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Michael Harrison Flies with the Black Eagle, Joe Madison. This week’s installment of the PodcastOne international hit “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” presents a fascinating conversation between the TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher and SiriusXM Satellite Radio “Urban View” channel morning host Joe Madison. Listed at #8 on the TALKERS 2016 “Heavy Hundred,” Joe Madison is the highest-ranked African American news/talk show host in the US radio industry. Michael Harrison describes him as a “political, cultural and inspirational thought leader.” The two discuss their 25-year friendship as well as race relations in America, Black Lives Matter, the 2016 presidential election, and the pros and cons of the dizzying advances in communications technology that we are all experiencing. To listen to the entire podcast, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Brad Austin Named Corporate PD for Delmarva. This promotion puts Brad Austin in charge of the programming of the company’s nine radio stations. Austin is operations manager for Delmarva Broadcasting Company’s country WXCY, Wilmington, Delaware – a position he’ll continue to hold. But he’s now also overseeing Wilmington stations hot AC WSTW, news/talk WDEL-AM/FM, and Gospel WFAI; Milford, Delaware classic hits WNCL, hot AC WAFL, sports talk WYUS, and news/talk WXDE; plus Salisbury-Ocean City, Maryland country WKTT, adult hits WICO, and classic hits WAVD. The company says Austin will oversee the programming and promotions efforts on all stations and assist the staffs on a wide variety of issues involving local programming and community service. Austin says, “I appreciate the confidence president Jeff Boden and WXCY general manager Bob Bloom have placed in me with the creation of this position. Making local radio great, compelling and of service to our listeners is priority #1. Oh – and we plan to have a hell of a lot of fun doing it!”
PodcastOne Names Amy Lewis Schachter to Sales Post. Radio and digital sales pro Amy Lewis Schachter joins PodcastOne as vice president, East Coast sales. She’s been with CBS Radio for the past 20 years and in 2013 was named Digital Sales Person of the Year for CBS Radio NY. PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz comments, “So, I get all these calls from people telling me how great Amy is. I met with her and they were right. She hit the street running last week before her start date. What more can I say?”
Contentious Nielsen vs Flinn Broadcasting Case Settled. The hotly contested case in which Nielsen Audio was suing Memphis market operator Flinn Broadcasting for failure to pay for PPM ratings (and other services) and Flinn was countersuing, alleging inaccurate PPM surveys that adversely affected minority-patronized stations, has been settled. This comes after a court-ordered attempt at settlement. The terms of the pact are, of course, sealed. Nielsen alleged Flinn owed almost $140,000 in PPM fees accrued over the course of eight months. As long as the settlement is consummated within 30 days, the suits cannot be filed again. It’s anyone’s guess how the settlement panned out but it’s a safe bet that Nielsen did not want to go to trial, if only because even more information about the inner workings of the PPM surveys would have been made public as part of the evidence. As a result of the press this story received, the industry and the public already learned more about the fee structure for the service than it had known before.
Indiana Public Station and TAL Founder Ira Glass Disagree on Pandora Strategy. A disagreement over Ira Glass’ decision to make “This American Life” available via Pandora has caused public station WBAA, West Lafayette, Indiana general manager Mike Savage to cancel his station’s affiliation with the program, effective in August. Savage posted a criticism of the Pandora move on his LinkedIn page stating that it’s “inconsistent with the mission of public radio” – assuming because Pandora is a for-profit company. He also writes, “I am all for improving the bottom line. However, we as public radio leaders must keep the balance between mission and bottom line in the forefront. If all we wanted to do was grow the audience, we could change our formats to country music and accomplish that objective. We must respect the mission. Do the ends justify the means? For a program that got its start on public radio and had some of the best on-air fundraising messages for listeners where Ira Glass says he is volunteering his time because he believes in the mission of public broadcasting, the move by ‘This American Life’ to Pandora is disingenuous at best.” But Glass says TAL is not leaving public radio and its presence as a podcast before (and now on Pandora) is not hurting listening on public radio stations. In fact, Glass says the numbers bear that out and that the influx of cash is allowing him to hire more staff and produce better and more far-reaching programming. You can read his more detailed response in The Current here. What this really shows is divergent broadcasting philosophies. Many media observers would consider Savage’s take on the issue to be outdated, and would say Glass is successfully taking advantage of the platforms available to grow his program and his staff.
The Presidential Race, Iran Nuke Negotiations Controversy, Russian-Syria Military Cooperation, Yellowstone Baby Bison Case, Bathroom-Gender Laws, and NBA-NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/16). The activities of the candidates for president; the controversy over the nuclear negotiations with Iran and the White House’s refusal to allow former aide Ben Rhodes to testify about misleading the press; Russian’s reported building of a military base in Palmyra, Syria; the case of a baby bison that was euthanized after tourists at Yellowstone put it in their van; the ongoing debate over the legal use of public restrooms by transgender individuals; and the NBA and NHL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Odds & Sods. Sports media giant ESPN promotes Nate Ravitz to vice president of audience development. In this new role, Ravitz will oversee programming of digital content across ESPN.com and the ESPN App, in addition to his existing responsibilities leading ESPN-branded social media content, mobile push notifications and digital video. Ravitz also will manage the new ESPN Daily email newsletter. He will continue to report to Ryan Spoon, SVP of digital product management…..Sports USA releases its 2016 NCAA football schedule. The firm’s slate of offerings includes games featuring defending national champion Alabama, plus conference champions Stanford, Oklahoma, and Michigan State. Sports USA president Bob Moore says, “Sports USA is proud to announce this fantastic schedule to our affiliate stations, the advertising community and college football fans nationwide. We are featuring an incredible array of major rivalry games this year.”…..Former WFED, Washington daily personality Francis Rose is adding some television to his current roster of projects. Rose – who currently hosts “National Defense Week” on WMAL, Washington – is joining WJLA-TV, Washington as host of the Sunday morning “Government Matters” program. Rose tells TALKERS the program will soon expand to nightly broadcasts.
Talk Radio Stations Answer Call for Live Radio After Zimmerman Verdict. The number of talk radio stations that rose to the occasion after the George Zimmerman verdict late Saturday night and the following day was, according to TALKERS sources around the country, surprisingly large considering the time (especially in the East) that the verdict was announced. Certainly there were many stations caught unaware at that late hour but even many of those that were not able to bring local talent in for a live program were prepared enough to air network coverage of the news. Several TALKERS sources report hearing local talent take to the air in the Pacific Time Zone and put callers on the air to discuss the case.
SiriusXM’s Joe Madison Races to Cover Zimmerman Verdict; Broadcast Response to Case. High-profile talk media personality Joe Madison lived up to his moniker “The Black Eagle” late Saturday night after the Sanford, Florida jury reached its verdict and found George Zimmerman not guilty of the charges against him in the death of Trayvon Martin. Minutes after the verdict was announced, Madison went to the SiriusXM Washington, DC broadcast facility to do a live broadcast that aired from 11:00 pm Saturday evening to 1:00 am Sunday morning on the satcaster’s “Urban View Channel.” Madison opened up the lines to callers to, as he said, “give people a platform to react and share their feelings.” SiriusXM reports, “It was a powerful show. Major figures joined the show by telephone – among them Rev. Jesse Jackson; Ben Jealous, president/CEO, NAACP; Marc Morial, president National Urban League; attorney Daryl Parks, co-attorney for the family of Trayvon Martin; and Roslyn Brock, chairwoman of the NAACP. ‘Urban View’ then went into a special schedule all day Sunday, serving as a sounding board for listener response. The channel aired live shows taking calls from around the country throughout the day.”
Media Coverage of Zimmerman Verdict Analyzed and Criticized. In the immediate aftermath of the George Zimmerman verdict, the news/talk radio industry is analyzing media coverage of the case – especially from cable news/talk outlets and what some talk radio practitioners tend to call the “left-leaning mainstream media.” In a somewhat high-profile incident, former temporary Associated Press staffer Cristina Silva, who had left the news organization before the incident, according to the AP, Tweeted: “So we can all kill teenagers now? Just checking.” Salem Radio Networks VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS magazine that after learning about this he, as a member of the TV Digital News Directors Association, as well as an AP subscriber, contacted AP executive editor Kathleen Carroll. She informed Tradup that Silva was “a temp who no longer works for us.” Breitbart.com reports Silva worked for the AP for the past three years with her last byline being July 9 of this year. Tradup has more to say about the coverage he witnessed and the radio broadcasts he heard to those he saw on cable TV. He writes, “Radio (gasp) simply covered the verdict. ABC, SRN, CBS, local stations…all pretty much the same model: No scary theme music, no weird camera angles, and no need to manufacture emotions or distort what happened. Just the facts…Not on cable. Kate Bolduan and Chis Cuomo on, of course, a special edition of CNN’s “New Day” program, reporting on the verdict with agonized scowls on their faces…presenting video of ‘major cities’ all over America where protesters marched after the verdict had been announced. An objective viewing of the ‘protests’ revealed turnout to be literally dozens of people. Cuomo physically wrung his hands as he opined that people nationwide are ‘disturbed’ by the verdict. Kate Bolduan sat stoically next to him, nodding and grimacing over the jury’s verdict on this travesty of a ‘news’ program. On MSNBC, Melissa Harris-Perry suggested that ‘all over America, African-American parents are hugging their children tighter’…implying that they are trembling in their homes as a result of the Sanford, Florida jury action. What unsubstantiated baloney. How insulting to African-Americans. How insulting to our entire legal system. The state of broadcast journalism in America has always been pretty low, an occasional Edward R. Murrow notwithstanding. But the deifying of Trayvon Martin by CNN and other cable myna birds simply to generate ratings makes me happy to instead operate in radio news…where actual facts still matter. Our TV counterparts have served up disgraceful bias and doctored opinions disguised as ‘news coverage.’”
Sports Talkers Outshine News/Talkers in 2013 NAB Marconi Award Personality Honors Finalists. The National Association of Broadcasters announces the finalists for the 2013 NAB Marconi Awards honoring personalities and radio stations for excellence. The winners will be announced at the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Orlando on September 18. This year, in the major market and syndicated categories, news/talk personalities are noticeably absent while sports talk talent is prominent. Fox Sports Radio/Premiere Networks’ Petros & Money are finalists in the syndicated category and in the major market category, WFAN, New York’s Boomer & Carton and KTCK, Dallas’ “The Musers” (George Dunham and Craig Miller) are finalists. Clear Channel news/talk KFI, Los Angeles is up for Legendary Station, as is Entercom’s sports talk WEEI, Boston and CBS Radio all-newsers KYW, Philadelphia and WBBM, Chicago. News/talk and sports are dominant in the Large Market Station of the Year category with CBS Radio’s WCCO, Minneapolis; Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM, Providence; Entercom’s WWL-AM, New Orleans; and CBS Radio’s WXYT-FM, Detroit all in contention. View all of the finalists here.
Jorge Sedano to Exit WQAM, Miami to Join ESPN. The Florida SunSentinel reports that WQAM, Miami program director and afternoon drive personality Jorge Sedano will leave the station he’s been with for 11 months to take a multi-platform position with sports giant ESPN. The specifics of his new position with ESPN are unclear but he is expected to start there in the fall. Sedano is a fixture in sports media in South Florida and has also worked at Lincoln Financial Media’s WAXY. He took over the program director position at WQAM after four months away from radio in the market during which he pursued TV opportunities. He replaced Lee Feldman who exited the WQAM PD post for opportunities outside the radio business. Sedano also hosted the pre- and post-game shows for Miami Heat games on the Sun Sports telecasts. Obviously, this opens up a great sports talk radio opportunity in South Florida.
Merlin Media’s WWIQ, Philadelphia Replaces Lionel with Don Imus in AM Drive. New York-based media personality Lionel – seen by New Yorkers both in the early morning and during evening news casts on WPIX-TV – was piped in alongside former morning host Al Gardner when Merlin turned the station into a talk-formatted outlet after purchasing it from Family Stations, Inc. Gardner exited the station in March of this year and Lionel remained in AM drive. In addition to his work with WPIX-TV, Lionel also operates the successful internet venture lionelmedia.com.
Feeding the Endlessly Hungry Mouth: Coming Up with Content for Your Social Media Outreach. Content gathering is a massive headache for a lot of social media experts. It can take over two hours a day to do it effectively. Considering the fact that in radio there are a lot fewer full-time social media folks and a lot more people have added some social media duties to their already long job descriptions, it is even tougher to be consistently interesting, funny or helpful. In a new column posted today by noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, he suggests several types of content. These include 1) using a lot of photos (they are more convenient and often more effective than videos); 2) posting in-depth articles (all you need is to click to them); 3) posing questions about hot-button stories (talk radio is more adept at this than music radio); and 4) employing the services of Google Alert to help gather material. To read Chris Miller’s entire piece, please click here.
Bob Kernen to Serve as VP/COO for jacAPPS. Jabobs Media’s jacAPPS division – developer of mobile applications – announces internet veteran Bob Kernen will join the company as vice president and chief operating officer. The company reports that “this move marks a major step in the growth of the company, ranked by Crain’s Detroit Business as the number #2 mobile application developer in Southeast Michigan, and the industry leader in the Business-to-Business category.” President Paul Jacobs says, “Since its inception in 2008, jacAPPS has been on a consistent, upward trajectory. As our company nears its fifth anniversary, we needed a visionary with the right blend of media and web experience – and Bob’s the guy.” Kernen has served as VP/product development and data for Sharecare, creating a digital database, mobile applications, and a comprehensive back-end data system. Prior to that, he was the co-founder of GrokMusic, oversaw digital product development for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, developed emerging media platforms for A&E Television Networks, and helped develop the digital strategies for Hearst’s Women.com and Microsoft’s Web TV Networks.
Jeff Katz Subs in Morning Drive at WRNO, New Orleans. Former “TALK 1200” Boston (WXKS-AM) morning man Jeff Katz sets his alarm clock pretty early tomorrow morning — if only for a day – as he’ll fill in on Clear Channel’s news/talk WRNO-FM, New Orleans. Katz provides a thrice-daily commentary heard on WCAP, Lowell-Boston and has recently been heard filling in for Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated host Todd Schnitt and New England Talk Network regional host Michael Graham.
Dial Global’s Conrad Trautmann Given ‘Engineer of the Year’ Honor. Dial Global announces chief technology officer Conrad Trautmann has been named “Chapter Engineer of the Year” by the Society of Broadcast Engineers’ Chapter 15 (SBE 15), which serves the New York City metro area. Trautmann is the first recipient of this new award, which recognizes the efforts of a specific individual who best furthers the goals and objectives of their SBE Chapter and provides an outstanding example of local/regional leadership and ethics. SBE 15 chapter chairman Jeff Smith states, “We are thrilled to honor Conrad with our first ‘Chapter Engineer of the Year’ award. Within Conrad’s 30-plus years of service to SBE 15, he was instrumental in reestablishing the chapter in the 1980s after declining membership and financial troubles caused the Chapter to cease operations. Conrad is recognized for implementing a model that has made SBE 15 the largest and most financially stable SBE local chapter in the country.” Trautmann oversees the company’s broadcast engineering, program distribution, back-office IT, and software development. He is a nationally recognized and respected leader in the broadcast engineering field, with prior senior engineering positions at Dial Global, Westwood One, Metro Networks, Cox Radio, and Chancellor Media.
He Was Born in a Crossfire Hurricane. All-news KROI, Houston’s Mike Barajas show off his conducting and Mick Jagger moves as he leads the Houston Symphony Orchestra in a rendition of the Rolling Stones’ classic “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.” The “News 92 FM” afternoon anchor received a little help from Symphony conductor Brent Havens as he assisted the performance of the works of the Rolling Stones at Jesse H. Jones Hall. Photo by Robert Land Productions.