Tag: "Tom Martino"

Friday, October 14, 2011

| October 14, 2011

Merlin Media CEO Randy Michaels Arrested on Drunken Driving Charge.  In Ohio it’s called OVI – operating a vehicle impaired – and that’s the charge Middletown, Ohio police are filing against Randy Michaels after he was found by police in his car stuck in mud and water in a construction zone around 2:00 am on Friday (10/14).  Authorities noticed the smell of alcohol on Michael’s breath and administered field tests which authorities say he failed.  Michaels refused a Breathalyzer test.  He is expected to be in Middletown Court today.  Middletown is about 35 miles north of the Cincinnati area where Michaels reportedly maintains a residence.  The unconventional – some have called it “frat house” – workplace culture Michaels encourages is not surprising to many Clear Channel employees whom Michaels led for many years as president of that company’s radio division, but it ruffled the feathers of many Tribune Company employees when Michaels served as its CEO.  It remains to be seen if this incident will affect Michaels’ relationship with Merlin Media’s investors, especially in light of the mounting criticism facing the recent launch of the FM news operations in New York and Chicago and their disappointing early ratings.

Hispanic Group Pickets KFI, Los Angeles in Protest of John & Ken.  The National Hispanic Media Coalition held a press conference and peaceful protest outside the studios of Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles yesterday.  About 35 people picketed the station’s Olive Street facilities in Burbank.  The group tells L.A. Weekly that “at least three major advertisers are pulling out of the John & Ken show” and though the advertisers were not named there, the Los Angeles Times reports the activists say Verizon and AT&T have pulled advertising from the show and grocery chains Vons and Ralphs have agreed not to advertise on the show in the future.  The protest and boycott were triggered after immigrant advocate Jorge-Mario Cabrera claimed to have received some 400 phone calls from John & Ken listeners after the duo gave out Cabrera’s cell number and asked listeners to tell him what they think of his support for the Dream Act which provides tuition subsidies for illegal immigrants.  Initially, Clear Channel Los Angeles management agreed to meet with Hispanic leaders to discuss the issue but the meeting was canceled after one leader demanded that John & Ken be taken off the air and CC market manager Greg Ashlock refused to acquiesce to an ultimatum.  Clear Channel did not address the issue of advertisers leaving the show but issued the following written statement, “Expressing your opinion is not a firing offense.  KFI stands behind John and Ken and their right to speak their minds — opinions shared, incidentally, by over a million California listeners each week and protected by the First Amendment.”  According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “This situation being faced by KFI in Los Angeles is a quintessential example of a whole slew of core news/talk radio concerns – special interest pressure, advertising boycotts, free speech rights, political correctness, and management resolve – all crashing together in one escalating story.  It warrants the industry’s undivided attention.”   The heated debate over illegal immigration as well as the managing of controversy in news/talk radio will be among the topics discussed at the forthcoming Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum set for October 20.

CBS Radio Reportedly Interested in Annapolis FM for All-Newser.  Rumors continue to swirl about CBS Radio’s interest in acquiring a DC-area FM – specifically Christian WFSI-FM, Annapolis – in order to put on its own FM all-news outlet in the Nation’s Capital.  WFSI-FM is owned by evangelist Harold Camping’s Family Stations, Inc.  The presence of CBS Radio Washington market manager Steve Swenson, who has a ton of experience in news having worked for years in various capacities at the company’s New York news stations WCBS and WINS, is lending credence to the rumor.

Clear Channel Promotes Brian Lekamp to President of CC Digital.   Brian Lekamp moves up from his post as EVP of digital media to the newly created position.  Lekamp’s duties include his responsibility for Clear Channel’s digital strategy – with its iHeartRadio service at the top of that — as well as the infrastructure, tools and social media integration for its local stations’ branded Internet properties.  He will also continue to work with key partners to develop cutting-edge tools and products for all of Clear Channel’s radio, media and entertainment properties.  Lekamp states, “At Clear Channel, I’ve had the opportunity to work with the best people in the business – they are smart, dedicated and focused on innovation.  The development of the new iHeartRadio was supercharged with our acquisition of Thumbplay in March and our strong integrated digital team will continue to develop new digital music products and experiences that support the iHeartRadio platform and Clear Channel’s network of radio station websites.  This is a team effort that I am honored to lead.”

CBS Radio Ups Mike Thomas to VP of Programming in Boston.  Mike Thomas has been PD at classic rock WZLX, Boston since 2006 and has programmed WBZ-FM – 98.5 The Sports Hub – since its debut in 2009.  Now, CBS Radio ups Thomas to vice president of programming for the cluster that also includes hot AC WBMX-FM, oldies WODS-FM and news WBZ.  SVP and market manager Mark Hannon says, “Since Mike’s arrival at WZLX in 2006, he has built the station into a consistent ratings powerhouse.  His launch of 98.5 The Sports Hub in 2009 has been one of the most successful in recent radio history, and the station being named ‘Sports Station of the Year’ at the 2011 NAB Marconi Radio Awards was a tremendous accomplishment.  I look forward to using his strategic approach and programming insights to impact the overall CBS Radio stable of stations in Boston.”

CC Denver Produces Successful “Battle of the Talk Show Hosts” Live Event.  The 2nd annual “Battle of the Talk Show Hosts” was produced on Thursday, October 6 by Clear Channel Denver and entertained a sold-out house at the Comedy Works Landmark in Denver.  Personalities from the three Denver talk stations – KOA, KHOW and KKZN – batted around the hot issues of the day before the live audience.  Taking part were: Steffan Tubbs and April Zesbaugh, Mike Rosen, Dave Logan, Michael Brown, John Caldara and Rick Barber from KOA; Peter Boyles, Tom Martino and Dan Caplis & Craig Silverman from KHOW; and David Sirota and Thom Hartmann from KKZN.  The event was heavily sponsored by local businesses and admission was charged.  Pictured here are progressive talk KKZN morning host David Sirota (l) and KOA midday host Mike Rosen (r).

Buckley Broadcasting’s Jennifer Buckley Named to RAB Board.  The daughter of the late Rick Buckley (once chair of the RAB board) is elected to the Radio Advertising Bureau board.  Jennifer Buckley is vice president and director of sales for WOR, New York and the WOR Radio Network.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  “Free Talk Live” adds WTRC-AM/FM, South Bend, Indiana for its brand new live Sunday evening show hosted by Mark Edge and Stephanie…..“The Career Clinic” with Maureen Anderson picks up affiliates WLRT, Lexington, Kentucky; KBJT, Fordyce, Arkansas; WKEI, Kewanee, Illinois; and KTUI, Sullivan Missouri.

2012 Presidential Race/999 Plan Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 10-14.  The GOP race for the nomination for the 2012 presidential election and Herman Cain’s ‘999 plan’ topped the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories of the week.  At #2 was the Iran assassination plot allegation.  Close behind at #3 was the ‘Occupy’ protest movement and at #4 was President Obama’s Jobs Bill.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published each Friday at Talkers.com.  To view the entire chart, click the banner below.

 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

| September 15, 2011

Cumulus-Citadel Merger Gets DOJ and FCC Approval; Shareholder Vote Takes Place Today.  The merger of radio companies Citadel and Cumulus has passed federal muster as both the FCC and the Department of Justice give their approval and the creation of the new radio company rests on shareholder votes today (9/15).  To make the deal happen, Cumulus is forced to put three stations in a trust.  Those are: Citadel’s country WCAT-FM, Carlisle, Pennsylvania; Cumulus’ CHR WWKL-FM, Palmyra, Pennsylvania and classic rock WRSR-FM, Owosso, Michigan in the Flint market.  WRSR-FM goes into the Potential Broadcasting trust and must be programmed by the trust’s operators.  WCAT-FM and WWKL-FM were being moved to the Volt Radio trust and will be reassigned to the Potential trust and also must be programmed by that trust’s operators.

Bloomberg and ESPN Join in Partnership for New York Morning Sports Reports.  At first blush it seems like an unlikely pairing but many of the men Bloomberg’s flagship station business news WBBR, New York reaches are sports fans as well.  ESPN’s WEPN, New York will provide WBBR with live reports specifically targeted to the New York market by WEPN’s Jared Max beginning at 5:00 am on “The First Word” hosted by Ken Prewitt and “Bloomberg Surveillance” with hosts Prewitt and Tom Keene.  Bloomberg Radio’s Al Mayers states, “”We’re pleased to offer our listeners in the New York City metro area with morning sports coverage by ESPN’s flagship station.  In partnering with ESPN, we’re combining the best brand in business with the best brand in sports.”

“Troubleshooter” Tom Martino Files for Personal Bankruptcy Protection.  Martino’s consumer advocate show is heard daily on KHOW, Denver.  The filing lists assets of $1.37 million against liabilities of $78.6 million.  Martino tells the Denver Post that his financial issues center on his real estate investments that have been affected by the economy.  “There are so many people in this same boat.  You’ve got millions of dollars in lost value and all of a sudden you can’t refinance your loans and you are just upside down.  I just don’t know what I could have done.”  Martino says his debt comes from taking on additional loans over the past few years to save his real estate investments and that his Troubleshooter Network, consulting business and the radio show are not affected by the bankruptcy filing.

Leslie Marshall Show Contracts with AdLarge for Sales Representation.  The independently syndicated Leslie Marshall show signs a deal with AdLarge for the company to be the exclusive national marketing rep firm.  AdLarge co-founder and CEO Gary Shonfeld states, “Leslie is a highly renowned pundit who knows how to engage both the left and the right.  We are thrilled to have her show on our growing content platform and to represent her with the biggest national advertisers in the country.”  Marshall, whose program is fed live nightly from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET, says of the new deal, “Gary has done this before and very successfully.  At AdLarge, I’m not just another show in a large roster of programs.   My show is given personalized attention and the AdLarge team seems to have my best interest at heart.  They work hard for me.”

Bill Press Show Adds Video Component.  Bill Press’ Dial Global-syndicated radio show begins a video stream today (9/15) from his Capitol Hill studios.  Press tells TALKERS the video will stream live via Ustream and then key excerpts will be posted on YouTube but he’s quick to note they are still doing a radio show, not a TV show.  As a credentialed Washington correspondent and a nationally syndicated columnist (Tribune), Bill Press brings a unique level of journalistic credibility to his radio show that makes it stand out from most talk shows on either the left or the right.

KIRO, Seattle Debuts New Football Show.  710 ESPN (KIRO), Bonneville’s Seattle sports talk station debuts a new live football show tonight (9/15).  The new weekly show airs live tonight from Joey Restaurant in Bellevue, Washington from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm hosted by ESPN football expert John Clayton and co-hosted by former Seattle Seahawk players Dave Wyman and Mack Strong.  Joining the trio on tonight’s show is current Seahawks player John Moffitt.

CBS Radio’s KDKA-FM Gets Pirates Baseball Back.  That’s what the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting.  After five years at Clear Channel’s FM talk WPGB, the paper says sources close to the deal indicate Pirates baseball, which aired for so many years on heritage news/talk KDKA, will come back to CBS but this time on its KDKA-FM sports outlet, “Sports Radio 93.7 The Fan.”

WBZ, Boston Prepares to Celebrate 90th Anniversary.  CBS Radio’s venerable WBZ, Boston will celebrate its 90th anniversary on Monday, September 19 and will commemorate its place in broadcasting history as the first commercially licensed radio station in America.  The station will air a number of 15-minute vignettes that chronicle and honor the station’s history.  The station will also host a WBZ Hall of Fame induction ceremony.  CBS Radio Boston SVP and market manager Mark Hannon states, “For nine decades WBZ NewsRadio has led the way in reporting historic news events on both a national and local stage, and the station has offered a forum for the community to discuss the news of the day and evaluate what it means to them.  We are extremely proud of the staff’s reporting and programming over the years, as well as the station’s community outreach, and we look forward to being a positive influence in the market for many years to come.”

Early Ratings for Anderson Cooper’s Daytime Show Soft.  The new, daytime TV talk show “Anderson” is not yet a week old but analysis of the early ratings is inevitable and so far the critics are not impressed.  The Los Angeles Times reports the Monday premiere garnered a 1.1 household rating that put it behind the pack of such shows as “Regis & Kelly,” “Ellen,” “Dr, Oz,” and “The Talk.”  But the syndicated show is expected to take time to build and Telepictures – the Warner Bros. arm syndicating the show – says the program was pre-empted in some markets and had to compete with coverage of the U.S. Open tennis tournament.

Insurgent Attack in Kabul, Obama’s Green Jobs Controversy, 2012 GOP Presidential Field and European Financial Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/14).  The violent attack on American interests in Afghanistan, the investigation into the Obama Administration’s support of a solar power company, the GOP field of candidates for president in 2012 and the tenuous state of the European economy were some of the most-talked-about topics on news/talk radio yesterday.

KDKA Feeds Pittsburgh.  Well, at least several thousand Pittsburghers.  That’s how many residents station officials say enjoyed the 28th KDKA Spaghetti Breakfast held recently in the Steel City.  Pictured here are KDKA talk host Johnna Pro (l) and traffic reporter Kathy Berggren (r) as they prepare to feed the masses.  This year, the station honored the late KDKA talk personality John Cigna who is credited with starting the popular local tradition as a station promotion 28 years ago.