Marc Cox Takes Over Midday Show at KFTK, St. Louis. Effective today, the Marc Cox show is being heard in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot on Emmis Communications’ news/talk KFTK-FM, St. Louis. Program director Jeff Allen tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that replacing Dana Loesch with Cox has nothing to do with dissatisfaction with Loesch – who’s been with the station for the past seven years – but has more to do with the station’s desire to keep a live-and-local program schedule. Loesch syndicates her show nationally via Radio America and re-located her family to the Dallas area from St. Louis. About Cox’s promotion from Sunday nights to a daily program, Allen says, “We are thrilled to be able to expand Marc’s role at the station with a show that has already proven to have high appeal to our listeners. We are returning this weekday show back to its local roots because we need to be ‘live and local’ in that part of the day to serve the St. Louis Metro area best. We are excited about the debut of Marc’s show and I am sure our listeners will be too.” Cox is an Emmy award-winning, 25-year veteran of television news. He served with KMOV-TV, St. Louis as an anchor, reporter and producer for 19 years. KFTK notes Cox has been honored by the Associated Press and the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, receiving multiple Emmy nominations and two Emmy awards.
WPGG, Atlantic City’s Harry Hurley Holds 8th Annual Charity Dinner at Congress Hall; Co-Headliner Joe Piscopo Hints at Gubernatorial Run. Atlantic City morning radio giant Harry Hurley hosted his eighth annual dinner at the venerable Congress Hall in Cape May, New Jersey on Saturday. It was an event that was co-hosted this year by WNYM, New York morning host Joe Piscopo. WPGG, Atlantic City’s Hurley tells TALKERS magazine that the evening was a “rousing success. We had members of the New Jersey legislature and the highest-ranking county, constitutional and local officials, as well as presidents of major industries in New Jersey in attendance.” New Jersey Governor Chris Christie called in live and addressed the gathering that was being attended by Christie’s father Bill. During a Q&A with Piscopo, the comic and “Saturday Night Live” alum told Hurley that he is interested in running for the New Jersey governor’s seat next year and is “seriously looking into it.” Hurley will be honored with the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Radio Talk Show Host by TALKERS magazine at the TALKERS 2016 Bridging the Generations conference at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York (Long Island) on Friday, May 20. See more information about the conference here.
SiriusXM Boasts 30.1 Million Subscribers. The satellite radio company announces today that it added 465,000 net new subscribers in the first quarter of this year, putting it over the 30 million subscriber mark for the first time in company history. SiriusXM will report its financials on April 28 but says that as of March 31, self-pay net additions were 348,000 in the quarter, resulting in a self-pay subscriber base of 24.6 million at quarter’s end. SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer says, “SiriusXM has grown from a pioneering startup to a media powerhouse in less than 15 years of service by providing listeners with the best audio entertainment available. Our exclusive, unmatched content and ease of use has led us to this important subscriber milestone. I’d like to thank our dedicated employees, our valuable content creators and brands, our automotive distributors, and most of all our paying subscribers for their contribution to our success.”
WXYT-FM, Detroit Re-Ups with Afternoon Personality Mike Valenti. Detroit sports talk personality Mike Valenti – co-host of the afternoon drive “Valenti & Foster” program (with Terry Foster) – signs a contract extension with CBS RADIO to continue in that role with WXYT-FM “97.1 The Ticket” on a long-term basis. Program director Jimmy Powers comments, “I am pleased Mike will continue to be part of many Detroiters’ drive home every day for years to come. He has the uncanny ability to give listeners a unique perspective, honesty and strong opinions like very few in the industry.” Valenti left his Upstate New York home to study journalism at Michigan State in 1998. He joined CBS and WXYT in 2004 when he was partnered with Foster. WXYT says Valenti & Foster have “maintained their #1 position among men 25-54 and adults 25-54 for more than five years.”
Odds & Sods. News pro Molly Paige is now part of the “Portland’s Afternoon News” program on Alpha Media’s KXL, Portland, working with managing editor Jim Ferretti, fellow anchor Joe Simons and reporters Mike Turner and Brett Reckamp. Paige had most recently been working in Washington for NBC News Radio as an anchor/writer and producer…..Anchorage, Alaska Assemblywoman Amy Demboski will be hosting a two-hour afternoon show on Alaska Integrated Media’s news/talk KVNT, Anchorage, effective April 20…..WHO, Des Moines-based afternoon drive talk host Simon Conway took his show on the road recently to raise funds for the Puppy Jake Foundation. Conway tells TALKERS magazine that more than $75,000 was raised while he was on the air. He’s pictured at right with service-dog-in-training Chris Kyle, named for the “American Sniper.” The Puppy Jake Foundation is dedicated to helping military veterans through the assistance of well-bred, socialized and professionally trained service dogs.
WTOP, Washington Nabs Eight National Headliner Awards. The National Headliner Awards have been recognizing journalistic excellence since 1934. They are awarded by the Press Club of Atlantic City. This year, Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington is the recipient of eight National Headliner Awards, including: first place for best website for WTOP.com, first place for radio news series for Jamie Forzato’s “Heroin Epidemic,” and first place for online only writing by WTOP.com sports editor Noah Frank. Second place honors went to J.J. Green for his news series, “Quiet Killer,” best station newscast for the September Pope coverage, for feature and human interest story for “Canine Rehab” by Nick Iannelli, and for online only writing by WTOP.com living editor Rachel Nania. The WTOP staff won third place for its breaking news coverage of the Freddie Gray riots. WTOP director of news and programming Mike McMearty says, “Our newsroom takes great pride in the recognition that comes with all awards, but the National Headliners are especially gratifying because of their long history and being judged on the national level.”
Hearst’s WBAL, Baltimore Honored with National Headliner Award for Freddie Gray Coverage. Baltimore news/talk WBAL “NewsRadio 1090” took home the top national honor this week for “State of Emergency in Baltimore,” the best local radio newscast and coverage of Freddie Gray’s death the best breaking and continuing coverage. WBAL’s Scott Wykoff took third place for best radio feature or human interest story for a piece on a horse named Talk Show Man, after the late WBAL host Ron Smith. WBAL president and GM Cary Pahigian says, “These prestigious awards ratify WBAL NewsRadio 1090’s standing as Maryland’s No. 1 radio news source. It also recognizes an extremely talented group of anchors, reporters, producers and writers. It’s a great day for WBAL Radio.”
The Presidential Race/Colorado GOP Delegate Controversy, Boston Globe Trump Satire, Bill Clinton vs Black Lives Matter, North Korea Nuke Threats, and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of the candidates for president and the controversy over Colorado’s GOP delegate wins; the satirical front page published by the Boston Globe forecasting a Trump presidency; the backlash after Bill Clinton’s taking on Black Lives Matter protestors at a recent rally; concerns over North Korea’s nuclear weapons build-up; and Friday night’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.
Irv Brown Retires from ‘Mile High Sports’ in Denver. Denver market sports talk personality Irv Brown officially retired from Mile High Sports-owned KDCO, Denver last week. Brown co-hosted the show with his longtime partner Joe Williams. The 81-year-old Brown recently had back surgery and his recovery has been slow and he’s still not cleared to drive a car. Brown had been working in the media in Denver for most of the past 40 years.
Beasley CEO George Beasley on Medical Leave. Filling in for company chief executive officer George Beasley is EVP/CFO Caroline Beasley. According to a statement from Beasley Broadcast Group, she’ll be interim CEO during his absence. The notice of medical leave for George Beasley does not go into specifics but says the changes take effect immediately. Caroline Beasley – George Beasley’s 53-year-old daughter – has served as the company’s executive vice president, chief financial officer, treasurer and secretary since 1994 and as a director since 1983. Caroline Beasley comments, “George’s passion for radio and his entrepreneurial spirit have made a positive and lasting impact on the industry and in the development and long-term success of Beasley Broadcast Group. On behalf of Company employees, family, friends and business associates, our heartfelt thoughts are with George during his medical leave. Out of respect, we will be honoring his request for privacy and will not be commenting further on his condition at this time.”
Nielsen Audio: News/Talk Format a ‘Political Powerhouse.’ Looking at data from its February 2016 PPM survey, Nielsen Audio reports that – as it did during the presidential race of 2012 – the format is experiencing a ratings surge that has put it to “nearly in double-digit listener share territory.” Citing the contentious primary races as having sparked interest in the races and the issues, Nielsen states, “News/talk is up two-10ths from January to February (9.7% to 9.9%) among all listeners (aged 6 and older). Listenership for adults 25-54 also climbed two-10ths to a 6.9% share in February while listener share for adults 18-34 remain flat at 4.1%. With more than seven months to go before the election, news/talk radio should remain a political powerhouse on the radio dial.” Nielsen also notes in the report that sports talk has seen a dip – from 5.1% to 4.2% — for persons 6+. However, February is traditionally a down month for sports talk in the aftermath of the NFL season and with baseball still two months away. Nielsen says, “The good news is that All Sports tends to start a multi-book trend up after February thanks to March Madness, the start of baseball in April and post-season hockey and basketball in May. This was true in 2015 and every prior year we have been tracking monthly format trends in PPM.” See the study here.
The Presidential Race, Paris Terror Suspect Captured, Obama Visits Cuba, Open SCOTUS Seat, Hulk Hogan Sex Tape Case, and March Madness Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of the candidates for president; the capture of Paris terror attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam; President Obama arrives in Cuba on diplomatic mission; the controversy over the replacement of late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia; the verdict in Hulk Hogan’s suit against Gawker for releasing video of his sex tape; and the action in the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
New Afternoon Duo for ‘Detroit Sports 105.1.’ Replacing Matt Dery and Drew Sharp in the afternoon drive slot on Greater Media’s sports talk WMGC “Detroit Sports 105.1” are former Detroit Pistons great Lindsey Hunter and station PD Dave Shore. They begin hosting the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm show this afternoon (3/21). Hunter retired from the NBA after the 2010 season and most recently was assistant coach at Golden State serving under Mark Jackson during the 2013-2014 season. Shore joined the station as PD a year ago. Prior to that, he was on-air talent and operations manager at ESPN Radio-owned KSPN, Los Angeles “ESPN LA 710.”
WBAL, Baltimore Makes Program Schedule Changes. Two local personalities at Hearst’s news/talk WBAL, Baltimore “Newsradio 1090” are getting expanded duties. First, late morning talk personality Clarence M. Mitchell IV, a.k.a. C4, sees his show expand to 9:00 am to 1:00 pm (adding the noon hour). At the same time, talk host Derek Hunter continues his daily talk show (trimmed to two hours) from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm but adds political analyst duties for the station in which he’ll cover local and national races and issues and appear on other WBAL programs.
Odds & Sods. Covering President Obama’s trip to Cuba is Westwood One News correspondent Bob Costantini. He’s pictured at right in Jose Marti Monument Plaza in Havana getting some man-on-the-street reaction to president Obama’s trip to the city. Today, Costantini will be inside the presidential palace for the statements from President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro…..ABC News Radio is also on the scene in Havana covering President Obama’s visit. Pictured at left is ABC News Radio’s Alex Stone creating a video of the news organization’s broadcasting base camp in a park in Havana. If you click on the link here, you can watch the whole video on Facebook that shows the media encampment…..Cumulus Media announces Jeff Pezzano is named VP of sales for its Youngstown, Ohio operations, Pezzano will lead sales development and strategy for the eight-station cluster that includes: CHR WHOT “HOT 101,” country WQXK “K105 FM,” classic rock WYFM “Y103,” rock WWIZ “Rock 104,” sports talk WBBW “1240 AM ESPN,” sports talk WLLF-FM, “Sports Radio 96.7,” news/talk WPIC, and talk WSOM.
Shannon Succeeds Pinch at Cumulus Atlanta. Former vice president and market manager for Entercom Sacramento – Sean Shannon – is tapped to replace Jon Pinch in a similar position at Cumulus Atlanta. Cumulus senior vice president Jeff Brown comments, “Sean has a track record of innovation and topnotch results. He is a passionate marketer and a strong, determined coach. We are excited to be adding Sean to our talented team in Atlanta.” Shannon remarks, “I could not be more excited about the opportunity to lead these world-class brands in this world-class city. I love this medium and am honored to have a chance to lead this team.” Prior to his Sacramento duties, Shannon, who holds an MBA from the Foster School at the University of Washington, was director of sales for Entercom Seattle. He begins his new assignment in Atlanta next Monday (4/20). Pinch announced his retirement on April 16. He retired from his previous corporate role at Cumulus five months ago but was coaxed into leading the company’s Atlanta station group.
WEEI-FM, Boston Morning Host John Dennis to Enter Alcohol Rehab. In a public statement released to the media, morning personality John Dennis announces he will take time away from the “Dennis & Callahan” show on Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston in order to enter a treatment facility for alcohol addiction. Here’s the text of his statement: “After some long and thoughtful soul searching, I’ve decided to deal with a personal issue once and for all. The role of alcohol in my life is something I’ve wrestled with on and off for more than a few years. I’ve made the decision to take serious steps to eliminate the role alcohol plays in my life before it impacts my health. I’m told it’s an arduous undertaking, but it’s one I’m willing to embrace. I know it can be a lifelong battle, but it’s one I want to fight. To that end, I’ve decided to take some time away from WEEI, tackle this head-on, and set a smart and informed course for a long and healthy life. I want to thank the management at WEEI for their understanding and assistance in this matter, Gerry (Callahan) and Kirk (Minihane) for their unwavering support, and of course Kathy, for her love, patience and compassion. This is the last I will speak on this matter, as I have much work to do, and that’s where my concentration and focus will be. Talk to you all down the road.”
Nielsen Audio Releases Fourth Round of Mach 2015 PPM Data. The fourth and final round of March 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The March 2015 survey period covered February 26 through March 25. You can find the complete 6+ ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Odds & Sods. Longtime Chicago television news anchor Robin Robinson has been hired by CBS RADIO’s all-news WBBM, Chicago. Robinson spent more than 30 working in television news in the Chicago market. She exited WFLD-TV “Fox 32” in November of 2013…..There’s a new news presence at Cape Cod Broadcasting Media the company hires regional news pro Matt Pitta to serve as news director for the station group. In this role, Pitta will be in charge of news content for all the radio stations and its CapeCod.com website. Pitta previously worked for Cape Cod Broadcasting, exiting back in 2002. He takes over for Laura Reckford who moves up to news editor at CapeCod.com…..A programming change at Cumulus Media’s KSCR-AM, Eugene, Oregon will eliminate the business talk format and begin airing a regional Mexican format…..NBC Sports Radio now has a place on SirusXM. A deal between the sports talk network and the satcaster gives the former its own channel. NBC Sports Radio program director Jack Silver says, “We are thrilled to have SiriusXM join our roster. They bring a whole new audience and a wealth of avid sports fans who can now access our content and interact with our hosts no matter where they are around the country.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “The Costa Report” with host Rebecca Costa adds six new affiliate stations including: WZGM, Asheville, North Carolina; WBCF, Florence, Alabama; WHFS, Tampa; WTHU, Thurmont, Maryland; and KKGM, Dallas-Fort Worth…..Both the Stephanie Miller show and Doug Stephan’s “Good Day” are added to the program schedule at KJOZ, Houston. WYM Media Management’s, Debbie Greenbaum comments, “It’s terrific that Houstonians will now be able to listen and interact daily with both Doug Stephan and Stephanie Miller. The combo of ‘Good Day’ leading into the Stephanie Miller show is the perfect way to kick off mornings in Houston.”
2016 Presidential Prospects Top News/Talk Story During Week of April 13-17. With the news of both Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio announcing their intent to run for president next year, the chatter about the 2016 presidential prospects landed atop the Talkers TenTM this week. At #2 were the Iran nuclear negotiations. Coming in at #3 was ISIS military action in Iraq and following at #4 was Obama’s Cuba policy. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on the radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Bill McMahon: Curiosity Enhanced by Awareness, Experience, Imagination and Courage. According to talk radio consultant Bill McMahon, the trait of high-level curiosity is the driving force of his well-known “14 Traits Inherent in the Best Radio Personalities.” In an advice piece posted today (2/12) he writes, “The constant urge to ask questions, fueled by an insatiable desire to know, generates the raw material necessary to produce truly life-enriching content. Really good questions prompt answers loaded with learning and discovery that can be shared with listeners.” McMahon, continues, “It’s also important to note that great questions are often the product of the traits of awareness, imagination, experience, and courage. The more a personality hears not only the words in an answer but the thoughts and feelings behind the words (awareness), recognizes how thoughts and feelings, experiences and ideas connect to new and more interesting subjects and ideas (imagination), has ‘been there and done that’ (experience), and has the courage to ask any question at any time, the better the questions.” The valuable article is enhanced with audio clips extracted from an interview of Bill Murray conducted by Howard Stern highlighting these traits in action. To read the entire piece, please click here.
Masteller To Program WBAL. One week from today (Thursday, 2/19) is when ESPN Radio‘s former senior director of affiliate & syndicated content Scott Masteller will join Hearst Corporation talker WBAL, Baltimore as program director. President and general manager Cary Pahigian declares, “Scott is among the most accomplished news, talk, and sports radio executives. His ESPN experience will be key to WBAL’s role as the radio home of the [NFL‘s] Ravens and unmatched breaking news coverage 24/7. He holds a strong appreciation for the role of this iconic radio station as part of Baltimore’s heritage, and our relationship with listeners and the community.” Prior to his most recent ESPN role, he was the sports radio network’s senior director of radio/audio content. His past programming assignments include sports outlets KESN, Dallas and KFXX, Portland.
Kauffman Named Entercom Sacramento GSM. Inbound from Chicago where she was local sales manager for Hubbard Broadcasting classic rocker WDRV “The Drive,” Stacey Kauffman is appointed general sales manager for Entercom Sacramento. Vice president and market manager Sean Shannon states, “We are proud to welcome Stacey to our market-leading portfolio of brands. Entercom’s commitment to compelling live and local content continues to pay dividends as we enjoy a dominant position in delivering ratings and results to our advertisers.” Vice president of sales Lance Richard comments, “Stacey was a trailblazer in Chicago media on the integration of radio and digital media. We look forward to putting her expertise immediately to use in the growing Sacramento market.” Kauffman remarks that she is “excited” about the chance to join Entercom’s Sacramento team. “Entercom is a forward-thinking company with outstanding leadership at both the corporate and local market levels. [The company] has a reputation for providing high-quality content to audiences and results-driven solutions to advertisers.” Kauffman started her radio career with Emmis; she previously was a Merck pharmaceutical sales representative. Entercom’s six-station Sacramento cluster consists of KCTC “ESPN 1320,” CHR KDND “The End,” alternative KKDO “Radio 94.7,” KRXQ “98 Rock,” classic rock KSEG “The Eagle,” and hot AC KUDL “Star 106.5.”
Radio One Reports 2014 Q4 Net Revenue Dips 1.7%. The final quarter of 2014 saw net revenue at $109.7 million for Radio One – a decrease of 1.7% from the same period in 2013. Station operating income was approximately $42.5 million, an increase of 8.6% from the same period a year ago. Net revenue for the entire year of 2014 was $441,387,000 – a decrease of 1.6% over all of 2013. Radio One president and CEO Alfred Liggins III comments, “Our radio business showed sequential improvement from the third quarter, with revenues -2.8%. During the quarter we changed format from news to classic hip hop in our Houston market; excluding Houston our radio revenues for the fourth quarter were +1.1%. Adjusting for a timing difference of our Women’s Empowerment event in Raleigh, Q1 2015 core radio revenues are currently pacing 1.8%, having weakened throughout January. Our Washington, DC cluster continues to underperform the market, and we recently announced a new general manager of the Washington, DC market cluster by expanding the responsibilities of our own Jeff Wilson, senior regional vice president. Excluding our Washington, DC cluster, our core radio revenues are currently pacing up about 1% compared to the same time last year.”
Talk Host Phil Valentine a Finalist in Atlanta Film Festival. Nationally syndicated talk show host Phil Valentine has been delving into other media lately – most notably with production of his documentary challenging the man-made global warming theory titled, An Inconsistent Truth – but now he’s entering the world of screenplays and has submitted one at the Atlanta Film Festival that’s been chosen as a finalist in the competition. The screenplay is for a film titled, Derek Dickens & The Dream, about a man going through a mid-life crisis whose fantasy rock band – much to his surprise – hits it big. He ultimately has to choose between the comfortable life he knows and the fantasy he’s harbored since childhood. Valentine says, “This is my first shot at writing a screenplay. It’s a challenging format but my forte is dialogue. That’s what I do every day on the radio, so it’s really a natural extension of what I do.” The winners will be announced later this month and they will be invited to Atlanta in March for a workshop and awards ceremony.
Odds & Sods. Los Angeles all-news outlet KNX examines the Brian Williams case tomorrow (2/13) as part of its KNX Spotlight series. “The Brian Williams Scandal” will air from 10:00 am to 11:00 am and will “take a comprehensive look at truth in media coverage in the wake of the unfolding controversy facing NBC news anchor Brian Williams.” It will feature special guest experts and will be hosted by KNX anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman…..The United Stations Radio Networks-syndicated NASCAR show “Racing Rocks!” hosted by Riki Rachtman, will emanate this season from the radio studio at The NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte. The program airs on more than 100 affiliate stations and is preparing for the kick-off of the 2015 season in Daytona on February 22…..KDKA, Pittsburgh morning host Larry Richert announces that CBS News chief White House correspondent Major Garrett will serve as the keynote speaker at Larry Richert Honors our Hometown Heroes on Thursday, March 5, 2015. Larry’s Heroes honors five ordinary individuals in the community who have done extraordinary things. This year, a Lifetime Hero Award has been added to the awards roster and will be given to Dr. Stanley Marks, medical graduate from the University of Pittsburgh who is focused on finding a cure for cancer.
BFoA Announces Ward L. Quaal Leadership Awards Recipients. The recipients of the 2015 Ward L. Quaal Leadership Awards from the Broadcasters Foundation of America have been announced. The awards ceremony will take place on Wednesday, April 15 at the Foundation’s annual breakfast at the NAB Show in Las Vegas. Recipients this year include: David Barrett, director, Hearst Corporation; Don Curtis, chairman & CEO, Curtis Media Group; Herb McCord, president & owner, Granum Communications Corp.; Jane Mago, former EVP & general counsel, National Association of Broadcasters; Al Primo, creator, Eyewitness News, Education Television Fund, Inc.; and Jeff Warshaw, CEO, Connoisseur Media. The Leadership Awards are given annually by the Broadcasters Foundation in recognition of career contributions to the broadcast industry and the community at large, and are named in honor of iconic broadcaster Ward L. Quaal.
The Business of Health. As part of their programming on the 24/7 Business Talk from Wharton channel, SiriusXM and the renowned business college recently presented a half-hour discussion on the Knowledge@Wharton program with DermaMed Solutions’ Mark Pinsley (left) and Ginger Hodulik (center) as they discussed the “Business of Beauty” and their holistic approach to wellness and skincare with host Dan Loney (right). The program was conducted live in the Wharton Business Radio on SiriusXM studios on The Wharton School campus in Philadelphia.
2016 Presidential Prospects, Brian Williams Case, Ukraine Violence/Ceasefire, Jon Stewart to Resign from ‘Daily Show,’ NC Muslim Students Murders, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Film, and Bruce Jenner Transformation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/11). The potential candidates for president in 2016; the aftermath of the Brian Williams suspension; the violence in Ukraine and the scheduled cease-fire; Jon Stewart’s announcement he’ll resign from ‘The Daily Show’ later this year; the murder of three North Carolina Muslim grad students by a neighbor; the release of the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey; and Bruce Jenner’s gender transformation were some of the most-talked-stories on news/talk radio this week according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Chip Franklin Named Midday Host at KGO, San Francisco. The next step in returning KGO to its talk roots from the newsy experiment that began a few years ago comes as Chip Franklin takes over the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot beginning December 8. Franklin has had long talk radio stints – most recently with KOGO, San Diego from 2007 to 2013 and with WBAL, Baltimore from 1999 to 2007 – and is also working writing position pieces and prep for guests on “Real Time with Bill Maher,” “Good Morning America” and “Face the Nation.” He also regularly appears at comedy clubs across the U.S. On his new gig, Franklin comments, “The current narrative is that San Francisco is all liberals, progressives and Democrats mixed in with the occasional 4.9. Maybe, but I see it more as a city that simply embraces freedom and more to the point, the free expression of ideas regardless of ideology. Whether it’s politics, art, music or comedy, it all starts with a passion for discovery – discovery of life here in the Bay area, the wider world, and our inner lives.” Cumulus Media EVP of content and programming John Dickey says, “KGO strives to inform and entertain the Bay Area with relevant news and compelling talk hosted by big personalities. Chip Franklin’s point of view, intelligence and wit are going to drive some amazing conversations on KGO.”
Odds & Sods. WABC, New York and CBS “Inside Edition” special correspondent Rita Cosby celebrated her 50th birthday hosting a special benefit for the Wounded Warriors Project at the Hotel Edison in New York City recently. Among the 1,000-plus guests and celebs attending the fundraiser were fellow WABC personalities Curtis Sliwa and Geraldo Rivera. Cosby is pictured here in this photo, (courtesy of Nicole Vranjican), with Broadway’s Tomaczek Bednarek at the event. Read more about the party here…..WPGG, Atlantic City talk show host Harry Hurley is named to the PolitickerNJ’s “2014 Power List.” This is the eighth time Hurley – morning personality on the Townsquare Media news/talk station – has been named to the list…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Tribune’s WGN, Chicago adds former Sun-Times columnist and critic Dave Hoekstra who will host his weekly “Evening Journal” radio program on the station beginning in December. The program will air Saturday evenings.
‘Sports Fix’ Celebrates Five Years on WTEM, Washington. Washington, DC midday sports talk show “The Sports Fix” with Kevin Sheehan and Thom Loverro is celebrating its fifth anniversary on Red Zebra Broadcasting’s WTEM “ESPN 980.” The station says the program “has been a ratings leader, achieving #1-ratings in its time slot throughout the five-year run.” Vice president of programming Chuck Sapienza adds, “‘The Sports Fix’ has been a constant performer. Kevin, Thom and producer Marc Sterne perform at a high level every day and it shows in their consistency and ratings success.”
Clear Channel Satellite Services to Serve iHeartMedia Only. In a story by Leslie Stimson at Radio World, iHeartMedia, the parent company of Clear Channel Satellite Services, is informing clients that it will no longer provide satellite services to non-iHeartMedia operators. Contracts currently existing will be honored until they expire and the company will not accept new ones. A memo from CCSS reads, in part: “In the coming weeks, our team will be working with the existing customers to discuss the best way for a smooth transition to a new provider. Customers with soon-expiring contracts will have the option to continue their service on a month-to-month basis until we’ve found a suitable assignee for the business.”
October Revenue Gains Reported in Los Angeles, San Diego. According to Miller Kaplan Arase‘s October summary report, Los Angeles posted increases of 3% for local spot and nearly double that (5.7%) for national spot. Meanwhile, San Diego was +1.3% local spot and a substantially higher +18% for national spot. Southern California Broadcasters Association president Thom Callahan comments, “Our entire region produced a very robust October as the critical fourth quarter began. The sluggish third quarter performance we had is a distant memory, as advertisers once again looked to Southern California radio for increased market share and real revenue results. Our combined market growth in October should set the stage for a dramatic and positive finish for [fourth quarter] and 2014. Our members’ efforts to provide proactive solutions to client challenges really came together in October. We see enormous positive energy in our markets and our continued regional focus on radio’s ROI is making a difference for all of our member sales teams.” Revenue in the “NTR/Network/Other” category improved last month by a whopping (approximately) 63% in Los Angeles and 26.3% in San Diego. October’s total market revenue for Los Angeles was 7.1%, while San Diego’s was 8.8%. Year-to-date total market revenue though is -2.2% (Los Angeles) and 2.9% (San Diego).
Ferguson Grand Jury Tensions, Jerusalem Terror Attacks, Keystone Bill Vote, Early Cold and Snow, ObamaCare/Gruber Controversy, and Bill Cosby Rape Allegations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/18). The simmering tensions in Ferguson as the public awaits the grand jury’s decision whether to indict Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown; Tuesday’s slayings in a Jerusalem temple; the failed vote in the U.S. Senate to move ahead with the Keystone Pipeline project; the six feet of snow that blanketed Buffalo and the cold affecting the rest of the country; the ObamaCare controversy surrounding plan architect Jonathan Gruber; and the new allegations of rape against Bill Cosby were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WGN, Chicago to Challenge WBBM’s News Dominance. From a story by Robert Channick published in the Chicago Tribune comes word of some of WGN, Chicago’s programming tweaks that are designed to capture more of the news-hungry radio users in the market and, presumably take some ears away from market radio news leader WBBM. Among the additions are the first hour of the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano show becoming “The Business Lunch,” and focusing on Chicago business stories. CBS RADIO’s WBBM airs “The Noon Business Hour” with Sherman Kaplan and Kris Kridel at the same time. Additionally, former WMAQ-TV and WFLD-TV news anchor and reporter Anna Davlantes joins the station to host “The Big Story” – a 90-second news segments that will air during the Steve Cochran morning show and be a jumping-off point for show. The same segment will air in the afternoon with WGN managing editor of radio news Judy Pielach hosting. WGN Radio president Jimmy de Castro also tells the paper the station plans to add staff to the news department in the future.
Smaldone and Gold Named Hosts of ‘America Weekend.’ Radio pros Valerie Smaldone and Leslie Gold are named new hosts for the Envision Networks-syndicated weekend talk radio program “America Weekend.” Envision’s show airs on both Saturdays and Sundays and the network says it’s “designed to be a break from the usual brokered programming and political fare of most news/talk stations,” covering “the lighter side of news and lifestyle issues facing today’s on-the-go talk listeners.” Smaldone and Gold join current “America Weekend” talent Mike Bennett, Ed Kalegi, Smith and Sabatino, and Dave Graveline. Envision VP of programming Michael Lichtstein says, “We couldn’t be more excited to have Valerie and Leslie join the team of hosts on ‘America Weekend.’ Each brings a breadth of radio experience to the show and together they set a new bar when it comes to delivering compelling and thought-provoking conversation.” Smaldone adds, “I am delighted to be working with the fabulous Leslie Gold as we host a weekly show together focusing on fascinating personalities and celebrities, trends and curiosities.” Gold says, “‘America Weekend’ presents an opportunity to talk about the stuff that intrigues, amuses and vexes all of us. Hosting the show with my real-life friend Valerie Smaldone makes it an immense pleasure for me. We pledge captivating talk by two veteran broadcasters who are also true friends. It should be much fun.”
Radio to Be on Hand at Advertising Week Conference in NYC Next Week. When Advertising Week kicks off in New York City next week, radio will be a segment of the media industry presenting during the four-day conference. One of the panel highlights will be titled, “Voices of the Original Social Media,” hosted by the RAB and moderated by RAB president and CEO Erica Farber, on Tuesday, September 30 at 11:30 am ET. This session will feature both nationally syndicated air talent and local stars relating their experiences with listeners and brand partners and how that’s being leveraged over the airwaves and on digital platforms. The panel will include: NBC Sports Radio Network’s Amani Toomer, Premiere Networks’ Bobby Bones, WQHT, New York “Hot 97” morning personality Ebro Darden, and WMIB, Miami “103.5 The Beat” midday personality Angie Martinez. iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman will take part in a panel titled, “Loss of Serendipity” on Wednesday, October 1 alongside MediaLink chairman and CEO, Michael Kassan and Google SVP global marketing Lorraine Twohill during which they will “explore the flip side of data-tailored content creation and distribution by considering the importance of serendipity.” Entercom president and CEO David Field will moderate a panel titled “Evolution or Revolution Part II” on Thursday, October 2. His panelists will include: Enterprise Group president Jim Doyle, The New York Times EVP of advertising Meredith Kopit Levien, TBWA president and CEO Troy Ruhanen, Centaur Media CEO Andria Vidler, and Shelly Palmer of Shelly Palmer Digital Living. They will talk about “disruption, real-time reinvention, retaining and growing share, and balancing today with tomorrow.”
Limbaugh Goes on the Offensive. Brandishing a new tactic to fight the StopRush campaign being waged against his Premiere Networks-syndicated radio program, Rush Limbaugh and official show spokesman Brian Glicklich issued a press release yesterday (9/23) with the purpose of “outing” the forces behind what Limbaugh calls a “conspiracy.” TALKERS readers are well aware of the campaign – led by Media Matters for America – to hit Limbaugh (and others) where it hurts most: in their advertising revenue. That organizations aligned with Media Matters are conducting digital campaigns to harass advertisers on Limbaugh’s program is not disputed, but yesterday’s release attempts to flesh out the tactics and the people involved in the campaign. The release says, in part, “The StopRush group claims to be made up of ordinary consumers unhappy with Rush Limbaugh’s comments. The group claims to be ‘grassroots,’ just concerned consumers who won’t shop at businesses that advertise with Rush Limbaugh. In truth, however, there are no potential customers here, just a small number of hardcore political activists founded by Angelo Carusone, EVP of Media Matters for America. It’s remarkably tiny. Only 10 Twitter users account for almost 70% of all StopRush tweets to advertisers, amplified by illicit software. In addition, almost every communication from a StopRush activist originates from outside the state of the advertiser. Thus, these activists are not and never would have been customers… their only role is to harass small businesses in an attempt to interfere with their operations, as long as they are advertising with Rush. ‘A small number of politically motivated out-of-state activists are distributing target lists indiscriminately, and annoying small businesses until they give up the advertising deals that help them grow, or risk being unable to conduct business at all. It’s not even activism… it’s blackmail,’ according to Brian Glicklich. Meanwhile, Carusone issues the following statement in response to Limbaugh’s press release, which you can read in its entirety here. “Rush Limbaugh’s show has reportedly lost millions of dollars in revenue for radio companies, thousands of advertisers big and small refuse to run ads on the program and radio stations are dropping the show. After initially insisting there were no troubles with advertisers, two years later Limbaugh’s crisis team comes out with a report attributing this massive exodus to just 10 people? The numbers just don’t add up. This is a grassroots effort that grows every day. Instead of attacking people on the internet, Limbaugh’s team would better fill their role by advising their client not to excuse rape in some situations (as he did just last week). Rush Limbaugh is bad for business — and the only thing Limbaugh has to blame for that is his own repeated conduct.” In addition to the press statement, Limbaugh published on his website the names of nine people he says are leaders in the campaign, complete with Twitter IDs and, in some cases, emails.
Margery Punnett to Leave ‘myTalk 107.1’ in Minneapolis. Announcing via the Hubbard Radio female-targeted talk outlet’s website, Margery Punnett (left) says she’ll leave her midday talk show position at KTMY, Minneapolis “myTalk 107.1” in November to join her husband (and former KTMY co-host) Ian Punnett in Phoenix. Margery Punnett – who currently co-hosts the midday show with Elizabeth Ries (right) – says she’ll move to Phoenix to join Ian who’s there studying at the graduate level at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications.
Ketelaar Exits WOC-AM, Quad Cities. According to a story in the Quad Cities Times, WOC-AM Quad Cities morning drive host Steve Ketelaar has left the station. It’s not clear if Ketelaar was let go or if he left of his own accord. In the story, Jim O’Hara, operations manager for the iHeartMedia Quad Cities cluster, tells the paper, “He is going to pursue his voice-work career full time, which is…pretty successful already. He’s looking forward to doing it 100% of the time.” Ketelaar co-hosted the morning show with Dan Deibert who remains co-host of the morning show on WOC-AM. He’s being joined by the company’s Dan Kennedy as co-host.
Hearst Baltimore’s Cecil to Exit. Director of sales Bob Cecil has shared his decision to leave Hearst Baltimore’s two-station combo. President and general manager Cary Pahigian comments that Cecil has “contributed immeasurably” to the Baltimore tandem “for several decades,” but “after careful consideration” he will “step away and enjoy time with his family. We thank Bob for his extraordinary efforts and wish him only the best.” In a staff memo, Cecil writes, “It has been a great privilege teaming with the Ravens, Orioles, Naval Academy, and so many other terrific business partners throughout my career. I am appreciative of the support of Cary Pahigian and look forward to his – and your – great success in the years ahead.” Hearst Baltimore consists of WIYY “98 Rock” and talker WBAL. Cecil joined the stations 14 years ago; his last day there will be one week from Friday (10/3).
Salierno Named Interim GM of Star Radio Group. Longtime radio sales executive Ralph Salierno is promoted to interim general manager of the Star Radio Group based in Fredericksburg, Virginia. For the past two years, Salierno has served as director of sales for the station group. He’s also worked in the industry in Orlando, Virginia Beach, Oklahoma City and Memphis. Star Radio Group is part of The Free Lance-Star Publishing Company which was purchased at a bankruptcy auction in May of this year by Sandton Capital Partners for $30.2 million. The radio stations are: country WFLS, hip hop WVBX, classic rock WWUZ, and news/talk WNTX-AM and translator W243BS at 96.5 FM. Free Lance-Star and Star Radio Group publisher and CEO Gene Carr states, “Ralph has been a key member of the Star Radio group and has earned this internal promotion. In his new duties as interim GM, he will continue to serve as the director of sales as well. Ralph has done a great job in driving revenue growth.” At the same time, the station announces Jeff Beck is promoted to program director for WFLS and WWUZ. He’ll also have a supervisory role over WVBX and WNTX. Carr adds, “Jeff brings years of service and industry knowledge to the team. This new management team will help to position the company for further growth.”
SOCO Radio Adds LMA of Pueblo Stations. Announcing the local management agreement between his SOCO Radio and United States CPP LLC, SOCO principal Mike Knar takes control of news/talk KWRP, Pueblo, translators K230BB, Fowler, Colorado (93.9), K262BB, Boone, Colorado (100.3) and oldies KFVR-FM, Beulah, Colorado. Knar states, “These are assets I’ve coveted since I left Cumulus in 2011. We plan on driving a very hard local message in Southern Colorado. SOCO also controls AC KFEZ, Walsenburg, Colorado and hip hop KJQY, Colorado City. Knar announces his firm is seeking talent for his stations, especially broadcasters who can work on air and sell. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kissing the Cup! It’s almost hockey season and CRN Digital Talk Radio CEO Mike Horn (left) and VP of affiliate sales and marketing Jennifer Horn (right) are getting into the spirit as they kiss the Stanley Cup, currently being held by the 2014 champion Los Angeles Kings. The Horns had the opportunity to check out the NHL championship trophy at Hall of Fame broadcaster Bob Miller’s Stanley Cup celebration.
U.S. ISIS Policy/Syria Strikes, NFL Domestic Violence Cases/ESPN Suspends Bill Simmons, Emma Watson UN Speech/Nude Pix Threat, UN Climate Change Conference, Hillary Clinton Presidential Prospects, Mid-Term Elections, Iran Nukes Negotiations, and Hannah Graham Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/24). The Obama Administration’s ISIS policy and the recent air strikes in Syria; the ongoing discussion about the various domestic violence cases involving NFL players and ESPN’s decision to suspend Bill Simmons for his rant against NFL commissioner Roger Goodell; actress Emma Watson’s speech before the UN about feminism and women’s rights and the subsequent threat by hacktivists to reveal nude pictures of her; the UN Climate Change conference and President Obama’s speech; the prospects for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential run; the looming mid-term elections and speculation about majority changes in Congress; the negotiations with Iran over fighting ISIS and the country’s nuclear program; the case of missing Virginia college Hannah Graham were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Hearst Baltimore Hires Pahigian as President/GM. Former Saga Communications Portland, Maine president and general manager Cary Pahigian will succeed Ed Kiernan in the same capacity at Hearst Baltimore talker WBAL and WIYY “98 Rock.” Kiernan recently announced his retirement. According to Hearst president Jordan Wertlieb, “Having worked for some of the nation’s most honored radio stations, including most recently overseeing stations of various formats, Cary brings a wealth of experience. He is a passionate advocate for local broadcasting and understands the importance of community service and how it is the fabric of leading radio stations.” Prior to his tenure at Saga’s Portland properties, Pahigian was station manager at heritage Boston outlet WBZ-AM; operations manager and program director of Philadelphia sports station WIP-AM; vice president of operations at Sconnix Broadcasting; and vice president and general manager of Boch Broadcasting on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Chris Markowski and Jenna Laine to Co-Host New AM Show at Genesis’ Tampa and Orlando Stations. On the news/talk simulcast of WWBA, Tampa and WAMT, Orlando, Genesis Communications debuts the new “Your Wake Up Call” morning drive program co-hosted by Chris Markowski and Jenna Laine with news anchor Robert Pankau and entertainment reporter Kurt Shriner. Markowski is known for his nationally syndicated weekend program “Watchdog on Wall Street.” Laine most recently served as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Insider for Sports Talk Florida. Markowski comments, “I couldn’t be more thrilled to be covering all the important news and events in one of the most important areas in the country: Tampa Bay, Orlando and the entire I-4 corridor.” Laine adds, “Whether it’s news or sports, the one constant for me as a journalist has always been ‘people.’ I love telling your stories and I care very much about issues that affect our communities.”
Kitchin Elected to Museum of Broadcast Communications Board. Radio pro and Sound Mind co-president Kraig Kitchin is elected to the board of directors of the Museum of Broadcast Communications. Downtown Chicago’s MBC has housed America’s only National Radio Hall of Fame since 1992. MBC founder-president-chief executive officer Bruce DuMont comments that, “Kraig is one of the most talented and respected radio executives in America. He will bring his energy and vision to the museum, and help raise awareness of our mission nationally.” Kitchin remarks that for over 25 years, “The Museum of Broadcast Communications has done a remarkable job of recognizing great accomplishments in both radio and television. I am thrilled to join the MBC board and help chart the future of the museum and the National Radio Hall of Fame. More than ever, it is important to recognize the great work done by broadcasters behind the microphone and in front of the camera.” Sound Mind was launched in 2008 and offers management services to radio, television, and production companies. Kitchin works with radio personalities in both talk and music genres. He previously was the longtime president/chief operating officer of the Premiere Radio Networks. Kitchin is a member of the National Radio Hall of Fame Steering Committee that supervises the induction process; the NRHOF Class of 2014 will be announced later this week.
Radio Industry Mourns Tom Rounds. With considerable recent focus on the plight and deteriorating health of iconic personality Casey Kasem, it is an unfortunate, eerie twist of irony that the man who in 1970 – with Kasem and producer Don Bustany – launched and marketed “American Top 40 with Casey Kasem” passed away on Sunday (6/1). To state that Watermark founder Tom Rounds was a broadcasting innovator is actually an understatement. Many within the industry are still in shock regarding the death of the 77-year-old Rounds (he would have been 78 this coming Friday, 6/6) who expired in Los Angeles, reportedly from complications related to a “minor surgical procedure.” His wife – Barbara Rounds – was with her longtime husband when he passed away. By the 1980s, “American Top 40” was heard on more than 500 U.S. radio stations. Approximately three years following ABC’s 1982 acquisition of Watermark, Rounds founded and was chief executive officer of entertainment program supplier Radio Express; by the late-1990s, Burbank (California)-based Radio Express was producing most of its own product. It presently handles syndication outside the United States for American radio programs such as “The Rick Dees Weekly Top 40″ and “American Country Countdown.” Radio Express vice president of sales Jessica d’Agostin notes, “We are deeply saddened by T.R.’s passing. We will profoundly miss his humor, his wisdom, and his kindness. He was a great man. He loved his wife, his family, and radio with all his heart. We will continue to move forward at Radio Express in his honor and as a living tribute to the example ‘T.R.’ set for excellence in all things.” Amherst College (Massachusetts) alum Rounds entered radio at the campus station in the late-1950s. Shortly thereafter in a stunt at Hawaii’s KPOI, he would set a record for staying awake on the air for 260 consecutive hours, while doing his show at a department store. By the mid-1960s, he landed in San Francisco to program top 40 KFRC. Among those commenting on Facebook regarding Rounds’ passing is Ed Mann of MannGroup Radio who states, “I’m just sick about it. Tom was my first producer at MannGroup Radio. I had the opportunity to work ideas with him for years after. He was truly one of the great guys in this business. He was my model as a businessman – such a great combination of creative and manager. We had not talked in years, but this hurts plenty. [Mann’s wife] Mindy and I send our condolences to Barbara and the family.” Former Radio & Records (R&R) country editor/Clear Channel director of production Jim Duncan recounts, “When I first moved to Los Angeles from San Diego to be part of R&R, I had lunch with Tom and [R&R founder/publisher] Bob Wilson. He tried to get me to come do some production at Watermark. I chose to work at Westwood One producing shows. I saw Tom many times over the years and he kept trying to get me to work with him. Sorry I didn’t – he was somebody very special.” Veteran programmer and imaging voice Charlie Van Dyke writes, “Tom Rounds, of course, was a successful program director and part of the original Watermark organization that gave birth to ‘American Top 40.’ He was a great friend to me over the years.” Another legendary voiceover talent, Joe Cipriano, states, “I was honored to co-host with Adrienne Walker the ‘World Chart Show’ for Tom for several years.” Former KIIS “Kiss-FM”, Los Angeles general manager Wally Clark is among the many to simply remark, “Sorry to hear this news.” Sabo Media‘s Walter Sabo describes Rounds as a “great gentleman,” while Sonoma Media Group president Michael O’Shea opines that Rounds was, “a great guy. Radio, as an industry, suffered today.” Former Radio Et Cetera sales manager and ex-general manager of suburban Los Angeles adult contemporary FM trimulcast KLIT, KNJO, & KXEZ Rick Lemmo remarks that, “Tom was a true gentleman. I loved working with him in so many ways.” Ed Scarborough, who has programmed numerous stations, including Los Angeles CHR KKHR and San Antonio adult contemporary KQXT, succinctly declares that Rounds was, “a legend.” MultiBrand Media International owner/president Bill Pasha reflects that he recently made a new friend. “His name was Tom Rounds. Through business, I was fortunate enough to enjoy the wit and wisdom of the man who founded the largest syndication company in the U.S., Watermark. He was a good friend of my pals – Toby Arnold and Tom Merriman – who passed away before ‘T.R.’ I enjoyed his war stories of the biz we both love. About three weeks ago, I spent almost two hours on the phone laughing, chatting and learning from this wonderful guy who was not too busy to offer me advice on how to grow my business. Good men are never truly gone. They live on in our hearts and in the contributions they made to our industry. Tom Rounds was one of those guys.” Salem Media of Hawaii program director Phil Abbot summarizes his thoughts by declaring, “I am speechless. Thank you ‘T.R.,’ for all the help and the masterful instruction along the way.” When Norm Garr was on the air in Oxnard-Ventura-Santa Barbara (California), his station was an “AT 40” affiliate. The station’s on-air talents were allowed to buy a copy of the year-end program. “After I left radio and moved into TV,” Garr recollects, “I wrote Tom the next year asking if I could buy a copy of the next year’s year-end show. For the longest time, he sent me a copy at no charge. What a ‘mensch.'” One of Rounds’ former employees, Cindy Jo Hinkleman, remarks, “I am in shock to receive this news about Tom Rounds passing. Working for Radio Express was one of the highlights of my life so far. He believed in me and gave me the most amazing opportunities to shine. He will stay dear to my heart. I will always remember his smile.” Offering philosophical perspective, Mark Brower writes, “I learned a very difficult lesson today on how precious life is. The world lost one of the best. Not only my boss but also a wonderful friend. He was a wonderful teacher of life, a wonderful storyteller and a wonderful person – definitely my mentor. He was very passionate and music was definitely his life. I learned a lot from Tom Rounds – I will never forget you.” His wife Barbara; a daughter Michelle; a son Tommy; a stepdaughter Debbie; and four grandchildren survive Tom Rounds. A memorial service will be held this Sunday (6/8) at 5:00 pm at Forest Lawn in Hollywood Hills. Memorial donations may be made to City of Hope Cancer Center.
Caine to Bloomberg. Former WestwoodOne CEO Paul Caine joins Bloomberg Media Group to serve as chief revenue officer. Caine was with WestwoodOne for not quite a year before that company’s acquisition by Cumulus Media forced him out. Prior to that, Caine spent 23 years at Time Inc. during which he rose to president and group publisher of the Style & Entertainment Group.
Cox Media’s Multi-Media Convergence in Dayton Analyzed. There are only a few instances in which media operators are producing content and selling advertising for radio, TV, newspapers and digital and Cox Media Group’s Dayton operation is one of them. Michael Depp at NetNewsCheck.com writes a multi-part piece on how WHIO-AM/FM and siblings WHIO-TV, the Dayton Daily News and its affiliated digital properties are performing three years after merging the media into one cohesive effort. From a news and information perspective, the piece begins by illustrating how news staffers produce for all four media. Check it out here.
Odds & Sods. One of Charlotte’s favorite summer traditions returns as Greater Media’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM and sister AC WLNK team with the Charlotte Knights minor league baseball club to “SkyShow Charlotte” – a fireworks spectacular – on July 4 at BB&T Ballpark. The station says WBT’s “SkyShow” continues its tradition of providing a great free street festival including a ferris wheel, interactive kids’ activities and live entertainment…..Hubbard Radio-owned WFED, Washington “Federal News Radio” launches a new weekly program titled, “Women of Washington,” a weekly interview series featuring some of Washington D.C.’s most ambitious and influential female executives. The program is hosted by Aileen Black and Gigi Schumm. WFED program director Lisa Wolfe says, “I’m very excited about this particular program, not only because Aileen and Gigi are so well informed about the federal market, but because they have a higher goal to inspire young women to reach and excel at the executive level.”…..World-renowned pastor Joel Osteen gets his own channel on SiriusXM as the satcaster announces the debut of “Joel Osteen Radio” this fall. The programming will include services from his Lakewood Church in Houston as well as content from his catalogue of past sermons and more…..The Voice of America signs a new agreement with digital call-to-listen platform AudioNow for the latter to provide VOA programming inside the United States. The new agreement expands an on-going relationship between VOA and AudioNow, which already distributes programming from VOA in 34 languages by phone.
Bergdahl Prisoner Swap Controversy, Russian Aggression-U.S. Allies Support, Texas Open Carry Demonstration, Male Unemployment Stats, and NBA-NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/2). Controversy over the Guantanamo prisoner swap for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl; Russian aggression in Ukraine and the Obama administration’s seeking $1 billion for NATO allies; the furor over the Open Carry Texas-orchestrated open carry demonstration and the NRA’s response; new statistics indicating one of every six young American males is unemployed; and the NBA and NHL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Radio and KC Shootings Suspect’s Political ‘Campaign.’ The tragic triple slaying in Kansas City over the weekend in which three people lost their lives at the hands of alleged killer Frazier Glenn Cross sparked memories of his write-in political effort almost four years ago that caused grief for numerous Missouri radio stations. In a piece published today (4/14), TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes about the radio advertising case that was spurred by Cross’ “campaign.” Read his piece here.
Veteran Baltimore GM Ed Kiernan to Retire. News/talk WBAL and rock WIYY “98 Rock” vice president/general manager Ed Kiernan informed his staff this past Friday (4/11) that he will be retiring from the Hearst Television Baltimore stations sometime this summer. Hearst Television president Jordan Wertlieb comments, “Having worked closely with Ed for all these years, I know firsthand how he has enhanced all aspects of the radio business he has managed with his enthusiasm, good humor and leadership. With Ed at the helm, WBAL has been among the nation’s most honored radio stations and a major community force through the WBAL Radio Kids Campaign. Throughout his tenure, Ed has built upon 98 Rock’s storied 37-year history, including expanding the station’s presence on the web and in mobile applications.” Hearst director David Barrett comments, “We are so proud of Ed’s stewardship of WBAL and ’98 Rock.’ His commitment and passion for our stations, his team, and the Baltimore community are the hallmark of a truly remarkable career. We have been blessed by his steady leadership and warm friendship, which indelibly mark his years with Hearst.” Before joining WBAL and “98 Rock” in 1991, Kiernan spent 17 years at CBS RADIO. Among the positions he held with that company were vice president/general manager of all-news WCBS-AM, New York and vice president/general manager of CBS Radio Reps. Upon leaving the Baltimore stations, Kiernan will reportedly relocate to New York state where he and his wife own a home.
John Gambling Returns to NYC Radio Today. Just a few months after retiring from his morning show gig at Clear Channel’s WOR, New York, John R. Gambling returns to the air in the Big Apple on Salem Communications’ WNYM “AM 970 The Answer.” Gambling is hosting the two-hour 11:00 am to 1:00 pm show starting today (4/14). When Gambling’s exit from retirement was announced last month, Salem VP director of spoken word format and VP for the New York market Phil Boyce said, “When John Gambling left New York radio last December there was a void created for quality morning radio in this market, and we decided to fill it. John had worked for me for nine years at WABC. Before and after that he worked for [WNYM GM] Jerry Crowley at WOR. Jerry and I looked at each other and thought this was something we could not pass up.”
Clear Channel Study Reinforces Power of Personality Endorsements. The study was the result of collaboration between Clear Channel Media + Entertainment and the University of Southern California surveying 2,700 respondents. It was designed to look into the connection between consumers and radio personalities and gauge the effectiveness of the latter’s influence in directing consumer behavior. In press release from Clear Channel detailing some of the findings, the company concludes that “radio is a far more powerful social force than ever before, particularly because of the conversations fueled by on-air personalities and the connection listeners feel to on-air local and national talent like Ryan Seacrest, Sean Hannity, Delilah and Bobby Bones. CC reports some of the key findings were: 1) When comparing radio personalities to other media personalities, 6 out of 10 listeners said that radio hosts are “like a friend,” whose opinions they trust; 2) With even more ways for consumers and on-air personalities to interact, 4 out of 10 listeners feel personalities make more of an effort to foster a personal connection, making the radio experience inherently more social, particularly when compared to TV or streaming playlist services; 3) Listeners equate an on-air personality endorsement to a friend’s recommendation, more so than they do sponsored Facebook posts, sponsored tweets or television commercials; and 4) More than half of the study participants agreed that they trust brands, products and services their favorite on air personality recommend, a finding that is encouraging smart marketers to undertake unique radio-based campaigns. The press release did not mention breakdowns of results for various demographics.
Wallis Re-Brands WILC, Washington. The Laurel, Maryland-licensed station is being operated by Wallis Communications under an LMA. Management says that after dropping Spanish AC and flipping to talk earlier this year, the station is now using the slogan, “Where Liberty Has a Voice.” Saying the station is “home to a new libertarian and personality-driven radio format, combining brokered and syndicated shows,” Wallis is airing shows by Dr. Kevin Wallis, Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck, WestwoodOne’s Dennis Miller and John Fredericks. Station general manager Lisa Miller says, “The goal is to bring a fresh and unique perspective to new listeners by delivering extraordinary content and viewpoints on important topics like politics, world affairs and much more. We expect that the station will also move into new US markets later this year.”
Salem Radio News Examines Religious-Themed Movies. The Salem Communications-owned news division is presenting a special week-long series focusing on the SONY Pictures film version of the New York Times #1 bestseller Heaven Is For Real. The film is based upon Nebraska pastor Todd Burpo’s account of his son Colton’s near-death experience and the visions of heaven he says happened while doctors were operating on him for a ruptured appendix. SRN News vice president/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (pictured here at left with actor Greg Kinnear) tells TALKERS that although millions of readers made Heaven Is For Real a bestseller, some theologians have raised concerns about the concept of “heavenly travel” and have condemned both the book and the film version that opens nationwide this Wednesday. Kinnear stars in the film. He, along with director Randall Wallace (Oscar-nominated writer of “Braveheart”) and the film’s producer Joe Roth, were interviewed by Tradup for the series. Also part of SRN’s program will be theology bloggers Tom McMann and Michael Patton who have written about the controversy created by Burpo’s book and the film. Tradup adds, “There have been a number of Christian-themed box office hits so far in 2014 including “Son of God,” “NOAH,” and “God’s Not Dead.” I believe – in terms of production values, scope, and the quality of the cast and writing – “Heaven Is For Real” has the potential to eclipse all of them. Regardless of where theatregoers are in their walk of faith, it is quite simply a powerfully emotional film and, as we will present to listeners, the voices for and against it are part of a healthy debate that should serve the church in America well.”
Odds & Sods. WPRO-AM, Providence talk show host John DePetro is named winner of the AP “Best Talk Show” award for Rhode Island. DePetro also had the privilege of sitting in for WestwoodOne nationally syndicated personality Michael Savage for two shows last week. DePetro comments, “It is great to win best talk show, because it is so competitive. I work really hard on my show, and it is rewarding to be recognized for it.”…..On Tuesday, April 15, a memorial service will be held in Boston for the victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Fox News Radio is offering live, anchored coverage of the memorial service. Hosted by FNR’s Jeff Monosso, the broadcast will be available on Fox News Radio affiliated stations across the country as well as on the Fox News Radio mobile app, and on the web at www.radio.FoxNews.com…..Matt Perrault exits Absolute Broadcasting-owned sports talk duo WGAM, Manchester and WGHM, Nashua, New Hampshire where he had served as general manager and afternoon personality for the past three years.
Southern California Broadcasters Association Launches College Outreach Program. In an effort to connect with college students and “engage students on the value of radio and its many digital platforms,” Southern California Broadcasters Association president Thom Callahan is embarking on a series of speaking engagements to take place at broadcast and communications classes at colleges and universities in Southern California and in London, England. The SCBA states that what began as a radio career night at a UCLA radio broadcast class in Los Angeles in March has now expanded to four more speaking engagements over the next 30 days. Callahan will speak with students “about the entire media landscape using research trends, comparative analysis, and a rich narrative of radio’s growth and future in today’s rapidly changing media environment.” Callahan states, “We are honored to have an honest dialog with what will be the next generation of broadcasters, producers, talent, sales executives, and future management. Our goal is to open both minds and hearts to the tremendous future of radio and its many audio and digital platforms.” The SCBA series will be held in April at California State University at both its Los Angeles and Fullerton campuses as well as at Pasadena Community College in Pasadena. The fourth lecture will be broadcast via Skype to the David Puttnam Media Centre at the University of Sunderland in London, England on May 13.
Journalist, State Pol, and Former Station Owner Cele Hahn Dies at 72. For 20 years, Cele Hahn and husband Curt Hahn owned WNNZ, Springfield, Massachusetts – originally an oldies outlet as WLDM before flipping to news/talk. The Hahn’s sold WNNZ to Clear Channel in 1998. In addition to her work as a broadcaster – she was a radio personality on WNNZ along with her ownership role – Cele Hahn was a lifelong journalist, serving with papers including: the Miami Herald, the Huntington (WV) Advertiser, the Sioux City Journal and the Albany Times Knickerbocker News in New York. She ran for state representative as a Republican in Massachusetts and served four terms before retiring in 2002. She is survived by her husband Curt, her children and grandchildren.
Cox Media Group Mourns Death of “Captain” Herb Emory. Atlanta market traffic reporting legend “Captain” Herb Emory died on Saturday from what appears to have been a heart attack. Emory reported traffic for CMG’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM and WSB-TV. WBS reports that according to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Emory stopped to help at a car accident when he suddenly fell ill. He was transported to WellStar Douglas Hospital where he later died. Emory’s funeral will be private, but there will be a Celebration of Life and Memorial Service for Captain Herb which will be open to all the public. Details on that event are forthcoming. Emory had been with WSB Radio and “Channel 2 Action News” since 1991and served as an Alanta traffic reporter since 1971. Emory watched over the interstates during the week and hosted special traffic and NASCAR broadcast programs with his wife, Karen Emory. Captain Herb hosted and produced the “WSB Speed Shop” auto racing from 1993 until 2011. Emory previously was a news/traffic reporter from 1978 through 1991 with WQXI-AM, WSTR-FM and the Georgia Network News.
KOGO, San Diego Debuts New Lineup; Chip Franklin Exits AM Drive. After a six-year run at KOGO, San Diego, Chip Franklin exits the station as the programming lineup is tweaked at the Clear Channel news/talker. Moving into AM drive is former afternoon personality Chris Merrill. He’s followed by Rush Limbaugh. At 12:00 noon, LaDona Harvey – who had been partnered with Franklin in AM drive – is on air solo from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm and Bob “Sully” Sullivan moves from the early afternoon slot into PM drive. Franklin came to San Diego after a long and successful run at Hearst’s WBAL, Baltimore. He tells the San Diego Union Times he has no hard feelings about the change. “I had a great run at KOGO, and they have and continue to treat me in a highly professional manner. Believe it or not, I have been very lucky. I still have a lot of great friends there and I sincerely wish them the very best. The new morning guy, Chris Merrill, is a friend and a tremendous talent. Don’t underestimate him.”
Salem Communications to Move New York Stations into Current WOR Facilities. Salem Communications announces it will move its two New York properties – news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” and Christian talk WMCA – from their current New Jersey location to Lower Manhattan into what is now the studios of Clear Channel’s news/talk WOR in the Trinity Building next to Trinity Church at 111 Broadway where WOR has been located since 2006. Since Clear Channel bought WOR from Buckley Broadcasting more than a year ago, plans have been made for WOR to move into CC’s larger New York studios. Salem VP director of spoken word format and regional VP for New York Phil Boyce says, “Salem has a major commitment to winning in New York and this move will help us take both stations to the next level. We know for years great radio came out of this building when it housed WOR and now we have the opportunity to continue that tradition with both WMCA and ‘AM 970 The Answer.’ As an added plus, WMCA, known as ‘New York’s Christian Talk,’ will be re-locating next door to historic Trinity Church, founded in 1697, as the oldest church in New York City. There is some divine providence going on here, as WMCA, which is licensed to the city of New York now moves next door to the oldest church.” The move is expected to be completed before the end of this year.
CHRIS PENDL: Help Your Best Clients Thrive in Local Searches. Bonneville Seattle creative director Chris Pendl writes that some of radio’s best advertisers can be the most difficult to find when it comes to mobile-based local searches. What’s more, there can be a huge difference between how one of your clients rates on a desktop search and where they rate – if at all – on a mobile search. Pendl notes, “With smartphone ownership now 56% among American adults, searching on smartphones is increasingly becoming a part of the consumer’s journey before making a purchase. A recent local search study revealed, there’s an 87% increase in local searches via mobile apps. It is in this mobile space where some of radio’s best advertisers, local and regional businesses, have poor visibility and are often non-existent.” Pendl offers simple solutions to help your valuable advertisers appear where they should in mobile searches. Read his column here.
KOMO-AM/FM, Seattle Scores Exclusive Interview with ‘Green River Killer.’ This morning, Sinclair Radio’s KOMO-AM/FM, Seattle begins broadcasting an exclusive interview series with serial killer Gary Ridgway, conducted by the station’s Charlie Harger. Titled, “Voice of Evil,” it begins with a special preview at 7:15 am (PT) on ‘KOMO Newsradio.’ Reports will be broadcast at 7:15 am, 12:15 pm and 5:15 pm all this week and mark the culmination of a near year-long investigation. The station says “Harger spoke exclusively with Ridgway on six separate occasions in what are the killer’s only media interviews since his incarceration in 2001. Ridgway was convicted on 49 counts of murder but reveals to KOMO that he committed many more. In his conversation with Harger, Ridgway shares frightening details of his crimes, tells detectives where to look for additional remains and even explains why he did it. Is he sorry? KOMO posed that question to the man serving a life sentence at Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla and his answer stunned the veteran reporter.” Harger adds, “I think it’s important that people understand just why we’re giving voice to a guy like this. People deserve answers and the families deserve some kind of closure.” KOMO-AM/FM program director Paul Duckworth adds, “It’s also about justice. There are a number of unsolved cases and we’re hopeful that our investigation will prompt the task force to reopen its investigation.”
KNX, Los Angeles to Present Health Care Town Hall. CBS Radio all-news KNX, Los Angeles “1070 NEWSRADIO” is presenting an “unprecedented town hall event and day-long series of special reports, titled ‘KNX 1070 Healthcare Uncovered,’ on Thursday, October 3 giving Californians a broad range of information about choosing health insurance under the newly enacted Affordable Care Act.” The station reports that more than a dozen guest speakers representing various entities involved with healthcare reform, from federal, state and local officials to health professionals and consumer advocates, will appear at the town hall forum at The Autry in Los Angeles from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm. Guests will include Peter Lee, the executive director of Covered California, the state’s overseer and marketplace for health insurance coverage beginning in January 2014. Also scheduled to appear are Herb K. Schultz, regional director for the Department of Health and Human Services; Carmen Balber, executive director of Consumer Watchdog; Victor Parker, district director for the U.S. Small Business Administration, Janice Rocco, California’s deputy insurance commissioner; Rocky Delgadillo, CEO of the L.A. County Medical Association, and many others including doctors and consumers of different demographics. The event will be hosted and moderated by KNX news anchors Diane Thompson, Bob McCormick and Frank Mottek and investigative reporter Charles Feldman who is co-producing the event with Laraine Herman. Feldman states, “This is the biggest change to our healthcare system since Medicare was rolled out in 1966 and a lot of people are confused. Because this law is so new, we’re bringing together panelists with knowledge covering a wealth of issues so that whether you’re self-employed, a business owner, the head of household or just entering the workforce, we’ll provide answers to questions you’ve never had to think about before.”
Haaga Gets Nod As NPR’s Acting President/CEO. Two-year NPR board member Paul Haaga, Jr. is named acting president/chief executive officer. The appointment takes effect at the end of this month for Haaga, who most recently was vice chair of the board and finance committee chair. He will succeed Gary Knell, who leaves for similar duties at the National Geographic Society. “Paul has made many valuable contributions to NPR during his tenure on the board,” comments NPR board chair Kit Jensen. “His intimate knowledge of our organization, his unwavering commitment to the highest quality of journalism and programming, and his financial acumen make him particularly well-suited to lead NPR as we begin our search for a permanent chief executive.” The retired chair of the board of Capital Research and Management Company, Haaga is the former chair of the Investment Company Institute, and he was a senior attorney for the Securities and Exchange Commission. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead one of the world’s leading providers of news, music, and cultural programming on an interim basis,” he remarks. “I look forward to working with my colleagues on the board and senior leadership team to help this great organization build on its success.” The former National Public Radio renamed itself NPR in July 2010.
Star Over Orlando Retakes Control of WRSO, Orlovista, Florida; Doubles Transmitting Power. Star Over Orlando operators Carl Como Tutera and his son Carmine announce they have taken back WRSO, Orlovista which operates as a sports talk outlet carrying CBS Sports Radio Network programming. The Tuteras also announce that they have received FCC approval to increase the daytime power to 20 kw and the night-time power to 1 kw — double the power of its original license. Earlier in the week, the FCC placed the Carl Como Tutera FM Translator application for Channel 226 in Orlando on a ‘singleton’ list for the operation of an FM on 93.1 with 250 Watts of Power. The pair built the AM station in 2005 and it began operations in early 2006. WRSO operates from a studio location in Altamonte Springs and at a tower site in Orlando. They say CBS Sports will continue to be an affiliate and be heard on both the AM and FM.
Jerry Sharell Stable After Being Held Hostage, Stabbed. The Los Angeles radio and music communities remain stunned this morning following news that broke last night involving former five-year (1987 – 1992) Westwood One senior vice president of talent marketing Jerry Sharell, who was reportedly held hostage and attacked in Woodland Hills (San Fernando Valley – Los Angeles). Sharell was with his girlfriend when her ex-husband was said to have arrived with flowers and a machete at approximately 8:00 am yesterday (Sunday, 9/15). He apparently held the couple hostage for more than three hours. “Sometime during that time, [Sharell] had been stabbed repeatedly,” Los Angeles Police Department sergeant Jeff Nuttal told KABC-TV, Los Angeles. The woman was injured when she tried to halt the attack, but was able to escape and called authorities. Police say that owing to a history of domestic violence, she had a restraining order against her ex-husband. Sharell, who hosts “Sundays with Sinatra” on Los Angeles public outlet KKJZ “KJazz” – is in critical, but stable condition at Northridge Medical Center with injuries to his head and neck. The unidentified attacker turned the weapon on himself; his condition is listed as critical as well but both he and Sharell are expected to survive. The alleged attacker is in police custody at the hospital. Sharell was co-executive producer of Ronnie Milsap‘s 2004 Grammy-nominated “Just for a Thrill” album. He began his career as a Mercury Records promotion rep, before joining Main Line Distributors in 1962. Sharell held executive positions at Buddah Records and A&M Records. He has helped the careers of artists such as Herb Alpert, Jackson Browne, Carpenters, Cars, Joe Cocker, Eagles, Curtis Mayfield, Joni Mitchell, Queen, Linda Ronstadt, and Carly Simon. He is past president of City of Hope, Entertainment Division, and is on the advisory board of MusiCares. From 2002 – 2010, he was president/CEO for the non-profit Society of Singers. Sharell’s wife of 48 years, Joanne, recently died after losing her fight against cancer.
‘Boomer & Carton’ Off MSG Network as Contract Expires. Last week TALKERS reported that the Yankees-owned YES Network is in talks with WFAN, New York’s Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton to do a cable TV simulcast of their AM drive show on the CBS Radio sports talk station. Up until last week, the duo had been seen on the Madison Square Garden Network (MSG), but that deal elapsed on Friday and for now, Boomer & Carton are only available on the radio.
Odds & Sods. Entercom’s WEEI, Boston adds ESPN “Monday Night Football” play-by-play voice Mike Tirico to its stable of football experts. Tirico will call in to the Salk & Holley show every Thursday afternoon at 4:30 throughout the season…..Plain Talk Radio Network’s internet radio show “Talk Live with Peter Gantenbein” – a “weekly news and commentary program that engages in straight talk not for the faint of heart,” has been recognized as must-hear radio with an “Editor’s Pick” recognition from Windows Media Guide…..Good Karma flips WEFL, Tequesta, Florida to Spanish–language sports talk using ESPN Deportes. The company had been simulcasting English-language sports on WEFL and WUUB-FM, Jupiter and the latter remains English-language sports talk…..CRN Digital Talk Radio‘s popular wine dinners return to Los Angeles on Tuesday, September 17. Tobin James of Tobin James Winery in Paso Robles pairs a variety of wines with a prix fixe menu at Colombo’s Italian Steak and Jazz Club at 1833 Colorado Blvd. in Eagle Rock. CRN CEO and president Michael Horn says, “People still talk about our Tobin James wine dinner from a few years ago. Toby brings a world-class selection of wines people enjoy. He’s also a fun, down-to-earth person that everyone relates to. Colombo’s provides a great atmosphere and delicious food that will make the night all that more special.”…..Today ABC Radio re-launches its popular “Dancing with the Stars” station on Slacker, providing fans with behind-the-scenes access to the ABC hit reality TV show. Now in its third season, “Dancing with the Stars” Radio will deliver an on-demand audio experience and unlimited access to key moments throughout the competition. Each week “Dancing with the Stars” Radio will follow the Season 17 cast as they battle it out on the dance floor for the coveted Mirror Ball trophy. Season 17 of “Dancing with the Stars” premieres on tonight on the ABC Television Network.
Newhouse School Presents Audio Industry Summit. The half-day event will take place in New York City on Friday, September 27 and will feature two panels of experts from 8:30 am to 12:00 noon at Syracuse University Lubin House, 11 E 61st St. The event is free and open to the public but seating is limited. RSVP with your name and professional affiliation to Ed Gorham at email@example.com by Wednesday, September 18. Newhouse Dean Lorraine Branham states, “Given the seismic shifts in radio and newer audio platforms, much attention is being paid to the medium’s future. It is crucial that we understand where the industry is headed so we can appropriately prepare our students. We want to hear from thought leaders in management, programming and other key areas so we can get a better handle on best practices in radio moving forward.” Industry players attending will include: Jeff Smulyan, founder and CEO of Emmis Communications; Dan Mason, president and CEO of CBS Radio; Buzz Knight, vice president of program development for Greater Media; Chris Oliviero, executive vice president of programming for CBS Radio; Deon Levingston, vice president and general manager at WBLS Radio (New York); Kevin Straley, vice president of programming at TuneIn; and Ed Levine, president and CEO of Galaxy Communications, among others.
November PPMs Generally Good to Talk Radio. You can call it the “election bounce” if you like but some of the news/talk stations that did well in Arbitron’s November 2012 PPMs were ramping up in October and before. Plus, the fall has traditionally been a good ratings period for news/talk whether there’s an election or not. Of course, Hurricane Sandy played a major factor for stations in the New York and Middlesex-Somerset-Union markets. Some of the stations worth noting include CBS Radio’s New York all newsers WCBS and WINS which jumped from a 3.8 to a 5.3 and a 4.0 to a 4.8, respectively. Clear Channel’s Los Angeles talk juggernaut KFI continues to thrive inching up to a 5.3 from a 5.1 the month prior. Cumulus Media’s Chicago news/talker WLS bounced back up to a 4.1 after posting a 3.7 in October. Likewise in Dallas-Fort Worth for Cumulus as WBAP-AM/FM pops up a half share to a 3.9. Clear Channel’s KTRH, Houston rose from a 3.4 in October to a 4.1 in November. In Washington, DC Cumulus’ WMAL-AM/FM jumped from a 3.4 to a 4.2. In Philadelphia, Merlin Media’s WWIQ hopped from 2.7 in October to a 3.6 in November. Cox Media’s WSB, Atlanta – which has been maintaining healthy numbers in the PPM for some time – vaults from a 6.8 to an 8.3 this month. Cumulus’ Detroit talker WJR rose more than a full share from a 4.8 to a 5.9. Public radio outlet KUOW, Seattle claimed the top spot in the November PPMs with a 5.5 share. Clear Channel’s KFYI, Phoenix went up a full share from a 4.9 to a 5.9. Mixed results in Baltimore as Hearst’s WBAL fell from a 5.7 to a 5.0 while WCBM rose from a 3.0 to a 3.8 share. Good news for pubcaster KOPB, Portland which went from a 5.3 to a 6.2 while Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL jumped from a 4.8 to a 5.5 share. Clear Channel’s WPGB, Pittsburgh leaped a full share from a 6.9 to a 7.9 share while its Sacramento sister KFBK also enjoyed a significant rise from a 5.6 to a 6.8 share. In the New Jersey market of Middlesex-Somerset-Union, Townsquare Media’s New Jersey 101.5 (WKXW, Trenton) posted an outstanding 8.6 – up from a 6.2 in October – with help, no doubt, from Hurricane Sandy. TALKERS’ sister publication RadioInfo has all the PPM data including Mike Kinosian’s analysis of the numbers. You can find that here.
Laura Ingraham Back on Radio “Soon.” That’s what the author, pundit and talk show host told Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly. During one of Laura Ingraham’s regular appearances on Fox News Channel with O’Reilly, he questioned her status in the talk radio world and she told him she will be back on the radio with another syndicator (she left Talk Radio Network at the end of her contract on Tuesday) very soon. “I’m close to signing a new deal. I’m very, very close. But I’ll be back on the air probably in the next several days.” Ingraham told O’Reilly she informed TRN she would be “terminating the deal” months ago and that it was time to move on.
Talk Host Tom Becka to Exit KRWK, Fargo “101.9 Talk FM.” Talk radio pro Tom Becka has been serving as program director and talk show host at KRWK, Fargo since it flipped from rock to talk in March of this year. Becka tells the Fargo Forum he’s returning to Omaha where he’s worked for years and has family. Becka says any notion his departure has anything to do with the performance of the new format is not correct. “The station has grown every month. My experience with Radio Fargo-Moorhead was great and I’m proud of what we accomplished here in a short time. To say I’m leaving because of ratings would be erroneous.” Radio Fargo-Moorhead is selling its cluster of stations to Midwest Family Communications. The FCC has approved the license transfers but according to one source, the actual takeover may not happen until the spring.
Todd Schnitt Show to Leave Flagship WFLA, Tampa. Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt Tweets that his program – airing live from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm – will be off longtime flagship WFLA, Tampa after the December 18 program. Schnitt further Tweets that the national syndication continues and is expanding under syndicator Compass. No word what CC has in mind for afternoons at WFLA. Currently, it delay-broadcasts Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm but may have plans to move Hannity to the live PM drive slot.
Jim Isabella Named Evening Host at WNIR, Akron. Journalist Jim Isabella has been doing fill-in work for WNIR for the past two years. He now takes over the evening show formerly hosted by the late Tom Erickson who died on November 3 after a long illness. Isabella most recently worked for the Akron Beacon Journal. Station owners Bob and Bill Klaus note in a press release that Isabella, who was a frequent caller to the show hosted by the late Howie Chizek who passed away suddenly in June, made them more aware of his talents during his fill-in time in addition to receiving positive response from the station’s listeners.
Odds & Sods. Watch for Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk host Andy Dean from the network’s “America Now with Andy Dean” on Fox News Channel’s “America’s News HQ” this Sunday at 4:45 pm ET as he sits in a panel discussing the latest headlines in news and politics…..SiriusXM brings the Major League Baseball winter meetings to listeners via its MLB Network Radio and SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio channels. The meetings take place in Nashville December 2 through 6 and the satcaster will have front office experts Jim Bowden, Jim Duquette and Steve Phillips there hosting various programs with other special expert guests including former pitcher Jeff Nelson.
Bubba the Love Sponge Offers Reward for Arrest of Animal Abuser. After hearing about the case of a dog found in the Bradenton, Florida area that had been attacked by someone with an axe, radio star Bubba the Love Sponge put up $1,000 of his own cash on top of the $500 being offered by the Animal Network for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible. After hearing about the case, Tampa-area philanthropist Gary Kompothecras of the legal and medical referral service 1-800-ASK-GARY added another $1,000 to the reward to make the total $2,500. Bubba reports to TALKERS that the dog, named Axel, is recovering from his injuries and will be available for adoption once he is healthy again.
Los Angeles Broadcaster David Courtney Dies at 56. The Southern California radio community is mourning the loss of omnipresent “big voice” David Courtney, who passed away on Thursday, November 29. Many considered Courtney the voice of Los Angeles sports, since for the past 23 years, he was the public address announcer of the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings. He performed similar duties for MLB’s Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for 18 years and NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers since October 2008. Greater Los Angeles area radio listeners knew him for his frequent traffic and sports updates as part of the Total Traffic Network. Over the last 20 years, Courtney was heard on a number of major Los Angeles radio outlets including KABC and KSPN, as well as KOLA in the Inland Empire. His other radio background included stints at Houston’s KULF as executive producer of sports programming and that market’s KTRH, where he was weekend news anchor before landing a nightly, three-hour news/talk program. New York City-born Courtney moved to Los Angeles in 1963 when his father, Alan, became president of MGM Television. According to Courtney’s Twitter feed, he needed to miss Wednesday night’s Clippers game against Minnesota owing to the fact he was in the hospital awaiting an angiogram. The 56-year-old Courtney is survived by his wife, Janet Fisher-Courtney.
‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle Remains Top Talk Radio Topic for Second Straight Week. The struggle between the Obama administration and GOP congressmen to deal with impending tax hikes and spending cuts was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Benghazi investigation tied with the Susan Rice-GOP leaders meetings. Following at #3 was the Israel-Gaza tensions with the clean-up of Hurricane Sandy at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.
Bryan Nehman to Take Over Morning Drive on WBAL, Baltimore. Anne Arundel County, Maryland native Bryan Nehman is named the successor to the morning drive show at Hearst’s news/talk WBAL, Baltimore after Dave Durian – who’s been with the station for 20 years – steps down from his position this fall. Nehman has been half of the “Brian and Bryan” show on Cumulus Media’s WMAL, Washington with Brian Wilson but tells the Baltimore Sun’s David Zurawik the WBAL job is too good to pass up. “Number one, it’s a great station, and I love the fact that they’re local, local, local. It’s very hard to find that in radio these days. Almost everywhere you go, it’s syndicated in radio. The company is fantastic from everything I heard. And then, there’s the city. I’m a Maryland boy through and through.” WBAL program director Dave Hill tells the paper, “Bryan is one of the brightest young men that I’ve met, and he is the guy who’s going to lead WBAL into the next 20 years of broadcasting.” Durian’s last day hosting the AM drive show is not certain – though mid-October has been suggested. Durian will remain with the station to do special assignments.
Trip Savery Upped to VP/General Manager at Greater Media Charlotte. Director of sales Trip Savery is promoted to the vice president and general manager position at Greater Media’s Charlotte cluster that includes news/talk WBT-AM/FM and personality AC WLNK. Savery joined Greater Media in March of 2010. He’ll continue to perform director of sales duties and will now serve as acting market manager under senior vice president and general manager Rick Feinblatt who says of Savery, “Trip’s outstanding performance as DOS of Greater Media Charlotte has earned him this well-deserved promotion.”
August Sports Scoreboard. Sports talk radio is one of radio’s hottest formats right now. It has the kind of listener engagement that advertisers crave, it brings adult men with disposable income to the table and its content focuses on one of the hottest aspects of American pop culture in the early 21st century – professional sports. Sports as a radio moneymaker is evidenced by the recent launching of not one but two new players in national sports talk content – CBS Sports Radio Network and NBC Sports Radio. TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian has taken a look at the ratings of 40 of America’s sports talk outlets and compiled them in this “scoreboard-style” feature. Check out the rankings in Kinosian’s piece here.
Killer Endorsement Spots: Advertisers’ (and your) Best Buds. Consultant Holland Cooke says the best way radio can fight the competition for ad dollars (Google, Pandora, et al) is for personalities – talk hosts and jocks – to use the credibility and relationships they’ve built up to their advantage. Cooke says, “Radio is an intimate medium, with decades of cred’ to the two generations which control most retail spending. So the local DJs and talkers who will survive the ongoing bloodbath do so by being more than just voices. Properly applied, the trust you have earned with listeners can sell-sell-sell, in a way that makes Arbitron numbers irrelevant.” How to do that? Holland has some suggestions. Read his piece here.
Re-Branding Drives Success for Home Improvement Host Danny Lipford. Mobile, Alabama-based home improvement talk show host Danny Lipford says his weekend program is gaining new affiliates since he re-branded his program. Now called “Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford,” the former “Homefront” show is garnering renewed interest, according to Lipford. “SuperTalk Mississippi was the first group to come on board with our name change from ‘Homefront’ to ‘Today’s Homeowner.’ The response to the name change has been tremendous.” Danny Lipford has made over 150 television appearances on shows such as “Rachael Ray,” “Live with Regis & Kelly,” “CNN’s Your Bottom Line,” and “The Early Show on CBS.” He also produced a television program of the same name.
Talk Hosts Play Role in Family Research Council “Values Voter Summit.” This weekend’s Family Research Council “Values Voter Summit” in Washington, DC will feature a number of high-profile talk show hosts. Salem Radio Network’s Bill Bennett will introduce GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan. The congressman once worked for Bennett at the think tank Empower America before he entered public service in the Congress. SRN talk personality Dennis Prager will serve as a keynote speaker with his speech addressing “the need for American values to triumph around the world.” Other talk personalities appearing this weekend will include Premiere Networks star Glenn Beck, Talk Radio Network’s Laura Ingraham and Cumulus Media Network’s Mike Huckabee.
WGN, Chicago’s John Williams to Attempt New Speed Golf World Record. WGN midday host John Williams and a group of his listeners will attempt to break the world record for the fastest round of golf on Sunday at Carriage Greens Country Club in Darien, Illinois. Dubbed “King John & His Royal Court’s Speed Golf World Record Challenge,” this will be the second attempt at a world record by Williams and crew after last year’s inaugural event. Williams has assembled a team of 200 listeners for this Sunday’s event, which will play out in a speed golf relay format. Golfers will be assigned locations along the course based upon their best club and will hit the ball to each other in progression. The current world record is 7 minutes, 56 seconds.
Leslie Marshall Represents America Progressive Talkers in Dublin. Nationally syndicated progressive talk host Leslie Marshall will be in Dublin, Ireland next week where she says she’ll “represent the Left/Democrats at an international debate on the U.S. Presidential race at the U.S. Embassy, in Dublin, Ireland.” She’ll also appear at Dublin’s Boston College as well as speaking at the Women For Election luncheon about women in the U.S. Election. Additionally, she’ll be a guest on Dublin’s “The Right Hook” talk radio program on Monday, September 17.
Talk Radio Pro Roger Fredinburg Re-enters Biz with “Homeland Security Radio.” Roger Fredinburg was nationally syndicated by Talk Radio Network back in the 1990s. His program was the lead-in to “Coast to Coast AM” back when it was hosted by Art Bell. Fredinburg exited the business in 2004 after saying he became “frustrated with redundant voices and re-packaged news, each agonizing hour of talk radio parroting the last.” He got into the national advertising agency business. Now, Fredinburg tells TALKERS he’s getting back into the talk business due to his concerns over recent developments in the Middle East. He says that, combined with his recognition of a growing communications gap between the public sector and private citizens as relates to Homeland Security, has awakened his passions and he is determined to make a positive difference using talk radio. He’ll keep the focus and a watchful eye on Homeland Security and bring HS insiders to the airwaves to connect with average Americans via talk radio. Genesis Communications Network is syndicating the program on Sundays from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET.
Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeaderhip Hits Indy. Nationally syndicated talk host Dave Ramsey (pictured here third from the left) brought his super-successful EntreLeadership Seminar to Indianapolis on Wednesday in conjunction with the launch of the new AM/FM simulcast of his affiliate station, “Freedom 95.” Here he poses with the station’s staff.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. XtreMEDIA’s Kevin McCullough adds five new affiliate stations: WLES, Richmond, Virginia; KTIA, Des Moines; KUTR, Salt Lake City; WCRU, Charlotte; and WBRG, Lynchburg, Virginia…..Also, the XtreMEDIA-produced Dani Johnson show is added to WETR, Knoxville, Tennessee and WHKT, Norfolk, Virginia…..The nationally syndicated talk show “Phil’s Gang,” with host Phil Grande, is added to the program schedule at KFNN, Phoenix and KPSF, Palm Springs, California…..Fox Sports Radio Network adds its daily lineup of sports talk shows to KVNS, Brownsville, Texas…..”The Captain’s America” host Matt Bruce announces a new flagship home — WXJB-FM, Homosassa, Florida (“News-Talk For The Nature Coast of Florida”) — for his program that is syndicated by Phoenix Broadcasting…..The weekly military talk radio program, “Frontlines of Freedom” hosted by Denny Gillem, LTC, US Army (Ret) is added to the weekend schedule at Midwest Communications’ WKZO, Kalamazoo, Michigan and its simulcast WZKO, Portage, Michigan.
Libya Consulate Strike/Obama Foreign Policy Record Top News/Talk Stories for Week of September 10-14. The violent attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya that resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the assessment of President Obama’s foreign policy record tied for the most-talked-about-stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Following at #2 was the anti-American violence taking place in the Muslim world tied with President Obama’s relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. At #3 was President Obama’s “convention bounce” in the polls and at #4 was the rise in jobless claims. The Talkers TenTM is a ranking of the top people and stories discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Cumulus Media Networks to Syndicate Daily Mike Huckabee Talk Show in Same Time Slot as Rush Limbaugh. Former Arkansas Governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has been producing a daily feature for Cumulus Media Networks and hosting his weekend show on Fox News Channel since shortly after the 2008 presidential race. Now CMN decides to develop a three-hour talk show for Huckabee – based out of Florida – airing live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET and beginning April 2. Already, industry watchers are viewing the move as Cumulus “taking on” Premiere Networks’ syndication dominance in the time slot with Limbaugh while Cumulus COO John Dickey tells The New York Times that it is positioning the show as an alternative to Limbaugh. Huckabee himself defers to Limbaugh’s success telling Times writer Brian Stelter he doesn’t feel like a competitor, “He’s going to have an audience that will be very loyal and has been for over 20 years. I doubt that will change.” Within the industry, the big question is will Cumulus push Huckabee onto its news/talk stations that currently carry Limbaugh, especially at such major market stations as WABC, New York; WLS, Chicago; WJR Detroit; WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas and WMAL-AM/FM, Washington? All are markets where Premiere parent Clear Channel Media and Entertainment doesn’t have a news/talk outlet (or a strong-performing talk outlet) on which to move Limbaugh. Huckabee is a good broadcaster with a personality all his own, great name recognition and is adept at taking on subjects outside the realm of politics. He’s likeable and smart. But Limbaugh has performed well for the aforementioned stations and it would be a gamble to make a change of such significance. Perhaps far more concerned than Premiere are local talk hosts at the Cumulus stations not mentioned above who understand Cumulus is not making this move without a plan to roll Huckabee out onto as many of its O&Os as possible.
Sports Talk Host Scott Kaplan Admits Fault in Comments About Female Broadcaster. Former XEPRS, San Diego morning drive talk host Scott Kaplan tells the San Diego Union Tribune that he needs to apologize to Mountain West sports broadcaster Andrea Lloyd for comments he made about her appearance that may have led to his and co-host Billy Ray Smith’s departure from the station. Kaplan called Lloyd a “beast” and a “sasquatch of a woman” on the program and was let go from the station more than a week later. Broadcast Company of the America’s VP/GM Tex Meyer had told the Union Tribune he’d spoken with Kaplan in the past about similar issues. But Kaplan’s comments to NBC San Diego prior to being fired strike at the heart of the issue for edgy, sports talk hosts trying to reach a younger, male demo when he stated, “I don’t apologize for the fact that we’re a guy show, a locker-room kind of show. There’s no apology for that. This is what we do.” The reality is that radio hosts targeting young men often comment on the appearances of women – often positively, but sometimes not. It’s certainly the right of any operator to tolerate it or not but points to the fine line such hosts must walk in creating an edgy show and being savvy enough to realize who is “fair game” and who the public will perceive as an innocent undeserving of such criticism. As for Kaplan, he says he can’t talk about his actual firing but tells the paper he doesn’t believe he was validly terminated from the station.
CNN Suspends Roland Martin for Super Bowl Tweets. Numerous media reports indicate CNN is suspending commentator Roland Martin for tweets he sent during the Super Bowl – one of which in response to the David Beckham H&M underwear ad is being perceived by gay rights activists to have been homophobic. In the tweet, Martin wrote, “If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him! #superbowl” Martin responded that he was only making fun of soccer. The Washington Post reports CNN issued the following statement about Martin’s status: “Roland Martin’s tweets were regrettable and offensive. Language that demeans is inconsistent with the values and culture of our organization, and is not tolerated. We have been giving careful consideration to this matter, and Roland will not be appearing on our air for the time being.” TALKERS recently addressed the issue of talent using social media in a feature piece titled, “Social Media: Handle with Care.” If you haven’t read it yet, check it out here.
WTKK-FM, Boston Talk Host Michael Graham Sponsors Candidate’s School. Local talk show host Michael Graham broadcasts on Greater Media’s WTKK-FM, Boston but he’s also an experienced GOP consultant. Last night, Graham sponsored a non-partisan workshop at the Café Escadrille in suburban Boston in which Republican, Democratic and independent political professionals donated their time to help educate and train private citizens on becoming candidates in the 2012 election and beyond. Graham says of the event, “We’re answering the question I’ve been asked thousands of times: ‘What can I do to make a difference?’ Here’s what you can do: Run.” This is not Graham’s first workshop. Since 2010 more than 500 New Englanders have attended Graham’s Candidate’s School.
Former Blue Star Media Group Exec “Doesn’t Own Feature Concepts.” That’s the position of Blue Star Media Group president and CEO Michael Metter after former EVP Jeff Weber sent out an industry-wide press release on 2/7 accusing – though not by name – Blue Star’s Business TalkRadio Network and Lifestyle TalkRadio Network of not having the rights to a news feature and a music history vignette. In the release, Weber references the music vignette “Pop Quiz” and the news feature “Heard Around Town” which he says are still available through his company, Jeff Weber Marketing. Metter tells TALKERS when Weber left the company in December he asked that his name and voice be removed from all Blue Star content and the company complied. Metter says his new features – “Heard Across America with Wendy Lowy Sloane” and “Rhythm & Pop with Tony Legg” – are “totally different names with the new content written by the talent. These concepts are as old as radio itself. What ownership does he have?”
Maryland Brewer Makes Beer to Honor the Late Ron Smith; Proceeds Benefit Cancer Research. Brewer Jay Lampart at Johansson’s Dining House in Westminster, Maryland has created a beer call Reason Saison to honor the late WBAL, Baltimore talk host Ron Smith. Lampart tells WBAL, “Ron has been part of my ride home since 9/11, which was also the time I moved to Maryland. I learned a lot about Maryland politics and critical thinking from Ron.” Lampart says proceeds from the brew will go to the Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center where Smith was treated for pancreatic cancer. It’ll remain on sale at the restaurant through the end of the month or until supplies run out. The name of the beer stems from Smith’s calling himself the “voice of reason” combined with the Belgian style of beer known as saison.
Deer Creek’s KCKS-FM, Chico, California Simulcasts Sports AM. KEWE, Chico is Deer Creek’s “Fox Sports Radio 1340” and after a year of trying a CHR music format, the station returns being a simulcast for the company’s sports talk outlet. Although San Francisco and Sacramento AMs get into the market, Chico doesn’t have another local sports talk outlet.
Syrian Violence Escalates, GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Election, Iran Nuclear Ambitions, and L.A. School Sex Abuse Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/8). The international community’s growing conflict over the escalating violence in Syria; Rick Santorum’s victories complicating the GOP primary race and the beginning of President Obama’s campaign; Iran’s nuclear ambitions and the Los Angeles school sex abuse case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WQAM, Miami Host Sid Rosenberg Serving Unpaid Suspension. Sid Rosenberg’s been off the air at WQAM, Miami for several weeks now with a lot of speculation as to why. Now, according to Jose Lambiet’s Gossip Extra, the Beasley Broadcasting sports talk host is serving a six-week unpaid suspension for a plugola deal to pay off a gambling debt. Lambiet cites a source connected to the station reporting that Rosenberg had a debt of about $100,000 to a sports betting organization and he was going to pay off the debt by plugging the operation on his program. The details of the arrangement were spelled out in a fax to Rosenberg at the WQAM offices that the source says Rosenberg accidently left on the fax machine. It was discovered “before he did any damage,” according to the source. Rosenberg is scheduled to return to the air on January 2.
Phil Tower Returns to Program Director Post at WOOD-AM/FM and WTKG, Grand Rapids. Clear Channel has been looking for a new program director for its Grand Rapids, Michigan news/talk duo of WOOD-AM/FM and WTKG since Paul Cashin left in August. Now a familiar face returns to the building as Phil Tower takes over the PD post he held for so many years. Tower was most recently general manager of publications/multimedia at Stafford Media Solutions. Prior to that he was general manager of the nationally syndicated Allen Hunt show.
WBAL, Baltimore Talk Host Ron Smith Dies at 70. It’s only been two months since WBAL talk host Ron Smith announced he’d been diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. He passed away on December 19 at his home in Shrewsbury, Pennsylvania after several weeks in hospice care. Smith spent more than 25 years at WBAL and was an institution in the market as a talk radio host and, in later years, as a columnist with the Baltimore Sun as well.
Rumor: WMAL, Washington Talk Host Chris Plante to Be Syndicated. DCRTV.com’s Dave Hughes reports rumors of a plan by Cumulus Media to syndicate Chris Plante’s 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET talk show to other stations on some sort of limited basis. It could be that Cumulus is taking a page from Clear Channel’s playbook and is planning to distribute programming to smaller regional markets emanating from large markets like DC. Hughes also reports talk of more job cuts coming to the Cumulus cluster in Washington.
Dave Ramsey to Buy Nashville Office Building. The Tennesseean is reporting that nationally syndicated talk host Dave Ramsey – through a company called Andy’s Union, LLC – is buying a four-story office building in downtown Nashville for $1.6 million. The building is known locally as the Jackson law office since it sits on the site of what is believed to have been the law office of Andrew Jackson. The current building was built in 1996. Ramsey’s plans for the building are unknown.
“The Costa Report” Clears Seattle on Fisher’s KVI, Seattle. When KVI returns to a talk format in January, it’ll air the weekly “Costa Report” program being distributed by Broadcast Affiliate Sales. The program is described as “a weekly news talk program which features a one-hour interview with a world leader or expert, followed by a second hour of call-ins from listeners.” It’s hosted by Rebecca Costa who states, “Americans are sick and tired of the rage-a-holics who have hijacked talk radio, hosts who, day after day, spew hateful, divisive rhetoric which has torn the country apart. ‘The Costa Report’ is the voice of the ‘rational center of America’ – citizens who don’t care if a solution comes from the left or the right as long as it really works.” Costa is a sociobiologist and author of The Watchman’s Rattle: Thinking Our Way Out of Extinction (Vanguard Press 2010).
Wrappin’ With Jack! This mass of people you see here are gathered at Northside Ford in San Antonio for the 13th annual Wrappin’ With Jack event in which listeners gather to wrap donated gift items for children and adults through the Family Services Association of San Antonio. KTSA’s Jack Riccardi proudly notes that some 600 people showed up to volunteer their services. “We set new records for participants, gifts donated, and for the first time in our 13 years, we managed to ‘adopt’ 100% of the families FSA was hoping to serve. I think our growth is largely due to the unique call-to-action: You don’t have to donate money or a toy to participate (although many people do) – all we ask is that you show up and help us wrap, while enjoying live Christmas music performed by local musicians and treats served by local restaurants. Although the radio station gets behind ‘WWJ’ logistically, it’s mainly a talk show host appealing to his listeners for help in a worthy cause, and people responding to the intimacy and immediacy of that.” The event took place on December 13 from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm.
Steve Gill Launches “Generous Hearts” Charitable Program. Nashville-based syndicated talk host Steve Gill recently created the Generous Hearts charitable organization in conjunction with local charities Nashville Wraps and A Generous Heart. Since November, it has raised $20,000 in cash for the Tennessee Baptist Children’s Homes, 750 turkeys delivered to the Nashville Rescue Mission and has offered aid to six homeless Sumner County families to bring Christmas to life this season. Gill says Generous Hearts is aligning with a regional food bank’s mobile pantry to help feed Middle Tennessee’s hungry families. Gill states, “The ‘Generous Hearts’ project initiative, throughout 2012, is to raise funds as well as provide increased visibility to people and organizations in need. As an active community member, ‘friend-raising’ is as vital as fundraising.”
NRG Media’s KKAR, Omaha Raises Funds for Child Saving Institute. On Friday, December 16, news/talk KKAR, Omaha held a radiothon to raise funds for the Child Saving Institute that provides a safe haven and healing for thousands of innocent young victims of family crisis, neglect and abuse. Program director Neil Nelkin says the event raised $60,000 for the institute. “The listeners of KKAR delivered again this year. Despite the economy, the listeners opened their hearts and their wallets to make a difference for a wonderful cause that will brighten the holidays of hundreds of children in need throughout Omaha.”
Controversial Host Tarsha Jones Fired by Clear Channel; Legal Tangle Ensues. Clear Channel terminated controversial urban radio host Tarsha Jones – known as Jonesy on the air – after a Philadelphia businesswoman accused Jones’ program of misidentifying her and accusing her of criminal acts that she says adversely affected her businesses. Jonesy hosted the AM drive show on WUSL-FM – Power 99. In the aftermath of an October incident during which young women from different neighborhoods in Philadelphia had gotten into fights, at least one caller to Jones’ program identified Tracey Parson as having beaten up young girls. Parson – who runs a group of child care facilities – has filed a suit in Common Pleas Court claiming Jones repeatedly defamed her and her Kiddie Kare businesses and that action led to death threats to her and loss of business. Police have said Parson was never a suspect and Parson’s suit alleges Jones’ program purposely devised a campaign to “destroy people’s lives, reputations and livelihoods.” Jones is no stranger to controversy. She was suspended from WQHT-FM, New York over the “Tsunami Song” that parodied Asians in the wake of the Sri Lanka tsunami. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says the rights of stations and hosts to publicly comment are very strong, “The legal threshold for Parson’s claim is challenging. Her legal team would have to prove Jones acted maliciously or with wanton disregard for the truth and that is harder to do than many people think.” From the station’s perspective, depending on the language in Jones’ contract, she may be able to collect on any monies due her by Clear Channel even though she’s been let go. Weisman says a good example of the talent being protected in this regard is that of Don Imus back in 2007. Although Citadel fired him for the “nappy-headed hos” incident, his contract contained language that forced the company to pay the remainder of this deal.
Talk Host Bill Manders Let Go from KKOH, Reno. Cumulus-owned KKOH, Reno – known to most without the extra “K” as KOH – drops PM drive host Bill Manders and program director Dan Mason takes over the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot. Manders, who’s been with KOH since 1994, tells KOLO-TV, “It’s part of the business. It certainly wasn’t shocking, and it wasn’t a surprise. But it’s caught me a little off guard.” KOH general manager Andrew Perini declined to comment to the Reno Gazette-Journal calling the situation, “Too complicated.”
WBAL, Baltimore’s Ron Smith Retires Due to Cancer. A little more than a month after announcing to his listeners that he’s been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, Ron Smith does his last radio program and retires to home hospice care. Despite the grave diagnosis, Smith said he would go ahead with treatment and continue doing his radio program as long as he was well enough. The 69-year-old Smith recently announced he was ceasing chemotherapy and would continue with palliative care. He has been a talk host at Hearst’s WBAL since 1984. He also worked as a columnist for the Baltimore Sun since 2008 and penned his final column on November 17.
Fox News Radio Names Emily Wither Jerusalem Correspondent. Fox News Radio announces it brings former freelance multi-media journalist Emily Wither aboard as Jerusalem correspondent. Wither has worked for numerous news organizations including ABC, NBC, Sky News, CNN, ITN and the BBC. In her new position, Wither will file daily reports on the Middle East region for Fox News Radio. She takes over for Courtney Kealy who moved to Fox News’ New York headquarters as a national correspondent for Fox News Radio.
KPAM, Portland’s Bob Miller Begins “Operation Santa Claus.” For the 9th year in a row, KPAM, Portland morning drive host Bob Miller is spending this week raising funds for military families hurt by loss of income due to deployment. The station notes “Operation Santa Claus” has raised more than $1 million over the past nine years and is setting a goal of $135,000 for this year to aid the market’s military families in need. Working with the Salvation Army, Miller says 100% of the proceeds go to area families. “The need for ‘Operation Santa Claus’ funds for families of our troops has increased exponentially. I am thrilled and gratified every year to see how generous our listeners are, no matter what the economy is doing.”
KNX, Los Angeles Begins Remote Series. Following on the lead of former sister news/talk KFWB (now in a trust and for sale), CBS Radio’s KNX debuts “KNX on Your Corner” – a series of remote, daylong broadcasts designed to take an in-depth look at different communities throughout Southern California. The first stop is Ventura Boulevard in the San Fernando Valley on December 9. The station states, “From Studio City to Woodland Hills, the day’s programming will focus on the rich history and variety of businesses along Ventura Boulevard. Community leaders and local residents will be featured guests and KNX will broadcast live much of the day from Jerry’s Restaurant & Deli (16650 Ventura Boulevard) in Encino, a longtime favorite on the boulevard.” KNX will broadcast live from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm.
Rep. Barney Frank to Retire, NATO’s Deadly Pakistan Strike, Holiday Shopping Figures, European Debt Crisis and 2012 Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/28). Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank’s announcement of retirement from Congress, the NATO friendly fire strike that killed Pakistani troops, Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales reports, the building tension over the Euro Zone debt crisis and the GOP field for president in 2012 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
A Complex Web of Debt. There’s little reason to wonder why large radio companies are trying to find every available dollar – and that is most visible to the industry and the public in the form of reductions in force – when we read today’s news of Cumulus’ bankruptcy filings. According to Bloomberg, a subsidiary of Cumulus Media Partners (which Cumulus Media Inc finished purchasing in August) — AR Broadcasting Holdings — was put into Chapter 11 bankruptcy as it owes creditors as much as $100 million with assets of between $10 million and $50 million. AR Broadcasting Holdings consists of stations in San Francisco, Houston and Dallas. AR Holdings states it has a prepackaged plan “supported by 100 percent of one class of creditors that voted for the restructuring proposal.” Another Cumulus subsidiary, CMP KC LLC – owner of two stations in Kansas City and two in Houston – has been in default on debt. It also is filing a pre-packaged bankruptcy protection plan that will cut the debt from almost $95 million to about $20 million and lenders in turn will end up with equity in the stations.
WBAL, Baltimore’s Ron Smith Ends Chemotherapy. Baltimore talk radio legend Ron Smith announced Thursday (11/17) that he will continue to host his daily talk show on the Hearst news/talk station he’s worked at as a host for 27 years as long as he can, but he is ending his chemotherapy. Smith announced on October 17 that he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that has spread to other organs. The 69-year-old personality said at the time his doctors believed he had a chance to beat the disease with treatment. However yesterday he told his listeners he would end chemo and receive only palliative care.
The RTDNA Asks for Electronic Coverage of SCOTUS Health Care Case. When the United States Supreme Court hears arguments on the constitutionality of the Obama Administration’s health care law, the RTDNA hopes to be able to have TV cameras and audio recording devices in the chamber. RTDNA chairman Kevin Benz writes to the Court, “Health care overhaul has divided the nation since it was signed into law. The Court’s ruling undoubtedly will shape the 2012 presidential campaign and most certainly will serve to define Congress’ ability to address national issues. There is no better time than in anticipation of this watershed case for the Supreme Court justices to suspend the ban on cameras in the courtroom and to allow live electronic coverage of this and other proceedings of keen interest and import to the American public.” It’s unlikely the Court will allow this as it historically has had little interest in putting itself into the mainstream electronic public media landscape – no matter how convincing the argument for such coverage may be.
Canadian Freedom of Speech Case to Hit Courts. Damian Goddard was fired from Toronto-based Sportsnet in May after firing off a Tweet that the only “true marriage” is that between a man and a woman. Goddard is a devout Catholic and believes he has “2,000 years of Christian history” backing him up. Sportsnet claims it intended to fire Goddard before the Tweet and has documentation of that but Goddard’s attorney says he’s yet to see any such documentation. What this appears to come down to is Canada’s intense restrictions on free speech. The six-year-old law that made gay marriage legal in Canada even contains a clause that clearly states citizens have the right to freedom of conscience, religion and speech with regard to this matter. One attorney anonymously tells the National Post, “Hate speech needs to be related to inciting violence, not hurting feelings.” The Canadian courts will eventually have to rule on whether citizens – including broadcasters – have the right to express their beliefs if done so responsibly.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Talk Radio Network/Washington Times produced “America’s Morning News” with John McCaslin and Dana Mills adds WLVJ, Boynton Beach, Florida; KEWI, Little Rock; WRCG, Columbus, Georgia; and WFDM, Fort Walton Beach, Florida…..America’s Radio News Network has its “Afternoon Edition” with Ernie Brown picks up WCFO, Atlanta; WFBL, Syracuse; and WUTI, Utica…..The “Free Talk Live” Sunday evening edition with Mark Edge and Stephanie is added to the schedule at WWNC, Asheville, North Carolina…..Dial Global’s Clark Howard joins the lineup at KVI, Seattle and WIBX, Utica…..Dial Global’s “Jill on Money” with Jill Schlesinger adds WMGG, Dunedin, Florida and WDNG, Anniston, Alabama.
Catching Up with Regis! ABC News Radio’s Andrea Dresdale (r) interviews TV personality Regis Philbin (l) as he makes his way from an appearance on “The View” to the set of “Live with Regis and Kelly” for one of his final press conferences as co-host of the program. Today is the 80-year-old Philbin’s last program as he retires from the daily morning talk program he’s hosted since it went from a local New York show into national syndication in 1983. Philbin successfully morphed from a game show host to talk show host and holds the Guinness Book of World Records top spot for most time spent on television – almost 17,000 hours!
‘Occupy’ Shutdowns/Protests Top Talk Radio Topic for Week of November 14-18. The closing of many of the nation’s ‘Occupy’ encampments and the resulting protests landed atop the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week. Following at #2 is 2012 presidential race. At #3 is the European debt crisis and the related financial markets activity followed by the Penn State scandal at #4. The Talkers TenTM is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View the entire chart by clicking on the banner below.
The D.C. All-News Battle is On. CBS Radio will take on Hubbard Broadcasting’s stranglehold on all-news in the Nation’s Capital in January when it unveils a brand new FM news station at 99.1 on the dial. CBS is moving its “El Zol” Spanish station from 99.1 to the recently acquired WFSI-FM, Annapolis, Maryland signal at 107.9 it purchased from Harold Camping’s Family Stations, Inc. Hubbard’s WTOP brand (which includes its tremendous digital initiatives) has been dominant in the news game in D.C. and nowhere is that more evident than in its first-place finish in the revenue race among all American radio stations as it billed $57 million in 2010. Now, CBS Radio brings its years of all-news experience to town. CBS Radio CEO Dan Mason states, “CBS Radio’s history in all-news is rich in tradition and recognized nationwide for its excellence. There is no one more regarded in this field, nor anyone with the journalistic expertise and capability to put forth a product with such instant credibility. We have perfected this format over many decades and we’re thrilled to expand the options for the D.C. community who have a distinct passion for news.” CBS moves WCBS, New York assistant director of news and programming Robert Sanchez to DC to program the station and brings Michelle Komes-Dolge aboard to serve as news director. Komes-Dolge is a veteran D.C. news person who served with WTOP-FM in the past. CBS Radio operates successful all-news operations in New York (WCBS, WINS), Los Angeles (KNX), Chicago (WBBM-AM/FM), San Francisco (KCBS), Philadelphia (KYW), Detroit (WWJ), and Boston (WBZ). The growth of all-news and the emergence of head-to-head competitive major market battles promises to focus a new level of industry attention on the competitive elements that make a difference in determining success in the format. Stay tuned!
WBAL, Baltimore’s Ron Smith Ends Chemotherapy. Baltimore talk radio legend Ron Smith announced today that he will continue to host his daily talk show on the Hearst news/talk station he’s worked at as a host for 27 years as long as he can, but he is ending his chemotherapy. Smith announced on October 17 that he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that has spread to other organs. The 69-year-old personality said at the time his doctors believed he had a chance to beat the disease with treatment. Smith delivered the news to his listeners earlier today (11/17).
America’s Radio News Network Adds Daily Election Feature. “Trek to 2012: The Presidential Agenda” is the name of ARNN’s new 90-second feature that airs four times daily during all four of ARNN’s news programs. Billed as providing “listeners with all the latest on the 2012 presidential campaign schedules, media events, policy issues, latest polling numbers and debate coverage along with other election details and information,” the feature will be heard on ARNN’s 215-plus affiliate stations. ARNN executive vice president John McCaslin says, “We trust that the ‘Trek to 2012: The Presidential Agenda’ will keep ARNN’s listeners well informed on the latest news and the whereabouts of their favorite 2012 presidential candidates, whether it is President Obama or one in the large field of GOP White House hopefuls. Given the dismal U.S. economy and continuing recession, plus other hot-button issues such as national security, we are already experiencing unprecedented interest in the upcoming 2012 presidential campaign.”
KYW, Philadelphia Adds Three to its Newsradio Hall of Fame. CBS Radio’s KYW, Philadelphia announces the induction of Bob Kelly, and the late Karin Phillips and Jack O’Rourke into its KYW Newsradio Hall of Fame. Director of news and programming Steve Butler and director of sales David Yadgaroff gave the awards to Kelly, who served as an account executive for 20 years and to relatives of Phillips and O’Rourke, who died within days of each other in September.
Former WWNC, Asheville, North Carolina Host Matt Mittan Announces Digital Effort and Terrestrial Affiliate. Matt Mittan hosted the “Take a Stand” show on Clear Channel’s WWNC, Asheville until a few weeks ago when he left the station after personnel cuts at the cluster cost him producer/sidekick Agnes Cheek. Now, Mittan and Cheek, who’ve been producing a podcast, will begin streaming their show and have announced WHKP, Hendersonville, North Carolina (south of Asheville) will pick up the 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm hour of the show. Mittan says that although the program is produced in their downtown Asheville studio, they plan to take it on the road across Western North Carolina.
Clear Channel Raises More than $700,000 for Fisher House. Capping a week-long fundraising effort November 7-11 culminating on Veterans Day, Clear Channel Radio put its 850 radio stations to work to bring in more than $700,000 for the Fisher House Foundation. Ken Fisher is chairman of the foundation and he comments, “We’re grateful for Clear Channel’s support of our military families again this year. Clear Channel’s remarkable reach and continued support is an amazing force for our military families that will continue to help veterans and their families across the United States.” Fisher House provides housing close to hospitals for families of military personnel who are receiving treatment for injuries suffered in battle so they can be near their loved ones during that time without incurring huge expenses. CC has helped raise more than $1.2 million for Fisher House in the last two years.
2012 Presidential Race, ‘OWS’ Shutdown, European Debt Threatens U.S., and Marines in Australia Plan Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/16). The 2012 GOP presidential candidates, the shutdown of the Zurcotti Park encampment in New York City and what it means to the ‘Occupy’ movement, the continuing threat to the U.S. and world economies by the European debt crisis and President Obama’s plan to station U.S. Marines in Australia were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Radio Not Alone in Cuts; CNN Eliminates 50 Positions. Changes in technology and an analysis of its own efficiency have caused CNN to cut some 50 positions in the trenches according to a report in TVNewser. After a three-year study of the news organization’s operations, senior vice president Jack Womack writes in a memo to staffers, “Technology investments in our newsrooms now allow more desk-top editing and publishing for broadcast and online. As a result of these technology and workflow changes, CNN is reducing the number of media editors in our work force in Atlanta.” The report notes 12 positions in the Washington, DC bureau have been eliminated as well as jobs in New York, Los Angeles and Miami.
All-New Cumulus Down 1.9% in Q3. In a conference call with analysts, Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey reported that third quarter revenue for the newly acquired Citadel group of stations was down 2.3%, the Cumulus Media Partners stations – the old Susquehanna group stations that made up CMP which Cumulus finished purchasing in August, down 3.4% while Cumulus proper was down 0.6% in the third quarter compared to the same quarter one year ago. Dickey reports the company is ahead of schedule with its plan to achieve almost $52 million in “synergies” before January. He states, “We now have a true national platform with a large and liquid market capitalization and a flexible, covenant-light debt complex that is designed to optimize free cash flow and de-risk the equity. Our team is making excellent progress on the Citadel integration and is energized by the upside potential of our newly transformed platform.”
RAB Names Erica Farber Executive Vice President. The Radio Advertising Bureau announces it is consolidating its Membership, Professional Development and Services units into one big group and that former Radio & Records publisher and CEO Erica Farber joins the organization as EVP as of January 1, 2012. RAB president and CEO Jeff Haley says of Farber’s joining the organization, “I am thrilled about Erica joining the management team of the RAB. We are at a pivotal time as we look to serve the industry and ensure our product offerings meet the demands of an evolving medium. There’s no better executive for the role than Erica.” In related moves at the RAB, Sheila Kirby exits the RAB’s Professional Development Group to take the senior vice president of sales training and development post at CBS Radio. Michael Weiss, who serves as president of sales at CBS Radio says, “Sheila and I have worked together for close to 20 years, and there is no one I respect more when it comes to motivating a team to perform at their absolute best. Working closely with Sheila, our sales force will have a clear advantage in the marketplace and advertisers will benefit greatly working with such a sophisticated group of salespeople dedicated to constructing integrated programs that guarantee results.” Also from the RAB, Ron Ruth shifts from a full-time position with the RAB to a consulting role.
“The Broadside” Hosts Andrew Langer and Mark Newgent Fill in at WBAL, Baltimore. Andrew Langer and Mark Newgent began their internet program, “The Broadside” several months ago. Now, as Hearst’s WBAL, Baltimore is airing various programs in its 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot, Langer and Newgent host their program on WBAL on November 14, 15 and 25. Langer, who serves as president of the Institute for Liberty and the Small Business Political Alliance and was named by Campaigns and Elections as a Top Influencer in Maryland in 2011 and Newgent, who writes for TheExaminer.com and RedMaryland.blogspot.com and does research and analysis of politics and policy, say their plan “is to expand the horizons of traditional conservative talk, bringing in discussions (and guests) whose focuses are not only politics, but also movies, music and sports.”
CBS Radio Transitions ESPN High Desert to AM Signal; Goes All-Christmas on FM. The ESPN High Desert sports talk outlet KVFG-FM, Victorville, California shifts to KRAK-AM as ESPN 910 so the FM signal can flip to an all-Christmas format. There’s no indication what the group’s plans are for the FM signal after the holidays but it seems likely this is a prelude to a change to a music format.
Fox Sports Radio Los Angeles Raises Funds for Paralyzed Veterans. AM 570 Fox Sports L.A. (KLAC) announces it raised almost $100,000 for the Paralyzed Veterans of America during its radiothon on November 9. All the money raised during the “Loose Cannons” and “Petros & Money” shows that day will benefit the charity that provides rehab, access to services as well as research to cure spinal cord injuries. Pictured here (from l-r) are “Loose Cannons” Steve Hartman, Pat O’Brien, Los Angeles Kings president of business operations Luc Robitaille and Vic “The Brick” Jacobs. Robitaille was one of a number of local sports celebs who appeared on the program to help the cause.
SCOTUS to Hear Health Care Reform Arguments, 2012 Presidential Race and ‘Occupy Oakland’ Shut Down Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/14). The United States Supreme Court’s agreement to hear arguments on President Obama’s Health Care Reform law, the 2012 presidential race and the shutdown of the ‘Occupy Oakland’ protests were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Critiquing Talk Hosts a Challenging Two-Way Street. Many talk radio programming pros agree that critiquing – or air checking – talk show hosts is something that is almost a lost art in the current talk radio environment. Both at the network and the station levels, programmers working with talent to improve their on-air product is challenging enough given the egos of the managers and talent and the myriad programming philosophies out there. But add in the hectic schedule of today’s talk PD and “challenging” becomes a mild term for the state of the talent critique. TALKERS special features correspondent Mike Kinosian speaks with programming pros including Salem Radio Networks VP of news and talk programming Tom Tradup, Sound Mind chief Kraig Kitchin and others about the state of critiquing talk talent. Read the story here.
Roger Hedgecock Moves to KFMB, San Diego in New Year. We have a clearer picture of what’s happening in San Diego now. Yes, as reported earlier, longtime KOGO PM drive host Roger Hedgecock will move his Radio America-syndicated program to Midwest Television’s crosstown KFMB beginning January 2. KFMB program director Dave Sniff says of the move, “KFMB has always been about mirroring our community, and Roger is synonymous with San Diego. No host reflects the views and concerns of San Diegans better than Roger.” Sniff does not mention current PM drive host Rick Roberts in the release. Meanwhile, Hedgecock stays on the AM side at Clear Channel’s KOGO – which began simulcasting on FM this week – while LaDona Harvey handles the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm show on the FM side. So far, it’s the only split of programming for KOGO’s AM and FM broadcasts. Also, KOGO debuts talk host Bryan Suits in the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot and Bob “Sully” Sullivan in the 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm time slot.
Willy Daunic Joined by Joe Dubin for PM Drive at Sports WPRT-FM, Nashville. The Cromwell Group’s new FM sports talk station in Nashville adds market television sports personality Joe Dubin to “The Sports Revolution” program hosted by Willy Daunic. Dubin will serve as co-host and executive producer. Daunic worked at crosstown WGFX-FM with George Plaster’s “The Sports Zone” program before Plaster left the station suddenly just prior to the Cumulus–Citadel merger. Daunic stayed with Cumulus briefly but the two sides could not agree on a contract. Daunic says, “I am glad to have Joe aboard to launch “The Sports Revolution.” His energy and enthusiasm are going to be an asset. He also loves Nashville having grown up here, and has built a great following over the years.” Dubin worked in Nashville TV for 15 years and has won two Murrow Awards and a local Emmy.
WBAL, Baltimore to Try Out Marc Unger in Evening Slot. DCRTV.com’s Dave Hughes reports comic, actor and Baltimore sports talk personality Marc Unger is getting an on-air tryout at Hearst’s WBAL, Baltimore in the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot. Beginning tonight (11/8), Unger will host a program dealing with politics, social issues and sports in the time slot where the station had been airing reruns of its midday Ron Smith program.
Sign of the Times? As the media landscape changes and delivery of content moves inexorably from analog over-the-air to a digital combination of wired and wireless, perhaps this photo of America’s first licensed commercial radio towers coming down is truly worth 1,000 words. WBZ, Boston director of news and programming Peter Casey photographed the felling of WBZ’s first towers atop the old Westinghouse plant in Springfield, Massachusetts – some 85 miles west of Boston – as a piece of radio history is dismantled. What you see here is one of the two 100-foot towers that served as the original transmitters for WBZ when it began operation 90 years ago. We posted photos of the two towers atop the buildings in September as CBS Radio’s WBZ celebrated its 90th anniversary on September 19.
New Cain Accusation, Iran Nukes, Penn State Scandal, Italy Economic Trouble and ‘OWS’ Movemement Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/7). The latest accusation of sexual misconduct by GOP candidate Herman Cain, the reports of Iran’s advancing nuclear weapons program, the Penn State sexual assault scandal, Italy’s contribution to the Euro zone economic problems and the ‘OWS’ movement were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Los Angeles Regional Talk Seminar Set For Thursday. It is being described as “a new kind of industry gathering” — accessible, short and free (including breakfast and lunch) with a power-packed line up of speakers and agenda that could rival the largest of national conferences. Set for Thursday, October 20th between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm, the one-day event, being presented by TALKERS in association with the Los Angeles Press Club, promises to bring together a diverse variety of factions, formats and companies comprising the Southern California talk radio community and tackle a number of the hottest issues facing the industry today. Filled to capacity within two weeks of being announced, the event will feature 30 leading industry speakers including solo presentations by the legendary Larry King of CNN; Westwood One founder Norm Pattiz of Courtside Entertainment; Don Barrett of LARadio.com; consultant Holland Cooke of McVay/Cook Media; and a special guest appearance by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. The keynote speaker is KFI morning titan Bill Handel. Eight major Southern California talk radio station programmers will be on panels including Cliff Albert of KOGO, San Diego; Robin Bertolucci of KFI, Los Angeles; Skip Essick of KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; Don Martin of KLAC, Los Angeles and Fox Sports Radio; John McMullen of Dessert Radio Group, Palm Springs; Jack Silver of KABC, Los Angeles; David Sniff of KFMB, San Diego; and Chuck Tyler of KRLA/KKLA, Los Angeles. Some of the radio personalities speaking will include Andy Dean of Premiere Networks; LaFern Cusack of SCBA and ESPN, Los Angeles; Charles Feldman of KNX, Los Angeles; Roger Hedgecock of KOGO, San Diego and Radio America; Tom Leykis of the New Normal; Stephanie Miller of KTLK, Los Angeles and Dial Global; Doug McIntyre of KABC, Los Angeles and Cumulus Media; Patt Morrison of KPCC-FM, Los Angeles and Southern California Public Radio; John Phillips of KABC, Los Angeles; Josefa Salinas of Hot 92.3 FM, Los Angeles and Doug Stephan of Stephan Multimedia. Rounding out the line-up of presenters and moderators are Jason Insalaco of KFI, Los Angeles; Bill Moran of Bill Moran and Associates; and Kevin Casey, Mike Kinosian and Michael Harrison of TALKERS. There will be displays of the latest remote broadcasting equipment by Comrex Corporation and the latest radios by C. Crane Company. Although the event has reached maximum registration capacity there will be ample opportunity for broadcasters around the country to see and hear much of the event’s activities in the form of stories, photos and videos at Talkers.com shortly after the event. For the complete LARTF agenda, click here.
Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio to Distribute WNYC, New York Programs. Hot on the heels of the launch of its new iHeartRadio, Clear Channel announces it will begin making three of the more popular public radio talk programs from WNYC, New York available to users of the mobile phone app. “WNYC News and Conversation” will feature “The Brian Lehrer Show,” “The Leonard Lopate Show” and the WNYC-Public Radio International production “The Takeaway.” New York Public Radio vice president and chief digital officer Thomas Hjelm says, “We are delighted that Clear Channel will offer a selection of programming from WNYC on iHeartRadio. We are committed to making our programming available to the widest possible audience. Given iHeartRadio’s affinity with talk radio fans, it is an effective platform to extend the reach of our programming among news/talk listeners across the country.”
Sean Hannity Announces Holiday Concert Series to Benefit Troops. Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel superstar Sean Hannity is hosting an exclusive four-city concert series to benefit the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund. “Sean Hannity’s Holiday Concert Salute to the Troops” includes three-time Grammy winner Michael W. Smith, Oliver North and John Ondrasik of the group Five for Fighting, and more. Concerts will take place at New York City’s famed Hammerstein Ballroom on November 27; Pittsburgh’s Byham Theater on December 2; Washington, D.C.’s Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill on December 3; and Atlanta’s Cobb Energy Centre on December 18. Hannity says, “At this time of year it is so important that we not only recognize the sacrifices the men and women of our Armed Forces make, but we also take time out to honor them and pay tribute to the freedoms we’ve been given through their service to our country. These concerts are a great avenue for us to be able to come together as families, enjoy the holiday season and celebrate our troops. I’m honored to have some extremely talented friends join me on stage for what is sure to be a series of very special nights honoring some very special people.” The concert series is being produced by Townsquare Media and benefits Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund which goes to the education of children of U.S. service members who have been killed or permanently disabled in an operational mission or training accident.
Chicago Legend Steve Dahl Returns to Windy City Airwaves on WJJG. Since exiting CBS Radio’s WJMK-FM, Chicago, Steve Dahl has been producing podcasts available at his own dahl.com website. Now, the “Dahlcast” will be part of the lineup at WJJG, Chicago. WJJG general manager Matt Dubiel says, “Steve Dahl is a radio genius and I couldn’t be more pleased to be working with him and his team. This is a huge victory for Chicago radio listeners. These are Steve’s listeners. I’d be delighted if 1530 WJJG reacquaints Dahl fans with Steve and perhaps introduces new fans. That’s what radio is supposed to do! And if you like Steve on 1530, you’ll LOVE getting the Dahlcast Daily.” WJJG recently added Talk Radio Network’s Michael Savage and Mancow to its daily program schedule.
WBAL, Baltimore Midday Host Rom Smith Has Cancer. Ron Smith announced to his listeners today (10/17) that he went to the doctor after experiencing abdominal pain about two weeks ago and tests revealed a tumor on his pancreas. His doctor said the cancer has spread to his liver and lungs. When Smith asked his doctor if it was worth trying to fight, he replied that is was and he’s seen worse cases successfully treated. Smith will undergo chemotherapy and will remain on the air as long as he is able. The 69-year-old Smith has been at WBAL for more than a quarter century.
Cumulus Promotes Two. Stu Gorlick moves from his post as vice president of sales at the company’s Poughkeepsie-based Hudson Valley station group to VP/market manager for the Danbury market. Aaron Hyland leaves his position as VP/market manger at the company’s Fort Walton Beach, Florida to become vice president and market manager at the Hudson Valley station group.
Speculation Abounds Over New Role for Former Gov. David Paterson at WOR, New York. While he might not have accrued the most impressive ratings as chief executive of the Empire State after ascending from the lieutenant governorship upon Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s scandal-driven resignation, the New York broadcasting community is basically unanimous in its recognition of David Paterson as a skilled and engaging talk show personality. While in office, he was known to be extremely talk radio friendly – accessible and open – and made regular appearances on the airwaves as a guest newsmaker. Since leaving the governor’s mansion, Paterson has become a welcome fill-in host on a number of Big Apple radio stations, covering everything from current events to sports. Today, his transition from politician to broadcaster will likely be official, as Buckley-owned WOR has called a major 12:00 noon ET press conference at posh Midtown Manhattan eatery Ben Benson’s Steakhouse to make “a major announcement” regarding the station and Paterson. Stay tuned.
WBAL, Baltimore Brings TV News Veteran in for PM Drive. The Hearst news/talk station chose not to renew the contract of PM drive host Shari Elliker, who’d been there since July of 2010, and brings aboard award-winning TV news personality Mary Beth Marsden to host the “Afternoon News Journal” program. Marsden worked in the market for 20 years, spending much of that time as news anchor at WMAR-TV. WBAL news director Merrie Street tells the Baltimore Sun, “Mary Beth has been a respected journalist in the market for over 20 years. Her news judgment and her genuine commitment to her audience make Mary Beth a great fit for WBAL.”
WTOP-AM/FM, Washington Adds Mike Causey Column to its Media Station. Washington, DC journalist Mike Causey is now producing a weekly column covering humorous insights on daily life and the news for WTOP.com, the Hubbard Broadcasting station’s award winning multi-media website. WTOP SVP and general manager Joel Oxley says, “We are excited to debut this new weekly column at WTOP.com. Mike has a well-earned reputation as a leading correspondent in covering federal news for many years. However, in addition to his wealth of industry and life experience, Mike is a master humorist and story teller. We look forward to sharing that side of Mike, which promises to be very entertaining and should spark lively conversation and debate. Mike may be known for his federal knowledge, but is loved for his general knowledge and one-of-a-kind insight on life.”
KDWN, Las Vegas Host Alan Stock Adds Hour to Show. Las Vegas talk host Alan Stock, who recently exited crosstown KXNT-AM/FM and was added to the midday program schedule at KDWN, expands his program to two hours. Originally brought on for the 11:00 am to 12:00 noon program, Stock now begins his show at 10:00 am starting on September 6.
Filling in this Week. WSTC/WNLK, Norwalk, Connecticut talk host Lisa Wexler sits in for Joe Crummey at 77WABC, New York on the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show tomorrow (9/2)…..Former KTSA, San Antonio talk host Kevin Wall fills in for Brian Kilmeade today (9/1) through Monday on Fox News Radio.
Obama Jobs Plan, 2012 Presidential Election and Middle East Turmoil Among top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/31). President Obama’s planned address to Congress and the nation on September 8, the GOP candidates for president in 2012 and the social and political turmoil in the Middle East were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Moonlighting. WAXY, Miami program director and on-air personality Marc Hochman is pictured here performing at The Improv comedy club in Fort Lauderdale recently. Hochman, who is a cast member on WAXY’s PM drive Dan LeBatard program, was invited to perform his “sports comic” character at the club before a sellout crowd. Apparently he “killed” because the club has invited him to come back and perform again.
Fairness Doctrine Taken Off the FCC’s Books. FCC chairman Julius Genachowski announced on August 22 that the agency has removed some 83 rules that it deems outdated, including the controversial Fairness Doctrine that hasn’t been enforced since the Reagan Administration but remained “on the books.” Genachowski stated in a release, “The elimination of the obsolete Fairness Doctrine regulations will remove an unnecessary distraction. As I have said, striking this from our books ensures there can be no mistake that what has long been a dead letter remains dead. The Fairness Doctrine holds the potential to chill free speech and the free flow of ideas and was properly abandoned over two decades ago. I am pleased we are removing these and other obsolete rules from our books.” (August 23, 2011)
CBS Radio Detroit Splits Sports WXYT-AM/FM; AM 1270 to Go News/Talk. On Monday, September 12, CBS Radio ends the simulcast of sports talk on WXYT-AM/FM and launches Talk Radio 1270 WXYT. CBS says in a release, “Home to lively conversation and debate, the talk station will focus on the issues affecting Americans with an edge that doesn’t exist in Detroit talk radio today.” The program schedule is: Charlie Langton in AM drive followed by Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck; Talk Radio Network’s Laura Ingraham; Compass Media Networks’ Todd Schnitt; Genesis Communications Network’s Jason Lewis; and TRN’s Rusty Humphries. CBS Radio Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “I’m extremely excited about the launch of this new station. It will take an edgy and engaging point of view about issues on listeners’ minds.” Local attorney and media veteran Charlie Langton’s morning drive show is described as one that “will not only cover the issues Detroiters care most about, but he’ll be asking the questions listeners want answered from the major newsmakers. More than that, Langton will bring talk radio that’s not only informative but highly entertaining. Langton is a regular contributor to FOX 2 and WWJ-AM.” Langton hosted an evening show at WXYT years ago during its last incarnation as a news/talk-formatted station. (August 23, 2011)
WBAL, Baltimore Names News Director, Program Director. Mark Miller announced his resignation from the Hearst news/talk station last month where he serves as director of news and programming. To replace him, the station brings veteran Baltimore newswoman Merrie Street in as news director and hands the programming reins to sister rock WIYY-FM PD Dave Hill. Street has been out of radio for the past 10 years working in other aspects of the communications field. WBAL general manager Ed Kiernan tells the Baltimore Sun Street brings a wealth of experience to the station. (August 23, 2011)
WIBA, Madison Adds Mitch Henck to AM Drive Show. Henck already hosts “Outside the Box” with Mitch Henck from 8:00 am to 11:00 am each day. Now he becomes part of the morning drive show alongside Robin Colbert, John Colbert, Phil Dawson and NBC 15 meteorologist Charlie Shortino. Henck fills the void left by Dick Alpert who stays with Clear Channel as director of traffic for the Milwaukee and Madison markets. Clear Channel Madison AM operations manager Tim Scott says of Henck, “Mitch is a star in this market. He knows Madison and South Central Wisconsin and the people who live here know him. It’s a perfect extension of his talents across WIBA.” (August 23, 2011)
Minnesota Public Radio Icon Gary Eichten to Retire. Eichten has been host of the “Midday” show at Minnesota Public Radio for 20 years and has served at MPR for more than 45 years. Now, he says he’ll retire from the organization in January. After announcing his plans to retire, the award-winning radio host said, “I’m going to really miss this. I love the work, I love the organization. I had the opportunity to watch this place grow from a little baby radio station in Collegeville to the greatest radio station in America.” Eichten says he hopes to do some special assignments for MPR after his retirement becomes official in January. (August 23, 2011)
WFAN, New York Announces Fantasy Phenom Challenge II Winner. Staten Island resident John Jastremski wins the CBS Radio sports station’s Fantasy Phenom Challenge II contest and will get a weekly talk program on WFAN, New York beginning next month. Last year’s winner, Gregg Sussman becomes a part-time employee of WFAN. Jastremski was one of 500 participants in the contest to try to prove he or she has what it takes to be a WFAN host. The contest was whittled down to five finalists over the course of the summer who ultimately competed on Mike Francesa’s show during the Summer Beach Party remote on August 19. The other four finalists will each receive on air shift on WFAN. (August 23, 2011)
KCSP, Kansas City Raises Cash for Local Salvation Army Children’s Shelter. Entercom sports talk KCSP, Kansas City – 610 Sports Radio – helped raise more than $174,000 during the Larry Stewart Memorial Radiothon. KCSP personalities Nick Wright, Bob Fescoe, Josh Klingler, Danny Parkins and Mark Carman broadcast from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm on August 18 to raise funds for the Children’s Shelter founded by local philanthropist Larry Stewart who was known as Kansas City’s “Secret Santa.” KCSP program director Ryan Maguire says, “In sports it’s about winning and losing and the real winners are the children of Kansas City. The response from our listeners was amazing. Thousands of donations were made by listeners via phone, on the internet and in person. We beat last year’s amount by nearly $65,000 and because of the generosity of 610 Sports listeners more Kansas City children will get the help they need.” (August 23, 2011)
Libya Unrest, U.S. Debt Concerns/Markets Activity and 2012 Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/22). The status of Moammar Gadhafi and his sons as Libya continues to roil in unrest, the U.S. debt problems and activity in the financial markets and the GOP contenders for the 2012 presidential race were all among the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS. (August 23, 2011)
All in the Family. Premiere Networks talk show personality Andy Dean (standing), host of “America Now,” chats with “Coast to Coast AM” host George Noory (seated) in the Los Angeles studios of Premiere Networks. Noory made an appearance on Dean’s new program to discuss such disparate topics as the 2012 presidential election, the existence of UFOs, the 9/11 truth movement and more. (August 23, 2011)