Tag: "Tony Mascaro"

Thursday, January 2, 2014

| January 2, 2014

grantbobIconic Talk Show Host Bob Grant Dead at 84.  Just months after retiring from his weekend talk show at WABC, New York, Bob Grant passed away on New Year’s Eve after what’s being described as a brief illness.  Grant began his talk radio career at KABC in Los Angeles in the mid-1960s but rose to fame when he came to New York and began a regular talk show at WMCA in 1970.  Grant’s career saw him move around the New York radio dial; he worked at WABC and WOR and – for a time – WWDB-FM, Philadelphia.  He is regularly cited by today’s conservative talk radio practitioners as the man who pioneered the opinionated, call-it-as-you-see-it style of issues-oriented talk radio upon which the modern era of the format was built.  Read more about his legendary career here.

sliwakubyCurtis & Kuby Return to WABC, New York.  Cumulus Media names Curtis Sliwa and Ron Kuby midday talk hosts at WABC, New York – returning one of the most popular local talk teams to the station where they first worked together more than 13 years ago.  The Curtis & Kuby show aired on WABC from 2000 to 2007 pairing the conservative Sliwa with the ultra-liberal Kuby for a show that was very successful.  Cumulus COO John Dickey says in a statement, “We’re delivering on our pledge to invest in localized content that will entertain, inform and engage listeners while also providing advertisers unique opportunities to reach their customers on a sustained basis.  Sliwa adds, “Ever since I left 77 WABC, everywhere I go people have asked me if and when I would ever reunite with Ron Kuby, because that was a great show!  At a time when New Yorkers are starved for information and entertainment, I’m thrilled that we’ll be able to offer it to them on the greatest news/talk station this country has ever seen.”  And Kuby comments, “I am thrilled to be back at legendary 77 WABC radio with the Curtis & Kuby show — it is a new day for New York City and a new afternoon for Newkiernanpat York radio!”  Sliwa has most recently been hosting both morning and afternoon shows at Salem’s crosstown WNYM “AM 970 The Answer.”  In addition to the Curtis & Kuby show, Cumulus is adding a local hour from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm hosted by NY1 TV anchor Pat Kiernan.  Kiernan states, “My first broadcasting job was in radio so this is a natural way for me to extend my connection with New Yorkers.  I see this as a great way for listeners to reconnect after the workday.  We’re going to hit the big local stories, but we also want to plug into the conversation of the day.  That can include anything from pop culture to sports to the hot topic on Twitter.”  These moves come as the station transitions the late morning Geraldo Rivera show to local content and adds the Cumulus Media Networks nationally syndicated Michael Savage for the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm slot.

wabcWABC, New York Names Craig Schwalb PD; Tony Mascaro Takes WPRO, Providence Programming Post.   Along with the programming changes announced above, Cumulus Media announces Craig Schwalb is being promoted to program director of WABC, New York from the company’s WPRO, Providence.  At the same time, Tony Mascaro moves from his operations manager post at WABC to program director of WPRO and sister business news outlet WPRV.  The company states that Schwalb has nearly two decades of news, talk and sports programming experience with roles held in markets including New York City, Detroit, St. Louis and Raleigh.  Prior to joining Cumulus, Schwalb was thewpro logo senior director of talk programming for SiriusXM.  Schwalb says, “WABC has inspired countless broadcasters over the years and to now lead WABC into its next phase will be an absolute pleasure.  Without a doubt, working alongside Cumulus NYC market manager Kim Bryant, COO John Dickey, SVP programming Mike McVay and corporate program director Randall Bloomquist, will be an honor.”  Speaking about his return to Providence, Mascaro comments, “I am thrilled to be returning to Providence where it all started for me.  WPRO-AM is a legendary radio station with an amazing line-up of talent.  I wish everyone at WABC continued success for the future.  Thanks to John Dickey, Mike McVay, Randall Bloomquist and Providence market manager Barbara Haynes for this opportunity to program a heritage radio station in a great radio market.”

hannityseanSean Hannity to Air Live on KVI, Seattle.  Premiere Networks nationally syndicated superstar Sean Hannity returns to Seattle’s “Talk Radio 570” KVI today airing live in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot.  This marks a reunion with the station on which his show debuted in 2001.  Program director Paul Duckworth states, “We’re thrilled to bring Sean back to KVI.  Listeners deserve to hear Sean’s program live and get the most up-to-the-minute news, information and analysis.”  Hannity adds, “From the very first day I went on the air and that red light went on, I have been in love with radio.  I’m thrilled, excited, ecstatic, exuberant to be back on America’s original conservative talk station, ‘Talk Radio 570 KVI.’”  In addition, “The Hannity Encore” will air on the station Sundays from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

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WIND, Chicago Expands Morning Show; Adds Sean Hannity.  Salem Communications-owned news/talk WIND, Chicago announces the expansion of the morning drive show co-hosted by Big John Howell and Amy Jacobson plus the addition of Premiere’s Sean Hannity show to the lineup.  Beginning Monday, January 6, Bill Bennett‘s “Morning in America” returns live to the station for the 5:00 am to 6:00 am hour.  Howell and Jacobson will air in the expanded 6:00 am to 11:00 am slot.  Westwood One’s Dennis Miller remains in the 11:00 am to 2:00 pm slot but now airs live.  Sean Hannity also airs live from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm.  WIND general manager Jeff Reisman comments, “Sean Hannity is an ideal fit on ‘AM 560 The Answer.’  Sean is one of the premier news/talk personalities and his style will fit nicely with our outstanding lineup of local and national hosts.”

kaplandavidWGN, Chicago Gives David Kaplan New Contract.  Talk host and reporter David Kaplan inks a new, multi-year contract with Tribune’s WGN, Chicago.  Kaplan hosts the eponymous nightly sports talk show that airs from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm and serves as afternoon drive sports reporter as well as host of the Cubs and Blackhawks Confidential programs.  Kaplan comments, “It’s a thrill to continue my career at WGN Radio where I have spent the last 18-plus years.  I’m thankful to work for the best mind in radio, Jimmy de Castro, and I’m blessed to be able to talk sports in my hometown of Chicago on the best radio station in America.”  De Castro adds, “We are driven to deliver live and local programming to our listeners.  Kap has his finger on the pulse of Chicago sports and we’re excited for him to be a part of our multi-dimensional future.”

jamesmarcMarc James Goes Solo at “The Fan” in Charlotte.  CBS RADIO announces WFNZ, Charlotte “Sports Radio 610 The Fan” afternoon drive personality Marc James begins hosting the afternoon drive slot on the station solo as former co-host Taylor Zarzour leaves the show to host “Bleacher Report Radio” on SiriusXM‘s sports zone channel.  James and Zarzour had been co-hosting “The Drive” since they were paired up in 2011.  The station says Zarzour will continue to remain a part of the WFNZ family by calling into the show with Marc weekly.  Zarzour says, “I’ll be forever grateful for the opportunity that OM DJ Stout and market manager Bill Schoening gave me at WFNZ.  I am extremely proud of the success that we had in my three years on the show and have no doubt Marc and the crew will continue to grow the audience.  I am excited about my next opportunity but will continue to be a part of the WFNZ family.”  The show’s other cast members include The Q.C.B., Hitman, and Jayweezie.  Stout says, “Although it is bittersweet to see Taylor go, he has done a great job for us and we will miss his talent and professionalism.  We’re excited for Marc to take on this opportunity.  He is a top notch talent and we look forward to him taking The Drive to the next level.”  James comments, “Taylor Zarzour is probably the hardest working person in sports talk radio.  He made me a better host, but more importantly a better man.  I look forward to taking ‘Sports Radio 610 WFNZ the Fan’ to unparalleled heights in the future. Charlotte is hands down one of the best sports towns in America and we will continue to make Charlotte proud to call WFNZ THE best sports talk station in the city.”

xmas story albumThe Miracle of “A Christmas Story.”  Ever the radio historian, noted media consultant Walter Sabo reminds us about the power of story-telling as an audience-building device.  In a new column posted today (1/2) Sabo discusses the movie “A Christmas Story” which was based on the synthesis of dozens of radio monologues created and delivered by the late and legendary talker Jean Shepherd.  Shepherd broadcast on WOR, New York from 1958-1975.  His nightly monologues were not bedtime stories.  According to Sabo, they were subversive proclamations, challenging authority wrapped in imagery of American traditions.  Shepherd worked without a script, but with massive prep.  Some of his shows took months to come to fruition in his imagination.  He recorded every show.  The importance of Shepherd’s work is that it was not on NPR or an obscure station.  WOR was the number one station in audience and revenue in America through most of his reign.  It was a talk station that appealed primarily to women—about 70% of the cume was female.  About 70% of the hosts were women.  There were many other dominant talk stations at the time that appealed primarily to women such as KMOX, WCCO, WGN and WBZ.  Shepherd’s audience was young, more male.  His show often presented a youngster’s perspective on the idiocy of authority, success, day-people and capitalism.  He bashed advertising, radio, television and anything that was mainstream or plastic. In other words he trashed, on every level, the success of his employer: The number one radio station in America owned by General Tire and Rubber.  He did that every night.  There is much contemporary talk broadcasters can learn from this slice of radio history.  To read Sabo’s entire piece, please click here.

nielsen logoNieslen Audio December PPM Data Released.  The December 2013 PPM ratings data has been released by Nielsen Audio.  Numbers for all 48 PPM-rated markets have been made public and that information can be found at the site of TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo.  Check out the main page for managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian’s “Takeaways” here or go straight to the full ratings data here.

ces2014Coming Next Week: The 2014 International CES.  Media consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke will report from next week’s 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.  He teases the event asking, “How dizzying is the-pace-of-change?”  Media are now asked NOT to refer to this massive, mind-boggling event as “The Consumer Electronics Show,” because whassup here has transcendedcookeholland hardware.

Sure, there’ll be gadgets aplenty in an exhibit hall bigger than 30 football fields, many of ‘em obsoleting whatever seemed so-cutting-edge last year.  But many of the ways technology is changing our everyday lives are…invisible, “The Internet of Things.”

Yes, the Amazon drone story was a publicity stunt.

But 62% of Internet traffic is now robots.

Maybe your refrigerator isn’t (yet) auto-ordering milk; and none of us are riding driver-less cars.

Yet already, patients can enable doctors to monitor real-time vital signs.

Soon, your alarm clock could wake you earlier if the route you commute has a traffic tangle.  And your thermostat will auto-adjust, based on the changing weather forecast.  Traditional radio information hooks are no longer franchises.  If you think I’m exaggerating, look at your iPhone.

Come along, virtually…

Look for my coverage here next week in TALKERS and RadioInfo; and follow my real-time Tweets @HollandCooke.  I’ll also be reporting for the Jim Bohannon show and “America in the Morning,” and on my client stations.

And it’ll be a ‘Vegas convention two-fer.  Again this year, I’ll also be covering NMX, the New Media Expo, formerly “Blogworld,” before-that “The Podcast & New Media Expo,” which, a decade ago, already drew twice-as-many attendees as radio conventions.

With media consumers now in on-demand pick-N-choose mode — and with advertising and marketing money flowing to the digital platform — these internet content creators’ work is now instructive to what TALKERS and RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison has termed broadcast stations’ “survival and ‘thrival.’”

pattiznormNorm Pattiz to Keynote NMX 2014.  Speaking of the New Media Expo, Courtside Entertainment Group CEO Norm Pattiz will be among the three media execs keynoting the conference when it gets underway this weekend in Las Vegas.  Speaking alongside tech expert Leo Laporte and Stitcher CEO Noah Shanok, Pattiz – Westwood One founder and CEO of Podcast One – will address the former Blogworld conference at 9:00 am on Monday, January 6.  The title of the keynote address is “The Future of Podcasting.”

wmyt logoWMYT, Wilmington Adds Programming.  Talk Media TV-owned news/talk WMYT, Wilmington, North Carolina announces program additions to is schedule beginning with its “Super Saturdays” lineup.  The station says the new addition to its “Super Saturdays,” which consists of eight local shows, is “The Car Doctor with Val Boudreau.”  Also, the station announces it is bringing the new “The Blaze News” regular news updates to listeners airing every 15 minutes, saying “’The Blaze News’ spots, in addition to our Fox Business News spots, will expand our national news content and coverage!”  WMYT is also adding Premiere NetworksAndy Dean to the daily schedule airing weeknights from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm.

ktxx logoAustin Sports Talker KTXX-FM Purchased By Local Group.  The Austin American-Statesman reports that longtime market media personality Bob Cole heads up an ownership group that is purchasing sports talk KTXX-FM “The Horn” and its sister AM signal KWNX from Total Austin Sports Radio for an undisclosed sum.  Cole – who serves as the Texas Longhorns stadium announcer and is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Texas Radio Hall of Fame – tells the paper the station will remain sports but that “We’re going to do something a little different, that fills a hole that no one else in the market is filling.”  Earlier this year the group purchased country outlet KOKE where Cole hosts the morning show.

keib logoOdds & Sods.  Clear Channel changes the call letters of KTLK, Los Angeles to KEIB – a nod to its new centerpiece, Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh, whose Excellence in Broadcasting network moniker is often shortened to EIB.  The station flipped from progressive talk to conservative talk as of today (1/2) and the station’s brand is “The Patriot.”  Limbaugh moved over from sister news/talk KFI…..CBS RADIO’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia “SportsRadio 94 WIP” is giving away a pair of tickets to Saturday night’s Eagles-Saints NFC Wild Card game at Lincoln Financial Field to the person “who needs them the most.”  The station iswiplogo telling listeners to make a banner that says “94WIP I Need Eagles Playoff Tickets,” make it big, creative and hang it where WIP can see – as long as it’s legal.  On Friday afternoon, the station will send its spotters out to select the best banner and will award the tickets accordingly…..ESPN Radio returns to the Columbia, South Carolina market after a 17-month absence on L&L Broadcasting’s WOIC “ESPN Columbia 1230 AM.”  WOIC flipped from news/talk on January 1 and is carrying much of the ESPN Radio lineup.  It will also air local programs “The Zone” hosted by Duane “The Shot Doctor” Everett from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm and “Sports Hotline” with Bobby Gist and Ernest Robinson from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm…..The “Positive Business with Patricia Raskin” show announces the addition of new co-host Lynda Adams.  “Positive Business” airs every Friday from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm on business talk WPRV, Providence where it’s been heard for the past four years.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

| December 5, 2013

weineranthonyRumor: Anthony Weiner to Try Talk Radio.  Here we go again! Another disgraced politician – this time it’s former congressman and former NYC mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner – is rumored to be in the running for a talk show on one of two New York City radio signals.  The New York Daily News is reporting that sources say Weiner is in talks to begin hosting a show on either Cumulus Media’s WABC (where the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot is opening in the New Year) or on Clear Channel’s WOR.  WABC operations manager Tony Mascaro tells the paper they are looking at a lot of candidates for the slot but denies Weiner is one of them.  The track record of former politicians – especially disgraced ones – succeeding in talk radio is not good.  Most managers and programmers are either aware – or find out very quickly – that the tradeoff for hiring such a person is not usually worth it.  Yes, one gets instant recognition of the person from the public, but the long hours, challenging work, glamorless working conditions and time needed to get traction in the ratings usually turns off former pols who are used to a different sort of workday.  Oh, and then there’s the fact that they almost always have no broadcasting skills whatsoever.  Stay tuned, the Weiner-watch is on!

cumulus logoCumulus Media Holdings to Refinance $2.23 Billion in Debt.  According to a Reuters report, Cumulus Media Holdings has set terms on a new $2.23 billion loan that would serve to reduce its interest payments over the course of the loan.  The company is marketing a $200 million, five-year revolver and a $2.025 billion, seven-year, first-lien term loan.  The proceeds would refinance Cumulus’ current first- and second-lien loans.  Moody’s Investor Services VP and senior credit officer Carl Salas is quoted saying, “It’s a meaningful improvement in their annual debt service.  They will save upwards of $30 million to $35 million in interest costs which adds nicely to their free cash flow generation.”

rouhierdannyCBS Radio’s WJFK, Washington Hears It from Redskins About Game Broadcast Parodies.  NFL fans are aware that the Washington Redskins – owned by the litigious and sensitive Dan Snyder – are having a tough season (3-9 right now) after making the playoffs last year.  That’s been the source of much frustration on the part of fans and the source of material for WJFK host Danny Rouhier and producer Ajay Atayee who’ve been producing bits that are mock-ups of game broadcasts.  Rouhier does the voices of Redskins radio play-by-play announcers Larry Michael and Sonny wjfkfmJurgensen and splices in actual drops of color man and former ‘Skin Chris Cooley.  The hysterically funny bits have been critical of the team’s play, the fan experience at FedEx Field and Snyder’s public image, so much so that, according to the Washington Post, WJFK Redskins beat reporter Grant Paulsen was told by team spokesman Tony Wyllie that the bits are so malicious that they could prompt legal action.  This may be water under the bridge since the Post reports Wyllie says after talking with the station and being assured it’s all in good fun, the team has no problem with the station’s content.  Since the station has no intention of stopping Rouhier from producing more similarly themed bits, we’ll see how the rest of the season plays out.

kennedyKYSR, Los Angeles Morning Personality Kennedy to Host Fox Business Net Show.  Former MTV VJ and current morning drive host at Clear Channel’s alternative KYSR, Los Angeles, Lisa Kennedy Montgomery, will begin a new nightly current events talk show on Fox Business Network titled “The Independents” that will premiere on Monday, December 9.  The Hollywood Reporter states that Kennedy will co-host with Reason magazine’s Matt Welch, America’s Future Foundation’s Kmele Foster and a rotating panel of money experts.  Kennedy herself writes on her KYSR blog that the show will be “aimed at all the mealy-mouthed, partisan faithful out there.  Has the 2 party system totally failed you?  Yeah, me too!  Tune in 4 nights a week on FBN, and just remember, music and politics go hand in hand. I will always hold hands with you.”  Kennedy has been a contributor to FBN making regular appearances on “Stossel.”

ohana logoVali Named Interim GM of Ohana Broadcast, Hawaii.  The name Austin Vali is widely-known in Hawaii radio and, as Ohana Broadcast Company‘s interim general manager, he will oversee four Oahu stations and five Kauai facilities.  Owner/president Jason Wolff comments, “Austin brings a wealth of experience, knowledge, and relationships in the Honolulu market.  He will be a tremendous asset as we strive to produce the best possible radio for our listeners and clients.”   Recently, Vali was vice president/general manager of Cox Media Group‘s three-station Long Island cluster.  During his 40-year radio career, he has worked in Pittsburgh, Norfolk, and Louisville; however, Vali is perhaps best known for his experience in Hawaii.  Since arriving there in 1978, he worked at Honolulu’s KIKI and KQMQ and he co-owned KRTR-FM and KXME in that market.

runningwithnaturePodcastOne Adds Mariel Hemingway Program to Stable.  Titled after her best-selling book  Running with Nature, actress and author Mariel Hemingway, along with her partner, stuntman, actor, health and wellness expert, Bobby Williams, are launching their new podcast via PodcastOne.  The podcast invites listeners to “join them on their adventures; from Hollywood to Holistic healing…transforming relationships to finding the most meaningful ways of living every day, Mariel and Bobby are here bringing laughter, wonder and awe with some great advice.”  The first podcast episode “features nutrition tips, a review of her just released documentary called ‘Running from Crazy,’ and exercise tips from Bobby and Mariel’s ‘Meditation Moment.’”  PodcastOne COO Greg Batusic says, “Mariel and Bobby offer a refreshing and unique take on life that their fans and new listeners will surely benefit from.  We’re happy to have them join our stellar lineup.”

madiganbobWTOP, Washington’s Bob Madigan to Retire.  Drive time news anchor Bob Madigan will retire from his position at Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington, DC at the end of the year.  Outgoing vice president of news and programming Jim Farley (also retiring, see next story) says in a memo to his DC staff, “Bob has been in this crazy business of ours for 50 years, 20 of them here at WTOP and WASH when both stations were co-owned.  He and I worked for 11 years at NBC News….I have been inflicted on Bob for 27 of his 50 years in the business.  By the way, if you are wondering how he got in 50 years ago, he started working in radio during high school.”  Farley goes on to say that as WTOP’s “Man About Town,” he “was a one-person ‘good news’ department covering everything from charity galas to scholarship awards and chili cook-offs for a good cause.  Bob covered so many events, that in less than a year on the beat, he was emcee, announcer or celebrity judge at many of them.  He became a one-man marketing machine for WTOP, getting our name out there in a positive way that was priceless!  He was chosen to announce the Inaugural Parade along Pennsylvania Avenue for both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.  At the Bush Inaugural Parade he was paired with…Meat Loaf.  For years he announced the start of the Race for the Cure live on WTOP.  He has a long, long list of awards and honors including a (rare for a journalist) RAMMY Award, “The Duke Zeibert Capital Achievement Award.”  RAMMY’s are awarded by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington.

cookefarleyA Farewell to Jim Farley.  Radio consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke (right) poses for a selfie with outgoing vice president of news and programming Jim Farley at a retirement bash for the longtime WTOP, Washington programmer at the Newseum in Washington, DC.  After 17 years with the station, Farley is “slowing down but not retiring” as he’ll step down from his current post but consult WTOP for the next two years. He’s also open to consult others with their news and/or digital strategies.  Current WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo is stepping into the post at year’s end.  Cooke reports that modern-day WTOP-ers, Hubbard execs and many alumni toasted Farley at the bash.  Among other things said at the farewell party, Farley told staffers, “What a crowd!  YOU did it.  YOU GUYS do all the heavy lifting, and I got all the credit.  I’m gettin’ out before they catch me.”

kmbzGood Fences Make Good Neighbors.  Usually that’s the case but at the Entercom AM transmitter site in Westwood, Kansas, just how a good fence is defined appears to be the issue.  The towers for KMBZ and KUDL are surrounded by residential neighborhoods – that wasn’t the case in the 1930s when the towers went up.  According to the Prairie Village Post, now neighbors are challenging the renewal of Entercom’s special use permit for the site claiming they want improvements there.  After meeting with residents, a plan commission sub-committee is suggesting the current chain-link fence with barbed wire makes the property look “blighted” and recommends removal of the perimeter fence and replacement with fencing that complies with current code.  Entercom fears liability issues without a perimeter fence.  In 2008, a trespassing teenager was killed after falling from a tower on the site.  Expect some sort of compromise on this issue since moving the station towers would be very difficult yet protection of the transmitters and towers needs to continue for obvious reasons.

junkiesCredit to WJFK-FM, Washington’s “Junkies” for Nabbing Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Segment.  He’s been one of the hot talk radio topics for the past several weeks (as documented in TALKERS magazine’s weekly top topics chart The Talkers TenTM), so why not book him as a guest?  CBS Radio’s “The Junkies” did just that and got a cool 25-minute segment with Toronto Mayor Rob Ford on WJFK-FM, Washington today.  Ford, who’s obviously been in the news a bit lately and doesn’t seem to be very mic-shy, talked with the Junkies about football (he offered his NFL picks for the week), the drug use allegations against him, President Obama, and his run for re-election next fall (which he says he’ll win because he has the support of the people).

kgmzlogoOdds & Sods.  Entercom’s KGMZ, San Francisco is preparing to begin a listener giveaway of tickets and cool memorabilia for its six area pro sports teams.  “95.7 The Game” is calling the promotion “The Six Teams of Christmas” and will give listeners a chance to win game ticket packages to see the Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, San Francisco Giants, Oakland As, Golden State Warriors and San Jose Sharks…..CBS Radio’s New York stations (including sports WFAN-AM/FM and all-news WINS and WCBS) are announcing a new promotion: The Firehouse Chili Cook-Off.  After entries were submitted from all across the tri-state area, semi-finalists will compete to see whose chili recipe cbsfirehousereigns supreme.  At establishments in New Jersey and New York, the staple food of firefighters will be cooked, tasted and judged by local sports figures, and one fire company at each event will move into the final round of the competition.  The grand prize winner will receive VIP tickets to a 2014 New York Yankees game…..Entercom’s Boston Red Sox flagship WEEI, Boston is broadcasting from the MLB Winter Meetings in Orlando next week.  Live coverage of the meetings will begin with Salk & Holley from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm Monday through Wednesday.  The Mut & Merloni show will also originate from the Swan and Dolphin Resort from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm Tuesday through Thursday.

kirofmhollidaymagicHoliday Magic at KIRO-FM, Seattle.  Pictured here is KIRO-FM, Seattle afternoon drive duo Ron & Don manning the tote board at last year’s “Holiday Magic Radiothon.”  The Bonneville news/talk station, in partnership with Treehouse (a non-profit agency that ensures that kids in foster care have access to the essential services required to help them make it to high school graduation and beyond), are hosting the 25th Annual Foster Child Holiday Magic Radiothon today.  The station set a record last year raising more than $500,000.  The 12-hour “Holiday Magic Radiothon” helps local foster kids by raising money to provide each child in the program with one significant holiday gift along with support programs and services throughout the year.

humphriesdamian2Rusty Humphries on the Set in Bucharest.  That’s talk show host and actor Rusty Humphries (left) with actor Michael Damian (right) on location in Bucharest, Romania on the set of the romantic comedy Love By Design.  Humphries says he plays a reporter covering a big fashion show in New York City.  He notes that Bucharest is a popular location to shoot NYC scenes since it can be made to look like the streets of New York and the production costs are much less.  The movie also stars Jane Seymour.  Humphries was in Bucharest for seven days filming.  He tells TALKERS, “I had a blast.  I love the fact that I’m having the opportunity to really live out my dreams: radio, TV and film.  This is my third major motion picture, and it’s always an honor to be involved with a project as special as this.”

ObamaCare Criticism, NSA Cell Location Database, Obama Millennial Support Diminishing, Detroit Bankruptcy, Bashir Resignation, and Fast Food Minimum Wage Effort Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/5).  Analysis of the implementation and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the NSA policy that reportedly gathers the location of cell phone users; the loss of support from Millennials for President Obama; the Detroit bankruptcy case ruling; Martin Bashir’s resignation from MSNBC after his Sarah Palin comments; and the move by organized labor to push for a national minimum wage for fast food workers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

| June 6, 2012

Dave Ramsey Has More Than 1 Million Friends. Really!  Facebook has more than 900 million users worldwide and 1 million of them count nationally syndicated talk superstar Dave Ramsey their friend. With all those friends and more than 400,000 Twitter followers, Ramsey’s organization says, “Not only are they seeing the value in Dave’s message on social platforms, but the web as a whole as ‘The Dave Ramsey Show’ is among the top 25 of all iTunes podcasts and the number one podcast in the business section.”

The Future of Audio” the Focus of House Subcommittee Hearing; Cross-Ownership a Major Topic.  Today’s hearing before the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will center around four topics: broadcast radio ownership caps, low-power FM, FM chips and royalties. Among the witnesses scheduled to testify are Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan, Commonwealth Broadcasting president, CEO Steven Newberry, Pandora founder Tim Westergren, and RIAA chairman and CEO Cary Sherman. A committee memo states, “This hearing will examine how advances in communications services and consumer electronics equipment are affecting the distribution and consumption of audio content.” There is again movement among Republicans to eliminate or relax the cross-ownership regulations in light of changes in technology and how they affect competition. Also, more arguments over performance royalties are expected to be raised at the hearing, especially with Clear Channel‘s groundbreaking record industry news announced yesterday (see next story).

Clear Channel Creates Groundbreaking Relationship with Big Machine Label Group.  This is purely a music radio story but still has the potential to reverberate throughout the entire radio business. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment is the first broadcast company to strike a deal with a label group that pays the label (and hopefully the artists as well) a performance royalty for music aired on terrestrial radio stations. The two sides did not release specific numbers but Big Machine Label Group produces recordings for artists including Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw, Rascal Flatts, Edens Edge and Ella Mae Bowen and Valory Music Co. artists Reba McEntire, Justin Moore, Brantley Gilbert, The Mavericks and Thomas Rhett. Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman says of the Big Machine Label Group president and CEO, “Scott Borchetta has reinvented the music business in many important ways over the years, from distribution and artist development to promotion and advertising. Focusing that same creativity on how best to grow the music business, Scott has developed this new model with us to let his labels and artists participate in the revenue of broadcast radio immediately and in digital radio as it builds.  This is a big step, but we think this investment is an opportunity worth taking to align our interests in all of our revenue streams and grow digital listening to its full potential with record labels and their artists as our partners. This landmark agreement creates a structure that makes sense for both our companies, but most of all for music fans.”

Cumulus Media Announces Tony Mascaro Named WABC, New York Operations Manager.  Confirming what TALKERS reported on Monday, June 4, Cumulus Media makes official the announcement that CHR WPLJ-FM, New York operations manager Tony Mascaro takes the same title for sister news/talk WABC, New York.

WBZ, Boston Overnight Host Steve LeVeille to Retire.  The 57-year-old host of the overnight talk show on CBS Radio‘s WBZ, Boston announces his decision to retire at the end of next week after 13 years hosting the show and 21 years with WBZ. “This is a quality-of-life decision for my wife, Diane, and me. We have been making moves during the past number of years to be able to do this without any particular date in mind. We have just reached a point where we said the time is right now. After spending most of our weekends and vacation time in Maine for the last 15 years we are looking forward to making it our year round home.” Steve LeVeille is a native of the Boston area and was familiar with WBZ NewsRadio as a teenager saying, “I grew up in the Boston area listening to Larry Glick on WBZ. And as cliché as it sounds, it was the dream of a teenager to do the overnight show on WBZ and I am proud to be able to retire from that position.”

Dan Dibley Signs on With Entercom’s San Francisco Sports FM for Another Year.  “The Rise Guys” morning drive co-host Dan Dibley extends his deal with Entercom‘s KGMZ-FM, San Francisco – 95.7 The Game. Dibley co-hosts the program with Whitey Gleason and Mark Kreidler. Program director Jason Barrett states, “Dan is a big reason why The Rise Guys are the best sports radio morning show in the Bay Area. His energy, passion, sense of humor and work ethic define what the Bay Area’s ‘New Sound for Sports’ is all about.” Prior to joining KGMZ-FM in May of 2011, Dibley served as executive producer at crosstown KNBR.

Merlin Media Changes Blagojevich Billboards in Chicago.  The two billboards you see here are before-and-after versions of the outdoor campaign employed by Merlin Media‘s all-news WIQI-FM – FM News 101.1. After the company put up about 200 of the billboards in the Chicago area, attorney Sheldon Sorosky (who represented former Governor Rod Blagojevich in his corruption trial) contacted Merlin notifying the company the billboards may violate an Illinois law that prevents one’s image from being used for commercial purposes without permission. Merlin’s John Gehron tells Crain’s Chicago Business they made the move because, “Listeners were concerned that we were insensitive and we wanted to be responsive.” At the same time, Gehron tells Crain’s the campaign has been positive for the fledgling all-news outlet, “It’s done well and it’s gotten some nice talk.”

WTOP, Washington Reporter Shoved by DC Council Chairman.  This was no aggressive push but observers say District of Columbia Council Chairman Kwame Brown, after being asked a question by WTOP, Washington reporter Mark Seagraves, pushed the reporter up against a wall with enough force “to send a message” while saying, “No questions.” Seagraves was asking Brown about a report by another media outlet that federal investigators have revealed part of their case against him involving campaign wrongdoings.

Wisconsin Recall Election, 2012 Presidential Race, Jittery Global Financial Markets and Sandusky Trial Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/5).  The recall election in Wisconsin between Republican Scott Walker and Democrat Tom Barrett and its impact on the future of public sector unions; the 2012 presidential campaign; the state of the world’s financial markets; and the looming trial of former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

Kings of L.A.  With the Los Angeles Kings on the brink of their first NHL Stanley Cup Championship (the Kings lead the New Jersey Devils 3-0 with game 4 tonight) Clear Channel‘s KLAC, Los Angeles – AM 570 Fox Sports L.A. – is enjoying the ride. Pictured here is a scene from the station’s live broadcast from L.A. Kings fan-fest at L.A. Live, adjacent to the Staples Center arena. “Petros & Money” broadcast their show live from the event and here you see Matt “Money” Smith (l), Kings broadcaster Jim Fox (c) and NHL great Luc Robitaille (r) on stage.

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.”