Tag: "Tom Tradup"

Monday, July 15, 2013

| July 15, 2013

Talk Radio Stations Answer Call for Live Radio After Zimmerman Verdict.  The number of talk radio stations that rose to the occasion after the George Zimmerman verdict late Saturday night and the following day was, according to TALKERS sources around the country, surprisingly large considering the time (especially in the East) that the verdict was announced.  Certainly there were many stations caught unaware at that late hour but even many of those that were not able to bring local talent in for a live program were prepared enough to air network coverage of the news.  Several TALKERS sources report hearing local talent take to the air in the Pacific Time Zone and put callers on the air to discuss the case.

madisonjoeSiriusXM’s Joe Madison Races to Cover Zimmerman Verdict; Broadcast Response to Case.  High-profile talk media personality Joe Madison lived up to his moniker “The Black Eagle” late Saturday night after the Sanford, Florida jury reached its verdict and found George Zimmerman not guilty of the charges against him in the death of Trayvon Martin.  Minutes after the verdict was announced, Madison went to the SiriusXM Washington, DC broadcast facility to do a live broadcast that aired from 11:00 pm Saturday evening to 1:00 am Sunday morning on the satcaster’s “Urban View Channel.”  Madison opened up the lines to callers to, as he said, “give people a platform to react and share their feelings.”  SiriusXM reports, “It was a powerful show.  Major figures joined the show by telephone – among them Rev. Jesse Jackson; Ben Jealous, president/CEO, NAACP; Marc Morial, president National Urban League; attorney Daryl Parks, co-attorney for the family of Trayvon Martin; and Roslyn Brock, chairwoman of the NAACP.  ‘Urban View’ then went into a special schedule all day Sunday, serving as a sounding board for listener response.  The channel aired live shows taking calls from around the country throughout the day.”

traduptomMedia Coverage of Zimmerman Verdict Analyzed and Criticized.  In the immediate aftermath of the George Zimmerman verdict, the news/talk radio industry is analyzing media coverage of the case – especially from cable news/talk outlets and what some talk radio practitioners tend to call the “left-leaning mainstream media.”  In a somewhat high-profile incident, former temporary Associated Press staffer Cristina Silva, who had left the news organization before the incident, according to the AP, Tweeted: “So we can all kill teenagers now?  Just checking.”  Salem Radio Networks VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS magazine that after learning about this he, as a member of the TV Digital News Directors Association, as well as an AP subscriber, contacted AP executive editor Kathleen Carroll.  She informed Tradup that Silva was “a temp who no longer works for us.”  Breitbart.com reports Silva worked for the AP for the past three years with her last byline being July 9 of this year.  Tradup has more to say about the coverage he witnessed and the radio broadcasts he heard to those he saw on cable TV.  He writes, “Radio (gasp) simply covered the verdict.  ABC, SRN, CBS, local stations…all pretty much the same model:  No scary theme music, no weird camera angles, and no need to manufacture emotions or distort what happened.  Just the facts…Not on cable.  Kate Bolduan and Chis Cuomo on, of course, a special edition of CNN’s “New Day” program, reporting on the verdict with agonized scowls on their faces…presenting video of ‘major cities’ all over America where protesters marched after the verdict had been announced.  An objective viewing of the ‘protests’ revealed turnout to be literally dozens of people.  Cuomo physically wrung his hands as he opined that people nationwide are ‘disturbed’ by the verdict.  Kate Bolduan sat stoically next to him, nodding and grimacing over the jury’s verdict on this travesty of a ‘news’ program.  On MSNBC, Melissa Harris-Perry suggested that ‘all over America, African-American parents are hugging their children tighter’…implying that they are trembling in their homes as a result of the Sanford, Florida jury action.  What unsubstantiated baloney. How insulting to African-Americans.  How insulting to our entire legal system.  The state of broadcast journalism in America has always been pretty low, an occasional Edward R. Murrow notwithstanding.  But the deifying of Trayvon Martin by CNN and other cable myna birds simply to generate ratings makes me happy to instead operate in radio news…where actual facts still matter.  Our TV counterparts have served up disgraceful bias and doctored opinions disguised as ‘news coverage.’”

marconiawardSports Talkers Outshine News/Talkers in 2013 NAB Marconi Award Personality Honors Finalists.  The National Association of Broadcasters announces the finalists for the 2013 NAB Marconi Awards honoring personalities and radio stations for excellence.  The winners will be announced at the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Orlando on September 18.  This year, in the major market and syndicated categories, news/talk personalities are noticeably absent while sports talk talent is prominent.  Fox Sports Radio/Premiere Networks’ Petros & Money are finalists in the syndicated category and in the major market category, WFAN, New York’s Boomer & Carton and KTCK, Dallas’ “The Musers” (George Dunham and Craig Miller) are finalists.  Clear Channel news/talk KFI, Los Angeles is up for Legendary Station, as is Entercom’s sports talk WEEI, Boston and CBS Radio all-newsers KYW, Philadelphia and WBBM, Chicago.  News/talk and sports are dominant in the Large Market Station of the Year category with CBS Radio’s WCCO, Minneapolis; Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM, Providence; Entercom’s WWL-AM, New Orleans; and CBS Radio’s WXYT-FM, Detroit all in contention.  View all of the finalists here.

sedanojorgeJorge Sedano to Exit WQAM, Miami to Join ESPN.  The Florida SunSentinel reports that WQAM, Miami program director and afternoon drive personality Jorge Sedano will leave the station he’s been with for 11 months to take a multi-platform position with sports giant ESPN.  The specifics of his new position with ESPN are unclear but he is expected to start there in the fall.  Sedano is a fixture in sports media in South Florida and has also worked at Lincoln Financial Media’s WAXY.  He took over the program director position at WQAM after four months away from radio in the market during which he pursued TV opportunities.  He replaced Lee Feldman who exited the WQAM PD post for opportunities outside the radio business.  Sedano also hosted the pre- and post-game shows for Miami Heat games on the Sun Sports telecasts.  Obviously, this opens up a great sports talk radio opportunity in South Florida.

imusdonMerlin Media’s WWIQ, Philadelphia Replaces Lionel with Don Imus in AM Drive.  New York-based media personality Lionel – seen by New Yorkers both in the early morning and during evening news casts on WPIX-TV – waslionel piped in alongside former morning host Al Gardner when Merlin turned the station into a talk-formatted outlet after purchasing it from Family Stations, Inc.  Gardner exited the station in March of this year and Lionel remained in AM drive.  In addition to his work with WPIX-TV, Lionel also operates the successful internet venture lionelmedia.com.

millerchrisFeeding the Endlessly Hungry Mouth: Coming Up with Content for Your Social Media Outreach.  Content gathering is a massive headache for a lot of social media experts.  It can take over two hours a day to do it effectively.  Considering the fact that in radio there are a lot fewer full-time social media folks and a lot more people have added some social media duties to their already long job descriptions, it is even tougher to be consistently interesting, funny or helpful.  In a new column posted today by noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, he suggests several types of content.  These include 1) using a lot of photos (they are more convenient and often more effective than videos); 2) posting in-depth articles (all you need is to click to them); 3) posing questions about hot-button stories (talk radio is more adept at this than music radio); and 4) employing the services of Google Alert to help gather material.  To read Chris Miller’s entire piece, please click here.

kernenbobBob Kernen to Serve as VP/COO for jacAPPS.  Jabobs Media’s jacAPPS division – developer of mobile applications – announces internet veteran Bob Kernen will join the company as vice president and chief operating officer.  The company reports that “this move marks a major step in the growth of the company, ranked by Crain’s Detroit Business as the number #2 mobile application developer in Southeast Michigan, and the industry leader in the Business-to-Business category.”  President Paul Jacobs says, “Since its inception in 2008, jacAPPS has been on a consistent, upward trajectory.  As our company nears its fifth anniversary, we needed a visionary with the right blend of media and web experience – and Bob’s the guy.”  Kernen has served as VP/product development and data for Sharecare, creating a digital database, mobile applications, and a comprehensive back-end data system.  Prior to that, he was the co-founder of GrokMusic, oversaw digital product development for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, developed emerging media platforms for A&E Television Networks, and helped develop the digital strategies for Hearst’s Women.com and Microsoft’s Web TV Networks.

katzjeffspeaksJeff Katz Subs in Morning Drive at WRNO, New Orleans.  Former “TALK 1200” Boston (WXKS-AM) morning man Jeff Katz sets his alarm clock pretty early tomorrow morning — if only for a day – as he’ll fill in on Clear Channel’s news/talk WRNO-FM, New Orleans.  Katz provides a thrice-daily commentary heard on WCAP, Lowell-Boston and has recently been heard filling in for Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated host Todd Schnitt and New England Talk Network regional host Michael Graham.

trautmannconradDial Global’s Conrad Trautmann Given ‘Engineer of the Year’ Honor.  Dial Global announces chief technology officer Conrad Trautmann has been named “Chapter Engineer of the Year” by the Society of Broadcast Engineers’ Chapter 15 (SBE 15), which serves the New York City metro area.  Trautmann is the first recipient of this new award, which recognizes the efforts of a specific individual who best furthers the goals and objectives of their SBE Chapter and provides an outstanding example of local/regional leadership and ethics.  SBE 15 chapter chairman Jeff Smith states, “We are thrilled to honor Conrad with our first ‘Chapter Engineer of the Year’ award.  Within Conrad’s 30-plus years of service to SBE 15, he was instrumental in reestablishing the chapter in the 1980s after declining membership and financial troubles caused the Chapter to cease operations.  Conrad is recognized for implementing a model that has made SBE 15 the largest and most financially stable SBE local chapter in the country.”  Trautmann oversees the company’s broadcast engineering, program distribution, back-office IT, and software development.  He is a nationally recognized and respected leader in the broadcast engineering field, with prior senior engineering positions at Dial Global, Westwood One, Metro Networks, Cox Radio, and Chancellor Media.

kroibarajasconductsHe Was Born in a Crossfire Hurricane.  All-news KROI, Houston’s Mike Barajas show off his conducting and Mick Jagger moves as he leads the Houston Symphony Orchestra in a rendition of the Rolling Stones’ classic “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.”  The “News 92 FM” afternoon anchor received a little help from Symphony conductor Brent Havens as he assisted the performance of the works of the Rolling Stones at Jesse H. Jones Hall.  Photo by Robert Land Productions.

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.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

| September 6, 2012

Glenn Beck’s The Blaze Fires Up Digital Audio Network; Jay Severin Among Talk Talent.  It’s called – what else? – TheBlaze Radio Network and the new online radio channel will be heard via Beck’s own TheBlaze iPhone and iPad apps as well as via iHeartRadio and at TheBlaze.com.  Beck’s company says the network will be the new exclusive home for “renowned nationally syndicated talk radio personality and Marconi Award-nominee Jay Severin.”  The lineup will also include a simulcast of Beck’s radio show, a re-launched show hosted by Stu Burguiere and Pat Gray as well as audio simulcasts of TheBlaze TV shows.  Dom Theodore, through his consulting firm RadioAnimal, LLC, will serve as the network’s program director.  When the network launches later this month, the lineup will be: the Glenn Beck program from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET;  Pat and Stu from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm; Jay Severin from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm; the simulcast of Beck’s TV show from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm and a simulcast of “Real News from the Blaze” from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  TheBlaze chief content officer Joel Cheatwood states, “We are excited to continue making TheBlaze a destination for news, information and entertainment programming across multiple platforms.  Jay is an incredible talent and is the perfect host to launch The Blaze Network.”

SEC Charging Financial Talker Ray Lucia with Violating Laws, Conducting Misleading Investment Seminars.  The Securities and Exchange Commission announces it is charging nationally syndicated talk host and financial advice author Ray Lucia with violating several sections of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.  The SEC says Lucia’s investment seminars, dubbed “Buckets of Money,” mislead potential investors when Lucia claimed his strategy “had been empirically ‘backtested’ over actual bear market periods.”  Further, the SEC states, “Lucia and RJL have admitted during the SEC’s investigation that the only testing they actually performed were some calculations that Lucia made in the late 1990s – copies of which no longer exist – and two two-page spreadsheets.”  The upshot, according to the FCC, is “Lucia and RJL left their seminar attendees with a false sense of comfort about the Buckets of Money strategy.”  SEC Los Angeles regional director Michele Wein Layne says, “The so-called backtests weren’t really backtests, and the strategy wasn’t proven as they claimed.”  The SEC is seeking “financial penalties and other remedial action in the proceedings.”

KTRH, Houston Talk Host Michael Berry’s the Flashpoint of Controversy in Houston After Tweet.  Former Houston city councilman Michael Berry and talk host at Clear Channel’s news/talk KTRH is the subject of chatter in Houston after a tweet he sent during Michelle Obama’s speech on Tuesday evening has some charging Berry used racist lingo.  Here’s what Berry tweeted: “Several black people were shot by other black people in Chicago while Michelle was speaking.”  He hash tagged it #knuckadeads.  Some say “knucka” or “nucka” is substitute slang for “nigga.”  Berry replies to My Fox Houston reporter Isiah Carey that he meant no racist intent and said Mrs. Obama has used the term to mean hard-headed, like knucklehead.  Carey writes Berry said he was trying to show the Obama administration’s lack of concern over the black-on-black violence in Chicago.

KMJ-FM, Fresno Names Jennifer Lipp AM Drive Host.  Peak Broadcasting brings popular Fresno radio personality Jennifer Lipp to morning drive on the FM side of its KMJ news/talk duo.  Lipp and former co-host Chris Daniel dominated mornings at crosstown rock KRZR in the late 1990s and early 2000s.  Daniel moved on to KMJ and Lipp worked at classic rock KKBZ, Fresno until Lotus Broadcasting let her go in November of 2011.  Now Lipp will host the morning show and Chris Daniel moves from the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot to 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm on KMJ-FM.  On her new gig, Lipp states, “It is a dream come true to grow with the KMJ brand.  This is the most exciting endeavor of my career and I am looking forward to the journey with both the listeners who have joined me in the past and those I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting.”  Lipp begins her new show on September 10.

Use Twitter to Help Save Your Job!  Consultant Holland Cooke explains how the Twitter era is forcing talk hosts, news staffers and DJs to “keep it moving” to keep the listener/reader engaged and make money in the process – if those media people use social media efficiently and wisely.  Cooke explains how he advised his clients covering the Republican and Democratic National Conventions to use Twitter to deliver content like no one else and how to make money with it.  Read this enlightening and smart advice here.

Clear Channel Albany Names Josh Everett Program Director for WGY and WOFX.  In addition to programming news/talk WGY-AM/FM and sports talk WOFX, Josh Everett will oversee the News Hub which provides news for 10 Clear Channel Media and Entertainment markets in the Northeast.  CC regional programming manager John Cooper states, “Josh’s extensive background in news/talk as well as sports programming will be an invaluable addition to WGY’s rich heritage and will help us grow WGY, Fox Sports and our News Hub.”  Everett comes to Albany from Clear Channel’s Lexington, Kentucky cluster where he programmed news/talk WLAP and managed local production of the University of Kentucky Wildcats coverage.

Michael Harrison to Speak at the NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will deliver an address provocatively titled, “Can Terrestrial Radio Thrive in the Digital Era?” at the forthcoming NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas.  According to Harrison, “The main challenge concerning FM and AM broadcasting at this perilous time in its rich and colorful history is making the transition to the digital age without prematurely sacrificing the value of the stick which is still the economic foundation of this industry and main source of livelihood for its practitioners.”  Harrison also believes that it is important for “radio to be smart and use its traditional on-air assets in confident balanced harmony with its unlimited online potential.”  He states, “The cultural heritage of what we all grew up to think of as ‘radio’ is deeply rooted in the traditions of over -the-air transmission and it is vitally important that in its rush to put everything it has into one internet basket, radio avoids losing its core identity, its soul, that separates it from being just another online music or informational utility.”  Harrison advises that just as talk radio has claimed “ownership” of politics in America and sports radio has claimed “ownership” of the country’s sports juggernaut, “music radio must reclaim its lost ownership of the music culture.”  He says the first step in accomplishing this is to bring back the colorful DJ as the backbone of the radio station’s presentation and the street savvy music director as its ear to what’s really going on out there.  Radio must not only ‘relate’ to this element, it must aggressively lead it as well.”  Harrison will be speaking at a special info-session sponsored by TALKERS magazine on Wednesday, September 19 between 10:15 am and 11:15 am.  All Radio Show registrants are encouraged to attend.

Day Three at DNC in Charlotte.  President Obama’s nomination acceptance speech will cap the three-day Democratic National Convention this evening and talk hosts, news networks and reporters spent yesterday covering the political chatter, campaigning and critiques of this convention.  Talk Radio Network O&O news organization America’s Radio News Network is one of the national radio news operations on the ground at this convention.  ARNN tells TALKERS co-anchors Lori Lundin and Rachel Crowson along with producers and technical staff, have been supplying live interviews and news updates to all five of the three-hour, long-form news programs the network offers.  Guests on the network from yesterday included: Eleanor Smeal, a two-time president of the National Organization for Women; Diana Degette (D-CO), chief deputy whip; Cumulus Media Networks host and journalist Geraldo Rivera; and acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank, among others.  ABC News Radio and Salem Radio Network are also covering the convention and ABC’s Steve Jones (l) and Salem’s Tom Tradup (r) took a moment to pose for this shot from the convention center for TALKERS.

Talent Shuffle at Alpha Broadcasting’s Sports KXTG, Portland.  A programming shift at “750 The Game” in Portland brings DirecTV/Fox Sports Radio syndicated host Dan Patrick to the station for morning drive beginning today.  The move bumps morning host Chad Doing to the PM drive slot and current afternoon host John Canzano to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show.  Business and marketing expert Brian Berger gives up his midday show but remains with the station to dispense his wisdom on the station’s various programs and online.

DirecTV Gives “The Nick and Artie Show” a TV Simulcast.  The syndicated radio version of the sports and entertainment-centric show hosted by comedians Nick Di Paolo and Artie Lange has been produced by DirecTV since its inception.  Now DirecTV does for “Nick and Artie” what the company’s Dan Patrick has enjoyed – a TV simulcast on DirecTV’s Audience Network channel.  Airing from 10:00 pm to 1:00 pm ET beginning tomorrow night, the company says the duo will “tackle TV with the most outrageous observational humor to be found anywhere.  The guys will review and give their unique takes on the day’s top sports and entertainment stories, along with celebrity interviews, movie reviews, live musical performances and a variety of in-studio segments, from cooking with Artie’s Mom to a game of pool.”

WTOP Promotes Dick Uliano to Full-Time Anchor/Reporter.  The veteran Washington newsman has been working with Hubbard Radio’s WTOP part time as well as contributing to SiriusXM’s POTUS channel and doing part-time anchoring at NPR.  Now, Dick Uliano joins the full-time staff at WTOP.  Uliano’s previous experience includes time spent with the Associated Press and CNN Radio.

Odds & Sods.  NFL great Joe Namath – who is part of Michael Kay’s show on ESPN O&O WEPN-FM, New York where he hosts the “Joe Namath Hour” – discusses the upcoming NFL season in a media conference call today at 10:00 am ET….. Former New Jersey 101.5 night host Tommy G returns to host “New Jersey Today” on Greater Media’s WCTC, New Brunswick from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm on Monday, September 10 and Friday, September 14.  He fills in for station PD Bert Baron, who says, “Tommy G is one of the biggest stars in all of New Jersey radio.  I’m blessed that a talent of his caliber, record of success and current following is a mere phone call away.  He’s a ratings winner that simply makes my station sound better.”…..JC Corcoran has been heard on the airwaves in Chicago as he’s been filling in on Tribune’s WGN.  The longtime St. Louis personality most recently hosted a program at KTRS.  Corcoran tells TALKERS he’ll have Fox Sports star Joe Buck on his show on WGN on Sunday morning at 10:00 am.  Corcoran says Buck is already predicting trouble with the NFL replacement officials, telling him, “I think something catastrophic could happen early in the season that could cost a team a ballgame.”….. Cumulus Media’s sports talk KNBR, San Francisco will serve as the flagship station for Golden State Warriors basketball through the 2015-16 season, the station announces.  It’s been the flagship of the NBA club since the 1976-77 season with the exception of one season in the 1980s.  Cumulus president and CEO Lew Dickey and Warriors co-executive chairman and CEO Joe Lacob appeared on the Murph & Mac show on Wednesday to announce the new deal.

Talk Radio Network’s Jerry Doyle Featured Speaker at Liberty PAC.  The Liberty Political Action Conference takes place September 13-15 in Chantilly, Virginia and funds “Congressman Ron Paul’s political activities as he travels the country to fight for the principles that many hold dear: Liberty, Limited Government and a strong, pro-American foreign policy.”  The three-day conference will include training sessions and personal one-on-one meetings with various speakers and supporters.  Jerry Doyle will be one of the speakers at the conference.

Presidential Campaign/Democratic National Convention, Arizona Immigration Ruling and Hillary Clinton in China Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/5).  The coverage of the Democratic National Convention and the presidential campaign; a federal judge’s ruling that Arizona officers can inquire about immigration status while pursuing information about other crimes; and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s trip to China were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, August 27, 2012

| August 27, 2012

Talk Hosts and News Operations Deal with Logistical Issues and Weather as Republican National Convention Begins in Tampa Today.  The Republican National Convention, a huge “radio row” and live broadcast draw for many radio stations and networks around the country, begins today and talk hosts, programmers and news staffers are dealing with what is already a complex couple of days of remote broadcasting being amplified by the threat from Tropical Storm Issac.  Today’s first day of the RNC is being canceled due to the storm and broadcasters are having to make contingency plans as a result.  From a logistical standpoint, hosts and news staffers may be forced to cram planned interviews and guest appearances originally scheduled across three days into two days on Tuesday and Wednesday.  As for live broadcasts scheduled from the convention center for today, that will depend on how quickly the storm moves through the area.  Salem Radio Network VP of news & talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS SRN’s equipment on radio row is set up but its two early Monday shows – Mike Gallagher and Dennis Prager – will originate from Salem Communications O&O WGUL, Tampa and the Michael Medved and Hugh Hewitt programs will broadcast from the convention center radio row later today.

Lincoln Financial Media Buys Miami FM for Sports Talk Simulcast with WAXY.  West Palm Beach FM WMSF at 104.3 will change hands from Palm Beach Broadcasting to Lincoln Financial Media for a reported $13 million and the latter will use the signal to give sports talk “790 The Ticket” WAXY an FM presence in the South Florida market.  Palm Beach acquired the station from CBS Radio earlier this year.  Palm Beach has applied to move the 104.3 signal from West Palm Beach to Miami and that application is still pending the FCC.  LFM will begin operating the station under an LMA prior to FCC approval of the sale.

Program Director Jay Bohannon Exits Clear Channel’s WPGB, Pittsburgh.  When Clear Channel fired up the Pittsburgh FM talk outlet in January 2004, Jay Bohannon was named the program director.  During his tenure at the station, he was responsible for working with morning show team Jim Quinn and Rose Tennent and bringing the program into syndication.  He also led news/talk branding and imaging for the company.  Bohannon is available for his next opportunity.  Reach out to him at radiojaybo@comcast.net.

Salem Communications to Buy WMUU, Greenville from Bob Jones University.  The station – owned by the Christian college’s Gospel Fellowship Association – currently programs a combo of Christian teaching and beautiful music but that will end when Salem Communications takes over and turns the Greenville, South Carolina FM at 94.5 into a news/talk outlet using programming from the Salem Radio Network.  No price has been announced nor has a start date for an LMA.

WOR Low Price Tag Cause of Angst for AM Radio Owners.  As the dust settles in the aftermath of the recently announced sale of Buckley Broadcastings’ heritage outlet WOR, New York to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, the cold hard reality of the low price tag is beginning to settle in and it is being perceived as a seriously bad indicator about the value and future of AM sticks.  Industry observers and players alike remember stories about the late Buckley Broadcasting CEO Rick Buckley turning down offers as high as $150 million for the station as recently as a decade ago.  In 2001, Disney paid then-owner The Forward newspaper $78 million for WEVD (1050 AM) to find a New York City outlet for ESPN Radio – a station with a significantly inferior signal than WOR’s.  An article in the New York Daily News reports on the topic: “One of the many nervous discussions in radio these days revolves around the future of AM stations — that is, if they have a future.”  Perhaps the revelations of the WOR deal will usher in an industry station deal cycle marked by what TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes as the “lesser fool” theory.

Former Eagles Star Brian Dawkins Joins 97.5 The Fanatic for NFL Coverage.  Former Philadelphia Eagles star Brian Dawkins will be part of the Friday coverage of NFL football on Mike Missanelli’s program each week at 4:10 pm on Greater Media’s WPEN-AM/FM, Philadelphia.  Program director Matt Nahigian says, “There is no one that Eagle fans love and relate to more than Brian Dawkins.  We had him on our air about a month ago and the response we received via Twitter and Facebook about wanting to hear him each week was staggering.  I am thrilled to bring his passion and insight to the Delaware Valley on a week to week basis.”

KLIN, Lincoln Nebraska Names David Dwinell AM Drive Co-Host; Kevin Thomas Promoted to PD.  Dwinell has been working at KLKN-TV, Lincoln as promotions director.  He leaves that position to return to radio where he’ll take the radio moniker Dave Miller as he sits beside Jack Mitchell on NRG Media’s Lincoln news/talker.  The slot on the station’s morning show opened up when John Bishop left the show to go across the hall and join NRG’s 1620 The Zone for its “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” program.  At the same time, KLIN PM drive host Kevin Thomas takes on the program director duties at the station that were previously held by John Bishop.  He’ll continue to host the 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm “Drive Time Lincoln” show.  Also, the sports director post – also previously held by Bishop – goes to Chris Whitney.

Buckley Broadcasting Flips KYZZ, Salinas, California to Sports.  The classic hits format disappears from KYZZ as the former “Z97.9” becomes part of the simulcast of “630 ESPN” KIDD, Monterey and becomes known as “97.9 ESPN Central Coast.”

Programmers Owe it to Themselves to See Obama Movie.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke says of the new movie “Obama’s America 2016,” “If you work in talk radio, you owe it to your audience to understand what all those network commercials in your show are selling.  And as an insider, you’ll recognize the event you’re attending as a theatrical ‘infomercial,’ a rented theater.”  Cooke says that regardless of your personal political viewpoint, as a content creator the film is instructive in numerous ways.  Read Holland Cooke’s analysis here.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie Cuts Ribbon at NJ 101.5 Studio.  Townsquare Media’s New Jersey 101.5 celebrated the opening of its refurbished main studio on August 23 and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was on hand to cut the ribbon.  NJ 101.5 program director Eric Johnson reports the main studio got some brand new carpeting and – more important – new broadcasting equipment to bring the station into the digital era.  PM drive hosts Deminski &Doyle were on the air when the switch was made and the monthly “Ask the Governor” program followed.  Christie was there for the program and made the new studio “official” with his gubernatorial ribbon cutting and he even worked the new digital board (pictured here) during the station’s 8:00 pm newscast.

Dale “The Truckin’ Bozo” Sommers Dies at 68.  The cause of death is not yet public but Dale Sommers had been dealing with unspecified health issues since he left the WLW, Cincinnati overnight program in 2004.  Although he retired from the show at that time, he resumed the program on satellite radio and hosted it until earlier this year when he again gave it up.  As the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter reports, Sommers’ program made national news twice when it helped solve crimes.  The first time was in 1984 when he was talking off the air with a regular caller who went by the name of “Mississippi Lady,” a convenience store clerk in Camilla, Georgia “when he heard her tell someone, ‘You can’t come back here’ before quickly hanging up the phone.  Sommers called Camilla police, who were familiar with his ‘Bozo Show’ and a store clerk known as the ‘Mississippi Lady.’ Within minutes, an officer apprehended the robber.”  His program was also credited with assisting police is catching the DC sniper in 2002 after a listener heard Sommers give the car’s license plate number over the radio.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

| August 23, 2012

Tom Owens Out at Clear Channel.  With the constant comings and goings of radio people these days – even executives – it’s tough to call anything a “shocker,” but Tom Owens has been part of the Clear Channel organization since its merger with the old Jacor back in 1998.  Owens began with Jacor as programmer at rocker WEBN, Cincinnati and moved up to the top of the corporate programming ladder there before the merger.  He was the head of Clear Channel programming until last fall when Tom Poleman was named president of national programming platforms and Owens was given the EVP of programming research and strategy title.  During his time there, Owens was no stranger to the pink slip process – of course, participating in it from the position of handing them out.  Now, as CC consolidates its programming research and ratings research groups into the national programming platforms division under Poleman, Owens leaves the company.  The official word from Clear Channel is that Owens will still contribute to its strategic programming on a “consultant basis.”  Sometimes in modern-day corporate jargon, that’s a nice way of saying, sayonara.

Emmis Picks Up Two Stations in Terre Haute.  The purchase of sports talk combo WSDM-FM at 92.7 and WSDX-AM at 1130 (both licensed to Brazil, Indiana) from Crossroads Investments must be approved by the FCC but Emmis will be operating the duo under an LMA beginning September 1.  Emmis Terre Haute general manager James Connor says in a statement, “We are excited to add the ESPN brand to the Emmis Terre Haute cluster of stations which includes WWVR-FM classic rock 105.5 The River and HI-99 WTHI-FM the Wabash Valley’s Country Station.  We will continue to serve the listeners of Terre Haute, Brazil and the surrounding communities with quality programming and our continued commitment to community service.”  In addition to ESPN programming, the combo airs local sports talk host Vaso Michels’ 5:00 am to 7:00 am program.

Talk Host Martha Zoller Loses Bid for Congress in Runoff Election.  Gainesville, Georgia-based talk host Martha Zoller – who left her talk radio career to run for the new 9th Congressional District seat in Georgia – lost the Republican primary runoff to Georgia State Representative Doug Collins.  In a message to supporters, Zoller stated, “I do not know what the future holds for me but I do know that there’s still work to be done.  Don’t stop fighting for what you believe … don’t give up hope in the future of this great nation … and don’t for a second believe that your efforts over the last year were in vain.”  Whether or not Zoller makes a talk host comeback is uncertain but she has hinted to the Georgia media that she is not done with her political aspirations.

Super Agent Eric Weiss Played Significant Role in Heidi & Frank/KLOS Marriage.  One of the most prominent behind-the-scenes movers and shakers in the radio talent rep business, Eric Weiss of the LA-based Weiss Agency, first had the idea that Heidi and Frank would make a good fit in mornings at KLOS as far back as one year ago.  According to Southern California radio historian Don Barrett of LARadio.com, Weiss had the idea that the duo would be perfect for mornings at the heritage LA album rocker when rumors began to surface that Mark & Brian might be heading into their final contract year before he even represented them stating, “I pursued the idea – spoke with both sides about it, and was able to help bring it to fruition.”  There’s a huge lesson and insight in this for those who wonder how big time media talent agents operate.  It is not just a matter of “get me a job.”  Top agents smell potential connections and often put themselves in the mix as catalysts to a marriage before the main parties involved even think of it themselves.  At RadioInfo and TALKERS, we are often asked by zealous-but-unproven talent yet to earn a track record if we can “recommend a good agent.”  Our answer:  “Any agent who would sign you as a client at this point in your career wouldn’t be a ‘good’ one.”

Karel Program to Air on CRN Digital Talk Radio.  San Francisco-based talk host Charles Karel Bouley’s “The Karel Show” begins daily distribution via CRN Digital Talk Radio.  The famously liberal and openly gay talk host began his talk career in 1998 on KFI, Los Angeles with his late partner Andrew Howard.  Since then he’s also worked at KGO, San Francisco.  CRN president and CEO Mike Horn states, “Karel raises questions, brings humor and creates compelling conversation with listeners and guests alike and we’re especially pleased to bring his outstanding show to CRN.”  Karel has a national profile through his radio career, his books, blogs, syndicated columns (Huffington Post) and television appearances as both commentator and actor.  He says, “CRN continues to blaze a trail in delivering content to listeners across America.  I’m so glad they are taking the show.  From the beginning, Mike Horn has been an advocate and I knew we’d get to this day.”  The program airs live on CRN 2 from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET.

SiriusXM Board of Directors Sued by Shareholders; Suit Has No Merit Says TALKERS Legal Editor.  The City of Miami Police Relief and Pension Fund, a SiriusXM shareholder, is contending that the SiriusXM board of directors has failed to prevent John Malone-led Liberty Media from assuming control over the satcaster.  The suit, filed in Delaware Chancery Court, contends Malone and other Liberty-appointed members of the board are preventing other board members from “adopting anti-takeover provisions even if doing so would be in the best interests” of shareholders.  Late yesterday, Delaware Chancery Court Judge Leo Strine ruled he would not stop Liberty from acquiring more shares as the plaintiffs had requested.  He further stated he would hear expedited motions within the next month to decide if the investors’ case should go forward.  But TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says what Liberty is doing is within its legal rights.  In fact, Weisman says SiriusXM could be in breach of contract if it attempted to stop Liberty’s actions.  Read Weisman’s exclusive analysis here.

Fox NFL Analyst Mike Pereira to Appear on KNBR, San Francisco This Season.  NFL fans know former NFL VP of officiating Mike Pereira as the guy the Fox play-by-play team cuts away to when there’s a questionable call on the field that needs illumination.  Now, Pereira will be part of the KNBR morning show with Gary Radnich and Larry Krueger for “The Rule Book” show Monday mornings at 9:30 during the NFL season.  Program director Lee Hammer states, “We’re excited to have Mike join the KNBR family.  In every NFL game, we see calls that leave fans in total disbelief.  As the former head of officiating for the NFL, Mike will not only explain the rule, but try to explain why the official made the call.  Mike no longer works for the league, so he’ll be critical when necessary and have the freedom to say when the officials clearly missed the call.”  With the possibility of the league’s officials sitting out due to a contract dispute with the league and replacement officials working games, this could be a huge programming coup on Monday mornings for KNBR!

Mancow Chicago Video Simulcast a Done Deal.  The “Mancow Experience” will be seen by Chicagoans on WPWR-TV – channel 50 in Chicago – from 6:00 am to 8:00 am beginning this fall .  The Chicago Tribune reports what was teased earlier this summer is being confirmed by station management.  The other aspect of this news for Erich “Mancow” Muller is that his show will have a new physical home base as production of the TRN nationally syndicated radio program will move to WPWR’s North Michigan Avenue studios.  WPWR VP and general manager Mike Renda says, “This fall, Chicagoans will get a backstage pass into one of the most provocative radio programs in this market.  Viewers will have unlimited access into Mancow’s madness, with a live, unedited simulcast that will bring this dynamic voice to life.”  Mancow’s show is heard in the market on suburban WJJG.

New York’s WFAN Scores Eli Manning Appearances.  New York Football Giants flagship WFAN, New York signs Giants QB Eli Manning to a multi-year deal to have Manning join PM drive host Mike Francesa at 5:05 the day after every Giants game during the season and the post-season.  Vice president of programming for CBS Radio New York and WFAN operations manager Mark Chernoff says, “As the team’s flagship radio station, we’re proud to be the leading source of Giants news for football fans across the tri-state area.  Having Eli every week is guaranteed to give listeners the best commentary, insight and discussion with a perspective only he can offer on the New York Giants.  This will be appointment radio at its best.”

Salem Radio Network Gears Up for Convention Coverage.  Dallas-based Salem Radio Network is prepping to cover the Republican National Convention in Tampa beginning on Monday. SRN vice president of news & talk programming Tom Tradup reports a full battery of SRN news staffers — including White House correspondent Greg Clugston and SRN U.S. Senate correspondent Linda Kenyon — will join SRN talk hosts Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved and others at the network’s broadcast headquarters in the Tampa Bay Times Forum.  Tradup tells TALKERS magazine, “We’ll either present superb Republican Convention coverage or the most over-staffed hurricane coverage in the history of 21st century radio…or both!”  Tradup states the organization will also cover the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte the following week, and will include what it calls a “truth squad” led by former Secretary of Education Bill Bennett who hosts SRN’s “Morning in America” program.

NRG Media’s “The Zone” Omaha Sports Outlet Launches “Fully Interactive” Post-Game Show.  Sports talk KOZN, Omaha announces the debut of the “Big Red Over-Reaction” post-game show that will immediately follow Nebraska Cornhuskers football games this season.  The station is touting the program as  “fully interactive” saying it “will immediately feature fan reaction via on-air and digital and social media, providing instant vent-and-release by Cornhusker fans nationwide via over-the-air call-in, Twitter tweets, Facebook posts, Huskermax.com and e-mails.”  The show will feature The Zone’s legendary former Husker National Champion Blackshirt Jason Peter.  Peter will be joined by “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” co-hosts John Bishop and Mike’l Severe and Jason’s morning show co-host Gary Sharp of “Sharp & Peter in the Morning.”  NRG Media Omaha general manger Andy Ruback says, “We have the talent and the capability to deliver a program that the market has never seen before.  Our personalities have a combined total of nearly 100 years of experience with Nebraska football and we believe that fans will appreciate our unique approach to post-game programming that they have never had before.”

Yahoo! Sports Radio Names Doug Russell and Mark Carman PM Drive Hosts.  The slot opened up when Yahoo! host Travis Rodgers was moved to the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET slot on the network.  Doug Russell moves up from the network’s evening program and Mark Carman has worked at Houston Texans flagship KILT, Houston as well as WGN, Chicago.

Organization Files Petitions with FCC to Deny Renewal of Fox-Owned TV Stations.  The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington is asking the FCC to deny renewal of the broadcast licenses of three Fox TV stations – two in Washington, DC and one in Baltimore – because of News Corp.’s involvement in hacking scandals in England, according to The Hill.  TV licenses, like radio broadcast licenses, come up for renewal every eight years and the three stations in question applied for renewal in June.  Their licenses are set to expire in October.  According to the story, CREW asked the commission to pull the licenses to all 27 Fox-owned TV stations back in May – citing the clause in FCC regulations that it only grants licenses to those of “good character” – but the FCC has taken no action.  The commission rarely takes action in cases of ethics complaints and it is not expected to act on CREW’s complaint.

Presidential Campaign, Todd Akins Campaign Status, Prince Harry Naked Partying Incident, Merkel-Euro Zone Tensions, and Hurricane Threatens Tampa GOP Convention Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/22).  The U.S. presidential campaign; Missouri Rep. Todd Akins campaign status in wake of “legitimate rape” comment; the fallout over Prince Harry’s naked partying in Las Vegas; German chancellor Angela Merkel’s difficult decision regarding Greece and the future of the euro zone; and the hurricane threat to next week’s GOP convention in Tampa were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

| August 9, 2012

Pioneering Radio Owner Peter Straus Dies at 89.  His Straus Communications owned WMCA, New York when it was a part of the golden age of rock ‘n’ roll radio and after it became a talk radio outlet in 1970 until the time it was sold in 1986.  From a talk radio perspective Straus’ WMCA employed legendary talk hosts including Barry Gray, Barry Farber, Bob Grant and Bruce Williams.  The station is now owned by Salem Communications and broadcasts a Christian format.  Salem Radio Network vice president of news & talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS he has fond memories of working for Straus as executive producer of the talk shows in the early 1980s.  “I worked with Peter at a time when WMCA was a petri dish of talk radio creativity.  Legendary hosts like Barry Gray, Bob Grant, Bruce Williams and Barry Farber were all local hosts on WMCA…and our 5,000-watt station (albeit in the middle of Midtown Manhattan!) was the home of every important New York politician including NYC mayor Ed Koch, New York Lt. Governor (and later Governor) Mario Cuomo, New York city clerk (and future mayor) David Dinkins and many more.  The hallways of WMCA were always full, and it was a rare day one didn’t run into a guest like Marlon Brando or Woody Allen or Tony Randall or Robert Vaughn.”  Tradup says the station was “vibrant but challenged” during his time there as it battled WOR and WABC but Straus was “one in a million.  Peter instituted a ‘first radio in New York’ policy, meaning if an author appeared on another NYC station before WMCA, we wouldn’t book him.  And son of a gun, we started getting all the big authors first because publishers knew he meant it.  This taught me a lesson I’ve never forgotten: If you act as if your radio station is #1, people will treat you like #1.  Peter was a winner, an exceptional leader, and the talk radio industry owes him respect and gratitude.”

Howard Stern Appeals Suit Dismissal in Beef with SiriusXM.  Talk radio legend Howard Stern and agent Don Buchwald are not going to let one dismissal get in the way of their goal of getting some $300 million in stock bonuses they say is due them as the result of the satcaster’s success.  According to the New York Daily News, Stern and Buchwald – through Stern’s 112 Inc. production company – filed suit in the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division.  The Daily News reports the suit hasn’t even been processed yet so the documents aren’t available but we have a pretty good idea what Stern is claiming: That he is owed the $300 million in stock bonuses because his program is responsible for a large degree of SiriusXM’s success, even the success that came after the merger of Sirius and XM.  In April of this year though, New York Supreme Court Justice Barbara Kapnick disagreed with Stern’s logic and dismissed the case ruling the language in Stern’s contract is “clear” and “unambiguous.”  In other words, he’s gotten everything the contract promised him.

Howard Eskin Returns to TV Sports Anchor Role.  Longtime WIP, Philadelphia sports talk personality Howard Eskin goes back to the little screen as sports anchor at WTXF-TV Fox 29 in Philadelphia.  The station says Eskin helped launch its 10:00 pm news back in 1986 and now he’ll be behind the sports desk for the Fox News 29 at 5:00 pm, 6:00 pm and 10:00 pm newscasts as well as “Fox 29 Sports Sunday,” “Game Time Live,” and he’ll contribute to “Good Day Philadelphia.”  After leaving his full-time talk show position at WIP, Eskin continued to work with the station as part of the Eagles pre- and post-game shows and as a sideline reporter.  Eskin will remain with WIP to host programs, the Eagles pre-game show and handle sideline reporting for the station.

Shara Fryer Added to KTRH, Houston AM Drive Show.  Longtime Houston market television news personality Shara Fryer will join Matt Patrick as co-host of KTRH’s “Houston’s Morning News.”  Fryer is currently director of the World Affairs Council of Houston but served as co-anchor of KTRK-TV, Houston’s 6:00 pm and 10:00 pm evening newscasts for more than 25 years.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Houston president and market manager Eddie Martiny says, “Over 25 years of major-market broadcast excellence combined with her commitment to numerous charities in Houston make Shara the perfect choice for mornings on KTRH.”  Fryer says, “I’m excited by the energy and raw spirit of radio.  It’s a brand new world for me…There’s a spark with Matt and the entire KTRH team that I hope listeners will feel and join us weekday mornings.”  She begins her new duties on September 4.

Al Gore to Anchor Current TV’s Convention Coverage.  Former Vice President Al Gore – founder of the cable news/talk channel Current TV taps himself to anchor the channel’s coverage of the two political conventions.  Current TV states, “Gore will be joined by former Michigan governor and ‘The War Room’ host, Jennifer Granholm, former New York governor and ‘Viewpoint’ host, Eliot Spitzer and ‘The Young Turks’ host, Cenk Uygur.  Additionally, California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom will join the panel for the RNC coverage.”  Current TV hosts Joy Behar and John Fugelsang will also assist in the coverage of the RNC beginning August 27 and the DNC beginning September 4.  In a statement, Gore says, “I’m pleased to be participating in Current TV’s impressive lineup throughout the Republican and Democratic National Conventions.  Cenk, Jennifer and Eliot provide the keen insight and spot-on analysis our viewers have come to expect, combined with decades of experience in public service and a deep understanding of politics.  I have no doubt that our coverage will be innovative and informative, and I look forward to working with them.”

Olympian Brings Home the Gold.  Bethesda, Maryland teen Katie Ledecky (pictured here with WTOP, Washington program director Laurie Cantillo) stopped by WTOP to talk with the news organization about her experiences at the London Olympics.  The gold-medal-winning 15-year-old won the 800-meter freestyle and spoke with WTOP anchors Shawn Anderson and John Aaron about the games and answered her critics who predicted she swam too fast in the beginning of the race and would tire before the end.  Obviously, she didn’t.

Odds & Sods.  SiriusXM’s Opie & Anthony bring their program to Chicago for a live remote broadcast tomorrow from the 115 Bourbon Street Bar in suburban Merrionette Park.  The special afternoon edition of the program kicks off at 3:00 pm CT…..CBS Radio names Laura Gonzalez local sales manager for sports talk WJFK, Washington, DC…..Cumulus Media splits off the AM side of sports simulcast WLQR, Toledo to go talk using all Cumulus Media Networks programs: Imus, Geraldo, Mike Huckabee, Mark Levin, John Batchelor and “Red Eye Radio”…..Clear Channel’s sports WPOP, Hartford will carry Central Connecticut State football and basketball play-by-play for the next four seasons…..Attorney Eddie Gadrix begins hosting a Monday hour-long program focused on senior issues on WVNJ, Washington Township, New Jersey (Philadelphia market) on Monday mornings at 9:00.  Gadrix has been hosting the “Divorce & Custody Show” on Fridays at 9:00 am on the station and continues that program…..Talk host Matt Bruce fills in on the AM drive show on the simulcast of WWJB, Brooksville and WXJB, Homosassa Springs, Florida today through August 14.

A Sign of the Times.  WRKO, Boston talk host Barry Armstrong – Boston-area financial advisor and host of the daily “The Financial Exchange” program – is pictured here during one of the presentations that was part of the two-day financial seminar event on the economy, social security and estate planning.  More than 1,000 people attended the seminars that were only promoted on Armstrong’s show on WRKO.  Many listeners decided to also get an inside look into the production of Armstrong’s program as he conducted the entire program in front of a live audience.

Presidential Campaign Ads, Neo-Nazi Hate Groups, London Olympics, Mars ‘Curiosity’ Mission and Randy Travis Arrest Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/8).  The state of the presidential campaign ads in the 2012 election; neo-Nazi groups and the aftermath of the Wisconsin Sikh temple shootings; the London Olympics; the ‘Curiosity’ mission on Mars; and the arrest of country star Randy Travis were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

 

Monday, July 23, 2012

| July 23, 2012

Aurora Tragedy Sparks and Challenges Talk Radio.  There are few events that news/talk radio programmers in the age of cutbacks fear more than a major story that captures the entire nation’s consciousness breaking on a weekend when their stations’ key stars are off and brokered or syndicated “how-to” shows are on.  The Aurora, Colorado movie theater massacre came very close to being such a story, except that it technically broke on a Friday morning, giving weekday hosts the opportunity to at least address it in the early stages of information being available and programmers a full day to organize a weekend strategy.  This type of blood-chilling, high-drama story takes days to develop as information slowly disseminates amidst knee-jerk speculation, leaving a number of news/talk outlets incapable of fully diving into it on a Saturday and Sunday when personnel is at a minimum and “regular” programming takes a break from core stationality.   Regardless, the industry has had all too many unfortunate chances to learn from this problem in recent years and according to TALKERS monitors across the country and conversations with programmers, there was a far better state of readiness to appropriately handle the Aurora tragedy than for similar instances in the past.  Initial reports indicate that the main topics and debates being fueled by this mega-story are gun control, violence in entertainment, and the relationship between mental illness and crime.  There has also been strong interest in talking about appropriate parenting prompted by the fact that a child and an infant were in attendance at the midnight movie.  As an example of news/talk radio taking control of this situation, Salem Radio Networks VP of programming, Tom Tradup tells TALKERS, “On SRN News, we gave the shooting priority coverage — including three hours of Special Reports — and we are featuring perspective from Murphy Wells, a KNUS, Denver reporter who is part of the local morning show at KNUS with studios in Aurora. Also Larry O’Connor, editor-in-chief of Breitbart.TV guest-hosted a special edition of the Hugh Hewitt show on Friday from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET focusing exclusively on the deaths and injuries in the shootings.”   At WGN, Chicago, program director Bill White tells TALKERS, “On Friday Jonathon Brandmeierlead with the story throughout his morning show after it broke during our live overnight show.  Jonathon spoke with witnesses who were in the multiplex when the shooting occurred and authorities from Aurora, and he actually confirmed the death count to 12 before most media outlets.  He also took calls from Chicago and throughout the Midwest as listeners coped with the tragic news.”  In Boston at Greater Media‘s WTKK, program director Grace Blazer says the station was live and local from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm both Friday and Saturday.  “We ran the important new conferences from Denver with President Obama and Mitt Romney.  We spoke with reporters live from Denver plus local experts such as Jack Levin, Professor of Sociology and Criminology at Northeastern University and author of several mass murder books, and Ty Burr, film critic from the Boston Globe, who discussed violence in the Batman movies.  On Saturday, Paul Ferrazzani, a registered instructor from the Firearm Safety Academy in Medford, Massachusetts gave listeners the inside scoop on our gun statutes.”

Fox Sports Radio and Mile High Sports Remember Colorado Shooting Victim.  By now, most of us who work in the media are aware that one of the victims of Thursday’s movie-theater shootings was a young woman named Jessica Ghawi who had just missed being a potential victim of a similar shooting in Toronto in June.  The San Antonio native had interned at Lincoln Financial Media’s KKFN, Denver earlier this year and was due to speak with Mile High Sports Magazine editor-in-chief Doug Ottewill about her sports media career the next day.  On Friday, Mile High Sports and Fox Sports Radio talk host Peter Burns spoke with Fox Sports Radio’s “Loose Cannons” about Jessica.  Burns told the program’s listeners, “Her mom told me early this morning, ‘I want you to talk as much as you can.  Celebrate everything that Jessica did, and celebrate everything that these victims did.’  And I’m glad that you guys are giving me the time to celebrate that and talk about how amazing of a person she is, rather than giving a minute or 30 seconds to this coward that did this.”  Burns recounted how Ghawi wanted to set up a charity to help the victims of the Colorado wildfires and was working toward that goal when her life ended tragically on Thursday night.

Cox Media Group Realigns Corporate Management to Fit New TV Signals and Announces Radio and TV Properties to Be Sold.  Twenty-seven radio signals in six markets are going on the block as Cox Media Group announces a realignment of its business strategy that will include the sale of several TV operations and some corporate officer changes to dovetail with the recent acquisition of several TV stations.  The only spoken-word format up for sale is the new sports talk FM WZNN, Birmingham that had been part of the Paul Finebuam-Cumulus contract dispute that’s since been settled.  The rest of the signals are music FMs and AMs or ethnic outlets in Birmingham, Alabama; Greenville, South Carolina; Hawaii; Louisville, Kentucky; Richmond, Virginia; and Southern Connecticut.  There are five TV signals in four cities going on the market.  As to the corporate structure changes, former group VP Kim Guthrie is named Cox’s new senior vice president responsible for radio markets, and former Austin American-Statesman publisher Jane Williams is the company’s new senior vice president responsible for TV markets, both reporting to Bill Hoffman, EVP over broadcast.  Other additional leadership changes effective immediately include: former group VP Rich Reis who becomes VP and GM of digital operations reporting to EVP Neil Johnston; former group VP Ben Reed is now VP and market manager of Atlanta radio reporting to Kim Guthrie; former group VP Jay O’Connor, as previously announced, is the new VP and GM at KIRO-TV, Seattle.  EVP Mike Joseph continues to oversee CMG’s newspaper operations and CMG Ohio.   Cox Media Group president Doug Franklin states, “This simplified structure will enable CMG to capitalize on continued growth and synergies, while retaining its size financially.  All of our media outlets, regardless of size, are valuable, profitable brands with strong futures thanks to the hard work and dedication of our talented professionals who serve their audiences, advertisers and communities.  We thank the leaders and employees in the locations we’re selling for their outstanding contributions to this company over the years and the valuable service they will continue to provide their respective communities.”

Cuts Hit St. Paul-Based American Public Media.  MinnPost.com’s David Brauer reports 10 employees of the St. Paul, Minnesota public radio company American Public Media are being let go as the organization deals with the changes in the contemporary media business.  Brauer reports engineer Rick “Scooter” Hebzynski, public relations staffer Christina Schmitt and digital archivist Jenel Farrell are three of the casualties and that Current.org is saying “Marketplace” D.C. chief John Dimsdale also is being let go.  Minnesota Public Radio CEO John McTaggart writes to staffers in a memo: “There’s no question today’s constantly changing media landscape presents challenges, but we at APM also see opportunities.  The changes we are making today are really about APM’s future and help to position us for future audience service and growth.  We are reorganizing around two key areas: content and development.  We are aligning our priorities to focus on two main divisions that create value for our audiences and cultivate vital relationships with our members, donors and funders.  The result is a more streamlined organization design that gives us a strong footing as we look ahead.”  To that end McTaggart announces MPR COO Dave Kansas leads the content division SVP and chief development officer Randi Yoder heads up the development division.

Longtime KFI, Los Angeles Traffic Reporter Recovering After Crash.  Los Angeles traffic reporter Mike Nolan suffered fractured ribs and a broken collar bone in the Friday evening crash of a Cessna single engine plane he was piloting near the Corona Municipal Airport.  KFI’s Neil Saavedra tells the Los Angeles Times Nolan was flying with a student and family friend – who was not seriously injured – when the crash occurred in Riverside County.  Saavedra tells the paper Nolan – a KFI employee since the mid-1980s – had more than 40 years of experience as a pilot.  He was headed home to land in time to take off again for his two last traffic newscasts when the accident took place.  The plane lost power and hit electricity lines.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  WTKK, Boston talk host Doug Meehan is broadcasting live from Camp Harbor View this Thursday morning to help raise awareness and funds for the special camp that offers hundreds of children who live in Boston’s at-risk neighborhoods the opportunity to have fun and learn at summer camp.  Thursday’s broadcast will feature coverage of the camp’s 5k road race event…..WFAS, Westchester, New York talk host Lisa Wexler, whose program airs live on the station from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm daily, will have her show re-broadcast  from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm daily beginning tonight.  WFAS GM Marty Sheehan says, “We are very proud of all that Lisa has accomplished in the short time she has been with us.  We want to meet the demand to hear more of Lisa and introduce more of our audience to her show.”…..Sports USA is making the Little League World Series U.S. Championship and International Championship games available to radio stations across the country.  The games are being played the weekend of August 25 and 26.  Ad sales are being handled by Skyview Networks.

Sirius About Fantasy Football.  Sports talk hosts and celebrities invaded the Hard Rock Café in New York City’s Times Square over the weekend for SiriusXM’s Celebrity Fantasy Football Draft broadcast.  In addition to SiriusXM talk hosts Steve Phillips, Jay Thomas, Scott Ferrall, Steve Covino and Rich Davis, celebrities including actor George Wendt, guitarist Zakk Wylde and Jaguars running back Maurice Drew-Jones took part in the promotion.  Pictured here are DirecTV/Premiere Networks talk hosts Nick Di Paolo and Artie Lange who also took part.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

| June 21, 2012

CBS Radio Announces Plans to Put Sports Talk on FM in Tampa.  This one’s been long-anticipated with industry watchers speculating about which signal CBS Radio would use to put sports talk on FM in the market.  So Hot AC WSJT-FM, will be replaced by sports talk in August as “SPORTSRADIO 98.7 The Fan.”  Currently, CBS operates WQYK – 1010 Sports – with Mike Pepper serving as assistant PD and co-host of the “Hooters Nation Morning Show” with Lynne Austin.  He is promoted to program director for the new combo.  CBS Radio SVP and market manager Ben Hill states, “Never before has there been a station for Tampa Bay’s passionate sports fans with such reach and ties to the community as SPORTSRADIO 98.7 The Fan.  Locally based on-air personalities and a programming team with years of experience in Tampa will help shape the station as a place listeners can trust for the most honest, engaging and interactive sports talk.”  A release from CBS states hosts and reporters for the station will be announced at a later date.  Currently, 1010 Sports airs DirecTV/Fox Sports Radio’s Dan Patrick; “The Commish with Justin Pawlowski”; J.P. Peterson in PM drive and Toby David in evenings in addition to the morning drive show.  It’s not clear how or if CBS will integrate the current programming heard on 1010 Sports.  About the new FM signal, Pepper says, “Being this closely involved in a radio first for Tampa listeners has been one of the most exciting opportunities in my career.  Our sports landscape has changed dramatically over the last 10 years highlighted by a Super Bowl Championship for the Buccaneers, a Stanley Cup for the Lightning, and an American League title for the Rays, as well as the rise of USF football.  The timing couldn’t be better for the launch of SPORTSRADIO 98.7 The Fan.”

Glenn Beck Visits Dave Ramsey Show.  It’s pretty unusual for talk show hosts of their stature to be guests on one another’s shows but that’s what happened yesterday as Premiere Networks star (and multi-media pioneer) Glenn Beck was a featured guest on the nationally syndicated Dave Ramsey show.  Beck appeared to speak with Ramsey about his new book, Cowards: What Politicians, Radicals, and the Media Refuse to Say (Threshold Editions 2012).  The two friends complimented each other on their success and Beck told Ramsey he constantly hears from fans of his who also listen to Ramsey and tell him how he’s helped them.  Beck said, “You have changed millions of peoples’ lives…I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met who said, ‘You know, I was out of control, started listening to Dave and thank God, he has changed my life.  Congratulations.”

Listener Driven Radio Buys Out Mike McVay.  Cumulus Media senior vice president of programming Mike McVay was one of four founding members and a shareholder of LDR – Listener Driven Radio.  Now, in an effort to make sure the company is not confronted with issues of conflict of interest, the company has bought the shares McVay owns back from him.  McVay left his seat on the board of directors when he took the Cumulus post last fall.  In a statement, president and CEO Daniel Anstandig said, “Our LDR team is often involved in strategic discussions with our station partners.  We want to be beyond reproach with our clients when it comes to confidential and proprietary information.  Our move to buy out Mike McVay eliminates potential conflicts for McVay in his role as a senior manager for Cumulus.”  LDR has created software that allows listeners to stations to have a say in the actual programming of the music as well as software that provides hot topic data for spoken-word stations.

Arbitron Shows Efforts to Satisfy Agencies’ Desire for ROI Data.  Due to the nature of the way radio has always been rated, it’s been very difficult to give advertisers who bought time via agencies the data they desire about the effectiveness of their ads.  Arbitron has been working on using its PPM technology to improve advertisers’ marketing mix models with what it calls more “granular” data.  Arbitron’s Bill Rose told clients in a webinar yesterday, “Buyers want more specific information – granular – about who is listening when their spots aired.”  Arbitron is working with Media Monitors to provide exact times spots aired.  Using marketing mix models, advertisers analyze how effective their marketing is and Rose showed three case studies of specific products or services conducted over relatively long periods of time in which granular PPM data was able to improve the scores of radio ads relative to their impact on sales.  Rose also notes that in the past, any attempt to provide marketers with data on radio’s performance was time consuming and labor intensive.  PPM’s granular data changes that.  “After two years of intense study and experimentation, we’re happy to see that the more granular radio data can improve our ability to evaluate radio’s contribution in marketing mix models.”

Talk Radio Mobile Service Aggregator Stitcher Unveils Redesigned App.  The new Stitcher app for iPhone and Android operating systems includes some new functions – the coolest of which is what it calls “Smart Station.”  The Smart Station function makes recommendations for shows to check out based upon the programming to which you’re already listening – sort of like a Pandora for spoken-word shows.  Stitcher CEO Noah Shanok says, “Stitcher Smart Station is designed to give our listeners more tools for discovery and personalization.  Our goal is to make talk radio more accessible than ever, and listeners are responding.  Since our launch of the Stitcher Election Center in May, we’ve seen an increase in listening by an average of an hour per month.  We’re hoping Stitcher Smart Station gives listeners just as much, if not more, access to new, relevant content within the app.”

Salem Radio Network News Covers Plight of Dalits.  Salem Radio Network vice president of news & talk programming Tom Tradup is pictured here in a slum in Hyderabad, India getting a close-up look at the nation’s dalits – or “untouchables.”  Tradup tells TALKERS magazine that, beginning next week, SRN News will present a weeklong series on the challenges these people – especially the children – face that include malnutrition, filthy living conditions and India’s sex-trafficking trade.  SRN worked with the Dalit Action Network to cover this story.  Tradup says, “The most amazing thing about these children is that with so little going for them in material terms their faith nevertheless remains strong and they are some of the most outgoing, loving youngsters I’ve ever met.”

2012 Presidential Race, ‘Fast and Furious’ Battle/Executive Privilege, Trayvon Martin Case/Police Chief Fired, and Obama’s DREAM Act Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/20).  The 2012 presidential campaign; the Congressional battle over Attorney General Eric Holder’s contempt charges and President Obama’s declaring executive privilege in the ‘Fast and Furious’ case; the firing of Sanford, Florida police chief Bill Lee in the Trayvon Martin case; and President Obama’s DREAM Act and the expected Supreme Court decision on Arizona’s illegal immigration law were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

 

Monday, June 4, 2012

| June 4, 2012

Tom Leykis and Lionel to Discuss Their High-Profile Pioneering Digital Efforts at NMS.  Two questions (or variations thereof) regularly fielded by the TALKERS editorial staff these days are “How’s Tom Leykis doing with his new online talk show?” and “What’s Lionel up to these days with his online project?”  Both will be answered in detail straight from the horses’ mouths at the New Media Seminar’s Digital Workshop in New York City this Thursday, June 7.  As West Coast-based Leykis approaches the two-month mark into the launch of his “New Normal Network” online project and East Coast-based Lionel chalks up two years of operating “LionelMedia.com,” both individualistic graduates of the terrestrial talk show scene continue to gain traction on both the audience and revenue fronts as the industry watches with great interest.  Leykis tells TALKERS, “We had over 1.1 million sessions from our debut on April 2nd until April 30th. That number would most closely approximate cume. In our first week of 24/7 streaming, we had exactly 401,180 listeners. That was more listeners than the weekly cumes of 14 L.A./Orange County radio stations in March.”  On the revenue front, Leykis is also very pleased with immediate results saying, “At the current pace, we will make over 100K in revenue, but we are conservatively estimating 100K for the year.”  Leykis explains the key to making an online radio operation work is to provide specific listeners something they cannot get anywhere else.  He tells TALKERS, “You really have to super-serve your P1s…even in the process of selling advertising.  We go out into the marketplace and ask radio-friendly businesses the question, ‘Are you being priced out of radio?’  Because our operating costs are so much lower than radio we can offer these small businesses very affordable deals.  And when you specifically target business owners who are already in your audience as listeners, well it just makes a lot of sense.  This is what we are doing and it is working.”  Lionel describes his digital effort to TALKERS as follows: “This month is the second anniversary of the launch of LionelMedia.com, a paid subscription podcasting outlet. I podcast an hour daily of uninterrupted, unedited, commercial and break-free freeform-yet-structured spoken word. It, frankly, knows no peer. Every day I post news stories, columns, ideas, opinions and the like that supplement the subject or content of that day’s podcast. I’ll also attach a YouTube video of my latest PIX11 commentary on myriad subjects. To be most precise: I do exactly what I want. Let that sink in. My podcasts are not profane or blue in the least — in fact they could be played in their entirety on terrestrial radio. That, I feel, is a drawing point and basis for much of our success.”  Although Lionel no longer does a terrestrial radio talk show, he does regularly scheduled commentaries on Tribune television stations including New York’s WPIX channel 11 and Merlin Media’s all-news FMs in New York, Philadelphia and Chicago in addition to appearing as a regular guest on a number of terrestrial radio talk shows…exposure that helps drive traffic to his online media station.  The Digital Workshop will be moderated by Ellen Ratner of Talk Radio News Service and Dan Patterson of KoPoint.  The June 7 industry-only New Media Seminar/NYC is an advance sellout.  For information call 413-565-5413.

Wisconsin Recall Spurs Question of “Equal Time” on Milwaukee News/Talk Outlets – and Beyond.  Progressive political groups are charging Clear Channel‘s WISN, Milwaukee and Journal Broadcasting‘s WTMJ, Milwaukee with violating the FCC‘s “Zapple Doctrine” which mandates “equal time” to all qualified political candidates within 60 days of an election under certain circumstances. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes that talk hosts often benefit from exemption from the “Zapple Doctrine” by qualifying as a “news interview program.” But that exemption is not always a slam dunk. Read Weisman’s column about how the courts tend to interpret this section of FCC regulations here.

WPLJ-FM, New York OM Tony Mascaro to Program WABC?  Some posts on the New York Radio Message Board indicate inside sources are reporting Cumulus Media New York is naming CHR WPLJ-FM operations manager Tony Mascaro program director of its news/talk WABC. As of the posting of this item, there is no confirmation or denying of the report from Cumulus. WABC APD Chuck Armstrong has been serving as interim program director for the station filling the role left vacant when Laurie Cantillo exited the post last fall. Stay tuned.

Tony Kornheiser Re-Ups with WTEM, Washington for Two Years.  The Red Zebra Broadcasting station announces high-profile personality Tony Kornheiser renews his deal to remain host of the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program on ESPN 980 WTEM, Washington, DC. As part of the new contract, Kornheiser will contribute to the Washington Redskins Radio Network‘s “Official Pre-Game Show” during the football season. WTEM CEO Rick Carmean states, “Tony’s unique brand of humor and entertainment fits perfectly into our strong and highly rated midday lineup.” Kornheiser is joined weekdays by a rotating cast of co-hosts including Gary Braun, Jeanne McManus, Torie Clark, David Aldridge and longtime producer Nigel. Frequent contributors include Tony’s “Pardon the Interruption”co-host Michael Wilbon.

WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta Gives Adam Goldfein Nightly Program.  Local attorney and auto dealership owner Adam Goldfein has hosted a weekend program about cars on Cox Media‘s WSB-AM/FM for some time. Now, the station adds more air time to his schedule. The consumer issues expert begins hosting a program airing nightly from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Goldfein had been filling in for Clark Howard on the station and Cox Radio Atlanta VP and market manager Dan Kearney tells the Atlanta Journal Constitution, “He was doing a great job filling in for Clark Howard and his Sunday show was getting great ratings. We wanted him on more consistently.” 

Stephen King’s WZON, Bangor Drops Local Sports Talk; Dismisses Two.  Give WZON, Bangor owner Stephen King credit for manning up and personally delivering the news to sports talk hosts Dale Duff and Clem LaBree that they were being dismissed for financial reasons. Duff and LaBree hosted the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm sports talk show on WZON-AM as well as covering a slew of local sports events, including high school and college games. The Bangor Daily News reports King told the two the change had nothing to do with the quality of their work but because the programming was losing money. WZON-AM had ceased being a full-time sports talk station in November of 2010 and was carrying much of the progressive talk format from sister WZON-FM ­- The Pulse. Duff had been with the station for 19 years. Both are receiving severance from the company. Duff and LaBree’s show will be replaced by a simulcast from WZON-FM although the station will continue to air sports play-by-play.

SRN’s Tom Tradup Makes Statement on End of “Richard Land Live” Program.  The Ethics and Religious Liberty Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention issued two reprimands to Dr. Richard Land for comments he made about the Trayvon Martin case that it deemed “irresponsible, insensitive and racially charged.” It also ended his radio program that it produced that was distributed via Salem Radio Network. The controversy surrounding the statements was enhanced further by allegations Land read them from another published opinion that was not cited. SRN vice president of news/talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS, “Theologians have a different perspective on talk radio than the rest of our industry does. What some see as “hurtful language” on the Trayvon Martin case is, in reality, part of a free and open exchange of ideas and opinions that is the keystone of talk radio. And by talk radio standards, nothing Dr. Land may have failed to “fully attribute” on the air or on his website rose to the level of so-called plagiarism. Nevertheless, we respect the ERLC’s decision and thus the final edition of ‘Richard Land Live’ aired Saturday, June 2.

Twin Cities Radio Personality Dark Star Dies at Age 66.  Longtime Minneapolis radio personality Dark Star – real name George Chapple – was found dead in his home in Minnetonka, Minnesota. He co-hosted the “Sports Show” along with Sid Hartman on CBS Radio‘s WCCO, Minneapolis during part of his 25 years on the air there before accepting a buyout from the station in November of 2010. Recently he had been working at crosstown KFAN. He failed to show up for his Friday show there and authorities found him dead in his apartment.

Compass Media Marketing Named Exclusive Radio Sales Agent for Point-of-Purchase Service.  This story is really about the acquisition of InStore Broadcasting Network by POP Radio and the new company becomes InStore Audio Network. It delivers in-store advertising messages to more than 33,000 retail outlets – grocery, drug stores, etc. – and provides music content to some 14,000 stores. The company is enlisting Compass Media Marketing as exclusive national radio sales agent. Compass CEO Peter Kosann says, “I have been a longtime partner with POP Radio and the expanded footprint of the new company creates an exciting and compelling media product that network radio buyers will need to consider.”

KSFO, San Francisco Listeners Help Raise $135k for Fisher House Construction.  Cumulus Media‘s news/talk KSFO, San Francisco held a Memorial Day weekend fundraiser for the Fisher House Foundation that began with a live remote broadcast of Brian Sussman‘s morning drive show. Sussman (r) is pictured here interviewing Fisher House representative Cindy Campbell (l). Fundraising continued over the Memorial Day weekend and more than $135,000 was collected for the construction of the Palo Alto Fisher House which provides no-cost housing and the comforts of home for family members of military personnel while their loved ones rehab and recover from various injuries and ailments. Sussman states, “This gift of over $135,000 illustrates the abundant generosity of our KSFO radio family. The Fisher House provides our troops and their families with genuine American hospitality and it’s an honor to be associated with their vital endeavor.

Iowa Farm News Broadcaster Mark Pearson Dead at 54.  Mark Pearson worked at Iowa Public Television where he hosted the “Market to Market” show and at Clear Channel‘s WHO, Des Moines where he co-hosted “The Big Show,” a program that highlighted agricultural news. Pearson died of an apparent heart attack at his home on Sunday. WHO talk show host Jan Mickelson told the Des Moines Register, “Everyone at every level in the farm community respected the guy.”

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

| April 17, 2012

All-Hannity Stunt Points to New FM Talker in Philly.  Merlin Media dropped the Christian talk on its new WKDN-FM, Philadelphia and began airing Premiere NetworksSean Hannity round the clock.  The move seems to back the speculation that Merlin will not follow the footsteps of its New York and Chicago FMs with an all-news format but will go news/talk.  It’s expected the station will soon clear Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh and possibly Glenn Beck as well as it builds an FM talk station with Philadelphia native son Al Gardner as PD and morning drive host.  Merlin also changed the call letters of the station to WWIQ-FM.

News/Talk KFI, Los Angeles Wins March PPM Battle.  It’s not often a commercial news/talk station is ranked the top station in a PPM market, but Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFI, Los Angeles topped sister Top 40 KIIS-FM by a tenth of a point to win the March PPM contest with a 4.9 share.  A few news/talk stations have landed in the top spot in the monthly PPMs – Journal Broadcasting’s WTMJ, Milwaukee has a track record of dominance in that market as does Cox Media‘s WOKV-AM/FM, Jacksonville – but for the most part, the number one slot is usually nabbed by a music or all-news station.  It goes to show the astounding cume KFI has in the market.

Clear Channel Reorganizes Marketing Structure; Tim Castelli Replaces Charlie Rahilly.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment makes a major move to “unify and align its marketing offerings under one umbrella” with the creation of a new, unified sales and marketing group led by former AOL executive Tim Castelli.  CC states, “This move, the latest in the company’s transformation to a fully integrated, multi-platform media and entertainment company, creates an unprecedented opportunity for partners to tap into the company’s unparalleled reach of 237 million people a month (the largest of any radio or television outlet in America) and unmatched collection of media assets.”  CCME chairman and CEO John Hogan says, “This is an entirely new way to leverage the unmatched national reach with local engagement capabilities of Clear Channel Radio Sales, Strategic Partnerships, Clear Channel Connections, Digital, event sponsorships and Premiere Radio Networks Sales supported by innovative programs and world class custom marketing insights.”  In addition to Castelli’s hiring, Clear Channel announces Condé Nast’s Holly Lang joins the company as senior vice president, marketing solutions.  Lang is responsible for conceiving and implementing innovative marketing programs for national advertisers, with a special focus on consumer brands.  Also, Chris Monteleone, formerly vice president of partner strategy at Madison Square Garden, has been named senior vice president, event sponsorship sales and development.

New Jersey 101.5 Gives Steve Trevelise the Evening Show.  Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM, Trenton – New Jersey 101.5 – announces part-time staffer Steve Trevelise is named permanent host of the evening show on the station.  Trevelise has been sitting in hosting the evening program since the station parted ways with Michelle Jerson.  Now, brand manager Eric Johnson states, “There are few in radio that I know who sound more Jersey than Steve!  We are thrilled he is bringing his passion and knowledge of the state to weekday evenings on New Jersey 101.5.  Having been here part-time for a few years now, he has worked hard to earn this position and knows how to relate to our more than 1 million listeners.”  In addition to his radio career, Trevelise is a stand-up comic and has performed at comedy clubs throughout New Jersey.  He currently owns and operates Sarcasm Comedy Club in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

Midway Broadcasting’s WVON, Chicago Joins iHeartRadio.  The Windy City’s urban talk outlet, WVON, is the latest station to join Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s mobile/digital radio service iHeartRadio.  Midway Broadcasting chairman Melody Spann Cooper states, “I think this is a win-win for both WVON and iHeartRadio.  We’ll reach a national audience, our listeners will have the benefit of taking the station wherever they go by using their smart phones, and iHeartRadio gets the benefit of our best-in-class urban talk format.”  The station says it is embarking on an aggressive promotional campaign to introduce iHeartRadio and to educate its listeners on its usage.

Gabe Hobbs Named Strategic Advisor at Listener Driven Radio.  Former Clear Channel news/talk and sports corporate programmer Gabe Hobbs joins Listener Driven Radio to spearhead the company’s LDR.TopicPulse – what the company describes as “a new system that offers real time social media topic tracking, so news/talk stations can see what local audiences are talking about up-to-the-second.”  LDR further describes LDR.TopicPulse as “valuable real-time information to show producers and hosts on which topics and news stories are ‘getting buzz’ in their market on social media.  The system scans all available news sources, local blogs, Facebook posts, Tweets and other social media.  Then, producers can see a report – which is updated to the second – on the hottest trending topics and their shelf life.”  On his new position, Hobbs states, “LDR’s team is the finest group of interactive innovators in the country.  I’m proud to join the team to translate the success LDR is having at music radio to the news/talk/sports formats.”

Salem Radio Network Host Dr. Richard Land Responds to Plagiarism Accusations.  Southern Baptist Dr. Richard Land – host of the “Richard Land Live” Saturday program syndicated by Salem Radio Network – responds to accusations he pulled direct commentary for a monologue about the Trayvon Martin case from an editorial by Jeffrey Kuhner of the Washington Times.  Land admits he failed to provide verbal attribution on the program for using some content and apologizes.  Land states he did not intend to deceive and always posts his source material on his program’s website.  SRN VP of news and talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS, “SRN stands firmly behind Dr. Richard Land, whose ethical standards and intellect are recognized around the world.  An oversight in giving an on-air mention to a source he clearly posted on his website hardly rises to the level of ‘plagiarism.’  That standard is reserved for individuals like Vice President Joe Biden, who was forced to abandon his 2008 presidential campaign when it was revealed he was recycling entire speeches from British Labour Policy figure Neal Kinnock. Or President Obama himself, who was found to be lifting entire sections of speeches formerly delivered by his friend DeVal Patrick, the Governor of Massachusetts.  It says a lot about Richard Land that he has acknowledged that he can do better…and that he has pledged to do just that.”

Dial Global Names Michael Schreck SVP/Director of Corporate Sports.  In his new position as senior vice president and director of corporate sports, Michael Schreck will be responsible for sports sales and marketing as well as league and team negotiations for Dial Global.  Co-president and CEO David Landau states, “Michael has a proven track record of success in cultivating both advertiser and league partnerships.  With his leadership, we are looking forward to continuing to define great moments for our advertisers and the millions of sports fans our broadcasts touch.”

Dave Ramsey Invades San Antonio.  Nationally syndicated talk radio star Dave Ramsey (pictured here on stage in San Antonio) addressed more than 6,000 fans during the presentation of his “Total Money Makeover Live.”  Ramsey also spoke before some 1,000 local business people  as he presented his EntreLeadership 1-Day event.  Affiliate KTSA, San Antonio benefitted from Ramsey’s appearance in town.  General sales manager Coreena Hazelett says, “One of the invaluable things about Dave’s Live Event visit is the time he puts aside for our sponsors.  The clients really get the opportunity to connect one on one with Dave, and they are moved by his desire to see their businesses succeed.  He’s not just a host on the radio, he’s a true partner who’s committed to the success of our station and our advertisers.”

Secret Service Prostitute Scandal, 2012 Presidential Race, ‘Buffet Rule’ Blocked by Senate GOP, GSA Wasteful Spending and ObamaCare Status Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/16).  The backlash against the Secret Service after agents found in prostitution scandal in South America; the 2012 presidential race including the flap over Ann Romney homemaker comments; the Senate GOP’s blocking of the ‘Buffet Rule’ to tax the super rich; the investigation into wasteful spending by the General Services Administration and the legal status of ObamaCare were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

| November 8, 2011

Critiquing Talk Hosts a Challenging Two-Way Street.  Many talk radio programming pros agree that critiquing – or air checking – talk show hosts is something that is almost a lost art in the current talk radio environment.  Both at the network and the station levels, programmers working with talent to improve their on-air product is challenging enough given the egos of the managers and talent and the myriad programming philosophies out there.  But add in the hectic schedule of today’s talk PD and “challenging” becomes a mild term for the state of the talent critique.  TALKERS special features correspondent Mike Kinosian speaks with programming pros including Salem Radio Networks VP of news and talk programming Tom Tradup, Sound Mind chief Kraig Kitchin and others about the state of critiquing talk talent.  Read the story here.

Roger Hedgecock Moves to KFMB, San Diego in New Year.  We have a clearer picture of what’s happening in San Diego now.  Yes, as reported earlier, longtime KOGO PM drive host Roger Hedgecock will move his Radio America-syndicated program to Midwest Television’s crosstown KFMB beginning January 2.  KFMB program director Dave Sniff says of the move, “KFMB has always been about mirroring our community, and Roger is synonymous with San Diego.  No host reflects the views and concerns of San Diegans better than Roger.”  Sniff does not mention current PM drive host Rick Roberts in the release.  Meanwhile, Hedgecock stays on the AM side at Clear Channel’s KOGO – which began simulcasting on FM this week – while LaDona Harvey handles the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm show on the FM side.  So far, it’s the only split of programming for KOGO’s AM and FM broadcasts.  Also, KOGO debuts talk host Bryan Suits in the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot and Bob “Sully” Sullivan in the 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm time slot.

Willy Daunic Joined by Joe Dubin for PM Drive at Sports WPRT-FM, Nashville.  The Cromwell Group’s new FM sports talk station in Nashville adds market television sports personality Joe Dubin to “The Sports Revolution” program hosted by Willy Daunic.  Dubin will serve as co-host and executive producer.  Daunic worked at crosstown WGFX-FM with George Plaster’s “The Sports Zone” program before Plaster left the station suddenly just prior to the Cumulus-Citadel merger.  Daunic stayed with Cumulus briefly but the two sides could not agree on a contract.  Daunic says, “I am glad to have Joe aboard to launch “The Sports Revolution.”  His energy and enthusiasm are going to be an asset.  He also loves Nashville having grown up here, and has built a great following over the years.”  Dubin worked in Nashville TV for 15 years and has won two Murrow Awards and a local Emmy.

WBAL, Baltimore to Try Out Marc Unger in Evening Slot.  DCRTV.com’s Dave Hughes reports comic, actor and Baltimore sports talk personality Marc Unger is getting an on-air tryout at Hearst’s WBAL, Baltimore in the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot.  Beginning tonight (11/8), Unger will host a program dealing with politics, social issues and sports in the time slot where the station had been airing reruns of its midday Ron Smith program.

Sign of the Times?  As the media landscape changes and delivery of content moves inexorably from analog over-the-air to a digital combination of wired and wireless, perhaps this photo of America’s first licensed commercial radio towers coming down is truly worth 1,000 words.  WBZ, Boston director of news and programming Peter Casey photographed the felling of WBZ’s first towers atop the old Westinghouse plant in Springfield, Massachusetts – some 85 miles west of Boston – as a piece of radio history is dismantled.  What you see here is one of the two 100-foot towers that served as the original transmitters for WBZ when it began operation 90 years ago.  We posted photos of the two towers atop the buildings in September as CBS Radio’s WBZ celebrated its 90th anniversary on September 19.

New Cain Accusation, Iran Nukes, Penn State Scandal, Italy Economic Trouble and ‘OWS’ Movemement Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/7).  The latest accusation of sexual misconduct by GOP candidate Herman Cain, the reports of Iran’s advancing nuclear weapons program, the Penn State sexual assault scandal, Italy’s contribution to the Euro zone economic problems and the ‘OWS’ movement were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

The Changing Program Director/Talent Dynamic

| November 8, 2011

Critiquing talk radio talent in the modern era proves challenging as the role of the PD and structure
of the industry undergo massive changes 

By Mike Kinosian
Special Features Correspondent

“This could hurt your feelings, but it is being said for your own good.”

Such verbiage has been the basis for any one of countless program director-conducted aircheck sessions throughout the years in every conceivable radio format.

Quite possibly even more so than ever and as hyperbolic as it may sound, a program director supremely performing duties as a motivating talent coach is worth his or her weight in gold, silver, bronze and platinum.

“Directing” is, of course, a derivative form of the program director title.  Analyzing on-air personalities while simultaneously providing key components of constructive criticism, positive encouragement and guidance was once a basic calling card for anyone aspiring to be an upper-echelon programmer.  To say it is a dying, if not lost, proficiency is the height of understatement.  It is however clearly a two-way process, deeply rooted on a foundation of reciprocated trust.  If or when that is shattered, progression for the two parties becomes tenuous at best.

Achieving the elusive goal of “success” can have its downsides since that particular nebulous description can lead one to think he or she is above any form of critique or direction – especially from someone they perceive to be a “lowly” program director.  Chaos becomes the inevitable and seamy result.

Read More

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

| September 14, 2011

Big Eddie: Walkin’ the Walk.  MSNBC and Dial Global progressive talk star Ed Schultz sits down with TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison and says he’s committed to the causes he talks about on his programs in a very hands-on way.  He’s personally worked to assist Katrina victims, stood behind the public union workers in Wisconsin and is organizing free health care clinics in New Orleans.  Schultz also tells Harrison he’s not afraid to criticize President Obama and often takes guff from fellow progressives when he does.  On his media experiences Schultz says he knows the life span of a cable TV talk host can be very short but he makes no excuses for being himself — both on the radio and on TV — and is very proud of his “upstream swim” to success.  Read the interview here.

Don’t Miss Michael Harrison at the Radio Show!  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison delivers his annual “State of Talk Media” address at the NAB/RAB-produced event in Chicago today (9/14) from 10:30 am to 11:45 am at the Hyatt Regency Chicago C/D.  Today Harrison will discuss the current state and immediate future of talk radio and its related venues and presents his “10 things broadcasters need to know about the enormous changes taking place in talk radio” right now.

Talk Radio Programming Pro Len Weiner Heads Florida Cluster.  The Genesis Communications-owned stations in the Tampa market – all-news WWBA, news/talk WMGG and sports WHBO – have a new programmer in radio pro Len Weiner.  His programming resume includes WGN, Chicago; WMVP, Chicago; KMPC, Los Angeles and a decade spent at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut.  Now he heads south to take the official title market program manager at the Genesis cluster.

TRN’s Michael Savage Releases New Fiction Thriller.  Savage is no stranger to bestselling books – he’s penned eight of them.  Now he’s out with a fast-paced fiction thriller titled, Abuse of Power (St. Martin’s Press 2011) – the story of a “hardened former war correspondent… smeared as a bigot and extremist by a radical leftist media-watchdog group…who uncovers a chilling terrorist plot.”  A release states that Savage’s own experiences – including being banned from Britain by former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith – influenced this work.

Citadel Media Very High on Hot ABC Digital Product.  Citadel Media says the ABC Digital service from ABC News Radio is one of the network’s fastest-growing products with 350 affiliations to date.  The service that delivers customized, format-specific news and music/entertainment feeds directly to radio station websites has inked affiliation deals with several broadcast companies in the past month including Midwest Communications, Merlin Media, Three Eagles Communications, Journal Broadcast Group, Next Media, Times-Shamrock Communications, and JVC Broadcasting.  ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve Jones says, “When we break news, we alert our key radio station contacts so they can promote their leadership position on-air and drive listeners to their station’s site.  This is a strong engagement feature that helps our customers increase their digital audience while seamlessly linking the on-air and online experiences.”  ABC Digital offers brief stories from news categories such as World, National, Politics, Business, Entertainment and Health/Lifestyle, which are produced and updated 24 hours a day. Photos, slides and graphics accompany each story.  The service can also be tailored for music-formatted stations to focus on stories about key artists for the major radio music formats.

Tea Party GOP Debate, Obama’s Sinking Approval Ratings, Jobs Bill and Race for Weiner Seat Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/13).  The performances of the GOP contenders for president at the Tea Party Debate, President Obama’s low approval ratings, the jobs bill Obama is presenting to Congress and Republican Bob Turner’s victory for the New York Congressional seat held by disgraced Democrat Anthony Weiner were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

Dancing Cheek to Cheek.  That’s Salem Radio Network talk show host Mike Gallagher cutting the rug with Minnesota Congresswoman and GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann in Tampa.  The photo was taken at the presidential debate “Watching Party” sponsored by Salem Communications news/talk outlet WGUL, Tampa that catered to an “overflow crowd.”  Several candidates stopped by the party — emceed by Gallagher — after the debate.  Salem Radio Network VP of news and talk programming Tom Tradup says, “Anytime you can herd hundreds of WGUL listeners together with a half dozen presidential candidates and everyone leaves smiling, I’d call that a successful station event!”