Tag: "Walter Sabo"
WABC, New York Adds Larry Mendte to Weekend Programming Lineup. Joining the WABC, New York Sunday evening lineup is Larry Mendte, who will host a weekly 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm program beginning July 27. The station notes that Mendte is “a familiar voice to the New York metro area, having most recently been a contributor to WPIX-TV’s nightly newscast producing commentaries…Returning to New York on 77 WABC allows Mendte to expand upon these commentaries, talk about New York’s biggest stories, and speak to Tri-State listeners with warmth, wit, and honesty that New York listeners have come to expect from Mendte and 77 WABC.” Mendte co-hosted the morning program on WWIQ, Philadelphia during its time as a news/talk outlet operated by Merlin Media. Mendte also hosts a television news and public affairs show for Me TV in Philadelphia. The show will soon air in New York on Me TV.
Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted. Up Today: Julie Talbott of Premiere Networks Receives the TALKERS “Woman of the Year” Award. Today (7/23) marks the seventh business day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last month’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014. The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms. The worldwide showing of these very special videos continues today with part 2 of the event’s traditional “Talkers Awards Ceremony” emceed by legendary Westwood One talk show host Jim Bohannon and featuring the presentation of the Judy Jarvis Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to Radio by a Woman (also known as the “Woman of the Year” award) by last year’s recipient Heather Cohen, EVP, the Weiss Agency to Julie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks. Talbott delivers an uplifting acceptance address in which she states, “This is really a fun business. But it’s a business…and it’s a tough business and we all have to continue to work together. I know we’re competitors – but we have to work together to really make something great happen.” Continuing on the theme of keeping radio work enjoyable, Talbott discusses her early days as a “pretty naive University of Kentucky small-town girl graduate” looking in New York City for a career area to enter and originally being attracted to the media field because the interviewers – unlike those in other areas of business she explored – seemed to be having fun in their work and were just as successful as the people she met in banking and other fields of business she encountered. She quickly realized, “That’s the creative business I want to be in!” She suggests, “We can’t forget the fun. We have to continually try to find some fun environment for the folks working for us.” To see this entire presentation, please click here. Coming tomorrow: part 3 of the Talkers Awards Ceremony in which Westwood One founder and Courtside Entertainment Group/Podcast One CEO Norm Pattiz receives the TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award. The TALKERS conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.
Entercom Chief David Field Asks Employees to Embrace Change, Lists Accomplishments in Mid-Year Memo. In his twice-annual memo to staffers, Entercom president and CEO David Field writes that everyone in the radio business must embrace change and innovate and challenges employees to do so within the guidelines of what Entercom believes in. He goes on to list those beliefs which start with its dedication to “building the best local radio stations with the best local personalities.” Also, Field speaks about the company’s accomplishments and points to the launch of new radio stations, the debut of its SmartReach Digital local marketing arm, and the “two-minute” promise at Seattle’s alternative “The End” which limits spots to six minutes per hour on the station with never more than 2 minutes of commercials at one time. Read his entire memo here.
WTMJ, Milwaukee to Debut Non-Sports Show Featuring Packers. The show is called “Tauscher and Kuhn” and will feature former Green Bay Packers lineman Mark Tauscher and current Packers fullback John Kuhn. It will air from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm on eight select Tuesdays beginning in September. The Journal Broadcast Group news/talk station has the show sponsored by Associated Bank. The program is not a sports talk show and will instead revolve around the two discussing current events, pop culture and more. Journal Milwaukee VP/GM of radio operations Tom Langmyer says, “WTMJ is committed to developing original, live, local programming and talent for our listeners. Mark and John have great chemistry. This is a chance to hear them unplugged discussing all areas of life, beyond the Xs and Os of sports. We look forward to have Mark and John on our team!” Tauscher says, “One of my favorite things while playing in the NFL was debating and arguing a wide range of topics in the locker room. John was and is always ready for a lively discussion, so I am looking forward to bringing our unique perspectives to the airwaves and having lots of fun along the way.”
Sabo: Five Steps to Managing a Problem. Media consultant Walter Sabo writes that because talk radio’s very purpose is to nurture controversy and opinion, there are ways to handle what might be perceived as a too-controversial event that help avoid “bad” PR and, worse, loss of advertising revenue or the decision to fire employees. Sabo notes that talk radio practitioners should be prepared to combat advertiser boycotts by arming themselves with examples of “controversial programming” on television on which they advertise because, most “family oriented” advertisers do air spots on TV shows that could be considered just as controversial – perhaps more so – than talk radio programming. For examples of this and more of Sabo’s five-step prescription, click here.
Odds & Sods. WPHT, Philadelphia mid-morning personality Dom Giordano is being inducted into the Philadelphia Area Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame in a ceremony that will take place on November 21 at the Hilton Philadelphia. See a complete list of inductees and honorees here…..Former San Francisco Giants pitcher and current team broadcaster Mike Krukow is suffering from a degenerative muscle disease called inclusion-body myositis. Krukow is part of the broadcast team for Comcast Sports Bay Area and for Cumulus Media’s KNBR, San Francisco. The disease is not life-threatening but there is no cure or treatment and it’s forced Krukow to use a cane for balance and to ride in a motorized cart at times…..Jake McCann is named vice president of sales for Cumulus Washington which puts him in charge of the sales effort for news/talk WMAL-AM/FM…..Digital Syndicate Network-owned sports talker WDKT, Beulah, North Dakota re-brands as “KDKT SportsRadio 1410” with the change in network affiliation from Fox Sports Radio to CBS Sports Radio. The station keeps Fox Sports Radio/DirecTV’s Dan Patrick and brings CBS’ Jim Rome back to the market after a year’s absence…..John Harper is named host of Relevant Radio’s “Morning Air” program. Harper joins the Catholic broadcaster after a career that includes time spent with ESPN building the sports giant’s “SportsCenter” into the iconic sports news programming that it’s become.
Bringing the Flight 17 Story Home to Listeners. Reporting from Kiev, Ukraine, ABC News Radio correspondent Aaron Katersky (left) speaks with US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt (right) in Kiev about the downing of Flight 17 and the political ramifications of Russia’s involvement in arming the Ukraine rebels.
ObamaCare Court Rulings, Flight 17 Investigation-Russian Responsibility, Gaza Strip Violence, Tony Dungy-Michael Sam Comments Controversy, Primary Races, Western Drought-California Water Shortage, Bill Clinton’s ‘Energizer’ Flap, and Illegal Child Immigration Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/22). Two separate and different Appeals Courts rulings on tax credits for citizens signing up for the Affordable Care Act; the ongoing investigation into the downing of Flight 17 and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s battle with the West over blame; the escalating violence in the Gaza Strip and Western airlines’ cessation of flights into Tel Aviv; the controversy over Tony Dungy’s comments about not drafting openly gay footballer Michael Sam because of the “distraction” it would cause; the mid-term primary races held on Tuesday; concern over the ongoing Western drought and Southern California’s low water supply; the latest published allegations about Bill Clinton’s paramour dubbed “Energizer”; and the influx of child illegals into the Southwest were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Rush Limbaugh’s Camp Responds to Media Matters Piece. The consumer media war against conservative talk radio – led by Media Matters for America – has, in general, not seen a lot of pushback from the program hosts themselves and the producers of the shows. But Premiere Networks-syndicated Rush Limbaugh, the chief target of criticism, fired back at Media Matters after a piece by its senior fellow Eric Boehlert was published in The Huffington Post that proclaimed Limbaugh’s program a ratings failure in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York. Limbaugh program spokesperson Brian Glicklich penned a response to Boehlert’s piece in which he takes Boehlert to task for, primarily, publishing the three stations’ weekly AQH numbers with the implication they are Limbaugh’s numbers before clarifying that later in his piece. He then adds his statistics about changes in Limbaugh’s ratings on those outlets. With just four months under his belt on these stations, one thing is for sure: Limbaugh is still the primary target for Media Matters and scrutiny of the these signals is something the industry will see a lot of over the next year or so.
You’re Here Because of Ben Hoberman. The recent passing of Ben Hoberman – the architect of KABC-AM, Los Angeles’ talk format in the early 1960s – has caused some of the industry’s great thinkers to look back at what made KABC and Hoberman so successful. Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo writes today in TALKERS (5/6) that Hoberman understood the basic premise behind great talk radio: It’s a show. Sabo also says Hoberman followed a number of other prescriptions for success, including these two: He invested in new technology and he embraced fresh, often outrageous talent. Read Walter Sabo’s entire piece here.
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai Address AM Revitalization and Cross-Ownership Rules at PAB Meeting. At the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters meeting in Hershey on Monday (5/5), FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai told the assembly that he wants to implement the workable aspects of the Commission’s AM revitalization program by the fall. He told the gathering, “Small broadcasters and large broadcasters alike want to revitalize AM radio. So do civil rights organizations and those favoring increased ownership diversity. Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, the list goes on. Indeed, I’ve been amazed by the chord that AM revitalization has struck throughout the United States. When I made this proposal in September 2012, I never imagined the response we would receive…Time isn’t on the side of this grand old band, so let’s commit ourselves to getting this done by Halloween. Our proposals will not be a panacea for the real problems confronting AM broadcasters. But they will help. For example, I’ve heard from numerous AM broadcasters desperate for FM translators. That’s why we need to move forward with an FM translator window designed for AM broadcasters. If the FCC acts soon, that window could open next year. In addition to asking for comment in our NPRM on specific proposals, the Commission also solicited other ideas on how to improve the AM band, both in the short term and the long term. And we received many suggestions from station owners, engineers, and listeners. We need to sort through them and figure out which ones merit action and which ones need further study. Beginning this summer, I plan to hold a series of meetings with stakeholders to discuss these proposals. And I invite you to participate. If you have an idea for revitalizing the AM band, don’t be shy. It’s not too late to tell us what you think.” Regarding the cross-ownership rules, Pai is realistic about what can be accomplished, stating, “Unless the courts intervene, I see no prospect that the FCC will bring all of its media ownership rules into the 21st century in the next couple of years. But I do see a glimmer of hope when it comes to the newspaper-radio ownership ban. The Commission has signaled an openness to getting rid of this anachronism. And as the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu put it, ‘a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.’”
Newsweb Radio to Change Programming on Two Chicago FMs. The programming on two of the four stations currently airing Newsweb Radio’s progressive talk programming will cease and begin airing a Polish-language format under a time-brokerage deal. Chicago media writer Robert Feder has the story and he reports WCPT-FM, Arlington Heights at 92.7 and WCPQ-FM, Park Forest at 99.9 will begin airing the Polski.FM-branded format on June 2. Newsweb Radio president Charley Gross tells Feder the move will allow the company to focus progressive talk on its 820 AM flagship, 92.5 FM (which covers mainly the western suburbs and northwest Illinois) and its webstream while providing a source of revenue from the other two stations.
Saga Communications Net Income Down 9%. Although the company’s net operating revenue was up by 0.8% with $29,423,000 realized in the first quarter of 2014, net income for Saga Communications was down 9% from $2,949,000 in 2013 to $2,439,000 this year. Saga’s long term debt dropped from $58,828,000 during the same period in 2013 to $46,078,000 in 2014.
Odds & Sods. Changes in weekend programming at Cumulus Media’s news/talk KSFO, San Francisco put an end to Barbara Simpson’s weekly show…..Clear Channel adds a little FM strength to the market coverage of news/talk WRVA, Richmond. The formerly dark translator W253BI, licensed to Glen Allen, Virginia at 98.5 FM, gives WRVA more potential coverage in the northern part of the market…..The “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” presented by WYD Media nationally syndicated talk media personality Stephanie Miller rolls into Albuquerque for a show at Popejoy Hall on Saturday, May 10. Miller, along with fellow performers John Fugelsang and Carlos Alazraqui, will also do a show in Minneapolis on June 7.
Scianna Named BRN Director of Communications & Marketing. That is a brand new title for Bott Radio Network and the one landing it is Paul Scianna, founder/executive director of the first Missouri-based Family Policy Council associated with Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council. Bott Radio Network president and chief executive officer Rich Bott states that, “This new role is consistent with the exciting growth of Bott Radio Network and will help facilitate our continuing expansion and use of new media platforms to better serve our listeners and broadcast ministry partners. Paul has been a longtime friend of the Bott family, and he has a passion for the mission, vision, and values of BRN. Paul will have a key role in serving our listening audience, broadcast ministry partners and business sponsors, as well as engaging community leaders, pastors and our associates as we implement new ways to advance our vision of getting the word of God into the people of God.” Scianna comments that he is “excited and humbled” to join BRN “at this point in the organization’s 52-year history. Bott Radio Network has established a strong foundation on which we can build to fulfill its vision of broadcasting the timeless message of hope.” Scianna previously was vice president of the college testing company ACT; manager of internal corporate communications for Sprint; and senior vice president of corporate and public affairs for the PR firm Fleishman Hillard.
Enjoying the Accolades. The staff of The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “WSJ This Morning with Gordon Deal” poses with their Excellence in Financial Journalism Award received from the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA) which recognizes reporters from the national and local press whose work was published, posted or broadcast in 2013 and contributed to a better and balanced understanding of business or financial topics. The “WSJ This Morning” crew was honored with one of only 11 awards given by the organization for the program’s coverage of the government shutdown. Pictured here (from left to right) are: Mike Gavin, Gina Cervetti, Deal (holding the award) and Dave Duncan.
Obama WH Correspondents’ Dinner Speech, Mid-Term Election Prognostications, Russian Aggression in Ukraine, Rice Withdraws from Rutgers Speech, and Clean Air Act Battle Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/5). Criticism of President Obama’s highly political speech at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner; the most recent polls indicating Democrats may suffer losses in the mid-term elections in November; continued aggression in Ukraine by pro-Russian forces; former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice withdraws from her speech at Rutgers University; and the political battle over the Obama Administration’s restrictions on power plant emissions as part of the Clean Air Act were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Walter Sabo
Meeting Mr. Hoberman was an event. You made an appointment, no one just
walked in to his office. The GM down the hall at KLOS made an
appointment. Mr. Hoberman’s office was different than yours. It was
crisp, immaculate and no-nonsense. Just like Mr. Hoberman.
Three Eagles Communications to Sell Stations to Dean Goodman’s Digity. The growing media portfolio of Dean Goodman continues to grow as his Palm Beach, Florida-based Digity Companies agrees to purchase Three Eagles Communications’ 48 stations in markets in Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota. Pending FCC approval, the transaction is expected to close during the third quarter. Three Eagles founder and CEO Rolland Johnson says of the deal, “I think it is an excellent time to be buying stations. Radio seems to have survived the perfect storm and should come out stronger than ever. While on the NAB Board with Dean Goodman 10 to 12 years ago, Dean talked about his vision of buying stations and rolling them up into a diversified company. It is great to have a vision like Dean’s and to be able to follow through with it. Dean is getting a group of hard-working people with award-winning stations who deserve a chance to participate in something as exciting as what Digity offers. I congratulate him on an excellent purchase.” Goodman comments, “Digity is on-air, online, on-demand, on-location, and on-the-go. It connects today’s busy consumers with content they want, people they trust, products they enjoy and things that matter. We are very pleased to have signed the Three Eagles purchase and Digity intends to continue to grow in all areas of its operations.” Digity, through Palm Beach Broadcasting, operates four FM stations in the Palm Beach market. GoodRadio.TV operates 26 radio stations in Midwestern markets. Digity earlier this year purchased 33 radio stations from NextRadio and operates those stations in San Jose, Chicago, suburban Dallas, Saginaw, Canton, Greenville and Myrtle Beach.
Rush Limbaugh Awards Grants in Essay Contest; Tennessee School Reacts. The essay contest Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk star Rush Limbaugh conducted earlier in the 2013-14 school year has been completed with three schools receiving a package of books and a cash gift from Limbaugh and his wife Kathryn. At Hawkins Elementary School in Rogersville, Tennessee, principal Barry Bellamy and first grade teacher Danee Collette are still reeling after receiving a shipment of books from Limbaugh that included American classics The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Where the Red Fern Grows as well as copies of his own bestseller Rush Revere and the New Patriots. According to the Rogersville Review, Bellamy and Collette were even more shocked to receive a check for $15,000 to use as the school sees fit. Collette tells the paper her father is a big Limbaugh fan and told her about the essay contest. She dutifully wrote it and didn’t think much more about it until a Limbaugh staffer called to ask for a shipping address for the books. Collette says the money will probably be used for white boards, desks and tables for the library. She tells the paper, “This is so awesome! I graduated last May, got a job here for the school year, and now this!”
Remembering Ben Hoberman. Very briefly worded mentions of talk radio pioneer Ben Hoberman‘s passing dotted the internet Saturday and Sunday, but precise details regarding his death are not readily available. What we do know though is that the longtime ABC Radio executive was 92 when he died on Saturday (5/3). General consensus within the industry indicates that – with Hoberman at the helm in 1960 – Los Angeles’ KABC-AM was one of the first fulltime talk stations in the country – if not the first. On John Rook‘s Facebook page, the well-known programmer posted that, “When all of the ABC-owned radio stations were introducing Top 40 programming, [Hoberman] envisioned a new kind of format featuring talk. KABC would become top-rated in Los Angeles for decades, a format that gave birth to KGO’s talk format in San Francisco. His success elevated him to the presidency of ABC Radio. Ben Hoberman was a role model for managing radio stations, a total gentleman, and one of the real class guys I have known. My sincerest condolences to all who mourn his passing.” In the early-1970s, John Mainelli was a 20-year-old NABET vacation-relief news writer for KABC and the talk radio consultant recounts, “I had just learned what ‘fortnight’ meant and decided to use it in a script the next chance I got. Mr. Hoberman walked into the newsroom after [KABC morning drive talent] Bob Arthur read the story, saw my name on the filed script, dropped it on my desk and said, ‘If you mean two weeks ago, say it.’ That was ‘Mr. H’ – attention to detail and follow-through.” Hoberman had been with ABC for close to 40 years, much of that time in Los Angeles, where he had been KABC-AM’s general manager. He later was based in New York, running the network’s radio division, then consisting of six AM stations and six FM outlets, as well as syndicated programming as “American Top 40″ – then hosted by Casey Kasem. Hoberman, ex-ABC-TV president Elton Rule, and several other investors attempted to raise enough money to take over the entire ABC Radio division. Hoberman is pictured here at right in an undated photo with President Ronald Reagan.
SiriusXM’s Chris Russo Stirs Controversy Over Race on Sports Talk Radio. The flashpoint for a controversy over race and radio was SiriusXM sports talk personality Chris “Mad Dog” Russo’s recent comment to a caller when asked about why there are no black sports talk hosts on his channel. Russo replied that he has not found one “worthy of doing a national talk show.” That started a social media flap. In the New York Daily News’ coverage of the story, Bob Raissman reports that Russo was not apologizing for his comment and told his paper, “The idea that I wouldn’t hire a black talk show host, a Korean talk show host, or a talk show host from Mars is absurd. If there is any person of any ethnicity who wants to get a job at ‘Mad Dog Radio’ and we feel he or she is capable of doing a national talk show at the highest level, I’d put them on in a second. Let’s just say we are not being overwhelmed by resumes.”
Five Simple Engagement Actions. Media consultant Walter Sabo, in a column published today (5/5), writes that it’s very important for listeners to feel that your radio station is “special.” Sabo notes, “It is so important to examine every single second of our programming in every format and ask, ‘How can this be better?’ Too much time is wasted on learning new rules from ‘corporate’ and new organizational structures. If your company is ‘afraid’ of Pandora and other web companies, the solution is better programming. It’s always better programming. Fresh programming ideas come from external sources, solid research and by paying close attention to what audiences do.” And with that in mind, Sabo offers five ways to better engage your audience. Read his piece here.
Journal Broadcast Group’s News/Talk WTMJ and Adult Hits WLWK in Milwaukee Honored with WBA Awards. In the large market category, Journal Broadcast Group’s news/talk WTMJ and adult hits WLWK were recently honored with Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Awards. WTMJ won the following honors: News & Talk Station of the Year; News Operation of the Year; Best News & Talk Radio Show (AM drive) for “Wisconsin’s Morning News with Gene Mueller”; Best News & Talk Radio Show (9:00 am to 5:00 pm) for “Wisconsin’s Afternoon News with John Mercure”; Best Live On-Scene Reporting, Jodi Becker and the WTMJ News Team (Carroll University Lockdown); Best Spot News, Shooting at Children’s Hospital, WTMJ Radio News Team; Best Feature, “Preserving WWII History,” Erik Bilstad; Best Sportscast, Greg Matzek; Best Continuing Coverage, “Say it Ain’t So, Ryan Braun,” WTMJ Radio News & Sports Team; and Best Use of Audio, “Rain, Rain, Go Away,” Erik Bilstad. WLWK was honored for: Best Newscast – Music Format, Lake Mornings with Danny Clayton, Vince Vitrano & Andi Miller; Best Promotional Announcement, “Free Fun Night Out,” “The Lake” staff; Best Commercial – Music Station, Flanners/Just Press Play – Jim Gilles; and Best Humorous Commercial Music Station Love Finds A Way – Jim Gilles.
KTSA, San Antonio Morning Host Trey Ware Mourns Death of 28-Year-Old Son. At Alpha Media-owned talk outlet KTSA, San Antonio, Trey Ware has handled morning drive for the past 21 years – almost half of his broadcasting career. But last week Ware and his wife Nancy suffered the devastating loss of their 28-year-old son Justin who died under circumstances that are being kept private at this time. This is not the first such tragedy for the couple. Ware and his wife lost their daughter Rebekah in 2009 at age 20. In the San Antonio Express-News, writer Jeanne Jakle spoke with Ware who said, “We’re taking it day by day, minute by minute, that’s all we can do…They were the only two we had. April is not a good month for us. We want to expunge April from the calendar.” Other KTSA staffers are sitting in for Ware during this time. Local radio personality Adam McManus has subbed the past few days.
SCBA Goes on the Offensive in TV vs Radio Ad Spend. If there’s a radio trade organization doing more to make the case for radio as an advertising vehicle, we’re not aware of it. The Southern California Broadcasters Association has been very focused on consistently reaching out to the media to present radio’s case versus its competition and in this case, the competitor is TV. The SCBA is releasing a white paper titled, “Traditional Appointment Television’s Technology and Viewership Crisis,” and it zeroes in on the decline in appointment viewing replaced by on-demand viewing that largely allows consumers to skip through commercial sets. SCBA president Thom Callahan states, “The imbalanced ratio of radio to TV ad spending in Southern California is completely unjustified when one looks closely at this SCBA report. Traditional appointment television is under direct attack from a variety of technology giants such as Google TV, Netflix, Amazon TV, YouTube, Hulu, as well as the ominous DVR.” Callahan says the report goes on to show that “radio remains the only real time medium with no tape delay or commercial skipping.” He adds, “Southern California Radio has grown its listenership of Adults 18+ over the past six years by an impressive 7.4% while local general market TV viewership has spiraled downward by -6.5% for early fringe programming and -8.5% for any local news. We are urging every general market TV advertiser to look at their ad spending and decide if they want to invest in the power of radio and our solid growth trends and commanding reach in Southern California vs. the eroding viewership of traditional appointment TV.”
Jeff Katz Honored with Journalism Award. Multi-media personality Jeff Katz was honored recently with an Editor’s Choice Award for his column that appears in the New England-based publication The Valley Patriot. Katz currently is host of the afternoon drive show at Clear Channel-owned news/talk WRVA, Richmond. He also writes for the Boston Herald and self-syndicates the nationally distributed “Katz Commentary.” He is also a public speaker having delivered keynote addresses all over the country. Katz tells TALKERS all of his media ventures embrace his unique philosophy of life, “Not Left. Not Right. Just Real.” Katz (left) is pictured here accepting his Editor’s Choice Award from The Valley Patriot publisher Tom Duggan (right).
Sharp-Dressed Men. The annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner took place in Washington, DC on Saturday evening (5/2) and there was no shortage of media players at the who’s who of news and politics gathering. Pictured here are (from left to right): Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey; ABC News president James Goldston; and ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve Jones. Photo by Jay Snap, LaDexon Photographie.
By Walter Sabo
1. The Radio Cathedral. In your listener’s mind, the radio station is a community cathedral. Recently I was talking with a Connecticut cub scout leader. She told me that she was about to take her troup on “their favorite trip.” She explained that they were going on a field trip to build their own radio sets. The kids loved it.
I asked, “At which radio station are you going to do that?”
By Walter Sabo
“Quiet people have the loudest minds.” – Stephen Hawking
NEW YORK — Better cash bet? Telephone or telegraph? That was the debate among investment bankers at the turn of the 19th century. A significant portion of the population preferred the written word. They liked the formality, pause and thought of composition. Telephones didn’t let you take back or erase words you regretted.
As the telephone was funded and adopted, extroverts embraced the technology. Extroverts enjoyed talking for hours. They prefer to express themselves spontaneously, passionately. They love group think, brainstorming, team playing, drama in the conference room, public speaking and spontaneity. The phone is made for them.
Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze.com Claims Increased Unique Visitors. The website that’s a part of Glenn Beck’s digital efforts is growing rapidly, according to the company. TheBlaze.com reports that, according to data from Omniture, it had its best month ever in March, attracting more than 35 million unique visitors and becoming the 43rd most trafficked site in the U.S. Further, the company claims the site generated 198.7 million page views in one month. TheBlaze president and chief content officer Joel Cheatwood comments, “TheBlaze.com’s mix of original reporting and curation has quickly made it one of the leading sites in America. Editor-in-chief Scott Baker and his team have done a tremendous job and we are proud of how the site continues to grow alongside our TV network.”
Opie & Anthony to Celebrate 20 Years Together at Carolines on Broadway. The hot talk duo of Greg “Opie” Hughes and Anthony Cumia will celebrate 20 years together on the radio as Opie & Anthony with a special edition of its “Unmasked” comedy series broadcast live from Carolines on Broadway – New York City’s premier stand-up comedy nightclub. The program – “O&A20: Unmasked” – will air on SiriusXM live at 4:00 pm ET. SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein says, “We want to toast Opie & Anthony on reaching this milestone and for being one of the most outrageous and daring duos in all of talk radio. SiriusXM has been proud to give Opie & Anthony the freedom to give fans and listeners their intense, edgy talk and uncensored comedy. We are thrilled to have SiriusXM listeners across the country celebrate their decades in radio with an evening that will be without a doubt an outrageous and unpredictable show.”
WEEI, Boston to Stick with Dale Arnold and Michael Holley in PM Drive. Well, for as long as anything is stuck with in radio these days. Those are our words, not those of Entercom Boston vice president and market manager Phil Zachary, who tells the Boston Globe that the station is “going forward with Dale and Holley” several weeks after parting ways with Mike Salk, who returned to his adopted hometown of Seattle to serve as program director at KIRO-AM. Salk and Holley were paired up in afternoon drive for almost a year after Glenn Ordway was ousted from the station (Ordway has subsequently begun his own digital venture SportsTalkBoston that features his “The Big Show Unfiltered” also airing live in PM drive). Michael Holley and Dale Arnold had been partners in middays on WEEI for almost six years before their show was broken up in 2011 to bring Lou Merloni into middays. Boston radio observers speculated that WEEI management felt the knowledgeable-but-not-very-hip Arnold is the antithesis of what CBS is doing successfully at rival WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub,” so they took him out of the daily lineup. Arnold stuck around WEEI hosting weekend shows, sports pre-game programs and doing fill-in work. Now, Zachary tells the paper, “We will continue to evaluate and enhance the program as we start to get some Nielsen feedback.”
SABO: Introverts Are Taking Over the Business World. Media consultant Walter Sabo asks what kind of workforce are you building with respect to the personality types of staffers? Are they introverts or extroverts? Or a mix of the two? According to Sabo, the different personality types prefer to communicate in different ways – extroverts, verbally and introverts, with the written word. “An interesting fact about radio stars is that they are shy as hell. They thrive working alone in a room where they have absolute control of their environment. They hate to meet new people.” With emails and texting taking over the way people – yes, especially young people – communicate, it may just be that introverts are taking over the business world. Read Sabo’s entire column here.
LDR Interactive Adds Two to TopicPulse Executive Team. The growing firm LDR Interactive announces two executives join its TopicPulse leadership team. Hank McMonigle is named vice president, sales for TopicPulse and Dana Hall joins as TopicPulse support and client services manager. The company says in a statement that McMonigle and Hall will lead client development and service for TopicPulse, its real-time, social media monitoring system for local newsrooms and content producers. TopicPulse scans social media including Twitter and Facebook, blogs, comment/message boards, and news sources to track trending topics in a local market. McMonigle comes to LDR Interactive with more than 30 years of experience in the media industry, most recently serving as vice president/general manager at NextMedia Group in Dallas. Dana Hall is a broadcast and music industry journalist who’s covered formats ranging from urban, hip-hop, gospel, rhythmic, and top 40 for Radio & Records, Billboard, Airplay Monitor, and RadioInfo. She also programmed urban outlet WILD, Boston. LDR Interactive CEO, Daniel Anstandig comments, “Hank and Dana bring exceptional talent and perspective to our growing team. They are media industry thought leaders and relationship builders. Their enthusiasm for innovation and forward-thinking mindset is already driving TopicPulse’s growth in the days since they’ve joined our team.”
The 2014 Hersky Award Winners Are Announced. For the 7th year running, TALKERS magazine is proud to deliver news of the winners of the annual Hersky Awards for talk radio advertising excellence. Okay, so maybe the Herskys aren’t as big as some other industry awards, but radio pro Al Herskovitz is an accomplished sales pro and a serious observer of today’s radio advertising landscape and, even though we have a little fun with it, his accolades are delivered with utmost sincerity. Check out his story and why Fox Sports Radio’s Jay Mohr, Compass Media’s Todd Schnitt, Cumulus Media and others are being recognized this year by clicking here.
Catching Up with Lionel: One of Talk Radio’s True Originals Performing at the Top of His Game in Experimental Radio Space. One of the most unique and original performers to grace the airwaves during talk radio’s modern era is a quirky former trial lawyer, prosecutor and talk show caller from Tampa, Florida named Michael William Lebron who is known in his many media-related activities (radio, television, books, live performances) by the professional name “Lionel.” As Lionel, he has enjoyed a stellar career as a talk show host on such great call letters was WABC and WOR in New York, WFLA, Tampa as well as in national syndication on such networks as the WOR Radio Network and Air America. He even hosted a cool show on Court TV. These days he is familiar to New York television viewers as a commentator and legal analyst for WPIX-TV Channel 11 and to the elite audience of industry professionals and hard core talk show fanatics glued to TalkersRadio – the “experimental talk radio space” operated by TALKERS magazine on its website (www.talkers.com) as a laboratory for new ideas and formats for the industry. It is within this endeavor that Lionel has begun raising eyebrows and is receiving praise for having delivered some of his most remarkable spoken-word performances to date. In the words of TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “When Lionel is left to his own on-air devices and not squished into an existing talk ‘format,’ ‘formula’ or cookie-cutter political ideology, he is capable of creating a level of compelling content the quality of which we haven’t heard since the days of Jean Shepherd. All we have done at TalkersRadio is encourage him to do whatever he wants and as a result we have benefited from the brilliant results of that strategy. What he does for us would fit any talk format out there today if the programmers didn’t ‘try to make it fit’ what they think is the only way to make talk radio work.” In a new feature story written by TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian posted today (3/31), we look back at the amazing career of this most unusual talk show host, tap into his views and opinions about the state of the format, and reveal his hopes for the future. To read the entire piece, please click here.
Comrex to Unveil New Streaming Appliance at NAB Show. For broadcasters involved in streaming content and who may be attending the NAB Show in Las Vegas, a visit to the Comrex Corporation booth will be informative. There, the company will introduce the new P1L0T IP Streaming Server. The company states that P1L0T is a dedicated streaming appliance designed with hardened Linux-based hardware and software. There are no moving parts…not even a fan. AES3 and analog balanced inputs, special audio processing options enhanced for streaming and an intuitive web-based interface are included. P1L0T can deliver your source stream to any SHOUTcast/lcecast-based streaming server and, given enough bandwidth, can deliver 100 streams directly to listeners. Listeners connecting to your audio stream have a choice of formats, either HE-AAC, Opus or MP3 because P1L0T is capable of encoding in each mode simultaneously. P1L0T is a compact unit occupying 1/2 U of rack space, at a very low cost. The Comrex booth will be #C2221 in the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Odds & Sods. A new album featuring the songs of Bob Dylan has been released by the Charlie Daniels Band titled Off the Grid and Charlie Daniels visited the Fox News Radio studios in New York City to promote the record. Daniels (right) is pictured here with Fox News Radio morning anchor Dave Anthony (left) who is sporting Daniels’ hat for the photo…..Last week TALKERS announced CBS News Radio was recognized with National Headliner Awards. This week, we have two more to announce. Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington wins seven National Headliner Awards including first place in the Newscast, News Series and Website categories. Also The Wall Street Journal Radio Network is honored with two National Headliner Awards. “Wall Street Journal This Morning with Gordon Deal” takes 3rd place in the Breaking News Category and MarketWatch.com Radio is recognized with a 2nd place finish in the Radio Affiliated Website category…..Chicago Public Media, which operates WBEZ, Chicago, announces Goli Sheikholeslami is named the new president and CEO of the organization. She most recently served as chief product officer at Everyday Health but also served with the Washington Post, leading the digital division.
Sometimes It Is Fool’s Gold. Despite how perceptive you might think you are, or the conscientious pains you take to be aware, there is still a better-than-average chance you were duped about something yesterday – even if it was for a split-second. It is a national pastime and we are not talking about the beginning of the baseball season. Hopefully, the intention is always harmless, yet inevitably, something a bit wonky can happen when the calendar flips to the first day of April. Okay – more specifically – countless on-air April Fool’s Day pranks were hatched yesterday; here is a quick look at two of them – one nationally and the other on a local level. Registered 501(c)3 nonprofit car donation charity Kars4Kids changed their long-running radio jingle, although listeners of more than 50 stations in 14 markets wondered if they were hearing correctly when they heard the new “message.” The radio spot indicated Kars4Kids is launching a new division – Kids4Kars. The kid donation program supposedly provides free pickup of all donations of kids and offers a free lifetime vacation to donors in return. Kars4Kids spokesperson Morris Franco alleges that, “We had been getting requests for this service on social media and from callers for years. People would call up saying they have a kid they would like to donate and wondered what they can get in return. After we got enough of these parents calling, we realized that there was a real need for kid donation that wasn’t being filled by anyone else, so we decided to step up to the plate.” Prospective donors were directed to the charity’s website, where they could “submit a donation” by using an online form. The website stated the program could “accept kids up to age 12 in any condition, provided the donor is the child’s legal parent.” Anyone getting to the confirmation part would receive an “April Fool’s” statement, followed by, “Your kids are worth more than you think.” According to a Boston Medical Center study, 73% of parents pay more attention to their mobile phones than to their children during mealtime. The Kids4Kars campaign encourages parents to ignore their devices during times reserved for their children. “We felt we needed to hit hard to get the gravity of the message across,” Franco states. “With the increasing temptations of our mobile devices, it is harder and harder to stay focused on our children. The shock value of an April Fool’s prank allowed us to wake parents up to the damage they can do to their children by focusing on their devices instead of their kids.” It is estimated that this particular stunt reached at least 50 million people. Meanwhile in Connecticut, Chaz & AJ – the morning team at Connoisseur Media‘s WPLR, New Haven “Connecticut’s #1 Rock Station” and co-owned classic rock WFOX, Stamford-Norwalk “The Fox,” reported that state taxpayers could double their tax rebate check from $55 to $110 by registering with a new database program instituted by the Department of Revenue Service. According to Chaz, it was difficult to establish the exact number of calls the stations received, especially since, “The high volume that came in ultimately caused the phone system to crash. We did not think it would generate that many calls.” Shortly after 9:00 am, the morning duo fielded a call from the Governor’s office and Chaz points out, “They complained that the revenue department was overwhelmed with phone calls – they were not happy.” A voicemail message declared it was an April Fool’s Day joke, but the Department of Revenue Services received calls about the supposed “rebate” throughout the day.
ObamaCare Criticism, Global Warming Debate, Ryan Budget Cuts, Benghazi Hearing, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Investigation, Russian Aggression, and MLB Season Opens Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/1). Scrutiny of the White House’s claim that the Affordable Care Act has reached its stated goals; renewed debate over the theory of man-made climate change; Rep. Paul Ryan’s proposal to cut $5 trillion from the proposed federal budget; today’s House Intelligence Committee hearing at which former deputy CIA director Michael Morell will testify on the Benghazi case; new conflicting information about Malaysia Airlines Flight 370’s last communications and a renewed criminal investigation; Russia’s aggression in Ukraine; and the opening of the 2014 Major League Baseball season were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Salem Communications Posts Q4 2013 Revenue Increase of 3.4%; Broadcast Up 1%. Digital was the key to Salem Communications’ 2013 fourth quarter revenue increase of 3.4% for the company as a whole. The broadcast sector was up 1% on revenue of $47.4 million and broadcast makes up about 60% of the company’s revenue. The company’s publishing sector was flat while internet and e-commerce was up 16.6%. Salem’s outlook for the first quarter of 2014 projects “total revenue to increase 9% to 11% over the first quarter 2013 total revenue of $55.6 million. The company is also projecting operating expenses before gains or losses on the sale or disposal of assets, impairments and stock-based compensation expense to increase 13% to 16% as compared to the first quarter of 2013 operating expenses of $48.2 million. This guidance includes the impact of the hiring of two new senior executives and the financial performance for the recent acquisition of Eagle Publishing. The guidance for the first quarter contemplates a loss of $0.4 million due to the assumption of some unfavorable contracts that will rapidly unwind and the fact that the first quarter is always a soft quarter in the book publishing business with the big titles being released in the spring and in the fall.”
Nielsen Study Ties Station Choice to Buying Behavior. In a release from Nielsen about its recent major market pilot test, the company says that “for the first time, a connection can be drawn between what consumers listen to on the radio and how they spend. This solidifies radio’s place as a valuable marketing platform for advertisers and media planners. The major market pilot test combined proprietary Nielsen data with anonymized panelist credit and debit card purchasing behavior covering more than 24 billion transactions and $2 trillion in annual sales primarily from the retail, travel, digital, restaurant, entertainment, financial services and telecom categories.” Results from the Dallas market, for example, show that listeners to pop radio spend more per buyer annually on casual dining than those listeners who prefer other formats. In the same market, rock and alternative listeners spend more per buyer annually in retail locations than listeners who prefer other formats. News/talk listeners, the study showed, go to the movies more each year that do listeners of other formats. Nielsen SVP of local media product leadership Farshad Family says, “The ability to determine how radio listeners among different formats like pop, news or rock are spending their dollars creates a unique opportunity for radio broadcasters to make a case for the value of their audience. We are just beginning to tell the story about the value of radio’s audience. As we make progress on conducting more links between listening data and purchase data, we will continue to share more insights with the marketplace.”
Ordway’s ‘Big Show Unfiltered’ to Begin Next Month. Longtime Boston sports talk radio host Glenn Ordway is returning with a daily, 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm program (“Big Show Unfiltered”), which will be heard via his SportstalkBoston.com website and on mobile devices. “I am so thrilled to once again be talking local sports in my hometown with the best fans in America,” comments Ordway, who presided over “The Big Show” for 27 years on Entercom-owned Boston sports outlet WEEI. “I look forward to presenting an alternative in the market that will feature the best of the past with some new, innovative elements and voices. There is no reason to hold anything back anymore – it is all unfiltered.” The renamed “Big Show Unfiltered” is set to begin in about two weeks (Monday, March 17) and it will include similar components from his WEEI program, such as “The Whiner Line.” It is believed that down the road, Ordway is planning to have his program air on a terrestrial radio network comprised of New England affiliates. Boston native Mike Salk, who co-hosted a program on Seattle’s KIRO-AM since 2009, replaced Ordway in afternoon drive on WEEI-FM alongside Michael Holley. Ordway’s final show on WEEI-FM was in mid-February of last year.
Logan Exits Shane Media. Stating on his Facebook page that he thought he’d “spend the rest of my working days in this chair at Shane Media,” Lee Logan says the fiscal realities of the industry have him exiting the consulting company and looking for his next great opportunity. Logan had been with Shane for the past seven years and was instrumental in assisting Radio One put its all-news format on KROI, Houston “News 92 FM.”
Freedom’s Voice Broadcasting to Purchase Dark KPTO, Pocatello for $75K. The principal of Freedom’s Voice Broadcasting is Tim Aalders who hosts the “Freedom’s Voice” talk show heard on United Broadcasting Company’s KTKK, Salt Lake City. Ted Austin’s Main Street Broadcasting is the seller for the signal that is currently dark. Aalders plans to expand the reach of his programming into the southeastern Idaho market. This is no announced timetable for KPTO going back on the air.
If Weekends Were Weekdays? Hey, They Are! That so many talk-formatted stations air infomercials on weekends is not news – nor is the programming-versus-sales paradigm so prevalent at many of these stations. Media consultant Walter Sabo says a little-known truth in the business is that Saturday midday is an indicative daypart and the second highest Homes Using Radio daypart. What could this mean to your talk station? Read Walter Sabo’s latest column here to find out.
Odds & Sods. The New York Festivals World’s Best Radio Programs announces the appointment of Michael Freedman, senior vice president and professor at University of Maryland University College to the New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards Advisory Board and GrandJury panel. NYF executive director Rose Anderson comments, “Michael Freedman brings over 35 years of broadcast journalism experience to his role as Advisory Board and GrandJury member. His creative vision and reputation within the industry will be a tremendous asset.”…..ESPN O&O WEPN-AM, New York “ESPN Deportes Nueva York” will continue to air New York Mets play-by-play in Spanish as the team and rights owner Clear Channel (English-language games will be heard on WOR) agree to continue the broadcasts through the 2016 season…..Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington announces the addition of an entertainment section to its WTOP.com site with WTOP.com staffer Alicia Lozano named editor for the section. Director of digital media John Meyer comments, “As WTOP evolves into a digital news operation, we are continuing to dedicate resources to original digital content that will feed not only our website but also our radio and mobile platforms. The Washington area is rife with local stories concerning the arts, music, movies and more. Our entertainment section will bring these stories to life online and on-air.”…..Media consultant Holland Cooke (pictured above at left in the WABC, New York studios with host Laura Smith) is appearing on WABC, New York this weekend on “Saturday Café with Laura Smith.” Cooke, who also blogs at his SurvivalSpeech.com, will offer “9 Tips For YOUR Academy Awards Acceptance Speech.”
The Media Roundtable. TALKERS and RadioInfo sales and marketing specialist Al Herskovitz (standing) was a recent speaker at the Media Roundtable in Sarasota, Florida. His subject was “The Current State of Radio Broadcasting.” The Media Roundtable conducts a monthly meeting that brings together media executives and active participants from all types of media: radio, TV, cable, internet, newspapers, magazines, publishing, motion pictures, theatre arts. The purpose of the group is to review current and future news and developments in the media with an interchange of opinions and questions by those in attendance. The Media Roundtable originated in 1950 in New York City and moved to Florida in 1991 and is unique in the United States. It currently is chaired and managed by longtime TV executive Irwin Starr. While there are some 300+ active members, the luncheon sessions are limited to the first 50 who make reservations. Pictured here with Herskovitz are Starr at far left and media broker Burt Sherwood, second from left.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Envision Networks-syndicated “America Weekend” talk show featuring Paul Harris, Turi Ryder, Rob Carson and other personalities, is added to the program schedule at Ohana Media Group’s KAST, Astoria, Oregon.
‘Religious Rights’ Legislation Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 24-28. The story of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s veto of a “religious rights” bill that would have allowed businesses to discriminate against customers based on religious beliefs was the most-talked-about issue of the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act. Following at #3 was the political unrest in Crimea and Ukraine and the U.S.-Russia tensions accompanying it. And at #4 was the 2016 presidential race, Hillary Clinton’s prospects and the looming mid-term elections this fall. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
By Walter Sabo
NEW YORK — No station consulted by Sabo Media has ever had paid-for programming on the weekend. Paid-for programming destroys weekday revenue by suppressing audience and aging demos.
The core issue is that Saturday middays is the second highest Homes Using Radio daypart. By default it’s vital.
There is a little known trend indicator that reveals how vital weekends are to weekdays. In diary markets, Saturday midday is predictive of the next rating period. If Saturday midday is up compared to weekdays, the next -overall- rating period will be up. If it is down, the next -overall- period will be down.
Bart Walsh, a very smart radio manager (formerly WKYS-FM, Washington, DC) taught me that.
By Walter Sabo
NEW YORK — Most talk stations are scheduled rather than programmed. When I talk to talent they always say, “No one has taught me anything. No coaching.”
When I meet with most GMs their common complaint is, “The PD doesn’t meet with the talent.”
These five upgrades to your on-air work will improve your PPM performance and it’s what I would hound you about if I was your program director:
Congressman Greg Walden Intends to Kill FCC’s Critical Information Needs Study. It wouldn’t be out of line to suggest Oregon Congressman Greg Walden doesn’t trust the FCC not to step over the line regarding its Critical Information Needs study. The controversial study would send researchers into the field to determine how stations and news personnel are choosing and presenting news and information and whether the conclusions reached somehow create a barrier to entry into station ownership for minorities. Last week, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler backed off the study as initially created and he has said the Commission has no intention of regulating the content of journalists or broadcasters. Walden is promising to craft legislation to end the CIN study permanently. He says “The very existence of this CIN study is an affront to the First Amendment and should have never been proposed in the first place. As someone with a journalism degree, I was alarmed from the moment I saw it, which is why we wrote to Chairman Wheeler in December to urge him to stop the study. To date, Chairman Wheeler has insisted upon only making small tweaks, and what he has proposed to do isn’t enough. The study should be eradicated completely. The potential for violation of the First Amendment is exceptionally egregious, but it is also concerning that the commission believes it can prescribe what ‘critical information needs’ are in communities across the country.”
Salem Names Joe Piscopo Permanent Morning Host at WNYM, New York. Former “Saturday Night Live” cast member, comic and actor Joe Piscopo has been sitting in hosting the morning show on Salem Communications’ WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” since the beginning of the year. Now the company makes it official as he’s named morning host of “Piscopo in the Morning.” He is joined on the air by morning show producer Frank Morano and newsman Al Gatullo. Salem VP/director of spoken word format Phil Boyce says, “One of the best things I get to do in this job is find talented people who have accomplished something on one stage and are ready to take on another one. Joe is extremely talented on the radio, bringing a level of entertainment to mix with the information that you seldom get to hear. This is a very connected morning show in the nation’s top market.” Piscopo has been involved in a variety of projects since he left SNL, and still does a number of nationwide tours with former cast members. In addition to numerous movie appearances, and comedy club gigs, he is soon to be featured in a national reality TV show for a major network. He comments, “I have my college degree in broadcasting. I remain a dedicated student of the most intimate medium, radio. And with legendary broadcast giants like GM Jerry Crowley and current day guru of all radio personalities past and present, Phil Boyce, this is the positively perfect storm of talk radio. I honestly believe that this is not only the reinvention, renaissance and revitalization of AM radio, (not to mention a totally new and exciting journey of my career) but the best thing to happen to NY radio since David Sarnoff.” Crowley says, “We have had a huge positive reaction to Joe, both from listeners and advertisers, since he joined us. This is going to be a true home run.”
Improve Your PPM Performance. Media consultant Walter Sabo offers five quick tips for improving your talk radio station’s performance in PPM (or frankly, any) markets. Sabo writes that one of the biggest gripes from general managers at stations which he consults is that the program director doesn’t coach the talent. That can lead to bad habits. To read his quick five-point prescription for getting on the track to better audience engagement, click here.
WFNZ, Charlotte’s Brittney Cason Tells Chilling Tale of Narrow Escape from Human Trafficking Ring. There’s no word how far the FBI is in its investigation of what happened – or almost happened – to media personality and WFNZ, Charlotte air talent Brittney Cason, but as the former NFL cheerleader writes in a column on XOJane.com, her dashed dream to cover the Sochi Olympics turned out to be a probable life-saving event. You can read her story here, but here’s a summary: After being recruited to cover the Winter Games by whom Cason thought was a legitimate agent, Cason discovered through her own dogged pursuit of answers to questions that bugged her that the man pretending to be an agent was likely involved in a human trafficking ring operating around the Sochi Games. Cason notes that one of the most common pretenses for abducting women for trafficking purposes is a modeling gig. Cason’s experience in the broadcasting and modeling business may have saved her life.
Cape Cod Broadcasting Names Reckford News Director. General manager Beverly Tilden announces that Cape Cod Broadcasting is naming Laura Reckford news director for the company. Tilden says, “Cape Cod Broadcasting has been a trusted resource for local Cape Cod news and information. Laura’s experience and leadership will assure that we continue that tradition as we grow and expand our news offerings.” Reckford most recently worked in the communications & development department at Housing Assistance Corporation. She is also the founder of the new online magazine CapeCodWave.com where she currently is editor and publisher. Cape Cod Broadcasting says it will partner with CapeCodWave.com as part of its development of its website CapeCod.com. She has worked at Cape Cod Life as managing editor and served with The Falmouth Enterprise in the same capacity. She began her media career in New York City at Entertainment Weekly, Good Housekeeping, Viacom and 20th Century Fox. Reckman comments, “After working in film, television, magazines, and newspapers, I am excited to be working in radio, a medium I have long admired. In addition, I am looking forward to bringing local journalism to CapeCod.com and also enhancing that website with the magazine-style journalism of Cape Cod Wave.”
Political Ad Season Is for Everyone. Media sales maven Al Herskovitz, president of H-and-H Broadcasting, writes about the already-upon-us political advertising season and what radio stations can do to get their fair share of the pie. Herskovitz notes that political is a busy category at major and large market stations but that smaller market stations and shows that may have considered themselves too small or “unconnected” can follow some strategies to make sure they are exhausting all possible sources of revenue in this category. Read Herskovitz’s column here.
Dean Adds Nightly Show to GCN Lineup. “Freedom Feens” co-host Michael W. Dean is hosting his own nightly show distributed by Genesis Communications Network beginning Monday, March 10. In addition to the weekly “Freedom Feens” program he hosts with Neema Vedadi, “Michael Dean After Dark” will air from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight PT. Dean says the program will feature him and a rotating cast of co-hosts for the two-hour show.
Weighing in on Net Neutrality. Nationally syndicated talk show host, columnist and digital expert Kim Komando (right) is seen here in this screen shot during an appearance on the Fox Business Network’s “The Willis Report” hosted by Gerri Willis (left). During the segment, Komando discussed the net neutrality issue and a potential deal between Netflix and AT&T for faster download speeds.
Arizona Religious Rights Bill, ObamaCare Criticism, Hagel Army Reduction Plan, Defense of Marriage Laws Controversy, Bitcoin Exchange Troubles, and Ukraine Turmoil-Russian Influence Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/25). The controversy over the Arizona bill that would allow business owners to discriminate against customers based on their own religious beliefs; the plan of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to downsize the Army to its lowest level since after WWII; the edict from Attorney General Eric Holder that state attorneys general do not have to enforce “defense of marriage” laws; the question of the solvency of bitcoin exchange Mt.Gox; and the political turmoil in the Ukraine and Russia’s influence in the region were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Walter Sabo
1. HD radio is going to explode. The management of iBiquity has achieved remarkable acceptance for HD by the auto industry with over 16 million installs. HD is radio’s best real estate grab for the connected dash. The key, as always, is the show. (Sorry, the word “content” remains disgusting. It’s a show.) HD is not about fidelity or graphics – it’s a new stage for new, audience captivating shows.
Terrible News: Clear Channel Managers Slashing Another 5%. Numerous reliable sources throughout the radio industry are saying Clear Channel Media + Entertainment market managers are under the gun to find another 5% of their budgets they can trim to come into compliance with the corporate dictate. What was rumored just a week or so ago appears to be true and as positions at CC-owned stations are eliminated over the coming weeks and months we’ll see what departments are going to feel it the most. Regular readers of TALKERS are aware of the on-air positions that have been cut and industry watchers say some of the most obvious solutions in the programming departments at stations are: double-duty for talk hosts (two shows per day), voice tracking multiple dayparts for jocks, and the importation of national shows such as Bobby Bones for country outlets and Elvis Duran for CHR stations, which greatly reduces the money spent on morning shows.
Bubba the (Country) Love Sponge? No name change is impending but Florida-based hot talk star Bubba the Love Sponge is reporting success as morning show host at Asterisk Communication’s country duo WTRS-FM, Dunnellon and WYGC, High Springs “My Country” in the Ocala and Gainesville markets, respectively. Bubba reports he’s thankful to station management for taking a chance on his show on a country outlet. His Bubba Radio Network reports “WTRS-FM moved from 12th to 4th place with Men age 25-54, an all-time high for the station. Bubba was very excited and thankful that women have taken to his program so well. ‘You ladies get what’s hot and new and we love you for that.’ The Bubba the Love Sponge syndicated morning show also proudly reports it currently ranks top three Men 25-54 and top five Persons 25-54 in all markets it currently airs. Bubba expresses interest in working with additional program directors to bring his program to country and urban format stations.”
SCBA Reports 6.3% Revenue Surge in December. The latest figures from Miller Kaplan Arase are giving the Southern California Broadcasters Association reason to cheer and the organization announces the Los Angeles radio market “enjoyed a robust 6.3% growth rate for the month of December 2013.” SCBA president Thom Callahan states, “December was a great month for our region as we were finally out from under the political comps from 2012 and the market flexed its true revenue muscles as only Southern California Radio can. All key revenue segments posted impressive gains: local and national spot combined was up 3.6%; digital posted an impressive 20.7% gain; and NTR/network was up 19.6%.” For the 12 months ending December 2013, total market revenue growth was 1%, according to Miller Kaplan Arase. Callahan says he’s more optimistic about the region than the 1% hike indicates. “In our view, our real growth rate for 2013 was 4.4%, when factoring out 2012’s huge political revenue of $20.5 million. It’s more than fair to deduct those comps, which are never a true indicator of market growth or the health of our business. Political revenue on a YTD basis is not an apples to apples comparison. As any station will tell you, it’s impossible to replace $20.5 million in 12 months, yet these incomplete YTD revenue comparisons continue. These lopsided revenue reports help feed the misguided narrative that radio is a legacy medium, and nothing, I repeat nothing, is further from the truth.”
New York Market Boasts 6% Revenue Hike in 2013; 5% in December. On the Right Coast, the New York Market Radio Association reports that not only was its December up – 5.3% for all revenue – the year was way up over 2012 notching a 6% increase in total revenue. The NYMRAD says for the month of December 2013, total revenues, including total spot, digital, and network/NTR/other, were up 5.3%. For the 12 months ending December 2013, market growth was up across all sectors: +5.6% for local spot, +5.1% for national spot, +5.5% for total spot and +6.0% for grand total market revenue. NYMRAD executive director Debbie Beagan comments, “New York radio is healthy, vibrant, and strong. Advertisers and their agencies are investing in our medium and utilizing radio’s audio, online, mobile, and social platforms to reach engaged and loyal listeners. The robust revenue results for the 2013 and December position the market well as we head into 2014.”
Sabo: HD Radio Is Going to Explode. In a new opinion column posted today (1/16) in TALKERS, noted consultant Walter Sabo makes eight predictions pertaining to the radio industry for 2014. They include his prognostication that it will be a good year for HD based on iBiquity’s claim of 16 million automobile installs, stating “HD is radio’s best real estate grab for the connected dash.” He also comments on the immediate future of websites and social media as well as the difference between corporate debt and personal debt. To read Sabo’s entire piece, please click here.
Creative Advisory Council Scholarship Winner Announced. The Berlin School of Creative Leadership and Clear Channel Media + Entertainment are announcing Sam Bergen, SVP and creative director of Deutsch Inc., is the winner of the Berlin School’s “Clear Channel Scholarship for Leadership in Audio Innovation” program. Bergen will receive a full-tuition scholarship (worth 53,000 Euro) to attend the Berlin School’s prestigious Global Executive MBA in Creative Leadership Program starting in March of this year. The Berlin School and Clear Channel’s recently formed Creative Advisory Council (CAC), featuring advertising thought leaders who focus on the development of innovative approaches to the audio and out-of-home media landscape, reviewed over 40 entrants from more than 20 countries around the world, based on their professional and academic profile, as well as their response to a special essay question about innovative audio strategies. Berlin School of Creative Leadership founding president Michael Conrad states, “We are pleased to welcome Sam Bergen into our Executive MBA program. Focused on leading radio and audio commerce to the forefront of media thinking, the Berlin School-Clear Channel scholarship drew an amazing amount of high-quality applications from around the world. We were extremely impressed by the caliber of applications as well as the many compliments applicants had of our young school. We thank Clear Channel for this exciting and collaborative opportunity.” CC’s Bob Pittman adds, “Driving education and awareness on the value audio advertising offers is a key initiative for us. We are proud to work with the Berlin School and our new Creative Council to award this scholarship to the audio industry’s next creative innovator. Sam Bergen distinguished himself among a very elite group of applicants and I am confident that with his continued development at the Berlin School, Sam will be a trailblazer on the media landscape for both audio and out-of-home.”
Digital Pure Play Radioio Takes RDIO Stock Ticker in Post-Merger Organization. The digital music service Radioio – operated by Radioio Inc. – is being traded under the new stock ticker RDIO on the OTC market. The merger resulted in the company’s name being changed from ioWorldMedia, Incorporated to Radioio, Inc. In a statement, the company’s board of directors says it believes that the name change is consistent with the direction of the company. President and CEO Zach McAdoo says, “Radioio is a marquee name and brand of great distinction.” He added that RDIO is a fitting ticker symbol for the company’s new name.
Deadline for Newhouse School’s ’14 Mirror Awards is February 14. The Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University’s ’14 Mirror Awards is accepting entries through February 14. The Mirror Awards competition for “media covering media” – established in 2006 by the Newhouse School – “honor the reporters, editors and teams of writers who ‘hold a mirror to their own industry’ for the public’s benefit. They are the most important awards for recognizing excellence in media industry reporting.” The competition is open to anyone who conducts reporting, commentary or criticism of the media industries in a format intended for a mass audience. Eligible work includes print, broadcast and online editorial content focusing on the development or distribution of news and entertainment. All entries must have been published or broadcast between January 1 and December 31, 2013. Entries are evaluated based on three criteria: Excellence of craft; framing of the issue; and appropriateness for the intended audience. Winners are chosen by a group of journalists and journalism educators. An awards ceremony will be held in June 2014 in New York City. For more information, click here.
Chris “Mad Dog” Russo to Host History of New York NFL Championship Games Special. For those who are critical of the NFL’s decision to locate the Super Bowl in chilly New York (okay, New Jersey) this year, some may not be aware that this will not be the first championship that ever took place in the New York area. SiriusXM’s Chris “Mad Dog” Russo will host “Deep Freeze: A History of NFL Championship Games in New York,” a special broadcast to air first on Tuesday, January 21 with encore airings to follow. Special guests on the program will include NFL greats Frank Gifford, Paul Hornung, Jerry Kramer, Raymond Berry, plus more. The three-hour special will focus in-depth on four of the most memorable championships in NFL history – played in 1934, 1956, 1958 and 1962.
Obama Executive Order Threat, Chris Christie Scandal, ObamaCare Criticism, GOP IRS Investigation Push, New Mexico School Shooting/Indiana Grocery Slayings, and ‘Duck Dynasty’ Returns Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/15). The statement from President Obama about using executive orders to accomplish his administration’s goals; the aftermath of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s lane closure scandal; criticism of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the effort by GOP members of Congress to investigate the process by which the IRS is being scrutinized for allegedly targeting conservative organizations; the school shooting in New Mexico and the double murder at a grocery store in Indiana; and the debut of the new season of “Duck Dynasty” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
‘Quinn & Rose’ Honor Commitments, Forge Ahead in Post-WPGB Career. Pittsburgh-based talk radio morning show “Quinn & Rose” – Jim Quinn and Rose Tennent – are not looking back after their 10-year relationship with Clear Channel’s news/talk WPGB, Pittsburgh ended last month. As TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian notes in his story about the duo published today (12/12), not only are Quinn and Tennent continuing to operate their web base warroom.com, they are honoring commitments to listeners, charities and businesses made before their exit from the radio station. They have also been keeping in touch via social media with many of their P1s who’ve rallied around the duo. Tennent says, “I thought that I knew our audience was loyal – but I never knew just how loyal and passionate they were about the show. They really seem to care about what is happening to us personally. I am very moved by the response.” Read more about Jim Quinn and Rose Tennent here.
Life After Arbitron: Day One. Media consultant and TALKERS magazine contributor Holland Cooke reports in from the first day of the Nielsen Audio Client Conference & Jacobs Media Summit in Baltimore. Presentations focused on operating radio stations in a multi-platform universe; the importance of solving the problem of competing for ad dollars against media that can provide specific data; and the use of social media. Check out Holland Cooke’s report here.
Year-End Special Available from Premiere and TheBlaze. Premiere Networks announces the availability of an exclusive, three-hour radio special, “TheBlaze: The Year in Your Ear,” – a comprehensive review of 2013 featuring different perspectives from the hosts and writers of TheBlaze, Glenn Beck’s news, information and entertainment network. The company states, “From the government shutdown and North Korea missile threats, to the Boston Marathon bombings and the George Zimmerman trial, listeners will be treated to a recap of the biggest national events, news headlines and stories that shaped America in 2013.” Premiere reports the show is already cleared on KOA, Denver; WOAI, San Antonio; WPGB, Pittsburgh; KPRC, Houston; and KNRS, Salt Lake City, to name a few. It’s available for air between 12/25 and 1/5/14.
The $1.4 Billion Mystery: What Do Women Want? According to Sabo Media chairman Walter Sabo, the talk radio industry continues its modern era tradition of turning down a significant piece of the $1.4 billion advertising budget spent annually by the advertising community on female-targeted talk television. In a newly-posted article, Sabo writes these TV programs discuss:
- Celebrity gossip
- Diet & exercise
- Personal finance
- Balancing home and work
To read Walter Sabo’s entire piece, please click here.
Fred Dryer to Appear in TV Series. CRN Digital Talk Radio personality Fred Dryer (also a former pro football star and a seasoned actor) will appear in a recurring role in the NBC series “Crisis.” Dryer hosts a weekly talk show for CRN called “The PM Show with Fred Dryer” that airs Wednesdays at 7:00 pm ET. CRN CEO Mike Horn says, “Fred is such a talented, multi-faceted actor. He’s also a great guy – so as fans of his work and him as a person, we’re very excited.” Dryer plays Thomas Jefferson Smith, a powerful, confident and wise CIA agent who, despite being in his 60s, can still kick butt. The Rand Ravich thriller centers on Washington’s most powerful players pulled into an international conspiracy. To bring the most powerful people in the world to their knees, the conspirator must threaten what everyone holds most dear. The “Crisis” cast includes other stars such as Dermot Mulroney, Gillian Anderson, Rachael Taylor and James Lafferty.
Salem Communications Spotlighted by Bloomberg Businessweek. The business-focused publication shines a spot on Salem Communications after its recently announced purchase of Twitchy.com from conservative media figure Michelle Malkin. The piece notes that the company is using profits from its radio assets to fund acquisition of digital properties and that fits with its conservative political philosophy. Felix Gillette writes, “The move may signal that the same forces currently driving consolidation in the digital news industry at large are starting to gain momentum among the ranks of conservative news publishers online. Since the advent of the internet, a diverse constellation of conservative news outlets has sprung up across the country, creating a rich buffet for GOP-loving readers – and a major logistical challenge for the advertisers hoping to reach them. In theory, bringing more of the sites under a smaller number of roofs will appeal to the ad buyers who oversee rising digital marketing budgets while simultaneously providing cost savings for the publishers. Thus, the increasing pressure to consolidate.” The piece reports that in fiscal 2012 Salem “generated $108 million of gross profit on $229 million of revenue. Of the company’s operating income, significantly more came from its radio group ($47 million) than from its websites ($3.7 million).” It also points to Politico which says it hears Salem is in talks to buy Eagle Publishing – owner imprints Regnery Publishing, Regnery History, Eagle Financial Publications as well as digital destinations RedState.com and MarkSkousen.com.
ObamaCare Criticism, Budget Deal/GOP Stalls on Nominees, Mandela Tribute Sign Interpreter Controversy, and Obama Selfie-Flirting Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/11). Scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and criticism of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius; the budget deal and the Republicans’ stall tactics on President Obama’s judicial nominees; the controversy over the sign-language interpreter at the Nelson Mandela tribute; and criticism over President Obama’s taking a selfie and “flirting” with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Walter Sabo
NEW YORK — This is my experience. In my work, I have seen businesses grow and prosper when they embrace new, daring ideas based on marketplace demand. The winners are nimble organizations that jump on the neat idea and focus on the product, not organization politics. When fear of new ideas sets in and a business allows staff positions to grow too big and powerful, those businesses implode.
The current economic depression celebrates “operators” — executives with shrewd “operating” skills who are known for their ability to cut costs, cut staffs, sell their story to Wall Street and keep their company within its COMFORT ZONE. They do not have nor are required to have vision. Knowing what’s next is the key to growth in any industry. No vision, no growth.
Today, media businesses are excited when they show quarter-to-quarter, year-to-year growth. But this is false growth. Compare any media business with 2007 revenue figures and business is down. Five years after the depression began, revenue is still down.
By Walter Sabo
NEW YORK — Television stations have program directors. What do most of them program? Nothing. A network affiliate airs network shows, syndication packages and movie packages—usually bought by corporate. There may be a local morning show but it is probably under the auspices of the news department. When you receive a TV station program director’s business card it reveals the future of the radio programmers job: “Program and Research Director.”
There will be variations:
Program and Promotion Director
Program and Marketing Director
Program and Public Relations Director
Clear Channel Posts 2% Revenue Increase in Q2. That’s for the Media and Entertainment division – the radio stations, Premiere Networks and Total Traffic Network – on revenue of $805.6 million for the second quarter of 2013 compared to the same period a year ago. During yesterday’s investors’ conference call, chairman and CEO Bob Pittman spoke positively about the growth of iHeartRadio and SVP of investor relations Gregory Lundberg noted that it has 34 million registered users and that represents growth of 162% year-over-year. Regarding the makeup of the company’s revenue, he stated, “National sales for the stations grew 5%, with local up 1%. Excluding the impact of political advertising, in both quarters, national sales rose 7% and local was up 2%. Our strongest performing ad categories remained financial services, retail and telecom. Digital sales continue to grow in the double digits as we monetize our station’s online presence and keep growing iHeartRadio, where total listening hours were up to 36% in the second quarter. We also saw good year-over-year growth at Premiere Networks. Partially offsetting this growth rate were revenue declines in the traffic business from lost contracts and from lower sales resulting from integration activities. Operating expenses increased $42 million or 9%, reflecting a $21 million expense credit from one of our performance rights organizations, which we received in the second quarter of last year.” He stated pacing for the third quarter for the stations was up 3% and up 1% for the division as a whole. Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. Members can read it all here.
Clear Channel Sells Its SiriusXM Interests for $135.5 Million. Way back in 1999 when XM Radio was gearing up its operations, Clear Channel was an initial investor putting in $83.1 million and getting the right to program some of the satcaster’s music and talk channels. Now, CC sells its interest in the company for $135.5 million – the value of the stock – and that means most of the CC-programmed content will disappear from the XM Radio platform. That’ll include some of the company’s music FMs such as hip hop WGCI, Chicago; country signal WSIX, Nashville and hot AC WLIT, Chicago. But two of the CC-radio channels are expected to stay on the XM platform – WHTZ, New York and KIIS, Los Angeles. It also means the talk radio channel on the XM platform will see talent like Glenn Beck, Bob & Tom, Todd Schnitt as well as Fox Sports Radio programming go away.
Arbitron Reports Q2 Revenue Rises 2.9%. As it prepares to be acquired by ratings giant Nielsen, Arbitron issues its 2013 second quarter financial reports and states that on revenue of $107.4 million dollars it is reporting net revenue of $7.1 million or $0.26 per share. The cost of the potential Nielsen deal ate into the company’s earnings before interest and income tax expense (EBIT) as it shelled out $6.1 million during the quarter in preparation for the acquisition. President and CEO Sean Creamer states, “In the second quarter, we maintained focus on our long-term priorities: investing in and growing our core radio services, evaluating and implementing quality initiatives to enhance the value and utility of our offerings, and exploring emerging opportunities with an emphasis on those that allow us to highlight the power and advantages of radio. As the media and advertising marketplaces continue to evolve and new technologies permit consumers to consume content virtually anytime and anywhere, it is important we keep pace with these changes to ensure radio gets full credit for its audience – regardless of the delivery platform. Radio is growing and vibrant – and we are committed to helping the radio industry tell and validate its complete and compelling story.”
The Job of the Program Director in Five Years. According to noted consultant and TALKERS columnist Walter Sabo, if you want to know which way the job of PD is heading in radio, just take a look at what has happened to the same titled position at television stations. In a new column posted today (8/2) Sabo writes “As more on-air content decisions are made at the corporate level and delivered from a central source, the program director job will morph to meet the demands of the tasks that must be completed. Smart companies will evolve the position to one that has been desperately needed: ‘Program and Public Relations Director.’” Sabo goes on to list other combinations of tasks and responsibilities that will be added to the title “Program Director” on the radio station level. To read his entire column, please click here.
KBME, Houston Ousts Adam Wexler and Matt Jackson from AM Drive; Adds Fox Sports Radio’s Jay Mohr to Middays. In a realignment of programming at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s sports talk KBME, Houston, Adam Wexler and Matt Jackson have been let go from the station and their morning drive gig and Lance Zierlein and Adam Clanton take over the AM show. Zierlein co-hosted the afternoon show with Charlie Pallilo but, as the Houston Chronicle notes, had also worked on the morning drive show alongside Wexler and Jackson in the past. Adam Clanton has hosted sports talk radio in the market at CBS Radio’s crosstown KILT as well as having worked at KPRC-TV. The addition of Fox Sports Radio’s nationally syndicated Jay Mohr to the lineup from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm forces some other changes. Greg Koch and N.D. Kalu now air from 9:00 am to 11:00 am; Charlie Pallilo hosts solo from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm; and Matt Thomas is on the air from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.
Michael Harrison to Speak at NAB Radio Show. In what promises to be a riveting and inspirational hour, TALKERS and RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison will address the forthcoming NAB Radio Show in Orlando (September 18-20) on “Radio’s Evolving Role in Popular Culture.” Harrison, fresh off a rousing keynote speech at the Conclave, will further elaborate on the theme of the challenges facing radio in its quest to remain societally iconic in the digital age of the 21st century at a specially scheduled Info-Session sponsored by TALKERS. Harrison says that for radio to remain competitive with all the emerging “exotic” competition of this “wildly new era,” 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 should maintain a foreground, active position that protects it from being marginalized as a passive delivery system and discusses options and opportunities to carry out the mission. (To see a brief clip of Michael Harrison’s Conclave keynote speech addressing these subjects please click here. The full speech will be posted to both RadioInfoTV and TalkersTV shortly, stay tuned.) Consultant Holland Cooke introduces this popular annual NAB Radio Show session featuring the venerable programmer, air personality, entrepreneur and trade magazine publisher who has been accurately describing radio and popular media’s road ahead for the past 45 years. The Info-Session is scheduled on Thursday, September 19 between 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm and is open to all attendees of the NAB Radio Show.
Clear Channel Makes Morning Changes at KTCN, Minneapolis. Morning drive talk show host Bob Davis and Clear Channel Minneapolis part company and the station fills the morning drive slot with former evening hosts Jack Tomczak and Ben Kruse, at least for now. Bob Davis had been paired up with Tom Emmer for mornings but Emmer exited the station in June to make a run for the congressional seat being vacated by Michele Bachmann. Davis made national news when, during a discussion about gun control, he said on the air he would tell the Newtown families to “go to hell” for their role in shaping the gun debate. He later apologized for the tenor of his comments.
Radiate Media Promotes Ivan Shulman to President. Seven months after joining Radiate Media as executive vice president of sales and chief revenue officer, the company promotes Ivan Shulman to president. CEO Chris Rothey states, “Ivan has a deep background in sales, marketing and media, and his leadership experience makes him a great fit for us. Since joining us in November of 2012, we have experienced quarter-over-quarter revenue growth, including the launch of Radiate360 – our integrated marketing platform to drive hyper-local business. Ivan will continue to lead that initiative as well as overseeing the day-to -day activities of our broadcast radio, TV and digital lines of business.” The company is bullish on its new product Radiate360 which it describes as “an easy-to-use, online platform that empowers businesses to expand their reach and connect with their customers. With Radiate360’s revolutionary suite of tools, businesses can establish an online presence, engage customers through social and mobile media, and promote to the local audience that matters most.” Shulman says of his promotion, “I joined Radiate because I was excited about future opportunities. Our growth on both the broadcast and digital side has been phenomenal and I look forward to working with broadcasters to help bridge the gap between digital and traditional media.”
Dan Sileo Takes Over Midday Program at WMEN, West Palm Beach. Florida sports talk personality Dan Sileo – most recently midday host at WQAM, Miami – moves into the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm slot at JCE Licenses’ WMEN, West Palm Beach “640 Sports” effective Tuesday, August 6. Sileo – who worked for years at WDAE, Tampa prior to his stint with WQAM – is filling in for Travis Rodgers on KLAA, Los Angeles today and on August 5. Sileo is, by his own admission, an edgy personality whose willingness to push the envelope has gotten him fired from his last two radio gigs. He maintains he achieved excellent ratings while with Clear Channel at WDAE and that the station pulled in a lot of revenue from his program.
Eric Deggans to Leave the Tampa Bay Times for Gig at NPR. Journalist Eric Deggans has covered first music, then media for the Tampa Bay Times for the past 18 years. Now, he exits the Times to become a TV critic and correspondent for NPR News. Deggans has been a contributor to NPR in the past but joins the organization full time. He states in a press release, “For many years, I have been a fan of NPR’s super-smart journalism and I often fantasized of what it might be like to join their ranks as a contributor. A position like this one is beyond my wildest dreams; I’m honored and excited by the opportunity to help shape NPR’s coverage of television and pop culture.” Deggans has been an excellent reporter covering the Tampa Bay media scene over the years but also could be viewed as a polarizing writer. He’s been a critic of talk radio on a number of levels as indicated in his recent book Race-Baiter: How the Media Wields Dangerous Words to Divide a Nation (Palgrave Macmillan 2012). Photo by Carrie Pratt.
Odds & Sods. Dial Global announces it has signed an exclusive terrestrial, three-season deal with London-based talkSPORT to broadcast live coverage of Barclays Premier League, FA Cup and Capital One Cup. The partnership includes play-by-play commentary of nearly 400 soccer matches per year, in both English and Spanish….. “The Black Sphere” talk show host Kevin Jackson joins the advisory board of the Steamboat Institute, an institution that “defends freedom and advocates for liberty.” Jackson says, “Witnessing the progress of the organization first hand, I am overjoyed to be part of the advisory board and play a role in the future direction of the Steamboat Institute, an organization that will undoubtedly mold political discussions and policy in the future.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Update. Statewide syndicated sports talk host Bill Michaels is added to the lineup at WOZN, Madison, Wisconsin…..Kevin Jackson’s “Black Sphere Radio” show is now airing on WEZO, Augusta, Georgia…..Talk Media Network announces affiliate additions for three of its programs: “Fat Guys At The Movies with Kevin Carr & Kristin Dreyer Kramer” joins WKVL, Knoxville; “The Financial Fitness Show with Chip Cummings & Tony Rubleski” is added to WRSB, Rochester, New York; and “Frontlines of Freedom with Lt. Col. Denny Gillem” joins the lineup at WZFG, Fargo.
ObamaCare Implementation Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of July 29 – August 2. The implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the cost of the program was the top news/talk topic during the week. Following at #2 was the Anthony Weiner sexting case and the political fallout. At #3 was the 2016 presidential race followed by the Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity contracts flap at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Rush Limbaugh Celebrates 25 Years in Syndication Today. It was 25 years ago today that Rush Limbaugh began his national syndication based at WABC, New York. When Ed McLaughlin’s EFM Media Management began producing and distributing the Rush Limbaugh program in August of 1988 on 56 affiliate stations, many in the industry thought the idea of a midday national talk radio program was absurd and would fail. But Limbaugh’s EIB Network flourished and the rest is history. Of course, Premiere Networks now syndicates the show that’s heard on close to 600 radio stations. In a statement, Limbaugh says, “The relationship we’ve established here – between the audience and myself – is everything. It’s meant more to me than I’ll ever be able to fully describe. It’s the best three hours of the day! We’re going to do this for a long time to come.” Premiere Networks notes, “Mr. Limbaugh also pioneered an entirely new model for talk radio. Defying industry convention, he does not book guests on his program. Centered on the news of the day, he describes his unique approach as ‘a serious discussion of issues, combined with irreverent humor.’ He has enjoyed uninterrupted status since the early 1990s as the leading talk radio host in the U.S., and the program continues to expand its reach. In the past year alone, ‘The Rush Limbaugh Show’ has experienced an 11% audience increase (Source: Arbitron, Nationwide).
Media Biz Buzzing About Newspaper-Online Radio Ventures. Pictured here is Sabo Media (r) CEO Walter Sabo appearing on Fox Business with “Markets Now” host Dennis Kneale (l) discussing the Boston Herald’s online talk radio station project, “Boston Herald Radio.” Kneale quizzed longtime radio executive and consultant Sabo about what the two media bring to the table in joint ventures such as these. Sabo stated that the talk radio programs can help deliver a younger and more engaged audience to the newspaper world (which has suffered circulation and revenue declines) and the radio shows benefit from working with an experienced news gathering organization. “It allows them to bring those stories to life instantly, which has always been their (the newspaper’s) biggest challenge.” Watch Sabo’s appearance on Fox Business here.
CBS Reports Q2 Revenue for Radio ‘Even.’ CBS quarterly investors’ conference calls have always been pretty much about television and yesterday’s 2013 Q2 call was no different. It’s not that CBS doesn’t care about radio. President and CEO Les Moonves has stated in previous calls that they like radio. He doesn’t gush about it like he does about TV but CBS has no debt on the radio side and therefore it’s a cash business for the company. During yesterday’s call CBS COO Joseph Ianiello termed radio “even” during the second quarter compared to the same period a year ago and told investors the division is pacing flat for Q3. For CBS, total revenue was up 11% year-to-year due mostly to fees paid by television operators to carry CBS TV stations as well as international syndication deals and digital streaming revenue.
Journal Broadcast Group’s Radio Division Up 2.3% in Q2. Journal Communications announced 2013 second quarter financials yesterday and the Journal Broadcast Group breaks out the radio division from the television segment. It reports that, compared to the same quarter a year ago, revenue from radio stations increased 2.3% to $19.9 million, or 4.7% excluding political revenue. Radio political advertising revenue was $0.1 million, compared to $0.5 million. Local advertising revenue — excluding political — increased 5%, primarily due to an increase in retail advertising. National advertising revenue — excluding political — decreased 4.9% to $1.8 million, primarily due to a decrease in media advertising. Operating earnings from radio stations were $3.8 million compared to $4.4 million, a decrease of 13.8% or a decrease of 19.0% excluding acquisition costs in both years. Radio operating expenses increased 7.1%, or 9.3% excluding acquisition costs in both years, primarily due to employee-related expense increases and the impact of credits received from an industry-wide music licensing fee settlement in 2012.
TALKERS Magazine’s Frontier Fifty 2013 Will Be Posted on Wednesday, August 7. The new installment of one of the most popular and certainly important TALKERS magazine annual features — “The Frontier Fifty” — is set to be unveiled this coming Wednesday, August 7. The Frontier Fifty is officially described as a Selection of Outstanding Talk Media Webcasters. This year’s format will depart somewhat from the features’ early approaches by including executives who have built valuable platforms for internet talk broadcasting as well as talent who do talk shows and/or podcasts on the web. In addition it will be a numbered list in which designees are ranked according to importance as determined by the TALKERS editorial board. As followers of this feature know, TALKERS did not publish a 2012 installment of the feature because as the publication’s VP/executive editor Kevin Casey puts it, “This arena has evolved and grown at such a dizzying speed, we wanted to be sure that we presented this important snapshot of the state of the internet talk radio’s movers and shakers as accurately and relevantly as possible. We took an extra year off to study the scene and get it as close to being right as possible…no easy task.” This year’s Frontier Fifty is being sponsored by Broadcasters General Store.
Red Zebra Shucks Two Signals in Norfolk-Virginia Beach for $1.2 Million. Dan Snyder-owned Red Zebra sells sports radio combo WXTG-AM/FM “The Game” to local operator Local Voice Media which will flip the duo to a triple A format soon. The price of the stations and seven acres of property in Hampton is $1.2 million and according to the Daily Press, the stations will continue to air Washington Nationals baseball through the rest of the season and will be Washington Redskins affiliates during the 2013 season. Additionally, the paper reports that two staffers – AE and air talent Greg Bicouvaris and production director Brock Briggs will remain employed with the new owners. Local Voice Media also operates triple A WTYD, Williamsburg, Virginia “92.3 The Tide.” The Daily Press notes Richmond, Virginia investment firm Blue Heron Capital recently completed a $3 million investment in Local Voice Media, formerly known as Davis Media. The firm began investing in the company two years ago and has helped it expand into Columbia, South Carolina and Wilmington, North Carolina.
Quick-and-Dirty Three-Minute Sound Conditioning. Large corporations and government bureaucrats will often spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on soundproofing and sound conditioning for an audio studio. They’ll even spend tens of thousands of dollars simply on the consultants to tell them how to soundproof and sound condition a studio. That may make sense to you if you’ve got venture capital money to burn and don’t mind being out of business in a few years. It may also make sense if you’re working for the government because the money is someone else’s and you think you’ll never go out of business. But according to syndicated talk show host Michael W. Dean, co-host of GCN‘s “The Freedom Feens,” “The rest of us have to make do with what we have.” In a new column posted today (8/1), Dean writes, “The advent of ip hardware codecs has allowed talk radio hosts to produce nationally syndicated shows from our homes. And people working for corporate radio are often called to do remotes in a variety of environments. You can buy portable devices that acoustically isolate a microphone, but using one is basically like sticking your head in a small box. That is not conducive to doing a good show, especially if you’re doing on-the-spot interviews with a variety of guests. Today I’ll show you how to temporarily sound condition a room in three minutes at no cost. This will vastly improve the audio reaching your microphone, and thus, your audience. First, you have to understand the difference between soundproofing and sound conditioning. Many people use these two terms interchangeably. However, they are not the same thing. Soundproofing keeps outside sounds out and inside sounds in. Sound conditioning dampens native reverberation in a room. Effective soundproofing is a lot more expensive and complicated than sound conditioning.” To read Michael W. Dean’s entire column, please click here.
PodcastOne Adds Sports USA Programs to Offerings. Yesterday, TALKERS reported that NFL Hall-of-Famer Joe Namath would begin producing podcasts for Sports USA throughout the 2013 football season. Now, Norm Pattiz-founded PodcastOne and Sports USA announce the Namath podcast as well as “Conversations with Joe Morgan,” “The Ross Tucker Football Show” and “Against the Grain with Dave Miller” will be available via PodcastOne. Pattiz states, “Joe Namath invented the sports media icon as we know it. He knows what it means to break new ground and likes to do things his way. We’re a guaranteed perfect fit. I am looking forward to working with Bob Moore and the talented team at Sports USA as we create great experiences for listeners and opportunities for advertisers.”
MLB Great Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez to Contribute to ‘ESPN Dallas 103.3.’ “Pudge” Rodriguez played for the hometown Texas Rangers twice during his MLB career (he won a World Series ring with the Florida Marlins in 2003) and he and his family are putting down roots in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. ESPN O&O KESN and sister Spanish sports talk “ESPN Deportes Dallas” (KZMP-AM) have brought Rodriguez aboard to serve as a baseball contributor through the rest of the 2013 season. ESPN says Rodriguez will serve in several capacities for both stations including a bi-weekly call-in segment, the voice of featured “Pudge’s Eye” vignettes, as well as personal appearances. ESPN Dallas VP/GM Pete Dits states, “We are extremely excited and proud to have one of the greatest catchers in MLB history as a part of our team. As the radio flagship of the Texas Rangers in English and Spanish, this only solidifies our commitment to bringing the best Rangers and baseball coverage to the sports fans in DFW.”
Journal’s Sports Talk KXSP, Omaha Adds New PM Drive Show. Joe Quinn and Nick Handley are the new afternoon drive sports talk team at Journal Broadcast Group’s Omaha sports talker “590 ESPN Radio” (KXSP). Quinn was producer and co-host for the past three years on Des Moines’ KXNO. Handley, a 14-year sports veteran who most recently co-hosted the “Hail Varsity Radio Show” airing in Lincoln and Columbus, Nebraska was the sports director for the Three Eagles cluster of stations in Columbus. KXSP program director Kurt Owens says, “The new show will be called ‘The Drive’ and will bring a fresh new approach to afternoon sports talk in Omaha. Joe and Nick’s combined experience of covering sports in Nebraska and Iowa mirrors our huge AM 590 signal. AM 590 listeners will really enjoy these two young-yet-experienced broadcasters bringing their perspective to sports each afternoon.”
NBC Sports Radio Network Passes 300-Affililate Mark. The nationally syndicated sports talk radio programming initiative NBC Sports Radio Network – a cooperative effort of Dial Global and NBC Sports – announces it has passed the 300-affiliate mark. Dial Global Sports EVP and general manager Chris Corcoran says, “Signing more than 300 affiliates so quickly is a true testament to the mass appeal of our talent and programming, creativity of our producers, and hard work of our exceptional sales and affiliate teams. We are especially honored to partner with such great radio stations across the country as we work together to connect avid sports fans, consumers, and advertisers. We continue to be motivated to reach more audiences by the amazing feedback we regularly receive from our local station owners, program directors and listeners.”
WEEI-FM, Boston Staffers Take Part in Pan-Mass Challenge. “93.7 FM WEEI” morning drive co-host Gerry Callahan (r) and Entercom Boston vice president and market manager Jeff Brown (l) will take part in the Pan-Mass Challenge – a two-day bike ride across Massachusetts that can be as long as 190 miles – to benefit the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. WEEI will help recognize and celebrate this year’s event with a live broadcast of the Salk & Holley show on Friday, August 2 from 2:00 – 6:00 p.m. from the PMC’s opening ceremonies in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. Billy Starr, founder and executive director of the Pan-Mass Challenge says, “Entercom and WEEI have both been fabulous friends and partners. They have ensured that the PMC message is heard – and understood – far, wide and often.” Jeff Brown comments, “I am proud to continue Entercom’s support of the Pan-Mass Challenge and we are also proud to be raising additional money through our dedicated team of riders and virtual riders. Our own Gerry Callahan will be taking part in his sixth ride and it is such an honor, both for WEEI and for all of us at Entercom Boston, to be a part of this dynamic cause and help the dedicated Dana-Farber doctors and researchers discover cures for cancer.”
ObamaCare Implementation Battle, Anthony Weiner Scandal, NSA Surveillance Program, Chris Christie-Rand Paul Feud, and Looming MLB Suspensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/31). The fight in Washington over the implementation and funding for the Affordable Care Act; the political fallout from the Anthony Weiner scandal; reports of the vast nature of the NSA surveillance program, Republican in-fighting over policy and the Chris Christie-Rand Paul feud; and the expected suspensions of numerous MLB players were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Walter Sabo
(Editor’s Note: In addition to radio stations and groups, Sabo Media has worked for decades with print media to produce successful, profitable radio in many forms. Clients have included Parade magazine, The Wall Street Journal, National Geographic, Cosmopolitan, Martha Stewart Living, and the Asbury Park Press.)
NEW YORK — A dynamic, future-oriented new stage has launched: RADIO STATIONS ON NEWSPAPER WEBSITES. The Boston Herald, as first reported here, will launch a radio station from their website on Monday August 5th. Boston Herald Radio will bring new, younger audience to the newspaper and hyper-local, live advertising capabilities unimaginable for newspapers until this moment.
Having participated in the success of many print-to-audio businesses, a list of essential ingredients have emerged that are required for longevity. Here are three:
By Walter Sabo
EDITORS NOTE: In response to market demand, Sabo Media has launched a new service: “Trajectory Check.” It determines if your talk station or talk show has the elements in place for a strong Fall book. The new service monitors your show or station and checks for over 30 health markers that are consistent with winning talk shows. It is a one time only engagement that can be activated today. There is no long term commitment. In a national monitor of top shows and stations — all losing cume — the opportunities for cume growth are simple to enact if put in place right now. On AM, once the cume is gone, it’s gone for good. “Trajectory Check” is designed to stop cume decline.
NEW YORK — Since the advent of PPM, many programmers have ceased worrying about certain elements that were deemed vital to the diary method but are now considered unimportant in the age of PPM. They are especially ignoring past-proven, cume-builders based on the premise that once people are listening — you already got ‘em. This is a huge mistake. Unless you have a major billboard, TV and newspaper advertising campaign in place you cannot afford to waste the power of your own air in generating cume.
Clear Channel Moves Full-Steam Ahead into Digital Talk with iHeartRadio Talk. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment announces its newest digital platform – actually a custom feature of the existing iHeartRadio – dubbed iHeartRadio Talk. The company calls it “the first mass-market audio platform with the ability to offer on-demand, listener-created talk content alongside popular news, celebrity and entertainment ‘audiosodes.’” The company also says iHeartRadio Talk will feature “Daily Pulse,” a customizable talk channel featuring the most up-to-date news and culture highlights, which allows users to add content that is most important to them. Clear Channel president of digital Brian Lakamp states, “Talk radio listeners are some of the most dedicated and engaged listeners in the world, and now with iHeartRadio Talk, we are giving those listeners access to their favorite talk content anywhere they are. Plus, for the first time ever, listeners who have been accepted into the iHeartRadio Talk library will be able to record and instantly share their perspective on any topic they choose – it’s basically like offering ‘audio Twitter.’ We are giving a voice to the everyman, and at the same time are enabling iHeartRadio users to discover and enjoy thousands of ‘audiosodes’ from the best talent around the country – something only Clear Channel is able to offer.” As part of the initiative, Clear Channel has struck a deal with ABC TV to have the new feature include audio from “Good Morning America,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and “The View.”
Courtside Entertainment Brings Greg Batusic Aboard as COO. Norm Pattiz’s Courtside Entertainment Group announces former Westwood One executive Greg Batusic joins the company in the newly created position of chief operating officer. Batusic will be based in Los Angeles and report to Pattiz where he’ll be in charge of day-to-day operations of both Courtside Entertainment Group and Launchpad Digital Media/Podcast One. Norm Pattiz comments, “In the early years of Westwood One, Greg helped lead the way to the multi-billion dollar network radio business. Now, while we do the same thing to on-demand audio, Greg’s expertise and leadership will be invaluable. He knows what it takes to build a company and an industry from the ground up and I’m happy to be working together again.” Batusic spent 15-plus years with Westwood One. During his career he has also served as executive vice president of global sales for Gibson Guitar. Prior to Gibson, he co-founded The Promotional, L.L.C. and served as the managing partner of the promotion company. He oversaw all operational business, marketing development and revenue generation through high profile promotional programs. Batusic says, “It’s my great pleasure to be working with Norm again. The vibe at Courtside is very much the same as it was at Westwood One – a lot of life, contagious energy and innovative ideas. I’m excited to be a part of it.”
CASE STUDY: How to Launch an Independently Syndicated Talk Show. In a highly informative column posted today (7/24) noted radio engineering consultant and TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray outlines a step-by-step guide to launching an independently syndicated talk show using “Ron Ananian: The Car Doctor” as a case study. In it, Tom discusses every detail: from building a studio to purchasing satellite time; covering details such as getting the audio from the studio to the satellite, acquiring a toll-free, call-in line; launching an affiliate relations campaign, handling sales and audio production; as well as offering podcasts and building an accompanying website. Ray says, “Going into independent syndication, while not simple to do, will give you a great sense of satisfaction.” Actually, if you have a good show, launching an independently syndicated program is quite do-able. To read Tom Ray’s entire column, which is sure to help you get started, please click here.
Five Tips to Instant Cume Growth. Since the advent of PPM, many programmers have ceased worrying about certain elements that were deemed vital to the diary method but are now considered unimportant in the age of PPM. They are especially ignoring past-proven, cume-builders based on the premise that once people are listening — you already got ‘em. This is a huge mistake. Unless you have a major billboard, TV and newspaper advertising campaign in place you cannot afford to waste the power of your own air in generating cume. In a new column posted today, noted radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Walter Sabo addresses the AM radio problem of cume shrinkage and offers five tips to turn this negative trend around. To read the column, please click here.
Entercom CEO David Field Addresses Employees in ‘Midyear Update.’ In a companywide memo, Entercom CEO David Field delivers what’s termed a “midyear update” that serves as both a pep talk for the immediate future and a slap on the back for what the company has achieved thus far. Field states that coming out of the company’s management meetings in Minneapolis last week where they heard presentations on the state of the business and what the company can do to grow he believes, “We have terrific content, large audiences, outstanding personalities, great ratings, and powerful listener engagement. I found the meetings extremely motivating and informative and really enjoyed the time with our team of top-notch programming leaders.” Field then goes on to address numerous items under the subheadings Investing in Our People, Investing in Our Future, Making Entercom a Better Place to Work, and Why We Matter. Finally, he waxes positive about the radio business, “And radio is thriving. More people listen to AM/FM radio than ever before in history. And AM/FM radio has more than 9x the combined listening of all satellite and internet radio combined. The addition of our digital platforms has enabled us to engage our audiences and serve our advertisers in unprecedented ways. We have generated hundreds and hundreds of case studies demonstrating our effectiveness in delivering results for our customers.” To read David Field’s entire memo, click here.
KKOB, Albuquerque Records 52nd Straight #1 Book. Cumulus Media’s news/talk KKOB, Albuquerque notches its 52nd straight Arbitron ratings book at the top of the heap for Persons 12+ in the Spring ’13 ratings period. AM operations manager Pat Frisch tells TALKERS magazine the station is #5 in the market with Men 25-54 (Mon-Sun 6A-Mid) and notes “TSL is driving KKOB up to nine hours, two hours more than the Winter ’13 book.” Frisch also states, “The station is being driven by the king of mornings, Bob Clark (6:00 am to 10:00 am), and midday giant Rush Limbaugh (10:00 am to 1:00 pm). Both had over a nine-share in their time slots in the Spring book. I am finishing up my 14th year here at KKOB and 13 of those years have been at #1 and all of this is accomplished because of a great staff that gets it.”
Entercom to Flip WDMT, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to Sports Talk. Speaking to the local Times-Leader, Entercom general manager Ryan Flynn says that although the adult alternative format heard on WDMT “The Mountain” had done “OK from a ratings standpoint” over the past 10 years, the company has not been able to monetize the format. With that, the station will become “The Sports Hub 102.3” on August 5. It’ll use NBC Sports Radio Network programming but will air a local, three-hour sports talk show in afternoon drive. The host(s) for that program have not been named. It’s interesting to note that the “Sports Hub” moniker is also used by CBS Radio in Boston on WBZ-FM which is in vicious competition with Entercom’s WEEI.
Sara McClure Named VP of Sales at CC Sacramento. Sara McClure is a veteran of Northern California radio sales, most recently serving with Entercom in numerous sales capacities. Now she joins Clear Channel Media and Entertainment as vice president of sales for its six-station Sacramento cluster that includes: news/talk KFBK-AM/FM, talk KSTE classic hits KHLX “Classic 93.1,” adult hits KQJK “93.7 Jack FM,” and rhythmic oldies KHYL “V101,” . McClure worked with a Bay Area ad agency beginning in 1995 and has also served with CBS Radio. She says, “With my background in multimedia integrated selling, I know the timing is right to make my move to Clear Channel. I am looking forward to teaming up with [market president] Dave Milner to lead the Sacramento cluster and leverage the company’s industry-leading capabilities.”
Thom Abraham to Host AM Drive on Fort Myers Sports Duo. As TALKERS reported on July 23, Sun Broadcasting is splitting the two AM signals off its news/talk trimulcast WFSX-AM/FM and WNOG-AM “92.5 Fox News.” The sports duo “The Fan” will feature Nashville-based Thom Abraham in the 6:00 am to 9:00 am slot. Abraham – whose show is heard in Nashville on WNSR as well as on WNTC, Drakesboro, Kentucky and WZZN, Huntsville, Alabama – was heard in the Fort Myers market on former sports talk WJBX from 2001 to 2004.
Celebrity Promotion for ObamaCare, Zimmerman Verdict Aftermath, IRS Scandal, MLB Suspends Ryan Braun, Detroit Bankruptcy Fallout, and Anthony Weiner Internet Sex Issues Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/23). The implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the Obama Administration’s use of celebrities to promote the controversial law; issues of crime and race relations in the wake of the George Zimmerman verdict; the IRS policy targeting conservative groups and individuals; MLB suspends Ryan Braun for PEDs – A-Rod believed to be next; the fallout from Detroit’s bankruptcy filing; and the new allegations of sexual dalliances by New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Bid4Spots: Auction an Alternative to Unsold Inventory. In a piece published today (7/23), TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian profiles Dave Newmark’s successful Bid4Spots digital auction initiative. There was a time when numerous players were getting into the business of using the internet to deal with unsold inventory on radio stations. Dave Newmark tells Mike Kinosian why the others failed and how he struggled to find the right business model that would eventually lead to success. It was during a casual conversation with a software developer when he had an epiphany. “I immediately thought of those ad exchanges and I realized what they all had wrong. They had the supply and demand equation backwards. Forward auctions work well only when the demand is high and the supply is low. If I could figure out when demand would be at its lowest point – when regular airtime buyers were pretty much gone from the store – it would be as close to ‘next week’ as possible.” Newmark’s road to success was not a smooth one. In this fascinating piece he details his trials and tribulations. He also explains why stations and advertisers are happy with his model of moving unsold inventory. Read it all here.
Are You a Thinker or a Feeler? More importantly, are your listeners and callers thinkers or feelers? In a new TALKERS column posted today (7/23) by branding specialist Dr. John Tantillo, he states that understanding the difference between these two approaches to the issues of the day can have an impact on your show and determine how effectively you orchestrate discussions of them on the air. Using the examples of the current Zimmerman verdict and Rolling Stone cover controversy, Dr. Tantillo examines the relationship between branding and controversy pointing out that the most important thing to focus upon is how the controversy directly impacts the customer’s (or fan’s) loyalty to the brand and nobody else’s. He says we should be less concerned about public relations and more interested in “targeted relations.” To read the entire column, please click here.
Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan Named Among ‘Giants of Broadcasting’ Honorees. This is the 11th annual staging of the “Giants of Broadcasting” that is sponsored by the Library of American Broadcasting. It celebrates “distinguished leadership or performance in television and radio” and will take place October 16 at New York’s Gotham Hall. Smulyan is among 11 honorees this year including Anne Sweeney, Alex Trebek, Barry Diller, Morley Safer, Dick Cavett, Robert L. Johnson, David E. Kelley, Richard E. Wiley, Richard Leibner and Carole Cooper. The Library of American Broadcasting is located at the University of Maryland and the organization states it is “entering its 42nd year serving as the national information resource for the radio and television industries and the academic communities that rely upon it for depth and expertise. Its collections of historic documents, professional papers, oral and video histories, books and photographs are among the nation’s most extensive.”
Red Zebra Re-Tools Afternoons on WTEM, Washington. Recently retired Washington Redskins star Chris Cooley becomes part of the new “The Drive with Cooley and Czabe” afternoon program on Red Zebra-owned sports talk outlet WTEM, Washington “ESPN 980″. Cooley – who just joined the station for Washington Redskins game broadcasts with the company – joins Steve Czaban and WTEM weekend host Al Galdi for the new program that will debut August 1 and will air from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Czaban currently hosts “The Sports Reporters” with Andy Pollin in the afternoon drive slot. Red Zebra says Pollin remains with the station and will sub for the vacationing Tony Kornheiser beginning August 5. About the new show, Czaban jokes, “I will work tirelessly to make Chris Cooley the second-most-beloved ex-Redskin tight end on radio in the DC market.”
MEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Mark Jorgenson of Jorgenson Broadcast Brokerage. In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media broker Mark Jorgenson of Jorgenson Broadcast Brokerage of Greenville, South Carolina. Jorgenson was a 12-year veteran of television sales and radio ownership in Southeastern markets before deciding that he liked putting deals together better than he did operating stations. He says, “I enjoy matching people up with great opportunities and that’s what the brokerage business is all about.” Jorgenson describes today’s radio station market as “sluggish due to a lack of capital to finance deals.” He says, “There are plenty of potential buyers and even more potential sellers but without institutional financing to make the deals happen, we won’t see the volume of transactions we’ve seen in the past. Brokers have to be creative and persistent to make deals happen in today’s financial climate.” He continues, “There are even radio deals where some portion of the purchase price might be handled with a seller note. The key is for the buyer to have access to at least some cash. Private investors, family, and friends are the most likely source to finance new ventures these days.” To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.
Talkers Los Angeles 2013 Is Set for Thursday, October 10. The third annual installment of TALKERS magazine’s West Coast convention has been set for Thursday, October 10 and its outstanding agenda is shaping up to be a blockbuster. It is again being presented in association with the Los Angeles Press Club and held at the historic Steve Allen Theater on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “We are very enthusiastic about the growth and positive impact of this Southern California gathering. It started out three years ago as an experimental LA regional get-together and blossomed into an exciting companion to our big New York convention.” The event - open only to members of the working media – will feature a power-packed day of panel discussions, keynote addresses, special presentations, technology and services exhibits, tremendous networking opportunities and abundant food and refreshments (lunch is sponsored by Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity who will address the attendees from New York). Speakers already set include (in alphabetical order): Robin Bertolucci, PD, KFI, Los Angeles; Phil Boyce, VP spoken word format, Salem Communications; Holland Cooke, radio consultant; Skip Essick, PD, KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; Erica Farber,CEO/president, RAB; Ron Hartenbaum, president, WYD/WYM Media; Rusty Humphries, host, Talk Radio Network; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Tom Leykis, president, The New Normal; Don Martin, senior VP sports programming, Fox Sports Radio/Clear Channel Media and Entertainment; Kevin McCullough, CEO, XtreMedia; Mike McVay, senior VP programming, Cumulus Media; Harvey Nagler, VP, CBS Radio News; Norm Pattiz, CEO, Courtside Entertainment/Podcast One; Chris Pendl, creative director, Bonneville Seattle; Walter Sabo, CEO, Sabo Media; Eric Stanger, VP of operations and affiliate marketing, The Sean Hannity Show/Premiere Networks; Alan Stock, host, KDWN, Las Vegas; Paul Vandenburgh, president/GM/host, WGDJ, Albany; and Michael Zwerling, owner, KSCO, Santa Cruz with many more to be announced in the coming days. The latest broadcasting equipment and remote gear will be on display as presented by Broadcasters General Store and Comrex Corporation. Registrations – $149 per person – can only be taken over the phone and the event is expected to be a very early sellout. So don’t wait – avoid being shut out. For sponsorship information or to register, call 413-565-5413.
WFAS, White Plains Afternoon Host Lisa Wexler to Run for Judicial Office. Lisa Wexler is an attorney and currently the PM drive talk host on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WFAS, White Plains, New York. She tells TALKERS magazine she’s being nominated to run as a Republican for the Probate Judge of Weston and Westport (Connecticut) in November. “I’ve practiced this area of law for many years, and I’m very excited to run and be able to serve the people with knowledge and compassion.” Wexler notes the position is part time and, if elected, she will be able to continue her radio work.
WRSB, Canandaigua, New York to Flip to Business Talk. The station was purchased earlier this summer by Genesee Media Corporation and has been serving the area south of Rochester with a religious format. According to YNN.com, GMC will brand the station “Business 1310” and will use programming from Bloomberg, NBC News and Marketwatch. The report also indicates that Genesee intends to add the programming to other AM signals in the region.
Sonoma Media Group Announces Kevin Wodlinger Is New Local Business Development Manager. The company says Kevin Wodlinger comes to its five-station Santa Rosa, California cluster from his most recent position in Grand Junction, Colorado as market manager for the Cumulus Media cluster that is now owned by Townsquare Media. Wodlinger replaces longtime employee Jeriann D’Elicio, who recently announced her resignation. Michael O’Shea, president of Sonoma Media Group, comments, “Kevin is the real deal – a consummate sales executive with a great track record of teaching, coaching and leading in local business development. We are delighted to have his expertise and leadership in our building.” The company operates news/talk KSRO, country KFGY “Froggy 92.9,” classic rock KVRV “97.7 The River FM,” hot AC KMHX “Mix 104.9,” and CHr KHTH “Hot 101.7.”
New Motor Sports Network to Begin Operations. The Midwest Racing Radio Network announces it is preparing to begin operations and has named Brian Douglas vice president of broadcast operations. Douglas also serves as host. The company states it will initially feature one two-hour motorsports show via live audio stream and podcast in a format for broadcast stations to air daily five days a week. Also, the network will feature a live one-hour Sunday evening program and a national highlights podcast show containing results, interviews, and the upcoming regional racing schedules as submitted from tracks across the country.
Cigar Dave Goes Live on TV. Nationally syndicated media personality “Cigar Dave” Zeplowitz is pictured here (at right) hosting the first-ever live televised broadcasts from the 2013 International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Convention at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas. The telecasts aired live on Sunday, July 14, Monday, July 15 and Tuesday, July 16. Cigar Dave reports his telecasts featured new premium cigar releases and accessories, interviews with premium cigar manufacturers and personalities, and presented viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the IPCPR Convention, that up to now, has been closed to the general public and only open to the trade. “Cigar Dave” says, “This marks the next evolution of the Cigar Dave Show as we transition into a digital, multi-platform provider of relevant content for Alpha Males. Eighteen years ago, I was the first broadcaster to host a radio show dedicated to cigars and the Alpha Male-lifestyle. This year’s live IPCPR telecasts commence a major expansion into televised and digital content that appeals to Alpha Males and a new generation of Millennial Males who enjoy cigars, spirits, manly pursuits, and the Good Life.”
Odds & Sods. Public radio station WKSU, Kent, Ohio drops some of the daily classical music programming to add NPR’s “The Takeaway” with John Hockenberry and “On Point” with Tom Ashford to the midday schedule…..Sun Broadcasting changes the news/talk trimulcast of WFSX-AM and FM and WNOG-AM in Fort Myers. It keeps WFSX-FM news/talk as “92.5 Fox News” and pairs up the AMs as a sports talk duo “The Fan.”
ObamaCare Implementation, Detroit Bankruptcy, Zimmerman Verdict Aftermath, 2016 Presidential Race, U.S. Syria Policy and British Prince Born Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/22). The delay of the employer mandate and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the bankruptcy case of the city of Detroit; the aftermath of the George Zimmerman verdict; the potential candidates in the 2016 presidential race; the United States’ policy regarding Syria; and the birth of the son of Prince William and Kate Middleton were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Walter Sabo
NEW YORK — Please take a moment to click through to this website:
You see TV Nielsen ratings. Nielsen as you know is the TV and radio (in Australia) ratings company that is merging with Arbitron and has cool offices in lower Manhattan. TV BY THE NUMBERS breaks out the TV ratings any way you could imagine: By demo, show, cable, syndication, network. If you want a number you don’t see, simply email the site’s founders and they’ll get it for you.
What is the source of their information? “Various data sources” it says in their ABOUT section.
There is nothing harder than finding effective digital sellers. So hard, it is logical to conclude that there aren’t any great digital advertising sellers. The job listings are packed with ads begging, “Sharks wanted.” “Are you a shark?” “Can you bring business with you?” “Closers only.”
The account executive turnover at major digital firms is very high. Start-ups raise funds to salary qualified, experienced shark-sellers but their hires sell—nothing. Not a little, but nothing. In talking with dozens of start-up CEO’s they share the same story:
By Walter Sabo
NEW YORK — Bob McAllan is the CEO of Press Broadcasting. He put on the two most successful FM Talk stations in the world: New Jersey 101.5 — going into its 22 year — and WTKS-FM Real Radio 104.1 Orlando, launched 1994. Bob and GM John Dziuba made a strategic decision that enabled the station’s hosts to present the most controversial, often outrageous opinions with minimal fallout.
Their single decision gave management the freedom to sell advertising on the stations, defend the hosts and manage the talent in an environment void of fear. Bob and John decided that their STATIONS must never present an opinion or point of view. Simultaneously they realized that to have winning stations, the hosts must have well prepared, very strong points of view on every single topic.
After consulting and operating the largest talk stations in the world, I believe the paragraph you just read sums up the programming infrastructure for success.
By Walter Sabo
NEW YORK — Since 2007 a company our team founded, HITVIEWS, has pioneered the monetization of online video. While giants such as Budweiser wasted $28M on little watched BudTV, we discovered an extremely efficient way to reach audiences with online video. The internet has inspired a new breed of stars: Online Video “webstars” and HITVIEWS was the first to identify them and link them with advertisers.
Very smart brands know they need to be in the online video space but ALL of their initiatives failed to garner a significant viewership. But “webstars” like Jenna Marbles, TheHIll88, Nalts, Whatthebuck, Sxephil, Tobuscus, Community Channel and a select group of other elite online performers are able to pull MILLIONS of viewers to each of their videos.
By Walter Sabo
NEW YORK: Let’s review a show that promotes:
• Co-habitation without the benefit of marriage; Sexual stereotypes — girls throw themselves at football players just for a kiss.
• Racial stereotypes. For example, it promotes the need for more black friends in order to be appealing.
• The discussion of condoms.
• Living together and sex with strangers.
Then, it promotes even more living together and sex with strangers and the humor of meeting a possible mass murderer.
That show commands the highest spot rates of any comedy show this year. It is on Fox.
Entercom Donates $25k to The One Fund. Entercom operates rock WAAF, news/talk WRKO and sports talk outlets WEEI-FM and WEEI-AM but the donation to The One Fund to assist in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing comes from the company as a whole, states Boston VP and market manager Jeff Brown, “On behalf of over 2,000 Entercom employees across the country and our incredible Entercom team here in Boston, we are honored to donate $25,000 to The One Fund to help assist the victims and the families of the Boston Marathon tragedy.”
Peter Thiele Leaves Salem Communications’ WNYM and WMCA, New York. Talk radio programmer Peter Thiele is exiting his program director position at Salem Communications’ WNYM, New York “970 The Answer” and its sister Christian outlet WMCA where he’s been for the past five years. He and his family plan to relocate to San Antonio, Texas in early May. Thiele states, “I want to thank Phil Boyce, Jerry Crowley, Dave Santrella and the rest of the Salem team.” Thiele tells TALKERS magazine that this decision is his and plans to use his experience in branding and marketing to help businesses grow. If you would like to reach out to Peter, his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 646-926-6581.
Minneapolis Talk Host Apologizes After Comments About Newtown Families. KTCN, Minneapolis morning drive co-host Bob Davis – half of the Emmer and Davis morning program – apologized to the families of the Newtown massacre almost a week after making comments in connection with the move for gun legislation. According to a report in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, on April 12 Davis said, “I have something I want to say to the victims of Newtown or any other shooting, I don’t care if it’s here in Minneapolis or anyplace else: Just because a bad thing happened to you doesn’t mean that you get to put a king in charge of my life. I’m sorry that you suffered a tragedy, but you know what? Deal with it, and don’t force me to lose my liberty, which is a greater tragedy than your loss. I’m sick and tired of seeing these victims trotted out, given rides on Air Force One, hauled into the Senate well, and everyone is … terrified of these victims. I would stand in front of them and tell them, ‘Go to hell.’” The paper reports that a couple of days later he tried to explain his comments, then four days after that issued an apology for the “pain those words may have caused.” Sandy Hook, Connecticut resident Bob Greene posted a comment on the Star-Tribune website and sent Davis an email offering to pay his air fare for him to come to Connecticut and repeat the words he said in front of the Newtown families. Greene says he has not had a reply from Davis. The paper’s report of the incident notes the program lost one advertiser over the affair.
Sabo Sez: Regardless of No-Buy Lists, Controversy Is Good for Radio and Should Be Sold as Such. According to noted radio consultant Walter Sabo, for decades TV shows promoting murder, violence, unmarried sex partners (Gilmore Girls) and anal bleaching (TMZ), have commanded high rates for spots from General Motors, Chrysler, Ford, Sony, Verizon, AT&T and all your favorites. Why aren’t those shows on do-not-buy lists? In a new column posted today, Sabo writes, “It’s because watching those shows is not a profound, intimate experience. Those shows are watched passively. They command no engagement resulting in no complaints. However their content is as ‘controversial’ as any radio show and they have the bonus of a visual component.” Sabo continues, “Listening to a talk radio show is a 100% foreground experience. Unlike music, talking on the radio commands 100% attention. The listener is ENGAGED with the show. The big buzzword at the ad agencies right now is ENGAGEMENT. An emotional listener is an engaged listener. Happy, angry, passionate listeners are worth a premium price per spot.” To read Walter Sabo’s entire piece, click here.
WXOS, St. Louis Pairs Up Anthony Stalter with Chris Duncan for Middays. Hubbard Broadcasting’s St. Louis sports talker “101 ESPN” fills the midday show being vacated by Bernie Miklasz with afternoon drive co-host (and former St. Louis Cardinals star) Chris Duncan and sports talk pro Anthony Stalter. The show will debut on May 1 and doesn’t have a name but WXOS program director Chris “Hoss” Neupert says, “Chris Duncan and Anthony Stalter have proven themselves as show hosts in other time slots, and listeners have really responded to both of them on the air. We’re confident that they will work well together as co-hosts, and we’re looking forward to their show’s debut next month.” Duncan has been with the station since 2011 and most recently was one of the three co-hosts of the PM drive show “The Fast Lane.” Stalter has been with WXOS since March of 2012. He broke into sports radio with Clear Channel’s WDFN, Detroit and served as the station’s on-site producer for Pistons’ broadcasts. He was also a reporter for both Pistons and Lions postgame coverage. As a journalist, he was an NFL columnist for the WashingtonPost.com’s expert panel, “The League,” and he continues to write NFL-related columns for 101sports.com.
CMG Names Russell Lawson GSM for Athens and Gainesville, Georgia Stations. Russell Lawson moves up from Cox Media Group’s news/talk WOKV, Jacksonville where he’s been an account manager for the past five years to become the general sales manager for the company’s Athens and Gainesville, Georgia stations that include: country WNGC, news/talk WGAU, AC WGMG “Magic 102.1,” CHR WPUP “Power 100.1,” adult hits WXKT “103.7 Chuck FM,” and sports talk WRFC “960 The Ref.” Cluster VP and general manager Scott Smith states, “We are excited to have Russell join our team and to be able to tap into CMG’s top internal sales talent. His multi-faceted experience in a variety of radio sales situations, and dedication to his craft, will make him an asset to CMG Athens/ Gainesville.”
Times Are Tough Enough – Be a Pro! Sports talk personality Dan Sileo – most recently of Beasley’s WQAM, Miami and Clear Channel’s WDAE, Tampa – writes about his recent mistakes that have left him on the beach as well as the highly publicized departure of a Boston sports talk host. Sileo says he’s learned valuable lessons that other radio personalities should take to heart. Read his piece here.
The Conclave Hires Phil Strider. Conclave executive director Bob Shannon announces radio veteran Phil Strider has been hired to create and sell sponsorships for “Conclave 38: The Learning Conference” scheduled for July 17-19 at the Doubletree Hotel in Minneapolis. Commenting on the hiring, Shannon says, “My ideal candidate needed to have national sales experience, a programing background, and have an intimate knowledge of how special the Conclave is. Phil’s got it all. ” Strider’s background includes independent syndication services as well as management, sales and programming stints at Westwood One; Jones Radio Network; Metro Networks; KZOK, Seattle; and KBPI, Denver.
Boston Marathon Bombing Aftermath, Immigration Reform, Gun Legislation, Internet Tax Proposal, Bush Presidential Library, and North Korea Threats Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/22). The ongoing search for information about the Boston Marathon bombing suspects and their motives; new questions about what immigration reform legislation should contain; ongoing legislative attempts to change state and federal gun laws; proposals to change tax laws for internet purchases; the opening of the Bush Presidential Library; and North Korea’s treats against the U.S. and South Korea were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Walter Sabo
NEW YORK – The challenge of working at most radio stations or broadcast companies is the staff is pre-occupied with job security. As a result, trends that should be noted and discussed are dismissed in order to prepare the weekend schedule and worry about corporate. As the CEO of an executive-on-demand company, Sabo Media, we are presented daily with new products, talent and ideas. Here are five that are interesting and may be helpful in growing your business:
A modest proposal by Walter Sabo
By Walter Sabo
NEW YORK — First, I will never be the CEO of YouTube because I could not pass the battery of Google employment tests. Math was not my strength. Also, based on a visit to their NY offices, their hallway labyrinth would keep me lost all day.
But here’s why I should be CEO:
Why do you look at YouTube? The primary reasons are to see cats, music videos, your kids and “web stars.” I am perfectly comfortable with these crowd pleasers. Why? Because they please the crowd.
About 18 months ago YouTube announced a multi-million dollar initiative to pay for premium video content created by “top producers” and Hollywood stars. At the time I explained to my annoyed relatives and friends that this was an insane waste of money and it wouldn’t work. It wouldn’t work because it violated a key axiom of show business:
TRN’s Jerry Doyle Says Consolidation is Stifling Objectivity. Speaking to legendary Southern California radio newsman and current PodJockey personality Brent Seltzer on Talkers TV at the recent New Media Seminar in Los Angeles, Talk Radio Network nationally syndicated host Jerry Doyle says he believes the vertical consolidation of the talk radio business is stifling objectivity much the same way consolidation stifled creativity in Hollywood in years prior. “It’s killed objectivity to a degree, where you become a cheerleader for whatever side it is that wants to see their side win. I would like to think of myself as — what we should be doing more of in the business – as a coach. A cheerleader will cheer for you when you drop the ball in the end zone but on a critical fourth down, they don’t ask the cheerleaders what they think, they ask the coach…I think we need to coach more and by people just cheering for their own side it allows those sides to be lazy and get away with mistakes…and I think healthier competition has a better outcome for all of us…I think that we have a responsibility in the bully pulpit that we have, to speak the truth.” See Brent Seltzer’s entire interview with Jerry Doyle in Talkers TV on the right side of this page.
Interim WGN, Chicago GM to Address Staff Today. A week after Tom Langmyer was ousted, interim GM Jeff Hill will meet with the entire staff of the station in Campbell Hall at Tribune Tower this morning. Hill spoke with Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder and says his goal is to rally the troops, dispel some rumors and explain the bankruptcy process and what it may mean for station staffers in the future. Hill tells Feder, “I am dedicated to the success of this radio station and to serving the needs of the listeners, the advertisers and the employees here. I’m a little exhausted by the kicking around that we’ve dealt with from a lot of outside sources, and think that we need to stay as positive and as focused as we can.” The news that afternoon host John Williams would give up his WGN gig to focus on his WCCO, Minneapolis show came on the heels of Langmyer’s departure and Hill must deal with the staff’s concern about the future of the station. Hill is combating chatter on message boards that Tribune Broadcasting president and CEO Nils Larsen will attend the meeting to begin preparing the staff for job cuts. Hill tells Feder, “I don’t know where the message boards come up with this, but that is by no means the case. I’m sure there are people out there that want to create havoc and confusion and distress amongst current staffers or want to create headlines that aren’t there. But the memo came from me to our staff. In my conversations with Nils he has said flatly that it’s my meeting and my agenda.” But Hill does say he’s not eager to have the “interim” removed from his title since a sale of WGN is possible and new owners would want to make those types of management decisions.
Chalk One Up for the CHR Station. Consultant and brilliant radio idea man Walter Sabo – a resident of Manhattan – tells TALKERS that from the perspective of a person who lives in New York City and whose life was seriously disrupted by Hurricane Sandy, he found the absolute best and most valuable coverage and information provided by any station of any format on either the AM or FM dial during the blackout and aftermath of the storm was – believe it or not – Clear Channel’s CHR outlet, Z100! Sabo says, “They did a much better job of conveying the real news and helpful information to the listener than any other station – some of which, of course, weren’t even on the air because they weren’t technically prepared for such an emergency. Z-100 provided blocks of about 20-25 minutes of really important information – the stuff people need to know – followed by a top five song. Then when the song was over, they went right back into providing the information I needed for me and my family…transportation updates, health concerns, school and road closings, and safety guidance for another 20 minutes or so. It wasn’t long-winded, superfluous filler, but rather vital facts and stuff people could use. And then they would play another top five song. This went on throughout the day.” Sabo states, “It was brilliant – a credit to good radio – and they are to be congratulated.”
Media Broker Says Opportunity is Knocking Right Now for First-Time Station Buyers. Sandi Bergman, whom TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes as “a dynamic rising star among today’s crop of media brokers,” has positive news for the many recently laid-off radio management figures looking to apply their seasoned skills in a new and productive direction in the industry. They should consider radio station ownership! Ownership is not just for the mega-corporations who are burdened with seemingly insurmountable debt. As a matter of speculation, it is indeed possible that many of them will be spinning off unwieldy properties in the months and years ahead creating new opportunities for fresh blood in the business. According to Bergman, who owns the innovative website www.RadioTVDeals.com and the New Mexico-based brokerage firm MyMediaBroker.com and is one of the relatively few major female brokers in the game, there are many incredible opportunities for first-time buyers. She states in an exclusive interview that will be carried in its entirety tomorrow (11/1) in both TALKERS and RadioInfo, “In the large markets, AMs can be purchased for a fraction of the price they sold for five years ago. I have listings for AMs in top 10 markets that are priced very reasonably, and, one of those sellers will carry some paper. There are some great groups in medium and small markets that can be purchased at a six-to-seven-times cash flow multiple, and many of those sellers may offer some portion of seller financing. In my opinion, a first-time buyer should consider looking into small markets where the station or group is the only show in town. Local businesses will support a local owner first and foremost, especially if the station group is enmeshing itself into the community and schools. It is a good situation where he operator does not have to deal with the competing stations going for the same local dollar.” Bergman points out, however, that sales is the key to making it: “The very most important factor in operating a station or group is sales. Without adequate sales, the owner can very easily miss the loan payment. Miss the loan payment, you lose the station. This must be kept in perspective at the very onset of ownership! A new owner/operator needs to keep operating costs in check and make the loan payment. It is also important to keep all bills current. It is not an ideal situation in any marketplace to have a reputation for being behind on bills. Not good for business. First-time owners/operators should become entirely involved in the communities they serve, and give on-air time to local clubs/organizations. Many operators sell sponsorships for public service announcements which is good business. Broadcasting local high school/university sports is most always a “ticket” to advertising and overall business success in radio. Combine these items with superb local news coverage, and you’ll have the local advertisers in your pocket.” Read the entire interview with Sandi Bergman here tomorrow.
Arbitron and Magic Broadcasting Settle Dispute. Magic Broadcasting, LLC and Magic Broadcasting Alabama Licensing, LLC owned stations in the Dothan, Alabama market before selling them in February of this year. Previously, Arbitron had taken legal action against Magic for copyright infringement and breach of license agreement. In a suit filed last November, Arbitron alleged that Magic Broadcasting improperly used proprietary or copyrighted Arbitron materials, information, and data after the expiration of its license agreement with Arbitron. The lawsuit was filed as part of ongoing Arbitron initiative to protect its intellectual property rights. Now, the two sides agree to settle the complaint for an undisclosed sum. Magic also agrees not to engage in any activities that would infringe, misappropriate, or breach Arbitron’s intellectual property rights in any of its reports, data or software. Magic acknowledges that its on-air personalities are not authorized to refer to Arbitron ratings data and agree to refrain from making any unauthorized use of Arbitron’s ratings data in the future. Arbitron agreed not to pursue legal action against Magic as long as Magic complies with the terms of the settlement agreement.
Hulk Hogan Settles Suit with Radio Host Bubba the Love Sponge. Pro wrestling legend Hulk Hogan and talk radio star Bubba the Love Sponge have reached a settlement over the release of a video of Hogan having sex with Bubba’s then-wife Heather Clem. TMZ reports that a settlement has been reached but does not publish the details. The story states that Hogan is still suing Heather Clem and the gossip sit Gawker for $100 million. The video is some six years old and shows images of Hogan and Clem having sex in Bubba the Love Sponge’s home. It was recorded with a security camera unbeknownst to Hogan – making it illegal under Florida law – and how Gawker got a hold of it remains unclear. However a lawyer for Bubba the Love Sponge says Bubba did not release the video and does not condone the release of it.
Home Improvement Hosts The Carey Brothers Offer Tips to Sandy Victims. Nationally syndicated home improvement talk hosts James and Morris Carey – hosts of “On the House” – are offering to give advice to radio listeners affected by Hurricane Sandy via stations in the East. Program general manager Bob Agnew says the Careys can address “the issue of survival without electricity, how deal with issues such as restarting pilot lights for furnaces when power returns, how to salvage areas affected by the flooding, safety tips when going back into their homes and more.” The Careys are available to stations via ISDN beginning at 8:00 am EST and interested parties should contact producer Kate Wolfson for requests at 877-612-8280 ext. 705 or by email at email@example.com.
Industry Mourns the Death of Greg Jessen. Cumulus Media VP/market manager for Green Bay, WI, Greg Jessen has died after a courageous battle with cancer (10/28). Funeral services will be held in Green Bay on Friday (11/2) at Malcore West Funeral Home. A fund has been established by Greg’s radio family in Green Bay, the “Kyle and Andrew Jessen Fund” as a way to honor Greg’s memory and care for his sons. For information please contact Jeff.Schmidt@cumulus.com
Mike & Mike “Gangnam Style.” ESPN Radio and ESPN 2 morning drive stars Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic dressed up as versions of South Korean pop star Psy for today’s Halloween program. In addition to merely looking the part, they produced their own version of the internationally popular music video and posted it on ESPN.com. This screen shot captures Mike & Mike in all their pop video glory!
Sandy Aftermath, Presidential Polls, Campaign Resumes, and Benghazi Attack Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/30). The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy; the presidential polls and the resumption of the campaign; and the controversy over the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Walter Sabo
NEW YORK — Each talk host has a unique set of life experiences, opinions and feelings. When a host is encouraged and allowed to express their unique world view, the result is compelling radio and the cume grows. Tragically, and it is tragic, at some point most hosts are told to “sound more like…” or “did you hear so and so today?”
The reason Howard Stern, Rush Limbaugh, Dr. Laura have been so successful is that they copy no one. You may be surprised to learn that Howard Stern has never listened to most of the other hosts he’s bashed.
When working with talent it is never wise to encourage them to listen to other hosts because it destroys their internal navigation system. Each host has stories they want to tell, ideas they want to present and blessed opinions that must be heard. When they are forced to monitor other hosts, their own instincts soften and ultimately crumble.
Glenn Beck Draws Crowd to Cowboys Stadium for Live Event. Estimates of the crowd of fans that attended the final part of Glenn Beck’s three-day “Restoring Love” week went as high as 65,000 for Saturday’s Cowboys Stadium gathering. The weeklong program consisted of the conservative conference FreePAC, an evening of religious speakers at Under God: Indivisible, and the Day of Service where attendees “went out into the Dallas- Ft. Worth area to serve their fellow man.” The Saturday event consisted of “music, history and inspiration that celebrated the service done over the week as well as what you can do to take these lessons back to your community in order to restore America,” according to Beck’s website. Beck is pictured here on the stage set up at mid-field. The event was not without its critics as the infamous Westboro Baptist Church protested outside the stadium brandishing signs that read, “God Hates America,” “God Hates Your Idols,” and “America Is Doomed.” (Image from KTVT-TV, Dallas)
NFL Club Prevents CBS Radio Station from Airing Redskins’ Robert Griffin III Press Conference. The Washington Post reports Daniel Snyder-owned Red Zebra Broadcasting – owner of sports WTEM, Washington, the radio flagship of Washington Redskins football (Snyder also owns the team) – nixed competitor WJFK, Washington’s plans to air the first live press conference of Redskins first round draft pick quarterback Robert Griffin III. The move does not violate NFL rules. As long as WJFK is allowed to cover the event, flagship stations can protect the live airing of such press conferences. The Post’s Dan Steinberg writes that numerous other NFL clubs he contacted for the story said the blackout on WJFK’s live coverage was not in keeping with what they’ve done over the years and noted that pre-season press is greatly desired by NFL clubs. Redskins senior VP of communications Tony Wyllie tells the Post he was protecting their broadcast partners and the fact that WTEM and the Redskins are owned by the same organization doesn’t come into play. WJFK program director Chris Kinard tells the paper, “I’ve never heard of it being done before, here or anywhere else. I don’t understand why they would want to do it. Well, actually, I understand exactly why — it’s because they own our competition. They own 980. I think listeners can make up their own minds about the relationship between the radio station and the team, if they’re going to make these kinds of decisions about news coverage. I think that calls into question the entire relationship.”
Premiere Networks Teams with Alpha Broadcasting to Bring Clyde Lewis into National Syndication. The Portland, Oregon-based evening talk host discusses “all matters of the paranormal, UFOs and conspiracies, and shares his passionate and knowledgeable approach to news, current events and politics” from Alpha Broadcasting’s FM News 101 KXL. “Ground Zero with Clyde Lewis” airs live from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET and goes into national syndication August 27. Lewis states, “I feel that coming on with Premiere Networks is like winning the lottery. I’m joining a company where some of my inspirations are employed, like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Nikki Sixx, and several others. This opportunity allows the show to expand worldwide. I feel a responsibility to push ‘Ground Zero’ to a whole new level. If you think you’ve heard fireworks on the show before, just wait – with the help of Premiere, ‘Ground Zero’ is now ready to drop the atom bomb.”
Five Easy Fixes to Improve Your PPM Numbers. Sabo Media chairman Walter Sabo takes the position that Arbitron’s Portable People Meter is not a bad measurement system for talk-formatted stations. “You’ve heard the horror stories about talk stations losing a third of their audience when measured by PPM. There are talk stations that have gone up in PPM and other formats have benefitted from the new measurement technique.” Sabo provides some advice for easy-to-implement tweaks to talk radio programming to score better in the PPM markets. Read Walter’s piece here.
“Free Talk Live” Hosts Produce Online Film. Titled, “Derrick J’s Victimless Crime Spree,” the 88-minute film available on YouTube and Torrent features “Free Talk Live” co-host Derrick J in what FTL host and executive producer Ian Freeman calls “Derrick J Freeman’s exciting first year of activism in Keene, New Hampshire.” Ian Freeman states, “He was arrested multiple times for ‘crimes’ with no victim – including throwing a quiet dance party, attempting to smoke cannabis, going to court, and riding a bike. It was all caught on video and made for a very entertaining documentary!” Learn more about the film here.
Preventing Disaster. Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM and 99.7 FM, Providence talk host Matt Allen hosted a roundtable discussion on Monday, July 30 with local officials designed to provide an understanding of the possible causes of the Aurora theater shootings with the goal of prevention. Taking a local angle, Allen and guests discussed various aspects of the tragedy including media influences, Rhode Island gun regulations, societal pressures and Rhode Island mental health policies. Pictured here are (from l-r): Colonel Steven O’ Donnell, superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police; Tom Martin, administrator of clinical service at the Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Health Care, Developmental Disabilities, and Hospitals; Matt Allen; and Cranston, Rhode Island Mayor Allan Fung.
It’s Primary Election Day for Talk Host Martha Zoller. The Georgia talk show host gave up her daily radio gig to enter the race for Congress in Georgia’s new 9th Congressional District. Today, Martha Zoller faces state legislator Doug Collins in the Republican primary election and she’s calling on the support of some of her talk radio friends in her effort. Zoller is portraying herself as more conservative than Collins and her campaign sent out an e-mail blast containing the following paragraph highlighting some of her talk radio colleagues: “Martha has earned the trust of Gov. Sarah Palin, Speaker Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, Sean Hannity, Erick Erickson, Mark Levin and numerous conservative organizations like the Tea Party Express, Citizens United, FreedomWorks, Susan B. Anthony List, and Georgia Right to Life, who all know that Martha will work tirelessly to find conservative solutions to America’s most pressing issues.”
Stitcher Announces Next Step in Bringing Service to Connected Cars. The new API (application programming interface) called Stitcher Connect brings the aggregator’s news, entertainment sports and talk content directly into Chevrolet’s “connected cars” – specifically the new Sonic and Spark models. Stitcher CEO Noah Shanok states, “Over a third of our listeners are currently using Stitcher in the car. Generally over 70 million users are using mobile devices while on the road. As we continue to make advancements, the in-car audio experience is becoming more seamless. The connected car is poised to eclipse the traditional radio dial.” Stitcher reports its technology is able to be integrated across numerous auto manufacturers’ platforms and is currently available in Ford, GM, BMW and Mercedes vehicles.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Sun Broadcast Group creates a spinoff of its “Got Game” radio feature that reports on the hottest and latest in video games with “Got Game Sport,” focusing on – you guessed it – sports video games and targeted to sports talk radio stations…..CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles broadcasts live from the city of Irvine in Orange County for the next stop in its “KNX on Your Corner” series. Officials and community leaders will appear on the air as the staff broadcasts from Corner Bakery Café in Irvine Spectrum Center on August 24…..WTOP, Washington promotes digital news writer Meera Pal to afternoon digital editor at the news organization.
Legendary Radio Programmer Al Brady Law Dies. Respected Top 40 radio programmer Al Brady Law passed away at a nursing care facility in New Hampshire on Monday (7/30). Law programmed numerous major market stations during his career and famously programmed WABC, New York, coming to the station in 1979 and remaking the station during the end of its run as a Top 40 outlet.
Politics & A Pint. WMAL-AM/FM, Washington talk show host Chris Plante (r) engages some fans in a political discussion at The Pour House in Washington, DC last Thursday evening as part of the station promotion “Politics & A Pint.”
Presidential Campaign, London Olympics, Syria Violence, Russian Punk Group Trial, and NYC Breastfeeding Program Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/30). The presidential race; the 2012 London Olympics; continuing violence in Syria; the trial of a Russian punk group for criticizing Vladimir Putin; and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s campaign to promote breastfeeding were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Walter Sabo
NEW YORK – You’ve heard the horror stories about talk stations losing a third of their audience when measured by PPM. There are talk stations that have gone up in PPM and other formats have benefitted from the new measurement technique.
After tracking the stations that have done better and formats that have improved while being surveyed by PPM, here are simple techniques for you to use today that will boost PPM-measured cume.
TALKERS TV: WTOP Reporter Does All Field Reports on iPhone or iPad. Things have changed, at least technologically, since WTOP, Washington reporter Neal Augenstein joined the heritage all-news outlet in 1999. The newsroom was still equipped with reel-to-reel tape recorders and the portable bag phones that weighed as much as 15 pounds. Since 2010, Neal has earned the distinction of being the first major market radio reporter who does all of his field production on an iPhone or iPad. This week TALKERS TV presents the final installment of an exclusive three-part feature on the inner workings of all-news giant WTOP with an interview with Neal Augenstein in which he explains the theory behind and the method of using Apple’s smart phone as an extremely innovative and convenient tool for gathering, producing and presenting news in a multimedia venue. See TALKERS TV at the top of the column on the upper right side of this page.
New Media Seminar New York Nears Sellout – Features Power-Packed Agenda. Thursday, June 7 promises to be an important and exciting day for talk radio and related talk media as the East Coast installment of the industry’s largest and longest-running convention nears a sellout. More than 60 industry leaders are scheduled to speak including (in alphabetical order): Nancy Abramson, executive director, Wall Street Journal Radio Network; Chuck Armstrong, APD, WABC, New York; Mike “Bax” Baxendale, co-host, “Bax and O’Brien” morning show, Rock 102, Springfield, MA; Rennie Bishop, PD WWRL, New York; Jim Bohannon, host, Dial Global Radio Networks; Phil Boyce, VP/director, spoken word format, Salem Communications; Dr. Joy Browne, host, WOR Radio; Laurie Cantillo, PD, WTOP, Washington, DC; Kevin Casey, VP/managing editor, TALKERS; Michael Castner, host, Wall Street Journal Radio Network; Heather Cohen, EVP, The Weiss Agency; Alan Colmes, Fox News Radio/Fox News Channel; Holland Cooke, consultant, McVay/Cook Media; Andy Dean, host Premiere Networks; Dave Elswick, PD, KARN, Little Rock; Boomer Esiason, host, WFAN, New York; Barry Farber, host, Talk Radio Network/CRN Digital Talk Radio; Jim Farley, VP news and programming, WTOP, Washington, DC; Terry Foxx, PD, KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh; Ian Freeman, co-host, Free Talk Live; Mike Gallagher, host, Salem Radio Network; Dom Giordano, host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Steve Goldstein, EVP, Saga Communications; Heidi Harris, host, KRLA, Los Angeles/KTIE, San Bernadino; Matthew B. Harrison, senior partner, Harrison Strategies; Michael Harrison, publisher, TALKERS; Ron Hartenbaum, president, WYD Media; Thom Hartmann, host, WYD Media; Bill Hess, PD, WMAL, Washington, DC; Gabe Hobbs, president, Gabe Hobbs Media; Jim Horn, PD, WSBA, York; Gov. Mike Huckabee, host, Cumulus Media/Fox News Channel; Rusty Humphries, host Talk Radio Network/WGST, Atlanta; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Tom Langmyer, VP/GM, WGN, Chicago; Tom Leykis, president, The New Normal; Lionel, president, LionelMedia.com; Mark Masters, CEO, Talk Radio Network; Mike McVay, SVP programming, Cumulus Media; Harvey Nagler, VP Radio, CBS News; Chris Oliviero, SVP programming, CBS Radio; Cary Pahigian, market manager, Saga Communications/Portland; John Parikhal, president, Joint Communications; Ellen Ratner, bureau chief, Talk Radio News Service; Mark Riley, host, WWRL, New York; Walter Sabo, president, Sabo Media; Todd Schnitt, host, Compass Media Networks; Ed Schultz, host, MSNBC/The Ed Schultz Show; Doug Stephan, president, Stephan Multimedia; Chris Stigall, host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Alan Stock, host, KDWN, Las Vegas; Peter Thiele, PD, WMCA/WNYM, New York; Joe Thomas, PD, WCHV, Charlottesville; Paul Vandenburg, president/GM, WGDJ, Albany; Steven J.J. Weisman, senior partner, Harrison Strategies; and Larry Young, host, WOLB, Baltimore; with more to be announced. A full agenda will be posted here tomorrow. Also, today is the final day that discount rooms for seminar attendees at the nearby Doubletree will be available. For registration and hotel information call 413-565-5413.
Sabo Sez: If Every Station Was a Talk Station… “Imagine if every radio station, except one, in every city was programmed fulltime as a talk station. How would those talk stations differentiate themselves to the listener? They couldn’t all take the same approach, they would have to appeal to different demos and psychographics,” says Sabo Media president Walter Sabo. In his latest column for TALKERS, Sabo says that’s why spoken-word radio must be differentiated and targeted just as music-based radio is and therein lays the key to making a profit from an FM talk station. Read Walter Sabo’s piece here.
Geraldo Rivera to Broadcast from WABC, New York-Sponsored Job Fair. Cumulus Media news/talk WABC, New York and sister Hot AC WPLJ-FM are sponsoring the “Putting America Back to Work” job fair being held tomorrow (5/15) at the Jacob Javits Center and WABC and KABC, Los Angeles talk host Geraldo Rivera will broadcast his 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program live from the event. Part of the broadcast will feature a panel of experts and CEOs discussing practical advice and tips for job seekers. Cumulus New York states there will also be some 100 job recruiters from a wide range of industries with positions available on the scene.
KFWB, Los Angeles Re-Ups with NBA’s Clippers. The NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers and news/talk KFWB, Los Angeles sign a multi-year extension to keep the franchise’s games on the station. Details of the terms are not being disclosed per team and station policy. Station general manager Valerie K. Blackburn states, “We are so happy to forge forward with our relationship with the Clippers who have captured the hearts of Southern Californians and fans across the country. The Los Angeles Clippers have emerged as a fan favorite in this town and are an extremely important part of our ongoing commitment to provide quality programming to our listeners.” KFWB is operated by the KFWB Asset Trust and the KFWB License Trust, divestiture trusts under the management of Diane Sutter, president and CEO of ShootingStar Broadcasting.
Cumulus Media Signs With Triton Digital for Its Online Platform. The country’s second largest radio station operator (measured by station count) will move the online platform of its more than 530 radio stations to the Triton Digital platform, according to a story in Radio Ink. Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey states the company’s stations will be able to take advantage of the services provided by Triton Digital as well as providing a standard platform which will enable the transition to putting all of the company’s stations on iHeartRadio as announced several months ago. It is expected the Cumulus stations will be available on Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s iHeartRadio within the next 45 to 60 days.
Greater Media Charlotte Names Billy Black Imaging Director. News/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte and talk intensive sister Hot AC WLNK-FM have hired imaging pro Billy Black to serve as the imaging director for the stations. For the past 10 years Black has worked at Clear Channel’s rock WRXR-FM, Chattanooga where he served as morning show host, program director and imaging director. Greater Media Charlotte marketing administrator Jessica Reeves RoBards says, “He has imaged a ton of Clear Channel stations and made work parts and shells from scratch for companies like Frost Bytes. This is unique because most imaging guys use pre-made beds and work parts, he makes his own. He also had a stint at Media Base. He will image both stations. His ideas and creativity are something these stations have been craving.”
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Cumulus Media nabs market manager Kevin Waltman from Clear Channel’s Tallahassee operations that include news/talk WFLA-FM. Waltman heads up Cumulus’ Montgomery, Alabama cluster that includes news/talk WLWI and sports talk WMSP…..Forever Broadcasting is picking up a stronger signal for its “TJ Network” news/talk format based at WTJS, Jackson Tennessee. It will swap with Grace Broadcasting Services giving Grace its WTJW-FM, Humboldt, Tennessee at 105.3 plus $525,000 and get WTGP-FM, Trenton, Tennessee at 97.7…..SiriusXM names National Soccer Hall of Famer John Harkes host of its daily soccer talk show “The Football Show” that airs from 7:00 am to 9:00 am. Harkes will be joined on the show by co-hosts Charlie Stillitano and Neil Barnett.
By Walter Sabo
NEW YORK — Radio’s original programming slate was completely random. As a new, experimental medium, all radio stations aired a vast array of programming from operas to farm news to live music. Until 1940 there was an actual legal debate about whether or not recorded music could be aired on the radio. See it here.
Every Station is a Talk Station. Now What?
Imagine if every radio station, except one, in every city was programmed fulltime as a talk station. How would those talk stations differentiate themselves to the listener? They couldn’t all take the same approach. They would have to appeal to different demos and psychographics. There would be talk stations for teens, 18-24 men, 25-34 women and 35-54 year old professionals. You would hear talk stations just for parents, singles, sports fans, all news for people over 50 and for people under 25. In L.A., New York and San Francisco there are over 60 viable signals; the possible format iterations would match the scope of human interests.
By Kevin Casey
CLEVELAND — There’s still not a lot of talk on FM radio. Yes, there is a lot of sports talk and more and more news/talk finding a home on the FM band lately, but talk – or as consultant Walter Sabo calls it – targeted talk is not prevalent on radio in America. Certainly there is WTKS-FM, Orlando; New Jersey 101.5; and Cox has just stripped the music away from WHTP-FM, Tampa with Bubba the Love Sponge in AM drive and Cowhead in PM drive and newly developed shows in the other dayparts. But apart from those examples and many morning drive shows on music stations (more on that later), few operators have been inclined to develop talk targeted to young people – often called “hot talk.” Except at Cleveland’s legendary rock station – WMMS-FM – where the Alan Cox show gets big numbers in afternoon drive.
A quick glance at Cox’s resume: He began his performance career doing stand-up comedy in college; produced Jonathon Brandmeier at WLUP-FM, Chicago in the early 1990s; hosted mornings at a classic rock station in Kalamazoo; hosted PM drive at WXDX-FM, Pittsburgh where he replaced Howard Stern in AM drive when CC dropped Stern (Cox proudly states it was “one of the only Stern stations that didn’t completely tank” after that); was part of the ensemble cast that replaced Mancow on Q101 in Chicago; and he’s been at WMMS-FM, Cleveland for the past two-and-a-half years. Read More
Cumulus Makes it Official: WYAY-FM, Atlanta to Go All-News in May. The Atlanta Business Chronicle confirms what’s been rumored as Cumulus Media COO John Dickey announces the company’s classic hits WYAY-FM – licensed to Gainesville, Georgia – will flip to all-news in mid-May. Dickey tells the Chronicle, “As big a city as we’ve got and as diverse and cosmopolitan a community, not to have an all-news product creates a huge opportunity. It was an easy decision for us to take advantage of it…Pop culture, celebrity news and entertainment news have really become news today. That has intermixed with hard news to create a different product.” Atlanta had WCNN – now SportsRadio 680 the Fan – operating as an all-news outlet in the late 1990s but that was on AM and Cumulus believes now is the right time to put an all-news product on the FM band.
KTRS, St. Louis Cancels JC Corcoran PM Drive Show. Veteran St. Louis radio personality JC Corcoran exits CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis after hosting the PM drive show for the past 18 months. St. Louis Today’s Deb Peterson reports management at the station was not returning calls seeking comment but that other sources indicate that KTVI-TV, St. Louis sports director and former KFNS, St. Louis talk host Martin Kilcoyne will take over the program. Corcoran’s sidekick Trish Gazall is reportedly remaining with the station. Other changes including a slight shift in programming as John Hadley moves his late-night show to the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot allowing Chicago-based Steve Cochran to host just his 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program at the station (he had been doing a split shift with an early evening show as well).
Feature Series – Part 4: Innovation Sets You Free…to Make Money. Sabo Media president Walter Sabo concludes his four-part TALKERS series on FM talk. In this piece, Sabo discusses the importance of creating time and a place to innovate. Sabo notes that radio has no laboratory for experimentation. “If you come up with a new format or promotional idea, where and how do you test it? Success in a live medium depends on a specific dynamic with a live audience. As a rule you can’t ask people how they want to be entertained. You can present them with entertainment and see if they applaud.” Sabo offers several ways to test new programming, including your HD channel. “Finally, a good use for HD channels: Experimentation. If you want listeners to try a new medium, give them something new to listen to. It doesn’t cost more money to play different songs. The promise of HD radio is breathtaking. New programming attracts early adopters and that’s what new hardware demands.” Sabo says this article is a preview of 15 action-packed minutes that he will deliver at the New Media Seminar in New York on Thursday, June 7. This exciting industry-only event will be a certain sellout. For registration information call 413-565-5413. Read Walter Sabo’s entire piece here.
FCC Decision to Require Political Ad Info Posted Online for TV Stations Has Radio Execs Watching DC. For now, only television stations in the top 50 markets in the country are being required to post their public files – including their political ad rates – online. But some radio operators are nervous about this cascading to their medium. This decision is only popular with some political groups that believe too much money is spent on politics and is tarnishing the process. The NAB is not pleased and states, “NAB respectfully disagrees with today’s FCC decision and we’re disappointed that the Commission rejected compromise proposals proffered by broadcasters that would have brought greater transparency to political ad buying. By forcing broadcasters to be the only medium to disclose on the internet our political advertising rates, the FCC jeopardizes the competitive standing of stations that provide local news, entertainment, sports and life-saving weather information free of charge to tens of millions of Americans daily. We appreciate Commissioner McDowell‘s thoughtful and compelling dissent, and we will be seeking guidance from our Board of Directors regarding our options.” Some communications law observers believe there are problems with this new policy and we’re likely to see this end up in court.
Michigan Talk Host Michael Patrick Shiels to Host New TV and Radio Show Beginning in Early May. Michael Patrick Shiels previously hosted the morning show based at WJIM, Lansing and was heard on other markets via the Michigan Talk Network. His relationship with WJIM owner Cumulus ended and now he announces he’s struck a deal with WSYM-TV, Lansing to produce and distribute a new morning show that will be simulcast on WSYM-TV and on the radio in markets yet to be announced. WSYM-TV VP/GM Gary Baxter states. “FOX 47 is proud to continue its partnership with Michael Patrick Shiels and launch his new program. There is simply no one like him on radio or TV in the state of Michigan. Michael Patrick’s show allows us to have the biggest names in politics, business and Michigan sports on our air every morning. Our viewers might see Governor Snyder and Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford on the same show — what great television!”
Tom Joyner Vows to Stay Connected with Tri-State Fans Via Digital Media. The Emmis-ESPN deal and consequent merger of the Kiss FM format with WBLS-FM, New York leaves his nationally syndicated urban morning show in the lurch. But Tom Joyner believes very strongly in the power of Black radio and the need for shows like his in the Black community. In a memo to Kiss FM listeners, he writes, “I am saddened that an important Black voice is going silent in New York City, especially during this important election year. Along with the Tom Joyner “Morning Show,” the Michael Baisden show and Rev. Al Sharpton’s Sunday program will also be off the air in NYC in this transition. Black radio has been and always will be an extremely important motivational force in the community. Although social media currently gets a lot of credit and rightfully so, nothing can replace the role Black radio plays in empowering, informing and entertaining Black people. You can’t believe everything you read on social media but studies do show that most people believe what they hear on black radio. That makes me feel proud and reminds me of my responsibility to be there for them each morning.” Joyner encourages his audience in the Tri-State area to listen via his smartphone app or via BlackAmericaWeb.com.
Compass Media Networks’ “At Home with Bob Vila” Debuts Today. The new daily feature hosted by home improvement icon Bob Vila and produced and distributed by Compass Media Networks hits the air today at affiliates including KOGO, San Diego; WTKK-FM, Boston; KMJ, Fresno; KFNN, Phoenix; KVON, Napa, California and more. Compass Media Networks VP affiliate sales Adam Wilbur states, “Stations in all formats – sports, news/talk, all-news, country, AC and classic hits have signed up for Vila. In another week, we will announce additional stations in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Washington, DC. With over 90% name recognition with Americans, program directors appreciate the power of Bob’s brand – and sales managers love the ability to sell the feature locally.”
Actor Stephen Baldwin, TV-Radio Host Dani Johnson and Talk Host Kevin McCullough Announce Effort to Aid Starving Orphans. The 2012 in 2012 charity effort is named that because, as XtreMedia CEO and principal Kevin McCullough states, the goal is to rescue 2,012 orphans from starvation during the year 2012. McCullough’s weekend radio show partner Stephen Baldwin and television and radio host Dani Johnson are partnering to spearhead this program. Baldwin says a child can be fed for a mere 25 cents per day. “When I toured the places these children sleep and live in, I couldn’t help but be moved to do something about it. My whole family saw with our own eyes children who were dying or would die soon, simply because they had no food. It is imperative to me, my media company, my family, my business partners, and every one I come into contact with to let them know how vital 25 cents can be. It can literally feed a meal to a child who literally will die without it.” Kevin McCullough says, “Our partners are delivering life-healing food for the rate of feeding an orphan for an entire year, for just $92 – this is how simple it is to save a life? How can we get more people involved? How can we rescue more children? These questions haunt me each night…” McCullough and company are teaming up with two charities experienced in feeding children – Food for Orphans and King’s Ransom Foundation and they are seeking other media partners for this quest. “If you are a television, radio or new media personality who has a passion to help hungry kids, we would love for you to join us in this amazing quest. We will link arm in arm with anyone and everyone who is moved to do this, to be part of it, and to see orphans fed.”
Nationally Syndicated Radio Feature Host Akos Jankura Develops New Weekend Show; Seeks Products or Inventions from Public to Feature. Inventor and international presenter Akos Jankura – who writes and produces the nationally syndicated radio feature “Akos the Solutionist” – teams up with John Cremeans to create a weekend radio show based at WFLA, Tampa on which they will make it possible for one inventor to pitch their product or invention. The show will premiere Saturday, May 5 at 4:00 pm on WFLA and people with products or inventions are asked to visit MyCoolInventions.com to submit their entry. Jankura says, “Many people don’t know that one of our most successful TV shopping channels actually began on radio. I’ve teamed up with John Cremeans also known as ‘The Doctor of Shopolgy,’ John has logged over 25,000 hours of live television shopping and is a pioneer in our industry. He is skilled at getting arm-chair inventors to make their best pitch for their product which is so important in the early development process.” Jankura says together the two have more than $2 billion in sales. The team is poised to identify products and inventions that can become the next great hit. Their hands-on process invites everyday inventors or people with great ideas to join the inventive group at MyCoolInventions.com and sign up to receive information and tips that will guide them through the process of taking a product to market.
In Memory of a Radio Pioneer: Pete Fornatale. TALKERS sports editor Richard Neer worked closely with rock radio legend Pete Fornatale who passed away last week at age 66. Although, as Neer writes, Fornatale was not a talk host as we traditionally define it in radio, “When he did crack the mic, you couldn’t find a more intelligent voice observing pop culture than the late Pete Fornatale.” Neer notes that Fornatale became synonymous with the genre of radio hosts who did more than quickly intro or backsell a record – something that many argue is missing in music radio these days. “He was probably the first real musicologist on commercial radio who presented rock and folk music as an intellectual as well as emotional experience.” Read Richard Neer’s memorial to Pete Fornatale here.
New York Sports and Urban Worlds Reeling from Emmis-ESPN Deal. Yesterday’s announcement from ESPN that it has signed an LMA deal with Emmis Communications to air sports talk WEPN’s programming on 98.7 – the home of urban Kiss FM – sent shockwaves through the sports and urban radio communities. The drive to get sports talk on FM – by either CBS Radio or ESPN…or both – has been closely watched for the past several years. Many thought CBS Radio would make a move to put WFAN on FM before ESPN but that was not the case. On the urban side, the melding of Kiss FM and WBLS-FM as Emmis will sell the intellectual property of Kiss FM to YMF Media so it can create a Kiss FM at 107.5 has some in the urban music community crying foul. As for the financials, Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor reports that Emmis gets $8.4 million for the first year of a 12-year LMA with an increase of 3.5% annually. It expects to realize $10 million for the intellectual property of Kiss FM and, all told, the deal means $96 million for Emmis. Now, industry watchers will be intent on CBS Radio to see how fast the company moves to get an FM signal for the venerable sports giant WFAN.
Greater Media’s WPEN-AM/FM, Philadelphia Inks Deal with NBA’s 76ers. Philadelphia sports talk duo WPEN-AM/FM – 97.5 The Fanatic and 950 ESPN Radio – agree to a multi-year deal to air 76ers basketball on the stations beginning with the first round of this season’s playoffs. All of the games this year and through the course of the contract will air on 97.5 and many will be simulcast on 950 AM. 76ers broadcast voice Tom McGinnis will continue to serve as the play-by-play announcer for the games. Greater Media market manager John Fullam says, “We know the future of the Sixers is bright, and we look forward to being a central part of the fan experience on Sixers game nights. Adding NBA play-by-play to 97.5 The Fanatic and 950 ESPN Radio is yet another significant step forward in fulfilling our commitment to offer Philadelphians the finest in sports programming. We are especially gratified that we will not have to wait until next fall for Sixers games to start broadcasting on our air.” Prior to this deal, 76ers basketball had aired on CBS Radio’s crosstown sports talker WIP.
WJIM, Lansing and Michigan Talk Network Name Steve Gruber and Jo Ann Paul AM Drive Hosts. Former WILX-TV, Lansing news anchor Steve Gruber and WLNS-TV, Lansing personality Jo Ann Paul are the new co-hosts of the WJIM, Lansing-based morning drive show that’s also heard across Michigan on via the Michigan Talk Network. Gruber and Paul will work with current producer Amanda Wall and news anchor Gary Austin. They take over the role held previously by Michael Patrick Shiels who left the Cumulus Media operation in February. Cumulus tested a number of potential hosts before going with Gruber and Paul.
WLQR-AM/FM, Toledo Adds New PM Drive Show. Cumulus Media sports talk outlet WLQR-AM/FM, Toledo announces the debut of “Drive Time with Miller and Bellino” hosted by Mike Miller and Anthony Bellino. The duo’s program will air in the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot beginning Monday, April 30. In order to make room for the new program, WLQR cuts an hour from Norm Wamer’s “The Front Row” program which will air from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. The show will emanate from local car dealership The Monroe Superstore. In a statement, Anthony Bellino says, “We want our listeners to be able to interact with us, and have the opportunity to interact with our guests.”
United Stations Radio Networks Renews with Bloomberg. New York-based United Stations Radio Networks announces a deal that will continue to have it sell, market and distribute various financial news and business programs created and produced by Bloomberg Radio. USRN’s Jim Higgins states, “Bloomberg is at the very top of the financial industry when it comes to the delivery of news, data and analysis, and in turn, they recognize that we’ve been solid partners for them. Our affiliates, advertisers and sponsors are all proud to be associated with the Bloomberg brand, and so are we.”
2012 Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for Fourth Straight Week. The 2012 presidential race was the most-talked-about topic on news/talk radio for the fourth straight week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM chart for the week of April 23-27. Coming in at #2 was the Supreme Court hearing of the Arizona illegal immigration law case. Following at # 3 was the euro zone economic jitters tied with weak U.S. jobs growth and at #4 was the Environmental Protection Agency’s attack on the gas and oil industries. The Talkers TenTM is the result of ongoing research into the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio in America and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View the entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish is added to Fisher’s KVI, Seattle…..“The Handyman Show” with Glenn Haege picks up new affiliates WBCK-FM, Battle Creek, Michigan; WMMI, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan; WBCO, Bucyrus, Ohio; KATX-FM, Eastland, Texas; and WRHL, Rochelle, Illinois.
By Walter Sabo
NEW YORK — What a great idea! The Commercial Broadcasters of Australia give out awards for: Best New Manager. Best New Program Director. Best New Station. Best New Format. They celebrate the “new.” They encourage it, reward it and showcase it with a black tie dinner. I had the privilege to attend that dinner in Melbourne and you would not believe the passion and pride in the ballroom.
Sadly, in American radio, we tend to find ways to mock the new and celebrate contempt prior to investigation. As a business we have set ourselves up for a tough, very risky and vulnerable existence. No laboratory. If you come up with a new format or promotional idea, where and how do you test it? Success in a live medium depends on a specific dynamic with a live audience. As a rule you can’t ask people how they want to be entertained. You can present them with entertainment and see if they applaud. Television tests pilot shows, not show concepts. (How would the Kardashians have tested as a concept?)
When presented with new ideas, most programmers ask, “Where else is it being done? Who else is doing it?” They will ask that question while proclaiming, “Our market is different.” Different than where? A town that doesn’t have McDonald’s?
ESPN to Take Over Emmis’ Kiss FM in New York Beginning Sunday Afternoon. The rumors of an FM signal for ESPN’s New York sports talker WEPN were true as ESPN is announcing it will begin simulcasting WEPN, New York on Emmis-owned WRKS-FM (98.7) on Sunday afternoon (4/29). Rumored talent changes are also taking effect. Stephen A. Smith is being paired up with Ryan Ruocco for the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm shift and Mike Lupica moves to a 12:00 noon start for his program. In making the announcement, WEPN VP/GM Dave Roberts states, “This move to the FM dial is in keeping with the trend of sports radio shifting and offers an even broader reach for our content.” The two stations will simulcast through the summer and in September WEPN 1050 AM will become a Spanish-language sports outlet airing ESPN Deportes content. A press conference is scheduled for 1:00 pm this afternoon where details will be fleshed out. As for the urban format of Kiss FM, Emmis is selling the intellectual property of the format to YMF Media and the station will move to WBLS-FM at 107.5.
Feature Series – Part 3: Walter Sabo on Targeted Topics Vital to FM Talk Success. In the third of a four-part series for TALKERS on building a successful FM talk station, Sabo Media president Walter Sabo discusses the importance of targeting topics to appeal to the desired demographic. Sabo says that, unlike AM news/talk, politics is too narrow a subject to bring in the audience necessary to build cume and be successful. “Common sense suggests that very few of the people you know spend much of their day talking about politics. That’s why cable channels focused on politics have astonishingly low ratings. Lower than any radio station in your city.” Sabo maintains that talk on FM will be successful (gaining younger-demo ratings and revenue beyond what AM news/talkers typically do) only when the topics are carefully chosen to reflect what large numbers of the target demo are talking about. “Your FM talk station is trying to reach an audience that is drawn to popular water cooler topics because that’s what they hear on all FM music personality shows. Political talk is what repulses most 18-49 year olds from the AM band. They are, instead, attracted to the topics heard on CHR, Hot AC and country personality morning shows. Hit shows. Those shows are your FM talk competition, not AM talk radio. Read Walter Sabo’s entire column here.
Cumulus All-News Rumors Heat Up. There have been rumblings about Cumulus Media preparing to flip underperforming music outlets to all-news in several markets. Some of this has been based on the registration of domain names with frequencies tied to the phrase “all news.” But the biggie is in Cumulus Media’s home base of Atlanta where there’s more fuel to add to the fire. Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor reports hearing a news staff is quietly (but apparently not too quietly) being assembled and some of them include former Atlanta-based CNN Radio staffers and some current and former WGST, Atlanta news people. Which station will it be? A leading candidate is classic hits WYAY-FM, Gainesville (at 106.7) according to some intense chatter in the market.
Keith Larson May Be Done at WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte. The late-morning host at Greater Media’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte told listeners to his program yesterday (4/25) that he expects to leave the station as he’s been notified his contract – set to expire May 24 – will not be renewed. The Charlotte Observer reports Keith Larson was told his deal would not be renewed but the station would like him to stay on as an at-will employee. It sounds as though Larson will likely not accept that offer. WBT general manager Rick Feinblatt tells the Observer he’s disappointed Larson took to the air with talk of the contract since nothing is set in stone yet but Larson told his audience he couldn’t go on the air and not talk about it. Last year, Larson started the independent advertising and marketing firm Larson Advertising and Media Associates. He tells the paper that may be where he concentrates his efforts for now.
Syndicated Talk Star Mike Gallagher Says Today’s Talent Must Understand Radio from Business Perspective. In addition to being one of talk radio’s most consistently successful air personalities, Salem Radio Network‘s Mike Gallagher tells TALKERS that it has never been more important for on-air talent to be fully connected to the business processes that make the industry tick. He says, “In today’s climate of technological change and financial challenge, you can’t just see yourself as a ‘talent’ who is somehow separate from all the other systems that make a radio station or syndication firm function. You must have a complete understanding of your company’s P&L as well as maintain relationships with advertisers. A talent needs to be in constant communication with the sales department and understand their problems.” Gallagher, who left day-to-day major market radio as a station employee at WABC, New York years ago to launch the groundbreaking syndication firm Dame-Gallagher (with former WGY, Albany owner John Dame) which was later acquired by Salem, will be a featured speaker at the forthcoming New Media Seminar on Thursday, June 7. The panel: Making Money in Talk Radio. Registration, nearing sellout, is open to working media only. For information call 413-565-5413.
Compass Media Networks to Offer 25 Anaheim Angels Games. Compass Media Networks makes Anaheim Angels play-by-play an MLB game of the week and will air 25 home and away contests beginning May 29 when the New York Yankees play at the Angels. As with its other sports programming, Compass will hire a broadcast crew and produce its own gamecasts that will be available nationwide. Dial Global will manage advertising sales for this multi-year contract. The company notes that with this deal, it will broadcast well over 160 major sporting events in 2012 including college basketball, college football and NFL football (which includes Dallas Cowboys, Oakland Raiders, and Sunday afternoon doubleheaders). Compass Media Networks CEO Peter Kosann says, “The Angels have a tremendous brand, fan base and momentum. We are honored and thankful for this opportunity.”
Odds ‘n’ Sods. The 2012 NFL Draft begins tonight from Radio City Music Hall in New York and the big event is being covered by the sports media including Fox Sports Radio Network. The network notes that for the 12th straight year it will cover the event with Fox NFL Insider Jay Glazer leading the coverage. He’ll be joined by Fox Sports Radio college football draft expert Chris Landry, former USC Trojan and Fox Sports Radio host Petros Papadakis, and former NFL great Lincoln Kennedy…..SiriusXM is also on hand for the NFL Draft. Chris Russo and Dino Costa of Mad Dog Radio and Gil Brandt, Tim Ryan, Pat Kirwan and Adam Schein of SiriusXM NFL Radio will all be broadcasting from Radio City for the first round on Thursday. Bill Polian, the former Colts Vice Chairman and personnel guru who joined SiriusXM NFL Radio in January, will also be contributing to the satcaster’s draft coverage…..Syndicated talk host and actress Janine Turner – whose two-hour program is heard on KLIF, Dallas Saturday evenings at 9:00 pm – joins the Roger L. Simon-founded PJ Media as a regular columnist…..Clear Channel Media and Entertainment names Jon Phillips the market manager for its Tulsa cluster that includes sports talk simulcast KTBZ/KAKC.
2012 Presidential Race, SCOTUS AZ Illegal Immigration Case, Euro Zone Economic Jitters, and New U.S. Spy Agency Among Top News/Talk Topics Yesterday (4/25). The 2012 presidential race; the Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments in the Arizona Illegal Immigration law; continued concerns over economic jitters in euro zone countries; and the announcement of the creation of a new U.S. spy agency were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Fox Sports Radio’s Loose Cannons Live from New Orleans. Fox Sports Radio Network’s “Loose Cannons” broadcast from New Orleans – the site of the Zurich Classic golf tournament – and hosted special guest Sean Payton. The suspended head coach of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints spoke about the recent story alleging Saints GM Mickey Loomis eavesdropped on opposing teams’ conversations from his luxury suite and called the allegations “garbage.” Pictured here are (from l-r): Vic “The Brick” Jacobs, Payton, Steve Hartman and Pat O’Brien.
By Walter Sabo
NEW YORK – Many FM talk stations starting this year are taking the tragic approach of moving AM talk shows to FM. Those shows are very good at appealing to an audience hard-wired to the AM band. The AM audience is attracted to shows featuring two topics: Democrat or Republican. Common sense suggests that very few of the people you know spend much of their day talking about politics. That’s why cable channels focused on politics have astonishingly low ratings. Lower than any radio station in your city.
What do you talk about with your friends? Your job, family, weekend plans, money, health. Fascinating fact: From the dawn of radio until about 1985, no successful talk shows talked politics, they talked about life. Their hosts were keenly aware of what two best friends would talk about on any given day and that’s what they’d talk about. That’s what Howard Stern talks about. To reach the crowd coveted by advertisers, working adults under 50, it is critical to mirror their interests.
All of our successful FM talk clients have been high cumers, drawing significant 18-49 shares, often #1 and they didn’t talk politics. They talked the food court, lunch room, social network topics. Not only has this proven to be a successful model for winning audience share, it earns significant advertising dollars. KLSX-FM as a talk station in L.A. was often the # 1 local biller. It won’t achieve that as a music station. Talk sells better than music because the retail response rate is higher and there are more elements to sell.
By Walter Sabo
NEW YORK – “Talk” is not a format. It’s a means of communicating. Talk radio could reach any target demographic that management thinks it can sell. Your station could be #1 in your city with talk targeted for teens. Your station could reach the GOLDEN DEMO — Women 25-44 — all day with talk aimed to serve them. It’s up to you. My colleagues and clients have been successful in reaching any demo with talk. Pick your demo. Design your format, then select the hosts.
Every day I am asked for host recommendations for talk radio. It’s flattering that we have earned a reputation for finding good hosts. Direct recommendations are usually reserved for clients because the talent pool is limited and the process of selecting the right host is profound.
Overall, here are some of the steps we take in finding a good host, regardless of their background. The brilliant Mickey Luckoff, lifetime general manager of KGO, said, “I like DJs to become talk show hosts because I can teach them how to do talk but I can’t teach them how to do radio.”
Feature Series: Walter Sabo on FM Talk. Sabo Media president Walter Sabo writes a special four-part series on the successful implementation of talk on FM this week at Talkers.com. In the first installment, Sabo explains the importance of proper format execution in order to build cume. “You rarely hear formatic structure on any talk station – you’ll hear long periods without a host name, station name, phone number – and that’s why talk stations tend to have low, vulnerable cumes. Applying formatics to talk is hard work, but completely achievable.” Too often, talk radio shows sound formatically different from one another even though they are placed back-to-back on a station. That can be addressed by coaching formatics, says Sabo. “That means that your hosts have to handle all elements in the same manner as every other host, just like music DJs. That does not mean they should have the same opinions. That is not desirable.” Read more here.
Chris Sargent Named Operations Manager at Clear Channel Portland. Chris “Sarge” Sargent has been serving as program director at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk KEX, progressive talk KPOJ and classic hits KFBW-FM (where he also handled morning drive) in Portland, Oregon. Now, he’s upped to operations manager for the seven-station cluster. Vice president and market manager Robert Dove states, “I’ve been fortunate to have Chris Sargent working alongside Tommy Austin the last three years and the luxury of having two operations managers in the building, which certainly made my search a lot easier. I know Chris’s leadership along with the help and guidance of Brad Hardin, our senior vice president of programming, will lead to continued ratings success and revenue growth for our Clear Channel cluster in Portland.”
Cumulus Media Flips Pensacola FM to Talk. The former adult hits WJLQ-FM, Pensacola changes call letters to WCOA-FM and begins a partial simulcast of sister news/talk WCOA-AM. The new News Talk 100.7 is simulcasting the 6:00 am to 8:00 am hours of WCOA-AM’s morning drive show with Jim Sanborn and Don Parker, then breaks away to air the WMAL, Washington-based Chris Plante show until 11:00 am. Cumulus Media Network’s Mike Huckabee follows from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. The rest of the day is: Phil Valentine from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm, Cumulus Media’s Mark Levin from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm and John Batchelor from 8:00 pm to 12:00 midnight and Cumulus Media’s “Red Eye Radio” for overnights.
Richard Neer: Prioritize to Stay on Top of the Busy Sports World. TALKERS sports editor Richard Neer offers some thoughts on staying atop of the busy sports world – especially now with NHL and NBA playoffs, MLB action and NFL offseason activity heating up. Neer writes that sports talk hosts may find two or more events scheduled for the same night. “Obviously you can’t watch every minute of every game. And, oh by the way, you do have a life apart from the job. There are family and friends who deserve attention and other cultural aspects of life that should be acknowledged lest you become too narrowly focused. So, how can you juggle all these priorities and stay current with your demanding job?” Find out here.
Changes Coming to Sports WQXI, Atlanta. Management at Lincoln Financial Media’s sports talk WQXI, Atlanta – Sports Talk 790 The Zone – is tweaking the schedule as reported by the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho. The morning drive show, “Mayhem in the AM,” is extended to 6:00 am to 11:00 am as is the PM drive show of Mike Bell and David Archer who move earlier to the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm time slot. That leaves a midday show of 11:00 am to 2:00 pm to be filled and the station currently employs Tony Barnhart and Wes Durham as well as “Two Live Stews” Doug and Ryan Stewart. Ho notes that Barnhart and Durham are contractually allowed to take May and June off since they work long hours the rest of the year at non-radio station jobs. Ho also reports Barnhart’s and Durham’s ratings are better than the Stews but their availability in May and June presents a complication. GM Andrew Saltzman tells the paper they expect to have the schedule squared away in the near future.
Dennis Prager Publishes New Book. Salem Radio Network syndicated talk show host Dennis Prager begins promoting the publication of his latest book tonight (4/24) with an appearance on Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity program. The book, Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph (Broadside Books 2012), centers around Prager’s argument that humanity has a choice between American values and its two alternatives: Islamism and European-style democratic socialism. Prager suggests the American value system is the most viable method of creating a good society.
KCBS, San Francisco Newsman Bob Melrose Retires After 36 Years. Longtime KCBS, San Francisco reporter Bob Melrose retires from the CBS Radio station after 36 years at the venerable all-news outlet. Melrose’s career covering news in Northern California included come of the highest visibility cases and colleagues recall how Melrose had a knack for being there when news broke. A retrospective in the San Jose Mercury News notes Melrose covered the Jonestown massacre, the discovery of murdered 12-year-old Polly Klaas’ body and many other stories important to the region and the nation.
Voice Over Pro Jim Cutler Recognized by Fisher House. Voice over pro Jim Cutler (pictured here holding his plaque) was recently honored by the Fisher House Foundation for his pro bono work for the charity. Cutler provided the voice over work for a number of Fisher House projects, including this year’s Memorial Day radio special titled, “A Grateful Nation.” The Fisher House Foundation provides no-cost housing and assistance to the families of America’s servicemen and servicewomen while they recover at VA and military hospitals.
2012 Presidential Campaign, France Presidential Elections, Secret Service Scandal, Euro Zone Jitters, SCOTUS to Hear AZ Immigration Law Case and John Edwards Trial Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/23). The 2012 presidential campaign; the surprise showing of French far-right National Front candidate Marine Le Pen in France’s presidential elections; the growing Secret Service scandal; trouble in Europe as some euro zone countries battle to beat debt issues; the coming Supreme Court hearing of the Arizona illegal immigration law; and the beginning of the John Edwards campaign finance wrongdoing trial were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Walter Sabo
NEW YORK – Right now there are a significant number of stations switching to FM talk. There are many good reasons to do this. The top line is:
• The #1 biller in America two years in a row is an FM all-news station, Jim Farley’s WTOP FM.
• The #1 biller in many top 50 markets is a talk station.
• High-listener engagement with talk programming means greater response for advertisers.
• The drain of early-adopter music listeners from FM to SiriusXM and online music services such as Pandora and iTunes.
Through trial, error and success, our company has lead many FM talk conversions in cities such as Los Angeles and Orlando. This four-part series will reveal vital facts about the relationship between talk programming and the audience on the FM band.
Tom Leykis’ Return to Talk Draws Loyal Audience to Web-Based Content. Off the radio for more than three years after CBS Radio blew up KLSX-FM, Los Angeles and his contract kept him from working for anyone other than CBS, Tom Leykis returned to the microphone on April 2 for an internet-delivered talk show. The show is broadcast live at www.blowmeuptom.com at 3:00 pm PT and on a 24/7 streamed replay via major media players – Tune In, Windows Media Player, iTunes, iPhone, Shoutcast and Winamp. Leykis says the numbers for the first week of the show were impressive: The total number of listeners from April 2 to Monday, April 9 was 401,180. The average number of show listeners for that week in any 15 minute period totaled 1,575 and the average time spent listening by each listener was a half hour each day in the seven-day week. “These numbers are way higher than what we’d anticipated. We’re way farther along in our progress than I ever could have imagined. Kind of makes you wonder what competing alternative content like this will ultimately mean for radio.” Leykis, who will be speaking at the New Media Seminar in New York City on June 7, tells TALKERS that the combination of doing a daily show and running his own business has made him “more focused than ever” stating, “Now is the time for talk talent to think of themselves as more than employees…they must think entrepreneurially for their own survival. The way to start is by developing a healthy relationship with your advertisers.”
Act Quickly! Word just in from Bob Dane, event manager for this year’s annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row is that due to larger than expected demand, they expanded the number of broadcast booths. As of 10:00 am ET this morning (Monday, April 23), Dane reports there is now one remaining, fully equipped booth in morning, midday and afternoon drive left. And it’s first come, first serve. This event is a must-attend-and-no-reason-not-to given that everything is turnkey and at no cost for the convenience of the participating broadcasters…and if you act fast, possibly a hotel room can be part of the package – but availability is extremely limited. Hold Their Feet to the Fire 2012 is staged annually by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, this year, May 8-9 in Washington, DC focusing on immigration issues facing the candidates in this heated election year. Contact Bob Dane at 202-328-7004.
Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly Close to Re-signing with Fox News Channel. The New York Times reports it has confirmed through anonymous sources that Fox News Channel superstars Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly are ready – as early as next week – to sign contract extensions with News Corp.’s cable news/talk network that would keep them in the fold through the 2016 elections. FNC is declining to comment on the story but the sources seem to indicate that the deals to keep the two most-watched personalities on the network in place for four more years are being cemented quickly and should be announced within the next week or so. Sean Hannity’s national talk radio show is syndicated by Premiere Networks and Bill O’Reilly’s daily commentary is syndicated to talk radio stations across the country via Courtside Entertainment Group.
NOW Attempts to Inject Life into Anti-Rush Limbaugh Campaign. The National Organization for Women is firing up a campaign called “Enough Rush” aimed at getting the Premiere Networks talk superstar’s show cancelled. As these things usually do, the blowback suffered by Rush Limbaugh from his Sandra Fluke comments has all but disappeared. But NOW – working in conjunction with the anti-conservative organization Media Matters for America – is reigniting its efforts to end Limbaugh’s program. NOW president Terry O’Neill states, “For more than two decades, Rush Limbaugh has degraded women, people of color and anyone who doesn’t look or think like him. Like bullies everywhere, Limbaugh uses the age-old tactic of savaging one woman for the purpose of intimidating all women away from the public square. Rush’s hostile, hateful speech is destructive to our public discourse, our communities and our democracy.” NOW is organizing rallies in a number of cities designed to build momentum for the campaign. Meanwhile, PPM ratings for the month of March indicate publicity generated by the campaign against Limbaugh has actually increased his ratings in many markets.
Arbitron Drops Diary-Based Ratings in Seven Markets. Lack of enough subscribers to make it profitable can be credited for Arbitron Inc.’s decision to eliminate the diary-based ratings in Saginaw-Bay City-Midlands, Michigan (market #139); Ann Arbor, Michigan (#155); Wilmington, North Carolina (#162); Dubuque, Iowa (#237); Columbus-Starkville-West Point, Mississippi (#261); Sebring, Florida (#276); and Mason City, Iowa (#283).
WPRO, Providence Talk Host and Former Mayor Buddy Cianci’s Daughter Dies. The colorful two-time former mayor of Providence – and PM drive talk host at Cumulus Media’s WPRO/WEAN-FM, Providence – Buddy Cianci has lost his daughter to an apparent drug overdose. Nicole Cianci’s death at her home in the city was reported Friday and Cianci issued the following statement, “This is a tragic and emotional time for Nicole’s mother and I. Our entire family appreciates your thoughts, prayers and sentiments. We ask that our family’s privacy be respected during this difficult time.” Nicole Cianci was Buddy Cianci’s only child and the mother of his three grandchildren.
TALKERS to Publish Four-Part Series by Walter Sabo on FM Talk this Week. Sabo Media president Walter Sabo, one of the earliest and most accomplished proponents of FM talk, has written a powerful and informative four-part series on the hot topic that will run exclusively in TALKERS this week. In the series, one of radio programming’s most prolific visionaries delves into such areas as mistakes to avoid, finding and inspiring great hosts, methods to develop cume, topic management, the differences between AM and FM “share” and much more. The series begins tomorrow (Tuesday, April 24) and will run every day this week through Friday. Sabo will be a featured speaker at the forthcoming New Media Seminar in NYC on June 7.
WFLA-FM, Tallahassee AM Drive Show’s Eggers Exits to Join Think Tank. Eric Eggers is producer and on-air co-host of the WFLA-FM, Tallahassee’s morning drive show hosted by Preston Scott. He announces he’s leaving the Clear Channel Media and Entertainment station and the program he’s been producing for the past seven-plus years to join the Government Accountability Institute – a non-profit think tank based in Tallahassee and founded by conservative author Peter Schweizer. Eggers tells Tallahassee.com, “Peter wrote his last book about insider trading in Congress. And so it’s going to be more projects along the same vein in terms of focusing on corruption, cronyism, looking at some of the ways the current federal government system is broken and failing us — not looking out for the little guy.”
Ed Tyll Begins Regular Web-Based Talk Show Tonight. Longtime talk radio host Ed Tyll begins a new regular talk program broadcast via the internet at TalkRadioX (http://talkradiox.com/) at 8:00 pm ET. TalkRadioX was co-founded by Dan Delgado and Antubert Johnson – two personalities who’ve made the TALKERS “Frontier Fifty” list of internet talk show hosts blazing a trail in the world of web-based programming since the list began being published three years ago. (The 2012 “Frontier Fifty” list will be published at Talkers.com in September.) Tyll says TalkRadioX is “a 24-hour streaming talk station that boasts an original line up of enthusiastic talkers, reminiscent of when talk radio was both fun and informative.” Dan Delgado tells TALKERS, “Getting someone of Ed Tyll’s caliber and stature in the industry is something we at TalkRadioX had been looking to do for some time. We’re thrilled to be getting someone with his experience on the station. What he brings in terms of talent and energy is something that will bring all of us to the next level.” Tyll states, “TalkRadioX represents a key moment in the history of a format that I love hosting. It’s the perfect place for what I do on the air. I’m convinced that my success with the Casey Anthony trial in Orlando will be eclipsed by the enormous potential of this network’s unique combination of terrestrial radio and world wide web radio listenership.” During his career, Ed Tyll has worked at numerous major market talk stations as well has having been nationally syndicated.
The Fight for Freedom in Afghanistan. WNDB, Daytona Beach talk show host Marc Bernier (l) is pictured here interviewing author and former Army Ranger Captain Sean Parnell (r) as the two discuss his new book Outlaw Platoon: Heroes, Renegades, Infidels and the Brotherhood of War in Afghanistan (William Morrow 2012). The interview was conducted before a live audience at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and is the 78th such event – broadcast live on WNDB – in Bernier’s live interview series.
Deborah Norville to Host Broadcasters Foundation of America “Golden Mike Awards”; Fox’s Roger Ailes to Present. The annual “Golden Mike Awards” to benefit the Broadcasters Foundation of America takes place in New York City on Monday, February 27 at the Plaza Hotel. Emmy-winning host of “Inside Edition” Deborah Norville returns as host of the gala event at which Fox Television Stations president of station operations Dennis Swanson will be honored with the Golden Mike Award. Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes will also be part of the program as a presenter. The Broadcasters Foundation of America provides assistance to broadcasters in need. The charity describes its mission as “improving the quality of life and maintaining the personal dignity of men and women in the radio and television broadcast profession who find themselves in acute need. The Foundation reaches out across the country to identify and provide an anonymous safety net in cases of critical illness, advanced age, death of a spouse, accident, and other serious misfortune.” There has been a notable outreach to talk radio by the Broadcasters Foundation in recent months and an accompanying surge of interest in its work by hosts and programmers around the country. According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “I have witnessed firsthand just how wonderful this organization is as it clearly makes a difference in the lives of broadcasters who have fallen on hard times and even tragic circumstances. These are tough times and each and every one of us is vulnerable to crisis and disaster due to health issues or any other threats facing the simple condition of being human. I strongly encourage everyone in talk radio and beyond to join this organization or at least send a donation. It truly is a matter of broadcasters helping broadcasters – in other words, giving back to the people of an industry that has given us such marvelous opportunities.” For more information on the Broadcasters Foundation of America, to make a donation, or learn how to apply for a grant, please contact them at 212-373-8250, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.broadcastersfoundation.org.
CBS Corporation Revenue Down 3%; Radio Division Down 5%. The lack of political advertising during 2011 compared to the year prior and the NBA lockout are being blamed for the drop in revenue CBS experienced last year. In a conference call with analysts, CBS CEO Les Moonves reports improvement in auto advertising along with higher retransmission revenues helped ameliorate some of the negative effects of the loss of political and the NBA lockout. Moonves did take some time to praise radio during the conference. He cited both the growth at CBS Radio’s sports talk-formatted stations and the success of its all-news stations in major markets. He also predicted this year’s political season would be a boon for broadcasters with radio getting a bigger share of that business than in previous years.
KIRO-FM, Seattle’s Ron & Don Help Raise Funds to Prevent Josh Powell from Being Buried Next to Children. KIRO-FM, Seattle afternoon drive talk hosts Ron & Don helped raise the money necessary – more than $20,000 – to buy the cemetery plots adjacent to the two boys killed by their father in Graham, Washington. The story of Josh Powell killing his sons Charlie and Brandon in a horrific explosion of the house during a supervised visit gained national attention. When Crime Stoppers Tacoma-Pierce County learned the family of Powell was looking for a cemetery plot near the ones in which the boys would be buried, they intervened to buy the adjacent plots. KIRO-FM’s Ron & Don hit the airwaves to help pay for the purchase. Don O’Neill says, “When we heard this story at 3:00 pm today, we felt compelled to stop this tragedy from happening. So, we asked our KIRO listeners to help us raise the funds to reimburse ‘Crime Stoppers of Tacoma-Pierce County.’” KIRO-FM program director Larry Gifford states, “When the news and conversation on 97.3 KIRO FM impacts the hearts and minds of listeners like the tragic and shocking crimes involving the Powell family, the ‘Ron & Don Nation’ is always quick to answer the call and today was no different. I’m continually amazed at the kind-heartedness and generosity of the people who make up our community. They inspire, empower, and engage each other to help make a positive impact and I’m proud we were able to play a role in that today.”
Dave Ramsey and Daughter Rachel Cruze to Headline Live Los Angeles Benefit Appearance for Affiliate KFWB. Nationally syndicated financial talk sensation Dave Ramsey makes a return to Los Angeles for a live appearance with his daughter Rachel Cruze for “An Evening on Family and Money” ” at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, April 3 at 8:00 pm in conjunction with Los Angeles affiliate KFWB. A portion of all ticket sales will be donated to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles. KFWB reports the evening’s program will include Ramsey sharing his key principles on handling money, navigating family relationships, communicating with family members more effectively and preparing children to be financially responsible adults. Cruze will discuss how to teach your kids life lessons like the dangers of debt and the value of saving and giving. The program will also include audience Q&A. This will be Ramsey’s fourth live appearance in the L.A. area for KFWB. He previously sold out the Long Beach Arena in September 2011 as well as prior appearances at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts and the Alex Theatre in Glendale.
Talk Host Steve Cochran Returns to Air at WIND, Chicago and KTRS, St. Louis After Health Scare. Chicago-based talk show host Steve Cochran returned to the air at Salem Communications’ WIND, Chicago and CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis after being forced off by what turned out to be a blood clot in an artery leading to his heart –the artery doctors call “the widow maker.” Cochran shared his story with listeners after returning to the air. On January 31, in the middle of his KTRS show (which he does from his home in Chicago), he told his producer he thought he was having a heart attack. He drove himself to the hospital (something he doesn’t recommend) and eventually found out he had not had a heart attack but suffered from the clot doctors said they could treat with medication. But it took him off the air for almost two weeks. Cochran is relishing his second chance after the serious health scare. On the WIND website Cochran writes, “You may recognize a bit of you in my story. If you do I want you to know you don’t always have tomorrow. You need to change today. I had spent almost all of my adult life working too much, sleeping too little. Oh and I was also eating too much of all the wrong things, and working out…but not nearly enough.”
Ron Jaworski Re-Signs with ESPN but Exits “MNF” TV Role. Former Philadelphia Eagles star Ron Jaworski will continue to work for ESPN – he’ll be seen on “Monday NFL Countdown,” “NFL Matchup” and be heard on the radio regularly on “Mike and Mike in the Morning” – but ESPN removes him from the cable TV broadcast of “Monday Night Football.” The network is electing to go with a two-man booth with John Gruden and Mike Tirico for the 2012 season. Jaworski says in a statement, “I am grateful for having the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of working on ‘Monday Night Football’ the past five seasons with Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and so many other talented people behind the scenes who make the show so great, and I look forward to bringing my passion and knowledge of the game to more fans in more places than ever before on any and all football topics.”
Tribune Succeeds in Removing Bogus Jonathon Brandmeier Tweeter. Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports that, although it took a little time, Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago was able to have Twitter shut down the account of a “rabid Johnny B. fan” who had many fans believing they were reading tweets from Jonathon Brandmeier via the @JBonWGN Twitter account. Peter Hayman is described as an “occasional contributor to the show.” Feder reports that WGN director of marketing and digital innovation Jackie Paulus responded to criticism the station took too long to act on the matter, “As opposed to us finally getting around to it, there were two complaints filed immediately – one by Johnny’s producer and one by the station. Unfortunately, due to the volume of these incidences, it took Twitter that long to validate and process the request.”
GOP Primary Race, Syria Violence Issues, Iran-Israel Tensions, Obama Budget, Payroll Tax Cut Legislation, and Rising Gas Prices Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/15). The GOP Primary race, steps to curb the continuing violence in Syria, tensions between Iran and Israel, President Obama’s 2013 budget proposal, Congressional legislation to cut the payroll tax and concern of rising gas prices were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Welcome Samantha Sabo! Noted talk media consultant Walter Sabo – president of Sabo Media and Hitviews – and wife Katie welcomed Samantha Gloria Sabo (all 8 lbs. 7 ozs. and 21 inches of her!) into the world on February 14. Walter reports that mother and daughter are doing very well and Samantha’s sisters Dorothy and Meredith are thrilled at the new addition to their family.
By Walter Sabo
NEW YORK — Overnights is the default win for talk radio. Every format has a default time period when its format is used for entertainment and functionality. For example, Lite ACs excel in middays because they provide ambient sound for businesses. Oldies are strong on weekends when people have parties and want to escape from weekday troubles.
The Media Audit reports that 8.2 million people regularly listen to the radio between the hours of 12:00 midnight and 5:00 am. Talk radio has the biggest overnight audience — reaching 2.7 million people — followed by news/talk with 1.7 million. CHR is the leading music format (and third overall) with 1.5 million overnight listeners, followed by sports (1.1 million).
Nearly one-third of 12:00 midnight to 5:00 am listeners (31.8%) are between the ages of 18 and 34 and nearly half are between the ages of 18 and 44. The survey of 104,127 respondents finds more than one-third of night owls are single, which gives them more free time for leisure activities and a higher disposable income.
These listeners are students, third-shift workers like doctors and nurses, and people walking babies. They are alone. It’s quiet and they seek the companionship of a voice on the radio.
A live, local talk show will always be the #1 show in the city — often having more actual listeners than the same station has in morning drive. 30- and 40-shares have not been unusual.
Talk Radio’s “Big Game”
Live, local talk radio is largely a victim of the illusion of economies and cost cutting. The statistics released this week by Media Audit are not new. An Arbitron Run at any point in history would show the enormous appeal of local, all-night shows. But the worthless, slimy idiots who are supposed to study numbers for companies and make objective recommendations imagine that since overnight brings in little revenue, all costs could be cut. They fail to factor in the cross-promotion value for audience building and the introductory pricing that is appealing to new advertising. Cutting local, all-night shows is cutting out the “Super Bowl” of talk radio — the audience and revenue feeder to the rest of the station.
Since all-night local, live talk has a default audience of people of all ages who need companionship, it brings in discreet cume to the stations. That cume can be drawn to other dayparts. All-night listeners represent an attentive, engaged cume that moves product off the shelf.
The keys to making money with all-night talk radio are a host who loves to read live copy and a sales person who believes in the daypart. All nights — 1/4 of the broadcast day — will deliver results for any retailer because 100% of the audience is listening without distraction. The voice and the listener, one-on-one; the most powerful communications dynamic in media. Radio under the pillow. Earplugs in the silent dormitory. Glowing dial in the dash as the neon goes by. The best medium.
Read responses to Walter’s piece from readers in our Letters section.
Walter Sabo can be reached at Walter@sabomedia.com or 646-456-1000.
Return to the Main News page here.
By Mona Lipschitz
Happy New Year everyone…..Finally after 21 years of gathering and writing “NewsNotes” for the print version of TALKERS magazine, the powers here finally recognized that I am intimately aware of what’s happening in this industry and know how it works. So, they gave me my own column here at Talkers.com (in lieu of a raise) and said, “Knock yourself out, Mona.” I plan to take them up on it and promise to make the most of this opportunity. Look out Talkers Nation! The Lip is loose! Okay, enough with the posturing crap. Let’s go…..There are huge lessons to be learned from the “Walter Sabo Exits Merlin” saga. An idea guy like Walter should not be “operating” anything. His job title at Merlin was COO — chief OPERATING officer. Wrong role! Walter should be giving ideas, advice, encouragement and inspiration to people who do the operating and the executing. As a consultant, he’s done that quite well for more than two decades. I am glad he’s back where he belongs and where the industry needs him. I’ve never met Randy Michaels but my impression from tons of first-hand sources is he isn’t that much better suited to be an operator than Walter. Look at his track record. Seems to me Randy is kind of an idea guy himself. Maybe the best idea he had was to hire Walter and tap into some of his ideas. But I question if Randy and Walter were the right guys to pull it off with the people in the programming trenches — the PDs, anchors, producers, writers — and actually produce an on-air product worthy of the concept. Before Randy capitulated to the instantaneous naysayers and nervous investors (blowing Walter out of the loop in the process) and turned Merlin’s New York and Chicago properties into half-baked versions of their CBS all-news competition, he and Walter were on the right path regardless of the ridicule and poor numbers faced in the early going. Some of the greatest human success stories begin by facing these obstacles. The ridicule was deserved because they rushed the format onto the air before it was ready. The poor numbers followed because the product wasn’t quite right and it takes time to get good numbers even when the product is good in spoken word. Heck – this ain’t disco in the late eighties! The idea of targeting an all-news station to women 25-54 on FM is brilliant and extremely do-able if done properly. The FM dial is a great place to pick up women! They are already there listening to many of the music stations (as well as public radio) and of course today’s working woman is interested in the “news.” You just can’t cater to the stereotypes of what women want – obvious superficial stuff like shopping, fashion, parenting and gossip. True, these are things of interest to women. But you must go much deeper to actually get them to change their habits and flock to a new address on the radio dial — especially within the space of one or two rating periods. Women want to feel emotionally connected to like-minded souls. They want to feel that they are not alone. They want to feel that they are part of a community and enjoy the comfort and camaraderie of other women who are sharing the same experiences, joys and fears. THAT’S how you get women to listen to talk on the radio. With all due respect to Randy and Walter, they don’t strike me as the kind of guys whose minds work in that direction. Forgive the cliché, but we seem to throw the baby out with the bathwater way too much in this business when great ideas fail to be executed properly…..Speaking of poor execution; someone should jump in – let’s call it intervention — and help CNN “personality” Anderson Cooper avoid destroying his career by trying to wear too many hats in an effort to boost ratings and be a media star. He should stick to one thing and do it well instead of becoming CNN’s in-house clown. I found his situation co-hosting New Year’s Eve from Times Square with goofball Kathy Griffin to be a painfully poor pairing and I had to turn it off and switch over to Ryan Seacrest who seemed like Walter Cronkite compared to Anderson if you can imagine that…..Congratulations to JD Hayworth and Melanie Morgan for being put on the air full time at KSFO, San Francisco. It is a relief to finally see Cumulus putting good people on the air instead of just throwing them off…..Our condolences goe out to the family of one of the smartest and nicest people in talk radio programming, David Bernstein of Bernstein Talent, who lost his dad Charlie Bernstein to cancer over the holidays. David described his dad as his “hero.”…..Hey, if you hear of anything interesting, let me know. Send your tips to email@example.com To go to the main news page, click here.
Walter Sabo Leaves COO Position at Merlin Media. Noted radio consultant Walter Sabo has parted ways with Randy Michaels’ Merlin Media, the heavily venture capital-backed firm that acquired a majority share of three radio stations this past summer from Jeff Smulyan’sEmmis Broadcasting including WEMP-FM, New York and WWWN-FM, Chicago and is in the process of picking up a fourth from Harold Camping’s Family Broadcasting – WKDN-FM, in the Philadelphia market. Merlin launched a relatively experimental all-news format at these stations targeted to what Sabo described as “working families” with an emphasis on the 25-54 female demographic. The stations (FM News 101.9 in New York and FM News 101.1 in Chicago) received a tremendous amount of attention (and intense scrutiny) in the media before, during and after their launch prompted by former Tribune Company CEO Michaels’ negatively colorful and controversial profile, in addition to the fact that they were taking a startlingly innovative and youthful approach to delivering the all-news format. Sabo was recruited to serve as architect of this approach due to his impeccable reputation as a longtime champion of the concept of targeting female listeners on FM and proven track record for success with spoken word on FM as a longtime consultant for WKXW-FM, Trenton (New Jersey 101.5). When a notable rise in ratings failed to materialize in immediately subsequent survey periods coupled with widespread criticism by radio industry observers of the stations’ formats and execution – further exacerbated by Michaels receiving negative publicity in the midst of all this for being arrested on DUI charges – the heat was on and Michaels began facing enormous internal and external pressure to modify the programming approach. He succumbed and the Merlin stations began moving in a more traditional all-news direction putting them in head-to-head competition with CBS’s long-established, traditional and wildly successful all-news outlets in New York and Chicago (WINS, WCBS and WBBM). With this repositioning, the challenge of competing against successful, established news outlets has not produced increased ratings and the Merlin all-news initiative has become prematurely tagged throughout the industry as a monumental failure. Sabo’s withdrawal from day-to-day operational and programming decisions, including his subsequent departure from Merlin, has been quietly happening below the radar for some time now. Up until this article’s publication (1/2), there has been no official press release, acknowledgement or statement from either Merlin or Sabo confirming or commenting on his exit. However,TALKERS sources inside Merlin and close to Sabo confirm that it is indeed true with Sabo telling TALKERS,“At this time my work with Merlin is complete. The primary job was to build the most competitive team on and off the air – Merlin has the best. Our initiatives gave investors the confidence to buy a station in a third market and grow the company. GTCR deserves enormous credit for investing in the radio medium. FM spoken-word is so hot that the demand for Sabo Media services has never been greater. Our clients find that our decades of experience in the FM talk format protects their investment and shortens the profit horizon. More importantly my beautiful wife Katie is seven months pregnant during the holidays. That’s the news.” Sabo will continue to serve as CEO of his consulting firm Sabo Media and internet branding and marketing company, HitViews.
Fox Sports Radio Network Debuts New Morning Program Featuring Andy Furman and Artrell Hawkins. Today is the debut of Fox Sports Radio Network’s new morning show – “Fox Sports Daybreak” – heard from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET and featuring former Cincinnati sports talk host Andy Furman and retired NFL defensive back Artrell Hawkins. Furman’s resume includes an 18-year run hosting “Sports Talk” at WLW, Cincinnati and, recently, the PM drive show at WQRT, Cincinnati. Hawkins is a contributor to the Cincinnati Bengals Radio Network. Furman has been hosting a weekend show with former NFL star Lincoln Kennedy for more than a year and that Sunday evening program with Furman and Kennedy will continue. Fox Sports Radio VP/GM Don Martin states, “We couldn’t be happier to have Andy and Artrell hosting our new morning drive program. The combination of a sports talk pro like Andy and a former professional football player like Artrell will be a great addition to our weekday lineup.” Fox Sports Daybreak replaces the Zakk and Jack program on the FSRN schedule.
Cumulus Media Flips WMTI-FM, New Orleans from Oldies to Sports Talk. The Big Easy gets a new sports talk outlet as Cumulus Media drops the oldies on WMTI-FM and goes sports talk with programming from Fox Sports Radio Network, Premiere Networks’ Jim Rome and a PM drive show hosted by New Orleans Hornets broadcaster Gerry Vaillancourt.
New FM Talk Outlet for Little Rock. Crain Media Group drops the active rock on KKSP-FM, Bryant, Arkansas (located to the Northwest of Little Rock) and debuts a talk format it’s calling “Fresh Talk 93.3.” The lineup includes market news personality Neal Gladner in morning drive, Talk Radio Network’s Laura Ingraham, Dial Global’s Clark Howard, Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” and more.
Progressive Talk Appears on WVKO, Columbus. The station at 1580 AM is owned by Bernard Ohio LLC and its website indicates it’s doing business as Clear Conscience Communications. The progressive talk lineup that debuted on January 2 includes Dial Global’s Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz, Thom Hartmann and Bill Press plus Mike Malloy and Leslie Marshall.
Chris Schoenewald Exits Virginia-Based “Daily Constitutional” Program. The regionally syndicated “Daily Constitutional” – based out of WCHV-AM/FM, Charlottesville, Virginia and co-hosted by Joe Thomas and Chris Schoenewald – is undergoing changes as Schoenewald is leaving the program to run for office. He plans to announce which office he’ll seek soon. Thomas tells TALKERS the program will continue. “Adam Forster of Virginia Living Television and private investigator/TV anchor Nikki Lewis will be purchasing Schoenewald’s share and we’re hopeful to continue to grow and help stations in this area program locally oriented talk while freeing up their resources for news and marketing efforts.” The “Daily Constitutional” airs live from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET. In addition, Thomas hosts the morning drive program on WCHV-AM/FM.
Sam Malone in Israel. KSEV, Houston morning host Sam Malone is pictured here inspecting the cockpit of an Israeli F-16 during a tour of the Hatzor Air Force Base while on a trip to Israel. Malone broadcast his program live back to his Houston audience (via the very capable technology of the Comrex ACCESS) during which he interviewed numerous Houstonians serving in the IDF, important Israeli media figures and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat. Malone tells TALKERS magazine his audience loved the content and his marketing department was able to get the broadcast event sponsored.
Iowa Caucuses, Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions, Holiday Sports Action and New Year Retrospectives Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/2). Today’s Iowa Caucuses for GOP candidates, the nuclear ambitions of the Iranian leadership, college and pro holiday sports action and 2011 retrospectives were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WWWN-FM, Chicago Midday Anchor Dave Williams Exits Merlin Station. The first high-profile firing at Merlin Media’s Chicago all-newser claims veteran news and talk radio pro Dave Williams. Numerous reports indicate Williams was let go after a station visit from Merlin Media management that included CEO Randy Michaels but not COO Walter Sabo. Industry watchers note that there’s been near constant tweaking of the on-air sound at Merlin’s WWWN-FM, Chicago and WEMP-FM, New York but the departure of Williams has triggered a change that appears to be taking the stations away from the “lifestylish” approach to news and toward a much more traditional all-news direction. This, according to widespread street buzz, could put Walter Sabo’s future with Merlin in doubt as he is generally recognized as the architect of the innovative direction that has marked the company’s questionable starts in both Chicago and New York. As pointed out here last week, although industry conventional wisdom indicates that it takes time – as much as a year or more – for spoken-word upstarts to gain ratings traction (especially groundbreaking ones), today’s economically stressed environment and “ADD/PPM world” pressure for instantaneous results would likely contribute to nervous investors and the knee jerk response to make changes…especially at an extremely high-profile operation as Randy Michaels’ Merlin Media. Thus, the “big tweak” might be morphing into a significant format change. Meanwhile, Williams, who spent most of his career working in news and talk radio in California at such stations as KNX, KABC and KFWB in Los Angeles and KFBK in Sacramento, is looking for his next opportunity after moving from California three months ago to become part of the new Merlin station.
Westwood One’s Dennis Miller and Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly Partner for Live Shows. The last time Bill O’Reilly did a series of live events, then-FNC employed Glenn Beck was his partner. This time Dennis Miller – a man who is no stranger to the live stage – joins O’Reilly for the “Bolder and Fresher” tour with stops at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut; the Landmark Theatre in Richmond, Virginia; Borgata Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City; and the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, California. It’s billed as “Bill O’Reilly, godfather of ‘no spin’ and in-your-face television, and Dennis Miller, the king of references and rants, are teaming up to take the country by storm!” Tickets are not cheap for this event. The cheap seats are $95 and the VIP tix are $500 but include a meet-and-greet, photos with O’Reilly and Miller and autographs.
Premiere Networks’ George Noory Publishes New Book Talking to the Dead. The host of Premiere’s “Coast to Coast AM” joins forces with paranormal experts and co-author Rosemary Ellen Guiley to author Talking to the Dead (Forge Books 2011) – the third book for George Noory. According to Noory, the book “explores the colorful history and personalities behind spirit communications, weaving together spirituality, metaphysics, science and technology.” Billed as a high-tech guide to spiritual communications, “Noory and Guiley use historical research to explore the science behind radio wave production and how radios carry supernatural voices; examples of successful spiritual communication around the globe; the possible existence of parallel universes from which we hear voices; the history of electromagnetic communication methods, including work by scientific giants like Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla; and much more.”
Peak Broadcasting Goes Sports Full Time on KFXD, Boise. KFXD has been positioned as KIDO 630 in the past as a sister sports and talk outlet to news/talk KIDO 580. Dan Patrick’s DirecTV-produced show has been part of the lineup for years. Now, Peak Broadcasting gives the station a separate identity and takes it sports full time as SportsRadio 630 The Fan. The station keeps Dan Patrick in AM drive and uses content from Fox Sports Radio throughout the day except for the local Riley Corcoran show from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm and the Tester and Riley show (in which Dave Tester joins Corcoran) from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
TRN’s Michael Savage Gains Clearance in Phoenix. Talk Radio Network star Michael Savage is back in the Phoenix market on Francis Battaglia-owned KFNX in the afternoon drive slot airing from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Savage’s program was last cleared in the market on Clear Channel’s KFYI.
Obama Jobs Bill, ‘Occupy Wall Street,’ 2012 GOP Candidates and Euro Zone Instability Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/10). The fate of President Obama’s jobs bill, the ongoing ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement, the battle for the Republican nomination for president and the policies to stabilize the Euro Zone’s economy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Walter Sabo Says Merlin’s FM News Operations in New York and Chicago off to Good Start. In an exclusive interview for TALKERS TV conducted this past Friday in New York City (right before Hurricane Irene made its way up the coast to the Big Apple), Merlin Media COO Walter Sabo praises his company’s talent roster, sales staff, and CEO Randy Michaels for creating and marketing all-news FM products in New York and Chicago strategically targeted for 25-54 year old working families. These are WEMP-FM, New York (FM News 101.9) and WWWN-FM, Chicago (FM News 101.1). When asked to further define the term “working families,” Sabo responds, “Families in which mom and dad go to work.” He says compared to the audiences of today’s traditional all-news stations, 25-54 represents the younger demographic. “They need the same information as everyone else but the key to reaching them is to understand they are extremely busy.” He explains, “They are busy running to their jobs, going to day care, picking up the kids. Their day is a series of high-pressure points regarding the clock. They don’t have time to listen to any information that isn’t right to the point.” He credits the impressive list of advertisers already signed up for these relatively brand new stations to the competence of their sales department and the fact that advertisers “immediately embrace” the concept of all news targeted to a young working audience. TALKERS monitors on the ground in New York City report that FM News 101.9 delivered “superb coverage” of Hurricane Irene throughout all phases of its assault on the region. View this must-see interview, “Lunch with Walter Sabo,” on TALKERS TV on this page.
CBS Aggressively Leads Sports Talk Invasion of FM. The FM band is quickly being populated by sports talk radio and it’s not a stretch to say CBS is leading the charge. TALKERS special features correspondent Mike Kinosian writes that when the company launched WXYT-FM, Detroit four years ago, it wasn’t planning beyond that station. But as CBS Radio SVP of programming Chris Oliviero tells TALKERS, “We realized this is a road we should go down from a programming, as well as a general radio business standpoint. We love the format and think we are good at doing it.” With the simulcast of WIP, Philadelphia beginning on September 6, CBS will have nine sports outlets on FM in the top 30 markets. Read Mike Kinosian’s in-depth look at CBS Radio’s FM sports initiative here.
Josefa Salinas of Hot 92.3 to Speak at Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum 2011. Well-known Los Angeles radio personality Josefa Salinas who hosts a widely-heard weekend community affairs talk program on Clear Channel’s urban oldies “Hot 92.3” (WHHT-FM) will join the growing all-star roster of speakers at the forthcoming Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum. Salinas will participate on the panel titled “The Issues Facing Southern California: Challenges and Solutions.” Moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison it will be the only panel at the event which focuses entirely on public issues outside the industry. (The rest of the event will address inner-industry issues.) Panelists include Charles Feldman of KNX, Los Angeles; Roger Hedgecock of KOGO, San Diego and Radio America; Stephanie Miller of KTLK, Los Angeles and Dial Global; Doug McIntyre of KABC, Los Angeles and Citadel Media; Patt Morrison of KPCC, FM Los Angeles and Southern California Public Radio; and John Phillips of KABC, Los Angeles. TALKERS managing editor Kevin Casey states, “We have an amazingly well balanced panel of stars coming together here and the addition of such a community-involved radio broadcaster as Josefa Salinas really rounds it out beautifully. Considering the intensely controversial issues facing the region and the firepower that’ll be sitting up there on that stage, we should be in for an explosive session in the tradition of our most exciting Talk Rumbles.” The Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum 2011, presented by TALKERS in association with the Los Angeles Press Club, will take place on Thursday, October 20 between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm. It features a lineup of more than 30 leading talk broadcasters including keynote speaker Bill Handel of KFI, Los Angeles and most of the top program directors from the major talk stations in Southern California. For the complete up-to-the-minute agenda and registration information, please click here.
WQXI, Atlanta Adds Dave Archer to PM Drive Show. Former Atlanta Falcons quarterback and current Falcons Radio Network analyst Dave Archer is named co-host of the Lincoln Financial Media station’s PM drive show alongside Mike Bell. Archer replaces David Pollack who becomes co-host of the new Palmer and Pollack show on the station. WQXI general manager Andrew Saltzman states, “There is no question that Dave Archer is the perfect guy to co-host our afternoon drive show. As an eight-year veteran of the Atlanta Falcons Radio Network, along with his six-year career as a NFL quarterback, Dave truly understands the intricacies of collegiate and professional sports. Most important is his tremendous chemistry with Bell. These guys have a lot of fun together and so will our listeners.”
Changes in PM Drive at KTSA, San Antonio? Nothing confirmed by owner Border Media Partners yet but TALKERS hears PM drive host Kevin Wall is out at KTSA, San Antonio and Sean Rima takes over his show. Rima worked for BMP in Austin at KXBT-FM before the company flipped it from talk to oldies. There was a report Rima was going to host a program at an online talk venture BMP was developing but the status of that is unclear.
Stephan Multi-Media Producing “Different” 9/11 Special. Doug Stephan, host of the nationally syndicated morning show, “Good Day,” is producing a September 11 anniversary special available for broadcast the weekend of September, 9-11. Media Management Group’s Craig Whetstine says, “We think it is different from most of the specials. It is a three-hour special, entitled, “Stronger Than Ever: Ten Years Past September 11.” Doug isn’t going to be looking back at the events of 9/11/01; he’ll be focused on where we are today and looking forward.” The program is being made available to non-affiliates of “Good Day” providing the program is not already heard in the market. Contact Whetstine at 212-545-8383.
Clear Channel Changes Market Managers in Seattle. Michele Grosenick is suddenly out as market manager of Clear Channel’s Seattle-Tacoma stations that include sports KJR. In is former CBS Radio manager Lisa Decker who left that company earlier this year. CC EVP of operations for the Western Region Susan Karis says of Decker, “Lisa is an amazing addition to the Clear Channel team. She has proven success with an impressive track record in delivering results in a highly competitive field.”
WDFN, Detroit Personality Tom Kowalski Dies Unexpectedly at 51. Known as Tom “Killer” Kowalski, he wrote for the Oakland Press and co-hosted PM drive at Clear Channel’s sports WDFN with Sean Baligian and Ryan Terpstra. His beat was the Detroit Lions and he got his nickname for his dogged pursuit as a reporter. CC Detroit market manager Til Levesque posted the following on WDFN’s website: “It is with a very heavy heart that I share with you that Tom Kowalski passed away this morning. Tom was a tremendous talent and his passion for all things Lions and the NFL never faltered. He was a tremendous asset to us on WDFN AM. His presence will be greatly missed in afternoons not to mention in the hallways and around the building. Having him on our team made us a better sports talk station and for that I will always be thankful of his time with CCD.”
Former WCCO, Minneapolis Talk Host Brad Walton Dies at Age 60. Walton was a Twin Cities media figure who spent 11 years at CBS Radio’s WCCO handling weekend overnights and fill-in shifts beginning in 1997. Walton wrote a book in 2004 titled, How Does the Heart Know Love?, a personal story about his life after open heart surgery.
Fox Sports Radio Hits 400 Affiliate Mark. The addition of CBS Radio’s new Cleveland FM sports talk outlet, “SportsRadio 92.3 The Fan” (WKRK-FM), on August 29 gives Fox Sports Radio 400 affiliate stations 11 years after its debut in August of 2000. FSRN vice president and general manager Don Martin says of the milestone, “This is a proud moment for the FSR family, as we welcome Cleveland’s WKRK 92.3 ‘The Fan’ and eclipse the 400-affiliate mark. None of this would be possible without the tremendous product that our talent delivers every day and, most importantly, the relationships we have with our incredible affiliates. Fox Sports Radio and our affiliates are the true definition of a team.”
Obama Economic Policy, 2012 Presidential Race, Irene Aftermath/Global Warming and Libya Turmoil Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/29). President Obama’s plan to fix the ailing economy, the 2012 presidential race, the aftermath of Hurricane Irene and global warming and the state of Libya as the Gaddhafi family flees were among the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.