Tag: "Time Warner"

Meet Ken Rutkowski

| May 12, 2014

Second of two-part special on “Business Rockstars”

Quintessential connected host not stuck in a rut

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

 

kinosianLOS ANGELES — Connoisseurs of the fine art of the interview — and it truly is an art form — relish the opportunity to study Charlie Rose as he masterfully plies his craft nightly on PBS.

Roundtable one-on-one settings featuring the amiable Rose are clinics that more often than not uncover fascinating layers to his intriguing guests.


Amazing Stories

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

| August 13, 2013

wbt 2Carolina Panthers 100Charlotte’s WBT-AM/FM Extends Carolina Panthers Partnership. The Greater Media talk combo has been the flagship for 13 of the NFL team’s 18-year history, and a just-signed three-year extension will keep them partners through 2015. “The first touchdown in Panther history was heard on WBT – that tradition will continue into the foreseeable future,” observes WBT AM/FM and Greater Media, Charlotte vice president-station manager Trip Savery. “The Panthers are a significant part of our 90-year history of serving the greater Charlotte region – we look forward to many more years working together.” Executive radio producer David Langton notes that, “With such a long and successful history between our two organizations, we are excited about continuing to look for new ways to improve our broadcasts.” The Panthers’ three-person radio announcing team consists of Mick Mixon (play-by-play); WBT sports director Jim Szoke (color analyst); and former Panther Eugene Robinson.

holtartMEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Art Holt of Holt Media Group.  In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media broker Art Holt of Holt Media Group in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.  Holt’s long career in radio goes back to being an air talent and engineer in Texas at a variety of stations and markets across the state where he moved his way up to working in Dallas with radio broadcasting legend Gordon McLendon. He eventually wound up owning and operating a 20 station medium market station group for more than three decades and then went on to become a broker.  Holt agrees with this publication’s contention that the time is right for good broadcast managers who have been squeezed out of their positions by consolidation and market conditions to get into first-time ownership on a local level.  He says, “Times have never been better for a buyer to go into medium and small market radio ownership!  The big corporations continue to ignore true localism; they’re focused on cost cutting to service their huge debt hangovers from their spending sprees in the last decade.  The local newspaper is no longer the formidable presence or strong advertising competitor it was in the past.  This is a great opportunity for a local owner!  The conglomerates’ problems have become the local operator’s opportunity!  There are strong opportunities for station turn-around and format changes at neglected stations for the new DIY operator. In selected markets, brokers can offer strong cash flow deals at workable multiples to qualified buyers. Good and talented radio people are being made redundant daily by the giant corporations, and as a result, localism in radio is now pretty much just a memory except when a local owner comes in to take over and super-serve the community.  And, it’s a fact that the best and most advertiser-effective radio is local radio. For displaced radio executives, this is definitely a golden age of radio ownership… with wide open opportunities to fill the need for good local radio, both on the air and on the street.  Local radio markets welcome local owners who become involved in the community and who know the local advertisers on a first name basis.”   Holt offers several opportunities for displaced station managers and first-time entrants looking to roll up their sleeves and take on an ownership project.  To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.

KFWB Trojans LiveKFWB, Los Angeles To Debut “Trojans Live.” Produced by Fox Sports West and USC Sports Properties, the weekly, hour-long KFWB, Los Angeles broadcasts will be devoted to University of Southern California sports. Men’s football coach Lane Kiffin, men’s basketball coach Andy Enfield, student-athletes, and other coaches from all USC sports will be featured. There will be game previews, insights and breaking news on “Trojans Live,” which will be done before a live audience from a pub located across the street from the USC campus. According to KFWB general manager Valerie Blackburn, “Coaches, players, and staff will break stories to the legions of passionate USC fans here in Los Angeles and across the country. Fans will hear exclusive news regularly from the people most in the know.” USC athletic director and renowned former quarterback Pat Haden comments, “We are excited to partner with KFWB in this new venture. This comprehensive radio show will highlight not only our football and basketball programs, but all of our men’s and women’s sports. The show’s content will be compelling, up-to-the-minute and something fans won’t be able to get anywhere else.” Former NFL wide receiver and two-sport USC Academic All-American John Jackson hosts the program with USC Athletics director of social media Jordan Moore; Trojans’ radio announcer Pete Arbogast will be a frequent guest contributor. The first broadcast is next Thursday (8/22) at 7:00 pm, with the show moving to 6:00 pm during the basketball season.

k-Mozart LogoKYZZ Trades Sports for Classical. Silent since July 31, Monterey-Salinas-Santa Cruz’s sports-formatted KYZZ (formerly “ESPN 97.9″) becomes classical “k-Mozart 97.9″ under new owner Saul Levine. Buckley Broadcasting purchased KYZZ eight years ago from Wolfhouse Broadcasting and over the years it had been CHR and rhythmic CHR. Levine – whose Mount Wilson FM Broadcasters owns classical KMZT-AM, Los Angeles (as well as country KKGO there) acquired “Mozart 97.9″ about three months ago. The market had been without a classical station since 2011, when Mapleton transitioned KBOQ out of the format. Under the sports umbrella for approximately one year, KYZZ is currently airing commercial-free as “k-Mozart.”

CBS-TV LogoTWCCBS-Less Time Warner Customers Are Beginning to Get Antsy. It has been less than two weeks (8/2) since Time Warner Cable yanked CBS-TV programming in New York, Los Angeles, and Dallas in a carriage dispute. Disappearance of The Eye Network is affecting 3.2 million customers and many of them are starting to lose their patience. Interim FCC chair Mignon Clyburn says she will take “appropriate action” if CBS-TV and TWC cannot settle their quarrel, although an FCC spokesperson would not comment further on what that might entail. In a statement, TWC notes, “We agree with the chairwoman that consumers are being adversely affected. We hope that CBS soon will come to a reasonable agreement with us that is fair to our customers and their viewers.” According to CBS, its primetime audience is off by roughly 46,000 viewers, compared with the previous week. It seems that, while programming fees are a principal roadblock, there is a larger issue with digital. TWC reportedly will agree to increase its fee, but wants to keep the same bundle of digital rights it held under the old pact. CBS though wants to be able to sell shows to entities such as Amazon and Netflix. Now that the NFL pre-season is underway and with the fall TV schedule looming, viewer frustrations are bound to heighten even more. According to an Ad Age report, RadioShack has enjoyed “a double-digit spike in high-definition antennas” in those three markets. The Ad Age article states, “It is unclear exactly how many antennas sold that translates into” since RadioShack declined to share “concrete numbers.” In New York, there is a month-long free trial of Aereo, which transmits CBS signals to laptops, mobile devices and computers for $8 a month. CBS programming is free on the CBS mobile app and CBS.com the day after airing; however, CBS is blocking video to those using a TWC IP address. In a separate fee battle that has been going on since July 25, TWC has blacked out Journal Communications‘ NBC affiliate, WTMJ, Milwaukee, to southeastern Wisconsin cable subscribers.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

| June 14, 2012

End of an Era at KLOS-FM, Los Angeles as Mark Thompson Announces Retirement. The duo Mark & Brian have hosted their very successful morning drive show on Cumulus Media‘s classic rock KLOS-FM, Los Angeles since 1987. But as Mark Thompson tells LARadio.com‘s Don Barrett, he and his wife want to take time to enjoy the things that retirement brings. Thompson’s last show will be August 17. That gives KLOS time to figure out what to do with the morning show. Thompson’s partner Brian Phelps wants to keep working at the station in the morning and reportedly Cumulus is working on making that happen.

Columbus Gains All-Newser. Two Columbus radio outlets drop their formats to become an AM/FM all-newser. North American Broadcasting Co. flips classic hits WTDA-FM and standards WMNI-AM to all-news as WMNI. The station is airing a local morning drive news program hosted by news director Mark Nuce, anchor Kelly Quinn and sports director Mark “The Shark” Howell. The rest of the day will use America’s Radio News Network programming with local news inserts. Evenings and overnights will air Dial Global‘s Jim Bohannon and Cumulus Media Network‘s “Red Eye Radio.” The station is filling the weekends with newsy and business-related programming including Cumulus Media’s “Moneytalk with Bob Brinker” and “Bloomberg Businessweek.”

Former Connecticut Governor and WTIC, Hartford Host John Rowland Draws Ire of Unions. The former Governor of Connecticut hosts the station’s PM drive show and today the CBS Radio news/talk station will face some sort of protest at its Farmington studios by a collection of construction, public sector and building and trade unions for Rowland’s opposition to the CTfastrack project – a controversial road, light rail and bike path project between Hartford and New Britain. Connecticut Laborers District Council business manager Charles LeConche states, “The John Rowland that I remember as Governor of Connecticut always supported public projects and understood how to grow the local economy. His present show is now all trash talk radio. It’s really become ‘hate’ radio every weekday afternoon. We’re supporting a boycott of his advertisers and the radio station as well. Our organization will also be petitioning the Federal Communications Commission about this CBS Radio outlet’s handling of trash talk and biased information without offering the opportunity to present different points of view.”

Three Broadcast Groups Join TuneIn for Strategic Digital Alliance. Digital audio distribution service TuneIn announces Beasley Broadcast Group, Midwest Communications and Federated Media are aligning with the service to bring more than 100 stations to its more than 30 million monthly active listeners. TuneIn CEO John Donham says, “We want to make the best audio available to anyone, no matter where they are. Aligning with Beasley Broadcast Group, Midwest Communications and Federated Media gives our listeners unlimited access to some of their favorite hometown stations, while increasing the listener bases of these three major U.S. Broadcasters.” Midwest SVP Michael Wright states, “At Midwest Communications, Inc., we’ve received numerous requests from our radio brands’ listeners asking how they can listen to our content via mobile phone streaming. Our new alliance with TuneIn allows us to give our listeners exactly what they want – their favorite personalities and music, whenever they want, wherever they want. TuneIn gives Midwest Communications another way to superserve and grow our audience.”

CNN Cancels John King USA; Adds Another Hour of Wolf Blitzer. Executives at Time Warner have reportedly become impatient with the performance of cable news/talk channel CNN in the evening and prime time. Now, it appears John King‘s program is the first casualty of a programming shift as “John King USA” is being dropped and another hour of “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” picks up the 6:00 pm ET hour. John King remains with CNN as lead national campaign correspondent. CNN/U.S. chief Ken Jautz states, “John will be providing reports for ‘SitRoom,’ ‘AC360′ and other programs and CNN platforms. This is John’s seventh presidential campaign – fourth with CNN – and making him available across our programming lineup allows us to better tap his skills and experience, especially on the ground reporting in major battleground states and among critical voting blocs.”

Odds ‘n’ Sods. Compass Media Marketing announces the hiring of Bob O’Connor as account director. O’Connor comes to Compass with experience working in the sales and marketing departments at CBS Radio, Eastman Radio, ABC Radio Networks and Cumulus Media…..WQAM, Miami afternoon drive host (and TALKERS contributor) Dan Sileo will fill in at Yahoo! Sports Radio on June 21 and 22 on the morning drive program…..Entercom‘s sports talk WEEI-FM, Springfield, Massachusetts grabs the broadcast rights for University of Massachusetts football and men’s basketball for the next five seasons. In addition to play-by-play, the station will air “The Charley Molnar Show” and “The Derek Kellogg Show’ – the weekly coach’s shows for football and basketball, respectively…..The Radio Television Digital News Association announces ESPN is honored with two 2012 Edward R. Murrow Awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for excellence in electronic journalism. “E: 60″ won the Outstanding Sports Reporting award and “The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap” won the Audio Sports Reporting award…..Hubbard Radio‘s WTOP, Washington is awarded five 2012 Edward R. Murrow awards including Best Newscast and two for Overall Excellence.

2012 Presidential Race, Russia-Syria Arms Connection, NYC Snack Food Ban, Eric Holder-’Fast and Furious’ Case and EU Debt Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/13). The 2012 presidential campaign; Russia’s unapologetic supplying of arms to Syria; more considerations of snack food bans in New York City; the GOP’s move to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt in connection with the ‘Fast and Furious’ program; and the state of the debt crisis in the European Union were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

WBZ, Boston Hosts Scott Pelley. The anchor and managing editor of the “CBS Evening News” visited Boston on Tuesday, June 12 as a special guest at the WBZ NewsRadio Business Breakfast where more than 500 people packed the Boston Westin Copley Hotel. WBZ anchor Joe Mathieu interviewed Scott Pelley about topics including the presidential campaign, healthcare, the economy and his career in the news business. Pelley arrived in town the evening prior to the event and brought with him a full staff of producers and writers to produce the Monday evening news. Pictured here are (from l-r): CBS Radio Boston VP & market manager Mark Hannon, WBZ, Boston news anchor Joe Mathieu, Scott Pelley, and WBZ news and programming director Peter Casey. (Photo courtesy of Jodi-Tatiana Charles, La Capoise Galerie)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

| May 24, 2012

The Future of Tribune Company – and WGN, Chicago – Up in the Air After Bankruptcy Exit.  An article in Crain’s Chicago Business offers some speculation – based on interviews with business consultants and Tribune’s court filings – on the future of the parts of the publishing and broadcasting giant.  While its only radio property – WGN, Chicago – is not mentioned specifically in the piece, the broadcast division is and the theme of the article is that it appears the parts of Tribune are worth more than the whole and they may be sold off.  Tribune is organizing its various newspaper and TV properties into streamlined LLCs in preparation for presenting its reorganization plan to the court next month.  One expert states the synergy of print and broadcast never materialized for Tribune and he expects the parts to be sold.  Hubbard Broadcasting CEO Stanley Hubbard is quoted saying his company might be interested in the broadcasting properties if the price is right but said he has had no discussions with the company.

Martha Zoller Wraps Radio Show; Is Official Candidate for Congress in Georgia.  Georgia-based radio talk show host Martha Zoller did her last radio program for Cox Media’s WXKT-FM, Gainesville, Georgia – talk/sports hybrid Bulldog 103.7 – and is now officially on the campaign trail.  Zoller’s last program was May 11 and her campaign announced yesterday, May 23, that she has qualified for the Republican primary for the newly created 9th Congressional District in Georgia which takes place on July 31.  She will face State Representative Doug Collins and Jackson Commission Chairman Hunter Bicknell in the open primary.  She says in a campaign statement, “For far too long, professional politicians and entrenched bureaucrats have run amuck in Washington without any adult supervision.  I am going to Congress to hold Washington accountable and end the reckless spending, borrowing, and debt that is threatening the future of our nation and the security of the American people.”  WXKT-FM has not announced a permanent replacement host for Zoller’s late morning program.

CNN Ratings Part of Larger News and TV Numbers Slump.  The New York TimesBill Carter writes an analysis of the ratings problems plaguing Time Warner’s CNN on the heels of recent record low showings.  The cable news network’s Nielsen numbers for the week of May 14 were down – averaging just 395,000 total viewers in prime time – while Piers Morgan’s May 15 program garnered just 39,000 viewers in the 25-54 demographic.  Carter writes that CNN has been hurt by strong programming from the networks during the May sweeps plus a lack of major breaking news – something that has always helped CNN boost its numbers.  But Carter notes that CNN isn’t the only network affected.  Even though Fox News Channel is head and shoulders above CNN in the prime time ratings, FNC only grabbed 395,000 viewers in the 25-54 demographic during that week – a four-year low for Fox.  It should be noted that ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” finale and Fox TV’s “American Idol” performance finale – two of TV’s highest-performing non-sports shows over the past few years, had dramatically lower audiences than the previous year.  While “DWTS” had 17.5 million total viewers, that was down 18% from last spring’s finale.

New Media Seminar/NYC on Verge of Quickest Sellout in Conference’s 15-Year History.  The combination of a power-packed agenda, one-day format and significantly reduced registration fee have combined to make the upcoming New York City installment of the new bi-coastal, recession-era version of the talk media industry’s annual convention an extremely hot ticket.  According to the industry-only event’s organizers at TALKERS magazine, this will be the earliest sellout in its colorful 15 year history.  Due to capacity regulations, the selling of registrations for the Thursday, June 7 event will cease at the close of business on Friday of this week.  After that, registrations will only be issued on a stand-by basis. NMS director Michael Harrison states, “We are extremely gratified by the positive response to this new ‘austerity version’ of the New Media Seminar.  The idea of compacting it into a one-day event, getting rid of the expensive frills, reducing the cost of registration by 75%, and organizing an agenda that can be described as nothing short of relentless, is striking a positive chord in the business.  Also, the fact that there will be a West Coast version of the event in Los Angeles on October 11 is an innovation that has been very well received.  That one will be a blockbuster too.”  To see the full up-to-the-minute agenda of the New York conference, click here.  For registration or sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.

Two Local Sports Talk Shows to Debut on KXPS, Palm Springs.  CRC Media’s KXPS, Palm Springs (licensed to Thousand Palms, California) announces it will bring two new live and local programs to sports talker Team 1010 beginning June 4.  Julie Buehler will host “Buehler’s Day Off” daily from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm and Pete Fox joins the station to co-host “On the Air with Fox and Lecair” from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  MyDesert.com reports Buehler is an award-winning radio host who recently worked as part of the Indianapolis Colts broadcasting team.  Fox has served as a host and reporter at KSPN, Los Angeles.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Cox Media syndicated talk star Neal Boortz sits in the anchor chair at CNBC filling in for Larry Kudlow on the cable channel’s “The Kudlow Report” tonight at 7:00 pm ET.  Boortz will work with co-host and CNBC chief international correspondent Michelle Caruso-Cabrera…..WNRP, Pensacola afternoon drive talk host Brandon Rathert wins two awards – a local Edward R. Murrow Award for “Investigative Reporting” and an Associated Press award for “Best Public Affairs” for the documentary he produced on the local sheriff’s office…..Clear Channel Media and Entertainment ups Matt Derrick to regional program manager for the Wilmington, Delaware and Salisbury, Maryland markets…..The actual price Clear Channel is paying for Stephen Mindich’s WFNX-FM, Boston is $14.5 million, a bit more than the $11 million we reported after the story broke.

2012 Presidential Race, Facebook IPO Investigations, Egypt Elections, and Pakistan Jails bin Laden Tracker Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/23).  The battle between Republican challenger Mitt Romney and President Obama; the complex controversy over the Facebook IPO and the lawsuits it appears to be creating; the elections in Egypt; and the jailing of the doctor who aided the U.S. in finding Osama bin Laden in Pakistan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Jeff Katz Welcomes Israeli Talk Host.  WXKS, Boston – Talk 1200 – morning drive host Jeff Katz  (l) is pictured here with Ari Abramowitz (r) – the leading English-language talk show host in Israel.  Katz tells TALKERS Abramowitz stopped by the program to say hello while visiting the United States and Katz forced him to check out the two Associated Press awards he recently won!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

| May 23, 2012

Clark Howard Takes on Expanded Role at HLN.  Consumer affairs expert and nationally syndicated talk radio host Clark Howard is going to get more face time at Time Warner’s HLN cable channel.  Howard, who does a weekend program at HLN and contributes to the channel’s “Morning Express” program, will be part of an ensemble weekday afternoon news program titled, “Evening Express” airing from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET.  Howard will be partnered with TruTV’s Ryan Smith, who will handle lead anchor duties, and British journalist Isha Sesay who has worked for CNN International and serves as a correspondent for CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360.”  In a statement, HLN says the new program is designed to take a “solutions-oriented look at the day’s news, accompanied by deeper discussions and reporting on stories and issues that resonate in the American household – including parenting, education, health, personal finance and relationships.”

Utah Jazz Owner Confirmed to Buy Salt Lake City Sports Talk Combo.  The reported sale of the former Simmons Media sports talk duo KZNS-AM/FM, Salt Lake City to the Larry H. Miller Group is being confirmed by broker Patrick Communications.  The price for the two signals is $3.25 million.  The deal means Utah Jazz play-by-play will move to the new stations after being heard on Cumulus Media’s KFNZ which the Larry H. Miller Group had been operating under an LMA.  At the same time, Fox Sports Radio Network announces it will continue to provide programming for the stations under the new ownership with both the AM and FM sides airing “Fox Sports Tonight,” JT the Brick and the slate of weekend Fox Sports shows.  Premiere NetworksJim Rome will also be heard on the stations.  The FM side of the broadcast will also carry “Fox Sports Daybreak” and the “Petros & Money” show.  Larry H. Miller Sports & Entertainment SVP of broadcasting Chris Baum states, “We are very pleased to continue our affiliation with Fox Sports Radio as we move to 1280 The Zone and Fox Sports Radio 97.5.  The FSR shows complement our local lineup very well on our new 50,000-watt AM signal, and the additional coverage on our FM signal will allow us to better reach and serve sports fans, and Jazz fans in particular, all along the Wasatch Front.”

Kevin Sheehan Extends Deal with Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington.  Red Zebra Broadcasting announces midday co-host Kevin Sheehan – who co-hosts “The Sports Fix” with Thom Loverro – has signed a two-year deal to remain with the company.  Sheehan also continues with the Washington Redskins Radio Network where he hosts the “Official Redskins Pre-Game Show.”  Sheehan will also contribute to the Tony Kornheiser program and co-host the “Monday Morning Quarterback” after each Redskins game.  Vice president of programming Chuck Sapienza says, “Kevin is as versatile as anyone in the field.  He does so much for us.  I look forward to working with him through 2014 and many years to come.”

Former New York Parks Commissioner Bernadette Castro Co-Hosting with WOR’s Governor David Paterson.  As per New York Post gossip columnist Cindy Adams, former New York Parks Commissioner Bernadette Castro is sitting alongside former Governor David Paterson as he hosts the PM drive show on WOR, New York as a sort of tryout to see if a duo concept works for the program.

ESPN Hosts Affiliates at “Audio Avenue II” Day in Bristol, Connecticut.  The outdoor quad at ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut will be busy today as the company hosts talent from its four O&O stations and from 12 affiliate stations for a daylong live broadcast event.  ESPN Audio SVP Mo Davenport states, “Audio Avenue brings the concept of ‘ESPN Everywhere’ to life.  Each of these shows and markets represent what our listeners love, the opportunity to hear from experts locally, nationally and globally.”  Along with the hosts and producers broadcasting from “Audio Avenue,” participants will include network and affiliate management, account executives, program directors, clients, ESPN employees and those involved with ESPN Audio’s promotions, marketing and sales.  The day will also include two “Block Party Breakout” luncheons focusing on the production of “Mike & Mike in the Morning” and listener demographic research.

Courtney Smith Promoted to Director of New Business at Beasley Las Vegas.  The Beasley Broadcasting Las Vegas cluster names Courtney Smith director of new business development and marketing & events manager.  Smith has served at the company since 2006 when she joined as a promotions assistant.  She was promoted to marketing director and added events coordinator to her duties in 2009.  Vice president and general manager Tom Humm states, “I’m constantly amazed with the promotions and events that Courtney conceptualizes from scratch and pleased by the successful results they achieve.  She always makes Beasley shine. Courtney has earned this promotion and I’m very proud of her for that accomplishment.”

Facebook IPO Case, 2012 Presidential Election, Euro Zone Instability and Georgia Teacher Criticizes Student for Questioning Obama Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/22).  Securities regulators investigate Facebook IPO; the 2012 presidential election and questions over whether Hillary Clinton will replace Joe Biden as vice presidential candidate; Greece’s status as a member of the European Union; and the case of the Georgia teacher who bullied a student for criticizing President Obama were some of the most talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, May 4, 2012

| May 4, 2012

CNN Ratings Cause for Concern at Headquarters.  The executives at Time Warner and subsidiary CNN/U.S. are displeased with cable news/talk channel CNN’s performance in the April Nielsen ratings after much time and money has been spent tweaking the programming there.  The New York TimesBrian Stelter reports that sources say Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes has made his dissatisfaction with the channel’s performance known to his subordinates.  Over the past 18 months CNN has made numerous programming changes including replacing Larry King with Piers Morgan in the 9:00 pm ET slot; the addition of Soledad O’Brien as host of the morning show; and a new 7:00 pm ET show with Erin Burnett.  CNN has long stated publicly that it delivers a unique news product around the clock with which advertisers like being associated.  In fact, the entire CNN unit (including other domestic and international channels) is poised to make a record $600 million in operating profit this year.  The company issued the following statement in response to reports about the April ratings.  “Despite the perennial ratings stories and quotes from anonymous sources, CNN continues to deliver quality journalism which is uniquely valuable to audiences, advertisers and distributors.  In fact, CNN is on track to deliver its highest profits in its history and continues to reach more people on more platforms than any other TV network.”  Still, as Brian Stelter writes, “Performance of CNN/U.S. drives public perception — and employee pride — and declines there may gradually damage CNN’s networks as a whole.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison adds, “CNN would probably do better in both ratings and revenue if they stopped obviously competing with Fox News Channel and MSNBC in trying to be entertaining and opinionated concentrating, rather, on really being journalistic on a level not seen for years on American television.  There is an opening in the marketplace for such a product a mile wide and a deep need and hunger for it by a significant segment of the public.”

CC Media Holdings Reports Q1 Revenue Hike of 3%.  That 2012 first quarter revenue increase comes as CC Media Holdings posts $1.36 billion in revenue compared to the $1.32 for the same period a year ago.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment – which excludes the parent company’s outdoor divisions – was up 6% or $39 million compared to the first quarter of 2011.  CC Media Holdings CEO Bob Pittman states, “Since the start of 2012, we have continued to invest in our rapidly growing digital products and services, while strengthening our operations to better serve our marketing partners and our consumers.  We have enhanced our ability to help our partners take advantage of the unique size and scale of our media, entertainment and outdoor assets, with a particular focus on multi-platform solutions that no other company is able to deliver.”

KTRS, St. Louis Officially Announces Martin Kilcoyne Midday Host.  Monday’s story announced CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis was parting company with midday talk host JC Corcoran and would replace him with KTVI-TV, St. Louis sports director Martin Kilcoyne.  The station makes that official with general manager and partner Mark Dorsey stating, “Martin is a proven broadcaster, both in television and radio, and KTRS looks forward to bringing his personality, wit and opinions to the airwaves.”  Kilcoyne will assume the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show beginning Monday, May 14.  He says of his new gig, “I am thrilled to have an opportunity like this.  I’m a sports guy, but I love to talk about all things.  The plan is to have a show that St. Louis will find lively, topical and fresh.  I’m not Ted Koppel, but I’m also not Ted Baxter.”

First Quarter Positive for Salem Communications.  The first quarter of 2012 has been pretty good for Salem Communications and subsidiary Salem Broadcasting.  The parent company is reporting an increase of 6.1% on revenue of $54.3 million compared to the same period one year ago.  On the broadcasting side, Salem is up 2.9% on revenue of $44 million.  Broadcasting still makes up the bulk of Salem’s revenue but digital continues to perform well rising 33% over the same period in 2011 on revenue of $7.4 million.  The company is bullish about Q2 projecting a revenue increase of a couple percentage points with a total revenue goal of more than $55 million for the quarter.

Legal Battle May Ensue Over Merlin Media’s Blago Billboard.  This billboard pictured here is one of several purchased by Merlin Media in the Chicago area promoting all-news WIQI-FM – FM News 101.1.  Crain’s Chicago Business reports Merlin consultant John Gehron commenting on the marketing campaign saying, “We wanted to have something that we thought would be fun and get people’s attention.”  And apparently it has.  Attorney Sheldon Sorosky, who represents former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich – currently serving a 14-year prison sentence for corruption – says the use of Blagojevich’s image may violate an Illinois law prohibiting one’s image from being used for commercial gain without one’s consent.  Sorosky tells Crain’s it’s called the Right to Publicity Act and it states, “A person may not use an individual’s identity for commercial purposes during the individual’s lifetime without having obtained previous written consent from the appropriate person or persons.”  Sorosky says they have not decided whether to take legal action or not at this point.

Ric Edelman Celebrates 20 Years on the Radio This Weekend.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Ric Edelman, host of “The Truth About Money with Ric Edelman,” marks 20 years on the radio with his broadcast this weekend.  Edelman, an award-winning financial advisor, heard along with financial advisors Brandon Corso and Anderson Wozny, is heard in 56 markets including on WABC, New York; WLS, Chicago; and WMAL-AM/FM, Washington, DC.  He says, “It is a genuine privilege to do this show.  As I always say, ‘Money doesn’t come with instructions,’ so I’m honored for the opportunity to share my knowledge with so many listeners from across the country.”  Edelman, a member of TALKERS 2012 “Heavy Hundred,” is also seen on public television across the country as his TV program of the same name is in its second season.

Pamela Furr to Join New Atlanta All-Newser.  Talk show host and news anchor Pamela Furr confirms via Facebook that she’s headed to Atlanta to become part of the Cumulus Media FM all-news outlet slated for WYAY-FM in a few weeks.  The company has confirmed it will turn the outlet into an all-news station soon and obviously has begun hiring.  Furr most recently worked full time at Clear Channel’s WPTI-FM, Greensboro-Winston-Salem as co-host of the morning drive show.  She’s been freelancing doing news at CC’s WRDU-FM, Raleigh the past few weeks.

Atlanta Business Chronicle to Provide Content for Cumulus’ “All News 106.7.”  When Cumulus Media flips the switch on WYAY-FM, Gainesville, Georgia turning it into “All News 106.7,” the Atlanta Business Chronicle will provide exclusive business updates at :20 and :50.  In a statement, Cumulus co-COO John Dickey says, “Our partnership with the Atlanta Business Chronicle is consistent with our mission of bringing the most credible news and information to Atlantans 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  ABC is the definitive business news brand in Atlanta and 106.7 will be the definitive radio news and information brand in Atlanta.”  ABC publisher Ed Baker states, “It’s exciting that intelligent Atlantans are finally getting a much-needed all-news format.  We’re very excited to be a part of something new and different.  Quality business reporting is more important than ever and this partnership will allow us to deliver something special to our community.”

Cumulus Brings Celebrity News Blogger Perez Hilton Aboard for Nightly Radio Show.  At the same time the company announces that the new “Perez Nights Live” will replace Dial Global’s “Billy Bush Show” on stations where it airs and expects the show to debut on about 50 affiliate stations.  “Perez Nights Live” will feature Perez Hilton and co-host Adam Bomb and will consist of celebrity news chatter and music.  Cumulus co-COO John Dickey states, “Successful contemporary stations all have one thing in common: They keep their listeners on the cutting edge of music and pop culture.  Leading stations in our business set trends.  Perez doesn’t report on pop culture, he is pop culture.  ‘Perez Nights Live’ will take the important evening daypart and turn it into a brand enhancing experience.”

2012 Presidential Race Lands Atop Talkers TenTM for Fifth Straight Week.  The 2012 presidential campaign was again the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of April 30 – May 4, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  The race barely beat the case of Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng which landed at #2 followed very closely by President Obama’s Afghanistan visit and the government’s release of Osama bin Laden documents tied at #3.  The shocking death of retired NFL star Junior Seau came in at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published each Friday at Talkers.com.  View the entire chart for this week here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliation Roundup.  The “At Home with Bob Vila” feature from Compass Media Networks debuted this week on such signals as KOGO-AM/FM, San Diego; WTKK-FM, Boston; KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; KFNN, Phoenix; and KVON, Napa, California…..Courtside Media Group’s “One Minute Clinic with Dr. Drew” is being aired on Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP-FM, Washington…..“The Small Business Advocate with Jim Blasingame” is picked up by WZFG, Fargo; WHTX, Youngstown; and WGGH, Marion, Illinois….. “The Doctor’s Orders Radio Show” with Dr. Kipp Van Kamp is added to WTKI-AM/FM, Huntsville, Alabama and WEKI-AM/FM, Decatur, Alabama.

Profiling Courage.  That’s KIRO-FM, Seattle talk show host Dave Ross (r) pictured with Sgt. Leroy Petry (l).  Ross recently interviewed the Medal of Honor recipient for inclusion in the Memorial Day radio special “A Grateful Nation” – a one-hour program produced by the Fisher House Foundation and distributed by Premiere Networks.  Sgt. Petry is an Army Ranger who lost his hand while saving two comrades after he grabbed and tossed an enemy grenade during a battle in Afghanistan.