Tag: "Tom Becka"
WPRO-AM, Providence and Talk Host John DePetro Go Separate Ways. During the month of December, the late morning talk show hosted by longtime WPRO-AM personality John DePetro was handled by a rotating cast of fill-in hosts. DePetro had referenced a “health situation” on his website. Then, just before Christmas, DePetro notified listeners via his website of his departure from the station. He wrote, in part, “At this time, I have decided to conclude my entertaining weekday 9:00 am -12:00 noon radio show on WPRO. Thank you to all my listeners for making 2016 my best year ever in radio, with my coverage of the Trump campaign, my many exclusives, plus my national work on ‘The Savage Nation’ and CNN. I am very grateful for the many loyal listeners who have been entertained by my program on WPRO over the past 10 years.” So far, WPRO has not named a replacement host, nor has the Cumulus Media news/talk station officially addressed DePetro’s departure.
Programming Moves at iHeartMedia Denver. This affects both news/talk KOA and sports talk KDSP. First, at KOA “NewsRadio 850 AM & 94.1 FM,” the new afternoon show is Lewis & Logan from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm featuring Rick Lewis and Dave Logan. The duo will be joined by Kathy Lee as co-host and Robbyn Hart as news anchor. In June of 2014, iHM tweaked afternoons by bringing Denver TV and radio pro Susie Wargin aboard to co-host with Logan for the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm hours and the show moved away from being sports-centric. Wargin then co-hosted a newsy program with Mike Rice from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Wargin moves to the company’s classic rock KRFX. Also at KOA, Cory Lopez is the new host of “PrimeTime Sports,” airing weeknights from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm. At sports talk KDSP, “Denver Sports 760,” Mike Rice hosts the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm show. The new duo of Ed McCaffrey and Andy Lindahl will co-host the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm program.
KCMO-AM, Kansas City Announces New Program Lineup. There are two talk personalities returning to Cumulus Media’s news/talk simulcast KCMO-AM/K279BI as the station announces its new, 2017 program lineup. Longtime Kansas City talk personality Greg Knapp is back on the station after a nine-month absence to host the morning drive program. Knapp hosted the afternoon show at KCMO until late April of 2016. Westwood One’s rollout of the national Chris Plante program brings him back to KCMO in the 11:00 am to 1:00 pm slot. Tom Becka remains in the 9:00 am to 11:00 am slot, while Mike Ferguson moves from middays to afternoon drive (4:00 pm to 6:00 pm) with co-host and producer Jared Carter. Nationally syndicated superstar Dave Ramsey also remains in his current 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm timeslot. Knapp takes over mornings for Rob Carson, who exited late last year.
‘PowerTalk’ in Fresno Launches New Early Evening Program. Fresno news/talk simulcast KALZ-FM/KRZR-AM “PowerTalk 96.7 and AM 1400” announces the debut of the Guillermo Moreno program, this evening from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. The iHeartMedia station says Moreno “will take a conservative approach to local and national issues – including politics, business headlines and pop culture – from the perspective of a Latino millennial and for listeners of all ages.” Moreno comments, “I’m excited to continue breaking the political and radio establishment mold and thrilled to be among the first young Latino millennial hosts in the Central Valley. Fresno is the greatest city in America and I’m honored to continue my passion for politics with my generation here at home.”
December PPMs: Some Notable Occurrences. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at some significant happenings, from a ratings perspective, relative to Nielsen Audio’s December PPM survey. Among them are the return to earth for CBS RADIO’s sports talk WSCR, Chicago and iHeartMedia’s WTAM, Cleveland – both of which benefitted mightily from the performances of the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians leading up to and including the World Series. See more interesting highlights here.
165 THOUSAND of us – from 150 countries – are heading to the massive, mind-boggling Consumer Electronics Show.
This year is the 50th annual CES. Back in 1967, there were ooohs and ahhhs for console color TVs. Are you old-enough to remember the handsome woodwork? Some had built-in stereo systems…but only for the vinyl you played on the turntable. Stereo TV sound? Someday.
50 years ago, only 14 companies were showing-off their stuff, in 100,000 square feet of exhibit space. Back-to-the-future: Today, when they cut the virtual ribbon, four THOUSAND companies will display in 2.4 MILLION square feet of Las Vegas Convention Center. Picture FIFTY football fields.
And that’s just inside. Outdoors, there’ll be drones up above, and down-below we’ll be test-driving cars with no gas tank, and cars with no driver.
Technology accounts for 15 million American jobs. Not everyone becomes a billionaire, by inventing, for instance, the smartphone. But someone became a millionaire by accessorizing it with the Selfie Stick.
Much of what we’ll see here this week is here-today-gone-tomorrow. Many of these companies didn’t exist a couple years ago, and many won’t be around a couple years from now. Innovation is the-name-of-the-game, and that makes CES a welcome pump-up for radio broadcasters attending.
Look for my reports here in TALKERS all this week, and listen for updates on “America in the Morning” and “The Jim Bohannon Show,” or at www.HollandCooke.com.
Terry Foster Returns to WXYT-FM, Detroit’s Afternoon Drive Show. After missing a lot of time on the air during the latter part of 2016 due to a stroke caused by high blood pressure, Terry Foster is returning to the “Valenti and Foster” program with co-host Mike Valenti on sports talk “97.1 The Ticket.” Program director Jimmy Powers states, “We are excited that Terry is returning to the ‘Valenti and Foster’ show. His humor and insight have been missed not only by his co-workers, but by the listeners. I sincerely appreciate and would like to thank Jeff Riger for sitting in for Terry while he was out; the show didn’t miss a beat.” Foster comments, “I have been on the sidelines for too long. I missed a lot of good stories and a lot of good times. I’m glad to be back on the train again. I want to thank all of the listeners and my co-workers for their encouraging words, they got me through a tough time.”
Dan Lovallo Joins AM Show on Connoisseur’s ‘Talk of CT.’ The news/talk multi-cast heard on Connoisseur Media’s “The Talk of CT” (WDRC-AM, Hartford; WMMW, Meriden; WWCO, Waterbury; and WSNG, Torrington) is adding well-known Connecticut radio personality Dan Lovallo to the Brad Davis morning show. Lovallo has been with the stations in various capacities over the years. In addition to news duties on the company’s sister classic rock WFOX, Southport (Bridgeport-Stamford market), Lovallo will also host his own Connecticut politics-focused show, “CT On The Hill,” on “The Talk of CT” every day at 9:00 am. This is one of a number of changes at the Connecticut operations of Connoisseur and OM Keith Dakin comments, “These changes, across our portfolio, indicate a strong commitment to localism. Radio will continue to be vibrant if it remains a true fabric of the community with more local morning shows, local news and people from Connecticut behind the microphones.”
Free Talk Live Hosts Prevail at NH Supreme Court. This case goes back three years to a suit filed against “Free Talk Live” hosts Ian Freeman and James Cleaveland by the City of Keene, New Hampshire. The long-running courtroom saga of the “Robin Hood of Keene” all started when Freeman and Cleaveland began plugging the parking meters of citizens whose time was running out and were about to get parking tickets issued by the city’s parking enforcers. The city sued, alleging among other things that Freeman and Cleaveland were “threatening, intimidating, and harassing” the parking enforcers – something the court ruled the city was unable to prove. The pair won their case at the superior court level but the city took the case all the way to the state supreme court. Freeman informs TALKERS that “the supreme court agreed with the superior court that the city’s proposed injunction, which would keep us away from their enforcers, was unconstitutional. It’s a victory for freedom of speech in the public streets.”
‘Kilmeade & Friends’ Adds 24 New Affiliates. The nationally syndicated “Kilmeade & Friends” late morning show hosted by Fox News personality Brian Kilmeade and produced and distributed by Fox News Radio, adds 24 new radio affiliates. Some of the stations adding the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET program include: WHIO-AM/FM, Dayton; WOKV, Jacksonville; WRHI, Charlotte; WMMI, Flint, Michigan; KZRG, Joplin, Missouri; WFIN, Toledo; and WNIX-AM, Greenville, Mississippi.
Odds & Sods. Nationally syndicated, San Antonio-based talk show host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo is now heard on an number of new affiliate stations across the country, including: KZRG, Joplin, Missouri; KHVH, Honolulu; KMBZ, Kansas City; KSTE, Sacramento; WATX, Cookeville, Tennessee and more…..Syndicated morning show “Walton & Johnson” changes affiliates in both New Orleans and Baton Rouge. The program is moving from Entercom classic rocker WKBU to iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRNO in New Orleans and from Guaranty’s classic rock WDGL to iHM’s news/talk WJBO in Baton Rouge…..Westwood One is celebrating the 25th anniversary of “The Dave Ross Show” and announces it is extending its relationship with Ross (who also serves as morning news host at KIRO-FM, Seattle). The daily feature is heard on more than 200 stations nationwide including: WCBS-AM, New York; KNX, Los Angeles; WBBM-AM, Chicago; and WTOP-FM, Washington. Ross also guest hosts for Charles Osgood on “The Osgood File.”…..Robert K. Tanenbaum, trial attorney, author of 31 books, and former mayor of Beverly Hills, will be featured in a new segment titled, “Book Buzz,” on Patzi Gil’s “Joy on Paper” radio show, which airs twice weekly on Radio Works’ WTAN, Clearwater, Florida…..Executive vice president Paul Cramer exits Triton Digital after 16 years with the company and its predecessors. He’s excited about his next challenge in the digital solutions space and can be reached at PaulCramer@Outlook.com or 716-508-4104.
Music Radio Trade Publication RadioInfo to Be Absorbed into TALKERS Magazine. Beginning today, January 3, 2017, the music radio industry trade publication RadioInfo is folded into an expanded incarnation of TALKERS magazine (www.Talkers.com and the daily TALKERS email newsletter) and ceases to be distributed as a stand-alone entity. According to TALKERS/RadioInfo VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “This has been a transition in the works for a number of months now. Because, RadioInfo has shared main headquarters and staff with TALKERS for the past five years, there has been a significant degree of duplication between the publications, especially regarding general industry stories that cover all formats. It makes sense from a standpoint of economy, proficiency and expediency to combine these into one ‘super’ trade journal. We will continue to provide RadioInfo readers and newsletter subscribers with the latest news events and personnel changes in music radio within the pages of TALKERS. We also are expanding our coverage of the talented talk-oriented hosts heard across America on music station morning programs that we categorize as ‘pop culture talk.’” Subscribers to the daily RadioInfo email newsletter, not already signed up for TALKERS, will be added to the TALKERS list so they will continue to receive the service. RadioInfo was founded as a set of radio discussion boards and an accompanying general online industry news platform in 1999 by young radio enthusiast and entrepreneur Doug Fleming who tragically passed away in 2005 at the age of 25. The entity, known as Radio-Info.com, continued to be published by Doug’s parents Diana and Rick Fleming until 2012. At that time, the discussion boards were acquired by trade publication Radio Ink’s parent corporation Streamline Publishing and eventually discontinued. The trade publication side was acquired by TALKERS magazine’s parent company Talk Media, Inc. and transitioned into the music radio incarnation of RadioInfo.
Talent Moves at KRFX, Denver. At iHeartMedia’s Denver classic rock KRFX “103.5 The Fox,” 25-year morning personalities Rick Lewis and Kathy Lee renew and extend their contracts with the station. At the same time, the station announces Denver radio and TV pro Susie Wargin is the new midday personality and market radio pro Uncle Nasty assumes the afternoon drive daypart.
Talent Moves at Connoisseur Connecticut. At the Connecticut operations of Connoisseur Media, operations manager Keith Dakin announces changes to a number of the company’s stations designed to increase their commitment to focus on “being more local and involved in the community.” First, Ken Tuccio is named the new morning drive host at classic rock WFOX, Southport (Bridgeport-Stamford market). He’ll be joined by news broadcaster Dan Lovallo with Fairfield County-centric news updates every 30 minutes. The station will air local news throughout the day during the shifts of new midday host Pam Ciaburri and afternoon host Allan Lamberti. Additionally, Cari Edwards is the new evening personality. At rock WPLR, New Haven, Kevin Begley adds programming duties for the station to his current responsibilities serving as PD for hot AC WEZN “Star 99.9” and WFOX. Finally, at classic rock WDRC-FM, Hartford “102.9 The WHALE,” Allan Lamberti takes over the programming duties (in addition to hosting evenings). The jock lineup consists of: Michael Picozzi in morning, Suzi Klonk in middays, and Keith Dakin in afternoons.
iHeartMedia Adds ‘Mojo in the Morning’ to CHR WSNX, Grand Rapids. The AM drive show “Mojo in the Morning” – featuring Mojo, Shannon, and Spike – based at iHeartMedia’s CHR WKQI, Detroit “Channel 95.5,” is the new morning show at the company’s West Michigan CHR WSNX, Grand Rapids, effective January 16. Mojo says, “We love Michigan and are so excited to have the show heard in West Michigan. As a big fan of SNX, we are honored to be on the two best CHR radio station brands in Michigan!”
KKHH Hits ‘The Spot.’ Among stations making format modifications over the holidays was CBS RADIO Houston CHR KKHH “Hot 95-7,” which transitions to adult hits “95.7 The Spot.” Supplementing “The Spot” identity is the slogan “Your Place – Your Music – Your Way – A Radio Station Unlike Any Other in Town.” The format change means Cumulus Media’s KRBE will now have the market’s CHR lane to itself. CBS RADIO senior vice president and Houston market manager Sarah Frazier comments, “We worked exhaustively to understand what Houston listeners were missing from their local radio stations. They told us they wanted their own ‘spot’ to hear their favorite music hits, a ‘spot’ to relax and energize at work, and a ‘spot’ to feel comfy and complete.” Representative “Spot” artists include Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince, and U2. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s December 2016 PPM report, KKHH is flat at 2.7 (#18), while KRBE gains two-tenths to 3.5 (#14); iHeartMedia adult contemporary KODA “Sunny 99.1” is #1 (7.3, 6+).
JVC Goes True Oldies in the Palm Beaches. This change is the result of a partnership with Scott Shannon’s True Oldies format. JVC Broadcasting announces that WBGF, Belle Glade, Florida flips from rock as “93.5 The Bar” to oldies as “True Oldies 93.5.” JVC Broadcasting of South Florida vice president and general manager Matt Goldapper says, “True Oldies is the perfect fit for the West Palm Beach market – lots of jingles, lots of voices and all the hits all the time. This music is just missing from the radio here in South Florida and with our sister stations ‘95.9 The Palm’ and ‘900 AM The Talk of the Palm Beaches,’ we are just super-serving this market. The best part of this radio mix is the partnership with radio legend Scott Shannon who is the genius behind this entertaining and upbeat radio format.”
More Career Moves and Music Radio News. At the Kansas City cluster of Cumulus Media, the company announces that the Premiere Networks-syndicated Steve Harvey show is now airing in mornings at urban contemporary KMJK “Magic 107.3.” Meanwhile, at sister classic hits KCMO-FM, Kansas City radio pro Steve-O assumes the afternoon drive host duties, following Lance Tidwell, who takes over the middays program…..The syndicated “Ace & TJ Show” announces the official return of former cast member Guenn (Peterson) Schneider. She was previously part of the Ace & TJ team from 2007-2011. Following her departure from the show, Guenn worked with various media outlets in Charlotte…..Alpha Media launched a new contemporary rock outlet on translator W259CL, Orangeburg, South Carolina at 99.7 FM in the Columbia market on December 27. The station will feature such core artists as Green Day, Kings of Leon, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Blink 182, and the Foo Fighters. Alpha Media EVP of programming Scott Mahalick comments, “Alpha continues to grow and invest in Columbia with our latest addition of a contemporary rock station. ‘Rock 99.7’ will be a great companion to our classic rock station ‘Fox 102.3’ WMFX.”…..Refuge Media closes on its purchase of classic rock KMFG, Nashwauk, Minnesota. Refuge bought the station from Midwest Communications, Inc.
Tom Becka Returns to Kansas City as KCMO Re-Vamps Lineup. Last week, Cumulus Media’s KCMO-AM/K279BI, Kansas City cut ties with 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm personality Greg Knapp. It turns out that was phase one of a programming lineup restructure. Talk host Tom Becka – who previously worked in the market at crosstown KMBZ – joins the station to host the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show. Local host Rob Carson remains in the morning drive slot. Current KCMO personality Mike Ferguson moves to the 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm slot, followed by Dave Ramsey from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm and Westwood One’s Michael Savage from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Cumulus Media Midwest regional VP and market manager Donna Baker comments, “KCMO talk radio takes an exciting step forward today. Welcoming Becka back to KC, Mike Ferguson continuing local community conversations over the lunch hour, and Dave Ramsey returning to three hours in the afternoon are powerful additions to our talented lineup.”
Report: ‘Nearly 40’ Laid Off at TheBlaze. According to a published report by Lloyd Grove in The Daily Beast, close to 40 staffers have been let go from Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze – just a year after numerous staffers were laid off in May of 2015. Grove’s piece says this is part of a restructuring required by the covenants of a “multimillion-dollar bank loan” recently taken out to keep the company going. Layoffs reportedly affect some 20 at offices in New York, 12 in Washington, five at a dozen in Washington, five at a documentary studio in Columbus, Ohio, plus several in a Los Angeles office. Back in February, Kraig Kitchin stepped down from his CEO role with TheBlaze to focus on “existing commitments.” Director of advertising sales Jeremy Price and director of marketing Liz Julis also exited at that time. The story says these changes do not affect Beck’s Premiere Networks-syndicated show. Read Grove’s piece here.
Kenetta Bailey Named SVP of Marketing for CBS RADIO. Joining CBS RADIO as senior vice president, marketing is Kenetta Bailey. She was most recently heading up her own consulting firm – KB Consulting – in which she worked with a variety of start-up businesses on subscriber growth, social media and branding. She also serves as an adjunct instructor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. CBS RADIO president Andre Fernandez states, “I’m thrilled to welcome Kenetta to our leadership team, and look forward to introducing her creative energy and brand expertise into everything we do. We have a tremendous opportunity to expand the strength of our brands locally and nationwide, as well as define our long range position in the marketplace. I know Kenetta will play an instrumental role in the telling of our story to the industry.” Bailey will be responsible for the marketing and brand positioning of the company, its stations and its digital products. She’ll also provide business-to-business marketing support and work with the division’s market managers and station management to develop and coordinate strategy for their local marketing efforts.
When Your Station IS the News. Last week’s attempted takeover of a media outlet in Baltimore by an allegedly deranged man happened at a television station. But, it could just as easily have been a radio station group. ABC Television Network director of business continuity Howard B. Price writes in a column published today (5/2), that “comprehensive, well-resourced and well-rehearsed emergency planning not only assures your continued ability to operate in times of crisis, but more importantly, shows your staff and clients how much you care.” He notes that the Sinclair-owned station and its staffers were prepared and it showed in how the situation was dealt with. Read Price’s valuable advice for preparing for potential emergencies here.
2015 Acquisitions Help Entercom to Q1 Net Revenue Hike of 23%. During 2015, Entercom added stations to its portfolio in deals with Lincoln Financial Media and Bonneville. Those deals helped the company’s first quarter 2016 net revenue soar to $96.1 million. Company CEO David Field says, “But the bigger news is that we had another great quarter of organic revenue growth. Same station revenues increased 6% for the quarter… In sum, it was a terrific quarter. What is important to note is that is part of an increasingly consistent pattern of Entercom delivering solid growth quarter-after-quarter. This now marks the fourth consecutive quarter of accelerating organic revenue growth for Entercom.”
The Presidential Race/Trump Protests, Iraq Parliament Protest, Seattle May Day Violence, 9/11 Report Controversy, White House Correspondents Dinner, and NFL Draft Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of the candidates for president and the California Donald Trump protests; the storming of the Iraqi Parliament by anti-government protestors; Sunday’s violent May Day protests in Seattle; controversy over the validity of the contents of the 9/11 report and Saudi Arabia’s threat to the U.S. if blamed for the terror attacks; the various political jabs from speakers at Saturday’s annual White House Correspondents Dinner; and the 2016 NFL Draft were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
FAIR’s ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ Reports Record Attendance. The immigration-oriented radio row scheduled for June 22-23 in Washington is filling up with radio talk show hosts fast. The “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” event is produced by Federation for American Immigration Reform and executive director Bob Dane calls it an all-time high attendance record and adds that it’s “no surprise given immigration is the hottest issue in a high-profile, turbulent campaign.” FAIR says there are three remaining broadcast slots up for grabs. The event on Capitol Hill pulls together talk hosts, lawmakers, law enforcement and media. FAIR covers all expenses and engineering. Call for details at 202-328-7004.
Odds & Sods. Sports talk KDCO, Denver adds an FM presence in the market via translator K284CI at 104.7 FM. Mile High Sports Radio operates the stations under an LMA from Kona Coast Radio….. The Red State Talk Radio Network-based talk show “Standing Ground” hosted by Jeremy Leahy adds new affiliate station WJHC, Jasper, Florida (between Jacksonville and Tallahassee). The show airs at 11:00 pm on Sunday evenings…..Alpha Media’s Mason City, Iowa stations news/talk KGLO and standards KRIB pick up 11 honors in the Small Market Division of the 2015 Iowa Broadcast News Association awards. KGLO’s Bob Fisher won four first-place awards for Best Newscast, Sports Play-by-Play, Political Coverage, and Public Affairs.
iHeartMedia Expands with SoundBoard Initiative. The company is calling iHeartMedia SoundBoard a “one-of-a-kind audio-centric branded entertainment studio” that will allow its talent to work with advertisers to “produce original long- and short-form audio, video and experiential content that moves seamlessly across radio, apps, and events, creating the next generation of brand storytelling.” Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “As the number one creators of live, daily content, brands have been asking us for more ability to craft original stories that leverage the power of sound to reach consumers when they’re ready to be entertained. We’re launching the first branded audio studio for the digital era to prove the power of radio, the power of live content, and the power of cross-platform programming designed for a media world without walls.” In addition to using national talent such as Ryan Seacrest and Elvis Duran, the company says it will use “the many local personalities who resonate in their communities — and its unique access to the most innovative thinkers in music and entertainment — to develop new original productions that combine the power of live radio with richer storytelling across platforms.” The iHeartMedia SoundBoard Studio will be led by John Sykes, president of iHeartMedia’s Entertainment Enterprises Group; Gayle Troberman, EVP and chief marketing officer of iHeartMedia; and Vanessa Adamo, senior vice president of Entertainment Enterprises.
Bob Bruce to Host Afternoons on KOIL, Omaha. The new local afternoon program on NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha is announced and Bob Bruce is returning to the Omaha market after a 10-year absence to host “The Bob Bruce Radio Experience” from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm, effective February 23. Bruce comes to KOIL from his most recent gig at iHeartMedia’s news/talk WMT, Cedar Rapids. Bruce replaces talk pro Tom Becka who exited the afternoon show at KOIL late last year. About his new gig, Bruce says, “I am thrilled to be a part of a legendary station like KOIL and delighted to be back in Omaha. I love this community and all it has to offer and I will make this show educational and fun for listeners.”
SiriusXM’s Joe Madison Helps Get Dick Gregory Star on Walk of Fame. From a piece by George Curry published in BlackPressUSA comes the story of how talk show host Joe Madison helped get pioneering black comedian Dick Gregory a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Curry writes that after working on the campaign to get The Four Tops a star on the walk, he noticed that Dick Gregory was not on the walk and set out to do something about it. After two failed campaigns, the third time (with help from others) he was able to convince the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to grant him the star. But the hard part was just ahead. Getting a star requires paying $30,000 for construction and maintenance. Madison set out to raise the money and says he appealed to his listeners for $30 contributions and soon the money was in hand. Read Curry’s story here.
Odds & Sods. Longtime San Diego sports talk personality Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton is joining XETV, San Diego “San Diego 6” to serve on the 10:00 pm news on Saturdays and Sundays. News director Don Shafer says, “Lee will bring his unique perspective and knowledge of local, state and national sports to San Diego 6 News.” Lee will bring his signature “Hacksaw’s Headlines” to the sportscast, with his take on the biggest stories of the day…..Cumulus Media sports talker WSKO, Syracuse inks a deal to broadcast Syracuse Chiefs minor league baseball for the next two seasons. Kevin Brown and Eric Gallanty will be in the broadcast booth for play-by-play duties…..According to PennLive, Cumulus Media’s sports talk simulcast WHGB-AM and W243BR, Harrisburg “Sportsradio 96.5” will be carrying Washington Nationals baseball this season instead of Philadelphia Phillies games.
Patriots Win Super Bowl XLIX, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Politicians’ Vaccine Remarks Flap, Battle Against ISIS, Obama Tax Hike Proposal, Suge Knight Charged with Murder, and Bobbi Kristina Brown in Coma Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/2). Patriots win game that is most-watched TV broadcast in U.S. history; the potential candidates for president in 2016; comments by Chris Christie and Rand Paul questioning safety and efficacy of vaccines; the fight against ISIS; the tax hikes proposed by President Obama; rap mogul Suge Knight is charged with murder and more in hit-and-run death; and Whitney Houston’s daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown in a coma were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cumulus Names Big John Howell Morning Host at WLS-AM, Chicago. The arrival of longtime Chicago market personality Big John Howell at Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM, Chicago had been rumored for some time and now it becomes official as Howell will assume the morning show duties effective next Monday (1/19). Most recently, Howell was morning host at Salem Communications’ news/talk WIND “AM 560 The Answer.” He also was a jock at CBS RADIO’s country WUSN for many years as well as morning personality on CBS’ WCKG. For seven years he hosted the Westwood One-syndicated “Country Gold” request show. Howell comments, “I’m looking forward to joining WLS-AM. It has been a longtime professional, as well as personal, goal. Growing up in West Michigan and listening to WLS influenced my initial decision to give the radio business a try. Now, all these years later, and on the heels of many WLS broadcast legends, including Larry Lujack and Don Wade, it is truly an honor and a privilege. I’m also looking forward to sharing the WLS airwaves with Steve Dahl, who taught all of us to ignore management and hate disco.” Howell takes over for the team of Dan Proft and Bruce Wolf.
Roe Conn to PM Drive at WGN, Chicago. There’s no official word from Tribune Media on this…yet, but Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former longtime WLS-AM afternoon host Roe Conn will take over the afternoon drive show on WGN, Chicago from Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder – both of whom have been in the post since last May. Conn even appeared on WGN’s Steve Cochran show this morning (1/12), but chatted about issues and there was no mention of his joining the station. The hiring of Leff and Snyder was part of the makeover of the station orchestrated by president Jimmy de Castro. Feder reports that it’s expected that Leff and Snyder will stay on in some capacity.
Dr. Laurie Roth Show Joins USA Radio Networks. As part of a series of program rollouts, the USA Radio Networks announces Dr. Laurie Roth becomes part of the syndicated lineup, airing from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET effective February 2. USA Radio Networks describes the show as an “issues-driven program known to tackle politics, crime and corruption. Dr. Roth often visits with survivors and family members affected by crimes and conspiracies. How do they survive and come back after losing a family member, being smeared or a being a victim of crime in some way? Listeners learn the answers to such questions. Roth says, “I expose the bad guys, stand for the good guys and don’t get caught in-between.” Tim Maranville is chief content officer at USA’a parent company – Cross Platform Media Group – and he comments, “Dr. Roth covers the issues driving the conversation in America like no other radio host. Her life experience brings a realness to the radio that, sadly, is uncommon in the network industry. She is a welcome breath of fresh air.” Recently, USA Radio Networks announced the launch of new shows including “AMERICA CONTINUES with Jim Sharpe,” and the syndication of the Steve Deace show, “DAYBREAK USA with Angie Austin,” and the hourly USA Radio News.
Brooks Promoted at WTMJ, Milwaukee. At the Journal Broadcast Group-owned news/talker WTMJ, Milwaukee, Eric Brooks is upped to assistant program director. WTMJ VP/GM Tom Langmyer says, “Eric has grown tremendously as a leader at WTMJ. As producer of ‘Wisconsin’s Afternoon News with John Mercure,’ Eric has helped the program leapfrog into the top news/talk position with both listeners 6+ and 25-54. Eric has also deftly handled many day-to-day responsibilities in the programming department in his role as executive producer of WTMJ programming.” Brooks joined WTMJ in 2011 as a news anchor and producer before being elevated to executive producer, WTMJ programming in 2013.
Odds & Sods. This Friday (1/16), New Jersey Broadcasters Association president and CEO Paul Rotella will sit in for morning drive personality Harry Hurley on Townsquare Media’s Atlantic City, New Jersey news/talker WPGG…..Here’s an interesting show, now available to radio stations across the country that draws on Americans’ interest in the Old West: Dakota Livesay’s “Chronicle of the Old West.” It’s both a three-and-a-half minute show delivered five days per week and a weekly, one-hour show that features friends, authors and experts who chat with host Livesay about this romanticized period of American history. Check out OldWestRadio.com…..The WYD Media-syndicated “Huckabee Report” with Mike Huckabee and the Stephanie Miller program are both joining the lineup at CRN Digital Talk Radio. CRN states that “The Huckabee Report” will air throughout the day on CRN effective today (1/12) and CRN 4 channel will broadcast encore presentations of the Stephanie Miller show Tuesday through Saturday, beginning January 13.
Talk Pro Tom Becka Does ‘Friday Night Live.’ Longtime Omaha (not to mention Kansas City and Fargo) talk radio personality Tom Becka rhetorically asks TALKERS magazine, “What does a talk show host do when he’s on the beach? He keeps talking…” And that’s what you see in this photo. Recently let go from KOIL, Omaha in a cost-cutting move, Becka reports on his latest venture – a live version of the Tom Becka Radio Show. He says, “We set up a stage at a local watering hole, charged admission, and did an interactive audience participation show just like it was on the radio. A sold-out crowd came to talk about the hot issues of the day with ‘Honesty, Integrity, and a Sense of Humor.’ It was spirited, entertaining, and profitable. I used social media and my daily podcasts to promote the event and it turned out great. I’ll be doing these on a regular basis.” Becka can be reached at: 402-321-9590 or via Tom@TomBecka.com.
Remembering Nick (Bazoo) Ferrara. Word and condolences spread throughout social media on Saturday, January 10 about the passing of noted CHR programmer Nick Ferrara. Conspicuously absent though were specific details of when, where, or even if Ferrara had indeed passed. The Harrison County (Mississippi) coroner though has unfortunately confirmed that 59-year-old Gulfport resident Ferrara was killed Friday (1/9) in a two-vehicle accident on Interstate 10. According to officials, Ferrara was not wearing a seatbelt while driving his 2013 Honda Accord sedan; he died at the scene from blunt-force trauma. According to a report in the Biloxi-Gulfport Sun Herald, police responded at 6:05 pm to a report of a crash with injuries. Ferrara’s car apparently rear-ended another vehicle. The Gulfport Fire Department and American Medical Response were at the crash scene. Eerily, a Friday Facebook posting ostensibly made by Ferrara – known to many from his earlier top 40 programming days as Nick Bazoo indicated simply that at approximately 5:30 pm, he was at Biloxi’s Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. The previous day (Thursday, 1/8), Ferrara made 17 original Facebook posts. Tony Gray had the most succinct – yet possibly the most powerful comment on Ferrara’s home page, with the noted consultant simply writing, “B-97 New Orleans.” Specifically, WEZB “B-97” is the New Orleans station (then owned by EZ Communications) at which operations manager Ferrara (Bazoo) rose to prominence in the early-1980s. He was famously linked to that Louisiana metro. NBC Sports Radio programmer Jack Silver though first met Ferrara in Mill Valley, California in 1984. “He was coming in to flip KMEL from rock to top 40,” Silver recalls. “He and Keith Naftalyhad the vision – I was in the right place to help them as well. Heaven is full of great program directors who touched us all – God rest your soul.” Media Monitors music manager Anita Bonita writes, “Godspeed Mr. Bazoo – you will be missed.” Renowned talk radio consultant Valerie Geller is “so sorry to hear this news – RIP.” According to Giant Records vice president Jean Johnson, Ferrara was, “The consummate Facebook poster. I shared many of your hilarious posts. Rest in peace Mr. Bazoo – taken way too soon.” Legendary voiceover/imaging talent Howard Hoffman sums it up perfectly by stating, “This hurts. Selfless, strong, and just a real honor to work with you, Nick. One of the best field marshals ever and you deserved so much better. I am glad you knew that before leaving us way too soon. Godspeed, friend – thanks for everything.” Longtime industry executive Rob Sisco laments, “Oh my dear sweet Bazoo. I am so profoundly sad to hear this news. You were one of the true good guys. I am proud and honored to have called you friend. You will be missed forever. Rest in peace, Nick.” Former New Orleans programmer Pat Matthews recalls, “Met you when you were just 18 and starting out at WIXO. A funny, talented, caring guy – wow, this is so unbelievable.” Veteran programmer Joel Burke remarks, “You were one of the smartest radio people I knew and had such a contagious laugh – RIP.” Consultant Dan Vallie comments, “Good man – good heart. Rest in peace my friend. Heaven is going to enjoy your sense of humor and big smile.” Yet another twist: A “Life Event” posted on Ferrara’s Facebook page less than two weeks ago – New Year’s Eve (12/31) – states he “started working at retired.” Commencing in 2001 and lasting approximately through 2013, Ferrara was an operations manager in State College, Pennsylvania at Forever Broadcasting and then doing similar duties at cross-town Results Radio (2006 – 2013). In addition to WEZB “B-97,” Ferrara (Bazoo) held the operations manager title at several other New Orleans outlets, including WLMG, WLTS, and WWL. In the mid- and late-1980s, he spent time in California as an OM for KMEL, San Francisco and then Gannett Broadcasting‘s properties in San Diego. Sandwiched between those stops was a two-year stint as operations manager in Pittsburgh for EZ’s WBZZ “B-94.” Information is not yet available regarding Ferrara’s funeral arrangements.
Entercom Names Tara Servatius and Vince Coakley to Morning Radio Posts on ‘WORD 106.3’ in Greenville. At Entercom’s WYRD, Greenville, South Carolina “WORD 106.3,” new morning programming is announced that includes Tara Servatius hosting “The Tara Show” from 6:00 am to 10:00 am followed by Vince Coakley taking over the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show. The new programming begins on Monday, December 8. Entercom Greenville VP and market manager Steve Sinicropi says, “We are energizing morning radio with the launch of these vibrant, live, and local talk shows. Both Tara and Vince will deliver fresh, and thought-provoking commentary on the issues and news our community cares about most. We are excited about fans joining in the on-air conversation on the only Upstate local news/talk station.” Servatius was most recently with Cumulus Media’s WTMA, Charleston, South Carolina. She also worked at Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte. Coakley – also a WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte alum – had been hosting a Sunday afternoon program on “WORD 106.3.” Longtime WYRD personality Russ Cassell – host of the 8:00 am to 12:00 noon program – passed away in October, prompting changes in the morning lineup.
Tom Becka Exits NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha. Two and a half years after joining NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha, Tom Becka announces his contract with the station has not been renewed. Becka posted a podcast on his TomBecka.com site explaining his exit from the station. He tells TALKERS it wasn’t too shocking as he’d suspected his deal was not going to be renewed. As for KOIL, the station’s GM, Andy Ruback, tells the Omaha World-Herald they’ll announce permanent plans for the afternoon drive daypart in the near future. In the interim, the station is airing TRN’s Sam Sorbo program. Tom Becka can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michael Smerconish Options Novel Talk to Warner Bros. The novel published by SiriusXM personality Michael Smerconish about a talk radio host acting out a stereotypical neo-conservative philosophy on the air despite his own convictions in order to be successful,has been optioned to Warner Brothers to become a TV show. Smerconish, who exited AM/FM radio for satellite after a career that included local radio on WPHT, Philadelphia and national syndication via Compass Media Networks, tells Politico that he’s excited about the opportunity. “Like anyone who’s ever written a novel, as I wrote it I envisioned it on the screen. Of course in most cases that doesn’t come to pass and now this looks like it will, and I couldn’t be more excited. I think the story lends itself to TV beautifully. In the world of ‘House of Cards’ and ‘Alpha House,’ I can definitely see ‘Talk’ on a television screen.” Many talk radio practitioners bristle at the implication that conservative talk hosts don’t really believe what they portray on the radio, but just do it because they think that’s what the industry wants. A number of talk professionals also took umbrage with Smerconish’s parting shots at the industry as he left AM/FM for satellite, specifically with his public statements accusing the business of requiring hosts to adhere to an ideologically driven style of talk radio instead of one that addresses issues from multiple perspectives.
Your New PD Gig: D.I.Y. with O.P.M. In a column published today (12/5) in TALKERS, consultant Holland Cooke explains an opportunity that might be perfect for some sales-minded programmers looking to work independently on other people’s radio signals. He’s talking about programming weekend content on a brokered basis. He says, “Parlay your assets into Do It Yourself radio. I’m not talking about podcasting-instead. I’m talking about renting transmitter time. All that many news/talk stations ask of weekend talent is pay-for-play, so consider pay-and-program.” Read more from Holland Cooke here.
Beasley Drops Sports on FM in Tampa. The FM sports talker that CBS RADIO brought to Tampa is gone – playing Christmas music until a new format debuts on January 5. Among Those out with the change at WHFS-FM “98.7 The Fan” are sports talk personalities Anthony “Booger” McFarland, Marc Ryan, Kirk McEwen, Jesse Kage, and Justin Pawlowski. Beasley is still operating WHFS-AM as a sports talker using CBS Sports Radio Network programming.
Odds & Sods. A new podcast from Sports USA featuring former super agent Tom Reich will launch. According to Sports USA president Bob Moore, “Tom and brother Sam Reich bring integrity, respect, experience and a fresh perspective to the podcast and will talk about past stories and current events in their lives and the world of sports.”…..The PAC 5 final game – the prep championship between St. John Bosco and Corona Centennial – will air on LAA 1 LLC-owned KLAA, Anaheim tomorrow (12/6) at 8:00 pm PT. The Emmy-award winning broadcast team of Kevin Turner and Bill Cunerty will call the live play-by-play. The game is being broadcast on the radio for the sixth year in a row on KLAA – home of the Los Angeles Angels and Anaheim Ducks. Fox Sports’ Fred Salas will join the team for the broadcast handling sideline reports and postgame interviews.
Ferguson Aftermath Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of December 1-5. The events that have followed the Ferguson grand jury’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown – including Charles Barkley’s comments and whether to charge Brown’s stepfather Louis Head for inciting a riot – were the top stories on news/talk radio during the week. Following at #2 was the NYC choke hold case tied with the police shooting death of 12-year-old Cleveland youth Tamir Rice. At #3 was the amnesty issue followed by the 2016 presidential candidates at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Minority Workforce in Radio ‘Highest Since Mid-1990s.’ That’s according to a recent RTDNA study by Robert Papper, professor emeritus at Hofstra University. The latest edition of this annual study, titled “Women and Minorities in Newsrooms,” examines the state of minorities and women working in both television and radio news organizations. The minority workforce in radio over the past 24 years peaked in 1995 at 14.7%. Results for this year show the minority workforce in radio at 13%. Breaking down the radio minority workforce, the data show African Americans make up 4.8% of the workforce with Hispanics making up 6.2%. However, Papper concludes that the number of minorities working at non-commercial stations is “two to three times as high” compared to the workforce at commercial stations. Read the entire study here.
Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted. Up Today: Panel Discussion, “Developing and Managing a Talk Show Hosting Career.” Today (7/30) marks the 12th consecutive business day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last month’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014. The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms. The worldwide showing of these very special videos continues today with a panel discussion moderated by TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian titled, “Developing and Managing a Talk Show Hosting Career.” Featured speakers include: Tom Becka, KOIL, Omaha; Ron Hartenbaum, WYD Media; Tom Marr, WCBM, Baltimore; Joe Piscopo, WNYM, New York; and Martha Zoller, WGAU, Athens, GA/Georgia News Network. The session was introduced by noted industry attorney, Steve Weisman, legal editor, TALKERS who compares these days to Charles Dickens’ “best and worst” of times for being a radio talent. Weisman advises those who think these are the worst of times to “get out now, because they are right.” But he also says for those who see it the other way, they are also right — these are the best of times because of all the “unparalleled opportunities” that exist among the changes at hand. Moderator Kinosian sets the tone opening the session with the statement, “As a former program director, the greatest joy I had was dealing with talent. I loved the formatics, the elements… I loved everything about programming a radio station — but nothing interested me more than the talent. What it’s like to be a personality. This [panel] is about personalities on the air, their lives and their profession. I am interested in them as human beings.” To view the entire presentation, please click here. Coming tomorrow: “The Talk Rumble” moderated by Lionel with a special introduction by Dr. Joy Browne. Rumblers include: Bubba the Love Sponge, Bubba Radio Network; Alan Colmes, Fox News Radio/FNC; Mike Gallagher, Salem Radio Network; Thom Hartmann, WYD Media; Joyce Kaufman, WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale; Kevin McCullough, XtreMEDIA; and David Webb, Sirius/XM Satellite Radio. The Talkers New York 2014 conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.
‘Patriot-Made Audiocast’ Celebrates Three Years. Creating American jobs and celebrating the ingenuity that leads to those jobs is the keystone of the mindset of Debra Grobman and Rita Rich, co-producers of the program “Patriot-Made Audiocast.” The show is celebrating its third year of “telling stories about creating, and keeping jobs in America.” Grobman, based in L.A., says, “The ‘Patriot-Made Audiocast’ is a made-in-the-USA podcast production and the appetite for positive stories about American inventors, designers, artists and musicians is great throughout North America. Washington-based Rita Rich, former longtime producer of the Jim Bohannon show, adds, “As I talk to people about their work, I learned that patriotism and pride in being American is the bedrock of so many of their stories.” Some of the people and companies the program has featured so far include: Annie and William Chilakian, mother and son owners of Silver Moon Bay Convalescent Apparel; Victoria Hunter Closson, inventor of The Headbone; Dal LaMagna, the CEO of IceStone; a green flooring and countertop manufacturer; Chris Miceli, marketing director of Porta-Brace customized carry cases; Judy Smith, co-inventor of Wine-A-Rita drink mix; and Laura Wilkenson-Sinton, co-inventor of FreshTape. Grobman adds, “Consumers are looking for fellowship and a sense of connectedness everywhere, including the marketplace. Rita and I present stories that make the people who make stuff and present ideas as more human and real. That way folks will want to spend money on goods made in the USA. If you put a good story behind the things people buy and you make it worth it.”
Chattanooga AM Trio Debuts News/Talk/Sports Format. Operating as Hot News Talk Radio LLC, principals Sab Cupelli and David Tulis are programming a new news/talk/sports format on three Chattanooga signals: WSDT 1240 AM, WEPG 910 AM, WSDQ 1190 AM. The stations are featuring Westwood One’s Don Imus and Dennis Miller, Courtside Entertainment Group’s Laura Ingraham, Premiere Network’s “Coast to Coast AM” plus local programming including “Nooganomics” with David Tulis and various sports programming. Cupelli is an experienced station owner and programmer. Tulis is a veteran business news editor at the Chattanooga Free Press and a talk show host.
One-Week Suspension for ESPN’s Smith. Concrete proof is hardly required to illustrate the kind of ramifications that can result from a sports talk host’s off-the-cuff remarks. Those seeking evidence, however, need only examine two incidents from this month. TALKERS has been following and reporting on the fallout from disparaging remarks WEEI, Boston “Dennis & Callahan” morning show member Kirk Minihane made regarding Fox reporter Erin Andrews. Add to that what happened last Friday (7/25) on ESPN‘s “First Take” when Stephen A. Smith inferred that women should consider how they are the ones who provoke violence against themselves. In a staff memo, ESPN president John Skipper writes that Smith will not appear on “First Take” or ESPN Radio for one week. In the note, Skipper states, “As many of you know, there has been substantial news coverage in the past few days related to comments Stephen A. made in the wake of the NFL‘s decision to suspend Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for two games following charges of assaulting his then fiancée, now wife, a few months ago. Those remarks did not reflect our company’s point of view, or our values. They certainly don’t reflect my personal beliefs. We have been engaged in thoughtful discussion about appropriate next steps. Those conversations have involved a diverse group of women and men in our company. Our women’s ERG has added to the conversation and going forward, I know they will help us continue constructive discussion on this and related issues.” Smith was quoted that his particular remark was, “the most egregious mistake” of his career. According to Skipper, “I believe his apology was sincere and that he and we have learned from what we’ve collectively experienced. I am confident we will all move forward with a greater sense of enlightenment and perspective as the lasting impact of these last few days.” According to Skipper’s memo, Smith will return to ESPN one week from today (Wednesday, 8/6).
Odds & Sods. Joining the Salem Communications Houston operations is 30-year market pro Michael Shiloh who is named news director and morning anchor at the station group that includes news/talk KNTH “1070 The Answer,” business talk KTEK, and Christian talk KKHT…..The University of Houston has a radio flagship for its football play-by-play this season as games will be broadcast on Clear Channel news/talk KPRC, Houston with Kevin Eschenfelder and Ted Pardee in the booth and Jeremy Branham on the sidelines. Cougars football aired on CC’s sister sports talker KBME last season…..Towson University football and men’s basketball play-by-play will air on CBS RADIO’s sports talker WJZ-AM “CBS Sports Radio 1300” this season. In addition to the gamecasts, football coach Rob Ambrose and basketball coach Pat Skerry will make appearances on sister sports talk WJZ-FM “105.7 The Fan.”
Former Marconi Winners to Help Celebrate 25th Anniversary of NAB Honor. In recognizing the 25th anniversary of the NAB Marconi Awards, five former recipients of the honor with be part of the awards dinner and show at the 2014 Radio Show in September in Indianapolis. Ron Chapman, Edgar “Shoboy” Sotelo, Big Boy, and Bob Kevoian and Tom Griswold of the “The Bob & Tom Show” will serve as emcees and presenters throughout the evening on September 11. Helping lead the festivities and serving as presenters will be NAB Radio Board chair Don Benson of Lincoln Financial Media, Radio Show steering committee chair and Cox Media Group‘s Kim Guthrie and NAB Joint Board chair Charles Warfield of YMF Media LLC.
New England Broadcaster Dave Thatcher Dies at 70. Longtime radio personality Dave Thatcher died on July 26 at age 70. Thatcher worked for years in both the Springfield, Massachusetts and Hartford, Connecticut markets. Early in his career he was a morning drive personality in Springfield, working at a number of stations in the market. He also produced talk shows at WHYN and WNNZ in Springfield.
Gaza Violence, Flight 17 Probe/Russian Aggression in Ukraine, Obama Impeachment Move, Immigration Reform/Border Crisis, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Race, Ebola Threat, and Ray Rice Suspension Reaction Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/29). The continuing violence in the Gaza Strip and Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to broker peace; the investigation into the downing of Flight 17 and Russia’s continued involvement in Ukrainian instability; the move to impeach President Obama; immigration reform, amnesty proposals and the crisis at the U.S.’s Southeastern border; the looming mid-term elections and the 2016 presidential race; the renewed threat of the Ebola virus; and the aftermath of the NFL’s two-game suspension of Ray Rice were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Forbes Releases 2014 Celebrity 100 List; Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern Rank. The highest ranking radio personality on this year’s Forbes 2014 Celebrity 100 list – based on fortune and fame – is Premiere Networks-syndicated star Ryan Seacrest (estimated income $65 million), who tied with Sean “Diddy” Combs at #31. Premiere Networks host and TheBlaze founder Glenn Beck comes in close behind at #39 with an estimated income of $90 million. Premiere Networks superstar Rush Limbaugh lands at #59 this year with estimated income of $66 million and SiriusXM icon Howard Stern follows at #62 with $95 million in estimated income. Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity rounds out the radio people this year at #86 with $30 million in estimated income.
Clear Channel Ousts Chet Walker from WHAM, Rochester Morning Duties. After a 35-year career with the station, morning drive co-host Chet Walker is gone from heritage news/talk WHAM, Rochester. WHEC-TV, Rochester reports that station program director Aaron Trimmer confirmed Walker’s departure with the obligatory “We appreciate all of his contributions during his time with us and wish him well” statement and that the station will unveil its new morning show soon. Clear Channel – as with most radio companies – does not comment on personnel matters, but some industry watchers believe the recent spate of dismissals from CC stations due not to job performance but is part of a long, slow parsing of the payroll. This contrasts with previous companywide cuts that had happened en masse and brought about negative PR. The company cut ties with Walker’s former co-host Beth Adams in 2011. She joined crosstown public radio outlet WXXI as local host of the “Morning Edition” program in 2012.
Greater Media Promotes Ryan and Rico to Daily Show at ‘Detroit Sports 105.1.’ Weekend sports talk personalities Ryan Ermanni (left) and Rico Beard (right) are moving from their weekend slot at Greater Media’s sports talker WMGC, Detroit “Detroit Sports 105.1” to the late-morning slot airing from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon beginning Monday, July 7. Greater Media Detroit market manager Steve Chessare says, “Ryan and Rico have been with us since day one and have done a phenomenal job with our weekend coverage. They have had a tremendous run so far and are extremely popular with our dedicated Motor City sports fans.” The pair are replacing ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd. Program director Jason Dixon adds, “We are fired up to give Detroit sports fans even more local sports content. Adding Ryan and Rico to the 10:00 to 12:00 noon slot is the next step in the evolution of ‘Detroit Sports 105.1.’ With Mike and Mike, Ryan and Rico, Matt Dery, Drew Lane and Marc Fellhauer, along with the addition of Detroit Pistons Basketball, I could not be more excited about the future of the station.”
WGN, Chicago Announces Sales Department Changes. As part of a number of sales department changes at Tribune’s WGN Radio, Steve Tarpley is promoted to national sales manager for all Tribune agency markets, excluding New York and Philadelphia, for news/talk WGN and sports talk WGWG-LP “The Game 87.7.” Tarpley continues his role as local AE for WGN. At the same time, sales manager Liz Cullen will take on more responsibilities with the WGN local staff, but continue her national work in New York and Philadelphia. Sales director Jeff Hill comments, “In Steve’s four-and-a-half years at WGN Radio, he has done a tremendous job in building relationships with both his direct and agency clients. I’m very confident that he will have the same success in the national arena.”
SBG Names Rivera-Searles SVP Digital Initiatives; Teases ‘Brand New Day for Radio.’ With the announcement that Edwin Rivera-Searles is named the company’s new SVP of digital initiatives, Sun Broadcast Group, Inc. also promises news later this summer that CEO Jason Bailey says is “the first stage in what will be a brand new day for radio. It was crucial that we brought in the very best to help implement this amazing plan and Ed Rivera is exactly that. He truly ‘gets it’. You won’t find a more well-respected, passionate person in this business and I couldn’t be more excited to finally welcome him to our family!” Rivera comes to SBG from his most recent post as SVP of ad sales for Westwood One. Rivera comments, “Joining the executive team of Sun Broadcast Group is a tremendous opportunity and I’m thrilled to be part of this new phase of growth and development for the company. I’m impressed by what Jason and his team have accomplished in their short history in the network radio space. I look forward to introducing our customized digital solutions to our agency and client partners later this summer.”
More TALKERS Career Moves. Talk radio personality Austin Hill joins the six-station Faith Radio network (owned by the University of Northwestern – St. Paul) as host of the “Austin Hill in the Mornings on Faith Radio” program effective July 7. The program will air from 6:00 am to 8:00 am CT. Hill is also the creator and host of “Austin Hill’s Big World of Small Business,” a syndicated talk show about entrepreneurship and small business ownership…..Programmer Tim Sebean exits SiriusXM Satellite Radio where he was most recently SVP of entertainment and comedy, working with the Opie & Anthony show and others. He’d been with the company for nine years, starting in 2005 as SVP of the Howard Stern channels…..Talk radio pro Paul Harris leaves the Envision Networks-syndicated “America Weekend” program. Harris was one of three anchors for the program. Turi Ryder and Rob Carson remain with the show. Harris also is fill-in personality at CH Holdings-owned KTRS, St. Louis.
Bruce DuMont Steps Aside; Kraig Kitchin Named Chairman of National Radio Hall of Fame. Following through on plans he announced last fall to ease back from some of his responsibilities to the Museum of Broadcast Communications, 70-year-old Bruce DuMont announces he’s resigned from the chairman position of the National Radio Hall of Fame and named new board of directors member Kraig Kitchin to the chairman position. Kitchin, who served as president of Premiere Networks for years, operates his own consulting firm Sound Mind LLC. In his letter to the NRHOF committee, DuMont writes: I appointed new MBC Board member Kraig T. Kitchin to replace me as Chairman — naming MBC Board members Dennis Green and Karole White as vice chairs of the committee. As you know Kraig, Dennis and Karole have all been longtime members of the NRHOFSC. This important move comes in the wake of our recent announcement concerning the November 9th NRHOF induction ceremony taking place in Los Angeles. It underscores the truly national scope of the NRHOF and will extend our reputation more broadly and hopefully our base of support as well.”
Nielsen ‘Audio Demand Landscape’ Study Puts Listeners into Six Categories. The Audio Demand Landscape study was unveiled at Nielsen’s Consumer 360 Conference on June 24. Nielsen concludes from the online survey of a panel of 4,950 Americans between the ages of 18-74 (conducted in English in March) during March 2014 about their audio listening attitudes, motivations, behaviors, habits and preferences, that there are basically six types of audio consumers. (Note that in parentheses is what Nielsen deems each group to be as a percentage of the U.S. population.) They are: “Music Loving Personalizers” (23%) who are passionate music listeners mainly seeking an emotional benefit by listening. They prefer free services and often play music in the background; “Discriminating Audiophiles” (18%) are highly engaged consumers who listen to and prefer a wide variety of audio, and are willing to pay for specific content; “Convenience Seeking Traditionalists” (17%) prefer broadcast radio, listening to their favorite stations and hosts, and they routinely listen in the car; “Information Seeking Loyalists” (15%) are heavy broadcast listeners who usually listen to their favorite talk programs for news, education and to stay informed of current events; “Background Driving Defaulters” (14%) are less engaged and typically have the radio on in the car for background entertainment or occasionally news and information; and “Techie Audio Enthusiasts” (13%) are avid consumers of many types of audio. These listeners are early adopters of new platforms to satisfy their audio needs. Nielsen says that when considering these groups based on the percent of all audio hours of listening they represent, the “Information Seeking Loyalists” and the “Music Loving Personalizers” account for nearly half (47%) of all audio consumption. See more here.
SCBA’s Thom Callahan Addresses Digital ‘Fraud’ in Column. The mandate from marketing departments and ad buyers that more and more money be spent on “digital” platforms is a serious problem for traditional media ad sellers. Southern California Broadcasters Association president Thom Callahan addresses the issue in a blog post titled, “A Responsibility to the Truth.” In the post, Callahan cites a report by web security firm Incapsula that states in its latest annual reports on web traffic that: 1) 61.5% of all web traffic is NON-HUMAN or Bot traffic as it’s called; 2) 38.5% of all web traffic is Human; and 3) 48.1% of all video ads are not heard or seen by humans. Callahan goes on to say that the big problem is there is no transparency in digital advertising. “The sheer size and scope of this fraudulent behavior is costing advertisers over $6 billion a year in wasted advertising to these non-human sites, according to the ad fraud detection firm, White Ops.” Read more of Callahan’s blog post here.
KOIL, Omaha Raises $80,000 for Tornado Disaster Relief. In an effort to assist the residents of Pilger, Nebraska who were affected by the twin tornadoes that moved through the area several weeks ago, NRG-owned news/talk KOIL worked with area pizza restaurants who donated 100% of the proceeds from pizza sales on June 23 to the Salvation Army. Pictured here is KOIL talk personality Tom Becka (center, holding mic) presenting the check to the Salvation Army. On the day of the “Pizza for Pilger,” Becka interviewed Salvation Army officials, pizza purveyors and Pilger residents impacted by the tornadoes.
SCOTUS Hobby Lobby Case; SCOTUS Health Care Workers Union Case, Illegal Immigrants Influx, ISIS Violence in Iraq, Israel-Hamas Clash, Hillary Clinton Popularity Rating/2016 Presidential Possibilities, and World Cup Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/30). Two of the Supreme Court’s decisions, including the Hobby Lobby case and the Illinois Health Care Workers Union case; the looming political battle over the recent influx of illegal minors flooding into the Southwest; ISIS declares Iraq and Syria Islamic states and President Obama sends more troops to Iraq; Israel’s threat of strikes against Hamas after the bodies of three kidnapped teenagers are found; Hillary Clinton’s sinking popularity ratings and speculation about the possible presidential candidates in 2016; and World Cup action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
SCBA Reports 2014 Starting Off Positive. Calling it “solid, steady revenue growth that sets the stage for a strong first quarter for Southern California radio,” Southern California Broadcasters Association president Thom Callahan reports the results of the Miller Kaplan Arase Market Summary report for January 2014 indicating total market revenue for Los Angeles radio grew by 1.7% in January. Callahan adds, “The 1.7% growth rate for January is, of course, good news for our industry here in Southern California, however, a closer look at what made up that growth reveals a market and region that is healthy and growing.” The Miller Kaplan Arase X-Ray report for Los Angeles radio further describes both strong category growth and exceptional new business development in the first month of the New Year. That growth includes: insurance companies – up 152.1%, education – up 61.5%, concerts/theatre/movies – up 54.6%, communications/cellular/public utilities – up 22.7%, and both the auto category – up at 6.3% and health care – up at 6.4%. Callahan says, “New business development was a significant revenue driver for Southern California radio in January and showcases how new advertisers are rediscovering radio and its effectiveness in building brands and market share for their business. With 297 new advertisers spending $7,408,878 in new business in January alone, it’s clear our SCBA member stations are fully engaged in new business development.”
Journal Communications Reports Q4 2013 Numbers; Radio Down 7.2%. That radio figure does include the loss of political advertising and a quirk of the bookkeeping calendar that took a week away in 2013. Accounting for those issues, Journal reports that on a same-station basis, radio revenue was up 0.7% in the fourth quarter and for the whole of 2013 same-station revenue was up 3.7%. The news for national revenue continues to be negative as Journal’s radio stations saw national drop 22.8% in Q4 and dive 8.9% for the entire year. In a statement, chairman and CEO Steven Smith says, “Journal Communications delivered a solid fourth quarter in a non-political year, driven by gains in core revenue in our broadcast group and improving advertising revenue trends in publishing…Consolidated revenue of $107.4 million was up 11% compared to 2012, excluding the extra week and political revenue in 2012.”
WGWG-LP, Chicago Adds Jarrett Payton to Air Staff. The new sports talk outlet Tribune’s WGN, Chicago is building on the leased WGWG-LP signal announces the addition of Jarrett Payton – son of Bears great and NFL Hall-of-Famer Walter Payton – to the afternoon drive show with Harry Teinowitz and Spike Manton. “The Game 87.7” vice president of creative content Todd Manley tells Chicago media writer Robert Feder, “I think Jarrett is way more than sports royalty in this town. He’s the sort of creative, inventive mind that will help us define the future of this brand.” As Feder reports, Payton’s radio experience includes serving as host of Chicago Bears post-game shows on ESPN O&O WMPV, Chicago.
Talk Host Tom Becka Launches Web-based Podcast Series. Talk radio pro Tom Becka holds down the afternoon program at NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha. Now, Becka is debuting his latest venture – a podcast series available at his website TomBecka.com titled, “Tom Becka Podcast.” Becka has a specific goal with regard to the podcast’s subject matter: letting interesting, everyday people tell stories about themselves – things you might never know unless you asked. Some of the fascinating subjects Becka has covered with his podcast project include: a woman named Kaylee talking openly about what it’s like to live with bi-polar disorder; a local man who’s taken his passion for film and started a new career making films; a conversation with a tattoo artist about the tattoo phenomenon; a man with terminal cancer relating his inspirational thoughts about living and dying; a local man who lives every day with Asperger’s syndrome; and many more. Becka says, “Tom Becka.com is a place where every day people are going to be telling their stories…inspirational stories, life lessons, stories about overcoming adversity.” All the subjects for this project are from the local Omaha area, as Becka says, people who may be your friends, relatives or neighbors. Becka is posting a new episode every Sunday. Check it out here.
Michael Harrison on the Road – Next Big Stop: Jerry Del Colliano’s “Media Solutions Conference” in Philly March 26. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will be one of three special guest speakers at noted industry observer and analyst Jerry Del Colliano’s fifth annual Media Solutions Conference set for Philadelphia on Wednesday, March 26. Along with WBEB, Philadelphia (“More FM”) owner Jerry Lee and nationally syndicated Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel talk star Sean Hannity, Harrison will participate in the intensive day-long workshop that will focus on a wide variety of digital-era issues currently facing and challenging radio. These include coming to a better understanding of the Millennial generation, learning to disrupt radio itself before its media rivals do, separating radio’s main product into unique on-air and online categories, effectively using video to generate significant amounts of revenue and much more. Harrison states, “I am really looking forward to participating in this conference and tackling these crucial issues with a bunch of smart people from all ends of the business. Jerry Lee has so much to share about running an independent station in an aggressive, winning way – we could sure use more Jerry Lees in this industry – and Sean Hannity is the very definition of brains and class. One of the things Sean brings to the table is the ability to attract younger listeners to traditional news/talk – he has done quite alright in an area of the field to which most people are actively seeking answers.” The event takes place at Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Hotel. For more information click here.
Odds & Sods. Nationally syndicated progressive talk show host Leslie Marshall does double duty on Thursday (3/6) as she sits in for Thom Hartmann on his nationally syndicated program…..ESPN O&O WMPV, Chicago adds a weekly program covering Major League Soccer and the local Chicago Fire. The show is dubbed “Chicago Fire Weekly” and it’s being hosted by Fred Heubner and will feature contributions from Kevin Egan, analyst for the Chicago Fire’s television broadcasts…..News/talk WNTX, Fredericksburg, Virginia is again being heard on translator W243BS, Fredericksburg after the latter signal carried the “Fred FM” format for the past 11 months. WNTX is owned by Free Lance-Star, currently going through Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization…..Kevin Calabro re-ups with ESPN where he serves as the lead play-by-play voice on the NBA on ESPN Radio. He’ll continue working with lead NBA analyst Jon Barry, as well as PJ Carlesimo and Stan Van Gundy.
Former Nebraska Radio Owner Mitchell Dies at 89. In Nebraska, John C. Mitchell was a decorated broadcaster who was honored with a Pioneer Award from the Nebraska Broadcasters Association and is a member of the Nebraska Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Trained as an attorney who practiced law until he retired in 2001, Mitchell began acquiring radio stations in 1953 with the purchase of KGFW, Kearney – the station at which he worked in high school. Eventually his Mitchell Broadcasting Corporation would own some 14 stations across the state. Mitchell is pictured here at the mic on KGFW.
Crimea-Ukraine Tensions/Obama vs. Putin, ObamaCare Criticism, Israel-Palestinian Talks, The Oscars, Hillary in 2016, and Marijuana Policy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/3). The military incursions into Ukraine and Crimea by Russia and criticism of President Obama’s handling of Vladimir Putin; scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; U.S. pressure on Netanyahu to convene Palestinian peace talks; Sunday evening’s Academy Awards show; speculation about Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016; and marijuana policy in the U.S. were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cumulus to Acquire Merlin Media’s Chicago Signals – WKQX and WLUP-FM. Variations of this deal had been rumored in the Windy City for some time. Scuttlebutt heard in the late fall also had Tribune interested in WLUP-FM due to WGN president Jimmy de Castro’s earlier comments that his company is looking to acquire an FM signal in Chicago. But now it comes to pass that Cumulus Media – for a sum yet-to-be-announced – will bring classic rock WLUP-FM and WKQX (currently adult hits WIQI at 101.1) into the company’s portfolio in addition to the alternative format airing on WKQX-LP. Speaking about the sale, COO John Dickey states, “These great brands will be welcome additions to the two legendary brands we already own in Chicago.” Dickey says the alternative format under calls WKQX will return to the 101.1 frequency as early as next week. The company also has no plans to change the classic rock format on WLUP-FM so it’s unlikely it will put the country NASH format on either station in the near future. The acquisition of the two FM signals from Emmis by Randy Michaels-led Merlin took place in 2011 and the alternative format of WKQX was displaced by a news and talk format that was to target females. The format never took off and was flipped to adult hits a little less than a year later in July of 2012.
Exclusive Never-Before Seen Video of Special Tribute to Bob Grant. In 2008, now-defunct trade publication Radio & Records announced that it was going to present the late Bob Grant with its Lifetime Achievement Award at its then-annual convention. Shortly after making the announcement, the publication rescinded the award in the face of threatened picketers that protested Grant’s selection based on their opposition to his stated views and controversial reputation. WABC, then owned by Citadel and Grant’s home base at the time, stepped up to the plate and decided to present Grant with its own Lifetime Achievement Award. The station, represented by its then-VP of programming, Phil Boyce, asked TALKERS magazine if it would be willing to host the ceremony at its annual conference (then known as the New Media Seminar) in New York City that summer. TALKERS agreed and the ceremony was conducted (amidst protests) at the event’s Friday night cocktail party. It featured the presentation of the award by Boyce and a magnificent acceptance speech by Grant in addition to a stunning video tribute to Grant’s career produced by renowned industry videographer and historian Art “Radio’s Best Friend” Vuolo. After the event, the video was filed away in the TALKERS vaults for posterity and never seen again. Until now, that is. Upon the sad occasion of Bob Grant’s passing at the age of 84 this past New Year’s Eve, TALKERS has made the video available for public viewing. To see this historic document which includes Grant’s discussion of talk radio’s role in a free society, its relationship with the First Amendment and the unconstitutionality of the repressive Fairness Doctrine please see the TalkersTV box at the top of the right hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Fox Sports Radio Goes to Gorman for Afternoons. As far as Fox Sports Radio is concerned, the next wave of sports talk talent may be coming from the world of rock music, as the network fills its weekday 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot with The Black Crowes’ founding member/drummer Steve Gorman. “Steve Gorman Sports” debuts later this month (1/27) with a series of broadcasts leading up to the Super Bowl. According to Clear Channel senior vice president of sports operations Bruce Gilbert, “‘Steve Gorman Sports’ is the perfect combination of sports, passion, pop culture, music and entertainment. Fox Sports Radio is committed to serving sports fans with unique and entertaining insight, stories, and opinions surrounding the natural drama of sports. Steve Gorman is an excellent addition to our leading, multi-platform, sports entertainment lineup.” Gorman comments, “This is an amazing opportunity to be able to work with the one network I always felt was a perfect fit for my show. I know listeners will love hearing athletes and musicians alike talking, laughing, and arguing about our shared passions: sports and music.” Gorman has hosted several local sports shows; he began “Steve Gorman Sports” as a podcast in 2010. With all times listed referring to the Eastern time zone, FSR’s revised lineup consists of: “Fox Sports Daybreak” with Andy Furman & Mike North (6:00 am – 9:00 am); “The Dan Patrick Show” (9:00 am – 12:00 noon); “Jay Mohr Sports” (12:00 noon – 3:00 pm); “Steve Gorman Sports” (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm); J.T. “The Brick” with Tomm Looney (6:00 pm – 10:00 pm); “The Jason Smith Show (10:00 pm – 2:00 am); and “The Ben Maller Show” (2:00 am – 6:00 am).
Carlos Amezcua PM Drive Host at ‘The Patriot’ in Los Angeles. The newly transformed conservative talk outlet KEIB, Los Angeles (formerly progressive talker KTLK), now branded “The Patriot AM 1150,” has a new PM drive host as former KTTV-TV, Los Angeles news anchor Carlos Amezcua joins the station. KEIB’s change includes Premiere Networks nationally syndicated hosts Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck now airing at the station – Limbaugh slid over from sister news/talk KFI – and also includes The Blaze personality Doc Thompson in early mornings and Westwood One’s Clark Howard in evenings.
Genesis Communications Network and Mancow Partner for Syndication. Talk radio personality Erich “Mancow” Muller and Genesis Communications Network are partnering to distribute the Chicago-based morning program. GCN states it is “excited to announce the arrival of the popular Mancow show featuring the notorious Erich ‘Mancow’ Muller and his controversial, snarky, hilarious and hard-hitting brand of talk radio.”
Los Angeles Sports Radio Talent Dave Stone Passes. “This is one of the toughest things I’ve ever written.” With that, iconic Los Angeles sports talk radio/mainstream talk radio programmer and on-air talent Joe McDonnell began his Facebook tribute to longtime Los Angeles sports voice Dave Stone, who passed away earlier this week at age 64. He’d been diagnosed with ALS. “I didn’t even know he was sick, which was typical of Dave,” McDonnell states. “He did not want anyone to fuss over him – even when he was batting a terminal disease. Dave was my first hire when I was putting together ESPN 710 [KSPN, Los Angeles] in 1999 – 2000. He put his heart and soul into everything he did there.” Part of that lineup was “McDonnell-Douglas” consisting of McDonnell and veteran Los Angeles sportswriter Doug Krikorian; Stone did sports updates. “Big Joe” first met Stone in the mid-1970s when they were competing for the job to operate the Dodger Stadium message board. “Dave beat me out, but it became a moment when I met one of the best friends I’ve ever had,” FoxSportsWest.com writer-reporter-columnist McDonnell states. A notoriously famous Lakers fan, McDonnell nonetheless concedes that Stone might have been just as strong of a partisan of the NBA team. “We would spend hours talking about [Jerry] West, [Elgin] Baylor, [Wilt] Chamberlain, Darrell Imhoff, and Archie Clark. If he was a Lakers player, we knew about him.” Stone was the public address announcer for more than 1,400 Harlem Globetrotter performances and McDonnell writes, “If the phone rang at 3:00 am, it might be Dave calling from Singapore to get the score of the Lakers game.” In 1991, Stone was working at Huntsville, Alabama’s WVNN-WZYP and he hired a young afternoon drive talent named Sean Hannity. Mike Dunsmore worked with Stone at Fox Sports Radio from 2007 – 2009 and just this past year at NBC Sports Radio, where Stone was an update anchor. “He had a booming voice, loved the Lakers, and despised [former Lakers player] Kwame Brown,” Dunsmore posts on Facebook. “Dave Stone was a class act.” Former KLOS, Los Angeles program director Rita Wilde – currently doing evenings at cross-town KSWD “The Sound” – writes, “I had no idea he was sick – he was a great guy.” McDonnell rhetorically states of Stone, “You have no idea how much I’m going to miss you.” Services for Stone were held yesterday (Thursday, 1/2) at 2:00 pm in suburban Los Angeles (Simi Valley).
KOIL, Omaha’s Tom Becka Launches Podcast Project. Talk radio pro Tom Becka – currently hosting afternoon drive at NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha – announces the debut of a weekly podcast project that will be featured at his website tombecka.com. Becka tells TALKERS, “TomBecka.com is a podcast page where I interview everyday people with a unique story to tell. Think of it as NPR, but with personality and a pulse. Some of the interviews that are helping me launch this are a woman who’s a breast cancer survivor, a soldier with PTSD, a drag queen, a woman who accidentally found out her bartender was the child she gave up for adoption 27 years ago, and a couple that practices polyamory. Every Sunday I will add another podcast and so far I have a rodeo clown, a man with Asperger’s, and a drummer who has spent most of his life working the cruise ships.” This project allows Becka to step outside of the format of a live, on-air talk radio show but still bring his own personality and style to these interview projects. He says his ability to negotiate keeping ownership of his digital rights has allowed him to work on these types of initiatives.
Odds & Sods. There’s been a minor lineup shuffle at Yahoo! Sports Radio where Sean Salisbury moves to the late afternoon “Prime Cut” show alongside current host John Granato. Leaving that show to host the 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET program is Geoff Ketchum who replaces John Harris…..Compass Media Networks syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt announces changes in his show in a number of markets. In Schnitt’s home market of Tampa, his program will be delay broadcast on WFLA from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm but will air live on sister station WHNZ from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. The show will also shift to early evening clearances on affiliates WQSC, Charleston, South Carolina and WTKS, Savannah, Georgia…..“Labor-Lines,” hosted by Vic Fusco, moves from former progressive talker WWRL, New York to its new home at Salem Communications’ WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” where it airs Saturdays at 1:00 pm.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Cumulus Media Networks-syndicated “Savage Nation” with Michael Savage is added to the programming lineup at KROP, Yuma, Arizona; KVPI, Lafayette, Louisiana; and WGSO, New Orleans…..Compass Media Networks talk host Todd Schnitt joins the program schedule at KNEW, San Francisco…..Rodger Fredinburg’s “Homeland Security” show joins the weekend program lineup at KMED, Medford, Oregon…..The Genesis Communications Network-syndicated Jason Lewis program is added to the program schedule at KNEW, San Francisco…..Also from GCN, the weekly Steve Sanchez program announces its new flagship station KFNX, Phoenix…..“Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge announces new affiliates: WXBR, Brockton, Massachusetts; WQXL-AM/FM, Columbia, South Carolina; KMMS-AM, Bozeman and KPRK-AM, Livingston, Montana; and KMED, Medford, Oregon…..From Salem Radio Network comes the following affiliate additions: Bill Bennett’s “Morning in America” is added to KVTA, Oxnard-Ventura; Mike Gallagher becomes part of the lineup at KGED, Fresno; the Dennis Prager show is added to WEZO, Augusta, Georgia; and Michael Medved joins the programming at WKEI, Kewanee, Illinois and WTIM-FM, Taylorville, Illinois.
Holidays and Year-in-Review Top Talk Topics for Week of Dec. 30 – Jan. 3. The holidays and a look back at 2013 were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Following at #2 was criticism of the Affordable Care Act. At #3 was the poor rating of Congress by the public followed by winter weather and discussions of global warming tied at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a list of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. To view this week’s entire chart, click here.
Still More Positive News/Talk Radio Stories. For the past several days, TALKERS magazine has been writing about some of the individual success stories of news/talk stations that are performing well or even enjoying a ratings bounce during a time when the mainstream media (and some of the trades) are presenting the idea that news/talk radio is dead, dying or, at the very least, suffering from some malady. TALKERS editors believe this too-broad approach to describing the state of a whole radio format that’s heard across an entire continent is detrimental to the industry. And apparently many of the industry’s practitioners agree as we are being besieged with accounts of success from PDs, talent and anonymous station staffers (who want to keep a low profile). Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque has long been a ratings-getter in the market and program director Pat Frisch tells TALKERS things are going particularly well for new PM drive host Scott Stiegler. “He is #1 Persons 25-54 in afternoon drive. It took Stig just six months to take the afternoon show from 8th to 1st in Persons 25-54. They are also listening to the Stig show an hour longer a week than they were six months ago in the key demo.” Frisch also commends Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh for his recent success. “The rock of the station, Rush, is #1 Persons 25-54 and they are listening an hour longer per week to Rush in the key demo, as well. Conservative talk still works and works well if you are a true conservative and stick to your principals.” At NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha, talk radio pro Tom Becka says his story – exiting crosstown KFAB, doing a year in Fargo, and returning to the market on KOIL – is indicative of how success can be achieved without headline-grabbing stats. “We hit our sales quota for the year two months ago and I am beating or competitive with KFAB in my time slot in the demo. Advertisers that are looking ahead to 2014 are putting us in their mix when we were a non-issue at this time last year. I don’t have to beat (Clear Channel’s) KFAB to win. But it is good to know that good local programming that responds to the needs of the listeners still wins.” Reports from KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno (a Peak station soon to be owned by Cumulus Media) indicate the station’s efforts to rebuild its programming after losing Premiere shows to Clear Channel’s new crosstown news/talker have worked in “retaining format leadership in the Fresno market.” Finally, TALKERS is getting reports that the Cox Media Group–WestwoodOne effort syndicating Herman Cain is getting good traction and results. The WSB-AM, Atlanta-based Cain is #5 in that market with Men 25-54 (6.1 share); #1 at WHIO, Dayton with Men 25-54 (10 share); and #3 with Men 18-49 at KRMG, Tulsa (8.1 share). Thanks to all the folks who’ve reported positive news/talk stories over the past few days. We look forward to hearing – and reporting – more of them in the future! For those attending the Talkers Los Angeles 2013 conference at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood next Thursday, this will be one of the focal points of the event.
WQAM, Miami Names Andy King PD; Channing Crowder and Brandon Guzio to PM Drive. Beasley Broadcast Group’s Miami sports talker WQAM fills the afternoon drive slot and program director position that had been open since Jorge Sedano left to join ESPN. The station ups APD Andy King to PD. King started at WQAM in 2005 as producer of the Dan Le Batard show, eventually became executive producer of the Jorge Sedano show and took the position of assistant program director in May 2012. WQAM reports that in King’s first year there, he helped the station grow nearly a full share point in the coveted Men 25-54 target audience. The new permanent PM drive program is the Channing Crowder show featuring the former University of Florida and Miami Dolphins star along with co-host Brandon Guzio. Crowder began his radio career with WQAM while still playing professional football and joined the station full time in October 2012 as co-host of the “Kup & Crowder” show. Guzio joined the station’s Jorge Sedano show in 2013 and is also currently the host of “The Post Game Show” following every Miami Dolphins game. With Crowder moving to afternoons, longtime WQAM personality Captain Curtis Stevenson joins Adam Kuperstein for the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm “Kup & Curtis” show.
Prime Opportunity for Conservative Talker in Seattle. As Bonneville’s conservative talk outlet KTTH, Seattle celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, program director Jason Antebi tells TALKERS he is preparing to add another local talk show to the station’s lineup. Antebi says, “The station has been sharpening its vision – who do we want to talk to, what do we talk about and what unique value can we provide to our listeners? We are passionate about our beliefs, yet we also want to move the community conversation forward in a meaningful way and make a difference where we live and work. I’m lucky to work at a company like Bonneville where we’re able to truly provide a place to passionately advocate for traditional American values (like freedom, community, and personal responsibility) without having to be a bomb-thrower.” Antebi says he’ll be looking for “talk show hosts who feel they have what it takes to stay on top of breaking news with insightful, civil and forward-thinking analysis and constructive conversation.” Those interested in learning more about the position should contact him at email@example.com.
Progressive Talk Radio to Return to Portland on New FM. KXRY, Portland (HERP of 8 watts at 91.1 MHz) is currently dark but owned by not-for-profit Common Frequency, Inc. and is expected to go on the air as a non-commercial station in the near future with a progressive talk and music hybrid format. Writing on BlueOregon.com, Carla Axtman says the goal of “XRAY.FM” is to fill the gap left by the demise of former progressive talker KPOJ. It plans to air former KPOJ AM drive host Carl Wolfson (who is running his own internet station) as well as WYD Media’s Thom Hartman, who made Portland his home base for a number of years. Axtman also writes, “Why the sudden audio activism? October 2013 marks the only opening for new independent radio licenses granted by the FCC – a one-week window after a 15-year battle. Congress has allowed commercial radio stations to snatch up nearly all available frequencies (and the ears of billions of listeners) for a long time. This is XRAY.FM’s chance to bring Thom Hartmann, Carl Wolfson and the music of independent artists back to your local dial. XRAY.FM is partnering with community organizations around Oregon to make sure that the whole state can enjoy the sweet sounds of progressive radio once again.”
Odds & Sods. The Los Angeles Lakers and ESPN agree to extend the club’s relationship with KSPN, Los Angeles “ESPNLA” for another seven years with the station airing Lakers play-by-play through the 2019-2020 season. John Ireland and Mychal Thompson will continue to call the games…..WBBM-AM and WCFS, Chicago part-time anchor and reporter Brandis Friedman leaves CBS Radio to join public television station WTTW-TV, Chicago as a full-time correspondent for the “Chicago Tonight Program,” according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder…..Dave Rutherford begins contributing daily commentaries to Rogers’ CFFR, Calgary. Rutherford exited Corus’ crosstown CHQR where he hosted a talk show prior to the expiration of his contract after he criticized that station’s coverage of the flooding in Alberta in June.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Cumulus Media Networks’ Mark Levin show becomes part of the programming at WEZO, Augusta, Gerogia; KVML, Sonora, California; and WLVA, Roanoke, Virginia…..Cumulus’ Mike Huckabee is added at WGDJ, Albany; KVRC, Arkadelphia, Arkansas; and WBKK, Wilton, Minnesota…..The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “The Wall Street Journal This Morning” is added to the lineup at KOKC, Oklahoma City and KJCE, Austin. Additionally, KFAQ, Tulsa expands its carriage of the show to 4:00 am to 6:00 am…..GCN’s “The Freedom Feens” with Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi is added to the program schedule at WSZL, Barstow, Californnia…..“Armed American Radio” with Mark Walters joins the programming at WGTK, Louisville, Kentucky.
Jennifer Hudson on ABC News Radio. Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson (right) sits down with ABC News Radio’s Joi-Marie McKenzie (left) to discuss her latest movie “The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete” which hits theaters on October 11.
Government Shutdown Tops Talkers TenTM. The shutdown of the federal government and the political battle to re-open was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of September 30 – October 4. Coming in at #2 this week was the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. At #3 was U.S.-Iran relations and at #4 was the IPCC’s climate change report. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.
Premiere Networks Partners with Dave Kolin for Comedy Content. Premiere Networks announces a partnership with comedy production pro David “Dr. Dave” Kolin that will involve a variety of content including services for radio talent, stations, digital outlets, video projects and more. Additional details will be announced in the near future. Premiere EVP of music programming Jennifer Leimgruber states, “Dr. Dave is a fantastically creative person with a demonstrated record of success in a variety of media. We were delighted when the opportunity to work with him presented itself.” Dr. Dave states, “It is a dream come true and the opportunity of a lifetime to be able to apply my talents and skills with people who share the same vision for entertaining consumers in this multimedia world. I look forward to revealing Dr. Dave 2.0.” Kolin’s resume states that he was founder, director and president of DB Communications, Inc., a radio syndication company. That company served as the nucleus for USRN, which he co-founded in 1994. During his time with USRN, he wrote and performed much of the comedy product distributed by the network and served as the executive producer of the comedy department. In addition, he served on the company’s board of directors and executive produced Pulse Comedy Prep. He also has two decades of extensive television credits, including FOX, ABC, HBO and MTV.
John Renshaw Takes Midday Slot at WQAM, Miami. Beasley Broadcasting promotes weekend sports talk host John Renshaw to the daily 10:00 am to 1:00 pm show left open by the departure of Dan Sileo back in early March. According to the Sun-Sentinel, Renshaw will be joined on the air by Miami Hurricanes broadcaster Alex Donno. WQAM program director Jorge Sedano tells the paper the move “made a lot of sense. I know how smart, funny, entertaining and self-deprecating he is. He’s everything you want in a sports talk radio show host.”
Odds & Sods. Fox Sports Radio Network will simulcast the television program, “UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Melendez,” on Saturday, April 20. The fight originates from the HP Pavilion in San Jose and features four fights plus the main event, Benson Henderson versus Strikeforce Champion Gilbert Melendez. Following the fights, mixed martial arts expert Larry Pepe will host a Fox Sports Radio wrap-up show with interviews and call ins from 10:00 pm to 11:00 pm ET…..ESPN Radio will be live from New York next Thursday for the NFL Draft. Coverage begins Thursday, April 25 at 7:00 pm and will feature Mike Hill and Mark Schlereth (pictured here), co-hosts of the network’s Hill & Schlereth evening show. They’ll anchor from Radio City Music Hall and will be joined by ESPN.com senior NFL writer John Clayton and ESPN Draft guru Mel Kiper, Jr. providing analysis of each first-round pick…..The New York Post reports that it is slow going for Al Jazeera’s new American cable news/talk network – the former Current TV it purchased from founder Al Gore. The paper says the Qatari government-owned network’s goal of launching in June is not doable and sources tell the Post it’s looking more like August or September. So far the network has hired former CNN business analyst Ali Veshi and investigative reporter Ed Pound but has not been able to ink a news chief. The piece noted one exec said he felt squeamish about the source of the network’s funding.
KOIL, Omaha’s Tom Becka Channels the Rat Pack. Omaha talk radio personality Tom Becka is pictured here at the Omaha Press Club Show giving attendees at taste of 1960s Las Vegas lounge singing as he does a take-off on Dean Martin’s “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head” with the chorus changed to “there’s better things up ahead.” Becka tells TALKERS magazine, “The show is an annual event that raises thousands of dollars for journalism scholarships. Over the years the show has featured such dignitaries as Chuck Hagel, Warren Buffett, Herman Cain, Bill Gates and others. They asked me to write and sing a song chronicling the year I had, starting with getting fired from Clear Channel, and ending with landing on my feet at NRG Media’s Mighty 1290 KOIL.”
IP in Our Broadcast World: Don’t Fear the Internet. Noted consultant and TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray points out that the subjects of IP and IP codecs are increasingly becoming a major concern among broadcasters — a conversation that quickly escalated when Verizon quietly started telling customers in the northeast that ISDN was soon to be history. In the latest in his enlightening series on the subject (must-reading for programmers and management charged with taking a more hands-on approach to the tech end of things in this new economic environment), Ray responds to a question he heard raised at the recent NAB Show in Las Vegas: “Would you trust your high dollar sports remote to an IP connection over the public internet?” Apparently, CBS television has answered that question in the company’s recent coverage of college basketball’s Final Four. Ray explains how and takes us deeper into understanding the growing importance of IP and IP codecs in the radio broadcasting world. Basically it comes down to embracing the internet, not fearing it – and learning everything you can about IP and IP codecs. To read Tom Ray’s column, click here.
Dial Global and NBC Radio Sports Reps Visit KFWB, Los Angeles. Following last week’s announcement of KFWB, Los Angeles’ new sports talk programming, representatives from Dial Global and NBC Radio Sports stopped by KFWB’s studios in Los Angeles yesterday (4/18) to meet the staff. Pictured (l-r): Diane Sutter, president of the KFWB Asset Trust, co-host Eytan Shander of The Amani & Eytan Show weeknights 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm on KFWB, Dial Global EVP/GM Chris Corcoran, NBC Sports Radio program director Jack Silver and KFWB general manager Valerie K. Blackburn.
WPGG (“WPG Talk Radio 1450”), Atlantic City Wins Benztown Contest to Receive a Year’s Worth of Free Voiceover and Imaging Service. Burbank, California-based syndication and imaging company, Benztown tells TALKERS that Townsquare Media-owned Atlantic City radio station, WPG Talk Radio 1450, is the winner of its “Love Your Station, Elevate Your Sound” contest. The news/talk station will receive a full year of free voice-over services from voice-over icon, Joe Cipriano. WPGG will also receive a full year of free professional imaging services from the company. WPGG PD/brand manager Chris Coleman, explains “I was a huge fan of Benztown before winning the contest. WPGG went on the air this past October (six days before Hurricane Sandy passed over Atlantic City) and when I was building the station, I wanted and needed a big, news/talk voice. However, with a tiny budget, I was really concerned that how I wanted the station to sound wasn’t going to be possible… then I found Benztown. Through Benztown, I was able to hook up with Greg O’Neill, who is nothing short of excellent to work with. Being able to launch a news/talk station with the voice of Fox News made us sound HUGE on day one.” Coleman continues, “Fast forward a few months and I found Benztown’s “Love Your Station, Elevate Your Sound” contest and entered it. Much to my surprise, Masa Patterson called me and told me I won! Being the PD/brand manager of a six-month-old news/talk station that has access to two of the biggest voice-over guys in the country, on top of the world-class imaging and production that Benztown has to offer, is truly amazing.” In addition to being the PD/brand manager of WPGG, Coleman also handles afternoon drive on Townsquare’s country station and is the production director for their five-station cluster. No doubt, his prize will come in handy!
Blanquita Cullum Continues to ask The Hard Question. Controversy continues to surround the future of the Keystone Pipeline. Is the pipeline a symbol of an environmental movement? Or is the country about to capitalize on the greatest economic opportunity from our neighbor to the North – Canada. The second in the series of “The Hard Question” debates hosted by talk radio veteran and former U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors member Blanquita Cullum recently (4/10) tackled the critical discussion over the Keystone Pipeline at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Participants included U.S. Senator Don Nickles (retired, R-OK); U.S. Senator Bryon Dorgan (retired, D-ND); Anthony Swift, Natural Resource Defense Council; Chris Faulkner, Breitling Oil & Gas; Doug Cain, Lake Truck Lines; Brian Ambrose, Vencedor Energy Partners and Lane Sloan, Greater Houston Partnership. To view highlights of the debate click here. “The Hard Question” is a weekly TV news program and quarterly debate series hosted by Blanquita Cullum to get to the root of critical energy issues that impact the US and the world. The pilot TV programs were aired on June 24th and July 15th in 2012 on KTRK-TV (ABC) in Houston and won the top spots in their time periods. The program will go national in 2013 on MHz Networks national channel and plans are in place to launch a radio/audio version of the program.
CBS Radio Philadelphia Gets a Jump on Earth Day. Tomorrow (4/20) CBS Radio Philadelphia will be involved in its Fourth Annual Earthfest Celebration in partnership with the Clean Air Council. The 5K Run for Clean Air is Philadelphia’s leading green run. For 2013, the Run’s Earth Day Celebration has moved to the base of the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps. CBS Radio participation will include the KYW Newsradio Kidcast Mobile Studio, presented by United Healthcare, on-site. This opportunity gives kids a chance to be a KYW news anchor. Kids can download and listen to their very own news report, and share it with family and friends. Sports talk WIP’s “Tailgate Team” will offer participants the opportunity to play games to win prizes and get involved in a sports conversation about all the Philadelphia sports teams. 98.1 WOGL’s Ross Brittain will be providing “music and fun for everyone.” Talk Radio 1210 WPHT “Big Money” host Steve Cordasco, will present his weekly radio program live from 7:00 am to 10:00 am. Steve will discuss the growing popularity of green or socially conscious investing. Over the past 32 years, the 5K Run for Clean Air has grown into Philadelphia’s largest Earth Day Celebration. Earth Day is Monday April 22.
Boston Marathon Bombing the Top News/Talk Story for the Week of April 15-19. The bombing at Monday’s Boston Marathon and the subsequent deaths and injuries were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, landing atop the Talkers TenTM for the week. Following at #2 was gun legislation activity in Washington. At #3 was the immigration bill debate followed by the DC ricin incidents at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s chart here.
Talk Radio Network Signs Sun Broadcast Group as Rep Firm. Boca Raton, Florida-based Sun Broadcast Group and Talk Radio Network agree to have the former provide national advertising sales representation and assist in station affiliation for all products of Talk Radio Network effective immediately. Sun CEO Jason Bailey says, “In this day of safe, personality-driven radio, the stable of talent that TRN continues to expand is something we are very proud to present to our agency partners. From new entertaining talk products to amazingly produced long-form news, I believe the iconic brands that have put their faith and trust in Sun over these last several years will be excited to become part of this new direction in network programming.” Talk Radio Network CEO Mark Masters states, “We look forward to a long and prosperous alliance with Sun Broadcast Group. Jason and his team understand what it takes to succeed in radio today. We are pleased that our products will be well represented with Sun as we continue to grow each and every one of the TRN companies.”
Clear Channel Simulcasts New Hampshire News/Talk Outlets. With the arrival of New Hampshire news and talk pro Jack Heath for mornings at WGIR, Manchester and WQSO, Rochester-Portsmouth, New Hampshire two weeks ago, the stations are now a complete simulcast and WQSO re-brands as “News Radio 96.7” It had been branded “96.7 The Wave.” Heath joined the stations from WTPL, Concord, New Hampshire where he’d been for the past five years.
KOGO, San Diego Moves LaDona Harvey to AM Drive with Chip Franklin. Early afternoon talk host LaDona Harvey moves to the AM drive show alongside Chip Franklin at Clear Channel’s news/talk KOGO, San Diego. Taking Harvey’s place in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot is evening host Bob “Sully” Sullivan.
Odds & Sods. Omaha talk show host Tom Becka, who recently returned to the market at NRG Media’s KOIL after a year heading up an FM talk station in Fargo, is profiled in the March/April edition of Omaha Magazine…..WGN, Chicago “Noon Show” host Carol Roth is hired by cable business news/talk network CNBC as a regular on-air contributor. Roth says she will contribute written pieces for CNBC.com. She will continue her role at WGN…..Journal Broadcasting’s WTMJ, Milwaukee brings Jon Meerdink aboard as a news reporter. He comes to Brew Town Bliss Communications’ Janesville, Wisconsin stations.
Broadcasters Foundation of America Raises $375,000 at “Golden Mike Award” Ceremony. The Broadcasters Foundation of America raised $375,000 to help broadcasters in need at the BFoA 2013 Golden Mike Award ceremony honoring David J. Barrett, chairman and CEO of Hearst Television, Inc at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on Monday evening. The event was hosted by legendary sports broadcaster and voice of the San Francisco Giants Jon Miller. Joining him as presenters were popular media personalities Steve Harvey and Dr. Mehmet Oz along with Barrett’s son Casey, former president and CEO of Post-Newsweek Stations. Also taking part were 2011 Golden Mike winner Alan Frank and Hearst Television president Jordan Wertlieb. Ellen DeGeneres provided some laughs via a video presentation, as did Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan. Singer Darlene Love provided entertainment. Pictured here are (from l-r): Phil Lombardo, chairman, Broadcasters Foundation of America; Steve Harvey; Jim Thompson, president Broadcasters Foundation; Dr. Mehmet Oz; Darlene Love; 2013 Golden Mike Award Recipient David J. Barrett and Jon Miller. The Broadcasters Foundation has provided millions of dollars in aid to colleagues who lost their livelihood through a catastrophic event, debilitating disease, or unforeseen family tragedy. Individual membership is only $150 a year. Donations also can be made to the Guardian Fund, and corporate contributions are accepted through the Angel Initiative. For more information, to apply for a grant, or to make a contribution, please visit www.broadcastersfoundation.org or call 212-373-8250.
Dan Patrick Show at Buffalo Wild Wings. KLAC, Los Angeles “AM570 Fox Sports LA” listeners and DIRECTV viewers turned up nearly 2,000-strong to meet sports media personality Dan Patrick and the cast of his DIRECTV/Fox Sports Radio program at Buffalo Wild Wings in Huntington Beach, California on Saturday, February 23. Fans lined up to meet Patrick and the Danettes, who spent three hours shaking hands, taking photos, and signing memorabilia during the event. Attendees were treated to the restaurant’s infamous wings and Patrick even stepped behind the bar to serve a few drinks. Patrick is pictured here posing with the staff of the restaurant.
Sequestration Battle, Manti Te’o Gay Controversy, ICE Undocumenteds Release, BP Civil Trial, and Cannibal Cop Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/27). The Washington PR battle over the looming sequester; the issue of football star Manti Te’o and homosexuality in pro sports; the release of undocumented aliens in response to the sequester; the BP civil trial; and the cannibal cop case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Old Pals. KIDO, Boise morning show host Kevin Miller (right) poses for a shot with HLN star Nancy Grace (left). Miller has contributed to Grace’s program over the years and had the opportunity recently to catch up with her.
Norm Pattiz to Address Industry at Talkers New York 2013. The list of major speakers continues to grow as Courtside Entertainment CEO Norm Pattiz joins the roster of industry leaders who will be speaking at “TALKERS New York 2013,” the 16th annual installment of talk radio’s longest-running and most important annual convention. Pattiz will deliver a solo address titled, “From Westwood One to Podcast One.” He will discuss the challenges facing broadcast radio companies as they integrate their product lines into a workable balance between on-air and digital venues with the focus being monetizing radio on the internet. In the past year, Westwood One-founder Pattiz’s Courtside Entertainment has shown aggressive growth – offering such personalities as Dr. Drew Pinsky, Laura Ingraham, Bill O’Reilly and more to its affiliates. The company’s recent signing of Ron Paul to a talk radio deal has been a big source of buzz and the industry anxiously anticipates the coming internet launch of Podcast One – an online initiative of Pattiz’s Launchpad Digital Media. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “The subject of balancing the interests of on-air and online radio broadcasting with the focus on revenue generation has never been more important in the radio industry conversation than it is right now. Norm Pattiz brings extraordinary historical background as well as future-based vision to the discussion. His participation adds to this being the most important TALKERS event ever.” More headliners will be named in the coming days along with the 50-plus speakers that will be participating in the conference. The event is set for Thursday, June 6, 2013 at the Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side. Registration for the day including all activities and food service is $199 per person. An advance sellout is expected due to space limitations. Registration is limited to members of the working media and can only be taken via telephone. For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413. Complete agenda details are being posted daily. Stay tuned.
SiriusXM and WOL, Washington Talk Host Joe Madison to Interview Barack Obama Today. Assuming the president’s schedule doesn’t take a sudden turn in another direction, SiriusXM-based Joe Madison, whose AM drive show is also heard on Radio One’s WOL, Washington, DC, will tape an interview with him for airing, presumably tomorrow. The subjects covered will include Black History Month, a follow-up on the State of the Union and other topics. President Obama — certainly not considered the most radio-friendly president by conservatives – has actually done a lot more radio than many of his recent predecessors. The president has appeared on Madison’s show in the past, been interviewed by WYD Media-syndicated personality Michael Smerconish and has appeared on numerous music-formatted morning programs.
Radio Station Staffers Pre-occupied with Job Security. This gets in the way of paying attention to important trends and information vital to competing and growing successfully during these times of rapid technological and cultural change. Noted consultant Walter Sabo makes this key point in his latest article for TALKERS in which he cites five significant trends of importance to radio broadcasters. They include the importance of video to radio online and sales presentations, the radio host as owner of intellectual property, the still-untapped female market in spoken word radio, and the emergence of the listener as a media star. Sabo suggests not asking listeners to “like” you on Facebook or “follow” you on Twitter. Instead, he says you should be offering to like and follow them! Read the entire article here.
Don Backus Named Eastern Region Sales Manager for Broadcast Electronics. Broadcast Electronics (BE) announces the promotion of Don Backus to Eastern Region sales manager. In this new role he’ll represent BE’s RF and studio lines, which include AudioVAULT, Commotion and The Radio Experience (TRE) studio brands as well as BE’s AM, FM and HD Radio™ transmitter lines to customers in the East. Previously, Backus represented Commotion, a Broadcast Electronics company, as vice president of global market development. Backus will continue his efforts with Commotion, increasing the company’s presence in new global markets. BE VP of studio products Ray Miklius says, “Don’s education, experience, and extensive knowledge of the radio industry will serve radio broadcasters well as they look to improve their operations.”
Father-Son Sports Talk Webcast to Get Terrestrial Outlet in Las Vegas. The Las Vegas Review-Journal spotlighted a local father-son team who have been hosting a weekly, two-hour sports talk podcast on the local Las Vegas internet site lvrocks.com. Now the duo of Bryan Feldman and his son Jaycob are planning to have their Sunday evening show air on Lotus Broadcasting’s KLAV, Las Vegas beginning March 3. Bryan Feldman previously worked in radio for CBS/Infinity. His bio says he’s hosted talk shows and worked as a marketing specialist with pro sports teams including the Detroit Lions, Detroit Tigers and the Detroit Red Wings.
Holland Cooke to Speak About Social Media at NAB Show in Las Vegas. Consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke confirms: “Take it literally! We’ll FEED YOU” at the Lunchtime Social — as in Social Media — Wednesday, April 10, at the National Association of Broadcasters NAB Show convention in Las Vegas. NAB will provide box lunches to attendees at this interactive 90-minute session, where HC will demonstrate how radio stations and radio and netcast talent are using Social Media “to grow audience reach, deepen the relationship you have with ‘your tribe,’ and MAKE MONEY.” For more information, click here.
The Broadcasters Foundation of America to Honor David J. Barrett at Golden Mike Award Ceremony. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces it will present its 2013 Golden Mike Award to David J. Barrett, chairman and chief executive officer of Hearst Television Inc., at a gala to benefit the Foundation on Monday, February 25 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. Legendary sports broadcaster Jon Miller will host the event, which will include presentations by comedian, author and talk show host Steve Harvey and “America’s Doctor,” Dr. Mehmet Oz. Iconic singer and actress Darlene Love will perform. The annual gala is the year’s top fundraiser for the Foundation, which supports broadcasters who can no longer work due to a catastrophic event, illness or family circumstances. The Award honors exemplary service to the industry.
NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha to Host Mayoral Debate. The five candidates in Omaha’s mayoral race will take part in a debate to be held at the University of Nebraska-Omaha on Thursday, March 14 7:00 pm and the event will be broadcast live on NRG Media’s KOIL. NRG Media personality Mike’l Severe will serve as moderator and KOIL personalities Tom Becka and Clint Bellows along with KETV City Hall reporter Todd Andrews will question the candidates. KOIL program director Neil Nelkin says, “This is a hotly contested race for mayor as we have several critical issues in the city of Omaha that will dictate the future direction of the city including employment and education.” The station says a limited number of tickets will be available to the public via the KOIL website and that Tom Becka will provide listeners with free tickets during his program.
Odds & Sods. Former Vice President Al Gore will appear on SiriusXM’s “Town Hall” series to promote his new book, The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change (Random House 2013). He’ll be interviewed before a studio audience by Ari Rabin-Havt, who hosts “The Agenda” on the satcaster’s progressive talk channel…..MLB’s Oakland A’s ink a multi-year deal with CBS Radio’s KHTK, Sacramento to air their games on the sports talk station…..The National Association of Broadcasters are announcing that CBS TV journalist Bob Schieffer will receive the NAB Distinguished Service Award during the 2013 NAB Show. Schieffer will accept the award at the opening keynote session on April 8 in Las Vegas.
Sequester Issue, Gun Legislation, Jesse Jackson, Jr. Guilty Plea, Oscar Pistorius Case, and Storm Q/Climate Change Debate Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/20). The battle in Washington over the sequester issue; ongoing debate over gun legislation proposals; Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr.’s guilty plea in his illegal campaign funds usage case; the Oscar Pistorius murder case and Winter Storm Q/climate change controversy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Day 1 from the Arbitron Client Conference. Radio consultant Holland Cooke is covering the Arbitron Client Conference for TALKERS. Three major points stuck out at yesterday’s sessions: 1) RAB president Erica Farber noting that agencies don’t have “radio” departments anymore, they have “audio” departments; 2) using social media is imperative but it must have a three-pronged purpose of creating brand awareness, expanding listenership and maintaining listener loyalty; and 3) stations in PPM markets must work hard to create more occasions of listening from P1s in order to build share growth. Read Holland Cooke’s report from Annapolis here.
Clear Channel’s Ken Charles Moves from Miami to Sacramento. The longtime Clear Channel spoken-word programmer – who also serves as the national brand coordinator for news/talk and sports – takes on the vice president of programming role at the company’s six-station cluster in Sacramento that includes news/talk KFBK and KSTE. Charles has programmed Clear Channel Media and Entertainment news/talk stations in Atlanta and Houston in addition to his most recent post in Miami. Sacramento market manager Dave Milner states, “We are extremely excited to have Ken leading the programming and brand strategies for Clear Channel Sacramento. His experience and passion, combined with our excellent team of professionals will certainly make for a winning combination.” Charles replaces Alan Eisenson who exited the Sacramento cluster last week.
Jim Bohannon Signs Contract Extension with Dial Global. Washington, DC-based overnight and early morning talk radio personality Jim Bohannon signs a new contract to extend his national syndication deal with Dial Global. Via his eponymous overnight talk show and the early-morning “America in the Morning” program, Jim Bohannon is heard on more than 500 affiliates across America. Commenting on his new, multi-year extension, Bohannon says, “I’m delighted to re-up with Dial Global at a time of exciting new opportunities for our industry. As the economy and marketplace forge ahead, I’m eager to work with the many fine sponsors and affiliates of the Jim Bohannon show and ‘America in the Morning.’” Dial Global EVP of news and talk programming Bart Tessler states, “We are thrilled that the hardest-working man in radio is continuing his relationship with his loyal audience and sponsors from sunrise to, well, sunrise. Jim’s ‘militant moderate’ attitude is needed on radio now more than ever.”
Talk Pro Tom Becka Expands Program at KOIL, Omaha. Last week Tom Becka announced he would be leaving his position at KRWK, Fargo “101.9 Talk FM” where he serves as program director and morning drive host. Now, Becka and NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha make public his expanded program at the station. Since moving to Fargo to work on KRWK, Becka had maintained an Omaha presence with an afternoon program on KOIL (piped in from Fargo). Now, Becka returns to the city where he has family and friends and begins an expanded 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm afternoon show on January 2. Operations manager Jeff Lynn says Becka’s program on KOIL has grown significantly on the station – the adults 35-64 demo is up 26% during the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot in which his show is currently airing. Lynn states, “We have no doubt Becka will continue to deliver tremendous results due to his massive appeal with our listeners. He attracts a responsive audience that is loyal to the core and I am confident they will appreciate his expanded timeslot.” On his return to Omaha, Becka says, “1290 has been an ideal home for me – I know Omaha, Eastern Nebraska, and the topics people care about in the local market. This station has provided me with an arena to not only engage our listeners in new ways, it has provided an outlet for talk and conversation that is more in-depth and comprehensive so listeners get what they want from the show.”
Opinion: Bob Costas Criticism Goes Overboard. One of the hot topics of the week – on both sports talk and news/talk radio – is Bob Costas’ comments on the Jovan Belcher tragedy that aired on NBC on Sunday evening. WFAN, New York host Richard Neer writes that much of the criticism – especially that which demands Costas be fired – is absurd. “Are we at such a point in our public discourse that anyone who takes a stand with which we disagree should lose his job? Can we not have a sane discussion about guns without evoking black helicopters and UN takeovers?” Read Richard Neer’s entire piece here.
CBS Announces Plans for Super Bowl Park. The image you see here is the entrance to CBS Super Bowl Park at Jackson Square in New Orleans as the company prepares to cover this year’s Super Bowl. The broadcast giant’s eight subsidiaries — CBS Sports, CBS Entertainment, CBS News, CBS Sports Network, SHOWTIME Sports, CBSSports.com, CBS Sports Radio and CBS Television Distribution – will feature programming from the site of the NFL championship during the week leading up to the big game. CBS Corporation president and CEO Les Moonves says this sets a new standard for the company, “The Super Bowl is the granddaddy of big event television, and our approach this year is unlike anything we have ever done. For the first time, CBS Corporation will have week-long, round-the-clock Super Bowl coverage on more than a half-dozen platforms. Creating CBS Super Bowl Park at Jackson Square as the center of all this activity will make it even more compelling, and also illustrate the collaborative efforts across the company.” The broadcast center will consist of four outdoor sets inside Jackson Square shared across the various shows. The sets were designed to reflect the history and architecture of New Orleans. A fifth set will be located across the street in Washington’s Artillery Park for the CBS affiliates.
Clear Channel Tallahassee Names Jeff Wolf PD for WFLA-FM and WNLS. Taking over for Matt Millar, who exited the radio business, Jeff Wolf comes to Clear Channel’s Tallahassee cluster from Border Media Partners’ Austin, Texas stations where he served as OM for the cluster. Wolf will program news/talk WFLA-FM “Tallahassee’s Talk Radio” and sports talk WNLS “1270 The Team.” Operations manager Jeff Horn says, “We are very excited that Jeff chose to come lead our talk brands in Tallahassee.”
Sabo Media’s Internet Radio Initiatives Signs Aircheck.US. Sabo Media president Walter Sabo announces his company’s Internet Radio Initiatives division is working with Aircheck.US to help build the company’s business model and help identify new revenue and content opportunities. Sabo notes that Aircheck.US – using skilled, entertaining radio performers – will be a viable opportunity for advertisers seeking a blended marketing opportunity of proven media talent and new digital platforms. Every radio star has considered what they would do if they had complete on-air freedom. Historically experienced on-air celebrities produced the most cutting edge radio, such as free form in the 1960’s. Underground radio was launched by Top-40 stars such as Murray the K, B. Mitchel Reed, Tom Donahue and Scott Muni. Sabo says he believes Aircheck.US CEO and founder Erica Lee “has given these proven performers a stage, respect and the freedom to use their expertise to build an audience around the world, online. I look forward to helping her refine her business and achieve her goals.”
Greater Media’s WTKK, Boston to Broadcast Radiothon to Benefit Fisher House. With the support of his fellow WTKK talk show hosts, Michael Graham is leading the “5th Annual News Talk 96.9 Fisher House Radiothon” today from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm. WTKK personalities Jim Braude, Margery Eagan, Doug Meehan, Michael Smerconish, and The Andelman Brothers from Phantom Gourmet will join Graham in the effort. He says, “The war in Afghanistan may not be in the headlines, but our brave women and men are still there, serving at the front lines. From Afghanistan to Yemen, we send our troops into harm’s way every day. When harm does come, the Fisher House lets us take care of them.” WTKK says Graham will broadcast from 12:00 noon to 7:00 pm with wall-to-wall guests, including: Fisher House families, Senator Scott Brown, Bill O’Reilly, Dennis Miller, Glenn Beck, Ray Romano, Rob Schneider, Ted Nugent, former New England Patriots player Matt Light, Gold-winning gymnast Aly Raisman, Fox 25’s VB, Playmate of the Year Jaclyn Swedberg, Comedian Chris Zito and many more.
The Conclave Announces 2013 Scholarship Opportunities. The Conclave’s 2013 Radio and Music Industry Scholarship Program provides more than $50,000 worth of opportunities for students. The organization states that since 1979, in keeping with its mission of educating the broadcast industry, it has awarded over $1 million in scholarships to worthy students desiring an education in the radio and music industries. The detailed scholarships are: to Brown College in Minneapolis, Specs Howard School of Media Arts in Southfield, Michigan, and to McNally-Smith College of Music in St. Paul. The Brown College Dennis Becker Memorial Scholarship covers tuition for the Radio Broadcasting Associate of Applied Science Degree, and is worth $17,000. The Specs Howard Bill Gavin Memorial Scholarship includes tuition, application fees, and books for the Diploma Program in Radio-TV Broadcasting, and is worth $15,000. The McNally-Smith Music Business Scholarship is valued at up to $20,000. Conclave executive director Bob Shannon says, “In our current economy scholarship dollars are truly a gift with impact. I’m thankful to the schools and organizations that have graciously stepped forward to help. In a larger sense, the scholarships embody the very essence of the Conclave’s mission: to create a learning environment that actually makes a difference for those interested in 21st Century media.” All Conclave scholarships will be awarded during the 38th Conclave Summer Learning Conference, July 17-19, 2013 in Minneapolis.
Cool Job Opportunity. The major qualification for this position is the ideal candidate must be fluent in Mandarin. This is a consulting opportunity for someone with experience in talk radio who speaks the Chinese dialect. Send your relevant information to Michael Harrison at TALKERS magazine – firstname.lastname@example.org – and we’ll pass it along. All responses will be kept confidential.
Washington’s ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle, Syria’s Chemical Weapons Threat, Egyptian Unrest, and Bob Costas Gun Comment Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/5). The ongoing debate in Washington over how to avoid the “fiscal cliff”; Syria’s readying of sarin gas and threats to use it on rebel forces; the violent protests against Egypt’s Mohamed Morsi; and backlash against NBC’s Bob Costas in response to his guns comments were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
November PPMs Generally Good to Talk Radio. You can call it the “election bounce” if you like but some of the news/talk stations that did well in Arbitron’s November 2012 PPMs were ramping up in October and before. Plus, the fall has traditionally been a good ratings period for news/talk whether there’s an election or not. Of course, Hurricane Sandy played a major factor for stations in the New York and Middlesex-Somerset-Union markets. Some of the stations worth noting include CBS Radio’s New York all newsers WCBS and WINS which jumped from a 3.8 to a 5.3 and a 4.0 to a 4.8, respectively. Clear Channel’s Los Angeles talk juggernaut KFI continues to thrive inching up to a 5.3 from a 5.1 the month prior. Cumulus Media’s Chicago news/talker WLS bounced back up to a 4.1 after posting a 3.7 in October. Likewise in Dallas-Fort Worth for Cumulus as WBAP-AM/FM pops up a half share to a 3.9. Clear Channel’s KTRH, Houston rose from a 3.4 in October to a 4.1 in November. In Washington, DC Cumulus’ WMAL-AM/FM jumped from a 3.4 to a 4.2. In Philadelphia, Merlin Media’s WWIQ hopped from 2.7 in October to a 3.6 in November. Cox Media’s WSB, Atlanta – which has been maintaining healthy numbers in the PPM for some time – vaults from a 6.8 to an 8.3 this month. Cumulus’ Detroit talker WJR rose more than a full share from a 4.8 to a 5.9. Public radio outlet KUOW, Seattle claimed the top spot in the November PPMs with a 5.5 share. Clear Channel’s KFYI, Phoenix went up a full share from a 4.9 to a 5.9. Mixed results in Baltimore as Hearst’s WBAL fell from a 5.7 to a 5.0 while WCBM rose from a 3.0 to a 3.8 share. Good news for pubcaster KOPB, Portland which went from a 5.3 to a 6.2 while Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL jumped from a 4.8 to a 5.5 share. Clear Channel’s WPGB, Pittsburgh leaped a full share from a 6.9 to a 7.9 share while its Sacramento sister KFBK also enjoyed a significant rise from a 5.6 to a 6.8 share. In the New Jersey market of Middlesex-Somerset-Union, Townsquare Media’s New Jersey 101.5 (WKXW, Trenton) posted an outstanding 8.6 – up from a 6.2 in October – with help, no doubt, from Hurricane Sandy. TALKERS’ sister publication RadioInfo has all the PPM data including Mike Kinosian’s analysis of the numbers. You can find that here.
Laura Ingraham Back on Radio “Soon.” That’s what the author, pundit and talk show host told Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly. During one of Laura Ingraham’s regular appearances on Fox News Channel with O’Reilly, he questioned her status in the talk radio world and she told him she will be back on the radio with another syndicator (she left Talk Radio Network at the end of her contract on Tuesday) very soon. “I’m close to signing a new deal. I’m very, very close. But I’ll be back on the air probably in the next several days.” Ingraham told O’Reilly she informed TRN she would be “terminating the deal” months ago and that it was time to move on.
Talk Host Tom Becka to Exit KRWK, Fargo “101.9 Talk FM.” Talk radio pro Tom Becka has been serving as program director and talk show host at KRWK, Fargo since it flipped from rock to talk in March of this year. Becka tells the Fargo Forum he’s returning to Omaha where he’s worked for years and has family. Becka says any notion his departure has anything to do with the performance of the new format is not correct. “The station has grown every month. My experience with Radio Fargo-Moorhead was great and I’m proud of what we accomplished here in a short time. To say I’m leaving because of ratings would be erroneous.” Radio Fargo-Moorhead is selling its cluster of stations to Midwest Family Communications. The FCC has approved the license transfers but according to one source, the actual takeover may not happen until the spring.
Todd Schnitt Show to Leave Flagship WFLA, Tampa. Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt Tweets that his program – airing live from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm – will be off longtime flagship WFLA, Tampa after the December 18 program. Schnitt further Tweets that the national syndication continues and is expanding under syndicator Compass. No word what CC has in mind for afternoons at WFLA. Currently, it delay-broadcasts Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm but may have plans to move Hannity to the live PM drive slot.
Jim Isabella Named Evening Host at WNIR, Akron. Journalist Jim Isabella has been doing fill-in work for WNIR for the past two years. He now takes over the evening show formerly hosted by the late Tom Erickson who died on November 3 after a long illness. Isabella most recently worked for the Akron Beacon Journal. Station owners Bob and Bill Klaus note in a press release that Isabella, who was a frequent caller to the show hosted by the late Howie Chizek who passed away suddenly in June, made them more aware of his talents during his fill-in time in addition to receiving positive response from the station’s listeners.
Odds & Sods. Watch for Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk host Andy Dean from the network’s “America Now with Andy Dean” on Fox News Channel’s “America’s News HQ” this Sunday at 4:45 pm ET as he sits in a panel discussing the latest headlines in news and politics…..SiriusXM brings the Major League Baseball winter meetings to listeners via its MLB Network Radio and SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio channels. The meetings take place in Nashville December 2 through 6 and the satcaster will have front office experts Jim Bowden, Jim Duquette and Steve Phillips there hosting various programs with other special expert guests including former pitcher Jeff Nelson.
Bubba the Love Sponge Offers Reward for Arrest of Animal Abuser. After hearing about the case of a dog found in the Bradenton, Florida area that had been attacked by someone with an axe, radio star Bubba the Love Sponge put up $1,000 of his own cash on top of the $500 being offered by the Animal Network for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible. After hearing about the case, Tampa-area philanthropist Gary Kompothecras of the legal and medical referral service 1-800-ASK-GARY added another $1,000 to the reward to make the total $2,500. Bubba reports to TALKERS that the dog, named Axel, is recovering from his injuries and will be available for adoption once he is healthy again.
Los Angeles Broadcaster David Courtney Dies at 56. The Southern California radio community is mourning the loss of omnipresent “big voice” David Courtney, who passed away on Thursday, November 29. Many considered Courtney the voice of Los Angeles sports, since for the past 23 years, he was the public address announcer of the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings. He performed similar duties for MLB’s Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for 18 years and NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers since October 2008. Greater Los Angeles area radio listeners knew him for his frequent traffic and sports updates as part of the Total Traffic Network. Over the last 20 years, Courtney was heard on a number of major Los Angeles radio outlets including KABC and KSPN, as well as KOLA in the Inland Empire. His other radio background included stints at Houston’s KULF as executive producer of sports programming and that market’s KTRH, where he was weekend news anchor before landing a nightly, three-hour news/talk program. New York City-born Courtney moved to Los Angeles in 1963 when his father, Alan, became president of MGM Television. According to Courtney’s Twitter feed, he needed to miss Wednesday night’s Clippers game against Minnesota owing to the fact he was in the hospital awaiting an angiogram. The 56-year-old Courtney is survived by his wife, Janet Fisher-Courtney.
‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle Remains Top Talk Radio Topic for Second Straight Week. The struggle between the Obama administration and GOP congressmen to deal with impending tax hikes and spending cuts was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Benghazi investigation tied with the Susan Rice-GOP leaders meetings. Following at #3 was the Israel-Gaza tensions with the clean-up of Hurricane Sandy at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.
Sports Talk King Mike Francesa Credits Colleagues at WFAN for his Success with Special Salute to Former Partner Chris Russo. In a special statement issued to TALKERS, afternoon drive superstar Mike Francesa – named the Most Important Sports Talk Radio Host in America in the recently released “2012 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk” — expresses his gratitude to “all the people who have helped make WFAN the iconic station it has become.” He congratulates his teammates at the station that also made the list and particularly credits his former on-air partner Chris Russo (currently at SiriusXM Satellite Radio) saying, “I wouldn’t be commanding the top spot in the Hundred without his enormous contribution to my career.” The TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk has generated enormous mainstream press and internet chatter propelling the Big Apple mainstay into the national spotlight. Here is Francesa’s complete statement: “I commend Talkers for recognizing the importance of sports talk as a viable and efficient format in radio programming. In this the 25th year of WFAN, there are over 600 sports talk stations across our nation. I am honored to have been chosen by your editorial board to top the list. It is a special distinction to be cited by professionals who understand our medium so well. I accept this honor for all the people who have helped make WFAN the iconic station it has become and congratulate my FAN colleagues who made the list – Boomer Esiason, Craig Carton, Joe Benigno, Evan Roberts, Steve Somers, and especially my partner of almost 20 years, Chris Russo. I wouldn’t be commanding the top spot in the Hundred without his enormous contribution to my career. Again, I am very grateful for the honor and wish you continued success.
All the best
2012 Marconi Award Nominees Announced; CBS Radio Sports Talk Hosts Mike Francesa and Angelo Cataldi Up for Major Market Personality of the Year. The winners of the 2012 NAB Marconi Awards will be announced on September 20 at The Radio Show in Dallas. This year’s nominees include sports talk radio personalities Mike Francesa of WFAN, New York and Angelo Cataldi of WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia for Major Market Personality of the Year. Both Francesa and Cataldi were named to the 2012 TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk this week – Francesa at #1 and Cataldi at # 10. DirecTV/Fox Sports Radio Network personality Dan Patrick is the lone sports talk figure up for Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year. He’s up against talk hosts Neal Boortz and Dial Global’s Dennis Miller and music radio hosts Elvis Duran of Premiere Networks and Reach Media’s Tom Joyner. Other spoken-word nominees include: KYW, Philadelphia; WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte; and WFAN, New York for Legendary Station. Jan Mickelson from WHO, Des Moines is the lone talker up for Medium Market Personality of the Year. Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington is nominated for Major Market Station of the Year. News/talk WOKV-AM/FM, Jacksonville and sports talk WXYT-FM, Detroit are up for Large Market Station of the Year. WHO, Des Moines and WTIC-AM, Hartford are nominated for Medium Market Station of the Year. The nominees for News/Talk Station of the Year are: KCBS-AM, San Francisco; KFGO, Fargo; WBBM-AM, Chicago; WGN, Chicago; and WTOP, Washington, DC. Nominees for Sports Station of the Year are: KTCK, Dallas; WEEI, Boston; WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia; WSCR, Chicago; and WXYT-FM, Detroit.
Glenn Beck Plans Major Expansion at TheBlaze. The talk media superstar and digital media pioneer tells WXKS-AM, Boston morning drive host Jeff Katz during a recent appearance on his program that he intends to hire as many as 200 new staffers for TheBlaze in the coming months. TheBlaze – the multi-media news and programming initiative of Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts – already has approximately 120 employees. The news came within the context of an on-air conversation between Katz and Beck about the state of business in America under the Obama administration. Beck also alluded to the ease with which he’s been able to build his business – and create jobs – since moving away from New York City to the Dallas, Texas area.
Tai Irwin Hosts Final Morning Show on Alternative Rock WFNX, Boston. Radio personality (and faculty member at The New England Institute of Art) Tai Irwin reprising the role he played for 10 years at alternative rock WFNX, Boston today (7/20) as the station broadcasts its final day of alt-rock before Clear Channel takes control later in the day. Irwin and other personalities were invited to do one last show and Irwin tells TALKERS WFNX “launched me into the national talk scene due to my talk show and industry convention presence where I met and befriended Gene Burns and Jerry Williams, before I eventually left to work for Kevin Straley at WRKO. During my time there I interviewed everyone from Noam Chomsky and Jerry Brown to Mitt Romney.” In addition to his work at the NEIA, Irwin is involved with tom Leykis’ New Normal where he’ll debut a new podcast called, “The Tai-rade” very soon. As for what Clear Channel will do with the new FM signal, speculation runs the gamut from an FM signal for news/talk WXKS-AM to a brand new classic hits format. We’ll know soon enough.
Washington, DC Talk Host Andy Parks Gets Multi-Media Marketing Initiative. Washington talk radio personality Andy Parks – a long-time figure on crosstown WMAL – is heard in PM drive on Metro Radio Inc.’s WTNT as well as on WashingtonTimes.com. The show is called “Andy Parks Live from the Washington Times” and the paper is devising a multi-media marketing ploy to create awareness of the show. Using the line, “Online. On the Air. On Your Doorstep.” The Times is promoting Parks’ show with a reference to President Obama’s controversial statement about jobs creation not belonging to builders of small businesses and employs the phrase, “Andy Begs to Differ” in bold print in an ad in the newspaper. The Times says it plans to begin a digital initiative using the same campaign technique in the near future.
Flip to Talk for Florence, South Carolina FM; Station Nabs Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh. Miller Communications moved its plans to flip to talk up a couple of weeks when Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh became available after crosstown WJMX-AM/FM dropped Limbaugh’s program. WFRK-FM added Limbaugh to the schedule three days after WJMX dropped the show declaring to SCNow.com that decreased listenership, advertiser skittishness and increased costs associated with the show forced the decision. WFRK-FM CEO Harold Miller says the station will launch as a talk outlet officially on August 1 but could only say “Kinard and Koffee in the Morning” will be part of the lineup as other deals for programming are still in the works.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Cox Media Group names Ben Reed vice president and market manager for its Atlanta station group that includes news/talk WSB-AM/FM. He takes over for Dan Kearney who moved south to become VP/market manager for Cox Media Group Miami…..Houston talk radio personality Matt Patrick hosts the final live debate between Texas Senatorial candidates Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and former Texas State Solicitor Ted Cruz on his PM drive show on The 9-5-0 KPRC this afternoon at 3:20. The primary election is July 31…..New England Patriots football great Gino Cappelletti announces he is retiring from his post as color man for radio broadcasts of Patriots football games – a job he’s held for the past 32 years. Cappelletti has worked alongside Gil Santos for the past 28 years. Comcast SportsNet is reporting WBZ-FM, Boston – 98.5 The Sports Hub – host and former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak will likely be named Santos’ partner in the booth…..Midway Broadcasting Corporation’s WVON, Chicago hosts the 2nd Annual Taste of WVON neighborhood festival tomorrow from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm at Lorraine Dixon Park in Chicago. The event features more than 60 food and craft vendors and live entertainment…..Tribune’s WGN, Chicago has a weekend full of special broadcasts planned to celebrate the induction of Cubs legend Ron Santo into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday. WGN’s Dave Eanet will report from Cooperstown throughout the weekend and a special Ron Santo Hall of Fame edition of Cubs Confidential will air Sunday from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm featuring broadcast clips from the Ron Santo Cubs Legend CD. The station will also delay broadcast the induction ceremony after Sunday’s Cubs game…..ESPN Deportes brings Mexican soccer great Francisco Gabriel de Anda aboard to join the network’s team of expert analysts. De Anda will be integrated into Futbol Picante’s table of analysts Fridays and Saturdays, and become part of ESPN Futbol Center, the program dedicated to Mexican and International soccer.
Talk Host Tom Becka Calls on Nebraska Listeners to Protest Penn State. November 10 is the date of the Nebraska Cornhuskers vs Penn State and Fargo, North Dakota-based talk host Tom Becka is rallying his listeners who hear his show from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm on KKAR, Omaha to donate their tickets for the game to local kids who may never get the chance to see a big game. Becka says, “I am calling on my listeners in Nebraska to donate their Penn State tickets to any children’s group or give it to some kids in the neighborhood that normally wouldn’t be able to go. I’d love to see the stands loaded with children for any Penn State away game. That way kids get to see a game and the fans get to protest in a civil manner the neglect of Joe Paterno and the Penn State program.” The NCAA is currently reviewing the Penn State situation and although the “death penalty” is a possibility for the football program, it probably would not go into effect until next season.
2012 Presidential Race Remains Atop Talkers TenTM for Second Straight Week. The various storylines relative to the November presidential election were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of July 16 – 20. Coming in at #2 this week was the report of increased jobless claims. At #3 was Fed chairman Ben Bernanke’s testimony before Congress about the state of the U.S. economy and at #4 was President Obama’s unveiling of the $1 billion Master Teacher Corp program. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result of ongoing research from Talkers. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View the entire chart here.
Mike & Mike on David Letterman. ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic recently made their 9th appearance on CBS TV’s “Late Night with David Letterman” and the day was documented by Greenberg’s wife Stacey – aka Mrs. Greeny – for ESPN Front Row, where fans get a behind-the-scenes look at their favorite personalities. Pictured here are (from l-r): Mike Greenberg, Stacey Greenberg, actress Kyra Sedgwick, and Mike Golic taken backstage.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “The Daily Wrap from The Wall Street Journal with Michael Castner” is added to the program schedule at Clear Channel’s WRDU, Raleigh and WERC-AM/FM, Birmingham…..The “Motley Fool Money” radio show featuring host Chris Hill adds affiliates WPLM, Plymouth, Massachusetts; WBNW, Concord, Massachusetts; and WESO, Southbridge, Massachusetts.
SiriusXM Bests Howard Stern in Court. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman reports on a New York State Supreme Court judge’s decision to throw out Howard Stern’s $300 million suit against employer SiriusXM. Weisman notes that the judge concluded that Stern and agent Don Buchwald were paid bonuses due as the result of the Sirius and XM merger but that Stern’s contention his bonus was calculated improperly was dismissed. Read more here.
Tom Becka Returns to Air in Omaha on NRG’s KKAR. Talk host Tom Becka recently joined Radio Fargo-Moorhead’s new FM talk outlet KRWK-FM, Fargo – 101.9 Talk FM – where he serves as program director and morning drive host. He retains that post but adds a two-hour PM drive talk show at NRG Media’s KKAR, Omaha airing from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Becka was heard in the market for years on Clear Channel’s crosstown KFAB until he parted ways with the station last fall. NRG Omaha market manager Andy Ruback states, “I had a short but critical list of talent I wanted to recruit to our cluster of stations and having the legendary Tom Becka join the lineup on ‘The Mighty 1290’ truly offers our listeners localized content with an edge. Having Tom on our team provides a perfect fit for our Mighty 1290 brand and I am confident the listeners will definitely tune in to hear Tom’s take on everything from politics, lifestyle, newsmakers and more.” On his return to the air in Omaha, Becka says, “I’m looking forward to working very hard for two great companies doing what I love to do. I’m having a blast building a new FM talker for Radio Fargo-Moorhead, and now NRG Media and ‘The Mighty 1290’ are giving me a chance to continue to have a strong presence in Omaha. I have the best of all worlds. I’m a blessed man to be able to have these two great opportunities.”
ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg Co-Hosts “Live with Kelly” Today. ESPN Radio personality Mike Greenberg – one half of the Mike & Mike syndicated morning drive show – will co-host ABC’s “Live with Kelly” show this morning at 9:00 am ET. Host Kelly Ripa called in to the Mike & Mike show yesterday to promote Greenberg’s appearance. She notes actress Olivia Wilde is among today’s guests prompting Greenberg to say, “I want every girl who ignored me in high school to tune in tomorrow.” Ripa quickly replied, “Think we’ll get a boost in ratings when every girl who was mean to you tunes in?”
New “Business for Breakfast” Morning Show Airs on Colorado Financial Talk Outlets. Radio Colorado Network’s new “Business for Breakfast” show is the new AM drive show on Pilgrim Communications’ KRCN, Denver/Ft. Collins and KREL, Colorado Springs/Pueblo. Hosted by Marc Mandel, Harriet Fox and Roger Cridlebaugh, the program is produced by Radio Colorado Network which promotes the program stating “the new and improved ‘Business for Breakfast’ gives listeners current market analysis, economic updates and timely interviews with featured guests. This show is informative, educational and entertaining with the intent to best position listeners for the opening bell and start of the day.”
Palm Springs Talk Host Lee Rayburn Resigns; Announces Move “Back East.” Until last Friday, Lee Rayburn was afternoon host at Morris Communications’ KNEWS multi-cast in the Palm Springs market. Rayburn resigned on air at the end of his show on April 13 stating he was taking a position “back East.” Rayburn and KNEWS have been embroiled in a controversy surrounding a civil suit for defamation, libel and invasion of privacy against Rayburn and the station by local business person Pete Chryss. The Desert Sun reports Chryss alleges Rayburn and the station made false and malicious statements about him on the radio – charges the station denies. Chryss was providing security services for a number of city-owned buildings but those contracts were canceled in the wake of public scrutiny over Chryss’ relationship with a former city councilor.
Cumulus Media Providence Helps Raise More Than $600k for Children’s Hospital. Last week’s Cumulus Media-sponsored, two-day radiothon for the Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence helped raise $611,312. The Cumulus cluster – including news/talk WPRO/WEAN-FM — encouraged listeners and website visitors to donate in support of the hospital while on-air personalities interviewed dozens of patients and family members of the hospital, hoping to raise awareness of the doctors, hospital and care they provide. WPRO/WEAN-FM program director Paul Giammarco says, “Cumulus Media Providence and our affiliated stations would like to extend our heartfelt thank you to everyone who donated to this incredible cause, you all made a difference in the lives of so many local children and families.” Pictured here are (from l-r): Dr. Thomas Tracy; Tony Torres, 2012 Champion Child; WPRO/WEAN PM drive talk host Buddy Cianci; WPRO/WEAN-FM morning news host Tara Granahan; and Dr. Robert Klein.
2012 Presidential Race, Obama Oil Price Regulation Program, GSA Scandal and North Korea Military Ambitions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/17). The 2012 presidential showdown between President Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney; President Obama’s program to regulate oil prices; the testimony about the Government Services Agency spending scandal; and concern over North Korea’s military ambitions were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Support for Fisher House Recognized. ABC News Radio vice president and general manager Steve Jones (l) accepts a plaque from Fisher House vice president of community relations Cynthia Campbell (r) for ABC’s assistance to the veterans organization. Fisher House, which provides housing to the families of military personnel being treated at military and VA hospitals, says ABC lent critical pro bono technical support to “The Gift,” Fisher House’s Christmas radio broadcast, which aired on 85 radio stations and helped generate a 30% year-to-year increase in giving during the last week of 2011.
Ingstad Group Blows Up Classic Rock for FM Talk in Fargo-Moorhead; Tom Becka to Program and Host AM Drive. James Ingstad’s Radio Fargo Moorhead group in the Fargo-Moorhead market turns classic rock KRWK-FM into “101.9 Talk FM” The Talk of Fargo Moorhead on March 19. Talk radio pro Tom Becka – most recently with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFAB, Omaha as PM drive host – is named program director for the station and will host the morning drive show. Syndicated programs will include Fox News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade, Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. Former Arizona Congressman J.D. Hayworth will host a 5:00 pm program for at least the first three weeks of the station’s new format. Hayworth currently is hosting the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show at Cumulus Media’s KSFO, San Francisco. Talk Radio Network’s Michael Savage and Genesis Communications Network‘s Jason Lewis will air in the evenings. Tom Becka states, “This is such a great opportunity to help put a new FM talk station on the air and be the first doing it. Radio Fargo Moorhead is a great independent company that still believes in the traditional radio approach that combines great programming and promotion with local outreach. At the same time they have been leaders in embracing the new technological advances. And about those winters? They are taking up a collection to buy me a warm coat.” The station, as well as sister news/talk KFGO, is being consulted by The Q Consulting Guys’ Jon Quick, who says, “In these days of cutbacks, it is so gratifying that there are operators like the Ingstad group who still believe that hiring great people and promoting them properly results in both ratings and revenue.” Quick also notes that Ingstad is retaining all of the Rock 101 staff.
Federated Media Drops Classic Rock on WFWI-FM, Fort Wayne; Simulcasts News/Talk WOWO. The legendary WOWO, Fort Wayne, Indiana gets an FM simulcast for its news/talk format at the expense of sister classic rock “The Fort 92.3.” Federated Media COO Mark Deprez states, “The move to FM is a natural enhancement for the WOWO brand that is synonymous with Fort Wayne. WOWO is, and has always been, the one radio outlet that northeast Indiana can count on for breaking news, weather, traffic, information. WOWO’s strong service commitment to our community, along with the entertaining and engaging personalities, has solidified WOWO in the hearts of many of our local residents. The move to 92.3 FM will re-introduce WOWO to listeners that have migrated over the years to FM and also open WOWO’s brand to a new and younger audience.”
Rush Limbaugh Fires Up His Long-Dormant Twitter Account to Fight His Attackers. It probably won’t be very long before Rush Limbaugh’s fans have his Twitter follower numbers through the roof and Limbaugh says he’ll use the account to counter the work being done by organizations such as Media Matters via the social media tool. Politico reports that Limbaugh told his listeners on his Thursday program that he’ll be Tweeting info from time to time that his faithful can share. “Everybody has been asking me what they can do to help in all of this, and I’ve been saying, nah, just do what you’ve been doing just, if you listen, keep listening, that’s fine, but…there’s an army out there that wants to be mobilized, and so, I figured, use Twitter for it. I’m just going to put some things on Twitter that you can help us circulate. It’s that simple you just retweet them.” Limbaugh’s first Tweet after the show was a link to a piece by Cornell Law professor William Jacobson on Media Matters’ astroturfing the boycott against Limbaugh’s advertisers. “Astroturfing” is using digital media to create the illusion of a “grassroots” movement.
Syndicated Talk Host Michael Smerconish: Advertiser Boycotts Won’t Kill Rush Limbaugh. Dial Global nationally syndicated talk host Michael Smerconish writes in his column in the Philadelphia Inquirer that the advertiser boycott being waged against Rush Limbaugh ultimately will not topple him from his talk radio perch. In the piece, Smerconish cites TALKERS and fellow radio trade Radio-Info on the status of the Limbaugh situation. But Smerconish goes on to write that the hard-core, right wing talk hosts that occupy most news/talk radio station lineups serve exactly that audience – the very conservative, politically active segment of the radio-listening audience. Smerconish states that studies indicate the nation as a whole is not as polarized as the media might make it appear and both Congress and the talk media are more extreme now than at any point in the recent past (based on voting records and host ideology, respectively). Change in the flavor of talk radio, Smerconish argues, can only come from programmers. Read his piece here.
RTDNF Presents Freedom of Speech Awards; Talker Jim Bohannon Honored. At a gala black-tie dinner held last night at Washington, DC’s Ritz-Carlton hotel, the Radio Television Digital News Foundation (RTDNF) presented its 22nd annual First Amendment Awards including the Special Recognition First Amendment Award to Dial Global Radio Networks talk star Jim Bohannon (pictured here at left). The award was presented to Bohannon by TALKERS founder and publisher Michael Harrison (r) who stated, “Jim stands tall and strong as a seeker of truth.” Other awards were presented to NBC News president Steve Capus, ABC News senior foreign affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz, and Shurz Communications senior vice president Marci Burdick. A special Lifetime Achievement Award was presented posthumously to Andy Rooney. In a rousing speech, Jim Bohannon encouraged the hundreds of newspeople in attendance to promo free speech at every opportunity saying, “We should go out and kick some ass for the First Amendment!”
KCSP, Kansas City Goes All Local Sports Talk. Entercom’s KCSP, Kansas City drops Premiere Networks’ Jim Rome from its midday slot and expands its existing sports talk shows. AM drive hosts Bob Fescoe and Josh Klingler are now heard from 6:00 am to 10:00 am; midday host Danny Parkins gets the big bump, moving from 9:00 am to 11:00 am to 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and Carrington Harrison joins the program along with other contributors. Nick Wright’s afternoon show remains in the 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot. Program director Ryan Maguire says, “Our listeners have wanted more local hosts talking about local sports. With the start of an exciting Royals season only a few weeks away, ‘610 Sports’ has the best local lineup for our game broadcasts. The passionate sports fans in Kansas City now have more than just one option in the middle of their day when it comes to local sports talk. We’re excited that we can be all live, all local all day.”
GOP Primaries/2012 Presidential Race Maintains Top Story Spot on Talkers TenTM. The battle for the Republican nomination for president and the larger issues surrounding the 2012 campaign tied for the top spot as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the week of March 12-16, according to ongoing research from TALKERS. Correspondingly, Rick Santorum tied with Mitt Romney as the #1 most-talked-about person followed by President Obama at #2. The Talkers TenTM chart of the top stories and people of the week as discussed on news/talk radio is published here every Friday. View this week’s chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity pick up new FM talker KRWK, Fargo-Moorhead…..Fox News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade is added to KRWK-FM, Fargo-Moorhead…..Genesis Communications Network’s Jason Lewis joins KRWK-FM, Fargo-Moorhead…..Talk Radio Network’s Laura Ingraham returns to KLIN, Lincoln, Nebraska…..“Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge adds WLBE, Leesburg-Eustis, Florida; and KTGO, Tioga, North Dakota…..Dial Global adds its sports Westwood One play-by-play sports – including NFL, NCAA men’s basketball and football, the Olympics, major golf events and more to Lincoln Financial Media’s WQXI, Atlanta.
Loose Cannons Live in Downtown L.A. Fox Sports Radio Network’s KLAC, Los Angeles-based “Loose Cannons” recently kicked off March Madness with a live broadcast from the Hooters Downtown Los Angeles where the brand-new Fox Sports Radio remote broadcast studio is located. Pictured here – along with a bevy of Hooters girls – are Vic “The Brick” Jacobs (l) and Steve Hartman (r). Not pictured is the third “Loose Cannon” Pat O’Brien.