Cumulus v Johnny and Blondie Gets Underway in Michigan. Another non-compete case involving Cumulus Media is in the courtroom, this time in Michigan. Cumulus is suing former WHNN, Saginaw, Michigan morning personalities Johnny Burke and Bonnie Belger-Holzhei, a.k.a. Blondie, alleging they violated the non-compete and non-solicitation clauses in their contracts after being fired by the station earlier this year. As reported in MLive.com, this comes after the pair sued Cumulus for age discrimination. Cumulus is asking the court to prevent the duo from continuing to host the internet show they launched shortly after leaving the station. Interestingly, Cumulus is not after Burke for the non-compete violation since it would then have to pay six months of his $125,000 salary but is pursuing the non-compete matter with Belger-Holzhei as her salary was just $31,200. What Cumulus really appears to want is the court to find that they have been going after Cumulus clients to sponsor their internet show and force them to stop. Read the MLive story here.
Dave Ramsey Interviews George W. Bush at Dallas Appearance. At Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership Summit – held May 23 – 25 at the Omni Dallas Hotel – the nationally syndicated superstar interviewed former President George W. Bush (pictured at left with Ramsey). The three-day conference also included speakers Seth Godin, Jim Collins, Pat Lencioni, Dr. Henry Cloud, Chris Hogan and Christy Wright, providing attendees with knowledge on leadership, building company culture, communication, work/life balance and organizational health.
The Presidential Race/New Mexico and California Trump Protests, SC Abortion Ban, Hillary Clinton Email Investigation, Texas Restroom Law Suit, China Naval Activity, Katie Couric Gun Doc Controversy, Thiel-Hogan Gawker Suit Connection, and NBA-NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/25). The activities of the candidates for president and the violent anti-Trump protests in New Mexico and California; the new South Carolina law banning abortion after 20 weeks; the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for State Department business; Texas and 10 other states file suit against the Obama Administration over transgender restroom laws; growing concern over China’s naval activities including its patrolling the Pacific with nuclear-armed subs; allegations Katie Couric edited the statements of gun rights activists in a new documentary; the revelation that billionaire Peter Thiel is funding Hulk Hogan’s suits against Gawker; and the NBA and NHL Playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. At the Toledo operations of iHeartMedia, WSPD program director and afternoon talk show host Scott Sands is promoted to SVP of programming for the station group. In addition to programming news/talk WSPD, he now has oversight of CHR WVKS, country WCKY, adult contemporary WRVF, rock WIOT and sports talk WCWA. Sands assumes the role previously held by Nathan Reed who recently exited the company to join Cox Media Group’s hot AC KRAV, Tulsa “MIX 96.”…..In advance of President Obama’s historic visit to Hiroshima on Saturday (5/28), the Japanese TV network TBS interviewed CBS Radio News reporter Pam Coulter (pictured at left in yellow) about the president’s decision to go to Hiroshima. Coulter is the only U.S. radio network reporter in Japan covering the event.
41st Annual Gracie Awards Held in Beverly Hills. The annual Gracie Awards took place last night at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills. Awards were handed out in both television and radio categories. Some of the women working in commercial radio who were honored include: Loren Raye, co-host of “The TJ Show” on WODS, Boston “103.3 AMP Radio”; Marla Diamond, reporter/correspondent with WCBS, New York; Nina Hajian, co-host “Shoboy in the Morning” at WBMP, New York “92.3 AMP Radio”; Rita Cosby, WABC, New York; Joan Hamburg, WABC, New York; Felicia Middlebrooks, WBBM, Chicago; Suzyn Waldman, WFAN, New York; and Jane Tillman Irving, WCBS, New York. See the entire list of winners here. Pictured above is the Alliance for Women in Media board at last night’s awards ceremony. They are: (l-r, front) Kristen Welch, AWM/F chair, SVP, Global Content Operations, Discovery Communications; Christine Travaglini, AWM/F treasurer-elect, president, Christal Radio; Karla Ballard Williams, AWM/F director and Gracies chair, founder and chief executive, Ying Bank; Josie Thomas, AWM director, EVP and chief diversity and inclusion officer, CBS Corporation; Heather Cohen, AWM/F director and Gracies chair, EVP, The Weiss Agency; Annie Howell, AWM/F director and Gracies chair, founder & co-president, The Punch Point Group. Back row: Sarah Foss, AWM/F chair-elect, vice president, product management, media, Imagine Communications; Kimberly Maki, AWM/F director, Bright House Networks, corporate vice president, Corporate Communications; Keisha Sutton-James, AWM/F treasurer, vice president, ICBC Broadcast Holdings. Photo: Hamilton Photography
KTAR-FM, Phoenix Names Sharpe, West New ‘Arizona’s Morning News’ Hosts. The Bonneville-owed news/talk station is bidding Ned Foster a happy retirement after a 27-year stint with the station. News anchor Connie Weber recently left the morning program after a 10-year term. So, effective November 30, longtime Valley news personality Jim Sharpe and award-winning news anchor Jayme West will be the new hosts of KTAR’s “Arizona’s Morning News.” Bonneville Phoenix vice president of content and operations Ryan Hatch states, “With more than 40 years of combined local news experience, Jim and Jayme are the perfect pair to move the ‘Arizona’s Morning News’ product forward on air, online and on social media. We think their natural chemistry, insatiable curiosity and passion for our community will be warmly received by our audience, which counts on ‘Arizona’s Morning News’ to keep them informed and connected.” Bonneville notes that Sharpe is a 2006 Associated Press Arizona Reporter of the Year and a war correspondent who most recently hosted a nationally syndicated news talk program on USA Radio Networks. He’s also hosted the “Sharpe in the Morning” program on crosstown news/talk KFYI. West is a five-time Arizona Associated Press Reporter of the Year winner and 19-year KTAR veteran who will move to mornings after previously anchoring the news in afternoon drive and hosting “Arizona’s Evening News.”
KOGO, San Diego Announces New Programming Lineup: Hannity Joins for Middays, DeMaio to PM Drive. San Diego news/talk outlet KOGO “News Radio 600” adjusts its program schedule, “with extended news programming, a new timeslot for Carl DeMaio and the addition of top-rated, nationally syndicated talk radio host Sean Hannity,” effective Monday, October 26. iHeartMedia San Diego market president Melissa Forrest states, “We are extremely excited about our new lineup and the addition of Sean Hannity to our team. ‘News Radio 600’ has experienced tremendous ratings growth in the past year and we anticipate these new changes will help evolve our programming to the next level.” A year ago, the station launched new programming with an emphasis on news in morning and afternoon drive and reports the ratings indicate the audience is responding. The daily lineup is: “San Diego Morning News with Ted Garcia & LaDona Harvey,” Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, “DeMaio Report,” and “KOGO Evening News with Ernie Brown.”
ESPN Layoffs Claim KSPN, Los Angeles PD Mike Thompson. The layoffs at sports entertainment giant ESPN – confirmed yesterday by the company – have hit the radio ranks with ‘ESPN LA’ program director Mike Thompson learning that his position is being eliminated. He stated in an email to the Los Angeles Metro Bugle, “It’s been a wonderful 12 years with the Walt Disney Company. I am honored to have worked alongside talented broadcasters to build a record ratings winner among contemporary males never seen before in the format and AM radio in the No. 2 market.” The company is laying off some 300 staffers across all company departments. Although on-air talent is not expected to be affected, it’s unclear how many more behind-the-scenes radio people will be affected.
SiriusXM Reports Q3 Earnings; Net Revenue Up 11%. Satcaster SiriusXM reports its third quarter 2015 financial numbers announcing that revenue was up 11% year-over-year and net revenue was $167 million, compared to $136 million during the same period a year ago. In a statement, Jim Meyer says, “With subscribers at an all-time high of nearly 29 million and record adjusted EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA margin, our third quarter was one of the strongest performances in our company’s history. We are confident of our continued success in the fourth quarter, and we are increasing our guidance for self-pay and total net subscriber additions, revenue, and adjusted EBITDA.” The burning question before SiriusXM is will Howard Stern renew or leave the platform he’s been on for the past 10 years? Meyer would only say in an investors’ conference, “I hope so.” He went on to say, “You should assume we speak quite often and stay tuned for updates. And of course, the best way to hear any news regarding its renewal is to tune into Howard’s show every morning, heck, that’s what I do.”
FAQ: Is There a PD? Radio consultant Holland Cooke writes today about the changing/disappearing role of program director. As he notes in his column published today (10/22) that radio stations are not programmed anymore, they are managed. There are two primary reasons: “Debt service compromises Quality Control. VERY few managers are responsible for a single station. At many talk stations, this manager also does an air shift, before or after Rush. Stations think they can get-away-with-it because… most programming is now non-local. Who’s left to direct? Most talk programming comes off the bird. Music stations are voicetracked or downlinked from the mother ship. Directing is a lost art.” For those managers seeking a real, live PD, read Holland Cooke’s take on what qualities he/she must possess here.
Odds & Sods. The decision is not set in stone yet, but Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that CBS RADIO will likely move Chicago Cubs play-by-play from all-news WBBM-AM to sports talk WSCR “The Score.” WSCR is losing Chicago White Sox play-by-play as Cumulus-owned crosstown news/talk WLS-AM will begin serving as that team’s flagship beginning next season…..John W. Pirkle-owned WNFZ-FM, Knoxville drops news/talk and goes alternative rock as “94Z.” However, the “Rude Awakening” morning show with Mike Howard and Terry West remains on the program schedule. The station also aired a local afternoon show called “The Drive” with Russell Smith. It’s not clear what his and producer Richard Daughtry’s fates are…..CBS RADIO gives Nick Wilson an evening sports talk show on WKRK, Cleveland “92.3 The Fan.” Wilson has been a producer, part-time host and sports anchor at the station. His rise to host of “The Nick Wilson Experiment” comes after Ken Carman moved from that slot to co-host morning drive with Kevin Kiley…..Cumulus Media gives Toledo news/talker WSPD an FM presence in the market as the station is now simulcasting on new translator W221BG at 92.1 FM. The translator is licensed to Rudolph, Ohio, about 25 miles south of downtown Toledo.
KMOX, St. Louis’ Bill Reker Retires. According to a report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, KMOX, St. Louis news anchor Bill Reker is retiring from the station after a 20-year career there. KMOX program director Steve Moore tells the paper, “He is a pro’s pro. Whether it was severe weather or something going on in Ferguson, you knew you had a professional in the newsroom. I’ll miss the level of calm he brought.”
Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi Testimony, Joe Biden’s ‘Won’t Run’ Announcement, 2016 Presidential Race, Russia-Syria Relationship, Paul Ryan House Speaker Bid, Chris Rock to Host Oscars, European Migrant Troubles, and MLB League Championships Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/21). Today’s Benghazi testimony by former Secretary of State and current Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton; Vice President Joe Biden’s announcement that he will not run for president; the activities of the rest of the candidates for president in 2016, notably Dr. Ben Carson’s poll-leading numbers in Iowa; the military relationship between Putin’s Russia and al-Assad’s Syria; Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan’s bid for the Speaker of the House post; comic Chris Rock set to host the next Academy Awards show; ongoing migrant problems in the European Union; and the Major League Baseball playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Howard B. Price: Preparedness, Vigilance and Training Important in Wake of Charlie Hebdo Attack. The horrific assault on French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo serves as a sad reminder that attacks on media outlets are not only possible, they happen on an all-too-frequent basis. In a piece published in TALKERS magazine, ABC Television Network director, business continuity Howard B. Price writes that “even with the best security resources and procedures in place, no broadcast facility is immune from criminal acts or terrorism. And being in a small place doesn’t necessarily reduce the risk. But, there are common sense things we all can do to help deter such incidents, mitigate their impact and help assure an investigative trail in the event one takes place.” Read Price’s very important piece here.
Bill White Named KFBK and KSTE, Sacramento Program Director. It’s official: news/talk programming pro Bill White is the new PD at iHeartMedia’s KFBK and KSTE in Sacramento, effective January 20. White – who’s programmed such storied talk outlets as WGN, Chicago; KDKA, Pittsburgh; and WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte – most recently served as PD at Journal Broadcast Group’s KQTH and KFFN in Tucson. White comments, “These legendary stations inform and touch listeners in the Sacramento area every day. I’m honored to be joining the talented team at KFBK/KSTE and look forward to building on their successes.”
Bob Frantz Adds Cleveland News/Talk Duties. Longtime WTAM, Cleveland personality Bob Frantz exited that station in July of last year and in October began hosting an afternoon sports talk show for Cumulus Media on WLQR, Toledo “106.5 The Ticket.” Now, Frantz is adding a daily news/talk program on Salem Communications-owned WHK, Cleveland “AM 1420 The Answer” to his responsibilities. Frantz has been producing commentaries for the Salem station and now begins the daily 9:00 am to 11:00 am talk program. Salem Cleveland GM Mark Jaycox comments, “There has been a very loud cry from Clevelanders to hear Bob Frantz on the air once more, since his mic went silent five months ago. His straightforward, honest approach to news, sports and politics has earned him a strong following among conservatively minded listeners who want more in-depth perspective on news stories that affect our daily lives.”
Ken Charles Exits iHeartMedia. News/talk pro Ken Charles – after a long career with iHeartMedia programming stations in Houston, Miami and Sacramento, to name a few – exits the company. Charles had been serving as the company’s national brand manager for news/talk and sports before his sudden exit. iHeartMedia has been very quiet about this and has, so far, not announced any plans to fill Charles’ corporate post.
HollywoodLife Signs with PodcastOne. What it calls “another, in a series of previously announced partnerships, merging editorial and audio media,” PodcastOne unveils the arrival of the HollywoodLife podcast to its roster of advertiser-supported, on-demand digital audio programs. The weekly podcast is hosted by HollywoodLife.com’s renowned president and editor-in-chief Bonnie Fuller and delivers “discussion, debate and the inside scoop on all the biggest, breaking celebrity news.” It will also feature candid conversations with top TV, music and movie stars. PodcastOne CEO Norm Pattiz says, “Bonnie’s track record of success in editorial content and audience engagement is extraordinary, and we are excited to expand that from the website to the podcast. Providing the best in entertainment and celebrity news, she knows how to connect with the female demographic and affect lifestyle interests in ways no one else can.”
CES 2015: Is Your Station Merely ‘the Linear Feed?’ Radio consultant Holland Cooke continues his reporting for TALKERS magazine from the giant Consumer Electronics Show 2015 in Las Vegas and today (1/8) he focuses on the disruption TV is feeling at the hands of technology that has made about half of television program viewing delayed or on demand. “The linear feed” means live programming in the order that it’s broadcast and Cooke writes that as consumption of media continues to change, radio must address that “the linear feed” only isn’t going to be good enough. Read his piece here to find two ways radio stations can deal with this conundrum.
Aaron Flint Continues to Build State-Wide Montana Talk Show. Thirty-four-year-old Montana National Guard officer Aaron Flint began hosting Northern Broadcasting System’s “Voices of Montana” radio talk show five years ago. Since then the KYYA, Billings-based program has expanded from 10 signals to more than 20 with KLTZ, Glasgow being the latest station to begin airing the program. Flint states, “It’s pretty clear that listener and station demand for local, interactive, engaging content on both AM and FM radio is strong. I went on another military deployment back in 2012, and I was, frankly, a little worried that we may lose some affiliates due to the disruption. But the support for all service members shown by our radio affiliates has just been incredible. The fact that the show has doubled is a strong testament to the support for the community and local programming by independent and corporate-owned stations alike.” Flint has served three tours of duty: in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa. A former staffer on The Hill, he is also a political blogger publishing The Flint Report – a blog the Washington Post has listed as one of the best state-based political blogs.
USA Radio Networks Adds Jim Sharpe to Lineup. The latest addition to USA Radio Networks’ “rapidly growing syndicated programming lineup” is media pro Jim Sharpe who will host “AMERICA CONTINUES,” airing from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET beginning February 2. USA says the show “will advance the significant news stories of the day with a different insight: the kind of insight that only comes when America has had a chance to digest the events of the day and put them into true perspective.” Sharpe’s resume includes winning awards for his work as a war correspondent, and hosting radio shows in markets including: Los Angeles, Dallas, and Phoenix. Sharpe says of his new syndicated show, “The name of the program serves two purposes: We will continue to update America’s truly important stories even as people put their workday behind them. And, we will continue to work on this grand experiment called America. Too many people have given up on the ‘American Dream,’ but ‘AMERICA CONTINUES’ will acknowledge and honor that America is still the planet’s best hope.”
Atlanta’s WWWE Converts to Women’s Radio Network. After having aired Spanish-language music and religious programming as well as sports, Beasley Broadcast Group‘s WWWE, Atlanta transitions to the Women’s Radio Network as “1100 WRNW1.” WWWE general manager Greg Cooper remarks, “Beasley and WWWE are committed to serving the concerns of the Atlanta community. A format focused on the lifestyle of today’s woman gives us a great opportunity to drive our vision for the market forward.” The Women’s Radio Network was previously available only as an online stream: The WWWE affiliation represents the company’s first experience in delivering content on an over-the-air broadcast facility. Hapeville, Georgia-licensed Class D WWWE has not appeared in a monthly Atlanta Nielsen Audio PPM ratings report in recent memory.
Entries Being Accepted for “World’s Best Radio Programs.” Several new categories have been added to the 30-plus-year-old international competition, including “Best Innovation,” “Best Journalist,” and “Best Music Program Host.” New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards executive director Rose Anderson remarks, “Our categories for ‘Sound Art’ and ‘Best Innovation’ recognize the limitless advances of creativity. Our ‘Best Journalist,’ and ‘Best Music Program Host’ categories honor the artistry and dedication of the individuals at the mic.” Advisory board grand jury member/Geller Media president Valerie Geller works with broadcasters in 35 countries “to become more powerful storytellers and communicators.” Geller comments, “Stories are how we track our lives, learn about others, and develop empathy and understanding of the world. At its best, broadcasting informs, entertains, inspires, and persuades. Most importantly, it connects people to one another through our stories. It is satisfying on every level to have the opportunity and honor to hear the amazing work that news, documentary and program teams throughout the world are producing/creating.” NYFIRPA entries are received from radio stations, networks, and independent producers. Among the 2014 winners were the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (“Broadcaster of the Year”) and TBI Media UK (“Production Company of the Year”). Deadline for entering the competition is a little more than two months away (3/19); the awards ceremony will take place Monday, June 22 at New York City’s Manhattan Penthouse.
Creative Talent Inc. Signs Xavier Paul Cadeau. The voice of the Brooklyn Nets – Xavier Paul Cadeau – signs with talent agency Creative Talent Inc. The firm, founded and led by radio pro Steve Gallagher, announces the inking of the actor, comedian and voice-over artist to a management contract encompassing broadcast on-air hosting, live sporting events announcing and corporate and industrial hosting and voiceovers. Cadeau will be appearing on the upcoming HBO television series, “Crime.” Gallagher says, “You’ve heard his promo voice on HBO Sports, narrating on the History Channel‘s ‘UFO Files’, ‘Planet of the Apes’ week on SyFy and he’s been multiple characters on the ‘Grand Theft Auto’ video game series. Xavier Paul is an incredible talent.”
Talk Host Wendy Lowy Sloane Celebrates Radio Show’s Fifth Anniversary. The nationally syndicated “What’s Up with Wendy” radio show – hosted by Wendy Lowy Sloane – prepares to celebrate its fifth anniversary tomorrow (1/9). The BizTalkRadio program is based at WGCH, Greenwich, Connecticut and “showcases interviews with the biggest names in television, movies, music, comedy, fashion, literature, and sports, in addition to self-help segments.” Celebrity guests who will help Lowy Sloane recognize the anniversary include “Parenthood” actress Monica Potter, “Awkward” star Greer Grammer, and Michael Dinan, owner and editor of NewCanaanite.com. The program airs from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon on Fridays on WGCH and nationally on BizTalkRadio Fridays at 7:00 pm ET.
C. Crane Catalogue for 2015 Chock Full of Interesting “Radio” Units. As the role of the AM/FM “airwaves” appliance (commonly referred to as a “radio”) continues to struggle for a place of prominence within contemporary 21st century digital society, the remaining manufacturers and distributors of traditional radios – and still out there aggressively marketing them — play a very important role in the fabric of the broadcasting industry and hold a largely untapped key to its longevity. That being stated, the TALKERS editorial board continues to pore through the annual catalogue of products released by Fortuna, California-based C. Crane, an independent provider of radios who champions the concept of using the airwaves as a ground for mass communications. As C. Crane president Bob Crane puts it: “The freedom of radio listening is truly magical with its huge educational and entertainment benefits.” Crane continues, “Traditional radio and cell phones are dependent on radio waves. The invisible waves deliver mobility without a connection to wires. Radios will be here forever because they are devoted to the act of listening.” Crane sums it up: “When we started this company over 30 years ago, radio waves were broadcast over the air. For the most part, no matter what you listen with, they still are. Receiving radio waves better is what we specialize in. We are here to build the best radios we can to serve [our customers] now and in the future.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (pictured here) adds, “Ever since someone asked the audience of radio professionals at one of our recent New York Seminars, “How many of you have a small AM/FM radio in your possession at this moment and the only one who raised his hand out of several hundred in the room was Art Vuolo, I resolved that as long as I am in the business of serving the radio industry, I will always have a simple AM/FM unit nearby – like my keys, cell phone and wallet… if for nothing more than just principle.” One of the C. Crane units in Catalogue 2015 that Harrison has been carrying around lately is a neat little 5.5 ounce device dubbed the “CC SKYWAVE.” It is a travel pocket radio that features intuitively easy on/off AM, FM, Shortwave, Weather and Aviation bands (you can listen to pilot/control tower conversations to amuse or inform yourself while waiting for a plane) that retails for $89.95. For more information about C.Crane visit www.ccrane.com.
Charlie Hebdo Massacre, New GOP Controlled Congress, Bitter Cold Across U.S, 2016 Presidential Prospects, and Sinking Oil Prices/Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/7). The murder of 12 at the Paris satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo presumably by Islamic radicals and the world’s reaction; the agenda of the new GOP-controlled Congress and reports of John Boehner’s revenge on those who voted against him for House Speaker; the extreme cold hitting much of the U.S.; the potential candidates for president in 2016; and the sinking oil prices, euro concerns and the effects on the world financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Westwood One to Cease Production of NBC News Radio. Affiliates received the word yesterday (Wednesday, 10/15) by way of a note from senior vice president of affiliate sales Dennis Green that NBC News Radio newscasts and other programming will no longer be produced/distributed by Westwood One. As a substitute, Westwood One will soon provide its own CNN-powered branded news network. Green writes that Westwood One News will offer stations “enhanced programming, correspondent reports and news features. Westwood One News is designed to help stations integrate their local branding into newscasts with greater flexibility, including selecting one- to five-minute newscasts based on need and preference.” Westwood One will halt production/distribution of the NBC News Radio network as of 12:00 midnight (ET) Monday, December 15.
Chris Merrill Moves to iHeartMedia’s KFYI, Phoenix. It turns out that Chris Merrill – most recently morning drive host at iHeartMedia’s KOGO, San Diego – will not be banished to the evening slot there but will move to the company’s KFYI, Phoenix to take over the afternoon drive show being vacated by Mike Broomhead, who moves to mornings. KOGO shifted to a newsier show format for its morning and afternoon drive dayparts and had slated Merrill to host the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm show. But with Barry Young retiring from KFYI and Broomhead taking over his mid-morning slot, an opening on the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm show was created that Merrill will fill beginning November 10. KFYI program director Neil Larrimore states, “We are beyond thrilled to bring Chris into town! He is an up-and-coming superstar who understands the evolution of talk radio. With Chris joining the team, KFYI is perfectly positioned for much success in 2015 and beyond.”
Sean Salisbury Gets More Air Time in Houston. According to a report by the Houston Chronicle’s David Barron, Sean Salisbury will replace Chronicle columnist Jerome Solomon on the KFNC, Houston “ESPN Houston 97.5” 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm program alongside station sports director Dave Tepper. Salisbury also co-hosts the Yahoo! Sports Radio afternoon show with John Granato heard on KGOW in the market. Solomon is leaving the radio show to focus on his news duties.
Bob Frantz Lands at Toledo Sports Talker. After being ousted in July from iHeartMedia’s news/talk WTAM, Cleveland where he hosted the evening show, Bob Frantz finds a radio home at Cumulus Media’s sports talk WLQR, Toledo “106.5 The Ticket” on the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm show. WLQR recently parted company with Norm Wamer who held down that daypart. According to a story in the Toledo Blade, Frantz will broadcast from his home in Northeast Ohio as well as from the station’s Toledo studios. The paper quotes Cumulus RVP and market manager Andy Stuart saying the program will be “a Northwest Ohio sports talk show” that will also cover Detroit, Cleveland and South Bend sports.
WTOP, Washington to Present Live Ebola Program from Newseum. Washington all-news outlet WTOP is presenting a special town hall program on Monday, October 20 at 10:00 am live from the Knight TV Studio at the Newseum in DC. The Hubbard station says it will examine the threat of Ebola in the U.S. and beyond. The program will be hosted by WTOP anchors Bruce Alan and Debra Feinstein and will feature expert guests Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at National Institutes of Health, and Dr. Jesse Goodman, professor of Medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center and active infectious diseases clinician at the Washington DC VA Medical Center and Walter Reed Medical Center. The station also extended an invitation to the Centers for Disease Control to join the panel. WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo says, “WTOP is pleased to facilitate an in-depth discussion on this important subject. The town hall format gives everyone a chance to ask questions directly of two preeminent physicians on the forefront of the battle against this deadly disease.” The Knight TV Studio will seat 150 people for this broadcast.
Perez Appointed VP/GM of Salem Miami. At the Salem Communications Miami cluster, Felix Perez is tapped to be vice president and general manager. Perez – who has nearly 23 years of experience in Spanish media – was most recently vice president and general manager of Univision New York. Salem radio division senior vice president Allen Power comments, “We are excited about having Felix at the helm in Miami. His years of leadership in media; his focus in Spanish radio; and his track record for exploiting new opportunities and solving problems make him uniquely qualified for this role.” Perez remarks, “Salem’s values and mission are a great match for my own personal business philosophy. The company’s record of delivering for all of its constituencies while holding true to its mission makes it unique.” Salem’s Miami cluster consists of Christian talk WHIM “The Answer”; Spanish Christian talk WKAT “Radio Luz”; Spanish variety WOCN “La Nueva”; and business talk WZAB “The Biz.”
Cool Job Opportunity. Incredible talk show talent needed. WORD 106.3, the news/talk leader in Greenville, SC, has a rare and immediate opening for an exceptional talk show personality. The ideal candidate will be an excellent communicator able to connect with the conservative values of our on-air and social media audiences and will have the skills and desire to become a trusted talent that WORD 106.3 listeners can depend on for local, state and national topics. You will have a team of like-minded professionals, with on-air skills. You will work in a fast-paced, challenging environment and you will have unbridled desire to dominate your time slot and make your brand iconic in the 59th largest market. You’ll work at the largest cluster in the State of South Carolina for Entercom, the best broadcaster in the radio space. You’ll live in beautiful Greenville, South Carolina and have the support and tools you need to be successful and create a powerful local brand. Is this you? You have experience preparing and executing an interactive, engaging, successful talk show. You are a master of creativity, imagination and professional judgment in writing, producing, interviewing and creating content. You are wired to what’s important to your audience and know how to deliver it to your audience on air and with social media. Required Experience: A demonstrated track record of on-air success that will translate to success at WORD 106.3. Please submit your resume to email@example.com. Entercom Greenville is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Ebola Pandemic Threat/CDC Criticism, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Prospects, Financial Markets Activity/Falling Oil Prices, Battle Against ISIS, and MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/15). The threat of an Ebola pandemic, criticism of the Obama Administration’s and CDC’s handling of the matter and concerns over the lack of travel bans from countries with Ebola outbreaks; the looming mid-term elections and talk about the prospects for the 2016 presidential race; the tumultuous global financial markets and falling oil prices; the battle against ISIS, and the two MLB championship series were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Former Connecticut Governor and WTIC, Hartford Talk Host Found Guilty of Campaign Law Violations. He’d already served 10 months in prison for a 2004 conviction on corruption charges when CBS RADIO’s news/talk WTIC, Hartford hired John Rowland to host a daily afternoon drive radio talk show. Now, after Friday’s conviction on seven counts of campaign finance law violations, it appears that Rowland is likely headed back to prison. Sentencing is scheduled for December 12 but his attorneys plan to appeal. According to the Hartford Courant’s account, Rowland, who resigned from WTIC in April just before being indicted on the charges, chose not to take a plea deal for 18 months jail time and tested his luck with the jury. It didn’t work as the jury found him guilty of all charges related to his scheme to consult a Republican political candidate in 2012 and hide the fact that he was accepting the cash for those purposes. Read Edmund Mahony’s Courant story here.
Local On-Air Talent CAN Become Indispensable. Media consultant Holland Cooke revisits (and expands upon!) the point he made the “pages” of TALKERS four years ago that “if you’re in RADIO, you’re in SALES” in a column published today (9/22). It’s easy to pick apart the effectiveness of another medium’s advertising components but radio must look in the mirror for, as Cooke writes, criticism of a lot of radio’s not-so-great spots is justified because “at many stations, including some in major markets, there’s no creative department. Reps write their own copy, a task that’s not sellers’ core competency.” Effectiveness is directly related to quality, so how to up the quality? Cooke offers some suggestions and you can check them out here.
Consultant Fred Jacobs Encourages Radio Talent to Learn and Exploit Expanded Array of Available Media Tools. Reaction and commentary continues to buzz throughout the industry on the topic of the role of the aural media arts (non-visual radio and music) in the increasingly multi-media/visual environment of the digital era – instigated largely last week by comments made by TALKERS and RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison in the aftermath of the Clear Channel name/branding change to iHEARTMEDIA. According to Harrison, “I am delighted by the enormous number of responses – mostly overwhelmingly positive – that my comments sparked. Of course, there were those who immediately jumped to the conclusion that I am against the word ‘media’ or that I do not believe radio should be involved in internet, satellite or visual media at all. This is, of course, preposterous! The name of our company that owns TALKERS is Talk Media, Inc.; the name of our convention was the New Media Seminar way back in 1998; TALKERS magazine’s slogan is The Bible of Talk Radio and the New Talk Media; I have championed a concept known as “The Media Station” for more than a decade and the list goes on. All I am saying is we should remain sensitive and respectful to the idea that there is a very important place in this emerging mix for pure audio-only radio and music in terms of the fundamentals of these processes – and that by doing so, we will be serving the best interests of our industry, the people who work in it and the consumers who love radio and music on their basic terms.” Harrison continues, “My friend, noted radio consultant/researcher Fred Jacobs, CEO of Jacobs Media, — also an industry voice who is outspoken on this most compelling issue — has written and posted a blog today (9/22) that I believe adds an important dimension to the subject that warrants attention. Jacobs makes a case, somewhat counterpoint (but not contradictory) to mine, that I find inspirational.” In the blog, Jacobs writes, “I started thinking about this notion that the proliferation of screens will narrow the field for talkers, DJs, and hosts who are great with words, but not so wonderful visually. As he [Michael Harrison] notes, screens of all sizes are becoming dominant parts of how people consume media. Thankfully, radio has been able to participate on most of those screens, whether on smartphones or tablets. Over time as autonomous driving becomes more common, those who ride in these cars will gravitate to entertainment that is visual in origin – at least at a higher percentage than they are able to consume now while dangerously texting and driving. So is this the beginning of the end for radio, or is it simply the beginning of the beginning? Because as we have explored in this blog during the past few years, disruption forces old stars to adapt while bringing new ones to the center stage. Notably, two of the “Best Motion Picture” Oscars in just the past few years have focused on this topic. The King’s Speech starring Colin Firth was a story about changing technology, as the King of England was forced to learn how to communicate on the radio. Of course, he struggled, but in the end he was able to adapt. And in The Artist, the film’s silent film star refused to adapt to ‘talkies’ and is eventually displaced by a new brand of movie icons. Change is uncomfortable and it can be bitter, as depicted in this amazing film. The ending eventually become a happy one, but the road was arduous and difficult because of the tech disruption caused by the advent of movie sound. Change is hard, especially for those who have enjoyed the status quo. It tests everyone in all strata of the organization and the industry. Accepting, adapting, and adjusting is hard work. It can be quite uncomfortable in workplaces that were once always fun and even kind of easy. But these are the necessary skills that radio people need to exude in order to make the transition. We see signs of this every day in broadcast radio. Those who have the ability to connect with audiences – in person and in social spaces – have a unique edge. The old paradigm of the DJ hermit, locked down the hall in the air studio, is breaking apart. Today’s air talent need to be able to mix it up with listeners, clients, and community leaders. Not every film star is handsome. The public appreciates an interesting face, whether it’s Peter Dinklage on Game of Thrones or Linda Hunt on NCIS. They may be exceptions, but they stand out because they’re different, captivating, and worthy of our attention. They’re also immensely talented actors. And the same will be the case on the radios of the future. While good-looking DJs like Ryan Seacrest or Bobby Bones may have inherent advantages, Howard Stern proves that must-hear content trumps a pretty face. And he’s not alone. Words matter, and they will continue to in a media ecosphere that is now dominated by visuals. Screens or not, it’s the thought that counts. These are changes that radio need to roll with. Let’s open up new visual doors, new avenues, and new paths for our content. And let’s embrace them because it’s truly a media world.” To read Fred Jacobs’ entire blog, please click here.
Radio Management Pro Warren Named VP/MM for Cumulus Nashville. Jumping from the Austin cluster of Entercom where she was director of sales and taking on the vice president and market manager role at Cumulus Media Nashville is Allison Warren. Cumulus SVP Jeff Brown comments, “Allison was a key part of my team in Denver some years back. She did great work there and has since built a portfolio of successes in vibrant radio markets including Austin, Madison and Milwaukee. Her results-driven, collaborative leadership style will infuse our Nashville operations with the energy and focus needed at this pivotal point in the cluster’s growth. Allison will be an incredible asset to Cumulus’ leadership team.” Warren also served with Entercom at its Madison and Milwaukee clusters as well as with CBS RADIO in Denver. Cumulus operates six stations in the market including news/talk WWTN-FM “SuperTalk 99.7,” sports talker WGFX “104.5 The Zone,” as well as the Tennessee Titans Radio Network.
Cross Platform Media Acquires IRN/USA Radio Network. The president and CEO of Cross Platform Media, Sam Hassell, says the acquisition of IRN/USA Radio Network “rounds out the services of Cross Platform that is already deeply embedded in the national media space.” Hassell continues, “We are very excited to make this announcement. We look forward to fulfilling the original vision of USA Radio Network by providing audience-engaging news and content to the independent and group station owners around the country.” Christian and conservative broadcast pioneer Marlin Maddoux launched the USA Radio Network in 1985 and Hassell adds, “We are very respectful of the Maddoux legacy and proud to continue syndicating ‘Point of View,’ ‘Daybreak USA,’ IRN/USA News and so many other significant programs.” IRN/USA Radio Network currently produces and/or distributes more than 20 nationally syndicated radio programs with audience-targeted formatting primarily for news/talk and Christian radio (both commercial and non-commercial).
BIA/Kelsey Forecast for 2015 Local Media Revenue: Up 1.6%. But, of course, the increase comes as beneficial for those in the online/digital media realm (+13.1%) and, not surprisingly, traditional media is expected to see another dip (-1.7%). BIA/Kelsey is presenting these results and more at its Leading in Local: SMB Digital Marketing conference in New Orleans this week. The company predicts that in 2015, online/digital will account for more than one-quarter (25.2%) of total local media revenues in 2015. Revenues for online/digital are expected to grow from $31 billion in 2014 to $35 billion in 2015, representing a 13.1% growth rate. Other forecasts include: Mobile local ad revenues will grow from $4.3 billion in 2014 to $6.6 billion in 2015; Local social media revenues will grow from $2.5 billion in 2014 to $3.6 billion in 2015; Local search revenues will grow from $7.1 billion in 2014 to $7.2 billion in 2015; Local display revenues will grow from $4.3 billion in 2014 to $4.9 billion in 2015; and Local online video revenues will grow from $2.3 billion in 2014 to $3.0 billion in 2015.
Dolans and Seaview Radio Hit Home Run with Live Event in South Florida. Proving there is life after WOR, New York, the legendary husband/wife money media team of Ken & Daria Dolan (pictured here, Daria at left, Ken at right) joined forces with WSVU (960 AM/95.9 FM/ 106.9 FM), North Palm Beach “Seaview Radio” this past Saturday (9/20) presenting a successful, day-long listener/sponsor event titled, “South Florida Wealth & Health Expo 2014,” at the prestigious Jupiter Maltz Theatre in Jupiter, Florida. The event brought local businesses and services from the fields of health, finance and better living together highlighted with on-stage financial advice presentations by the Dolans. Seaview Radio general manager Chet Tart tells TALKERS, “The event gave us a wonderful opportunity to establish new and heightened relationships with sponsors from one of the most dynamic business sectors in the market. We immediately received positive response with attendees and vendors already asking about next year’s event. I think we might have to find a larger venue, next time around.” The Dolans, now based in Jupiter, are best remembered for their stunning run of success at WOR, New York and the WOR Radio Network in the 90s and early-2000s – supplemented by their hosting hot shows on CNN, MSNBC and other cable news/talk networks as well as penning best-selling books on the topic of personal finance. Known for their entertaining banter and solid advice both on air and on stage, the Dolans went into semi-retirement several years ago – but have had difficulty steering clear of offers that keep coming their way for live appearances and their broadcast sales consulting services. The result has been the birth of the increasingly active firm Dolan Media. CEO Ken Dolan tells TALKERS, “There are huge revenue and promotional opportunities for local radio stations in live events – especially in the areas that strike home to most people – health and money. The two go together beautifully as we have just proven at this event in Florida. Daria and I are strongly considering taking this show on the road and helping stations around the country create a very exciting form of financial and PR synergy so dearly needed by small and middle-sized operators at this time.” Perennial members of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred during their run at WOR, the Dolans have been ranked #75 on the prestigious Heaviest Hundred list of the “100 Most important Radio Talk Show Hosts of All Time.” WSVU, North Palm Beach was recently sold by North Palm Beach Broadcasters to JVC Media. GM Chet Tart – one of the most connected broadcast executives in the market – will stay on as GM of the new expanded operation planned by the acquiring owners, telling TALKERS, “With this transition to JVC, I find myself even more focused than ever… offering leadership, encouragement and inspiration to the staff. That’s my focus!” Chet Tart can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ken Dolan can be contacted at email@example.com.
Odds & Sods. At the iHeartMedia Des Moines cluster, alternative KXDA PD Mike Killabrew takes on the programming responsibilities for sister sports talker KXNO, leaving WHO programmer Van Harden to focus on his duties with the heritage news/talker…..Radio personality Denny Schaffer – most recently with iHeartMedia news/talker WRNO, New Orleans and former host at the company’s WSPD, Toledo – is back in Toledo as morning jock on Cumulus Media’s hot AC WWWM “Star 105.”…..Dallas news pro Jim Ryan joins ABC News Radio full time. Ryan — a current staffer at WBAP, Dallas and part-time contributor to ABC News Radio, makes the switch starting November 1.
Talkers New York 2013 a Success. Approximately 500 media pros from talk radio (AM/FM, satellite, internet), talk television, the music industry and press gathered in New York City this past Thursday for the 16th annual installment of the national Talkers Convention. The highlights of this event were too numerous to immediately cover (more than 55 speakers, presentations, award ceremonies, and exhibits packed into nine dynamic hours) but the editorial staff of TALKERS magazine is busily working on sorting out the stories, photos, video, and comments from the day for a series of articles and coverage beginning today with additional stories, photos and video every day this week. Today, TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian’s overview coverage of the conference, along with detailed reporting on some of the panels and speeches, can be found here. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “It was a historic day for the talk radio industry. We can proudly say this conference was pitch-perfect and we are going to have tremendous content for coverage in the days ahead. All of us at TALKERS are extremely humbled and grateful for the widespread industry support and valuable individual participation marking this milestone in our long series of conferences dating back to the early 1990s.” Next on the agenda: Talkers Los Angeles 2013 set for Thursday, October 10 at the Steve Allen Theater in Los Angeles, presented in association with the LA Press Club. Also a working-media-only event, registration opens at 10:00 am ET today (6/10). Registrations – $149 per person – are only taken by phone for this conference at 413-565-5413 and it is expected to be a very early sellout. Pictured above is TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison moderating the “Radio: The Big Picture” panel. From left to right are: Harrison; Kraig Kitchin, CEO Sound Mind, LLC; Walter Sabo, chairman, Sabo Media; Ron Hartenbaum, president, WYD/WYM Media; Jeremy Coleman, SVP, talk & entertainment programming, Sirus XM Satellite Radio; Steve Goldstein, EVP, Saga Communications; Tom Ray, president, Tom Ray Consulting; Dennis Wharton, VP communications, National Association of Broadcasters; and Mike McVay, SVP programming, Cumulus Media. The lower photo shows Radio Advertising Bureau CEO/president Erica Farber (left) moderating “The State of Radio Advertising and Sales” panel from the audience during the attendee Q&A segment. H&H Communications president Al Herskovitz (mic in hand) is pictured asking a question of the panel.
Talk Radio Day at the United Nations Delivers International Content to Millions of Listeners Across America and Around the World. The seventh annual installment of “Talk Radio Day at the United Nations” took place this past Friday (6/7) meeting and surpassing all expectations. The ambitious mega-radio row that took place the day after “Talkers New York 2013” featured approximately 25 radio talk show hosts from across the US and around the world (including China International Radio) broadcasting live and/or recording interviews with UN officials, ambassadors, international issues experts and leaders from the iconic headquarters of the world organization on Manhattan’s East Side. A presentation of TALKERS magazine produced in conjunction with Talk Radio News Service and the United Nations Foundation, participants in the event include such broadcasters as Alan Colmes, Doug Stephan, Dr. Joy Browne, Thom Hartmann, David Webb, Lisa Wexler, Ethan Bearman, Mark Riley, Dr. Evelyn Higgins, Martha Zoller, Ed Woodson, Timothy Spangler, Vinnie Penn, Gary Duff, Brent Seltzer, Meg McDonald and many more. The event was carried live on the brand new TalkersRadio. Pictured at the radio row is Fox News Radio personality Alan Colmes interviewing Lyall Grant, the UK Ambassador to the United Nations. Look for stories, photos and additional coverage of the event right here throughout this coming week.
John Gallagher to Cumulus Toledo for Market Manager Post. Most recently serving as vice president of sales for Cumulus Media’s Kansas City operations, John Gallagher heads East to Toledo where he assumes the vice president and market manager position for the company’s Toledo stations that includes: country WKKO, hot AC WMMM, classic hits WRQN, sports talk WLQR, classic rock WXKR, and AC WMIM, Monroe, Michigan. He takes over for Matt Spaulding who moves to Cumulus’ Ann Arbor cluster as market manager. Cumulus regional vice president Dave Crowl states, “John’s operating experience and background in this area of the Midwest as well as his strong skill sets in generating revenue growth make him a perfect choice to manage our Toledo/Monroe radio stations. He has led our Kansas City radio stations to outstanding sales results. We expect his leadership to provide continued growth momentum for Cumulus Toledo/Monroe as well.”
WPTR, Schenectady Flips from Oldies to Sports Talk. Empire Broadcasting’s oldies WPTR, Schenectady/Albany flips to sports talk using CBS Sports Radio Network programming. Chief operating officer Neerav Patel tells The Business Review’s Barbara Pinckney the goal was to bring Jim Rome back to the market. “Plus CBS is hot when it comes to football and March Madness. We thought this was a better fit for us.” Using CBS Sports Radio also gives the station a morning drive show that stars former New York Giants star Tiki Barber. As noted in Pinckney’s piece, WPTR is the third sports talker in the market that includes Clear Channel’s WOFX, Albany and Townsquare Media’s WTMM.
WTCN, Minneapolis Talk Host Tom Emmer Quits to Run for Congress. Tom Emmer, one half of the Davis & Emmer morning drive show on Clear Channel’s news/talk WTCN, Minneapolis “News Talk 1130,” is leaving the program to begin campaigning full time for the congressional seat currently held by Republican Michelle Bachman who has announced she will not seek re-election in 2014. Clear Channel Minneapolis operations manager Gregg Swedberg tells the Minneapolis Star Tribune the company is still considering what to do with the morning drive show. “This hit us fairly quickly. We were caught by surprise. We’re hammering out different ideas, including leaving Bob Davis alone, teaming him up with someone else, or doing something completely different.” The paper reports that the Davis & Emmer show ranks 11th in the morning drive competition in the Twin Cities among adults 25-54 and is 8th among men 25-54.
BIA Kelsey Predicts Auto Spend on Radio Up 15% Over Five Years. According to BIA Kelsey’s Media Ad View Plus forecast, the auto industry will increase local auto ad spending on radio by 15% between 2012 and 2017 with the total local ad spend reaching $17.5 billion. Not surprisingly, online and mobile will see the biggest increases in ad spending from the auto industry, according to chief economist Mark Fratrik, “By 2017, automotive dealers will focus on video, spending 11.4% of their $2.4 billion online ad budget on video display.” Additionally, the categories of real estate and restaurants are both expected to increase over that period of time as well.
‘AM 560 The Answer’ in Chicago Raises $20k for Honor Flight Chicago. Salem Communications’ WIND, Chicago “AM 560 The Answer” afternoon drive talk show host Steve Cochran (at right) is pictured here doing his program live from Bolingbrook Golf Club after the June 7 charity golf outing that raised $19,224 for the Honor Flight Chicago program that will send 27 WWII veterans to Washington, DC to see the WWII Memorial built in their honor. The sold-out fundraiser was sponsored by Culver’s and saw 142 golfers join Cochran and WIND morning show co-host Amy Jacobson to raise money for the cause. Pictured here with Cochran are WIND program director Marcus Brown (c) and operations manager Eric Thomas (l).
Musings on the United Nations. Radio consultant Holland Cooke visited the United Nations on Friday, June 7 while the “Talk Radio Day at the United Nations” radio row was taking place. In addition to his take on the radio row, Cooke offers his thoughts about stepping into and touring the iconic building on the East Side of New York City. Read Holland Cooke’s column here.
It’s a Tony Award for Mike Gallagher! Although Salem Radio Network talk show host Mike Gallagher is an accomplished stage actor, he didn’t pick up the Tony Award for his stage work – he got it for being an investor in the revival of “Pippin” for helping finance the production and making revival on Broadway possible. Gallagher is a member of Actor’s Equity and says his investment was “well south of $1 million” but he’s thrilled to receive his latest award for his avocation in professional theatre. “Having appeared on Broadway myself in the musical “Memphis,” it really thrills me to own this piece of theatre history.” Gallagher is currently appearing as Mayor Shinn in “The Music Man” at Lyric Stage in Dallas/Ft. Worth and he will play Daddy Warbucks in “Annie” in South Carolina this September.
Big Talk Show Topic This Week. ABC Radio’s Aaron Katersky is pictured here outside the courthouse in Sanford, Florida at the trial of George Zimmerman – charged in the death of Trayvon Martin – as the jury selection process begins. The defense asked for a delay in the trial telling Judge Debra Nelson the prosecution was slow in turning over evidence but she denied that request and the case is proceeding. The shooting death of Martin was a big topic on news/talk radio when it took place and it’s expected to be a major topic throughout the summer as issues of racial profiling, Florida’s “stand-your-ground” law, and gun violence come into play.