Tag: "Traug Keller"

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

| October 9, 2013

kesn logoCumulus Takes Over Operation of KESN, Dallas; Gives WBAP-FM Signal to KTCK.  A number of things happened at the Cumulus Dallas operations in conjunction with the company’s assuming operation of wbaplogoESPN O&O sports talk KESN under an LMA.  First, as TALKERS reported earlier, Randy Galloway did his last “Galloway and Company” program on Monday afternoon and noted that in addition to his exiting the station in order to collect his salary from ESPN through the end of the year, KESN program director Tom Lee, air talent Landry Locker and sports anchor Kelly Webster were also casualties of the change.  Cumulus also owns and operates sports talk KTCK “SportsRadio 1310 The Ticket” in the market and served notice that on October 21, WBAP-FM at 96.7 will carry the KTCK programming.  WBAP-FM has been simulcasting news/talk WBAP-AM’s programming since 2010.  The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports Cumulus Dallas vice president and market manager Dan Bennett indicated the news/talk station has seen no ratings increase since adding the FM signal to its huge AM coverage of the market.  He said news/talk WBAP will be carried on the HD-2 signal of KPLX at 99.5 for those in the market with HD Radios.  Meanwhile, it’s being reported that Cumulus is taking current KCTK simulcast signal KTDK, Sanger, Texas (about 60 miles north of the Dallas metro) dark and will return it to the FCC after an earlier attempt to sell it to broker Bill Whitley was turned down by the Commission.  The ownership cap prevents Cumulus from hanging on to the station.

TalkersLA2013Larry Wilson to Deliver Keynote Address at Talkers Los Angeles 2013.  In what TALKERS magazine VP/executive editor Kevin Casey describes as the cherry on top of a delicious sundae, Alpha Broadcasting and L&L Broadcasting CEO Larry Wilson has been named keynote speaker at the forthcoming Talkers Loswilsonlarry Angeles 2013 conference that will take place in Hollywood on Thursday of this week.  The executive who TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes as “a great hope and role model for radio station ownership returning to human proportions, a productive business plan and positive artistic values,” will deliver a speech titled “Radio at the Crossroads” in which he will discuss some of the pressing issues facing the medium in 2013 and his vision for the business to thrive in the early 21st century.  Wilson, who graduated from Northern Arizona University in 1967 with a degree in Accounting and the University of Arizona in 1972 with a degree in Law, is the recipient of numerous broadcasting industry awards and honors.  He has a stellar history in broadcasting that includes having been EVP and general counsel of Combined Communications Corporation and, later, co-founder of Citadel Communications which, under his leadership as president/CEO and chairman, grew to own 205 radio stations in 42 markets prior to being sold to the Wall Street Investment Firm, Forstmann Little & Co. in 2001 for $2.1 billion.  In 2009, Wilson announced his return to radio station ownership and in 2009, along with Portland, Oregon-based Endeavour Capital, formed Alpha Broadcasting.  Today, in Portland Oregon, Alpha Broadcasting operates six radio stations, KUPL-FM, KBFF-FM, KXL-FM, KINK-FM, KXTG-AM and KUFO-AM and is in expansion mode with the plan to acquire more stations in carefully selected markets across the nation.  Wilson’s L&L Broadcasting owns or is in the processing of acquiring stations in Columbia, South Carolina; Savannah, Georgia; Jackson and Biloxi, Mississippi; Peoria, Illinois; and Bluefield, West Virginia.  Larry Wilson’s address will take place during the afternoon segment of the conference at 2:00 pm immediately following the annual “Woman of the Year” presentation.  Talkers Los Angeles 2013 — a presentation of TALKERS magazine in association with the Los Angeles Press Club — takes place between 9:00 am and 6:15 pm on Thursday, October 10 at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood, California.  The event will be broadcast live in its entirety on TalkersRadio.  For remaining sponsorship opportunities at the sold-out, industry-only event and general information call 413-565-5413.  To see the up-to-date, power-packed agenda, please click here.

hartmannThom Hartmann Co-Written ‘Last Hours’ Film Now Available.  WYD Media Management nationally syndicated talk show host Thom Hartmann’s latest book, The Last Hours of Humanity, is the foundation for the new film, “Last Hours,” created by filmmaker Leila Conners and producers George DiCaprio, Earl Katz, and Mathew Schmid along with Hartmann and writer/researcher Sam Sacks.  According to a press release, “Last Hours” is a film that explores the possibility that we could be close – centuries or perhaps just decades -to tipping points that could lead to a sixth mass extinction, and relies on input from some of the world’s leading scientists.  Hartmann states, “It’s almost impossible to know when you have passed a tipping point.  You only see them in retrospect.  So we have to do everything we can now to avoid inadvertently hitting tipping points that might lead to catastrophic methane releases.”  The film is currently available on YouTube and at lasthours.org.

cumulus logoConsumer Watchdog Weighs in on Cumulus-WestwoodOne Merger.  The Washington-based Consumer Watchdog organization writes to the Department of Justice’s anti-trust division objecting to Cumulus Media’s acquisition of WestwoodOne (formerly Dial Global).  The organization states, “A proposed merger between major radio station owner Cumulus Media and radio content provider Dial Global/Westwood One would create a clear radio duopoly (with Clear Channel Communications) in the nation’s largest radio markets.”  Consumer Watchdog president Jamie Court states, “This merger would be a tipping point for listeners who already face fewer choices and homogenized content in talk, music and even sports.  A takeover of Dial Global by Cumulus will fully corporatize content in the top 100 markets and kill what remains of truly local radio.”

reesrobertWRPW, Normal, Illinois Turns TV Concept into Radio Gold.  Great Plains Media news/talk WRPW, Normal “Cities 92.9” has been taking a page from a popular cable TV show and turning it into a visibility and revenue-enhancing programming element.  Operations manager Josh Roberts says the station was searching for a way to get talent on the streets and bring in some more revenue when a promotions brain-storming session planted the seed for its “On the Job with Robert Rees” feature.  The idea stemmed from Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe” in which Rowe does strange, hazardous or messy jobs alongside regular employees.  Roberts says it started with the funny idea of morning host Robert Rees going to work “shoveling manure or driving a snow plow.  Next thing we know we’re talking about selling it and really putting Robert to work!”  Roberts says the concept, called “On the Job with Robert Rees,” started out as a feature where every two weeks Robert would go work for a business for two hours.  The sales staff quickly sold out through August and began to sell the idea weeks in between.  Nearly every week had been sold from March through August of this year.  The concept is that station promotes the event a week beforehand, Robert interviews the business owner on his show the day before, during the event Robert calls in to the station with updates on what he was doing while someone else films him working.  The next day a “highlight” video is posted on the station’s YouTube page and the business receives a copy of the video for its marketing efforts.  You can see some of the videos from the project at http://www.youtube.com/user/Cities929TV/videos

remickrobynESPN Ups Robyn Remick to New Post at Orlando’s ESPN Wide World of Sports.  For the past nine years, Robyn Remick has been with ESPN on the affiliate marketing and ESPN Audio affiliate relations teams.  She begins the transition to a newly created post in Orlando as vice president, business and content development at ESPN Wide World of Sports in the Disney World complex.  The company states that Remick “will pursue and lead new business initiatives and events at ESPN Wide World of Sports, which is visited by nearly two million amateur athletes, coaches and spectators each year.”  She will report to Traug Keller, ESPN senior vice president, production, business divisions, who oversees ESPN Audio among other units.

wolfemattABC News Radio Names Matt Wolfe Production Manager.  ABC News Radio executive director Andrew Kalb announces the hiring of Matt Wolfe to serve as production manager for the division.  In a memo to staffers, Kalb notes that Wolfe served as a freelance WGA writer with the company between 2004 and 2007 and “for the last few years has been working in a freelance role on our digital audio initiatives.  Matt was responsible for one of our first pieces on the Men’s Life station on Slacker Radio.”  Wolfe has also worked at Cox Media Group’s rock WBAB, Babylon, New York (Long Island market) for the past 13 years and held a variety of positions at the station including as producer of the morning show and hosting a weekend evening shift.  Kalb says, “Matt’s production, broadcast and on-air skills are the perfect mix for the continued growth of the many products we currently produce and many of our future initiatives.”

kingmanredRed Kingman Exits WHTC, Holland, Michigan.  West Michigan talk radio personality Red Kingman exits Midwest Communications’ WHTC, Holland, Michigan (southwest of Grand Rapids) after an incident in September that happened on the company’s sister station classic hits WYVN “92.7 The Van.”  Kingman – a conservative talk show host on WHTC – was subbing on “The Morning Grind” with co-host Mike Johnson on September 14 when he played a song parody of a Miller Lite commercial that contained the f-word.  Kingman says airing the song was part of a technical issue that morning but tells Mlive.com that he understands the company’s zero-tolerance policy but doesn’t think the mistake on WYVN should have cost him his job on the AM station.

resnickjohnJohn Resnick’s ‘Legends of Success’ Partners with Talk Media Network.  “Legends of Success with John Resnick” announces it is partnering with Talk Media Network to deliver national advertising sales, affiliate marketing, and syndication support.  Talk Media Network CEO Josh Leng states, “’Legends of Success with John Resnick’ is a well-established brand and program without equal in its category.  John Resnick’s ability to secure and engage the biggest names in business and entertainment on his program make it an appointment-listening radio show and a valuable sponsorship opportunity for affiliate stations.”  The show has been in production since 2002.

dryerfredOdds & Sods.  CRN Digital Talk Radio personality Fred Dryer is hosting a Thursday Night Football Viewing Party on October 17 at Bob’s Big Boy in Sun Valley, California.  The former NFL star and TV personality – who hosts a weekly show on CRN – will be there along with other CRN personalities…..Former Dial Global AC night personality Chad Blake signs on with Salem Communications to serve as executive producer for news/talk KNUS, Denver’s “Kelley and Company” morning drive show hosted by Steve Kelley and Bill Rogan…..The Motley Fool announces the launch of a daily one-minute radio report called “Motley Fool Stock Watch” which provides “timely stock analysis for listeners and a profitable offering for stations: no network ad inventory.”  The company says Hubbard‘s WTOP, Washington has signed up for the feature that it says “goes beyond the typical on-the-hour market updates and is for people who follow Main Street as well as Wall Street.”

Andi Marshall Passes.  News pro Andi Marshall died on Saturday, October 5 after a battle with cancer.  Marshall spent 12 years as a news anchor on KFWB, Los Angeles.  She exited the station in 2009 but returned as a fill-in anchor in recent years.

Obama Approval Rating, Government Shutdown/Fiscal Crisis, ObamaCare Implementation, IRS Scandal, Yellen Nominated for Fed Post, Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/8).  President Obama’s sinking approval ratings; the ongoing efforts to end the government shutdown and address the debt ceiling limit; scrutiny of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the evolving IRS scandal; Janet Yellen’s nomination for chair of the Fed; and the fluctuating financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, October 12, 2012

| October 12, 2012

New Media Seminar Draws 275 in Los Angeles.  It was a packed house sold out two weeks in advance as some 275 talk media broadcasters from across the country, with a distinct emphasis on the Western states, rocked the old Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood yesterday.  Approximately 50 speakers — including the likes of Robin Bertolucci, Phil Boyce, Kevin Casey, Holland Cooke, Jerry Doyle, Skip Essick, Ian Freeman, Bill Handel, Heidi Harris, Michael Harrison, Ron Hartenbaum, Sam Hasson, Michael Horn, Rusty Humphries, Karel, Mike Kinosian, Kraig Kitchin, Lars Larson, Kevin Larue, Garret Lewis, Tom Leykis, Andy Ludlum, Carole Marks, Don Martin, Mike McVay, Stephanie Miller, Bob Moore, Bill Moran, Patt Morrison, Harvey Nagler, Norm Pattiz, Ken Rutkowski, Walter Sabo, Brent Seltzer, Dave Sniff, Eric Stanger, Doug Stephan, Shadoe Stevens, Alan Stock, Chuck Tyler, Jeff Wasserman, Eric Weiss, and Michael Zwerling – tackled a variety of hot industry topics including the economic, technological and cultural challenges facing talk radio broadcasters in 2012.  This full day event was part two of TALKERS magazine’s new 2012 format in which the New Media Seminar was broken into East and West coast segments.  The first was a sellout event held in New York on June 7.

“Those who do not adapt will be swallowed up.”  That was the admonishment of Courtside Entertainment CEO Norm Pattiz in his Thursday morning keynote.  Consistently sounding a no-nonsense tone, Pattiz assured attendees that this is a very serious time.  Along those lines, Pattiz even mentioned that his comments that kicked off the enthusiastically well-received event would not be going for laughs.  Touching on a variety of bullet points, the former Westwood One honcho commented that, despite the fact audience size is unchanged, there is dwindling support for conservative talk radio from national advertisers.  “There were no 400-pound gorillas,” when Pattiz began in the radio syndication business.  Missing good old-fashioned radio wars, he noted that people “banged heads in a good-natured way.”  Importance of the product was heavily stressed by Pattiz, who emphasized that he “did not get in the business because of money – I’m a content guy.”  The idea of giving anything away for nothing “is ridiculous,” he remarked.  Despite cautioning the audience that his keynote would be straightforward, the Los Angeles Lakers‘ #1 fan could not resist lightening the mood on several occasions when, including when he stated, “You should not sleep well knowing that I am the chairman of Lawrence Livermore National Security.”

A star-studded panel looked at the big picture of spoken-word radio, with CBS Radio News vice president Harvey Nagler stating, “We are not in the radio business – we are in the content business.”  Content, however, must be memorable and compelling.  Provided that personalities “do not break their promises to listeners,” it is the opinion of Sound Mind CEO Kraig Kitchin that they will “continue to sell their books.”  Demos are not what Phil Boyce seeks.  “I chase ears,” commented Salem Communications‘ vice president/director, spoken word formats, who added, “People on the left want to kill talk radio.”  One of the key buzzwords, according to Fox Sports Radio vice president/programming Don Martin, is “bundle.”  The operations manager of Los Angeles’ KLAC commented that, from a branding standpoint, it is much wiser to use handles such as “Fox Sports Radio – LA,” or “ESPN Radio 710,” rather than, “The Zone,” or “The Ticket.”

The New Normal president/host Tom Leykis was among the “Modern Day Pioneer” panelists.  The popular talk host isn’t a fan of having television cameras in a radio studio.  The concept of viewing a radio show on television, is – in Leykis’ estimation” very similar to “watching socks dry.” Esteemed programmer and “Mental Radio” host Shadoe Stevens added, “It takes away the theater of the mind.”  Virtually everyone thought Mike Horn “was crazy” when the chief executive officer of CRN Digital Talk set forth the concept of providing audio channels to cable TV providers.  Next year, his company will celebrate its 30th birthday.  “You must have great programming and a way to promote it,” Horn remarked.

Look for extensive coverage of this historic radio gathering in the coming days and weeks in TALKERS and RadioInfo including video coverage and bonus interviews.

Competition in the Network Sports Talk Field Breeding War of Words.  A story in the New York Post illustrates the intense competition the arrival of two new major players (CBS Sports Radio Network and NBC Sports Radio) in the sports talk radio network business is having.  Reporting what the industry has known for some time – that the Cumulus distribution partnership with the new CBS Sports Radio Network will mean 47 new affiliates for CBS and would mean some affiliation cancellations for ESPN Radio – the two sides engaged in a little competitive posturing in the Post story.  Saying it will have about 100 affiliate stations when it debuts in January and positioning itself as the “most-listened-to sports radio network in the top 50 markets,” CBS is playing up its assets – namely O&Os in major and large markets.  CBS Radio CEO Dan Mason tells the Post, “ESPN affiliates are in small markets.  Maybe you find that adds up to a lot of audience.  Don’t forget that CBS Radio owns most of the top 10 sports stations in the US, and with Cumulus that’s formidable.  ESPN has had the market much to themselves, we’re the new entry and we think we put together formidable talent.”  ESPN Radio SVP of production and business Traug Keller responds, “This has no material effect on us.  There’s only three or four [Cumulus] stations in the top 50.”  He also tells the paper ESPN is already finding new affiliates in markets where current agreements are being terminated, including Atlanta and Birmingham, Alabama.

Barclays Capital Analyst Downgrades U.S. Advertising Growth Forecast.  The ad industry as a whole will not grow as much over the next year and a half as previously predicted states Barclays Capital analyst Anthony DiClemente.  In a report issued yesterday, DiClemente stated he believes ad growth across all sectors will be just 4% this year compared to his original prediction of 4.6%.  For 2013, DiClemente says he believes ad revenue will rise just 1.9% compared to his previous 2.3% forecast.  He did not specifically report on projections for radio.  He did, however, give a positive outlook for News Corp. performance.

WSCR, Chicago’s Jason Goff to Take Night Host Position at CBS Radio’s Atlanta FM Sports Talker.  Rounding out the lineup of CBS Radio’s WZGC, Atlanta “SportsRadio 92.9 The Game” is Jason Goff, who will become the host of the evening show when the station debuts on October 24.  The lineup for the new sports talker was announced earlier this week with the exception of the evening slot.  Now, “The Score” fill-in host, writer, producer and reporter will move south for his own nightly talk show.  Goff has been with WSCR for the past 12 years and program director Mitch Rosen is obviously thrilled for Goff telling Chicago Radio and Media, “What a great story Jason Goff is.  From a caller in high school to an intern to a full-time producer/fill-in host, and now to a top market like Atlanta to be a full-time host!  This is a Hollywood story in progress, Jason will excel and I could not be more proud.”

Looking Into the Digital Crystal Ball.  Saga Communications made the news this past Wednesday when they anointed their program directors as “brand managers.”  Saga’s EVP Steve Goldstein, issued a memo that you read here in TALKERS.  It read, in part, “We’ve been thinking about how successful programmers are morphing their skills to become proficient at not just managing the on-air product, but the overall brand.  And conversely, it has exposed the vulnerability of program directors who are not learning and growing as we become more digital.”  In today’s TALKERS, leading digital radio consultant Chris Miller writes about what this move actually will mean to the managers involved.  Looking into his digital crystal ball he predicts that before too long, brand managers will be judged on how much time people are spending with their entire brand.  Not just their broadcasts, but all the platforms that they manage.  He says that we will move into the era of the “new ratings” in which every click is trackable – no estimates – and stations will own the data without having to buy it from a third party (uh, oh Arbitron).  He also points out that this new era will open the door to new competition and an increased concentration on niches.  Fasten your seat belts because this is one fast ride!  To read Chris Miller’s entire piece, click here.

Doug Hess Exits WLTP, Parkersburg, West Virginia.  News director and morning drive co-host Doug Hess is leaving Clear Channel’s news/talk WLTP, Parkersburg, West Virginia after 21 years doing local news in the market.  According to the News-Sentinel, Hess will take a position as communications and outreach coordinator with The ARC of the Mid-Ohio Valley.  Hess tells the paper he’ll miss the news business he’s been a part of for so many years.  “People depend on you to get this information out to them in a timely manner.  It is an important job and it has been a privilege to do it.”

Beasley Broadcasting Adds FM Signals to Southwest Florida’s 770 ESPN Radio.  WWCN, Ft. Myers gets some FM signal boost to help it cover Lee and Collier counties.  Beasley Broadcasting announces the ESPN Radio affiliate can now be heard on 98.1 FM in South Ft. Myers and Estero; 101.5 FM in Bonita Springs and North Naples; and 105.1 FM in Naples and Marco Island.  VP/market manager Brad Beasley states, “This is a big deal for Southwest Florida sports enthusiasts.  For the past 12 years, the only way to hear sports in our community has been on the AM dial.  Now our loyal listeners can also follow their favorite teams and events at multiple locations on the FM dial…and that’s awesome!”

Vice Presidential Debate Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 8-12.  The anticipation of the vice presidential candidate’s debate and the post-debate discussion was the top news/talk story of the week landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  Following at #2 was the questioning of the facts presented by the Obama administration about the attack in Banghazi.  At #3 was the presidential race poll numbers followed by the aftermath of the first presidential debate at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

| October 10, 2012

Michael Savage Tells San Francisco Chronicle His Return to Radio is Imminent.  The San Francisco Chronicle reports former Talk Radio Network nationally syndicated talk star Michael Savage (who won his freedom from TRN in arbitration recently) plans to be back on the radio within two weeks.  Savage tells the paper, “I’ve got to get back before these (presidential) debates are over.  And when I do, it will be bigger than ever.”  Savage’s attorney, Daniel Horowitz, says Savage is in negotiations with three “major players” but wouldn’t say which ones or what station might serve as a flagship.

President Obama Calls in to Tom Joyner Show this Morning. This morning (10/10) on the Tom Joyner Morning Show President Barack Obama called in and spoke to Tom Joyner and Sybil Wilkes about the debate, the importance of voting, his focus on the African American Community, and his thoughts on winning this tight election.  In the opinion of the TALKERS editors, the President made several powerful news making comments.  To read a key excerpt from this exclusive interview, click here.

Programmer Marshall Adams Exits All-News WYAY, Atlanta.  Before joining the Cumulus Atlanta all-newser early this year, Marshall Adams served as program director at CBS Radio’s KDKA, Pittsburgh.  Now, the word is Adams has exited the fledgling all-news operations.  There’s no word from Cumulus who will take over the programming role at WYAY.

Mancow Show in Pre-Recorded Mode During Move to New Studios.  The Chicago-based and TRN-FM nationally syndicated Mancow program is airing taped shows this week as the program prepares to launch in its TV-radio simulcast format on October 22, according to Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder.  Mancow’s show will emanate from the studios of Fox TV-owned WPWR-TV, Chicago with the 6:00 am to 8:00 am hours being simulcast on TV.  Also, Feder reports that former “Ebert & Roeper” program executive producer Don Dupree has been hired as director and produce of the Mancow show.  Mancow’s program had been produced at Cumulus Media’s Chicago studios.

The Future of PDs: Brand Managers.  Perhaps the headline of this story should read the “present” of program directors as an increasing number of companies are adopting the title “brand manager” to describe the role of the radio station/group position historically known as “program director.”  With the likes of so highly respected and forward thinking a company as Saga Communications joining the ranks of those using this more expansive title RadioInfo recognizes the movement is shifting from trend status to a significant paradigm shift.  The concept is articulated by Saga Communications executive vice president Steve Goldstein in the following memo received by the company’s program directors in all formats, talk and music:

I have some very important and exciting news…

We truly live in a multi-platform world.  As a Program Director, you are now spending an increased amount of your time thinking about and working with our various digital platforms.  Whether it be the station website(s), social media such as Facebook, Twitter or crafting emails and texts, it’s all now a part of the PD’s day.  This is in addition to managing the external marketing feel and visual aspects of the brand.

And of course, all of this is on top of creating vital and compelling on-air radio with all of the moving parts of morning shows, music, talk programming, news, sports, etc.

So, we’ve been thinking a lot about how vastly different the job of the Program Director is in 2012 and where it is likely to go in the coming years.

We’ve been thinking about how successful programmers are morphing their skills to become proficient at not just managing the on-air product, but the overall brand.  And conversely, it has exposed the vulnerability of Program Directors who are not learning and growing as we become more digital.

When you drill it all down, what it really means is that the PD is no longer just a PROGRAM DIRECTOR, but a multi-platform BRAND MANAGER.

And so with the notion that things will continue to evolve, we are making a formal title change for all of our PDs from Program Director to Brand Manager.    This change is intended to not only reflect how people in our business think about the position of PD but how PD’s think about themselves.

Managing the assets of a brand is what you do today, and we think this new title better reflects the change in responsibility and overall outlook.

We discussed this during our recent General Manager meeting in Florida and it met with tremendous approval.

Congratulations BRAND MANAGER.

Saga Communications owns and operates more than 100 broadcast stations in 29 markets.

ESPN Confirms Central Florida Affiliates.  ESPN Radio remains on the Central Florida markets of Orlando – on Cox Media’s WDBO-AM beginning November 12 – and in Tampa Bay on Clear Channel’s WDAE.  The moves come after Genesis Communications elected not to renew its affiliation with ESPN radio on WBHO, Tampa and WHOO, Orlando.  As we reported yesterday, Cox Media is flipping the AM side of WDBO-AM/FM to sports as “ESPN 580 Orlando” and will carry the ESPN Radio lineup including Mike & Mike, Colin Cowherd, and SVP & Russillo.  WDBO has not announced a local PM drive talent as this time.  ESPN senior vice president, production, business divisions Traug Keller says, “We’re pleased to team with Cox to broadcast ESPN Radio content on WDBO-AM 580, one of the strongest signals in the Southeast, and with Clear Channel to provide ESPN programming on 620 WDAE.  Our new affiliates in both Tampa and Orlando are a huge step up in signal strength, business acumen and our drive to grow our business with the best in the business.”

Tom Bauerle Re-Ups with Entercom’s WBEN, Buffalo.  Buffalo talk host Tom Bauerle is becoming synonymous with talk radio in the market as the Buffalo native signs a long-term contract extension to remain with WBEN hosting the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program.  Bauerle has been with WBEN since 2002.  He started his career in the market at Entercom sister WGR in 1982.  We worked for a few years outside the market at WTKN, Tampa-St. Pete and KMOX, St. Louis before returning to Buffalo in 1991.

XEPRS, San Diego “ESPN Radio 1700” Renews with ESPN for Three Years.  San Diego sports outlet ESPN Radio 1700 announces it strikes a deal with ESPN Radio to continue airing its programming in the market for another three years.  XEPRS is owned by Broadcasting Company of the Americas and carries Mike & Mike, “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” Hill & Schlereth, overnight and weekend programming as well as MLB and college sports play-by-play. Broadcasting Company of the Americas VP/market manager Norman Feuer states, “We’re thrilled to continue our partnership with ESPN Radio.  As San Diego’s sports leader, it’s only fitting to have a strong bond with the ‘Worldwide Leader in Sports.’  Programming the quality of ESPN Radio deserves a home in San Diego. We are proud to have our stations as that home.”

WSSP, Milwaukee Adds Ted Davis to PM Drive Show.  Ted Davis has served as the voice of Milwaukee Bucks basketball for the past 15 seasons.  Now, he adds a regular role at Entercom’s sports talk WSSP “Sportsradio 1250” where he’ll be part of “The Big Show” afternoon program with Steve “Sparky” Fifer, Ramie Makhlouf and Gary Ellerson.  Program director Tom Parker says Davis will begin during the basketball season adding hoops analysis.  “Ted will weigh in on the day’s top Wisconsin sports stories.  Of course he’ll share his unique perspective on Milwaukee basketball.  Ted is a sports talk pro who knows what fans want and will tell it like it is.”

Odds & Sods.  Entercom promotes WEEI-FM, Springfield, Massachusetts and WEEI-AM, Worcester, Massachusetts general manager David Oldread to director of sales and operations for the Worcester, Springfield and WVEI-FM Providence outlets for the Boston-based WEEI sports talk brand…..SiriusXM will broadcast a special “town hall” broadcast with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell live from SiriusXM studios on October 22.  NFL great Michael Strahan (also co-host of ABC TV’s “Live with Kelly and Michael” and analyst on “Fox NFL Sunday” ) will interview Goodell and the commissioner will take questions from the live studio audience…..CBS Radio’s WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia donates $5,000 to Michael Vick’s Team Vick Foundation.  Vick says, “The city of Philadelphia embraced me, welcomed me here when the Eagles signed me – giving me a second chance to play the game that I love.  We at Team Vick Foundation are thankful to CBS Radio for supporting our work in the community and look forward to lasting partnership.”…..Tribune’s WGN, Chicago will air abbreviated editions of its “Sports Night” program to carry the two remaining presidential debates as well as the vice-presidential debate.  The VP debate is Thursday, October 11 and the two presidential debates are on October 16 and 22.

KDKA, Pittsburgh Hosts Marcellus Shale Expo.  The possibility of large natural gas reserves in the Marcellus Shale is a major ongoing story for Western Pennsylvania and CBS Radio’s KDKA is hosting a Marcellus Shale Expo on Thursday, October 11.  The event is sponsored by Range Resources, a developer of natural gas extraction technology.  The day’s events will include panel discussions hosted by KDKA’s Mike Pintek and Robert Mangino and will include representatives: Frank Brooks Robinson, Jr., of the Governor’s Action Team; Petra Mitchell from Catalyst Connection and Rep. Jim Christiana from Beaver County.  Afternoon session panelists include Alan Eichler of District Oil & Gas Operations; Rep. Marc Gergely from Allegheny County and John Ubinger from PA Environmental Council.  Matt Pitzarella from Range Resources will serve on both panels.  Mike Pintek will broadcast his program on site from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

Hearst Television President David Barrett to Receive Broadcasters Foundation of America’s 2013 Golden Mike Award.  Awarded annually to a broadcasting executive who has championed the BFoA’s mission, the 2013 Golden Mike Award will be given to Hearst Television president and CEO David Barrett at a gala black-tie fundraiser at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on February 25.  Broadcasters Foundation of American chairman Philip J. Lombardo states, “David has been a vigorous champion of the Foundation’s mission to help broadcasters who are in desperate need.  David’s exemplary leadership at Hearst, his commitment to the Foundation’s charitable cause, and his dedication to community service have earned him this acknowledgement.  We are proud to honor him.”

Newt Talks Politics with Alan Stock.  Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (and recent presidential candidate) poses for a photo with KDWN, Las Vegas morning drive host Alan Stock at the Beasley news/talk station’s studios.  Gingrich appeared on Stock’s program to talk about the presidential race and took calls from listeners.

Presidential Race Polls, Obama ‘Big Bird’ Ad Controversy, Romney Foreign Policy Speech, and Jerry Sandusky Sentenced Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/9).  New polling data showing Mitt Romney gaining on or pulling ahead of President Obama; the controversy of the use of the Children’s Television Workshop’s Big Bird in an Obama ad; Mitt Romney’s recent foreign policy speech; and the sentencing of former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, October 5, 2012

| October 5, 2012

Entercom’s Sports WEEI Splits AM and FM Signals Today.  The AM and FM signals of Entercom’s Boston-based sports talk radio giant WEEI split earlier this morning with the Boston FM signal at 93.7 continuing the local talk with the established lineup of Dennis & Callahan, Mut & Merloni, “The Big Show” with Glenn Ordway and Michael Holley, and “Planet Mikey” with Mike Adams.  The AM signal at 850 is now “ESPN on WEEI” and features the lineup of ESPN Radio sports talk shows beginning with “Mike & Mike in the Morning,” “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” SVP & Russillo, “ESPN Today,” Hill & Schlereth or play-by-play, “SportsCenter Tonight,” and “SportsCenter All Night.”  Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic are broadcasting from Gillette Stadium this morning to celebrate their arrival in the Boston market.  ESPN senior vice president, production business divisions Traug Keller states, “We’re pleased to team with Boston’s preeminent sports radio outlet and one of the nation’s best radio broadcasting companies in Entercom to bring the number one national network into New England.  This move, coupled with the existing presence of ESPNBoston.com, provides Boston’s passionate fans the best of ESPN’s national and local coverage and analysis.”

Cox Media Group to Debut Georgia News Service in January.  The multi-media service will be based out of Cox Media Group’s WSB, Atlanta studio and bring together the assets of WSB, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution and ABC TV affiliate WSB-TV to produce news content.  Scott Smith – market manager for Cox Media in Athens, Georgia – is being charged with heading the operation.  Cox Media Atlanta vice president and general manager Ben Reed says, “The Cox name has long been synonymous with excellent news coverage throughout the state of Georgia.  This gives us the opportunity to bring our experience and assets together in order to provide a high-quality news service to outlets across the state of Georgia.  We believe the Georgia News Service will very quickly become an invaluable audio, visual, and digital resource for news outlets across the state.  We look forward to providing them with the high-caliber news coverage that has become a Cox tradition.”  Clear Channel has been operating the Georgia News Network out of former news/talk WGST’s studios but is closing down the bureau.

ESPN Radio Extends Contract of Ryen Russillo; Changes Name of Afternoon Show to ‘SVP & Russillo.’  Ryen Russillo has been the co-host of the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET Scott Van Pelt show on ESPN Radio since May of 2009.  Now, the sports entertainment giant extends Russillo’s deal and, to give him more visibility, changes the name of the show from “The Scott Van Pelt Show” to “SVP & Russillo.”  He says, “Over the last three years ‘The Scott Van Pelt Show’ has been my number one priority, and I couldn’t be happier that, for the next few years, it will remain my priority.  I believe in the direction of this show and am really looking forward to where we are going.”  In addition to his co-hosting duties with Van Pelt, Russillo also hosts the 12:00 noon to 7:00 pm ET edition of College GameDay during the football season.

Dave Ramsey Goes West.  Nationally syndicated talk radio sensation Dave Ramsey was in Phoenix and Fresno this week for two live events.  First, Ramsey presented his brand new, intimate “Living a Legacy Live Event” in Fresno for the benefit of the audience and affiliate KMJ-FM.  Ramsey discussed how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence.  His daughter, Rachel Cruze, joined Ramsey on stage.  Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ-FM saw the direct benefits of the live event for their audience and their station.  PD Skip Essick says, “Dave Ramsey has an incredible, loyal following, and selling out Saroyan Theater not only speaks to the quality of talent we have in him, but the drawing power of ‘105.9, The FM KMJ.’”  Ramsey hosted his “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” in Phoenix on Wednesday for a packed house at Central Christian Church.  Brett Rogers is the sales manager for affiliate KTAR-FM and he says, “KTAR is proud to be a part of bringing this unique training to Arizona’s business community.  Through this event, we’ve been able to bring some of our best local partners and provide them the opportunity to change their business and also personally meet Dave Ramsey and have a money-can’t-buy experience.  This event has given us the opportunity to engage with our clients in a unique, personal environment.”  Dave Ramsey is pictured here with the sales staff of Bonneville’s KTAR-FM.

Brown Corners Hickenlooper.  That’s KHOW, Denver talk show host (and former Undersecretary of Homeland Security in the Bush Administration) Michael Brown in the center with the microphone trying to get Democratic Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper (left) on the air on KHOW during the live broadcast prior to Wednesday’s presidential debate at the University of Denver.  Brown co-hosts “The Rundown” with author, columnist and talk host David Sirota during PM drive on KHOW and program director Dan Mandis tells TALKERS the duo have had a hard time getting Governor Hickenlooper to appear on their program so Brown took advantage of the governor’s appearance at the event to ask some questions.  However, shortly after this photo was taken the governor had to make other appearances and promised to stop by the KHOW remote broadcast booth later but did not.

WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia’s Angelo Cataldi Donates to Heart Association.  Making good on his pre-season pledge to donate $10 to the American Heart Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania in honor of Richie Ashburn Memorial Homeruns for Hearts for each home run hit by the Phillies this season, WIP morning drive host Angelo Cataldi is pictured here writing the ceremonial check for $1,580 dollars matching the Phillies’ 158 homers.  The Homeruns for Hearts event was designed to give ordinary citizens the chance to live out their major league dreams. It made its debut in 1997, after the sudden passing of Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn, who succumbed to heart disease. In addition, the event also honors longtime Phillies announcer Harry Kalas, who also died of heart disease in 2009.

Stitcher Launches Podcast and On Demand Radio Awards.  The web aggregator Stitcher has announced the launch of the Stitcher Awards, to celebrate the best of on demand radio and podcasts for 2012. Listeners can nominate their favorite shows across 20 different categories – from Best Comedy to Best New Show. Stitcher now has over 10,000 different shows streaming on demand. Nominations will be open until October 19th. Fans can nominate their shows every day for the next two weeks at www.stitcher.com/stitcherawards or on the company’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/stitcherradio.  The finalists will be announced shortly afterwards for each category and the winners will be named live in San Francisco in December.

Rick Kaplan Joins NAB as EVP, Strategic Planning. The National Association of Broadcasters announces that former top FCC staffer Rick Kaplan has been hired as executive vice president, Strategic Planning. In this newly created position that will deal primarily with television, Kaplan will lead NAB’s efforts related to spectrum and innovation policy. His first day is Oct. 22. “We are delighted to announce the hiring of Rick Kaplan, whose credibility and integrity are well-recognized both at the Commission and in telecom circles in Washington,” says NAB president/CEO Gordon Smith. “His expertise on spectrum issues will benefit broadcasters greatly as we work with policymakers to ensure a robust local television business for decades to come.”

Odds & Sods.  Mixed martial arts is a big draw for the young male demo and “UFC on FX” has been good to the Fox-owned cable channel.  Fox Sports Radio Network has been simulcasting “UFC on FX” and continues with tonight’s “UFC on FX: Browne vs. Bigfoot” live from the Target Center in Minneapolis.  After the fights, mixed martial arts expert Larry Pepe hosts a Fox Sports Radio wrap-up show with interviews and call-ins from 7 pm to 10 pm PT…..Talk host Tom Donahue announces he’s ending his daily live internet talk show due to financial considerations but will continue with various multi-media projects including his new YouTube channel, podcasts and blog.  Donahue says he remains available for guest hosting and for guest interviews…..Dave Raymond and Brett Dolan are out as the radio play-by-play announcers for Houston Astros baseball.  The club announces it is beginning the search for their replacements immediately.  Clear Channel’s KTRH, Houston is the club’s flagship station.

NJBA Comments Incorporated into Federal Legislation.  Pro-radio crusader Paul S. Rotella, president/CEO of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association, reports positive progress in his organization’s efforts to influence the interests of the radio industry in government circles. The House of Representatives recently passed the FEMA Reauthorization Act of 2011 (H.R. 2903), which authorizes the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) and makes improvements to the system including language that broadcasters requested in several key areas: 1. The bill creates an IPAWS Advisory Committee to ensure that the various federal agencies that have a part in the governance of the IPAWS are conducting an ongoing dialogue with message disseminators. (Broadcasters will be represented on the IPAWS advisory committee); and 2. The bill establishes a comprehensive and periodic training program to instruct and educate Federal, State, Tribal, and local government officials in the use of the Common Alerting Protocol enabled Emergency Alert System.  Importantly, the bill requires that this training be integrated into the National Incident Management System, which is the Department of Homeland Security’s emergency management doctrine used across the United States to coordinate emergency preparedness and incident management and response.  By incorporating the NJBA’s comments regarding EAS training into the National Incident Management System, state and local emergency managers will have to participate in EAS training in order to receive federal homeland security grant funding. The bill now heads to the Senate, which has been considering its own IPAWS bill.

14.8 Million More Americans Watched the Presidential Debate.  According to a report from TVbytheNumbers, the first presidential debate of the 2012 campaign on Wednesday evening saw a big spike in the number of people who tuned in compared to the first debate in 2008 between Barack Obama and John McCain.  Then, 52.4 million Americans tuned in.  On Wednesday, 67.2 million people watched the debate on one of the 12 networks that carried it.  Of the big three networks that carried it, ABC grabbed the most viewers with 11.2 million.

First Presidential Debate Victory Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 1-5.  The build-up to the first presidential debate and the post-debate analysis was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week and landed atop the Talkers TenTM.  The investigation of the Libya consulate attack that claimed the life of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and others was #2.  At #3 was the controversy over President Obama’s 2007 speech before a black audience in which he questions why the largely African-American victims of Hurricane Katrina didn’t receive the same assistance as victims of other disasters.  Following at #4 was analysis of the presidential campaign polls.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top people and stories discussed on news/talk radio during the week, based on ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Monday, June 25, 2012

| June 25, 2012

ESPN Responds to CBS Sports Radio Announcement.  Well, not specifically to last week’s announcement by CBS of its planned CBS Sports Radio network division, but it may have been a factor (wink, wink).  ESPN sends a reminder to the industry underscoring it how pervasive the sports media organization’s audio content is, signed by SVP production, business divisions Traug Keller, who states, “We’re used to competition.  ESPN Audio has built an unparalleled mix of high-quality events and national sports talk programming over the last 20 years.  We are well positioned in the marketplace through our diverse audio platforms.”  The release goes on to note it counts 700 affiliate stations in the U.S. – 300 of which it terms full-time affiliates.  It also says it reaches 24 million listeners each week.

Programming Changes at Merlin Media’s WIQI-FM, Chicago; Greg Jarrett to AM Drive.  According to Chicagoland Radio and Media, Merlin Media is making changes to the lineup at “FM News 101.1” beginning today with the arrival of Greg Jarrett in AM drive.  Jarrett, the news pro who most recently served as morning host at Tribune’s crosstown WGN, joins the morning drive program co-anchoring with Monica DeSantis.  The move bumps Rob Hart and Mary Ellen Geist to the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon shift.  The site also reports Merlin is adding some “expanded news” programming – apparently a euphemism for “talk show” – to the schedule with John Czahor beginning a 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show.  And there is still a lot of chatter in Chicago about Erich “Mancow” Muller getting an afternoon talk show on the station.  He, and others including Jeff Pinkus, Kevin Matthews and Jim Laski, have been taking turns hosting talk shows in the afternoons on the station.  But so far there is no official word about the permanent addition of any talk show to the lineup.

New York Public Radio Names NY Times Editor Jim Schachter News VP.  WNYC-FM, New York announces The New York Times associate managing editor Jim Schachter will exit the paper and become the pubcaster’s vice president of news on July 9.  He’ll be responsible for WNYC, the New Jersey Public Radio stations it recently acquired, the data news unit and the political site, It’s A Free Country.  President and CEO Laura Walker says of Schachter, “He has a vibrant vision, an appetite for innovation, and a keen understanding of engaging audiences.  This will bolster our ambitious plans to grow our news content and increase our reporting capacity across all platforms.  We’re delighted that he is joining us at a moment when the need for serious journalism has never been more urgent.”

Digital Audio Service TuneIn Adds Fox News Radio and Bloomberg to Its Stable.  The global digital audio service is quickly reaching deals with major radio and internet audio content providers and now announces it has added Fox News Radio and Bloomberg Radio to its affiliate list.  TuneIn tallies more than 20 major broadcast groups as partners and the addition of Fox News Radio means TuneIn users can hear the network’s top- and bottom-of-the-hour newscasts as well as longform talk shows “Kilmeade and Friends,” John Gibson, Tom Sullivan, Alan Colmes, “Fox Across America with Spencer Hughes” and more.  TuneIn CEO John Donham states, “We are committed to achieving the varied goals of our broadcast partners, whether they’re growing their audiences, monetizing their streams or growing their digital footprint.  Broadcasters have already responded enthusiastically to our current offerings.  We will continue to innovate – as we always have – to ensure the best experience for broadcasters, and listeners, everywhere.”

Six Leading Radio Networks Organize Network Radio Compliance Council.  Six of the top American radio networks are announcing the formation of the NRCCNetwork Radio Compliance Council – whose mission is to “establish best practices, providing advertisers, agencies and radio stations with better tools for the placement and reporting of commercial audio.”  The NRCC consists of the six RADAR-rated network organizations: American Urban Radio Networks, Crystal Media Networks, Cumulus Media Networks, Dial Global, Premiere Networks and United Stations Radio Networks.  The council elects Meg Montury of Premiere Networks as chair and Chris Buehler of Dial Global as vice chair.  In a statement, the council will host quarterly meetings with invited guests, including radio vendors, ad agencies and additional network radio companies.  Montury says, “Given the vast industry experience of members of this council, we are excited to be working together as an industry to enhance the accountability of network radio.  Technology over the past five years has enabled us all to deliver even more precision and accuracy for our clients.  The NRCC can only further solidify these efforts.”

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles is honored with two Southern California Journalism Awards for editorial excellence from the Los Angeles Press Club at yesterday’s 54th Southern California Journalism Awards dinner.  KNX won in the “News” category for its “Shutdown Occupy L.A.” piece and in the “Investigative” category for “The Strange Case of Dr. Ehab Mohamed.”…..La Crosse Radio Group flips WLFN, La Crosse, Wisconsin from standards to talk with local host Bob Schmidt in AM drive, WIBA, Madison-based Vicki McKenna in PM drive plus Dial Global’s Dennis Miller and WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish…..CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis is sponsoring a lunch and live broadcast to honor first responders and benefit the St. Louis County Police Welfare Association.  Along with local sponsors Lane House Construction and CiCi’s Pizza, the former will buy lunch for all first responders who join the event on Thursday, June 28 from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm during which the station’s Martin Kilcoyne and Trish Gazall will broadcast live and donations to the association will be accepted…..Boston jazz buffs are lamenting the imminent disappearance of WGBH-FM, Boston’s evening jazz programming as the non-com announces it will add more spoken-word content to the program schedule this summer.  There’s no official evening programming schedule announcement yet but the station has recently added expanded programming from NPR…..“Car Clinic” radio host Bobby Likis says he’s extended his collaboration with the Renewable Fuels Association on its ethanol educational outreach.  The outreach includes the “Calling All Technicians…20 Facts About Ethanol” feature on the Car Clinic Network, which is designed to enlighten, educate and energize automotive technicians with verifiable facts, studies and statistics on ethanol…..Galaxy Communications’ classic rock simulcast of WTKW-FM, Bridgeport, New York and WTKV-FM, Oswego, New York are the new central New York affiliate stations for Buffalo Bills football games this season…..Al Warren retires from his weekend morning program at Cumulus Media’s WICC, Bridgeport, Connecticut on July 1.  Warren began working with WICC in 1965.

KDOW, San Francisco Producer Wins Award for “Phil’s Gang” Promotion.  Salem Communications’ KDOW, San Francisco producer Mark Morris is recognized in the 2011 International Radio and Production Awards for his production work on the “Waltzing with Phil Grande” promotion.  The business talk-formatted station carries the nationally syndicated “Phil’s Gang” talk program hosted by Phil Grande.  Grande states, “We are proud of Mark and thankful for all his hard work for the ‘Phil’s Gang’ radio show.  This high-level award is the crème of the industry and everyone at ‘Phil’s Gang’ congratulates Mark on this leading international award honoring his excellence in broadcasting.”