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Solutions to AM Radio’s Problems: Here’s How the Industry Can Revive AM and Make it a Viable Force Again
By Bill Brady
Futures & Options, Inc.
AM stations that offer quality programming that effectively serve listener’s needs are doing just fine. There is no problem at WLW, WTMJ, KNBR, the CBS all news stations and many other well-programmed AM stations.
There is a problem at the many stations which have “run up the white flag” and surrendered to paid programming, wall-to-wall syndication, religion, or my personal favorite…drumroll please…the irresistible opportunity to become the fifth sports station in their market.
The two biggest issues for AM radio today are the commitment level of corporate owners, and the congealed nature of the syndication marketplace.
Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted. Up Today: Erica Farber Moderates “The State of Radio Advertising and Sales” Panel. Today (7/17) marks the third day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last month’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014. The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms. The worldwide showing of these very special videos continues today with the event’s powerful “State of Radio Advertising and Sales” panel moderated by Erica Farber, president/CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB). The panel features an array of heavyweight radio executives including Ron Furman, CRO, Westwood One; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Joe Puglise, president/market manager, Clear Channel, New York; and Julie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks. According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “The scope of important radio sales issues clearly covered and illuminated during this session is nothing short of extraordinary. We are delighted to be able to make such solid and useful content available to the entire industry.” Among the topics covered: Dealing with spoken word radio’s loss of advertisers due to the much-publicized backlash against controversy; selling against and effectively utilizing digital; what’s being done about the need for accurate ratings in the digital era; the role of the on-air personality in driving sales; and the state of small/medium market station revenue, among others. Erica Farber begins the panel by referring to earlier remarks made by Sean Hannity, Phil Boyce and Greg Moceri critical of the present-day Nielsen Audio system that doesn’t include tallies of digital platform listenership. She states, “I don’t want anyone to walk away thinking that this is not being addressed. It is very complicated and we [the RAB, major radio industry leaders and Nielsen] are trying to figure it out.” Regarding advertiser boycotts, Ron Furman admits, “We have hard work to do. [Once you have lost advertisers due to their discomfort with controversy] it is hard to get them back.” On that same topic, Julie Talbott advises, “The key is to find businesses that want to grow.” Kraig Kitchin notes, “Hosts who have the ability and interest in selling products and services will go the longest way.” Joe Puglise points out, “WOR is pacing up [revenues] double digits.” He credits the significant income increase at the heritage talker acquired by Clear Channel in 2012 to its relatively recent addition of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to its roster – both having been long-time staples of cross-town rival WABC. If any singular statement sums up the basic sentiment expressed by the panel it is Julie Talbott’s observation: “It is a different kind of sale today. It is a more sophisticated sale.” To see “The State of Radio Advertising and Sales” panel, please click here. Coming tomorrow: “Radio: The Big Picture” moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison featuring panelists Steve Goldstein, EVP, Saga Communications; Sam Kimball, CRO, Livestream; Tom Langmyer, VP/news/talk programming, Journal Broadcast Group; Tom Leykis, CEO, The New Normal; Mike McVay, SVP, Cumulus Media; and Walter Sabo, CEO, Sabo Media. The TALKERS conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.
Boston Sports Host Apologizes for Calling Erin Andrews a “Gutless Bitch” and Telling Her to “Drop Dead.” This past Tuesday’s MLB All-Star Game was, in essence, a Derek Jeter tribute. Retiring at the end of the year, the Yankees shortstop participated in his final mid-year classic. Fox was elaborate in its coverage; Jeter had success at the plate; and American League/Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell stretched the substitution process for Jeter, enabling the popular infielder to enjoy an isolated, extended standing ovation. It had all the components of a great story, particularly since the AL won 5-3. Perhaps only St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright will be the only person to know for certain if he made it a bit easier for Jeter to smack a first-inning double, which was the catalyst for three quick AL runs in that frame. Social media was buzzing that Wainwright had indicated he might have grooved the pitch Jeter hit. Fox reporter Erin Andrews questioned Wainwright about it and the pitcher backtracked from that notion, and he said Jeter’s hit was on the up-and-up. Apparently though, the televised exchange between Andrews and Wainwright did not sit well with Entercom-owned sports WEEI-FM, Boston personality Kirk Minihane. On (yesterday) Wednesday morning’s “(John) Dennis & (Gerry) Callahan” program, Minihane declared of Andrews, “What a bitch – I hate her. What a gutless bitch. Seriously, go away. Drop dead. I mean, seriously, what the hell is wrong with her? First of all, follow-up. Second of all, the guy admitted he did it -he admitted it. He told reporters he threw a couple of ‘pipe-bombs.’ How is that social media’s fault? I hate her – I seriously hate her so much.” A Minihane-issued statement was posted last (Wednesday) night on the WEEI website that read: “I used a series of words to describe Erin Andrews’ work at the All-Star Game. My choice of words was wrong. I was wrong to have used them. To all whom I offended – particularly Ms. Andrews – I apologize. There is no place for what was said. It was immature and completely uncalled for. I am often critical of media members and their work and recognize here that I’ve made the kind of mistake I would call out if it was done by another sportscaster or writer. Again, to all involved, I’m very sorry.” The Boston Globe is reporting that Entercom VP/market manager Phil Zachary says Minihane was contrite, chose to issue the apology and will not be suspended or fired. This is not surprising since many media watchers in Boston have credited Minihane’s role on the Dennis & Callahan show as very positive for the show and the station.
Syndication: Behind-the-Scenes Preparation. In this next installment of a multi-part series on syndicating radio programs, Global Media Services founder Tony Garcia writes about handling an important – but not so sexy – aspect of syndicating a radio program: being prepared when it comes to the business end of the project. Those parts of the business include the finances, production, distribution and marketing of the program. It may seem obvious, but the financial aspect is crucial and making sure all facets of the business are accounted for from a money standpoint is mandatory. Garcia writes, “Once you have established a budget, you’ll know the entire cost of syndicating your show. Be prepared to float the show financially for at least two years in order to give the show enough time to find affiliates and audience.” Read Garcia’s entire piece here.
Talk Media TV Expands Video Platform; WMYT, Wilmington-based Talker Curtis Wright to Be Featured. North Carolina-based talk media personality Curtis Wright (pictured below) – co-owner and executive producer of Talk Media TV and a personality on WMYT, Wilmington – is continuing his efforts to expand the company’s video production capabilities and web online presence through the establishment of new production ventures with both InNova TV Networks and National Productions. Wright announces that to support this effort to expand the creation and distribution of new broadcast and video content, Talk Media TV and WMYT 106.7 FM will be moving to newly constructed broadcast and office facilities which will be shared by all three companies. He says this allows WMYT to commence ‘live web video streaming’ of its many original, local, live broadcast shows. Wright says, “We formed Talk Media TV and WMYT 106.7 FM just over a year ago to create a truly multi-media, multi-broadcast company that can create and distribute original broadcast content using all of the emerging communications technologies and platforms. This new association with both InNova TV Networks, which will be supplying us our web and internet ‘virtual channel’ for live video streaming, and National Productions, which will be supporting our expanding original video productions, takes us closer and closer to reaching our original ‘vision’ for our company and services to our clients.” Talk Media TV will be taking two recently created segments that appear on Wright’s WMYT show and produce them for the Talk Media TV “virtual channel.” Those segments are “Constitutional Path to Liberty” with Dr. Greg Brannon and “Cape Fear Capital Connections” with Thomas E. Vass.
Rivlin Joins Sun Broadcast Group. Former Westwood One vice president of affiliate sales Ron Rivlin is tapped to become Sun Broadcast Group’s senior vice president of programming and affiliate relations. Rivlin will oversee the affiliate sales department’s focus on “The Marilu Henner Show,” “Nashville Music Minute,” and “AccuWeather en Espanol.” SBG chief executive officer Jason Bailey comments, “Lately, I have had the honor of welcoming some of the greatest men and women in radio to our team. Today, I get that pleasure yet again. As we begin to finalize our 2015 lineup, we needed the best of the best to lead the charge. Anyone who knows Ron can tell you he is exactly that. I am honored that he chose to join our family.” Rivlin states that he is, “over-the-moon excited to be joining [all] the radio pros at Sun Broadcast Group, which represents a new generation of media companies. [It is] laser-focused on the needs of affiliates, advertisers and, of course, listeners. I cannot wait to share what is coming next.” Before his Westwood One tenure, Rivlin was Triton Digital Media’s vice president of interactive solutions, and ABC Radio Networks’ senior director.
Heaving Bricks at Radio. Radio sales maven Al Herskovitz writes today (7/17) about his frustration with radio’s current image crisis that, he says, is largely radio’s own fault. Herskovitz cites examples from his hometown market in which he hears long-outdated spots on the air as well as old, pre-recorded weather forecasts still on the air and almost no community profile for stations that purport to serve the local market. The fixes for these problems are not hard to imagine, as Herskovitz illustrates. Read his piece here.
John Gambling Laments Loss of Mayoral Sit-Downs. Stating that he’s been talking with New York City’s mayors for the past 15 years, WOR personality John Gambling Tweeted about his frustrations trying to book Mayor Bill de Blasio, a story picked up by the New York Daily News. Gambling began his regular chats with the City’s mayors, first with Republican Rudy Giuliani and then with Republican Michael Bloomberg. But de Blasio, a Democrat, has not responded to repeated requests to join the program. Gambling tells the paper, “My views of his policies are what they are, and they’re obviously 180 degrees from where he is. I’ve been sitting with mayors for 15 years… I’m always willing to let somebody speak their mind. I’d like to have a conversation with the mayor.” Read the Daily News piece here.
Ingraham Endorses Tennessee Senate Candidate. Next Tuesday (7/22), Laura Ingraham will be in Nashville where she will attend the “Restore America” rally. The Courtside Entertainment Group host is backing Tennessee Senate candidate Joe Carr, who is trying to unseat incumbent Lamar Alexander in next month’s (8/7) primary. “Anti-amnesty” conservative talk host Ingraham supported Dave Brat, who – last month – defeated Representative Eric Cantor in Virginia’s seventh Congressional District. Brat and Carr oppose reform that would grant amnesty to immigrants. In addition to criticizing Alexander for supporting the comprehensive immigration bill that passed the Senate last year, Ingraham called Carr, who opposes the bill, “terrific” on immigration. Carr, Alexander, Brat, and Cantor are all Republicans. Ingraham, and in some instances talk radio in general, has been credited with Brat’s victory by such publications as Politico, and these stories received a lot of attention, especially among political wonks and the cable news/talk channels. TALKERS believes that the reality is not quite so clear and the conclusion that any talk show host’s support of a candidate that leads to victory in an election – regardless of the party affiliation – is a very difficult thing to prove.
Child Immigration Crisis, Israel-Hamas Violence, ISIS Campaign in Iraq and Syria, Eric Holder Racism Controversy, Clinton and Warren Potential Presidential Bids, Obama Lawsuit Move, and Summer Polar Vortex Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/16). The ongoing influx of child illegal immigrants and the Obama Administration’s policy dealing with the crisis; the heightened violence in the Gaza strip; the continuing campaign by ISIS to bring about a caliphate in Iraq and Syria; chatter about Eric Holder’s comments that criticism of the Obama Administration is based in racism; the potential 2016 presidential bids by Hillary Clinton and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren; the move in the U.S. House to sue President Obama over his unilateral actions regarding the Affordable Care Act; and the summer polar vortex affecting much of the Midwest were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Tony Garcia
Global Media Services
DENVER — Anyone who’s been on the air knows the importance of being well prepared. Whether its being prepared to interview a guest, handling calls or preparing for segments of your show, preparation is critical.
Unfortunately, when it comes to syndication, many don’t prepare quite as well. That causes frustration and can ultimately lead to the failure of your project. Here are some things to think about when you are preparing for syndication:
Finances: If you’re like me, you grew up majoring in radio and not paying too much attention to much else. It isn’t calculus, but you should understand the costs involved in distributing your show. Once you have established a budget, you’ll know the entire cost of syndicating your show. Be prepared to float the show financially for at least two years in order to give the show enough time to find affiliates and audience. The components of your financial plan should include production, distribution, and marketing. Some of these will vary depending on the kind of show you are doing and how you plan to distribute the show.
WRKO, Boston’s Howie Carr Signs with Global Media Services for Syndication. Boston-based talk show host Howie Carr – hosting afternoon drive at Entercom’s WRKO – contracts with Global Media Services to market his syndicated radio show. Carr is currently carried on 15 radio stations throughout New England. Carr comments, “I’ve been looking forward to this day for a long time. It’s exciting to be branching out on my own and expanding the network. I have a great relationship with my affiliates and advertisers and I think they’ll tell you I’ve been a real asset to their businesses.” Global Media Services founder Tony Garcia says, “Howie Carr is an icon and legend in New England and I look forward to partnering with him to bring his unique views on politics, pop culture and society to the entire nation. The possibilities are endless.” Garcia has been writing columns for TALKERS about the syndication business. He founded his new company in 2014.
Attorney and Former Talk Host Pleads Guilty to Fraud. In what seems like a never-ending chain of financial advisors hosting brokered weekend talk shows who go on to defraud investors, comes the latest from Chicago where Kathleen Niew pleaded guilty in federal court to 10 counts of fraud. Niew brokered her show from Salem Communications-owned WIND, Chicago. She lost the life savings of a local couple — $2.3 million – investing in foreign mining projects that failed. She faces up to 11 years in prison when she is sentenced. She was disbarred in Illinois several months after the issues surrounding her arrest came to light.
WPRO, Providence Host Buddy Cianci Takes Leave to Run for Mayor. As many predicted he would when he first began to bat around the idea of running for a third stint as mayor of Providence, Buddy Cianci announced his candidacy on Wednesday (6/25) and stepped away from his afternoon drive program in order to devote his full attention to the race. Cianci is on leave from the station and Tara Granahan is subbing for him. Granahan says, “I’m thrilled for Buddy as he delves into his latest adventure in politics. I’m really looking forward to spending more time with our listeners. Then, we’ll see what happens in November!” Cianci resigned from the mayor’s post in 1984 after pleading no contest to assault. He served for 12 years from 1990 to 2002, again resigning after a racketeering conviction forced him to relocate to federal prison for four years. Cianci also was serving as a political commentator for WLNE-TV, a gig from which he is also on leave.
Tony Bruno Resigns from WPEN-FM, Philadelphia. There is not much information about the sudden departure of sports talk host Tony Bruno from Greater Media’s WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic,” but the station issues the following statement: “Tony Bruno has chosen to resign his position at ‘97.5 The Fanatic.’ We thank him for his contributions and wish him well.” Bruno had been off the air this week during what has been reported to have been contract negotiations. Obviously, from Bruno’s perspective, the negotiations did not go well and he has left the station.
Odds & Sods. At Entercom’s sports talker WMFS-FM/AM, Memphis, John Martin adds columnist duties for the station’s website. Martin is executive producer for the Geoff Calkins show. His column is titled “The 92.9 Line.”…..NPR and American Public Media strike a deal for NPR’s “Morning Edition” to include APM’s “Marketplace Morning Report” feature to the program beginning this fall…..Greater Media sports talker WPEN-FM, Philadelphia is breaking away from regular programming today to broadcast the U.S. vs. Germany World Cup match. Personalities Harry Mayes, Jon Marks and Sean Brace will broadcast live from Pagano’s in Philly where the match will be shown on a 20’ x 17’ screen.
NYC Move-In Prompts Missive on ‘Community Radio.’ The format flip to urban contemporary and move of Cumulus Media’s WFAS-FM, Bronxville, New York (Westchester County) to the New York City metro is not a story TALKERS would usually cover since it is a music station. But the move caused Whitney Radio president William O’Shaughnessy to promote the community-mindedness of his stations – WVIP-FM and WVOX-AM – to his advertisers, the listeners and WFAS-FM’s listeners. Read O’Shaughnessy’s memo here.
Four Named to Broadcasters Foundation of America Board of Directors. Four distinguished broadcast industry leaders are named to the Broadcasters Foundation of America board of directors. They are: Peter Dunn, president, CBS Television Stations; David T. Lougee, president, Gannett Broadcasting; Elizabeth (Beth) Neuhoff, president & chief executive officer, Neuhoff Communications; Michael (Mike) O’Neill, president & chief executive officer, BMI. BFoA chairman Phil Lombardo says, “The addition of these four prominent broadcasters to our board will further enhance awareness of the work that we do and increase our ability to help more broadcasters in need. Their dedication to helping those in our industry who need it most is an inspiration that I hope will motivate everyone in our profession to make a donation and become involved with our cause.”
Marlin Broadcasting Chairman Alex Tanger Dies at 94. The broadcasting career of Alexander Tanger started after his return from World War II service when he became vice president of WHDH-TV and WHDH-AM in Boston. He bought WLKW, Providence and operated it for many years. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, he convinced General Cinema Corporation to buy FM radio stations – among them WIFI-FM, Philadelphia; KRBE-FM, Houston; WGZC-FM, Atlanta; WHUE-FM Boston; WGCI-FM, Cleveland; and WEFM-FM, Chicago, where he won a landmark case in the U.S. Court of Appeals that freed broadcasters from government oversight of programming. In the 1980s and 1990s, Tanger built the WBACH Classical Music network of FM stations in Maine and served as the chairman of the board of Marlin Broadcasting, Inc. and Marlin Broadcasting, LLC from 1979 until his passing.
U.S. GDP Shrinks, Primary Races-Mid Term Elections, Lerner’s IRS Emails Scandal, Hillary Clinton Memoir/2016 Presidential Race, Influx of Illegal Immigrants; SCOTUS Cell Phone Search Ruling; Global Warming Debate; and World Cup Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/25). Analysis of the economy as the gross domestic product in the U.S. shrinks 2.9%; the Thad Cochran primary race and the looming mid-term elections; the Lois Lerner IRS emails and GOP audits scandal; sales of Hillary Clinton’s memoir and the possibility she’ll run for president in 2016; continuing concern over the influx of illegal immigrants and public health issues associated with the problem; the SCOTUS ruling on warrantless police searches of cell phones; the debate over man-made climate change; and World Cup action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WGN Announces Garry Meier Moves to Digital Platform, John Williams Returns to WGN Radio. A big change in Windy City talk radio as Garry Meier leaves the PM drive slot he’s hosted since 2009 on WGN Radio to handle the same shift at Tribune’s wgn.fm internet station. Coming back to WGN is John Williams who left 18 months ago to move to the Twin Cities where he hosts the afternoon drive show on CBS RADIO’s WCCO – a position he’ll continue to hold. The new schedule at WGN looks like this: Steve Cochran in mornings, Williams from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon, Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm, Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder move into the afternoon drive slot from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm, followed by Pete McMurray from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm, Patti Vasquez from 11:00 pm to 2:00 am and Nick Digilio from 2:00 am to 5:00 am. Speaking about bringing Williams back to WGN, VP of content Todd Manley states, “John crafts radio shows that are laced with such unique wit and wisdom that you don’t want to miss a minute. John was born to be on both of these great stations. We give many thanks to our friends at WCCO for so graciously sharing him.” Station president and general manager Jimmy de Castro comments, “Garry is perfect for wgn.fm because he understands both the potential of spoken word and that the future of radio is programming to tech-savvy, mobile audiences. His approach to entertain interactively through digital media propels us into the future. This is a great start to the revamp of our entire online and mobile products including our apps, websites and on-demand content distribution.”
Joyce Kaufman Named by TALKERS, Humanitarian of the Year. Talk radio personality Joyce Kaufman – 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm host at James Crystal Radio, Inc.-owned WFTL, Fort Lauderdale – has been named by the TALKERS editorial board as the 2014 recipient of the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Talk Radio Broadcaster. Also referred to as “Humanitarian of the Year,” the award is named in honor of Sharon L. Harrison, the late wife of Michael Harrison and mother of Matthew B. Harrison, who played an instrumental role in the radio trade publication business going all the way back to her days as an associate editor at Radio & Records during its formative years in the early 1970s through the launch of TALKERS magazine in 1990. In making the announcement of Joyce Kaufman’s selection, TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “Ms. Kaufman embodies so many of the values that are vital to the continued importance of radio as an iconic resource serving the best interests of society. She is quintessentially local and deeply connected to her South Florida community. She has been fiercely loyal to her station, co-workers and management during WFTL’s recent financial challenges. And most importantly, she has a string of community-service achievements and awards to her credit that could reflect the productive output of more than 10 broadcasters, let alone one hard-working individual. She is a veritable force of nature in the Fort Lauderdale/Miami region and richly deserves recognition as an inspiration to the entire industry.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says, “Most hosts and broadcasters who have received this award have been so recognized because of one or a handful of charitable and community initiatives that they have championed. In the case of Joyce Kaufman, there are actually too many to begin listing. To sum it up, she has been a hero to women, children, veterans, the poor and the disabled via her constant, tireless work and support of such organizations as Toys for Tots, the Patriot Guard Riders (for deployments, returning troops, funerals and veterans’ memorials), Hispanic Women of Distinction (raising money for free medical care for needy families), the Palm Beach Stand Down House (supporting homeless veterans), the Never Again Pledge Rides (for Holocaust remembrances), and so many others. She has co-anchored the local Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon, raised 6,000 pair of shoes for the Salvation Army and has been the recipient of more than 10 major awards during her 20 year radio career including the American Legion Post 304 ‘Veterans Advocacy Award,’ the Film Recording & Entertainment Council ‘Radio Personality of the Year,’ the Husky Rescue of South Florida ‘Champion Award,’ the Wounded Warriors Foundation ‘Hero’s Hero Designation,’ the ‘Latina Pioneer of the Year,’ the Broward County ‘Law Enforcement Champion of the Year,’ the Americans Against Hate ‘American Hero Award,’ the ‘Italian American Heritage Award,’ the Chabad of South Florida ‘Defender of Israel Award,’ the Stand Down House ‘Veteran Advocate of the Year Award’ and the FAIR ‘We the People Award,’ among many others. The list of individuals whom she has helped simply as a talk show host on a radio program – and not necessarily affiliated with an organization – is endless.” Harrison continues, “Joyce Kaufman has never been one to shy away from controversy and is as bold in her stance on issues close to her heart – popular and unpopular – as she is in defending the weak and disadvantaged within her community. She is as aggressive in her advocacy of free speech as she is in serving the needy.” Past recipients of the Humanitarian of the Year Award, one of the most prestigious in radio, include Boomer Esiason, Clay Hunnicutt, Joe Madison, Sean Hannity, Dr. Joy Browne, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, and Scott Hennen. It will be presented to Joyce Kaufman at Talkers New York 2014 on Friday June 20. For information on the event please click here.
Entercom Ups McLain to OM at Greenville News/Talk and Sports Stations; Hendrix Named PD at ‘ESPN Upstate.’ A couple of programming management moves take place at Entercom’s Greenville, South Carolina cluster as longtime news/talk “WORD 106.3” (WYRD-FM) talk personality Bob McLain is named operations manager for both WYRD-FM and sports talk multi-cast “ESPN Upstate.” At the same time, Mark Hendrix – programmer of the company’s classic rock WROQ – takes on PD responsibilities for “ESPN Upstate.” Entercom Greenville VP/market manager Steve Sinicropi states, “The professionalism, experience and passion that Bob McLain and Mark Hendrix bring to ‘ESPN Upstate’ will help lead a powerful ESPN Radio brand that is becoming the fastest-growing sports station in South Carolina.” Bob McLain adds, “The addition of the ESPN brand to our already powerful cluster of stations allows Entercom to better serve the important male audience. I have worked with Mark Hendrix for more than a decade and his experience and knowledge will be invaluable as we turn ‘ESPN Upstate’ into THE dominant sports station in the market.” On February 24, “ESPN Upstate” debuted on WORD-AM and WYRD-AM. They are also heard on 97.1 FM and WFBC-FM HD-3 and will soon be heard on translator W290BW at 105.9 FM.
What’s Your Point of Difference? When it comes to syndicating a radio show, explaining to a potential affiliate station how it benefits that station can take more than just examples of ratings success in other markets. Global Media Services founder Tony Garcia writes about advice for defining the difference between your show and the competition. He says you already know what your target audience is. “Since you already know what it is, start there, and from there take a look at what you are bringing to the show and to your potential affiliates that’s different from what’s already out there, or what’s unique about your approach to the material.” Incorporating that into a marketing message is the next step. Read Garcia’s entire column here.
Saurer Named CEO at Million Dollar Media. Broadcast industry pro Bill Saurer is named the chief executive officer for Million Dollar Media, effective June 2. Saurer also serves as president/CEO of Principle Broadcasting Network/Universal Media Access. Million Dollar Media describes itself as “the largest provider of insured contests to the media industry, and provides web-based contesting, rebate programs, sports pools, sweepstakes and promotions to a wide array of clients including professional sports teams, ad agencies, auto dealers and Fortune 500 companies around the United States and Canada.” Million Dollar Media partner Henry Ferry comments, “We are tremendously excited to add someone of Bill Saurer’s talent, ability and experience to our team. Both [partner] Ken Scott and myself have worked directly for Bill in the past, so we have first-hand experience of his management expertise. As a founding partner, close friend and now CEO, we expect this dynamic to help continue the explosive growth our company has experienced, and look forward to where he will help lead us.” Million Dollar Media, Principle Broadcasting Network and Universal Media Access are all portfolio companies of Mercury Capital Partners.
Taking Care of Our Own. WVOX and WVIP, New Rochelle president and editorial director William O’Shaughnessy – who also serves as chairman of the Broadcasters Association of America’s Guardian Fund – pens an appeal to those in the industry who’ve benefitted so much from success over the years but who haven’t considered engaging in philanthropy to help those broadcasters who’ve fallen on hard times. In his own inimitable fashion, O’Shaughnessy writes about the important mission the BFoA serves. Read it here.
Gracies Gala Takes Place in Beverly Hills. In Beverly Hills last night (5/20), women working in all forms of media were honored by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation at the historic Beverly Hilton Hotel, at the 39th Annual Gracie Awards Gala. Television personality Aisha Tyler hosted the gala that recognizes exemplary programming created for women, by women, and about women in all facets of media, including radio, television, cable, and new media. The awards program also encourages the realistic and multifaceted portrayal of women in entertainment, news, features, and other programs. Pictured here is iHeartRadio host Moll Anderson arriving on the red carpet. Also honored were Premiere Networks syndicated country morning personality Bobby Bones and show cast member Amy and SiriusXM’s Julia Cunningham. AWMF chair Kay Olin comments, “The Gracies is such a special celebration, and it is a privilege for the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation to honor the work of our talented Gracie winners. It is truly inspiring to be in a room with so many industry professionals who have come together to recognize exceptional programming for women, by women, and about women.” Photo courtesy of Leroy Hamilton.
Talking Issues. The Colorado gubernatorial candidates lined up (literally and figuratively) for a debate that was broadcast live on Salem Communications-owned news/talk KNUS, Denver . The 90-minute event took place before a live audience on the campus of Colorado Christian College. Pictured here are (from left to right): Colorado State Senator Mike Kopp, Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler, KNUS afternoon personality Steve Kelley, and former U.S. Congressman Bob Beauprez.
VA Scandal, Primary Super Tuesday, Global Warming, Americans on Disability, Russian Military Aggression, U.S.-China Hacking Conflict, and NHL and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/20). The growing probe into poor treatment of veterans at the nation’s VA hospitals; the run-up to the Super Tuesday Primary elections; debate over humanity’s role in climate change; the increasing number of Americans receiving disability payments; Russia’s continued military aggression; conflict between the U.S. and China over charges brought against Chinese hackers by the U.S. government; and the NHL and NBA playoff action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Tony Garcia
Global Media Services
DENVER — One of the critical factors in successful syndication is being able to discuss succinctly what your show is about and how it benefits the affiliate. Most successful shows have a strong core of listeners in an easily defined demographic, like Women 35-54. And while your may have proof via ratings, email or calls that your audience is broader, focus on your core, then think about your point of difference. Your point of difference needs to be targeted and engaging.
Whether you do a political talk show, morning show, music show or feature, your show has a target audience. Since you already know what it is, start there, and from there take a look at what you are bringing to the show and to your potential affiliates that’s different from what’s already out there, or what’s unique about your approach to the material. Take a look at your e-mail. What do your listeners say is different about your show? What keeps them coming back? Ask around. Sometimes getting an outside perspective can give you some ideas.
By Tony Garcia
Global Media Services
“My show is about outdoor grilling. Why wouldn’t Omaha Steaks want to sponsor it?” It’s a logical question, and one that just about everyone just starting out asks. Is it possible? Sure. Is it likely? No.
I know what you are thinking: “What about that guy who has that weekend show?” There are several shows of this nature that are very successful. But those are special cases, and their revenue comes more from supplemental revenue channels than from network advertisers. There are also some highly specialized podcasters who are making money because they target an extremely narrow niche that can’t be reached any other way. We’re talking about general appeal programming here.
Cumulus Makes Over KWQW, Des Moines. Gone is the “Wow FM” brand and in is “98.3 The Torch – Common Sense Radio” on Cumulus Media news/talker KWQW. New program director Robert Rees takes over the morning drive slot on air and WMAL, Washington-based Chris Plante as well as Cox Media’s Herman Cain make way for Westwood One’s Dennis Miller and Premiere’s Glenn Beck in middays. About his new gig, Rees says, “I’m excited to be here in Des Moines to get people to talk about and laugh about all aspects of life during their morning drive. Plus, we’ll get them all of the traffic, news and weather information they need to start their day!”
Joe Pags Returns to KPRC, Houston. Beginning on Monday, April 28, WOAI, San Antonio-based Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo will also be heard on Clear Channel’s Houston news/talk KPRC as his afternoon show will be simulcast on both stations from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm. In addition to his daily work on WOAI and KPRC, Joe Pags is also heard on Clear Channel’s syndicated “The Weekend” on Saturdays and on KOA, Denver from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm on Saturdays.
Syndication Reality: Measurable Audience Needed. The latest piece from Global Media Services founder Tony Garcia published in TALKERS today (4/23) focuses on the reality that some broadcasters with syndication programming ideas don’t want to hear: It takes measureable audience to get the attention of agency people. Garcia writes that for any general interest radio program, the fact is that “media buyers look for large audience metrics.” Garcia says that means listeners, not necessarily affiliate stations. For more, read Garcia’s column here.
RTDNA Names Regional Murrow Award Winners. The complete list of winners is too extensive to print here. You can check out the full list, by region, here. But some of the stations who took a moment to promote their victories included Cumulus Media’s KGO, San Francisco which won the 2014 Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Overall Excellence which includes the categories of breaking news, continuing coverage, features and in-depth web and digital media presence. KGO OM Ron Escarsega comments, “There were lots of big stories to cover in 2013: the Asiana plane crash at SFO in July, two BART strikes that disrupted commutes for thousands of people and the U.S. Supreme Court decision that led to the resumption of gay marriages in California. But there were other stories, too, everything from the opening of the new span of the Bay Bridge to features, like the one about a guitar prodigy struggling with ALS. I’m very proud of the entire news team for coming together to provide comprehensive coverage for our listeners.” Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington was also honored for Overall Excellence in addition to being recognized in the following categories: Breaking News – Coverage of the Navy Yard Shooting; Feature Reporting – “V-E Day” by Reporter Kristi King; Sport Reporting – “Capital’s Dentist” by Sports Reporter Jonathan Warner; Hard News Feature – “United Pets” by Lori Lundin; WTOP senior news director Mike McMearty adds, “It is always an honor to be recognized with an Edward R. Murrow award. It’s especially gratifying when you win more than any other station in, what I believe is, one of the most competitive markets in the country. These awards are a reflection of the hard work and dedication of the entire WTOP newsroom staff and would not be possible without the freedom to experiment granted by our program director Laurie Cantillo.”
Premiere Networks Distributing TheBlaze Memorial Day Special. The title of the show is, “Freedom: Love It or Lose It,” and it’s a production of Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network. It’s an “exclusive three-hour Memorial Day radio special…featuring the hosts, writers and editors of TheBlaze and TheBlaze.com, including: Doc Thompson, Buck Sexton, Jay Severin and others. From personal stories to conversations about the meaning of the holiday, listeners will be treated to a special tribute to those who fought and gave their lives to defend our freedom, and the loved ones who support them.” Premiere says it’s available for news/talk stations to air between May 24 and 26.
Emmis’ Jeff Smulyan Sits Down for NASDAQ Interview to Promote Radio Business. Some of the crew of Emmis Communications’ New York stations rang the closing bell at the NASDAQ last Friday and while visiting the exchange, CEO Jeff Smulyan sat down with journalist Kelsey Hubbard to appear on NASDAQ’s CEO Signature Series. Smulyan promoted his company’s efforts behind getting the FM chips in cell phones activated and in pushing the NextRadio platform. When asked about his company’s ability to prosper versus competitors including SiriusXM and Pandora, Smulyan stated that SiriusXM is a subscription service and implied it will always face challenges because of that. As for Pandora, he said his company has been streaming for 18 years and he’s yet to meet anyone who’s making money at it. “The cost structure is very different and I think that’s at the heart of it.” Watch the video here.
Lionel to Appear at Big Apple’s Cutting Room with Live Talk and Music Show. Maverick radio and television talk personality Lionel will be “playing” at the Cutting Room, an innovative midtown New York City nightclub owned by actor Chris Noth, and known for its dedication to excellent live music and performances. Lionel, whose commentaries are seen by New Yorkers on WPIX-TV channel 11, tells TALKERS, “Don’t call it stand up!” Lionel’s in-person presentation consists of a unique mixture of spoken word and music – described as “extreme thought and critical thinking” — along with the live music of his bluegrass trio, Lock ‘n Load. The one-night performance takes place at the Cutting Room, 44 East 32nd Street in Manhattan on Saturday, May 10 at 8:00 pm. Tickets are $30 in advance, $35 at the door. For more information call 212-691-1900 or click here.
This is High School Radio Day. More specifically, it is the third annual such event. WBFH, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan (suburban Detroit) station manager Pete Bowers is credited with founding/scheduling the inaugural High School Radio Day in May 2012, as well as last April’s follow-up. Estimating there are 200 high schools in the nation with an over-the-air non-commercial, educational radio station or an internet-only or online radio station, Bowers comments, “The number of terrestrial stations is dropping, but the number of online stations is increasing. Some of those are applying for LPFM construction permits. That is why we must unite on High School Radio Day and make the public aware of what we do, how we do it, and the service we provide our communities.” In 2012, 31 schools from 16 states registered for the event, compared to 52 schools from 32 states last year. Today’s activities planned by participating stations are found at www.highschoolradioday.com. Also on the website are names of participating high schools with links to their websites and online streams of their programming.
Celebrating CBS RADIO’s Move to DC. On Monday, TALKERS reported the plans CBS RADIO has to move its six-station cluster from its current offices in Lanham, Maryland to a newly re-developed part of Washington, DC – the Capitol Riverfront. Pictured here at the Monday afternoon press conference at the site of the office building on Half Street SE are (from left to right): Mayor Vincent C. Gray, senior vice president/market manager of CBS RADIO Washington, DC, Steve Swenson, and CBS RADIO president and CEO Dan Mason.
CBS Philly Partners for ‘Broad Street Run.’ The coming Blue Cross Broad Street Run on May 2-4 is being sponsored in part by The City of Philadelphia Department of Parks & Recreation and CBS RADIO Philadelphia. The company’s five radio stations are providing marketing, media and programming support as well as secure sponsorships for the famed race to grow the event “Beyond Broad Street.” This marks the run’s 35th anniversary. City official Michael DiBerardinis states, “The megaphone the CBS RADIO stations and CBSPhilly.com bring to the event is unparalleled. They have a proven track record working as close business partners with some of the City’s most iconic events such as the Stotesbury Cup Regatta and the Philadelphia Flower Show. We are excited to have them as partners.”
Russian Aggression in Ukraine/U.S. Troops Exercise in Eastern Europe, SCOTUS Affirmative Action Decision, U.S. al Qaeda Drone Strikes, 2016 Presidential Race/Mid-Term Elections, and South Korea Ferry Disaster Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/22). Growing concerns over Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and the arrival of U.S. troops in Poland as exercises in Eastern Europe begin; the Supreme Court’s decision to again strike the Affirmative Action policy in Michigan; the United States’ use of drones to hit al Qaeda targets in Yemen kills 55 suspected terrorists; speculation about the candidates for president in 2016 and the looming mid-term elections this fall; the crew of the South Korean Ferry that capsized faces charges after allegedly failing in its duty to passengers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Tony Garcia
Global Media Services
DENVER – I’ve spoken with many people who have the syndication bug. The first question I ask is, “Love or money?” We all love what we do, and we would all like to collect a fabulous salary for doing that which we love. But in the syndication business, it’s a bit more complicated.
Syndication is an indirect sale. As a program producer you provide a product that you believe can build an audience. In order to get that audience, you have to get your program on the air. No matter how good your show is, without affiliates, no one will ever hear it. Another way to look at it is “shelf space,” just like products in a store. If you don’t get on the shelves, you’ll never get consumers to try your product. Program directors are the ones responsible for stocking those shelves and they are literally bombarded with pitches on a daily basis.
By Tony Garcia
Global Media Services
DENVER — That’s the question I ask people who approach me about a program they want to syndicate or a concept they think would be perfect as a syndicated program or service. Everyone wants to play on a bigger stage. It’s natural. It drives us to be better at what we do. We all share a passion for radio.
Moving from a local show to a syndicated show requires much more than passion. It requires determination, perseverance, internal strength, patience and the ability to judge oneself dispassionately. Ask anyone who is syndicated and they are likely to tell you about the highs of signing the first affiliate and the frustration of losing affiliates. As a good friend of mine once said, “Syndication will break your heart.”
Still want to be syndicated?
Congressman Mike Rogers to Join Cumulus Media in Unnamed Role. The mysterious press release from Cumulus Media states that when his current term in Congress is up at the end of this year, Republican Mike Rogers will “bring his unique perspective as a leading intelligence expert and former FBI agent to Cumulus, the national media company that operates the nation’s largest talk radio platform.” The company isn’t specific whether Rogers will host a daily show, produce daily commentary or fill some other role. Rogers is chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and is hard to miss if you watch cable news/talk TV or the Sunday morning news shows, as Cumulus points out when it states, “As a media-savvy politician who last year appeared on more Sunday public affairs shows than any other elected official in the nation, Chairman Rogers will play an important role helping Americans understand critical issues that impact their lives.” Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey is quoted saying, “We are thrilled to have Chairman Rogers join our team. He has been instrumental helping to shape many of the most important issues and events of our time and will play a significant role in our expanding content platform.”
WKNR, Cleveland’s Rizzo Pleads ‘No Contest’ in Domestic Case. The host of the afternoon drive “The Really Big Show” on Good Karma-owned WKNR, Cleveland – Tony Rizzo – pleaded “no contest” to a reduced “persistent disorderly conduct” charge in connection with a December incident during which his wife Catherine reported Rizzo struck her. According to Cleveland.com, an assistant district attorney says the reduced charge was leveled after Catherine Rizzo admitted she initiated the argument by striking Tony Rizzo with a glass. Rizzo’s attorney says his client accepted the reduced charge to avoid a trial though he believes Rizzo would have been acquitted. The probation department will review the case before sentencing. WKNR has stuck by Rizzo throughout, calling his status with the station “unaffected” by the case.
NAB Show Features ‘Net Neutrality’ Debate; Ex-Commish McDowell to Take Part. At the NAB Show in Las Vegas next month, the issue of net neutrality is being addressed during the Super Session titled, “World Without Rules: Is This the End of the Open Internet?” On Tuesday, April 8, NAB says “top opinion leaders and experts on the issue of net neutrality will address how proposed regulations governing access to the internet will affect content providers, ISPs and content creators.” Tech Policy for Re/code senior editor Amy Schatz will moderate the panel consisting of: Jessica Gonzalez, EVP and general counsel of the National Hispanic Media Coalition; Robert McDowell, former FCC commissioner; Pantelis Michalopoulos, head of the Telecom, Internet & Media Group at Steptoe & Johnson LLP; and Berin Szoka, president and founder of TechFreedom.
Sports Talker Dino Costa Profiled; Adds Staff to New Digital Venture. Mercurial sports talk personality Dino Costa, after years with SiriusXM, recently announced the start-up of his new, eponymous digital sports talk venture. Now he’s reporting that Bob Robinson is joining Dino Costa World Wide LLC to serve as executive producer for the program that will debut on May 5. Costa says that the 25-year broadcast pro will be in charge of all production and engineering for the program and will work from its Cheyenne, Wyoming headquarters beginning March 31. Robinson spent 19 years in the Raleigh-Durham market working at stations including WRDU and “96 Rock.” Costa also received a bit of love from Forbes recently when Tom Van Riper profiled him. In the piece, Costa basically admits his argumentative nature, especially with regard to his dismissal from SiriusXM, saying, “I bitched one too many times.” But Van Riper writes that quality can be a good one for a sports talk host. Read the entire piece here.
So, You Want to Be Syndicated. Why? That’s the question syndication business veteran Tony Garcia, founder of Global Media Services, asks radio broadcasters that approach him about a program they want to syndicate or a concept they think would be perfect as a syndicated program or service. Everyone wants to play on a bigger stage. It’s natural. It drives us to be better at what we do. In a new piece posted today (3/28), Garcia writes, “Moving from a local show to a syndicated show requires much more than passion. It requires determination, perseverance, internal strength, patience and the ability to judge oneself dispassionately. Ask anyone who is syndicated and they are likely to tell you about the highs of signing the first affiliate and the frustration of losing affiliates. As a good friend of mine once said, ‘Syndication will break your heart.’” Still want to be syndicated? If so, read Garcia’s entire column by clicking here.
CBS Radio News Honored by the National Headliner Awards. Four years running CBS Radio News is recognized by the National Headliner Awards, nabbing first place in both the Network Newscast and Breaking News or Continuing Coverage categories, this year for reporting on the Boston Marathon Bombing. In the network newscast category “CBS World News Roundup” anchor Steve Kathan and producer Paul Farry won for their reporting on that chaotic morning when police shut down an entire suburban Boston neighborhood to search for one of the marathon bombing suspects just hours after his brother died in a confrontation with police. Vice president for radio Harvey Nagler comments, “From the moment the two bombs went off in Boston, CBS Radio News was on the air immediately with continuous coverage and special reports every 10 minutes. The hourly newscasts contained vivid and dramatic descriptions of the events.” CBS News correspondent Barry Bagnato won in the News Series category for his five part series on “Drones, Invading Our Skies and Our Personal Space.”
‘Late Night Health’ Approaches Milestone Episode. The syndicated program will air its 100th show this weekend. Host/producer Mark Alyn (right) remarks, “We can’t believe we have done so many shows while featuring information designed to help listeners.” Colleague “The Insane” Darrell Wayne (left) jokes, “Sitting across from each other for all these hours with our bellybuttons almost touching has been an amazing experience.” The program is a holistic look at health, blending traditional medicine with alternative approaches. Alyn is the only radio host to be invited by the Natural Products Association to speak with elected officials in Washington, D.C. one week from Tuesday (4/8) as part of Natural Products Day. He will discuss GMO labeling and concerns about Food & Drug Administration-proposed supplement legislation.
Growing ‘Daren Streblow Comedy Show’ Adds Daily Feature. The weekly “Daren Streblow Comedy Show” is heard largely on news/talk stations across the country but also has some Christian radio affiliates. Now, the program will expand with the creation of a daily feature culled from some of the best bits of the full-length program. Executive producer Corey Irish comments, “We have received constant requests from our affiliates asking us to add a short feature on the weekdays. We believe some of these station groups will also add this vignette to the music stations in their clusters.” Irish also reports that the program recently added personality Riley Armstrong – an established comedic musician – to the program. As far as the content is concerned, Streblow describes the show as “night club tested and family approved.”
Aisha Tyler Named Gracie Awards Host. Daytime television audiences, of course, know Aisha Tyler as one of the panel members on CBS-TV’s “The Talk.” The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation (AWMF) has tapped the Dartmouth College alum to host the 39th annual Gracie Awards in two months (5/20) in Los Angeles. According to AWMF chair Kay Olin, “The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation advances the influence and impact of women in all forms of media, and Aisha Tyler embodies this goal perfectly. From network television to cable, from actor to author, from podcasts to best-selling books, Aisha showcases her talents in an impressive variety of media. We are delighted that Aisha is hosting this year’s Gracie Awards Gala.” Tyler – who formerly hosted “Talk Soup” – comments, “It has truly been an impressive year for women in all media. I am very much looking forward to celebrating all that women have accomplished.” However, she jokes, “No one is getting an award for that Kimye [Kim Kardashian-Kanye West] Vogue cover if I have anything to say about it.” The Gracie Awards (or “Gracies”) recognize consummate programming created for women, by women, and about women in radio, television, cable, and digital media. The awards program also encourages the realistic and multifaceted portrayal of women in entertainment, news, features and other programs. “The Talk” was recently renewed for a fifth season. In addition to her role there and as a regular Stephanie Miller show contributor, Tyler voices Lana Kane on “Archer.” Last summer, she replaced Drew Carey as host of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”
Remembering Earl McDaniel. Writing in the Honolulu Star Advertiser, reporter Erika Engle describes Earl McDaniel as “the longtime charismatic general manager” of Honolulu’s KSSK-AM and KSSK-FM. The 85-year-old McDaniel died this past Wednesday (3/26) in Arizona. McDaniel formulated the idea for a $1 million giveaway that helped solidify the morning drive success of Michael W. Perry and Larry Price (“Perry & Price”), following the 1983 death of J. Akuhead Pupule. KUMU production director Michael Shishido programmed KSSK years ago and tells us that McDaniel was, “the best GM I’ve ever worked with.” Elaborating on his Facebook page, Shishido comments, “If you had the great opportunity to work for KSSK prior to 1991, you got to work for one of the greats, Earl McDaniel. He was larger than life. He was tough and demanding, but he was a radio and marketing genius – and he had a huge, compassionate heart. I could fill up Facebook for days with Earl stories as could many of my radio colleagues. Radio has lost a giant. Aloha, Earl.” As a Los Angeles on-air talent, Earl “The Pearl” McDaniel worked for KFVD and KPOP (1953 – 1958); KLAC (1958); KDAY (1958 – 1961, where he was its program director); and KFWB (1961 – 1963). Renowned voiceover talent and longtime programmer Charlie Van Dyke notes on his Facebook page that McDaniel was, “a great guy with the most wonderful stories and a very quick sense of humor. I was so happy that I had the chance to meet with him even briefly.” The most touching tribute though to McDaniel can be found on laradio.com, where publisher Don Barrett opens up his homage by stating, “The most important man in my life died [Wednesday] night.” In the heartfelt printed eulogy, Barrett details how he met McDaniel while Barrett attended Santa Monica High School in the 1950s. “He was the biggest deal on the radio dial in the 1950s,” Barrett writes of McDaniel. “He was the early Rick Dees or Ryan Seacrest.” The two instantly became friends and Barrett points out, “Earl was never more than a phone call away. I went to him first for advice whenever there was a stumbling block in my journey. He would help me see a way to roll the boulder out of the pathway. He provided life tools to be a success – personally and professionally. Earl was the first to pair Robert W. Morgan and The Real Don Steele long before they arrived in Southern California for ‘Boss Radio.’” According to Barrett, “Earl broke the Chipmunks Christmas Song and lost his job over it. On Thanksgiving weekend, he played it twice an hour and the station owner threatened to fire Earl if he played it one more time. Earl did and was fired, however, by Monday it was the hottest record at Wallichs Music City. Earl was always figuring out a way to make things better, bigger and more spectacular. He not only coined the phrase, ‘If you don’t promote a funny thing happens – nothing,’ he lived by it. When Earl was running Honolulu’s KGMB, one year the station took in 60% of the revenues in the 18-station market. I remember remarking to him what a stunning statistic that was. He dismissed it and said he would not be happy until he got 100% of all advertising dollars. Earl was the personification of what it is to be a mentor. There is no one I have trusted more. I will forever be grateful for every act of kindness he gave to me and my family – I will forever be grateful for Earl McDaniel.” That only scratches the surface of Barrett’s piece, which also contains this condensed message from McDaniel himself, who anticipated his death. “I am an agnostic. I will be taken to the Neptune Society for cremation. I have told my heirs that I do not care where they let the ashes fly. When it is over, it is over. To that end, there will be no funeral, no casket, and no flowers. I have celebrated life for 85 years, and that celebration has been a wonderful, wonderful ride. I have been contemplating all the good times, and the good times were fantabulous. If I have borrowed something I haven’t returned or money I haven’t repaid, contact my daughter, Kathy. Do not sing me any sad songs. If I were to have an epitaph, it would be, ‘Earl McDaniel … from 1928 to 2014, he lived.’” Pictured here are (from l-r): Charlie Van Dyke, Earl McDaniel, and Don Barrett.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The GCN-syndicated “Michael Dean After Dark” joins the lineup at WKRO, Cairo, Illinois…..“Armed American Radio” Mark Walters is added to the program schedule at KVOC, Casper, Wyoming and WRGA, Rome, Georgia…..The “Daren Streblow Comedy Show” is now heard on KKNW, Seattle; KDIS, Little Rock; and KVOP, Lubbock, Texas.
ObamaCare Criticism Returns to Top of Talkers TenTM. The scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act was again the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of March 24-28. At #2 this week was the Supreme Court’s hearing of the Hobby Lobby case which debates the question whether employer-provided health care services that conflict with the employer’s religious beliefs should be required to be offered. Following at #3 was President Obama’s relationship with Vladimir Putin tied with the aggression of Russia into Eastern Europe and, at #4 was talk about the prospects for political power change after the mid-term elections and the looming 2016 presidential race. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. View this week’s entire chart here.
Cumulus Media to Remake Geraldo into an NYC-Only Show. A little more clarity on the status of journalist and talk media personality Geraldo Rivera after last week’s quickly dispelled rumors that he would be exiting Cumulus altogether. It turns out Geraldo will be leaving the national syndication game and his 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET program will be heard exclusively on WABC, New York beginning January 1, 2014. A statement from the company says the show “will focus on the most-talked-about topics involving the nation’s largest city — everything from social issues to politics.” Rivera will also continue his fight against unemployment by broadcasting live from upcoming “Put Americans Back to Work” job expos and events hosted by Cumulus. Rivera comments, “For the last four decades, in war and peace I’ve been chasing the news around the world. But there’s a universe of stories right here in my hometown. Energized and excited by this opportunity, I’m taking our show to the four corners of the five boroughs. I’ll be on the streets and in the face of lawbreakers and newsmakers, ready with a hot mike and a helping hand.” Cumulus COO John Dickey adds, “We are excited that one of the most recognized and respected names in media will be sharing his perspectives on New York issues and supporting local causes that matter most to listeners in one of our top markets.”
Nielsen to Acquire Harris Interactive. The company best known for The Harris Poll – Harris Interactive Inc. – is announcing plans to be acquired by Nielsen Holdings N.V. In a statement, it reports: “Nielsen will commence a tender offer to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Harris Interactive’s common stock through a wholly owned subsidiary formed for the purpose of making the offer. Holders of outstanding shares of Harris Interactive’s common stock will receive $2.00 per share in cash, subject to adjustment as provided in the merger agreement. The $2.00 per share cash purchase price (which excludes any adjustment which may be required under the merger agreement) represents a 2.0% premium to the volume weighted average closing price of Harris Interactive’s common stock in the 60 consecutive trading days prior to announcement of the transaction, and 8.7% below and 81.8% above the 52-week high and low, respectively.” The final purchase price will be based on Harris Interactive’s average cash (subject to certain adjustments and calculated as specified in the merger agreement) calculated during a 10-day period before and after a reference date expected to occur approximately 20 business days after commencement of the offer. Nielsen president, Americas, John J. Lewis says, “For our existing CPG and media clients, our combined capabilities will provide better and more integrated insights to help them drive business outcomes. Harris Interactive’s strength with other industry verticals allows us to serve these clients with Nielsen’s differentiated solutions in areas such as marketing effectiveness, social and digital to achieve our growth objectives.”
Castleberry Exits Sports WAXY, Miami; Marc Hochman Status Uncertain. Program director Tod Castleberry has exited Lincoln Financial Media’s sports talk WAXY, Miami “790 The Ticket” and the Miami Herald is reporting that WAXY morning drive co-host Marc Hochman is bound for afternoon drive at crosstown WQAM after sitting out a three-month non-compete (he would start in April). Since LFM won’t comment on personnel matters, we may never know if the reports that Castleberry was dismissed from WAXY, in part, for missing an exclusive negotiation period in Hochman’s contract (which lapses on December 31) are accurate. The Herald is also reporting that Hochman has been telling friends he’s done at WAXY after his contract expires or sooner if the station chooses to keep him off the air. However, there are also reports from Miami that LFM and Hochman are negotiating a new deal for him to remain at WAXY. Hochman was the executive producer and a cast member on Dan Le Batard’s PM drive show on WAXY for many years until moving into morning drive a year and a half ago where he works with Jonathan Zaslow and Joy Taylor.
Opinion: Why I Went to Dallas. KOIL, Omaha talk pro Tom Becka writes about his approach to Friday’s 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy. He explains that he doesn’t buy into the notion that it was merely commemoration of a news event to which only older audiences can relate. “It was theatre of the mind…I went to Dallas and [talked to] people who were actually there that day. I interviewed a man who was in the high school marching band that played “Hail to the Chief” the last time JFK heard it. I interviewed a former congressman who was on the house select committee of assassinations. I interviewed a few conspiracy theorists. I gave a different perspective direct from the grassy knoll. I was just a few feet from where many say a second gunman stood.” Read Tom Becka’s entire piece here.
WGN, Chicago and McCormick Foundation to Raise Funds for Tornado Victims. On Tuesday, Tribune’s WGN, Chicago and the McCormick Foundation are declaring it Illinois Tornado Relief Day. Starting with the Steve Cochran show at 5:00 am, the station will host a 24-hour campaign for listeners to donate to the newly established Illinois Tornado Relief Fund. WGN-TV and the Chicago Tribune are also partnering with the effort to promote additional fundraising for the day. WGN VP of content Todd Manley says, “We’ve all been touched by the stories of communities coming together following last Sunday’s storms. Our WGN and Tribune families kept searching for ways to help. Now, like so many times before, we’ll trust in the generosity of our wonderful listeners, viewers, and readers.” The McCormick Foundation will match the first $500,000 raised at 50 cents on the dollar. All administrative costs are paid by the foundation and its partners, allowing 100% of all money raised, including the match, to be granted directly to the nonprofit agencies. The first round of grants will be distributed by the end of 2013.
Hosts Can Now Conveniently Cut Their Own Clips. A new service recently launched that aims to take the technical know-how out of creating sound clips for radio. Called Grabien, the site allows users to browse news videos, creating custom audio/video clips that come with transcripts. Launched by the executive producer of The Peter Schiff Show and former long-time producer of The Laura Ingraham Show, Tom Elliott, the site was designed to be so simple that hosts could create their own clips. “Recognizing radio margins can be thin, I wanted to help shows that can’t afford a big production staff achieve the same professional sound as the biggest shows out there,” Elliott tells TALKERS. “Grabien posts the best news clips every day, making it an easy one-stop shop for quickly assembling a sound packet.” By helping keep production costs down, Elliott says he hopes the site will help stations preserve original programming. For more information about this innovative service please click here.
Slocum Named President/CEO of Texas Public Radio. NPR chief administrative officer Joyce Slocum will begin her responsibilities as president/chief executive officer of Texas Public Radio starting January 6. “I am delighted to join the wonderful team in building on the momentum to make TPR a vital resource to the community and a preeminent voice regarding the news, events and culture of the region,” the Dallas native and Southern Illinois University (B.A.) and St. Louis University School of Law (J.D.) graduate comments. NPR acting president/chief executive officer Paul Haaga remarks, “Joyce has made many contributions to NPR over the years, including her pioneering work within our legal division during her time as general counsel, and leading the teams that moved NPR into our new building under budget and ahead of schedule. We will certainly miss her but are thrilled she is staying in the public radio family.” In 2011, Slocum was NPR’s interim president/CEO. Before joining NPR five years ago, she was general counsel at HIT Entertainment and supervising attorney for 7-Eleven. San Antonio-based Texas Public Radio operates noncommercial talk KSTX and classical KPAC (both in San Antonio); talk-classical KTXI, Ingram; and talk KTPR, Snyder.
The Joy of Hearing One’s Syndicated Show in One’s Home Market. In this era of remote broadcasting and crowded competition, it is not uncommon in talk radio for a syndicated talk show host to be without an affiliate in the market in which he or she actually lives. Such was the case with Michael W. Dean, the talented co-host of the nationally syndicated Genesis Communications Network (GCN) program “The Freedom Feens.” That was, until now — as the rapidly growing program has been cleared on KVOC in Dean’s hometown of Casper, Wyoming. KVOC is owned by Mt. Rushmore Broadcasting which O&Os 14 stations in Wyoming, South Dakota, and Nevada. Dean is pictured, in this artsy photo, listening to a DB of “The Freedom Feens” on his car radio parked in the shadow of KVOC’s tower. Ah… the magic of it all!
Super Cool Morning Gig Opening. Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle is seeking to fill the shoes of Linda Thomas who is exiting the morning news anchor/host position in morning drive program. The company says the successful candidate will have the backing of a 24/7 award-winning newsroom, the heritage brand of KIRO Radio, a market leading website MyNorthwest.com, all in a world-class international city with unparalleled quality of life. Candidates must have integrity and be a credible news personality; must be exceptionally curious about both local and national news; must be intellectually honest and conduct entertaining, yet civil conversation while maintaining high energy and a sense of humor. The morning news show will reflect the purpose at KIRO Radio: To connect entertainment to value; to connect discussion to understanding; to connect communities and enrich lives. To apply, visit: here.
Premiere Reverses Course; Keeps Randi Rhodes on Syndication Menu. There are no reports indicating just what happened between Randi Rhodes and syndicator Premiere Networks but the latter is confirming the widely reported news that Rhodes will continue to be syndicated by Premiere, at least through 2014. Premiere SVP of affiliate relations Peter Tripi emailed affiliates, “In a happy turn of events, we are pleased to announce that Premiere Networks will continue to produce and distribute the Randi Rhodes show. In an industry of constant change, it’s a pleasure to provide good news about a talk talent we think so highly of. We apologize for any inconvenience the previous announcement caused, but look forward to a very successful 2014 with the Randi Rhodes show.” Several weeks ago, Rhodes began telling her audience she was foreseeing the end of her program and later Premiere notified affiliates the relationship would be ending.
KABC and KLOS Could Fetch Roughly $90 Million. Before you start feverishly looking for loose change behind sofa cushions and envision putting together a consortium, that is the estimated price for (just) the real estate of the Cumulus-owned talk and rock combo. For decades, KABC and KLOS have operated from a 45,000-square-foot broadcast facility that sits on a 10-acre Los Angeles site at La Cienega and Jefferson Boulevard. It is close to a stop on the Expo Line rail route connecting downtown LA and Culver City. In an article in yesterday’s (11/14) Los Angeles Times, Roger Vincent notes that, “The area is considered ripe for mixed-use development that might include apartments, offices and stores. Real estate experts familiar with transit-oriented development say the Baldwin Hills site could command $200 a square foot, or more than $90 million,” although Cumulus reportedly has not officially set a price for the KABC-KLOS property. The LA Times piece quotes an unnamed Cumulus spokesperson who indicates company officials feel the Los Angeles property is a “greatly underutilized asset.” Cumulus has decided to sell it “to free up cash to redeploy in other areas of the business.” One option under consideration would be to have KABC and KLOS remain as tenants at the location following the sale.
Nielsen Trims Payroll by as Many as 500 Positions. The statement from Nielsen is vague company-speak – “As part of the integration of Nielsen Audio, Nielsen is implementing changes across the company to enhance growth and to align our resources to meet and exceed client needs. These changes will improve productivity and innovation for the benefit of our organization, clients and shareholders.” However, unsubstantiated reports swirling through the industry are that as many as 500 former Arbitron staffers are being let go as Nielsen brings the radio ratings division fully into the parent company. The move is not surprising – or shouldn’t be – to anyone who’s been in this business for a while. Nielsen reported to shareholders that it would be able to realize $20 million in “synergies” and that money has to come from somewhere. In late September, when TALKERS wrote that staffers at Arbitron are wondering how many jobs will be cut as a result of the acquisition, Nielsen was quick to issue a statement saying the company had, “no plans to reduce headcount at this time,” which we reported on October 2. TALKERS sees the dismantling of the Arbitron brand and all that it stood for in this clandestine manner as a red flag that should not go by without at least comment. Those who recall the sale of the iconic trade publication Radio & Records to Nielsen in 2006 will remember the company making similar statements about its intentions to use its formidable resources to grow the magazine and increase its services to the radio industry. However, in 2009, Nielsen shut the publication down. In a recent speech at the NAB Radio Show in Orlando, TALKERS and RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison stated that for radio to thrive, let alone survive, in his new digital era – it must celebrate and protect its “radio-ness,” and avoid being assimilated into the multi-media soup of the 21st century at the expense of its unique industry and cultural identity. We hope that the powers-that-be at Nielsen show more respect for the specialness of radio in the days going forward and that they will be held accountable for significant discrepancies between their words and actions.
Glenn Ordway Lands Weekend Gig at SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Sports Radio. Longtime WEEI, Boston sports talk personality Glenn Ordway will begin hosting “The Big Weekend Show with Glenn Ordway” on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Sports Radio channel this weekend. Ordway’s show will air Saturdays and Sundays from 8:00 am to 11:00 am. Ordway – who spent the early part of his radio career as a Boston Celtics commentator – was instrumental in the building of Entercom’s WEEI, Boston where he created “The Big Show” afternoon drive program. His work in sports talk radio in Boston goes back to his days at talker WRKO where he hosted “Sportscall,” beginning in 1981. He worked at WEEI from 1987 until leaving the station in the spring of this year.
WXOS, St. Louis Renews with Chris Duncan; Announces New Program Schedule. Hubbard Radio’s WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” announces it has signed a contract renewal with sports talk host – and former St. Louis Cardinals star – Chris Duncan. The term of the contract was not announced. Program director Chris “Hoss” Neupert states, “We are excited to have Chris continue with ‘101ESPN,’ he is a tremendously talented guy and a hard worker who prepares in great depth every day to entertain and inform the ‘101ESPN’ audience.” At the same time, the station announces its new post-morning drive lineup effective 11/25: Kevin Wheeler, 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; “The Turn” with Chris Duncan and Anthony Stalter, 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm; and “The Fast Lane” with Randy Karraker and D’Marco Farr (with Brad Thompson joining the show on Monday, January 6th, 2013) from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
FCC Approves Hiking Foreign Ownership Limit; NAB Approves. The mood at the Federal Communications Commission was ebullient as all five commissioners signed on to a policy change that would allow for foreign investment in U.S. broadcasting signals. The new policy would not put a strict limit on the percentage of interest allowed but would only kick in the FCC’s scrutiny if the stake goes above 25%. The days of concern over foreign control over content on American airwaves are long over and the NAB weighed in on the change, with president and CEO Gordon Smith stating, “NAB applauds the FCC for providing flexibility in commission rules allowing increased foreign investment in broadcast TV and radio stations. We are especially pleased the FCC recognized that local broadcasters routinely provide ‘local news, Amber Alerts and public safety information’ to serve our communities. Today’s vote provides broadcasters greater access to capital that will allow local stations to continue our indispensable role as the primary purveyor of news, entertainment and lifeline information to the American people.”
Talk Media Network Brings Weekly Satirical News Program into the Fold. “Now It’s the News with Derrick Blair” joins the Josh Leng-led Talk Media Network. The company says in a statement, “While many shows embrace talking points and are overly predictable, Derrick Blair brings a refreshing approach to ‘Now It’s The News,’ in the genre of ‘enlightened entertainment’ that includes ‘The Colbert Report’ found on Comedy Central.” Blair adds, “In the truest spirit of bipartisanship, ‘Now It’s The News’ will continue to mock the left, the right, the center, and all points in between.” Josh Leng comments on the one-hour, weekly program, “’Now It’s The News with Derrick Blair’ appeals to core radio listeners who love news and politics, but also to a much wider audience who simply enjoy a good laugh and quality entertainment. Derrick’s show is 100% original, and serves as a perfect bridge between political and non-political programming, giving listeners a humorous transition. It’s also a great way to laugh off some of the stress that can build up during the week.” The program has been in syndication since 2010.
Cumulus-Townsquare Deal Closes. Yesterday, Cumulus Media announced that it had completed the sale to Townsquare Media, LLC of 53 radio stations in 12 small and mid-sized markets for approximately $238 million in cash, and the swap with Townsquare of 15 radio stations in two small and mid-sized markets in exchange for five radio stations in Fresno, California (together, the “Townsquare Transaction”). Cumulus reports in an 8-K filing that it intends to use the cash proceeds from the Townsquare Transaction to fund a portion of the purchase price payable to complete its previously announced acquisition of Dial Global, Inc., now known as WestwoodOne. This acquisition is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2013.
WPHT, Philadelphia Celebrates 57 Years of Sid Mark’s Broadcast Career. The Philadelphia broadcaster is best known these days for his nationally syndicated weekly program “The Sounds of Sinatra.” Home base – news/talk station WPHT, Philadelphia – is celebrating the career of Sid Mark tonight at a special, sold-out event at Galdo’s in Philadelphia to celebrate his 57th year hosting “The Sounds of Sinatra.” The evening will feature Bobby Rydell and the sounds of the 17-piece big band City Rhythm Orchestra paying tribute to Sid Mark. CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield says, “Sid is not only a Philadelphia treasure, but a national treasure as well. His legendary voice has insured that another legendary voice has remained quite legendary. We are honored to have him as a member of our team at WPHT.” Sid Mark launched “The Sounds of Sinatra” in Philadelphia 57 years ago after a caller suggested that Sid spin one hour of Frank Sinatra songs. That tradition developed into “Friday with Frank,” as well as “Sunday with Sinatra” which presently airs on 1210 WPHT on Sundays from 9:00 to 1:00 pm. “The Sounds of Sinatra,” now heard on more than 100 radio stations from coast to coast, is the only radio program of its kind to have been personally authorized by Frank Sinatra.
Dave Ramsey Fills the House in Greenville. Nationally syndicated talk superstar Dave Ramsey is pictured here on stage in Greenville, South Carolina last night presenting his new “Legacy Journey LIVE!” The program discusses how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence. His daughter, Rachel Cruze, joined Ramsey on stage. Ramsey combined forces with local affiliate WORD, to promote the event. Entercom Upstate director of news and programming Bob McLain states, “As a heritage partner with Dave Ramsey it’s a pleasure to be able to welcome Dave and Rachel Cruze to the Upstate…The opportunity for ‘WORD 106.3’ to partner with Dave in this venture, as we do on the air, just helps to cement the personal relationship our listeners have with Dave and the station.” Also, on Wednesday, Ramsey hosted his “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” in Birmingham, Alabama with speaker Chris Hogan addressing how to run a business using the same common sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 350 employees.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Envision Radio Networks’ “America Weekend” featuring hosts Paul Harris, Turi Ryder and Rob Carson, is added to the program schedule at Blount Broadcasting Corporation’s talk WKVL and rock WNFZ in Knoxville, Tennessee…..Genesis Communications Networks-syndicated Dr. Daliah Wachs joins the program lineup at WZGM, Asheville, North Carolina.
ObamaCare Rollout Criticism Tops Talkers TenTM. The ongoing criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the fourth straight week. At #2 this week was the GOP strategy for the 2014 and 2016 elections tied with analysis of the November 5 elections. Following at #3 was President Obama’s declining poll numbers tied with the new Benghazi allegations and at #4 was the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s chart here.
Don Imus Signs Extension with Cumulus to Remain on WABC and in Syndication. Radio legend Don Imus inks a deal that will keep him in the morning slot on WABC, New York for another three years. The 72-year-old broadcasting icon has been hosting mornings on WABC for the past five years. Cumulus chief operating officer John Dickey says in a statement, “I am delighted that our listeners and advertisers have the certainty of knowing Don and his amazing team at ‘Imus In The Morning’ will remain on 77 WABC for at least three more years. Don is a radio legend and is an important part of our team.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison was quoted in The New York Times addressing the quality of the Imus audience when asked by reporter Ben Sisario about Imus’ ratings relative to other big-name talk hosts such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. Harrison told the Times, “Although ratings count, they don’t count as much with Imus. He’s always had a very loyal and upper-echelon clientele. They’re active, affluent, and tuned in to politics, business and popular culture on the kind of level that radio companies and ad agencies like.”
The Laura Ingraham Watch Continues; Cumulus Denies Rumors of Ingraham Deal. Rumors of where talk media personality Laura Ingraham will surface with a new, nationally syndicated talk show after parting from Talk Radio Network several weeks ago continue to pop up. But Cumulus Media COO John Dickey tells TALKERS there is no truth to the rumor she is joining his company for a national syndication deal. TALKERS sources are hearing rumblings that instead of hooking up with a broadcasting corporation that also owns stations (Clear Channel, Cumulus), Ingraham is busy working on a project for a new radio talk show with legendary syndicator Norm Pattiz in that effort. Ingraham mentioned on Fox News Channel on December 7 that she would announce something this week but, as most broadcasters know, issues can pop up that delay these types of announcements.
“The Big Picture: Spoken Word Radio” Panel from LA Seminar Now on TALKERS TV. One of the main panels at the recent TALKERS magazine New Media Seminar 2012 held in Los Angeles is now playing on TALKERS TV. “The Big Picture: Spoken Word Radio” features an outstanding lineup of industry leaders from various points on the spectrum of talk radio programming including Don Martin, VP programming, Fox Sports Radio/OM, KLAC, Los Angeles; Ron Hartenbaum, president, WYD Media/WYM Media; Phil Boyce, VP/director, Spoken Word Format, Salem Communications; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Mike McVay, senior VP programming, Cumulus Media; and Harvey Nagler, VP, CBS Radio News. The panel is moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison who describes the session as “a sweeping overview of the key issues facing talk radio in 2012.” To view it please see the TALKERS TV box on the right side of this page.
Red Zebra Suspends Steve Czaban and Andy Pollin for “Intolerant” and “Insensitive” Language. Afternoon drive hosts Steve Czaban and Andy Pollin – hosts of the “Sports Reporters” program on Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington “ESPN 980” – were suspended for two days this week after they were deemed to have engaged in “intolerant” and “insensitive” behavior while talking about a transgender athlete. The segment centered around an article about 50-year-old Gabrielle Ludwig, a junior college basketball player who wants to get back into organized sports to set an example for others. During the conversation, Czaban and Pollin referred to Ludwig as “it.” Director of programming Chuck Sapienza wrote in a statement, “We strongly believe two of our employees crossed the line when discussing a transsexual person on their program last Thursday. Such intolerance and insensitivity will never be tolerated by this company. Due to the nature of their conversation, the pair have been temporarily removed from ESPN980’s ‘Sports Reporters’ program.” On Monday’s program the two read an apology on air.
KCSP, Kansas City Names John Hanson Program Director. Entercom’s sports talk KCSP, Kansas City “610 Sports Radio” announces John Hanson is the new program director, taking over for Ryan Maguire who exited to take the PD post at CBS Radio’s sports outlet KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh. Hanson comes to KCSP from the Minneapolis market where he has worked with KSTP-TV and KSTP-AM “1500 ESPN.” Previously he programmed both KBAD “ESPN Radio 920” and KENO “Fox Sports Radio 1460” in Las Vegas. Entercom vice president and market manager Dave Alpert states, “Kansas City is a highly competitive sports radio market. I know that John’s drive and passion for sports radio, along with his extensive radio and broadcast experience, will build on the station’s success and take it to the next level.” On taking the gig at KCSP, Hanson says, “I’m leaving an excellent situation in my own hometown to take this opportunity at ‘610 Sports Radio.’ That sums up how much I think of what has been built there, and what can still be accomplished. Kansas City and ‘610 Sports Radio’ are simply too great for me to pass up.” Hanson begins his new post on January 14.
Odds & Sods. SiriusXM gives comedian and Opie & Anthony co-host Jim Norton his own weekly advice program on the O&A channel. Norton, who also hosts a music show called “Norton’s Obsessed” on Ozzie’s Boneyard channel, begins his one-hour, call-in show at 10:00 am today (12/12)…..WOLB, Baltimore morning drive host Larry Young will do a live broadcast at The AFRO headquarters from 6:00 am to 10:00 am for the 12th Annual Toy Teddy Bear and Clothing Drive. Young says, “I’m always excited about Christmas and being able to help others, especially the children. Last year we took care of more than 500 kids and we expect to at least match that this year.”…..Vox Radio Group eliminates the news anchor position of 16-year market veteran Tom Conklin who handled morning news duties at WBEC-FM, Pittsfield, Massachusetts and WSBS, Great Barrington, Massachusetts.
Fighting Golic. ESPN Radio and ESPN2 morning show co-star Mike Golic gives the camera his best “Fighting Irish” pose after being presented with a 50th birthday cake in the same image. Golic’s alma mater Notre Dame — for which his two sons currently play — is facing Alabama in the National Championship game January 7.
‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle, NC ‘Choose Life’ License Plate Flap, Syria Violence, Egypt Protests, and North Korea Rocket Launch Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/11). The fight in Washington over solving the “fiscal cliff” problem; the political controversy in North Carolina over the court’s ruling on its “choose life” license plate; continuing violence in Syria and the threat of chemical weapons use; protests in Egypt and the region’s instability; and North Korea’s launch of a long-range rocket were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.