Glenn Beck and Saudi Student Settle Suit Over Boston Marathon Bombing Accusation. TALKERS readers who’ve been following this story are aware that Glenn Beck and his media firm TheBlaze were being sued by a Saudi Arabian student – Abdulrahman Alharbi – whom Beck continued to allege was the “money man” behind the terror attack at the 2013 Boston Marathon even after the feds had investigated and cleared him. Alharbi was also injured in the bombing. Now comes news that the sides have settled and as is usually the case in settlements such as this, neither party is admitting any fault and the terms of the settlement are not being disclosed. In August, U.S. District Court Judge Patti Saris had ordered TheBlaze to reveal its sources that Beck, et al, had cited as the basis for its actions. Beck and TheBlaze refused to do so. In a joint statement after the settlement, the sides said, in part, “Defendants have agreed to settlement of the pending action in furtherance of fundamental principles of journalistic integrity by preserving the confidentiality of their sources consistent with their rights and privileges under the First Amendment. The Plaintiff has pursued this action for the reasons set forth in his Complaint and believes those interests have been served by this resolution.” It’s unclear how much Alharbi stood to gain if he prevailed in a trial because Judge Saris had previously ruled that Alharbi would not be allowed to sue for punitive damages or the charge of unjust enrichment against the defendants.
Oregon Judge Recommends TRN Suit Against Cumulus Be Dismissed; TRN Attorney Plans Objection. As reported by Law 360, U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark D. Clarke is recommending that the antitrust suit filed by Talk Radio Network Enterprises against Cumulus Media, Compass Media Networks, Lew Dickey, Charles Steinhauer, and WYD Media Management be dismissed because the same claims were settled in a federal court in New York in 2014. Clarke wrote, “Dismissal with prejudice pursuant to a settlement agreement constitutes a final judgment on the merits and precludes parties from reasserting the same claims in a subsequent action. Such dismissal prevents reassertion of the same claim between the same parties. The 2014 judgment is therefore final and subject to claim preclusion.” However, TRNE attorney Joseph Alioto tells Law 360, “We made it very clear in the complaint that the conduct resumed after the settlement, and that’s the important preposition, after. The allegations in the complaint are required, at this stage of the game, to be accepted as true and all inferences are to be drawn in favor of the non-moving party, which is the plaintiff. Our allegations are that after the settlement, [Cumulus Media] recommenced the same conduct, which causes a new claim to arise.” TRNE alleges that Cumulus subsidiary Westwood One and the other plaintiffs conspired to create for themselves an unfair advantage in the nationally syndicated ad bundling market. TRNE says Westwood One was able to use its dominance in the marketplace to avoid the transparency needed for the complainants to be certain of how much they are owed. The other claims in the suit include: breach of implied covenant and fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment, conversion, and others and Clarke recommended they also be dismissed because the claims as pleaded are “vague.” However, he leaves the door open to those non-antitrust claims be repleaded.
Joey Reynolds Returns to the Airwaves. For 15 years radio legend Joey Reynolds held court in the wee small hours of the morning on WOR, New York and the WOR Radio Network. Now, Reynolds is back on the air on Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York on Sunday evenings at 9:00. Reynolds (right) launches the new show this Sunday with his first guest, none other than WABC icon Cousin Brucie (left), who’s currently hosting shows on SiriusXM – including the “Cousin Brucie’s Saturday Night Party.” Reynolds’ pal Art Vuolo informs us that the new Reynolds program will soon also be heard on Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles and in syndication through the efforts of William G. Nye and Mike Cave.
KFTK-FM, St. Louis Adds Two New Signals to News/Talk Brand. St. Louis news/talk KFTK-FM is adding two signals to its brand. Emmis Communications announces the programming is now also being heard on WQQX-AM (licensed to East St. Louis, Illinois) and translator K254CR, St. Louis at 98.7 FM. Program director Jeff Allen says, “‘FM NewsTalk 97.1’ is often the #1 talk station in St. Louis and for years we have been getting requests to expand the reach of our traditional radio signal. This move does that. You will now be able to hear our programming from the far west edge of the metro, well into Illinois, down past south St. Louis and a strong signal downtown. Just choose the dial position that comes in best on the radio where you are.”
Pettiette Upped to VP/Director of Sales for CBS RADIO Houston. Sales pro Michael Pettiette moves up from his regional director of digital sales for the CBS RADIO Houston station group to vice president and director of sales. He’s been with CBS for the past five years. He started his radio career with iHeartMedia as an account executive. Pettiette will now oversee multi-platform sales and revenue for the cluster that includes hot AC KHMX, sports talk KIKK, country KILT-FM, sports talk KILT-AM, CHR KKHH, and Spanish KLOL-FM.
‘103.7 The Game’ in Lafayette Adds TV Simulcast for AM Show. The morning drive “SportsChat with Dave Schultz” on Delta Media’s KLWB, Lafayette “103.7 The Game” is now airing in a TV simulcast with the company’s KXKW-TV 32.1 “The American Sports Network.” General manager Chuck Wood states, “We are working diligently to put our products where our viewers and listeners are. This additional delivery system will make our ‘Live and Local’ programming available to more local eyes and ears. Additional programming will be coming to American Sports Network 32.1 very soon.” Dave Schultz adds, “I’m looking forward to showing Acadiana how much fun I have in the morning bringing them ‘SportsChat.’ Hoping this opens the door to more listeners and in-studio guests joining in the fun.”
Odds & Sods. A new deal between Westwood One and Emmy and Peabody Award-winning comedian and actor Paul Mecurio has been struck to have WW1 provide exclusive ad sales representation for his “2 Chairs and a Microphone” podcast that’s available via audioBoom…..KMG Networks’ Anchor Dashboard – a customizable real-time dashboard that delivers essential information directly to news anchors in the studio – is now being implemented at more than 35 of Salem Media Group’s locally hosted news/talk and Christian teaching talk stations, including: WNYM and WMCA, New York, KRLA and KKLA, Los Angeles, and WIND and WYLL, Chicago…..AdLarge Media signs a deal for exclusive ad sales representation of New Mommy Media, a network of dynamic audio podcasts “designed to grow with the listener and her child, from the first trimester to the terrible twos and beyond.” New Mommy Media was created by Sunny Gault boasts 60,000 downloads a month across a variety of targeted content choices…..What do you do when you’re interviewing a Trump and you run out of time? You employ the Art of the Deal! WHP, Harrisburg afternoon drive host Ken Matthews tells TALKERS magazine he was interviewing Donald Trump Jr. and, after eight minutes, found himself up against the break. Trump Jr. told Matthews he was too busy to sit on hold for three minutes, could he negotiate a change in the format? “So we negotiated the break times live on the air with him and my producer! A very funny Trump moment.”
The Presidential Race/Candidates’ Health, IRS Commissioner Impeachment Issue, National Anthem Protests, U.S.-Philippines Relations, Bayer-Monsanto Merger, Venezuela Crisis Worsens, U.S. Refugee Policy, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/14). The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, especially the brouhaha over the health of both candidates; the Republicans’ move to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen for his role in the agency’s treatment of conservative organizations; the ongoing national discussion over Colin Kaepernick and other athletes’ decisions not to stand during the playing of the National Anthem; Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s adversarial attitude toward the U.S. and his recent decision to buy weapons from Russia and China instead of the U.S.; the acquisition of St. Louis-based Monsanto by Germany’s Bayer; the worsening economic conditions in Venezuela; the U.S.’ decision to allow up to 110,000 more refugees into the country; and the Major League Baseball playoff push were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Rome Visits KNBR, San Francisco. Nationally syndicated sports talk personality Jim Rome (left) is seen here with KNBR, San Francisco afternoon drive sports talker Tom Tolbert (right) on the latter’s program on Monday (9/12). Rome was visiting the city and appeared on Tolbert’s program live from Cumulus Media’s Levi’s Lounge at KNBR.
Talk Host Jerry Doyle Dead at 60. TMZ is reporting that Jerry Doyle – talk show host and star of the 1990s TV sci-fi series “Babylon 5” – is dead. The site reports that he was found unresponsive at his home in Las Vegas and that no foul play is suspected. Doyle rose to fame in the talk radio business in the mid-2000s after his show was syndicated by Talk Radio Network. He continued to host a daily show produced by America’s Talk Network and distributed by Talk Radio Network Enterprises until his death. TRNE CEO Mark Masters said in a statement, “I am stunned and saddened by the news of Jerry’s sudden death. He was a dear friend and a prince of a human being. We have worked together for the last 12 years and no host was more loyal at my side.” Doyle was a graduate of Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. He worked for many years on Wall Street prior to getting into acting and, ultimately, talk radio.
Daily Radio Feature Starring Greg Knapp Launches. The name of the program is “The Motivation Minute with Greg Knapp” and it’s being syndicated by Kansas City-based Rockcastle Media Networks. The company describes the show, launching August 1, as a weekday feature designed to inspire and empower adults across all formats. Rockcastle Media Networks president/CEO Will Sterrett says, “Greg Knapp is an exceptional talent with a real passion for helping others maximize their potential. The self-improvement industry is worth an estimated $10 billion in the US each year, and it’s a largely untapped segment for radio. We’re proud to partner with someone so exceptional to create ‘The Motivation Minute with Greg Knapp’ and help stations unlock additional opportunities.” Knapp has hosted talk shows at KCMO, Kansas City; KLIF, Dallas; and his own nationally syndicated “Greg Knapp Experience” program. He’s also author of Go!: How To Find And Pursue Your Passionate Purpose.
Powerful Revenue Panel Video from TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations Posted Today. One of the highlights of the recent TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations convention – “Generating Revenue in the Digital Era” – is posted today (7/28) on Talkers.com. The panel discussion was part of the 19th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention that took place May 20 on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. Moderated by TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian, the panelists include (in alphabetical order): Dr. Asa, host, Dr. Asa Network; Kathy Carr, VP sales and marketing, Howie Carr Radio Network; Bill Hess, VP, news/talk, Cumulus Media/ PD WMAL, Washington, DC; Brian Landau, EVP digital sales and strategy, DGital Media; Tom Langmyer, VP/GM Milwaukee radio operations/VP news, talk, sports programming, E.W. Scripps Company; Tom Leykis, CEO/founder, The New Normal; and Doug Stephan, host Stephan Multimedia. To view the panel discussion in its entirety, please click here. Stay tuned to Talkers.com for more videos from Talkers 2016: Bridging the Generations that will be posted in the days and weeks to come.
The Presidential Race/Democratic National Convention, ISIS Church Attack, John Hinckley to Be Released, the Zika Virus, Freddie Gray Case, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/27). The action taking place at the Democratic National Convention and the activities of candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump; the execution of a priest during an ISIS inspired attack in Northern France; Ronald Reagan would-be assassin John Hinckley to be released; fears the Zika virus is infecting Americans who have not traveled abroad; charges against final three officers in the Freddie Gray case are dropped and five of the six officers charged to sue prosecutor Marilyn Mosby; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
KCMO, Kansas City Morning Anchor Dennis Rooney Dies. After a two-year battle with cancer, KCMO, Kansas City morning news anchor Dennis Rooney died on Wednesday (7/27). Prior to joining Cumulus Media’s KCMO, Rooney was news director and anchor at Union Broadcasting in Kansas City. The station notes that Rooney was a graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City and that while there, he worked 40 to 50 hours a week driving a truck while attending classes. Cumulus Media Midwest regional vice president Donna Baker states, “For nearly 20 years, thousands of KC radio listeners have listened to and loved Dennis Rooney. His brilliant writing and trusted voice as news anchor, combined with his signature quick wit, made him a legendary on-air personality beloved by listeners and team members alike. Our deepest condolences to his family. Dennis will be greatly missed but never forgotten.”
Odds & Sods. NFL training camps are open, signaling the beginning of the 2016 campaign and FOX Sports Radio’s “Jay Mohr Sports” will hit the road to report from three team camps. He’ll broadcast from Dallas Cowboys training camp in Oxnard, California on August 2; from the Denver Broncos camp in Englewood, Colorado on August 4 and 5; and from the Los Angeles Rams camp at UC-Irvine on August 8…..For the fourth straight season, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will join KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh “SPORTSRADIO 93.7 THE FAN” for weekly appearances on the station’s Cook & Poni show. The Ben Roethlisberger show will take place Tuesday’s at 11:00 am…..NFL great Brett Favre is joining SiriusXM NFL Radio to host a show this season. It will be Favre’s first regular sports media role since retiring after the 2010 season. Favre will host a series of hour-long broadcasts during this season. He’s being enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton next month and the debut show on August 5 will be a special, “Town Hall”-style program from Canton, Ohio.
Cool Job Opportunity. West Virginia Radio Corporation has an immediate opening for an afternoon drive radio talk show host on a 13-station network. The ideal candidate will mix sports, popular culture and news to deliver a fast-paced, compelling and entertaining show, while interacting with callers and listeners through social media. The position also includes opportunities for radio and TV play-by-play. WVRC is a family-owned heritage radio company with state-of-the-art equipment, excellent benefits and a highly professional work environment. Send a cover letter, resume and audio samples to: firstname.lastname@example.org. WVRC is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Supreme Court Denies TRN’s Appeal of Savage Decision. This is a case that goes all the way back to talk host Michael Savage’s 2010 suit to be freed of his contract with Talk Radio Network, claiming the company did not properly execute the right-to-match provision in that contract. Savage won in arbitration in 2012 and was victorious at the Appeals Court level before TRN took the case all the way to the Supreme Court. On Monday (1/11), the Supreme Court denied TRN’s petition to hear the case, leaving the Appeals Court’s decision stand. Savage, who’s been working for Westwood One since October of 2012, was awarded $863,454, plus other monies owed him by TRN, plus ownership of his archives by the arbitration panel. Speaking to WND.com, Savage states, “After many, many years and over a million dollars of legal fees, justice has prevailed. TRN has never paid me one dime of the money they were supposed to pay me.”
iHeartMedia Re-Organizes Senior Executive Structure; Four Promoted to Division President. Saying that these structural changes will “push both decision-making and resources closer to the markets, with every market now better aligned to deliver more focused resources closer to their listeners and advertisers,” iHeartMedia announces the elevation of four EVPs of operations to division president titles, overseeing four new geographical regions. New division presidents are: Hartley Adkins, president of the Northeast Division and Corporate Operations will also oversee multi-cultural and strategic initiatives and communication for the Regions, working closely with Corporate teams; Greg Ashlock, president of the West Division, will also serve as the senior business leader representing the company in the Western U.S. across all divisions; Matt Martin, president of the Central Division, will also continue to oversee the company’s Sales Operations Center as well as direct and develop the company’s internal training programs; and Tom McConnell, president of the Midwest/Southeast Division, will also continue to work with the Regions on operational needs. iHeartMedia says the new structure replaces its Major and Regional Market groups organization. Now, the company will be comprised of four geographic Divisions, each led by a new Division President. The Divisions are strategically organized into 36 Regions that will address the needs of both listeners and advertisers based on geography. Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “The new structure under the leadership of Hartley, Greg, Matt and Tom adds nimbleness and new resources for our markets and stations. We are taking advantage of our size and unparalleled assets to empower our people and our markets by giving them better access to all our cutting-edge resources, from digital to data, our programmatic automated ad buying system, research and technology and more, letting them take advantage of the big investments we’ve made and use them to benefit their listeners and advertising partners in their region.”
KFI, Los Angeles Tweaks Show Times; Bill Carroll Not Being Replaced. With the recent departure of midday personality Bill Carroll (announced last week), iHeartMedia’s Los Angeles talk outlet is shifting the show times to cover his three-hour show. Bill Handel hosts mornings from 6:00 am to 10:00 am; duo Gary Hoffman and Shannon Farren air from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm; afternooners John & Ken are on from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm; and evening host Tim Conway Jr. now hosts the 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm show.
Ramsey Sells Out in the Windy City. The 2016 edition of nationally syndicated talk radio star Dave Ramsey’s Smart Money tour began with a sold out crowd in Chicago on Tuesday (1/12) at Willow Creek Community Church. Ramsey’s event focused on “how to win with money, get out of debt and invest for the future.” Financial expert and speaker Chris Hogan joined Ramsey on stage. The event was a part of Hogan’s Retire Inspired book tour, which launched in New York on January 11. Ramsey combined forces with local affiliate WIND, Chicago “AM 560 The Answer” to promote the Chicago appearance. Station GM Jeff Reisman says, “WIND was thrilled to have Dave and Chris Hogan share their financial wisdom to more than 4,500 attendees. Dave’s daily radio program provides practical and actionable financial advice so people can stop living paycheck to paycheck and provides sponsors with an established and highly credible forum for their commercial message.” Pictured here with Ramsey are Salem Chicago director of sales Michael Mann (left) and Reisman (right).
David Chancellor Teams with Air Temkin on ‘ESPN San Antonio.’ Market sports broadcasting pro David Chancellor is joining Ari Temkin as co-host of the midday show “The Hardline with Ari and Chance” on KZDC “ESPN San Antonio,” airing daily from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. Chancellor is an award-winning sports anchor for WOAI-TV “News 4 San Antonio.” Alpha Media San Antonio station manager Bob Brown comments, “David has had a periodic presence on ‘ESPN San Antonio’ for some time and we realized a long time ago that he’s a TV guy who really gets radio. We couldn’t be more pleased to have David join us full time as the co-host of the new, three-hour version of ‘The Hardline with Ari and Chance.’”
O’Reilly Brings in Philly Perspective in Cop Shooting Case. Covering the shooting of Philadelphia police officer Jesse Hartnett by alleged gunman Edward Archer – a suspect who has told police he shot Hartnett “in the name of Islam” – Fox News Channel personality Bill O’Reilly welcomed WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive personality Chris Stigall (pictured) to his show for the latest details and a local perspective.
Odds & Sods. Chicago Cubs radio play-by-play voice Pat Hughes has been honored as the 2015 Illinois Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association…..At Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton, “New Jersey 101.5,” Fred Bennett exits the president and chief revenue officer role. Taking over for Bennett is Ron DeCastro who was most recently with CBS RADIO serving as general sales manager for CHR WBMP, New York “92.3 AMP Radio.”
Presidential Race, State of the Union Address, Sean Penn ‘El Chapo’ Trip, Battle Against Islamic State/Istanbul Bombing, Sinking Oil Prices/World Financial Markets, Record Powerball Jackpot, and NFL Playoffs/Alabama Wins College Football Championship Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/12). The activities of the candidates for president; the build-up to President Obama’s final State of the Union speech last night; the controversy surrounding actor Sean Penn’s trip to Mexico to interview drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman; the fight against Islamic State and the terror bombing in Istanbul; plummeting oil prices and its effect on the world’s financial markets; the $1.5 billion record Powerball jackpot; and the NFL playoffs and Alabama’s victory of Clemson in the College Football Championship game were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Michael Harrison: Trump’s a “Shock Jock” That’s Now Running for President. TALKERS publisher/founder Michael Harrison was invited to comment on the Donald Trump presidential candidacy yesterday (1/10) on the CNN media analysis program, “Reliable Sources.” The premise of the segment was to discuss whether or not it was conservative talk radio that specifically set the stage for Trump’s surprisingly successful showing in the polls because the medium taps into the anger and frustration felt by a large number of Americans about the state of the country and the politicians in Washington, DC. The insinuation was that conservative talk radio was stoking the aforementioned anger thus providing what program host Brian Stelter described as “fertilizer” for the early stages of Trump’s campaign. Harrison disagreed that talk radio’s early coverage of Trump’s candidacy gave him the boost that launched his domination of the GOP field or that talk radio was fueling anger in the first place. According to Harrison, the anger and frustration of American citizens has been building for a very long time now and that it isn’t just the far right that is angry, stating a case could be made that Bernie Sanders (popular among progressive hosts) appeals to a broad, angry segment of the left. Harrison said it was a wide variety of factors that led to Trump’s success in the polls and that talk radio is but “one of many media” that are playing into it. Harrison described the media, including talk radio, as basically serving its own “strategic” interests, thus giving tremendous coverage to Trump to capitalize on his proven appeal as a ratings attraction. Harrison said, “Donald Trump is responsible for Donald Trump’s success and if any media can be credited with fueling it, you must credit NBC’s “The Apprentice.” Speaking off-air, Harrison states, “The original premise of the segment was that conservative talk radio was one of the seminal causes of not just widespread anger in America – but hate as well – and that Trump is now feeding off of that… a suggestion that I cannot get behind whatsoever.” Harrison adds, “Trump has all the skills of the great so-called ‘shock jocks’ who have been stirring up controversy for years. He’s a talented blend of Howard Stern, Don Imus, and Rush Limbaugh all rolled into one extraordinary attraction. Does that make a great talk media entertainer? Yes. Does that make a great provocateur? Yes. Does that make a great stimulator of important conversation? Yes. Does that drive great ratings in a fragmented media marketplace? Yes. Does that make a great president? God help us if we actually have the chance to find out.”
KOA, Denver Changes PM Drive Programming to Newsy Bent. Longtime Clear Channel Denver personality Dave Logan remains on KOA, but he loses former Denver Post sports columnist Dave Krieger (who exits the station) and the content will turn away from sports as KUSA-TV, Denver “9News” part-time reporter Susie Wargin joins Logan for the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm talk show portion of “Colorado’s Afternoon News.” From 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm Susan Witkin and Mike Rice co-anchor the all-news part of the show.
Entercom Adds Platforms to Rochester ESPN Sports Talker. The new Rochester market sports talk outlet “ESPN Rochester” debuts on multiple platforms from Entercom Communications. The broadcast is heard on translator W239BF as well as on original signal WROC-AM, an HD2 channel, and several online destinations. Entercom Rochester VP and market manager Susan Munn says, “This is an exciting day for our brand, our clients and, most importantly, our listeners. Since we launched ESPN Rochester in 2008, our goal has been to deliver the most compelling and entertaining brand of national and local sports talk to Rochester. From FM to AM to HD and online streaming, we are putting the best sports content where sports fans demand and access it. ESPN media reaches 58% of men and 81% of avid sports fans nationally and ESPN Rochester has the biggest brands and names in sports from the Bills and Sabres to the #1 sports morning show in the country with Mike & Mike. With ESPN Rochester now on FM, it makes our already powerful cluster of stations an even better advertiser choice to serve the important male audience.”
KFNS-AM, St. Louis GM Marshall Resigns; Sports Talk Stations in State of Flux. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Dan Caesar is reporting that Grand Slam Sports general manager Dan Marshall has resigned his post a week after an altercation between him and KXFN morning host Brian McKenna landed Marshall in the hospital and McKenna in police custody. There are still more questions than answers about what happened and who will be held responsible for the incident. Although McKenna was taken into custody and Marshall was injured, no charges have been filed against McKenna, who took umbrage at being ridiculed on the air by fellow station personality Nick Trupiano. The incident that resulted in fisticuffs happened after McKenna went to the station offices to confront Marshall about what was being said about him on the air. Station operations manager Mike Calvin says there have been no decisions made about on-air talent or whether McKenna – who was fired after the incident – will be offered his position back. Read Caesar’s story here.
Glenn Beck Teams with Fathom Events to Produce National Cinema Event. The name of the July 22 and July 29 “night of action against Common Core” is being called “We Will Not Conform,” and involves nationally syndicated Premiere Networks star Glenn Beck teaming with Fathom Events. It’s a live broadcast direct to cinemas across the country and here’s how Beck and Fathom describe it: “This isn’t a typical show –it’s an interactive experience and a rare opportunity to make a real difference in America’s education system. ‘We Will Not Conform’ is your chance to not only hear from experts like Michelle Malkin, David Barton, and others but to join LIVE with fellow theatergoers across the country to develop tangible strategies in the pursuit of enacting real change in our schools. By the end of the night, the brainpower, experience, and passion of cinema audiences nationwide will be captured in a unified plan of action distributed to all participants.” Tickets for adults are $20.
Doug Stephan Breaking New Ground with Experimental Farm Show. His reputation as a major player in syndicated news/talk radio has been forged by longevity, the ability to change with the times and consistent success. Doug Stephan’s national general issues morning program, “Good Day,” is the second-longest-running weekday syndicated show in talk radio, having launched in October of 1988, with only Rush Limbaugh beating him out during this past quarter century-plus by a mere handful of months (Rush debuted in August of 1988). In addition, Stephan’s program, “The Talk Radio Countdown Show,” is one of the longest running and most successful weekend programs in news/talk radio. Now, in addition to his traditional mainstream talk radio accomplishments, Stephan has been cooking up an experimental show on the platform of TalkersRadio that has been gathering significant interest by industry players and observers alike. The show is a one-hour-per-week information and advocacy forum titled, “American Family Farmer,” and it is targeted specifically to the beleaguered sector of the American agriculture industry that is comprised of small, independent operators. What makes Stephan qualified to host such a specifically targeted program? The answer: In addition to being a dedicated lifelong radio broadcaster, he is also a dedicated lifelong family farmer! Stephan is the owner/operator of several dairy farms in the Boston suburb of Framingham, Massachusetts under the umbrella of Eastleigh Farm. Stephan tells TALKERS, “I have been around cows all my life. I spent all my free time around the animals as a young boy, sort of an island of solitude for me growing up. I went to the farm when I was afraid to be home, or anywhere else. I have kept an alliance with cows over the years on several farms that I have owned — raising heifers and milker replacements for various farms and dealers in Massachusetts.” Stephan continues, “I have become more involved on a wider scale, to the point now where I have several hundred Jersey dairy cows, which provide us with the raw milk we sell, along with cheeses, ice cream and various other diary-related products that have meaning to those in the locavore movement [people who choose to eat locally grown and raised food].” On “American Family Farmer” Stephan takes a position quite different from the affable generalist that is heard hosting his traditional news/talk programs. He is a tell-it-like-it-is advocate of the political and economic interests of the farmers his new program is designed to serve. He explains, “The family farmers in America, of which I am one, have a tenuous relationship with Big Government and Big Ag. It is obvious to most that the many problems we are trying to solve have come about as a result of too much government meddling in the affairs of the American family farm. We are aggressively addressing these problems with solution-based discussions each week. We are dedicated to becoming the voice for these hard-working people who play such an important role in the economic and nutritional well-being of our nation and are basically being stepped on by Big Government in cahoots with Big Business.” According to TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein, “During the four months or so that this amazing program has been on our experimental platform, we have received non-stop inquiries from small market and rural stations around the country asking if it is available in syndication. We have had to turn them away, explaining that it is just an experimental program still in development and that we do not have an infrastructure set up to be able to offer it in syndication. It seems that this show would be a wonderful venue for a wide variety of advertisers that are specifically interested in reaching the people who buy equipment, feed, and other products that support the effort of running a small farm. It is also a sure-fire, powerful one-hour per week place to park local advertisers seeking this audience as well.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison adds, “Giving birth to an ‘out-of-the-box’ program like American Family Farmer has been exactly what we designed TalkersRadio to do. It is especially exciting to see this vehicle being productively utilized by seasoned professionals such as Doug [Stephan], Alan [Colmes] and Lionel to create properties different than what they are generally known for in the industry.” Harrison adds, “Now we have to identify a good home for American Family Farmer out there among established syndicators to partner in the effort of creating a new rural network for the terrestrial dial – or place it on an existing farm-oriented syndicator.” American Family Farmer airs on TalkersRadio (on Talkers.com) Saturday mornings between 8:00 am and 9:00 am ET. Interested syndicators can find out more by emailing Michael Harrison at email@example.com or calling 413-565-5413. Look for a major announcement involving another TalkersRadio program coming later this week. TalkersRadio, powered by Backbone Networks, is an experimental talk radio laboratory run by TALKERS magazine to support the development of new programs and programming ideas for talk radio.
TRN’s Jerry Doyle Launches Kickstarter Campaign for Relaunch of EpicTimes.com. Talk show host Jerry Doyle, whose daily radio program is syndicated nationally by Talk Radio Network, announces the beginning of a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the relaunch and expansion of his flagship website, Epictimes.com. Doyle says money raised through this campaign will support the growth of EpicTimes.com – currently a news curation and aggregation site. He says the updated EpicTimes.com will be a one-stop shop for news-related audio and video content for the politically independent “middle majority” that is currently underserved by the left- and right-leaning news media. The site will also feature podcasts of his radio program as well as other well-known contributors. Doyle comments, “We are trying to create a news outlet that represents the real needs and interests of the American people, which is something that I am very passionate about. EpicTimes.com has always been a place where people can find the news and information they are looking for, not what the media thinks they want or need to hear. Expanding the site allows us to offer more information and give more power to the individual.” Doyle brings aboard Elaine Kunda as CEO of EpicTimes.com. Kunda previously served as CEO of women’s lifestyle digital network B5Media and has worked in various digital media companies since 1998. She adds, “EpicTimes.com presents an exciting opportunity for me. To be involved basically from the ground floor and build a media network of this kind during a time of such frustration by the American people is exactly the kind of challenge I’ve been looking for. Jerry’s passion for this company, his fans and his listeners is infectious. I am looking forward to working with him to make EpicTimes.com a household name.” With the support of contributions from this Kickstarter campaign, the new EpicTimes.com is scheduled to relaunch in September 2014.
Odds & Sods. In recognition of Flag Day this past Saturday (6/14), WPHT, Philadelphia midday personality Dom Giordano and his listeners joined forces with the local VFW to provide flags for the 1,200 veterans whose graves are located in Forest Hills Cemetery in Huntingdon Valley. The VFW and Montgomery County officials were at odds about the oversight that would have left the soldiers’ graves without flags. Giordano’s program was flooded with calls from listeners willing to donate money and flags…..ABC News Radio is offering three one-hour specials ahead of the coming Fourth of July weekend, including: “Second Tour: Military Vets Making a Difference,” “Red White & BBQ” and “Car Crazy: America’s Love Affair With Cars.” ABC’s Aaron Katersky hosts “Second Tour: Military Vets Making a Difference,” which tells the amazing stories of the continued selflessness and strength from men and women who have returned home from war. Scott Goldberg anchors “Red White & BBQ,” featuring all of the best tips to make your summer BBQ the best on the block. And Alex Stone hosts “Car Crazy: America’s Love Affair With Cars,” a show that dishes on the latest technology and safety trends influencing the auto industry today…..NPR appoints Jonathan Hart as its new chief legal officer and general counsel. Hart, who currently serves as a partner in Cooley LLP’s Technology Transactions practice group, joins NPR on July 1.
WEISMAN: The Limits of the First Amendment. TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes in an article published today (6/16) about the pending legal case involving Premiere Networks syndicated talk host Glenn Beck, who is being sued by Saudi Arabian student Abdulrahman Alharbi for defamation. Alharbi was, for a time accused of being involved in the Boston Marathon bombing by Beck even after local authorities had cleared him of any suspicion. Beck’s attorneys are pointing to the First Amendment as part of Beck’s defense. But Weisman says the result may rest on whether Alharbi qualifies and as a public figure, limited public figure or not a public figure at all. Read Weisman’s analysis of the case here.
Movers and Shakers to Tackle Radio’s “Big Picture” at Talkers New York 2014. In what has become a popular tradition at TALKERS conferences, a diverse group of industry heavyweights will tackle radio’s “big picture” in a panel session covering industry economics, technology, changing business models, programming challenges and trends, the relationship between talk and music radio, and radio’s role as a first responder during emergencies among other key subjects. Panelists include (in alphabetical order): Steve Goldstein, EVP, Saga Communications; Tom Langmyer, VP news/talk programming Journal Broadcast Group and VP/GM, Milwaukee radio operations; Tom Leykis, CEO, The New Normal; Mike McVay, SVP, programming, Cumulus Media; Howard B. Price, director business continuity and crisis management, ABC News. The session will be introduced by rising talk star Dana Loesch, KFTK, St. Louis and Radio America; moderated by Michael Harrison, publisher, TALKERS; and sponsored by ABC News Radio. According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “This session is always a crowd pleaser at our conferences with lots of valuable take-aways. Its free-wheeling, quick pace touches upon a wide variety of the broad-strokes themes that run throughout today’s radio concerns.” Talkers New York 2014 takes place on Friday, June 20 at the historic India House on Hanover Square in the heart of NYC’s historic financial district. More than 65 industry leaders are scheduled to speak. It is on the verge of a sellout with registrations only open to professionals working in the radio and associated media industries. Registrations ($249) are only booked over the phone with credit card. Call 413-565-5413. For more up-to-the-minute agenda and sponsorship information, please click here.
Aaron Klein Show Moves to ‘AM 970 The Answer’ in NYC. After four years airing on Sunday evenings on Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York, the Tel Aviv-based “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” program debuts on Salem Communications-owned crosstown news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” Sunday, May 4. In a press release, Salem says the Klein show “deals with the hotbed of Muslim extremists, and how they are trying to bring down the state of Israel.” Klein exited WABC when the station made the decision to focus on locally driven programming. Salem VP/director of spoken word format Phil Boyce says, “After years of competing with Aaron Klein and his program on WABC we now have grabbed him to join our new and re-vamped lineup on ‘AM 970 The Answer.’ I have had so many people ask me if we could bring Aaron over to our station and it is a pleasure to do so. He fits our station and our attitude just fine, and I can’t wait to see what he is going to break next.” Klein comments, “I am thrilled to be joining Salem Radio and ‘AM 970 The Answer’ to bring energetic, news-driven, live talk radio to the Sunday night lineup. Together, we will prove there is a major audience for weekend talk radio if the content is compelling enough.”
Talk Hosts Lynn Woolley and Ben Barrack Debut News/Talk Site. KTEM, Temple-Killeen, Texas-based talk media personalities Lynn Woolley and Ben Barrack announce their collaboration on a new national website called “The World Beat” at www.WBDaily.com. The duo say “the new site will feature material from the Lynn Woolley show (also heard on KBBW, Waco; KWBC, Navasota, Texas; KCRS, Midland, Texas; and KVOP, Plainview, Texas) and the Ben Barrack Show (heard Sunday mornings on KTEM), but will not be devoted to any specific talk show. WBDaily will feature cutting-edge opinion on national stories, often with a Texas flavor and occasional breaking news stories. In fact, WBDaily will be a great source for show prep.”
Michigan Family Sues Sima Birach, Jr. in Case Involving Sports Talk WCAR, Livonia. A Michigan family is suing Sima Birach, Jr. claiming the operator of sports talk WCAR, Livonia, Michigan (suburban Detroit) bilked them out of almost $1 million. The Detroit News reports that the station is leased to Birach, Jr. by his father (for $1 a year) whose Birach Broadcasting operates 23 stations in 14 states. Sima Birach, Sr. tells the paper his son has no right to sell anything but commercial time. He also says he’s been sued as the result of bad business decisions made by his son in the past and adds, “He’s been involved with some shysters before. He’s 37-years old. What am I going to do?” The family suing Birach, Jr. is Drago and Jadranka Mihajlovski and their son Zive. The trio allege they gave Birach, Jr. $500,000 on August 12, 2012, for a 10% interest in the station and on October 9, 2012, they say they invested $450,000 more for an additional 15% share in the station. Their attorney says they were promised $50,000-per-year lifetime jobs as well and that after a few pay periods, the money stopped coming in and Birach, Jr. told them they had no interest in the station and their investment would not be returned.
Ramsey-Cruze Book Debuts at #1. The latest book by financial talk superstar Dave Ramsey – this time with his daughter Rachel Cruze – is called Smart Money Smart Kids (Lampo Press 2014) and debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list (week ending 4/26) for “Advice, How-To and Miscellaneous.” The book is promoted as providing “practical steps parents can take to teach their kids about money basics like working, spending, saving and giving, as well as how to deal with bigger challenges such as avoiding debt, paying for college and battling discontentment.”
RadioIO and Bubba the Love Sponge Team Up for Digital Delivery. Nationally syndicated, Tampa-based morning drive talk host Bubba the Love Sponge and RadioIO agree to terms on a deal that will allow the latter to continue to deliver Bubba the Love Sponge and his shows exclusively over the Internet on Bubba Army Radio through December 31, 2016. RadioIO will have the exclusive right to distribute archived and newly produced internet-only content of the Bubba Radio Network over the internet and the non-exclusive right to broadcast the Bubba the Love Sponge show live. RadioIO will pay periodic fees based on subscription and advertising revenue received by the company relating to the Bubba programming. In addition to the daily Bubba show, other programming consists of “Bubba Army Radio Uncensored,” “The Shannon Burke Show,” “Dangerous Conversations with Scott Ledger,” and a daily specialty show. Bubba the Love Sponge’s radio show is heard on formats including: hot talk, country, rock, classic hits and sports talk.
KJOC, Quad Cities Returns to Sports Talk. After an 11-year period airing non-sports content (including the most recent format using Scott Shannon’s True Oldies Channel), Townsquare Media’s KJOC, Davenport flips to sports talk as “ESPN 1170.” The Quad Cities Times reports station operations manager Darren Pitra saying, “We looked at a variety of things, but the decision was to go with ESPN.” The station will carry the entire ESPN Radio lineup plus Chicago Cubs baseball and Iowa State football and basketball. Pitra says of local sports talk, “It’s not something that’s completely [out of the realm of possibility] down the road.”
Dino Costa Digital Platform to Debut Monday. As TALKERS reported last month, former longtime SiriusXM sports talk personality Dino Costa is going the entrepreneurial road with his sports talk program and making it available via a digital platform on a subscription model. Costa says the show will be accessible from any computer or mobile device and offer visitors access to a variety of digital and written news and commentary, including a live, three-hour video broadcast each weekday; pre-recorded interviews with today’s sports leaders and newsmakers; behind-the-scenes features; and exclusive news articles covering the top sports stories making headlines each week. Costa says, “The new Dino Costa show is something that will redefine sports-based commentary and opinion, and I’m delighted to be back to serve as the conduit for a sports radio crowd across North America that is extremely frustrated with the meager sports talk offerings of today. Our platform allows for the most refreshingly candid commentaries available. We have no partnerships with leagues, officials, or any alliances that will prevent us from delivering the most unequivocal and straightforward opinion and views on a regular and consistent basis. The era of corporate-driven news media is more than a huge problem that people of all walks are contending with these days. We are the radical departure from this awful status quo…I cannot wait to get going.” Emanating from Costa’s Cheyenne studios, his talk show airs live daily at 4:00 pm ET.
WABC, New York to Cover 2014 James Beard Awards. When the 24th James Beard Awards are handed out on Monday, May 5, Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York will provide coverage of the festivities. The James Beard Awards recognize excellence in cuisine, culinary writing, and culinary education in the United States. They were established in 1990. This year’s ceremonies will take place at New York’s Lincoln Center. WABC says that starting today, listeners can watch video interviews with some of New York’s top chef’s including Gramercy Tavern’s Michael Anthony and Betony’s Bryce Shuman. Also, 77 WABC chats with Food Network host and James Beard Award emcee Ted Allen about the importance of the awards to New York and the country. Monday, 77 WABC will provide live streaming coverage of the awards presentation from New York’s Lincoln Center.
Odds & Sods. A programming and branding change takes place at Entercom’s WMC-AM, Memphis as the station becomes “ESPN 790 AM” and adds ESPN Radio programming. It is keeping the CBS Sports Radio-syndicated Tiki Barber, Brandon Tierney and Dana Jacobson morning drive show…..Rachel Sutherland — most recently with Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington – joins Fox News Radio to serve as a reporter based in Washington. Sutherland has also worked with TRN as an anchor for America’s Radio News Network and for Metro Networks in DC…..CBS RADIO’s sports talk WIP-FM and news/talk WPHT in Philly in conjunction with the Philadelphia Phillies’ “Phillies Charities” are offering fans a chance to win cool up-close-and-personal Phillies prizes like a kid’s sleepover in the Phillies Clubhouse, playing a video game on PhanaVision against A.J. Burnett, enjoying lunch with Ryne Sandberg in his office, or having a private hitting clinic with Chase Utley. It’s called the “Phantastic Auction” on phillies.com and runs today through May 15. Proceeds from the auction benefit Phillies Charities. Last year’s event raised $129,000.
Edison Research Offers ‘Moms & Media’ Webinar. Extracting more data from its Infinite Dial 2104 research study, Edison Research is presenting a free webinar on May 8 at 2:00 pm ET titled “Moms and Media 2014: Mobile Is a Must.” Edison says, “Moms are the target for most readers’ radio stations. And for those moms, mobile has become a priority over the last 12 months.” The presentation “features fresh tracking data about social networking, mobile device ownership, and simultaneous media consumption. The report highlights how moms are adapting radio to make it more suitable to their mobile lifestyle.” See more info here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Envision Networks program “America Weekend” is added to the program schedule at WRJN, Racine, Wisconsin (Milwaukee market)…..BizTalkRadio programming is added to WWWE, Atlanta as the station picks up the following shows: “Investor’s Edge,” “Executive Leaders Radio,” “Speak Up and Stay Alive,” “Equity Strategies” and the weekend show “Animals Today.”
Sterling-Clippers Controversy/Race Relations Top News/Talk Story for Week of April 28-May 2. The recorded racist rant by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, his subsequent lifetime ban from the NBA and talk of race relations in the U.S. were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the weak economic growth report and its effect on the Obama Administration’s image. Following at #3 was speculation about candidates in the 2016 presidential race and the possible outcome of this year’s mid-term elections, and at #4 was President Obama’s Asia trip. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
TRN Companies and Cumulus Media Announce Amicable Westwood One Settlement. TRN Companies and Cumulus Media announced late Friday afternoon (3/7) that they have agreed to settle outstanding claims arising during previous ownership of WestwoodOne, acquired by Cumulus Media in December, 2013. Lew Dickey, president and CEO of Cumulus Media, said, “While Cumulus Media had no role in the lawsuits filed by TRN Companies, we are pleased to resolve these claims and move forward together. We remain supportive of each other and are optimistic for the future.” Mark Masters, CEO of TRN Companies, said: “We are pleased to ‘turn the page’ with the new owners of WestwoodOne and have put past issues behind us. As we build bridges together, we look forward to a mutually beneficial future working with our affiliated stations, customers, Lew and John Dickey and Cumulus Media.”
Emmis to Reward Employees with Stock. The company states that as part of its 2012 Employee Retention Plan, roughly 75% of its full-time employees are being notified they are eligible to receive what it is saying is “a sizeable stock award.” The company further states, “Emmis prides itself on being a destination employer in the media and digital industries, and as such, places a high value on cultivating a culture that allows us to attract and retain the best talent in our industries. The third of Emmis’ Eleven Commandments states: Be good to your people – get them into the game and give them a piece of the pie.” Eligible employees will receive a pro-rata share of approximately 976,000 shares of Emmis Communications common stock. Using Friday’s closing price, the 976,000 shares in the Retention Plan will deliver $3,240,000 in value to the 598 employees who qualify for the plan. To ensure a broad-based distribution, the Plan excluded executive officers and capped the level of salary credit at $50,000. As an example of the award size, a full-time employee of Emmis who has been with the company since April 2, 2012, with a salary of $40,000 per year will get approximately 1,480 shares. That equates to a market value of $4913.60, using the closing price last Friday, March 7 of $3.32. The awards will vest on April 2, 2014 and will be distributed to employees shortly thereafter. It will be their choice whether to hold or sell the stock.
KSFO, San Francisco Names Hughes Late Morning Host. Cumulus Media’s news/talk KSFO, San Francisco has been trying out talk show hosts in the late morning slot (billed on the station’s website as “KSFO Talk Show”) for the past several months. Now, the station names Spencer Hughes permanent host of the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program. Hughes’ resume includes stops at talk stations across America including WRKO, Boston; KGO, San Francisco; KTKZ, Sacramento; and KSRO, Santa Rosa.
WGN VP/GM Jimmy de Castro Talks Radio and More. The vice president and general manager of Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago and the new sports talk WGWG “The Game 87.7” spoke candidly with the Chicago Sun-Times for its online video feature “The Sit Down.” In the interview, de Castro throws out a number quips that’ll interest industry watchers. For example, he’s not trying to bring young listeners to WGN, “I don’t want a younger audience for ’GN. I want 35- to 65- or 70-year-old people.” He says he hasn’t committed a lot of money to his staff. “I don’t have one contract with one person on our station. Not one. They’re all here because of how they feel. Any time they want, they can walk out the door.” The one-time WLUP-FM leader also talks about his career and how he views life after all of his success. See it here.
Jack Roberts Dies at 62. Radio executive/on-air personality Jack Roberts died this past weekend in Los Angeles. Over the course of his career, the 62-year-old Roberts was a general manager, program director, on-air talk host, and producer. Most recently, the Boston College graduate and Massachusetts native was executive producer for CRN Digital Talk Radio programming, including “What’s Cookin’ Today.” CRN chief executive officer Michael Horn comments, “Jack truly understood and loved radio. He became an instant, caring friend to everyone he encountered.” Roberts thought he could get any guest or celebrity, and Horn remarks, “He almost always booked them. Guests and talent, but most especially the listeners, enjoyed what they heard. Jack’s legacy will live on through them and all of us. That would make him very proud.” Roberts was a senior producer on syndicated radio programs hosted by Dick Cavett, and Colonel Oliver North. He was in charge of production for “The Jerry Williams Show” and “The Doug Stephan Show.” His on-air experience includes stops at Boston’s WRKO, WMEX and WXKS; WPRO, Providence; and WDRC, Hartford – where he became general manager and program director. Roberts held those titles at WWRC, Washington, DC as well. Programmer Ron Jacobs writes, “Jack Roberts is great at shining the spotlight on others and not blowing his own horn.” Funeral services are pending for Roberts, who wrote a radio-themed blog – “HollywoodHillsGroup.com” – that highlighted industry achievements and gave publicity to on-air talent.
Twin Cities Star Tom Barnard Talks Podcasting in Profile Piece. Morning radio personality Tom Barnard – a 43-year Minneapolis-St. Paul market icon – is profiled by the Minneapolis Post. The star of Cumulus’ rock KQRS speaks about numerous topics – the death of the voice-over business, his rise to fame, and his decision to get more political after 9/11 – in the story and explains his separate business producing and selling ad time for his daily two-hour podcast. Barnard tells the Post that although he billed roughly $250,000 in 2013, the show is not in the black due to expenses including salaries and the cost of bandwidth. Barnard and partner Don Shelby (former WCCO personality) are not collecting a salary at this point. Barnard’s decision to sell ad time and not charge for subscriptions as well as to go after local ad dollars, flies in the face of the way many of the high-profile podcasters are doing it (think Tom Leykis and Adam Carolla). Read the entire Post story here.
Odds & Sods. In the Duluth market, Midwest Communications flips standards WGEE, Superior, Wisconsin to sports talk using CBS Sports Radio programming…..Sports radio pro Seth Everett becomes part of the New York Mets broadcasts on Clear Channel’s WOR, New York this season where he’ll be hosting the pre- and post-game programs…..Charlotte Knights minor league baseball will air on Greater Media’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte this summer as the station will carry 10 Saturday night home games and two Friday evening home games.
Chris Stigall Broadcasts from CPAC. The annual Washington, DC gathering of conservative politicians dubbed the Conservative Political Action Conference involves an active radio row and WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive host Chris Stigall (right) was in the middle of all the action last week as he broadcast his show from the event. He’s pictured here interviewing former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton (left).
WVBR Returns To Collegetown (Ithaca) in New, High Tech Studio Station to Hold March 15th Dedication Ceremony — Keith Olbermann Makes Major Donation. Proving that grassroots terrestrial radio is alive and well, WVBR-FM is returning home to Collegetown (a proud name sported by downtown Ithaca, New York – home of Cornell University and Ithaca College — per its reputation as being one of the best college towns in America) after a 14-year absence, with a newly-built, state-of-the-art studio. The new studio is located at 604 East Buffalo Street in Ithaca, next to the Carriage House Café and across from The Connection, Loco Cantina, and the Chapter House. WVBR has operated out of 957 Mitchell Street near East Hill Plaza after leaving its longtime home at 227 Linden Avenue in Collegetown in 2000. It will be officially dedicated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to take place this coming Saturday (3/15). WVBR-FM is a commercial, non-profit radio station that is owned and fully operated by the Cornell Radio Guild, a group of Cornell University students. Since 1935, this group’s stated mission has been running a radio station with the goal of training students in broadcasting. Since 1968, WVBR has been serving Ithaca and Tompkins Counties playing an eclectic mix of classic and modern rock under the banner, “Real Rock Radio.” WVBR broadcasts over 93.5 FM and 105.5 FM to Tompkins County and the surrounding area. The newly named Olbermann-Corneliess Studios was purchased with donations from station alumni, most notably ESPN host Keith Olbermann. Olbermann gave what has been described by station management as “a generous donation” with a request that WVBR’s new home studio be named in honor of his late father Theodore Olbermann, as well as the late Glenn Corneliess, his colleague during his years at WVBR who passed away in 1996. Olbermann, the Corneliess family, and Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick will be among those on hand for the dedication, as well as many station alumni, current staff, and management. A brand new set of professional equipment, a large vinyl library, a live performance space, three soundproof production booths, and two advanced on-air studios are some of the many highlights of the new space. “There is no doubt in my mind that 604 East Buffalo Street will feature the best college radio setup in the country,” says Drew Endick, president of the Cornell Radio Guild, Inc. and general manager of WVBR, telling RadioInfo, “We have been trying to expand our content production operations and provide better services for the local community, and we now have the facilities to meet these challenges.” The new studio will be home to two radio stations – WVBR, which broadcasts with a rock format over FM, as well as CornellRadio.com, which is being launched as a more student-centric, freeform online station. CornellRadio.com will feature pop, hip-hop, dance, and alternative music, as well as talk shows, comedy programming, and sports content provided by a partnership with the Big Red Sports Network. Each station will have its own cutting-edge studio within the building. “This move is extremely important to the goals of our station,” says Michael Mallon, senior vice president of communications. “The latest technology will not only allow us to create better content for our listeners, but it will also allow the students of Cornell University to learn and train on the same equipment as is used in the big stations in major cities.” The move is also significant as the station will now be a close walk for most students. “It’s a perfect location for us, both physically and symbolically,” Mallon continues, “The station is right between the students who operate the station, and the Ithacans who make up most of our listenership.” ASI Renovations managed the huge project. The space was already in great condition, but the design presented some big technical challenges. Sherpa Technologies wired the building for radio operations. Students and weekend staff led the move, bringing over the entire vinyl and CD collections, as well as other important articles from the old station.
Chattin’ with a Legend. WFTL, Fort Lauderdale late morning talk host Rich Stevens (right) entertains legendary disc jockey Cousin Brucie (left) in the station’s studios. Stevens tells TALKERS the pair chatted about numerous topics and took calls from listeners. While speaking with callers, a 92-year-old local listener phoned in to tell Cousin Brucie he remembers winning a contest 40 years ago that Cousin Brucie executed that sent him on a vacation. Brucie asked him if he was still there and needed money to get back!
Sittin’ in on WMAL, Washington. Former Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell (left) is pictured here in the WMAL, Washington studios as she served as guest co-host on the “Morning On The Mall” program today (3/10). O’Donnell worked with co-host Larry O’Connor (right) while subbing for Brian Wilson.
Cumulus Announces Completion of Refinancing; $2.025 Billion Loan Due in 2020. The refinancing of Cumulus Media’s senior secured credit facilities was reported last month and now Cumulus announces that goal has been complete. The company says it enters into an Amended and Restated Credit Agreement, consisting of a $2.025 billion term loan maturing in December 2020 and a $200 million revolving credit facility maturing in December 2018. The proceeds from the Term Loan along with cash on hand have been used to repay in full all amounts outstanding under the first and second lien term loans under Cumulus’ pre-existing credit agreements. The refinancing follows the entry into a $50 million, 5-year revolving accounts receivables securitization facility, which Cumulus entered into on December 6, 2013. CEO Lew Dickey states, “This highly successful refinancing transaction is expected to increase our free cash flow by greater than $30 million annually, extends our maturities through 2020 and simplifies our capital structure. We believe our balance sheet has now placed us at a competitive advantage that positions us well for future growth opportunities.”
WSCR, Chicago’s Dan McNeil Returns to Air with Apologies and Admission of His Addictions. Midday sports talk host Dan McNeil had been off CBS Radio’s WSCR, Chicago for the better part of the past two months and while there was no explanation for his absence other than he had personal things to deal with, regular listeners may have suspected McNeil was dealing with substance abuse issues. It’s not the first time he’s left the air for that reason. But on Friday, McNeil – whose name had been removed from the show during that time – returned to the air and offered a frank and full mea culpa about his addiction to marijuana and pain pills that’s kept him off the air. Chicago media writer Robert Feder has posted a transcript of a good chunk of what McNeil said on the radio but what his partner – Matt Spiegel – said to him probably rings true for a lot of the people in his life. “We are glad that you are back. But I will not pretend that it is with full-on trust and full-on joy that it was perhaps the first time [you returned]. In the spirit of honesty with you, and I’m sure that some listeners feel that way as well, you and I have always been real with each other. We’ll continue to be real. That we felt betrayed. That we felt betrayed. . .We’re here with you. We want to be here with you. But I think you know you have to regain some trust.” Read Feder’s entire column here.
Stephanie Miller Show to Air on Free Speech TV. Fans of progressive talk show host Stephanie Miller rallied to raise funds to get her program back on television via the Free Speech TV network. Miller – whose radio program is losing its flagship station KTLK as the outlet drops progressive talk and changes programming – was part of a campaign to raise money to bring the show to Free Speech TV. The goal was $50,000 but fans responded enthusiastically and so far have raised $120,450 to build a studio and support the production of the program on the commercial-free network. In a statement announcing the successful effort, Miller says, “It was a clear demonstration that, no matter what anyone tries to tell you, progressive media matters. And it matters enough that regular people are willing to come together and do what the big corporate media conglomerates are afraid to do…give thoughtful, funny and creative progressive voices a way to speak to the people who want to hear them.” Miller’s show is produced by WYD Media Management and WYD president Ron Hartenbaum says the new studio on the lower level of Miller’s home will “give the listeners and viewers more of a reality-show feel to the production versus a more traditional/sterile broadcast facility.” Referring to the $120,450 raised for the expanded programming, Hartenbaum says, “We are funded and supported in part by our listeners and viewers. All advertisers should take strong note that our audience spends money.”
Maisano To Exit Curtis Media Group, Raleigh. Due to a family member’s health issues, seven-year Curtis Media Group, Raleigh senior vice president/director of sales Adam Maisano will be leaving his position at month’s end. Maisano comments that it is “with exceedingly mixed emotions” that he departs “this great job,” but he states, “Over the last 18 months I have learned a lot about what is truly important in life. Right now, family has to come first.” He wants to return to active radio management by next spring. Curtis Media Group executive vice president Trip Savery remarks, “Adam has been a great employee. I, along with everyone at Curtis Media Group, wish him Godspeed in his personal journey and much continued success in his career.” Curtis Media Group’s Raleigh cluster was the market’s top-biller. It consists of country WQDR “94.7 ‘QDR,” adult hits WBBB “Radio 96.1,” urban AC WBZJ “The New 96.9,” CHR WWPL “The Pulse,” regional Mexican WYMY “La Ley 101.1,” talk WPTF, talk WPTK, and comedy WFNL “Funny 570.” Maisano joined the company approximately 12 years ago as national sales manager. He previously worked in sales for Clear Channel’s Augusta, Georgia stations.
Entercom to Donate KWOD, Salem, Oregon to the MMTC. The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council will be the recipient of radio station KWOD, Salem Oregon – a donation by Entercom Communications Corp. The station is currently airing a sports talk format. The MMTC was founded to promote diversity in broadcast station ownership and uses donated stations to train minorities and women in broadcast operations, sales, management, and ownership and enables them to purchase the stations at a discount from their market values. Since MMTC founded its media and telecom brokerage in 1997, it has helped hundreds of interested parties and new entrants with conducting business planning and due diligence and helping new entrants build their professional and financial networks. MMTC president David Honig states, “Entercom is a terrific example of a company that truly has the public interest at heart. Thanks to this generous gift to MMTC, we can train more new entrants in broadcast ownership and further our mission of promoting diversity in entrepreneurship.” Entercom president and CEO David Field adds, “We are very excited to be donating this station and providing a new radio entrepreneur with the opportunity to become a great broadcaster and radio station owner. We appreciate the leadership of David Honig and the MMTC staff and all they do to help enable these opportunities and mentor minority broadcasters.”
Odds & Sods. Bob Just a former TRN host who Sean Hannity calls “one of the good Democrats,” returns to the talk radio business, if just for a day, to guest host Hannity’s show on Friday, December 27. Along with being a grassroots leader, Bob Just is also a longtime WND columnist and Whistleblower Magazine editor-at-Large. A self-described Reagan Democrat who speaks at Tea Party rallies, Just did the research and development for Hannity’s second New York Times best seller, Deliver Us from Evil…..Houston-based talk show host Matt Patrick will sit in for Bill Cunningham on his nationally syndicated Premiere Networks Sunday night show on January 29. Patrick says this is the third year in a row he’s done the program and he’s looking forward to presenting his year-in-review program…..Television news anchor and reporter Kimberly Easton joins CBS Radio’s all-news simulcast WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago as a part-time anchor and reporter, according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder. She fills the slot of Brandis Friedman who moves to WTTV-TV, Chicago in October…..Katie Couric’s television talk show “Katie” will not return for a third season in the fall of 2014. The New York Daily News reports that Couric and ABC Domestic Television have agreed to end the show’s production in June of 2014 and not continue. According to the story, ratings were not the issue but the high cost of producing the program was not making it worthwhile. Couric has signed on to be a “global anchor” for Yahoo! for what is reportedly a deal worth $6 million per year.
ABC News Radio’s Vic Ratner to Retire. Longtime ABC News Radio reporter Vic Ratner is retiring at the end of the month after a career that began at ABC with coverage of the Watergate trial in 1973. During his time with ABC News Radio, Ratner has served as Capitol Reporter, a war correspondent and covered NASA for the network. In a memo to staffers, ABC News president Ben Sherwood wrote: “Most careers can be captured in words. Vic’s career is captured in sounds. In his incredible 40 years on the air for ABC News Radio, Vic has painted vivid pictures for our listeners with a rich and imaginative vocabulary that brought stories to life and gave meaning to ‘Gemini’ and ‘Apollo’ and even ‘filibuster’ and ‘quorum.’ With every syllable, Vic defined and embodied excellence. When Vic arrived at ABC in 1973, one of his first assignments was the trial of the “Watergate Seven” in Washington. He has covered every presidential campaign, political convention, inauguration and State of the Union since then, plus almost every space shuttle launch. He has reported from 54 countries and 49 states. For the record book, only South Dakota — the Mt. Rushmore State — has escaped his attention.” Ratner comments to his colleagues, “I have been fortunate to work with and learn from exceptionally talented and innovative people at ABC. Thanks to all of you for the collaborative effort, which makes us the best.”
Hangin’ with Rudy. Genesis Communications Network-syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs (right) poses for a photo with Daniel Eugene “Rudy” Ruettiger (left) at a Christmas football party over the weekend. Ruettiger is a motivational speaker and former Notre Dame football player who was the subject of the movie “Rudy.”
Catholic Relevant Radio to Purchase WNTD, Chicago for $14.4 Million. Relevant Radio has been LMAing the M&S WNTD LLC station since 2007 – that’s when the $14.4 price tag was set – and now Relevant’s executive director Rev. Francis Hoffman says the organization has come up with the cash to complete the transaction for the 1,000-watt daytimer.
Raising Funds for Children’s Cancer Support. KSCO, Santa Cruz talk show host Ethan Bearman (right) chats on the air with Team G Foundation co-founder and CEO Kristin Cosnor (left) during a recent fundraising remote broadcast. Bearman tells TALKERS magazine he interviewed parents who benefitted from this group while their kids underwent cancer treatment at Stanford and UCSF – one hour to two-and-a-half hours away from their homes on the Central Coast.
Talk Radio Network Sues Epic Times in U.S. District Court for Tortious Interference and Misuse of Trade Secrets. EpicTimes.com is the website developed around talk show host Jerry Doyle – who is currently embroiled in legal issues surrounding the recent dramatic changes and financial issues at Talk Radio Network. At the core of this most recent action is a two-pronged complaint by TRN. It alleges Epic – the company of which Jerry Doyle is president and CEO – is interfering with contracts TRN has with both Doyle himself and talk host Rusty Humphries by using their services for content for the EpicTimes.com site. The interference claim is based on TRN’s assertion that it has exclusive content creation deals still in effect with Doyle and Humphries. The complaint also alleges that Epic is misusing trade secrets through Epic’s conversion to its own use of the “confidential and proprietary business information of plaintiffs provided to Doyle in confidence and subject to nondisclosure agreements.” TRN is seeking an injunction to prevent further use of the proprietary information and $150,000 in damages plus legal fees.
L&L Broadcasting Acquires Border Media Trust San Antonio Stations. What’s been rumored to have been in the works turns out to be true as Larry Wilson’s Portland, Oregon-based L&L Broadcasting announces its buying the San Antonio radio stations from the Border Media Business Trust. The stations include adult hits KJXK “102.7 Jack FM,” regional Mexican tri-mulcast KLEY “La Ley 95.7,” KSAH-AM/FM, CHR KTFM, news/talk KTSA, sports talk KZDC and Spanish KHHL. The additions put the L&L station count at 43. Wilson says, “This is a great cluster of radio stations located in a beautiful market operated by a very talented group of people. We are excited to add them to our growing company.” Trustee Larry Patrick adds, “We could not be happier to have found a wonderful home for our San Antonio stations. Larry Wilson and his L&L Broadcasting represent the best in broadcasting. We wish him continued great success with this cluster.” Piper Jaffray & Co. assisted L&L Broadcasting in the transaction and Patrick Communications was the broker for the Border Media Business Trust.
Talkers Los Angeles 2013 a Success. More than 250 radio and associated industry professionals gathered and 55 speakers participated in a non-stop day of speeches, special presentations, and panel discussions tackling the major issues facing the talk media industry at Talkers Los Angeles 2013 this past Thursday (10/10). Among the major issues covered are the growing need for the radio industry to have an accurate cross-platform ratings system; develop new ways to program commercials that generate results for the advertisers without chasing away listeners; explore new spoken-word formats that tap into unfulfilled opportunities; attract younger demos to talk radio; and bring back more live and local programming to the broadcast day. To read an overview of the event and see photos of its key sessions, speeches and attractions, please click here.
Entercom Debuts Hybrid Talker in New Orleans. Today is launch day for Entercom’s new hybrid talk station WWWL, New Orleans “3WL.” Calling it an extension of its “Gulf South POWERhouse” WWL-AM/FM, the company says it “builds on the success of this legendary New Orleans station by offering a branch focused on the passions of New Orleans.” Vice president and general manager Chris Claus says, “‘3WL 1350’ celebrates the three greatest passions of New Orleanians: sports, food and fun! Think of ‘3WL’ as a radio station as tasty as gumbo, as fun as Mardi Gras and as passionate as Saints fans on Sundays. In the three weeks since we announced ‘3WL,’ the response has been overwhelming. ‘3WL’ is perfectly set up to succeed and deliver real results for our advertisers.” WWL operations and program director Diane Newman is overseeing the station’s programming. The lineup is as follows: “Morning Drive with T-Bob Hebert and Kristian Garic”; NBC Sports Radio’s Erick Kuselias in late mornings; “The Food Show” with Tom Fitzmorris from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; and “The Lighter Side of The Spud Show” with John Spud McConnell from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. NBC Sports Radio rounds out the rest of the day. Newman says, “Today is the culmination of a lot of hard work and planning. Our lineup from top to bottom is as good as any in the country. With sports in the morning, food at lunch, and a larger-than-life personality, Spud McConnell, in the afternoon, ‘3WL’ launches with tremendous strength, proven talent, and unquestioned passion.”
Another #1 Finish for KKOB. The Cumulus Media Albuquerque news/talker finished #1 12+ for the 53rd straight Nielsen Audio book in a row. Program director Pat Frisch tells TALKERS magazine, the station finished #5 in Adults 25-54 and #2 in Men 25-54. “Our TSL is a high 9:15 minutes a week in Adults 25-54, that’s #1 in the market.” Frisch also reports that he’s especially proud of afternoon talk show host Scott Stiegler who took over the afternoon program seven months ago and has taken it to #1 Adults 25-54. Frisch says, “Morning drive personality Bob Clark finished #1 again in mornings. He’s been #1 for seven straight years in that daypart.”
Talent Shuffle at WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Resort Broadcasting’s FM news/talk WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware “The Talk of Delmarva” makes some personality changes as late morning host Mike Bradley becomes part of the morning drive show alongside Judy Mangini. Bill Colley leaves the morning program and now heads up the PM drive show. Jim Rash moves from afternoons to the late morning slot.
Bryan Switzer to Exit Cumulus Media Networks. After eight years in the radio business, Bryan Switzer announces he’s leaving his VP of affiliate sales position with Cumulus Media Networks. Switzer started his career in network radio with ABC Radio Networks in April of 2006. During his time in the music industry, he served as VP/GM of Atlantic Records and senior VP of national promotion at Universal South. He says, “Since moving from records to broadcast eight years ago, this is without a doubt the most exciting company I’ve been associated with. I have a great deal of respect for what Lew and John Dickey have built and are building. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s time for me to move on and turn a page. I can’t thank Dennis Green enough for the opportunity to continue my role through the Cumulus acquisition of Citadel two years ago. It’s been a privilege to work under his leadership. As for me, it’s time I get back to serving my creative genes, and though I’ve made no commitments as of yet, I’m extremely excited by the prospects!” Switzer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-838-0809.
Bonneville’s KIRO, Seattle Turns 78 Tomorrow. Radio history buffs can learn more about the history of one of the Emerald City’s most famous radio signals at Bonneville’s MyNorthwest.com right here. The station – now a sports talker – began its life spinning records on October 15, 1935 and would play second fiddle to the Fisher family’s KOMO until getting a power upgrade to 50,000 just prior to Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor. The war kept the FCC from handling any power upgrade requests and KIRO was, for some time, the most powerful signal in the Pacific Northwest.
Marilu Henner Rocks Sun Broadcast Group Upfront Party. Nationally syndicated talk show host Marilu Henner (pictured here with SBG CEO Jason Bailey) appeared at the Sun Broadcast Group’s 2014 Upfront Party at the Penthouse Lounge in New York City on October 11. The day after making an appearance at the Talkers Los Angeles 2013 conference where the TV and film star introduced herself to the talk radio industry, Henner was one of the stars representing her show before the hundreds of media people in NYC including agency reps, programmers, station managers, and network suppliers who attended the party. Speaking about the now-five-year-old event, Bailey told the attendees, “I am so humbled as I look around at all the people here supporting us. We’ve been working so hard to be a very different kind of network for all of you over the last five years and tonight you’ve welcomed us into your busy lives with open arms. I can’t thank you enough for standing by us and believing in our mission as we aim to transform radio.”
Broadcasters Foundation of America Names BMI’s Del Bryant ‘Golden Mike’ Recipient. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces Broadcast Music Inc. president Del Bryant is its recipient of the 2014 Golden Mike Award. The award will be presented on Monday, February 24, 2014, at a black-tie fundraising gala at the Plaza Hotel in New York City to benefit the Foundation’s mission of helping broadcasters in need. BFoA chairman Phil Lombardo says, “Del has been an admirable and inspiring supporter of the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation for many years. Well-known and respected across the broadcasting and music industries, his contribution as a longtime member of the Foundation’s board of directors is immeasurable. We are proud to award him the 2014 Golden Mike.” Bryant comments, “I am honored to be recognized by the Broadcasters Foundation of America with the Golden Mike Award. I have always felt strongly about giving back to the community, both from a professional and personal standpoint. It has been a privilege to support the Foundation and to collaborate with them throughout the years. I commend them for the exceptional work they do for broadcasters and the sweet and understanding attitude with which they do it.” The son of Boudleaux and Felice Bryant – the legendary songwriters who penned classics such as “Bye, Bye Love,” “Wake Up Little Susie,” All I Have To Do Is Dream,” the Tennessee state song, “Rocky Top,” and more – Bryant’s rich musical heritage inspired his accomplishments and passion for the business. He joined BMI in 1972, and worked in numerous areas of the company for 32 years, rising to president and chief executive officer in 2004.
Andrea Tantaros Ceases TRN Show; Sues Company for Fraud and Breach of Contract. After greatly reducing its offerings in the wake of financial troubles, Talk Radio Network continued to produce the Andrea Tantaros program (along with a few others). That’s no longer the case as Tantaros has terminated her employment agreement with TRN and is suing the company for fraud and breach of contract. In the suit, Tantaros’ attorney Joseph Cane alleges that, under the breach of contract portion of the suit, TRN has, due to financial troubles, failed to uphold multiple contract responsibilities. “Plaintiff Tantaros found herself in a situation wherein she no longer had a competent executive producer, a full-time call screener, a paid assistant, or a sound effects manager, and further, had either no guests or only decidedly ‘C-list’ quality guests, was provided with no research for the third-rate guests that were booked for the Tantaros show, a lack of sufficient research for the topics at hand, provided with no editorial guidance, and she was expected by Defendant TRN to basically produce her own show…In addition, there no longer was any meaningful sales force to sell her program to advertisers or potential advertisers and there was no affiliate relations staff at Defendant TRN to service the needs or the requests of the Tantaros show’s affiliates.” As far as the fraud portion of the complaint goes, the suit alleges that Tantaros was promised a number of things that TRN was not able to produce including money for a promotion budget, an ample sales effort to allow Tantaros to earn the money specified in her contract and did not disclose its suit against then-Dial Global, its primary ad sales rep. Sources close to Andrea Tantaros tell TALKERS that although she is resolute in breaking her ties to TRN as indicated in her legal action, she remains enthusiastic about and committed to her career in talk radio. She hopes to continue her career in this arena with another syndicator or network based on the premise that her obligations to TRN no longer exist as a result of its alleged breach of contract with her. TRN CEO Mark Masters is denying the allegations and issued the following statement: “Our relationship with Andrea has been wonderful. She is a brilliant host and a talented person. Until very recently, we had an excellent relationship with her. We are now concerned that a third party is misleading her to their own direct benefit. This is not an uncommon problem when the host of a successful syndicated radio show has achieved such early success in our industry. In any event, we look forward to the prompt resolution of the matter in our favor, and to moving forward on a positive and mutually rewarding basis with Andrea for many years to come. In the approximately nine months that Andrea has been in syndication with TRN Entertainment, the combination of our investment of our radio expertise, training, coaching, support, promotion, affiliate relations, time, effort and substantial dollars into the development of the show and of Andrea as a radio personality, combined with Andrea’s growth as a radio personality, has built the show from start-up status to the seventh largest talk radio show in the TALKERS rankings, and has landed Andrea on the cover of the October talk radio issue of Radio Ink. To our knowledge, this has never been done before. It is a testament to the mutually successful collaboration between Andrea and our team. Regardless of this temporary intrigue, there is no legal basis for Andrea to terminate our contract (to the benefit of a predatory competitor), and we will require, and fully expect, her to abide by its terms. Contrary to certain reports we have heard, we are in full compliance with our obligations under the contract, and are prepared to enforce our rights.” As of today (10/14), Tantaros is not on the air. Sam Sorbo is serving as host of the program.
Talkers Los Angeles 2013 a Success. More than 250 radio and associated industry professionals gathered and 55 speakers participated in a non-stop day of speeches, special presentations, and panel discussions tackling the major issues facing the talk media industry at Talkers Los Angeles 2013. Among the major issues covered are the growing need for the radio industry to have an accurate cross-platform ratings system; develop new ways to program commercials that generate results for the advertisers without chasing away listeners; explore new spoken-word formats that tap into unfulfilled opportunities; attract younger demos to talk radio; and bring back more live and local programming to the broadcast day. In the coming days and weeks, TALKERS will provide extensive coverage of the event, described by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey as “one of the most dynamic and productive conferences in the publication’s 24 year history.” Pictured here are, at top left, Alpha Broadcasting and L&L Broadcasting CEO Larry Wilson delivering the keynote speech. At right are Weiss Agency EVP Heather Cohen (l) and KFI and KTLK, Los Angeles program director Robin Bertolucci (r). Bertolucci was last year’s recipient of the “Woman of the Year” award and she presented it to Cohen who received the award this year.
RAB CEO Erica Farber Leads Sales Panel at Talkers Los Angeles 2013. During the Talkers Los Angeles 2013 conference at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood, RAB CEO Erica Farber moderated a panel of industry pros working in the sales end the business that addressed the current struggles talk radio faces in the national and network areas but also pointed to success on the local level. Sports USA Media president Bob Moore told the attendees, “Network business, as a whole, sucks. There are 35 buyers controlling radio and forcing down rates. I happen to be in one of the positive aspects of the business – sports. No-buy lists are killing talk radio as we know it. We need to find new clients and [bypass the buyers and] get to the CEOs and presidents and present our cases.” Salem Los Angeles vice president and general manager Terry Fahy concurred saying, “It’s tough out there with the rate suppression. Our challenge is to tell our story. We’re still getting results for our advertisers but the digital competition is intense.” WYD Media Management CEO Ron Hartenbaum noted that in his business, they are selling without numbers. “There are so many ways in which fans of talent are interacting with the product. Nielsen Audio can’t measure it so we’re selling based on results and that means a lot of direct response.” But WGDJ, Albany owner Paul Vandenburgh said his local efforts are delivering results for his station. “Everything seemingly starts with local radio. We’re knocking on doors and we find that business is as good as we make it. Radio still really works if you want it to.” Pictured here (from l-r) are: Fahy, Bonneville Seattle’s Chris Pendl, Hartenbaum, Moore, Vandenburgh and Farber.
KFBK, Sacramento Debuts New Evening Talk Show with Pat Walsh. Clear Channel’s KFBK, Sacramento announces the launch of the Pat Walsh show to begin airing Monday, October 14 from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm PT. Walsh is the station’s longtime sports anchor (serving as morning and afternoon sports anchor for the past 17 years) and he will continue in that role from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm on the station. CC Sacramento vice president of programming Ken Charles says, “KFBK is Sacramento’s local news station and adding Pat Walsh to the evening lineup helps further establish KFBK as the leader in local news and information.” To make room for Walsh, the station moves Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity to sister station KSTE in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot. Additionally, KFBK adds Bill Herenda to the morning show staff to serve as morning sports anchor. Herenda joins KFBK as the morning sports reporter following a career where he has appeared on the ESPN family of networks as a basketball analyst and on Time Warner Cable as a contributor to sports talk shows throughout the U.S.
Houston Gold Dealer and Talk Host Charged with Felony. The improbably named Brett Bogus, owner of the local Houston business The Gold Exchange, was charged with Misapplication of Fiduciary Property and is free on $150,000 bond. Bogus brokered time on Salem Communications’ KTEK, Houston for his program, “The Meltdown,” on which he touted the value of gold over paper money and other investments. Complainant John Menna alleges Bogus shorted him approximately $75,000 in a gold transaction. Bogus tells KPRC-TV, Houston he intends to make full restitution for the former client. Bogus’ time brokerage agreement with KTEK was cancelled.
Living on Tulsa Time. Nationally syndicated talk radio star Dave Ramsey is pictured here on stage at the Mabee Center in Tulsa presenting his new “Legacy Journey LIVE!” event in before a packed house yesterday (10/10). Ramsey talked about how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence. His daughter, Rachel Cruze, joined him on stage. Ramsey worked with local affiliate KCFO on the event. Station manager Ken Staley says, “The new revenues are one thing, better than anything we’ve ever done. But the notoriety, positive PR and the public’s excitement are priceless. The event is a well-oiled machine that runs flawlessly. It was a joy to sit back and watch.” Ramsey was in Colorado Springs the day before hosting his “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” before a full houst at the Pikes Peak Center. Ramsey, along with speaker Chris Hogan, spoke about how to run a business using the same common sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 350 employees. KRDO, affiliate of The Dave Ramsey Show, took part in the event.
Texas Governor Rick Perry Joins Salem Los Angeles Event. More than 1,000 people attended the “Townhall 2013” gathering at the Sheraton Fairplex and Conference Center in Pomona, Calilfornia on Sunday, October 6 sponsored by Salem’s KRLA and KTIE “AM870 & AM590 THE ANSWER.” Texas Governor Rick Perry made a special appearance at the event. The theme of the confab was the kickoff of the 2014 mid-term elections and what Republicans can do to rebuild. Pictured here (from l-r) are: Hugh Hewitt, program director Chuck Tyler, “Morning Answer” team Brian Whitman and Elisha Krauss, Governor Perry, marketing and promotion director Pamela T. Tyus, Ben Shapiro (“Morning Answer”), Michael Medved, VP and general manager of Salem Los Angeles Terry Fahy and Dennis Prager.
Michael Savage Makes It Official: Moves to PM Drive in January. Cumulus Media Networks talk star Michael Savage confirmed to listeners to his Wednesday evening program that he will move to the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET slot for the live broadcast of his program beginning in January. As Savage said to fans last month, he will take over the slot currently held by Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity on 60 stations owned by Cumulus Media including a number of major market news/talk stations — WABC, New York; WMAL, Washington; WBAP, Dallas; KSFO, San Francisco; WJR, Detroit; and WLS-AM, Chicago. Clear Channel is promising to clear Hannity in markets where Cumulus currently airs the program. At WLS, the local program “Roe & Roeper” featuring Roe Conn and Richard Roeper airs from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm. If, indeed Savage moves to the 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm CT timeslot, something’s gotta give there. At WJR, Detroit, Hannity currently airs from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm when local host Mitch Albom takes over from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Even during his long tenure with TRN, Savage’s afternoon broadcast time on the West Coast pushed his live program into the evening hours in the East. This is his first opportunity for Savage to air live in PM drive in the East. In an official statement from Cumulus, Savage says, “With this important time slot as well as the iconic Cumulus stations coveted by everyone in radio, I hope to edutain the world. Politics will always be my mainstay but there is so much more to talk about. Breaking news and science, religion, films, books have always been my calling cards. With these new stations, I break out a new deck.” Commenting on the forthcoming change, TALKERS magazine publish Michael Harrison states, “This move of Michael Savage to afternoon drive on a variety of Cumulus heritage stations coupled with the high-profile accent of Sean Hannity to an almost impenetrable national phalanx of heavyweight Clear Channel sticks such as the legendary WOR, New York, that will welcome his arrival with major promotion and enthusiasm, is an exciting shot in the arm for news/talk radio in general across America. Having a choice between Hannity and Savage on the dial during afternoon drive in every major East Coast market (and earlier elsewhere) is sure to increase overall listening and the image of the format for all concerned.”
WestwoodOne CEO Paul Caine Speaks on Ad Week Panel. Speaking on a panel discussion titled, Kings of Content, as part of the events surrounding “Advertising Week” in New York City on Wednesday, WestwoodOne CEO Paul Caine touted the expanding value of audio to advertisers as it moves beyond just the traditional AM/FM radio model. Caine also echoed the statements made by RadioInfo/TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison during his speech at the NAB/RAB Radio Show last week when he noted that content without the proper platform is not “king,” that a respected and recognized platform is necessary to successfully deliver good content. Caine stated that the industry needs to build both content and platforms that consumers want. In explaining the growing nature of audio, Caine said the newer forms of content are those people use when they aren’t able to view a screen or read. “We have to think about it as long-form, whether that’s an NFL game, which we broadcast, to short-form which is podcasting, to shorter-form which is social audio that can be put into bite-sized content and shared with your friends.” Caine said the numerous ways in which audio content is now packaged is good for advertisers. “Companies like ours have been growing in terms of our ability to reach more consumers.”
L.M. Communications Fights Back in Arbitron Copyright Infringement Suit. Arbitron’s suit for copyright infringement of its radio ratings data against Lexington, Kentucky-based broadcaster L.M. Communications is under order by U.S. District Court Judge Karen K. Caldwell for both sides to meet to see if they can come to a settlement and then file a report with the court. This comes as L.M. argues Arbitron does not have and cannot own copyright rights to the data. L.M. states, “Plaintiff… has known, or should have known, that it does not, and cannot, own any copyright rights in any data, information, rankings, or other factual listings, and that it cannot prevent third parties including radio stations from receiving and using this unprotectable data. Despite this knowledge, Plaintiff has attempted to impermissively extend the scope of any copyright rights it may have, in a calculated campaign to maintain its monopolistic stranglehold on the radio ratings market. Plaintiff has done so through threats and filing of multiple lawsuits and by improperly manipulating its data to punish nonsubscribers. This improper manipulation includes, among other things, threatening to gerrymander radio station markets to improperly force subscription to Arbitron’s services, and outright exclusion from the data rankings of non-subscriber stations as if they do not exist at all. Arbitron has announced plans to implement additional discriminatory practices in the future including combining simulcast data for only subscribing stations to give them an advantage over nonsubscribers. In doing so, plaintiff has made a mockery of the very ‘facts’ and ‘data’ it seeks to protect. Plaintiff’s misconduct in engaging in acts of copyright misuse has the effect of rendering Plaintiff’s copyrights, to the extent valid at all, unenforceable.” According to the judge’s orders, the two sides must have met by October 9 and filed a report by October 19.
CBS Sports Network Enters into ‘Boomer & Carton’ TV Simulcast Picture. The television simulcast of WFAN, New York’s “Boomer & Carton” morning drive show is currently aired on the local MSG Network but that deal ends on Monday. The New York Daily News is reporting that joining the Yankees-owned YES Network in the bidding process is the show’s parent company-owned CBS Sports Network cable channel. Although the exclusive negotiation period between the program and MSG has ended, MSG has the right to match any offer. The Daily News says sources close to the situation say the fledgling cable sports channel was originally interested in simulcasting the CBS Sports Radio Network morning show with Tiki Barber, Brandon Tierney and Dana Jacobson but is now interested in Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton. As the paper observes, Boomer & Carton are a local show and if they “go national” via CBS Sports Network, would they alter their content to appeal to a national audience? We’ll probably have the answers to these and other questions before the current deal ends on Monday.
WPRO, Providence Takes a Look at Journalism in the Digital Age as Part of Live Debate Series. The event takes place today from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm at Roger Williams University in Providence with WPRO’s Tara Granahan moderating the discussion. It’s the fourth in the station’s debate series and it’s titled, “Reading Between the Lines,” and examines the complexities of funding and producing journalism in the digital age. It is being streamed live at 630WPRO.com and will be the center piece of a WPRO Special Report scheduled to air during the “WPRO Morning News with Gene Valicenti” the week of September 30. Panelists include: Mark Patinkin, columnist for the Providence Journal; Linda Levin, former dean of URI’s Journalism Department; Barbara Meagher, URI professor and former TV reporter; John Howell, owner and publisher of the Warwick Beacon and Cranston Herald; Dan MacGowan, blogger and reporter from WPRI-TV; and Michael Skully, assistant professor of communications at Roger Williams University.
Odds & Sods. Fox News Channel unveils new program, “The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson,” to debut in the 2:00 pm ET slot on Monday, September 30. Carlson left the “Fox & Friends” morning show to focus on this new program. She was replaced by Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Carlson says in a statement, “I am thrilled that Roger Ailes has given me the opportunity to host a signature show for Fox that will focus on the real stories of the day. From in-depth interviews to social media interaction live during the show, I look forward to joining viewers in the afternoon for smart and straight-forward talk.”…..Synergy is going on at CBS Sports Radio Network where Boomer Esiason – co-host of WFAN, New York’s “Boomer & Carton” show and host of the network’s “Sports Minute” feature will call in to the network’s Jim Rome program every Friday at 12:20 ET during football season…..ESPN Radio’s Thursday night game this week is Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech with Bill Rosinski calling the action along with analyst David Norrie and sideline reporter Joe Schad. Also ESPN Radio’s “SVP & Russillo” will broadcast live tomorrow from the set of ESPN TV’s College GameDay Built by The Home Depot at Myers Quad on the campus of the University of Georgia in advance of the Georgia vs LSU game on Saturday…..SiriusXM debuts a new 24/7 comedy channel called “Just For Laughs” that features over 30 years of stand-up comedy drawn from the comedy archives of the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal, including the work of established comedians, new faces, international superstars, and stand-up from comedians before they were stars…..The New York Times writer Carmen Wong Ulrich joins American Public Media to host the weekend program “Marketplace Money” beginning November 2.
Cool Job Opportunity. Entercom San Francisco (96.5 KOIT, 95.7 The GAME, 102.9 KBLX, 98.5 & 102.1 KFOX) is looking for a web director who can immediately step in and be responsible for developing the voice for all aspects of the organization’s online presence. You must possess the skills to do web design and create and edit high quality video/graphics while maintaining our station’s websites on a daily basis. In addition to writing, editing, and proofreading site content, this candidate will work closely with the corporate technical team to maintain site standards in regards to new development. The web director will also be responsible for crafting site promotions, email newsletters and online outreach campaigns. This job requires prior experience managing online marketing and outreach campaigns, strong attention to detail and an ability to work under tight deadlines. The ideal candidate must have a STRONG knowledge and love of sports! Additionally the web director should have an extensive knowledge and understanding of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), SEO, web analytics and digital marketing best practices. Logistically, the web director implements web pages, maintains content including user clubs, web design, video editing, audio editing, digital and print ready and graphic. The ideal candidate will be a brand evangelist who doesn’t just think outside of the box but can create a new one! To be considered, please send your cover letter and resume to SCunningham@entercom.com and JBarrett@entercom.com. You can also find further details about the job responsibilities and skills required for this position in the careers section on http://www.entercom.com. No phone calls please. Entercom San Francisco is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Broadcasters Foundation of America Raises $235,000 at Celebrity Golf Tourney. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces it brought in $235,000 to help broadcasters in need at its 2013 Celebrity Golf Tournament on Monday at the Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey. The organization says the funds come at a time when more broadcasters than ever are in need of assistance. The Foundation expects to grant more than $850,000 in aid over the next year. More than 150 broadcasters and celebrities turned out in support of the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation, including 30 sportscasters, athletes, and actors. Celebrity golfers included Bruce Beck, WNBC-TV; Nick Buoniconti, NFL Super Bowl Champion; Craig Carton, WFAN; Duke Castiglione, Fox 5; Tina Cervasio, MSG Network; Howard Cross, NFL Super Bowl Champion; Maurice Dubois, WCBS-TV; John Franco, New York Mets Hall of Famer; Jay Harris, ESPN; Ann Liguori, WFAN Radio and ESPN; Otis Livingston, WCBS-TV; Sean McDonough, ESPN; Lonnie Quinn, WCBS-TV; Bill Raftery, CBS Sports; Sterling Sharpe, NFL Green Bay Packers Hall of Famer; Mike Woodson, New York Knicks; Chris Wragge, WCBS-TV, and more.
The Effort to Defund ObamaCare, Government Shutdown Threat, Climate Change Controversy, and U.S.-Iran Relations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/25). The attempt by members of the GOP to defund the Affordable Care Act; the threat of a federal government shutdown; the controversy over the science behind climate change; and the relations between the U.S. and Iran as the latter approaches completion of its nuclear program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Taking Care of Business: Fox News Radio’s Tom Sullivan. Thirty-three-year media pro Tom Sullivan is heard daily across the nation on Fox News Radio, seen daily on TV’s Fox Business Network, and still has an enormous presence in his “home” market of Sacramento on heritage signal KFBK. TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian digs into the mind of the broadcaster who may surprise some in the industry when he says, “I can do political ‘sound,’ without doing a show on just politics. If a presidential election campaign is going in full swing, of course we will talk about what the candidates did and said, but I do less politics than most other talk show hosts do. It is what many PDs say they want, but I honestly do not know why more talk radio talents are not taking my approach.” Sullivan says perceptions about talk radio in general and his show in particular can be changed to be appealing to different demographics. That’s why he gives preference to young women callers. He states, “If women hear other women on a show, they will think it is a show for them. When a young person hears another young person on the show, they will think it is a show for them. I want younger listeners – particularly women – to know that this is a show made for them.” Read Mike Kinosian’s entire piece on Fox News’ Tom Sullivan here.
It’s Official: Yankees Move to WFAN-AM/FM, New York Next Season. Though the reported terms — $15 million per season over 10 years – is not indicated in the press release from the New York Yankees, the fact that the Bronx Bombers will be heard on both WFAN-AM and WFAN-FM for the foreseeable future is a fact. It also lays to rest any speculation that CBS Radio would try to keep the Mets and air one team’s games on one station and the other’s game on the other. As Yankees general partner Hal Steinbrenner notes, the huge 660 AM signal will be good for the team, “We are extremely excited to have reached an agreement with CBS Radio. The paramount consideration was how our fans would best be able to hear our games. Having the Yankees on WFAN-AM/FM provides listeners in the New York metropolitan area and beyond with superior broadcast quality and vast territorial signal strength.” As part of the deal, CBS Radio has acquired Spanish-language Yankees broadcasts rights on a multi-year basis.
Bill Crawford Resigns from TRN COO Post. As the reorganization of Talk Radio Network continues, chief operating officer Bill Crawford submits his resignation to CEO Mark Masters and the board. Stating that he understands the nature of the immediate tasks that face the Talk Radio Network companies and that decisions must be implemented quickly with board approval and without delay, Crawford leaves his positions as board member and corporate officer immediately.
‘America Weekend’ Adds Rob Carson to Saturday Broadcasts. Envision Radio Networks’ “America Weekend” nationally syndicated live news/talk weekend program announces radio personality and comedy writer Rob Carson becomes part of the program hosting the Saturday 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm portion of the program starting Saturday, September 14. Carson joins veteran broadcasters Paul Harris and Turi Ryder along with Chief Stormcaster John Wetherbee for what the network is billing “the next generation of weekend talk” — designed to maintain revenues from ‘old school’ brokered programming while giving listeners fast-paced live content each weekend. Washington, DC-based Carson has worked at Cumulus Media’s hot AC WRQX where he was a high-profile afternoon personality. He’s also appeared on news/talk WMAL, Washington; WIBC, Indianapolis; KMOX, St. Louis, and has served as a comedic contributor to hundreds of hosts across America including Rush Limbaugh. Carson states, “I’m thrilled to be a part of ‘America Weekend.’ Weekend talk radio needs to be more of a destination covering the headlines and relevant events talk radio leaves on Friday afternoon and picks up Monday morning.” Program executive producer and creator Kipper McGee adds, “Rob’s insights, quick wit and comedic skills will be a great addition to the ‘America Weekend’ family. With Paul, Turi and now Rob, we are well on our way to defining profitable weekend talk radio.”
Odds & Sods. Fox News personality Brian Kilmeade did a special broadcast on his Fox News Radio program “Kilmeade & Friends” today at 11:00 am ET. Kilmeade’s show aired a simulcast with London radio host Iain Dale of LBC Radio. The two discussed Syria and fielded questions from both UK and US callers…..WINS, New York news anchor Brian Carey was attacked Monday night by a homeless man he had befriended. The New York Daily News reports Carey suffered broken bones in his jaw and eye socket but that he is recovering and expects to return to work soon. The man, still being sought by police, may have taken Carey’s cell phone and wallet…..CBS Radio puts its New York TV and sports radio outlets together for a special program before this evening’s Jets-Patriots game. CBS 2 and WFAN-AM/FM will present “Rivalry Renewed,” a live one-hour pregame show on CBS 2 that will air prior to the station’s local broadcast of the game. It will be hosted by CBS 2 sports anchor Otis Livingston in Foxboro, Massachusetts, as well as WFAN morning show hosts Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton (pictured at right), who will join CBS 2 sports anchor Steve Overmyer in the CBS 2 studio in New York…..ESPN Radio kicks off its “College GameDay” tour this Saturday, September 14 in College Station, Texas, for the highly anticipated SEC matchup of the two-time defending national champion Alabama, ranked #1 in the country, against Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel and #6 Texas A&M. Coverage from College Station on ESPN Radio begins at 12:00 noon ET with hosts Ryen Russillo, Trevor Matich and Brad Edwards…..New Jersey Broadcasters Association president and CEO Paul S. Rotella, Esq., starts his sixth year as the association’s chief executive. Rotella says, “I still feel the enthusiasm and excitement of my first day on the job. It has been a wonderful experience working with our great New Jersey broadcasters and I am blessed to have the dedicated leadership and guidance of a diverse and talented Board of Directors, as well as the loyalty, hard work and experience of my staff. I continue to be very grateful to the Board of Directors for placing their faith in me and for allowing me the privilege to represent them.”
Syria Chemical Weapons Deal, Iran Threats, ObamaCare Implementation, 9/11 Anniversary, and Weiner Loses NYC Primary Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/11). The Syria chemical weapons issue and the U.S. case for military action; threats to the U.S. and the West from Iran; the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9/11; and former congressman Anthony Weiner’s loss in the New York City mayoral primary were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Drama Continues to Unfold Around Talk Radio Network. On the heels of Talk Radio Network CEO Mark Masters’ announcement on Monday afternoon (9/9) that his ongoing battle with WestwoodOne (formerly Dial Global) over ad sales revenue has caused him to have to shut down the America’s Radio News Network and greatly pare his TRN staff as well as ask those still with the company to work without pay temporarily, come a number of developments over the past 24 hours. First, late morning talk host (and Fox News Channel personality) Andrea Tantaros continues to host her program live as of Tuesday morning. However, sources report to TALKERS that midday talk personality Jerry Doyle is not doing live, new programs and is exploring options to continue his talk show outside of the TRN operational framework. The morning drive “America’s Morning News” went live on Monday and this morning, co-anchors John McCaslin and Lori Lundin reported to work and prepared to do the full program again. Sources indicate McCaslin was unhappy with the state of the support staff and exited after one segment was broadcast. Lundin remained for the rest of one hour before leaving the studios, whereupon affiliates airing the program received repeat feeds of the first hour. In afternoon drive, talk host Rusty Humphries began Monday’s program with the intent of explaining some of what has been going on within the context of the assault by special interest groups on talk radio advertisers but was shut down by engineering staff and a repeat of his program ran on Monday afternoon. Whether Humphries returns to the air live on Tuesday afternoon remains to be seen as the situation at TRN is fluid, to say the least.
Greg Strassell Leaves CBS Radio for Same Post at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment. When news broke yesterday afternoon that Greg Strassell was exiting his SVP of programming post at CBS Radio, it was unknown where he would land. Now, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment announces Strassell is joining the company in the same capacity. CC says, he “will help lead programming initiatives and will report to Matt Martin, president of operations — regional markets. Further, the company says, “Strassell is a multi-format programming veteran whose strategic brand management has impacted many major radio stations across the country…At CBS Strassell oversaw the programming strategies and teams for many brands with a special focus on the company’s pop music station expansion. Prior to CBS he served as vice president of product development and programming for American Radio Systems.
TalkersTV Presents Video Documentary Tour of Boston Herald and Boston Herald Radio. Last week (9/5) TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison visited the Boston Herald newspaper in Boston with a video camera and was given a “point of view” guided tour of the newspaper and its one-month-old, multimedia initiative – Boston Herald Radio. The tour was guided by Boston Herald editor-in-chief Joe Sciacca, Boston Herald Radio executive producer Tom Shattuck and George Capalbo of Backbone Networks. The result is an informative one-hour documentary tour of one of talk media’s leading-edge hot spots. To view this not-to-be-missed content please click on the TalkersTV box on the upper right column on this page.
MEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Cliff Gardiner – Clifton Gardiner & Company, LLC. In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media broker Cliff Gardiner of Clifton Gardiner & Company, LLC located in Denver, Colorado. Like many top-notch professional brokers, Gardiner has a radio background going back to 1956 that includes on-air work, management, and station and network ownership. Regarding his view of the state of station sales today, he says, “We are beginning to see station sale activity awaken a bit from a long sleep. The industry has changed and seems to be embracing a new reality, one that will likely remain in the future. While no one is happy with a much lower EBITDA multiple, the reality is that this has always existed for most other business categories. This adjustment is happening as well as the seeing the necessity for sellers to carefully consider, and embrace, realistic carrybacks for buyers, especially in smaller markets.” To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.
KTRS, St. Louis Fills Gap Left by Steve Cochran. Talk show host Steve Cochran had been doing a midday show for CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis from Chicago where he’s now fully ensconced in the morning drive gig at Tribune’s WGN. To fill the gap, the station moves Martin Kilcoyne to the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm shift and former night personality John Carney to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot with the two co-hosting the 12:00 noon hour.
CBS Radio’s ’98.7 The Fan’ Launches Campaign to Save Rays Baseball. Losing a Major League Baseball franchise would be a blow to CBS Radio’s drive to build a successful sports talk station in the market. But MLB commissioner Bud Selig has stated the league is not happy with the support the market is giving the Tampa Bay Rays in terms of attendance despite the club fielding successful teams. The league states, “Last year, the 30 Major League clubs averaged nearly 2.5 million in total attendance; the Rays, who finished with a 90-72 record, drew 1,559,681, which ranked last in the game.” So WHFS-FM “98.7 The Fan” is launching “Save Tampa Bay Baseball,” a multi-tiered campaign to help keep the Rays in the region. But because St. Petersburg mayor Bill Foster has said Major League Baseball does not “seem interested in a cooperative effort to keep the Rays in the Tampa Bay region for the long term,” the station is taking action. The campaign involves launching the website www.SaveTampaBayBaseball.com to raise awareness that the Rays may be in danger of leaving Tampa Bay, as well as a petition drive to let Major League Baseball know that the Rays belong in Tampa Bay. The “98.7 The Fan” Street Team will canvass the downtown area offering Save Tampa Bay Baseball window stickers to all local merchants who support the Rays. In addition, “98.7 The Fan” will host an official Save Tampa Bay Baseball Rally on September 12 at Ferg’s Sports Bar & Grill – home of the 98.7 The Fan “Fan Cave” – before the Rays vs. Boston Red Sox game. WHFS-FM program director John O’Connell states, “At ‘98.7 The Fan,’ we strongly believe it’s in the best interest of the Tampa Bay community to keep Major League Baseball here. We will support our hometown Rays every way we can, and encourage Rays fans and the Tampa/St. Petersburg community to join us.”
Marlene Trevino Returns to Clear Channel as Market Manager for San Antonio. Marlene Trevino moves to San Antonio from her most recent position with CBS Radio as general sales manager at Spanish KMVK, Dallas “La Grande 107.5.” Now, she’ll head up Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s San Antonio cluster as president and market manager. She says, “Since I am a product of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s training and leadership development, I am most excited about the opportunity to come back to the Clear Channel family. I am proud to have the opportunity to lead a successful market like San Antonio. With the help of the current San Antonio team and the diverse opportunities this market offers, I am thrilled to get started on the efforts that will bring us even greater growth.” She served as senior account executive for the company’s hot AC KDMX in Dallas in 2002.
Robin Quivers Reports She’s Cancer Free. Longtime Howard Stern sidekick Robin Quivers has been away from the SiriusXM Howard Stern studios for most of the past year. She opened up on the program about her status saying she had a mass on her pelvis that doctors were certain was cancer and she underwent surgery to remove what turned out to be a tumor the size of a grapefruit. Quivers said the tumor began in her endometrial tissue and since the surgery has been undergoing chemotherapy. She says the doctors believe her to be cancer free. She has been working from a studio in her home during her treatment.
NuVoodoo Appoints Leigh Jacobs EVP of Perceptual Research. NuVoodoo Media Services CEO Carolyn Gilbert announces Leigh Jacobs – a co-founder of the company – is being charged with heading its perceptual studies services, analyzing consumer research for radio stations, television and newspaper as EVP of perceptual research. Jacobs served as EVP, research, for Critical Mass Media for nearly a decade and was named VP, research, for the Tribune Company in 2008. He specializes in perceptual analysis and consumer insights across radio, television and newspaper, and has consulted with media outlets in every major U.S. media market. Jacobs moved into media research after a 15-year career as program director for AC, hot AC and classic rock stations in Louisville, Detroit, Baltimore and Philadelphia, and for iconic talk station New Jersey 101.5. Gilbert states, “As primary perceptual analyst for Critical Mass Media for many years and later as VP of research for the Tribune Company, Leigh Jacobs distinguished himself as one of the most talented perceptual analysts in media research. He has looked under the hoods of hundreds of America’s top radio stations and given them reliable data and nuanced insights that have helped drive the growth of their audiences and brands. His extensive perceptual work with television news and newspapers while at the Tribune Company makes Leigh the whole package. He’s a research powerhouse and secret weapon for leading media outlets across the radio-television-newspaper spectrum. We are proud to share Leigh’s expertise and insights with NuVoodoo clients.”
Clear Channel Drops News/Talk KEX Simulcast, Debuts Alternative ‘Radio 102.3’ in Portland. The FM simulcast of Clear Channel’s news/talk KEX, Portland is gone as the company creates an alternative rock station to air on translator K272EL. It’s unclear just how much juice KEX was getting from the FM signal – though it has a good location pretty much smack-dab in the middle of the Portland metro. Recent PPM data from Arbitron show KEX riding several shares behind competitor KXL in the 6+ demo.
Emerging Category May Be Looking at an Ad Ban. Billion-dollar industries – with attractive ad budgets – are not exactly popping up every few months, and a relative newcomer that fits that criterion may already be preparing to encounter marketing restrictions. According to a report last week from financial services group CLSA Americas, the Food and Drug Administration will likely propose a television ban for advertising e-cigarettes. It would figure that if television were to be affected, a similar impact would be felt in radio. A Citibank report earlier this year indicated that spending on e-cigarette TV commercials climbed roughly 18% (2011 – 2012), while print ad spending among e-cigarette marketers increased 72%. Whereas tobacco companies have been off radio and television for more than 40 years, the e-cigarette category is unregulated. E-cigarette makers say they will continue marketing their product across a range of media unless – and until – a ban is introduced. Reynolds American spokesperson David Howard told Ad Age last week, “In lieu of regulations, we will look at all mediums – including TV, print, radio, point of sale and direct mail – to communicate with adult smokers.” The FDA is expected to weigh in on the matter next month.
Syria Tensions/Assad Interview, India Gang Rape Conviction, Massachusetts ‘Under God’ Challenge, and NFL Season Kicks Off Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/9). The debate over taking military action against Syria and Bashar al Assad’s interview with Charlie Rose; the conviction of four Indian men in the fatal gang rape of a student; the Massachusetts Superior Court case challenging the saying of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools; and the start of the 2013 NFL season were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Marilu Henner Show Joins Sun Broadcast Group Lineup. Actress, healthy lifestyle champion and talk show host Marilu Henner becomes part of the Sun Broadcast Group as her daily show is added to the syndicator’s program schedule. SBG says the entertainment- and lifestyle-oriented show is “designed as a brand-new approach to talk radio and is non-political and non-controversial.” Henner is a seven-time New York Times bestselling author, and famously, one of 12 people in the world verified with Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory. Sun EVP Steve Gallagher states, “The listeners, the clients and the agencies are all saying the same thing; that talk radio needs to be reinvented. We are excited beyond belief to be able to be working with Marilu Henner, whose boundless energy and love of life will be shared on radio, the most personal of all mediums. She is a natural!” Henner’s program will be fed live from its Los Angeles base from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET and, according to Sun, its format is compliant to PPM methodology. It will consist of celebrity interviews, lifestyle and health segments, phone calls and fun benchmark segments like “Healthy Hollywood Tips,” “Marilu’s Memory Minute,” and “Backstage Pass” where Marilu’s celebrity friends pull back the curtain on show biz! Speaking about this new venture, Henner says, “I love to share life-empowering information that inspires positive changes in people, and there’s no better way to do that than through a daily radio show. Its impact is immediate, global, and intimate, all at once! That’s why I’m thrilled to be part of Sun Broadcast Group. Their philosophy — that radio should be ‘helpful, not hurtful’ – is totally in sync with the way I live my life!”
Talk Radio Network Companies Issue Official Statement on Cumulus Acquisition of Dial Global. Radio industry watchers are aware of the pending suit filed by Talk Radio Network involving a number of the parties and people involved with Dial Global (now Westwood One and from now on referred to in this publication by that name) and few would be surprised that TRN is against the acquisition of Westwood One by Cumulus. Today, TRN issued this official statement: “Over the past five years, Dial Global has become a monopoly. Dial engaged in a long list of illegal and unethical behavior, including failing to pay us our share of advertising revenues generated by our programming. We have detailed that conduct in two cases pending against Dial (and others) in federal court in Manhattan and Oregon. Dial’s illegal conduct has continued recently, as it has refused even to pay to us our advertising revenues, which Dial collected as our ad rep. We believe that discovery in our actions will show that Dial’s conduct was part of a deliberate strategy to acquire or destroy viable companies by interfering with revenue streams that Dial controls as a result of its monopoly power. Dial’s history shows that all members of the industry should be concerned about, and should act to prevent, Cumulus’ proposed acquisition of Dial. In our view, if the transaction goes forward, the combined company could dominate both the radio station platforms in the top 100 markets and the talk and news content for broadcast in those markets. At the same time, we are concerned that Dial’s history of illegal and unethical conduct could infect Cumulus and affect the way the merged entity does business. The threat that this merger poses is not just to us. It is to every independent content provider, to many other members of the industry, and more generally to a vibrant marketplace of ideas on radio. We will continue to pursue our claims against Dial vigorously, and we will take all necessary actions to oppose Cumulus’ proposed acquisition, including in our pending litigation with Dial, with appropriate governmental authorities, and in the media. We have heard from other members of the industry with similar concerns. Given the implications for others, we encourage all independent content providers and other affected members of the industry to rise up and express opposition in every proper forum.”
Jared Max Exits ‘ESPN New York 98.7.’ Sports radio personality and news anchor Jared Max leaves ESPN’s New York City O&O WEPN where he was co-hosting the early morning “Maxed Out” show (3:00 am to 6:00 am) alongside Robin Lundberg. Prior to his work with ESPN, Max had served with CBS Radio at all-news WCBS, New York. Robin Lundberg continues hosting the early morning show from 4:00 am to 6:00 am solo. On his website, Max says, “In the past two-and-a-half years at ESPN, I have achieved seismic growth – professionally and personally…While I will greatly miss my listeners and friends who regularly called the show, I hope that our relationship will remain intact through my next venture.”
Boomer & Carton Being Wooed by YES Network. WFAN, New York morning drive duo Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton are currently seen hosting their radio program on the MSG Network. But, according to a report in the New York Daily News, that could change as the YES Network is in talks to bring the duo to their platform. The Daily News says the current deal between CBS Radio and MSG expires this month and that MSG has the right to match any offer. Daily News columnist Bob Raissman says the only way he sees the duo leaving for the Yankees-owned YES is if it offers CBS “stupid money” for the simulcast rights. He further opines that the three biggest attractions on MSG’s programming lineup are Knicks games, Rangers games and Boomer & Carton, so MSG would be nuts not to match any reasonable offer. Stay tuned.
DISURBING TREND: Where Are All the Radio Engineers? Multi-lettered radio engineer Tom Ray – principle of Tom Ray Consulting – writes about what sees as a trend that bodes ill for the radio business: a dearth of qualified radio engineers. In this piece published today, Ray states, “Because of the shortage, there are stations hiring IT people and sending them to the transmitter site. Sure, many things at the transmitter are IT based these days. But the output of the transmitter and the antenna system isn’t. These people are untrained at working around high voltage and RF. Someone is eventually going to get badly hurt or killed because they do not know how to work around high voltage and current.” Ray enumerates the long list of duties today’s engineer is expected to handle – not to mention the wide array of technologies about which he’s expected to have expertise – and it becomes pretty clear the future of radio station facilities could be in deep doo-doo. Read Tom Ray’s column here.
Odds & Sods. The 2013 NFL season begins tonight with the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens at the Denver Broncos. WestwoodOne Sports announces its coverage of the game as well as its slate of 97 NFL games over the course of the season, including playoffs and Super Bowl XLVIII…..ESPN Radio is also airing NFL play-by-play this season on Sunday afternoons. The network is debuting some new football programming including “Football Sunday on ESPN Radio” which airs from 1:00 pm to 7:30 pm ET hosted by Jonathan Coachman and featuring Eric Allen, Tim Hasselbeck and Tom Waddle providing analysis.
Clear Channel Again Partners with 9/11 Day. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment was the media partner with 9/11 Day for the inaugural 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance in 2011 and will serve in that capacity again this year. MyGoodDeed is the respected 9/11 nonprofit which annually organizes the federally recognized 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance. Over the last three years, Clear Channel has committed over $10 million in support, the single largest media contribution by any 9/11 Day partner. Now through September 11, Clear Channel’s 840 radio stations will air a series of on-air public service messages in support of 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance. Listeners who want to participate can choose options including volunteering, donating to charities of their choice, or simply making a voluntary pledge to dedicate time on 9/11, or another day, to performing good deeds that help others in need.
U.S. Debates Syria Action, G-20 Summit, ‘Common Core’ Controversy, Weiner Heckler Encounter, and Bill Clinton Vegan Claim Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/4). The testimony before Congress regarding military action against Syria; President Obama’s arrival at the G-20 Summit; controversy over the federal mandate of “Common Core” for United States public schools; Anthony Weiner’s encounter with a heckler in NYC and Bill Clinton’s alleged claim of being a vegan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Dial Global Changes Name to WestwoodOne. Making good on what had been rumored for a little more than a week, Dial Global, as it prepares to be acquired by Cumulus Media, announces the official change of its name to WestwoodOne (complete with cool, new logo). CEO Paul Caine states, “We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished as Dial Global. Through our belief in the power of sound we are dedicated to continuously reinventing the industry and creating the most dynamic audio programming that connects people to their passions. With the audio industry’s ever-changing landscape we know we’ve just scratched the surface of what’s possible for audio’s broad consumption. By reclaiming and reviving an iconic audio brand name, we are not changing who we are, but accelerating the great work we are doing to contribute to the growth of audio.” In addition to the name change, the company reports it is commissioning “an industry study on the ‘power of sound,’ aimed at better understanding consumers, their behavior, and their interaction with audio. The study builds on current recency data proving radio as the most-used medium closest to point-of-purchase and will explore trends in audio consumption based on behavioral tendencies among various demographics.” The company says full study results are expected to be released in the fourth quarter of 2013 but states that preliminary findings further the notion that audio is an integral part of the new media landscape.
TRN’s Jerry Doyle Launches ‘Solution-Based News Destination’ EpicTimes.com. Nationally syndicated talk show host Jerry Doyle – a former actor, voice-over artist, Wall Street trader and pilot, says he credits his varied background with instilling in him the obvious and growing need for a solution-based news community. The Talk Radio Network personality is therefore launching his newest media endeavor, EpicTimes.com – what he calls “a solution-based news destination dedicated to putting cutting-edge news, resources, and answers in the hands of the public.” He adds, “EpicTimes.com seeks to deliver insight from some of the most influential voices of our time, spanning a variety of expertise to share solution-based ideas and insights with a community that is focused on problem solving and results.” Doyle says that to serve the knowledge of his online audience, he has assembled a diverse cast of contributors, whose collective goal is to offer clear insights into a range of issues, combined with hard-hitting commentaries and workable solutions to the issues that directly affect our lives. “This unique view on the issues and news headlines is geared toward building an active community on the site. All opinions are heard and commentary between readers and contributors and readers to readers is encouraged. That kind of honest conversation is just what I believe people want. My goal is for EpicTimes.com to not just publish relevant news, but to become a solutions community.” Check out EpicTimes.com here.
Katz Radio Group Names Mark Rosenthal CEO. Media rep firm Katz Media Group announces it has picked media executive Mark Rosenthal to head up the Katz Radio Group. Rosenthal’s media experience goes back to the early days of MTV where he was one of the original team that created the cable TV channel. He was also involved in the inception of Nickelodeon, VH1 and Comedy Central. Katz says he “has been a leader in the media industry for more than 25 years, building advertising and marketing solutions for world-class media brands.” KRG says Rosenthal will work with president Mark Gray to “ensure continued high-level performance in the transactional arena. Rosenthal will also focus on KRG’s radio advocacy efforts and lead an accelerated charge to bring additional revenue into the radio sector.” Clear Channel Media and Entertainment chairman and CEO John Hogan says, “We are thrilled to have such a well-respected media executive join Katz Radio Group. Mark has an enormous range of experience across all forms of media, from traditional and digital media to the agency world. Radio is a powerful national marketing platform. Our goal is to continue to tell the success story of radio’s massive reach. Mark joining the team signifies a very exciting step forward in our intensified effort to drive substantial growth for Katz clients by providing the most innovative media solutions available.”
Fox News and SiriusXM Re-Up; Content Added to SiriusXM Internet Radio. After speculation over the summer that Fox News and SiriusXM were headed for a break-up, the two sides announce they have inked a deal to bring Fox News content to the satcaster through 2019. In addition, as part of the new agreement, SiriusXM will broadcast Fox Business Network. SiriusXM will be the exclusive audio home for broadcasts of Fox News and Fox Business Network for its more than 25 million subscribers. As part of the agreement, SiriusXM will add both channels to its SiriusXM Internet Radio channel lineup for the first time. The new agreement also includes the addition of Fox News Talk to the SiriusXM Internet Radio service. Fox News Talk, which offers news, analysis, listener call-ins, and commentary from popular Fox News personalities such as Brian Kilmeade, John Gibson and Alan Colmes, among others, will be available online at SiriusXM Internet Radio and through the SiriusXM Internet Radio App on smart phones and other connected devices. Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes states, “Our viewers love the ability to keep the connection with Fox News Channel, even while they’re in the car with SiriusXM. This agreement not only ensures that will continue but expands it to our Fox Business Network viewers and restores the Fox News Talk channel to SiriusXM subscribers on their computers and smart phones. This is good for Fox News, for SiriusXM and for the people we both work for, the American public.”
Leland Conway Named Late-Morning Host at WHAS, Louisville. Clear Channel’s heritage Louisville news/talker announces talk host Leland Conway will assume the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program that opened up when Mandy Connell moved to the company’s KHOW, Denver for the morning show earlier this summer. Conway – a Kentucky native – currently hosts afternoon drive on CC’s WRVA, Richmond and will continue in that role as well. Regional programming manager Kelly Carls states, “This is an exciting appointment for ‘84WHAS Radio’ and the Kentuckiana community. We talked to many highly qualified and experienced on-air personalities, but Leland’s talents really shined brightly. His wit, energy and longstanding Kentucky roots make him a great fit. We’re extremely happy he’s returning to the Bluegrass State.” Conway has served as a commentator on WTVQ-TV, and for six years hosted a successful talk show on WLAP, Lexington. Conway adds, “It is an honor to join the WHAS team. As a native Kentuckian, I grew up with WHAS. It’s as much a part of the Bluegrass State as hot browns and horse racing. I am excited to once again be a part of the lively conversation in Kentucky.”
Michael Harrison to Present Annual Address at NAB Radio Show. In a popular “Info-Session” that has packed the room each year for more than a decade, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will address the forthcoming NAB Radio Show on the subject “The Vital Role Radio Plays in Popular Culture.” The info-session, sponsored by TALKERS, will be a power-packed hour touching upon a number of key issues that are vital to radio’s very existence – let alone artistic and financial well-being – in the rapidly advancing digital era. Harrison says that for radio to remain iconic in the 21st century, it must maintain “ownership” of the scenes it addresses whether they are music, politics, news, sports or any other expression of the human condition. He says radio must maintain a foreground, active position and avoid being marginalized as a passive delivery system and he gives solid examples and suggestions to make it happen. Consultant Holland Cooke introduces what will be a riveting and inspirational hour. The session takes place on Thursday, September 19 between 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm in the very heart of the conference at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Gatlin E2 and is open to all attendees of the conference.
‘Rock 102’ Springfield, MA Morning Talk Duo Bax & O’Brien to Do Live Performance at Local Theater. The long-running morning drive powerhouse of Bax & O’ Brien (Michael “Bax” Baxendale and John O’ Brien) have been gathering huge on-air audiences in Western Massachusetts for more than 15 years and innovating advances in local webcasting worthy of national attention. Now, they’ve added another facet to their arsenal of attractions. The team has been booked into the downtown Springfield prestigious City-Stage theater for a one-night special performance on Thursday, October 17. The show is being sponsored by local car dealership Curry Honda and will cleverly feature “guest” appearances by locally famous advertisers who will actually perform their live commercial reads during the program (great idea!). In addition, guests will include local and regional personalities Paul “Fitzy” Fitzgerald, live performances from guitar legend Gary Hoey and Dr. Westchesterson plus special video presentations from comedians Lisa Lampanelli and Tom Cotter, and the promise of other surprises! Tickets go on sale Friday September 6 at the City Stage Box Office or at Ticketmaster.com. Fans of Bax & O’ Brien will be able to see it live in person or watch the show streamed live with their BaxandObrien.com membership.
Main Street Radio Network Re-Brands Alan Nathan-Hosted Program. The talk show that’s been known as “Battle Line with Alan Nathan” is now titled “The Alan Nathan Show.” Main Street Radio Network president Jane Silk states, “He’s the longest-running centrist radio show in the country and we’re delighted with the program’s evolution and direction. As so many have said, ALAN is an important voice who needs to be heard!” Nathan himself comments, “They’ve been calling it the ‘Alan Nathan show’ for years, so I learned how to take a hint. Additionally, while there’s plenty of spirited debate (or battling) happening on the program, it’s also a guest-generated, panel-driven event that teases all who take themselves too seriously.”
Dino Costa Moves to Mornings on SiriusXM’s New Sports Zone Channel. As TALKERS reported yesterday (from a New York Daily News story), sports talk host Dino Costa is moving from the Mad Dog Radio channel at SiriusXM where he was the evening (Eastern Time) personality, to mornings where his show will be heard from 7:00 am to 11:00 am ET beginning September 5. In a statement, Costa says, “When I joined SiriusXM nearly five years ago, my objective was to deliver listeners across North America a brand of sports commentary and opinion that they had never heard before, something that was a radical departure from the status quo. I feel I have accomplished that and gained a more than appreciable audience over that time. Creating and delivering the kind of a show I do would not have been possible anyplace other than SiriusXM and it is an honor and a privilege to be with what I consider to be the mightiest radio broadcaster on planet earth. I enjoyed my time with Mad Dog Sports Radio and now I look forward to new challenges and conquests and feel more enthused than ever at the prospects of making SiriusXM Sports Zone a destination channel for our valued subscribers. This is the start of something very big!”
Lori Moore to Retire from WKZO, Kalamazoo. Retire might be too strong a word for AM drive host Lori Moore’s departure from Midwest Communications’ news/talk WKZO, Kalamazoo. But Moore has worked at the station for the past 18 years (32 years in the market) and, to her faithful listeners, it might feel like retirement. Still, Moore says she will remain close to the community and has “many projects” in the pipeline. Morning host since 1995, Moore states, “I feel I have a special bond with my audience and advertisers. I think I am able to connect with what people care about. I talk about events because I go to them and I endorse products and services I actually use.” Her last day is Friday, September 6.
Odds & Sods. Tribune’s WGN, Chicago adds more sports programming to its weekend lineup with a post-Bears game program called “Two and a Half Bears,” featuring NFL Hall of Famer and Chicago Bears alumnus Dan Hampton, his former teammate Glen Kozlowski and WGN’s resident football fanatic Pete McMurray. The program will feature interviews with players, coaches, and front office personnel. Additionally, Hampton will join WGN’s Steve Cochran every Monday and Friday morning at 7:40 to provide a Bears game recap and preview…..Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston announces its NFL and Patriots football-related programming to air on the station and its affiliate stations around New England. The content again includes exclusive interviews with quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick on “Patriots Monday.” As it did last year, gameday coverage will originate from Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill at Patriot Place in Foxborough and include pre- and post-game programs. Throughout the week, WEEI programs will be visited by numerous football experts, writers and Patriots players…..ESPN Radio sports talk host Colin Cowherd debuts a new program on ESPN2 titled “Colin’s New Football Show” that will air Sundays at 9:00 am ET. ESPN vice president, original programming and production, Jamie Horowitz says, “’Colin’s New Football Show’ will be entirely from Colin’s perspective. It’s a cool and alternative pre-game show with Colin, a football outsider on the inside, letting fans know the key stories of the day in his own style.”…..CBS Radio’s all-news WNEW-FM, Washington reports it is doubling its traffic alerts to keep commuters up to speed on the region’s roadways during drive time. Dubbed “Beltway Fix on the Six,” in addition its traffic and weather together on the 1s, the station will add reports on the 6s between 7:00 am and 10:00 as well as between 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm……CRN Digital Talk Radio host and well-known actor Fred Dryer is back on the big screen in a new movie titled “Snake and Mongoose,” that chronicles the careers of drag racers Don “the Snake” Prudhomme and Tom “the Mongoose” McEwen. In the film, Dryer plays Motorsports Hall of Fame member Ed Donovan, McEwen’s engine builder who coined the racer’s “Mongoose” moniker.
Illegal Immigration Forum. Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) and former INS agent Michael Cutler appeared in “The President Speakers Series” on the subject of illegal immigration at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach. The event was moderated by the talk show host Marc Bernier – who also serves as President’s special assistant at the university – and was broadcast on WNDB, Daytona Beach and carried by C-SPAN. Pictured here are (from l-r): Bernier, ERAU president John P. Johnson, Rep. Barletta and Cutler. The event was the 95th in the Town Hall Series. Photo by Arthur J. Byrnes.
Syria Question Goes Before Congress, ObamaCare Implementation, Miley Cyrus Fallout and Jack Nicholson Retires due to Memory Loss Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/3). Secretary of State John Kerry takes the question of whether the United States should begin military action against Syria to Congress; ongoing complications in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the fallout from Miley Cyrus’ risqué performance at the MTV Video Music Awards and Jack Nicholson’s retirement from making movies, reportedly due to memory loss were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Big Changes Coming to WGN, Chicago; Cochran to AM Drive and an FM Signal in Tribune’s Future. The Chicago Tribune lays out some of the changes that will take place at Tribune Company’s legendary radio property on September 3. With the hiring of radio executive and former WLUP-FM chief Jimmy de Castro in the spring of this year, industry watchers knew changes were afoot. De Castro wasn’t hired to run things as they were. And now we know some of the ideas de Castro has been considering over the summer. Former midday host Mike McConnell – a WLW, Cincinnati alum brought in by former bosses Randy Michaels and Kevin Metheny – has already moved to the company’s online effort WGN-2. Now, Tribune reveals that air personality Steve Cochran – ousted from the station in 2010 – will return to host AM drive. Current AM drive host Jonathon Brandmeier will move to a digital property dubbed wgnfm.com until the company can acquire an FM signal on which to build a new station. The paper reports that husband-and-wife team Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano will likely host the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show and overnight host Bill Leff will be partnered with a player-to-be-named-later for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show. Garry Meier remains in the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot but is expected to take on a name partner soon. Another return of talent from the pre-Randy Michaels days are Kathy O’Malley and Judy Markey (former midday “Girlfriends”) who will do a weekend program on WGN. The AM radio property will also build using blocks from its WGN-TV sibling, starting with the branding slogan “Chicago’s Very Own.” De Castro says the station will use WGN-TV personalities more often, including Dean Richards and Tom Skilling. As for the future FM property that will start as a digital station, de Castro says, “We’re going to create it as a radio laboratory. We’re going to build it up until we get an FM and then we’re going to put them all on a talk FM.” The story notes that any purchase of an FM will come after the company sheds its newspaper division. That may happen in 2014 if a buyer (or buyers) can be found.
Jim Watkins Returns to Talk Radio Network. Radio pro Jim Watkins served with Talk Radio Network for 13 years as director of affiliate relations and executive producer for the syndication company. Now, TRN Syndications, Ltd. announces it is engaging Watkins “to spearhead several new projects within TRN and to assist in the growth of the existing affiliate base of the multiple TRN networks and many radio stars that TRN syndicates.” The company states Watkins will oversee new business development and growth-strategy projects for the TRN Networks that distributes Andrea Tantaros, Jerry Doyle, Rusty Humphries, Erich “Mancow” Muller, Monica Crowley, “America’s Morning News,” Michio Kaku, Louie Anderson, Roy Masters and America’s Radio News Network, and a complete weekend lineup of a variety of talk programming. CEO Mark Masters says he’s thrilled to have Watkins leading his affiliate department at this most crucial time. “Jim is deeply entrenched in talk radio and has developed alliances with key programmers across the country. As the country ramps up into the mid-term elections, talk radio has never been more vital to facilitating the national debate. Jim really understands the vitality of talk radio better than most people in the industry today.” Watkins previously programmed news/talk stations for Clear Channel, as well as South-Florida based Meridian Broadcasting, and also served as producer for some of the top air talent in the country, including Michael Savage, Mike Gallagher, Barry Farber, and others. He adds, “Talk radio reaches the most affluent and loyal audience of any format, and it does so by allowing for a free exchange of ideas which can and does influence public policy in a big way. To have one of the best rosters of talent to be found anywhere gives me a great sense of pride.”
Nationally Syndicated Host Thom Hartmann Debuts Daily Caller Column. Liberal talk media star Thom Hartmann begins writing a weekly column for the conservative digital publication Daily Caller in which he addresses an issue from his own perspective followed by a conservative or libertarian rebuttal. In his first column – dubbed “Liberally Yours” – Hartmann asks the question: Should the Post Office be in charge of your e-mails? You can read the piece here. Hartmann – whose radio program is syndicated by WYD Media Management – was recently honored by TALKERS magazine ranked at #7 on the Frontier Fifty 2013 – A Selection of Outstanding Talk Media Webcasters (see that entire feature here). In addition to his AM/FM radio program, Hartmann’s digital efforts have earned him recognition by TALKERS for his forward-thinking business model that pushes his content into exciting new areas.
Scott Webb Joins Beasley South Florida as Production Director. Beasley Broadcast Miami announces the appointment of Scott Webb as production director for its three-station cluster that includes hip hop WPOW “Power 96,” country WKIS “99.9 Kiss Country” and sports talk WQAM “560 Sports Radio.” In this new post, Webb will be responsible for overseeing the voicing and production of commercials for the stations. Webb owns Scott Webb Radio Imaging based previously in Washington/Baltimore that he founded in 2001. Prior to launching his own firm, he was creative services director and morning co-host at WJMO, Washington, D.C. He has also served as creative services director at WHUR, Washington, WMMJ, Washington and KRBV, Dallas. WKIS operations manager Ken Boesen states, “Scott brings exceedingly strong production skills, top-quality voiceover abilities and a fun work ethic to Beasley Miami. He’ll be a great addition to the team and will help make our production department the strongest in South Florida.”
Boston Celtics and WEEI/WRKO Part Company; Will CBS Radio Swoop In? The Boston Globe’s Chad Finn reports that Entercom and the NBA’s Boston Celtics have ended negotiations to continue airing games on sports talk WEEI-FM and news/talk WRKO this season after being unable to come to terms. Now the question is will CBS Radio’s WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” be able to secure the play-by-play rights? In the ongoing and bloody battle between the two sports talk stations, a snare of Celtics hoops would give WBZ-FM three of the four major sports in town: Patriots football, Bruins hockey and Celtics basketball – leaving WEEI-FM with Red Sox baseball (no small potatoes, obviously). As Finn notes in his piece, CBS Radio owns enough stations in the market to cover any conflicts between the several teams’ games. Finn writes that Entercom and the Celtics had a revenue-sharing agreement under the old deal but it’s unknown if there was also a rights fee. Historically, CBS Radio has been willing to pay big dollars for play-by-play rights if it believes it can justify the expense down the road.
Good Karma Lets Three Go at WKNR, Cleveland. In a report on Cleveland.com, Good Karma trims its staff by three as sports talk outlet WKNR “ESPN Cleveland” says goodbye to sports talk host Kenny Roda, Browns beat reporter Will Burge and Indians beat reporter T.J. Zuppe. Burge tells the news outlet that although he was a little surprised by the changes, he says, “I guess you can never be too surprised in this business when they say they want to meet with you about some big-picture changes.” Roda Tweeted to fans, “Thanks to all who have made the last 21 years at WKNR a remarkable, unforgettable & amazing journey. I enjoyed sharing it with you all.”
Art Versnick Named GM at WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Resort Broadcasting news/talk WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware “The Talk of Delmarva” announces Art Versnick joins the station to serve as general manager. In making the announcement, company president David Schoumacher states, “Art is a seasoned broadcast professional who brings great knowledge to our very important heritage radio station. It was imperative to secure the future of this franchise with a pro, and we’ve done that by bringing his talent to work with our staff.” Versnick comments, “I’m thrilled to be joining this heritage station – with its local air staff – almost unheard of today in news/talk radio. The dedication of this staff and ownership to provide Sussex County with quality and local programming will continue and move to the next level in providing listeners and advertisers a local forum.”
Journal’s WTMJ, Milwaukee Begins Sponsored Live Broadcast Series. Journal Broadcast Group’s news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee announces the debut of the “We Love Wisconsin Tour” that will see the morning show broadcast live from sites across the state. Sponsored by All American Window & Door, the first live broadcast event will be Friday, August 23, at the Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend where “Wisconsin’s Morning News with Gene Mueller” will broadcast from 5:00 am to 8:30 am. The tour will continue in Wauwatosa in September, Madison in October and Green Bay in November. Journal Broadcast Group vice president of news/talk programming Tom Langmyer says, “As ‘Wisconsin’s Radio Station,’ WTMJ is excited to celebrate individual communities that make our region so special as a whole. Gene Mueller and his team will explore the history of each town, introduce listeners to special people and discover fun things to do along the way. We’re pleased to partner with All American Window & Door on this adventure.” During the live broadcast event, Terri Lodwick, owner of All American Window & Door, will present a $1,000 donation to a local charity.
Odds & Sods. Hubbard Radio Washington D.C. properties WTOP and Federal News Radio are honored with the 2013 Alfred P. Sloan Award for Excellence in Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility for the use of flexibility and other aspects of workplace effectiveness as a workplace strategy to increase business and employee success…..Hubbard Radio’s WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” agrees to a deal through Learfield Sports to carry University of Illinois football play-by-play for this season…..NFL Hall of Famer Joe Namath guests on Sports USA’s “Conversations with Joe Morgan” this week. Morgan’s program is heard on some 80 affiliates across the country. Namath’s podcast, produced by Sports USA, debuts next week…..Indiana Radio Watch tips TALKERS that Zach Bonahoom exits Federated Media’s news/talk WOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne where he hosted a Saturday talk show.
NSA Surveillance Program/UK Threatens Guardian, Egypt Violence, ObamaCare Implementation, OK Ballplayer Slaying, and Clinton Foundation Expenses Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/20). The scope of the NSA surveillance program and the UK’s threats against the Guardian paper; continuing violence in Egypt and the U.S.’s relationship with its government; the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the killing of an Australian baseball player by teens in Oklahoma; and the report of the Clinton Foundation’s travel expenses were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Steve Dahl and Garry Meier to Be Inducted into National Radio Hall of Fame. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that the Chicago-located National Radio Hall of Fame is announcing the class of 2013 feature Chicago radio personalities and former partners Steve Dahl and Garry Meier in addition to other inductees Blair Garner, John Lanigan, Paul W. Smith, Eddie “Piolin” Sotelo, Charley Steiner, and (posthumously) radio manufacturer Powel Crosley, Jr. Dahl, currently busy with his own podcast venture, and Meier, hosting afternoon drive at Tribune’s WGN, Chicago, were superstars in morning drive at WLUP-FM for 14 years before an acrimonious breakup in 1993. Dahl continued to work with other cast members while Meier eventually partnered with Roe Conn at WLS before joining WGN. The Radio Hall of Fame states, “They became the most-talked-about radio team in the city’s history, representing a generation and ushering in an era of content envelope-pushing that was imitated nationwide.” Blair Garner is hosting “America’s Morning Show” at Cumulus Media’s country WNSH, New York. Paul W. Smith hosts the morning program on news/talk WJR, Detroit.
Staff Additions at CBS Radio’s ’98.7 The Fan’ in Tampa. WHFS, Tampa “98.7 The Fan” program director John O’Connell announces additions to the staff at CBS Radio’s Tampa Bay sports talk station. First, veteran sports announcer Jim Lighthall joins Justin Pawlowski on “Fan Interference with Justin Pawlowski and Jim Lighthall” from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon and that show is now being produced by Jeff “Pants” Pantridge who moves up from his position producing the “Kirk and Dinger Morning Show.” Lighthall is a 1990 graduate of the University of South Florida and has been a sports announcer for over 21 years. He is the play-by-play voice of USF men’s basketball, a member of the USF Football broadcast team and has been the station’s 20/20 sports update reporter since the station’s launch. Taking Pantridge’s place producing the AM show is Ed “Special Ed” Grube who joins the station from CBS Radio’s sister hip hop outlet WLLD “WiLD 94.1.” to be head producer for the program featuring Kirk McEwen, Chris “Dinger” Dingman and Roxanne Wilder. O’Connell states, “We are very excited about these additions and what Ed brings to the table. His quick wit, creativity and great sense of humor will bring a new dimension to the ‘Kirk and Dinger Morning Show.’ Ed has the ability to help take the show to the top of the ratings, and like Jim, he’s a big basketball fan who offers a unique perspective.” Also producer Bryan Drake shifts from production duties in middays to the evening “Fabulous Sports Babe Show” airing from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm.
Midday Changes at WTKS, Orlando. Shawn Wasson “The News Junkie” takes over the 11:00 am to 3:00 pm show at Clear Channel’s hot talk WTKS, Orlando “Real Radio 104.1” after Jason “Buckethead” Bailey exits the station. Bailey commented on his departure via Facebook saying he has nothing bad to say about the people or the station. “Can I explain the whole thing and how it panned out? Nope…not right now. It’s not as easy as some people seem to think it is. Will I miss ‘Real Radio?’ More than anyone will ever know. The ‘Real Radio’ gig was a dream come true for me…”
Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Named Station of the Year by NCAB. Greater Media Charlotte announces WBT-AM/FM was named the 2013 Station of the Year award (large market category) this past week during the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters (NCAB) Annual Convention in Greensboro. The winners of this year’s top station awards were determined by a distinguished panel of out of state media executives. The Station of the Year Award was given to radio stations with achievements during 2012 that highlight innovative programming, with an emphasis on audience involvement and promotion, and a commitment to their local community. Greater Media Charlotte vice president and station manager Trip Savery states, “It is fitting that North Carolina’s first and most legendary radio station, WBT would win the inaugural NCAB station of the year award. We are very proud to receive this honor from NCAB.”
TRN Files New Suit Against Courtside Entertainment and Dial Global. In the original suit TRN filed against numerous radio syndication and ads sales organizations alleging antitrust violations Courtside Entertainment was a defendant but a California judge removed Courtside from that complaint ruling it was not connected to the antitrust allegation. Now, TRN files a complaint in United States District Court District of Oregon Portland Division against Courtside and Dial Global alleging tortious interference with both TRN’s contract with Michael Savage and Laura Ingraham. The suit seeks unspecified damages plus legal fees other and further relief.
Arbitron Releases NHL Radio Play-By-Play Stats. Outside of Canada, NHL hockey on the radio has never been considered a radio goldmine in broad terms. But a strike-shortened season may have been a factor in increased interest where the mindset is that every game counts, according to analysis from Arbitron. The ratings company released average game cume (6+) and average game share (Men 25-54) data and draws some conclusions about the sport’s effect on radio audience. Probably most notable is that the teams that performed best for their flagship stations are largely East Coast and Midwest teams that have a long tradition in the league and their fan bases go generations deep in the markets. For example, the top seven teams in terms of average game share (Men 25-54) were (in order): Pittsburgh Penguins, St. Louis Blues, Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins, Minnesota Wild, Detroit Red Wings, and the Philadelphia Flyers. Pittsburgh, whose flagship is Clear Channel’s alternative rock WXDX-FM, was far and away in first with a 33.3 average game share in that demo. Arbitron notes that the young male-skewing alternative flagship station helped achieve this. Also keep in mind that the top two teams, Pittsburgh and St. Louis, have no NBA franchise in their markets with which to compete for audience during the winter months. Arbitron also wonders where the help for radio flagships is from the NHL. “Try finding any radio information on the teams web pages and it’s almost nonexistent. Download a schedule for Outlook, or an Apple product and TV information is everywhere…radio is likely nowhere to be found.”
Drew Lane Begins Podcast Venture. One half of the former WRIF, Detroit Drew & Mike morning drive show – Drew Lane – has partnered up with producers Mike Wolters and Marc Fellhauer to begin producing a podcast called DM&M podcast. Lane’s and Mike Clark’s contracts were not renewed at the Greater Media rock station and former alternative CIMX, Windsor, Canada duo Dave and Chuck the Freak were brought in to take over mornings last month. So far, Mike Clark is not part of the podcast venture.
Odds & Sods. Rob Archer is the new midday news anchor at Clear Channel’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles after the exit of Chris Lane…..At Advanced Media Partners’ Peoria, Illinois stations that includes sports talk WZPN, Stephanie Blue is the new production director…..SiriusXM Radio and Rural Radio LLC announce the debut of Rural Radio, a 24/7 channel devoted to providing a wide variety of programming for and about rural American life, the western lifestyle and agribusiness interests.
Calgary Talk Host Fired After Criticizing Station Flood Coverage. CHQR, Calgary talk show host Dave Rutherford, about whom TALKERS wrote yesterday regarding the looming end of his long-running radio program, was taken off the air on June 25 after criticizing the Corus-owned station for its coverage of the local floods. Rutherford tells the Calgary Sun he’s still not sure of his status but says he was told his program will not return after he lashed out at management for not broadcasting locally on CHQR when the station was evacuated due to flooding and instead piped in programming from CHED, Edmonton.
SCOTUS Gay Marriage Rulings, Obama Climate Change Policy, George Zimmerman Trial, Aaron Hernandez Case, NSA Surveillance/Snowden Asylum, and Obama Africa Trip Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/26). The striking down of the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 by the Supreme Court; the emissions limits to be set by the EPA under the president’s direction; the trial of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin; the case against former Patriots player Aaron Hernandez; the NSA surveillance program and the case of Edward Snowden; and President Obama’s African trip were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Jimmy Hayes to Retire from Cox Enterprises President and CEO Post; Executive Structure Transitions Announced. Jimmy Hayes has served as president and CEO of Cox Enterprises since 2008 but now he will retire from the company in April of 2014 and John Dyer, who becomes chief operating officer of Cox Enterprises, will succeed him when he steps down. Hayes will maintain a seat on the company’s board of directors. In related moves, Doug Franklin, currently president of Cox Media Group, moves up to become EVP and chief financial officer of Cox Enterprises. Cox Media Group executive vice president Bill Hoffman moves up to become president of Cox Media Group. Cox Enterprises chairman Jim Kennedy says of Hayes, “Jimmy has led an impressive career at Cox, and I consider it a privilege having worked alongside him for so many years. I thank Jimmy for his loyalty and service to Cox, and am delighted to work with him over the next 12 months to carefully and thoughtfully transition Cox’s next senior leadership team.” Kennedy also addressed Hoffman’s rise to president of Cox Media Group. “Bill is a talented senior executive who will provide strong leadership, continuity and direction at Cox Media Group. His innate understanding of the integration of broadcast, print and digital media will help ensure Cox outlets maintain their enviable rankings in a highly competitive media landscape.”
WTMA, Charleston Names John Quincy PD. Cumulus Media’s WTMA, Charleston, South Carolina — “Charleston’s Big Talker” announces John Quincy is promoted from assistant program director to program director of the station. Quincy also serves as producer of the station’s morning program “Tara on TMA” hosted by Tara Servatius. Quincy has worked in the Charleston market since 1981 and he’s been with WTMA since 2002. He says, “I’m honored to have the opportunity to helm this legendary radio station. As WTMA celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2014, I’m more passionate than ever about its news/talk format.”
Imaging Master Suggests Slowing Down Voice Presentations to Be Noticed in “Hyper-Communicated World.” Highly respected radio/TV voice-over and imaging professional Nick Michaels, author of the concept, “over-communicated world,” tells TALKERS that we are now quickly moving past it to what he describes as the “hyper-communicated world” which he says can be “a very uncomfortable place.” He says, “One of the downsides of too many messages is the inability to focus on any one thing long enough to enjoy it. The by-product of the over-communicated world is the feeling that life is moving faster, even though we are sitting still. An occasional ride on a roller coaster is fun, but living on one is a nightmare.” Michaels suggests that radio personalities and commercial producers can make their work stand out in this dizzying environment by stepping back and slowing things down by adding drama and variety to their pacing. He advises, “Media, and especially advertising and promotion, can take advantage of this by making their messages slower and lower. In audio messages, speak softly and use the power of the pause. In the over-communicated world, messages that subliminally make you feel more comfortable have an advantage over those that do not. That advantage can be the difference between your message being received or rejected.” To read a recent interview with Nick Michaels that appeared in TALKERS magazine’s sister publication for music radio, RadioInfo, click here.
Clear Channel to Return WGST-AM, Atlanta to News/Talk. The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho tips us that Clear Channel Media and Entertainment plans to drop the Spanish sports on WGST-AM, Atlanta and return to news/talk with a syndicated lineup of stars including Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck, independently syndicated financial talk sensation Dave Ramsey, Talk Radio Network rising star Andrea Tantaros and “The Wall Street Journal This Morning” featuring Gordon Deal for AM drive. The rest of the schedule is not known at this time. It’s been eight months since CC dropped the news/talk – including local hosts Rob Johnson in mornings and Rusty Humphries (who did a separate program from his successful TRN syndicated show) in PM drive and opted for Spanish sports talk via ESPN Deportes.
Keith Cunningham Named Vice President of Programming at Clear Channel Seattle. Moving in from his most recent position as broadcast consultant for Jacobs Media, Keith Cunningham takes the VP of programming position and will be in charge of the programming at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s cluster in Seattle. Cunningham says, “The past seven years with Jacobs Media has been a wonderful experience and I feel fortunate to now have the opportunity to return to Clear Channel to work with Seattle’s great brands like ‘Kiss,’ KUBE, KJR-AM and FM and ‘The Brew.’ The Clear Channel Seattle cluster is well positioned for growth – the resources available to the team are second to none and each brand is loaded with great talent, both on and off the air.” The company’s Seattle properties include: hip hop KUBE, classic hits KJR-FM, rock KKBW “The Brew,” CHR KBKS “106.1 Kiss FM,” and sports talk simulcast KJR-AM and KNBQ-FM.
Clear Channel’s KOA, Denver Extends Deal with NFL’s Broncos. The relationship between Clear Channel’s KOA, Denver and the Denver Broncos is extended for another four years through the 2017 season. As part of the new deal, Broncos play-by-play will also air on Clear Channel’s classic rock KRFX “103.5 The Fox” beginning with the 2013 season. As in the past, the relating programming includes exclusive interviews with starting quarterback Peyton Manning, executive vice president of football operations John Elway and head coach John Fox as well as Broncos-themed talk shows. KOA’s Dave Logan is entering his 24th season in the Broncos broadcast booth and 17th season as the radio play-by-play voice of the team. Former Broncos wide receiver Ed McCaffrey will be back for his second year as color commentator. KOA serves as the flagship for more than 60 affiliate stations in nine states.
KIRO-FM, Seattle Adds Weekend Boat Show. Bonneville Seattle’s news/talk KIRO-FM announces the addition of “KIRO Radio On the Water” – a one-hour Sunday morning program hosted by Captain Bob McLaughlin. The program promises to discuss “nautical subjects from the latest boat maintenance techniques and models; to water sports and safety tips; to the cruise ship industry and marine life in the Puget Sound.” McLaughlin is not just any boat aficionado, he’s a founder and board member of Seawolf Rescue and Research, a non-profit organization that provides the expertise and equipment to rescue and relocate wild marine and terrestrial animals, while documenting the process for future educational and research opportunities. The group has conducted research and observational work for both the U.S. and Canadian governments. McLaughlin took part in the only successful reintroduction of an orphaned marine mammal being reunited with its family, and has co-produced an Emmy and Columbia Peabody award-winning documentary on the plight of killer whales.
Odds & Sods. CBS Radio News has been honored with five 2013 Headliner Awards and, for the third consecutive year, finished in first place in both the Network Newscast and Breaking News or Continuing Coverage categories. The National Headliner Awards recognize journalistic merit in the communications industry. In the Network Newscast category, correspondent Sam Litzinger and editor Dianne James won for the hourly newscast for coverage of the Newtown massacre; CBS Radio News also won in the Breaking News or Continuing Coverage of a Single News Event category for its Newtown coverage; and correspondent Heather Bosch won in the News Series category for her programs on “Women Warriors.” In the five-part series that aired for 2012 Memorial Day, Bosch talked to women who have been on the front lines in Afghanistan and are struggling to overcome the effects of PTSD…..CBS Radio’s KYW Newsradio in Philadelphia was honored by the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) with three regional Edward R. Murrow awards, standing out among other very competitive major market stations in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania…..Journal Broadcast Group’s news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee and country KTTS-FM, Springfield, Missouri were also honored with regional Edward R. Murrow awards. WTMJ picked up six including Best Breaking News, Continuing Coverage and Overall Excellence and KTTS-FM was honored with five awards including Best Newscast, Breaking News Coverage and Overall Excellence.
David Webb Explores Immigration with Governor Jan Brewer. With the subject of immigration reform front-and-center, SiriusXM Patriot channel evening talk host David Webb conducted a special one-hour interview program with Arizona Governor Jan Brewer called “David Webb’s American Forum with Jan Brewer” that aired on April 23 (encore airings will take place on April 27 at 10:00 am and 7:00 pm ET). Topics covered included immigration, border security, states’ rights and responsibilities. Webb and Governor Brewer posed for a photo at the satcaster’s New York studios.
Boston Marathon Bombing Aftermath, Immigration Reform Legislation, New Gun Law Proposals, Domestic Drones Issue, and Keystone Pipeline Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/23). Debate over terrorism policy in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing; new proposals for immigration reform legislation; gun law proposals; the lethal domestic drone debate and Washington, DC discussion over the Keystone Pipeline project were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Erica Farber to Moderate Major Advertising and Sales Panel at TALKERS New York 2013. The list of major speakers continues to grow as Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) president and CEO Erica Farber joins the roster of industry leaders that will be speaking at “TALKERS New York 2013,” the 16th annual installment of talk radio’s longest running and most important annual convention. Farber will serve as moderator for a major panel titled, “The State of Radio Advertising,” which will feature a variety of industry sales and marketing heavyweights discussing the key issues and potential directions of radio advertising, sales and marketing. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “The subject of revenue generation has never been more important in the radio industry conversation than it is right now and we couldn’t think of anyone in the business more qualified to lead it than Erica Farber. Her background and experience in sales and its vital relationship to all other elements of radio is legendary. Since joining the RAB during the past year and ascending to its top executive position, the organization has clearly become revitalized and is vibrant with the energy of optimism, creativity, information and service – all of which bodes well to the continuing resurgence of radio as a major advertising medium with not just a glorious past – but a solid future, as well.” Panelists for this session will be named in the coming days along with more of the 50-plus speakers that will be participating in the conference. The event is set for Thursday, June 6, 2013 at the Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side. Registration for the day including all activities and food service is $199 per person. An advance sellout is expected due to space limitations. Registration is limited to members of the working media and can only be taken via telephone. For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413. Complete agenda details are being posted daily. Stay tuned.
WYDE-AM/FM, Birmingham Re-Brands as “Superstation 101.” Crawford Broadcasting brings Leland Whaley aboard as program director and afternoon drive host and makes a few other lineup changes as it re-brands from its old “The Source” to “Superstation 101.” Lineup changes include Whaley in PM drive and the move of Michael Hart to mornings with Lee Davis. Talk Radio Network’s Andrea Tantaros joins the station in the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm slot followed by Dave Ramsey from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Whaley comes to WYDE-AM/FM from Cumulus Media’s crosstown WAPI-FM.
Hubbard’s KTMY, Minneapolis Shifts Programming. The female-targeted talk station KTMY, Minneapolis “myTALK 107.1” announces the midday program hosted by Jason Matheson and Alexis Thompson (pictured here) will move to the morning drive slot beginning February 28. The change comes after Ian Punnett was forced to leave the program he’s co-hosted with his wife Margery Punnett due to a battle with tinnitus. Margery Punnett remains at the station co-hosting the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program with Emma Thomas. As a result, the duo of Colleen Lindstrom and Bradley Traynor shift to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot. The St. Paul Pioneer-Press reports that Jason Matheson will leave his other gig as morning news anchor at KMSP-TV “Fox9” in order to do mornings at KTMY.
Have You Hugged Twitter Today? Radio consultant Holland Cooke remembers first learning about Twitter at the TALKERS magazine conference in New York in 2008 where it was explained, “You post short messages about what you’re doing, follow and reply to similar messages from others in your social network. These posts and replies can be a great way to increase engagement, and help keep a conversation active long after your show is over.” So, are hosts and jocks using Twitter effectively five years later? Cooke says the smart ones are. “Many broadcasters under-utilize social media, by merely using Twitter and Facebook as additional transmitters. Instead, use these media to socialize and you can become more than a disembodied voice in the dashboard. If you’re on air at a music station, this is a real opportunity, to engage deeper than the keep-it-quick format allows on air.” Holland Cooke has more advice for social media use here.
TRN’s Jerry Doyle to Be Featured at 2013 Phoenix Comicon. Nationally syndicated talk show host Jerry Doyle will be a featured guest at the 2013 Phoenix Comicon event celebrating the 20th anniversary of the sci-fi series “Babylon 5” May 23-26. Doyle was a star of the Emmy Award-winning series playing the character of Michael Garibaldi, chief security officer. Talk Radio Network CEO Mark Masters says of Doyle, “The real Jerry Doyle is not far removed from the character that he played in ‘Babylon 5,’ as they both uphold high standards, are outspoken and live with vivid pasts. The Jerry Doyle show is a mix of politics, pop culture and current events. Doyle’s strong opinions, diverse background and quick wit appeals to all listening audiences.”
Central Michigan Duo Flips to Sports Talk. Blarney Stone Broadcasting’s combo of AC WGRY-FM and adult standards WGRY-AM, Grayling, Michigan drops the music and signs on with CBS Sports Radio Network to broadcast its entire lineup on the simulcast. The stations will also air Detroit Tigers baseball and Detroit Red Wings hockey in addition to Grayling High School sports. President and CEO Cheryl Coyne says, “We are pleased to partner with CBS to provide Central/Northern Michigan a sports talk format that will engage local audience participation with passionate dialog and debate. WGRY-AM/FM will deliver compelling content that will soon be regionalized with a focus on Michigan sports.”
Talking Obama’s Weekend Golf Outing. Nationally syndicated talk host Kevin McCullough is pictured here on Fox News Channel’s “America Live with Megyn Kelly” yesterday where he discussed the issue of President Obama’s weekend golf outing with Tiger Woods which happened without the White House press corps’ knowledge, causing the press to question Obama’s transparency. A common criticism of news/talk cable television is the tendency for guests to talk over each other, not allowing the viewers to hear the arguments. A number of TALKERS staffers noted how Kevin McCullough and Democratic campaign advisor Mark Hannah clearly stated their takes on the issue and let each other fully state their arguments without interruption. This smart approach to the discussion of current events is also reflected in the tenor of McCullough’s radio program – a tactic that’s winning audience and affiliates for the hard-working media personality.
WHAM, Rochester Raises Record Funds for Children’s Hospital. Clear Channel news/talk outlet WHAM, Rochester – along with sister station “100.5 The Drive” – broadcast a two-day radiothon to benefit Golisano Children’s Hospital last Thursday and Friday. Listeners pledged more than $217,000 in donations and the amount raised represents the highest total ever for the annual event, now in its 12th year with the Clear Channel stations, and part of the Children’s Miracle Network. WHAM personalities appearing on the radiothon included Chet Walker, Bob Lonsberry, Joe Lomonaco, and Bob Matthews.
Russillo on the Hardwood. ESPN Radio personality Ryen Russillo (lower) boxes out Olympic gold medalist speedster Usain Bolt (upper) playing defense at the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game in Houston on Friday evening. Russillo is heard daily on ESPN Radio (and seen on ESPNEWS) with Scott Van Pelt on the “SVP & Russillo” show. We hear the over/under on Russillo was that he’d score 5 points but he beat that by tallying 7 points!
Spiking Gas Prices, Oscar Pistorius Murder Case, Obama Florida Golf Outing, Mindy McCready Suicide, and Sequestration/Deficit Reduction Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/18). The sudden and steep rise in gasoline prices; the murder charges being brought against South African Paralympian Oscar Pistorius; President Obama’s weekend Florida golf outing and the White House Press Corps’ anger at being excluded; the suicide of country singer Mindy McCready and the threat of sequestration and deficit reduction discussion were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
TRN’s Jerry Doyle to Debut Content Aggregator EpicTimes.com. Nationally syndicated talk show host Jerry Doyle is announcing the February 26 launch of his new media venture EpicTimes.com – an online aggregator of content he describes as “a solution-based website that is about you, your family, your finances, your health, your community and your country. It will aggregate news, resources and tools that are chosen and designed to have an immediate impact.” In laying out his vision for EpicTimes.com (which he says has been a year and a half in the making) Doyle says, “We are very excited to deliver directly to you some of the most influential voices spanning a variety of expertise, all designed to help you ‘opt-in’ to the things that most directly impact your life and ‘opt-out’ of the insanity of the so-called solutions brought to you by the permanent political class, the crony capitalists, the media cheerleaders, the purveyors of perpetual outrage and the seemingly endless collection of focus group phonies. EpicTimes.com will deliver to you the most relevant content in these and other impactful areas: The Economy and Personal Finance, Technology and Social Media, Small Business Resources, Politics and Policy Impact, Government Accountability, Health and Nutrition, Entertainment and the Arts, and Science and Space Exploration.” The content for Doyle’s new platform will closely mirror his own libertarian leanings. He doesn’t say whether the site will be advertising supported or funded by subscriptions.
Salem Re-Brands KNTH, Houston; Sam Malone in for AM Drive. The Salem Communications news/talker in Houston becomes the sixth station to adopt the new brand “The Answer.” It also provides a morning drive home for Houston radio personality Sam Malone, who most recently worked at Dan Patrick’s KSEV. KNTH adopts the “AM 1070 The Answer” moniker on Monday, February 18, joining New York, Los Angeles-Riverside, Dallas, Columbus and Chicago. Vice president, director of spoken word format Phil Boyce states, “We have created a new way to image and brand a news/talk station that seems to resonate with the audience. ‘The Answer’ means so many things to our listeners, like what happened overnight while you slept, why am I stuck in traffic, and what should I make of the gun control debate in the country? If you listen long enough, you will hear the answer.” Malone’s new program will air from 7:00 am to 10:00 am. He says, “It’s an honor joining the Salem Communications family. They are truly committed to providing excellent programming in cities across America.” His new program in partnership with Phonoscope New Media will be simulcast on local cable TV in the Houston area.”
Kevin Winter Leaves Role on WEEI, Boston’s AM Drive Show. Sports radio personality Kevin Winter joined WEEI, Boston’s Dennis & Callahan program in December in the sports news update role but now announces he is leaving the program. Citing his other duties with ESPN Radio, Winter states, “I appreciated the opportunity to join WEEI, but my time commitments at ESPN Radio were just too consuming for me to continue in both roles. I wish John and Gerry and the entire team the best going forward.” Winter replaced longtime sports news anchor Jon Meterparel in the update role. Meterparel left to pursue his play-by-play aspirations. The Boston Globe is reporting that Winter is exiting the show after failing to connect with hosts John Dennis and Gerry Callahan. WEEI vice president of programming and operations Jason Wolfe says, “I respect Kevin’s decision and wish him well in his future endeavors.”
Progressive Talk Program “The Union Edge” Expands on WKFB, Pittsburgh. Former KDKA, Pittsburgh program director Marshall Adams, through his Marshall Adams Media broadcast consultancy, is programming the Charles Showalter-hosted talk radio program. The program announces it is expanding to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot on WKFB, Jeannette in the Pittsburgh market. Showalter describes his program as “communicating with not-yet labor,” and states it “helps to counter years of anti-union propaganda from other radio programs.” The Pittsburgh-based program is also heard on affiliates: WPWC, Washington; WPRR-AM/FM, Grand Rapids; KGHI, Westport, Washington; KGHE, Elma, Washington; and WXPI, Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
Odds & Sods. CBS Radio’s KDKA, Pittsburgh helps raise more than $318,000 for needy families in the area via its “2013 NewsRadio 1020 KDKA Warmathon” to benefit Dollar Energy Fund. The two-day event is helping provide utility assistance to more than 900 Pittsburgh-area families. The ‘Warmathon,’ live radio fundraiser took place on February 7 and 8…..Talk radio pro Jeff Katz sits in for WRNO, New Orleans morning drive host Denny Schaffer tomorrow from 5:00 am to 9:00 am.
KTKT, Tucson Adds Alex “El Genio” Lucas for Mornings. Lotus Communications O&O KTKT, Tucson “990 ESPN Deportes” debuts the Alex “El Genio” Lucas morning show, airing daily from 4:00 am to 10:00 am and Saturday from 6 am to 10 am. Lotus describes the program as “a mix of music and talk that focuses on personal reflections, family values and family educational information – key topics in the Hispanic culture. Additionally, the show features sports coverage of Mexican league and international ‘futbol’ with Mexican television and radio sports commentators David Faitelson and Antonio Rosique.”
Obama State of the Union Address, Christopher Dorner Search, Pope Benedict Resigns, ObamaCare Costs and North Korea and Iran Nuclear Threats Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/11). Anticipation of President Obama’s State of the Union speech tonight; the search for suspected killer and former cop Christopher Dorner; Pope Benedict resigns; the costs of the Affordable Care Act; and North Korean and Iranian nuclear threats were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Whither Laura Ingraham? Affiliates Hear Tammy Bruce Today. The Talk Radio Network star has left the air amidst saying that she is leaving TRN, perhaps with plans to be back via another avenue in the near future. Although the departure seems abrupt, it comes as no surprise to industry observers who have long known of the not-so-secret friction that has existed for years between Ingraham and TRN’s top management. TALKERS has reached out to Talk Radio Network for information but has yet to receive a response. Former TRN syndicated talk host and current popular internet talk personality Tammy Bruce is filling in on the network slot where Ingraham’s program aired. On her website, Ingraham has posted the following message. “After more than 9 years with the distributor Talk Radio Network, I decided it was time to move on. After much thought and reflection, I have decided to pursue my first loves — modern dance and the xylophone. In the highly unlikely event that these efforts do not prove fruitful, I intend to return to radio. Seriously — to the more than 300 stations that carry the Laura Ingraham show and to all my loyal listeners, I feel the time is right to expand and retool my radio program and to explore other syndication options, which I am now actively pursuing. During this brief hiatus, my team and I will continue to deliver thought-provoking and entertaining analysis via my website.”
Entercom’s KGMZ, San Francisco Names Chris Townsend PM Drive Co-Host. With the departure of Brandon Tierney to CBS Radio Sports Network for the morning show beginning in January, the Entercom sports talker fills Tierney’s spot as co-host of the afternoon “The Drive” show with midday co-host Chris Townsend. He’ll partner up with Ric Bucher in the afternoon slot and Matt Steinmetz will host the late-morning “The Pulse” solo, at least for now. Townsend was upped from his evening show at “95.7 The Game” in September to the late-morning slot. In addition to his daily talk show work, he hosts the Oakland A’s radio pre-game show “The Dugout.”
WBEN, Buffalo Talk Host Tom Bauerle Shares Cardiac Diagnosis with Listeners. Last week, long time Buffalo talk host Tom Bauerle told his audience that he’ll be undergoing a procedure to have a pacemaker/defibrillator put in after being diagnosed with Brugada syndrome – or as Bauerle describes it to TALKERS – the “he was so healthy and he just dropped dead” disease. Bauerle says he’s always believed in being honest with his audience. “I have a very close bond with people who’ve listened to me because I do not pretend to be something I am not and the real people appreciate the truth in the era of spin.” So he explained that he had a routine EKG prior to planned elective surgery when doctors discovered he has the syndrome that can cause a sudden and fatal arrhythmia. Bauerle, still in his 40s, recently signed a long-term contract extension with Entercom’s WBEN back in October. We at TALKERS wish him the best in dealing with this condition.
Bay Area Media Blogger Rich Lieberman Debuts Weekend Talk Radio Show. San Francisco-based media blogger Rich Lieberman’s 415 Media has been the source of opinions and news scoops for Bay Area media (and beyond) for years. He’s also made a number of enemies in the region who don’t like his style or his willingness to publish speculation about their business. Now, Lieberman is taking to the air at Michael Zwerling-owned KOMY, Santa Cruz with a three-hour weekend program that airs on Saturday and Sunday evenings. Lieberman tells Fishbowl LA the show will be guest-oriented. He opened the first program speaking to KTVU-TV, Oakland evening news lead anchor Frank Somerville who discussed his adopting a black daughter. He also interviewed KKSF talk host John Rothmann. Lieberman tells Fishbowl LA, “Next weekend, I will be talking with actor Patrick Warburton as well as Alan Colmes, formerly of ‘Hannity & Colmes.’ Colmes has a new book out, and we’ll also take a look back at the 2012 presidential election…The show is guest-oriented right now. I wanted to charge it up during the holidays and start with a splash. But in the long run, the zeitgeist of ‘The Rich Lieberman Show’ is going to be my rants and opines, and talking about those topics with callers.”
Bonneville’s Arizona Sports 620 KTAR-AM Adds Mixed Martial Arts Program to Lineup. The fast-growing popularity of mixed martial arts (MMA), especially among young men, has a number of sports enterprises exploring the possibility the sport can draw audience on a level worthy of dedicated programming. Bonneville’s “Arizona Sports 620 KTAR-AM” is adding a new program to its lineup beginning Saturday, December 1 from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm called “The Power MMA Show” hosted by Jim Grieshaber, along with world-class MMA fighters and former ASU wrestling stars Ryan Bader and Aaron Simpson (pictured here, Bader at left, Simpson at right). The station describes the show as one that “will focus on the biggest stories of the week, the lives of fighters – from superstars to local talent, the growth of Arizona into an MMA hotbed and more.” Written and video content will be hosted on a new MMA section at ArizonaSports.com, with a team of Power MMA contributors providing local and national coverage. Bonneville Phoenix vice president of news and sports content Ryan Hatch says, “MMA is one of the fastest growing and most exciting sports in the world. We’re thrilled to launch the first-ever show of its kind in this market, hosted by world renowned experts and top notch fighters. This is going to be fun.”
Sports Talk’s Dino Costa Sparks ‘Battle’ with Chris Russo at SiriusXM. Sports talker Dino Costa – whose program airs on Chris Russo’s “Mad Dog Radio” on SiriusXM – has been getting some attention lately for his on-air jabs at the channel’s namesake and founder Chris Russo. A two-part interview with Costa appears on ShermanReport.com and Costa speaks frankly with publisher Ed Sherman about his battles with Russo – admitting to calling him a “has-been” on the air – and their strictly “professional” relationship. The bomb-throwing is even more interesting since Russo operates the channel and could oust Costa if he wanted. Costa is also not shy about expressing his desire for a bigger role in the sports talk world. Read the entire interview here.
Washington Tax Battle, Post-Sandy Clean-Up Costs, Liberty University-ObamaCare Case and Morsi’s Egyptian Power Grab Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/26). The struggle between the Obama Administration and House Republicans over coming tax hikes and spending cuts; the price tag for cleaning up after Hurricane Sandy in New York and New Jersey; the Supreme Court’s ordering lower court to reconsider Liberty University’s argument ObamaCare violates school’s religious freedom; and the power grab by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Norm Pattiz Delivers Straight Talk About Talk Industry at TALKERS New Media Seminar Los Angeles. Presenting the keynote speech at last Thursday’s TALKERS New Media Seminar Los Angeles, Courtside Entertainment Group CEO and Westwood One founder Norm Pattiz told the crowd that packed the Steve Allen Theatre that Rush Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke controversy has been a serious blow to the nationally syndicated talk radio business. He said that although the hype in the consumer media has died down, people on the streets trying to sell “controversial” talk radio at the national level are finding it harder than ever and he fears the national talk syndication model may be permanently harmed. He also commented on the current structure of major broadcasting companies burdened with a high debt load that hampers programming. Pattiz said the days of two stations battling creatively in a market are almost gone because the corporations are singularly concerned with reducing their debt load and are not able to focus their energies on building and supporting programming and personalities with which they can compete in the advertising wars. See Pattiz’ speech from the New Media Seminar in the Talkers TV box on the right side of this page.
WCCO, Minneapolis to Partner with Countertop Manufacturer for Street-Level Display and Studios. According to a piece in the St. Paul Business Journal, CBS Radio’s news/talk WCCO and quartz countertop manufacturer Cambria are planning a showroom on the Second Ave. street-level space in the building that houses WCCO and CBS Radio’s other stations. The story notes the retail space has been vacant since 2008. A spokesperson for Cambria says the details of the partnership between CBS and Cambria will be made public over the next 90 days but it’s expected the space will have a slab gallery and could also contain a highly visible street-level broadcast studio.
Cleveland Browns Radio Rights Up for Grabs. Crain’s Cleveland Business is reporting that the NFL’s Cleveland Browns, whose contract with Clear Channel’s news/talk WTAM and rock/talk WMMS expires after this season, are opening up the radio rights for play-by-play for bids. Crain’s says “all signs are pointing to Clear Channel” retaining those rights, but it appears any serious bids from competitors may raise the price of the club’s radio broadcasts. CBS Radio may be interested in adding a sports play-by-play franchise for its year-old sports WKRK “92.3 The Fan.” The two companies were recently involved in bidding for Cleveland Indians play-by-play with Clear Channel coming out on top and winning a five-year renewal deal to keep the games on WTAM.
TRN’s Rusty Humphries Wraps “Obama’s Failing Agenda Tour.” Nationally syndicated talk show host Rusty Humphries, seen here boarding a private jet, was part of the Americans for Prosperity-sponsored “Obama’s Failing Agenda” tour through several swing states this fall. Humphries was part of the bus tour through Ohio and Florida and he says of his time on the tour, “I always welcome the opportunity to get out of the studio and talk one-on-one with the people in America to see exactly what they are feeling. I could not have picked a better way to prepare for this new time slot, than by spending a few days listening to people’s frustrations about what is going on in our country and how they want real change.” Humphries is referring to his new Eastern Time PM drive air time on Talk Radio Network.
Global Security Systems and iBiquity Digital Team Up for Comprehensive EAS Messages. The system is currently installed and operational on two Greater Media HD Radio stations in the Detroit market where chief engineer Mike Kernen (pictured here in the Greater Media Detroit studios) says, “The combination of HD Radio Technology and capabilities provided by GSS offers the most complete alert and warning content in the broadcast radio environment.” Global Security Systems, LLC (GSS) — the systems integrator and service provider of GSSNet, ALERT FM and Alert Studio — and iBiquity Digital Corporation, the developer of FM and AM HD Radio Technology and Active Radio, have teamed up to deliver this comprehensive Emergency Alert System (EAS) that provides emergency audio and text content over analog FM and HD Radio System. The system is Common Alert Protocol (CAP) — compatible and Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) — compliant. In addition, multi-channel HD Radio technology empowers emergency officials to potentially broadcast different languages using different channels during a crisis. iBiquity Digital president and CEO Bob Struble states, “It’s particularly gratifying to know that by providing expanded alerting capabilities of HD Radio System through our relationship with GSS, we are part of a comprehensive radio broadcasting solution that may save lives in local communities across the country.”
Tuesday’s Second Presidential Debate, Presidential Race Polls, Taliban-Wounded Pakistani Teen Case, and Freefall from Space Story Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/15). Tonight’s second presidential debate; the trends in the presidential race polls; the case of the 14-year-old Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban for advocating for education for women; and Felix Baumgartner’s freefall from 24 miles above the Earth’s surface were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Michael Savage Tells San Francisco Chronicle His Return to Radio is Imminent. The San Francisco Chronicle reports former Talk Radio Network nationally syndicated talk star Michael Savage (who won his freedom from TRN in arbitration recently) plans to be back on the radio within two weeks. Savage tells the paper, “I’ve got to get back before these (presidential) debates are over. And when I do, it will be bigger than ever.” Savage’s attorney, Daniel Horowitz, says Savage is in negotiations with three “major players” but wouldn’t say which ones or what station might serve as a flagship.
President Obama Calls in to Tom Joyner Show this Morning. This morning (10/10) on the Tom Joyner Morning Show President Barack Obama called in and spoke to Tom Joyner and Sybil Wilkes about the debate, the importance of voting, his focus on the African American Community, and his thoughts on winning this tight election. In the opinion of the TALKERS editors, the President made several powerful news making comments. To read a key excerpt from this exclusive interview, click here.
Programmer Marshall Adams Exits All-News WYAY, Atlanta. Before joining the Cumulus Atlanta all-newser early this year, Marshall Adams served as program director at CBS Radio’s KDKA, Pittsburgh. Now, the word is Adams has exited the fledgling all-news operations. There’s no word from Cumulus who will take over the programming role at WYAY.
Mancow Show in Pre-Recorded Mode During Move to New Studios. The Chicago-based and TRN-FM nationally syndicated Mancow program is airing taped shows this week as the program prepares to launch in its TV-radio simulcast format on October 22, according to Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder. Mancow’s show will emanate from the studios of Fox TV-owned WPWR-TV, Chicago with the 6:00 am to 8:00 am hours being simulcast on TV. Also, Feder reports that former “Ebert & Roeper” program executive producer Don Dupree has been hired as director and produce of the Mancow show. Mancow’s program had been produced at Cumulus Media’s Chicago studios.
The Future of PDs: Brand Managers. Perhaps the headline of this story should read the “present” of program directors as an increasing number of companies are adopting the title “brand manager” to describe the role of the radio station/group position historically known as “program director.” With the likes of so highly respected and forward thinking a company as Saga Communications joining the ranks of those using this more expansive title RadioInfo recognizes the movement is shifting from trend status to a significant paradigm shift. The concept is articulated by Saga Communications executive vice president Steve Goldstein in the following memo received by the company’s program directors in all formats, talk and music:
I have some very important and exciting news…
We truly live in a multi-platform world. As a Program Director, you are now spending an increased amount of your time thinking about and working with our various digital platforms. Whether it be the station website(s), social media such as Facebook, Twitter or crafting emails and texts, it’s all now a part of the PD’s day. This is in addition to managing the external marketing feel and visual aspects of the brand.
And of course, all of this is on top of creating vital and compelling on-air radio with all of the moving parts of morning shows, music, talk programming, news, sports, etc.
So, we’ve been thinking a lot about how vastly different the job of the Program Director is in 2012 and where it is likely to go in the coming years.
We’ve been thinking about how successful programmers are morphing their skills to become proficient at not just managing the on-air product, but the overall brand. And conversely, it has exposed the vulnerability of Program Directors who are not learning and growing as we become more digital.
When you drill it all down, what it really means is that the PD is no longer just a PROGRAM DIRECTOR, but a multi-platform BRAND MANAGER.
And so with the notion that things will continue to evolve, we are making a formal title change for all of our PDs from Program Director to Brand Manager. This change is intended to not only reflect how people in our business think about the position of PD but how PD’s think about themselves.
Managing the assets of a brand is what you do today, and we think this new title better reflects the change in responsibility and overall outlook.
We discussed this during our recent General Manager meeting in Florida and it met with tremendous approval.
Congratulations BRAND MANAGER.
Saga Communications owns and operates more than 100 broadcast stations in 29 markets.
ESPN Confirms Central Florida Affiliates. ESPN Radio remains on the Central Florida markets of Orlando – on Cox Media’s WDBO-AM beginning November 12 – and in Tampa Bay on Clear Channel’s WDAE. The moves come after Genesis Communications elected not to renew its affiliation with ESPN radio on WBHO, Tampa and WHOO, Orlando. As we reported yesterday, Cox Media is flipping the AM side of WDBO-AM/FM to sports as “ESPN 580 Orlando” and will carry the ESPN Radio lineup including Mike & Mike, Colin Cowherd, and SVP & Russillo. WDBO has not announced a local PM drive talent as this time. ESPN senior vice president, production, business divisions Traug Keller says, “We’re pleased to team with Cox to broadcast ESPN Radio content on WDBO-AM 580, one of the strongest signals in the Southeast, and with Clear Channel to provide ESPN programming on 620 WDAE. Our new affiliates in both Tampa and Orlando are a huge step up in signal strength, business acumen and our drive to grow our business with the best in the business.”
Tom Bauerle Re-Ups with Entercom’s WBEN, Buffalo. Buffalo talk host Tom Bauerle is becoming synonymous with talk radio in the market as the Buffalo native signs a long-term contract extension to remain with WBEN hosting the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program. Bauerle has been with WBEN since 2002. He started his career in the market at Entercom sister WGR in 1982. We worked for a few years outside the market at WTKN, Tampa-St. Pete and KMOX, St. Louis before returning to Buffalo in 1991.
XEPRS, San Diego “ESPN Radio 1700” Renews with ESPN for Three Years. San Diego sports outlet ESPN Radio 1700 announces it strikes a deal with ESPN Radio to continue airing its programming in the market for another three years. XEPRS is owned by Broadcasting Company of the Americas and carries Mike & Mike, “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” Hill & Schlereth, overnight and weekend programming as well as MLB and college sports play-by-play. Broadcasting Company of the Americas VP/market manager Norman Feuer states, “We’re thrilled to continue our partnership with ESPN Radio. As San Diego’s sports leader, it’s only fitting to have a strong bond with the ‘Worldwide Leader in Sports.’ Programming the quality of ESPN Radio deserves a home in San Diego. We are proud to have our stations as that home.”
WSSP, Milwaukee Adds Ted Davis to PM Drive Show. Ted Davis has served as the voice of Milwaukee Bucks basketball for the past 15 seasons. Now, he adds a regular role at Entercom’s sports talk WSSP “Sportsradio 1250” where he’ll be part of “The Big Show” afternoon program with Steve “Sparky” Fifer, Ramie Makhlouf and Gary Ellerson. Program director Tom Parker says Davis will begin during the basketball season adding hoops analysis. “Ted will weigh in on the day’s top Wisconsin sports stories. Of course he’ll share his unique perspective on Milwaukee basketball. Ted is a sports talk pro who knows what fans want and will tell it like it is.”
Odds & Sods. Entercom promotes WEEI-FM, Springfield, Massachusetts and WEEI-AM, Worcester, Massachusetts general manager David Oldread to director of sales and operations for the Worcester, Springfield and WVEI-FM Providence outlets for the Boston-based WEEI sports talk brand…..SiriusXM will broadcast a special “town hall” broadcast with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell live from SiriusXM studios on October 22. NFL great Michael Strahan (also co-host of ABC TV’s “Live with Kelly and Michael” and analyst on “Fox NFL Sunday” ) will interview Goodell and the commissioner will take questions from the live studio audience…..CBS Radio’s WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia donates $5,000 to Michael Vick’s Team Vick Foundation. Vick says, “The city of Philadelphia embraced me, welcomed me here when the Eagles signed me – giving me a second chance to play the game that I love. We at Team Vick Foundation are thankful to CBS Radio for supporting our work in the community and look forward to lasting partnership.”…..Tribune’s WGN, Chicago will air abbreviated editions of its “Sports Night” program to carry the two remaining presidential debates as well as the vice-presidential debate. The VP debate is Thursday, October 11 and the two presidential debates are on October 16 and 22.
KDKA, Pittsburgh Hosts Marcellus Shale Expo. The possibility of large natural gas reserves in the Marcellus Shale is a major ongoing story for Western Pennsylvania and CBS Radio’s KDKA is hosting a Marcellus Shale Expo on Thursday, October 11. The event is sponsored by Range Resources, a developer of natural gas extraction technology. The day’s events will include panel discussions hosted by KDKA’s Mike Pintek and Robert Mangino and will include representatives: Frank Brooks Robinson, Jr., of the Governor’s Action Team; Petra Mitchell from Catalyst Connection and Rep. Jim Christiana from Beaver County. Afternoon session panelists include Alan Eichler of District Oil & Gas Operations; Rep. Marc Gergely from Allegheny County and John Ubinger from PA Environmental Council. Matt Pitzarella from Range Resources will serve on both panels. Mike Pintek will broadcast his program on site from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
Hearst Television President David Barrett to Receive Broadcasters Foundation of America’s 2013 Golden Mike Award. Awarded annually to a broadcasting executive who has championed the BFoA’s mission, the 2013 Golden Mike Award will be given to Hearst Television president and CEO David Barrett at a gala black-tie fundraiser at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on February 25. Broadcasters Foundation of American chairman Philip J. Lombardo states, “David has been a vigorous champion of the Foundation’s mission to help broadcasters who are in desperate need. David’s exemplary leadership at Hearst, his commitment to the Foundation’s charitable cause, and his dedication to community service have earned him this acknowledgement. We are proud to honor him.”
Newt Talks Politics with Alan Stock. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (and recent presidential candidate) poses for a photo with KDWN, Las Vegas morning drive host Alan Stock at the Beasley news/talk station’s studios. Gingrich appeared on Stock’s program to talk about the presidential race and took calls from listeners.
Presidential Race Polls, Obama ‘Big Bird’ Ad Controversy, Romney Foreign Policy Speech, and Jerry Sandusky Sentenced Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/9). New polling data showing Mitt Romney gaining on or pulling ahead of President Obama; the controversy of the use of the Children’s Television Workshop’s Big Bird in an Obama ad; Mitt Romney’s recent foreign policy speech; and the sentencing of former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Lionel Joins Morning Show at Merlin Media’s WWIQ, Philadelphia. Talk media personality Lionel – known for his years of expanding talk radio’s dimensions with successful stints in national syndication and in local markets gigs including New York City – joins the morning drive show at Merlin Media’s WWIQ, Philadelphia beginning today. Lionel, who anchors Tribune’s WPIX-TV, New York’s “Morning News” from 4:00 am to 6:00 am and produces commentaries for the station that air on its 10:00 pm news, will join the program with Al Gardner from 6:00 am to 8:30 am. In addition to these “traditional media” gigs, Lionel has been operating the digital media station LionelMedia.com for the past several years.
Gregg Henson Named PD at WPGB and WBGG, Pittsburgh. Sports talk and news/talk pro Gregg Henson takes the programming reins at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk WPGB, Pittsburgh and sister sports talk WBGG “970 ESPN.” Henson most recently served as director of programming operations at Federated Media’s WOWO, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Henson says, “I’m excited to return to the Clear Channel family and I look forward to working with the excellent staff at ‘FM News Talk 104.7’ and ‘970 ESPN.’ Pittsburgh’s passionate and loyal Steelers and Penguins fans make this an exciting new opportunity.” CC Pittsburgh OM David Edgar states, “Gregg has the skills and passion to lead our sports, talk, and news programming on all of our brands in Pittsburgh to new levels of success. His past experience will be a great asset to the Clear Channel Pittsburgh team.” Henson replaces Jay Bohannon who exited the cluster last month.
Dave Ramsey Celebrates 20th Anniversary in Radio with Big Nashville Bash including Affiliate Meetings and Gala Live Broadcast. This past Friday, September 28, nationally syndicated radio talk show host Dave Ramsey marked his 20th year in radio with a special episode of “The Dave Ramsey Show.” The program took place before a live audience of more than 2,000 listeners in a huge tent in the parking lot of Ramsey headquarters in suburban Nashville. It included calls from long-time listeners and well-wishes from friends and celebrities such as Brad Paisley, George Stephanopoulos, Mark Cuban, Billy Gibbons, Piers Morgan, Zac Brown, Neil Cavuto, Darrell Waltrip, and Glenn Beck. Video of the show was streamed live online. Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam declared September 28, 2012 Dave Ramsey Day in the state of Tennessee. He presented the proclamation to Ramsey during the first hour of the radio show (see photo). The show was the culmination of Ramsey’s fifth annual Affiliate Executive Council (AEC) meeting held last week between Wednesday and Friday (9/26-28) in which he and his staff provided some 60 executives from his affiliates across the country with seminars, workshops breakout sessions and entertainment activities experienced in true Nashville fashion. A highlight of the AEC event was an industry trade panel featuring professionals who have never been on one stage together. The panel focused on current industry issues and events and was moderated by Radio Advertising Bureau CEO Erica Farber. Al Peterson from NTS Media Online, Gene McKay from Inside Radio, and Michael Harrison from TALKERS and RadioInfo participated on the panel (see photo). According to Harrison, “Attending the Ramsey event was an eye opener into how this amazing broadcaster and his superb staff have created a viable, productive partnership with their affiliate radio stations as well as a personal bond with them on a level unmatched by any other syndication company or network in the business. Ramsey has created a business model and success story worthy of emulation, indeed!”
Syndicators Hit the Deck Running Today to Promote Shows to Stations Left Unprepared for Savage Exit. After a weekend during which approximately 300 radio station managers who were affiliated with TRN’s Michael Savage Show (“The Savage Nation”) were trying to figure out what to put in the gaping vacancy left in their schedule by the sudden exit of Michael Savage from the airwaves this past Friday, the syndication and network community are readying a mad dash to get to them and have them consider taking any of a number of their available programs as its replacement. Savage left the airwaves without warning after scoring a victory in a fierce legal battle with TRN to get out of his existing contract (see story below). Talk Radio Network has teased that it will name Savage’s replacement (as “radio’s October surprise”) – at least within its stable of available hosts – sometime today.
Talk Host Michael Savage Produces First Internet-Only Broadcast. Former Talk Radio Network nationally syndicate host Michael Savage – who won his arbitration case against the company last week to get out of his contract and left terrestrial immediately thereafter – produced his first Ustream-hosted webcast on Sunday evening (9/30). Savage broadcast for about an hour. His website encourages visitors to check back for announcements of future broadcasts. The video is not being archived for repeat views at this time – so it must be watched live – and chatter on Ustream’s message board reveals some Savage fans are irked by that move. Could it be that Savage is trying to create an appetite for a pay model? The arbitrator’s decision voided Savage’s contract with TRN and allows him to work anywhere he likes. Stay tuned!
TRN’s America’s Radio News Network Inks with Armed Forces Radio Network. Talk Radio Network-owned America’s Radio News Network announces it has signed an agreement with Armed Forces Radio Network to serve as the top-of-the-hour news on the broadcast service for American military personnel. American Forces Radio Network Worldwide director Jef Reilly, tells ARN, “The troops want news, not agendas, and I think you’re delivering that.” ARN/ANN vice president for news John McCaslin says, “Our expanding team of news anchors, producers and board operators is extremely proud to enlist the trust of the millions of men and women of America’s armed forces, who every day put their lives on the line and sacrifice so much for those of us here at home.”
Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington Brings Del Walters Aboard Full Time. Washington, DC’s all-news WTOP announces broadcast journalist Del Walters is promoted to a full-time position with the station. WTOP states, “For more than two decades, Walters has been broadcasting in the Washington/Baltimore area, working as an anchor and investigative reporter for various stations including WJLA in Washington and WMAR in Baltimore. Walters joined WTOP in 2010 as a part-time anchor and reporter but will now step into a full-time role.”
Clear Channel Flips WGST, Atlanta to Spanish Sports Talk. Last week we reported that Clear Channel Media and Entertainment would be dropping the news/talk at heritage WGST, Atlanta and flipping to either a Spanish-language format or all-comedy. CC chose to go with Spanish sports talk and debuted 640 ESPN Deportes on Friday afternoon.
Radio Vet Ron Cutler Shares Secrets of his Financial Success in New Radio Biz Book. Radio veteran Ron Cutler turned a $15,000 investment in this industry into a $10 million payoff and now he’s written a book explaining how he did it. The colorful radio and business book is titled How I Turned $15,000 into $10,000,000 (HIT) and You Can Too, and it serves up a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse into the radio business. The advice is based on Cutler’s colorful experience as a top-rated Philadelphia DJ “Ron Diamond”; as the original owner and creator of the legendary KOME, the San Jose FM radio station that he sold to Michael Wiener and Gerald Carrus who formed Infinity Broadcasting making KOME Infinity’s first station; as the creator of 15 hit radio shows and services, Cutler was instrumental in launching the national shows of Rick Dees, Tom Joyner and Cousin Brucie; as the owner of Cutler Comedy Networks, a leading comedy programming company that serviced more than 4,000 radio stations and was acquired in 1996 by Premiere Radio Networks; and as an entrepreneur in numerous entertainment ventures. He tells TALKERS, “My path wasn’t an easy one. At this stage in my life, I’d like to help others get a leg up, particularly during this challenging economy. Perhaps the lessons that taught me resilience, determination and self-reliance will resonate with others.” For more information visit www.roncutlerbooks.com. To interview Ron Cutler contact Amir Forester at 310-857-6207 or e-mail email@example.com.
Ronn Owens Disputes Reports of His Demise at KGO. Addressing yesterday morning’s lead story on the TALKERS magazine morning headlines, attributed to San Francisco media blogger Rich Lieberman, KGO talk show host Ronn Owens tells TALKERS there is no truth to the report that his contract will be bought out before it ends on December 31 and that the station will replace him with a newsy program. Owens also tells TALKERS he has no knowledge of Cumulus Media’s plans beyond his contract but says, “Cumulus has been totally nice to me.” Owens says Lieberman “has been attacking me for over a year for the changes that have taken place at KGO,” referring to the dismissal of other talk show hosts and staffers that took place after Cumulus assumed control of the station. Owens says Lieberman’s blog story is “totally made up.” He says, in fact, his agent is not Don Buchwald but is David Katz. He also says he does not make a seven-figure salary and never said that his ego is too big to be paid $300,000, as Lieberman reported. Regarding his future at KGO, Owens tells TALKERS, “San Francisco is the crown jewel of places to live and whatever happens after December 31 happens.”
CBS Radio’s Atlanta Sports FM Will Be “SportsRadio 92.9 The Game.” Set to debut in mid-October, CBS Radio’s new FM sports talk outlet – the soon-to-be-former Triple A WZGC, Atlanta will take the handle “SportsRadio 92.9 The Game.” Media chatter around Atlanta is that the station may reveal its lineup as early as next week in order to give the sales staff something concrete to pitch to clients prior to the launch. Earlier media reports alluded to the possibility that “Two Live Stews” Doug and Ryan Stewart – recently dropped from crosstown WQXI “790 The Zone” – might pop up on the station but TALKERS sources indicate that will not be the case. The programming philosophy we’re hearing about for this station is being termed as “fresh.” Stay tuned!
Nation’s Biggest Talk Hosts Sign On to Petition Against TV Networks for Biased Election Coverage. The missive detailing a complaint against ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN for “rigging this election and taking sides in order to pre-determine the outcome,” is penned by the conservative Media Research Center’s L. Brent Bozell III but it is signed by some of the country’s top nationally syndicated talk show hosts. Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh, TRN’s Laura Ingraham and Cumulus Media Networks’ Mark Levin signed the open letter. In it, Bozell writes, in part: “A free and balanced media are crucial to the health of this country. It is your duty as journalists – as outlined in the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics – to ‘distinguish between advocacy and news reporting,’ while simultaneously ‘seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues.’ There is a reason why the media are viewed with such disdain by the American public, as evidenced by every recent poll on the issue.”
Armstrong & Getty Reportedly Suspended for Call to Criticize Islam. The suspension has not been confirmed by Clear Channel Sacramento management but the duo of Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty were off their KSTE, Sacramento flagship station as well as KKSF, San Francisco (where the show is simulcast) on Tuesday morning after the show sent out a press release promoting its call to listeners to post videos and photos critical of Islam and the prophet Muhammad to “flood the world with cartoons, movies and songs saying bad things about Muhammad until they finally grow up. In other words, free speech,” stated Jack Armstrong. The political blog The Right Perspective is reporting the duo have been suspended though it doesn’t state a period or confirmation of the sanction. KTXL-TV, Sacramento produced a piece on the controversy and also was unable to get a comment on record from Clear Channel’s Sacramento management.
Radio’s Strengths in the Media Landscape. Radio consultant Holland Cooke says the best session he attended at the recent 2012 Radio Show in Dallas was by Arbitron senior VP/marketing Bill Rose and highlighted how “Radio provides opportunities to reach consumers when advertising is relevant to what they are doing.” Cooke says, “This document [the study cited] is a powerful selling tool, and real instructive to programmers and on-air talent…especially on-air talent that sells (and smart on-air talent does).” The data Rose used in his presentation was from USA Touchpoints, a national sample that captures media usage, shopping behavior, emotional mindset, via smartphone app, every half hour, from 10-day panelists. Read Holland Cooke’s report and analysis here.
WWNC, Asheville AM Drive Co-Host Jerri Jameson Moves On. Morning drive co-host Jerri Jameson announces she will exit the Clear Channel station October 12 to pursue other interests. Jameson writes on her station blog, “After more than 10 years with Clear Channel Asheville, it is time for me to move on from radio. It was a difficult decision. I have gotten to know some truly wonderful people in our great community and for that I will always be grateful. Waking up each morning to share the daily goings on around town, the state and the world with you has truly been an honor I will treasure forever.”
The Young Guns of Talk Radio. Ask anyone, especially those working for the consumer media, and they’ll tell you that personalities working as hosts on news/talk stations are all old, white men. Radio’s general lack of a “farm system” doesn’t help that misconception much, but the truth is there are young people – some men and some women – working in news/talk radio today. Tomorrow at Talkers.com, executive editor Kevin Casey writes about some of those broadcasters and their thoughts on being young and on the air in the news/talk business.
Willie Geist to Join NBC’s “Today.” According to Brian Stelter’s Media Decoder in The New York Times, MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” cast member Willie Geist will become co-host of the 9:00 am hour of NBC’s “Today” program. The deal has not been officially announced and Stelter reports Geist will still appear on “Morning Joe,” probably during the 6:00 am hour but will give up the “Way Too Early” 5:30 am newscast he’s been anchoring. It’s also believed Geist will fill in for Matt Lauer when he is absent.
Rumors of Big Names Being Sought to Run CNN. Sony chairman Howard Stringer is one of the executives rumored to be on the list of those being sought to take charge of struggling CNN when current chief Jim Walton leaves at the end of the year. The New York Post reports a source inside CNN states, “We should know something in a month, perhaps before the elections. Unlike CNN International, we just don’t have someone with a mission. We need our Roger Ailes.” Other media execs reportedly being considered are former NBCUniversal president and CEO Jeff Zucker, former ABC News president David Westin, and former NBC News chief Neal Shapiro.
Odds & Sods. CBS Radio’s all-news KNX, Los Angeles takes its “KNX on Your Corner” live remote series to Glendale, California on October 19. The day of programming will include features about Glendale’s history, current issues and plans for future growth. Coverage will include live interviews with city officials and other special guests. The station will continue the series in Beverly Hills on December 7…..SiriusXM will present live coverage of the 2012 Ryder Cup golf tournament. The biennial event pits the US against Europe and is being played this year at Medinah Country Club in Illinois.
Part of the Skyline. CBS Radio’s all-news KYW, Philadelphia is now a part of the city’s skyline after the station put up a new, lit call letter sign atop its offices at 400 Market Street in downtown Philly. The KYW logo and the iconic CBS “eye,” were hung over this past weekend and faces east, making it visible from Camden, New Jersey, I-95 and the Ben Franklin Bridge. The station notes this was not a simple building procedure. “The difficult process of hanging an illuminated sign above street level, particularly in the downtown area, took five years before receiving city zoning and art commission approval. KYW is now the only radio station in Philadelphia County to be granted this right.”
Obama on ‘The View’ and at the UN, Iran’s Bluster, Criticism of Religious Figures, Libya Aftermath, and NFL Replacement Officials Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/25). President Obama’s Appearance on ‘The View’ and his speech at the United Nations; Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s blustery speech at the UN and his appearance on Piers Morgan; criticism of religious figures; analysis of the aftermath of the Libya attack and furor over the NFL’s replacement officials were some of the most-talked-about-stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Contentious End to Democratic National Convention for Some Talkers on Radio Row…But Not All. By now, many talk media people are aware of a piece by conservative pundit John Fund in the National Review Online that beats up the Obama Administration in which he alleges it kept high-level Democrats from appearing on radio programs hosted by conservatives that camped out on radio row at the convention. Radio America’s Roger Hedgecock and Breitbart Radio’s Larry O’Connor are quoted in the piece saying they were frozen out from getting any decent guests. Hedgecock reportedly packed up and left early while KRLA, Los Angeles morning show co-host Ben Shapiro says his attempt to get John Podesta on their show with Heidi Harris and Brian Whitman was stopped when Podesta’s handler intervened. However, nationally syndicated talk host Kevin McCullough (also principal of content creator XtreMedia) has a different take. He writes, “If talk show hosts are outraged that big names aren’t sitting down to speak with them in Charlotte, then they are only weakening their own brand. Have we not learned anything from the attacks on Limbaugh and fellow talkers? Are we actually claiming that guests are the prerequisite for what should be our own success? We have the bully pulpit of a live microphone every day, and if a talker can’t turn that into a distinct advantage for their own purposes every day, then they are simply in the wrong business. Talk hosts, but specifically CONSERVATIVES, should be slow to anger when liberals refuse to go on our platforms. As a conservative, I’m eager to go on liberal outlets, because I actually have the chance to put my ideas in front of people who disagree with me — I actually have a chance to win them over. Whining because people who disagree with you won’t come on your show is pretty much the polar opposite of that idea. As idea generators we should never be dependent upon someone sitting across a table from us to be interesting, to have something to say, or to be able to say it well. I hope that the younger generation of talkers will observe this fundamental truth…The more you depend on other people to generate YOUR success, the less successful you will ever be!”
Newsy Approach at the DNC Gets the Guests. TRN-operated America’s Radio News Network reports it had no problems getting high-profile Democrats to sit in front of its microphones. ARNN – which provides 15 hours of long-form news content to its more than 350 affiliates – reports to TALKERS that on day three of the convention it delivered reports to its stations that included interviews with: Rev. Jesse Jackson, Delaware Governor Jack Markel, Senator Kent Conrad, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, among others.
Talk Host Ray Lucia Responds to SEC Actions. Yesterday, TALKERS magazine reported nationally syndicated financial advice talk host Ray Lucia’s company – RJL Companies – is being charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission with misleading potential investors and violating several sections of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. Lucia says his company will vigorously defend itself in the case against a slide presentation his company has not used in two years. He cites former SEC Commissioner, Roel Campos, who is now the head of Locke Lord’s SEC Enforcement and Regulation practice, who made the following statement: “It is disappointing that the SEC would file an administrative matter because it principally disagrees with an inflation rate that has been used regularly by economists and other professionals. No harm is alleged to have occurred to any investors and this matter appears to reflect an honest disagreement about statistics and estimates of investor returns under hypothetical situations. Mr. Lucia disagrees strenuously with the SEC’s allegations that affected his estimates of possible returns. This type of matter should have been resolved during the inspection process.”
Talk Host Phil Hendrie Disagrees with Syndicator’s Suit Against Dial Global Et Al. Consider TRN-FM-syndicated talk show host Phil Hendrie not one who supports the suit by TRN CEO Mark Masters against Dial Global and numerous other industry program suppliers. Hendrie issued a statement that after reading the suit and, especially the paragraph that states, “Today, by bringing this Action, Plaintiffs stand not only for themselves, but also for every smaller independent syndicator, network or programming producer, and for the hosts, producers, technicians and other Americans whose livelihoods are dependent upon these independent syndicators,” his response is as follows: “I’d like to make it very clear that TRN does not represent my views and I certainly don’t need them ‘standing up’ for me in regard to this lawsuit, which I don’t support. My livelihood is not dependent on TRN.”
ESPN Makes Inroads Against WFAN in New York City. In a piece in the New York Daily News, writer David Hinckley reports ESPN’s WEPN-AM/FM – to split apart when the AM side becomes ESPN Deportes today – climbed a hair above longtime CBS Radio’s sports talk market dominator WFAN in the midday slot of 10:00 am to 1:00 pm in the ratings (we’re assuming persons 6-plus) for Colin Cowherd’s and Mike Lupica’s shows. Hinckley’s story points out that WEPN’s David Roberts admits the flip of WEPN-AM to Spanish language may affect some of its English-speaking audience but the new 98.7 signal has been a smash for the station overall. Read Hinckley’s piece about sports talk in New York City here.
Barron’s Names Ric Edelman #1 Independent Financial Advisor in America. The radio and television talk show host and principal of the Edelman Financial Services firm – which manages more than $7.9 billion for more than 17,000 clients – is named the number one independent financial advisor in the nation by Barron’s for the third time. Edelman states, “I am excited and honored. We are committed to sharing our knowledge with consumers across the country. To be recognized by Barron’s repeatedly for these efforts is truly gratifying.” In addition to his independently syndicated talk radio program, “The Truth About Money,” that emanates from flagship WMAL-AM/FM, Washington and is heard in 57 other markets, Edelman hosts a public TV program of the same name.
President Obama’s Record Tops the Talkers TenTM for the Week of September 3-7. The president’s record during his first four years in office was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, set against the backdrop of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. Coming in at #2 this week was the DNC speeches. At #3 was the controversy over God and Jerusalem in the Democratic Party platform and at #4 was the United States’ slide on the global competitiveness scale. The Talkers TenTM – a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio – is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The XtreMedia-produced Sunday evening “Dani Johnson Radio Show” is picked up by affiliates: KTUR, Salt Lake City; KKVV, Las Vegas; WDRU-AM/FM, Raleigh/Durham; WTRU-AM/WSAL, Winston-Salem; WTRU-FM, Greensboro; WLES-AM/FM, Richmond, Virginia; and KTIA, Des Moines…..“Free Talk Live” featuring hosts Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is picked up by WDOV, Dover, Delaware…..Premiere Networks’ Bob & Tom show is added to the morning drive slot at KGON, Portland…..“Into Tomorrow” with Dave Graveline is added to the program schedule at WXDE, Lewes, Delaware and WSOY, Decatur, Illinois…..The weekend “Café Mocha” show hosted by MC Lyte, Loni Love and Angelique Perrin joins the programming lineup at WHUR, Washington, DC; WKJS/WKJM, Richmond, Virginia; WKZJ, Columbus, Georgia; WBGA, Brunswick, Georgia; KZWA, Lake Charles, Louisiana; and KKST, Alexandria, Louisiana.
Talkin’ and Walkin’ After Midnight. Syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs of KDWN, Las Vegas; Genesis Communications Network, and Sirius XM Satellite Radio is the current star of TALKERS TV (see video box at upper right) where she is seen and heard singing the Patsy Cline classic “Walkin’ After Midnight” (although Dr. Daliah tells TALKERS she was doing the more recent Kelly Clarkson arrangement). The impromptu performance took place at TRN-syndicated host Jerry Doyle‘s Labor Day BBQ at his home near Las Vegas.
Day One from the Democratic National Convention. WYD Media’s Stephanie Miller (c) is pictured here in an “action” shot that shows the expansive media center in Charlotte from which she is broadcasting her nationally syndicated morning drive program. In this photo, she’s joined by Fox News Radio personality Alan Colmes (l) and Stephanie Miller show regular Jim Ward (r). There are more than 100 talk show hosts joining the news organizations covering the DNC in Charlotte that wraps up Thursday with President Obama’s evening speech accepting his party’s nomination for the ticket.
Greater Media’s WTKK, Boston Makes Brand Change and Boost to News Product Official. As TALKERS magazine reported yesterday, Greater Media news/talk outlet WTKK has re-branded itself and is rededicating itself to providing Bostonians with more news and information and program director Grace Blazer makes that official. She says the station “will provide listeners in the Boston Metropolitan area with consistent ‘live and local’ news, traffic, and weather reports around the clock on-air, online and on their mobile devices. Through a partnership with Total Traffic, Greater Media Boston’s News Talk 96.9 FM-WTKK will deliver newscasts at the top and bottom of the hour 24 hours a day and traffic and weather reports every 15 minutes. In addition, WTKK will refer to itself as NEWS TALK 96.9 both on air and online to more accurately reflect its product.” Blazer says, “We are proud to be the only FM radio station with a 24 hour live and local staff of newscasters delivering timely, local and breaking news, accurate traffic reporting, and dependable weather forecasts. The addition of services to our already strong talk lineup makes News Talk 96.9 FM unique within the Boston market and also presents immediate opportunities for our advertisers.” Total News Source VP Chris Berry says of the new relationship, “An amazing amount of news is generated daily in Boston and New England. We are very pleased to be working around the clock with the team at News Talk 96.9 to assist in gathering and delivering news and information.”
Glenn Beck Gets Apology from American Airlines After Rude Service. The Premiere Networks-syndicated radio host told his audience he was treated rudely by a flight attendant on a weekend flight from Newark to Dallas – ostensibly for his political views – and would never fly American again. Beck told his national radio audience the male flight attendant “fawned over” the other passengers but slammed a can of soda down in front of him and “barked” at him, treating him as “subhuman.” The airline tweeted an apology and went further issuing the following statement, “We are sorry for the experience Mr. Beck had on a recent flight. The comfort and satisfaction of our customers are very important priorities to us and we take these matters seriously. We have reached out to Mr. Beck’s office and are actively looking into the situation.”
Matt Fox Exits NextMedia’s WHBC, Canton. The morning show at NextMedia’s WHBC, Canton, Ohio will consist of co-host Pam Cook and Canton Repository sports columnist Todd Porter for now as Matt Fox exits the station to take a position outside the radio business. The Repository reports Fox cited the early morning hours – a 3:45 wakeup call – as one of the reasons he’s choosing to leave the show he’s been co-hosting with Cook since February of 2011. He took over for Fred Chenevey at that time and the program was his first full-time radio gig. He continues to co-host the “Around the House with Matt and Shari” home improvement show that airs on the local PBS TV outlet.
Big Changes at Chicago Public Media; Big Shoes to Fill at WBEZ. Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports on the announcement that afternoon talk host Steve Edwards is leaving his “The Afternoon Shift” talk show on CPM’s WBEZ, Chicago to take a new post at the University of Chicago. Edwards has been with Chicago Public Media for 14 years, serving in a number of capacities during that time, including as director of content development and program director. It was just last February that the 41-year-old public media pro returned to the air to host “The Afternoon Shift.” On his new position as deputy director, programming at the University of Chicago’s new Institute of Politics, a public policy and public service institute led by David Axelrod, Edwards tells Feder, “What motivates me is trying to create a deeper understanding of the world around me and trying to share that with people. How do I touch and transform people and communities? How do I uncover insights and share them with others? Journalism has been an amazing place where those values and skill sets intersect. And I think my new role at the Institute of Politics represents another place where they do as well.” Meanwhile, CPM has retained Livingston Associates to help find Edwards’ successor. Read Robert Feder’s full story here.
Clear Channel Takes Aim at CNN with Its ClearVision In-Airport TV Network. Providing what it calls an alternative to CNN’s news-only airport network with a debut at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, Clear Channel Outdoor’s Clear Channel Airports division unveils ClearVision. The company says it’ll provide content to travelers from numerous sources, including: “CBS with offerings from CBS News, CBS Entertainment, CBS Daytime, and CBS Interactive, among others; NBC, with shows including The Today Show, Smash, The Voice, Grimm, America’s Got Talent and The Office; daily headlines from around the world from The Wall Street Journal’s WSJ Live; and sports from the Tennis Channel with original programming like the travel series Destination Tennis and highlights from major tournaments like the French Open and US Open.” This is a partnership with connectVISION Digital Networks and CCO says it “provides airports, content partners, and advertisers with an unparalleled ability to reach and engage air travelers – through customized content ranging from local news to top network shows and live events. Airports ultimately will be able to leverage WiFi services to provide travelers accustomed to on-demand content access to the ClearVision network on their smartphones, iPads, and laptops.” There’s no word from Clear Channel on what other American airports with which it’s negotiating but the company sounds very dedicated to this market and you can bet there will be more airport deals announced in the near future.
Sports Biz Today Produces Daily Updates. Sports Biz Today is launching a new daily product called “Sports Biz Update” – a two-minute feature in which host Fred Wallin gives listeners the headlines of what is going on in the world of sports business. Fred Wallin is a veteran of sports talk radio, both locally in Southern California and nationally. Wallin has hosted ‘Dodger Talk,” “Angel Talk,” “Kings Talk,” and “Bruins Talk” on various Southern California radio stations. He has hosted programs on KABC, KFI, KLAC, KIEV, KFOX and 1150 AM in Los Angeles. Nationally, Wallin has hosted programs on The Sports Radio Network, The American Sports Radio Network, Prime Sports, The Sports America Radio Network, and the Cable Radio Network, and presently on Sports Overnight America, Fox Sports Radio Las Vegas and KCAA Riverside, California.
Odds & Sods. Clear Channel names Melissa Forrest market manager for the San Diego cluster. Forrest most recently served with CC at the Atlanta cluster where she was president and market manager in charge of the company’s radio stations, the Total Traffic Network and the Georgia News Network…..TRN and WGST, Atlanta talk show host Rusty Humphries is putting his passion for cigars together with his own brand and is working with Cuban-born cigar-making legends to create his own limited-edition El Presidente cigar. Working with Don Lino creator Nestor Miranda and master blender José “Pepin” Garcia – both Floridians now – Humphries made 300 boxes of the cigars. He says, “It’s not made to be an everyday smoke. There’s not that many of ‘em. I only wanted to do a limited amount. I wanted to honor a president each time. When they’re gone, they’re gone. So each cigar is a collector’s item in its own right.” Humphries is pictured here with U.S. Senator Marco Rubio who declared the cigar “bueno.”…..Nationally syndicated home improvement radio show “The Money Pit” partners with TuneIn to create a 24/7 home improvement channel on the audio service. “Money Pit” co-host Tom Kraeutler says, “We’ve experienced rapid growth of our program through our existing online assets. But with over 40 million monthly active listeners, TuneIn has the infrastructure and leadership to help us expand that listener base in ways never before possible and we’re thrilled with the opportunity to share our home improvement insights with this new audience.”…..Dr. Michio Kaku – renowned theoretical physicist, best-selling author and host of Talk Radio Network’s “Science Fantastic” – has been selected through a vote of IPC members to keynote the trade group’s biggest electronics industry event next spring in San Diego. “Kaku’s keynote will present a vision of life in the year 2100 culled from ideas of 300 of the country’s most influential scientists. He will explore revolutionary advancements in medicine, energy production, artificial intelligence and aeronautics that will forever change our way of life – including innovations like internet-enabled contact lenses, cars that will drive (or even fly) themselves and brain sensors that will let us move objects using only the power of our minds.”…..Mike Rosso joins Continental Electronics as vice president of sales and marketing, where he’ll be responsible for maintaining and developing Continental’s global market presence. Continental bills itself as a “global leader in broadcast transmitter equipment. It is the foremost supplier of advanced RF transmission technology and the world’s most experienced designer and builder of the highest power radio broadcast equipment.”
Fox Sports Radio Network Launches Daily Big Ten Football Show. The new show, an extension of the weekly Big Ten show, debuted yesterday on affiliates including WDFN, Detroit, KFXN, Minneapolis and WSSP, Milwaukee. Dubbed “BTN Live,” the show airs live daily from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET and is hosted by Big Ten Network personalities Dave Revsine, Gerry DiNardo, Howard Griffith and others.
WEEI, Boston Announces Patriots and NFL Coverage. The Entercom sports talk brand – heard throughout New England on numerous company-owned stations and affiliates – announces its fall football programming. VP of programming and operations for Entercom Boston Jason Wolfe reports coverage of Patriots football features the return of Patriots Friday and Patriots Monday that includes exclusive interviews with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Its “Gameday” broadcasts on home game days will emanate from Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill at Patriot Place in Foxborough. WEEI has also secured a number of current and former Patriots players as well as NFL experts – including (WFAN, New York and “NFL Today” host) Boomer Esiason who chats with morning hosts Dennis & Callahan each Monday – to join coverage of the team on its shows throughout the week during the football season. Wolfe states, “We’ve made it a priority to provide Patriots fans with the most compelling and comprehensive coverage of the team that we can. With Patriots Monday and Friday and our slew of NFL Insiders, WEEI will be the place to be to keep up with the Pats throughout the season.” Actual game play-by-play rights are owned by WEEI’s crosstown competitor – CBS Radio-owned WBZ-FM, Boston 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Are Hard Times Hitting Television Talk, Too? The New York Post reports on rumors that Comcast’s NBC is taking a serious look at morning television talk’s “Today” for possible budget cuts in the wake of its “ratings woes.” With the story of Jay Leno’s recent voluntary pay cut to help save staffer jobs at “The Tonight Show,” the story questions whether “Today” co-host Matt Lauer will take the same path there to save the positions of lower-level staffers such as makeup artists and writers. In the piece, one person is quoted saying, “It will be the little people who go first — the makeup people, writers, but these people have families, and it will put pressure on Matt to do the right thing.” Lauer reportedly makes $25 million per year. Commenting on the rumors, a rep for “Today” states there will be “absolutely” no staff cuts at the program.
Michael Strahan Officially Named Kelly Ripa’s Co-Host. The former New York Giants football great is officially named the permanent co-host of the “Live!” show, replacing Regis Philbin, who retired from the show late last fall. Kelly Ripa has been hosting the show solo and with a parade of potential co-hosts doing live auditions since then. But, according to People, Ripa made the announcement official that Strahan would be her new co-host.
Presidential Campaign/Democratic National Convention, National Debts Hits $16 Trillion, and Syria Violence Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/4). The presidential campaign and the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte; the national debt hitting the $16 trillion mark; and the ongoing violence in Syria were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Fisher Communications Re-Aligns News and Talk Programming in Seattle; KOMO to Air More News, KVI to Return to Conservative Talk. After 20 months away from conservative talk programming, Fisher Communications’ KVI, Seattle – reputed to be the first station to intentionally program all-conservative talk in America – returns to that format with local talk host John Carlson moving over from KOMO to host morning drive at KVI. When the lineup is finally in place, Carlson will be followed by TRN’s Laura Ingraham; Compass Media Networks’ Todd Schnitt; Cumulus Media Networks’ Mark Levin; Compass’ Lars Larson; TRN’s Michael Savage; and Cumulus Media’s “Red Eye Radio” and Don Imus will round out the overnight period. PD Paul Duckworth states, “KVI stands for the best in conservative talk in Seattle. This is going to be one of the most hotly contested elections in history and people need a place to hear about it and talk about it. Get set for an exciting ride!” Meanwhile at KOMO-AM/FM, Bill Rice anchors the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart and Brian Calvert anchors the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot. Ken Schram – who had been hosting a talk show from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm—remains with Fisher in his role as commentator on KOMO 4 television. Both Carlson and Schram will continue to provide daily commentaries on KOMO Newsradio.
Is Jim Rome Leaving Premiere Networks for CBS Radio Sports? That’s what Deadline.com is reporting. Jim Rome has been syndicated by Premiere Networks since he debuted nationally back in 1996. Recently he left ESPN – the cable giant that produced his television program – and signed on with the upstart cable venture CBS Sports Network. Now, Deadline is reporting Rome will leave Premiere when his contract is up and join the CBS Radio Sports network when it debuts in January and that the deal will also allow him to cover NFL, NCAA basketball and U.S. Open Tennis Championships, and other events.
Dial Global Responds to Mark Masters’ TRN Lawsuit — Calls it “Frivolous,” “Spurious.” In a statement issued to the radio industry trade press, Spencer Brown, co-chief executive officer of Dial Global, states: “Despite the comments in Mr. Masters’ e-mail to the press distributed yesterday in which he announced his company Talk Radio Networks (TRN) is suing Dial Global, at this time, Dial Global has not been served a complaint. We have provided outstanding service to TRN for over 10 years and continue to represent several of TRN’s programs today. Based on the information contained in the complaint distributed by Mr. Masters to the press, which complaint was filed by a law firm run by Ron Severaid, TRN’s own internal legal counsel, we believe the complaint is entirely frivolous. We are confident we will defeat these spurious claims, assuming they are ever heard in a court of law.”
Lincoln Financial Media’s Sports WAXY Takes Over 104.3 in West Palm Beach. As reported last week, the announced sale of WMSF, West Palm Beach to Lincoln Financial Media for use as an FM signal for sports talker WAXY would give LFM the right to operate under an LMA until the sale is approved by the FCC and that happened yesterday at 5:00 pm ET. The 104.3 signal remains in the West Palm Beach market while the application to move it to the Miami market sits in Washington, DC with the commission. Until the time that move happens, the station cannot broadcast Marlins or Heat games on the FM signal as Good Karma’s WEFL, Tequesta, Florida has the rights in the West Palm Beach market.
Crawford Broadcasting to Purchase Non-Comm WNED, Buffalo. Western New York Public Broadcasting Association announces it is selling WNED-AM, Buffalo at 970 to Denver-based Crawford Broadcasting for $875,000. The pubcaster purchased WBFO-FM, Buffalo from the University of Buffalo in March for $4 million and president and CEO Donald K. Boswell says the corporation no longer needs the AM frequency for its programming. He also states the cash from the sale will go to pay down debt on the WBFO-FM purchase. WNED also owns WNED-FM that airs a classical music format and WBFO-FM carries the corporation’s news and information programming. Crawford programs both Christian and secular programming and has not signaled its intent for WNED-AM after the sale is approved.
Entercom’s 95.7 The Game Names Ric Bucher PM Drive Co-Host. With Eric Davis leaving KGMZ, San Francisco to join The NFL Network, Entercom’s 95.7 The Game brings Ric Bucher aboard to co-host the PM drive show with Brandon Tierney. Program director Jason Barrett states, “Ric Bucher’s credentials in our industry speak for themselves and he’s instantly recognized locally and nationally for his great work with ESPN. Bay Area sports fans are going to learn quickly that he’s a 20-year Bay Area native and his passion and knowledge for our local teams is outstanding. Ric and Brandon Tierney will be an absolute must-listen during afternoon drive for Bay Area sports fans.” Bucher will continue his role with ESPN as a Bay Area NBA reporter and senior writer covering hoops for ESPN The Magazine. He begins at KGMZ on September 6.
WFAN, New York Crowns Fantasy Phenom 3 Winner. CBS Radio’s WFAN, New York announces the winner of its third annual local talent search who receives a weekly sports talk program on the station beginning in September. Joe Giglio of Howell, New Jersey bested his competitors to claim the prize in the summer-long promotion. WFAN operations manager and CBS Radio New York vice president of programming Mark Chernoff says, “We’ve been very pleased with our first two winners and look forward to Joe doing a great job this time around. We thank all of our participants and special kudos to our five finalists, who had to perform both for a huge radio audience on WFAN, but also to our online listeners at WFAN.com, our YES TV viewers and the few thousand people who saw them live at Bar A.”
Hubbard Radio’s ESPN 101 St. Louis Presents Inaugural Speaker Series Event with St. Louis Rams Today. WXOS, St. Louis is launching its speaker series with today’s “Game-Day Luncheon” with the St. Louis Rams from 11:30 to 1:30 at the local Patrick’s Restaurant & Sports Bar. Fans can pay $25 per head to attend and hear St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher, general manager Les Sneed, and executive vice president of football operations/chief operating officer Kevin Demoff talk about the new season. Rams Radio personalities and NFL commentators D’Marco Farr, coach Rick Venturi, Tony Softli and Steve Savard – along with other 101 ESPN on-air personnel – will be on-hand at this special game day gathering with the Rams. The event takes place on the same day as the Rams’ last pre-season game against the Baltimore Ravens.
Odds & Sods. Former Miami Dolphin great Jason Taylor begins a stint on WAXY, Miami’s Dan Le Batard PM drive show. He’ll join Le Batard each Monday to talk NFL football during the season…..David Todd is the new 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm host on Clear Channel’s sports talk WBGG, Pittsburgh…..“Watchdog on Wall Street” host Chris Markowski begins a regular guest shot on the “Butler on Buisiness” program on WAFS, Atlanta. He’ll join the program each Wednesday at 11:35 am…..Washington, DC-based talk host Chris Core – for years a star on WMAL and currently doing commentary on WTOP – will fill in for Michael Castner, host of “The Daily Wrap from The Wall Street Journal with Michael Castner” tomorrow…..Retired NFL star LaDainian Tomlinson signs on with SiriusXM to host weekly shows on the SiriusXM NFL Radio and SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio channels.
Republican National Convention, Isaac Stalls Over Gulf Coast, SEAL’s Bin Laden Book and Syria Among Top News Talk Stories Yesterday (8/29). The Republican National Convention and election issues dominated the news/talk radio airwaves yesterday. However, other topics that were discussed included Tropical Storm Isaac stalling over the gulf Coast and bringing devastating rain to the region, the Navy SEAL’s book about the death of Osama bin Laden and the ongoing strife in Syria.
Other Defendants Named in Mark Masters’ TRN Lawsuit Against Dial Global Claiming Monopoly Practices. As reported yesterday (8/28) by TALKERS, these companies, referred to generally in the industry as Talk Radio Network (TRN), include The Original Talk Radio Network, Inc., Talk Radio Network Enterprises, LLC and Talk Radio Network-FM, Inc. They have initiated the filing of a Federal action against Dial Global, Inc. and multiple other parties, asserting antitrust, anti-monopoly and other claims. The complaint, which demands a jury trial, is titled “Complaint for Violations of the Sherman Act and the Cartwright Act, and for Fraudulent Inducement, Interference with Contract and Interference with Prospective advantage.” In addition to Dial Global, it specifically names: Excelsior Radio Networks, Triton Radio Networks, Triton Media Group, Oaktree Capital Management, Verge Media Companies, Courstide, LLC, Compass Media Networks, Compass Media Marketing, and WYD Media Management. Individuals named include Spencer Brown, David Landau, and Ken Williams of Dial Global, Ron Hartenbaum of WYD, Peter Kosann of Compass, and Norm Pattiz of Courtside. To see the entire complaint click here.
Big Staffing Changes at Federated Media in Fort Wayne. Last week TALKERS reported the departure of WOWO, Fort Wayne program director Gregg Henson and his replacement by Woody Zimmerman. Now, after almost 18 years with Federated Media, chief operating officer Mark DePrez announces his departure from the company. Brad Williams, who had been overseeing the Indiana markets of South Bend, Elkhart and Warsaw, will also be in charge of the company’s Fort Wayne and Auburn, Indiana markets as he becomes COO. But that’s not all, as Indiana Radio Watch reports national sales manager Mary DePrez, production director Steve Starbrelz (this November would mark his 35th year there), classic hits WMEE, Fort Wayne middayer Zack Skyler, country WQHK, Fort Wayne GSM Suzee Leavell and several sales staffers have also left the building. IRW also reports Clint Marsh becomes GM of the South Bend properties. On his tenure with Federated Media, DePrez states, “After almost 18 years I’m leaving Federated Media. We accomplished great things in Fort Wayne but all good things must come to an end. I am grateful to the Dille family for the four promotions over those 18 years including my recent tenure as COO. For a decade it has been my distinct honor to be the custodian of such iconic brands as WOWO, WQHK (K-105) WMEE and more recently WBYR (98.9 The Bear). I am immensely proud of the talented team we assembled and know they will continue to do great things.” DePrez is available for his next challenge. He says, “For employers looking for an executive obsessed with top line performance and profit optimization they can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 260-385-2574.”
ESPN and Major League Baseball Agree to $5.6 Billion Deal. The new contract between ESPN and MLB goes through 2021 and runs an average of $700 million per year for TV, digital, radio and other rights. ESPN is currently paying about $305 million per year for TV and about $50 million for radio rights. The new contract would almost double that but gives ESPN more flexibility, some playoff game rights as well as international rights. For radio it means increased ESPN Radio rights, including the additional right to co-exist during two Saturday windows per team, per year.
Patt Morrison’s Southern California Public Radio Show Cancelled. The popular Southern California public radio figure will remain with the organization but Patt Morrison’s six-year-old afternoon program will end on September 10. The move is part of a series of programming changes at KPCC, Pasadena that include the expansion of the Brand & Martinez program and the addition of the “BBC News Hour” and “The World.” KPCC VP for content Russ Stanton is quoted telling the Los Angeles Daily News, “While the show may be leaving, Patt isn’t. What we’re trying to do is take a lot of the segments that she’s produced – which are very popular with a large part of our listening audience – and spread those a little more throughout the programming day when there are a lot more listeners than there are in the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot.” SCPR notes Morrison will still cover the Democratic National Convention for the organization.
NBC Sports Radio and Dial Global Announce More Sports Talk Hires. As NBC Sports Radio continues to prepare for the September 4 launch of the new network, more hosts and sports anchors are being hired. Former NFL star Amani Toomer will team with Eytan Shander (most recently with SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio) for a 10:00 am to 1:00 pm ET sports talk show. Dan Schwartzman — who’s worked for WPEN, Philadelphia and ESPN in New York – will host an overnight show from 1:00 am to 5:00 am ET Tuesdays through Saturdays and Kay Adams joins the network as sports anchor working the 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm shift Monday through Friday. Dial Global is NBC’s partner in ad and affiliation sales and distribution.
Forbes Releases New Highest Paid Celebrities List. Four radio stars landed on the Forbes list of the most recent Highest Paid Celebrities. Of the 21 celebs noted this time around, Howard Stern is the highest at #7 (although he makes a ton of cash from his SiriusXM gig, the NBC TV job helps!); Glenn Beck comes in at #11; Rush Limbaugh lands at #15 and Ryan Seacrest follows at #19.
Larry King to Host Coverage of the RNC on YouTube’s Elections Hub Channel; Premiere Networks’ Andy Dean Joins King on Panel. Longtime CNN star and broadcasting icon Larry King is now working with Ora TV – the digital on-demand TV network funded by Mexican media magnate Carlos Slim Helu – and Ora TV is partnering with YouTube to produce the Elections Hub channel. Tonight, King will host coverage of the Republican National Convention live from Los Angeles featuring a roundtable of well-known celebrities and guests on the special series “Ora 2012 with Larry King” from 11:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET. Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk host Andy Dean will take part on the panel.
Entercom and University of Florida Enter into Sales Agreement. The college and Entercom Communications have struck a deal which will have Entercom provide sales for the school’s two radio stations – country WRUF-FM and sports talk WRUF-AM. It’s a seven-year deal that begins in September. The university notes that the deal “will provide the College with a guaranteed monthly revenue. Additionally, the stations will participate in a revenue share agreement with Entercom that allows for additional revenue to flow to the stations based on monthly sales performances. In addition to the joint sales agreement, Entercom is launching an academic enhancement initiative to create internships and student opportunities for the College’s students at the company’s stations in Gainesville and around the country. These student involvement opportunities, subject to faculty approval, will include sales, digital marketing programming, news, sports, public relations, strategic communications and promotions.” The stations’ operations director, Jerry Butler, will stay on and co-ordinate the relationship between the stations and Entercom.
Hundreds of Talk Show Hosts from Across Country Broadcasting from RNC. The invention of the “radio row” – largely developed in the modern talk radio era by Washington, DC-based Talk Radio News Service – has really come into its own at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. Numerous networks and syndicators have set up shop in elaborate clusters of tables, microphones, remote equipment, banners and, of course, big talking personalities on both sides of the mic. One of the biggest of these assemblages is again hosted by Talk Radio News Service for its affiliates which include the likes of Rusty Humphries, Phil Valentine, Roger Hedgecock and many more. TRNS bureau chief Ellen Ratner tells TALKERS, “We have more stations than ever – about 40 stations and programs. The RNC gave us a prime spot, right next to their booking office. We are not in the arena but in the building next to it that houses all the press. Other than press conferences, some longer television interviews and hall confrontations between the news media, radio row is the only place to have an in-depth conversation. Radio might have lost some of its audience to the internet, but you would never know it from radio row. Big time politicians want to be there and obviously feel they will get a chance to say what they want. It is still the spot to be and the place to be heard.”
WMAL Morning Hosts on the Scene in Tampa. The final day of the Republican National Convention is today and talk radio and the national press have been busy bringing the political talk home to their constituents. Pictured here are WMAL-AM/FM, Washington morning drive team Brian Wilson (c) and Bryan Nehman (r) interviewing former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton (l).
Republican National Convention, Tropical Storm Isaac, and Iran-Syria Connection Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/28). The progress of tropical storm Isaac and the activity from the Republican National Convention in Tampa Bay were two of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio. The growing connection between Iran’s military and the violence in Syria was also a major topic.
Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey Addresses “Inherently Inefficient” Nature of Old-Line Media Business Model in Bain Capital News Story. The chief executive officer of the second largest radio station operator in America is one of several Atlanta-based business executives to speak to the Atlanta Journal Constitution about his business and the role private equity firm Bain Capital played in its progress. The piece ran Sunday (2/5) online and in print and was written from the perspective of giving insight into Bain Capital – the company formerly run by presidential candidate Mitt Romney. However it also probes the nature of corporate radio as it rides the rough surf of an economic downturn and a dramatically changing media business – complete with layoffs and job consolidation. The story notes Cumulus CFO Joseph Hannan explained to investors at a recent conference that they had to “wholesale re-engineer the way these operations work” in order to cut costs and that the company learned this process while working with the private equity firms. Hannan said the company was able to cut $70 million in costs. Lew Dickey tells the AJC the business has to work that way to survive. He says old-line media companies have become “inherently inefficient. We run the business as efficiently as technology permits us to do.” Interestingly, Bain Capital took a loss on its involvement with Cumulus. Cumulus ended up buying out Bain and the other private equity partners. It worked with other private equity firms to engineer the Citadel Broadcasting deal and it remains to be seen whether that will turn out to be a wise investment for them or whether they will suffer the same fate as Bain. Through it all, Dickey remains confident and tells the AJC he believes his company will add jobs – albeit in different sectors – during this year. “By the end of the year, we’ll have a net increase in jobs. They’ll be different jobs. That’s how business evolves.”
Exit of CBS Radio CHR Programmer and 92.3 Now PD Dom Theodore Fires Up Speculation About Sports or News Moving to the New York Signal. There was big news in the CHR world yesterday as CBS Radio’s format captain and PD of 92.3 Now (WXRK-FM, New York) Dom Theodore left the building. For those awaiting the (some say) way overdue addition of an FM signal for sports talk WFAN, this move gives them plenty to talk about. Still others believe one of CBS Radio’s all-newsers – WINS or WCBS – could end up with an FM simulcast. Right now it’s all guesswork but rumors that the rest of the on-air staff at 92.3 Now may have received news of its imminent demise along with Theodore’s departure have the message boards in the Tri-State area red hot with chatter.
Courtside Entertainment Group Names Rich Rapiti Senior Director of Affiliate Relations. Longtime affiliate relations pro Rich Rapiti is reunited with Westwood One founder Norm Pattiz in his new role as senior director of affiliate relations for Pattiz’s Courtside Entertainment Group. Rapiti will be based in New York City. Courtside president Bob Moore says, “Rich Rapiti is a unique guy. He has worked in the radio business his entire adult life and has mastered the art of working with radio stations in providing quality programming. We are extremely excited about having Rich on our team.” Speaking about his new position, Rapiti states, “I am thrilled to be the newest member of the Courtside team. Rarely does the opportunity occur where you can work with the likes of a Norm Pattiz and his executive team.”
XEPRS, San Diego Makes AM Drive Changes; Scott Kaplan Exits, Dave Palet and Jeff Dotseth In. After 11 years at the station, morning drive host Scott Kaplan and co-host Billy Ray Smith are out as hosts of the program. Station VP/GM Tex Meyer says in a press release the change was made “after very careful consideration and evaluation of several important factors.” However, many San Diego media observers are saying Kaplan’s recent unflattering on-air comments about Mountain West broadcaster Andrea Lloyd put management over the top and forced its hand. Broadcast Company of the Americas brings San Diego market veterans Dave Palet and Jeff Dotseth in to take over the morning drive show.
WGN, Chicago Holds “Cubs Song” Contest. Musically inclined Chicago Cubs fans are being encouraged to write a tribute song to their favorite baseball team and have the chance for it to become part of Cubs radio broadcasts all season long. Tribune Company’s WGN – flagship for Chicago Cubs baseball – will be the judge of the winning submission for this unique promotion. Here are the rules: Write an original song about the Chicago Cubs and e-mail it as an .mp3 file attachment to email@example.com by February 29, 2012. The lyrics must mention the Cubs and WGN Radio, but may not mention names of individual players, coaches or Cubs management. Songs longer than four minutes will be disqualified. You must also include your name, address, daytime phone number, e-mail address, and age in the e-mail. Entries on behalf of a group must provide the required information for each member of the group. WGN will post up to 10 finalists on its website and give fans the chance to vote on the winner. The writer/performer of the winning entry will have the chance to get the song recorded in a professional studio and perform it live during Jonathon Brandmeier’s Opening Day broadcast on WGN.
WBNS-FM, Columbus Debuts “Off-Season with Bobby Carpenter.” The NFL season is over – more or less – until the draft in April and RadiOhio sports talker 97.1 The Fan (WBNS-FM) is taking advantage of the year-round interest in the National Football League by creating a weekly, Friday afternoon show co-hosted by former Ohio State standout and current Detroit Lions linebacker Bobby Carpenter and WBNS-TV’s Beau Bishop. Director of programming and operations Jay Taylor announces the one-hour show airs from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm featuring talk about the NFL, the upcoming draft and Buckeye football and debuts this Friday, February 10.
CNN Names Jim Acosta to National Political Correspondent Role. The cable news channel announces Jim Acosta is promoted to national political correspondent where he’ll appear regularly on several CNN programs including “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” and “John King, USA,” according to TVWeek. CNN SVP and Washington bureau chief Sam Feist states, “Jim has been an outstanding addition to the political team. He has emerged as one of the key reporters on the campaign trail and his astute reporting skills will only help to position the network to dominate this important election cycle.”
CBS Radio Renews with MLB’s Phillies; Games to Air on WIP-FM. CBS Radio’s news/talk WPHT, Philadelphia has been the longtime flagship for Philadelphia Phillies baseball and the company and team just struck a new multi-year deal to keep the team with CBS Philadelphia. This season the games will also air on sister sports WIP’s new FM signal as well. CBS Radio Philadelphia VP/market manager Marc Rayfield states, “It’s a very exciting time for WPHT and WIP, and this partnership with the Philadelphia Phillies only adds to the interest audiences have in these two leading radio stations. We look forward to the future with the most thrilling team in baseball.”
Talk Host Steve Cochran Ready to Return to Action After Health Scare. Chicago-based talk host Steve Cochran – who handles the afternoon program at Salem Communication’s WIND, Chicago and hosts the late morning program for KTRS, St. Louis (which is rerun in the evening) from his home in the Chicago area – took himself off the air last week and went to the hospital after feeling chest pains, according to Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder. Cochran underwent some tests and was prescribed medication and reports he hopes to be back on the radio soon. Cochran tells Feder, “The doctor said I’ll be 125 percent, which is great news unless you really hate my show.”
More TV Work for TRN’s Phil Hendrie. Los Angeles-based, nationally syndicated talk radio personality Phil Hendrie scored a recurring role on the hit Fox TV show “New Girl.” Hendrie says, “The entire cast and crew is so hard working, gracious and welcoming. It’s an honor to get to work with them.” Last year, Hendrie taped an episode of the ABC-TV hit show “Modern Family” in which he plays the recurring character “Boots.” That episode is to air soon. Pictured here is the cast of “New Girl” – from left to right: Max Greenfield, Lamorne Morris, Hannah Simone, Hendrie, Zooey Deschanel and Jake Johnson.
Romney Surges in GOP Primary, Super Bowl Aftermath, Syria Violence and Closure of U.S. Embassy and New Iran Sanctions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/6). Mitt Romney’s victory in Nevada over the weekend and his continuing lead over competitors, the aftermath of the Giants’ victory in Super Bowl XLVI, continuing violence in Syria and the U.S.’s closure of its embassy there and new sanctions levied against Iran were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Genesis Communications Creates Central Florida News-Intensive Trimulcast. Genesis Communications Multi-Media Broadcast Group is flipping WAMT, Pine Castle Sky Lake, Florida (Orlando market) from ESPN Deportes and WIXC, Titusville, Florida (on the East coast) from sports to simulcasts of the company’s news/talk WWBA, Tampa Bay as it takes on more all-news content. The stations are picking up the TRN/Washington Times-produced “America’s Morning News” plus news blocks from TRN-owned America’s Radio News Network. Genesis CEO Bruce Maduri states, “We intend to provide central Floridians with the ability to access all-news, traffic and weather content anywhere, across the all-important I-4 corridor from Tampa Bay through Orlando, to the Space Coast and north and south along the Eastern Seaboard. Local, state and national coverage of the day’s breaking news is now accessible to the six million people who reside in this area of the state and up and down the east coast.” TRN CEO Mark Masters states, “We are proud to provide a complete support system to Bruce as he delivers to Central Florida the most powerful 15 hours per day of syndicated long-form radio news rooms, along with heavy news localization for his growing news empire. America’s Radio News Network provides a clock that not only gives nine to 10 stories and four to six audio actualities every quarter hour, but also allows for an amazing level of localization and customization so that you can go highly local or regional at the top and bottom of the hours, quarter hours, and even cut into entire segments for another layer of localization.”
CBS Radio and Merlin Media Butting Heads Over News Slogans. CBS Radio is notifying Merlin Media of what it deems trademark infringement for Merlin’s use of phrases like, “Give us 10 minutes, we’ll give you the world,” on its all-news WEMP-FM, New York, according to Radio Ink. The report indicates lawyers for CBS are giving Merlin until the end of the day today (1/19) to stop using the phrase (and others) stating it is “intentionally confusingly similar” to CBS’ “Give us 22 minutes, we’ll give you the world” slogan used on WINS, New York.
Consultant Bob Cohen Joins Board at Gow Broadcasting. The company brought Bob Cohen, through his Bob Cohen Strategies consulting firm, in to assist as Gow began working with Yahoo! to transform its Sporting News Radio into Yahoo! Sports. Now, Cohen joins Gow’s board of directors. CEO David Gow states in the San Antonio Business Journal, “Bob played a significant role in our strategic search and eventual exciting new partnership with Yahoo! Sports Radio. He has a depth of knowledge and experience in radio, sports radio networks and sports in general and has a track record of adding value and growth to the businesses with which he’s been involved. He has been active in our business, as a consultant and will also continue in that role along with the board seat.”
Morning Drive Host Jon Justice Re-Ups with Journal’s KTTH-FM, Tucson. Citing his success hosting the AM drive talk show at Journal Broadcasting’s KTTH-FM – “104.1 The Truth” – VP/GM Julie Brinks announces the company has signed Jon Justice to a contract extension to continue in that role. “This move demonstrates our renewed commitment to Jon, and to the listeners of 104.1 The Truth. The station continues to be a venue where points of view can be expressed in Tucson. Whether you agree or disagree, Jon will continue to stimulate the conversation for years to come!” The station notes Justice’s program has become one of the highest-ranked shows in the Tucson market with both men 25–54 and adults 25–54. Justice comments on his new deal, “I’m really excited to continue growing the show here in Southern Arizona, building off of the success I have had on ‘104.1 The Truth.’”
News Pro Steve Ray Named News Anchor at America’s Radio News Network. Talk Radio Network-operated America’s Radio News Network announces news pro Steve Ray joins the company to serve as co-anchor for the network’s news blocks. Ray has worked at such esteemed news outlets as WTOP-FM, Washington; WMAL, Washington; Westwood One; Metro Networks; and Radio Free Asia. Ray states, “I not only believe in Mark’s vision for the quality and scope of our news content, but his forward thinking vision of delivering ARNN across multiple platforms. At a time of great change in radio, Masters is once again in the right place at the perfect time.”
CBS Radio Ups Sarah Frazier to SVP/Market Manager in Houston. The cluster that includes sports KILT is now being managed by Sarah Frazier who is promoted from her VP/director of sales role to senior vice president and market manager for the group. Frazier takes over for Brian Purdy who is market manager for the Dallas cluster. Previously he had been responsible for both the Dallas and Houston markets.
Restraining Order Issued in Dispute Among Former WCAP, Lowell Owners. The talk station is north of Boston and since 2007 was operated by partners Clark Smidt and Sam Poulten until recently when the two agreed to part with Poulten buying out Smidt over a period of time, according to court records. But a Middlesex County Superior Court judge has issued a restraining order against Smidt after he showed up at the station attempting to take control from the operators. The order also forbids Smidt from destroying any of the financial records relative to the ownership and operation of the station. According to the Valley Patriot, Smidt had been negligent in paying the station’s taxes prior to the agreement for Poulten to buy out Smidt’s share and take over operation of the station. The FCC approved transfer of the WCAP broadcast license to Poulten on October 31.
Looming South Carolina GOP Primary, Obama Kills Oil Pipeline Permit, Wahlberg Flight 93 Flap, and Italian Cruise Ship Disaster Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/18). The GOP race to take Saturday’s South Carolina primary, the Obama Administration’s denying of a permit for Keystone XL’s Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline, Mark Wahlberg’s controversial statement about preventing the downing of Flight 93, and the Italian cruise ship disaster were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
SCOTUS Hears Broadcast Indecency Arguments; Sweeping Changes Unlikely. TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says although Attorney Carter Phillips – representing Fox Television – argued convincingly that broadcasters are responsible to their audiences and advertisers and would not, therefore, engage in a “race to the bottom” with regard to indecency, he believes the Supreme Court will not throw out the current indecency rules as some broadcasters might hope it would. Attorneys representing the Federal Communications Commission, Fox Television and ABC Television argued before the Court yesterday for the first time since the Pacifica case in 1978. Read Attorney Weisman’s analysis here.
TRN Entertainment Syndicates Former KGO Weekender Dr. Bill Wattenburg. Bill Wattenburg was one of the KGO, San Francisco talk show hosts let go by Cumulus Media in December. Now, TRN Entertainment begins offering Dr. Wattenburg in national syndication Sunday evenings from 11:00 pm to 2:00 am ET beginning January 22. TRN Entertainment CEO Mark Masters says, “We are ecstatic to have a person of Dr. Bill Wattenburg’s caliber join our network. His vast knowledge of science and physics will enlighten all of his listeners. We believe he will quickly develop legions of dedicated fans that want to improve their personal knowledge and way of life.” Bay Area talk radio listeners are aware of Dr. Wattenburg’s credentials but the rest of the nation may not know that he is a senior research scientist at the Research Foundation, California State University, Chico; and a scientific consultant for the University of California Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and many other institutions. He is a former nuclear weapons designer at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; a former member of the US Air Force Scientific Advisory Board; and a former UC Berkeley professor of electrical engineering. TRN Entertainment describes Dr. Wattenburg’s show as “mostly an open-line, listener-driven call-in show in which he answers questions ranging from fixing cars to physics, and everything in between. His combination of experiences and scientific background give him a great wealth of knowledge that he applies to entertain and inform his audience.”
Clear Channel Takes Another Step Toward Making iHeartRadio a Ubiquitous Media Application. The broadcast giant announces it is making its application programming interface (API) and affiliate program available to third parties and developers so they can integrate its content and services into their own products, web pages and apps. Clear Channel states, “Developers will have the opportunity to create their own innovative versions of iHeartRadio on their platforms. The iHeartRadio API includes access to many of the service’s features, including its live broadcast and digital-only stations and Custom Stations as well as a deep social media integration.” Clear Channel Digital president Brian Lakamp says, “Opening our API will unlock exciting opportunities to enrich the unique, combined live and custom radio experience that only iHeartRadio provides. This move also builds on our commitment to be everywhere our listeners expect us to be, with the best products and services.” The company is clearly moving full-speed-ahead to compete in digital media distribution device race and this is another smart move to try to enhance iHeartRadio’s useage.
CBS Radio Names Two More to WNEW-FM, Washington Staff. When CBS Radio’s all-newser WNEW-FM, Washington debuts on January 19, Lisa Baden will be handling the traffic reporting in one of the nation’s most congested commuter markets and Jill Schlesinger joins the station for twice-hourly business reports. Baden has been broadcasting traffic reports in the DC market for two decades, most notably with crosstown WTOP-FM and Metro Traffic before that. Schlesinger is editor-at-large of CBS Moneywatch and also hosts her own nationally syndicated weekend financial talk program syndicated by Dial Global.
Premiere Networks’ Andy Dean Hits 50-Affiliate Mark. Nationally syndicated talk host Andy Dean, host of “America Now,” marks the 50-affilliate plateau. Premiere Networks SVP of affiliate relations Peter Tripi says, “The rapid growth we’ve experienced with this program is a testament to Andy’s talent, dedication and hard work. We look forward to reaching many more milestones together.” Dean’s program is heard on talk outlets across America including WSB, Atlanta; KSTE, Sacramento; WHIO-AM/FM, Dayton; WOKV-AM/FM, Jacksonville; and KNST-AM/FM, Tucson.
National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Announces Honorees. It’s the time of year when the NSSA announces winners of its best-of honors for their accomplishments in 2011. Here are just a few of those just announced: WGN, Chicago morning sports anchor and Northwestern Wildcats football and basketball play-by-play announcer Dave Eanet is named the 2011 Illinois Sportscaster of the Year. WGN VP/GM Tom Langmyer states, “Dave Eanet is a tremendous broadcaster and a class act. His passion, integrity and professionalism are apparent in everything that he does and we’re proud to have him on the WGN radio team.”…..Drew Deener of Sports Radio 790 WKRD, Louisville is named Sportscaster of the Year in the State of Kentucky. Deener hosts “The Early Birds Morning Show” and “The Cardinal Insider” on WKRD. He also serves as the TV play-by-play voice of University of Louisville football and basketball on WHAS-TV…..KOZN, Omaha’s Kevin Kugler, host of the popular sports talk program “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” and play-by-play host of the College World Series, earns the Nebraska Sportscaster of the Year award for the eighth year. KOZN program director Neil Nelkin states, “It truly is remarkable that someone this early on his career would be recognized at this level and at this frequency. It just goes to show how much talent Kevin has behind the mic and in the world of sportscasting.”
Former St. Louis PM Drive Team Thom and Jeff Begin Internet Initiative. The longtime PM drive team at Emmis’ alternative KPNT, St. Louis, Thom West and Jeff Burton, are producing an internet talk show available via iTunes or their website. Thom and Jeff were “downsized” in August and began producing podcasts in September. They say they are now averaging 40,000 downloads per day. The team has grown to include Scottie “Boom Boom,” Coach, and Kara the Lesbian. Daily guests add to the non-stop entertainment including comedians, visits from bands, athletes, and local and national celebrities. Jeff Burton says, “I really enjoyed the old radio show but with the added people and no FCC regulations we are free to do and say whatever we want…and we do!”
Longtime WMAL, Washington Personality Bill Trumball Dies at 77. Bill Trumball retired from WMAL, Washington in 1996 after spending more than 35 years with the station. He was partnered with Chris Core on the “Core and Trumball” show for many of those years. He passed away on January 10 from respiratory failure.
New Hampshire Primary, Iran Saber-Rattling and World Financial Markets Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/10). The GOP race to take the nation’s first primary election of the 2012 presidential campaign, the ongoing saber-rattling by Iran and speculation about its drive to develop nuclear weapons and the state of the world’s financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio across America yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Fisher’s Plans for KVI, Seattle Outlined. An e-mail to clients of Fisher Communications’ oldies-formatted KVI, Seattle announces the former talk stations will revert to talk – but not as a conservative talk station. After the holidays, KVI will be called “Smart Talk 570 KVI” and will be positioned as “Smart talk for a Sound life.” The memo states the station will feature “lifestyle, health, local and entertainment news.” In addition to Friday’s story about Dial Global’s Clark Howard joining the station, the morning show will be called “Sunrise Seattle” hosted by Mark Christopher and Elisa Jaffe of KOMO TV 4. TRN’s Phil Hendrie and The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “Daily Wrap with Michael Castner” are on the schedule along with a local program, “The Buzz” hosted by Scott Carty.
Political Influence of Conservative Talk Radio Analyzed in Timely Politico Article. A hard-hitting article posted this morning (11/18) on the popular political news and opinion website Politico presents a particularly insightful and fascinating analysis of the role conservative talk radio hosts play in the process of presidential elections. The story written by Keach Hagey and Glenn Thrush looks specifically at the meteoric candidacy of Herman Cain – a former radio talker – and examines the direct influence radio personalities such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity,Laura Ingraham, and Mark Levin have had and are still having on his unexpectedly prominent position in the polls and national conversation. The interesting and timely article appearing in one of the political world’s leading news websites poses the question, “How long will the love last now that Cain is on the rocks?” — referring to radio talk show hosts’ reaction to Cain’s propensity toward gaffes such as the Libya incident and embroilment in an alleged sexual harassment scandal. Read the Politico story here.
RAB/Miller, Kaplan, Arase Data Shows Radio Revenue Up 2% for Q3. That increase is due in large part to gains in digital for the radio industry. The Radio Advertising Bureau and Miller, Kaplan, Arase & Co. report data that shows spot revenue for the third quarter was flat, network revene up 2%, digital up 17%, and off-air up 10%. The data also indicates that total revenue for the first three quarters of the year is up 2% as well.
“Christopher Walken” Interview on WTEM, Washington Spooks AP After Natalie Wood Case Re-Opened. It wasn’t exactly a “War of the Worlds” situation but apparently WTEM, Washington producer Marc Sterne does a pretty good Christopher Walken imitation and someone at the Associated Press bit. The back story is that Sterne does a regular Friday segment on the Red Zebra Broadcasting sports talk station in which “Walken” talks fantasy football. With the re-opening of the Natalie Wood case in the news and Walken’s link to the case, Sterne referenced the investigation during the segment last Friday and the AP reported it as a real interview, then realized what happened and reported it as a hoax. However, the Washington Post writes that WTEM PD Chuck Sapienza says the “hoax” part bugs him because it implies underhandedness. “No one [from AP] called us to see if it was real, and then they call it a hoax,” he told the Post. “A hoax makes it sound like it’s our fault. We’ve been doing this [impersonation] for two years. They’re taking no responsibility for shoddy journalism.” The AP isn’t identifying the person who heard the segment and reported it as fact.
Howard Eskin and Wally Kennedy Inducted by Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia. The non-profit Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia honors people from every aspect of the broadcasting industry who’ve contributed to the business for at least 10 years. On Friday, the organization recognized WIP, Philadelphia sports personality Howard Eskin – WIP’s very first talk show sportscaster – and KYW news anchor Wally Kennedy. Eskin began hosting sports talk radio shows in Philly in 1986. He recently stepped down from his daily PM drive show to concentrate on Eagles game day coverage and other projects. Kennedy – who’s worked in Philadelphia radio and television for 30 years – is morning news anchor at KYW. CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield says, “CBS Radio is fortunate to showcase incredible talent on all of our properties. Legends like Howard Eskin and Wally Kennedy have been heard in the Philadelphia area for decades. It’s no surprise that they would be inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame. Both have contributed greatly to the success of our radio stations.”
Thom Hartmann Co-Authored Kennedy Book to Be Made into Movie by Leonardo DiCaprio. According to columnist Liz Smith, the book Legacy of Secrecy: The Long Shadow of the JFK Assassination (Counterpoint 2009), authored by Lamar Waldron with Dial Global talk host Thom Hartmann, will be made into a movie by Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way film company. Smith reports that DiCaprio would play FBI informant Jack Van Laningham and Robert De Niro will play Carlos Marcello. According to its Amazon description, the almost 950-page book suggests three Mafia bosses used John F. Kennedy’s and Robert F. Kennedy’s plan to stage a coup against Fidel Castro to murder the president.
Dave Graveline’s “Into Tomorrow” to Be Produced in New, Street-Level Studios. Dave Graveline’s nationally syndicated consumer technology program will begin broadcasting and shooting video podcasts at new street-level studios in the Miami Lakes Broadcast Center. The move will allow passersby to view the program as it’s being produced.
It’s a Jungle Out There. Tight money, a stressed-out population and aging listeners are creating burgeoning sales opportunities for talk media in financial services, crime control, medical and health services industries. Even as traditionally strong radio advertising categories such as restaurants, retailers and auto dealers are becoming a tougher sell than they used to be, smart and aggressive sales departments are re-evaluating their sales targets. Although the mantra in talk is “lower the demos” – the truth is the older folks have a significant percentage of the money and they are the ones listening to talk radio. Rather than apologize for this handy little fact, perhaps talk account executives should be trumpeting it loudly. Read more here.
Phil Boyce Out at TRN. After a three-year stint as president of programming at Talk Radio Network, Phil Boyce has announced his departure effective immediately. Boyce released the following statement to TRN employees: “I want to wish every member of the TRN family best wishes. I have enjoyed my three years getting to know and work with all of you. This is a great team and I know more success is forthcoming. Wherever I go you will always be in my heart and I am sure we will stay in touch.” Boyce joined TRN in November of 2008 after a 14-year run programming WABC in New York where he also served as VP of newstalk programming for Citadel and ABC Radio. In that capacity he established himself as a major national news/talk radio programming force playing a significant role in the careers of a number of top talents including Sean Hannity and Mark Levin. Prior to that Boyce programmed WJR in Detroit. Boyce tells TALKERS, “I hope to announce my future adventure shortly. In the meantime I want to spend a little time on that ‘secret island’ Jack Swanson recommended to me.” The island to which Boyce refers is the geographical euphemism to which the former KGO, San Francisco operations manager joked he was headed upon recently departing his long-held position at that heritage station. Boyce can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jake Russell to Head Up Davis Media’s Wilmington, North Carolina Cluster. Tom Davis’ Davis Media, LLC is the buyer for Sea-Comm Media’s Wilmington, North Carolina cluster of four stations: news/talk simulcast WNTB-FM/WLTT-FM plus three music FM outlets. Davis brings aboard former Take on the Day, LLC exec Jake Russell to become what he calls “our local owner-operator” for the cluster. Davis also owns two music FMs in Williamsburg, Virginia and has built a strong internet presence he cross-promotes with the radio stations combining for a media company philosophy that he calls “Hometown Driver.” Davis says the Williamsburg operation has been very successful and he believes the Wilmington stations will be the perfect radio cluster to drive his local media company model. The FM news/talk simulcast features local morning drive host Chad Adams plus syndicated Dial Global hosts Neal Boortz and Clark Howard, Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity, Cumulus Media’s Mark Levin, and Talk Radio Network’s Rusty Humphries. Davis Media begins operating the stations under an LMA prior to closing.
Neil Larrimore Exits KMBZ, Kansas City. Program director Neil Larrimore leaves his position at Entercom’s news/talk KMBZ, Kansas City – a job he’s held for the past eight years. Prior to joining KMBZ, Larrimore served as APD at Cox Media’s WHIO, Dayton.
Las Vegas Talk Host Alan Stock to Debut TV Show. KDWN, Las Vegas mid-morning talk host Alan Stock tells TALKERS he’ll begin a daily interview program on local cable channel Vegas TV (channel 14) beginning January 17. More details to come as the program gets closer to launch but Stock compliments employer Beasley Broadcasting for allowing him to work in another medium that will help him to build on and promote his daily radio program at KDWN.
2012 Presidential Race, ‘OWS’ Eviction, Obama Australian Trip, Iran Nukes Among Top News/Talk Stories Yestereday (11/15). The GOP candidates for president in 2012, the case of the eviction of the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protestors, President Obama’s trip to Australia and his plan to expand the U.S. military presence there, and Iran’s nuclear weapon ambitions were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Glenn Beck’s Bold Pioneering Media Station Draws Attention and Scrutiny from Consumer Media. Glenn Beck’s new two-hour live video program that is the lynchpin of his online media initiative is just two weeks old but it is garnering significant attention from the consumer press as talk media and TV practitioners rightfully watch with intense interest. Two important aspects of this stand out: the concept of a multi-media, specifically themed digital destination – a media station – once given thought as a quaint notion of what the future might hold is being developed by Beck full throttle; and the idea that everything on the internet must be free – because in a post-Napster world no one is willing to pay for any content on the internet – is being turned on its head. There are obviously others who are crafting media stations that provide video, audio, text and more and Glenn Beck is not necessarily the first talk media personality to pursue this model (Dial Global progressive talk host Thom Hartmann and the maverick Alex Jones have gone down this pioneering path as well, among others). However no one in the talk world with Beck’s media profile, large loyal following and tendency to get press is pushing this as zealously as he is. Beck is the subject of a recent piece by McKay Coppins at the Daily Beast that outlines for consumers some of the inside-the-business details that make GBTV a case study to watch. Since leaving Fox News Channel and launching GBTV, Beck has reportedly convinced some 230,000 P1s to pay $9.95 per year to view his content. Although that audience is a fraction of his former FNC audience, Beck grosses almost $2.3 million from the venture. If those subscriber numbers approach 1 million, Beck could be pulling in almost $10 million per year. As the Daily Beast story reveals, Beck has many more content ideas he’s developing. How many concepts make it to launch remains to be seen but it is clear that Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts company (a purposefully ironic name) is operating with the freedom to take Beck’s unique brand and run wild with it. And as media professionals debate the future of radio and television as we know it, Beck’s own words to the Daily Beast indicate he believes he’s creating something different. “What you see in the next 12 months on GBTV will transform the way news and information…is consumed,” Beck proclaims. It may appear Beck is foretelling the death of cable news/talk TV with that statement but it is more likely that Beck is at the forefront of a wave of content creators who are building a new business model for a medium that will co-exist alongside the older media – radio and television. And if that happens how long will they co-exist? Only time will tell. As TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison puts it, “Talk media practitioners should put their personal opinions about the political and social specifics of Glenn Beck’s content aside and focus on the mechanics and methodology ‘clinic’ that he is demonstrating. Regardless of whether or not he succeeds, what Beck is doing is a living example of where things are likely heading.”
Young Conservative Talk Up and Comer Andy Dean Joins Roster at Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum. Premiere Networks syndicated newcomer Andy Dean is the latest high-profile talk star to join the stellar roster of more than 30 industry heavyweights set to speak at the forthcoming Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum being presented in L.A. by TALKERS in conjunction with the Los Angeles Press Club on Thursday, October 20 between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm. The young Premiere Networks syndicated host will join such luminaries as Larry King, Norm Pattiz, Bill Handel, and dozens of other movers and shakers including the program directors of the region’s top talk radio stations at this groundbreaking event that is being described as a “Who’s Who of Southern California Talk Radio.” Dean’s remarks will be presented during his introduction of the panel “The State of Talk Radio in Southern California (and Slightly Beyond).” Although the LARTF is already filled to capacity, unregistered media professionals interested in attending can put their names on an active standby list. For complete details, click here.
TRN’s Michael Savage Clears in Chicago. Just two weeks after Joseph J. Gentile-owned WJJG, Chicago announced TRN-FM’s Mancow Muller was returning to the airwaves in the Windy City, the station adds Michael Savage to its lineup. WJJG general manager Matt Dubiel says the new lineup – beginning October 3 – will feature Mancow from 7:00 am to 10:00 am, Savage from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon and Mancow again from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. In a release, Dubiel says, “It’s interesting that Dr. Savage has been pigeon-holed as a political talk show host. Michael is an artist. He’s a best-selling author and a storyteller who’s as likely to discuss making rigatoni as he is the events of the day. We paint our radio shows and formats into a corner and then wonder why we struggle. Chicago listeners enjoy Michael Savage so we’re giving them Michael Savage. If Michael can sell millions of books, imagine what he can do for local businesses here!” WJJG is a daytimer with 760 watts at 1530 on the dial. Savage had aired on Salem Communications’ crosstown WIND but was dropped to make room for local personality Steve Cochran.
WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas General Manager Out as Cumulus Consolidates. The industry is waiting to see how Lew Dickey follows through on his promise to create “$50 million in synergies” and a first wave of job consolidation is starting. WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas general manager Keri Korzinewski is reportedly let go leaving Dan Bennett the sole manager for the six Cumulus properties in the Big D that also includes talk KLIF and sports KTCK-AM/FM.
John Gordon Calls Last Twins Game Tonight. John Gordon has been the voice of the Minnesota Twins for the past 25 years. At age 72, he’s hanging up his headphones to “see what’s outside the world of baseball” as he tells KARE-TV, Minneapolis. Gordon and partner Dan Gladden are heard on the Twins baseball network based out of Hubbard Radio’s flagship sports station KSTP.
GOP Presidential Hopefuls, Iran Naval Maneuvers and Obama Jobs Bill Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/27). The cast of GOP candidates for president in 2012, Iran’s plan to send warships to the Atlantic Coast of America and President Obama’s jobs bill were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.