FCC Kills CIN Study…at Least for Now. The Federal Communications Commission issued a brief statement late Friday afternoon ending the current form of the Critical Information Needs study that has enraged broadcasters since it was announced last May. Recently, as the beginning of the study approached this spring, broadcasters – and many from the public arena – had re-stoked their disapproval. The FCC’s statement on February 28 was: “The FCC will not move forward with the Critical Information Needs study. The Commission will reassess the best way to fulfill its obligation to Congress to identify barriers to entry into the communications marketplace faced by entrepreneurs and other small businesses.” Commissioner Ajit Pai, who had publicly criticized the scope of the study, said, “I am pleased that the FCC has canceled its Critical Information Needs study. In our country, the government does not tell the people what information they need. Instead, news outlets and the American public decide that for themselves. I look forward to working with my colleagues to identify and remove actual barriers to entry into the communications industry. This newsroom study was a distraction from that important goal.”
TALKERS to Postpone Publishing 2014 Heavy Hundred Until Tuesday, March 11. The 2014 installment of one of TALKERS magazine’s most popular and, perhaps, controversial annual features – “The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” – is being readied for publication this coming Tuesday, March 11, 2014. It was originally intended for publication today (3/3) but last-minute developments in the industry regarding the contracts and standing of several key hosts has required adding the extra week for consideration and tabulation. Also known as “The Heavy Hundred” the ranked listing of 100 hosts and talent teams from around the country is based on a number of both quantitative and qualitative criteria and is determined by collective analysis of the TALKERS editorial board. It includes local and national hosts from a variety of genres falling under the umbrella of “general” talk or “news/talk” radio covering politics, health, finance, relationships, consumer tech, popular culture and a variety of specialties. (TALKERS launched a special and separate Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk two years ago.) Hosts on the list are selected from those working at the time of its publication on platforms that include commercial and public AM/FM radio as well as satellite radio (internet-only talk hosts are ranked by TALKERS in an annual feature titled “The Frontier Fifty”). According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “It is no secret that economic restraints facing the industry these past few years have contributed to shrinking the number of individuals working on the air across the nation. Although the 2014 edition of the Heavy Hundred will, of course, include many familiar names, the need for new blood, fresh voices and potential up and comers has never been greater. Readers will find this year’s roster will feature a number of new names and first-timers, which is quite exciting!” Companies interested in sponsoring segments of this widely discussed and read (by hundreds of thousands of broadcasting industry members and consumers/listeners) feature should call 413-565-5413.
CBS RADIO Adds Baltimore, Maryland Content to All-News WNEW-FM. The two-year-old all-news format on CBS RADIO’s WNEW-FM, Bowie, Maryland-licensed station is getting some tweaking as the station will add more Baltimore and Maryland content to its programming in the form of news and traffic, as the company says, “in addition to its extensive coverage of the Washington, D.C. metro.” The company is opening a Baltimore news center beginning today (3/3), which is located at CBS television station WJZ-TV. Other bureaus will follow in Annapolis and Montgomery County throughout the year. Longtime Baltimore radio news anchor Sarah Jacobs has been named bureau chief, overseeing a team of local reporters. Baltimore Sun columnist David Zurawik reported on the changes last week questioning if the changes are the result of the inability to “put a dent” in the ratings at Hubbard’s crosstown WTOP. Some of the changes beginning today include traffic reports every five minutes during peak travel times plus expanded coverage to include “Beltway to Beltway” traffic spanning the entire Baltimore-Washington corridor, from the Baltimore Beltway to the Washington Beltway, and the major arteries that feed them. CBS RADIO SVP and market manager Steve Swenson states, “WNEW reaches 5.3 million people across Baltimore and Washington, and all the counties in between – more than any other local radio station. We’re thrilled to offer area residents around-the-clock news coverage, and serve as the primary destination for all their traffic information needs. Whether driving the two Beltways, I-95, the Baltimore Washington Parkway, I-97, or Route 50, commuters will only need to listen to one station: All-News 99.1FM.” In the Baltimore Sun piece, Zurawik writes that Swenson concedes the location of the WNEW-FM transmitter – near Annapolis – doesn’t cover the DC metro the way most DC-licensed stations do. Swenson tells the paper WNEW-FM “reaches 38% of the DC metro population while it covers more than 75% of the Baltimore metro.”
Don Geronimo to Exit ‘106.7 The Fan’ in Washington. After returning to his longtime stomping grounds at WJFK-FM, Washington “106.7 The Fan” following a stint at the company’s KHTK, Sacramento, Don Geronimo will again leave the station and his evening show. Geronimo Tweeted that he’s going to be on the CBS RADIO payroll for another 30 days and then “off to brighter pastures. You know I have a lot to say on the entire matter, you’ll hear it all soon enuf, ever 4ward.”
PodcastOne Makes Doug Stephan’s ‘Good Day’ Show Available on Demand. Nationally syndicated radio personality Doug Stephan (left) is partnering with PodcastOne to have the service distribute his podcast and have PodcastOne Sales serve as the exclusive rep for his podcast. Stephan’s “Good Day” is now available in a digital format after the original broadcast of the radio program. PodcastOne CEO Norm Pattiz (right) says, “Everybody needs a good day. Now we can make sure that Doug Stephan’s ‘Good Day’ is available 24 hours a day, on-demand, from PodcastOne. This is just another example of the expanding radio footprint that makes the best talent available to the largest possible audience, and on a personal level, having Doug on the podcast lineup brings a big smile to my face and assures me of having my own personal good day.”
Talk Radio Personality Rusty Humphries Joins Washington Times. Longtime TRN-syndicated talk radio personality Rusty Humphries is joining the Washington Times for an “expansive role” in which he will be “a weekly columnist, a blogger and a daily video show host.” The organization notes that “Humphries’ appointment is part of the Washington Times’ aggressive expansion into the many platforms that comprise a modern media company. The audio from Humphries’ video show will also be streamed on the Kaliki-based, on-demand network that was recently established in partnership with the Times. Humphries comments, “I’m excited to become part of the Washington Times family. I am proud to add my voice and my ideas to the excellent work that the Times has been producing for decades.” Times editor and vice president of content and business development John Solomon adds, “Rusty is a rare and special talent. We are thrilled to have his wisdom and his good humor as part of our growing menu of offerings.”
New Lineup from TheBlaze Radio Network; Buck Sexton Show to Weekdays. There’s a new weekday schedule from Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network as the company announces the Buck Sexton show moves to weekdays in the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm ET slot effective March 17. Sexton is also co-host of “Real News from TheBlaze,” he is a former Central Intelligence Agency officer and NYPD Intelligence Division analyst with hands-on expertise in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations around the world. As a result of the move, the Pat & Stu show moves to the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET slot. TheBlaze president and chief content officer Joel Cheatwood states, “Over the past 18 months or so Buck has emerged as a very strong new voice in media. We’re excited to see what he can do with the expanded opportunity on TheBlaze Radio Network.”
Compass Media Networks Welcomes Susan O’Connell. Affiliate relations pro Susan O’Connell is joining Compass Media Networks as a consultant with the goal of managing and enhancing affiliate relations and strategy related to The Wall Street Journal Radio Network. O’Connell has served as senior director, affiliate sales for The Wall Street Journal Radio Network since 2006. Compass exclusively manages affiliate sales and advertising sales for WSJ Radio.
Lawrence Named Director of Sales at Revenue Development Resources. After 14 years of service to the Radio Advertising Bureau, Bob Lawrence becomes director of sales for Revenue Development Resources. He states, “It’s exciting to be representing the valuable services that RDR offers to broadcasters, and to once again team with RDR president/CEO Mark Levy. I look forward to more of the kind of successes that Mark and I achieved during our years working together at the RAB.” Says Levy, “Bob joining us is like old-home week. With former RAB team members Tim Foley and now Bob Lawrence on the team, it’s like working with family again!”
Odds & Sods. Imaging and voice-over pro Pete Gustin leaves his gig with Entercom’s sports talk WEEI-FM and news/talk WRKO after 18 years with the stations. Gustin, who recently launched his own imaging and voice-over service, writes on his Facebook page, “I’ll be partnered with dozens of major national brands, programs, radio stations, TV networks, sports franchises and agencies like Solid Talent with Micaela Stepanovich, CESD Imaging — affiliates and Paul Wintner and Jason Helzner, who are both very much responsible for this new path I’m on.”…..WOLB, Baltimore morning show host Larry Young is honored as a recipient of the 2014 Verizon Community Innovator Award. The company says that Young was the only recipient of the award in the communications field. “We here at Radio One Inc. are very proud of Larry’s many accomplishments and this shows the great works he has done for the community and how he represents his community.”…..Center Post Holdings announces it is re-branding the Business TalkRadio Network to BizTalkRadio to reflect its new partnership with sister network BizTV. Center Post Holdings purchased BTRN last October .
Rick & Bubba Read to 50,000 Kids in 13 States! Nationally syndicated morning show Rick & Bubba (Rick Burgess and Bill “Bubba” Bussey) recognized the National Education Association’s “Read Across America” day today by using technology to read Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs & Ham to an estimated 50,000 students in 800 schools across 13 states. The SSI-syndicated show has made an annual tradition of creating the “world’s biggest classroom” on this day. In the photo here, Rick & Bubba are seen on a screen in one of the classrooms taking part in the event.
Going for Woman of the Year. Nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs (right) is pictured here with two-time cancer survivor Dominic (left) as Wachs gears up to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Las Vegas. Wachs was nominated for Woman of the Year so her goal is to raise $20,000 during the campaign that runs from March 21 through May 31. Wachs tells TALKERS the funds go to cancer research and financial assistance to families with children afflicted with blood cancer. Listeners can help by going to her website at www.drdaliah.com and hitting the “Fight Blood Cancer” link after March 21.
ABC News Radio at the Oscars. Just a couple of hours before winning the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her work in “12 Years a Slave,” last night in Los Angeles, Lupita Nyong’o (right) stops on the red carpet to talk with ABC News Radio’s David Blaustein (left).
Mark Levin to Be Honored at CPAC. Nationally syndicated talk show host Mark Levin will receive the inaugural Andrew Breitbart Defender of the First Amendment Award at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday, March 6. According to a story on Breitbart.com’s Big Journalism, Breitbart News editor-in-chief Alex Marlow will introduce Citizens United president David Bossie, who will present the award to Levin along with Breitbart News president and CEO Larry Solov and Breitbart News executive chairman Stephen K. Bannon. Solov says, “Mark Levin fearlessly and passionately stands up for conservatives and everyday Americans whose voices the mainstream press often tries to marginalize or silence. And like Andrew Breitbart, Levin has a way of cutting through the mainstream press’s filter with his words and is never afraid to have arrows slung at him by the institutional left on the front lines of the fight.” David Bossie comments, “Levin is not only a friend, but supports and defends the vision of our Founding Fathers on his nationally syndicated radio program daily. There is nobody better to receive this inaugural award and I am happy that he will be joining us at CPAC to accept it.” Levin’s show is syndicated by Cumulus Media Networks.
Programming Additions at LFM’s Denver Sports Outlets. At Lincoln Financial Media’s Denver cluster, changes are taking place beginning Monday, March 3 that will put Fox Sports Radio/DirecTV’s Dan Patrick on KKFN “104.3 The Fan,” moving over from sister sports station KEPN “1600 The Zone.” To make room, Sandy Clough leaves the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot where Patrick will air and joins Drew Goodman and Scott Hastings for the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show. Program director Nate Lundy states, “Like many in Denver, I’m a big fan of Dan Patrick. As we take the next step in our evolution, it only makes sense to bring the number one national personality to ‘The Fan.’ His perspective and top-level guests will further solidify our commitment to the best sports talk in town.” KKFN is also debuting a new evening show called “The Fan Late Night with Ryan Edwards and Shawn Drotar” that is airing from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight. Lundy adds, “Sandy Clough has been part of The Fan’s success for over 17 years and putting him alongside two other outstanding Denver sports veterans will make for a great show for our listeners. ‘The Fan Late Night’ will give fans of Denver’s four major pro sports teams a chance to sound off as part of their postgame experience.” Lundy says a new lineup on KEPN will be announced in the near future as Patrick’s show transitions to “104.3 The Fan.”
Michael Harrison Speaks at NRB 2014 in Nashville. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (c) participated as a keynote speaker yesterday afternoon (2/24) at the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) conference in Nashville in a general session focused on “Values in American Popular Media.” The presentation included an opening address by Harrison followed by a spirited panel discussion in which he was joined by DeVon Franklin, SVP of production, Columbia Tristar Pictures (l) and Russell Moore, president, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (r). Harrison used the platform as an opportunity to espouse his personal and professional philosophy that the combination of vigilant community service and high ethical standards equate to good and successful business strategy in the media industries – especially radio. Harrison told the conference, “Radio of all formats – not just Christian specifically – should never miss an opportunity to be a hero and serve the true needs of humanity within its local, national and even global market reach. Why wait for a hurricane or natural disaster to suddenly go into emergency mode? Why limit our potential to just being the ‘Sterno’ of media? Day-to-day life provides a nonstop series of emergencies, pain, fear, sorrow and loss on a very human scale that we have the power to calm and alleviate in addition to providing our regular menus of music and talk entertainment, information and discussion. If we do this with sincerity and authenticity on a consistent level, the communities we serve will amply reward us with both ratings and financial support and the self-fulfilling prophecy about radio being a dying medium will be forestalled for decades to come.” Harrison warned the crowd that “Christian and religious broadcasting has a head start on fulfilling this role because it is woven into the basic fabric of its service – however, in its passion and zeal to compete in the same marketplace of ideas and commerce co-occupied by secular media, it should be careful not to fall into the trap of stifling the First Amendment rights of dissenting voices and lifestyles nor succumb to the present-day widespread practice to seeking victory at the expense of truth for commercial and political advantage.”
Steven Meyers Heads Digital Strategy at Greater Media. This is a promotion for Steven Meyers who joined Greater Media Philadelphia in 2012 as digital manager. Now, in this new director of digital strategy role for all of Greater Media, he will be responsible for helping to grow Greater Media’s audiences and revenue by developing new digital platforms that deepen listener engagement while providing new opportunities to the company’s commercial partners. He comments, “Greater Media understands that ‘digital’ isn’t just a separate line of business, but a foundational component of our brand experiences and client value. I’m very excited to become a larger part of shaping that vision.” Greater Media CEO Peter Smyth adds, “We look forward to having Steve share his valuable knowledge and insight with our teams as we continue to grow and drive our company’s interactive efforts into the future.”
Hubbard’s WFED, Washington Names Fornicola Director of Custom Media. Coming to Hubbard’s Washington, DC talk and federal news outlet WFED is Jason Fornicola in the new position, director of custom media. Fornicola recently worked as communications specialist for the American Federation of Government Employees. He also hosted the weekly AFGE radio program “Inside Government.” In a statement, director of federal sales Ralph Renzi comments, “We have worked with Jason for seven years and are impressed with his experience and success in journalism, as well as his innovative outreach. Our investment in providing greater resources for our clients will help us solve more complex marketing objectives.”
Edison Research to Present ‘Infinite Dial 2014’ Next Week. In a teaser for the free webinar from Edison Research and new partner Triton Digital, the companies report that data from this year’s study shows “31% of Americans 12+ report using the internet radio service Pandora on a monthly basis, up from 27% one year ago. iHeartRadio is used by 9% monthly, while iTunes Radio, which debuted in 2013, comes in third with 8% monthly usage, followed by 6% using Spotify.” The webinar takes place Wednesday, March 5 at 2:00 pm ET. Edison says this is the 22nd study in “The Infinite Dial” series, one of the longest-running research series covering consumer use of media, technology and digital platforms. The webinar will be co-presented by Edison Research VP of strategy Tom Webster, and Triton Digital COO Mike Agovino. Topics covered will include: An update on Internet Audio usage, including new data on iTunes Radio, Beats Music, and other services; recent growth in podcasting; the growth in smartphone ownership, and how it has changed consumer behavior; updates on social media usage for services including Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest and more; and the connected car, and in-car usage of digital media.
Financial Talk Host Convicted in Fraud Case. A federal jury convicted Barbra Alexander Monterey, California on 28 counts of conspiracy and fraud for her role in a Ponzi scheme. Sixty-four-year-old Alexander worked with APS Funding partner Michael Swanson to host “Money Dots” on Clear Channel-owned KION, Monterey and other outlets. Prosecutors had alleged Alexander and Swanson bilked investors of some $4 million. Alexander is expected to get a lengthy prison term. Swanson was previously convicted.
New Maternity Leave Policy for Cumulus Announced. Radio giant Cumulus Media announces a change to its human resources policy by adding “the implementation of an industry-leading maternity leave policy providing new mothers with six weeks of fully paid time off in addition to the paid time off and disability benefits currently provided to employees.” The company says the policy takes effect immediately and is available to all full-time, non-commission employees with at least one year of service. Chairman and CEO Lew Dickey states, “Cumulus continues to grow and innovate thanks to the dedication of our colleagues across the country. We are committed to providing benefits that recognize employees’ health and family needs, and providing fully paid leave to new mothers after they give birth is the right thing to do.”
NAB Crystal Award Finalists Announced. The 50 finalists for the 2014 Crystal Awards have been announced and that list can be found here. The National Association of Broadcasters states that since 1987, the NAB Crystal Radio Awards have recognized radio stations for their outstanding year-round commitment to community service. Winners will be announced and the finalists will be honored at the NAB Radio Luncheon. The Luncheon will be held Tuesday, April 8 during the 2014 NAB Show in Las Vegas. During the luncheon, Yahoo tech columnist David Pogue will present a keynote address and popular national radio personality, television host and best-selling author Steve Harvey will be inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame.
This Brand New Car Is No Mirage. Well, actually it is. It’s a 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage and it’s now the property of Anita Gowing of Whittier, California (right). She was the winner of the KFWB, Los Angeles giveaway that took place at South Coast Mitsubishi on Sunday, February 23. Gowing is seen reacting as her key starts the car. Inside the car with her is KFWB afternoon news co-anchor Maggie McKay (left). As part of the contest, 124 listeners won a pair of tickets to an upcoming LA Clippers game and got a key for a chance to win the car.
ObamaCare Criticism, NFL N-word Penalty, Arizona Religious Rights Bill, Ukraine Unrest-Russian Influence, Hagel’s Proposed Military Cuts, and Winter Weather Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/24). Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the NFL’s new rule penalizing teams for players’ use of the n-word during games; the Arizona bill that would allow businesses to discriminate for religious reasons; the political turmoil in Ukraine and the influence of Putin’s Russia; Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s proposed shrinking of the Army to its smallest size in 74 years; and a new round of winter weather for the East were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Sports Talker Dan Sileo New AM Host at ‘The Mighty 1090’ in San Diego. Sports talk personality Dan Sileo – who’s been working at stations in Florida for the past several years – joins Broadcasting Corporation of the Americas-operated XEPRS, San Diego “The Mighty 1090” where he’s the new morning drive host beginning today (2/3). Sileo most recently was hosting a show at James Crystal Radio’s WMEN, West Palm Beach but was fired from that station in early November of 2013 after shooting off a controversial tweet. Sileo has also worked at Beasley’s WQAM, Miami and Clear Channel’s WDAE, Tampa. He takes over the morning show at “The Mighty 1090” from market pro Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton who will remain with the station in another capacity. Program director Mike Shepard says, “I am thrilled to welcome Dan to ‘San Diego’s Sports Leader, The Mighty 1090.’ Dan is a passionate, outspoken, engaging and incredibly knowledgeable sports radio personality. His track record of major market success is remarkable and Dan is a perfect addition to the Mighty 1090’s top-rated, all-star lineup.”
New Talk Station to Air in DC Market. The Laurel, Maryland-licensed WILC flips from Spanish music to a hybrid of talk and oldies. The ZGS-owned signal is being operated by Wallis Communications under an LMA and the new format debuts today (2/3). In a statement, the company says the program schedule is not complete but the station will be “libertarian and conservative talk radio.” Chief operating officer and general manager Bryan Berner says, “All of us at WILC and Wallis Communications look forward to serving the people of the region and bringing a common sense, fresh perspective to talk radio in the Washington, DC market.” Programming will include Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck, Wallis Communications’ “The Dr. K Show,” “The Capitol Hill Show with Tim Constantine” and WestwoodOne’s Dennis Miller. Overnights will showcase vintage radio as the digitally remastered Wolfman Jack will air.
Mike Gallagher Causes Stir with Hoffman Death Observations. Nationally syndicated talk show host Mike Gallagher’s observations in the aftermath of the untimely death of actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman caused such reaction that his post to his MikeOnline.com site logged more than 50,000 views and drew threats to him, his family and even his dog. Speaking about the suspected heroin overdose that took Hoffman’s life, Gallagher stated, “Another senseless death. This time, one of the greatest actors of our time. I wonder if he started with marijuana…If you want to get pot lovers mad, dare to even ask the question if an Oscar-winning movie star who is found dead in his bathroom with a needle stuck in his arm started with marijuana.” Gallagher has stood firm in his stance against the legalization of marijuana as some states move to legalize and decriminalize the drug.
To Get Listeners to Your Website, Don’t Threaten to Bore Them! Digital media consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller wonders why we tend to turn the marketing part of our brains off when we go “online.” We can write good, tempting ad copy for radio but all we’ve learned goes out the window when it comes to our websites. Miller says that one of the worst ways to get someone to your website is to offer them “all of the details” when they get there. Not very tempting is it? More details. Instead, put your marketing skills to work in the same way you would with a spot. “A good commercial will do a better job getting business through a client’s front door than a bad commercial will. It’s the exact same thing getting people to go from your broadcast to one of your digital platforms…or move from one digital platform to another. Opportunity is knocking.” Read Miller’s entire piece here.
Clear Channel Tweaks Lineup at WVOC, Columbia. The South Carolina news/talk station drops the early evening “Sports Talk” show syndicated by Learfield Sports that aired in afternoon drive and adds Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity for the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot. The “Sports Talk” program is hosted by Phil Kornblut, Kevin McCrarey and Tom Hayes. According to The State, Learfield’s “Sports Talk First Edition” – which aired on CC’s sister sports talk station WXBT “560 The Team” from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm – is also being replaced. A local sports talk show featuring former South Carolina footballer Rick Sanford will air in the time slot instead. Learfield tells the paper it is working to place the shows on new affiliates in the market.
Mike Francesa Fans (and a Few Critics) Gather for FrancesaCon in NYC. Sports talk pioneer Mike Francesa – afternoon drive host on CBS RADIO’s WFAN-AM/FM, New York – said after learning of the weekend event that the participants would probably be half fans, half critics. How the numbers came down is unclear but the fact that an estimated 400 gathered at an Upper East Side bar on Saturday (2/1) to celebrate, imitate and even mock Francesa, shows how big he is in New York. A piece by Jim Baumbach in Newsday tells the story but the short version is as follows: 23-year-old friends Michael Leboff and Ron Haraka came up with the idea of FrancesaCon as a gathering of Mike Francesa fans. Little did they know that not only would people show up in droves, but they came dressed as Francesa, carried the appropriate props (Diet Coke cans), and did some very good imitations of the man himself. Some even came dressed as Francesa’s longtime former partner Chris “Mad Dog” Russo and classic Francesa-Russo back-and-forths took place in the bar. Check out Baumbach’s story in Newsday here.
FCC Grants Tribune Cross-Ownership Waivers. The license renewals for several Tribune-owned television stations were being challenged by the United Church of Christ, the Media Alliance and the Teamsters. The commission handed down rulings on Friday that granted renewals for the licenses though it also granted the petition for reconsideration to the UCC and Media Alliance. The FCC also reaffirmed the permanent waiver for Tribune in the Chicago market where it owns the Chicago Tribune newspaper, WGN-TV, and WGN-AM. In making the decision, the commission ruled that “Given the ‘uniquely long-term symbiotic relationship between [Tribune’s] broadcast stations’ and the Chicago Tribune that provides a special benefit of continued cross-ownership, coupled with the slight cost to diversity in Chicago’s massive media market of continued cross-ownership, Tribune has in fact shown sufficiently ‘unique or special circumstances’ to justify the granting of a permanent waiver of the NBCO (newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership) Rule to its Chicago licensees.”
L&L Closes on Border Media Trust Stations. Seven Texas radio stations that were in the Border Media Trust are now owned by Larry Wilson’s L&L Broadcasting. The stations include San Antonio-licensed outlets news/talk KTSA, sports talk KZDC, adult hits KJXK “Jack 102.7 FM,” regional Mexican KLEY-FM, Jourdanton, regional Mexican KJAH-AM/FM, Pearsall, and CHR KTSM, Floresville. The station group cost L&L $31 million and puts the company into market #28.
Clear Channel Releases Results of ‘Audio Space’ Study; Growth in New Platforms Means Audio Consumption Is ‘Additive.’ The study was a combined effort with MediaVest and Clear Channel Media + Entertainment and surveyed “thousands of audio listeners who use one or more of the following audio sources personal music collections (CDs, iTunes downloads), broadcast radio, streaming AM/FM radio, custom online playlists, satellite radio, online music videos and digital music channels on TV shows.” Among the results of the study is the conclusion that “because of the use of alternate audio devices, time spent across audio platforms continues to increase and growth in audio is predominantly additive.” The goal of the study was to determine when, why and how consumers choose different audio platforms and some of the conclusions reached are: afternoon drive (3:00 pm to 7:00 pm) generally sees the highest usage; the car remains the most popular location for audio listening throughout the day; 63% of teens listen to more than two audio platforms a day – the highest of any demographic; broadcast radio is the most popular audio platform; listeners choose broadcast radio to stay connected to “the world,” top drivers for radio usage are its accessibility, timely news, traffic, weather, engagement with radio personalities and discovering new music; personal music collections (CDs, iTunes downloads, etc.) are about control with 81% choosing the platform to control or customize their listening experience. Custom playlists are also about control and follow with 67% choosing the platform for this reason; 41% of consumers are willing to listen to ads in exchange for free online audio. Ads related to the music consumers like and optimized for the time of day are most powerful. MediaVest EVP and research director David Shiffman states, “In the audio space, most measurement focuses on a single audio platform, rather than a complete view of the landscape. Our goal in working with Clear Channel – with its extensive experience in both live and digital radio – was to generate a real-time and accurate view of the audio space, which we believe is going through an evolution similar to television. Marketers have embraced the concept of multi-screen consumer behavior, but audio media also provides a tremendous opportunity for them to connect with their target audience throughout their day.”
2014 CES: Innovate or… Reporting for TALKERS from the 2014 International CES in Las Vegas is media consultant Holland Cooke who writes that one of the hottest topics during CEA CEO Gary Shapiro’s interview with FCC chairman Tom Wheeler was spectrum auction; that all of the five FCC commissioners where there and he was able to ask a question or two about AM revitalization of Ajit Pai; about some very revealing stats that show why smart broadcasters are taking advantage of posting video to YouTube (and why you should, too); and even more about the ‘connected car’ that is the focus of so much of the audio and information sector at the show. Read Holland Cooke’s report here.
Saga Portland President Pahigian Prepares To Exit. Fifteen-year Portland Radio Group president Cary Pahigian broke the news to his staff yesterday (1/8) he will soon be leaving the Maine operation. According to Pahigian, he told Saga vice president Warren Lada about a year ago that he was evaluating his next professional challenge. ”I was certainly happy and fortunate to be working with the finest group of people I have ever met,” Pahigian wrote in a staff memo. ”Still, the impending 15-year mark was activating an area in my brain that had been quiet for years. Warren asked me to forge ahead and see how I felt at the end of 2013. The only way to properly examine what I wanted to do and aggressively pursue that opportunity, was to focus on it 100%. It would be impossible to conduct that process and still remain at my best with the demands of this job.” Pahigian continues his duties at the operation until his successor is hired. Prior to his 15-year Portland, Maine tenure as president of the eight-station cluster, Pahigian was a 26-year-old station manager at heritage Boston outlet WBZ-AM; corporate vice president of operations for Sconnix Broadcasting; and he programmed Philadelphia’s WIP.
WABC, New York to Air Bob Grant Special. The longtime home to late talk radio pioneer Bob Grant will air a special broadcast in his honor this weekend. Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York – where Grant worked daily from 1984-1996 and again weekly from 2009-2013 – is airing the special program that “will feature notable moments from the talk show host as well as comments from broadcasters inspired by Mr. Grant. Also, included in the special are thoughts and comments from members of Mr. Grant’s immediate family.” WABC program director Craig Schwalb said, “WABC is proud to produce this special to honor the late Bob Grant, a true legend in our industry. We hope our listeners will enjoy this opportunity to remember his contribution to WABC and to the city of New York.” The show will air Saturday 1/11 at 5:00 pm and Sunday 1/12 at 4:00 pm. Grant died on December 31, 2013 after an illness at age 84.
WEEI.com Keeps Its Team Intact. All contributing writers and columnists of Boston’s WEEI.com have signed new contracts for this calendar year. Alex Speier, Mike Petraglia, DJ Bean, Christopher Price, and Jerry Spar will continue blogging, opining, and reporting breaking sports news for the site, as well as appearing regularly on Entercom-owned Boston sports outlet WEEI-FM. They join Kirk Minihane and Celtics beat writer Ben Rohrbach. Last week, “Dennis & Callahan” morning show co-host Minihane signed a long-term deal as the site’s opinion editor. ”It is a privilege to work alongside such a talented and dedicated group of sports journalists,” comments site editor Rob Bradford. ”There isn’t another sports radio station in the country with WEEI’s commitment to enterprise journalism. Boston sports fans have come to expect us to be first with breaking news and commentary wherever they engage with our brand.” WEEI brand manager Kevin Graham remarks, “[These guys] live and breathe Boston sports and they are respected throughout the Boston sports landscape for their journalistic integrity. In this sports-crazed market that boasts some of the most esteemed writers in the business, they stand among the best-in-breed.” WEEI.com recently won the 2013 RAIN Internet Radio award for “Best Streaming Radio Station in America.”
WTOP, Washington Touts Page View Growth. Hubbard Radio all-news WTOP, Washington, DC reports that it realized “a 30% overall increase in page views to WTOP.com, averaging more than 22 million page views and reaching more than 1.8 million unique users per month.” The organization adds that “a number of major news stories in the nation’s capital contributed to this growth, including sequestration, the government shutdown, and the Navy Yard shooting. WTOP.com also strengthened its commitment to unique local content with the launch of two new verticals – Living and Technology – and the introduction of the live blog for breaking news…WTOP’s growth can also be attributed to its strategic use of social media. Traffic to WTOP.com from Facebook and Twitter grew by 150% in 2013, making WTOP one of the top five social media players in the DC market.” WTOP director of digital media John Meyer says, “While news judgment will always be the primary factor in story selection, we have editorial meetings throughout the day, using a variety of statistical tools to determine how our homepage is performing. Armed with the most recent data on what people are searching, clicking, and sharing, we can adjust accordingly.”
Mark DePrez Named VP/GM at Farm Journal Media. Former longtime WOWO, Fort Wayne general manager and Federated Media COO Mark DePrez joins Farm Journal Media as VP/GM of the company’s radio business. In this position DePrez will oversee such shows as “AgriTalk with Mike Adams” and “American Countryside with Andrew McCrea.” The company also reports that a new commodity markets-focused show hosted by Chip Flory is being prepared to launch in the early spring. Farm Journal Broadcast SVP Brian Conrady says, “We are thrilled to have Mark join our team. Radio has quickly become an important part of Farm Journal’s integrated go-to-market media strategy, and Mark has the experience, the talent and the tenacity to further spur this growth.” DePrez comments, “It’s fascinating to see the role radio plays as part of an integrated marketing solution in agriculture. I’ve had the opportunity to learn a lot about Farm Journal’s cross-platform content and how radio can fit. I’m excited to be part of this expanding radio business.”
Jimmie Kaska Named Sports Director at WBIZ, Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The new title for Jimmie Kaska comes as he takes over the sports director role at Clear Channel’s WBIZ, Eau Claire, Wisconsin from Mike Sullivan who held the position for the past 40 years. The station notes that during Sullivan’s tenure, “he was responsible for getting games on the air involving local teams performing in over 200 venues in 30 states, one territory and two foreign countries. Of those roughly 8,000 games, only two did not get on the air. Sullivan also negotiated rights fees and made other arrangements for airing over 10,000 games involving professional and college teams in Wisconsin and Minnesota, as well as nationally broadcast events. WBIZ-AM was the first 24-hour sports station in Wisconsin, and one of the first 10 in the United States when the format debuted in 1992. The station format was switched in 1994-95, but then returned to the all-sports format in 1996, and has remained all-sports since then.” Kaska serves as PD for WBIZ and sister news/talk WMEQ. He states, “It’s crazy to think that the first job I had in my life when I was 17 would be the same one I’m doing today. It seems like every year I find something else to take charge of, and of all the roles I have here, this one will be the most visible and most important. It’s my goal that I continue the long tradition of being one of the best and most active sports radio groups in the country. The mentoring I’ve received from Mike Sullivan has been invaluable to both my career in broadcasting and to life. I’m humbled and excited for the opportunity.”
Advantage Systems Brings Reed Bunzel and A. Darryl Davis Aboard. Sales and marketing firm Advantage Systems Inc. announces Reed Bunzel and A. Darryl Davis join the company as revenue development managers. The company says, “Bunzel has been leading a charge for the radio industry to use digital media to grow revenue since digital first appeared, and he has joined Advantage Systems, Inc. to help stations do just that. Bunzel, current president of Bunzel Media Strategies, will be working with broadcasting groups throughout U.S. and Canada to help them with a revenue generation program designed to incorporate traditional media with new interactive solutions provided by Advantage Systems, Inc.” Bunzel comments, “What I find interesting is that RAB’s just-released data shows that radio’s digital revenue was up 3% in the previous quarter and 7% in the first half, but I saw another study today predicting 16% growth in digital advertising next year. That tells me that radio is severely underperforming in the digital era. It needs to be smart and catch up.” Regarding Davis, Advantage Systems VP for sales Frank Kulbertis states, “Darryl has a history of doing programs similar to our Advantage Plan program that included schedules and digital products for television so he was a perfect fit as a new revenue development manager for us.” The company says Davis will work with broadcast groups to grow their advertising revenue. The program includes extensive sales training, new business leads in the local market, a focused workshop to educate local business owners on traditional and new media, 12-month advertising commitments along with turn-key creative services and the ability to generate digital revenue thru inclusion of interactive solutions.
Odds & Sods. Consumer finance expert Rodney Anderson is hosting a daily, one-hour program on Clear Channel’s news/talk KFXR, Dallas airing from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm…..Hearst’s news/talk WBAL, Baltimore inks the MLB’s Baltimore Orioles for another two seasons. The O’s have been heard on WBAL for all but 15 of the team’s 60-year history in the city…..WestwoodOne has the national radio rights to the remaining NFL playoff games – including Super Bowl XLVIII – that resume this weekend. While Scott Graham hosts the pre-, post-game and halftime shows for all four games, the WestwoodOne stable of in-game announcers and analysts are lined up for the four games airing this weekend.
Chris Christie Bridge Traffic Scandal, Robert Gates Book, War on Poverty Anniversary, and Dennis Rodman North Korea Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/8). The scandal involving New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s staffers allegedly closing lanes in Fort Lee New Jersey near the George Washington Bridge as a form of revenge against the town’s Democratic mayor; the new book from former Defense Secretary Robert Gates in which he’s critical of Obama Administration officials and the president and vice president; the 50th anniversary of LBJ’s “war on poverty”; and former NBA star Dennis Rodman’s tumultuous return visit to North Korea were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
CEO Caine Set to Depart WestwoodOne. As WestwoodOne becomes a fully integrated Cumulus Media division, chief executive officer Paul Caine will leave later this month. According to Cumulus chief executive officer Lew Dickey, “Paul is an extremely talented media executive and did an excellent job of guiding WestwoodOne during a period of change. He positioned the company for future growth and played an instrumental role in driving a constructive transaction, which delivered value for his shareholders. We look forward to working with Paul in the next chapter of his impressive career.” Caine is “so proud of the team we’ve built and what we’ve accomplished” at the company. ”In such a short time, we have proven the power of sound and its impact on the future of the audio industry,” he remarks. ”I am confident that this great momentum will continue under Cumulus and the strong talent and leadership of Lew Dickey.” Less than one year ago (April 2013), Caine was announced as chief executive officer of Dial Global (now WestwoodOne) and as a member of the company’s board of directors. He previously spent nearly 25 years at Time Inc., where he led the development of digital formats.
New Media Expo and CES Update. “If I were Howard Stern I would go to a subscription podcasting model.” Those were the words of Courtside Entertainment Group and PodcastOne CEO Norm Pattiz speaking at yesterday morning’s keynote address at 2014 New Media Expo (formerly Blogworld). Media consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas reporting for TALKERS magazine and he has more from Pattiz. Also check out his notes from the first day of the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show where he reports back on the new technology that is relevant to the radio and content business. Check it out here.
Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier Host Middays on WJFK-FM, Washington. Speculation that Don Geronimo would re-surface during the day on CBS RADIO’s sports talk WJFK-FM, Washington “106.7 The Fan” have been squelched as the station debuted its new midday show co-hosted by Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier (Geronimo remains with the station hosting the evening show). Rouhier had been working with Holden Kushner during the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm slot previously. Kushner remains with the station hosting weekends and participating in the station’s Washington Nationals coverage. Paulsen has been serving as the station’s Redskins beat reporter for the past four years.
WPRO, Providence Talk Host John DePetro Returns to Air; Critics Remain Steadfast. Providence talk show host John DePetro – host of the late morning show on Cumulus Media’s WPRO, Providence – returned to the air on Monday after being off for the month of December. DePetro and local union leader Maureen Martin – chairwoman of the anti-DePetro organization For Our Daughers RI – appear fated to continue their battle over DePetro’s employment with the station. DePetro recently rankled Martin and other Rhode Island union members after he referred to some of them as “parasites,” “cockroaches,” “hags” and “whores” during a rant about their participation in a protest. DePetro apologized for his choice of words but Martin is not backing off her campaign to oust DePetro from his position via boycott of the station’s advertisers and a petition drive. The latest news in the skirmish is Martin publicly claiming DePetro was accused of sexual assault in 2013. The Providence Journal-operated PolitiFact.com reports that it researched the matter to discover DePetro was accused of sexual harassment in 2012. After connecting with Martin, PolitiFact.com reports the organization changed the date – from 2013 to 2012 – on its petition but has not altered the accusation to harassment. Although harassment is a civil matter and assault is a felony, Martin insists to PolitiFact.com that an unwanted sexual advance is assault, according to the U.S. Department of Justice – which the news organization disputes. Regardless, DePetro appears ready for battle, addressing the issue upon his return Monday saying, “Politicians and unions should not interfere and try to silence public opinion. Period. That’s it…They want to silence the people. The last time I checked, this is still America.”
Comrex Names Raul Hun Latin America Sales Manager. Comrex Corporation announces the appointment of Raul Hun to manage Latin America sales for the company. Hun, a native of Panama, brings over 15 years of experience in providing studio and transmission solutions to broadcasters throughout Central and South America. He most recently worked for the Telos Alliance and Broadcast Electronics. Comrex director of sales Chris Crump comments, “Raul is one of the most well-liked gentlemen in our industry and we are thrilled to have him on our team. The great work that Jim Godfrey has done for us in the region will certainly be strengthened by the strong dealer and customer relationships that Raul has developed over the years in Latin America.”
Review: The Audio Technica AT2005USB Microphone. Whether you record podcasts or take your talk show on the road (or both!), a good portable USB mic is a very handy thing. Talk show host Michael W. Dean offers this thorough review of the Audio Technica AT2005USB mic. He writes, “This would be a great mic for hosts who travel a lot, and don’t want to bring a mixer and a whole bag of gear or an engineer. It’s a regular-sized dynamic mic that sounds fairly amazing. It has a built-in USB interface, and comes with a nifty collapsible tripod table stand and a USB cable. You could fit that all in a netbook case with a small laptop.” For the entire review, pics and a sound sample, click here.
Odds & Sods. Rich Summers is the new operations manager for Townsquare Media’s news/talk KIDO, Boise and its sister sports talk station KFXD “Sports Radio 630 The Fan.” Summers joined the station group as program director of country KAWO…..At Yahoo! Sports Radio, there’s been a lineup change: “Hit ‘Em Up with Geoff Ketchum” moves to the 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET slot and a new afternoon drive program, “Prime Cut featuring Sean Salisbury and John Granato,” launches in the 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET timeslot…..In addition to yesterday’s news that the Clear Channel Media + Entertainment digital audio platform iHeartRadio will be available on some new car entertainment and information systems, the company is promoting the service will soon be available on Qualcomm’s multi-media AllPlay smart media platform, the new AT&T Drive auto platform and others. The announcement was made at day one of the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show.
MSNBC-Romney Controversy, Winter Cold Snap/Global Warming, Kerry’s Iran-Syria Solution, Colorado Pot Law Effects, Chicago Gun Ban Overturned, and SCOTUS Utah Gay Marriage Ruling Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/6). MSNBC’s forced apology after a program aired in which comedians made fun of Mitt Romney’s adopted, African-American grandson; the bitter winter weather affecting much of the United States and the controversy over its cause; criticism over John Kerry’s reaching out to Iran in an effort to solve the civil unrest in Syria; the effects of the new marijuana laws in Colorado; the overturning of Chicago’s ban on the purchase and sale of guns in the city; and the Supreme Court’s overturning of Utah’s gay marriage law were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
TALKERS Magazine Compiles News/Talk Radio’s Most Talked-About Stories and People of 2013. As is customary at year’s end, the research editors of TALKERS magazine compile the most-talked-about stories and people of the just-concluded 12-month period. According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “2013 was an extremely colorful year with a diversity of subjects and people being discussed. There was the usual mix of partisan politics, foreign affairs, economic policy and, of course, the shockingly unexpected such as the Boston Marathon tragedy.” Casey continues, “The President of the United States has always been the most talked about person going back to the very beginning of this publication 24 years ago and George Bush’s involvement in the first Persian Gulf War. Barack Obama, like his predecessors in the modern age of talk broadcasting, has not left talk show hosts wanting for hot material on a daily basis.”
1) ObamaCare Rollout
2) Benghazi Attack Investigation
3) IRS Accused of Targeting Conservative Groups
4) Debt Ceiling/Govt. Shutdown/Sequestration Battle
5) NSA Domestic Spying/Edward Snowden Case
6) Boston Marathon Bombing
7) GOP 2014 and 2016 Strategy
8) Gun Legislation Debate
9) Iran Nuke Threat
10) Syria Civil War
11) Fed Stimulus Policy/Dow Surpasses 16,000
12) DOJ Journalist Investigations
13) Immigration Reform
14) George Zimmerman Trial
15) Afghanistan Security Withdrawl
16) Egypt Violence/Instability
17) N. Korea Nuke Threat
18) Detroit Bankruptcy
19) Pope Francis Replaces Benedict
20) SCOTUS Gay Marriage Ruling
1) Barack Obama
2) John Boehner
3) Nancy Pelosi
4) Harry Reid
5) Hillary Clinton
6) John Kerry
7) Rush Limbaugh
8) Ted Cruz
9) Chris Christie
10) Paul Ryan
11) Kathleen Sebelius
12) Edward Snowden
13) Vladimir Putin
14) George Zimmerman
15) Trayvon Martin
16) Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev
17) Kim Jong Un
18) Pope Francis
19) Ben Bernanke
20) Eric Holder
Radio Industry Sees Major Developments and Changes in 2013. The combined editorial staffs of RadioInfo and TALKERS magazines have posted the 10 biggest stories of importance to the entire radio industry (music and talk) that took place in 2013. They are as follows in order of importance:
1) Nielsen Acquires Arbitron
2) Developments in Emergence of the Connected Car
3) Network Sports Talk Radio Growth Explosion
4) Radio Company-Label Deals/Digital Royalty Rate Issue
5) Cumulus Acquires (Dial Global) WestwoodOne
6) Growth of Digital Music Service Providers
7) Limbaugh and Hannity Station Realignment Deals Negotiated
8) FCC Announces AM Band Revitalization Strategy
9) Progressive Talk Outlets Continue to Disappear
10) Country Music Format Enjoys Resurgence
Industry Mourns WINS, New York Senior Correspondent Stan Brooks. Legendary WINS, New York newsman Stan Brooks passed away yesterday (12/23) at his home at age 86. He’d been serving as senior correspondent for CBS RADIO’s WINS, New York – the station he’d been with for the past 50 years. Brooks started working for the station in 1962 when it was a top 40 station and stayed with it through its transition to all-news. WINS director of news and programming Ben Mevorach says of Brooks, “Like every challenge he has ever faced, Stan met this final one with the same class, dignity and humility that defined every day of his almost 87 years on this earth. There will never be another one like him.” EVP of operations for CBS RADIO Scott Herman adds, “Not only was Stan Brooks a walking encyclopedia on NYC politics he was one of the finest, decent and most dignified men who ever lived. We were lucky to have him on 1010 WINS for the past 51 years and we will never ever forget him.” Read about Brooks’ life and career in a piece from CBS New York here.
JVC Broadcasting Prepares for Launch of ‘Long Island News Radio 103.9’ on Thursday. Long Island-based JVC Broadcasting announces the lineup for its soon-to-be former rock outlet WRCN, Riverhead, New York branded “Long Island News Radio 103.9.” TALKERS reported two weeks ago that the station’s studio will be located in the terminal of the Long Island MacArthur Airports – a physical reminder of the local intentions of this new station for the Long Islanders who use the facility. Now to the lineup: morning drive is being hosted by Jay Oliver; the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show is Fox News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade and Friends; local host John Gomez is handling the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot followed by the local, one-hour show “Breaking it Down with Frank Mackay.” Premiere Networks superstar Sean Hannity is in the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot and Cumulus Media Networks’ Mark Levin airs from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm.
Robby Bowen Upped at CBS RADIO’s ‘105.3 The Fan.’ Sales pro Robby Bowen is promoted to general sales manager for CBS RADIO sports talker KRLD-FM, Dallas “105.3 The FAN.” Bowen joined CBS RADIO Dallas-Fort Worth in February 2005 as an account executive for the station, which was at that time KLLI-FM. During his time there he has served as local sales manager and most recently was senior account director.
Changes in Middays at WJFK-FM, Washington Raise Questions. According to Dan Steinberg’s column in the Washington Post, the midday lineup at CBS RADIO’s sports talk WJFK-FM, Washington, DC is in flux after the station announced Holden Kushner will be moving to other duties including weekends, fill-in and participating in Washington Nationals coverage. Kushner was paired up with Danny Rouhier who reportedly will host the show solo today (12/24) and then be on vacation through December 30. What happens after that is uncertain. The station is expected to announce plans for the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm daypart in the New Year but already the news is cause for speculation. With the arrival of Don Geronimo from the company’s KHTK, Sacramento earlier this fall (currently hosting evenings), DC radio fans are wondering if he’ll return to a daytime show on the station. Geronimo and former partner Mike O’Meara held down afternoon drive at the station when it was a hot talker from 1991 through 2008.
Matt Walsh Exits WLAP, Lexington; Sean Hannity to Air in PM Drive. Writer and talk show host Matt Walsh announces that his contract with Clear Channel’s WLAP, Lexington, Kentucky is up and as the station is filling the afternoon drive slot with Premiere Networks star Sean Hannity, he’s leaving AM/FM talk radio for good. In a post on his blog, Walsh explains that although he has nothing but good things to say about his time at WLAP, he’s going to focus on his blog that he says has “between three and five million people” reading it every month. As for his time at WLAP, he says, “WLAP took a chance on me, gave me a show, gave me the freedom to handle the topics in my own way, and surrounded me with a highly intelligent and passionate supporting cast. I’m grateful for that, as these things are certainly not a given in this industry.”
NAB Acquires Two Events: CCW and SATCON. The National Association of Broadcasters announces it has purchased the assets of the Content and Communications World (CCW) and Satellite Communications Conference and Expo (SATCON) events from JD Events. The two events are held annually in November and are co-located at the Javits Convention Center in New York City. In a press statement, the NAB says that “CCW is the leading media, entertainment and communications technology event of its kind in New York with a focus on content creation, management and delivery technologies. SATCON offers education and exhibits serving companies in the satellite-enabled communications and content delivery industry.” EVP of NAB Conventions and Business Operations Chris Brown comments, “We have made these additions to the NAB event family with the goal of growing both the attendee and exhibitor base of what has emerged as an important East Coast venue for the content community. We look forward to developing this event and serving the unique needs of this very important media market.”
Nieslen Audio December PPM Data Released. The December 2013 PPM ratings data is being released by Nielsen Audio – currently numbers for the first 12 markets have been made public – and that information can be found at the site of TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo. Check out the main page for managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian’s “Ten Takeaways” here or go straight to the full ratings data here.
Odds & Sods. Premiere Networks-distributed 24/7 Comedy – the 24-hour, all-comedy format – will ring in the New Year with a countdown of the top 247 comedy bits from the top 247 comedians. The program is compiled by staff and listeners who voted on 24/7 Comedy’s Facebook page or called the laugh-line at 218-Chuckle. The countdown will air nationwide all day New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day and will feature Chris Rock, Louis C.K., Bill Cosby, George Carlin, Aziz Ansari, Bill Engvall, Jerry Seinfeld and Rodney Dangerfield…..KFMB, San Diego weekend program “It’s Your Money and Your Life” picked up three first place awards from the San Diego Press Club for “Excellence in Journalism.” The show currently originates from La Jolla’s prestigious La Valencia Hotel and airs Saturdays from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm, hosted by Richard Muscio (left) and Joe Vecchio (right).
New York Losing Progressive Talk Outlet WWRL. Progressive talk host Karel – whose Long Beach, California-based talk show is heard on Access.1’s WWRL, New York – reports the station says it will flip to Spanish-language programming on December 27. The station airs progressive talk programming including Ed Schultz, Thom Hartmann, Premiere’s Randi Rhodes, and Leslie Marshall as well as non-political shows including Radio America’s Dr. Joy Browne, WYD Media’s Phil Hendrie plus various health and wellness shows. New York’s Amsterdam News reports the station is telling employees “low advertising revenue” is the reason for the format flip.
Brown Boosted to Bonneville International President. KSL Broadcast Group president Darrell Brown is promoted to president of parent company Bonneville International. Brown will oversee Bonneville’s 12 radio properties in Los Angeles, Seattle, Phoenix, and Salt Lake City, as well as Salt Lake City television outlet KSL-TV. ”Bonneville International is known across the industry for its integrity and quality,” he comments. “As a group, these stations are committed to serving and building-up their local communities. I am honored to be part of Bonneville’s legacy.” Brown joined KSL last August, after having previously spent 28 years at McGraw-Hill Broadcasting.
Sports Talker WFAN, New York Sponsors Red Hot Chili Peppers-Headlines Show at Barclay Center. With the Super Bowl just across the river the next day, CBS Radio sports talk giant WFAN, New York is sponsoring a big event across the other river at the Barclays Center titled, “WFAN’s Big Hello to Brooklyn.” The announcement was made this morning as WFAN morning team Boomer Esiason (left) and Craig Carton (right) welcomed Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith (center) into the studio and announced his band will be headlining the show on Saturday, February 1, 2014. The concert will also include: New Politics, MS MR, J. Roddy Walston & The Business, and Basic Vacation. CBS calls it “the biggest weekend in sports and entertainment, and is the exciting conclusion to Barclays Center’s “Kickoff In Brooklyn” series which also includes championship boxing (1/30/2014) and a match-up between the Brooklyn Nets and the Oklahoma City Thunder (1/31/2014). CBS Radio SVP, strategic events and partnerships Amy Stevens says, “The intersection of sports and music is never bigger than during the weekend of the Super Bowl. Red Hot Chili Peppers are an American institution and rock ‘n’roll icons, and what better way to celebrate football’s championship than with this incredible lineup of artists for local fans and the thousands in New York from around the world.”
WFAN’s Mike Francesa to Exit YES Network. The New York TV simulcast of WFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa will end on January 31 after the current contract expires and WEPN-FM afternoon drive host Michael Kay’s program will take over the time slot on the Yankees-owned cable channel. The New York Daily News reports that the change was a financial matter and that CBS Radio was asking more for the rights to the program than YES wanted to pay. The Daily News piece speculates that cable’s Madison Square Garden Network may have the “inside track” with Francesa as he’s considered close to Garden management. The story also notes that fledgling cable channel CBS Sports Network, which is airing WFAN’s Boomer & Carton morning show, is not enticing to Francesa because he fears he’d have to change his content to appeal to the national audience.
Steak Added to WCNN Menu. In addition to existing members Sandra Golden and Brian Finneran, “The Front Row” on Dickey Broadcasting, Atlanta’s WCNN “Sports Radio 680 The Fan” will be comprised of Stephen “Steak” Shapiro as well. Formerly the 17-year host of “Mayhem in the AM” on Lincoln Financial Media’s crosstown WQXI “790 The Zone,” Shapiro has won numerous Georgia broadcasting awards and starts his daily 9:00 am – 12:00 noon assignment on January 2. WCNN president/general manager David Dickey comments, “I am excited to have ‘Steak’ back on ‘The Fan.’ He is one of the best-known and most-talented sports personalities in the country. ’Steak’ will become an important part of what is already the region’s biggest and most-experienced sports-talk line-up. His homecoming is yet another example of Dickey Broadcasting’s ongoing commitment to invest in the best talent, the best content and the biggest partnerships.” Shapiro, who replaces Ray Mariner, adds, “‘The Fan’ gave me my start and is the reason I moved to Atlanta [from Boston] almost 20 years ago. I am ecstatic to be back doing what I love. ’The Fan’ has been the number one sports talk station in the south for so many years. To be able to be a part of such a winning team with so many folks I have worked alongside in the past and consider friends is really thrilling.” Shapiro founded Big League Broadcasting in 1997 and was its president for roughly 14 years.
Dare to be Crap-Free. When it comes to online content, it’s easy to think you have a staffing problem or a time management problem or a resources problem, when what you really have is a crap problem. In a new column posted today (12/16) by noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, he writes, “There’s stuff on your site that is irrelevant to your station and is keeping people from finding what they DO want to find there. Your social media is probably influenced more by what everyone else is doing in social media, rather than what will cause your biggest fans to love you all the more.” To read how Chris Miller can help you get crap-free and focused on results for 2014, please click here.
Odds & Sods. Connecticut talk show host Mary Jones announces she’ll retire from Buckley Broadcasting-owned news/talk station WDRC-AM, Hartford as of December 23 in order to spend more time with her husband and enjoy winters in Florida. Jones tells TALKERS it was a big decision but she is excited about the change….. WMAL-AM/FM, Washington “Mornings on the Mall” co-host Larry O’Connor is doing some double duty during the holiday season. O’Connor will sub for WABC, New York-based Geraldo Rivera beginning December 20 through the end of the year (and the end of his national syndication run) and will also sit in for WestwoodOne-syndicated personality Dennis Miller on January 2 and 3 – the last two days of his 10:00 am to 1:00 pm airing (the show begins airing from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm on 1/6)…..“Libertarian-conservative” media personality Wayne Allyn Root will be guest host on Cumulus Media Networks’ “Savage Nation” with Michael Savage from December 23 – 30. Root is author of The Ultimate Obama Survival Guide (Regnery 2013) and serves as a commentator on Fox News Channel and TheBlaze.
KSCO, Santa Cruz Personality Ethan Bearman’s Profile Rising. Talk radio personality and writer Ethan Bearman is getting more recognition in the Santa Cruz market as his locally focused talk show on Zwerling-owned KSCO, Santa Cruz grows in popularity. Recently, Bearman was a go-to media voice for a KION-TV news piece (captured here) on the anniversary of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. View that video here. Also, Bearman, who has intensely covered the hot issue of dirty needles, trash and other refuse in the town’s parks that’s making it unsafe for people to use, was part of a clean-up crew that made the news for its work. Read about that issue in a piece in the Santa Cruz Patch here. Bearman is a visible example of a growing trend in news/talk radio in which talk hosts are eschewing monolithic political party doctrine and instead are approaching their programs on an issue-by-issue basis.
Hawkins Scores With CRN Special. Over the weekend (Saturday, 12/14), former NBA player Tommy Hawkins premiered his CRN Digital Talk Radio holiday special “We Wish You a Jazzy Christmas.” According to CRN chief executive officer Michael Horn, “‘We Wish You a Jazzy Christmas’ is filled with holiday-themed jazz music, along with Tommy’s infectious, warm personality. His love of jazz and the holidays combine for such a treat. It is the perfect accompaniment for an evening by a Christmas tree.” Following a standout collegiate career at Notre Dame (where he was a two-year All-American), Hawkins went on to play in the NBA for the Los Angeles Lakers and Cincinnati Royals (now the Sacramento Kings). He later became vice president of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. For approximately 15 years beginning in 1970, “Hawk” was a staple on Los Angeles siblings KABC and KLOS. As part of his basketball-to-broadcasting transition Hawkins not only became KABC’s sports director, he also did “Sports Snorts” weekday mornings with remarkably talented Frazer Smith on KLOS. In addition to doing weekends on KKJZ “K-Jazz,” Los Angeles, Hawkins has written “Life’s Reflections: Poetry for the People.” His CRN special will play throughout the holiday season.
Over $120,000 Raised in KFXX Special Olympics Radio-thon. Entercom-owned sports outlet KFXX “1080 The Fan” afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) hosts Isaac Ropp (pictured here at left with some female fans) and Jason Scukanec (second from right) anchored the third annual 28-hour Special Olympics Oregon radio-thon, which brought in more than $120,000. Program director Jeff Austin comments, “We are proud to partner with Special Olympics Oregon. The overwhelming support of our station’s staff, our listeners, and advertisers was a testament to the bond Isaac and Suke have with their audience.” Scukanec (“Suke”) states, “We cannot thank our listeners enough – Portland is a special community and this is a very special cause. We talk about sports and high-powered athletes every day, but these Olympians are the real athletes. They are the real champions and we are privileged to honor their spirit and dedication.” Special Olympics Oregon chief development officer Kim Bergstrom adds, “We are honored to partner with [KFXX]. Isaac and Suke’s radio-thon helps raise funds to support year-round sports training and competition opportunities for thousands of individuals with intellectual disability. In addition, they generate immeasurable awareness of the importance of Special Olympics Oregon programs for athletes and their families.” This year’s $120,000 radio-thon total surpassed last year’s mark by more than $45,000.
Broadcast Electronics Bumps Up Bealor To President. Effective immediately, Broadcast Electronics executive vice president of product development Tim Bealor is upped to president of the Quincy, Illinois-based company. ”I am honored to be asked to lead BE into its 55th year and the next phase of the company’s growth,” he comments. ”Next year is going to be an exciting time for Broadcast Electronics and its customers.” Bealor began his Broadcast Electronics career as a technician in 1975. Over the past 38 years, he has held a variety of technical, support, product management, sales leadership, and marketing positions with the company.
Clear Channel Goes with DC-Based Elliot Segal for WOR, New York Morning Show. In announcing its new program schedule for news/talk WOR, New York (which includes the Arrival of Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity), Clear Channel Media + Entertainment throws a curveball to industry watchers and names “DC101” morning drive host Elliot Segal the new morning drive show, replacing the retiring John Gambling. The “Elliot in the Morning” show will continue to air on Clear Channel’s rock WWDC as well as rock WRXL, Richmond “XL 102.” Segal says, “I’m excited to be coming back to New York, to a station with such a legendary history. We have built something very special in Washington, DC and Richmond and I’m beyond thrilled that the show will continue airing on DC/101 and XL-102. Now, WOR will be home to ‘Elliot In The Morning’ and I couldn’t be more anxious to get going.” This move is particularly significant because it is the first time in recent memory that a major market heritage AM news/talk station will be carrying the same show that is running on a major market heritage FM music station. Although there is nothing new about major FM music stations running talk (or talk-oriented) programs in their lineups (usually in morning drive), this move marks a significant breakthrough in mixing the cultures within a single outlet’s stationality. The implications of this, should it be successful, will be huge. Clear Channel notes Mark Simone follows Segal from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. After that it’s Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Andy Dean and Dave Ramsey. Joan Hamburg – a longtime WOR personality – moves to weekends with programs airing on both Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. President and market manager Joe Puglise states, “This is an incredibly exciting time for WOR. Bringing America’s top two talk show hosts to our lineup, the entertaining Elliot Segal and his team to the mornings and becoming the flagship station for the Mets will allow us to create unprecedented marketing opportunities for our partners and unbeatable programming for our listeners.”
John DePetro Apologizes for ‘Whores’ Comment. WPRO, Providence late morning talk show host John DePetro has issued an apology for calling union protestors “whores.” This latest development comes less than a week after TALKERS reported that DePetro had filed a police complaint stating two men had threatened him outside the WPRO studios because of the comment. Back in September, DePetro railed against the union-supported protest taking place outside a fundraiser for State General Treasurer Gina Raimondo. During that broadcast he reportedly directed his words toward a female union leader, saying, “What a disgrace. You are an embarrassment…You are parasites. You are cockroaches. You lie. You are union hags. There’s another word I’d like to use…it begins with a W. and an H. and an O. and an R. and an E. and an S. See if they can spell that.” DePetro was off his program last week and the Associate Press reports it’s unclear if his absence had anything to do with the remarks. Still, he called into his own program and told listeners, “The language I used was not in keeping with the family friendly atmosphere that I try to maintain for the thousands of people who listen to me. Going forward I intend to approach debates on the current topics that we talk about in a more sensitive style.”
Saunders Begins Daily Talk Show. WBNQ, Bloomington, Illinois morning drive host Susan Saunders is adding a daily talk show on sister station news/talk WJBC-AM/FM. Saunders leads the CHR morning show alongside Ray Wagner. Now, she’s adding a two-hour 9:00 am to 11:00 am talk program to her duties at the Cumulus Media cluster. She says, “It’s official, and I couldn’t be more excited about joining the legendary, Marconi- and Crystal Award-winning staff of WJBC-AM/FM. After 15 years (on the morning show), it was time to expand my horizons into pure form talk radio. Over the last four months I have been auditioning my non-musical style with WJBC’s audience, and it works!”
Beasley Declares Cash Dividend for Share Holders. The dividend will be paid on January 10 to shareholders of record on December 27 and will pay $0.045 per share. Chairman and CEO Geroge Beasley states, “The re-initiation of a regular cash dividend reflects the free cash flow generated by our operations as well as our commitment to deliver value to our shareholders, and follows the one-time special dividend of $0.085 paid to shareholders in December 2012. Importantly, taking into consideration the proposed annual capital allocated to dividend payments, based on current conditions we believe Beasley Broadcast Group‘s total free cash flow should provide us with the liquidity needed to further reduce leverage, consider potential station acquisitions and to enhance long-term shareholder value.”
Flora and DeLucca Join Clear Channel, Phoenix as GSMs. Coming onboard effective immediately as general sales managers are George Flora and Libia DeLucca. Flora will oversee sales operations for Clear Channel, Phoenix outlets KFYI “Newstalk 550,” KOY “Business 1230,” and KGME “Fox Sports Radio 910.” In addition to her GSM duties, DeLucca will assist with brand manager responsibilities for the cluster’s rhythmic hot AC KYOT “Eva 95.5.” Clear Channel Phoenix vice president of sales Linda Little states, “George Flora is the perfect addition to our sales management team. He will add a wealth of knowledge and experience in driving revenue and creating solutions for clients utilizing our spoken-word brands. Libia brings with her years of experience selling integrated marketing solutions with digital, newspaper, and TV assets in Phoenix. I know she will take her team to new levels as they become even stronger digital marketers for their clients.” Prior to the six years he just spent at ESPN Los Angeles, Flora was with CBS Radio Los Angeles for 12 years. DeLucca had a 14-year run with Gannett Media Phoenix – most recently as digital sales manager.
Yankees Add Syracuse’s Rock “TK 99″ to its Radio Network. Galaxy Communications, Syracuse classic rocker WTKW “TK 99″ signs a multi-year agreement with CBS Radio to air all 162 regular season games of the NY Yankees beginning with the 2014 season. Galaxy Communications president/chief executive officer Ed Levine remarks, “We intend to go far beyond just broadcasting the games on the radio in Syracuse. We’re going to enhance the experience for Yankee fans in Central New York in a myriad of innovative ways.” CBS Radio vice president of sports programming Mark Chernoff comments, “CBS Radio and the New York Yankees are very excited to be partnering with ‘TK 99′ and Galaxy. They have shown a great ability through their work with Syracuse University athletics to enhance what is already a strong presence in Syracuse. We look forward to that continuing with the Yankees.” In April 2007, WTKW became the flagship play-by-play outlet of Syracuse University men’s football, men’s basketball, and men’s lacrosse games.
KIRO-FM’s Twelve-Hour Fundraiser Collects More Than $489,000. Local foster children will be aided by money amassed through listener donations and sponsor matching funds via the Bonneville Seattle talk outlet’s 7:00 am – 7:00 pm radio-thon last Thursday (12/5). KIRO-FM conducted the annual “Holiday Magic” on-air event in conjunction with Treehouse, a nonprofit organization addressing essential education and enrichment needs of kids in foster care. Bonneville Seattle Media Group vice president/market manager Carl Gardner comments, “Again this year, our community has dug deep to support foster children. Treehouse does a tremendous job of strengthening foster families and helping children realize their full potential. It is a joy and privilege to connect our generous audience with good neighbors who just need a little help.” Treehouse chief executive officer Janis Avery remarks, “We are absolutely thrilled with the success of the 25th ‘Holiday Magic’ radio-thon. We are so grateful to the KIRO radio team and listeners for once again helping Treehouse give 6,000 kids in foster care across Washington State happy holidays.” Founded in 1988, Treehouse recently set a goal that, by 2017, King County foster kids will graduate high school at the rate of their peers. Major community contributors to the KIRO-FM radio-thon included Carter Subaru, Safeway Foundation, and GEICO.
WMAL-AM/FM, Washington Helps Raise $330k-plus for Fisher House Foundation. WMAL-AM/FM, Washington program director Bill Hess tells TALKERS magazine that it was a big weekend for the Cumulus Media station and its listeners as the 10th Annual Fisher House Radiothon raised $330,630 for the charity that helps provide housing for the loved ones of U.S. servicemen and women begin treated for injuries suffered in the line of duty. Hess calls it an “incredible response by our wonderful WMAL listeners” and reports that this year’s total beat last year’s total by $40,000 and the 2011 total by $75,000. The two-day radiothon was anchored by morning hosts Brian Wilson and Larry O’Connor, along with midday host Chris Plante and weekender Rick Fowler.
Beasley Las Vegas Holiday Bash. The Beasley Broadcast Group Las Vegas cluster took time over the weekend to get together for a holiday party at the Blue Martini. Pictured here (from l-r) are: Beasley Las Vegas VP of programming Justin Chase, corporate VP of operations Brian Beasley, Beasley Las Vegas general manager Tom Humm, KDWN talk show host Alan Stock, KDWN and syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs, and KDWN program and news director John Shaffer.
Rumor: Anthony Weiner to Try Talk Radio. Here we go again! Another disgraced politician – this time it’s former congressman and former NYC mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner – is rumored to be in the running for a talk show on one of two New York City radio signals. The New York Daily News is reporting that sources say Weiner is in talks to begin hosting a show on either Cumulus Media’s WABC (where the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot is opening in the New Year) or on Clear Channel’s WOR. WABC operations manager Tony Mascaro tells the paper they are looking at a lot of candidates for the slot but denies Weiner is one of them. The track record of former politicians – especially disgraced ones – succeeding in talk radio is not good. Most managers and programmers are either aware – or find out very quickly – that the tradeoff for hiring such a person is not usually worth it. Yes, one gets instant recognition of the person from the public, but the long hours, challenging work, glamorless working conditions and time needed to get traction in the ratings usually turns off former pols who are used to a different sort of workday. Oh, and then there’s the fact that they almost always have no broadcasting skills whatsoever. Stay tuned, the Weiner-watch is on!
Cumulus Media Holdings to Refinance $2.23 Billion in Debt. According to a Reuters report, Cumulus Media Holdings has set terms on a new $2.23 billion loan that would serve to reduce its interest payments over the course of the loan. The company is marketing a $200 million, five-year revolver and a $2.025 billion, seven-year, first-lien term loan. The proceeds would refinance Cumulus’ current first- and second-lien loans. Moody’s Investor Services VP and senior credit officer Carl Salas is quoted saying, “It’s a meaningful improvement in their annual debt service. They will save upwards of $30 million to $35 million in interest costs which adds nicely to their free cash flow generation.”
CBS Radio’s WJFK, Washington Hears It from Redskins About Game Broadcast Parodies. NFL fans are aware that the Washington Redskins – owned by the litigious and sensitive Dan Snyder – are having a tough season (3-9 right now) after making the playoffs last year. That’s been the source of much frustration on the part of fans and the source of material for WJFK host Danny Rouhier and producer Ajay Atayee who’ve been producing bits that are mock-ups of game broadcasts. Rouhier does the voices of Redskins radio play-by-play announcers Larry Michael and Sonny Jurgensen and splices in actual drops of color man and former ‘Skin Chris Cooley. The hysterically funny bits have been critical of the team’s play, the fan experience at FedEx Field and Snyder’s public image, so much so that, according to the Washington Post, WJFK Redskins beat reporter Grant Paulsen was told by team spokesman Tony Wyllie that the bits are so malicious that they could prompt legal action. This may be water under the bridge since the Post reports Wyllie says after talking with the station and being assured it’s all in good fun, the team has no problem with the station’s content. Since the station has no intention of stopping Rouhier from producing more similarly themed bits, we’ll see how the rest of the season plays out.
KYSR, Los Angeles Morning Personality Kennedy to Host Fox Business Net Show. Former MTV VJ and current morning drive host at Clear Channel’s alternative KYSR, Los Angeles, Lisa Kennedy Montgomery, will begin a new nightly current events talk show on Fox Business Network titled “The Independents” that will premiere on Monday, December 9. The Hollywood Reporter states that Kennedy will co-host with Reason magazine’s Matt Welch, America’s Future Foundation’s Kmele Foster and a rotating panel of money experts. Kennedy herself writes on her KYSR blog that the show will be “aimed at all the mealy-mouthed, partisan faithful out there. Has the 2 party system totally failed you? Yeah, me too! Tune in 4 nights a week on FBN, and just remember, music and politics go hand in hand. I will always hold hands with you.” Kennedy has been a contributor to FBN making regular appearances on “Stossel.”
Vali Named Interim GM of Ohana Broadcast, Hawaii. The name Austin Vali is widely-known in Hawaii radio and, as Ohana Broadcast Company‘s interim general manager, he will oversee four Oahu stations and five Kauai facilities. Owner/president Jason Wolff comments, “Austin brings a wealth of experience, knowledge, and relationships in the Honolulu market. He will be a tremendous asset as we strive to produce the best possible radio for our listeners and clients.” Recently, Vali was vice president/general manager of Cox Media Group‘s three-station Long Island cluster. During his 40-year radio career, he has worked in Pittsburgh, Norfolk, and Louisville; however, Vali is perhaps best known for his experience in Hawaii. Since arriving there in 1978, he worked at Honolulu’s KIKI and KQMQ and he co-owned KRTR-FM and KXME in that market.
PodcastOne Adds Mariel Hemingway Program to Stable. Titled after her best-selling book Running with Nature, actress and author Mariel Hemingway, along with her partner, stuntman, actor, health and wellness expert, Bobby Williams, are launching their new podcast via PodcastOne. The podcast invites listeners to “join them on their adventures; from Hollywood to Holistic healing…transforming relationships to finding the most meaningful ways of living every day, Mariel and Bobby are here bringing laughter, wonder and awe with some great advice.” The first podcast episode “features nutrition tips, a review of her just released documentary called ‘Running from Crazy,’ and exercise tips from Bobby and Mariel’s ‘Meditation Moment.’” PodcastOne COO Greg Batusic says, “Mariel and Bobby offer a refreshing and unique take on life that their fans and new listeners will surely benefit from. We’re happy to have them join our stellar lineup.”
WTOP, Washington’s Bob Madigan to Retire. Drive time news anchor Bob Madigan will retire from his position at Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington, DC at the end of the year. Outgoing vice president of news and programming Jim Farley (also retiring, see next story) says in a memo to his DC staff, “Bob has been in this crazy business of ours for 50 years, 20 of them here at WTOP and WASH when both stations were co-owned. He and I worked for 11 years at NBC News….I have been inflicted on Bob for 27 of his 50 years in the business. By the way, if you are wondering how he got in 50 years ago, he started working in radio during high school.” Farley goes on to say that as WTOP’s “Man About Town,” he “was a one-person ‘good news’ department covering everything from charity galas to scholarship awards and chili cook-offs for a good cause. Bob covered so many events, that in less than a year on the beat, he was emcee, announcer or celebrity judge at many of them. He became a one-man marketing machine for WTOP, getting our name out there in a positive way that was priceless! He was chosen to announce the Inaugural Parade along Pennsylvania Avenue for both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. At the Bush Inaugural Parade he was paired with…Meat Loaf. For years he announced the start of the Race for the Cure live on WTOP. He has a long, long list of awards and honors including a (rare for a journalist) RAMMY Award, “The Duke Zeibert Capital Achievement Award.” RAMMY’s are awarded by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington.
A Farewell to Jim Farley. Radio consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke (right) poses for a selfie with outgoing vice president of news and programming Jim Farley at a retirement bash for the longtime WTOP, Washington programmer at the Newseum in Washington, DC. After 17 years with the station, Farley is “slowing down but not retiring” as he’ll step down from his current post but consult WTOP for the next two years. He’s also open to consult others with their news and/or digital strategies. Current WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo is stepping into the post at year’s end. Cooke reports that modern-day WTOP-ers, Hubbard execs and many alumni toasted Farley at the bash. Among other things said at the farewell party, Farley told staffers, “What a crowd! YOU did it. YOU GUYS do all the heavy lifting, and I got all the credit. I’m gettin’ out before they catch me.”
Good Fences Make Good Neighbors. Usually that’s the case but at the Entercom AM transmitter site in Westwood, Kansas, just how a good fence is defined appears to be the issue. The towers for KMBZ and KUDL are surrounded by residential neighborhoods – that wasn’t the case in the 1930s when the towers went up. According to the Prairie Village Post, now neighbors are challenging the renewal of Entercom’s special use permit for the site claiming they want improvements there. After meeting with residents, a plan commission sub-committee is suggesting the current chain-link fence with barbed wire makes the property look “blighted” and recommends removal of the perimeter fence and replacement with fencing that complies with current code. Entercom fears liability issues without a perimeter fence. In 2008, a trespassing teenager was killed after falling from a tower on the site. Expect some sort of compromise on this issue since moving the station towers would be very difficult yet protection of the transmitters and towers needs to continue for obvious reasons.
Credit to WJFK-FM, Washington’s “Junkies” for Nabbing Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Segment. He’s been one of the hot talk radio topics for the past several weeks (as documented in TALKERS magazine’s weekly top topics chart The Talkers TenTM), so why not book him as a guest? CBS Radio’s “The Junkies” did just that and got a cool 25-minute segment with Toronto Mayor Rob Ford on WJFK-FM, Washington today. Ford, who’s obviously been in the news a bit lately and doesn’t seem to be very mic-shy, talked with the Junkies about football (he offered his NFL picks for the week), the drug use allegations against him, President Obama, and his run for re-election next fall (which he says he’ll win because he has the support of the people).
Odds & Sods. Entercom’s KGMZ, San Francisco is preparing to begin a listener giveaway of tickets and cool memorabilia for its six area pro sports teams. “95.7 The Game” is calling the promotion “The Six Teams of Christmas” and will give listeners a chance to win game ticket packages to see the Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, San Francisco Giants, Oakland As, Golden State Warriors and San Jose Sharks…..CBS Radio’s New York stations (including sports WFAN-AM/FM and all-news WINS and WCBS) are announcing a new promotion: The Firehouse Chili Cook-Off. After entries were submitted from all across the tri-state area, semi-finalists will compete to see whose chili recipe reigns supreme. At establishments in New Jersey and New York, the staple food of firefighters will be cooked, tasted and judged by local sports figures, and one fire company at each event will move into the final round of the competition. The grand prize winner will receive VIP tickets to a 2014 New York Yankees game…..Entercom’s Boston Red Sox flagship WEEI, Boston is broadcasting from the MLB Winter Meetings in Orlando next week. Live coverage of the meetings will begin with Salk & Holley from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm Monday through Wednesday. The Mut & Merloni show will also originate from the Swan and Dolphin Resort from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm Tuesday through Thursday.
Holiday Magic at KIRO-FM, Seattle. Pictured here is KIRO-FM, Seattle afternoon drive duo Ron & Don manning the tote board at last year’s “Holiday Magic Radiothon.” The Bonneville news/talk station, in partnership with Treehouse (a non-profit agency that ensures that kids in foster care have access to the essential services required to help them make it to high school graduation and beyond), are hosting the 25th Annual Foster Child Holiday Magic Radiothon today. The station set a record last year raising more than $500,000. The 12-hour “Holiday Magic Radiothon” helps local foster kids by raising money to provide each child in the program with one significant holiday gift along with support programs and services throughout the year.
Rusty Humphries on the Set in Bucharest. That’s talk show host and actor Rusty Humphries (left) with actor Michael Damian (right) on location in Bucharest, Romania on the set of the romantic comedy Love By Design. Humphries says he plays a reporter covering a big fashion show in New York City. He notes that Bucharest is a popular location to shoot NYC scenes since it can be made to look like the streets of New York and the production costs are much less. The movie also stars Jane Seymour. Humphries was in Bucharest for seven days filming. He tells TALKERS, “I had a blast. I love the fact that I’m having the opportunity to really live out my dreams: radio, TV and film. This is my third major motion picture, and it’s always an honor to be involved with a project as special as this.”
ObamaCare Criticism, NSA Cell Location Database, Obama Millennial Support Diminishing, Detroit Bankruptcy, Bashir Resignation, and Fast Food Minimum Wage Effort Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/5). Analysis of the implementation and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the NSA policy that reportedly gathers the location of cell phone users; the loss of support from Millennials for President Obama; the Detroit bankruptcy case ruling; Martin Bashir’s resignation from MSNBC after his Sarah Palin comments; and the move by organized labor to push for a national minimum wage for fast food workers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Eyes (and Ears!) on News/Talk Radio as Recent Ratings Trends Spur Criticism. As the September PPM data continues to roll out, industry watchers and mainstream media writers and analysts are scrutinizing talk radio’s numbers – as well as its programming. Citing a perceived slow-but-steady decline in ratings for the news/talk format in general, critics are wondering if the political “right-versus-left” programming philosophy has become tiresome to all but the staunchest news/talk radio fans and is resulting in the generally lower numbers in Nielsen Audio’s PPM and diary ratings. Some high-profile cases have been cited, including KFI, Los Angeles’ decline in 6+ PPM ratings over the past year from being one of the country’s best-performing news/talk stations in one of America’s most vibrant markets. Just today (10/2), Chicago media writer Robert Feder writes about the state of Cumulus Media’s WLS, Chicago and its declining place in the ratings race. The reasons for the states of these stations are open to analysis – including, but not limited to, the possibility that Nielsen Audio’s PPM methodology is less than perfect – and could easily vary from market to market. When talking ratings, what are usually not included in the recent criticism of news/talk as a format are: the #1 showing for Cox Media’s WSB-AM, Atlanta (which carries the oft-maligned Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity); Cumulus’ WMAL, Washington’s rise in the September PPM; CBS Radio’s high-flying KMOX, St. Louis; Bonneville’s steady-performing KIRO-FM, Seattle; Cox’s WOKV, Jacksonville; and the two Milwaukee news/talk outlets that have consistently performed as two of the top six stations over the last year – Clear Channel’s WISN and Journal’s WTMJ. Constant awareness and analysis of the sound and perception of one’s stations are the hallmarks of good operators and effective programmers should care about how the format is perceived. But discovering what’s “wrong” with a format or a station is not easy and not always possible given the limited information available. In the words of TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “The first people out there ready to proclaim news/talk radio as being dead are usually people who see the world primarily through a political lens who disagree with the ideology of the hosts they dislike. Political news/talk radio is cyclical and will always come back from the brink when there’s inevitably a new chapter in contemporary issues. Regardless, the good thing that hopefully will come out of this ratings down-tick will be some of the major operators giving consideration to different forms of talk and even news/talk that are just being ignored. There are so many potential ways of doing ‘talk radio’ it is crazy for so many stations to bunch up around one predominant style. Everyone should spread out and claim and develop new territory on the spectrum of possibilities.” This topic will be one of those addressed at the Talkers Los Angeles 2013 conference taking place next Thursday, October 10 at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood.
Nielsen Begins Synergies; Sean Creamer and Debra Delman to Exit Ratings Giant. Nielsen responded quickly to TALKERS last week after we reported that the “$20 million in synergies” the company hopes to realize with the acquisition of the former Arbitron would cost jobs. The company stated it had “no plans to reduce headcount at this time.” Perhaps that applies to the rank and file and not the executive strata because it’s now being reported that former Arbitron CEO Sean Creamer and CFO Debra Delman will leave Nielsen at the end of the year. Though Nielsen has not released a statement about the changes, it’s expected that other executives may also be headed for the door. Both Creamer, Delman and most of the other high-level execs who might follow the two have clauses in their contracts that will give them very nice golden parachutes. Creamer could realize almost $7 million in total compensation and Delman’s take is just shy of $2 million.
ESPN Deportes Radio Extends NFL Deal. Sports giant ESPN reports that its ESPN Deportes Radio unit has reached a new multi-year agreement for media rights to the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 National Football League seasons. Under the agreement, the network will have exclusive Spanish-language rights to Monday Night Football, the 2013-2014 National Football Conference Playoffs, the 2014 Super Bowl, 2015 Pro Bowl and the 2014-2015 American Football Conference Playoffs. ESPN Deportes Radio general manager Oscar Ramos says, “We’re incredibly excited to add NFL to our diverse roster of programming. U.S. Hispanics are becoming avid NFL fans and this new deal allows us to deliver the content they want in the language they prefer.”
MEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Diane Warren and Jean Robinson - MMTC Media Brokers (run by Bounceology). In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media brokers Diane Warren and Jean Robinson of MMTC Media Brokers (run by Bounceology) located in San Antonio, Texas. MMTC Media Brokers specializes in locating properties and selling them to potential minority, multicultural and women buyers. In addition to telling their fascinating story, they share several outstanding opportunities that they have among their listings that would be of interest to first-time buyers. To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.
CNBC’s Jim Cramer Featured on SiriusXM ‘Town Hall.’ CNBC “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer (left) recently took part in SiriusXM’s “Town Hall” series for a Q&A with SiriusXM personality Pete Dominick (right). The program will be aired on Friday, October 4 on its Indie channel. The conversation – which took place before an audience of SiriusXM listeners – covered financial markets, fiscal trends, the economic state of the nation, and the story of Cramer’s personal road from hedge fund manager to popular CNBC host. Dominick is a stand-up comedian who has opened up for Cramer on his “Mad Money Back to School Tour.”
Two Weeks in a Kennel Reaps Rewards for KIDO’s Kevin Miller. KIDO, Boise morning drive host Kevin Miller (right) is pictured here with ASPCA senior director Tami McReynolds (left) and Canyon County Animal Shelter director Barb Hutchinson (center) showing off the check for $35,000 the CCAS received after Miller helped get more than 300 animals adopted. To achieve that and win the $35,000 prize, Miller spent two weeks living in a makeshift kennel from which he broadcast his morning program. The contest is national in scope and – with Miller’s help – the CCAS is the only shelter to win the prize twice.
Government Shutdown, ObamaCare Enrollment Begins, Scrapped Hillary Clinton Programs, U.S.-Iran Relations, and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/1). The battle between the GOP and the Obama Administration and the government shutdown; the enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act begins; two television projects on the life of Hillary Clinton are scrapped; possible diplomatic relations between Iran and the U.S. and the former’s nuclear program; and the effects of the government shutdown on the U.S. financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Dial Global Changes Name to WestwoodOne. Making good on what had been rumored for a little more than a week, Dial Global, as it prepares to be acquired by Cumulus Media, announces the official change of its name to WestwoodOne (complete with cool, new logo). CEO Paul Caine states, “We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished as Dial Global. Through our belief in the power of sound we are dedicated to continuously reinventing the industry and creating the most dynamic audio programming that connects people to their passions. With the audio industry’s ever-changing landscape we know we’ve just scratched the surface of what’s possible for audio’s broad consumption. By reclaiming and reviving an iconic audio brand name, we are not changing who we are, but accelerating the great work we are doing to contribute to the growth of audio.” In addition to the name change, the company reports it is commissioning “an industry study on the ‘power of sound,’ aimed at better understanding consumers, their behavior, and their interaction with audio. The study builds on current recency data proving radio as the most-used medium closest to point-of-purchase and will explore trends in audio consumption based on behavioral tendencies among various demographics.” The company says full study results are expected to be released in the fourth quarter of 2013 but states that preliminary findings further the notion that audio is an integral part of the new media landscape.
TRN’s Jerry Doyle Launches ‘Solution-Based News Destination’ EpicTimes.com. Nationally syndicated talk show host Jerry Doyle – a former actor, voice-over artist, Wall Street trader and pilot, says he credits his varied background with instilling in him the obvious and growing need for a solution-based news community. The Talk Radio Network personality is therefore launching his newest media endeavor, EpicTimes.com – what he calls “a solution-based news destination dedicated to putting cutting-edge news, resources, and answers in the hands of the public.” He adds, “EpicTimes.com seeks to deliver insight from some of the most influential voices of our time, spanning a variety of expertise to share solution-based ideas and insights with a community that is focused on problem solving and results.” Doyle says that to serve the knowledge of his online audience, he has assembled a diverse cast of contributors, whose collective goal is to offer clear insights into a range of issues, combined with hard-hitting commentaries and workable solutions to the issues that directly affect our lives. “This unique view on the issues and news headlines is geared toward building an active community on the site. All opinions are heard and commentary between readers and contributors and readers to readers is encouraged. That kind of honest conversation is just what I believe people want. My goal is for EpicTimes.com to not just publish relevant news, but to become a solutions community.” Check out EpicTimes.com here.
Katz Radio Group Names Mark Rosenthal CEO. Media rep firm Katz Media Group announces it has picked media executive Mark Rosenthal to head up the Katz Radio Group. Rosenthal’s media experience goes back to the early days of MTV where he was one of the original team that created the cable TV channel. He was also involved in the inception of Nickelodeon, VH1 and Comedy Central. Katz says he “has been a leader in the media industry for more than 25 years, building advertising and marketing solutions for world-class media brands.” KRG says Rosenthal will work with president Mark Gray to “ensure continued high-level performance in the transactional arena. Rosenthal will also focus on KRG’s radio advocacy efforts and lead an accelerated charge to bring additional revenue into the radio sector.” Clear Channel Media and Entertainment chairman and CEO John Hogan says, “We are thrilled to have such a well-respected media executive join Katz Radio Group. Mark has an enormous range of experience across all forms of media, from traditional and digital media to the agency world. Radio is a powerful national marketing platform. Our goal is to continue to tell the success story of radio’s massive reach. Mark joining the team signifies a very exciting step forward in our intensified effort to drive substantial growth for Katz clients by providing the most innovative media solutions available.”
Fox News and SiriusXM Re-Up; Content Added to SiriusXM Internet Radio. After speculation over the summer that Fox News and SiriusXM were headed for a break-up, the two sides announce they have inked a deal to bring Fox News content to the satcaster through 2019. In addition, as part of the new agreement, SiriusXM will broadcast Fox Business Network. SiriusXM will be the exclusive audio home for broadcasts of Fox News and Fox Business Network for its more than 25 million subscribers. As part of the agreement, SiriusXM will add both channels to its SiriusXM Internet Radio channel lineup for the first time. The new agreement also includes the addition of Fox News Talk to the SiriusXM Internet Radio service. Fox News Talk, which offers news, analysis, listener call-ins, and commentary from popular Fox News personalities such as Brian Kilmeade, John Gibson and Alan Colmes, among others, will be available online at SiriusXM Internet Radio and through the SiriusXM Internet Radio App on smart phones and other connected devices. Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes states, “Our viewers love the ability to keep the connection with Fox News Channel, even while they’re in the car with SiriusXM. This agreement not only ensures that will continue but expands it to our Fox Business Network viewers and restores the Fox News Talk channel to SiriusXM subscribers on their computers and smart phones. This is good for Fox News, for SiriusXM and for the people we both work for, the American public.”
Leland Conway Named Late-Morning Host at WHAS, Louisville. Clear Channel’s heritage Louisville news/talker announces talk host Leland Conway will assume the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program that opened up when Mandy Connell moved to the company’s KHOW, Denver for the morning show earlier this summer. Conway – a Kentucky native – currently hosts afternoon drive on CC’s WRVA, Richmond and will continue in that role as well. Regional programming manager Kelly Carls states, “This is an exciting appointment for ‘84WHAS Radio’ and the Kentuckiana community. We talked to many highly qualified and experienced on-air personalities, but Leland’s talents really shined brightly. His wit, energy and longstanding Kentucky roots make him a great fit. We’re extremely happy he’s returning to the Bluegrass State.” Conway has served as a commentator on WTVQ-TV, and for six years hosted a successful talk show on WLAP, Lexington. Conway adds, “It is an honor to join the WHAS team. As a native Kentuckian, I grew up with WHAS. It’s as much a part of the Bluegrass State as hot browns and horse racing. I am excited to once again be a part of the lively conversation in Kentucky.”
Michael Harrison to Present Annual Address at NAB Radio Show. In a popular ”Info-Session” that has packed the room each year for more than a decade, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will address the forthcoming NAB Radio Show on the subject “The Vital Role Radio Plays in Popular Culture.” The info-session, sponsored by TALKERS, will be a power-packed hour touching upon a number of key issues that are vital to radio’s very existence – let alone artistic and financial well-being - in the rapidly advancing digital era. Harrison says that for radio to remain iconic in the 21st century, it must maintain “ownership” of the scenes it addresses whether they are music, politics, news, sports or any other expression of the human condition. He says radio must maintain a foreground, active position and avoid being marginalized as a passive delivery system and he gives solid examples and suggestions to make it happen. Consultant Holland Cooke introduces what will be a riveting and inspirational hour. The session takes place on Thursday, September 19 between 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm in the very heart of the conference at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Gatlin E2 and is open to all attendees of the conference.
‘Rock 102’ Springfield, MA Morning Talk Duo Bax & O’Brien to Do Live Performance at Local Theater. The long-running morning drive powerhouse of Bax & O’ Brien (Michael “Bax” Baxendale and John O’ Brien) have been gathering huge on-air audiences in Western Massachusetts for more than 15 years and innovating advances in local webcasting worthy of national attention. Now, they’ve added another facet to their arsenal of attractions. The team has been booked into the downtown Springfield prestigious City-Stage theater for a one-night special performance on Thursday, October 17. The show is being sponsored by local car dealership Curry Honda and will cleverly feature “guest” appearances by locally famous advertisers who will actually perform their live commercial reads during the program (great idea!). In addition, guests will include local and regional personalities Paul “Fitzy” Fitzgerald, live performances from guitar legend Gary Hoey and Dr. Westchesterson plus special video presentations from comedians Lisa Lampanelli and Tom Cotter, and the promise of other surprises! Tickets go on sale Friday September 6 at the City Stage Box Office or at Ticketmaster.com. Fans of Bax & O’ Brien will be able to see it live in person or watch the show streamed live with their BaxandObrien.com membership.
Main Street Radio Network Re-Brands Alan Nathan-Hosted Program. The talk show that’s been known as “Battle Line with Alan Nathan” is now titled “The Alan Nathan Show.” Main Street Radio Network president Jane Silk states, “He’s the longest-running centrist radio show in the country and we’re delighted with the program’s evolution and direction. As so many have said, ALAN is an important voice who needs to be heard!” Nathan himself comments, “They’ve been calling it the ‘Alan Nathan show’ for years, so I learned how to take a hint. Additionally, while there’s plenty of spirited debate (or battling) happening on the program, it’s also a guest-generated, panel-driven event that teases all who take themselves too seriously.”
Dino Costa Moves to Mornings on SiriusXM’s New Sports Zone Channel. As TALKERS reported yesterday (from a New York Daily News story), sports talk host Dino Costa is moving from the Mad Dog Radio channel at SiriusXM where he was the evening (Eastern Time) personality, to mornings where his show will be heard from 7:00 am to 11:00 am ET beginning September 5. In a statement, Costa says, “When I joined SiriusXM nearly five years ago, my objective was to deliver listeners across North America a brand of sports commentary and opinion that they had never heard before, something that was a radical departure from the status quo. I feel I have accomplished that and gained a more than appreciable audience over that time. Creating and delivering the kind of a show I do would not have been possible anyplace other than SiriusXM and it is an honor and a privilege to be with what I consider to be the mightiest radio broadcaster on planet earth. I enjoyed my time with Mad Dog Sports Radio and now I look forward to new challenges and conquests and feel more enthused than ever at the prospects of making SiriusXM Sports Zone a destination channel for our valued subscribers. This is the start of something very big!”
Lori Moore to Retire from WKZO, Kalamazoo. Retire might be too strong a word for AM drive host Lori Moore’s departure from Midwest Communications’ news/talk WKZO, Kalamazoo. But Moore has worked at the station for the past 18 years (32 years in the market) and, to her faithful listeners, it might feel like retirement. Still, Moore says she will remain close to the community and has “many projects” in the pipeline. Morning host since 1995, Moore states, “I feel I have a special bond with my audience and advertisers. I think I am able to connect with what people care about. I talk about events because I go to them and I endorse products and services I actually use.” Her last day is Friday, September 6.
Odds & Sods. Tribune’s WGN, Chicago adds more sports programming to its weekend lineup with a post-Bears game program called “Two and a Half Bears,” featuring NFL Hall of Famer and Chicago Bears alumnus Dan Hampton, his former teammate Glen Kozlowski and WGN’s resident football fanatic Pete McMurray. The program will feature interviews with players, coaches, and front office personnel. Additionally, Hampton will join WGN’s Steve Cochran every Monday and Friday morning at 7:40 to provide a Bears game recap and preview…..Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston announces its NFL and Patriots football-related programming to air on the station and its affiliate stations around New England. The content again includes exclusive interviews with quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick on “Patriots Monday.” As it did last year, gameday coverage will originate from Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill at Patriot Place in Foxborough and include pre- and post-game programs. Throughout the week, WEEI programs will be visited by numerous football experts, writers and Patriots players…..ESPN Radio sports talk host Colin Cowherd debuts a new program on ESPN2 titled “Colin’s New Football Show” that will air Sundays at 9:00 am ET. ESPN vice president, original programming and production, Jamie Horowitz says, “’Colin’s New Football Show’ will be entirely from Colin’s perspective. It’s a cool and alternative pre-game show with Colin, a football outsider on the inside, letting fans know the key stories of the day in his own style.”…..CBS Radio’s all-news WNEW-FM, Washington reports it is doubling its traffic alerts to keep commuters up to speed on the region’s roadways during drive time. Dubbed “Beltway Fix on the Six,” in addition its traffic and weather together on the 1s, the station will add reports on the 6s between 7:00 am and 10:00 as well as between 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm……CRN Digital Talk Radio host and well-known actor Fred Dryer is back on the big screen in a new movie titled “Snake and Mongoose,” that chronicles the careers of drag racers Don “the Snake” Prudhomme and Tom “the Mongoose” McEwen. In the film, Dryer plays Motorsports Hall of Fame member Ed Donovan, McEwen’s engine builder who coined the racer’s “Mongoose” moniker.
Illegal Immigration Forum. Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) and former INS agent Michael Cutler appeared in “The President Speakers Series” on the subject of illegal immigration at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach. The event was moderated by the talk show host Marc Bernier – who also serves as President’s special assistant at the university – and was broadcast on WNDB, Daytona Beach and carried by C-SPAN. Pictured here are (from l-r): Bernier, ERAU president John P. Johnson, Rep. Barletta and Cutler. The event was the 95th in the Town Hall Series. Photo by Arthur J. Byrnes.
Syria Question Goes Before Congress, ObamaCare Implementation, Miley Cyrus Fallout and Jack Nicholson Retires due to Memory Loss Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/3). Secretary of State John Kerry takes the question of whether the United States should begin military action against Syria to Congress; ongoing complications in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the fallout from Miley Cyrus’ risqué performance at the MTV Video Music Awards and Jack Nicholson’s retirement from making movies, reportedly due to memory loss were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cumulus Q1 Revenue Drops 1.3%. The 2013 first quarter revenue numbers for Cumulus Media were $232 million – a decrease of $3.1 million or 1.3% compared to the same period a year ago. In its filing with the SEC, the company attributes the drop to “lower political revenues and general lower advertising spending in some of our markets.”
Lew Dickey Says Underperforming Stations Improving But Not Fixed; Syndicated Talk ‘Continues to Be Challenged.’ During the Tuesday conference call with investors announcing Cumulus Media’s 2013 first quarter revenue figures, CEO Lew Dickey addressed the syndicated talk division’s performance as well as six of its major market news/talk stations. Quick to address the 10 major market stations he’d blamed for pulling down the entire company’s previous revenue totals, he said, “Several of our big news/talk stations are now growing, including: WABC – which is leading the pack in New York, KABC in Los Angeles, WLS in Chicago, KSFO in San Francisco, WMAL in Washington, D.C. and WJR in Detroit, all are growing. Our team is working very hard, and we’ve adapted to ad market changes. And again, these stations are now posting revenue growth.” He only vaguely touched on the Rush Limbaugh controversy during Q&A saying network sales has been challenged but is starting to pick up. Dickey praised the company’s heritage AM talkers for their potential and stated, “Our charge over the next five years is to continue to expose our audience and all of these major markets to the industry’s most talented performers while developing the next generation of talk radio superstars. By the way, this is true for our sports talk stations as well.” Dickey said that original group of 10 trouble franchises is down to six. “And we confirm our earlier statement that this original group of 10 stations would be negative in the first quarter, flat in Q2 and then rebounding in the back half of the year to post positive full year growth in 2013. And in fact, we can say that we’re actually a little ahead of that schedule right now.” But he also noted that while WBAP, Dallas is starting to come around, KGO, San Francisco – which it turned to largely a news station – is still not where they want it to be. Regarding the company’s deal with CBS Radio and the CBS Sports Radio Network, Dickey reports the rollout has reached almost 300 affiliates and is surpassing expected revenue targets. “We are highly encouraged by our early success and expect CBS Sports Radio to be a material growth driver in 2014 and beyond.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript. You can read the entire transcript here.
Talk Radio Network and Phil Hendrie to End Syndication Effort. Talk Radio Network announces that it will cease syndication of the Phil Hendrie radio program as of June 25, 2013. TRN began syndicating the program in 2007 after it had been parted from its original syndicator – Premiere Networks – for about a year. TRN CEO Mark Masters states, “I believed in Phil then, and I still think he is a comic genius on air. He will always be a radio icon to me. We are proud to have rebuilt the Phil Hendrie show by adding over 100 stations, along with creating robust growth to Phil’s online presence, but, due to world events, the economy, and the state of radio in this country, we have decided to go in another direction in that daypart – we wish Phil all the best in his future endeavors.” From his perspective, Hendrie issues the following statement: “Phil Hendrie has elected not to pursue any further association with Talk Radio Network. As he delves deeper into his successful digital platform and ongoing television and film work, Hendrie remains open to terrestrial radio opportunities, but only those with strong sales, marketing and programming support.”
Cox Media Group Promotes Kim Guthrie to EVP Radio; Jane Williams to EVP Television and Marian Pittman to VP of News & Marketing for TV. Cox Media Group announces several promotions. Kim Guthrie, who had been serving as senior vice president of radio, overseeing all of the company’s radio stations, is promoted to executive vice president of radio and she reports to new CMG president Bill Hoffman. Guthrie joined Cox Radio in 1998 as VP and GM for its Long Island, properties and has been Regional VP for Cox Radio, where her stations have won multiple honors – including Marconi awards, Crystal Awards, New York Air Awards, AWRT Gracie Awards – for programming excellence and outstanding community service. Hoffman says of Guthrie (and EVP of television Jane Williams), “Both are proven CMG leaders and are highly respected throughout the media industry. Kim and Jane, along with our local leadership, have ensured our broadcast stations’ ongoing success, and I am honored to have them in these vitally-strategic executive positions.” At the same time, Marian Pittman is promoted from her post as station manager of WSB-TV, Atlanta to vice president of news & marketing for television for the company.
J Chapman Heads Up Woof Boom Radio to Buy Indiana Stations. The Backyard Broadcasting Muncie, Indiana market stations that Woof Boom is buying include: hot AC WLBC, oldies WERK, sports talk WXFN, news/talk WHBU, and classic rock simulcast WMXQ and WMQX “Max.” Jerry “J” Chapman’s Woof Boom Radio is made up of a group of local investors, headed by Chapman, who have formed Woof Boom Radio, a nod to the longtime dominance of WFBM in Indiana broadcasting from the beginnings of radio in the 1920s until the mid-1970s. The other owners include: Ray Kennedy, Conormara Investments; Jason Farmer, managing director of WestBridge Investments; and Aaron Reitz. In a statement, Woof Boom says of Chapman, “A 17-year radio executive with Indianapolis-based Emmis and most recently with Maverick Media of Rockford, Illinois, Chapman is a graduate of Hanover and literally grew up in the broadcasting industry. His father led Indianapolis WFBM Radio & TV for three decades, and J got an early start in the media business when assigned by his father to mow the grass at the TV station’s north side Indianapolis transmitter site.” Chapman says of his new venture, “I’m very excited to come home and put my years of experience in the vibrant radio industry to good use back in Indiana. The stations we’re acquiring are vital links between listeners and the local community. We intend to utilize those radio resources to help grow our customers’ businesses and to improve the quality of entertainment and information in our new communities. Best of all, the management of this group of stations will be local to serve local needs. We want to make a great thing even better, and Woof Boom Radio intends to start off on the right foot.”
The Secret of Managing Controversy. As the talk radio industry grapples with the dilemma of balancing the two realities of controversy (on the plus side, it attracts loyal audience – on the downside, it attracts enemies and scares advertisers) noted media consultant and TALKERS columnist Walter Sabo offers a simple solution. In an article posted today (5/8) he cites a simple but powerfully effective method used by some of the greatest talk radio managers of all time: Let the hosts be opinionated, controversial and even outrageous – but keep the station itself absolutely neutral! He goes on to explain why this is key to a successful operation. To read Walter Sabo’s entire piece, click here.
Mark Carbonaro Remains with KION, Salinas in News Capacity. Yesterday, TALKERS reported that Mark Carbonaro was out at Clear Channel’s KION, Salinas, California as the company was importing KSTE, Sacramento-based Armstrong & Getty for morning drive. We learn via The Californian that Carbonaro remains with the station handling the morning drive news operations and other news department duties. General manager Rhonda McCormack tells the paper, “We are continuing to evolve our product with new and compelling offerings that will complement Mark’s contributions and allow him more time and flexibility to cover local news and events. It was a business decision. We think Armstrong & Getty will resonate well with the audience on KION. Mark Carbonaro is on Monday – Friday, 6:00 am to 9:00 am with Armstrong & Getty. Mark reports on the local news, sports, weather and traffic, plus expert segments that will run throughout the day, Monday through Friday and on Saturday mornings in the 10:00 am hour, ‘The Saturday Insider with Mark Carbonaro.’”
Cheryl Winer Named National Account Manager for Sun Broadcast Group. Radio sales pro Cheryl Winer is named national account manager for Sun Broadcast Group where she’ll work from the company’s New York City office assisting in servicing the company’s fast-growing roster of agency and client partners. Founder and CEO Jason Bailey states, “2013 has been such an exciting time in our company’s growth. With the addition of Cheryl to our first-class sales team I truly believe we send a clear message to the industry that Sun Broadcast Group is, and will continue to be, the leader in a very new kind of service for network radio advertisers and program suppliers.” Speaking about her new position with Sun, Winer says, “Over the past several years I have been searching for an entrepreneurial environment, which would replicate my experience at Premiere in the early days. I am so very excited to say that I have found that in Sun Broadcast Group! I look forward to participating in the growth of this fast-paced, cutting edge company.”
Arbitron Reports Q1 Revenue Up 5.1%. Income for the ratings firm was down to $0.60 per share for the first quarter of 2013, compared to $0.64 per share during the same period in 2012. However, income was up 5.1% on revenue of $111.8 million compared to the same period a year ago. The company states that costs and expenses increased 8.3% from Q1 2012 to Q1 2013. “In addition to the $3.2 million of expenses related to the pending Nielsen transaction, costs in the quarter increased as a result of planned incremental investments in Arbitron Mobile panels, costs associated with address-based sampling, in-person recruiting, and cell-phone household recruiting.” President and CEO Sean Creamer states, “In the first quarter, we continued to pursue our long-standing objectives: maintaining our investments in the quality of our radio ratings services, growing our core revenue, and entering new markets such as digital radio, cross-platform, and mobile. Our focus on the quality of our core services helped us achieve Media Rating Council accreditation of four additional Portable People Meter markets in February. Our goal remains achieving or maintaining accreditation in all our syndicated radio markets. We continue working to leverage our investment in the PPM technology and consumer panels utilizing our platform in new initiatives such as advertising and promotion effectiveness studies, while enhancing our measurement capabilities for radio and across platforms.”
Saga Communications Q1 Net Revenue Down 1.3%. To use the words of Saga Communications SVP, treasurer and CFO Sam Bush, the first quarter of 2013 was “challenging” for the company. In a conference call with investors, Bush reports that the company saw a dramatic decline in political advertising from the first quarter of 2012 to the same period in 2013. Gross national revenue was also down by more than $500,000 but a good quarter for local revenue helped combat that drop.
Salem Communications Sees 1.3% Revenue Dip in Q1. That’s across the board for all of Salem’s platforms and comes largely because Salem had such an outstanding 2012 in the political advertising category. Breaking things apart a bit, CEO Ed Atsinger reports that the company’s business news segment is doing well, increasing 4% while the news/talk radio division was down 7%. The Christian teaching formats were down 3% though the Christian contemporary group was up 5% compared to the same period a year ago. The Salem Radio Network was down 10% from Q1 in 2012.
WTOP, Washington Site the Victim of Hacking. Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington and its sister WFED had their websites hacked earlier this week. The attacks may have affected visitors using Internet Explorer but not other web browsers. A message on WTOP.com states, “WTOP.com is currently dealing with a malicious cyber attack. We are working diligently to contain and stop the attack, and apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.” The Washington Post reports that an internet security expert says the hackers installed two types of malware – one designed to look like an anti-virus software service that would get the subscriber’s credit card number, the other designed to control clicks from the user’s computer to inflate the number of actual clicks on digital ads.
Benghazi Whistleblower, Cleveland Women Freed from Captivity, Sanford South Carolina Race, Immigration Amnesty Issue and North Korea Threats Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/7). The testimony about the deadly attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi; the case of the Cleveland women freed from captivity after 10 years; the South Carolina race for House seat between Mark Sanford and Elizabeth Colbert Busch; the amnesty for illegal immigrants issue; and North Korea’s military threats were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Mike Huckabee Considers Radio Future in Arkansas Business Story. In a piece that ran in Arkansas Business yesterday, Cumulus Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host – and former Arkansas governor and U.S. presidential candidate – Mike Huckabee speaks openly about his current media projects and how his political experience has helped his media career. Huckabee gives no clear indication he’ll stop doing the daily three-hour show, but neither does he sound all-in when he states, “Within the next month, I’ll decide if I want to continue it or not. I know we will, but it’s just such an incredibly intensive process that I really have to decide that I want to spend that kind of time…” Huckabee describes the long days preparing for the program and how he works that in with his Fox News Channel weekend program. “I’ve got to always weigh how much time I’m putting in it and what the return is. How long it will take to make it what I call hopefully disgustingly profitable. That’s what one always hopes for in a deal like this.” Read the entire story here.
Can Radio Overcome its Smothering Debt and Be a Viable Business in this New Era? That, according to Michael Harrison is THE existential question facing the industry today — and one that TALKERS magazine and RadioInfo tackle head-on in a blockbuster article posted May 2 in BOTH trade publications. Researched and written by TALKERS/RadioInfo west coast bureau chief/managing editor Mike Kinosian, this extensive piece taps deeply into the experience, wisdom and vision of a stellar panel of industry power-players who share their real world perspectives of this pressing issue that directly ties into the future of radio as both a medium and a business. They include (in alphabetical order): Sandi Bergman of MyMediaBroker, Ed Christian of Saga Communications, Erica Farber of the RAB, Charlie Gross of Newsweb Radio Corp., Michael Harrison of TALKERS/RadioInfo, Jerry Lee of WBEB (“B101″) in Philadelphia, Chuck Lontine of Headwaters MB, David Pearlman of American Radio Systems, Ed Perry of WATD in Marshfield, MA, Tom Quinn of Americom Broadcasting, Jeff Smulyan of Emmis Broadcasting, Peter Smyth of Greater Media and Dave Van Dyke of Radiate Media. Upon the publication of this information-packed article, TALKERS/RadioInfo VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “This is one of the most important pieces published in the radio trades in years and I advise anyone in this business who cares about its future to take the time to read it thoroughly. It dives right into the most pressing issue facing all of us today and provides insight from all angles – big-time groups, large and small market stations, investment banks, services providers, and advertising advocates. A piece like this gets to the very heart of what will determine radio’s future – its ability to function and options to consider as a viable business in a daunting, obstacle-ridden environment.” Read Mike Kinosian’s story here.
Mark Carbonaro Out at KION, Salinas, California; Armstrong & Getty In. According to a report in The Californian, local morning drive host Mark Carbonaro’s program has been replaced on KION, Salinas with the Sacramento-based Armstrong & Getty show. Californian writer Jeff Mitchell reports that calls to local management were not returned prior to his deadline. Both KION and Armstrong & Getty’s home station KSTE are owned by Clear Channel.
WNSR, Nashville to Get FM Simulcast in June. Nashville Sports Radio’s WNSR, Nashville will simulcast on 95.9 in addition to its 560 signal early this summer. The station says it will position itself as “Nashville’s SportsRadio 560 on 95.9 FM.” The new FM signal will be located near the Davidson/Williamson County line, providing excellent 24-hour coverage of WNSR’s programming. General sales manager and afternoon host Thom Abraham states, “Before the Predators and Titans, WNSR brought sports programming to the airwaves in Nashville. This station has stayed true to the format for over 15 years and we are now excited to make it available on the FM band. The new logo puts the emphasis on WNSR, which has stood for Nashville’s Sports Radio since 1997, something we are very proud of, and something I have come to appreciate since coming here four years ago.”
Fox News Radio Offers Memorial Day Weekend Specials. The network is offering two hour-long special programs for air during the Memorial Day Weekend. “Remembering Iraq” is hosted by Fox News Channel’s Griff Jenkins and reflects on the 10 years since the United States entered the Iraq War. Jenkins will take a look at the front lines and those who were affected by the war, including the men and women who served as well as their spouses and children. “The Next Disaster” is hosted by Fox News Channel’s Janice Dean. It’s a multi-part series that examines disasters, including tornados, earthquakes and terrorist attacks and how to best prepare for them. Additionally, Dean will take a look at how weather forecasting and other technology have helped people prepare for natural disasters in the past and will also report on the impact of early warnings. More information about the specials can be found on the Fox News Radio affiliate website in the specials section.
Sports Talk WDAE, Tampa Gets FM Simulcast on 95.3. The signal is 250-watt translator W237CW that was most recently simulcasting the audio of Clear Channel’s hip hop WBTP “95.7 The Beat.” CC flips it over to sports talker WDAE. The AM 620 signal of WDAE covers the market just fine but now the station will have an FM presence that’s strongest in St. Petersburg, Pinellas Park and Clearwater.
Benghazi Cover-up Allegations, Syria-Israel Tensions, Obama OSU Commencement, and North Korea Missile Threat Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/6). New information regarding the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and the political ramifications; military tensions between Israel and Syria; President Obama’s commencement speech at Ohio State University over the weekend; and the North Korean missile threat were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
ANALYSIS: The FCC’s Curious Approach to Indecency. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes that it “seemed particularly fitting” that the FCC chose April Fools’ Day to announce it was cleaning out its backlog of broadcast indecency complaints by more than 1 million filings. How did they deal with that many complaints in six months. Easy, says Weisman, “These cases were summarily dismissed for various reasons, such as being beyond the FCC’s five-year statute of limitations, involved cases outside of the FCC’s jurisdiction, contained insufficient information or were not actionable due to previous established precedents. Cases were also dismissed for being, in the FCC’s words ‘too stale to pursue’ although there is no FCC definition of staleness.” Weisman also notes that the Commission reassures the public it is “actively investigating” what it referred to as “egregious indecency complaints” and will continue to do so. “What actually makes a case ‘egregious’ is not very clear because there is no definition of ‘egregious’ in the FCC regulations where it seems filth is in the eye of the beholder. Apparently egregious violations of the indecency rules is the FCC’s new standard for action.” Sharpen your pencils because the FCC is asking for your thoughts on its indecency policy. You have until May 1 to get those ideas to Washington. But before you do, read Steven J.J. Weisman’s complete analysis of the FCC’s recent indecency odyssey here.
WTNT, Washington Is New Home for the Dr. K Show. “The Dr. K Show,” hosted by Dr. Kevin Wallis, makes its new home at Metro Radio’s WTNT, Washington, DC during the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot. Wallis describes the program as “a Libertarian talk/comedy show discussing topics from politics to world affairs and everything in between with a no nonsense, comedic view on the world. ‘The Dr. K Show’ gives you the ‘truth’ about any topic without the party lines getting in the way.” Dr. Wallis began his broadcasting career at WGGB, Long Island, received his bachelor’s degree in human anthropology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and his master’s in public health at New York Medical College. He also graduated from Touro University International with his PhD in Health Research and Education. Co-host Bryan Berner is a stand-up comedian and radio talk show host. Producer Joe Greene has produced some of the biggest shows in N.Y. radio and is a radio talk show co-host. The program features contributors: chief political commentator Carl Jeffers, chief legal analyst Ron Kuby, chief financial analyst Stephen Moore and religious adviser Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. The program is also heard on WVNJ, Oakland, New Jersey.
WTMJ, Milwaukee Legend Bill Haig Passes Away. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes that longtime WTMJ, Milwaukee and Milwaukee Brewers executive Bill Haig had been ill for some time and died on Saturday while in hospice at the age of 78. Haig began his radio career in ad sales at WFOX, Waukesha, Wisconsin in 1954. He eventually rose to the general manager position at WTMJ and it was under his watch that the station became the flagship for the Milwaukee Brewers, the Milwaukee Bucks, the Green Bay Packers and the University of Wisconsin Badgers football. In 1980 he became the Milwaukee Brewers’ vice president of broadcast, overseeing production, advertising sales and networking for the Brewers broadcast networks until his retirement.
Odds & Sods. CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles presents the next remote broadcast in its “KNX On Your Corner” series as it broadcasts from the western region of the San Fernando Valley on Friday, April 26. The in-depth look at communities including Calabasas, Hidden Hills, Agoura Hills and Westlake Village will explore the local history, economy and an array of unique stories, from the Kardashians to a playground made specifically for physically challenged children. The day will include broadcasts emanating from Brent’s Deli in Westlake Village as Dick Helton and Vicky Moore will anchor the news from 5:00 am to 9:00 am, Frank Mottek hosts the “KNX Business Hour” from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm and Jim Thornton and Diane Thompson anchors the news from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm…..Entercom’s WRKO, Boston is producing a debate between two of the Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Secretary of State John Kerry. PM drive host Howie Carr will be joined by Michael Sullivan and Gabriel Gomez during the live debate airing from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm today…..SiriusXM Radio is broadcasting live hole-by-hole coverage of the 2013 Masters Tournament from Thursday, April 11, through Sunday, April 14, on its PGA TOUR Radio channel.
Bill Bradley Hosts Fellow ’72-’73 Knicks Teammates on SiriusXM. Former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley (second from right) poses for a photo with his teammates from the NBA championship New York Knicks of the 1972-1973 season. The group came together in the New York studios of SiriusXM Satellite Radio for a taping of Bradley’s “American Voices” program and will be aired later this month. Pictured here are (from l-r): Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, Phil Jackson, Willis Reed, Walt Frazier, Bradley, and Jerry Lucas.
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.