Tag: "Talk Media"
Talk Media, Inc. and In3media, Inc. Entering Corporate Merger for ownership of Radio-Info.com. Radio Industry Trade Publications, Talkers and Radio-Info.com to Maintain Independent Brands, Identities and Websites. Talk Media, Inc. and In3media, Inc. – owners of two of the radio industry’s leading trade publications, TALKERS and Radio-Info.com – have announced a corporate merger that will bring ownership of Radio-Info.com into a partnership between them. The new corporate entity, named Radio Info, Inc., will serve as owner and operator of Radio-Info.com. TALKERS will remain under the corporate ownership of Talk Media, Inc. TALKERS, founded in 1990 by its current publisher Michael Harrison, is the leading trade publication serving the talk radio and talk media industries. Radio-Info.com, founded by the late Doug Fleming in 1999 and published since his tragic death in 2005 by his parents Diana and Rick Fleming, is a unique trade publication serving the general radio community. The Flemings have planned to retire. The deal, which does not include ownership or operation of the Radio-Info Message Boards becomes effective on Monday, August 20, 2012 at which time Radio-Info.com will begin operating out of Talk Media, Inc. headquarters in Springfield, Massachusetts with Michael Harrison serving as publisher of both trades. Harrison issued the following statement, “All of us in the TALKERS organization are proud and humbled to carry on the legacy of Doug Fleming, a great broadcasting innovator and pioneer, who loved radio dearly. After what we expect will be a chaotic week with an “Under Construction” sign hanging in the window, radio professionals can expect the next chapter of RadioInfo to be an aggressive and dynamic trade publication that will work tirelessly toward supporting, encouraging and instigating a new golden age of 21st century rock, CHR and adult contemporary music radio.”
Mark Thompson to do Final Show this Morning as Co-Host of Mark & Brian Show at KLOS, Los Angeles. After a 25 year ride as the longest running morning show in the nation’s #2 radio market, today marks the final day of the mega-successful Mark & Brian Show – at least the “Mark” part of it. The 56 year old Mark Thompson will retire to move to North Carolina and do “other things,” telling the Los Angeles Times, “It’s just time…guys my age are dropping dead. There are other things I want to do.” Meantime, speculation abounds as to what will happen to the show as Thompson’s partner Brian Phelps – although publicly stating that he wants to continue with the station, perhaps with a new, undisclosed co-host – is still in negotiations with KLOS owner Cumulus Media working out the details of a new contract.
Boomer Esiason Tapped for Big Role at CBS Sports Radio. Leading television analyst and WFAN, New York morning co-host (with Craig Carton) Boomer Esiason will play a key role in the new CBS Sports Radio network’s programming when it launches in September on at least 90 stations nationwide. The 14-year veteran and NFL Most Valuable Player will deliver commentary and updates on the current headlines during the “CBS Sports Minute.” Additionally, Esiason will provide unique insight and opinion as CBS Sports Radio’s senior NFL analyst. Esiason will be heard weekday mornings near the top of the hour from 6:00 am to 10:00 am on affiliate stations, including top outlets WFAN in New York, WSCR in Chicago, KNBR in San Francisco and WIP-FM in Philadelphia, among others. Audiences across the country will also hear directly from Esiason throughout the NFL season as he weighs in on players, coaches, upcoming match-ups, and the day’s trending topics. Esiason, who recently received the “Humanitarian of the Year” award from TALKERS, says, “I’ve been fortunate to find a career that allows me to interact with fans who are just as passionate about sports as I am. I am thrilled to be taking on this new opportunity, which not only gives me the platform to discuss football, but a forum to voice my opinion on a variety of different topics in the world of sports.”
Sacramento Radio Veteran Phil Cowan joins KTKZ-AM for Morning Drive. It was announced today by Salem Communications that its news/talk station in Sacramento, AM 1380 KTKZ will be adding Phil Cowan to the lineup, 7:00 am to 9:00 am, beginning Monday, August 27th. Cowan has a long and storied career doing morning radio in Sacramento, where he was one half of the morning team “Paul and Phil” for 18 years on KGBY-FM, dominating the ratings for most of those years. He later appeared doing a solo talk show on KSTE before starting his own business. Cowan, who describes himself as a conservative red neck, tells TALKERS, “Recently, I have dabbled in advertising and video production, but the itch to sit down behind a daily microphone has returned.” Upon the choice of Cowan being made official, Salem Sacramento GM, Dale Hendry tells TALKERS, “We are excited to add a Sacramento radio market legend to the KTKZ programming line-up.” Salem VP/director of spoken word format, Phil Boyce adds, “The addition of Phil Cowan to the KTKZ Line-Up gives our station an even stronger chance to compete in the state capital of the nation’s largest state.”
Odds & Sods. Internet radio pioneer and terrestrial radio legend Tom Leykis is the subject of an interesting and hard-hitting article just published by The Hollywood Reporter examining the aging of the news/talk radio audience as well as its leading stars. The piece, written by THR music editor Shirley Halperin quotes TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison as stating, “That’s not necessarily terrible. The upper demos today are wealthy, involved and active and have a lot of years ahead of them. The same is true of older DJs and talk show hosts – they’re not over the hill; with age comes better talent and wisdom.” Harrison goes on to cite the names of a number of up and coming young talk radio stars. To read the article click here…. The very talented Simon Conway who hosts his own show for the past 16 months on WHO, Des Moines will be filling in on Monday for host Andy Dean on Premiere Networks’ “America Now” show.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Round Up. Dial Global reports “Ask Dr. Phil” and “Rach on the Radio” are added to KIVA Albuquerque; “Daily Dose of Dr. Oz” is added to KTDE, Gualala/Bodega; NBC News Radio added to WQKT-FM, Wooster, WMXR-FM, Woodstock/Lebanon, WCLX-FM, Burlington, and KWTY-FM, Cartago; and “Marketwatch” added to KWTY-FM, Cartego…. Genesis Communications Networks reports the “Dr. Daliah Show” (Dr. Daliah Wachs) has been added to WEGP, Presque Isle; Famous inventor Akos Jankura has added News Talk 990, WNTP, Philadelphia….Envision Radio Networks added WXKQ-FM, Whitesburg as an affiliate of SpotVO, a turnkey radio spot production service.
Mitt Romney’s Selection of Rep. Paul Ryan Top News/Talk Story for the week of August 13-17. The Republican VP ticket choice was the leader among all stories discussed on news/talk stations this past week followed by debate over the Federal budget and Medicare, the Family Research Council shooting, and the ex-SEALS video critical of President Obama’s leaks regarding the killing of Osama bin Laden. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Heidi Harris Named Morning Drive Host at Salem’s Re-Branded KRLA, Los Angeles and KTIE, San Bernardino. Salem Communications announces its Southern California news/talk outlets KRLA, Los Angeles and KTIE, San Bernardino are being re-branded “The Answer,” following the same plan recently instituted at the company’s WNYM, New York. At the same time, rising talk media star Heidi Harris joins the stations to serve as AM drive host. Harris, a Las Vegas native, most recently hosted the morning drive program at Beasley Broadcasting’s KDWN, Las Vegas. Salem VP/director of spoken word format Phil Boyce says the new morning show and the new name and positioning will make both stations more competitive, with more attitude in the imaging and more opportunities to position the stations in their markets. “We have been using the name ‘The Answer’ in New York since March 12, and could not be happier with the response. The on-air attitude and positioning is much more positive and we decided we could do something similar for KRLA and KTIE. The addition of Heidi Harris to the morning show is a major investment in the future of these stations, so the timing was perfect to combine the new show with the re-branding effort.” Heidi Harris says of her new gig, “I am thrilled and excited to join Salem Communications, a company that has quickly become one of the most respected places to work in radio and a company with a huge commitment to what I do: the news/talk format. I can’t wait to get back on the radio and to do my thing in Los Angeles and the Inland Empire – two great markets for talk – and two great stations. With a teeny bit of talent, 13 years of busting my butt, and most importantly the Grace of God, I have landed my dream job.”
Florida’s Magic Broadcasting Buys Tallahassee Market WGWD-FM; Flips to News/Talk. Panama City, Florida-based Magic Broadcasting II announces it has completed the purchase of classic country WGWD-FM, Gretna, Florida (Tallahassee market) and will flip the station to news/talk today as “Talk Radio 93.3 FM” WGWD. CEO Don McCoy tells TALKERS magazine the station will feature state-syndicated talk hosts Burnie Thompson (12:00 noon to 3:00 pm) and Derrell Day (7:00 am to 10:00 am). Thompson’s guests on today’s program will include Governor Rick Scott, upcoming Florida Senate President Don Gaetz, Florida’s next Speaker of the House Will Weatherford, and U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Tallahassee). McCoy says the company is bringing “Florida’s year-round Town Hall right to the Capital City.” He calls the new format “live, local, fun and exciting! We’re focused on state programming as well as national issues …and always for Floridians.” The station will also air Talk Radio Network/Washington Times-produced “America’s Morning News,” TRN’s Laura Ingraham, Michael Savage and Rusty Humphries, Cox Media’s Neal Boortz and CBS Radio’s “Overnight America with Jon Grayson.”
WNYM, New York’s Curtis Sliwa Featured in New York Post Story About Fiancé and Children. Consummate New Yorker, Guardian Angels founder and talk media personality Curtis Sliwa is a local celebrity in New York but few knew of his home life until a piece in the New York Post this weekend shed light on that aspect of Sliwa’s life. The short version is that Sliwa and fiancé Melinda Katz plan to marry soon and continue raising their two sons – Carter and Hunter – in their Forest Hills, Queens home. Sixteen years ago Katz asked former boyfriend Sliwa for a sperm donation intending to raise any children she bore alone. While pregnant with Hunter, Katz developed complications and called Sliwa – out of her life for years at this point – and he came to her aid and the relationship grew from there. There’s far more to this human interest story featuring one of talk radio’s colorful characters. Read it here.
KBME, Houston Brings N.D. Kalu and Greg Koch Aboard for Mid-Morning Show. When former NFL players N.D. Kalu and Greg Koch left CBS Radio’s crosstown sports talk KILT last month, it was rumored the two might reappear at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s crosstown sports talk KBME. That has been confirmed. The two will host the 10:00 am to 11:00 am “In the Trenches with Koch and Kalu” beginning today (4/16). Koch and Kalu had been hosting a weekend program on KILT and served as commentators on other station programs. Kalu works in real estate in the Houston area and Koch is an attorney.
KOMO, Seattle Morning News Anchor Bill Yeend Retires. Pacific Northwest broadcaster Bill Yeend finished his last airshift at Fisher’s KOMO, Seattle on Friday and begins enjoying his retirement – and probably sleeping in for the first time in a long time – today. For the past 10 years, Yeend has co-anchored the morning news at KOMO with Manda Factor. Yeend began his career at rock KBBX-FM, Seattle in 1968 and moved to crosstown KIRO in 1970. There, he won five Edward R. Murrow Awards for journalistic excellence. Taking over at KOMO alongside Factor is KOMO sports reporter and Seattle Mariners public address announcer Tom Hutyler.
WLS, Chicago Changes Imaging Voices; Drops Jeff Davis and Brings Aboard Scott Fisher. Chicago radio fans are well aware of Jeff Davis’ history with Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS. He started with the station in 1974 when it was the big hit music outlet in the city. He remained with the station through the late 1980s. Davis has been the voice of the station for most of the last 20 years but Cumulus has decided to change the station’s imaging and chooses not to renew Davis’ contract and signs on with Scott Fisher Productions.
Sports KFNC-FM, Houston to Be Hawked at NAB. Station trustee and broker Larry Patrick of Maryland-based Patrick Communications tells the Houston Chronicle he will be actively looking for potential buyers for sports talk KFNC-FM, Houston and its sister Triple A KHJK-FM at this week’s NAB in Las Vegas. KFNC-FM is one of four Cumulus Media stations in the market that went through a pre-packaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy deal to eliminate its debt and make it more attractive to potential buyers. The station is still operated by Cumulus Media but Patrick owns more than 75% of the station. According to Patrick, KFNC-FM boasted $2.4 million in ad sales in 2011. Patrick tells the paper, “The staff is aware of what is happening, and the former owner has every right to bid and buy the stations back. I’ve had inquiries from five or six people and I think there will be real interest.”
Dave Graveline in Croatia. That’s “Into Tomorrow” talk host Dave Graveline (l) and producer Rob Almanza (r) standing on the (usually) sunny Adriatic coastline of Croatia. Graveline and Almanza are there producing the weekend consumer electronics show while Graveline serves as moderator of the Global Press Conference for IFA – that’s the big Consumer Electronics & Appliance show that he broadcasts from in Berlin every September.
Media Matters Begins Paid Ad Campaign in Eight Markets Against Rush Limbaugh and Conservative Talk Radio. The Associated Press is reporting that Media Matters for America will spend some $100,000 on an ad campaign in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Seattle, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Macon, Georgia and Cedar Rapids, Iowa asking people who hear the ad to call the Rush Limbaugh affiliate in their market and say, “We don’t talk to women like that in our city.” Clearly, Media Matters is not backing off its attack on conservative talk media and any success it can claim for harming Limbaugh’s program – or conservative talk radio in general – will help bring in more donations to its cause. And, according to Premiere Networks spokesperson Rachel Nelson, therein lays the rub. “This is not about women. It’s not about ethics and it’s not about the nature of our public discourse. It’s a direct attack on America’s guaranteed First Amendment right to free speech. It’s essentially a call for censorship masquerading as high-minded indignation.” As this ideological and tactical war escalates, more important voices are entering the fray with a variety of takes on the issue. For example, leading progressive talker of radio, television and live performances, Stephanie Miller tells TALKERS, “I, for one, as someone in radio for over 25 years, know that advertiser boycotts can cut both ways and hurt everyone in the radio business. The other side can just as easily take something I said, or Ed Schultz said, and goes after our advertisers and stations, and then where does it end? ‘You send one of ours to the hospital; we send one of yours to the morgue’? If advertisers decide that talk radio in general is too controversial, we all lose!” Miller tells TALKERS that she intends to extend invitations to both Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to appear as guests on her nationally syndicated morning radio program (simulcast beginning Monday on Al Gore’s progressive Current TV) to present their side of the story in a non-confrontational setting. Dial Global-syndicated progressive talk host Thom Hartmann is also bothered by the anti-Limbaugh campaign. “The Limbaugh boycott is bad for all talk radio; it’s harming progressive talk radio by shrinking the pool of companies willing to advertise on any type of talk radio. If people want to be activists “against” or “for” a show, they should call station management, not advertisers.”
America’s Radio News Network Gives CNN Radio Affiliates Free Trial of its 24-Hour News Service. With the CNN Radio news service going away after April 1, Talk Radio Network CEO Mark Masters says his company is offering the more than 1,100 CNN Radio affiliates the chance to take the America’s Radio News Network 24-hour top- and bottom-of-the-hour news service for 45 days contract and inventory free so they can make up their minds about their new news service without having to make a “snap decision.” Masters says, “This is a simple courtesy extended to those former CNN stations giving them a six week ‘pressure relief valve’ where they could sample our fine product inventory free without pressure, giving them extra time to make the best decision. Obviously we think that we are the best choice, but this offer was meant as a thoughtful courtesy to those stations that have not yet made up their minds – we don’t want them to be ‘high and dry’ on April 2.” Masters says because of the growth of America’s Radio News Network’s long-form programming and the demand for short-form top- and bottom-of-the-hour news brought on by CNN’s sudden departure from radio news ARNN recently announced that it had moved up its schedule for the launch of its second news network to accommodate the needs of radio stations looking for “agenda free” short-form news. ARNN EVP John McCaslin says, “We’re so confident that this is the best top- and bottom-of-the-hour news product on the air, we are willing to allow stations to air it, without inventory requirement contract free through May 15. So, all you have to ask yourself is, ‘What am I going to do with over 700 extra minutes of local inventory, if I take ARNN up on its free sample offer?’”
All-News KROI-FM, Houston Fires Morning Anchor Scott Braddock. It’s an unusual case but not unheard of and certainly becoming more relevant as intellectual property issues become more common in the industry. Radio One’s KROI-FM, Houston recently dismissed morning drive news anchor Scott Braddock after he appeared on crosstown, non-commercial outlet KPFT-FM to discuss the Texas sonogram law and play audio of an interview that also had previously aired on his employer’s station. He tells the Houston Chronicle he did so without asking permission and believes he had the right to air the audio, equating it with a reporter’s notes. Radio One disagreed, stating it violated the terms of his contract – a contract Braddock says he had not signed – and it had no choice but to let him go. Braddock says Radio One is overreacting and wonders why a station that worked hard to get him to come to Houston from Austin for the job would let one of its prime talent go as it works to get the nascent all-news outlet off the ground.
Denver Woman Charged with Felonies After Telling Tale of Escaping Jury Duty on KOA. Last October Susan Cole appeared on KOA, Denver’s Dave Logan program and told the story of how she got out of jury duty by dressing bizarrely and pretending to suffer from mental illness. Unfortunately, Denver District Court Judge Anne Mansfield was listening and, due in part to Cole’s memorable performance in court, investigators were able to figure out who she was. According to the Denver Post, Cole used the name “Char from Denver” on the radio program and investigators linked her to her pen name Char Cole. She published a book that details her struggles with domestic abuse under the name and offered it to investigators to prove her life story and the mental illness claim, but she was unable to show she suffers from PTSD which she claimed at her jury appearance. It’s unclear what penalty, if convicted, the 57-year-old Cole faces.
Sales: H&H Communications’ Al Herskovitz Announces the Winners of His 2012 Hersky Awards for Talk Radio Sales Excellence. For the fifth year running, sales and marketing pro and TALKERS columnist Al Herskovitz recognizes some of the industry’s shining stars in the sales, commercial and ad copy arenas. Read Al’s humorous yet insightful piece here.
KILT, Houston AM Drive Co-Host Marc Vandermeer to Leave Radio Show. The NFL’s Houston Texans are taking their broadcasts in-house and current KILT morning drive co-host Marc Vandermeer will leave the CBS Radio sports outlet to become director of radio broadcasting for the team. KILT serves as the flagship for the Texans and Vandermeer tells the Houston Chronicle he’ll still be affiliated with the station. “It’s awesome to be able to work for an NFL team and to be involved in all aspects of their radio programming. I’m not saying goodbye to Sports Radio 610, so I will still maintain my relationships there. It’s the best of everything for me.” Program director Gavin Spittle tells the paper Vandermeer will exit in late May or early June and he will begin looking for a replacement to work alongside co-host John Lopez.
KKFN, Denver Re-Ups with Talk Host Alfred Williams. Lincoln Financial Media sports talk host (and former Denver Bronco star) Alfred Williams signs a contract renewal to remain in the co-host seat alongside Darren “D-Mac” McKee on the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm program. In a statement, Williams says, “I am excited to continue to be a part of ‘The Fan.’ I love getting to interact locally with the Denver sports fans everyday and am happy to know I’ll be able to do it for many years to come.”
WRNN-AM/FM, Myrtle Beach Host Tara Servatius Exits Blog Position After Controversial Image Draws Criticism. Morning drive co-host Tara Servatius has left her position as a blogger for the non-profit John Locke Foundation after she used a doctored photo of President Obama in drag with a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken in front of him to accompany the piece about the president’s opposition to the North Carolina marriage amendment. Servatius apologized for the photo stating, “I am genuinely sorry my inclusion of the photo along with my blog post has caused controversy for the John Locke Foundation. If it has offended anyone, I sincerely regret that. That was certainly not my intention. It was meant to illustrate Obama’s southern political strategy, nothing more. An honest reading of the piece itself shows there is nothing offensive in it.” WRNN-AM/FM owner Next Media Group says the issue will not affect Servatius’ status with the station.
Los Angeles Sports Talk Personalities Joe McDonnell and Doug Krikorian to Host Daily Internet Show. Southern California sports talk personality Joe McDonnell, who’s been doing sports update work at KNX, Los Angeles, will begin a daily internet sports talk show with former radio partner Doug Krikorian, according to the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan. The McDonnell-Douglas show will air from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm on a yet-to-be announced URL. McDonnell was a major presence in the Los Angeles sports media scene going back to the 1980s but he disappeared from sports talk radio after leaving KLAC in 2008. He made the local news after undergoing gastric bypass surgery and losing some 400 pounds several years ago. The new show debuts on April 9 with a live broadcast from Legends Sports Bar in Long Beach.
Republican Primary/2012 Presidential Campaign Again Tops Talkers TenTM News/Talk Chart. The GOP primary race and the greater 2012 presidential campaign again tied for the most-talked-about topics on news/talk radio during the week of March 19-23 landing atop the Talkers TenTM chart for another straight week . Coming in at #2 was Iran’s nuclear weapons program tied with U.S.-Israel relations. At #3 was soaring gas prices tied with President Obama’s approval ratings and at #4 was the controversy over the slaying of Florida teen Trayvon Martin. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the most-talked-about stories and people of the week as heard on news/talk radio across American based on ongoing research from TALKERS. View the entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge picks up major market affiliate WWRL, New York…..Dial Global’s Michael Smerconish adds Boise affiliate KYWN.
The FCC and You. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman, Esq. presents the first in a series of articles as an abridgement of a forthcoming e-book detailing the crucial, regulatory information of which every license holder and radio station management employee must be aware. Informal surveys of radio station managers indicate that an alarming number of them are dangerously under-informed about the FCC regulations that pertain to them and their stations. TALKERS editors urge managers to take the time to read this free abridgement of the first of seven installments and share it with their management teams. Information on the purchase availability of the expanded e-book will be announced via TALKERS soon. In today’s installment, Attorney Weisman covers the license renewal process. Read more here.
The Rush Limbaugh Fallout for All Talk Radio Is Advertiser Nervousness. Almost a week into the Rush Limbaugh–Sandra Fluke controversy the consumer media, politicians and even the media trades to some extent are still awash in writing about Limbaugh’s mistake, the coarsening of our media political discourse and even allegations that conservative talk radio, apparently, hates women. But TALKERS is hearing reports from ad rep firms that are more alarming – especially in these already shaky economic times. That is that major advertisers are issuing yet another round of “no controversial programming” dictates. This is not a new problem for talk radio and the recent Limbaugh case is likely only to add fuel to a fire that’s been simmering for the past 20 years. While no laws were broken by Rush Limbaugh, advertisers who fear backlash from activists, parent’s organizations and other groups – even though talk hosts with loyal followings that are likely to buy their products or services help sell those products or services very successfully – don’t want to risk bad PR, protester harassment or outright boycotts from being associated with a “controversial” talk media figure. They reason that there may be many more customers of theirs whom they don’t want to alienate who don’t listen to “controversial” talk radio, so they shy away from the genre altogether. The bigger challenge facing talk radio right now is not defending its programming, but selling it in this turbulent climate.
Ohio State Representative Circulates Petition to Remove Rush Limbaugh from Station. Democratic State Representative Robert F. Hagen is circulating a petition around the Youngstown, Ohio area to submit to station WKBN, Youngstown asking that Premiere Networks talk host Rush Limbaugh be removed from the station’s lineup, according to Vindy.com. The online petition seeks 2,000 signatures before being presented to WKBN management and is less than 200 away from that mark as of this morning. While many politicians at the state and national level have weighed in on the Limbaugh controversy, Hagen is the first TALKERS is aware of who is using his status as a politician to take action in attempting to coerce an affiliate station into making a programming decision.
Cumulus Birmingham and Paul Finebaum Have March 30 Court Date. Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Robert Vance has scheduled a March 30 hearing to discuss WJOX-FM, Birmingham sports talk host Paul Finebaum’s motion to dismiss counterclaims by Cumulus against him, reports the Birmingham Business Journal. Finebaum and Cumulus are suing each other for breach of contract. Cumulus’ countersuit claims Finebaum – in violation of his contract – entered into negotiations with a competing broadcasting company and shared proprietary information with said organization. Also, earlier this week Cumulus attorneys filed a motion to block Finebaum’s subpoena of Cumulus for testimony in the suit by arguing that it did not own the Citadel stations when the dispute began.
Merlin Media Closes on WKDN-FM, Camden, New Jersey. Randy Michaels-led Merlin Media closes on the $22.5 million purchase of WKDN-FM, Camden, New Jersey from Harold Camping’s Family Stations. It is widely believed that Merlin will bring some spoken-word format to the Philadelphia market – probably an all-news outlet in the image of its New York and Chicago stations. Former WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte morning drive host – and Philadelphia native – Al Gardner is reported to be programming the new venture.
KNBR, San Francisco Renews Play-by-Play Deal with the Giants Through 2018. San Francisco Giants CEO Larry Baer and Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey appeared on the “Murph & Mac Show” on sports KNBR, San Francisco yesterday to announce a new, seven-year contract to keep Giants baseball on the station. Dickey stated, “On behalf of our loyal listeners and valued clients, we are pleased to announce a new seven year partnership with one of the greatest brands in all of sports. We are excited to continue KNBR’s 34-year run with the Giants with the addition of compelling new content designed to bring the fans even closer to the action both on and off the field with exclusive reporting.” The deal includes the pre-game “Kruk & Kuip Show,” the “Post-Game Wrap” and other Giants content throughout the year.
SiriusXM Brings Sports Journalist John Feinstein to Mad Dog Radio Channel. Satellite broadcaster SiriusXM announces a new program co-hosted by renowned sports journalist John Feinstein and Bruce Murray called “Beyond the Brink” to air daily from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm on the Mad Dog Radio channel. Murray has been hosting the midday show at Mad Dog Radio solo. Feinstein is author of best-sellers A Season on the Brink – detailing a season with Bobby Knight’s Indiana Hoosiers – and A Good Walk Spoiled – chronicling a year on the PGA golf tour. The program debuts Thursday live from the ACC basketball tournament. SiriusXM states the two will cover the spectrum of sports on their show, interviewing high-profile guests, debating topics and talking with callers nationwide about the headline stories of the day. Feinstein says of the new program, “I’ve always enjoyed doing radio because it gives you a chance to talk in detail on a lot of different topics and the chance to do it on SiriusXM on a daily basis with an old friend like Bruce is something I’m really looking forward to taking on. I’m really grateful to SiriusXM for giving me this opportunity and I think this is going to be a lot of fun.”
Sandra Fluke-Rush Limbaugh Controversy, Super Tuesday GOP Primaries, U.S.-Israel Relations/Iran Threat, Ponzi Scheme Verdict, and Hacker Ring Busted Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/6). The ongoing aftermath of the Sandra Fluke–Rush Limbaugh controversy; the Super Tuesday GOP primaries; the meeting between President Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu and Iran’s nuclear weapons threat; the verdict in the world’s largest Ponzi scheme trial; and a global hacker ring busted with help from its leader were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Chicago Media Community Mourns Death of John Madigan. Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder writes an excellent piece on John Madigan’s place in Chicago media. Read it here. Madigan worked in newspapers, radio and TV and spent part of his career at WBBM, Chicago as political editor. He was part of the team that led the station’s transition to all-news. He passed away recently in Florida at age 94 after complications from a stroke.
On the Road in Long Beach. KLAC, Los Angeles-based Fox Sports Radio Network hosts Matt “Money” Smith (l) and Petros Papadakis (r) are pictured here at their “Just Because It’s Friday” remote broadcast from Cirivello’s Sports Stop in Long Beach, California. The event drew nearly 500 listeners and featured special guests including Long Beach State head basketball coach Dan Monson, college basketball analyst/former college basketball coach Bruce Pearl plus Petros’ father and former USC linebacker John Papadakis. Giveaways included the first-ever “Petros and Money” t-shirt, Matt Kemp baseball bats, signed Magic Johnson and Howie Kendrick photos, a Diamondback bike, and an all-inclusive trip to Los Angeles Dodgers Spring Training in Glendale, Arizona. The broadcast was backed by local band Brewfish pictured behind the hosts.
Limbaugh Clarifies Controversial Remarks and Apologizes to Sandra Fluke. Facing mounting critical and advertiser pressure in the aftermath of his harsh commentary about law student Sandra Fluke and her testimony before Congress about birth control (see Friday’s story below), Premiere Networks host Rush Limbaugh has issued the following statement and apology on Saturday evening: “For over 20 years, I have illustrated the absurd with absurdity, three hours a day, five days a week. In this instance, I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke. I think it is absolutely absurd that during these very serious political times, we are discussing personal sexual recreational activities before members of Congress. I personally do not agree that American citizens should pay for these social activities. What happened to personal responsibility and accountability? Where do we draw the line? If this is accepted as the norm, what will follow? Will we be debating if taxpayers should pay for new sneakers for all students that are interested in running to keep fit? In my monologue, I posited that it is not our business whatsoever to know what is going on in anyone’s bedroom nor do I think it is a topic that should reach a presidential level. My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices.” There has been no official word from Premiere Networks on advertisers leaving Limbaugh’s program but numerous media reports are indicating that advertisers Sleep Train, Select Comfort, ProFlowers, Quicken Loans, Citrix Systems, Carbonite and Legal Zoom have pulled their ads from the program. NBC News is reporting an e-mail from Select Comfort spokeswoman Gabby Nelson states, “Due to recent commentary by Rush Limbaugh that does not align with our values, we’ve made the decision to immediately suspend all advertising on that program.” According to ABC News, ProFlowers said Sunday on its Facebook page that it has suspended advertising on Limbaugh’s program because his comments about Georgetown University student Sandra Fluke “went beyond political discourse to a personal attack and do not reflect our values as a company.”
Threat of Lawsuit Against Limbaugh Raises Legal Questions for Broadcasters. With Rush Limbaugh’s apology to Sandra Fluke in the rear view mirror, Fluke has told the consumer press she is entertaining the idea of suing Limbaugh for his words against her. Those citizens sympathetic to Fluke (and Democratic politicians willing to use the assault on Fluke as a sort of symbol for all that is wrong with talk media) would like to see a Fluke suit succeed. But TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says a case against Limbaugh is a bit murky due to Fluke’s status in the public eye. Weisman reminds us that the Supreme Court has protected journalists commenting on matters of public concern. “Since the landmark case of New York Times v. Sullivan, it has been recognized that public officials could not successfully sue for defamation unless it could be proven that the journalist acted with actual malice – that is that he or she was aware that what he or she was saying was a lie, or a reckless disregard for the truth.” In that decision Justice Brennan even wrote there is a “profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open and that it may well include vehement, caustic and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials.” But Sandra Fluke is not a public official, is she? No, but Weisman says, “The Supreme Court has refined the standard to make distinctions between involuntary public figures – those who are always public figures – and people such as Sandra Fluke who are public figures on specific issues. As a limited-purpose public figure, Sandra Fluke has, by testifying, put herself into a position where she can be criticized and commented upon in regard to her stated positions with journalists feeling secure that they can make mistakes in commenting about her testimony without legal liability.” But Weisman says that doesn’t necessarily mean clear sailing for Limbaugh should Fluke proceed with legal action. “The extent of Limbaugh’s comments could be considered, however, to be beyond the permissible when dealing with a limited-purpose public figure. Alternatively, it also could be considered that Limbaugh’s comments could be considered to be indefensible even using the lower standard presented by the malice test because his comments could be interpreted as having been made with malice – that is he knew they were false – or made with a reckless disregard for the truth. Thus there may be some significant liability on Limbaugh’s part in regard to libelous comments that he made about Fluke. Limbaugh may argue that his actions were not to be considered as literal and that they were merely hyperbole. He may also argue in his defense that no one would believe what he said to be accurate which might be a fascinating defense that could ultimately hurt him overall more than losing a defamation claim.”
Accurate Analysis of Talk Media Necessary Before Piling on Conservative Commentators. Consumers – and to some extent industry insiders – have been more than willing to condemn conservative commentators such as Rush Limbaugh (and KFI, Los Angeles’ John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou on the regional level) for language that some may say is, at the very least, not civil. But columnist, Fox News Channel analyst and former Clinton Administration official Kirsten Powers writes that liberals may need to clean up their own house before judging Rush Limbaugh. In her piece, “Rush Limbaugh Isn’t the Only Media Misogynist” published by the Daily Beast, Powers calls it a “war on women” and states, “Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, Bill Maher, Matt Taibbi, and Ed Schultz have been waging it for years with their misogynist outbursts.” In the piece, Powers illustrates that liberal political and social commentators have made very similar comments as Rush Limbaugh without liberal groups batting an eye at their transgressions. Powers writes about Bill Maher, “But the grand pooh-bah of media misogyny is without a doubt Bill Maher – who also happens to be a favorite of liberals – who has given $1 million to President Obama’s super PAC. Maher has called Palin a ‘dumb twat’ and dropped the C-word in describing the former Alaska governor.” This raises several interesting points. First, yes, Sarah Palin is a politician and not an innocent 30-year-old law student. See TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman’s analysis of that in the piece above. Second, many see what Bill Maher and Rush Limbaugh do for a living as very different. But that’s really not so. Both are entertainers who comment on social and political issues. It’s true that Maher operates on pay cable and Limbaugh on free, over-the-air radio, but there have been no FCC regulations violated in this case so that comparison is moot. Ultimately what’s very possible the entertainment industry – of which talk media is a part – is seeing is a groundswell of public support for a more civil tone in the nation’s public discourse, even when that discourse comes to them through the vehicle of entertainment.
KFI’s John and Ken to Undergo Cultural Sensitivity Training. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFI, Los Angeles issued a “Memorandum to the Los Angeles Community” in the wake of the John and Ken-Whitney Houston episode that cost the duo a seven-day suspension. The seven-point memo signed by market manager Greg Ashlock, program director Robin Bertolucci and marketing director Neil Saavedra includes assurance that John Koblyt, Ken Chiampou and “key staff and management” will “participate in cultural sensitivity training furthering their awareness of the cultural melting pot that is Southern California.”
Emmis to Make Case to Avoid Delisting. Six months ago Emmis Communications received notice from the Nasdaq Stock Market LLC its stock had to regain compliance with the $1 minimum bid rule in order to continue to be traded on the market. In a Friday SEC filing, Emmis stated, “The Company has requested a hearing before the Panel, which will stay any delisting action in connection with the Staff Determination and allow the continued listing of the Company’s Class A Common Stock on The Nasdaq Global Select Market until the Panel renders a decision subsequent to the hearing. At the hearing, the Company intends to present a plan to regain compliance with the Rule and request that the Panel allow the Company additional time within which to regain compliance. While the Company believes that it will be able to present a viable plan to regain compliance, there can be no assurance that the Panel will grant the Company’s request for continued listing on The Nasdaq Global Select Market, or that the Company’s plans to exercise diligent efforts to maintain the listing of its securities on Nasdaq will be successful.” That chance to plead its case could come by tomorrow.
Radio Pro Paul Barsky Joins WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale for PM Drive. Paul Barsky has worked extensively in the Philadelphia market at music outlets WMMR-FM, WYSP-FM and WPLY-FM and in other markets as well. Now he’s holding down the PM drive shift at James Crystal’s WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale following lead-in talk star Joyce Kaufman.
WGN, Chicago Whittles “Cubs Song” Entries Down to Three. Tribune’s WGN, Chicago is holding a contest for the “next great Cubs song” to be played before each broadcast of Chicago Cubs play-by-play on the station. It solicited more than 300 entries since the contest was announced and has winnowed that down to the final three: “Cubs Win” by 17 Candle, “Let’s Go Cubbies” by The Fold, and “Rockin’ Right at Wrigley” by Derrick Procell. Now it’s up to voters to hit the WGN website to vote on their favorite. The winner will be announced by AM drive host Jonathon Brandmeier on March 16 and the song will be played live during Brandmeier’s Opening Day broadcast on April 5 from the Captain Morgan Club at Wrigley Field.
White House Responds to Rush Limbaugh’s Take on Georgetown College Student. Premiere Networks talk show host Rush Limbaugh is getting an extraordinary amount of attention from comments made on his program earlier this week. During the program Limbaugh questioned the testimony of Georgetown University student Sandra Fluke who – speaking to the issue of subsidies for birth control – stated that her Catholic university won’t pay for expensive contraception. Weighing in on the issue, Limbaugh said, in part, that the university is, in effect being asked to pay for students to have sex. “What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex, she can’t afford the contraception.” White House press secretary Jay Carney said President Obama called Ms. Fluke to express his support for her stating her opinion and his regret for the response she received. Republicans and Democrats are now battling over allegations some Democrats and Democratic fundraising organizations are using the issue to raise campaign donations.
Los Angeles African-American Coalition Unhappy with KFI’s Response. Several days after meeting with Clear Channel Los Angeles management about issues of diversity and ethnic insensitivity after the suspension of PM drive team John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou for remarks made about Whitney Houston, a self-described coalition of Black business and media professionals announces it is not satisfied with KFI management’s response in a memorandum titled “We Are Listening” and plans further action. In a press statement, media contact Jasmyne Cannick states the coalition plans to take the issue to Washington. “Consequently, we plan on filing a formal complaint with the Federal Communications Commission that will include audio and video evidence substantiating our claims that these licensing violations are pervasive and systemic. We are confident President Barack Obama, several local officials as well as members of Congress, and the FCC will agree with our stance that the way Clear Channel is addressing the issue of diversity is disingenuous at best and fraudulent at its worst.” The coalition had asked four areas to be addressed by Clear Channel management: The hiring of more Blacks as on-air talent – full time, weekends, fill-in hosts; Similar to cable outlets, the station should feature paid KFI contributing commentators who can discuss issues with the on-air [talent] from different perspectives; Clear Channel must employ more blacks behind the scenes such as producers, engineers, sales representatives, professionals in marketing and promotions, as well as college interns of color. This is not limited to KFI; and KFI specifically needs to collaborate with online news and entertainment sites owned by African Americans and broaden the listening audience through community outreach events and public affairs. Whether or not this issue becomes a serious PR problem for KFI remains to be seen, but the coalition seems very intent on executing its goals. It states, “What must be reiterated is that Clear Channel’s corporate policies are being completely ignored and lip service can no longer suffice. In the next seven days, we will launch an all-out campaign employing the same tools Clear Channel radio personalities utilize to drive home the point that issues of importance will no longer be placated. Whether it’s employing John and Ken’s ‘Heads on a Stick’ campaign, to launching ‘Political Human Sacrifice 2012,’ all remedies, legal and otherwise, will be exhausted.” At a time when a significant degree of murkiness exists in the understanding of FCC rules pertaining to ethnic equality and programming sensitivity on the part of radio stations and their community critics alike, this brewing situation has the potential to force the clarification of a number of sticky issues including First Amendment guarantees as they apply to broadcasters, the public relations of race, and specific licensing requirements of the FCC.
Talk Media Industry Mourns Passing of Andrew Breitbart. The Conservative digital media mogul and talk media personality died unexpectedly at age 43 early Thursday morning of what appears to have been a heart attack. The conservative side of the talk media industry certainly had a friend in Andrew Breitbart. He was a big fan of conservative talk radio, often appearing on both nationally syndicated and local talk radio programs to discuss political issues. He even guest-hosted programs – most recently subbing for Dial Global’s Dennis Miller just last week. Breitbart’s work creating digital media targeting the conservative political audience made him a news/talk media celebrity as well as a target for those who disagreed with his politics. He’s pictured here reading one of the final print editions of TALKERS magazine at the radio row in New Hampshire prior to that state’s primary election in February.
TALKERS TV EXCLUSIVE: During the recent TALKERS/Talk Radio News Service radio row held in New Hampshire on the eve of the nation’s first presidential primary, TALKERS TV video recorded Emmanuel College (Boston) student broadcaster Joe Horgan interviewing Andrew Breitbart on the college’s internet station. The interview conducted on January 10 presents a superb portrait of Breitbart and his media philosophy. See the video in the TALKERS TV box on the right side of this page.
More Momentum Behind Radio News as Dial Global Teams with NBC for 24-Hour News Product. The term 24-hour news service is slightly misleading. What NBC and Dial Global are offering is not a full 60 minutes of news each hour all day long but top- and bottom-of-the-hour news plus bulletins, live coverage of news events, news feeds, etc. But with the demise Dial Global’s distribution of CNN Radio and that service largely disappearing, this new initiative underscores the resurgence in the demand for news from consumers that’s being exemplified on America’s radio airwaves. In recent years the industry has seen Talk Radio Network collaborate with The Washington Times to produce and syndicate a national morning drive news product out of the Nation’s Capital; TRN subsidiary America’s Radio News Network is currently clearing its successful three-hour, all-news blocks on more than 200 radio stations; CBS Radio bought an FM signal in the Washington-Baltimore area to put its news expertise to the test against Hubbard Broadcasting’s news juggernaut WTOP; Randy Michaels-led Merlin Media is building all-news formats on two major FM signals in New York and Chicago with another in Philadelphia reportedly on the way; and Fox News Radio has been providing a major league level of news and information service to nearly a thousand affiliates (including talkers) for years. Dial Global’s announcement of its collaboration with NBC News to offer a radio news product using its vast resources and high-profile personalities shows it takes radio’s desire for news seriously. NBC News Radio will be distributed to radio stations nationwide by Dial Global beginning April 1 and will give those stations access to the global resources of NBC News including: live simulcasts of breaking news from NBC and MSNBC, and reports from top NBC News correspondents including NBC News political director and chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd, chief Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski, chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell, chief Justice Department correspondent Pete Williams and senior investigative correspondent Lisa Myers. NBC News Radio will also feature Brian Williams, anchor and managing editor of “NBC Nightly News” and David Gregory, host of “Meet the Press.” The development shows that at a time when many Americans are getting more and more of their news from internet sources, a case can be made that news radio – especially news radio consumed in the auto – is more important than ever to many people. This current state and its future potential sparks the need for new and creative ways beyond merely “reading the story” in which to present news and information content. Along with that come opportunities for creative talent – experienced in what captivates radio listeners – to put their skills to the test in taking radio news into the future.
KIRO-FM, Seattle Develops New Weekend Talk Show About Local Music. In cooperation with Seattle Weekly, Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle announces the debut of “Seattle Sounds,” airing Sunday afternoons from 3:00 to 4:00. The show is co-hosted by Josh Kerns and Seattle Weekly music editor Chris Kornelis and is described as telling the “story behind the music – they dive deep into the artists who perform the music, explain why the music is gaining such traction, and discover bands who warrant attention. The program features live performances, interviews with artists, and weekly contests to attend some of the region’s hottest shows. ‘Seattle Sounds’ provides a new, uniquely-Northwest experience for audiophiles who want something more than just the Top 40 on shuffle.” KIRO-FM program director Larry Gifford says, “We are very excited to team up with Seattle Weekly to give music fans in the Northwest a weekly conversation about what’s new, what’s trending and what’s worth checking out when it comes to the local music scene. It is a terrific addition to 97.3 KIRO-FM’s All New ‘Learn, Laugh, Relax Weekend lineup.’”
Colleagues Mourn Passing of Former KOMO Radio and TV News Personality Eric Slocum. Former co-workers at Fisher Broadcasting’s KOMO, Seattle and KOMO-TV are mourning the unexpected death of former news anchor Eric Slocum who passed away last Saturday at age 54. Reports indicate he had suffered from depression in recent years and the death was ruled a suicide. Slocum started his career in radio but moved to KOMO-TV. He left the TV side in 2001 and returned to news/talk KOMO. He left the station in 2008.
Compass Media Networks Offers Big 10 Hoops Tourney for Third Consecutive Year. As the college basketball tournament season approaches, Compass Media Networks announces it is distributing play-by-play of the Big 10 Men’s Basketball Tournament beginning Thursday, March 8 and running through Sunday, March 11. The games are being distributed to satellite radio and terrestrial radio including major affiliates such as WFAN, New York. CMN’s broadcast team includes: Matt “Money” Smith from KLAC, Los Angeles who is partnered with former NBA star Rick Mahorn; and Drew Bontadelli who calls play-by-play with former college hoops star Mike Wozniak.
CBS Radio’s Altitude Group Names Marilou McFarlane VP of Strategic Partnerships. The Altitude Group is CBS Radio’s marketing wing that focuses on creating unique advertising programs to help grow client brands and customer engagement. The company says Altitude uses the power of CBS Radio’s 130 major market stations combined with all available digital distribution channels to execute big ideas for advertisers so they can reach their customers in any and every way. Marilou McFarlane, based in San Francisco, will use the group’s best practices to develop new business in markets up and down the west coast. McFarlane has worked for Clear Channel, CBS Radio in the past as well as developed her own media and marketing consultancy firm, McFarlane Marketing LLC. Additionally, she launched Vivo Girls Sports, Inc., an online community for girls 13-24 years old who are passionate about sports and live a healthy active lifestyle.
WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Fill-in Host Wayne Powers Runs for County Commissioner. Wayne Powers has been a regular fill-in host at Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte for the past four years. He announces he’s removing himself from the station’s roster in order to run as a Republican for a seat on the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners.
GOP Primaries/2012 Presidential Race Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 27 – March 2. According to ongoing research from TALKERS, the GOP primaries and the 2012 presidential race was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM chart. Coming in at #2 was Iran tensions tied with the North Korea nuclear program deal. At #3 was the state of the economy and Fed chairman Ben Bernanke’s testimony before Congress and at #4 was rising gas prices. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View the entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Independently syndicated “The Truth About Money with Ric Edelman” joins the weekend lineup at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFI, Los Angeles…..KGO, San Francisco-based weekend talk host Karel gets his Sunday 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm program added to the lineup at KJFK, Reno…..Cumulus Media Networks’ “Red Eye Radio” featuring Eric Harley and Gary McNamara picks up affiliates WLS, Chicago; WMAL-AM/FM, Washington; and WPRO/WEAN-FM, Providence…..Talk Radio Network’s “Watchdog on Wall Street” with host Chris Markowski is picked up by KIVA, Albuquerque…..“Beyond the Beltway” with host Bruce DuMont is added to the program schedule at WATX, Cookeville, Tennessee…..The DirecTV-produced and Premiere Networks-distributed Nick and Artie show featuring Nick DiPaolo and Artie Lange adds CBS Radio’s WIP-AM, Philadelphia.
Entercom Kansas City Officially Announces Debut of “The KMBZ Business Channel.” The news leaked out via a local PR firm earlier this week but now Entercom Kansas City confirms its classical “Radio Bach” – KUDL, Kansas City – is being flipped to financial talk and will be branded “The KMBZ Business Channel on 1660 AM.” Jack Landreth, program director of the KMBZ brand of stations, states the flip fills a void in the market, “‘The KMBZ Business Channel’ is a natural extension of our award-winning KMBZ News/Talk station. Building on KMBZ’s many years of success, we are launching a business station dedicated to business leaders and investors. By offering clear, concise business reports on Newsradio 98.1 FM and expanding those reports on ‘The KMBZ Business Channel on 1660,’ we will create a unique radio synergy.” Vice president and general manager Dave Alpert says the station will focus on business news as it happens and opinions about financial issues. “Business news is no longer just a stock market update. In today’s fast-paced world, business is a 24-hour news cycle…We will deliver the very best business reporting and direct access to the insider opinions that drive business throughout Kansas City and around the country.” Alpert and Landreth say their target audience is affluent, well-educated, homeowners over the age of 35, with household incomes over $100,000. “With Newsradio 98.1 FM, KMBZ already delivering a business-to-business audience, the ‘KMBZ Business Channel’ will cultivate a broader base of influential listeners across high-income levels from wired workers and educated professionals to CEOs and managers.”
News Staffers Exit Merlin Media’s FM News 101.9 in New York. Mediabistro FishbowlNY reports the departure of three on-air staffers from WEMP-FM, New York. The site says former WWOR-TV anchor Sara Lee Kessler, who’d been with WEMP-FM since its beginning last August, has exited as have evening anchor Maureen Langan and reporter Bob Brown. There’s no information whether any of the three were let go or left the station voluntarily. This news comes a week after Eric Seidel was named interim program director at the all-news station.
ESPN Brings Former Colts Exec Bill Polian Aboard as NFL Analyst. The sports media giant announces former Indianapolis Colts vice chairman Bill Polian is joining ESPN on March 12 – the day before NFL free agency begins – and will be seen on ESPN’s “SportsCenter,” “NFL Live,” “NFL 32,” as well as heard on ESPN Radio. Polian will also write for ESPN’s digital initiatives and ESPN The Magazine.
Michael Patrick Shiels Exits Lansing-Based “Michigan’s Morning Show.” Talk show host Michael Patrick Shiels and Cumulus Broadcasting have parted company with Shiels doing his last broadcast based at WJIM, Lansing and the 10-station Michigan Talk Network on Tuesday (2/28). Michigan Talk Network general manager Dave Minock tells Michigan Live, “He’s decided to move on and we’re carrying on as you can imagine.” Minock says the program – distributed to the company’s WJRW, Grand Rapids and eight other stations around the state – will feature guest hosts until the company finds a permanent replacement for Shiels, who tells the site, “It was an amicable parting and I’m hoping I’ll get the opportunity down the road to reconnect with my Michigan listeners.”
Ric Edelman Public TV Series Wins Six Awards. Top-ranked financial advisor and talk media personality Ric Edelman’s “The Truth About Money” public TV program is honored with six Telly Awards. The awards honor outstanding international video and film productions. Edelman’s radio program of the same name is heard in 54 markets on commercial talk stations across the U.S. His public TV program was just renewed for a second season. The program won awards in three categories – education, information and editing. The program is dedicated to educating public television viewers about the latest data and research regarding how to save and invest their hard-earned dollars, while providing an entertaining framework. Guests have included everyone from wealthy publisher Steve Forbes, to divorce guru Raoul Felder, to CNBC anchorwoman and Wall Street mainstay Maria Bartiromo.
Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Names Tim Castelli EVP of Digital Sales. The longtime digital advertising executive who most recently worked at America Online becomes executive vice president of digital sales reporting directly to chairman and CEO John Hogan. Tim Castelli will be in charge of national digital sales efforts and developing innovative advertising products and programs across several Clear Channel Media and Entertainment divisions, including strategic partnerships, national programming platforms and national advertising platforms and iHeartRadio, Clear Channel’s digital radio service. John Hogan states, “Tim is recognized for his innovation and tactical expertise. His understanding of advertisers’ needs and objectives will help them take even greater advantage of our unmatched resources.”
Broadcasters Foundation of America Raises More Than $250,000 at Golden Mike Award Dinner. More than 250 radio and TV broadcasters attended the 2012 Golden Mike Award Dinner at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on Monday, February 27 to honor award recipient Dennis Swanson, president of station operations for Fox Television Stations. The black-tie fundraiser collected more than $250,000 to support the BFoA’s mission of providing aid to broadcasters in desperate need. Pictured here is Swanson (second from left) accepting the award from “Inside Edition” host Deborah Norville and Broadcasters Foundation chairman Phil Lombardo (second from right) and president Jim Thompson (far left). In attendance were broadcasting luminaries serving as presenters including Roger Ailes of Fox News; Dr. Mehmet Oz, the syndicated TV show host and cardiac surgeon; Elsie McCabe Thompson of the Museum for African Art; and Larry Wert of NBC-TV. Also during the evening, the Foundation recognized Rick Buckley, a longtime supporter of the Broadcasters Foundation who served as its treasurer for many years. A fund established in Buckley’s name after he passed away suddenly in July has generated $50,000 to help broadcasters in need.
Star on the Rise: Florida Talk Show Host Burnie Thompson Making Statewide Waves from Base in the Panhandle. Former Air Force Captain and college English teacher Burnie Thompson has been in the talk radio business since 2007 when he began broadcasting from his home base in Panama City, Florida. Since that time, with the help of Don McCoy of McCoy Media, he’s expanded his daily 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET program from his flagship at Magic Broadcasting’s WYOO-FM, Panama City to stations in Jacksonville, Pensacola and Ft. Walton Beach. Stations in Tallahassee and the Gainesville/Ocala markets are set to begin airing the daily show within the next few weeks. Thompson also produces a weekend version culled from the best of the weekday show that currently airs on 13 stations across Florida. Thompson has made so many inroads in such a short time that U.S. Senator Marco Rubio has reportedly dubbed him “Florida’s Voice of Freedom.” Thompson is riding what he cites as a trend in talk radio making statewide programs more relevant and potentially popular than in the past. That, coupled with Florida’s burgeoning image as a center of rapidly growing importance from a demographic and political standpoint on the national scene, gives Thompson’s syndication venture that much more gravity. He says more important to his affiliates is the fact that his show became one of the highest-rated radio shows in Panama City for four consecutive years. Many local businesses have hired him to endorse them, making the show a top revenue producer. Thompson tells TALKERS, “The show is a mix between a 21st century town hall and your favorite saloon; a place where ideas collide and reason prevails. Every day on the radio, I strive to expand freedom and protect the family budget from government plunder by giving Floridians a place to link arms. I just want to make a difference in the Sunshine State – perhaps make it a little freer, and a little more prosperous. Then we’ll expand our horizons.” Thompson has been a freelance writer for more than a decade having work published in The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, The Washington Times, The Orange County Register, The Tallahassee Democrat, The Panama City News Herald, and more than a dozen other publications. He has a master’s degree in journalism from USC, a master’s in English from Penn State and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Cal State Fullerton.
Mitt Romney’s Michigan and Arizona Sweep, Deadly Midwestern Storms, Ohio School Shooting Aftermath, North Korean Nukes Deal, Iran Tensions, Health Care Birth Control Controversy and Pop Icon Davy Jones’ Death Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/29). The GOP primary race in the wake of Mitt Romney’s victories on Tuesday; the deadly storms that swept through the Midwest; the Ohio school killings aftermath; the deal struck with North Korea to halt its nuclear weapons program; ongoing tensions over Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions; the action in Washington over the health care birth control controversy and the death of pop icon Davy Jones were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday (2/29).
Alex Jones Rocks Orlando. Genesis Communications Network nationally syndicated talk sensation Alex Jones is pictured here mugging for the camera at Orlando Jai Alai on February 26 alongside Star Over Orlando‘s WEUS midday talk host Doc Holliday. Jones’ standing-room-only appearance included a live radio broadcast, a showing of his latest documentary film and an accompanying speech that WEUS says was, “a rousing affair that brought down the house!” WEUS carries Jones’ radio show live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET.
Big Promotion for John Hogan; Exec Moves Up to Chairman and CEO for Clear Channel Media and Entertainment. Clear Channel Media Holdings continues to express its confidence in the man who was promoted from COO to president and CEO of Clear Channel Radio in 2002 after the departure of Randy Michaels. In announcing John Hogan’s promotion and contract extension through 2015, the company touts Hogan’s record of developing the creative and successful integration of sales, promotional and programming initiatives across multiple platforms. Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman states, “Under John’s strong leadership and vision, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment has integrated the company’s assets so that it is today the leading media and entertainment company in the U.S. with a greater reach than any other radio or television outlet. It provides a one-of-a-kind national platform for partners in addition to the powerful local activation market by market and demo by demo.” Hogan says, “I am pleased and honored to be named to this position, which is a clear endorsement of the soundness of our strategy, the value of our assets, and the depth of the incredible team we are building here. I appreciate the energy and vision that Bob Pittman has brought to the organization and look forward to pursuing with Bob the vision we share as we continue to push the boundaries of the definition of entertainment, giving our audience what they want now and in the future.”
Bill Thomas Out as Market Manager at Cumulus Birmingham. Cumulus Media Group regional manager John Walker is set to oversee the Birmingham cluster in addition to his responsibility for the Huntsville stations after the departure of Bill Thomas. There’s no reason to believe that the ongoing legal battle between WJOX-FM, Birmingham personality Paul Finebaum and the company is the sole reason for Thomas’ exit but the possibility exists that Thomas’ role in how the situation was handled could have been a factor. Remember that Finebaum claims he was strong-armed by Thomas into signing a contract amendment that was less beneficial to him. That set the legal wheels in motion that includes Cumulus’ recent decision to countersue Finebaum claiming he violated his contract by engaging in negotiations with a competitor and sharing confidential company information.
Journal Broadcast Group Reports Positive Q4; Slight Uptick for 2011. On the strength of increasing automotive in the fourth quarter of 2011, Journal Broadcast Group reports a revenue increase of 2.3%. For the entire year, Journal’s revenue rose 1.6% on $70.4 million compared to 2010. While those numbers aren’t staggering, they beat the negative reports that had become so common over the past few years. Interestingly, unlike many other radio groups, Journal notes the fourth quarter of 2011 was its best quarter.
Phil Hendrie Ends Local KFI, Los Angles Saturday Show; Busy TV Schedule Cited. Los Angeles-based radio and television talent Phil Hendrie tweets to fans he is ending his KFI, Los Angeles-only Saturday evening show after this weekend’s performance due to the increasing amount of TV work he’s getting combined with his nightly radio show syndicated by Talk Radio Network. Radio trade AllAccess.com reports it has confirmed the news. Hendrie is doing voice work on Fox Television’s “Napoleon Dynamite” and has upcoming work on Fox’s “New Girl.” Hendrie thanks KFI program director Robin Bertolucci and the KFI staff for their help with the weekend show.
CBS Radio’s WQYK, Tampa Changes Midday Show. “The King David Show” featuring Toby David and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Shaun King is off the air at CBS Radio’s 1010 Sports (WQYK), according to the Tampa Bay Times’ Tom Jones. Jones reports that WQYK assistant program director Mike Pepper says the station is airing Yahoo! Sports’ Tim Brando in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot for now but would like to fill that hole with a local show. The station needs time to find the right show. He didn’t rule out either David or King being part of the station in the future. Toby David tells the paper, “I appreciated the time I worked with Shaun and have a great amount of respect for him. I also enjoyed working at CBS Radio and have nothing but the utmost respect for those people and I hope to land on my feet locally.”
CCME Announces National Imaging Team. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment organizes the imaging of its radio formats under the Kelly Doherty-led National Programming Platforms group. The function of this reorganization is to create 15 format-specific imaging coordinator positions and those experts will “produce and distribute compelling and diverse on-air promotional audio spots for Clear Channel’s National Programming initiatives, including format-specific creative efforts across iHeartRadio, Artist Integration Programs and large-scale contests and events including the iHeartRadio Music Festival.” Doherty states, “This team includes the top producers in each format. The talent, expertise and ingenuity that this new Imaging Team brings together is unmatched and I am excited to lead such a top-notch group.” Scott Stanley is named news/talk imaging coordinator and Bob Schmidt is the sports imaging coordinator.
Thaddeus Matthews Off the Air at WPLX, Memphis After Court Ruling. The case involving Memphis talk host Thaddeus Matthews and WPLX, Memphis owner William Pollack took another turn recently after Chancellor Arnold Goldin of the Shelby County Court denied an injunction Matthews had sought to continue broadcasting his program on WPLX. Matthews made national news with a YouTube broadcast video of his on-air encounter with Republican congressional candidate Charlotte Bergmann which ended with Matthews refusing to shake Bergmann’s hand because he didn’t want her “whiteness” to rub off on him. According to The Commercial Appeal, last week’s court ruling revolved around a dispute over money owed by Matthews to Pollack. Matthews leases the time from Pollack and the latter claims he’s owed in excess of $85,000 in fees. Matthews disputes that figure and vows to continue his legal battle while broadcasting his program on the internet.
Rob Otto Joins WCAR, Livonia, Michigan in Sports Director Role. Detroit sports media pro Rob Otto joins Birach Broadcasting’s WCAR, Livonia (west of Detroit) as sports director for the reformatted station positioned as ESPN 1090, according to Michiguide.com. The site reports Otto “will also be tasked with providing local, on-air sports updates for WCAR and helping the station establish local programming and marketing. He’ll also be moving his sports-related blog from MLive.com to ESPN 1090’s website at espn1090.com.” Otto has worked in the Detroit market at WXYT-FM, WWJ, WDFN and WHMI-FM.
Opinion: Talk Host Phil Valentine Says Prohibition of Ethnic References Reeks of Controlling the Language. Nashville-based Dial Global syndicated talk host Phil Valentine responds to TALKERS sports editor Richard Neer’s column (When it Comes to Ethnic Slurs, Just Don’t Go There, 2/23/12) that in this age of political correctness, what is said or written in the media – the ESPN/Jeremy Lin case is a great example – doesn’t have to actually be offensive, it just has to sound that way. Read Phil’s column here.
GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Campaign Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 20 – 24. The GOP primary race and the 2012 presidential campaign tied atop the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week. The primary and the issues surrounding the campaign that leads up to the November 5 general election were #1 for the fourth consecutive week. Landing at #2 was Iran’s nuclear ambitions. At #3 was rising gas prices at U.S. pumps and at #4 was the protest in Afghanistan over the desecration of Korans at a U.S. base. The Talkers TenTM chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio is published each week at Talkers.com and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. See the entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliation Roundup. Dial Global’s “Overnight America with Jon Grayson” picks up KFWB, Los Angeles for the 10:00 pm to 3:00 am slot…..Cumulus Media Networks’ “Red Eye Radio” is added for the overnight slot at WPRO, Providence…..“Motley Fool Money” with host Chris Hill adds KPQ, Wenatchee, Washington and KPSF, Palm Springs – Money Radio 1200.
TALKERS Top Talk Media Industry Stories for 2011.
TALKERS looks back at the top talk radio/media stories of 2011. It was a year marked by financial stress, corporate shuffling, format flips and the relentless march of technological change.
1. Radio Faces Continued Economic Hardship. Mired in debt and hampered by soft advertising sales, most radio broadcasting companies found 2011 to be challenging. Marked by cutbacks, limited budgets and job insecurity, talk radio – as well as all commercial radio – was a tough business in which to work.
2. Big Deals: Cumulus Closes Deal Buying Citadel. This was an enormous deal by any year’s standards with far ranging impact and implications on station formats and personnel — highlighted by serious material changes in format and personnel at KGO, San Francisco. Another significant deal of the year — Bonneville sells 17 Midwest/east major/large market stations to Hubbard Radio.
3. The Invasion of FM by Talk. 2011 was the year that the long-awaited migration of talk to the FM dial actually could be called a “trend” with numerous AM bastions picking up accompanying FM outlets for their programming. All signs point to this continuing in 2012 and beyond. Read the entire story here.
Geraldo Rivera Still a Possibility at KABC, Los Angeles? KABC, Los Angles talk host John Phillips’ recent e-mail to the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan once again fires up the rumor mill leaving open the possibility that Geraldo Rivera – soon to be hosting the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York – will also be heard on the company’s KABC. KABC management released the new program schedule on December 23 with Phillips listed as the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon host but now Phillips states he’ll do that shift through January 27. After that? No one’s saying. So read into that what you will but if Cumulus is spending good money to develop a Geraldo radio show, why not put it on in the nation’s second largest market to give the sales team more to work with? As for Phillips and his show that will follow Doug McIntyre’s morning program beginning next week, he tells Lycan, “The thought is your morning commute doesn’t end at 9:00 am, so neither will we. McIntyre and I are good friends, and by that I mean he’s yet to run me over in the KABC parking lot with his car, so we’ll share the same ethos and won’t stop beating the drum about L.A. and OC issues that directly impact our listeners’ lives.”
WHAM, Rochester Adds More Bob Lonsberry and More Local News to Schedule. Clear Channel’s WHAM, Rochester announces a new program schedule to begin in 2012 that adds another half hour of popular Rochester personality Bob Lonsberry to the schedule. In addition to Lonsberry’s solo 9:00 am to 1:00 pm program, he’ll join the WHAM Morning News crew – Chet Walker, Shari Smith, Randy Gorbman and John DiTullio – for the new “1180 WHAM Free for All” show from 8:30 am to 9:00 am. Additionally, the station expands the “WHAM Afternoon News” to a two-hour format from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Speaking to the changes, CC Rochester VP/GM Kevin LeGrett states, “We are very excited about this new 1180 WHAM lineup, which features 12 hours of local Rochester programming daily. When it comes to Rochester’s adults, 1180 WHAM owns the franchise and consistently achieves excellent results for our listeners, community and advertisers.”
Brian Michel New Operations Manager at Clear Channel Atlanta. The five-station Clear Channel cluster that includes news/talk WGST has a new operations manager. Brian Michel comes to Atlanta from Salt Lake City where he was OM at Simmons’ stations there. While he’ll serve as program director for country WUBL-FM, OM for the entire Atlanta cluster and he’ll also be acting program director for WGST, which as reported earlier this week, may be getting an FM simulcast in the near future according to local rumors.
Iowa Caucuses/2012 Presidential Race, Iran’s Saber Rattling, 2011 Retrospective, Kim Jong Il Funeral Parade and Preliminary Holiday Retail Sales Figures Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday. The fast-approaching Iowa Caucuses, Iran’s threat to close the Strait of Hormuz, the year of 2011 in retrospect, the funeral parade of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and positive preliminary holiday retail sales reports were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
A Brief History of Los Angeles Talk Radio. One of the many highlights of the recent Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum (October 20) was the presentation of the first-ever Talkers Lifetime Achievement Award to LARadio.com publisher and noted radio historian Don Barrett followed by his brilliant presentation of “A Brief History of Los Angeles Talk Radio.” In the speech, Barrett describes growing up in the beach communities of Southern California and being raised on the great rock ‘n’ roll and top 40 stations of the 1950s. He traces the roots of LA talk radio back to Ben Hoberman’s early experiments with all-talk at KABC in the 1960s and follows the richly colorful route of the format all the way through the decades to present-day juggernaut that is KFI, including fascinating details about the personalities who brought it to life.
Seventh Annual Domestic Violence Radio Row a Big Apple Smash. For the seventh consecutive year, TALKERS magazine presented “It’s Time to Talk Day” — a massive radio row produced in association with its sister firm, Talk Radio News Service, and the corporate sponsorship of Liz Claiborne, Inc. Held yesterday (12/8) in the fashion showroom of the Midtown Manhattan corporate offices of Liz Claiborne, Inc., the ambitious event was one of the largest and most successful, bringing together more than 20 talk media hosts from around the country who broadcast their shows live or recorded interviews for delayed broadcast. They spoke with a non-stop parade of more than 60 experts, victims, celebrities and public officials from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm on the insidious societal problems of domestic violence and teenage dating abuse. This year’s participants included: Alan Colmes of Fox News Radio; Dr. Joy Browne of WOR Radio Network; Mark Riley of WWRL, New York; Roberta Facinelli of “Doug Stephan’s Good Day;” John Fugelsang of “The Stephanie Miller Show;” Kevin McCullough of “The Kevin McCullough Show” and “Baldwin/McCullough;” Maria Bailey of “Mom Talk Radio;” Gary Baumgarten of Paltalk; Lionel of WPIX-TV, New York Channel 11 and LionelMedia.com; Barry Farber of Talk Radio Network and CRN Digital Talk Radio; Lisa Wexler of WFAS, Westchester, NY; Andy Spano of WVOX, New Rochelle, NY; John Harper of WNTK, Keene, New Hampshire; Deb Colitti of the Deb Colitti Show; Dr. Renee Kohanski of PodJockey; and Dan Patterson of KoPoint. Ellen Ratner and Geoff Holtzman of Talk Radio News Service broadcasted throughout the day on several hundred of the news service’s affiliates. Joining the line-up this year for the first time were representatives of college talk radio with Farhan Husain and Gary Duff of WRHU, Hempstead (Hofstra University); Nichole Murphy of WLIU, Brooklyn (Long Island University) and Alyssa DiNubila of WNEK, Springfield, MA (Western New England University). Included among those who took live and recorded feeds from the event were Thom Hartmann of “The Thom Hartmann Show;” Dom Giordano of WPHT, Philadelphia; Ken Pittman of WBSM, New Bedford, MA/Providence, RI; and Carole Marks of “A Touch of Grey” plus many more. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “‘It’s Time to Talk Day’ is certainly one of our most important annual events and this year’s installment topped all others. It raises consciousness about a societal problem that impacts a frighteningly large segment of the population and it cuts across all gender, ethnic and demographic boundaries. There isn’t a spoken-word format that doesn’t find the topic of domestic violence applicable to its audience and extremely compelling. Most importantly, we get feedback each year that this radio row, upon reaching millions of talk radio listeners, really does make a huge difference in the lives of real people. It doesn’t get better than that. We are grateful to Liz Claiborne, Inc. for their public-mindedness in supporting such a valuable project.”
Joe Crummey and Patty Steele Out at WABC, New York. There’s no official word from Cumulus but late-morning talk show host Joe Crummey and recently added co-host Patty Steele are gone from the lineup at WABC and it appears the station is filling in with various local talent for the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program until a permanent decision is made. Crummey was brought in from the West Coast by former program director Laurie Cantillo who left the station earlier this fall.
Terri-Rae Elmer Leaves Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles – Possibly for KABC? Hot rumors in Southern California have longtime KFI news anchor Terri-Rae Elmer being paired up with Doug McIntyre for a new morning show at Cumulus’ crosstown KABC in the New Year. There’s nothing confirmed there but McIntyre’s scheduled departure from the company’s “Red Eye Radio” and its statement that it has plans for McIntyre are fueling the rumor. Back to KFI, Elmer has been the news anchor and sidekick for KFI’s John and Ken for years. Her position is being filled by Shannon Farren, according to the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan.
Tim Conway, Jr. Signs Deal with KFI, Los Angeles. The OC Register’s Gary Lycan reports KFI evening host Tim Conway, Jr. has signed a contract to do his 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm program on the Clear Channel station for three years. KFI program director Robin Bertolucci is quoted saying, “Tim has created a unique space on KFI that is getting record high ratings and delighting fans all over Southern California. Not only is he number one in ratings, he’s number one at covering local news – whether it’s power outages, the eviction of the Occupy L.A. campers or the implosion of Kim Kardashian‘s marriage. Listening to Tim’s show is like getting a free sample of what tomorrow will bring. He is always way out front of the big stories and it’s always uniquely entertaining and done in classic Tim Conway Jr. style!”
Dennis Winslow Leaves Traverse City Stations to Focus on Consultancy. Winslow has served as program and operations manager at Northern Radio’s WSRJ-FM/WSRT-FM, Traverse City, Michigan and its sister music FMs classic hits WFCX/WFDX for the past five years. Now, assistant program director and host Rich Nadeau takes over his duties as Winslow concentrates on his Winslow Programming Strategies business. Cluster general manager Charlie Ferguson says, “Dennis has done an excellent job of guiding both The Fox FM and You – FM for the past five years. The stations have improved every aspect of our operations on his watch and we’re truly grateful for his help.”
Former Los Angeles-Area Financial Talk Host Indicted on Fraud Charges. This is pretty much the same story you’ve heard a dozen times before – only the names, and the language are different. John Farahi hosted “Economy Today” on Persian-language KIRN, Simi Valley, California from 2005 to 2010. The Los Angeles Times reports Farahi – through his New Point Financial Services – promised clients their money would be invested in corporate bonds insured through the Troubled Assets Relief Program. But prosecutors allege Farahi spent the money on personal expenses and some highly speculative investments in which he lost millions. The scheme is reported to have lost some $20 million of investors’ money.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Compass Media Networks’ Norman Goldman show becomes the PM drive show at Clear Channel’s KKZN, Denver…..The independently syndicated Kevin McCullough show is picked up by KBDE-FM, Waco, Texas; and WCSO-FM, Columbus, Mississippi…..Premiere Networks’ “America Now with Andy Dean” adds KNST, Tucson…..The independently syndicated Burnie Thompson show is added to WBOB, Jacksonville.
2012 Presidential Race Lands Atop Talkers TenTM Chart of Week’s Top News/Talk Stories. The 2012 race for president was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of December 5-9 according to TALKERS magazine research. Following at #2 was President Obama’s Kansas speech. At #3 was the payroll tax cut issue and the U.S. deficit and at #4 was the Euro Zone debt crisis. The Talkers TenTM is published every Friday at Talkers.com and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. To see the entire chart, click on the banner below.
It’s the End of KGO as We Know It. Since KGO, San Francisco has changed very little over the past 20 years, any change to the legendary Cumulus-owned station would seem monumental. That’s why the dismissal of KGO talk hosts Gil Gross, Gene Burns, Ray Taliaferro and John Rothmann as the station morphs into a news-intensive station is so shocking to an industry that’s seen plenty of change lately. KGO director of news and programming Paul Hosley tells the San Francisco Chronicle, “What we are doing is adding a tremendous amount of news content to KGO.” Mid-morning talk host Ronn Owens is not part of this wave of change and, according to 415 Media editor Rich Lieberman, he has a “personal services” contract with the station that runs through January of 2013. The Chronicle reports a KGO insider said that KGO has “lost its way” and hopes to reinvigorate itself with a news-driven format. The station’s positioning statement changes from “Newstalk 810” to “KGO 810 – the Bay Area News and Information Station.” KGO’s dominance in the ratings began to fade with the arrival of Arbitron’s PPM in the San Francisco market – a sign that a station with KGO’s rich heritage and special place in the hearts of San Francisco radio listeners benefitted from the diary method. The changes at KGO began with the exit of longtime operations director Jack Swanson in October. It would be easy to dismiss Cumulus’ moves as being budget related, but all-news can be an expensive format to operate and KGO will be competing with CBS Radio’s KCBS-AM/KFRC-FM on that front. Stay tuned.
Cumulus Cuts in Charleston Eliminate Local Host. Charleston, South Carolina news/talk WTMA eliminates the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm local talk show hosted by Rocky DiSabato – known as Rocky D. The gap is filled by expanding the carriage of Dial Global’s Clark Howard and Neal Boortz shows to cover the three hours.
Merlin Media’s Chicago News Station Changes Calls. All-news WWWN-FM, Chicago is now WIQI, although the station remains positioned as “FM News 101.” Merlin Media’s application for the change was requested on November 14 and it officially took place on December 1.
KBLI/KBLY, Pocatello/Idaho Falls/Blackfoot, Idaho Adds Local Shows. The Riverbend Communications duo known as Newstalk 690/1260 announces the addition of three local programs to its lineup: news and program director Tim Lewis hosts the new “Idaho’s Morning News” from 6:00 am to 9:00 am; former KIFI-TV managing editor Carissa Coats hosts “Idaho’s Midday News” from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm; and Mark Richardson is the host of “Idaho’s Afternoon News” from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Richardson and his father Mel co-host the “Probing America” show that airs from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. They will also produce a weekend version of the show.
WOAI, San Antonio Begins Elf-Louise Radio-thon. Clear Channel news/talk WOAI hosts a two-day radio-thon today (12/2) and tomorrow at the North Star Mall to raise funds to purchase gifts and sundries for San Antonio families in need during the Christmas season. WOAI personalities Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo and Charlie Parker will take part as will personalities from CC’s San Antonio music outlets. The Elf Louise Christmas project was begun by Louise Locker in 1969 when she was a student at Trinity University. Then, she and friends aided 13 families. Now, the project uses 5,000 volunteers and distributes some 60,000 gifts each year.
2012 Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM Chart of News/Talk Radio’s Top Weekly Stories. The GOP contenders to face off against President Obama in next year’s election were the most-talked-about topic on news/talk radio during the week of November 28 – December 2. Coming in at #2 was the pending government shutdown. At #3 was the Euro zone debt crisis and the global financial markets activity followed by Black Friday/Cyber Monday at #4. The Talkers TenTM, a chart of the top stories and people of the week, is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View the entire chart by clicking on the banner below.
KTRS, St. Louis Personality JC Corcoran Suspended for Twitter Activities. There’s no official word from CH Holdings’ news/talk KTRS, St. Louis but the reports from St. Louis-area media seem to confirm that afternoon host JC Corcoran has been suspended from the station for two weeks after engaging in a back-and-forth Twitter argument with listener-followers in which he used foul language. The incident started when Corcoran declared Cardinals star Albert Pujols would re-sign with the team by November 18. When that didn’t happen, Corcoran was taken to task for his prediction on Twitter and his responses including questionable language went out on the internet. This case illustrates that even though the “letter” of FCC rules applies specifically to over-the-air language on terrestrial radio, the “spirit” of the law can now extend to social media activities as well giving the morals clause found in most talent employment contracts expanded relevance. Talk show hosts beware – you are what you tweet!
News/Talk KFBK, Sacramento Gets FM Signal. As the historic AM station prepares to celebrate its 90th anniversary early next year, Clear Channel announces it is ending the Hot AC on KGBY-FM and begins simulcasting news/talk KFBK on the signal as FM NewsTalk 92.5 today (12/1). Vice president and market manager Jeff Holden states, “Today is a milestone for Sacramento broadcasting as KFBK expands to the 92.5 FM frequency to better serve the local community. The void for quality, local and full service news and talk on FM has now been filled. This will give a younger audience access to one of the most influential stations in, not only, Sacramento but all of Northern California. KFBK has demonstrated leadership over the past 90 years and it continues with the same dedication and progressive nature that makes it unique. KFBK will now reach the nearly 70 percent of the market that doesn’t tune into the AM band.”
WFLA, Tampa Adds Jock Corey Dylan to AM Drive Program. Former WPOI-FM, Tampa DJ Corey Dylan is now part of the morning show at Clear Channel’s WFLA, Tampa. The St. Petersburg Times reports Dylan joins Jack Harris and Tedd Webb as co-host on the “AM Tampa Bay” program and will serve as a lifestyle reporter for the station as well. Program director Steve Versnick tells the paper, “We wanted to change the co-host role and Corey seemed a perfect fit. She’s got a sterling reputation in the market and a broadcast journalism degree. So while it might seem like stretch to go from an ’80s station to news/talk, her background and interest seem perfect.”
Georgia Talk Host Martha Zoller Zeroes in on Congressional Seat. WXKT-FM, Gainesville, Georgia talk host Martha Zoller is preparing to take leave of her talk radio career to run for Congress in Georgia’s newly created 9th Congressional District. Zoller is still heard on Cox Media Group’s WXKT-FM but has exited the Georgia News Network from which she was syndicated across the state. Zoller says Cox attorneys say she can stay on the air until she’s officially qualified as a candidate in May but realistically expects to have to leave her program prior to that time. Zoller reports she has excellent name recognition in the district – 62% of likely primary voters in the conservative district have heard of her – as she will face a battle against State Representative Doug Collins and possibly others in the Republican primary election.
Dial Global’s Bill Press to Remain on San Francisco Affiliate. Yesterday we reported Clear Channel’s plans for its AM talk stations in San Francisco that include the end of progressive talk outlet Green 960 (KKGN). Dial Global notes that although much of the progressive talk that’s currently heard on that station will be relegated to the KKSF-FM HD-2 signal and online, the Bill Press show will be heard in the early morning daypart prior to Premiere’s Glenn Beck on KNEW 960 in the new year.
WGN, Chicago’s John Williams Organizes Holiday Food Drive. Upon learning that food banks and pantries across the country are reporting a shortage of peanut butter, WGN talk host John Williams is organizing the “Peanut Butter & Jolly” drive to rally his listeners to donate peanut butter to the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Peanut butter is sought after because of its protein content, appeal to children and long shelf life. All day today (12/1), Williams will encourage listeners to donate to one of the many participating locations around Chicagoland that will be delivered to the depository tomorrow. Williams says, “Everyone wants gifts at Christmas, but these people just need food. If you give to this campaign, we can all say Merry ‘Chrithmath!’”
2012 Presidential Race, European Debt Crisis, Occupy L.A. Ousted and Penn State Abuse Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/30). The GOP candidates for president in 2012, the ongoing efforts to deal with Europe’s debt crisis, the clearing of the Occupy Los Angeles protesters and additional allegations in the Penn State sexual abuse case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday. Pictured here is ABC Radio News correspondent Alex Stone covering the Los Angeles Police Department’s breakup of the Occupy L.A. camp.
Clear Channel to End Progressive Talker KKGN in San Francisco. The progressive talk programming currently heard on KKGN, San Francisco – Green 960 – will not go away entirely; it’ll be available online and on the HD-2 channel of sister oldies KKSF-FM, but since so few people have HD radios anyone seeking shows such as Dial Global’s Stephanie Miller and Thom Hartmann and Compass Media Networks’ Norman Goldman will have to find them online. The “death” of Green 960 comes as Clear Channel makes other changes to its Bay Area talk programming. In the New Year, KKGN flips calls to KNEW, picks up the Fox News Radio affiliation and a new lineup including Glenn Beck in AM drive, followed by Dave Ramsey, then Premiere’s Randi Rhodes (the only holdover from Green 960), and Fox News Radio’s John Gibson. Back at what is currently KNEW (910 AM), that station will take on new calls KKSF and become “San Francisco’s Talk 910 – KKSF.” Armstrong & Getty (piped in from Sacramento) remain in mornings with Dial Global’s Clark Howard, Fox News Radio’s Tom Sullivan and a local PM drive show yet to be announced. What does this mean for the progressive format? Obviously it is a setback for the struggling format, simply because of the loss of a major market. Some observers will point to this situation as an example of the format’s inherent weakness by saying it can’t even make it in San Francisco – one of the most liberal regions in the nation. However others will note that it is harder for a radio format targeted to a political orientation to make it in an area heavily populated by like-minded people because it doesn’t serve a unfilled need. Radio, being a niche medium, often works best in an area where the targeted audience is in the minority and it thus serves to galvanize a critical mass necessary to support a format. That is likely the case in San Francisco.
Detroit Media Personality John Mason Hosts PM Drive on WCHB-AM/FM. Longtime Detroit radio and TV personality John Mason is the new PM drive host on Radio One’s urban news/talk WCHB-AM/FM. Mason most recently hosted the morning drive show on Radio One’s WGPR-FM until late October when the company flipped the format to hip hop. Mason is known for his work as an R&B disc jockey but tells the Detroit News he’s ready for the challenge, “Talk is different – I’m comfortable with it. Quite frankly, the timing is in the vibe of the universe. It’s a progression for me.” Mason’s program airs from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
ESPN Affiliation Bumps Local Sports Duo in Denver. When ESPN programming moves from Lincoln Financial Media’s KEPN to Front Range Sports Network’s KDSP-FM in January, morning hosts Vic Lombardi and Gary Miller will be off the air. The two KCNC-TV sports anchors currently host the 7:00 am to 9:00 am program but the infusion of ESPN programming that is coming with the new affiliation will put ESPN’s “Mike & Mike in the Morning” on the station from 5:00 am to 9:00 am. The Denver Post reports the two would like to land another radio sports talk gig in town. With four sports talk outlets in the market, they may be able to latch on somewhere else. Stay tuned.
Sean Baligian Returns to Sports Talk in West Michigan. Sean Baligian exited the Clear Channel sports talk simulcast of WDFN, Detroit and WMAX-FM, Grand Rapids back in October after his show with co-host Ryan Terpstra was cancelled. Now, Baligian returns to Clear Channel’s WMAX-FM to host the PM drive show. Terpstra, who had been hosting the PM drive show solo, will not be a co-host with Baligian but remains with the station in a different capacity. Baligian tells the Grand Rapids Press, “I like the idea of doing my thing again, just doing my show. I think that’s going to be the biggest difference. It’s just kind of me. No disrespect towards Terp, but it was enticing just to do the solo show again.” Baligian says the show will not be simulcast to Detroit and will focus on West Michigan.
Kevin Matthews Podcast Show Now Available Via Steve Dahl’s Internet Station. Chicago radio fans can now get podcasts from two of its famous (or infamous) broadcasters from one source. Steve Dahl has been podcasting for a couple of years now and the two tell Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder that Kevin Matthews is producing a weekly podcast as part of the $9.85 monthly fee for Dahl’s content. Matthews – who had an 18-year career on Chicago radio – had been hosting a morning drive show in Grand Rapids until he was recently let go in a budget move. Now, “Kevheads” need look no further than dahl.com for Matthews’ show. Matthews tells Feder, “My vision is to provide unique content, my personality. What is so exciting about this adventure is no rules. A podcast may last 45 minutes, maybe two or three hours. Content is key. I know when to exit a program.” Steve Dahl says he hopes to expand. “I’m hoping that after we post his first show and he sees the response, he’ll start thinking about making it a daily show. We are set up to do that technically…This is the future of personality radio and anybody who is delivering good content will sooner or later be charging for it.” Matthews returned to Grand Rapids – the city where he got his start in radio – after losing his Chicago radio job. He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2008 and says he prefers to take things more slowly these days.
WXOS-FM, St. Louis Does Live Remote Charity Toy Drive. Hubbard Broadcasting’s ESPN 101 (WXOS-FM) in St. Louis is taking its “Fast Lane” afternoon show on the road to five different locations over the course of five days to solicit toy donations to benefit the St. Louis Crisis Nursery. WXOS-FM program director Kent Sterling says, “We have some of the best jobs in the world, but the most rewarding part of our work is when we dedicate ourselves to helping those who often do without – especially during the holidays.” Pictured here are (from l-r) show hosts Bob Ramsey, an unidentified man, Randy Karraker and D’Marco Farr.
Occupy L.A. Cleared, 2012 Presidential Race, Michael Jackson Doctor Sentenced and European Debt Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/29). The police action to clear the Occupy Los Angeles protesters, the GOP candidates for president in 2012, the sentencing of Michael Jackson doctor Conrad Murray and the ongoing European debt crisis were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Controversial Host Tarsha Jones Fired by Clear Channel; Legal Tangle Ensues. Clear Channel terminated controversial urban radio host Tarsha Jones – known as Jonesy on the air – after a Philadelphia businesswoman accused Jones’ program of misidentifying her and accusing her of criminal acts that she says adversely affected her businesses. Jonesy hosted the AM drive show on WUSL-FM – Power 99. In the aftermath of an October incident during which young women from different neighborhoods in Philadelphia had gotten into fights, at least one caller to Jones’ program identified Tracey Parson as having beaten up young girls. Parson – who runs a group of child care facilities – has filed a suit in Common Pleas Court claiming Jones repeatedly defamed her and her Kiddie Kare businesses and that action led to death threats to her and loss of business. Police have said Parson was never a suspect and Parson’s suit alleges Jones’ program purposely devised a campaign to “destroy people’s lives, reputations and livelihoods.” Jones is no stranger to controversy. She was suspended from WQHT-FM, New York over the “Tsunami Song” that parodied Asians in the wake of the Sri Lanka tsunami. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says the rights of stations and hosts to publicly comment are very strong, “The legal threshold for Parson’s claim is challenging. Her legal team would have to prove Jones acted maliciously or with wanton disregard for the truth and that is harder to do than many people think.” From the station’s perspective, depending on the language in Jones’ contract, she may be able to collect on any monies due her by Clear Channel even though she’s been let go. Weisman says a good example of the talent being protected in this regard is that of Don Imus back in 2007. Although Citadel fired him for the “nappy-headed hos” incident, his contract contained language that forced the company to pay the remainder of this deal.
Talk Host Bill Manders Let Go from KKOH, Reno. Cumulus-owned KKOH, Reno – known to most without the extra “K” as KOH – drops PM drive host Bill Manders and program director Dan Mason takes over the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot. Manders, who’s been with KOH since 1994, tells KOLO-TV, “It’s part of the business. It certainly wasn’t shocking, and it wasn’t a surprise. But it’s caught me a little off guard.” KOH general manager Andrew Perini declined to comment to the Reno Gazette-Journal calling the situation, “Too complicated.”
WBAL, Baltimore’s Ron Smith Retires Due to Cancer. A little more than a month after announcing to his listeners that he’s been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, Ron Smith does his last radio program and retires to home hospice care. Despite the grave diagnosis, Smith said he would go ahead with treatment and continue doing his radio program as long as he was well enough. The 69-year-old Smith recently announced he was ceasing chemotherapy and would continue with palliative care. He has been a talk host at Hearst’s WBAL since 1984. He also worked as a columnist for the Baltimore Sun since 2008 and penned his final column on November 17.
Fox News Radio Names Emily Wither Jerusalem Correspondent. Fox News Radio announces it brings former freelance multi-media journalist Emily Wither aboard as Jerusalem correspondent. Wither has worked for numerous news organizations including ABC, NBC, Sky News, CNN, ITN and the BBC. In her new position, Wither will file daily reports on the Middle East region for Fox News Radio. She takes over for Courtney Kealy who moved to Fox News’ New York headquarters as a national correspondent for Fox News Radio.
KPAM, Portland’s Bob Miller Begins “Operation Santa Claus.” For the 9th year in a row, KPAM, Portland morning drive host Bob Miller is spending this week raising funds for military families hurt by loss of income due to deployment. The station notes “Operation Santa Claus” has raised more than $1 million over the past nine years and is setting a goal of $135,000 for this year to aid the market’s military families in need. Working with the Salvation Army, Miller says 100% of the proceeds go to area families. “The need for ‘Operation Santa Claus’ funds for families of our troops has increased exponentially. I am thrilled and gratified every year to see how generous our listeners are, no matter what the economy is doing.”
KNX, Los Angeles Begins Remote Series. Following on the lead of former sister news/talk KFWB (now in a trust and for sale), CBS Radio’s KNX debuts “KNX on Your Corner” – a series of remote, daylong broadcasts designed to take an in-depth look at different communities throughout Southern California. The first stop is Ventura Boulevard in the San Fernando Valley on December 9. The station states, “From Studio City to Woodland Hills, the day’s programming will focus on the rich history and variety of businesses along Ventura Boulevard. Community leaders and local residents will be featured guests and KNX will broadcast live much of the day from Jerry’s Restaurant & Deli (16650 Ventura Boulevard) in Encino, a longtime favorite on the boulevard.” KNX will broadcast live from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm.
Rep. Barney Frank to Retire, NATO’s Deadly Pakistan Strike, Holiday Shopping Figures, European Debt Crisis and 2012 Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/28). Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank’s announcement of retirement from Congress, the NATO friendly fire strike that killed Pakistani troops, Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales reports, the building tension over the Euro Zone debt crisis and the GOP field for president in 2012 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Randy Michaels Gets $650,000 Settlement from Tribune Co. Former Tribune Company CEO – and current Merlin Media LLC CEO – Randy Michaels is getting a $650,000 settlement from Tribune after being ousted from the company this past fall. Michaels sought the pro-rated portion of his 2010 management incentive bonus — $900,000 – arguing he was terminated without cause. Tribune considered challenging the assertion with which it disagreed but decided to settle to avoid a drawn out legal battle. Michaels will also get $50,000 to cover his legal fees. According to the Chicago Tribune, part of the settlement includes a non-disparagement clause, provisions to protect Tribune’s intellectual property and a limit of its future liability to claims brought by Michaels.
Report: NBC Still Negotiating with Howard Stern to Judge “America’s Got Talent.” The New York Post is reporting that NBC is still in talks with Howard Stern to bring the Sirius/XM personality aboard its “America’s Got Talent” program to take the place of Piers Morgan who’s exiting to concentrate on his CNN duties. Some industry watchers are skeptical that NBC would pay Stern $20 million and move the show from Los Angeles to New York to have Stern join the show but the Post says some sources close to the process say creator and executive producer Simon Cowell really wants Stern for the role. Neither NBC nor Cowell are commenting stating their policy of not addressing ongoing negotiations in the media.
KTAR-FM, Phoenix Adds Two Local Programs to Weekend Schedule. Bonneville’s KTAR-Phoenix announces the addition of two new local programs to the Saturday schedule. Author and business owner Steve Henry hosts his eponymous program from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm focusing on small business and the role it plays in the country’s economy. Henry states, “I couldn’t be more excited to bring our show to one of the best news stations in the country. It’s time to take back control of our financial future by starting our own small businesses and investing in ourselves.” Henry’s program is followed by current KTAR producer and on-air contributor Rob Hunter paired up with Phoenix market radio pro Mark Devine for the Rob and Mark show. Hunter says, “Mark and I come from different perspectives in life as he’s a dad raising two kids and I’m recently married. This dynamic will provide a fun, interesting and relatable Saturday afternoon show for the KTAR audience.” KTAR-FM vice president of news and sports content Ryan Hatch says of the additions, “Unfortunately in our business, most media companies are filling weekends with more syndicated shows and less local programming to save money. At KTAR, we see the world differently and believe strongly that weekends provide the perfect opportunity to develop new, engaging local content for our audiences regardless of expense.”
Seventh Annual Domestic Violence Radio Row Set for December 8. For the seventh consecutive year, TALKERS magazine will present “It’s Time to Talk Day” — a massive radio row produced in association with its sister firm, Talk Radio News Service, and the corporate sponsorship of Liz Claiborne, Inc. Held in the fashion showroom of the Midtown Manhattan corporate offices of Liz Claiborne, Inc., the ambitious event brings together more than 20 talk media hosts from around the country who broadcast their shows live or record interviews for delayed broadcast speaking with a non-stop parade of experts, victims, celebrities and public officials from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm on the insidious societal problems of domestic violence and teenage dating abuse. This year’s participants include Alan Colmes of Fox News Radio; Dr. Joy Browne of WOR Radio Network; Mark Riley of WWRL, New York; Curtis Sliwa of WNYM (The Apple), New York; Roberta Facinelli of “Doug Stephan’s Good Day;” John Fugelsang of “The Stephanie Miller Show;” Kevin McCullough of “The Kevin McCullough Show” and “Baldwin/McCullough;” Maria Bailey of “Mom Talk Radio;” Gary Baumgarten of Paltalk; Lionel of WPIX-TV, New York Channel 11 and LionelMedia.com; Barry Farber of Talk Radio Network and CRN Digital Talk Radio; Lisa Wexler of “The Lisa Wexler Show;” Ken Pittman of WBSM, New Bedford, MA/Providence, RI; Dr. Renee Kohanski of PodJockey; Dan Patterson of KoPoint and Ellen Ratner and Geoff Holtzman of Talk Radio News Service who will be broadcasting throughout the day to several hundred of the news service’s affiliates. Joining the lineup this year will be representatives of college talk radio with WRHU, Hempstead of Hofstra University; WLIU, Brooklyn of Long Island University and WNEK, Springfield, MA of Western New England University in attendance. Included among those who will be taking live and recorded feeds from the event are Thom Hartmann of “The Thom Hartmann Show;” Dom Giordano of WPHT, Philadelphia; and Carole Marks of “A Touch of Grey” with several more to be announced. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “‘It’s Time to Talk Day’ is certainly one of our most important annual events. It raises consciousness about a societal problem that impacts a frighteningly large segment of the population and it cuts across all gender, ethnic and demographic boundaries. There isn’t a spoken-word format that doesn’t find the topic of domestic violence applicable to its audience and extremely compelling. Most importantly, we get feedback each year that this radio row, upon reaching millions of talk radio listeners, really does make a huge difference in the lives of real people. It doesn’t get better than that. We are grateful to Liz Claiborne, Inc. for their public-mindedness in supporting such a valuable project.” Talkers.com will provide full coverage of the event.
Connecticut Talk Host Lisa Wexler Joins WFAS, White Plains, New York; Station to Flip to Talk. Cumulus’ WFAS, White Plains currently airs soft AC but will flip to talk soon and former WSTC, Stamford/WNLK, Norwalk, Connecticut talk host Lisa Wexler will host the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm program. Wexler exited WSTC and WNLK when Cox Media Group agreed to sell the two stations to Sacred Heart University which is taking them non-commercial. Wexler will broadcast live from the “It’s Time to Talk Day” radio row in New York City on December 8. The event is designed to raise awareness of domestic violence and is produced by TALKERS magazine in association with its sister firm, Talk Radio News Service, and the corporate sponsorship of Liz Claiborne, Inc. Back to WFAS, the Westchester County station will reportedly also air Dial Global’s Clark Howard as part of the talk lineup.
WPEN-AM/FM, Philadelphia Brings Former Flyers Lindros and LeClair Together to Benefit Children’s Hospital. Greater Media’s Philadelphia sports talk outlet “97.5 The Fanatic” is bringing former Philadelphia Flyers Eric Lindros and John LeClair back together for a series of events to benefit the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in conjunction with sponsor TD Bank. Lindros and LeClair will appear on Mike Missanelli’s PM drive program from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm on December 14; they’ll be part of a charity luncheon at Morton’s The Steakhouse the following day; and will appear at a public signing at the Granite Run Mall in Media, Pennsylvania on Friday, December 16. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the events will benefit the hospital. WPEN-AM/FM program director Matt Nahigian says, “It’s really going to be great. For Eric and John to partner with the station and to do so for a terrific cause such as CHOP is really tremendous. I know the listeners will enjoy the opportunity to attend these events. We’re very excited.”
Milwaukee Media Writer Tim Cuprisin Passes Away at 53. Tim Cuprisin covered radio and TV for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for 23 years before accepting a buyout from Journal Communications in 2009. Since exiting Journal, he’d been continuing to cover the Milwaukee radio and TV beat via the blog OnMilwaukee.com. The Chicago native died on November 23 after complications from advanced melanoma.
Clear Channel Names Jason Furst PD at WHAM, Rochester. Jason Furst adds programming oversight of Clear Channel’s news/talk WHAM, Rochester and sports WHTK-AM/FM to his duties. Furst programs WSYR-AM/FM, Syracuse and will continue in that role. He will, however, give up the PD reins at CHR WWHT, Syracuse. Furst fills the vacant programming position in Rochester that opened when Jeff Howlett was let go from the station he’d been working at for the past 25 years.
Emmis’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis Partners with WRTV-TV for News and Weather. Emmis Communications’ news/talk WIBC-FM, Indianapolis announces a partnership with McGraw-Hill’s local ABC affiliate WRTV-TV for news and weather coverage. Emmis VP and market manager Charlie Morgan says of the new deal, “In our 21st-Century world of news and information consumption, it just makes sense for our TV and radio newsrooms to work together to ensure we are delivering the most relevant information to our consumers wherever they are…at home, at work, in their cars, wherever. This partnership will allow us to provide Indianapolis viewers and listeners with the latest information wherever they are, whether they are listening to the radio, watching TV, going online or on their mobile phones.” WRTV meteorologists Kevin Gregory, Todd Klaassen and Stephanie Ortmann will provide forecasts throughout the day on WIBC. They will also provide live updates during severe weather situations.
Buckley Broadcasting Adds FM Signal to KNZR, Bakersfield. The Buckley Broadcasting news/talk outlet at 1560 on the AM dial states on its website, “KNZR made Bakersfield radio history by being the first news/talk station in the market to simulcast on the FM dial. Our market leading 1560 AM news/talk programming is now also heard on 97.7 FM. The move to simulcast on FM allows us to better serve our local community as well as provide increased audience reach and value to our advertisers.” To accommodate the move, Buckley drops AC music on KSMJ licensed to Shafter, California.
WTOP-FM, Washington Hires Former CNN Correspondent. Jeanne Meserve worked at cable news giant CNN for the past 20 years – most recently as homeland security correspondent. Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington brings her aboard as a freelance anchor.
KTRH, Houston’s Matt Patrick Has Busy Black Friday. It’s safe to say KTRH, Houston morning drive host Matt Patrick will not be at the shopping mall on Friday. Patrick hosts his regular AM drive show on KTRH from 5:00 am to 9:00 am, then fills in for Bill Cunningham on WLW, Cincinnati from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. But wait there’s more! Patrick will sit in for fellow Clear Channel Houston host Michael Berry on KTRH from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
Thanksgiving Holiday, 2012 Presidential Race, Euro Zone Debt Crisis, Super Committee Failure, Immigration Law Challenges Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/22). The Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the GOP contenders for president in 2012, the ongoing Euro Zone debt crisis, the effect the Super Committee’s failure to address U.S. debt and challenges to states’ immigration laws were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
October Northeast Storm Knocks Two Weeks Out of November PPM in Hartford. Arbitron delivers the news to the Hartford market that the November 2011 PPM report – consisting of the time period October 13 through November 9 – will not include the two weeks of October 27 through November 9 during which a substantial portion of the market was without power. In a message to clients, Arbitron writes, “Arbitron has carefully monitored Average Daily In-Tab and other performance metrics throughout this interval. Based on these metrics, Arbitron will be releasing a November 2011 Hartford-New Britain-Middletown report based exclusively on November Weeks 1 and 2 (October 13-October 26).” It is painfully ironic that radio – relied upon during times of emergencies such as these and often lauded for its tremendous dedication to keeping listeners in the market informed under difficult circumstances – is at the mercy of a ratings system that relies upon electricity at a time when stations in the market should get credit for the huge number of people who used it during that period.
CBS Radio’s KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas Names Kevin Wall PM Drive Host. Several months after parting ways with longtime station personality Alan Stock, CBS Radio Las Vegas announces the new permanent PM drive host at FM News Radio 100.5 KXNT is Kevin Wall. Most recently at Border Media Partners’ KTSA, San Antonio, Wall has also served as a fill-in host for Glenn Beck, Bill Bennett and Fox News Radio. KXNT program director Andrew Paul states, “We couldn’t be happier to have Kevin join our team. Kevin is talented, bright, articulate and an excellent communicator. Heading into next year’s general election, we face a critical juncture in our nation’s future. Kevin will be able to relate the important issues to Southern Nevada through his informative and entertaining style.” Also from KXNT, Jason Pothier is named the new producer for Kevin Wall’s “Live and Local” program. Pothier spent eight years in Boston as a producer at WEEI, WRKO and WXKS. Samantha Stone joins the station as the new morning news anchor. She worked for many years in Reno as a reporter/producer for Nevada Newsmakers and a reporter for Vegas PBS and Cumulus’ KKOH. Trevor Smith also joins KXNT as a news reporter after spending the past four years as news director at KZBI-FM in Elko, Nevada.
Clear Channel Adds FM Simulcast to KNST, Tucson; Drops Spanish Music on 97.1. Beginning Monday, November 28 the Spanish language music format at KTZR-FM ends and a simulcast of KNST begins. Clear Channel Tucson market manager Shanna McCoy states, “Bringing our heritage News Talk KNST 790 to 97.1 FM will help us deliver the most powerful programming lineup in the market. We’re committed to bringing our listeners the absolute best programming.” Market operations manager Chris Pickett says, “KNST will join the growing movement of great news/talk programming moving to FM. This is an important time for listeners to tune in with a presidential primary coming in February, and I can’t think of a better time to make the change.” Journal Broadcast Group has been operating news/talk KQTH-FM in the market since April of 2007.
MSNBC Names Meghan McCain Contributor. The daughter of Senator John McCain has been a media figure for some time now and has been a frequent guest on cable news/talk TV. Now MSNBC puts her on the payroll as a contributor. In a statement, Meghan McCain says, “I couldn’t more be more excited to be joining the MSNBC family. It’s a unique opportunity to share my perspective as a Republican on a network I respect and have built a relationship with over the past two years.”
Jim Bohannon Recognized by RTDNA. Dial Global talk personality Jim Bohannon – host of the “America in the Morning” news program and his eponymous overnight talk show – is being honored by the Radio Television Digital News Association with a Special Recognition First Amendment Award. Bohannon and three other journalists will be honored at the RTDNA’s 22nd annual First Amendment Awards Dinner on March 15 in Washington, DC. The RTDNA states, “Bohannon is the originator of National Freedom of Information Day, a concept he first presented to the national convention of the Society of Professional Journalists at their 1979 convention in New York City. Bohannon has broadcast dozens of programs about freedom of information issues.”
BookMarc from Miami. Sirius/XM talk host Bob Edwards (l) chats with WNDB, Daytona Beach talk personality Marc Bernier (r) about Edwards being forced out of NPR. Bernier took his special program about books to the Miami Book Fair International where he interviewed 43 authors over the course of the weekend. Broadcasting live from Miami-Dade College, the site of the nation’s largest book fair, it was Bernier’s seventh visit to the annual event as he conducted 10 hours of interviews on Saturday and Sunday live on WNDB and produced streaming video of the event on kenneytv.com.
Super Committee Fails, Markets Tumble, 2012 Presidential Race, Egypt Unrest, and Freeh to Head Penn State Investigation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/21). The failure of the Congressional Super Committee to come to terms on federal spending cuts, the financial markets’ reactions to Euro Zone debt and the Super Committee’s failure, the 2012 presidential race, new political unrest in Egypt and Louis Freeh’s appointment to lead the Penn State sex abuse scandal investigation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Fisher’s Plans for KVI, Seattle Outlined. An e-mail to clients of Fisher Communications’ oldies-formatted KVI, Seattle announces the former talk stations will revert to talk – but not as a conservative talk station. After the holidays, KVI will be called “Smart Talk 570 KVI” and will be positioned as “Smart talk for a Sound life.” The memo states the station will feature “lifestyle, health, local and entertainment news.” In addition to Friday’s story about Dial Global’s Clark Howard joining the station, the morning show will be called “Sunrise Seattle” hosted by Mark Christopher and Elisa Jaffe of KOMO TV 4. TRN’s Phil Hendrie and The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “Daily Wrap with Michael Castner” are on the schedule along with a local program, “The Buzz” hosted by Scott Carty.
Political Influence of Conservative Talk Radio Analyzed in Timely Politico Article. A hard-hitting article posted this morning (11/18) on the popular political news and opinion website Politico presents a particularly insightful and fascinating analysis of the role conservative talk radio hosts play in the process of presidential elections. The story written by Keach Hagey and Glenn Thrush looks specifically at the meteoric candidacy of Herman Cain – a former radio talker – and examines the direct influence radio personalities such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity,Laura Ingraham, and Mark Levin have had and are still having on his unexpectedly prominent position in the polls and national conversation. The interesting and timely article appearing in one of the political world’s leading news websites poses the question, “How long will the love last now that Cain is on the rocks?” — referring to radio talk show hosts’ reaction to Cain’s propensity toward gaffes such as the Libya incident and embroilment in an alleged sexual harassment scandal. Read the Politico story here.
RAB/Miller, Kaplan, Arase Data Shows Radio Revenue Up 2% for Q3. That increase is due in large part to gains in digital for the radio industry. The Radio Advertising Bureau and Miller, Kaplan, Arase & Co. report data that shows spot revenue for the third quarter was flat, network revene up 2%, digital up 17%, and off-air up 10%. The data also indicates that total revenue for the first three quarters of the year is up 2% as well.
“Christopher Walken” Interview on WTEM, Washington Spooks AP After Natalie Wood Case Re-Opened. It wasn’t exactly a “War of the Worlds” situation but apparently WTEM, Washington producer Marc Sterne does a pretty good Christopher Walken imitation and someone at the Associated Press bit. The back story is that Sterne does a regular Friday segment on the Red Zebra Broadcasting sports talk station in which “Walken” talks fantasy football. With the re-opening of the Natalie Wood case in the news and Walken’s link to the case, Sterne referenced the investigation during the segment last Friday and the AP reported it as a real interview, then realized what happened and reported it as a hoax. However, the Washington Post writes that WTEM PD Chuck Sapienza says the “hoax” part bugs him because it implies underhandedness. “No one [from AP] called us to see if it was real, and then they call it a hoax,” he told the Post. “A hoax makes it sound like it’s our fault. We’ve been doing this [impersonation] for two years. They’re taking no responsibility for shoddy journalism.” The AP isn’t identifying the person who heard the segment and reported it as fact.
Howard Eskin and Wally Kennedy Inducted by Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia. The non-profit Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia honors people from every aspect of the broadcasting industry who’ve contributed to the business for at least 10 years. On Friday, the organization recognized WIP, Philadelphia sports personality Howard Eskin – WIP’s very first talk show sportscaster – and KYW news anchor Wally Kennedy. Eskin began hosting sports talk radio shows in Philly in 1986. He recently stepped down from his daily PM drive show to concentrate on Eagles game day coverage and other projects. Kennedy – who’s worked in Philadelphia radio and television for 30 years – is morning news anchor at KYW. CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield says, “CBS Radio is fortunate to showcase incredible talent on all of our properties. Legends like Howard Eskin and Wally Kennedy have been heard in the Philadelphia area for decades. It’s no surprise that they would be inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame. Both have contributed greatly to the success of our radio stations.”
Thom Hartmann Co-Authored Kennedy Book to Be Made into Movie by Leonardo DiCaprio. According to columnist Liz Smith, the book Legacy of Secrecy: The Long Shadow of the JFK Assassination (Counterpoint 2009), authored by Lamar Waldron with Dial Global talk host Thom Hartmann, will be made into a movie by Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way film company. Smith reports that DiCaprio would play FBI informant Jack Van Laningham and Robert De Niro will play Carlos Marcello. According to its Amazon description, the almost 950-page book suggests three Mafia bosses used John F. Kennedy’s and Robert F. Kennedy’s plan to stage a coup against Fidel Castro to murder the president.
Dave Graveline’s “Into Tomorrow” to Be Produced in New, Street-Level Studios. Dave Graveline’s nationally syndicated consumer technology program will begin broadcasting and shooting video podcasts at new street-level studios in the Miami Lakes Broadcast Center. The move will allow passersby to view the program as it’s being produced.
A Complex Web of Debt. There’s little reason to wonder why large radio companies are trying to find every available dollar – and that is most visible to the industry and the public in the form of reductions in force – when we read today’s news of Cumulus’ bankruptcy filings. According to Bloomberg, a subsidiary of Cumulus Media Partners (which Cumulus Media Inc finished purchasing in August) — AR Broadcasting Holdings — was put into Chapter 11 bankruptcy as it owes creditors as much as $100 million with assets of between $10 million and $50 million. AR Broadcasting Holdings consists of stations in San Francisco, Houston and Dallas. AR Holdings states it has a prepackaged plan “supported by 100 percent of one class of creditors that voted for the restructuring proposal.” Another Cumulus subsidiary, CMP KC LLC – owner of two stations in Kansas City and two in Houston – has been in default on debt. It also is filing a pre-packaged bankruptcy protection plan that will cut the debt from almost $95 million to about $20 million and lenders in turn will end up with equity in the stations.
WBAL, Baltimore’s Ron Smith Ends Chemotherapy. Baltimore talk radio legend Ron Smith announced Thursday (11/17) that he will continue to host his daily talk show on the Hearst news/talk station he’s worked at as a host for 27 years as long as he can, but he is ending his chemotherapy. Smith announced on October 17 that he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that has spread to other organs. The 69-year-old personality said at the time his doctors believed he had a chance to beat the disease with treatment. However yesterday he told his listeners he would end chemo and receive only palliative care.
The RTDNA Asks for Electronic Coverage of SCOTUS Health Care Case. When the United States Supreme Court hears arguments on the constitutionality of the Obama Administration’s health care law, the RTDNA hopes to be able to have TV cameras and audio recording devices in the chamber. RTDNA chairman Kevin Benz writes to the Court, “Health care overhaul has divided the nation since it was signed into law. The Court’s ruling undoubtedly will shape the 2012 presidential campaign and most certainly will serve to define Congress’ ability to address national issues. There is no better time than in anticipation of this watershed case for the Supreme Court justices to suspend the ban on cameras in the courtroom and to allow live electronic coverage of this and other proceedings of keen interest and import to the American public.” It’s unlikely the Court will allow this as it historically has had little interest in putting itself into the mainstream electronic public media landscape – no matter how convincing the argument for such coverage may be.
Canadian Freedom of Speech Case to Hit Courts. Damian Goddard was fired from Toronto-based Sportsnet in May after firing off a Tweet that the only “true marriage” is that between a man and a woman. Goddard is a devout Catholic and believes he has “2,000 years of Christian history” backing him up. Sportsnet claims it intended to fire Goddard before the Tweet and has documentation of that but Goddard’s attorney says he’s yet to see any such documentation. What this appears to come down to is Canada’s intense restrictions on free speech. The six-year-old law that made gay marriage legal in Canada even contains a clause that clearly states citizens have the right to freedom of conscience, religion and speech with regard to this matter. One attorney anonymously tells the National Post, “Hate speech needs to be related to inciting violence, not hurting feelings.” The Canadian courts will eventually have to rule on whether citizens – including broadcasters – have the right to express their beliefs if done so responsibly.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Talk Radio Network/Washington Times produced “America’s Morning News” with John McCaslin and Dana Mills adds WLVJ, Boynton Beach, Florida; KEWI, Little Rock; WRCG, Columbus, Georgia; and WFDM, Fort Walton Beach, Florida…..America’s Radio News Network has its “Afternoon Edition” with Ernie Brown picks up WCFO, Atlanta; WFBL, Syracuse; and WUTI, Utica…..The “Free Talk Live” Sunday evening edition with Mark Edge and Stephanie is added to the schedule at WWNC, Asheville, North Carolina…..Dial Global’s Clark Howard joins the lineup at KVI, Seattle and WIBX, Utica…..Dial Global’s “Jill on Money” with Jill Schlesinger adds WMGG, Dunedin, Florida and WDNG, Anniston, Alabama.
Catching Up with Regis! ABC News Radio’s Andrea Dresdale (r) interviews TV personality Regis Philbin (l) as he makes his way from an appearance on “The View” to the set of “Live with Regis and Kelly” for one of his final press conferences as co-host of the program. Today is the 80-year-old Philbin’s last program as he retires from the daily morning talk program he’s hosted since it went from a local New York show into national syndication in 1983. Philbin successfully morphed from a game show host to talk show host and holds the Guinness Book of World Records top spot for most time spent on television – almost 17,000 hours!
‘Occupy’ Shutdowns/Protests Top Talk Radio Topic for Week of November 14-18. The closing of many of the nation’s ‘Occupy’ encampments and the resulting protests landed atop the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week. Following at #2 is 2012 presidential race. At #3 is the European debt crisis and the related financial markets activity followed by the Penn State scandal at #4. The Talkers TenTM is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View the entire chart by clicking on the banner below.
The D.C. All-News Battle is On. CBS Radio will take on Hubbard Broadcasting’s stranglehold on all-news in the Nation’s Capital in January when it unveils a brand new FM news station at 99.1 on the dial. CBS is moving its “El Zol” Spanish station from 99.1 to the recently acquired WFSI-FM, Annapolis, Maryland signal at 107.9 it purchased from Harold Camping’s Family Stations, Inc. Hubbard’s WTOP brand (which includes its tremendous digital initiatives) has been dominant in the news game in D.C. and nowhere is that more evident than in its first-place finish in the revenue race among all American radio stations as it billed $57 million in 2010. Now, CBS Radio brings its years of all-news experience to town. CBS Radio CEO Dan Mason states, “CBS Radio’s history in all-news is rich in tradition and recognized nationwide for its excellence. There is no one more regarded in this field, nor anyone with the journalistic expertise and capability to put forth a product with such instant credibility. We have perfected this format over many decades and we’re thrilled to expand the options for the D.C. community who have a distinct passion for news.” CBS moves WCBS, New York assistant director of news and programming Robert Sanchez to DC to program the station and brings Michelle Komes-Dolge aboard to serve as news director. Komes-Dolge is a veteran D.C. news person who served with WTOP-FM in the past. CBS Radio operates successful all-news operations in New York (WCBS, WINS), Los Angeles (KNX), Chicago (WBBM-AM/FM), San Francisco (KCBS), Philadelphia (KYW), Detroit (WWJ), and Boston (WBZ). The growth of all-news and the emergence of head-to-head competitive major market battles promises to focus a new level of industry attention on the competitive elements that make a difference in determining success in the format. Stay tuned!
WBAL, Baltimore’s Ron Smith Ends Chemotherapy. Baltimore talk radio legend Ron Smith announced today that he will continue to host his daily talk show on the Hearst news/talk station he’s worked at as a host for 27 years as long as he can, but he is ending his chemotherapy. Smith announced on October 17 that he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that has spread to other organs. The 69-year-old personality said at the time his doctors believed he had a chance to beat the disease with treatment. Smith delivered the news to his listeners earlier today (11/17).
America’s Radio News Network Adds Daily Election Feature. “Trek to 2012: The Presidential Agenda” is the name of ARNN’s new 90-second feature that airs four times daily during all four of ARNN’s news programs. Billed as providing “listeners with all the latest on the 2012 presidential campaign schedules, media events, policy issues, latest polling numbers and debate coverage along with other election details and information,” the feature will be heard on ARNN’s 215-plus affiliate stations. ARNN executive vice president John McCaslin says, “We trust that the ‘Trek to 2012: The Presidential Agenda’ will keep ARNN’s listeners well informed on the latest news and the whereabouts of their favorite 2012 presidential candidates, whether it is President Obama or one in the large field of GOP White House hopefuls. Given the dismal U.S. economy and continuing recession, plus other hot-button issues such as national security, we are already experiencing unprecedented interest in the upcoming 2012 presidential campaign.”
KYW, Philadelphia Adds Three to its Newsradio Hall of Fame. CBS Radio’s KYW, Philadelphia announces the induction of Bob Kelly, and the late Karin Phillips and Jack O’Rourke into its KYW Newsradio Hall of Fame. Director of news and programming Steve Butler and director of sales David Yadgaroff gave the awards to Kelly, who served as an account executive for 20 years and to relatives of Phillips and O’Rourke, who died within days of each other in September.
Former WWNC, Asheville, North Carolina Host Matt Mittan Announces Digital Effort and Terrestrial Affiliate. Matt Mittan hosted the “Take a Stand” show on Clear Channel’s WWNC, Asheville until a few weeks ago when he left the station after personnel cuts at the cluster cost him producer/sidekick Agnes Cheek. Now, Mittan and Cheek, who’ve been producing a podcast, will begin streaming their show and have announced WHKP, Hendersonville, North Carolina (south of Asheville) will pick up the 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm hour of the show. Mittan says that although the program is produced in their downtown Asheville studio, they plan to take it on the road across Western North Carolina.
Clear Channel Raises More than $700,000 for Fisher House. Capping a week-long fundraising effort November 7-11 culminating on Veterans Day, Clear Channel Radio put its 850 radio stations to work to bring in more than $700,000 for the Fisher House Foundation. Ken Fisher is chairman of the foundation and he comments, “We’re grateful for Clear Channel’s support of our military families again this year. Clear Channel’s remarkable reach and continued support is an amazing force for our military families that will continue to help veterans and their families across the United States.” Fisher House provides housing close to hospitals for families of military personnel who are receiving treatment for injuries suffered in battle so they can be near their loved ones during that time without incurring huge expenses. CC has helped raise more than $1.2 million for Fisher House in the last two years.
2012 Presidential Race, ‘OWS’ Shutdown, European Debt Threatens U.S., and Marines in Australia Plan Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/16). The 2012 GOP presidential candidates, the shutdown of the Zurcotti Park encampment in New York City and what it means to the ‘Occupy’ movement, the continuing threat to the U.S. and world economies by the European debt crisis and President Obama’s plan to station U.S. Marines in Australia were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
It’s a Jungle Out There. Tight money, a stressed-out population and aging listeners are creating burgeoning sales opportunities for talk media in financial services, crime control, medical and health services industries. Even as traditionally strong radio advertising categories such as restaurants, retailers and auto dealers are becoming a tougher sell than they used to be, smart and aggressive sales departments are re-evaluating their sales targets. Although the mantra in talk is “lower the demos” – the truth is the older folks have a significant percentage of the money and they are the ones listening to talk radio. Rather than apologize for this handy little fact, perhaps talk account executives should be trumpeting it loudly. Read more here.
Phil Boyce Out at TRN. After a three-year stint as president of programming at Talk Radio Network, Phil Boyce has announced his departure effective immediately. Boyce released the following statement to TRN employees: “I want to wish every member of the TRN family best wishes. I have enjoyed my three years getting to know and work with all of you. This is a great team and I know more success is forthcoming. Wherever I go you will always be in my heart and I am sure we will stay in touch.” Boyce joined TRN in November of 2008 after a 14-year run programming WABC in New York where he also served as VP of newstalk programming for Citadel and ABC Radio. In that capacity he established himself as a major national news/talk radio programming force playing a significant role in the careers of a number of top talents including Sean Hannity and Mark Levin. Prior to that Boyce programmed WJR in Detroit. Boyce tells TALKERS, “I hope to announce my future adventure shortly. In the meantime I want to spend a little time on that ‘secret island’ Jack Swanson recommended to me.” The island to which Boyce refers is the geographical euphemism to which the former KGO, San Francisco operations manager joked he was headed upon recently departing his long-held position at that heritage station. Boyce can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jake Russell to Head Up Davis Media’s Wilmington, North Carolina Cluster. Tom Davis’ Davis Media, LLC is the buyer for Sea-Comm Media’s Wilmington, North Carolina cluster of four stations: news/talk simulcast WNTB-FM/WLTT-FM plus three music FM outlets. Davis brings aboard former Take on the Day, LLC exec Jake Russell to become what he calls “our local owner-operator” for the cluster. Davis also owns two music FMs in Williamsburg, Virginia and has built a strong internet presence he cross-promotes with the radio stations combining for a media company philosophy that he calls “Hometown Driver.” Davis says the Williamsburg operation has been very successful and he believes the Wilmington stations will be the perfect radio cluster to drive his local media company model. The FM news/talk simulcast features local morning drive host Chad Adams plus syndicated Dial Global hosts Neal Boortz and Clark Howard, Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity, Cumulus Media’s Mark Levin, and Talk Radio Network’s Rusty Humphries. Davis Media begins operating the stations under an LMA prior to closing.
Neil Larrimore Exits KMBZ, Kansas City. Program director Neil Larrimore leaves his position at Entercom’s news/talk KMBZ, Kansas City – a job he’s held for the past eight years. Prior to joining KMBZ, Larrimore served as APD at Cox Media’s WHIO, Dayton.
Las Vegas Talk Host Alan Stock to Debut TV Show. KDWN, Las Vegas mid-morning talk host Alan Stock tells TALKERS he’ll begin a daily interview program on local cable channel Vegas TV (channel 14) beginning January 17. More details to come as the program gets closer to launch but Stock compliments employer Beasley Broadcasting for allowing him to work in another medium that will help him to build on and promote his daily radio program at KDWN.
2012 Presidential Race, ‘OWS’ Eviction, Obama Australian Trip, Iran Nukes Among Top News/Talk Stories Yestereday (11/15). The GOP candidates for president in 2012, the case of the eviction of the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protestors, President Obama’s trip to Australia and his plan to expand the U.S. military presence there, and Iran’s nuclear weapon ambitions were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Radio Not Alone in Cuts; CNN Eliminates 50 Positions. Changes in technology and an analysis of its own efficiency have caused CNN to cut some 50 positions in the trenches according to a report in TVNewser. After a three-year study of the news organization’s operations, senior vice president Jack Womack writes in a memo to staffers, “Technology investments in our newsrooms now allow more desk-top editing and publishing for broadcast and online. As a result of these technology and workflow changes, CNN is reducing the number of media editors in our work force in Atlanta.” The report notes 12 positions in the Washington, DC bureau have been eliminated as well as jobs in New York, Los Angeles and Miami.
All-New Cumulus Down 1.9% in Q3. In a conference call with analysts, Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey reported that third quarter revenue for the newly acquired Citadel group of stations was down 2.3%, the Cumulus Media Partners stations – the old Susquehanna group stations that made up CMP which Cumulus finished purchasing in August, down 3.4% while Cumulus proper was down 0.6% in the third quarter compared to the same quarter one year ago. Dickey reports the company is ahead of schedule with its plan to achieve almost $52 million in “synergies” before January. He states, “We now have a true national platform with a large and liquid market capitalization and a flexible, covenant-light debt complex that is designed to optimize free cash flow and de-risk the equity. Our team is making excellent progress on the Citadel integration and is energized by the upside potential of our newly transformed platform.”
RAB Names Erica Farber Executive Vice President. The Radio Advertising Bureau announces it is consolidating its Membership, Professional Development and Services units into one big group and that former Radio & Records publisher and CEO Erica Farber joins the organization as EVP as of January 1, 2012. RAB president and CEO Jeff Haley says of Farber’s joining the organization, “I am thrilled about Erica joining the management team of the RAB. We are at a pivotal time as we look to serve the industry and ensure our product offerings meet the demands of an evolving medium. There’s no better executive for the role than Erica.” In related moves at the RAB, Sheila Kirby exits the RAB’s Professional Development Group to take the senior vice president of sales training and development post at CBS Radio. Michael Weiss, who serves as president of sales at CBS Radio says, “Sheila and I have worked together for close to 20 years, and there is no one I respect more when it comes to motivating a team to perform at their absolute best. Working closely with Sheila, our sales force will have a clear advantage in the marketplace and advertisers will benefit greatly working with such a sophisticated group of salespeople dedicated to constructing integrated programs that guarantee results.” Also from the RAB, Ron Ruth shifts from a full-time position with the RAB to a consulting role.
“The Broadside” Hosts Andrew Langer and Mark Newgent Fill in at WBAL, Baltimore. Andrew Langer and Mark Newgent began their internet program, “The Broadside” several months ago. Now, as Hearst’s WBAL, Baltimore is airing various programs in its 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot, Langer and Newgent host their program on WBAL on November 14, 15 and 25. Langer, who serves as president of the Institute for Liberty and the Small Business Political Alliance and was named by Campaigns and Elections as a Top Influencer in Maryland in 2011 and Newgent, who writes for TheExaminer.com and RedMaryland.blogspot.com and does research and analysis of politics and policy, say their plan “is to expand the horizons of traditional conservative talk, bringing in discussions (and guests) whose focuses are not only politics, but also movies, music and sports.”
CBS Radio Transitions ESPN High Desert to AM Signal; Goes All-Christmas on FM. The ESPN High Desert sports talk outlet KVFG-FM, Victorville, California shifts to KRAK-AM as ESPN 910 so the FM signal can flip to an all-Christmas format. There’s no indication what the group’s plans are for the FM signal after the holidays but it seems likely this is a prelude to a change to a music format.
Fox Sports Radio Los Angeles Raises Funds for Paralyzed Veterans. AM 570 Fox Sports L.A. (KLAC) announces it raised almost $100,000 for the Paralyzed Veterans of America during its radiothon on November 9. All the money raised during the “Loose Cannons” and “Petros & Money” shows that day will benefit the charity that provides rehab, access to services as well as research to cure spinal cord injuries. Pictured here (from l-r) are “Loose Cannons” Steve Hartman, Pat O’Brien, Los Angeles Kings president of business operations Luc Robitaille and Vic “The Brick” Jacobs. Robitaille was one of a number of local sports celebs who appeared on the program to help the cause.
SCOTUS to Hear Health Care Reform Arguments, 2012 Presidential Race and ‘Occupy Oakland’ Shut Down Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/14). The United States Supreme Court’s agreement to hear arguments on President Obama’s Health Care Reform law, the 2012 presidential race and the shutdown of the ‘Occupy Oakland’ protests were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Arbitron Releases Most Recent “Radio Today by the Numbers.” Arbitron lays out a graphically colorful and intense case for the power of radio in general, citing such eye-popping stats as “241 million Americans listen to radio each week – that’s 93% of everyone in this country listening to radio each week.” Arbitron states the report helps broadcasters “tell radio’s compelling story,” helps “agencies understand how radio excels at delivering their ads,” and helps “advertisers learn how radio reaches their customers at the right time.” The report culls its data from Arbitron’s RADAR 110, Scarborough Research’s Release 1 2011 and the Arbitron/Edison Media/Scarborough Research report “The Road Ahead” released in June of this year.
Bill Cunningham’s TV Show Beating Anderson Cooper in Three Major Markets. The Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter writes that Anderson Cooper’s eponymous daytime talk show has been picked up for another season and he wonders if WLW, Cincinnati talk host Bill Cunningham’s foray into national daytime TV talk will also continue. Kiesewetter says Tribune president of programming and entertainment Sean Compton tells him they are not ready to discuss their strategy yet as “we have a different strategy than a traditional distributor,” although he notes Cunningham’s ratings success versus Cooper. Cunningham beat Cooper in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles in both household ratings and persons 25-54 in the first two weeks of the November sweeps. The daytime TV talk show format pool will get even more crowded next fall when personalities such as Katie Couric, Steve Harvey, Jeff Probst, Bethenny Frankel and Trisha Goddard debut TV talk shows.
Sports Talk Broadcasters Jared Max and Steve Buckley Honored by OUT Magazine. As part of its OUT 100 feature – designed to recognize “the most inspiring people of 2011” – ESPN New York (WEPN) sportscaster Jared Max and Boston Herald columnist and WEEI, Boston regular Steve Buckley are featured. Both came out during 2011 and the magazine writes, “When Charles Barkley voiced his support for gay marriage and his disdain for homophobia in the sports world, ESPN Radio veteran sportscaster Jared Max took the opportunity to make a ripple himself when he came out on air. Boston Herald columnist Steve Buckley also made the decision to come out in his column (it was his mother’s idea, he says) and followed that up by saying he made the biggest mistake of his life by not doing it sooner.” Max (top) and Buckley (bottom) are pictured here in a photo from the magazine.
CBS TV to Re-Tool “The Early Show” with Addition of Charlie Rose and Gayle King. According to a report in The New York Times, CBS TV is in the process of revamping its “Early Show” program as a result of the show’s flagging ratings – down 6% from the same period one year ago – and that will include the addition of PBS icon Charlie Rose and Oprah Winfrey Network talk host Gayle King. The report cites those close to the program speaking anonymously who say the two-hour news show will still be hosted by Erica Hill and Jeff Glor but will take a more serious, newsy approach in a conversational tone that CBS execs say is working for its “CBS Evening News” and “Face the Nation” programs. The new program is expected to debut sometime early in 2012.
Blogworld New Media Expo/Los Angeles Hosts Thousands of Communicators. It’s true that the majority of the attendees of last month’s Blogworld New Media Expo in Los Angeles last month don’t make a full-time living with their digital efforts but, as consultant Holland Cooke reports for TALKERS from Los Angeles, that is changing quickly and ad dollars “are simply following listeners from The Old to The New.” Cooke reports what Ford chief marketing officer Jim Farley has to say about new Fords with built-in digital media access, relates thoughts from Edison Research VP/strategy & marketing Tom Webster (keynote speaker at the Blogworld/L.A. event) on understanding digital media and boils down what talk pros can learn from these confabs. Read Holland Cooke’s report here.
Howard Stern Being Considered for Judge Role on “America’s Got Talent.” Piers Morgan is stepping down from his role on the NBC reality show “America’s Got Talent” to focus on his nightly CNN program and The Wall Street Journal reports NBC is in talks with Sirius XM talk star Howard Stern to take over Morgan’s role on the program alongside Howie Mandel and Sharon Osbourne. The paper reports Stern is asking for $15 million per year and to move the show from Los Angeles to New York. Though the report states the discussions are serious, Howard Stern has a knack for inserting himself into stories like this leaving industry observers to wonder if this is another publicity stunt at which Stern excels so well. Stern was reportedly considered for a judge role on Fox’s “American Idol” several years ago, as well.
KPAM, Portland to Broadcast Live from ‘Occupy Portland” Eviction. Portland, Oregon Mayor Sam Adams issued an order giving the ‘Occupy Portland’ protesters until midnight Saturday to leave two downtown parks or be evicted by authorities. KPAM program director Dennis Glasgow says the station will begin live coverage at 11:00 pm on Saturday evening with anchor and news director Tim Hohl at the radio station studios joined by midday host Victoria Taft, KPAM reporter Mark Provost and Portland Tribune columnists’ Jim Redden and Peter Korn. Glasgow states, “This is an excellent opportunity for our listeners to enjoy live coverage as it happens at ‘Occupy Portland’ and get the very latest breaking news while the historic event comes to a head. This type of local programming continues to be our promise to our listeners, that we are the leaders in local breaking news as ‘The Voice of Portland.’”
President Obama to Appear on Westwood One Sports’ College Hoops Broadcast. Sportscaster Jim Gray will interview President Obama during halftime of this evening’s college basketball game – the Quicken Loans Carrie Classic – being played on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier stationed in San Diego. Tonight’s Veterans Day game tips off Dial Global/Westwood One’s coverage of the 2011-2012 college basketball season.
MSNBC Reportedly Won’t Let Pat Buchanan Promote His Latest Book. MSNBC personality Pat Buchanan has been appearing on other cable news/talk channels – CNN, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network – but he won’t be allowed to plug his latest book on the network for which he works. According to TVNewser, an MSNBC executive says the network has made a conscious decision not to allow Buchanan to plug Suicide of a Superpower (Thomas Dunne Books 2011) because some consider the book’s message to be bigoted. The theme of the book is described on Amazon.com this way: “America was born a Western Christian republic but is being transformed into a multiracial, multicultural, multilingual, multiethnic stew of a nation that has no successful precedent in the history of the world.” The groups CREDO Action and ColorofChange.org are pushing for MSNBC to fire Buchanan for his views and “long history of bigoted rhetoric.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. WSJRN’s “The Daily Wrap from the Wall Street Journal with Michael Castner” picks up 16 new affiliates including WHJJ, Providence; Buckley Broadcasting’s Hartford, Connecticut simulcast of WDRC/WMMW/WWCO/WSNG; KQV, Pittsburgh; and WGIR, Manchester, New Hampshire…..Radio America’s Peter Schiff show adds KKOV, Portland to its roster of affiliates…..the Kevin McCullough show is added to the program lineup at WGCF-FM, Paducah, Kentucky; KAPG-FM, Bentonville/Fayetteville, Arkansas; and KJSB, Jonesboro, Arkansas…..Talk Shows USA-syndicated “Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk” picks up WXKT-FM, Gainesville, Georgia; WKEI, Kewanee, Illinois; WHUB, Cookeville, Tennessee; and WTHQ, Brookport, Illinois.
Special Veterans Day Broadcast. WXKS, Boston morning drive host Jeff Katz (l) is pictured here with United States Marine Corps General John Kelly (r) at Katz’s special broadcast live from the Fisher House at the V.A. Hospital in Boston. Katz broadcast a special tribute for the 236th anniversary of the USMC and had an emotional interview with General Kelly whose son Robert was killed in action one year ago. The general was at the Fisher House to dedicate a garden in memory of his son.
Herman Cain Accusations/2012 Presidential Race/GOP Debate Top News/Talk Story for Week of November 7-11. Landing atop the Talkers TenTM for the week of November 7-11 was the combined story of the accusations of sexual impropriety by candidate Herman Cain, the 2012 presidential race and Wednesday evening’s GOP debate. Coming in at #2 was the Penn State scandal followed by the Euro Zone economic jitters and Silvio Berlusconi resignation followed by the financial markets activity at #4. The Talkers TenTM is published every Friday at Talkers.com and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. Click the banner below to view the entire chart.
Courtside Entertainment Delivers Blockbuster O’ Reilly Special. Bill O’Reilly’s “National Radio Election Town Hall” scored big Monday night on 169 top talk stations including WOR, New York; WPHT, Philadelphia; KLIF, Dallas; WTKK-FM, Boston; and WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta. This marked the first radio special from Norm Pattiz’s Courtside Entertainment Group in the post-Westwood One era. The program featured O’Reilly’s live interviews with all of the major Republican presidential candidates, listener calls and a straw poll taken during the program. The results showed #1 Herman Cain, #2 Newt Gingrich, #3 Mitt Romney, all tightly bunched at the top. Courtside managing partner Norm Pattiz tells TALKERS, “It’s great to kick off our programming boutique with Bill O’Reilly doing a show of this caliber. I’m also happy to be working with the folks at Dial Global who distributed the show.” Courtside also owns and produces “Loveline” and is launching the “One Minute Clinic” with Dr. Drew Pinsky, which is already airing in New York and Chicago. Norm Pattiz’s special address at the recent Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum was a huge hit as radio professionals remain fascinated by his colorful history and extraordinary contributions to the business model of modern syndication. In the words of TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “Few people have shaped the radio business in the past 35 years like Norm Pattiz. Even though he has stated that Courtside Entertainment is not designed to be another Westwood One – but simply a vehicle with which he can remain involved in radio and dabble in projects of special interest to him – we should all pay close attention to this latest endeavor of the master. If this O’ Reilly project is indicative of things to come, we can expect Courtside Entertainment to be an influential force for positive industry growth and innovation.”
Dial Global and CBS News Renew “The Osgood File” Deal. Dial Global and CBS News agree to an extension of their deal to distribute Charles Osgood’s “The Osgood File” to radio stations across the country. The feature is heard four times daily on some 350 stations including in all of the top 25 markets. Dial Global co-CEOs Spencer Brown, David Landau and Ken Williams comment, “Charles Osgood is a true media icon and it is our privilege to deliver his legendary voice to millions of radio listeners each day. More than a valuable asset to Dial Global’s advertisers and affiliates, Charles Osgood is an asset to American journalism and we are proud to continue our partnership.”
KLAC, Los Angeles Honors American Service Personnel with Radio-thon. AM570 Fox Sports Los Angeles (KLAC) is broadcasting its fourth annual commercial-free radio-thon and online auction to benefit the Paralyzed Veterans of America in honor of Veteran’s Day on Friday. The broadcast takes place today (11/9) from 12:00 noon to 7:00 pm PT on the station and special guests will include NFL great Eric Dickerson, Dodgers first baseman James Loney, Lakers guard Shannon Brown and NBA Hall-of-Famer James Worthy. The station’s goal is to raise $120,000 for the PVA. KLAC general manager Don Martin states, “This is a chance to give back to our family members, friends, neighbors and fellow Americans who have become paralyzed while fighting for our freedoms. This is our way of giving thanks for their ultimate sacrifice.”
Cumulus Providence Stations Host Fundraising Luncheon for Female Veterans Facility. News/talk WPRO & 99.7 FM in Providence (along with its sister music FMs) is hosting the inaugural Women’s Warrior Luncheon on Veterans Day on Friday to raise funds for the operation of the Holly Charette House. Marine Lance Corporal Holly Charette was killed in action at age 21 while serving in Anbar province, Iraq. She was the seventh Rhode Islander and the first Rhode Island woman to give her life in duty to her country in Iraq. She was nicknamed “The Marine Who Brings Good News” for her cheery, positive spirit and military occupation as a mail carrier. She had been assigned to checkpoints in Fallujah where she and a group of fellow Marines were struck by a suicide bomber on June 23, 2005 while returning to their base. The Holly Charette House, located in Johnston, Rhode Island, was named in her memory and is a home that provides transitional housing for in-need female veterans. WPRO program director Paul Giammarco says, “The Holly Charette House will forever be a reminder of our need to honor our returning woman heroines, and that freedom isn’t free. WPRO is incredibly proud and humbled to be associated with such a worthy and noble event and we look forward to supporting the Holly Charette House and this event for years to come.”
Penn State Abuse Scandal, Euro Zone Stability/Berlusconi Resigns, Herman Cain Assault Accusations and Obama-Sarkozy Live Mic Incident Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/8). The explosion of accusations of sexual abuse of young boys by a former Penn State football coach, the Euro Zone economic stability and the resignation of Italy’s Berlusconi, Herman Cain’s campaign and the sexual assault accusations against him plus Obama’s and Sarkozy’s griping about Netanyahu while unknowingly on live mics were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Sedano Sandwich. That’s WAXY, Miami morning drive host Jorge Sedano squished between pro wrestling legends Shawn Michaels (l) and Triple H (r). The duo were in Miami at WAXY promoting the coming “Wrestlemania 28” which will be broadcast from Miami in April of 2012.
Critiquing Talk Hosts a Challenging Two-Way Street. Many talk radio programming pros agree that critiquing – or air checking – talk show hosts is something that is almost a lost art in the current talk radio environment. Both at the network and the station levels, programmers working with talent to improve their on-air product is challenging enough given the egos of the managers and talent and the myriad programming philosophies out there. But add in the hectic schedule of today’s talk PD and “challenging” becomes a mild term for the state of the talent critique. TALKERS special features correspondent Mike Kinosian speaks with programming pros including Salem Radio Networks VP of news and talk programming Tom Tradup, Sound Mind chief Kraig Kitchin and others about the state of critiquing talk talent. Read the story here.
Roger Hedgecock Moves to KFMB, San Diego in New Year. We have a clearer picture of what’s happening in San Diego now. Yes, as reported earlier, longtime KOGO PM drive host Roger Hedgecock will move his Radio America-syndicated program to Midwest Television’s crosstown KFMB beginning January 2. KFMB program director Dave Sniff says of the move, “KFMB has always been about mirroring our community, and Roger is synonymous with San Diego. No host reflects the views and concerns of San Diegans better than Roger.” Sniff does not mention current PM drive host Rick Roberts in the release. Meanwhile, Hedgecock stays on the AM side at Clear Channel’s KOGO – which began simulcasting on FM this week – while LaDona Harvey handles the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm show on the FM side. So far, it’s the only split of programming for KOGO’s AM and FM broadcasts. Also, KOGO debuts talk host Bryan Suits in the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot and Bob “Sully” Sullivan in the 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm time slot.
Willy Daunic Joined by Joe Dubin for PM Drive at Sports WPRT-FM, Nashville. The Cromwell Group’s new FM sports talk station in Nashville adds market television sports personality Joe Dubin to “The Sports Revolution” program hosted by Willy Daunic. Dubin will serve as co-host and executive producer. Daunic worked at crosstown WGFX-FM with George Plaster’s “The Sports Zone” program before Plaster left the station suddenly just prior to the Cumulus–Citadel merger. Daunic stayed with Cumulus briefly but the two sides could not agree on a contract. Daunic says, “I am glad to have Joe aboard to launch “The Sports Revolution.” His energy and enthusiasm are going to be an asset. He also loves Nashville having grown up here, and has built a great following over the years.” Dubin worked in Nashville TV for 15 years and has won two Murrow Awards and a local Emmy.
WBAL, Baltimore to Try Out Marc Unger in Evening Slot. DCRTV.com’s Dave Hughes reports comic, actor and Baltimore sports talk personality Marc Unger is getting an on-air tryout at Hearst’s WBAL, Baltimore in the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot. Beginning tonight (11/8), Unger will host a program dealing with politics, social issues and sports in the time slot where the station had been airing reruns of its midday Ron Smith program.
Sign of the Times? As the media landscape changes and delivery of content moves inexorably from analog over-the-air to a digital combination of wired and wireless, perhaps this photo of America’s first licensed commercial radio towers coming down is truly worth 1,000 words. WBZ, Boston director of news and programming Peter Casey photographed the felling of WBZ’s first towers atop the old Westinghouse plant in Springfield, Massachusetts – some 85 miles west of Boston – as a piece of radio history is dismantled. What you see here is one of the two 100-foot towers that served as the original transmitters for WBZ when it began operation 90 years ago. We posted photos of the two towers atop the buildings in September as CBS Radio’s WBZ celebrated its 90th anniversary on September 19.
New Cain Accusation, Iran Nukes, Penn State Scandal, Italy Economic Trouble and ‘OWS’ Movemement Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/7). The latest accusation of sexual misconduct by GOP candidate Herman Cain, the reports of Iran’s advancing nuclear weapons program, the Penn State sexual assault scandal, Italy’s contribution to the Euro zone economic problems and the ‘OWS’ movement were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Clear Channel Announces New “Brand Management” Team; Talk Programmers Darryl Parks and Ken Charles Named to Management Roles. The company’s new “brand management team” consists of a brand manager and a brand coordinator for each of the 11 format categories. Darryl Parks – longtime programmer at WLW, Cincinnati and recently promoted to vice president for news/talk operations – is named brand manager. Clear Channel Miami-based Ken Charles assumes the brand coordinator role. The company says these managers serve as the in-house format experts, “The team will help manage the highly effective Premium Choice Network, which imports and exports programming innovation and excellence from region to region, market to market and station to station providing the highest quality research, talent and programming otherwise unavailable. The team will also be available to consult with select stations and to assist Clear Channel’s senior vice presidents of programming as needed throughout the country, and will gather and share format-specific content, information and resources throughout the field.”
CBS Radio’s Q3 Revenue Flat. The radio division of CBS Corporation is reporting flat revenue for the third quarter of 2011 compared to the same quarter in 2010. The company says in a statement, “CBS Radio revenues were flat compared to the same prior-year period, also reflecting lower political spending, offset by growth in domestic auto, retail and financial services.” Chief financial officer Joe Ianniello says, for the fourth quarter of this year, the radio division is pacing up in the single digits which matches the third quarter increase offset only by the loss of political advertising.
Salem Communications Reports 6.8% Q3 Revenue Increase. Compared to the same quarter last year, Salem Communications is reporting third quarter income of $54.9 million – a 6.8% increase. In a conference call, CEO Ed Atsinger stated he’s pleased with the radio division’s performance which provided $44.8 million of the quarterly income at an increase of 3% over the year prior.
Saga Communications Revenue Essentially Flat in Q3. With net operating revenue down 1% and net income up 3.9% for the third quarter of this year compared to the same period one year ago, Saga Communications reports the quarter was basically flat. During a conference call, CEO Ed Christian noted that the company was able to pay down $13 million in debt during the third quarter.
Radio Christmas Special to Benefit Fisher House Foundation. “Great radio for a great cause.” That’s how Fisher House Foundation describes its innovative Christmas special, “The Gift,” which is being produced by Bloomquist Media in conjunction with Cumulus Media. The three-hour radio tribute to America’s warriors and their families revolves around the compelling and uplifting stories of three service members who picked up the burden of defending our country after 9/11, suffered serious wounds and have returned to live happy productive lives – thanks in no small part to the love and support of their families. Among those profiled is Army infantryman Matt Zajac, who has returned to college, rock climbing and scuba diving after losing both legs in Iraq. Zajac’s father spent 19 straight months at his son’s side as he recovered. “The Gift,” which is hosted by KGO, San Francisco personality Gil Gross, also features insight from two past Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and former CBS reporter Kimberly Dozier, who was nearly killed in a car-bombing in Iraq and has seen firsthand the courage and resilience of our wounded warriors and military families. “The Gift” is more than just compelling holiday programming. By airing the show, stations will help raise the profile of Fisher House, which provides no-cost housing and other services to the families of wounded warriors while they recover at military and VA hospitals. “The Gift” is made available on barter in exchange for Fisher House PSAs that will air in the week after Christmas – the biggest time of the year for charitable giving. For more information on “The Gift,” click here http://marketing.rnsales.com/thegift/gift.html
CNN Retools Morning Programming; New Anchors and Producer Aboard. CNN is announcing its plans for the morning shows on the cable news/talk channel. Shannon High is leaving her position with NBC’s Peacock Productions to become producer of CNN’s new morning shows and Soledad O’Brien returns to mornings anchoring the 7:00 am to 9:00 am program. That’s preceded by the new 5:00 am to 7:00 am program co-anchored by Ashleigh Banfield and Zoraida Sambolin – the latter coming to national cable from WMAQ-TV, Chicago. The new morning programming is expected to debut early in 2012.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Premiere Networks’ “America Now with Andy Dean” is added live in the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot to the lineup at Cox Media Group’s WOKV, Jacksonville…..Genesis Communications Network’s Josh Tolley adds KMET, Banning, California and WDKM, Adams, Wisconsin…..“Both Sides Now,” hosted by Mark Green and featuring Arianna Huffington and Mary Matalin, is added to the 9:00 pm Saturday slot at Buckley’s WOR, New York.
‘OWS’ Movement Top News/Talk Radio Topic for Week of October 31 – November 4. The continuing ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement in cities around the nation stays in the top spot on the Talkers TenTM chart as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio in America for the second consecutive week. The Talkers TenTM is published every Friday at Talkers.com and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. Landing at #2 this week was the 2012 presidential race and the allegations of harassment against Herman Cain. At #3 was the Obama jobs bill and following up at #4 was the euro zone stability. To see the entire chart, click the banner below.
Clear Channel Gets iHeartRadio into Select 2012 Toyota Vehicles. Toyota calls it “Premium HDD Navigation with EntuneTM” and the multi-media system is only available in select 2012 Camry and Prius v models but it’s another step in putting internet-based programming into terrestrial radio’s last stronghold – the automobile. Clear Channel Digital president Brian Lakamp says, “One of the exciting things about iHeartRadio’s presence into two of Toyota’s newest models is that it affords us another way to deliver on our promise to be wherever our listeners are with the programming and services they want and expect — and millions of them drive Camrys, America’s best-selling car, and Prius vehicles, the world’s best-selling hybrid car. It makes perfect sense that Clear Channel would partner with Toyota to include iHeartRadio, the leading digital radio service, in these vehicles.”
WABC, New York Acting PD Says No Programming Changes Confirmed. With the departure of program director Laurie Cantillo, assistant program director/web program director Chuck Armstrong is the acting PD. He tells the New York Daily News’ David Hinckley that there are no confirmed plans to make any programming changes to WABC in the wake of Cumulus’ takeover of the station and the recent staff changes. Cantillo made a concerted effort to bring live and local programming to WABC in evenings and on weekends. Chicago-based Erich “Mancow” Muller did a live Sunday program on WABC and his program was cancelled. Armstrong tells the paper, “We have a very strong lineup now. Even with the syndicated programs, enough are based here that we have a good local sense.”
Appeals Court Rules Against FCC in Janet Jackson Case. Yes, the 2004 Super Bowl Halftime Show case – in which some viewers saw a fraction of a second of nudity – is still in the courts. Yesterday, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled again that the FCC was wrong to fine CBS $550,000 concluding that the agency was changing its policy without warning in issuing the fine. The U.S. Supreme Court had ordered a review of the case but Circuit Judge Marjorie Rendell wrote, “An agency may not apply a policy to penalize conduct that occurred before the policy was announced.” The FCC has argued that CBS was tipped by producers that Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake were planning something surprising and therefore knew of a situation that could be problematic.
Walkin’ the Walk. KIDO, Boise morning drive host Kevin Miller (pictured at left here) is living in a homeless shelter this week to raise awareness and to encourage donations to the Boise Rescue Mission. He tells TALKERS, “We’re doing the show live everyday plus blogging and multi daily videos. Our purpose is to show the positive side of the staff and volunteers who take care of the homeless without government funding. We’ve had a ton of folks come down to donate cash and turkeys.” Miller says that, like all the other residents of the shelter, he has tasks he must do every day and you see him working in the kitchen in this photo.
CRC Broadcasting to Buy California Radio Stations. Scottsdale, Arizona-based CRC Broadcasting – owner of business/finance talk KFNN, Phoenix – announces it is forming a California company called CRC Media West, LLC and is buying sports KXPS, Palm Springs from Morris Communications for $250,000 and a construction permit for KPSF at 1200 on the AM dial from Either Mining Corporation for $75,000. CRC founder and president Ron Cohen says he put KFNN, Phoenix on the air in 1988 “as the nation’s first radio station programmed exclusively for business, economic and investment-related topics.” Cohen intends to debut KPSF as “Money 1200” when the construction process is complete and plans to continue operating KXPS as a sports outlet.
Cox Media Group Hawaii GM Mike Kelly Retires. After 26 years working in the same market, Cox Media Group Hawaii general manager Mike Kelly announces he’ll retire at the end of the year, although he’ll stay with the company on a consulting basis into 2012. CMG Group VP Jay O’Connor says, “It’s rare these days in broadcasting to find an individual who has been committed to and served a location for 26 consecutive years. Over that time Mike has led our group through tremendous industry change, including the influx of FM signals in the 80s, local marketing agreements (LMA), Duopoly, consolidation in the 90s and early 2000s, and the great recession of the last few years.” CMG Hawaii operates six stations. A search for Kelly’s successor is on.
WABC, New York Program Director Laurie Cantillo Resigns. There are few details about Laurie Cantillo’s exit from WABC, New York where she’s been program director since 2008. Cantillo tells TALKERS, “It’s been a privilege to work with my friends at this heritage radio station and I’m looking forward to my next stop on the road.” Whether Cantillo left on her own or was “forced to resign,” by her new Cumulus corporate bosses, she’s following a wise strategy of being gracious and positive. No word on a replacement for Cantillo yet.
Doug McIntyre Interviewed on TALKERS TV. Cumulus Media syndicated talk star Doug McIntyre is the subject of an exclusive interview conducted by TALKERS special features correspondent Mike Kinosian at the recent groundbreaking Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum. In it McIntyre discusses a number of changes he sees happening in talk radio, most notably a move by news/talk hosts away from hyper-partisanship. He describes the move toward the independent middle as a “trend-let” since it really is just showing signs of getting started. You can see this interview now in the TALKERS TV box on the right side of this page.
John Rosso Exits Position with Cumulus. John Rosso has been with the syndication arm of the company since 1995 when it was ABC Radio Networks in various capacities. He was named president of Citadel Media Networks in 2009 and joined the Cumulus family with the acquisition of Citadel by Cumulus. Rosso sent a memo to his staff congratulating them on their success making the syndication arm profitable and stated he has discussed the possibility of consulting with Cumulus in the future.
Valerie Blackburn Takes on General Manager Role at KFWB, Los Angeles. Valerie Blackburn, who serves as the controller for CBS Radio’s six station Los Angeles cluster, is named general manager for the news/talk station that was formally transferred to the KFWB Asset Trust yesterday. KFWB has been moved to the trust while up for sale due to CBS Radio’s ownership of the maximum allowed number stations in the Los Angeles market. Blackburn says, “This is an incredible opportunity as KFWB continues to show growth. With the great talent of our news teams, Dave Ramsey, Les Brown and Bob McCormick, and assets like Clippers basketball and our lifestyle programming, I’m confident we will continue to build upon the momentum shown in the latest ratings released today.”
Clear Channel Los Angeles Names Andrew Jeffries Operations Manager. The Los Angeles cluster of Clear Channel stations has a new operations manager in Andrew Jeffries. Jeffries has been head of AC formats for 104.3 MYFM and KOST-FM at the cluster since 2008. Market manager Greg Ashlock says, “Andrew is a wildly talented programmer with a solutions-oriented mindset. His diverse experience across multiple formats will serve him well as he interacts with our cluster of top ranked stations in Los Angeles.”
Media Personality Danny Bonaduce to Host AM Drive at KZOK-FM, Seattle. The longtime television and radio star takes his pop culture radio broadcasting skills to CBS Radio’s classic rock KZOK-FM, Seattle beginning November 14. Danny Bonaduce lost his position in Philadelphia at rock WYSP-FM, when the station became a simulcast of sister sports WIP. KZOK-FM PD Carey Curelop says, “We’re excited the next leg of Danny Bonaduce’s very interesting journey through life is taking him to Seattle. Danny’s experiences as a public figure from a very young age means he has a perspective on life unlike anyone else. Through the good and the bad, nothing Danny ever does is boring. Folks in the Puget Sound are in for a terrifically entertaining show.”
WHO, Des Moines Host Simon Conway Goes to College. Actually, Simon Conway goes to several colleges on a tour of schools in the region. Today (11/1) his show is broadcast live from Drake University in Des Moines where, in front of a live audience, he will debate with two college Republicans and Democrats. “These students are our future leaders, but they are also talk radio’s future audience. It makes sense to engage them in the debate right now.” Conway’s show will emanate from Iowa State University on November 15 and, although the dates aren’t yet confirmed, the show will also be coming from the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa before the month is out.
Ringing the NASDAQ Bell. Dial Global staffers pose for a photo as company executives prepare to ring the opening bell at the NASDAQ yesterday (10/31). The merged companies Dial Global and Westwood One began trading on the NASDAQ yesterday as DIAL. Dial Global co-CEOs Spencer Brown, David Landau and Ken Williams, along with Dial Global’s chairman of the board of directors Neal Schore, rang the bell to begin the day’s trading.
2012 Presidential Race, ‘OWS’ Movement, Euro Zone Stability and Syrian Nukes Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/31). The GOP candidates for president in 2012, the ongoing ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement, troubles with the Euro Zone’s debt solution and new questions about Syria’s nuclear ambitions were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Severe Nor’easter Cuts Power to Millions in Northeast; Radio’s Response to Disaster a Mixed Bag. Many TALKERS readers are aware that the bulk of our editorial staff is based in Springfield, Massachusetts and we are smack dab in the middle of the massive power outages and road closures so many in the Northeast are dealing with in the wake of the Nor’easter that dumped more than a foot of wet snow on the region on Saturday. As the region digs out, deals with the tremendous amount of downed trees, and utilities crews work to get power back TALKERS editors have been able to do a preliminary analysis of how radio handled the storm and its aftermath. There were stations that did an exemplary job providing round-the-clock information about road closures, dangerous areas due to fallen trees and power outages. We must recognize CBS Radio’s WTIC, Hartford whose morning drive host Ray Dunaway manned the overnight Saturday on the air with meteorologist Joe Furey keeping listeners up to date. However, there were many stations and station clusters that – due to manpower issues, in many cases caused by previous decisions to cut staff – were able to provide little local content and defaulted to syndicated programming. It is times like these that it becomes tragically clear that – apart from some shining examples of excellent public service – most radio groups have surrendered radio’s position as the first destination for news and information in exchange for bottom-line efficiency.
WWNC, Asheville, North Carolina Talk Host Matt Mittan Exits. The popular local Asheville, North Carolina talk host may not have been part of the mandated staff cuts Clear Channel handed down last week. The Asheville Citizen-Times indicates it appears Matt Mittan left of his own accord, citing a statement from CC Asheville to that effect. Mittan is tight-lipped about his exit but Citizen-Times writer Jason Sandford hints it might have been done in protest of the cuts that affected his show and other co-workers in the cluster. Sandford goes on to compliment Mittan for the excellent work he’s done in the past handling public emergency situations that affected the station’s listenership.
Rush Limbaugh to Play Town Hall in NYC. Premiere Networks superstar Rush Limbaugh makes no bones about his disdain for New York City’s politician and public policies but he’s returning to the Big Apple for a live event on November 29 at the historic Town Hall on West 43rd Street. Dubbed “Rush Live,” tickets go on sale today at 12:00 noon for the 90-minute show. A press release from Cumulus’ WABC, New York states, “The last time El Rushbo visited his New York audience was in 2005 to a sold out crowd. While Rush isn’t bashful about criticizing New York politicians and tax policies, he jokes that he’s going ‘behind enemy lines’ because he loves his New York listeners and his flagship station.”
Radio One to Put All-News FM on in Houston. This is the first time Radio One has programmed an all-news format and they’re doing it with the help of consultant Ed Shane. Radio One will drop the gospel music on KROI-FM at 92.1 and debut “News 92 FM” around November 14. The station has reportedly hired a stable of news pros including the former crosstown KTRH morning news team of J.P. Pritchard and Lana Hughes. Denise Bishop has been tapped to serve as the news director.
WCBS, New York Inks the Yankees to One-Year Extension. MLB’s New York Yankees will remain on all-news WCBS, New York for the 2012 season. The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick speculates that the one-year deal gives the two sides time to explore a long-term deal but he also states that the Yankees’ $14 million-per-season pact has not been profitable. Whether CBS Radio views Yankees baseball as a cume-building loss leader or a drain on its finances may be answered if and when the two sides agree to a longer extension or the Yankees broadcasts come onto the open market.
WWRL, New York Adds LGBT-Targeted Programming. Access.1 Communications’ WWRL, New York adds programming called “Equality Pride Radio” to serve the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgendered community. The programming airs from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight and debuts this evening (10/31) following the Al Sharpton program. WWRL general manager Adriane Gaines states, “WWRL 1600 has created ‘Equality Pride Radio,’ a media platform where the LGBT community will convey information and be celebrated for their ideas, energy and accomplishments. We take great pride in the culturally diverse audience we serve with our current liberal talk line-up. With the addition of ‘Equality Pride Radio,’ we further reinforce ‘RL’s format of informative and entertaining radio.”
Jim Ladd to Host “Farewell Show” on KFI, Los Angeles. Southern California radio legend Jim Ladd will get a chance to say goodbye to his many listeners this Saturday afternoon from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm – although not on Cumulus classic rock KLOS-FM from which he was let go last week. Ladd tells the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan that KFI program director Robin Bertolucci asked him to do the show to give him the chance to say goodbye. Regarding Ladd’s one-time show, Bertolucci says, “Jim is synonymous with great music and Southern California and I know a lot of his friends and fans want to connect with him. Jim is a legend and it will be an honor to hear him rock KFI.”
Clear Channel Promotes Keriann Worley to Market Manager for Melbourne, Florida and the Keys. Keriann Worley moves from her general sales manager post at Clear Channel’s West Palm Beach cluster to become market manager for the company’s Melbourne, Florida and Florida Keys markets. Worley says, “I’m really honored that Hartley Atkins and Sherri Sanchez chose me to lead our Melbourne and Florida Keys markets. It’s an exciting time to work at Clear Channel, and we have a tremendous opportunity to expand our market share with integrated solutions and iHeartRadio. I am fortunate to lead a team that will embrace and utilize all our resources for continued growth and development.”
Foreground Nature of Talk Radio and Emotional Intensity of Content Make it Desirable Environment for Advertisers. Continuing with a fall tradition, the latest numbers have been compiled for TALKERS magazine’s annual release of its Talk Radio Research ProjectTM (TRRP). Primarily designed as an in-house vehicle to provide the TALKERS editorial staff with intelligence about the national talk radio audience as a resource for general background and to help answer basic FAQs from the press (such as “What kind of people listen to talk radio?”), the publication began honoring requests from radio stations to share this information. It has proven extremely valuable as a supplemental sales tool that provides a thumbnail qualitative overview of several leading spoken word formats’ audience profiles including demographics, political orientation, income, education and consumer tastes, habits and disposition. These include the mainstay news/talk format as well as the recent additions of the sports talk and pop culture talk genres. The latest figures indicate that news/talk radio maintains its historic position as the most reliable attraction to draw adult audiences and inspire them to action in all audio broadcast media. So do the relatively recent additions of sports talk radio and pop culture talk radio (with several specific differences indigenous to these formats). These spoken-word genres also deliver attentive and highly desirable audiences that consume foreground radio with passion and attention. The people who regularly listen to news/talk, sports talk and pop culture talk radio are more than listeners –– they are radio fans! In a nutshell, the foreground nature of commercial spoken word radio indicates that sponsors receive approximately three times the bang per advertising buck on talk radio than they do on music radio. Other interesting aspects of this illuminating information include: sports talk listeners are culturally (and ethnically) diverse. Caucasians constitute only slightly more than half the sports talk audience (51%) followed by African Americans (26%) and Hispanics (19%) making it one of the most multi-ethnic/racial buys in radio. This is a crucially important aspect/asset of the sports talk audience that for the most part is lost on advertising agencies and radio sales departments which are still glued to selling demos as opposed to mindsets. The ethnic diversity of sports talk radio’s listenership is a rare and valuable quality of the format that sets it apart from the rest of radio! And if advertisers wish to reach “younger demos” via the power of spoken word, they simply need to turn to popular culture talk radio (still erroneously referred to as “shock jock” radio) strewn across the FM dial as talkative morning shows on otherwise music-formatted stations. See the complete data here.
Clear Channel Announces National Programming Platforms Personnel. In concert with its latest round of company-wide layoffs of staff at the station level, Clear Channel introduces the corporate staff that is charged with creating programming for multiple platforms for its stations that is ostensibly designed to “improve local programming in smaller markets by using assets and resources in those markets that their competitors don’t have.” Recently, Tom Poleman and Darren Davis were brought aboard to serve as president of national programming platforms and SVP/GM of national programming platforms, respectively. They will be joined by the following staff: Guy Zapoleon, vice president of digital music programming; Dennis Clark, vice president of talent development; Zena Burns, VP of digital programming platforms; Darren Pfeffer, VP of music & entertainment marketing; Alissa Pollack, EVP of integrated music marketing at Mediabase, expands her role to include national programming platforms; Marissa Morris is manager, artist relations and promotions; and Melissa Webb, senior director at National Programming Platforms. Tom Poleman states, “Clear Channel already has unmatched scale and promotional power. Our competitive advantage is strengthened by our mission to be everywhere our listeners are with the products and services they want and expect. Now, I’m proud to say that we’ve assembled an equally unmatched group of talent to lead our new National Programming Platforms division. This division will enable us to be even more relevant and effective for our audiences, partners and advertisers, and build our national scale and reach by putting together products, events and relationships that nobody else can.”
KABC, Los Angeles PD Jack Silver to Program Sister KLOS-FM. With the recent firing of KLOS-FM, Los Angeles PD Bob Buchmann, KABC PD Jack Silver tells Orange County Register columnist Gary Lycan he’s been named PD of KLOS-FM. There’s no indication the assignment of duties to Silver is temporary but the rumors are starting in Los Angeles that changes may be coming to the classic rock outlet. Those kinds of rumors often start after a round of firings but AM drive team Mark & Brian are very successful and although the production directors for both stations were also let go, it may just be that Cumulus has other plans for saving money in the production department at the stations.
Talk Host Michael Smerconish Signs with WYD Media; Renews Distribution and Sales Deal with Dial Global. The effect on affiliates – as well as listeners – should not be noticed at all as talk host Michael Smerconish’s program is now produced by Ron Hartenbaum’s WYD Media Management while Dial Global continues to handle affiliate sales and ad sales for the show. Smerconish says, “We’re entering the most fascinating election cycle ever. And yet, despite the intense media coverage, there remains a void when it comes to clear thinking and independent viewpoints. I’ve been charting a course to fulfill that role. I know Ron Hartenbaum shares my outlook. For several months we’ve been speaking about the need to grow the talk radio tent by offering a forum not predicated on ideology or anger, and now we’ve decided to pursue that goal together. I intend to rely heavily on his vast experience over the span of many years. Industry-wide he is known for being smart, engaging and personable, and I think big things are about to happen to us both.”
Dave Ramsey Clears 500th Affiliate; KTTH, Seattle. Independently syndicated financial talker Dave Ramsey announces his national program has hit the 500-affilliate mark with a deal to air on Bonneville International’s KTTH, Seattle from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am daily. Vice president of affiliate relations Suzanne Simms says, “The fact that the Dave Ramsey show now has 500 radio affiliates indicates the staying power that we have and have been touting all along. The loyalty of our listeners coupled with the growth of our brand on a national level has contributed to this milestone. The future bodes well for the Dave Ramsey show!” Ramsey is currently touring the country promoting is latest book, EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches (Howard Books 2011).
Lars Larson Flips Seattle Affiliates. Compass Media Networks’ Portland, Oregon-based Lars Larson show moves to a new affiliate in Seattle. As Dave Ramsey takes over the late-night slot at Bonneville’s KTTH, Seattle, Larson’s program takes up residence in the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm time slot at Inspiration Media’s “Freedom 1590” – KLFE, Seattle. Station general manager Andrew Adams says, “All of us at ‘Freedom 1590’ are excited to have Lars as part of the station. Lars Larson has a larger-than-life persona in Seattle and we are already getting positive listener response to the move.”
On the Campaign Trail. Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher is pictured here to the left of presidential candidate and former U.S. Congressman Newt Gingrich (at center) as he’s interviewed on the campaign trail. Gallagher is “embedding” with several GOP candidates during the run-up to the primary elections in order to give his listeners a taste of the campaign trail. Gallagher broadcast “from the road” in Cedar Rapids, Iowa yesterday (10/27) and will host Gingrich for a “live-from-the-campaign-trail” interview at High Cotton Restaurant in upstate South Carolina today on his program. Salem Radio Network VP/news and talk programming Tom Tradup says, “Mike Gallagher’s unique, up-close-and-personal approach to the candidates will give SRN listeners a better understanding about the people seeking to become the next President of the United States. This will go beyond sound bites and photo ops and take our audience behind the scenes for a perspective unavailable anywhere else in American broadcasting.”
Alan Stock to Emcee Las Vegas Veteran’s Day Parade. For the past 12 years, Las Vegas talk show host Alan Stock has emceed the nation’s second largest Veteran’s Day parade in Sin City and he’ll do it again this year on Friday, November 11. Stock hosts the late-morning show on Beasley’s news/talk KDWN, a corporate sponsor of the parade.
OWS Movement Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 24-28. The ongoing ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement is number one on the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories heard on news/talk radio this week, according to ongoing research from Talkers. The Talkers TenTM chart is published every Friday at Talkers.com. Coming in at #2 this week is the 2012 presidential race. At #3 is the Euro Zone stability/financial markets activity and following up at #4 is the Obama Administration’s economic policy. View the entire chart by clicking on the banner below.
Harsh Reality of Today’s Radio Business Forces Clear Channel’s Major “Reduction in Force.” This latest round of firings is focused on Clear Channel’s small and medium markets and is affecting primarily on-air and programming staff. Internally, Clear Channel stations are broken down into three categories: the majors, the mids and the small markets – the latter sometimes referred to by insiders humorously as the stations that are for sale. But in this economy those small stations – many of which were purchased in the late 1990s as the then-Randy Michaels-led radio group was buying stations at an astounding pace – are for all intents and purposes under water. The company analyzed each station in an hour-by-hour fashion to determine how much it costs to program and execute the product versus how much it is making. Programs and hosts whose shows are in the black are likely to be retained; those in the red are those about whom you are reading today. The company is not describing this strategy as cost cutting but leveraging the quality programming it owns and distributing it to the small – or regional – markets. The reality is that Clear Channel has a lot of debt it must pay off and – not unlike the homeowner who bought before the housing bubble burst and owes more than his house is worth – must make drastic cuts and hope that it can continue to engage listeners and serve advertisers with “Premium Choice” programming from afar and managers doing more jobs within the same work day. This situation is unique to neither Clear Channel nor the radio business. The following list of people working in news or at talk stations for CC are reported to have been let go. This list is not complete and doesn’t include those from music-formatted stations. Reports indicate several hundred employees will be out when all is said and done. The list: KFAB, Omaha PM drive host Tom Becka; Clear Channel Hudson Valley news director Cameron Hendrix; WERC, Birmingham, Alabama news director Mark Evans; WHAM, Rochester news anchor Beth Adams; WSYR-AM/FM, Syracuse talk host Jim Reith; KWTX, Waco, Texas PD and morning host Shane Warner; WJBO, Baton Rouge, Louisiana mid-morning talk host Clarence Buggs; and WGY and WOFX, Albany assistant PD Steve Bleznyk.
Cumulus Los Angeles Cuts Include Legendary Jock Jim Ladd. So far the cuts at Cumulus’ Los Angeles stations have not affected any air talent at news/talk KABC. Production directors at both KABC and KLOS-FM – Howard Hoffman and Mike Sherry, respectively – are out as is KLOS-FM program director Bob Buchmann. But Southern California radio fans are shocked to find legendary jock Jim Ladd – ironically, the subject of Tom Petty’s “The Last DJ” – has been sacked. The 63-year-old Ladd received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005.
Lionel Expands Role at New York’s WPIX-TV. What began as his doing a short form commentary running once per day on the evening news has expanded to multiple roles and appearances for the iconoclastic talk radio veteran and podcasting pioneer on the Tribune Company-owned Channel 11 in the Big Apple. Lionel has just debuted his weekday “5@5” segment on the daily newscast in addition to being featured on PIX 11 seven nights a week with fresh video commentary on its 10:00 pm newscast. Lionel, an ex-prosecutor and criminal defense trial lawyer, has also inaugurated his “Lionel’s Law School” segment. Plus, he appears weekly as PIX 11’s resident “News Decoder” on its Monday morning news broadcast and at pix11.com. Lionel’s commentaries are also broadcast nationally through Tribune Company’s affiliates including KPLR 11 in St. Louis. Lionel, a regular TALKERS columnist, has gained national attention as a talk “media station” groundbreaker with his lionelmedia.com.
Rusty Humphries Named National Radio Spokesman for Vietnam Memorial Effort. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is spearheading a campaign to build a multi-media education center adjacent to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC. In addition to his duties as national radio spokesman, Talk Radio Network host Rusty Humphries is leading the “Veterans Day Challenge” to raise funds for the center. He will also serve as emcee at a gala benefit at the Capital Hilton in Washington, DC on November 11 that will feature actor Tom Selleck. Humphries’ father died in Vietnam in 1969 when Rusty was just three years old. Humphries says, “Every time I’m in Washington, I visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, gaze up at my father’s name on Panel 34W, Line 84, and wish that I’d have gotten to know the man whose name appears there, my father. The Education Center at the Wall will provide a living memorial to these heroes – not just the men and women like my dad whose names appear on the Wall, but all veterans, from Bunker Hill to the present day.”
Tom Marr’s Contract at WCBM Extended Again. Veteran talk show host Tom Marr of WCBM, Baltimore has been given another extension of his unique contract until 2015. Marr first signed a no-cut deal with the independently owned heritage station in September of 1977. It was then extended until 2009. Marr reached an agreement on July 3, 2008 with the late owner of WCBM, Nick Mangione, Sr., to extend through 2012. Now Marr has signed an extension with WCMB president Mary C. Mangione that will run until 2015. Upon signing the deal, WCBM VP Nick Mangione, Jr. tells TALKERS, “Ownership is very pleased to have Tom’s commitment to remain on WCBM’s team. Tom performs a public service that is informative, beneficial, and entertaining for our listeners.” Marr comments, “I am delighted that my career will end with WCBM and the Mangione Family Enterprises.” Pictured here at the signing ceremony are: WCBM VP Nick Mangione, Jr. (standing); seated (l-r) are Mangione Family Enterprise attorney Joe LaVerghetta, Mangione Family Enterprise president Mary Mangione, and host Tom Marr.
Clear Channel Adds FM Simulcast to WVOC, Columbia, South Carolina. The victim this time is urban WXBT-FM at 100.1 and, of course, the entire staff of the music station as CC gives news/talk WVOC an FM presence.
Ric Edelman’s “Truth About Money” Public TV Show Heads into Season Two. Author, broadcaster and financial advisor Ric Edelman will produce a second season of his public TV show that shares the same name as his nationally syndicated talk radio show – “The Truth About Money with Ric Edelman.” Season one hit public TV stations across the country earlier this spring and season two will be ready for air in April of next year. Executive producer Russ Hodge says, “Public Television executives and viewers around the country were so taken with the solid financial guidance they received from Ric, they wholeheartedly endorsed the notion of our coming back for another season. It’s no secret Ric is recognized as one of America’s top financial advisors, and in these uncertain economic times, viewers gravitate to his expertise and know-how.”
USRN Offers Kim Iversen Show in New Format. “Your Time with Kim Iversen” has been available in syndication via United Stations Radio Networks talk-intensive music show for Hot AC stations since 2007. Now, after partnering with Entercom – the company that created the show – to bring it into wider syndication earlier this year, USRN announces that show is available as a live feed or a “build your own show” format. Beginning November 13, the live feed will be a two-hour, personality-driven talk show airing live from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET. Stations wishing to continue airing music in the show can use the show segments around music to build a five-hour program. USRN EVP of programming Andy Denemark says, “Kim is an amazing talent, but we found that programmers had varied opinions on how they wanted her show to air. Some wanted strictly a talk block, others were happy with the Hot AC show and still others wanted her content mixed with CHR or alternative music. Now, every affiliate gets their wish!”
ABC Digital Clients Now Get News from ABC Sports. Stations subscribing to ABC Digital for news feeds for their websites now can get sports content from ABC Sports, according to ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve Jones. “By adding sports headlines to our lineup of ABC Digital choices, we’re enhancing our radio customers’ websites at no additional cost to them. Several of our partners have expressed an interest in adding a recognized sports brand and we’re pleased to make ABC Sports – a name steeped in tradition – a new category they can add to their station’s website with the simple click of a button.” ABC Digital service was recently launched by ABC News Radio and Cumulus Media Networks. The ready-to-post online content is produced and updated 24 hours a day and includes breaking news, exclusive stories, photos and graphics. Stations also have the option to brand the service locally, monetizing the content through local sponsorships.
Barb Yoder Moves into GM Seat at Salem Communications’ Tampa Cluster. A series of management promotions at Salem Communications means a promotion for Tampa and Sarasota cluster general sales manager Barb Yoder and an open GSM post at the stations. Yoder moves into the GM post as former GM Chris Gould moves to the corporate level in the vice president of program development position based in Camarillo, California. Gould replaces Ron Walters who is promoted to senior vice president, ministry relations.
Affiliate Relations Pro Rich Rapiti Victim of Dial Global-Westwood One Merger. New York-based affiliate relations pro Rich Rapiti lost his position as part of the consolidation of Dial Global and Westwood One. He’s available for his next challenge and can be reached at email@example.com or 973-809-3049.
Former Cap Cities/ABC COO Dan Burke Passes Away at 82. Dan Burke and partner Tom Murphy are credited with building Cap Cities into a major broadcasting force and buying ABC to create Cap Cities/ABC. The two ran the company for a decade before selling it to Disney in 1996. Salem Radio Network VP of news/talk programming Tom Tradup remembers working for Burke when he was GM of WLS, Chicago. “I will always remember Burke’s steely eyes and his tough questioning (especially at this time of the year during budgeting!) as we s-l-o-w-l-y turned WLS from the 23rd station in Chicago and put it on track to become a top-five news/talk giant. He was firm but fair, and if people in Chicago enjoy WLS in 2011…they probably can thank Dan Burke more than anyone else for showing patience and for keeping others within the company from panicking as WLS grew and ultimately prospered in the #3 radio market in America.”
Westwood One Founder Norm Pattiz Describes Beginnings of Westwood One. During his special remarks at last week’s historic Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum (10/20), Westwood One founder (and current CEO of Courtside Entertainment) Norm Pattiz shared the story of the early days of the ground breaking syndication firm that he started in one office in Westwood back in the late 1970s. Telling the packed house of talk media professionals that he launched the company with “$10,000 and a working wife,” Pattiz describes how his background as a well-connected former L.A. television sales manager served to bring sponsorships to packaged radio programs — thus shifting the network radio business model from a direct cash to barter system and opening the door to the tremendous growth that followed. He talks about Westwood One’s first show being an urban radio cross-over Motown special stating, “Being a television guy and not a radio guy, I didn’t know the rules of radio and if you don’t know the rules, you can’t be limited by them.” Pattiz’s speech can be seen exclusively on TALKERS TV. If you are using a mobile device, click here to view the video.
Cumulus Budget Ax Chops Through Chicago. Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports Cumulus corporate dictates have taken a toll on the producer staff at news/talk WLS, Chicago and the programming and airstaff at sister oldies WLS-FM. Afternoon drive “Roe & Roeper” executive producer Jock Hedblade and “Don Wade & Roma” morning drive show producer Zack Christenson both have been let go along with WLS-FM program director Michael LaCrosse and Chris Papendick, producer of the Greg Brown PM drive show on WLS-FM. The other change includes operations director Drew Hayes remaining solely responsible for WLS and no longer overseeing WMAL, Washington as he has for the past several years. Bill Hess was recently promoted to PD at WMAL. Hayes’ oversight began when WMAL was without a programmer.
Q3 Reports: Arbitron Up; Journal’s Radio Bright Spot in Down Quarter. Arbitron reports third quarter revenue up 6.1% over the same period one year ago and states it expects revenue for the entire year to be up somewhere between 6% and 8%. During a conference call, Arbitron CEO Bill Kerr noted that the company’s completion of the rollout of the Portable People Meter in the 48 top radio markets helped the company achieve its goals. He also gave an update on the status of its Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement-sponsored project to develop a “single-source panel” for measuring TV, internet and mobile usage. Kerr says they expect to present their work to CIMM during the fourth quarter. At Journal Communications, while TV and publishing are languishing, radio has been pretty good to the Milwaukee-based company. Radio was up 2.7% year-over-year while the company posted a 4.4% loss overall for the quarter. Flagship news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee posted record ratings under the PPM as the station benefitted from the success of the NFL’s Green Bay Packers, MLB’s Brewers and the recall elections across the state that brought in political dollars in a non-election year.
Michigan Sports Talker Sean Baligian Exits Clear Channel. The “Sean and Terp Show” aired in PM drive on Clear Channel’s WDFN, Detroit and was simulcast to Grand Rapids on WMAX-FM. With Baligian’s departure from the company, Ryan Terpstra continues to host the afternoon show on WMAX-FM, Grand Rapids and WDFN will feature a series of guest hosts as the station seeks its next permanent host for the daypart. Via Facebook, Baligian says farewell to fans and hopes to announce a new gig soon. The program was originally “Sean, Terp and Killer” and recently lost co-host Tom “Killer” Kowalski who died unexpectedly in August of heart failure at age 51.
Journal Names J. Pat Miller Promotion and Marketing Manager in Milwaukee. Journal Broadcast Group’s Milwaukee operations announces classic hits WLWK-FM midday host and program director J. Pat Miller moves to a new position as promotion and marketing manager for the company’s WLWK-FM and news/talk WTMJ. Journal states Miller “will work with the radio sales departments and programming teams to coordinate promotions, events and interactive platforms and will assume day-to-day oversight of the stations’ promotions department, as well.” Programmer John Roberts joins Journal to handle programming at WLWK-FM.
Town Hall Takes on Los Angeles. KRLA, Los Angeles’ sold out NTR event on Saturday evening (10/22) pulled a crowd of 1,400 into the Alex Theatre in Glendale, California. The Salem Communications station produced the annual “Town Hall” event that featured Salem Radio Network talk show hosts plus special guests. Pictured here (from l-r) are: SRN’s Mike Gallagher, columnist, author and pundit Ann Coulter, SRN’s Dennis Prager, KDWN, Las Vegas AM drive host Heidi Harris (who served as moderator for the program), and SRN personality Michael Medved. The panelists batted around the current hot news stories including the 2012 presidential race. They also fielded questions from the audience.
‘Occupy Wall Street,’ 2012 Presidential Race, Libya/Middle East Stability and Euro Zone Economic Tension Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/25). The ongoing ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement, the GOP candidates for president, political strife in Libya and the Middle East and the shaky state of the Euro Zone’s economy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Larry King Still Going Strong, Plans New Radio and TV Projects. In an exclusive TALKERS TV interview conducted with Bill Moran of PodJockey.com, broadcasting legend and CNN icon Larry King says he doesn’t feel his age and has no intention of retiring anytime in the near future. Speaking on camera during the noisy breakfast gathering (10/20) at the recent Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum moments before he delivered the conference’s opening speech, King states that in addition to the four TV specials per year for three years that he has contracted to do for CNN, he is on the verge of announcing (within several days or weeks) his return to doing an LA-based national radio show and the launch of yet another television project. He says that he was comfortable with “Larry King Live” coming to an end this past December stating he knows “it was time” but he does miss having the opportunity to cover the big news stories that break on a daily basis such as the killing of Osama bin Laden. He says he thinks the job being done by present day news media is “mixed” – that the public is provided “massive information” faster than ever due to modern technology, however, in an effort to get it out quickly the media “doesn’t always get it right.” He regrets that there isn’t an Edward R. Murrow or Walter Cronkite working in today’s news broadcasting. He points out that there is “a lot of conjecture” in today’s news reporting. He proudly quotes Johnny Depp who recently described him as being “a throwback” stating “I never had an agenda.” King professes his love of baseball, currently serves as a little league coach, and is a member of one of the investment groups bidding on taking ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Immediately following the interview, King opened up the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum with a well-received address in which he discussed his career – past, present and future. To watch and hear Larry King’s conversation with Bill Moran see the TALKERS TV box on the right side of this page. Larry King’s opening address at the LARTF and detailed coverage (stories, photos and videos) of the panels and speeches at the groundbreaking conference will be coming to this website shortly.
Dial Global Completes Merger with Westwood One. Friday, Dial Global announced it has completed its merger with Westwood One in a stock-for-stock transaction that sees the WON ticker symbol go away and, beginning today (10/24), the company is listed on the NASDAQ as DIAL. Dial Global is being led by the management team of Spencer Brown, David Landau and Ken Williams. The newly formed company includes all of the sports programming Westwood One has been known for over the years as well as the original talk content plus the entertainment programming and 24/7 music formats. It also includes the Dial Global sales rep department and continues to partner with the now separate company Triton Digital. Neal Schore serves as chairman of the newly constituted board of directors and states, “Dial Global has always been focused on serving the ever-evolving needs of the radio industry and this transaction will expand the programming and service offerings sought by both radio stations and advertisers. On behalf of the board, I want to thank Rod Sherwood and the entire Westwood One team, whose tremendous efforts have helped make this transaction possible.” Dial Global’s majority ownership is Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. and The Gores Group, LLC which own 44% and 31% of the common shares, respectively.
Cumulus Hammer Falls in New York. News of the corporate dictate hit the industry grapevine late Friday that there have reportedly been about 15 job cuts at New York stations WABC and WPLJ-FM, though at this time only a few are known for sure. Mancow Muller’s New York-only weekend show on news/talk WABC is gone from the lineup. It’s believed that a number of the positions cut were administrative posts but it’s also reported that Jill Vitale (a.k.a Flirty Flipper – former Sean Hannity producer) was let go from her digital media post. So far Cumulus corporate officers have visited Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York as they undertake the process of determining where duplicative positions exit and where money is being spent that they believe is just not necessary.
Deepak Chopra Launches Online Radio Show with Cinchcast and BlogTalkRadio. Cinchcast, a company that provides solutions for businesses and consumers to create, share, measure and monetize audio content, today announced that Deepak Chopra has launched a new online radio show leveraging Cinchcast’s audio publishing and management platform and its online radio network, BlogTalkRadio.com. Deepak Chopra, a leading expert in the fields of spirituality and alternative medicine and New York Times best-selling author in both the fiction and non-fiction categories, has created Deepak Chopra Radio to provide an online forum for compelling and thought provoking conversations on success, love, sexuality and relationships, well-being and spirituality. According to Chopra, “Cinchcast’s technology and the BlogTalkRadio network are enabling me to create my own media platform. The simplicity of broadcasting using only a phone enables me to bring together thought leaders from across the globe from the worlds of spirituality, science and politics to create and share a dialogue on today’s most important topics.” Alan Levy, CEO of Cinchcast and founder of BlogTalkRadio tells TALKERS, “That’s the beauty of our technology, it turns the phone into a publishing platform making it easy for individuals and businesses to bring important conversations to life. We’re thrilled to have Deepak Chopra on the BlogTalkRadio network.” Deepak Chopra Radio is now available at BlogTalkRadio.com, DeepakChopra.com and on iTunes. Cinchcast was developed by BlogTalkRadio to enable businesses with a simple and powerful solution to produce and share original audio content. Headquartered in New York City, Cinchcast powers audio creation and publishing for companies such as United Business Media, Business Insider, SAP and Sears, and is the technology behind BlogTalkRadio. For more information, visit www.cinchcast.com.
KGMZ, San Francisco Names Mitch Moss Producer. Entercom’s 95.7 The Game – KGMZ-FM, San Francisco – announces former KBAD, Las Vegas program director Mitch Moss is the new producer for its midday “The Wheelhouse with John Lund” program.
Timing Is Everything. On the night following the death of Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi, WNDB, Daytona Beach talk host Marc Bernier (l) presented Fox News national security correspondent and author Catherine Herridge (r) in a live town hall-style event to discuss the next threats against the U.S. and her new book, The Next Wave: On the Hunt for al Qaeda’s American Recruits (Crown Forum 2011). Bernier tells TALKERS this was the 67th event in the long-running interview series. It featured a book signing as well.
Paul Finebaum and Staff Visit Iowa Fan. Birmingham, Alabama-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum – in the news a lot recently for his legal battle with the former Citadel Broadcasting and WJOX-FM – and some of his staff visited 33-year-old Robert Fisher on Friday, October 21. Fisher, who suffers from cerebral palsy, is a huge college football fan and a regular caller to Finebaum’s show that he’s able to hear via Sirius XM. Finebaum, call screener Tammy Hethcox, and frequent Finebaum guest and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Larry Lemak flew from Alabama to Iowa in Lemak’s private plane to surprise Fisher at his parent’s home. Finebaum tells the Cedar Rapids Courier that though a few hateful callers have taken issue with him putting Fisher on the air, most of the show’s fans have embraced Fisher. Hethcox and Fisher have struck up a friendship as a result of his calls and Fisher was thrilled to meet Hethcox and argue in person over their respective love of college football rivals Alabama and Auburn. Finebaum says, “Everybody loves the guy on the show. He’s known from coast to coast.”
Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum Rallies So Cal Talk Media Industry. Some 150 attendees and 30 speakers gathered yesterday (10/20) at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood to participate in the highly anticipated first-time event to discuss the state and future of talk broadcasting in Southern California. Presented by TALKERS magazine in association with the Los Angeles Press Club, the power-packed, free event drew representatives from leading stations in Los Angeles, San Diego, Palm Springs, Ventura, Fresno and even markets outside the region including San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Tucson and more. Formats represented included news/talk, sports talk, all news, public radio, pop culture talk and a number of music radio personalities stopped by as well, adding to the color of a dynamic event described by many as a “grand slam home run.” Solo speakers included Larry King, Norm Pattiz, Bill Handel, Don Barrett, Holland Cooke, Michael Harrison and a wide variety of leading program directors, operations managers, and air personalities discussing the gamut of issues facing the region specifically and industry in general. There were technical displays presented by Comrex Corporation and C. Crane Company and a lavish breakfast and lunch for the attendees provided by the Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Company. According to TALKERS VP/managing editor Kevin Casey, “There has never been a radio conference quite like this — geared to a specific region, short and to the point, and absolutely free – perfectly suited to these challenging times. All of us at TALKERS are extremely gratified by the outstanding turnout and positive response generated by this memorable six hour event.” There will be extensive coverage of this historic talk industry happening in the form of stories, pictures and video coming to Talkers.com in the coming days and weeks. Stay tuned!
Former KABC GM Bob Moore Launches Sales Consultancy. Former KABC/KLOS-FM, Los Angeles president and general manager Bob Moore, who recently left his longtime position at the heritage Citadel outlets as a result of the company’s acquisition by Cumulus Media, attended the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum yesterday where he announced the launch of his new sales consultancy, Moore Money, LLC as well as TheVoicesNetwork.com. Moore, a highly respected talk media management figure in Los Angeles for years, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 213-219-9856.
NPR Blamed for Firing of Documentary Program Host Over Protest Activities. The problem is, according to NPR, it had nothing to do with the firing of “Soundprint” host Lisa Simeone. Simeone was a freelancer for Soundprint Media Company which produces the “Soundprint” documentary program. Simeone also hosts the WDAV-FM, Charlotte, North Carolina-produced “World of Opera” program from which she has not been let go. That station states it has no problem with Simeone’s activities and her work with its opera program. However, Soundprint Media distributes the “Soundprint” show to about 35 public radio stations via NPR and the company says it adopted NPR’s employee code for journalists because people associate it with NPR. Simeone’s work with the Washington, DC-based protest group “October 2011” apparently violated that code. NPR is making it a point to state that it had no contact with Soundprint management over Simeone’s relationship with the company. Clearly, NPR wants to avoid another Juan Williams-like public relations problem.
Carl Anderson Named Clear Channel SVP of Programming for West Region. Carl Anderson was most recently the senior vice president for programming and distribution at Citadel Media. He first joined Citadel as vice president of music programming in 2006. Now he’s in charge of the programming for Clear Channel’s West Region stations and CEO John Hogan says, “We are thrilled to have Carl join the Clear Channel team. He joins a growing number of the best and brightest programmers, on-air talent and researchers on Clear Channel’s incredible team.”
WWJ, Detroit Presents “Michigan Money Summit” Live Event. CBS Radio’s all-news WWJ, Detroit is presenting a free program on Saturday, October 29 moderated by WWJ-TV business editor Murray Feldman titled “Michigan Money Summit.” The program consists of three panel discussions featuring local financial and real estate experts designed to answer tough financial questions to which Detroit-area listeners are seeking answers. WWJ program director Robert Davidek says, “The stock market has had some of its worst and best weeks lately and we feel this is a great opportunity for people to gain valuable insight from experts about what to do. And we’ll also be talking about the economy for the coming year.”
Talkers Affiliate Roundup. Dial Global’s Neal Boortz picks up WCNF, Dothan, Alabama…..Talk Radio Network’s “Watchdog on Wall Street with Chris Markowski” adds KMZQ, Las Vegas…..Dial Global talk host Thom Hartmann’s program is added to KTOX, Needles, California…..Dial Global’s Clark Howard is now heard on WNDA, Louisville and KTOX, Needles, California…..Dial Global’s Michael Smerconish picks up KROF, Lafayette, Louisiana…..“America’s Healthcare Advocate” with Cary Hall is added to the program schedule at KFRM, Salina, Kansas.
The GOP Debate/2012 Presidential Race Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 17-21. The GOP candidates debate in Las Vegas and the 2012 presidential race landed at the top of the Talkers TenTM chart for this week. Coming in at #2 on the chart is the ‘Occupy’ movement followed by the death of Moammar Qaddafi at #3. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the most-talked-about stories and people on news/talk radio during the course of the week according to ongoing research from Talkers and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. To view the entire chart, click on the banner below.
MSNBC’s Ed Schultz Moves to the 8:00 pm Hour. MSNBC brass are stirring up the pot in an attempt to boost its ratings by flipping “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” and Ed Schultz’s “The Ed Show.” Schultz will air at 8:00 pm ET and O’Donnell at 10:00 pm. MSNBC president Phil Griffin believes Schultz’s style is a better fit for the 8:00 pm hour and a better lead-in to its highest-rated show, “The Rachel Maddow Show.” Although O’Donnell’s program has more than doubled the ratings over CNN competitor Anderson Cooper, O’Donnell’s ratings in the 25-54 demo have dropped over the last month while Schultz’s have increased. Griffin states, “As the name implies, ‘The Last Word’ belongs at the conclusion of our programming day, thoughtfully wrapping up the day’s political dialogue. Ed’s passionate voice is a perfect kick-off to primetime at 8:00 pm.” The changes take place Monday, October 24.
KQTH-FM, Tucson Morning Host Jon Justice Gets ‘Best of Tucson’ Honors. This is the second year in a row that morning drive host Jon Justice has been honored with the ‘Best Radio Personality’ award and the third that he’s nabbed the ‘Best Talk Show Host’ award in the readers poll from Tucson Weekly. KQTH-FM program director Ryan McCreddan says of the honors, “Congratulations to Jon Justice on his wins in the Tucson Weekly’s 2011 Best of Tucson! Jon and ‘104.1 The Truth’ have some of the most loyal listeners in town and it shows over and over again with accolades like this.”
Fox Business Network Receives Orders to Differentiate from Fox News Channel. It appears that Fox Business Network programming has been drifting toward the same appearance as its sister cable news/talker Fox News Channel. So much so that EVP of programming Kevin Magee issued a memo to FBN staff to stop imitating FNC, according to Reuters. Magee confirmed the memo to Reuters and told the news service that Fox Business has to continue to focus its programming on business-related issues and find its own voice. In the memo Magee wrote, “The more we make FBN look like FNC the more of a disservice we do to ourselves. If we give the audience a choice between FNC and the almost-FNC, they will choose FNC every time. Earnings, taxes, jobs etc give us PLENTY to chew on.” Fox Business has not fared well in the ratings compared to its closest competitor CNBC.
KOA, Denver Adds Broncos QB Tim Tebow to its Football Coverage. The newest Denver Broncos starting quarterback will make four weekly appearances on KOA during this football season. Tim Tebow will be heard on the station’s Broncos coverage Monday mornings, Friday afternoons (with former Bronco Dave Logan) on the game day pre-game show (taped, obviously) and live from the locker room after each game.
WGN, Chicago’s Dean Richards Hosts Annual Breast Cancer Special. For the past 14 years, WGN-TV entertainment reporter and WGN-AM weekend talk host Dean Richards has been hosting a special breast cancer program during Breast Cancer Awareness Month and he’ll do it again on Saturday, October 23 from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. The live, three-hour special will examine where we are in the fight against breast cancer and feature a panel of the nation’s leading medical experts, moving survivor stories, resources for cancer patients, the latest research and more.
What Happens in Vegas… The GOP primary race has been a boon for news/talk radio with all of the colorful characters and talk radio’s unique relationship with the candidates. For Dial Global syndicated talk host Neal Boortz, his relationship with candidate Newt Gingrich is personal – Gingrich has subbed as a host of his program (as has candidate Hermain Cain). Pictured here is Boortz (r) and Gingrich (l) at the most recent GOP debate in Las Vegas.
2012 Presidential Race/GOP Debate Aftermath, ‘Occupy’ Movement, Obama Jobs Bill and Exotic Animal Owner Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/19). The aftermath of the Tuesday evening GOP candidates debate and the 2012 presidential election , the ‘Occupy’ movement, the battle over the Obama Administration’s jobs bill and the bizarre case of the Ohio exotic animal owner’s suicide and unleashing of dozens of wild animals were among the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Los Angeles Regional Talk Seminar Set For Thursday. It is being described as “a new kind of industry gathering” — accessible, short and free (including breakfast and lunch) with a power-packed line up of speakers and agenda that could rival the largest of national conferences. Set for Thursday, October 20th between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm, the one-day event, being presented by TALKERS in association with the Los Angeles Press Club, promises to bring together a diverse variety of factions, formats and companies comprising the Southern California talk radio community and tackle a number of the hottest issues facing the industry today. Filled to capacity within two weeks of being announced, the event will feature 30 leading industry speakers including solo presentations by the legendary Larry King of CNN; Westwood One founder Norm Pattiz of Courtside Entertainment; Don Barrett of LARadio.com; consultant Holland Cooke of McVay/Cook Media; and a special guest appearance by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. The keynote speaker is KFI morning titan Bill Handel. Eight major Southern California talk radio station programmers will be on panels including Cliff Albert of KOGO, San Diego; Robin Bertolucci of KFI, Los Angeles; Skip Essick of KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; Don Martin of KLAC, Los Angeles and Fox Sports Radio; John McMullen of Dessert Radio Group, Palm Springs; Jack Silver of KABC, Los Angeles; David Sniff of KFMB, San Diego; and Chuck Tyler of KRLA/KKLA, Los Angeles. Some of the radio personalities speaking will include Andy Dean of Premiere Networks; LaFern Cusack of SCBA and ESPN, Los Angeles; Charles Feldman of KNX, Los Angeles; Roger Hedgecock of KOGO, San Diego and Radio America; Tom Leykis of the New Normal; Stephanie Miller of KTLK, Los Angeles and Dial Global; Doug McIntyre of KABC, Los Angeles and Cumulus Media; Patt Morrison of KPCC-FM, Los Angeles and Southern California Public Radio; John Phillips of KABC, Los Angeles; Josefa Salinas of Hot 92.3 FM, Los Angeles and Doug Stephan of Stephan Multimedia. Rounding out the line-up of presenters and moderators are Jason Insalaco of KFI, Los Angeles; Bill Moran of Bill Moran and Associates; and Kevin Casey, Mike Kinosian and Michael Harrison of TALKERS. There will be displays of the latest remote broadcasting equipment by Comrex Corporation and the latest radios by C. Crane Company. Although the event has reached maximum registration capacity there will be ample opportunity for broadcasters around the country to see and hear much of the event’s activities in the form of stories, photos and videos at Talkers.com shortly after the event. For the complete LARTF agenda, click here.
Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio to Distribute WNYC, New York Programs. Hot on the heels of the launch of its new iHeartRadio, Clear Channel announces it will begin making three of the more popular public radio talk programs from WNYC, New York available to users of the mobile phone app. “WNYC News and Conversation” will feature “The Brian Lehrer Show,” “The Leonard Lopate Show” and the WNYC-Public Radio International production “The Takeaway.” New York Public Radio vice president and chief digital officer Thomas Hjelm says, “We are delighted that Clear Channel will offer a selection of programming from WNYC on iHeartRadio. We are committed to making our programming available to the widest possible audience. Given iHeartRadio’s affinity with talk radio fans, it is an effective platform to extend the reach of our programming among news/talk listeners across the country.”
Sean Hannity Announces Holiday Concert Series to Benefit Troops. Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel superstar Sean Hannity is hosting an exclusive four-city concert series to benefit the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund. “Sean Hannity’s Holiday Concert Salute to the Troops” includes three-time Grammy winner Michael W. Smith, Oliver North and John Ondrasik of the group Five for Fighting, and more. Concerts will take place at New York City’s famed Hammerstein Ballroom on November 27; Pittsburgh’s Byham Theater on December 2; Washington, D.C.’s Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill on December 3; and Atlanta’s Cobb Energy Centre on December 18. Hannity says, “At this time of year it is so important that we not only recognize the sacrifices the men and women of our Armed Forces make, but we also take time out to honor them and pay tribute to the freedoms we’ve been given through their service to our country. These concerts are a great avenue for us to be able to come together as families, enjoy the holiday season and celebrate our troops. I’m honored to have some extremely talented friends join me on stage for what is sure to be a series of very special nights honoring some very special people.” The concert series is being produced by Townsquare Media and benefits Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund which goes to the education of children of U.S. service members who have been killed or permanently disabled in an operational mission or training accident.
Chicago Legend Steve Dahl Returns to Windy City Airwaves on WJJG. Since exiting CBS Radio’s WJMK-FM, Chicago, Steve Dahl has been producing podcasts available at his own dahl.com website. Now, the “Dahlcast” will be part of the lineup at WJJG, Chicago. WJJG general manager Matt Dubiel says, “Steve Dahl is a radio genius and I couldn’t be more pleased to be working with him and his team. This is a huge victory for Chicago radio listeners. These are Steve’s listeners. I’d be delighted if 1530 WJJG reacquaints Dahl fans with Steve and perhaps introduces new fans. That’s what radio is supposed to do! And if you like Steve on 1530, you’ll LOVE getting the Dahlcast Daily.” WJJG recently added Talk Radio Network’s Michael Savage and Mancow to its daily program schedule.
WBAL, Baltimore Midday Host Rom Smith Has Cancer. Ron Smith announced to his listeners today (10/17) that he went to the doctor after experiencing abdominal pain about two weeks ago and tests revealed a tumor on his pancreas. His doctor said the cancer has spread to his liver and lungs. When Smith asked his doctor if it was worth trying to fight, he replied that is was and he’s seen worse cases successfully treated. Smith will undergo chemotherapy and will remain on the air as long as he is able. The 69-year-old Smith has been at WBAL for more than a quarter century.
Cumulus Promotes Two. Stu Gorlick moves from his post as vice president of sales at the company’s Poughkeepsie-based Hudson Valley station group to VP/market manager for the Danbury market. Aaron Hyland leaves his position as VP/market manger at the company’s Fort Walton Beach, Florida to become vice president and market manager at the Hudson Valley station group.
KGO and KSFO, San Francisco VP of Programming Jack Swanson and KSFO PD Ken Berry Exit Posts. In an e-mail to his staff, longtime KGO and KSFO, San Francisco programmer Jack Swanson bids adieu to the stations he’s worked at for as long as most people can remember. In the memo, Swanson – one of the most decorated talk programming veterans in the industry — praises his staff saying, “This has been a tremendous run. Cumulus is inheriting the greatest staff in the radio industry. To a person, they are all rock stars.” Ken Berry served as news director at KGO until taking the KSFO PD post in December of last year. Both are obviously victims of the Cumulus/Citadel consolidation ax. Swanson says he plans to take some time off and come back to the industry refreshed and recharged ready for his next opportunity. Meanwhile, the anxiety continues to grow among former Citadel employees currently on the Cumulus payroll as whispers of the dreaded word “bloodbath” grow louder in the hallways of the company. Last week, longtime KABC/KLOS, Los Angeles president/general manager Bob Moore was let go in similar fashion feeding into the mounting fear. Whenever there is consolidation between two recently merged companies there are going to be duplicative positions that common business sense indicates will require job cuts. However, it’s also obvious to many observers that some people are being ousted primarily because they are making more money than their new employer deems practical to pay. As the folding of Citadel into Cumulus takes place, TALKERS hears reports that some former Citadel station staffers find themselves meeting with Cumulus managers to basically “interview” for the positions they currently hold. Obviously, this is the downside of what can happen in business – especially during tough economic times and is basically unavoidable. However, because of the size of this recent acquisition and the number of stations and personnel it involves, the present state of affairs at Cumulus is significantly contributing to the jitters being felt throughout the radio industry. Stay tuned.
Liberal Activist Group Goes After Baseball for its Affiliation with Glenn Beck. The group Americans United for Change is firing up a campaign to convince Major League Baseball to stop providing Glenn Beck with the video streaming platform to bring his GBTV to the internet. It’s not common knowledge that Major League Baseball Advanced Media provides backend infrastructure, white label services, mobile app services and operational support to not only Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts but to ESPN3, March Madness on Demand, Tiger Woods.com among others and, of course, its own MLB.com. Through its “Strike Out Beck” campaign, AUFC hopes to convince MLB Advanced Media to drop its affiliation with the talk media personality it claims is a purveyor of “unhinged anti-government conspiracies, fear mongering for personal gain, sexist remarks, and race baiting.”
Doug McIntyre Ruffles Political Feathers in Hard Hitting LA Op-Ed Piece. Nationally syndicated Cumulus Media radio talk show host Doug McIntyre – also a regular columnist in L.A.’s second largest daily, the Daily News — wrote a page one editorial in yesterday’s Sunday edition blasting the Los Angeles city government as being “occupied by corruption.” Tying into his premise that the protestors participating in the “Occupy Los Angeles” demonstrations are naively being “duped” by local politicians that he claims are merely acting like supporters of the movement but actually embody all the negative qualities against which the demonstrators are protesting. McIntyre writes, “The Los Angeles City Council embodies everything that’s wrong with government in modern America. Our city is Exhibit A when it comes to special interest money tainting good government.” Read McIntyre’s full column here. McIntyre, whose “Red Eye Radio” late night program emanates from KABC, Los Angeles, will be a member of the panel titled “The Issues Facing Southern California: Challenges and Solutions” at the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum this Thursday, October 20. Moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison the panel also includes Roger Hedgecock of KOGO, San Diego and Radio America; Stephanie Miller of KTLK, Los Angeles and Dial Global; investigative reporter Charles Feldman of KNX, Los Angeles; Patt Morrison of KPCC-FM, Los Angeles and Southern California Public Radio; John Phillips of KABC, Los Angeles; Josefa Salinas of Hot 92.3 FM, Los Angeles; and LaFern Cusack of the Southern California Broadcasters Association and ESPN, Los Angeles. Considering the volatile nature of the issues facing the region which include immigration, economics, transportation, the environment and a slew of others, and the diversity of the panelists participating – the sparks will really fly! For complete details about the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum click here.
Entercom’s WMC, Memphis Flips to Sports. Speculation about the company’s plans for “Country Legends” WMC began last week when Entercom announced Premiere Networks’ Jim Rome show would move from sister sports WMFS-AM/FM to WMC. Now, Entercom will manage two sports talk stations in the market it calls the Memphis Entercom Sports Network – WMFS-AM/FM affiliated with ESPN Radio and producing live and local programming in the afternoons (Eric Hasseltine followed by the Gary Parrish Show with Geoff Calkins) and WMC affiliated with Fox Sports Radio Network and carrying Jim Rome.
Actress Janine Turner Begins Daily Syndicated Talk Show. The Texas-born actress has been hosting a two-hour weekend talk show on Cumulus’ KLIF, Dallas since 2010. Now, Janine Turner announces she’s beginning a daily program – “The Janine Turner Show – Where is Reason?” – that airs live at 2:00 pm ET and is available in national syndication via her eponymous radio network. The show can also be heard online at janineturner.com. Turner says, “I’m thrilled that the Janine Turner show has received such a positive response both from the critics and the listeners. I think what makes my show really unique is that it features thought-provoking analysis about ‘Where is Reason?’ in our country, plus an inquisitive and conversational forum with a great lineup of guests – everyone from presidential candidates and authors to actors and constitutional scholars. And I absolutely love the opportunity to include callers from the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex and across the nation into the ‘Where is Reason’ dialogue.”
Merlin Media CEO Randy Michaels Arrested on Drunken Driving Charge. In Ohio it’s called OVI – operating a vehicle impaired – and that’s the charge Middletown, Ohio police are filing against Randy Michaels after he was found by police in his car stuck in mud and water in a construction zone around 2:00 am on Friday (10/14). Authorities noticed the smell of alcohol on Michael’s breath and administered field tests which authorities say he failed. Michaels refused a Breathalyzer test. He is expected to be in Middletown Court today. Middletown is about 35 miles north of the Cincinnati area where Michaels reportedly maintains a residence. The unconventional – some have called it “frat house” – workplace culture Michaels encourages is not surprising to many Clear Channel employees whom Michaels led for many years as president of that company’s radio division, but it ruffled the feathers of many Tribune Company employees when Michaels served as its CEO. It remains to be seen if this incident will affect Michaels’ relationship with Merlin Media’s investors, especially in light of the mounting criticism facing the recent launch of the FM news operations in New York and Chicago and their disappointing early ratings.
Hispanic Group Pickets KFI, Los Angeles in Protest of John & Ken. The National Hispanic Media Coalition held a press conference and peaceful protest outside the studios of Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles yesterday. About 35 people picketed the station’s Olive Street facilities in Burbank. The group tells L.A. Weekly that “at least three major advertisers are pulling out of the John & Ken show” and though the advertisers were not named there, the Los Angeles Times reports the activists say Verizon and AT&T have pulled advertising from the show and grocery chains Vons and Ralphs have agreed not to advertise on the show in the future. The protest and boycott were triggered after immigrant advocate Jorge-Mario Cabrera claimed to have received some 400 phone calls from John & Ken listeners after the duo gave out Cabrera’s cell number and asked listeners to tell him what they think of his support for the Dream Act which provides tuition subsidies for illegal immigrants. Initially, Clear Channel Los Angeles management agreed to meet with Hispanic leaders to discuss the issue but the meeting was canceled after one leader demanded that John & Ken be taken off the air and CC market manager Greg Ashlock refused to acquiesce to an ultimatum. Clear Channel did not address the issue of advertisers leaving the show but issued the following written statement, “Expressing your opinion is not a firing offense. KFI stands behind John and Ken and their right to speak their minds — opinions shared, incidentally, by over a million California listeners each week and protected by the First Amendment.” According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “This situation being faced by KFI in Los Angeles is a quintessential example of a whole slew of core news/talk radio concerns — special interest pressure, advertising boycotts, free speech rights, political correctness, and management resolve — all crashing together in one escalating story. It warrants the industry’s undivided attention.” The heated debate over illegal immigration as well as the managing of controversy in news/talk radio will be among the topics discussed at the forthcoming Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum set for October 20.
CBS Radio Reportedly Interested in Annapolis FM for All-Newser. Rumors continue to swirl about CBS Radio’s interest in acquiring a DC-area FM – specifically Christian WFSI-FM, Annapolis – in order to put on its own FM all-news outlet in the Nation’s Capital. WFSI-FM is owned by evangelist Harold Camping’s Family Stations, Inc. The presence of CBS Radio Washington market manager Steve Swenson, who has a ton of experience in news having worked for years in various capacities at the company’s New York news stations WCBS and WINS, is lending credence to the rumor.
Clear Channel Promotes Brian Lekamp to President of CC Digital. Brian Lekamp moves up from his post as EVP of digital media to the newly created position. Lekamp’s duties include his responsibility for Clear Channel’s digital strategy – with its iHeartRadio service at the top of that — as well as the infrastructure, tools and social media integration for its local stations’ branded Internet properties. He will also continue to work with key partners to develop cutting-edge tools and products for all of Clear Channel’s radio, media and entertainment properties. Lekamp states, “At Clear Channel, I’ve had the opportunity to work with the best people in the business – they are smart, dedicated and focused on innovation. The development of the new iHeartRadio was supercharged with our acquisition of Thumbplay in March and our strong integrated digital team will continue to develop new digital music products and experiences that support the iHeartRadio platform and Clear Channel’s network of radio station websites. This is a team effort that I am honored to lead.”
CBS Radio Ups Mike Thomas to VP of Programming in Boston. Mike Thomas has been PD at classic rock WZLX, Boston since 2006 and has programmed WBZ-FM – 98.5 The Sports Hub – since its debut in 2009. Now, CBS Radio ups Thomas to vice president of programming for the cluster that also includes hot AC WBMX-FM, oldies WODS-FM and news WBZ. SVP and market manager Mark Hannon says, “Since Mike’s arrival at WZLX in 2006, he has built the station into a consistent ratings powerhouse. His launch of 98.5 The Sports Hub in 2009 has been one of the most successful in recent radio history, and the station being named ‘Sports Station of the Year’ at the 2011 NAB Marconi Radio Awards was a tremendous accomplishment. I look forward to using his strategic approach and programming insights to impact the overall CBS Radio stable of stations in Boston.”
CC Denver Produces Successful “Battle of the Talk Show Hosts” Live Event. The 2nd annual “Battle of the Talk Show Hosts” was produced on Thursday, October 6 by Clear Channel Denver and entertained a sold-out house at the Comedy Works Landmark in Denver. Personalities from the three Denver talk stations – KOA, KHOW and KKZN – batted around the hot issues of the day before the live audience. Taking part were: Steffan Tubbs and April Zesbaugh, Mike Rosen, Dave Logan, Michael Brown, John Caldara and Rick Barber from KOA; Peter Boyles, Tom Martino and Dan Caplis & Craig Silverman from KHOW; and David Sirota and Thom Hartmann from KKZN. The event was heavily sponsored by local businesses and admission was charged. Pictured here are progressive talk KKZN morning host David Sirota (l) and KOA midday host Mike Rosen (r).
Buckley Broadcasting’s Jennifer Buckley Named to RAB Board. The daughter of the late Rick Buckley (once chair of the RAB board) is elected to the Radio Advertising Bureau board. Jennifer Buckley is vice president and director of sales for WOR, New York and the WOR Radio Network.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Free Talk Live” adds WTRC-AM/FM, South Bend, Indiana for its brand new live Sunday evening show hosted by Mark Edge and Stephanie…..“The Career Clinic” with Maureen Anderson picks up affiliates WLRT, Lexington, Kentucky; KBJT, Fordyce, Arkansas; WKEI, Kewanee, Illinois; and KTUI, Sullivan Missouri.
2012 Presidential Race/999 Plan Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 10-14. The GOP race for the nomination for the 2012 presidential election and Herman Cain’s ‘999 plan’ topped the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories of the week. At #2 was the Iran assassination plot allegation. Close behind at #3 was the ‘Occupy’ protest movement and at #4 was President Obama’s Jobs Bill. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published each Friday at Talkers.com. To view the entire chart, click the banner below.
WOR Looking to Launch New Evening Show in 2012. Pardon the mixed fruit metaphor, but plum talk show jobs like this don’t come up that often in the Big Apple as WOR tips TALKERS to its plans to fill 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm with a new show at the beginning of the year. According to program director Scott Lakefield, the legendary station is completely open to all ideas as it looks to bring in someone or something new to fill that cool two-hour slice of its evening schedule. Lakefield tells TALKERS that the timing of the move is being designed to coincide with forthcoming changes at the end of the year in the business relationship between Dial Global and Philadelphia-based talker Michael Smerconish whose syndicated program is currently in that slot. Lakefield points out that in keeping with the station’s present direction of focusing on locally-originated talent with a broad-based political/social agenda, the station would most-likely hire a non-syndicated talent such as it offers in morning drive with John Gambling and the recent addition of former New York Governor David Paterson in afternoons. “We are very encouraged by the response we are getting with these shows and feel that the station is filling a real programming void in New York news/talk radio programming.” Meantime, in light of this development, TALKERS checked with Dial Global to ascertain the status of the syndicated Michael Smerconish program learning that the changes ahead will simply pertain to the production and ownership of the successful show and not to its continuation as a syndicated offering in the new year. According to Dial Global vice president Amy Bolton, “It’s moving from a Dial Global-owned product to being a repped product owned by an outside producer. We hope to announce the details shortly. But it is all good. In essence, nothing changes as we would still handle ad sales, affiliate sales and distribution.” Michael Smerconish is a perennial member of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred and generally recognized as not only being the leading news/talk talent in Philadelphia but one of the hottest rising stars on the national talk media scene.
Clear Channel to Restructure Management in Medium and Small Markets. Scuttlebutt in the industry that Clear Channel’s regional managers meetings in Atlanta would reveal some sort of management reorganization plan appears to be true and, though concrete details are still few, it appears the company will be employing more regional market managers to oversee its medium and small markets. Sources close to the story indicate that each regional market manager will oversee anywhere between 10 and 15 markets in order to give each manager less to focus on than the current system which has fewer regional vice presidents responsible for many stations. The new setup reportedly also includes a programmer to assist each regional market manager. What this means for local talent and local programmers remains to be seen however, it would not be unusual to see some sort of programming consolidation where management feels it can contain costs without harming the on-air product.
WTKK-FM, Boston Expands Morning Simulcast with Regional Cable News Channel. Greater Media’s WTKK-FM, Boston shaves an hour off the Jim Braude and Margery Eagan-hosted morning drive show and adds another hour of its audio simulcast of New England Cable Network’s “NECN Morning News” program to the schedule. The Braude and Eagan show now begins at 7:00 am. WTKK-FM has been airing NECN’s “First Thing in the Morning” starting at 4:30 am followed by the “NECN Morning News” show from 5:00 am to 6:00 am. Program director Grace Blazer says they added the additional hour due to positive listener response. “Commuting New Englanders now have found a whole new way to start the day. 96.9 FM’s expanding commitment to local and breaking news, traffic, and weather followed by Jim and Margery’s perspective, live audience interaction, and real time attention to topical issues creates a listening experience not available anywhere else. This seamless integration of content created by NECN and 96.9 FM represents the next generation of news and information delivered over multiple platforms for the benefit of listeners in a ‘right now’ world. Greater Media Boston is proud to be a part of this innovation that will benefit its advertisers, listeners and the communities we serve.”
Monticello Media Helps Bring Concert to Region for Earthquake Benefit. WCHV-AM/FM, Charlottesville, Virginia PD and morning drive host Joe Thomas tells TALKERS his station and sister country outlet WCYK-FM spearheaded a drive that culminated with the town of Louisa, Virginia winning a nationwide competition for a free Alan Jackson concert to benefit families whose homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed in the August 28 earthquake. Thomas says, “It was an overwhelming response. Since FEMA turned Governor McDonnell down, I’m glad Louisa and all of Central Virginia was able to do something to help our own.”
GOP Debate/Cain’s 999 Plan, Iran Assassination Plot Allegations, ‘Occupy’ Protests, and Obama’s Jobs Bill Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/12). The GOP candidates debate and Herman Cain’s ‘999 plan,’ the allegations of an Iran-sponsored assassination plot, the ‘Occupy’ protests and the status of President Obama’s jobs creation legislation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Dave Ramsey’s Book Tour/Live Events Continue to Draw. Nationally syndicated talk host Dave Ramsey’s continuing bus tour of the country to promote his latest book, EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches (Howard Books 2011), drew 750 fans to this book signing in Katy, Texas on October 7 with metro affiliate KSEV, Houston a partner in the event. The next day, Ramsey attracted about 8,000 listeners to his “Total Money Makeover Live” program at Houston’s Reliant Arena in Houston.
Sirius XM Delay Broadcasts Audio Version of Rosie O’Donnell’s OWN Talk Show. Rosie O’Donnell began a new talk show on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN cable channel on Monday (10/10). Sirius XM announces it will air “The Rosie Show” the day after it airs on OWN at 10:00 am and 1:00 pm on its Stars channel. Winfrey relaunched the Oprah Winfrey Network on Monday and reports on the ratings for O’Donnell’s program indicate it averaged less than half a million viewers. The New York Times’ Brian Stelter writes that in her heyday hosting a talk show a decade prior, O’Donnell’s show reached “millions.” OWN is a project of Winfrey’s and Discovery Networks and Stelter reports O’Donnell’s program must grow in order to become profitable.
WJXL, Jacksonville Goes Local in AM Drive. Seven Bridges-owned sports WJXL, Jacksonville bumps United Stations Radio Networks’ Lex & Terry from the AM drive slot and moves local hosts Jeff Prosser and Dan Hicken to the morning slot. The station airs “XL Primetime” with Joe C and Hacker in the midday time slot previously occupied by Prosser’s and Hicken’s “Sports Final Radio.” Syndicated Lex & Terry were once based out of Jacksonville. Their program now emanates from Dallas.
WGN, Chicago to Air Live Remote Chicago Blackhawks Shows. The station – flagship for Chicago Blackhawks hockey – is producing six live remote broadcasts called “Chicago Blackhawks Live” with the first one taking place at Harry Caray’s Legendary Italian Steakhouse on October 24 from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm. “Sportsnight” hosts David Kaplan, Brian Noonan and Andrea Darlas host the show that is open to the public. Special guests will be Blackhawks greats Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita as statues of the two are being unveiled outside the United Center just two days prior.
Chicagoland Station Owner Joe Gentile Passes Away. Joseph J. Gentile was a car dealer who bought AM daytimer WKDC — licensed to suburban Elmhurst – in 1994 and changed the call letters to his initials (WJJG) in order to help promote his car business. He found out he liked broadcasting and became the station’s morning host – a hobby he continued for years after retiring from the car business in 2003. Gentile died Monday at age 87 of natural causes. WJJG is operated by Chicago radio pro Matt DuBiel who serves as general manager. The station recently announced it is adding Talk Radio Network’s “Mancow Experience” and Michael Savage shows to its lineup.
Iran Terror Plot, Obama Jobs Bill, 2012 GOP Presidential Candidates and ‘Occupy’ Protest Movement Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/11). The Saudi ambassador assassination plot allegedly sponsored by Iran, the failure of the Obama jobs bill in the Senate, the Republican candidates for president and the ‘Occupy’ protests movement were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Running for a Good Cause. WMAL-AM/FM, Washington morning drive hosts Brian Nehman (l) and Mary Katherine Ham (not pictured) ran the 2011 Army Ten Miler on Monday (10/10) to benefit the Fisher House Foundation. Nehman is pictured here with Fisher House vice president Brian Gawne (r) after finishing the race. The Fisher House Foundation provides housing for the family of military personnel so they can be near their loved ones while they are being treated for injuries suffered in combat. To date, WMAL has raised nearly $3 million for Fisher House since 2004.
WWWN-FM, Chicago Midday Anchor Dave Williams Exits Merlin Station. The first high-profile firing at Merlin Media’s Chicago all-newser claims veteran news and talk radio pro Dave Williams. Numerous reports indicate Williams was let go after a station visit from Merlin Media management that included CEO Randy Michaels but not COO Walter Sabo. Industry watchers note that there’s been near constant tweaking of the on-air sound at Merlin’s WWWN-FM, Chicago and WEMP-FM, New York but the departure of Williams has triggered a change that appears to be taking the stations away from the “lifestylish” approach to news and toward a much more traditional all-news direction. This, according to widespread street buzz, could put Walter Sabo’s future with Merlin in doubt as he is generally recognized as the architect of the innovative direction that has marked the company’s questionable starts in both Chicago and New York. As pointed out here last week, although industry conventional wisdom indicates that it takes time – as much as a year or more – for spoken-word upstarts to gain ratings traction (especially groundbreaking ones), today’s economically stressed environment and “ADD/PPM world” pressure for instantaneous results would likely contribute to nervous investors and the knee jerk response to make changes…especially at an extremely high-profile operation as Randy Michaels’ Merlin Media. Thus, the “big tweak” might be morphing into a significant format change. Meanwhile, Williams, who spent most of his career working in news and talk radio in California at such stations as KNX, KABC and KFWB in Los Angeles and KFBK in Sacramento, is looking for his next opportunity after moving from California three months ago to become part of the new Merlin station.
Westwood One’s Dennis Miller and Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly Partner for Live Shows. The last time Bill O’Reilly did a series of live events, then-FNC employed Glenn Beck was his partner. This time Dennis Miller – a man who is no stranger to the live stage – joins O’Reilly for the “Bolder and Fresher” tour with stops at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut; the Landmark Theatre in Richmond, Virginia; Borgata Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City; and the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, California. It’s billed as “Bill O’Reilly, godfather of ‘no spin’ and in-your-face television, and Dennis Miller, the king of references and rants, are teaming up to take the country by storm!” Tickets are not cheap for this event. The cheap seats are $95 and the VIP tix are $500 but include a meet-and-greet, photos with O’Reilly and Miller and autographs.
Premiere Networks’ George Noory Publishes New Book Talking to the Dead. The host of Premiere’s “Coast to Coast AM” joins forces with paranormal experts and co-author Rosemary Ellen Guiley to author Talking to the Dead (Forge Books 2011) – the third book for George Noory. According to Noory, the book “explores the colorful history and personalities behind spirit communications, weaving together spirituality, metaphysics, science and technology.” Billed as a high-tech guide to spiritual communications, “Noory and Guiley use historical research to explore the science behind radio wave production and how radios carry supernatural voices; examples of successful spiritual communication around the globe; the possible existence of parallel universes from which we hear voices; the history of electromagnetic communication methods, including work by scientific giants like Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla; and much more.”
Peak Broadcasting Goes Sports Full Time on KFXD, Boise. KFXD has been positioned as KIDO 630 in the past as a sister sports and talk outlet to news/talk KIDO 580. Dan Patrick’s DirecTV-produced show has been part of the lineup for years. Now, Peak Broadcasting gives the station a separate identity and takes it sports full time as SportsRadio 630 The Fan. The station keeps Dan Patrick in AM drive and uses content from Fox Sports Radio throughout the day except for the local Riley Corcoran show from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm and the Tester and Riley show (in which Dave Tester joins Corcoran) from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
TRN’s Michael Savage Gains Clearance in Phoenix. Talk Radio Network star Michael Savage is back in the Phoenix market on Francis Battaglia-owned KFNX in the afternoon drive slot airing from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Savage’s program was last cleared in the market on Clear Channel’s KFYI.
Obama Jobs Bill, ‘Occupy Wall Street,’ 2012 GOP Candidates and Euro Zone Instability Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/10). The fate of President Obama’s jobs bill, the ongoing ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement, the battle for the Republican nomination for president and the policies to stabilize the Euro Zone’s economy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Civil Disobedience Nets Host Jail Sentence. TALKERS Heavy Hundred member Ian Freeman, co-host of the nationally syndicated talk show “Free Talk Live,” didn’t set out to spend 59 days in jail — but he believes so strongly in what he talks about on the air and how he lives his life that that’s exactly what he did. Freeman served 59 days of a 90-day jail sentence (he got early release for good behavior) for obstructing a police officer who was arresting a young woman for an open container violation in Keene, New Hampshire. Many talk show hosts have strong beliefs and “walk the walk,” but as someone who believes the government is too invasive in people’s lives (and positions his show as a reflection of that philosophy), Freeman makes a habit out of protesting police enforcement of victimless crimes. He says the authorities in the New England community in which the national show is based see him as “a leader of people with such beliefs” and that’s why he believes a judge gave him a 360-day sentence with 270 days suspended. Facing the consequences of his commitment was not only personally challenging, but professionally as well. Freeman tells TALKERS being away from the show for 58 programs left co-host Mark Edge to handle the nightly broadcast with the help of guest co-hosts. Most programs would be in trouble if their lead personality were gone for that period of time. Freeman, who created the program, says the unique nature of “Free Talk Live” is that it’s not the “Mark and Ian” show. He explains, “I didn’t want it to be a show about the personalities as much as it is about the ideas and the concept of open phones and a pro-liberty discussion forum…the idea of the show has always been to have it be able to continue in my or Mark’s absence.” Freeman says that they have a great crew of friends and volunteers who helped Mark Edge during his time in jail and even though it was Edge’s first time sitting in the “first chair,” he’s heard nothing but good things about how the show went in his absence. “We didn’t lose any affiliates while I was gone.” In fact, Freeman says he had the opportunity to hear the show from jail on a local affiliate and had his first real opportunity to hear it as a program director instead of as a part of the show. He even phoned in on the hotline from jail once or twice with programming advice! Freeman tells TALKERS he certainly does not want to spend more time in jail but that won’t change how he handles the show or his own life. “I still firmly believe that more people need to practice civil disobedience and non-cooperation. I agree with the oft-cited statement that ‘all that’s needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.’ I just can’t sit idly by and watch as my peaceful neighbors continue to be caged for all manner of nonsense – whether it be an RV being parked in their yard, smoking a marijuana cigarette, drinking a little bit of beer – whatever…I can’t get on the air with listeners and advocate non-cooperation with the government if I’m not willing to do it myself. That would make me feel like a hypocrite.” “Free Talk Live” is a formidable independently syndicated national show with an impressive growth trend heard on 109 affiliates across the country on stations as disparate as conservative news/talk WSPD, Toledo and progressive talk outlet WXXM-FM, Madison. In these days of both civil disobedience and peaceful demonstrations erupting on the streets of America and the fracturing of the rigid left/right political categories prevalent within the news/talk radio landscape, it stands out as an important emerging talk media industry entity.
WWRL, New York Broadcasts from ‘Occupy Wall Street’ Protest. Access.1 Communications’ WWRL, New York is broadcasting from the heart of the ongoing ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protest in Manhattan. WWRL morning drive host Mark Riley is broadcasting his program this morning (10/10) from 6:00 am to 9:00 am from Zuccotti Park on Liberty Street between Trinity Place and Broadway. Rev. Al Sharpton’s nationally syndicated program will also broadcast from the same location from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm today. WWRL general manager Adriane Gaines states, “We feel it is particularly important to expand the platform for ‘RL’s culturally diverse audience by being on site of this historic movement.” The ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement began on September 17 and continues to be a major story on talk radio.
Cumulus Promotes WJR, Detroit GM to Market Manager. Tom O’Brien is upped from his GM post at news/talk WJR, Detroit to market manager for the Cumulus properties in the Motor City that include music FMs WDVD and WDRQ. Regional vice president of Cumulus Midwest Scott Meier says, “Tom has absolutely earned this promotion! He’s led WJR to a new standard and has embraced the Cumulus Sales Operating System with a vision of incremental growth.” O’Brien has served as GM of WJR since February of this year.
Entertainment Radio Network (ERN) Partners with eBay Motors for Expanded Online Distribution. In what is being described as “the first of many new programming and distribution opportunities” that the company is identifying for 2012 and beyond, Entertainment Radio Network, the Oregon-based syndicator of specialty shows covering primarily automotive, consumer electronics, popular science and technology subjects, announces its distribution partnership with eBay Motors, one of the internet’s leading automotive destinations. Effective immediately, all ERN shows will be distributed through the modJOBS site on the eBayMotors.com landing page to 14 million unique visitors per month. modJOBS is also supported via social media links to Facebook and Twitter. ERN president (and former ABC Radio Networks EVP) John McConnell tells TALKERS, “eBay Motors has an extraordinary audience – nearly one billion page views per month. I believe this kind of distribution is very much a part of radio’s future and we are thrilled that Entertainment Radio Network is the first to be working with eBay Motors new audio programming initiative. We are all accustomed to talking about TSL (time spent listening), but now get ready to consider stickiness as well – eBay Motors’ average shopper spends 35 minutes per day online, often with credit cards at the ready.” McConnell recently joined ERN CEO (and on air personality) Alan Taylor as president and a partner in the company.
CBS Radio and NFL’s Houston Texans Sign Long-Term Extension. CBS Radio’s sports KILT, Houston and country KILT-FM will remain the flagship stations for Houston Texans football for many years to come as the team and CBS agree to a long-term extension of their deal. Texans football has been affiliated with KILT for the past 10 seasons.
Andy Greenberg Begins Local TV Segment Based on Radio Feature. KFAB, Omaha-based motivational radio personality Andy Greenberg – host of “Your Weekend HIgh with Andy Greenberg” – is now appearing on KPTM-TV, Omaha on the Sunday evening broadcast beginning October 16. Greenberg transitioned to his current role as a speaker, trainer and broadcaster after 35 years in the sales and marketing business. He says, “I am thrilled to be part of the Fox 42 Sunday Night News broadcasts that continue the Fox tradition of broadcasting innovations and have been the forefront and hallmark of the network and its affiliates.”
Salem Radio Network Celebrates Talk Format with “SRN Talk-Tober Month” Promotion. Rock radio fans certainly remember the “rocktober” moniker assigned to the 10th month of the year on many AOR stations back in the day. Now, Salem Radio Network honors the talk radio format in its own way declaring it “SRN Talk-Tober Month” and Irving, Texas Mayor Beth Van Duyne joins the celebration by issuing a proclamation in honor of the Irving-based syndicator and all talk radio serving the metro area. As part of the proclamation, Van Duyne states, “The talk radio industry in North Texas includes a number of talk radio stations including KSKY; WBAP-AM/FM; KRLD; and KLIF which strive to promote a free and open exchange of opinions on the premise that City of Irving residents and others throughout the area have the right to exercise free speech.”
KFI, Los Angeles Cancels Meeting with Immigrant Rights Group. Clear Channel Los Angeles market manager Greg Ashlock tells the Los Angeles Times he canceled a meeting with heads of regional immigrants’ rights advocacy groups because their request to meet became an ultimatum that John & Ken be fired. The groups became upset after KFI PM drive hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou gave the cell phone number of activist Jorge-Mario Cabrera over the air telling listeners to let him know how they feel about his support for California legislation called ‘The Dream Act’ that would provide educational financial assistance to illegal aliens. Cabrera says he received more than 400 phone calls – some very angry and filled with foul language. KFI management had initially agreed to meet with activist leader to discuss the issue but Ashlock tells the Times, “I’m more than happy to sit down with anybody who has a concern and talk it out but we’re not going to be held hostage to demands that are outlandish.” Leaders of the groups say they will boycott the John & Ken show.
Bonneville’s KTAR-FM, Phoenix to Debut New Local Show. Yesterday we told you Premiere’s Glenn Beck was joining the lineup at Clear Channel’s crosstown KFYI. That’s because he’s leaving KTAR-FM and Bonneville responds by getting back to “its old roots” with an “all-local-news daytime focus.” The Karie & Chuck show hits the air later this month in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot featuring 20-year KTAR staffer Karie Dozer and market sports talk personality Chuck Powell. Powell and on-air partner Vince Marotta have been hosting the AM drive show at Sandusky’s sports KDUS since January. Powell, Marotta and sales pro Lee Rosenthal formed GOAT Media Group to create, produce and sell the program to the station. Powell is wrapping up that deal before joining KTAR-FM. Bonneville Phoenix VP for news and sports content Ryan Hatch says of the new show, “The chemistry between Karie and Chuck is off the charts. They are two distinct, smart and fun personalities who bring unique perspectives from their life experiences. This show will connect emotionally and intellectually with our audience in a meaningful, relatable way.” The new program is described as being “built around conversations on current events and the biggest news stories of the day. It features local and national news stories, political issues, pop culture and entertainment along with regular interviews with newsmakers.”
Willy Daunic Exits Cumulus’ WGFX-FM, Nashville. Willy Daunic worked alongside longtime WGFX-FM PM drive host George Plaster since 2003 on “The Sports Zone” program. Now, just a month after Plaster left the station, Daunic fails to come to contract terms on a renewal of his deal that expired August 31 and he exits. The Tennessean reports Daunic says of his exit, “My time at 104.5 The Zone was the best eight years of my radio career. The success that we’ve had and the fun that we’ve had is something I’ll always cherish. Starting the show from scratch and seeing it build into what it is today was tremendously rewarding.”
Premiere Networks to Distribute DIRECTV’s “Nick and Artie Show.” The sports/comedy program featuring comic personalities Artie Lange and Nick DiPaolo, being produced by DIRECTV and currently being streamed on the web is being offered to radio stations via Premiere Networks. DIRECTV says a video simulcast of the program will be added to its Audience Network “next year.” The program was developed over the summer with Lange and DiPaolo doing some sub work for the Tony Bruno show on Fox Sports Radio. However, the program is not airing on Fox Sports Radio Network. FSRN filled Tony Bruno’s old 10:00 pm to 1:00 am slot with “Fox Sports Tonight” hosted by Mike North and Lincoln Kennedy. The “Nick and Artie Show” also airs live in the 10:00 pm to 1:00 am time slot.
NRG Omaha Adds Two Veteran AEs to its Sales Team. NRG Media general sales manager Heather Gossett announces Omaha market sales pros Vickie Majorek and Kim Earl join the sales staff at its seven-station cluster that includes news/talk KKAR and sports KOZN. Gossett states, “Vickie’s and Kim’s passion and love for radio makes them the problem solvers for clients in the Omaha Metro Area. They never fail to make a difference in the life of a client and their business. They strive to provide results in all that they do…it’s truly what makes the difference at NRG Media in Omaha.”
TALKERS Affiliation Roundup. Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck joins KFYI, Phoenix for the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot…..Genesis Communications Network’s Jason Lewis picks up WVNJ, Oakland, New Jersey as an affiliate…..KCJJ, Iowa City signs United Stations Radio Networks’ Lex & Terry for middays at the station…..Talk Radio Network’s “Watchdog on Wall Street” with Chris Markowski adds KNIF-FM, Boise…..The Dr. Dahlia show joins the Genesis Communications Network and picks up affiliates KBOZ, Bozeman, Montana; WSRJ, Traverse City, Michigan; WSRT, Petoskey, Michigan; and WGGH, Marion, Illinois…..“Gun Talk” with Tom Gresham is added to the program schedule at KZYM, Joplin, Missouri; WHUB, Cookeville, Tennessee; KVFC, Cortez, Colorado; KNPT, Newport, Oregon; and KBSZ, Apache Junction, Arizona…..Delta Media’s “Armed American Radio” with Mark Walters adds the program to affiliates WEBY, Milton/Pensacola, Florida; KJJR, Kalispell, Montana; and KWKC, Abilene, Texas…..“The Rose Hollywood Report” with Shannon Rose picks up CKTB, St. Catharines, Ontario.
Obama Jobs Bill/Economic Policy Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 3-7. President Obama’s jobs bill and his administration’s economic policy was the topic that landed at the top of the Talkers TenTM this week. According to ongoing research from TALKERS, the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protests were the #2 story of the week. The 2012 presidential race was #3 and coming in at #4 was the European economic jitters and the strike and violence in Greece. The Talkers TenTM is published weekly at Talkers.com. To view the week’s entire chart, click on the banner below.
iHeartRadio to Invade American Living Rooms. In an innovative development that significantly bolsters traditional radio programming’s digital distribution potential, Clear Channel’s expanded deal with Microsoft to include its iHeartRadio in the Xbox LIVE service could put CC stations into the homes of millions of Americans. Clear Channel says this is an expansion of its multi-year deal with Microsoft that integrates iHeartRadio on Windows Phone 7 and brought the recent two-day iHeartRadio music festival into homes exclusively on the Xbox 360. Beginning this winter it will work this way: The New iHeartRadio will be available for free to Xbox LIVE Gold members. Through this new agreement, Gold members who have Kinect for Xbox 360 can use the product’s revolutionary sensor to experience an entertainment first: the ability to control digital radio in their living room using their voice and body. Gold members who have Xbox 360, but do not have Kinect, can operate the New iHeartRadio using their controller. Regardless of whether they have Kinect or not, all Xbox 360 Gold members will have access to the New iHeartRadio’s features, including more than 800 of the nation’s most popular live broadcast and digital-only radio stations from 150 cities, plus custom stations with more songs, better music intelligence and more user control. The deal will also give users access to social features through CC’s deal with Facebook. Clear Channel CEO John Hogan tells TALKERS, “Clear Channel is committed to innovation and deep social integration. We want to continually deliver new experiences that consumers have never seen before – like the recent launch of the New iHeartRadio, which combines broadcast and digital-only stations and user-created stations in one service for the first time. The New iHeartRadio’s integration with the Xbox 360 enables Kinect users to control digital radio in their living room using just their voice and body. There is nothing else like it on the market and it’s another example of how we are committed to being wherever our listeners are with the programming and services they want and expect.”
Financial Expert Charles Payne to Launch National Radio Show Via Sun Broadcast Group. Charles Payne is well known to viewers of Fox Business Network and Fox News Channel as well as to KFI, Los Angeles where he’s hosted a Saturday afternoon program. Now, Payne partners with Sun Broadcast Group to begin a nationally syndicated two-hour financial talk show airing from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm daily starting October 17. “Payne Nation with Charles Payne” will emanate from Fox studios in New York. Chad Wilkinson is named executive producer, Gabe Hobbs and Jim Robinson are aboard in a consulting capacity and the show will feature the voice talents of Edd Hall. Sun CEO and founder Jay Bailey states, “We’re very excited to welcome Charles to the Sun Broadcast lineup. We believe the industry is ready for an uplifting, positive financial show that will provide real answers for real people in this turbulent time in our nation.” Payne says, “Everyone asks me how I am going to be different from other hosts out there, and I tell them that I am simply going to be real. No scare tactics. I’m not going to sugarcoat anything in fact I go right at the issues by digging beneath the surface, seeking facts, relying on history and connecting all the dots for real assessments and real solutions.”
Michigan Talk Host Michael Patrick Shiels Scores Exclusive Perspective of Airline Passenger Arrest. WJIM, Lansing-based talk show host Michael Patrick Shiels happened to be returning from Amsterdam to Detroit when a man on the Delta plane began ranting about a hijacking. The man was quickly restrained by air marshals. Shiels tells TALKERS, “While observing from up close, I discreetly used the e-mail function of Delta’s in-flight entertainment system to send e-mails and texts to my producer and other media outlets. The result was an exclusive story for my radio network and a press gaggle waiting for me when I emerged from the aircraft, resulting in national publicity on the major TV networks.” Shiels says the man appeared to be American and in his 30s. He says many passengers became agitated since it was an Amsterdam to Detroit flight that the infamous “underwear bomber” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab allegedly tried to blow up on Christmas Day 2009.
Paul Finebaum Gets Favorable Ruling in Legal Tussle with Cumulus. Regionally syndicated and WJOX-FM, Birmingham-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum was successful in getting his civil suit against Citadel – now Cumulus – returned to state court in Alabama. Federal judge L. Scott Coogler ruled Cumulus was not able to prove the dispute went above the $75,000 threshold to make it a federal civil suit. Legal experts say Finebaum stands a better chance in state court due to the legal standards. Finebaum has two suits filed against Cumulus: one in which Citadel agreed to bankruptcy reorganization without his consent and the other that he was coerced into amending his contract and that Citadel violated its deal with him by manipulating revenue for his program away from him.
KNBR, San Francisco Host Ralph Barbieri Comes Out with Parkinson’s Diagnosis. In a story in the San Francisco Chronicle, KNBR sports talk host Ralph Barbieri – co-host of “The Razor and Mr. T” alongside Tom Tolbert – confesses to having been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2002 and telling no one except Tolbert until now. Barbieri tells the paper he decided to reveal his diagnosis now since he is coming to the end of his contract and wanted to be honest as he and Cumulus negotiate a new deal. He tells the paper, “If I am to continue at KNBR, I’d like to start with all our cards on the table, face-up. I’ve gotten to know Lew Dickey a little bit, and my gut feeling was that he could deal with my situation at an honorable level, so I gave him a call and told him everything. He let me know that KNBR wants me back. He didn’t say on what terms, but the fact that he didn’t view the Parkinson’s as a red flag, that was a huge relief to me.”
Premiere Networks Scores Large Market Add for Glenn Beck: Phoenix. Clear Channel’s KFYI, Phoenix agrees to add the Glenn Beck show to its daily program schedule in the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm time slot bumping Talk Radio Network’s Michael Savage from the slot. Clear Channel Phoenix director of programming and operations Smokey Rivers states, “Glenn has a sizeable and loyal local following. His unique and stimulating perspectives will be a welcome addition to the station.”
WROK, Rockford-Based Michael Koolidge Show Names New Producer. Michael Koolidge’s regionally and independently syndicated talk show is based out of Cumulus-owned WROK, Rockford, Illinois and syndicated to WRHL, Rochelle, Illinois and WLBK, DeKalb, Illinois. Koolidge announces he brings on Natalie Zee Fenwick as his program’s first full-time producer. “Thanks specifically to our outstanding advertiser support over the last year, we can afford to officially create our first bona fide job. Even though it’s just a single job, we’re proud to join the ranks of ‘job creators’ of America. I’ve had a rotation of great part-time producers and interns over the years, but we’re finally in a position where we’re ready to hire a regular producer. And we’re thrilled that we found Natalie.” Koolidge’s business model – serving as an independent contractor to regional radio stations – is one the industry is likely to see more of as companies and stations seek quality local or regional talent without taking on the expenses of traditional employees. Koolidge’s highly rated program is one industry watchers are keeping an eye on.
Talk Host Jim Walsh and KFYR, Bismarck Part Company. It’s only been two weeks since talk personality Jim Walsh returned to Clear Channel’s KFYR, Bismarck – a station he worked at in 2003 and 2004 – to host the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm program formerly held by Scott Bachmeier. Not sure what happened there but Walsh cryptically tells TALKERS, “I have stepped down from the afternoon talk show at KFYR, Bismarck by mutual consent. I’m still there part-time, at least for the time being. I’m currently exploring my options and can be reached at 701-226-8449.” Bachmeier had exited the full-time shift to concentrate on non-radio work but the station lists him as host of the time slot – at least for now.
Occupy Wall Street, Steve Jobs Passes, 2012 GOP Candidates and Obama Jobs Plan Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/5). The growing ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement, the death of Apple innovator Steve Jobs, the Republican candidates for president in 2012 and President Obama’s job creation plan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Merlin Faces Pressure after Disappointing Arbitrons. The upside of having a high-profile roll out for the launch of a new format is gaining the thrust of free publicity generated by lots of consumer press and enjoying the accompanying media/advertising buzz that generates early believers and revenue. The downside is facing the instantaneous criticism that comes with unrealistic expectations when they are not fulfilled – an insidious process that can quickly erode the confidence of investors, advertisers and employees, setting in motion the radio equivalent of an unharmonious locker room in sports and frightened ownership. That is the price Merlin Media and its colorful, controversial CEO Randy Michaels are facing in the wake of two early but extremely disappointing report cards issued by Arbitron reflecting the anemic initial audience numbers of their innovative all-news properties, FM News 101.1 in Chicago (0.2, 6-plus) and FM News 101.9 in New York (0.5, 6-plus). The “ouch factor” is especially biting in Chicago where FM News 101.1 is being measured against CBS Radio O&O WBBM’s 105.9 FM simulcast which launched a pre-emptive competing all news format on FM and garnered a solid 1.0, 6-plus share on top of its big AM numbers for the same period. Whereas much of this “chatter” has remained contained within under-the-radar industry conversations and media blogs, the hard facts surfaced big-time publicly this morning in an all-too-blunt article by reporter Robert Channick in the Chicago Tribune headlined “FM News 101 finds meager audience, early ratings show” describing what happened in the following terms: “The first full month of ratings for Chicago’s two FM news stations didn’t bring good news for Merlin Media. Its FM News 101.1 (WWWN-FM) ranked 48th, with a minuscule 0.2 share for September, according to Arbitron results released Tuesday. The station was trounced by CBS Radio’s simulcast of WBBM-AM 780 on sister station 105.9 FM, which garnered an additional 1.0 share. The combined AM-FM listenership for WBBM Newsradio was 6.4, topping the Chicago market. The survey covered Aug. 18 to Sept. 14.” The article goes on to quote a confident Michaels as stating, “It’s a work in progress; it’s very, very early.” Michaels adds, “You’re looking at the very first couple of weeks after we blew up a rock station, and I can’t think that too many people who were listening to (Q101.1) would be listening to spoken word.” The story reports that Michaels is urging patience in assessing the Chicago station’s success offering the revealing explanation, “I think that we’re still in the process of revamping and finding the right approach.” Seasoned talk media industry professionals know that Michaels is correct in his ongoing assertion that it takes time for a spoken word format to gain ratings traction. However a larger question spawned of the times looms – in today’s PPM world in which listener loyalty and station image take a back seat to instantaneous, real-time listening, set against the backdrop of a very uncertain economy, and exacerbated by an impatient media’s hunger for the instantaneous results of a high-profile business launch, does Michaels have the time to bring his ambitious endeavor to fruition before his nervous investors start pressing the panic button?
Cumulus Watch: Bob Moore Out in Los Angeles. KABC and KLOS-FM, Los Angeles general manager Bob Moore is out at the Cumulus stations and former Spanish Broadcasting System chief revenue officer Marko Radlovic rejoins the company he worked for almost a decade ago. Radlovic resigned from his post at SBS on September 28 where he also served as senior vice president and general manager at the company’s two Los Angeles stations.
Townsquare Media Steals One from Cumulus. Townsquare Media hires Matt Hanlon for the newly created position of vice president of sales in which he’ll oversee all aspects of the company’s sales efforts. Hanlon leaves his Michigan-based position as regional vice president for Cumulus to join Townsquare. He was an RVP for Citadel – now Cumulus – in charge of some 85 markets in the Midwest.
Beck, Ingraham, Levin and Bennett Featured Speakers at DC Summit. The Values Voters Summit takes place this weekend at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC and joining numerous conservative speakers, Republican officeholders and most of the GOP presidential candidates are Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck, Talk Radio Network’s Laura Ingraham, Cumulus Media Networks’ Mark Levin and Salem Radio Network’s Bill Bennett. The event is co-sponsored by a number of conservative action groups including the Family Research Council and the American Family Association as well as conservative think tanks including The Heritage Foundation.
Bell Media Launches TSN Radio in Montreal and Winnipeg. With a continued focus on local sports, The Team 990 in Montreal (CKGM) is being rebranded as TSN Radio 990 and Sports Radio 1290 in Winnipeg (CFRW) becomes TSN Radio 1290. The stations debut just in time for the launch of the NHL season. Both TSN stations promise to feature extensive live NHL hockey coverage with TSN Radio 990 airing Montreal Canadiens games and TSN Radio 1290 the home of the Winnipeg Jets. Both stations are available nationally online at TSN.ca and on TSN Mobile. The newly re-branded TSN Radio stations will work closely with Bell Media‘s market-leading all-sports radio stations in Vancouver and Ottawa.
Canada’s Radio Regulator Rules Broadcasters Must Identify Repeat Programs. Acting after a complaint about a 2010 edition of the CFRB, Toronto program “Friendly Fire,” the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council recently ruled that repeat broadcasts of call-in shows must be identified as such. The CFRB show in question was a repeat of a program that encouraged listeners to call in or text questions to program participants. In its ruling, the CBSC wrote, in part: “At the very least, it would be courteous to the audience’s sensibilities to advise them that a program or an episode of a program is being repeated…Where, however, it is a part of the original broadcast that persons were invited to contact the station, as in any call-in show, the lack of courtesy in failing to advise listeners not to call becomes an inconvenience if not an annoyance. Where, as in the matter at hand, listeners are invited, not just to call, but also to text the station, the inconvenience turns to expense.”
2012 GOP Candidates, ‘Occupy Wall Street,’ U.N. Syria Resolution and Bernanke Testimony Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/4). The GOP candidates for the Republican nomination in 2012 – including Herman Cain’s rise in the polls, the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protests, Russia and China’s veto of a U.N. resolution against Syria and Fed chairman Ben Bernanke’s testimony before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Old Friends. Salem Radio Network’s “Morning in America” host Bill Bennett (r) and his producer Chris Beach (c) bump into presidential candidate Herman Cain (l) outside the Fox News Channel studios in New York City. Cain, who hosted a talk radio program on WSB, Atlanta before giving up the show to run for office, had been a regular fill-in host for Bennett’s show. Bennett told Cain he’s welcome back on the show anytime if his presidential campaign doesn’t end up victorious and Cain replied Bennett is welcome to visit him in the White House if he wins.
Internet talk media has become the terrestrial radio farm system
By Michael Harrison
NEW YORK –– On page 23 of this issue of TALKERS magazine we are pleased to launch the third annual installment of a relatively new feature titled, “The Frontier Fifty: A Selection of Outstanding Talk Media Webcasters.”
It is an alphabetical list of 50 talk “acts” consisting of a wide variety of hosts, teams and shows representing a cross section of the important pioneering work taking place in the burgeoning world of internet talk media. The continuing publication of such an “editorial staff’s choice” in this magazine marks another evolutionary milestone as, together, we experience the fascinating transition between the AM/FM/VHF/UHF (“terrestrial”) domination of pop culture during the second half of the 20th century and the emerging internet media’s (“stickless”) reign over the first half of the 21st –– already more than a decade underway. We thank our friends at Broadcasters General Store for their continued sponsorship of this ambitious and optimistic feature. Their faith in it is a sign that there is, in fact, a “new industry” of enormous potential proportions emerging before us all.