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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

test