Radio in the Northeast Should Be Prepared for a Potential Perfect Storm. Last year, it was the Halloween Snowprise – an early cold snap fed by a lot of moisture that produced a foot of snow in some places, and felled leaf-laden trees and power lines, blacking out parts of the northeast US for days. This year – Halloween Week could bring a trick some meteorologists are already calling “potentially historic” – a strong tropical storm or hurricane named Sandy, with the Northeast again in the crosshairs. This rare climatic event could be what one network weather anchor called an “atmospheric bomb” – produced by a hurricane colliding head-on with a strong cold front. The jet stream bows northward as it approaches the coast, sucking the storm closer to land, instead of pushing it out to sea. The scenario is eerily reminiscent of the 1991 “Perfect Storm,” which left 12 people dead and more than $200 million in damage after it slammed into the East Coast. Power outages and flooding were widespread. Now is the time to prepare. Howard B. Price of ABC News urges broadcasters in the Northeast to learn the lessons of two radio group operators, who faced serious operational challenges following the EF-5 tornado that leveled a third of Joplin, MO in May 2011, and Hurricane Irene in August 2011, whose impact was felt across the Northeast for days. To read his timely and informative article click here.
CBS Radio’s Atlanta Sports Talker Debuts. WZGC-FM, Atlanta “SportsRadio 92.9 The Game” sprang to life yesterday afternoon at 2:00 pm ET with the PM drive show “Game Time” with Carl Dukes, Kordell Stewart and Rachael Baribeau the first show to hit the air. The trio talked Georgia sports, national sports and introduced the rest of the air staff to the listening audience. The station lineup consists of: “Opening Drive” hosted by Rick Kamla, Randy Cross and C.J. Simpson in morning drive; Jerome Jurenovich and Jamie Dukes from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm; “Mac & Jason at Night” with Mac McDonald and Jason Goff from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm; “Overtime” with Jim Murray from 10:00 pm to 2:00 pm; and “The Mitch Evans Experience” from 2:00 am to 6:00 am. Programming the latest CBS Radio sports talk FM to go on the air is Terry Foxx.
KJRB, Spokane Drops Talk Shows for All-News Programming. Mapleton’s news/talk KJRB, Spokane, Washington is eliminating most of its talk shows for an all-news approach. The station drops TRN’s Laura Ingraham and Jerry Doyle and Cox Media’s Neal Boortz for TRN-operated America’s Radio News Network news blocks airing from 3:00 am to 7:00 pm. The station maintains its local financial program from 12:00 noon to 12:30 pm and the KHQ-TV local news simulcast from 5:00 pm to 5:30 pm. It also continues to air The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “Daily Wrap” with Michael Castner in the evenings and CBS Radio’s “Overnight America” program.
Columbus Sports Talker Fired After Inappropriate Tweet. Dispatch Broadcast Group has fired sports talk host Scott Torgerson about a week after he Tweeted, jokingly, that he wished for the firing or death of ESPN’s Desmond Howard. Torgerson – former co-host of “The Common Man & The Torg” PM drive show on WBNS, Columbus “Sports Radio 97.1 The Fan” – was initially suspended after the Tweet began to create a firestorm of criticism. Ironically, the station used Twitter on Wednesday (10/24) to notify its fans that Torgerson was no longer with the company. As AwfulAnnouncing.com’s Matt Yoder notes in his blog, ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit – a former Ohio State quarterback and still beloved personality in Columbus – got involved in denouncing Torgerson’s Tweet and that probably added to the momentum necessary to make Dispatch let Torgerson go. The fact that WBNS is an ESPN affiliate may or may not have been a contributing factor. As of now, Mike Ricordati continues to host the PM drive show solo. This is not the first case of a talent being fired for an insensitive or inappropriate Tweet and it won’t be the last. Hosts who are hired to push the envelope and also use social media to do so for the purposes of promoting their act and their program have to be careful. There are certain subjects that must be avoided. Wishing death, injury or some other personal assault on someone – even as a joke – is likely to get the host in trouble and probably fired.
Larry King’s Third Party Candidate’s Debate Produced by Ora TV. One way to look at it is that broadcasting legend Larry King’s days of hosting A-List politicians and celebrities for his interviews and debates is over as he has moved to the digital television network Ora TV. But others might see fledgling internet TV stations as the future and all it will take is a smash internet TV show to capture the public’s interest and the medium will begin to compete seriously with broadcast and cable TV. Now, Ora TV seems to be shooting for niche programming and Tuesday’s broadcast of King moderating a third party candidate’s debate provided that. King hosted Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party, Jill Stein of the Green Party, Virgil Goode of the Constitution Party, Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party for a program in which the four largely explained how they differ from the Democratic and Republican party candidates. The debate was broadcast from the Chicago Hilton Hotel with a live audience. King explained at the start, “We think all voices should be heard. I think this is a noble cause.” CSPAN did air the program on cable TV in the U.S. Pictured here are Kristina Tobin, chair of the Free & Equal Elections Foundation (l) and Larry King (r).
Karel Joins Huffington Post Live Web Program. Long Beach, California-based talk host Karel – heard on KGO, San Francisco and in syndication across the country – appeared on the Huffington Post’s half-hour roundtable talk show “HuffPost Live.” The webcast program is hosted by Huffington Post’s Jacob and Alyona and usually features talent from afar piped in via web video batting around the issues of the day. Karel is pictured here in his home studio via webcam on the “HuffPost Live” program.
Odds & Sods. CBS Radio extends its deal with the NFL’s Chicago Bears to continue airing Bears play-by-play and other Bears-related programming on its Chicago signals. The games will continue to be heard on all-news WBBM-AM/FM with programming such as “Bears All Access” airing on sports talk WSCR “The Score.” The terms of the new deal was not announced…..Legendary college basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski returns to SiriusXM for his weekly “Basketball and Beyond with Coach K” program. This is the eighth season Krzyzewski has hosted the program on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog channel. For last night’s season opener, Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter and Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino were guests…..Emmis’ KFTK, St. Louis “FM NewsTalk 97.1” is working with Americans for Prosperity on a promotion to sell gas to 200 lucky listeners for the “pre-Obama Administration” price of $1.84 per gallon. FM NewsTalk 97.1’s Randy Tobler will broadcast live from the Country Club Car Wash in O’Fallon, Missouri from 8:00 am to 10:00 am on Saturday, October 27.
WPRO, Providence Hosts Rhode Island Candidates Debate. Cumulus Media’s WPRO & 99.7 FM in Providence hosted the candidates for the 1st Congressional District in Rhode Island for an hour-long, uninterrupted debate. Pictured here at left is Democratic Congressman David Cicilline and, at right, Republican challenger Brendan Doherty in the studios at WPRO. Not pictured is moderator and WPRO news director Bill Haberman who facilitated the contest. In addition to airing the debate live on the radio with analysis during the Matt Allen program that followed the debate, WPRO provided a video stream and a live, interactive Tweet chat at 630wpro.com.
Benghazi Terrorism Question, Presidential Race Polls, Debate Aftermath, World Series and Hurricane Sandy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/24). The conflicting reports of who knew the Benghazi attack was an act of terrorism and when they knew it; the presidential race polls; analysis of the presidential debates; the Giants-Tigers World Series; and the looming threat to the U.S. from Hurricane Sandy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Michael Savage Signs with Cumulus Media Networks; Push for Affiliates and Programming Changes at O&O Stations to Begin. Not too long after vowing he’d be back on terrestrial radio, talk radio host Michael Savage joins Cumulus Media Networks for a syndication deal that will have his program distributed nationally live from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET. The terms of the contract are not available but in a press release announcing the pact, Cumulus COO John Dickey states, “As we aggressively create radio’s most compelling mix of show hosts the addition of Michael Savage is a milestone in our determined efforts to provide our listeners nationwide with the best programing in the business.” Savage won freedom from his contract with Talk Radio Network in court several weeks ago, freeing him to sign anywhere for national distribution. Savage states in the release, “Cumulus and Savage will make radio history. The turbulent times we live in give talk radio a new power. This is the biggest move of my radio career and I look forward to reaching many millions of new listeners on their flamethrower signals.” Savage has broadcast from his home studio in the San Francisco Bay Area for years and most likely will continue to do so. Cumulus will want to put him on as many O&Os as possible so here’s a rundown of what programming airs during the live broadcast time of Savage’s soon-to-be program. In San Francisco, O&Os KGO and KSFO air a local evening news show and its own syndicated John Batchelor program respectively; WABC, New York airs Batchelor; KABC, Los Angeles airs its own syndicated Mark Levin; WLS-AM, Chicago airs the last hour of Premiere’s Sean Hannity followed by Levin; WMAL, Washington airs Batchelor; WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas airs local host Chris Krok; and WJR, Detroit airs Mark Levin. With Savage’s program to debut next Tuesday, October 23, look for some programming changes on Cumulus Media O&O talk outlets.
Dan Patrick’s Radio and TV Simulcast Exits Fox Sports Net; Speculation About New Cable Partner Begins. To be clear, we’re talking about the regional cable TV networks when we talk about Fox Sports Net, not Fox Sports Radio Network which distributes the radio version of the DirecTV-produced program. Dan Patrick’s sports talk show is still available on DirecTV’s Audience Network but Patrick said on his program they expect to have a new cable partner soon and here’s where the speculation begins. AwfulAnnouncing.com’s Matt Yoder writes that a deal with NBC’s fledgling cable sports network could use a show like Patrick’s in morning drive as a show around which to build the rest of its programming. As Yoder points out, Dan Patrick already works for NBC hosting “Football Night in America,” so there’s a relationship in place. If NBC and Patrick agree to work together for the cable TV distribution of his program, whether that would affect the distribution of his radio program or not is unknown. NBC is also building a sports talk radio network for which it needs quality programming. However, the Fox Sports Radio Network distribution of the radio program has it on more than 250 stations. Ad sales for the radio side are handled by Premiere Networks and presumably there is a contract for this relationship.
Mancow TV Show Producer Resigns. With less than a week to go before the debut of Erich Mancow Muller’s Chicago TV show on Fox Television’s WPWR-TV, director and producer Don DuPree leaves the project. Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports DuPree had issues with Fox Television that centered on compensation and job duties unrelated to the Mancow program. Mancow’s morning radio show — syndicated nationally by TRN-FM — is set to begin a two-hour radio/TV simulcast (during the 6:00 am to 8:00 am CT hours) on Monday, October 22. DuPree has been involved with the soon-to-debut show for several weeks. He tells Feder, “I really want to see the show succeed, and I want Mancow to succeed. Working with Mancow was why I was attracted to the project to begin with, and I’m still a big fan. I hope I get to work with him again one day.” DuPree was director of the “Siskel & Ebert” program for 16 years and also served as executive producer for “Ebert & Roeper.”
Talent Shuffle at Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle. A day after Bonneville announced that morning news anchor Linda Thomas would exit the AM on-air post to take an enterprising new role with the station and its affiliated digital presence, it promotes evening talk host John Curley to host of “Seattle’s Morning News” beginning Monday, October 22. Curley, a popular media personality in the market who joined KIRO-FM in February of 2011 to host the night show, is partnered up with current AM drive co-host Tom Tangney and news anchor Ursula Reutin. Program director Larry Gifford states, “John is unbelievably talented. He brings a lifetime of lessons to add a personal perspective and a storyteller’s sensibility to ‘Seattle’s Morning News.’ He also has an irresistible charm and enough energy to fuel the entire Pacific Northwest.” Curley spent 14 years hosting “Evening Magazine” on KING-TV and currently serves as a member of the Sammamish City Council. Exiting the morning program is host Bill Radke.
WBNS-AM/FM, Columbus Suspends Host for Tweet. RadiOhio’s sports talk WBNS-AM/FM, Columbus “97.1 The Fan” suspends talk host Scott Torgerson – co-host of “The Common Man & The Torg” – after he Tweeted regarding ESPN’s Desmond Howard, “I wish that Desmond Howard would get fired or die so I can watch ‘Gameday’ again.” It’s uncertain how long Torgerson will be suspended but yesterday he remained off the program with co-host Mike Ricordati.
Genesis Communications Network Purchases New Headquarters. The company that syndicated such talk radio stars as Alex Jones, Jason Lewis and Bradlee Dean is moving into new headquarters in Burnsville, Minnesota. The company, headed by CEO Ted Anderson, is moving from its current base in Eagan, Minnesota to a former Coldwell Banker office near I-35W in the Twin Cities region. The building was purchased for $1.4 million.
Newsweek Announces End of Paper Edition. This isn’t a radio story but it is an interesting media development. Editor-in-chief of The Newsweek Daily Beast Company, Tina Brown, announces the iconic weekly news magazine will cease publication of its printed product at the end of this year and will move into a strictly digital business model in 2013. Brown writes, “Newsweek Global, as the all-digital publication will be named, will be a single, worldwide edition targeted for a highly mobile, opinion-leading audience who want to learn about world events in a sophisticated context. Newsweek Global will be supported by paid subscription and will be available through e-readers for both tablet and the Web, with select content available on The Daily Beast.” Brown makes it clear why the transition is taking place. “It is important that we underscore what this digital transition means and, as importantly, what it does not. We are transitioning Newsweek, not saying goodbye to it. We remain committed to Newsweek and to the journalism that it represents. This decision is not about the quality of the brand or the journalism — that is as powerful as ever. It is about the challenging economics of print publishing and distribution.”
Second Presidential Debate Aftermath, Presidential Race Polls, Libya Attack Investigation, and MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/17). Analysis of the performance of the candidates in the second presidential debate; the polls in the presidential race; the ongoing investigation into the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi; and the Major League Baseball playoffs are some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey Addresses “Inherently Inefficient” Nature of Old-Line Media Business Model in Bain Capital News Story. The chief executive officer of the second largest radio station operator in America is one of several Atlanta-based business executives to speak to the Atlanta Journal Constitution about his business and the role private equity firm Bain Capital played in its progress. The piece ran Sunday (2/5) online and in print and was written from the perspective of giving insight into Bain Capital – the company formerly run by presidential candidate Mitt Romney. However it also probes the nature of corporate radio as it rides the rough surf of an economic downturn and a dramatically changing media business – complete with layoffs and job consolidation. The story notes Cumulus CFO Joseph Hannan explained to investors at a recent conference that they had to “wholesale re-engineer the way these operations work” in order to cut costs and that the company learned this process while working with the private equity firms. Hannan said the company was able to cut $70 million in costs. Lew Dickey tells the AJC the business has to work that way to survive. He says old-line media companies have become “inherently inefficient. We run the business as efficiently as technology permits us to do.” Interestingly, Bain Capital took a loss on its involvement with Cumulus. Cumulus ended up buying out Bain and the other private equity partners. It worked with other private equity firms to engineer the Citadel Broadcasting deal and it remains to be seen whether that will turn out to be a wise investment for them or whether they will suffer the same fate as Bain. Through it all, Dickey remains confident and tells the AJC he believes his company will add jobs – albeit in different sectors – during this year. “By the end of the year, we’ll have a net increase in jobs. They’ll be different jobs. That’s how business evolves.”
Exit of CBS Radio CHR Programmer and 92.3 Now PD Dom Theodore Fires Up Speculation About Sports or News Moving to the New York Signal. There was big news in the CHR world yesterday as CBS Radio’s format captain and PD of 92.3 Now (WXRK-FM, New York) Dom Theodore left the building. For those awaiting the (some say) way overdue addition of an FM signal for sports talk WFAN, this move gives them plenty to talk about. Still others believe one of CBS Radio’s all-newsers – WINS or WCBS – could end up with an FM simulcast. Right now it’s all guesswork but rumors that the rest of the on-air staff at 92.3 Now may have received news of its imminent demise along with Theodore’s departure have the message boards in the Tri-State area red hot with chatter.
Courtside Entertainment Group Names Rich Rapiti Senior Director of Affiliate Relations. Longtime affiliate relations pro Rich Rapiti is reunited with Westwood One founder Norm Pattiz in his new role as senior director of affiliate relations for Pattiz’s Courtside Entertainment Group. Rapiti will be based in New York City. Courtside president Bob Moore says, “Rich Rapiti is a unique guy. He has worked in the radio business his entire adult life and has mastered the art of working with radio stations in providing quality programming. We are extremely excited about having Rich on our team.” Speaking about his new position, Rapiti states, “I am thrilled to be the newest member of the Courtside team. Rarely does the opportunity occur where you can work with the likes of a Norm Pattiz and his executive team.”
XEPRS, San Diego Makes AM Drive Changes; Scott Kaplan Exits, Dave Palet and Jeff Dotseth In. After 11 years at the station, morning drive host Scott Kaplan and co-host Billy Ray Smith are out as hosts of the program. Station VP/GM Tex Meyer says in a press release the change was made “after very careful consideration and evaluation of several important factors.” However, many San Diego media observers are saying Kaplan’s recent unflattering on-air comments about Mountain West broadcaster Andrea Lloyd put management over the top and forced its hand. Broadcast Company of the Americas brings San Diego market veterans Dave Palet and Jeff Dotseth in to take over the morning drive show.
WGN, Chicago Holds “Cubs Song” Contest. Musically inclined Chicago Cubs fans are being encouraged to write a tribute song to their favorite baseball team and have the chance for it to become part of Cubs radio broadcasts all season long. Tribune Company’s WGN – flagship for Chicago Cubs baseball – will be the judge of the winning submission for this unique promotion. Here are the rules: Write an original song about the Chicago Cubs and e-mail it as an .mp3 file attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org by February 29, 2012. The lyrics must mention the Cubs and WGN Radio, but may not mention names of individual players, coaches or Cubs management. Songs longer than four minutes will be disqualified. You must also include your name, address, daytime phone number, e-mail address, and age in the e-mail. Entries on behalf of a group must provide the required information for each member of the group. WGN will post up to 10 finalists on its website and give fans the chance to vote on the winner. The writer/performer of the winning entry will have the chance to get the song recorded in a professional studio and perform it live during Jonathon Brandmeier’s Opening Day broadcast on WGN.
WBNS-FM, Columbus Debuts “Off-Season with Bobby Carpenter.” The NFL season is over – more or less – until the draft in April and RadiOhio sports talker 97.1 The Fan (WBNS-FM) is taking advantage of the year-round interest in the National Football League by creating a weekly, Friday afternoon show co-hosted by former Ohio State standout and current Detroit Lions linebacker Bobby Carpenter and WBNS-TV’s Beau Bishop. Director of programming and operations Jay Taylor announces the one-hour show airs from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm featuring talk about the NFL, the upcoming draft and Buckeye football and debuts this Friday, February 10.
CNN Names Jim Acosta to National Political Correspondent Role. The cable news channel announces Jim Acosta is promoted to national political correspondent where he’ll appear regularly on several CNN programs including “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” and “John King, USA,” according to TVWeek. CNN SVP and Washington bureau chief Sam Feist states, “Jim has been an outstanding addition to the political team. He has emerged as one of the key reporters on the campaign trail and his astute reporting skills will only help to position the network to dominate this important election cycle.”
CBS Radio Renews with MLB’s Phillies; Games to Air on WIP-FM. CBS Radio’s news/talk WPHT, Philadelphia has been the longtime flagship for Philadelphia Phillies baseball and the company and team just struck a new multi-year deal to keep the team with CBS Philadelphia. This season the games will also air on sister sports WIP’s new FM signal as well. CBS Radio Philadelphia VP/market manager Marc Rayfield states, “It’s a very exciting time for WPHT and WIP, and this partnership with the Philadelphia Phillies only adds to the interest audiences have in these two leading radio stations. We look forward to the future with the most thrilling team in baseball.”
Talk Host Steve Cochran Ready to Return to Action After Health Scare. Chicago-based talk host Steve Cochran – who handles the afternoon program at Salem Communication’s WIND, Chicago and hosts the late morning program for KTRS, St. Louis (which is rerun in the evening) from his home in the Chicago area – took himself off the air last week and went to the hospital after feeling chest pains, according to Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder. Cochran underwent some tests and was prescribed medication and reports he hopes to be back on the radio soon. Cochran tells Feder, “The doctor said I’ll be 125 percent, which is great news unless you really hate my show.”
More TV Work for TRN’s Phil Hendrie. Los Angeles-based, nationally syndicated talk radio personality Phil Hendrie scored a recurring role on the hit Fox TV show “New Girl.” Hendrie says, “The entire cast and crew is so hard working, gracious and welcoming. It’s an honor to get to work with them.” Last year, Hendrie taped an episode of the ABC-TV hit show “Modern Family” in which he plays the recurring character “Boots.” That episode is to air soon. Pictured here is the cast of “New Girl” – from left to right: Max Greenfield, Lamorne Morris, Hannah Simone, Hendrie, Zooey Deschanel and Jake Johnson.
Romney Surges in GOP Primary, Super Bowl Aftermath, Syria Violence and Closure of U.S. Embassy and New Iran Sanctions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/6). Mitt Romney’s victory in Nevada over the weekend and his continuing lead over competitors, the aftermath of the Giants’ victory in Super Bowl XLVI, continuing violence in Syria and the U.S.’s closure of its embassy there and new sanctions levied against Iran were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.