Tag: "Tom Ray"

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

| December 11, 2013

uptonfredCongressmen Question FCC Chair Wheeler About ‘Fairness Doctrine 2.0.’  In a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) requests Wheeler take immediate steps to suspend the field test for the research design of the “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs” the FCC is undertaking.  Supported by Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and 14 other congressmen, Upton charges the initiative is nothing more that the “Fairness Doctrine 2.0” and that the FCC has no jurisdiction to be undertaking a field test of this sort and that its actions are unconstitutional.  Upton states, fccnew“Although the Commission’s stated reason for the reports is to inform the Commission in taking regulatory action to lower ‘market entry barriers for entrepreneurs and other small businesses,’ it is hard to read this and see it for anything other than what it is, Fairness Doctrine 2.0.”  Upton references the study plan which states its goals are to “ascertain the process by which stories are selected, station priorities (for content, production quality and populations served), perceived station bias, perceived percentage of news dedicated to each of the eight CINs, and perceived responsiveness to underserved populations.”  Upton then states, “The Commission has no business probing the news media’s editorial judgment and expertise, nor does it have any business in prescribing a set diet of ‘critical information.’  These goals are plainly inappropriate and are at bottom an incursion by the government into the constitutionally protected operations of the professional news media.”  Upton requests Wheeler’s office respond to seven specific questions about the field test by January 10.  You can read the entire letter here.

sottolanojeffWIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia PD Jeff Sottolano Promoted to Corporate Director of Programming for CBS Radio.  CBS Radio EVP of programming Chris Oliviero announces the promotion of WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia program director Jeff Sottolano to director, programming, CBS RADIO, effective January 2.  Oliviero says, “Jeff has consistentlycbsradio logo and successfully answered every challenge he’s faced during his career at CBS RADIO.  With such diverse format experience and a respected reputation, both in and outside our company, I have no doubt he is ready to tackle this exciting and critical next chapter.  Jeff will be a great complement to our corporate programming team.”  Sottolano’s duties include supporting program directors in 27 major markets who oversee 126 stations.  The company says he “will focus on identifying and recruiting on-air talent, both established and up-and-coming, as well as seek out new format opportunities.  Additionally, Sottolano will maintain ongoing communications with external industry and charitable organizations, and work closely with the division’s digital media business to ensure a seamless cross-platform product and brand experience.”  Sottolano came to CBS RADIO in 2001 as an intern at WZNE, Rochester.  He worked his way up to promotions director in 2002 and to PD and air talent in 2004.  In 2006, Sottolano transferred to WYSP-FM in Philadelphia where he assumed a variety of programming and marketing roles during his tenure, including program director beginning in 2008.  He was instrumental in launching the Danny Bonaduce show that same year, and worked closely with record labels, concert promoters and artists to create one-of-a-kind events and promotions.  In 2011 he assumed programming oversight of sports talk WIP when it began simulcasting on WYSP as “SportsRadio 94WIP.”

clarketimCox Media Group Names Tim Clarke Director of Digital Audience.  Moving up from his role as program director for the company’s CHR WPOI, Tampa “Hot 101.5,” Tim Clarke is promoted to director of digital audience for radio at Cox Media Group.  The company says that in this role Clarke “will be the liaison between CMG’s radio and digital divisions to help drive the digital brand strategy and product development for coxmediagroupgrowing audience and engagement at all CMG’s radio stations.”  EVP of radio Kim Guthrie adds, “We have some of the more cutting edge efforts in the digital space, and it is exciting to be able to dedicate one of our best talents to that effort.  We are evolving our super brands into the digital future, and Tim will play an instrumental role in that overall success.”  In addition to programming “HOT 101.5,” Clarke was director of social media for all six Tampa stations.  His other career highlights include time as PD at WAPE, Jacksonville and music director at WBLI, Long Island.  Clarke comments, “The digital future for CMG’s super brands is extremely bright and filled with tons of opportunity to engage our audiences in even deeper, more personalized and more meaningful ways.  I’m looking forward to working with our teams to serve our users on these growing platforms.”

mohrjayiHeartradio Adds Jay Mohr Sports Channel.  Actor/comedian Jay Mohr does his daily Fox Sports Radio Network program from Clear Channel-owned Los Angeles flagship KLAC. Now, the “Gary Unmarried” star launches “Jay Mohr Sports,” a live digital iHeartRadio station.  “This channel is about the fans and giving them 24/7 access to the show wherever they are,” Mohr enthusiastically states.  “I am so happy to be able to share this with listeners in celebration of the upcoming one-year anniversary of ‘Jay Mohr Sports.’”  The digital iHeartRadio channel features sports talk and entertainment, as well as Mohr’s conversations with athletes and celebrities.

mcmullenjohnMcMullen Named WMBD, Peoria PD.  Talk radio programmer John McMullen joins Monterey Licenses-owned news/talk WMBD, Peoria.  McMullen most recently served as program director at Morris Communications’ “KNEWS” news/talk trimulcast KNWZ and KNWQ, Palm Springs and KNWH, Yucca Valley where he’s been since 2007.  During his career, McMullen has also served with Sirius Satellite Radio.

wgnlogoSteve Bertrand Reunites with Kathy & Judy on WGN.  As tipped by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WGN, Chicago newsman Steve Bertrand will trade off a weekday shift for the Saturday shift during which he’ll be reunited with Kathy O’Malley and Judy Markey during their weekly 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program.  Bertrand will also work with “Mr. Fix-It” Lou Manfredini whose show airs from 7:00 am to 10:00 am on Saturdays.  Bertrand, O’Malley and Markey worked together when the Kathy & Judy show was a regular midday program on WGN from 1989 through 2009.  Feder reports that WGN VP of creative content Todd Manley says Bertrand will continue to work the news desk during Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano’s midday show as well as during Garry Meier’s afternoon program.

wkzologoWKZO, Kalamazoo Names Lawrence Brand Manager.  At Midwest Communications’ Kalamazoo cluster, Jeremy Lawrence is named brand manager for news/talk outlet WKZO and sports talk WQLR.  In addition, Lawrence serves as the afternoon drive co-host on WKZO’s “The Trifecta” program alongside Jim McKinney and Roger Taylor.  Lawrence takes over for Jay Morris who leaves that post to focus on his work as brand manager for the company’s alternative rock outlets WZOX, Kalamazoo and WVIC, Lansing.

yacobushrickNew Market Manager and Director of Sales at Clear Channel Syracuse.  Clear Channel Media + Entertainment announces Rick Yacobush has been named market manager for the company’s five-station cluster in Syracuse and Barbara Miller has been appointed director of sales for the cluster.  Yacobush has been with the CC Syracuse stations for more than 26 years, holding a variety of roles including account manager, general sales manager and director of sales.  SVP of operations for the Northeast Region Kevin LeGrett says, “We are very excited to have Rick Yacobush lead the extremely talented team in Syracuse.  Rick’s sales leadership over the last 18 years has led to unprecedented performance.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment reaches more people in Syracuse than any other media and Rick’s unique ability to maximize our assets will allow us to serve the community as well as our advertisers in a multi-platform fashion.”  Meanwhile, 18-year CC veteran Barbara Miller moves up to director of sales for the cluster and LeGrett says of her, “Barbara has a proven track record of developing revenue growth opportunities.  She has demonstrated the vision and creativity necessary to implement 21st century competitive media strategies for our organization.  She has consistently exceeded revenue targets, while providing leadership and ensuring high quality standards are maintained across the organization.”  The CC Syracuse cluster includes news/talk WSYR, AC WYYY “Y94,” country WBBS “B104.7,” CHR WWHT “Hot 107.9,” and urban contemporary WHEN “Power 620.”

raytomTom Ray Warns Radio Broadcasters to Avoid EAS Confusion and Potential Fines.  TALKERS technical editor and noted engineering consultant Tom Ray passes along the following important information to our readers who program and operate radio stations.  Perhaps you heard about the recent $25,000 fines given out by the Commission regarding EAS violations.  The violations concerned airing either an EAS alert tone, EAS data burst, or sound alikes.  Both are prohibited under part 11 of the Commission’s rules.  Why?  If you are airing the EAS data bursts, this is something that could beeas logo decoded by downstream EAS decoders.  This can be confusing for station personnel, but more importantly, may in fact trigger an EAS alert when an emergency condition doesn’t exist.  And airing of something that sounds like the EAS data bursts and/or the two-tone alert signal starts to desensitize the public to an actual message.  It could, in fact, panic the public.  The recent cases involved EAS like sounds involved in commercials for movies.  In one case, when the cell phone alert apps were downloaded to person’s phones without their knowledge, I heard a television newscast run the sounds the phone made – which sound close enough to an EAS alert that it was a violation – regardless of whether it was news.  Some of this stems from our ways of operating these days.  Spots used to arrive on reel-to-reel tape, and you had to listen to the spot to transfer it to cart before airing and could catch the fact that EAS tones were in a spot.  Today, the spot arrives as a file and most automation systems can take the spot in without anyone listening to it ahead of time.  In the case of the TV newscast, the news producer obviously did not know the FCC regulations.  In the case of ingesting spots directly into your system, they should always be listened to not only for content, but also for problems like distortion.  To take something in without listening to it is irresponsible.  The bottom line – don’t air something that sounds like an EAS alert.  The FCC takes it seriously.  The public takes it seriously.  And it shouldn’t happen.  For more information about this topic Tom Ray can be phoned at 845-418-5065 or emailed at tomray@tomrayconsulting.com.

twitchy logoMalkin Sells Website to Salem Communications.  Conservative media commentator Michelle Malkin has sold her Twitchy.com site to Salem Communications for an undisclosed sum.  Malkin founded the site which serves as a curation destination for Twitter posts and commentary on said Tweets.  Salem Communications has had success with its digital efforts and already operated TownHall.com and HotAir.com in addition to numerous Christian-themed sites.  Salem VP/GM Jonathan Garthwaite comments, “Since its inception almost two years ago, Twitchy has fast become a leader in online news reporting.  They have harnessed the power of social media to create a real-time newswire for the modern, interconnected world.  With the addition of Twitchy to our growing network of news and political websites, there is no better collection of conservative news and opinion on the web.”

localfocus logoLocal Focus Purchased by McGavren Guild Parent.  Genesis Media Holdings picks up Kay Olin and Dave Demer‘s Atlanta-based Local Focus rep firm.  GMH owns McGavren Guild Media, which will operate independently of its new sibling.  In addition, Genesis Media Holdings brings in Cumulus Media director of national sales Kevin Garrity as manager.  GMH chief financial officer Billy McEntee comments, “Local Focus is an innovative firm powered by a team of highly accomplished sales professionals.  We look forward to working with them to provide an even greater level of service to radio stations and advertisers.  Kevin Garrity has excelled at every level of radio sales management.  With his addition and the acquisition of Local Focus, we are poised for rapid expansion and growth.  Management will continue to drive revenue for their respective station partners, while capitalizing on opportunities afforded through the larger Genesis Media group.”  Garrity remarks, “Genesis Media Holdings’ commitment to building their platform and investing in the long-term growth of their properties is very exciting. I look forward to playing an integral part in shaping that growth.”  McGavren Guild Media president Lisa Sirotka-Sonnenklar adds, “I am extremely excited to be working with Kevin to further build McGavren Guild Media.  I look forward to the additional support I will gain from his depth of industry experience.”  Garrity’s background includes 20 years at Interep, the last five of those as president of ABC Radio Sales.  In tandem with these announcements, vice president of revenue Dave Demer becomes president of Local Focus, while the rep firm’s founder Kay Olin will act as a consultant to Genesis Media.  “Kay has been instrumental in facilitating the evolution of Local Focus and preparing it for this next step in its growth,” Demer notes.  “She will add immense value to Genesis Media.”  Previously, Demer held marketing and sales positions with Clear Channel and Cox Media Group. Local Focus represents more than 350 stations.

iglesiasgabriel24/7 Comedy Celebrates Christmas with Gabriel Iglesias.  Premiere Networks-syndicated 24/7 Comedy – the 24-hour, all-comedy format – is celebrating the holiday season with special guest host Gabriel Iglesias.   From December 14 through December 27, the format will feature “The 12 Days of Fluffy” (for 13 days), giving listeners a peek behind the stage persona of the internationally acclaimed comedian and highlighting some of his most popular stand-up bits.  Connecting with listeners every hour throughout “The 12 Days of Fluffy,” fans will also have the chance to hear select tracks from his latest Comedy Central DVD special, “Aloha Fluffy.”

ObamaCare Criticism, Obama Selfie Flap/Castro Handshake, New Budget Deal, India Gay Sex Ruling, Iran Nukes Talks, and NSA Targets Video Gamers Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/10).  The ongoing criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and HHS director Kathleen Sebelius; the flap over President Obama’s “selfie” taken at the service for Nelson Mandela and his handshake with Raul Castro; the new budget deal struck in Congress; India’s high court ruling outlawing gay sex; foundering talks with Iran over its nuclear program; and the NSA’s targeting of video gamers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

| September 11, 2013

wfan logoYankees to Remain with CBS Radio but Move to WFAN; Status of Mets Unclear.  In a story in The New York Times, an executive privy to the negotiations tells the paper that the New York Yankees have re-upped with CBSyankees logo Radio to the tune of $15 million per year for 10 years – a $150 commitment on the part of CBS Radio. (The current contract for the Yankees on WCBS pays the team $14 million per season.)  However, the company’s flagship sports talk station WFAN-AM/FM will be where fans will hear the Yankees and not the National League rival Mets as they have for the past 25 years.  Reports indicate the Mets are confirming they will not be on WFAN next year but there’s no indication which NYC outlets they may be talking to.  Obvious candidates would include ESPN O&O WEPN-FM, Clear Channel’s WOR and Cumulus Media’s WABC.  Mets COO Jeff Wilpon tells the Times he expects negotiations to be resolved in about six weeks.

hoffmanbillCox Media Group’s Bill Hoffman Loves TV-Newspaper-Radio Synergy; Says Data from Dayton and Atlanta Proves it Works.  In an interview with TVNewsCheck’s Harry Jessell, Cox Media Group president Bill Hoffman says the synergy of having a television outlet, daily newspaper and radio properties (specifically news/talk outlets) has been very good for the company.  So much so that when it had the opportunity to buy TV stations, it chose Jacksonville and Tulsa – markets where it operates successful news/talk stations WOKV-AM/FM and KRMG-AM/FM, respectively.  Hoffman tells TVNewsCheck its Dayton and Atlanta clusters – each with a news/talk radio station, TV outlet and a daily newspaper – wsb logoperform well as a result.  “We have really made Dayton kind of this incubation center for collaboration because it’s the market where all three media — newspaper, radio, TV — are all under the same roof.  Every single data point says that whio logogroup is performing outstandingly — the station and the individual entities altogether.  We just have a juggernaut of a media outlet there between newspaper, TV and radio.”  He adds, “Atlanta [where Cox owns the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, WSB-TV and WSB-AM/FM] is a much bigger market.  To listeners, readers, viewers in Atlanta, they feel like it’s three distinctive brands. But behind the scenes the kind of collaboration that’s going on in content, marketing, sales, back-room efficiencies is very robust.  It’s leading to better financial performance.  The brands are stronger by whatever use-metrics you can put against them.”  To read more of Harry Jessell’s interview with Bill Hoffman, click here.

nissan logoClear Channel Makes Inroads into the Digital Dash Via Nissan.  With today’s announcement that its iHeartRadio digital audio app will be available in-dash in select 2014 Nissan vehicles via its made-for-driving application – iHeartAuto – Clear Channel Media and Entertainment makes progress toward inclusion in the digital dashboard.  Beginning this fall, iHeartRadio will be available in select Nissan vehicles equipped with NissanConnect (available in SV and SL models) an in-vehicle global smartphone integration platform for Android and iPhone operating systems.  Once a user connects their compatible smartphone with the NissanConnect App, drivers can control and personalize their iHeartRadio listening experience directly through the dashboard or via steering wheel controls, allowing easy access for in-vehicle enjoyment.  There is no monthly fee or subscription to NissanConnect but the rates that apply to the user’s smartphone apply to use of the car’s system.  CC president of digital Brian Lakamp states, “Working with Nissan to integrate iHeartRadio into the NissanConnect platform allows our listeners to seamlessly access the stations they love in a way designed to minimize distraction.  Now, Nissan drivers will be able to tune into radio stations from anywhere in the country and keep connected to their favorite on-air personalities without having to worry about driving out of range.”

kroi logoDenise Bishop Exits Radio One’s ‘News92 FM’ in Houston.  Houston media blogger Mike McGuff reports that news director Denise Bishop has left the building at Radio One’s all-news KROI, Houston “News92 FM.”  McGuff further reports that Bishop’s position is being eliminated and that a staffer who wishes to remain anonymous told him, “I’m beyond stunned.  I’m heartbroken.  She’s a fine woman and a pro.”  Bishop was with the station since its inception in 2011 and came from a news background that includes having served as news director at KRIV-TV, Houston for 16 years.

TalkersLA2013Talkers Los Angeles 2013 Will Sell Out by End of Business Friday!  The third annual installment of TALKERS magazine’s West Coast convention set for Thursday, October 10 is shaping up to be a blockbuster.  The gathering is closing in on being an advance sellout some four weeks before the event so it is advisable for media professionals interested in attending to register now!  Due to space limitations at the intimate Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood reaching maximum capacity, reservations ($149 per person) will be sold out by the end of business (5:00 pm ET) this coming Friday (9/13).  The conference is again being presented in association with the Los Angeles Press Club 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 by leading companies such as Comrex Corp. and Broadcasters General Store, tremendous networking opportunities and abundant food and refreshments lavishly catered by the Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Company (lunch is sponsored by Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity who will address the attendees from New York).  For registration or sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.  To see the latest agenda, click here.

phillipswaltWalt Phillips to Lead Cox Media Group’s Atlanta Sales Efforts.  Cox Media Group announces it has named Walt Phillips director of sales for its four Atlanta stations that include: news/talk WSB-AM and 95.5 FM; AC WSB-FM “B98.5 FM”; classic hits WSRV “97.1 The River”; and urban contemporary WALR “Kiss 104.1 FM.”  Cox Atlanta market manager Ben Reed says, “I am very pleased that we have an exceptional talent like Walt Phillips stepping in to lead radio’s best sales organization.  Walt is a proven, respected, talented and inspirational leader, and CMG Atlanta radio will rise to new levels under his leadership.”  Phillips most recently was director of sales at Citadel’s Nashville cluster.

talkersradio logoTalkersRadio Soft Launches Yesterday (9/10) with Two New Live Shows.  In what TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein describes as “an extremely soft and gentle launch of a very different kind of radio station,” the brand new “TalkersRadio” internet stream, operating on the platform of Talkers.com, launched with four hours of original programming.  “The Robbie Student Show” originating in New York City (hosted by talk show host/record producer Robbie Student) streamed live between 1:00 pm ET and 3:00 pm ET.  It was followed by the launch of “The Brent & Meg Show” (hosted by the husband/wife team of Brent Seltzer and Megstudentrobbie McDonald pictured below) originating in Los Angeles which streamed live between 3:00 pm ET and 5:00 pm ET.  Both programs were re-streamed as repeats for the rest of the day.  Both will air again today with new live programs in their respective afternoon brentmegtime periods and will serve as limited engagement anchor shows for TalkersRadio as the rest of what will shortly be a full-time outlet is built around them during the next several weeks.  The next new program to join the lineup will be “Healed Planet with Alan Colmes,” (hosted by Fox News Radio personality Alan Colmes) scheduled to debut live from New York City this Sunday evening (9/15) between 8:00 pm ET and 9:00 pm ET.  According to Bernstein, “Industry people and the most ardent talk radio fans tuning in to TalkersRadio during these next few weeks will not only hear some reallycolmesalan interesting and creative programs un-self-consciously going through a public dress rehearsal, they will also hear a radio station being put together right out there on the bare stage of the internet.  It will be as if they arrived at the theater hours before the curtain rises and get to see how the sets and props and lighting all comes together.  This is truly going to be an experimental, no BS talk programming laboratory.”  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison adds, “We are delighted with the way this thing lifted off the ground.  I haven’t had this much fun being involved in a radio station since July 1, 1970 when we launched the legendary progressive rocker WLIR on Long Island.”  TalkersRadio is powered by a revolutionary new software system designed by Backbone Networks of Westborough, Massachusetts - the same system currently in place at Boston Herald Radio. The mission of TalkersRadio is to serve as a workshop for new and innovative talk programming concepts as well as numerous other functions not presently served by the commercial talk radio establishment.  To listen to TalkersRadio click here.

rdmusicmarketing logoLegendary Broadcaster/Promotions Expert Rich Piombino’s RD Music & Marketing Signs LM Communications as Client.  He was one of the most dynamic rock radio programming and promotions managers in the 1980s and 1990s working at such heritage outlets as KMET, Los Angeles and WMMS, Cleveland, among others.  He has gone on to establish Atlanta-based RD Music & Marketing as a force in the independent multi-media promotions arena working with a diverse roster of clients that includes such disparate entities as rising musical star Tora Fisher and NASCAR.  Now Rich Piombino announces that RD Music & Marketing has signed a consultant/client relationship as group promotions consultant with Lynn Martin‘s LM Communications. LM has six radio stations in Lexington, five in Charleston, WV (including the iconic WKLC “Rock 105,” and two in Charleston, South Carolina.  LM Communications also owns WBKI-TV in Louisville.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says of Piombino, “Rich Piombino served as promotions director during my time as PD at KMET, Los Angeles in the early 1980s and I have to say that I have seldom seen anyone in this business in that capacity with his level of ‘clever energy’ — he is focused like a laser and one of the best in the business, indeed!”

raytomTOM RAY: What the Heck Is a Codec?  To some, the answer to that question is elementary, but others may simply know a codec as “one of those things in the studio rack that brings outside audio into the board.”  That’s mostly correct, but for those who’d like a concise and thorough explanation of what a codec is, how it works and what its relationship is to your audio chain, TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray is here to help.  Click here for Tom’s column.

arbitronLatest Arbitron RADAR: Radio Increases Reach.  Arbitron Inc. reports in its September 2013 RADAR 118 National Radio Listening Report that “radio’s audience again increased year over year, adding more than 500,000 weekly listeners.  Radio now reaches 242.2 million listeners, or 92% of persons, age 12 and older, on an average weekly basis.”  The ratings giant also states that its data indicates “daily time spent listening to radio among persons age 12 and older held steady versus the September 2012 RADAR report. People aged 12 and older who listen to the radio spend approximately 2 hours and 35 minutes a day with the medium.”  With regard to minority audiences, Arbitron reports several findings: 1) Radio’s Hispanic audience aged 12 and older added 468,000 weekly listeners versus the September 2012 RADAR report. Radio reaches 94 percent of Hispanic listeners aged 12 and older in an average week; 2) Young Hispanic teens aged 12 to 17 showed impressive gains versus last year, adding 265,000 weekly listeners. Radio now reaches 5.2 million Hispanic teens in an average week; 3) Radio now reaches nearly 31 million Black (non-Hispanic) listeners, age 12 and older, in an average week, or 92 percent of this demographic; and 4) Radio’s Black (non-Hispanic) teen audience aged 12 to 17 again remained steady versus the September 2012 report.  Arbitron RADAR (Radio’s All Dimension Audience Research) September 2013 is the standard currency for national network radio ratings and measures 45 individual radio networks. These networks are operated by American Urban Radio Networks, Crystal Media Networks, Cumulus Media Networks, Premiere Radio Networks, United Stations Radio Networks and WestwoodOne.

diminochrisOdds & Sods.  The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports Chris Dimino – one third of the former “Mayhem in the AM” show from WQXI, Atlanta “790 The Zone” – has been hired by Dickey Broadcasting’s crosstown sports talk WCNN “680 The Fan.”  Dimino appeared at a recent Atlanta Falcons press conference as a credentialed reporter for the station but he has a non-compete and won’t appear on the air on WCNN until that runs out in another six months.  Dimino, along with Steak Shapiro and Nick Cellini, were fired by WQXI after a bit which mocked former NFLer Steve Gleason who suffers from ALS…..Longtime WGN, Chicago host (and WGN-TV’s Emmy award-winning entertainment critic andrichardsdean reporter), Dean Richards, will be presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at The Naperville Independent Film Festival’s 6th annual event on Saturday, September 21.  The award commemorates Richards’ contribution and dedication to the entertainment industry.  Richards can be heard talking entertainment on WGN daily at 8:20 am on “The Steve Cochran Morning Show” and also on his own show, Sundays from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.  He has accumulated over 30 local and national awards during a career that has spanned more than three decades……Yahoo! Sports Radio adds a new Friday evening show hosted by Elissa Walker Campbell titled “The Big E Show” airing from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET.

Syria Chemical Weapons Deal, Iran Threatens U.S., 9/11 Anniversary, and New Miley Cyrus Video Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/10).  The proposal by Secretary of State John Kerry to have Syria give up its chemical weapons to avoid a U.S. strike; threats by Iran to attack the U.S. and its allies if Syria is struck; the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9/11; and controversy over Miley Cyrus’ latest video were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

| July 24, 2013

iheartradiotalkClear Channel Moves Full-Steam Ahead into Digital Talk with iHeartRadio Talk.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment announces its newest digital platform – actually a custom feature of the existing iHeartRadio – dubbed iHeartRadio Talk.  The company calls it “the first mass-market audio platform with the ability to offer on-demand, listener-created talk content alongside popular news, celebrity and entertainment ‘audiosodes.’”  The company also says iHeartRadio Talk will feature “Daily Pulse,” a customizable talk channel featuring the most up-to-date news and culture highlights, which allows users to add content that is most important to them.  Clear Channel president of digital Brian Lakamp states, “Talk radio listeners are some of the most dedicated and engaged listeners in the world, and now with iHeartRadio Talk, we are giving those listeners access to their favorite talk content anywhere they are.  Plus, for the first time ever, listeners who have been accepted into the iHeartRadio Talk library will be able to record and instantly share their perspective on any topic they choose – it’s basically like offering ‘audio Twitter.’  We are giving a voice to the everyman, and at the same time are enabling iHeartRadio users to discover and enjoy thousands of ‘audiosodes’ from the best talent around the country – something only Clear Channel is able to offer.”  As part of the initiative, Clear Channel has struck a deal with ABC TV to have the new feature include audio from “Good Morning America,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and “The View.”

courtsidelogoCourtside Entertainment Brings Greg Batusic Aboard as COO.  Norm Pattiz’s Courtside Entertainment Group announces former Westwood One executive Greg Batusic joins the company in the newly created position of chief operating officer.  Batusic will be based in Los Angeles and report to Pattiz where he’ll be in charge of day-to-day operations of both Courtside Entertainment Group and Launchpad Digital Media/Podcast One.  Norm Pattiz comments, “In the early years of Westwood One, Greg helped lead the way to the multi-billion dollar network radio business.  Now, while we do the same thing to on-demand audio, Greg’s expertise and leadership will be invaluable.  He knows what it takes to build a company and an industry from the ground up and I’m happy to be working together again.”  Batusic spent 15-plus years with Westwood One.  During his career he has also served as executive vice president of global sales for Gibson Guitar.  Prior to Gibson, he co-founded The Promotional, L.L.C. and served as the managing partner of the promotion company.  He oversaw all operational business, marketing development and revenue generation through high profile promotional programs.  Batusic says, “It’s my great pleasure to be working with Norm again.  The vibe at Courtside is very much the same as it was at Westwood One – a lot of life, contagious energy and innovative ideas.  I’m excited to be a part of it.”

raytomCASE STUDY:  How to Launch an Independently Syndicated Talk Show.  In a highly informative column posted today (7/24) noted radio engineering consultant and TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray outlines a step-by-step guide to launching an independently syndicated talk show using “Ron Ananian: The Car Doctor” as a case study.  In it, Tom ananianrondiscusses every detail: from building a studio to purchasing satellite time; covering details such as getting the audio from the studio to the satellite, acquiring a toll-free, call-in line; launching an affiliate relations campaign, handling sales and audio production; as well as offering podcasts and building an accompanying website.  Ray says, “Going into independent syndication, while not simple to do, will give you a great sense of satisfaction.”  Actually, if you have a good show, launching an independently syndicated program is quite do-able.  To read Tom Ray’s entire column, which is sure to help you get started, please click here.

sabowalterFive Tips to Instant Cume Growth.  Since the advent of PPM, many programmers have ceased worrying about certain elements that were deemed vital to the diary method but are now considered unimportant in the age of PPM.  They are especially ignoring past-proven, cume-builders based on the premise that once people are listening — you already got ‘em.  This is a huge mistake.  Unless you have a major billboard, TV and newspaper advertising campaign in place you cannot afford to waste the power of your own air in generating cume.  In a new column posted today, noted radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Walter Sabo addresses the AM radio problem of cume shrinkage and offers five tips to turn this negative trend around.  To read the column, please click here.

entercomEntercom CEO David Field Addresses Employees in ‘Midyear Update.’  In a companywide memo, Entercom CEO David Field delivers what’s termed a “midyear update” that serves as both a pep talk for the immediate future and a slap on the back for what the company has achieved thus far.  Field states that coming fielddavidout of the company’s management meetings in Minneapolis last week where they heard presentations on the state of the business and what the company can do to grow he believes, “We have terrific content, large audiences, outstanding personalities, great ratings, and powerful listener engagement.  I found the meetings extremely motivating and informative and really enjoyed the time with our team of top-notch programming leaders.”  Field then goes on to address numerous items under the subheadings Investing in Our People, Investing in Our Future, Making Entercom a Better Place to Work, and Why We Matter.  Finally, he waxes positive about the radio business, “And radio is thriving.  More people listen to AM/FM radio than ever before in history.  And AM/FM radio has more than 9x the combined listening of all satellite and internet radio combined.  The addition of our digital platforms has enabled us to engage our audiences and serve our advertisers in unprecedented ways.  We have generated hundreds and hundreds of case studies demonstrating our effectiveness in delivering results for our customers.”  To read David Field’s entire memo, click here.

kkoblogoKKOB, Albuquerque Records 52nd Straight #1 Book.  Cumulus Media’s news/talk KKOB, Albuquerque notches its 52nd straight Arbitron ratings book at the top of the heap for Persons 12+ in the Spring ’13 ratings clarkbobperiod.  AM operations manager Pat Frisch tells TALKERS magazine the station is #5 in the market with Men 25-54 (Mon-Sun 6A-Mid) and notes “TSL is driving KKOB up to nine hours, two hours more than the Winter ’13 book.”  Frisch also states, “The station is being driven by the king of mornings, Bob Clark (6:00 am to 10:00 am), and midday giant Rush Limbaugh (10:00 am to 1:00 pm).  Both had over a nine-share in their time slots in the Spring book.  I am finishing up my 14th year here at KKOB and 13 of those years have been at #1 and all of this is accomplished because of a great staff that gets it.”

wdmt logoEntercom to Flip WDMT, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to Sports Talk.  Speaking to the local Times-Leader, Entercom general manager Ryan Flynn says that although the adult alternative format heard on WDMT “The Mountain” had done “OK from a ratings standpoint” over the past 10 years, the company has not been able to monetize the format.  With that, the station will become “The Sports Hub 102.3” on August 5.  It’ll use NBC Sports Radio Network programming but will air a local, three-hour sports talk show in afternoon drive.  The host(s) for that program have not been named.  It’s interesting to note that the “Sports Hub” moniker is also used by CBS Radio in Boston on WBZ-FM which is in vicious competition with Entercom’s WEEI.

mccluresaraSara McClure Named VP of Sales at CC Sacramento.  Sara McClure is a veteran of Northern California radio sales, most recently serving with Entercom in numerous sales capacities.  Now she joins Clear Channel Media and Entertainment as vice president of sales for its six-station Sacramento cluster that includes: news/talk KFBK-AM/FM, talk KSTE classic hits KHLX “Classic 93.1,” adult hits KQJK “93.7 Jack FM,” and rhythmic oldies KHYL “V101,” .  McClure worked with a Bay Area ad agency beginning in 1995 and has also served with CBS Radio.  She says, “With my background in multimedia integrated selling, I know the timing is right to make my move to Clear Channel.  I am looking forward to teaming up with [market president] Dave Milner to lead the Sacramento cluster and leverage the company’s industry-leading capabilities.”

wfsx-wnog logoThom Abraham to Host AM Drive on Fort Myers Sports Duo.  As TALKERS reported on July 23, Sunabrahamthom Broadcasting is splitting the two AM signals off its news/talk trimulcast WFSX-AM/FM and WNOG-AM “92.5 Fox News.”  The sports duo “The Fan” will feature Nashville-based Thom Abraham in the 6:00 am to 9:00 am slot.  Abraham – whose show is heard in Nashville on WNSR as well as on WNTC, Drakesboro, Kentucky and WZZN, Huntsville, Alabama – was heard in the Fort Myers market on former sports talk WJBX from 2001 to 2004.

Celebrity Promotion for ObamaCare, Zimmerman Verdict Aftermath, IRS Scandal, MLB Suspends Ryan Braun, Detroit Bankruptcy Fallout, and Anthony Weiner Internet Sex Issues Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/23).  The implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the Obama Administration’s use of celebrities to promote the controversial law; issues of crime and race relations in the wake of the George Zimmerman verdict; the IRS policy targeting conservative groups and individuals; MLB suspends Ryan Braun for PEDs – A-Rod believed to be next; the fallout from Detroit’s bankruptcy filing; and the new allegations of sexual dalliances by New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, June 3, 2013

| June 3, 2013

missouribroadcastersFCC Commissioner Ajit Pai Addresses Missouri Broadcasters Association on AM Revitalization.  FCC commissioner Ajit Pai wasn’t physically at the Missouri Broadcasters Association convention over the weekend but he delivered an opening statement before a panel discussion about revitalization of the AM band.  Referencing the recent tornados in Oklahoma and the tornado that devastated Joplin, Missouri two years ago, Pai pointed to Zimmer Radio’s KZRG, Joplin as an AM outlet that kept Joplin residents informed when most other paiajitforms over communications – cell phones and the internet – were knocked out by the power loss to the region.  Pai stated, “In the wake of the Joplin tornado, when mobile phone service and the Internet were all but wiped out, broadcasters led by KZRG-AM 1310 provided around-the-clock, uninterrupted coverage for nine consecutive days. KZRG told residents how to get disaster relief and connected people in need with people who could help. The residents of Moore, Oklahoma have a long road ahead of them, but if they need inspiration for how to rally and recover, they can look to Joplin as a model.”  As for the future of AM, Pai said, “But AM radio plays an important role in towns throughout the United States every single day. AM stations cover local politics and host debates about local issues.  They cover community events, such as high school sports.  And they reach out to all parts of society, with programming targeted at minorities, people who speak foreign languages, and the elderly.”  Pai reiterated his move to address the AM band in Washington, DC, “I proposed last year that the FCC launch an AM Radio Revitalization Initiative.  The last time the FCC comprehensively reviewed its AM radio rules was over two decades ago.  I think it’s time we do so again.  Since I made this proposal, I’ve been amazed by the outpouring of support from broadcasters across the country.  They’ve shared many ideas with me for improving the AM band, and I know that you’ll be discussing some of them today. Such as: How can the FCC make it easier for AM broadcasters to obtain an FM translator?  Should we eliminate the AM ratchet rule?  Should we replace the current minimum efficiency standard with a minimum radiation standard?  Should we modify community of coverage standards?  And what about the long-term future of the band?  Should our goal be to transition stations to all-digital? Or are there other options we need to think about? These are just a few of the questions that I hope you’ll address during today’s panel.”

raytomTom Ray’s Professional Opinion:  Do NOT Air the FEMA/Ad Council PSA!  You may have seen TALKERS technical editor and noted engineering consultant Tom Ray‘s warning in this past Friday’s edition of TALKERS  (5/31) regarding a PSA that was released by the Ad Council, under the auspices of FEMA, extolling the virtues of the emergency alerts the public can now receive on their cell phones.  A great idea.  Worthy of getting the word out.  Even if the PSA promotes a service available on cell phones.  Only one problem.  The PSAs (there are several, and they are also available for television) use the EAS two-tone alert tone as part of the message.  Why is this a problem?  According to Ray who writes in a scathing column posted today (6/3), “Well, FCC regulation 11.45 states that the EAS codes and the EAS two-tone alert cannot be used for any purpose unless directly associated with an actual EAS message or an EAS test.”  Ray continues, “I believe the FCC fine for using the tone outside an EAS message starts around $10,000.  I, along with numerous other persons around the country, sent out the alert NOT to air this PSA.  I even sent notes to the SBE and the NAB.  Around 4:00 pm on Friday, May 31, a notice was released by the FCC granting FEMA a waiver for one year to utilize the EAS two tone alert in their PSA’s.  It is apparently OK to air this PSA.  I’m wondering how you prove it is the one produced by FEMA and is legal.  I then received an email from someone at FEMA that stated, ‘See, we aren’t off our rockers.  This notice was supposed to come out before the release of the PSA.’  Three letters came to mind.  W.  T.  F.”  To read Tom Ray’s entire column, click here.

seltzerbrentBrent Seltzer and Meg McDonald Named “Official Greeters” of Talkers New York 2013. TALKERS magazine is pleased to announce that the Los Angeles-based husband and wife team of Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald have beenmcdonaldmeg named to serve as the “Official Greeters” of the forthcoming Talkers New York 2013 set this week for Thursday, June 6 in the Big Apple.  In the words of TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “Brent and Meg are one of the most colorful and dynamic couples in the radio business today and the contributions they made to the past two California installments of the TALKERS conference in 2012 and 2011 proved to be invaluable.  We are absolutely delighted that they will be joining us in New York City Thursday for the big annual event and serving in this key role.”  Brent Seltzer is a legendary radio journalist/talent whose roots go back to the golden era of album rock radio when he established himself as one of the nation’s most successful and creative “rock ‘n’ roll radio newsmen.”  He was heard on such storied stations as KMET, KNX, KZLA and KMPC, Los Angeles and KGB, San Diego among others.  A ubiquitous figure in the voice-over field since then, Brent is the main voice and writer of the widely heralded, short-form feature “Brent Seltzer: Still at Large” heard on XM Satellite Radio, Podjockey, and WSRO, Santa Rosa.  Meg McDonald APR, who serves as co-writer and co-performer on “Still at Large,” is the multi-award winning president and founder of McDonald Media Services, one of the premiere public relations firms on the West Coast for the past three-plus decades.  The beautiful and gorgeous-voiced daughter of popular character actress Elisabeth Fraser (“The Phil Silvers Show”) and famous film and TV dancer Ray McDonald, Meg has been in show business and media since birth.  According to Harrison, “Brent and Meg will be playing a significant role in the lineup of TalkersRadio – but we’ll save that story for later in the summer.”  The role of “Official Greeters” at the TALKERS conference consists of being the liaison between the directors of the conference and its attendees providing a vital link in keeping everything moving smoothly along its very tight and power-packed schedule.

washburndocWBT, Charlotte Drops Doc Washburn’s Evening Show.  Telling the Charlotte Observer that the program wasn’t cost-effective, program director Jason Furst announces that Doc Washburn’s 9:00 pm to 1:00 am talk show is being replaced by Premiere Networks nationally syndicated “America Now with Andy Dean.”  Washburn will remain a regular fill-in host on the station.

clearchannelClear Channel Announces Debt Restructure Terms.  The bond exchange that Clear Channel announced back in mid-May has been completed and the terms are as follows.  A new $5 billion Term Loan D has been created as Term Loan B lenders and/or Term Loan C lenders agree to push the maturity of a portion of their loans due in 2016 to January 30, 2019.  The company states that “approximately $6.7 billion in aggregate principal amount of term loans was submitted for extension in the offer and, accordingly, the amount of each lender’s term loans that was accepted for extension was reduced by a proration factor of approximately 74.6808%.”  Upon the closing of the offer, CCU’s cash flow credit facility consisted of an approximately $3 billion Term Loan B facility which matures on January 30, 2016, an approximately $198.2 million Term Loan C facility which matures on January 30, 2016 and a $5 billion Term Loan D facility which matures on January 30, 2019.  Concurrently with the closing of the offer, CCU entered into an amendment to the agreement governing its cash flow credit facility, which permits CCU to make AHYDO catch-up payments beginning in May 2018 with respect to the new Term Loan D facility and any notes issued in connection with CCU’s previously announced exchange offer with respect to its outstanding 10.75% Senior Cash Pay Notes due 2016 and 11.00%/11.75% Senior Toggle Notes due 2016.  The new Term Loan D facility has the same security and guarantee package as the outstanding Term Loans B and C and borrowings under the new Term Loan D facility bear interest at a rate equal to, at CCU’s option, adjusted LIBOR plus 6.75% or a base rate plus 5.75%.

wgnlogoWGN, Chicago Boasts Digital Ratings Peak.  Tribune’s WGN, Chicago reports the station achieved its highest digital ratings ever Wednesday, May 29 during its coverage of the Chicago Blackhawks 2013 Western Conference Semifinals Game 7 defeat of the Detroit Red Wings.  The historic game registered 22,917 simultaneous digital listeners at 10:00 pm, the peak of the thrilling overtime playoff victory by the Blackhawks.  WGNRadio.com shattered its previous streaming record of 11,771 recorded on May 27, 2013 and the next closest was 10,318 during the Blackhawks Stanley Cup run on June 2, 2010.  The station says it will continue to broadcast on all of its digital platforms as it covers the 2013 NHL Western Conference Final featuring the Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings.

wproWPRO, Providence Takes Page from the Papers.  Cumulus Media’s “Newstalk 630 AM and 99.7 FM” WPRO, Providence and its website 630WPRO.com, begins a regular column called “Your Voice, Your Turn,” an op-ed platform where “Rhode Island’s most intriguing voices will share their opinions with the people of the Ocean State.”  The first column in this ongoing series features the state’s Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Deborah A. Gist with a piece titled, “The Truth About Testing.”  WPRO program director Craig Schwalb states, “As Commissioner of Education, Ms. Gist’s voice is prominent in, and important to, Rhode Island which makes her the perfect choice to launch the ‘Your Voice, Your Turn’ Op-Ed platform on 630wpro.com.”  The station says it “looks forward to showcasing the views of other notable Rhode Islanders on a regular basis.”

Friday, May 31, 2013

| May 31, 2013

cumulusOKCumulus Media Raises Close to $4 Million for Oklahoma Tornado Relief.  This number could keep changing as more pledges come in after the Wednesday effort that saw all 525 Cumulus Media-owned stations soliciting funds for tornado relief via the United Way of Oklahoma City that so far has totaled $3.77 million.  Cumulus SVP of programming Mike McVay reports the company’s 84 country outlets aired a special, one-hour edition of “American Country Countdown” hosted by Kix Brooks live from the “Healing in the Heartland” concert on Wednesday evening that aired on NBC-TV.  Numbers aren’t final for pledges received during the televised concert fundraiser but are reported to be in the $6 million range.

cellalertEmergency Alert for Cell Phones PSA Violates FCC Regulations.  TALKERS columnist and broadcast engineer Tom Ray of Tom Ray Consulting reports a public service announcement touting emergency alerts sent to cell phones raytomthat some stations may be airing violates FCC regulations.  Ray tells TALKERS, “A PSA was released today about the emergency alerts you can receive on your cell phone.  It uses the EAS two-tone alert.  Airing this PSA would be a blatant violation of FCC regulation 47CFR11.45 which specifically prohibits the use of the EAS code bursts or the two-tone alert signal unless they are transmitted as part of an actual EAS alert or EAS test.  And according to the Ad Council website…this PSA is sponsored by FEMA.  Shame on them!  They should know better.”  Ray advises stations not to air the PSA.

eff logoPatent Holder Personal Audio Targets Podcasters; EFF Takes ‘Patent Troll’ Fight to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  If you’re a podcaster and you’ve been approached by a company called Personal Audio claiming you’re using patented technology and you have to pay up, you’re not alone.  According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), podcasters including Adam Carolla and “How Stuff Works” have been “shaken down” by Personal Audio which claims it holds a patent on technology used by podcasters.  The EFF is fighting back, saying it is “is mounting a new, focused campaign to bust the dangerous patent” the company has been employing against end users – including podcasters. carollaadam Here’s what EFF says: “Claiming it owns the patent that broadly covers podcasting technology, Personal Audio is the classic example of a patent troll that neither makes nor sells anything, but uses its patent as a weapon to threaten lawsuits and extort settlement fees.”  EFF staff attorney Julie Samuels says, “Patent trolls have been wreaking havoc on innovative companies for some time now.  But this particular breed of troll — targeting end users, small businesses, startups, and even individuals like podcasters for simply using everyday products — is a disturbing new threat.”  Wondering what part of the process on which this company claims to hold the patent?  The TALKERS legal department tells us that the patent generally relates to a system whereby a server provides media content to client devices over the internet.  On the server, the provider maintains a ‘compilation file,’ which is essentially a list of available media files.  The compilation file generally includes the URL for each available media file in a series and may also include descriptive text.  This compilation file may be static, such as a simple web page with links to each available file to which new files are added, or may be customized for a particular user, perhaps only showing them content from feeds to which they have subscribed.  The claim that has been asserted against podcasters to date is called Claim 31.  The EFF goes on to say, “As with so many patent troll cases, the troll is asking for money despite having contributed nothing to the industry.  By its own admission, Personal Audio tried and failed at its attempt to make an audio player.  Having failed at actually making something, it became a shell company that does nothing but sue on its patents.  And now it wants a handout from those who worked hard to create popular podcasts.”  EFF is organizing a Help Save Podcasting campaign.  You can find that information here.

kqrs logoFormer KQRS, Minneapolis Personality Michael Gelfand Sues MetLife and Cumulus Media Over Disability Claim.  Michael Gelfand was formerly part of the Tom Barnard morning show on Cumulus Media’s classic rock KQRS, Minneapolis.  He exited the station after his medical condition made it impossible to function and now he’s suing Metropolitan Life Insurance Company and Cumulus Media for long term disability benefits.  Gelfand suffers from delayed sleep-phase syndrome – a condition that throws off the body’s circadian rhythm – and prevents him from functioning well or maintaining physical health working the early morning drive shift.  In brief, MetLife denied the claim and Gelfand is suing both companies seeking retroactive long term disability benefits.

barksingaInga Barks Exits KMJ-AM, Fresno.  Bakersfield-based talk show host Inga Barks recently joined the program schedule at Buckley Brodcasting’s KNZR, Bakersfield for the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm program but she’s no longer with Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ-AM, Fresno where she’s been hosting a show since 2005.  The Fresno Bee reports Peak management is not commenting on Barks’ exit but notes the station added Cumulus Media NetworksMark Levin show in place of it.

wexlerlisaGracie Award Winning Talk Host Advises Colleagues to Add Writing to their Communications Toolbox.  WFAS, Westchester host Lisa Wexler says that writing op-ed pieces for newspapers is an excellent way for talk show hosts looking to expand their net and make a difference.  In a piece posted today (5/31) Wexler says, “If you are going to be a thought leader, then simply speaking on the radio is not enough.  The written word carries a different kind of weight.  Radio is a rush — there is nothing like the spontaneity of an actual conversation, the nuance and humor of the human voice communicating through the airwaves to the lone listener on the other end.  But radio is also ephemeral; despite podcasts and the ease of reaching audio files, people rarely re-listen to the same broadcast.  They do, however, read an article more than once, and pass it on to friends.  Your column has the potential to go viral in a way your radio show may not.”  To read Lisa Wexler’s entire article, click here.

lewisbretKFWB, Los Angeles Sports Anchor Bret Lewis Retires.  Today is the last day at KFWB, Los Angeles for sports anchor Bret Lewis who is retiring from the station.  The longtime Los Angeles broadcaster will be replaced by Bill Seward, currently afternoon sports anchor.  Bob Harvey will assume Seward’s afternoon role.  During his career, Lewis has served as a sports anchor on the TV side at KNBC-TV and KCBS-TV.  He also hosted a talk show at crosstown KLAC.

gaskinsjohnKNTK, Lincoln Names John Gaskins Program Director.  Home Field Communications announces “Gaskins and Stephens” show co-host John Gaskins is named program director for sports talk KNTK, Lincoln “93.7 The Ticket.”  The station also fills its PM drive slot with former KCSP, Kansas City personality Mike Welch who will host his “Drop the Mike” beginning June 5.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  “Free Talk Live” hosted by Ian Freeman and Mark Edge adds new affiliates WPNN, Pensacola; KYRO, Troy, Missouri; and KCAA, Loma Linda, California…..Talk Radio Network-syndicated “Watchdog on Wall Street” with host Chris Markowski is added to the program lineup at WLEE, Richmond…..Cumulus Media Networks’ “Red Eye Radio” with Eric Harley and Gary McNamara reaches the 200-affiliate mark with the help of recent partners KTAR-FM, Phoenix; KBET, Las Vegas; WTMJ, Milwaukee; WFTL, West Palm Beach; and KJCE, Austin.

rosenjamesDOJ Investigation of Journalists Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of May 27-31.  The Department of Justice’s investigation of journalists – from Fox NewsJames Rosen to the Associated Press – and Attorney General Eric ap logoHolder’s request for an off-the-record meeting with news organizations was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week.  At #2 this week was the IRS’ targeting of conservative organizations seeking tax exempt status.  Following at #3 was the rise in the number of Americans on disability and at #4 was the Chinese hacking of U.S. weapons systems.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on talk radio during the week, is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

etheridgegracieMelissa Etheridge Brandishes Her Gracie. Musician and radio show host Melissa Etheridge (r) is pictured here with Rory Kennedy (l) (who won for her documentary film “Ethel” about her mother) at the annual Gracie Awards Gala in Los Angeles where she won a Gracie Award for her nationally syndicated program, “The Melissa Etheridge Show.”  Etheridge won in the Outstanding Talk Show – Entertainment/Information category.  Etheridge says, “I have won Grammys and an Oscar, but there is something especially meaningful about being recognized with a Gracie.  I love radio, and it’s important to me to bring the voices of women to our audiences, as they share their respective truths about life, love and family—and as I share the same with them.  It’s also a great pleasure to provide a forum where we can connect with each other about the music that moves us.  I’m honored that people are responding to the show across the country and I thank the AWM Foundation for this award.”  Etheridge’s five-hour daily show is syndicated by Benztown.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

| May 2, 2013

theblaze logoGlenn Beck’s TheBlaze to Be Available in Tri-State Area Via Cablevision’s Optimum TV.  Beginning later this month, Glenn Beck-founded TheBlaze network will be available to New York City and the surrounding area as it will be included in Cablevision’s Optimum Preferred, Silver and Gold Packages.  The channel is available to Optimum TV commercial customers with Optimum Business or Optimum Entertainment.  Cablevision VP of video product management, Bradley Feldman, states, “Optimum TV is the only cable provider in the Tri-State area to bring our customers original programming from Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze, and the independent network will add more diversity to our strong lineup, providing our customers with more choices that our customers appreciate.”  In a statement from Beck’s organization it says TheBlaze “offers a full slate of original news and opinion shows like ‘Real News,’ ‘Wilkow!’ and ‘For the Record,’ late night comedy like ‘The Wonderful World of Stu’ and ‘B.S. of A.,’ family-friendly programming like ‘Liberty Treehouse’ as well as thought-provoking documentaries and original specials. TheBlaze first launched on September 12, 2011 as GBTV and quickly grew into one of the world’s largest online streaming networks with over 300,000 subscribers.  One year later, TheBlaze became a television network.”

cbsradioCBS Q1 2013 Report: Company Up 6%, Radio’s Top 10 Markets Up 2%.  The bulk of the discussion during yesterday’s conference call centered around TV for CBS, as it usually does.  But CEO Les Moonves stated moonveslesup front that the company continues to build “on the terrific debut of the CBS Sports Radio Network.  We’ve added 20 affiliates to our roster since our last call.  In addition, CBS Radio played a major role in this year’s success of the Academy of Country Music Awards.  This is a show that perfectly complements our radio audiences, as evidenced by all the artists who mentioned the power of radio in their acceptance speeches.”  CFO Joseph Ianniello noted that, comparable to the same period a year ago, the top 10 radio markets were performing up about 2%.  Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript.  Read more here.

thomasbillFormer Citadel/Cumulus Birmingham Cluster Manager Bill Thomas Sues Company for Unlawful Termination.  Add discrimination to that under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.  Bill Thomas, a.k.a Michael Thomas Stainback, alleges in the complaint filed in United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama that the company knew he had heart ailments that resulted from a 2009 heart attack yet he still performed his job well and even received bonuses based upon performance.  Thomas alleges that in February of 2012, after telling Cumulus corporate management that he’d been diagnosed with congestive heart failure, he was terminated by the company six days later.  He’s seeking unspecified damages as well as back pay.

freedomfeens‘Freedom Feens’ Show to Join GCN.  The “Freedom Feens” weekend talk show co-hosted by Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi will debut on the Genesis Communications Network on Saturday, May 11.  Dean and Vedadi describe their program as a “great-sounding, feisty weekend show about free markets, the police state, the war on drugs, the right to keep and bear arms, computer security, honest money, self-defense, self-employment, marriage, do-it-yourself media production, marketing, music and more.”  Regarding the title of their program, the duo explain, “‘Feen’ means ‘fiend,’ and the ‘Freedom Feens’ support the rights of the smallest minority, the individual.”

raytomTime to Do Some Spring Cleaning Out at the Transmitter Site.  For many of you who broadcast out of the Northwest, Midwest, North, and Northeast, this winter was a bear!  Snow, ice and wind can cause issues for your transmission facilities.  So it’s time to do a thorough inspection of your transmitter sites – both the main transmitter sites and anywhere you may have an STL transmitter or receiver.  In a timely article posted today (5/2) noted engineering consultant and TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray offers up an invaluable “to-do” list to make sure your transmitter remains happy in the coming spring, summer and fall months after enduring a pretty painful and damaging winter.  Get the whole story here.

carrhowieOdds & Sods.  WRKO, Boston afternoon drive talk show host Howie Carr broadcasts live from La Verdad Mexican restaurant near Fenway Park this afternoon from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm as he promotes his latest book , Rifleman (Frandel, LLC 2013), a true-crime story about infamous Boston mobster Steven Flemmi.  Carr will stay after his program ends to sign copies of the new book…..Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington is conducting its second annual “Communter Idle” contest through Friday, May 3.  The contest asks DC commuters to share their daily travel horror story to win prizes and possibly be the grand-prize winner who’ll receive $1,000 in gas money and a limo ride to work courtesy of Reston Limousine.  Runners-up will receive $150 gas cards…..It may be a sign of the times that one of the most popular shows on CNN is the new “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” travel and food program that airs on Sunday evenings on the cable news/talk channel.  But new CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker is so thrilled with the its performance that he’s already ordered another season of the show that will debut on September 15.

cinchcaastCinchcast, Inc. Establishes Strategic Advisory Board.  One of radio’s technological innovators and dynamic entrepreneurs of the new digital age, Alan Levy – founder and CEO of BlogTalkRadio and its “white-label” sister firm Cinchcast, Inc. – has announced the appointment of two well-known executives to Cinchcast’s new strategic advisory board: Tom Glocer, former CEO of Thomson Reuters and Steve Bornstein, former head of the NFL‘s digital media operations and ABC Sports/ABC, Inc. president and ESPN chairman.  Levy tells TALKERS, “It’s an honor to be working with Tom and Steve as we continue to build, develop and scale the Cinchcast and BlogTalkRadio businesses.”

humphriesreidKDWNPractically an Exclusive.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) doesn’t do a lot of conservative talk radio shows.  But Talk Radio Network star Rusty Humphries – who spent part of his earlier career at KKOH in Reno – was able to secure a no-holds-barred interview with Senator Reid at Humphries’ affiliate station KDWN, Las Vegas.  Reid was in his home state while the Senate is on recess and he spoke with Humphries about the hot issues facing Congress.  Pictured here are (from l-r): Humphries, Reid, and KDWN program director John Shaffer.

Suspects Arrested in Marathon Bombing, ObamaCare Implementation, Benghazi Cover-Up Charges, and Gay Athletes Flap among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/1).  The arrest of more suspects connected with the Boston Marathon bombing case; the cost and implementation of the Affordable Care Act; charges that the Hillary Clinton-run State Department covered up aspects of the Benghazi attack; and the flap in the media over gay athletes were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

IP in Our Broadcast World:
Don’t Fear the Internet

| April 19, 2013

By Thomas R. Ray, III CPBE, AMD, DRB
Tom Ray Consulting
President
TALKERS
Technical Editor

NEW YORK — We have been discussing, on and off over the past couple of weeks, IP and IP codecs in our “broadcast” environments. This was a discussion that quickly escalated when Verizon quietly started telling customers in the northeast that ISDN was soon to be history.

At the recent NAB Show in Las Vegas, nearly everything I saw was IP based in some form or another. So the truth of the matter is, IP is here to stay and it’s up to us to make it work.

First and foremost, there was a comment by someone who stated, and I’m paraphrasing here, “Would you trust your high dollar sports remote to an IP connection over the public internet?” Apparently, CBS television has answered that question.

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2013 NAB: IP Codecs, Transmitters,
the Future of AM and other Cool Stuff

| April 11, 2013

By Thomas R. Ray, III CPBE, AMD, DRB
Tom Ray Consulting
President
TALKERS
Technical Editor

NEW YORK — Greetings from 29,000 feet over Colorado.  I’m returning from the NAB Show in Vegas and there were some very interesting items to see this year.  I am going to wait until next week so I can put together a good article regarding IP codecs, so please stay tuned for that.  I moderated a session in the Broadcast Engineering Conference on Sunday, April 7, called “IP for Radio”.  A lot of good information came out of that session – I need to go back and review my notes.

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Stranger than Fiction!

| April 3, 2013

By Thomas R. Ray, III CPBE, AMD, DRB
Tom Ray Consulting
President
TALKERS
Technical Editor

NEW YORK — March was a bizarre month.  I don’t know if it was the full moon last week, the expectation of a spring that wasn’t quite here yet or what.  Here are two examples:

I would have asked that this be published on April 1, but too many people would think this was an April Fools gag.  I swear, I couldn’t make this one up!

Where’s the Proof?

I have a client station that I’m working for on a submission to the FCC.  It involves a directional AM antenna, and we need to submit the results of a Partial Proof of Performance on the antenna system – one done before a modification, one done after.  Only problem is, the station cannot locate the full Proof of Performance of record on the antenna system.

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Friday, March 29, 2013

| March 29, 2013

harrisheidiHeidi Harris Exits KRLA, Los Angeles.  After almost a year co-hosting the morning show on Salem Communications’ KRLA/KTIE in Southern California “AM 870 The Answer,” Las Vegas-based talk show host Heidi Harris has left the program.  It appears co-hosts Brian Whitman and Ben Shapiro will be joined by another female co-host but who that is has not yet been announced by Salem.  Harris doesn’t say what her plans are but posts this on her Facebook page, “I have some news that is GREAT news for me, and bad news for those of you who like me.  After a very interesting year, filled with changes I could never have anticipated, I have left Salem LA.  This has been in the works for months, and my recent “absences” were intentional, so management could audition someone to replace me.  They have finally decided on someone, so my last day was yesterday. I could tell you who she is, but I’ll leave that to management to announce.  She’s a darling girl, and I wish her the very best.”  Harris has worked at KXNT and KDWN in Las Vegas.

raytomVerizon to Cease Taking orders for ISDN in the Northeast Starting May 18.  The fact that ISDN is on the way out is no surprise to anyone in the radio industry who has gone through the headache of trying to order it over the past five or more years.  Simply put: The phone companies are not thrilled to install it.  It doesn’t make money for them.  It was originally created for use as “high-speed” internet.  Now there are better and faster ways to increase internet speed.  Broadcasters (who make up a rather small percentage of the population) adopted ISDN as a standard way of getting remote audio from point A to point B with good quality.  For the most part, the phone companies could care less.  They didn’t create it for that purpose.  Now, the imminent demise of ISDN has taken a giant step closer to being a reality.  Verizon stated yesterday (3/28) that they will no longer take orders for the service, at least in the Northeast, beginning May 18.  What does this mean to radio broadcasters who have come to depend on ISDN for a majority percentage of their remote broadcasts?  Noted consultant and TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray provides the details and advice.  Read his exclusive column here.

cincyrock logoClear Channel Cincinnati Announces Winner of “Final Format Tournament” for Soon-to-Be WLW FM Signal.  On May 1, translator W233BG, Cincinnati will become the permanent FM simulcast signal for news/talk WLW (it’s been simulcasting CHR “Kiss 107”).  However, the company ran a contest giving the winner programming control of the signal for a month and WEBN OM and PD Chris Williams announces that Florence, Kentucky resident Josh Field won the contest with his “Cincy Rock 94.5” entry.  Following the Cincinnati Reds’ opening day broadcast on Monday, April 1, the signal becomes a rock outlet programmed by Field and dedicated to the “undiscovered rock of Cincinnati.”  Williams states, “Before turning 94.5 over to ‘The Big One, 700 WLW,’ we wanted to take the opportunity to make Cincinnati radio history.  Never before has a radio station been given away as a prize and placed in the control of a single fan.  We’re excited that the audience selected a format that will support the local music scene with ‘Cincy Rock 94.5.’”

lewisbobAmerican General Media Names Bob Lewis Regional PD.  Bob Lewis will be in charge of American General Media’s seven-station cluster in Albuquerque/Santa Fe and seven-station cluster in Bakersfield and as regional director of programming he’ll “be instrumental in the evolution of AGM’s established brands, as well as the launch of new stations, for both markets.”  AGM president Rogers Brandon states, “I am delighted to have Bob rejoin our company in this important new capacity.   We have a broad array of great radio stations in both Bakersfield and Albuquerque.  I look forward to working with Bob to grow our stations with great heritage and develop new and exciting product lines.”  Bob Lewis has worked as marketing and brand manager/program director for Trumper Communications‘ KMVA-FM in Phoenix and at Emmis Communications’ KDHT-FM and KBPA-FM in Austin.  Prior to joining Emmis, Lewis was director of FM operations/marketing & programming for AGM’s Bakersfield cluster.  He says, “I am beyond thrilled to be rejoining American General Media and look forward to learning and partnering with the exceptional PDs and staffs in Albuquerque and Bakersfield.”

hartmannProgressive Talk Show Host Thom Hartmann Provides Inspiring Model of Multi-Platform Delivery System – Exclusive Tour of DC Facility on TALKERS TV.  He is a progressive national and internationally syndicated talk show host (WYD Media) whose shows – because of a creative, multi-platform approach (and a huge, growing fan base to support it) – are now available in over a half-billion homes worldwide.  Thom Hartmann‘s radio show is distributed on for-profit radio stations nationwide by Dial Global, on non-profit and community stations nationwide by Pacifica, on cable systems nationwide by CRN, on its own YouTube channel, via Livestream on its own Livestream channel, via subscription podcasts, worldwide through the US Armed Forces Network, and through the Thom Hartmann App in the App Store.  The radio show is also simulcast as TV in real time into nearly 40 million US and Canadian homes by the Free Speech TV Network on Dish Network, DirectTV, and cable TV systems nationwide. (In addition, his evening TV program, “The Big Picture,” is wholly owned by his own production company, produced in the RT studios, and licensed to and carried by Free Speech TV in the US and into over 600 million homes in 104 countries by the RT TV network and distributed worldwide on Hulu.)  TALKERS TV caught up with this five-time Heavy Hundred member (currently ranked #8 in the nation) at his Washington, DC broadcast headquarters where he gives TALKERS readers an exclusive “tour” of the multi-media model facility.   To see it click on the TALKERS TV box in the upper right hand column on this page.

lp imagePssst, Hey Buddy, Wanna Buy a Record Company?  TALKERS has gotten a line on an incredibly interesting and rare opportunity for the right person or company who would like to enter the music business or expand their present operation by acquiring a long-standing (decades) independent record company whose owners are retiring due to health issues and looking to liquidate some very interesting and valuable intellectual property.  This acquisition would include a veritable treasure trove of 701 original master tapes – 380 of which are full albums, 341 containing 2-5 tracks covering approximately 225 artists from the early rock ‘n’ roll and big band eras.  We are talking about many major names and hits as well as a number of almost-forgotten collector items.  The owners are looking for a quick sale and are willing to make a great deal with the right buyer willing to give these treasures a good home and proper presentation in the marketplace where there is significant niche demand for this era of music.  Interested parties should contact Barbara Kurland at TALKERS by calling 413-565-5413 or emailing Barbara@talkers.com for more details.

cookehollandIs Moss Growing on Your Website?  If so, radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke offers advice on how to maximize its impact as a numbers and revenue inducing ally to your on-air dial frequency.  In a nuts and bolts column posted today (3/29) Cooke responds to the often-asked question, “Should I move from Facebook to Twitter?”  His answer: “I sure would NOT: a) bother with MySpace, b) abandon Facebook, or c) under-utilize Twitter.”  He goes on to state, “Wisely, stations and personalities are prioritizing Twitter, a darn opportune tool which listeners have adopted as-fervently as they did Facebook…and MySpace, in its day.”  He goes on to say, “If you’re thinking that ‘The Next Shiny Object’ is your very own iPhone app, STOP.  Save the money, for reasons I will explain on June 6 in my Talkers New York 2013 presentation ‘Resourceful + Remarkable.’”  To read Holland Cooke’s entire column, click here.

bolduankateOdds & Sods. CNN announces a new morning show lineup in an effort to get out of the #3 spot behind Fox News Channel and MSNBC.  According to the Los Angeles Times, Chris Cuomo will be joined by CNN congressional correspondent and “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” co-anchor Kate Bolduan. New CNN president Jeff Zucker is charged with bringing CNN’s morning show out of the cellar and he’s also brought Michaela Pereira aboard as news anchor…..Entercom’s WEEI, Boston teams up with Miller Lite to sponsor a promotion that wraps up at tonight’s Boston Celtics game.  The station has already qualified four local listeners as contestants during lead-up events and between the first and second quarters of the game, each will get a shot at $50,000 if they can sink a half-court shot…..CRN Digital Talk brings legendary Los Angeles radio personality to its network for a Saturday program beginning tomorrow.  Dave Hull, who became a star on KRLA in the 1960s, returns to the air alongside Mandy Armstrong for the “Dave Hull & Mandy” show.   Hull was known for his close relationship with the Beatles during their rise to stardom.  He helped push the growth of rock music by helping plan the Beatles’ 1966 Hollywood Bowl concert as well as promoting clubs, other concerts and his own nightclub.  About his new program he states, “I took some time off a few years ago to write a book and do some other things, but now I’m excited about coming back to radio and working with CRN…We’re going to have a humorous look at today’s news topics in a way that you’ve never heard on talk radio before. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

cbslogoSNL Kagan Releases Rankings of Top 25 Media and Entertainment Companies.  Based on 2012 figures and broken into two bases – net income and operating revenue – the SNL Kagan rankings of the top-earning media and entertainment firms are dominated by companies with diversified interests.  That’s not surprising.  Based on net income, CBS Corp. ranks #6 (down from #5 last year); Liberty Media (owner of SiriusXM) ranks #7 (up from #10 last year); and News Corp. (Fox News, et al) came in at #8 (down from #2 in 2011) all made the grade.  When basing the rank on operating income, CC Media Holdings – parent of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment – ranked #10 (same as in 2011).  Interestingly, Nielsen Holdings N.V. – which may soon own Arbitron – ranked #17 in net income and #12 in operating revenue.

Gay Marriage Bumps Sequester from Top Spot on Talkers TenTM.  The gay marriage debate – spurred by this week’s arguments at the Supreme Court – became the most-talked-about topic on news/talk radio, overtaking the sequester effects which had been at the top for the past five weeks.  At #2 this week was North Korea’s military threats.  Coming in at #3 was gun legislation tied with the Jim Carrey song followed by the slow economic growth figures at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

| March 28, 2013

theblaze logoGlenn Beck’s TheBlaze Added to Blue Ridge Communications Cable System.  The push to get more cable TV carriage for Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze continues and now the company announces it will be carried on Blue Ridge Communications’ system that serves the Poconos and the Central Pennsylvania region.  It is the nation’s 21st largest cable operator.  TheBlaze also entered into agreements with BEK Communications, Sweetwater Cable Television and Atwood Cable.  TheBlaze president, business development, Lynne Costantini, states, “We’re thrilled to welcome these independent operators into TheBlaze family of television affiliates.  These businesses understand the value of bringing TheBlaze’s original programming and unique perspective to their customers and their business.”  TheBlaze says that customers of these cable operators will now be able to watch its full programming lineup including The Glenn Beck Program, news program “Real News from TheBlaze,” opinion show hosted by Andrew Wilkow, current events show “Pat & Stu” featuring radio personalities Pat Gray and Stu Burguiere, kid’s show “Liberty TreeHouse,” comedy news show “The B.S. of A.,” news magazine “For The Record,” and comical news and current events show “The Wonderful World of Stu featuring Stu Burguiere.”  TheBlaze states that it is currently in carriage conversations with all major satellite, cable, telco and independent companies.

wtoplogoWTOP, Washington Stays #1 on List of Top Billing Stations.  The annual list of top billing stations according to BIA/ Kelsey has been released and Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington is at the front of the pack once again with $64.6 million in revenue in 2012 – that’s up a fraction from the $64 million it grossed in 2011.  The rest of the top 10 – split by CBS and Clear Channel – are as follows (in millions):  Clear Channel’s KIIS, Los Angeles ($56.8); Clear Channel’s WHTZ, New York ($48.2); CBS Radio’s WCBS, New York ($47.2); Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles ($46); CBS Radio’s WBBM, Chicago ($45.7); Clear Channel’s WLTW, New York ($43); CBS Radio’s WINS, New York ($41.5); CBS Radio’s WFAN-AM/FM ($41); and CBS Radio’s KROQ, Los Angeles ($39.3).

costadinoSiriusXM Sports Talker Dino Costa Subject of New Film.  Sports talk radio personality Dino Costa will be the subject of a feature-length film to begin production in April in Wyoming.  Chesapeake Films announces that it has started pre-production for a documentary to be completed in 2013 about the life of “controversial SiriusXM Radio personality, Dino Costa.”  The documentary film will be directed by Joel Franco, cinematography by Darko Nikolich, edited by Anthony Bernard, sound design by Karol Urban, and original music by Marianthe Bezzerides.  The film will begin shooting in Wyoming, where Dino Costa resides and produces his daily radio sports talk show.  The crew will then follow Costa to New York, to continue filming Costa’s hometown, friends, fans, and family.  Franco says he wanted to do the film because, “Dino is a breath of fresh air in the world of cookie-cutter sports talk radio.  He is fiercely independent, and connects with his audience like few can.  I just knew that under that big personality was a story waiting to be told.  I am so excited to begin.”  Costa comments, “When I embarked on my career as a talk show host, I wanted to achieve many objectives; I never thought about the possibility of someone wanting to do a film about my career and my life.  In speaking with Joel about his vision for this film, I’m confident that collaborating with the crew at Chesapeake Films will culminate in a documentary about my life that people will find interesting and compelling.”

billyfatbackVillanucci Producer Billy “Fatback” Cornelius Debuts Evening Show on KKOB.  The departure of longtime afternoon drive host Jim Villanucci from Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque, resulted in evening host Scott Stiegler moving into the PM drive slot.  That created an opening in the evenings and Jim Villanucci’s former on-air producer, Billy “Fatback” Cornelius, is now host of his own show airing in the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm time slot.  He’ll still produce Stiegler’s program but “Fatback” tells TALKERS magazine, “When asked about the new opportunity, I simply replied, ‘The Fatback Nation will rise.’”  His program debuts this evening.

gearhartjimNew Jersey 101.5’s Jim Gearhart to Be Inducted into the New Jersey Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame.  Jim Gearhart has been the morning host on Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” for the past 23 years and now he’s being honored by the New Jersey Broadcasters Association with induction into its Hall of Fame.  Gearhart will be inducted at the Annual Awards Luncheon, which will be held during the NJBA’s 66th Annual Conference in Atlantic City this June 18-19.  NJ 101.5 program director Eric Johnson says, “Jim will be acknowledged for providing quality content, news, public affairs and diverse entertainment to New Jersey.  Jim’s contributions to the longevity and success of our industry in New Jersey will be recognized.”

miklaszbernieWXOS, St. Louis Host Bernie Miklasz to Leave Radio Gig.  Popular St. Louis sports media personality Bernie Miklasz will exit Hubbard Radio’s WXOS “101 Sports” when his contract wraps up next month.  In a piece in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Miklasz says he’s leaving the radio show (weekdays 11:00 am to 2:00 pm) to focus on his work with the Post-Dispatch and its STLtoday.com where he’s been a sports columnist since 1989.  He states, “I’ve always loved writing more (than radio), it’s my calling.  Whatever good things I have in my life professionally have been because of the Post-Dispatch. It has led to other opportunities.”  Miklasz says the stress of two jobs is wearing on him.  WXOS program director Chris “Hoss” Neupert says, “He’s such a dynamic personality, but at the end of the day how can you be mad at a guy who’s going back to his roots and giving it his all?  He wants to do his part to help take an industry that has been down on an upswing.  It’s bittersweet (for the station) because what he is doing is very honorable and really cool, so it’s hard to be upset with him.  The guy is such an awesome personality.”  STLtoday.com hints it will be branching out into audio and video on the website and will use Miklasz for that purpose, as well.

thelearningconference logoThe Conclave Announces Agenda for July Learning Conference.  The Conclave announces its preliminary agenda for the July 17-19 “Conclave 38: The Learning Conference” taking place at the Minneapolis/Park Place Doubletree Hotel.  Executive director Bob Shannon states, “The very words ‘The Learning Conference’ implies that Conclave 38 will focus on teaching ideas our attendees can actually use.  Focusing on what works today and the tools we’ll need forshannonbob tomorrow, our faculty includes thinkers, visionaries and practitioners in a wide variety of disciplines including digital, marketing, mobile, programming, social media, and talent creation and training.”  Some of the speakers appearing this year include:  Ivan Braiker/HipCricket, Tim Bronsil/Point to Point Marketing, Jon Chelesnik/Sportcasters Talent Agency of America, Drake Donovan/Splice Video, Joel Folger/Folger Media, Les Garland/Afterplay Entertainment, John Gehron/AccuRadio, Bruce Gilbert/Clear Channel, Phil Hall/Audience Bakery, Michael Harrison/Talkers-Radioinfo.com, Dan Hill/Sensory Logic, Fred Jacobs/Jacobs Media, Randy Lane/The Randy Lane Company, Lori Lewis/Jacobs Media, Kipper McGee/Kipper McGee LLC, Kevin Metheny/Cumulus Media, Chris Miller/Chris Miller Digital, Tim Moore/Audience Development Group, Mark Shannon O’Neill/ROI Media Solutions, Bill Richards/Clear Channel, Larry Rosin/Edison Research, and Walter Sabo/Sabo Media.  Shannon reports that this year’s Conclave begins on Wednesday, July 17 with the fourth annual “Jacobs Media Summer School,” and ends July 19 with “Conclave GAMEDAY,” a day devoted entirely to sports that ends with a reception at KTWN-FM’s studio just before the Minnesota Twins/Cleveland Indians game at Target Field, home of the 2014 All Star Game.  For more information on the Learning Conference and Conclave educational programs, visit http://www.theconclave.com.

SCOTUS Gay Marriage Arguments, North Korea Threats, Dr. Ben Carson Assault, Cyprus Banks Bailout, and Sequester Effects Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/28).  The two days of arguments before the Supreme Court on gay marriage; threats of military action from North Korea; the backlash against Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon Ben Carson; the bailout of Cyprus banks by the EU; and the effects of the sequester were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

ABIP: Being prepared for an FCC Inspection

| March 19, 2013

By Thomas R. Ray, III CPBE, AMD, DRB
Tom Ray Consulting
President
TALKERS
Technical Editor

NEW YORK — One of the things I am doing these days is administering the Alternative Broadcast Inspection Program for the New York State Broadcaster’s Association.  Huh?  You don’t know what ABIP is?  Allow me to explain.

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.  If you can fix it while we’re there, great.  If not, you will normally have to pay a re-inspection charge so that the inspector can sign off on the fix.

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

| March 19, 2013

DG-logoHorizontalMore 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 cainepaulboard 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 brownspencerNBC 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.

cumulusLew 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 effortsdickeylew 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, huckabeemikeimportantly, 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 Nashvillenashbashsheltonsmall entertainment community, and we further capitalized on this with a three-day concert for our advertisers and listeners last savagemichaelmonth, 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 logoKPRC, 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 turnerjaninebranding, 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.

greatermediaGreater 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.

arbitronArbitron 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 2Premiere 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.

A Not So High-Tech Solution to a
High-Tech Headache

| March 11, 2013

By Thomas R. Ray, III CPBE, AMD, DRB
Tom Ray Consulting
President
TALKERS
Technical Editor

NEW YORK — Some people tend to think I’m crazy – just ask my wife.  But there are times when you simply need a good old common every day item to get the job done.

I visited a transmitter facility recently to find the Engineer looking somewhat perplexed.  And the building smelling like a truck stop.  Visiting the generator room showed a puddle of diesel fuel on the floor.  Oops.

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Monday, March 11, 2013

| March 11, 2013

nms2013logoPower-Packed Sales Panel Set for Talkers New York 2013.  The agenda for the forthcoming 16th annual installment of the talk radio industry’s largest and longest-running convention – Talkers New York 2013 – continues to grow as the speakers for afarberericanew major sales panel have been named.  Titled “The State of Radio Advertising and Sales,” the session will be moderated by RAB president and CEO Erica Farber and feature (in alphabetical order):  Spencer Brown, CEO, Dial Global; Jeff Smulyan, CEO, Emmis BroadcastingJerry Crowley, VP/general manager, WNYM (The Answer), New York; and Dan Metter, SVP/network advertising and sales, Premiere Networks.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “We always try to bring the element of sales and revenue generation into these conferences, but this year with advertising and the element of ‘monetization’ being such a crucial issue not only in talk radio – but the entire spectrum of radio – we organized a panel that we are proud to say covers all bases.  It should be enlightening and certainly productive.”  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.  Among those already announced as speakers include morning keynoter, Sean Hannity; sports keynoter, Mike Francesa; special guest speaker, Norm Pattiz; “State of the First Amendment” address presenter, Michael Smerconish and Arbitron‘s Jon Miller who will deliver a special report on “The PPM and Spoken Word Radio.”  Stay tuned to Talkers.com for more agenda details about speakers, panels, presentations and award recipients coming in the immediate days ahead.

traffic jam imageTraffic Reports on Radio Attract Listeners Says Research Director.  A study of five PPM markets in Canada done by Research Director, Inc. and commissioned by the Canadian Traffic Network indicates “traffic reports on the radio attract listeners and boost ratings during the time that the reports air,” the company says.  Research Director says this is the fourth study of PPM data in the five Canadian markets and the most recent study continues to show positive results for traffic reports.  The company says some the highlights of the study include: 1) The three minutes around the traffic report have higher listening levels compared to non-traffic periods; 2) This was the case in each of the five markets examined; 3) On average for Persons 18+, Canadian Traffic Network’s reports deliver 20% greater audience than when traffic is not being broadcast; and 4) Among Adults 25-54, traffic reports deliver an even greater audience (+20%) than non-traffic times.  This data comes as the industry debates the future value of general traffic reports in an era when smartphones and other in-car services are able to deliver real-time traffic information for specific routes to commuters.

arbitronIs Radio Losing Audience or Gaining It? And What About the Kids?  If you add in the HD multicasts and AM/FM/HD streaming stations, as Arbitron did for its just-released March 2013 RADAR 116 National Radio Listening Report, “radio’s audience increased year over year, adding more than 1.6 million weekly listeners.  Radio now reaches 242.8 million listeners on an average weekly basis.”  Furthermore, Arbitron states, “Teens aged 12 to 17 shows the largest gains among the major age demographics.  Radio now reaches nearly 23 million teens in an average week.  Radio listening also remains steady among Adults aged 18 to 34, reaching 66.5 million people, or 92%, in this demographic.”  The ratings company reports that “the data shows that radio is using new platforms effectively to reach more listeners.  According to the RADAR March 2012 report, HD multicasts reach nearly 3.6 million persons aged 12 and older.  Streams of AM/FM/HD radio also reach a broad audience.  More than 5.4 million persons aged 12 and older tune into AM/FM/HD streams during an average week.  Adults aged 18 to 49 make up the majority of this audience, with more than 3.5 million people in this demographic accessing streaming AM/FM/HD stations in an average week.”

worldnewsroundup logoThe CBS Radio Product “World News Roundup” Celebrates 75 Years on the Air.  The longest-running radio newscast – CBS Radio News’ “World News Roundup” – celebrates 75 years on the air this month.  The company will honor the occasion tomorrow and Wednesday with special programs.  The network will look at that first broadcast in 1938, its significance at the time and how the “Roundup” has evolved to remain an important source of information three-quarters of a century later.  Vice president of CBS News, Radio, Harvey Nagler, states, “In an era with so many choices for the latest news, 75 years is truly a naglerharveyremarkable milestone.  We are so proud that this broadcast that started it all is still something millions of Americans depend on every day.  By combining the great traditions of CBS News with technology, our affiliates and their listeners receive relevant, accurate, immediate information they can trust, every day.  From shortwave to satellites and from the Murrow Boys to multimedia platforms, ‘The World News Roundup’ is still setting the standard for quality journalism.”  CBS says the program made broadcasting history on March 13, 1938 when it aired a riveting 38-minute program, anchored by Robert Trout, that reported the Nazi invasion of Austria.  Revolutionizing news coverage, “The World News Roundup” gave listeners access to live reports from multiple reporters on the field, including a young CBS executive making his on-air debut in Vienna that night, Edward R. Murrow.  In the following decades, the program was anchored by legendary CBS journalists, including Douglas Edwards, Dallas Townsend and Christopher Glenn.  The current program is anchored by Steve Kathan and is produced by Paul Farry.  Bill Whitney anchors the Late Edition of the “World News Roundup” which is produced by Greg Armstrong.

xeprs logoJ.D. Hayworth to Co-Host AM Drive on Sports “The Mighty 1090” in San Diego.  Former Arizona congressman and longtime issues talk host J.D. Hayworth takes an interesting turn in his radio career as hehayworthjd joins Broadcast Company of the Americas’ sports talk XEPRS, San Diego “The Mighty 1090” to co-host the morning drive show with Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton beginning March 18.  The station says the pairing of Hayworth with Hamilton completes a three-month search that spanned “six time zones.”  Program director Mike Shepard states, “We really appreciated all the ‘players’ who gave their time to this search and in the end, hamiltonhacksawJ.D.’s extensive background in radio, and true chemistry with Hacksaw made the difference.  When the two of them were on together it was what we call ‘lean forward and listen’ radio.  San Diego’s sports fans will truly be entertained every morning.”  Hayworth, who’s been doing a lot of fill-in work in issues talk radio over the past year or so, says, “Hacksaw and I go way back.  As a TV sportscaster in Phoenix, I got to know Lee during his days at KTAR, which was his radio home before he came to San Diego years ago.  The preparation and dedication that Lee brings to his broadcasts impressed me then, and inspires me now.  What an honor to become his partner.  We will not rest until we are the best sports morning show in the country!”

robinettegarlandLoan Investigation Ends for WWL-AM-FM, New Orleans Talk Host Garland Robinette.  Federal prosecutors are ending a probe into allegations the River Birch company paid bribes to close two New Orleans landfills so that its own facilities could receive the bulk of debris from Hurricane Katrina.  WWL-AM/FM talk host Garland Robinette became involved in the probe after he received a personal loan from River Birch owner Fred Heebe.  Robinette had also used his program to criticize the re-opening of the landfills that would have taken business from Heebe’s company.  According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Friday’s announcement puts to an end the investigation that included scrutiny of Robinette’s $250,000 interest-free loan from Heebe.  Robinette’s attorney issued this statement: “I’m happy to announce that we’ve received notice that the Department of Justice in Washington has concluded their investigation regarding Garland as it relates to the River Birch case…and the matter is now closed.  We want to thank the Public Integrity section for reaching the right result and for considering all the information.  As Garland said from the beginning he never had done anything wrong.  Garland and his family are glad they can now put this behind him.”

grand slam sports logoSt. Louis Sports Stations KFNS and KXFN to Flip to Guy Talk and Ladies Talk in May.  The Grand Slam Sports-owned AM stations will take a different programming tack in May under the leadership of new company president Dan Marshall.  According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, KFNS will alter its programming to reduce the sports talk content to about 30% with “guy talk” comprising the other 70%.  Marshall tells the paper’s Dan Caesar the bubbaannouncement of who will be the new morning host on KFNS will be made on SiriusXM’s Howard Stern show today, leading to the conclusion that Stern pal Bubba the Love Sponge’s Tampa-based program will take over mornings.  Other show hosts will be announced between now and May 1.  Marshall is owner of a wireless communications company in the St. Louis area that’s been buying time on sports talk.  Marshall’s company made an investment in Grand Slam Sports under the condition he would take over as general manager with control over programming.  Current GM Katy Pavelonis stays on as sales manager.  As for KXFN, how the move to female-targeted talk will be realized is less clear, although Marshall says, “I’ve already interviewed a few people who seem excited.  And I believe our future advertisers will be excited to reach a women’s audience.”  The current morning show at KFNS is hosted by Tim McKernan, Jim Hayes and Doug Vaughn and is owned by insideSTL Enterprises LLC and apparently brokers the time on KFNS.  McKernan tells the paper insideSTL Enterprises is investigating the possibility of working with outside investors to put a new station on the air.  The company operates insideSTL.com.

facebooklogoStrategizing Facebook’s Plans to Decrease Clutter.  On Thursday, the social media giant announced a new format for their news feed, which Mark Zuckerberg referred to as “the best personalized newspaper in the world.”  The big millerchrischange?  Pictures are going to get even bigger.  That’s a bigger change than it sounds like.  The headline Facebook puts on it is, “Goodbye, clutter.”  According to radio digital consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, “This is good news for radio stations and other brands that are doing a good job using social media as loyalty content marketing.  It will be easier for your fans and their friends to see what you post and enjoy it!”  Today in TALKERS Miller offers five quick guidelines to help you make the most of your Facebook posts, especially once the new news feed kicks in for everyone.  To read Chris Miller’s piece, click here.

cookehollandIs Michael Smerconish’s Departure from AM/FM to Satellite the Canary in Talk Radio’s Coal Mine?  Radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke thinks it might very well be the case. In an extremely candid look at the meaning behind the highly profiled defection, Cooke advises industry professionals how to read the message this move conveys in addition to dissecting the impact it will likely have on Smerconish’s career.  To read this article by Holland Cooke, click here.

raytomA Not So High-Tech Solution to a High-Tech Headache. Sometimes the remedy to what seems like a complex technical disaster can be found in cleverly utilizing the services of a commonly found, everyday low-tech product.  Noted radio engineering wizard and TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray had one such situation pop up recently and he shares how he solved it using…would you believe it…cat litter!  Check out the story by clicking here.

More About IP Codecs

| March 4, 2013

By Thomas R. Ray, III CPBE, AMD, DRB
Tom Ray Consulting
President
TALKERS
Technical Editor

NEW YORK — Last week’s article on IP codecs generated numerous emails.  (In case you missed it, read that piece here.) The general gist of the emails is that these devices are not understood very well.  Granted, they are still a fairly new technology, but they are a mystery.  So, I’ll touch on several of the emails I received in hopes of clearing up some of the mystery.

The first note was from a station that is presently using an IP codec as an STL (Studio to Transmitter Link).   When they moved their facility several years ago, they found they would not be able to make a microwave shot to the transmitter site, and the local phone company fouled up the program line installation they requested (big surprise).  The station opted for the IP Codec route.

Read More

Monday, March 4, 2013

| March 4, 2013

DG-logoHorizontalDial Global Restructures Credit Status; Pays Down $15 Million of Existing Term Loan.  The industry has been watching the state of Dial Global’s debt situation and now the company announces that it, its lenders and certain of its stockholders have agreed to recapitalize the company’s existing credit facilities, other obligations and equity interests.  CEO Spencer Brown states, “The new agreements with our lenders represent a significant step forward for the company.  Once thesebrownspencer transactions close, we will have delivered our balance sheet and decreased cash interest expense.  The agreements will provide us with greater flexibility to actively manage and grow our business.  We look forward to closing these transactions in April and focusing on serving our clients.”  As part of the recapitalization, the company has entered into an Amended and Restated Credit Agreement, by and among the Company, General Electric Capital Corporation, as administrative agent and collateral agent, and the lenders party thereto which provides for a $15 million paydown of the company’s existing term loan and revolving credit commitments.  That agreement matures on October 21, 2016.  The company is also entering into a Priority Second Lien Credit Agreement among the company, the administrative agent, the syndication agent and the lender party for an additional $31.5 million through a term loan facility to the company, with a maturity date of July 21, 2017.  As part of this Dial Global agrees to issue it penny warrants to purchase 7.5% of the company’s common stock exercisable immediately following the consummation of the recapitalization.  Regarding the existing Second Lien Credit Agreement, dated as of October 21, 2011, lenders agreed to restructure their existing approximately $93 million in second lien obligations by amending and restating that agreement to provide for a $30 million term loan that matures five years after the expected closing of the recapitalization and exchanging approximately $63 million in remaining obligations under the existing Second Lien Credit Agreement for a new series of preferred stock of the Company.  Under various subscription and exchange agreements between the company and the holders of the company’s PIK Notes and Series A Preferred Stock, such holders have agreed, subject to the satisfaction of certain specified conditions, to exchange their PIK Notes and Series A Preferred Stock for equity securities of the company and have further agreed to make an additional equity infusion of $16.5 million.

villanuccijimCumulus Media’s News/Talk KKOB, Albuquerque and Talk Host Jim Villanucci Part Ways.  When talk radio personality Jim Villanucci’s contract came up at Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque the company chose not to renew it.  Villanucci tells TALKERS magazine that he’d been reaching out to Cumulus for the past several months about a contract renewal but the company didn’t appear interested in talking so he exited after last Thursday’s program.  Cumulus AM stations program director Pat Frisch is sitting in the PM drive slot for now as he seeks out a replacement.  Villanucci’s program was a big ratings-getter for the station for many years.  It will be hard to replace the kind of steady performance he’s achieved at KKOB-AM.  Villanucci tells TALKERS, “I leave KKOB after 14 years looking forward to my next opportunity.  I have had so many wonderful years working with some of the finest broadcasters in the business in a market that’s been very good to me.  I wish the good people of Albuquerque and the folks at KKOB the very best.  I would especially like to thank my former GM Milt McConnell, and wish my friend and PD Pat Frisch good  luck going forward. ”  Villanucci has been an annual face on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred for years due to his consistent performance and ability to branch out beyond the often-predictable news/talk topics heard on so many stations in the format.

sileodanDan Sileo Exits WQAM, Miami.  The statement from sports talk host Dan Sileo is brief and indicates the two sides were not seeing eye-to-eye on programming philosophy, “Our differences revolve around content issues and we wish each other the best.  As for me and my style of sports talk, I will never change.”  Sileo joined Beasley Broadcasting’s WQAM, Miami for the PM drive show after a successful stint at Clear Channel’s WDAE, Tampa.  He then moved to middays.

masonirelandL.A. Daily News Ranks Top Sports Talk Personalities Heard in Market.  To TALKERS editors, the thing that stands out about this list is that there are enough sports talk radio hosts – both local and nationally syndicated – to put together a ranking for the Los Angeles market.  But there are and KSPN’s Steve Mason and John Ireland tied for #1 this year with KLAC, Los Angeles’ Petros Papadakis coming in at #3 (there is no #2 since Mason and Ireland tied for #1).  Papadakis’ partner Matt “Money” Smith ranked #5 this year.  The paper also ranked the top nationally syndicated sports talk hosts heard in the L.A. market and the top three were: 1) Dan Patrick of DIRECTV/Fox Sports Radio; 2) Petros Papadakis and Matt “Money” Smith of Fox Sports Radio; and 3) Jay Mohr also of Fox Sports Radio Network.  Nice compliment for Jay Mohr since he’s only been in the gig since the beginning of the year.  And speaking of Jay Mohr…

mohrjayComedian, Actor and Sports Nut Jay Mohr Focuses on Fox Sports Radio Gig.  To show how serious he is about his new full-time gig as midday sports talk host on the Fox Sports Radio Network, Jay Mohr tells TALKERS magazine,Fox Sports Radio Logo “Honestly, I have turned off the sitcom and movie noise to concentrate on the radio show; those other doors are closed right now.  I cannot be on the phone trying to figure out how I am going to leave a studio at ‘this time’ to be on a movie set at ‘that time.’”  In this profile piece, TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian talks with Mohr about his radio influences, love of sports, comedy road work and how he got into the sports talk game by subbing for Jim Rome, and finally to his first full-time sports talk job.  He says of the fill-in work, “I thought if I could keep doing this, one day I might be able to do it for a living.  I listened to Jim for many years and he really changed sports talk radio.  He made it fun again.  My job is to reset the dial a little and bring everybody back to the fun part of it.”  Read the entire story here.

berrymichaelRising Talk Radio Star Says Host Endorsements Should Be Interesting (and a Whole Lot More).  He also says the goal of advertising on radio should be results – a simple concept often overlooked by sales and programming departments in their rush to sell the ads, give the client what they want and then get the spots on and off the air as quickly as possible.  Michael Berry is one of news/talk radio’s most dynamic and promising rising stars.  His mid-morning program is heard on KTRH, Houston as well as seven other respected talkers around the country.  Today (3/4) in an exclusive TALKERS piece he makes a number of powerful points about the marketing and delivery of advertising within the news/talk radio medium making the point that although host endorsements are an important technique to get the sponsor’s message across, the real trick is to do it in a way that also gets them results while proving to be a tune-in, and not a tune-out factor.  Berry (who will be speaking at Talkers New York 2013 on June 6) advises when it comes to writing and delivering commercial spots: 1) lose the copy points; 2) less is more; 3) trust the value of the endorsement (and don’t overload with justification); 4) be conversational throughout, building to the call to action; and 5) resist gimmicks and games.  To read this important article or pass it along to someone in your station or company who will benefit by it, click here.

morsechuckTalk Radio Pro Chuck Morse Joins IRN/USA Radio Network.  Boston-based talk personality Chuck Morse begins a daily, two-hour talk show (airing from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET) via the IRN/USA Radio Network.  Morse says of his new enterprise, “I am honored to work at the network founded by economist Larry Bates and award-winning talk pioneer, the late Marlon Maddoux.  I look forward to working with talk host Chuck Bates who carries on the tradition of excellence at IRN/USA.  With a national audience, I hope to follow in the footsteps of my mentor, the late Jerry Williams, who developed an intense bond with his callers and audience.”

baldwinstephenBaldwin/McCullough Radio Show Co-Host and Actor Tops Fundraiser Effort on Celebrity Apprentice All Stars Show.  Stephen Baldwin, actor and co-host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show “Baldwin/McCullough” (co-hosted by talk radio personality and XtreMedia CEO Kevin McCullough), and his team raised more than $600,000 for the American Red Cross during last night’s season premiere of NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice All Stars.”  That sum set a new record for the most ever raised in a season kick-off episode.  Baldwin is competing for the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Foundation named in honor of his mother.

millerchrisWelcome to the Concept of Core-Casting.  It is a simple and elegant idea that puts one of the most effective radio broadcasting uses of social media into perspective and focus.  Noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller writes today (3/4) about how social media provides radio programmers and talent with a pipeline to communicate directly with their most ardent listeners and fans.  Miller writes, “There are companies outside radio who are learning how to use social media to leverage the power of their most valuable customers.  One day, some smart radio group is going to figure out that social media is not just more broadcasting in a different medium.  Neither is it just a matter of getting likes, shares and comments.  While most mass marketing involves some form of trolling for cume, this is different.  This is like the sales department taking its 10 biggest clients on a cruise.   It’s core-casting.”  To read Chris Miller’s entire piece, click here.

bubbaBubba the Love Sponge Talks Suicidal Man ‘Off the Ledge.’  After an agitated and despondent man who had barricaded himself inside a Tampa-area business and was threatening to kill himself called the Bubba the Love Sponge program on Friday, Bubba (Todd Clem) was able to calm the man enough that he put his weapon down and was taken into custody by local police.  The man, identified as Corey, locked himself inside The Car Store, a business owned by Bubba’s friends Todd and Shellie Herndon.  The man is a family friend of the Herndons.  Bubba says, “I’m just glad The Herndons are safe, no deputies were harmed and this gentleman can get the help he needs.”

teinowitzharryHarry Teinowitz Exits ‘ESPN 1000’ Chicago.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports ESPN O&O WMVP “ESPN 1000” is going with a two-man PM drive show featuring Carmen DeFalco and John Jurkovic as the station has cut ties with Harry Teinowitz after 12 years.  Feder reports a memo to the staff read, in part, “At 6:00 pm this evening Harry Teinowitz signed off air for the last time at ESPN Chicago.  Throughout the many years that Harry has been with us, he has served in many different roles and has helped to establish the ESPN brand in Chicago.  Harry’s contributions will be felt for years to come in every department at ESPN Chicago.  We wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.”  Afternoon drive on sports talk radio is, by many industry executives, considered to be more important than AM drive.  Feder reports the most recent PPM data show crosstown rival WSCR leads the market in the Men 25-54 demo with a 7.2 share compared to WMVP’s 3.4 share.

raytomRadio Broadcasters Still Learning About IP Codecs.  Last week’s TALKERS article by technical editor Tom Ray about the proper use and application of IP codecs raised several questions from readers indicating there is still a lot to be learned about this emerging technology that promises to be the next step beyond ISDN in remote audio delivery.  Today (3/4), the industry’s leading technical wizard addresses some of those issues — namely 1) the most important thing to have in place to use IP codecs effectively; 2) how to integrate service between brands of the device made by different manufacturers and get them to “talk” to each other; and 3) how to go about purchasing and testing an IP codec.  To read Tom Ray’s informative article or pass it along to the person at your station or company who manages technical issues and equipment, click here.

scheinadamOdds & Sods.  Sports talk personality Adam Schein joins SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio.  Beginning March 11, Schein will host “Schein on Sports” live from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm ET on the Mad Dog Radio Channel.  He had “The SiriusXM Blitz” alongside 2002 NFL MVP Rich Gannon on the NFL channel…..TVNewser reports former “Good Morning America” senior executive producer Jim Murphy will serve as executive producer for CNN’s new morning show that will be co-hosted by Chris Cuomo.  It had been rumored that Erin Burnett would be moved to mornings alongside Cuomo but reports indicate that many not be the case…..In other TV news, the New York Daily News reports Matt Lauer is on the hot seat since “Today” has fallen behind “Good Morning America” and the local “Good Day New York” on Fox5 in New York City.  The story indicated morale on the set is low and conflicting reports about whether a new executive producer will join the show are adding to the problems.  Several sources are indicating Matt Lauer may not be long for the program.

Monday, February 25, 2013

| February 25, 2013

nms2013logoMike Francesa to Address Industry at Talkers New York 2013.  The list of major speakers continues to grow as WFAN, New York afternoon drive sports talk goliath Mike Francesa joins the roster of industry leaders who will be speaking at “TALKERS New York 2013,” the 16th annual installment of talk radio’s longest-running and most important francesamikeannual convention.  Francesa will deliver a solo keynote address titled, “The Sports Talk Radio Phenomenon.”  He will discuss how sports talk fits into the general radio industry, where it is going both locally and nationally and how it operates within the business model of the PPM world.  Francesa, who has been a major host on WFAN since the late 1980s, is also seen across the nation on the YES Network simulcast of his radio show and hosts a syndicated weekend program “The NFL Now” in addition to participating in numerous other sports broadcasting projects.  He is currently ranked number one on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk Radio Hosts holding the position as the Most Important Sports Talk Radio Host in America.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “The addition of Mike Francesa as the sports talk radio keynote speaker at this year’s conference puts it over the moon.  One of the big buzzes of the business is the relentless growth of this exciting branch of the talk radio universe.  Who better than the king of the format to give insights into the genre’s place in the scheme of things?  We are delighted!”  More headliners will be named in the coming days along with the 50-plus speakers that will be participating in the conference.  The event is set for Thursday, June 6, 2013 at the Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side.  Registration for the day including all activities and food service is $199 per person.  An advance sellout is expected due to space limitations.  Registration is limited to members of the working media and can only be taken via telephone.  For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.  Complete agenda details are being posted daily.  Stay tuned.

schnitttoddTodd Schnitt Not Giving Up on Bubba the Love Sponge Lawsuit.  The Tampa Bay Times reports talk show host Todd Schnitt has fired his legal team, hired a new lawyer and is continuing to pursue legal action against former crosstown rival Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem).  The first trial ended in a victory for Bubba as the jury decided not to awardbubba Schnitt and wife Michelle damages for defamation over a series of criticisms and accusations Bubba leveled at Schnitt when he competed with Bubba in morning drive as MJ Kelli.  Now, Schnitt has fired C. Phillip Campbell and Jonathan J. Ellis and has hired Wil Florin to represent him and his wife.  Regular TALKERS readers are aware of the bizarre elements of the previous trial:  Campbell being pulled over for DUI while driving the car of a young paralegal who, unbeknownst to him, worked for Bubba’s lawyer’s firm; the tip-off to police that Campbell was driving the car was made by someone from that same firm; and Bubba’s lawyers had possession of Campbell’s briefcase for 18 hours (though they say they didn’t open it).  That missing briefcase is the basis for the new suit.  How this will end is anybody’s guess, but one thing is for sure: Both Schnitt and Clem are spending a lot of money on legal fees.  Yes, they are getting a lot of publicity for their radio programs but it is very expensive publicity.

ingrahamlauraLaura Ingraham Added to American Forces Network.  Courtside Entertainment Group announces today that the Laura Ingraham show is being added to the American Forces Network with the opportunity to be heard by more than one million U.S. service members and their families.  Ingraham states, “It is fantastic to be back on the air – and it feels even more special knowing that all of our friends listening on Armed Forces Network can hear us around the globe.  The energy and enthusiasm from listeners, affiliates and advertisers since I returned to the airwaves has been overwhelming.  From Tucson to Jacksonville, from Washington, DC to Seattle, Americans are energized and enthusiastic about our daily conversation about our country’s past, present and future.  Politics is important – but so is the culture around us.  As a single parent of young children and a cancer survivor, I have a unique perspective that connects me with listeners of all political stripes.  Our conversation is a fun-filled ride that moves beyond the Beltway to the real-life ups and downs we all face.”

constantinilynneVeteran Media Executive Lynne Constantini Joins Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze.  The former EVP of affiliate sales and marketing at Scripps Networks Interactive and SVP of programming at Time Warner Cable joins TheBlaze as president of business development.  In her new position Lynne Constantini will oversee the growing network’s content distribution efforts, as well as affiliate marketing, advocacy, business affairs and business development initiatives.  She previously negotiated TheBlaze’s successful carriage deal with DISH as an outside consultant.  Constantini says, “As a cable industry executive and consultant, I have been attracted to the rare independent network that has strong, unique content and a passionate engaged audience that drives results for operators and that is what I have found with TheBlaze.  TheBlaze is unlike other start-up networks; it has a built-in loyal audience, a full slate of live, original programming, speaks to an underserved and growing conservative audience and has extensive marketing reach through affiliated media assets including on radio and on the web.  I am excited to work with Glenn, Chris Balfe and the rest of the team on building TheBlaze and continuing the network’s success in improving the businesses of its distribution partners.”

cookehollandListeners Are Busy and Talent Is Spooked.  That’s the assessment of radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke who asks broadcasters the provocative question:  “RU@Speed-of-Life?’  In today’s article, Cooke says radio programmers must get up to speed (literally) with the intense pace of modern life which, when coupled with the PPM, puts tremendous pressure to manage air time in a way that is in keeping with today’s breakneck tempo.  For example he advises hosts not to begin their shows by listing all the things they’ll be doing before the show ends.  He says programming clock designers should go the extra step in designing transitions between programming elements (such as newscaster to talk show host segments) in a completely seamless manner.  Never stop the action through over-explanation.  Don’t miss this timely and informative piece.  Read it here.

baileyralphTalk Host Ralph Bailey Begins KERN, Bakersfield Program Next Monday.  After quitting his talk show at Buckley Broadcasting’s crosstown KNZR on Thursday after an eight-year stint, Ralph Bailey will take over the PM drive program on American General Media’s KERN.  Bailey wrote on his Facebook page, “It is official!!!  I signed a contract today to join American General Media.  I’ll be Scott Cox‘s guest today at three and begin my own 3-6 p.m. drive time show on Monday, March 4.  I could not be happier!  I have security in a business that is not that secure and for the first time in my life I’m making a little scratch!  I’d like to thank Rogers Brandon and Toni Snyder.  It is great to feel wanted and appreciated.”

californian logoKERN, Bakersfield’s Scott Cox to Anchor The Californian-AGM Morning Show Endeavor.  Talk radio personality Scott Cox is moving away from the PM drive slot that Ralph Bailey is taking over in order to host a new morning program that is a joint effort of American General Media and The Bakersfield Californian.  The show – “First Look with Scott Cox” – will emanate from The Californian newsroom in which a radio studio has been built.  While KERN will coxscottprovide the producers and technical expertise, the newspaper’s reporters will be regular guests during talk segments.  Californian CEO Richard Beene says of the initiative, “The Bakersfield Californian has always prided itself about being on the cutting edge of technology (our website bakersfield.com was launched back in 1995) and we are keenly aware that readers and advertisers are finding new ways to obtain content and reach their advertisers.  That’s why change is part of our company culture, and serving our readers and advertisers on multiple platforms is something we talk about every day.”  The program will also be streamed live in high-definition video on the paper’s website.  Beene writes in his editorial in the paper, “’First Look’ will add to The Californian‘s existing video programming, which includes ‘BVarsity Live,’ live local sports and breaking news.  The Californian plans to expand its live video programming later this year.  So yes, newspapers are alive and well, changing and evolving.  Join us in March for ‘First Look.’”

millerchrisNot All That Glitters is Gold.  According to radio digital consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, broadcasters should avoid falling under the spell of Facebook “likes” and the impulse to “go viral” — which he describes as “shiny, distracting objects.”  He advises, “The number of Facebook ‘likes’ you have is almost completely without meaning.  In addition, working to have something go viral is probably taking you away from what you should be doing!”  Read Chris Miller’s informative and valuable article here.

benandskinESPN O&O KESN, Dallas Parts Company with Ben & Skin.  Sports talk KESN, Dallas and midday personalities Ben Rogers and Jeff “Skin” Wade were not able to come to terms on a new contract and the duo have left the station.  They wrote on their Facebook page. “We have declined a final offer from ESPN on a new deal.  We’re parting ways with them for now.  Future is unwritten.  Thank you for your support throughout the years.  We are eager to write the next chapter of our adventure.  Stay tuned.”

sweeneyjohnJohn Sweeney Exits WGDJ, Albany.  The former Republican congressman from New York began a one-hour daily talk show at Capital Broadcasting’s “Talk 1300” two weeks ago but has left the station.  The Albany Times-Union reports John Sweeney’s exit comes after it became apparent that the 11:00 am to 12:00 noon time slot was too much for the attorney and political consultant.  Owner and GM Paul Vandenburgh told the paper too many unforeseen scheduling conflicts have made the show untenable.

raytomTECHNICAL WATCH: Radio Moves Beyond ISDN to Deliver Studio Quality Remote Audio.  Welcome to the Age of the IP Codec.  Back in the “good old days,” if you wanted to get audio from point A to point B you had basically two choices: a dedicated land line from good old Ma Bell (a.k.a, the phone company) or you sent a tape.  Then, Ma Bell decided to get rid of dedicated equalized services – at least interstate.  These days, it’s very difficult if not impossible to get a dedicated broadcast service even in the same city.  This prompted devices like the Comrex two-line and three-line frequency extender systems.  These allowed someone to utilize two or three dial-up lines to get audio from one place to another with reasonable audio quality.  The next step was ISDN – a digital dial-up service.  With the development of devices such as the Telos Zephyr, FM quality audio was easily passed, with very little audio delay, between two locations.  This has been the norm now for close to 20 years.  Enter the IP codec – essentially ISDN on steroids.  IP codecs utilize the internet as the transport medium.  Now, for just the cost of the internet service you already have installed, you can literally transport audio all around the world – in many instances with slightly more round-trip delay than with ISDN, but that is easy to work around using mix minus.  Noted radio technical consultant and TALKERS columnist Tom Ray brings us all up to speed on this new era in remote audio delivery in a must-read clear and concise article, here.

tradupguatemalaSalem Radio News Series Spotlights “The Poorest of the Poor.”  SRN vice president/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (pictured here in Guatemala) spent the last week in that Central American country as Salem Radio News prepared a news series titled, “The Poorest of the Poor.”  Speaking about his experience there, Tradup tells TALKERS, “Guatemala is only a few hours by plane from the U.S., but living conditions for youngsters are light years away.  And the statistics take on heartbreaking new meaning when you actually spend time with children there.  We embedded with the American relief agency Food for The Poor to cover both the tragedy and the hope for impoverished children in Guatemala.”  Tradup says Guatemala has the highest malnutrition rate of any country in the Western Hemisphere.  The week-long SRN News special series will profile the challenges facing government and private agencies targeting ways to reverse the grim statistics on malnutrition and infant mortality in Guatemala.

bloomlisaOdds & Sods.  Lisa Bloom – daughter of former radio and television talk show host (and high-profile attorney) Gloria Allred – is joining NBC’s “Today” show as a legal analyst says TVNewser.  Bloom hosted the CourtTV show “Lisa Bloom: Open Court” from 2001 to 2009…..Arbitron’s Carol Hanley is named to the Allliance for Women in Media board of directors.  Hanley serves as SVP, chief sales officer for Arbitron.

kdkaharlemshakeHarlem Shake Takes Over KDKA.  The YouTube phenomenon “Harlem Shake” invades the newsroom at CBS Radio’s KDKA, Pittsburgh.  This still shot is from a video posted on the KDKA-TV website and shows late morning talk host Marty Griffin (in the Santa hat) leading the rest of the crew – including morning hosts Larry Richert and John Shumway and Shelley Duffy, PM drive host Bill Rehkopf, midday host Mike Pintek, sports reporter and weekend host Rob Pratte and creative services director Kelly Pidgeon – in boogeying to the tune.

Beyond ISDN: Welcome to the Age
of the IP Codec

| February 25, 2013

By Thomas R. Ray, III CPBE, AMD, DRB
Tom Ray Consulting
President
TALKERS
Technical Editor

NEW YORK — I made a Facebook posting last week regarding a radio program I am involved with – Ron Ananian, The Car Doctor.  A friend who has a voice over business posted that he’s heard the show through one of his clients and thought it was a good show and sounded really good.  I posted back that I bet he never would have guessed we deliver the audio to the satellite uplink via an IP codec.  Another voice over friend chimed in wanting to know what codec we were using.  My first friend then said, “what’s an IP codec?”  Uh, oh.

Back in the “good old days”, if you wanted to get audio from point A to point B you had basically two choices: a dedicated land line from good old Ma Bell (aka, the phone company) or you sent a tape.

Then, Ma Bell decided to get rid of dedicated equalized services – at least interstate.  These days, it’s very difficult if not impossible to get a dedicated broadcast service even in the same city.

Read More

Winter Advice: Be Sure to Install Deicers
on your Antenna!

| February 18, 2013

By Thomas R. Ray, III CPBE, AMD, DRB
Tom Ray Consulting
President
TALKERS
Technical Editor

NEW YORK — I received a rather disturbing photo via text message from a friend of mine in a fairly small market.  Seems this station, as many small market stations do, had not had anyone do maintenance on their transmitter for quite some time.  My friend, an on air personality, not an engineer, was shown how to tune the transmitter.  And that’s fine.  But, there is more to tuning a transmitter than making sure the numbers fall where they should on the meters on the transmitter.

Read More

Monday, February 18, 2013

| February 18, 2013

blazergraceGrace Blazer Lands at Clear Channel Miami.  Former WTKK, Boston program director Grace Blazer is the new PD at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk WIOD and sports WINZ, Miami.  She exited the Greater Media talk station when it flipped to rhythmic AC at the end of 2012.  Prior to WTKK, Blazer programmed WPHT, Philadelphia.  In a statement, Blazer says, “The depth of Clear Channel’s resources is phenomenal.  Working for our industry’s leading media company and programming WIOD and WINZ is a superb opportunity.  I’m excited to partner with Alex Tear, Lonny Anger and the talented staffs of ‘News Radio 610/100.3FM’ and 940’s ‘Sports Animal’ to grow these stations.”  The programming position at WIOD and WINZ opened up when Ken Charles moved up to the VP of programming position at Clear Channel’s Sacramento cluster.

cainhermanHermain Cain Joins Fox News Channel as Contributor.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Herman Cain becomes part of the Fox News Channel stable of contributors.  Cain, who took over the late morning slot long held by talk radio pioneer Neal Boortz at Cox Media’s WSB, Atlanta and his national syndication distributed by Dial Global, will make regular appearances on FNC where EVP of programming Bill Shine says in a statement, “Cain’s impressive resume makes him a valuable addition to the Fox News and Fox Business lineup.  As a political expert with business savvy, he brings an important voice to the nation’s debates.”  In addition to his recent run for president, Cain also was CEO of the Godfather’s Pizza chain and held the CEO position at the National Restaurant Association.

wfan logoNY Post Reports CBS Radio New York Weighing WFAN-AM/FM Options.  The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick writes that the brass at CBS Radio in New York City is weighing its programming options for the sports talk tandem of WFAN-AM and FM as the company must be eager to get the fledgling CBS Sports Radio Network programming on in the largest market in the country.  Currently, the full schedule of WFAN programming is heard on both signals but the need to get the new national network some Big Apple exposure is pressing.  A statement from the company to the Post goes, “We have a number of great options and are closely examining each one.”  At issue is the fact that WFAN-AM’s 660 signal is huge and the 101.9 FM signal is decent but nowhere near as far-reaching as 660 AM.  Will the local sports talk remain on 660 AM and the national network appear on 101.9 FM?  Will it be the other way around or a mixture of the two?  As Mushnick hints, you can bet some of the WFAN stalwarts – including PM driver Mike Francesa and AM drive duo Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton – would like to stay on the huge 660 AM signal.  CBS Radio is expected to make a decision within the next few months.

DG-logoHorizontalDial Global to Cease SEC Reporting.  The company cites, among other things, “the relatively limited historical volume of trading in the Company’s common stock and the applicable federal securities laws” as one of the reasons it will suspend its reporting obligations under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  Dial Global’s board of directors determined that such action would be in the best interests of the company.  It says, “In reaching this conclusion, the Company’s Board of Directors considered numerous factors including the compliance costs associated with filing periodic reports with the SEC and the diversion of management attention from other matters that result from being a reporting company.”  Dial Global left the NASDAQ and its stock is traded on OTC Pink.  It states, “There can be no assurance, however, that a trading market in the Company’s common stock through the over-the-counter market or any other market will be maintained.”

landaudavidDavid Landau Gets Nice Severance from Dial Global.  Technically it’s not a severance but regardless, former co-CEO of Dial Global David Landau will receive $600, 000 per annum for the next two years plus other unspecified benefits after the company decided to re-align its corporate management structure and make Spencer Brown sole CEO and former co-CEO Ken Williams president.

stpierreronWPRO, Providence Lets Ron St. Pierre Go.  In a move that appears to be about saving money, Ron St. Pierre exits his role as PM drive host Buddy Cianci’s sidekick/executive producer.  GoLocalProv.com reports that this is the latest in a series of moves at the Cumulus Media station that began with the ouster of Andrew Gobiel from the WPRO morning show and the re-assignment of Tara Granahan from the AM show to other news duties.  The station brought WJAR-TV anchor Gene Valicenti in to host the morning program.  St. Pierre has served at WPRO as program director – the first time in 1988 – as general manager, and as host of the station’s morning show.  Ron can be reached at ron.stpierre@cox.net.

millerchrisGood Writing Is at the Core of Digital Success.  Writing for the internet is a very different art form than writing for the radio.  Noted radio digital consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller says, “Good writing is at the heart of what we do online, and how we communicate with our fans.  Don’t just do it for the art of it; do it because it can help stretch your few thousand Facebook fans into tens of millions of annual impressions.  Do it because it will help get your tweets re-tweeted.  We’re talking about building your numbers here!”  Miller advises TALKERS readers to avoid three common mistakes in writing for the web: 1) over-selling; 2) being boring; and 3) social desperation.  Read his entire piece here.

raytomWINTER ADVICE:  Be Sure to Install Deicers on your Antenna.  It is not too late to do it or to be concerned.  The failure to properly install deicers on your antenna to save a few bucks in the short term can not only interfere with the quality of your signal, it can put you off the air entirely, not to mention cause severe costly damage to your components and even create a major fire hazard.  TALKERS technical editor and noted engineering consultant Tom Ray says, “While money is tight all over, the last thing you need is your transmitter and/or building to be a smoking hulk.  Consult with someone qualified to guide you.  Think of it like buying an insurance policy.  You may not want to spend the cash, but it could save you a bundle in the long run.  Read Tom Ray’s entire article here.

trumpdonaldTrump-Maher Suit “Stretches Credulity.”  TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes that the $5 million suit Donald Trump is filing against Bill Maher has no chance of success, little chance of getting a day in court and could incur sanctions against Trump and his attorney for filing a frivolous lawsuit.  In case you missed it, Maher went on “The Tonight Show” in January and – based on the color of Trump’s hair – joked that he would donate $5 million to a charity of Trump’s choice if he would produce his birth certificate to show he is not the son of an orangutan.  Read more of Weisman’s account about why this spat is still going on and upon what legal ground the complaint stands (or doesn’t as the case may be).  It’s here.

johnsondanistudioXtreMEDIA Syndicated Host Dani Johnson Profiled in Forbes.  The host of the weekly XtreMEDIA-syndicated Dani Johnson program was profiled on Forbes.com on Thursday and, according to XtreMEDIA CEO Kevin McCullough, the story went viral “with 15,700 shares on Facebook in a little more than a day.  Heading into the weekend it was still the ‘Most Popular’ and ‘Most Read’ piece on Forbes.com.”  McCullough tells TALKERS, “Her story as a broke homeless woman to becoming a multiple millionaire to even now helping others get out of debt, restore relationships, and expand their influence is a story that rocketed her from one affiliate station in January of 2012 to 95 stations and counting in January of 2013.  Dani is the most important voice in all of American media – not just talk radio – that most of the nation still hasn’t heard from.  Hundreds of thousands of lives changed for the better, only proves the point that she has something that real audiences are looking for… connection!”  Read the Forbes story here.

Monday, February 11, 2013

| February 11, 2013

DG-logoHorizontalSpencer Brown to Sole Dial Global CEO Post; David Landau Resigns.  In a major top-level management move, Dial Global ditches its three-person CEO structure and Spencer Brown becomes the sole CEO of thebrownspencer corporation.  Former co-CEO David Landau resigns and former co-CEO Ken Williams takes on the president title and reports to Brown.  In a statement, Dial Global says the reason for the changes are to “sharpen the company’s strategic focus and provide greater clarity to its advertising clients, station affiliates, producer partners and stockholders.”  Spencer Brown states, “Along with me and Ken, David has led Dial Global since its formation in 2002, and he has been a cornerstone of the williamskencompany’s growth and success.  I am personally grateful for his significant contributions over the years, and I know that the entire organization feels the same.  While David will certainly be missed, I am excited to lead the company forward and am convinced that Dial Global’s best days lie ahead.”  David Landau adds, “Working with Spencer, Ken and many of the other talented executives at Dial Global over the last 10 years has been one of the most gratifying experiences of my life, both personally and professionally.  I have tremendous respect for Spencer and believe that he has the necessary qualifications and passion to lead the company through its next stage of growth.  I remain a meaningful shareholder of Dial Global and its most ardent supporter.”

weei logoEntercom’s WEEI, Boston Gets Attention in Hometown Media Over Focus Group.  The Boston Globe is reporting that Entercom’s sports brand WEEI, Boston conducted a focus group of 15 young men – believed to be on the younger side of the 25-54 demo – in late January.  The key aspect of this is the subjects are reported to have been converts from WEEI to CBS Radio’s WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub.”  The questions by the moderator of the focus group zeroed in on the perceptions about the morning and afternoon drive personalities, how they discovered WBZ-FM and what they think of various WEEI contributors and co-hosts. WEEI PD Jason Wolfe responded to a question from the Globe in an email simply stating, “These things are common.  All companies do market research from time to time to gain insight into how they can improve.”  Globe writer Chad Finn goes on to give his opinions about the WEEI personalities in the piece.  That WEEI-AM/FM and WBZ-FM are locked in a battle in a lucrative sports town is not news, nor is the fact that WBZ-FM tends to beat WEEI in the younger demos while the strength of Boston Red Sox baseball pumps up WEEI during baseball season.  Clearly each station has its own sound and one doesn’t have to listen very long to hear why they appeal to different demographics.  The question for WEEI is, do they want to re-tool their lineup and alter their programming philosophy to go head-to-head with WBZ-FM for the younger demos or stick with the programming that has made them iconic in the region and sell the fact that they appeal to an older demo that has more disposable income.  Decisions, decisions…

cookehollandAttention Radio Managers:  Time Cannot be Managed – but Tasks Can!  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison once described the job of managing an active radio station as feeding human time and energy into a black hole in space.  No matter how much you shovel in, it keeps demanding more and wants to be fed quicker and quicker.  In today’s frenetic world of inter-connective multi-tasking, this observation rings truer than ever and it impacts all levels of communications industry management.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke offers several valuable ways to navigate the time demands placed upon today’s radio managers.  First of all, he says, “Time cannot be managed – don’t even try!  But tasks can!”  Read Cooke’s strategy for staying on top of the mountain of tasks facing today’s radio manager while avoiding the pitfalls and wipeouts of the non-stop stream of distractions, interruptions and nightmarish disorganization by clicking here.

wvonlogoMidway Broadcasting’s urban talk WVON, Chicago to Address City’s Deadly Violence.  The market’s urban talk outlet is hosting and broadcasting a special live forum this evening addressing the ongoing violence that is plaguing the young African American population.  Station personality Kendall Moore willmoorekendall host the event in front of a live, selected audience.  Appearing on the program will be: Nathaniel Pendleton, father of Hadiya Pendleton; Tio Hardiman, director for Cure Violence Illinois; the Rev. Dr. Michael Pfleger, senior pastor of The Faith Community of Saint Sabina; Richard Wooten, member of the Chicago Police Department; Che’ Rhymefest Smith, recording artist, writer and community activist; Harold “Noonie G” Ward, former high-ranking Gangster Disciple gang leader and members of the Guardian Angels; Chicago’s Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy has also been invited.  The broadcast will air tonight from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

giffordlarryLarry Gifford to Exit Bonneville Seattle.  Programmer Larry Gifford has been at the helm of news/talk KIRO-FM and conservative talker KTTH in Seattle for the past two years.  But Gifford says that after some soul searching, he’s decided to resign from the post.  In a memo to the staff he writes: “I am a big fan of Bonneville Seattle, the brands, philosophies, purpose, and the people who breathe life and personality into our products.  I believe KIRO-FM and KTTH are positioned for success.  I also recognize the stations have both evolved greatly in the two years I’ve been here.  As stations evolve, their leaders need to evolve as well.  As I’ve considered where we are and the road ahead, it has become clear to me that the type of leadership needed to keep moving these stations forward requires someone with different strengths and passions than mine.  So, with mixed emotions, I have resigned my position at Bonneville Seattle.  At Carl’s [GM Carl Gardner] request, I will be here through March 1 to help both stations through this transition.  As to what comes next?  I don’t know.  Though, Becci, Henry and I are planning to go on a month-long RV adventure this Spring to visit friends, favorite places and make some memories.”

raytomTom Ray Resigns from Engineering Post at WOR, New York; Will Launch Consulting Business. After a 15-plus year career based at the former Buckley Broadcasting facility in Manhattan, engineer Tom Ray announces his resignation from the station via Facebook.  He writes in a press release:  After 15-1/2 years, Tom Ray is leaving WOR Radio in New York City. During Tom’s tenure at WOR, he had taken the station from an older analog facility into the digital world, culminating in the move of the WOR studio facility to downtown Manhattan.  This was the world’s first large scale Axia deployment.  Subsequently, he built WOR a new state-of-the-art transmitter facility in the New Jersey Meadowlands, retiring the former Lyndhurst, NJ facility that had served WOR for 40 years…Tom has been on the Board of Directors of the Society of Broadcast Engineers, was Chairman of SBE Chapter 15 in New York City for 9 years, has been on the NAB’s Broadcast Engineering Conference Committee several times, serving as Chairman of the Committee twice. Until the acquisition of WOR by Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, he was corporate director of engineering of Buckley Broadcasting and chief engineer of WOR Radio.  Tom’s immediate plans are to consult as Tom Ray Broadcast Consulting. He can be reached at tomray@tomrayconsulting.com, or at 845-418-5065.

oconnellseanKGMZ, San Francisco Adds Sean O’Connell to Midday Show.  Entercom sports talk KGMZ, San Francisco “95.7 The Game” names college footballer and current MMA fighter Sean O’Connell to the midday program alongside Matt Steinmetz.  O’Connell hosted AM drive and middays at Cumulus’ KFAN, Salt Lake City.  In college, O’Connell played for the University of Utah, where he was a teammate of San Francisco 49ers QB Alex Smith and was coached by Urban Meyer (now with Ohio State).  He was part of the undefeated 2004 team, which won the Fiesta Bowl and finished the season ranked #4 overall.  After finishing his playing days, O’Connell began competing in MMA and was part of the cast of the UFC’s “Ultimate Fighter” Season 8 on Spike TV.  KGMZ PD Jason Barrett says, “To say that Sean O’Connell is a unique talent would be a tremendous understatement.  Bay Area sports fans are going to love his passion, plus, now we also have a guaranteed bodyguard at future events, which will come in handy since our hosts have a tendency to fire up the fan base.” O’Connell begins his duties February 21.

curtiscraigSCPR’s Craig Curtis to Leave Pubcaster.  Program director Craig Curtis will exit his role with Southern California Public Radio at the end of this week.  LA Observed reports it’s not known if Curtis has a new position lined up or if recent turbulence at SCPR (the demise of Patt Morrison’s show and the matching of A Martinez with Madeleine Brand on the KPCC morning show and the popular Brand’s departure soon thereafter) had anything to do with Curtis’ exit.  In other recent news about SCPR, the newsroom staff voted to unionize with SAG/AFTRA.  Curtis received accolades from VP of content Russ Stanton in an email to staffers.  He wrote, in part, “Craig has played an integral role in the growth and success of SCPR.  From his then-perch as program director at Minnesota Public Radio, Craig oversaw the transformation of KPCC’s programming from its music and news format into the 24/7 news and information programming we deliver today.  He also has been involved in the hiring of virtually all of our on-air talent, as well as the broadcast production staff.  He is responsible for KPCC’s distinctive on-air sound which, among other things, boasts a core audience loyalty of 74%, a remarkable achievement.”

katzsnowJeff Katz Reports from the Heart of Nemo!  Talk radio pro Jeff Katz didn’t waste the opportunity to take a few minutes from shoveling the two-plus feet of snow from his Boston-area driveway to appear on radio stations across the country on Friday.  Katz shared his observations with the Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated Todd Schnitt show; Simon Conway’s WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive program and on the Kitty O’Neal and Pat Walsh morning show on Clear Channel’s KFBK, in snowless Sacramento.  We couldn’t help noticing that, in the heart of Boston Bruins country, Jeff is sporting a Montreal Canadiens jacket.  He is truly fearless!

Friday, February 8, 2013

| February 8, 2013

wjox logoCumulus Wins First Round in Birmingham Non-Compete Case.  A federal judge in Birmingham has ruled that sports talk WZNN “ESPN 97.3” program director Ryan Haney cannot work for the Cox Media station until more evidence is heard at a hearing scheduled for March 4.  The Birmingham News reports wznn logoCumulus sought the prohibition after Haney – who had been with its crosstown competitor WJOX for the past 14 years – left the PD job there on January 21and began working at WZNN a week later.  Cumulus claims Haney breached the six-month non-compete in his contract.  Cumulus also states Haney could not work for a competitor during that time without giving Cumulus a chance to match the prospective employer’s offer.  The animosity between the two sports talk stations did not begin with Haney’s case.  In 2012, Cumulus and Birmingham sports talk personality Paul Finebaum engaged in a legal tussle over his employment situation but Finebaum eventually worked out his contract with WJOX and is sitting out a six-month non-compete after which it is widely assumed he’ll join WZNN.  On a side note, Cox Media has put its Birmingham properties – including WZNN – up for sale.

dickeybloombergLew Dickey Tells Bloomberg “We’re Seeing a Shift in Spoken-Word Radio.”  During an appearance on Bloomberg TV’s “In the Loop” program, Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey discussed his company’s plans involving marketing vertically based on the lifestyle appeal to consumers interested in certain types of entertainment.  Although still bullish on Mike Huckabee and Geraldo Rivera, Dickey sounded much more behind sports than news/talk.  “We’re seeing sort of a shift in spoken-word radio from political-based talk over to sports.”  When asked why he stated, “I think people may be tired of all the partisan bickering so the ratings are a bit down in talk but they’re moving up nicely in sports.”  Dickey said the reason sports is so popular among advertisers is because advertisers follow the audience and sports is popular right now.

question mark 1Question of the Day: Why Do Radio Stations Still Announce School Closings?  As the big Blizzard of ’13 begins to rumble across the Northeast (2/8), TALKERS monitors have been hearing morning shows across the region reading the perfunctory long lists of school closings within their listening areas.  While there is no doubt that localism is proving to be a valuable asset to radio – especially when the medium rises to the occasion of serving the public interest during natural disasters and weather events - we have to shake our heads and wonder why so much valuable airtime is spent on reading these seemingly endless lists.  Is it a matter of serving the public or just trying to sound like you’re doing so?  It is a well-known (to parents and students alike) fact that most school districts in America post their snow status on their websites as soon as the information is available.  If stations want in on that action they can list all the closings on their websites as well and announce that availability on the air.  Considering that most, if not all, schools in a region close for blizzards, it would make a lot more sense to only announce those schools that might be choosing to remain open.  Programmers might think that announcing school closings on the air over long chunks of time makes the station sound local and in touch – but in truth, it makes the station boring and seem out of touch.

ktck logoCumulus Birmingham Imports Sports Talk Duo from KTCK, Dallas.  In a story related to the one above, Cumulus sports talker WJOX, Birmingham is bringing the duo of Matt McClearin and Scot Harrison from its Dallas sports outlet KTCK “The Ticket” in to take over the midday slot.  The position opened up after Paul Finebaum exited the PM drive show at the end of his contract and the station moved “The Jox Roundtable” with Lance Taylor, Ryan Brown and Jim Dunaway to the PM drive position.  McClearin and Harrison hosted a weekend program at KTCK.

kinosianmikeTALKERS Spotlight: The Talk Radio Watchdogs.  There was a time in the early days of the modern talk radio era when most markets could lay claim to at least one talk show host considered to be the local “watchdog.”  He or she was feared by the power brokers in city hall and had a reputation for having the backs of the regular folks.  They are not as prevalent in the format as they once were but they are still out there.  Does the industry still value this breed of talk host?  Does the public still want to listen to them?  Do their station managers support them?  TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian speaks with some of today’s “watchdogs” to get answers to these and other questions about their craft.  Read his story here.

whfs logoCBS Radio’s WHFS, Tampa Makes Lineup Changes.  The new FM sports talk station CBS Radio put on the air in Tampa in August undergoes some changes.  “Sportsradio 98.7 The Fan” cuts the morning show with Kirk McEwen and Chris Dingman to three hours and shifts Gary Shelton and Justin “The Commish” Pawlowski to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot.  The PM drive show with Rich Herrera and Anthony “Booger” McFarland moves to 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm and CBS Sports Radio’s Jim Rome slides into the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot.  Evening host Todd Wright exits the station and The Fabulous Sports Babe moves from overnights to the evening show.  CBS Sports Radio Networks’ Scott Ferrall and Damon Amendolara round out the late night and overnight shifts, respectively.

tuneinlogoTuneIn Adds Four Pubcasters to its Offerings.  Digital content aggregator TuneIn announces it has agreed to strategic alliances with major public broadcasters KQED, San Francisco; KCRW, Santa Monica; KEXP, Seattle; and American Public Media, which includes Southern California Public Radio, Minnesota Public Radio, Classical South Florida and nationally distributed programs. TuneIn VP of programming Kevin Straley states, “KQED, American Public Media, KCRW and KEXP have a rich history of offering listeners engaging, cutting-edge programming while supporting the radio community.  Our goal at TuneIn is to bring the best programming from around the world to everyone, for free, wherever they are, and partnering with these respected public broadcasters brings us one step closer to that goal.”  TuneIn also just unveiled a new website design featuring a new content-first display with large album cover photos and trending stations.

wgnlogoOdds & Sods.  Tribune’s WGN, Chicago resumes its “Chicago Blackhawks Live” promotional series on February 18 at the city’s Old Town Pour House.  The promotion is a series of one-hour radio broadcasts hosted over dinner throughout the 2012-2013 season featuring current Blackhawks players, legends, and front office executives with “WGN Sports Night” hosts David Kaplan, Brian Noonan, and Andrea Darlas.  WGN began hosting these events during the 2011-2012 season and sold them out in record time…..SiriusXM announces legendary recording artist Tony Bennett will sit down for an intimate Q&A session with an audience of SiriusXM listeners, moderated by Alec Baldwin, at the SiriusXM studios in New York City as part of its “Townsiriusxm Hall” series.  It’ll take place on Wednesday, February 13, and will air on Valentine’s Day, Thursday, February 14, on the Siriusly Sinatra channel and on the SiriusXM Stars channel…..Clear Channel announces that Houston Astros play-by-play will shift from news/talk KTRH to its sports talk KBME “Sportstalk 790” beginning this season…..In another baseball note, Clear Channel’s WLW, Cincinnati re-ups with the MLB’s Reds through the 2017 season…..The Boston Red Sox and the Jimmy Fund – which benefits Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute – are celebrating their 60th year working together to raise funds for cancer research and treatment.  Part of that celebrating will include the 12th annual Red Sox Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon on Entercom’s WEEI and New England Sports Network on August 27 and 28.  The event, which started in 2002, has raised more than $31 million for research, treatment, and care at Dana-Farber.

kyw scholarshipKYW, Philadelphia Awards Scholarship.  CBS Radio’s KYW Newsradio awards the Richard Monetti Scholarship to local high school student Kimberly Coterwas (second from right) – one of the 86 students to graduate from KYW Newsradio 2012 Fall Newstudies program.  She receives a $2,000 scholarship.  The award was announced at the Newstudies Graduation ceremony on January 31.  The Richard Monetti Scholarship is awarded every year to the Newstudies student who demonstrates the most potential and enthusiasm throughout the six-week student reporter program.  The scholarship is named for Richard Monetti, a 1986 Newstudies graduate who was killed in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988.  Additionally, 11 other students who participated in the Newstudies program received awards.  CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield states, “KYW Newsradio is proud to continue the tradition of introducing high school students to the broadcast industry.  It’s also nice to be able to award those that did exceptionally well, and keep the memory of a former Newstudies graduate alive.”

schiffpeterTALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Radio America’s Peter Schiff program picks up new affiliates for the program including: KPAM, Portland; WGUF, Ft. Myers, Florida; WEZS, Concord, New Hampshire; KFAR, Fairbanks, Alaska; and WTIM, Taylorville, Illinois…..  “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is added to the program schedule at WTBF, Troy, Alabama.  Also, existing affiliate combo WGVA, Geneva and WAUB, Auburn in the Finger Lakes region of New York adds Free Talk Live’s live Sunday show.

Sequester Cuts and Tax Hikes Issue Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 4-8.  The debate in Washington over the coming sequester budget cuts and more tax increases was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, earning it the top spot on the Talkers TenTM.  Coming in at #2 was immigration reform.  At #3 was the costs of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act and at #4 was gun legislation proposals.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio across America based on ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.