Michael Graham to Middays on WYAY, Atlanta. Talk radio pro Michael Graham is saying good-bye to Massachusetts and New England and heading south for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show at Cumulus Media’s WYAY, Atlanta “All News 106.7.” Graham has been hosting a program on the New England Talk Network and on the Boston Herald’s digital audio project since Greater Media flipped WTKK, Boston from talk to urban contemporary (as WBQT). Cumulus is getting away from the all-news on WYAY – it’s already added market pro Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson to the schedule in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm shift – though there’s no indication it has plans to change the drive time news programming anytime soon. The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports the changes but Graham himself bids a fond adieu to New England and a not-so-fond adieu to the Massachusetts political scene which he blames for WTKK’s demise. He singles out Governor Deval Patrick and you can read that here.
Glenn Beck Talks About Film Projects to Hollywood Reporter. Talk radio star and media entrepreneur Glenn Beck tells the Hollywood Reporter that there’s a reason he bought a movie studio in Texas – The Studios at Las Colinas in Irving: He has plans for three film projects with many more hopefully to come. The facility, where such movies as “Robocop” and “JFK” were filmed, also serves as the base for his radio and digital operations under his TheBlaze banner but his Mercury Radio Arts film division has plans for the three films – one set in ancient history, one in modern history and a third “faith-based” project – that are underway. Read the Hollywood Reporter piece here. Meanwhile, Beck also appears irked that he’s pigeonholed as a political right-winger by the media, telling the magazine, “Everybody thinks they know who I am because of my stint on Fox – that was two years of my life. I’m much more into culture than I am into politics, and that’s where I intend on making my stand.”
Clear Channel Restructures Sales Efforts; Extent of RIF Unknown. The prospect that Clear Channel Media + Entertainment intended to change the structure of its sales force has been rumored for some time and now the plan has been put into effect. The exact nature of the realignment is not known but the company released the following statement: “As a policy, we don’t discuss personnel matters. However, for the last several months we have been flattening our senior management organization to reduce overlap. Now we are aligning our sales organizations to this new structure and to give more resources, authority, and accountability to the most productive members of our team so we can operate as effectively and efficiently as possible.”
Johnson to Replace Hanson at Broadway Media. A number of changes taking effect at Broadway Media in Utah to report. First, the company announces that its Salt Lake Radio Group market manager G. Craig Hanson is leaving the company after 37 years to enter the ownership end of the business in St. George, Utah. Taking over for him will be Stephen C. Johnson. He’ll serve as general manager and CEO of the Salt Lake Radio Group that includes: KXRK, KUDD, KUUU, KEGA, KYMV and KALL. Johnson spent the last 35 years with Simmons Media. Other moves include Broadway Media VP/administration Bret J. Leifson exiting to pursue other interests. Joining the companies is John G. Kimball who will serve as general manager and CEO of Real Media – the division that operates Broadway’s digital, technical, event and entertainment, and outdoor media assets. Kimball has worked in the market with Bonneville and Real Salt Lake.
Second Round of March PPM Data Released. PPM data from the second of four groups of 12 markets for the March 2014 period (February 27 – March 26) has been released by Nielsen Audio. Those markets include: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all the (subscriber) numbers here. Managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the report at RadioInfo.com here.
FCC Issues FNPRM for 2014 Quadrennial Review; Ownership Regs Proposed to Remain, Cross-Ownership Open for Consideration. The Federal Communications Commission has released its Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that initiates the 2014 Quadrennial Review and chief among the topics are the broadcast ownership rules. The Commission is proposing to keep the current radio broadcast ownership rules in place but it is open to discussion about relaxing the radio-newspaper cross-ownership ban as well as the radio-television cross-ownership rules. This has Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai furious in his dissent. He takes the Commission to task for, 1) failing to complete the 2010 Quadrennial Review and; 2) putting proposals such as the radio-newspaper cross-ownership ban question into the 2014 review. Here are his words: “Congress has instructed us to review the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule every four years and repeal or modify it if we determine that it is no longer in the public interest. And here is the simple truth: The Commission has not been able to conclude since 2000 that the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule remains in the public interest. And today, the Commission dodges the issue entirely, putting off the issue until 2016, sixteen years after our last determination! What’s the solution at this point? While writs of mandamus are not to be issued lightly, I believe that the D.C. Circuit would now be justified in ordering the Commission to remove the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule from our books. We have had plenty of opportunities to justify maintaining the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule, but instead we have chosen to punt — including today.” Pai’s sentiment that the FCC works too slowly, especially in an era when changes in technology are happening at an ever-faster pace while government seems to work slower than ever, is one echoed by many in the broadcasting industry. Consider the Commission’s conclusion regarding how digital media is affecting broadcast media. It’s important to understand that the quote from the FNPRM is relative to broadcasters’ (TV also) desires to relax ownership regulations. Whether you agree or not, it’s the Commission’s assessment of the current state of the audio entertainment landscape that indicates its willingness to only see one moment in time, without regard for the future. “Despite broadcasters’ claims to the contrary, we tentatively find that, for purposes of the Commission’s ownership rules, non-broadcast sources of audio programming are not yet meaningful substitutes for broadcast radio stations with respect to either listeners or advertisers. While alternate platforms such as satellite radio and Internet-delivered audio are growing in popularity, broadcast radio remains the dominant radio technology. In 2012, 92 percent of Americans age 12 or older listened to broadcast radio, a figure that has remained essentially constant over the last decade. Satellite radio still serves only a small portion of the population, even though its subscription rates continue to climb. And though recent data suggest that a significant portion of adult U.S. broadband households (42 percent) listen to Internet-delivered audio programming, we note that millions of U.S. households continue to lack broadband connections. In addition, only 14 percent of Internet radio listeners listen in their cars, where most broadcast radio listening occurs. Thus, we tentatively conclude that Internet-delivered audio programming is not yet a meaningful substitute for broadcast radio listening for most listeners. We seek comment on this tentative conclusion and invite commenters to provide any more recent relevant information and data. We believe, moreover, that satellite radio and content delivered via the Internet generally are national platforms that are not likely to respond to competitive conditions in local markets.” Even if you agree with these conclusions (which, obviously, many do not), will they still be true in 2015, 2016 (when the 2014 Quad is supposed to be delivered to Congress) or 2017?
BIA/Kelsey’s New Study Explores ‘Reinvention of Audio.’ The full name of the study from BIA/Kelsey is “The Internet Radio Revolution Has Arrived: Platforms, Services, Audiences and Advertisers Reinvent Audio,” and as the title implies, it works to make sense of the state of audio entertainment and its relationship with the advertising world as it exists today, plus where it’s going in the near future. The study authors note a five-step process that occurs when a major change affects the media: 1) Fundamental breakthroughs in enabling technologies occur, 2) Entrepreneurs and their investors experiment with getting the right value proposition into the market, 3) Consumers find the winning technologies and begin to use them, 4) Advertisers sensing a new opportunity for connecting with their consumers allocate “experimental budget,” and 5) Media companies and publishers take new platforms seriously. The report states, “It is only when we reach this last phase that we really get a sense of how fundamentally a technology will impact us in the long run.” It believes the audio business is entering this fifth phase. Read the entire study here.
iHeartRadio Gets into Subaru’s STARLINK. Japanese automaker Subaru was a little late to the party with a digital infotainment system but the new STARLINK is available on many of its 2014 cars and now Clear Channel Media + Entertainment announces its iHeartRadio will be included on the system. The STARLINK infotainment system is being demoed at the New York Auto Show beginning tomorrow (4/18). Subaru of America marketing strategy & launch manager David Sullivan, says, “We are thrilled to have iHeartRadio as our first content partner for the STARLINK cloud service application. The award-winning service brings a huge amount of programming and custom content to Subaru vehicles with a great, easy-to-use interface.”
ObamaCare Criticism, IRS-DOJ Tea Party Connection, Russian Aggression in Ukraine, Sebelius Senate Run, Tax Day, and Bloomberg vs the NRA Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/16). Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the allegation that the Lois Lerner led department of the IRS contacted the Department of Justice about prosecuting the Tea Party; escalating aggression by Putin’s Russian forces in Ukraine; speculation that former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will run for the U.S. Senate; chatter about the complex U.S. tax code and the number of taxpayers supporting benefit takers; and former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plans to battle the National Rifle Association were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Still Pioneering After All These Years – 74-Year-Old Alex Bennett Is Building New Platform and Inventing “New” Talk Format. Some view their own age and/or that of others as a roadblock – a barrier to achieving an untold number of additional hopes and dreams. To others, age – more correctly – is merely a meaningless number with no attached strings or restrictions. It would have been quite easy and understandable for radio legend Alex Bennett to take leave and retreat from the business in which he has been an integral part for several decades. After all, the legendary broadcaster was 73-years-old when Sirius XM unceremoniously pink-slipped him last June after more than nine years of service at the satcaster (he turned 74 two months ago). Notwithstanding an imposing and lengthy list of accomplishments and vitae, which the native Californian could trumpet as an entree to retirement, he has become an entrepreneur with “Alex Bennett’s Great American Broadcasts” being the centerpiece of his novel take on talk radio. Bennett is innovatively and opportunistically using Skype to create “citizen panels” of up to 10 callers per clip interacting with him in on-air conversation at a time. To learn more about this creative venture and the ongoing adventures of one of radio’s truly cooler characters, read TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian’s feature piece posted today (2/5) in its entirety by clicking here.
SiriusXM Reports Revenue Up 12% in 2013. During yesterday’s Q4 conference call, SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer told investors and analysts that the company delivered on all of its guidance for 2013 and enjoyed a revenue spike of 12% for the year plus saw its subscriber base rise to 25.5 million. Meyer, like Mel Karmazin before him, is touting the company’s dedication to increasing free cash flow and, to that end, Meyer reports free cash flow was up 31% to $927 million for the year. Looking back on 2013 Meyer underscored the importance of deals that get SiriusXM radios into new cars and stated the satellite service is now available in 71% of cars sold in the United States. Meyer also spoke about the company’s strategy with regard to the “connected vehicle,” saying, “We’ve acquired a smart team of technology engineers who are accelerating development of our overall connected car architecture, including the combination of satellite receivers with LTE hardware, a strategy that should also yield benefits to our existing audio business…We expect connected vehicle services to deliver close to $100 million of revenue this year, and we expect to grow this at strong double-digit rates over the next many years. We are in the process of fully integrating the CV business into SiriusXM, and its financial results are embedded in our guidance today.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript. Members can check out the entire conference here.
Greater Media Suspends WPEN, Philadelphia’s Mike Missanelli for Gay Slurs. This story goes to show how even a seasoned pro like Philadelphia sports talk host Mike Missanelli can make the mistake of engaging with a critic online. Greater Media has suspended afternoon personality Mike Missanelli after he called a critic a “latent homosexual” in an email exchange. The station issued the following statement, “We are aware of the email communications between Mike and one of his listeners. This individual has been harassing Mike by email for several years, which is cause for concern, and we are working with Mike to try to identify this person and stop the abuse. However, that does not excuse Mike’s conduct. The content of his emails is unacceptable and does not reflect our values as a company. Mike has been suspended and understands that future similar conduct will not be tolerated.” The story broke after the email exchange was posted on Deadspin.com.
Beasley Broadcast Group Beefs Up Digital Division. In announcing the hiring of three new regional digital directors, Beasley reveals its dedication to digital sales efforts. In a statement, vice president of digital Stacey Sedbrook speaks about the expectations after bringing Eddie Thorpe, Adam Meltzer and Carolyn Cope aboard. “The formation of this team will surely be the foundation of our success. Having the right people on my team is as important to me as having the right products and services to sell. Eddie, Adam and Carolyn were hand selected for their talents, capabilities and, most importantly, their nimble thinking. Our objective is to drive revenues for our advertisers, especially those smaller businesses and growing brands in the communities we serve. To achieve this goal, our regional digital directors will assist Beasley’s local market sales teams in creating enhanced advertising campaigns that include digital products and services tailored to the specific needs of our existing and new clients.” Eddie Thorpe comes to Beasley from the Tampa Bay Times where he was senior digital director. He’s responsible for the Miami and Fort Myers-Naples markets. Adam Meltzer is responsible for the Philadelphia and Wilmington, Delaware markets. He most recently was multimedia sales manager for Wicked Local. Carolyn Cope also served with Wicked Local as senior digital account executive of major accounts and is now overseeing the Augusta, Georgia; Fayetteville, North Carolina; and Eastern North Carolina markets (Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville). Sedbrook is responsible for the company’s Las Vegas group.
Klatt Yields the Winning Run. In this case, that is a good thing as The Winning Run is the name of the full-service consultancy that Len Klatt is opening. The former Premiere Networks senior vice president/director of research is gearing the new undertaking – which will have Los Angeles and New York City offices – to national media companies and talent, programming services and advertisers. Among his clients are Sound Mind, Compass Media Marketing, Big Shoes Productions, Reel World, and The Blaze Radio Network. “Len continues to do the best job industry wide in both interpreting audience numbers and explaining them to clients interested in exploring the value premise of audience engagement on radio, online, and in digital media,” comments Sound Mind president Kraig Kitchin, Premiere’s former president/chief operating officer. “We are fortunate to have his talents for the benefit of our sponsors.” Klatt remarks, “It is not just about columns and numbers, it’s about how they can be used to shape the story in such a way to advance my clients’ vision. With The Winning Run, I want to cover all the bases.” Before the nearly two decades he spent at Premiere, Klatt was Westwood One‘s New York City-based director of research. He began his media research career at Media Buying Services International.
Learfield Adds to Footprint with Nelligan Acquisition. One of the leaders in college sports play-by-play rights is adding 41 schools to its roster with the acquisition of Nelligan Sports Marketing. Learfield Sports will now hold the multi-media rights to 92 schools, which puts its total above that of its fiercest competitor – IMG Sports, which holds the rights to 79 schools. Learfield president and CEO Greg Brown tells SportsBusinessDaily, “In some cases, this will open up new markets for us. In other cases, it will further fortify what we’re doing…Early on in our discussions with Providence [Learfield owner Providence Equity Partners], we identified some strategic opportunities that would be productive for our business. Nelligan is consistent with the business we’re already in. This was right down the middle of the fairway for us.” Nelligan Sports founder T.J. Nelligan will remain with the new company in a leadership role. He comments that he doesn’t expect attrition with this merger.
Odds & Sods. Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington is helping the National Multiple Sclerosis Society by naming it the station’s WTOP Charity of the Month recipient for February 2014. Through the program the MS Society will receive more than $20,000 worth of in-kind contributions to support Multiple Sclerosis awareness and programs, including 64 promotional announcements on WTOP and sister station Federal News Radio. Additional content and exposure for MS Society will be included on WTOP.com and FederalNewsRadio.com throughout the entire month of February…..Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago announces the next in its “Blackhawks Live” series when forwards Kris Versteeg and Brandon Saad take part in the live event at the Old Town Pour House in suburban Oakbrook on February 24. The event includes a photo op with the players, an autographed photo and dinner, tax and tip. “Blackhawks Live” is a series of one-hour radio broadcasts hosted over dinner throughout the year featuring current Blackhawks players, legends and management. Blackhawks radio broadcasters John Wiedeman and Troy Murray host the event that includes a question-and-answer format between the hosts and the featured Blackhawks guests…..The New Jersey Broadcasters Association has created PSAs for member stations reminding drivers in the Garden State that it’s illegal to drive a vehicle that hasn’t had the snow and ice properly cleared off it. Interested stations can visit www.njba.com for information…..The Radio Television Digital News Association names WBIR-TV, Knoxville news director Christy Moreno to its board of directors, representing Region 8, which includes Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and West Virginia.
WestwoodOne to Present Exclusive Coverage of Winter Olympics. When the 2014 Olympic Winter Games commence in Sochi, Russia on Friday, WestwoodOne will be the exclusive network for audio coverage. WestwoodOne’s programing will include: shortform coverage Olympic updates three times an hour, 24/7, from February 7- February 23; longform coverage – “Today in Sochi” including two hours of longform coverage for 17 consecutive nights; coverage of all U.S. Olympic Hockey (Men’s and Women’s) plus the gold medal games in Men’s and Women’s hockey regardless of who is playing.
Dana Loesch Visits ‘The View.’ Conservative talk media figure Dana Loesch – who just entered national syndication for her daily talk radio show via Radio America – appeared on ABC TV’s “The View” on Monday in her stead as a host on Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze where she hosts a daily, 5:00 pm program. Pictured here (center) between the program’s Jenny McCarthy (left) and Sherri Shepherd (right), Loesch spoke about her conversion from a progressive liberal to her current conservative philosophy and fielded questions from the four co-hosts.
Obama Administration Splits with Some Democrats, Philip Seymour Hoffman Death/Heroin Use in America, Hillary in 2016, Immigration Legislation/Amnesty Component, ObamaCare Criticism, Financial Markets Activity, and Sochi Olympics Troubles Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/4). The reported rift between Democrats on Capitol Hill and the Obama Administration on some issues; the aftermath of the death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman and the light it’s shed on heroin abuse in America; the prospect of Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016; the proposed immigration legislation working its way through Congress and the possibility of amnesty for current illegals; ongoing scrutiny of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; activity on the U.S. and world financial markets; and reports of the problems Russia is facing getting Sochi ready for the Winter Olympics were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Long Set To Program Clear Channel, San Diego Combo. Former senior director of programming for Bonneville Seattle’s KIRO-AM “710 ESPN,” Brian Long, has been tapped to program Clear Channel, San Diego’s news/talk KOGO-AM and KLSD “Xtra Sports 1360.” Vice president of programming John Peake comments, “Brian will bring a diverse perspective from multiple markets and stations to our spoken-word brands. We are excited to add Brian’s management and broadcasting experience to the San Diego programming team. We are confident that KOGO-AM and ‘Xtra Sports’ will prosper under his tutelage.” Long previously was assistant program director and “In the Zone” host on Los Angeles’ KSPN “710 ESPN.” Prior to that, the Kansas City native programmed in Palm Springs, California for KXPS “The Team 1010,” KFUT “Fox Sports 1270,” and KNWZ “K-News.” Long begins his San Diego assignment in two weeks (1/21).
Caplis to Host Late Morning Show on KNUS, Denver. Salem Communications-owned news/talk KNUS, Denver adds local TV and radio personality Dan Caplis to the program lineup in the 9:00 am to 11:00 am slot. Caplis – an attorney – most recently worked in radio at Clear Channel’s crosstown news/talk KHOW with co-host Craig Silverman. KNUS general manager Brian Taylor says, “With the upcoming election cycle, plus the compelling local issues that have put Colorado in the forefront recently, it is significant for us to offer another powerful local voice like market veteran Dan Caplis. Combined with Peter Boyles and Steve Kelley, 710 KNUS will now offer more daily, live local conservative talk programming than any other station in the Denver market.”
New Year Changes at Facebook That Affect You. Digital media consultant Chris Miller informs us that Facebook recently made some important changes that affect how users get to show the content they do. Miller writes, “The news and entertainment site Buzzfeed first picked up on it before Facebook made it official. The folks at Buzzfeed noticed that, all of a sudden, online content publishers were getting a huge increase in hits. That group of publishers includes a wide variety of content providers, but the way to think about it is ‘sites that find and write about stuff that others should find interesting.’” Miller says that all social platforms are getting more sophisticated about how they determine what their users will see. Facebook has adjusted their formula that determines what content we all get shown, emphasizing the interesting over the merely silly and self-serving. Here’s how to help insure that more of your posts get shown to your fan base. Read Miller’s column here.
Analysis: 2014 NMX Podcasters Conference. Media consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas this week covering the New Media Expo and the enormous 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show. First up, Cooke reports from the weekend’s happenings at 2014 NMX. Cooke says the standing-room-only crowd was replete with people focused on talking targeted, passionate interests with its audience. “And they’re not just talking to your geographical area. And they are not merely, as clichéd station imaging assures, ‘talking-about what-you’re-talking-about,’” says Cooke. “Instead of belaboring Benghazi, they’re bonding with ‘ovewhelmed adoptive moms, by telling the truth about the post-adoption journey, so they feel validated and encouraged for the road ahead.’ If more station websites offered narrowcast content that’s specifically appealing, and used transmitters to invite those moms to engage, new digital revenue would follow.” Read Cooke’s entire report from 2014 NMX in Las Vegas here.
Jason Rantz Promoted to Daily Evening Show at KIRO-FM, Seattle. Bonneville Seattle news/talk KIRO-FM ups Jason Rantz from his year-old weekend show on the station to the daily 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm program effective this evening. KIRO-FM program director Pete Gammell says, “Jason is an extremely knowledgeable and thoughtful host who always seeks opposing views to further listeners’ understanding. We always strive to connect entertainment to value and discussion to understanding. This is Jason’s strength and I’m sure listeners will agree.” Speaking about his new gig, Rantz states, “I’m excited by the opportunity to talk with Western Washington as a part of KIRO’s weekday team. I’ve enjoyed interacting and engaging the KIRO Radio listeners during my previous weekend show and now I’m thrilled to bring this same dynamic to weeknights. There are so many important issues affecting our community and the nation, and it is vital that we come together to have a civil but challenging and vigorous discussion. I hope my evening show will become that forum.”
Bonneville Gives Sports Talk KTAR-AM, Phoenix FM Simulcast. Shuttering adult hits KPKX “98.7 The Peak,” Bonneville Phoenix gives sports talker KTAR-AM an FM signal on which to simulcast. The company has been building multi-platform sports content destination “Arizona Sports” using the AM radio station and a local sports content-heavy website and now adds an FM signal to the mix. Vice president and market manager Scott Sutherland states, “Putting ‘Arizona Sports’ on FM is an opportunity too big to ignore. Our live, local and exclusive sports content has never been better. We have world-class local talk personalities who deliver powerful opinions and insights that engage, entertain and positively impact the communities we serve. We also have amazing team partners. And all of this attracts a passionate and loyal audience, which in turn, attracts a lot of marketing interest from small and medium business owners, major brands and C-Suite decision makers.” The stations serve as flagship broadcaster for the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks, Phoenix Coyotes, Arizona State University and broadcasts Arizona Interscholastic Association prep sporting events from around the state.
Red Zebra Re-Ups with Steve Czaban at ‘ESPN 980’ in Washington. Red Zebra Broadcasting and sports talk host Steve Czaban have agreed to terms on a new three-year deal that will keep the afternoon drive co-host with WTEM, Washington, DC “ESPN 980″ through 2016. Czaban has been co-hosting the afternoon drive time slot for WTEM for the last 13 years. Vice president of programming Chuck Sapienza comments, “Czabe is integral to the success of our station. We look forward to three additional years of Czabe, Cooley and Galdi.” Steve Czaban co-hosts “The Drive with Cooley & Czabe” from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm and also hosts the golf program “Sunday Tee Time,” at 8:00 am on Sunday mornings during golf season.
Glenn Beck’s ‘TheBlaze Radio News’ Launces Today. “TheBlaze Radio News” – the latest AM/FM program offering from Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze – hits stations on the AM/FM dial today after debuting on SiriusXM’s Patriot channel several months ago. The service offers hourly newscasts from anchors and reporters around the nation providing news and information specifically targeted to talk radio listeners. The casts draw on the reporting from TheBlaze television network and its website TheBlaze.com which it says “generates over 20 million unique visitors per month and is one of the 100 most trafficked websites in America.” The service is airing today in markets including Chicago, Houston, Phoenix, Denver, Las Vegas and Birmingham, Alabama.
Compass Names Ingold Sales Exec. Compass Media Networks brings Doug Ingold aboard as senior director of affiliate sales for entertainment & music programming beginning January 20. The company says Ingold “will be based in Los Angeles and assume a vital role in the expansion of Compass’ long-form entertainment and music shows including Big D & Bubba, “Free Beer & Hot Wings,” “Off The Record,” “Out of Order,” Rick Dees and “Skratch N Sniff.” Compass VP of affiliate sales Adam Wilbur comments, “Our entertainment portfolio is growing rapidly and the time is right for us to add someone of Doug’s caliber to spearhead day-to-day affiliate marketing.”
McMurray Show Expands at WGN. According to Chicago media writer Robert Feder, late night talk show host Pete McMurray’s show will expand with a new earlier start time at 10:00 pm (and end at 2:00 am), shaving an hour off David Kaplan’s evening sports talk program. Feder quotes WGN vice president of creative content Todd Manley saying, “Pete has become our all-purpose star in a variety of fill-in roles. I think he gets what we’re trying to do very well, especially in providing lots of video content. Between Pete and [producer] Scott Miller, they do an amazing job of booking great guests and being about the city.” Read the story here.
Hotchkiss Transfers to Charlotte as Director of Sales. As of today (1/6), Keith Hotchkiss is Clear Channel Charlotte’s director of sales. He joins that operation from Cleveland where he was general sales manager of Clear Channel-owned CHR WAKS “Kiss-FM,” news/talk WTAM, rock WMMS, and WMMS-HD2 “99X.” Regional Market Manager Charlie Wilkinson remarks that, “Keith’s proven sales leadership will have an immediate impact in Charlotte. I’m confident he will be an integral part of our success now and well into the future.” Clear Channel’s five-station Charlotte cluster consists of alternative WEND “The End,” CHR WHQC “Channel 96-1,” country WKKT “The Kat,” adult hits WLKO “The Lake,” and classic rock WRFX “The Fox.”
Odds & Sods. WABC, New York radio personality Laura Smith is sitting in for the first few shows with new 5:00 pm program host Pat Kiernan starting today. Smith currently hosts two weekend programs on WABC – “Living Better with Laura Smith” and “The Saturday Café.” Kiernan is an anchor on cable’s NY1 and his show is part of the newly revised program lineup at the station…..Tribune’s WGN, Chicago resumes its “Blackhawks Live” live broadcast promotion on Thursday, January 13 featuring defenseman Duncan Keith at the Old Town Pour House in Chicago. “Blackhawks Live” is a series of one-hour radio broadcasts hosted over dinner throughout the year featuring current Blackhawks players, legends and management. Blackhawks radio broadcasters John Wiedeman and Troy Murray host the event that includes a question-and-answer format between the hosts and the featured Blackhawks guests.
Four New Integrations for iHeartRadio. Clear Channel announces its iHeartRadio digital entertainment platform is headed to dashboards in three auto makes, including Jaguar Land Rover, Volvo and Kia. In addition to these OEMs, iHeartRadio will also be available via platform solution provider Bosch. The company states that in 2014, Jaguar Land Rover vehicles equipped with Bosch SoftTec’s innovative InControl Apps platform, Volvo vehicles equipped with the Sensus Connect infotainment solution and Kia vehicles with UVO will have access to iHeartRadio.
“Oh Doctor!” – Jerry Coleman Passes Away. That was one of the favorite on-air expressions uttered by the 89-year-old Jerry Coleman, whose death was confirmed Sunday night (1/5) by the San Diego Padres, the MLB team for whom he called games since 1972. A portion of the team’s prepared statement read, “On behalf of Padres’ fans everywhere, we mourn the loss of a Marine who was truly an American hero as well as a great man, a great friend and a great Padre.” He played parts of nine seasons with the New York Yankees (1949 – 1957). After retiring, he began a broadcasting career with CBS-TV (1960 – 1962), where he conducted pregame interviews on the network’s “Game of the Week” broadcasts. He did play-by-play for the Yankees on WCBS-AM and WPIX-TV (1963 – 1969), Angels (1970 – 1971), and Padres (1972 to this past season). He also called regular-season and postseason broadcasts for CBS Radio from the mid-1970s to the 1990s. For three years of Coleman’s tenure with the Padres, his on-air partner was sitcom writer par excellence-music radio on-air talent Ken Levine, who writes on KenLevine.blogspot.com, “I loved Jerry. He was your favorite uncle – always cheerful, always there for you. His passion for the game of baseball was infectious and his zest for life was inspiring. Other than having to broadcast meaningless spring training games, I cannot think of anything Jerry Coleman didn’t view in a positive light. He was also incredibly humble. When we were on the road, I picked his brain for hours, and he graciously and patiently answered all of my questions. Jerry Coleman worked Padres games up until his death. He led a rich full life and he would often point out how lucky he was. So many of his friends had died young in a war – he lived to be 89 in relatively good health.” In 2005, Coleman received the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence; two years later, he was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame. As of the 2010 season, he reduced his broadcast schedule to approximately 25 home day games.
‘Quinn & Rose’ Honor Commitments, Forge Ahead in Post-WPGB Career. Pittsburgh-based talk radio morning show “Quinn & Rose” – Jim Quinn and Rose Tennent – are not looking back after their 10-year relationship with Clear Channel’s news/talk WPGB, Pittsburgh ended last month. As TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian notes in his story about the duo published today (12/12), not only are Quinn and Tennent continuing to operate their web base warroom.com, they are honoring commitments to listeners, charities and businesses made before their exit from the radio station. They have also been keeping in touch via social media with many of their P1s who’ve rallied around the duo. Tennent says, “I thought that I knew our audience was loyal – but I never knew just how loyal and passionate they were about the show. They really seem to care about what is happening to us personally. I am very moved by the response.” Read more about Jim Quinn and Rose Tennent here.
Life After Arbitron: Day One. Media consultant and TALKERS magazine contributor Holland Cooke reports in from the first day of the Nielsen Audio Client Conference & Jacobs Media Summit in Baltimore. Presentations focused on operating radio stations in a multi-platform universe; the importance of solving the problem of competing for ad dollars against media that can provide specific data; and the use of social media. Check out Holland Cooke’s report here.
Year-End Special Available from Premiere and TheBlaze. Premiere Networks announces the availability of an exclusive, three-hour radio special, “TheBlaze: The Year in Your Ear,” – a comprehensive review of 2013 featuring different perspectives from the hosts and writers of TheBlaze, Glenn Beck’s news, information and entertainment network. The company states, “From the government shutdown and North Korea missile threats, to the Boston Marathon bombings and the George Zimmerman trial, listeners will be treated to a recap of the biggest national events, news headlines and stories that shaped America in 2013.” Premiere reports the show is already cleared on KOA, Denver; WOAI, San Antonio; WPGB, Pittsburgh; KPRC, Houston; and KNRS, Salt Lake City, to name a few. It’s available for air between 12/25 and 1/5/14.
The $1.4 Billion Mystery: What Do Women Want? According to Sabo Media chairman Walter Sabo, the talk radio industry continues its modern era tradition of turning down a significant piece of the $1.4 billion advertising budget spent annually by the advertising community on female-targeted talk television. In a newly-posted article, Sabo writes these TV programs discuss:
- Celebrity gossip
- Diet & exercise
- Personal finance
- Balancing home and work
To read Walter Sabo’s entire piece, please click here.
Fred Dryer to Appear in TV Series. CRN Digital Talk Radio personality Fred Dryer (also a former pro football star and a seasoned actor) will appear in a recurring role in the NBC series “Crisis.” Dryer hosts a weekly talk show for CRN called “The PM Show with Fred Dryer” that airs Wednesdays at 7:00 pm ET. CRN CEO Mike Horn says, “Fred is such a talented, multi-faceted actor. He’s also a great guy – so as fans of his work and him as a person, we’re very excited.” Dryer plays Thomas Jefferson Smith, a powerful, confident and wise CIA agent who, despite being in his 60s, can still kick butt. The Rand Ravich thriller centers on Washington’s most powerful players pulled into an international conspiracy. To bring the most powerful people in the world to their knees, the conspirator must threaten what everyone holds most dear. The “Crisis” cast includes other stars such as Dermot Mulroney, Gillian Anderson, Rachael Taylor and James Lafferty.
Salem Communications Spotlighted by Bloomberg Businessweek. The business-focused publication shines a spot on Salem Communications after its recently announced purchase of Twitchy.com from conservative media figure Michelle Malkin. The piece notes that the company is using profits from its radio assets to fund acquisition of digital properties and that fits with its conservative political philosophy. Felix Gillette writes, “The move may signal that the same forces currently driving consolidation in the digital news industry at large are starting to gain momentum among the ranks of conservative news publishers online. Since the advent of the internet, a diverse constellation of conservative news outlets has sprung up across the country, creating a rich buffet for GOP-loving readers – and a major logistical challenge for the advertisers hoping to reach them. In theory, bringing more of the sites under a smaller number of roofs will appeal to the ad buyers who oversee rising digital marketing budgets while simultaneously providing cost savings for the publishers. Thus, the increasing pressure to consolidate.” The piece reports that in fiscal 2012 Salem “generated $108 million of gross profit on $229 million of revenue. Of the company’s operating income, significantly more came from its radio group ($47 million) than from its websites ($3.7 million).” It also points to Politico which says it hears Salem is in talks to buy Eagle Publishing – owner imprints Regnery Publishing, Regnery History, Eagle Financial Publications as well as digital destinations RedState.com and MarkSkousen.com.
ObamaCare Criticism, Budget Deal/GOP Stalls on Nominees, Mandela Tribute Sign Interpreter Controversy, and Obama Selfie-Flirting Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/11). Scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and criticism of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius; the budget deal and the Republicans’ stall tactics on President Obama’s judicial nominees; the controversy over the sign-language interpreter at the Nelson Mandela tribute; and criticism over President Obama’s taking a selfie and “flirting” with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Matt Ray New Anchor of ‘America’s Morning News.’ The Talk Radio Network-produced “America’s Morning News” program has a new permanent host in Matt Ray. Ray — a 12-year broadcast veteran whose stints include KXL, Portland; KGO and KSFO, San Francisco – takes over as anchor of the program heard in more than 140 markets immediately. Ray states, “It is an exciting opportunity to work with the team at ‘America’s Morning News.’ Our focus continues to be journalism without agenda – the key ingredient to the success of ‘America’s Morning News’: compelling, breaking news and interviews delivered in a fast-paced environment.” TRN CEO Mark Masters adds, “Matt was a natural fit and he tested overwhelmingly positive. His credentials are impressive and we think Matt will take the morning news to new levels of success in the years to come. We are thrilled to see Matt on board at AMN.”
Former ’92.5 Fox News’ Fort Myers Morning Host – Now Congressman – Trey Radel Arrested on Cocaine Charges. Congressman Trey Radel won his first political race last November taking Florida’s 19th Congressional District seat as a Republican after Rep. Connie Mack chose to give up the seat and run for the U.S. Senate. But Radel’s experience has been in broadcasting. He was an anchor on WINK-TV and had made the move to radio as morning host on Meridian Broadcasting’s news/talk “92.5 Fox News” in the Fort Myers market (a trimulcast of WFSX-AM/FM and WNOG-AM). He left that gig to run for office. Radel was busted as part of a sting after allegedly purchasing cocaine in Washington’s Dupont Circle. Radel issued the following statement: “I struggle with the disease of alcoholism, and this led to an extremely irresponsible choice. Believe me, I am disappointed in myself, and I stand ready to face the consequences of my actions. However, this unfortunate event does have a positive side: It offers me an opportunity to seek treatment and counseling. As the father of a young son and a husband to a loving wife, I need to get help so I can be a better man for both of them.”
Glenn Beck Promotes New Book on NBC’s ‘Today.’ Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk host – and founder of the digital destination TheBlaze – Glenn Beck, sat down with NBC’s Kathie Lee Gifford on the “Today” show to talk about his new book, Miracles and Massacres: True and Untold Stories of the Making of America (Threshold Editions 2013). In the photo here, Beck is seen being interviewed by Gifford in his Dallas, Texas studios where programming for TheBlaze is produced. During the interview, Beck talked about the desire to provide more detail and color in fleshing out historical characters and events being the impetus for writing this book.
Talk Radio and Social Media Push Local Commercial into the Limelight. WGOW, Chattanooga afternoon drive talk host Brian Joyce tells TALKERS magazine how the power of talk radio and social media helped create a sensation out of a local TV commercial. He says, “Around 2:00 am last Friday morning, I saw a commercial on local television for a small business called Mike’s Golf Shop. It was so awful, so hilarious, and so awesome that I had to share it with my listeners! So I played the commercial on my show Friday afternoon, then I shared it on Facebook and sent it to a friend of mine who writes for Jimmy Fallon. At the time, the commercial had 27 views on YouTube. By Monday morning, it had 64,000 views. Today, it has 70,000 views. Tosh.O just shared it on their Facebook page, MSNBC and Comedy Central featured in on their websites, and Mike’s Golf Shop is trending on Yahoo!” Joyce says the lesson in this story is that it all started on “Talk Radio 102.3.” What’s more, it’s likely to bring in business. “We met with Mike on Monday morning. He was so excited about what we had done for him that now he wants to advertise with us regularly. The power of talk radio and social media is alive and well, and stronger than ever!” You can see the commercial here.
Kevin Matthews to Take On Voice and Imaging Role at WGN.FM. Chicago radio legend Kevin Matthews’ voice is returning to a Chicago-based audio platform after years of full-time work in his resident city of Grand Rapids. According to Chicago media writer Robert Feder, the radio pro that rose to prominence on rocker WLUP-FM “The Loop” will be the imaging voice of Tribune’s online audio platform WGN.FM, currently host to Jonathon Brandmeier’s program and other shows. Matthews, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2008, returned to his hometown of Grand Rapids in 2005 and was a personality at Cumulus Media classic rock WLAV for several years. He’s been out of terrestrial radio for a while but has been contributing to Steve Dahl’s podcast efforts. Matthews will continue to work from his home studio in Grand Rapids.
WestwoodOne to Rank Best Audio Super Bowl Ads. WestwoodOne – the radio home of Super Bowl XLVIII – is preparing to launch its Super Bowl Audio Index, the first-ever consumer-driven index ranking the most creative audio commercials aired during the Super Bowl. The company says that the index will be comprised of all commercials aired on the 700-plus radio stations that broadcast its exclusive, play-by-play coverage of the game. Each of the commercials will be available for consumer voting through WestwoodOne.com on February 2, 2014. Two awards will be announced across WestwoodOne’s on-air and online broadcast network. The first will be Listener’s Choice, selected by consumers through an online voting process that can also be leveraged by marketers through social media, and activated through SoundHound, to create even more engaging experiences for listeners. The second will be Media Choice, selected by an advisory council comprised of leading advertising, media and creative executives across multiple consumer categories. WestwoodOne CEO Paul Caine states, “For brands wanting to engage a captive audience with the largest reach, there is no comparison to the Super Bowl. We created the Index as a new way for all brands to leverage the power of sound and capitalize on this massive advertising moment. The index enables marketers to engage more intimately with 26 million-plus listeners, expanding their campaigns and maximizing their marketing dollars.”
Odds & Sods. SiriusXM superstar Howard Stern announces he will return for another season of “America’s Got Talent.” Stern told listeners to his radio show on Tuesday that although he’d like more personal time, “that big black hole inside of me that demands attention” won and he’ll return for his third season judging on the show…..Main Street Radio Network president Jane Silk will debut her own weekly radio show this Saturday, November 23. Silk, who has provided commentary for her company’s Alan Nathan show, will host the one-hour show which airs live from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm ET…..Chicago radio personalities Steve King and Johnnie Putman – longtime overnight hosts on Tribune’s WGN – are returning to the station for fill-in work. Chicago media writer Robert Feder tips us that the husband-and-wife duo will sub for morning drive host Steve Cochran during Christmas week. King and Putman retired from the station in December of 2011…..AARP has renewed its radio representation agreement with Media Management Group for 2014. MMG continues to be responsible for ad sales, distribution and business development for the Baby Boomer-targeted feature programming. AARP’s radio content can be heard on hundreds of stations across the country.
AdLarge Media and PromoSuite Enter National Advertising Sales Rep Agreement. The exclusive pact covers inventory already measured in Nielsen Audio’s RADAR service and moving into AdLarge’s Return On Investment (ROI) Network. AdLarge co-founder/chief executive officer Gary Schonfeld comments that the partnership “gives our national advertisers access to an enormous amount of inventory, and intensifies our already strong coverage in major markets.” AdLarge co-founder/president Cathy Csukas adds, “Our objective when we created the ROI Network was to offer clients a wide-reaching, RADAR-measured network with solid top-market coverage and a non-controversial format environment. With the inclusion of PromoSuite‘s vast array of music-formatted radio station inventory, we are proud to have surpassed that goal.” Meanwhile, PromoSuite chief executive officer Rocco Macri remarks, “It is inevitable that our two companies struck up a partnership. You have two independent, forward-thinking companies that are agile enough to make quick decisions, yet big enough to have an impact. Together, we will continue to build and maintain relationships within the radio and advertising communities.” Customized advertising sales rep AdLarge was founded in 2010; PromoSuite services more than 1,500 radio stations and is included in all top 50 markets.
Mixing in Pop Culture. Fox Sports Radio Network host Jay Mohr (right) poses for a photo with Black Crowes drummer Steve Gorman (left) in the FSR studios. Gorman was in town to talk about his new tour with the Black Crowes, his new band Trigger Hippy as well as chat about sports. The two discussed the controversial end to the Monday Night Football game between the Patriots and Panthers and Gorman also participated in the first-ever Jay Mohr Sports Front Man Draft. As part of the segment, the crew drafted a team of various band front men, including Steven Tyler, Freddie Mercury and the Black Crowes’ Chris Robinson.
Putting on the Greasepaint. Pictured here are TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (right) and his wife Bernadette Duncan Harrison (left) with TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey (center) in costume for his role as Beadle Bamford in the Monson, Massachusetts-based Greene Room Productions presentation of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
ObamaCare Criticism, JFK Assassination Anniversary, Iran Nukes Talks, Sinking Obama Approval Numbers, Toronto Mayor Case and Midwest Tornadoes Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/19). Scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and the state of the government’s health care sign-up website; the coming anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy; the potential talks with Iran about its nuclear policy and the debate in Washington over increasing economic sanctions against the Islamic state; the sinking approval ratings for President Obama; the bizarre case of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford; and the aftermath of the devastating tornadoes that swept across the Midwest were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio.
Talkers Los Angeles 2013 Takes Place Today. More than 250 broadcasters from the talk media industries will be gathering in Hollywood, California today to hear more than 57 speakers analyze the key issues facing talk radio and talk internet at Talkers Los Angeles 2013. Among them, Alpha Broadcasting and L&L Broadcasting CEO Larry Wilson, who will deliver the keynote address, “Radio at the Crossroads,” and Courtside Entertainment, LLC CEO Norm Pattiz and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison who will engage in a keynote conversation, “Okay…Now What?” at the sold-out event. Talkers Los Angeles 2013 — a presentation of TALKERS magazine in association with the Los Angeles Press Club — takes place today between 9:00 am and 6:15 pm at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood, California. Full coverage of the conference will be provided at Talkers.com in the coming days and weeks. To see the up-to-date, power-packed agenda, please click here.
PodcastOne Signs Kathie Lee Gifford to Deal for One-Hour Program. Bringing marquee talent to the podcast genre is what Courtside Entertainment Group CEO Norm Pattiz promised when he debuted PodcastOne. Now, the company signs “Today” co-anchor Kathie Lee Gifford to host a one-hour podcast on the platform. When the show debuts on October 23, Gifford will host with her former “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee” partner Regis Philbin. Gifford says, “I’m so looking forward to this new podcast adventure. I feel like I’m in an episode of the Jetsons, soaring into unknown territory on my podcast. It will be the first time for me in a 45-year career where I’ve been able to completely control the content. And best of all? I won’t need my hair or makeup done and there’s no need for Spanx!” Pattiz adds, “What can I possibly say about Kathie Lee Gifford that hasn’t already been said? How about this – bringing Kathie Lee to on-demand audio via PodcastOne is a very big deal. We’re doing business with the best of the best, and that list just got better.” Other PodcastOne personalities and brands include Adam Carolla, Dr. Drew Pinsky, Steve Austin, Dennis Miller, Ron Paul, Jay Mohr, Jillian Michaels, NPR New York, NPR Los Angeles, and “60 Minutes.”
KFTK, St. Louis Personality Dana Loesch Joins Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze. St. Louis-based talk radio personality and writer Dana Loesch has subbed for Glenn Beck in addition to her full-time work on Emmis’ KFTK, St. Louis and WIBC, Indianapolis. Now, she’ll serve as a contributor and host for TheBlaze. In addition to continuing to fill in for Beck, what audio or video contributions Loesch will make remains unclear at this time. Loesch says, “I’m excited to join TheBlaze team. I love the fight in this group and their dedication to creating the best content available on multiple platforms. They’ve been at the forefront of new wave media…I can’t wait to get started.” Glenn Beck said of her on his TV program, “We are thrilled to have her. She is one of the people that is on the front lines fighting the good fight. We have wanted to have her as a part of TheBlaze for a very, very long time.” Loesch founded the St.Louis-area Tea Party and previously worked as an editor at Breitbart.
Mike McConnell Exits Tribune’s WGN, Chicago. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that talk radio personality Mike McConnell – off the AM 720 signal at Tribune’s WGN since early October and relegated to airing a show on wgnradio.com – is leaving the company. McConnell came to WGN from Clear Channel’s WLW, Cincinnati where he worked with former Tribune CEO Randy Michaels when Michaels was running WLW and later serving as president of Clear Channel Radio. When Jimmy de Castro took over the reins of WGN earlier this year, it was suspected that the on-air lineup might change dramatically and that’s what’s happened. Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder were brought in for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon shift and Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano took over the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show. Feder reports that sources say McConnell and Tribune have a tentative settlement on the remaining two years of his reported $500,000 annual salary but there’s no official word from Tribune at this time.
KFH, Wichita Brings Shane Dennis Aboard for PM Drive. Entercom sports talk radio outlet KFH-AM/FM, Wichita the addition of a new live and local sports talk show hosted by Shane Dennis beginning October 21. Dennis comes to the station with a sports pedigree. He was director of baseball operations for 13 years at Wichita State. During that time, he worked with Mike Kennedy as color analyst for WSU baseball games. He pitched for the WSU Shockers from 1991–1994 and earned All-American honors in 1994. Program director Tony Duesing says, “We’re excited about adding Shane to our powerful sports lineup on KFH. Shane is a big sports radio fan and he is a great personality who will only make people want to tune in.”
Former KCOH, Houston Talk Radio Personality Files Civil Suit Against Station President. Recently, TALKERS reported the case of Houston urban talk radio personality Michael Harris quitting his position at KCOH after alleging station president (and local minister) Jesse Dunn was misusing station funds. Now, according to a report in the Houston Chronicle, Harris is filing a civil suit against Dunn and the South Houston Community Development Corporation. The paper reports that in the suit, Harris says Dunn made false representations to induce him to secure two personal lines of credit totaling $130,000 for station financing and back a $38,000 loan for equipment. Harris also alleges that Dunn was able to acquire a debit card to use on one of the lines of credit and that Dunn has been using those funds for personal expenses including trips to Las Vegas and Louisiana. Harris’ attorney says no contract exists between the two men and states, point blank, that his client “got hustled.” Dunn had previously said whatever money he used was his and is currently running recorded announcements on the station assuring listeners that the station’s finances are strong and that claims to the contrary are misrepresentations.
Internet Advertising Bureau: Digital Ad Revenue Hits $20.1 Billion in First Half of 2013. According to the Internet Advertising Bureau, that total for the first half of 2013 marks an increase of 18% over the 2012 first-half-year total. Some other highlights from the organization’s report include: Report highlights include: Mobile revenues soared to $3 billion in the first half of 2013, representing triple-digit growth at 145% from $1.2 billion in the same period last year; Digital video, a component of display-related advertising, took in $1.3 billion in revenue during the first six months of 2013, an uptick of 24% over the first half of 2012 at $1.1 billion; Search revenues in the first half of 2013 totaled $8.7 billion, up 7% from $8.1 billion in the first half of 2012; Display-related advertising revenues in the first half of 2013 totaled $6.1 billion, accounting for 30% of revenues in the time period, up 9% from $5.6 billion in the first half of 2012; and the top three advertising verticals accounted for 46% of advertising revenue, including Retail at 20%, Financial Services at 14% and Automotive at 12%. IAB president and CEO Randall Rothenberg states, “Digital has steadily increased its ability to captivate consumers and then capture the marketing dollars that follow. Mobile advertising’s breakneck growth is evidence that marketers are recognizing the tremendous power of smaller screens. Digital video is also on a positive trajectory, delivering avid viewership and strong brand-building opportunities.”
J.D. Hayworth in for Huckabee. Former U.S. Congressman J.D. Hayworth (and former KFYI, Phoenix talk host) sits in for Cumulus Media Networks nationally syndicated talk personality Mike Huckabee on Friday, October 11 from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET.
Debt Limit/Government Shutdown, ObamaCare Implementation, Obama Approval Ratings, Financial Markets Activity, and Baseball Playoff Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/9). The struggle in Washington to come to agreement on a debt limit and to undo the government shutdown; the failure of the Obama Administration’s Affordable Care Act website; the sinking approval ratings for President Obama; the response to the government shutdown by the world’s financial markets; and the MLB playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Mark Masters Responds to Previously Posted Story About Potential Problems at TRN. CEO Mark Masters of Talk Radio Network has informed TALKERS that there are significant aspects of the story posted directly below pertaining to concerns over his company’s finances and operational well-being moving forward that are missing from it as covered. He promises a full statement will be forthcoming on Monday morning clarifying missing details of the story as it stands that will alleviate many of the concerns raised by the fact that it is incomplete. TALKERS has no reason to doubt Masters’ word on this and stands ready to publish his statement when received.
Troubling Times At TRN? While there are more questions than answers at the moment, TALKERS has learned through several reliable sources that a major restructuring is possibly taking place in high level “meetings” at the Mark Masters-led Talk Radio Network (TRN). Those close to the situation at the Oregon-based syndication firm have told TALKERS that some TRN staff members including talent and middle-management are owed back compensation, and that an uneasy feeling is pervading the company. Lack of capitalization is being cited as a major cause of TRN’s immediate woes. Ramifications of changes in TRN’s status could, of course, impact jobs throughout the company, most notably its high-profile host lineup that includes Andrea Tantaros, Jerry Doyle, Rusty Humphries, and Monica Crowley. If the speculated demise of TRN that we have been hearing about today is true, it could also have an immediate impact on its hundreds of affiliates in both the news/talk and all-news arenas. Again, none of this has been confirmed by Masters specifically, although our sources include mid-to-high-level executives in the company and reliable agencies with whom they do business. We have no further details, however, regarding a timetable on this nor if TRN has alternative remedies. TALKERS has attempted to reach Masters but he has not responded to our calls and emails.
ONE MONTH UPDATE: Boston Herald Radio to Be Subject of TalkersTV Documentary. The innovative online news/talk/sports initiative dubbed “Boston Herald Radio” launched this summer by the Boston Herald daily newspaper has reached its first-month anniversary milestone – an event that prompted a visit to the facility yesterday by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison. Harrison personally recorded a point-of-view series of video recordings of interviews with the project’s principals as well as a tour of its studios and facilities. These recordings will provide the basis for an in-depth documentary on the project that will run next week on TalkersTV here on Talkers.com. Meantime, the Boston Herald has run a story today about Harrison’s visit and comments including a comprehensive video of his opinion about the meaningfulness of Boston Herald Radio within the unfolding scheme of things in this new digital era. To see it, please click here.
Glenn Beck Featured in The New York Times Magazine This Weekend. In Amy Chozick’s column in this weekend’s The New York Times Magazine, Premiere Networks syndicated talk star and chief of his own multi-media venture TheBlaze, Glenn Beck, answers questions about media, politics and more. An interesting outtake from the piece is Beck’s response to her questioning his assertion that TheBlaze could put traditional TV news out of business. Beck’s response: “I learned that when Barbara Walters came and did an interview with me. They had about 50 people in our studio for two days – more people in my offices than we had employees. All for an eight-minute segment…The nightly news is doing a fine job of putting itself out of business. Who watches it? I mean really, besides my grandparents, who are both dead, who is watching the nightly news? I think we’ll be ready to put them out of business in the next three to five years.”
Martha Zoller Gets Tulsa Audience on Sunday Nights. WGAU, Athens-based talk show host Martha Zoller – who’s heard in AM Drive with Tim Bryant as hosts of “Athens’ Morning News” – is going to be heard on Cox Media Group’s Tulsa news/talk outlet KRMG when her Sunday evening program begins airing at 6:00 pm on September 8. Politics is Zoller’s bread and butter and the show will focus on political issues. KRMG PD Levi May states, “It’s a great opportunity to add such talent as Martha Zoller, the new voice in conservative talk, to do a live talk show on Sunday evenings and focus on the topics that matter to KRMG’s listeners. Zoller recently debuted her own Georgia political news blog at www.zpolitics.com. Addressing her new Tulsa show, Zoller says, “I’m very excited to be joining KRMG on Sunday nights. We’ll look at the week’s news and ahead to the big three things every week.” CMG notes that the Zoller and Bryant morning show is being distributed statewide in Georgia via the Georgia News Network beginning this month.
Radio Show Advertiser Luncheon Q&A to Feature State Farm and OMD Execs. The Radio Advertising Bureau and the National Association of Broadcasters announce Tim Van Hoof, assistant vice president of marketing for State Farm and Sumeet Kanwar, managing director, Midwest & strategy for OMD (State Farm’s media planning and buying agency partner) will participate in a Q&A at the 2013 Radio Show Advertiser Luncheon in Orlando. State Farm is one of the country’s leading broadcast advertisers. The event is sponsored by Katz Media Group and will take place on Wednesday, September 18 at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber will moderate a discussion with the two. State Farm was one of the top 10 radio advertisers of 2012 and increased its radio advertising spend by 20% in the first half of 2013 and by 32% in the second quarter of this year. Farber states, “The Advertiser Luncheon is always a Radio Show highlight and an opportunity for attendees to learn to leverage radio’s unique ability to attract and retain top advertisers. Mr. Van Hoof, as a key decision maker, and Mr. Kanwar, as a key influencer, offer valuable perspectives for one of radio’s largest advertising clients.”
Jorge Sedano Partners with Mark Schlereth for ESPN Radio Evening Show. Miami sports talk personality Jorge Sedano most recently was serving as program director and afternoon drive host at Beasley Broadcasting’s WQAM, Miami when he announced his departure from the station for new opportunities. Now we know that new opportunity is co-host of the “Sedano & Stink” show debuting on ESPN Radio Monday, September 9 at 7:00 pm ET. ESPN states that “in addition to his new role on ESPN Radio, Sedano will contribute to “SportsCenter” and other ESPN studio programming. Schlereth, a three-time Super Bowl champion and former All-Pro offensive guard, joined ESPN in 2001 as an NFL analyst and has co-hosted the time slot on ESPN Radio since January 2012.” Sedano has worked at numerous sports broadcasting outlets in South Florida including serving as studio host for Fox’s Sun Sports telecasts of the Miami Heat in 2012-13. He says, “There are three elements to a successful talk show: be informative, entertaining and thought provoking. Those are the elements I expect from our new show. Between my energy, passion and analytical approach, coupled with Mark’s knowledge, insight and perspective, I feel like we have every aspect covered for the listener. It’s important to be interactive via social media during the show and truly connect with the listeners. Lastly, we’ll have fun, too.”
Another South Florida Sports Talker for ESPN Radio as Dan LeBatard Goes National September 30. In addition to Jorge Sedano’s new show on ESPN Radio, WAXY, Miami “The Ticket” PM drive host and Miami Herald columnist Dan LeBatard will be heard on the network at the end of the month. LeBatard will still emanate from WAXY and his 3:00 pm hour will be local but the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm hours will be distributed via ESPN Radio. LeBatard will also continue to host “Highly Questionable” program on ESPN2 weekdays at 4:00 pm and Bomani Jones, who is a regular on the TV show, will also have a role on the new national radio program. ESPN Radio is debuting another show new to the network on Monday, September 9 as the Freddie Coleman show takes over the 10:00 pm to 1:00 am slot. Coleman had previously aired on Saturday and Sunday nights.
Jerry Del Colliano Sets Location/Date for Next “Media Solutions Conference.” The radio trade publication maverick who founded Inside Radio and built it during its days as an independent journal (it is currently owned by Clear Channel), Jerry Del Colliano, publisher of Inside Music Media, has announced the location and date of his next “Media Solutions Conference.” The 2014 installment of the one-day event will take place on Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at the Rittenhouse Hotel in Philadelphia. The theme of the forward-looking conference will be “How to disrupt your radio station before a traditional or digital competitor does.” It will address such topics as “mastering digital media,” “the most effective new social media strategies,” “dealing with shorter attention spans,” “reversing the decline of radio listening by making key strategic moves,” “how millennials hold the key to radio’s future,” “new digital content businesses to start,” and “succeeding at short video, digital audio, text and social media” among others. In addition to Del Colliano, the conference will feature speakers from the industry including WBEB (B101), Philadelphia owner Jerry Lee. For complete registration and hotel information call 480-998-9898 or click here.
Entercom Flips WWKB to Sports Talk as ‘ESPN 1520 AM.’ The progressive talk is gone from Entercom’s WWKB and the station becomes an ESPN Radio affiliate. The company says the outlet will deliver ESPN’s content, be the home of some local play-by-play and serve as a companion to its local sports talk station WGR. Entercom Buffalo operations manager Tim Wenger says, “Buffalo is a passionate sports town and the appetite for sports programming on the radio keeps growing. With WGR 550AM and now ESPN Buffalo 1520AM, Entercom Buffalo has expanded our ability to offer the best and most comprehensive local and national sports coverage to Buffalo sports fans, giving our clients and advertisers even better access to the total Buffalo sports audience.” The station is carrying live sports action this weekend as it airs coverage of the 2013 NHL Prospect Tournament live from Traverse City, Michigan. Every Sabres game will be carried live, with play-by-play provided by Paul Hamilton of WGR 550 radio.
NJBA: Radio Listening Up in NJ One Year After Sandy. The New Jersey Broadcasters Association reports that a little less than one year after the devastating storm Sandy hit the state of New Jersey and brought huge numbers of citizens with limited communications options to the radio for news and information, many of those people are relatively young and have stayed with radio, according to recent ratings trends. NJBA president Paul Rotella explains, “The crucial role broadcasters played during Superstorm Sandy took center stage at our New Jersey Broadcasters Association conference this past summer, earning praise from local and national leaders like NAB president Gordon Smith and Representatives Frank Pallone, Rob Andrews, Frank LoBiondo and even Greg Walden from Oregon! Storm coverage also caused thousands of new listeners to discover the amazing entertainment and information resources of New Jersey’s best radio stations. Since then, our stations have successfully converted many of them into regular listeners, who turned to our reliable local broadcasters when the power went out and radio became an essential lifeline for everyone in the Garden State! What we have now noticed is that many of our stations now have an appreciably increased listener base across many demos than before the storm.”
Odds & Sods. As the football season moves into full swing with the first full weekend of NFL games, Fox Sports Radio Network announces its fall weekend schedule (all times Eastern): Saturday — 1:00 am to 6:00 am, Ben Maller; 6:00 am to 9:00 am, Seth Everett; 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, Anthony Gargano & Lincoln Kennedy; 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm, Bobby Bones; 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm “FOX College Football Now with Steve Hartman & Chris Rix”; 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm, Mike North; 10:00 pm to 1:00 am, College Football Recap with TJ Rives. Sunday – 1:00 am to 6:00 am, Ben Maller; 6:00 am to 8:00 am, “SPEED Sport on FOX with Rob D’Amico”; 8:00 am to 10:00 am, “FOX Fantasy with Mike North & Michael Harmon”; 10:00 am to 12:00 noon, “FOX Football Today with Bill Reiter & Artrell Hawkins”; 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm, “NFL on FOX TV” (simulcast); 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm, “The Blitz with Ben Maller & Tomm Looney”; 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm, “FOX Overtime with Andy Furman & Kirk Morrison” and 10:00 pm to 1:00 am, “FOX Football Tonight with Mike North.”…..CBS Sports Radio Network also is announcing its weekend fall lineup (all times Eastern): Saturdays — 6:00 am to 9:00 am, Marc Malusis and Maggie Gray; 9:00 am to 10:00 am, Brandon Tierney; 10:00 am to 12:00 noon “Eye on Baseball with Brandon Tierney and CJ Nitkowski” (through the World Series); 12:00 noon to 8:00 pm, “Eye on College Football”; 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm, Jody McDonald; 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight “Eye on Fantasy Football.” Sundays – 12:00 midnight to 2:00 am, Adam the Bull; 2:00 am to 6:00 am, Amy Lawrence; 6:00 am to 9:00 am, John Kincade; 9:00 am to 10:00 am, “Mike Francesa’s Football Sunday”; 11:00 am to 12:00 noon “Fantasy Football Today with Jason Horowitz, Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard” ; 12:00 noon to 8:00 pm, “Eye on Football”; 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm, Jody McDonald; and 10:00 pm to 2:00 am, Amy Lawrence.
Basic Agenda Set for Talkers Los Angeles 2013 with More Speakers to be Announced — Sell-Out Expected by End of Business Monday! 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 five weeks before the event so it is advisable for media professionals interested in attending to register now! It is expected that reservations will be sold out by the end of business (5:00 pm ET) this coming Monday (9/9). 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). The following is the basic agenda of Talkers Los Angeles 2013 with more details and speakers to be added in the coming days and weeks leading up to the event:
Talkers Los Angeles 2013 – Thursday, October 10, 2013 – 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
9:00 am – 9:45 am
Bagel Breakfast Party
Sponsored by the Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Company
9:45 am – 9:55 am
Special Presentation: “Greetings from New York”
Michael Harrison, Publisher, TALKERS/RadioInfo
Diana Ljungaeus, Executive Director, Los Angeles Press Club
Speaker: Sean Hannity (via video), Host, Premiere Networks; Fox News Channel
9:55 am – 10:30 am
Keynote Conversation: “Okay… Now, What?”
Introduction: Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald, Co-Hosts, “Brent & Meg Show,” Talkers Radio/Official Greeters, Talkers Los Angeles 2013
Norm Pattiz, CEO, Courtside Entertainment/Launchpad Digital Media/Podcast One
Michael Harrison, Publisher, TALKERS/RadioInfo
10:40 am – 11:20 am
Panel Discussion: “The State of Radio Advertising and Sales”
Moderator: Erica Farber, president/CEO, Radio Advertising Bureau
Panelists (in alphabetical order):
Terry Fahy, VP/GM, Salem, Los Angeles
Ron Hartenbaum, CEO, WYD/WYM Media
Chris Pendl, Creative Director, Bonneville Seattle
Paul Vandenburgh, President/GM/host, WGDJ, Albany
11:30 am – 12:10 pm
Panel Discussion: “Radio – The Big Picture, Part 1”
Moderator: Michael Harrison, Publisher, TALKERS/RadioInfo
Panelists (in alphabetical order):
Phil Boyce, VP spoken word format, Salem Communications
“Shotgun” Tom Kelly, Disc Jockey, KRTH, Los Angeles
Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC
Don Martin, SVP sports programming, Fox Sports Radio/Clear Channel Media and Entertainment
Mike McVay, SVP programming, Cumulus Media
Harvey Nagler, VP, CBS Radio News
12:20 pm – 12:30 pm
Special Presentation: “The Importance of Personality, Creativity and Originality in Talk Radio”
Introduction: Robbie Student, Host, TalkersRadio
Speaker: Phil Hendrie, Host, WYD Media
12:35 pm – 12:50 pm
Special Presentation: “New Local Talk Radio On-Air Jobs in 2014”
Introduction: Jeff Wasserman, CEO, Life Coach Media
Speaker: Holland Cooke, Radio Consultant
12:50 pm – 1:30 pm
Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Luncheon!
Sponsored by Sean Hannity and Premiere Networks
1:30 pm – 2:00 pm
Special Ceremony: Woman of the Year Award
Presenter: Robin Bertolucci, PD, KFI/KTLK, Los Angeles
Recipient: Heather Cohen, EVP, the Weiss Agency
2:00 pm – 2:40 pm
Panel Discussion: The State of Talk Radio Programming
Moderator: Kevin Casey, VP/Executive Editor, TALKERS/RadioInfo
Skip Essick, PD, KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno
Neil Larrimore, PD KFYI/KOY-AM/KGME, Phoenix
Andy Ludlum, Director of News Programming, KNX/KFWB, Los Angeles
Dave Sniff, PD, KFMB, San Diego
Chuck Tyler, PD, KRLA/KKLA, Los Angeles
Bill White, PD, KQTH-FM/KFFN-AM/FM, Tucson
2:45 pm – 3:20 pm
Panel Discussion: “Hosting a Show and Managing a Career”
Introduction: Matthew B. Harrison, VP/Associate Publisher, TALKERS/RadioInfo; Senior Partner, Harrison Strategies
Moderator: Mike Kinosian, Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief, TALKERS/RadioInfo
Rusty Humphries, Host, Talk Radio Network
Frank Kramer, Morning Co-Host (Heidi & Frank), KLOS, Los Angeles/founder of Toad Hop Network
Leslie Marshall, Host, WYM Management
Doug Stephan, Host, “Good Day”/CEO, Stephan Multimedia
Alan Stock, Host, KDWN, Las Vegas
3:25 pm – 3:40 pm
Special Presentation: “Interactivity and Video: The Key to Your Business Future”
Speaker: Walter Sabo, CEO, Sabo Media
3:45 pm – 4:15 pm
Panel Discussion: Specialty Shows, Orphan Shows, Category Busters and Non-Traditional Revenue
Introduction: Bill Moran, CEO, Bill Moran & Associates
Moderator: David Bernstein, General Manager, TalkersRadio
Barry Armstrong, Co-host, “The Financial Exchange with Barry Armstrong & Kim Carrigan,” WRKO, Boston
Danielle Lin, Host, the Danielle Lin Show
Michael Zwerling, Owner, KSCO, Santa Cruz
4:20 pm – 5:00 pm
Panel Discussion: “Radio – The Big Picture, Part 2”
Bill Carroll, Host, KFI, Los Angeles
Sam Hasson, CEO/Host, LA Talk Radio
Tom Leykis, President, the New Normal
Kevin McCullough, CEO/Host XtreMEDIA; Host, WMCA, New York
Eric Stanger, VP of Operations and Affiliate Marketing, The Sean Hannity Show/Premiere Networks
5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Open Forum followed by Closing Remarks and “Farewell Reception”
Agenda subject to change without notice.
Youngest Reporter in Berlin. As “Into Tomorrow with Dave Graveline” covers the IFA Consumer Electronics Unlimited show in Berlin this week, Dave Graveline’s 16-month-old grandson Kameron Graveline (l) helped out the crew reporting from the historic show (Dave’s the one on the right). Dave tells TALKERS that this trade show – news from which will be featured on his programs this weekend and next – is rich in history. He notes that Albert Einstein was the first keynote speaker at the inaugural show back in 1924. Graveline is celebrating his 10th anniversary covering this enormous consumer electronics and appliance show.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Thom Hartmann show adds some non-commercial affiliates to his program including: KPFK, Los Angeles; KNSJ, San Diego; KBBF, San Francisco; KBCS, Seattle; KXRY, Portland…..“The Freedom Feens” featuring Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi is added to the program schedule at WRIK, Paducah, Kentucky.
Debate of Syria Action Tops Talkers TenTM. The debate over U.S. action in Syria was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week. At #2 was the G-20 Summit followed by the implementation of the Affordable Care Act at #3. Following at #4 was the controversy over the federal “Common Core” education guidelines. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s chart here.
Glenn Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts Purchases Irving, Texas Studios Serving as Headquarters for TV and Radio Productions. Since 2012, Glenn Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts – the parent company of TheBlaze – has been renting The Studios at Las Colinas in Irving, Texas. Now, the company announces it is purchasing the former television and movie studio to serve as the network’s flagship television and radio facility. Mercury Radio Arts says the 72,000 square foot facility, which will now be known as Mercury Studios, features three sound stages that are up to 14,500 square feet. TheBlaze produces six hours of live programming every day from Irving. TheBlaze also currently leases a studio in Midtown Manhattan. Beck states, “We are proud to call Texas our home and be part of the local community in Irving. We are building a world-class facility that provides TheBlaze with the highest quality talent and top-of-the-line production capabilities so American stories can be told to viewers across the country.” TheBlaze president and chief content officer Joel Cheatwood comments, “TheBlaze has quickly built up the capacity to produce over 43 hours of original programming per week and we are excited to now have our own multi-media base as we continue to grow.” The facility was built in 1982, and has been the site of the production of movies and television shows including “Robocop,” “JFK,” “Silkwood,” “Prison Break” and “Walker Texas Ranger.”
CBS Atlanta Puts “Sportsline” TV Show on Hold After Firing Steak Shapiro, Chris Dimino and Nick Cellini. It was only a matter of time that in the wake of the highly publicized cancellation of the “Mayhem in the AM” morning show on WQXI, Atlanta that the weekend TV sports talk show the trio did for CBS Atlanta would also see its end. After the Steve Gleason bit that caused the three to lose their jobs at the radio station, the TV station’s general manager Trey Fabacher announced the “CBS Atlanta Sportsline” show would go on hiatus and the relationship between the station and the three co-hosts would end. CBS issued the following statement regarding the incident: “Our employees, our partners and sponsors in no way support the content that was aired by this radio team on Monday morning.”
TOM RAY RECOMMENDS: Check Out the “Alert FM” App. Engineering consultant and TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray writes in a new column posted today (6/20), “I just found an app that is a helluva lot more useful than what FEMA has mandated on your cell phone in regards to weather warnings. And, it has great potential to be a tool for your broadcast operation, whether you’re on the street reporters, newsroom, or just the announcers and jocks are equipped with it. The app is available for iPhones and Android devices, and is called Alert FM.” Check out Tom Ray’s entire column by clicking here.
Beasley Broadcasting Names Justin Chase to New Corporate VP of Programming. The promotion of Justin Chase from operations manager for Beasley’s three Las Vegas music outlets – KCYE, KKLZ and KOAS (as well as GGB Las Vegas-owned KVGS) – to the new corporate post of vice president of programming gives Chase the charge of overseeing all programming responsibilities for the company’s portfolio of 40-plus radio stations located in 11 radio markets across the country. The company adds other duties to the position with Chase being charged with “developing creative campaigns that extend the radio stations’ on-air brands to the digital space.” Chase reports to president and COO Bruce Beasley. The company lauds Chase for the ratings and revenue growth the stations have experienced since he came aboard in 2009 – from CBS Radio’s crosstown AC KMXB — making Las Vegas one of the company’s top-performing markets. Bruce Beasley states, “Justin possesses all the traits and strengths we were we looking for in a vice president of programming when we decided to create the position at Beasley’s corporate level. Over the last four years with our company, he has demonstrated his ability to program numerous formats, develop and maintain strong relationships within the industry and create campaigns that extend stations’ on-air brands to digital platforms. We believe Justin is the perfect fit for this new position.”
Charlottesville Talk Host Coy Barefoot Jumps Across Town to WCHV-FM. Talk media personality Coy Barefoot leaves Saga Communications’ WINA, Charlottesville, Virginia to join Monticello Media’s WCHV-FM for the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot. Barefoot also hosts a weekly Sunday morning program on Newsplex-owned TV in the market called “Inside Charlottesville” and his radio show at WCHV-FM takes the same name. Barefoot began his program on WINA in 2006. The move to Monticello Media’s news/talk simulcast of WCHV-AM/FM means the station separates programming for the two hours when Barefoot’s show is head on the FM and Premiere’s Sean Hannity continues to be heard on the AM signal.
WJZ-FM, Baltimore Morning Co-Host Ed Norris Returns to Air After April Motorcycle Accident. Former cop Ed Norris who now works as morning drive co-host at CBS Radio’s sports talk WJZ-FM, Baltimore “105.7 The Fan” returned to the air on June 19 after almost two months off the air. Norris was involved in a motorcycle accident in which he swerved to avoid a truck. He suffered broken ribs, a broken arm and head injuries but has healed well enough to be back on the radio – although he tells WJZ-TV he’s still injured and still in some pain. Norris co-hosts the morning show with Steve Davis.
NAB Files Comments with FCC Requesting Indecency Policy Provide Clarity. The National Association of Broadcasters has filed a 42-page report containing its comments in regard to the FCC’s request for such on Adopting Egregious Cases Policy. The crux of the NAB’s comments is that the commission’s policy on indecency needs to be clear and contain examples. “The Commission’s broadcast indecency policies must, at the very least, adhere to the constraints of Pacifica — and thus, unlike the 2004 Golden Globe decision and its progeny, they must be limited and restrained. Golden Globe and subsequent decisions focusing on fleeting expletives and isolated nudity led to unpredictable, arbitrary and unconstitutional enforcement of indecency rules and policies that chilled broadcaster speech. Any policies going forward not only must be cautious and restrained, as Pacifica requires, they also must be as predictable, consistent and clear as possible.” The NAB also states it believes: 1) the commission should no longer treat fleeting or isolated expletives and images as actionably indecent; 2) that, to be actionably indecent, challenged material must fall within the scope of its indecency definition —that is, the material must describe or depict sexual or excretory organs or activities. The NAB also asks that the commission must use language that is as precise as possible and provide relevant examples and context in its policies and decisions. If the commission cannot establish sufficiently clear indecency regulations so that broadcasters know what is expected of them, then broadcasters cannot be subject to liability for alleged violations of those standards.
Arbitron Modifies TLR Policy Affecting Out-of-Market Streaming. Arbitron announces a modification to its Total Line Reporting policy beginning with the Summer Diary Survey and the July 2013 PPM. Arbitron explains: Over-the-air stations and streams that simulcast have been eligible for Total Line Reporting (TLR) for a number of years. Combos that receive TLR are reported with a combined total line using the “primary” station’s call letters, selected by the combo from among the over-the-air stations. Until May 2013, in order to be eligible for TLR, a stream had to simulcast 100% with its over-the-air partner, including any commercials, throughout the stream’s reach. Starting May 2013, Arbitron introduced a change in the policy that enables a stream to receive TLR while substituting commercials outside the home market of its over-the-air partner, subject to certain restrictions. After carefully reviewing this policy and with input from the Radio Advisory Council, Arbitron is modifying this policy to provide greater flexibility to stations that stream. Starting with the July 2013 PPM report month and Summer 2013 Diary survey, a stream is eligible for TLR as long as the stream simulcasts all content 100%, including commercials, in the home Metro and DMA of its over-the-air partner. Under this new policy, the stream is not required to simulcast any content outside the over-the-air station’s home Metro and DMA. The 100% simulcast requirement for streams will remain in effect in the over-the-air station’s Metro and DMA. Over-the-air stations requesting TLR with one another will also need to simulcast 100% without exception, as required under the long-standing Arbitron TLR policy.
RTDNA/Hofstra Survey of Radio and TV News Directors Paints Unclear Picture of State of Radio News. The annual survey of radio and television news directors and general managers by Hofstra University professor emeritus Bob Papper in conjunction with the RTDNA was released on Wednesday and regarding radio news, Papper states, “Overall in the survey, 77.7% of radio stations run local news — 78.8% of AM stations and 77.2% of FM stations. The overall percentage is up a surprising 8.8% from last year, with AM stations up 9.8 points and FM stations up 4 points. As I do each year, I would urge caution on those numbers. The numbers are based on stations that return the survey, and since it’s a news survey, stations that run news could well be more likely to return the surveys than stations that do not. It’s possible those percentages are too high.” Papper reports that regarding changes in radio news and plans for the future veered from past years. “Historically, these numbers have tended to be pretty consistent, but this year is different. The percentage of stations reporting an increase in news fell from 30.1% last year to 22% this time around. The percentage reporting a drop edged up from 4.9% to 6.7%. Non-commercial stations were a little more likely to increase the amount of news; so were stations in the biggest markets.” You can see the summary of the entire study here.
Obama Nukes Plan/Berlin Speech, ‘Gang of 8’ Amnesty Deal, NSA Surveillance Program, DOJ News Organization Monitoring, and FBI Domestic Drones Policy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/19). President Obama’s nukes reduction plan and his speech in Berlin; the “Gang of 8” illegal immigrant amnesty deal; controversy over the National Security Administration’s surveillance program; the effect of the Department of Justice’s monitoring of phone and email records of news organizations on sources; and the FBI’s admission to using drones in the United States were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze to Be Available in Tri-State Area Via Cablevision’s Optimum TV. Beginning later this month, Glenn Beck-founded TheBlaze network will be available to New York City and the surrounding area as it will be included in Cablevision’s Optimum Preferred, Silver and Gold Packages. The channel is available to Optimum TV commercial customers with Optimum Business or Optimum Entertainment. Cablevision VP of video product management, Bradley Feldman, states, “Optimum TV is the only cable provider in the Tri-State area to bring our customers original programming from Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze, and the independent network will add more diversity to our strong lineup, providing our customers with more choices that our customers appreciate.” In a statement from Beck’s organization it says TheBlaze “offers a full slate of original news and opinion shows like ‘Real News,’ ‘Wilkow!’ and ‘For the Record,’ late night comedy like ‘The Wonderful World of Stu’ and ‘B.S. of A.,’ family-friendly programming like ‘Liberty Treehouse’ as well as thought-provoking documentaries and original specials. TheBlaze first launched on September 12, 2011 as GBTV and quickly grew into one of the world’s largest online streaming networks with over 300,000 subscribers. One year later, TheBlaze became a television network.”
CBS Q1 2013 Report: Company Up 6%, Radio’s Top 10 Markets Up 2%. The bulk of the discussion during yesterday’s conference call centered around TV for CBS, as it usually does. But CEO Les Moonves stated up front that the company continues to build “on the terrific debut of the CBS Sports Radio Network. We’ve added 20 affiliates to our roster since our last call. In addition, CBS Radio played a major role in this year’s success of the Academy of Country Music Awards. This is a show that perfectly complements our radio audiences, as evidenced by all the artists who mentioned the power of radio in their acceptance speeches.” CFO Joseph Ianniello noted that, comparable to the same period a year ago, the top 10 radio markets were performing up about 2%. Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript. Read more here.
Former Citadel/Cumulus Birmingham Cluster Manager Bill Thomas Sues Company for Unlawful Termination. Add discrimination to that under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Bill Thomas, a.k.a Michael Thomas Stainback, alleges in the complaint filed in United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama that the company knew he had heart ailments that resulted from a 2009 heart attack yet he still performed his job well and even received bonuses based upon performance. Thomas alleges that in February of 2012, after telling Cumulus corporate management that he’d been diagnosed with congestive heart failure, he was terminated by the company six days later. He’s seeking unspecified damages as well as back pay.
‘Freedom Feens’ Show to Join GCN. The “Freedom Feens” weekend talk show co-hosted by Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi will debut on the Genesis Communications Network on Saturday, May 11. Dean and Vedadi describe their program as a “great-sounding, feisty weekend show about free markets, the police state, the war on drugs, the right to keep and bear arms, computer security, honest money, self-defense, self-employment, marriage, do-it-yourself media production, marketing, music and more.” Regarding the title of their program, the duo explain, “‘Feen’ means ‘fiend,’ and the ‘Freedom Feens’ support the rights of the smallest minority, the individual.”
Time to Do Some Spring Cleaning Out at the Transmitter Site. For many of you who broadcast out of the Northwest, Midwest, North, and Northeast, this winter was a bear! Snow, ice and wind can cause issues for your transmission facilities. So it’s time to do a thorough inspection of your transmitter sites – both the main transmitter sites and anywhere you may have an STL transmitter or receiver. In a timely article posted today (5/2) noted engineering consultant and TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray offers up an invaluable “to-do” list to make sure your transmitter remains happy in the coming spring, summer and fall months after enduring a pretty painful and damaging winter. Get the whole story here.
Odds & Sods. WRKO, Boston afternoon drive talk show host Howie Carr broadcasts live from La Verdad Mexican restaurant near Fenway Park this afternoon from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm as he promotes his latest book , Rifleman (Frandel, LLC 2013), a true-crime story about infamous Boston mobster Steven Flemmi. Carr will stay after his program ends to sign copies of the new book…..Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington is conducting its second annual “Communter Idle” contest through Friday, May 3. The contest asks DC commuters to share their daily travel horror story to win prizes and possibly be the grand-prize winner who’ll receive $1,000 in gas money and a limo ride to work courtesy of Reston Limousine. Runners-up will receive $150 gas cards…..It may be a sign of the times that one of the most popular shows on CNN is the new “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” travel and food program that airs on Sunday evenings on the cable news/talk channel. But new CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker is so thrilled with the its performance that he’s already ordered another season of the show that will debut on September 15.
Cinchcast, Inc. Establishes Strategic Advisory Board. One of radio’s technological innovators and dynamic entrepreneurs of the new digital age, Alan Levy – founder and CEO of BlogTalkRadio and its “white-label” sister firm Cinchcast, Inc. – has announced the appointment of two well-known executives to Cinchcast’s new strategic advisory board: Tom Glocer, former CEO of Thomson Reuters and Steve Bornstein, former head of the NFL‘s digital media operations and ABC Sports/ABC, Inc. president and ESPN chairman. Levy tells TALKERS, “It’s an honor to be working with Tom and Steve as we continue to build, develop and scale the Cinchcast and BlogTalkRadio businesses.”
Practically an Exclusive. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) doesn’t do a lot of conservative talk radio shows. But Talk Radio Network star Rusty Humphries – who spent part of his earlier career at KKOH in Reno – was able to secure a no-holds-barred interview with Senator Reid at Humphries’ affiliate station KDWN, Las Vegas. Reid was in his home state while the Senate is on recess and he spoke with Humphries about the hot issues facing Congress. Pictured here are (from l-r): Humphries, Reid, and KDWN program director John Shaffer.
Suspects Arrested in Marathon Bombing, ObamaCare Implementation, Benghazi Cover-Up Charges, and Gay Athletes Flap among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/1). The arrest of more suspects connected with the Boston Marathon bombing case; the cost and implementation of the Affordable Care Act; charges that the Hillary Clinton-run State Department covered up aspects of the Benghazi attack; and the flap in the media over gay athletes were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Added to Blue Ridge Communications Cable System. The push to get more cable TV carriage for Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze continues and now the company announces it will be carried on Blue Ridge Communications’ system that serves the Poconos and the Central Pennsylvania region. It is the nation’s 21st largest cable operator. TheBlaze also entered into agreements with BEK Communications, Sweetwater Cable Television and Atwood Cable. TheBlaze president, business development, Lynne Costantini, states, “We’re thrilled to welcome these independent operators into TheBlaze family of television affiliates. These businesses understand the value of bringing TheBlaze’s original programming and unique perspective to their customers and their business.” TheBlaze says that customers of these cable operators will now be able to watch its full programming lineup including The Glenn Beck Program, news program “Real News from TheBlaze,” opinion show hosted by Andrew Wilkow, current events show “Pat & Stu” featuring radio personalities Pat Gray and Stu Burguiere, kid’s show “Liberty TreeHouse,” comedy news show “The B.S. of A.,” news magazine “For The Record,” and comical news and current events show “The Wonderful World of Stu featuring Stu Burguiere.” TheBlaze states that it is currently in carriage conversations with all major satellite, cable, telco and independent companies.
WTOP, Washington Stays #1 on List of Top Billing Stations. The annual list of top billing stations according to BIA/ Kelsey has been released and Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington is at the front of the pack once again with $64.6 million in revenue in 2012 – that’s up a fraction from the $64 million it grossed in 2011. The rest of the top 10 – split by CBS and Clear Channel – are as follows (in millions): Clear Channel’s KIIS, Los Angeles ($56.8); Clear Channel’s WHTZ, New York ($48.2); CBS Radio’s WCBS, New York ($47.2); Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles ($46); CBS Radio’s WBBM, Chicago ($45.7); Clear Channel’s WLTW, New York ($43); CBS Radio’s WINS, New York ($41.5); CBS Radio’s WFAN-AM/FM ($41); and CBS Radio’s KROQ, Los Angeles ($39.3).
SiriusXM Sports Talker Dino Costa Subject of New Film. Sports talk radio personality Dino Costa will be the subject of a feature-length film to begin production in April in Wyoming. Chesapeake Films announces that it has started pre-production for a documentary to be completed in 2013 about the life of “controversial SiriusXM Radio personality, Dino Costa.” The documentary film will be directed by Joel Franco, cinematography by Darko Nikolich, edited by Anthony Bernard, sound design by Karol Urban, and original music by Marianthe Bezzerides. The film will begin shooting in Wyoming, where Dino Costa resides and produces his daily radio sports talk show. The crew will then follow Costa to New York, to continue filming Costa’s hometown, friends, fans, and family. Franco says he wanted to do the film because, “Dino is a breath of fresh air in the world of cookie-cutter sports talk radio. He is fiercely independent, and connects with his audience like few can. I just knew that under that big personality was a story waiting to be told. I am so excited to begin.” Costa comments, “When I embarked on my career as a talk show host, I wanted to achieve many objectives; I never thought about the possibility of someone wanting to do a film about my career and my life. In speaking with Joel about his vision for this film, I’m confident that collaborating with the crew at Chesapeake Films will culminate in a documentary about my life that people will find interesting and compelling.”
Villanucci Producer Billy “Fatback” Cornelius Debuts Evening Show on KKOB. The departure of longtime afternoon drive host Jim Villanucci from Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque, resulted in evening host Scott Stiegler moving into the PM drive slot. That created an opening in the evenings and Jim Villanucci’s former on-air producer, Billy “Fatback” Cornelius, is now host of his own show airing in the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm time slot. He’ll still produce Stiegler’s program but “Fatback” tells TALKERS magazine, “When asked about the new opportunity, I simply replied, ‘The Fatback Nation will rise.’” His program debuts this evening.
New Jersey 101.5’s Jim Gearhart to Be Inducted into the New Jersey Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame. Jim Gearhart has been the morning host on Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” for the past 23 years and now he’s being honored by the New Jersey Broadcasters Association with induction into its Hall of Fame. Gearhart will be inducted at the Annual Awards Luncheon, which will be held during the NJBA’s 66th Annual Conference in Atlantic City this June 18-19. NJ 101.5 program director Eric Johnson says, “Jim will be acknowledged for providing quality content, news, public affairs and diverse entertainment to New Jersey. Jim’s contributions to the longevity and success of our industry in New Jersey will be recognized.”
WXOS, St. Louis Host Bernie Miklasz to Leave Radio Gig. Popular St. Louis sports media personality Bernie Miklasz will exit Hubbard Radio’s WXOS “101 Sports” when his contract wraps up next month. In a piece in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Miklasz says he’s leaving the radio show (weekdays 11:00 am to 2:00 pm) to focus on his work with the Post-Dispatch and its STLtoday.com where he’s been a sports columnist since 1989. He states, “I’ve always loved writing more (than radio), it’s my calling. Whatever good things I have in my life professionally have been because of the Post-Dispatch. It has led to other opportunities.” Miklasz says the stress of two jobs is wearing on him. WXOS program director Chris “Hoss” Neupert says, “He’s such a dynamic personality, but at the end of the day how can you be mad at a guy who’s going back to his roots and giving it his all? He wants to do his part to help take an industry that has been down on an upswing. It’s bittersweet (for the station) because what he is doing is very honorable and really cool, so it’s hard to be upset with him. The guy is such an awesome personality.” STLtoday.com hints it will be branching out into audio and video on the website and will use Miklasz for that purpose, as well.
The Conclave Announces Agenda for July Learning Conference. The Conclave announces its preliminary agenda for the July 17-19 “Conclave 38: The Learning Conference” taking place at the Minneapolis/Park Place Doubletree Hotel. Executive director Bob Shannon states, “The very words ‘The Learning Conference’ implies that Conclave 38 will focus on teaching ideas our attendees can actually use. Focusing on what works today and the tools we’ll need for tomorrow, our faculty includes thinkers, visionaries and practitioners in a wide variety of disciplines including digital, marketing, mobile, programming, social media, and talent creation and training.” Some of the speakers appearing this year include: Ivan Braiker/HipCricket, Tim Bronsil/Point to Point Marketing, Jon Chelesnik/Sportcasters Talent Agency of America, Drake Donovan/Splice Video, Joel Folger/Folger Media, Les Garland/Afterplay Entertainment, John Gehron/AccuRadio, Bruce Gilbert/Clear Channel, Phil Hall/Audience Bakery, Michael Harrison/Talkers-Radioinfo.com, Dan Hill/Sensory Logic, Fred Jacobs/Jacobs Media, Randy Lane/The Randy Lane Company, Lori Lewis/Jacobs Media, Kipper McGee/Kipper McGee LLC, Kevin Metheny/Cumulus Media, Chris Miller/Chris Miller Digital, Tim Moore/Audience Development Group, Mark Shannon O’Neill/ROI Media Solutions, Bill Richards/Clear Channel, Larry Rosin/Edison Research, and Walter Sabo/Sabo Media. Shannon reports that this year’s Conclave begins on Wednesday, July 17 with the fourth annual “Jacobs Media Summer School,” and ends July 19 with “Conclave GAMEDAY,” a day devoted entirely to sports that ends with a reception at KTWN-FM’s studio just before the Minnesota Twins/Cleveland Indians game at Target Field, home of the 2014 All Star Game. For more information on the Learning Conference and Conclave educational programs, visit http://www.theconclave.com.
SCOTUS Gay Marriage Arguments, North Korea Threats, Dr. Ben Carson Assault, Cyprus Banks Bailout, and Sequester Effects Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/28). The two days of arguments before the Supreme Court on gay marriage; threats of military action from North Korea; the backlash against Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon Ben Carson; the bailout of Cyprus banks by the EU; and the effects of the sequester were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski to Step Down. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski officially announces his decision to step down from the agency in the coming weeks. The initial report came from Politico Thursday evening but Genachowski’s departure from the FCC has been expected for some time. He became chairman in 2009 and has not always been viewed as the friendliest of FCC chairmen to radio as the thrust of his tenure has been promoting broadband as the communications avenue of the future. Politico reports that there are a number of possible successors to Genachowski and names Core Capital Partners Managing Director Tom Wheeler; current sitting Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel; former ambassador to Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Karen Kornbluh; former FCC chief of staff and primary author of the commission’s National Broadband Plan Blair Levin; and National Telecommunications and Information Administration chief Larry Strickling. The NAB‘s Gordon Smith offers the following statement on Genachowski’s departure: “NAB salutes Chairman Genachowski for his years of service at the FCC. The FCC chair is arguably one of the most difficult jobs in Washington, and yet Julius consistently performed with dedication and focus. We may have disagreed on occasion, but America’s broadcasters wish him well in his journeys ahead.”
Fox Sports Radio Network to Offer Big Ten Football Show in Fall. Working in conjunction with the Big Ten Network, Fox Sports Radio announces it will offer a third season of “BTN Live” – a daily Big Ten football show. Beginning August 26, the program will be available for air Monday through Friday, 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET. FSRN says of the show, “Throughout football season, ‘BTN Live’ will take fans inside every Big Ten locker room as teams prepare for games, and provide the latest news, expert analysis, and interviews with players and coaches. The nightly show will be hosted by Big Ten Network personalities Dave Revsine, Mike Hall and Rick Pizzo, with Big Ten Network analysts Gerry DiNardo, Howard Griffith and other special guests.
Los Angeles Talk Radio Legend Michael Jackson Subs on CRN Digital Talk Radio; Richard Riordan and Roger Moore Guest. Iconic Los Angeles talk radio personality Michael Jackson sits in for Chuck Wilder on his CRN Digital Talk Radio program that airs at 12:00 noon PT today (3/22). Jackson will speak with high-profile guests former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan and actor Sir Roger Moore. Jackson states, “I’m pleased to have the opportunity to fill in for Chuck and talk to one of the all-time, legendary actors in Sir Roger Moore and to also chat with one of the city’s greatest leaders, former Mayor Riordan. Anytime you have outstanding guests as these, you’re always going to have an exciting and compelling show for the audience. I’m looking forward to it.”
KYW, Philadelphia’s Cherri Gregg to Be Honored by Philly NAACP. This Sunday, the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP will honor 104 influential black women from the Philadelphia area. KYW Newsradio community affairs reporter Cherri Gregg has been named to the list of honorees. The NAACP is recognizing African American women comprised of elected officials, entrepreneurs, non-profits, civic leaders, educators, labor leaders, members of the clergy, media, health care providers, government agencies and corporate America leaders. Gregg says, “I am humbled and excited to be named one of the NAACP’s 104 most influential Black women in Philadelphia. It’s truly an honor to be included on such a distinguished list of African American women, and this recognition will fuel my continued effort to strive for excellence in covering the communities of Philadelphia.”
KBLU, Yuma Host Russ Clark Resigns; Moves to Crosstown KCYK. Yuma, Arizona TV station KSWT-TV reports talk show host Russ Clark resigned from his program on El Dorado Broadcasters’ KBLU on the air, surprising listeners and his employer. Clark tells the TV station he’s taking his show across town to MonsterMedia’s country KCYK “Outlaw Country 1400” beginning April 2. “They had no idea. They took away my morning show and gave me a one-day-a-week, which, I think was an effort to keep me somewhat engaged without having me be directly opposed to them or directly in competition. But, of course, I need to get back on air. I need to get back to what I was doing.” Clark says KBLU management wanted more news and less talk in the AM drive.
CBS Radio’s WIP, Philadelphia Personalities to Host Comcast SportsNet Philly Program. All next week, personalities from CBS Radio’s Philadelphia sports talk outlet WIP will guest host the daily 5:00 pm ET show, “Daily News Live,” that’s seen on the Comcast cable network and the Xfinity ON Demand service. Al Morganti, Rhea Hughes, Anthony Gargano, Glen Macnow, and Big Daddy Graham will handle hosting duties, each sitting in for one day. CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield says, “SportsRadio WIP has been the authority in Philadelphia sports radio for 25 years so it will be a treat for Delaware Valley sports fans to see some of their favorite hosts set the agenda on ‘Daily News Live.’ We’re thrilled to showcase our talent on Comcast SportsNet.”
Patrick in for Cunningham Sunday Night. Houston talk show host Matt Patrick will fill in again this Sunday, March 24, for Bill Cunningham on the Premiere Networks nationally syndicated “Live on Sunday Night, It’s Bill Cunningham” program. Patrick, whose “day job” is hosting the morning drive program on Clear Channel’s KTRH, Houston and the afternoon program on sister KPRC, is a regular fill-in host for Cunningham as well as Portland talk host Lars Larson.
Sequester Effects Top Talk Radio Topic for Week of March 18-22. This is the fifth straight week that the sequester effects and related budget battle have been at the #1 spot on the Talkers TenTM as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio. This week, at #2 is President Obama’s trip to Israel. Coming in at #3 is North Korea’s threats followed by Iran’s nuclear ambitions at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. View this week’s entire chart here.
Mike Francesa to Address Industry at Talkers New York 2013. The list of major speakers continues to grow as WFAN, New York afternoon drive sports talk goliath Mike Francesa joins the roster of industry leaders who will be speaking at “TALKERS New York 2013,” the 16th annual installment of talk radio’s longest-running and most important annual convention. Francesa will deliver a solo keynote address titled, “The Sports Talk Radio Phenomenon.” He will discuss how sports talk fits into the general radio industry, where it is going both locally and nationally and how it operates within the business model of the PPM world. Francesa, who has been a major host on WFAN since the late 1980s, is also seen across the nation on the YES Network simulcast of his radio show and hosts a syndicated weekend program “The NFL Now” in addition to participating in numerous other sports broadcasting projects. He is currently ranked number one on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk Radio Hosts holding the position as the Most Important Sports Talk Radio Host in America. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “The addition of Mike Francesa as the sports talk radio keynote speaker at this year’s conference puts it over the moon. One of the big buzzes of the business is the relentless growth of this exciting branch of the talk radio universe. Who better than the king of the format to give insights into the genre’s place in the scheme of things? We are delighted!” More headliners will be named in the coming days along with the 50-plus speakers that will be participating in the conference. The event is set for Thursday, June 6, 2013 at the Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side. Registration for the day including all activities and food service is $199 per person. An advance sellout is expected due to space limitations. Registration is limited to members of the working media and can only be taken via telephone. For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413. Complete agenda details are being posted daily. Stay tuned.
Todd Schnitt Not Giving Up on Bubba the Love Sponge Lawsuit. The Tampa Bay Times reports talk show host Todd Schnitt has fired his legal team, hired a new lawyer and is continuing to pursue legal action against former crosstown rival Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem). The first trial ended in a victory for Bubba as the jury decided not to award Schnitt and wife Michelle damages for defamation over a series of criticisms and accusations Bubba leveled at Schnitt when he competed with Bubba in morning drive as MJ Kelli. Now, Schnitt has fired C. Phillip Campbell and Jonathan J. Ellis and has hired Wil Florin to represent him and his wife. Regular TALKERS readers are aware of the bizarre elements of the previous trial: Campbell being pulled over for DUI while driving the car of a young paralegal who, unbeknownst to him, worked for Bubba’s lawyer’s firm; the tip-off to police that Campbell was driving the car was made by someone from that same firm; and Bubba’s lawyers had possession of Campbell’s briefcase for 18 hours (though they say they didn’t open it). That missing briefcase is the basis for the new suit. How this will end is anybody’s guess, but one thing is for sure: Both Schnitt and Clem are spending a lot of money on legal fees. Yes, they are getting a lot of publicity for their radio programs but it is very expensive publicity.
Laura Ingraham Added to American Forces Network. Courtside Entertainment Group announces today that the Laura Ingraham show is being added to the American Forces Network with the opportunity to be heard by more than one million U.S. service members and their families. Ingraham states, “It is fantastic to be back on the air – and it feels even more special knowing that all of our friends listening on Armed Forces Network can hear us around the globe. The energy and enthusiasm from listeners, affiliates and advertisers since I returned to the airwaves has been overwhelming. From Tucson to Jacksonville, from Washington, DC to Seattle, Americans are energized and enthusiastic about our daily conversation about our country’s past, present and future. Politics is important – but so is the culture around us. As a single parent of young children and a cancer survivor, I have a unique perspective that connects me with listeners of all political stripes. Our conversation is a fun-filled ride that moves beyond the Beltway to the real-life ups and downs we all face.”
Veteran Media Executive Lynne Constantini Joins Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze. The former EVP of affiliate sales and marketing at Scripps Networks Interactive and SVP of programming at Time Warner Cable joins TheBlaze as president of business development. In her new position Lynne Constantini will oversee the growing network’s content distribution efforts, as well as affiliate marketing, advocacy, business affairs and business development initiatives. She previously negotiated TheBlaze’s successful carriage deal with DISH as an outside consultant. Constantini says, “As a cable industry executive and consultant, I have been attracted to the rare independent network that has strong, unique content and a passionate engaged audience that drives results for operators and that is what I have found with TheBlaze. TheBlaze is unlike other start-up networks; it has a built-in loyal audience, a full slate of live, original programming, speaks to an underserved and growing conservative audience and has extensive marketing reach through affiliated media assets including on radio and on the web. I am excited to work with Glenn, Chris Balfe and the rest of the team on building TheBlaze and continuing the network’s success in improving the businesses of its distribution partners.”
Listeners Are Busy and Talent Is Spooked. That’s the assessment of radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke who asks broadcasters the provocative question: “RU@Speed-of-Life?’ In today’s article, Cooke says radio programmers must get up to speed (literally) with the intense pace of modern life which, when coupled with the PPM, puts tremendous pressure to manage air time in a way that is in keeping with today’s breakneck tempo. For example he advises hosts not to begin their shows by listing all the things they’ll be doing before the show ends. He says programming clock designers should go the extra step in designing transitions between programming elements (such as newscaster to talk show host segments) in a completely seamless manner. Never stop the action through over-explanation. Don’t miss this timely and informative piece. Read it here.
Talk Host Ralph Bailey Begins KERN, Bakersfield Program Next Monday. After quitting his talk show at Buckley Broadcasting’s crosstown KNZR on Thursday after an eight-year stint, Ralph Bailey will take over the PM drive program on American General Media’s KERN. Bailey wrote on his Facebook page, “It is official!!! I signed a contract today to join American General Media. I’ll be Scott Cox‘s guest today at three and begin my own 3-6 p.m. drive time show on Monday, March 4. I could not be happier! I have security in a business that is not that secure and for the first time in my life I’m making a little scratch! I’d like to thank Rogers Brandon and Toni Snyder. It is great to feel wanted and appreciated.”
KERN, Bakersfield’s Scott Cox to Anchor The Californian-AGM Morning Show Endeavor. Talk radio personality Scott Cox is moving away from the PM drive slot that Ralph Bailey is taking over in order to host a new morning program that is a joint effort of American General Media and The Bakersfield Californian. The show – “First Look with Scott Cox” – will emanate from The Californian newsroom in which a radio studio has been built. While KERN will provide the producers and technical expertise, the newspaper’s reporters will be regular guests during talk segments. Californian CEO Richard Beene says of the initiative, “The Bakersfield Californian has always prided itself about being on the cutting edge of technology (our website bakersfield.com was launched back in 1995) and we are keenly aware that readers and advertisers are finding new ways to obtain content and reach their advertisers. That’s why change is part of our company culture, and serving our readers and advertisers on multiple platforms is something we talk about every day.” The program will also be streamed live in high-definition video on the paper’s website. Beene writes in his editorial in the paper, “’First Look’ will add to The Californian‘s existing video programming, which includes ‘BVarsity Live,’ live local sports and breaking news. The Californian plans to expand its live video programming later this year. So yes, newspapers are alive and well, changing and evolving. Join us in March for ‘First Look.’”
Not All That Glitters is Gold. According to radio digital consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, broadcasters should avoid falling under the spell of Facebook “likes” and the impulse to “go viral” — which he describes as “shiny, distracting objects.” He advises, “The number of Facebook ‘likes’ you have is almost completely without meaning. In addition, working to have something go viral is probably taking you away from what you should be doing!” Read Chris Miller’s informative and valuable article here.
ESPN O&O KESN, Dallas Parts Company with Ben & Skin. Sports talk KESN, Dallas and midday personalities Ben Rogers and Jeff “Skin” Wade were not able to come to terms on a new contract and the duo have left the station. They wrote on their Facebook page. “We have declined a final offer from ESPN on a new deal. We’re parting ways with them for now. Future is unwritten. Thank you for your support throughout the years. We are eager to write the next chapter of our adventure. Stay tuned.”
John Sweeney Exits WGDJ, Albany. The former Republican congressman from New York began a one-hour daily talk show at Capital Broadcasting’s “Talk 1300” two weeks ago but has left the station. The Albany Times-Union reports John Sweeney’s exit comes after it became apparent that the 11:00 am to 12:00 noon time slot was too much for the attorney and political consultant. Owner and GM Paul Vandenburgh told the paper too many unforeseen scheduling conflicts have made the show untenable.
TECHNICAL WATCH: Radio Moves Beyond ISDN to Deliver Studio Quality Remote Audio. Welcome to the Age of the IP Codec. Back in the “good old days,” if you wanted to get audio from point A to point B you had basically two choices: a dedicated land line from good old Ma Bell (a.k.a, the phone company) or you sent a tape. Then, Ma Bell decided to get rid of dedicated equalized services – at least interstate. These days, it’s very difficult if not impossible to get a dedicated broadcast service even in the same city. This prompted devices like the Comrex two-line and three-line frequency extender systems. These allowed someone to utilize two or three dial-up lines to get audio from one place to another with reasonable audio quality. The next step was ISDN – a digital dial-up service. With the development of devices such as the Telos Zephyr, FM quality audio was easily passed, with very little audio delay, between two locations. This has been the norm now for close to 20 years. Enter the IP codec – essentially ISDN on steroids. IP codecs utilize the internet as the transport medium. Now, for just the cost of the internet service you already have installed, you can literally transport audio all around the world – in many instances with slightly more round-trip delay than with ISDN, but that is easy to work around using mix minus. Noted radio technical consultant and TALKERS columnist Tom Ray brings us all up to speed on this new era in remote audio delivery in a must-read clear and concise article, here.
Salem Radio News Series Spotlights “The Poorest of the Poor.” SRN vice president/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (pictured here in Guatemala) spent the last week in that Central American country as Salem Radio News prepared a news series titled, “The Poorest of the Poor.” Speaking about his experience there, Tradup tells TALKERS, “Guatemala is only a few hours by plane from the U.S., but living conditions for youngsters are light years away. And the statistics take on heartbreaking new meaning when you actually spend time with children there. We embedded with the American relief agency Food for The Poor to cover both the tragedy and the hope for impoverished children in Guatemala.” Tradup says Guatemala has the highest malnutrition rate of any country in the Western Hemisphere. The week-long SRN News special series will profile the challenges facing government and private agencies targeting ways to reverse the grim statistics on malnutrition and infant mortality in Guatemala.
Odds & Sods. Lisa Bloom – daughter of former radio and television talk show host (and high-profile attorney) Gloria Allred – is joining NBC’s “Today” show as a legal analyst says TVNewser. Bloom hosted the CourtTV show “Lisa Bloom: Open Court” from 2001 to 2009…..Arbitron’s Carol Hanley is named to the Allliance for Women in Media board of directors. Hanley serves as SVP, chief sales officer for Arbitron.
Harlem Shake Takes Over KDKA. The YouTube phenomenon “Harlem Shake” invades the newsroom at CBS Radio’s KDKA, Pittsburgh. This still shot is from a video posted on the KDKA-TV website and shows late morning talk host Marty Griffin (in the Santa hat) leading the rest of the crew – including morning hosts Larry Richert and John Shumway and Shelley Duffy, PM drive host Bill Rehkopf, midday host Mike Pintek, sports reporter and weekend host Rob Pratte and creative services director Kelly Pidgeon – in boogeying to the tune.
Phil Boyce Takes on Operations Role at Salem Communications’ New York Cluster. Talk radio programming pro Phil Boyce already serves as VP/director of spoken word format for Salem Communications but he’s adding the operational vice president for the New York cluster title to his business card. That means he’s directly in charge of operations for WNYM “970 The Answer” and Christian talk outlet WMCA. Salem Communications president David Santrella says, “Phil’s innate understanding of the New York market, particularly as it relates to news/talk, as well as his day-to-day proximity to the operation, has led us to the decision to ask Phil to take on the additional role of operational VP for the New York cluster. Phil will continue to work with all of our stations as VP director, spoken word format.” Program director Peter Thiele remains in his position as Boyce’s charge is to oversee the station’s revenue and assist all departments in that effort. Other changes from Salem Communications include Salem regional VP Linnae Young, who has overseen the New York cluster, taking on the oversight of the Tampa cluster that includes news/talk WGUL, Christian talk WTBN, and news/talk WLSS, Sarasota. In Louisville, Salem regional VP Mike Moran will assume oversight of news/talk WGTK, and Christian talk WFIA-AM/FM.
Mike Gastineau to Exit KJR, Seattle. Longtime sports talker Mike “Gasman” Gastineau announces he’ll leave Clear Channel’s sports KJR, Seattle where he currently hosts the PM drive show with co-host Elise. Gastineau has been with KJR since 1991 and was originally partnered with Rick DuPree in middays. He’s been in the midday slot for the past 19 years. In a statement explaining his departure, Gastineau says, “Since 1991 I have hosted more than 5,000 shows on KJR and I’ve reached a point where I’d like to explore other creative options. KJR’s management has been incredibly understanding and supportive of my decision. I’m proud to have been able to give Seattle fans a voice in these incredibly important debates. I always strived to do three things on the show – be funny, entertaining and give people a place for reasonable debate on sports issues of the day.” His last show is tomorrow (12/6) and KJR has not announced plans for the PM drive slot as of yet.
Robin Bertolucci Honored at PIRATES Event. KFI and KTLK, Los Angeles program director Robin Bertolucci was honored at the holiday fundraiser of the Print Interactive Radio and Television Educational Society (PIRATES) at the Castaway Restaurant in Burbank, California. The PIRATES’ “Golden Buccaneer” award is given annually and was awarded to Bertolucci in recognition “of her remarkable ongoing commitment to public affairs, the community and education as one of the media’s most outstanding role models for students.” This annual holiday fundraiser benefits the Ruth Collander Endowment Fund which enables PIRATES to provide scholarships to college students majoring in communications, journalism, radio or television. Pictured above (from l-r) are: Brent Seltzer (Still at Large) who emceed the event, KOST 103.5 program director Stella Prado, Bertolucci and KFI director of marketing/brand manager Neil Saavedra.
Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Partners with Production Companies for Competition Reality Show. The name of the series is “Pursuit of the Truth” and the goal of the show is to bring together 20 selected filmmakers from across the country to prove to a panel of expert judges that their project is worthy of the grand prize – financing and worldwide distribution for their feature documentary film idea. Go Go Luckey Entertainment and Wild West Productions are working with TheBlaze on the project. The 20 contestants will be asked to perform a series of tasks during the 10-week production period for the panel of expert judges. Contestants will be asked to not only prove the validity of their idea for a documentary but also their filmmaking abilities. They will either survive or be eliminated based on that criteria. For example, contestants might be asked to produce a sizzle reel, procure and execute a key interview, or pitch scenes to the panel of judges. TheBlaze president and chief content officer Joel Cheatwood says, “We are excited to continue to expand our programming with producers like Vince Vaughn, Peter Billingsley and Gary Auerbach. The documentary film, particularly those that seek the truth with no agenda, is an important art form that is struggling to survive in this media environment. We will be looking for stories that simply need to be told.” The nine-episode series debuts on TheBlaze in late spring 2013.
WMMS, Cleveland Dismisses PM Drive Co-Host Chad Zumock. The rock station’s Alan Cox afternoon drive talk program is without air talent Chad Zumock after the 38-year-old comedian and radio co-host was arrested following a recent incident in which he crashed his car into a tree while returning home from a gig at a local comedy club. Zumock refused a breath test but authorities are charging him with DUI. According to Cleveland.com, the incident violates a clause in Zumock’s contract with Clear Channel and host Alan Cox addressed Zumock’s dismissal on the program on Tuesday, December 4.
WTAG, Worcester Morning Host Jim Polito Exits for Boston TV Gig. Jim Polito returns to his television roots beginning December 10 as he’ll handle commentary for Fox TV O&O WFXT, Boston’s evening newscasts. Polito left WGGB-TV, Springfield, Massachusetts in 2008 to join Clear Channel’s WTAG, Worcester for the morning drive program. No word from Clear Channel what its plans for the morning show are.
Branson, Missouri Gets FM Talk Station as Earls Family Broadcasting Makes Changes. In making programming changes to its cluster of stations in Branson, Missouri, Earls Family Broadcasting consolidates its two country outlets on one signal, freeing up KRZK at 106.3 to become a news/talk station. The new format is branded as “Your News. Straight Talk. 106.3.” In a statement, the company says news/talk is “a perfect fit for our traditional, informed and community-minded citizens of the Branson area. Since KRZK has always been popular for local news, talk, and community service, an all-news/talk format is the perfect evolution of this beloved station.” The station is carrying Fox News Radio for top-of-the-hour news. The program schedule includes: Steve & Janet in the Morning for 6:00 am to 9:00 am; “At Your Service” with Scott McCaulley from 9:00 am to 11:00 am; Dial Global’s Dennis Miller from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm; Dave Ramsey from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm; and “The Ozark’s News Hour with Greg Pyron” from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
The Expert Radio Network Launches. A new San Diego-based terrestrial radio network is getting off the ground. The Expert Radio Network, “a multi-media radio platform for experts to deliver their content, expand their audience and explode their product sales” is opening for business. Vice president of business development Susan Ram explains the network’s approach. “Experts will have the opportunity to host a weekly radio show in major markets across the country, complete with marketing guidance from co-founder Scotty Saks. Experts will also work directly with award-winning talent coaching specialist and ERN co-founder Cliff Dumas and his business partner Randy Lane of The Randy Lane Company. Cliff and Randy will teach the same communication secrets Randy has personally taught Ryan Seacrest, Jimmy Kimmel, Carson Daly and hundreds of other entertainment, sports and business clients. Finally, Experts will be able to leverage the power of a fully produced, online marketing sales funnel custom designed to monetize their product and brand.” Identifying “experts” as those who’ve committed three years or 10,000 hours to knowledge of their subject of expertise, ERN says it has identified several “key verticals,” including: finance and business, health and wellness, and personal development. “The timing could not be better, as ‘real,’ terrestrial talk radio is experiencing explosive growth, and attracting millions of listeners who seek critical investment, business, and personal development advice from experts across the country. The power of ERN will massively expand an individual or corporate brand’s audience and deliver valuable advice and information to consumers.” ERN will utilize SpotMedia’s new Synchronicity platform for its program distribution, eliminating satellite distribution expenses while automatically customizing shows and commercial insertions on an affiliate by affiliate basis for both over the air and digital audiences.
Good Karma’s WEFL, West Palm Beach Renews Local TV Partnership. West Palm Beach sports talk ESPN 760 extends its content-producing partnership with local television stations WPTV-TV and WFLX-TV. The stations had been working together for the past three years and have agreed to terms on a new multi-year contract. WPTV-TV vice president and general manager Steve Wasserman says, “Since teaming up with ESPN 760 in 2010, the profile of local sports has risen to an unprecedented level. With the powerful combination of the region’s top-rated television station and the area’s unrivaled leader in sports radio, we will continue to set the standard for sports coverage in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast.” The stations say that over the years they have produced quality content with unique local coverage and programming that includes: “Football Night in South Florida,” “5 Sports Live” on WPTV and “Wayne Akers Sports Zone” on WFLX. ESPN 760’s anchor team of Joe Girvan and Emerson Lotzia will continue to be seen nightly on WPTV NewsChannel 5’s 6:00 pm and 11:00 pm newscasts as well as WFLX Fox 29’s 10:00 pm newscast. WEFL vice president and general manager Steve Politziner states, “We are thrilled to continue to share stories about sports in our local community with the passionate fans of WPTV and WFLX. ‘Football Night in South Florida’ has become a franchise unto itself and the way in which schools, players, coaches, administrators, parents and fans have embraced our coverage, it’s more than exceeded our expectations.”
Odds & Sods. Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington raised more than $290,000 during its radiothon on Friday and Saturday to benefit the Fisher House Foundation. It was the 9th annual such radiothon and program director Bill Hess tells TALKERS the total was up $50,000 from last year’s total and that, to date, WMAL listeners have raised more than $4 million for Fisher House over the past nine years…..Herman Cain subs for Neal Boortz on the Cox Media-syndicated national talk program December 10 – 19. Cain, who hosted a program at flagship WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta prior to his run for president, will take over hosting the Neal Boortz show on January 21, 2013…..WQAM, Miami sports talk host Dan Sileo subs on the morning show at Entercom’s WEEI, Boston December 26 – 28.
Talk Producer Colin Brady Dies at 43. Florida-based radio producer Colin Brady passed away at age 43 after a struggle with cardiovascular disease. Brady worked as a talk producer and host in both Tampa and Orlando. He worked with Shannon Burke at WTKS, Orlando and on his internet show at RadioIO.com. Burke tells the Orlando Sentinel that although Brady was the butt of jokes (as producers often are) his listeners were shocked. “They all loved him very much. Last week, they were calling the show crying. He was beloved, no doubt about it.”
Washington ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle, Syria Chemical Weapons Threat, Egypt Unrest, Obama Cabinet Nominees, and Jovan Belcher Case-Costas Comments Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/4). The fight between GOP leaders and the Obama administration over how to avoid the “fiscal cliff”; charges Syria is planning to use its chemical weapons on rebels; the unrest in Egypt as citizens protest Mohamed Morsi’s policies; speculation over the shape of the new Obama Cabinet; and the murder-suicide case of Jovan Belcher and Bob Costas’ anti-gun commentary were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Les Moonves Tells Investors Network Sports Radio Biz is “Found Money.” That CBS is bullish on sports is not news – CBS CEO Les Moonves has said that before. But he reiterated his company’s dedication to the industry and – citing the new CBS Sports Radio Network venture – called it $10 million to $15 million worth of “found money.” Speaking at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference in Beverly Hills yesterday, Moonves told the conference the sports radio network business is a $150 million industry, “With our deal with Cumulus, we have reach. We’re in nine of the top 10 markets. We have the capacity to put on a lot of stuff. We think right away we’re going to get about 10% of the market. That’s going to be a significant hit right away and that should grow. It’s a great marketplace; rather easy to do. As far as we’re concerned it’s 10 or 15 million [dollars] of found money that we think will grow.” CBS is entering into a fast-growing marketplace already dominated by ESPN and with entrenched radio players Fox Sports Radio Network, Yahoo! Sports Radio and new entrant NBC Sports Radio – a partnership between NBC and Dial Global. Sure, there’s a ton of money in sports media right now, but how fast this market gets saturated is a question industry watchers are pondering.
Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Gets Television Profile with DISH Network Deal. Talk show host and digital media pioneer Glenn Beck is soon to be seen on television after his TheBlaze, Inc. agrees to a deal with DISH Network to have his online 24-hour news, information and entertainment network available on the satellite TV provider. Under terms of the deal, TheBlaze will be available to DISH viewers on channel 212 as part of DISH’s America’s Top 250 package or a la carte for $5 a month. The channel launched Wednesday at 5:00 pm ET. It’ll be available as a free preview for all DISH customers through September 26. In a statement, Beck says, “TheBlaze has helped revolutionize television over the internet and now we are excited to bring the revolution back to traditional television. TheBlaze will be home to news, information and entertainment programming with the facts and stories people care about most and we look forward to kicking things off with DISH.” Mercury Radio Arts president Chris Balfe blogged about the success of Beck’s new venture and how this deal came to pass. “Prior to our initial launch I was often asked why we didn’t pursue a traditional cable channel. There were several factors, but the biggest was that we wouldn’t have been able to build the channel we wanted back then without giving up control. To get on the air we would have had to partner with a large media company that could provide us with the staff, infrastructure and distribution necessary to launch a new network. That was something that we simply were not willing to do. The whole point of starting our own network was to be free from outside influences — giving that independence up right away in exchange for distribution was a non-starter. And so we found another way. But now, a year later, everything has changed. Our subscribers’ enthusiasm and support has allowed us to make the necessary investments in programming and infrastructure, and we’re now in a position to launch a cable and satellite channel without losing control.”
Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Promotes Julie Talbott. The president of content and affiliations for Premiere Networks is upped to a new post – president of content and affiliations for CC’s National Media Groups. Talbott retains her oversight of Premiere Networks but adds new duties as she’ll answer to Kevin Dorsey, president of the National Media Groups who, in turn, reports directly to chairman and CEO John Hogan. A statement from Clear Channel notes Talbott’s “new role will include leading and maintaining key affiliate relationships to sell and service Premiere Networks, Total Traffic Network and iHeartRadio, Clear Channel’s industry-leading digital radio platform. The new position will provide the company’s affiliates with a simplified and streamlined point of contact for communicating and conducting business across Clear Channel’s diverse group of subsidiaries.” Talbott says, “I enjoy working with our clients and partners, and this alignment of our affiliate efforts will allow us to better serve and communicate with stations throughout the U.S. I’m looking forward to working with the amazing teams across the company as we continue to demonstrate the unique relationship CCM+E has with our audience.”
Cox Media’s KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa Names Levi May Program Director. The PD post at KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa opened up when long-time programmer Drew Anderssen moved to Cox Media’s Orlando news/talker WDBO-AM/FM. Levi May served as WDBO’s assistant PD prior to his new position in Tulsa.
Talk Radio Weekends: Two Sure Shots. Talk radio consultant Holland Cooke offers advice on weekend programming for talk radio stations that fits in with the P1’s weekend lifestyle and has the opportunity for bringing in revenue. Sure, it’s lifestyle-oriented stuff but while many of those categories are well-serviced by nationally syndicated programs, Cooke says these two suggestions are tailor-made for local professionals. Read Holland Cooke’s piece here.
WVON, Chicago News Pro Sharon McGhee Loses Battle with Cancer. Journalist, writer and radio news director Sharon McGhee died in Columbia, Missouri on September 11 at age 54 after a long battle with ovarian cancer. She joined urban talk WVON, Chicago in 1997 and was promoted to news director the following year. She left the radio business to focus on her love of the arts and entertainment and in 2007, wrote the critically acclaimed “The Pocketbook Monologues” and subsequently directed multiple staged performances across the United States. McGhee returned to WVON in 2008 as news director and resigned from that position in 2010 due to health reasons. WVON president Melody Spann Cooper states, “Sharon McGhee was one of the most creative people I’ve ever known. Her determination, passion and drive brought her to Chicago where she excelled in everything that was on her professional and personal agenda. She was a rare breed determined to do it her way, and she did.”
Former Merlin Media News Pros Land with Virtual News Center. News staffers Veronica Carter and Katherine Kelly were two of the news pros who worked at Merlin Media’s FM news outlet in Chicago and exited the station when it flipped formats. They join the team at Virtual News Center which describes itself as “the largest independent provider of local news for radio heard on over 175 stations in nearly 80 markets.” The company works on a cash direct basis or via barter through Envision Radio Networks. Veronica Carter spent her 25 year radio career in Illinois, Indiana, and California, heavily involved in all facets of news reporting and anchoring. On her Merlin experience she says, “Working for Merlin Media was short lived, but an adventure to say the least! Glad to be with Virtual News Center, it’s actually fun doing newscasts all over the country!” Katherine Kelly worked in Peoria, Illinois and the Quad Cities as well as in Seattle and Chicago. Kelly anchored news as a part of some of the country’s top morning shows. She also helped launch the Oprah Radio Network on Sirius XM. She states, “I am incredibly honored to be joining the team at Virtual News Center. Now I can cover just as many cities without leaving home!”
New Jersey 101.5 Reporter Honored for Series on Teen Drug Abuse. The New Jersey Governor’s Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse honors New Jersey 101.5 reporter Stacy Proesbtle with its Community Service Award. Proesbtle is pictured here (from l-r) with NJ 101.5 brand manager Eric Johnson, NJ 101.5 news director Eric Scott, Proesbtle, and Council executive director John Hulick at the Council’s 21st annual Summit at the Hyatt Regency New Brunswick, New Jersey. Proebstle’s five-part series about the abuse of heroin and other opiates among New Jersey’s youth focused on prescription drug abuse, accidental overdoses, how abuse often begins at home and the fact that prescription drug abuse can happen to anyone. Proebstle talked to recovering addicts, parents, prevention specialists, substance abuse professionals and law enforcement officers to address current trends and issues along with possible solutions. On receiving the honor, Proesbtle says, “I’m absolutely delighted to receive this honor on behalf of the station and most genuinely grateful. It validates the importance of community service and giving back to one’s community.”
Cumulus San Francisco Inks 49ers for 12-Year Extension. Appearing on sports talk KNBR, San Francisco’s Murph & Mac morning show, Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey joined 49ers CEO Jed York to announce the stations and the NFL clubs have agreed to a 12-year contract extension to keep the team’s games on KNBR, news/talk KGO and rock KSAN in the market. During that appearance on the program, Dickey said, “While the trend in radio has been for shorter deals with sports teams, this 12-year partnership demonstrates the commitment of KNBR and Cumulus to the 49ers, and further cements KNBR as the ‘Sports Leader in Northern California’ for almost 25 years.”
WEEI, Boston Helps Celebrate Red Sox Broadcaster Joe Castiglione’s 30th Anniversary. Prior to last night’s Boston Red Sox game, Entercom sports talker WEEI celebrated the 30th anniversary of play-by-play announcer Joe Castiglione with an appearance at the WEEI studios by Castiglione on the afternoon drive “Big Show” with Glenn Ordway and Michael Holley. The evening also featured a half-hour pre-game tribute show that included a video at Fenway Park and on-field recognition from the team.
Conservative Chuck Morse and Liberal Dr. Patrick O’Heffernan Split. Veteran Boston-based conservative talk host Chuck Morse and California-based liberal Dr. Patrick O’Heffernan have ended their left-right internet talk radio program, “Fairness Radio with Chuck Morse & Dr. Patrick O’Heffernan,” after it became impossible to work together, according to Morse. The two will host separate programs on the internet and affiliated radio stations.
Long-Running Speaker Series Continues with Author of ‘Fast and Furious’ Book. WNDB, Daytona Beach talk host Marc Bernier (at left) conducted his 80th “Town Hall” interview and live broadcast in The Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University “President Speaker Series,” with Townhall.com investigative reporter Katie Pavlich (at right) before a live audience on Wednesday, September 12. Pavlich is author of Fast and Furious: Barack Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal and the Shameless Cover-Up (Regnery 2012). Photo: Arthur J. Byrnes.
U.S. Ambassador Killed in Libya Strike, Cairo Unrest, Obama-Netanyahu Relations, and Chicago Teachers Strike Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/12). The death of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens after a violent assault on the U.S. consulate; violent anti-American protests in Cairo; reports of President Obama’s snubbing of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Obama Administration’s Iran policy; and the continuing Chicago teachers strike were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Glenn Beck’s The Blaze Fires Up Digital Audio Network; Jay Severin Among Talk Talent. It’s called – what else? – TheBlaze Radio Network and the new online radio channel will be heard via Beck’s own TheBlaze iPhone and iPad apps as well as via iHeartRadio and at TheBlaze.com. Beck’s company says the network will be the new exclusive home for “renowned nationally syndicated talk radio personality and Marconi Award-nominee Jay Severin.” The lineup will also include a simulcast of Beck’s radio show, a re-launched show hosted by Stu Burguiere and Pat Gray as well as audio simulcasts of TheBlaze TV shows. Dom Theodore, through his consulting firm RadioAnimal, LLC, will serve as the network’s program director. When the network launches later this month, the lineup will be: the Glenn Beck program from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET; Pat and Stu from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm; Jay Severin from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm; the simulcast of Beck’s TV show from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm and a simulcast of “Real News from the Blaze” from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. TheBlaze chief content officer Joel Cheatwood states, “We are excited to continue making TheBlaze a destination for news, information and entertainment programming across multiple platforms. Jay is an incredible talent and is the perfect host to launch The Blaze Network.”
SEC Charging Financial Talker Ray Lucia with Violating Laws, Conducting Misleading Investment Seminars. The Securities and Exchange Commission announces it is charging nationally syndicated talk host and financial advice author Ray Lucia with violating several sections of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. The SEC says Lucia’s investment seminars, dubbed “Buckets of Money,” mislead potential investors when Lucia claimed his strategy “had been empirically ‘backtested’ over actual bear market periods.” Further, the SEC states, “Lucia and RJL have admitted during the SEC’s investigation that the only testing they actually performed were some calculations that Lucia made in the late 1990s – copies of which no longer exist – and two two-page spreadsheets.” The upshot, according to the FCC, is “Lucia and RJL left their seminar attendees with a false sense of comfort about the Buckets of Money strategy.” SEC Los Angeles regional director Michele Wein Layne says, “The so-called backtests weren’t really backtests, and the strategy wasn’t proven as they claimed.” The SEC is seeking “financial penalties and other remedial action in the proceedings.”
KTRH, Houston Talk Host Michael Berry’s the Flashpoint of Controversy in Houston After Tweet. Former Houston city councilman Michael Berry and talk host at Clear Channel’s news/talk KTRH is the subject of chatter in Houston after a tweet he sent during Michelle Obama’s speech on Tuesday evening has some charging Berry used racist lingo. Here’s what Berry tweeted: “Several black people were shot by other black people in Chicago while Michelle was speaking.” He hash tagged it #knuckadeads. Some say “knucka” or “nucka” is substitute slang for “nigga.” Berry replies to My Fox Houston reporter Isiah Carey that he meant no racist intent and said Mrs. Obama has used the term to mean hard-headed, like knucklehead. Carey writes Berry said he was trying to show the Obama administration’s lack of concern over the black-on-black violence in Chicago.
KMJ-FM, Fresno Names Jennifer Lipp AM Drive Host. Peak Broadcasting brings popular Fresno radio personality Jennifer Lipp to morning drive on the FM side of its KMJ news/talk duo. Lipp and former co-host Chris Daniel dominated mornings at crosstown rock KRZR in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Daniel moved on to KMJ and Lipp worked at classic rock KKBZ, Fresno until Lotus Broadcasting let her go in November of 2011. Now Lipp will host the morning show and Chris Daniel moves from the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot to 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm on KMJ-FM. On her new gig, Lipp states, “It is a dream come true to grow with the KMJ brand. This is the most exciting endeavor of my career and I am looking forward to the journey with both the listeners who have joined me in the past and those I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting.” Lipp begins her new show on September 10.
Use Twitter to Help Save Your Job! Consultant Holland Cooke explains how the Twitter era is forcing talk hosts, news staffers and DJs to “keep it moving” to keep the listener/reader engaged and make money in the process – if those media people use social media efficiently and wisely. Cooke explains how he advised his clients covering the Republican and Democratic National Conventions to use Twitter to deliver content like no one else and how to make money with it. Read this enlightening and smart advice here.
Clear Channel Albany Names Josh Everett Program Director for WGY and WOFX. In addition to programming news/talk WGY-AM/FM and sports talk WOFX, Josh Everett will oversee the News Hub which provides news for 10 Clear Channel Media and Entertainment markets in the Northeast. CC regional programming manager John Cooper states, “Josh’s extensive background in news/talk as well as sports programming will be an invaluable addition to WGY’s rich heritage and will help us grow WGY, Fox Sports and our News Hub.” Everett comes to Albany from Clear Channel’s Lexington, Kentucky cluster where he programmed news/talk WLAP and managed local production of the University of Kentucky Wildcats coverage.
Michael Harrison to Speak at the NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will deliver an address provocatively titled, “Can Terrestrial Radio Thrive in the Digital Era?” at the forthcoming NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas. According to Harrison, “The main challenge concerning FM and AM broadcasting at this perilous time in its rich and colorful history is making the transition to the digital age without prematurely sacrificing the value of the stick which is still the economic foundation of this industry and main source of livelihood for its practitioners.” Harrison also believes that it is important for “radio to be smart and use its traditional on-air assets in confident balanced harmony with its unlimited online potential.” He states, “The cultural heritage of what we all grew up to think of as ‘radio’ is deeply rooted in the traditions of over -the-air transmission and it is vitally important that in its rush to put everything it has into one internet basket, radio avoids losing its core identity, its soul, that separates it from being just another online music or informational utility.” Harrison advises that just as talk radio has claimed “ownership” of politics in America and sports radio has claimed “ownership” of the country’s sports juggernaut, “music radio must reclaim its lost ownership of the music culture.” He says the first step in accomplishing this is to bring back the colorful DJ as the backbone of the radio station’s presentation and the street savvy music director as its ear to what’s really going on out there. Radio must not only ‘relate’ to this element, it must aggressively lead it as well.” Harrison will be speaking at a special info-session sponsored by TALKERS magazine on Wednesday, September 19 between 10:15 am and 11:15 am. All Radio Show registrants are encouraged to attend.
Day Three at DNC in Charlotte. President Obama’s nomination acceptance speech will cap the three-day Democratic National Convention this evening and talk hosts, news networks and reporters spent yesterday covering the political chatter, campaigning and critiques of this convention. Talk Radio Network O&O news organization America’s Radio News Network is one of the national radio news operations on the ground at this convention. ARNN tells TALKERS co-anchors Lori Lundin and Rachel Crowson along with producers and technical staff, have been supplying live interviews and news updates to all five of the three-hour, long-form news programs the network offers. Guests on the network from yesterday included: Eleanor Smeal, a two-time president of the National Organization for Women; Diana Degette (D-CO), chief deputy whip; Cumulus Media Networks host and journalist Geraldo Rivera; and acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank, among others. ABC News Radio and Salem Radio Network are also covering the convention and ABC’s Steve Jones (l) and Salem’s Tom Tradup (r) took a moment to pose for this shot from the convention center for TALKERS.
Talent Shuffle at Alpha Broadcasting’s Sports KXTG, Portland. A programming shift at “750 The Game” in Portland brings DirecTV/Fox Sports Radio syndicated host Dan Patrick to the station for morning drive beginning today. The move bumps morning host Chad Doing to the PM drive slot and current afternoon host John Canzano to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show. Business and marketing expert Brian Berger gives up his midday show but remains with the station to dispense his wisdom on the station’s various programs and online.
DirecTV Gives “The Nick and Artie Show” a TV Simulcast. The syndicated radio version of the sports and entertainment-centric show hosted by comedians Nick Di Paolo and Artie Lange has been produced by DirecTV since its inception. Now DirecTV does for “Nick and Artie” what the company’s Dan Patrick has enjoyed – a TV simulcast on DirecTV’s Audience Network channel. Airing from 10:00 pm to 1:00 pm ET beginning tomorrow night, the company says the duo will “tackle TV with the most outrageous observational humor to be found anywhere. The guys will review and give their unique takes on the day’s top sports and entertainment stories, along with celebrity interviews, movie reviews, live musical performances and a variety of in-studio segments, from cooking with Artie’s Mom to a game of pool.”
WTOP Promotes Dick Uliano to Full-Time Anchor/Reporter. The veteran Washington newsman has been working with Hubbard Radio’s WTOP part time as well as contributing to SiriusXM’s POTUS channel and doing part-time anchoring at NPR. Now, Dick Uliano joins the full-time staff at WTOP. Uliano’s previous experience includes time spent with the Associated Press and CNN Radio.
Odds & Sods. NFL great Joe Namath – who is part of Michael Kay’s show on ESPN O&O WEPN-FM, New York where he hosts the “Joe Namath Hour” – discusses the upcoming NFL season in a media conference call today at 10:00 am ET….. Former New Jersey 101.5 night host Tommy G returns to host “New Jersey Today” on Greater Media’s WCTC, New Brunswick from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm on Monday, September 10 and Friday, September 14. He fills in for station PD Bert Baron, who says, “Tommy G is one of the biggest stars in all of New Jersey radio. I’m blessed that a talent of his caliber, record of success and current following is a mere phone call away. He’s a ratings winner that simply makes my station sound better.”…..JC Corcoran has been heard on the airwaves in Chicago as he’s been filling in on Tribune’s WGN. The longtime St. Louis personality most recently hosted a program at KTRS. Corcoran tells TALKERS he’ll have Fox Sports star Joe Buck on his show on WGN on Sunday morning at 10:00 am. Corcoran says Buck is already predicting trouble with the NFL replacement officials, telling him, “I think something catastrophic could happen early in the season that could cost a team a ballgame.”….. Cumulus Media’s sports talk KNBR, San Francisco will serve as the flagship station for Golden State Warriors basketball through the 2015-16 season, the station announces. It’s been the flagship of the NBA club since the 1976-77 season with the exception of one season in the 1980s. Cumulus president and CEO Lew Dickey and Warriors co-executive chairman and CEO Joe Lacob appeared on the Murph & Mac show on Wednesday to announce the new deal.
Talk Radio Network’s Jerry Doyle Featured Speaker at Liberty PAC. The Liberty Political Action Conference takes place September 13-15 in Chantilly, Virginia and funds “Congressman Ron Paul’s political activities as he travels the country to fight for the principles that many hold dear: Liberty, Limited Government and a strong, pro-American foreign policy.” The three-day conference will include training sessions and personal one-on-one meetings with various speakers and supporters. Jerry Doyle will be one of the speakers at the conference.
Presidential Campaign/Democratic National Convention, Arizona Immigration Ruling and Hillary Clinton in China Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/5). The coverage of the Democratic National Convention and the presidential campaign; a federal judge’s ruling that Arizona officers can inquire about immigration status while pursuing information about other crimes; and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s trip to China were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Yesterday’s Announcement of Clear Channel Buying WOR Sets Industry Buzzing. The joint Clear Channel Media and Entertainment and Buckley Radio announcement yesterday that Clear Channel is purchasing AM radio station WOR 710 from Buckley Broadcasting Corporation, pending FCC approval, set off an industry wide storm of surprise followed by speculation on how it will impact both the local and syndication landscape. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed although Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor reports qualified rumors in the vicinity of $40 million.
What Does it Really Mean? As reported yesterday in TALKERS, information about this deal was kept even more closely guarded than Romney’s plans to select Ryan as his VP choice. (See yesterday’s story below.) All signs from Cumulus indicating its plan to take news/talk in a different direction lend credence to the speculation that CC is protecting the future of its syndicated and highly valuable news/talk properties in terms of New York clearances . Also subject to question: What will happen to the hosts currently syndicated by the WOR Radio Network who currently claim the legendary 710 AM as their flagship station? Clear Channel says they will “benefit” from the relationship. Stay tuned.
Glenn Beck Sets September Return to National Live Movie Theaters. Following his successful series of six past “cinematic” events, pioneering talk media personality Glenn Beck returns to the big screen this fall with a new comedy stage show titled “Glenn Beck’s Unelectable 2012 Live.” Broadcast live from the Majestic Theater in San Antonio, Texas on Thursday, September 20 at 8:00 pm. ET with a tape delay for the Western states, Beck will use the debate format to say the things politicians can’t – or won’t – say during this election season. In a timely mock “debate,” Beck will square off against Brian Sack, host of The B.S. of A., a sketch comedy show that airs on TheBlaze (formerly GBTV), Beck’s HD video network. Sack’s “say anything to get elected” character is a composite of what is described as “just about every candidate from all parties.” Beck tells TALKERS, “The B.S. of A and I have a hard job with this comedy show but I think we can pull it off – create a fake debate that is actually funnier and more absurd than the real ones we have to look forward to this fall. I am excited to once again partner with NCM Fathom Events and return to movie theaters across the country.” In addition to the comedy, Beck will deliver a monologue presenting his view on a variety of contemporary topics. The event is a co-production of Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts and NCM Fathom Events.
You Can Tell a Lot About a News/Talk Station from its Weekend Programming… or Lack Thereof. Consultant Holland Cooke says news/talk radio stations are by and large missing major opportunities to maximize ratings, revenue and image by wasting weekends on “best-of” reruns and embarrassing paid programs. He offers a suggestion of how to bring the commonly programmed but terribly dated “swap shop” concept into a lucrative 21st century radio role. Read Holland’s article here.
WNIR, Akron Names John Denning New Midday Host to Replace the Late Howie Chizek. When legendary talker Howie Chizek died suddenly in June due to a heart attack, WNIR management reportedly began an extensive search to select the beloved midday host’s successor. They decided upon John Denning, known to Chizek’s listeners as “Couch Burner” – a regular and extremely popular 20-year caller who would engage in friendly arguments with the host. As it turns out Denning is a colorful and accomplished local businessman whom station management confidently feel will keep the legacy of Chizek alive. He takes over 10:00 am to 3:00 pm weekdays and Saturdays 9:00 am to 12:00 noon.
Romney’s Selection of Rep. Paul Ryan as Republican VP Choice Top News/Talk Radio Story Yesterday (8/13). The Ryan story significantly leads the pack which also includes the Texas A&M shootings, and the Mars “Curiosity” mission among the most talked about stories on news/talk stations yesterday according to ongoing TALKERS research.
Odds and Sods. Talk host Kevin McCullough, his co-host (and famous actor) Stephen Baldwin and “Secret Millionaire” Dani Johnson are extending their efforts to feed orphans. Hoping in April 2012 to feed more than 2012 orphans before the end of the calendar year, and with more than 3600 children – who have no resources – fed for the coming year, the coalition formerly known as “2012 in 2012″ has become www.DoGood.com… Sexy Philadelphia-based “shock jockett” Lois Burak and her podcast-grown program “The Lolo Show” (which includes co-host Joe DeLong) have been given a monthly spot on Sirius XM’s Playboy Spice Channel 103. Burak is the daughter of Marvin Burak, a controversial Philadelphia broadcaster in the 1960s. Talkers Tip: Check this talent out.
Fisher House Honors Premiere Networks. Fisher House Foundation recently recognized Premiere Networks for its support of “A Grateful Nation,” a Memorial Day radio special that used the powerful personal stories of wounded warriors to promote the Fisher House mission. Premiere handled affiliation and distribution of the one-hour show, which aired on 65 news/talk radio stations and Sirius/XM. From left to right: Premiere Networks president/content and affiliate relations Julie Talbott, Fisher House VP Cynthia Campbell and Premiere SVP/affiliate relations for talk and morning shows Peter Tripi. Fisher House provides no-cost housing and other support to the families of wounded warriors while their loved ones are being treated at military and VA hospitals.
Merlin Media Ends FM News Operations in New York and Chicago. Industry watchers are beginning the post-mortem on Merlin Media’s all-news formats at WIQI, Chicago and WEMP, New York after yesterday’s announcement by the company that it is flipping the two signals to classic hits and alternative rock, respectively. In making the announcement, Merlin president Randy Michaels stated, “It was a difficult decision to make, but after a year of minimal audience engagement, coupled with the format’s inherent expense, I felt it was time to make a change.” Perhaps the most obvious challenge to the endeavor was the fact that in both Chicago and New York, Michaels’ stations were going up against entrenched news stations in markets that didn’t seem to be crying out for more radio news, primarily because they are already being served by well-respected and well-listened-to all-news outlets. WBBM-AM/FM, Chicago and WCBS and WINS in New York were tough opponents to challenge in the radio news game – not to mention the public radio stations in both markets that have loyal audiences and dedicate resources to covering local news. The ratings for the two stations seemed to bear that out. The initial concept of trying to reach women with a news product fell flat. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison told the Chicago Tribune, “When you say, ‘This is for women and here’s what we’re talking about,’ it can come across as insulting. It’s presumptuous.” Harrison also told the paper, “To reinvent the wheel, when in fact the wheel is not broken, is difficult.” He said the station’s focus on stereotypically female topics like cooking, fashion and child rearing also turned off listeners. There are reports 27 staffers are out in Chicago with a similar number in New York, leaving a host of veteran radio news people looking for their next opportunity this morning. Meanwhile, another wrinkle to this story pertains to industry rumors and speculation that Merlin had plans to eventually morph its New York and possibly Chicago all-newsers into traditional news/talkers. The recent addition of Rush Limbaugh to Philadelphia property WWIQ after his departure from CBS Radio‘s WPHT had tongues wagging about the possibility of such a move happening in New York when Cumulus Media‘s contract with Premiere Networks for Limbaugh on WABC ends – especially with Cumulus developing Mike Huckabee (currently airing on crosstown competitor WOR) as a more “civil” alternative to Limbaugh. This brings up another question: Are the Merlin moves to music just a temporary measure?
Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk Draws Intense Traffic to Talkers.com; Testament to Sports Talk Format’s Popularity. The recently published Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America, has generated so much traffic to Talkers.com that – at times – navigation on the site slowed to a crawl, forcing the IT staff at Talkers.com to increase the site’s bandwidth to accommodate the visitors. This massive interest in America’s sports talk radio personalities is indicative of the format’s popularity with both consumers and from within the media industry. TALKERS VP/managing editor Kevin Casey states, “Sports talk radio is off-the-charts popular in so many markets across the country – reflecting the importance of sports in American popular culture. The interest in the Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk from people working within the business is one thing, but the attention from consumers of sports talk and the rabid sports blogosphere is astounding. The passion that exists for the format, the personalities, as well as the games and athletes themselves, shows why this talk radio genre is such an effective marketing tool for businesses at the local and national level.” The 2012 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk can be found here.
Cumulus Media’s WPRO, Providence Names Craig Schwalb Program Director. Craig Schwalb comes to Cumulus Media’s news/talk WPRO and 99.7 (and sister WPRV) in Providence from SiriusXM where he served as senior director of talk programming. He’s also worked at WKRK, Detroit; WNEW, New York; WRBZ, Raleigh; and EZ Communications, St. Louis. He replaces Paul Giammarco who recently resigned from the station. Cumulus SVP Mike McVay states, “We are excited to have Craig join Cumulus. We want the freshest and best minds in the industry…and he is clearly among the best.” Speaking about his new opportunity, Schwalb says, “The chance to program one of the country’s legendary radio stations, complete with great talent, a great news presence and great influence in a terrific city was a no brainer for me and my family. I am looking forward to working with Providence market manager Barbara Haynes and of course John Dickey, Mike McVay, Jim Mahaney, and everyone at Cumulus.”
Recent Affiliate Adds Push America’s Radio News Network Past 300 Mark. In fact, when combined with the TRN/Washington Times’ “America’s Morning News” program, the affiliate total jumps past 320 for the news programming offered by Talk Radio Network’s ARNN. The content syndicator notes that recent affiliate additions in Columbus, Ohio; Phoenix; Memphis; Ft. Myers/Naples; Charleston, South Carolina; and others for the five three-hour news block programs are indicative of the strong demand for quality news-oriented radio content.
Talk Host Andrew Wilkow to Host Prime Time Show on TheBlaze. The online TV network TheBlaze – a digital product of Glenn Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts company – announces SiriusXM talk personality Andrew Wilkow will host a new, one-hour news and talk show to debut later this summer. TheBlaze says the exact start date and the name of the program will be announced later. TheBlaze president and chief content officer Joel Cheatwood states, “TheBlaze is building a primetime lineup filled with both established talent and the voices of the future. Andrew Wilkow’s strong independence and ‘no sacred cows’ approach to the news, issues and events of the day are perfect fits for TheBlaze as we continue to expand our programming.” TheBlaze notes it already produces three hours of prime time shows including “the comedy news show ‘The B.S. of A,’ the reality show ‘Independence USA’ and other programming throughout the day led by Glenn’s show, the news show ‘Real News’ and the kid’s show ‘Liberty TreeHouse.’ The network airs over 35 hours of original programming per week and will soon provide video content on a 24/7 basis.”
Talk Icon Larry King’s Internet TV Show Debuts. Larry King’s new internet TV show – a 30–minute news and interview show – debuted last night with Seth McFarlane as his first guest. The program is a joint venture between Hulu and Ora TV. Ora TV is a digital venture being funded by Mexican media magnate Carlos Slim Helu. In a statement about the new program, Larry King says, “I have always been driven to innovate, from my time on radio, to the first call-in show on national television to being an early adopter of online columns and Twitter…I love being able to interact directly with audiences and digital TV allows me to do this in new and powerful ways.” This evening, King’s guest will be Meghan McCain with actor Matthew McConaughey on tap for Thursday’s show.
2012 Presidential Campaign, Summer Heatwave/Crops Threatened, Negative Economic Forecasts, Global Debt Crisis and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/17). The 2012 presidential campaign; the nationwide summer heat wave and the threat to the corn and grains crops; negative economic forecasts; the global debt crisis and the financial markets activities were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
News Corp. Splits Its Assets in Two. News Corporation officially announces it will chop its company into two separate, publicly traded companies, one consisting of its entertainment properties and the other its publishing assets. The issue was decided at yesterday’s board meeting. Under the plan, the entertainment division will include the TV and movie businesses – Twentieth Century Fox, the Fox broadcast network, Fox News Channel and the other cable networks. The publishing arm will consist of the newspapers – The Wall Street Journal, The Times of London and The Australian as well as the other publishing assets — including Harper Collins. This will presumably also include The Wall Street Journal Radio Network. SNL Kagan reports the two primary reasons for executing the split are to distance the more profitable entertainment assets from the phone hacking scandal — this reason has been denied by CEO Rupert Murdoch — and to encourage investors who are keen on the entertainment side but not the publishing business. The first nine months of News Corp.’s 2012 fiscal year saw the entertainment division bring in $18.66 billion in net operating revenue while the publishing division’s net operating revenue was $6.22 billion. However, analysts are not in agreement that the split will encourage that much investment and ultimately be as valuable to the entertainment side’s stock as it might appear at first blush.
Yahoo! and Clear Channel Agree to Content Sharing Deal. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment and Yahoo! partner on a distribution and cross-promotional deal in which Yahoo! will use the iHeartRadio digital platform as its official digital radio service while Yahoo! will be able to promote its content across CC’s 850 radio stations. Yahoo! recently entered into deals with ABC News and CNBC to distribute jointly produced content across websites and television. Interim Yahoo! CEO Ross Levinsohn – who is working to turn the struggling digital media company around and give it a focused direction – says of the pact, “This partnership will expand our ability to provide consumers and advertisers with the best premium content available and provide Clear Channel with unmatched digital reach.” Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman says, “We were thrilled when Ross approached us about this partnership. We like the direction Yahoo! is going and by working together we can accelerate growth for the both of us.”
The NFL’s Buffalo Bills Sue Cumulus Over “Incentive Rights Fee.” Buffalo Bills play-by-play aired on Cumulus Media’s (and previously Citadel’s) WGRF-FM and WEDG-FM, Buffalo for the past 13 seasons through the 2011 season and now the team is suing Cumulus for what it says is the company’s failure to pay the “incentive rights fee” of about $1 million, according to the Buffalo News. The suit states the incentive rights fee equals half the broadcaster’s gross revenues from the sale of related programming or advertising in connection with any Bills game, after accounting for certain costs. The suit also contends, “For the 2011 NFL football season, the reasonable value of the exclusive radio broadcast rights and perquisites was believed to be at least $2.4 million, of which an amount believed to be at least $1 million remains due and owing.” Attorneys for the team say Cumulus was to provide an independent auditor’s report on gross revenue and net revenue for the 2011 season and that has yet to happen. The Buffalo News reports attempts to get a comment from Cumulus had not been successful.
Tom Leykis and Lionel on Strategies for Taking Talk Content to the Web. This video from the recent 2012 TALKERS New Media Seminar – New York features The New Normal chief and talk radio legend Tom Leykis and LionelMedia.com personality Lionel discussing from-the-trenches strategies for bringing talk content – live streaming shows and podcasts – to the web. The biggest challenge to this initiative is letting people know you are there and enticing them to listen. Hear Leykis and Lionel speak about their work in this medium on this exclusive panel discussion in the TALKERS TV box on this page. (Videography by Art Vuolo of Vuolo Video)
TuneIn Brings Major Broadcasters Cox Media Group, Emmis and Entercom Aboard. Digital audio service TuneIn continues to build its roster of content with the signing of three of America’s big broadcasting companies to deals to distribute their audio. Cox Media Group, Emmis Communications and Entercom radio stations will be heard on the TuneIn service that boasts 30 million monthly active listeners. In announcing the deal, the chiefs of the three companies tout the enhanced distribution this will give their content. Cox president Doug Franklin states, “As we transform into a digital media company, Cox Media Group is extending our great local brands to as many digital platforms as possible to seamlessly provide our audiences with the programming they want where and when they want it. TuneIn leads the industry with their listener-first approach to everything they do, and we are excited to offer our broadcasts to the growing and vastly important digital audience.” Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan comments, “Emmis is excited by today’s announcement. We want to follow our listeners and deliver our content to the platforms they choose to use. The TuneIn platform will provide our listeners from coast to coast another connection point with their favorite radio brands.” And Entercom president and CEO David Field says, “This is a great deal for Entercom, for TuneIn and most importantly for our listeners. We are very pleased to align Entercom with such an innovative company as TuneIn, which will deliver our terrific local programming to a wider, digitally engaged audience. Together, Entercom and TuneIn will deliver existing and new fans the best listening experience possible.”
Glenn Hall Named Managing Editor at TheBlaze. Glenn Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts announces former editor in chief at TheStreet joins TheBlaze as managing editor. The company states Glenn Hall will “oversee the day-to-day management and long-term editorial planning of TheBlaze.com’s editors and writers.” Hall served as editor in chief at TheStreet until this past March and, according to comScore audience rankings, helped grow TheStreet into the 10th largest online financial media group, surpassing CNBC.com. TheBlaze president and chief strategy officer Betsy Morgan says, “In under two years, we have attracted a growing team of over 25 reporters with a diverse range of experience ranging from a former CIA officer to CNN contributors. We are excited to take our team to the next level with Glenn Hall who brings a strong track record of leading and overseeing high-quality coverage and award-winning journalism to TheBlaze.” Hall comments, “TheBlaze is an amazing web phenomenon that shows media can thrive in the new digital age provided the focus and mission are aligned with the needs of the audience. I am excited about the opportunity to help grow this brand and raise the bar for digital journalism.”
CNN Suffers Worst Primetime Ratings Quarter in 21 Years; Cable News/Talk Network Makes Programming Changes. TVNewser reports CNN’s 2012 second quarter primetime ratings were at their worst in 21 years with 446,000 total viewers and 129,000 in the adults 25-54 demo. Compared to the second quarter of 2011, CNN is down 35% in total viewers in Total Day. The numbers are similar in primetime with the network down 35% in total viewers and 41% in the adults 25-54 demo. For individual shows, it’s hard to compare since the schedule has shifted and the same shows didn’t air at the same times last year. But “Piers Morgan Tonight” (which hasn’t moved) is down 29% in total viewers and 33% in adults 25-54. There is a bit of good news for the network as TVNewser reports June Nielsen numbers show younger viewers are increasing boosting Piers Morgan 9% in June, Anderson Cooper 5% and Erin Burnett 24%. Meanwhile, the Time Warner cable news/talk network makes some programming changes: The seven-month-old “Early Start” show sees co-host Ashleigh Banfield move to the 11:00 am ET slot and newcomer John Berman becomes co-host of the program with Zoraida Sambolin. Also, Kyra Phillips leaves CNN for duties at sister channel HLN.
KOZN, Omaha’s Kevin Kugler Transitions to National Correspondent Duties. Sports talk host Kevin Kugler, currently co-host of the “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” afternoon show at NRG Media’s KOZN, Omaha – 1620 AM The Zone – will become a national sports correspondent for the station as he moves to a full-time position with the Big Ten Network – the conference’s TV network. Kugler also serves as a play-by-play announcer for NFL football and NCAA basketball on the Dial Global Radio Networks and he will remain in that capacity. KOZN program director Neil Nelkin states, “Kevin now gets a chance to cut his teeth as a play-by-play host for the Big 10 and still stay on The Zone. It has been a joy and a privilege to watch Kevin as he evolved into a national sports correspondent.” Kugler’s duties with The Zone will be as analyst, interviewer and guest anchor. On his career transition, Kugler says, “This opportunity affords me the chance to remain on The Zone and stay in Omaha. Although this is a new chapter for my career, I am still staying on my ‘home’ at 1620 The Zone but I will have even more insight to offer as a result of the various exclusive interviews and event coverage I will be able to do on BTN.”
KXL, Portland Names Dan Mitchinson PM Drive Co-Anchor. Dan Mitchinson has been evening news anchor at Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle. On July 9 he begins his new position with Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL, Portland where he’ll co-host the station’s “Portland’s Afternoon News” with Lacey Evans. In a statement, Mitchinson says, “KXL is certainly one of the best-known news/talk stations in the country and one of the things that excites me the most it’s not just telling stories, but the way we’re able to start conversations with our listeners. Anyone can read the news or check their Twitter account. What KXL does best is tell passionate stories that make you feel even more involved with the city I now get to call home.”
The Anticipated ObamaCare Ruling, the Aftermath of the Arizona Illegal Immigration Law Decision, the 2012 Presidential Campaign, the Colorado Wildfires, and Eric Holder Contempt Vote Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/27). The anticipation of the Supreme Court’s ruling on President Obama’s Affordable Care Act; the aftermath of the Court’s decision on the Arizona illegal immigration law; the ongoing 2012 presidential campaign; the wildfires raging through Colorado and the attempt by House Republicans to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt in connection with the ‘Fast and Furious’ program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.