The Infinite Dial 2014. Media consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke sat in on yesterday’s annual webinar presented by Edison Research and Triton Digital that detailed the results of the 2014 version of the Infinite Dial study. Many results are not surprising: smartphone use is growing rapidly with 61% of Americans owning cell phones – a 500% increase in five years. Although the “digital dashboard” – newer model cars with in-dash infotainment systems – gets a lot of press coverage as new deals are struck between app-makers, service providers and car manufacturers, as of today the smartphone is more important. The study reports 43% of persons 12-24 listen with a smartphone while in the car and 27% of persons 25-54 do the same. Still, AM/FM owns the auto for now and is still the primary source for discovering new music. Read more results from the study and Holland Cooke’s analysis here.
Dana Barrett to Host New Local Show on ‘biz 1190’ in Atlanta. On Salem Communications’ business talk WAFS, Atlanta “biz 1190,” local media personality Dana Barrett debuts a new program dedicated to “a unique look into ‘the business of everyday life’” debuting on Monday, March 10. Barrett states, “Atlanta is such a dynamic business market with an incredible diversity of industries. Healthcare, real estate, entertainment, retail…you name it, we do it here. I want to celebrate and embrace that diversity by talking to the business leaders and entrepreneurs that make our region go.” The daily show will air from 9:00 am to 10:00 am with a repeat from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Program director Aaron Williams adds, “It’s the perfect match for us. As the market’s only station dedicated to business, we couldn’t be happier to bring Dana’s unique knowledge of the metro Atlanta area to our audience.”
Mike Bower Exits ’97.9 ESPN Hartford.’ The afternoon drive program hosted by Mike Bower at Clear Channel’s Hartford sports talk outlet WUCS “97.9 ESPN Hartford” is cancelled and the station is actively seeking a new personality for the daypart. In a message posted on his Facebook page, Bower announces, “Unfortunately The Bower Show’s time on ‘97.9 ESPN’ in Hartford and ‘ESPN Radio 1300’ in New Haven has come to an end. Clear Channel opted to not renew the show but we would like to thank them for giving us the opportunity to talk sports with you every day for the past two years. More importantly, we would like to thank all of YOU…our listeners, for your continued support of The Bower Show.” The Bower Show was the only local daily show on the program schedule.
Rosenthal Promoted at Katz Media Group. With this promotion, Mark Rosenthal – currently CEO of Katz Radio Group – adds the title CEO of Katz Media Group in which he will also oversee Katz Television Group, KMG’s television representation company. The company says that as CEO of Katz Radio Group, Rosenthal will remain focused on building the radio sector, working closely with Katz Radio Group president Mark Gray to drive additional media dollars into radio. Effective immediately though, he will now also work closely with KTG presidents Leo MacCourtney and Craig Broitman to grow and further develop KTG’s assets, advocacy and revenue-generating efforts.
Salem Study: Christian Teaching Listeners Younger Than Perceived. The results of a study by Nielsen Audio commissioned by Salem Communications looking at the make-up of the audience for Christian teaching and talk-formatted radio shows indicates the audience is younger than may be commonly perceived. Half of the listeners to the format are under 55 and are spending 6.1 hours per week listening to stations airing the format. The study also indicates younger listenership is growing. Salem VP, director of spoken word format Phil Boyce states, “There is this perception that these are your father or even grandfathers radio stations, but we found there is a significant pool of younger listeners spending a great deal of time with our CTT format.”
Geoff Edwards Passes. No sooner had we reflected on the life and career of Los Angeles and Bay Area radio personality/television game show host Jim Lange (who succumbed to a heart attack last week) than we must now sadly note the passing of Geoff Edwards. Much like the 81-year-old Lange, Edwards, 83, amassed considerable fame from his Los Angeles radio days and nationally through several game show-hosting stints. Edwards died yesterday (3/5) of complications of pneumonia at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, California. Wink Martindale, Lange, and Edwards toiled together in Los Angeles at the once iconic KMPC. “Geoff was one of the cleverest, funniest radio and television personalities I have worked with,” Martindale states of Westfield, New Jersey native Edwards, who was heard on KMPC from 1968 – 1979. He was also on-air in Los Angeles at KHJ (1964 -1965) and two go-rounds at KFI (1966 – 1968 and 1987 – 1989). According to Edwards’ agent of many years, Fred Westbrook, Edwards succeeded in television by making several bold fashion statements. He favored jeans over suits and his hair was longer than that of most other talents at the time. “He was part of the new breed,” Westbrook comments. Tributes on Facebook regarding Edwards’ death included this observation from renowned voiceover talent/studio audience warm-up announcer/”Price is Right” announcer Randy West. “Geoff was a wonderfully kind and joyous guy, very bright, with a great natural talent for creating joy, both over the air and in person. For me, it was more laughs per hour with Geoff than anyone else since high school. What a pro, what a sweet man, what a character, what a ball. He was loved and respected by everybody. We laughed and giggled every time we were together.” Sonoma Music Group president Michael O’Shea checked in by remarking, “What a shock. Geoff was our 9:00 am – 12:00 noon personality at KMPC. Personable, authentic, real and natural. We played tennis a time or two. This is very sad.” Longtime KOST, Los Angeles on-air personality Ted Ziegenbusch notes that Edwards was, “One of my favorite lunchroom pals. Thanks for the laughter, the stories and the fun. I know you have always enjoyed travel. This journey is the best one ever.” Veteran Los Angeles traffic reporter Mike Nolan comments that he was, “a fan for years, then honored to work with him at KFI, so happy to have called him a friend.” Fellow television game show host Jim MacKrell remarks, “I am deeply saddened by the news of Geoff’s passing. I know of no one in our business with a better reputation and a multitude of friends. I am glad I was one of them.” Edwards’ national television resume includes hosting “Jackpot!”, “Chain Reaction,” “Play the Percentages,” “Treasure Hunt” and “The New Treasure Hunt.” In Los Angeles, he and Meredith MacRae won Emmy Awards for co-hosting the daily “Mid-Morning L.A.” For nine years (1986 – 1995), he co-hosted the California Lottery‘s “Big Spin.” An eyewitness to one of America’s most memorable moments, then-news reporter Edwards was in the basement of the Dallas Police Department on November 24, 1963 when Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald, the suspected assassin of President John F. Kennedy. Funeral plans are pending for Edwards, who is survived by his wife, two stepsons, his ex-wife and their three children, as well as nine grandchildren.
Obama vs. Putin/Ukraine-Crimea Intrigue, ObamaCare Criticism, IRS Scandal, Obama Approval Ratings Sink, and 2016 Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/5). The political storm in Ukraine and Crimea and how President Obama is handling Vladimir Putin’s moving Russian troops into the region; scrutiny of the Affordable Care Act as the administration announces current health plans can be kept through 2016; Lois Lerner’s refusal to testify in new hearings looking into the IRS scandal; dipping approval ratings for President Obama; and speculation about candidates for president in the 2016 election were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Clear Channel Hires Bruce Gilbert for New Sports SVP Post. Most recently, Bruce Gilbert has been the vice president of news, talk and sports programming at CBS Radio Dallas where he’s been in charge of KRLD-FM “105.3 The Fan,” KRLD-AM “Newsradio 1080,” and the Texas State Network. Now he joins Clear Channel Media and Entertainment for the newly created position of senior vice president of sports operations. CC says Gilbert will be “responsible for the creation, development and direction of sports programming at CCM+E, including Premiere Networks and the Fox Sports Radio Network. He will also work with the National Programming Platforms team to expand sports branding across the company’s multiple platforms.” Prior to CBS, Gilbert headed up Washington, D.C.-based Red Zebra Broadcasting as CEO, where he grew the company from three to 13 stations. Gilbert also held the role of VP/general manager for the ESPN Radio Network, where he led programming, affiliations and sales for the network, and worked with owned-and-operated ESPN stations. Premiere Networks EVP of news, talk and sports programming Carl Anderson states, “We are ecstatic to have one of the nation’s leading sports executives join our company. Bruce has an amazing track record and unmatched dedication to building winning teams. His credibility in the sports arena brings a wealth of expertise, knowledge and leadership to CCM+E.” Some industry observers have noted Clear Channel has been lagging behind other major companies – especially CBS Radio and Entercom – in developing sports talk stations. The arrival of Gilbert could signal a change and the company may begin to consider operating more sports talk stations.
Fox News Channel’s “The Five” Soaring in Ratings. The 5:00 pm ET program “The Five” on Fox News Channel – co-hosted by Andrea Tantaros – has been climbing steadily in the ratings. Last Friday, for example, the program logged more than 2 million viewers (Persons 2-plus), 339,000 viewers (Persons 25-54) and 807,000 (Persons 35-64), easily doubling its closest competitors on the other cable news/talk channels. Andrea Tantaros is also host of her own talk radio program on Talk Radio Network (airing live from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon) alongside best-selling author Jason Mattera. TRN CEO Mark Masters says he believes she’s the only female broadcaster to star in a weekday TV program and host a nationally syndicated talk radio program. “In a post 2008-2009 economy, we have been seeking shows that are highly entertaining, yet responsible and profitable for our station affiliates and advertisers. Andrea has the ability to do both. She’s a fresh voice who will inject new energy to the airwaves.”
Bob Moore Joins Sports USA Media. He’ll assume the title of president of Sports USA Media in his role with the independent sports play-by-play content syndicator. Sports USA Media founder and CEO Larry Kahn says of him, “I’ve known Bob Moore for over 30 years. His experience in working with play-by-play sports rights and creating programming around them is a perfect fit for us. Bob has worked with multiple teams, including the L.A. Dodgers, the L.A. Kings, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the Anaheim Ducks, the Oakland Raiders, the USC Trojans, the New York Giants, and the Brooklyn Nets. Bob’s knowledge and background will be key factors in the continued growth of Sports USA Media.” Moore states, “I have long admired Larry for building the largest independent play-by-play sports network and am eagerly looking forward to helping him expand his play-by-play business and making a major statement in the digital space. We all know the demand for live sports is growing for both the audience and the radio stations. We will be announcing several major expansions for Sports USA Media over the next several months. If NBC, CBS and ABC can dedicate 24-hour sports television and radio networks, I think we can say the space is secure.”
Talk Host Doc Thompson Joins TheBlaze Radio Network. Talk radio pro Doc Thompson – recently heard on stations including WLW, Cincinnati and WRVA, Richmond – becomes part of the lineup at Glenn Beck’s online TheBlaze Radio Network hosting the morning drive program. Program director Dom Theodore says of Thompson, “Doc Thompson has an amazing track record of success at some of America’s biggest talk stations, in addition to his many years of guest hosting for Glenn Beck. His humorous style and unique approach make him the perfect choice for mornings on TheBlaze Radio Network.” Also from TheBlaze, Chris Peterson signs on with the network to serve as assistant program director. Peterson has served with Premiere Networks for the past five years.
Martha Zoller Back on the Radio. After a run for Congress in Georgia that took her off the radio for the better part of 2012, talk host Martha Zoller returned to the air this week on Cox Media’s WGAU, Athens, Georgia alongside co-host Tim Bryant for the Zoller & Bryant morning drive program. Prior to her run for office, Zoller was heard on Cox Media’s WXKT. At the time the station was a talk and sports hybrid but has since flipped to a classic hits format.
Entercom’s Sports Talk WSSP, Milwaukee Drops Fox for CBS. The change will take place on Friday, January 11. Entercom’s Milwaukee sports talk outlet WSSP “SportsRadio 1250” ends its affiliate relationship with Fox Sports Radio Network to begin airing the new CBS Sports Radio Network. WSSP airs local programming during much of the day but will use CBS for the evening, late night, overnight and weekend dayparts.
Odds & Sods. Michael Bull’s Atlanta-based “Commercial Real Estate Show” goes into national syndication via the Wall Street Business Network. The program was founded in 2010 by commercial real estate broker Michael Bull on WAFS, Atlanta in 2010 to examine national commercial real estate and business issues and feature high-caliber guests from around the country, including well-known analysts, accountants, brokers, lenders, developers, attorneys and architects. About the expansion, Bull states, “I’ve been delighted at the impact the show has had in just two years, and I’m extremely excited about the opportunity to continue to extend its reach. We can tell by the location of podcast downloads that the content is relevant to audiences across the globe. As we continue to add stations, the show’s comprehensive analysis and enlightening conversations will reach a much larger audience.”…..Dial Global nationally syndicated late night and early morning talk host Jim Bohannon will be one of six Inauguration Parade announcers who’ll be stationed along Pennsylvania Avenue on January 21 addressing the crowd. Bohannon says, “This is quite an honor, and I’m eager to do it again. I also announced the Carter parade in 1977, so I seem to do this every 36 years. Guess I’d better enjoy it since I’m not sure how many 36 year increments I have left. It should be fun announcing, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the Southeast A&P Remedial High Marching 37, as they form a giant grid…and a giant lock…in honor of this year’s inaugural theme!’ (applause).”
Dr. Alan Pressman Moves to WOR, New York. After 11 years on Access.1’s WWRL, New York, Dr. Alan Pressman takes his “Health Radio News” program to Clear Channel’s WOR, New York for a Sunday 8:00 am ET airing. He says the show will be a live, caller-driven program. Dr. Pressman states, “There are so many breaking stories about health and nutrition; stories the general public does not have easy access to. We’ll be discussing issues in the news from around the world. It’s really hard-hitting information.”
Gun Control Legislation, RGIII Controversy, Looming Additional Tax Battles, Obama Cabinet Nominations, and Flu Epidemic Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/8). Gun legislation proposals; the controversy over Robert Griffin III’s playing time in the Redskins’ loss to Seattle; future tax hike debates in Washington; President Obama’s cabinet nominations and the flu epidemic that has hospitals overwhelmed were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.