Tag: "Tom Leykis"
Entercom’s Furst Choice to Program KC Talk Combo. Self-described “freelance programming advisor/consultant” Alan Furst is tapped to program Entercom Kansas City siblings KMBZ-AM “Talk 980” and KMBZ-FM “News/Talk 98.1.” Entercom Kansas City vice president and market manager Dave Alpert remarks, “We are very pleased to welcome Alan. He brings with him a wealth of experience, possesses a passion for the on-air product, and a passion for winning.” Furst – who begins his new duties next Monday (2/15) – comments that he is “very excited to join one of the truly great news talk brands, KMBZ.” He went on to thank Alpert and Entercom president of programming Pat Paxton “for the opportunity to be part of the outstanding staff at Entercom Kansas City. I look forward to helping both stations continue to grow.” Prior to opening his programming consultancy in October 2014, Furst spent nearly two years as program director of Radio One Houston’s KROI. His varied resume includes hands-on operations manager and PD experience at San Antonio country and CHR duo KAJA “KJ-97” and KXXM “Mix 96”; WLW, Cincinnati; and WIBC, Indianapolis. In addition, he was senior vice president of content for DMX Music; Cumulus Media’s country format director; group program director for the Australian Radio Network; senior vice president of programming for Clear Channel, AMFM, and Capstar Broadcasting; national program director for NewCity Communications; and a programming consultant for Shane Media Services. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s “Holiday” 2015 PPM report, both KMBZ-FM (3.3, #14) and KMBZ-AM (2.6, #18) were down one-half share from December 2015.
Howard Tuuri Named VP/GM for Genesis Communications. Radio executive Howard Tuuri joins Genesis Communications to serve as vice president and general manager for the company’s four Florida stations – news/talk WWBA, Tampa; sports talk WHBO, Tampa; Spanish WMGG, Tampa; and sports talk WHOO, Orlando – as well as its two Internet publications. Tuuri, who will report to Genesis president and CEO Bruce Maduri, previously served with Cox Media Group as a VP/GM for its Tampa operations. Maduri states, “Howard’s background and quality of experience are a tremendous fit for our organization. He has been a valuable member of our Leadership Team, and this appointment confirms our commitment to grow and realize the vision of a truly integrated media content company.”
The Presidential Race, Low Oil Prices/Financial Markets Activity, Battle Against Islamic State/Syrian Civil War, North Korean Missile Launch, Zika Virus, and Super Bowl 50 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/8). Today’s New Hampshire primary and the activities of the candidates for president; low oil prices and the effects on the world’s financial markets; the battle against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and the effects of the ongoing Syrian civil conflict; North Korea’s weekend launch of a satellite missile; concerns over a potential pandemic of the Zika virus; and Sunday’s Super Bowl 50 and controversy over the Doritos commercial were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
RAB/Borrell: Radio Digital Revenue to Rise 14%. According to a study by Borrell Associates on behalf of the Radio Advertising Bureau, the radio industry’s digital ad revenue rose 11.4% in 2015 to more than $550 million. The study also predicts radio’s digital revenue will improve by 16% this year. This fourth annual report is titled, “Benchmarking: Local Radio Stations’ Online Revenues,” and concludes the average market cluster made $951,756 in digital sales last year, with the average station making $231,210. Borrell Associates CEO Gordon Borrell summarizes, “All signs point to the radio industry mobilizing even more in the interactive space. Eighty-two percent believe there is strong potential – the highest we’ve ever seen; 62% believe that their sales teams’ ability to sell digital products is solid – up from 52% a year ago; and 37% believe their digital strategy is headed in the right direction – up from 27%.” The full study is available to RAB members, but here are some of the juicier takeaways: One-third of stations surveyed believe their sales reps are talking to the wrong buyers when trying to sell digital products. Three years ago, two-thirds believed that was the case; Only 16% believe that radio sales suffer because reps are forced to sell digital advertising. That’s down significantly since 2014, when more than half felt that way; Conversely, 24% believe that digital sales suffer because reps focus on radio advertising. Three years ago, twice as many felt that way; And the average radio cluster received 0.26% of all locally spent Internet advertising. There were some, however, achieving 15 times that – up to nearly 4%. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber states, “Digital continues to be radio’s fastest growing sector. Stations that are laser focused on increasing revenue beyond their core broadcast business are experiencing the benefits. The results from this study provide us with insights of where efforts are paying off and what additional training is needed for radio to continue with this trajectory. The RAB is here to help with that knowledge and training.”
Service King and Motel 6 Win Westwood One Super Bowl Sound Awards. This was the third annual Westwood One Super Bowl Sound Awards designed to recognize excellence in audio creativity and celebrate brand advertisers and radio creative. Westwood One asked listeners to vote on their favorite audio commercials airing in the Westwood One Super Bowl 50 broadcast. In addition, Westwood One commissioned a Nielsen study of 3,030 consumers who rated all 45 commercials on a series of key attributes. Listeners voted for Service King’s “Mission 2 Hire” ad as their favorite Super Bowl commercial. The ad promotes Service King’s Mission 2 Hire program, which is dedicated to hiring 500 veterans at Service King locations around the country. Hear the ad here: http://thesoundawards.com/service-king/. Motel 6 was rated the most likeable ad in the Westwood One-commissioned Nielsen study. The brand’s “Designer Dogs” ad features long-time Motel 6 narrator Tom Bodett, who promotes Motel 6’s great rooms and low rates while poking fun at trendy dog breeds with silly names. The Motel 6 ad also received top consumer ratings for relevance, engagement, and memorability. Here is a link to hear the ad: http://thesoundawards.com/motel-6-3/.
Curtis Sliwa to Host WABC, New York’s ‘The Drive at Five.’ The “Drive at Five” program takes the place of “Right Now with Doug McIntyre” and debuts this afternoon (1/5) from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm on Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York. The station calls the show a “fast-paced, comprehensive look at the stories and people that have New York talking.” Curtis Sliwa will continue his role as co-host of “The Curtis and Kuby Show” with Ron Kuby airing from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. In September of 2014 the station aired “The Ride Home” with Pat Kiernan and Rita Cosby at 5:00 pm. Kiernan exited and Cosby did the show solo until moving to weekends with Doug McIntyre (also heard at the company’s KABC, Los Angeles in morning drive) taking over the one-hour show in March of last year. Sliwa states, “My job will be to take people from their suites to the streets and re-connect them with everything that has transpired while they’ve been working their 9-to-5 jobs.”
Spike Eskin Relinquishes On-Air Duties at WIP-FM, Philadelphia. According to a report at Philly.com, WIP, Philadelphia program director Spike Eskin is leaving his on-air role on the Josh Innes program as he absorbs some of the responsibilities of ousted operations manager Andy Bloom. In a budget-related move, Bloom’s OM position was eliminated by CBS RADIO. Eskin and former Philadelphia Eagle Hollis Thomas worked on air with Innes. Thomas remains on the show and the station moves Marc Farzetta from Angelo Cataldi’s AM drive show to afternoons to handle news updates and other duties on the program.
Settlement in Nielsen vs Bubba Case ‘Unlikely.’ According to the most recent court filings that detail the schedule for the discovery process and pre-trial hearings in the civil fraud case being brought against Bubba the Love Sponge by Nielsen Audio, the two sides seem to agree on one thing: a settlement in the $1 million lawsuit is “unlikely.” Nielsen is suing Bubba on civil charges of fraud, conspiracy to defraud, interfering with business and contractual relations and violation of Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Practices Act as the result of his tampering with the PPM ratings process in the Tampa market. Although Bubba admitted to the tampering he says Nielsen is unable to prove damages and the $1 million figure was pulled out of thin air. Nielsen wishes to depose Bubba for up to 14 hours over two days and Bubba says he’s not willing to do that so the court will have to rule on the deposition schedule. If this does go to trial as it’s expected to do, it’ll be in January of 2017.
What do Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Stephen K. Bannon Have in Common? Answer: They are the only three radio talk show hosts to make the prestigious Mediaite “25 Most Influential in Political News Media” list. The list includes leading names from the world of news-gathering and news-delivering organizations including internet, television and radio. Rush Limbaugh came in at #8; Sean Hannity showed strongly at #15; and Stephen K. Bannon appears at #19. Bannon, the executive chairman of Breitbart News LLC (parent company of the Breitbart News Network), is the host of the weekday morning show “Breitbart News Daily” presented on the SiriusXM Satellite Radio Patriot Channel. The 6:00 am – 9:00 am ET show covers the hottest topics of the day featuring Bannon moderating contributions and features from Breitbart correspondents around the nation and world. To see the entire Mediaite list, please click here.
Cumulus Names Rob Brown AM Host at WFTW, Fort Walton Beach. Fort Walton Beach news/talk WFTW “NewsTalk 1260” will launch a new morning drive program next Monday (1/11) featuring longtime local broadcast personality Rob Brown. His eponymous show will air from 6:00 am to 10:00 am. Brown has been serving as a field reporter for local station WEAR-TV. He’s worked in radio in the Florida Panhandle doing news and sports at sports talk WTKE “The Ticket.” WFTW operations manager Hayden Green says, “Rob Brown is a native of the area. He knows the players, he knows the people and he knows great radio. We’re excited to have him on the team and excited about the future of NewsTalk 1260 WFTW.”
Entercom Promotes Three Programmers to Vice Presidents. Three Entercom Communications programmers are awarded vice president stripes today: Jim Fox in Sacramento, Mike Moore in Portland and Bob Barnett in Rochester, New York are promoted to VP of programming for their respective markets. Jim Fox joined Entercom in Sacramento as station manager of active rock KRXQ in 2003 and began overseeing all Entercom Sacramento brands as OM in 2013. Mike Moore joined Entercom to program country KWJJ in Portland and was upped to operations manager for the cluster in January 2013. He also serves as Entercom’s director of country programming. Bob Barnett is a 33-year programmer who oversees all programming for Entercom Rochester. Entercom president of programming Pat Paxton comments, “Jim, Mike and Bob are outstanding leaders with impressive track records of success in their markets. They have each earned this recognition. I could not be happier for them and look forward to many more years of working together.”
CES 2016: Radio vs Robots. Radio consultant Holland Cooke reports from Las Vegas and the annual Consumer Electronic Show. As Cooke says, driverless cars are one of the big “oh wow” items at the show. How the car of the future will affect our hunger for the information and entertainment radio provides while driving isn’t certain yet, but the possibilities they suggest should cause radio people to think about their product. Read Cooke’s report here.
Obama Gun Control Policy, 2016 Presidential Election, Battle Against Islamic State, Oregon Wildlife Refuge Standoff, Iran-Saudi Diplomatic Break, World Financial Markets Activity, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/4). President Obama’s plans to use executive orders to amend gun laws; the activities of the candidates for president this year; the ongoing battle against Islamic State and debate over terror attack prevention; the standoff between armed protestors occupying an Oregon wildlife sanctuary; the break of diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia and the growing Shiite-Sunni rift in the Middle East; turbulent world financial markets open the New Year; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Michael Harrison set to Address Radiodays Europe Conference. TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison has been named one of the key solo speakers at the forthcoming Radiodays Europe conference set for Paris, France March 13-15 at Le Palais des Congrès de Paris. Billed as “The World’s Greatest International Radio Conference,” Radiodays Europe is an annual gathering for radio professionals with 1,300 participants from 60 countries. It is the meeting point for the European radio industry, both private and public, and a destination for radio people from around the world. Harrison’s presentation, titled “Lessons Learned by American Radio at the Dawn of the Digital Era,” will cover both the successes and failures experienced by US radio during its transition into the digital era. Harrison will offer insight into the radio industry’s challenge of successfully integrating its assets and services into an internet-based culture while preserving and enhancing its iconic role as the primary audio medium. Can it be done? Harrison states, “Of course, it can! I intend to lay out the big picture of radio’s path forward with realistic and cautious optimism. I look forward to this opportunity to speak with broadcasters from around the world.” For registration and other information about Radiodays Europe, please click here.
America’s First Internet Radio Billboard? It is according to The New Normal principal Tom Leykis who says the electronic billboard (shown at left) that overlooks the northbound 405 Freeway in Carson, California is the first in America to promote an Internet radio show. The billboard, which just went up on Monday evening (1/4), promotes Leykis’ daily afternoon program.
Price: Weighing Public Safety vs Risk of Assisting Threatmongers in Reporting to Your Listeners. The recent terroristic threats against the New York City and Los Angeles public school districts – which turned out not to be true – present a bit of a potential problem for radio stations and news organizations. ABC Television director, business continuity Howard B. Price writes today in TALKERS, “Critical to the discussion is the hard reality that those who make these threats are banking on a response from both authorities AND the media. Thankfully, even in these troubled times, most threats are hoaxes made to seize on public fear. The hoaxers find out about that response the same way the rest of us do – through the media. SO what to do? As with most professional challenges, the process begins with an internal conversation, specific to your station and market. For example, do you have a policy document to guide your decision making in such dynamic breaking news situations?” Read more here.
Cumulus Media Names Suzanne Grimes to President of the Westwood One Division and EVP of Corporate Marketing Roles. According to Cumulus Media, this new role of president of the Westwood One Division “creates a unified structure that maximizes opportunities across the division’s national content and sales platform.” Steve Shaw, president of Westwood One, will continue to lead ad sales, and Charles Steinhauer, COO of Westwood One, will continue to lead operations, both reporting directly to Grimes, who in turn reports to company CEO Mary Berner. Grimes was most recently president and COO of Clear Channel Outdoor. Berner states, “When it comes to anything in media, Suzanne’s the full package. With 30 years of experience building content businesses into high-performing brands, she brings valuable perspectives from leadership roles in outdoor, mobile, social, digital, print and experiential sectors for both public and private companies, so she’s a natural choice for these important roles. I look forward to her contribution as we build a stronger, more operationally focused organization.”
Newly Re-Organized Corporate Structure at Cumulus Includes Tommy Page and Mike McVay Taking on New Responsibilities. As part of her memo to Cumulus Media staff of Suzanne Grimes’ new role, CEO Mary Berner also explained some of the other changes atop the corporate structure at the company. Working for Grimes will be the company’s chief marketing officer Pierre Bouvard and VP of social media Lori Lewis. Berner announces Tommy Page’s new title will be SVP of brand partnerships & NASH in which he’ll continue his role as leader of platform events initiatives and brand partnerships, corporate marketing function, and new duties including the development and execution of the NASH brand strategy. Berner says the company is creating a new Office of Programming in which SVP of content & programming Mike McVay will operate to “lead our content strategy across the platform, including talent recruitment and development and label relations.” Tom Schurr, SVP of operations, will work with McVay in a new role overseeing the business aspects of programming, including organization and prioritization, resource allocation, and budget responsibilities. Berner concludes, “Our belief with regard to ratings is that more local insight and more effective corporate support will result in an improved outcome. The new Office of Programming will be responsible for executing this strategy to drive ratings growth and will be rolling out more details in the coming weeks.”
Jim Bohannon to Exit ‘America in the Morning’; Continues Late Night Show. Hall of Fame broadcaster Jim Bohannon is cutting back on his duties for Westwood One and is leaving the hosting role for “America in the Morning” after the December 18 broadcast. He is continuing his work as host of the late night Jim Bohannon show. He signed a multi-year contract extension with Westwood One in February of this year. Bohannon has been the sole host of “America in the Morning” since its first broadcast in 1984. The morning magazine program airs on more than 250 stations nationwide. Taking over for Bohannon is the show’s regular guest host John Trout. He officially begins on Monday, January 18, 2016. Bohannon comments, “It’s time for me to cut back the daily schedule a bit and focus my attention on the research, interviews, and calls for my weeknight Jim Bohannon show. But I’ll still be contributing my daily feature, the ‘Offbeat,’ and my newsmaker interviews to ‘America in the Morning.’ Listeners will love John Trout as host. He’s got a stellar track record and he’s been a terrific fill-in. The show is in great hands and I wish him much success.”
Tom Leykis’ New Normal Projecting Another Profitable Year. New Year’s Eve will be the sixth anniversary of The New Normal – the audio content company founded by radio legend Tom Leykis after exiting his CBS RADIO talk show in 2009. Leykis has long been a vocal proponent of the digital delivery system for taking audio content into the future. Today, he reports that as 2015 winds down, The New Normal is financially continuing on an upward trend. Leykis tells TALKERS that revenue is up for the third straight year. Profits will increase from $23,000 in 2014 to almost $100,000 in 2015. He adds, “This means that, for the second year in a row, we will be more profitable than the top two radio companies combined.”
Odds & Sods. Are there wrinkles in the future of the Bob & Tom Show post-Bob Kevoian? TALKERS sources are hearing that negotiations between the syndicated program’s management and staff are hitting snags. Kevoian announced his retirement at the recent Radio Hall of Fame induction ceremony and although the show is moving forward with Tom Griswold continuing his role, rumors are that negotiations for contract renewals with longtime cast member Kristi Lee and contributor Ron Sexton are facing challenges…..Software platform provider Mediaocean announces it is integrating iHeartMedia within its Spectra platform. As a result, within one central system, ad agencies are able to seamlessly manage, research, and buy local digital audio inventory across the iHeartMedia digital platform. Mediaocean says users will be able to compare iHeartMedia’s audience data side-by-side with other digital audio platforms to better plan campaigns and engage the right audiences at the local level.
Covering the GOP Debate. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is seen here gesturing as he makes a point while speaking with Salem Radio Network personalities Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager and Michael Medved (who are out of the picture to the right) while SRN VP news & talk programming Tom Tradup holds the mic. The exchange took place during SRN’s exclusive radio distribution of the Republican presidential debate. SRN talk host Hugh Hewitt appeared on the CNN debate panel asking questions of the GOP hopefuls.
Run-Up to Last Night’s GOP Debate/2016 Presidential Race, Refugee and Immigration Policy, Los Angeles and New York Schools Terror Threats, Battle Against Islamic State, Freddie Gray Trial, Government Shutdown Threat, and New Star Wars Film Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/15). The build-up to last night’s GOP primary debate in Las Vegas and the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; debate over policy regarding refugees from Syria and over immigration in general; terror threats against the New York and Los Angeles public school districts and criticism over LA’s decision to cancel school; the battle against Islamic State; the wait for the verdict in the case against the first of six Baltimore police officers in the death of Freddie Gray; the move in Congress to avert a government shutdown; and the hype over the new Star Wars film were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Talkers New York 2015 “Generating Talk Radio Revenue in a Changing Paradigm” Video Posted Today. One of the most important panel discussions of the Talkers New York 2015 mega-conference (6/12) is posted today on Talkers TV. Masterfully moderated by TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian and introduced by ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve Jones, the take-away-packed session includes (in alphabetical order): Vince Benedetto, president/CEO, Bold Gold Media Group; Kathy Carr, VP, sales & marketing, Howie Carr Radio Network; Jerry Crowley, VP/GM, WNYM/WMCA, New York; Ron Hartenbaum, CEO, WYD Media; Tom Leykis, CEO, The New Normal; and Cary Pahigian, president/GM, WBAL/WIYY, Baltimore. The discussion covers all aspects of revenue generation with respect to varied station and network market sizes, traditional and non-traditional revenue models, ingenious methods of harmless cost-cutting, monetizing qualitatively desirable audiences; and optimistic prospects for the future of radio, and more. To view the video in its entirety, please click here.
Ed Tyll Named CEO of Starcom. The national network of 26 low-power AM and FM radio stations announces talk radio pro Ed Tyll is named CEO of the company. Starcom Radio Network operates signals from Marshland, Oregon to Mooers, New York, sports the brand, “Broadcast Real Characters,” and describes itself as “low power, high impact.” Tyll adds, “Starcom disrupts ‘static quo’ radio in dozens of great American towns. We entertain our communities with real characters who talk about the news and enjoy a good laugh.” Tyll’s program on the network airs live at 12:00 noon ET. Shows currently airing on the network include: Rob McConnell’s “XZone Live,” DJ Bruce Wayne, Don Lavasseur, Laurie Zoock, and Ryan McCormick. In addition to its AM and FM network, it streams on StarcomRadioNetwork.com, EdTyllShow.com, TuneIn, Stitcher and other digital outlets. Tyll says he is currently seeking new hosts and radio stations for Starcom Radio Network.
KNX, Los Angeles Honored with LA Press Club Awards. Los Angeles all news KNX “1070 Newsradio” was recognized for editorial excellence on Sunday evening, receiving three Southern California Journalism Awards at the Los Angeles Press Club’s 57th awards dinner. The awards for exclusive, original programming included: Investigative, for “Running on Empty: Our Epic Drought” by Charles Feldman and Laraine Herman; News/Feature Short Form, for “Ed Begley’s Not Running on Empty” by Chris Sedens; and Talk/Public Affairs, for “Ask the Mayor” by Charles Feldman, Tom Haule, Jonathan Serviss, Diane Dray, and Logan Moy. Pictured here holding their awards are KNX producer Laraine Herman (left) and anchor Chris Sedens (right).
Al Herskovitz: The Coming Political Ad Season. Sales pro Al Herskovitz says one of the benefits of the recent Talkers New York 2015 conference was the chance to chat in the hallways between sessions with other sales pros about the issues with which they are dealing, and the big topic discussed back on June 12 was the looming political ad season. Herskovitz writes that it’s not too early to begin strategizing. “Step one is to make contact with your area’s party committees and keep them informed with a steady stream of all promotional tools you may have: such as copies of any press your programs and hosts may have gotten; statistical data that might help to make your case; a compilation of complimentary letters and email. Alert your news department to send you copies of politically related press releases they have received so you can follow up on their sources. Also check with your program hosts and producers as to who has been in touch with them asking for guest spots.” Read more here.
Odds & Sods. “The Lisa Wexler Show,” hosted by Connecticut attorney and Westport/Weston probate Judge Lisa Wexler, will be heard exclusively on Forte Family Broadcasting-owned WGCH, Greenwich, Connecticut from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm, effective July 6. Wexler’s program has been based at Cumulus Media’s WFAS-AM, White Plains, New York for the past few years. Wexler says, “I am thrilled to be back in Connecticut, but still able to reach my Westchester audience.”…..Former WUCS, Hartford “97.9 ESPN” and Maxim Radio personality Michael Bower is sitting in for Jeff “Defo” DeForrest on iHeartMedia’s sports talk WINZ this Thursday (7/2) and Monday (7/6)…..The new radio color analyst for San Diego Chargers broadcasts is former NFL receiver Curtis Conway. He takes over for former Charger Hank Bauer whose contract was not renewed after 17 seasons broadcasting radio play-by-play. iHeartMedia’s KLSD, San Diego is the flagship station.
Talkers New York 2015 ‘Fireside Chat’ Video featuring Dialogue Between Michael Harrison and John Dickey Posted Today. Billed as a “Fireside Chat” in one of the keynote sessions of the just-concluded Talkers New York 2015 convention, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison conducts a one-on-one conversation with Cumulus Media executive vice president of content & programming, John Dickey. In a series of what Dickey describes as “really tough questions,” Harrison asks him about a wide variety of subjects including how he handles the stress of being significantly responsible for the operation of one of the largest and most complex radio broadcasting companies in the history of the medium; whether or not the platform of radio can ever be accurately measured in terms of ratings; what position talk radio occupies within the overall Cumulus plan going forward; whether or not there is room for qualitative selling and non-traditional revenue generation at large, corporately owned stations; and if there is a future for the personality oriented disc jockey in music radio, among other topics. Dickey responds with thoughtful and candid answers before a fully engaged, packed house of professionals from all segments of the industry in a room so quiet, one could hear a proverbial pin drop. On the subject of stress, Dickey says it is a matter of “balance…balance in life” putting work and family into their proper perspectives. He ties that into programming — repeatedly stating that successful radio formats must maintain an effective balance of elements as they evolve forward with their “natural life cycles.” Dickey discusses the importance of “branding” in today’s commerce, underscoring his company’s commitment to and “heavy investment” in the talk format stating, “We are the ‘custodians’ of some of radio’s greatest brands,” making it clear that Cumulus takes that responsibility very seriously in the talk arena. He makes the point, “We must, however, arrive at an understanding of what constitutes the talk format today” pointing out that talk radio needs to “broaden the conversation” because “people talk about a lot of things.” On the subject of ratings (immediately following a powerful panel discussion about the state of audience measurement moderated by Sean Hannity during which Nielsen’s feet were held to the fire), Dickey is measured and fair in his criticism of Nielsen stating, “The ratings are accurate… but only to a point.” He says, “Nielsen needs to be [more forthcoming] about the ‘margin of error’ [in their metrics] – they owe us more than they are giving us.” Looking back at the conversation, Michael Harrison says, “John Dickey is one of the brightest young men I have ever met in this business and I have no doubt in my mind about his love for and commitment to radio. Neither he nor his brother Lew have easy jobs…and, like all human beings, they are far from perfect, not to mention the entire radio industry is challenged by the circumstances of the times… so operating the second largest ownership group in the history of the medium in the second decade of the 21st century is an extremely daunting task. Unlike so many of today’s powerful executives in both business and government, they admit their mistakes and are always trying to learn and improve.” To view the “Fireside Chat” in its entirety including an introduction by rising talk star Ethan Bearman, please click here.
Nielsen Unveils its Total Audience Report; Radio Leads Weekly Reach of Adults. Senior vice president of the audience insights division at Nielsen, Glenn Enoch, says that in preparing the first-ever Total Audience Report, the company is “using the best available data and have done all we can to make this an ‘apples-to-apples’ comparison, but it is important to remember that these platforms are measured by different methods using different samples and different crediting rules.” Enoch is referring to the challenge of finding one way to express the consumption of three different media platforms – TV, radio and digital. That said, radio practitioners are happy with the results indicating that on a weekly basis, radio reaches 93% of the adult population compared to television’s 87% reach. Digital is broken up into three segments – PC, smartphone, and tablet – and those reach 54%, 70% and 35% of American adults, respectively. However, when one looks at the weekly hours and minutes spent with each medium, television comes out on top across all adult demographics and radio comes in second. The data shows that, for persons 35-49, the average hours/minutes during the week spent with television was 33:05, for radio 13:39, for PCs 6:58, for smartphones 8:52, and for tablets 4:50. In tallying the number of days per week of usage for each medium for persons 18-49, smartphones come out on top with 5.9. Radio is close behind with 5. Television is third with 4.7, followed by tablets at 4.6 and PCs with 3.6. In a memo to his sales stall, Cumulus Media chief marketing officer Pierre Bouvard writes, “While radio is known as a frequency medium, we have always had significant reach. Radio’s reach has remained consistent while television has eroded. Radio now finds itself as America’s number one mass reach medium.”
New York Festivals Winners. Pictured here at Monday evening’s New York Festivals International Radio Program awards ceremony at New York Penthouse are Grand Jury member Geller Media International’s Valerie Geller (center); SiriusXM host Paul Bachman, Bronze Radio Winner in the Best Children/Young Adult Program for “Couch Potato Stew on Kids Place Live” (left); and SiriusXM VP Frank Raphael (right). The New York Festivals International Radio Program awards is an annual radio program competition executed in collaboration with the United Nations Department of Public Information. The United Nations Awards were established in 1990 to honor programs highlighting global concerns of interest to the UN.
Odds & Sods. The Edward R. Murrow Awards from the RTDNA will be handed out on October 12 in New York and CBS Radio News will receive the awards for Best Newscast and Best Continuing Coverage for the third straight year. Outstanding coverage of the downed Malaysian airliner in the Ukraine earned CBS the Best Newscast for its July 18 edition of World New Roundup by Steve Kathan and Paul Farry. The Continuing Coverage award was given for CBS’s yearlong reporting of the war on ISIS.….Chicago media writer Robert Feder is reporting that Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago has secured the rights to Chicago White Sox baseball for a six-year deal that would start with the 2016 season. Currently, White Sox baseball is heard on CBS RADIO’s sports talk WSCR “670 The Score.”…..It didn’t take long for former San Diego Chargers analyst Hank Bauer to find a new gig. The former Chargers player will join Sports USA as a play-by-play analyst for its NFL broadcasts beginning in September. Bauer’s deal to work in the Chargers radio network booth was not renewed after 17 years…..Jon Laaser is named the new radio play-by-play man for Virginia Tech football starting this fall by rights holder IMG. Laaser will work in the booth with color man Mike Burnop.
Alan Colmes Recalls Playing Gunhill Road in His DJ Days. Mainstay radio and TV talker Alan Colmes of FOX News Radio and FOX News Channel is pictured at left at Talkers New York 2015 (6/12) being interviewed for a documentary film being produced about the legendary pop/rock band Gunhill Road that he recalls from his early days as a DJ spinning rock ‘n’ roll. The trio had a great time schmoozing with radio broadcasters from both music and talk formats at the recent mega-conference. Gunhill Road had two FM rock radio album favorites and the hit single “Back When My Hair Was Short” in the early 1970s. They surprised the music world recently by releasing an unexpected album with 19 new tracks titled Every 40 Years (Gunhill Road Records) that has garnered some airplay on AC and triple-A formats as well as a ton of interviews on talk radio – talk show hosts with a taste for pop culture find the group’s personal story fascinating. The group attended the conference to appear with various radio folk in the forthcoming documentary (“Back When My Hair Was Long”) about their extremely unlikely two-part journey from the 1970s to the modern digital era set for theatrical release in 2016 and to promote their latest single, “I’ve Got To Learn To Cry (featuring American Idol’s Julia DeMato). Pictured above: Gunhill Road members (l-r): Glenn Leopold, Steve Goldrich and Paul Reisch with talk radio legend Tom Leykis.
The Dump Buttons Start Season with Narrow Loss. Pictured here after their first game of the season – a very close 10-9 loss to Bloomberg News – are the players on the Cumulus Media New York co-ed softball team, The Dump Buttons. They represent hot AC WPLJ, news/talk WABC, and urban contemporary WNBM. Top row (from l-r): the Don Imus show’s Lou Rufino, WPLJ digital/social media producer Sheila Watko, Joan Hamburg producer Matt Meany, WABC account executives Jamie Roberts and Jose Torres; and Bryce Grafton (Jayde’s boyfriend). Bottom row (from l-r): WPLJ GSM Mary Jo Vetrano, WNBM midday host La Loca; WPLJ morning show co-host, Jayde Donovan; Curtis & Kuby producer Flipper; WABC personality Curtis Sliwa.
The 28th Annual Geraldo Golf Classic. 77WABC personality Geraldo Rivera (left) is here with honoree Steven G. Santino (right) at Monday’s Geraldo Golf Classic at Edgewood Country Club in River Vale, New Jersey. Geraldo’s radio show was broadcast live from the event and golfers participated in contests, watched the broadcast, golfed, and enjoyed an extended cocktail hour in the evening. All proceeds benefit Life’s WORC, which provides support and services for individuals with developmental disabilities.
Charleston Church Massacre Aftermath/Confederate Flag Controversy, Pope’s Climate Encyclical, Obama Trade Deal, 2016 Presidential Prospects, ISIS Activities, Iran Nuclear Program, White House Ransom Policy, and Skinny Jeans Hospitalization Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/23). The aftermath of the Charleston church killings and the related South Carolina Confederate flag issue; the recent climate change encyclical from Pope Francis and the controversy over the beliefs of his science advisor; the revived fast-track trade bill; the activities of the 2016 presidential candidates; the military progress of ISIS and world reaction to its grisly tactics; potential cooperation between the US and Iran and the latter’s nuclear program; the new White House policy that would not legally pursue families that pay ransom for family members held by terrorist organizations; and the case of a woman hospitalized due to ill effects from “skinny jeans” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Nielsen Announces Q1 Financials; Revenue Up 4.4%. In announcing the numbers for the first quarter of 2015, Nielsen N.V. reports revenue was down 2.1% due to the impact of foreign exchange, but up 4.4% on a constant currency basis, compared to the first quarter of 2014. CEO Mitch Barns states, “Nielsen’s first quarter results again illustrate the consistency of our business model and strong execution, with 4.4% total company and 10.0% emerging markets revenue growth on a constant currency basis. These results reflect the 35th consecutive quarter of constant currency revenue growth. In addition, we were pleased to raise our quarterly dividend 12%, as we continue to deliver on our commitment to drive ongoing shareholder value.”
SSI’s Bob and Mary Carey Host Rudy Maxa’s World Travel Show from Iceland. Telling us that he guest hosts the program about every six weeks, Syndicated Solutions Inc. president Bob Carey says the latest show he co-hosted with his wife Mary was from the hot new destination – Iceland. Carey’s company syndicates the “Rudy Maxa’s World” weekly travel show. Among the things Carey discovered about the unlikely tourist destination of Iceland is that geothermal energy and technology make Iceland an ideal place to grow hothouse fruits and vegetables and that The Blue Lagoon geothermal health and wellness spa is becoming a popular destination for American and Canadian travelers who can get there in five hours from the East Coast of North America.
Odds & Sods. WTOP, Washington Capitol Hill correspondent Dave McConnell was honored at the Capitol for his many decades of journalistic service. McConnell was recognized by Congresswoman Eleanor Homes Norton by being entered into the Congressional Record. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Mark Warner also delivered thank you speeches in his honor. McConnell recently celebrated his 50th anniversary with the station. McConnell can be heard live each weekday morning and afternoon, just steps from the House floor, in his hourly “Today on the Hill” segments…..CBS RADIO all-news KNX, Los Angeles will present a special program on the high cost of housing in Southern California on Thursday (4/23). The station says that “not only can fewer people afford to buy a house, LA has become one of the most unaffordable rental markets in the country. Add it up and it makes finding a place to live near your job unlikely and often prevents employers from attracting the most qualified candidates.” The show will feature special expert guests and will be hosted by KNX anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman.
No Performance Bonuses for Cumulus Media Executives This Year. The Compensation Committee of Cumulus Media, Inc. awarded no annual incentive compensation nor long-term incentive awards to Cumulus executives in 2014, according to a Definitive Proxy Statement filed with the SEC. The filing notes that the Compensation Committee would have the discretion to grant the applicable target award if “Cumulus achieved budgeted EBITDA goals, and satisfied other objectives related to managing costs, developing content, achieving gains in market share, as well as successes in strategic planning and implementation and optimizing financial liquidity. In reviewing the performance and compensation levels of the executive officers for 2014 at the completion of that fiscal year, the Compensation Committee determined that the quantitative financial performance objectives were not met at the threshold level. As a result, no annual incentive compensation was paid for 2014.” The filing also reports that no equity incentive awards (stock) were granted either. “In light of the size and timing of equity award grants to the named executive officers in 2013, which awards were made in October of that year, as well as data provided by Meridian Compensation Partners LLC with respect to the compensation of the executive officers, general industry conditions and actual Company performance in 2014, the Compensation Committee did not grant any long-term incentive awards to the executive officers in 2014.” So, what did Cumulus officers make in 2014? Here are a few of the numbers: president and CEO Lew Dickey earned $1,456,000 in total compensation; SVP, treasurer and CFO Joseph Hanna earned $554,125; EVP of content and programming John Dickey earned $881,192; SVP secretary and general counsel Richard Denning earned $509,942; and recently retired EVP and co-COO Jon Pinch earned $757,851.
Raising Awareness for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs (right) reports to TALKERS that she’s been assisting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society with its spring campaign and was recently honored to work with six-year-old leukemia survivor Kennedy (left) as Dr. Wachs accompanied her to her first television interview on KSNV-TV.
Iran Nuclear Negotiations/Corker Bill, ObamaCare Subsidies Addressed by SCOTUS, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Baltimore Police Protests, Yemen Military Action, Ben Affleck ‘Roots’ Cover-Up Case, and Bryan Price Profanity-Laced Presser Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/21). The controversy over the Obama Administration’s role in negotiating a nuclear program with Iran and the bill drafted by Senator Bob Corker that would give Congress the ability to approve or disapprove the final deal; the case before the Supreme Court challenging the legality of health care subsidies as provided by the Affordable Care Act; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the protests against the Baltimore police after the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody; the ongoing Saudi strikes in Yemen and the U.S.’ naval presence in the region; chatter about Ben Affleck’s plea to leave his ancestor’s history of slave ownership out of the “Finding Your Roots” program; and Reds manager Bryan Price’s dropping of 77 f-bombs in a post-game press conference were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Little Rises to President of Phoenix Market for iHeartMedia. Assuming the position left briefly vacant by Scott Hopeck after he was promoted to the same post at the New York City cluster is Linda Little. She moves up from her SVP of sales position with the station group. Prior to that, she was GSM for adult contemporary KESZ and country KNIX. She also served as integrated media business development manager. She comments, “I have had the privilege of building my media career in Phoenix and am very fortunate to have worked for a company that has given me many opportunities to grow while constantly evolving with the industry.” In this position she’ll oversee news/talk KFYI, talk KOY, and sports talk KGME.
Schreiber Promoted at Mercury Radio Arts. Moving up from his head of strategy and special projects position with Glenn Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts to president of the company is Jonathan Schreiber. In this new post, Schreiber will oversee Mercury’s divisions including digital, radio and publishing and its continued growth in film, television and “digital content across different genres beyond politics and current events.” The company says Schreiber will continue to serve as an advisor to TheBlaze, the company’s news, information and entertainment network led by CEO Betsy Morgan. Schreiber has an 18-year pedigree in the tech, mobile and entertainment businesses. Beck says, “I personally recruited Jonathan to help take our company to the next level. Since joining Mercury, he has played an integral role in both the strategy and execution at Mercury Radio Arts and my overall business philosophy and approach. He is a trusted advisor and this title reflects the leadership position he has and will continue to assume in this new era for both me and our business.
Industry Mourns Don Quayle. The first president of National Public Radio (NPR) has died: Don Quayle was 84 years old. NPR’s Susan Stamberg recalls that Quayle gave her her first radio job. “It was the early-1960s and he was head of the Educational Radio Network – the precursor of NPR – a little network of 12 east coast stations that developed a daily drive-time news show. He hired me to help produce it. When this national network arose, he was an obvious choice to run it. Don was principled, decent, and astute. In the euphoric tumult of our first years, he navigated the choppy seas of building a public radio system. He knew NPR had to serve our listeners, above the competing needs of stations, boards, and funders.” The program to which Stamberg alludes, of course, is “All Things Considered,” which Quayle debuted on NPR in 1971. He headed the network – which now has more than 900 member stations – from 1970 to 1973. Prior to that (1960 – 1962), Quayle managed Boston public outlet WGBH. Five years ago, the Logan, Utah native received an honorary doctorate of humane letters for his “significant contributions” to public broadcasting from his alma mater, Utah State University.
Premiere and TheBlaze to Present Memorial Day Special. The annual Memorial Day radio special produced by Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network returns in 2015 with Premiere Networks handling affiliate relations. The three-hour program – titled “Reflections from a Grateful Nation” – features the hosts, writers and editors of TheBlaze and TheBlaze.com, including: Doc Thompson, Skip LaCombe, Buck Sexton, Jay Severin, Chris Salcedo, Mike Broomhead and others. In addition to special appearances by award-winning actor Gary Sinise, “Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak and members of the military, listeners will hear personal stories and conversations about the meaning of the holiday in this special tribute to those who fought and gave their lives to defend America’s freedom. It’s available to news/talk stations for airing from May 23-25. Interested stations can phone Premiere at 818-377-5300.
Michael Harrison Interviews Boston Herald Editor-in-Chief Joe Sciacca on Weekly Podcast, ‘Up Close and Far Out.’ In a candid and informative interview on the popular weekly podcast “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” Boston Herald editor-in-chief Joe Sciacca discusses his views on a wide variety of media-related topics that include, among others: the state of the newspaper industry in a changing media landscape; the impact of the digital era on journalism; and his experience in being involved with his newspaper’s pioneering effort in online news/talk/sports radio broadcasting – Boston Herald Radio. During the extensive conversation, Sciacca – a 37-year veteran of the newspaper business as a reporter, columnist and editor — tells TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison that the biggest challenge facing journalists in the newspaper business today is “keeping their print product relevant.” He tells Harrison, “I believe this is the greatest time to be leading a news organization in America even though resources are challenging and newspapers are experiencing difficult times in terms of revenue. There really is a great window of opportunity to be creative – to reinvent our business. So when I became editor five years ago after being at the Herald for 32 years, I embraced the challenge because even though I knew the road was going to be difficult to navigate, we have done some incredible things over the last five years and we’ve really transformed what was purely a print organization into a multimedia news organization.” This transformation, of course, includes the launch of Boston Herald Radio – the newspaper’s online talk station that produces 11 hours of original, live content every weekday from a studio located right next to the newspaper’s newsroom. It has proven to be a major source of breaking stories, not only for Boston-area news consumers, but for the media across the country and around the world. Harrison and Sciacca delve into media theory and discuss differences in the psychology between reading stories online as opposed to the printed page. They also analyze the impact of video cameras inside a radio studio and the differences between what Harrison describes as “great radio or bad television.” Sciacca discusses the Boston Herald’s commitment to getting the stories right, rather than just being first – a pressure amplified by the competition generated by the 24 hour non-stop, digital news cycle and he recalls how coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing was particularly challenging because of all the false information that was out there in the general news media’s frenzy to stay on top of the breaking story during its early hours and days. Harrison describes his theories about the emergence of what he calls “stickless” radio broadcasting (meaning radio without the traditional license, transmitter and tower) and the development of the online “media station” in the 21st century. To hear the entirety of this fascinating conversation between two seasoned, front-line media visionaries, please click here, or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” box in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Four More Smartphone Models Can Have FM Chip Activated Via Clip Interactive. According to Clip Interactive, more consumers can exercise the FM chip listening option as it has expanded the phones that can use its technology to include the HTC One M9, HTC Desire 610, Sharp Aquos Crystal and LG G3. Clip Interactive says its application technology connects to this chip, allowing the listener to tune into local stations without having to stream, which depletes data allowances and consumes more battery life. FM chip activation through Clip Interactive mobile apps allows stations to optimize listening options for users. Clip Interactive chief technology officer Peter Shoebridge says, “Activating the FM chip on more devices benefits the listener as they can reduce data usage and enjoy the real-time broadcast. The industry can expect more announcements about additional devices in the coming weeks as we continue our mission to provide interactive radio to the masses.”
Odds & Sods. Appearing in the KFAQ, Tulsa studios this morning is a crew from “Good Morning America” as morning host Pat Campbell interviews attorney Clark Brewster. Reserve Sheriff Deputy Robert Bates hired Brewster to represent him in the case of the fatal shooting of Eric Harris that took place during a drug sting. Bates has been cleared by the FBI of violating Harris’ civil rights but faces a second-degree manslaughter charge for accidently using his pistol instead of a taser on Harris. Pat Campbell tells TALKERS magazine, “Our station has been ground zero for many exclusives on this story, including the only sit-down interview with Sheriff Stanley Glanz. KFAQ news director Tami Marler has been all over this since day one, getting scoops and guests other outlets can’t secure.”…..FOX Sports Radio is presenting “FOX Sports Live 2015 NFL Draftcast” – a multi-platform NFL draft special featuring Jay Glazer, Joel Klatt, Peter Schrager, Mike Garafolo and Don Bell in Chicago. It will air on the network’s more than 400 affiliates nationwide beginning at 8:00 pm ET on Thursday, April 30…..The last Buckley Broadcasting property – KIDD-AM, Monterey, California – has been sold to Saul Levine’s Mt. Wilson Broadcasters for $50,000. Buckley took KIDD-AM dark a few months ago and recently tore down its aging tower structure.
ISIS Violence, Iran Nuclear Program Controversy/U.S. Naval Presence in Yemen, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Police Shootings Controversies, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/20). The reports of ISIS executing Christians; the controversy about negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program and the United States’ naval presence in the waters off Yemen; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the cases of police shooting citizens in Baltimore, Tulsa and elsewhere; and the weekend’s Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Getting It Partly Wrong and Absolutely Right. Disaster preparedness expert Howard B. Price – director, business continuity for ABC Television – writes in a piece in TALKERS today (1/27) that even though parts of the Northeast escaped the dire predictions of Winter Storm Juno, it’s better that people were overprepared. For those upset with officials for shutting down roads and, in some cases, entire cities, Price says, “No one should EVER blame the messengers for decisions governments and businesses take based on scientific facts that were trumped – as they sometimes are – by the forces of nature. Better to plan for what turns out to be unnecessary, then to be caught flat-footed when circumstances are worse than you anticipated.” Keep in mind that as we publish this piece on Tuesday, parts of New England are indeed getting a lot of snow, combined with high winds. Read more from Price here.
Carolyn Fox: My Prescription for Radio Success. Radio pro Carolyn Fox writes about the key tenets to help personalities succeed in the radio business – even in this era. In this piece she presents five points radio personalities should understand in order to have success in a business that’s contingent upon connecting with listeners. “Great radio is nothing more than real humans connecting with other real humans aurally,” Fox says, “Don’t overcomplicate the message because my kid is banking on you to resuscitate radio so he too can pay back his college loans.” Read Carolyn Fox’s piece here.
Tom Leykis’ The New Normal Reports 2014 Profit. It’s been three years since Tom Leykis – free from the confines of his old contract with CBS RADIO – debuted his own internet talk program via a digital platform operating within his company The New Normal LLC. Leykis says that his gross revenue for 2014 was $524,952, an increase of 60% over 2013’s gross, and a net profit of $2,187. He goes on to say that this profit “will most likely exceed the combined net profits of the radio industry’s two largest companies (representing 1,310 or 11% of all US commercial radio stations).” Pointing to the balance sheets of large radio operators iHeartMedia and Cumulus Media, Leykis says “iHeartMedia has not earned a net profit since at least 2008 according to its own 10K report. Despite recent claims of ‘accelerated growth,’ iHeart’s best showing since 2008 was the second quarter of 2010 when it showed a net of negative $204.2 million…Cumulus Media, which is number two to iHeartMedia in stations owned, has shown a slight profit in 2014, with earnings per share for 2014 so far reported at $0.04 per share and net revenue of $159.34 million as of the third quarter of 2014.” TALKERS editors note that while profits are certainly a challenge for companies with large debt service, it can be argued that the two companies mentioned (and the others not) employ thousands of people, support workers’ families and in turn contribute to the economy in a bigger way than a small company that actually earns a profit. Still, Leykis says his point is that it doesn’t take big corporate backing to produce a successful media venture. “In the end, this news doesn’t exactly make my day. I made a fantastic living in the radio business and I still have many friends in the industry who are afraid of what the future holds. I could have retired young and lived comfortably forever. This project is to show radio folks that there’s a future for them if they’re willing to work hard.”
Westwood One to Recognize Excellence in Audio Creativity. It has become an annual event for the syndicator to recognize the best radio commercials within perhaps the year’s biggest sporting event – the Super Bowl. Westwood One‘s senior vice president of sports sales & marketing Brandon Berman explains that the Cumulus Media division created the “Sound Awards” to “connect with – and to encourage – marketers, creatives, and brands to join forces and showcase the power of sound. Our Super Bowl broadcast is the perfect environment for advertisers to leverage their commercial creative, thanks to our incredible reach and sheer volume of audience across platforms. Following the crowning of a Super Bowl Champion, we look forward to crowning an advertising champion.” Westwood One’s play-by-play coverage of Super Bowl XLIX between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks originates this Sunday (2/1) from suburban Phoenix (Glendale). The “Super Bowl Sound Awards for Excellence in Audio Creativity” will feature national ads airing on Westwood One’s Super Bowl XLIX broadcast, as well as SiriusXM Radio, NFL.com/Audiopass, NFL Mobile from Verizon, and on the American Forces Radio Network. Last year’s winner, Motel 6, earned the top spot with a parody on how to use AutoCorrect. Other top vote getters were Tilted Kilt, Subway, Exergen, and Taco Bell. Voting opened yesterday (Monday, 1/27) at 3:00 pm (ET) and runs through next Tuesday (2/3) at 12:00 noon; winners will be announced next Wednesday (2/4).
XEPRS-AM, Padres Extend “Mighty” Agreement. The pact between Broadcast Company of the Americas’ sports outlet XEPRS-AM “The Mighty 1090” and the National League West San Diego Padres covers this year’s MLB season and next year. BCA president Mike Glickenhaus comments, “We are very excited to continue our relationship with the Padres. We believe very strongly in the [team’s] vision for the future and we are looking forward to being a part of it.” Padres president Mike Dee remarks, “We are thrilled and excited because this really is a good partnership. ‘The Mighty 1090′ is where San Diego fans go for their sports and the Padres are glad to be part of it.” XEPRS-AM has been the Padres’ flagship since 2004; the station is licensed to Rosarito Beach, Baja California (Mexico).
Odds & Sods. Former Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Mike Rogers joins Hudson Institute as a Distinguished Fellow. In this role, he’ll focus on cyber-warfare and security, counterterrorism, and national security policy. Rogers currently hosts the nationally syndicated feature “Something to Think About with Mike Rogers” for Westwood One and is a CNN national security contributor…..At the Omaha cluster of NRG Media, AM radio operations manager Neil Nelkin announces he’s leaving the position and the station group he’s been at for more than two decades. The company’s Omaha AM properties include: sports talkers KZOT and KOZN, news/talk KOIL, and Spanish-language KMMQ…..There’s a changing of traffic reporters at Tribune’s WGN, Chicago as the station informs traffic service Radiate Media that it’s dropping 10-year personality Leslie Keiling and will replace her with Judy Pielach, according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder…..Ashley Lopez is named political reporter for Kentucky Public Radio’s WFPL, Louisville.
Johnjay and Rich Suggest Non-Traditional Super Bowl Accommodations. Capitalizing on the fact that this Sunday’s Super Bowl is being played in their flagship market, Phoenix-based syndicated morning talents Johnjay and Rich maintain they are prepared to rent out their studio. Emphasizing they are offering the “full Super Bowl experience,” the duo cites computers, buffet breakfasts/lunches, convenient parking, and color television as tongue-in-cheek selling points to would-be renters. According to a video they shot, the 3.5-day rate to rent their studio is approximately $160.
Busy Week in Arizona for Westwood One. Pictured here is the crew that covered last weekend’s NFL Pro Bowl game at University of Phoenix Stadium – also the site of this weekend’s Super Bowl XLIX. Westwood One is the exclusive national radio partner of the NFL. From left to right are: producer Aaron Cummins, announcer Scott Graham (the voice of NFL Films), executive producer Howard Deneroff, and NFL Hall of Famer Rod Woodson.
Obama Tax Plan, ‘American Sniper’ Film Controversy, 2016 Presidential Prospects, East Coast Blizzard, and Super Bowl/DeflateGate Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/26). The proposal by President Obama to hike taxes on the rich to assist the middle class; the controversial responses to the film “American Sniper”; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the blizzard hitting the East Coast; and Sunday’s Super Bowl and chatter about the DeflateGate issue were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Ramsey Packs ‘Smart Conference’ in Los Angeles. The photo you see here shows nationally syndicated talk radio superstar and best-selling author Dave Ramsey on the stage at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles at the sold-out “Smart Conference” that took place on Saturday (11/1). During the day-long conference, Ramsey, along with his daughter Rachel Cruze, Andy Andrews, Dr. Henry Cloud, Dr. Emmerson Eggerichs, Joy Eggerichs, and Dr. Meg Meeker, provided attendees with “essential information on how to win with money, strengthen their marriages, build parenting skills and excel in their careers.” To help promote the event, Ramsey partnered with local affiliate KEIB “The Patriot.” Program director Robin Bertolucci comments, “Dave Ramsey’s listeners are engaged and passionate. They connect with Dave at a very personal and emotional level. The Dave Ramsey show is clearly impacting people’s lives and building powerful bonds with the Patriot audience and our clients.”
Steinhauer Inks Multi-Year Renewal with Westwood One. Syndication giant Westwood One agrees to terms for a multi-year contract renewal with chief operating officer Charles Steinhauer. He’ll continue to oversee the management of the company’s day-to-day operations, including programming, technology, distribution, sports, marketing, affiliate services, research, compliance and strategy, and will report directly to Lew Dickey, chief executive officer for Cumulus Media. In addition to his role at Westwood One, Steinhauer serves as a director on the board of the Media Ratings Council and was chair of the Network Radio Research Council (NRRC). He is also an ARF Ambassador, a member of the RAB Council, and serves on the Nielsen Advisory Board. Lew Dickey says, “Charles is an exceptional talent and a key member of our executive leadership team. We’re excited to extend his contract and look forward to his important contribution as we build Westwood One into the world’s leading audio content company.”
The Rich Eisen Show Debuts Today. The new Rich Eisen program debuts across the Fox Sports Radio Network – clearing some 120 stations that carry the network’s programming. The addition of the DirecTV-produced program in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot affected the network’s lineup, most notably bumping “Jay Mohr Sports” into the afternoon drive slot, Eastern Time.
Odds & Sods. More election coverage to announce from TheBlaze Radio Network. Doc Thompson and Skip Lacombe are set to host the Glenn Beck-founded network’s election night coverage from Mercury Studios in Dallas from 7:00 pm until key races are decided. Jay Severin and TheBlaze TV’s Laurie Dhue and Amy Holmes will be contributing to coverage. TheBlaze notes that this coverage is multi-platform with TheBlaze TV and TheBlaze.com providing complementary coverage and analysis…..United Stations Radio Networks names Willis Damalt the newest rep in the company’s affiliate relations department. In his new role, Damalt will specialize in the affiliate marketing efforts of the company’s offerings for news/talk and sports formats…..This Thursday, CBS RADIO’s KNX, Los Angeles presents a special program called “Ebola Uncovered” from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm. The program is being co-hosted by KNX news anchor Tom Haule and investigative reporter Charles Feldman, who is co-producing the special with Laraine Herman. Reporter Margaret Carrero will contribute to the program which will also stream live on cbsLA.com. Listeners will have the opportunity to ask questions on the radio by calling 866-569-1070 or through Twitter using #knxebola. The guests will include a doctor who is an infectious disease specialist from UCLA, a sociologist from UC Irvine and a local doctor who recently treated Ebola patients in Liberia…..Filling in for morning personality Joe Piscopo on Salem Communications’ WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” are: PBS anchor, syndicated columnist and former New Jersey state legislator Steve Adubato; WNYM Sunday morning host (and former New York mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis; WNYM midday host John Gambling; and Brian Whitman and Elisha Krauss, co-hosts of “The Morning Answer” on the company’s KRLA, Los Angeles.
Entercom Announces Q3 Net Revenue Up 1%. On revenue of $99.8 million during the third quarter of 2014 Entercom is reporting the figure amounts to a 1% increase compared to the same period a year ago. The quarter also saw station expenses increasing 3% and station operating income dipping 3%. Entercom president and CEO David Field states, “Entercom’s performance accelerated during the third quarter, highlighted by a robust September during which revenues increased 7%, up 5% excluding political. Overall, third quarter revenues were up 1.4%, overcoming a weak August. We continue to focus on working to enhance our value to listeners and customers and to increase our growth potential for the future. To that end, we believe our competitive position, execution, and capabilities have all significantly improved over the past year and should enable enhanced performance in the year ahead.” Entercom is presenting an investor’s conference call today.
Tom Leykis Sells Out LA’s Laugh Factory with Show titled “Be Funny Live.” Internet radio maverick Tom Leykis brought a live version of one of his online program’s most popular features, “Be Funny,” to the stage of LA’s famous comedy club, the Laugh Factory this past Thursday evening (10/30) and RadioInfo’s West Coast correspondents report the sold-out event was a hilarious success. The program consists of a parade of characters culled from regular listeners and callers to his daily (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm PT) New Normal show performing parody songs and bits inspired by the news events of the day. Leykis is quoted in an article in the Orange County Register stating, “Every time there is a national tragedy such as the Boston bombing, the Malaysian airliner, Ray Rice, Ebola…every time something happens, these people go to the drawing board and figure out how to make a parody song about all of this horrible stuff. It’s hysterically funny and you wouldn’t want to be caught laughing at it but, people laugh at it because it is off-the-charts funny. A lot of them are full-on productions. We picked a bunch of people that the audience knows to go in and play their hits and then we balanced it out with people who maybe have never called or are relatively new to the show. We picked some people who are great and then some who are unbelievably bad and don’t know it but, they’ll find out the night of the show! [Laughs.]” Leykis’ show can be heard at www.BlowMeUpTom.com.
Build-Up to the Mid-Term Elections. At Embry-Riddle University in Daytona Beach, Florida, WNDB, Daytona Beach talk show host Marc Bernier (left) hosted Fox News political analyst and host of “Political Insiders,” John LeBoutillier (right) at the college’s President’s Speakers Series. The live event on October 31 was broadcast live on WNDB. During the program, LeBoutillier “handicapped” the tight election battles going on around the country.
CORRECTION: TALKERS magazine’s just-released 2014 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk is updated after a technical glitch led an incomplete version to be initially published. The list now includes Mike Missanelli, WIP-FM, Philadelphia tied at #14; Adam Gold & Joe Ovies, WCMC, Raleigh tied at #55 and Orlando Alzugary, WQAM, Miami at #97. We regret any inconvenience this error might have caused. See the 2014 list here.
Talkers New York 2014 – Powerful Agenda and Speaker Lineup Now Being Unveiled. The 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s largest, longest-running and most important gathering – Talkers New York 2014 — will take place on Friday, June 20th.The day kicks off with a morning keynote address by Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel talk superstar Sean Hannity following his “Breakfast with Hannity” opening gala which has become a tradition at the yearly event. That is followed by a sports talk radio keynote by WFAN, New York legend, Mike Francesa. RAB CEO/president Erica Farber reprises her role as moderator of the “State of Radio Advertising and Sales” panel which features a roster of management/marketing heavyweights including Sound Mind, LLC CEO Kraig Kitchin and more. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison moderates the popular “Big Picture” panel featuring Journal Broadcast Group VP, news/talk programming and VP/GM, WTMJ/WLWK, Milwaukee Tom Langmyer; Cumulus Media SVP, programming Mike McVay; Saga Communications EVP, Steve Goldstein; KARN, Little Rock PD Dave Elswick; WMCA/WNYM, New York VP/GM Jerry Crowley; ABC News, director business continuity & crisis management, Howard B. Price; and WYD Media Management CEO Ron Hartenbaum. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey moderates the “State of Talk Radio Programming” panel featuring Salem Communications VP spoken word Phil Boyce; Gabe Hobbs Media CEO Gabe Hobbs; WABC, New York PD Craig Schwalb; WMAL, Washington, DC PD Bill Hess; and WPHT/WIP/CBS Sports Radio 610, Philadelphia OM Andy Bloom. TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian moderates the “State of Talk Show Hosting” panel featuring Fox News Radio host Alan Colmes; WYD Media host Thom Hartmann; WGAU, Athens, GA/KRMG, Tulsa/ Georgia News Network host Martha Zoller; Stephan Multimedia host Doug Stephan; WDBZ, Cincinnati host Lincoln Ware; and WestwoodOne host Jim Bohannon with more to be announced; Consultant Holland Cooke provides an informational “takeaway” presentation and Inside Music Media publisher Jerry Del Colliano appears as a special guest delivering the closing wrap-up. A number of headline speakers and surprise guests have yet to be announced including the esteemed recipients of the Freedom of Speech Award, Humanitarian of the Year Award, Woman of the Year Award, Lifetime Achievement Award and the presenter of the Annual State of the First Amendment Address. In all, more than 65 speakers are participating and 500-plus attendees will pack the facility. The event also features technological displays of the latest equipment by Comrex Corporation and Broadcasters General Store. According to Michael Harrison, “This is the most important installment of this can’t-miss conference ever because it deals with some of the most sensitive and existential issues facing not only the talk side of the business, but all of what we still call ‘radio.’ It is not to be missed, plain and simple, by anyone or any company serious about their future in this industry.” Registrations for the event are limited only to people who are actively or recently employed in the industry or associated industries and can only be booked by telephone with credit card. Individual registrations for the entire event including all sessions, presentations, breakfast, lunch, refreshments and receptions are $249. As usual, because of space limitations and the high quality of this long-established event, an early sellout is certain. Stand by for ongoing information about speakers, agenda and hotel suggestions in the days ahead. For further registration and sponsorship information, please call 413-565-5413.
Leykis Listener Pays $5,500 to Celebrate Show Anniversary on Air. As April 2 approaches, talk radio star Tom Leykis and his crew are preparing to celebrate the second anniversary of his internet talk show. Leykis – who spent many years with CBS RADIO based at former hot talk KLSX, Los Angeles – created The New Normal company to execute his vision for interactive talk radio on the internet and launched his live program on April 2, 2012. As a way of offering something special to a loyal listener and of celebrating the occasion, Leykis auctioned a day in the studio with the Tom Leykis show on eBay and a listener from Orange County (still anonymous at press time) shelled out $5,500 for the honor. As was written in the eBay description, the winner gets to come to “The New Normal Studios in Burbank, California and spend the afternoon with Tom Leykis and his cohorts, Gary Zabransky, Dean J. DeMilio, and Mike Timpson. You’ll see Tom’s Tesla Model S. We’ll take photos. Or not. Alcohol will be consumed. Anything can happen. If you win, be sure to bring bail money.”
SCBA Makes Case for Advertising on Radio in SoCal with Quarterly Market Report. A case can be made that the Southern California Broadcasters Association is working as hard as any organization can to convince advertisers that their money would be well spent on Southern California radio. In its latest Quarterly Market Guidance Report, the SCBA draws upon some of the data that’s already been reported this year that indicates: 1) radio listening in the region (persons 12+) is increasing, according to Nielsen Audio data; and 2) advertising revenue in the region is increasing as per Miller Kaplan Arase reports. The report, designed to target advertisers and agencies, offers arguments for shifting parts of ad budgets away from television and cable to radio for effective marketing. See the report here.
International Remotes? Karel Tells You How. California-based talk show host Karel (pictured here sporting the green mohawk in a St. Patrick’s Day parade in Ireland) has been doing international remotes since the days when the equipment necessary to get the job done required a half-dozen flight cases, an-onsite engineer and ISDN and POTS lines set up way in advance. As Karel illustrates in today’s piece, that’s in the distant past. Just returned from an eight-day trip to Ireland from which he broadcast live from numerous locations during his travels, Karel details the equipment necessary and how he managed it all with an ease that allowed him to focus on creating the programming and not troubleshooting engineering snafus. Read his story here.
Odds & Sods. The David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh is being taken over this weekend by CBS RADIO Pittsburgh as it presents the Giant Eagle Kidapalooza on Saturday, March 29. In addition, news/talk KDKA-AM is bringing back the Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield KDKA Health Fair. Kidapalooza is a unique, indoor family festival featuring exciting entertainment and indoor adventures spread over more than 100,000 square feet of space…..Tribune’s WGN, Chicago and the Chicago Blackhawks are presenting the March edition of “Chicago Blackhawks Live” featuring Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville on Tuesday, April 1 at the new Old Town Pour House in suburban Oak Brook. “Blackhawks Live” is a series of one-hour radio broadcasts hosted over dinner throughout the year featuring current Blackhawks players, legends and management. Blackhawks radio broadcasters John Wiedeman and Troy Murray host the event that includes a question-and-answer format between the hosts and the featured Blackhawks guests…..Fox News Channel is launching a new Sunday morning program featuring Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo called “Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo.” The show will have a business focus in which Bartiromo interviews business leaders and industry newsmakers about commerce and finance issues.
ABC News Radio at Washington Disaster. At left is ABC News Radio correspondent Alex Stone in Arlington, Washington covering the mudslides in Washington State. He is pictured with Lisa Bishop and her dog Cody who are waiting to go in to begin looking for victims. The pair are a FEMA-certified team and so far have been told it’s too dangerous to begin searching.
ObamaCare Criticism, Global Warming, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Fate, Obama vs. Putin/G7 Meeting, Fatal Washington Mudslide, and March Madness Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/24). Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; theories about global warming the cause of unusual winter weather; conclusions about the fate of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370; the shutting out of Russia from the G8 conference and President Obama’s dealings with Vladimir Putin; the tragedy of the mudslide in Washington that’s claimed numerous lives and left many presumed dead; and the first weekend of the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to research from TALKERS.
News/Talk Radio Remembers JFK. As the nation commemorates the fateful, painful events of November 22 1963, the media at large – newspapers, television and, of course, radio — are focused across the board on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Obviously, the subject is dominating conversation on news/talk radio today in the form of historical documentaries, as well as live talk shows in which every aspect of the almost mythical story is rehashed, retold, analyzed and memorialized. Many shows are spending time giving listeners the opportunity to recall “where they were and what they were doing” when the horrible news was announced. As TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison points out, “This milestone serves as a powerful generational marker in our industry’s obsession with demographics that basically breaks audiences down to two significantly different categories — those who remember JFK and the events of November 22, 1963… and those who don’t.”
Compass Media Marketing Will Represent Tom Leykis. As of the first of next year (January 2014), Compass Media Marketing will be the advertising sales agent for “The Tom Leykis Show.” CMM will do similar duties for the talk show host’s NewNormalNetwork.com and BlowMeUpTom.com. “We are appreciative to the tens of thousands of listeners who are tuning in daily to our show,” Leykis remarks. “The time is right to start aggressively marketing the show to sponsors and we are thrilled to work with the Compass team.” Compass Media Marketing president of advertising sales Paul Gregrey comments that Leykis is a “creative genius” with a “highly engaged and loyal audience. There is limitless upside for growth, both in terms of listenership and sponsors.” Introduced last year, the latest version of Leykis’ talk show is a streaming internet-centric call-in program, which is broadcast daily at 3:00 pm (PT) from Burbank. This past Tuesday (11/19), we mentioned that Leykis put himself up for auction on eBay. The stunt raked in $7,800 for his company and Leykis tells TALKERS, “This promotion worked perfectly for us because it engaged our audience, it brought press attention to our growing brand, and it brought us substantial revenue. For The New Normal, it was nothing short of a homerun. [Furthermore, it] makes it hard to accept the whining of radio stations who say that they ‘can’t monetize’ digital.”
Reports of Renewed TRN Activity Circulating. There’s buzz in the industry that Talk Radio Network CEO Mark Masters is working to bring some of his talent back on the radio hosting live programs. TALKERS sources indicate Masters and talk personality Jerry Doyle have come to terms that have allowed Doyle to return to his program immediately. Doyle and other Talk Radio Network personalities have not been hosting regular live shows for most of the past month or so in the wake of a financial disruption at the company that involved staff layoffs at the Grants Pass, Oregon home offices and numerous legal actions between Masters and current and former employees. Other rumors circulating purported that talk host Rusty Humphries is also soon to be returning to the program schedule at TRN but TALKERS sources report Humphries and Masters have not come to terms that would bring Humphries back to TRN. TALKERS has reached out to Masters for comment but as of this posting there has been no response. Stay tuned.
Geraldo to Remain with Cumulus Media. Any rumors circulating the internet that Geraldo Rivera’s days with Cumulus Media are numbered are untrue says company COO John Dickey. Geraldo – who is based at the company’s WABC, New York and is also heard on its Los Angeles news/talker KABC as well as 45 other news/talk outlets – airs live from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET. Dickey tells TALKERS, “Geraldo is going to be working even more closely with us next year – still anchoring 10:00 am to 12:00 noon on WABC – as well as spearheading our Putting America Back to Work (PABTW) initiative.” Geraldo began his program on WABC, New York in January 2012.
Norm Pattiz Discusses Podcasting and the State of the Radio Industry on TalkersTV. An exclusive video of Courtside Entertainment, LLC/Podcast One CEO Norm Pattiz‘s presentation at the recent Talkers Los Angeles 2013 conference has been posted today (11/22) on TalkersTV (top panel of boxes on right hand side of this page). In what was billed as a “keynote conversation,” with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, the noted industry pioneer, who founded the original Westwood One and created a veritable media empire from scratch, discusses the impact and meaning of podcasting as an extension of the radio industry as well as other important issues of the broadcasting business. During the presentation he asks the provocative question, “When was the last time you can think of a national star that was created on network radio? Been a while, hasn’t it!” He goes on to state, “There’s a demographic national star created in podcasting every week. That’s because in the podcasting world, the only people you have to satisfy are your audiences and consumers.” To view the entire video presentation, see TalkersTV on the upper right side of every page on Talkers.com.
RAB: Third Quarter Radio Spot Revenue Up 1%. The Radio Advertising Bureau reports its 2013 Q3 figures and states after two flat quarters, radio spot advertising rose 1% on sales of $3.684 million. The report also notes that network revenue was down 11% while digital rose 19% and off-air was up 3%. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber states, “The momentum we saw building at the end of Q2 has definitely translated into a positive Q3 for radio in many of our top 10 advertiser categories, led by communications/cellular with a healthy 24% increase. Among key categories, automotive, professional services, health care, home furnishings, all showed substantial increases, as well. Increases from these diverse ad categories illustrate radio’s cross-platform strength to drive traffic and sales – for large corporations to Main Street businesses.”
Chuck Todd Readies to Add Radio Duties. “Unscripted with Chuck Todd” is the name of the one-hour (9:00 am to 10:00 am) Saturday show the veteran journalist will launch in two weeks (12/7) on SiriusXM‘s “P.O.T.U.S.” channel. “In this day and age, people tend to think they have more access to newsmakers and politicians, when in many ways, they actually have less,” Todd comments. “We will aim to help listeners get to know powerful people in a different way – as human beings, not as sound-bite machines. I look forward to talking to many famous amateur political junkies out there who just happen to have day jobs in the worlds of sports, Hollywood, Wall Street and everywhere in between.” According to SiriusXM vice president/general manager of talk programming Dave Gorab, “Chuck will go outside his normal field of reporting and delve into the personal passions and interests of not just politicians but leaders from virtually every field of interest. This show is new territory for Chuck, but will be built on his journalistic savvy and experience.” Todd hosts MSNBC‘s “Daily Rundown” and is NBC News’ chief White House correspondent.
Atlantic City Talk Host Pinky Kravitz Celebrates 55 Years on WOND. Atlantic City talk radio legend Seymour “Pinky” Kravitz is celebrating his 55th anniversary on WOND this afternoon with a special broadcast from the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. The station notes that Kravitz has broadcast more than 169,000 hours of air time (that’s over 701 consecutive days!) from more than 20 remote broadcasting locations and more than a handful of time changes. It boasts that 1400 AM is where South Jersey still turns for “informative and provocative conversation. Pinky Kravitz has become one of the region’s most recognized, trusted and beloved media personalities through what has become the longest running radio program (on one station by one personality) in the country.” Longport Media president Dave Coskey states, “It’s amazing that in an industry where longevity is often measured in months or years that we measure Pinky’s career on WOND in decades. Pinky’s career spans not only decades but generations – generations of listeners all who have spent time in Pinky’s Corner. And his brand is even stronger today than it was in 1958.” Kravitz adds, “I’ve been blessed to not only have the support of my family, a radio station and city for all of these years but also the love and support of an entire region.” In addition to his daily radio show on WOND, Kravitz also hosts a weekly television program on WMGM-TV and writes a weekly column for the Press of Atlantic City.
Saga Communications to Pay Special Cash Dividend. Saga Communications, Inc. announces its Board of Directors is declaring a special cash dividend of $1.80 per share on its Classes A and B Common Stock to be paid on December 12, 2013 to shareholders of record on December 2, 2013. The aggregate amount of the payment to be made in connection with the special dividend will be approximately $10.3 million. This special cash dividend will be funded by cash on the company’s balance sheet.
Paul Finebaum Show to Air on SiriusXM’s ESPN Channel. The formerly Birmingham-based sports talker – now calling Charlotte home and produced and syndicated nationally via ESPN Radio – joins the ESPN Xtra channel on SiriusXM effective Monday, November 25. Paul Finebaum joined ESPN in August after years of success on Cumulus Media’s WJOX-FM, Birmingham. Finebaum’s show airs live from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET.
Honda Displays HD Radio Civic Pride. The Los Angeles Auto Show is not typically where you would expect to find something noteworthy about the radio business. That, however, is where HD Radio developer iBiquity Digital this week announced that the 2014 Civic is the first Honda vehicle to launch integrated audio and real-time traffic information using the HERE mapping service, BTC, and HD Radio technology. iBiquity Digital chief operating officer Jeff Jury comments, “Honda is showing real leadership in bringing the benefits of digital HD Radio data to their vehicles. This is another great example of a leading automaker integrating digital terrestrial technology as part of a connected vehicle strategy.” Honda Civic navigation systems incorporate HD Radio audio and data features, including a way for listeners to view album art and other images on their radio screens. There is subscription-free, real-time traffic information, showing flow patterns, construction alerts, and traffic incidents to drivers. In addition to Honda, other automakers integrating digital traffic and data services include Lexus, Mazda, Mitsubishi and Toyota. More than 30 automakers have announced plans to incorporate HD Radio in over 170 models by the end of this year. Nearly seven-dozen models will feature HD Radio receivers as standard equipment. The 2014 Honda Civic arrives at dealerships next month.
Ron Ruth Memorial Fund Announced. The Radio Advertising Bureau and the Broadcasters Foundation of America are announcing the creation of the Ron Ruth Memorial Fund in celebration of the life and work of Ruth and to benefit the Broadcasters Foundation of America. The BfoA’s mission is to help improve the quality of life of men and women in the radio and television broadcast profession who find themselves in acute need. Donations may be sent directly to the Broadcasters Foundation at 125 West 55th Street, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10019 and please make note that the donation is for the Ron Ruth Memorial Fund. Tentative plans by the RAB are underway to hold a celebration of life with Ron’s many friends sometime in the first quarter of next year and will be made public as soon as they are finalized. RAB CEO and president Erica Farber states, “Ron was an ardent supporter of the Broadcasters Foundation. We at the RAB couldn’t think of a more fitting way to honor and commemorate his life and work.”
Dave Ramsey Takes New York. The actual event took place right across the Hudson River at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark but Dave Ramsey’s New York affiliate – Clear Channel’s WOR – was a partner in promoting the event. Ramsey presented his “Legacy Journey LIVE!” last night (11/21) before a packed house speaking about how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence. His daughter, Rachel Cruze, joined Ramsey on stage. WOR general sales manager Ron Russo says to the Ramsey team, “Thank you for creating an engaging event in an intimate setting where we have the opportunity to connect our listeners with our clients in a truly interactive environment.” WOR sales manager Chris Borelli adds, “The event is not only impeccably prepared and executed, but entertaining and enjoyable. We look forward to many more events like this as long term partners.”
ObamaCare Criticism Top News/Talk Story for Week of November 18-22. The scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was President Obama’s sinking approval ratings. Following at #3 was the talks with Iran about its nuclear policy and debate over economic sanctions on the nation followed by the GOP’s 2014 and 2016 strategy 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.
Bid4Spots: Auction an Alternative to Unsold Inventory. In a piece published today (7/23), TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian profiles Dave Newmark’s successful Bid4Spots digital auction initiative. There was a time when numerous players were getting into the business of using the internet to deal with unsold inventory on radio stations. Dave Newmark tells Mike Kinosian why the others failed and how he struggled to find the right business model that would eventually lead to success. It was during a casual conversation with a software developer when he had an epiphany. “I immediately thought of those ad exchanges and I realized what they all had wrong. They had the supply and demand equation backwards. Forward auctions work well only when the demand is high and the supply is low. If I could figure out when demand would be at its lowest point – when regular airtime buyers were pretty much gone from the store – it would be as close to ‘next week’ as possible.” Newmark’s road to success was not a smooth one. In this fascinating piece he details his trials and tribulations. He also explains why stations and advertisers are happy with his model of moving unsold inventory. Read it all here.
Are You a Thinker or a Feeler? More importantly, are your listeners and callers thinkers or feelers? In a new TALKERS column posted today (7/23) by branding specialist Dr. John Tantillo, he states that understanding the difference between these two approaches to the issues of the day can have an impact on your show and determine how effectively you orchestrate discussions of them on the air. Using the examples of the current Zimmerman verdict and Rolling Stone cover controversy, Dr. Tantillo examines the relationship between branding and controversy pointing out that the most important thing to focus upon is how the controversy directly impacts the customer’s (or fan’s) loyalty to the brand and nobody else’s. He says we should be less concerned about public relations and more interested in “targeted relations.” To read the entire column, please click here.
Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan Named Among ‘Giants of Broadcasting’ Honorees. This is the 11th annual staging of the “Giants of Broadcasting” that is sponsored by the Library of American Broadcasting. It celebrates “distinguished leadership or performance in television and radio” and will take place October 16 at New York’s Gotham Hall. Smulyan is among 11 honorees this year including Anne Sweeney, Alex Trebek, Barry Diller, Morley Safer, Dick Cavett, Robert L. Johnson, David E. Kelley, Richard E. Wiley, Richard Leibner and Carole Cooper. The Library of American Broadcasting is located at the University of Maryland and the organization states it is “entering its 42nd year serving as the national information resource for the radio and television industries and the academic communities that rely upon it for depth and expertise. Its collections of historic documents, professional papers, oral and video histories, books and photographs are among the nation’s most extensive.”
Red Zebra Re-Tools Afternoons on WTEM, Washington. Recently retired Washington Redskins star Chris Cooley becomes part of the new “The Drive with Cooley and Czabe” afternoon program on Red Zebra-owned sports talk outlet WTEM, Washington “ESPN 980”. Cooley – who just joined the station for Washington Redskins game broadcasts with the company – joins Steve Czaban and WTEM weekend host Al Galdi for the new program that will debut August 1 and will air from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Czaban currently hosts “The Sports Reporters” with Andy Pollin in the afternoon drive slot. Red Zebra says Pollin remains with the station and will sub for the vacationing Tony Kornheiser beginning August 5. About the new show, Czaban jokes, “I will work tirelessly to make Chris Cooley the second-most-beloved ex-Redskin tight end on radio in the DC market.”
MEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Mark Jorgenson of Jorgenson Broadcast Brokerage. In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media broker Mark Jorgenson of Jorgenson Broadcast Brokerage of Greenville, South Carolina. Jorgenson was a 12-year veteran of television sales and radio ownership in Southeastern markets before deciding that he liked putting deals together better than he did operating stations. He says, “I enjoy matching people up with great opportunities and that’s what the brokerage business is all about.” Jorgenson describes today’s radio station market as “sluggish due to a lack of capital to finance deals.” He says, “There are plenty of potential buyers and even more potential sellers but without institutional financing to make the deals happen, we won’t see the volume of transactions we’ve seen in the past. Brokers have to be creative and persistent to make deals happen in today’s financial climate.” He continues, “There are even radio deals where some portion of the purchase price might be handled with a seller note. The key is for the buyer to have access to at least some cash. Private investors, family, and friends are the most likely source to finance new ventures these days.” To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.
Talkers Los Angeles 2013 Is Set for Thursday, October 10. The third annual installment of TALKERS magazine’s West Coast convention has been set for Thursday, October 10 and its outstanding agenda is shaping up to be a blockbuster. It is again being presented in association with the Los Angeles Press Club and held at the historic Steve Allen Theater on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “We are very enthusiastic about the growth and positive impact of this Southern California gathering. It started out three years ago as an experimental LA regional get-together and blossomed into an exciting companion to our big New York convention.” The event – open only to members of the working media – will feature a power-packed day of panel discussions, keynote addresses, special presentations, technology and services exhibits, tremendous networking opportunities and abundant food and refreshments (lunch is sponsored by Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity who will address the attendees from New York). Speakers already set include (in alphabetical order): Robin Bertolucci, PD, KFI, Los Angeles; Phil Boyce, VP spoken word format, Salem Communications; Holland Cooke, radio consultant; Skip Essick, PD, KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; Erica Farber,CEO/president, RAB; Ron Hartenbaum, president, WYD/WYM Media; Rusty Humphries, host, Talk Radio Network; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Tom Leykis, president, The New Normal; Don Martin, senior VP sports programming, Fox Sports Radio/Clear Channel Media and Entertainment; Kevin McCullough, CEO, XtreMedia; Mike McVay, senior VP programming, Cumulus Media; Harvey Nagler, VP, CBS Radio News; Norm Pattiz, CEO, Courtside Entertainment/Podcast One; Chris Pendl, creative director, Bonneville Seattle; Walter Sabo, CEO, Sabo Media; Eric Stanger, VP of operations and affiliate marketing, The Sean Hannity Show/Premiere Networks; Alan Stock, host, KDWN, Las Vegas; Paul Vandenburgh, president/GM/host, WGDJ, Albany; and Michael Zwerling, owner, KSCO, Santa Cruz with many more to be announced in the coming days. The latest broadcasting equipment and remote gear will be on display as presented by Broadcasters General Store and Comrex Corporation. Registrations – $149 per person – can only be taken over the phone and the event is expected to be a very early sellout. So don’t wait – avoid being shut out. For sponsorship information or to register, call 413-565-5413.
WFAS, White Plains Afternoon Host Lisa Wexler to Run for Judicial Office. Lisa Wexler is an attorney and currently the PM drive talk host on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WFAS, White Plains, New York. She tells TALKERS magazine she’s being nominated to run as a Republican for the Probate Judge of Weston and Westport (Connecticut) in November. “I’ve practiced this area of law for many years, and I’m very excited to run and be able to serve the people with knowledge and compassion.” Wexler notes the position is part time and, if elected, she will be able to continue her radio work.
WRSB, Canandaigua, New York to Flip to Business Talk. The station was purchased earlier this summer by Genesee Media Corporation and has been serving the area south of Rochester with a religious format. According to YNN.com, GMC will brand the station “Business 1310” and will use programming from Bloomberg, NBC News and Marketwatch. The report also indicates that Genesee intends to add the programming to other AM signals in the region.
Sonoma Media Group Announces Kevin Wodlinger Is New Local Business Development Manager. The company says Kevin Wodlinger comes to its five-station Santa Rosa, California cluster from his most recent position in Grand Junction, Colorado as market manager for the Cumulus Media cluster that is now owned by Townsquare Media. Wodlinger replaces longtime employee Jeriann D’Elicio, who recently announced her resignation. Michael O’Shea, president of Sonoma Media Group, comments, “Kevin is the real deal – a consummate sales executive with a great track record of teaching, coaching and leading in local business development. We are delighted to have his expertise and leadership in our building.” The company operates news/talk KSRO, country KFGY “Froggy 92.9,” classic rock KVRV “97.7 The River FM,” hot AC KMHX “Mix 104.9,” and CHr KHTH “Hot 101.7.”
New Motor Sports Network to Begin Operations. The Midwest Racing Radio Network announces it is preparing to begin operations and has named Brian Douglas vice president of broadcast operations. Douglas also serves as host. The company states it will initially feature one two-hour motorsports show via live audio stream and podcast in a format for broadcast stations to air daily five days a week. Also, the network will feature a live one-hour Sunday evening program and a national highlights podcast show containing results, interviews, and the upcoming regional racing schedules as submitted from tracks across the country.
Cigar Dave Goes Live on TV. Nationally syndicated media personality “Cigar Dave” Zeplowitz is pictured here (at right) hosting the first-ever live televised broadcasts from the 2013 International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Convention at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas. The telecasts aired live on Sunday, July 14, Monday, July 15 and Tuesday, July 16. Cigar Dave reports his telecasts featured new premium cigar releases and accessories, interviews with premium cigar manufacturers and personalities, and presented viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the IPCPR Convention, that up to now, has been closed to the general public and only open to the trade. “Cigar Dave” says, “This marks the next evolution of the Cigar Dave Show as we transition into a digital, multi-platform provider of relevant content for Alpha Males. Eighteen years ago, I was the first broadcaster to host a radio show dedicated to cigars and the Alpha Male-lifestyle. This year’s live IPCPR telecasts commence a major expansion into televised and digital content that appeals to Alpha Males and a new generation of Millennial Males who enjoy cigars, spirits, manly pursuits, and the Good Life.”
Odds & Sods. Public radio station WKSU, Kent, Ohio drops some of the daily classical music programming to add NPR’s “The Takeaway” with John Hockenberry and “On Point” with Tom Ashford to the midday schedule…..Sun Broadcasting changes the news/talk trimulcast of WFSX-AM and FM and WNOG-AM in Fort Myers. It keeps WFSX-FM news/talk as “92.5 Fox News” and pairs up the AMs as a sports talk duo “The Fan.”
ObamaCare Implementation, Detroit Bankruptcy, Zimmerman Verdict Aftermath, 2016 Presidential Race, U.S. Syria Policy and British Prince Born Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/22). The delay of the employer mandate and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the bankruptcy case of the city of Detroit; the aftermath of the George Zimmerman verdict; the potential candidates in the 2016 presidential race; the United States’ policy regarding Syria; and the birth of the son of Prince William and Kate Middleton were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Feature: Tom Leykis One Year Later. Talk radio legend Tom Leykis is preparing to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the digital-only version of his eponymous talk program. Operating under the umbrella of his New Normal content company, the show began last April 2 and, Leykis tells TALKERS magazine managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian, “In terms of listenership and media recognition, we are ahead of where we expected to be at this point.” The venture got off the ground after Leykis’ old contract with CBS expired and he was able to move ahead on his own. Using Triton Digital‘s Webcast Metrics, Leykis says he is on a projected pace of 9.6 million connections for 2013. This version of his show is embarking on new frontiers but he says he wouldn’t have it any other way. “Many people in the radio business, including some I really respect, said I was insane. They felt I had a long history in radio and should not be walking away from it at this time. I was leaving the big-box, broadcasting business to be in the hand-crafted, small-batch business. This is a boutique content company in the P1 business, as opposed to trying to get P1s, P2s, P3s, P4s, and P5s.” The candid Leykis admits the show is not profitable yet, but points to start-up costs in the first year as a major factor for that. He’s very bullish on this delivery system for content and his business plan. Read this entire piece here.
Talkers New York 2013 Adds “Navigating A Talk Radio Hosting Career” Panel. Being a radio talk show host in 2013 involves a lot more than just getting a good job at a good station (or network) and doing a great show every day (although there’s certainly nothing wrong with that). Managing a meaningful and productive career as hosts in today’s turbulent radio industry demands an increased level of entrepreneurism in addition to a keen knowledge of the internet and social media. Add to the mix an understanding of the role intellectual property plays today as a negotiating chip in talent/management (employee/employer) deals as well as a sensitivity to the demands of sales and it becomes apparent that today’s talent lives and works in a far more competitive, complex and economically challenging environment than ever. These subjects and more will be discussed on the panel titled, “Navigating a Talk Radio Hosting Career,” at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2013 conference by the following personalities (in alphabetical order): Michael Berry, KTRH, Houston (and others); Alan Colmes, Fox News Radio; Andy Dean, Premiere Networks; Thom Hartmann, WYD Media; Tom Leykis, The New Normal; Steve Malzberg, Newsmax.com; Phil Valentine, Cumulus Media; David Webb, Sirius/XM; and Lisa Wexler, WFAS, Westchester, New York. The panel will be moderated by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey. Talkers New York 2013 takes place Thursday, June 6 and is on track to being an early sellout. Because of space limitations, registration is only open to working members of the media and can only be taken via telephone at 413-565-5413. Stay tuned to Talkers.com for more agenda details about speakers, panels, presentations and award recipients coming in the immediate days ahead.
ABIP: Being Prepared for an FCC Inspection. TALKERS magazine technical editor Tom Ray says there is help for most broadcasters in preparing for – and in most cases avoiding – an FCC inspection. And it’s not about getting away with anything, it’s about finding possible violations before they become FCC violations. Ray writes about the Alternative Broadcast Inspection Program, “Just about every State Broadcaster’s Association runs an ABIP program. For a nominal fee, the Association will send an inspector in to run your station through an FCC-type inspection. The good news is, we’re not the FCC. If we find something amiss, you have the opportunity to fix it.” Ray continues, “When the [ABIP] certificate is issued, the local FCC office is informed that your station(s) have passed the ABIP inspection. The FCC will then stay away from your facility for three years when they are going around doing routine inspections. The inspection immunity does not count if they show up on a complaint, or if they are going around checking a specific item, like EAS compliance or tower lights.” Find out more about the ABIP in Tom Ray’s most recent column here.
Twitter as Talk Radio Teleprompter. Radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke offers this quick tip for talk show hosts: Try writing your on-air hour open on Twitter. For two reasons: 1) The loud-and-clear headline we’ve gleaned from PPM data: Every…single…syllable…matters. And…any…given…minute…could earn you another Average Quarter Hour of listening credit. Why your hour open needs to be so distilled and instantly inviting? Listeners believe station promos, which invite more occasions of listening from your P1s, and invite cross-cuming music radio P1s to “CHECK-IN, FOR A QUICK NEWS, TRAFFIC, AND WEATHER UPDATE, EVERY HOUR, ON-THE-HOUR, THROUGHOUT YOUR BUSY DAY.” Then, many of those music listeners are back-to-the-tunes…unless, quicker than an index finger can make it from the steering wheel to the FM button, you can engage. So imposing Twitter’s 140-character limit on your open is a useful discipline. 2) And doing this does double duty! Not only have you distilled your on-air proposition, you’ve got a ready-to-launch Tweet. Try this. You’ll like the results. For 8 more reasons radio talkers should bear-hug Twitter – and some specific recommendations for making yourself darn handy to The Boss – don’t miss my session, “Resourceful and Remarkable” at Talkers New York 2013 on June 6.
ESPN O&O WMVP, Chicago Makes Program Schedule Changes; ‘Waddle & Silvy’ to PM Drive. Chicago sports talker “ESPN 1000” swaps midday and PM drive shows, moving former Chicago Bear Tom Waddle and Marc “Silvy” Silverman from their midday slot to the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm show. Current afternoon hosts John “Jurko” Jurkovic and Carmen DeFalco move to the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm shift. The change allows the station to air the first hour of ESPN Radio’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” from 9:00 am to 10:00 am. Changes take effect on April 1.
WDAE, Tampa Bay’s Steve Duemig Forced Off Air by Management. According to a piece in the Tampa Bay Times by columnist Eric Deggans, WDAE sports talk host Steve Duemig is off his afternoon drive show indefinitely at management’s insistence. Duemig tells the paper he’s still under contract, ready and willing to work but Clear Channel management has pulled him from his show with two months left on his deal. According to Duemig, a clause in his contract allows him to talk with other stations 60 days before the contract ends (presumably with the right of first refusal if it matches the new offer). He says management tried to pressure him to sign a new deal before that window opened. That contract was signed before ratings-challenged WHFS “Sports Radio 98.7” was put on the air by CBS Radio and it’s possible the company will try to steal him away. For now, Tom Krasniqi is hosting the PM drive show.
Premiere Networks Nationally Syndicated Andy Dean Hits 100-Affliate Mark. Talk show host Andy Dean, with the addition of new affiliates including WOR, New York; WLAN, Lancaster, Pennsylvania; KEEL, Shreveport, Louisiana; WHYN-AM, Springfield; KTSM, El Paso; and WMAN-AM/FM, Mansfield, Ohio, tops the 100 affiliate mark. Syndicator Premiere Networks reports that “the program’s audience has increased by more than 170% year-to-year (Source: Arbitron FA’11 to FA’12, Nationwide, Exact Times, AQH, P 12+) and is currently heard by approximately one million weekly listeners.”
SportsBusiness Journal to Honor Good Karma Chief Craig Karmazin. The publication will recognize Good Karma Broadcasting founder and CEO Craig Karmazin as one of its “Forty Under Forty” for 2013 at a black-tie gala on Thursday, April 4 at the Ritz-Carlton in Naples, Florida. Karmazin, son of media executive Mel Karmazin, founded Good Karma in 1997 shortly after his college graduation from Emory University with the purchase of three radio stations in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. Since then, he’s expanded the company into five additional markets, including Milwaukee, Madison and Janesville, Wisconsin; Cleveland and West Palm Beach, Florida. His company operates nine ESPN-affiliated sports talk stations. Karmazin has expanded beyond broadcasting into the sports marketing field as well as the events and wireless retail businesses.
WABC, New York Adds Live Saturday Evening Program. The new show, “The Saturday Cafe with Laura Smith,” airs in the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot that opened when longtime WABC personality Mark Simone left for crosstown WOR. Smith tells TALKERS magazine the evening variety show focuses on a weekend mindset and “is all about fascinating conversations with fascinating people — everyone from celebrities, actors, authors, gurus, non-profits, musicians and the best psychics/mediums — the whole gamut on the spectrum of interesting stories and conversations for listeners.” She says a recent program involved guests such as: a psychic interior designer, a beautiful singer songwriter who lost her leg in a tragic accident and now is a motivational speaker to returning troops, a NY deacon talking about the new Pope, a non- profit organization called Heart 911 that is rebuilding homes after Hurricane Sandy, and an upcoming Aretha Franklin concert.
‘Frontlines of Freedom’ Wins Michigan Association of Broadcasters Award. The weekly military news/talk radio program, “Frontlines of Freedom,” hosted by Lt. Col. Denny Gillem, U.S. Army (Retired)(pictured here at right), wins “Best in Category” Regularly Scheduled Weekend Broadcast Personality or Team; and “Best in Category” Special Show Broadcast Personality from the Michigan Broadcasters Association. Gillem says, “To be recognized again for producing a top-notch program is not only good for our show’s team, but it sends the message to all radio stations that you too can add winning shows to your station’s weekend schedule. Our affiliates already know that, and we thank them for it.” Executive producer Josh Leng (pictured at left) notes, “We made the decision to expand ‘Frontlines of Freedom’ to two hours based on listener response, the host’s desire, advertiser demand, and radio program directors’ feedback to have a longer show that offers a better TSL opportunity to improve their ratings. The two-hour program also ensures we always have enough time to fully cover all the important military news and issues of the day.”
Universal Broadcasting Network Launches. The initiative is the effort of Global Voice Broadcasting founder Tony Sweet and award-winning TV, film and stage actress Ann Walker. The duo have partnered on the launch of Universal Broadcasting Network – what they describe as “a brand new, international media platform that includes an internet-based multimedia radio network. The Hollywood-based operation broadcasts from the Sunset Gower Studios and is already host to a diverse spectrum of talk radio shows, including those geared towards entertainment, children and family, love and relationships, LGBT and women’s issues, and sports and fitness, among many others. UBN says it currently broadcasts 16 shows, and is quickly growing, with the capability to host up to 100 in the future. Tony Sweet – who hosted his own program, “On Air with Tony Sweet,” — says, “Universal Broadcasting Network is my child, my vision and my creation of what I have always dreamed to build: a multi-media company that entertains, inspires and educates. To me, UBN Radio is a place that combines Reality Radio with honesty, integrity and entertainment without limits. My vision is for it to become an international Internet television and radio station that will take us into the new age of technology and media.” Ann Walker was originally a co-host with Sweet on his program but then also became a host of her own popular show which now broadcasts on UBN. She now serves as CEO of the company and says, “When Tony approached me about starting a new station, I was intrigued by the possibility and opportunities that new technologies bring to our industry and decided to jump on board as his partner. Having been an actress for 35 years, I was excited about a new adventure that still holds true to what I set out to do all those years ago, which is to entertain, inspire and connect. UBN not only allows me to do this, but provides a platform for other voices and entertainers to do the same.”
Broadcasters Seeking Input in Ithaca Radio History. As CBS News Radio correspondent Peter King notes, a number of the radio business’ successful talent got their start working at radio stations in Ithaca, New York. King, in association with his brother Rick Sommers – former WLTW, New York staffer and currently broadcast liaison for the New York Local of SAG-AFTRA – are gathering material to chronicle the history of radio in Ithaca New York. He tells TALKERS, “We both got our professional starts as students at Ithaca College (and WICB-AM/FM), and later, WTKO, and the litany of talent that came through town is amazing – not just at WICB and WTKO — but WVBR, WHCU and later, the FMs that began broadcasting there!” King says this labor of love could use some help from other broadcasters who’ve worked in the market. They are looking for cans of photos, memorabilia, sales material, promotional items, etc. Anyone wishing to help can contact the project via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Rick Sommers can be contacted directly at email@example.com .
President Obama Visits Israel, Sequester Effects, North Korea Tensions, Gun Legislation, and Cyprus Bank Tax Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/19). President Obama’s trip to Israel; the ongoing discussion over the effects of the sequester; North Korea’s alleged cyber-attack on South Korea; legislative moves to advance new gun legislation; and the bank tax on Cyprus financial institutions and its repercussions were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
LOS ANGELES — Master marketer Vince McMahon continues to build a vast “Sports Entertainment” empire largely owing to his uncanny knack of giving the “universe” of WWE fans the product they crave, a philosophy congruous with that of Massachusetts-born entrepreneur Marshall Field, who stressed that his Chicago-based department stores should, “Give the lady what she wants.”
Not only is the same applicable to an intensely entertaining and astute talk radio personality, it is his program’s cornerstone mantra.
More Big Changes at Dial Global as Spencer Brown and Ken Williams Resign; Time, Inc. CRO Paul Caine to Take Over as CEO. Dial Global announces that Paul Caine has resigned his post as chief revenue officer at Time, Inc. to become the chief executive officer of Dial Global and become a member of the board of directors. Spencer Brown resigns his post as CEO and Ken Williams does the same as president. The two will stay on until April 4 when the change takes place. The company says, “Caine joins to create a new opportunity for Dial Global to expand the marketing and monetization of audio, starting with the Company’s lineup of premier sports, entertainment and news content that includes the NFL primetime games (including the Playoffs and Super Bowl), the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, CBS Radio News, NBC News Radio, the NBC Sports Radio Network, and the Grammys. As mobile platforms continue to multiply the occasions for listening, the demand for premium digital audio content is growing fast. This represents a substantial, undeveloped opportunity for content providers, distribution partners and marketers alike.” Paul Caine says of joining the company, “Dial Global will propel the growth of audio as the essential medium for the mobile experience. We have premium content, top-tier distribution, and prestigious live event assets. Our opportunity is to expand these experiences for consumers, broaden our repertoire of content partners, and integrate our on-air, digital and live event offerings to create compelling engagement for advertisers.” In a statement from the company, Spencer Brown comments on his exit, “Along with our former partner David Landau, Ken and I have taken Dial Global a long way. Now the company needs a chief executive with a different skill set to steer it through its next phase of growth. We believe Paul is uniquely well-qualified to do just that.”
Cumulus Reports 2012 Q4 Net Revenue Up 1% on Strong Political. Cumulus Media announces 2012 Q4 numbers and financial figures for the whole of 2012. For the fourth quarter of 2012, Net revenue was up $2.9 million – 1% — on revenue of $284.2 million, compared to $281.3 for the same period a year ago.
Lew Dickey Says with Promised Synergies in Place, ‘Cumulus Optimizes’ and ‘Invigorates’ Radio Networks Division. During Monday’s conference call with analysts, Cumulus Media chairman and CEO Lew Dickey explained some of the company’s strategies and recognized the programming efforts that included “launching shows with Governor Mike Huckabee, Geraldo Rivera, Sanjay Gupta and Michael Savage as well as some other initiatives that we have focused on. We also announced the launch of, importantly, the CBS Sports Radio Network in collaboration with CBS, and the launch of Right Now Traffic in partnership with Radiate Media. These give us strong ownership positions going forward into two key verticals, sports and traffic.” Lew Dickey reiterated the company’s happiness with the purchase of the former WFME, Newark, calling it “a tremendous value at just $40 million.” As expected he promoted Cumulus’ country music strategy, saying the new WNSH, New York “enabled us to bring the country format back to New York for the first time since the mid-90s…with a very strong brand, ‘NASH FM.’ The NASH brand was extremely well received by listeners, advertisers, general media and particularly the Nashville entertainment community, and we further capitalized on this with a three-day concert for our advertisers and listeners last month, which was the ‘NASH BASH’ at the Roseland ballroom. NASH FM will become the flagship for our larger national country initiative that we are in the process of rolling out throughout the rest of this year. It will ultimately be a multimedia platform brand for Cumulus, targeting that key audience segment, which is about 85 million Americans. It will be through our O&O group as well as syndicated through our network…as well as through a mult-imedia platform.” Dickey told analysts he expects the NASH FM, traffic, CBS Sports and digital platforms to break even in 2013 and be poised for profit in 2014 saying they are, “in essence, startup businesses, new entrants into respective arenas such as sports, and traffic in particular.” Dickey was asked about the network business, the talk business in particular and he referenced, without naming names, the Rush Limbaugh–Sandra Fluke incident. “Clearly, it’s been well documented that the talk side has been challenged – most of that due to some of the issues that happened a year ago. So there has been residual hangover on the talk side in terms of advertisers sitting out and not placing there…that’s had an impact not only on our network business but it’s had an impact on some of the news/talk stations in the top markets in our O&O group.” Dickey reported that business that is typically placed in the first quarter was, in many cases not placed until the late part of the first quarter of this year and a lot of that business “is now starting to come back into the marketplace.” The Cumulus Media conference call details come courtesy of Seeking Alpha. See more at SeekingAlpha.com.
KPRC, Houston Re-Brands; Adds Janine Turner for Daily PM Drive Show. Clear Channel Houston talk outlet KPRC finalizes its shift from a more “hot talk” format to a more traditional news/talk format and swaps branding, leaving behind the “9-5-0 Radio Mojo” and implementing the new “Houston’s More Stimulating Talk Radio” positioner. The lineup includes: Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo in morning drive; Premiere’s Glenn Beck; local host Michael Garfield; local personality Matt Patrick (who’s also heard in AM drive on sister KTRH); and Janine Turner. Texas-based Turner – the actress known for her work on the 1990s TV show “Northern Exposure” – has been producing her own radio show for a couple of years now and is added to the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot on KPRC.
Greater Media Philly Honored with Top Workplaces Accolades for Second Straight Year. In a survey of employees conducted by Workplace Dynamics for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philly.com, Greater Media’s Philadelphia cluster of stations was named among the Top Workplaces again this year. VP and market manager John Fullam says, “Great companies start with great employees. We believe the workplace environment is an essential part of creating a successful organization. We are fortunate to have such an outstanding team dedicated to serving Philadelphia, our listeners and advertising partners every day.” Greater Media operates rock WMMR, classic rock WMGK, adult hits WBEN-FM and sports talk WPEN-FM.
Arbitron Releases the RADAR March 2013 Radio Network Ratings. Arbitron reports that the RADAR (Radio’s All Dimension Audience Research) March 2013 “is the standard currency for national network radio ratings and measures 46 individual radio networks.” The networks are operated by American Urban Radio Networks, Crystal Media Networks, Cumulus Media Networks, Dial Global Inc., Premiere Networks, and United Stations Radio Networks. The survey concludes “that nearly 180 million Persons 12 and older, or approximately 68% of this demographic, heard one or more network radio commercials in an average week of the survey period.” Further, the survey states commercials that aired on the 46 radio networks measured reached: 68.2 % of Persons aged 12+ (179,923,000 Persons); 68.6% of Persons aged 18+ (163,738,000 Persons); 68.1% of Persons aged 35+ (113,417,000 Persons); 70.9% of Persons aged 18-49 (95,091,000 Persons); and 71.7% of Persons aged 25-54 (89,654,000Persons).
Premiere Networks Touts ‘Strong Rankings’ in RADAR 116. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment-owned Premiere Networks sells 17 of the 46 networks included in Arbitron’s RADAR 116. In this survey, Premiere lays claim to having “earned the number one spot in rankings for AQH and Cume among all 46 measured RADAR networks in RADAR 116 for Persons 12+. Premiere FOX News Advantage ranked number one on an AQH basis for Persons 12+ (All Broadcasts, Monday-Sun 5AM-12M, AQH) and Premiere Spectrum debuted in RADAR 116 as the highest-reaching network for Persons 12+ (All Broadcasts, Monday-Sunday 12Midnight-12Midnight broad daypart, Cume). Premiere also points to the performance of its networks based on lifestyle groupings, stating, “Young Influencers and Premiere Super Moms ranked number one and two, respectively, in reaching Moms 25-54 (Women 25-54 with children under 12). Premiere Super Moms took the lead position followed by Premiere Young Influencers in reach for Working Women 25-54 (work status: full time/part time) among all 46 measured RADAR networks in RADAR 116 (All Broadcasts, Monday-Sunday 12Midnight-12Midnight broad daypart, cume audience). The RADAR 116 sample consists of 395,844 diary keepers/PPM panelists/respondents. PPM panelists comprise approximately 53% of the total respondent listening sample.
Effects of Sequester/Budget Battle, State of the Republican Party, Cyprus Bank Deposit Tax, Steubenville Rape Case, and Tom Perez Named Labor Secretary Nominee Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/18). The budget battle in Washington and the effects of the sequester; analysis of the state of the Republican party and its future; the Cyprus bank deposit tax and its effect on world markets; the guilty verdicts in the Steubenville, Ohio rape case; and President Obama’s nomination of Tom Perez as labor secretary were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND — To local radio talkers, syndication is The Promised Land. So when an accomplished, high-profile personality relinquishes his hard-won 80-affiliate roster to migrate to satellite radio, my phone rings. I’m being asked:
- Should I pitch his affiliates? Should I pitch his network?
- Should I try to get on SiriusXM?
- IS it over?
By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — If you haven’t already noticed, you’ve got to see this. Grab a copy of USA Today. Any day will do, but it has to be the newsstand hard copy. No digital version will work.
Radio is reeling from another Clear Channel bloodbath, just in time for Christmas. It wasn’t the first, it won’t be the last, and it’s not just Clear Channel. But heartless timing. The nerve of ’em.
In the words of Eric Stratton, Rush Chairman: “Let me tell you the story of another loser…”
Praise Pours In for Los Angeles Talk Conference – Video Coverage to Come. It was a packed house sold out two weeks in advance as some 275 talk media broadcasters from across the country, with a distinct emphasis on the Western states, rocked the old Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood this past Thursday (10/11). Approximately 50 speakers — including Robin Bertolucci, Phil Boyce, Kevin Casey, Holland Cooke, Jerry Doyle, Skip Essick, Ian Freeman, Bill Handel, Heidi Harris, Michael Harrison, Ron Hartenbaum, Sam Hasson, Michael Horn, Rusty Humphries, Karel, Mike Kinosian, Kraig Kitchin, Lars Larson, Kevin LaRue, Garret Lewis, Tom Leykis, Andy Ludlum, Carole Marks, Don Martin, Mike McVay, Stephanie Miller, Bob Moore, Bill Moran, Patt Morrison, Harvey Nagler, Norm Pattiz, Ken Rutkowski, Walter Sabo, Brent Seltzer, Dave Sniff, Eric Stanger, Doug Stephan, Shadoe Stevens, Alan Stock, Chuck Tyler, Jeff Wasserman, Eric Weiss, and Michael Zwerling – tackled a variety of hot industry topics including the economic, technological and cultural challenges facing talk radio broadcasters in 2012. This full day event was part two of TALKERS magazine’s new 2012 format in which the New Media Seminar was broken into east and west coast segments. The first was a sellout event held in New York on June 7. The event has drawn praise from numerous attendees including the following quotes:
“Everybody’s talking about what a great day it was!”
– Norm Pattiz, CEO Courtside Entertainment
“A very interesting day of conversation and revelation from a whole lot of people.”
– Kraig T. Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind
“I was glad I attended.”
– Ron Hartenbaum, CEO, WYD Media
“It struck the perfect balance of schmooze and panel-news and talk!”
– Patt Morrison, KPCC, Los Angeles
“Thanks very much for putting on a great event.”
– Jerry Doyle, TRN
“ It was well worth the trip from England.”
– Graham Mack, BBC, Wiltshire
“An awesome day. It was superb. Can’t wait till the next one.”
– Eric Stanger, VP Operations, Sean Hannity Show/Premiere Networks
“It was great and you know I will be there next time around.”
– Alan Stock, KDWN, Las Vegas
“A hell of a show! Outta da park!”
Dr. Gina Loudon, Host, PolitiChicks
“What a great time I had. The event was a total success.”
– Shadoe Stevens, Host, MentalRadio, SiriusXM
“Great Event !”
– Steve Lehman, Business Rock Stars
“It was a memorable occasion!”
– Sam Hasson, CEO, LATalkRadio.com
TALKERS magazine will provide extensive video coverage of the event including including panels, special presentations and additional interviews conducted on site beginning tomorrow. The photo above is of the “Big Picture” panel featuring (from l-r): Don Martin, Ron Hartenbaum, Phil Boyce, Kraig Kitchin, Mike McVay, Harvey Nagler and moderator Michael Harrison. View a gallery of more photos from the TALKERS New Media Los Angeles here.
Syndicated Talker Lars Larson Say Companies Need to Put Money Back into Programming. In an exclusive audio interview conducted by consultant Holland Cooke at the recent New Media Seminar in Los Angeles, talk show host Lars Larson says that the most important thing he and all talk show hosts need is to have additional resources to bolster the sound and quality of their on-air product. The successful host heard in Portland, Oregon on KXL and nationally via Compass Media Networks says, “If you take care of your listeners they will take care of you, ratings-wise.” Larson also discusses the tenets of what he describes as “talk journalism,” positioning what he does as “information and opinion built from today’s news — solid information, no insanity.” Listen to the complete conversation here.
Journal Broadcast Group Announces “RightWisconsin” Digital Initiative. With WTMJ, Milwaukee talk show host Charlie Sykes taking a leadership role in the new venture, Journal Broadcast Group announces it will soon debut a new blog dedicated to conservative political thought called RightWisconsin. According to a story by Duane Dudek in the Journal-owned Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Sykes describes the effort as a “digital community, a rallying point, a one-stop source for conservatives on the front lines here.” Sykes says the blog will have a full-time staff and “multiple platforms including mobile tablet and social media applications.” It also promises commentary from around the state, as Sykes says, “key stories that other media won’t cover.” In the story, Sykes is quoted saying, “We can do all of this because we have the resources of a major media company behind us, including the state’s biggest radio station and top-rated television station. In other words, we have built-in platforms for promotion as well as the infrastructure.” Media Matters called the new venture a “small-scale version” of Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze digital media effort. Journal VP of radio and television Steve Wexler says of Sykes and WTMJ, “One of the reasons we are successful is because of the many things we are able to do…that have nothing to do with politics. The talk shows in the middle of the day are right of center, because that’s where the demand is…I am agnostic as a broadcaster about politics. I look for where there is a demand, and the demand in talk radio is for a more conservative point of view.” There is no start date announced for RightWisconsin but already, the company reports interest from the community based on early reports of the project.
Townsquare Media Flips WENJ-AM, Atlantic City to Talk. The Atlantic City market gets a news/talk outlet as Townsquare Media’s WENJ-AM, drops its simulcast of FM sister 97.3 ESPN South Jersey. According to the Press of Atlantic City, the station will feature regional media personality Harry Hurley in morning drive followed by a slate of syndicated programs that include: Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and Sean Hannity from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; Cumulus Media Networks’ Mark Levin from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm; John Batchelor from 9:00 pm to 1:00 am and “Red Eye Radio” for overnights. The station will also return to its roots by taking back its original call letters WPG. Hurley tells the paper, “The idea is that we are going to have a healthy blend of live and local that people enjoy and some of the biggest names in the country…Glenn Beck is not in this market. Sean Hannity is not in this market. People are going to notice…We just love the idea of going back and reclaiming the heritage of WPG – for a new generation.” The station plans to add more local programming between 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm.
KTRH, Houston Talk Host Michael Berry Fires Up Florida Campaign Effort. Conservative talk show host Michael Berry is responsible for a call-to-action for conservative-minded people who want to spend time in Florida helping those who support Mitt Romney for president get out and vote. Berry states, “I just threw the idea out there, and listeners across the country responded with an overwhelming willingness to do it. I was half kidding, because the logistics of such a trip are a nightmare. But we brought in 50 listeners to volunteer to coordinate this, and what they’ve done is nothing short of amazing.” The leadership created a website within a couple of days — www.WinFlorida2012.org. Since Berry’s flagship station KTRH is in Houston, the group will caravan from there beginning on October 28 and arrive in Pensacola, Florida that night. They will spend the week driving vans to assist locals in voting for Romney during early voting. One KTRH listener, Kyle Coplen, was tapped by Berry to be a vice chairman for the committee, but he was unable to pay his own expenses. With a pregnant wife, and a new business cleaning swimming pools, he wasn’t able to spare the $1,000 from his family’s finances for the trip. Berry offered to pay his expenses for him, but he decided instead to use this as a “teachable moment” and earn the funds through hard work. Coplen says, “I just made a simple flyer, saying ‘Will Work for Romney,’ which I thought was catchy. I put the flyer on the doors of houses that had Romney signs in the yards.” Requests for his work came pouring in, mostly by people impressed by his work ethic and unique need for money. He says he turned down every offer of a donation, explaining that he wanted to earn his way there, “just as we need to earn our way out of our nation’s problems.” Michael Berry states, “The stories of people like Kyle amaze me. There are plenty more. People want to make this country great. They refuse to lose this election. It’s truly inspiring.”
WPHT, Philadelphia’s Chris Stigall Hosts Debate Viewing Parties. On the heels of a successful debate viewing party at the Philly sports bar Chickie’s & Pete’s, WPHT morning host Chris Stigall is taking it one step further for tomorrow’s presidential debate at Hofstra University. WPHT listeners and political debate fans will converge upon the Xfinity Live entertainment district in the sports complex area of Philadelphia (where the Wells Fargo Center, Citizen’s Bank Park, and Lincoln Financial Field are located) to watch the debate on a 32-foot, high definition screen. Stigall and WPHT hosted the previous party at Chickie’s & Pete’s (Stigall is pictured here speaking to KTW-TV from the event) and said it was fun watching presidential debates as you’d watch Sunday afternoon football – complete with bartenders, free appetizers, prizes, and of course wall to wall TVs with the sound blaring. Stigall says the Xfinity Live center is designed for concertgoers and sports fans to gather pre- and post-event and is hopeful for a big, raucous turnout tomorrow night.
Tom Leykis Shows Off Impressive September Online Numbers. No, Tom Leykis won’t actually be playing the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California as the press release teases – but the number of people who sampled the show during three weeks in September – 115,684 – is enough to practically fill the iconic football stadium. Leykis began employing Triton Digital’s Webcast Metrics, which measures unique ip addresses, on September 8. Leykis states, “It’s great to have accreditation for what we are doing. Everyone else who does a show on the net brags about having hundreds of thousands of listeners, but they never put their money where their mouth is.” Leykis, who spoke about his web-based radio program at the TALKERS New Media Seminar in Los Angeles last Thursday (stay tuned for more from that event, including coverage of Leykis’ participation), began his new show on April 2 after a 37-month hiatus from radio. He says, “I figure at the rate we are going, we should have over 175,000 unique people listening to our show every month. Again, these will be accurate and honest numbers, not some random Arbitron sample.”
Beasley Talk Hosts Honored by Street Name; Raise Funds for Military Families. WRXK, Ft. Myers, Florida talk hosts Stan and Haney had the street leading to the Beasley Broadcasting facility in Southwest Florida named after them. More than 200 loyal fans of the program turned out to christen “Stan and Haney Boulevard” and share in live music, food and celebration. The duo turned the event into a worthy cause as proceeds from the sale of “Stan and Haney Blvd.” t-shirts raised $2,100 for the Stan and Haney D.R.A.F.T. Fund. Stan says, “Haney and I started the DRAFT Fund nearly nine years ago along with Captain John Lazzaro (USNR). Thanks to our listeners and the Southwest Florida community we have distributed nearly $40,000 in assistance to local troops and their families.” The duo are pictured here drinking champagne and announcing the unveiling of the new street sign.
Odds & Sods. KDWN, Las Vegas takes home some awards from the Electronic Media Awards held in conjunction with the Nevada Broadcasters Foundation. KDWN morning host Alan Stock is recognized with the “Best Radio Talk Show Host” honor and KDWN program director John Shaffer picks up the “Program Director of the Year” honor as well as the “Best Morning Newscast” award…..SiriusXM broadcast live from New York Comic Con 2012 this weekend. The broadcasts included celebrity interviews, exclusive panels hosted by SiriusXM hosts and fan reactions from the floor – inviting listeners and fans nationwide inside the biggest comics and pop culture convention on the East Coast…..Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” broadcast an interesting program over the weekend on Saturday hosted by John B. Wells that included four of the most influential musicians from the dawn of rock and roll. Paul Rodgers of Bad Company and Free, Leslie West of Mountain, Jack Casady of Jefferson Airplane and Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull spoke with Wells discussing living through the heyday of rock and what it was like being at the forefront of a musical movement that is still significant today.
Live from South Bend, Indiana. ESPN Radio’s nationally syndicated morning team Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg broadcast their program from the campus of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana on Friday, October 12. Golic played football at Notre Dame serving as captain of the team during his senior year. His sons Jake and Mike, Jr. currently play for the Fighting Irish and his daughter Sydney is a freshman on the swim team. The duo broadcast in advance of Saturday’s contest between Notre Dame and Stanford from which ESPN’s “College GameDay Built by The Home Depot” also emanated. In the photo, Golic and Greenberg are holding a pair of swim trunks – a gift from Golic’s daughter Sydney’s swim coach.
New Media Seminar Draws 275 in Los Angeles. It was a packed house sold out two weeks in advance as some 275 talk media broadcasters from across the country, with a distinct emphasis on the Western states, rocked the old Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood yesterday. Approximately 50 speakers — including the likes of Robin Bertolucci, Phil Boyce, Kevin Casey, Holland Cooke, Jerry Doyle, Skip Essick, Ian Freeman, Bill Handel, Heidi Harris, Michael Harrison, Ron Hartenbaum, Sam Hasson, Michael Horn, Rusty Humphries, Karel, Mike Kinosian, Kraig Kitchin, Lars Larson, Kevin Larue, Garret Lewis, Tom Leykis, Andy Ludlum, Carole Marks, Don Martin, Mike McVay, Stephanie Miller, Bob Moore, Bill Moran, Patt Morrison, Harvey Nagler, Norm Pattiz, Ken Rutkowski, Walter Sabo, Brent Seltzer, Dave Sniff, Eric Stanger, Doug Stephan, Shadoe Stevens, Alan Stock, Chuck Tyler, Jeff Wasserman, Eric Weiss, and Michael Zwerling – tackled a variety of hot industry topics including the economic, technological and cultural challenges facing talk radio broadcasters in 2012. This full day event was part two of TALKERS magazine’s new 2012 format in which the New Media Seminar was broken into East and West coast segments. The first was a sellout event held in New York on June 7.
“Those who do not adapt will be swallowed up.” That was the admonishment of Courtside Entertainment CEO Norm Pattiz in his Thursday morning keynote. Consistently sounding a no-nonsense tone, Pattiz assured attendees that this is a very serious time. Along those lines, Pattiz even mentioned that his comments that kicked off the enthusiastically well-received event would not be going for laughs. Touching on a variety of bullet points, the former Westwood One honcho commented that, despite the fact audience size is unchanged, there is dwindling support for conservative talk radio from national advertisers. “There were no 400-pound gorillas,” when Pattiz began in the radio syndication business. Missing good old-fashioned radio wars, he noted that people “banged heads in a good-natured way.” Importance of the product was heavily stressed by Pattiz, who emphasized that he “did not get in the business because of money – I’m a content guy.” The idea of giving anything away for nothing “is ridiculous,” he remarked. Despite cautioning the audience that his keynote would be straightforward, the Los Angeles Lakers‘ #1 fan could not resist lightening the mood on several occasions when, including when he stated, “You should not sleep well knowing that I am the chairman of Lawrence Livermore National Security.”
A star-studded panel looked at the big picture of spoken-word radio, with CBS Radio News vice president Harvey Nagler stating, “We are not in the radio business – we are in the content business.” Content, however, must be memorable and compelling. Provided that personalities “do not break their promises to listeners,” it is the opinion of Sound Mind CEO Kraig Kitchin that they will “continue to sell their books.” Demos are not what Phil Boyce seeks. “I chase ears,” commented Salem Communications‘ vice president/director, spoken word formats, who added, “People on the left want to kill talk radio.” One of the key buzzwords, according to Fox Sports Radio vice president/programming Don Martin, is “bundle.” The operations manager of Los Angeles’ KLAC commented that, from a branding standpoint, it is much wiser to use handles such as “Fox Sports Radio – LA,” or “ESPN Radio 710,” rather than, “The Zone,” or “The Ticket.”
The New Normal president/host Tom Leykis was among the “Modern Day Pioneer” panelists. The popular talk host isn’t a fan of having television cameras in a radio studio. The concept of viewing a radio show on television, is – in Leykis’ estimation” very similar to “watching socks dry.” Esteemed programmer and “Mental Radio” host Shadoe Stevens added, “It takes away the theater of the mind.” Virtually everyone thought Mike Horn “was crazy” when the chief executive officer of CRN Digital Talk set forth the concept of providing audio channels to cable TV providers. Next year, his company will celebrate its 30th birthday. “You must have great programming and a way to promote it,” Horn remarked.
Look for extensive coverage of this historic radio gathering in the coming days and weeks in TALKERS and RadioInfo including video coverage and bonus interviews.
Competition in the Network Sports Talk Field Breeding War of Words. A story in the New York Post illustrates the intense competition the arrival of two new major players (CBS Sports Radio Network and NBC Sports Radio) in the sports talk radio network business is having. Reporting what the industry has known for some time – that the Cumulus distribution partnership with the new CBS Sports Radio Network will mean 47 new affiliates for CBS and would mean some affiliation cancellations for ESPN Radio – the two sides engaged in a little competitive posturing in the Post story. Saying it will have about 100 affiliate stations when it debuts in January and positioning itself as the “most-listened-to sports radio network in the top 50 markets,” CBS is playing up its assets – namely O&Os in major and large markets. CBS Radio CEO Dan Mason tells the Post, “ESPN affiliates are in small markets. Maybe you find that adds up to a lot of audience. Don’t forget that CBS Radio owns most of the top 10 sports stations in the US, and with Cumulus that’s formidable. ESPN has had the market much to themselves, we’re the new entry and we think we put together formidable talent.” ESPN Radio SVP of production and business Traug Keller responds, “This has no material effect on us. There’s only three or four [Cumulus] stations in the top 50.” He also tells the paper ESPN is already finding new affiliates in markets where current agreements are being terminated, including Atlanta and Birmingham, Alabama.
Barclays Capital Analyst Downgrades U.S. Advertising Growth Forecast. The ad industry as a whole will not grow as much over the next year and a half as previously predicted states Barclays Capital analyst Anthony DiClemente. In a report issued yesterday, DiClemente stated he believes ad growth across all sectors will be just 4% this year compared to his original prediction of 4.6%. For 2013, DiClemente says he believes ad revenue will rise just 1.9% compared to his previous 2.3% forecast. He did not specifically report on projections for radio. He did, however, give a positive outlook for News Corp. performance.
WSCR, Chicago’s Jason Goff to Take Night Host Position at CBS Radio’s Atlanta FM Sports Talker. Rounding out the lineup of CBS Radio’s WZGC, Atlanta “SportsRadio 92.9 The Game” is Jason Goff, who will become the host of the evening show when the station debuts on October 24. The lineup for the new sports talker was announced earlier this week with the exception of the evening slot. Now, “The Score” fill-in host, writer, producer and reporter will move south for his own nightly talk show. Goff has been with WSCR for the past 12 years and program director Mitch Rosen is obviously thrilled for Goff telling Chicago Radio and Media, “What a great story Jason Goff is. From a caller in high school to an intern to a full-time producer/fill-in host, and now to a top market like Atlanta to be a full-time host! This is a Hollywood story in progress, Jason will excel and I could not be more proud.”
Looking Into the Digital Crystal Ball. Saga Communications made the news this past Wednesday when they anointed their program directors as “brand managers.” Saga’s EVP Steve Goldstein, issued a memo that you read here in TALKERS. It read, in part, “We’ve been thinking about how successful programmers are morphing their skills to become proficient at not just managing the on-air product, but the overall brand. And conversely, it has exposed the vulnerability of program directors who are not learning and growing as we become more digital.” In today’s TALKERS, leading digital radio consultant Chris Miller writes about what this move actually will mean to the managers involved. Looking into his digital crystal ball he predicts that before too long, brand managers will be judged on how much time people are spending with their entire brand. Not just their broadcasts, but all the platforms that they manage. He says that we will move into the era of the “new ratings” in which every click is trackable – no estimates – and stations will own the data without having to buy it from a third party (uh, oh Arbitron). He also points out that this new era will open the door to new competition and an increased concentration on niches. Fasten your seat belts because this is one fast ride! To read Chris Miller’s entire piece, click here.
Doug Hess Exits WLTP, Parkersburg, West Virginia. News director and morning drive co-host Doug Hess is leaving Clear Channel’s news/talk WLTP, Parkersburg, West Virginia after 21 years doing local news in the market. According to the News-Sentinel, Hess will take a position as communications and outreach coordinator with The ARC of the Mid-Ohio Valley. Hess tells the paper he’ll miss the news business he’s been a part of for so many years. “People depend on you to get this information out to them in a timely manner. It is an important job and it has been a privilege to do it.”
Beasley Broadcasting Adds FM Signals to Southwest Florida’s 770 ESPN Radio. WWCN, Ft. Myers gets some FM signal boost to help it cover Lee and Collier counties. Beasley Broadcasting announces the ESPN Radio affiliate can now be heard on 98.1 FM in South Ft. Myers and Estero; 101.5 FM in Bonita Springs and North Naples; and 105.1 FM in Naples and Marco Island. VP/market manager Brad Beasley states, “This is a big deal for Southwest Florida sports enthusiasts. For the past 12 years, the only way to hear sports in our community has been on the AM dial. Now our loyal listeners can also follow their favorite teams and events at multiple locations on the FM dial…and that’s awesome!”
Vice Presidential Debate Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 8-12. The anticipation of the vice presidential candidate’s debate and the post-debate discussion was the top news/talk story of the week landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Following at #2 was the questioning of the facts presented by the Obama administration about the attack in Banghazi. At #3 was the presidential race poll numbers followed by the aftermath of the first presidential debate at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
CBS Radio Flips WNEW-AM, Washington to Government and Business News. The AM side of the CBS Radio Washington, DC all-news duo (licensed to Morningside, Maryland) will become “Gov.Biz Radio 1580 AM” on October 1 – putting it in a head-to-head battle with Hubbard’s WFED, Washington. The station will feature content from The Wall Street Journal Radio Network, Bloomberg Radio and The Hill. Local programming will include host Nancy Lyons on a morning show called “The Daily Briefing” and a midday program dubbed, “The Capitol Report.”
Pilgrim Communications Adds AM Signal to Indy News/Talk WFDM-FM. The new and improved 950 AM signal of WXLW will help fill in the coverage of Pilgrim’s news/talk station in the Indianapolis market. WFDM-FM (“Freedom 95.9”) is licensed to Franklin, Indiana about 25 miles south of downtown Indy. Vice president and general manager Randy Tipmore says, “Hamilton and Hendricks Counties are not only the fastest-growing counties in Indiana, but also the two most Republican counties in the entire state. We wanted to better serve those listeners who love our conservative news/talk format which features five of the top six radio talk show hosts in national syndication. The new 950 AM signal covers two-thirds of Indiana and allows us to expand our audience reach by a factor of 10.” Tipmore says they chose to debut the new signal on the anniversary of 9/11 “the day that reminds us of the preciousness of America’s freedom. It is also the anniversary of Sean Hannity‘s launch into national syndication. On September 12, we’re honored to have Dave Ramsey coming to the Murat Theatre at Old National Centre for his EntreLeadership, 1-day business training event. It’s the perfect way to celebrate our new simulcast.”
Cumulus Media to Restore Matching 401k for Employees. The radio operator announces to its 7,000-plus employees that, beginning in October, it will reinstate the matching 401k contribution that it ceased in early 2009 after the real estate crash of 2008 triggered the Great Recession. Entercom and Journal have also reinstated matching 401k programs for employees since suspending them in order to conserve on cash flow.
Two More Panels Set for the TALKERS Los Angeles New Media Seminar. As the forthcoming Los Angeles installment of TALKERS magazine’s New Media Seminar nears an early sellout, two more dynamic panel discussions have been added to the growing power-packed agenda. “The Modern Pioneers” will feature (in alphabetical order): Sam Hasson, president and founder of LATalkRadio.com; Mike Horn, CEO and founder of CRN Digital Talk; Tom Leykis, president and founder of The New Normal; and LA-based national broadcasting legend Shadoe Stevens of “MentalRadio” on SiriusXM and “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.” A talk personality panel titled “The Challenges of Hosting in 2012” will feature (in alphabetical order): Lars Larson of Compass Media Networks and KXL, Portland; Bill Handel of KFI, Los Angeles; Heidi Harris of KRLA, Los Angeles; Doug Stephan of the “Good Day” morning show; and Alan Stock of KDWN, Las Vegas; with more to be announced. The panel will be moderated by TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian. Highlights of the event will include the presentation of the TALKERS magazine’s annual “Woman of the Year” award to KFI/KTLK, Los Angeles program director Robin Bertolucci by last year’s recipient, Stephanie Miller of WYD Media and Current TV. Courtside Entertainment CEO and Westwood One founder Norm Pattiz will deliver the morning keynote address. Noted talk radio consultant Holland Cooke will deliver a special presentation “Database your Tribe NOW!” Other highlights include “The State of Local News/Talk Radio,” with (in alphabetical order); Robin Bertolucci, PD of KFI/KTLK, Los Angeles; Skip Essick, PD of KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; Andy Ludlum, PD of KNX, Los Angeles; Garret Lewis, PD/morning host of KNST, Tucson; Dave Sniff, PD of KFMB, San Diego; and Chuck Tyler, PD of KRLA/KKLA, Los Angeles. It will be moderated by Kevin Casey, VP/executive editor, TALKERS. The panel “Spoken Word Radio; The Big Picture” features (in alphabetical order): Phil Boyce, VP/director ,spoken word format, Salem Communications; Ron Hartenbaum, president, WYD Media; Kraig Kitchin, CEO Sound Mind, LLC; and Mike McVay, senior VP/programming, Cumulus Media. The moderator will be Michael Harrison, publisher, TALKERS. Additional speakers include (in alphabetical order: Kevin LaRue, program director KSL, Salt Lake City; Don Martin, OM/GM, KLAC, Los Angeles and VP programming, Fox Sports Radio; Patt Morrison, host/commentator KPCC, Los Angeles/Southern California Public Radio; Ken Rutkowski, host of “Business Rock Stars,” KFWB, Los Angeles; and Eric Stanger, vice president of operations, the Sean Hannity Show, Premiere Networks. As those of you who have been following the development of this amazing conference know, the above is just the tip of the iceberg with a whole lot more scheduled. The complete up-to-the-minute agenda will be posted tomorrow at Talkers.com. In total, the seminar will feature more than 60 leading industry speakers who will examine the key issues facing the talk radio/media industries. It will take place in Los Angeles on Thursday, October 11 at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm being presented by TALKERS in association with the Los Angeles Press Club. To assure registration, attendees are advised to sign up now. Registration is a recession-era low $99 which includes everything. Because it is open only to working media there will be no online registration – only by telephone. For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.
Clear Channel Flips KVNS, Brownsville, Texas to Sports Talk. The station – at 1700 AM – switches from classic hits to sports talk on September 17 airing Fox Sports Radio Network’s lineup of “Fox Sports Daybreak,” Dan Patrick, Jim Rome, “Loose Cannons,” Petros & Money, and “Fox Sports Tonight” plus will serve the market as a Dallas Cowboys play-by-play affiliate. Clear Channel market manager John Richards says, “There are too many sports fans in the valley to not yet have a sports/talk station in the market. Like advertisers, we know sports fans are passionate about their favorite sports, teams and hosts, so we are very passionate about partnering with Fox Sports Radio for this launch.”
Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel Star Sean Hannity Hits Silver Screen in “Atlas Shrugged: Part II.” When the second part of the Ayn Rand saga hits theaters in October, moviegoers will get a glimpse of Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel personality Sean Hannity as he plays a cable news TV anchor in one scene. A still from the flick is seen here as Hannity (far right) sits on the fictitious cable news network set with actual Fox News Channel correspondents (from l-r) Bob Beckel, Juan Williams, and Tamara Holder. In addition to Hannity’s cameo appearance in the movie, his radio show will be offering exclusive content, movie gear and tickets leading up to the movie’s premiere in Washington, D.C. in October.
Michael Harrison to Speak at the NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will deliver an address provocatively titled, “Can Terrestrial Radio Thrive in the Digital Era?” at the forthcoming NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas. According to Harrison, “The main challenge concerning FM and AM broadcasting at this perilous time is making the transition to the digital age without prematurely sacrificing the value of the stick which is still the economic foundation of this industry and main source of livelihood for its practitioners.” Harrison describes the danger facing terrestrial radio as a “five-headed dragon” of 1) smothering debt, 2) exotic media rivals, 3) blurry ratings methodology, 4) an unprecedented generational divide, and 5) 60 and 30 second commercial spots (which when put together in clusters become “PPM pits of purgatory”). Harrison says “radio must be smart and use its traditional on-air assets in balanced harmony with its unlimited online potential.” He states, “The cultural heritage of what we grew up thinking as ‘radio’ is deeply rooted in the traditions of over -the-air transmission and it is vitally important that in its rush to put everything it has into one internet basket, radio avoids losing its core identity, its soul, that separates it from being just another online music or informational utility.” Harrison advises that just as talk radio has claimed “ownership” of politics in America and sports radio has claimed “ownership” of the country’s sports juggernaut, “music radio must reclaim its lost ownership of the music culture.” He says the first step in accomplishing this is to bring back the colorful DJ as the backbone of the radio station’s presentation and the street savvy music director as its ear to what’s really going on out there. Radio must not only ‘relate’ to this element, it must aggressively lead it as well.” Harrison will be speaking at a special info-session sponsored by TALKERS magazine on Wednesday, September 19 between 10:15 am and 11:15 am. All Radio Show registrants are encouraged to attend.
WFNC, Fayetteville, North Carolina Debuts “Goldy and Jim” AM Show. North Carolina talk host Curtis Wright had been heard on the Cumulus Media station though he broadcast from the coastal market of Wilmington, North Carolina (his show was also heard there on Cumulus’ news/talk WAAV). Cumulus recently dropped Wright’s show for the more general interest “Good Morning Fayetteville with Goldy and Jim” (that’s Jim Gold and Jim Cooke). According to the Fayetteville Observer’s Andrew Barksdale and Paul Woolverton, Wright’s program was very political and, since it emanated from Wilmington, contained a lot of Wilmington political talk. WAAV, Wilmington has filled the slot Wright occupied with Tyler Cralle. As for Wright, he’s embarked on an online-only internet TV venture called “Curtis Wright on the Beat Virtual.”
NRG Media’s Omaha Sports Brand “The Zone” to Air UNO Contests. In a deal brokered by Nelligan Sports Marketing – the exclusive agent for University of Nebraska Omaha sports – NRG Media’s sports talk duo KOZN and KZOT, Omaha – “The Zone” and “The Zone 2” respectively – will air UNO basketball and hockey play-by-play for the next five seasons. Between the two sports, the stations will air more than 60 games during the 2012-2013 season. Zone general manager Andy Ruback states, “This is a tremendous partnership for our stations. Listeners are deeply rooted in the UNO sports tradition and both teams have a following on a regional level. The dual coverage on both Zone and Zone 2 will mean listeners can always stay in touch with the two premiere sports programs.”
WTOP, Washington Promotes David Dildine to Full-Time Traffic Team. David Dildine joined WTOP in 2010 during the launch of its in-house traffic center, taking on the weekend afternoon shifts. Now he becomes a member of the full-time staff where he’ll also work on traffic and weather related features. Interestingly, Dildine has another passion – storm chasing. Dildine is a seasoned storm chaser and weather research analyst having worked in Oklahoma and Texas where he chased severe storms and tornados for a living. WTOP states, “Dildine serves as a valuable resource for WTOP’s traffic, weather and news departments – recently analyzing Hurricane Isaac, flying with Hurricane Hunters into Hurricane Irene and producing popular traffic/news stories such as “DC’s Worst Traffic Merges.”
TuneIn to Be Included in 2013 Chevy Spark MyLink Dash. Digital audio content aggregator TuneIn strikes a deal with GM to use Livio Connect technology so its app can be integrated into the MyLink Radio dashboard of 2013 Chevrolet Spark models made globally. According to a release, Livio Connect is a middleware framework protocol that enables hardware devices and mobile apps, now including TuneIn, to connect to and interact with one another. GM uses Livio Connect technology, which allows owners of Chevy Sparks equipped with the MyLink Radio to enjoy 70,000 stations. Livio Connect technology bridges the app, featured on iPhone and Android mobile devices, with MyLink. While connected through Livio Connect, all of the TuneIn buttons and controls from the mobile device will be available on MyLink’s seven-inch touch screen, while the app on the phone itself will be disabled to help promote safer driving.
Schnitt Wows ‘Em in Memphis. Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt is pictured here in the studio at affiliate WREC, Memphis hosting his program on 9/11. The previous evening, Schnitt hosted a sold-out “Right Night with Schnitt” where more than 200 WREC listeners paid to attend the event held at the popular Memphis eatery Owen Brennans.
9/11 Anniversary, Chicago Teachers Strike, Obama Convention Bounce, and ‘Fast and Furious’ Report Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/11). The anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks; the political implications of the Chicago teachers strike; President Obama’s “convention bounce” in the campaign polls; and the inspector general’s report on the Justice Department’s ‘Fast and Furious’ gun-running sting were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Talk Media, Inc. and In3media, Inc. Entering Corporate Merger for ownership of Radio-Info.com. Radio Industry Trade Publications, Talkers and Radio-Info.com to Maintain Independent Brands, Identities and Websites. Talk Media, Inc. and In3media, Inc. – owners of two of the radio industry’s leading trade publications, TALKERS and Radio-Info.com – have announced a corporate merger that will bring ownership of Radio-Info.com into a partnership between them. The new corporate entity, named Radio Info, Inc., will serve as owner and operator of Radio-Info.com. TALKERS will remain under the corporate ownership of Talk Media, Inc. TALKERS, founded in 1990 by its current publisher Michael Harrison, is the leading trade publication serving the talk radio and talk media industries. Radio-Info.com, founded by the late Doug Fleming in 1999 and published since his tragic death in 2005 by his parents Diana and Rick Fleming, is a unique trade publication serving the general radio community. The Flemings have planned to retire. The deal, which does not include ownership or operation of the Radio-Info Message Boards becomes effective on Monday, August 20, 2012 at which time Radio-Info.com will begin operating out of Talk Media, Inc. headquarters in Springfield, Massachusetts with Michael Harrison serving as publisher of both trades. Harrison issued the following statement, “All of us in the TALKERS organization are proud and humbled to carry on the legacy of Doug Fleming, a great broadcasting innovator and pioneer, who loved radio dearly. After what we expect will be a chaotic week with an “Under Construction” sign hanging in the window, radio professionals can expect the next chapter of RadioInfo to be an aggressive and dynamic trade publication that will work tirelessly toward supporting, encouraging and instigating a new golden age of 21st century rock, CHR and adult contemporary music radio.”
Mark Thompson to do Final Show this Morning as Co-Host of Mark & Brian Show at KLOS, Los Angeles. After a 25 year ride as the longest running morning show in the nation’s #2 radio market, today marks the final day of the mega-successful Mark & Brian Show – at least the “Mark” part of it. The 56 year old Mark Thompson will retire to move to North Carolina and do “other things,” telling the Los Angeles Times, “It’s just time…guys my age are dropping dead. There are other things I want to do.” Meantime, speculation abounds as to what will happen to the show as Thompson’s partner Brian Phelps – although publicly stating that he wants to continue with the station, perhaps with a new, undisclosed co-host – is still in negotiations with KLOS owner Cumulus Media working out the details of a new contract.
Boomer Esiason Tapped for Big Role at CBS Sports Radio. Leading television analyst and WFAN, New York morning co-host (with Craig Carton) Boomer Esiason will play a key role in the new CBS Sports Radio network’s programming when it launches in September on at least 90 stations nationwide. The 14-year veteran and NFL Most Valuable Player will deliver commentary and updates on the current headlines during the “CBS Sports Minute.” Additionally, Esiason will provide unique insight and opinion as CBS Sports Radio’s senior NFL analyst. Esiason will be heard weekday mornings near the top of the hour from 6:00 am to 10:00 am on affiliate stations, including top outlets WFAN in New York, WSCR in Chicago, KNBR in San Francisco and WIP-FM in Philadelphia, among others. Audiences across the country will also hear directly from Esiason throughout the NFL season as he weighs in on players, coaches, upcoming match-ups, and the day’s trending topics. Esiason, who recently received the “Humanitarian of the Year” award from TALKERS, says, “I’ve been fortunate to find a career that allows me to interact with fans who are just as passionate about sports as I am. I am thrilled to be taking on this new opportunity, which not only gives me the platform to discuss football, but a forum to voice my opinion on a variety of different topics in the world of sports.”
Sacramento Radio Veteran Phil Cowan joins KTKZ-AM for Morning Drive. It was announced today by Salem Communications that its news/talk station in Sacramento, AM 1380 KTKZ will be adding Phil Cowan to the lineup, 7:00 am to 9:00 am, beginning Monday, August 27th. Cowan has a long and storied career doing morning radio in Sacramento, where he was one half of the morning team “Paul and Phil” for 18 years on KGBY-FM, dominating the ratings for most of those years. He later appeared doing a solo talk show on KSTE before starting his own business. Cowan, who describes himself as a conservative red neck, tells TALKERS, “Recently, I have dabbled in advertising and video production, but the itch to sit down behind a daily microphone has returned.” Upon the choice of Cowan being made official, Salem Sacramento GM, Dale Hendry tells TALKERS, “We are excited to add a Sacramento radio market legend to the KTKZ programming line-up.” Salem VP/director of spoken word format, Phil Boyce adds, “The addition of Phil Cowan to the KTKZ Line-Up gives our station an even stronger chance to compete in the state capital of the nation’s largest state.”
Odds & Sods. Internet radio pioneer and terrestrial radio legend Tom Leykis is the subject of an interesting and hard-hitting article just published by The Hollywood Reporter examining the aging of the news/talk radio audience as well as its leading stars. The piece, written by THR music editor Shirley Halperin quotes TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison as stating, “That’s not necessarily terrible. The upper demos today are wealthy, involved and active and have a lot of years ahead of them. The same is true of older DJs and talk show hosts – they’re not over the hill; with age comes better talent and wisdom.” Harrison goes on to cite the names of a number of up and coming young talk radio stars. To read the article click here…. The very talented Simon Conway who hosts his own show for the past 16 months on WHO, Des Moines will be filling in on Monday for host Andy Dean on Premiere Networks’ “America Now” show.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Round Up. Dial Global reports “Ask Dr. Phil” and “Rach on the Radio” are added to KIVA Albuquerque; “Daily Dose of Dr. Oz” is added to KTDE, Gualala/Bodega; NBC News Radio added to WQKT-FM, Wooster, WMXR-FM, Woodstock/Lebanon, WCLX-FM, Burlington, and KWTY-FM, Cartago; and “Marketwatch” added to KWTY-FM, Cartego…. Genesis Communications Networks reports the “Dr. Daliah Show” (Dr. Daliah Wachs) has been added to WEGP, Presque Isle; Famous inventor Akos Jankura has added News Talk 990, WNTP, Philadelphia….Envision Radio Networks added WXKQ-FM, Whitesburg as an affiliate of SpotVO, a turnkey radio spot production service.
Mitt Romney’s Selection of Rep. Paul Ryan Top News/Talk Story for the week of August 13-17. The Republican VP ticket choice was the leader among all stories discussed on news/talk stations this past week followed by debate over the Federal budget and Medicare, the Family Research Council shooting, and the ex-SEALS video critical of President Obama’s leaks regarding the killing of Osama bin Laden. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
News Corp. Splits Its Assets in Two. News Corporation officially announces it will chop its company into two separate, publicly traded companies, one consisting of its entertainment properties and the other its publishing assets. The issue was decided at yesterday’s board meeting. Under the plan, the entertainment division will include the TV and movie businesses – Twentieth Century Fox, the Fox broadcast network, Fox News Channel and the other cable networks. The publishing arm will consist of the newspapers – The Wall Street Journal, The Times of London and The Australian as well as the other publishing assets — including Harper Collins. This will presumably also include The Wall Street Journal Radio Network. SNL Kagan reports the two primary reasons for executing the split are to distance the more profitable entertainment assets from the phone hacking scandal — this reason has been denied by CEO Rupert Murdoch — and to encourage investors who are keen on the entertainment side but not the publishing business. The first nine months of News Corp.’s 2012 fiscal year saw the entertainment division bring in $18.66 billion in net operating revenue while the publishing division’s net operating revenue was $6.22 billion. However, analysts are not in agreement that the split will encourage that much investment and ultimately be as valuable to the entertainment side’s stock as it might appear at first blush.
Yahoo! and Clear Channel Agree to Content Sharing Deal. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment and Yahoo! partner on a distribution and cross-promotional deal in which Yahoo! will use the iHeartRadio digital platform as its official digital radio service while Yahoo! will be able to promote its content across CC’s 850 radio stations. Yahoo! recently entered into deals with ABC News and CNBC to distribute jointly produced content across websites and television. Interim Yahoo! CEO Ross Levinsohn – who is working to turn the struggling digital media company around and give it a focused direction – says of the pact, “This partnership will expand our ability to provide consumers and advertisers with the best premium content available and provide Clear Channel with unmatched digital reach.” Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman says, “We were thrilled when Ross approached us about this partnership. We like the direction Yahoo! is going and by working together we can accelerate growth for the both of us.”
The NFL’s Buffalo Bills Sue Cumulus Over “Incentive Rights Fee.” Buffalo Bills play-by-play aired on Cumulus Media’s (and previously Citadel’s) WGRF-FM and WEDG-FM, Buffalo for the past 13 seasons through the 2011 season and now the team is suing Cumulus for what it says is the company’s failure to pay the “incentive rights fee” of about $1 million, according to the Buffalo News. The suit states the incentive rights fee equals half the broadcaster’s gross revenues from the sale of related programming or advertising in connection with any Bills game, after accounting for certain costs. The suit also contends, “For the 2011 NFL football season, the reasonable value of the exclusive radio broadcast rights and perquisites was believed to be at least $2.4 million, of which an amount believed to be at least $1 million remains due and owing.” Attorneys for the team say Cumulus was to provide an independent auditor’s report on gross revenue and net revenue for the 2011 season and that has yet to happen. The Buffalo News reports attempts to get a comment from Cumulus had not been successful.
Tom Leykis and Lionel on Strategies for Taking Talk Content to the Web. This video from the recent 2012 TALKERS New Media Seminar – New York features The New Normal chief and talk radio legend Tom Leykis and LionelMedia.com personality Lionel discussing from-the-trenches strategies for bringing talk content – live streaming shows and podcasts – to the web. The biggest challenge to this initiative is letting people know you are there and enticing them to listen. Hear Leykis and Lionel speak about their work in this medium on this exclusive panel discussion in the TALKERS TV box on this page. (Videography by Art Vuolo of Vuolo Video)
TuneIn Brings Major Broadcasters Cox Media Group, Emmis and Entercom Aboard. Digital audio service TuneIn continues to build its roster of content with the signing of three of America’s big broadcasting companies to deals to distribute their audio. Cox Media Group, Emmis Communications and Entercom radio stations will be heard on the TuneIn service that boasts 30 million monthly active listeners. In announcing the deal, the chiefs of the three companies tout the enhanced distribution this will give their content. Cox president Doug Franklin states, “As we transform into a digital media company, Cox Media Group is extending our great local brands to as many digital platforms as possible to seamlessly provide our audiences with the programming they want where and when they want it. TuneIn leads the industry with their listener-first approach to everything they do, and we are excited to offer our broadcasts to the growing and vastly important digital audience.” Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan comments, “Emmis is excited by today’s announcement. We want to follow our listeners and deliver our content to the platforms they choose to use. The TuneIn platform will provide our listeners from coast to coast another connection point with their favorite radio brands.” And Entercom president and CEO David Field says, “This is a great deal for Entercom, for TuneIn and most importantly for our listeners. We are very pleased to align Entercom with such an innovative company as TuneIn, which will deliver our terrific local programming to a wider, digitally engaged audience. Together, Entercom and TuneIn will deliver existing and new fans the best listening experience possible.”
Glenn Hall Named Managing Editor at TheBlaze. Glenn Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts announces former editor in chief at TheStreet joins TheBlaze as managing editor. The company states Glenn Hall will “oversee the day-to-day management and long-term editorial planning of TheBlaze.com’s editors and writers.” Hall served as editor in chief at TheStreet until this past March and, according to comScore audience rankings, helped grow TheStreet into the 10th largest online financial media group, surpassing CNBC.com. TheBlaze president and chief strategy officer Betsy Morgan says, “In under two years, we have attracted a growing team of over 25 reporters with a diverse range of experience ranging from a former CIA officer to CNN contributors. We are excited to take our team to the next level with Glenn Hall who brings a strong track record of leading and overseeing high-quality coverage and award-winning journalism to TheBlaze.” Hall comments, “TheBlaze is an amazing web phenomenon that shows media can thrive in the new digital age provided the focus and mission are aligned with the needs of the audience. I am excited about the opportunity to help grow this brand and raise the bar for digital journalism.”
CNN Suffers Worst Primetime Ratings Quarter in 21 Years; Cable News/Talk Network Makes Programming Changes. TVNewser reports CNN’s 2012 second quarter primetime ratings were at their worst in 21 years with 446,000 total viewers and 129,000 in the adults 25-54 demo. Compared to the second quarter of 2011, CNN is down 35% in total viewers in Total Day. The numbers are similar in primetime with the network down 35% in total viewers and 41% in the adults 25-54 demo. For individual shows, it’s hard to compare since the schedule has shifted and the same shows didn’t air at the same times last year. But “Piers Morgan Tonight” (which hasn’t moved) is down 29% in total viewers and 33% in adults 25-54. There is a bit of good news for the network as TVNewser reports June Nielsen numbers show younger viewers are increasing boosting Piers Morgan 9% in June, Anderson Cooper 5% and Erin Burnett 24%. Meanwhile, the Time Warner cable news/talk network makes some programming changes: The seven-month-old “Early Start” show sees co-host Ashleigh Banfield move to the 11:00 am ET slot and newcomer John Berman becomes co-host of the program with Zoraida Sambolin. Also, Kyra Phillips leaves CNN for duties at sister channel HLN.
KOZN, Omaha’s Kevin Kugler Transitions to National Correspondent Duties. Sports talk host Kevin Kugler, currently co-host of the “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” afternoon show at NRG Media’s KOZN, Omaha – 1620 AM The Zone – will become a national sports correspondent for the station as he moves to a full-time position with the Big Ten Network – the conference’s TV network. Kugler also serves as a play-by-play announcer for NFL football and NCAA basketball on the Dial Global Radio Networks and he will remain in that capacity. KOZN program director Neil Nelkin states, “Kevin now gets a chance to cut his teeth as a play-by-play host for the Big 10 and still stay on The Zone. It has been a joy and a privilege to watch Kevin as he evolved into a national sports correspondent.” Kugler’s duties with The Zone will be as analyst, interviewer and guest anchor. On his career transition, Kugler says, “This opportunity affords me the chance to remain on The Zone and stay in Omaha. Although this is a new chapter for my career, I am still staying on my ‘home’ at 1620 The Zone but I will have even more insight to offer as a result of the various exclusive interviews and event coverage I will be able to do on BTN.”
KXL, Portland Names Dan Mitchinson PM Drive Co-Anchor. Dan Mitchinson has been evening news anchor at Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle. On July 9 he begins his new position with Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL, Portland where he’ll co-host the station’s “Portland’s Afternoon News” with Lacey Evans. In a statement, Mitchinson says, “KXL is certainly one of the best-known news/talk stations in the country and one of the things that excites me the most it’s not just telling stories, but the way we’re able to start conversations with our listeners. Anyone can read the news or check their Twitter account. What KXL does best is tell passionate stories that make you feel even more involved with the city I now get to call home.”
The Anticipated ObamaCare Ruling, the Aftermath of the Arizona Illegal Immigration Law Decision, the 2012 Presidential Campaign, the Colorado Wildfires, and Eric Holder Contempt Vote Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/27). The anticipation of the Supreme Court’s ruling on President Obama’s Affordable Care Act; the aftermath of the Court’s decision on the Arizona illegal immigration law; the ongoing 2012 presidential campaign; the wildfires raging through Colorado and the attempt by House Republicans to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt in connection with the ‘Fast and Furious’ program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Tom Leykis and Lionel to Discuss Their High-Profile Pioneering Digital Efforts at NMS. Two questions (or variations thereof) regularly fielded by the TALKERS editorial staff these days are “How’s Tom Leykis doing with his new online talk show?” and “What’s Lionel up to these days with his online project?” Both will be answered in detail straight from the horses’ mouths at the New Media Seminar’s Digital Workshop in New York City this Thursday, June 7. As West Coast-based Leykis approaches the two-month mark into the launch of his “New Normal Network” online project and East Coast-based Lionel chalks up two years of operating “LionelMedia.com,” both individualistic graduates of the terrestrial talk show scene continue to gain traction on both the audience and revenue fronts as the industry watches with great interest. Leykis tells TALKERS, “We had over 1.1 million sessions from our debut on April 2nd until April 30th. That number would most closely approximate cume. In our first week of 24/7 streaming, we had exactly 401,180 listeners. That was more listeners than the weekly cumes of 14 L.A./Orange County radio stations in March.” On the revenue front, Leykis is also very pleased with immediate results saying, “At the current pace, we will make over 100K in revenue, but we are conservatively estimating 100K for the year.” Leykis explains the key to making an online radio operation work is to provide specific listeners something they cannot get anywhere else. He tells TALKERS, “You really have to super-serve your P1s…even in the process of selling advertising. We go out into the marketplace and ask radio-friendly businesses the question, ‘Are you being priced out of radio?’ Because our operating costs are so much lower than radio we can offer these small businesses very affordable deals. And when you specifically target business owners who are already in your audience as listeners, well it just makes a lot of sense. This is what we are doing and it is working.” Lionel describes his digital effort to TALKERS as follows: “This month is the second anniversary of the launch of LionelMedia.com, a paid subscription podcasting outlet. I podcast an hour daily of uninterrupted, unedited, commercial and break-free freeform-yet-structured spoken word. It, frankly, knows no peer. Every day I post news stories, columns, ideas, opinions and the like that supplement the subject or content of that day’s podcast. I’ll also attach a YouTube video of my latest PIX11 commentary on myriad subjects. To be most precise: I do exactly what I want. Let that sink in. My podcasts are not profane or blue in the least — in fact they could be played in their entirety on terrestrial radio. That, I feel, is a drawing point and basis for much of our success.” Although Lionel no longer does a terrestrial radio talk show, he does regularly scheduled commentaries on Tribune television stations including New York’s WPIX channel 11 and Merlin Media’s all-news FMs in New York, Philadelphia and Chicago in addition to appearing as a regular guest on a number of terrestrial radio talk shows…exposure that helps drive traffic to his online media station. The Digital Workshop will be moderated by Ellen Ratner of Talk Radio News Service and Dan Patterson of KoPoint. The June 7 industry-only New Media Seminar/NYC is an advance sellout. For information call 413-565-5413.
Wisconsin Recall Spurs Question of “Equal Time” on Milwaukee News/Talk Outlets – and Beyond. Progressive political groups are charging Clear Channel‘s WISN, Milwaukee and Journal Broadcasting‘s WTMJ, Milwaukee with violating the FCC‘s “Zapple Doctrine” which mandates “equal time” to all qualified political candidates within 60 days of an election under certain circumstances. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes that talk hosts often benefit from exemption from the “Zapple Doctrine” by qualifying as a “news interview program.” But that exemption is not always a slam dunk. Read Weisman’s column about how the courts tend to interpret this section of FCC regulations here.
WPLJ-FM, New York OM Tony Mascaro to Program WABC? Some posts on the New York Radio Message Board indicate inside sources are reporting Cumulus Media New York is naming CHR WPLJ-FM operations manager Tony Mascaro program director of its news/talk WABC. As of the posting of this item, there is no confirmation or denying of the report from Cumulus. WABC APD Chuck Armstrong has been serving as interim program director for the station filling the role left vacant when Laurie Cantillo exited the post last fall. Stay tuned.
Tony Kornheiser Re-Ups with WTEM, Washington for Two Years. The Red Zebra Broadcasting station announces high-profile personality Tony Kornheiser renews his deal to remain host of the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program on ESPN 980 WTEM, Washington, DC. As part of the new contract, Kornheiser will contribute to the Washington Redskins Radio Network‘s “Official Pre-Game Show” during the football season. WTEM CEO Rick Carmean states, “Tony’s unique brand of humor and entertainment fits perfectly into our strong and highly rated midday lineup.” Kornheiser is joined weekdays by a rotating cast of co-hosts including Gary Braun, Jeanne McManus, Torie Clark, David Aldridge and longtime producer Nigel. Frequent contributors include Tony’s “Pardon the Interruption”co-host Michael Wilbon.
WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta Gives Adam Goldfein Nightly Program. Local attorney and auto dealership owner Adam Goldfein has hosted a weekend program about cars on Cox Media‘s WSB-AM/FM for some time. Now, the station adds more air time to his schedule. The consumer issues expert begins hosting a program airing nightly from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Goldfein had been filling in for Clark Howard on the station and Cox Radio Atlanta VP and market manager Dan Kearney tells the Atlanta Journal Constitution, “He was doing a great job filling in for Clark Howard and his Sunday show was getting great ratings. We wanted him on more consistently.”
Stephen King’s WZON, Bangor Drops Local Sports Talk; Dismisses Two. Give WZON, Bangor owner Stephen King credit for manning up and personally delivering the news to sports talk hosts Dale Duff and Clem LaBree that they were being dismissed for financial reasons. Duff and LaBree hosted the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm sports talk show on WZON-AM as well as covering a slew of local sports events, including high school and college games. The Bangor Daily News reports King told the two the change had nothing to do with the quality of their work but because the programming was losing money. WZON-AM had ceased being a full-time sports talk station in November of 2010 and was carrying much of the progressive talk format from sister WZON-FM - The Pulse. Duff had been with the station for 19 years. Both are receiving severance from the company. Duff and LaBree’s show will be replaced by a simulcast from WZON-FM although the station will continue to air sports play-by-play.
SRN’s Tom Tradup Makes Statement on End of “Richard Land Live” Program. The Ethics and Religious Liberty Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention issued two reprimands to Dr. Richard Land for comments he made about the Trayvon Martin case that it deemed “irresponsible, insensitive and racially charged.” It also ended his radio program that it produced that was distributed via Salem Radio Network. The controversy surrounding the statements was enhanced further by allegations Land read them from another published opinion that was not cited. SRN vice president of news/talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS, “Theologians have a different perspective on talk radio than the rest of our industry does. What some see as “hurtful language” on the Trayvon Martin case is, in reality, part of a free and open exchange of ideas and opinions that is the keystone of talk radio. And by talk radio standards, nothing Dr. Land may have failed to “fully attribute” on the air or on his website rose to the level of so-called plagiarism. Nevertheless, we respect the ERLC’s decision and thus the final edition of ‘Richard Land Live’ aired Saturday, June 2.
Twin Cities Radio Personality Dark Star Dies at Age 66. Longtime Minneapolis radio personality Dark Star – real name George Chapple – was found dead in his home in Minnetonka, Minnesota. He co-hosted the “Sports Show” along with Sid Hartman on CBS Radio‘s WCCO, Minneapolis during part of his 25 years on the air there before accepting a buyout from the station in November of 2010. Recently he had been working at crosstown KFAN. He failed to show up for his Friday show there and authorities found him dead in his apartment.
Compass Media Marketing Named Exclusive Radio Sales Agent for Point-of-Purchase Service. This story is really about the acquisition of InStore Broadcasting Network by POP Radio and the new company becomes InStore Audio Network. It delivers in-store advertising messages to more than 33,000 retail outlets – grocery, drug stores, etc. – and provides music content to some 14,000 stores. The company is enlisting Compass Media Marketing as exclusive national radio sales agent. Compass CEO Peter Kosann says, “I have been a longtime partner with POP Radio and the expanded footprint of the new company creates an exciting and compelling media product that network radio buyers will need to consider.”
KSFO, San Francisco Listeners Help Raise $135k for Fisher House Construction. Cumulus Media‘s news/talk KSFO, San Francisco held a Memorial Day weekend fundraiser for the Fisher House Foundation that began with a live remote broadcast of Brian Sussman‘s morning drive show. Sussman (r) is pictured here interviewing Fisher House representative Cindy Campbell (l). Fundraising continued over the Memorial Day weekend and more than $135,000 was collected for the construction of the Palo Alto Fisher House which provides no-cost housing and the comforts of home for family members of military personnel while their loved ones rehab and recover from various injuries and ailments. Sussman states, “This gift of over $135,000 illustrates the abundant generosity of our KSFO radio family. The Fisher House provides our troops and their families with genuine American hospitality and it’s an honor to be associated with their vital endeavor.”
Iowa Farm News Broadcaster Mark Pearson Dead at 54. Mark Pearson worked at Iowa Public Television where he hosted the “Market to Market” show and at Clear Channel‘s WHO, Des Moines where he co-hosted “The Big Show,” a program that highlighted agricultural news. Pearson died of an apparent heart attack at his home on Sunday. WHO talk show host Jan Mickelson told the Des Moines Register, “Everyone at every level in the farm community respected the guy.”
Tom Leykis’ Return to Talk Draws Loyal Audience to Web-Based Content. Off the radio for more than three years after CBS Radio blew up KLSX-FM, Los Angeles and his contract kept him from working for anyone other than CBS, Tom Leykis returned to the microphone on April 2 for an internet-delivered talk show. The show is broadcast live at www.blowmeuptom.com at 3:00 pm PT and on a 24/7 streamed replay via major media players – Tune In, Windows Media Player, iTunes, iPhone, Shoutcast and Winamp. Leykis says the numbers for the first week of the show were impressive: The total number of listeners from April 2 to Monday, April 9 was 401,180. The average number of show listeners for that week in any 15 minute period totaled 1,575 and the average time spent listening by each listener was a half hour each day in the seven-day week. “These numbers are way higher than what we’d anticipated. We’re way farther along in our progress than I ever could have imagined. Kind of makes you wonder what competing alternative content like this will ultimately mean for radio.” Leykis, who will be speaking at the New Media Seminar in New York City on June 7, tells TALKERS that the combination of doing a daily show and running his own business has made him “more focused than ever” stating, “Now is the time for talk talent to think of themselves as more than employees…they must think entrepreneurially for their own survival. The way to start is by developing a healthy relationship with your advertisers.”
Act Quickly! Word just in from Bob Dane, event manager for this year’s annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row is that due to larger than expected demand, they expanded the number of broadcast booths. As of 10:00 am ET this morning (Monday, April 23), Dane reports there is now one remaining, fully equipped booth in morning, midday and afternoon drive left. And it’s first come, first serve. This event is a must-attend-and-no-reason-not-to given that everything is turnkey and at no cost for the convenience of the participating broadcasters…and if you act fast, possibly a hotel room can be part of the package — but availability is extremely limited. Hold Their Feet to the Fire 2012 is staged annually by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, this year, May 8-9 in Washington, DC focusing on immigration issues facing the candidates in this heated election year. Contact Bob Dane at 202-328-7004.
Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly Close to Re-signing with Fox News Channel. The New York Times reports it has confirmed through anonymous sources that Fox News Channel superstars Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly are ready – as early as next week – to sign contract extensions with News Corp.’s cable news/talk network that would keep them in the fold through the 2016 elections. FNC is declining to comment on the story but the sources seem to indicate that the deals to keep the two most-watched personalities on the network in place for four more years are being cemented quickly and should be announced within the next week or so. Sean Hannity’s national talk radio show is syndicated by Premiere Networks and Bill O’Reilly’s daily commentary is syndicated to talk radio stations across the country via Courtside Entertainment Group.
NOW Attempts to Inject Life into Anti-Rush Limbaugh Campaign. The National Organization for Women is firing up a campaign called “Enough Rush” aimed at getting the Premiere Networks talk superstar’s show cancelled. As these things usually do, the blowback suffered by Rush Limbaugh from his Sandra Fluke comments has all but disappeared. But NOW – working in conjunction with the anti-conservative organization Media Matters for America – is reigniting its efforts to end Limbaugh’s program. NOW president Terry O’Neill states, “For more than two decades, Rush Limbaugh has degraded women, people of color and anyone who doesn’t look or think like him. Like bullies everywhere, Limbaugh uses the age-old tactic of savaging one woman for the purpose of intimidating all women away from the public square. Rush’s hostile, hateful speech is destructive to our public discourse, our communities and our democracy.” NOW is organizing rallies in a number of cities designed to build momentum for the campaign. Meanwhile, PPM ratings for the month of March indicate publicity generated by the campaign against Limbaugh has actually increased his ratings in many markets.
Arbitron Drops Diary-Based Ratings in Seven Markets. Lack of enough subscribers to make it profitable can be credited for Arbitron Inc.’s decision to eliminate the diary-based ratings in Saginaw-Bay City-Midlands, Michigan (market #139); Ann Arbor, Michigan (#155); Wilmington, North Carolina (#162); Dubuque, Iowa (#237); Columbus-Starkville-West Point, Mississippi (#261); Sebring, Florida (#276); and Mason City, Iowa (#283).
WPRO, Providence Talk Host and Former Mayor Buddy Cianci’s Daughter Dies. The colorful two-time former mayor of Providence – and PM drive talk host at Cumulus Media’s WPRO/WEAN-FM, Providence – Buddy Cianci has lost his daughter to an apparent drug overdose. Nicole Cianci’s death at her home in the city was reported Friday and Cianci issued the following statement, “This is a tragic and emotional time for Nicole’s mother and I. Our entire family appreciates your thoughts, prayers and sentiments. We ask that our family’s privacy be respected during this difficult time.” Nicole Cianci was Buddy Cianci’s only child and the mother of his three grandchildren.
TALKERS to Publish Four-Part Series by Walter Sabo on FM Talk this Week. Sabo Media president Walter Sabo, one of the earliest and most accomplished proponents of FM talk, has written a powerful and informative four-part series on the hot topic that will run exclusively in TALKERS this week. In the series, one of radio programming’s most prolific visionaries delves into such areas as mistakes to avoid, finding and inspiring great hosts, methods to develop cume, topic management, the differences between AM and FM “share” and much more. The series begins tomorrow (Tuesday, April 24) and will run every day this week through Friday. Sabo will be a featured speaker at the forthcoming New Media Seminar in NYC on June 7.
WFLA-FM, Tallahassee AM Drive Show’s Eggers Exits to Join Think Tank. Eric Eggers is producer and on-air co-host of the WFLA-FM, Tallahassee’s morning drive show hosted by Preston Scott. He announces he’s leaving the Clear Channel Media and Entertainment station and the program he’s been producing for the past seven-plus years to join the Government Accountability Institute – a non-profit think tank based in Tallahassee and founded by conservative author Peter Schweizer. Eggers tells Tallahassee.com, “Peter wrote his last book about insider trading in Congress. And so it’s going to be more projects along the same vein in terms of focusing on corruption, cronyism, looking at some of the ways the current federal government system is broken and failing us — not looking out for the little guy.”
Ed Tyll Begins Regular Web-Based Talk Show Tonight. Longtime talk radio host Ed Tyll begins a new regular talk program broadcast via the internet at TalkRadioX (http://talkradiox.com/) at 8:00 pm ET. TalkRadioX was co-founded by Dan Delgado and Antubert Johnson – two personalities who’ve made the TALKERS “Frontier Fifty” list of internet talk show hosts blazing a trail in the world of web-based programming since the list began being published three years ago. (The 2012 “Frontier Fifty” list will be published at Talkers.com in September.) Tyll says TalkRadioX is “a 24-hour streaming talk station that boasts an original line up of enthusiastic talkers, reminiscent of when talk radio was both fun and informative.” Dan Delgado tells TALKERS, “Getting someone of Ed Tyll’s caliber and stature in the industry is something we at TalkRadioX had been looking to do for some time. We’re thrilled to be getting someone with his experience on the station. What he brings in terms of talent and energy is something that will bring all of us to the next level.” Tyll states, “TalkRadioX represents a key moment in the history of a format that I love hosting. It’s the perfect place for what I do on the air. I’m convinced that my success with the Casey Anthony trial in Orlando will be eclipsed by the enormous potential of this network’s unique combination of terrestrial radio and world wide web radio listenership.” During his career, Ed Tyll has worked at numerous major market talk stations as well has having been nationally syndicated.
The Fight for Freedom in Afghanistan. WNDB, Daytona Beach talk show host Marc Bernier (l) is pictured here interviewing author and former Army Ranger Captain Sean Parnell (r) as the two discuss his new book Outlaw Platoon: Heroes, Renegades, Infidels and the Brotherhood of War in Afghanistan (William Morrow 2012). The interview was conducted before a live audience at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and is the 78th such event – broadcast live on WNDB – in Bernier’s live interview series.
“Olbermann, You Blew it!” Those are the word of TALKERS columnist Mona “The Lip” Lipschitz as she castigates former Current TV talent Keith Olbermann for his messy exit from Current and his mega-million dollar suit against the fledgling network. Lipschitz calls Olbermann out stating, “At least Al Gore is attempting to widen the commercial media platform available to progressive talkers in this country, not to mention sign you to a big fat friggin’ contract with enough dough that could keep countless of the families you claim to be so concerned about under their roofs and fed through this economic and political crisis.” Read more of Lipschitz’s searing analysis of the Olbermann-Current blow-up here.
Dallas Talk Radio Institution Mark Davis at Contract Loggerheads with Cumulus Media. WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas talk radio host Mark Davis writes on his blog that his status with the Cumulus Media-owned news/talk station is “not departure, but impasse.” He confirms his contract with the station has expired and he has been off the air all this week – his contract expired last Friday – as a result of his and the company’s inability to come to terms on a new deal. Cumulus Media is not responding to requests for comment. Davis hosts the late morning program between AM drive and Rush Limbaugh’s midday show. Cumulus operates both WBAP-AM/FM and news/talk KLIF in the market and industry watchers are wondering how the debut of Cumulus Media Networks’ Mike Huckabee program will affect the programming on the stations. One would assume Cumulus wants to see Huckabee’s show in a major market like Dallas although WBAP carries Limbaugh – aired live at the same time as the new Huckabee show – and it’s not clear how much time is left on the Premiere Networks program’s contract with WBAP. Mark Davis, with WBAP since 1994, also writes a weekly column for the Dallas Morning News and appears on local TV on “Inside Texas Politics” on WFAA-TV and KDFW-TV.
Les Brown Exits KFWB, Los Angeles. Motivational speaker Les Brown has exited his role with KFWB, Los Angeles after a little more than a year on the air. Program director Andy Ludlum confirms his exit to the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan. “Les Brown came to us and said he wanted to leave his KFWB show when his contractual term expired at the end of March. While Les has enjoyed his role as host of one the nation’s only positive radio shows, he’s been feeling his calling is beyond that of a local radio show host. He is being asked by number of companies and organizations to re-energize his role as an international motivational speaker and Les has come to the conclusion that is a better route to the national and international stage he has in mind. There may be more media in his future but he’s thinking national syndication rather than local radio.” Brown’s program aired from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm and the station has extended Dave Ramsey’s show by one hour and is beginning its PM drive news programming an hour earlier to make up the difference.
Journal Broadcasting’s WTMJ, Milwaukee Deals with Controversy as Staffers Sign Governor Walker Recall Petition. Journal Broadcasting is acting swiftly to quell the controversy over some of its news staffers having signed the petition to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Journal issued a statement that says: “TODAY’S TMJ4 and Newsradio 620 WTMJ discovered that several members of our staff signed the recall petitions for Governor Walker. Some of those employees play a role in our news gathering and editorial process. Several of them also work on-air: One at TODAY’S TMJ4; four at Newsradio 620 WTMJ. We want you to know that we consider this a serious issue. We are in the process of dealing with it internally. Our reputation of being a fair and unbiased news source is of paramount importance to both TODAY’S TMJ4 and Newsradio 620 WTMJ. We expect anyone involved in the production of news to avoid situations that could compromise our integrity. We don’t allow news employees to sign nomination papers for candidates, display yard signs or take part in a political campaign. However, many employees told us that they felt signing the recall petition was not a political act, but instead felt it was similar to casting a vote. WTMJ does not agree and we want to assure you, our listeners, that we are taking measures to make sure all of our reporting is fair, balanced and to ensure something like this does not happen again.”
Tom Leykis Fans Crash Website as Talk Icon Debuts Internet Program. Tom Leykis got back behind the microphone for the first time in more than three years after CBS Radio blew up his old home base of KLSX-FM, Los Angeles. This time Leykis is broadcasting via the internet on his longtime blowmeuptom.com domain and the response from Leykis fans was enough to crash the servers during its debut broadcast on Monday, April 2. Leykis e-mails the OC Register’s Gary Lycan to report, “It was amazing. Fortunately, each 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show repeats until the next one airs. The easiest, fastest solution to listen right away is to go to TuneIn.com and search for ‘Leykis.’”
SiriusXM Signs Multi-Year Deal with Major League Baseball to Broadcast Games. MLB has had a deal with the original XM Satellite Radio since its inception. This new contract allows MLB games to be heard via the SiriusXM Internet Radio App, via SiriusXM.com and, for satellite radio listeners who have the XM Satellite service. Major League Baseball Advanced Media senior vice president Kenny Gersh states, “SiriusXM has been a valuable partner in connecting its subscribers with the tradition of baseball on the radio and this agreement adds an important distribution platform, alongside our own products including Gameday Audio and At Bat, for fans to enjoy listening to the radio broadcasts of Major League Baseball games via the internet.”
ESPN’s Mike & Mike to Broadcast from World Champion St. Louis Cardinals’ Home Opener. ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic will broadcast the national radio and cable TV simulcast of their morning drive program live from Busch Stadium in St. Louis on Friday, April 13. Local affiliate, Hubbard Broadcasting’s WXOS-FM, St Louis – 101 ESPN – will be holding a listener contest in conjunction with the special “Mike & Mike” broadcast so that local fans can be a part of the television and radio broadcast. This intimate broadcast is not open to the public; however, five lucky 101 ESPN listeners can win a pair of VIP passes to attend this event by entering to win at the station’s website.
WZIM-FM, Bloomington, Illinois Flips to Sports. Zimmer/Great Plains Media drops classic hits on WZIM-FM (licensed to Lexington, Illinois) and uses programming from Fox Sports Radio Network plus Premiere Networks’ Jim Rome. That station also will air Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox baseball and plans to carry Indianapolis Colts football. Robert Rees is serving as program director for the station.
“Afternoon Constitutional” Show Features Local GOP Debate Series. The WCHV, Charlottesville, Virginia-based “Afternoon Constitutional” program – hosted by Joe Thomas and syndicated regionally – is airing weekly shows on Mondays beginning April 9 through that state’s GOP primary in June featuring candidates for U.S. Senate. Thomas tells TALKERS magazine, the show is called “4 Your Approval” and the four candidates for the Senate nomination (former Governor and Senator George Allen, former TEA Party chair Jamie Radtke, General Assembly Delegate Bob Marshall and former radio show host and bishop E.W. Jackson) will answer a four-question gauntlet from himself, co-host Nikki Lewis and listener submissions. Thomas states, “We have a difficult choice but we believe that honest competition will bring forth the best candidate for our listeners.”
GOP Primaries/2012 Presidential Campaign Returns to Top of Talkers TenTM Weekly Chart. The Republican primary race and the greater 2012 presidential campaign were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week of April 2-6, according to ongoing research from TALKERS. Following at #2 was the Supreme Court’s review of President Obama’s Patient Accessibility and Affordable Care Act. At #3 was the federal budget proposed by Congressman Paul Ryan and at #4 was skyrocketing gas prices. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is published at Talkers.com every Friday. View the entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. WBSM, New Bedford, Massachusetts adds Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher show…..Dr. Daliah Wachs gets her daily program added to WFAS-FM, Bronxville, New York…..The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “The Daily Wrap with Michael Castner” picks up KPUA, Hilo, Hawaii…..WYD Media’s Thom Hartmann joins WGUN, Atlanta…..Ed Schultz is added to Rivers Radio’s WGUN, Atlanta…..Tom Gresham’s “Gun Talk” is added to the program lineup at WZFG, Fargo; KEUN, Eunice, Louisiana; and KMAM/KMOE-FM, Butler, Missouri.
WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Prepares to Celebrate 90th Anniversary on April 10. If you think you’ve been reading about a lot of 90th anniversaries here at TALKERS lately, it’s not your imagination. The government handed out a lot of radio licenses in 1922 when the popular new commercial medium was really taking off. Greater Media’s WBT signed on April 10, 1922 from its original studio location in a chicken coop behind the Charlotte Country Club. The station has claimed to be the second commercial station in the country and the first in the Southeast. The accompanying photo seen here is one of the station’s first control boards. There is a cool video presentation on the history of WBT at the station’s website here.
Surprise Cuts Across the Board at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment. In the past when Clear Channel or other big broadcasters have made sweeping reductions in their workforces there have been hints they were coming. This one seems to have surprised industry watchers. Clear Channel vice president Angel Aristone released the following statement about the cuts. “We are constantly evaluating our organization and structure to make sure we are as well positioned as possible to continue to lead in the evolving marketplace. We’ve been looking closely at our business to ensure that we are properly staffed and operating as efficiently as possible with the right balance of services and personnel to meet the needs of our listeners/consumers. Like every successful business, our strategy continues to evolve as we move forward as a company and that creates some new jobs, and unfortunately eliminates others. In the process, some employees were affected. These are never easy decisions to make; we thank them for their service and wish them all the best for the future.” This round of cuts affected mostly mid-sized markets including Columbus, Jacksonville, Nashville, Cincinnati, Portland, Louisville, West Palm Beach and Minneapolis. There was also a restructuring of the company’s Total Traffic operation. Some of the folks from the news and talk formats ousted include: WTAM, Cleveland weekend host Bob Becker; WTOK, Oklahoma City news director Jerry Bohnen; WISN, Milwaukee producer Jason Booth; WPOP, Hartford producer Richard Cooke; WTVN, Columbus news staffer Matt Demczyk; KEX, Portland news staffer Jeff Kirsch; KEX, Portland news anchor Mary Loos; WTOK, Oklahoma City talk host Greg Moore; WLAC, Nashville program director Tom Peace; and WTVN, Columbus sports anchor Dan Watson.
Cumulus Media Ousts Michael Damsky from WLS, Chicago President/GM Post. Cumulus Media COO John Dickey flew into Chicago to deliver the news to Michael Damsky in person that the company is “going in a different direction.” Damsky was brought on board by Citadel in the fall of 2008 as director of sales and promoted to GM in 2010 and charged with turning around news/talk WLS and sister classic hits WLS-FM. Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports he was apparently largely successful but also notes that both sales and ratings have declined over the past six months since Cumulus took over the former Citadel stations. Damsky is quoted saying, “I’m extremely proud of what we were able to accomplish in three-and-a-half years. When I took over as general manager, WLS-AM was without direction. We brought in great talent and worked hard to showcase them. And WLS-FM withstood the attack of a serious competitor a year ago and is stronger now than ever before.” Cumulus has not named a successor for Damsky.
Former Clear Channel Exec Dave Crowl Hired by Cumulus. Dave Crowl will be based out of Cumulus’ Chicago offices as he comes aboard to take the regional vice president post in which he’ll oversee operations and sales in the Midwest region. Crowl served as senior VP of operations with Clear Channel until being let go in a surprise restructuring of executives in May of last year.
Tom Leykis Preps Fans for Monday Return. Monday, April 2 will mark the return of Tom Leykis to a regularly scheduled talk program for the first time since CBS Radio blew up his home base of hot talk KLSX-FM, Los Angeles in February of 2009. Since that time, Leykis has been busy creating music programming and other content for the web via his company The New Normal. He’ll be broadcasting the new Tom Leykis program at 3:00 pm PT on the web on Monday. Leykis is streaming his show via a number of urls including his blowmeuptom.com. He’s signed with TuneIn for delivery to smartphones and tablets and will also offer archived and special content to premium subscribers, although he says the live show and repeats of the previous day’s show will remain available for free.
Journal’s WTMJ, Milwaukee Extends Deal with MLB’s Brewers. The story from the Journal-owned Milwaukee Journal Sentinel doesn’t give a lot of contract details but reports both the baseball club and WTMJ were very interested in continuing their relationship and the team wasn’t even interested in going out to bid when the contract expired. Brewers COO Rick Schlesinger tells the paper they had meetings with WTMJ management about the direction of the relationship, “The conversations were, I would say, spirited. We had a lot of thoughts, as they did, about what they wanted to see out of the relationship. It’s not just economics these days. There is a whole range of marketing, branding, programming, production and financial arrangements. From those discussions we found enough common ground that we were able to forge a new extension. It was somewhat of a different environment than the last time.”
KGMZ-FM, San Francisco Adds Giants Posey and Cain for Weekly Appearances. Entercom’s FM sports talker KGMZ-FM, San Francisco announces the regular weekly appearances of San Francisco Giants players Buster Posey and Matt Cain on the afternoon show “The Drive” with Brandon Tierney and Eric Davis. The Giant Connection will take place every Tuesday at 4:30 pm. Program director Jason Barrett states, “Buster Posey and Matt Cain will give San Francisco Giants fans the superstar perspective they crave, from the pitcher’s mound to behind home plate and definitely inside the clubhouse. They’ve made the switch to FM and we’re so proud to be the only radio station in the Bay Area where Giants fans can hear Buster and Matt talking Giants baseball.”
KILT, Houston Adds Texan Arian Foster for Weekly Show This Fall. Houston Texan Arian Foster will be heard on CBS Radio’s sports talk KILT this fall for his weekly radio show. He’s jumping from crosstown Yahoo! Sports-affiliated KGOW where he co-hosted the show last year with Bob Berger. Beginning in September, he’ll appear with Texans director of radio broadcasting Marc Vandermeer. KILT is the team’s flagship station. Foster’s Tuesday evening show is one of the media offerings the NFL team is programming and selling since its new deal with KILT in which the team takes its media programming and sales in house.
ObamaCare Supreme Court Arguments Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 26-30. This week’s Supreme Court hearings of arguments about the constitutionality of President Obama’s 2010 Affordable Care Act were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS. The issue landed atop the Talkers TenTM chart of the week’s most-discussed stories and people on news/talk radio. At #2 this week was the Trayvon Martin case. At #3 was the GOP primary and the 2012 presidential campaign and at #4 was rising gas prices tied with President Obama’s attack on big oil. The Talkers TenTM chart is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View the entire chart here.
Support for Captured Soldier. KIDO, Boise morning drive talk show host Kevin Miller recently broadcast live from a local Krispy Kreme store where more than 300 listeners stopped by to sign the giant birthday card (pictured here) for Hailey, Idaho native Bowe Bergdahl. Military authorities believe Bergdahl is still being held by the Taliban in Pakistan and he is believed to be the only POW from the Afghanistan conflict. Bergdahl made news late last year after reports of his attempted escape from captivity in late August or September of 2011. He was free for three days but was recaptured. Bergdahl was taken by the Taliban in June of 2009.
Rush Limbaugh Controversy Brings Political Attack Tactics to Talk Radio. Perhaps it’s because the nation is in the grips of a still-stagnant economy during a contentious election year or maybe it’s just a sign of the times. But, the talk radio industry is being invaded by political special interest groups and their hard-nosed tactics and it appears some broadcasters are playing along. Broadcasters – and radio stations more specifically – have traditionally competed with each other intensely on many levels. But going after each other’s advertisers with threats of guilt-by-association in order to hurt the other’s business is something in which they have rarely engaged. The reason is simple: It pollutes the same body of water from which all broadcasters drink. If one day your programming is poison to sponsors, who’s to say my programming won’t be tainted next week. And the special interest groups are noticing this and employing it as well. Media Research Center founder and president L. Brent Bozell III has written an open letter to MSNBC president Phil Griffin taking the cable news/talk network to task for what he terms its hypocrisy. Bozell notes MSNBC talent Ed Schultz, Al Sharpton and Lawrence O’Donnell spent part of their March 13 programs “attacking Rush.” He then lists statements made by Ed Schultz over the years as “vile, repugnant venom coming out of Schultz’s mouth.” Bozell promises he’s not going to let up on MSNBC, either. So, what are some broadcasters guilty of with regard to this case? Potentially bringing harm to the entire talk media industry – especially the already hard-hit radio side – by willingly allowing special interest groups that do not represent the actual listeners of these programs to provide ammunition against one of their own (a broadcaster) for the sake of what is really a political goal and not a business goal. Broadcasters willing to join the political battle at the expense of maintaining the integrity of their broadcasting business model may find out down the road that attempting to serve two masters – politics and the business of broadcasting – is a very difficult task to handle successfully. If you wish to read Mr. Bozell’s piece, it’s here.
Problematic Data: Bloomberg Poll Concludes America Wants Limbaugh Fired. That’s the result of a Bloomberg poll of 1,002 Americans conducted from March 8 to 11 asking questions about the GOP candidates, how they feel about the birth control coverage issue and, whether Premiere Networks star Rush Limbaugh should be fired for his remarks about Sandra Fluke and her testimony. According to the Bloomberg data, 53% of Americans believe Limbaugh should be fired for his remarks and 30% of those who expressed that point of view were Republicans to boot! TALKERS is not questioning Bloomberg’s polling techniques but as alluded to in the story above, it should be underscored that the poll in question doesn’t survey Rush Limbaugh’s regular listeners. It doesn’t even survey regular talk radio listeners. Therein lays the problem. Consumer media will grab hold of the result of this poll and conclude that the end is near for Limbaugh since a majority of the country wants him fired. But as TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has been telling the dozens upon dozens of media outlets he’s spoken with on this issue since it began, Rush Limbaugh doesn’t broadcast to a majority of the country. He broadcasts to a niche audience – a sizeable one to be sure – but a niche nonetheless. Asking a sample of all Americans how a talk radio station should be programmed is analogous to asking the same sample about how to program the Golf Channel. Read the Bloomberg poll story here.
First Spot on Tom Leykis’ New Talk Show Sells on eBay for $1,225. FishbowlLA reports the first spot on Tom Leykis’ soon-to-debut talk show that will hit the internet on April 2 has been purchased by Stitcher chairman Noah Shanok for $1,225. Leykis tells FishbowlLA’s Richard Horgan, “The winning bid, in my view, proves what I have always believed, which is that the reason that some people say that internet content cannot be monetized is because they try to sell advertising for new platforms the same way it’s sold in so-called ‘old media.’ What these new platforms really require is out-of-the-box thinking and a completely different approach.” Leykis has been paid by CBS Radio since his program based at the former hot talk KLSX-FM, Los Angeles was dropped along with the rest of the format. Leykis’ The New Normal will broadcast his new talk program as the CBS contract comes to an end.
Buckley Broadcasting Chief Rick Buckley to Be Honored Posthumously by Broadcasters Foundation of America. At the Broadcasters Foundation of America breakfast held in conjunction with the National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas on April 18, the late president and CEO of Buckley Broadcasting will be honored with the Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award. The award honors an individual in broadcasting whose work exemplifies innovation, community service, advocacy, and entrepreneurship. It salutes its namesake Lowry Mays and is underwritten by The Clear Channel Foundation and Wiley Rein, LLP. The BFoA states, “Rick Buckley was a beloved and highly respected broadcaster who passed away suddenly this past July from a brain embolism. For more than four decades Buckley led the family-owned Buckley Broadcasting, which includes renowned WOR Radio in New York. He was a longtime member of the Broadcasters Foundation Board of Directors and served as its treasurer for many years. In recognition of his commitment to the charitable mission of the Broadcasters Foundation, The Rick Buckley Memorial Fund was established shortly after his passing.”
ESPN Montana to Provide Local Focus. The Montana Radio Company is bringing the Worldwide Leader in Sports to Montana – a state without any professional sports franchises. Tucker Sargent is project manager for ESPN Montana and he tells the University of Montana’s Montana Kaimin they are developing a website that will serve as the web hub for the three FM stations that will be simulcast in the Helena, Missoula and Great Falls markets. Ben Cately, who does play-by-play for the Missoula Osprey minor league baseball team is hosting the morning drive show that will be featured across the network. Sargent says the network will cover local schools as well, “High school sports have been pretty much completely ignored everywhere in the country. Most other places with an ESPN station are in major markets that have professional and college teams that dominate the scene. And while we still think that the professional teams need to be talked about, the high school sports matter quite a bit and need to get reported on as well.”
GOP Primaries/ 2012 Presidential Race, Afghanistan Civilian Massacre Aftermath, Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program, Syria Violence and Soaring Gas Prices Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/14). The tightening GOP primary race after Rick Santorum’s Tuesday victories and the 2012 presidential race in general; the fragile state of the Afghanistan operations after the killing of 16 civilians by a U.S. soldier; ongoing concern over Iran’s nuclear weapons projects; the Syrian violence against its citizens; and the American public’s concern with rising gasoline prices were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Compass Media Networks to Open New Marketing Division; Continues Relationship with Dial Global. In a major, two-pronged announcement Compass Media Networks announces it is launching a national ad sales firm called Compass Media Marketing – an advertising representation firm for the audio industry. CEO and founder Peter Kosann built Compass Media Networks three years ago as a programming and distribution company. He says they now see a similar opportunity for a sales rep firm “leveraging on our brand, relationships, and expertise.” Kosann continues, “We are extremely excited to build a focused advertising sales organization that can work hand-and-glove with program suppliers to help them maximize their advertising sales by, in turn, super-serving the advertiser.” Kosann says they will announce a full roster of programs and networks shortly and they have signed an agreement with Dial Global under which Dial Global will provide Compass Media Marketing with support systems and marketing services. At the same time, Compass enters into a long-term relationship with Dial Global to continue representing the company’s programming – including entertainment-talk shows “Free Beer & Hot Wings,” the Lars Larson show, Norman Goldman and Schnitt Show plus services and short-form reports as well as Compass’ sports play-by-play that includes college basketball, college football, NFL Doubleheaders and Compass’ presentation of the Dallas Cowboys and Oakland Raiders Radio Networks. Kosann says, “Dial Global has done a tremendous job for us and we are extremely appreciative of their hard work and support.”
Tom Leykis to Begin Internet Talk Show in April. Radio personality Tom Leykis is being paid by CBS Radio not to do a talk show since the company blew up hot talk KLSX-FM, Los Angeles in February of 2009. Now, with that agreement to end in April, Leykis tells the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan he’s set to debut his new talk program on April 2. But, as Leykis tells Lycan, it seems unlikely he will appear on any terrestrial stations – the show will be available only through digital means. He says, “I’ve had my tires kicked over the last few months and I am having a hard time getting excited about joining in on the non-stop ‘Obamacare’ or all-politics talk formats that currently exist.” TALKERS readers know Leykis has not been idle during his talk show exile. He’s told TALKERS TV and New Media Seminar attendees about his New Normal venture that’s currently distributing music and other talk via the internet. New Normal will be the company that owns and operates his new talk program as well. Leykis says, “There will be a 24/7 stream devoted to the show. We will do it live for anywhere from 2 to 5 hours every weekday, followed by continuous replays until the next show. Apps such as TuneIn, Windows Media Player, Winamp, WunderRadio, even iTunes will receive the show. PCs, Macs, iPads and all Android tablets, all smartphones and WiFi enabled vehicles. All you need to listen will be found at www.blowmeuptom.com.”
Analysis: Holland Cooke on Social Media Research, Radio and the Auto, and Multi-Platform Use. McVay/Cook & Associates news/talk specialist Holland Cooke reports to TALKERS from the recent Arbitron Client Conference on several topics: He cites recent research into effective ways radio stations can use social media – and pitfalls to avoid; plus how one of the most important demographics – women running households with children – use Facebook and other social media. He reports significant data on media use in the automobile and explains how multi-platform media usage is a boon for those who do it right. Cooke distills the info-packed Abritron event in this easy-to-read piece here.
Rob “T-Man” Tepper Named Fox Sports Radio Evening Co-Host. Longtime Seattle radio personality Rob “T-Man” Tepper begins co-hosting Fox Sports Radio Network’s 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET “Fox Sports Tonight” program alongside former baseball great Rob Dibble on January 9. Tepper says, “Being on the air in more than 200 cities across the country on ‘Fox Sports Tonight’ is very exciting. I’m hoping my crazy personality can add to what Rob Dibble is starting to build. I can’t wait to get started.” Tepper hosted the AM drive show on CHR KUBE-FM, Seattle for 14 years. Recently he’s been doing fill-in work at Fox Sports Radio.
Clear Channel Houston Tweaks AM Talk Lineups; Matt Patrick Adds More Air Time. Beginning Monday, January 9, talk host Michael Berry will be heard exclusively on KTRH, Houston while KTRH morning co-host Matt Patrick will also do a show on sister crosstown talker KPRC. Berry keeps his 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm show on KTRH but drops his 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm KPRC show and instead will host the 8:00 am to 11:00 am show on KTRH. He replaces Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck who moves over to KPRC in the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot. Meanwhile, “KTRH Morning News” co-host Matt Patrick adds the KPRC 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm show to his duties. To make room for Beck on KPRC, Dave Garfield moves his show to the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot which knocks Outlaw Dave to the 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm time slot. Whew!
Entercom’s WGR, Buffalo Grabs Bills Play-by-Play. The NFL’s Buffalo Bills have been heard on Cumulus Media’s classic rock WGRF-FM and active rock WDGE-FM for the past several years. After Cumulus exited the negotiating table Entercom swooped in and is nabbing Bills play-by-play for sports WGR as well as the Rochester market’s sports WROC and classic rock WCMF-FM. Entercom Buffalo VP/GM Greg Ried says, “With our 24/7 WGR 550 AM Sports station, partnering with the Bills and adding them to our lineup complements our other programming, enhances the experience for loyal fans and attracts new listeners. Big-time sports on a big-time sports station is what listeners expect and the Bills certainly help provide all of that.”
Former KTAR, Phoenix Host and Wife Found Dead in Apparent Double Suicide. Bill Heywood and his wife Susan were found dead in a motel room in Scottsdale, Arizona yesterday (1/4) in what authorities say is a double suicide. A note was found in the room and although police are not stating the specific content of the note, it points to suicide. KTAR is reporting that longtime market personality Pat McMahon saw Heywood at a recent holiday party and learned of Susan’s illness which he said was more serious than he had previously realized. Reports in local media indicate the couple had been dealing with financial problems as well. Heywood hosted the morning show on KTAR and crosstown KFYI for many years.
Bubba the Love Sponge Re-Signs with Cox to Remain on Terrestrial Radio. After pursuing other options – including talking to Clear Channel, the company that fired him in 2005 – Bubba the Love Sponge inks a three-year deal to stick with Cox Media Group’s WHPT-FM, Tampa Bay – “The Bone” – as his home base. The show is regionally syndicated to stations in Fort Myers, Florida and Charleston, South Carolina. In a statement, Bubba says, “After weighing my options and much consideration, I am happy to return to The Bone. Cox believed in me when no one else did and I am excited to return the love. I have a great relationship with local management and The Bone will remain my home in Tampa Bay.”
Cumulus Media Names Two to Affiliate Sales Positions. Cumulus Media announces Marcella Turk is the new VP of affiliate sales in the Dallas offices where she’ll manage affiliate sales for the entertainment products and the company’s 24/7 formats. In New York, Nick DeGregorio is appointed affiliate sales director where he’ll be in charge of affiliations for production libraries as well as special projects. Both Turk and DeGregorio most recently worked at Westwood One/Dial Global.
Santorum Surge and Bachman Suspends, Obama Administration Defense Strategy, L.A. Arson Case and Iran Military Threats Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/4). The surge of GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum and the suspension of Michele Bachmann’s campaign, the Obama Administration’s soon-to-be announced new U.S. defense strategy, the bizarre Los Angeles arson case and Iran’s continued military saber-rattling were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Los Angeles Regional Talk Seminar Set For Thursday. It is being described as “a new kind of industry gathering” — accessible, short and free (including breakfast and lunch) with a power-packed line up of speakers and agenda that could rival the largest of national conferences. Set for Thursday, October 20th between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm, the one-day event, being presented by TALKERS in association with the Los Angeles Press Club, promises to bring together a diverse variety of factions, formats and companies comprising the Southern California talk radio community and tackle a number of the hottest issues facing the industry today. Filled to capacity within two weeks of being announced, the event will feature 30 leading industry speakers including solo presentations by the legendary Larry King of CNN; Westwood One founder Norm Pattiz of Courtside Entertainment; Don Barrett of LARadio.com; consultant Holland Cooke of McVay/Cook Media; and a special guest appearance by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. The keynote speaker is KFI morning titan Bill Handel. Eight major Southern California talk radio station programmers will be on panels including Cliff Albert of KOGO, San Diego; Robin Bertolucci of KFI, Los Angeles; Skip Essick of KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; Don Martin of KLAC, Los Angeles and Fox Sports Radio; John McMullen of Dessert Radio Group, Palm Springs; Jack Silver of KABC, Los Angeles; David Sniff of KFMB, San Diego; and Chuck Tyler of KRLA/KKLA, Los Angeles. Some of the radio personalities speaking will include Andy Dean of Premiere Networks; LaFern Cusack of SCBA and ESPN, Los Angeles; Charles Feldman of KNX, Los Angeles; Roger Hedgecock of KOGO, San Diego and Radio America; Tom Leykis of the New Normal; Stephanie Miller of KTLK, Los Angeles and Dial Global; Doug McIntyre of KABC, Los Angeles and Cumulus Media; Patt Morrison of KPCC-FM, Los Angeles and Southern California Public Radio; John Phillips of KABC, Los Angeles; Josefa Salinas of Hot 92.3 FM, Los Angeles and Doug Stephan of Stephan Multimedia. Rounding out the line-up of presenters and moderators are Jason Insalaco of KFI, Los Angeles; Bill Moran of Bill Moran and Associates; and Kevin Casey, Mike Kinosian and Michael Harrison of TALKERS. There will be displays of the latest remote broadcasting equipment by Comrex Corporation and the latest radios by C. Crane Company. Although the event has reached maximum registration capacity there will be ample opportunity for broadcasters around the country to see and hear much of the event’s activities in the form of stories, photos and videos at Talkers.com shortly after the event. For the complete LARTF agenda, click here.
Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio to Distribute WNYC, New York Programs. Hot on the heels of the launch of its new iHeartRadio, Clear Channel announces it will begin making three of the more popular public radio talk programs from WNYC, New York available to users of the mobile phone app. “WNYC News and Conversation” will feature “The Brian Lehrer Show,” “The Leonard Lopate Show” and the WNYC-Public Radio International production “The Takeaway.” New York Public Radio vice president and chief digital officer Thomas Hjelm says, “We are delighted that Clear Channel will offer a selection of programming from WNYC on iHeartRadio. We are committed to making our programming available to the widest possible audience. Given iHeartRadio’s affinity with talk radio fans, it is an effective platform to extend the reach of our programming among news/talk listeners across the country.”
Sean Hannity Announces Holiday Concert Series to Benefit Troops. Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel superstar Sean Hannity is hosting an exclusive four-city concert series to benefit the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund. “Sean Hannity’s Holiday Concert Salute to the Troops” includes three-time Grammy winner Michael W. Smith, Oliver North and John Ondrasik of the group Five for Fighting, and more. Concerts will take place at New York City’s famed Hammerstein Ballroom on November 27; Pittsburgh’s Byham Theater on December 2; Washington, D.C.’s Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill on December 3; and Atlanta’s Cobb Energy Centre on December 18. Hannity says, “At this time of year it is so important that we not only recognize the sacrifices the men and women of our Armed Forces make, but we also take time out to honor them and pay tribute to the freedoms we’ve been given through their service to our country. These concerts are a great avenue for us to be able to come together as families, enjoy the holiday season and celebrate our troops. I’m honored to have some extremely talented friends join me on stage for what is sure to be a series of very special nights honoring some very special people.” The concert series is being produced by Townsquare Media and benefits Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund which goes to the education of children of U.S. service members who have been killed or permanently disabled in an operational mission or training accident.
Chicago Legend Steve Dahl Returns to Windy City Airwaves on WJJG. Since exiting CBS Radio’s WJMK-FM, Chicago, Steve Dahl has been producing podcasts available at his own dahl.com website. Now, the “Dahlcast” will be part of the lineup at WJJG, Chicago. WJJG general manager Matt Dubiel says, “Steve Dahl is a radio genius and I couldn’t be more pleased to be working with him and his team. This is a huge victory for Chicago radio listeners. These are Steve’s listeners. I’d be delighted if 1530 WJJG reacquaints Dahl fans with Steve and perhaps introduces new fans. That’s what radio is supposed to do! And if you like Steve on 1530, you’ll LOVE getting the Dahlcast Daily.” WJJG recently added Talk Radio Network’s Michael Savage and Mancow to its daily program schedule.
WBAL, Baltimore Midday Host Rom Smith Has Cancer. Ron Smith announced to his listeners today (10/17) that he went to the doctor after experiencing abdominal pain about two weeks ago and tests revealed a tumor on his pancreas. His doctor said the cancer has spread to his liver and lungs. When Smith asked his doctor if it was worth trying to fight, he replied that is was and he’s seen worse cases successfully treated. Smith will undergo chemotherapy and will remain on the air as long as he is able. The 69-year-old Smith has been at WBAL for more than a quarter century.
Cumulus Promotes Two. Stu Gorlick moves from his post as vice president of sales at the company’s Poughkeepsie-based Hudson Valley station group to VP/market manager for the Danbury market. Aaron Hyland leaves his position as VP/market manger at the company’s Fort Walton Beach, Florida to become vice president and market manager at the Hudson Valley station group.
WEEI Goes FM in Beantown; FM Sports Talk War Begins. Two years ago CBS Radio made major changes to its FM properties in Boston and created WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” to challenge Entercom’s WEEI, even hiring away some of the younger staff that had been working at WEEI. A strong, quick climb in the ratings by WBZ-FM – especially in younger demos – showed that station to be a worthy competitor to WEEI. Now, Entercom fires back by dumping the classic hits format on WMKK-FM “Mike FM” and simulcasting WEEI on FM, beginning Monday, September 12. Entercom will make the announcement official today (9/8) at 8:00 am ET on the Dennis & Callahan morning show. WMKK-FM is licensed to Lawrence – north of Boston – and that will certainly help with coverage. WEEI, although a 50k directional station at 850 AM, has a notoriously sketchy signal. In fact, one of the amazing things about WEEI’s success over the past 20 years has been its ability to thrive with the poor signal. Now, though, Entercom hopes to gain younger demos by being on FM along with its new, improved FM home in the sports-crazy Boston market.
From the Broadcast Booth to the Campaign Trail: Martha Zoller to Run for Congress. What was reported by TALKERS earlier comes to pass as Gainesville, Georgia-based talk show host Martha Zoller announces she will run as a Republican for the newly created congressional seat in North Georgia next year. Zoller’s camp states she has filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission . Zoller is based out of Cox Media Group’s WXKT-FM, Gainesville and the company’s legal counsel advises her that she may remain on the air until she becomes a “qualified candidate” with Georgia officials next spring, according to an Associated Press report. Zoller states, “I have been involved in radio for 15 years now, not just giving my opinion, but helping my listeners analyze the critical issues of the day. Most importantly, I have given people a chance to be heard.” Zoller is a popular conservative talk host, not only in the North Georgia region, but nationally due to her work on cable news/talk TV and other high-profile appearances. However, she is not the only Republican to be interested in running for the seat representing the new district. Georgia Republican State Representative Doug Collins – a former U.S. Air Force chaplain and floor leader for Georgian Governor Nathan Deal – is also seeking the seat.
CBS Radio Names Rona Danziger WXYT, Detroit PD. CBS Radio is splitting off WXYT-AM from the current AM/FM simulcast of sports talk “The Ticket” and debuts Talk Radio 1270 AM WXYT on September 12. The company announces it is bringing Detroit programming pro Rona Danziger aboard to manage the station’s shows. Danziger – who most recently programmed Clear Channel’s crosstown sports WDFN – begins her duties immediately. She says, “I’m thrilled to be part of the launch of Talk Radio 1270. I can’t wait to work with Charlie Langton and the terrific staff at CBS Radio. I’m excited to program a radio station that will bring edgy, opinionated and highly entertaining conservative talk radio to Detroit.” The station also features Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck and “Coast to Coast” with George Noory; Talk Radio Network’s Laura Ingraham and Rusty Humphries; Genesis Communications Network’s Jason Lewis; and Compass Media Networks’ Todd Schnitt.
Tom Leykis on TALKERS TV. In what can be described as the “Dance of the Lifestyle Hosts” or talk radio’s version of “Beauty and the Beast,” the legendary Tom Leykis is caught on video in a rare conversation recorded at the recent New Media Seminar 2011 in which he shows his charming (yet provocative) side. He is interviewed by New Jersey 101.5 evening relationships show star Michelle Jerson and the two quickly become engaged in a good-spirited, but somewhat sparky, verbal battle of the sexes. This is not to be missed. Check it out on TALKERS TV on this page.
“America’s Morning News” Now Heard on More Than 135 Affiliate Stations. The Talk Radio Network Entertainment and Washington Times collaborative morning news radio program “America’s Morning News” has added some 45 new affiliate stations this year alone to surpass the 135-affiliate mark. The program, based at The Washington Times’ DC studios and anchored by John McCaslin and Dana Mills, is touted by its developers as “the leading source for breaking news coverage on radio, features an innovative long-form news format aimed at showcasing investigative reporting, and accountability journalism directly from the nation’s capital.” The program is heard in 23 of the top 50 metros, according to TRNE CEO Mark Masters who says, “‘America’s Morning News’ is the direct result of a close relationship with Talk Radio Network Entertainment, The Washington Times and all of our valued syndication partners. Working together, we’ve developed the next generation news radio programming that is rapidly gaining national audience share with over 135 affiliates secured to date.”
O’Connell and Moran Promoted at WSJRN. Susan O’Connell is promoted to senior director of affiliate sales and Susan Moran is upped to director of affiliate marketing at The Wall Street Journal Radio Network. WSJRN executive director Nancy Abramson says in a release, “Susan O’Connell and Susan Moran are both my mentors in the radio network business and it is a privilege to have them on my team. Their accomplished careers and knowledge of the industry will help ensure our continued success.” O’Connell is responsible for affiliate relations and marketing for the company’s “Wall Street Journal Report,” “Dow Jones Money Report,” “The Wall Street Journal This Morning, “The Wall Street Journal This Weekend,” and “The Daily Wrap with Michael Castner.” Moran continues to be responsible for affiliating radio stations and overseeing the marketing and advertising for WSJRN and its affiliates.
Beth Sugrue Joins Merlin Media as Director of Integrated Programs. Sugrue comes from CBS Radio Chicago where she was director of new business development for the past nine years. In her new position with Merlin Media she’ll be responsible for managing the non-traditional revenue of the company’s three stations as well as the digital, non-spot and interactive sales operations. Sugrue will report from EVP of revenue Greg Janoff who states, “Beth is a true talent who recognizes the essence of the integrated approach in the radio industry. She has the keen ability to really understand the needs of a company and create a specialized program to solve those needs.”
Rick Buckley Memorial Service to Be Held Today. A memorial service for Buckley Broadcasting president Rick Buckley will be held today (9/8) at 11:00 am at Christ Church Greenwich in Greenwich, Connecticut. Buckley died unexpectedly on July 31 after suffering a brain embolism. He had served as the president of the family broadcasting business since 1972.
GOP Debate, 9/11 Anniversary and Obama Jobs Speech Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/7). The GOP presidential debate in held in Simi Valley, California last night, the approaching anniversary of 9/11 and President Obama’s scheduled address before a joint session of Congress and the nation on his jobs creations plan were three of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.