Tag: "Triton Digital"
Mike Agovino Named to New Executive Vice Chairman Role at Courtside Entertainment/PodcastOne. After Triton Digital was acquired by private equity firm Vector Capitol late last week, Triton co-founder and COO Mike Agovino leaves that company to join Norm Pattiz’s Courtside Entertainment and PodcastOne to serve in the newly created post executive vice chairman. A press statement from Courtside says that Agovino will “work with chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz, president Kit Gray and COO Greg Batusic across all divisions of PodcastOne and Courtside Entertainment, contributing his extensive experience in new media technology, audience analysis and development, and revenue growth for the continued expansion of the groundbreaking podcast network.” Pattiz states, “Mike has been a pioneer in the audio industry and brings a unique global perspective of the digital audio business to PodcastOne. He shares our vision that on-demand premium content is a key driver in the future of audio, and I look forward to working with him as we continue to build audience and revenue, while creating new opportunities across this powerful and growing platform.” Agovino’s career began at Katz Media where he spent 18 years rising to become president of Katz Radio before launching Katz Interactive and later Clear Channel Radio Sales as president/COO. He departed Katz to become co-COO of Interep Radio Sales, leaving several years later to start Triton.
The LA Dodgers and iHeartMedia Re-Brand Sports Talker KLAC, Los Angeles. Big changes come to sports talker KLAC, Los Angeles as now-co-owners iHeartMedia and the Los Angeles Dodgers re-brand the station to reflect this new relationship. The new brand is “AM 570 LA Sports” and it comes with some programming changes. (Oh yes, it also includes the Dodgers’ spiffy new 2015 slogan, “We Love LA!”) The programming lineup is as follows: Dan Patrick from 6:00 am to 9:00 am; the newly created “LA Today with Bill Reiter and Leann Tweeden” from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; Jay Mohr from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; “The Petros and Money Show” with Petros Papadakis and Matt “Money” Smith from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm; plus another new addition, “Dodger Talk featuring David Vassegh and Kevin Kennedy,” which will air immediately following Dodgers baseball games or at 7:00 pm Monday through Friday. That show will air year round starting with Spring Training and throughout the regular season.
Mark Starling New AM Host/News Director at WWNC, Asheville. From his most recent gig as afternoon drive anchor at Cox Media Group’s WDBO, Orlando “News 96.5FM,” Mark Starling heads North to Asheville, North Carolina to serve as the morning host and news/director at iHeartMedia’s WWNC “News Radio 570.” Starling says if his new challenge, “Making the jump to the Asheville market is exactly the kind of move I have been after for several reasons. Not only is it the chance to get back to doing mornings, but the chance to really create a hyper-local morning show concentrating on the news and information the community is really looking for. It’s an adventure I can’t wait to get started on.” Starling starts March 25.
Larry Gifford: Radiodays Europe – Day Two. Consultant and talent coach Larry Gifford is in Milan, Italy attending the Radiodays Europe 2015 conference and files this special report to TALKERS magazine. On day two, Gifford covered, among other things, a keynote speech by iHeartMedia/Premiere Networks morning show star Elvis Duran (pictured here). The “Z100”-based morning personality says over the years he’s come to appreciate his work even more than when he was young. That’s based in part on his believing that he’s not bigger than the show. He says he’s also found new joy in helping people – especially listeners – tell their stories. Also included in this report is a “psychoanalysis” of radio and Australian personality Mel Greig’s thoughts about her infamous prank call to a London hospital that resulted in a nurse committing suicide. Read Gifford’s full report here.
Nielsen Audio Releases First Round of February 2015 PPM Data. The first of four rounds of February 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The February 2015 survey period covered January 29 through February 25. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS magazine and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Fisher and Kage Launch New Program on Digital Platform. Tampa Bay radio pros Chris Fisher and Jesse Kage are launching a videocast to stream live Monday through Thursday from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm ET via their “Fisher and Kage” app and www.fisherandkage.com. The duo says the “uncensored show” will also be available on-demand and will stream from a brand new studio at Jannus Live in downtown St. Petersburg. They’ve named “Special” Ed Grubbe as executive producer. Fisher hosted mornings at WSUN, Tampa “97X” from 2001-2011 and worked at WHPT, Tampa “102.5 The Bone” before exiting in 2013. Jesse Kage worked at “97X” from 2004 to 2007 before moving to WXTB, Tampa “98Rock” where he worked afternoons until last year.
Odds & Sods. On-air changes take place at Dot Com Plus-owned sports talk WNSP, Mobile “Sports Radio 105.5 FM” as Chip Ramsey is replaced in the AM drive chair by PM drive co-host Mark Heim. Afternoon co-host Randy Kennedy recently assumed programming responsibilities from Ramsey…..SiriusXM announces the debut of an all-new channel curated and presented by multi-media star Andy Cohen. The host of “Watch What Happens Live” on Bravo will also host a weekly radio show in addition to producing the new Radio Andy channel.
Meeting of Mega-Mouths. The Palm Beaches in sunny Florida have become one of the talk radio capitals of the nation as evidenced by the chance meeting the other evening of syndicated stars Rush Limbaugh and Howie Carr at a local PB eatery. Carr and his dynamic wife Kathy Carr were on the scene taking a brief break from the frozen, snowy tundra that has gripped New England this winter. The Carrs will be two of approximately 65 speakers who will be addressing a sold-out, packed house at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2015 on Friday, June 12.
2016 Presidential Prospects, Hillary Clinton Email Probe, Ferguson Cops Shootings, Iran Nukes/GOP Letter, Fate of Netanyahu, Battle Against ISIS, Russia Flexes Military Muscle, 49er Borland Retires at 24, and March Madness Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/16). The potential candidates for president in 2016 and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s visit to New Hampshire last weekend; the ongoing controversy over Hillary Clinton’s use of private email for State Department business; the case of the two officers shot in Ferguson; the negotiations with Iran over its nuclear policy and the GOP letter to the Iranian government; the Israeli elections and the fate of Benjamin Netanyahu; the continuing battle against ISIS; Russia’s ramping up of military activity and Vladimir Putin’s talk of nuclear readiness; the early retirement of 49ers linebacker Chris Borland at age 24 due to concerns about brain injury; and the field for the NCAA men’s basketball tourney were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Former Connecticut Governor John Rowland Resigns from WTIC, Hartford Show as New Corruption Probe Intensifies. The former Connecticut governor resigned from office in 2004 amidst corruption charges to which he eventually pleaded guilty and served 10 months in federal prison. He began a talk show host career on CBS RADIO’s WTIC, Hartford in 2010 – for the first two years with co-host Pastor Will Marotti of the New Life Church in Meriden before going solo – but now that gig is over as Rowland stepped down yesterday without addressing the new allegations. The Hartford Courant reports that testimony from local businessman Brian Foley and his wife, Lisa Wilson-Foley (a former congressional candidate) stated in federal court that they used a phony consulting contract with Rowland to pay him for political assistance to Wilson-Foley’s failed 2012 campaign. Rowland faces possible indictment by a grand jury. WTIC program director Jenneen Lee tells the paper Pastor Will Marotti will step into the afternoon drive slot beginning Monday. Read the entire Courant piece here.
Big Changes at KARN-FM, Little Rock; PM Driver Dave Elswick Out along with AM Drive’s Bob Steel and ND. Longtime afternoon drive personality and program director Dave Elswick announces via Facebook that he’s out at Cumulus Media’s KARN-FM, Little Rock. Here’s his post: “I ask for your prayers tonight. After nearly 14 years on KARN I was fired by Cumulus Media. Bob Steel and news director Jack Heintz were also fired. I have no idea what will be on the station tomorrow. Know that I love every one of you who have supported me over these years. God Bless.” There were rumors of change at the news/talk outlet swirling but nothing concrete had been put out. As of now, the KARN-FM website lists the AM and PM drive dayparts generically. It’s possible Cumulus is clearing the afternoon deck to move Michael Savage into a live slot from the current late night delayed broadcast.
Criticism of Mets Infielder’s Paternity Leave Reversed as WFAN’s Boomer Esiason Apologizes. The decision by New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy to miss two games to be with his wife in Florida after she delivered their son on Opening Day was a hot topic of conversation on New York sports talk radio and both WFAN afternoon host Mike Francesa and morning drive co-host Boomer Esiason opined that two games was too many to miss. But during the initial chatter, Esiason said that he’d have asked his wife to schedule a C-section in order to be with his teammates for the games. The MLB CBA allows for up to three days of paternity leave. Esiason apologized on WFAN’s morning show today (4/4), calling his comments “insensitive” and expressing contrition for having put the Murphy family’s personal lives “under a spotlight.” He also said his C-section comment was not intended to mean he was telling women what to do with their bodies.
Nielsen Audio Quantifies the Obvious: Opening Day Is Big for Radio. What’s well known to radio practitioners is put into numbers by Nielsen Audio from this season’s Opening Day. While baseball – from a ratings standpoint – will be good to most MLB flagships this year, some of the Opening Day numbers are truly spectacular. In Cincinnati, flagship WLW pulled a 46.6 share with Men 25-54 on a 12+ cume of 270,700. Also, it’s interesting to note the difference in cume and share from the Cubs at Pirates broadcasts where the woebegone Cubs fans in Chicago didn’t appear to have the same passion (via radio, anyway) as the recharged Bucs backers in Pittsburgh. Check out the data here.
Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network Reports Streaming Success. The digital side of Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network reports that it makes its debut as one of the top 20 most-listened-to streams in America, according to Triton Digital‘s February 2014 ranker. TheBlaze president and chief content officer Joel Cheatwood states, “When we launched TheBlaze Radio Network in January 2013 we did so with the goal of being one of the top online radio stations in America. In our first month of accredited measurement, it is exciting to see our single stream on the same list as these established multi-stream services.”
Entercom Boston Boosts Mozdiez to Director of Integrated Media Strategies. It is a position the cluster specifically crafts for Carlson Mozdiez, who is elevated from director of digital operations. New responsibilities for the Syracuse University graduate include developing/executing customer-facing brand messaging, including live events, contesting and promotions, external advertising, websites, video, and social media. Entercom Boston vice president/market manager Phil Zachary comments, “Streamlining our ever-expanding array of digital and marketing channels, which connect the most valuable radio consumers in New England to our brands and our advertisers, makes logistical sense. Carlson is the ideal leader to spearhead these innovative efforts.” Mozdiez remarks that, “It is an exciting time as we continue to develop and optimize the ways people interact with our stations while creating new means for advertisers to access our audiences.” Entercom Boston consists of rock WAAF, sports WEEI-FM, sports WEEI-AM, news/talk WRKO, the Boston Red Sox Radio Network and their respective web properties. Mozdiez joined Entercom in 2002 as promotion coordinator for WEEI and WRKO.
Dennis Miller Celebrates Radio Anniversary. Today marks the seventh anniversary of entertainer Dennis Miller’s nationally syndicated WestwoodOne radio program. The “Saturday Night Live” alum is commemorating the day with special guests including: Mark Steyn, nationally syndicated columnist and author of After America: Get Ready for Armageddon; Bob Saget, comedian and author of Dirty Daddy: The Chronicles of a Family Man Turned Filthy Comedian; Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky; David Spade, comedian; Frank Sinatra Jr.; and fellow SNL alum Dana Carvey.
KDKA-AM’s Larry Richert to Be Roasted for Charity. Pittsburgh talk radio personality Larry Richert – co-host of the “KDKA Morning News on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA” will be the guest of honor at a Roast & Toast on Friday, April 25 to be roasted and toasted by friends and co-workers to benefit the Roxsan Betters Albanese Foundation. This foundation helps financially challenged families with children who are terminally ill or face a life threatening situation. Fellow KDKA-AM talk host Rob Pratte will serve as Master of Ceremonies.
Odds & Sods. When Premiere Networks’ “America Now with Andy Dean” hits the air tonight, WTAG, Worcester morning drive talk show host Paul Westcott will be in the host chair. Westcott has become a regular fill-in for Dean when he’s away…..This weekend’s NCAA Final Four is being covered by SiriusXM. The satcaster says it’ll offer subscribers comprehensive coverage of this weekend’s action plus analysis on the College Sports Nation channel from hoops experts such as three-time ACC Coach of the Year Bobby Cremins, Hall of Fame Michigan State guard Mateen Cleaves, former Villanova and UMass coach Steve Lappas, former University of Vermont coach Tom Brennan, plus Tim Brando, Mark Packer, Chris Childers and Jason Horowitz…..Birach Broadcasting’s sports talker KXRQ, Des Moines announces it’s the newest affiliate for Kansas City Royals baseball play-by-play……Sunrise Broadcasting strikes an agreement with Sea-Comm Media to use the latter’s translator W240AS, Wilmington at 95.9 FM to augment the signal of its sports talk WMFD “ESPN Wilmington,” heard on 630 AM.
ObamaCare Criticism Remains Atop Talkers TenTM. The major political issue of the past year – the passage of the Affordable Care Act – continues to be one of the top news/talk radio stories and was again the most-talked-about topic this week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS. Coming in at #2 this week was the deadly Fort Hood Shooting. At #3 was the looming mid-term elections tied with the potential candidates in the 2016 presidential election, and at #4 was this week’s Supreme Court campaign donation ruling. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
The Infinite Dial 2014. Media consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke sat in on yesterday’s annual webinar presented by Edison Research and Triton Digital that detailed the results of the 2014 version of the Infinite Dial study. Many results are not surprising: smartphone use is growing rapidly with 61% of Americans owning cell phones – a 500% increase in five years. Although the “digital dashboard” – newer model cars with in-dash infotainment systems – gets a lot of press coverage as new deals are struck between app-makers, service providers and car manufacturers, as of today the smartphone is more important. The study reports 43% of persons 12-24 listen with a smartphone while in the car and 27% of persons 25-54 do the same. Still, AM/FM owns the auto for now and is still the primary source for discovering new music. Read more results from the study and Holland Cooke’s analysis here.
Dana Barrett to Host New Local Show on ‘biz 1190’ in Atlanta. On Salem Communications’ business talk WAFS, Atlanta “biz 1190,” local media personality Dana Barrett debuts a new program dedicated to “a unique look into ‘the business of everyday life’” debuting on Monday, March 10. Barrett states, “Atlanta is such a dynamic business market with an incredible diversity of industries. Healthcare, real estate, entertainment, retail…you name it, we do it here. I want to celebrate and embrace that diversity by talking to the business leaders and entrepreneurs that make our region go.” The daily show will air from 9:00 am to 10:00 am with a repeat from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Program director Aaron Williams adds, “It’s the perfect match for us. As the market’s only station dedicated to business, we couldn’t be happier to bring Dana’s unique knowledge of the metro Atlanta area to our audience.”
Mike Bower Exits ’97.9 ESPN Hartford.’ The afternoon drive program hosted by Mike Bower at Clear Channel’s Hartford sports talk outlet WUCS “97.9 ESPN Hartford” is cancelled and the station is actively seeking a new personality for the daypart. In a message posted on his Facebook page, Bower announces, “Unfortunately The Bower Show’s time on ‘97.9 ESPN’ in Hartford and ‘ESPN Radio 1300’ in New Haven has come to an end. Clear Channel opted to not renew the show but we would like to thank them for giving us the opportunity to talk sports with you every day for the past two years. More importantly, we would like to thank all of YOU…our listeners, for your continued support of The Bower Show.” The Bower Show was the only local daily show on the program schedule.
Rosenthal Promoted at Katz Media Group. With this promotion, Mark Rosenthal – currently CEO of Katz Radio Group – adds the title CEO of Katz Media Group in which he will also oversee Katz Television Group, KMG’s television representation company. The company says that as CEO of Katz Radio Group, Rosenthal will remain focused on building the radio sector, working closely with Katz Radio Group president Mark Gray to drive additional media dollars into radio. Effective immediately though, he will now also work closely with KTG presidents Leo MacCourtney and Craig Broitman to grow and further develop KTG’s assets, advocacy and revenue-generating efforts.
Salem Study: Christian Teaching Listeners Younger Than Perceived. The results of a study by Nielsen Audio commissioned by Salem Communications looking at the make-up of the audience for Christian teaching and talk-formatted radio shows indicates the audience is younger than may be commonly perceived. Half of the listeners to the format are under 55 and are spending 6.1 hours per week listening to stations airing the format. The study also indicates younger listenership is growing. Salem VP, director of spoken word format Phil Boyce states, “There is this perception that these are your father or even grandfathers radio stations, but we found there is a significant pool of younger listeners spending a great deal of time with our CTT format.”
Geoff Edwards Passes. No sooner had we reflected on the life and career of Los Angeles and Bay Area radio personality/television game show host Jim Lange (who succumbed to a heart attack last week) than we must now sadly note the passing of Geoff Edwards. Much like the 81-year-old Lange, Edwards, 83, amassed considerable fame from his Los Angeles radio days and nationally through several game show-hosting stints. Edwards died yesterday (3/5) of complications of pneumonia at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, California. Wink Martindale, Lange, and Edwards toiled together in Los Angeles at the once iconic KMPC. “Geoff was one of the cleverest, funniest radio and television personalities I have worked with,” Martindale states of Westfield, New Jersey native Edwards, who was heard on KMPC from 1968 – 1979. He was also on-air in Los Angeles at KHJ (1964 -1965) and two go-rounds at KFI (1966 – 1968 and 1987 – 1989). According to Edwards’ agent of many years, Fred Westbrook, Edwards succeeded in television by making several bold fashion statements. He favored jeans over suits and his hair was longer than that of most other talents at the time. “He was part of the new breed,” Westbrook comments. Tributes on Facebook regarding Edwards’ death included this observation from renowned voiceover talent/studio audience warm-up announcer/”Price is Right” announcer Randy West. “Geoff was a wonderfully kind and joyous guy, very bright, with a great natural talent for creating joy, both over the air and in person. For me, it was more laughs per hour with Geoff than anyone else since high school. What a pro, what a sweet man, what a character, what a ball. He was loved and respected by everybody. We laughed and giggled every time we were together.” Sonoma Music Group president Michael O’Shea checked in by remarking, “What a shock. Geoff was our 9:00 am – 12:00 noon personality at KMPC. Personable, authentic, real and natural. We played tennis a time or two. This is very sad.” Longtime KOST, Los Angeles on-air personality Ted Ziegenbusch notes that Edwards was, “One of my favorite lunchroom pals. Thanks for the laughter, the stories and the fun. I know you have always enjoyed travel. This journey is the best one ever.” Veteran Los Angeles traffic reporter Mike Nolan comments that he was, “a fan for years, then honored to work with him at KFI, so happy to have called him a friend.” Fellow television game show host Jim MacKrell remarks, “I am deeply saddened by the news of Geoff’s passing. I know of no one in our business with a better reputation and a multitude of friends. I am glad I was one of them.” Edwards’ national television resume includes hosting “Jackpot!”, “Chain Reaction,” “Play the Percentages,” “Treasure Hunt” and “The New Treasure Hunt.” In Los Angeles, he and Meredith MacRae won Emmy Awards for co-hosting the daily “Mid-Morning L.A.” For nine years (1986 – 1995), he co-hosted the California Lottery‘s “Big Spin.” An eyewitness to one of America’s most memorable moments, then-news reporter Edwards was in the basement of the Dallas Police Department on November 24, 1963 when Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald, the suspected assassin of President John F. Kennedy. Funeral plans are pending for Edwards, who is survived by his wife, two stepsons, his ex-wife and their three children, as well as nine grandchildren.
Obama vs. Putin/Ukraine-Crimea Intrigue, ObamaCare Criticism, IRS Scandal, Obama Approval Ratings Sink, and 2016 Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/5). The political storm in Ukraine and Crimea and how President Obama is handling Vladimir Putin’s moving Russian troops into the region; scrutiny of the Affordable Care Act as the administration announces current health plans can be kept through 2016; Lois Lerner’s refusal to testify in new hearings looking into the IRS scandal; dipping approval ratings for President Obama; and speculation about candidates for president in the 2016 election were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
BLOCK ISLAND, R.I. — It was like telling the punch line at the beginning of the joke, when Edison Research VP/Strategy & Marketing Tom Webster began a well-attended webinar: “It’s hard to overstate the impact of the smartphone on the American consumer.”
“The Infinite Dial 2014” is #22 in an ongoing series researching consumer adoption of digital media. As Webster and Mike Agovino — COO of Triton Digital, which sponsored the study – narrated their presentation, they had plenty of good news for radio broadcasters. But the undeniable headline was that those who merely feed audio to transmitters aren’t fishing where the fish are swimming to.
Among data presented, based on a just-released survey of 2023 Americans P12+:
61% of Americans – an estimated 160 million — now own a smartphone. That’s 500% growth in 5 years. Eight-in-ten P18-34.
Buckley to Sell Connecticut Stations to Connoisseur. Led by Hartford classic hits outlet WDRC-FM, the Connecticut stations Buckley Broadcasting is selling to Connoisseur Media also includes talk WDRC-AM and its simulcast AMs WMMW, Meriden; WSNG, Torrington; and WWCO, Waterbury. The price on this deal is not being made public yet. Buckley is being represented by Richard A. Foreman Associates. In a memo to staff, Buckley president and CEO Joe Bilotta says, “After much reflection, the Board of Trustees has decided that the reality of the evolving competitive landscape, and our sincere desire to see this historic brand continue, are cause for a change in the ownership of our Connecticut properties. Our decision to negotiate with, and eventually sell WDRC-AM/FM to Connoisseur, gives our audience, advertisers, and employees access to the considerable resources of this multi-dimensional media and entertainment company. For over half of a century Buckley Broadcasting has been the steward of these great call letters and there is not a better company than Connoisseur to ensure the continued and accelerated future success of the WDRC brand.”
Fox Sports and Premiere Networks Renew FSRN Deal. The relationship between Clear Channel subsidiary Premiere Networks and Fox Sports goes back to August of 2000 when the two companies agreed to work together to debut the Fox Sports Radio Network. Now, almost 14 years later, the two companies agree to a long-term extension of the partnership. Premiere Networks will continue to produce and distribute Fox Sports Radio Network to its radio affiliates. Additionally, “Premiere Networks and Fox Sports will continue working together across multiple platforms to synchronize the audio, digital, online and television assets of Fox Sports, FOXSports.com and Fox Sports Radio, further extending the reach, visibility and engagement of these brands with millions of consumers. Additionally, with the recently-launched 24-hour television network Fox Sports 1, the radio and television divisions will work closely to increase cross-promotional opportunities and highlight Fox Sports’ established team of top insiders, analysts and personalities.”
Nielsen’s Cross-Platform Report: Smartphone Use Rising, AM/FM Use Decreasing. The numbers are nothing astronomical with regard to the decline in use of AM/FM radio, but they show a trend. According to the March 2014 Nielsen Cross-Platform Report, the hours of use per day for adults 18+ for AM/FM radio have dropped from 2:53 minutes to 2:46 minutes from the fourth quarter of 2011 through the fourth quarter of 2013. At the same time, use of smartphones has risen from :48 minutes per day to 1:07 minutes per day over the same three-year period. Again, this is not a dramatic change but it certainly shows that the use of smartphones continues to rise for adults and the use of the AM/FM radio is declining. You can check out the report here.
And Speaking of Smartphones…The increase in usage of smartphones by Americans has risen to 61% (persons 12+), according to Edison Research and Triton Digital – the two companies presenting their “Infinite Dial 2014” webinar today at 2:00 pm ET. Edison releases this little teaser in advance of today’s event indicating that in 2009 just 10% of Americans owned smartphones. That number climbed to 44% in 2012 and has soared to 61% in 2014 and Edison estimates that means about 160 million people in raw numbers.
Just a Few Slots Left at FAIR’s ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ Radio Row. The topic of immigration reform continues to be a much-discussed one on news/talk radio with related legislation brewing in Congress. The Federation for American Immigration Reform-sponsored “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row taking place April 9 and 10 in Washington, DC is nearing a full slate. FAIR communications director Bob Dane tells TALKERS magazine, “It’s ‘last call’ for one broadcast booth remaining in morning drive, one in afternoon drive, and two in midday.” Broadcast slots are granted on a first-come, first-served basis. Interested hosts should contact Dane 202-328-7004 ASAP to discuss details. Dane says, “Attendees enjoy Capitol Hill access to lawmakers, immigration activists, experts and law enforcement working in tandem to secure our borders and to enforce the rule of law.”
‘Radio Guy’ Jim Lange Remembered. When Jim Lange passed away last week at age 81, he was remembered by most for his role as host of television’s “The Dating Game.” But as TALKERS managing editor and bureau chief Mike Kinosian writes, “Jim Lange was one of the finest ambassadors radio could ever hope to have.” A few years back, Kinosian did a profile of Lange and learned more about his radio career – including why he always kept a radio job even during the heyday of “The Dating Game” and his other TV game shows. He said that if the TV job failed, he always had radio. Lange told him, “I noticed that all the game show hosts were radio guys. They were hired because they could adlib. There is no script on a game show. You have rules, but that is it.” Read Mike Kinosian’s story about Jim Lange here.
Ukraine-Crimea Unrest/Obama vs. Putin, ObamaCare Criticism, MSNBC Programming Changes, Texas Primaries, U.S. Marijuana Policy, and Hillary in 2016 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/4). The crisis in the Ukraine and Crimea and criticism of President Obama’s stance against Russia’s Vladimir Putin; ongoing scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the cable news/talk wars and the performance of new MSNBC programs; Tuesday’s Texas primary elections; the changes in marijuana policy in the United States; and speculation that Hillary Clinton will emerge the the Democratic frontrunner in the 2016 presidential election were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Mark Levin to Be Honored at CPAC. Nationally syndicated talk show host Mark Levin will receive the inaugural Andrew Breitbart Defender of the First Amendment Award at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday, March 6. According to a story on Breitbart.com’s Big Journalism, Breitbart News editor-in-chief Alex Marlow will introduce Citizens United president David Bossie, who will present the award to Levin along with Breitbart News president and CEO Larry Solov and Breitbart News executive chairman Stephen K. Bannon. Solov says, “Mark Levin fearlessly and passionately stands up for conservatives and everyday Americans whose voices the mainstream press often tries to marginalize or silence. And like Andrew Breitbart, Levin has a way of cutting through the mainstream press’s filter with his words and is never afraid to have arrows slung at him by the institutional left on the front lines of the fight.” David Bossie comments, “Levin is not only a friend, but supports and defends the vision of our Founding Fathers on his nationally syndicated radio program daily. There is nobody better to receive this inaugural award and I am happy that he will be joining us at CPAC to accept it.” Levin’s show is syndicated by Cumulus Media Networks.
Programming Additions at LFM’s Denver Sports Outlets. At Lincoln Financial Media’s Denver cluster, changes are taking place beginning Monday, March 3 that will put Fox Sports Radio/DirecTV’s Dan Patrick on KKFN “104.3 The Fan,” moving over from sister sports station KEPN “1600 The Zone.” To make room, Sandy Clough leaves the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot where Patrick will air and joins Drew Goodman and Scott Hastings for the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show. Program director Nate Lundy states, “Like many in Denver, I’m a big fan of Dan Patrick. As we take the next step in our evolution, it only makes sense to bring the number one national personality to ‘The Fan.’ His perspective and top-level guests will further solidify our commitment to the best sports talk in town.” KKFN is also debuting a new evening show called “The Fan Late Night with Ryan Edwards and Shawn Drotar” that is airing from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight. Lundy adds, “Sandy Clough has been part of The Fan’s success for over 17 years and putting him alongside two other outstanding Denver sports veterans will make for a great show for our listeners. ‘The Fan Late Night’ will give fans of Denver’s four major pro sports teams a chance to sound off as part of their postgame experience.” Lundy says a new lineup on KEPN will be announced in the near future as Patrick’s show transitions to “104.3 The Fan.”
Michael Harrison Speaks at NRB 2014 in Nashville. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (c) participated as a keynote speaker yesterday afternoon (2/24) at the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) conference in Nashville in a general session focused on “Values in American Popular Media.” The presentation included an opening address by Harrison followed by a spirited panel discussion in which he was joined by DeVon Franklin, SVP of production, Columbia Tristar Pictures (l) and Russell Moore, president, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (r). Harrison used the platform as an opportunity to espouse his personal and professional philosophy that the combination of vigilant community service and high ethical standards equate to good and successful business strategy in the media industries – especially radio. Harrison told the conference, “Radio of all formats – not just Christian specifically – should never miss an opportunity to be a hero and serve the true needs of humanity within its local, national and even global market reach. Why wait for a hurricane or natural disaster to suddenly go into emergency mode? Why limit our potential to just being the ‘Sterno’ of media? Day-to-day life provides a nonstop series of emergencies, pain, fear, sorrow and loss on a very human scale that we have the power to calm and alleviate in addition to providing our regular menus of music and talk entertainment, information and discussion. If we do this with sincerity and authenticity on a consistent level, the communities we serve will amply reward us with both ratings and financial support and the self-fulfilling prophecy about radio being a dying medium will be forestalled for decades to come.” Harrison warned the crowd that “Christian and religious broadcasting has a head start on fulfilling this role because it is woven into the basic fabric of its service – however, in its passion and zeal to compete in the same marketplace of ideas and commerce co-occupied by secular media, it should be careful not to fall into the trap of stifling the First Amendment rights of dissenting voices and lifestyles nor succumb to the present-day widespread practice to seeking victory at the expense of truth for commercial and political advantage.”
Steven Meyers Heads Digital Strategy at Greater Media. This is a promotion for Steven Meyers who joined Greater Media Philadelphia in 2012 as digital manager. Now, in this new director of digital strategy role for all of Greater Media, he will be responsible for helping to grow Greater Media’s audiences and revenue by developing new digital platforms that deepen listener engagement while providing new opportunities to the company’s commercial partners. He comments, “Greater Media understands that ‘digital’ isn’t just a separate line of business, but a foundational component of our brand experiences and client value. I’m very excited to become a larger part of shaping that vision.” Greater Media CEO Peter Smyth adds, “We look forward to having Steve share his valuable knowledge and insight with our teams as we continue to grow and drive our company’s interactive efforts into the future.”
Hubbard’s WFED, Washington Names Fornicola Director of Custom Media. Coming to Hubbard’s Washington, DC talk and federal news outlet WFED is Jason Fornicola in the new position, director of custom media. Fornicola recently worked as communications specialist for the American Federation of Government Employees. He also hosted the weekly AFGE radio program “Inside Government.” In a statement, director of federal sales Ralph Renzi comments, “We have worked with Jason for seven years and are impressed with his experience and success in journalism, as well as his innovative outreach. Our investment in providing greater resources for our clients will help us solve more complex marketing objectives.”
Edison Research to Present ‘Infinite Dial 2014’ Next Week. In a teaser for the free webinar from Edison Research and new partner Triton Digital, the companies report that data from this year’s study shows “31% of Americans 12+ report using the internet radio service Pandora on a monthly basis, up from 27% one year ago. iHeartRadio is used by 9% monthly, while iTunes Radio, which debuted in 2013, comes in third with 8% monthly usage, followed by 6% using Spotify.” The webinar takes place Wednesday, March 5 at 2:00 pm ET. Edison says this is the 22nd study in “The Infinite Dial” series, one of the longest-running research series covering consumer use of media, technology and digital platforms. The webinar will be co-presented by Edison Research VP of strategy Tom Webster, and Triton Digital COO Mike Agovino. Topics covered will include: An update on Internet Audio usage, including new data on iTunes Radio, Beats Music, and other services; recent growth in podcasting; the growth in smartphone ownership, and how it has changed consumer behavior; updates on social media usage for services including Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest and more; and the connected car, and in-car usage of digital media.
Financial Talk Host Convicted in Fraud Case. A federal jury convicted Barbra Alexander Monterey, California on 28 counts of conspiracy and fraud for her role in a Ponzi scheme. Sixty-four-year-old Alexander worked with APS Funding partner Michael Swanson to host “Money Dots” on Clear Channel-owned KION, Monterey and other outlets. Prosecutors had alleged Alexander and Swanson bilked investors of some $4 million. Alexander is expected to get a lengthy prison term. Swanson was previously convicted.
New Maternity Leave Policy for Cumulus Announced. Radio giant Cumulus Media announces a change to its human resources policy by adding “the implementation of an industry-leading maternity leave policy providing new mothers with six weeks of fully paid time off in addition to the paid time off and disability benefits currently provided to employees.” The company says the policy takes effect immediately and is available to all full-time, non-commission employees with at least one year of service. Chairman and CEO Lew Dickey states, “Cumulus continues to grow and innovate thanks to the dedication of our colleagues across the country. We are committed to providing benefits that recognize employees’ health and family needs, and providing fully paid leave to new mothers after they give birth is the right thing to do.”
NAB Crystal Award Finalists Announced. The 50 finalists for the 2014 Crystal Awards have been announced and that list can be found here. The National Association of Broadcasters states that since 1987, the NAB Crystal Radio Awards have recognized radio stations for their outstanding year-round commitment to community service. Winners will be announced and the finalists will be honored at the NAB Radio Luncheon. The Luncheon will be held Tuesday, April 8 during the 2014 NAB Show in Las Vegas. During the luncheon, Yahoo tech columnist David Pogue will present a keynote address and popular national radio personality, television host and best-selling author Steve Harvey will be inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame.
This Brand New Car Is No Mirage. Well, actually it is. It’s a 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage and it’s now the property of Anita Gowing of Whittier, California (right). She was the winner of the KFWB, Los Angeles giveaway that took place at South Coast Mitsubishi on Sunday, February 23. Gowing is seen reacting as her key starts the car. Inside the car with her is KFWB afternoon news co-anchor Maggie McKay (left). As part of the contest, 124 listeners won a pair of tickets to an upcoming LA Clippers game and got a key for a chance to win the car.
ObamaCare Criticism, NFL N-word Penalty, Arizona Religious Rights Bill, Ukraine Unrest-Russian Influence, Hagel’s Proposed Military Cuts, and Winter Weather Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/24). Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the NFL’s new rule penalizing teams for players’ use of the n-word during games; the Arizona bill that would allow businesses to discriminate for religious reasons; the political turmoil in Ukraine and the influence of Putin’s Russia; Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s proposed shrinking of the Army to its smallest size in 74 years; and a new round of winter weather for the East were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
But there’s lots more happening at CES than gadgets. Among what Consumer Electronics Association CEO Gary Shapiro calls “all aspects of the tech ecosystem:”
* CEA unveiled an initiative to help returning service men and women find tech jobs. Hit USTechVets.org
* Also thank this bunch for helping to change the rules of flying, so you can now use your iPad or smartphone takeoff-to-landing. BUT Shapiro urges that airlines use “common sense” about allowing phone calls up there. Imagine sitting between two loud-talkers?
More Big Changes at Dial Global as Spencer Brown and Ken Williams Resign; Time, Inc. CRO Paul Caine to Take Over as CEO. Dial Global announces that Paul Caine has resigned his post as chief revenue officer at Time, Inc. to become the chief executive officer of Dial Global and become a member of the board of directors. Spencer Brown resigns his post as CEO and Ken Williams does the same as president. The two will stay on until April 4 when the change takes place. The company says, “Caine joins to create a new opportunity for Dial Global to expand the marketing and monetization of audio, starting with the Company’s lineup of premier sports, entertainment and news content that includes the NFL primetime games (including the Playoffs and Super Bowl), the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, CBS Radio News, NBC News Radio, the NBC Sports Radio Network, and the Grammys. As mobile platforms continue to multiply the occasions for listening, the demand for premium digital audio content is growing fast. This represents a substantial, undeveloped opportunity for content providers, distribution partners and marketers alike.” Paul Caine says of joining the company, “Dial Global will propel the growth of audio as the essential medium for the mobile experience. We have premium content, top-tier distribution, and prestigious live event assets. Our opportunity is to expand these experiences for consumers, broaden our repertoire of content partners, and integrate our on-air, digital and live event offerings to create compelling engagement for advertisers.” In a statement from the company, Spencer Brown comments on his exit, “Along with our former partner David Landau, Ken and I have taken Dial Global a long way. Now the company needs a chief executive with a different skill set to steer it through its next phase of growth. We believe Paul is uniquely well-qualified to do just that.”
Cumulus Reports 2012 Q4 Net Revenue Up 1% on Strong Political. Cumulus Media announces 2012 Q4 numbers and financial figures for the whole of 2012. For the fourth quarter of 2012, Net revenue was up $2.9 million – 1% — on revenue of $284.2 million, compared to $281.3 for the same period a year ago.
Lew Dickey Says with Promised Synergies in Place, ‘Cumulus Optimizes’ and ‘Invigorates’ Radio Networks Division. During Monday’s conference call with analysts, Cumulus Media chairman and CEO Lew Dickey explained some of the company’s strategies and recognized the programming efforts that included “launching shows with Governor Mike Huckabee, Geraldo Rivera, Sanjay Gupta and Michael Savage as well as some other initiatives that we have focused on. We also announced the launch of, importantly, the CBS Sports Radio Network in collaboration with CBS, and the launch of Right Now Traffic in partnership with Radiate Media. These give us strong ownership positions going forward into two key verticals, sports and traffic.” Lew Dickey reiterated the company’s happiness with the purchase of the former WFME, Newark, calling it “a tremendous value at just $40 million.” As expected he promoted Cumulus’ country music strategy, saying the new WNSH, New York “enabled us to bring the country format back to New York for the first time since the mid-90s…with a very strong brand, ‘NASH FM.’ The NASH brand was extremely well received by listeners, advertisers, general media and particularly the Nashville entertainment community, and we further capitalized on this with a three-day concert for our advertisers and listeners last month, which was the ‘NASH BASH’ at the Roseland ballroom. NASH FM will become the flagship for our larger national country initiative that we are in the process of rolling out throughout the rest of this year. It will ultimately be a multimedia platform brand for Cumulus, targeting that key audience segment, which is about 85 million Americans. It will be through our O&O group as well as syndicated through our network…as well as through a mult-imedia platform.” Dickey told analysts he expects the NASH FM, traffic, CBS Sports and digital platforms to break even in 2013 and be poised for profit in 2014 saying they are, “in essence, startup businesses, new entrants into respective arenas such as sports, and traffic in particular.” Dickey was asked about the network business, the talk business in particular and he referenced, without naming names, the Rush Limbaugh–Sandra Fluke incident. “Clearly, it’s been well documented that the talk side has been challenged – most of that due to some of the issues that happened a year ago. So there has been residual hangover on the talk side in terms of advertisers sitting out and not placing there…that’s had an impact not only on our network business but it’s had an impact on some of the news/talk stations in the top markets in our O&O group.” Dickey reported that business that is typically placed in the first quarter was, in many cases not placed until the late part of the first quarter of this year and a lot of that business “is now starting to come back into the marketplace.” The Cumulus Media conference call details come courtesy of Seeking Alpha. See more at SeekingAlpha.com.
KPRC, Houston Re-Brands; Adds Janine Turner for Daily PM Drive Show. Clear Channel Houston talk outlet KPRC finalizes its shift from a more “hot talk” format to a more traditional news/talk format and swaps branding, leaving behind the “9-5-0 Radio Mojo” and implementing the new “Houston’s More Stimulating Talk Radio” positioner. The lineup includes: Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo in morning drive; Premiere’s Glenn Beck; local host Michael Garfield; local personality Matt Patrick (who’s also heard in AM drive on sister KTRH); and Janine Turner. Texas-based Turner – the actress known for her work on the 1990s TV show “Northern Exposure” – has been producing her own radio show for a couple of years now and is added to the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot on KPRC.
Greater Media Philly Honored with Top Workplaces Accolades for Second Straight Year. In a survey of employees conducted by Workplace Dynamics for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philly.com, Greater Media’s Philadelphia cluster of stations was named among the Top Workplaces again this year. VP and market manager John Fullam says, “Great companies start with great employees. We believe the workplace environment is an essential part of creating a successful organization. We are fortunate to have such an outstanding team dedicated to serving Philadelphia, our listeners and advertising partners every day.” Greater Media operates rock WMMR, classic rock WMGK, adult hits WBEN-FM and sports talk WPEN-FM.
Arbitron Releases the RADAR March 2013 Radio Network Ratings. Arbitron reports that the RADAR (Radio’s All Dimension Audience Research) March 2013 “is the standard currency for national network radio ratings and measures 46 individual radio networks.” The networks are operated by American Urban Radio Networks, Crystal Media Networks, Cumulus Media Networks, Dial Global Inc., Premiere Networks, and United Stations Radio Networks. The survey concludes “that nearly 180 million Persons 12 and older, or approximately 68% of this demographic, heard one or more network radio commercials in an average week of the survey period.” Further, the survey states commercials that aired on the 46 radio networks measured reached: 68.2 % of Persons aged 12+ (179,923,000 Persons); 68.6% of Persons aged 18+ (163,738,000 Persons); 68.1% of Persons aged 35+ (113,417,000 Persons); 70.9% of Persons aged 18-49 (95,091,000 Persons); and 71.7% of Persons aged 25-54 (89,654,000Persons).
Premiere Networks Touts ‘Strong Rankings’ in RADAR 116. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment-owned Premiere Networks sells 17 of the 46 networks included in Arbitron’s RADAR 116. In this survey, Premiere lays claim to having “earned the number one spot in rankings for AQH and Cume among all 46 measured RADAR networks in RADAR 116 for Persons 12+. Premiere FOX News Advantage ranked number one on an AQH basis for Persons 12+ (All Broadcasts, Monday-Sun 5AM-12M, AQH) and Premiere Spectrum debuted in RADAR 116 as the highest-reaching network for Persons 12+ (All Broadcasts, Monday-Sunday 12Midnight-12Midnight broad daypart, Cume). Premiere also points to the performance of its networks based on lifestyle groupings, stating, “Young Influencers and Premiere Super Moms ranked number one and two, respectively, in reaching Moms 25-54 (Women 25-54 with children under 12). Premiere Super Moms took the lead position followed by Premiere Young Influencers in reach for Working Women 25-54 (work status: full time/part time) among all 46 measured RADAR networks in RADAR 116 (All Broadcasts, Monday-Sunday 12Midnight-12Midnight broad daypart, cume audience). The RADAR 116 sample consists of 395,844 diary keepers/PPM panelists/respondents. PPM panelists comprise approximately 53% of the total respondent listening sample.
Effects of Sequester/Budget Battle, State of the Republican Party, Cyprus Bank Deposit Tax, Steubenville Rape Case, and Tom Perez Named Labor Secretary Nominee Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/18). The budget battle in Washington and the effects of the sequester; analysis of the state of the Republican party and its future; the Cyprus bank deposit tax and its effect on world markets; the guilty verdicts in the Steubenville, Ohio rape case; and President Obama’s nomination of Tom Perez as labor secretary were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Radio Execs Name Internet in Car as Biggest Threat; Arbitron Identifies Markets with Longest AM Drive Commute. A Mark Kassof & Co. survey of radio station owners, general managers and group executives finds that 41% of them identify internet access in cars as the biggest “threat” to AM/FM radio. Following in descending order were: Pandora 18%; Sirius/XM Satellite Radio 13%; iPods/mp3 players 13%; podcasts 8%; iHeartRadio 7%; and YouTube 6%. Coincidentally, Arbitron releases data highlighting the top five commuter markets – that is the five markets in which people spend the most time in their cars on the way to work in the traditional morning drive period. (You can view this data from Arbitron for all 275 rated markets here.) Arbitron goes further, indicating 84% of commuters say they use AM/FM radio and shows the radio format of the top-rated station (P 18+ AQH Share; M-F 6AM-10AM) in those five markets. Regardless, this data goes to show what may seem common sense to experienced broadcasters: The automobile is the most important listening location for AM/FM radio, so obviously any other platform providing audio content is a “threat” to its interests. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison comments, “The interests of radio broadcasters would be better served if we stop obsessing on which outside ‘threats’ to our AM/FM platform were the most dangerous and begin to realize that we ourselves pose the biggest threat to our medium by not using the best and only weapon available to counter that threat: better and unique programming. Plain and simple, ‘filler’ no longer cuts it. Nor does giving our product away in order to grow our so-called ‘brands.’ Our insecurity and lack of focus is going to insure that the world ‘likes’ us all the way to the poorhouse!”
WXOS, St. Louis Ups Chris Neupert to PD. With programmer Kent Sterling exiting “101 ESPN’ to return to Indianapolis, the Hubbard Broadcasting sports talk station promotes assistant PD, executive producer and director of St. Louis Rams Radio operations Chris “Hoss” Neupert to program director. Hubbard St. Louis market manager John Kijowski says, “Chris Neupert is a versatile player who has added to the entire ‘101ESPN’ team over the course of the past four years, first as the head of Rams Radio operations and then as the assistant program director for the station. His proven leadership and ability to communicate effectively with the entire ‘101 ESPN’ staff — along with St. Louis’ professional sports teams and executives, and the station’s clients and partners — make him an invaluable asset to our station.” Neupert previously served as PD at crosstown sports talker KFNS “590 The Fan.”
Ryan McCredden Moves from Tucson to CBS Radio’s Houston Sports Talk Duo. Programmer Ryan McCredden fills the slot vacated by Gavin Spittle when CBS Radio moved him back to its Dallas operations. McCredden will program sports talk stations KILT “Sportsradio 610” and KIKK “CBS Sports Radio 650.” McCredden comes to Texas from Journal Broadcast Group’s news/talk KQTH-FM “104.1 The Truth” and sports talk KFFN, in Tucson. He worked for CBS Radio previously as APD at news/talk KRLD-AM and sports KRLD-FM, Dallas. CBS Radio SVP and market manager Sarah Frazier states, “Ryan McCredden has that special ability to successfully coach on-air talent, create custom events, and raise the ratings everywhere he has worked. He is a true professional with a passion for the product and will be a steady leader for the ‘Sportsradio 610’ team.” McCredden states he’s excited to return to CBS Radio. “’Sportsradio 610’ has a fantastic lineup of shows and I couldn’t be more excited to work with hosts who are as passionate about radio as I am. Add in the fact that I get the amazing opportunity to team with the AFC South champion Houston Texans, and we have all the elements needed for producing great radio.”
CBS Radio to Use Triton Digital’s Real-Time Buying Protocol. Triton Digital calls it a2x and says it is the “industry’s only audience-based programmatic buying solution for online and mobile audio ads.” Of its service, Triton states, “a2x is the first and only audio advertising exchange that enables advertisers to programmatically buy targeted online and mobile audio inventory in real-time. The solution provides a system for managing, buying and selling third party advertising campaigns. The automated, exchange-driven method of buying and selling ad impressions facilitates increased efficiency, eliminating waste and resulting in the highest price for publishers and the greatest efficiency for advertisers. CBS Radio local digital media president Ezra Kucharz states, “Joining Triton’s a2x exchange will create additional demand for our inventory, providing a great complement to our strong traditional sales channels. Being able to offer agency trading desk access to our inventory in this manner allows us to participate in a new revenue stream targeting mobile and digital budgets.”
Michael Smerconish Leaving AM/FM Radio for Satellite. Saying the AM/FM talk radio format is “not conducive to the type of program I’m offering,” WYD Media-produced and nationally syndicated talk host Michael Smerconish tells the Associated Press he’s exiting his AM/FM program for a gig at SiriusXM beginning April 15. Smerconish’s Philadelphia-based program is heard on about 80 affiliates. In statements highly critical of the current state of news/talk radio,Smerconish tells the AP, “I don’t do ideologically driven talk, I do content-driven talk. I’m not on the air to carry anybody’s water on a day-to-day basis.” He says he believes programmers are ignoring the fact that their audiences are becoming “too white, too male, too angry and too old” to grow the format into the future. In a subsequent formal press statement, Smerconish says, “I am ecstatic to join SiriusXM, which I see as the dynamic future of radio broadcasting. I look forward to talking with SiriusXM’s diverse, national audience, delivering a program that transcends the polarization that exists not only in Washington but in the media and country at large. It’s time to take the national conversation to a higher plane, and I invite listeners nationwide with views that don’t stack up neatly in any ideological box the way we’re told they should to join.” The Republican-turned-independent will host a three-hour show beginning at 9:00 am ET on SiriusXM’s POTUS Channel.
Michael Smerconish to Deliver Annual “State of the First Amendment Address” at Talkers New York 2013. Following in the footsteps of colorful and articulate individuals going back almost a quarter century, maverick talk show host Michael Smerconish has been invited by the TALKERS magazine editorial board to deliver this year’s installment of the “State of the First Amendment Address” at Talkers New York 2013 – a position that he has accepted. It is one of the most important industry speeches of the year, taking place at the opening of the ceremony at which the prestigious Freedom of Speech Award is presented. This year’s recipient of that award has not yet been determined or named. The annual State of the First Amendment Award began as an industry tradition in the early 1990s when iconic talk show host Gene Burns (then of WRKO, Boston) gave a dazzling impromptu speech introducing the Freedom of Speech Award recipient that year. Burns made such a compelling case for the importance of the First Amendment and its connection to talk radio that he was asked to perform the role at the annual conference for several years thereafter. Since then the speech has been delivered by a diverse roster of luminaries including Al Franken, Michael Medved, Neal Boortz, Alan Colmes, Lou Dobbs, Jim Bohannon and others. In making the announcement, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “When we invited Michael Smerconish to play this important role, we had no idea that he was about to make the switch from AM/FM radio to satellite. Considering the circumstances surrounding his bold move, it makes his selection as this year’s presenter more appropriate than ever.” Smerconish tells TALKERS, “I will be at the conference with bells on. I deeply believe radio must be open to a wide variety of independent thinking that puts personality and individuality over ideology.” Talkers New York 2013 takes place on Thursday, June 6 and due to space limitations will be an early sellout open to working media only. For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.
Townsquare Media Names Michael Josephs SVP Corporate Strategy and Development. In his most recent role with MESA Securities, Michael Josephs was managing director at the media and entertainment-focused investment bank. At Townsquare Media, he’ll be in charge of the company’s new products and sectors initiatives.
Odds & Sods. T.J. McCormack is the new host of “Good Morning Westchester” on Whitney Radio’s WVOX, New Rochelle, New York…..WPWR-TV, Chicago is airing a “best-of” version of the morning “Mancow!” show that is a TV simulcast of the 6:00 am to 8:00 am hours of his daily radio program. The weekend show – “The Mancow Mashup” – is airing Saturdays at 11:30 am on WFLD-TV and Sundays at 11:00 on WPWR-TV.
Former WIOD and WINZ, Miami Newsman Al Warnell Dies After Battle with Cancer. Xavier Alonso “Al” Warnell died at age 62 while in hospice care in his home town of South Bend, Indiana. Warnell began his 30-year career in South Florida as a reporter at WINZ, Miami in 1976. He continued his work at WIOD when the crosstown station was acquired by Jacor in 1996.
Ongoing Sequester Battle, Anti-Drones Filibuster, North Korea Nuke Threats, Chavez ‘Post-Mortem,’ Record-Setting Dow, and Redskins Name Court Battle Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/6). The political battle in Washington over the sequester; Senator Rand Paul’s anti-drones filibuster; North Korean nuclear threats against the U.S.; analysis of Venezuela’s future and the legacy of Hugo Chavez; the record-high Dow; and the court battle over the Washington Redskins’ name were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Praise Pours In for Los Angeles Talk Conference – Video Coverage to Come. 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 this past Thursday (10/11). Approximately 50 speakers — including 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. The event has drawn praise from numerous attendees including the following quotes:
“Everybody’s talking about what a great day it was!”
– Norm Pattiz, CEO Courtside Entertainment
“A very interesting day of conversation and revelation from a whole lot of people.”
– Kraig T. Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind
“I was glad I attended.”
– Ron Hartenbaum, CEO, WYD Media
“It struck the perfect balance of schmooze and panel-news and talk!”
– Patt Morrison, KPCC, Los Angeles
“Thanks very much for putting on a great event.”
– Jerry Doyle, TRN
“ It was well worth the trip from England.”
– Graham Mack, BBC, Wiltshire
“An awesome day. It was superb. Can’t wait till the next one.”
– Eric Stanger, VP Operations, Sean Hannity Show/Premiere Networks
“It was great and you know I will be there next time around.”
– Alan Stock, KDWN, Las Vegas
“A hell of a show! Outta da park!”
Dr. Gina Loudon, Host, PolitiChicks
“What a great time I had. The event was a total success.”
– Shadoe Stevens, Host, MentalRadio, SiriusXM
“Great Event !”
– Steve Lehman, Business Rock Stars
“It was a memorable occasion!”
– Sam Hasson, CEO, LATalkRadio.com
TALKERS magazine will provide extensive video coverage of the event including including panels, special presentations and additional interviews conducted on site beginning tomorrow. The photo above is of the “Big Picture” panel featuring (from l-r): Don Martin, Ron Hartenbaum, Phil Boyce, Kraig Kitchin, Mike McVay, Harvey Nagler and moderator Michael Harrison. View a gallery of more photos from the TALKERS New Media Los Angeles here.
Syndicated Talker Lars Larson Say Companies Need to Put Money Back into Programming. In an exclusive audio interview conducted by consultant Holland Cooke at the recent New Media Seminar in Los Angeles, talk show host Lars Larson says that the most important thing he and all talk show hosts need is to have additional resources to bolster the sound and quality of their on-air product. The successful host heard in Portland, Oregon on KXL and nationally via Compass Media Networks says, “If you take care of your listeners they will take care of you, ratings-wise.” Larson also discusses the tenets of what he describes as “talk journalism,” positioning what he does as “information and opinion built from today’s news — solid information, no insanity.” Listen to the complete conversation here.
Journal Broadcast Group Announces “RightWisconsin” Digital Initiative. With WTMJ, Milwaukee talk show host Charlie Sykes taking a leadership role in the new venture, Journal Broadcast Group announces it will soon debut a new blog dedicated to conservative political thought called RightWisconsin. According to a story by Duane Dudek in the Journal-owned Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Sykes describes the effort as a “digital community, a rallying point, a one-stop source for conservatives on the front lines here.” Sykes says the blog will have a full-time staff and “multiple platforms including mobile tablet and social media applications.” It also promises commentary from around the state, as Sykes says, “key stories that other media won’t cover.” In the story, Sykes is quoted saying, “We can do all of this because we have the resources of a major media company behind us, including the state’s biggest radio station and top-rated television station. In other words, we have built-in platforms for promotion as well as the infrastructure.” Media Matters called the new venture a “small-scale version” of Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze digital media effort. Journal VP of radio and television Steve Wexler says of Sykes and WTMJ, “One of the reasons we are successful is because of the many things we are able to do…that have nothing to do with politics. The talk shows in the middle of the day are right of center, because that’s where the demand is…I am agnostic as a broadcaster about politics. I look for where there is a demand, and the demand in talk radio is for a more conservative point of view.” There is no start date announced for RightWisconsin but already, the company reports interest from the community based on early reports of the project.
Townsquare Media Flips WENJ-AM, Atlantic City to Talk. The Atlantic City market gets a news/talk outlet as Townsquare Media’s WENJ-AM, drops its simulcast of FM sister 97.3 ESPN South Jersey. According to the Press of Atlantic City, the station will feature regional media personality Harry Hurley in morning drive followed by a slate of syndicated programs that include: Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and Sean Hannity from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; Cumulus Media Networks’ Mark Levin from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm; John Batchelor from 9:00 pm to 1:00 am and “Red Eye Radio” for overnights. The station will also return to its roots by taking back its original call letters WPG. Hurley tells the paper, “The idea is that we are going to have a healthy blend of live and local that people enjoy and some of the biggest names in the country…Glenn Beck is not in this market. Sean Hannity is not in this market. People are going to notice…We just love the idea of going back and reclaiming the heritage of WPG – for a new generation.” The station plans to add more local programming between 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm.
KTRH, Houston Talk Host Michael Berry Fires Up Florida Campaign Effort. Conservative talk show host Michael Berry is responsible for a call-to-action for conservative-minded people who want to spend time in Florida helping those who support Mitt Romney for president get out and vote. Berry states, “I just threw the idea out there, and listeners across the country responded with an overwhelming willingness to do it. I was half kidding, because the logistics of such a trip are a nightmare. But we brought in 50 listeners to volunteer to coordinate this, and what they’ve done is nothing short of amazing.” The leadership created a website within a couple of days — www.WinFlorida2012.org. Since Berry’s flagship station KTRH is in Houston, the group will caravan from there beginning on October 28 and arrive in Pensacola, Florida that night. They will spend the week driving vans to assist locals in voting for Romney during early voting. One KTRH listener, Kyle Coplen, was tapped by Berry to be a vice chairman for the committee, but he was unable to pay his own expenses. With a pregnant wife, and a new business cleaning swimming pools, he wasn’t able to spare the $1,000 from his family’s finances for the trip. Berry offered to pay his expenses for him, but he decided instead to use this as a “teachable moment” and earn the funds through hard work. Coplen says, “I just made a simple flyer, saying ‘Will Work for Romney,’ which I thought was catchy. I put the flyer on the doors of houses that had Romney signs in the yards.” Requests for his work came pouring in, mostly by people impressed by his work ethic and unique need for money. He says he turned down every offer of a donation, explaining that he wanted to earn his way there, “just as we need to earn our way out of our nation’s problems.” Michael Berry states, “The stories of people like Kyle amaze me. There are plenty more. People want to make this country great. They refuse to lose this election. It’s truly inspiring.”
WPHT, Philadelphia’s Chris Stigall Hosts Debate Viewing Parties. On the heels of a successful debate viewing party at the Philly sports bar Chickie’s & Pete’s, WPHT morning host Chris Stigall is taking it one step further for tomorrow’s presidential debate at Hofstra University. WPHT listeners and political debate fans will converge upon the Xfinity Live entertainment district in the sports complex area of Philadelphia (where the Wells Fargo Center, Citizen’s Bank Park, and Lincoln Financial Field are located) to watch the debate on a 32-foot, high definition screen. Stigall and WPHT hosted the previous party at Chickie’s & Pete’s (Stigall is pictured here speaking to KTW-TV from the event) and said it was fun watching presidential debates as you’d watch Sunday afternoon football – complete with bartenders, free appetizers, prizes, and of course wall to wall TVs with the sound blaring. Stigall says the Xfinity Live center is designed for concertgoers and sports fans to gather pre- and post-event and is hopeful for a big, raucous turnout tomorrow night.
Tom Leykis Shows Off Impressive September Online Numbers. No, Tom Leykis won’t actually be playing the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California as the press release teases – but the number of people who sampled the show during three weeks in September – 115,684 – is enough to practically fill the iconic football stadium. Leykis began employing Triton Digital’s Webcast Metrics, which measures unique ip addresses, on September 8. Leykis states, “It’s great to have accreditation for what we are doing. Everyone else who does a show on the net brags about having hundreds of thousands of listeners, but they never put their money where their mouth is.” Leykis, who spoke about his web-based radio program at the TALKERS New Media Seminar in Los Angeles last Thursday (stay tuned for more from that event, including coverage of Leykis’ participation), began his new show on April 2 after a 37-month hiatus from radio. He says, “I figure at the rate we are going, we should have over 175,000 unique people listening to our show every month. Again, these will be accurate and honest numbers, not some random Arbitron sample.”
Beasley Talk Hosts Honored by Street Name; Raise Funds for Military Families. WRXK, Ft. Myers, Florida talk hosts Stan and Haney had the street leading to the Beasley Broadcasting facility in Southwest Florida named after them. More than 200 loyal fans of the program turned out to christen “Stan and Haney Boulevard” and share in live music, food and celebration. The duo turned the event into a worthy cause as proceeds from the sale of “Stan and Haney Blvd.” t-shirts raised $2,100 for the Stan and Haney D.R.A.F.T. Fund. Stan says, “Haney and I started the DRAFT Fund nearly nine years ago along with Captain John Lazzaro (USNR). Thanks to our listeners and the Southwest Florida community we have distributed nearly $40,000 in assistance to local troops and their families.” The duo are pictured here drinking champagne and announcing the unveiling of the new street sign.
Odds & Sods. KDWN, Las Vegas takes home some awards from the Electronic Media Awards held in conjunction with the Nevada Broadcasters Foundation. KDWN morning host Alan Stock is recognized with the “Best Radio Talk Show Host” honor and KDWN program director John Shaffer picks up the “Program Director of the Year” honor as well as the “Best Morning Newscast” award…..SiriusXM broadcast live from New York Comic Con 2012 this weekend. The broadcasts included celebrity interviews, exclusive panels hosted by SiriusXM hosts and fan reactions from the floor – inviting listeners and fans nationwide inside the biggest comics and pop culture convention on the East Coast…..Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” broadcast an interesting program over the weekend on Saturday hosted by John B. Wells that included four of the most influential musicians from the dawn of rock and roll. Paul Rodgers of Bad Company and Free, Leslie West of Mountain, Jack Casady of Jefferson Airplane and Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull spoke with Wells discussing living through the heyday of rock and what it was like being at the forefront of a musical movement that is still significant today.
Live from South Bend, Indiana. ESPN Radio’s nationally syndicated morning team Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg broadcast their program from the campus of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana on Friday, October 12. Golic played football at Notre Dame serving as captain of the team during his senior year. His sons Jake and Mike, Jr. currently play for the Fighting Irish and his daughter Sydney is a freshman on the swim team. The duo broadcast in advance of Saturday’s contest between Notre Dame and Stanford from which ESPN’s “College GameDay Built by The Home Depot” also emanated. In the photo, Golic and Greenberg are holding a pair of swim trunks – a gift from Golic’s daughter Sydney’s swim coach.
Tom Finneran to Exit WRKO, Boston; Todd Feinburg Takes Over AM Drive. Former Massachusetts Speaker of the House and AM drive host at Entercom’s WRKO, Boston for the past five years, Tom Finneran, will leave the station after his program on Thursday, May 31. In a statement, Finneran says, “Over the past several days, Jason Wolfe and I have been talking about various plans and opportunities which lie ahead for me and for the station. Those opportunities are of interest to me, but are not compatible with the hours I keep and the effort I make to prepare for, and to execute, a well-informed show every morning. I try to learn from history and from our listeners, who in sharing some of their own histories, have been great teachers. I thank them and WRKO for a fast and fun five years.” Program director Jason Wolfe announces that Finneran’s co-host for the past few years – Todd Feinburg – will take over as sole host of the morning show on WRKO beginning Friday, June 1. Whether or not a co-host is eventually added to the AM drive show remains to be seen. The Boston Herald’s Jessica Heslam reports former WFXT-TV, Boston anchor Kim Carrigan – who has sat in on the AM drive show several times since exiting her TV gig – is offering no comment on the rumor she will become Feinburg’s co-host. She tells the Herald, “It’s no secret that I’ve filled in a few times and that’s been a ton of fun, but outside of that I don’t have any comment at this point.”
Triton Digital Names John Rosso President of Market Development. The former president of the Citadel Media Networks – a company he exited with the change of ownership as Cumulus acquired it – now takes the newly created post to lead Triton’s digital audio platforms in the sales and marketing realm. Triton Digital chief operating officer Mike Agovino states, “John’s combination of broadcast and digital experience makes him a great choice for this important new position at Triton. The explosive growth in listening to internet audio is attracting major attention from both local and national advertisers. John and the rest of the Triton team are completely focused on fostering this medium by helping marketers and audio publishers come together to engage audiences.” On his new challenge, Rosso says, “Audio is among the fastest-growing media today, and Triton is innovating at the center of it all, with both publishers and advertisers. This marketplace is still young and I look forward to facilitating this connection to accelerate the growth and success.”
WHBO, Tampa and Tom Krasniqi Part Ways. Afternoon drive sports talk host Tom Krasniqi and Genesis Communications WHBO, Tampa-St. Petersburg are unable to come to terms on a new contract. WHBO has not announced a permanent replacement for host of its “Prime Time” PM drive show.
Bruce Williams Announces Plans for “Made in America Broadcast Network.” The talk radio pioneer says he has nothing against international commerce but “as a small network can offer this service by accepting advertising only from American companies producing jobs and products.” Bruce Williams – who is currently streaming and podcasting his program via The American Entrepreneur on taeradio.com – says he wants to offer radio programs that are supported by advertising from companies whose products are at least 90% made in America with American labor and American materials because he wants to keep jobs in America. “The network knows many people interested in buying American products and they will be an excellent resource. Made in America Broadcast Network believes this is the first company to offer this service.”
Car Talk: The Musical Debuts in Cambridge, Massachusetts. You know you’ve made it when they produce a musical production based on you. NPR’s “Car Talk,” hosted by actual Cambridge, Massachusetts mechanics Tom and Ray Magliozzi, is the inspiration for the play with book, lyrics and direction by Wesley Savick and original music by Michael Wartofsky. The play will run this summer produced by the Underground Railway Theater at Central Square in Cambridge “just a stone’s throw away from the Good News Garage in Cambridge, Massachusetts (our fair city).” The production will feature voice-overs from the Magliozzi brothers. Here’s the plot as reported by BroadwayWorld.com: “Our hero – the overweight, always-late invertebrate Rusty Fenders – has racked up as many miles as his ‘93 KIA. Attempting to salvage happiness from the junkyard of his life, he collides with his ruthless boss Beaulah Gasket, his unrequited office romance Sheila, and the red-hot fantasy car Miata C. LaChassis. Can the Wizard of Cahs put the brakes on Rusty’s musical wipe-out?”
WBZ, Boston Talk Host Lovell Dyett Passes Away at 77. The TV and radio broadcaster and community activist died after a long illness. Lovell Dyett began his talk radio career at WBZ in December of 1971 with an eponymous Sunday call-in program that dealt with the issues of the day. As noted on CBS Radio Boston’s website, “For nearly 40 years, Dyett covered topics and issues that affected people of all walks of life, discussing topics that were often times contentious, like busing and the desegregation of Boston’s schools, and sometimes uncomfortable, such as interviews with former members of the Ku Klux Klan. Dyett was a major player in many organizations including the Workshop on Cable Television for Minority Municipal Officials, serving as chief media consultant of the Congressional Black Caucus, as board member of the Roxbury YMCA, Roxbury Chapter of University Without Walls, Boston Chapter of the Urban League, and was also a long standing member of the NAACP.”
Syria Massacre, 2012 Presidential Race, Memorial Day Remembrances, Euro Zone Jitters and Iran Nukes Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/29). Global outrage over the latest massacre of civilians in Syria; the 2012 presidential campaign; tributes to fallen U.S. military personnel; concern over the unstable euro zone economy and its repercussions; and the Iranian nuclear weapons program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
“Gas We Can Gill-er Up” Draws Bargain Hunting Motorists. WLAC, Nashville-based Radio America syndicated talk show host Steve Gill (l) is pictured here with listener Jill (r) who took advantage of the show’s promotion with the Daily’s Shell chain to offer gas at $1.84 per gallon to the first 150 listeners to get in line at 7:00 am yesterday (5/29). Gill tells TALKERS that the $1.84 per gallon price was the national average on January 20, 2009 – the day President Obama was sworn into office.
TALKERS TV: WTOP Reporter Does All Field Reports on iPhone or iPad. Things have changed, at least technologically, since WTOP, Washington reporter Neal Augenstein joined the heritage all-news outlet in 1999. The newsroom was still equipped with reel-to-reel tape recorders and the portable bag phones that weighed as much as 15 pounds. Since 2010, Neal has earned the distinction of being the first major market radio reporter who does all of his field production on an iPhone or iPad. This week TALKERS TV presents the final installment of an exclusive three-part feature on the inner workings of all-news giant WTOP with an interview with Neal Augenstein in which he explains the theory behind and the method of using Apple’s smart phone as an extremely innovative and convenient tool for gathering, producing and presenting news in a multimedia venue. See TALKERS TV at the top of the column on the upper right side of this page.
New Media Seminar New York Nears Sellout – Features Power-Packed Agenda. Thursday, June 7 promises to be an important and exciting day for talk radio and related talk media as the East Coast installment of the industry’s largest and longest-running convention nears a sellout. More than 60 industry leaders are scheduled to speak including (in alphabetical order): Nancy Abramson, executive director, Wall Street Journal Radio Network; Chuck Armstrong, APD, WABC, New York; Mike “Bax” Baxendale, co-host, “Bax and O’Brien” morning show, Rock 102, Springfield, MA; Rennie Bishop, PD WWRL, New York; Jim Bohannon, host, Dial Global Radio Networks; Phil Boyce, VP/director, spoken word format, Salem Communications; Dr. Joy Browne, host, WOR Radio; Laurie Cantillo, PD, WTOP, Washington, DC; Kevin Casey, VP/managing editor, TALKERS; Michael Castner, host, Wall Street Journal Radio Network; Heather Cohen, EVP, The Weiss Agency; Alan Colmes, Fox News Radio/Fox News Channel; Holland Cooke, consultant, McVay/Cook Media; Andy Dean, host Premiere Networks; Dave Elswick, PD, KARN, Little Rock; Boomer Esiason, host, WFAN, New York; Barry Farber, host, Talk Radio Network/CRN Digital Talk Radio; Jim Farley, VP news and programming, WTOP, Washington, DC; Terry Foxx, PD, KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh; Ian Freeman, co-host, Free Talk Live; Mike Gallagher, host, Salem Radio Network; Dom Giordano, host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Steve Goldstein, EVP, Saga Communications; Heidi Harris, host, KRLA, Los Angeles/KTIE, San Bernadino; Matthew B. Harrison, senior partner, Harrison Strategies; Michael Harrison, publisher, TALKERS; Ron Hartenbaum, president, WYD Media; Thom Hartmann, host, WYD Media; Bill Hess, PD, WMAL, Washington, DC; Gabe Hobbs, president, Gabe Hobbs Media; Jim Horn, PD, WSBA, York; Gov. Mike Huckabee, host, Cumulus Media/Fox News Channel; Rusty Humphries, host Talk Radio Network/WGST, Atlanta; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Tom Langmyer, VP/GM, WGN, Chicago; Tom Leykis, president, The New Normal; Lionel, president, LionelMedia.com; Mark Masters, CEO, Talk Radio Network; Mike McVay, SVP programming, Cumulus Media; Harvey Nagler, VP Radio, CBS News; Chris Oliviero, SVP programming, CBS Radio; Cary Pahigian, market manager, Saga Communications/Portland; John Parikhal, president, Joint Communications; Ellen Ratner, bureau chief, Talk Radio News Service; Mark Riley, host, WWRL, New York; Walter Sabo, president, Sabo Media; Todd Schnitt, host, Compass Media Networks; Ed Schultz, host, MSNBC/The Ed Schultz Show; Doug Stephan, president, Stephan Multimedia; Chris Stigall, host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Alan Stock, host, KDWN, Las Vegas; Peter Thiele, PD, WMCA/WNYM, New York; Joe Thomas, PD, WCHV, Charlottesville; Paul Vandenburg, president/GM, WGDJ, Albany; Steven J.J. Weisman, senior partner, Harrison Strategies; and Larry Young, host, WOLB, Baltimore; with more to be announced. A full agenda will be posted here tomorrow. Also, today is the final day that discount rooms for seminar attendees at the nearby Doubletree will be available. For registration and hotel information call 413-565-5413.
Sabo Sez: If Every Station Was a Talk Station… “Imagine if every radio station, except one, in every city was programmed fulltime as a talk station. How would those talk stations differentiate themselves to the listener? They couldn’t all take the same approach, they would have to appeal to different demos and psychographics,” says Sabo Media president Walter Sabo. In his latest column for TALKERS, Sabo says that’s why spoken-word radio must be differentiated and targeted just as music-based radio is and therein lays the key to making a profit from an FM talk station. Read Walter Sabo’s piece here.
Geraldo Rivera to Broadcast from WABC, New York-Sponsored Job Fair. Cumulus Media news/talk WABC, New York and sister Hot AC WPLJ-FM are sponsoring the “Putting America Back to Work” job fair being held tomorrow (5/15) at the Jacob Javits Center and WABC and KABC, Los Angeles talk host Geraldo Rivera will broadcast his 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program live from the event. Part of the broadcast will feature a panel of experts and CEOs discussing practical advice and tips for job seekers. Cumulus New York states there will also be some 100 job recruiters from a wide range of industries with positions available on the scene.
KFWB, Los Angeles Re-Ups with NBA’s Clippers. The NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers and news/talk KFWB, Los Angeles sign a multi-year extension to keep the franchise’s games on the station. Details of the terms are not being disclosed per team and station policy. Station general manager Valerie K. Blackburn states, “We are so happy to forge forward with our relationship with the Clippers who have captured the hearts of Southern Californians and fans across the country. The Los Angeles Clippers have emerged as a fan favorite in this town and are an extremely important part of our ongoing commitment to provide quality programming to our listeners.” KFWB is operated by the KFWB Asset Trust and the KFWB License Trust, divestiture trusts under the management of Diane Sutter, president and CEO of ShootingStar Broadcasting.
Cumulus Media Signs With Triton Digital for Its Online Platform. The country’s second largest radio station operator (measured by station count) will move the online platform of its more than 530 radio stations to the Triton Digital platform, according to a story in Radio Ink. Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey states the company’s stations will be able to take advantage of the services provided by Triton Digital as well as providing a standard platform which will enable the transition to putting all of the company’s stations on iHeartRadio as announced several months ago. It is expected the Cumulus stations will be available on Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s iHeartRadio within the next 45 to 60 days.
Greater Media Charlotte Names Billy Black Imaging Director. News/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte and talk intensive sister Hot AC WLNK-FM have hired imaging pro Billy Black to serve as the imaging director for the stations. For the past 10 years Black has worked at Clear Channel’s rock WRXR-FM, Chattanooga where he served as morning show host, program director and imaging director. Greater Media Charlotte marketing administrator Jessica Reeves RoBards says, “He has imaged a ton of Clear Channel stations and made work parts and shells from scratch for companies like Frost Bytes. This is unique because most imaging guys use pre-made beds and work parts, he makes his own. He also had a stint at Media Base. He will image both stations. His ideas and creativity are something these stations have been craving.”
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Cumulus Media nabs market manager Kevin Waltman from Clear Channel’s Tallahassee operations that include news/talk WFLA-FM. Waltman heads up Cumulus’ Montgomery, Alabama cluster that includes news/talk WLWI and sports talk WMSP…..Forever Broadcasting is picking up a stronger signal for its “TJ Network” news/talk format based at WTJS, Jackson Tennessee. It will swap with Grace Broadcasting Services giving Grace its WTJW-FM, Humboldt, Tennessee at 105.3 plus $525,000 and get WTGP-FM, Trenton, Tennessee at 97.7…..SiriusXM names National Soccer Hall of Famer John Harkes host of its daily soccer talk show “The Football Show” that airs from 7:00 am to 9:00 am. Harkes will be joined on the show by co-hosts Charlie Stillitano and Neil Barnett.
Larry King Still Going Strong, Plans New Radio and TV Projects. In an exclusive TALKERS TV interview conducted with Bill Moran of PodJockey.com, broadcasting legend and CNN icon Larry King says he doesn’t feel his age and has no intention of retiring anytime in the near future. Speaking on camera during the noisy breakfast gathering (10/20) at the recent Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum moments before he delivered the conference’s opening speech, King states that in addition to the four TV specials per year for three years that he has contracted to do for CNN, he is on the verge of announcing (within several days or weeks) his return to doing an LA-based national radio show and the launch of yet another television project. He says that he was comfortable with “Larry King Live” coming to an end this past December stating he knows “it was time” but he does miss having the opportunity to cover the big news stories that break on a daily basis such as the killing of Osama bin Laden. He says he thinks the job being done by present day news media is “mixed” – that the public is provided “massive information” faster than ever due to modern technology, however, in an effort to get it out quickly the media “doesn’t always get it right.” He regrets that there isn’t an Edward R. Murrow or Walter Cronkite working in today’s news broadcasting. He points out that there is “a lot of conjecture” in today’s news reporting. He proudly quotes Johnny Depp who recently described him as being “a throwback” stating “I never had an agenda.” King professes his love of baseball, currently serves as a little league coach, and is a member of one of the investment groups bidding on taking ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Immediately following the interview, King opened up the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum with a well-received address in which he discussed his career – past, present and future. To watch and hear Larry King’s conversation with Bill Moran see the TALKERS TV box on the right side of this page. Larry King’s opening address at the LARTF and detailed coverage (stories, photos and videos) of the panels and speeches at the groundbreaking conference will be coming to this website shortly.
Dial Global Completes Merger with Westwood One. Friday, Dial Global announced it has completed its merger with Westwood One in a stock-for-stock transaction that sees the WON ticker symbol go away and, beginning today (10/24), the company is listed on the NASDAQ as DIAL. Dial Global is being led by the management team of Spencer Brown, David Landau and Ken Williams. The newly formed company includes all of the sports programming Westwood One has been known for over the years as well as the original talk content plus the entertainment programming and 24/7 music formats. It also includes the Dial Global sales rep department and continues to partner with the now separate company Triton Digital. Neal Schore serves as chairman of the newly constituted board of directors and states, “Dial Global has always been focused on serving the ever-evolving needs of the radio industry and this transaction will expand the programming and service offerings sought by both radio stations and advertisers. On behalf of the board, I want to thank Rod Sherwood and the entire Westwood One team, whose tremendous efforts have helped make this transaction possible.” Dial Global’s majority ownership is Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. and The Gores Group, LLC which own 44% and 31% of the common shares, respectively.
Cumulus Hammer Falls in New York. News of the corporate dictate hit the industry grapevine late Friday that there have reportedly been about 15 job cuts at New York stations WABC and WPLJ-FM, though at this time only a few are known for sure. Mancow Muller’s New York-only weekend show on news/talk WABC is gone from the lineup. It’s believed that a number of the positions cut were administrative posts but it’s also reported that Jill Vitale (a.k.a Flirty Flipper – former Sean Hannity producer) was let go from her digital media post. So far Cumulus corporate officers have visited Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York as they undertake the process of determining where duplicative positions exit and where money is being spent that they believe is just not necessary.
Deepak Chopra Launches Online Radio Show with Cinchcast and BlogTalkRadio. Cinchcast, a company that provides solutions for businesses and consumers to create, share, measure and monetize audio content, today announced that Deepak Chopra has launched a new online radio show leveraging Cinchcast’s audio publishing and management platform and its online radio network, BlogTalkRadio.com. Deepak Chopra, a leading expert in the fields of spirituality and alternative medicine and New York Times best-selling author in both the fiction and non-fiction categories, has created Deepak Chopra Radio to provide an online forum for compelling and thought provoking conversations on success, love, sexuality and relationships, well-being and spirituality. According to Chopra, “Cinchcast’s technology and the BlogTalkRadio network are enabling me to create my own media platform. The simplicity of broadcasting using only a phone enables me to bring together thought leaders from across the globe from the worlds of spirituality, science and politics to create and share a dialogue on today’s most important topics.” Alan Levy, CEO of Cinchcast and founder of BlogTalkRadio tells TALKERS, “That’s the beauty of our technology, it turns the phone into a publishing platform making it easy for individuals and businesses to bring important conversations to life. We’re thrilled to have Deepak Chopra on the BlogTalkRadio network.” Deepak Chopra Radio is now available at BlogTalkRadio.com, DeepakChopra.com and on iTunes. Cinchcast was developed by BlogTalkRadio to enable businesses with a simple and powerful solution to produce and share original audio content. Headquartered in New York City, Cinchcast powers audio creation and publishing for companies such as United Business Media, Business Insider, SAP and Sears, and is the technology behind BlogTalkRadio. For more information, visit www.cinchcast.com.
KGMZ, San Francisco Names Mitch Moss Producer. Entercom’s 95.7 The Game – KGMZ-FM, San Francisco – announces former KBAD, Las Vegas program director Mitch Moss is the new producer for its midday “The Wheelhouse with John Lund” program.
Timing Is Everything. On the night following the death of Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi, WNDB, Daytona Beach talk host Marc Bernier (l) presented Fox News national security correspondent and author Catherine Herridge (r) in a live town hall-style event to discuss the next threats against the U.S. and her new book, The Next Wave: On the Hunt for al Qaeda’s American Recruits (Crown Forum 2011). Bernier tells TALKERS this was the 67th event in the long-running interview series. It featured a book signing as well.
Paul Finebaum and Staff Visit Iowa Fan. Birmingham, Alabama-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum – in the news a lot recently for his legal battle with the former Citadel Broadcasting and WJOX-FM – and some of his staff visited 33-year-old Robert Fisher on Friday, October 21. Fisher, who suffers from cerebral palsy, is a huge college football fan and a regular caller to Finebaum’s show that he’s able to hear via Sirius XM. Finebaum, call screener Tammy Hethcox, and frequent Finebaum guest and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Larry Lemak flew from Alabama to Iowa in Lemak’s private plane to surprise Fisher at his parent’s home. Finebaum tells the Cedar Rapids Courier that though a few hateful callers have taken issue with him putting Fisher on the air, most of the show’s fans have embraced Fisher. Hethcox and Fisher have struck up a friendship as a result of his calls and Fisher was thrilled to meet Hethcox and argue in person over their respective love of college football rivals Alabama and Auburn. Finebaum says, “Everybody loves the guy on the show. He’s known from coast to coast.”