – in order to continue operating in a way that works for him. Dahl wrote on his blog, “It was not a decision I came to easily, but I think that it was the right move for the show. I know when I am not growing as an entertainer and I know what I need to do to keep that process moving forward. It’s ‘The Steve Dahl Show,’ and that at some point is the brand that I need to protect, not only for my own creative integrity, but in order to support my family.” Dahl recently added two staffers – Dag Juhlin, director of creative services and Eric Drogoszewski, marketing/operations director – to his subscription-supported venture.
Backstage in Phoenix. Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk star Glenn Beck (third from right) poses for a photo with KFYI, Phoenix hosts and staffers backstage at the Phoenix stop on his “Unelectable Tour II” on Friday, April 20. Beck is hitting the road this spring bringing his standup comedy routine to audiences in Southern and Southwestern cities. Pictured here with Beck are (from l-r): KFYI GSM Jim Wilson, KFYI early morning host Jim Sharpe, KFYI PM drive host Mike Broomhead, Beck, KFYI program director Neil Larrimore, and Mike Broomhead show executive producer Andrew Fountaine.
2012 Presidential Race, North Korea Nukes Test, Euro Zone Jitters, Secret Service Scandal and SCOTUS Hears AZ Illegal Immigration Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/24). The presidential campaign and Mitt Romney’s Northeastern states primary sweep; North Korea’s threat to test nuclear weapons very soon; economic sluggishness in the euro zone; more dismissals in the Secret Service hooker scandal; and the Supreme Court’s hearing of the Arizona illegal immigration legislation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Talk Radio Hosts Invade New Hampshire. The New Hampshire Primary election is tomorrow (1/10) and in what has become a talk radio tradition – the New Hampshire Primary Radio Row – is putting the candidates and the issues on the air for local listeners and national audiences alike. The radio row event is organized by TALKERS magazine and the Talk Radio News Service and includes more than 45 programs broadcasting live from the Manchester Radisson. National programs include: Dial Global’s Neal Boortz, Thom Hartmann and Michael Smerconish; Radio America’s Roger Hedgecock; Genesis Communications Network’s Kate Delaney; Syndication One’s Al Sharpton and Warren Ballentine; Main Street Radio Network’s Alan Nathan; “A Touch of Grey” with Carole Marks; Michael Skoda; Dr. Gina Loudon; and Ed Morrissey. Local talk hosts include: WOR, New York’s John Gambling; WTKK-FM, Boston’s Jim Braude and Margery Eagan; WTKK’s Michael Graham; Stephen K. Bannon of KABC, Los Angeles; Marc Bernier of WNDB, Daytona Beach; Michael Berry of KTRH, Houston; Lee Davis of WYDE-FM, Birmingham; Scott Hennen of KNOX, Grand Forks, North Dakota; Mark Skoda of WMPS, Memphis; Lisa Wexler of WFAS, Westchester, New York; Ken Pittman and Phil Paleologos of WBSM, New Bedford; Richard Girard of WGAM, Manchester; Paul Westcott of WGIR, Manchester; Dan Mitchell of WKBK, Keene; George Russell of WSMN, Nashua; Mark Johnson of WDEV, Waterbury, Vermont; Steve West of WKVT, Brattleboro, Vermont; John Harper of WUVR, Dartmouth, New Hampshire; Tony Lopes of WVBF, Taunton, Massachusetts; and Jeff Santos of WWZN, Boston.
SCOTUS Hears Indecency Arguments Tomorrow. This day seems like a long time coming but tomorrow the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments about the FCC’s handling of broadcast indecency. The case comes to the Court with regard to television violations but the rules are the same for radio. Recent fines against ABC and Fox were overturned by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals after the court ruled the regulations are vague and unevenly applied – especially concerning the difference between how the rules are applied to over-the-air broadcast versus cable and satellite. That’s what ABC and Fox will argue tomorrow. The FCC will argue that even in the current era, most Americans expect broadcast TV (and radio by extension) to be “relatively safe” media for family consumption. Many legal observers believe that the likely ruling from the Supreme Court will be the request that the FCC make the indecency rules very clear and that its method of enforcement be just as clear. Interestingly, former FCC chairman Michael Powell – who now works for the National Cable & Telecommunications Association – is quoted by Bloomberg saying if he were voting on the cases in question again, he would dissent this time. “I’ve always been deeply troubled by the way the First Amendment changes when you change channels.”
Programmer Neil Larrimore Lands KFYI/KGME, Phoenix PD Position. Clear Channel Phoenix names former KMBZ, Kansas City program director Neil Larrimore PD for news/talk KFYI and sports talker Xtra Sports 910 (KGME). CC Phoenix director of operations and programming Smokey Rivers states, “Neil is the perfect complement to our Phoenix programming team. He is totally immersed in the flow of news and sports. In this ‘that’s so thirty seconds ago’ age, having a quality programmer focused solely on the output of our information products is essential to maintaining our quality edge.” Larrimore, who recently exited Entercom’s Kansas City news/talk outlet, says, “Information is the lifeblood of all media, now more than ever. The opportunity to work with these powerful brands and continue to evolve them on-air, on-site and online, is extraordinary! I can’t wait to get started!”
Rick Barber Retires from KOA, Denver. After 30 years on the air in Denver, Rick Barber retires from his late-night talk show on Clear Channel’s KOA, Denver. The Clear Channel station is filling the time with Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM.”
Drew Steele Takes Over AM Drive on WFSX-FM, Fort Myers; Trey Radel Exits to Run for Congress. Trey Radel announces his candidacy for Florida’s 14th Congressional District seat and exits the morning drive show at Meridian’s “92.5 Fox News” (WFSX-FM) in the Ft. Myers/Naples market. Meridian hands the reins of the morning drive show over to Drew Steele. Radel is a longtime media figure in the market serving as anchor on WINK-TV for years before joining “92.5 Fox News.” Radel is running as a Republican for the seat being vacated by Connie Mack who’s running for the U.S. Senate.
ESPN Radio Celebrates 20 Years in Operation. Once just a small part of the ESPN cable television-focused broadcasting company, ESPN Audio is now a major component of the ESPN brand. In January of 1992, ESPN Radio consisted of weekday drive-time commentaries on about 100 affiliates. The network now has 300 full-time affiliates and ESPN owns four stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas. SVP of ESPN Audio Mo Davenport states, “In 20 years, we’ve gone from airing only weekday, drive-time commentaries on 104 radio stations, to the amazing success of “Mike & Mike,” “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” Scott Van Pelt, Doug Gottlieb, and having ESPN Radio become the most-listened-to sports stream on the planet. Additionally, our local markets give fans the local angle on air and online. It is a tribute to our listeners and our team, which pushes us forward to greater success in serving the sports fan.”
Jim Rome Takes TV Show to CBS Sports Network. There’s no official confirmation from ESPN or Jim Rome’s camp but Big Lead Sports is reporting that Jim Rome’s “Rome is Burning” show will soon disappear from ESPN2 and Rome will begin a TV presence on the new CBS Sports Network. The site reports that Rome was offered a multi-year deal to remain with ESPN but he’s choosing to begin TV life anew with CBS’ new cable initiative. There would appear to be no affect on Rome’s radio program with Premiere Networks as a result of this.
KNX, Los Angeles Business Series Offers “The Business of Going Green.” The next event in all-news KNX, Los Angeles’ Business Breakfast Series is titled, “The Business of Going Green” and takes place Friday, January 20 at 8:00 am at the Los Angeles Convention Center. CBS Radio Los Angeles says “KNX Business Hour” host Frank Mottek will moderate a discussion that will explore how a sustainability strategy can be good for generating revenue and why being socially responsible doesn’t have to mean being fiscally irresponsible. The free event will include a resource expo, continental breakfast and expert panelists H. David Nahai and Paul Polizzotto. Nahai was senior advisor to the Clinton Climate Initiative and is president of David Nahai Consulting Services which advises and assists public and private entities involved in the environmental sector. Polizzotto is president of EcoMedia, a division of CBS Corporation, whose mission is to raise public awareness about environmental issues.
KIRO-FM, Seattle Debuts New Local Food Show. Hosted by local restaurateurs Tom Douglas and Thierry Rautureau and produced by Tina Cole, “Seattle Kitchen” airs Saturday mornings at 8:00 and Sundays at 10:00 am. As you’d expect, the program will feature restaurant reviews of Puget Sound eateries as well as recipes and, of course, fielding listeners’ questions. Program director Larry Gifford says, “Tom and Thierry are a natural fit and great addition. For the weekend chef, who better to learn from, laugh with and relax to than these guys?”