Tag: "Talk Show"

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

| November 27, 2013

huckabeemikeMike Huckabee and Cumulus Media Networks Call it Quits on Daily Talk Show.  Governor Mike Huckabee’s daily commentaries will continue after the New Year but the daily, three-hour talk show will not.  Writing on Facebook, Huckabee says, “I have loved doing the Mike Huckabee show, and its success of going from launch to over 200 stations in less than two years is significant, but the contract was at a decision point for both Cumulus Media and me, and we mutually agreed to conclude.”  Huckabee’s program debuted in April of 2012 with the conservative politician and media personality (who is still seen on weekends on Fox News Channel) promising to host a “different” kind of talk show that offers “more conversation, less confrontation.”  There’s no way to know how successful CMN was in selling the show or how much money Huckabee made but it stands to reason the show was not making enough to justify continuing the effort on the part of either party.

bellpaulMedia Exec Paul Bell Named Business Director for Rush Limbaugh Print and Digital.  Premiere Networks announces the appointment of Paul Bell to the position of business director of Rush Limbaugh print and digital subscriptions.  Bell most recently worked with Dow Jones/The Wall Street Journal and will remain based in New York where he’ll report to CCM+E president of content and affiliate services for national media groups Julie Talbott.  Bell’s focus will be on all aspects of Limbaugh’s subscription businesses including oversight of strategic planning, directlimbaughrush marketing, circulation management, and subscriber acquisition and retention for Rush 24/7; The Limbaugh Letter; as well as The Limbaugh eLetter, the recently-launched digital version of the publication now available via desktop and on mobile devices.  While with Dow Jones/The Wall Street Journal, Bell was charged with overseeing strategy and business operations of The Wall Street Journal Sunday, the WSJ Wine Club and the WSJ and MarketWatch Radio Networks, as well as audio podcasting content licensing.  Prior to that, Bell served as vice president, radio and executive director of The Wall Street Journal Radio Network for seven years.  Julie Talbott states, “We couldn’t be happier to welcome someone of Paul’s caliber to our team.  His extensive background in direct marketing and business operations are a winning combination as we continue to grow Rush Limbaugh’s loyal print subscriber base and digital platforms.”

katzjeffspeaksJeff Katz to Host PM Drive on WRVA, Richmond.  Program director Jimmy Barrett tells TALKERS magazine that talk radio pro Jeff Katz is assuming the afternoon drive show from Clear Channel talk host Leland Conway who’s beenwrva logo doing that program and the midday show on the company’s WHAS, Louisville since the early fall.  With Conway now focused on Louisville, Katz can dedicate his attention to Richmond.  Barrett states, “We’re excited to have someone with Jeff’s experience anchoring our afternoon drive.  Jeff is funny, informative and a great match for the Richmond audience.  Best of all, he’s coming here because this is where he wants to raise his family.”  Katz has been part of the start-up at the Boston Herald’s online venture Boston Herald Radio hosting the morning show.  Katz has been a columnist for the Herald and produces commentary features that air on a number of affiliate stations.  He worked for Clear Channel in Boston on WXKS-AM prior to that station’s flip to sports talk.  He starts at WRVA on Monday, December 2.

greenconnections logo“Green Connections with Joan Michelson” to Debut on TalkersRadio this Saturday.  An exciting new weekly program geared to the environmental movement in modern industry and culture is set for launch this weekend on TalkersRadio – the online experimental talk radio station at Talkers.com.  The program will originate with brand new, one-hour installments on Saturdays at 3:00 pm ET that will be repeated at various timesmichelsonjoan throughout the week.  The program’s tag lines are “live green, work green, earn green” and “making cleantech cool.”  Its host and producer, Joan Michelson, is a highly respected and accomplished Washington, DC-based journalist who specializes in energy and sustainability.  She serves as the green expert on WTOP, Washington and has a blog on the Huffington Post, in addition to a number of major media platforms.  Describing the new show, Michelson tells TALKERS, “We inform, engage, and connect people with the cool things and opportunities in energy and sustainability.  Our stories range from politics and business, to jobs, gadgets, tips and the arts.  I am very excited about bringing this groundbreaking show to such an innovative radio platform as TalkersRadio.”  In announcing the launch, TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein says, “This entertaining and informative program is a radio show whose time has come.  There is a huge information-hungry audience for this and potential advertisers are sprouting up all over the nation creating an exciting new arena of economic growth making it incredibly fertile for talk radio.  Joan Michelson brings a personal likability as well as tremendous knowledge to the discussion.  We are proud to be giving birth to and nurturing what promises to be a major broadcasting entity.  This SO fits the mission of TalkersRadio.”

millerdennisWestwoodOne Bumps Dennis Miller to Noon ET Start.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Dennis Miller’s WestwoodOne program will move to a new time beginning in January.  The company announces the show’s live air time will shift from the current 10:00 am to 1:00 pm ET slot to 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET effective January 6.  WestwoodOne CEO Paul Caine says, “WestwoodOne is happy to have the Dennis Miller show as part of our best-in-class lineup and programming.  Miller attracts a very large and opinionated audience who are actively engaged across audio platforms, including digital.  His show is a prime example of the critical role audio plays in cross-platform integration – a key element in the future of audio.”  Miller, who resides in California, currently hits the air live at 7:00 am PT.  He adds, “Thanks for letting me sleep in and continue to do the job that I love!”

salemcommunicationsSalem Communications Adds AM Signal to Miami Properties.  With the purchase of WOCN-AM, Miami from Deportes Media of Florida, Salem Communications will have another AM signal in the market to complement business talk WZAB, Christian talk WHIM and Spanish Christian formatted WKAT.  The price is $1.2 million for the station and its assets and another $1 million for the property on which the station and its transmitter sit.  WOCN-AM is a class C AM at 1450 currently operating at 1,000 watts in a non-directional pattern.

totaltraffic logoTotal Traffic + Weather Network Partners with TomTom.  The two companies believe the multi-year partnership will augment both their businesses.  Clear Channel’s Total Traffic + Weather Network says the arrangement will combine “TomTom’s industry leading real-time and predictive traffic flow data with Total Traffic + Weather Network’s traffic incident, construction and congestion data to create the mosttomtom logo comprehensive traffic solution available in North America.  The combined data offering will be available across multiple platforms including radio, television, automotive, online and mobile.”  CCM+E EVP engineering & systems integration Jeff Littlejohn states, “We are thrilled about this partnership.  Every day, more than 200 million drivers and thousands of our affiliates depend on TTWN for their traffic information.  We value that trust and are dedicated to delivering the most precise traffic data available. Therefore, we strive for best-in-class, strategic partners to advance our offerings. TomTom is a committed and innovative leader in traffic products. We are excited about creating new solutions together to provide the fastest, most accurate traffic information to drivers every day.”

topturkeysOdds & Sods.  Jack Callaghan leaves the sales end of the business to return to the mic at Clear Channel’s WTAM, Cleveland where he’s the new news director.  Callaghan was most recently eastern regional sales manager at Santa Clara, California-based Beat the Traffic…..Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM and 99.7 FM in Providence produces its second annual “Top Turkeys” countdown that celebrates the notable and notorious from Southern New England.  This year’s winners included Rhode Island native and “Jersey Shore” star Pauly D confirming he’s a baby daddy; former Cranston Mayor Steve Laffey announcing a run for governor only to pull out three days later; and calamari – often a punch line for jokes in Rhode Island – failed to be voted the Official State Appetizer after the State Senate declined to vote on it altogether.  WPRO-AM PD Craig Schwalb says, “Thanksgiving offers WPRO the perfect opportunity to poke fun at some of the most interesting and most absurd news stories that occurred in the great state of Rhode Island this year.”  Check out the web feature here.…..ESPN Deportes Radio reaches what it terms a “sub-license agreement” with Fox to broadcast the UEFA Champions League.  The coverage kicked off with two live double headers: Zenit vs. Atlético and Ajax vs. Barcelona yesterday and CSKA Moskva vs. Bayern and Real Madrid vs. Galatasaray today (11/27).

crowleyjerryIt’s Like Déjà Vu All Over Again.  It is an extremely unlikely narrative – but it actually is happening.  When Clear Channel took over ownership of heritage radio station WOR, New York from Buckley Radio about a year ago, they moved it from its location in an iconic building on Trinity Place next to the historic Trinity Cemetery about a block from Wall Street to their already-established headquarters in a different part of lower-Manhattan.  And as we all know, they also made staff changes in both programming and management. These changes included the departure of longtime WORsantellinoelia VP/GM Jerry Crowley and his executive assistant Noelia Santelli.  Being, as TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes “one of the most savvy, connected and well-liked broadcasting executives in the Big Apple,” it didn’t take long for another radio company to recruit Crowley (as well as Santelli) for their own New York operation.  That company was Salem Communications for whom Crowley brought his talents as VP/GM of talkers WMCA (570) and WNYM (The Answer).  At that time, these stations were located close-by at Salem’s operation across the river in New Jersey.  Now for the good part — on December 9, Salem is taking advantage of the marvelous radio broadcasting space vacated by Clear Channel on Trinity Place and moving the operations of both stations into the same suite of offices and studios previously occupied by WOR.  That means that Crowley and Santelli (who is now Salem New York’s national sales manager and executive assistant to the general manager) will be moving back to their original offices and even the same desks and furniture!  Amazing!

Thanksgiving Holiday, ObamaCare Criticism, Iran Nukes Deal, Immigration Legislation, CBS Gives Lara Logan LOA, and Alec Baldwin Loses MSNBC Gig Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/26).  The holiday weekend and the weather-affected travel situation; scrutiny of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the negotiations for an Iranian nuclear program deal; President Obama’s proposed immigration legislation; the leave of absence given to CBS reporter Lara Logan in connection with the “60 Minutes” Benghazi report; and Alec Baldwin’s MSNBC show gets cancelled after reports of his “homophobic” language and on-set behavioral issues were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, September 13, 2013

| September 13, 2013

hannityseanPremiere Networks and Sean Hannity Agree to Multi-Year Extension.  This contract renewal, which keeps nationally syndicated talk superstar Sean Hannity with Premiere Networks for years to come, also extends his reach.  The company states that Hannity’s program will expand to additional major market Clear Channel talk stations as well as non-Clear Channel stations in 2014.  Those details regarding station clearances will be announced at a later date.  Additionally, the program will also move from delayed status to live on some of its existing Clear Channel affiliates,premierenetworks logo “providing listeners with up-to-the-minute programming and real-time news and information.”  As part of this new deal, Sean Hannity will participate in key live events, touring and iHeartRadio Talk, the latter of which the company calls, “the first mass-market focused audio platform to offer on-demand listener-created talk content side by side with established personalities, celebrities and shows.”  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment chairman and CEO John Hogan states, “We’re really excited to be able to expand our relationship with Sean, one of the greatest talk radio talents in the country.  Sean continues to be one of the most successful radio personalities in both ratings and delivering results for advertisers, and his provocative show has seen significant growth.  His blend of intelligence, passion and integrity is what makes him such a successful broadcaster and important asset to radio.  We expect this new distribution plan to offer even more exposure and growth for The Sean Hannity Show.”  Hannity adds, “From the very first day I went on the air in 1986, and that red light went on, I have been in love with radio.  That love has grown every day since.  I am extremely appreciative and grateful for the opportunity to do what I love every day.  Premiere has been an incredibly supportive partner and a huge part of the show’s success.  I look forward to some amazing announcements to come, and the opportunity to continue a dialogue on the issues of the day with the single greatest audience in radio.”

TalkersLA2013Talkers Los Angeles 2013 Will Sell Out by End of Business Today!  The third annual installment of TALKERS magazine’s West Coast convention set for Thursday, October 10 is shaping up to be a blockbuster.  The gathering is closing in on being an advance sellout some four weeks before the event so it is advisable for media professionals interested in attending to register now!  Due to space limitations at the intimate Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood reaching maximum capacity, reservations ($149 per person) will be sold out by the end of business (5:00 pm ET) TODAY (9/13).  The conference is again being presented in association with the Los Angeles Press Club at the historic Steve Allen Theater on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm.  TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “We are very enthusiastic about the growth and positive impact of this Southern California gathering.  It started out three years ago as an experimental LA regional get-together and blossomed into an exciting companion to our big New York convention.”   The event - open only to members of the working media – will feature a power-packed day of panel discussions, keynote addresses, special presentations, technology and services exhibits by leading companies such as Comrex Corp. and Broadcasters General Store, tremendous networking opportunities and abundant food and refreshments lavishly catered by the Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Company (lunch is sponsored by Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity who will address the attendees from New York).  For registration or sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.  To see the latest agenda, click here.

wtoplogoWTOP, Washington Hosts Special Town Hall on Syria.  Hubbard Radio all-news WTOP, Washington hosted a special one-hour edition of its “Town Hall” program this morning from 10:00 am to 11:00 am during which WTOP Capitol Hill correspondent Dave McConnell and midday anchor Mark Lewis conducted a Q&A session with U.S. Reps Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Frank Wolf (R-VA) and Rob Wittman (R-VA) on the issues surrounding Syria.

baileyjasonsunOPINION: The Only Thing We Have to Fear Is…Ourselves.  Sun Broadcast Group Inc. CEO Jason Bailey states in an op-ed piece that the future of talk radio is dependent upon today’s players being bold enough to dare to be different at the same time that we defend the nature of the format in the sales arena.  Bailey, referencing the Rush Limbaugh-Sandra Fluke controversy, writes, “The hypocrisy of what a brand will run next to on television but not radio should enrage us all.  But we’re afraid to stand up.  Have you watched television lately?  Calling somebody a slut is like the new way of saying hello.  It’s not just modern day television either.  I recall in the 80s, and now in reruns, Ms. Blanche Devereaux being called much worse.  Did I miss the outrage, the boycott?  Is it happening somewhere today because the Hallmark Channel chooses to run such “outrageous content?”  No.  There isn’t one because the television industry defended itself and stood up to being bold and different.  They aren’t afraid to create (or in this case rerun) content for the people that are most important in their world, the viewers.  If they push the envelope or they get a few complaint emails, they accept, and move on.  We have not been able to move on from our darkest day because we’re afraid to be bold, break the mold, and more importantly, defend ourselves.”  Read Jason Bailey’s entire piece here.

colmesalan“Healed Planet with Alan Colmes” Debuts Sunday on Talkers Radio.  A new experimental talk show conceived and hosted by Fox News Radio personality Alan Colmes will debut on Sunday night (9/15) as an exclusive monthly feature on TalkersRadio, the new internet radio station launched on the website of this trade publication earlier this week to serve as a professional “laboratory/workout gym” for talk show hosts to test new concepts.  The program will air live every third Sunday of the month between 8:00 pm ET and 9:00 pm ET with numerous repeat airings during the period between new installments.  “Healed Planet with Alan Colmes” will be an eclectic mix of science, metaphysics, unexplained mysteries, talkersradio logorelationships, a small dose of politics and everything else rolling around the mind of Alan Colmes.  According to TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein, “It is going to be fun, fascinating, stimulating and informative for talk listeners to hear all the dimensions that make up the personality, creativity and interests one of the nicest and smartest guys in the business – beyond the paradigm of general news/talk radio and TV where – let’s face it - Alan is quite famous.  And THAT is what TalkersRadio is all about!”  TalkersRadio debuted this past Tuesday with two new live and exclusive programs, “The Robbie Student Show” hosted by noted record producer (and emerging talk talent) Rob “Robbie Student” Stevens (Monday-Friday 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET) and “The Brent and Meg Show” hosted by the husband/wife team of legendary newsman Brent Seltzer and PR veteran Meg McDonald (3:00 pm to 5:00 pm ET).  The station is being developed in layers and is expected to be featuring a full line up of creative, experimental programs within several weeks.  For more information please contact David Bernstein at david@talkers.com.

pepeanthonyYahoo! Sports Radio Picks Pepe For Mid-Mornings. WUFC, Boston general manager amd midday personality Anthony Pepe has been tapped to host 10:00 am – 12:00 noon ET duties on Yahoo! Sports Radio.  Longtime Boston Globe sports columnist Bob Ryan and Boston Herald sportswriter Ron Borges will also be featured on the daily two-hour program, which launches next Monday (9/16).  “Anthony is an exceptional host; contributions from Ryan and Borges will provide compelling insights,” comments Yahoo! Sports Radio chief executive officer David Gow.  Pepe remarks, “I am honored to host a show on Yahoo! Sports Radio and to work with guys like Ron Borges and Bob Ryan.”  Pepe and Borges have been doing a weekly boxing show on the network.

yorketvshotNew Dan Yorke TV Show Wraps First Full Week of Production.  WPRO, Providence midday talk show host Dan Yorke debuted his nightly television program – “Dan Yorke State of Mind” – on Fox Providence’s myRITV on Monday, September 9.  The nightly half-hour show airs at 7:30 and touches on the issues of the day with a special focus on Rhode Island stories.  Yorke, who’s been a fixture in local talk media since first moving to WPRO in 2000, is no stranger to local TV.  During his long stint on talk radio in the Springfield, Massachusetts market, he did a local program on WGGB-TV, Springfield that aired in late nights.  Check out the Providence Phoenix piece on Yorke and his new show here.

kirofm logoKIRO-FM, Seattle Adds Weekend Programming.  Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle announces some fall programming changes that surround its coverage of Seattle Seahawks football.  The station notes the Jason Rantz show expands to a live three-hour show on Saturdays from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm and Sundays from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm.  Rantz provides an in-depth analysis of the local and national stories that matter most to the Pacific Northwest, and offers one-on-one interviews with some of the biggest newsmakers in the region, including Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and Washington’s marriage equality author Ed Murray.  Three new shows are added to the Saturday night lineup: “Geekwire” is the preeminent technology news hub in the region, covering the people, companies and innovations emerging from the Pacific Northwest and impacting the world.  Founders and co-hosts John Cook and Todd Bishop host the show beginning at 7:00 pm; renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson hosts the first and only radio program devoted to all things space during “StarTalk.”  Tyson’s faithful media following lends himself to bridge the gap between pop culture and science with clarity, humor and passion each week with popular celebrities and special guests.  It airs from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm; and the station adds Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” to air from 10:00 pm to 4:00 am Sunday.  Program director Pete Gammell says, “We’re excited to expand live and local news as part of the new KIRO Radio weekend lineup.  Alongside live coverage of the Seahawks each weekend, our programming offers something that every Washingtonian can enjoy.”

hayworthjdOdds & Sods.  Talk show host – and former U.S. Rep. from Arizona – J.D. Hayworth sits in for Michael Savage on tonight’s Cumulus Media Networks-syndicated program from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET…..Talk media personality Jeff Katz‘s daily 60-second feature “The Katz Commentary” — which currently airs on WCAP in the Boston area and KEWI in Little Rock is now heard every day at 1:00 pm on WDBF, Delray Beach, Florida during the Dick Farrel show…..Actress Julia Louis Dreyfus sits down with Entertainment Weekly editor Jess Cagle in front of a studio audience on SiriusXM’s “Town Hall” program.  The show will be recorded on September 16 and air on September 19 at 8:00 pm ET on Entertainment Weekly Radio…..Comcast Sports Net New England is reporting that CBS Radio’s WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” will be the new home for the NBA’s Boston Celtics and the deal should be announced soon.  Entercom’s WEEI chose not to renew with the team after the two sides could not agree to a contract renewal.

markowskichrisChris Markowski ‘Money Minutes’ Feature Expanding.  Financial expert Chris Markowski’s industry profile continues to grow as the host of the weekend syndicated program “Watchdog on Wall Street” continues to garner more affiliates for his free daily feature “Money Minute.”  The program just added WJHC, Jasper, Florida “Talk 107.5.”  Markowski is a regular face on cable news/talk and business talk television in addition to his weekly radio program daily vignettes.  Stations interested in adding the daily “Money Minute” can contact Shannon Rose at info@mediaproductions.tv.

siriusxmSiriusXM and Bleacher Report Team for Sports Talk Show.  Adding the program to its SiriusXM Sports Zone channel, the satcaster is teaming with Turner Broadcasting-owned digital sports destination Bleacher Report to create “Bleacher Report Radio.”  The daily show will air from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm and be hosted by SiriusXM’s Steve Covino and Rich Davis and feature some of Bleacher Report‘s most prominent contributors, including Mike Freeman, Matt bleacherreport logoBowen, Matt Miller, Michael Schottey, Adam Kramer and Michael Felder.  SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein states, “Bleacher Report has distinguished itself as a go-to source for passionate sports fans and we’re excited to team up to deliver a new and unique brand of sports talk to our subscribers.  We are focused every day on giving our listeners access to the best sports content available, and the most in-depth access to their teams, no matter where they are across the U.S.  ‘Bleacher Report Radio’ was created with that goal in mind and will showcase many of Bleacher Report‘s best writers while giving sports fans a forum in which they can react to and discuss the day’s headline stories involving their favorite teams and players.”

thompsonburnieTALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Panama City, Florida-based Burnie Thompson show is added to the program schedule at WDVH-AM, Gainesville, Florida and WRZN, Hernando, Florida…..“Into Tomorrow with Dave Graveline” is added to the 10-station “SuperTalk Mississippi Radio Network” that covers the state…..“The Freedom Feens” hosted by Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi joins the weekend program schedule at WKRO, Cairo, Illinois…..Talk Media Network-syndicated “Frontlines of Freedom” with host Lt. Col. Denny Gillem adds KYYA, Billings and WHFB, Benton Harbor-St. Joseph, Michigan to its roster of affiliates.  The network also announces “Fat Guys at the Movies” with hosts Kevin Carr and Kristin Dreyer Kramer is added to the program schedule at WBCF-AM/FM, Florence, Alabama and WHFB, Benton Harbor-St. Joseph, Michigan.

U.S. Debate Over Syria Action Top News/Talk Story of the Week.  According to the Talkers TenTM, the debate over United States action in Syria was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of September 9-13.  Landing at #2 on the chart was Vladimir Putin’s chastising the U.S. tied with threats from Iran.  At #3 was the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and at #4 was the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  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.  To view this week’s chart, click here.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

| September 5, 2013

hennermariluMarilu Henner Show Joins Sun Broadcast Group Lineup.  Actress, healthy lifestyle champion and talk show host Marilu Henner becomes part of the Sun Broadcast Group as her daily show is added to the syndicator’s program schedule.  SBG says the entertainment- and lifestyle-oriented show is “designed as a brand-new approach to talk radio and is non-political and non-controversial.”  Henner is a seven-time New York Times bestselling author, and famously, one of 12 people in the world verified with Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory.  Sun EVP Steve Gallagher states, “The sunbroadcastgrouplogolisteners, the clients and the agencies are all saying the same thing; that talk radio needs to be reinvented.  We are excited beyond belief to be able to be working with Marilu Henner, whose boundless energy and love of life will be shared on radio, the most personal of all mediums.  She is a natural!”  Henner’s program will be fed live from its Los Angeles base from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET and, according to Sun, its format is compliant to PPM methodology.  It will consist of celebrity interviews, lifestyle and health segments, phone calls and fun benchmark segments like “Healthy Hollywood Tips,” “Marilu’s Memory Minute,” and “Backstage Pass” where Marilu’s celebrity friends pull back the curtain on show biz!  Speaking about this new venture, Henner says, “I love to share life-empowering information that inspires positive changes in people, and there’s no better way to do that than through a daily radio show.  Its impact is immediate, global, and intimate, all at once!  That’s why I’m thrilled to be part of Sun Broadcast Group.  Their philosophy — that radio should be ‘helpful, not hurtful’ – is totally in sync with the way I live my life!”

trn logoTalk Radio Network Companies Issue Official Statement on Cumulus Acquisition of Dial Global.  Radio industry watchers are aware of the pending suit filed by Talk Radio Network involving a number of the parties and people involved with Dial Global (now Westwood One and from now on referred to in this publication by that name) and few would be surprised that TRN is against the acquisition of Westwood One by Cumulus.  Today, TRN issued this official statement: “Over the past five years, Dial Global has become a monopoly.  Dial engaged in a long list of illegal and unethical behavior, including failing to pay us our share of advertising revenues generated by our programming.  We have detailed that conduct in two cases pending against Dial (and others) in federal court in Manhattan and Oregon.  Dial’s illegal conduct has continued recently, as it has refused even to pay to us our advertising revenues, which Dial collected as our ad rep.  We believe that discovery in our actions will show that Dial’s conduct was part of a deliberate strategy to acquire or destroy viable companies by interfering with revenue streams that Dial controls as a result of its monopoly power.  Dial’s history shows that all members of the industry should be concerned about, and should act to prevent, Cumulus’ proposed acquisition of Dial.  In our view, if the transaction goes forward, the combined company could dominate both the radio station platforms in the top 100 markets and the talk and news content for broadcast in those markets.  At the same time, we are concerned that Dial’s history of illegal and unethical conduct could infect Cumulus and affect the way the merged entity does business.  The threat that this merger poses is not just to us.  It is to every independent content provider, to many other members of the industry, and more generally to a vibrant marketplace of ideas on radio.  We will continue to pursue our claims against Dial vigorously, and we will take all necessary actions to oppose Cumulus’ proposed acquisition, including in our pending litigation with Dial, with appropriate governmental authorities, and in the media.  We have heard from other members of the industry with similar concerns.  Given the implications for others, we encourage all independent content providers and other affected members of the industry to rise up and express opposition in every proper forum.”

maxjaredJared Max Exits ‘ESPN New York 98.7.’  Sports radio personality and news anchor Jared Max leaves ESPN’s New York City O&O WEPN where he was co-hosting the early morning “Maxed Out” show (3:00 am to 6:00 am) alongside Robin Lundberg.  Prior to his work with ESPN, Max had served with CBS Radio at all-news WCBS, New York.  Robin Lundberg continues hosting the early morning show from 4:00 am to 6:00 am solo.  On his website, Max says, “In the past two-and-a-half years at ESPN, I have achieved seismic growth – professionally and personally…While I will greatly miss my listeners and friends who regularly called the show, I hope that our relationship will remain intact through my next venture.”

boomercartonBoomer & Carton Being Wooed by YES Network.  WFAN, New York morning drive duo Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton are currently seen hosting their radio program on the MSG Network.  But, according to a report in the New York Daily News, that could change as the YES Network is in talks to bring the duo to their platform.  The Daily News says the current deal between CBS Radio and MSG expires this month and that MSG has the right to match any offer.  Daily News columnist Bob Raissman says the only way he sees the duo leaving for the Yankees-owned YES is if it offers CBS “stupid money” for the simulcast rights.  He further opines that the three biggest attractions on MSG’s programming lineup are Knicks games, Rangers games and Boomer & Carton, so MSG would be nuts not to match any reasonable offer.  Stay tuned.

raytomDISURBING TREND: Where Are All the Radio Engineers?  Multi-lettered radio engineer Tom Ray – principle of Tom Ray Consulting – writes about what sees as a trend that bodes ill for the radio business: a dearth of qualified radio engineers.  In this piece published today, Ray states, “Because of the shortage, there are stations hiring IT people and sending them to the transmitter site.  Sure, many things at the transmitter are IT based these days.  But the output of the transmitter and the antenna system isn’t.  These people are untrained at working around high voltage and RF.  Someone is eventually going to get badly hurt or killed because they do not know how to work around high voltage and current.”  Ray enumerates the long list of duties today’s engineer is expected to handle – not to mention the wide array of technologies about which he’s expected to have expertise – and it becomes pretty clear the future of radio station facilities could be in deep doo-doo.  Read Tom Ray’s column here.

westwoodonesports logoOdds & Sods.  The 2013 NFL season begins tonight with the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens at the Denver Broncos.  WestwoodOne Sports announces its coverage of the game as well as its slate of 97 NFL games over the course of the season, including playoffs and Super Bowl XLVIII…..ESPN Radio is also airing NFL play-by-play this season on Sunday afternoons.  The network is debuting some new football programming including “Football Sunday on ESPN Radio” which airs from 1:00 pm to 7:30 pm ET hosted by Jonathan Coachman and featuring Eric Allen, Tim Hasselbeck and Tom Waddle providing analysis.

cc9-11Clear Channel Again Partners with 9/11 Day.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment was the media partner with 9/11 Day for the inaugural 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance in 2011 and will serve in that capacity again this year.  MyGoodDeed is the respected 9/11 nonprofit which annually organizes the federally recognized 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance.  Over the last three years, Clear Channel has committed over $10 million in support, the single largest media contribution by any 9/11 Day partner.  Now through September 11, Clear Channel’s 840 radio stations will air a series of on-air public service messages in support of 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance.  Listeners who want to participate can choose options including volunteering, donating to charities of their choice, or simply making a voluntary pledge to dedicate time on 9/11, or another day, to performing good deeds that help others in need.

U.S. Debates Syria Action, G-20 Summit, ‘Common Core’ Controversy, Weiner Heckler Encounter, and Bill Clinton Vegan Claim Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/4).  The testimony before Congress regarding military action against Syria; President Obama’s arrival at the G-20 Summit; controversy over the federal mandate of “Common Core” for United States public schools; Anthony Weiner’s encounter with a heckler in NYC and Bill Clinton’s alleged claim of being a vegan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, August 19, 2013

| August 19, 2013

mrc logoEight More Arbitron PPM Markets Gain Accreditation by MRC.  The Media Rating Council gives accreditation to eight more Arbitron PPM markets – making the total number of accredited markets 26.  In making the announcement, Arbitron notes that the MRC is not granting accreditation in the remaining 22 markets at this time.  The eight newly accredited markets include: Cleveland, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Denver-Boulder, Detroit, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood, Pittsburgh, Portland OR, and Nassau/Suffolk (Long arbitronIsland).  They join the 18 markets the MRC is voting to continue accreditation: Atlanta, Baltimore, Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, Chicago, Cincinnati, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Milwaukee-Racine, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Riverside-San Bernardino, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, St. Louis, and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater.  Arbitron executive vice president, service innovation and chief research officer Gregg Linder states, “MRC accreditation for our PPM markets is a company-wide priority at Arbitron, and we are pleased the MRC continues to recognize our ongoing efforts to improve Sample Performance Indicators and other quality metrics in our Portable People Meter ratings services.  Continuous improvement remains our watchword, for PPM and for all our ratings and software offerings and we are focused on earning accreditation for the balance of our PPM markets.”

theblaze logoFormer CNN Producer/Reporter Joins Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze.  Steve Krakauer – former CNN digital producer and media reporter – is named vice president of digital content for TheBlaze.  In his work at CNN, Krakauer oversaw the social and digital output of the CNN domestic U.S. television programs.  He also managed the team that ran @CNN — the network’s flagship Twitter account.  Krakauer joined CNN in November 2010 as the digital producer of “Piers Morgan Tonight.”  At TheBlaze, Krakauer will be responsible for growing the network’s presence across all digital media.  TheBlaze president and chief content officer Joel Cheatwood states, “Steve was one of the first people to truly recognize the growing relationship between digital media and traditional television and has built a remarkable track record integrating the two media.  We are excited to have Steve join TheBlaze as we continue to be at the forefront of creating a television network designed for the 21st century.”

schultzedEd Schultz Returns to Weeknights on MSNBC.  It hasn’t been quite five months since MSNBC moved “The Ed Show” from weeknights at 8:00 pm to a Saturday and Sunday 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot with Ed Schultz saying the move was for personal and professional reasons.  Now, the Hollywood Reporter writes that MSNBC president Phil Griffin asked Schultz to return to weekdays in the 5:00 pm slot replacing the first run of “Hardball with Chris Matthews.”  Matthews’ show will only air at 7:00 pm beginning August 26 when Schultz returns to weekdays.  Griffin told the publication, “Ed has proven himself no matter where we’ve put him.”

nprCEO Gary Nell to Exit NPR to Head Up National Geographic.  NPR CEO Gary Nell announces he’s leaving the public radio company after 21 months on the job.  In a letter to staff, he says, in part, “As president and CEO, supporting NPR’s success – your success – has been my highest ambition.  Working together, we have put NPR on more solid footing to continue to deliver the highest-quality journalism and programming.  We have launched innovative new platforms and made meaningful strides in attracting new audiences and new funding.  We have promoted a series of collaborations in news gathering, development, and a digital future.  And we have an exceptionally strong leadership team in place that is charting an ambitious path for our future.  We also face challenges, including the mandate to bring NPR to break-even cash operations.  We are completing a plan to focus our limited resources which support our essential services to stations and audiences.  We will present that plan to the Board soon, go over it carefully, and make it a reality.”  Nell took over the reins of NPR in December of 2011 after the high-profile departure of former CEO Vivian Schiller.  During her tenure, Juan Williams was fired after making comments on Fox News Channel admitting to feeling nervous when seeing people dressed in Muslim garb on airplanes.  Also, NPR fundraiser Ron Schiller (no relation) was recorded denigrating conservatives at a lunch meeting.

grahamkevinBoston Herald Reports Kevin Graham Will Succeed Jason Wolfe at WEEI-FM, Boston.  There is no confirmation from Entercom Boston market manager Jeff Brown about the Boston Herald’s recent report that KFNZ, Salt Lake City “1320 KFAN” program director and afternoon drive co-host Kevin Graham will take over the program director post at the station.  According to his bio on the KFNZ website, Graham was one of the key architects of KFNZ back in 1996 and has worked as programmer at KTAR-AM, Phoenix; WXYT, Detroit and other sports talk outlets.  In addition to programming KFNZ, Graham co-hosts the Gunther & Graham pm drive show with Kyle Gunther.  Longtime program director Jason Wolfe exited the station last week and the Boston media is rife with speculation about the status of the station’s air talent – especially morning duo John Dennis and Gerry CallahanCBS Radio’s crosstown WBZ-FM “The Sports Hub” has been topping WEEI-FM in recent ratings reports.  Still, the Herald also reports that Dennis and Callahan have been assured that they are not on the chopping block at this point.

talkersradio logoBrent Seltzer and Meg McDonald (“Brent & Meg”) Sign Up as Charter Members of TalkersRadio Lineup.  The married couple team of “Brent & Meg” (Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald, pictured below) join the initial lineup of the soon-to-be-launched experimental internet talk station, TalkersRadio.  They will be hosting a Monday through Friday, two-hour Los Angeles-based program titled, “The Brent & Meg Show,” that will stream live between 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm ET with possible re-streams at other times during the following 24 hours.seltzermegbrent  According to TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein, “There never has been a ‘Brent & Meg Show’ prior to TalkersRadio.  They are coming together to do this specifically because the station is designed for these kinds of experiments.  Although they’ve been married for 28 years and have been in the media business doing everything from amazing short-form features to ground-breaking public relations campaigns for years, the idea of them being on the air live as a team hosting a long-form talk show is the brainchild of Michael Harrison who has been after them to do this for over two years now since hearing them bounce off each other in the ongoing short-form feature ‘Brent Seltzer, Still at Large.’  “I am excited about the potential of this show.  We envision it to be in the tradition of the classic husband/wife chat shows of the golden era – except with its focus fully planted on a 21st century foundation.”  The short-form feature “Brent Seltzer, Still at Large” — written, produced and performed by the couple — has accrued a dedicated multi-platform cult-following on Podjockey.com and XM Satellite Radio after having broken out in 2008 as a hot commodity at KSRO, Santa Rosa.  According to the couple, “Outraged by the cable TV political bloviates, we invented ‘Brent Seltzer, Still at Large’ as a panacea to the anger and complacency that radio was becoming.  We figured that since all the extreme right wingers and extreme left wingers were only preaching to their targeted choirs, we could have an extremely good time talking about anything to everyone.  It is our intention to continue that tradition on the ‘Brent & Meg Show.’  Absolutely no politician, celebrity, corporate business practice, social custom, anything or anybody will be safe from our scathing, biting and hopefully humorous and entertaining observations.  Hey, we just wanna have fun!”

Brent Seltzer is legendary in the annals of West Coast radio having worked as a personality “rock ‘n’ roll newsman” on two of the most storied signals in rock radio history – KMET, Los Angeles and KGB, San Diego — as well as  LA’s KZLA-FM/AM, KNX-FM, and KMPC. He has also been a popular radio writer working for years at companies such as Watermark (“American Top 40”) and its founder Tom Rounds’ celebrated international company, Radio Express.

Born into a Hollywood show business family, Meg McDonald’s mother was the popular character actress Elisabeth Fraser and her father was the dancer Ray McDonald.  Although a native of Santa Monica, her parents divorced when she was very young and her Mom moved to New York to co-star with Phil Silvers in his popular comedy, “You’ll Never Get Rich,” later known as “The Phil Silvers Show.”  As her mother went to work in many classic films, TV shows and Broadway shows, Meg found herself surrounded by gifted writers including Neil Simon, Norman Lear and Gore Vidal.  Returning to LA after a few years, Meg never thought of herself as a performer, so she majored in Journalism at LACC, but chose a career in public relations where she has forged an award-winning history as founder of her own shop, McDonald Media Services.  Strikingly beautiful with a big gorgeous voice, she always wanted to be on-air but was too shy to take the shot, until she met Brent Seltzer. “The Brent & Meg” show debuts on TalkersRadio Tuesday, September 10.  For more information about TalkersRadio call 413-565-5413 or email GM David Bernstein at david@talkers.com.  TalkersRadio streaming is powered by Backbone Networks.

wowoamshowWOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne Morning Show to Begin TV Simulcast.  Federated Media’s WOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne will begin a simulcast of one hour of “Fort Wayne’s Morning News with Charly Butcher on local NBC affiliate WISE-TV “NBC33″ on September 23.  The television outlet will air the 6:00 am hour of  Butcher’s program using several high definition cameras placed in the studio and newsroom at WOWO.  Program director Ryan Wrecker says, “What we’re doing is taking a historic show in the market and advancing it to a new medium.  Finding new platforms for our product is an important part of our station strategy, and we think this is going to make a big impact not only in the market but it’s what should be expected for news/talk stations looking for ways to gain a younger audience share.”  Butcher states, “We’re excited to bring a show we work very hard on every morning to NBC33.  It’s another way for listeners to get a behind-the-scenes look at what we do and get all the information they need every morning.  I’m not excited that I might need to start wearing make-up.”  Pictured above is the WOWO-AM/FM morning show in action (Butcher at right.)

MLB LogoSiriusXM and MLB Reach Six-Year Extension.  Satcaster SiriusXM and Major League Baseball have reached an agreement to extend their relationship for another six years.  As a result, every regular season and post-season game will be available on both Sirius and XM platforms through 2016.  The deal also includes select exhibition games and Spanish-language broadcasts.  SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein states, “Baseball has been an essential part of our programming lineup and we’re very happy to extend our relationship with MLB to deliver the games to our subscribers for many years to come.  We’re especially pleased to now offer the games to SiriusXM subscribers whether they listen through Sirius radios, XM radios, the SiriusXM App or online.”

NPR Producer Teshima Walker Dies at 44.  After a two-year battle with colon cancer, NPR executive producer Teshima Walker passed away on Friday morning.  Walker had been executive producer of the Michel Martin-hosted “Tell Me More” program since 2011.  She’d been with the show in various capacities for four years prior to that.  During her career she had worked at WBEZ, Chicago and served as a producer on the Tavis Smiley program.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

| January 10, 2013

crowleyjerrySalem Communications Ups Sean O’Neil in NYC; Names Jerry Crowley VP/GM of WNYM and WMCA.  Former WOR, New York general manager Jerry Crowley joins the Salem Communications New York operations as vice president and general manager of news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” and Christian WMCA “New York’s Christian Talk.”  Sean O’Neil is promoted from GM to market manager for the NYC cluster.  Crowley, who had been with Buckley Broadcasting until late December when Clear Channel assumed control of WOR, reports to Salem Communications vice president and director of spoken word format Phil Boyce.  He states, “With Jerry’s longtime tenure running one of the nation’s leading talk radio stations, we could not have found a better match for our stations in New York.  I admired Jerry’s work across town during my 14 years programming WABC.  To get him on my new team at Salem is a huge opportunity to grow the station’s revenue and make an impact in New York radio.”

gillsteveTalk Host Steve Gill to End Radio Program.  Nashville, Tennessee-based talk host Steve Gill announces he will end his nationally syndicated talk program – including the local appearance on Clear Channel’s WLAC from which he operates – and focus his energy on his Gill Media enterprise that provides consulting and has seen him an increasing amount of public speaking.  Gill reports to TALKERS that “as part of the expansion plan under the Gill Media umbrella, his Gill Report published at www.gillreport.com will broaden its platform as the ‘go-to’ source for news and commentaries while introducing a variety of new ventures and service offerings.  The media company strives to enable its clients to better utilize both traditional and new media opportunities to communicate more effectively within various mediums.”  Speaking about leaving his talk show, Gill states, “While I have truly enjoyed my tenure at Radio America and WLAC, the commitment and restrictions associated with a daily, weekday morning show limit my ability to thrive in the areas where I can truly ‘give back’ in a more hands-on, one-on-one format.  Our time on the air has allowed us to make a difference, particularly in the political arena.  Rather than simply talking about the problems we face, I am excited to redirect our focus from radio to support clients, small businesses and individuals in a creative, results-oriented environment.”

kkoblogoKKOB, Albuquerque Notches 50th Straight Arbitron Book at #1 12-Plus.  Cumulus Media’s news/talk KKOB, Albuquerque garnered a 7.6 share in the Fall 2012 Arbitron book (Mon-Sun 6:00 am to 12:00 midnight) and hitting the top spot in the market for the 50th straight ratings period.  Operations manager Pat Frisch tells TALKERS, “When you think about it, that’s a long time – 12 ½ years at #1.  I hear it is the longest streak of any talk station in the top 70 markets.  I have been here 13 ½ years now.  And Rush and Hannity blew away the competition in middays 12-plus with an 11.2 share.”

DG-logoHorizontalBig NFL Divisional Playoff Weekend for Dial Global.  The play-by-play of this weekend’s NFL playoff games is carried exclusively on radio by Dial Global.  The schedule is as follows: on Saturday the Baltimore Ravens take on the Denver Broncos.  Kevin Kugler has the play-by-play, along with analyst Mark Malone and sideline reporter Scott Kaplan.  The action continues when the Green Bay Packers meet the San Francisco 49ers.  Kevin Harlan serves as play-by-play announcer, along with Hall of Famer Dan Fouts as analyst and Hub Arkush as sideline reporter.  On Sunday, the Seattle Seahawks go head-to-head with the Atlanta Falcons.  Dave Sims has the play-by-play, with Hall of Famer James Lofton as analyst and sideline reporter Tony Boselli.  Following the conclusion of that game, the Houston Texans face the New England Patriots.  Ian Eagle has the play-by-play, along with analyst Trent Green and sideline reporter Lewis JohnsonScott Graham hosts the pregame, halftime and postgame shows for all four broadcasts.

rodriguezmattMatt Rodriguez Named General Sales Manager at KFWB, Los Angeles.  He comes to the KFWB Asset Trust news/talk station from Amaturo Group Ltd.’s Southern California cluster where he served as general manager.  Matt Rodriguez will be in charge of the sales efforts for its news and talk programming as well as Los Angeles Clippers basketball.  General manager Valerie Blackburn says, “Putting Matt in charge of our overall sales and sports efforts is a great win for KFWB.  He has raised the bar in generating sales wherever he’s worked and is a valuable addition to our team.”

robelotjaneAward-Winning Journalist Jane Robelot Anchors WMUU, Greenville, South Carolina Morning News.  Former CBS News correspondent and anchor Jane Robelot begins her position with Salem Communications’ WMUU, Greenville, South Carolina “Conservative Talk 94.5” today (1/10).  Robelot worked for CBS News in New York from 1995 through 1999 where she co-anchored “CBS This Morning.”  While at CBS News in New York, she won two national Emmy awards for journalistic excellence, and a national Emmy nomination.  Robelot returned to her hometown of Greenville in 2006 where she and her husband, Mario DeCarvalho, created their own production company, Carolina Zoom Productions.  She is a contributing anchor and reporter for Hearst-owned NBC affiliate, WYFF-TV in Greenville.  In 2009, Jane and her team won the prestigious Peabody Award for “Chronicle: Paul’s Gift,” a documentary about organ donation.  She also co-hosts a nationally syndicated Christian radio program, “Leading The Way with Dr. Michael Youssef.”

KKSPlogoCrain Media Moves Little Rock Talk Station; Adds Full Time Sports Outlet.  Little Rock-based Crain Media announces it is moving the news/talk programming on KKSP — “Fresh Talk” — from its 93.3 FM dial position to the 96.5 position currently occupied by CHR KHTE beginning today (Thursday, January 10).  The station will add Cumulus Media’s Mike Huckabee and Dial Global’s Dennis Miller in the midday where sports talk shows currently air.  At the same time, the company is debuting a new full-time sports talk station branded “Fox Sports Radio FM93.3 Little Rock” using Fox Sports Radio Network programming as well as local shows “Game On with Wess and Michael” and Bo Mattingly’s sports talk show.  Station president Tatum Owenby says, “Our goal is to provide the Little Rock metro area with the most relevant and entertaining sports talk programming.  We are confident that Fox Sports Radio’s first-class lineup, combined with quality local content, will be a perfect fit for the sports fans in our market.”

wntb logoWNTB and WLTT, Wilmington, NC Combo Adds Local Shows.  The Wilmington, North Carolina simulcast of WNTB, Topsail Beach and WLTT, Bolivia – owned by Hometown Wilmington Media and branded as “The Big Talker 93.7 & 106.3” – announces two new local programs.  Port City Daily sports writer and local media personality Joe Catenacci will begin hosting a one-hour daily sports talk show from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm on Monday, January 14.  Also, local community leader L.S. “Bo” Dean Jr. debuts the Saturday morning “Hometown Solutions” show dedicated to featuring citizens, organizations and businesses that are agents of change in the local community focused on generating success for health and wellness, education, employment, economic development and other facets impacting quality of life in the Cape Fear region.  Program director Aimee Bowen states, “We are very excited to launch these two new programs that highlight the regional citizens and organizations working toward a better tomorrow and our incredible local sports scene.”

wxos logoWXOS, St. Louis Debuts New Weekend Programs.  Hubbard Broadcasting’s WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” announces three new weekend programs: “The Hot Corner” airs Saturdays from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm hosted by 101 ESPN’s Cardinals insider Brian Stull and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Cardinals columnist Derrick Goold will be talking all things Cardinals baseball; “MMA Hit Squad” a show dedicated to mixed martial arts/ultimate fighting starts January 19 and airs from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm on Saturdays.  It will be hosted by Jesse Finney and Chad Range; and, with the return of NHL hockey, “St. Louis Faceoff Today” begins airing Sundays from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm hosted by Fox Sports Midwest St. Louis Blues play-by-play voice John Kelly and St. Louis Post-Dispatch Blues beat reporter Jeremy Rutherford.  WXOS program director Kent Sterling states, “The next step in the growth of 101 ESPN will be in the weekends.  St. Louis is a seven-day-a-week sports town, and where there is hunger for unique content, 101ESPN will provide it.”

osgoodawardHappy Birthday, Charles Osgood!  Respected veteran Dial Global radio personality Charles Osgood, host of the popular “Osgood File” broadcasts, celebrated his 80th birthday on Tuesday. He’s pictured here posing for a photo in his newly revamped studio.  He’s holding a plaque presented by Dial Global executives and featuring a rhyme by his late father, “Early to bed, early to rise.  Work like a dog and advertise.”

Biden Gun Control Meeting/Executive Order Threat, Morgan-Jones CNN Debate, Obama Afghanistan Troop Withdrawal Proposal, and ‘All My Babies’ Mamas’ Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/9).  Vice President Joe Biden’s gun control meeting and threat of executive order to change gun laws; the contentious debate over gun laws between CNN’s Piers Morgan and talk host Alex Jones; the proposal to draw down the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and the flap over the Oxygen channel’s “All My Babies’ Mamas” program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Covering Breaking News

| August 13, 2012

How news/talk radio stations can take ownership of breaking news events

By Kevin Casey
TALKERS magazine
VP/Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — News/talk stations covering breaking news have a challenge in this era of shrinking news departments and pared-back staffs.  In order to be the place to which people turn for coverage of breaking news and then the talk about the news, stations must have a pre-planned approach and use their people creatively in order to compete for the consumer’s attention.  With the recent case of the Aurora shootings last month, stations beyond Denver woke up to a major breaking story from out of market that was the only thing people were talking about that morning.

The Rolodex of the well-run news room can help the station respond to such complex cases where gun law experts, psychology practitioners, crime experts and others are used by stations to bring local analysis to the story.  How stations prepare for and execute coverage of breaking news and the talk about that news determines how “on top of the story” a station and its talk hosts sound.

Read More

Friday, July 20, 2012

| July 20, 2012

Sports Talk King Mike Francesa Credits Colleagues at WFAN for his Success with Special Salute to Former Partner Chris Russo.  In a special statement issued to TALKERS, afternoon drive superstar Mike Francesa – named the Most Important Sports Talk Radio Host in America in the recently released “2012 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk” — expresses his gratitude to “all the people who have helped make WFAN the iconic station it has become.”  He congratulates his teammates at the station that also made the list and particularly credits his former on-air partner Chris Russo (currently at SiriusXM Satellite Radio) saying, “I wouldn’t be commanding the top spot in the Hundred without his enormous contribution to my career.”  The TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk has generated enormous mainstream press and internet chatter propelling the Big Apple mainstay into the national spotlight. Here is Francesa’s complete statement: “I commend Talkers for recognizing the importance of sports talk as a viable and efficient format in radio programming.  In this the 25th year of WFAN, there are over 600 sports talk stations across our nation.  I am honored to have been chosen by your editorial board to top the list.  It is a special distinction to be cited by professionals who understand our medium so well.  I accept this honor for all the people who have helped make WFAN the iconic station it has become and congratulate my FAN colleagues who made the list – Boomer Esiason, Craig Carton, Joe Benigno, Evan Roberts, Steve Somers, and especially my partner of almost 20 years, Chris Russo.  I wouldn’t be commanding the top spot in the Hundred without his enormous contribution to my career.  Again, I am very grateful for the honor and wish you continued success. 

All the best

Mike

2012 Marconi Award Nominees Announced; CBS Radio Sports Talk Hosts Mike Francesa and Angelo Cataldi Up for Major Market Personality of the Year.  The winners of the 2012 NAB Marconi Awards will be announced on September 20 at The Radio Show in Dallas.  This year’s nominees include sports talk radio personalities Mike Francesa of WFAN, New York and Angelo Cataldi of WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia for Major Market Personality of the Year.  Both Francesa and Cataldi were named to the 2012 TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk this week – Francesa at #1 and Cataldi at # 10.  DirecTV/Fox Sports Radio Network personality Dan Patrick is the lone sports talk figure up for Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year.  He’s up against talk hosts Neal Boortz and Dial Global’s Dennis Miller and music radio hosts Elvis Duran of Premiere Networks and Reach Media’s Tom Joyner.  Other spoken-word nominees include: KYW, Philadelphia; WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte; and WFAN, New York for Legendary StationJan Mickelson from WHO, Des Moines is the lone talker up for Medium Market Personality of the YearHubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington is nominated for Major Market Station of the Year.  News/talk WOKV-AM/FM, Jacksonville and sports talk WXYT-FM, Detroit are up for Large Market Station of the Year.  WHO, Des Moines and WTIC-AM, Hartford are nominated for Medium Market Station of the Year.  The nominees for News/Talk Station of the Year are: KCBS-AM, San Francisco; KFGO, Fargo; WBBM-AM, Chicago; WGN, Chicago; and WTOP, Washington, DC.  Nominees for Sports Station of the Year are: KTCK, Dallas; WEEI, Boston; WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia; WSCR, Chicago; and WXYT-FM, Detroit.

Glenn Beck Plans Major Expansion at TheBlaze.  The talk media superstar and digital media pioneer tells WXKS-AM, Boston morning drive host Jeff Katz during a recent appearance on his program that he intends to hire as many as 200 new staffers for TheBlaze in the coming months.  TheBlaze – the multi-media news and programming initiative of Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts – already has approximately 120 employees.  The news came within the context of an on-air conversation between Katz and Beck about the state of business in America under the Obama administration.  Beck also alluded to the ease with which he’s been able to build his business – and create jobs – since moving away from New York City to the Dallas, Texas area.

Tai Irwin Hosts Final Morning Show on Alternative Rock WFNX, Boston.  Radio personality (and faculty member at The New England Institute of Art) Tai Irwin reprising the role he played for 10 years at alternative rock WFNX, Boston today (7/20) as the station broadcasts its final day of alt-rock before Clear Channel takes control later in the day.  Irwin and other personalities were invited to do one last show and Irwin tells TALKERS WFNX “launched me into the national talk scene due to my talk show and industry convention presence where I met and befriended Gene Burns and Jerry Williams, before I eventually left to work for Kevin Straley at WRKO.  During my time there I interviewed everyone from Noam Chomsky and Jerry Brown to Mitt Romney.”  In addition to his work at the NEIA, Irwin is involved with tom Leykis’ New Normal where he’ll debut a new podcast called, “The Tai-rade” very soon.  As for what Clear Channel will do with the new FM signal, speculation runs the gamut from an FM signal for news/talk WXKS-AM to a brand new classic hits format.  We’ll know soon enough.

Washington, DC Talk Host Andy Parks Gets Multi-Media Marketing Initiative.  Washington talk radio personality Andy Parks – a long-time figure on crosstown WMAL – is heard in PM drive on Metro Radio Inc.’s WTNT as well as on WashingtonTimes.com.  The show is called “Andy Parks Live from the Washington Times” and the paper is devising a multi-media marketing ploy to create awareness of the show.  Using the line, “Online.  On the Air.  On Your Doorstep.”  The Times is promoting Parks’ show with a reference to President Obama’s controversial statement about jobs creation not belonging to builders of small businesses and employs the phrase, “Andy Begs to Differ” in bold print in an ad in the newspaper.  The Times says it plans to begin a digital initiative using the same campaign technique in the near future.

Flip to Talk for Florence, South Carolina FM; Station Nabs Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh.  Miller Communications moved its plans to flip to talk up a couple of weeks when Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh became available after crosstown WJMX-AM/FM dropped Limbaugh’s program.  WFRK-FM added Limbaugh to the schedule three days after WJMX dropped the show declaring to SCNow.com that decreased listenership, advertiser skittishness and increased costs associated with the show forced the decision.  WFRK-FM CEO Harold Miller says the station will launch as a talk outlet officially on August 1 but could only say “Kinard and Koffee in the Morning” will be part of the lineup as other deals for programming are still in the works.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Cox Media Group names Ben Reed vice president and market manager for its Atlanta station group that includes news/talk WSB-AM/FM.  He takes over for Dan Kearney who moved south to become VP/market manager for Cox Media Group Miami…..Houston talk radio personality Matt Patrick hosts the final live debate between Texas Senatorial candidates Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and former Texas State Solicitor Ted Cruz on his PM drive show on The 9-5-0 KPRC this afternoon at 3:20.  The primary election is July 31…..New England Patriots football great Gino Cappelletti announces he is retiring from his post as color man for radio broadcasts of Patriots football games – a job he’s held for the past 32 years.  Cappelletti has worked alongside Gil Santos for the past 28 years.  Comcast SportsNet is reporting WBZ-FM, Boston – 98.5 The Sports Hub – host and former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak will likely be named Santos’ partner in the booth…..Midway Broadcasting Corporation’s WVON, Chicago hosts the 2nd Annual Taste of WVON neighborhood festival tomorrow from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm at Lorraine Dixon Park in Chicago.  The event features more than 60 food and craft vendors and live entertainment…..Tribune’s WGN, Chicago has a weekend full of special broadcasts planned to celebrate the induction of Cubs legend Ron Santo into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday.  WGN’s Dave Eanet will report from Cooperstown throughout the weekend and a special Ron Santo Hall of Fame edition of Cubs Confidential will air Sunday from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm featuring broadcast clips from the Ron Santo Cubs Legend CD.  The station will also delay broadcast the induction ceremony after Sunday’s Cubs game…..ESPN Deportes brings Mexican soccer great Francisco Gabriel de Anda aboard to join the network’s team of expert analysts.  De Anda will be integrated into Futbol Picante’s table of analysts Fridays and Saturdays, and become part of ESPN Futbol Center, the program dedicated to Mexican and International soccer.

Talk Host Tom Becka Calls on Nebraska Listeners to Protest Penn State.  November 10 is the date of the Nebraska Cornhuskers vs Penn State and Fargo, North Dakota-based talk host Tom Becka is rallying his listeners who hear his show from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm on KKAR, Omaha to donate their tickets for the game to local kids who may never get the chance to see a big game.  Becka says, “I am calling on my listeners in Nebraska to donate their Penn State tickets to any children’s group or give it to some kids in the neighborhood that normally wouldn’t be able to go.  I’d love to see the stands loaded with children for any Penn State away game.  That way kids get to see a game and the fans get to protest in a civil manner the neglect of Joe Paterno and the Penn State program.”  The NCAA is currently reviewing the Penn State situation and although the “death penalty” is a possibility for the football program, it probably would not go into effect until next season.

2012 Presidential Race Remains Atop Talkers TenTM for Second Straight Week.  The various storylines relative to the November presidential election were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of July 16 – 20.  Coming in at #2 this week was the report of increased jobless claims.  At #3 was Fed chairman Ben Bernanke’s testimony before Congress about the state of the U.S. economy and at #4 was President Obama’s unveiling of the $1 billion Master Teacher Corp program.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result of ongoing research from Talkers.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View the entire chart here.

Mike & Mike on David Letterman.  ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic recently made their 9th appearance on CBS TV’s “Late Night with David Letterman” and the day was documented by Greenberg’s wife Stacey – aka Mrs. Greeny – for ESPN Front Row, where fans get a behind-the-scenes look at their favorite personalities.  Pictured here are (from l-r): Mike Greenberg, Stacey Greenberg, actress Kyra Sedgwick, and Mike Golic taken backstage.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “The Daily Wrap from The Wall Street Journal with Michael Castner” is added to the program schedule at Clear Channel’s WRDU, Raleigh and WERC-AM/FM, Birmingham…..The “Motley Fool Money” radio show featuring host Chris Hill adds affiliates WPLM, Plymouth, Massachusetts; WBNW, Concord, Massachusetts; and WESO, Southbridge, Massachusetts.

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.

Monday, June 25, 2012

| June 25, 2012

ESPN Responds to CBS Sports Radio Announcement.  Well, not specifically to last week’s announcement by CBS of its planned CBS Sports Radio network division, but it may have been a factor (wink, wink).  ESPN sends a reminder to the industry underscoring it how pervasive the sports media organization’s audio content is, signed by SVP production, business divisions Traug Keller, who states, “We’re used to competition.  ESPN Audio has built an unparalleled mix of high-quality events and national sports talk programming over the last 20 years.  We are well positioned in the marketplace through our diverse audio platforms.”  The release goes on to note it counts 700 affiliate stations in the U.S. – 300 of which it terms full-time affiliates.  It also says it reaches 24 million listeners each week.

Programming Changes at Merlin Media’s WIQI-FM, Chicago; Greg Jarrett to AM Drive.  According to Chicagoland Radio and Media, Merlin Media is making changes to the lineup at “FM News 101.1” beginning today with the arrival of Greg Jarrett in AM drive.  Jarrett, the news pro who most recently served as morning host at Tribune’s crosstown WGN, joins the morning drive program co-anchoring with Monica DeSantis.  The move bumps Rob Hart and Mary Ellen Geist to the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon shift.  The site also reports Merlin is adding some “expanded news” programming – apparently a euphemism for “talk show” – to the schedule with John Czahor beginning a 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show.  And there is still a lot of chatter in Chicago about Erich “Mancow” Muller getting an afternoon talk show on the station.  He, and others including Jeff Pinkus, Kevin Matthews and Jim Laski, have been taking turns hosting talk shows in the afternoons on the station.  But so far there is no official word about the permanent addition of any talk show to the lineup.

New York Public Radio Names NY Times Editor Jim Schachter News VP.  WNYC-FM, New York announces The New York Times associate managing editor Jim Schachter will exit the paper and become the pubcaster’s vice president of news on July 9.  He’ll be responsible for WNYC, the New Jersey Public Radio stations it recently acquired, the data news unit and the political site, It’s A Free Country.  President and CEO Laura Walker says of Schachter, “He has a vibrant vision, an appetite for innovation, and a keen understanding of engaging audiences.  This will bolster our ambitious plans to grow our news content and increase our reporting capacity across all platforms.  We’re delighted that he is joining us at a moment when the need for serious journalism has never been more urgent.”

Digital Audio Service TuneIn Adds Fox News Radio and Bloomberg to Its Stable.  The global digital audio service is quickly reaching deals with major radio and internet audio content providers and now announces it has added Fox News Radio and Bloomberg Radio to its affiliate list.  TuneIn tallies more than 20 major broadcast groups as partners and the addition of Fox News Radio means TuneIn users can hear the network’s top- and bottom-of-the-hour newscasts as well as longform talk shows “Kilmeade and Friends,” John Gibson, Tom Sullivan, Alan Colmes, “Fox Across America with Spencer Hughes” and more.  TuneIn CEO John Donham states, “We are committed to achieving the varied goals of our broadcast partners, whether they’re growing their audiences, monetizing their streams or growing their digital footprint.  Broadcasters have already responded enthusiastically to our current offerings.  We will continue to innovate – as we always have – to ensure the best experience for broadcasters, and listeners, everywhere.”

Six Leading Radio Networks Organize Network Radio Compliance Council.  Six of the top American radio networks are announcing the formation of the NRCCNetwork Radio Compliance Council – whose mission is to “establish best practices, providing advertisers, agencies and radio stations with better tools for the placement and reporting of commercial audio.”  The NRCC consists of the six RADAR-rated network organizations: American Urban Radio Networks, Crystal Media Networks, Cumulus Media Networks, Dial Global, Premiere Networks and United Stations Radio Networks.  The council elects Meg Montury of Premiere Networks as chair and Chris Buehler of Dial Global as vice chair.  In a statement, the council will host quarterly meetings with invited guests, including radio vendors, ad agencies and additional network radio companies.  Montury says, “Given the vast industry experience of members of this council, we are excited to be working together as an industry to enhance the accountability of network radio.  Technology over the past five years has enabled us all to deliver even more precision and accuracy for our clients.  The NRCC can only further solidify these efforts.”

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles is honored with two Southern California Journalism Awards for editorial excellence from the Los Angeles Press Club at yesterday’s 54th Southern California Journalism Awards dinner.  KNX won in the “News” category for its “Shutdown Occupy L.A.” piece and in the “Investigative” category for “The Strange Case of Dr. Ehab Mohamed.”…..La Crosse Radio Group flips WLFN, La Crosse, Wisconsin from standards to talk with local host Bob Schmidt in AM drive, WIBA, Madison-based Vicki McKenna in PM drive plus Dial Global’s Dennis Miller and WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish…..CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis is sponsoring a lunch and live broadcast to honor first responders and benefit the St. Louis County Police Welfare Association.  Along with local sponsors Lane House Construction and CiCi’s Pizza, the former will buy lunch for all first responders who join the event on Thursday, June 28 from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm during which the station’s Martin Kilcoyne and Trish Gazall will broadcast live and donations to the association will be accepted…..Boston jazz buffs are lamenting the imminent disappearance of WGBH-FM, Boston’s evening jazz programming as the non-com announces it will add more spoken-word content to the program schedule this summer.  There’s no official evening programming schedule announcement yet but the station has recently added expanded programming from NPR…..“Car Clinic” radio host Bobby Likis says he’s extended his collaboration with the Renewable Fuels Association on its ethanol educational outreach.  The outreach includes the “Calling All Technicians…20 Facts About Ethanol” feature on the Car Clinic Network, which is designed to enlighten, educate and energize automotive technicians with verifiable facts, studies and statistics on ethanol…..Galaxy Communications’ classic rock simulcast of WTKW-FM, Bridgeport, New York and WTKV-FM, Oswego, New York are the new central New York affiliate stations for Buffalo Bills football games this season…..Al Warren retires from his weekend morning program at Cumulus Media’s WICC, Bridgeport, Connecticut on July 1.  Warren began working with WICC in 1965.

KDOW, San Francisco Producer Wins Award for “Phil’s Gang” Promotion.  Salem Communications’ KDOW, San Francisco producer Mark Morris is recognized in the 2011 International Radio and Production Awards for his production work on the “Waltzing with Phil Grande” promotion.  The business talk-formatted station carries the nationally syndicated “Phil’s Gang” talk program hosted by Phil Grande.  Grande states, “We are proud of Mark and thankful for all his hard work for the ‘Phil’s Gang’ radio show.  This high-level award is the crème of the industry and everyone at ‘Phil’s Gang’ congratulates Mark on this leading international award honoring his excellence in broadcasting.”

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.

Read More

Monday, April 23, 2012

| April 23, 2012

Tom Leykis’ Return to Talk Draws Loyal Audience to Web-Based Content.  Off the radio for more than three years after CBS Radio blew up KLSX-FM, Los Angeles and his contract kept him from working for anyone other than CBS, Tom Leykis returned to the microphone on April 2 for an internet-delivered talk show.  The show is broadcast live at www.blowmeuptom.com at 3:00 pm PT and on a 24/7 streamed replay via major media players – Tune In, Windows Media Player, iTunes, iPhone, Shoutcast and Winamp.  Leykis says the numbers for the first week of the show were impressive: The total number of listeners from April 2 to Monday, April 9 was 401,180.  The average number of show listeners for that week in any 15 minute period totaled 1,575 and the average time spent listening by each listener was a half hour each day in the seven-day week.  “These numbers are way higher than what we’d anticipated.  We’re way farther along in our progress than I ever could have imagined.  Kind of makes you wonder what competing alternative content like this will ultimately mean for radio.”  Leykis, who will be speaking at the New Media Seminar in New York City on June 7, tells TALKERS that the combination of doing a daily show and running his own business has made him “more focused than ever” stating, “Now is the time for talk talent to think of themselves as more than employees…they must think entrepreneurially for their own survival.  The way to start is by developing a healthy relationship with your advertisers.”

Act Quickly!  Word just in from Bob Dane, event manager for this year’s annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row is that due to larger than expected demand, they expanded the number of broadcast booths.  As of 10:00 am ET this morning (Monday, April 23), Dane reports there is now one remaining, fully equipped booth in morning, midday and afternoon drive left.  And it’s first come, first serve.  This event is a must-attend-and-no-reason-not-to given that everything is turnkey and at no cost for the convenience of the participating broadcasters…and if you act fast, possibly a hotel room can be part of the package – but availability is extremely limited.  Hold Their Feet to the Fire 2012 is staged annually by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, this year, May 8-9 in Washington, DC focusing on immigration issues facing the candidates in this heated election year.  Contact Bob Dane at 202-328-7004.

Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly Close to Re-signing with Fox News Channel.  The New York Times reports it has confirmed through anonymous sources that Fox News Channel superstars Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly are ready – as early as next week – to sign contract extensions with News Corp.’s cable news/talk network that would keep them in the fold through the 2016 elections.  FNC is declining to comment on the story but the sources seem to indicate that the deals to keep the two most-watched personalities on the network in place for four more years are being cemented quickly and should be announced within the next week or so.  Sean Hannity’s national talk radio show is syndicated by Premiere Networks and Bill O’Reilly’s daily commentary is syndicated to talk radio stations across the country via Courtside Entertainment Group.

NOW Attempts to Inject Life into Anti-Rush Limbaugh Campaign.  The National Organization for Women is firing up a campaign called “Enough Rush” aimed at getting the Premiere Networks talk superstar’s show cancelled.   As these things usually do, the blowback suffered by Rush Limbaugh from his Sandra Fluke comments has all but disappeared.  But NOW – working in conjunction with the anti-conservative organization Media Matters for America – is reigniting its efforts to end Limbaugh’s program.  NOW president Terry O’Neill states, “For more than two decades, Rush Limbaugh has degraded women, people of color and anyone who doesn’t look or think like him.  Like bullies everywhere, Limbaugh uses the age-old tactic of savaging one woman for the purpose of intimidating all women away from the public square.  Rush’s hostile, hateful speech is destructive to our public discourse, our communities and our democracy.”  NOW is organizing rallies in a number of cities designed to build momentum for the campaign.  Meanwhile, PPM ratings for the month of March indicate publicity generated by the campaign against Limbaugh has actually increased his ratings in many markets.

Arbitron Drops Diary-Based Ratings in Seven Markets.  Lack of enough subscribers to make it profitable can be credited for Arbitron Inc.’s decision to eliminate the diary-based ratings in Saginaw-Bay City-Midlands, Michigan (market #139); Ann Arbor, Michigan (#155); Wilmington, North Carolina (#162); Dubuque, Iowa (#237); Columbus-Starkville-West Point, Mississippi (#261); Sebring, Florida (#276); and Mason City, Iowa (#283).

WPRO, Providence Talk Host and Former Mayor Buddy Cianci’s Daughter Dies.  The colorful two-time former mayor of Providence – and PM drive talk host at Cumulus Media’s WPRO/WEAN-FM, Providence – Buddy Cianci has lost his daughter to an apparent drug overdose.  Nicole Cianci’s death at her home in the city was reported Friday and Cianci issued the following statement, “This is a tragic and emotional time for Nicole’s mother and I.  Our entire family appreciates your thoughts, prayers and sentiments.  We ask that our family’s privacy be respected during this difficult time.”  Nicole Cianci was Buddy Cianci’s only child and the mother of his three grandchildren.

TALKERS to Publish Four-Part Series by Walter Sabo on FM Talk this Week.  Sabo Media president Walter Sabo, one of the earliest and most accomplished proponents of FM talk, has written a powerful and informative four-part series on the hot topic that will run exclusively in TALKERS this week.  In the series, one of radio programming’s most prolific visionaries delves into such areas as mistakes to avoid, finding and inspiring great hosts, methods to develop cume, topic management, the differences between AM and FM “share”  and much more.  The series begins tomorrow (Tuesday, April 24) and will run every day this week through Friday.  Sabo will be a featured speaker at the forthcoming New Media Seminar in NYC on June 7.

WFLA-FM, Tallahassee AM Drive Show’s Eggers Exits to Join Think Tank.  Eric Eggers is producer and on-air co-host of the WFLA-FM, Tallahassee’s morning drive show hosted by Preston Scott.  He announces he’s leaving the Clear Channel Media and Entertainment station and the program he’s been producing for the past seven-plus years to join the Government Accountability Institute – a non-profit think tank based in Tallahassee and founded by conservative author Peter Schweizer.  Eggers tells Tallahassee.com, “Peter wrote his last book about insider trading in Congress.  And so it’s going to be more projects along the same vein in terms of focusing on corruption, cronyism, looking at some of the ways the current federal government system is broken and failing us — not looking out for the little guy.”

Ed Tyll Begins Regular Web-Based Talk Show Tonight.  Longtime talk radio host Ed Tyll begins a new regular talk program broadcast via the internet at TalkRadioX (http://talkradiox.com/) at 8:00 pm ET.  TalkRadioX was co-founded by Dan Delgado and Antubert Johnson – two personalities who’ve made the TALKERS “Frontier Fifty” list of internet talk show hosts blazing a trail in the world of web-based programming since the list began being published three years ago.  (The 2012 “Frontier Fifty” list will be published at Talkers.com in September.)  Tyll says TalkRadioX is “a 24-hour streaming talk station that boasts an original line up of enthusiastic talkers, reminiscent of when talk radio was both fun and informative.”  Dan Delgado tells TALKERS, “Getting someone of Ed Tyll’s caliber and stature in the industry is something we at TalkRadioX had been looking to do for some time.  We’re thrilled to be getting someone with his experience on the station.  What he brings in terms of talent and energy is something that will bring all of us to the next level.”  Tyll states, “TalkRadioX represents a key moment in the history of a format that I love hosting.  It’s the perfect place for what I do on the air.  I’m convinced that my success with the Casey Anthony trial in Orlando will be eclipsed by the enormous potential of this network’s unique combination of terrestrial radio and world wide web radio listenership.”  During his career, Ed Tyll has worked at numerous major market talk stations as well has having been nationally syndicated.

The Fight for Freedom in Afghanistan.  WNDB, Daytona Beach talk show host Marc Bernier (l) is pictured here interviewing author and former Army Ranger Captain Sean Parnell (r) as the two discuss his new book Outlaw Platoon: Heroes, Renegades, Infidels and the Brotherhood of War in Afghanistan (William Morrow 2012).  The interview was conducted before a live audience at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and is the 78th such event – broadcast live on WNDB – in Bernier’s live interview series.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

| April 18, 2012

SiriusXM Bests Howard Stern in Court.  TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman reports on a New York State Supreme Court judge’s decision to throw out Howard Stern’s $300 million suit against employer SiriusXM.  Weisman notes that the judge concluded that Stern and agent Don Buchwald were paid bonuses due as the result of the Sirius and XM merger but that Stern’s contention his bonus was calculated improperly was dismissed.  Read more here.

Tom Becka Returns to Air in Omaha on NRG’s KKAR.  Talk host Tom Becka recently joined Radio Fargo-Moorhead’s new FM talk outlet KRWK-FM, Fargo – 101.9 Talk FM – where he serves as program director and morning drive host.  He retains that post but adds a two-hour PM drive talk show at NRG Media’s KKAR, Omaha airing from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Becka was heard in the market for years on Clear Channel’s crosstown KFAB until he parted ways with the station last fall.  NRG Omaha market manager Andy Ruback states, “I had a short but critical list of talent I wanted to recruit to our cluster of stations and having the legendary Tom Becka join the lineup on ‘The Mighty 1290’ truly offers our listeners localized content with an edge.  Having Tom on our team provides a perfect fit for our Mighty 1290 brand and I am confident the listeners will definitely tune in to hear Tom’s take on everything from politics, lifestyle, newsmakers and more.”  On his return to the air in Omaha, Becka says, “I’m looking forward to working very hard for two great companies doing what I love to do.  I’m having a blast building a new FM talker for Radio Fargo-Moorhead, and now NRG Media and ‘The Mighty 1290’ are giving me a chance to continue to have a strong presence in Omaha.  I have the best of all worlds.  I’m a blessed man to be able to have these two great opportunities.”

ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg Co-Hosts “Live with Kelly” Today.  ESPN Radio personality Mike Greenberg – one half of the Mike & Mike syndicated morning drive show – will co-host ABC’s “Live with Kelly” show this morning at 9:00 am ET.  Host Kelly Ripa called in to the Mike & Mike show yesterday to promote Greenberg’s appearance.  She notes actress Olivia Wilde is among today’s guests prompting Greenberg to say, “I want every girl who ignored me in high school to tune in tomorrow.”  Ripa quickly replied, “Think we’ll get a boost in ratings when every girl who was mean to you tunes in?”

New “Business for Breakfast” Morning Show Airs on Colorado Financial Talk Outlets.  Radio Colorado Network’s new “Business for Breakfast” show is the new AM drive show on Pilgrim Communications’ KRCN, Denver/Ft. Collins and KREL, Colorado Springs/Pueblo.  Hosted by Marc Mandel, Harriet Fox and Roger Cridlebaugh, the program is produced by Radio Colorado Network which promotes the program stating “the new and improved ‘Business for Breakfast’ gives listeners current market analysis, economic updates and timely interviews with featured guests.  This show is informative, educational and entertaining with the intent to best position listeners for the opening bell and start of the day.”

Palm Springs Talk Host Lee Rayburn Resigns; Announces Move “Back East.”  Until last Friday, Lee Rayburn was afternoon host at Morris Communications’ KNEWS multi-cast in the Palm Springs market.  Rayburn resigned on air at the end of his show on April 13 stating he was taking a position “back East.”  Rayburn and KNEWS have been embroiled in a controversy surrounding a civil suit for defamation, libel and invasion of privacy against Rayburn and the station by local business person Pete ChryssThe Desert Sun reports Chryss alleges Rayburn and the station made false and malicious statements about him on the radio – charges the station denies.  Chryss was providing security services for a number of city-owned buildings but those contracts were canceled in the wake of public scrutiny over Chryss’ relationship with a former city councilor.

Cumulus Media Providence Helps Raise More Than $600k for Children’s Hospital.  Last week’s Cumulus Media-sponsored, two-day radiothon for the Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence helped raise $611,312.  The Cumulus cluster – including news/talk WPRO/WEAN-FM — encouraged listeners and website visitors to donate in support of the hospital while on-air personalities interviewed dozens of patients and family members of the hospital, hoping to raise awareness of the doctors, hospital and care they provide.  WPRO/WEAN-FM program director Paul Giammarco says, “Cumulus Media Providence and our affiliated stations would like to extend our heartfelt thank you to everyone who donated to this incredible cause, you all made a difference in the lives of so many local children and families.”  Pictured here are (from l-r): Dr. Thomas Tracy; Tony Torres, 2012 Champion Child; WPRO/WEAN PM drive talk host Buddy Cianci; WPRO/WEAN-FM morning news host Tara Granahan; and Dr. Robert Klein.

2012 Presidential Race, Obama Oil Price Regulation Program, GSA Scandal and North Korea Military Ambitions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/17).  The 2012 presidential showdown between President Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney; President Obama’s program to regulate oil prices; the testimony about the Government Services Agency spending scandal; and concern over North Korea’s military ambitions were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Support for Fisher House Recognized.  ABC News Radio vice president and general manager Steve Jones (l) accepts a plaque from Fisher House vice president of community relations Cynthia Campbell (r) for ABC’s assistance to the veterans organization.  Fisher House, which provides housing to the families of military personnel being treated at military and VA hospitals, says ABC lent critical pro bono technical support to “The Gift,” Fisher House’s Christmas radio broadcast, which aired on 85 radio stations and helped generate a 30% year-to-year increase in giving during the last week of 2011.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

| April 12, 2012

Cox Media Group Goes Hot Talk in Tampa on “The Bone.”  The rock music stops on Cox Media Group’s WHPT-FM, Tampa – The Bone – on Monday, April 23 as the company builds a hot talk station around morning drive star Bubba the Love Sponge and PM drive personality Cowhead.  Cox will add the DirecTV-produced Nick DiPaolo and Artie Lange show for late nights and is considering programs for middays and early evenings.  Cox Tampa VP/market manager Keith Lawless says, “‘The Bone’ dominates the morning and afternoon drive talk shows and has room to grow in the midday and evening classic rock shows.  Evolving this station into an all-talk station is an obvious move.  Bubba plays no music and is clearly the market’s leader in mornings.  Filling in the other dayparts with compelling talk and removing all music from the already successful Cowhead show will make ‘The Bone’ dominant with men and adults all day long.”

KNBR, San Francisco Parts Company with Ralph Barbieri After 28 Years.  Ralph Barbieri – the Razor – has been a part of sports talk on KNBR, San Francisco since 1984 but he’s been let go by Cumulus Media as the result of a “management decision,” according to the San Jose Mercury News.  Barbieri’s co-host Tom Tolbert – Mr. T – continues as solo host of the PM drive show.  Barbieri wrote for Sport magazine before joining KNBR in 1984 and became one of the pillars upon which KNBR was built.  Last fall, Barbieri revealed to the San Francisco Chronicle that he’d been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2005 and that he disclosed the diagnosis to Cumulus as the two sides began negotiating a contract renewal.  Barbieri said he believed it was only fair to Cumulus.  He also reported that CEO Lew Dickey told him the company wanted him back.  Barbieri wrote to the Mercury News stating: “…All I can say is that I’m weighing my options, which are considerable.  I’ll have more to say later on.  For now, I just want to say that I’ve seen a couple of articles that have characterized this as an amicable parting.  Well, that’s not exactly the case.  I came to work (Tuesday) morning with no idea that anything of this nature was afoot, especially since my contract does not expire until November 1.  I was immediately told that the general manager wanted to see me.  I went to his office and the program director was there as well.  I was told that I was being terminated and that April 10, was to be my last day at KNBR.”

All-News WBBM Top Biller in Chicago in 2011.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports data from BIA/Kelsey that indicates all-news has been good for CBS Radio in the Windy City.  The most recent quarterly “Investing in Radio Market Report” from BIA/Kelsey ranks the top five radio billers in Chicago and ranks WBBM – with its recent FM simulcast addition – at the top with $48 million in billing in 2011 (an increase from $42.5 million in 2010).  Hubbard Broadcasting’s AC WTMX-FM is in second place followed by Tribune’s news/talk WGN in third ($35.5 million).  Univision’s Regional Mexican WOJO-FM comes in fourth and CBS Radio’s country WUSN-FM is in fifth place.

Tribune’s WGN, Chicago Jumps on Board iHeartRadio.  Stating that the new platform provides listeners with greater access to WGN, station VP/general manager Tom Langmyer announces Tribune Company’s news/talk WGN will be heard on Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio digital platform.  “This additional platform provides even greater access to WGN, and exposes new listeners to one of America’s premier personality-based talk, news and sports stations.”  Clear Channel Digital president Brian LeKamp says, “Adding a station like WGN to iHeartRadio further delivers on our mission to be wherever our listeners are with the products and services they expect, expanding our ability to offer our users an even more diverse and exciting listening experience.  As one of the top stations in Chicago, WGN features news, information, entertainment and sports and is an excellent addition to our platform.”

Jorge Sedano Leaves Post as AM Drive Host at WAXY, Miami.  South Florida sports talk host Jorge Sedano tweets to his fans that he’s left Lincoln Financial Media’s sports talk WAXY, Miami’s morning drive show:  “After four great yrs at 790 THE TICKET I’ve decided 2 move on effective immediately.  W/ all the new projects I’m working on its just too hard 2 do it all.  I want to thank all wonderful people I worked with in my time there.  Also, thank you the audience for some great radio.  Without you guys, I wouldn’t be in this great position to make this move.  I’m looking forward to the next chapter & hoping u all come along.  Thanks again for all your support.  You have no idea what it means to me. All the best. Love JORGE.”  Chatter in the sports talk world is that Sedano, who has previously worked at Fox Sports Radio Network, is developing a show to air on the new CBS Sports Network – possibly as a lead in to Jim Rome’s new show on the cable channel.  For now, Brandon Guzio is hosting the morning show at WAXY.

Salem Communications Partners with TuneIn.  Camarillo, California-based Salem Communications is the latest broadcaster to partner with internet audio company TuneIn to broadcast its stations via the web.  Salem makes its almost 100 radio properties available to listeners everywhere via the service.  Salem Radio president David Santrella says in a statement, “Through our partnership with TuneIn, we have expanded the number of access points to our content.  We have made it easier for our current listeners to access our programming from wherever they are and have opened up our broadcasts to new audiences.  Overnight we’ve expanded our footprint in digital and have gained a suite of first-of-their-kind analysis tools from TuneIn that help us further tailor programming to our listeners everywhere.”

Arbitron CFO Richard Surratt to Leave the Company.  A press release from Arbitron headquarters in Columbia, Maryland says Richard Surratt is leaving his role at the ratings giant for personal reasons and that EVP/COO Sean Creamer will take over the CFO role when Surratt’s exit takes place in May.  Meanwhile, the company has hired Crist Kolder Associates to search for a new CFO.

2012 Presidential Race, Charges Filed Against George Zimmerman, Obama Care Status, Tepid U.S. Jobs Creation and European Economic Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/11).  Mitt Romney’s apparent capturing of the GOP nomination and the 2012 presidential campaign, second degree murder charges filed against George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin, the legal status of President Obama’s Patient Accessibility and Affordable Care Act, meager job growth in the U.S. and economic tensions in the Euro zone were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Bonneville Seattle Gets Behind Fisher House Campaign.  Bonneville Seattle – which includes news/talk KIRO-FM, talk KTTH, and sports talk KIRO – is supporting a campaign to upgrade the Fisher House at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Tacoma, Washington.  The current house – which provides lodging for the families of American service personnel recovering from treatment after being wounded in the line of duty –  has been in use since 1992 and there is a need for a larger facility.  Bonneville VP/market manager Carl Gardner states, “Healing our wounded warriors and caring for their families is a mission all of us in the Pacific Northwest want to join.  At Bonneville, we’re excited to pull together our community of friends and bring this new Fisher House to life, to give something back to the soldiers and their families who have given us so much over these past ten years.”  Pictured here are Bonneville Seattle staffers and military personnel from the base.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

| April 4, 2012

Cumulus Dallas Goes into Storm Coverage Mode as Twisters Hit Metro Area.  The Dallas cluster of Cumulus Media reacted swiftly to the severe storms and tornadoes that hit the Dallas-Fort Worth area yesterday, led by news/talk sister stations WBAP and KLIF.  Operations manager Tyler Cox tells TALKERS that the stations had a great opportunity to super-serve the community.  “WBAP (820 AM/96.7 FM) and KLIF (570AM) began simulcasting continuous coverage.  Shortly after that, the remaining stations in the Cumulus cluster (sports KTCK 1310 AM, KSCS-FM, KPLX-FM and KLIF-FM) joined with us to create a six-station simulcast reaching countless numbers of listeners with life-saving information.”  Cox says all six went into non-stop, commercial-free weather coverage with the news/talk stations’ reporters and listeners providing on-the-scene information all across North Texas.  Preliminary reports indicate no fewer than 12 tornadoes formed in the region and, although there is widespread destruction, there are no fatalities confirmed at this time.

KFI, Los Angeles Adds New Weekend Shows; Adds Diversity to Lineup.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFI, Los Angeles is adding a two-hour early evening program on Saturdays hosted by Morris O’Kelly, the producer and co-host of sister progressive talk station KTLK’s “Diverse L.A.” Also, KTLK PM drive host David Cruz will host a Sunday early evening program on KFI.  In a statement, Clear Channel says the purpose of the new shows is to “discuss, dissect and investigate the important, often controversial issues of the day through the eyes of an eclectic collection of Southern California residents, urbanites and suburbanites, young and old, across race, gender and the political spectrum.”  Morris O’Kelly states, “I’ve wanted to do a show like this for a long time – to dig into what Southern Californians think and why.  Opinions are as diverse as the population and I think we’re going to shed light on issues that really matter.”

Erica Farber Replaces Jeff Haley as President and CEO of the RAB.  The board of directors of the Radio Advertising Bureau announces Erica Farber, who joined the RAB in late 2011, will replace Jeff Haley as president and CEO of the organization as Haley exits to pursue a new opportunity.  RAB board chairman and EVP Scott Herman says of the move, “Erica is an excellent selection with the relevant skills and expertise to lead the RAB.  She brings an impressive track record in radio sales and management.  In addition, Erica has a clear understanding of the organization and what the broadcast industry requires from the RAB.  She has demonstrated a strong capacity of working with multiple constituencies which is critical to the RAB role.  We thank Jeff for his guidance and leadership the past five years in helping to shape an organization that fits the radio and media landscape today.  He’s left an indelible imprint on the industry and we thank him for his service and commitment.”

Budget Mandate Forces WBSM, New Bedford to Release Talk Host Ken Pittman.  Local officials are decrying Cumulus Media’s decision to eliminate Ken Pittman’s local afternoon drive talk show on WBSM, New Bedford, Massachusetts.  The New Bedford Standard-Times reports New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell even wrote to Cumulus COO John Dickey to express how area residents are upset with the loss of local programming.  “The local programming available on WBSM, including local news, talk and sports coverage, is truly valued by the thousands of listeners the station draws from the New Bedford region,” he wrote.  Meanwhile, station programming manager Pete Braley tells the paper local management made the cut reluctantly after being mandated by corporate to trim expenses and realizing that someone had to go.  With Pittman out, mid-morning host Phil Paleologos will move to PM drive and do more news event coverage.  The station brings Salem Radio NetworksMike Gallagher in for late mornings to cover Paleologos’ slot.  That leaves the station with four hours of local programming: morning drive and a 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm program.

Management Change at Cumulus Washington, DC; Jeff Boden Exits.  President and general manager Jeff Boden has left the building at Cumulus Media’s Washington, DC station group that includes news/talk WMAL-AM/FM.  DCRTV.com’s Dave Hughes reports Sam Rogers – former CBS Radio Washington cluster chief and Cumulus VP of political and platform sales – has taken over Boden’s role at the stations.  Hughes reports that rumors have more cuts coming to the DC cluster in the near future, although it’s hard to predict which stations and what positions will be affected.

Damon “The Bulldog” Yaffe Joins WNST, Baltimore.  Nestor Aparicio-owned sports talk outlet WNST, Baltimore announces Damon “The Bulldog” Yaffe becomes part of the late-morning show on the station alongside Paul Mittermeier and Greg Marsh.  A release from the station states, “Yaffe’s crew will focus on all Baltimore sports with fun conversation, guests and lots of banter about the state of the local sporting universe including the Orioles, Ravens, Terps, and local lacrosse.”  Yaffe had previously worked at CBS Radio’s crosstown sports talker WJZ-FM.

Bankruptcy Filing Leaves Broadcasters in Financial Lurch.  The bankruptcy filing of tax resolution company TaxMasters is forcing a number of broadcasting companies – including CNN, Dial Global, Fox News Channel and others – to face the fact they will likely receive little if anything of what the company owes them.  Forbes reports that Time Warner’s CNN is owed the largest amount for ads aired on the cable news channel: $2.6 million.  Other broadcasters are also listed as unsecured creditors.  News Corp’s Fox News Channel is out $938,414; Dial Global is owed $676,000; MSNBC stands to lose $259,441; and ESPN is out $94,265.  TaxMasters and CEO Patrick Cox were hit with a $195 million verdict in Texas for violating the state’s Deceptive Trade Violations Act.  It lists assets of just $1.7 million.

Bob Visotcky Takes VP Sales Position at Cumulus Los Angeles.  Bob Visotcky moves over from his market manager post at Cumulus Media’s Oxnard-Ventura stations to the Los Angeles cluster where he’ll become vice president of sales representing news/talk KABC and classic rock KLOS-FM.

GOP Primaries/2012 Presidential Race, Supreme Court-ObamaCare Issue, Ryan Budget, Twisters Hit Dallas, and Trayvon Martin Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/3).  The ongoing GOP primary race and the greater 2012 presidential campaign, the charges President Obama is pressuring the Supreme Court in its judgment of the legality of the Patient Care and Affordability Act of 2010, Congressman Paul Ryan’s Republican House budget proposal, tornadoes sweep through the Dallas-Fort Worth area and the Trayvon Martin case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

| March 21, 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.”  See the TalkersTV video in the box on this page.

Former WCCO, Minneapolis Talk Host Don Shelby Joins BringMeTheNews.  Longtime Twin Cities TV and radio personality Don Shelby (pictured at left) begins a new position as morning drive news anchor at BringMeTheNews – the radio news network and online news site for Minnesota founded by Twin Cities news pro Rick Kupchella (pictured at right) in 2009.  Shelby, a longtime WCCO-TV newsman who retired from his midday talk show at WCCO radio in 2010, will be morning anchor for the service heard on some 30 stations around the state.  He’ll also handle original news reporting.  Shelby states, “I am so pleased that I’ll be back in the game – not just to be back in the game, but to satisfy the needs of people who, for 32 years, trusted me to tell them the truth.  I miss them and I miss the opportunity to do that.”

Sports Talk Talent Moves in San Diego; Rosenberg and Williams to XEPRS.  Josh Rosenberg and Charod Williams jump from KLSD, San Diego “Xtra Sports 1360” to crosstown (actually, cross-border) XEPRS XX 1090 for the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm shift beginning Monday, March 26.  The move pushes Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton to the 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm slot, Darren Smith to the 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm shift and John “The Coach” Kentera to the 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm show when Padres baseball is not airing.  KLSD has not announced who will replace Rosenberg and Williams in the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm shift.

Asheville, North Carolina Talk Host Matt Mittan Returns to Air in the Market.  Talk show host Matt Mittan left Clear Channel’s WWNC, Asheville five months ago.  Now, after continuing to produce his program along with co-host and producer Agnes Cheek online and self-syndicating it in various formats to a number of stations in the region, the program returns to Asheville on gospel WZGM.  More than that, Mittan and Cheek have taken operational control over the HRN Broadcasting-owned station.  Mittan tells the Asheville Citizen-Times the station will still air gospel music in the morning plus Dial Global’s Clark Howard, his program from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm and Dial Global’s Neal Boortz from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Eventually, he’d like to add more local talk to the station.

Beasley Broadcasting Names Rafe D’Amico NSM for Las Vegas Cluster.  Rafe D’Amico already serves as national sales manager for Beasley stations on Philadelphia and Wilmington, Delaware.  Now he’s named NSM for the entire Las Vegas cluster that includes news/talk KDWN.  Beasley Las Vegas director of sales Cory Cuddeback says, “I’m thrilled that Rafe is joining our Vegas team.  Rafe has an impeccable reputation along with a solid background in the industry and will be a tremendous asset for our cluster moving forward.”

Promotions at Clear Channel Toledo.  A number of staffers at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Toledo cluster are being promoted including news/talk WSPD executive producer Katie Hileman who is named assistant program director for the station.  Sports WCWA program director Tom Riggs also takes on the cluster’s digital content director responsibilities.

WLW, Cincinnati Celebrates 90th Anniversary This Week.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s venerable WLW, Cincinnati is celebrating its 90th year in operation this week.  The station was put on the air on March 23, 1922 by Powel Crosley, Jr.  In 1934 WLW would receive permission to broadcast at 500,000 watts – the only station to do so – and for the next five years earned the nickname “The Nation’s Station.”  The Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter details a very cool, quick history of WLW in his column here.

KABC, Los Angeles To Give Away New Sidewalk in “Sidewalk Insanity” Promotion.  In an affectionate nod to Los Angeles’ notoriously decrepit sidewalks, Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles is running a “bracket-like” contest in which one lucky winner gets a new sidewalk courtesy of sponsor Capital Construction.  The station says, “L.A. is world famous for having the world’s worst sidewalks – more than 4,000 miles of jagged cliffs of cracked and tree-root-raised barricades – making walking, skateboarding or wheelchair access virtually impossible.”  Contestants are encouraged to send a photo of their lousy sidewalk to AM drive host Doug McIntyre (pictured here holding a chunk of broken concrete) for their chance to enter the bracket and have listeners vote on the worst of the worst.

KOIN-TV, Portland News Anchors to Fill In on KPAM Radio.  Pamplin Media Group program director Dennis Glasgow reports KOIN-TV, Portland news anchors Jeff Gianola and Kelly Day will fill in for talk host Bob Miller on the 7:00 am to 11:00 am show today.  Glasgow states, “Not only is this going to be great radio, but this is a great example of sharing talent and resources.  We value this important and exclusive local partnership with KOIN and look forward to having Jeff and Kelly grace our airwaves, I know our listeners will feel the same way.”

Illinois Primary/2012 Presidential Race, Federal Budget Debate, Florida Youth Slaying, Iran Nuke Ambitions and Afghanistan Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/20).  The GOP primary election in Illinois and the larger 2012 presidential campaign issues, the ongoing debate over cuts to the federal budget, the controversial killing of an unarmed Florida teen, Iran’s nuclear weapons program and continuing tensions for U.S. troops in Afghanistan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

 

Monday, March 19, 2012

| March 19, 2012

KIDO, Boise Morning Host Kevin Miller Dedicates Programming to “Getting Idaho Back to Work.”  AM drive talk host Kevin Miller announces he’ll use some of the time during his talk program to help get Idahoans back to work.  He states on KIDO, Boise’s website, “I invite you to help us bring jobs to the great Gem State.  (I know it’s easier said than done.)  However, after years of record unemployment and a loss of jobs it’s time to do something.  Throughout the year we will be highlighting Treasure Valley Businesses that are succeeding and profiling listeners who are looking for work.  Our goal is to get our family, friends and neighbors back to work and inviting businesses around the world to move to our great state.”

Cumulus Media Networks Aggressively Promoting Huckabee Debut.  With three weeks until former Arkansas Governor and one-time presidential candidate Mike Huckabee begins his nationally syndicated daily talk show, Cumulus continues the drive to acquire affiliate stations with subtle jabs at Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh.  And with Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke-flap still fresh in everyone’s memory, the consumer media is paying attention.  Both Reuters and the Wall Street Journal Online published stories this weekend pointing to a Cumulus e-mail blast touting Mike Huckabee as the conservative talk show host of the future.  Cumulus COO John Dickey didn’t actually say his company is targeting Limbaugh’s affiliate stations but does tell Reuters, “Only one station in a city can offer Rush, so there are lots of other stations that are looking to put up an alternative to him regardless of whether he put his foot in his mouth…We have been growing the affiliate base on that fact alone, but recent developments with Rush have put some wind in our sails and accelerated our efforts.”  Cumulus claims to have about 140 stations ready to air Huckabee when he begins his 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET show on April 9 – about 45 of those are Cumulus-owned stations.  Former CBS Radio chief Joel Hollander is quoted by Reuters stating, “I can guarantee you that the minute Cumulus’ contract with Rush expires in New York, they will replace him with Huckabee.”  The Limbaugh contract with WABC reportedly doesn’t end until 2013 but such a prediction is not so far out.  Every syndicator in the business wants a New York affiliate so why wouldn’t Cumulus put its own product – assuming it is performing – on its own station?  Meanwhile, Premiere Networks issues this statement: “Rush Limbaugh continues to be the No. 1 talk radio host in America.  Mike Huckabee is the latest in a long line of those who have attempted to compete with Rush.  We wish him the best with his new show.”

American Public Media’s “This American Life” Retracts Popular Story.  On the January 6 episode of American Public Media’s “This American Life,” the program ran an excerpt of Mike Daisey’s one-man show titled, “The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,” in which Daisey describes workers at a Chinese Apple plant putting in long hours doing repetitive and crippling work.  The segment became a sensation – almost 890,000 downloads of that episode’s podcast – and shone the light on Apple’s Chinese operations.  The effect of the piece has caused PR problems for Apple.  But on Friday, March 16, host Ira Glass retracted the story telling listeners they can’t vouch for its truth.  The Chinese correspondent for the public radio program “Marketplace” contacted the Chinese interpreter Daisey used when he made his journey to China and the interpreter disputed much of what Daisey expresses in his show.  Daisey’s performance – doing very well at New York’s Public Theater – is getting excellent reviews.  For his part, Daisey says on his website that he stands by his work which is theater, not journalism.  In a statement, “This American Life” said when it asked Daisey for the interpreter’s contact information he, was unable to provide it.  Ira Glass states, “At that point, we should’ve killed the story.  But other things Daisey told us about Apple’s operations in China checked out, and we saw no reason to doubt him.”

Oprah’s OWN Cancels Rosie O’Donnell TV Talk Show.  The Rosie O’Donnell program will tape its final episode tomorrow (3/20) and air on March 30.  TVWeek reports the show’s ratings on the struggling network founded by Oprah Winfrey are to blame.  Deadline.com reports O’Donnell’s program started out with about 500,000 average viewers but that settled to about 200,000 for most of the show’s run.  Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva also attributes the 7:00 pm ET airtime for its failure.  Most talk shows air in the daytime or in late night and 7:00 pm is not a time people associate with a talk show.

WGN, Chicago Names Winner in Cubs Song Contest.  Tribune’s WGN, Chicago announced the winner of the contest to write an original song about the Chicago Cubs that will be played on the radio prior to Cubs play-by-play broadcasts this season.  Morning drive host Jonathon Brandmeier proclaimed “Let’s Go Cubbies” by the Chicago-area band The Fold the winner by fan choice with more than 8,000 votes on WGN’s website.  More than 300 entries were received for the contest.  The band will play the song live at the Captain Morgan Club at Wrigley Field during Brandmeier’s Opening Day broadcast.

Longtime KABC, Los Angeles Personality Bob Anderson Dies at 86.  Bob Anderson, who served as staff announcer at KABC, Los Angeles from 1961 until 2007 – passed away on March 11 after a battle with Alzheimer’s.  Anderson hosted programs including “Religion on the Line,” “Spotlight on the Community” and a talk program with future L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley.  He often subbed for Bob Arthur on the “Ken and Bob” show.”

Fisher House Foundation Creates Memorial Day Program for News/Talk Stations.  The show – “A Grateful Nation” – is hosted by Army veteran and broadcaster Bryan Suits and is billed as “a one-hour, spoken-word program honoring those who have fought and died to defend America, and the loved ones who share the burden.”  The program features compelling stories from the front lines and the home front, including the heartbreaking-yet-uplifting story of the Stanton family of Southern California, who traveled to Dover Air Force Base to receive the body of their remarkable son, who was killed in Afghanistan.  The Stantons were among the first guests at the Fisher House for Families of the Fallen, which provides grieving loved ones with shelter and comfort during a time of unimaginable pain.  Premiere Networks is distributing the show.

Friday, March 9, 2012

| March 9, 2012

Salem Communications Ends 2011 with Positive 4th Quarter.  The last three months of 2011 were good for Salem Communications as the company reports revenue is up 6.2% over the same period a year ago.  Radio revenue was up 2.8% and internet revenue rose 37.1%.  The company reports that as a result of the positive news it will begin paying a dividend of 3.5 cents per share to shareholders.

Talk Host Doc Thompson Lands at Detroit’s WXYT.  Talk show host Doc Thompson – most recently working at both WLW, Cincinnati and WRVA, Richmond – takes over the PM drive show at CBS Radio’s WXYT, Detroit beginning Monday, March 12.  Program director Rona Danziger says, “Doc is a great talent and we’re excited to have him live and local in afternoon drive talking about the issues affecting Detroit, southeast Michigan, and the rest of the country. Doc’s brand of entertaining and informative talk radio will be exactly what rush hour listeners need to get through their afternoon drive.  Todd Schnitt, one of the hottest syndicated talents in the business, will immediately follow Doc.  This is a powerful one-two punch as we grow Talk Radio 1270’s conservative brand of talk in Detroit.”  CBS created the Talk Radio 1270 news/talk outlet last fall after splitting the former AM/FM simulcast of sports WXYT-FM.  About his new gig, Doc Thompson says, “Detroit has a history of great radio and I’m very excited to be part of it.  We are living in stressful times and the news can be pretty depressing.  I offer a unique and compelling viewpoint with lots of humor and fun.”

Entercom Kansas City Names Krista Klaus Host of Midday Show on KMBZ Business Channel.  Local broadcast and business print journalist Krista Klaus is named host of the “Kansas City Power Lunch” airing from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm on Entercom’s new KMBZ Business Channel (KUDL 1660 AM) beginning April 2.  Klaus most recently served as associate editor for special projects at the Kansas City Business Journal.  She spent 15 years in the TV news business working at WFLA-TV, Tampa; KMBC-TV, Kansas City; and KCTV-TV, Kansas City.  KMBZ Brand of Stations program director Jack Landreth states,The level of business credibility cannot be matched by anyone other than Krista and her local business expertise.  Her ability to connect with our local business leaders is just another way that the ‘KMBZ Business Channel’ will successfully super-serve this niche format.”

“Mancow TV” Specials to Air on Fox News Channel This Month.  Talk Radio Network personality Erich Mancow Muller is set to tape two editions of “Mancow TV” before live studio audiences in New York on March 17 and 24, according to Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder.  The shows will be taped in the afternoon on those days and air in prime time with reruns on the 18th and 25th of March as well.  Feder reports Mancow is a bit sketchy about the content of the shows but says they will involve presidential politics.  Mancow does tell Feder they had planned to do a segment with Andrew Breitbart but must now scramble to change their plans as a result of his passing.  Mancow is excited about the shows and says,To come out of the confines of my cramped radio studio and to be on TV around the world is a terrifying prospect, but it’s also very exciting and thrilling.  Other radio hosts have made great transitions to TV on Fox.  Wouldn’t that be wonderful if that happened for me, too?”

TRN’s Phil Hendrie Plays Role in Los Angeles Animation Festival.  Talk show host, television actor and animation voice star Phil Hendrie walks the red carpet at the Los Angeles Animation Festival on Saturday, March 10 where he’ll be reunited with co-stars of Trey Parker’s and Matt Stone’s 2004 film, “Team America: World Police,” for a reunion screening of the film at the Regent Showcase Theater in Los Angeles.  Hendrie will also take part in a Q&A prior to the screening alongside fellow castmates Daran Norris and the Chiodos Brothers.  Hendrie, in addition to his nightly radio show on TRN, is working on his third episode as a recurring character on Fox TV’s hit show, “The New Girl.”

Broadcast Tower to Return to Lower Manhattan at One World Trade Center.  Developers of the soon-to-be-complete One World Trade Center – the 1,776 foot skyscraper being constructed at the site of the former Twin Towers destroyed on September 11, 2001 – say they will add broadcasting to its summit making it the region’s tallest broadcast TV/radio facility.  As part of an arrangement now being finalized with The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, The Durst Organization would oversee construction and operation of a new, state-of-the-art broadcast facility atop the tower.  The installation would offer television and FM radio broadcast capabilities.  The Durst Organization says that with a 408-foot spire reaching an ultimate height of 1,776 square feet, One World Trade Center’s broadcast center is expected to attract a number of prestigious broadcast partners, while promising to generate significant revenue for the project in return for a relatively modest capital investment.  The new venture will employ full redundant power and the One World Trade Center broadcast center would be marketed together with a broadcast tower atop 4 Times Square, also operated by The Durst Organization.  The two towers would together serve as a primary and back-up facility, creating an economy of scale for broadcast tenants.  The Durst Organization president Jody Durst states, “Broadcasting from the top of One World Trade Center is both an economic and symbolic achievement.  It’s hard to imagine a more appropriate setting for an ultra-modern broadcast facility than the pinnacle of the world’s most iconic building.  At the same time, the facility would serve as a source of ongoing revenue for the property.”  Port Authority of New York and New Jersey executive director Patrick Foye says, “This expanded use of One World Trade Center makes perfect sense.  The Durst company brings great experience and expertise in managing broadcast facilities, and their team understands the emerging dynamics in the broadcast marketplace over recent years.  With an ideal operator in place, the center would help Lower Manhattan reclaim its status as one of the city’s elite broadcast venues.”

GOP Primary/Super Tuesday Lands Atop Talkers TenTM Chart for Week of March 5-9, 2012.  The Republican primary race highlighted by this week’s Super Tuesday elections was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  Close behind at #2 was the larger 2012 presidential race.  At #3 was the Rush Limbaugh controversy and at #4 was Iran’s nuclear ambitions tied with U.S.-Israel relations.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week that is published each Friday at Talkers.com.  View the entire chart here.

Talk About a P1 Listener!  KDKA, Pittsburgh AM drive host Larry Richert (r) is pictured here with 106-year-old Lucy Treccase at her home at the Concordia Lutheran Ministries in Cabot, Pennsylvania.  During a previous visit to the facility, KDKA-TV meteorologist Dennis Bowman had discovered that Ms. Treccase had actually heard KDKA’s first broadcast of the 1920 Harding-Cox election returns on November 2 of that year.  Both Richert and Bowman interviewed Ms. Treccase for their respective stations.  Richert is seen here presenting her with a plaque commemorating the historic broadcast.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

| February 23, 2012

Hot Rumor!  Dial Global’s Thom Hartmann and Ed Schultz are cooperating to deliver a one-two punch of top progressive talk radio.  TALKERS columnist Mona Lipschitz reports her sources indicate two of the industry’s biggest progressive talk radio hosts – both syndicated by Dial Global and currently distributed live at the same time – are agreeing to be heard live back-to-back in order to give affiliates six straight hours of quality lib talk!  Read more here.

 

Non-Com WAMU-FM, Washington News Director Resigns on Principle.  Depending on whom you ask, former WAMU-FM, Washington news director Jim Asendio is either a very principled journalist or a relic of the past.  Asendio resigned from the popular public radio station as news director after learning that some of his reporters were to attend a get-together with high-profile donors and he was expected to attend as well.  Asendio tells the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple that, after learning about the “major station event” and indicating to management that he would not attend because it broke down the “firewall” between the journalistic and the business aspects of operating the station, he was told his refusal would signal he was not part of the team and that would be a problem.  Instead, Asendio chose to resign his position.  Licensee American University has no comment on the matter and Asendio says he wishes his newsroom “all the success.”

Opinion:  When it Comes to Ethnic Slurs, Just Don’t Go There.  In his latest column, TALKERS sports editor Richard Neer writes that American broadcasting standards are changing.  Anyone who is on the air or writes for broadcast has to be especially aware of and sensitive to words and phrases that can be interpreted as ethnic slurs.  As the recent cases involving sports media giant ESPN and New York Knicks star Jeremy Lin and KFI, Los Angeles’ John and Ken and the death of Whitney Houston illustrate, there are no more excuses for not “getting it.”  Read more here.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, Premiere Networks’ Delilah, Fox Sports Radio’s Deb Carson and Greater Media’s Sheri Lynch Among 2012 Gracie Award Winners.  The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation announces the 2012 national winners of the 37th Annual Gracie Awards to be presented on May 22 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles.  The Gracies recognize “exemplary programming created for women, by women and about women in all facets of media and entertainment, as well as individuals who have made contributions to the industry.  The awards program also encourages the realistic and multifaceted portrayal of women in entertainment, news, features and other programs.”  MSNBC star Rachel Maddow is being recognized in the “Outstanding Host – News/Non-Fiction” category.  Premiere Networks late-night radio host Delilah is named the winner in the “Outstanding Host – Entertainment/Information” category.  Fox Sports Radio national sports anchor Deb Carson wins for “Outstanding Reporter/Correspondent.”  Greater Media Charlotte-based talk host Sheri Lynch (of the Bob & Sheri show) wins for the Sheri Lynch Commencement Address in the “Outstanding Talk Show – Entertainment/Information” category.

Legendary Actress Hosting South Florida Talk Show.  Show biz star Jo Ann Pflug – you probably remember her from her role as Lt. Maria “Dish” Schneider in the movie M*A*S*H – hosts a weekend talk show on Seaview Radio based at WSVU, North Palm Beach, Florida.  Her unique show on this standards station targets the demo beautifully.  TALKERS columnist Mona Lipschitz writes about Ms. Pflug’s show, and the station, in her latest column here.

CKWX, Vancouver Traffic Reporter Bruce Williams Dies Unexpectedly.  Bruce Williams was a longtime traffic reporter and air personality at Rogers Media’s CKWX, Vancouver BC.  He had been treated for colon cancer in 2010 but recovered quickly and returned to work at News 1130.  Station program director Treena Wood states, “We extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to Bruce’s family at this difficult time, and our hearts and thoughts are with them.”  Vice president and general manager Geoff Poulton said, “Bruce will be remembered for his humility and as the first to lend a hand.  He was the calm voice of reason for the afternoon commute, and will be deeply missed by all the entire Rogers Radio family and his loyal listeners.”

SRN’s Dennis Prager Does Live Event in Torrance, California on Sunday.  The Salem Radio Network talk show host will appear at the James Armstrong Theater in Torrance, California on Sunday, February 26 to deliver a presentation titled, “Happiness is not a feeling: It’s a moral obligation.”  The event is produced by the Torrance Cultural Arts Foundation and sponsored locally by Toyota Motor Sales USA.  TCAF promotes Dennis Prager’s presentation stating, “One of America’s most popular speakers, Dennis Prager is truly a 21st century Renaissance Man.  He’s a syndicated columnist and radio show host, bestselling author, a classical-music conductor, even a respected authority on morality, religion and happiness.  Dennis comes to the Armstrong for another of his entertaining and enlightening speeches… reminding us that Happiness is not a feeling: It’s a moral obligation.”

GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Campaign, Syria Violence Claims Journalists, Afghanistan Protests, Iran Nuclear Ambitions, and Rising Gas Prices Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/22).  The looming Michigan and Arizona GOP primaries and last night’s Republican debate in Phoenix; the ongoing violence in Syria and the deaths of two journalists there; continuing protests in Afghanistan over the desecration of a Koran at a U.S. military base; Iran’s nuclear ambitions; and rising gas prices in the United States were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, February 13, 2012

| February 13, 2012

Stephanie Miller Riding High on Radio, Live Show and Comedy Record Success.  WYD Media Management and Dial Global syndicated progressive talk radio host Stephanie Miller rolls into 2012 surfing the wave of success she began in 2011 using her popular radio show – and social media – to help promote her “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” and the recently released comedy album of the same name that’s topping the charts.  With the help of comedian pals John Fugelsang and Hal Sparks – both of whom make weekly appearances on Miller’s Los Angeles-based radio show – the “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” has been selling out shows across the country and grossed more than $1.4 million over the last 12 months.  Miller is astounded by the success of the tour and the album.  “Last spring when we performed in Madison, Wisconsin to support the recall efforts of Governor Scott Walker we had no expectations that the show would be as well received as it was, let alone set upon a nationwide tour raising money for locally focused progressive causes,” Miller says.  The resulting comedy album, released digitally, has been hugely successful.  Miller tells TALKERS, “The ‘Stephanie Miller’s Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour’ has become the first political comedy album to reach # 1 on the comedy charts for iTunes, Amazon and Billboard, and has remained on the Billboard Comedy Album charts for six weeks since its release in late-December, 2011.  The idea of progressive comedy making such a connection to people across America must be causing some serious Republican angina…at least I hope so!”  Miller, Fugelsang and Sparks continue to hit the road with the live show stopping at the Orpheum Theatre on Phoenix on February 25 and the Chicago Theatre in Chicago on March 3.

WQAM, Miami’s Sid Rosenberg Back in the News with Alleged Gambling Debt.  The Miami Herald is reporting that WQAM, Miami PM drive sports talk host Sid Rosenberg has a gambling debt of more than $44,000 he owes to an offshore gambling operation called www.1betvegas.com.  Gossip Extra columnist Jose Lambiet quotes a man named Frank Soviero who says he works for the gambling site – based in Costa Rica – and says he’s been in Miami for two months now trying to collect the debt.  Soviero tells Lambiet, “We can’t sue Sid since what we do is illegal in the United States.  I’ve tried everything.  He comes up with 100 bucks here and there, and he gives me a big hug.  It ticks me off because I talked my boss into giving Sid a few chances.  And I’ve seen [my boss] do things when he gets mad.”  Neither Rosenberg nor WQAM have commented to the paper.  Rosenberg was off the air for six weeks prior to the holidays and there was speculation then that he was being punished by the station for trying to repay a gambling debt via plugola – something Rosenberg vehemently denied to TALKERS.  Station management also did not confirm the story to local media but only said that Rosenberg was off and would return on January 2, which he did.  When asked by TALKERS to specifically clarify why he was off the air during that time, Rosenberg did not reply.  Read the Miami Herald story here.

WLW, Cincinnati’s Bill Cunningham Gets Big Network Pickup for TV Show.  Tribune Company launched “The Bill Cunningham Show” last September on a number of its O&O TV stations.  Now, Tribune announces the show is being picked up by the CW Network and will air in the 3:00 pm ET slot beginning in September.  Tribune Broadcasting president of programming and entertainment Sean Compton – one of the few remaining former Clear Channel execs brought to Tribune by Randy Michaels – tells the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter, “Since the launch of ‘The Bill Cunningham Show’ six months ago, the show has exceeded expectations and found a strong voice in the daytime talk landscape…The renewal and expansion of the show to a national platform are a testament to Bill’s staying power.”  Kiesewetter reports that Cunnigham’s TV show is more popular in New York, Chicago, Miami and Dallas than it is in his hometown of Cincinnati.  While taping the show, Cunningham does his WLW program from studios in Manhattan.

Lou Sipolt and Heather Burnside Exit WOW-FM, Des Moines After Five Weeks.  The duo moved over to the news/talk sister station from Cumulus Media Group’s classic rock KGGO-FM in January after 13 years as a duo in morning drive there.  But after just five weeks hosting the AM drive show on 98.3 WOW (KWQW-FM), Sipolt and Burnside surprised their listeners with an 8:40 am announcement on Friday, February 10 that they were leaving local radio to pursue other interests.  Sipolt does a motorsports talk show on Fox Sports Channel.  Burnside isn’t saying what she’ll do next.

Fox Business Network Drops Three Prime Time Shows; Will Replay Early Evening Programs.  The four- and a half-year-old Fox Business Network cancels the three prime time shows airing between 8:00 pm and 11:00 pm ET – “Freedom Watch,” hosted by Andrew Napolitano; “Power & Money” with host David Asman; and “Follow the Money” with Eric Bolling – and will re-air its 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm programming.  The move puts what Fox execs consider their top personalities on in prime time: “The Willis Report” with Gerri Willis; “Cavuto” with Neil Cavuto; and “Lou Dobbs Tonight” hosted by Lou Dobbs.  David Asman co-hosts the 4:00 pm “After the Bell” program and will continue in that role while Eric Bolling remains in his role on Fox News Channel co-hosting “The Five.” Fox executive vice president Kevin Magee states, “Neil Cavuto, Lou Dobbs and Gerri Willis are the most trusted names in business news, and this new lineup affords Fox Business viewers additional access to their no-nonsense take on the day’s financial events.”

Talk Show Hosts Wow 275 at American Jewish University Panel.  Approximately 275 avid talk radio fans showed up for a two-hour panel discussion held Sunday (2/12) afternoon at American Jewish University in Bel-Air, California.  Moderated by veteran Los Angeles broadcaster Bill Moran, the panel featured Bill Handel and Bill Carroll of KFI, Los Angeles; Patt Morrison of KPCC, Los Angeles and Southern California Public Broadcasting; and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison.  The fast-paced discussion blended a spectrum of hot topics in the news – everything from health care to Israel/Iran tensions to social media to Whitney Houston – plus behind-the-scenes radio shop talk and ended with a spirited question and answer session with the audience.  This was the fifth annual installment of this panel, one of AJU’s most popular events in its outstanding speakers series.

Salem Radio Network and Radio America Reach News Service Deal.  A pact between Dallas-based Salem Radio Network and Washington-based Radio America is being struck that will make SRN News the exclusive top- and bottom-of-the-hour news service distributed by Radio America.  This move adds some 400 Radio America affiliates as potential carriers of SRN’s news product.  SRN president Greg Anderson states, “The potential of adding up to 400 Radio America affiliates to our roster of almost 1,300 current SRN News affiliates is very exciting for us.  We look forward to a great partnership with Radio America and their affiliates in the days ahead.”  Radio America COO Mike Paradiso comments, “SRN News is a great fit in our lineup of talk programs and will serve our 400-plus stations well in this election year.  We’re excited to be partnering with SRN on this venture.”

Blue Star Media Promotes Jon Patch to VP of Affiliate Sales.  Jon Patch has been with Blue Star Media Group’s Business TalkRadio Network and Lifestyle TalkRadio Network for the past 15 years serving in numerous capacities, most recently working in affiliate sales and hosting the 21 year-old talk radio show “Talkin’ Pets.”  Now, Blue Star ups Patch to vice president of affiliate sales for the organization.  Patch says, “I believe in working with our stations as partners and offering the best service possible since, by keeping them happy, it in turn keeps the hosts, listeners and all others involved satisfied and happy as well.”

Bonneville’s Arizona Sports Enters into Marketing Agreement with University of Phoenix.  Bonneville International’s Phoenix-based sports media initiative – Arizona Sports – agrees to a broadening of its relationship with University of Phoenix that includes the naming rights to the Arizona Sports studios.  Bonneville describes Arizona Sports as “a first-of-its-kind sports marketing and media super brand encompassing all of Bonneville Phoenix sports media properties including: Arizona Sports 620 KTAR-AM, Arizona Sports.com, Arizona Diamondbacks baseball, Arizona Cardinals football, Phoenix Suns basketball, Arizona State football and men’s basketball, ESPN radio, AIA and the Fiesta Bowl.”  Bonneville Phoenix VP of news and sports content Ryan Hatch says, “Bill Pepicello (University of Phoenix president) and his entire team have been a great partner of ours for many years.  We’re excited that – from “Mike and Mike in the Morning” to “Doug and Wolf on the drive home – all of our shows will now be broadcast from the University of Phoenix Studios.”

CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles Continues “On Your Corner” Series in Culver City.  The CBS Radio Los Angeles all-news outlet will broadcast live from the Culver Hotel in Culver City on Friday, March 9 as part of its series that provides an “in-depth look at Southern California’s diverse communities.”  The day’s broadcasts will include civic and business leaders, along with colorful personalities connected to Culver City’s rich history and revitalization who will be featured guests as the city marks its 95th anniversary.  Additionally, a business mixer open to the public beginning at 5:00 pm will culminate the day’s events.  A special luncheon for invited business leaders will be hosted by Frank Mottek prior to his KNX Business Hour broadcast.

KMOX, St. Louis Holds Spring Training Correspondent Contest.  In conjunction with sponsor Lindenwood University, CBS Radio’s KMOX, St. Louis is conducting a contest to give one lucky winner a spring training correspondent position alongside sports director Tom Ackerman in Jupiter, Florida.  The winner gets an all-expenses-paid trip and will perform on-air and online Spring Training reports.  The station has been holding open auditions for the past month.  Nearly 200 people auditioned and 10 finalists have been announced.  Listeners to KMOX can vote on their favorite through February 21.

 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

| January 26, 2012

WLS, Chicago Puts Local TV News Brothers Together for Weekend Show.  WLS, Chicago operations director Drew Hayes announces the debut of a new Sunday afternoon talk show co-hosted by local TV reporters Dan and Anthony Ponce.  Anthony Ponce works at NBC O&O WMAQ-TV as a general assignment reporter while Dan Ponce is a general assignment reporter at Tribune’s WGN-TV.  Dan also co-founded the nationally recognized a capella singing group Straight No Chaser.  Together they will recap the top national and local stories and give listeners a chance to grade the media.  “There’s always so much more to report beyond the time we have on TV.  This is the perfect opportunity to tell the story behind the story,” says Dan.  “We’re hoping to give listeners a peek into the world of Chicago journalism and hear their opinions about the week’s biggest stories and how they’re covered,” adds Anthony.  Drew Hayes states, “Dan and Anthony have enormous energy, contacts and hands-on experience with Chicago’s biggest news stories which they combine with an organic sense of entertainment.  More importantly, the Ponce Brothers bring an enthusiastic thirst for feedback giving WLS listeners a unique opportunity to talk back to the ‘news media.’”

CBS Radio Closes on Purchase from Family Stations Inc.  Less than a week after firing up its all-news format on WNEW-FM, Washington, DC at 99.1 (licensed to Bowie, Maryland), CBS Radio closes on the station that made the format shift possible.  CBS Radio bought WLWL-FM, Annapolis at 107.9 from Family Stations, Inc for a reported $8.5 million (CBS has not officially stated the purchase price) in November of last year.  That allowed CBS to move its Spanish “El Zol” format to the 107.9 frequency and debut the all-news WNEW-FM on the 99.1 frequency.

Carolyn Polke Promoted to SVP of Digital at Glenn Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts.  Glenn Beck’s production company, Mercury Radio Arts, announces Carolyn Polke is promoted to senior vice president of digital for the company she’s been with since 2006.  She is responsible for the continued development and marketing of GBTV, GlennBeck.com and Mercury’s other e-commerce initiatives.  Mercury president and COO Christopher Balfe says, “Mercury is leading the way in developing innovative digital platforms to connect with readers, viewers, and listeners around the globe.  Carolyn is an incredibly talented leader and I’m thrilled to have her in charge of building and managing our most important products.”  Polke works out of Mercury’s New York City headquarters.

WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange to Host Talk Show on RT Network.  He’s reviled in some quarters and hailed as a hero of transparency in others and soon Australian national Julian Assange will be talking with “iconoclasts, visionaries and power insiders” on a planned 10-program series produced and aired by the former Russia Today cable channel known as RT.  The network boasts a worldwide audience of 430 million people.  There is no announced start date for the program but Assange is currently under house arrest in Great Britain as he fights extradition to Sweden on sex crime charges.

Urban, Female-Targeted “Café Mocha” Program Inks Ads Sales Rep Agreement with Cumulus Media Networks.  The two-year-old, weekend syndicated variety program is currently heard in 20 markets across the country.  It’s co-hosted by Grammy-nominated artist MC Lyte, actress/comedienne Loni Love and broadcast pro Angelique Perrin.  The show was created and is produced by Sheila Eldridge who says, “It’s an exciting time for us as we grow our various brand extensions and answer the requests of our listeners to be everywhere and to go mobile.  Our new ‘Café Mocha To Go’ on-demand app has been a huge success, offering listeners’ uncut content, exclusive celebrity interviews, social commentary, on-demand music mixes by MC Lyte, and inspirational messages.  Our goal is to expand the on-air experience for listeners and increase our global presence!”  The show is a blend of urban music, interviews with celebrities and newsmakers, conversations and advice.  It’s produced by Miles Ahead Broadcasting.

Clarification.  Yesterday’s piece on Santita Jackson’s program at WVON, Chicago needs a bit of clarification.  According to Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder, Jackson’s late morning program has been off the station since December and she is working on developing a nationally syndicated program.  Midway Broadcasting chairman and WVON GM Melody Spann Cooper tells Feder, “Santita’s goal is to have a national platform and I need some time to get over a little [financial] slump.  When she rolls out on a national level, I will clear this market for her, let her use our studios and give her all the support I can give her.”

Gingrich-Romney Primary Battle, Obama State of the Union Aftermath and Euro Zone Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/25).  The fierce battle between Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney for votes in next week’s Florida primary, analysis of President Obama’s State of the Union Address and revived concerns about the economic stability of the Euro Zone were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

| January 25, 2012

Study: More than 22 Million Americans Tuned in to NFL Championship Games.  A study by Edison Research and commissioned by Dial Global indicates 22.9 million people tuned in to either the Patriots-Ravens AFC Championship or the Giants-49ers NFC Championship game – or both – and most did it via AM or FM radio.  The data comes from a telephone poll conducted by Edison Research on Monday, January 23.  Obviously, the result is an estimate extrapolated from a sample but as a sales tool for sports on the radio – especially the red-hot NFL – could be very effective.  It’s also good news for the affiliate department as more and more sports talk outlets – not to mention other formats that carry sports as a specialty – are being convinced by these types of studies and by PPM data that play-by-play is a high-cume programming event.  The study reported that some respondents reported listening to the games via Sirius XM or the Verizon smartphone app but it indicates the bulk of listening was done via terrestrial radio.

Santita Jackson Leaves WVON, Chicago Midday Show.  According to Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder, the eldest daughter of Jesse Jackson is leaving the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon talk show at Midway Broadcasting’s WVON after more than five years.   She became a full-time talk show host after producing TV and radio shows for her father.  This was a budget issue as WVON GM Melody Spann Cooper tells Feder, “I have encouraged her to pursue a national platform, which she desires and so deserves.  It is my hope that she will rejoin us in a more visible capacity.”

Sports Talk Host Jeff Cameron Exits WNLS, Tallahassee.  PM drive sports talk host Jeff Cameron exits his role at the Clear Channel-owned sports talk outlet to “pursue other opportunities” according to the Tallahassee Democrat.  Cameron has been with the station for the past 12 years.  CC has not commented on Cameron’s exit nor has it outlined its plans to fill his shoes at the station.

Packing ‘em in in Atlanta.  Nationally syndicated money talker Dave Ramsey took his “Total Money Makeover Live” event to the Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Georgia in the Atlanta metro on Saturday, January 21 and delivered his message to a crowd of some 8,000.  The event was in conjunction with Cox Media Group-owned affiliate WSB-AM/FM. Program director Pete Spriggs comments, “The WSB team and Atlanta saw the power of Dave Ramsey and his team. TWO sold-out events in TWO days, and thousands of listeners – and POTENTIAL listeners – who were perfectly in our target audience.  WSB is proud to have Dave Ramsey as part of our team and family!”

Passings.  Several talk and sports personalities passed away in the last few days:  Albany market talk pioneer Steve Fitz died on January 22 after a brief illness at age 84.  Fitz began his career at what was WSNY, Schenectady (currently WVKZ) and started the talk show “Party Line” in 1952.  He also worked at WGY, Albany and WQBK, Albany (currently WGDJ…..Longtime Philadelphia sportscaster Andy Musser died on January 22 at age 74 after suffering from a heart ailment.  He broadcast live coverage of numerous Philadelphia sports teams including a 26-year stint as color analyst alongside Harry Kalas for Phillies games…..Milwaukee sportscaster Jim Irwin died from kidney cancer on January 23.  Irwin covered Wisconsin sports for his entire career but is remembered most for his work as the voice of Green Bay Packers football on flagship WTMJ, Milwaukee from 1975 until 1998.

Cathy Carnegie Passes Away After Brief Illness.  The wife and business partner of radio and TV trade publisher Jim Carnegie died on January 19 while in hospice care after suffering a brain aneurysm on January 14.  She was 59.  Cathy and Jim met in 1984 while she was working for American Airlines and he was flying to Las Vegas for the NAB Show.  Less than five months later they married.  Cathy worked as vice president of the publications and helped Jim build them into what they are today.  Memorial gifts can be sent to: LifePath Hospice, 12973 North Telecom Parkway, Suite 100, Temple Terrace, FL 33637.

Romney-Gingrich Primary Battle, Obama State of the Union Speech, Paterno Funeral and Iran Nuclear Ambitions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/24).  The heated battle between Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney to capture the GOP nomination, President Obama’s State of the Union Speech, the death and funeral of Joe Paterno and Iran’s nuclear ambitions were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

| January 24, 2012

Merlin Media’s All-Newsers Making Headlines.  Although not for winning the radio news ratings wars – at least not yet.  First, from New York, Merlin Media CEO Randy Michaels is not going quietly in his hand-to-hand combat with CBS Radio.  As you recall, CBS Radio lawyers sent Merlin a cease and desist for using permutations of WINS, New York’s “Give us 22 minutes, we’ll give you the world” slogan.  Merlin’s was, “Give us 10 minutes, we’ll give you the world.”  That difference is important, according to Michaels, who responds that his station is not infringing or misleading consumers but accurately comparing WEMP-FM’s service to WINS’s.  Still, Merlin agrees to stop using the phrase saying it’s not really important to its marketing plans.  The biggie is Merlin is threatening action if CBS does not stop declaring that WINS is “New York’s One and Only News Station,” something Merlin states is “patently false” and comes under the category of a false advertising claim.  In other Merlin Media news, its Chicago operation – WIQI-FM – is quietly testing a news partnership with NBC TV O&O WMAQ-TV, according to Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder.  CBS’ WBBM-TV and WBBM-AM/FM have a working news relationship and now Michaels may have created a partnership with another of CBS’ news competitors in Chicago – namely NBC.  Feder writes that the deal could mean FM News 101.1 would use NBC 5 audio on its newscasts, FM News 101.1 reporters could appear on NBC 5 newscasts or they could share assignments and online content.  Feder reports the NBC brass is downplaying it as “very informal” as this point and “more of a test to see if we both can benefit.”  Stay tuned.

Lionel Adds New York’s FM News to His Expanding Media Footprint.  Iconoclastic talk show host and personality Lionel has been added to the programming menu at Merlin Media’s all-news outlet in New York (FM News 101.9) as the station’s resident “News Decoder” and legal analyst.  The star of LionelMedia.com appears on the air 12 times-per-day with one-minute commentaries at :32 between 5:00 am to 11:00 am and 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm.  Lionel also performs a similar role at Tribune’s New York TV outlet WPIX Channel 11 with 13 nightly news commentaries per week as well as appearances on the station’s Monday morning news program.  Tribune has begun syndicating these Lionel features to its other television stations around the country.

Michele Tafoya to End PM Drive show on WCCO, Minneapolis.  Working for CBS Radio’s WCCO, Minneapolis and doing her sports work for NBC TV has been too much for Michele Tafoya so she’s giving up the radio talk show.  CBS Minneapolis market manager Mick Anselmo tells the Minneapolis Star Tribune, “She just runs out of gas.  She’s coming out of 20 consecutive weeks of working seven days a week.  We’ve had ongoing conversations about this.  We’d hoped to find kind of a natural break.  The Super Bowl is it.”  Tafoya will work the Super Bowl for NBC and then take on the Olympics this summer.  As for WCCO, the station moves late-morning host John Williams (who does the show from WGN studios in Chicago) to the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot and John Hines takes over the late-morning shift for now.

Dial Global Partners with CBS Radio’s KMOX, St. Louis to Syndicate “Overnight America with Jon Grayson.”  The number of quality nationally syndicated overnight talk radio programs grows by one as Dial Global works out a deal with CBS Radio and KMOX, St. Louis to make “Overnight America with Jon Grayson” available nationally.  Grayson’s program has been heard on CBS’ KDKA, Pittsburgh and WCCO, Minneapolis as well.  Dial Global SVP of news/talk Amy Bolton states, “Programmers across the country know that a solid overnight show is critical to strong morning drive ratings.  Overnight America brings strong audiences to daybreak.”  The overnight daypart is getting crowded with syndicated offerings that already include Premiere Network’s “Coast to Coast AM”; Dial Global’s Jim Bohannon; Cumulus Media Network’s “Red Eye Radio”; and Genesis Communications Network’s “America Tonight” with Kate Delaney, to name a few.

Clear Channel Names Kevin Dorsey President of Traffic, Navigation and Mobility.  Kevin Dorsey has been with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment since September as SVP of national advertising platforms.  Now he’s upped to president of traffic, navigation and mobility where according to CC, he’ll “oversee the continued integration of Metro Networks with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Total Traffic Networks and will manage and further develop innovative programs including broadcast traffic reporting, online traffic mapping, custom routes and personalized mobile navigation.  His responsibilities will also include building integrated connections with ‘consumers on the go’ over the air, online and via mobile.”

Broadcaster’s Foundation of America Mourns Passing of James Delmonico.  It was James J. Delmonico who is credited with taking over the Broadcast Pioneers organization in 1991, changing its name and setting it on the course that would increase its treasury, profile and ability to assist those in need.  Delmonico passed away Saturday at age 91 in Syracuse.  BFoA chairman Philip J. Lombardo says, “Jim was a tireless leader for the organization, inspiring the appointment of many notables to the board of directors with new focus, determination, and purpose.  Jim was known for challenging his fellow board members to be supportive both financially and by encouraging others to do so.  Under his chairmanship, Jim brought new strengths to the organization in those early and important bedrock years.  He will be missed.”  The organization says that Delmonico “inherited an organization with a treasury of less than $30,000 and few grant recipients in 1991.  Through Delmonico’s leadership and inspiration, and that of his successors – Ward L. Quaal, Edward F. McLaughlin and chairman Philip J. Lombardo – the organization today has an outreach that will exceed $700,000 in grants this year.”

Gingrich Wins SC Primary, President Obama’s State of the Union Address, Iran Oil Embargo, Joe Paterno Passes Away and Super Bowl Matchup Set Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/23).  Newt Gingrich’s South Carolina victory keeps GOP primary going; President Obama prepares to deliver the State of the Union address this evening; Iran threatens to close Strait of Hormuz over EU oil embargo; Joe Paterno dies and adds a twist to the Penn State sex abuse case; plus the Super Bowl is set for a rematch between the Patriots and Giants.  These were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Southern California Radio Host LaFern Cusack and Partners Take “Broad Topics” Program to TV.  LaFern Cusack is well known in Southern California for her weekly program on ESPN O&O KSPN, Los Angeles and Radio Disney’s “Playground.”  She and co-hosts Laura Nickerson and Lauren Kelley have also been producing and hosting the internet radio show “Broad Topics” since 2008.  Now, the trio is bringing the program to local television via cable TV in Santa Monica through a partnership that has been made possible by the Commission on the Status of Women in an effort to bring the woman’s voice to current issues.  The program was the brainchild of Nickerson who says she wanted “to create a forum for honest discussion of what’s going on in the world from an actual woman’s perspective.  Aren’t we all sick of the male media voice telling us all what to think?  Besides that, my kids were sick to death of hearing me go on about social policy during ‘Sesame Street.’”  Taping of the show will begin in late March.

Doc Ties the Knot.  WLW, Cincinnati late morning talk host Doc Thompson (r) is pictured here at his wedding with his lovely bride Yuna Lee (c) and WRVA, Richmond morning host and program director Jimmy Barrett (l).  Thompson and Lee met at WRVA where Thompson still hosts the PM drive show from Cincinnati.  Yuna Lee is a news anchor at WHIO-TV, Dayton.

 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

| January 19, 2012

Genesis Communications Creates Central Florida News-Intensive Trimulcast.  Genesis Communications Multi-Media Broadcast Group is flipping WAMT, Pine Castle Sky Lake, Florida (Orlando market) from ESPN Deportes and WIXC, Titusville, Florida (on the East coast) from sports to simulcasts of the company’s news/talk WWBA, Tampa Bay as it takes on more all-news content.  The stations are picking up the TRN/Washington Times-produced “America’s Morning News” plus news blocks from TRN-owned America’s Radio News Network.  Genesis CEO Bruce Maduri states, “We intend to provide central Floridians with the ability to access all-news, traffic and weather content anywhere, across the all-important I-4 corridor from Tampa Bay through Orlando, to the Space Coast and north and south along the Eastern Seaboard.  Local, state and national coverage of the day’s breaking news is now accessible to the six million people who reside in this area of the state and up and down the east coast.”  TRN CEO Mark Masters states, “We are proud to provide a complete support system to Bruce as he delivers to Central Florida the most powerful 15 hours per day of syndicated long-form radio news rooms, along with heavy news localization for his growing news empire.  America’s Radio News Network provides a clock that not only gives nine to 10 stories and four to six audio actualities every quarter hour, but also allows for an amazing level of localization and customization so that you can go highly local or regional at the top and bottom of the hours, quarter hours, and even cut into entire segments for another layer of localization.”

CBS Radio and Merlin Media Butting Heads Over News Slogans.  CBS Radio is notifying Merlin Media of what it deems trademark infringement for Merlin’s use of phrases like, “Give us 10 minutes, we’ll give you the world,” on its all-news WEMP-FM, New York, according to Radio Ink.  The report indicates lawyers for CBS are giving Merlin until the end of the day today (1/19) to stop using the phrase (and others) stating it is “intentionally confusingly similar” to CBS’ “Give us 22 minutes, we’ll give you the world” slogan used on WINS, New York.

Consultant Bob Cohen Joins Board at Gow Broadcasting.  The company brought Bob Cohen, through his Bob Cohen Strategies consulting firm, in to assist as Gow began working with Yahoo! to transform its Sporting News Radio into Yahoo! Sports.  Now, Cohen joins Gow’s board of directors.  CEO David Gow states in the San Antonio Business Journal, “Bob played a significant role in our strategic search and eventual exciting new partnership with Yahoo! Sports Radio.  He has a depth of knowledge and experience in radio, sports radio networks and sports in general and has a track record of adding value and growth to the businesses with which he’s been involved.  He has been active in our business, as a consultant and will also continue in that role along with the board seat.”

Morning Drive Host Jon Justice Re-Ups with Journal’s KTTH-FM, Tucson. Citing his success hosting the AM drive talk show at Journal Broadcasting’s KTTH-FM – “104.1 The Truth” – VP/GM Julie Brinks announces the company has signed Jon Justice to a contract extension to continue in that role.  “This move demonstrates our renewed commitment to Jon, and to the listeners of 104.1 The Truth.  The station continues to be a venue where points of view can be expressed in Tucson.  Whether you agree or disagree, Jon will continue to stimulate the conversation for years to come!”  The station notes Justice’s program has become one of the highest-ranked shows in the Tucson market with both men 25–54 and adults 25–54.  Justice comments on his new deal, “I’m really excited to continue growing the show here in Southern Arizona, building off of the success I have had on ‘104.1 The Truth.’”

News Pro Steve Ray Named News Anchor at America’s Radio News Network.  Talk Radio Network-operated America’s Radio News Network announces news pro Steve Ray joins the company to serve as co-anchor for the network’s news blocks.  Ray has worked at such esteemed news outlets as WTOP-FM, Washington; WMAL, Washington; Westwood One; Metro Networks; and Radio Free Asia.  Ray states, “I not only believe in Mark’s vision for the quality and scope of our news content, but his forward thinking vision of delivering ARNN across multiple platforms.  At a time of great change in radio, Masters is once again in the right place at the perfect time.”

CBS Radio Ups Sarah Frazier to SVP/Market Manager in Houston.  The cluster that includes sports KILT is now being managed by Sarah Frazier who is promoted from her VP/director of sales role to senior vice president and market manager for the group.  Frazier takes over for Brian Purdy who is market manager for the Dallas cluster.  Previously he had been responsible for both the Dallas and Houston markets.

Restraining Order Issued in Dispute Among Former WCAP, Lowell Owners.  The talk station is north of Boston and since 2007 was operated by partners Clark Smidt and Sam Poulten until recently when the two agreed to part with Poulten buying out Smidt over a period of time, according to court records.  But a Middlesex County Superior Court judge has issued a restraining order against Smidt after he showed up at the station attempting to take control from the operators.  The order also forbids Smidt from destroying any of the financial records relative to the ownership and operation of the station.  According to the Valley Patriot, Smidt had been negligent in paying the station’s taxes prior to the agreement for Poulten to buy out Smidt’s share and take over operation of the station.  The FCC approved transfer of the WCAP broadcast license to Poulten on October 31.

Looming South Carolina GOP Primary, Obama Kills Oil Pipeline Permit, Wahlberg Flight 93 Flap, and Italian Cruise Ship Disaster Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/18).  The GOP race to take Saturday’s South Carolina primary, the Obama Administration’s denying of a permit for Keystone XL’s Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline, Mark Wahlberg’s controversial statement about preventing the downing of Flight 93, and the Italian cruise ship disaster were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, January 13, 2012

| January 13, 2012

Norm Pattiz’ Courtside Entertainment Names Bob Moore President.  Forty-year broadcast management pro Bob Moore rejoins Westwood One founder Norm Pattiz, this time as president of Pattiz’ Courtside Entertainment.  Moore most recently was market manager of Cumulus Media’s Los Angeles stations.  Prior to that he managed the CBS Radio Los Angeles cluster.  Pattiz says he and Moore go back a long way in the business.  “Bob Moore is a one of a kind guy.  I’ve known him since the 70s when he followed me as the sales manager of KCOP-TV in Los Angeles.  I hired him at Westwood One because I thought anybody who could sell KCOP in the 70s could sell anything.  He ran my station group in the 90s when we launched Pirate Radio in Los Angeles and bought WNEW and WYNY-FM in New York.  I have no doubt that Bob will make a huge contribution to Courtside, the radio business and platforms yet to be discovered.  They are all going to need programming.  Bob will be joining Katie Walsh and me as our executive team.”  On his new position with Courtside, Moore states, “I am extremely excited to be working with Norm Pattiz again.  Norm has been a mentor of mine for many years.  Working together at Courtside is a great opportunity to use my broadcast experience at stations and working with advertisers in a way that I find extremely appealing.”

KTLK, Los Angeles Adds Local Talk to PM Drive on Progressive Outlet.  Tapping former KNBC-TV anchor David Cruz for the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm talk show gives Clear Channel’s progressive talk outlet KTLK a high-profile Hispanic broadcaster on the staff and the ability to address Los Angeles issues in drive time.  CC Los Angeles president Greg Ashlock states, “This is a fresh new look at Southern California through the eyes of a well-known, veteran network television and radio journalist very familiar with the Latino community in the nation’s second largest market.”  Local Hispanic organizations are quick to praise the move.  Approval from two such organizations – Latino Institute for Corporate Inclusion and the Latin Business Association – is included in Clear Channel’s release announcing the move.  Cruz’ program bumps WSJRN’s “Daily Wrap with Michael Castner” from the PM drive slot.

WGN, Chicago’s Judy Pielach Adds Coordinator Duties.  Reporter/anchor Judy Pielach takes on the added responsibilities of news room coordinator in the WGN, Chicago news room.  She’ll work closely with program director Bill White on scheduling and assignments in addition to her reporting and anchoring work.

 

 

CBS Radio Promotes Two in Local Sales in Los Angeles and Chicago.  Peter Bowen has been the director of sales at CBS Radio’s Chicago cluster for the past six years.  He moves to the Los Angeles operations in the same role where he’ll work with SVP and market manager Steve Carver.  In Chicago, CBS ups all-news WBBM general sales manager Mark Day to director of sales for the entire Chicago cluster under SVP and market manager Rod Zimmerman.

Another Public Radio Station Drops Music for News and Information.  Cal State Sacramento-owned KXJZ-FM, Sacramento announces it’s dropping the daily jazz programming on the station – known as Capital Public Radio – to focus on news and info and is moving the jazz to other frequencies.  The station will still feature some music shows on the weekend but is opting for more programming from NPR such as “Talk of the Nation” and “Fresh Air” plus the local “Insight” show and programming from PRI and BBC.

Dr. Evelyn Higgins Show Adds Sunday Program.  The Main Street Radio Network-syndicated and Lifestyle TalkRadio Network-distributed Dr. Evelyn Higgins show is now producing a Sunday program.  The show airs live Saturday from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm and now will be heard on Sunday from 9:00 am to 10:00 am as well.  The program was launched nationally in November and is heard in more than 22 markets.

Michigan Radio Creates Mid-State News Bureau.  Pubcaster Michigan Radio – operating stations in Ann Arbor, Flint and West Michigan – announces the establishment of a Mid-Michigan news bureau based in Jackson and headed by Steve Carmody.  News director Vincent Duffy states, “We’ve long had daily coverage of Southeast and Western Michigan from our bureaus in Detroit and Grand Rapids, but there are many equally important stories taking place in mid-Michigan that are of interest to our audience.  Our hope is that this bureau will assist us in covering important Michigan issues and events that take place in the cities of Lansing, Jackson and Battle Creek and their surrounding communities.”

GOP Primaries/2012 Presidential Race Most-Talked-About Story on News/Talk Radio for Week of January 9-13.  Fresh off the New Hampshire Primary election with the South Carolina Primary looming, the GOP race and the larger 2012 presidential contest landed atop the Talkers TenTM chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio this week.  Coming in at #2 was the growing concern over Iran’s military ambitions and its nuclear weapons development coupled with the assassination of one of its top nuclear scientists this week.  At #3 was Iran’s sentencing a former U.S. Marine to death after accusing him of being a spy.  Coming in at #4 was the tepid U.S. economic data.  The Talkers TenTM is published every Friday at Talkers.com and is the result of ongoing research by TALKERS.  View the entire chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Compass Media Networks“Free Beer & HotWings” show featuring Gregg Daniels, Chris Michaels and Eric Zane adds KXRX-FM, Tri-Cities, Washington and WBSX-FM, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania…..The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “Daily Wrap with Michael Castner” picks up KTAR-FM, Phoenix; KHOW, Denver; and KEX, Portland…..The DIRECTV-produced and Premiere Networks-distributed “Nick & Artie” sports-centric show – hosted by comics Nick DiPaolo and Artie Lange – adds KILT, Houston; KHTK, Sacramento; KTCT, San Francisco; and WMTI-FM, New Orleans…..“America’s Healthcare Advocate” with Cary Hall adds KDKD-FM, Clinton, Missouri.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

| December 27, 2011

Radio Talk Host Lynn Samuels Dies at Age 69.  Longtime New York talk radio host Lynn Samuels passed away at her home in Queens on December 24 of apparent natural causes.  Samuels, who had been working at Sirius XM, was found by police after she failed to show up for her radio show earlier on Saturday.  There was no sign of foul play and friends tell authorities e-mails sent Friday indicate she didn’t appear troubled.  Samuels broke into commercial talk radio in the 1980s after working at Pacifica’s hard-left non-com WBAI, New York.  She hosted the Saturday 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm program at Buckley Broadcasting‘s WOR, New York for a period of time.  Then-PD John Mainelli was overhauling the programming at WABC, New York in 1988 when he brought her aboard.  He tells TALKERS she was working for nothing at WBAI when he found her, “She used to say that WBAI considered her ‘too conservative’ for them but she pulled in more money than anybody during the fund-raisers so they kept her on.  She was back-to-back with Rush Limbaugh on WABC for the first few years and their ratings grew precisely in tandem.”  Mainelli says subsequent management moved Samuels around the WABC schedule, eventually to weekends, before letting her go.  She held a daily show at Sirius XM for a number of years before being moved to the weekend.  Mainelli says that, like many other talk hosts, she cut her teeth calling in to talk shows, “In Lynn’s case, she frequently called Bob Grant and always got him so mad that he would ultimately hang up on her with his trademark, ‘Get off my phooooooooone!’  She was a grenade-armed sweetheart and steel-clad softie, incredibly mentally alert and curious about everything.  Endearingly quirky and funny as hell.  Listeners could never predict how she’d approach brand new topics, which is so unlike the knee-jerk partisan predictables of 2011.”  SiriusXM is honoring Samuels on a special edition of The Alex Bennett Program this morning (12/27), live from 7:00 am to10:00 am ET on SiriusXM Left/ch.127.  Veteran broadcaster Richard Bey, a longtime friend and colleague of Samuels, is filling as guest host of the show December 27-29 while Bennett is on vacation.  On Wednesday (12/28), they will join forces — with Bey continuing to serve as guest host and Bennett returning from vacation for one day to join him in studio — to salute Samuels’ life, ideas and legendary broadcasting career, throughout which, according to a SiriusXM spokesperson, “She spoke without a filter and with honesty, humor and passion.”

Kevin McCullough Appears on TALKERS TV.  Kevin McCullough, host of the daily nationally syndicated “Kevin McCullough Show” and co-host of the weekend “Baldwin/McCullough Show” with Stephen Baldwin, is interviewed by TALKERS managing editor Kevin Casey on TALKERS TV.  The conversation took place at the recent “It’s Time to Talk Day” radio row presented by TALKERS in conjunction with Talk Radio News Service and Liz Claiborne, Inc. to raise awareness about the widespread societal problem of domestic violence.  The seventh annual installment of this major talk media event took place in the fashion showroom at Liz Claiborne, Inc.’s Midtown Manhattan headquarters.  McCullough shows Casey and the TALKERS TV audience his fascinating array of portable remote equipment conveniently set up to allow him to communicate with his audience via several venues – radio and television – utilizing audio, video and digital elements, all operable by the host himself.  This informative must-see video can be viewed on the right side of this page.

Rumor:  Strong FM Signal Coming for WGST, Atlanta.  The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho is reporting that Clear Channel may be moving toward a new FM simulcast situation for news/talk WGST, Atlanta.  The station is currently simulcasting on a translator at 92.3 but the signal does not penetrate the northern suburbs of Atlanta.  Ho reports Clear Channel is quietly cutting the staffing at Regional Mexican “El Patron” – WBZY-FM at 105.3 – possibly with plans to move the station to a different signal and simulcast WGST on the 105.3 frequency.  Ho notes that WGST had an FM simulcast at 105.7 in the 1990s but that ended in 1999.

Clear Channel Combines Two FMs with AM in Mansfield, Ohio for WMAN-AM/FM.  Gone are classic hits FMs WXXR-FM and WSWR-FM as Clear Channel combines them with existing AM WMAN (1400) to create WMAN-AM/FM.  Market manager Bill Clark tells the Mansfield News Journal, “The motivation to make these changes is simple.  Younger radio listeners, those under 35, rarely visit the AM band.  Most were raised never having been aware that the AM band existed.  This gives us the opportunity to expose younger listeners to the spoken word format.”  In addition to Premiere Networks programs Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity, the station also airs local morning drive host Rusty Cates and the early evening sports talk show “Sports Grill” with Aaron Hines.

KQV, Pittsburgh President and GM Robert Dickey, Sr. Dies at 84.  All-news KQV, Pittsburgh was purchased by Robert Dickey, Sr. and Richard Mellon Scaife in 1982 when they formed Calvary, Inc. to operate the station they believed they were saving from extinction.  Calvary has operated the station ever since with many of the station’s employees having worked there for decades.  Dickey died at his home in Oakland, Pennsylvania on December 24 after suffering a brief illness.  Dickey started in radio at KDKA, Pittsburgh in 1954.  He worked his way up in the business and eventually became general manager of WINS, New York and earned his place as part of the management team that created the “You give us 22 minutes, we’ll give you the world” news format.  Dickey moved back to Pittsburgh in 1976 to manage Taft’s WDVE-FM and KQV.  When KQV’s all-news format appeared to be in trouble, he and Scaife formed Calvary and bought the station.

Monday, December 19, 2011

| December 19, 2011

Filling in for the Holidays.  Today marks the beginning of “holiday fill-in season” on talk radio which pretty much runs through the rest of the year.  It is the time when a significant percentage of full-time hosts working at individual radio stations (and even syndicated hosts for that matter) take all or part of their annual vacations.  This process provides fill-in hosts and part-time weekend and bench hosts with the opportunity to get out there and hopefully shine.  It also has the potential to provide listeners with fresh voices and perspectives.  And it always presents already overworked programmers with the challenge of keeping their schedules flowing and appealing.  They want someone who is professional and interesting – but they also want someone who won’t upset the applecart of stationality or listener expectations.  WGN, Chicago PD Bill White explains, “I equate a fill-in host to someone hosting a dinner party in someone else’s home.  Fill-in hosts should be respectful of the regular host’s audience but not rearrange all the furniture.  We also look for fill-in hosts who will be comfortable and compliment the regular host’s audience.”  Thus, qualified substitutes are a valuable commodity at this time of year when the demand for their services is drastically increased, especially when most stations’ air staffs have been cut back or depleted due to the economy and PDs must look for help from outside.  For example, one of the industry’s most popular substitutes, former congressman and KFYI, Phoenix talk host J.D. Hayworth is subbing for Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated host Todd Schnitt on 12/20 and 12/28.  He’ll be heard on hosting local shows on KXNT-FM, Las Vegas on 12/23 and 12/29-30; WLS, Chicago on 12/24, 28-30; WGST, Atlanta on 12/26; KOGO-AM/FM, San Diego on 12/27; and WPHT, Philadelphia on 12/28-30.  Demand for quality substitutes is so high that some hosts already doing full-time work use it as an opportunity to pick up extra income and exposure.  As if he is not already doing enough on his “regular” gigs, hard working and extremely talented Clear Channel talk host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo (KPRC, Houston; WOAI, San Antonio; KOA, Denver; and “The Weekend”) fills in for Premiere Networks syndicated star Glenn Beck on 12/20, 23, 28 and 30. This year’s holiday season coming in the thick of the big election cycle creates even more pressure to keep stations on track.  Greater Media-owned WTKK-FM, Boston PD Grace Blazer tells TALKERS, “It’s important at 96.9 FM-WTKK to provide our audience with relevant shows throughout the holiday season that are timely and topical.  Our host vacation schedules are scattered and their fill-ins are often regular participants to their shows and share similar philosophies.  Since January 2012 is a huge month for presidential politics and New Hampshire is our neighbor, I think it’s imperative to keep 96.9 Boston Talks ‘primarily’ intact and compelling.”  At Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ, Fresno, PD Skip Essick likes to avoid throwing curves to listeners, “I try and keep programming as normal as possible.  This year it will not be as much of a challenge with Christmas Eve and Day on the weekend – same thing over New Years.  But, for instance, the day after Thanksgiving – which was designated as a company holiday – I ran full staff with regular programming.  I’ll do the same for Martin Luther King Day, President’s Day, and the numerous Monday holidays throughout the year.  In a nutshell – if our listeners are at work, so are we.”  Some hosts prefer to work over the holidays and at Buckley Broadcasting’s WOR, New York, program director Scott Lakefield tells TALKERS that’s the case.  “For instance, John Gambling began a ‘tradition’ of sorts of taking his ‘holiday’ vacation in January.  He will be live 12/27-30.  Generally speaking, though, my theory is to try to do ‘best-of’ compendium shows during vacation times, with the exception of drive-time when information is a bigger component and it is thus necessary to be live.  Guest hosts in my experience drive far more listeners away than hearing some ‘classic’ moments from their favorite hosts does.”  In the sports talk radio world this situation can be particularly compelling since so many outlets have a high percentage of local full-time hosts and thus more slots to fill.  Plus, opinions and personality categories in sports talk are often more idiosyncratic than general news/talk, making it more challenging to find the proper fit.  CBS-owned Sports Radio 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh PD Terry Foxx tells TALKERS, “Holiday fill-in for us is very important.  I match up our part-time hosts based on how I feel they will entertain and incite opinions from our fans in certain day parts.”  Some stations have fill-in hosts with a history at the station such as veteran TV/radio personality Wayne Powers who subs for Keith Larson on WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte 12/26-30…  and the list goes on.  J.D. Hayworth, who is looking to get back into the business on a regular basis as either a local or syndicated host, tells TALKERS, “As a genuine ‘broadcasting baby boomer,’ I remember the ubiquitous Robert Q. Lewis on TV game shows: most frequently, a panelist…but quite frequently, a guest host…and eventually a regular host!  So, I’m being ‘Lewis-like’ over the holidays!  During my years at N.C. State, the joke was Lou Holtz recruited me at right tackle, but I ended up ‘left out!’  So…I’m used to waiting on the the bench, but very happy to get loads of holiday airtime. I’m certain these appearances will help me leave the bench and get back in the game full time!”

John Thompson Ends Regular Talk Show at WTEM, Washington.  The iconic former Georgetown University basketball coach and talk host in the DC market since 1999 will step away from his regular show on Red Zebra’s WTEM in February to pursue other interests.  Red Zebra director of programming Chuck Sapienza says, “While a sad day for the station, we fully support Coach Thompson’s decision to move on to other projects.  As Coach and I discussed at the time of his decision, this is not a retirement.  His fans will still hear Coach Thompson on ESPN980 from time to time.  Thompson’s program airs from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm daily with co-host Doc Walker.  Sapienza doesn’t state what the station’s plans are after Thompson steps down.

Chattanooga’s Brewer Media to Drop News/Talk on WPLZ-FM Citing Expense of the Format.  It’s been three years since the locally owned Brewer Media put a news/talk format on WPLZ-FM, Chattanooga.  Owner Jim Brewer II tells the Chattanooga Times Free Press he would have needed more staff to be competitive in the market.  “I think we offered a good product and I will miss having news/talk in our building…being a small, single market cluster, it’s exceedingly difficult to compete against national broadcasting companies who have so much syndicated programming and infrastructure.”  The station will flip to an unspecified music format in the new year and will lay off talk hosts Robert T. Nash and David Karnes as well as PD Gary Poole, news director Louis Lee and a couple other employees.  Brewer Media owns three other FMs in the market including sports talk WALV – ESPN 105.1.

Birach Broadcasting Flips WWCS, Pittsburgh to Sports; Affiliates with Fox Sports Radio.  Birach Broadcasting has been airing a Spanish music format on the signal but flips to sports on January 1 as Fox Sports 540.  It’ll take most of the Fox Sports Radio Network-distributed lineup – Zakk & Jack, the Dan Patrick show, “Loose Cannons,” Petros & Money, “Fox Sports Tonight” and JT the Brick plus Premiere NetworksJim Rome.  FSRN vice president and general manager Don Martin states, “After a short hiatus, Fox Sports Radio is thrilled to be heard again in the great city of Pittsburgh!”  The network was previously affiliated with Clear Channel’s WBGG.  In addition to CC’s WBGG, CBS Radio operates sports KDKA-FM in the market.

Dr. Jenn Berman to Host New VH1 Program “Couples Therapy.”  Los Angeles-based psychotherapist and host of the Sirius XM talk show, “The Love and Sex Show with Dr. Jenn,” is the host of a new cable TV show produced by Irwin Entertainment, the producers of “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.”  The program will follow the travails of five celebrity couples and they go through therapy with Dr. Jenn Berman.  Shows hit the air in the spring.  Dr. Berman tells TALKERS magazine, “It’s such a pleasure to be a part of this exciting venture on VH1.  I’m looking forward to being that connecting link between viewers and the process of examining the challenges of a celebrity relationship.  I think people will be very surprised by how much they identify with these celebs and their personal struggles.”  Couples taking part in the program are: DMX (Rapper) & Tashera Simmons, Linda Hogan (“Hogan Knows Best”) & Charlie Hill, Chris Nirschel (“The Next Food Network Star”) & Angelina Pivarnick (“Jersey Shore”), Kasey Kahl (“Bachelorette”) & Vienna Girardi (“The Bachelor”) and Reichen Lehmkuhl & Rodiney Santiago (“The A-List: New York”).

Michigan Talk Host Michael Patrick Shiels Named to State Travel Commission.  Michigan Governor Rick Snyder announces WJIM, Lansing-based talk host Michael Patrick Shiels – heard throughout the state via the Michigan Talk Network – will serve on the Michigan Travel Commission.  “One of the key components to building a better and stronger Michigan is to continuously promote all the attractions our state has to offer, including our beautiful lakes and great landmarks.  Michael Patrick Shiels is a great addition and uniquely positioned to be a great asset to the commission.”  In addition to his radio work, Shiels is a travel writer and founder of TravelTattler.com.  Subject to approval by the Michigan Senate, Shiels will serve the remainder of Jim Berryman’s term through September 2014. Berryman recently resigned.

Ira Weintraub Takes PD Role at WTKA, Ann Arbor.  Cumulus Media Ann Arbor names APD and morning show producer Ira Weintraub program director for sports talk outlet WTKA – The Ticket 1050.  Market manager Matt Spaulding says, “Ann Arbor is a market with a tradition of providing compelling, passionate and relevant broadcast products to the listeners of southeast Michigan.  Ira Weintraub has absolutely earned this promotion and we are confident that he will help lead WTKA to many more years of broadcasting success.”

WGN, Chicago’s Milt Rosenberg Hosts 2011 Retrospective Tonight.  “Extension 720” host Milt Rosenberg hosts a special edition of his program this evening (12/19) titled, “WGN Year in Review” with fellow WGN personalities Garry Meier, John Williams and David Kaplan.  The hosts will look back on the stories that made the year 2011 from the Rod Blagojevich case to the death of Osama bin Laden to the hiring of Theo Epstein as the Cubs’ general manager.  The program airs at 10:00 pm.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

| December 13, 2011

Talk Radio Network’s Michael Savage Offers Newt Gingrich $1 Million to Drop Out of Race.  TRN nationally syndicated talk host Michael Savage says he’s putting his money where his mouth is and is offering former House Speaker and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich $1 million to drop out of the presidential race.  Savage says he’s been enumerating the reasons on his radio program why Gingrich cannot win a campaign against President Obama – only Mitt Romney can – and since that, in his opinion, is the most important problem the country faces, he’s making the financial offer.  “If Newt Gingrich really loves this country as much as he says he does, if he really wants what is best for America, he will set his ego aside, call me and accept my offer.  His continued candidacy spells nothing but ruin for conservatives, Republicans and all true American patriots.”  Savage is giving Gingrich 72 hours to accept.  There’s no word from the Gingrich camp but one competing syndication executive (who prefers to remain anonymous) says Gingrich better read the fine print, “It would be too bad if Newt deprives GOP primary voters of his ideas and energy, only to find out he’s getting $1 million worth of unsold Savage Nation t-shirts and jerky treats.”

Sacramento Occupy Protesters Target Clear Channel Sacramento.  Organized by activist Sue Wilson’s Media Action Center, people upset by the loss of progressive talk programming were encouraged to “occupy” Clear Channel stations across the country yesterday (12/12) by asking to see the stations’ public files to learn about complaints to the stations and about the stations’ sales of political ads to candidates.  About 11 protesters made their concerns known to KFBK, Sacramento management and, in an orderly fashion, inspected the station’s public file.  Sheriff’s officers were on hand and protesters were not allowed to occupy the station.  As is often the case, many people misunderstand a station’s obligation to provide programming that appeals to all citizens – a misunderstanding promulgated by the old Fairness Doctrine (now off the books).  Wilson is quoted in the Sacramento Bee saying, “All our voices need to be heard.”  But TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison puts it succinctly to a Bee reporter stating, “Fairness is not guaranteed by the First Amendment – freedom from government censorship is.”  In what is apparently a separate movement, some Bay Area residents are planning an Occupy KGO event on Thursday (12/15) to protest Cumulus Media’s recent changes at KGO, San Francisco, although their argument doesn’t seem to imply unfairness – just anger at the changes made to the station’s programming.

Geraldo Rivera to KABC, Los Angeles Too?  Respected Southern California radio trade writer Don Barrett is reporting that Don Imus said on his program that Geraldo Rivera – officially announced to be taking over the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show at WABC, New York in January – will also be heard on Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles.  Barrett writes that it wasn’t clear whether in which daypart Rivera would be heard but that it obviously raises the question of whom it may affect at KABC – specifically Larry Elder who hosts the late morning program there.  Stay tuned.

Clark Howard Clarification.  A number of industry readers may have glossed over yesterday’s story published by TALKERS about Dial Global financial talk host Clark Howard’s program and come away with an incorrect conclusion.  Howard’s show is still three hours long.  What’s changing is that Howard is repurposing some content for the third hour so that he can cut back on some of the long hours he’s putting in due to the multitude of media ventures in which he’s involved.

Bob Agnew Joins Carey Brothers as GM of On the House Media.  Longtime sports and talk programmer Bob Agnew has been named general manager of James and Morris Carey’s “On the House Media” syndication firm.  Agnew, who has served as program director of such diverse outlets as KNBR, San Francisco and KXNT, Las Vegas, will be responsible for developing the sales staff, managing affiliate relations, new business development and programming at the Brentwood, California firm that has syndicated the popular talk radio home improvement show “On the House with the Carey Bothers” for more than a quarter century.  He will also work closely with the operation’s PR firm Kleber and Associates with regard to media relationships, client services and the expansion of the website.  Upon making the announcement, James Carey tells TALKERS, “Morris and I and our entire team are thrilled to have Bob Agnew ‘take the reins’ and lead our media franchise as it enters its 26th year.  We have had the pleasure of knowing Bob for over 20 years and have enjoyed an enduring professional and personal relationship.  Bob’s unique combination of management, leadership and people skills make him superbly qualified to guide On the House Media in realizing its full potential.  As one of the leading radio programmers in the U.S., Bob ‘gets’ what local radio stations – programming and sales – need to make their businesses successful.  We are confident that Bob’s keen insight will be of tremendous benefit to our radio affiliates, marketing partners and audience.”  OTH is a multi-media operation with a four-hour live Saturday show, weekday tips, podcasts, accessible on iPhones and iPads with the new OTH app.  OTH has 140 radio show affiliates and 125 affiliates taking the daily tips.

Clear Channel Names Bob Stohrer Chief Marketing Officer for Clear Channel Digital.  Stohrer will work with Clear Channel Digital president Brian Lekamp.  He’ll oversee the national marketing plans, brand execution and social marketing efforts for CC Digital with an emphasis on iHeartRadio.  Lekamp states, “Bob’s extensive experience in both brand positioning and creative development brings the innovative vision and tactical expertise that will increase brand awareness, drive growth and unlock our full potential moving forward.  We look forward to the leadership and insight he will bring to the Clear Channel Digital team.”

CBS TV Expands “Face the Nation.”  Bob Schieffer announced that CBS TV is turning its “Face the Nation” Sunday morning issues program into a 60-minute program beginning in April.  The show has been a 30-minute production since its inception.  Schieffer said on last Sunday’s program that the show will expand, “because more and more of you have been turning to ‘Face the Nation’ during this campaign season, so we thank you.”

Holiday Program Available to Stations.  A three-hour program called “The Gift” is available to radio stations across the country for air between December 24 and 26.  The program is produced by the Fisher House Foundation and created especially for the holiday season.  It features interviews with wounded warriors Matt ZajacTammy Duckworth and Dale Beatty; the mother of an injured service member, Becky Ziegel; and a father who lost his son in combat, Robert Stanton.  The stories – equally heartbreaking and inspiring – are vehicles to a greater understanding of the sacrifices our military and their families make every day, so that our nation may be home, safe and with their own families during the holidays.  Fisher House Foundation chairman and CEO Ken Fisher says, “Just one percent of Americans serve in the military, protecting and safeguarding a population that does not fully appreciate the depth of sacrifice these people make.  These people are true heroes.  We want to let the world know just how much they do for us every day, and ensure that if they have a need, that it is met.”  The Fisher House Foundation raises money to create housing for the families of wounded service personnel so they have a place to stay near them while they recuperate.  Stations interested in carrying the program should contact Ron Rivlin at: ron.rivlin@cumulus.com.

Obama on “60 Minutes,” SCOTUS to Hear AZ Illegal Immigration Law Challenge, Weekend GOP Debate and Euro Zone Debt Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/12).  President Obama’s interview on Sunday’s “60 Minutes” program, the Supreme Court’s agreement to hear arguments challenging Arizona’s illegal immigration law, the GOP presidential candidates debate that took place over the weekend and the ongoing euro zone debt crisis were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

Friday, December 9, 2011

| December 9, 2011

Seventh Annual Domestic Violence Radio Row a Big Apple Smash.  For the seventh consecutive year, TALKERS magazine presented “It’s Time to Talk Day” — a massive radio row produced in association with its sister firm, Talk Radio News Service, and the corporate sponsorship of Liz Claiborne, Inc.  Held yesterday (12/8) in the fashion showroom of the Midtown Manhattan corporate offices of Liz Claiborne, Inc., the ambitious event was one of the largest and most successful, bringing together more than 20 talk media hosts from around the country who broadcast their shows live or recorded interviews for delayed broadcast.  They spoke with a non-stop parade of more than 60 experts, victims, celebrities and public officials from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm on the insidious societal problems of domestic violence and teenage dating abuse.   This year’s participants included: Alan Colmes of Fox News Radio; Dr. Joy Browne of WOR Radio Network; Mark Riley of WWRL, New York; Roberta Facinelli of “Doug Stephan’s Good Day;” John Fugelsang of “The Stephanie Miller Show;” Kevin McCullough of “The Kevin McCullough Show” and “Baldwin/McCullough;” Maria Bailey of “Mom Talk Radio;” Gary Baumgarten of Paltalk; Lionel of WPIX-TV, New York Channel 11 and LionelMedia.com; Barry Farber of Talk Radio Network and CRN Digital Talk Radio; Lisa Wexler of WFAS, Westchester, NY; Andy Spano of WVOX, New Rochelle, NY; John Harper of  WNTK, Keene, New Hampshire; Deb Colitti of the Deb Colitti Show;  Dr. Renee Kohanski of PodJockey; and Dan Patterson of KoPoint.  Ellen Ratner and Geoff Holtzman of Talk Radio News Service broadcasted throughout the day on several hundred of the news service’s affiliates. Joining the line-up this year for the first time were representatives of college talk radio with Farhan Husain and Gary Duff of WRHU, Hempstead (Hofstra University); Nichole Murphy of WLIU, Brooklyn (Long Island University) and Alyssa DiNubila of WNEK, Springfield, MA (Western New England University).  Included among those who took live and recorded feeds from the event were Thom Hartmann of “The Thom Hartmann Show;” Dom Giordano of WPHT, Philadelphia; Ken Pittman of WBSM, New Bedford, MA/Providence, RI; and Carole Marks of “A Touch of Grey” plus many more. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “‘It’s Time to Talk Day’ is certainly one of our most important annual events and this year’s installment topped all others.  It raises consciousness about a societal problem that impacts a frighteningly large segment of the population and it cuts across all gender, ethnic and demographic boundaries.  There isn’t a spoken-word format that doesn’t find the topic of domestic violence applicable to its audience and extremely compelling.  Most importantly, we get feedback each year that this radio row, upon reaching millions of talk radio listeners, really does make a huge difference in the lives of real people.  It doesn’t get better than that.  We are grateful to Liz Claiborne, Inc. for their public-mindedness in supporting such a valuable project.”

Joe Crummey and Patty Steele Out at WABC, New York.  There’s no official word from Cumulus but late-morning talk show host Joe Crummey and recently added co-host Patty Steele are gone from the lineup at WABC and it appears the station is filling in with various local talent for the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program until a permanent decision is made.  Crummey was brought in from the West Coast by former program director Laurie Cantillo who left the station earlier this fall.

Terri-Rae Elmer Leaves Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles – Possibly for KABC?  Hot rumors in Southern California have longtime KFI news anchor Terri-Rae Elmer being paired up with Doug McIntyre for a new morning show at Cumulus’ crosstown KABC in the New Year.  There’s nothing confirmed there but McIntyre’s scheduled departure from the company’s “Red Eye Radio” and its statement that it has plans for McIntyre are fueling the rumor.  Back to KFI, Elmer has been the news anchor and sidekick for KFI’s John and Ken for years.  Her position is being filled by Shannon Farren, according to the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan.

Tim Conway, Jr. Signs Deal with KFI, Los Angeles.  The OC Register’s Gary Lycan reports KFI evening host Tim Conway, Jr. has signed a contract to do his 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm program on the Clear Channel station for three years.  KFI program director Robin Bertolucci is quoted saying, “Tim has created a unique space on KFI that is getting record high ratings and delighting fans all over Southern California.  Not only is he number one in ratings, he’s number one at covering local news – whether it’s power outages, the eviction of the Occupy L.A. campers or the implosion of Kim Kardashian‘s marriage.  Listening to Tim’s show is like getting a free sample of what tomorrow will bring.  He is always way out front of the big stories and it’s always uniquely entertaining and done in classic Tim Conway Jr. style!”

Dennis Winslow Leaves Traverse City Stations to Focus on Consultancy.  Winslow has served as program and operations manager at Northern Radio’s WSRJ-FM/WSRT-FM, Traverse City, Michigan and its sister music FMs classic hits WFCX/WFDX for the past five years.  Now, assistant program director and host Rich Nadeau takes over his duties as Winslow concentrates on his Winslow Programming Strategies business.  Cluster general manager Charlie Ferguson says, “Dennis has done an excellent job of guiding both The Fox FM and You – FM for the past five years.  The stations have improved every aspect of our operations on his watch and we’re truly grateful for his help.”

Former Los Angeles-Area Financial Talk Host Indicted on Fraud Charges.  This is pretty much the same story you’ve heard a dozen times before – only the names, and the language are different.  John Farahi hosted “Economy Today” on Persian-language KIRN, Simi Valley, California from 2005 to 2010.  The Los Angeles Times reports Farahi – through his New Point Financial Services – promised clients their money would be invested in corporate bonds insured through the Troubled Assets Relief Program.  But prosecutors allege Farahi spent the money on personal expenses and some highly speculative investments in which he lost millions.  The scheme is reported to have lost some $20 million of investors’ money.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Compass Media NetworksNorman Goldman show becomes the PM drive show at Clear Channel’s KKZN, Denver…..The independently syndicated Kevin McCullough show is picked up by KBDE-FM, Waco, Texas; and WCSO-FM, Columbus, Mississippi…..Premiere Networks’ “America Now with Andy Dean” adds KNST, Tucson…..The independently syndicated Burnie Thompson show is added to WBOB, Jacksonville.

2012 Presidential Race Lands Atop Talkers TenTM Chart of Week’s Top News/Talk Stories.  The 2012 race for president was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of December 5-9 according to TALKERS magazine research.  Following at #2 was President Obama’s Kansas speech.  At #3 was the payroll tax cut issue and the U.S. deficit and at #4 was the Euro Zone debt crisis.  The Talkers TenTM is published every Friday at Talkers.com and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  To see the entire chart, click on the banner below.

Monday, December 5, 2011

| December 5, 2011

“Johnny B” Takes Over Mornings on WGN.  Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago announces Chicago radio legend Jonathon Brandmeier replaces Greg Jarrett as host of the morning drive program effective December 9.  WGN vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer says, “Jonathon Brandmeier is a Chicago superstar and we’re thrilled to have him on the air at the station where he belongs.  Johnny’s high energy, humor and unique Chicago experience make him an exceptional fit as ‘The Voice of Chicago’ evolves with another generation of listeners.”  Brandmeier had a successful 14-year career at WLUP-AM/FM but in 1997 the station made a change and he worked at WCKG-FM, Chicago before moving to Los Angeles to host programs at KLSX-FM and KCBS-FM.  He returned to WLUP-FM to host mornings from 2005 through 2009.  He’s also hosted various television projects and recorded numerous music/comedy projects.  The change in mornings at WGN and the ousting of Jarrett represents another move away from the programming brought to the station under the leadership of former Tribune CEO Randy Michaels and the PD he brought to WGN, Kevin Metheny.  Jarrett moved to WGN in June of 2009 after spending more than eight years at KGO, San Francisco in the news department.  WGN notes changes in the news department includes news anchor Steve Bertrand moving to mornings with Brandmeier and Jim Gudas shifting to middays/afternoons.   While Chicagoans may welcome the return of Johnny B to the radio, some will be upset with the replacement of husband-and-wife team Steve King and Johnnie Putman in the 12:00 midnight to 5:30 am slot with Bill Leff.  King has been with WGN for more than 25 years and Johnnie almost as long.

Clear Channel and Cumulus Partner Up for Two-Pronged Deal.  The New York Times is reporting that Clear Channel and Cumulus – the two largest radio operators in America – have struck a deal that will give Cumulus spots for its SweetJack daily-deals program on Clear Channel radio stations and that will put Cumulus radio stations on CC’s iHeartRadio platform.  Cumulus has SweetJack operating in 16 markets with plans to expand.  Recently, Clear Channel struck a deal to work with daily-deals operator LivingSocial.  Under the terms of the deal, all 570 Cumulus stations in 120 markets will be available on the iHeartRadio platform.  Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman is quoted saying the deal provides “one more data point that proves radio is not a laggard, that we do see the future, and that we’re moving toward it in a smart and fast way.”  SweetJack was created by Cumulus in April and has local market salespeople working in all 16 markets.  Cumulus reports it has approximately 1 million users at this time.  Clear Channel and Cumulus have a revenue-sharing deal for SweetJack.  Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey says of the service, “SweetJack is our exciting new social commerce platform.  It’s a break-through brand in a sea of sameness that’s fueled by the power of radio to connect local merchants with consumers.  This agreement with Clear Channel enables us to scale SweetJack into a true nationwide platform which we believe is essential to competing successfully in this rapidly growing space.”

KGO, San Francisco Update: Peter Finch and Doug McIntyre in for Nights.  In the wake of last week’s blockbuster news of the dismissal of four of its longtime talk hosts for a more news-intensive program schedule comes the news that former KFOG-FM, San Francisco morning host Peter Finch is the new 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm news anchor and Doug McIntyre’s “Red Eye Radio” is in for the 12:00 midnight to 4:00 am slot.  McIntyre’s show is a Cumulus Media Networks production and costs the station nothing – in fact, it gives the company a nice San Francisco affiliate.

Kevin Straley Joins TuneIn as VP of Programming.  The former XM Satellite Radio and WRKO, Boston programmer becomes vice president of programming for the free service that allows users to listen to music, sports and news from around the world.  Kevin Straley – who most recently was founder and president of KMS Media Partners – will work with audio content distributors to optimize their digital strategies.  TuneIn CEO John Donham states, “We’re thrilled to welcome Kevin Straley to the TuneIn executive team.  His track record of building strategic relationships and working with audio partners in innovative ways will help us take the company to the next level.”  TuneIn describes itself as a service that “offers over 50,000 AM, FM, HD and internet radio stations and more than one million on-demand shows and programs streaming from every continent.  The company’s mobile applications are highly ranked worldwide.  TuneIn is available in 10 languages across all major smart phones and tablets, connected home stereos, smart TVs, connected automobiles and online at tunein.com.  Straley says, “Now, more than ever, audio content creators are looking for complimentary platforms to deliver their content to the growing audience that embraces digital…TuneIn is a powerful way to drive new listening and new opportunities for everyone.”

New Host for KLAC’s “Dodger Talk” Program Expected.  The Los Angeles Daily News reports Josh Suchon and Joe Block will not be retained to host the “Dodger Talk” post-game show as the Dodgers transition to Clear Channel’s KLAC, Los Angeles this season.  The Daily NewsTom Hoffarth reports former big league manager Kevin Kennedy is likely to be the new host of the show for the 2012 season.  Kennedy is a Fox Sports baseball analyst.

Broadcasters Foundation of America Launches “Holiday Giving Campaign.”  The 60-year-old foundation that provides aid to broadcasters and their families in need, is kicking off its “Holiday Giving Campaign” encouraging donations and memberships at this time of year.  BFoA chairman Phil Lombardo says, “The sole purpose of the Broadcasters Foundation is to provide financial relief to broadcasters in need.  Through the generous support of individuals and corporations in our industry, we can maintain the ability to help colleagues whose lives have been devastated by unthinkable circumstances.  I ask every broadcaster to consider making a donation or becoming a member.”  This year the foundation will grant more than $675,000 in assistance – an increase of 35% over last year with more requests arriving daily.  Current recipients include the family of a 20-year broadcast veteran who died of a sudden massive stroke, leaving two children and a wife who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis; an elderly couple who have outlived their savings and are saddled with enormous medical costs; and a man who in the prime of his life and at the peak of his career became paralyzed by a tragic accident that has left him confined to a wheel chair.  To make a donation, please visit www.broadcastersfoundation.org, or call 212-373-8250.

Friday, December 2, 2011

| December 2, 2011

It’s the End of KGO as We Know It.  Since KGO, San Francisco has changed very little over the past 20 years, any change to the legendary Cumulus-owned station would seem monumental.  That’s why the dismissal of KGO talk hosts Gil Gross, Gene Burns, Ray Taliaferro and John Rothmann as the station morphs into a news-intensive station is so shocking to an industry that’s seen plenty of change lately.  KGO director of news and programming Paul Hosley tells the San Francisco Chronicle, “What we are doing is adding a tremendous amount of news content to KGO.”  Mid-morning talk host Ronn Owens is not part of this wave of change and, according to 415 Media editor Rich Lieberman, he has a “personal services” contract with the station that runs through January of 2013.  The Chronicle reports a KGO insider said that KGO has “lost its way” and hopes to reinvigorate itself with a news-driven format.  The station’s positioning statement changes from “Newstalk 810” to “KGO 810 – the Bay Area News and Information Station.”  KGO’s dominance in the ratings began to fade with the arrival of Arbitron’s PPM in the San Francisco market – a sign that a station with KGO’s rich heritage and special place in the hearts of San Francisco radio listeners benefitted from the diary method.  The changes at KGO began with the exit of longtime operations director Jack Swanson in October.  It would be easy to dismiss Cumulus’ moves as being budget related, but all-news can be an expensive format to operate and KGO will be competing with CBS Radio’s KCBS-AM/KFRC-FM on that front.  Stay tuned.

Cumulus Cuts in Charleston Eliminate Local Host.  Charleston, South Carolina news/talk WTMA eliminates the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm local talk show hosted by Rocky DiSabato – known as Rocky D.  The gap is filled by expanding the carriage of Dial Global’s Clark Howard and Neal Boortz shows to cover the three hours.

Merlin Media’s Chicago News Station Changes Calls.  All-news WWWN-FM, Chicago is now WIQI, although the station remains positioned as “FM News 101.”  Merlin Media’s application for the change was requested on November 14 and it officially took place on December 1.

KBLI/KBLY, Pocatello/Idaho Falls/Blackfoot, Idaho Adds Local Shows.  The Riverbend Communications duo known as Newstalk 690/1260 announces the addition of three local programs to its lineup:  news and program director Tim Lewis hosts the new “Idaho’s Morning News” from 6:00 am to 9:00 am; former KIFI-TV managing editor Carissa Coats hosts “Idaho’s Midday News” from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm; and Mark Richardson is the host of “Idaho’s Afternoon News” from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Richardson and his father Mel co-host the “Probing America” show that airs from 9:00 am to 11:00 am.  They will also produce a weekend version of the show.

WOAI, San Antonio Begins Elf-Louise Radio-thon.  Clear Channel news/talk WOAI hosts a two-day radio-thon today (12/2) and tomorrow at the North Star Mall to raise funds to purchase gifts and sundries for San Antonio families in need during the Christmas season.  WOAI personalities Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo and Charlie Parker will take part as will personalities from CC’s San Antonio music outlets.  The Elf Louise Christmas project was begun by Louise Locker in 1969 when she was a student at Trinity University.  Then, she and friends aided 13 families.  Now, the project uses 5,000 volunteers and distributes some 60,000 gifts each year.

2012 Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM Chart of News/Talk Radio’s Top Weekly Stories.  The GOP contenders to face off against President Obama in next year’s election were the most-talked-about topic on news/talk radio during the week of November 28 – December 2.  Coming in at #2 was the pending government shutdown.  At #3 was the Euro zone debt crisis and the global financial markets activity followed by Black Friday/Cyber Monday at #4.  The Talkers TenTM, a chart of the top stories and people of the week, is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View the entire chart by clicking on the banner below.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

| December 1, 2011

KTRS, St. Louis Personality JC Corcoran Suspended for Twitter Activities.  There’s no official word from CH Holdings’ news/talk KTRS, St. Louis but the reports from St. Louis-area media seem to confirm that afternoon host JC Corcoran has been suspended from the station for two weeks after engaging in a back-and-forth Twitter argument with listener-followers in which he used foul language.  The incident started when Corcoran declared Cardinals star Albert Pujols would re-sign with the team by November 18.  When that didn’t happen, Corcoran was taken to task for his prediction on Twitter and his responses including questionable language went out on the internet.  This case illustrates that even though the “letter” of FCC rules applies specifically to over-the-air language on terrestrial radio, the “spirit” of the law can now extend to social media activities as well giving the morals clause found in most talent employment contracts expanded relevance.  Talk show hosts beware – you are what you tweet!

News/Talk KFBK, Sacramento Gets FM Signal.  As the historic AM station prepares to celebrate its 90th anniversary early next year, Clear Channel announces it is ending the Hot AC on KGBY-FM and begins simulcasting news/talk KFBK on the signal as FM NewsTalk 92.5 today (12/1).  Vice president and market manager Jeff Holden states, “Today is a milestone for Sacramento broadcasting as KFBK expands to the 92.5 FM frequency to better serve the local community.  The void for quality, local and full service news and talk on FM has now been filled.  This will give a younger audience access to one of the most influential stations in, not only, Sacramento but all of Northern California.  KFBK has demonstrated leadership over the past 90 years and it continues with the same dedication and progressive nature that makes it unique.   KFBK will now reach the nearly 70 percent of the market that doesn’t tune into the AM band.”

WFLA, Tampa Adds Jock Corey Dylan to AM Drive Program.  Former WPOI-FM, Tampa DJ Corey Dylan is now part of the morning show at Clear Channel’s WFLA, Tampa.  The St. Petersburg Times reports Dylan joins Jack Harris and Tedd Webb as co-host on the “AM Tampa Bay” program and will serve as a lifestyle reporter for the station as well.  Program director Steve Versnick tells the paper, “We wanted to change the co-host role and Corey seemed a perfect fit.  She’s got a sterling reputation in the market and a broadcast journalism degree.  So while it might seem like stretch to go from an ’80s station to news/talk, her background and interest seem perfect.”

Georgia Talk Host Martha Zoller Zeroes in on Congressional Seat.  WXKT-FM, Gainesville, Georgia talk host Martha Zoller is preparing to take leave of her talk radio career to run for Congress in Georgia’s newly created 9th Congressional District.  Zoller is still heard on Cox Media Group’s WXKT-FM but has exited the Georgia News Network from which she was syndicated across the state.  Zoller says Cox attorneys say she can stay on the air until she’s officially qualified as a candidate in May but realistically expects to have to leave her program prior to that time.  Zoller reports she has excellent name recognition in the district – 62% of likely primary voters in the conservative district have heard of her – as she will face a battle against State Representative Doug Collins and possibly others in the Republican primary election.

Dial Global’s Bill Press to Remain on San Francisco Affiliate.  Yesterday we reported Clear Channel’s plans for its AM talk stations in San Francisco that include the end of progressive talk outlet Green 960 (KKGN).  Dial Global notes that although much of the progressive talk that’s currently heard on that station will be relegated to the KKSF-FM HD-2 signal and online, the Bill Press show will be heard in the early morning daypart prior to Premiere’s Glenn Beck on KNEW 960 in the new year.

WGN, Chicago’s John Williams Organizes Holiday Food Drive.  Upon learning that food banks and pantries across the country are reporting a shortage of peanut butter, WGN talk host John Williams is organizing the “Peanut Butter & Jolly” drive to rally his listeners to donate peanut butter to the Greater Chicago Food Depository.  Peanut butter is sought after because of its protein content, appeal to children and long shelf life.  All day today (12/1), Williams will encourage listeners to donate to one of the many participating locations around Chicagoland that will be delivered to the depository tomorrow.  Williams says, “Everyone wants gifts at Christmas, but these people just need food.  If you give to this campaign, we can all say Merry ‘Chrithmath!’”

2012 Presidential Race, European Debt Crisis, Occupy L.A. Ousted and Penn State Abuse Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/30).  The GOP candidates for president in 2012, the ongoing efforts to deal with Europe’s debt crisis, the clearing of the Occupy Los Angeles protesters and additional allegations in the Penn State sexual abuse case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.  Pictured here is ABC Radio News correspondent Alex Stone covering the Los Angeles Police Department’s breakup of the Occupy L.A. camp.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

| November 30, 2011

Clear Channel to End Progressive Talker KKGN in San Francisco.  The progressive talk programming currently heard on KKGN, San Francisco – Green 960 – will not go away entirely; it’ll be available online and on the HD-2 channel of sister oldies KKSF-FM, but since so few people have HD radios anyone seeking shows such as Dial Global’s Stephanie Miller and Thom Hartmann and Compass Media NetworksNorman Goldman will have to find them online.  The “death” of Green 960 comes as Clear Channel makes other changes to its Bay Area talk programming.  In the New Year, KKGN flips calls to KNEW, picks up the Fox News Radio affiliation and a new lineup including Glenn Beck in AM drive, followed by Dave Ramsey, then Premiere’s Randi Rhodes (the only holdover from Green 960), and Fox News Radio’s John Gibson.  Back at what is currently KNEW (910 AM), that station will take on new calls KKSF and become “San Francisco’s Talk 910 – KKSF.”  Armstrong & Getty (piped in from Sacramento) remain in mornings with Dial Global’s Clark Howard, Fox News Radio’s Tom Sullivan and a local PM drive show yet to be announced.  What does this mean for the progressive format?  Obviously it is a setback for the struggling format, simply because of the loss of a major market.  Some observers will point to this situation as an example of the format’s inherent weakness by saying it can’t even make it in San Francisco – one of the most liberal regions in the nation.  However others will note that it is harder for a radio format targeted to a political orientation to make it in an area heavily populated by like-minded people because it doesn’t serve a unfilled need.  Radio, being a niche medium, often works best in an area where the targeted audience is in the minority and it thus serves to galvanize a critical mass necessary to support a format.  That is likely the case in San Francisco.

Detroit Media Personality John Mason Hosts PM Drive on WCHB-AM/FM.  Longtime Detroit radio and TV personality John Mason is the new PM drive host on Radio One’s urban news/talk WCHB-AM/FM.  Mason most recently hosted the morning drive show on Radio One’s WGPR-FM until late October when the company flipped the format to hip hop.  Mason is known for his work as an R&B disc jockey but tells the Detroit News he’s ready for the challenge, “Talk is different – I’m comfortable with it.  Quite frankly, the timing is in the vibe of the universe.  It’s a progression for me.”  Mason’s program airs from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

ESPN Affiliation Bumps Local Sports Duo in Denver.  When ESPN programming moves from Lincoln Financial Media’s KEPN to Front Range Sports Network’s KDSP-FM in January, morning hosts Vic Lombardi and Gary Miller will be off the air.  The two KCNC-TV sports anchors currently host the 7:00 am to 9:00 am program but the infusion of ESPN programming that is coming with the new affiliation  will put ESPN’s “Mike & Mike in the Morning” on the station from 5:00 am to 9:00 am.  The Denver Post reports the two would like to land another radio sports talk gig in town.  With four sports talk outlets in the market, they may be able to latch on somewhere else.  Stay tuned.

Sean Baligian Returns to Sports Talk in West Michigan.  Sean Baligian exited the Clear Channel sports talk simulcast of WDFN, Detroit and WMAX-FM, Grand Rapids back in October after his show with co-host Ryan Terpstra was cancelled.  Now, Baligian returns to Clear Channel’s WMAX-FM to host the PM drive show.  Terpstra, who had been hosting the PM drive show solo, will not be a co-host with Baligian but remains with the station in a different capacity.  Baligian tells the Grand Rapids Press, “I like the idea of doing my thing again, just doing my show.  I think that’s going to be the biggest difference.  It’s just kind of me.  No disrespect towards Terp, but it was enticing just to do the solo show again.”  Baligian says the show will not be simulcast to Detroit and will focus on West Michigan.

Kevin Matthews Podcast Show Now Available Via Steve Dahl’s Internet Station.  Chicago radio fans can now get podcasts from two of its famous (or infamous) broadcasters from one source.  Steve Dahl has been podcasting for a couple of years now and the two tell Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder that Kevin Matthews is producing a weekly podcast as part of the $9.85 monthly fee for Dahl’s content.  Matthews – who had an 18-year career on Chicago radio – had been hosting a morning drive show in Grand Rapids until he was recently let go in a budget move.  Now, “Kevheads” need look no further than dahl.com for Matthews’ show.  Matthews tells Feder, “My vision is to provide unique content, my personality.  What is so exciting about this adventure is no rules. A podcast may last 45 minutes, maybe two or three hours.  Content is key.  I know when to exit a program.”  Steve Dahl says he hopes to expand.  “I’m hoping that after we post his first show and he sees the response, he’ll start thinking about making it a daily show.  We are set up to do that technically…This is the future of personality radio and anybody who is delivering good content will sooner or later be charging for it.”  Matthews returned to Grand Rapids – the city where he got his start in radio – after losing his Chicago radio job.  He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2008 and says he prefers to take things more slowly these days.

WXOS-FM, St. Louis Does Live Remote Charity Toy Drive.  Hubbard Broadcasting’s ESPN 101 (WXOS-FM) in St. Louis is taking its “Fast Lane” afternoon show on the road to five different locations over the course of five days to solicit toy donations to benefit the St. Louis Crisis Nursery.  WXOS-FM program director Kent Sterling says, “We have some of the best jobs in the world, but the most rewarding part of our work is when we dedicate ourselves to helping those who often do without – especially during the holidays.”  Pictured here are (from l-r) show hosts Bob Ramsey, an unidentified man, Randy Karraker and D’Marco Farr.

Occupy L.A. Cleared, 2012 Presidential Race, Michael Jackson Doctor Sentenced and European Debt Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/29).  The police action to clear the Occupy Los Angeles protesters, the GOP candidates for president in 2012, the sentencing of Michael Jackson doctor Conrad Murray and the ongoing European debt crisis were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

| November 29, 2011

Controversial Host Tarsha Jones Fired by Clear Channel; Legal Tangle Ensues.  Clear Channel terminated controversial urban radio host Tarsha Jones – known as Jonesy on the air – after a Philadelphia businesswoman accused Jones’ program of misidentifying her and accusing her of criminal acts that she says adversely affected her businesses.  Jonesy hosted the AM drive show on WUSL-FM – Power 99.  In the aftermath of an October incident during which young women from different neighborhoods in Philadelphia had gotten into fights, at least one caller to Jones’ program identified Tracey Parson as having beaten up young girls.  Parson – who runs a group of child care facilities – has filed a suit in Common Pleas Court claiming Jones repeatedly defamed her and her Kiddie Kare businesses and that action led to death threats to her and loss of business.  Police have said Parson was never a suspect and Parson’s suit alleges Jones’ program purposely devised a campaign to “destroy people’s lives, reputations and livelihoods.”  Jones is no stranger to controversy.  She was suspended from WQHT-FM, New York over the “Tsunami Song” that parodied Asians in the wake of the Sri Lanka tsunami.  TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says the rights of stations and hosts to publicly comment are very strong, “The legal threshold for Parson’s claim is challenging.  Her legal team would have to prove Jones acted maliciously or with wanton disregard for the truth and that is harder to do than many people think.”  From the station’s perspective, depending on the language in Jones’ contract, she may be able to collect on any monies due her by Clear Channel even though she’s been let go.  Weisman says a good example of the talent being protected in this regard is that of Don Imus back in 2007.  Although Citadel fired him for the “nappy-headed hos” incident, his contract contained language that forced the company to pay the remainder of this deal.

Talk Host Bill Manders Let Go from KKOH, Reno.  Cumulus-owned KKOH, Reno – known to most without the extra “K” as KOH – drops PM drive host Bill Manders and program director Dan Mason takes over the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot.  Manders, who’s been with KOH since 1994, tells KOLO-TV, “It’s part of the business.  It certainly wasn’t shocking, and it wasn’t a surprise.  But it’s caught me a little off guard.”  KOH general manager Andrew Perini declined to comment to the Reno Gazette-Journal calling the situation, “Too complicated.”

WBAL, Baltimore’s Ron Smith Retires Due to Cancer.  A little more than a month after announcing to his listeners that he’s been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, Ron Smith does his last radio program and retires to home hospice care.  Despite the grave diagnosis, Smith said he would go ahead with treatment and continue doing his radio program as long as he was well enough.  The 69-year-old Smith recently announced he was ceasing chemotherapy and would continue with palliative care.  He has been a talk host at Hearst’s WBAL since 1984.  He also worked as a columnist for the Baltimore Sun since 2008 and penned his final column on November 17.

Fox News Radio Names Emily Wither Jerusalem Correspondent.  Fox News Radio announces it brings former freelance multi-media journalist Emily Wither aboard as Jerusalem correspondent.  Wither has worked for numerous news organizations including ABC, NBC, Sky News, CNN, ITN and the BBC.  In her new position, Wither will file daily reports on the Middle East region for Fox News Radio.  She takes over for Courtney Kealy who moved to Fox News’ New York headquarters as a national correspondent for Fox News Radio.

KPAM, Portland’s Bob Miller Begins “Operation Santa Claus.”  For the 9th year in a row, KPAM, Portland morning drive host Bob Miller is spending this week raising funds for military families hurt by loss of income due to deployment.  The station notes “Operation Santa Claus” has raised more than $1 million over the past nine years and is setting a goal of $135,000 for this year to aid the market’s military families in need.  Working with the Salvation Army, Miller says 100% of the proceeds go to area families.  “The need for ‘Operation Santa Claus’ funds for families of our troops has increased exponentially.  I am thrilled and gratified every year to see how generous our listeners are, no matter what the economy is doing.”

KNX, Los Angeles Begins Remote Series.  Following on the lead of former sister news/talk KFWB (now in a trust and for sale), CBS Radio’s KNX debuts “KNX on Your Corner” – a series of remote, daylong broadcasts designed to take an in-depth look at different communities throughout Southern California.  The first stop is Ventura Boulevard in the San Fernando Valley on December 9.  The station states, “From Studio City to Woodland Hills, the day’s programming will focus on the rich history and variety of businesses along Ventura Boulevard. Community leaders and local residents will be featured guests and KNX will broadcast live much of the day from Jerry’s Restaurant & Deli (16650 Ventura Boulevard) in Encino, a longtime favorite on the boulevard.”  KNX will broadcast live from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm.

Rep. Barney Frank to Retire, NATO’s Deadly Pakistan Strike, Holiday Shopping Figures, European Debt Crisis and 2012 Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/28).  Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank’s announcement of retirement from Congress, the NATO friendly fire strike that killed Pakistani troops, Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales reports, the building tension over the Euro Zone debt crisis and the GOP field for president in 2012 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, November 28, 2011

| November 28, 2011

Randy Michaels Gets $650,000 Settlement from Tribune Co.  Former Tribune Company CEO – and current Merlin Media LLC CEO – Randy Michaels is getting a $650,000 settlement from Tribune after being ousted from the company this past fall.  Michaels sought the pro-rated portion of his 2010 management incentive bonus — $900,000 – arguing he was terminated without cause.  Tribune considered challenging the assertion with which it disagreed but decided to settle to avoid a drawn out legal battle.  Michaels will also get $50,000 to cover his legal fees.  According to the Chicago Tribune, part of the settlement includes a non-disparagement clause, provisions to protect Tribune’s intellectual property and a limit of its future liability to claims brought by Michaels.

Report: NBC Still Negotiating with Howard Stern to Judge “America’s Got Talent.”  The New York Post is reporting that NBC is still in talks with Howard Stern to bring the Sirius/XM personality aboard its “America’s Got Talent” program to take the place of Piers Morgan who’s exiting to concentrate on his CNN duties.  Some industry watchers are skeptical that NBC would pay Stern $20 million and move the show from Los Angeles to New York to have Stern join the show but the Post says some sources close to the process say creator and executive producer Simon Cowell really wants Stern for the role.  Neither NBC nor Cowell are commenting stating their policy of not addressing ongoing negotiations in the media.

KTAR-FM, Phoenix Adds Two Local Programs to Weekend Schedule.  Bonneville’s KTAR-Phoenix announces the addition of two new local programs to the Saturday schedule.  Author and business owner Steve Henry hosts his eponymous program from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm focusing on small business and the role it plays in the country’s economy.  Henry states, “I couldn’t be more excited to bring our show to one of the best news stations in the country.  It’s time to take back control of our financial future by starting our own small businesses and investing in ourselves.”  Henry’s program is followed by current KTAR producer and on-air contributor Rob Hunter paired up with Phoenix market radio pro Mark Devine for the Rob and Mark show.  Hunter says, “Mark and I come from different perspectives in life as he’s a dad raising two kids and I’m recently married.  This dynamic will provide a fun, interesting and relatable Saturday afternoon show for the KTAR audience.”  KTAR-FM vice president of news and sports content Ryan Hatch says of the additions, “Unfortunately in our business, most media companies are filling weekends with more syndicated shows and less local programming to save money.  At KTAR, we see the world differently and believe strongly that weekends provide the perfect opportunity to develop new, engaging local content for our audiences regardless of expense.”

Seventh Annual Domestic Violence Radio Row Set for December 8.  For the seventh consecutive year, TALKERS magazine will present “It’s Time to Talk Day” — a massive radio row produced in association with its sister firm, Talk Radio News Service, and the corporate sponsorship of Liz Claiborne, Inc.  Held in the fashion showroom of the Midtown Manhattan corporate offices of Liz Claiborne, Inc., the ambitious event brings together more than 20 talk media hosts from around the country who broadcast their shows live or record interviews for delayed broadcast speaking with a non-stop parade of experts, victims, celebrities and public officials from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm on the insidious societal problems of domestic violence and teenage dating abuse.  This year’s participants include Alan Colmes of Fox News Radio; Dr. Joy Browne of WOR Radio Network; Mark Riley of WWRL, New York; Curtis Sliwa of WNYM (The Apple), New York; Roberta Facinelli of “Doug Stephan’s Good Day;”  John Fugelsang of “The Stephanie Miller Show;” Kevin McCullough of “The Kevin McCullough Show” and “Baldwin/McCullough;” Maria Bailey of “Mom Talk Radio;”  Gary Baumgarten of Paltalk; Lionel of WPIX-TV, New York Channel 11 and LionelMedia.com; Barry Farber of Talk Radio Network and CRN Digital Talk Radio; Lisa Wexler of “The Lisa Wexler Show;”  Ken Pittman of WBSM, New Bedford, MA/Providence, RI; Dr. Renee Kohanski of PodJockey; Dan Patterson of KoPoint and  Ellen Ratner and Geoff Holtzman of Talk Radio News Service who will be broadcasting throughout the day to several hundred of the news service’s affiliates.  Joining the lineup this year will be representatives of college talk radio with WRHU, Hempstead of Hofstra University; WLIU, Brooklyn of Long Island University and WNEK, Springfield, MA of Western New England University in attendance. Included among those who will be taking live and recorded feeds from the event are Thom Hartmann of “The Thom Hartmann Show;” Dom Giordano of WPHT, Philadelphia; and Carole Marks of “A Touch of Grey” with several more to be announced.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “‘It’s Time to Talk Day’ is certainly one of our most important annual events.  It raises consciousness about a societal problem that impacts a frighteningly large segment of the population and it cuts across all gender, ethnic and demographic boundaries.  There isn’t a spoken-word format that doesn’t find the topic of domestic violence applicable to its audience and extremely compelling.  Most importantly, we get feedback each year that this radio row, upon reaching millions of talk radio listeners, really does make a huge difference in the lives of real people.  It doesn’t get better than that.  We are grateful to Liz Claiborne, Inc. for their public-mindedness in supporting such a valuable project.”  Talkers.com will provide full coverage of the event.

Connecticut Talk Host Lisa Wexler Joins WFAS, White Plains, New York; Station to Flip to Talk.  Cumulus’ WFAS, White Plains currently airs soft AC but will flip to talk soon and former WSTC, Stamford/WNLK, Norwalk, Connecticut talk host Lisa Wexler will host the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm program.  Wexler exited WSTC and WNLK when Cox Media Group agreed to sell the two stations to Sacred Heart University which is taking them non-commercial.  Wexler will broadcast live from the “It’s Time to Talk Day” radio row in New York City on December 8.  The event is designed to raise awareness of domestic violence and is produced by TALKERS magazine in association with its sister firm, Talk Radio News Service, and the corporate sponsorship of Liz Claiborne, Inc.  Back to WFAS, the Westchester County station will reportedly also air Dial Global’s Clark Howard as part of the talk lineup.

WPEN-AM/FM, Philadelphia Brings Former Flyers Lindros and LeClair Together to Benefit Children’s Hospital.  Greater Media’s Philadelphia sports talk outlet “97.5 The Fanatic” is bringing former Philadelphia Flyers Eric Lindros and John LeClair back together for a series of events to benefit the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in conjunction with sponsor TD Bank.  Lindros and LeClair will appear on Mike Missanelli’s PM drive program from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm on December 14; they’ll be part of a charity luncheon at Morton’s The Steakhouse the following day; and will appear at a public signing at the Granite Run Mall in Media, Pennsylvania on Friday, December 16.  One hundred percent of the proceeds from the events will benefit the hospital.  WPEN-AM/FM program director Matt Nahigian says, “It’s really going to be great.  For Eric and John to partner with the station and to do so for a terrific cause such as CHOP is really tremendous.  I know the listeners will enjoy the opportunity to attend these events.  We’re very excited.”

Milwaukee Media Writer Tim Cuprisin Passes Away at 53.  Tim Cuprisin covered radio and TV for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for 23 years before accepting a buyout from Journal Communications in 2009.  Since exiting Journal, he’d been continuing to cover the Milwaukee radio and TV beat via the blog OnMilwaukee.com.  The Chicago native died on November 23 after complications from advanced melanoma.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

| November 23, 2011


Clear Channel Names Jason Furst PD at WHAM, Rochester.  Jason Furst adds programming oversight of Clear Channel’s news/talk WHAM, Rochester and sports WHTK-AM/FM to his duties.  Furst programs WSYR-AM/FM, Syracuse and will continue in that role.  He will, however, give up the PD reins at CHR WWHT, Syracuse.  Furst fills the vacant programming position in Rochester that opened when Jeff Howlett was let go from the station he’d been working at for the past 25 years.

Emmis’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis Partners with WRTV-TV for News and Weather.  Emmis Communications’ news/talk WIBC-FM, Indianapolis announces a partnership with McGraw-Hill’s local ABC affiliate WRTV-TV for news and weather coverage.  Emmis VP and market manager Charlie Morgan says of the new deal, “In our 21st-Century world of news and information consumption, it just makes sense for our TV and radio newsrooms to work together to ensure we are delivering the most relevant information to our consumers wherever they are…at home, at work, in their cars, wherever.  This partnership will allow us to provide Indianapolis viewers and listeners with the latest information wherever they are, whether they are listening to the radio, watching TV, going online or on their mobile phones.”  WRTV meteorologists Kevin Gregory, Todd Klaassen and Stephanie Ortmann will provide forecasts throughout the day on WIBC.  They will also provide live updates during severe weather situations.

Buckley Broadcasting Adds FM Signal to KNZR, Bakersfield.  The Buckley Broadcasting news/talk outlet at 1560 on the AM dial states on its website, “KNZR made Bakersfield radio history by being the first news/talk station in the market to simulcast on the FM dial.  Our market leading 1560 AM news/talk programming is now also heard on 97.7 FM.  The move to simulcast on FM allows us to better serve our local community as well as provide increased audience reach and value to our advertisers.”  To accommodate the move, Buckley drops AC music on KSMJ licensed to Shafter, California.

WTOP-FM, Washington Hires Former CNN Correspondent.  Jeanne Meserve worked at cable news giant CNN for the past 20 years – most recently as homeland security correspondent.  Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington brings her aboard as a freelance anchor.

 

 

KTRH, Houston’s Matt Patrick Has Busy Black Friday.  It’s safe to say KTRH, Houston morning drive host Matt Patrick will not be at the shopping mall on Friday.  Patrick hosts his regular AM drive show on KTRH from 5:00 am to 9:00 am, then fills in for Bill Cunningham on WLW, Cincinnati from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm.  But wait there’s more!  Patrick will sit in for fellow Clear Channel Houston host Michael Berry on KTRH from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

Thanksgiving Holiday, 2012 Presidential Race, Euro Zone Debt Crisis, Super Committee Failure, Immigration Law Challenges Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/22).  The Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the GOP contenders for president in 2012, the ongoing Euro Zone debt crisis, the effect the Super Committee’s failure to address U.S. debt and challenges to states’ immigration laws were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

| November 22, 2011

October Northeast Storm Knocks Two Weeks Out of November PPM in Hartford.  Arbitron delivers the news to the Hartford market that the November 2011 PPM report – consisting of the time period October 13 through November 9 – will not include the two weeks of October 27 through November 9 during which a substantial portion of the market was without power.  In a message to clients, Arbitron writes, “Arbitron has carefully monitored Average Daily In-Tab and other performance metrics throughout this interval.  Based on these metrics, Arbitron will be releasing a November 2011 Hartford-New Britain-Middletown report based exclusively on November Weeks 1 and 2 (October 13-October 26).”  It is painfully ironic that radio – relied upon during times of emergencies such as these and often lauded for its tremendous dedication to keeping listeners in the market informed under difficult circumstances – is at the mercy of a ratings system that relies upon electricity at a time when stations in the market should get credit for the huge number of people who used it during that period.

CBS Radio’s KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas Names Kevin Wall PM Drive Host.  Several months after parting ways with longtime station personality Alan Stock, CBS Radio Las Vegas announces the new permanent PM drive host at FM News Radio 100.5 KXNT is Kevin Wall.  Most recently at Border Media Partners’ KTSA, San Antonio, Wall has also served as a fill-in host for Glenn Beck, Bill Bennett and Fox News Radio.  KXNT program director Andrew Paul states, “We couldn’t be happier to have Kevin join our team.  Kevin is talented, bright, articulate and an excellent communicator.  Heading into next year’s general election, we face a critical juncture in our nation’s future.  Kevin will be able to relate the important issues to Southern Nevada through his informative and entertaining style.”  Also from KXNT, Jason Pothier is named the new producer for Kevin Wall’s “Live and Local” program.  Pothier spent eight years in Boston as a producer at WEEI, WRKO and WXKS.  Samantha Stone joins the station as the new morning news anchor.  She worked for many years in Reno as a reporter/producer for Nevada Newsmakers and a reporter for Vegas PBS and Cumulus’ KKOH.  Trevor Smith also joins KXNT as a news reporter after spending the past four years as news director at KZBI-FM in Elko, Nevada.

Clear Channel Adds FM Simulcast to KNST, Tucson; Drops Spanish Music on 97.1.  Beginning Monday, November 28 the Spanish language music format at KTZR-FM ends and a simulcast of KNST begins.  Clear Channel Tucson market manager Shanna McCoy states, “Bringing our heritage News Talk KNST 790 to 97.1 FM will help us deliver the most powerful programming lineup in the market.  We’re committed to bringing our listeners the absolute best programming.”  Market operations manager Chris Pickett says, “KNST will join the growing movement of great news/talk programming moving to FM.  This is an important time for listeners to tune in with a presidential primary coming in February, and I can’t think of a better time to make the change.”  Journal Broadcast Group has been operating news/talk KQTH-FM in the market since April of 2007.

MSNBC Names Meghan McCain Contributor.  The daughter of Senator John McCain has been a media figure for some time now and has been a frequent guest on cable news/talk TV.  Now MSNBC puts her on the payroll as a contributor.  In a statement, Meghan McCain says, “I couldn’t more be more excited to be joining the MSNBC family.  It’s a unique opportunity to share my perspective as a Republican on a network I respect and have built a relationship with over the past two years.”

Jim Bohannon Recognized by RTDNA.  Dial Global talk personality Jim Bohannon – host of the “America in the Morning” news program and his eponymous overnight talk show – is being honored by the Radio Television Digital News Association with a Special Recognition First Amendment Award.  Bohannon and three other journalists will be honored at the RTDNA’s 22nd annual First Amendment Awards Dinner on March 15 in Washington, DC.  The RTDNA states, “Bohannon is the originator of National Freedom of Information Day, a concept he first presented to the national convention of the Society of Professional Journalists at their 1979 convention in New York City.  Bohannon has broadcast dozens of programs about freedom of information issues.”

BookMarc from Miami. Sirius/XM talk host Bob Edwards (l) chats with WNDB, Daytona Beach talk personality Marc Bernier (r) about Edwards being forced out of NPR.  Bernier took his special program about books to the Miami Book Fair International where he interviewed 43 authors over the course of the weekend.  Broadcasting live from Miami-Dade College, the site of the nation’s largest book fair, it was Bernier’s seventh visit to the annual event as he conducted 10 hours of interviews on Saturday and Sunday live on WNDB and produced streaming video of the event on kenneytv.com.

Super Committee Fails, Markets Tumble, 2012 Presidential Race, Egypt Unrest, and Freeh to Head Penn State Investigation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/21).  The failure of the Congressional Super Committee to come to terms on federal spending cuts, the financial markets’ reactions to Euro Zone debt and the Super Committee’s failure, the 2012 presidential race, new political unrest in Egypt and Louis Freeh’s appointment to lead the Penn State sex abuse scandal investigation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

Monday, November 21, 2011

| November 21, 2011

Fisher’s Plans for KVI, Seattle Outlined.  An e-mail to clients of Fisher Communications’ oldies-formatted KVI, Seattle announces the former talk stations will revert to talk – but not as a conservative talk station.  After the holidays, KVI will be called “Smart Talk 570 KVI” and will be positioned as “Smart talk for a Sound life.”  The memo states the station will feature “lifestyle, health, local and entertainment news.”  In addition to Friday’s story about Dial Global’s Clark Howard joining the station, the morning show will be called “Sunrise Seattle” hosted by Mark Christopher and Elisa Jaffe of KOMO TV 4.  TRN’s Phil Hendrie and The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “Daily Wrap with Michael Castner” are on the schedule along with a local program, “The Buzz” hosted by Scott Carty.

Political Influence of Conservative Talk Radio Analyzed in Timely Politico Article.  A hard-hitting article posted this morning (11/18) on the popular political news and opinion website Politico presents a particularly insightful and fascinating analysis of the role conservative talk radio hosts play in the process of presidential elections.  The story written by Keach Hagey and Glenn Thrush looks specifically at the meteoric candidacy of Herman Cain – a former radio talker – and examines the direct influence radio personalities such as Rush LimbaughSean Hannity,Laura Ingraham, and Mark Levin have had and are still having on his unexpectedly prominent position in the polls and national conversation.  The interesting and timely article appearing in one of the political world’s leading news websites poses the question, “How long will the love last now that Cain is on the rocks?” — referring to radio talk show hosts’ reaction to Cain’s propensity toward gaffes such as the Libya incident and embroilment in an alleged sexual harassment scandal.  Read the Politico story here.

RAB/Miller, Kaplan, Arase Data Shows Radio Revenue Up 2% for Q3.  That increase is due in large part to gains in digital for the radio industry.  The Radio Advertising Bureau and Miller, Kaplan, Arase & Co. report data that shows spot revenue for the third quarter was flat, network revene up 2%, digital up 17%, and off-air up 10%.  The data also indicates that total revenue for the first three quarters of the year is up 2% as well.

“Christopher Walken” Interview on WTEM, Washington Spooks AP After Natalie Wood Case Re-Opened.  It wasn’t exactly a “War of the Worlds” situation but apparently WTEM, Washington producer Marc Sterne does a pretty good Christopher Walken imitation and someone at the Associated Press bit.  The back story is that Sterne does a regular Friday segment on the Red Zebra Broadcasting sports talk station in which “Walken” talks fantasy football.  With the re-opening of the Natalie Wood case in the news and Walken’s link to the case, Sterne referenced the investigation during the segment last Friday and the AP reported it as a real interview, then realized what happened and reported it as a hoax.  However, the Washington Post writes that WTEM PD Chuck Sapienza says the “hoax” part bugs him because it implies underhandedness.  “No one [from AP] called us to see if it was real, and then they call it a hoax,” he told the Post. “A hoax makes it sound like it’s our fault.  We’ve been doing this [impersonation] for two years.  They’re taking no responsibility for shoddy journalism.”  The AP isn’t identifying the person who heard the segment and reported it as fact.

Howard Eskin and Wally Kennedy Inducted by Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia.  The non-profit Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia honors people from every aspect of the broadcasting industry who’ve contributed to the business for at least 10 years.  On Friday, the organization recognized WIP, Philadelphia sports personality Howard Eskin – WIP’s very first talk show sportscaster – and KYW news anchor Wally Kennedy.  Eskin began hosting sports talk radio shows in Philly in 1986.  He recently stepped down from his daily PM drive show to concentrate on Eagles game day coverage and other projects.  Kennedy – who’s worked in Philadelphia radio and television for 30 years – is morning news anchor at KYW.  CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield says, “CBS Radio is fortunate to showcase incredible talent on all of our properties.  Legends like Howard Eskin and Wally Kennedy have been heard in the Philadelphia area for decades.  It’s no surprise that they would be inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame.  Both have contributed greatly to the success of our radio stations.”

Thom Hartmann Co-Authored Kennedy Book to Be Made into Movie by Leonardo DiCaprio.  According to columnist Liz Smith, the book Legacy of Secrecy: The Long Shadow of the JFK Assassination (Counterpoint 2009), authored by Lamar Waldron with Dial Global talk host Thom Hartmann, will be made into a movie by Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way film company.  Smith reports that DiCaprio would play FBI informant Jack Van Laningham and Robert De Niro will play Carlos Marcello.  According to its Amazon description, the almost 950-page book suggests three Mafia bosses used John F. Kennedy’s and Robert F. Kennedy’s plan to stage a coup against Fidel Castro to murder the president.

Dave Graveline’s “Into Tomorrow” to Be Produced in New, Street-Level Studios.  Dave Graveline’s nationally syndicated consumer technology program will begin broadcasting and shooting video podcasts at new street-level studios in the Miami Lakes Broadcast Center.  The move will allow passersby to view the program as it’s being produced.

Friday, November 18, 2011

| November 18, 2011

A Complex Web of Debt.  There’s little reason to wonder why large radio companies are trying to find every available dollar – and that is most visible to the industry and the public in the form of reductions in force – when we read today’s news of Cumulus’ bankruptcy filings.  According to Bloomberg, a subsidiary of Cumulus Media Partners (which Cumulus Media Inc finished purchasing in August) — AR Broadcasting Holdings — was put into Chapter 11 bankruptcy as it owes creditors as much as $100 million with assets of between $10 million and $50 million.  AR Broadcasting Holdings consists of stations in San Francisco, Houston and Dallas.  AR Holdings states it has a prepackaged plan “supported by 100 percent of one class of creditors that voted for the restructuring proposal.”  Another Cumulus subsidiary, CMP KC LLC – owner of two stations in Kansas City and two in Houston – has been in default on debt.  It also is filing a pre-packaged bankruptcy protection plan that will cut the debt from almost $95 million to about $20 million and lenders in turn will end up with equity in the stations.

WBAL, Baltimore’s Ron Smith Ends Chemotherapy.  Baltimore talk radio legend Ron Smith announced Thursday (11/17) that he will continue to host his daily talk show on the Hearst news/talk station he’s worked at as a host for 27 years as long as he can, but he is ending his chemotherapy.  Smith announced on October 17 that he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that has spread to other organs.  The 69-year-old personality said at the time his doctors believed he had a chance to beat the disease with treatment.  However yesterday he told his listeners he would end chemo and receive only palliative care.

The RTDNA Asks for Electronic Coverage of SCOTUS Health Care Case.  When the United States Supreme Court hears arguments on the constitutionality of the Obama Administration’s health care law, the RTDNA hopes to be able to have TV cameras and audio recording devices in the chamber.  RTDNA chairman Kevin Benz writes to the Court, “Health care overhaul has divided the nation since it was signed into law.  The Court’s ruling undoubtedly will shape the 2012 presidential campaign and most certainly will serve to define Congress’ ability to address national issues.  There is no better time than in anticipation of this watershed case for the Supreme Court justices to suspend the ban on cameras in the courtroom and to allow live electronic coverage of this and other proceedings of keen interest and import to the American public.”  It’s unlikely the Court will allow this as it historically has had little interest in putting itself into the mainstream electronic public media landscape – no matter how convincing the argument for such coverage may be.

Canadian Freedom of Speech Case to Hit Courts.  Damian Goddard was fired from Toronto-based Sportsnet in May after firing off a Tweet that the only “true marriage” is that between a man and a woman.  Goddard is a devout Catholic and believes he has “2,000 years of Christian history” backing him up.  Sportsnet claims it intended to fire Goddard before the Tweet and has documentation of that but Goddard’s attorney says he’s yet to see any such documentation.  What this appears to come down to is Canada’s intense restrictions on free speech.  The six-year-old law that made gay marriage legal in Canada even contains a clause that clearly states citizens have the right to freedom of conscience, religion and speech with regard to this matter.  One attorney anonymously tells the National Post, “Hate speech needs to be related to inciting violence, not hurting feelings.”  The Canadian courts will eventually have to rule on whether citizens – including broadcasters – have the right to express their beliefs if done so responsibly.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  The Talk Radio Network/Washington Times produced “America’s Morning News” with John McCaslin and Dana Mills adds WLVJ, Boynton Beach, Florida; KEWI, Little Rock; WRCG, Columbus, Georgia; and WFDM, Fort Walton Beach, Florida…..America’s Radio News Network has its “Afternoon Edition” with Ernie Brown picks up WCFO, Atlanta; WFBL, Syracuse; and WUTI, Utica…..The “Free Talk Live” Sunday evening edition with Mark Edge and Stephanie is added to the schedule at WWNC, Asheville, North Carolina…..Dial Global’s Clark Howard joins the lineup at KVI, Seattle and WIBX, Utica…..Dial Global’s “Jill on Money” with Jill Schlesinger adds WMGG, Dunedin, Florida and WDNG, Anniston, Alabama.

Catching Up with Regis!  ABC News Radio’s Andrea Dresdale (r) interviews TV personality Regis Philbin (l) as he makes his way from an appearance on “The View” to the set of “Live with Regis and Kelly” for one of his final press conferences as co-host of the program.  Today is the 80-year-old Philbin’s last program as he retires from the daily morning talk program he’s hosted since it went from a local New York show into national syndication in 1983. Philbin successfully morphed from a game show host to talk show host and holds the Guinness Book of World Records top spot for most time spent on television – almost 17,000 hours!

‘Occupy’ Shutdowns/Protests Top Talk Radio Topic for Week of November 14-18.  The closing of many of the nation’s ‘Occupy’ encampments and the resulting protests landed atop the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week.  Following at #2 is 2012 presidential race. At #3 is the European debt crisis and the related financial markets activity followed by the Penn State scandal at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View the entire chart by clicking on the banner below.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

| November 16, 2011

It’s a Jungle Out There.  Tight money, a stressed-out population and aging listeners are creating burgeoning sales opportunities for talk media in financial services, crime control, medical and health services industries.  Even as traditionally strong radio advertising categories such as restaurants, retailers and auto dealers are becoming a tougher sell than they used to be, smart and aggressive sales departments are re-evaluating their sales targets.  Although the mantra in talk is “lower the demos” – the truth is the older folks have a significant percentage of the money and they are the ones listening to talk radio.  Rather than apologize for this handy little fact, perhaps talk account executives should be trumpeting it loudly.  Read more here.

Phil Boyce Out at TRN.  After a three-year stint as president of programming at Talk Radio Network, Phil Boyce has announced his departure effective immediately.  Boyce released the following statement to TRN employees:  “I want to wish every member of the TRN family best wishes. I have enjoyed my three years getting to know and work with all of you.  This is a great team and I know more success is forthcoming.  Wherever I go you will always be in my heart and I am sure we will stay in touch.”  Boyce joined TRN in November of 2008 after a 14-year run programming WABC in New York where he also served as VP of newstalk programming for Citadel and ABC Radio.  In that capacity he established himself as a major national news/talk radio programming force playing a significant role in the careers of a number of top talents including Sean Hannity and Mark Levin.   Prior to that Boyce programmed WJR in Detroit.  Boyce tells TALKERS, “I hope to announce my future adventure shortly.  In the meantime I want to spend a little time on that ‘secret island’ Jack Swanson recommended to me.”  The island to which Boyce refers is the geographical euphemism to which the former KGO, San Francisco operations manager joked he was headed upon recently departing his long-held position at that heritage station.  Boyce can be reached at philboyce1022@gmail.com.

Jake Russell to Head Up Davis Media’s Wilmington, North Carolina Cluster.  Tom DavisDavis Media, LLC is the buyer for Sea-Comm Media’s Wilmington, North Carolina cluster of four stations: news/talk simulcast WNTB-FM/WLTT-FM plus three music FM outlets.  Davis brings aboard former Take on the Day, LLC exec Jake Russell to become what he calls “our local owner-operator” for the cluster.  Davis also owns two music FMs in Williamsburg, Virginia and has built a strong internet presence he cross-promotes with the radio stations combining for a media company philosophy that he calls “Hometown Driver.”  Davis says the Williamsburg operation has been very successful and he believes the Wilmington stations will be the perfect radio cluster to drive his local media company model.  The FM news/talk simulcast features local morning drive host Chad Adams plus syndicated Dial Global hosts Neal Boortz and Clark Howard, Premiere NetworksSean Hannity, Cumulus Media’s Mark Levin, and Talk Radio Network’s Rusty Humphries.  Davis Media begins operating the stations under an LMA prior to closing.

Neil Larrimore Exits KMBZ, Kansas City.  Program director Neil Larrimore leaves his position at Entercom’s news/talk KMBZ, Kansas City – a job he’s held for the past eight years.  Prior to joining KMBZ, Larrimore served as APD at Cox Media’s WHIO, Dayton.

Las Vegas Talk Host Alan Stock to Debut TV Show.  KDWN, Las Vegas mid-morning talk host Alan Stock tells TALKERS he’ll begin a daily interview program on local cable channel Vegas TV (channel 14) beginning January 17.  More details to come as the program gets closer to launch but Stock compliments employer Beasley Broadcasting for allowing him to work in another medium that will help him to build on and promote his daily radio program at KDWN.

2012 Presidential Race, ‘OWS’ Eviction, Obama Australian Trip, Iran Nukes Among Top News/Talk Stories Yestereday (11/15).  The GOP candidates for president in 2012, the case of the eviction of the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protestors, President Obama’s trip to Australia and his plan to expand the U.S. military presence there, and Iran’s nuclear weapon ambitions were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

| November 15, 2011

Radio Not Alone in Cuts; CNN Eliminates 50 Positions.  Changes in technology and an analysis of its own efficiency have caused CNN to cut some 50 positions in the trenches according to a report in TVNewser.  After a three-year study of the news organization’s operations, senior vice president Jack Womack writes in a memo to staffers, “Technology investments in our newsrooms now allow more desk-top editing and publishing for broadcast and online.  As a result of these technology and workflow changes, CNN is reducing the number of media editors in our work force in Atlanta.”  The report notes 12 positions in the Washington, DC bureau have been eliminated as well as jobs in New York, Los Angeles and Miami.

All-New Cumulus Down 1.9% in Q3.  In a conference call with analysts, Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey reported that third quarter revenue for the newly acquired Citadel group of stations was down 2.3%, the Cumulus Media Partners stations – the old Susquehanna group stations that made up CMP which Cumulus finished purchasing in August, down 3.4% while Cumulus proper was down 0.6% in the third quarter compared to the same quarter one year ago.  Dickey reports the company is ahead of schedule with its plan to achieve almost $52 million in “synergies” before January.  He states, “We now have a true national platform with a large and liquid market capitalization and a flexible, covenant-light debt complex that is designed to optimize free cash flow and de-risk the equity.  Our team is making excellent progress on the Citadel integration and is energized by the upside potential of our newly transformed platform.”

RAB Names Erica Farber Executive Vice President.  The Radio Advertising Bureau announces it is consolidating its Membership, Professional Development and Services units into one big group and that former Radio & Records publisher and CEO Erica Farber joins the organization as EVP as of January 1, 2012.  RAB president and CEO Jeff Haley says of Farber’s joining the organization, “I am thrilled about Erica joining the management team of the RAB.  We are at a pivotal time as we look to serve the industry and ensure our product offerings meet the demands of an evolving medium.  There’s no better executive for the role than Erica.”  In related moves at the RAB, Sheila Kirby exits the RAB’s Professional Development Group to take the senior vice president of sales training and development post at CBS RadioMichael Weiss, who serves as president of sales at CBS Radio says, “Sheila and I have worked together for close to 20 years, and there is no one I respect more when it comes to motivating a team to perform at their absolute best.  Working closely with Sheila, our sales force will have a clear advantage in the marketplace and advertisers will benefit greatly working with such a sophisticated group of salespeople dedicated to constructing integrated programs that guarantee results.”  Also from the RAB, Ron Ruth shifts from a full-time position with the RAB to a consulting role.

“The Broadside” Hosts Andrew Langer and Mark Newgent Fill in at WBAL, Baltimore.  Andrew Langer and Mark Newgent began their internet program, “The Broadside” several months ago.  Now, as Hearst’s WBAL, Baltimore is airing various programs in its 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot, Langer and Newgent host their program on WBAL on November 14, 15 and 25.  Langer, who serves as president of the Institute for Liberty and the Small Business Political Alliance and was named by Campaigns and Elections as a Top Influencer in Maryland in 2011 and Newgent, who writes for TheExaminer.com and RedMaryland.blogspot.com and does research and analysis of politics and policy, say their plan “is to expand the horizons of traditional conservative talk, bringing in discussions (and guests) whose focuses are not only politics, but also movies, music and sports.”

CBS Radio Transitions ESPN High Desert to AM Signal; Goes All-Christmas on FM.  The ESPN High Desert sports talk outlet KVFG-FM, Victorville, California shifts to KRAK-AM as ESPN 910 so the FM signal can flip to an all-Christmas format.  There’s no indication what the group’s plans are for the FM signal after the holidays but it seems likely this is a prelude to a change to a music format.

Fox Sports Radio Los Angeles Raises Funds for Paralyzed Veterans.  AM 570 Fox Sports L.A. (KLAC) announces it raised almost $100,000 for the Paralyzed Veterans of America during its radiothon on November 9.  All the money raised during the “Loose Cannons” and “Petros & Money” shows that day will benefit the charity that provides rehab, access to services as well as research to cure spinal cord injuries.  Pictured here (from l-r) are “Loose Cannons” Steve Hartman, Pat O’Brien, Los Angeles Kings president of business operations Luc Robitaille and Vic “The Brick” Jacobs.  Robitaille was one of a number of local sports celebs who appeared on the program to help the cause.

SCOTUS to Hear Health Care Reform Arguments, 2012 Presidential Race and ‘Occupy Oakland’ Shut Down Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/14).  The United States Supreme Court’s agreement to hear arguments on President Obama’s Health Care Reform law, the 2012 presidential race and the shutdown of the ‘Occupy Oakland’ protests were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, November 14, 2011

| November 14, 2011

Arbitron Releases Most Recent “Radio Today by the Numbers.”  Arbitron lays out a graphically colorful and intense case for the power of radio in general, citing such eye-popping stats as “241 million Americans listen to radio each week – that’s 93% of everyone in this country listening to radio  each week.”  Arbitron states the report helps broadcasters “tell radio’s compelling story,” helps “agencies understand how radio excels at delivering their ads,” and helps “advertisers learn how radio reaches their customers at the right time.”  The report culls its data from Arbitron’s RADAR 110, Scarborough Research’s Release 1 2011 and the Arbitron/Edison Media/Scarborough Research report “The Road Ahead” released in June of this year.

Bill Cunningham’s TV Show Beating Anderson Cooper in Three Major Markets.  The Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter writes that Anderson Cooper’s eponymous daytime talk show has been picked up for another season and he wonders if WLW, Cincinnati talk host Bill Cunningham’s foray into national daytime TV talk will also continue.  Kiesewetter says Tribune president of programming and entertainment Sean Compton tells him they are not ready to discuss their strategy yet as “we have a different strategy than a traditional distributor,” although he notes Cunningham’s ratings success versus Cooper.  Cunningham beat Cooper in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles in both household ratings and persons 25-54 in the first two weeks of the November sweeps.  The daytime TV talk show format pool will get even more crowded next fall when personalities such as Katie Couric, Steve Harvey, Jeff Probst, Bethenny Frankel and Trisha Goddard debut TV talk shows.

Sports Talk Broadcasters Jared Max and Steve Buckley Honored by OUT Magazine.  As part of its OUT 100 feature – designed to recognize “the most inspiring people of 2011” – ESPN New York (WEPN) sportscaster Jared Max and Boston Herald columnist and WEEI, Boston regular Steve Buckley are featured.  Both came out during 2011 and the magazine writes, “When Charles Barkley voiced his support for gay marriage and his disdain for homophobia in the sports world, ESPN Radio veteran sportscaster Jared Max took the opportunity to make a ripple himself when he came out on air.  Boston Herald columnist Steve Buckley also made the decision to come out in his column (it was his mother’s idea, he says) and followed that up by saying he made the biggest mistake of his life by not doing it sooner.”  Max (top) and Buckley (bottom) are pictured here in a photo from the magazine.

 

CBS TV to Re-Tool “The Early Show” with Addition of Charlie Rose and Gayle King.  According to a report in The New York Times, CBS TV is in the process of revamping its “Early Show” program as a result of the show’s flagging ratings – down 6% from the same period one year ago – and that will include the addition of PBS icon Charlie Rose and Oprah Winfrey Network talk host Gayle King.  The report cites those close to the program speaking anonymously who say the two-hour news show will still be hosted by Erica Hill and Jeff Glor but will take a more serious, newsy approach in a conversational tone that CBS execs say is working for its “CBS Evening News” and “Face the Nation” programs.  The new program is expected to debut sometime early in 2012.

Friday, November 11, 2011

| November 11, 2011

Blogworld New Media Expo/Los Angeles Hosts Thousands of Communicators.  It’s true that the majority of the attendees of last month’s Blogworld New Media Expo in Los Angeles last month don’t make a full-time living with their digital efforts but, as consultant Holland Cooke reports for TALKERS from Los Angeles, that is changing quickly and ad dollars “are simply following listeners from The Old to The New.”  Cooke reports what Ford chief marketing officer Jim Farley has to say about new Fords with built-in digital media access, relates thoughts from Edison Research VP/strategy & marketing Tom Webster (keynote speaker at the Blogworld/L.A. event) on understanding digital media and boils down what talk pros can learn from these confabs.  Read Holland Cooke’s report here.

Howard Stern Being Considered for Judge Role on “America’s Got Talent.”  Piers Morgan is stepping down from his role on the NBC reality show “America’s Got Talent” to focus on his nightly CNN program and The Wall Street Journal reports NBC is in talks with Sirius XM talk star Howard Stern to take over Morgan’s role on the program alongside Howie Mandel and Sharon Osbourne.  The paper reports Stern is asking for $15 million per year and to move the show from Los Angeles to New York.  Though the report states the discussions are serious, Howard Stern has a knack for inserting himself into stories like this leaving industry observers to wonder if this is another publicity stunt at which Stern excels so well.  Stern was reportedly considered for a judge role on Fox’s “American Idol” several years ago, as well.

KPAM, Portland to Broadcast Live from ‘Occupy Portland” Eviction.  Portland, Oregon Mayor Sam Adams issued an order giving the ‘Occupy Portland’ protesters until midnight Saturday to leave two downtown parks or be evicted by authorities.  KPAM program director Dennis Glasgow says the station will begin live coverage at 11:00 pm on Saturday evening with anchor and news director Tim Hohl at the radio station studios joined by midday host Victoria Taft, KPAM reporter Mark Provost and Portland Tribune columnists’ Jim Redden and Peter Korn.  Glasgow states, “This is an excellent opportunity for our listeners to enjoy live coverage as it happens at ‘Occupy Portland’ and get the very latest breaking news while the historic event comes to a head.  This type of local programming continues to be our promise to our listeners, that we are the leaders in local breaking news as ‘The Voice of Portland.’”

President Obama to Appear on Westwood One Sports’ College Hoops Broadcast.  Sportscaster Jim Gray will interview President Obama during halftime of this evening’s college basketball game – the Quicken Loans Carrie Classic – being played on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier stationed in San Diego.  Tonight’s Veterans Day game tips off Dial Global/Westwood One’s coverage of the 2011-2012 college basketball season.

MSNBC Reportedly Won’t Let Pat Buchanan Promote His Latest Book.  MSNBC personality Pat Buchanan has been appearing on other cable news/talk channels – CNN, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network – but he won’t be allowed to plug his latest book on the network for which he works.  According to TVNewser, an MSNBC executive says the network has made a conscious decision not to allow Buchanan to plug Suicide of a Superpower (Thomas Dunne Books 2011) because some consider the book’s message to be bigoted.   The theme of the book is described on Amazon.com this way: “America was born a Western Christian republic but is being transformed into a multiracial, multicultural, multilingual, multiethnic stew of a nation that has no successful precedent in the history of the world.”  The groups CREDO Action and ColorofChange.org are pushing for MSNBC to fire Buchanan for his views and “long history of bigoted rhetoric.”

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  WSJRN’s “The Daily Wrap  from the Wall Street Journal with Michael Castner”  picks up 16 new affiliates including WHJJ, Providence; Buckley Broadcasting’s Hartford, Connecticut simulcast of WDRC/WMMW/WWCO/WSNG; KQV, Pittsburgh; and WGIR, Manchester, New Hampshire…..Radio America’s Peter Schiff show adds KKOV, Portland to its roster of affiliates…..the Kevin McCullough show is added to the program lineup at WGCF-FM, Paducah, Kentucky; KAPG-FM, Bentonville/Fayetteville, Arkansas; and KJSB, Jonesboro, Arkansas…..Talk Shows USA-syndicated “Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk” picks up WXKT-FM, Gainesville, Georgia; WKEI, Kewanee, Illinois; WHUB, Cookeville, Tennessee; and WTHQ, Brookport, Illinois.

Special Veterans Day Broadcast.  WXKS, Boston morning drive host Jeff Katz (l) is pictured here with United States Marine Corps General John Kelly (r) at Katz’s special broadcast live from the Fisher House at the V.A. Hospital in Boston.  Katz broadcast a special tribute for the 236th anniversary of the USMC and had an emotional interview with General Kelly whose son Robert was killed in action one year ago.  The general was at the Fisher House to dedicate a garden in memory of his son.

 

Herman Cain Accusations/2012 Presidential Race/GOP Debate Top News/Talk Story for Week of November 7-11.  Landing atop the Talkers TenTM for the week of November 7-11 was the combined story of the accusations of sexual impropriety by candidate Herman Cain, the 2012 presidential race and Wednesday evening’s GOP debate.  Coming in at #2 was the Penn State scandal followed by the Euro Zone economic jitters and Silvio Berlusconi resignation followed by the financial markets activity at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is published every Friday at Talkers.com and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  Click the banner below to view the entire chart.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

| November 9, 2011

Courtside Entertainment Delivers Blockbuster O’ Reilly Special.  Bill O’Reilly’s “National Radio Election Town Hall” scored big Monday night on 169 top talk stations including WOR, New York; WPHT, Philadelphia; KLIF, Dallas; WTKK-FM, Boston; and WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta.  This marked the first radio special from Norm Pattiz’s Courtside Entertainment Group in the post-Westwood One era. The program featured O’Reilly’s live interviews with all of the major Republican presidential candidates, listener calls and a straw poll taken during the program.  The results showed #1 Herman Cain, #2 Newt Gingrich, #3 Mitt Romney, all tightly bunched at the top.  Courtside managing partner Norm Pattiz tells TALKERS, “It’s great to kick off our programming boutique with Bill O’Reilly doing a show of this caliber.  I’m also happy to be working with the folks at Dial Global who distributed the show.”  Courtside also owns and produces “Loveline” and is launching the “One Minute Clinic” with Dr. Drew Pinsky, which is already airing in New York and Chicago.  Norm Pattiz’s special address at the recent Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum was a huge hit as radio professionals remain fascinated by his colorful history and extraordinary contributions to the business model of modern syndication.  In the words of TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “Few people have shaped the radio business in the past 35 years like Norm Pattiz.  Even though he has stated that Courtside Entertainment is not designed to be another Westwood One – but simply a vehicle with which he can remain involved in radio and dabble in projects of special interest to him – we should all pay close attention to this latest endeavor of the master.  If this O’ Reilly project is indicative of things to come, we can expect Courtside Entertainment to be an influential force for positive industry growth and innovation.”

Dial Global and CBS News Renew “The Osgood File” Deal.  Dial Global and CBS News agree to an extension of their deal to distribute Charles Osgood’s “The Osgood File” to radio stations across the country.  The feature is heard four times daily on some 350 stations including in all of the top 25 markets.  Dial Global co-CEOs Spencer Brown, David Landau and Ken Williams comment, “Charles Osgood is a true media icon and it is our privilege to deliver his legendary voice to millions of radio listeners each day.  More than a valuable asset to Dial Global’s advertisers and affiliates, Charles Osgood is an asset to American journalism and we are proud to continue our partnership.”

KLAC, Los Angeles Honors American Service Personnel with Radio-thon.  AM570 Fox Sports Los Angeles (KLAC) is broadcasting its fourth annual commercial-free radio-thon and online auction to benefit the Paralyzed Veterans of America in honor of Veteran’s Day on Friday.  The broadcast takes place today (11/9) from 12:00 noon to 7:00 pm PT on the station and special guests will include NFL great Eric Dickerson, Dodgers first baseman James Loney, Lakers guard Shannon Brown and NBA Hall-of-Famer James Worthy.  The station’s goal is to raise $120,000 for the PVA.  KLAC general manager Don Martin states, “This is a chance to give back to our family members, friends, neighbors and fellow Americans who have become paralyzed while fighting for our freedoms.  This is our way of giving thanks for their ultimate sacrifice.”

Cumulus Providence Stations Host Fundraising Luncheon for Female Veterans Facility.  News/talk WPRO & 99.7 FM in Providence (along with its sister music FMs) is hosting the inaugural Women’s Warrior Luncheon on Veterans Day on Friday to raise funds for the operation of the Holly Charette House.  Marine Lance Corporal Holly Charette was killed in action at age 21 while serving in Anbar province, Iraq.  She was the seventh Rhode Islander and the first Rhode Island woman to give her life in duty to her country in Iraq.  She was nicknamed “The Marine Who Brings Good News” for her cheery, positive spirit and military occupation as a mail carrier.  She had been assigned to checkpoints in Fallujah where she and a group of fellow Marines were struck by a suicide bomber on June 23, 2005 while returning to their base.  The Holly Charette House, located in Johnston, Rhode Island, was named in her memory and is a home that provides transitional housing for in-need female veterans.  WPRO program director Paul Giammarco says, “The Holly Charette House will forever be a reminder of our need to honor our returning woman heroines, and that freedom isn’t free.  WPRO is incredibly proud and humbled to be associated with such a worthy and noble event and we look forward to supporting the Holly Charette House and this event for years to come.”

Penn State Abuse Scandal, Euro Zone Stability/Berlusconi Resigns, Herman Cain Assault Accusations and Obama-Sarkozy Live Mic Incident Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/8).  The explosion of accusations of sexual abuse of young boys by a former Penn State football coach, the Euro Zone economic stability and the resignation of Italy’s Berlusconi, Herman Cain’s campaign and the sexual assault accusations against him plus Obama’s and Sarkozy’s griping about Netanyahu while unknowingly on live mics were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Sedano Sandwich.  That’s WAXY, Miami morning drive host Jorge Sedano squished between pro wrestling legends Shawn Michaels (l) and Triple H (r).  The duo were in Miami at WAXY promoting the coming “Wrestlemania 28″ which will be broadcast from Miami in April of 2012.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

| November 8, 2011

Critiquing Talk Hosts a Challenging Two-Way Street.  Many talk radio programming pros agree that critiquing – or air checking – talk show hosts is something that is almost a lost art in the current talk radio environment.  Both at the network and the station levels, programmers working with talent to improve their on-air product is challenging enough given the egos of the managers and talent and the myriad programming philosophies out there.  But add in the hectic schedule of today’s talk PD and “challenging” becomes a mild term for the state of the talent critique.  TALKERS special features correspondent Mike Kinosian speaks with programming pros including Salem Radio Networks VP of news and talk programming Tom Tradup, Sound Mind chief Kraig Kitchin and others about the state of critiquing talk talent.  Read the story here.

Roger Hedgecock Moves to KFMB, San Diego in New Year.  We have a clearer picture of what’s happening in San Diego now.  Yes, as reported earlier, longtime KOGO PM drive host Roger Hedgecock will move his Radio America-syndicated program to Midwest Television’s crosstown KFMB beginning January 2.  KFMB program director Dave Sniff says of the move, “KFMB has always been about mirroring our community, and Roger is synonymous with San Diego.  No host reflects the views and concerns of San Diegans better than Roger.”  Sniff does not mention current PM drive host Rick Roberts in the release.  Meanwhile, Hedgecock stays on the AM side at Clear Channel’s KOGO – which began simulcasting on FM this week – while LaDona Harvey handles the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm show on the FM side.  So far, it’s the only split of programming for KOGO’s AM and FM broadcasts.  Also, KOGO debuts talk host Bryan Suits in the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot and Bob “Sully” Sullivan in the 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm time slot.

Willy Daunic Joined by Joe Dubin for PM Drive at Sports WPRT-FM, Nashville.  The Cromwell Group’s new FM sports talk station in Nashville adds market television sports personality Joe Dubin to “The Sports Revolution” program hosted by Willy Daunic.  Dubin will serve as co-host and executive producer.  Daunic worked at crosstown WGFX-FM with George Plaster’s “The Sports Zone” program before Plaster left the station suddenly just prior to the Cumulus-Citadel merger.  Daunic stayed with Cumulus briefly but the two sides could not agree on a contract.  Daunic says, “I am glad to have Joe aboard to launch “The Sports Revolution.”  His energy and enthusiasm are going to be an asset.  He also loves Nashville having grown up here, and has built a great following over the years.”  Dubin worked in Nashville TV for 15 years and has won two Murrow Awards and a local Emmy.

WBAL, Baltimore to Try Out Marc Unger in Evening Slot.  DCRTV.com’s Dave Hughes reports comic, actor and Baltimore sports talk personality Marc Unger is getting an on-air tryout at Hearst’s WBAL, Baltimore in the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot.  Beginning tonight (11/8), Unger will host a program dealing with politics, social issues and sports in the time slot where the station had been airing reruns of its midday Ron Smith program.

Sign of the Times?  As the media landscape changes and delivery of content moves inexorably from analog over-the-air to a digital combination of wired and wireless, perhaps this photo of America’s first licensed commercial radio towers coming down is truly worth 1,000 words.  WBZ, Boston director of news and programming Peter Casey photographed the felling of WBZ’s first towers atop the old Westinghouse plant in Springfield, Massachusetts – some 85 miles west of Boston – as a piece of radio history is dismantled.  What you see here is one of the two 100-foot towers that served as the original transmitters for WBZ when it began operation 90 years ago.  We posted photos of the two towers atop the buildings in September as CBS Radio’s WBZ celebrated its 90th anniversary on September 19.

New Cain Accusation, Iran Nukes, Penn State Scandal, Italy Economic Trouble and ‘OWS’ Movemement Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/7).  The latest accusation of sexual misconduct by GOP candidate Herman Cain, the reports of Iran’s advancing nuclear weapons program, the Penn State sexual assault scandal, Italy’s contribution to the Euro zone economic problems and the ‘OWS’ movement were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

Monday, November 7, 2011

| November 7, 2011

Seventh Annual Domestic Violence Radio Row Set for December 8.  For the seventh consecutive year, TALKERS magazine will present “It’s Time to Talk Day” — a massive radio row produced in association with its sister firm, Talk Radio News Service, and the corporate sponsorship of Liz Claiborne, Inc.  Held in the fashion showroom of the Midtown Manhattan corporate offices of Liz Claiborne, Inc., the ambitious event brings together some 20 talk radio and TV hosts from around the country who broadcast their shows live or record interviews for delayed broadcast interviewing a non-stop parade of experts, victims, celebrities and public officials from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm on the insidious societal problems of domestic violence and teenage sexual abuse.  Major broadcast participants at this event over the years include Dr. Joy Browne of WOR RadioAlan Colmes of Fox News Radio and Fox News ChannelDoug Stephan of “Good Day,” Mark Riley of WWRL in New York, Thom Hartmann of Dial GlobalLionel of LionelMedia.com and WPIX-TV Channel 11 in New York, Carole Marks of “A Touch of Grey” and many more.  According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “‘It’s Time to Talk Day’ is certainly one of our most important annual events.  It raises consciousness about a societal problem that impacts a frighteningly large segment of the population and it cuts across all gender, ethnic and demographic boundaries.  There isn’t a spoken-word format that doesn’t find the topic of domestic violence applicable to its audience and extremely compelling.  Most importantly, we get feedback each year that this radio row, upon reaching millions of talk radio listeners, really does make a huge difference in the lives of real people.  It doesn’t get better than that.  We are grateful to Liz Claiborne, Inc. for their public-mindedness in supporting such a valuable project.”  Broadcasters interested in participating in this year’s installment of “It’s Time to Talk Day” should e-mail Barbara – barbara@talkers.com – while space is still available.

Cumulus Cuts Hit Providence, Detroit and Colorado Springs Markets.  The staffing cuts at Cumulus-owned stations continue and while most of the following staff reductions have not been officially confirmed, here are some of the folks on the news and talk side who are reportedly out:  At KVON, Colorado Springs, news and on-air staffers David John McCoy and Jackie Craddock are out (although at the time of this posting their names still appear on the station website); in Detroit, WJR news anchors Donna Barbera and Dayna Clark plus reporter John McCulloch have been let go;  and in Providence WPRO/WEAN-FM evening producer and fill-in host Tony Cornetta is out as is digital reporter Bob Plain.  More cuts are expected to come in these markets so stay tuned.

KOGO, San Diego Adds FM Simulcast.  Clear Channel’s KOGO, San Diego is heard on the FM band beginning today (11/7).  The company drops country on KUSS-FM at 95.7 and KOGO is now branded “FM News and Talk 95.7 and AM 600 KOGO.”  Clear Channel San Diego president and market manager Debbie Wagner says, “AM 600 KOGO has an incredibly strong brand in San Diego with its award-winning news and talk format.  The simulcast of KOGO on 95.7 FM allows us to provide complete expanded signal coverage of KOGO’s market leading news and talk programming to better serve our local community as well as our advertisers.”  The station is also announcing the addition of KFI, Los Angeles weekend talk host Bryan Suits and Bob “Sully” Sullivan as co-hosts of a new local daily program.  Longtime KOGO talk host Roger Hedgecock – whose program is syndicated by Radio America – is not mentioned in the press statement from Clear Channel, which leads to the next item…

Roger Hedgcock Announces Move to KFMB, San Diego. Roger Hedgecock has been a part of Clear Channel’s KOGO San Diego since its flip to news/talk in 1994.  For the past several years he’s been syndicated nationally by Radio America but still operating from his base at KOGO.  Now, Hedgecock tells TALKERS that, as rumored, his nationally syndicated program will move its San Diego base to the PM drive slot at crosstown KFMB beginning in the new year.  Rick Roberts currently hosts the PM drive show at KFMB and there’s no announcement from the Midwest Television-owned station on his status.  Hedgecock is excited about the move and states, “KFMB offers me the TV connection and, with their new 8.2 cable station, the simulcast that will be available (probably March) for all digital devices.”

Clear Channel’s Sports KJR, Seattle Expands to FM.  Clear Channel drops country on KNBQ-FM, Seattle and begins a simulcast of sports KJR.  CC expects the move to improve the station’s geographic reach in the metro – not to mention the younger demos listening to FM.  KJR PD Rich Moore says, “This is an extremely exciting day for our brand, clients and listeners.  It has always been our goal to deliver the most compelling and entertaining sports talk to the Puget Sound region.  We will increase our coverage and will now broadcast KJR in crystal-clear FM, providing more fans our unique local content with a Louder Sports Voice.”

Longtime KDKA, Pittsburgh Talk Host Perry Marshall Passes Away.  KDKA, Pittsburgh program director Marshall Adams tells TALKERS legendary KDKA talk personality Perry Marshall passed away at age 86 after suffering a heart attack while on a cruise several weeks ago from which he never recovered.  “Perry was an institution in local radio, hosting the ‘Marshall’s Office’ overnight talk show for 25 years on KDKA, in addition to work on stations WWSW, WTAE, WJAS, WEEP, KQV and WIND Chicago…I think we all agree a big piece of Pittsburgh radio history died today with him.”

Friday, November 4, 2011

| November 4, 2011

 

Clear Channel Announces New “Brand Management” Team; Talk Programmers Darryl Parks and Ken Charles Named to Management Roles.  The company’s new “brand management team” consists of a brand manager and a brand coordinator for each of the 11 format categories.  Darryl Parks – longtime programmer at WLW, Cincinnati and recently promoted to vice president for news/talk operations – is named brand manager.  Clear Channel Miami-based Ken Charles assumes the brand coordinator role.  The company says these managers serve as the in-house format experts, “The team will help manage the highly effective Premium Choice Network, which imports and exports programming innovation and excellence from region to region, market to market and station to station providing the highest quality research, talent and programming otherwise unavailable.  The team will also be available to consult with select stations and to assist Clear Channel’s senior vice presidents of programming as needed throughout the country, and will gather and share format-specific content, information and resources throughout the field.”

CBS Radio’s Q3 Revenue Flat.  The radio division of CBS Corporation is reporting flat revenue for the third quarter of 2011 compared to the same quarter in 2010.  The company says in a statement, “CBS Radio revenues were flat compared to the same prior-year period, also reflecting lower political spending, offset by growth in domestic auto, retail and financial services.”  Chief financial officer Joe Ianniello says, for the fourth quarter of this year, the radio division is pacing up in the single digits which matches the third quarter increase offset only by the loss of political advertising.

Salem Communications Reports 6.8% Q3 Revenue Increase.  Compared to the same quarter last year, Salem Communications is reporting third quarter income of $54.9 million – a 6.8% increase.  In a conference call, CEO Ed Atsinger stated he’s pleased with the radio division’s performance which provided $44.8 million of the quarterly income at an increase of 3% over the year prior.

Saga Communications Revenue Essentially Flat in Q3.  With net operating revenue down 1% and net income up 3.9% for the third quarter of this year compared to the same period one year ago, Saga Communications reports the quarter was basically flat.  During a conference call, CEO Ed Christian noted that the company was able to pay down $13 million in debt during the third quarter.

Radio Christmas Special to Benefit Fisher House Foundation.  “Great radio for a great cause.”  That’s how Fisher House Foundation describes its innovative Christmas special, “The Gift,” which is being produced by Bloomquist Media in conjunction with Cumulus Media.  The three-hour radio tribute to America’s warriors and their families revolves around the compelling and uplifting stories of three service members who picked up the burden of defending our country after 9/11, suffered serious wounds and have returned to live happy productive lives – thanks in no small part to the love and support of their families.  Among those profiled is Army infantryman Matt Zajac, who has returned to college, rock climbing and scuba diving after losing both legs in Iraq.  Zajac’s father spent 19 straight months at his son’s side as he recovered.  “The Gift,” which is hosted by KGO, San Francisco personality Gil Gross, also features insight from two past Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and former CBS reporter Kimberly Dozier, who was nearly killed in a car-bombing in Iraq and has seen firsthand the courage and resilience of our wounded warriors and military families.  “The Gift” is more than just compelling holiday programming.  By airing the show, stations will help raise the profile of Fisher House, which provides no-cost housing and other services to the families of wounded warriors while they recover at military and VA hospitals.  “The Gift” is made available on barter in exchange for Fisher House PSAs that will air in the week after Christmas – the biggest time of the year for charitable giving.  For more information on “The Gift,” click here http://marketing.rnsales.com/thegift/gift.html

CNN Retools Morning Programming; New Anchors and Producer Aboard.  CNN is announcing its plans for the morning shows on the cable news/talk channel.  Shannon High is leaving her position with NBC’s Peacock Productions to become producer of CNN’s new morning shows and Soledad O’Brien returns to mornings anchoring the 7:00 am to 9:00 am program.  That’s preceded by the new 5:00 am to 7:00 am program co-anchored by Ashleigh Banfield and Zoraida Sambolin – the latter coming to national cable from WMAQ-TV, Chicago.  The new morning programming is expected to debut early in 2012.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Premiere Networks’ “America Now with Andy Dean” is added live in the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot to the lineup at Cox Media Group’s WOKV, Jacksonville…..Genesis Communications Network’s Josh Tolley adds KMET, Banning, California and WDKM, Adams, Wisconsin…..“Both Sides Now,” hosted by Mark Green and featuring Arianna Huffington and Mary Matalin, is added to the 9:00 pm Saturday slot at Buckley’s WOR, New York.

‘OWS’ Movement Top News/Talk Radio Topic for Week of October 31 – November 4.  The continuing ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement in cities around the nation stays in the top spot on the Talkers TenTM chart as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio in America for the second consecutive week.  The Talkers TenTM is published every Friday at Talkers.com and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  Landing at #2 this week was the 2012 presidential race and the allegations of harassment against Herman Cain.  At #3 was the Obama jobs bill and following up at #4 was the euro zone stability.  To see the entire chart, click the banner below.

 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

| November 3, 2011

Clear Channel Gets iHeartRadio into Select 2012 Toyota Vehicles.  Toyota calls it “Premium HDD Navigation with EntuneTM” and the multi-media system is only available in select 2012 Camry and Prius v models but it’s another step in putting internet-based programming into terrestrial radio’s last stronghold – the automobile.  Clear Channel Digital president Brian Lakamp says, “One of the exciting things about iHeartRadio’s presence into two of Toyota’s newest models is that it affords us another way to deliver on our promise to be wherever our listeners are with the programming and services they want and expect — and millions of them drive Camrys, America’s best-selling car, and Prius vehicles, the world’s best-selling hybrid car.  It makes perfect sense that Clear Channel would partner with Toyota to include iHeartRadio, the leading digital radio service, in these vehicles.”

WABC, New York Acting PD Says No Programming Changes Confirmed.  With the departure of program director Laurie Cantillo, assistant program director/web program director Chuck Armstrong is the acting PD.  He tells the New York Daily NewsDavid Hinckley that there are no confirmed plans to make any programming changes to WABC in the wake of Cumulus’ takeover of the station and the recent staff changes.  Cantillo made a concerted effort to bring live and local programming to WABC in evenings and on weekends.  Chicago-based Erich “Mancow” Muller did a live Sunday program on WABC and his program was cancelled.  Armstrong tells the paper, “We have a very strong lineup now.  Even with the syndicated programs, enough are based here that we have a good local sense.”

Appeals Court Rules Against FCC in Janet Jackson Case.  Yes, the 2004 Super Bowl Halftime Show case – in which some viewers saw a fraction of a second of nudity – is still in the courts.  Yesterday, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled again that the FCC was wrong to fine CBS $550,000 concluding that the agency was changing its policy without warning in issuing the fine.  The U.S. Supreme Court had ordered a review of the case but Circuit Judge Marjorie Rendell wrote, “An agency may not apply a policy to penalize conduct that occurred before the policy was announced.”  The FCC has argued that CBS was tipped by producers that Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake were planning something surprising and therefore knew of a situation that could be problematic.

Walkin’ the Walk.  KIDO, Boise morning drive host Kevin Miller (pictured at left here) is living in a homeless shelter this week to raise awareness and to encourage donations to the Boise Rescue Mission.  He tells TALKERS, “We’re doing the show live everyday plus blogging and multi daily videos.  Our purpose is to show the positive side of the staff and volunteers who take care of the homeless without government funding.  We’ve had a ton of folks come down to donate cash and turkeys.”  Miller says that, like all the other residents of the shelter, he has tasks he must do every day and you see him working in the kitchen in this photo.

CRC Broadcasting to Buy California Radio Stations.  Scottsdale, Arizona-based CRC Broadcasting – owner of business/finance talk KFNN, Phoenix – announces it is forming a California company called CRC Media West, LLC and is buying sports KXPS,  Palm Springs from Morris Communications for $250,000 and a construction permit for KPSF at 1200 on the AM dial from Either Mining Corporation for $75,000.  CRC founder and president Ron Cohen says he put KFNN, Phoenix on the air in 1988 “as the nation’s first radio station programmed exclusively for business, economic and investment-related topics.”  Cohen intends to debut KPSF as “Money 1200” when the construction process is complete and plans to continue operating KXPS as a sports outlet.

Cox Media Group Hawaii GM Mike Kelly Retires.  After 26 years working in the same market, Cox Media Group Hawaii general manager Mike Kelly announces he’ll retire at the end of the year, although he’ll stay with the company on a consulting basis into 2012.  CMG Group VP Jay O’Connor says, “It’s rare these days in broadcasting to find an individual who has been committed to and served a location for 26 consecutive years.  Over that time Mike has led our group through tremendous industry change, including the influx of FM signals in the 80s, local marketing agreements (LMA), Duopoly, consolidation in the 90s and early 2000s, and the great recession of the last few years.”  CMG Hawaii operates six stations.  A search for Kelly’s successor is on.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

| November 1, 2011

WABC, New York Program Director Laurie Cantillo Resigns. There are few details about Laurie Cantillo’s exit from WABC, New York where she’s been program director since 2008. Cantillo tells TALKERS, “It’s been a privilege to work with my friends at this heritage radio station and I’m looking forward to my next stop on the road.” Whether Cantillo left on her own or was “forced to resign,” by her new Cumulus corporate bosses, she’s following a wise strategy of being gracious and positive. No word on a replacement for Cantillo yet.

Doug McIntyre Interviewed on TALKERS TV. Cumulus Media syndicated talk star Doug McIntyre is the subject of an exclusive interview conducted by TALKERS special features correspondent Mike Kinosian at the recent groundbreaking Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum. In it McIntyre discusses a number of changes he sees happening in talk radio, most notably a move by news/talk hosts away from hyper-partisanship. He describes the move toward the independent middle as a “trend-let” since it really is just showing signs of getting started. You can see this interview now in the TALKERS TV box on the right side of this page.

John Rosso Exits Position with Cumulus. John Rosso has been with the syndication arm of the company since 1995 when it was ABC Radio Networks in various capacities. He was named president of Citadel Media Networks in 2009 and joined the Cumulus family with the acquisition of Citadel by Cumulus. Rosso sent a memo to his staff congratulating them on their success making the syndication arm profitable and stated he has discussed the possibility of consulting with Cumulus in the future.

Valerie Blackburn Takes on General Manager Role at KFWB, Los Angeles. Valerie Blackburn, who serves as the controller for CBS Radio’s six station Los Angeles cluster, is named general manager for the news/talk station that was formally transferred to the KFWB Asset Trust yesterday. KFWB has been moved to the trust while up for sale due to CBS Radio’s ownership of the maximum allowed number stations in the Los Angeles market. Blackburn says, “This is an incredible opportunity as KFWB continues to show growth. With the great talent of our news teams, Dave Ramsey, Les Brown and Bob McCormick, and assets like Clippers basketball and our lifestyle programming, I’m confident we will continue to build upon the momentum shown in the latest ratings released today.”

Clear Channel Los Angeles Names Andrew Jeffries Operations Manager. The Los Angeles cluster of Clear Channel stations has a new operations manager in Andrew Jeffries. Jeffries has been head of AC formats for 104.3 MYFM and KOST-FM at the cluster since 2008. Market manager Greg Ashlock says, “Andrew is a wildly talented programmer with a solutions-oriented mindset. His diverse experience across multiple formats will serve him well as he interacts with our cluster of top ranked stations in Los Angeles.”

Media Personality Danny Bonaduce to Host AM Drive at KZOK-FM, Seattle. The longtime television and radio star takes his pop culture radio broadcasting skills to CBS Radio’s classic rock KZOK-FM, Seattle beginning November 14. Danny Bonaduce lost his position in Philadelphia at rock WYSP-FM, when the station became a simulcast of sister sports WIP. KZOK-FM PD Carey Curelop says, “We’re excited the next leg of Danny Bonaduce’s very interesting journey through life is taking him to Seattle. Danny’s experiences as a public figure from a very young age means he has a perspective on life unlike anyone else. Through the good and the bad, nothing Danny ever does is boring. Folks in the Puget Sound are in for a terrifically entertaining show.”

WHO, Des Moines Host Simon Conway Goes to College. Actually, Simon Conway goes to several colleges on a tour of schools in the region. Today (11/1) his show is broadcast live from Drake University in Des Moines where, in front of a live audience, he will debate with two college Republicans and Democrats. “These students are our future leaders, but they are also talk radio’s future audience. It makes sense to engage them in the debate right now.” Conway’s show will emanate from Iowa State University on November 15 and, although the dates aren’t yet confirmed, the show will also be coming from the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa before the month is out.

Ringing the NASDAQ Bell. Dial Global staffers pose for a photo as company executives prepare to ring the opening bell at the NASDAQ yesterday (10/31). The merged companies Dial Global and Westwood One began trading on the NASDAQ yesterday as DIAL. Dial Global co-CEOs Spencer Brown, David Landau and Ken Williams, along with Dial Global’s chairman of the board of directors Neal Schore, rang the bell to begin the day’s trading.

2012 Presidential Race, ‘OWS’ Movement, Euro Zone Stability and Syrian Nukes Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/31). The GOP candidates for president in 2012, the ongoing ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement, troubles with the Euro Zone’s debt solution and new questions about Syria’s nuclear ambitions were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, October 31, 2011

| October 31, 2011

Severe Nor’easter Cuts Power to Millions in Northeast; Radio’s Response to Disaster a Mixed Bag.  Many TALKERS readers are aware that the bulk of our editorial staff is based in Springfield, Massachusetts and we are smack dab in the middle of the massive power outages and road closures so many in the Northeast are dealing with in the wake of the Nor’easter that dumped more than a foot of wet snow on the region on Saturday.  As the region digs out, deals with the tremendous amount of downed trees, and utilities crews work to get power back TALKERS editors have been able to do a preliminary analysis of how radio handled the storm and its aftermath.  There were stations that did an exemplary job providing round-the-clock information about road closures, dangerous areas due to fallen trees and power outages.  We must recognize CBS Radio’s WTIC, Hartford whose morning drive host Ray Dunaway manned the overnight Saturday on the air with meteorologist Joe Furey keeping listeners up to date.  However, there were many stations and station clusters that – due to manpower issues, in many cases caused by previous decisions to cut staff – were able to provide little local content and defaulted to syndicated programming.  It is times like these that it becomes tragically clear that – apart from some shining examples of excellent public service – most radio groups have surrendered radio’s position as the first destination for news and information in exchange for bottom-line efficiency.

WWNC, Asheville, North Carolina Talk Host Matt Mittan Exits.  The popular local Asheville, North Carolina talk host may not have been part of the mandated staff cuts Clear Channel handed down last week.  The Asheville Citizen-Times indicates it appears Matt Mittan left of his own accord, citing a statement from CC Asheville to that effect.  Mittan is tight-lipped about his exit but Citizen-Times writer Jason Sandford hints it might have been done in protest of the cuts that affected his show and other co-workers in the cluster.  Sandford goes on to compliment Mittan for the excellent work he’s done in the past handling public emergency situations that affected the station’s listenership.

Rush Limbaugh to Play Town Hall in NYC.  Premiere Networks superstar Rush Limbaugh makes no bones about his disdain for New York City’s politician and public policies but he’s returning to the Big Apple for a live event on November 29 at the historic Town Hall on West 43rd Street.  Dubbed “Rush Live,” tickets go on sale today at 12:00 noon for the 90-minute show.  A press release from Cumulus’ WABC, New York states, “The last time El Rushbo visited his New York audience was in 2005 to a sold out crowd.  While Rush isn’t bashful about criticizing New York politicians and tax policies, he jokes that he’s going ‘behind enemy lines’ because he loves his New York listeners and his flagship station.”

Radio One to Put All-News FM on in Houston.  This is the first time Radio One has programmed an all-news format and they’re doing it with the help of consultant Ed Shane.  Radio One will drop the gospel music on KROI-FM at 92.1 and debut “News 92 FM” around November 14.  The station has reportedly hired a stable of news pros including the former crosstown KTRH morning news team of J.P. Pritchard and Lana HughesDenise Bishop has been tapped to serve as the news director.

WCBS, New York Inks the Yankees to One-Year Extension.  MLB’s New York Yankees will remain on all-news WCBS, New York for the 2012 season.  The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick speculates that the one-year deal gives the two sides time to explore a long-term deal but he also states that the Yankees’ $14 million-per-season pact has not been profitable.  Whether CBS Radio views Yankees baseball as a cume-building loss leader or a drain on its finances may be answered if and when the two sides agree to a longer extension or the Yankees broadcasts come onto the open market.

WWRL, New York Adds LGBT-Targeted Programming.  Access.1 Communications’ WWRL, New York adds programming called “Equality Pride Radio” to serve the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgendered community.  The programming airs from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight and debuts this evening (10/31) following the Al Sharpton program.  WWRL general manager Adriane Gaines states, “WWRL 1600 has created ‘Equality Pride Radio,’ a media platform where the LGBT community will convey information and be celebrated for their ideas, energy and accomplishments.  We take great pride in the culturally diverse audience we serve with our current liberal talk line-up.  With the addition of ‘Equality Pride Radio,’ we further reinforce ‘RL’s format of informative and entertaining radio.”

Jim Ladd to Host “Farewell Show” on KFI, Los Angeles.  Southern California radio legend Jim Ladd will get a chance to say goodbye to his many listeners this Saturday afternoon from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm – although not on Cumulus classic rock KLOS-FM from which he was let go last week.  Ladd tells the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan that KFI program director Robin Bertolucci asked him to do the show to give him the chance to say goodbye.  Regarding Ladd’s one-time show, Bertolucci says, “Jim is synonymous with great music and Southern California and I know a lot of his friends and fans want to connect with him.  Jim is a legend and it will be an honor to hear him rock KFI.”

Clear Channel Promotes Keriann Worley to Market Manager for Melbourne, Florida and the Keys.  Keriann Worley moves from her general sales manager post at Clear Channel’s West Palm Beach cluster to become market manager for the company’s Melbourne, Florida and Florida Keys markets.  Worley says, “I’m really honored that Hartley Atkins and Sherri Sanchez chose me to lead our Melbourne and Florida Keys markets.  It’s an exciting time to work at Clear Channel, and we have a tremendous opportunity to expand our market share with integrated solutions and iHeartRadio.  I am fortunate to lead a team that will embrace and utilize all our resources for continued growth and development.”

Friday, October 28, 2011

| October 28, 2011

Foreground Nature of Talk Radio and Emotional Intensity of Content Make it Desirable Environment for Advertisers.  Continuing with a fall tradition, the latest numbers have been compiled for TALKERS magazine’s annual release of its Talk Radio Research ProjectTM (TRRP).  Primarily designed as an in-house vehicle to provide the TALKERS editorial staff with intelligence about the national talk radio audience as a resource for general background and to help answer basic FAQs from the press (such as “What kind of people listen to talk radio?”), the publication began honoring requests from radio stations to share this information.  It has proven extremely valuable as a supplemental sales tool that provides a thumbnail qualitative overview of several leading spoken word formats’ audience profiles including demographics, political orientation, income, education and consumer tastes, habits and disposition.  These include the mainstay news/talk format as well as the recent additions of the sports talk and pop culture talk genres.  The latest figures indicate that news/talk radio maintains its historic position as the most reliable attraction to draw adult audiences and inspire them to action in all audio broadcast media.  So do the relatively recent additions of sports talk radio and pop culture talk radio (with several specific differences indigenous to these formats).  These spoken-word genres also deliver attentive and highly desirable audiences that consume foreground radio with passion and attention.  The people who regularly listen to news/talk, sports talk and pop culture talk radio are more than listeners –– they are radio fans!  In a nutshell, the foreground nature of commercial spoken word radio indicates that sponsors receive approximately three times the bang per advertising buck on talk radio than they do on music radio.  Other interesting aspects of this illuminating information include: sports talk listeners are culturally (and ethnically) diverse.  Caucasians constitute only slightly more than half the sports talk audience (51%) followed by African Americans (26%) and Hispanics (19%) making it one of the most multi-ethnic/racial buys in radio.  This is a crucially important aspect/asset of the sports talk audience that for the most part is lost on advertising agencies and radio sales departments which are still glued to selling demos as opposed to mindsets.  The ethnic diversity of sports talk radio’s listenership is a rare and valuable quality of the format that sets it apart from the rest of radio!  And if advertisers wish to reach “younger demos” via the power of spoken word, they simply need to turn to popular culture talk radio (still erroneously referred to as “shock jock” radio) strewn across the FM dial as talkative morning shows on otherwise music-formatted stations.  See the complete data here.

 Clear Channel Announces National Programming Platforms Personnel.  In concert with its latest round of company-wide layoffs of staff at the station level, Clear Channel introduces the corporate staff that is charged with creating programming for multiple platforms for its stations that is ostensibly designed to “improve local programming in smaller markets by using assets and resources in those markets that their competitors don’t have.”  Recently, Tom Poleman and Darren Davis were brought aboard to serve as president of national programming platforms and SVP/GM of national programming platforms, respectively.  They will be joined by the following staff: Guy Zapoleon, vice president of digital music programming; Dennis Clark, vice president of talent development; Zena Burns, VP of digital programming platforms; Darren Pfeffer, VP of music & entertainment marketing; Alissa Pollack, EVP of integrated music marketing at Mediabase, expands her role to include national programming platforms; Marissa Morris is manager, artist relations and promotions; and Melissa Webb, senior director at National Programming Platforms.  Tom Poleman states, “Clear Channel already has unmatched scale and promotional power.  Our competitive advantage is strengthened by our mission to be everywhere our listeners are with the products and services they want and expect.  Now, I’m proud to say that we’ve assembled an equally unmatched group of talent to lead our new National Programming Platforms division.  This division will enable us to be even more relevant and effective for our audiences, partners and advertisers, and build our national scale and reach by putting together products, events and relationships that nobody else can.”

KABC, Los Angeles PD Jack Silver to Program Sister KLOS-FM.  With the recent firing of KLOS-FM, Los Angeles PD Bob Buchmann, KABC PD Jack Silver tells Orange County Register columnist Gary Lycan he’s been named PD of KLOS-FM.  There’s no indication the assignment of duties to Silver is temporary but the rumors are starting in Los Angeles that changes may be coming to the classic rock outlet.  Those kinds of rumors often start after a round of firings but AM drive team Mark & Brian are very successful and although the production directors for both stations were also let go, it may just be that Cumulus has other plans for saving money in the production department at the stations.

Talk Host Michael Smerconish Signs with WYD Media; Renews Distribution and Sales Deal with Dial Global.  The effect on affiliates – as well as listeners – should not be noticed at all as talk host Michael Smerconish’s program is now produced by Ron Hartenbaum’s WYD Media Management while Dial Global continues to handle affiliate sales and ad sales for the show.  Smerconish says, “We’re entering the most fascinating election cycle ever.  And yet, despite the intense media coverage, there remains a void when it comes to clear thinking and independent viewpoints.  I’ve been charting a course to fulfill that role.  I know Ron Hartenbaum shares my outlook.  For several months we’ve been speaking about the need to grow the talk radio tent by offering a forum not predicated on ideology or anger, and now we’ve decided to pursue that goal together.  I intend to rely heavily on his vast experience over the span of many years.  Industry-wide he is known for being smart, engaging and personable, and I think big things are about to happen to us both.”

Dave Ramsey Clears 500th Affiliate; KTTH, Seattle.  Independently syndicated financial talker Dave Ramsey announces his national program has hit the 500-affilliate mark with a deal to air on Bonneville International’s KTTH, Seattle from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am daily.  Vice president of affiliate relations Suzanne Simms says, “The fact that the Dave Ramsey show now has 500 radio affiliates indicates the staying power that we have and have been touting all along.  The loyalty of our listeners coupled with the growth of our brand on a national level has contributed to this milestone.  The future bodes well for the Dave Ramsey show!”  Ramsey is currently touring the country promoting is latest book, EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches (Howard Books 2011).

Lars Larson Flips Seattle Affiliates.  Compass Media Networks’ Portland, Oregon-based Lars Larson show moves to a new affiliate in Seattle.  As Dave Ramsey takes over the late-night slot at Bonneville’s KTTH, Seattle, Larson’s program takes up residence in the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm time slot at Inspiration Media’s “Freedom 1590” – KLFE, Seattle.  Station general manager Andrew Adams says, “All of us at ‘Freedom 1590’ are excited to have Lars as part of the station. Lars Larson has a larger-than-life persona in Seattle and we are already getting positive listener response to the move.”

On the Campaign Trail.  Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher is pictured here to the left of presidential candidate and former U.S. Congressman Newt Gingrich (at center) as he’s interviewed on the campaign trail.  Gallagher is “embedding” with several GOP candidates during the run-up to the primary elections in order to give his listeners a taste of the campaign trail.  Gallagher broadcast “from the road” in Cedar Rapids, Iowa yesterday (10/27) and will host Gingrich for a “live-from-the-campaign-trail” interview at High Cotton Restaurant in upstate South Carolina today on his program.  Salem Radio Network VP/news and talk programming Tom Tradup says, “Mike Gallagher’s unique, up-close-and-personal approach to the candidates will give SRN listeners a better understanding about the people seeking to become the next President of the United States.  This will go beyond sound bites and photo ops and take our audience behind the scenes for a perspective unavailable anywhere else in American broadcasting.”

Alan Stock to Emcee Las Vegas Veteran’s Day Parade.  For the past 12 years, Las Vegas talk show host Alan Stock has emceed the nation’s second largest Veteran’s Day parade in Sin City and he’ll do it again this year on Friday, November 11.  Stock hosts the late-morning show on Beasley’s news/talk KDWN, a corporate sponsor of the parade.

OWS Movement Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 24-28.  The ongoing ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement is number one on the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories heard on news/talk radio this week, according to ongoing research from Talkers.  The Talkers TenTM chart is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  Coming in at #2 this week is the 2012 presidential race.  At #3 is the Euro Zone stability/financial markets activity and following up at #4 is the Obama Administration’s economic policy.  View the entire chart by clicking on the banner below.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

| October 27, 2011

Harsh Reality of Today’s Radio Business Forces Clear Channel’s Major “Reduction in Force.”  This latest round of firings is focused on Clear Channel’s small and medium markets and is affecting primarily on-air and programming staff.  Internally, Clear Channel stations are broken down into three categories: the majors, the mids and the small markets – the latter sometimes referred to by insiders humorously as the stations that are for sale.  But in this economy those small stations – many of which were purchased in the late 1990s as the then-Randy Michaels-led radio group was buying stations at an astounding pace – are for all intents and purposes under water.  The company analyzed each station in an hour-by-hour fashion to determine how much it costs to program and execute the product versus how much it is making.  Programs and hosts whose shows are in the black are likely to be retained; those in the red are those about whom you are reading today.  The company is not describing this strategy as cost cutting but leveraging the quality programming it owns and distributing it to the small – or regional – markets.  The reality is that Clear Channel has a lot of debt it must pay off and – not unlike the homeowner who bought before the housing bubble burst and owes more than his house is worth – must make drastic cuts and hope that it can continue to engage listeners and serve advertisers with “Premium Choice” programming from afar and managers doing more jobs within the same work day.  This situation is unique to neither Clear Channel nor the radio business.  The following list of people working in news or at talk stations for CC are reported to have been let go.  This list is not complete and doesn’t include those from music-formatted stations.  Reports indicate several hundred employees will be out when all is said and done.  The list: KFAB, Omaha PM drive host Tom Becka; Clear Channel Hudson Valley news director Cameron Hendrix; WERC, Birmingham, Alabama news director Mark Evans; WHAM, Rochester news anchor Beth Adams; WSYR-AM/FM, Syracuse talk host Jim Reith; KWTX, Waco, Texas PD and morning host Shane Warner; WJBO, Baton Rouge, Louisiana mid-morning talk host Clarence Buggs; and WGY and WOFX, Albany assistant PD Steve Bleznyk.

Cumulus Los Angeles Cuts Include Legendary Jock Jim Ladd.  So far the cuts at Cumulus’ Los Angeles stations have not affected any air talent at news/talk KABC.  Production directors at both KABC and KLOS-FM – Howard Hoffman and Mike Sherry, respectively – are out as is KLOS-FM program director Bob Buchmann.  But Southern California radio fans are shocked to find legendary jock Jim Ladd – ironically, the subject of Tom Petty’s “The Last DJ” – has been sacked.  The 63-year-old Ladd received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005.

Lionel Expands Role at New York’s WPIX-TV. What began as his doing a short form commentary running once per day on the evening news has expanded to multiple roles and appearances for the iconoclastic talk radio veteran and podcasting pioneer on the Tribune Company-owned Channel 11 in the Big Apple. Lionel has just debuted his weekday “5@5” segment on the daily newscast in addition to being featured on PIX 11 seven nights a week with fresh video commentary on its 10:00 pm newscast. Lionel, an ex-prosecutor and criminal defense trial lawyer, has also inaugurated his “Lionel’s Law School” segment. Plus, he appears weekly as PIX 11’s resident “News Decoder” on its Monday morning news broadcast and at pix11.com. Lionel’s commentaries are also broadcast nationally through Tribune Company’s affiliates including KPLR 11 in St. Louis. Lionel, a regular TALKERS columnist, has gained national attention as a talk “media station” groundbreaker with his lionelmedia.com.

Rusty Humphries Named National Radio Spokesman for Vietnam Memorial Effort.  The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is spearheading a campaign to build a multi-media education center adjacent to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC.  In addition to his duties as national radio spokesman, Talk Radio Network host Rusty Humphries is leading the “Veterans Day Challenge” to raise funds for the center.  He will also serve as emcee at a gala benefit at the Capital Hilton in Washington, DC on November 11 that will feature actor Tom Selleck.  Humphries’ father died in Vietnam in 1969 when Rusty was just three years old.  Humphries says, “Every time I’m in Washington, I visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, gaze up at my father’s name on Panel 34W, Line 84, and wish that I’d have gotten to know the man whose name appears there, my father.  The Education Center at the Wall will provide a living memorial to these heroes – not just the men and women like my dad whose names appear on the Wall, but all veterans, from Bunker Hill to the present day.”

Tom Marr’s Contract at WCBM Extended Again.  Veteran talk show host Tom Marr of WCBM, Baltimore has been given another extension of his unique contract until 2015.  Marr first signed a no-cut deal with the independently owned heritage station in September of 1977.  It was then extended until 2009.  Marr reached an agreement on July 3, 2008 with the late owner of WCBM, Nick Mangione, Sr., to extend through 2012.  Now Marr has signed an extension with WCMB president Mary C. Mangione that will run until 2015.  Upon signing the deal, WCBM VP Nick Mangione, Jr. tells TALKERS, “Ownership is very pleased to have Tom’s commitment to remain on WCBM’s team.  Tom performs a public service that is informative, beneficial, and entertaining for our listeners.”  Marr comments, “I am delighted that my career will end with WCBM and the Mangione Family Enterprises.”  Pictured here at the signing ceremony are: WCBM VP Nick Mangione, Jr. (standing); seated (l-r) are Mangione Family Enterprise attorney Joe LaVerghettaMangione Family Enterprise president Mary Mangione, and host Tom Marr.

Clear Channel Adds FM Simulcast to WVOC, Columbia, South Carolina.  The victim this time is urban WXBT-FM at 100.1 and, of course, the entire staff of the music station as CC gives news/talk WVOC an FM presence.

Ric Edelman’s “Truth About Money” Public TV Show Heads into Season Two.  Author, broadcaster and financial advisor Ric Edelman will produce a second season of his public TV show that shares the same name as his nationally syndicated talk radio show – “The Truth About Money with Ric Edelman.”  Season one hit public TV stations across the country earlier this spring and season two will be ready for air in April of next year.  Executive producer Russ Hodge says, “Public Television executives and viewers around the country were so taken with the solid financial guidance they received from Ric, they wholeheartedly endorsed the notion of our coming back for another season.  It’s no secret Ric is recognized as one of America’s top financial advisors, and in these uncertain economic times, viewers gravitate to his expertise and know-how.”

USRN Offers Kim Iversen Show in New Format.  “Your Time with Kim Iversen” has been available in syndication via United Stations Radio Networks talk-intensive music show for Hot AC stations since 2007.  Now, after partnering with Entercom – the company that created the show – to bring it into wider syndication earlier this year, USRN announces that show is available as a live feed or a “build your own show” format.  Beginning November 13, the live feed will be a two-hour, personality-driven talk show airing live from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET.  Stations wishing to continue airing music in the show can use the show segments around music to build a five-hour program.  USRN EVP of programming Andy Denemark says, “Kim is an amazing talent, but we found that programmers had varied opinions on how they wanted her show to air.  Some wanted strictly a talk block, others were happy with the Hot AC show and still others wanted her content mixed with CHR or alternative music.  Now, every affiliate gets their wish!”

ABC Digital Clients Now Get News from ABC Sports.  Stations subscribing to ABC Digital for news feeds for their websites now can get sports content from ABC Sports, according to ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve Jones.  “By adding sports headlines to our lineup of ABC Digital choices, we’re enhancing our radio customers’ websites at no additional cost to them.  Several of our partners have expressed an interest in adding a recognized sports brand and we’re pleased to make ABC Sports – a name steeped in tradition – a new category they can add to their station’s website with the simple click of a button.”  ABC Digital service was recently launched by ABC News Radio and Cumulus Media Networks.  The ready-to-post online content is produced and updated 24 hours a day and includes breaking news, exclusive stories, photos and graphics. Stations also have the option to brand the service locally, monetizing the content through local sponsorships.

Barb Yoder Moves into GM Seat at Salem Communications’ Tampa Cluster.  A series of management promotions at Salem Communications means a promotion for Tampa and Sarasota cluster general sales manager Barb Yoder and an open GSM post at the stations.  Yoder moves into the GM post as former GM Chris Gould moves to the corporate level in the vice president of program development position based in Camarillo, California.  Gould replaces Ron Walters who is promoted to senior vice president, ministry relations.

Affiliate Relations Pro Rich Rapiti Victim of Dial Global-Westwood One Merger.  New York-based affiliate relations pro Rich Rapiti lost his position as part of the consolidation of Dial Global and Westwood One.  He’s available for his next challenge and can be reached at rapiti@comcast.net or 973-809-3049.

Former Cap Cities/ABC COO Dan Burke Passes Away at 82.  Dan Burke and partner Tom Murphy are credited with building Cap Cities into a major broadcasting force and buying ABC to create Cap Cities/ABC.  The two ran the company for a decade before selling it to Disney in 1996.  Salem Radio Network VP of news/talk programming Tom Tradup remembers working for Burke when he was GM of WLS, Chicago.  “I will always remember Burke’s steely eyes and his tough questioning (especially at this time of the year during budgeting!) as we s-l-o-w-l-y turned WLS from the 23rd station in Chicago and put it on track to become a top-five news/talk giant.  He was firm but fair, and if people in Chicago enjoy WLS in 2011…they probably can thank Dan Burke more than anyone else for showing patience and for keeping others within the company from panicking as WLS grew and ultimately prospered in the #3 radio market in America.”

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

| October 26, 2011

Westwood One Founder Norm Pattiz Describes Beginnings of Westwood One. During his special remarks at last week’s historic Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum (10/20), Westwood One founder (and current CEO of Courtside Entertainment) Norm Pattiz shared the story of the early days of the ground breaking syndication firm that he started in one office in Westwood back in the late 1970s.  Telling the packed house of talk media professionals that he launched the company with “$10,000 and a working wife,” Pattiz describes how his background as a well-connected former L.A. television sales manager served to bring sponsorships to packaged radio programs — thus shifting the network radio business model from a direct cash to barter system and opening the door to the tremendous growth that followed.  He talks about Westwood One’s first show being an urban radio cross-over Motown special stating, “Being a television guy and not a radio guy, I didn’t know the rules of radio and if you don’t know the rules, you can’t be limited by them.”  Pattiz’s speech can be seen exclusively on TALKERS TV. If you are using a mobile device, click here to view the video.

Cumulus Budget Ax Chops Through Chicago.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports Cumulus corporate dictates have taken a toll on the producer staff at news/talk WLS, Chicago and the programming and airstaff at sister oldies WLS-FM.  Afternoon drive “Roe & Roeper” executive producer Jock Hedblade and “Don Wade & Roma” morning drive show producer Zack Christenson both have been let go along with WLS-FM program director Michael LaCrosse and Chris Papendick, producer of the Greg Brown PM drive show on WLS-FM.  The other change includes operations director Drew Hayes remaining solely responsible for WLS and no longer overseeing WMAL, Washington as he has for the past several years.  Bill Hess was recently promoted to PD at WMAL.  Hayes’ oversight began when WMAL was without a programmer.

Q3 Reports:  Arbitron Up; Journal’s Radio Bright Spot in Down Quarter.  Arbitron reports third quarter revenue up 6.1% over the same period one year ago and states it expects revenue for the entire year to be up somewhere between 6% and 8%.  During a conference call, Arbitron CEO Bill Kerr noted that the company’s completion of the rollout of the Portable People Meter in the 48 top radio markets helped the company achieve its goals.  He also gave an update on the status of its Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement-sponsored project to develop a “single-source panel” for measuring TV, internet and mobile usage.  Kerr says they expect to present their work to CIMM during the fourth quarter.  At Journal Communications, while TV and publishing are languishing, radio has been pretty good to the Milwaukee-based company.  Radio was up 2.7% year-over-year while the company posted a 4.4% loss overall for the quarter.  Flagship news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee posted record ratings under the PPM as the station benefitted from the success of the NFL’s Green Bay Packers, MLB’s Brewers and the recall elections across the state that brought in political dollars in a non-election year.

Michigan Sports Talker Sean Baligian Exits Clear Channel.  The “Sean and Terp Show” aired in PM drive on Clear Channel’s WDFN, Detroit and was simulcast to Grand Rapids on WMAX-FM.  With Baligian’s departure from the company, Ryan Terpstra continues to host the afternoon show on WMAX-FM, Grand Rapids and WDFN will feature a series of guest hosts as the station seeks its next permanent host for the daypart.  Via Facebook, Baligian says farewell to fans and hopes to announce a new gig soon.  The program was originally “Sean, Terp and Killer” and recently lost co-host Tom “Killer” Kowalski who died unexpectedly in August of heart failure at age 51.

Journal Names J. Pat Miller Promotion and Marketing Manager in Milwaukee.  Journal Broadcast Group’s Milwaukee operations announces classic hits WLWK-FM midday host and program director J. Pat Miller moves to a new position as promotion and marketing manager for the company’s WLWK-FM and news/talk WTMJ.  Journal states Miller “will work with the radio sales departments and programming teams to coordinate promotions, events and interactive platforms and will assume day-to-day oversight of the stations’ promotions department, as well.”  Programmer John Roberts joins Journal to handle programming at WLWK-FM.

Town Hall Takes on Los Angeles.  KRLA, Los Angeles’ sold out NTR event on Saturday evening (10/22) pulled a crowd of 1,400 into the Alex Theatre in Glendale, California.  The Salem Communications station produced the annual “Town Hall” event that featured Salem Radio Network talk show hosts plus special guests.  Pictured here (from l-r) are: SRN’s Mike Gallagher, columnist, author and pundit Ann Coulter, SRN’s Dennis Prager, KDWN, Las Vegas AM drive host Heidi Harris (who served as moderator for the program), and SRN personality Michael Medved.  The panelists batted around the current hot news stories including the 2012 presidential race.  They also fielded questions from the audience.

‘Occupy Wall Street,’ 2012 Presidential Race, Libya/Middle East Stability and Euro Zone Economic Tension Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/25).  The ongoing ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement, the GOP candidates for president, political strife in Libya and the Middle East and the shaky state of the Euro Zone’s economy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

| October 25, 2011

Downsizing at Dial Global/Westwood One; Rumors of Cuts at Clear Channel.  The merger of Dial Global and Westwood One was bound to come with the elimination of some positions as both companies do pretty much the same thing: produce, affiliate and rep radio programs.  There are no confirmed firings but the word on the street is that about 40 of the now-combined companies’ 600 employees were let go from its New York, Los Angeles and Dallas offices.  Meanwhile at Clear Channel, the grapevine is producing chatter that layoffs in medium and small markets are coming based on the company’s hour-by-hour breakout of cost-versus-revenue in the programming departments of its stations.  This could mean some local talent getting pink-slipped in favor of the company’s “Premium Content” – a euphemism for in-house syndication.

NPR’s Michele Norris Takes Leave from “All Things Considered” So Husband Can Work for Obama Campaign.  After a couple of high-profile PR gaffes, NPR is out front on this one.  Michele Norris’ husband Broderick Johnson accepted a senior advisory role with President Obama’s re-election campaign and in a quick response, Norris and NPR are agreeing that Norris will take leave from her co-host role on “All Things Considered” after Friday’s broadcast.  Norris will continue to work for NPR producing segments and features but will not be involved in any type of election coverage.  In a statement, Norris says, “This has all happened very quickly, but working closely with NPR management, we’ve been able to make a plan that serves the show, honors the integrity of our news organization and is best for me professionally and personally.  I will certainly miss hosting, but I will remain part of the ATC team and I look forward to contributing to our show and NPR in new and exciting ways.”

Clear Channel Names John Ivey Senior VP of Programming; Robin Bertolucci Extends PD Responsibilities.  Vice president of programming for the Los Angeles cluster John Ivey is promoted to SVP of programming for Clear Channel radio.  Ivey has been PD at CHR KIIS-FM, Los Angeles since 2001 and in his new position he’ll assist with CHR programming and talent development across the entire CC Radio operation.  At the same time, KFI program director  Robin Bertolucci re-signs with the company to continue leading the mega-successful news/talk station and its sister progressive talk outlet KTLK into the future.  Prior to joining Clear Channel Los Angeles, Bertolucci programmed the AM stations at Clear Channel’s Denver cluster.  CC Radio CEO John Hogan says, “For the past two decades, John has made innumerable contributions to our company’s success, especially over the last 10 years in Los Angeles at KIIS-FM, and Robin has led the iconic KFI brand to unprecedented audience growth and engagement.  As a company, we put a priority on recognizing our high performers with advancement opportunities to grow and develop their careers and we are pleased to have great programming management talent like John and Robin renew their commitment to the Clear Channel team.”

Syndicated Lex & Terry Morning Hosts Sue Seven Bridges WJXL, Jacksonville.  This one’s a contract dispute.  United Stations Radio Networks-syndicated morning hosts Lex Staley and Terry Jaymes were brought aboard Seven Bridges’ sports talk WJXL, Jacksonville in April of this year with what Lex & Terry say was a three-year deal.  Their show was pulled from the air on October 10.  The details of the contract aren’t clear but the duo have hired Jacksonville attorney John M. Phillips to handle the dispute.  Ironically, Phillips hosted a legal call-in show on WJXL called “Sports & Courts.”  Phillips states, “For months I have preached accountability on my radio show.  Whether someone is injured at the hands of another…or someone wants to simply get out of a contract because of personal preference, the law enforces accountability.  WJXL is accountable to Lex & Terry and hopefully this matter will be resolved soon.”  Syndication contracts are usually pretty clear in stating the terms for ending the deal so it’ll be interesting to see what transpires in this case.

Clear Channel Promotes American Express’ Second Annual “Small Business Saturday” Initiative.  The “Small Business Saturday” initiative is a campaign spearheaded by American Express to promote shopping at local, independent stores and businesses on Saturday, November 26.  A six-point promotional campaign begins tomorrow and runs through November 26 that includes: a public interest campaign across Clear Channel’s 850 radio stations, on-air advocacy by popular station personalities, the telling of local small business success stories, promotion via social media and digital integration, local advisory board activities and community events in local markets along with initiative partner Women Impacting Public Policy.  Clear Channel Radio CEO John Hogan states, “Our goal is to stimulate small business sales on the biggest shopping weekend of the year by reminding listeners of the impact on their communities.  The campaign is also intended to give a bigger voice to small business owners.”

Townsquare Media’s New Jersey 101.5 and WJLK-FM, Asbury Park Host “Home Cooking” NTR Event.  The two Townsquare Media stations are presenting the “Taste of Home Cooking Show” in conjunction with the popular food and entertaining magazine Taste of Home at Branches Catering in West Long Branch, New Jersey on November 1.  Listeners can buy tickets – including a VIP ticket for $50 per person – to sample dishes and get cooking tips from the magazine’s culinary specialist Eric Villegas who will demonstrate 10 new recipes.  VIP ticket holders will get a meet and greet with Villegas and an autographed copy of his new book, Taste of Home Christmas Cookies & Candy.

WWJ, Detroit Hosts “Resurrecting Detroit” Business Breakfast.  This one’s not an NTR event but a community goodwill promotion.  CBS Radio’s WWJ, Detroit produces the Great Lakes Innovation and Technology Report written by the station’s technology editor Matt Roush.  The station has developed a program called the WWJ/GLITR UnWIRED coffee series and this particular breakfast is part of that.  The event will be held at Lawrence Technological University’s ULTC Gallery on Thursday, October 27.  Roush will moderate a panel discussion by local business leaders on ways to improve the city of Detroit and strengthen its business core.  WWJ station manager Pete Kowalski says, “WWJ remains committed to Detroit and we’re proud to present another great business breakfast.  This panel, with such stellar business leaders, will be discussing some truly innovative and transforming ideas for the city.  It promises to be a very exciting and inspiring event.”

WTVN, Columbus “Morning Monarch” Bob Conners to Retire.  Bob Conners has hosted the morning drive show on Clear Channel’s news/talk WTVN, Columbus since 1978 – he began working at the station in 1964.  Now, Conners announces he’ll retire on November 30.  He tells his listeners he’s honored and humbled to have been able to do what he loves for so long.  WTVN program director Mike Elliott tells WBNS-TV, “Bob Conners has been a staple in Columbus radio for a very long time; consider the mold broken.  Bob always said, ‘Radio has been good to me,’ but Bob Conners was good for radio.”  Connors has been at it in AM drive so long his colleagues nicknamed him the “morning monarch.”  WTVN Saturday morning host Joel Riley will take over the AM drive show on an interim basis in December.

Monday, October 24, 2011

| October 24, 2011

Larry King Still Going Strong, Plans New Radio and TV Projects.  In an exclusive TALKERS TV interview conducted with Bill Moran of PodJockey.com, broadcasting legend and CNN icon Larry King says he doesn’t feel his age and has no intention of retiring anytime in the near future.  Speaking on camera during the noisy breakfast gathering (10/20) at the recent Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum moments before he delivered the conference’s opening speech, King states that in addition to the four TV specials per year for three years that he has contracted to do for CNN, he is on the verge of announcing (within several days or weeks) his return to doing an LA-based national radio show and the launch of yet another television project.  He says that he was comfortable with “Larry King Live” coming to an end this past December stating he knows “it was time” but he does miss having the opportunity to cover the big news stories that break on a daily basis such as the killing of Osama bin Laden.  He says he thinks the job being done by present day news media is “mixed” – that the public is provided “massive information” faster than ever due to modern technology, however, in an effort to get it out quickly the media “doesn’t always get it right.”  He regrets that there isn’t an Edward R. Murrow or Walter Cronkite working in today’s news broadcasting.  He points out that there is “a lot of conjecture” in today’s news reporting.  He proudly quotes Johnny Depp who recently described him as being “a throwback” stating “I never had an agenda.”  King professes his love of baseball, currently serves as a little league coach, and is a member of one of the investment groups bidding on taking ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Immediately following the interview, King opened up the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum with a well-received address in which he discussed his career – past, present and future.  To watch and hear Larry King’s conversation with Bill Moran see the TALKERS TV box on the right side of this page.  Larry King’s opening address at the LARTF and detailed coverage (stories, photos and videos) of the panels and speeches at the groundbreaking conference will be coming to this website shortly.

Dial Global Completes Merger with Westwood One.  Friday, Dial Global announced it has completed its merger with Westwood One in a stock-for-stock transaction that sees the WON ticker symbol go away and, beginning today (10/24), the company is listed on the NASDAQ as DIAL.  Dial Global is being led by the management team of Spencer Brown, David Landau and Ken Williams.  The newly formed company includes all of the sports programming Westwood One has been known for over the years as well as the original talk content plus the entertainment programming and 24/7 music formats.  It also includes the Dial Global sales rep department and continues to partner with the now separate company Triton DigitalNeal Schore serves as chairman of the newly constituted board of directors and states, “Dial Global has always been focused on serving the ever-evolving needs of the radio industry and this transaction will expand the programming and service offerings sought by both radio stations and advertisers.  On behalf of the board, I want to thank Rod Sherwood and the entire Westwood One team, whose tremendous efforts have helped make this transaction possible.”  Dial Global’s majority ownership is Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. and The Gores Group, LLC which own 44% and 31% of the common shares, respectively.

Cumulus Hammer Falls in New York.  News of the corporate dictate hit the industry grapevine late Friday that there have reportedly been about 15 job cuts at New York stations WABC and WPLJ-FM, though at this time only a few are known for sure.  Mancow Muller’s New York-only weekend show on news/talk WABC is gone from the lineup.  It’s believed that a number of the positions cut were administrative posts but it’s also reported that Jill Vitale (a.k.a Flirty Flipper – former Sean Hannity producer) was let go from her digital media post.  So far Cumulus corporate officers have visited Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York as they undertake the process of determining where duplicative positions exit and where money is being spent that they believe is just not necessary.

Deepak Chopra Launches Online Radio Show with Cinchcast and BlogTalkRadio.  Cinchcast, a company that provides solutions for businesses and consumers to create, share, measure and monetize audio content, today announced that Deepak Chopra has launched a new online radio show leveraging Cinchcast’s audio publishing and management platform and its online radio network, BlogTalkRadio.com. Deepak Chopra, a leading expert in the fields of spirituality and alternative medicine and New York Times best-selling author in both the fiction and non-fiction categories, has created Deepak Chopra Radio to provide an online forum for compelling and thought provoking conversations on success, love, sexuality and relationships, well-being and spirituality.  According to Chopra, “Cinchcast’s technology and the BlogTalkRadio network are enabling me to create my own media platform.  The simplicity of broadcasting using only a phone enables me to bring together thought leaders from across the globe from the worlds of spirituality, science and politics to create and share a dialogue on today’s most important topics.”  Alan Levy, CEO of Cinchcast and founder of BlogTalkRadio tells TALKERS, “That’s the beauty of our technology, it turns the phone into a publishing platform making it easy for individuals and businesses to bring important conversations to life. We’re thrilled to have Deepak Chopra on the BlogTalkRadio network.”  Deepak Chopra Radio is now available at BlogTalkRadio.com, DeepakChopra.com and on iTunes. Cinchcast was developed by BlogTalkRadio to enable businesses with a simple and powerful solution to produce and share original audio content.  Headquartered in New York City, Cinchcast powers audio creation and publishing for companies such as United Business Media, Business Insider, SAP and Sears, and is the technology behind BlogTalkRadio. For more information, visit www.cinchcast.com.

KGMZ, San Francisco Names Mitch Moss Producer.  Entercom’s 95.7 The Game – KGMZ-FM, San Francisco – announces former KBAD, Las Vegas program director Mitch Moss is the new producer for its midday “The Wheelhouse with John Lund” program.

Timing Is Everything. On the night following the death of Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi, WNDB, Daytona Beach talk host Marc Bernier (l) presented Fox News national security correspondent and author Catherine Herridge (r) in a live town hall-style event to discuss the next threats against the U.S. and her new book, The Next Wave: On the Hunt for al Qaeda’s American Recruits (Crown Forum 2011).  Bernier tells TALKERS this was the 67th event in the long-running interview series.  It featured a book signing as well.

Paul Finebaum and Staff Visit Iowa Fan.  Birmingham, Alabama-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum – in the news a lot recently for his legal battle with the former Citadel Broadcasting and WJOX-FM – and some of his staff visited 33-year-old Robert Fisher on Friday, October 21.  Fisher, who suffers from cerebral palsy, is a huge college football fan and a regular caller to Finebaum’s show that he’s able to hear via Sirius XM.  Finebaum, call screener Tammy Hethcox, and frequent Finebaum guest and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Larry Lemak flew from Alabama to Iowa in Lemak’s private plane to surprise Fisher at his parent’s home.  Finebaum tells the Cedar Rapids Courier that though a few hateful callers have taken issue with him putting Fisher on the air, most of the show’s fans have embraced Fisher.  Hethcox and Fisher have struck up a friendship as a result of his calls and Fisher was thrilled to meet Hethcox and argue in person over their respective love of college football rivals Alabama and Auburn.  Finebaum says, “Everybody loves the guy on the show.  He’s known from coast to coast.”

 

Friday, October 21, 2011

| October 21, 2011

Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum Rallies So Cal Talk Media Industry.  Some 150 attendees and 30 speakers gathered yesterday (10/20) at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood to participate in the highly anticipated first-time event to discuss the state and future of talk broadcasting in Southern California.  Presented by TALKERS magazine in association with the Los Angeles Press Club, the power-packed, free event drew representatives from leading stations in Los Angeles, San Diego, Palm Springs, Ventura, Fresno and even markets outside the region including San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Tucson and more.  Formats represented included news/talk, sports talk, all news, public radio, pop culture talk and a number of music radio personalities stopped by as well, adding to the color of a dynamic event described by many as a “grand slam home run.”  Solo speakers included Larry King, Norm Pattiz, Bill Handel, Don Barrett, Holland Cooke, Michael Harrison and a wide variety of leading program directors, operations managers, and air personalities discussing the gamut of issues facing the region specifically and industry in general.  There were technical displays presented by Comrex Corporation and C. Crane Company and a lavish breakfast and lunch for the attendees provided by the Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Company.  According to TALKERS VP/managing editor Kevin Casey, “There has never been a radio conference quite like this — geared to a specific region, short and to the point, and absolutely free ­­– perfectly suited to these challenging times.  All of us at TALKERS are extremely gratified by the outstanding turnout and positive response generated by this memorable six hour event.”  There will be extensive coverage of this historic talk industry happening in the form of stories, pictures and video coming to Talkers.com in the coming days and weeks.  Stay tuned!

Former KABC GM Bob Moore Launches Sales Consultancy.  Former KABC/KLOS-FM, Los Angeles president and general manager Bob Moore, who recently left his longtime position at the heritage Citadel outlets as a result of the company’s acquisition by Cumulus Media, attended the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum yesterday where he announced the launch of his new sales consultancy, Moore Money, LLC as well as TheVoicesNetwork.com.  Moore, a highly respected talk media management figure in Los Angeles for years, can be contacted at bobmoore27@gmail.com or 213-219-9856.

NPR Blamed for Firing of Documentary Program Host Over Protest Activities.  The problem is, according to NPR, it had nothing to do with the firing of “Soundprint” host Lisa Simeone.  Simeone was a freelancer for Soundprint Media Company which produces the “Soundprint” documentary program.  Simeone also hosts the WDAV-FM, Charlotte, North Carolina-produced “World of Opera” program from which she has not been let go.  That station states it has no problem with Simeone’s activities and her work with its opera program.  However, Soundprint Media distributes the “Soundprint” show to about 35 public radio stations via NPR and the company says it adopted NPR’s employee code for journalists because people associate it with NPR.  Simeone’s work with the Washington, DC-based protest group “October 2011” apparently violated that code.  NPR is making it a point to state that it had no contact with Soundprint management over Simeone’s relationship with the company.  Clearly, NPR wants to avoid another Juan Williams-like public relations problem.

Carl Anderson Named Clear Channel SVP of Programming for West Region.  Carl Anderson was most recently the senior vice president for programming and distribution at Citadel Media. He first joined Citadel as vice president of music programming in 2006.  Now he’s in charge of the programming for Clear Channel’s West Region stations and CEO John Hogan says, “We are thrilled to have Carl join the Clear Channel team.  He joins a growing number of the best and brightest programmers, on-air talent and researchers on Clear Channel’s incredible team.”

WWJ, Detroit Presents “Michigan Money Summit” Live Event.  CBS Radio’s all-news WWJ, Detroit is presenting a free program on Saturday, October 29 moderated by WWJ-TV business editor Murray Feldman titled “Michigan Money Summit.”  The program consists of three panel discussions featuring local financial and real estate experts designed to answer tough financial questions to which Detroit-area listeners are seeking answers.  WWJ program director Robert Davidek says, “The stock market has had some of its worst and best weeks lately and we feel this is a great opportunity for people to gain valuable insight from experts about what to do.  And we’ll also be talking about the economy for the coming year.”

Talkers Affiliate Roundup.  Dial Global’s Neal Boortz picks up WCNF, Dothan, Alabama…..Talk Radio Network’s “Watchdog on Wall Street with Chris Markowski” adds KMZQ, Las Vegas…..Dial Global talk host Thom Hartmann’s program is added to KTOX, Needles, California…..Dial Global’s Clark Howard is now heard on WNDA, Louisville and KTOX, Needles, California…..Dial Global’s Michael Smerconish picks up KROF, Lafayette, Louisiana…..“America’s Healthcare Advocate” with Cary Hall is added to the program schedule at KFRM, Salina, Kansas.

The GOP Debate/2012 Presidential Race Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 17-21.  The GOP candidates debate in Las Vegas and the 2012 presidential race landed at the top of the Talkers TenTM chart for this week.  Coming in at #2 on the chart is the ‘Occupy’ movement followed by the death of Moammar Qaddafi at #3.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the most-talked-about stories and people on news/talk radio during the course of the week according to ongoing research from Talkers and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  To view the entire chart, click on the banner below.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

| October 20, 2011

MSNBC’s Ed Schultz Moves to the 8:00 pm Hour.  MSNBC brass are stirring up the pot in an attempt to boost its ratings by flipping “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” and Ed Schultz’s “The Ed Show.”  Schultz will air at 8:00 pm ET and O’Donnell at 10:00 pm.  MSNBC president Phil Griffin believes Schultz’s style is a better fit for the 8:00 pm hour and a better lead-in to its highest-rated show, “The Rachel Maddow Show.”  Although O’Donnell’s program has more than doubled the ratings over CNN competitor Anderson Cooper, O’Donnell’s ratings in the 25-54 demo have dropped over the last month while Schultz’s have increased.  Griffin states, “As the name implies, ‘The Last Word’ belongs at the conclusion of our programming day, thoughtfully wrapping up the day’s political dialogue.  Ed’s passionate voice is a perfect kick-off to primetime at 8:00 pm.”  The changes take place Monday, October 24.

KQTH-FM, Tucson Morning Host Jon Justice Gets ‘Best of Tucson’ Honors.  This is the second year in a row that morning drive host Jon Justice has been honored with the ‘Best Radio Personality’ award and the third that he’s nabbed the ‘Best Talk Show Host’ award in the readers poll from Tucson Weekly.  KQTH-FM program director Ryan McCreddan says of the honors, “Congratulations to Jon Justice on his wins in the Tucson Weekly’s 2011 Best of Tucson!  Jon and ‘104.1 The Truth’ have some of the most loyal listeners in town and it shows over and over again with accolades like this.”

Fox Business Network Receives Orders to Differentiate from Fox News Channel.  It appears that Fox Business Network programming has been drifting toward the same appearance as its sister cable news/talker Fox News Channel.  So much so that EVP of programming Kevin Magee issued a memo to FBN staff to stop imitating FNC, according to Reuters.  Magee confirmed the memo to Reuters and told the news service that Fox Business has to continue to focus its programming on business-related issues and find its own voice.  In the memo Magee wrote, “The more we make FBN look like FNC the more of a disservice we do to ourselves.  If we give the audience a choice between FNC and the almost-FNC, they will choose FNC every time.  Earnings, taxes, jobs etc give us PLENTY to chew on.”  Fox Business has not fared well in the ratings compared to its closest competitor CNBC.

KOA, Denver Adds Broncos QB Tim Tebow to its Football Coverage.  The newest Denver Broncos starting quarterback will make four weekly appearances on KOA during this football season.  Tim Tebow will be heard on the station’s Broncos coverage Monday mornings, Friday afternoons (with former Bronco Dave Logan) on the game day pre-game show (taped, obviously) and live from the locker room after each game.

WGN, Chicago’s Dean Richards Hosts Annual Breast Cancer Special.  For the past 14 years, WGN-TV entertainment reporter and WGN-AM weekend talk host Dean Richards has been hosting a special breast cancer program during Breast Cancer Awareness Month and he’ll do it again on Saturday, October 23 from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm.  The live, three-hour special will examine where we are in the fight against breast cancer and feature a panel of the nation’s leading medical experts, moving survivor stories, resources for cancer patients, the latest research and more.

What Happens in Vegas…  The GOP primary race has been a boon for news/talk radio with all of the colorful characters and talk radio’s unique relationship with the candidates.  For Dial Global syndicated talk host Neal Boortz, his relationship with candidate Newt Gingrich is personal – Gingrich has subbed as a host of his program (as has candidate Hermain Cain).  Pictured here is Boortz (r) and Gingrich (l) at the most recent GOP debate in Las Vegas.

 

2012 Presidential Race/GOP Debate Aftermath, ‘Occupy’ Movement, Obama Jobs Bill and Exotic Animal Owner Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/19).  The aftermath of the Tuesday evening GOP candidates debate and the 2012 presidential election , the ‘Occupy’ movement, the battle over the Obama Administration’s jobs bill and the bizarre case of the Ohio exotic animal owner’s suicide and unleashing of dozens of wild animals were among the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

| October 18, 2011

Los Angeles Regional Talk Seminar Set For Thursday.  It is being described as “a new kind of industry gathering” — accessible, short and free (including breakfast and lunch) with a power-packed line up of speakers and agenda that could rival the largest of national conferences.  Set for Thursday, October 20th between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm, the one-day event, being presented by TALKERS in association with the Los Angeles Press Club, promises to bring together a diverse variety of factions, formats and companies comprising the Southern California talk radio community and tackle a number of the hottest issues facing the industry today.  Filled to capacity within two weeks of being announced, the event will feature 30 leading industry speakers including solo presentations by the legendary Larry King of CNN; Westwood One founder Norm Pattiz of Courtside Entertainment; Don Barrett of LARadio.com; consultant Holland Cooke of McVay/Cook Media; and a special guest appearance by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.  The keynote speaker is KFI morning titan Bill Handel.  Eight major Southern California talk radio station programmers will be on panels including Cliff Albert of KOGO, San Diego; Robin Bertolucci of KFI, Los Angeles; Skip Essick of KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; Don Martin of KLAC, Los Angeles and Fox Sports Radio;  John McMullen of Dessert Radio Group, Palm Springs; Jack Silver of KABC, Los Angeles; David Sniff of KFMB, San Diego; and Chuck Tyler of KRLA/KKLA, Los Angeles.   Some of the radio personalities speaking will include Andy Dean of Premiere Networks; LaFern Cusack of SCBA and ESPN, Los Angeles; Charles Feldman of KNX, Los Angeles; Roger Hedgecock of KOGO, San Diego and Radio America; Tom Leykis of the New Normal;  Stephanie Miller of KTLK, Los Angeles and Dial Global; Doug McIntyre of KABC, Los Angeles and Cumulus Media;  Patt Morrison of KPCC-FM, Los Angeles and Southern California Public Radio;  John Phillips of KABC, Los Angeles; Josefa Salinas of Hot 92.3 FM, Los Angeles and Doug Stephan of Stephan Multimedia.  Rounding out the line-up of presenters and moderators are Jason Insalaco of KFI, Los Angeles; Bill Moran of Bill Moran and Associates; and Kevin Casey, Mike Kinosian and Michael Harrison of TALKERS.  There will be displays of the latest remote broadcasting equipment by Comrex Corporation and the latest radios by C. Crane Company.  Although the event has reached maximum registration capacity there will be ample opportunity for broadcasters around the country to see and hear much of the event’s activities in the form of stories, photos and videos at Talkers.com shortly after the event.  For the complete LARTF agenda, click here.

Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio to Distribute WNYC, New York Programs.  Hot on the heels of the launch of its new iHeartRadio, Clear Channel announces it will begin making three of the more popular public radio talk programs from WNYC, New York available to users of the mobile phone app.  “WNYC News and Conversation” will feature “The Brian Lehrer Show,” “The Leonard Lopate Show” and the WNYC-Public Radio International production “The Takeaway.”  New York Public Radio vice president and chief digital officer Thomas Hjelm says, “We are delighted that Clear Channel will offer a selection of programming from WNYC on iHeartRadio.  We are committed to making our programming available to the widest possible audience.  Given iHeartRadio’s affinity with talk radio fans, it is an effective platform to extend the reach of our programming among news/talk listeners across the country.”

Sean Hannity Announces Holiday Concert Series to Benefit Troops.  Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel superstar Sean Hannity is hosting an exclusive four-city concert series to benefit the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund.  “Sean Hannity’s Holiday Concert Salute to the Troops” includes three-time Grammy winner Michael W. Smith, Oliver North and John Ondrasik of the group Five for Fighting, and more.  Concerts will take place at New York City’s famed Hammerstein Ballroom on November 27; Pittsburgh’s Byham Theater on December 2; Washington, D.C.’s Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill on December 3; and Atlanta’s Cobb Energy Centre on December 18.  Hannity says, “At this time of year it is so important that we not only recognize the sacrifices the men and women of our Armed Forces make, but we also take time out to honor them and pay tribute to the freedoms we’ve been given through their service to our country.  These concerts are a great avenue for us to be able to come together as families, enjoy the holiday season and celebrate our troops. I’m honored to have some extremely talented friends join me on stage for what is sure to be a series of very special nights honoring some very special people.”  The concert series is being produced by Townsquare Media and benefits Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund which goes to the education of children of U.S. service members who have been killed or permanently disabled in an operational mission or training accident.

Chicago Legend Steve Dahl Returns to Windy City Airwaves on WJJG.  Since exiting CBS Radio’s WJMK-FM, Chicago, Steve Dahl has been producing podcasts available at his own dahl.com website.  Now, the “Dahlcast” will be part of the lineup at WJJG, Chicago.  WJJG general manager Matt Dubiel says, “Steve Dahl is a radio genius and I couldn’t be more pleased to be working with him and his team.  This is a huge victory for Chicago radio listeners.  These are Steve’s listeners.  I’d be delighted if 1530 WJJG reacquaints Dahl fans with Steve and perhaps introduces new fans.  That’s what radio is supposed to do!  And if you like Steve on 1530, you’ll LOVE getting the Dahlcast Daily.”  WJJG recently added Talk Radio Network’s Michael Savage and Mancow to its daily program schedule.

WBAL, Baltimore Midday Host Rom Smith Has Cancer.  Ron Smith announced to his listeners today (10/17) that he went to the doctor after experiencing abdominal pain about two weeks ago and tests revealed a tumor on his pancreas.  His doctor said the cancer has spread to his liver and lungs.  When Smith asked his doctor if it was worth trying to fight, he replied that is was and he’s seen worse cases successfully treated.  Smith will undergo chemotherapy and will remain on the air as long as he is able.  The 69-year-old Smith has been at WBAL for more than a quarter century.

Cumulus Promotes Two.  Stu Gorlick moves from his post as vice president of sales at the company’s Poughkeepsie-based Hudson Valley station group to VP/market manager for the Danbury market.  Aaron Hyland leaves his position as VP/market manger at the company’s Fort Walton Beach, Florida to become vice president and market manager at the Hudson Valley station group.

 

Monday, October 17, 2011

| October 17, 2011

KGO and KSFO, San Francisco VP of Programming Jack Swanson and KSFO PD Ken Berry Exit Posts.  In an e-mail to his staff, longtime KGO and KSFO, San Francisco programmer Jack Swanson bids adieu to the stations he’s worked at for as long as most people can remember.  In the memo, Swanson – one of the most decorated talk programming veterans in the industry — praises his staff saying, “This has been a tremendous run.  Cumulus is inheriting the greatest staff in the radio industry.  To a person, they are all rock stars.”  Ken Berry served as news director at KGO until taking the KSFO PD post in December of last year.  Both are obviously victims of the Cumulus/Citadel consolidation ax.  Swanson says he plans to take some time off and come back to the industry refreshed and recharged ready for his next opportunity.  Meanwhile, the anxiety continues to grow among former Citadel employees currently on the Cumulus payroll as whispers of the dreaded word “bloodbath” grow louder in the hallways of the company.  Last week, longtime KABC/KLOS, Los Angeles president/general manager Bob Moore was let go in similar fashion feeding into the mounting fear.  Whenever there is consolidation between two recently merged companies there are going to be duplicative positions that common business sense indicates will require job cuts.  However, it’s also obvious to many observers that some people are being ousted primarily because they are making more money than their new employer deems practical to pay.  As the folding of Citadel into Cumulus takes place, TALKERS hears reports that some former Citadel station staffers find themselves meeting with Cumulus managers to basically “interview” for the positions they currently hold.  Obviously, this is the downside of what can happen in business – especially during tough economic times and is basically unavoidable. However, because of the size of this recent acquisition and the number of stations and personnel it involves, the present state of affairs at Cumulus is significantly contributing to the jitters being felt throughout the radio industry.  Stay tuned.

Liberal Activist Group Goes After Baseball for its Affiliation with Glenn Beck.  The group Americans United for Change is firing up a campaign to convince Major League Baseball to stop providing Glenn Beck with the video streaming platform to bring his GBTV to the internet.  It’s not common knowledge that Major League Baseball Advanced Media provides backend infrastructure, white label services, mobile app services and operational support to not only Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts but to ESPN3, March Madness on Demand, Tiger Woods.com among others and, of course, its own MLB.com.  Through its “Strike Out Beck” campaign, AUFC hopes to convince MLB Advanced Media to drop its affiliation with the talk media personality it claims is a purveyor of “unhinged anti-government conspiracies, fear mongering for personal gain, sexist remarks, and race baiting.”

Doug McIntyre Ruffles Political Feathers in Hard Hitting LA Op-Ed Piece.  Nationally syndicated Cumulus Media radio talk show host Doug McIntyre – also a regular columnist in L.A.’s second largest daily, the Daily News — wrote a page one editorial in yesterday’s Sunday edition blasting the Los Angeles city government as being “occupied by corruption.”  Tying into his premise that the protestors participating in the “Occupy Los Angeles” demonstrations are naively being “duped” by local politicians that he claims are merely acting like supporters of the movement but actually embody all the negative qualities against which the demonstrators are protesting.  McIntyre writes, “The Los Angeles City Council embodies everything that’s wrong with government in modern America. Our city is Exhibit A when it comes to special interest money tainting good government.”  Read McIntyre’s full column here.  McIntyre, whose “Red Eye Radio” late night program emanates from KABC, Los Angeles, will be a member of the panel titled “The Issues Facing Southern California: Challenges and Solutions” at the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum this Thursday, October 20.  Moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison the panel also includes Roger Hedgecock of KOGO, San Diego and Radio America; Stephanie Miller of KTLK, Los Angeles and Dial Global; investigative reporter Charles Feldman of KNX, Los Angeles; Patt Morrison of KPCC-FM, Los Angeles and Southern California Public Radio; John Phillips of KABC, Los Angeles; Josefa Salinas of Hot 92.3 FM, Los Angeles; and LaFern Cusack of the Southern California Broadcasters Association and ESPN, Los Angeles.  Considering the volatile nature of the issues facing the region which include immigration, economics, transportation, the environment and a slew of others, and the diversity of the panelists participating – the sparks will really fly!  For complete details about the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum click here.

Entercom’s WMC, Memphis Flips to Sports.  Speculation about the company’s plans for “Country Legends” WMC began last week when Entercom announced Premiere NetworksJim Rome show would move from sister sports WMFS-AM/FM to WMC.  Now, Entercom will manage two sports talk stations in the market it calls the Memphis Entercom Sports Network – WMFS-AM/FM affiliated with ESPN Radio and producing live and local programming in the afternoons (Eric Hasseltine followed by the Gary Parrish Show with Geoff Calkins) and WMC affiliated with Fox Sports Radio Network and carrying Jim Rome.

Actress Janine Turner Begins Daily Syndicated Talk Show.  The Texas-born actress has been hosting a two-hour weekend talk show on Cumulus’ KLIF, Dallas since 2010.  Now, Janine Turner announces she’s beginning a daily program – “The Janine Turner Show – Where is Reason?” – that airs live at 2:00 pm ET and is available in national syndication via her eponymous radio network.  The show can also be heard online at janineturner.com.  Turner says, “I’m thrilled that the Janine Turner show has received such a positive response both from the critics and the listeners.  I think what makes my show really unique is that it features thought-provoking analysis about ‘Where is Reason?’ in our country, plus an inquisitive and conversational forum with a great lineup of guests – everyone from presidential candidates and authors to actors and constitutional scholars. And I absolutely love the opportunity to include callers from the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex and across the nation into the ‘Where is Reason’ dialogue.”

 

Friday, October 14, 2011

| October 14, 2011

Merlin Media CEO Randy Michaels Arrested on Drunken Driving Charge.  In Ohio it’s called OVI – operating a vehicle impaired – and that’s the charge Middletown, Ohio police are filing against Randy Michaels after he was found by police in his car stuck in mud and water in a construction zone around 2:00 am on Friday (10/14).  Authorities noticed the smell of alcohol on Michael’s breath and administered field tests which authorities say he failed.  Michaels refused a Breathalyzer test.  He is expected to be in Middletown Court today.  Middletown is about 35 miles north of the Cincinnati area where Michaels reportedly maintains a residence.  The unconventional – some have called it “frat house” – workplace culture Michaels encourages is not surprising to many Clear Channel employees whom Michaels led for many years as president of that company’s radio division, but it ruffled the feathers of many Tribune Company employees when Michaels served as its CEO.  It remains to be seen if this incident will affect Michaels’ relationship with Merlin Media’s investors, especially in light of the mounting criticism facing the recent launch of the FM news operations in New York and Chicago and their disappointing early ratings.

Hispanic Group Pickets KFI, Los Angeles in Protest of John & Ken.  The National Hispanic Media Coalition held a press conference and peaceful protest outside the studios of Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles yesterday.  About 35 people picketed the station’s Olive Street facilities in Burbank.  The group tells L.A. Weekly that “at least three major advertisers are pulling out of the John & Ken show” and though the advertisers were not named there, the Los Angeles Times reports the activists say Verizon and AT&T have pulled advertising from the show and grocery chains Vons and Ralphs have agreed not to advertise on the show in the future.  The protest and boycott were triggered after immigrant advocate Jorge-Mario Cabrera claimed to have received some 400 phone calls from John & Ken listeners after the duo gave out Cabrera’s cell number and asked listeners to tell him what they think of his support for the Dream Act which provides tuition subsidies for illegal immigrants.  Initially, Clear Channel Los Angeles management agreed to meet with Hispanic leaders to discuss the issue but the meeting was canceled after one leader demanded that John & Ken be taken off the air and CC market manager Greg Ashlock refused to acquiesce to an ultimatum.  Clear Channel did not address the issue of advertisers leaving the show but issued the following written statement, “Expressing your opinion is not a firing offense.  KFI stands behind John and Ken and their right to speak their minds — opinions shared, incidentally, by over a million California listeners each week and protected by the First Amendment.”  According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “This situation being faced by KFI in Los Angeles is a quintessential example of a whole slew of core news/talk radio concerns – special interest pressure, advertising boycotts, free speech rights, political correctness, and management resolve – all crashing together in one escalating story.  It warrants the industry’s undivided attention.”   The heated debate over illegal immigration as well as the managing of controversy in news/talk radio will be among the topics discussed at the forthcoming Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum set for October 20.

CBS Radio Reportedly Interested in Annapolis FM for All-Newser.  Rumors continue to swirl about CBS Radio’s interest in acquiring a DC-area FM – specifically Christian WFSI-FM, Annapolis – in order to put on its own FM all-news outlet in the Nation’s Capital.  WFSI-FM is owned by evangelist Harold Camping’s Family Stations, Inc.  The presence of CBS Radio Washington market manager Steve Swenson, who has a ton of experience in news having worked for years in various capacities at the company’s New York news stations WCBS and WINS, is lending credence to the rumor.

Clear Channel Promotes Brian Lekamp to President of CC Digital.   Brian Lekamp moves up from his post as EVP of digital media to the newly created position.  Lekamp’s duties include his responsibility for Clear Channel’s digital strategy – with its iHeartRadio service at the top of that — as well as the infrastructure, tools and social media integration for its local stations’ branded Internet properties.  He will also continue to work with key partners to develop cutting-edge tools and products for all of Clear Channel’s radio, media and entertainment properties.  Lekamp states, “At Clear Channel, I’ve had the opportunity to work with the best people in the business – they are smart, dedicated and focused on innovation.  The development of the new iHeartRadio was supercharged with our acquisition of Thumbplay in March and our strong integrated digital team will continue to develop new digital music products and experiences that support the iHeartRadio platform and Clear Channel’s network of radio station websites.  This is a team effort that I am honored to lead.”

CBS Radio Ups Mike Thomas to VP of Programming in Boston.  Mike Thomas has been PD at classic rock WZLX, Boston since 2006 and has programmed WBZ-FM – 98.5 The Sports Hub – since its debut in 2009.  Now, CBS Radio ups Thomas to vice president of programming for the cluster that also includes hot AC WBMX-FM, oldies WODS-FM and news WBZ.  SVP and market manager Mark Hannon says, “Since Mike’s arrival at WZLX in 2006, he has built the station into a consistent ratings powerhouse.  His launch of 98.5 The Sports Hub in 2009 has been one of the most successful in recent radio history, and the station being named ‘Sports Station of the Year’ at the 2011 NAB Marconi Radio Awards was a tremendous accomplishment.  I look forward to using his strategic approach and programming insights to impact the overall CBS Radio stable of stations in Boston.”

CC Denver Produces Successful “Battle of the Talk Show Hosts” Live Event.  The 2nd annual “Battle of the Talk Show Hosts” was produced on Thursday, October 6 by Clear Channel Denver and entertained a sold-out house at the Comedy Works Landmark in Denver.  Personalities from the three Denver talk stations – KOA, KHOW and KKZN – batted around the hot issues of the day before the live audience.  Taking part were: Steffan Tubbs and April Zesbaugh, Mike Rosen, Dave Logan, Michael Brown, John Caldara and Rick Barber from KOA; Peter Boyles, Tom Martino and Dan Caplis & Craig Silverman from KHOW; and David Sirota and Thom Hartmann from KKZN.  The event was heavily sponsored by local businesses and admission was charged.  Pictured here are progressive talk KKZN morning host David Sirota (l) and KOA midday host Mike Rosen (r).

Buckley Broadcasting’s Jennifer Buckley Named to RAB Board.  The daughter of the late Rick Buckley (once chair of the RAB board) is elected to the Radio Advertising Bureau board.  Jennifer Buckley is vice president and director of sales for WOR, New York and the WOR Radio Network.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  “Free Talk Live” adds WTRC-AM/FM, South Bend, Indiana for its brand new live Sunday evening show hosted by Mark Edge and Stephanie…..“The Career Clinic” with Maureen Anderson picks up affiliates WLRT, Lexington, Kentucky; KBJT, Fordyce, Arkansas; WKEI, Kewanee, Illinois; and KTUI, Sullivan Missouri.

2012 Presidential Race/999 Plan Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 10-14.  The GOP race for the nomination for the 2012 presidential election and Herman Cain’s ‘999 plan’ topped the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories of the week.  At #2 was the Iran assassination plot allegation.  Close behind at #3 was the ‘Occupy’ protest movement and at #4 was President Obama’s Jobs Bill.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published each Friday at Talkers.com.  To view the entire chart, click the banner below.

 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

| October 13, 2011

WOR Looking to Launch New Evening Show in 2012.  Pardon the mixed fruit metaphor, but plum talk show jobs like this don’t come up that often in the Big Apple as WOR tips TALKERS to its plans to fill 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm with a new show at the beginning of the year.  According to program director Scott Lakefield, the legendary station is completely open to all ideas as it looks to bring in someone or something new to fill that cool two-hour slice of its evening schedule.  Lakefield tells TALKERS that the timing of the move is being designed to coincide with forthcoming changes at the end of the year in the business relationship between Dial Global and Philadelphia-based talker Michael Smerconish whose syndicated program is currently in that slot. Lakefield points out that in keeping with the station’s present direction of focusing on locally-originated talent with a broad-based political/social agenda, the station would most-likely hire a non-syndicated talent such as it offers in morning drive with John Gambling and the recent addition of former New York Governor David Paterson in afternoons.  “We are very encouraged by the response we are getting with these shows and feel that the station is filling a real programming void in New York news/talk radio programming.” Meantime, in light of this development, TALKERS checked with Dial Global to ascertain the status of the syndicated Michael Smerconish program learning that the changes ahead will simply pertain to the production and ownership of the successful show and not to its continuation as a syndicated offering in the new year.  According to Dial Global vice president Amy Bolton, “It’s moving from a Dial Global-owned product to being a repped product owned by an outside producer. We hope to announce the details shortly.  But it is all good.  In essence, nothing changes as we would still handle ad sales, affiliate sales and distribution.”  Michael Smerconish is a perennial member of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred and generally recognized as not only being the leading news/talk talent in Philadelphia but one of the hottest rising stars on the national talk media scene.

Clear Channel to Restructure Management in Medium and Small Markets.  Scuttlebutt in the industry that Clear Channel’s regional managers meetings in Atlanta would reveal some sort of management reorganization plan appears to be true and, though concrete details are still few, it appears the company will be employing more regional market managers to oversee its medium and small markets.  Sources close to the story indicate that each regional market manager will oversee anywhere between 10 and 15 markets in order to give each manager less to focus on than the current system which has fewer regional vice presidents responsible for many stations.  The new setup reportedly also includes a programmer to assist each regional market manager.  What this means for local talent and local programmers remains to be seen however, it would not be unusual to see some sort of programming consolidation where management feels it can contain costs without harming the on-air product.

WTKK-FM, Boston Expands Morning Simulcast with Regional Cable News Channel.  Greater Media’s WTKK-FM, Boston shaves an hour off the Jim Braude and Margery Eagan-hosted morning drive show and adds another hour of its audio simulcast of New England Cable Network’s “NECN Morning News” program to the schedule.  The Braude and Eagan show now begins at 7:00 am.  WTKK-FM has been airing NECN’s “First Thing in the Morning” starting at 4:30 am followed by the “NECN Morning News” show from 5:00 am to 6:00 am.  Program director Grace Blazer says they added the additional hour due to positive listener response.  “Commuting New Englanders now have found a whole new way to start the day. 96.9 FM’s expanding commitment to local and breaking news, traffic, and weather followed by Jim and Margery’s perspective, live audience interaction, and real time attention to topical issues creates a listening experience not available anywhere else.  This seamless integration of content created by NECN and 96.9 FM represents the next generation of news and information delivered over multiple platforms for the benefit of listeners in a ‘right now’ world.  Greater Media Boston is proud to be a part of this innovation that will benefit its advertisers, listeners and the communities we serve.”

Monticello Media Helps Bring Concert to Region for Earthquake Benefit.  WCHV-AM/FM, Charlottesville, Virginia PD and morning drive host Joe Thomas tells TALKERS his station and sister country outlet WCYK-FM spearheaded a drive that culminated with the town of Louisa, Virginia winning a nationwide competition for a free Alan Jackson concert to benefit families whose homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed in the August 28 earthquake.  Thomas says, “It was an overwhelming response.  Since FEMA turned Governor McDonnell down, I’m glad Louisa and all of Central Virginia was able to do something to help our own.”

GOP Debate/Cain’s 999 Plan, Iran Assassination Plot Allegations, ‘Occupy’ Protests, and Obama’s Jobs Bill Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/12).  The GOP candidates debate and Herman Cain’s ‘999 plan,’ the allegations of an Iran-sponsored assassination plot, the ‘Occupy’ protests and the status of President Obama’s jobs creation legislation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Dave Ramsey’s Book Tour/Live Events Continue to Draw.  Nationally syndicated talk host Dave Ramsey’s continuing bus tour of the country to promote his latest book, EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches (Howard Books 2011), drew 750 fans to this book signing in Katy, Texas on October 7 with metro affiliate KSEV, Houston a partner in the event.  The next day, Ramsey attracted about 8,000 listeners to his “Total Money Makeover Live” program at Houston’s Reliant Arena in Houston.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

| October 12, 2011

Sirius XM Delay Broadcasts Audio Version of Rosie O’Donnell’s OWN Talk Show.  Rosie O’Donnell began a new talk show on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN cable channel on Monday (10/10).  Sirius XM announces it will air “The Rosie Show” the day after it airs on OWN at 10:00 am and 1:00 pm on its Stars channel.  Winfrey relaunched the Oprah Winfrey Network on Monday and reports on the ratings for O’Donnell’s program indicate it averaged less than half a million viewers.  The New York TimesBrian Stelter writes that in her heyday hosting a talk show a decade prior, O’Donnell’s show reached “millions.”  OWN is a project of Winfrey’s and Discovery Networks and Stelter reports O’Donnell’s program must grow in order to become profitable.

WJXL, Jacksonville Goes Local in AM Drive.  Seven Bridges-owned sports WJXL, Jacksonville bumps United Stations Radio NetworksLex & Terry from the AM drive slot and moves local hosts Jeff Prosser and Dan Hicken to the morning slot.  The station airs “XL Primetime” with Joe C and Hacker in the midday time slot previously occupied by Prosser’s and Hicken’s “Sports Final Radio.”  Syndicated Lex & Terry were once based out of Jacksonville.  Their program now emanates from Dallas.

WGN, Chicago to Air Live Remote Chicago Blackhawks Shows.  The station – flagship for Chicago Blackhawks hockey – is producing six live remote broadcasts called “Chicago Blackhawks Live” with the first one taking place at Harry Caray’s Legendary Italian Steakhouse on October 24 from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  “Sportsnight” hosts David Kaplan, Brian Noonan and Andrea Darlas host the show that is open to the public.  Special guests will be Blackhawks greats Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita as statues of the two are being unveiled outside the United Center just two days prior.

Chicagoland Station Owner Joe Gentile Passes Away.  Joseph J. Gentile was a car dealer who bought AM daytimer WKDC — licensed to suburban Elmhurst – in 1994 and changed the call letters to his initials (WJJG) in order to help promote his car business.  He found out he liked broadcasting and became the station’s morning host – a hobby he continued for years after retiring from the car business in 2003.  Gentile died Monday at age 87 of natural causes.  WJJG is operated by Chicago radio pro Matt DuBiel who serves as general manager.  The station recently announced it is adding Talk Radio Network’s “Mancow Experience” and Michael Savage shows to its lineup.

Iran Terror Plot, Obama Jobs Bill, 2012 GOP Presidential Candidates and ‘Occupy’ Protest Movement Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/11).  The Saudi ambassador assassination plot allegedly sponsored by Iran, the failure of the Obama jobs bill in the Senate, the Republican candidates for president and the ‘Occupy’ protests movement were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Running for a Good Cause.  WMAL-AM/FM, Washington morning drive hosts Brian Nehman (l) and Mary Katherine Ham (not pictured) ran the 2011 Army Ten Miler on Monday (10/10) to benefit the Fisher House Foundation.  Nehman is pictured here with Fisher House vice president Brian Gawne (r) after finishing the race.  The Fisher House Foundation provides housing for the family of military personnel so they can be near their loved ones while they are being treated for injuries suffered in combat.  To date, WMAL has raised nearly $3 million for Fisher House since 2004.

 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

| October 11, 2011

WWWN-FM, Chicago Midday Anchor Dave Williams Exits Merlin Station.  The first high-profile firing at Merlin Media’s Chicago all-newser claims veteran news and talk radio pro Dave Williams.  Numerous reports indicate Williams was let go after a station visit from Merlin Media management that included CEO Randy Michaels but not COO Walter Sabo.  Industry watchers note that there’s been near constant tweaking of the on-air sound at Merlin’s WWWN-FM, Chicago and WEMP-FM, New York but the departure of Williams has triggered a change that appears to be taking the stations away from the “lifestylish” approach to news and toward a much more traditional all-news direction.  This, according to widespread street buzz, could put Walter Sabo’s future with Merlin in doubt as he is generally recognized as the architect of the innovative direction that has marked the company’s questionable starts in both Chicago and New York.  As pointed out here last week, although industry conventional wisdom indicates that it takes time – as much as a year or more – for spoken-word upstarts to gain ratings traction (especially groundbreaking ones), today’s economically stressed environment and “ADD/PPM world” pressure for instantaneous results would likely contribute to nervous investors and the knee jerk response to make changes…especially at an extremely high-profile operation as Randy Michaels’ Merlin Media.  Thus, the “big tweak” might be morphing into a significant format change.  Meanwhile, Williams, who spent most of his career working in news and talk radio in California at such stations as KNX, KABC and KFWB in Los Angeles and KFBK in Sacramento, is looking for his next opportunity after moving from California three months ago to become part of the new Merlin station.

Westwood One’s Dennis Miller and Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly Partner for Live Shows.  The last time Bill O’Reilly did a series of live events, then-FNC employed Glenn Beck was his partner.  This time Dennis Miller – a man who is no stranger to the live stage – joins O’Reilly for the “Bolder and Fresher” tour with stops at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut; the Landmark Theatre in Richmond, Virginia; Borgata Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City; and the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, California.  It’s billed as “Bill O’Reilly, godfather of ‘no spin’ and in-your-face television, and Dennis Miller, the king of references and rants, are teaming up to take the country by storm!”  Tickets are not cheap for this event.  The cheap seats are $95 and the VIP tix are $500 but include a meet-and-greet, photos with O’Reilly and Miller and autographs.

Premiere Networks’ George Noory Publishes New Book Talking to the Dead.  The host of Premiere’s “Coast to Coast AM” joins forces with paranormal experts and co-author Rosemary Ellen Guiley to author Talking to the Dead (Forge Books 2011) – the third book for George Noory.  According to Noory, the book “explores the colorful history and personalities behind spirit communications, weaving together spirituality, metaphysics, science and technology.”  Billed as a high-tech guide to spiritual communications, “Noory and Guiley use historical research to explore the science behind radio wave production and how radios carry supernatural voices; examples of successful spiritual communication around the globe; the possible existence of parallel universes from which we hear voices; the history of electromagnetic communication methods, including work by scientific giants like Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla; and much more.”

Peak Broadcasting Goes Sports Full Time on KFXD, Boise.  KFXD has been positioned as KIDO 630 in the past as a sister sports and talk outlet to news/talk KIDO 580.  Dan Patrick’s DirecTV-produced show has been part of the lineup for years.  Now, Peak Broadcasting gives the station a separate identity and takes it sports full time as SportsRadio 630 The Fan.  The station keeps Dan Patrick in AM drive and uses content from Fox Sports Radio throughout the day except for the local Riley Corcoran show from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm and the Tester and Riley show (in which Dave Tester joins Corcoran) from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

TRN’s Michael Savage Gains Clearance in Phoenix.  Talk Radio Network star Michael Savage is back in the Phoenix market on Francis Battaglia-owned KFNX in the afternoon drive slot airing from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Savage’s program was last cleared in the market on Clear Channel’s KFYI.

Obama Jobs Bill, ‘Occupy Wall Street,’ 2012 GOP Candidates and Euro Zone Instability Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/10).  The fate of President Obama’s jobs bill, the ongoing ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement, the battle for the Republican nomination for president and the policies to stabilize the Euro Zone’s economy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

 

Monday, October 10, 2011

| October 10, 2011

Civil Disobedience Nets Host Jail Sentence.  TALKERS Heavy Hundred member Ian Freeman, co-host of the nationally syndicated talk show “Free Talk Live,” didn’t set out to spend 59 days in jail — but he believes so strongly in what he talks about on the air and how he lives his life that that’s exactly what he did.  Freeman served 59 days of a 90-day jail sentence (he got early release for good behavior) for obstructing a police officer who was arresting a young woman for an open container violation in Keene, New Hampshire.  Many talk show hosts have strong beliefs and “walk the walk,” but as someone who believes the government is too invasive in people’s lives (and positions his show as a reflection of that philosophy), Freeman makes a habit out of protesting police enforcement of victimless crimes.  He says the authorities in the New England community in which the national show is based see him as “a leader of people with such beliefs” and that’s why he believes a judge gave him a 360-day sentence with 270 days suspended.  Facing the consequences of his commitment was not only personally challenging, but professionally as well.  Freeman tells TALKERS being away from the show for 58 programs left co-host Mark Edge to handle the nightly broadcast with the help of guest co-hosts.  Most programs would be in trouble if their lead personality were gone for that period of time.  Freeman, who created the program, says the unique nature of “Free Talk Live” is that it’s not the “Mark and Ian” show.  He explains, “I didn’t want it to be a show about the personalities as much as it is about the ideas and the concept of open phones and a pro-liberty discussion forum…the idea of the show has always been to have it be able to continue in my or Mark’s absence.”  Freeman says that they have a great crew of friends and volunteers who helped Mark Edge during his time in jail and even though it was Edge’s first time sitting in the “first chair,” he’s heard nothing but good things about how the show went in his absence.  “We didn’t lose any affiliates while I was gone.”  In fact, Freeman says he had the opportunity to hear the show from jail on a local affiliate and had his first real opportunity to hear it as a program director instead of as a part of the show.  He even phoned in on the hotline from jail once or twice with programming advice!  Freeman tells TALKERS he certainly does not want to spend more time in jail but that won’t change how he handles the show or his own life.  “I still firmly believe that more people need to practice civil disobedience and non-cooperation.  I agree with the oft-cited statement that ‘all that’s needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.’  I just can’t sit idly by and watch as my peaceful neighbors continue to be caged for all manner of nonsense – whether it be an RV being parked in their yard, smoking a marijuana cigarette, drinking a little bit of beer – whatever…I can’t get on the air with listeners and advocate non-cooperation with the government if I’m not willing to do it myself.  That would make me feel like a hypocrite.”  “Free Talk Live” is a formidable independently syndicated national show with an impressive growth trend heard on 109 affiliates across the country on stations as disparate as conservative news/talk WSPD, Toledo and progressive talk outlet WXXM-FM, Madison.  In these days of both civil disobedience and peaceful demonstrations erupting on the streets of America and the fracturing of the rigid left/right political categories prevalent within the news/talk radio landscape, it stands out as an important emerging talk media industry entity.

WWRL, New York Broadcasts from ‘Occupy Wall Street’ Protest.  Access.1 Communications’ WWRL, New York is broadcasting from the heart of the ongoing ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protest in Manhattan.  WWRL morning drive host Mark Riley is broadcasting his program this morning (10/10) from 6:00 am to 9:00 am from Zuccotti Park on Liberty Street between Trinity Place and Broadway.  Rev. Al Sharpton’s nationally syndicated program will also broadcast from the same location from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm today.  WWRL general manager Adriane Gaines states, “We feel it is particularly important to expand the platform for ‘RL’s culturally diverse audience by being on site of this historic movement.”  The ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement began on September 17 and continues to be a major story on talk radio.

Cumulus Promotes WJR, Detroit GM to Market Manager.  Tom O’Brien is upped from his GM post at news/talk WJR, Detroit to market manager for the Cumulus properties in the Motor City that include music FMs WDVD and WDRQ.  Regional vice president of Cumulus Midwest Scott Meier says, “Tom has absolutely earned this promotion!  He’s led WJR to a new standard and has embraced the Cumulus Sales Operating System with a vision of incremental growth.”  O’Brien has served as GM of WJR since February of this year.

Entertainment Radio Network (ERN) Partners with eBay Motors for Expanded Online Distribution.  In what is being described as “the first of many new programming and distribution opportunities” that the company is identifying for 2012 and beyond, Entertainment Radio Network, the Oregon-based syndicator of specialty shows covering primarily automotive, consumer electronics, popular science and technology subjects, announces its distribution partnership with eBay Motors, one of the internet’s leading automotive destinations.  Effective immediately, all ERN shows will be distributed through the modJOBS site on the eBayMotors.com landing page to 14 million unique visitors per month.  modJOBS is also supported via social media links to Facebook and Twitter.  ERN president (and former ABC Radio Networks EVP) John McConnell tells TALKERS, “eBay Motors has an extraordinary audience – nearly one billion page views per month.  I believe this kind of distribution is very much a part of radio’s future and we are thrilled that Entertainment Radio Network is the first to be working with eBay Motors new audio programming initiative.  We are all accustomed to talking about TSL (time spent listening), but now get ready to consider stickiness as well – eBay Motors’ average shopper spends 35 minutes per day online, often with credit cards at the ready.”  McConnell recently joined ERN CEO (and on air personality) Alan Taylor as president and a partner in the company.

CBS Radio and NFL’s Houston Texans Sign Long-Term Extension.  CBS Radio’s sports KILT, Houston and country KILT-FM will remain the flagship stations for Houston Texans football for many years to come as the team and CBS agree to a long-term extension of their deal.  Texans football has been affiliated with KILT for the past 10 seasons.

Andy Greenberg Begins Local TV Segment Based on Radio Feature.  KFAB, Omaha-based motivational radio personality Andy Greenberg – host of “Your Weekend HIgh with Andy Greenberg” – is now appearing on KPTM-TV, Omaha on the Sunday evening broadcast beginning October 16.  Greenberg transitioned to his current role as a speaker, trainer and broadcaster after 35 years in the sales and marketing business.  He says, “I am thrilled to be part of the Fox 42 Sunday Night News broadcasts that continue the Fox tradition of broadcasting innovations and have been the forefront and hallmark of the network and its affiliates.”

Salem Radio Network Celebrates Talk Format with “SRN Talk-Tober Month” Promotion.  Rock radio fans certainly remember the “rocktober” moniker assigned to the 10th month of the year on many AOR stations back in the day.  Now, Salem Radio Network honors the talk radio format in its own way declaring it “SRN Talk-Tober Month” and Irving, Texas Mayor Beth Van Duyne joins the celebration by issuing a proclamation in honor of the Irving-based syndicator and all talk radio serving the metro area.  As part of the proclamation, Van Duyne states, “The talk radio industry in North Texas includes a number of talk radio stations including KSKY; WBAP-AM/FM; KRLD; and KLIF which strive to promote a free and open exchange of opinions on the premise that City of Irving residents and others throughout the area have the right to exercise free speech.”

Friday, October 7, 2011

| October 7, 2011

KFI, Los Angeles Cancels Meeting with Immigrant Rights Group.  Clear Channel Los Angeles market manager Greg Ashlock tells the Los Angeles Times he canceled a meeting with heads of regional immigrants’ rights advocacy groups because their request to meet became an ultimatum that John & Ken be fired.  The groups became upset after KFI PM drive hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou gave the cell phone number of activist Jorge-Mario Cabrera over the air telling listeners to let him know how they feel about his support for California legislation called ‘The Dream Act’ that would provide educational financial assistance to illegal aliens.  Cabrera says he received more than 400 phone calls – some very angry and filled with foul language.  KFI management had initially agreed to meet with activist leader to discuss the issue but Ashlock tells the Times, “I’m more than happy to sit down with anybody who has a concern and talk it out but we’re not going to be held hostage to demands that are outlandish.”  Leaders of the groups say they will boycott the John & Ken show.

Bonneville’s KTAR-FM, Phoenix to Debut New Local Show.  Yesterday we told you Premiere’s Glenn Beck was joining the lineup at Clear Channel’s crosstown KFYI.  That’s because he’s leaving KTAR-FM and Bonneville responds by getting back to “its old roots” with an “all-local-news daytime focus.”  The Karie & Chuck show hits the air later this month in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot featuring 20-year KTAR staffer Karie Dozer and market sports talk personality Chuck Powell.  Powell and on-air partner Vince Marotta have been hosting the AM drive show at Sandusky’s sports KDUS since January.  Powell, Marotta and sales pro Lee Rosenthal formed GOAT Media Group to create, produce and sell the program to the station.  Powell is wrapping up that deal before joining KTAR-FM.  Bonneville Phoenix VP for news and sports content Ryan Hatch says of the new show, “The chemistry between Karie and Chuck is off the charts.  They are two distinct, smart and fun personalities who bring unique perspectives from their life experiences.  This show will connect emotionally and intellectually with our audience in a meaningful, relatable way.”  The new program is described as being “built around conversations on current events and the biggest news stories of the day.  It features local and national news stories, political issues, pop culture and entertainment along with regular interviews with newsmakers.”

Willy Daunic Exits Cumulus’ WGFX-FM, Nashville.  Willy Daunic worked alongside longtime WGFX-FM PM drive host George Plaster since 2003 on “The Sports Zone” program.  Now, just a month after Plaster left the station, Daunic fails to come to contract terms on a renewal of his deal that expired August 31 and he exits.  The Tennessean reports Daunic says of his exit, “My time at 104.5 The Zone was the best eight years of my radio career.  The success that we’ve had and the fun that we’ve had is something I’ll always cherish.  Starting the show from scratch and seeing it build into what it is today was tremendously rewarding.”

Premiere Networks to Distribute DIRECTV’s “Nick and Artie Show.”  The sports/comedy program featuring comic personalities Artie Lange and Nick DiPaolo, being produced by DIRECTV and currently being streamed on the web is being offered to radio stations via Premiere Networks.  DIRECTV says a video simulcast of the program will be added to its Audience Network “next year.”  The program was developed over the summer with Lange and DiPaolo doing some sub work for the Tony Bruno show on Fox Sports Radio.  However, the program is not airing on Fox Sports Radio Network.  FSRN filled Tony Bruno’s old 10:00 pm to 1:00 am slot with “Fox Sports Tonight” hosted by Mike North and Lincoln Kennedy.  The “Nick and Artie Show” also airs live in the 10:00 pm to 1:00 am time slot.

NRG Omaha Adds Two Veteran AEs to its Sales Team.  NRG Media general sales manager Heather Gossett announces Omaha market sales pros Vickie Majorek and Kim Earl join the sales staff at its seven-station cluster that includes news/talk KKAR and sports KOZN.  Gossett states, “Vickie’s and Kim’s passion and love for radio makes them the problem solvers for clients in the Omaha Metro Area.  They never fail to make a difference in the life of a client and their business.  They strive to provide results in all that they do…it’s truly what makes the difference at NRG Media in Omaha.”

TALKERS Affiliation Roundup.  Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck joins KFYI, Phoenix for the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot…..Genesis Communications Network’s Jason Lewis picks up WVNJ, Oakland, New Jersey as an affiliate…..KCJJ, Iowa City signs United Stations Radio NetworksLex & Terry for middays at the station…..Talk Radio Network’s “Watchdog on Wall Street” with Chris Markowski adds KNIF-FM, Boise…..The Dr. Dahlia show joins the Genesis Communications Network and picks up affiliates KBOZ, Bozeman, Montana; WSRJ, Traverse City, Michigan; WSRT, Petoskey, Michigan; and WGGH, Marion, Illinois…..“Gun Talk” with Tom Gresham is added to the program schedule at KZYM, Joplin, Missouri; WHUB, Cookeville, Tennessee; KVFC, Cortez, Colorado; KNPT, Newport, Oregon; and KBSZ, Apache Junction, Arizona…..Delta Media’s “Armed American Radio” with Mark Walters adds the program to affiliates WEBY, Milton/Pensacola, Florida; KJJR, Kalispell, Montana; and KWKC, Abilene, Texas…..“The Rose Hollywood Report” with Shannon Rose picks up CKTB, St. Catharines, Ontario.

Obama Jobs Bill/Economic Policy Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 3-7.  President Obama’s jobs bill and his administration’s economic policy was the topic that landed at the top of the Talkers TenTM this week.  According to ongoing research from TALKERS, the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protests were the #2 story of the week.  The 2012 presidential race was #3 and coming in at #4 was the European economic jitters and the strike and violence in Greece.  The Talkers TenTM is published weekly at Talkers.com.  To view the week’s entire chart, click on the banner below.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

| October 6, 2011

iHeartRadio to Invade American Living Rooms.  In an innovative development that significantly bolsters traditional radio programming’s digital distribution potential, Clear Channel’s expanded deal with Microsoft to include its iHeartRadio in the Xbox LIVE service could put CC stations into the homes of millions of Americans.  Clear Channel says this is an expansion of its multi-year deal with Microsoft that integrates iHeartRadio on Windows Phone 7 and brought the recent two-day iHeartRadio music festival into homes exclusively on the Xbox 360.  Beginning this winter it will work this way: The New iHeartRadio will be available for free to Xbox LIVE Gold members.  Through this new agreement, Gold members who have Kinect for Xbox 360 can use the product’s revolutionary sensor to experience an entertainment first: the ability to control digital radio in their living room using their voice and body.  Gold members who have Xbox 360, but do not have Kinect, can operate the New iHeartRadio using their controller.  Regardless of whether they have Kinect or not, all Xbox 360 Gold members will have access to the New iHeartRadio’s features, including more than 800 of the nation’s most popular live broadcast and digital-only radio stations from 150 cities, plus custom stations with more songs, better music intelligence and more user control.  The deal will also give users access to social features through CC’s deal with Facebook.  Clear Channel CEO John Hogan tells TALKERS, “Clear Channel is committed to innovation and deep social integration.  We want to continually deliver new experiences that consumers have never seen before – like the recent launch of the New iHeartRadio, which combines broadcast and digital-only stations and user-created stations in one service for the first time.  The New iHeartRadio’s integration with the Xbox 360 enables Kinect users to control digital radio in their living room using just their voice and body.  There is nothing else like it on the market and it’s another example of how we are committed to being wherever our listeners are with the programming and services they want and expect.”

Financial Expert Charles Payne to Launch National Radio Show Via Sun Broadcast Group.  Charles Payne is well known to viewers of Fox Business Network and Fox News Channel as well as to KFI, Los Angeles where he’s hosted a Saturday afternoon program.  Now, Payne partners with Sun Broadcast Group to begin a nationally syndicated two-hour financial talk show airing from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm daily starting October 17.  “Payne Nation with Charles Payne” will emanate from Fox studios in New York.  Chad Wilkinson is named executive producer, Gabe Hobbs and Jim Robinson are aboard in a consulting capacity and the show will feature the voice talents of Edd Hall.  Sun CEO and founder Jay Bailey states, “We’re very excited to welcome Charles to the Sun Broadcast lineup.  We believe the industry is ready for an uplifting, positive financial show that will provide real answers for real people in this turbulent time in our nation.”  Payne says, “Everyone asks me how I am going to be different from other hosts out there, and I tell them that I am simply going to be real.  No scare tactics.  I’m not going to sugarcoat anything in fact I go right at the issues by digging beneath the surface, seeking facts, relying on history and connecting all the dots for real assessments and real solutions.”

Michigan Talk Host Michael Patrick Shiels Scores Exclusive Perspective of Airline Passenger Arrest.  WJIM, Lansing-based talk show host Michael Patrick Shiels happened to be returning from Amsterdam to Detroit when a man on the Delta plane began ranting about a hijacking.  The man was quickly restrained by air marshals.  Shiels tells TALKERS, “While observing from up close, I discreetly used the e-mail function of Delta’s in-flight entertainment system to send e-mails and texts to my producer and other media outlets.  The result was an exclusive story for my radio network and a press gaggle waiting for me when I emerged from the aircraft, resulting in national publicity on the major TV networks.”  Shiels says the man appeared to be American and in his 30s.  He says many passengers became agitated since it was an Amsterdam to Detroit flight that the infamous “underwear bomber” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab allegedly tried to blow up on Christmas Day 2009.

Paul Finebaum Gets Favorable Ruling in Legal Tussle with Cumulus.  Regionally syndicated and WJOX-FM, Birmingham-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum was successful in getting his civil suit against Citadel – now Cumulus – returned to state court in Alabama.  Federal judge L. Scott Coogler ruled Cumulus was not able to prove the dispute went above the $75,000 threshold to make it a federal civil suit.  Legal experts say Finebaum stands a better chance in state court due to the legal standards.  Finebaum has two suits filed against Cumulus: one in which Citadel agreed to bankruptcy reorganization without his consent and the other that he was coerced into amending his contract and that Citadel violated its deal with him by manipulating revenue for his program away from him.

KNBR, San Francisco Host Ralph Barbieri Comes Out with Parkinson’s Diagnosis.  In a story in the San Francisco Chronicle, KNBR sports talk host Ralph Barbieri – co-host of “The Razor and Mr. T” alongside Tom Tolbert – confesses to having been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2002 and telling no one except Tolbert until now.  Barbieri tells the paper he decided to reveal his diagnosis now since he is coming to the end of his contract and wanted to be honest as he and Cumulus negotiate a new deal.  He tells the paper, “If I am to continue at KNBR, I’d like to start with all our cards on the table, face-up.  I’ve gotten to know Lew Dickey a little bit, and my gut feeling was that he could deal with my situation at an honorable level, so I gave him a call and told him everything.  He let me know that KNBR wants me back.  He didn’t say on what terms, but the fact that he didn’t view the Parkinson’s as a red flag, that was a huge relief to me.”

Premiere Networks Scores Large Market Add for Glenn Beck: Phoenix.  Clear Channel’s KFYI, Phoenix agrees to add the Glenn Beck show to its daily program schedule in the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm time slot bumping Talk Radio Network’s Michael Savage from the slot.  Clear Channel Phoenix director of programming and operations Smokey Rivers states, “Glenn has a sizeable and loyal local following.   His unique and stimulating perspectives will be a welcome addition to the station.”

WROK, Rockford-Based Michael Koolidge Show Names New Producer.  Michael Koolidge’s regionally and independently syndicated talk show is based out of Cumulus-owned WROK, Rockford, Illinois and syndicated to WRHL, Rochelle, Illinois and WLBK, DeKalb, Illinois.  Koolidge announces he brings on Natalie Zee Fenwick as his program’s first full-time producer.  “Thanks specifically to our outstanding advertiser support over the last year, we can afford to officially create our first bona fide job.  Even though it’s just a single job, we’re proud to join the ranks of ‘job creators’ of America.  I’ve had a rotation of great part-time producers and interns over the years, but we’re finally in a position where we’re ready to hire a regular producer.  And we’re thrilled that we found Natalie.”  Koolidge’s business model – serving as an independent contractor to regional radio stations – is one the industry is likely to see more of as companies and stations seek quality local or regional talent without taking on the expenses of traditional employees.  Koolidge’s highly rated program is one industry watchers are keeping an eye on.

Talk Host Jim Walsh and KFYR, Bismarck Part Company.  It’s only been two weeks since talk personality Jim Walsh returned to Clear Channel’s KFYR, Bismarck – a station he worked at in 2003 and 2004 – to host the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm program formerly held by Scott Bachmeier.  Not sure what happened there but Walsh cryptically tells TALKERS, “I have stepped down from the afternoon talk show at KFYR, Bismarck by mutual consent.  I’m still there part-time, at least for the time being.  I’m currently exploring my options and can be reached at 701-226-8449.”  Bachmeier had exited the full-time shift to concentrate on non-radio work but the station lists him as host of the time slot – at least for now.

Occupy Wall Street, Steve Jobs Passes, 2012 GOP Candidates and Obama Jobs Plan Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/5).  The growing ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement, the death of Apple innovator Steve Jobs, the Republican candidates for president in 2012 and President Obama’s job creation plan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

| October 5, 2011

 

Merlin Faces Pressure after Disappointing Arbitrons.  The upside of having a high-profile roll out for the launch of a new format is gaining the thrust of free publicity generated by lots of consumer press and enjoying the accompanying media/advertising buzz that generates early believers and revenue.  The downside is facing the instantaneous criticism that comes with unrealistic expectations when they are not fulfilled – an insidious process that can quickly erode the confidence of investors, advertisers and employees, setting in motion the radio equivalent of an unharmonious locker room in sports and frightened ownership.  That is the price Merlin Media and its colorful, controversial CEO Randy Michaels are facing in the wake of two early but extremely disappointing report cards issued by Arbitron reflecting the anemic initial audience numbers of their innovative all-news properties, FM News 101.1 in Chicago (0.2, 6-plus) and FM News 101.9 in New York (0.5, 6-plus).  The “ouch factor” is especially biting in Chicago where FM News 101.1 is being measured against CBS Radio O&O WBBM’s 105.9 FM simulcast which launched a pre-emptive competing all news format on FM and garnered a solid 1.0, 6-plus share on top of its big AM numbers for the same period.  Whereas much of this “chatter” has remained contained within under-the-radar industry conversations and media blogs, the hard facts surfaced big-time publicly this morning in an all-too-blunt article by reporter Robert Channick in the Chicago Tribune headlined “FM News 101 finds meager audience, early ratings show” describing what happened in the following terms: “The first full month of ratings for Chicago’s two FM news stations didn’t bring good news for Merlin Media. Its FM News 101.1 (WWWN-FM) ranked 48th, with a minuscule 0.2 share for September, according to Arbitron results released Tuesday. The station was trounced by CBS Radio’s simulcast of WBBM-AM 780 on sister station 105.9 FM, which garnered an additional 1.0 share. The combined AM-FM listenership for WBBM Newsradio was 6.4, topping the Chicago market. The survey covered Aug. 18 to Sept. 14.”  The article goes on to quote a confident Michaels as stating, “It’s a work in progress; it’s very, very early.” Michaels adds, “You’re looking at the very first couple of weeks after we blew up a rock station, and I can’t think that too many people who were listening to (Q101.1) would be listening to spoken word.”  The story reports that Michaels is urging patience in assessing the Chicago station’s success offering the revealing explanation, “I think that we’re still in the process of revamping and finding the right approach.”   Seasoned talk media industry professionals know that Michaels is correct in his ongoing assertion that it takes time for a spoken word format to gain ratings traction.  However a larger question spawned of the times looms – in today’s PPM world in which listener loyalty and station image take a back seat to instantaneous, real-time listening, set against the backdrop of a very uncertain economy, and exacerbated by an impatient media’s hunger for the instantaneous results of a high-profile business launch, does Michaels have the time to bring his ambitious endeavor to fruition before his nervous investors start pressing the panic button?

Cumulus Watch: Bob Moore Out in Los Angeles.  KABC and KLOS-FM, Los Angeles general manager Bob Moore is out at the Cumulus stations and former Spanish Broadcasting System chief revenue officer Marko Radlovic rejoins the company he worked for almost a decade ago.  Radlovic resigned from his post at SBS on September 28 where he also served as senior vice president and general manager at the company’s two Los Angeles stations.

Townsquare Media Steals One from Cumulus.  Townsquare Media hires Matt Hanlon for the newly created position of vice president of sales in which he’ll oversee all aspects of the company’s sales efforts.  Hanlon leaves his Michigan-based position as regional vice president for Cumulus to join Townsquare.  He was an RVP for Citadel – now Cumulus – in charge of some 85 markets in the Midwest.

Beck, Ingraham, Levin and Bennett Featured Speakers at DC Summit.  The Values Voters Summit takes place this weekend at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC and joining numerous conservative speakers, Republican officeholders and most of the GOP presidential candidates are Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck, Talk Radio Network’s Laura Ingraham, Cumulus Media NetworksMark Levin and Salem Radio Network’s Bill Bennett.  The event is co-sponsored by a number of conservative action groups including the Family Research Council and the American Family Association  as well as conservative think tanks including The Heritage Foundation.

Bell Media Launches TSN Radio in Montreal and Winnipeg.  With a continued focus on local sports, The Team 990 in Montreal (CKGM) is being rebranded as TSN Radio 990 and Sports Radio 1290 in Winnipeg (CFRW) becomes TSN Radio 1290.  The stations debut just in time for the launch of the NHL season.  Both TSN stations promise to feature extensive live NHL hockey coverage with TSN Radio 990 airing Montreal Canadiens games and TSN Radio 1290 the home of the Winnipeg Jets.  Both stations are available nationally online at TSN.ca and on TSN Mobile.  The newly re-branded TSN Radio stations will work closely with Bell Media‘s market-leading all-sports radio stations in Vancouver and Ottawa.

Canada’s Radio Regulator Rules Broadcasters Must Identify Repeat Programs.  Acting after a complaint about a 2010 edition of the CFRB, Toronto program “Friendly Fire,” the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council recently ruled that repeat broadcasts of call-in shows must be identified as such.  The CFRB show in question was a repeat of a program that encouraged listeners to call in or text questions to program participants.  In its ruling, the CBSC wrote, in part: “At the very least, it would be courteous to the audience’s sensibilities to advise them that a program or an episode of a program is being repeated…Where, however, it is a part of the original broadcast that persons were invited to contact the station, as in any call-in show, the lack of courtesy in failing to advise listeners not to call becomes an inconvenience if not an annoyance.  Where, as in the matter at hand, listeners are invited, not just to call, but also to text the station, the inconvenience turns to expense.”

2012 GOP Candidates, ‘Occupy Wall Street,’ U.N. Syria Resolution and Bernanke Testimony Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/4).  The GOP candidates for the Republican nomination in 2012 – including Herman Cain’s rise in the polls, the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protests, Russia and China’s veto of a U.N. resolution against Syria and Fed chairman Ben Bernanke’s testimony before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Old Friends.  Salem Radio Network’s “Morning in America” host Bill Bennett (r) and his producer Chris Beach (c) bump into presidential candidate Herman Cain (l) outside the Fox News Channel studios in New York City.  Cain, who hosted a talk radio program on WSB, Atlanta before giving up the show to run for office, had been a regular fill-in host for Bennett’s show.  Bennett told Cain he’s welcome back on the show anytime if his presidential campaign doesn’t end up victorious and Cain replied Bennett is welcome to visit him in the White House if he wins.