Changes at Tribune Media as ‘The Game 87.7’ to End; Garry Meier and Jonathon Brandmeier Exit. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Tribune Media will soon announce that its nine-month old sports talk venture on WGWG-LP “The Game 87.7” will shut down by the end of the year. At the same time, Feder reports that Chicago radio legends Garry Meier – whose program was heard only on wgn.com – and Jonathon Brandmeier, heard in mornings on WGWG-LP, are both out effective immediately. Brandmeier and Meier were both moved off WGN-AM when president and GM Jimmy de Castro began re-tooling the heritage news/talker with personality changes. Steve Cochran was brought in for mornings and Meier was replaced by Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder in afternoons. It remains to be seen how the other WGWG-LP staffers will be affected by the change.
Radio Rising to Occasion as Snow Buries Tight Knit Buffalo Community. No doubt, the Winter of 2014-15 is off to a quick start and no region has felt its fury this past week more than Buffalo, New York where “lake effect” bands of snow have piled up more than eight feet of the white stuff in some parts of the city leaving others relatively unscathed. TALKERS is receiving reports that Buffalo radio stations and personnel have been rising to the occasion helping those directly impacted by the harsh weather conditions with information and support. WBEN afternoon drive host Tom Bauerle is a longtime market icon who recognizes the important role radio plays during such challenging situations. He tells TALKERS, “One of the great aspects of live, local programming during a weather emergency is that we often help people in the here and now. Our host David Bellavia [an Iraq war hero] took a stranded motorist named Liza under his wing last night, and even after his show made sure that rescue workers reached her and her small children. Buffalo is a city of longtime residents, generally, and our roots run deep. Western New York, in my opinion, is blessed with genuinely caring people who show their best attributes during a common calamity. Frankly, many of our listeners were desperate to volunteer to help remove, shelter and feed stranded motorists, but seem to have been rebuffed by the authorities. It really is an honor to host during a time when we can actually make a difference in real-time safety.”
WPGG, Atlantic City Helps Raise Funds for Thanksgiving Relief. At Townsquare Media-owned news/talk outlet WPGG, Atlantic City, morning personality Harry Hurley led yesterday’s effort to raise money to feed Thanksgiving dinner to more than 950 families in the area with the “Feed a Family Radiothon.” The company’s five radio stations brought in more than $23,000. The station notes that with more than 12,000 people out of work because of the recent casino closing debacle in Atlantic City, this emergency fundraising campaign was even more important.
Hubbard Expands ‘2060 Digital’; Names James Bryant President. Cincinnati VP and market manager James Bryant is heading up Hubbard Radio’s new in-house, digital company called 2060 Digital, LLC. The new digital media services company will expand from Hubbard Interactive in Cincinnati and begin serving Hubbard Radio clusters in the Chicago, Washington, Minneapolis-St. Paul, St. Louis, Seattle, Phoenix and Cincinnati markets. 2060 Digital will “provide digital solutions for clients, including website and mobile site build out, SEO, SEM, retargeting, social media management, content and video.” Two years ago, Bryant was instrumental in launching 2060 Digital in Cincinnati. Hubbard chair and CEO Ginny Morris comments, “We have long looked to Jim for leadership in this space and we feel fortunate that his full attention will be focused on helping us find comprehensive solutions for our advertising partners. We look forward to bringing Jim’s entrepreneurial approach to 2060 Digital to the rest of our company.” At the same time, with the promotion of Bryant, Hubbard announces Mike Fredrick also moves up from his VP/general manager/DOS for the Cincinnati operations to VP and market manager.
CBS RADIO Detroit One of Motor City’s “Best Places to Work.” The annual feature from Crain’s Detroit Business names CBS RADIO Detroit one of the best places to work in the city. Some of the reasons for the local station group being such a great employer include: Annual company party, tickets to local events, rewards site to allow employees to send thank you and birthday cards and award nominations, and child care assistance. Pictured here in the all-news WWJ studio delivering a newscast is anchor Jackie Paige. The still is from a video created by CBS Detroit that is found on the Crain’s Detroit Business website. You can check out the cool video here.
Odds & Sods. TALKERS SoCal sources notice iHeartMedia’s KFI, Los Angeles has stopped using the “More Stimulating Talk” slogan that’s been part of the station brand for so many years and simply refers to itself as “KFI640.”…..Former “Judge Alex” television personality Alex Ferrer is beginning a legal analysis program on the digital platform ConnectPal….. The NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals re-sign with iHeartMedia in the Queen City for another five-year run airing its games on news/talk WLW, sports talk WCKY “ESPN 1530,” and rock WEBN…..CBS RADIO Tampa sports talker WHFS-FM “Sports Radio 98.7 the Fan” is presenting “Tickets for Turkeys” to benefit Feeding America Tampa Bay. Listeners who donate a turkey will pick from sealed envelopes which contain tickets to Tampa’s hottest events and attractions such as: Busch Gardens, The Who, Black Keys, Tampa Bay Lightning, Universal Studios, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, WWE, Monster Jam, Arena Cross, Tampa Bay Rays and more. The live broadcast takes place tomorrow (11/21).
CBS Boston Addresses Political Relevance of Talk Radio in Recent Election. In a piece published online by WBZ-TV political analyst Jon Keller, whether talk radio in Boston had something to do with the state getting its first Republican governor in eight years is the topic. Keller writes that some local talk show hosts, including market ratings king Howie Carr (left) and WBZ-AM evening personality Dan Rea (right), say their shows were part of the reason Charlie Baker won the race and an automatic gas tax increase was defeated. The piece comes at a time when the news/talk format is taking its punches for being anything from “predictable” to “only relevant to old white men.” It also comes after an election cycle that political ad buyers will be analyzing to more accurately apportion among the various media the next campaign’s ad buy. Believers in the news/talk format as one that attracts a large percentage of those who actually vote will be eager to see if ratings data confirms the effectiveness of the format. Read the WBZ-TV piece here.
Golden Mike Award Ceremony Moved to March 16. The annual Golden Mike Award fundraiser presented by the Broadcasters Foundation of America will take place at the Plaza Hotel in New York on March 16. Next spring, NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith is being honored with the award. Earlier this week the announcement was made but the date has moved from February 23 to March 16.
Obama Immigration Action, ObamaCare-Gruber Controversy, Ferguson Tensions, Battle Against ISIS, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Buffalo Record Snowfall/Early Chill, and Bill Cosby Rape Allegations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/19). The promise by President Obama to enact amnesty for illegal aliens by executive order; the simmering controversy over ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber’s video-taped speeches; the growing tensions in Ferguson, Missouri as the grand jury decision on whether to indict officer Darren Wilson is awaited; the battle against ISIS and the U.S. military’s need for more drones; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the record eight feet of snow received in Buffalo and the early cold snap much of the country is experiencing; and renewed 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.
Clear Channel Media + Entertainment Chairman and CEO John Hogan Retires; Position Eliminated. In a move that comes as a surprise to many, John Hogan is retiring from Clear Channel Media + Entertainment as chairman and CEO and will take on the title of chairman emeritus. At the same time, his position will not be filled and folks in the CCM+E division will report to CC Media Holdings chairman Bob Pittman and president and CFO Rich Bressler as Pittman announces he’s signed a five-year extension of his contract. In a statement this morning, Pittman says, “John Hogan has made tremendous contributions to Clear Channel during his tenure – particularly during the unprecedented economic headwinds our country, our industry and our company, faced in 2008 and 2009. He has been an excellent partner for me and for Clear Channel’s leadership as we have evolved into the only multi-platform media company with national reach and the ability to execute locally. As my friend and partner in Clear Channel Media + Entertainment, John has been an important element in Clear Channel’s transformation into a multiplatform media company. There is never a perfect time to make big decisions like this, but his logic was compelling and making this change at the start of a new year made sense. We thank him for his long service and the enormous positive impact he’s had on both our company and the radio industry, and we are delighted that John will remain part of the family with his title of Clear Channel Media + Entertainment chairman emeritus.” Hogan joined Clear Channel when Jacor – for which he was serving as senior vice president of radio – was acquired by the company in 1999. He became president and CEO of Clear Channel Radio in 2002 and took on the chairman and CEO of CCM+E role in 2012.
WBEN, Buffalo Talk Host Tom Bauerle Is the Subject of Talk Himself After Police Visits to His Home. From a piece published in the Buffalo News, we learn that there is concern among WBEN, Buffalo afternoon drive host Tom Bauerle’s Williamsville, New York neighbors and local police about his recent behavior that some might describe as paranoid. Here’s the short version: the paper reports that police responded to a 911 call to Bauerle’s home last Wednesday where Bauerle complained he was under surveillance by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s operatives. Police found Bauerle in his backyard with a loaded weapon. He surrendered the weapon to police – who were not able to find evidence of anyone spying on Bauerle – and was also willing to surrender additional weapons in his home to his attorney. The paper also reports that Bauerle’s neighbors held a recent meeting with the talk host after he sent them emails raising the issue of him being “watched.” Neighbors told the paper his concerns seemed “quirky” and “made you scratch your head.” Nonetheless, Bauerle – who was off the air last Wednesday and Thursday but returned to the air on Friday to explain his absence was due to hitting a “physical wall of exhaustion” – did agree to a voluntary psychiatric evaluation on Wednesday of last week. No reports have been released yet and the Buffalo News received its information from neighbors and interviews with police officers who are remaining anonymous until the report is released. No charges have been filed in connection with the incident. Read the Buffalo News story here.
Profile: Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher. Talk radio personality Mike Gallagher has been in the business since he talked his way into a substitute position at WAVI, Dayton while a junior in high school in 1978. Thirty-six years later and heard in syndication across the country, Gallagher tells TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian that he’s still going strong after a career that’s seen him in morning drive at WABC, New York; in business for himself running his own syndicated show; and moving on with his career after the heartbreaking loss of his wife Denise to endometrial cancer in 2008. His philosophy about programming a talk show remains simple, “I go where my gut takes me. You have to reflect the ‘hits,’ and in our business, the ‘hits’ mean the headlines.” He tells TALKERS that he has always stayed on top of how his show is performing from a business perspective. “It is self-preservation, and my secret to longevity. I learned many years ago that ratings in our business are very volatile, and in particular, talk radio ratings can be cyclical. We are subjected to a political season and a post-political season, so ratings go up and down. I will always win, however, if I deliver revenue…I know where we are to the penny at any given point, and right now, I’m 7% over my January budget. It is a tough environment, so I am very proud of that. We are fighting and scrapping for every dollar. I have always viewed the radio show as a business. I learned that many years ago from Greg Anderson.” Read Mike Kinosian’s entire profile of Mike Gallagher here.
KFBK, Sacramento FM Signal Changes. News/talk KFBK, Sacramento’s FM simulcast had been 92.5 for much of the past two years. But after Christmas, Clear Channel Sacramento flipped KFBK’s FM signal to 93.1 – most recently the location of classic hits KHLX. Now we know that the company made the switch so that it could turn the better 92.5 signal into new country outlet “The New B92.5.” The 93.1 frequency is licensed to Pollock Pines – some 40 miles west of downtown Sacramento – whereas the 92.5 signal is centered on the market and provides full-market coverage.
KXTG-AM, Portland Sports Talker Named Sportswriter of the Year. Midday sports talk host John Canzano – heard from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daily on Alpha Broadcasting’s KXTG-AM, Portland – is named 2013 Oregon Sportswriter of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association and Hall of Fame. Finalists for the award were nominated by NSSA members from mid-October to mid-November. Final balloting took place during the month of December. In addition to his work on KXTG-AM, Canzano writes for the Oregonian and makes regular appearances on KGW-TV. Oregonian editor and vice president of content Peter Bhatia states, “John is a terrific columnist and reporter. He brings something special to our city and state every day and it is great to see that recognized.” KXTG-AM PD Bernie Bokenyi adds, “I am honored to have John as a part of our team on ‘750 The Game.’ His commitment to readers, listeners and viewers every day is unmatched.” Canzano comments, “This market offers the most compelling news anywhere in the country. I love working and living here and being able to bring that to readers and listeners and viewers. We’re different than other markets — we have an ongoing dialogue.”
Long Named Co-GSM at WSB, Atlanta. At Cox Media Group’s Atlanta Radio, Jaleigh Long is named new co-general sales manager for news/talk WSB where she’ll work alongside fellow GSM Beth Bowers. Director of sales Walt Phillips says, “Jaleigh Long has a proven track record of leading her teams from the front. Her focus has and will continue to be on developing talent and driving new business development initiatives. She’s strategic in her problem solving and decision making with an extensive background in digital ad products and strategy. Partnering with current GSM Beth Bowers only strengthens our position when it comes to coaching and leading this team into a new era at news/talk WSB.” Long spent the last seven years as GSM for South Central Media in Evansville, Indiana.
Brandon Randazzo Named Social Media Director at Sports USA. The executive producer of Sports USA’s “Conversations with Joe Morgan,” and podcasts “Leigh Steinberg on Sports” and “Odds Are with Jimmy Vaccaro” is upped to director of social media for the company, Sports USA president Bob Moore says Brandon Randazzo “is a go-to guy with a vast history of getting the job done. His background in programming, producing, promotions, and voicing radio stations tied to his skill set of social media makes him the ideal person for this position. Brandon will front all of our social media platforms going forward.” Randazzo comments, “Sports USA is one of the most respected names in radio. Their relationship with a significant network of over 400 radio affiliates and massive audience will increase the exposure of our social media platforms every day. I am excited for this opportunity to expand the Sports USA brand into social media.”
Talk Personality Brian Holland to Host Syndicated Overnight Show. The program is called “The Graveyard Shift” and host Brian Holland is planning to self syndicate it beginning March 17. In a statement, Holland says, “Overnights are often a forgotten daypart because everyone assumes that one show is unstoppable. That was true a few years ago, but now, the fact of the matter is when a program isn’t challenged, it’s of course going to stay number one. We are getting a lot of attention from stations that are either concerned with the drop in their overnight audience, or are looking for something serious and sustainable to carry in that daypart.” Holland’s press release states the program will focus on the paranormal and what he calls “fringe topics,” but will also cover popular culture, movie news, video game news, and other topical items. Each program will feature at least one guest for an interview, listener phone calls and emails, and a look at current affairs from all walks of life. The show was formerly syndicated by Harris Broadcasting Network but ceased after the death of that company’s principal.
Three Broadcasters Facing Legal Action for Copyright Infringement. Orange County California-based Mavrix Photographs LLC has filed complaints against Clear Channel, CBS Radio and Townsquare Media for copyright infringement in the United States District Court Central District of California. Mavrix claims that the three companies all posted images it owns – specifically, images of pop star Katy Perry – to some of their stations’ websites with full knowledge that the photos did not belong to them. As in the past, Mavrix is seeking $150,000 per illegal use per company but it is more likely that the issue will be settled out of court for less than what Mavrix seeks. Still, the lesson for website operators is that – especially with celebrity photos – the companies that own the copyrights will seek out violators and will file complaints if they recognize their property being used without permission.
Cool Talk Radio Opportunity. WWTN-FM, Nashville seeks full-time midday host. This is a rare opportunity in the city The New York Times calls “it!” Nashville is on the rise and WTN is the dominant talk station in Music City. We are a live and local operation. With the addition of this position the station is live and local from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm every weekday. And “yes,” we usually beat Rush. This is not an entry level job. We are looking for some authentic, fresh energy – someone that is a people person and will weave themself into the fabric of the community in short order. Expect to work social media and participate in public events. We’re looking for someone who is a voracious consumer of news and info – someone that brings solutions with the problems, someone with a sense of hope. You should be as good as any trial lawyer at convincing people of your position using indisputable logic to connect the dots. You can’t ‘just’ do national-political; you have to sound like Nashville. You must be good at sensing the mood of the community and covering a wide range of emotions. If you are just angry, don’t bother applying. Being a fan of and having interest in country music is a plus. Email resume, references, optional cover letter, and un-scoped air-check to firstname.lastname@example.org put “WWTN-FM Nashville Host” in subject line. Cumulus Media is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer
WBEN, Buffalo to Flip Programming. Entercom’s Buffalo news/talk WBEN will move late morning talk show host Tom Bauerle to the PM drive slot currently held by Buffalo market legend Sandy Beach and Beach will shift to the late morning show. Both personalities have been in their current time slots for long periods – Bauerle for the past 11 years after moving to WBEN from the company’s sister sports talk station WGR. The change is expected to take place at the end of July.
How to Be a Talk Show Host. In a candid, tell-it-like-it-is piece posted today (7/22) WHAM, Rochester/WSYR, Syracuse talk star and TALKERS columnist Bob Lonsberry draws upon his vast experience and presents a point-by-point tutorial on how to be a talk show host…or at least how to be a GOOD one. He basically breaks it down to five steps: 1) ignore anyone who tries to tell you how to be a talk show host; 2) focus on listeners; 3) don’t suck; 4) remember that callers are only a tool; 5) stand for something; and 6) get out of the studio. To read all the juicy details, please click here.
Kevin McCullough to Host Daily Local Talk Show on WMCA, New York. Salem Communications announces talk media pro and digital entrepreneur Kevin McCullough will begin hosting a daily one-hour talk show on Christian teaching-formatted WMCA, New York on August 5. Salem states this is a return to WMCA for McCullough who has also been heard on the company’s KKLA, Los Angeles and WMBI and WYLL in Chicago. Salem VP/director of spoken word format Phil Boyce says, “Kevin has proven to be one of the true up-and-coming voices in Christian talk radio and we are delighted he will be able to join our team. His afternoon program will be live and local, tackling issues of concern going on locally and in the world with a Christian world view.” In a statement, Salem says McCullough’s program will include discussion with local ministers about their concerns and how our listeners can relate to and understand major world events in a biblical perspective. “The addition of Kevin will allow WMCA to truly reflect the attitude of the city we serve, and be more responsive to community concerns,” according to WMCA vice president and general manager Jerry Crowley. McCullough continues his talk programs produced and syndicated via his own XtreMEDIA.
NBC Sports Radio Network Lands WCAR, Detroit as Affiliate; Move Adds Fuel to Greater Media Sports Talk Flip. Birach Broadcasting’s WCAR, Detroit is the newest affiliate for the NBC Sports-Dial Global sports talk radio initiative branded NBC Sports Talk Radio. From the sound of the press release it appears the station will carry most if not all of the network’s programming in addition to NFL games distributed by Dial Global. WCAR had been an ESPN Radio affiliate and this move strengthens the suspicions that ESPN will find a partner in Greater Media which is strongly rumored to be prepared to flip AC WMGC, Detroit “Today’s 105.1” to sports talk in August.
‘Free Beer & Hot Wings’ Gets Media Attention for ‘Homeless Vet’ Sting. When WGRD, Grand Rapids-based, Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated morning show “Free Beer & Hot Wings” heard about panhandlers posing as homeless veterans to gain sympathy and earn more money, they sent Producer Joe to a corner in Grand Rapids where a panhandler named Rudy was doing just that. In fact, Rudy had admitted to local TV station WZZM that he was not a veteran. According to AllMichigan.com, and as you can see in the WGRD photo here, Producer Joe showed up where Rudy was panhandling sporting a cardboard sign reading “Liar,” causing Rudy to ride off on a mountain bike. Producer Joe came back to the location the next day and “panhandled” to raise $1,085 for the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. WGRD matched the funds and $2,170 was donated to the home.
The Dismal State of the Radio Remote. According to radio sales and marketing maven Al Herskovitz, TALKERS columnist and president of H&H Communications, the age old programming/sales tool known as the “remote” – which has fallen on hard times — still has the potential to be a winner in the sports talk genre. The remote on-location broadcast was once a staple in the sales rep’s arsenal. It almost has disappeared from the airwaves, particularly from talk radio — and for logical reasons, too. The strength of the talk format comes from the right and left, pro and con, political and social issues topics. A remote could possibly generate a partisan flash mob that might trash Charlie’s Auto Parts and Car Wash. That’s the last thing “good ole Charlie” would want. This is aside from the currently popular radio rows which are not commercially sponsored events for stations or programs and not meant to draw crowds to the location. In a new column posted today (7/22) Herskovitz breaks down the challenges that must be overcome and cites opportunities still ripe for exploitation in doing remotes. To read it, please click here.
Jeff Katz Commentary Added to Arkansas Talk Station. Boston-based talk radio personality Jeff Katz’s “The Katz Commentary” is heard three times daily on WCAP, Lowell, Massachusetts. Now, Katz gets his daily feature added to the program schedule in Central Arkansas on Saline River Media’s news/talk KEWI, Benton. Katz says, “I am thrilled that the voice of Central Arkansas will be adding ‘The Katz Commentary’ to its great lineup. I’m working hard on my Razorback yell, as well.”
Radio Talent Institute Begins Today. The “intensive, 10-day event,” organized by Dan Vallie’s National Radio Talent System in cooperation with the Kentucky Broadcasters Association and Western Kentucky University kicks off the Radio Talent Institute at the school today. The Institute begins with opening comments from WKU President Gary Ransdell; Dean David Lee of Potter College, WKU; and director of journalism and broadcasting, WKU, Dr. Loup Langton, along with Rick McCue from the Kentucky Broadcasters Association and WBKO TV. Former broadcaster, now assistant professor at WKU, Dick Taylor will moderate the event. Sixteen students from the region have been accepted into this year’s Institute. Those students will hear from 36 radio professionals, including Bud Walters, president/owner of the Cromwell Group, Nashville; Steve Newberry, president/CEO, Commonwealth Broadcasting, Glasgow; Christine Hillard, president/COO of Forever Communications, Bowling Green; with Ed Henson of Henson Media, Louisville, opening the institute with “Getting in, Becoming an Entrepreneur.” Also instructing during the event are: Gabe Hobbs of Gabe Hobbs Media leading a session on “On Air, Developing Your Voice, Your Style…You”; Morning Mouth publisher Don Anthony who will deliver “How to Get a Good Job”; plus news/talk radio sessions by WHAS, Louisville talk host Mandy Connell and WKU public radio morning host, reporter and producer Joseph Corcoran. This is the second Radio Talent Institute of the summer and Vallie states, “These students are starting their careers in radio, and we are developing the next generation of broadcasters. The students come with enthusiasm and passion for the business, and it’s very impressive how industry professionals sacrifice their time to come to the campus to teach sessions and give back to the industry.”
Odds & Sods. Matt Dery exits CBS Radio’s sports talk WXYT-FM, Detroit where he was afternoon sports anchor on the Valenti & Foster program after the station did not renew his contract…..Cumulus Media’s KGO, San Francisco renews its deal with IMG College to carry University of California football play-by-play and adds Men’s basketball games to the five-year deal.
More Big Changes at Dial Global as Spencer Brown and Ken Williams Resign; Time, Inc. CRO Paul Caine to Take Over as CEO. Dial Global announces that Paul Caine has resigned his post as chief revenue officer at Time, Inc. to become the chief executive officer of Dial Global and become a member of the board of directors. Spencer Brown resigns his post as CEO and Ken Williams does the same as president. The two will stay on until April 4 when the change takes place. The company says, “Caine joins to create a new opportunity for Dial Global to expand the marketing and monetization of audio, starting with the Company’s lineup of premier sports, entertainment and news content that includes the NFL primetime games (including the Playoffs and Super Bowl), the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, CBS Radio News, NBC News Radio, the NBC Sports Radio Network, and the Grammys. As mobile platforms continue to multiply the occasions for listening, the demand for premium digital audio content is growing fast. This represents a substantial, undeveloped opportunity for content providers, distribution partners and marketers alike.” Paul Caine says of joining the company, “Dial Global will propel the growth of audio as the essential medium for the mobile experience. We have premium content, top-tier distribution, and prestigious live event assets. Our opportunity is to expand these experiences for consumers, broaden our repertoire of content partners, and integrate our on-air, digital and live event offerings to create compelling engagement for advertisers.” In a statement from the company, Spencer Brown comments on his exit, “Along with our former partner David Landau, Ken and I have taken Dial Global a long way. Now the company needs a chief executive with a different skill set to steer it through its next phase of growth. We believe Paul is uniquely well-qualified to do just that.”
Cumulus Reports 2012 Q4 Net Revenue Up 1% on Strong Political. Cumulus Media announces 2012 Q4 numbers and financial figures for the whole of 2012. For the fourth quarter of 2012, Net revenue was up $2.9 million – 1% — on revenue of $284.2 million, compared to $281.3 for the same period a year ago.
Lew Dickey Says with Promised Synergies in Place, ‘Cumulus Optimizes’ and ‘Invigorates’ Radio Networks Division. During Monday’s conference call with analysts, Cumulus Media chairman and CEO Lew Dickey explained some of the company’s strategies and recognized the programming efforts that included “launching shows with Governor Mike Huckabee, Geraldo Rivera, Sanjay Gupta and Michael Savage as well as some other initiatives that we have focused on. We also announced the launch of, importantly, the CBS Sports Radio Network in collaboration with CBS, and the launch of Right Now Traffic in partnership with Radiate Media. These give us strong ownership positions going forward into two key verticals, sports and traffic.” Lew Dickey reiterated the company’s happiness with the purchase of the former WFME, Newark, calling it “a tremendous value at just $40 million.” As expected he promoted Cumulus’ country music strategy, saying the new WNSH, New York “enabled us to bring the country format back to New York for the first time since the mid-90s…with a very strong brand, ‘NASH FM.’ The NASH brand was extremely well received by listeners, advertisers, general media and particularly the Nashville entertainment community, and we further capitalized on this with a three-day concert for our advertisers and listeners last month, which was the ‘NASH BASH’ at the Roseland ballroom. NASH FM will become the flagship for our larger national country initiative that we are in the process of rolling out throughout the rest of this year. It will ultimately be a multimedia platform brand for Cumulus, targeting that key audience segment, which is about 85 million Americans. It will be through our O&O group as well as syndicated through our network…as well as through a mult-imedia platform.” Dickey told analysts he expects the NASH FM, traffic, CBS Sports and digital platforms to break even in 2013 and be poised for profit in 2014 saying they are, “in essence, startup businesses, new entrants into respective arenas such as sports, and traffic in particular.” Dickey was asked about the network business, the talk business in particular and he referenced, without naming names, the Rush Limbaugh-Sandra Fluke incident. “Clearly, it’s been well documented that the talk side has been challenged – most of that due to some of the issues that happened a year ago. So there has been residual hangover on the talk side in terms of advertisers sitting out and not placing there…that’s had an impact not only on our network business but it’s had an impact on some of the news/talk stations in the top markets in our O&O group.” Dickey reported that business that is typically placed in the first quarter was, in many cases not placed until the late part of the first quarter of this year and a lot of that business “is now starting to come back into the marketplace.” The Cumulus Media conference call details come courtesy of Seeking Alpha. See more at SeekingAlpha.com.
KPRC, Houston Re-Brands; Adds Janine Turner for Daily PM Drive Show. Clear Channel Houston talk outlet KPRC finalizes its shift from a more “hot talk” format to a more traditional news/talk format and swaps branding, leaving behind the “9-5-0 Radio Mojo” and implementing the new “Houston’s More Stimulating Talk Radio” positioner. The lineup includes: Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo in morning drive; Premiere’s Glenn Beck; local host Michael Garfield; local personality Matt Patrick (who’s also heard in AM drive on sister KTRH); and Janine Turner. Texas-based Turner – the actress known for her work on the 1990s TV show “Northern Exposure” – has been producing her own radio show for a couple of years now and is added to the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot on KPRC.
Greater Media Philly Honored with Top Workplaces Accolades for Second Straight Year. In a survey of employees conducted by Workplace Dynamics for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philly.com, Greater Media’s Philadelphia cluster of stations was named among the Top Workplaces again this year. VP and market manager John Fullam says, “Great companies start with great employees. We believe the workplace environment is an essential part of creating a successful organization. We are fortunate to have such an outstanding team dedicated to serving Philadelphia, our listeners and advertising partners every day.” Greater Media operates rock WMMR, classic rock WMGK, adult hits WBEN-FM and sports talk WPEN-FM.
Arbitron Releases the RADAR March 2013 Radio Network Ratings. Arbitron reports that the RADAR (Radio’s All Dimension Audience Research) March 2013 “is the standard currency for national network radio ratings and measures 46 individual radio networks.” The networks are operated by American Urban Radio Networks, Crystal Media Networks, Cumulus Media Networks, Dial Global Inc., Premiere Networks, and United Stations Radio Networks. The survey concludes “that nearly 180 million Persons 12 and older, or approximately 68% of this demographic, heard one or more network radio commercials in an average week of the survey period.” Further, the survey states commercials that aired on the 46 radio networks measured reached: 68.2 % of Persons aged 12+ (179,923,000 Persons); 68.6% of Persons aged 18+ (163,738,000 Persons); 68.1% of Persons aged 35+ (113,417,000 Persons); 70.9% of Persons aged 18-49 (95,091,000 Persons); and 71.7% of Persons aged 25-54 (89,654,000Persons).
Premiere Networks Touts ‘Strong Rankings’ in RADAR 116. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment-owned Premiere Networks sells 17 of the 46 networks included in Arbitron’s RADAR 116. In this survey, Premiere lays claim to having “earned the number one spot in rankings for AQH and Cume among all 46 measured RADAR networks in RADAR 116 for Persons 12+. Premiere FOX News Advantage ranked number one on an AQH basis for Persons 12+ (All Broadcasts, Monday-Sun 5AM-12M, AQH) and Premiere Spectrum debuted in RADAR 116 as the highest-reaching network for Persons 12+ (All Broadcasts, Monday-Sunday 12Midnight-12Midnight broad daypart, Cume). Premiere also points to the performance of its networks based on lifestyle groupings, stating, “Young Influencers and Premiere Super Moms ranked number one and two, respectively, in reaching Moms 25-54 (Women 25-54 with children under 12). Premiere Super Moms took the lead position followed by Premiere Young Influencers in reach for Working Women 25-54 (work status: full time/part time) among all 46 measured RADAR networks in RADAR 116 (All Broadcasts, Monday-Sunday 12Midnight-12Midnight broad daypart, cume audience). The RADAR 116 sample consists of 395,844 diary keepers/PPM panelists/respondents. PPM panelists comprise approximately 53% of the total respondent listening sample.
Effects of Sequester/Budget Battle, State of the Republican Party, Cyprus Bank Deposit Tax, Steubenville Rape Case, and Tom Perez Named Labor Secretary Nominee Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/18). The budget battle in Washington and the effects of the sequester; analysis of the state of the Republican party and its future; the Cyprus bank deposit tax and its effect on world markets; the guilty verdicts in the Steubenville, Ohio rape case; and President Obama’s nomination of Tom Perez as labor secretary were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Whither Laura Ingraham? Affiliates Hear Tammy Bruce Today. The Talk Radio Network star has left the air amidst saying that she is leaving TRN, perhaps with plans to be back via another avenue in the near future. Although the departure seems abrupt, it comes as no surprise to industry observers who have long known of the not-so-secret friction that has existed for years between Ingraham and TRN’s top management. TALKERS has reached out to Talk Radio Network for information but has yet to receive a response. Former TRN syndicated talk host and current popular internet talk personality Tammy Bruce is filling in on the network slot where Ingraham’s program aired. On her website, Ingraham has posted the following message. “After more than 9 years with the distributor Talk Radio Network, I decided it was time to move on. After much thought and reflection, I have decided to pursue my first loves — modern dance and the xylophone. In the highly unlikely event that these efforts do not prove fruitful, I intend to return to radio. Seriously — to the more than 300 stations that carry the Laura Ingraham show and to all my loyal listeners, I feel the time is right to expand and retool my radio program and to explore other syndication options, which I am now actively pursuing. During this brief hiatus, my team and I will continue to deliver thought-provoking and entertaining analysis via my website.”
Entercom’s KGMZ, San Francisco Names Chris Townsend PM Drive Co-Host. With the departure of Brandon Tierney to CBS Radio Sports Network for the morning show beginning in January, the Entercom sports talker fills Tierney’s spot as co-host of the afternoon “The Drive” show with midday co-host Chris Townsend. He’ll partner up with Ric Bucher in the afternoon slot and Matt Steinmetz will host the late-morning “The Pulse” solo, at least for now. Townsend was upped from his evening show at “95.7 The Game” in September to the late-morning slot. In addition to his daily talk show work, he hosts the Oakland A’s radio pre-game show “The Dugout.”
WBEN, Buffalo Talk Host Tom Bauerle Shares Cardiac Diagnosis with Listeners. Last week, long time Buffalo talk host Tom Bauerle told his audience that he’ll be undergoing a procedure to have a pacemaker/defibrillator put in after being diagnosed with Brugada syndrome – or as Bauerle describes it to TALKERS – the “he was so healthy and he just dropped dead” disease. Bauerle says he’s always believed in being honest with his audience. “I have a very close bond with people who’ve listened to me because I do not pretend to be something I am not and the real people appreciate the truth in the era of spin.” So he explained that he had a routine EKG prior to planned elective surgery when doctors discovered he has the syndrome that can cause a sudden and fatal arrhythmia. Bauerle, still in his 40s, recently signed a long-term contract extension with Entercom’s WBEN back in October. We at TALKERS wish him the best in dealing with this condition.
Bay Area Media Blogger Rich Lieberman Debuts Weekend Talk Radio Show. San Francisco-based media blogger Rich Lieberman’s 415 Media has been the source of opinions and news scoops for Bay Area media (and beyond) for years. He’s also made a number of enemies in the region who don’t like his style or his willingness to publish speculation about their business. Now, Lieberman is taking to the air at Michael Zwerling-owned KOMY, Santa Cruz with a three-hour weekend program that airs on Saturday and Sunday evenings. Lieberman tells Fishbowl LA the show will be guest-oriented. He opened the first program speaking to KTVU-TV, Oakland evening news lead anchor Frank Somerville who discussed his adopting a black daughter. He also interviewed KKSF talk host John Rothmann. Lieberman tells Fishbowl LA, “Next weekend, I will be talking with actor Patrick Warburton as well as Alan Colmes, formerly of ‘Hannity & Colmes.’ Colmes has a new book out, and we’ll also take a look back at the 2012 presidential election…The show is guest-oriented right now. I wanted to charge it up during the holidays and start with a splash. But in the long run, the zeitgeist of ‘The Rich Lieberman Show’ is going to be my rants and opines, and talking about those topics with callers.”
Bonneville’s Arizona Sports 620 KTAR-AM Adds Mixed Martial Arts Program to Lineup. The fast-growing popularity of mixed martial arts (MMA), especially among young men, has a number of sports enterprises exploring the possibility the sport can draw audience on a level worthy of dedicated programming. Bonneville’s “Arizona Sports 620 KTAR-AM” is adding a new program to its lineup beginning Saturday, December 1 from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm called “The Power MMA Show” hosted by Jim Grieshaber, along with world-class MMA fighters and former ASU wrestling stars Ryan Bader and Aaron Simpson (pictured here, Bader at left, Simpson at right). The station describes the show as one that “will focus on the biggest stories of the week, the lives of fighters – from superstars to local talent, the growth of Arizona into an MMA hotbed and more.” Written and video content will be hosted on a new MMA section at ArizonaSports.com, with a team of Power MMA contributors providing local and national coverage. Bonneville Phoenix vice president of news and sports content Ryan Hatch says, “MMA is one of the fastest growing and most exciting sports in the world. We’re thrilled to launch the first-ever show of its kind in this market, hosted by world renowned experts and top notch fighters. This is going to be fun.”
Sports Talk’s Dino Costa Sparks ‘Battle’ with Chris Russo at SiriusXM. Sports talker Dino Costa – whose program airs on Chris Russo’s “Mad Dog Radio” on SiriusXM – has been getting some attention lately for his on-air jabs at the channel’s namesake and founder Chris Russo. A two-part interview with Costa appears on ShermanReport.com and Costa speaks frankly with publisher Ed Sherman about his battles with Russo – admitting to calling him a “has-been” on the air – and their strictly “professional” relationship. The bomb-throwing is even more interesting since Russo operates the channel and could oust Costa if he wanted. Costa is also not shy about expressing his desire for a bigger role in the sports talk world. Read the entire interview here.
Washington Tax Battle, Post-Sandy Clean-Up Costs, Liberty University-ObamaCare Case and Morsi’s Egyptian Power Grab Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/26). The struggle between the Obama Administration and House Republicans over coming tax hikes and spending cuts; the price tag for cleaning up after Hurricane Sandy in New York and New Jersey; the Supreme Court’s ordering lower court to reconsider Liberty University’s argument ObamaCare violates school’s religious freedom; and the power grab by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Michael Savage Tells San Francisco Chronicle His Return to Radio is Imminent. The San Francisco Chronicle reports former Talk Radio Network nationally syndicated talk star Michael Savage (who won his freedom from TRN in arbitration recently) plans to be back on the radio within two weeks. Savage tells the paper, “I’ve got to get back before these (presidential) debates are over. And when I do, it will be bigger than ever.” Savage’s attorney, Daniel Horowitz, says Savage is in negotiations with three “major players” but wouldn’t say which ones or what station might serve as a flagship.
President Obama Calls in to Tom Joyner Show this Morning. This morning (10/10) on the Tom Joyner Morning Show President Barack Obama called in and spoke to Tom Joyner and Sybil Wilkes about the debate, the importance of voting, his focus on the African American Community, and his thoughts on winning this tight election. In the opinion of the TALKERS editors, the President made several powerful news making comments. To read a key excerpt from this exclusive interview, click here.
Programmer Marshall Adams Exits All-News WYAY, Atlanta. Before joining the Cumulus Atlanta all-newser early this year, Marshall Adams served as program director at CBS Radio’s KDKA, Pittsburgh. Now, the word is Adams has exited the fledgling all-news operations. There’s no word from Cumulus who will take over the programming role at WYAY.
Mancow Show in Pre-Recorded Mode During Move to New Studios. The Chicago-based and TRN-FM nationally syndicated Mancow program is airing taped shows this week as the program prepares to launch in its TV-radio simulcast format on October 22, according to Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder. Mancow’s show will emanate from the studios of Fox TV-owned WPWR-TV, Chicago with the 6:00 am to 8:00 am hours being simulcast on TV. Also, Feder reports that former “Ebert & Roeper” program executive producer Don Dupree has been hired as director and produce of the Mancow show. Mancow’s program had been produced at Cumulus Media’s Chicago studios.
The Future of PDs: Brand Managers. Perhaps the headline of this story should read the “present” of program directors as an increasing number of companies are adopting the title “brand manager” to describe the role of the radio station/group position historically known as “program director.” With the likes of so highly respected and forward thinking a company as Saga Communications joining the ranks of those using this more expansive title RadioInfo recognizes the movement is shifting from trend status to a significant paradigm shift. The concept is articulated by Saga Communications executive vice president Steve Goldstein in the following memo received by the company’s program directors in all formats, talk and music:
I have some very important and exciting news…
We truly live in a multi-platform world. As a Program Director, you are now spending an increased amount of your time thinking about and working with our various digital platforms. Whether it be the station website(s), social media such as Facebook, Twitter or crafting emails and texts, it’s all now a part of the PD’s day. This is in addition to managing the external marketing feel and visual aspects of the brand.
And of course, all of this is on top of creating vital and compelling on-air radio with all of the moving parts of morning shows, music, talk programming, news, sports, etc.
So, we’ve been thinking a lot about how vastly different the job of the Program Director is in 2012 and where it is likely to go in the coming years.
We’ve been thinking about how successful programmers are morphing their skills to become proficient at not just managing the on-air product, but the overall brand. And conversely, it has exposed the vulnerability of Program Directors who are not learning and growing as we become more digital.
When you drill it all down, what it really means is that the PD is no longer just a PROGRAM DIRECTOR, but a multi-platform BRAND MANAGER.
And so with the notion that things will continue to evolve, we are making a formal title change for all of our PDs from Program Director to Brand Manager. This change is intended to not only reflect how people in our business think about the position of PD but how PD’s think about themselves.
Managing the assets of a brand is what you do today, and we think this new title better reflects the change in responsibility and overall outlook.
We discussed this during our recent General Manager meeting in Florida and it met with tremendous approval.
Congratulations BRAND MANAGER.
Saga Communications owns and operates more than 100 broadcast stations in 29 markets.
ESPN Confirms Central Florida Affiliates. ESPN Radio remains on the Central Florida markets of Orlando – on Cox Media’s WDBO-AM beginning November 12 – and in Tampa Bay on Clear Channel’s WDAE. The moves come after Genesis Communications elected not to renew its affiliation with ESPN radio on WBHO, Tampa and WHOO, Orlando. As we reported yesterday, Cox Media is flipping the AM side of WDBO-AM/FM to sports as “ESPN 580 Orlando” and will carry the ESPN Radio lineup including Mike & Mike, Colin Cowherd, and SVP & Russillo. WDBO has not announced a local PM drive talent as this time. ESPN senior vice president, production, business divisions Traug Keller says, “We’re pleased to team with Cox to broadcast ESPN Radio content on WDBO-AM 580, one of the strongest signals in the Southeast, and with Clear Channel to provide ESPN programming on 620 WDAE. Our new affiliates in both Tampa and Orlando are a huge step up in signal strength, business acumen and our drive to grow our business with the best in the business.”
Tom Bauerle Re-Ups with Entercom’s WBEN, Buffalo. Buffalo talk host Tom Bauerle is becoming synonymous with talk radio in the market as the Buffalo native signs a long-term contract extension to remain with WBEN hosting the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program. Bauerle has been with WBEN since 2002. He started his career in the market at Entercom sister WGR in 1982. We worked for a few years outside the market at WTKN, Tampa-St. Pete and KMOX, St. Louis before returning to Buffalo in 1991.
XEPRS, San Diego “ESPN Radio 1700” Renews with ESPN for Three Years. San Diego sports outlet ESPN Radio 1700 announces it strikes a deal with ESPN Radio to continue airing its programming in the market for another three years. XEPRS is owned by Broadcasting Company of the Americas and carries Mike & Mike, “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” Hill & Schlereth, overnight and weekend programming as well as MLB and college sports play-by-play. Broadcasting Company of the Americas VP/market manager Norman Feuer states, “We’re thrilled to continue our partnership with ESPN Radio. As San Diego’s sports leader, it’s only fitting to have a strong bond with the ‘Worldwide Leader in Sports.’ Programming the quality of ESPN Radio deserves a home in San Diego. We are proud to have our stations as that home.”
WSSP, Milwaukee Adds Ted Davis to PM Drive Show. Ted Davis has served as the voice of Milwaukee Bucks basketball for the past 15 seasons. Now, he adds a regular role at Entercom’s sports talk WSSP “Sportsradio 1250” where he’ll be part of “The Big Show” afternoon program with Steve “Sparky” Fifer, Ramie Makhlouf and Gary Ellerson. Program director Tom Parker says Davis will begin during the basketball season adding hoops analysis. “Ted will weigh in on the day’s top Wisconsin sports stories. Of course he’ll share his unique perspective on Milwaukee basketball. Ted is a sports talk pro who knows what fans want and will tell it like it is.”
Odds & Sods. Entercom promotes WEEI-FM, Springfield, Massachusetts and WEEI-AM, Worcester, Massachusetts general manager David Oldread to director of sales and operations for the Worcester, Springfield and WVEI-FM Providence outlets for the Boston-based WEEI sports talk brand…..SiriusXM will broadcast a special “town hall” broadcast with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell live from SiriusXM studios on October 22. NFL great Michael Strahan (also co-host of ABC TV’s “Live with Kelly and Michael” and analyst on “Fox NFL Sunday” ) will interview Goodell and the commissioner will take questions from the live studio audience…..CBS Radio’s WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia donates $5,000 to Michael Vick’s Team Vick Foundation. Vick says, “The city of Philadelphia embraced me, welcomed me here when the Eagles signed me – giving me a second chance to play the game that I love. We at Team Vick Foundation are thankful to CBS Radio for supporting our work in the community and look forward to lasting partnership.”…..Tribune’s WGN, Chicago will air abbreviated editions of its “Sports Night” program to carry the two remaining presidential debates as well as the vice-presidential debate. The VP debate is Thursday, October 11 and the two presidential debates are on October 16 and 22.
KDKA, Pittsburgh Hosts Marcellus Shale Expo. The possibility of large natural gas reserves in the Marcellus Shale is a major ongoing story for Western Pennsylvania and CBS Radio’s KDKA is hosting a Marcellus Shale Expo on Thursday, October 11. The event is sponsored by Range Resources, a developer of natural gas extraction technology. The day’s events will include panel discussions hosted by KDKA’s Mike Pintek and Robert Mangino and will include representatives: Frank Brooks Robinson, Jr., of the Governor’s Action Team; Petra Mitchell from Catalyst Connection and Rep. Jim Christiana from Beaver County. Afternoon session panelists include Alan Eichler of District Oil & Gas Operations; Rep. Marc Gergely from Allegheny County and John Ubinger from PA Environmental Council. Matt Pitzarella from Range Resources will serve on both panels. Mike Pintek will broadcast his program on site from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
Hearst Television President David Barrett to Receive Broadcasters Foundation of America’s 2013 Golden Mike Award. Awarded annually to a broadcasting executive who has championed the BFoA’s mission, the 2013 Golden Mike Award will be given to Hearst Television president and CEO David Barrett at a gala black-tie fundraiser at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on February 25. Broadcasters Foundation of American chairman Philip J. Lombardo states, “David has been a vigorous champion of the Foundation’s mission to help broadcasters who are in desperate need. David’s exemplary leadership at Hearst, his commitment to the Foundation’s charitable cause, and his dedication to community service have earned him this acknowledgement. We are proud to honor him.”
Newt Talks Politics with Alan Stock. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (and recent presidential candidate) poses for a photo with KDWN, Las Vegas morning drive host Alan Stock at the Beasley news/talk station’s studios. Gingrich appeared on Stock’s program to talk about the presidential race and took calls from listeners.
Presidential Race Polls, Obama ‘Big Bird’ Ad Controversy, Romney Foreign Policy Speech, and Jerry Sandusky Sentenced Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/9). New polling data showing Mitt Romney gaining on or pulling ahead of President Obama; the controversy of the use of the Children’s Television Workshop’s Big Bird in an Obama ad; Mitt Romney’s recent foreign policy speech; and the sentencing of former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.