Tag: "talk radio"

Smerconish: Canary in Talk Radio’s
Coal Mine?

| March 11, 2013

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

BLOCK ISLAND — To local radio talkers, syndication is The Promised Land.  So when an accomplished, high-profile personality relinquishes his hard-won 80-affiliate roster to migrate to satellite radio, my phone rings.  I’m being asked:

  • Should I pitch his affiliates?  Should I pitch his network?
  • Should I try to get on SiriusXM?
  • IS it over?

Read More

Endorsements Should Be Interesting

| March 4, 2013

By Michael Berry
Host
The Michael Berry Show

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

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

Core-Casting

| March 4, 2013

By Chris Miller
Miller Digital

SHAKER HEIGHTS — So, what the heck is social media really worth?  What sort of return on investment are we talking about here?

Some days, it seems that everyone is liking, sharing, commenting, retweeting, favorite-ing and pinning.  On one hand, it’s easy to wonder if it’s worth it to have a social media presence.  On the other hand, it’s also easy to wonder if we’re missing out if we don’t actively pursue having a social presence.

What this stuff is worth is also a question that digital media and social media pros wrestle with.  Most brands that have staked out a social space are working on either creating a direct response of some sort, or brand awareness.  All other strategic goals being equal, I’ve had much more success using social media for direct response than for brand awareness, although the latter can be done.

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Monday, March 4, 2013

| March 4, 2013

DG-logoHorizontalDial Global Restructures Credit Status; Pays Down $15 Million of Existing Term Loan.  The industry has been watching the state of Dial Global’s debt situation and now the company announces that it, its lenders and certain of its stockholders have agreed to recapitalize the company’s existing credit facilities, other obligations and equity interests.  CEO Spencer Brown states, “The new agreements with our lenders represent a significant step forward for the company.  Once thesebrownspencer transactions close, we will have delivered our balance sheet and decreased cash interest expense.  The agreements will provide us with greater flexibility to actively manage and grow our business.  We look forward to closing these transactions in April and focusing on serving our clients.”  As part of the recapitalization, the company has entered into an Amended and Restated Credit Agreement, by and among the Company, General Electric Capital Corporation, as administrative agent and collateral agent, and the lenders party thereto which provides for a $15 million paydown of the company’s existing term loan and revolving credit commitments.  That agreement matures on October 21, 2016.  The company is also entering into a Priority Second Lien Credit Agreement among the company, the administrative agent, the syndication agent and the lender party for an additional $31.5 million through a term loan facility to the company, with a maturity date of July 21, 2017.  As part of this Dial Global agrees to issue it penny warrants to purchase 7.5% of the company’s common stock exercisable immediately following the consummation of the recapitalization.  Regarding the existing Second Lien Credit Agreement, dated as of October 21, 2011, lenders agreed to restructure their existing approximately $93 million in second lien obligations by amending and restating that agreement to provide for a $30 million term loan that matures five years after the expected closing of the recapitalization and exchanging approximately $63 million in remaining obligations under the existing Second Lien Credit Agreement for a new series of preferred stock of the Company.  Under various subscription and exchange agreements between the company and the holders of the company’s PIK Notes and Series A Preferred Stock, such holders have agreed, subject to the satisfaction of certain specified conditions, to exchange their PIK Notes and Series A Preferred Stock for equity securities of the company and have further agreed to make an additional equity infusion of $16.5 million.

villanuccijimCumulus Media’s News/Talk KKOB, Albuquerque and Talk Host Jim Villanucci Part Ways.  When talk radio personality Jim Villanucci’s contract came up at Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque the company chose not to renew it.  Villanucci tells TALKERS magazine that he’d been reaching out to Cumulus for the past several months about a contract renewal but the company didn’t appear interested in talking so he exited after last Thursday’s program.  Cumulus AM stations program director Pat Frisch is sitting in the PM drive slot for now as he seeks out a replacement.  Villanucci’s program was a big ratings-getter for the station for many years.  It will be hard to replace the kind of steady performance he’s achieved at KKOB-AM.  Villanucci tells TALKERS, “I leave KKOB after 14 years looking forward to my next opportunity.  I have had so many wonderful years working with some of the finest broadcasters in the business in a market that’s been very good to me.  I wish the good people of Albuquerque and the folks at KKOB the very best.  I would especially like to thank my former GM Milt McConnell, and wish my friend and PD Pat Frisch good  luck going forward. ”  Villanucci has been an annual face on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred for years due to his consistent performance and ability to branch out beyond the often-predictable news/talk topics heard on so many stations in the format.

sileodanDan Sileo Exits WQAM, Miami.  The statement from sports talk host Dan Sileo is brief and indicates the two sides were not seeing eye-to-eye on programming philosophy, “Our differences revolve around content issues and we wish each other the best.  As for me and my style of sports talk, I will never change.”  Sileo joined Beasley Broadcasting’s WQAM, Miami for the PM drive show after a successful stint at Clear Channel’s WDAE, Tampa.  He then moved to middays.

masonirelandL.A. Daily News Ranks Top Sports Talk Personalities Heard in Market.  To TALKERS editors, the thing that stands out about this list is that there are enough sports talk radio hosts – both local and nationally syndicated – to put together a ranking for the Los Angeles market.  But there are and KSPN’s Steve Mason and John Ireland tied for #1 this year with KLAC, Los Angeles’ Petros Papadakis coming in at #3 (there is no #2 since Mason and Ireland tied for #1).  Papadakis’ partner Matt “Money” Smith ranked #5 this year.  The paper also ranked the top nationally syndicated sports talk hosts heard in the L.A. market and the top three were: 1) Dan Patrick of DIRECTV/Fox Sports Radio; 2) Petros Papadakis and Matt “Money” Smith of Fox Sports Radio; and 3) Jay Mohr also of Fox Sports Radio Network.  Nice compliment for Jay Mohr since he’s only been in the gig since the beginning of the year.  And speaking of Jay Mohr…

mohrjayComedian, Actor and Sports Nut Jay Mohr Focuses on Fox Sports Radio Gig.  To show how serious he is about his new full-time gig as midday sports talk host on the Fox Sports Radio Network, Jay Mohr tells TALKERS magazine,Fox Sports Radio Logo “Honestly, I have turned off the sitcom and movie noise to concentrate on the radio show; those other doors are closed right now.  I cannot be on the phone trying to figure out how I am going to leave a studio at ‘this time’ to be on a movie set at ‘that time.’”  In this profile piece, TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian talks with Mohr about his radio influences, love of sports, comedy road work and how he got into the sports talk game by subbing for Jim Rome, and finally to his first full-time sports talk job.  He says of the fill-in work, “I thought if I could keep doing this, one day I might be able to do it for a living.  I listened to Jim for many years and he really changed sports talk radio.  He made it fun again.  My job is to reset the dial a little and bring everybody back to the fun part of it.”  Read the entire story here.

berrymichaelRising Talk Radio Star Says Host Endorsements Should Be Interesting (and a Whole Lot More).  He also says the goal of advertising on radio should be results – a simple concept often overlooked by sales and programming departments in their rush to sell the ads, give the client what they want and then get the spots on and off the air as quickly as possible.  Michael Berry is one of news/talk radio’s most dynamic and promising rising stars.  His mid-morning program is heard on KTRH, Houston as well as seven other respected talkers around the country.  Today (3/4) in an exclusive TALKERS piece he makes a number of powerful points about the marketing and delivery of advertising within the news/talk radio medium making the point that although host endorsements are an important technique to get the sponsor’s message across, the real trick is to do it in a way that also gets them results while proving to be a tune-in, and not a tune-out factor.  Berry (who will be speaking at Talkers New York 2013 on June 6) advises when it comes to writing and delivering commercial spots: 1) lose the copy points; 2) less is more; 3) trust the value of the endorsement (and don’t overload with justification); 4) be conversational throughout, building to the call to action; and 5) resist gimmicks and games.  To read this important article or pass it along to someone in your station or company who will benefit by it, click here.

morsechuckTalk Radio Pro Chuck Morse Joins IRN/USA Radio Network.  Boston-based talk personality Chuck Morse begins a daily, two-hour talk show (airing from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET) via the IRN/USA Radio Network.  Morse says of his new enterprise, “I am honored to work at the network founded by economist Larry Bates and award-winning talk pioneer, the late Marlon Maddoux.  I look forward to working with talk host Chuck Bates who carries on the tradition of excellence at IRN/USA.  With a national audience, I hope to follow in the footsteps of my mentor, the late Jerry Williams, who developed an intense bond with his callers and audience.”

baldwinstephenBaldwin/McCullough Radio Show Co-Host and Actor Tops Fundraiser Effort on Celebrity Apprentice All Stars Show.  Stephen Baldwin, actor and co-host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show “Baldwin/McCullough” (co-hosted by talk radio personality and XtreMedia CEO Kevin McCullough), and his team raised more than $600,000 for the American Red Cross during last night’s season premiere of NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice All Stars.”  That sum set a new record for the most ever raised in a season kick-off episode.  Baldwin is competing for the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Foundation named in honor of his mother.

millerchrisWelcome to the Concept of Core-Casting.  It is a simple and elegant idea that puts one of the most effective radio broadcasting uses of social media into perspective and focus.  Noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller writes today (3/4) about how social media provides radio programmers and talent with a pipeline to communicate directly with their most ardent listeners and fans.  Miller writes, “There are companies outside radio who are learning how to use social media to leverage the power of their most valuable customers.  One day, some smart radio group is going to figure out that social media is not just more broadcasting in a different medium.  Neither is it just a matter of getting likes, shares and comments.  While most mass marketing involves some form of trolling for cume, this is different.  This is like the sales department taking its 10 biggest clients on a cruise.   It’s core-casting.”  To read Chris Miller’s entire piece, click here.

bubbaBubba the Love Sponge Talks Suicidal Man ‘Off the Ledge.’  After an agitated and despondent man who had barricaded himself inside a Tampa-area business and was threatening to kill himself called the Bubba the Love Sponge program on Friday, Bubba (Todd Clem) was able to calm the man enough that he put his weapon down and was taken into custody by local police.  The man, identified as Corey, locked himself inside The Car Store, a business owned by Bubba’s friends Todd and Shellie Herndon.  The man is a family friend of the Herndons.  Bubba says, “I’m just glad The Herndons are safe, no deputies were harmed and this gentleman can get the help he needs.”

teinowitzharryHarry Teinowitz Exits ‘ESPN 1000’ Chicago.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports ESPN O&O WMVP “ESPN 1000” is going with a two-man PM drive show featuring Carmen DeFalco and John Jurkovic as the station has cut ties with Harry Teinowitz after 12 years.  Feder reports a memo to the staff read, in part, “At 6:00 pm this evening Harry Teinowitz signed off air for the last time at ESPN Chicago.  Throughout the many years that Harry has been with us, he has served in many different roles and has helped to establish the ESPN brand in Chicago.  Harry’s contributions will be felt for years to come in every department at ESPN Chicago.  We wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.”  Afternoon drive on sports talk radio is, by many industry executives, considered to be more important than AM drive.  Feder reports the most recent PPM data show crosstown rival WSCR leads the market in the Men 25-54 demo with a 7.2 share compared to WMVP’s 3.4 share.

raytomRadio Broadcasters Still Learning About IP Codecs.  Last week’s TALKERS article by technical editor Tom Ray about the proper use and application of IP codecs raised several questions from readers indicating there is still a lot to be learned about this emerging technology that promises to be the next step beyond ISDN in remote audio delivery.  Today (3/4), the industry’s leading technical wizard addresses some of those issues — namely 1) the most important thing to have in place to use IP codecs effectively; 2) how to integrate service between brands of the device made by different manufacturers and get them to “talk” to each other; and 3) how to go about purchasing and testing an IP codec.  To read Tom Ray’s informative article or pass it along to the person at your station or company who manages technical issues and equipment, click here.

scheinadamOdds & Sods.  Sports talk personality Adam Schein joins SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio.  Beginning March 11, Schein will host “Schein on Sports” live from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm ET on the Mad Dog Radio Channel.  He had “The SiriusXM Blitz” alongside 2002 NFL MVP Rich Gannon on the NFL channel…..TVNewser reports former “Good Morning America” senior executive producer Jim Murphy will serve as executive producer for CNN’s new morning show that will be co-hosted by Chris Cuomo.  It had been rumored that Erin Burnett would be moved to mornings alongside Cuomo but reports indicate that many not be the case…..In other TV news, the New York Daily News reports Matt Lauer is on the hot seat since “Today” has fallen behind “Good Morning America” and the local “Good Day New York” on Fox5 in New York City.  The story indicated morale on the set is low and conflicting reports about whether a new executive producer will join the show are adding to the problems.  Several sources are indicating Matt Lauer may not be long for the program.

RU @Speed-of-Life?

| February 25, 2013

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Listeners are busy and radio talent is spooked.

• Listeners? “OMG,” they’re texting, too often while driving. Most of their other media activity is also interactive, on-demand, hit-and-run. Notice how you yourself use your smartphone.

• Radio talent? Doubly-spooked!

1. It’s official: “Job security” is now an oxymoron. No names, but a real talented guy who works for a great big company’s major station in a top 10 market tells me: “Every Friday that I’m not fired is the beginning of a good weekend.” Survivors are playing it safe, sometimes too safe.

2. Many still working are, with best intentions, over-reacting to PPM. Often, their doing so highlights a disconnect with listeners’ speed-of-life.

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Hey Joe, Where Are You Going with That Mic In Your Hand?

| February 22, 2013

Picking the right topics when working in multiple markets

By Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo
Radio Talk Show Host

 (EDITOR’S NOTE:  Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo – a member of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred – is the host of mornings on KPRC, Houston; late afternoons on WOAI, San Antonio; weekends locally on KOA, Denver and weekends nationally on The Weekend show.  He is also a major “go to” fill-in host for such hosts as Glenn Beck, Todd Schnitt and many others.)

pagsjoeHOUSTON/SAN ANTONIO/DENVER/EVERYWHERE –Good morning, Houston.”  “Good afternoon, San Antonio.”  “Happy Saturday, Denver.”  “Good Weekend, America.”  These are all things I’m lucky enough to say either every day or every week.  It’s a supreme compliment to have the support of the stations in these markets and from Clear Channel and Premiere and quite a challenge.  Each show has its own feel, flow and audience make up and reaction.  So, over the last 11 years, I’ve learned what works everywhere and what is market specific.

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Five Impact Trends to Help You Reach the Future Safely

| February 21, 2013

By Walter Sabo
Sabo Media
Chairman

NEW YORK – The challenge of working at most radio stations or broadcast companies is the staff is pre-occupied with job security. As a result, trends that should be noted and discussed are dismissed in order to prepare the weekend schedule and worry about corporate.  As the CEO of an executive-on-demand company, Sabo Media, we are presented daily with new products, talent and ideas. Here are five that are interesting and may be helpful in growing your business:

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Have You Hugged Twitter Today?

| February 19, 2013

By Holland Cooke RadioConsultant Seinfeld-backwardBLOCK ISLAND – Remember Seinfeld-in-reverse? It was a special episode that was entirely backwards. It began with closing credits and ended with the opening theme. The plot started-at-the-end…then ended at-the-very-beginning. We saw Jerry and Kramer meet for the first time. In the final scene — the earliest chronological moment, a flashback, to a time before the Internet — Jerry’s date was telling him about the advent of Email. “Email,” Jerry asked, puzzled, “Why would I want to send someone an Email?” Read More

Friday, February 15, 2013

| February 15, 2013

nms2013logoSean Hannity to Host Breakfast Social and Deliver Morning Kick-Off Address at TALKERS New York 2013.  In what has become an annual tradition at the national TALKERS conference, Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel talk superstar hannityseanSean Hannity will again host a major networking event and deliver the morning kick-off address at the annual TALKERS conference.  In making the announcement TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “We all get to see a side of Sean that he saves for his colleagues in the industry – one of the most knowledgeable, articulate, and charismatic experts on the nuts and bolts of the business of spoken-word radio.  When Sean shows up at this event and addresses the industry on the state of ratings, research, advertising, affiliate relations and all the behind-the-scenes issues with which we as an industry are concerned, the left-versus-right paradigm that so dominates our airwaves disappears and it becomes apparent just what a broadcast industry statesman we have within our ranks.  He is a tremendous asset to this important gathering as well as the business of radio and television.”  Hannity will be one of a stellar lineup of industry luminaries being scheduled to speak at the event with more details of the roster and agenda to be announced next week.  Registrations for the 16th annual TALKERS New York City Conference are on sale now!  Save the date:  Thursday, June 6, 2013.  Formerly called “The New Media Seminar” the event – now simply titled “TALKERS New York 2013” – will again take place at the comfortable and modern Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side.  It will be a power-packed, full day of special addresses, panels, presentations, and social networking opportunities tackling the key issues facing talk radio and its relationship with the new talk media (internet, satellite, cable TV) as well as existential general radio industry issues including music radio and the changing role of the disc jockey.  According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “This will be a TALKERS conference for the new era.  Our presentation this year will be so fresh and vital to the survival and ‘thrival’ of the business that we actually are moving beyond the title ‘New Media Seminar.’  It is not to be missed.”  As indicated, registrations are now on sale. A full registration entitling the attendee to all presentation and food events is $199.  Due to the pressures of limited space and seating, there are no partial registrations.  This event is traditionally a rapid sellout.  IMPORTANT: Registration will be limited to members of the working media only and can only be taken over the phone.  For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.  Stay tuned for specific agenda details right here at Talkers.com.

coxmediagroupThe Price Tag for Cox Media’s Stations Going to SummitMedia: $66.25 million; Connoisseur to Pay $40 million.  The paperwork for the deal between Cox Media Group and the two buyers of its properties in six markets is being filed and now we know the price tags.  SummitMedia will pay $66. 25 million for the former’s radio properties in five markets.  The stations SummitMedia is in the process of acquiring are: Birmingham (WAGG-AM, WBHJ-FM, WBHK-FM, WENN-AM, WZZK-FM, WZNN-FM, WBPT-FM, and CMG’s contract rights for WALJ-FM); Greenville, South Carolina (WJMZ-FM, WHZT-FM); Hawaii (KRTR-AM/FM, KPHW-FM, KCCN-FM, KINE-FM, KKNE-AM); Louisville (WRKA-FM, WVEZ-FM, WSFR-FM, WQNU-FM); and Richmond (WHTI-FM, WKHK-FM, WKLR-FM, WURV-FM).  Connoisseur will pay $40 million for the Southern Connecticut stations that include: WPLR-FM, WEZN-FM, WFOX-FM, and contract rights for WYBC-FM.

rabRAB: Radio Up 4% in 2012 Q4.  According to a report by the Radio Advertising Bureau, radio ended 2012 on a high note with Q4 revenue up 4% over 2011 comps, to $4.34 billion.  The report notes this was the highest growth recorded over the past eight quarters and since the strong rebound gains registeredRABKaplan chart throughout 2010.  Full-year spending was up for the third consecutive year and totaled $16.482 billion (an increase of 1% over 2011).  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber says, “The resurgent automotive industry and the closely-contested presidential political race provided the main impetus for 2012’s positive spot performance.  Our medium also enjoyed strong increases in Q4 spending by advertisers in the key communications and financial services categories.”  The chart here shows comparisons of spot, digital and off-air.

cbsradioCBS Radio Reports 2012 Q4 Revenue Up 1%.  Most of the talk during the CBS conference call yesterday was about television.  Not surprising since that’s where CBS is performing extremely well.  The talk of CBS possibly selling its radio division did not come up as it has so often in the past.  In fact, CEO Les Moonves’ only mention of radio during the call was in connecting the new CBS Sports Radio Network to Super Bowl programming when he said, “The Super Bowl was also very good for us in radio, where we debuted our CBS Sports Radio network just a few weeks before the game.  When we announced this venture last year, we had less than 100 affiliates. Now we’re already at 250.  The Super Bowl was a tremendous launching pad for this franchise, and we look forward to good things to come.”

knstlogoClear Channel Breaks Up AM/FM Simulcast of News/Talk KNST, Tucson.  It looks like Clear Channel is going to leave news/talk on FM in Tucson to Journal’s crosstown KQTH “104.1 The Truth.”  A new country format debuted on KNST FM – “Wild Country 97.1” – ending the AM/FM simulcast of the news/talk format that’s been in effect since November of 2011.  News/talk remains the format on the AM 790 frequency.

ballentinewarrenAttorney and Talk Radio Personality Warren Ballentine Pleads Not Guilty in Bank Fraud Case.  Lawyer and former Syndication One talk radio personality Warren Ballentine pleaded “not guilty” in U.S. District Court of Northern Illinois.  He faces multiple charges of fraud after begin charged by a federal grand jury with two counts of bank fraud, two counts of making false statements to lenders, and one count each of mail fraud and wire fraud.  The indictment is seeking a forfeiture of some $9,775,000.  Ballentine hosted a nationally syndicated midday program distributed by Syndication One but the program was cancelled after the news of his indictment went public.

tantarosandreaTRN’s Andrea Tantaros Picking Up Affiliates at Steady Clip.  On the heels of her positive write-up in the New York Observer, Fox News Channel and Talk Radio Network personality Andrea Tantaros is adding new affiliates and getting praise from existing affiliate PDs, reports TRN CEO Mark Masters.  Yesterday, TALKERS reported the Observer story that profiled Tantaros as one of the cast members of FNC’s “The Five” and host of her own syndicated talk radio program.  Tantaros filled the slot left vacant by the departure of Laura Ingraham from the TRN lineup and programmers, including KENZ, Reno’s Sean Patrick are pleased with her performance.  Patrick says, “Andrea Tantaros is a fabulous addition to our lineup.  She is the breath of fresh air that conservative talk radio has been lacking, a female perspective that is conversational.  She is a rising star in the format and we are proud to have her on our station.”  Buckley Radio of Connecticut VP/GM Eric Fahnoe states, “We’re thrilled with the lively and engaging perspective that the Andrea Tantaros show brings to ‘The Talk of Connecticut’ station lineup.  Andrea’s fresh presentation addresses contemporary issues and perfectly aligns with the direction we wanted to take our programming in 2013!”

webbhuckabeeThis Year, Jerusalem. The Middle East is a non-stop, hot-spot of political, ethnic and social intrigue replete with complex nuances often lost in the day-to-day mainstream press - making it a valuable destination for talk show hosts to do first-hand, fact-finding missions and live broadcasts with a parade of fascinating interviews.  In the past decade, America’s Voices in Israel, with advice from TALKERS magazine, has sponsored dozens of radio talk show hosts representing a spectrum of political perspectives on such trips to the Holy Land.  SiriusXM Patriot Channel host David Webb is broadcasting fromwebbTALKERS Israel this week on one such journey where he met up with Fox News Channel and Cumulus Radio host Mike Huckabee in Jerusalem in addition to interviewing numerous leaders of government, industry, health, arts and science. Webb (right) and Huckabee (left) are pictured above previewing the upcoming U.S. presidential visit to Israel in March.  Webb is also pictured (at right) in the radio broadcasting studio of the Jerusalem Post holding an old copy of TALKERS magazine on display featuring a cover shot of TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and syndicated host Doug Stephan meeting with Israel’s current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

brownscottOdds & Sods.  Former Massachusetts Republican Senator Scott Brown is the newest contributor to join Fox News Channel.  Brown served the final two years of the term of the late Ted Kennedy before losing a re-election bid to Elizabeth Warren.  Fox EVP of programming Bill Shine says, “Senator Brown’s dedication to out-of-the box thinking on key issues makes him an important voice in the country and we are looking forward to his contributions across all Fox News platforms.”…..Two daytime TV talk shows have bitten the dust within the last week.  “The Ricki Lake Show” was canceled by Twentieth Television and just yesterday the Los Angeles Times reported “The Jeff Probst Show” is being canceled at the end of its second season.

State of the Union Address Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 11.  According to the ongoing research from TALKERS, the president’s State of the Union address was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio, landing atop the Talkers TenTM for the week of February 11-15.  Following at #2 was the Christopher Dorner case.  At #3 was the sequester deadline tied with deficit reduction and the Chuck Hagel and Jack Lew hearings were tied at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

EAS LESSON: Protect Your Station
from Hackers

| February 14, 2013

By Thomas R. Ray, III CPBE, AMD, DRB
Tom Ray Consulting
President
TALKERS
Technical Editor

NEW YORK — By now, you have heard that there was an EAS hack at a TV station the other day.  An alert went out about a zombie attack.  Now, before anyone goes off about EAS, it should be noted that the CAP feed was not affected.  This appears to be strictly a case of computer network security.

And before we go deeper, it should be stated that when something like this happens, it is only natural that it becomes a news story.  And news stories require actualities.  If something goes awry with EAS, please keep in mind that it is OK to play the actual audio message that went out – but it CANNOT contain the EAS data bursts or the two-tone alert signal.  It is illegal to transmit those outside of an actual EAS activation or test, per FCC regulation 47 CFR 11.45.

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Do You Sound “CompuServe”
to Smartphone Users?

| February 14, 2013

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — To avoid a common mistake I hear in my radio travels, promos for your station’s website should END – not BEGIN – by plugging the site.

Instead, begin by telling ‘em ONE REASON they want to go there.

Fundamentally, a promo is a commercial, right? So, as with copy you’d write for an advertiser, you should:
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Radio: “House of Cards?”

| February 13, 2013

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

HouseOfCards 125BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Ruthless and cunning, Congressman Francis Underwood (Oscar® winner Kevin Spacey) and his wife Claire (Robin Wright) stop at nothing to conquer everything. This wicked political drama penetrates the shadowy world of greed, sex, and corruption in modern D.C.

But you won’t see it at the multiplex. Or on HBO, or Showtime. Or on TNT, FX, or other basic cable channels which are now so aggressively producing top-shelf original programming. “House of Cards” is an original Netflix series.

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Managers: Forget “Time Management.”
Don’t Even Try!

| February 11, 2013

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — News flash: Time cannot be managed. But tasks can.

Whenever we install a new PD at a client station, I share four techniques I myself have found darn helpful over many years of dancing-as-fast-as-I-can in several over-tasked management positions.

1. “Mapping” your week. Use a spreadsheet, to create a schedule that doesn’t change week-to-week. Slot-in items like:

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

| February 7, 2013

owensronnRonn Owens Signs New Deal with KGO, San Francisco.  The iconic Bay Area talk radio fixture begins his 38th year in the radio business after signing a two-year guaranteed deal with an option for a third year.  Ronn Owens was reported by Bay Area media blogger Rich Lieberman to be on his way out at the Cumulus Media heritage talker back in the fall – a story TALKERS picked up on – but that did not happen and it appears Owens is likely to mark his 40th anniversary in the business at KGO in a couple of years.  At a time when legendary personalities across the country are being ousted from their programs due to budget cuts and programming changes, it’s nice to see a figure of Owens’ magnitude sign up for a new tour of duty!

eaganbraudeBoston Media Personalities Margery Eagan and Jim Braude Land at Pubcaster WGBH.  Boston Herald columnist Margery Eagan and Boston TV and radio personality Jim Braude will begin hosting a daily 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm talk program on public radio outlet WGBH, Boston beginning February 25, almost two months after they exited Greater Media’s WTKK, Boston due to a format change.   Eagan and Braude hosted mornings at WTKK for much of the 13 years they were at WTKK.  The Boston Herald reports the current midday hosts at WGBH – Callie Crossley and Emily Rooney – will be featured on the new program as well.

paiajitFCC Commissioner Ajit Pai to Address AM Band at NAB Show in April.  The National Association of Broadcasters announces FCC Commissioner Ajit V. Pai will lead a session on AM radio revitalization at the NAB Show in Las Vegas on Monday, April 8.  The NAB states, “Broadcasters are exploring the challenges and opportunities related to revitalizing AM radio while continuing to provide the popular, local programming that millions of listeners rely on daily. This session, held within the Broadcast Management Conference, will address possible options for sustaining and enhancing AM radio as a unique entertainment medium.  Commissioner Pai, who has expressed special interest in the future of AM radio, will moderate a panel of AM radio leaders, engineers and policy experts.”

olivertrevorTrevor Oliver Exits Premiere Networks.  After 15 years with Premiere Networks, Trevor Oliver exits his SVP of operations position.  Oliver tells TALKERS magazine he leaves the company on very good terms and that he’s looking forward to his next opportunity.  Oliver, who joined Premiere in 1998, has an excellent reputation in the industry and TALKERS has no doubt he’ll put his numerous talents to use in the business somewhere very soon.

malonesamTalk Host Sam Malone to Return to Houston Airwaves (and Cablewaves!).  Houston radio personality Sam Malone – most recently heard in the market on Dan Patrick-owned news/talk KSEV – will begin a new program on Phonoscope Cable and the show will be simulcast on a local talk radio station to be named later.  The Houston Chronicle reports that Malone, who is serving as president of Phonoscope New Media, says the idea for a video and audio show grew out of his experience with Phonoscope.  “This is where radio will be going in the future.  We need to get the message to smartphones and iPads, not just car radios.”  In addition to KSEV, Malone has also worked at music outlets KRBE and KHMX in Houston.  He tells the Chronicle he’ll announce the radio station he’ll be on next week but says it’s a station he has not worked for in the past.

sweeneyjohnFormer Congressman John Sweeney to Host Albany Talk Show.  Four-term Republican Congressman John Sweeney begins a daily one-hour talk show on Capital Broadcasting’s WGDJ, Albany “Talk 1300.”  Sweeney joined president and general manager Paul Vandenburgh on his morning program to announce he’ll begin the 11:00 am to 12:00 noon program on Monday, February 11.  Sweeney says, “One of the things I miss about being in the public eye is my day-to-day interaction with the people.”  Vandenburgh states, “John has consistently been a leader in the Capital District.  Our goal from day one has been to provide a local product on a daily basis and John will be a marvelous addition.”

ramseyknoxDave Ramsey Knocks ‘em Dead in Knoxville.  Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey presented his “Building Your Legacy” event to a sold-out crowd in Knoxville recently.  Ramsey talked about how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence and worked with his daughter Rachel Cruze, who joined him on stage for the presentation.  Ramsey teamed up with local affiliate WNOX-FM to promote this event.  WNOX general manager Ed Brantley states, “Dave Ramsey’s ‘Building Your Legacy’ was a huge success not only for WNOX-FM and our sponsors but for the community.  Dave’s up-close-and-personal approach captured the sold-out crowd.”

la talk radio logoLA Talk Radio Celebrates 5th Anniversary.  The Los Angeles-based internet talk radio station is celebrating its fifth year “on the air.”  Founder Sam Hasson says, “LA Talk Radio has found its success in emerging radio talent in Los Angeles and the rest of the world.  We now provide over 80 shows of quality programming, giving ambitious hosts a vocal platform where they can build their listening audience.”  LA Talk Radio was born on February 4, 2008, as BBS Talk Radio launched in a “small but comfortable office” in a luxurious high-rise building in downtown Los Angeles.  It wasn’t long before Hasson had three daily shows and six weekly shows and soon thereafter began broadcasting 24 hours a day.

patrickmorgan gunsKTRH and KPRC, Houston’s Matt Patrick Faces Off with Piers Morgan on Gun Issue.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment personality Matt Patrick (r) – whose programs air on KTRH, Houston in AM drive and on sister KPRC in afternoons – is pictured here at a live remote broadcast from Tactical Firearms in Houston.  Patrick tells TALKERS magazine the remote was a “spirited and interactive show to a live audience of listeners.”  Patrick’s program aired live before CNN personality and gun legislation advocate Piers Morgan (c) brought his television show to the same location later that evening to argue for the proposed ban on high volume semi-automatic weapons. “Piers Morgan Tonight” aired from Tactical Firearms after Morgan agreed to come and use the gun range and try to experience why Texans love their guns.  Morgan agreed to appear on the final segment of Patrick’s program in front of a live audience.

kykn gun rallyKYKN, Salem, Oregon’s Bill Post Draws Crowd to Gun Rally.  Willamette Broadcasting’s KYKN, Salem helped draw a crowd of some 3,000 to the Oregon State Capitol on January 19 for a rally dubbed, “Guns Across America.”  A key speaker at the event was 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm talk host Bill Post (at the mic) who addressed the crowd about the gun legislation issue.  The station reports that requests for autographs and photos with Post were overwhelming.

Deficit Reduction Debate; Obama Drone Killing Controversy; Gun Legislation Proposals; Chris Christie Weight Flap and Obama Care Costs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/6).  The debate in Washington over reducing the deficit via tax and spending cuts; President Obama’s insistence on the right to use drones to kill U.S. citizens; the move to enact new gun control legislation; the media flap over Governor Chris Christie’s weight; and the looming costs of the Affordable Care Act were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

How-To Two: More Tips for Talk Radio’s Weekend Warriors

| February 5, 2013

By Holland Cooke
Talk Radio Consultant

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Yesterday here, I outlined techniques for pumping-up call count to weekend specialty shows. If you missed it: How to Pump Up Your Weekend ‘How-To’ Show.

And here are four more tips for ask-the-experts hosts:

Stay (relentlessly) on-topic

Don’t, for instance, talk about a movie you recently saw, unless it relates directly to your topic of expertise. Why?

Read More

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

| February 5, 2013

marksandbraceGreater Media’s Sports Talk WPEN-FM, Philadelphia Tweaks Daily Lineup.  The Philadelphia sports talker promotes two from their Saturday program to a daily midday show.  Jon Marks and Sean Brace began holding down the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot on Monday.  Marks most recently co-hosted with Tony Bruno and Brian Baldinger, weekdays 10:00 am to 12:00 noon and 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm respectively.  Sean Brace (as Jon did before him) also produced the Mike Missanelli show for the past year.  As a result of the move, Brian Baldinger moves to the evening show where he co-hosts with Joe DeCamera for the 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm program.  Program director Matt Nahigian says, “Jon Marks’ and Sean Brace’s on-air chemistry has been on display every Saturday morning for the past two years.  The two young and up-and-coming sports talk hosts have created a fun and irreverent show that the Fanatic Philadelphia fans enjoy.”

wjox logoMore Legal Tussles Between Cumulus and Cox Media in Birmingham.  Sports talk outlets WJOX and WZNN in Birmingham are at it again it court, this time over programmer Ryan Haney’s move from WJOX to WZNN.  At issue is the non-compete clause in Haney’s contract.  The Birmingham News reports that Citadelwznn logo (Cumulus) is arguing Haney is in breach of his contract with the company by leaving to work for direct competitor WZNN “ESPN 97.3 The Zone.”  Further, Citadel wants a temporary restraining order against Haney to prevent him from working while the case works its way through the system.  Citadel also wants the court proceedings blacked out to the media because in arguing its case it will have to disclose confidential and proprietary business information.  A judge is set to hear arguments this morning (2/5).  Haney’s non-compete was for the period of one year after exiting WJOX which he did in early January.  Haney had been with WJOX since 2004.

weismanstevenYour Radio Station is Vulnerable to Identity Theft.  We all are aware of the dangers of identity theft and many of us do our best to protect ourselves individually from the dire consequences of having our identities stolen.  But what about your radio station?  Does it even know that there is a problem?  Recently we have learned that both The New York Times and the Washington Post had their computers breached by Chinese hackers and this was not the first time.  The hacking into The New York Times and the Washington Post do not appear to be financially motivated, but that is of little solace.  Why would an identity thief hack into the computers of your radio station rather than attack the computers of big corporations such as Bank of America?  Well, the answer is that they are attacking the computers of the big corporations, but they also are looking toward the computers of small corporations as the low hanging fruit of computer hacking.  Radio stations make enticing targets.  Hacking into the computers of radio stations and other small corporations that may not be in the Fortune 500 not only can provide information that can be stolen to access your radio station’s bank accounts, but it can also provide personal information about employees (some of whom are famous and even controversial), such as Social Security numbers as well as billing and payment information about your advertisers and other companies with which you do business that can be used to make all of these people and entities victims of identity theft.  This is happening to small businesses every day.  One of the reasons that it is happening is that not enough businesses, small and large, but particularly small, are doing enough to safeguard the security of the data in their computers. According to TALKERS legal editor Steve Weisman the problem is not as bad as you think.  It is far worse.  Read his important article addressing the problem and offering solutions here.

eisensonalan

Programming Pro Alan Eisenson Joins Media Management Group as EVP of Business Development.  Talk radio programmer Alan Eisenson most recently was in charge of programming Clear Channel’s Northern California news/talk stations: heritage KFBK-AM/FM and KSTE, Sacramento as well as KKSF and KNEW, San Francisco.  Now he joins New York-based Media Management Group as executive vice president of business development.  The firm states, “In his new capacity Eisenson will enable MMG to expand its range of services, including performance and tactical support, and maximizing client audience growth across all media and technology platforms.”  MMG president and CEO Jeff Schwartz states, “I have known Alan for over 12 years, since he was program director at WEVD here in NYC.  He is one of the most talented programmers and talent managers in the business and will enable us to offer additional value to our current and prospective clients.”

muellerchrisCBS Radio’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh “Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan” Promotes Two.  Late night sports talk host Chris Mueller is upped to the afternoon drive slot as part of the program hosted by Joe Starkey and Josh Miller weekdays from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Mueller is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad.  He has been with “The Fan” since its February 2010 debut.  About Chris Mueller, program director Ryan Maguire says, “In Chris, we feel we have a dynamic personality who really had great chemistry with Joe Starkey and Josh Miller.  That speaks volumes because we had some very talented candidates that we were looking at for this position.  He earned this, and we’re excited at what lies ahead.”  Moving into the late night slot is weekender Colin Dunlap, who was most recently hosting the 8:00 am to 11:00 am weekend program.  Dunlap is a former Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sports writer.  In addition to his on-air duties at “Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan,” Dunlap will also serve as the featured sports columnist for 937thefan.com.

cookehollandHow to Pump Up Your Weekend “How-To” Show – Part 2.  Talk radio consultant Holland Cooke says, “Few marketing opportunities can generate more new business than local ‘how-to’ weekend talk radio…if you use it properly.”  In this follow-up to yesterday’s piece, Cooke offers four basic tips to maximizing the productivity and quality of these shows:  1) Stay relentlessly on topic; 2) Keep your information in layman’s language; 3) Don’t say “goodbye” at the end of the show; 4) Listen to the show yourself, after some time has gone by so you hear it more objectively.  Read Holland Cooke’s suggestions for producing quality weekend “how-to” programs here.

hillaustinAustin Hill and Brian Wiley Join KINF-AM/FM, Boise.  Impact Radio Group news/talk KINF-AM/FM, Boise brings talk pro Austin Hill aboard for the morning drive program beginning Monday, February 11.  Also being added to the program schedule is Brian Wiley who will bring his “Money Show with Brian Wiley” to the station for the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot.  Both Hill and Wiley previously worked at Peak Broadcasting’s crosstown KIDO.  Austin Hill’s weekend syndicated show “Austin Hill’s Big World of Small Business” airs on Saturdays on KINF.

Obama Gun Legislation Tour, Obama Cabinet Nominees, Super Bowl XLVII, Immigration Reform, and Death of Ed Koch Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/4).  President Obama’s tour of the country to promote his gun legislation; cabinet nominations for President Obama’s second term; the aftermath of Super Bowl XLVII; the debate over immigration reform legislation; and the death of former NYC Mayor Ed Koch were among the top news/talk stories discussed on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

How to Pump Up Your Weekend ‘How-To’ Show

| February 4, 2013

By Holland Cooke
Talk Radio Consultant

BLOCK ISLAND, RI – Few marketing opportunities can generate more new business than local talk radio…if you use it properly.  Thus all the buff stuff we hear on weekends, specialty programming that becomes appointment listening, and moves product and services for hosts who do fundamentally good radio, principally inviting callers’ questions.

Listeners use these shows for two things:

  1. Information: Consumers rely on experts for specific advice about products and services they’re shopping for.  That’s you, if your show includes news about your area of expertise, new product reviews, and interviews with guests who can explain and simplify what might otherwise seem complicated, even scary, to listeners.  In every city in the USA, Saturday/Sunday radio fare includes shows about auto repair, food and wine, health and fitness, home improvement, gardening, the law, pets, consumer electronics, and other specialties.
  2. Interaction: At its best, talk radio is two-way radio.  So THE MOST valuable use of your airtime is answering callers’ questions.  “The lawyer is in, the meter is off” is a very inviting proposition…and attorneys who host radio shows get lots of new clients by offering “free samples” in this fashion.  It’s remarkable how callers themselves will ask the law show host, “May I call you Monday at your office?”  Demonstrating your expertise on air is more powerful than a mere advertising pitch, and makes you seem more approachable than a Yellow Pages ad for your competitors.  So, generally, the more callers the better.  Each caller’s situation will be relatable to lots of listeners who don’t call…all of whom could become your customers.

Read More

Blogging to Grow your Tribe

| January 30, 2013

More Thoughts from the Recent New Media Expo

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

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

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

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

Read More

Radio’s Biggest Star: Baseball

| January 25, 2013

By Holland Cooke
News/Talk/Sports Radio Consultant

St. LOUIS — Do the math. For six months when habitual listening dips as listeners vacation and otherwise alter their lives, baseball brings:

• Long-TSL tune-in (“vertical maintenance” in Arbitron-speak), to…

• 162 three+ hour shows (“horizontal maintenance”), by…

Read More

Thursday, January 24, 2013

| January 24, 2013

hold2013“Hold Their Feet to the Fire” Washington Radio Row Scheduled for April 17-18.  The annual convergence of radio talk show hosts on Washington, DC to raise awareness about the United States’ immigration policies will take place this year on April 17 and 18.  The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is organizing the radio row at which talk hosts from across the country will broadcast live for two days from Capitol Hill debating immigration reform while interviewing members of Congress, law enforcement officials, experts, activists and citizens who live along the border.  FAIR says that since the spring of 2007 when “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” successfully helped defeat the McCain-Kennedy Amnesty Bill, the event has grown each year due to mounting public concerns about illegal immigration and talk radio’s expanding influence on the public policy process.  The organization also states that with an illegal alien bill likely in spring, this year’s event is expected to be the largest yet with 60 or more hosts attending.  FAIR communications director Bob Dane tells TALKERS magazine reservations are required and hosts/producers should call now.  There is no cost to attend and all technical engineering, ISDN lines and long distance is included.  Silver Lake Audio of New York is the official engineering firm for “Hold Their Feet to the Fire.”  Congressional guests, activists, high-profile media personalities, and immigration experts will be in attendance and available throughout the event for wall-to-wall interviews.  Dane or event manager Kristen Williamson can be reached at 202-328-7004.

spittlegavinProgrammer Gavin Spittle Returns to Dallas as VP of News/Talk/Sports for CBS Radio.  Sports and talk programmer Gavin Spittle lets go of the reins at CBS Radio’s sports talk KILT-AM, Houston “SportsRadio 610” to move back to the company’s Dallas cluster to oversee sports talk KRLD-FM “105.3 The Fan,” KRLD-AM “NewsRadio 1080” and the Texas State Networks beginning February 4.  Three and a half years ago, Spittle left his VP of news and talk post in Dallas where he programmed KRLD-AM and KRLD-FM when it was hot talk “Live 105.3.”  Spittle also oversaw the change of the station to sports talk.  On returning to Dallas, SVP and market manager Brian Purdy says, “Under Gavin’s leadership, ‘SportsRadio 610’ dominated Houston sports talk.  During his time with the station, ratings among Men 25-54 more than doubled.  We’re fortunate to have Gavin as part of our CBS Radio family, and we’re looking forward to having him back in Dallas-Fort Worth.”

wallsteveTalk Radio Network Welcomes Steve Wall as National Affiliate Consultant.  Joining TRN Syndications Ltd. is radio pro Steve Wall as national affiliate consultant.  TRN notes that Wall is a “veteran with over 30-years of experience including programming some of America’s highest-rated radio stations across multiple formats in many markets including San Diego, Kansas City, Monterey, Bakersfield, Richmond, and Spokane.”  Chief executive officer Mark Masters states, “I am pleased to have Steve in our affiliate department.  With our recent launch of ‘The Andrea Tantaros Show’ and the new times for ‘The Jerry Doyle Show’ and ‘The Rusty Humphries Show,’ the timing is perfect to expand our affiliate department to better serve our growing affiliate customer base.  Steve is a proven radio professional who can help stations realize their true potential with quality programming.”

schnitttoddSchnitt vs Bubba: Day 5.  On the fifth day of testimony in the trial in which Compass Media Networks talk show host Todd Schnitt is suing Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) for defamation, Schnitt was on the witness stand for the second day.  Schnitt and his lawyers are trying to convince the jury that Bubba’s “radio war” against him (Schnitt’s MJ Kelli CHR morning show competed against Bubba’s program in the Tampa market) went over the line and fans – known as Bubba’s Army – harassed him and his family.  During Schnitt’s testimony Wednesday, he said the incidents where a Bubba fan triedbubba to run him off the road or accosted him at a supermarket in front of his daughter made his family more reclusive and it changed their lifestyle.  According to Tampa Bay Online, he testified he should be compensated in the suit to prevent Bubba “from ever doing this in the future.”  Schnitt also states that Bubba’s accusation Schnitt rigged a national contest negatively affected his professional integrity.  Under cross examination Schnitt admitted he and his family do go out but he said he makes limited public appearances because of the harassment.  Before the cross examination he stated, “There’s no amount of damages that will compensate me, my wife my family, for what we experienced.  But the jury should award damages that will enable us to believe we did all we could possible to clear our good names.”

bakerchrisChris Baker Exits KSEV, Houston PM Drive Slot.  Talk show host Chris Baker is exiting Dan Patrick-owned news/talk station KSEV, Houston where he’s been PM drive host since February of 2011.  The station is bringing market pro Edd Hendee back to the airwaves for the morning drive show.  Hendee has been out of radio since the untimely death of his son in February of 2010.  Taking over the afternoon slot is Mack Machowicz.  The Houston Chronicle’s David Barron reports Baker is not announcing where he may go next but had nothing but good things to say about owner Dan Patrick.  “He has been the most gracious and accommodating guy that you could ask to work for.  Dan always wants people to better themselves.  In this day and age and in this industry, it is rare to have a manager who will always root for peoples’ success.”

bashirmartinOdds & Sods.  MSNBC host Martin Bashir has been slowed by a brain tumor diagnosed back in 2008.  The Huffington Post reports Bashir missed his regular slot on MSNBC last Friday as the result of a small growth on his pituitary gland.  Bashir told DC Fishbowl that when the tumor was diagnosed doctors advised him to take no action but to monitor it monthly…..CNN names Dana Bash chief congressional correspondent.  TVNewser reports Bash has been on the Capitol Hilltrumpdonald beat since 2006.  CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist says in a memo to staff, “Week in and week out, Dana’s reporting and analysis make our air better.  And we saw it again yesterday with Dana’s relentless efforts to land interviews in the Capitol Rotunda during our Inauguration coverage.”…..New York Magazine is reporting that Donald Trump is exploring ways to purchase The New York Times.  The piece, written by Joe Hagan, notes that “Trump has engaged in more than one meeting to discuss how he might buy the Grey Lady.  Details of Trump’s strategy remain scant.  And it seems unlikely, to say the least, that the Sulzberger family, which controls the company’s voting shares, would welcome his offer.”

kgmz luckybreakKGMZ, San Francisco Holds Sports Talk Host Contest.  Entercom’s 95.7 The Game in San Francisco is executing a sports talk host competition promotion called “Lucky Break 2” – “the return of the Bay Area’s only sports reality competition, where local sports fans compete for the chance of a lifetime: to get paid to host a sports talk show on the radio.”  Program director Jason Barrett says, “After seeing the amazing talent and passion that Bay Area sports fans brought to ‘Lucky Break’ last year, we had to bring ‘Lucky Break’ back for 2013.  ‘Lucky Break’ is a chance to win one of the best jobs in the world: becoming a sports radio talk show host in a major U.S. market.”  ‘Lucky Break 2’ begins with the first open audition on February 5 Halftime Sports Bar in Oakland.  It’s being hosted by KGMZ’s Guy Haberman and Gianna Franco and contestants will be coached by Dan Dibley from ‘The Rise Guys’ and Chris Townsend from ‘Bucher & Towny.’  Judges include KGMZ PD Jason Barrett, host John Lund and celebrity athletes from local Bay Area sports teams.  Last year’s celebrity judges included Golden State Warriors forward David Lee, San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco 49ers TE Delanie Walker and more.  Last year, more than 600 contestants showed up to audition for ‘Lucky Break 1,’ which was eventually won by Daryle “The Guru” Johnson, who can be heard weekends on “95.7 The Game.”

madisonjoeSiriusXM’s Joe Madison to Interview Activist Harry Belafonte.  As part of the satcaster’s Town Hall series, talk show host Joe Madison – whose program is also heard on terrestrial station WOL, Washington – will sit down with actor, singer and activist Harry Belafonte at SiriusXM’s New York City studios.  Belafonte will also take questions from the audience.  The premiere of the program is Friday, January 25 at 5:00 pm ET.

woki logoDick Broadcasting Wins Decision in 12-Year-Old Case.  The upshot is that the Tennessee Supreme Court is sending Dick Broadcasting’s suit against John Pirkle’s Oak Ridge FM over WOKI, Knoxville back to a lower court where Dick can sue for damages.  (By the way WOKI is currently owned by Cumulus Media.) Here’s the background: In 2000, Dick sold 11 stations to Citadel for $300 million, of which WOKI would have been one.  At the time Dick had a time brokerage agreement with WOKI owner Oak Ridge FM to operate WOKI with a clause that gave Dick the right of first refusal to buy the station.  Oak Ridge refused to consent to the transfer of the station and honor the transfer.  A year later Dick sued Oak Ridge but lost in a lower court but the appellate court ruled the lower court judge should not have dismissed the case.  Oak Ridge challenged that at the Tennessee Supreme Court where the six judges ruled unanimously that the appellate court had it right and Dick can sue for damages.

bqhardquestionColorful Broadcaster and Host Blanquita Cullum Returns to Talk Media with New TV Series, “The Hard Question™.”  Veteran talk industry figure, Blanquita Cullum (pictured here at the podium) launched ‘The Hard Question™’, her new signature TV series devoted exclusively to the issue of energy in the 21st century, last night (1/23) before a packed audience of well-wishers and reporters at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.  The videotaping consisted of two back-to-back lively discussions collectively titled “Setting the Course on Energy” that delved into the future of American energy policy with points of view expressed by panels of diverse experts in the field.  The pilot programs were aired on June 24 and July 15 of 2012 on KTRK-TV (ABC) in Houston, Texas and won the top spots in their time periods (visit www.thehardquestion.com to view).  The network version will be a weekly debate series on MHz Networks hosted by Cullum.  MHz Networks reaches over 42 million households nationwide.  “The energy industry is going through a renaissance; it is full of hope,” Doug Cain, CEO of Lake Truck Lines, who served on the first panel: “The President’s Agenda – the Future of Traditional Energy versus Alternatives,” expressed in an interview following the panel discussion.  In addition to Cain, the panelists included: W. Herbert Hunt, Petro-Hunt; John Hofmeister, former president of Shell and founder of Citizens for Affordable EnergyKevin Book, Clear View Energy Partners;  Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn, ACORE; David Martineau, Chairman TIPR and Bruce Vincent, Swift Energy.  The second panel addressed the question: “Climate Change – Science or Hype?”  Panelists included Leighton Steward, Plants Need CO2; former NASA scientist Harold Doiron; Scott Sklar, The Stella Group; Daniel Weiss of the Center for American Progress; Kevin Book, Clean View Energy Partners and David Kreutzer of the Heritage Foundation.  Blanquita Cullum, who was a high-profile, nationally-syndicated, “Heavy Hundred” host in the 1990s and early 2000s, left day-to-day radio to become a presidentially appointed, Senate-confirmed governor on the United States Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees all U.S international broadcasting, where she served for a number of years followed by a series of public policy consulting projects.  “No issue touches people across the globe like energy, and ‘The Hard Question’ will never shrink from tackling the real-life obstacles of such a life-changing issue,” she tells TALKERS. “Now, as we embark on a new era with the historic re-election of President Obama, the country will set a course on energy that will have critical implications for this planet for decades to come.” Photo by Jamie Cullum.

wood logoCool Job Opportunity.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s “Newsradio WOOD 1300 & 106.9 FM” is looking for its next great News Director.  Applicant must have a minimum of three years of experience in a news/talk environment plus be a digital-first (web, mobile, and social media), community-focused leader in covering and reporting local and regional news, traffic and weather.  Candidate will also possess excellent communication, leadership, and organizational skills, as well as the ability to coach and lead individuals within our award-winning news operation.  Email cover letter and resume to michelejohnson@clearchannel.com. No phone calls please.  Clear Channel Radio is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi Testimony, North Korea’s U.S. Threats, Deficit Reduction Battle, U.S. Military Opens Combat Roles to Women and Manti Te’o Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/23).  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s testimony before Congress on the Benghazi attack; new nuclear threats against the United States by North Korea; the battle in Washington over reduction of the deficit; the opening of combat roles to women in the U.S. military and the Manti Te’o phony girlfriend saga were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

| January 22, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are You Doing Both Kinds of “Radio?”

| January 21, 2013

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Based on how people now consume audio content, “radio” sorts into two piles:

1. There’s programming that’s valuable because it’s live:

2. Traffic reports are radio’s MOST-perishable information. Save listeners unpleasant surprises and they’ll love ya.

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Gun Control Issue Surges as Talk Radio Topic

| January 11, 2013

By Kevin Casey
TALKERS magazine

caseywriterSPRINGFIELD, Ma. — The Newtown, Connecticut tragedy has stimulated a tremendous amount of talk about guns in America.  Usually it is one of those topics — like abortion — that hosts and programmers try to avoid because there are seldom new angles and little give and take between sides.  Sandy Hook has changed that.  It is this week’s number one talk radio topic.  So, how have talk hosts and stations been handling this issue?

Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel superstar Sean Hannity says, for him, it’s about more than the isolated issue of America’s gun laws and his programs are approaching it from a larger perspective.  “On the specific issue itself for me it is simple; we protect our money with armed guards, we protect our elected officials with armed guards, and our “Hollywood stars” hannityseanwith armed guards.  If we really want to keep our children safe in school, why not hire retired armed police officers?  Do they deserve less?  Many college campuses already have such guards. The other huge issue I am focused on is the abuse of power and an emerging imperial presidency.  The Constitution is America’s rule of law, we have co-equal branches of Government, separation of powers etc…Obama making recess appointments when the senate is not in recess; Obama using executive orders to adopt amnesty provisions of the failed Dream Act; Biden threatening that executive orders will be used to bypass Congress on the Second Amendment.  Imagine if George Bush tried to bypass Congress on a First Amendment issue!  Pelosi and Democrats are encouraging the president to use the Fourteenth Amendment to bypass Congress and raise the debt ceiling.  All examples of an executive branch power grab.  I am also asking one simple question.  If, God forbid, somebody breaks into your house or place of work, how will you protect yourself?

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

| January 8, 2013

cuddytomIt’s Official:  Tom Cuddy to Program WOR, New York.  The rumor of former WPLJ, New York PD Tom Cuddy’s new gig as programmer of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk WOR turns out to be true as the company officially announces his joining the station.  He says of his new position, “I’m beyond excited to be joining a news/talk station that enjoys legendary status in New York.  We have amazing plans to grow WOR and make it the hottest spot on the AM dial.  WOR has one of the best signals on the East Coast.”  Cuddy will work under former WABC, New York general manager Steve Borneman who recently joined WOR, as well.

smithjolanaJolana Smith Named PD at Cumulus Media’s WFAS, Westchester, New York Combo.  In her new position, Jolana Smith will program both the news/talk AM and the adult contemporary FM Cumulus is operating in Westchester.  She comes to the stations from Cox Media’s AC WEZN, Bridgeport, Connecticut “Star 99.9” where she co-hosted morning drive and did the midday shift.  In addition to programming both stations, Smith will host the midday shift on WFAS-FM.  Smith states, “What an amazing opportunity to be part of the Cumulus programming ranks and to be working with SVP/programming Mike McVay and VP/AC format captain Emily Boldon…Somebody pinch me!”

sirotadavidDavid Sirota Exits KHOW, Denver.  Progressive writer and columnist David Sirota exits Clear Channel’s KHOW, Denver where he’d been paired up with conservative Michael Brown for the past six months.  Prior to that Sirota hosted the morning show at progressive talk sister station KKZN.  The Denver Post reports neither side is saying much, obviously agreeing to not discuss the change in the press.  But Sirota confirmed he’s no longer with Clear Channel and CC Denver VP of programing Greg Foster offered the obligatory “we thank him and wish him well” statement.

sanchezrickRick Sanchez Lands Radio Gig at WIOD, Miami.  Former CNN personality Rick Sanchez had been seeking a talk radio gig since his departure from CNN in the fall of 2010.  Now, Sanchez takes over the afternoon drive slot at Clear Channel’s WIOD, Miami, replacing Rich Minaya.  The hiring of Cuban-born and Spanish-speaking Rick Sanchez is interesting in as much as his media experience doing bi-lingual talk and news programs will give him a unique approach to connecting with the Miami audience.  Sanchez was let go from CNN after making a comment on a radio program about Jews as minorities in the media business that was construed at politically incorrect.

deacesteveSteve Deace Show Clears New York City.  The Iowa-based Steve Deace talk show clears the Big Apple on Salem Communications’ WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” airing weeknights from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am.  Deace’s program is in its second year of national syndication.  Deace states, “To go live in New York City after only 13 months in syndication is quite an honor.  There are good hosts on hundreds of radio stations around the country who can’t get cleared in New York City, so I’m well aware of what this means for the future of our show.”  Salem director of spoken-word format Phil Boyce says, “We’re excited to see what one of the real rising talents in our industry can do in the nation’s number one market.  Many of us have been waiting for the next generation of talk radio to emerge, and Deace represents that next generation.”  Deace hosted a local program on WHO, Des Moines prior to going into syndication.  His national show is carried on WHO.

mcculloughkevinDaily Kevin McCullough Show Adds Nine Affiliates in 2013.  The nationally syndicated Kevin McCullough show adds nine new affiliates including: WWRC, Washington, DC; WGKA, Atlanta; KRCN, Denver; and WCRU, Charlotte.  The program is syndicated by McCullough’s XtreMedia Inc. and the recent additions put McCullough’s program over the 300-affiliate mark.  XtreMedia also syndicates the Dani Johnson radio program as well as the weekend Baldwin/McCullough show featuring McCullough and actor Stephen Baldwin.

cookehollandSports Offers Social Success Templates.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas covering the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show but prior to that, he took in the New Media Expo (formerly the Blogworld conference).  Cooke reports on the nuances of understanding and using social media for radio station promotion after hearing Amy Jo Martin’s keynote speech.  Cooke says Martin believes, “One of the fundamental adjustments broadcasters need to make the most of social media is to understand that tools like Facebook and Twitter aren’t just transmitters.  They’re conversations.”  And social media tools can help jocks and talk hosts be more authentic to their audiences.  Read more of Holland Cooke’s analysis here.

jonesmorgancnnAlex Jones Takes on Piers Morgan.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Alex Jones appeared on CNN on Monday evening with host Piers Morgan to debate the gun control issue and the petition to have British citizen Morgan deported in the wake of his high-profile call for new gun laws after the Newtown massacre.  Traditional talk show hosts tend to shy away from gun issues on their programs but the right to bear arms is a cornerstone of Alex Jones’ belief system and a regular topic on his program.  The feisty exchange on CNN was good TV theater and raises Jones’ national profile.  See the program here.

Obama Cabinet Nominations, Debt Ceiling Issue, NFL Playoffs, Gun Legislation Discussion and Aurora Theater Massacre Hearing Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/7).  President Obama’s nomination of Chuck Hagel for defense secretary and John Brennan for CIA chief; the issue of the nation’s debt ceiling; the weekend’s NFL playoff games; debate over changes to the nation’s gun laws; and the hearing in Colorado for Aurora theater massacre suspect James Holmes were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

townsquaremediaCool Job Opportunity.  Townsquare Media has an opportunity for the position of operations manager in Wichita Falls.  If you have experience in country, rock, CHR and news/talk formats this could be the job for you.  The OM will also serve as brand manager for our CHR station, 92.9 NIN, and must have a track record in that format.  You will also host an on-air shift on 92.9 NIN.  In addition to a strong ratings record, candidates should demonstrate a deep, rich understanding of interactive branding including social media, loyalty programs, content creation, e-commerce, streaming platforms, mobile and texting.  This job is much more than picking the hits.  The successful candidate will be a great leader, a talent coach, and a highly organized strategist.  You’ll need exceptional teamwork skills to produce results with experienced talent, programmers, sales and digital teams.  Strong working knowledge of music scheduling systems, digital audio systems and online media platforms are required.  You’ll manage multiple tasks at once, and great communication skills, attention to detail and a sense of humor are all a must.  We work hard and have fun doing it!  If you’re a fun, dynamic, creative, proven winner who loves working in media, contact Chuck Armstrong at Townsquare Media: chuck@townsquaremedia.com.  Townsquare Media is an equal opportunity employer.

Sports Offers Social Success Templates

| January 8, 2013

By Holland Cooke
News/Talk/Sports Consultant

LAS VEGAS–Broadcasters scrambling to understand and exploit the unprecedented power of social media can benefit from success templates in the sports world.  A keynoter at the New Media Expo (the re-branded Blogworld conference) shared experiences and guidelines.

With nearly 1.3 million Twitter followers of her own, Amy Jo Martin knows whereof she speaks.  After three years managing social media for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, she founded Digital Royalty, Inc., whose clients include Shaquille O’Neal, the Chicago White Sox, and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).  She is the author of the New York Times best-seller “Renegades Write the Rules: How the Digital Royalty Use Social Media to Innovate.”

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December Sports Scoreboard

| January 4, 2013

Conclusion of a Three-Part Special Feature

By Mike Kinosian
Talkers
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

LOS ANGELES — It has been an exciting and historic week in sports radio.

In a special feature series, we have outlined what has been taking place and detailed some possible ramifications.

Our look at the ever-expanding sports format concludes with a December 2012 ratings overview.

Spoken-word stations were particularly vulnerable in the December sweep when at least one station per market generally started playing all-Christmas music.

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Eight Reasons Cain Will Click

| January 3, 2013

By Holland Cooke
Talk Radio consultant

cainhermanBLOCK ISLAND, RI — January 21 is Inauguration Day, for both our president, and his outspoken campaign opponent Herman Cain, whose nationally syndicated radio show debuts that morning.

Here’s why I predicted Cain’s success oh-so-publicly at the recent Arbitron Client Conference:

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Peacock Sports Network Playing The Hits

| January 3, 2013

Part Two of a Special Feature

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
LOS ANGELES — As sure as 2013 has arrived, personal resolutions have been made, and a plethora of prognostications will bombard us.

crystalball130Equally as predictable is that not long into this brand new year, those well-meaning self-promises will be severely compromised, and one’s forecasting ability becomes cloudy-looking, at best.

Here, however, is something that could actually be a trend this year: Don’t be surprised if clusters with multiple talk stations jettison one of those signals to sports.

Associated with that, we very well might witness a spate of under-performing (primarily talk) outlets transition to sports.

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As Goes the Nation, So Goes the Station: Scenes from the WOR Front Line

| January 2, 2013

By Robbie Student
Radio Talk Show Host/Record Producer

studentrobbieNEW YORK – Here’s some context: I’m a small businessman.  In addition to being a talk show host, I run a small, modestly successful music and entertainment production company.  Because of the Cliff, the Ceiling, and Obamacare’s paralyzing lack of clarity, I’m not spending one dollar more than I have to on salaried staff, independent contractors, and infrastructure/equipment.

This stingy posture isn’t because I’m a greedy bastard.  It’s because neither I (the producer of goods and services), nor the consumers I sell them to, know where our next batch of greenbacks is coming from, or going to.  And clients, those a rung above me on the ladder, are behaving in kind.  We’re like kidnap victims who’ve had black hoods pulled over our heads, while the van we’re in careens through a sketchy neighborhood of miserably thought out economic policies.

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Your NEWS Year’s Resolutions

| January 2, 2013

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — If you’re among radio’s remaining local news people, you can improve your chances of remaining even longer by story-telling as impactfully as possible.

Your work – relevant, plainspoken newscasts – can make the station more habit-forming. Promos that assure “WE’VE GOTCHA COVERED” only talk-the-talk. Walk-the-walk by reckoning what matters to your target listener, and sounding-newer every time they hear you. If you do, you’ll prompt what the lab coat crowd at Arbitron calls “additional occasions of listening,” the quickest way to grow Share.

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November News Nuggets

| December 20, 2012

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

LOS ANGELES — Given the extraordinary nature of what has been happening of late, it is highly appropriate to follow up our recent massive talk radio overview with a similar piece on all-news operations.

There is however one obvious difference: Talk can claim tonnage honors, whereas news is one of radio’s most sparsely-represented formats.

Each PPM market has at least one talk outlet within in its top 20 (6+, November 2012), compared to news accomplishing the same feat in only 15 of the 48 electronically measured metros for a conversion rate of just over 30%.

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Will Nielsen’s Acquisition of Arbitron Benefit our Industry?

| December 20, 2012

By Fred Lundgren
KCAA Radio, Loma Linda, California
CEO

lundgrenfredLOMA LINDA, CA — The inaccuracy of Arbitron surveys have been a pet peeve of mine for many years.  So, when The Nielsen Company announced the purchase of Arbitron, I decided to celebrate the event with a little punditry.  Initially, the announcement made me think of this quote by Winston Churchill…

“The only recorded instance in history of a rat swimming towards a sinking ship.”

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Talk Radio’s Noteworthy November/December Stretch

| December 17, 2012

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

LOS ANGELES — In just an approximately six-week period, Americans have:

• Relished our freedom by participating in our democracy’s fundamental building block – the electoral process – which this year happened to include another historic presidential election

•  Helplessly watched parts of our country’s northeast region savagely pounded by the storm of a lifetime

•  Attempted to aid our neighbors regroup from “Sandy,” while simultaneously starting the annual tradition of gathering families to give thanks; anxiously began the official start of the holiday season; and heard (many adult contemporary) stations maintain their ritual of playing continuous Christmas favorites

•  Been shocked, horrified, and in a state of speechless disbelief as deranged gunmen ended the lives of defenseless victims in a Portland shopping mall and a Connecticut school

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What Do You Do Online When the News is Bad?

| December 17, 2012

By Chris Miller
Chris Miller Digital

SHAKER HEIGHTS — Friday’s tragic events in Newtown, CT, remind us not only that life is precious… but also that our fans’ expectations can turn on a dime.  You may know what you’ll do on the air when the news explodes like that.  What will you do with all your other content platforms, like your website and your social media?

Radio has two worthy purposes on days like Friday:

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I Read the News Today, Oh Boy.

| December 15, 2012

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Even as Americans were still processing the Oregon mall shootings came unthinkable new violence in Connecticut.

As the story unfolded, it was uncanny to witness how-far-ahead Twitter was, compared to all the news apps on my iPhone.  Not hearsay, but fact-checked posts, first from Connecticut-based media who were first on-site; then from stations and newspapers from neighboring states.  By 6:30 pm ET, letter-networks’ anchors were in-place for evening newscasts this gripping story dominated.

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Baseball Stations: PLAN NOW
for Spring Training

| December 14, 2012

By Holland Cooke
News/Talk/Sports Radio Consultant

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — With 2013 expense budgets now in umpteenth revision, this reminder: Be there or be square.

After all the sub-freezing days and nights that chill much of the USA this time of the year – and various off-season trades and free agent signings – The Boys of Summer will be a welcome sound come March.

Yet too few baseball stations establish a presence at their teams’ spring training camps. Smart baseball stations are cheerleaders, and really smart baseball stations start cheering a month before opening day, when every team is in 1st place.

Five reasons this has value:
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You’re Fired? Timing is Everything.

| December 11, 2012

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — If you haven’t already noticed, you’ve got to see this.  Grab a copy of USA Today.  Any day will do, but it has to be the newsstand hard copy.  No digital version will work.

Radio is reeling from another Clear Channel bloodbath, just in time for Christmas.  It wasn’t the first, it won’t be the last, and it’s not just Clear Channel.  But heartless timing.  The nerve of ‘em.

In the words of Eric Stratton, Rush Chairman: “Let me tell you the story of another loser…”

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Arbitron Client Conference: Format Facts and Forecasts

| December 10, 2012

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

ANNAPOLIS — Now THIS is worth a meeting.  If your station is an Arbitron subscriber, you should download, devour, and discuss the just-released “Radio Today 2012,” an uncanny mash-up of Scarborough consumer profiles and Arbitron audience data.  What you will read about people-who-listen-to your format really fleshes-out the folks you want as heavy listeners, and will send you in specific directions to seem relevant and relatable and habit-forming to ‘em.

And that’s all I’m allowed to say!  Because this information is THAT valuable!  Read the legal hear-ye-hear-ye at arbitron.com, and you’ll understand that I’m not being coy.  But I can share some useful headlines from the Executive Summary Arbitron has released, which follow.

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

| November 15, 2012

Radio Comes Through for Charity for Holiday Giving and in Times of Disaster.  Radio is a business and making a profit is the first goal of any business.  But radio stations and radio corporations have a documented history of giving back to the communities they serve through the organization of charitable giving.  That service is evident even during difficult economic times as stations large and small regularly step up to the plate to take time out from creating entertaining programming while risking losing listener interest in order to do charitable work.  This year the industry is seeing a confluence of disaster relief needs and the annual holiday charity programs.  Relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Sandy include such assistance as: CRN Digital Talk Radio’s $2,351 donation to the cause; Townsquare Media-owned New Jersey 101.5’s ongoing “Restore New Jersey” campaign; Cox Media Group’s $75,000 donation to relief organizations; Geraldo Rivera’s recent live “radiothon” on Cumulus Media’s WABC; CBS’s radio and TV stations’ daylong phone bank; CBS Philadelphia partnered with Live Nation/Comcast Spectacor to offer concert tickets to the Bob Dylan and Mark Knopfler show on November 19 in exchange for donations to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund that brought in $30,000; as well as Clear Channel’s planned 12-12-12 concert in New York City.  Disaster relief is not the only cause that radio rises to assist.  Radio’s charitable projects include aid to organizations that individual stations have chosen to work with regularly – such as KGO, San Francisco’s long-running annual radiothon to fight leukemia — plus regular holiday-oriented giving programs.  The following are just a few that have come to our attention recently:

Cumulus Nashville to Program Radiothon for Local Rescue Mission.  News/talk WTN, Nashville will host a radiothon on Monday, November 19 beginning at 5:00 am and running through 7:00 pm to raise funds for the Nashville Rescue Mission.  Morning host Ralph Bristol begins the day and the fundraising continues with hosts Michael DelGiorno, Dave Ramsey, and Phil Valentine all committing their shows to raising funds for the Rescue Mission’s programs.  In addition to his own show, Michael DelGiorno will participate with the other WTN personalities throughout the day.  DelGiorno’s extra duties start by broadcasting live at the Rescue Mission from 7:30 am to 8:30 am with Ralph Bristol live from the studio.  He then hosts Dave Ramsey from 9:00 am to 10:00 am at the station.  His normal show then gets extended to 1:00 pm effectively preempting the Mike Huckabee show.  And then to close out the Radiothon, DelGiorno returns for the final push from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

Clear Channel’s KLAC, Los Angeles Raises $135,000 for Paralyzed Veterans.  Sports talk outlet KLAC, Los Angeles held its fifth annual Paralyzed Veterans of America Live Radiothon and Online Auction recently, calling in local and national celebrities to help raise a record $135,000 for the charity.  KLAC and Fox Sports Radio Network personalities Steve Hartman, Vic “The Brick” Jacobs, Petros Papadakis and Rob Dibble hosted the radiothon and were joined by Dodgers great Tommy Lasorda; rocker Eddie Money; Lakers legend James Worthy; model Leeann Tweeden; and boxing great Ray  “Boom Boom” Mancini, among others.  Pictured here are (from l-r): KLAC’s Steve Hartman, Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, KLAC’s Vic “The Brick” Jacobs and KLAC producer Sam Betesh.

 

WEEI, Boston Recognized for Cancer Charity Work.  Entercom’s sports WEEI, Boston was recognized by the Lung Cancer Alliance of New England for its work bringing attention to and raising funds for the treatment and cure of the disease as part of its annual Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon held in conjunction with cable’s New England Sports Network each August.  This past August, the 11th annual two-day event raised more than $3.3 million for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.  Entercom Boston VP of programming and operations Jason Wolfe says, “It’s an incredible honor to be recognized by the Global Lung Cancer Coalition and I’m so proud to accept this award on behalf of all of us at WEEI.  Cancer affects us all, and we are blessed to have had such tremendous success shining a light on this terrible disease through the efforts of the Jimmy Fund radio-telethon.  I want to thank everyone at the GLCC for their support. It means a great deal to our entire staff.”  Pictured here are (from l-r): Wolfe; Rob Gronkowski, tight end for the New England Patriots; and Rich Monopoli, LCA New England co-director.

FCC Chairman Genachowski Asks Commission to Approve Cross-Ownership.  The change in rules would be permanent for companies operating radio-TV-newspaper combos in the top 20 markets.  Stations such as Tribune’s WGN, Chicago have been living on temporary exemptions to the law forbidding such cross-ownership for years.  FCC chairman Julius Genachowski is asking the commissioners to approve the move without a public meeting vote as soon as today and the change could take effect tomorrow (11/16).  Bloomberg reports that for Tribune, the vote would be a requirement for the company’s exit from bankruptcy protection.

Conclave Names Seasoned Radio Pro Bob Shannon Executive Director.  Veteran radio broadcasting executive Bob Shannon has been named the Conclave’s new executive director.  He succeeds the organization’s first executive director, Tom Kay, who recently retired after almost four decades of service.  In announcing the appointment, Conclave board of directors chairman Mark Bolke says, “There obviously is no replacement for Tom Kay and his shaping the Conclave organization for the past 37 years.  The executive selection committee was presented with a list of excellent candidates from which to choose.  Bob Shannon represents the consummate broadcasting professional with a shared vision and passion to move the Conclave into a new era.  We are thrilled to name him as our new executive director.”  Shannon, whose consulting company bobshannonworks is based in Minneapolis, is also president of SpotMedia Services, a former executive vice president at TM Century, and the author of Turn It Up! American Radio Tales 1946-1996.  On accepting the position Shannon states, “As a student of radio I’ve long admired Tom and what he’s done at the Conclave.  Moving forward my goal is to build on his vision by expanding our online activity and looking very closely at how radio and our learning conference are addressing changes in media.  This is a very exciting time, ripe with opportunities for those who know how to create compelling content.  Stay tuned!”

Newsmax Steps Up Audio and Video Content; Terrestrial Radio Programs in Development.  Months ago TALKERS reported on the digital initiatives going on at conservative media firm Newsmax that include its video channel Newsmax TV.  Now, the Chris Ruddy-led media organization is announcing the further development of these ventures.  Newsmax says it will soon be expanding to an online 24/7 network.  The online TV network will focus on simulcasting radio content online.  It will also develop its own radio shows for Newsmax TV and broadcast these on terrestrial radio as well.  In 2013, the company plans to significantly ramp up its online TV presence and radio activities and has constructed a state-of-the-art broadcast studio in its New York offices.  Staff for the projects includes Chad Wilkinson as executive producer of programming; Tamara Karcev as director of affiliate relations for radio programming.  In addition, former WABC, New York program director John Mainelli is consulting the project.

Wayne Powers Returns to WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte.  After four years as regular fill-in host at Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte, Wayne Powers removed himself from the station’s roster in February in order to run as a Republican for an At-Large seat on the Mecklenburg County Commission.  After a May primary win, Powers came up short in the November 6 general election.  “It was tough to beat the huge straight-ticket Democrat vote here in the DNC convention city,” says Powers.  He returns for Thanksgiving and Black Friday, guest hosting WBT’s Keith Larson show.

Petraeus Scandal, Benghazi Investigation, ‘Fiscal Cliff,’ Israel-Syria Conflict, and New Chinese Leader Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/14).  The expanding David Patraeus-Paula Broadwell scandal; questions about the Benghazi attack and Petraeus’ role in the investigation; Congress and the Obama Administration begin tackling the ‘fiscal cliff’; the violent conflict between Israel and Syria; and the change in Chinese leadership as Xi Jinping succeeds Hu Jintao as secretary general were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Five Trends About to Make a Buck

| November 13, 2012

By Walter Sabo
Sabo Media
Chairman

NEW YORK — Daily digital newsletters suggest that there are hundreds of hot new “platforms” and “monetizations” and “disruptors.”

There aren’t. A quick walk from the gourmet water cafes of lower Manhattan or Palo Alto to the food court at Mall of America will clarify the efficacy of many digi-theories.  Remember, fiber optics (Lucent!) were ready to go in 1962, as were Picture Phones, but AT&T waited until they depreciated all the copper wire to roll out fiber.

There are at least five new business ideas that are close to the event horizon for profits.

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Today, Talk Radio Will Vote

| November 7, 2012

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Yesterday, voters chose.  Now it’s our turn.

Smartest thing I heard early this morning: Local hosts, many of ‘em righties, asking callers “What happened?”  Today and tonight, we’ll hear if national hosts smell the coffee as well.

We’ll spend days — and books are already being written — analyzing the 2012 vote.  And beyond politics, there are radio programming implications, actual Average Quarter Hour consequences.

What’s already apparent is that voters didn’t conform to the prevailing talk radio narrative:

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

| November 7, 2012

Conclusion of Election Raises Inevitable Questions.  The dramatic and contentious election of 2012 has finally come to a conclusion.  As President Barack Obama prepares to begin his second term as the nation’s chief executive with control of the House and Senate split between the parties, inevitable questions arise about the path and positioning of news/talk radio in the new political environment.  How does the re-election of Obama impact the agendas of conservative and liberal talk radio?  How long will it take before political presidential jockeying overtly begins as the periods between election cycles grow shorter?  What are the economic implications of this election?  How will the economy affect the radio industry in general?  Will the current advertising agency hostility toward conservative talk radio intensify or dissipate?  What will be the new, unexpected issues that dominate on-air conversation as we move beyond the deafening chatter of Election 2012?  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has already begun fielding these questions from the nation’s radio-watchers in the mainstream press.   According to Harrison very little will change in terms of the on-air party lines: “As much as I encourage talk radio to expand the menu of its subject matter and spread out into a diversity of formats and subjects – which I actually believe will happen in the coming year or two — don’t expect to see a sudden change or modification of positioning among the ranks of established, opinionated political hosts.  These next two years will be no picnic for the president.  If you look back at Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon – two polarizing figures in American politics – their second terms were far more turbulent generating more contentious media conversation than their first.  Even Ronald Reagan had his Iran-Contra issue in his second term.  You can probably expect the same with Obama.”  Harrison expects the next congressional election to start immediately and the next presidential election to begin shortly thereafter.  “Biden might be flirting with the idea of running in 2016 but you can count on all eyes and ears being focused on the Clintons and perhaps another Bush.”  As far as the economic picture is concerned, Harrison is optimistic stating, “I think things are destined to improve regardless of who is president.  Let us all do our best to make the radio industry relevant and prosperous in the exciting days and years ahead.”  Of course there will be a spectrum of contrasting views on this subject.  For example, TRN talk show host Jerry Doyle tells TALKERS that he plans to call out a number of his fellow conservative hosts on his show today for “being cheerleaders for the GOP and not questioning some of their positions that are tarnishing the Republican brand.”  He uses the analogy, “I love Corvettes, but I won’t be buying one because of all the as***les driving them today.  The same thing with the Republicans – I find it hard to call myself a Republican because of so many of their ridiculous opinions and terrible candidates that fly in the face of today’s reality.”

Will Obama’s Re-Election Cause Programmers to Reflect?  Consultant Holland Cooke makes strong statements about what the re-election of Barack Obama should mean to talk radio hosts and programmers.  He says, “Heavy early voting and long lines yesterday say ‘Hear me!’ to talk radio’s default I-talk-you-listen model,” and Cooke states that voters didn’t conform to the prevailing talk radio narrative.  Do you agree or disagree that there’s a lesson in the election results for talk radio?  Before you answer, read Holland Cooke’s entire piece here.

Radio One to Flip WMOJ, Cincinnati to Sports in January.  Radio One’s rhythmic oldies WMOJ, Cincinnati “Mojo 100.3” has gone all Christmas but after the holidays the station will not return to “jammin’ oldies” but will be an outlet for CBS Sports Radio Network’s new 24/7 sports talk format.  Program director Steve Harris tells the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter that the opportunity to do sports on FM was too great to pass up.  The station is expected to carry the bulk of the national lineup – John Feinstein, Jim Rome, Doug Gottlieb and Scott Ferrall – but Harris says there has been no decision made about whether to do a local AM drive show or take what CBS Sports Radio Networks has to offer in that daypart.  Cincinnati currently has two AM sports talk outlets – WSAI, a Fox Sports Radio Network affiliate, and WCKY, an ESPN Radio affiliate – in addition to news/talk WLW which airs a fair amount of sports programming as well.

New Jersey 101.5 Partners with Governor’s Office in Storm Relief.  Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” is announcing its own “Restore New Jersey” and restorenewjersey.com are officially working with Governor Chris Christie’s and his wife Mary Pat’s “Sandy NJ Relief Fund.”  The station’s group marketing director Ray Handel says the station is immediately beginning to inform listeners about donation efforts.  He issues this statement: “New Jersey 101.5 will continue to be involved with restoring New Jersey from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy.  We informed millions of Jersey listeners on news and survival information before, during and after the storm.  The station served as a lifeline to millions who lost power, and gave those millions a voice.  Now as our attention turns to long term recovery, we introduce ‘Restore New Jersey,’ an on-going fundraising effort that will be featured on New Jersey 101.5 and nj1015.com for at least the next six months.  We will be working with Governor and Mary Pat Christie so we can partner with their ‘Sandy NJ Relief Fund.’  Governor Christie is very much a part of NJ101.5, as he has a monthly show on our station.  The governor has received much praise in his leadership during this crisis.  This past Saturday the governor introduced this state wide charity, and we feel this will merge perfectly with the state wide help New Jersey 101.5’s ‘Restore New Jersey’ will provide.  All funds raised will stay right here in New Jersey, and we think New Jersey 101.5 can really take the lead with this effort.”

NAB ‘Licensed to Serve’ Newsletter Recognizes Broadcasters Covering Sandy.  The National Association of Broadcasters released its most recent “Licensed to Serve” newsletter detailing many of the efforts of broadcasters – both radio and television – that provided news and information to the regions affected by Hurricane Sandy.  NAB EVP of media relations Dennis Wharton and his staff have put together an excellent summary of the work done by over-the-air broadcasters in serving the needs of their communities.  Wharton is passionate about the role of radio and television broadcasters in times of crisis and the NAB’s work showcasing it in this regard serves the broadcasting community well.  See the NAB’s “Licensed to Serve” page here.

Radio Personality Robinson to PM Drive on KCJF, Jonesboro, Arkansas.  Tall Cotton Media’s new sports talk KCJF, Jonesboro, Arkansas “103.9 The Game” names radio personality Robinson PM drive host.  He comes to sports talk radio after a career in rock radio at Entercom’s Rochester, New York music outlets classic rock WCMF and rock WBZA.  Tall Cotton took over ownership of the outlet in September from Catherine Joanna Flinn.  The station is a Fox Sports Radio Network affiliate.

Red Zebra Extends Play-by-Play Deal with Georgetown.  The Hoyas will be heard on Red Zebra’s Washington, DC sports talk duo WTEM and WSPZ “ESPN 980 and SportsTalk570; Powered by ESPN” for seasons to come as the two partners extend their contract.  Under the terms of the deal, Red Zebra will broadcast the school’s men’s basketball games.  Red Zebra president and CEO Rick Carmean says, “We are excited to team with Georgetown University and Coach Thompson’s squad as they continue the tradition as one of the best teams the area has to offer.”  The Hoyas open their season Friday, November 9 aboard the USS Bataan in Jacksonville against the Florida Gators.  All Hoya games will be broadcast by Rich Chvotkin who is in his 40th season calling Georgetown games.

Longtime KSL, Salt Lake City Weekend Gardening Show Host Larry Sagers Dead at 63.  Horticulture expert and radio talker Larry Sagers, whose weekend gardening program the “Greenhouse Show” co-hosted with Tim Hughes was a mainstay for years on KSL, Salt Lake City has succumbed to his long battle with mesothelioma, a form of cancer often associated with exposure to asbestos.  Sagers was a horticulture agent with the Utah State University Extension and an extremely popular local figure.

The 2012 Election and Hurricane Sandy Aftermath Dominate News/Talk Radio Yesterday (11/6).  As is usually the case on a presidential election day, the election itself – not only the presidential race but the Senate and House races as well as controversial ballot issues around the nation – dominated the discussion on news/talk radio on Tuesday.  Additionally, there was still considerable talk about the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, especially in the Northeast where New Jersey and New York are still recovering from the storm.

Now That You’re in Sales…

| November 2, 2012

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Oh! You’re on-air? Not in sales? As Cher’s character hollered in Moonstruck, “SNAP OUT OF IT!”

Now more than ever – with 2013 budgets in umpteenth re-draft – tough decisions are being made, in meetings you’re not invited to. Possibly in meetings your boss is not invited to. So, as local talent, are you merely what bean-counters call an “expense?” Or when they read your name on The List of Endangered Employees, does it spell “revenue?”

Local DJ? That’s dang-near an oxymoron now. Talk show? That’s something from a syndicator, right? Not if you are responsible for what the sales department calls “local direct retail.” Translation: do-re-mi that’s not stepped-on by an agency; ads that tell shopkeepers’ stories, and bring cars into their parking lots.

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Be Prepared for What Could be Another
Perfect Storm

| October 25, 2012

By Howard B. Price, CBCP/MBCI
ABC News
Director of Business Continuity and Crisis Management

NEW YORK — Last year, it was the Halloween Snowprise – an early cold snap fed by a lot of moisture that produced a foot of snow in some places, and felled leaf-laden trees and power lines, blacking out parts of the northeast US for days.

This year – Halloween Week could bring a trick some meteorologists are already calling “potentially historic” –  a strong tropical storm or hurricane named Sandy, with the Northeast again in the crosshairs.

This rare climatic event could be what one network weather anchor called an “atmospheric bomb” – produced by a hurricane colliding head-on with a strong cold front. The jet stream bows northward as it approaches the coast, sucking the storm closer to land, instead of pushing it out to sea.

The scenario is eerily reminiscent of the 1991 “Perfect Storm,” which left 12 people dead and more than $200 million in damage after it slammed into the East Coast. Power outages and flooding were widespread.

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Are you a “Sneezer”?

| October 22, 2012

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — With colds and flu season approaching, umpteen PSAs have trained us to sneeze-into-our-elbows.  Because the last thing you want to do is spread a virus, right?

Only literally.  Metaphorically, you DO want to be what author/entrepreneur/marketing guru Seth Godin refers to as a “Sneezer,” someone who spreads ideas.

When others “catch” what you’ve put into the atmosphere, it becomes what he calls an “IdeaVirus.”  And peer-to-peer sharing is an endorsement more powerful than advertising.

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Friday, October 19, 2012

| October 19, 2012

Library of American Broadcasting Presents 10th Annual Giants of Broadcasting Awards.  George Beasley and Erica Farber Among Radio People Honored.  The President of the United States, the former Governor of Massachusetts, and a slew of luminous personalities from the world of politics attending the Al Smith Dinner last night at the Waldorf-Astoria were not the only “giants” to grace the premises of the East Side Manhattan landmark yesterday.  The national Library of American Broadcasting presented its 10th Annual Giants of Broadcasting honors, at a ceremony and luncheon yesterday (10/18) at the iconic hotel.  The event, attended by prominent members of the broadcasting, media and corporate communities, was positioned as “celebrating extraordinary leadership or performance in television and radio.”  The honorees join 140 “Giants of Broadcasting” who have been honored by the Library since 2003.  Bill Baker, president emeritus of WNET, New York and himself a Giant of Broadcasting, served as master of ceremonies.  Among the 10 honorees, radio was represented by George Beasley, chairman, CEO and founder of Beasley Broadcast Group and Erica Farber, president and CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau.  Both presented upbeat but extremely humble acceptance speeches praising the other honorees and articulating optimistic pictures of radio’s vitality and future.  Other inductees included Ted Turner, Norman Lear, Andy Rooney, Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer, Dinah Shore, Sir Howard Stringer and Don Cornelius.  The Library of American Broadcasting (LAB) — located at the University of Maryland — is entering its 41st year serving as a major national information resource for the radio and television industries and the academic communities that rely upon it for depth and expertise. Their collection of historic documents, professional papers, oral and video histories, books and photographs are among the nation’s most extensive. LAB is evolving from a conventional library into a “homepage” for the world at large, reaching thousands simultaneously through the Internet. Industry outreach includes lectures, symposia, print and the broadcast media themselves.  LAB’s chair is Virginia Hubbard Morris, president of Hubbard Radio. The president/CEO is Donald West, veteran broadcast journalist and former assistant to the president of CBS Inc. The dean of libraries at the University of Maryland is Patricia Steele, and the curator is Chuck Howell.

New England Talk Pro Steve Kass to PM Drive on WSAR, Fall River, Massachusetts.  Veteran talk radio host Steve Kass begins new duties as host of the PM drive show on SNE Broadcasting’s WSAR, Fall River, Massachusetts on October 29.  The move reunited Kass with programmer Paul Giammarco who serves as general manager at WSAR.  Kass and Giammarco worked together at Cumulus Media’s WPRO, Providence.  Kass also worked at Clear Channel’s WHJJ, Providence.  He states, “Coming back to WSAR is like returning home after being away for 32 years.  WSAR provided me with my first opportunity to be a radio talk show host.  What a year to start a new adventure in talk radio: Prop 2 ½, the takeover of the American Embassy in Tehran, Governor Reagan, John Anderson, and State Rep. Andy Card, are but a few of the events and guests that occurred in 1979.  I have no doubt 2012 and beyond will be even more stimulating as we face so many challenges going forward.  Best of all being reunited with Barry Richard and Paul Giammarco, two certified broadcasting pro’s provide the icing on the cake.  Let the games begin.”

Jon Meterparel Leaves WEEI, Boston AM Show to Focus on Play-by-Play Career.  Longtime morning sports news anchor Jon Meterparel exits the John Dennis and Gerry Callahan morning show on Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston and the WEEI regional network.  Meterparel has been the voice of Boston College football and basketball broadcasts for several seasons and said during his farewell to listeners that doing play-by-play has always been his primary career goal so he leaves WEEI to pursue that interest.

Talk Radio and the Presidential Debate: From a Radio Consultant’s Perspective.  Leading radio consultant Holland Cooke analyzes the most recent presidential debate from a media perspective and explains why the debates, coverage of the them by news/talk stations, and the aftermath of these contests are good for talk media.  Read Holland Cooke’s quick 10-point analysis here.

 

Talk Radio Network’s Rusty Humphries Features “A-List” Guests in New Time Slot.  The nationally syndicated Rusty Humphries program began the week in its new time slot – 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET – and syndicator TRN is pumping up the program’s content with high-profile guests.  Featured this week were: former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld; rocker Ted Nugent; Senator Rand Paul (R-KY); Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL); Ann Coulter; Jon Sununu; actor Kevin Sorbo about his book, “True Strength: My Journey from Hercules to Mere Mortal”; Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal; U.S. Representative Allen West; Chuck Yeager; actor David Spade; Dick Morris; political pollster Frank Luntz; and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza.

ESPN Radio Preps for Exclusive MLB World Series Coverage.  The Major League Baseball fall classic will be heard exclusively on ESPN Radio and the sports giant is pulling out all the stops on production of the broadcasts.  ESPN says, in addition to the play-by-play provided by Dan Schulman and Orel Hershiser, the “Baseball Tonight” crew will also be broadcasting prior to and after each World Series Game.  In the photo at left, the “Baseball Tonight” set is on the scene at Opening Day at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles this past April.  Pictured are (from l-r): Karl Ravech, John Kruk and Barry Larkin.

Odds & Sods.  CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles will host a live edition of the “KNX Business Hour” on at 8:00 am on November 16 at the Los Angeles Convention Center titled, “Secrets to Investing in Today’s World: Where to Put Your Money Now.”  KNX is staging this event to provide individuals with an overview of the economic outlook with regard to stocks, bonds, real estate, commodities, precious metals, savings and retirement accounts.  KNX’s Frank Mottek will emcee and moderate and guests will include: Beacon Economics founding partner Christopher Thornberg; PIMCO executive vice president Tony Crescenzi; California Association of Realtors chief economist Leslie Appleton-Young; founder and president of Wedbush Securities Ed Wedbush; and TrendMax owner and portfolio manager Zachary Oxman…..TuneIn and London-based talkSPORT enter into an agreement for the former to carry all 380 Barclays Premiere League soccer matches in English, Spanish and Mandarin on its global internet service.  TuneIn will also air key FA Cup matches…..ESPN Audio and the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association announce the two have signed a deal to have ESPN serve as the exclusive radio home of the AT&T Cotton Bowl for the next two years.  The Cotton Bowl matches the Big 12 against the Southeastern Conference and will be played on January 4, 2013 at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas.

Steve Forbes Visits Idaho.  KIDO, Boise morning drive host Kevin Miller (left) poses for a shot with Forbes Media chairman and editor-in-chief Steve Forbes.  The business media leader was in Boise for an appearance at the Idaho center speaking about the U.S. and global economies.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  “The Daily Wrap from the Wall Street Journal with Michael Castner” is added to the lineup at WERC-AM/FM Birmingham; KIDO, Boise; WZAN, Portland; KPSF, Desert Hot Springs, California; WWNR-AM/FM, Beckley, West Virginia; and WXDE,  Lewes, Delaware…..CRN Digital Talk Radio’s Barry Farber show is added to the program schedule at WYPV, Petoskey, Michigan.

Presidential Debate Top Talk Topic for Week of October 15-19.  The second presidential debate was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 was the election poll numbers.  At #3 was the Benghazi attack investigation and following at #4 was Iran’s nuclear ambitions.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio around the country and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See the entire chart here.

Obama-Romney Rematch: 10 Takeaways for Talk Radio

| October 19, 2012

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — 1. In broadcast editing parlance, this second presidential debate was “easier tape to cut” than the first one, which didn’t produce any bumpersticker-quality sound bites.  Lines like Obama’s “ONE-point plan” and Romney’s “binders full of women” went skidding all around Talk Radio and social media and cable.  Day-after, smart hosts used sound bites aplenty to light-up the phones.

2. This debate re-energized the contest, for both sides.  If Obama had disappointed again, listeners would be less-engaged generally. The USA is better-off if the electorate is “into it…”

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Norm Pattiz – NMS Los Angeles – October 2012

| October 18, 2012

Norm Pattiz Delivers Straight Talk About Talk Industry at TALKERS New Media Seminar Los Angeles.  Presenting the keynote speech at last Thursday’s TALKERS New Media Seminar Los Angeles, Courtside Entertainment Group CEO and Westwood One founder Norm Pattiz told the crowd that packed the Steve Allen Theatre that Rush Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke controversy has been a serious blow to the nationally syndicated talk radio business.  He said that although the hype in the consumer media has died down, people on the streets trying to sell “controversial” talk radio at the national level are finding it harder than ever and he fears the national talk syndication model may be permanently harmed.  He also commented on the current structure of major broadcasting companies burdened with a high debt load that hampers programming.  Pattiz said the days of two stations battling creatively in a market are almost gone because the corporations are singularly concerned with reducing their debt load and are not able to focus their energies on building and supporting programming and personalities with which they can compete in the advertising wars.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

| October 17, 2012

Creating Content Available Nowhere Else at Bonneville Seattle.  News/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle and parent company Bonneville announce a changing role for “Seattle’s Morning News” anchor Linda Thomas that puts the radio personality and journalist in the driver’s seat for bringing unique, local content to both KIRO-FM and the company’s digital space MyNorthwest.com.  Bonneville says Thomas will “devote 100% of her time and energy to original enterprise reporting for radio and digital channels in a groundbreaking new role announced today by KIRO Radio and MyNorthwest.com.  As senior features reporter at KIRO Radio and MyNorthwest.com, her role is to meet intriguing people and tell their stories.  In her role as digital journalist, Linda will continue her award-winning blog and file original reports to MyNorthwest.com covering topics from parenting and politics to technology and trends.”

During numerous presentations at industry gatherings, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has stated that what radio must do to survive this convergence of media and the changes in consumer behavior it is fostering, is to create content that is only available in one place – your radio station.  KIRO’s move combines this notion with the concept of a “media station” – a digital destination for unique multi-media content.  Bonneville’s radio and digital news director Peter Gammell says, “Original local reporting is what fuels KIRO Radio’s conversations and drives our users to visit MyNorthwest.com.  Linda has a proven ear for the compelling story, and she’s one of our most prolific reporters.  This role frees her to focus on what only she can do.”

Thomas relishes her opportunity to pursue her journalistic endeavors.  “I believe everybody has a story, and I want to know what’s yours.  I meet so many people whose stories have value, and someone hearing or reading them is going to have their life changed by their bravery and originality.”  Program director Larry Gifford states, “I’ve always been impressed with the compassion in Linda’s reporting.  She finds real, interesting people in the community, has a personal conversation with them and shares what she’s learned.  I can’t wait to hear who she introduces me to next.”

Thomas will continue her popular “News Chick” efforts.  Tweeting and posting on social media as “The News Chick,” Thomas is among the most-followed local journalists in the U.S., according to Bonneville.  The company says she promises her social media followers on Twitter @thenewschick and Facebook will continue to be fed her customary stream of sharable gems.  “The value of social media for me is connecting – in real life when possible – with people in the community, and being there when they want to interact with me.”  In addition to her longer-form radio and online feature reporting, social media are where she will continue sharing viral videos, photos, links to eye-catching stories from Seattle to Hollywood and around the world — along with Thomas’ famed fascination with her boots.

Cumulus Media Inks Agreement to Buy New York Market FM.  Pending approval from the FCC, Cumulus Media will have a third New York City station after closing on Family Stations, Inc.’s WFME, Newark, New Jersey.  Cumulus states in a press release that it will announce format plans for the Class B FM at 94.7 upon closing and expects that to happen sometime in the fourth quarter of this year.  Crain’s New York Business cites an industry insider saying Cumulus got WFME for a bargain: $40 million. Family Stations has undergone changes during the past year and is said to be cash-strapped after Family Stations chief Harold Camping’s apocalyptic predictions on the date of Christ’s reappearance last year failed on two occasions.  CEO Lew Dickey says, “This strategic acquisition of our second FM in the nation’s largest market will enable us to provide compelling new programming for our listeners and a powerful marketing vehicle for our advertising partners.”  Of course, although Cumulus is remaining vague about the specifics of its programming intentions with the new acquisition, industry observers are actively speculating as to what might be in store for the Big Apple’s soon-to-be competitive commercial FM.  For years, through several ownerships, WABC program directors have privately confessed that they wished talk-formatted WABC had a NYC FM outlet for its programming.  But the fact that its only sister FM, hot AC WPLJ (95.5) has been such a consistent ratings and revenue success put up a roadblock to that happening easily.  Now with the New York talk market in flux per Clear Channel‘s soon-to-be-completed takeover of WOR and Cumulus launching new high-profile syndicated talk shows such as Mike Huckabee and Geraldo Rivera, and with the end of their contracts with Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity shows looming – it makes sense that they would be looking for a new Gotham outlet for their considerably valuable talk properties.  Of course, this is just speculation.

Tavis Smiley Takes on WBEZ, Chicago in Open Letter After Public Station Cancels Weekend “Smiley & West” Program.  Talk media personality Tavis Smiley wrote an open letter to Chicago Public Media president and CEO Torey Malatia after the station cancelled his weekend program “Smiley & West,” co-hosted by Princeton professor Cornel West.  In the letter, Smiley reacts to his work being called “less than inclusive” and being compared to Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly but Malatia in response to WBEZ cancelling his program.  Read the entire letter here.

KTTH, Seattle Announces New Schedule; Names David Boze AM Drive Host.  Beginning in January, Seattle talk radio personality David Boze will have a new role with the Bonneville talk station.  Boze currently does a one-hour program at 3:00 pm on KTTH that serves as a local hour between Salem Radio Network’s Michael Medved and Premiere NetworksSean Hannity on the station.  In January, Boze will host the three-hour morning drive show and bumps Premiere’s Glenn Beck from the AM drive slot on the station.  Bonneville Seattle program director Larry Gifford states, “David is a stand-up guy with a traditional Northwest sensibility.  He’s someone you’d want as a neighbor – who happens to host a great radio show.  He always leaves me better informed and mentally energized.”  Boze, who began his talk radio career as a producer for Peter Weissbach at KVI in 1999, has been with KTTH for 10 years.  He says, “I try to live my life with the same traditional values as my listeners do; decency, liberty, hard work, and doing what’s right.  I want to create a friendly gathering place where people can digest the news and we can talk about important stories that other media misinterpret or miss altogether.”

Talk Radio’s Unique Sales Advantage.  H & H Communications president Al Herskovitz says the unique place talk radio occupies in the stew of formats is that it is a foreground format that brings a better value to its advertisers.  This is not a new concept but Herskovitz writes that talk sales staffers can be very creative in taking advantage of this in bringing new categories of advertisers to the format.  “It would be hard to believe that the Rolls Royce manufacturer or even the local Rolls dealer would want to buy a spot in that Sunday 5:30 am auto show,” Herskovitz states.  “But an Atlanta station saleswoman I know did sell that very program to a salvage yard in her market coupled with a weekday spot package and a handful of promos.  Now that’s creative salesmanship!”  Read Al Herskovitz’s entire piece here.

WHNZ, Tampa to Add Sports Talk from Fox Sports Radio.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WHNZ, Tampa – currently airing a combination of brokered local shows and syndicated news/talk fare, begins adding Fox Sports Radio content to the station beginning with the overnight “J.T. the Brick” program airing from 1:00 am to 5:00 am.  In 2013, the station plans to add FSRN’s “Petros & Money” and “Fox Sports Tonight” programs to the lineup.  Program director Steve Versnick states, “We are excited to launch the powerful brand of Fox Sports Radio on WHNZ in Tampa Bay.  This adds star power to the station for us.”

Fox Sports Radio Changes “Loose Cannons” Lineup; Vic “The Brick” Jacobs to KLAC Duties.  The trio of Pat O’Brien, Steve Hartman and Vic “The Brick” Jacobs – known as the “Loose Cannons” on Fox Sports Radio Network – will continue with just O’Brien and Hartman as Jacobs has been re-assigned to the sports news updates role at flagship KLAC, Los Angeles.  He’ll also serve as a reporter covering Lakers basketball.

Second Presidential Debate, Libya Attack Investigation, Malala Yousufzai Case, Iran Nuclear Ambitions, MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/16).  The second presidential debate from Hofstra University on Long Island; the ongoing investigation and controversy over the attack on the Banghazi consulate; the case of Pakistani wounded teen Malala Yousufzai; Iran’s nuclear weapons program; and the Major League Baseball playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Talk’s Unique Advantage

| October 17, 2012

By Al Herskovitz
President
H & H Communications

BRADENTON – In the wild mad scramble for ad dollars during these highly challenged economic times, Talk Radio has  one outstanding and special advantage over other popular radio formats. In order to enjoy listening to talk, it is obvious that one has to listen to it attentively. It doesn’t make a very good background service as does music.That is why certain products tend to gravitate toward both the demographics and the psychographics of the format…. particularly higher priced goods and services.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

| October 16, 2012

Norm Pattiz Delivers Straight Talk About Talk Industry at TALKERS New Media Seminar Los Angeles.  Presenting the keynote speech at last Thursday’s TALKERS New Media Seminar Los Angeles, Courtside Entertainment Group CEO and Westwood One founder Norm Pattiz told the crowd that packed the Steve Allen Theatre that Rush Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke controversy has been a serious blow to the nationally syndicated talk radio business.  He said that although the hype in the consumer media has died down, people on the streets trying to sell “controversial” talk radio at the national level are finding it harder than ever and he fears the national talk syndication model may be permanently harmed.  He also commented on the current structure of major broadcasting companies burdened with a high debt load that hampers programming.  Pattiz said the days of two stations battling creatively in a market are almost gone because the corporations are singularly concerned with reducing their debt load and are not able to focus their energies on building and supporting programming and personalities with which they can compete in the advertising wars.  See Pattiz’ speech from the New Media Seminar in the Talkers TV box on the right side of this page.

WCCO, Minneapolis to Partner with Countertop Manufacturer for Street-Level Display and Studios.  According to a piece in the St. Paul Business Journal, CBS Radio’s news/talk WCCO and quartz countertop manufacturer Cambria are planning a showroom on the Second Ave. street-level space in the building that houses WCCO and CBS Radio’s other stations.  The story notes the retail space has been vacant since 2008.  A spokesperson for Cambria says the details of the partnership between CBS and Cambria will be made public over the next 90 days but it’s expected the space will have a slab gallery and could also contain a highly visible street-level broadcast studio.

Cleveland Browns Radio Rights Up for Grabs.  Crain’s Cleveland Business is reporting that the NFL’s Cleveland Browns, whose contract with Clear Channel’s news/talk WTAM and rock/talk WMMS expires after this season, are opening up the radio rights for play-by-play for bids.  Crain’s says “all signs are pointing to Clear Channel” retaining those rights, but it appears any serious bids from competitors may raise the price of the club’s radio broadcasts.  CBS Radio may be interested in adding a sports play-by-play franchise for its year-old sports WKRK “92.3 The Fan.”  The two companies were recently involved in bidding for Cleveland Indians play-by-play with Clear Channel coming out on top and winning a five-year renewal deal to keep the games on WTAM.

TRN’s Rusty Humphries Wraps “Obama’s Failing Agenda Tour.”  Nationally syndicated talk show host Rusty Humphries, seen here boarding a private jet, was part of the Americans for Prosperity-sponsored “Obama’s Failing Agenda” tour through several swing states this fall.  Humphries was part of the bus tour through Ohio and Florida and he says of his time on the tour, “I always welcome the opportunity to get out of the studio and talk one-on-one with the people in America to see exactly what they are feeling.  I could not have picked a better way to prepare for this new time slot, than by spending a few days listening to people’s frustrations about what is going on in our country and how they want real change.”  Humphries is referring to his new Eastern Time PM drive air time on Talk Radio Network.

Global Security Systems and iBiquity Digital Team Up for Comprehensive EAS Messages.  The system is currently installed and operational on two Greater Media HD Radio stations in the Detroit market where chief engineer Mike Kernen (pictured here in the Greater Media Detroit studios) says, “The combination of HD Radio Technology and capabilities provided by GSS offers the most complete alert and warning content in the broadcast radio environment.”  Global Security Systems, LLC (GSS) — the systems integrator and service provider of GSSNet, ALERT FM and Alert Studio — and iBiquity Digital Corporation, the developer of FM and AM HD Radio Technology and Active Radio, have teamed up to deliver this comprehensive Emergency Alert System (EAS) that provides emergency audio and text content over analog FM and HD Radio System.  The system is Common Alert Protocol (CAP) — compatible and Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) — compliant.  In addition, multi-channel HD Radio technology empowers emergency officials to potentially broadcast different languages using different channels during a crisis.  iBiquity Digital president and CEO Bob Struble states, “It’s particularly gratifying to know that by providing  expanded alerting capabilities of HD Radio System through our relationship with GSS, we are part of a comprehensive radio broadcasting solution that may save lives in local communities across the country.”

Tuesday’s Second Presidential Debate, Presidential Race Polls, Taliban-Wounded Pakistani Teen Case, and Freefall from Space Story Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/15).  Tonight’s second presidential debate; the trends in the presidential race polls; the case of the 14-year-old Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban for advocating for education for women; and Felix Baumgartner’s freefall from 24  miles above the Earth’s surface were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Crystal Ball for Brand Managers

| October 12, 2012

By Chris Miller
Chris Miller Digital

SHAKER HEIGHTS — Saga Communications made the news this past Wednesday when they anointed their program directors as “brand managers.”  Saga’s executive vice president, Steve Goldstein, issued a memo that you read in RadioInfo.  It read, in part, “We’ve been thinking about how successful programmers are morphing their skills to become proficient at not just managing the on-air product, but the overall brand.  And conversely, it has exposed the vulnerability of program directors who are not learning and growing as we become more digital.”

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President Obama Calls in to Tom Joyner Morning Show and Discusses Debate

| October 10, 2012

DALLAS — This morning (10/10) on the Tom Joyner Morning Show President Barack Obama called in and spoke to Tom Joyner and Sybil Wilkes about the debate, the importance of voting, his focus on the African American Community, and his thoughts on winning this tight election.  The following is a key excerpt from that exclusive interview:

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Friday, October 5, 2012

| October 5, 2012

Entercom’s Sports WEEI Splits AM and FM Signals Today.  The AM and FM signals of Entercom’s Boston-based sports talk radio giant WEEI split earlier this morning with the Boston FM signal at 93.7 continuing the local talk with the established lineup of Dennis & Callahan, Mut & Merloni, “The Big Show” with Glenn Ordway and Michael Holley, and “Planet Mikey” with Mike Adams.  The AM signal at 850 is now “ESPN on WEEI” and features the lineup of ESPN Radio sports talk shows beginning with “Mike & Mike in the Morning,” “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” SVP & Russillo, “ESPN Today,” Hill & Schlereth or play-by-play, “SportsCenter Tonight,” and “SportsCenter All Night.”  Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic are broadcasting from Gillette Stadium this morning to celebrate their arrival in the Boston market.  ESPN senior vice president, production business divisions Traug Keller states, “We’re pleased to team with Boston’s preeminent sports radio outlet and one of the nation’s best radio broadcasting companies in Entercom to bring the number one national network into New England.  This move, coupled with the existing presence of ESPNBoston.com, provides Boston’s passionate fans the best of ESPN’s national and local coverage and analysis.”

Cox Media Group to Debut Georgia News Service in January.  The multi-media service will be based out of Cox Media Group’s WSB, Atlanta studio and bring together the assets of WSB, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution and ABC TV affiliate WSB-TV to produce news content.  Scott Smith – market manager for Cox Media in Athens, Georgia – is being charged with heading the operation.  Cox Media Atlanta vice president and general manager Ben Reed says, “The Cox name has long been synonymous with excellent news coverage throughout the state of Georgia.  This gives us the opportunity to bring our experience and assets together in order to provide a high-quality news service to outlets across the state of Georgia.  We believe the Georgia News Service will very quickly become an invaluable audio, visual, and digital resource for news outlets across the state.  We look forward to providing them with the high-caliber news coverage that has become a Cox tradition.”  Clear Channel has been operating the Georgia News Network out of former news/talk WGST’s studios but is closing down the bureau.

ESPN Radio Extends Contract of Ryen Russillo; Changes Name of Afternoon Show to ‘SVP & Russillo.’  Ryen Russillo has been the co-host of the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET Scott Van Pelt show on ESPN Radio since May of 2009.  Now, the sports entertainment giant extends Russillo’s deal and, to give him more visibility, changes the name of the show from “The Scott Van Pelt Show” to “SVP & Russillo.”  He says, “Over the last three years ‘The Scott Van Pelt Show’ has been my number one priority, and I couldn’t be happier that, for the next few years, it will remain my priority.  I believe in the direction of this show and am really looking forward to where we are going.”  In addition to his co-hosting duties with Van Pelt, Russillo also hosts the 12:00 noon to 7:00 pm ET edition of College GameDay during the football season.

Dave Ramsey Goes West.  Nationally syndicated talk radio sensation Dave Ramsey was in Phoenix and Fresno this week for two live events.  First, Ramsey presented his brand new, intimate “Living a Legacy Live Event” in Fresno for the benefit of the audience and affiliate KMJ-FM.  Ramsey discussed how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence.  His daughter, Rachel Cruze, joined Ramsey on stage.  Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ-FM saw the direct benefits of the live event for their audience and their station.  PD Skip Essick says, “Dave Ramsey has an incredible, loyal following, and selling out Saroyan Theater not only speaks to the quality of talent we have in him, but the drawing power of ‘105.9, The FM KMJ.’”  Ramsey hosted his “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” in Phoenix on Wednesday for a packed house at Central Christian Church.  Brett Rogers is the sales manager for affiliate KTAR-FM and he says, “KTAR is proud to be a part of bringing this unique training to Arizona’s business community.  Through this event, we’ve been able to bring some of our best local partners and provide them the opportunity to change their business and also personally meet Dave Ramsey and have a money-can’t-buy experience.  This event has given us the opportunity to engage with our clients in a unique, personal environment.”  Dave Ramsey is pictured here with the sales staff of Bonneville’s KTAR-FM.

Brown Corners Hickenlooper.  That’s KHOW, Denver talk show host (and former Undersecretary of Homeland Security in the Bush Administration) Michael Brown in the center with the microphone trying to get Democratic Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper (left) on the air on KHOW during the live broadcast prior to Wednesday’s presidential debate at the University of Denver.  Brown co-hosts “The Rundown” with author, columnist and talk host David Sirota during PM drive on KHOW and program director Dan Mandis tells TALKERS the duo have had a hard time getting Governor Hickenlooper to appear on their program so Brown took advantage of the governor’s appearance at the event to ask some questions.  However, shortly after this photo was taken the governor had to make other appearances and promised to stop by the KHOW remote broadcast booth later but did not.

WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia’s Angelo Cataldi Donates to Heart Association.  Making good on his pre-season pledge to donate $10 to the American Heart Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania in honor of Richie Ashburn Memorial Homeruns for Hearts for each home run hit by the Phillies this season, WIP morning drive host Angelo Cataldi is pictured here writing the ceremonial check for $1,580 dollars matching the Phillies’ 158 homers.  The Homeruns for Hearts event was designed to give ordinary citizens the chance to live out their major league dreams. It made its debut in 1997, after the sudden passing of Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn, who succumbed to heart disease. In addition, the event also honors longtime Phillies announcer Harry Kalas, who also died of heart disease in 2009.

Stitcher Launches Podcast and On Demand Radio Awards.  The web aggregator Stitcher has announced the launch of the Stitcher Awards, to celebrate the best of on demand radio and podcasts for 2012. Listeners can nominate their favorite shows across 20 different categories – from Best Comedy to Best New Show. Stitcher now has over 10,000 different shows streaming on demand. Nominations will be open until October 19th. Fans can nominate their shows every day for the next two weeks at www.stitcher.com/stitcherawards or on the company’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/stitcherradio.  The finalists will be announced shortly afterwards for each category and the winners will be named live in San Francisco in December.

Rick Kaplan Joins NAB as EVP, Strategic Planning. The National Association of Broadcasters announces that former top FCC staffer Rick Kaplan has been hired as executive vice president, Strategic Planning. In this newly created position that will deal primarily with television, Kaplan will lead NAB’s efforts related to spectrum and innovation policy. His first day is Oct. 22. “We are delighted to announce the hiring of Rick Kaplan, whose credibility and integrity are well-recognized both at the Commission and in telecom circles in Washington,” says NAB president/CEO Gordon Smith. “His expertise on spectrum issues will benefit broadcasters greatly as we work with policymakers to ensure a robust local television business for decades to come.”

Odds & Sods.  Mixed martial arts is a big draw for the young male demo and “UFC on FX” has been good to the Fox-owned cable channel.  Fox Sports Radio Network has been simulcasting “UFC on FX” and continues with tonight’s “UFC on FX: Browne vs. Bigfoot” live from the Target Center in Minneapolis.  After the fights, mixed martial arts expert Larry Pepe hosts a Fox Sports Radio wrap-up show with interviews and call-ins from 7 pm to 10 pm PT…..Talk host Tom Donahue announces he’s ending his daily live internet talk show due to financial considerations but will continue with various multi-media projects including his new YouTube channel, podcasts and blog.  Donahue says he remains available for guest hosting and for guest interviews…..Dave Raymond and Brett Dolan are out as the radio play-by-play announcers for Houston Astros baseball.  The club announces it is beginning the search for their replacements immediately.  Clear Channel’s KTRH, Houston is the club’s flagship station.

NJBA Comments Incorporated into Federal Legislation.  Pro-radio crusader Paul S. Rotella, president/CEO of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association, reports positive progress in his organization’s efforts to influence the interests of the radio industry in government circles. The House of Representatives recently passed the FEMA Reauthorization Act of 2011 (H.R. 2903), which authorizes the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) and makes improvements to the system including language that broadcasters requested in several key areas: 1. The bill creates an IPAWS Advisory Committee to ensure that the various federal agencies that have a part in the governance of the IPAWS are conducting an ongoing dialogue with message disseminators. (Broadcasters will be represented on the IPAWS advisory committee); and 2. The bill establishes a comprehensive and periodic training program to instruct and educate Federal, State, Tribal, and local government officials in the use of the Common Alerting Protocol enabled Emergency Alert System.  Importantly, the bill requires that this training be integrated into the National Incident Management System, which is the Department of Homeland Security’s emergency management doctrine used across the United States to coordinate emergency preparedness and incident management and response.  By incorporating the NJBA’s comments regarding EAS training into the National Incident Management System, state and local emergency managers will have to participate in EAS training in order to receive federal homeland security grant funding. The bill now heads to the Senate, which has been considering its own IPAWS bill.

14.8 Million More Americans Watched the Presidential Debate.  According to a report from TVbytheNumbers, the first presidential debate of the 2012 campaign on Wednesday evening saw a big spike in the number of people who tuned in compared to the first debate in 2008 between Barack Obama and John McCain.  Then, 52.4 million Americans tuned in.  On Wednesday, 67.2 million people watched the debate on one of the 12 networks that carried it.  Of the big three networks that carried it, ABC grabbed the most viewers with 11.2 million.

First Presidential Debate Victory Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 1-5.  The build-up to the first presidential debate and the post-debate analysis was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week and landed atop the Talkers TenTM.  The investigation of the Libya consulate attack that claimed the life of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and others was #2.  At #3 was the controversy over President Obama’s 2007 speech before a black audience in which he questions why the largely African-American victims of Hurricane Katrina didn’t receive the same assistance as victims of other disasters.  Following at #4 was analysis of the presidential campaign polls.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top people and stories discussed on news/talk radio during the week, based on ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Friday, September 28, 2012

| September 28, 2012

Michael Savage Wins Suit Against Talk Radio Network; Leaves the Air Immediately.  Talk radio icon Michael Savage, who has been distributed by Talk Radio Network since he went into national syndication from his home base in San Francisco in the late 1990s, has won his legal battle with the company to be freed from his contract and has the right to seek other means of distributing his program.  Sources indicate there is no non-compete in effect and Savage is now free to work wherever he chooses.  Ranked by TALKERS magazine as the third most-listened-to talk show host in the nation, Savage states on his website, “After a grueling legal battle that cost him and his family dearly, Michael Savage can announce he won!  He is free at last.  Free to work with whomever he wishes in the radio industry from today forward.  Michael will not be heard on the radio for some time, but you can keep up with him by logging onto Michaelsavage.com every day for updates and by subscribing to his free newsletter.”  TRN CEO Mark Masters issued a statement in response, “We are all looking forward to announcing a bright future; radio’s October Surprise will begin on Monday, October 1st.”  Savage’s attorney, Daniel Horowitz, tells the AP that Savage has been fighting the network for two years to get out of a contract that was 10 years old and prevented him from switching employers.  Savage won the favorable ruling in arbitration.  Horowitz says the pact lacked protections afforded to artists and entertainers under California law and tied Savage to Talk Radio Network indefinitely.  As for the cost to Savage to which he refers to in his missive on the website, Horowitz says Savage spent more than $900,000 fighting his case but was awarded more than $1 million in arbitration.  Savage will also have access to his audio archives.  Still unclear is the exact amount of time Savage must remain off the air.

Jim Rome’s Jump to CBS Sports Radio Official.  As expected, syndicated sports talk icon Jim Rome is leaving Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Premiere Networks at the end of his contract (which expires at the end of the year) and will become part of the national slate at CBS Sports Radio.  The newly created national sports talk network will hit the airwaves on Wednesday, January 2, 2013 and Rome’s program will air in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot.  Included in the new deal are Rome’s contributing to the “CBS Sports Minute,” 60-second hourly feature on the network as well as his providing commentary for CBS Sports and CBSSports.com.  Rome is also set to host a talk series on Showtime, due to debut later this fall.  CBS Radio president and CEO Dan Mason states, “Jim would be at the top of any list highlighting sports radio’s most authoritative and opinionated hosts which is exactly why we’re thrilled to welcome him to CBS Sports Radio.  We are building a network that showcases the incredible assets of CBS Radio and CBS Sports, and creating a strategic opportunity for growth in this untapped marketplace.  Jim’s presence in this marquee time period adds strength to our lineup and exceptional value to our advertisers.”

Changes at Sports Talk KFNC, Houston; Carl Dukes Exits PM Drive to Join CBS Radio’s New Atlanta Sports Talk FM.  The Houston Chronicle’s David Barron reports PM drive sports talk host Carl Dukes is leaving his role at Gow Communications-owned KFNC to become part of the staff at CBS Radio’s WZGC “SportsRadio 92.9 The Game” in Atlanta.  At KFNC, midday hosts Fred Faour and A.J. Hoffman are shifting to afternoon drive in Dukes’ place and Houston Chronicle columnist Jerome Solomon will become host of the midday show.  Program director and PM drive co-host David Tepper will also move to the midday slot to work with Solomon.  Owner David Gow tells the paper, “Fred and A.J. have been ready for afternoon drive, and we think listeners will enjoy them in that time slot.  We are delighted to add Jerome. He’s one of the top voices in sports in this market.”

Armstrong & Getty Return to Air.  The KSTE, Sacramento-based morning show duo of Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty were back on the air at the Clear Channel station (and on their San Francisco simulcast outlet KKSF) re-iterating their two days off the radio had nothing to do with the bit they did on Monday’s program calling for people to post videos, cartoons and more critical of Islam and Mohammad.  There had been speculation in the industry that management took the two off the air in the wake of statements by people, including President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, condemning editorial comments bashing Islam and its tenets.  The two assured listeners they are allowed complete editorial control over their show and that they were off the air for other reasons they agreed not to talk about on the radio.

Odds & Sods.  WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” talk host Chris Duncan picks up the “Best Sports Broadcast Personality” award from the alt-weekly Riverfront Times and its annual “Best of St. Louis 2012.”…..Cumulus Media’s sports talk KFNZ, Salt Lake City will broadcast all of the Utah Grizzlies ECHL minor league hockey games beginning with this season…..Tom Sipos’ “Hudson Valley Focus” program is the new morning show at Clear Channel’s WKIP, Poughkeepsie/WJIP, Ellenville, New York.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  “Phil’s Gang” with host Phil Grande is added to the program schedule at KFNN, Phoenix and KPSF, Palm Springs, California…..“The Money Pit home Improvement Show” with Tom Kraeutler and Leslie Segrete is added to WMXI, Hattiesburg, Mississippi and KGAL, Albany, Oregon.

Mitch on The Fool.  WJR, Detroit PM drive host and author of the best-selling novel The Time Keeper (Hyperion 2012) Mitch Albom (l) sits with Chris Hill (r), host of the nationally syndicated “Motley Fool Radio Show.”  Albom, who has a couple of best-sellers to his name, is a sports columnist and sports TV personality in addition to his work on WJR, recently went on Hill’s program to talk about his new novel and more.

Benghazi Attack Investigation Top News/Story for Week of September 24-28.  The investigation of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and the allegation that al Qaeda was responsible was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  Coming at #2 was the United Nations addresses by world leaders this week.  At #3 was Iran’s nuclear program and following at #4 was the presidential race polls.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See the entire chart here.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

| September 27, 2012

Big Changes in Atlanta Talk Radio: Clear Channel to Flip WGST-AM/FM, Atlanta to Spanish or Comedy and Rush Limbaugh Moves to Cox’s WSB-AM/FM.  Exactly what format Clear Channel Media and Entertainment will flip longtime news/talk WGST-AM (which is simulcast on an FM translator at 92.3) to – whether it will be a Spanish format or a comedy format – remains to be seen.  But talk pro Rusty Humphries, who handled PM drive for the station is gone and Premiere’s Glenn Beck ran in his place Wednesday.  The status of morning hosts Rob Johnson and Dave Merlino is not known, however WGST is airing “The Wall Street Journal This Morning with Gordon Deal” in place of Johnson and Merlino.  Humphries, who hosts a separate program that is nationally syndicated via Talk Radio Network, tells TALKERS magazine, “It is always sad to see a news/talk facility such as WGST change to another format but I am grateful for the time I had there and was able to spend doing local radio in Atlanta.  The people at Clear Channel are fine people and I enjoyed working with them.  For me, the good news is that I will have a lot more time to devote to my nationally syndicated TRN program which is growing by leaps and bounds.”  Attempts by TALKERS to get response from Clear Channel management in Atlanta confirming the format change have not been successful.  Meanwhile, across town at Cox Media’s WSB-AM/FM, the station announces Rush Limbaugh, who is heard on WGST, will move to WSB beginning Monday, October 1.  At the same time WSB announces a new long-term deal with Premiere’s Sean Hannity for the PM drive slot and the return of “Atlanta’s Evening News” airing from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm hosted by Erick Erickson.  Cox Media’s Clark Howard will still emanate from WSB for his nationally syndicated program heard on some 200 affiliates across the country but will move to the 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot on WSB.  In order to accommodate the Limbaugh acquisition, the Neal Boortz program moves to the 8:30 am to 12:00 noon slot.

Armstrong & Getty Return Today.  KSTE, Sacramento-based morning duo Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty are back on the air this morning with Armstrong telling Sacramento TV station KTXL “Fox40” that the reason the duo was off the air on Tuesday and Wednesday was due to an “internal” reason and not because of their call to have listeners post cartoons, photos etc. that criticize Islam.  It had been widely reported the two had been suspended for the incident.  In fact, Armstrong tells the TV station the audio file of Monday’s controversial show will return to the online archives soon.  He says they will address the matter first thing today on the program at 6:00 am PT.

Talk Host Phil Valentine Decries Political Correctness.  Writing that the fear of offending those groups of people from which terrorists have sprung has put the shoe on the other foot and now the media is being terrorized, nationally syndicated talk host Phil Valentine laments the state of the media in America.  He says, “I’ve often joked that the only two groups we in talk radio can get away with offending are the deaf and the Amish.  Other offenses might require throwing yourself at the mercy of Jesse Jackson or apologizing to some LGBT group.  Now there is an offense from which you may never come back and that is offending a Muslim.”  Valentine penned this piece for TALKERS after hearing about the case of Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty.  Valentine’s piece is an interesting look at the intersection of politics and media in our current age.  Read it here.

Media Blogger Rich Lieberman Stands By Ronn Owens Story.  Rich Lieberman, who operates the 415 Media blog, wrote a post recently predicting that KGO, San Francisco talk legend Ronn Owens would have his contract – which expires at the end of this year – bought out and he would disappear from KGO early with the station moving in a newsier direction.  TALKERS reported this and Owens responded that Lieberman’s report is “totally made up.”  He also told TALKERS Lieberman has been attacking him for the past year for the changes that have taken place at KGO since Cumulus Media took over the station.  Now, Lieberman tells TALKERS he stands by his story.  “My sources are strong and I believe in them.  This has been a story I have sat on for nearly three weeks.  I finally went with it after talk and e-mailing Bay Area broadcast people familiar with the subject at hand.  I do NOT just dish out any speculation and innuendo without first trying to get it right.”  Apparently, only time will tell what the future holds for Ronn Owens at KGO.

20 Years and Going Strong.  Nationally syndicated talk superstar Dave Ramsey is pictured here holding the pewter statuette of a classic radio microphone given to him by his staff in honor of his 20th anniversary in the talk radio business.  Ramsey’s “official” anniversary is tomorrow – September 28 – and commemorates the day he and some friends took to the air on WWTN-FM, Nashville in a brokered time deal with the then-bankrupt station.  On Friday, a special episode of the program will air and include well-wishes from celebrities, friends and family; glimpses into the party at Ramsey’s Financial Peace Plaza; a look back at the history of the show; and calls from long-time listeners and second-generation callers.  Video of the show will be streamed live online.   Ramsey says, “I’m still surprised and honored that people call me at some of the most difficult and personal moments in their lives.  Giving people hope for their future and seeing lives changed is why I do this every day.”  He also credits his team for helping him achieve the success he has.  “I didn’t do this on my own.  Our producer, Blake Thompson, associate producer, Lara Johnson, engineer Matt Aaron and many other people have made it what it is today.  I have the best crew in radio, and we’ve been together for a long time, which is unheard of in the radio industry.”

The Young Guns of Talk Radio.  Ask anyone, especially those working for the consumer media, and they’ll tell you that personalities working as hosts on news/talk stations are all old, white men.  Radio’s general lack of a “farm system” doesn’t help that misconception much, but the truth is there are young people – some men and some women – working in news/talk radio today.  TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey writes about some of the young broadcasters working in news/talk now.  Not all of them agree that by being young, they have the ability to attract a younger audience to the format.  But some believe it can be a factor.  KNST, Tucson host and PD Garret Lewis, for example, says, “The fact that I’m 35 and my friends are around my age gives me an advantage because I know what makes a person in their late 20s and 30s get fired up emotionally and what interests them.”  Hosts talk with Casey about the issues of the demographic, who inspired them, how they approach their programs and what, if anything, can be done to get young people into the talk business.  Read this story here.

Looking for Political Ad Dollars.  Getting those political ad dollars – even getting them late – is a nice boost to a station’s or group’s revenue.  TALKERS magazine managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian talks with Portland Radio Group president and general manager Cary Pahigian about status of political money.  Pahigian says if you’re not in a potential swing state, the numbers (at least for presidential dollars) for radio are not rosy – at least not yet.  “With the exception of a few states, there does seem to be a lull,” Pahigian says.  He says the same pattern has developed over the past few election cycles.  “Depending on the landscape and circumstances, television is first in line and radio is second.  Everything changes though if there are issues and/or a tight race going on.”  Read Mike Kinosian’s full story here.

Three Senators and a Hopeful.  WIBC, Indianapolis late morning host Greg Garrison was visited by three U.S. Senators and one who hopes to become the next senator from the state of Indiana on his program on Wednesday during a campaign swing through the state capital.  Pictured here (from l-r) are: WIBC’s Todd Meyer, Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), Garrison, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), Indiana State Treasurer and senatorial candidate Richard Mourdock, and Senator Dan Coats (R-IN).

Presidential Campaign Polls, Libya-al Qaeda Connection, Iran/Middle East Tensions, and NFL Referees Status Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/26).  The conflicting presidential election polls; the continuing query into the cause of the Libya terrorist attack; the state of Iran’s nuclear weapons program and the political climate in the Middle East; and the status of the NFL’s referee situation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Three Steps to Digital Revenue Power

| September 24, 2012

By Chris Miller
Chris Miller Digital

SHAKER HEIGHTS, OH – President Barack Obama has been appearing on radio morning shows lately … not on talk stations, but on stations that play music. On September 17, TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo covered how one of these appearances came together for Cox’s hip hop station in Orlando.  The President has shown up on alternative and Spanish language stations, too.  Politics aside, this is a success story for radio! Obama’s campaign has been targeting certain messages to appeal to certain voter blocks.  They have microsites on the web, different social media groups, and targeted, focused e-mail lists. However, what did they use to present the President in both a targeted and a personal way? They used RADIO!

Radio is the original targeted medium. It’s potentially even more targeted in this new media world. Having digital inventory to sell on our streams and websites only makes us a stronger business partner for clients who want to hyper-focus their message. That’s the power of broadcast plus digital! To maximize that power, you can follow three steps.

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Can Terrestrial Radio Thrive in the Digital Era?

| September 19, 2012

By Michael Harrison
TALKERS Magazine
Publisher

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Survival is not enough.

Survival is already happening and it isn’t as much fun as it’s cracked up to be as a spectator sport on the Discovery Channel.  In the reality show called terrestrial radio, sooner than later, survival will run out of gas.  For terrestrial radio, “survival” is simply a slower form of imminent death.

It should be the goal of terrestrial radio to thrive in the digital era.

Thrive?  Is that even possible?

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Please Stop Copying

| September 17, 2012

By Walter Sabo
Sabo Media
Chairman

NEW YORK — Each talk host has a unique set of life experiences, opinions and feelings. When a host is encouraged and allowed to express their unique world view, the result is compelling radio and the cume grows. Tragically, and it is tragic, at some point most hosts are told to “sound more like…” or “did you hear so and so today?”

The reason Howard Stern, Rush Limbaugh, Dr. Laura have been so successful is that they copy no one.  You may be surprised to learn that Howard Stern has never listened to most of the other hosts he’s bashed.

When working with talent it is never wise to encourage them to listen to other hosts because it destroys their internal navigation system. Each host has stories they want to tell, ideas they want to present and blessed opinions that must be heard. When they are forced to monitor other hosts, their own instincts soften and ultimately crumble.

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Killer Endorsement Spots: Advertisers’ (and Your) Best Buds

| September 14, 2012

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

BLOCK ISLAND, RI –  Even with Google now sucking SO many local advertising dollars away from legacy media, local radio can still be local retailers’ best friend, and that’s not an opinion.  Data from the Radio Advertising Bureau and elsewhere continues to demonstrate that radio is, mathematically, the most efficient way to tell-a-lot-of-people-something.  And being the #1 in-car medium, we can still reach consumers closest to the cash register.

And your relationship with listeners can be a powerful bond.  Radio is an intimate medium, with decades of cred’ to the two generations which control most retail spending.  So the local DJs and talkers who will survive the ongoing bloodbath do so by being more than just voices.  Properly applied, the trust you have earned with listeners can sell-sell-sell, in a way that makes Arbitron numbers irrelevant.

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

| September 13, 2012

Les Moonves Tells Investors Network Sports Radio Biz is “Found Money.”  That CBS is bullish on sports is not news – CBS CEO Les Moonves has said that before.  But he reiterated his company’s dedication to the industry and – citing the new CBS Sports Radio Network venture – called it $10 million to $15 million worth of “found money.”  Speaking at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference in Beverly Hills yesterday, Moonves told the conference the sports radio network business is a $150 million industry, “With our deal with Cumulus, we have reach.  We’re in nine of the top 10 markets.  We have the capacity to put on a lot of stuff.  We think right away we’re going to get about 10% of the market.  That’s going to be a significant hit right away and that should grow.  It’s a great marketplace; rather easy to do.  As far as we’re concerned it’s 10 or 15 million [dollars] of found money that we think will grow.”  CBS is entering into a fast-growing marketplace already dominated by ESPN and with entrenched radio players Fox Sports Radio Network, Yahoo! Sports Radio and new entrant NBC Sports Radio – a partnership between NBC and Dial Global.  Sure, there’s a ton of money in sports media right now, but how fast this market gets saturated is a question industry watchers are pondering.

Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Gets Television Profile with DISH Network Deal.  Talk show host and digital media pioneer Glenn Beck is soon to be seen on television after his TheBlaze, Inc. agrees to a deal with DISH Network to have his online 24-hour news, information and entertainment network available on the satellite TV provider.  Under terms of the deal, TheBlaze will be available to DISH viewers on channel 212 as part of DISH’s America’s Top 250 package or a la carte for $5 a month.  The channel launched Wednesday at 5:00 pm ET.  It’ll be available as a free preview for all DISH customers through September 26.  In a statement, Beck says, “TheBlaze has helped revolutionize television over the internet and now we are excited to bring the revolution back to traditional television.  TheBlaze will be home to news, information and entertainment programming with the facts and stories people care about most and we look forward to kicking things off with DISH.”  Mercury Radio Arts president Chris Balfe blogged about the success of Beck’s new venture and how this deal came to pass.  “Prior to our initial launch I was often asked why we didn’t pursue a traditional cable channel.  There were several factors, but the biggest was that we wouldn’t have been able to build the channel we wanted back then without giving up control.  To get on the air we would have had to partner with a large media company that could provide us with the staff, infrastructure and distribution necessary to launch a new network.  That was something that we simply were not willing to do.  The whole point of starting our own network was to be free from outside influences  — giving that independence up right away in exchange for distribution was a non-starter.  And so we found another way.  But now, a year later, everything has changed.  Our subscribers’ enthusiasm and support has allowed us to make the necessary investments in programming and infrastructure, and we’re now in a position to launch a cable and satellite channel without losing control.”

Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Promotes Julie Talbott.  The president of content and affiliations for Premiere Networks is upped to a new post – president of content and affiliations for CC’s National Media Groups.  Talbott retains her oversight of Premiere Networks but adds new duties as she’ll answer to Kevin Dorsey, president of the National Media Groups who, in turn, reports directly to chairman and CEO John Hogan.  A statement from Clear Channel notes Talbott’s “new role will include leading and maintaining key affiliate relationships to sell and service Premiere Networks, Total Traffic Network and iHeartRadio, Clear Channel’s industry-leading digital radio platform.  The new position will provide the company’s affiliates with a simplified and streamlined point of contact for communicating and conducting business across Clear Channel’s diverse group of subsidiaries.”  Talbott says, “I enjoy working with our clients and partners, and this alignment of our affiliate efforts will allow us to better serve and communicate with stations throughout the U.S.  I’m looking forward to working with the amazing teams across the company as we continue to demonstrate the unique relationship CCM+E has with our audience.”

Cox Media’s KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa Names Levi May Program Director.  The PD post at KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa opened up when long-time programmer Drew Anderssen moved to Cox Media’s Orlando news/talker WDBO-AM/FM.  Levi May served as WDBO’s assistant PD prior to his new position in Tulsa.

Talk Radio Weekends: Two Sure Shots.  Talk radio consultant Holland Cooke offers advice on weekend programming for talk radio stations that fits in with the P1’s weekend lifestyle and has the opportunity for bringing in revenue.  Sure, it’s lifestyle-oriented stuff but while many of those categories are well-serviced by nationally syndicated programs, Cooke says these two suggestions are tailor-made for local professionals.  Read Holland Cooke’s piece here.

 

WVON, Chicago News Pro Sharon McGhee Loses Battle with Cancer.  Journalist, writer and radio news director Sharon McGhee died in Columbia, Missouri on September 11 at age 54 after a long battle with ovarian cancer.  She joined urban talk WVON, Chicago in 1997 and was promoted to news director the following year.  She left the radio business to focus on her love of the arts and entertainment and in 2007, wrote the critically acclaimed “The Pocketbook Monologues” and subsequently directed multiple staged performances across the United States.  McGhee returned to WVON in 2008 as news director and resigned from that position in 2010 due to health reasons.  WVON president Melody Spann Cooper states, “Sharon McGhee was one of the most creative people I’ve ever known.  Her determination, passion and drive brought her to Chicago where she excelled in everything that was on her professional and personal agenda.  She was a rare breed determined to do it her way, and she did.”

Former Merlin Media News Pros Land with Virtual News Center.  News staffers Veronica Carter and Katherine Kelly were two of the news pros who worked at Merlin Media’s FM news outlet in Chicago and exited the station when it flipped formats.  They join the team at Virtual News Center which describes itself as “the largest independent provider of local news for radio heard on over 175 stations in nearly 80 markets.”  The company works on a cash direct basis or via barter through Envision Radio Networks.  Veronica Carter spent her 25 year radio career in Illinois, Indiana, and California, heavily involved in all facets of news reporting and anchoring.  On her Merlin experience she says, “Working for Merlin Media was short lived, but an adventure to say the least!  Glad to be with Virtual News Center, it’s actually fun doing newscasts all over the country!”  Katherine Kelly worked in Peoria, Illinois and the Quad Cities as well as in Seattle and Chicago.  Kelly anchored news as a part of some of the country’s top morning shows.  She also helped launch the Oprah Radio Network on Sirius XM.  She states, “I am incredibly honored to be joining the team at Virtual News Center.  Now I can cover just as many cities without leaving home!”

New Jersey 101.5 Reporter Honored for Series on Teen Drug Abuse.  The New Jersey Governor’s Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse honors New Jersey 101.5 reporter Stacy Proesbtle with its Community Service Award.  Proesbtle is pictured here (from l-r) with NJ 101.5 brand manager Eric Johnson, NJ 101.5 news director Eric Scott, Proesbtle, and Council executive director John Hulick at the Council’s 21st annual Summit at the Hyatt Regency New Brunswick, New Jersey.  Proebstle’s five-part series about the abuse of heroin and other opiates among New Jersey’s youth focused on prescription drug abuse, accidental overdoses, how abuse often begins at home and  the fact that prescription drug abuse can happen to anyone.  Proebstle talked to recovering addicts, parents, prevention specialists, substance abuse professionals and law enforcement officers to address current trends and issues along with possible solutions.  On receiving the honor, Proesbtle says, “I’m absolutely delighted to receive this honor on behalf of the station and most genuinely grateful.  It validates the importance of community service and giving back to one’s community.”

Cumulus San Francisco Inks 49ers for 12-Year Extension.  Appearing on sports talk KNBR, San Francisco’s Murph & Mac morning show, Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey joined 49ers CEO Jed York to announce the stations and the NFL clubs have agreed to a 12-year contract extension to keep the team’s games on KNBR, news/talk KGO and rock KSAN in the market.  During that appearance on the program, Dickey said, “While the trend in radio has been for shorter deals with sports teams, this 12-year partnership demonstrates the commitment of KNBR and Cumulus to the 49ers, and further cements KNBR as the ‘Sports Leader in Northern California’ for almost 25 years.”

WEEI, Boston Helps Celebrate Red Sox Broadcaster Joe Castiglione’s 30th Anniversary.  Prior to last night’s Boston Red Sox game, Entercom sports talker WEEI celebrated the 30th anniversary of play-by-play announcer Joe Castiglione with an appearance at the WEEI studios by Castiglione on the afternoon drive “Big Show” with Glenn Ordway and Michael Holley.  The evening also featured a half-hour pre-game tribute show that included a video at Fenway Park and on-field recognition from the team.

Conservative Chuck Morse and Liberal Dr. Patrick O’Heffernan Split.  Veteran Boston-based conservative talk host Chuck Morse and California-based liberal Dr. Patrick O’Heffernan have ended their left-right internet talk radio program, “Fairness Radio with Chuck Morse & Dr. Patrick O’Heffernan,” after it became impossible to work together, according to Morse.  The two will host separate programs on the internet and affiliated radio stations.

 

Long-Running Speaker Series Continues with Author of ‘Fast and Furious’ Book.  WNDB, Daytona Beach talk host Marc Bernier (at left) conducted his 80th “Town Hall” interview and live broadcast in The Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University “President Speaker Series,” with Townhall.com investigative reporter Katie Pavlich (at right) before a live audience on Wednesday, September 12.  Pavlich is author of Fast and Furious: Barack Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal and the Shameless Cover-Up (Regnery 2012).  Photo: Arthur J. Byrnes.

U.S. Ambassador Killed in Libya Strike, Cairo Unrest, Obama-Netanyahu Relations, and Chicago Teachers Strike Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/12).  The death of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens after a violent assault on the U.S. consulate; violent anti-American protests in Cairo; reports of President Obama’s snubbing of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Obama Administration’s Iran policy; and the continuing Chicago teachers strike were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Talk Radio Weekends: 2 Sure Shots

| September 13, 2012

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

BLOCK ISLAND, R.I. — With radio so financially challenged, continued employment is earned by leveraging your personal craft skills and your station’s assets.  Want to keep working?  Be revenue, not expense.

Thus my recent TALKERS column “21st Century Swap Shop” (http://www.talkers.com/2012/08/14/21st-century-swap-shop/), which acknowledged three realities:

  1. Antique and/or tedious programming is toxic when we share listeners’ attention with new-platform competitors.
  2. Stations are under hellish pressure to monetize the new platform.
  3. Stations have lots more 60-second avails than 60-minute avails.

Keep thinking of ways to connect those dots, and (forgive me) “do more with less,” and you’ll be handy to have around.

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

| September 6, 2012

Glenn Beck’s The Blaze Fires Up Digital Audio Network; Jay Severin Among Talk Talent.  It’s called – what else? – TheBlaze Radio Network and the new online radio channel will be heard via Beck’s own TheBlaze iPhone and iPad apps as well as via iHeartRadio and at TheBlaze.com.  Beck’s company says the network will be the new exclusive home for “renowned nationally syndicated talk radio personality and Marconi Award-nominee Jay Severin.”  The lineup will also include a simulcast of Beck’s radio show, a re-launched show hosted by Stu Burguiere and Pat Gray as well as audio simulcasts of TheBlaze TV shows.  Dom Theodore, through his consulting firm RadioAnimal, LLC, will serve as the network’s program director.  When the network launches later this month, the lineup will be: the Glenn Beck program from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET;  Pat and Stu from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm; Jay Severin from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm; the simulcast of Beck’s TV show from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm and a simulcast of “Real News from the Blaze” from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  TheBlaze chief content officer Joel Cheatwood states, “We are excited to continue making TheBlaze a destination for news, information and entertainment programming across multiple platforms.  Jay is an incredible talent and is the perfect host to launch The Blaze Network.”

SEC Charging Financial Talker Ray Lucia with Violating Laws, Conducting Misleading Investment Seminars.  The Securities and Exchange Commission announces it is charging nationally syndicated talk host and financial advice author Ray Lucia with violating several sections of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.  The SEC says Lucia’s investment seminars, dubbed “Buckets of Money,” mislead potential investors when Lucia claimed his strategy “had been empirically ‘backtested’ over actual bear market periods.”  Further, the SEC states, “Lucia and RJL have admitted during the SEC’s investigation that the only testing they actually performed were some calculations that Lucia made in the late 1990s – copies of which no longer exist – and two two-page spreadsheets.”  The upshot, according to the FCC, is “Lucia and RJL left their seminar attendees with a false sense of comfort about the Buckets of Money strategy.”  SEC Los Angeles regional director Michele Wein Layne says, “The so-called backtests weren’t really backtests, and the strategy wasn’t proven as they claimed.”  The SEC is seeking “financial penalties and other remedial action in the proceedings.”

KTRH, Houston Talk Host Michael Berry’s the Flashpoint of Controversy in Houston After Tweet.  Former Houston city councilman Michael Berry and talk host at Clear Channel’s news/talk KTRH is the subject of chatter in Houston after a tweet he sent during Michelle Obama’s speech on Tuesday evening has some charging Berry used racist lingo.  Here’s what Berry tweeted: “Several black people were shot by other black people in Chicago while Michelle was speaking.”  He hash tagged it #knuckadeads.  Some say “knucka” or “nucka” is substitute slang for “nigga.”  Berry replies to My Fox Houston reporter Isiah Carey that he meant no racist intent and said Mrs. Obama has used the term to mean hard-headed, like knucklehead.  Carey writes Berry said he was trying to show the Obama administration’s lack of concern over the black-on-black violence in Chicago.

KMJ-FM, Fresno Names Jennifer Lipp AM Drive Host.  Peak Broadcasting brings popular Fresno radio personality Jennifer Lipp to morning drive on the FM side of its KMJ news/talk duo.  Lipp and former co-host Chris Daniel dominated mornings at crosstown rock KRZR in the late 1990s and early 2000s.  Daniel moved on to KMJ and Lipp worked at classic rock KKBZ, Fresno until Lotus Broadcasting let her go in November of 2011.  Now Lipp will host the morning show and Chris Daniel moves from the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot to 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm on KMJ-FM.  On her new gig, Lipp states, “It is a dream come true to grow with the KMJ brand.  This is the most exciting endeavor of my career and I am looking forward to the journey with both the listeners who have joined me in the past and those I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting.”  Lipp begins her new show on September 10.

Use Twitter to Help Save Your Job!  Consultant Holland Cooke explains how the Twitter era is forcing talk hosts, news staffers and DJs to “keep it moving” to keep the listener/reader engaged and make money in the process – if those media people use social media efficiently and wisely.  Cooke explains how he advised his clients covering the Republican and Democratic National Conventions to use Twitter to deliver content like no one else and how to make money with it.  Read this enlightening and smart advice here.

Clear Channel Albany Names Josh Everett Program Director for WGY and WOFX.  In addition to programming news/talk WGY-AM/FM and sports talk WOFX, Josh Everett will oversee the News Hub which provides news for 10 Clear Channel Media and Entertainment markets in the Northeast.  CC regional programming manager John Cooper states, “Josh’s extensive background in news/talk as well as sports programming will be an invaluable addition to WGY’s rich heritage and will help us grow WGY, Fox Sports and our News Hub.”  Everett comes to Albany from Clear Channel’s Lexington, Kentucky cluster where he programmed news/talk WLAP and managed local production of the University of Kentucky Wildcats coverage.

Michael Harrison to Speak at the NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will deliver an address provocatively titled, “Can Terrestrial Radio Thrive in the Digital Era?” at the forthcoming NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas.  According to Harrison, “The main challenge concerning FM and AM broadcasting at this perilous time in its rich and colorful history is making the transition to the digital age without prematurely sacrificing the value of the stick which is still the economic foundation of this industry and main source of livelihood for its practitioners.”  Harrison also believes that it is important for “radio to be smart and use its traditional on-air assets in confident balanced harmony with its unlimited online potential.”  He states, “The cultural heritage of what we all grew up to think of as ‘radio’ is deeply rooted in the traditions of over -the-air transmission and it is vitally important that in its rush to put everything it has into one internet basket, radio avoids losing its core identity, its soul, that separates it from being just another online music or informational utility.”  Harrison advises that just as talk radio has claimed “ownership” of politics in America and sports radio has claimed “ownership” of the country’s sports juggernaut, “music radio must reclaim its lost ownership of the music culture.”  He says the first step in accomplishing this is to bring back the colorful DJ as the backbone of the radio station’s presentation and the street savvy music director as its ear to what’s really going on out there.  Radio must not only ‘relate’ to this element, it must aggressively lead it as well.”  Harrison will be speaking at a special info-session sponsored by TALKERS magazine on Wednesday, September 19 between 10:15 am and 11:15 am.  All Radio Show registrants are encouraged to attend.

Day Three at DNC in Charlotte.  President Obama’s nomination acceptance speech will cap the three-day Democratic National Convention this evening and talk hosts, news networks and reporters spent yesterday covering the political chatter, campaigning and critiques of this convention.  Talk Radio Network O&O news organization America’s Radio News Network is one of the national radio news operations on the ground at this convention.  ARNN tells TALKERS co-anchors Lori Lundin and Rachel Crowson along with producers and technical staff, have been supplying live interviews and news updates to all five of the three-hour, long-form news programs the network offers.  Guests on the network from yesterday included: Eleanor Smeal, a two-time president of the National Organization for Women; Diana Degette (D-CO), chief deputy whip; Cumulus Media Networks host and journalist Geraldo Rivera; and acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank, among others.  ABC News Radio and Salem Radio Network are also covering the convention and ABC’s Steve Jones (l) and Salem’s Tom Tradup (r) took a moment to pose for this shot from the convention center for TALKERS.

Talent Shuffle at Alpha Broadcasting’s Sports KXTG, Portland.  A programming shift at “750 The Game” in Portland brings DirecTV/Fox Sports Radio syndicated host Dan Patrick to the station for morning drive beginning today.  The move bumps morning host Chad Doing to the PM drive slot and current afternoon host John Canzano to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show.  Business and marketing expert Brian Berger gives up his midday show but remains with the station to dispense his wisdom on the station’s various programs and online.

DirecTV Gives “The Nick and Artie Show” a TV Simulcast.  The syndicated radio version of the sports and entertainment-centric show hosted by comedians Nick Di Paolo and Artie Lange has been produced by DirecTV since its inception.  Now DirecTV does for “Nick and Artie” what the company’s Dan Patrick has enjoyed – a TV simulcast on DirecTV’s Audience Network channel.  Airing from 10:00 pm to 1:00 pm ET beginning tomorrow night, the company says the duo will “tackle TV with the most outrageous observational humor to be found anywhere.  The guys will review and give their unique takes on the day’s top sports and entertainment stories, along with celebrity interviews, movie reviews, live musical performances and a variety of in-studio segments, from cooking with Artie’s Mom to a game of pool.”

WTOP Promotes Dick Uliano to Full-Time Anchor/Reporter.  The veteran Washington newsman has been working with Hubbard Radio’s WTOP part time as well as contributing to SiriusXM’s POTUS channel and doing part-time anchoring at NPR.  Now, Dick Uliano joins the full-time staff at WTOP.  Uliano’s previous experience includes time spent with the Associated Press and CNN Radio.

Odds & Sods.  NFL great Joe Namath – who is part of Michael Kay’s show on ESPN O&O WEPN-FM, New York where he hosts the “Joe Namath Hour” – discusses the upcoming NFL season in a media conference call today at 10:00 am ET….. Former New Jersey 101.5 night host Tommy G returns to host “New Jersey Today” on Greater Media’s WCTC, New Brunswick from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm on Monday, September 10 and Friday, September 14.  He fills in for station PD Bert Baron, who says, “Tommy G is one of the biggest stars in all of New Jersey radio.  I’m blessed that a talent of his caliber, record of success and current following is a mere phone call away.  He’s a ratings winner that simply makes my station sound better.”…..JC Corcoran has been heard on the airwaves in Chicago as he’s been filling in on Tribune’s WGN.  The longtime St. Louis personality most recently hosted a program at KTRS.  Corcoran tells TALKERS he’ll have Fox Sports star Joe Buck on his show on WGN on Sunday morning at 10:00 am.  Corcoran says Buck is already predicting trouble with the NFL replacement officials, telling him, “I think something catastrophic could happen early in the season that could cost a team a ballgame.”….. Cumulus Media’s sports talk KNBR, San Francisco will serve as the flagship station for Golden State Warriors basketball through the 2015-16 season, the station announces.  It’s been the flagship of the NBA club since the 1976-77 season with the exception of one season in the 1980s.  Cumulus president and CEO Lew Dickey and Warriors co-executive chairman and CEO Joe Lacob appeared on the Murph & Mac show on Wednesday to announce the new deal.

Talk Radio Network’s Jerry Doyle Featured Speaker at Liberty PAC.  The Liberty Political Action Conference takes place September 13-15 in Chantilly, Virginia and funds “Congressman Ron Paul’s political activities as he travels the country to fight for the principles that many hold dear: Liberty, Limited Government and a strong, pro-American foreign policy.”  The three-day conference will include training sessions and personal one-on-one meetings with various speakers and supporters.  Jerry Doyle will be one of the speakers at the conference.

Presidential Campaign/Democratic National Convention, Arizona Immigration Ruling and Hillary Clinton in China Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/5).  The coverage of the Democratic National Convention and the presidential campaign; a federal judge’s ruling that Arizona officers can inquire about immigration status while pursuing information about other crimes; and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s trip to China were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

| August 22, 2012

Entercom’s San Francisco Sports Talk Outlet Tweaks Midday Lineup.  KGMZ, San Francisco – 95.7 The Game – alters its midday programming by adding Greg Papa, voice of the Oakland Raiders and Comcast SportsNet Host, to “The Wheelhouse” with current host John Lund and moving the show to 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm beginning September 4.  Lund’s solo show currently airs from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.  The station moves Chris Townsend from his eponymous evening show to the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot for a new show where he’s paired up with Matt Steinmetz — Warriors and NBA Insider for 95.7 The Game and Comcast SportsNet.  Townsend will continue hosting the pre-game “Dugout Show” prior to weekday Oakland Athletics games.  Additionally, the station says it plans to announce a new co-host for “The Drive” alongside Brandon Tierney soon as Eric Davis leaves to join the NFL Network.  That show moves to the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm daypart.  Program director Jason Barrett states, “This is a great day for 95.7 The Game.  We are adding two weekday shows Bay Area sports fans will love.  It’s not often you can add talent like this to your full-time lineup.  Greg Papa is a Bay Area icon and to have him on full-time is terrific.  Chris Townsend has proved he belongs in middays and with Matt Steinmetz as his teammate, the sky’s the limit.  These moves help solidify and better position 95.7 The Game for the future.  We are very excited about these two new shows and can’t wait to announce Brandon Tierney’s co-host in the coming weeks.”

Delmarva Preps for New Delaware Talk Radio Outlet to Debut on September 4.  The simulcast of Delmarva Broadcasting’s country WKTT, Salisbury, Maryland and WZKT, Lewes, Delaware will split on September 4 and the new news/talk outlet on WZKT at 105.9 FM will reportedly feature former WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware personalities Dan Gaffney in the AM drive slot and Jared Morris in the PM drive daypart.  Susan Monday will host middays from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm with a break during the 12:00 noon hour when the “Delaware News Hour” with Alan Loudell will be piped in from WDEL, Wilmington.  Dave Ramsey’s nationally syndicated show will air in evenings and Mark Fowser will serve as news director and AM drive news anchor.

Former Minneapolis Sports Talk Personality Jeff Dubay Sits in on Hot AC Morning Show.  Radio industry watchers know Jeff Dubay as the former KFAN, Minneapolis sports talk host who lost his position with the station in 2008 after being found in possession of crack cocaine during a traffic stop.  Since that time, Dubay has been through rehab and has recently begun speaking out publicly about his trials and tribulations in the media.  Yesterday, Dubay sat in on the morning show at Northern Lights Broadcasting’s Hot AC KTWN, Minneapolis alongside host Eric Perkins.  (The station is owned by the Pohlad family, owners of the Minnesota Twins.)The station is looking for a replacement for personality Tony Fly who recently exited the station.  Consider Dubay’s visit (which continues today and “possibly” tomorrow) an on-air tryout.  The Pioneer PressAmy Carlson Gustafson quotes station SVP and general manager Sam Elliot Gagliardi saying, “You can tell he’s somebody who has been on the radio for a number of years.  You could also tell he was a little rusty and nervous, as is to be expected after being off the air for four years.”  Gagliardi says he has a few more on-air tryouts scheduled over the next couple of weeks.

Hochman and Zaslow Named Morning Team at WAXY, Miami.  The Lincoln Financial Media-owned South Florida sports talk outlet announces Marc Hochman and Jonathan Zaslow are the new permanent morning show team.  Hochman was the longtime executive producer of Dan LeBatard’s PM drive show and Zaslow had been the evening host at the station he also anchored pre-game, halftime and post-game coverage of Miami Heat games.  Program director Tod Castleberry states, “During our vast national search, it became apparent that Hochman & Zaslow had on-air chemistry that was infectious.  Zaslow’s passion for all things Miami sports and Hochman’s ability to find the fun and absurdity in today’s sports world will make for very entertaining listening.”

Odds & Sods.  Two of talk radio’s brightest performers from divergent ends of the political spectrum – Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel superstar Sean Hannity and WYD Media liberal talk maven Stephanie Miller will be on TV together this evening on Hannity’s FNC program at 9:00 pm ET.  Miller and Hannity have always had a playful and entertaining professional relationship – something they’ve exhibited for attendees at numerous TALKERS New Media Seminars over the years.  They are a great example of stars who couldn’t be farther apart politically but can come together professionally and put on a great show…..WXGI, Richmond, Virginia inks a two-year deal to keep Dial Global Radio Networks’ sports play-by-play that includes March Madness, NFL games including the playoffs, the Super Bowl, plus golf’s Majors and the Olympics.  ESPN 950 is owned by Red Zebra and also carries Washington Redskins football…..Dr. Daliah Wachs’ nationally syndicated program moves to the daytime — 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET – beginning September 10…..The NHL’s Nashville Predators sign a five-year contract to remain with Cromwell Group’s WPRT – 102.5 The Game – as its radio flagship station.  Tom Callahan and Stu Grimson serve as the broadcast team.

WTTB, Vero Beach, Florida Newscaster Neal Stannard Dies.  The 55-year-old afternoon news anchor was found dead behind the wheel of his car in a parking lot on August 18.  Neal Stannard is being remembered as a broadcaster who was also very involved in the local community, a theater and movies aficionado who sat on the board of the Vero Beach Theatre Guild and wrote a book titled, Now & Then The Movies Get it Right.

 

Big Sit-Down on the Campaign Trail.  WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive host Chris Stigall (r) scored a sit-down interview with vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (l) during a campaign stop in the Philly suburb of West Chester on Tuesday, August 21.  Stigall tells TALKERS there were several hundred citizens in attendance for the rally.  He’s airing the exclusive interview on his radio show this morning.

Todd Akin Case, Presidential Campaign, Israel-Iran Tensions, and ABC Late Night Shuffle Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/21).  The case of Missouri U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin’s refusal to quit the race after his rape comments; the gearing up of the presidential campaign; concerns over rumblings that Israel is planning to attack Iran before the November U.S. elections; and the shuffling of ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel and “Nightline” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

In Search of the Effective Commercial

| August 21, 2012

By Al Herskovitz
President
H & H Communications

BRADENTON, Fla. – The radio advertising world is going through a major shakeup.  National ad agencies and the clients they represent are finding that “funny commercials ain’t workin’” as intended.  Research is showing that these spots do get an occasional chuckle, create some brand awareness, may even improve market share a little bit, but have not been as effective as designed in bringing in new customers.  Does this mean the disappearance of the Geico lizard and the spokesduck for AFLAC?  The insiders are not saying, but there are strong hints that changes in approach are coming and soon to a number of national advertisers who have been featuring humor and what is termed as “cuteness.”

In what direction will they be going?  Sources say the Madison Avenue move is going to be to recognizable spokespersons and “scenes from real life”  in order to make an emotional connection with the listener.

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Friday, August 17, 2012

| August 17, 2012

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.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

| August 14, 2012

 Yesterday’s Announcement of Clear Channel Buying WOR Sets Industry Buzzing.  The joint Clear Channel Media and Entertainment and Buckley Radio announcement yesterday that Clear Channel is purchasing AM radio station WOR 710 from Buckley Broadcasting Corporation, pending FCC approval, set off an industry wide storm of surprise followed by speculation on how it will impact both the local and syndication landscape.  Terms of the agreement were not disclosed although Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor reports qualified rumors in the vicinity of $40 million.

What Does it Really Mean?  As reported yesterday in TALKERS, information about this deal was kept even more closely guarded than Romney’s plans to select Ryan as his VP choice. (See yesterday’s story below.)  All signs from Cumulus indicating its plan to take news/talk in a different direction lend credence to the speculation that CC is protecting the future of its syndicated and highly valuable news/talk properties in terms of  New York clearances .  Also subject to question:  What will happen to the hosts currently syndicated by the WOR Radio Network who currently claim the legendary 710 AM as their flagship station?  Clear Channel says they will “benefit” from the relationship.  Stay tuned.

Glenn Beck Sets September Return to National Live Movie Theaters. Following his successful series of six past “cinematic” events, pioneering talk media personality Glenn Beck returns to the big screen this fall with a new comedy stage show titled “Glenn Beck’s Unelectable 2012 Live.” Broadcast live from the Majestic Theater in San Antonio, Texas on Thursday, September 20 at 8:00 pm. ET with a tape delay for the Western states, Beck will use the debate format to say the things politicians can’t – or won’t – say during this election season. In a timely mock “debate,” Beck will square off against Brian Sack, host of The B.S. of A., a sketch comedy show that airs on TheBlaze (formerly GBTV), Beck’s HD video network.  Sack’s “say anything to get elected” character is a composite of what is described as “just about every candidate from all parties.”  Beck tells TALKERS, “The B.S. of A and I have a hard job with this comedy show but I think we can pull it off – create a fake debate that is actually funnier and more absurd than the real ones we have to look forward to this fall. I am excited to once again partner with NCM Fathom Events and return to movie theaters across the country.”  In addition to the comedy, Beck will deliver a monologue presenting his view on a variety of contemporary topics. The event is a co-production of Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts and NCM Fathom Events.

You Can Tell a Lot About a News/Talk Station from its Weekend Programming… or Lack Thereof. Consultant Holland Cooke says news/talk radio stations are by and large missing major opportunities to maximize ratings, revenue and image by wasting weekends on “best-of” reruns and embarrassing paid programs.  He offers a suggestion of how to bring the commonly programmed but terribly dated “swap shop” concept into a lucrative 21st century radio role.  Read Holland’s article here.

WNIR, Akron Names John Denning New Midday Host to Replace the Late Howie Chizek. When legendary talker Howie Chizek died suddenly in June due to a heart attack, WNIR management reportedly began an extensive search to select the beloved midday host’s successor.  They decided upon John Denning, known to Chizek’s listeners as “Couch Burner” – a regular and extremely popular 20-year caller who would engage in friendly arguments with the host.  As it turns out Denning is a colorful and accomplished local businessman whom station management confidently feel will keep the legacy of Chizek alive. He takes over 10:00 am to 3:00 pm weekdays and Saturdays 9:00 am to 12:00 noon.

Romney’s Selection of Rep. Paul Ryan as Republican VP Choice Top News/Talk Radio Story Yesterday (8/13). The Ryan story significantly leads the pack which also includes the Texas A&M shootings, and the Mars “Curiosity” mission among the most talked about stories on news/talk stations yesterday according to ongoing TALKERS research.

Odds and Sods. Talk host Kevin McCullough, his co-host (and famous actor) Stephen Baldwin and “Secret Millionaire” Dani Johnson are extending their efforts to feed orphans.  Hoping in April 2012 to feed more than 2012 orphans before the end of the calendar year, and with more than 3600 children – who have no resources – fed for the coming year, the coalition formerly known as “2012 in 2012″ has become www.DoGood.com… Sexy Philadelphia-based “shock jockett” Lois Burak and her podcast-grown program “The Lolo Show” (which includes co-host  Joe DeLong) have been given a monthly spot on Sirius XM’s Playboy Spice Channel 103.  Burak is the daughter of Marvin Burak, a controversial Philadelphia broadcaster in the 1960s.  Talkers Tip:  Check this talent out.

Fisher House Honors Premiere Networks. Fisher House Foundation recently recognized Premiere Networks for its support of “A Grateful Nation,” a  Memorial Day radio special that used the powerful personal stories of wounded warriors to promote the Fisher House mission.  Premiere handled affiliation and distribution of the one-hour show, which aired on 65 news/talk radio stations and Sirius/XM.  From left to right: Premiere Networks president/content and affiliate relations Julie Talbott, Fisher House VP Cynthia Campbell and Premiere SVP/affiliate relations for talk and morning shows Peter Tripi.  Fisher House provides no-cost housing and other support to the families of wounded warriors while their loved ones are being treated at military and VA hospitals.

 

21st Century Swap Shop

| August 14, 2012

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — You can tell a lot about a news/talk station from its weekend programming…or lack thereof.

If you’re affiliated with a couple of the biggest syndicated shows, you’ve already relinquished 6 hours of beach-front real estate to crammed-down re-runs that radio is naive enough to call “Best of…”

Arbitron diary comments I read and focus group comments I wince-through affirm that “Best of” fools nobody; and sends the dangerous message that nobody’s home.  But you may have no choice.  So at least make-the-most-of weekend hours you CAN control.

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Monday, August 13, 2012

| August 13, 2012

BREAKING NEWS: Clear Channel to Buy Buckley Broadcasting’s WOR. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment and Buckley Radio announced today that Clear Channel is purchasing AM radio station WOR 710 from Buckley Broadcasting Corporation, pending FCC approval. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. “WOR is an iconic New York City brand with a rich history and an exciting future,” states John Hogan, chairman and CEO of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment.  “Clear Channel is excited to add WOR as a powerful, high potential complement to our New York brands.  We believe WOR makes our already incredible platform even more interesting for listeners, advertisers, and strategic partners and we look forward to the tremendous potential WOR adds to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment New York.”  Joseph Bilotta, president and CEO of Buckley Radio tells TALKERS, “For more than 23 years, Buckley Radio has been the steward of one of the most legendary radio stations in broadcasting history and I would like to sincerely thank all of the wonderful people who devoted their time, energy and efforts over the years to WOR Radio.”  He continues, “By passing the baton to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, WOR listeners, advertisers and employees will gain access to the unparalleled resources of a worldwide, multi-dimensional media and entertainment company.  We have had a great run with WOR and could not be more confident that it is poised for another great run as part of the Clear Channel Media and Entertainment team.”  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment currently owns five stations in the New York market including 103.5 KTU, Q104.3, Z100, 106.7 Lite fm and Power 105.1.

Speculation Abounds About the Implications of WOR/CC Deal.  Information about this deal was kept even more closely guarded than Romney’s plans to select Ryan as his VP choice. Insiders at the station report that the airstaff had no idea what was going to be announced at an emergency staff meeting called on Friday afternoon for this morning at 9:00 am.  Big news like this, however, travels fast once released in a small industry – the buzz being that Clear Channel has now gauranteed a number one market home for two of its major syndicated franchises, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity – currently cleared on Cumulus Media’s WABC.  All signs from Cumulus indicating its plan to take news/talk in a different direction lend credence to that speculation.  Stay tuned.

Romney’s VP Selection of Paul Ryan on a Saturday Reminds Programmers: Are You Prepared to Cover Breaking News?  How your news/talk station handles a breaking news event on any day of the week – either in your market or outside of it – often determines how the people in your market perceive your value as a source of news and even opinion.  TALKERS magazine managing editor Kevin Casey reports programmers and hosts across the nation who are dedicated to being the source of news, information and hosting that community “backyard fence” have very similar approaches to covering events such as the recent tragedy in Aurora.  It’s all about planning ahead, using the staff you have creatively and being that place where listeners can turn to talk when they need to vent.  Read Kevin Casey’s piece here.

Cumulus Rolling Out Geraldo Nationally Today.  After recent launches on its O&Os in New York (WABC) and Los Angeles (KABC), Cumulus Media’s syndication division goes national today with the Geraldo Rivera Show. Emanating from New York, the program, titled “Geraldo,” airs between 9:00 am and 12:00 noon ET.  Cumulus is banking on Rivera’s middle ground political stance to further underscore its apparent course to modify what some consider news/talk radio’s predominantly conservative and confrontational style.  This follows the company’s recent high-profile rollout of former Arkansas Governor/Republican Presidential candidate (and Fox News Channel host) Mike Huckabee’s “more conversational” brand of syndicated news/talk radio.  Rivera will reportedly debut on 45 stations including KLIF, Dallas and WCFO, Atlanta with another half dozen expected in coming weeks.  Rivera tells TALKERS, “I’m thrilled that just as the nation hurtles toward the highly charged and hard-fought 2012 presidential election, I’ll be coming on the air nationwide. Fasten your seat belts. With America divided along red/blue, right/left lines, I hope to occupy the militant middle and be a referee between ideologies. Everyone is welcome on the radio show, and the conversation is no holds barred.”

Rush Limbaugh Remains #1 on Top Talk Audiences Chart; Listening Dips Slightly in Spring 2012.  Premiere Networks nationally syndicated star Rush Limbaugh keeps his long-held spot atop the TALKERS survey of the top talk radio hosts – based on audience data – for the spring 2012 period of March, April and May.  Listenership to many news/talk stations and hosts dipped to a small degree during the period in question, although that conclusion cannot be construed to be one that applies to all news/talk stations across the board nor all hosts.  The imperfect science of rating radio in and of itself provides caution to those wishing to come to concrete conclusions about the numbers.  Reasons for the “spring dip” are being attributed by some media observers to be the result of “political burnout” as the frenzy of the presidential primary season passes, as well as the easing into the traditionally different mindset listeners get into as summer approaches and schedules begin to change.  Regardless, news/talk stations typically enjoy a big bounce from presidential election years in the fall ratings periods illustrating the natural ebb and flow of talk radio listenership.  To view the entire Top Talk Radio Audiences chart for the spring 2012 period, click here.

Michael Harrison Receives 2012 Ethical Media Award.  TALKERS founder and publisher Michael Harrison was honored Friday (8/10) by the California Coast Venture Forum with its 2012 “Ethical Media Award” at the organization’s Fourth Annual Clean Business Investment Summit on the campus of the University of California at Santa Barbara.  The award was presented to Harrison by Christie Communications CEO Gillian Christie who praised Harrison as displaying outstanding leadership in his 45 year career as a broadcaster and trade publisher in protecting and defending the principles of free speech in America.  In accepting the award, Harrison told the audience of approximately 250 socially responsible entrepreneurs and investors from around California that the precious opportunity in America to start a business or invent a product that bucks the establishment is akin to the rights guaranteed to U.S. citizens by the First Amendment and should never be taken for granted.

KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh Debuts Weekend Car Show.  Using in-house talent Vinnie Richichi and Rob Pratte, the CBS Radio news/talk station brings “Drivetime” to the air  on KDKA-AM Saturday mornings at 7:00 am.  Richichi (pictured here at right) is a midday personality on the company’s sports talk KDKA-FM – 93.7 The Fan – and Pratte ( at left) is a 30-year veteran of KDKA-AM where he’s a sports reporter and host of “Weekend Magazine.”  The station states, “‘Drivetime’ will be a weekly mix of ‘guy next door’ car reviews, interviews with interesting and informative guests from the automotive world and interactive calls from listeners.  Topics will range from selling a car, how to get the most out of your automotive experience and even include discussions on the best drive-in movies in Pennsylvania.  Richichi and Pratte approach the show with humor and the passion both feel about their wheels.”  Richichi has been reviewing cars for more than 25 years and produces a “Drivetime” radio feature that airs across America and Canada.  He says, “It’s a show that gives people who are into cars a place to talk about what they love with two guys who get grease under their fingernails before every show.”

Sid Rosenberg Returns to Miami Airwaves Today.  Trouble-prone (but extremely talented) sports talk show host Sid Rosenberg returns to the airwaves today as morning drive host on WMEN 640, Royal Palm Beach, Florida after losing his job at WQAM 560, Miami shortly after being hit with a DUI charge in April.  According to a report in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, that was only his most recent bout with drugs, alcohol and gambling, addictions that had sent him to rehab twice and cost him at least five jobs, by his count. “I don’t blame them. I fired myself. I’m accountable,” said Rosenberg, whose April case is pending. He said he hasn’t had a drink in four months and has attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings daily. He also attends Gamblers Anonymous meetings, going eight months since his last bet. (He lost $750 when Florida State didn’t cover the point spread in its 23-19 win over Miami on Nov. 12.) The report goes on to say that Rosenberg is “really trying” to be humble. That’s the first of AA’s 12 steps to a successful recovery.

Philadelphia Talk Host Dom Giordano Moderates Voter ID Law Panel.  WPHT, Philadelphia midday talk host Dom Giordano served as the moderator during yesterday’s “Winning in 2012: Maximizing the Vote and Minimizing the Fraud” panel discussion of Pennsylvania’s Voter ID law sponsored by the Independence Hall Tea Party Association and held on Independence Mall.  The program was headlined by American Spectator senior editor John Fund and included: political analyst and election law expert, Rich Zeoli; Linda Kerns, Esquire; a GOTV workshop conducted by Martin Gillespie, NE Regional Director of American Majority, and attorney Matt Rooney of SaveJersey.com.

Odds & Sods. Salem Radio Network morning drive host Bill Bennett has a special connection to newly-named Republican veep choice Rep. Paul Ryan.  Chairman Ryan once worked for Bennett years ago when he and Jack Kemp created the Washington think tank Empower America…..According to a report by The Press of Atlantic City the recent shooting death of New Jersey talk show host April Kauffman has sparked a marked increase in applications for gun permits in the city of Linwood.  Police there say the number of requests is on its way to doubling last year’s number – a trend they indicate has been prompted by the shooting. No arrests have been made in the case of 47-year-old Kauffman, a businesswoman and radio show host who was known widely as an advocate for military veterans.

Feliz Cumpleanos.  ESPN Deportes Dallas (KZMP-AM) celebrates its fifth anniversary as the first ESPN O&O to take the ESPN Deportes Spanish-language sports format.  To celebrate, the station broadcast live on August 9 from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm at Ojos Locos in Dallas.  Pictured here are: Back Row — fifth from the left (blue shirt) Pete Dits, VP/general manager, ESPN Dallas; sixth from left Rafa Ramos, host of Deportes’ Raza Deportiva;  seventh from left Tato Noriega, former Mexican National team player and ESPN Deportes TV personality.  Front Row – fourth from left (black shirt) Jim Roberts, senior director/Deportes Local Radio Group and ESPN Deportes Dallas station manager.

There’s No Business Like Show Business. Salem Radio Network talk host Mike Gallagher spent this past weekend appearing onstage in Los Angeles.  Gallagher, who—in addition to his daily SRN program and his duties as a regular contributor to the FOX News Channel—is a member of Actor’s Equity, was guest starring in the West Coast production of the Tony Award-winning “MEMPHIS: The Musical.”  As he was leaving his dressing room backstage at the historic Pantages Theatre, who walked up to greet Gallagher but legendary director and funnyman Mel Brooks. Brooks essayed the role of backstage theatre critic and gave Gallagher’s performance a big thumbs-up.

 

Coming Tomorrow.  Noted talk radio consultant Holland Cooke presents an informative and provocative piece exploring how you can tell a lot about a news/talk station from its weekend programming — or lack thereof.

 

 

Friday, August 10, 2012

| August 10, 2012

Cumulus Q2 Revenue Dips; Major Market News/Talkers Singled Out.  Cumulus Media’s revenue shot up more than 350% due to the inclusion of the former Citadel stations and the former Cumulus Media Partners properties it folded into its portfolio, but on a pro forma basis, revenue for the company was down 1.7%.  During yesterday’s conference call, CEO Lew Dickey indicated 10 stations in the top 10 markets – many of them news/talk outlets were responsible for the company’s loss with three stations in particular accounting for $5.5 million of a $10 million revenue loss.  He said if those stations had been kept out of the equation the company would have seen revenue go up 2%.  Dickey promised the company is working on fixing those stations but cautioned it would take time – as much as four more quarters.  If the ultimate goal is to get other companies’ syndication properties off those major market news/talkers – and those fees can be very high – and replace them with Cumulus Media Networks shows to, a) cut the cost of the programming to those stations and, b) reap a much greater percentage of revenue from those shows, expect to see some lineup changes at those major market news/talkers over the next 12 months.

Lew Dickey Stands Behind Mike Huckabee.  Questions about the performance of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee in syndication via Cumulus Media Networks were expected by analysts on yesterday’s conference call and when they were asked, Dickey strongly defended Huckabee – whose national program debuted in March – saying his team is doing an excellent job clearing the show and compares the venture to a “marathon.”  Dickey also said the company intends to sign more talent in the near future.  He told analysts that a lot of companies are locked in to current contracts with other syndicated programming so rolling out Huckabee (and Geraldo Rivera) will take time but, so far, he’s pleased with the results.

Herman Cain Takes to the Road on Fall “Truth Tour.”  Former presidential candidate Herman Cain – and heir to the nationally syndicated Neal Boortz show when Neal hangs up his headphones in January – will take to the road beginning September 5 in Iowa City for what he’s calling “The Truth Tour.”  It’s sponsored by Job Creators Solutions – an organization founded by Cain and Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus.  The tour is billed as “an aggressive 30-day, 30-city schedule of events that aims to provide Americans with facts, information and resources to help them in their decision making process before hitting the polls in November.”  Cain says, “Bernie Marcus and I both know first-hand how important it is to have the facts when making business decisions.  We also know it’s just as important for Americans to have the facts when making decisions that will impact our communities, businesses and our nation.  This is why I’m proud to join forces with Bernie for ‘The Truth Tour.’”  Herman Cain will begin his nationally syndicated radio show on January 21, 2013 – Inauguration Day – and will be a regular guest on the Neal Boortz show on Mondays and Fridays at 10:35 am ET and is his primary fill-in host.

WSCR and WBBM, Chicago Host “Business of Sports: Life After the Game.”  CBS Radio sports talk WSCR and all-news WBBM are hosting the Comcast Business Class Newsmakers “Business of Sports: Life after the Game” panel sponsored by MB Financial on Thursday, September 20, at the House of Blues in downtown Chicago.  CBS Radio says the event will consist of the biggest names in Chicago sports, discussing their success in the business world after playing.  Panelists will include: multi-sport star Bo Jackson, Chicago football great Gary Fencik, and “Miracle on Ice” star and former professional hockey player, Jack O’Callahan with more to be added.  The event will be hosted by 670 The Score’s morning drive team Mike Mulligan and Brian Hanley (pictured here).  WSCR program director Mitch Rosen says, “We are looking forward to hosting what will be an all-star event.  I think the Chicagoland consumer, specifically people interested in sports business, will enjoy the all-star panel we have put together.  With Bo Jackson headlining this event, it will be a great opportunity to hear his business ideas and philosophies.  Bo is one of the greatest stories in the sports industry and has numerous accomplishments as a two-sport professional athlete.  For sports fans and business people alike, this will be a can’t-miss event.”

Media Matters Gets into the Talk Radio Game.  The anti-conservative media organization Media Matters for America is hitching its wagon to a new talk show on the SiriusXM Left channel called “The Agenda Powered by Media Matters.”  The daily show is being hosted by Media Matters senior advisor and Fox News critic Ari Rabin-Havt and debuts Monday, August 13 from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET.  SiriusXM promotes the show saying, “Ari Rabin-Havt will lead the daily conversation of young influential progressive political insiders reviewing the day’s events and setting the tone for the next days’ news cycle. ‘The Agenda Powered by Media Matters’ will be a first-of-its-kind on-air meeting place where the new influencers of the progressive movement discuss the news of tomorrow in an informal setting that looks to inform, entertain, and engage.”

WBRP, Baton Rouge Names Clarence Buggs Midday Host.  Guaranty Broadcasting’s WBRP, Baton Rouge adds talk show host Clarence Buggs to the lineup as host of the 11:00 am to 1:00 pm program.  Buggs had worked in the market at Clear Channel’s crosstown WJBO.  Guaranty market manager Gordy Rush states, “We are thrilled about the addition of Clarence to our team.  We remain committed to being the news/talk leader in the Baton Rouge community with more live and local shows on Talk 107.3 FM than any other station in the greater Baton Rouge market.”

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  WAYY, Eau Claire, Wisconsin adds the third hour of WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish show…..WYM Media’s “Ring of Fire” with Mike Papantonio and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is added to the program schedule at WWRL, New York and WKKX, Wheeling…..“Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is added to the program schedule at WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island and KBJT, Fordyce, Arkansas…..WVKO, Columbus, Ohio adds the “Best of Bill Press” to its weekend schedule…..The “Motley Fool Money” show with Chris Hill adds WKBK-AM/FM, Keene, New Hampshire…..“The Money Pit Home Improvement Show” is picked up by: WRHL, Rochelle, Illinois; WFHR, Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin; WKUL, Cullman, Alabama; and WDIS, Norfolk, Massachusetts.

Presidential Campaign Ads Controversy Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 6-10.  The most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week broke out from last week’s general discussion about the presidential campaign and the specific story of the controversial ads being run by organizations backing President Obama was the top story this week on the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 was the tepid economic data.  Following at #3 was neo-Nazi hate groups and the aftermath of the Sikh temple killings.  Coming in at #4 was the London Olympics.  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.

Dead Air: A Dynamic Reminder for Talk Show Hosts

| August 7, 2012

By Richard Neer
WFAN, New York
Talk Show Host

NEW YORK — While growing up listening to fast-paced Top 40 stations like WABC in New York, and WLLL in Lynchburg, Virginia, it seemed even a split second of silence was anathema. Something had to have gone wrong on the control board or transmitter – or the deejay must have fallen asleep. Resumes for job seekers typically included “tight board” to indicate there would be no dead air during their trick.

High energy was also a must. For motor-mouthed jocks, the goal was jamming as many words as possible in before hitting the post. A few of the greats managed to add humor or pithy commentary; many more resorted to gimmicks and “schtick.” They lived in fear of “flubs” or mangled verbiage.

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Friday, August 3, 2012

| August 3, 2012

Entercom News/Talk WRKO, Boston Picks Up Option on PM Drive Host Howie Carr.  It was five years ago that Boston talk radio king Howie Carr had negotiated what was reported at the time to be a lucrative new deal to host morning drive on Greater Media’s crosstown WTKK, Boston after 13 years with WRKO.  But WRKO laid claim to Carr’s services via language in his contract, a legal battle ensued and Entercom came out victorious, winning Carr’s services for another five years plus an option to have him even longer.  Today, Entercom announces it is picking up that option.  Entercom Boston VP of programming Jason Wolfe states, “Howie Carr is a Boston radio legend and I’m looking forward to having him continue to anchor afternoon drive.  This is a great day for our listeners, affiliates and advertisers, and I’m excited that we’ve extended our relationship.”  At the time of Carr’s attempt to join Greater Media five years ago, he made no bones about wanting to break away from WRKO, but that was before the recession hit and altered the marketplace for talk radio hosts – even ones with successful track records, loyal fans and satisfied advertisers.  WRKO’s announcement states that in picking up Carr’s option, he’ll remain with the station “for the foreseeable future.”

CBS Radio Debuts Tampa FM Sports Outlet 98.7 The Fan.  The flip from Hot AC to sports talk on WSJT, Tampa happened at 12:00 noon yesterday (8/2) and the lineup was announced at a press conference at the University of South Florida Sun Dome.  The program schedule is: former Baltimore and Washington, DC personality Kirk McEwen alongside former Tampa Bay Lightning player Chris Dingman in AM drive; Tampa Bay Times columnist Gary Shelton and Justin “The Commish” Pawlowski (who is a carry-over from AM 1010 Sports format) are teamed up for the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm shift; for PM drive, former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Anthony “Booger” McFarland and Yahoo! Sports Radio and ESPN alum Todd Wright co-host; in evenings, former MLB Network and Tampa Bay Rays air talent Rich Herrera hosts from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm and in the overnight slot, it’s Fabulous Sports Babe Nanci Donnellan.  At the press conference, CBS Tampa market manager Ben Hill announced the station would also serve as flagship for University of South Florida play-by-play.  Mike Pepper is programming the station and producer Jerry Petuck is serving as assistant program director.

Industry Eyes on Atlanta as CBS Radio Prepares to Launch FM Sports Outlet.  This week’s announcement that CBS Radio is flipping Triple A WZGC, Atlanta to sports talk in late September or early October has industry watchers speculating about what talent will fill the program schedule.  CBS’ modus operandi is to go live and local and that will be the case in major market Atlanta.  Rumors are already starting to circulate that programming architects are shooting for some “big talent” – at least some of whom will be considered to have “celebrity” status.

CBS Radio Reports Revenue Down 2%.  CBS Corporation held its quarterly conference call yesterday to discuss results of Q2 2012 and talk about the future.  CFO and EVP Joseph Ianniello reported revenue for the radio group was down 2%.  “The radio revenue comparison was affected by the sale of the West Palm Beach radio cluster, which closed on April 1.  Radio revenue for our top 10 markets was flat for the quarter.  Local broadcasting OIBDA of $248 million was up 8%. And the OIBDA (operating income before depreciation and amortization) margin grew 2 percentage points to 35% driven by growth in high-margin revenue and lower programming costs.”   Addressing the radio end, CEO Les Moonves stated, “At our radio stations, we remain focused on the formats that are performing best, especially news and sports. We’re particularly excited about the upcoming launch of our new CBS Sports Radio network, which right out of the gate, when we debut in January, will be the largest major-market sports radio network in the nation, with outlets in nine of the top 10 markets. This 24/7 network of sports radio stations will feature both national and local content and leverage the resources of CBS Sports, our CBS Sports Network, cable channel and content from our existing local sports radio stations.”  Ianniello added, “The CBS Radio network, the sports radio — the radio sports business is probably $150 million market.  So we’re going to be large coming right out of the gate so it’s all incremental.  It’s not in dollars we play in today at the local segment, so we expect to gain our fair share of that…there’s very little incremental cost for us.  A lot of the talent and the content, we’re already producing, so this made a whole lot of sense for us.  And with the outlook with Cumulus, we do think it is a fantastic partnership with great content and great distribution.  So we do expect some upside, again, starting in 2013.”

Radio One Will Be Patient with Houston All-Newser.  Radio One CEO Alfred Liggins says, “We still believe the #6 radio market can support one all-news station.”  Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor reports Liggins is bullish on the station it flipped from gospel last fall noting that, in that format, KROI was billing just $4 million a year and doing $2 million in cash flow on a facility for which the company paid $72 million.  News 92 FM has been hovering around a 1-share persons 6+ in the Arbitron PPM ratings.  Liggins says his consultant on the station believes ratings should start to rise above the 1-share mark in 2013.

“Sports Biz Today” Debuts on Business TalkRadio Network August 6.  Host Fred Wallin  and co-hosts Howard Bloom, Beth Silverberg and JB Kaye return to Business TalkRadio Network with their “Sports Biz Today” program that leans heavy on the business aspect of the sports industry.  The program airs daily at 7:00 pm ET.  Fred Wallin says, “In the past few years our sports industry has grown and grown and we want to make ‘Sports Biz Today’ the place where fans, and those in the business, can get together.”  BTRN states, “Sports are big business, whether it’s the multi-million dollar contracts signed by players or the marketing and advertising behind the teams.  Fans will be talking to Fred Wallin about money, events and people that make up the exciting world of sports.”

CRN Digital Talk Radio Launches Weekend Show for Future Hollywood Stars.  It’s called “Breaking In with Rick and Jeff,” and features Hollywood pros Rick  Shoemaker and Jeff Maxwell who’ll give aspiring filmmakers, actors, musicians and others a chance to learn what it takes to make it in Tinseltown.  The program airs live Saturdays at 7:00 pm PT.  Rick Shoemaker has served as president of Warner Chappell Music Publishing, where he helped develop the careers of such artists as Green Day, Sheryl Crow, Nickelback, Dr. Dre, Missy Elliott, Van Halen and many others.  He later headed his own management firm that included clients like Loggins & Messina, Poco, Boz Scaggs, and others.  Jeff Maxwell’s career began when he teamed up with a high school friend as part of a comedy duo that performed around the world for eight years.  Ultimately, Maxwell would turn his attention to acting where he landed the role of Private Igor, the hapless mess cook on “M*A*S*H,” for nine years.  In later years, Maxwell turned his attention to creating and developing a number of television shows and motion pictures.

Odds & Sods.  New York City-based talk show host Steve Malzberg is unveiling his new video channel located on Spreecast.com – developed by the same company that founded StubHub.com.  In one of Malzberg’s first productions, he interviews former Bush Administration defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld…..Georgia Beasley returns to her South Florida roots where she’ll take on the role of interactive sales manager for Beasley Broadcast Miami’s three stations that include sports talk WQAM.  She spent the past year as GSM at the company’s WJBR, Wilmington, Delaware.  Ms. Beasley is the granddaughter of Beasley chairman George Beasley…..Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Milwaukee cluster acquires the exclusive NFL and NCAA basketball play-by-play rights from provider Dial Global/Westwood One.  CC has six stations in the market including news/talk WISN.

Rich Rapiti Exits Courtside Entertainment Group.  Veteran affiliate sales executive Rich Rapiti is looking for his next opportunity as he leaves his senior director of affiliate relations position with Courtside Entertainment Group.  Prior to working with Courtside, Rapiti worked in the affiliate relations department at Westwood One.  He can be reached at 973-809-3049 or e-mailed at: rapiti@comcast.net.

The Presidential Campaign Returns to #1 Spot on the Talkers TenTM.  The race for president in the 2012 election was the most-talked-about topic on news/talk radio during the week of July 30 – August 3.  Coming in at #2 this week was the Chick-fil-A controversy.  At #3 was a tie between the rising jobless claims and the Fed’s announcement it will take no immediate action to spur the economy.  Following at #4 was the Texas Republican primary victory for the U.S. Senate seat by Tea Party-supported candidate Ted Cruz.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio in America according to ongoing research from Talkers.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck is now heard on KFXR, Dallas…..Cox Media’s Clark Howard is added to the program lineup at KARS, Belen, New Mexico…..The XtreMedia-produced Dani Johnson show is added to the on-air lineup at WNYM, New York; KMET, Riverside-San Bernardino; KFNX, Phoenix; KKVV, Las Vegas; and KPRZ, San Diego…..CBS Radio’s “Overnight America” with Jon Grayson is picked up by WGUL, Tampa-St. Petersburg and WLSS, Sarasota-Bradenton…..Dial Global’s feature “Ask Dr. Phil” is added to WDNY-AM and WDNY-FM, Rochester.  The company’s “Daily Dose with Dr. Oz” joins the program schedule at KIVA, Albuquerque; KLIV, San Jose; and WLPO, LaSalle-Peru, Illinois…..The “Rose Hollywood Report” with Shannon Rose is picked up by WZTC, Traverse City, Michigan.

 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

| August 2, 2012

Chick-fil-A Controversy Fires Up Conservative Talk Hosts; Sparks Movement to Support Fast Food Chain.  The issues of gay marriage and First Amendment rights have been front and center on news/talk radio this week in the wake of Chick-fil-A COO Dan Cathy’s comments in a Baptist publication about his support for the Biblical definition of marriage that’s grown into a major news story.  Some view his statement as bigoted and divisive while others see this as a free speech issue.  The case has spurred planned demonstrations by same-sex couples and their supporters as well as conservative media personalities who have encouraged their listeners and viewers to support the fast food chain.  Salem Radio Network talk host Mike Gallagher is pictured here (at left) in his studio preparing to enjoy his Chick-fil-A lunch and has been encouraging listeners to post pictures of themselves eating at the restaurant on Facebook.  Salem Communications O&O WNYM, New York – AM 970 The Answer – organized a call for support at the Paramus, New Jersey Mall where the station reports some 200 listeners had lined up by lunchtime to support the store.  At right is talk show host Kevin McCullough (l)  – whose weekend talk show is heard on WNYM – with Salem VP/director of spoken word format Phil Boyce (r) as they prepare to enjoy a sandwich.  In the panoramic photo below.  The Answer morning drive host Curtis Sliwa can be seen at the far right speaking with a listener while the line of customers spreads across the photo to the left.

Bill Handel’s “Cash Mob” Supports SoCal Toy Store.  A “cash mob” organized by KFI, Los Angeles morning drive host Bill Handel put some $9,000 in the register of struggling Corona del Mar toy store Toy Boat, Toy Boat, Toy Boat.  Handel appeared at the store from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm but Handel’s listeners patronized the store all day long after hearing Handel speak on the air about the state of the struggling local business.  Handel show executive producer Michelle Kube reports many of the people who bought toys donated them to Children’s Hospital of Orange County.  Kube states, “This was just the first.  We plan to do more of these across all day parts on KFI over the next few months all over the Southland as our amazing listeners have responded with so many requests to help local small business owners!”

Clear Channel Reports Radio Revenue Up 3%.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment – of course, now a private company but one that still publicly reports financials – gives its 2012 Q2 financial report and states revenue was up from $771.8 million in the second quarter of 2011 to $793 million in the second quarter of this year.  CFO Tom Casey reports much of that increase was due to national and in categories including automotive, telecommunications, financial services, political and entertainment.  Casey noted that national business rose at roughly double the rate of local business.

Comedian and Stephanie Miller Show Cast Member John Fugelsang Gets Current TV Show.  Regular Stephanie Miller radio show cast member – and one third of Miller’s “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” – John Fugelsang will have his own Current TV program beginning in the fall.  Talk radio host Stephanie Miller’s show is simulcast on the Al Gore-founded cable TV network in which Fugelsang gets some face time, but now he’ll have a solo gig there.  In a statement, Al Gore says, “We at Current are eager to bring John’s unique perspective on politics and the world around him to primetime.  He’s been a part of the Current family for a while now and we see just how much his voice resonates with our audience.  His new show will nicely complement our growing lineup.”  Fugelsang has guest-hosted prime time shows on the network including Eliot Spitzer’s and Jennifer Granholm’s programs.  The network has not announced what time the show will air.

WQSC, Charleston, South Carolina Flips to Talk.  The Kirkman Broadcasting station drops oldies for news/talk and airs largely syndicated programming with the exception of local PM drive host Rocky D.  Programming consists of: Cumulus Media NetworksImus in the Morning; Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher; Talk Radio Network’s Laura Ingraham; Dial Global’s Dennis Miller and Jim Bohannon; and CBS Radio’s “Overnight America” with Jon Grayson.

California Couple Sentenced in Real Estate Ponzi Scheme; Infomercials Aired on KVTA, Port Hueneme.  It’s almost a mystery how stations keep selling infomercials to “investment gurus” who go on to swindle people out of their life savings…but they do.  The latest case in this oft-repeating story is that of Kenneth Powell and Kathryn Rose who pleaded guilty to numerous counts of felony fraud related to a real estate investment Ponzi scheme that scammed some $3 million out of 15 people in Southern California.  The two broadcast shows called “Academy of Real Estate,” “Money Intelligence” and “The Ken & Katie Show” on KVTA.  Investors were asked to put money into real estate development or loans secured by real estate but all investment cash went to pay off previous investors until the scheme went bust.  59-year-old Powell received 18 years in prison and 63-year-old Rose will serve 12 years, 8 months.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Journal Broadcasting’s news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee gave away a fully restored 1969 Chevy Camaro (pictured here) to winner Aaron Guenterberg in its annual “Free Ride” promotion that saw more than 10,000 people enter the contest…..A Saturday morning talk show hosted by Tony Stiles debuts on news/talk KOIL, Omaha this Saturday…..Jacksonville-based sports talk show “Courts and Sports,” hosted by attorney John Phillips, moves from WOKV to crosstown WFXJ, Jacksonville on August 9.  Phillips’ regular co-host for the program is Jacksonville Jaguars running back Rashad Jennings…..SiriusXM presents “College Sports Nation Camp Tour” on its College Sports Nation channel beginning today.  Hosts Eddie George, Gino Torretta, Rick Neuheisel, Houston Nutt, Randy Cross, Gil Brandt, Jack Arute and Mark Packer will visit 13 camps in 16 days and report to listeners.

20 Gallons of Hat.  WLAC, Nashville-based talk host Steve Gill (r) is pictured here with music legend Charlie Daniels (l).  Daniels appeared on Gill’s syndicated talk program on Tuesday, July 31 and the two talked politics and the state of the country.

Presidential Race, Chick-fil-A Case, Ted Cruz Texas Primary Victory, Fed Economic Report/Financial Markets Activities, and London Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/1).  The campaign for president, the outpouring of support for Chick-fil-A and the issue of same-sex marriage; Tea Party candidate Ted Cruz’s Republican primary victory for U.S. Senate in Texas; the Fed’s economic report and financial markets activities; and the London Olympics were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

| July 26, 2012

Talk Media Personality Ed Schultz Reveals Wife Wendy is Battling Ovarian Cancer.  Syndicated talk radio host and MSNBC personality Ed Schultz has been off of both of his programs for the past week and took the time yesterday to call in to his radio show to speak with guest host Mike Papantonio to announce that his wife Wendy is being treated for ovarian cancer.  Schultz told his audience they received the diagnosis last Wednesday and Wendy underwent surgery on Tuesday of this week.  “The doctors feel like they got all of it.  It was a very successful surgery, but we got a long way to go.”  Schultz took the opportunity to thank the staffs of both of his programs for their help in covering while he’s been away and said he will be missing from both programs for some time, although how long is not known.  “Doing a radio and TV show isn’t exactly what I’m thinking about right now.  I’m going to be with my wife through all of this…We both feel like we’ve been through the wringer and you lose track of time, you lose track of what you’re doing.  And everything changes, but we’re going to be OK.  We’re going to get through it.”  The staff of TALKERS magazine wishes the best to Ed and Wendy at this challenging time in their lives.

Clear Channel Names Clay Hunnicutt EVP of Programming.  This is a big move up for the SVP eastern region and VP of country as Clear Channel Media and Entertainment announces Clay Hunnicutt becomes executive vice president of programming for the company.  The promotion also puts Hunnicutt in charge of programming in markets including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Washington, Baltimore and San Diego.

Morning Hosts, Former Employer Settle in Potentially Precedent-Setting Case.  When Q92 (WDJQ, Canton, Ohio) morning hosts Pat DeLuca and Charlotte DiFranco left the D.A. Peterson, Inc.-owned station after their contracts expired in February of this year and began an internet radio show, Peterson demanded the two cease their project saying it was in violation of their non-compete.  The two sued Peterson and in April Stark County Common Pleas Judge Charles E. Brown Jr. ruled the two forms of communicating – webcasting and terrestrial radio – were different enough that the duo were not in violation of their non-compete.  Peterson responded by asking they be prohibited from webcasting or streaming within a 60-mile radius of the station (although TALKERS is not sure how that would be accomplished or enforced).  Judge Brown denied that request but did rule DeLuca and DiFranco may not use tapes of programs they did while working for Peterson and that they must return the tapes.  Also, Brown ruled Peterson owes the two back pay for vacation.  As it stands the sides are agreeing to settle the dispute and Peterson says the two will be paid when all the tapes have been returned.  Whether this case sets any sort of precedent regarding the difference between terrestrial and internet broadcasting in future disputes is obviously unknown at this point, but is nonetheless an interesting ruling as far as talent and employers are concerned.

Courtside Entertainment’s “One Minute Clinic with Dr. Drew Pinsky” Clears Boston.  The twice-daily medical advice and “life enhancing insight” feature from Courtside Entertainment gets a major-market clear on Greater Media’s WTKK, Boston, adding the city to its other major markets — New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington DC.  Courtside Entertainment Group president Bob Moore says the power of Dr. Drew Pinsky’s brand is astounding.  “There are 15 million Google searches related to health and wellness every day, and 75 million related to celebrities.  Calling Dr. Drew!  Drew knows what listeners want and we are pleased to partner with the legendary WTKK to ensure they get it.”

Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington Brings Fox 5 Washington Sports Director Aboard for Football Show.  WTTG-TV, Washington, DC acting sports director Dave Ross will join Red Zebra’s ESPN980 — WTEM – for the month of August to fill in for Tony Kornheiser in the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot and host the “NFL This Morning” program.  WTEM says the show will cover everything Redskins and the entire NFL.  “Over the five weeks, Dave will have daily Redskins guests as well as live reports from all 32 NFL cites while going in-depth on every team in the league.  The show will originate from Redskins Park, where ESPN980 has an exclusive studio.”  WTEM president and CEO Rick Carmean states, “Redskins coverage is our wheelhouse and this show will continue our dominance in that area.  There is no better way to begin that coverage than with Dave Ross at Redskins training camp.”

Delmarva Broadcasting to Debut FM Talk Station on September 4.  The station will be positioned as Delaware 105.9 and former WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Maryland program director and morning host Dan Gaffney – who just last week announced his departure from that station – will be part of the new station’s lineup.  Delmarva is splitting the FM simulcast of country WKTT, Salisbury, Maryland – currently broadcast on both the 97.5 signal of WKTT and WZKT’s 105.9 licensed to Lewes, Delaware to the northeast.

WTKK, Boston Adds Andelmans for Friday Middays.  The Andelman brothers – Dave, Dan and Michael – have hosted “The Phantom Gourmet Radio Show” on Saturdays on the station since April of 2007.  Dave Andelman is CEO of Phantom Gourmet, Inc. which produces not only the radio show but a TV show of the same name that airs in Boston, Providence and in Maine in addition to some of Beantown’s biggest food-centric public events.  Now, the three will host a Friday show from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm that will “cover anything that’s topical,” according to Dave Andelman.  Program director Grace Blazer tells TALKERS, “The Phantom Gourmet and the Andelman Brothers are staples on Boston radio, TV, and genius at throwing big events all over New England.  Over the past five-plus years, the Andelman brothers have connected on-air, online and in person with 96.9’s listeners and advertisers and we’re delighted to bring their family to yours on Fridays in addition to Saturdays.  Let the fader begin.”  The three are the sons of well-known Boston sports media personality Eddie AndelmanDoug Meehan continues to host the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm show Monday through Thursday.

Mark Tauscher Joins Journal’s Packers Broadcasts.  Retired Green Bay Packers lineman Mark Tauscher becomes part of the broadcast team for Journal Broadcast Group’s radio and TV coverage of the team’s games this season.  Tauscher will provide pre- and post-game analysis on the Packers Radio Network and pre-game analysis on the Packers TV Network.  Journal director of network operations Carl Moll states, “Mark brings listeners and viewers a fresh perspective on how players think and react to game situations in the NFL. His knowledge adds dimension to the Packers coverage originated by Journal’s radio and TV networks.”

Midwest Communications Buys Backyard Broadcasting’s Sioux Falls Cluster.  There’s no price on the transaction being disclosed yet but the seven-station cluster that includes news/talk KELO and sports KWSN but the stations will become part of Midwest Communications’ portfolio pending FCC approval.  The sale leaves Backyard Broadcasting with stations in three markets: Muncie, Indiana; Williamsport, Pennsylvania; and Olean, New York.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  XtreMedia CEO Kevin McCullough, host of his own nationally syndicated daily talk radio program and co-host of the “Baldwin/McCullough Live” weekend program with Stephen Baldwin, announces his company is producing a new TV program beginning in September called, “Hannah Help Me.”  The show stars former PBS personality and mother of seven Hannah Keeley who will help mothers who are wrestling with the mess of life to gain insight and strategies in coping with the worries of parenthood…..WFED, Washington AM drive co-host Francis Rose is filling in for Cumulus Media Networks talk host John Batchelor on his Saturday evening WABC, New York-based program this weekend…..Cloud-based advertising software company Abacast announces veteran media executives Ivan Braiker of Hipcricket and John Maffei of Playsino are named to the company’s board of directors…..The syndicated weekend automotive show “America on the Road,” hosted by Mike Anson and Jack Nerad, ends production this weekend after 23 years.  Anson says, “Weʼve been contemplating shutting down for about a year, but wanted to wait until all of our current advertising contracts had concluded.”…..NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart will be guesting on the United Stations Radio Networks-syndicated program, “The Final Lap Weekly” this coming weekend.  The program is produced and co-hosted by Kerry Murphey in California…..SiriusXM delves into the vast “Twitter-verse” with its newest program, “Politics Powered by Twitter,” heard on the satcaster’s POTUS political talk channel.  The one-hour daily show airs live at 6:00 pm ET and is described as a “new radio format that reports to listeners exclusively what politics are being talked about on Twitter, including trends and Tweets from politicians, journalists and celebrities who have active voices on the key political issues, electoral races and breaking news.”

Overflow Crowds Attend Dallas Premiere of Obama Movie.  The Dallas premiere of the Dinesh D’Souza-produced political film “2016: Obama’s America” was a huge hit as two theaters in a local multiplex were filled with viewers for the film that goes into national theatrical release the first week of August.  Pictured here with D’Souza (c) are Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher (r) and Salem Communications talk host Mark Davis (l) who is hosting morning drive on the company’s 660 The Answer – KSKY, Dallas.

Presidential Campaign, Aurora Massacre Aftermath, Syria Instability, and Jobs Market Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/25).  The ongoing presidential campaign; the aftermath of the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting; the violence and political implications associated with Syria’s instability and the flat jobs market were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

| July 25, 2012

Salem Communications Joins iHeartRadio.  The latest broadcast group to join the Clear Channel Media and Entertainment digital media platform is Salem Communications.  The company’s 97 stations in 37 markets will become available on iHeartRadio beginning in September.  Salem radio division president David Santrella states, “It’s important that our content be available to our listeners no matter where or how they want to receive it.  Clearly iHeartRadio is a dominant player in the space and we are excited to be able to offer our content on the platform.”  In contract to the secular broadcast companies that have signed on with Clear Channel’s platform, Salem brings Christian-formatted radio stations into the mix.  Salem director of digital media Rodney Whitaker says, “We are looking forward to the launch of our partnership with iHeartRadio and the increased audience it will bring us, both online and through the mobile app. It’s clear they are dedicated to innovation and providing listeners with an ever-improving experience.”

No FM Signal for Clear Channel’s Boston News/Talker.  At the time it was announced the company was purchasing Phoenix Media Group’s WFNX, Boston, some industry watchers suspected Clear Channel would take the 101.7 frequency of the former alternative rocker and give it to news/talk WXKS – Talk 1200.  The recent revelation the company acquired call letters WHBA seemed to indicate that would not be the case and it turns out it is not.  Yesterday, Clear Channel unveiled variety hits “The Harbor” with the airing of the Standells’ ode to Boston, “Dirty Water.”

Augusta, Georgia Talk Host Austin Rhodes Celebrates 20 Years in PM Drive at WGAC-AM/FM.  The station tells TALKERS magazine talk host Austin Rhodes’ 20-year stint as host of the PM drive show on Beasley Broadcasting’s WGAC-AM/FM, Augusta is the longest-running drive time radio presence on one station in the history of the Augusta media market.  Rhodes’ media career began 29 years ago assisting the late Matt Stovall in his radio broadcasts of local high school football games with WMTZ in Augusta.  He began a full-time career in radio broadcasting in 1987, as a radio news reporter and anchor for WGAC.  In 1989, Austin moved to television news, where he stayed until 1992.  On July 16, 1992, Rhodes rejoined WGAC, assuming afternoon hosting duties for what was then, “Voice of the People.”  The station also notes that Rhodes has been regularly named Augusta’s favorite radio host in such publications as Augusta Magazine, The Metro Spirit and Columbia County Magazine.  He’s also been recognized by the Georgia Association of Broadcasters.

Prime Program Director Job Open at Cox Media Group’s KRMG, Tulsa.  With longtime KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa programmer Drew Anderssen moving to the company’s WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando, CMG is looking for a program director for the legendary news/talk outlet.  The station says, “This position demands a candidate with the ability and experience to lead a dynamic, veteran news department and programming staff.  Because of this station’s profile locally and nationally, only candidates with the highest level of execution, creativity and leadership will be considered.”  The deadline for application is August 12 and interested applicants should apply to: Janet Bergquist, Cox Media Group – Tulsa, 7136 S. Yale Avenue, Suite 500, Tulsa, OK  74136.  Or e-mail cover letter, resume and audio to: tulsajobs@coxinc.com.  CMG requests no phone calls.

WQAM, Miami PM Drive Host Dan Sileo Joins Hurricanes Post-Game Show.  Sports talk host Dan Sileo – who hosts the PM drive show on Beasley’s sports talk WQAM, Miami and played football at the University of Miami during the mid-1980s – becomes part of the broadcasts for Hurricanes football this season.  Sileo will be on the team that handles the post-game show.  He tells TALKERS, “It is an awesome honor for me to be part of a program that I helped build and I have incredible love for the University of Miami.  My daughter will be going to games with her dad this year…a dream come true.”

Raising the Demo.  Talk radio hosts and programmers should avoid the temptation to narrow their “target demo” to a number, says consultant Holland Cooke.  “Recently published Nielsen data affirms what you may have suspected all along: The vaunted 25-54 demo is malarkey.  Although only 5% of ad dollars are aimed at ‘em, 35-64 accounts for half of product purchases.”  Cooke writes that the key to making the sales department happy is cutting through the clutter and being “remarkable” to people who have children, of any age, still living at home.  Read Holland Cooke’s piece here.

KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas Adds Slate of New Weekend Shows.  CBS Radio’s news/talk outlet KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas announces a number of new weekend programs to be heard on the station.  The lineup is as follows: Saturday, 9:00 am, “The 19th Hole Weekend Edition” with Dennis Silvers and TPC Summerlin general manager Lee Smith; 11:00 am, “Pet Talk with Dr. B”; 2:00 pm, “Pawn Talk Live with Michael Mack”; 3:00 pm, “Asked and Answered” with Las Vegas personal injury and criminal defense attorney Marc Saggese; 4:00 pm, “Debt Free LV with Chris Parker”; 5:00 pm, “Over and Under with Chad Forster” covering local and national sports; Sunday, 3:00 pm, “Real Estate Live with Kevin Mikrut”; 5:00 pm, “Get Fired Up with Bob Irwin” – all things guns, politics and self defense.

ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt Extends His Deal with the Sports Media Giant.  The new contract means ESPN personality Scott Van Pelt will add several on-site “College GameDay Built by the Home Depot” appearances throughout the football season.  He will travel to some of the “GameDay” locations in support of his features, interviews and reports related to the game, teams and players involved.  He will also be part of ESPN’s BCS Championship Game coverage.  This is in addition to Van Pelt’s duties as “SportsCenter” anchor and his ESPN Radio talk show.  He is also lead reporter and host of the network’s major golf coverage, including the Masters, U.S. Open and The Open Championship.

KFKA, Greeley, Colorado Adds Local Sports Talk Show.  Broadcast Media’s News Talk 1310 KFKA in Greeley, Colorado announces the addition of “SportsDay” with Troy Coverdale and Brady Hull to the daily lineup, airing from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm beginning August 6.  Coverdale is the voice of the University of Northern Colorado Bears play-by-play and Hull is the station’s sales manager who has been a steady presence on the station’s air since 2008 with prep sports coverage.  In a release, the station says, “With a heavy focus on local sports teams, including expanded preps, UNC and Colorado State coverage, ‘SportsDay’ is expected to fill a hole in the marketplace, as Northern Colorado has seen sports talk programs come and go over the past 10 years.”

Aurora Massacre Aftermath, Presidential Campaign, Tax Cut Issue, European Debt Crisis, and Financial Markets Activities Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/24).  The aftermath of the Aurora; Colorado movie theater massacre; the presidential campaign; Congressional moves regarding the Bush-era tax cuts; the debt crisis in Euro Zone nations and global financial markets activities were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

 

Monday, July 23, 2012

| July 23, 2012

Aurora Tragedy Sparks and Challenges Talk Radio.  There are few events that news/talk radio programmers in the age of cutbacks fear more than a major story that captures the entire nation’s consciousness breaking on a weekend when their stations’ key stars are off and brokered or syndicated “how-to” shows are on.  The Aurora, Colorado movie theater massacre came very close to being such a story, except that it technically broke on a Friday morning, giving weekday hosts the opportunity to at least address it in the early stages of information being available and programmers a full day to organize a weekend strategy.  This type of blood-chilling, high-drama story takes days to develop as information slowly disseminates amidst knee-jerk speculation, leaving a number of news/talk outlets incapable of fully diving into it on a Saturday and Sunday when personnel is at a minimum and “regular” programming takes a break from core stationality.   Regardless, the industry has had all too many unfortunate chances to learn from this problem in recent years and according to TALKERS monitors across the country and conversations with programmers, there was a far better state of readiness to appropriately handle the Aurora tragedy than for similar instances in the past.  Initial reports indicate that the main topics and debates being fueled by this mega-story are gun control, violence in entertainment, and the relationship between mental illness and crime.  There has also been strong interest in talking about appropriate parenting prompted by the fact that a child and an infant were in attendance at the midnight movie.  As an example of news/talk radio taking control of this situation, Salem Radio Networks VP of programming, Tom Tradup tells TALKERS, “On SRN News, we gave the shooting priority coverage — including three hours of Special Reports — and we are featuring perspective from Murphy Wells, a KNUS, Denver reporter who is part of the local morning show at KNUS with studios in Aurora. Also Larry O’Connor, editor-in-chief of Breitbart.TV guest-hosted a special edition of the Hugh Hewitt show on Friday from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET focusing exclusively on the deaths and injuries in the shootings.”   At WGN, Chicago, program director Bill White tells TALKERS, “On Friday Jonathon Brandmeierlead with the story throughout his morning show after it broke during our live overnight show.  Jonathon spoke with witnesses who were in the multiplex when the shooting occurred and authorities from Aurora, and he actually confirmed the death count to 12 before most media outlets.  He also took calls from Chicago and throughout the Midwest as listeners coped with the tragic news.”  In Boston at Greater Media‘s WTKK, program director Grace Blazer says the station was live and local from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm both Friday and Saturday.  “We ran the important new conferences from Denver with President Obama and Mitt Romney.  We spoke with reporters live from Denver plus local experts such as Jack Levin, Professor of Sociology and Criminology at Northeastern University and author of several mass murder books, and Ty Burr, film critic from the Boston Globe, who discussed violence in the Batman movies.  On Saturday, Paul Ferrazzani, a registered instructor from the Firearm Safety Academy in Medford, Massachusetts gave listeners the inside scoop on our gun statutes.”

Fox Sports Radio and Mile High Sports Remember Colorado Shooting Victim.  By now, most of us who work in the media are aware that one of the victims of Thursday’s movie-theater shootings was a young woman named Jessica Ghawi who had just missed being a potential victim of a similar shooting in Toronto in June.  The San Antonio native had interned at Lincoln Financial Media’s KKFN, Denver earlier this year and was due to speak with Mile High Sports Magazine editor-in-chief Doug Ottewill about her sports media career the next day.  On Friday, Mile High Sports and Fox Sports Radio talk host Peter Burns spoke with Fox Sports Radio’s “Loose Cannons” about Jessica.  Burns told the program’s listeners, “Her mom told me early this morning, ‘I want you to talk as much as you can.  Celebrate everything that Jessica did, and celebrate everything that these victims did.’  And I’m glad that you guys are giving me the time to celebrate that and talk about how amazing of a person she is, rather than giving a minute or 30 seconds to this coward that did this.”  Burns recounted how Ghawi wanted to set up a charity to help the victims of the Colorado wildfires and was working toward that goal when her life ended tragically on Thursday night.

Cox Media Group Realigns Corporate Management to Fit New TV Signals and Announces Radio and TV Properties to Be Sold.  Twenty-seven radio signals in six markets are going on the block as Cox Media Group announces a realignment of its business strategy that will include the sale of several TV operations and some corporate officer changes to dovetail with the recent acquisition of several TV stations.  The only spoken-word format up for sale is the new sports talk FM WZNN, Birmingham that had been part of the Paul Finebuam-Cumulus contract dispute that’s since been settled.  The rest of the signals are music FMs and AMs or ethnic outlets in Birmingham, Alabama; Greenville, South Carolina; Hawaii; Louisville, Kentucky; Richmond, Virginia; and Southern Connecticut.  There are five TV signals in four cities going on the market.  As to the corporate structure changes, former group VP Kim Guthrie is named Cox’s new senior vice president responsible for radio markets, and former Austin American-Statesman publisher Jane Williams is the company’s new senior vice president responsible for TV markets, both reporting to Bill Hoffman, EVP over broadcast.  Other additional leadership changes effective immediately include: former group VP Rich Reis who becomes VP and GM of digital operations reporting to EVP Neil Johnston; former group VP Ben Reed is now VP and market manager of Atlanta radio reporting to Kim Guthrie; former group VP Jay O’Connor, as previously announced, is the new VP and GM at KIRO-TV, Seattle.  EVP Mike Joseph continues to oversee CMG’s newspaper operations and CMG Ohio.   Cox Media Group president Doug Franklin states, “This simplified structure will enable CMG to capitalize on continued growth and synergies, while retaining its size financially.  All of our media outlets, regardless of size, are valuable, profitable brands with strong futures thanks to the hard work and dedication of our talented professionals who serve their audiences, advertisers and communities.  We thank the leaders and employees in the locations we’re selling for their outstanding contributions to this company over the years and the valuable service they will continue to provide their respective communities.”

Cuts Hit St. Paul-Based American Public Media.  MinnPost.com’s David Brauer reports 10 employees of the St. Paul, Minnesota public radio company American Public Media are being let go as the organization deals with the changes in the contemporary media business.  Brauer reports engineer Rick “Scooter” Hebzynski, public relations staffer Christina Schmitt and digital archivist Jenel Farrell are three of the casualties and that Current.org is saying “Marketplace” D.C. chief John Dimsdale also is being let go.  Minnesota Public Radio CEO John McTaggart writes to staffers in a memo: “There’s no question today’s constantly changing media landscape presents challenges, but we at APM also see opportunities.  The changes we are making today are really about APM’s future and help to position us for future audience service and growth.  We are reorganizing around two key areas: content and development.  We are aligning our priorities to focus on two main divisions that create value for our audiences and cultivate vital relationships with our members, donors and funders.  The result is a more streamlined organization design that gives us a strong footing as we look ahead.”  To that end McTaggart announces MPR COO Dave Kansas leads the content division SVP and chief development officer Randi Yoder heads up the development division.

Longtime KFI, Los Angeles Traffic Reporter Recovering After Crash.  Los Angeles traffic reporter Mike Nolan suffered fractured ribs and a broken collar bone in the Friday evening crash of a Cessna single engine plane he was piloting near the Corona Municipal Airport.  KFI’s Neil Saavedra tells the Los Angeles Times Nolan was flying with a student and family friend – who was not seriously injured – when the crash occurred in Riverside County.  Saavedra tells the paper Nolan – a KFI employee since the mid-1980s – had more than 40 years of experience as a pilot.  He was headed home to land in time to take off again for his two last traffic newscasts when the accident took place.  The plane lost power and hit electricity lines.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  WTKK, Boston talk host Doug Meehan is broadcasting live from Camp Harbor View this Thursday morning to help raise awareness and funds for the special camp that offers hundreds of children who live in Boston’s at-risk neighborhoods the opportunity to have fun and learn at summer camp.  Thursday’s broadcast will feature coverage of the camp’s 5k road race event…..WFAS, Westchester, New York talk host Lisa Wexler, whose program airs live on the station from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm daily, will have her show re-broadcast  from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm daily beginning tonight.  WFAS GM Marty Sheehan says, “We are very proud of all that Lisa has accomplished in the short time she has been with us.  We want to meet the demand to hear more of Lisa and introduce more of our audience to her show.”…..Sports USA is making the Little League World Series U.S. Championship and International Championship games available to radio stations across the country.  The games are being played the weekend of August 25 and 26.  Ad sales are being handled by Skyview Networks.

Sirius About Fantasy Football.  Sports talk hosts and celebrities invaded the Hard Rock Café in New York City’s Times Square over the weekend for SiriusXM’s Celebrity Fantasy Football Draft broadcast.  In addition to SiriusXM talk hosts Steve Phillips, Jay Thomas, Scott Ferrall, Steve Covino and Rich Davis, celebrities including actor George Wendt, guitarist Zakk Wylde and Jaguars running back Maurice Drew-Jones took part in the promotion.  Pictured here are DirecTV/Premiere Networks talk hosts Nick Di Paolo and Artie Lange who also took part.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

| July 12, 2012

Survey Says…TV and Public Radio Are Best Hopes for Employment in the News Business.  The Radio Television Digital News Association/Hofstra University 2012 TV and Radio News Staffing and Profitability Survey indicates commercial radio news staffing remains flat but that there were 1,031 more TV news jobs in 2011.  The study was done by Bob Papper, the Lawrence Stessin Distinguished Professor of Journalism and chair of the Department of Journalism, Media Studies, and Public Relations at Hofstra University.  He reports in his survey that “the typical (median) radio news operation had a full-time news staff of one — the same as it’s been since I started doing these surveys 18 years ago.  Radio news remains highly centralized, with the typical news director overseeing the news on two stations and more than three-quarters (77.6%) of all multi-station operations have a centralized newsroom.”  Regarding non-commercial stations, he says, “Non-commercial stations fared much better than commercial ones.  More than twice as many non-commercial stations reported increasing staff compared to commercial stations.  The bigger the staff, the more likely for the station to have increased, and most of that increase came in the biggest markets (1 million and more).”  Papper says more than half of radio news directors surveyed did not know whether their news division was profitable or not.

Premiere Networks Debuts Satellite Radio Show Hosted by Jack Abramoff.  The Clear Channel Media and Entertainment-owned Premiere Networks is developing a talk show for the XM channel that Clear Channel programs – XM Talk 168 – hosted by former Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff who finished serving a 43-month federal prison sentence for corruption.  The weekend Jack Abramoff Show has been airing on SiriusXM’s XM Talk 168 since the last weekend of June and, for now, the program is satellite only.  It’s possible this is a road test for a show that may have a future on terrestrial radio.  Premiere Networks president, content and affiliate relations Julie Talbott, says, “From his experience in Washington to his fall from grace, Jack has a unique and interesting point of view and he’s not shy about sharing it.  He’s a natural in front of the microphone and we’re excited to share this new talk program with audiences across the country.”

Emmis First Quarter Net Revenue Up 1.8%.  That small hike is contingent upon removing the Merlin Media stations – in which Emmis still has a non-controlling interest – from the mix.  With the Merlin stations included, the fiscal Q1 revenue for 2012 drops to $40.4 million – and 11% decline from the same period in 2011.

Former Twin Cities Sports Talk Host Jeff Dubay Speaks Out About Drug Conviction.  Sports talker Jeff Dubay was co-host of the popular “PA and Dubay” show (alongside Paul Allen) on Clear Channel’s KFAN-AM, Minneapolis until his conviction on possession of crack cocaine in 2008.  Yesterday (7/11) he went on Chad Hartman’s midday talk show on CBS Radio’s WCCO-AM, Minneapolis to talk about his fall from grace and the conviction that ended his sports talk career.  The Pioneer Press reports Dubay told the audience he began using crack while dealing with a painful divorce after being introduced to it at a party at which “I had no business being.”  Dubay credits former Vikings receiver George Rhymes, whom he met in prison, with helping him get over the addiction.  Dubay says he hopes to get back into radio someday but for now wants to help others by telling his story.

NBC and Microsoft Reportedly Finalizing Their Media Divorce.  The Daily Beast and Newsweek columnist Howard Kurtz is reporting that NBC and Microsoft are in talks for NBC to buy out Microsoft’s remaining 18% stake in MSNBC.com.  The move, when finalized, would bring about a name change to the popular news site and it would become NBCNews.com.  NBC and Microsoft entered into their media partnership back in 1996 with the cable news/talk channel MSNBC and the news website.  The cable TV relationship ended back in 2005.  Now, it appears NBC is ready to take 100 % ownership of the internet site as well.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment brings “veteran venture investor” Joseph Robinson aboard as EVP of strategic development.  The company announces he’ll work closely with president of digital Brian Lekamp and president of national sales marketing & partnerships Tim Castelli…..KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh host Marty Griffin leads a live broadcast event in front of the Bellevue Borough Building today from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm to protest that town’s recently passed grilling restrictions.  Griffin and KDKA-AM are opening the event to the public asking everyone to bring their appetite!…..WXKS, Boston – Talk 1200 – morning drive host Jeff Katz moderates the first live radio debate for the Republican candidates for the Massachusetts Congressional seat being vacated by long-time Democratic Rep Barney FrankSean Bielat, Dr. Elizabeth Childs, and Dr. David Steinhof – who face off in the September primary – will join Katz in the studio from 9:00 am to 10:00 am on Tuesday, July 17…..WQAM, Miami PM drive sports talk host Dan Sileo fills in on the AM drive show on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network on Friday, July 27…..Breitbart News Network editor Larry O’Connor continues his busy fill-in talk host schedule sitting in for WMAL-AM/FM, Washington midday host Chris Plante today and tomorrow.  Next week he’s in for SRN’s Hugh Hewitt on Monday and Talk Radio Network’s Rusty Humphries on Wednesday.

2012 Presidential Race, Texas Voter ID Law Challenge, Obama Tax Cut Repeal, ObamaCare Repeal Efforts, and Municipal Bankruptcies Among Top News Talk Stories Yesterday (7/11).  The 2012 presidential race; the challenge to Texas’ voter ID law; President Obama’s proposal to end the Bush tax cuts for wealthy Americans; the continuing backlash from the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care law; and the spate of municipalities declaring bankruptcy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Hello from the Orient.  That’s “Into Tomorrow” talk host Dave Graveline (l) and show producer Rob Almanza (r) posing for a shot in front of the Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai, China.  Graveline and Almanza are in China touring electronics factories and getting the scoop on the latest consumer electronics goods being produced there.  Graveline tells TALKERS this week’s program will feature highlights of the coolest new technologies they discovered on their trip.

Newspaper Decline Spells Opportunity for Talk Radio Sales

| July 5, 2012

By Al Herskovitz
President
H & H Communications

BRADENTON, Fla. — Have you noticed lately how thin and anemic your daily newspaper has become?  That is if you read a daily paper at all.  New Orleans’ famous daily, the Times-Picayune, is reducing itself to three days a week starting this autumn. Incoming publisher Ricky Mathews says the move is necessitated by “upheaval in the newspaper industry.”  There also will be staff reductions in this newspaper that’s been around for some 175 years.  This is quite an admission and development.

And that’s not all!  Three major papers in Alabama are going the same route: The Birmingham News; the Mobile Press-Register; and the Huntsville Times are also cutting back to three days.  All of them will be publishing only on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.  Why only these particular days?  Because these are the days they carry the ad flyers and coupons.

How sad it is that the newspaper business has declined to the point of becoming just a coupon delivery system.

Newspapers cannot even depend on the classified ads for sustenance which were historically their bread and butter now that Craig’s List has eaten that portion of their lunch.

I can’t tell you how many times in recent years when I called on a local retailer to pitch him talk radio time that I was hit with, “I must have my newspaper ad before I can even consider radio at all.”  Now is the time to go back in and see that retailer.

Read More

When Is a Death Threat Free Speech?

| July 5, 2012

By Steven J. J. Weisman
TALKERS MAGAZINE
Legal Editor

BOSTON — The recent decision of Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm to charge Timothy Demeuse merely with disorderly conduct with regard to Demeuse’s Facebook posting about talk radio host Vicki McKenna has many people, including Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, upset.

The Facebook posting read “Here’s your real ‘expletive’ death threat ‘expletive.’  Come and get me.  I don’t even own a gun.  I can make as many threats as I want.  I hope someone kills you.  I am going to shoot you in the face and rape your dead corpse.”

According to the District Attorney the posting did not qualify for more serious criminal charges.  According to Chisholm, “The people we talked to, his circle of friends, said they did not take it as a true threat.”

Read More

Monday, July 2, 2012

| July 2, 2012

Clear Channel Denver Announces Three New Talk Programs.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s three Denver-market spoken-word outlets are adding new live and local programming this month.  At KOA, a new evening sports talk show will debut at 7:00 pm on July 9 called, “PrimeTime Sports with Andy Lindahl.”  Lindahl has been an anchor and sports reporter with KOA since 1999 and is co-host of the station’s “Bronco’s GameDay” and “Broncos PrimeTime” as well as serving as a sideline reporter for Broncos and University of Colorado football.  At KHOW, the station is announcing a permanent show for the afternoon drive daypart featuring progressive David Sirota and conservative Michael Brown called, “The Rundown with Sirota & Brown.”  Sirota is an author and syndicated columnist who had served as host of the cluster’s progressive talk outlet KKZN.  Brown – former Undersecretary of Homeland Security under George W. Bush – had hosted an evening program on KOA.  Sirota and Brown take over the slot held by Dan Caplis and Craig Silverman who hosted the show for the past eight years.   Finally, at progressive talker AM 760 Colorado’s Progressive Talk (KKZN), KCNC-TV, Denver reporter Gloria Neal takes over the morning drive show from 7:00 am to 10:00 am on July 16.  Neal served as a news anchor at KOA in the past.

Lionel Hosts Early Morning Show at WPIX-TV, New York.  Commentator, talk host and podcast innovator Lionel of LionelMedia.com adds to his duties at Tribune’s WPIX-TV where he does commentary for the 5:00 pm and 10:00 pm news as he begins hosting the station’s early morning news program from 4:00 am to 6:00 am beginning today (7/2).  The expanded role for the uniquely talented Lionel allows him to bring his one-of-a-kind perspective on the issues to New York viewers in a broadened format that programmers at WPIX believe will be an effective lead-in to its morning news programming.  As reported by FishbowlNY, a memo from WPIX-TV news director Bill Carey indicates the program will be conversational in style and allow Lionel’s natural delivery to lead the program’s direction.  Lionel also presents several short form commentaries daily on Merlin Media‘s FM properties in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia.

Fourth of July Holiday Week a Bonanza for Fill-In Hosts.  This year the Fourth of July holiday falls on Wednesday and that mid-week holiday means more hosts take some or even all of the week off, leading to a whole bunch of programming time to fill and plenty of work for fill-in hosts.  Talk host and former Arizona Congressman J.D. Hayworth counts himself among the busy talk hosts working this week.  He begins the week sitting in on the morning drive show at Cumulus Media’s KSFO, San Francisco today and tomorrow.  On Wednesday, he’ll be the guest host on Cumulus Media NetworksMike Huckabee show and, later that night, he’ll be heard on CBS Radio’s WPHT, Philadelphia from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight.  On Thursday and Friday, Hayworth will host the “Morning Rush” program simulcast on WRDU-FM, Raleigh and WPTI-FM, Greensboro, North Carolina.  And on Saturday, he’ll sit in hosting the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm program at WLS, Chicago.

Former St. Louis Talk Host Gets Life for 2005 Murder.  Leonardo Drisdel once hosted “The Human Factor” talk show at WGNU, St. Louis.  In 2005, he confessed to his wife that after a drug binge with a local woman named Cassandra Kovack, he beat her to death claiming that a voice ordered him to kill her.  Drisdel was sentenced to life in prison on Friday, June 29.

 

Going for the Gold!  Six-time Olympic gold medalist Amy Van Dyken (c) joins KOZN, Omaha’s “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” co-hosts Mike’l Severe (l) and Kevin Kugler (r) on their program as it broadcast live from the U.S. Olympic swim trials in Omaha.  Van Dyken is co-host with Rob Dibble on Fox Sports Radio Network’s “Fox Sports Tonight.”

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

| June 27, 2012

More Groups Board the iHeartRadio Digital Train.  In what seems to be an industry-wide strategy to battle Pandora in the digital realm, two more groups – Cox Media Group and Emmis Communications – have joined Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s iHeartRadio digital audio app.  Cox Media Group will present 86 of its stations from 19 markets and Emmis will offer 20 stations from six markets on the platform.  The iHeartRadio platform now boasts audio from more than 1,000 terrestrial stations from some 150 markets (plus the ability of users to create custom “stations” via song or artist) is available.  Cox Media Group president Doug Franklin says, “Cox Media Group is impressed with the progress that iHeartRadio has made over the last year.  Our strategy is to serve our listeners on as many digital platforms as possible.  We look forward to extending our reach in partnership with iHeartRadio.”  At Emmis, chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan states, “By joining iHeartRadio, we offer our listeners – including listeners of our premiere hip-hop brands Hot 97 in New York and Power 106 in Los Angeles – a great way to continue to enjoy our stations’ content.”

Jacobs Media Study Shows News/Talk Listeners Love Smartphones and Tablets; Not So Big on Social Media.  The results of Jacobs Media’s Techsurvey 8 – data culled from regular radio listeners – indicates regular listeners to news/talk stations like the hardware but are as fond of using social media as primary listeners of other radio formats.  The data was presented in a Jacobs Media webinar yesterday. Jacobs has been offering the webinars in format-specific chunks and yesterday’s focused on news/talk listeners.  Fred Jacobs fed participants data from his company’s annual study and some of the takeaways included interesting data about their media consumption habits such as: News/talk listeners use cellphones, the internet, TV and AM/FM radio on par with listeners to other formats but their using of social media such as Facebook and Twitter is considerably less.  However, when it comes to social media sites, their usage of LinkedIn exceeds that of usage by other format devotees.  As for “first occasion” – which media is consumed first after waking up – 43% of news/talk listeners use radio either at home or in the car.  They are also more likely than users of other formats to check their e-mail or read a newspaper (either in print or online) as their first media experience of the day.  If it’s any inspiration for beefing up the news department, 70% of news/talk listeners cite getting the news/weather/traffic as the number one reason for listening to AM/FM radio compared to 22% for all other formats combined.  Of all the formats, news/talk fans are least likely to “like” a station’s Facebook page but 21% say they check the station’s website every day.  And when it comes to following a station or personality on Twitter, sports talk is the hands-down winner with 51% of sports talk fans saying they do so.  News/talk aficionados do that less than the median with only 24% saying they follow a station or personality on Twitter.  Finally, when it comes to audio and video streaming, 33% of news/talk listeners listen to the station’s stream once per week – below the average of 38% — but 61% of them will stream video once per week – that’s above the average.  When they do, news/talk listeners get their video from network TV first, then cable TV, and their third favorite choice is your news/talk station.

ABC News Radio Partners with Slacker to Offer Lifestyle Talk Channels.  Digital audio service Slacker and ABC News Radio will work together to offer lifestyle talk content targeting men and women – dubbed “Men’s Life” and “Women’s Life.”  Slacker states in a release that the stations can be customized by the user to control the content they hear based on its relevance to them.  Slacker SVP of marketing Jonathan Sasse says, “Our new lifestyle stations capture the most interesting content for men and women from experts in over a dozen subjects.  No other radio service is providing access to content like this, and it is important to us that these stations include the option to customize based on the topics each listener finds most interesting.”  Categories of content available to users include: (for men) Health & Fitness, Games & Gadgets, Food & Drink, Style & Fashion, Cars & Gear, Tech, Travel & Adventure, Entertainment, Money, Relationships, Green Living and Home Improvement. And for women: Hair & Beauty, Style & Fashion, Relationships, Health & Fitness, Money, Entertainment, Food & Drink, Home Living, Tech, Parenting, Travel & Adventure and Green Living.  ABC News Radio VP and general manager Steve Jones says, “Since men and women often have different interests, our new Men’s Life and Women’s Life channels appeal to different sensibilities and styles.  We curate this content to make it unique but ultimately Slacker listeners drive their own experience since they can skip stories within each channel just as they do now with songs.”

Google and SiriusXM Enter into Content Sharing Deal.  Searching for ways to give a boost to its lagging Google TV service, the digital giant has struck a deal with SiriusXM to allow users of Google TV to hear all of the satcaster’s programming – including Howard Stern and the live sports programming.  According to Reuters, the deal is to be announced at a Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco today.  Google TV is a software built in to television sets currently manufactured by Sony, LG Electronics and Vizio.  Major broadcasters have blocked online versions of their content from appearing on Google TV and the service has had a rough start, to say the least.  Netflix and Amazon.com have joined Google TV as well.

Comedian and Morning Show Host Rickey Smiley Extends Deal with Radio One; Two TV Deals in the Works.  Morning radio show host Rickey Smiley inks a contract extension with Radio One that will keep him with the company.  Currently his morning show is heard in 55 markets on urban outlets.  In addition, Smiley is developing a weekly TV sitcom for TV One currently in production in Atlanta.  He will also be part of Fox TV’s “Dish Nation” show that features a number of morning radio hosts from around the country.  Radio One CEO and TV One chairman Alfred Liggins states, “Radio One and TV One are huge believers in investing in quality content.  Rickey Smiley represents a significant multi-media talent and our enhanced backing and long-term investment in his brand represents a commitment we believe is core to our companies’ future strategy.  Rickey Smiley is not only a current star, but he is one of the fastest-growing entertainment brands in any media today.”

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Adam Carolla’s Carolla Digital enters into a partnership with TuneIn to deliver his content via the digital audio service.  All episodes of every recent Carolla Digital will be available on the service that has some 30 million monthly active listeners…..SiriusXM sports talk host Dino Costa and former college basketball coach Steve Lappas will co-host the satcaster’s coverage of the NBA draft on Thursday, June 28 beginning at 7:00 pm on Mad Dog Radio…..WBZ-FM, Boston – 98.5 the Sports Hub – weekend sports talk host Nick Cattles heads south to become PM drive host at ESPN 94.1 FM (WVSP) serving the Norfolk, Virginia market.  He takes over for Tony Mercurio who exited the station last month…..ESPN Radio presents live, exclusive coverage of the UEFA Euro 2012 Final on Sunday, July 1 at 2:30 pm ET.

Wisconsin Station Flips to Talk Beginning in July.  The La Crosse Radio Group will flip standard WLFN, La Crosse, Wisconsin to news/talk beginning July 1.  The station’s program lineup will feature local talk host Bob Schmidt in morning drive and an eclectic lineup of nationally syndicated talent including: “The Wall Street Journal This Morning” with Gordon Deal, Dial Global’s Dennis Miller, WIBA, Madison-based Vicki McKenna, WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish, The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “The Daily Wrap” with Michael Castner, Fox News Radio’s Alan Colmes, and CBS Radio’s “Overnight America” with Jon Grayson.  WLFN program director Neil Klos tells TALKERS, “This radio station was designed local first giving our local listeners a voice.  Our design was not to be ‘political,’ but entertaining and informative.”

Arizona Illegal Immigration Ruling, ‘Fast and Furious’ Contempt Vote, Colorado Wildfire, Looming ObamaCare Decision and Charles Rangel Wins Primary Battle Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/26).  The aftermath of the Supreme Court ruling on the Arizona immigration law; a potential House contempt vote against Attorney General Eric Holder in the ‘Fast and Furious’ case; the Colorado wildfire that’s displaced more than 30,000 people; the expected decision from the Supreme Court on ObamaCare; and New York Congressman Charles Rangel’s primary election victory were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

 

Victory But Not Clarity at the Supreme Court

| June 22, 2012

By Steven J. J. Weisman
TALKERS MAGAZINE
Legal Editor

BOSTON — Yesterday (6/21/12) the United States Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision on the FCC’s indecency standards for broadcast radio and television and the decision hardly seems worth the wait.

In a decision that reminded me of a story about the comedian Professor Irwin Corey, who billed himself as the world’s foremost authority, he was asked, “Why do you wear sneakers?”  He replied by saying that this actually was two questions.  The first question was “Why?” and he went on to a long philosophical discussion of “why.”  Then he went on to the second question, “Do you wear sneakers?” and he promptly responded, “Yes.”

In this case the Supreme Court was asked whether or not the FCC’s indecency rules were in violation of the First Amendment.  However, rather than answer that question, the court merely determined unanimously, after much discussion, that the standards were applied retroactively and therefore they could not be enforced against ABC and Fox.  As for the overriding question of the unconstitutionality of the rules themselves, the Court ruled that it did not even have to answer that question because the application of the FCC’s indecency rule was improperly done in a manner that violated the Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

| June 19, 2012

Ralph Barbieri Sues KNBR, San Francisco.  Longtime San Francisco sports talk host Ralph Barbieri is suing Cumulus Media’s sports talk outlet KNBR claiming the station fired him in April based on his age and disabilities.  Barbieri’s attorney tells the San Francisco Chronicle station officials told Barbieri he was being let go for coming to work late and not preparing.  Barbieri had co-hosted the PM drive show with Tom Tolbert since 1996 as “The Razor and Mr. T” and attorney Angela Alioto says, “If you look at the ratings, Mr. Barbieri and Mr. Tolbert were number one or two until the day he was terminated.  The fact is, before they knew he was sick, those excuses didn’t exist – and they renewed his contract.”  In late 2011, Barbieri announced he’s been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and the station renewed his contract a month later.  Barbieri, who is seeking $10 million in damages, went on crosstown sports talk outlet KGMZ-FM to explain the suit and said Cumulus market manager Bill Bungeroth and OM Lee Hammer expressed to him he sounded tired on the air and chastised him for having to use the restroom often because of his medications.  He says he was also criticized for being late because of medical appointments.  The Chronicle reports Cumulus Media has not responded to requests for comment.

Glenn Beck Merges GBTV Under “The Blaze” Banner.  Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk radio star Glenn Beck has been operating two of his pioneering digital initiatives – The Blaze website and internet video station GBTV – under separate names.  Now, Beck is moving GBTV and the new Marketplace by Markdown, under The Blaze umbrella.  He states in an interview with CNN, “I didn’t like the name GBTV from the very beginning for a couple of reasons; one, it’s a little egocentric, and two, it’s television, which doesn’t describe necessarily what we do.”  So Beck is merging the three properties in to what he calls “a world-class multimedia network” – The Blaze.  Asked about Beck’s move by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “There are cases in which a personal name becomes a platform brand –such as Trump, Forbes and Ford – and they worked out well.  But NBC wasn’t named Sarnoff, CBS wasn’t named Paley and Playboy wasn’t named Hefner.  I think Beck is refining his approach to continuing his successful journey as a 21st century media pioneer.”

Dave Ramsey Jumps to News/Talk KRLD, Dallas.  Nationally syndicated financial talk sensation Dave Ramsey is now heard on CBS Radio’s news/talk KRLD, Dallas from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm nightly.  Ramsey’s program had previously been carried by Cumulus Media’s crosstown KLIF.  CBS Radio Dallas VP of news/talk/sports Bruce Gilbert, states, “We are thrilled to have Dave Ramsey join our team at Newsradio 1080 KRLD.  His wisdom, knowledge and passion have garnered him many fans in North Texas and we’re proud to be the new home for his growing and successful program.”

iPad Era Creates Opportunities for News Writers.  Consultant Holland Cooke reports to TALKERS from Blogworld/New York and says opportunities for writers adept at concise delivery of information are everywhere.  “As iPod and iPhone have, stable mate iPad is, once again, demonstrating how facile new devices change the way we consume information/entertainment content, and how we interact.”  Read more from Holland Cooke at Blogworld here.

 

Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Promotes Darren Davis to EVP of National Programming Platforms.  Darren Davis has worked his way up from programming Clear Channel’s WASH-FM, Washington to his new post as executive vice president of national programming platforms for the company.  CC states Davis “will work closely with Tom Poleman (president of national programming platforms) to oversee all aspects of the division and the ongoing development and execution of Clear Channel’s national advertising and programming integrations.  He will continue to manage the Programming Operations Center; the Brand Management in-house format team; and the company’s highly effective Premium Choice network.”  Poleman says of Davis, “Over the past few years, Darren has been instrumental in transforming everything from our systems of communication to the way we maximize our best programming assets.  His efforts continue to give Clear Channel the competitive advantage and resources to be even more relevant and effective in the evolving market place, offering our listeners, partners and advertisers, products and content that nobody else can.  He has clearly earned the opportunity to grow within our company and he will continue to be an integral part of our team and our future.”

JT the Brick Featured on Las Vegas Newscast.  Fox Sports Radio Network late night talk host JT the Brick was recently featured on local television station KLAS-TV, Las Vegas in a piece on the effect of social media on sports talk radio.  JT broadcasts his nightly FSRN program from studios in Las Vegas.  In the piece, JT explains the pros and cons of using social media – Twitter, Facebook and others – to bring content to his show and to interact with fans.

 

Local Combo Serves Florida Panhandle Market During Flood Emergency.  Program director Paul Stadden tells TALKERS magazine ADX Communications’ news/talk WNRP, Pensacola and sister country FM were on the scene keeping local residents informed when 13 inches of rain fell on Escambia County last weekend causing widespread flooding and some $150 million in damage.  Stadden says, “Using the staffs of both stations, employees covered the flooded streets and reported full time from the Escambia County Emergency Operations Center until the state of emergency was lifted Monday morning.”  Pictured here is WNRP news anchor Cooper Davis on the air during the marathon coverage of the disaster.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  CBS Radio’s all-news WCBS, New York takes home three New York State Broadcasters Awards at ceremonies held last night in Bolton Landing, New York.  The station won for “Outstanding Local Newscast” (Hurricane Irene), “Outstanding Feature Story” (The Sock Lady-10 Years Later) and “Outstanding Local Sporting Event” (The New York City Marathon)…..WBZ, Boston’s Joe Mathieu will host Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo on today’s monthly “WBZ NewsWatch” hour-long interview program as the Massachusetts legislature finalizes its new fiscal year budget…..Cumulus Media Networks’ Mike Huckabee show will gain a major market affiliate as it joins the lineup at Francis Battaglia-owned KFNX, Phoenix.  The program will air live in the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm daypart…..Las Vegas-based syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs is being honored by the UNLV Honors College with her selection as the “2012 Honors College Alumna of the Year.”  The school states it is the “highest and most prestigious award given by the college and recognizes Wachs’ impact on UNLV through the significant contributions she’s made to society in your professional field and through her personal achievements.”

2012 Presidential Race, Russia Sends Warships to Syria, Rodney King Dies, George Zimmerman Legal Issues and Roger Clemens Acquitted Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/18).  The 2012 presidential campaign; Russia’s announcement it will send warships to Syria; the death of historical figure Rodney King at age 47; the growing legal troubles for George Zimmerman and his wife; and baseball great Roger Clemens’ acquittal on perjury charges were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Woodhead in The Zone.  That’s New England Patriots running back (and Nebraska native) Danny Woodhead (c) in the booth with KOZN, Omaha’s Damon Benning (l) and Mike’l Severe (r).  The NRG Media sports talk station is broadcasting live from the 2012 NCAA College World Series – six hours daily for 14 days – and had the chance to catch up with Woodhead as he stopped by The Zone’s broadcast booth.

Monday, June 18, 2012

| June 18, 2012

EXCLUSIVE: Sean Hannity’s New Media Seminar Keynote Address on TALKERS TV.  The rousing speech delivered by Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel talk media superstar Sean Hannity at the start of the New Media Seminar in New York on Thursday, June 7 is now playing on TALKERS TV.  Introduced by TALKERS founder Michael Harrison, who described the upbeat talk show host as a “fine man who could be a governor or a president,” Hannity discusses a wide range of issues facing talk radio today from selling PPM numbers to the challenges of accurately rating a multi-platform medium to overcoming organized advertiser boycotts.  See and hear this event in the TALKERS TV box on the right side of this page.  Look for more video from the New Media Seminar to be playing on TALKERS TV at www.talkers.com in the coming days and weeks.

CBS Radio Sell-Off Talk Getting Heated Again.  This time a piece by Richard Morgan in The Deal Magazine cites CBS president and CEO Les Moonves’ desire to make CBS a true player in Hollywood – with big studio muscles – as the reason the corporation may be considering selling its outdoor, print and radio assets.  Morgan writes, “Investment bankers are confident that, after orchestrating a take-private, CBS brass could still muster resources to pursue what has long been the apple of Moonves’ eye (aside from Julie Chen, that is): acquire a movie studio, one along the lines of mini-major Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., the addition of which would transform half-decade-old CBS Films into a bona fide major.”  Advertising-reliant media such as outdoor and radio, although they deliver cash flow, are not favorites because of their reliance on advertising.  Morgan quotes a banker discussing CBS Radio, “Moonves doesn’t really like it that much but it delivers huge cash flows.”  The banker states he believes the company’s 127 radio stations will eventually be sold.  The theory is the outdoor, print (Simon & Schuster) and radio could fund a take-private move and give CBS the funds it needs to become a Hollywood pure player.

Robin Bertolucci Named 2012 Woman of the Year.  The TALKERS magazine editorial board has announced the selection of KFI/KTLK, Los Angeles program director Robin Bertolucci as the 2012 recipient of the Judy Jarvis Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Talk Radio Industry by a Woman.  The presentation will be made at the forthcoming Los Angeles installment of the TALKERS New Media Seminar at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood on Thursday, October 11, 2012.  The event, presented by TALKERS magazine in conjunction with the Los Angeles Press Club, is the second half of this year’s innovative bi-coastal format for the talk industry’s most important and longest running national convention.  The prestigious award is named in honor of the late Judy Jarvis – a pioneer in the independent talk syndication movement of the 1990s – who was stricken with lung cancer and died in the prime of her life and career in 2000.  Since then, this award has been presented each year at the NMS to a series of outstanding industry women including Laurie Cantillo, Grace BlazerAdriane Gaines, Randi Rhodes, Laura Ingraham, Lisa Evers, Gloria Allred, Lynn Distler, Kim Komando and Ellen Ratner.  The award was first presented posthumously to Judy Jarvis.  Last year’s recipient was Stephanie Miller who will participate in the presentation.  Bertolucci began her luminous career in talk radio in 1987 as a desk assistant at KGO, San Francisco and was eventually promoted to that station’s executive producer position.  She served as program director of KOA, Denver before joining Clear Channel in Los Angeles in 2002.  According to TALKERS VP/managing editor Kevin Casey, “As a talk programmer, Ms. Bertolucci represents the best this industry has to offer – regardless of gender.  All of us at TALKERS look forward to the day when there will not be a need to shine the spotlight specifically on women who set an inspirational example for others in this business.  But unfortunately that day has yet to arrive and until it does, we will continue to present this award as an annual tradition.”  TALKERS will begin posting detailed information about New Media Seminar/Los Angeles on Monday morning here at www.talkers.com.  For information call 413-565-5413.

WNIR, Akron Talk Host Howie Chizek Dies at Age 65.  The longtime WNIR-FM, Akron talk show host was travelling to Florida to take part in charity work when he suffered a heart attack.  Howie Chizek had worked at WNIR-FM for the past 38 years, most recently hosting the station’s midday program and a Saturday show.  WNIR-FM president Bob Klaus tells the Associated Press Chizek was travelling with underprivileged youths and chaperones to Walt Disney World as part of an annual charity program.  Klaus states, “He was an absolutely amazing talent who had gigantic charisma.  And behind the scenes he was a very warm, gentle man…He just loved to make the world a better place by giving kids an opportunity to develop and grow into productive members of society.”

WFAN Kicks Off Third Annual “Fantasy Phenom Challenge.”  On Thursday, July 12 CBS Radio’s WFAN, New York begins auditioning sports talk radio fans who think they can do sports talk radio and, once again, the winner will have the opportunity to earn an air shift on WFAN.  This year, the station is opening the contest to duos.  For three consecutive weeks in July, a panel of judges will listen to up to 100 from each week’s auditions hopefuls do their sports talk shtick.  Those who move to the next round are eventually whittled down to five finalists who will compete at Mike Francesa’s “End of Summer” bash on August 24.  Last year’s winner – John Jastremski – was no stranger to media having gone to Syracuse University to study journalism and worked at campus stations.  He still works at WFAN.  Station OM Mark Chernoff says, “Our Fantasy Phenom enters its third year and it is bigger and better than ever.  We look forward to our new twist of allowing teams of two to compete in Fantasy Phenom 3.”

Legal Scholars Debate ObamaCare.  Salem Radio Network talk host – and Chapman University constitutional law professor – Hugh Hewitt (c) moderated a debate between two legal scholars over the outcome of the United States Supreme Court’s looming decision on the legality of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.  The event took place on Wednesday, June 13 at the Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, California and was a standing-room-only success.  At Hewitt’s left is constitutional law professor John Eastman, to his right is Erwin Chemerinsky.  This photo is courtesy of the Whittier Daily News.

 

Greater Media’s Bob & Sheri Celebrate U.S. Army’s Birthday and Flag Day with Remote Events.  WLNK-FM, Charlotte-based morning drive talk hosts Bob & Sheri wrapped up a patriotic week of live events that began the weekend of June 8-10 at affiliate WCTW-FM, Catskill, New York where Bob & Sheri participated in the Hudson, New York Flag Day Parade and the Hudson River Cruise (where they are pictured here with listeners aboard the boat).  Listeners lined the streets to see Bob & Sheri pass by and select listeners were chosen to attend a private boat cruise.  On Wednesday, June 13, the duo traveled to Fort Bragg near Fayetteville, North Carolina to help celebrate the 237th birthday of the U.S. Army.  They participated in a meet-and-greet for affiliate station WQSM-FM.  They broadcast live during the Army’s annual four-mile birthday run on the morning of June 14.

AM570 Fox Sports L.A. Celebrates Kings Stanley Cup Victory.  KLAC – AM570 Fox Sports L.A. – the radio home of the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings covered the team’s Stanley Cup celebration and parade with a day of live broadcasts.  “Loose Cannons” Pat O’Brien and Steve Hartman broadcast from the AM570 stage outside the Staples Center arena, while co-host Vic “The Brick” Jacobs walked the parade route taking photos with fans and sharing the excitement with listeners.  Petros & Money took the parade route bus ride with the Kings players, providing fans with play-by-play of the action. The Loose Cannons then brought the broadcast into the arena’s visitor box, with live coverage of the rally celebration and post-reactions from key player Dustin Penner, head coach Darryl Sutter and AEG president and CEO Tim Leiweke.  Following the incredible events, Petros & Money hosted a three-hour local program that included reliving their memorable experiences and inviting listeners on-air to share their reactions.  Pictured here is Loose Cannon Pat O’Brien interviewing Dustin Penner.

WTOP, Washington’s Jim Farley

| June 18, 2012

WTOP, Washington’s Jim Farley: “We’re Engaged Across All Platforms.”  Hubbard Broadcasting’s Jim Farley, vice president of news and programming at WTOP, Washington, speaks with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison in this TalkersTV video interview.  Farley tells Harrison that although WTOP is a heritage radio station, they think of it differently, “We don’t think of it as a radio station; we think of it as a digital news organization…we compete with everybody who does news.”  Farley praises WTOP ownership – both current and past – for having the foresight to invest in staff and equipment to compete in the 21st century news game.  Farley says they recently added a digital editor for the overnight shift so the organization has a radio and digital editor on the clock at all times.  “Whenever there is a story – middle of the night or on weekends – we’ll be engaged across all platforms.”

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

| June 12, 2012

WPHT, Philadelphia Announces New Limbaugh-Free Schedule; Names Buzz Bissinger and Steve Martorano PM Drive Hosts. With Premiere Networks talk star Rush Limbaugh headed across town to Merlin Media‘s new WWIQ-FM, CBS Radio‘s news/talk WPHT announces Pulitzer Prize-winning author and pundit Buzz Bissinger will take over PM drive with co-host Steve Martorano. Bissinger moves into PM drive as WYD Media‘s Michael Smerconish slides into the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot (his live air time for national syndication). CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP Marc Rayfield states, “With the presidential election only a few months away, there couldn’t be a better time to heighten our focus on how today’s issues affect our friends, relatives and neighbors. The addition of Buzz to the lineup and presenting Michael’s program live to the audience gives us an incredible advantage as a station created in Philadelphia by Philadelphians for Philadelphians. Buzz has one of the most compelling voices in Philadelphia today. He’s intelligent, honest and hard hitting. He doesn’t play favorites; his only goal is to pursue the truth and no one in local media is more qualified to do so.”

Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Reorganizes Operating Management Team.  Two Clear Channel executives get promoted as the company restructures. Tom Schurr is named president of operations for major markets and Matt Martin is the new president of operations for regional markets. The changes also include the promotion of Tom O’Connell from SVP of operations for the Northeast regional markets to EVP of operations where he, along with EVP of operations Hartley Adkins, will report to Tom Schurr. Matt Martin was previously SVP of operations for the West region. CCME chairman and CEO John Hogan says, “As a company, we put a priority on recognizing our high performers with advancement opportunities to grow and develop their careers. The proven leadership, experience and performance results of Tom, Matt and Tom M. have shown that they are the perfect candidates to help continue to reinvent how our evolving markets operate.  They have all earned the opportunity to grow their careers and will be an integral part of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s exciting future.” As a result of the moves, EVP of the Western Region Susan Karis exits the company.

New Jersey Broadcasters Association Convention Begins this Evening.  The 65th Annual NJBA Conference and Gala kicks off this evening at Caesar’s Atlantic City. The event, considered by industry observers as one of the most innovative statewide radio conventions in America, begins at 6:00 pm with a spectacular opening reception overlooking the ocean and picks up tomorrow morning with a full schedule of speakers, sessions and presentations under the theme, “The Best is Yet to Come!”  Headline solo presentations will be made by Howard L. Green Humanitarian Award honoree Steve Forbes and TALKERS founder Michael Harrison who will address the topic, “How Terrestrial Radio Can Thrive in the Digital Age.”  Special presentations will be made by ratings expert Charles Sislen and marketing guru John Tkac.  For information call 800-345-7253.

Joy Behar Signs Up with Al Gore’s Current TV.  “The View” cast member Joy Behar will continue her role on that show but will begin a new 6:00 pm ET show – probably called “The Joy Behar Show” – in September. Until then she’ll make appearances on the network including filling in for Eliot Spitzer on “Viewpoint” next week while he’s on vacation. The program will feature a regular, rotating cast of pundits, experts and journalists as cast members to discuss political and social issues. Current TV founder and chairman Al Gore says in a statement, “Joy Behar is a beloved veteran television personality with her finger on the pulse of what viewers care about. Millions of Americans tune in daily to hear her take on the issues along with her inimitable style. We are honored that Current TV will be Joy’s new prime time home.” Until December of 2011, Behar hosted a prime time show on HLN.

MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan to Exit Cable Channel to “Walk the Walk.”  That’s not Dylan Ratigan‘s quote but that’s what the host of his eponymous MSNBC 4:00 pm ET show implies he plans to do. Ratigan, whose three-year-old program (he came over from CNBC in 2009) has often taken on the power structure in American politics – including the close ties between the banking industry and Washington – is quoted by The New York TimesBrian Stelter saying, “Once you’ve said your piece, you can either keep saying it – and then it’s a job, good job, pays well, everybody knows your name, it’s great – or you can decide what you’re going to do about it. And the answer is, I don’t know. But I do know, in order to figure it out, I have to dismount.” MSNBC will move Martin Bashir into the 4:00 pm slot and craft a new show for the 3:00 pm hour.

Gregg Hersholt Debuts as Co-Host of KOMO, Seattle AM Program.  Fisher Radio announces Gregg Hersholt returns to the Emerald City as co-host of KOMO-AM/FM, Seattle’s “The KOMO Morning News” alongside Manda Factor. Hersholt worked at Bonneville International‘s crosstown KIRO for 26 years before departing for Portland to work at KXL. Program director Paul Duckworth says, “We’re so excited to have Gregg join us. He’s a terrific storyteller, knows the news business and is a name that is synonymous with Seattle.”

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Radio talk show host Akos Jankura (whose show is heard Saturday afternoons on WFLA, Tampa), along with his father and daughter rode as “Team 3 Generations” in the 200 meter bicycle competition “Endridge Ride to Conquer Cancer” in Ontario, Canada. The event raised some $18 million to benefit The Princess Margaret Foundation…..Slacker Radio and ESPN team up to offer a collection of ESPN stations designed to stream ESPN shows and sporting events on Slacker’s service. Four of the stations will feature content from ESPN’s O&Os in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas…..In honor of Father’s Day, SiriusXM launches a week-long series of special programming with Men’s Health Radio. The channel will be hosted by Men’s Health editor Peter Moore and will spotlight a different topic each day: why guys don’t go to the doctor and why they should; how to eat like a man and not look like a Neanderthal; tips from the editor-in-chief David Zinczenko’s bestselling books Eat This! Not That!; and much more…..The “Bobby Likis Car Clinic” show is giving away “The Ultimate Father’s Day Gift Package” this Saturday that includes an Escort Radar detector and a subscription to Escort Live – “social networking for the road.”

Radio Newsman Chris Stanley Passes Away at 64.  Radio news pro Chris Stanley spent the last five years of his career at Fox News Radio. Prior to that he worked at CBS Radio‘s KNX, Los Angeles. Stanley, who died on Saturday, June 10 after a heart attack, had retired from Fox News Radio in April.

2012 Presidential Race, Jerry Sandusky Trial, Commerce Secretary Car Crashes, and Spain Bailout/EU Uncertainty Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/11).  President Barack Obama‘s campaign to win re-election in the face of Mitt Romney‘s challenge; the trial of former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky; U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson takes medical leave after two auto accidents in Los Angeles; and a bailout for Spain and the uncertainty of the stability of the euro were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Let the Talent Be Talent: 10 Things You Need to Know About Live Endorsements

| June 10, 2012

By Michael Berry
Talk Show Host
KTRH, Houston

HOUSTON – When I listen to Rush Limbaugh, I zone out during the commercials. Except, that is, when the “commercial” comes from Maha-Rushi’s lips. I’ve never heard anyone deliver a better live endorsement than El Rushbo. It doesn’t feel like advertising at all. He makes me feel it’s his personal opinion, which is why I tuned in to him in the first place. I want to know his opinion of Obama’s latest move, and I’ll listen when he tells me where to shop.

Clients pay a premium for live endorsements on radio. It has been my experience as a talk show host that they then sometimes do everything possible to undercut the effectiveness of it. So, here are my list of suggestions to ad agencies, sales reps, and yes, even clients (the people who pay our bills) as to how we, the talent, can get better results for you. Help us help you. To sales reps and talent: I wrote this in hopes you could send it to your clients, whether direct advertisers or ad agencies. Let me be the bad guy and this can be your conversation starter.

  1. Don’t write a script. Any talent that needs a script isn’t worth the fee you pay for his endorsement. If all he’s doing is reading a script, have someone else read it. Hire a professional voice, or produce a better spot. Listeners can tell when a talent is reading your ad. You won’t get results. But if he uses your good or service and believes in it, you will get results. We can sell what we like because then it’s not “selling.” It’s simply sharing what we like and it’s what we do. Make sure your endorser understands you, the individual who owns the business. If you started the business out of your garage; if you are there every single day; if you answer when the phone rings to the main line, he should note that. People want a personal touch. He should share that you have it. Read More

Thursday, June 7, 2012

| June 7, 2012

New Media Seminar Takes Place in NYC Today.  The first of this year’s two one-day installments of the New Media Seminar kicks off at 9:00 am ET today on Manhattan’s East Side with more than 70 industry leaders set to address a capacity crowd of more than 350.  Attendees include professionals from all aspects of the talk media industry including talk radio, television, satellite and internet shows, stations, networks, syndicators and companies. The keynote speaker is Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity with solo addresses being presented by MSNBC‘s Ed Schultz, Cumulus Media‘s Governor Mike Huckabee, WFAN morning co-host Boomer Esiason, TRN and CRN legend Barry Farber, consultants Walter Sabo and Holland Cooke, CBS News VP Harvey Nagler, WTOP VP Jim Farley and WOR afternoon drive host Governor David Paterson.  Panels will tackle such topics as the “General State and Future of Spoken Word Radio,” “Challenges Facing News/Talk PDs,” “How to Make Money Doing Talk,” “Managing a Talk Hosting Career,” and “Finding Digital Success in Talk.” The event will also feature the ever-popular “Talk Rumble” moderated this year by Dial Global star Jim BohannonTALKERS magazine will provide full coverage of the event in the days and weeks ahead.

G. Gordon Liddy to Retire from Talk Radio Career; Financial Expert Peter Schiff to Fill Time Slot for Syndicator Radio America. It’s been almost 20 years since Watergate figure G. Gordon Liddy got behind the microphone to do his first talk radio show. He began a regular program with then-Infinity Broadcasting‘s WJFK-FM, Washington, DC before moving into national syndication via Westwood One. His program began a syndication run with Radio America in 2003. Radio America announces the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET daypart will be filled by financial expert Peter Schiff – investor and author of three best-selling books including his most recent, The Real Crash: America’s Coming Bankruptcy – and How to Save Yourself and Your Country (St. Martin’s Press 2012). In fact, today (6/7) Schiff is testifying before a Congressional subcommittee giving about the potential negative impact of more generous FHA loan guarantees currently being considered by Congress. Radio America states, “Schiff’s program combines his unique outlook on current events, economics and political developments.  Unlike other radio hosts who only view the world through the prism of politics, Schiff connects today’s news to the world’s of business and finance.  Schiff’s daily program has been airing on Radio America since August, 2011. Liddy’s last program for the network will be July 27 although he will still work for the network as a commentator and on special projects.

Michele McPhee Returns to the Air at WRKO, Boston.  Former Boston Herald crime reporter and author Michele McPhee gets back on the Boston talk radio scene when she takes over the midday slot on Entercom‘s WRKO, Boston Monday, June 11. McPhee hosted the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm show on WRKO in 2011 for seven months and worked at crosstown WTKK-FM for three years prior to that. Program director Jason Wolfe says, “It’s great to have Michele back at WRKO. She did a terrific job for us before and I’m very excited about getting her back on the air in this expanded midday role. Michele is Boston. An outstanding reporter with tremendous credibility, she will provide our listeners with high energy and passion every day.” On returning to WRKO, McPhee says, “While I loved breaking stories for ‘Team 5 Investigates’ and worked alongside some of Boston’s legendary TV personalities, I missed fighting for the common man in the Commonwealth on WRKO. So much outrage, so little time. I’m looking forward to engaging in the conversation again.”

Program Director Steve Holbrook is Out at WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando.  No comments yet from Cox Media‘s Orlando cluster or from Holbrook, but Radio-Info‘s Tom Taylor is reporting that the Orlando message board is full of comments about the departure of Holbrook from the program director role at the news/talk station. The report is Holbrook’s exit was not voluntary. He’d been with Cox for 30 years and also programmed the cluster’s two country stations WCFB-FM and WWKA-FM.

Sun Broadcast Group to Handle Network Sales for Ben Ferguson Show.  The Sunday evening Ben Ferguson show is produced by Ferguson’s own ICON Radio Network and is heard on more than 100 stations across the country. Now, Sun Broadcast Group announces Ferguson’s program joins its roster with Sun handling network sales for the program. Ferguson also hosts the 9:00 am to 11:00 am program on Cumulus Media‘s WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Hubbard Radio‘s WTOP, Washington, DC and sister station WFED pick up more than a dozen Associated Press awards from the Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters Association. WTOP was recognized for Outstanding News Operation; Outstanding Website; Year Round Sports Coverage; Outstanding Spot News and more…..Football writer and SportsUSA game analyst Ross Tucker begins writing an exclusive column for the SportsUSAMedia.com website. Tucker, a popular NFL expert, is writing a Tuesday column and will add a Friday column once the NFL season begins…..SiriusXM is providing coverage of the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship, commonly known as Euro 2012, offering play-by-play broadcasts of every match to listeners nationwide. Subscribers will have access to both English and Spanish-language broadcasts, provided by ESPN Radio and ESPN Deportes Radio, from the Group Stage matches starting Friday, June 8, through the Final on Sunday, July 1…..Entercom‘s sports KGMZ-FM, San Francisco is giving listeners a chance to win “The Ultimate Bay Area Baseball Package” that includes 4 tickets to the entire As vs. Giants series June 22-24, the chance to meet players and two Southwest Airline ticket round-trip vouchers for being the contestant who uses Facebook, Twitter or some other means to get a celebrity to call 95.7 The Game on their behalf and go on the air next week. PD Jason Barrett says, ““It will be fun, unpredictable and the winner will get an amazing baseball experience.”…..WITF-FM, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania is the latest non-commercial station to drop its music format – in this case classical – to air a news/talk format. The change takes place on June 25.

Walker Survives Wisconsin Recall Election, 2012 Presidential Race, Financial Markets Activity, Al Qaeda Drone Strike and Ray Bradbury Death Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/6).  Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker‘s victory in a recall election; the 2012 presidential campaign, the turbulent global financial markets, the recent drone strike that killed a high-level al-Qaeda leader, and the death of author Ray Bradbury were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, May 21, 2012

| May 21, 2012

The State of News in News/Talk Radio.  The rise of digital news sources, today’s quickening news cycle and the economic realities of our times are forcing news/talk radio stations to evaluate their news product and adapt to continue to serve their listeners.  In a feature story by TALKERS managing editor Kevin Casey, some of today’s top news/talk programmers speak on the record about their news philosophy, how they are integrating digital tools, news as a cume builder, the relationship between news and talk and their thoughts on the state of journalism.   Read this feature piece here.

NOW-Organized Protest of Rush Limbaugh at WMAL, Washington Fizzles.  The National Organization for Women-sponsored “Enough Rush” campaign got off to an ignominious start outside the studios of affiliate WMAL, Washington, DC Friday, May 18 as just seven protesters marched.  As reported by Fox News, NOW announced the campaign against the Premiere Networks talk radio superstar in April and has partnered with Media Matters for America to target affiliate stations and their advertisers.  Friday’s event in DC was part of a national protest scheduled for that day.  Reports of substantial protests at other Limbaugh affiliate stations have not surfaced.

Cox Media Offers to End Paul Finebaum Issue with Contract Buyout.  The Birmingham Business Journal is reporting that Cox Media – which put sports talk outlet WZNN-FM, Birmingham on the air last September – is again offering to buy out sports talk host Paul Finebaum’s contract with Cumulus Media and its WJOX-FM, Birmingham.  Regular TALKERS readers are aware of the ongoing legal battle between Cumulus and Finebaum that goes back to when the station was part of the Citadel group.  Finebaum’s popular sports talk show has been based at WJOX-FM and regionally syndicated.  While Cumulus would probably like to stop paying legal fees in the ongoing dispute, it may not want to have Finebaum working for a competing station in the market – at least not right away – however it’s likely he’ll end up working there eventually.  There’s no response yet from Cumulus on the offer.

RAB Reports Radio Revenue Up 1% in First Quarter of 2012.  The Radio Advertising Bureau issued a report on Friday, May 18 concluding advertising revenue for all of radio was up 1% for the first quarter of 2012 – the third consecutive Q1 increase – for total revenue of $3.814 billion.  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber states, “Q1 2012 results confirm that radio commands a solid position in brands’ total marketing plans.  While advertisers continue to capitalize on radio’s spot and network efficiencies, they’re increasingly utilizing local digital capabilities and audience engagement that this medium affords.”  From a category standpoint, spot revenue was flat, network was up 8%, digital rose 10%, and off-air was up 3% for Q1 in 2012 compared to the same period in 2011.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  WXKS, Boston – Talk Radio 1200 – morning drive talk host Jeff Katz wins two Associated Press Awards – one for “Best Talk Show in Boston” and the other for “Best Public Affairs Broadcast” for his special remote from the Fisher House in Boston…..Salem Radio Network talk host Dennis Prager co-hosts CNBC’s “The Kudlow Report” alongside Brian Sullivan tonight at 7:00 pm ET.  SRN states, “With the just-launched IPO for Facebook as well as the unfolding 2012 battle between Mitt Romney and President Obama, Dennis Prager brings his unique background as a talk radio host, author, lecturer and societal observer to CNBC in what will surely be an eye-opening experience for ‘Kudlow Report’ viewers!”…..SiriusXM announces veteran soccer commentator and former player and coach Ray Hudson will host ‘The Football Show’ alongside fellow soccer experts Charlie Stillitano, Neil Barnett and John Harkes.  Hudson has been a commentator for Gol TV since 2004 and is widely known for his elaborate and excitable play-calling style.  Also from SiriusXM, three-time SEC Coach of the Year Houston Nutt has joined SiriusXM as an analyst on its 24/7 college sports channel.  Nutt will host multiple shows each week on SiriusXM College Sports Nation including ‘College Sports Today’ with Mark Packer and ‘College Football Playbook’ with Jack Arute…..Former WGNU, St. Louis talk host Leonardo Drisdel was found guilty of the 2005 murder of Cassandra Kovack on Friday.  He’ll be sentenced on June 29.

Clark Howard to Help Break Ground for New Home for Joplin Tornado Victims.  Cox Media syndicated talk show host Clark Howard heads to Joplin, Missouri tomorrow along with a team of his listeners to break ground on a new home for a family that lost its home to last spring’s tornado that hit the city.  Howard will broadcast his Tuesday program live from the build site to recognize the one-year anniversary of the tornado.  Clark Howard is funding the Joplin home himself.  However, he joined forces with Cox’s KRMG, Tulsa to promote the build and KRMG even had advertisers chip in for a storm shelter for the house and due to the listeners’ overwhelming support for the build in Joplin, they teamed with Clark to build a home in Tulsa this past weekend.  The home is being funded by monies raised by listeners and Howard.  He says, “I love Habitat for Humanity because it is a hand up and not a hand out.  Homeowners have to meet strict qualification guidelines and put in hundreds of hours of sweat equity to build their own home and other Habitat homes.  It is not a free house.  It is a low-cost mortgage.”

Vic “The Brick” Jacobs Rides the Zamboni at L.A. Kings Game.  Yes, that’s Fox Sports Radio sports talk host Vic “The Brick” Jacobs – of the network’s “Loose Cannons” show – on the zamboni during last Thursday’s L.A. Kings NHL playoff game.  In addition to being at the Staples Center in Los Angeles for the game, Jacobs (decked out in his Kings jersey and crown) did a post-game interview with Kings rookie Dwight King who scored the winning goal.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

| May 17, 2012

Sean Hannity Named to Keynote New Media Seminar in New York on June 7.  The Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel superstar has been named to headline an agenda of talk media industry luminaries that includes leaders from the ranks of talent, programming, management and sales.  Sean Hannity tells TALKERS his address will cover such pressing industry issues as confusion over non-rated platforms, attempts to silence opposition speech, proliferation of multi-media talk venues and the imminent explosion of a wide variety of content. He says, “My speeches in the past have focused on the theme, ‘the best is yet to come,’ which I still fully believe – but we face a number of present-day obstacles that have popped up along the way that we as an industry must address and overcome.”  Hannity joins the ranks of more than 60 speakers who will be addressing a capacity gathering of 500 attendees at the East Coast installment of this year’s New Media Seminar (the West Coast installment is set for Los Angeles on October 11).  Organizers expect the industry-only New York segment to be sold out by early next week.  For last-minute registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.  To see the latest complete agenda, click here.

Clear Channel Agrees to Buy Alternative WFNX-FM, Boston for Rumored $11 Million.  Stephen Mindich is the publisher of the Boston Phoenix alt-weekly who’s owned WFNX-FM since 1983.  He says the station has been difficult to keep afloat since the recession began in late 2008 so he’s selling it to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment.  Now, the format rumor mill begins grinding and there’s certainly reason for CC to give low-ranking news/talk outlet WXKS – at 1200 on the AM dial – an FM boost.  The station carries Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity and despite the talent of morning drive talk pro Jeff Katz and PM drive market vet Jay Severin the station continues to underperform.  As is customary, CC is not tipping its hand about a format change but local media reports indicate 17 of the 21 staffers at the station have been notified of their termination.  Releases from both parties do not indicate if Clear Channel will begin operating the station under an LMA or wait for FCC approval of the sale.

Report:  Streaming Media East Confab Provides Insights for Talk Radio.  Talk radio consultant Holland Cooke delivers nuggets like this: “It’s not how many Friends you have, it’s how many are talking about you,” as he distills some of the advice on building media brands via Facebook (and more) that he gathered at this week’s Streaming Media East conference in New York City.  Read Holland’s entire report here

Forbes Releases World’s Most Powerful Celebrities List for 2012; Limbaugh, Beck, and Stern Make the Grade.  The annual World’s Most Powerful Celebrities List has been released by Forbes and Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk host Rush Limbaugh is the highest-ranked radio talk host at #19.  Fellow Premiere host Glenn Beck is close behind at #23 and SiriusXM talk star Howard Stern landed at #30.  Forbes ranks celebs based on how they score in five factors: money, TV/radio, press, web and social.

Utah Jazz Owner to Buy KZNS-AM/FM, Salt Lake City.  The Larry H. Miller Group – owner of the NBA’s Utah Jazz – is finalizing a deal to buy sports talk KZNS-AM/FM, Salt Lake City which would become the radio base for the team.  Currently, LHM Group is LMAing crosstown KFNZ but that deal ends this month and owner Cumulus Media is not interested in continuing to LMA the station, according to a report in the Salt Lake Tribune.  LHM Group and Utah Jazz president Randy Rigby tells the paper the group will put together the best sports talk hosts from both KZNS and KFNZ, “This is going to be a super sports powerhouse radio station.”  It is currently negotiating with talent and did not disclose which of the two stations’ current hosts will end up working at KZNS.  The station is owned by the SLC Divestiture Trust operated by Larry Patrick.

Courtside Entertainment Group’s “Loveline” Partners with Ustream for Web Video Distribution.  Fans of Courtside Entertainment Group’s “Loveline” radio show hosted by Dr. Drew Pinsky, Simone Bienne and Mike Catherwood will be able to see streaming video of the program via Ustream.  In addition to the program being seen live on ustream.tv, affiliate stations will have access to the embedded Ustream player for fans to view and interact with on their websites.  Courtside vice president Katie Walsh states, “By partnering with Ustream to offer a video component of ‘Loveline,’ we are able to provide fans with more access and interaction than ever before.  We look forward to extending our reach and providing fans with more ways to connect with ‘Loveline’ through Ustream.”  Courtside reports that after working with Ustream for a month, it saw a 107% increase in “Loveline” viewers on its Ustream channel – more than doubling “Loveline” viewership in a one-month period.

Daily “Sports Biz Today” Program Debuts in Syndication May 21.  The AudioTracks Broadcasting Services-produced “Sports Biz Today” program hosted by Fred Wallin and Howard Bloom goes live and into national syndication on Monday, May 21.  Both Wallin and Bloom have long sports media resumes: Wallin has worked at Fox Sports Radio and The Sports Radio Network as well as at ESPN and Fox Sports Net and Bloom publishes SportsBusinessNews.com and has worked with Fox Sports Radio and Sporting News Radio to name a few.  The program is available for terrestrial stations via Cable Radio Network and is also being broadcast on the web via Passionate Talk Radio and Mile Hi Radio.  It airs live from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm ET.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  CBS Radio names Danny Bortnick vice president and director of sales for its Washington, DC cluster that includes sports talk WJFK-FM and all-news WNEW-FM…..SiriusXM adds “Dan Dunn’s Happy Hour” to its lineup on the SiriusXM Stars Too channel.  The weekly show hosted by the former Playboy writer and mixology expert will air live on Thursday evenings at 7:00…..The nationally syndicated Dawson McAillster-hosted “The Hopeline” names Jessica McVay-Kershner on-air co-host/internet radio coordinator for the show.  Jessica is the daughter of long time consultant and current Cumulus Media VP/programming Mike McVay…..James Ingstad-owned KJOX, Kennewick, Washington – 1340 ESPN Tri-Cities – begins airing programming from Bonneville’s KIRO, Seattle from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.  The station is also the market’s affiliate for Seattle Mariners baseball….. The regionally syndicated, Rochelle, Illinois-based Michael Koolidge program expands to WTAD, Quincy, Illinois and WKAN, Kankakee, Illinois…..KMOX, St. Louis business reporter Rick Desloge died on Monday at age 63 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Montreal Broadcaster Ted Bird Joins CKGM, Montreal Morning Show.  Popular Montreal radio personality Ted Bird becomes part of the morning show at TSN Radio 990 (CKGM, Montreal) alongside Elliott Price and Shaun Starr.  Bird will focus on the Montreal sports scene.  He tells Broadcaster Magazine Canada, “I am extremely excited to join Elliott and Shaun on TSN Radio 990 and indulge in my passion for talking sports.  I feel privileged to work for the flagship radio station of the Montreal Canadiens and hitch my wagon with the TSN brand.  It will be an interesting off-season for the Canadiens, so we’ll have lots to talk about.  I can’t wait to get started.”  Bird recently left CHRK-FM, Montreal in a well-publicized  split that ended with him working at a Canadian aboriginal station.

2012 Presidential Race, Greece Teeters on Brink, Upcoming NATO Summit, Trayvon Martin Case and Budget Debate Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/16).  Some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday included the 2012 presidential race; the precarious state of Greece’s fiscal situation and its effect on the euro; the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago, new information in the Trayvon Martin case; and the U.S. budget debate in Washington, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

| May 16, 2012

Howard Stern’s Debut on “America’s Got Talent” Gets Mixed Ratings Results.  Although billed as a “judge,” iconic talk radio star Howard Stern’s debut on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” was one of the most-judged elements on the program.  The show’s season opener was one of Monday’s top shows with a 3.6 average rating in the 18-49 demo but that number was down from the program’s debut episode last season when it scored 4.3 average rating.  TVbytheNumbers reports the program faced stiffer competition this year.  Ratings for reality talent and music competition programs are down pretty much across the board this season and Stern’s effect on “America’s Got Talent” will be hard to judge.  The TV industry is dealing with softer ratings in prime time for almost all programming this season.  Meanwhile, TALKERS editorial board members report noticing that it seemed strange seeing Stern in the role of prime time TV “celebrity team player,” as opposed to being the focal point of his own edgy show.  Those expecting anything approaching “The Howard Stern Show” came away disappointed — including media watchdog groups.

Cumulus to Move Atlanta All-Newser Closer to the City.  Cumulus Media’s WYAY-FM, Gainesville, Georgia – soon to be the company’s new all-news outlet in the Atlanta market – will move from 106.7 to 106.5 and take Sandy Springs as its city of license if the FCC grants approval for the changes.  The move would put the new station’s tower much closer to the downtown area.  Currently, WYAY-FM’s class C signal emanates from a tower location about halfway between Atlanta and Athens to the east.

Social Media Ad Spending to Near $10 Billion by 2016.  That’s from BIA/Kelsey’s U.S. Local Media Forecast and it predicts that ad spending on social media will climb from the 2011 level of $3.8 billion spent to $9.8 billion in 2016.  The local segment of that revenue will go from 2011’s $840 million to $3.1 billion in 2016.  BIA/Kelsey’s Jed Williams states, “Better performance, coupled with richer formats and creative elements, like video, will be the principal social ad market growth drivers.  Social advertising’s local business penetration will steadily increase as SMBs’ understanding of social media deepens, and as the networks continually improve the ease of onboarding and campaign management.  Facebook opening its Ads API to more partners, including those that work with SMBs, and Twitter’s self-serve platform will help to ‘democratize’ social ads, which will ultimately lead to more local growth.”

Emmis Stock Continues to Be Traded on the NASDAQ.  Emmis’ listing on the NASDAQ was in jeopardy after falling under the $1 threshold late last year earning a de-listing notice from NASDAQ.  But Emmis stock rose above the $1 mark in late April and even hit $1.63 on May 2.  Emmis stated its case to a NASDAQ panel and the company was just informed it will continue to be traded on the board.

ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt Agrees to New Multi-Year Deal.  Twelve-year ESPN personality Scott Van Pelt agrees to a new multi-year extension with ESPN to remain a SportsCenter anchor and host his eponymous daily sports talk radio program.  Van Pelt joined ESPN in 2001 as its lead professional golf reporter.  He says he’s thrilled how his career at ESPN has turned out.  “I’ve always been a guy who was kind of on the wave wherever it took me.  And somehow it took me to where it did and I’m thankful.  I’m happy to stay in this boat, on this wave, until they’re done with me. . .None of this was even thinkable but here we are.  It’s baffling to me.”  The details of the new contract are not being disclosed.

WQAM, Miami Seals Contract Extension with University of Miami.  The Beasley Broadcasting sports talk station agrees with Hurricane Sports Properties to a five-year contract extension to keep football and men’s basketball games on WQAM.  The financial terms of the deal were not released.  The deal also calls for a certain number of baseball games to air as well as the weekly coaches’ shows with Joe Zagacki.  WQAM vice president and general manager Joe Bell states, “UM sports have been a huge part of WQAM for over a decade and we’re excited to continue that relationship.  Our listeners have come to expect the best from WQAM and it doesn’t get any better than Hurricane sports.”

ESPN Radio Unveils New App for iPhone, iPad and iTouch.  The sports entertainment giant announces it is releasing a new ESPN Radio app touting it as its “single, most definitive ESPN Radio app optimized for iPhone, iPod touch and – for the first time – iPad.  The app, sponsored by Lowe’s, creates a seamless, personalized sports listening experience both live and on demand and includes a new feature that allows fans to build their own sports stations. Additionally, fans now have the option to rewind live audio streams, including ESPN Deportes Radio.”  ESPN digital and print media vice president Marc Horine says, “With this update, fans now have complete control over their listening experience as the app provides the functionality to customize specifically by sports, teams and athletes they care most about.”

Euro Zone Tensions, Financial Markets Activity, 2012 Presidential Race, Obama Gay Marriage Stance, and Trayvon Martin Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/15).  The possibility of  Greece’s exit from the EU; the European effect on world financial markets; the 2012 presidential race; President Obama’s stance on gay marriage; and new information about George Zimmerman’s injuries in the Trayvon Martin case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

| May 15, 2012

Power-Packed Agenda Set for New Media Seminar June 7.  According to TALKERS magazine VP/managing editor Kevin Casey, “In all the years we have been presenting radio industry conferences, I do not remember one quite like this in which so many outstanding speakers were packed into a single day’s event.  Our innovative model designed for an economically challenging era seems to be striking a very positive chord.  The New York City installment of 2012’s bi-coastal conference is only a few days away from being sold out.”  More than 60 industry leaders will address the key issues facing talk media between 9:00 am to 6:30 pm on Thursday, June 7 at the Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side.  For registration and sponsorship information for this industry-only event call 413-565-5413.  To see the agenda click here.

Rush Limbaugh Named “Famous Missourian”; Choice Irks State Democrats.  Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk star Rush Limbaugh was inducted into the Hall of Famous Missourians yesterday in a closed ceremony at the state capitol in Jefferson City.  A bronze bust of the talk host was unveiled during the event.  State Democrats were disturbed by the ceremony that was not announced until 20 minutes prior to it beginning.  It took place in the chambers of the House of Representatives and Democrats were not allowed in.  Missouri House Speaker Steven Tilley told the Kansas City Star the ceremony was closed because of the controversy and so that Limbaugh and his family could attend and be “treated respectfully.”  Democrats were not invited because earlier they signed a letter protesting the induction.  In a speech at the induction Limbaugh stated, “This is something I never, ever thought would happen to me…I want to express my deep gratitude. I’m exceptionally proud to accept this honor, and really very humbled.”  Limbaugh joins the ranks of such famous Missourians as Mark TwainHarry Truman and Dred Scott.

Dial Global’s Dennis Miller to Perform with Adam Carolla in November.  Nationally syndicated talk host Dennis Miller had comedian, TV star and podcaster Adam Carolla on his program yesterday (5/14) and the two announced they will perform live on stage together at the City National Grove in Anaheim on November 16.  Miller tells Carolla, “You know what I think about the way your mind works – it’s genius.”  In addition to his radio program, Dennis Miller has been doing live performances with Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly on their “Bolder and Fresher Tour 2012.”  The duo recently performed at New York City’s Town Hall.

Anniversary Bash.  Journal Broadcasting’s KQTH-FM, Tucson – 104.1 The Truth – celebrated its fifth anniversary on Saturday, May 12 at the Casino Del Sol Resort.  Program director Ryan McCredden tells TALKERS, “The listeners, speakers, staff and sponsor response to the event was tremendous and we’re looking forward to another five great years of ‘The Truth’ in Tucson!”  Pictured here are (from l-r): Author and townhall.com writer Katie Pavlich, Radio America’s Roger Hedgecock, author and commentator S.E. Cupp, Talk Radio Network’s Jerry Doyle, KQTH-FM morning host Jon Justice and midday host James T. Harris.

New York Festivals Announces 2012 Radio Program and Promotion Awards World’s Best Radio Programs Finalists.  The New York Festivals breaks down the entries by country.  For the United States among commercial talk broadcasters, ESPN Radio is named a finalist in the Best Human Interest Story and Best Investigative Reporting categories.  “The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap” is a finalist for Best Regularly Scheduled Sports Program.  SiriusXM’sHoward Stern is a finalist for Best Special Event.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFBK, Sacramento is a finalist in the Health/Medical category.  Winners will be honored at a gala awards ceremony on June 18 at New York City’s Manhattan Penthouse.  See the entire slate of finalists here.

 

Compass Media Networks Names Booth Talent for Baseball Broadcasts.  For its 25 broadcasts of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim games Compass Media Networks recently announced it would distribute, the company has named its game coverage talent.  Former New York Mets general manager and current SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio morning host Steve Phillipswill be analyst for the broadcasts.  Others, whose appearance on the broadcasts will be determined by travel schedule and other commitments, include play-by-play announcers Chris Carrino and Steve Quis and analyst and former MLB player and executive Darryl Hamilton.

CBS Radio’s Stacie Schmidt Moves from Las Vegas to Cleveland.  Stacie Schmidt currently serves as director of marketing for CBS Radio’s Las Vegas cluster that includes news/talk KXNT-AM/FM.  She’s moving back to her home town of Cleveland to take the integrated sales and marketing position at CBS Radio’s cluster there that includes sports WKRK-FM – 92.3 the Fan.

Obama Newsweek Cover, 2012 Presidential Race, Euro Zone Hangs in Balance, JP Morgan Chase Loss and California Debt Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/14).  The “first gay president”Newsweek cover; the 2012 presidential race; the future of the euro zone as countries threaten to leave; the $2 billion loss at JP Morgan Chase; and California’s enormous debt problem were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Brooklyn in the House.  Sure, it’s easy to get supermodel and actress Brooklyn Decker to visit your radio show when hubby Andy Roddick is co-host of the program.  Decker is pictured here in the Fox Sports Radio studios with husband and tennis great Andy Roddick (c) and radio personality Bobby Bones (l).  The “Roddick and Bones” show airs on weekends on the FSRN.  During the interview Decker promoted her two new films, “Battleship” and “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” both being released on May 18.

If Every Station Was a Talk Station

| May 14, 2012

By Walter Sabo
President
Sabo Media

NEW YORK — Radio’s original programming slate was completely random.  As a new, experimental medium, all radio stations aired a vast array of programming from operas to farm news to live music.  Until 1940 there was an actual legal debate about whether or not recorded music could be aired on the radio.  See it here.

Every Station is a Talk Station.  Now What?

Imagine if every radio station, except one, in every city was programmed fulltime as a talk station.  How would those talk stations differentiate themselves to the listener?  They couldn’t all take the same approach.  They would have to appeal to different demos and psychographics. There would be talk stations for teens, 18-24 men, 25-34 women and 35-54 year old professionals.  You would hear talk stations just for parents, singles, sports fans, all news for people over 50 and for people under 25.  In L.A., New York and San Francisco there are over 60 viable signals; the possible format iterations would match the scope of human interests.

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Commercials Are Content, Too.

| May 2, 2012

By Al Herskovitz
President
H & H Communications

BRADENTON, Fla. — It was one of those a-scene-from-life commercials.  It went something like this: Woman 1 was the voice on an answering machine. “Hi, This is Madge, please leave a message.”  Woman 2 was the caller.  “Hi, Madge, this is Marge.  Do you remember last week when we were talking about hormonal imbalance?”  HORMONAL IMBALANCE?  Regular folks don’t chat about hormonal imbalance on the telephone!  Not unless they are two endocrinologists.  The commercial was supposed to be about a weight loss product, but the premise was implausible.  The commercial finally got around to the real topic – belly fat.  Now there’s a subject many of us can relate to, and diets are something we could talk about to a friend.

Scenes-from-life commercials are quite common.  The challenge is to make them sound like normal conversation.  Sadly many of them come off contrived and unnatural because no one repeats an 800 number three times in rapid fire succession or refers to “plenty of free parking, open nightly ‘til nine” in this manner during talk between ordinary people.

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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

| May 1, 2012

Clear Channel’s WMMS-FM, Cleveland Disciplines Morning Talent for Off-Color Comment.  “Rover’s Morning Glory” cast member Dominic Dieter has been disciplined in response to comments made on the morning show – though the extent of the discipline is not known.  A father e-mailed the show stating he saw his daughter kissing another girl and asked what he should do.  Dieter responded he should have a friend “screw [her] straight.”  For obvious reasons, a bad joke about raping a young woman in response to her possible homosexuality raised the ire of some listeners and caught the attention of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.  To the credit of CC’s local management, it acted quickly.  The station met immediately with GLAAD representatives, took Dieter off the air (for how long has yet to be determined) and had him record an apology which included the following.  “I want to genuinely apologize to anyone who may have been offended by what I said.  I regret what I did say.  My comments were inappropriate.  They were inexcusable, and just downright stupid.  And I want to make it clear; there was absolutely no intention to promote physical or sexual violence.”  CC Cleveland operations manager Keith Abrams stated to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, “We take matters of this nature very seriously; his comment was thoughtless and unacceptable, and we apologize to those who were offended.  We can assure you the appropriate disciplinary action has been taken, and Dieter has since apologized on air and is fully aware that what he said was unacceptable.  We also want you to be aware that during Friday’s broadcast, he was in fact immediately criticized on-air by the other hosts of the show, and the rest of the segment was dedicated to a productive discussion about the acceptance of all lifestyles.  It included call-ins and commentary from members and friends of the gay community.  WMMS supports the gay community and again, we deeply apologize.”  GLAAD’s Aaron McQuade tells the paper the station has also invited the gay rights group Equality Ohio to join its community advisory board.

Cumulus Media and Townsquare Media Pull Off Big Deal.  This deal gives each side what it wanted but it reportedly took about a year to finalize.  Here’s who gets what:  Townsquare Media gives its stations in Peoria, Illinois and Bloomington, Illinois to Cumulus plus $116 million while getting from Cumulus the stations in 11 small markets – Kileen-Temple, Texas; New Bedford, Massachusetts; Odessa-Midland, Texas; Binghamton, New York; Bangor, Maine; Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Grand Junction, Colorado; Augusta-Waterville, Maine; Bismarck, North Dakota; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and Presque Isle, Maine.  Industry watchers are noting that Cumulus is very happy to get the cash infusion it needs after spending $2.4 billion on the Citadel deal and Townsquare Media is happy to focus on the local aspect of small and mid-size market radio.

Cumulus Media’s News/Talk KCMO, Kansas City Adds FM Signal.  Kansas City news/talker KCMO begins an FM simulcast on 103.7 – a translator that had been simulcasting the company’s classic rock KCFX-FM.  The signal is 250 watts but covers the heart of the Kansas City metro.  Cumulus Kansas City SVP and market manager Mark Sullivan states, “This is an exciting day for KCMO Talk Radio as it provides us a platform to continue to be successful into the future.”  In a statement, the company notes that John Dickey, co-chief operating officer for Cumulus commented in a recent article in the Atlanta Business Chronicle that “having this format on FM is really the future!”

Courtside Entertainment Group Adds Dr. Drew Feature to WTOP, Washington.  The “One Minute Clinic with Dr. Drew” finds a home on Hubbard Broadcasting’s major market WTOP, Washington.  DC joins New York, Los Angeles and Chicago in receiving Dr. Drew Pinsky’s latest media project – 60-second commentaries covering relationship advice and hot topics plus the latest news from the medical world.  WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo states, “In addition to breaking news, Campaign 2012, traffic, and weather coverage, WTOP brings listeners useful and relevant information on health, relationships, and consumer issues.  Dr. Drew offers practical, actionable content that’s appointment listening on WTOP.”

Greater Media’s Philly Sports Combo Grabs NHL’s Flyers for Multi-Year Deal.  There’s an aggressive acquisition of play-by-play rights going on in Philadelphia as Greater Media’s sports talk combo – WPEN-FM 97.5 The Fanatic and WPEN-AM 950 ESPN Radio – adds Flyers hockey to their programming beginning with the 2012-2013 season.  This comes just days after the stations grabbed 76ers basketball from CBS Radio’s crosstown WIP.  Flyers games will be broadcast on both sports outlets and a few will air on rock WMMR-FM.  Comcast-Spectacor (Flyers owner) president Peter Luukko says, “We’re thrilled to be working with a partner that is 100% committed and excited about the Philadelphia Flyers.  We’re also happy that the Sixers have moved over to Greater Media Philadelphia along with us.  Greater Media is an incredible partner that offers extensive promotional support for the Flyers on all their stations.”

CBS Radio Violated Sixers Contract Reports Philly Daily News.  The reason Greater Media was able to snag the 76ers for the playoffs this year though CBS Radio had the rights to the team’s play-by-play throughout this season is because CBS violated the contract, according to the Philadelphia Daily NewsDan Gross.  The paper reports CBS Radio failed to give the Sixers proper notice before bumping an April 3 game to classic hits WOGL-FM.  Gross writes that after the deal with Greater Media was consummated, Sixers CEO Adam Aron stated, “The Sixers’ rapidly growing fan base will no longer have to set their radios to ‘scan’ to find where their Sixers will be aired.”  CBS Radio market manager Marc Rayfield told the paper the two sides parted ways amicably.

Michael Harrison Set to Address 2012 Radio Show on State of Talk Radio.  In what has become an industry tradition running more than a decade, TALKERS magazine founder and publisher Michael Harrison will again deliver the annual “State of Talk Radio” address at the NAB/RAB Radio Show.  Harrison will speak on Wednesday, September 19 between 10:30 am and 11:45 am at a special Info-Session sponsored by TALKERS.  The national conference will take place this year September, 19-21 at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas.  Harrison’s address is open to all 2012 Radio Show registrants.

Rush Limbaugh Helps Raise $3.3 Million for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Premiere Networks superstar Rush Limbaugh dedicated three hours of his nationally syndicated talk show on April 13 to raising funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Including a personal donation of $400,000, as of April 20 the cure-a-thon has brought in pledges of $3.3 million.  This is the 22nd year Limbaugh’s program has held the cure-a-thon and has helped raise more than $34 million for the organization during that time.

Federated Media to Add FM Simulcast to Sports WKJG, Fort Wayne.  Beginning June 4, Federated Media will flip Froggy 106.7 — WFGA-FM, Ft. Wayne (licensed to Hicksville, Ohio) to sports simulcasting WKJG – ESPN 1380.  At that time the station will also add a local PM drive show featuring sister rock WBYR-FM operations manager Stiller and WKJG PD and WOWO APD Brian LaMartina.  Federated Media COO Mark DePrez states, “The Stiller and Brian show is the first step toward combining the world renowned ESPN brand with an increased local connection.  Peter Drucker said concentration is the key to all economic success.  In Fort Wayne, we have gone from seven to five brands to serve this community more effectively, efficiently and most importantly more profitably.  It sounds cliché but it is true that when one door closes another opens.  We salute the staff of Froggy 106.7 for their years of dedication and commitment to community radio.”

2012 Presidential Race, Escaped Chinese Activist, EPA vs Oil and Gas Industries, White House Correspondents Dinner, and Bin Laden Death Anniversary Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/30).  The 2012 presidential campaign; the case of escaped Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng on the eve of visit to China by Hillary Clinton; EPA administrator resigns after comments about making an example of oil and gas companies; the aftermath of the White House Correspondents Dinner; and the anniversary of the death of Osama bin Laden were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

Dr. Daliah Wachs Helps Organization Raise $17, 000 for Autism Charity.  Las Vegas-based nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs helped the Finding Autistic Solutions for Tomorrow organization raise some $17, 000 during its FAST for Kids Gala on April 28 at the Las Vegas Hotel and Casino.  The event was hosted by local Fox TV news personalities Heidi Hayes and Ted Pretty.  Pictured here is Dr. Daliah Wachs (l) promoting the fundraiser on Fox 5 News.

Innovation Sets You Free…to Make Money

| April 27, 2012

By Walter Sabo
President
Sabo Media

NEW YORK — What a great idea!  The Commercial Broadcasters of Australia give out awards for: Best New Manager.  Best New Program Director.  Best New Station.  Best New Format.  They celebrate the “new.”  They encourage it, reward it and showcase it with a black tie dinner.  I had the privilege to attend that dinner in Melbourne and you would not believe the passion and pride in the ballroom.

Sadly, in American radio, we tend to find ways to mock the new and celebrate contempt prior to investigation.  As a business we have set ourselves up for a tough, very risky and vulnerable existence.  No laboratory.  If you come up with a new format or promotional idea, where and how do you test it?  Success in a live medium depends on a specific dynamic with a live audience.  As a rule you can’t ask people how they want to be entertained.  You can present them with entertainment and see if they applaud.  Television tests pilot shows, not show concepts. (How would the Kardashians have tested as a concept?)

When presented with new ideas, most programmers ask, “Where else is it being done?  Who else is doing it?”  They will ask that question while proclaiming, “Our market is different.”  Different than where?  A town that doesn’t have McDonald’s?

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Targeted Topics Are Vital to FM Talk Success

| April 26, 2012

By Walter Sabo
President
Sabo Media

NEW YORK – Many FM talk stations starting this year are taking the tragic approach of moving AM talk shows to FM.  Those shows are very good at appealing to an audience hard-wired to the AM band.  The AM audience is attracted to shows featuring two topics: Democrat or Republican.  Common sense suggests that very few of the people you know spend much of their day talking about politics.  That’s why cable channels focused on politics have astonishingly low ratings.  Lower than any radio station in your city.

What do you talk about with your friends?  Your job, family, weekend plans, money, health. Fascinating fact: From the dawn of radio until about 1985, no successful talk shows talked politics, they talked about life.  Their hosts were keenly aware of what two best friends would talk about on any given day and that’s what they’d talk about.  That’s what Howard Stern talks about.  To reach the crowd coveted by advertisers, working adults under 50, it is critical to mirror their interests.

All of our successful FM talk clients have been high cumers, drawing significant 18-49 shares, often #1 and they didn’t talk politics.  They talked the food court, lunch room, social network topics.  Not only has this proven to be a successful model for winning audience share, it earns significant advertising dollars.  KLSX-FM as a talk station in L.A. was often the # 1 local biller.  It won’t achieve that as a music station.  Talk sells better than music because the retail response rate is higher and there are more elements to sell.

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Walter Sabo: FM Talk — Finding and Inspiring Great Hosts, Part 2

| April 25, 2012

By Walter Sabo
President
Sabo Media

NEW YORK – “Talk” is not a format.  It’s a means of communicating.  Talk radio could reach any target demographic that management thinks it can sell.  Your station could be #1 in your city with talk targeted for teens.  Your station could reach the GOLDEN DEMO — Women 25-44 — all day with talk aimed to serve them.  It’s up to you.  My colleagues and clients have been successful in reaching any demo with talk.  Pick your demo.  Design your format, then select the hosts.

Every day I am asked for host recommendations for talk radio.  It’s flattering that we have earned a reputation for finding good hosts.  Direct recommendations are usually reserved for clients because the talent pool is limited and the process of selecting the right host is profound.

Overall, here are some of the steps we take in finding a good host, regardless of their background.  The brilliant Mickey Luckoff, lifetime general manager of KGO, said, “I like DJs to become talk show hosts because I can teach them how to do talk but I can’t teach them how to do radio.”

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

| April 24, 2012

Feature Series:  Walter Sabo on FM Talk.  Sabo Media president Walter Sabo writes a special four-part series on the successful implementation of talk on FM this week at Talkers.com.  In the first installment, Sabo explains the importance of proper format execution in order to build cume.  “You rarely hear formatic structure on any talk station – you’ll hear long periods without a host name, station name, phone number – and that’s why talk stations tend to have low, vulnerable cumes.  Applying formatics to talk is hard work, but completely achievable.”  Too often, talk radio shows sound formatically different from one another even though they are placed back-to-back on a station.  That can be addressed by coaching formatics, says Sabo.  “That means that your hosts have to handle all elements in the same manner as every other host, just like music DJs.  That does not mean they should have the same opinions.  That is not desirable.”  Read more here.

Chris Sargent Named Operations Manager at Clear Channel Portland.  Chris “Sarge” Sargent has been serving as program director at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk KEX, progressive talk KPOJ and classic hits KFBW-FM (where he also handled morning drive) in Portland, Oregon.  Now, he’s upped to operations manager for the seven-station cluster.  Vice president and market manager Robert Dove states, “I’ve been fortunate to have Chris Sargent working alongside Tommy Austin the last three years and the luxury of having two operations managers in the building, which certainly made my search a lot easier.  I know Chris’s leadership along with the help and guidance of Brad Hardin, our senior vice president of programming, will lead to continued ratings success and revenue growth for our Clear Channel cluster in Portland.”

Cumulus Media Flips Pensacola FM to Talk.  The former adult hits WJLQ-FM, Pensacola changes call letters to WCOA-FM and begins a partial simulcast of sister news/talk WCOA-AM.  The new News Talk 100.7 is simulcasting the 6:00 am to 8:00 am hours of WCOA-AM’s morning drive show with Jim Sanborn and Don Parker, then breaks away to air the WMAL, Washington-based  Chris Plante show until 11:00 am.  Cumulus Media Network’s Mike Huckabee follows from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm.  The rest of the day is: Phil Valentine from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm, Cumulus Media’s Mark Levin from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm and John Batchelor from 8:00 pm to 12:00 midnight and Cumulus Media’s “Red Eye Radio” for overnights.

Richard Neer:  Prioritize to Stay on Top of the Busy Sports World.  TALKERS sports editor Richard Neer offers some thoughts on staying atop of the busy sports world – especially now with NHL and NBA playoffs, MLB action and NFL offseason activity heating up.  Neer writes that sports talk hosts may find two or more events scheduled for the same night.  “Obviously you can’t watch every minute of every game.  And, oh by the way, you do have a life apart from the job.  There are family and friends who deserve attention and other cultural aspects of life that should be acknowledged lest you become too narrowly focused.  So, how can you juggle all these priorities and stay current with your demanding job?”  Find out here.

Changes Coming to Sports WQXI, Atlanta.  Management at Lincoln Financial Media’s sports talk WQXI, Atlanta – Sports Talk 790 The Zone – is tweaking the schedule as reported by the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho.  The morning drive show, “Mayhem in the AM,” is extended to 6:00 am to 11:00 am as is the PM drive show of Mike Bell and David Archer who move earlier to the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm time slot.  That leaves a midday show of 11:00 am to 2:00 pm to be filled and the station currently employs Tony Barnhart and Wes Durham as well as “Two Live Stews” Doug and Ryan Stewart.  Ho notes that Barnhart and Durham are contractually allowed to take May and June off since they work long hours the rest of the year at non-radio station jobs.  Ho also reports Barnhart’s and Durham’s ratings are better than the Stews but their availability in May and June presents a complication.  GM Andrew Saltzman tells the paper they expect to have the schedule squared away in the near future.

Dennis Prager Publishes New Book.  Salem Radio Network syndicated talk show host Dennis Prager begins promoting the publication of his latest book tonight (4/24) with an appearance on Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity program.  The book, Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph (Broadside Books 2012), centers around Prager’s argument that humanity has a choice between American values and its two alternatives: Islamism and European-style democratic socialism.  Prager suggests the American value system is the most viable method of creating a good society.

KCBS, San Francisco Newsman Bob Melrose Retires After 36 Years.  Longtime KCBS, San Francisco reporter Bob Melrose retires from the CBS Radio station after 36 years at the venerable all-news outlet.  Melrose’s career covering news in Northern California included come of the highest visibility cases and colleagues recall how Melrose had a knack for being there when news broke.  A retrospective in the San Jose Mercury News notes Melrose covered the Jonestown massacre, the discovery of murdered 12-year-old Polly Klaas’ body and many other stories important to the region and the nation.

Voice Over Pro Jim Cutler Recognized by Fisher House.  Voice over pro Jim Cutler (pictured here holding his plaque) was recently honored by the Fisher House Foundation for his pro bono work for the charity.  Cutler provided the voice over work for a number of Fisher House projects, including this year’s Memorial Day radio special titled, “A Grateful Nation.”  The Fisher House Foundation provides no-cost housing and assistance to the families of America’s servicemen and servicewomen while they recover at VA and military hospitals.

2012 Presidential Campaign, France Presidential Elections, Secret Service Scandal, Euro Zone Jitters, SCOTUS to Hear AZ Immigration Law Case and John Edwards Trial Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/23).  The 2012 presidential campaign; the surprise showing of French far-right National Front candidate Marine Le Pen in France’s presidential elections; the growing Secret Service scandal; trouble in Europe as some euro zone countries battle to beat debt issues; the coming Supreme Court hearing of the Arizona illegal immigration law; and the beginning of the John Edwards campaign finance wrongdoing trial were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

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