Tag: "Today"

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

| September 19, 2012

NAB/RAB Radio Show Opens in Dallas Today.  Thousands of broadcasters from around the nation are gathering at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas for the annual “Radio Show” jointly presented by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB).  The theme of this year’s event is ‘Hear What’s Next.”  The entire conference, which runs from this morning until the closing Radio Show Luncheon on Friday afternoon, is devoted to the medium of radio and its commercial industry with an eye on the future — from the music royalties issue to the general challenge of integrating into the digital era.  CBS Radio president and CEO Dan Mason served as chair of this year’s Radio Show Steering Committee.  TALKERS has correspondents on the scene and will provide coverage of the key events as they unfold.

Michael Harrison to Deliver Address This Morning:  “Can Terrestrial Radio Thrive in the Digital Era?”   TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will be presenting an “info-session” at the Radio Show this morning sponsored by this publication in which he addresses the question, “Can terrestrial radio thrive in the digital era?”  Harrison says, “Survival is not enough.  Survival is just a form of slow death.”  In an accompanying article he writes, “Survival is already happening and it isn’t as much fun as it’s cracked up to be as a spectator sport on the Discovery Channel.  In the reality show called terrestrial radio, sooner than later, survival will run out of gas.  For terrestrial radio, ‘survival’ is simply a slower form of imminent death.  It should be the goal of terrestrial radio to thrive in the digital era. Thrive? Is that even possible? Of course it is — but only if the medium’s players, from the very top on down, muster up the will to conquer the daunting obstacles standing before them.  It will take vision and courage fueled by bold ideas and action to slay the five-headed dragon threatening terrestrial radio with premature obsolescence.”  To read the entire article, click here.  If you are in Dallas, you can attend Harrison’s presentation in the Emerald Room at 10:15 am CT.

Entercom Announces Deal with ESPN to Split WEEI, Boston’s AM and FM Signals.  Beginning October 5, ESPN Radio’s national sports talk lineup will be heard on WEEI-AM at 850 in Boston and the local talk of Entercom’s Boston sports brand will broadcast solely on WEEI-FM at 93.7.  This is a great deal for ESPN, which gets a Boston clear for its sports talk programming and play-by-play, including the entire MLB schedule (including this year’s playoffs), the NBA and college hoops and football.  The AM side is being re-branded “ESPN on WEEI.”  On the FM side, the Boston sports talker will still be the exclusive home of Red Sox baseball, Celtics basketball and NFL play-by-play.  For WEEI’s web presence, ESPNBoston.com will power WEEI.com’s video player with ESPN video content.  Entercom president and CEO David Field states, “We are excited to be expanding our partnership with ESPN in such a meaningful way.  Combining Boston’s leading sports station, WEEI-FM, and the new ESPN on WEEI 850 AM, together with our ability to cross promote content through our existing mobile and digital platforms, gives passionate Boston sports fans the very best in local and national sports content.”

WSAU-AM/FM, Wausau, Wisconsin Give Political Candidate Free Air Time in Equal Time Deal.  Pat Snyder is the morning drive host on Midwest Communications news/talk combo WSAU-AM/FM, Wausau, Wisconsin.  He’s also a Republican candidate for State Assembly but his popularity with listeners meant the station didn’t want to take him off the air until it had to.  The Wausau Daily Herald reports that since Snyder worked until August 30 – almost two weeks after Democrat Mandy Wright became his opponent on August 14 – Wright became eligible for equal time compensation.  So the station will give Wright five-and-a-half hours of time in the form of commercials to air between now and election day.  She tells the paper she’s happy with the deal and that the station was “amicable” in dealing with her.

Jim Ingstad’s Radio Fargo-Moorhead to Sell Cluster to Midwest Communications.  The six-station cluster of Jim Ingstad’s Radio Fargo-Moorhead will be sold to Wausau, Wisconsin-based Midwest Communications, pending FCC approval.  The stations are: news/talk KFGO-AM, sports KVOX-AM, classic hits KBVB-FM, Top 40 WDAY-FM, talk KRWK-FM and CHR KMJO-FM.  Six years ago Ingstad bought the stations from Clear Channel – the company that had purchased the stations from him several years prior.  No purchase price has been announced.

Bill O’Reilly and Jon Stewart to Debate Prior to the Election.  Dubbed “The Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium” and taking place at Washington, DC’s George Washington University on October 6, Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly (also heard on news/talk radio stations via his daily feature distributed by Courtside Entertainment) and “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart will mix it up in a 90-minute debate about election issues.  O’Reilly and Stewart have a friendly but adversarial relationship and have both appeared on each other’s shows.  According to Deadline.com, the debate will be broadcast over the internet in a pay-per-view model.

WJJG, Chicago Flips Calls to Historic WCKG.  Talk outlet WJJG (licensed to Elmhurst, Illinois) is taking the calls of the former CBS Radio hot talk outlet WCKG-FM – once home to Howard Stern, Steve Dahl and others during its heyday.  The station says in a statement, “WCKG has boasted Chicago and national radio stars the likes of Bob Sirott, Steve Dahl, Howard Stern, Kevin Matthews, Jonathon Brandmeier, Adam Carolla and Dr. Drew Pinsky, Garry Meier, and Stephanie Miller.  Now, WCKG fans can add Mancow Muller, Alex Jones, and Michael Savage to the list of radio superstars linked to WCKG, on AM 1530.  General manager Matt Dubiel has been operating the station for the past year and has re-tooled the station’s programming lineup, marketing, studios and engineering.  He says he has plans to add live and local talk shows and a suburban showcase studio next.  “My mission is to bring WCKG to a worthy DuPage County suburb.  It’s high time for DuPage to have a marquee radio station with top-level talent serving our communities and Main Street businesses.”

Managing the Tight Sports Talk Playlist.  Sports talk hosts wishing to depart from the small number of stories in which their audience is interested on any given day do so at the risk of massive tune out.  WFAN, New York host Richard Neer writes that today’s sports talk host must work that much harder to keep those few topics fresh to serve both the new listeners coming in and the ones who’ve been along for the ride for some time.  Doing that and avoiding the temptation to veer off into uncharted waters are two of the biggest challenges for sports talkers.  Read Richard Neer’s column here.

Morning Host Hank Bonecutter Let Go from WJZM, Clarksville, Tennessee.  The twist here is that Hank Bonecutter, host of “The Bone Show” on news/talk/sports WJZM, Clarksville, Tennessee, is the former owner of the station and he just completed the sale of it to new owners Dave Loos Jr., Greg Walker and Mike Parchman in August.  He’d been affiliated with the station since 1973 and bought it in 1994.  He tells The Leaf Chronicle, “I have no ill will.  They have to do what they have to do.  I wasn’t sure I’d stay on to the end of the year anyway…My reporting and all we were doing was not in their whole scope of what the station would be about.  I don’t think there’s any question I’ve rubbed a lot of people the wrong way for several years.  I’m sure they were taking a lot of heat from some folks in town, but I can’t speak to whether that was part of their decision or not.”

Critics Slamming NBC TV’s Ouster of Ann Curry from “Today.”  In a story in the New York Post, many industry watchers are saying the network’s move to bump Ann Curry from its morning news/talk show “Today” is not getting the intended result: improved ratings.  In the three months since Curry was replaced by Savannah Guthrie, the ratings have slid further.  According to the story, with Ann Curry in the lineup the show averaged 4.94 million total viewers and 2.1 million viewers in the 25 to 54 demo in the 10 weeks before she left.  Since then, “Today” has dropped to 4.6 million total viewers and 1.9 million in the 25 to 54 demo in the 10 weeks after she was replaced.

Odds & Sods.  CBS Radio gears up for the 29th NewsRadio 1020 KDKA Spaghetti Breakfast being held this Friday from 5:00 am to 9:00 am at the Heinz Hall Garden Plaza in downtown Pittsburgh.  The breakfast feast features “KDKA Morning News co-hosts Larry Richert and John Shumway…..WHO, Des Moines PM drive host Simon Conway sits in today through Friday for Premiere Networks’ “America Now” with Andy Dean…..Corporate Turnaround partners with Broadcast Affiliate Sales to debut its new daily radio feature that consists of intriguing stories about ways business can improve and grow.  BAS’ Mike Tyler says, “Corporate Turnaround’s daily feature discusses many ways small business can improve their financial condition.  This feature will help radio stations get new advertisers.  The listeners will enjoy the feature and small business will get much needed information.”

Romney ‘Reliant on Government’ Comments, Media Matters-DOJ Relationship, and Libya U.S. Consulate Attack Aftermath/Muslim World Protests Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/18).  The fallout from a secretly recorded video of Mitt Romney speaking to donors about the 47% of President Obama’s base who are “reliant on government”; questions about whether Media Matters for America has a working relationship with the Department of Justice; the aftermath of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya and the ongoing anti-America protests in the Muslim world were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

| September 5, 2012

Day One from the Democratic National Convention.  WYD Media’s Stephanie Miller (c) is pictured here in an “action” shot that shows the expansive media center in Charlotte from which she is broadcasting her nationally syndicated morning drive program.  In this photo, she’s joined by Fox News Radio personality Alan Colmes (l) and Stephanie Miller show regular Jim Ward (r).  There are more than 100 talk show hosts joining the news organizations covering the DNC in Charlotte that wraps up Thursday with President Obama’s evening speech accepting his party’s nomination for the ticket.

Greater Media’s WTKK, Boston Makes Brand Change and Boost to News Product Official.  As TALKERS magazine reported yesterday, Greater Media news/talk outlet WTKK has re-branded itself and is rededicating itself to providing Bostonians with more news and information and program director Grace Blazer makes that official.  She says the station “will provide listeners in the Boston Metropolitan area with consistent ‘live and local’ news, traffic, and weather reports around the clock on-air, online and on their mobile devices.   Through a partnership with Total Traffic, Greater Media Boston’s News Talk 96.9 FM-WTKK will deliver newscasts at the top and bottom of the hour 24 hours a day and traffic and weather reports every 15 minutes.  In addition, WTKK will refer to itself as NEWS TALK 96.9 both on air and online to more accurately reflect its product.” Blazer says, “We are proud to be the only FM radio station with a 24 hour live and local staff of newscasters delivering timely, local and breaking news, accurate traffic reporting, and dependable weather forecasts.  The addition of services to our already strong talk lineup makes News Talk 96.9 FM unique within the Boston market and also presents immediate opportunities for our advertisers.”  Total News Source VP Chris Berry says of the new relationship, “An amazing amount of news is generated daily in Boston and New England.  We are very pleased to be working around the clock with the team at News Talk 96.9 to assist in gathering and delivering news and information.”

Glenn Beck Gets Apology from American Airlines After Rude Service.  The Premiere Networks-syndicated radio host told his audience he was treated rudely by a flight attendant on a weekend flight from Newark to Dallas – ostensibly for his political views – and would never fly American again.  Beck told his national radio audience the male flight attendant “fawned over” the other passengers but slammed a can of soda down in front of him and “barked” at him, treating him as “subhuman.”  The airline tweeted an apology and went further issuing the following statement, “We are sorry for the experience Mr. Beck had on a recent flight.  The comfort and satisfaction of our customers are very important priorities to us and we take these matters seriously.  We have reached out to Mr. Beck’s office and are actively looking into the situation.”

Matt Fox Exits NextMedia’s WHBC, Canton.  The morning show at NextMedia’s WHBC, Canton, Ohio will consist of co-host Pam Cook and Canton Repository sports columnist Todd Porter for now as Matt Fox exits the station to take a position outside the radio business.  The Repository reports Fox cited the early morning hours – a 3:45 wakeup call – as one of the reasons he’s choosing to leave the show he’s been co-hosting with Cook since February of 2011.  He took over for Fred Chenevey at that time and the program was his first full-time radio gig.  He continues to co-host the “Around the House with Matt and Shari” home improvement show that airs on the local PBS TV outlet.

Big Changes at Chicago Public Media; Big Shoes to Fill at WBEZ.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports on the announcement that afternoon talk host Steve Edwards is leaving his “The Afternoon Shift” talk show on CPM’s WBEZ, Chicago to take a new post at the University of Chicago.  Edwards has been with Chicago Public Media for 14 years, serving in a number of capacities during that time, including as director of content development and program director.  It was just last February that the 41-year-old public media pro returned to the air to host “The Afternoon Shift.”  On his new position as deputy director, programming at the University of Chicago’s new Institute of Politics, a public policy and public service institute led by David Axelrod, Edwards tells Feder, “What motivates me is trying to create a deeper understanding of the world around me and trying to share that with people.  How do I touch and transform people and communities?  How do I uncover insights and share them with others?  Journalism has been an amazing place where those values and skill sets intersect.  And I think my new role at the Institute of Politics represents another place where they do as well.”  Meanwhile, CPM has retained Livingston Associates to help find Edwards’ successor.  Read Robert Feder’s full story here.

Clear Channel Takes Aim at CNN with Its ClearVision In-Airport TV Network.  Providing what it calls an alternative to CNN’s news-only airport network with a debut at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, Clear Channel Outdoor’s Clear Channel Airports division unveils ClearVision.  The company says it’ll provide content to travelers from numerous sources, including:  “CBS with offerings from CBS News, CBS Entertainment, CBS Daytime, and CBS Interactive, among others; NBC, with shows including The Today Show, Smash, The Voice, Grimm, America’s Got Talent and The Office; daily headlines from around the world from The Wall Street Journal’s WSJ Live; and sports  from the Tennis Channel with original programming like the travel series Destination Tennis and highlights from major tournaments like the French Open and US Open.”  This is a partnership with connectVISION Digital Networks and CCO says it “provides airports, content partners, and advertisers with an unparalleled ability to reach and engage air travelers – through customized content ranging from local news to top network shows and live events.  Airports ultimately will be able to leverage WiFi services to provide travelers accustomed to on-demand content access to the ClearVision network on their smartphones, iPads, and laptops.”  There’s no word from Clear Channel on what other American airports with which it’s negotiating but the company sounds very dedicated to this market and you can bet there will be more airport deals announced in the near future.

Sports Biz Today Produces Daily Updates.  Sports Biz Today is launching a new daily product called “Sports Biz Update” – a two-minute feature in which host Fred Wallin gives listeners the headlines of what is going on in the world of sports business.  Fred Wallin is a veteran of sports talk radio, both locally in Southern California and nationally.  Wallin has hosted ‘Dodger Talk,” “Angel Talk,” “Kings Talk,” and “Bruins Talk” on various Southern California radio stations.  He has hosted programs on KABC, KFI, KLAC, KIEV, KFOX and 1150 AM in Los Angeles.  Nationally, Wallin has hosted programs on The Sports Radio Network, The American Sports Radio Network, Prime Sports, The Sports America Radio Network, and the Cable Radio Network, and presently on Sports Overnight America, Fox Sports Radio Las Vegas and KCAA Riverside, California.

Odds & Sods.  Clear Channel names Melissa Forrest market manager for the San Diego cluster.  Forrest most recently served with CC at the Atlanta cluster where she was president and market manager in charge of the company’s radio stations, the Total Traffic Network and the Georgia News Network…..TRN and WGST, Atlanta talk show host Rusty Humphries is putting his passion for cigars together with his own brand and is working with Cuban-born cigar-making legends to create his own limited-edition El Presidente cigar.  Working with Don Lino creator Nestor Miranda and master blender José “Pepin” Garcia – both Floridians now – Humphries made 300 boxes of the cigars.  He says, “It’s not made to be an everyday smoke.  There’s not that many of ‘em.  I only wanted to do a limited amount.  I wanted to honor a president each time.  When they’re gone, they’re gone.  So each cigar is a collector’s item in its own right.”  Humphries is pictured here with U.S. Senator Marco Rubio who declared the cigar “bueno.”…..Nationally syndicated home improvement radio show “The Money Pit” partners with TuneIn to create a 24/7 home improvement channel on the audio service.  “Money Pit” co-host Tom Kraeutler says, “We’ve experienced rapid growth of our program through our existing online assets.  But with over 40 million monthly active listeners, TuneIn has the infrastructure and leadership to help us expand that listener base in ways never before possible and we’re thrilled with the opportunity to share our home improvement insights with this new audience.”…..Dr. Michio Kaku – renowned theoretical physicist, best-selling author and host of Talk Radio Network’s “Science Fantastic” – has been selected through a vote of IPC members to keynote the trade group’s biggest electronics industry event next spring in San Diego.  “Kaku’s keynote will present a vision of life in the year 2100 culled from ideas of 300 of the country’s most influential scientists.  He will explore revolutionary advancements in medicine, energy production, artificial intelligence and aeronautics that will forever change our way of life – including innovations like internet-enabled contact lenses, cars that will drive (or even fly) themselves and brain sensors that will let us move objects using only the power of our minds.”…..Mike Rosso joins Continental Electronics as vice president of sales and marketing, where he’ll be responsible for maintaining and developing Continental’s global market presence.  Continental bills itself as a “global leader in broadcast transmitter equipment.  It is the foremost supplier of advanced RF transmission technology and the world’s most experienced designer and builder of the highest power radio broadcast equipment.”

Fox Sports Radio Network Launches Daily Big Ten Football Show.  The new show, an extension of the weekly Big Ten show, debuted yesterday on affiliates including WDFN, Detroit, KFXN, Minneapolis and WSSP, Milwaukee.  Dubbed “BTN Live,” the show airs live daily from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET and is hosted by Big Ten Network personalities Dave Revsine, Gerry DiNardo, Howard Griffith and others.

WEEI, Boston Announces Patriots and NFL Coverage.  The Entercom sports talk brand – heard throughout New England on numerous company-owned stations and affiliates – announces its fall football programming.  VP of programming and operations for Entercom Boston Jason Wolfe reports coverage of Patriots football features the return of Patriots Friday and Patriots Monday that includes exclusive interviews with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.  Its “Gameday” broadcasts on home game days will emanate from Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill at Patriot Place in Foxborough.  WEEI has also secured a number of current and former Patriots players as well as NFL experts – including (WFAN, New York and “NFL Today” host) Boomer Esiason who chats with morning hosts Dennis & Callahan each Monday – to join coverage of the team on its shows throughout the week during the football season.  Wolfe states, “We’ve made it a priority to provide Patriots fans with the most compelling and comprehensive coverage of the team that we can.  With Patriots Monday and Friday and our slew of NFL Insiders, WEEI will be the place to be to keep up with the Pats throughout the season.”  Actual game play-by-play rights are owned by WEEI’s crosstown competitor – CBS Radio-owned WBZ-FM, Boston 98.5 The Sports Hub.

Are Hard Times Hitting Television Talk, Too?  The New York Post reports on rumors that Comcast’s NBC is taking a serious look at morning television talk’s “Today” for possible budget cuts in the wake of its “ratings woes.”  With the story of Jay Leno’s recent voluntary pay cut to help save staffer jobs at “The Tonight Show,” the story questions whether “Today” co-host Matt Lauer will take the same path there to save the positions of lower-level staffers such as makeup artists and writers.  In the piece, one person is quoted saying, “It will be the little people who go first — the makeup people, writers, but these people have families, and it will put pressure on Matt to do the right thing.”  Lauer reportedly makes $25 million per year.  Commenting on the rumors, a rep for “Today” states there will be “absolutely” no staff cuts at the program.

Michael Strahan Officially Named Kelly Ripa’s Co-Host.  The former New York Giants football great is officially named the permanent co-host of the “Live!” show, replacing Regis Philbin, who retired from the show late last fall.  Kelly Ripa has been hosting the show solo and with a parade of potential co-hosts doing live auditions since then.  But, according to People, Ripa made the announcement official that Strahan would be her new co-host.

Presidential Campaign/Democratic National Convention, National Debts Hits $16 Trillion, and Syria Violence Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/4).  The presidential campaign and the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte; the national debt hitting the $16 trillion mark; and the ongoing violence in Syria were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, April 9, 2012

| April 9, 2012

Cumulus Media Networks’ Mike Huckabee Debuts Today.  The number of affiliates set to air the Mike Huckabee show is pegged at somewhere between 175 and 200.  The eager anticipation of Huckabee’s debut would not be so intense were it not for the facts that the show airs live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET – the same time period as Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh – and that the latter is recovering from the backlash and intense consumer media scrutiny that followed the Sandra Fluke controversy.  Regardless, the industry will certainly be watching how Huckabee’s Cumulus Media Networks program takes off but the consumer media appears to be salivating at the notion that Limbaugh has “competition.”  The fact, of course, is that every radio show has competition of one sort or another and Limbaugh has faced high-profile talent in his daypart in the past – most notably from Fox News Channel superstar Bill O’Reilly for a number of years.  Mike Huckabee will succeed if he hosts a compelling program that grabs listeners.  Broadcasters understand that will happen or not independent of what other talk show hosts are doing or whether they are facing a “crisis.”  As TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison told Politico in a piece published over the weekend, “This isn’t an election, it’s an industry.  There’s room for both, just like there’s room for Letterman and Leno.  Yes, every competitor hurts Limbaugh.  But Huckabee is basically just another competitor.  If he takes a little away from Limbaugh, fine.  But he also has the potential to expand the talk radio audience.”

Rumors of Major Syndication Changes in Philadelphia and New York; Smerconish to Bump Limbaugh from WPHT.  And possibly more than that…but first things first.  A very hot rumor out of Philadelphia has WYD Media-produced Michael Smerconish’s nationally syndicated program airing live 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm on CBS Radio’s news/talk WPHT– where Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh does right now.  Smerconish is currently delayed to PM drive on WPHT.  Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor wrote about the other part of this rumor in his morning blast on 4/6: Merlin Media may be planning to go talk and not all-news on WKDN-FM, Philadelphia  – its new property which is still airing Christian programming from prior owner Family Stations.  With former WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte morning drive host (and Philly native) Al Gardner hired to program and possibly host mornings at WKDN-FM and Rush Limbaugh possibly soon-to-be-available (plus Premiere’s Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck available, as Tom Taylor points out), a move to talk would be much less personnel intensive and would enjoy the ability to grab three of the biggest news/talk personalities in the business.  But there’s more…other chatter coming out of New York is that Merlin Media has been talking to Premiere Networks about bringing Rush Limbaugh to its all-newser FM News 101.9 (WEMP-FM) if Cumulus Media decides to put new national syndication rollout Mike Huckabee on WABC in Limbaugh’s place.  Then one would have to ask the question, “Would Merlin do the same with WWWN-FM, Chicago if Cumulus bumped Limbaugh in exchange for Huckabee on its news/talker WLS?”  Stay tuned.

KFAQ, Tulsa Talk Host Pat Campbell Responds to Deadly Shootings.  KFAQ, Tulsa morning drive talk host Pat Campbell tells TALKERS his program responded very quickly to a series of shootings in the city in which five citizens – all African American – were shot and three died.  Campbell says he hosted a special Saturday noontime edition of his program to address the crimes and seek the public’s assistance in capturing suspects.  He tells TALKERS,I had the mayor in the studio urging calm but more importantly, cooperation with the police.  We urged listeners that might have any information to call the Crime Stoppers Hotline and the good news is that a tip came in around 4:00 pm that led to the arrest of the suspects early Sunday morning. This is an example of talk radio at its best!  Rather than becoming a wedge like we’ve seen in the Trayvon Martin case, 1170 KFAQ brought the community together and got the bad guys off the street.”

WQAM, Miami Standing By Sports Talk Host Sid Rosenberg After DUI Arrest Last Week.  WQAM, Miami afternoon sports talk host Sid Rosenberg was back on the air on Friday after spending most of Thursday in jail following an early morning arrest on DUI and driving on a suspended license charges.  Rosenberg, who has spoken publicly about past substance abuse issues and has talked of having twice been to rehab, is being supported by his superiors at the Beasley sports talk outlet.  The Miami Herald reports WQAM program director Lee Feldman stating, for now, Rosenberg is not being suspended.  WQAM general manager Joe Bell declined to comment to the paper.

Matt Lauer to Remain with NBC’s “Today.”  The months of speculation about the future of television talk host Matt Lauer have come to an end as NBC announced Lauer has signed a multi-year contract to remain with the network’s morning news magazine program.  The buzz in the industry included rumors Lauer would rejoin Katie Couric at rival ABC.  Though Couric is set to begin a new chapter in her career at ABC with her own daytime talk show, ABC’s “Good Morning America” has been closing the ratings gap between it and “Today.”  On Lauer’s signing, NBC News president Steve Capus tells The New York Times, “Matt is the franchise, and our franchise player has decided to keep leading our team.”  The Times story notes that “Today” has been in first place in the morning news show ratings for the past 16 years.

Fox News Channel Brings Santita Jackson Aboard as Contributor.  The daughter of Rev. Jesse Jackson left Midway Broadcasting’s WVON, Chicago due to budget cuts last fall.  Now, Santita Jackson is named a contributor for Fox News Channel.  Santita Jackson is also producer of Jesse Jackson’s weekly Premiere Networks-syndicated talk show “Keep Hope Alive.”

Raubin Pierce Leaves On-Air Position with WIBW, Topeka for Management Post at Manhattan Broadcasting.  Raubin Pierce co-hosted the “On the Other Hand” talk show with co-host Megan Mosack at Morris Communications’ WIBW, Topeka and served as the company’s director of information technology.  He’s left those duties to become operations director and head of new media at Manhattan Broadcasting in Manhattan, Kansas.  The company operates four stations in the Manhattan market including news/talk KMAN.  Pierce tells the Topeka Capital-Journal, “This was just a fantastic opportunity.  There was just no way that I couldn’t do this.”

Longtime South Florida Broadcaster Patricia Anderson Dies from Cancer at 54.  Trish Anderson was well known on South Florida radio.  During her career she worked as a producer, voice-over talent, sports reporter and traffic reporter at stations including WINZ and WIOD, Miami.  Anderson battled breast and bone cancer.  She passed away on March 31.

Johnny B at Wrigley Field.  That’s WGN, Chicago morning drive host Jonathon Brandmeier (center with sunglasses) surrounded by the Chicago band The Fold at the Captain Morgan club at Wrigley Field on Opening Day.  The Fold won the station’s contest to write an original song celebrating the Chicago Cubs.  The winning song – “Let’s Go Cubbies” – is being played at the beginning of each Cubs game broadcast on WGN this season.  The band was with Brandmeier on Opening Day to perform the song live at WGN’s pre-game broadcast and live remote.