PPM Analysis: News/Talk (Part 1). TALKERS magazine managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian presents the third in a four-part series of reports analyzing the performances of spoken-word radio stations based on January 2015 PPM survey data from Nielsen Audio. This story focuses on commercial news/talk stations. Kinosian writes that the first reports published “presented overviews of the truly astonishing January 2015 PPM ratings performances turned in by news and sports outlets. Those extraordinary stats notwithstanding (especially with all-news), we have quite possibly saved the best for last in analyzing the most omnipresent genre under the spoken-word umbrella, talk stations. For several reasons, we have separated “talk” into two groups – commercial, and non-commercial/public. The January 2015 ratings overview of commercial talkers appears today, while the companion piece for non-commercial/public talk stations will be posted tomorrow. Either way you slice it though, it was a strong sweep for both groups and the numbers will confirm that as being the height of understatement.” Check out the analysis here.
Covering the Boston Marathon Bombing Trial. With one of the nation’s most-watched trials beginning in Boston, CBS RADIO’s WBZ-AM, “Newsradio 1030” is announcing its coverage plans that include a weekly podcast produced by WBZ reporters Lana Jones and Carl Stevens called, “The Boston Marathon Bombing Trial Podcast: U.S. v. Tsarnaev.” The station says, “WBZ NewsRadio 1030 will have comprehensive reporting in newscasts throughout the day as well as digital and social media real-time reporting while court is in session. In an effort to reach those listeners who need their news ‘on-demand,’ WBZ debuts today a weekly podcast of the highlights of the ground-breaking trial.” The podcast will be published each Friday morning. Pictured here outside the WBZ Mobile Newsroom are (from l-r): Stevens, Jones, and studio producer Peter Clarke.
Mitch Henck Returns to Madison Airwaves with iHeartMedia. After exiting iHeartMedia’s news/talk WIBA, Madison in June of last year, Henck began producing his own daily webcast. Now, he returns to the Madison airwaves on WIBA’s sister WXXM-FM daily 8:00 am to 11:00 am. Additionally, he’ll also be available via the iHeartRadio platform. Henck says, “I’m thrilled to be returning to the iHeartMedia airwaves where I got my start in talk radio.” The station says that “politics, culture, history, media, education, religion, along with Mitch’s favorites – standup comedy, professional golf, and college basketball – will be daily fare on 92.1FM beginning Monday, March 23.”
Chris Mac to Exit WGAN/WZAN Brand Manager Post; Plum Gig Opens. After some 25 years with Saga Communications’ talk stations WGAN and WZAN in Portland Maine, brand manager and news director Chris Mac is exiting the radio business for a post at a local financial institution. That means a really cool gig is opening and here’s how Saga is advertising it: Portland Brand Manager/News Director. Saga Communications has an opening to lead its top news/talk radio WGAN and its sister brands in beautiful Portland, Maine. Successful candidates will exhibit an ability to lead a five-person news department, develop and coach local talent, direct programming, develop and curate a contemporary sound for the entire station in delivery and production. Please send your resume and supporting material to Bob Adams, general manager, Portland Radio Group Badams@portlandradiogroup.com. EOE/MF.
Radio Apps Built by Radio People. In a story published today (3/5), TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay focuses on a company that is designing and servicing apps for radio stations that are affordable and custom-tailored to each client’s station. Jack of Trade Apps is headed by principals Paul Varga and Andrew Davis. Varga tells McKay, “Our app is developed for the traditional radio station cluster or stand-alone. With every app there’s a content management system, and it is an extension of the unique brand you are building. We’ve priced it for the independent owner or cluster or regional owner to make it affordable. We know budgets are tight and the importance of return on investment is paramount.” Read more about Jack of Trade Apps here.
Netanyahu Speech, Hillary Clinton Email Probe, SCOTUS ObamaCare Hearing, Homeland Security Department Funding, Amnesty Issue, and 2016 Presidential Prospects Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/4). Wednesday’s speech before Congress by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the Iran nuclear threat; the investigation in Hillary Clinton’s using private email for State Department business; today’s hearing at the Supreme Court on the Affordable Care Act; the funding of the Homeland Security Department through September and John Boehner’s decision to not fight the amnesty order via funding; and the potential candidates for president in 2016 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
LOS ANGELES —Journey back to the “Golden Age” of radio and television, and, you will promptly ascertain that, especially in terms of audience acceptance, pairing a real-life husband and wife was a brilliant programming strategy that tended to produce blockbuster results.
Consider such instantly familiar classic examples as George Burns & Gracie Allen; Desi Arnaz & Lucille Ball; Ozzie & Harriet Nelson; and Jim & Marian Jordan as “Fibber McGee & Molly,” whose 24-year radio run concluded in 1959.
Contemporary “Windy City” radio partisans will surely cite “Don Wade & Roma,” who were staples on WLS-AM, Chicago for over 25 years; Don Wade succumbed to brain cancer last September.
Fairly recently (then-married) couples Chet Curtis & Natalie Jacobson on Boston’s WCVB-TV, and Jim Lampley & Bree Walker on Los Angeles’ KCBS-TV co-anchored the news together on their respective stations; 74-year-old Curtis lost his fight against pancreatic cancer five months ago.
These are simply representative examples (certainly not approaching a definitive list) of the effective, albeit not now revolutionary concept.
Consequently, while it will hardly be precedent setting when Los Angeles-based Brent Seltzer and his wife Meg McDonald debut next Monday (6/23) on the Genesis Communications Network for their daily, two-hour (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm, ET) broadcast, it nonetheless promises to be a wonderfully refreshing burst of fresh air to talk radio.
WBZ, Boston and WBZ-TV Win Peabody Award for Marathon Bombing Coverage. The CBS-owned television station and all-news radio outlet are being honored with a 2013 George Foster Peabody Award for overall excellence for their combined coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings. The citation from the Peabody Awards states: “Out in force to cover the annual marathon, both WBZ-TV and Newsradio 1030 had a journalistic advantage when the bombs detonated. Neither gave it up as their reporters spent hour after hour on the air providing wide-ranging, enterprising, non-sensational coverage of the casualties, the suspects and the intense, nerve-wracking manhunt. They become crucial sources not just to their city but to a stunned nation.” The awards will be delivered during the ceremony to take place in New York on May 19.
WABC, New York Covers Final Four. As the battle to claim the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship title continues this weekend, Cumulus Media news/talker WABC, New York covers it from Dallas with Geraldo show regulars Noam Laden and Jared Max sitting in for Geraldo live from radio row on Friday and Monday from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET. They will also produce a special wabcradio.com only broadcast slated for Saturday April 5 at 10:00 am ET. WABC also partnered with WestwoodOne for a series of March Madness promotions including the Greatest Moments in Tournament History vignettes and an exclusive fly-away promotion to the Men’s National Championship game. Program director Craig Schwalb says, “Working with WestwoodOne on these opportunities is a huge win for our listeners and clients. Our audience is into the excitement, the personalities, and the stories surrounding the Final Four, and so is 77 WABC!”
‘102.5 The Bone’ Tampa Personality Cowhead to Drop Nickname; Seek Syndication Deal. In a piece in the Tampa Bay Times, WHPT, Tampa afternoon drive personality Mike Calta – who goes by the nickname Cowhead on the radio – says he will give up the sobriquet and begin the next phase of his career using his real name as of April 14. In fact, he’ll host an on-air funeral for the moniker. He tells the paper, “When I started at the ‘Power Pig,’ everybody had those types of names. I was Big Mike for a while but that didn’t really stick. Then they asked me if I ever had any nicknames in high school and I remembered that a few people called me Cowhead and it sort of stuck. The minute I said it I immediately regretted it…I think times change. Even the ‘Power Pig’ changed its name. As times change and you age, it just gets silly.” Calta also tells the Times that his contract with Cox Media is up in June and he’s looking to have a syndication deal be part of negotiations.
CBS Revamps Radio.com. Calling it part of the evolution of CBS Local Digital Media, the company announces the debut of the new Radio.com. The company says in a statement, “Four years ago, we launched our new digital media business, rethinking the way CBS’s radio and television stations operate online and in the mobile space. Since then, we have evolved into the largest digital business in local broadcast media. There are few companies that have the radio, television, digital, out-of-home, and events platforms we do, and as a result we’re able to better leverage our local market properties with national scale. As leaders in integrating digital and traditional media into experiences that resonate with consumers, we take our next step forward in that regard with the debut of the new Radio.com website and streaming player. More than just live audio and video simulcasts of our stations, Radio.com presents original programming, live webcasts, exclusive editorial features and storytelling, and interviews with some of the biggest artists and personalities in the world. Indeed, we have taken a different strategy than others in the industry by recognizing that this ‘other’ content has tremendous value to our audiences. The popularity of our programs has demonstrated our thinking is correct.” Highlights of the new Radio.com include: a fresh look and feel, with improved interactivity; ability to be embedded on other sites; improved ad insertion capabilities; better-quality playback and streaming; program schedules available in real-time; expanded social media opportunities; play history; artist and track information integration; simple song purchase; and enhanced station guide and navigation experience. CBS promises updated mobile apps in the coming months.
Beck’s TheBlaze TV Added to Cable ONE Menu. It’s another cable company addition for Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze TV. His 24/7 news, opinion and entertainment network channel is being added to Cable ONE. A statement from TheBlaze says Cable ONE is America’s 11th largest cable operator. This addition gives the TheBlaze TV “distribution on 54 television providers nationwide including seven of the top 30.” Cable ONE serves customers in 42 markets in 19 states, including Biloxi/Gulfport, Boise, Phoenix/Prescott, and Sioux City, among others. Cable ONE vice president of marketing Joe Falbab says, “We are very excited about adding TheBlaze to the Cable ONE lineup. Our customers have requested this channel and we are happy to be able to respond to that request. We are committed to listening to our customers and will continue to deliver to them the best possible programming.”
Emmis Reports Q4 Revenue Up 11%. Indianapolis-based Emmis Communications Corporation operates on a fiscal year calendar and its fiscal 2014 fourth quarter ended February 28, 2014. The company reports that its Q4 revenue jumped to $32.4 million from $29.1 million a year prior. If you cut out WEPN, New York (which is being operated by ESPN under an LMA), revenue was up 12% for the quarter. For the full year fiscal 2014, net radio revenue hit the $145.4 million mark realizing an increase in net revenue of 5% over 2013. In a press release this morning, the company reports “these results also outperformed Emmis’ local radio markets in which revenue growth improved 3% for the year.” President and CEO Jeff Smulyan comments, “Fiscal 2014 marked the fourth consecutive year we have outperformed our local radio markets and the radio industry as a whole. Our strong operating performance is the result of sound strategy and its execution by a phenomenal workforce that makes me so proud. We are very excited about the addition of WBLS and WLIB in New York and the momentum behind NextRadio as we head into fiscal 2015.”
NAB Radio Board Election Results. The results of the NAB Radio Board election are in and the members who will serve two-year terms beginning in June are: Pete Booker, president and CEO, Delmarva Broadcasting Company; Steven Cutler, EVP business development and corporate strategy, Clear Channel; Gary Exline, general manager, Eagle Communications, Inc.; Kim Guthrie, EVP, Cox Media Group; Erik Hellum, EVP, Townsquare Media; Deon Levingston, SVP/market manager, Emmis Communications; Margaret Perkins, president and CEO, First Natchez Radio Group; Mary Quass, president and CEO, NRG Media, LLC; Joe Schwartz, president and CEO, Cherry Creek Radio; Jose Valle, president, Univision Radio; Thomas Walker, president, Mid-West Family Broadcasting.
Odds & Sods. The WPHT Speaker Series – produced by CBS RADIO news/talk WPHT, Philadelphia – continues this evening (4/3) as station personality Dom Giordano interviews Tea Party leader, former Florida Congressman and veteran Lt. Col. Allen West at Valley Forge Military Academy and College. West is the author of the new book Guardian of the Republic…..Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP, Washington is sponsoring its “Click for a Cause” online contest that will give Washington, D.C. non-profits the chance to win cash and free commercial air time on WTOP. There will be three grand prizes of $10,000 each with runners up winning $5,000 worth of commercials to advertise their cause on WTOP…..WELW, Willoughby, Ohio changes its calls and brand. The Spirit Broadcasting-owned station is using the WINT calls and has branded the station “1330 WINTegrity Radio.” Station president Ray Somich says the change comes ahead of a major expansion to take place this summer. The station has served communities to the east of Cleveland for the past 50 years.
Deadly Fort Hood Shooting, ObamaCare Criticism, SCOTUS Campaign Donor Limits Ruling, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Race, Russian Aggression and House Benghazi Hearing Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/2). The shooting at Fort Hood that claimed the lives of four and the preliminary investigation; scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and criticism of the White House “victory” presser; the Supreme Court ruling killing limits on personal campaign donations; speculation about political power shifts after the mid-term elections and the possible candidates for president in 2016; worries over Russia’s plans for Ukraine and other former Soviet bloc nations and President Obama’s tactics versus Vladimir Putin; and the Congressional hearings on the Benghazi incident were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Dennis Glasgow Named OM/PD at Capitol Broadcasting’s Sports Properties. Sports talk radio programming pro Dennis Glasgow joins Capitol Broadcasting as program director and operations manager for the company’s sports talk operations including WCMC-FM, Raleigh “99.9 The Fan”; WDNC, Durham “620 The Buzz”; WCLY, Raleigh “ESPN Deportes”; and WCMC-HD3 “99.9 The Ticket.” During his career Glasgow has served as vice president and operations manager for Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington; PD at KFXX, Portland and KNML, Albuquerque; and most recently programmed Pamplin’s news/talk KPAM, Portland. Capitol Sports Radio general manager Brian Maloney says, “Dennis brings passion and a wealth of knowledge about radio along with experience and understanding of social media and web, both of which are a key part of the sports radio listener lifestyle.” Glasgow adds, “Having the opportunity to work for Capitol Broadcasting and their sports properties is a genuine thrill. I look forward to continuing the commitment of great sports radio in the Triangle region.”
“Shotgun” Tom Kelly to Speak at Talkers Los Angeles 2013 on October 10. For the first time in the 16-year history of TALKERS magazine’s annual convention, a music radio “disc jockey” will be presented as an official speaker in the agenda line-up. KRTH, Los Angeles “K-Earth 101” late afternoon/early evening legend “Shotgun” Tom Kelly will be participating as a panelist at “Talkers Los Angeles 2013″ – a one-day, power-packed gathering of movers and shakers from the talk radio industry representing talent, sales, management and ownership. Kelly will be on a panel moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison titled “The Big Picture” which, in addition to Kelly, will include Phil Boyce, VP Spoken Word Format, Salem Communications; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Mike McVay, SVP programming, Cumulus Media; and Harvey Nagler, VP, CBS Radio News. The session will be introduced by Don Martin, SVP sports programming, Fox Sports Radio. In making the announcement of Kelly’s inclusion on this panel and as a speaker at this conference, Harrison states, “This particular panel has always dealt with the broad strokes overview of where talk radio fits into the overall radio scene – not just now but over the horizon – and where radio, in general, fits into the larger media/cultural landscape. At this point in the evolution of radio, it is appropriate that the beleaguered role of the music radio disc jockey be examined because we believe that the very existence of music radio in the new digital age DEPENDS upon the revitalization and to a certain extent, the reinvention, of the position within the mix of elements that will keep radio a distinct and unique genre capable of warding off exotic digital age competition and the perils of being assimilated into the utilitarian ‘sameness’ easily imposed by the internet. We also believe that in order for talk radio to have a healthy future within the context of being ‘radio’ we need to preserve the health and viability of music radio as well. ‘Shotgun’ Tom Kelly is the quintessential radio disc jockey whose mastery of the art form and ability to survive and thrive decades of change while still going strong makes him the perfect person to perform this function as a speaker at the conference.” The sold-out “Talkers Los Angeles 2013″ is open only to members of the working media. It is being presented in association with the Los Angeles Press Club at the historic Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood on Thursday, October 10 between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm. For information and remaining sponsorship opportunities call 413-565-5413. To see the entire up-to-date agenda, please click here.
Simon Conway is a Busy Man. WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive talk host Simon Conway is pulling double duty today and on Monday. Conway will host his 4:00 pm CT show on the Clear Channel news/talk outlet and then sit in as host on Premiere Networks’ “America Now with Andy Dean” this evening. On Monday, Conway will sub in morning drive on Clear Channel’s WFLF, Orlando “News Talk WFLA FM 104.5 and AM 540” in addition to his regular show on WHO.
SiriusXM’s Jim Meyer Says Howard Stern and NFL Remain Important to Satcaster. At the Goldman Sachs Communacopia taking place in New York during Advertising Week, SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer told analysts that two of the big contracts the company would like to renew when they come up at the end of 2015 are those of Howard Stern and the NFL. Meyer said the company is very comfortable with the amount of money it is spending on content right now and sees both franchises as important. Regarding Stern, Meyer said, “I will be clear with you today. As long as Howard Stern wants to work and as long as Howard Stern is as motivated as he is today to make a show as good as it is today, we want him on SiriusXM Radio.” But in a follow-up question from an analyst, Meyer said Stern would have to remain exclusive to SiriusXM for him to remain.
Odds & Sods. As had been predicted, CBS Radio’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” signs a deal to serve as the flagship radio station for Boston Celtics basketball. It’s a multi-year deal that brings the Celts to WBZ-FM from Entercom-owned crosstown rival WEEI which chose not to renew with the team after last season…..Dan Le Batard’s nationally syndicated sports talk program debuts on ESPN Radio Monday, September 30. Le Batard – whose show emanates from Lincoln Financial Media’s WAXY, Miami “The Ticket” – will continue to do a local hour from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm but goes national from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Le Batard also is featured on ESPN2’s “Dan Le Batard is Highly Questionable.”…..Collegiate multimedia rights holders IMG College and Learfield Sports extend their deals with SiriusXM through June of 2016. The new pacts will allow listeners to hear live coverage of NCAA football and men’s basketball games from the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac 12, American Athletic Conference and Army, as well as basketball from teams from the Big East and several mid-major conferences. In addition, it will feature select coaches’ shows and college athletic programming on SiriusXM College Sports Nation.
WMAL, Washington’s Mark Weaver Retires After 45 Year Career. DCRTV.com’s Dave Hughes reports that WMAL, Washington afternoon news anchor Mark Weaver is working his last shift for the Cumulus Media news/talk outlet today (9/27) and will retire to Florida. Weaver worked for WMAL for the last 25 years of his 45-year career. Weaver will be replaced at WMAL by news pro Rachel Sutherland who most recently worked at America’s Radio News Network. Prior to that, she served for 10 years at Metro Networks in the DC market.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Cumulus Media Networks’ Michael Savage is added to the program schedule at WGTK-FM, Greenville, South Carolina and WIQO, Lynchburg, Virginia…..Cumulus’ Mark Levin picks up new affiliates KBND, Bend, Oregon; KPSI, Palm Springs; and KYYA, Billings…..Doug Stephan’s nationally syndicated “Good Morning” program adds a dozen new affiliate stations. They are: WTNT-AM/FM, Washington; WVWI, San Juan, Puerto Rio; KLPW, St. Louis; KLO, Ogden, Utah; WVOV, Chattanooga, Tennessee; WRHL, Rockford, Illinois; WCCM, Manchester, New Hampshire; KBTM-AM/FM, Jonesboro, Arkansas; WRPW-FM, Bloomington, Illinois; WRIK, Paducah, Kentucky; WATX, Algood, Tennessee; and WFLN, Arcadia, Florida…..Talk radio personality Chris Markowski – host of the weekly “Watchdog on Wall Street” show, also produces the free, daily feature called “Money Minutes.” That feature is added to the programming at WMPL, Hancock, Michigan…..Talk Media Network’s “Frontlines of Freedom” with Lt. Col. Denny Gillem is added to the program schedule at WENY, Elmira and WENI, Corning, New York.
The Implementation of ObamaCare Tops Talkers TenTM for week of September 23-27. The move by some Republicans to defund the Affordable Care Act and controversy over what the implementation of the law will mean was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week. Coming in at #2 on the Talkers TenTM was the threat of a government shutdown. At #3 was Iran’s nuclear program and the nation’s diplomatic overtures to the U.S., and at #4 was the continuing unrest in Syria and the United States’ policy regarding the use of chemical weapons. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. You can view this week’s entire chart here.
Cher Chats with ABC News Radio. Hollywood icon Cher (l) sits down with ABC News Radio’s Andrea Dresdale (r) during Cher’s visit to ABC TV’s “Live with Kelly and Michael” to promote her new album “Closer to the Truth.”
LOS ANGELES — Use the word “creative” in a radio context and the first thing generally summoned up is a programmer spinning a different take on a music format, or as an application to that extremely rare, exceptional on-air personality who is capable of generating substantial buzz.
Infrequently though is it linked in a word-association game to commercials, which is not only distressing, but highly unfortunate since creative commercial content can be a strong attribute.
Clear Channel Faces Suit by Photo Company Alleging Illegal Use. National Photo Group LLC has filed a complaint in United States District Court Western District of Texas alleging Clear Channel radio stations infringed on its copyrights by using pictures of various celebrities on the websites of some of its radio stations. The complaint names 11 CC radio stations and alleges photos of celebrities including Jason Aldean, Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, Drew Barrymore and others were used without permission and with knowledge that the photos were copyrighted. NPG is seeking $150,000 per infringement plus legal fees and any other relief the Court deems just and proper.
WCBM, Baltimore Extends Talk Host Tom Marr’s Contract Through 2017. Baltimore talk radio institution Tom Marr will be heard on WCBM through 2017 as the station’s vice president, Nick Mangione. Jr., announces the station extends his no-cut contract for another four years. The official announcement was made June 24 by WCBM program director and operations manager Sean Casey at the start of Marr’s show that day. Mangione, Jr. states, “I am delighted we have reached the agreement on the extension. To quote my late father, Tom is still at the top of his game both as a broadcaster in general and talk show host in particular. We are delighted he will be on the air until 2017 with WCBM and he just may decide to stay longer. There will always be room for him in the WCBM family. Tom has a good sense for the business. As an example, he is the first one to suggest that we add both Sean Hannity and Mark Levin to our lineup. Tom has a large following within the reach of our 50 thousand watt transmitter and is building a solid national and international following on WCBM’s worldwide reach via the internet.” Marr, who began his career as a high school sports broadcaster on WWDC-AM, Washington, DC in 1960, says, “I am deeply honored that Nick and the Mangione Family Enterprises agreed to the extension. I look forward to the challenges ahead for talk radio and its increasing role in the media especially in view of our relationship with the digital world.”
WBZ-AM, Boston Names Jen Brien Overnight Talk Host. After the retirement of Steve LeVeille last year, the station has been featuring a number of talk radio personalities in the overnight slot. Now, program director Peter Casey announces Jennifer “Jen” Brien is named to the permanent position. The station says the program “will be a mix of pop culture, current events, politics, and the comings and goings of people in New England.” In addition to WBZ-AM’s monster signal that penetrates the entire East Coast at that time of night, the show can be heard on CBS Radio’s Radio.com. Brien joined WBZ from Entercom’s crosstown news/talk WRKO where she hosted a daily program. She has also hosted shows on WPRO and WHJJ in Providence, and WCOD and WXTK on Cape Cod. Before beginning her career in radio, Brien spent more than five years as a soldier in the United States Army where she was selected for the prestigious “Soldier of the Year” award.
SiriusXM Cancels Long-Running Alex Bennett Show. One of modern talk radio’s true pioneers, Alex Bennett, has reportedly been let go “without cause” from SiriusXM Satellite Radio‘s “Sirius Left” channel where he was doing the daily 7:00 am to 10:00 am program. Bennett has been with Sirius for almost a decade and, according to insiders close to the host, was caught by surprise and is “distraught” over what transpired. Bennett has had a colorful, unique on-air career that goes back to the late-1960s when he was the lone talk show host on the old WMCA, New York when it was still the “Home of the Good Guys.” He subsequently went on to do both rock music and talk broadcasting serving as one of the original prototypes for the pop culture-oriented (some call it “shock jock”) and “progressive” genres of modern day talk radio. Between WMCA and Sirius, he served in ground-breaking stints at such great stations as WPLJ in New York and KMEL, KITS (“Live 105″) and KQAK (“The Quake”) in San Francisco. At press time, it is not clear if this was a cost-cutting move on the part of Sirius or indicative of a re-direction in programming. Bennett is still on the air and is reportedly doing his final program for the satellite radio service this Friday. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “In my opinion Alex Bennett is one of the most important talents ever to grace a microphone during my lifetime. His show on WMCA — in which he did extremely progressive talk about the issues of the day such as the Vietnam War — was on a station that was otherwise a hip music station. In the midst of all the fun, cool hipness of the rock ‘n’ roll and the zany DJs of that fabulous station, Bennett was fearlessly talking to the kids about extremely important controversial issues. That show served as the original inspiration for me to launch an issues-oriented talk show (“Harrison’s Mic”) five years later on rocker KMET in Los Angeles and my own talk career that paralleled my music radio work. If I had not heard Alex Bennett in 1969, there might not have ever been a TALKERS magazine.”
HOLLAND COOKE: The Future of AM/FM in the Car. Radio consultant Holland Cooke reports from the Consumer Electronic Association’s Connected Car Conference in New York City and her says that the bottom line after “four-and-a-half-hours of thoughtful discussion, research, and prognostication by automotive, electronics, and media thinkers: Whatever the dashboard is about to morph into matters less to AM/FM radio than what’s already happened.” Cooke writes that people who matter have already connected their media to the car speakers and offers some thoughts about what radio programmers can do to stand out from the digital competition. Read his analysis here.
SummitMedia to Pull the Plug on Sports Talk In Birmingham. SummitMedia announces it will drop the sports talk format on WZNN, Birmingham “97.3 The Zone” and flip to a different – most likely music – format. SummitMedia EVP and COO David DuBose tells the Birmingham News, “We have been evaluating the sports format in light of multiple factors, including [Paul] Finebaum‘s placement. After nearly two years, it became clear the market did not support two competing sports stations. “Therefore, we have determined we should focus on other format opportunities.” SummitMedia purchased the Birmingham cluster from Cox Media Group earlier this year. The station was flipped to sports in August of 2011 when Cox had its eye on building the station around mega-successful Southeast sports personality Paul Finebaum by bringing him over from Cumulus Media’s crosstown sports WJOX. Finebaum, who’d had legal squabbles with WJOX and wanted out of that relationship, ended up working out his contract there, sat out a non-compete and will begin a new sports talk radio venture with ESPN based out of Charlotte. It’s believed he will return to WJOX via ESPN syndication when the new program debuts later this summer.
Bonneville Seattle Brings Unique Talk to MyNorthwest.com. The Bonneville Seattle cluster that includes news/talk KIRO-FM, sports KIRO-AM and talk KTTH is beginning a series of unique audio programs to the web venture it calls MyNorthwest.com. Dubbed “MyNorthwest Chats,” the weekly, one-hour programs will stream on Wednesday’s from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm beginning with today’s chat featuring nationally acclaimed restaurateur Tom Douglas. MyNorthwest.com editor Stephanie Klein says, “We’re excited to have the opportunity to connect our readers directly to the experts and start an inspiring dialogue that makes an impact. We want the conversation to spark a chain of discussion in our readers’ lives.” Other chats lined up for July include talk show host Michael Medved and Seattle Mariners insider Shannon Drayer.
Programming Changes at WGN, Chicago; Turi Ryder to Exit. Chicago radio pro Turi Ryder has been in the late night slot at Tribune’s WGN, Chicago since the beginning of this year but now the company says it’s going in a different direction and will end her program. Ryder will get a chance to say goodbye to her WGN listeners as she’ll work this evening and Thursday before wrapping things up there. The station has not announced what will air in the time slot. Ryder also hosts “America Weekend” for Envision Radio Networks.
Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM, Providence Tackles Immigration Issue with Live Debate. News/talk WPRO-AM’s Tara Granahan is moderating a debate that will take place today at the Providence Marriott from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm called, “Green Light on Green Cards,” featuring a panel of experts from each side of the illegal immigration issue. The discussion will be streamed live online at the station’s 630wpro.com and will be the center piece of a “WPRO Special Report” scheduled to air during the “WPRO Morning News with Gene Valicenti” the week of July 1. The debate features two immigration lawyers, a state representative, a member of the local clergy and the head of an illegal immigration enforcement organization. The stations states, “The debate will address the issues that have emerged from illegal immigration including; licenses for illegal immigrants, how immigration effects the Rhode Island economy, and potential solutions moving forward.”
TeleSouth Communications to Buy WOSM, Ocean Springs, Mississippi. TeleSouth operates the Mississippi talk radio network known as “SuperTalk Mississippi” and the purchase of WOSM, Ocean Springs (103.1 FM) – between Biloxi and Pascagoula on the Gulf Coast – will be added to that network. The company states, “The addition of WOSM to the network will give coast listeners the best choice in Mississippi programming with ‘The Gallo Radio Show,’ ‘The JT Show’ and ‘Head to Head with Matt Wyatt and Richard Cross,’ all homegrown programs that keep a watch on state government, entertainment, sports, unique happenings in Mississippi, with a local take on national issues.” In addition to Mississippi-based programs, ‘SuperTalk’ is also home to Cumulus Media Networks’ Mike Huckabee and Compass Media Networks’ Lars Larson and Todd Schnitt. WOSM is owned and operated by Charles Cooper and airs Christian programming. TeleSouth CEO Steve Davenport states, “We are excited about growing the ‘SuperTalk Network’ with the addition of WOSM. Mr. Cooper has worked hard for years building an audience loyal to traditional family values. We are confident that WOSM listeners will hear those values in the programs featured each day on ‘SuperTalk.’” Long-time coast talk show host and programmer Kipp Greggory will serve as general manager of WOSM.
CHQR, Calgary Talk Host Dave Rutherford to End Daily Show. Canadian talk show host Dave Rutherford will wrap a 21-year career hosting a daily talk show at CHQR, Calgary after his last show on July 26. The conservative personality and pedigreed newsman tells the Edmonton Journal he believes the broadcast news industry is dumbing down and there may be no place for a broadcaster like him. “I don’t think there’s the desire to ask the next question, maybe to ask any questions. But I sense that the whole industry, the broadcast news business, television and radio, is dumbing down.”
The End of the Line for CNN Radio. The service was a shell of its former self after Dial Global ended its distribution of the news product and replaced it with NBC News Radio last year, effectively becoming a digital-only product. Now, CNN states that after completing “a review of its radio business,” it “has made the decision to cease production of CNN Radio podcasts, effective immediately.” CNN has indicated that some of the staff will be relocated to positions elsewhere in the company.
Allen Hunt to End WSB, Atlanta Program. Christian broadcaster Allen Hunt announces he’ll end his Sunday evening program that has aired on WSB, Atlanta since its inception after the June 30 broadcast. Hunt says he was approached by Cox Media to move the time of his program and he decided that due to his busy schedule with the Dynamic Catholic Institute and the requested change, he decided it would be better to end the show. Hunt built the program at WSB and, for a couple of years, put the show into national syndication.
The Roving Jay Mohr Billboard. Fox Sports Radio Network nationally syndicated host Jay Mohr’s flagship station, “AM570 FOX Sports LA” (KLAC, Los Angeles) surprised Mohr with a mobile billboard promoting his program. While Mohr was on the air, the billboard stopped by the studio during its route through Los Angeles and the show crew seized the opportunity for a quick photo-op. Pictured here (from l-r) are: intern Ben Haley, technical producer John Ramos, social media producer Matty Cox, assistant producer Justin Frosburg, Mohr, update anchor “Diamond” Dan Beyer, associate producer Mike Lingard and executive producer Greg “Hong Kong” Toohey.
Former KMOX, St. Louis Personality Bruce Bradley Dies. Bruce Bradley was a personality on CBS Radio’s KMOX, St. Louis from 1986 to 1992. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports he passed away on Saturday, June 22 in Lake St. Louis at age 79. Prior to his career in St. Louis, Bradley also worked in the New York, Philadelphia and Boston markets.
President Obama’s Global Warming Policy, SCOTUS Gay Marriage Rulings, George Zimmerman Trial, Paula Deen Freefall, and Texas Anti-Abortion Bill Fails Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/25). President Obama’s policy to bypass Congress to enact greenhouse gas emissions regulations; the Supreme Court’s rulings on gay marriage issues; the trial of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin; the demise of Paula Deen’s media career in the wake of allegations of racist language; and the failure of anti-abortion legislation in Texas were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
BOSTON — Notwithstanding that the “Old Towne” team has been historically dreadful the past 12 months, diehard members of Red Sox Nation from Boston to Bakersfield, Battle Creek to the Bahamas, and all points around the world, positively love their BoSox while simultaneously loathing the New York Yankees.
There is however an even greater enemy to the vociferous throng of Red Sox partisans than the Evil Empire’s pinstripe-clad nine – cancer that afflicts children.
In 1953, the Red Sox adopted as its charity of choice the Jimmy Fund, which raises money to support cancer care/research at Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Ralph Barbieri Sues KNBR, San Francisco. Longtime San Francisco sports talk host Ralph Barbieri is suing Cumulus Media’s sports talk outlet KNBR claiming the station fired him in April based on his age and disabilities. Barbieri’s attorney tells the San Francisco Chronicle station officials told Barbieri he was being let go for coming to work late and not preparing. Barbieri had co-hosted the PM drive show with Tom Tolbert since 1996 as “The Razor and Mr. T” and attorney Angela Alioto says, “If you look at the ratings, Mr. Barbieri and Mr. Tolbert were number one or two until the day he was terminated. The fact is, before they knew he was sick, those excuses didn’t exist – and they renewed his contract.” In late 2011, Barbieri announced he’s been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and the station renewed his contract a month later. Barbieri, who is seeking $10 million in damages, went on crosstown sports talk outlet KGMZ-FM to explain the suit and said Cumulus market manager Bill Bungeroth and OM Lee Hammer expressed to him he sounded tired on the air and chastised him for having to use the restroom often because of his medications. He says he was also criticized for being late because of medical appointments. The Chronicle reports Cumulus Media has not responded to requests for comment.
Glenn Beck Merges GBTV Under “The Blaze” Banner. Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk radio star Glenn Beck has been operating two of his pioneering digital initiatives – The Blaze website and internet video station GBTV – under separate names. Now, Beck is moving GBTV and the new Marketplace by Markdown, under The Blaze umbrella. He states in an interview with CNN, “I didn’t like the name GBTV from the very beginning for a couple of reasons; one, it’s a little egocentric, and two, it’s television, which doesn’t describe necessarily what we do.” So Beck is merging the three properties in to what he calls “a world-class multimedia network” – The Blaze. Asked about Beck’s move by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “There are cases in which a personal name becomes a platform brand –such as Trump, Forbes and Ford – and they worked out well. But NBC wasn’t named Sarnoff, CBS wasn’t named Paley and Playboy wasn’t named Hefner. I think Beck is refining his approach to continuing his successful journey as a 21st century media pioneer.”
Dave Ramsey Jumps to News/Talk KRLD, Dallas. Nationally syndicated financial talk sensation Dave Ramsey is now heard on CBS Radio’s news/talk KRLD, Dallas from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm nightly. Ramsey’s program had previously been carried by Cumulus Media’s crosstown KLIF. CBS Radio Dallas VP of news/talk/sports Bruce Gilbert, states, “We are thrilled to have Dave Ramsey join our team at Newsradio 1080 KRLD. His wisdom, knowledge and passion have garnered him many fans in North Texas and we’re proud to be the new home for his growing and successful program.”
iPad Era Creates Opportunities for News Writers. Consultant Holland Cooke reports to TALKERS from Blogworld/New York and says opportunities for writers adept at concise delivery of information are everywhere. “As iPod and iPhone have, stable mate iPad is, once again, demonstrating how facile new devices change the way we consume information/entertainment content, and how we interact.” Read more from Holland Cooke at Blogworld here.
Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Promotes Darren Davis to EVP of National Programming Platforms. Darren Davis has worked his way up from programming Clear Channel’s WASH-FM, Washington to his new post as executive vice president of national programming platforms for the company. CC states Davis “will work closely with Tom Poleman (president of national programming platforms) to oversee all aspects of the division and the ongoing development and execution of Clear Channel’s national advertising and programming integrations. He will continue to manage the Programming Operations Center; the Brand Management in-house format team; and the company’s highly effective Premium Choice network.” Poleman says of Davis, “Over the past few years, Darren has been instrumental in transforming everything from our systems of communication to the way we maximize our best programming assets. His efforts continue to give Clear Channel the competitive advantage and resources to be even more relevant and effective in the evolving market place, offering our listeners, partners and advertisers, products and content that nobody else can. He has clearly earned the opportunity to grow within our company and he will continue to be an integral part of our team and our future.”
JT the Brick Featured on Las Vegas Newscast. Fox Sports Radio Network late night talk host JT the Brick was recently featured on local television station KLAS-TV, Las Vegas in a piece on the effect of social media on sports talk radio. JT broadcasts his nightly FSRN program from studios in Las Vegas. In the piece, JT explains the pros and cons of using social media – Twitter, Facebook and others – to bring content to his show and to interact with fans.
Local Combo Serves Florida Panhandle Market During Flood Emergency. Program director Paul Stadden tells TALKERS magazine ADX Communications’ news/talk WNRP, Pensacola and sister country FM were on the scene keeping local residents informed when 13 inches of rain fell on Escambia County last weekend causing widespread flooding and some $150 million in damage. Stadden says, “Using the staffs of both stations, employees covered the flooded streets and reported full time from the Escambia County Emergency Operations Center until the state of emergency was lifted Monday morning.” Pictured here is WNRP news anchor Cooper Davis on the air during the marathon coverage of the disaster.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. CBS Radio’s all-news WCBS, New York takes home three New York State Broadcasters Awards at ceremonies held last night in Bolton Landing, New York. The station won for “Outstanding Local Newscast” (Hurricane Irene), “Outstanding Feature Story” (The Sock Lady-10 Years Later) and “Outstanding Local Sporting Event” (The New York City Marathon)…..WBZ, Boston’s Joe Mathieu will host Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo on today’s monthly “WBZ NewsWatch” hour-long interview program as the Massachusetts legislature finalizes its new fiscal year budget…..Cumulus Media Networks’ Mike Huckabee show will gain a major market affiliate as it joins the lineup at Francis Battaglia-owned KFNX, Phoenix. The program will air live in the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm daypart…..Las Vegas-based syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs is being honored by the UNLV Honors College with her selection as the “2012 Honors College Alumna of the Year.” The school states it is the “highest and most prestigious award given by the college and recognizes Wachs’ impact on UNLV through the significant contributions she’s made to society in your professional field and through her personal achievements.”
2012 Presidential Race, Russia Sends Warships to Syria, Rodney King Dies, George Zimmerman Legal Issues and Roger Clemens Acquitted Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/18). The 2012 presidential campaign; Russia’s announcement it will send warships to Syria; the death of historical figure Rodney King at age 47; the growing legal troubles for George Zimmerman and his wife; and baseball great Roger Clemens’ acquittal on perjury charges were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Woodhead in The Zone. That’s New England Patriots running back (and Nebraska native) Danny Woodhead (c) in the booth with KOZN, Omaha’s Damon Benning (l) and Mike’l Severe (r). The NRG Media sports talk station is broadcasting live from the 2012 NCAA College World Series – six hours daily for 14 days – and had the chance to catch up with Woodhead as he stopped by The Zone’s broadcast booth.
End of an Era at KLOS-FM, Los Angeles as Mark Thompson Announces Retirement. The duo Mark & Brian have hosted their very successful morning drive show on Cumulus Media‘s classic rock KLOS-FM, Los Angeles since 1987. But as Mark Thompson tells LARadio.com‘s Don Barrett, he and his wife want to take time to enjoy the things that retirement brings. Thompson’s last show will be August 17. That gives KLOS time to figure out what to do with the morning show. Thompson’s partner Brian Phelps wants to keep working at the station in the morning and reportedly Cumulus is working on making that happen.
Columbus Gains All-Newser. Two Columbus radio outlets drop their formats to become an AM/FM all-newser. North American Broadcasting Co. flips classic hits WTDA-FM and standards WMNI-AM to all-news as WMNI. The station is airing a local morning drive news program hosted by news director Mark Nuce, anchor Kelly Quinn and sports director Mark “The Shark” Howell. The rest of the day will use America’s Radio News Network programming with local news inserts. Evenings and overnights will air Dial Global‘s Jim Bohannon and Cumulus Media Network‘s “Red Eye Radio.” The station is filling the weekends with newsy and business-related programming including Cumulus Media’s “Moneytalk with Bob Brinker” and “Bloomberg Businessweek.”
Former Connecticut Governor and WTIC, Hartford Host John Rowland Draws Ire of Unions. The former Governor of Connecticut hosts the station’s PM drive show and today the CBS Radio news/talk station will face some sort of protest at its Farmington studios by a collection of construction, public sector and building and trade unions for Rowland’s opposition to the CTfastrack project – a controversial road, light rail and bike path project between Hartford and New Britain. Connecticut Laborers District Council business manager Charles LeConche states, “The John Rowland that I remember as Governor of Connecticut always supported public projects and understood how to grow the local economy. His present show is now all trash talk radio. It’s really become ‘hate’ radio every weekday afternoon. We’re supporting a boycott of his advertisers and the radio station as well. Our organization will also be petitioning the Federal Communications Commission about this CBS Radio outlet’s handling of trash talk and biased information without offering the opportunity to present different points of view.”
Three Broadcast Groups Join TuneIn for Strategic Digital Alliance. Digital audio distribution service TuneIn announces Beasley Broadcast Group, Midwest Communications and Federated Media are aligning with the service to bring more than 100 stations to its more than 30 million monthly active listeners. TuneIn CEO John Donham says, “We want to make the best audio available to anyone, no matter where they are. Aligning with Beasley Broadcast Group, Midwest Communications and Federated Media gives our listeners unlimited access to some of their favorite hometown stations, while increasing the listener bases of these three major U.S. Broadcasters.” Midwest SVP Michael Wright states, “At Midwest Communications, Inc., we’ve received numerous requests from our radio brands’ listeners asking how they can listen to our content via mobile phone streaming. Our new alliance with TuneIn allows us to give our listeners exactly what they want – their favorite personalities and music, whenever they want, wherever they want. TuneIn gives Midwest Communications another way to superserve and grow our audience.”
CNN Cancels John King USA; Adds Another Hour of Wolf Blitzer. Executives at Time Warner have reportedly become impatient with the performance of cable news/talk channel CNN in the evening and prime time. Now, it appears John King‘s program is the first casualty of a programming shift as “John King USA” is being dropped and another hour of “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” picks up the 6:00 pm ET hour. John King remains with CNN as lead national campaign correspondent. CNN/U.S. chief Ken Jautz states, “John will be providing reports for ‘SitRoom,’ ‘AC360′ and other programs and CNN platforms. This is John’s seventh presidential campaign – fourth with CNN – and making him available across our programming lineup allows us to better tap his skills and experience, especially on the ground reporting in major battleground states and among critical voting blocs.”
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Compass Media Marketing announces the hiring of Bob O’Connor as account director. O’Connor comes to Compass with experience working in the sales and marketing departments at CBS Radio, Eastman Radio, ABC Radio Networks and Cumulus Media…..WQAM, Miami afternoon drive host (and TALKERS contributor) Dan Sileo will fill in at Yahoo! Sports Radio on June 21 and 22 on the morning drive program…..Entercom‘s sports talk WEEI-FM, Springfield, Massachusetts grabs the broadcast rights for University of Massachusetts football and men’s basketball for the next five seasons. In addition to play-by-play, the station will air “The Charley Molnar Show” and “The Derek Kellogg Show’ – the weekly coach’s shows for football and basketball, respectively…..The Radio Television Digital News Association announces ESPN is honored with two 2012 Edward R. Murrow Awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for excellence in electronic journalism. “E: 60″ won the Outstanding Sports Reporting award and “The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap” won the Audio Sports Reporting award…..Hubbard Radio‘s WTOP, Washington is awarded five 2012 Edward R. Murrow awards including Best Newscast and two for Overall Excellence.
2012 Presidential Race, Russia-Syria Arms Connection, NYC Snack Food Ban, Eric Holder-‘Fast and Furious’ Case and EU Debt Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/13). The 2012 presidential campaign; Russia’s unapologetic supplying of arms to Syria; more considerations of snack food bans in New York City; the GOP’s move to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt in connection with the ‘Fast and Furious’ program; and the state of the debt crisis in the European Union were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WBZ, Boston Hosts Scott Pelley. The anchor and managing editor of the “CBS Evening News” visited Boston on Tuesday, June 12 as a special guest at the WBZ NewsRadio Business Breakfast where more than 500 people packed the Boston Westin Copley Hotel. WBZ anchor Joe Mathieu interviewed Scott Pelley about topics including the presidential campaign, healthcare, the economy and his career in the news business. Pelley arrived in town the evening prior to the event and brought with him a full staff of producers and writers to produce the Monday evening news. Pictured here are (from l-r): CBS Radio Boston VP & market manager Mark Hannon, WBZ, Boston news anchor Joe Mathieu, Scott Pelley, and WBZ news and programming director Peter Casey. (Photo courtesy of Jodi-Tatiana Charles, La Capoise Galerie)
Dave Ramsey Has More Than 1 Million Friends. Really! Facebook has more than 900 million users worldwide and 1 million of them count nationally syndicated talk superstar Dave Ramsey their friend. With all those friends and more than 400,000 Twitter followers, Ramsey’s organization says, “Not only are they seeing the value in Dave’s message on social platforms, but the web as a whole as ‘The Dave Ramsey Show’ is among the top 25 of all iTunes podcasts and the number one podcast in the business section.”
“The Future of Audio” the Focus of House Subcommittee Hearing; Cross-Ownership a Major Topic. Today’s hearing before the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will center around four topics: broadcast radio ownership caps, low-power FM, FM chips and royalties. Among the witnesses scheduled to testify are Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan, Commonwealth Broadcasting president, CEO Steven Newberry, Pandora founder Tim Westergren, and RIAA chairman and CEO Cary Sherman. A committee memo states, “This hearing will examine how advances in communications services and consumer electronics equipment are affecting the distribution and consumption of audio content.” There is again movement among Republicans to eliminate or relax the cross-ownership regulations in light of changes in technology and how they affect competition. Also, more arguments over performance royalties are expected to be raised at the hearing, especially with Clear Channel‘s groundbreaking record industry news announced yesterday (see next story).
Clear Channel Creates Groundbreaking Relationship with Big Machine Label Group. This is purely a music radio story but still has the potential to reverberate throughout the entire radio business. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment is the first broadcast company to strike a deal with a label group that pays the label (and hopefully the artists as well) a performance royalty for music aired on terrestrial radio stations. The two sides did not release specific numbers but Big Machine Label Group produces recordings for artists including Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw, Rascal Flatts, Edens Edge and Ella Mae Bowen and Valory Music Co. artists Reba McEntire, Justin Moore, Brantley Gilbert, The Mavericks and Thomas Rhett. Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman says of the Big Machine Label Group president and CEO, “Scott Borchetta has reinvented the music business in many important ways over the years, from distribution and artist development to promotion and advertising. Focusing that same creativity on how best to grow the music business, Scott has developed this new model with us to let his labels and artists participate in the revenue of broadcast radio immediately and in digital radio as it builds. This is a big step, but we think this investment is an opportunity worth taking to align our interests in all of our revenue streams and grow digital listening to its full potential with record labels and their artists as our partners. This landmark agreement creates a structure that makes sense for both our companies, but most of all for music fans.”
Cumulus Media Announces Tony Mascaro Named WABC, New York Operations Manager. Confirming what TALKERS reported on Monday, June 4, Cumulus Media makes official the announcement that CHR WPLJ-FM, New York operations manager Tony Mascaro takes the same title for sister news/talk WABC, New York.
WBZ, Boston Overnight Host Steve LeVeille to Retire. The 57-year-old host of the overnight talk show on CBS Radio‘s WBZ, Boston announces his decision to retire at the end of next week after 13 years hosting the show and 21 years with WBZ. “This is a quality-of-life decision for my wife, Diane, and me. We have been making moves during the past number of years to be able to do this without any particular date in mind. We have just reached a point where we said the time is right now. After spending most of our weekends and vacation time in Maine for the last 15 years we are looking forward to making it our year round home.” Steve LeVeille is a native of the Boston area and was familiar with WBZ NewsRadio as a teenager saying, “I grew up in the Boston area listening to Larry Glick on WBZ. And as cliché as it sounds, it was the dream of a teenager to do the overnight show on WBZ and I am proud to be able to retire from that position.”
Dan Dibley Signs on With Entercom’s San Francisco Sports FM for Another Year. “The Rise Guys” morning drive co-host Dan Dibley extends his deal with Entercom‘s KGMZ-FM, San Francisco – 95.7 The Game. Dibley co-hosts the program with Whitey Gleason and Mark Kreidler. Program director Jason Barrett states, “Dan is a big reason why The Rise Guys are the best sports radio morning show in the Bay Area. His energy, passion, sense of humor and work ethic define what the Bay Area’s ‘New Sound for Sports’ is all about.” Prior to joining KGMZ-FM in May of 2011, Dibley served as executive producer at crosstown KNBR.
Merlin Media Changes Blagojevich Billboards in Chicago. The two billboards you see here are before-and-after versions of the outdoor campaign employed by Merlin Media‘s all-news WIQI-FM – FM News 101.1. After the company put up about 200 of the billboards in the Chicago area, attorney Sheldon Sorosky (who represented former Governor Rod Blagojevich in his corruption trial) contacted Merlin notifying the company the billboards may violate an Illinois law that prevents one’s image from being used for commercial purposes without permission. Merlin’s John Gehron tells Crain’s Chicago Business they made the move because, “Listeners were concerned that we were insensitive and we wanted to be responsive.” At the same time, Gehron tells Crain’s the campaign has been positive for the fledgling all-news outlet, “It’s done well and it’s gotten some nice talk.”
WTOP, Washington Reporter Shoved by DC Council Chairman. This was no aggressive push but observers say District of Columbia Council Chairman Kwame Brown, after being asked a question by WTOP, Washington reporter Mark Seagraves, pushed the reporter up against a wall with enough force “to send a message” while saying, “No questions.” Seagraves was asking Brown about a report by another media outlet that federal investigators have revealed part of their case against him involving campaign wrongdoings.
Wisconsin Recall Election, 2012 Presidential Race, Jittery Global Financial Markets and Sandusky Trial Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/5). The recall election in Wisconsin between Republican Scott Walker and Democrat Tom Barrett and its impact on the future of public sector unions; the 2012 presidential campaign; the state of the world’s financial markets; and the looming trial of former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Kings of L.A. With the Los Angeles Kings on the brink of their first NHL Stanley Cup Championship (the Kings lead the New Jersey Devils 3-0 with game 4 tonight) Clear Channel‘s KLAC, Los Angeles – AM 570 Fox Sports L.A. – is enjoying the ride. Pictured here is a scene from the station’s live broadcast from L.A. Kings fan-fest at L.A. Live, adjacent to the Staples Center arena. “Petros & Money” broadcast their show live from the event and here you see Matt “Money” Smith (l), Kings broadcaster Jim Fox (c) and NHL great Luc Robitaille (r) on stage.
Tom Finneran to Exit WRKO, Boston; Todd Feinburg Takes Over AM Drive. Former Massachusetts Speaker of the House and AM drive host at Entercom’s WRKO, Boston for the past five years, Tom Finneran, will leave the station after his program on Thursday, May 31. In a statement, Finneran says, “Over the past several days, Jason Wolfe and I have been talking about various plans and opportunities which lie ahead for me and for the station. Those opportunities are of interest to me, but are not compatible with the hours I keep and the effort I make to prepare for, and to execute, a well-informed show every morning. I try to learn from history and from our listeners, who in sharing some of their own histories, have been great teachers. I thank them and WRKO for a fast and fun five years.” Program director Jason Wolfe announces that Finneran’s co-host for the past few years – Todd Feinburg – will take over as sole host of the morning show on WRKO beginning Friday, June 1. Whether or not a co-host is eventually added to the AM drive show remains to be seen. The Boston Herald’s Jessica Heslam reports former WFXT-TV, Boston anchor Kim Carrigan – who has sat in on the AM drive show several times since exiting her TV gig – is offering no comment on the rumor she will become Feinburg’s co-host. She tells the Herald, “It’s no secret that I’ve filled in a few times and that’s been a ton of fun, but outside of that I don’t have any comment at this point.”
Triton Digital Names John Rosso President of Market Development. The former president of the Citadel Media Networks – a company he exited with the change of ownership as Cumulus acquired it – now takes the newly created post to lead Triton’s digital audio platforms in the sales and marketing realm. Triton Digital chief operating officer Mike Agovino states, “John’s combination of broadcast and digital experience makes him a great choice for this important new position at Triton. The explosive growth in listening to internet audio is attracting major attention from both local and national advertisers. John and the rest of the Triton team are completely focused on fostering this medium by helping marketers and audio publishers come together to engage audiences.” On his new challenge, Rosso says, “Audio is among the fastest-growing media today, and Triton is innovating at the center of it all, with both publishers and advertisers. This marketplace is still young and I look forward to facilitating this connection to accelerate the growth and success.”
WHBO, Tampa and Tom Krasniqi Part Ways. Afternoon drive sports talk host Tom Krasniqi and Genesis Communications WHBO, Tampa-St. Petersburg are unable to come to terms on a new contract. WHBO has not announced a permanent replacement for host of its “Prime Time” PM drive show.
Bruce Williams Announces Plans for “Made in America Broadcast Network.” The talk radio pioneer says he has nothing against international commerce but “as a small network can offer this service by accepting advertising only from American companies producing jobs and products.” Bruce Williams – who is currently streaming and podcasting his program via The American Entrepreneur on taeradio.com – says he wants to offer radio programs that are supported by advertising from companies whose products are at least 90% made in America with American labor and American materials because he wants to keep jobs in America. “The network knows many people interested in buying American products and they will be an excellent resource. Made in America Broadcast Network believes this is the first company to offer this service.”
Car Talk: The Musical Debuts in Cambridge, Massachusetts. You know you’ve made it when they produce a musical production based on you. NPR’s “Car Talk,” hosted by actual Cambridge, Massachusetts mechanics Tom and Ray Magliozzi, is the inspiration for the play with book, lyrics and direction by Wesley Savick and original music by Michael Wartofsky. The play will run this summer produced by the Underground Railway Theater at Central Square in Cambridge “just a stone’s throw away from the Good News Garage in Cambridge, Massachusetts (our fair city).” The production will feature voice-overs from the Magliozzi brothers. Here’s the plot as reported by BroadwayWorld.com: “Our hero – the overweight, always-late invertebrate Rusty Fenders – has racked up as many miles as his ‘93 KIA. Attempting to salvage happiness from the junkyard of his life, he collides with his ruthless boss Beaulah Gasket, his unrequited office romance Sheila, and the red-hot fantasy car Miata C. LaChassis. Can the Wizard of Cahs put the brakes on Rusty’s musical wipe-out?”
WBZ, Boston Talk Host Lovell Dyett Passes Away at 77. The TV and radio broadcaster and community activist died after a long illness. Lovell Dyett began his talk radio career at WBZ in December of 1971 with an eponymous Sunday call-in program that dealt with the issues of the day. As noted on CBS Radio Boston’s website, “For nearly 40 years, Dyett covered topics and issues that affected people of all walks of life, discussing topics that were often times contentious, like busing and the desegregation of Boston’s schools, and sometimes uncomfortable, such as interviews with former members of the Ku Klux Klan. Dyett was a major player in many organizations including the Workshop on Cable Television for Minority Municipal Officials, serving as chief media consultant of the Congressional Black Caucus, as board member of the Roxbury YMCA, Roxbury Chapter of University Without Walls, Boston Chapter of the Urban League, and was also a long standing member of the NAACP.”
Syria Massacre, 2012 Presidential Race, Memorial Day Remembrances, Euro Zone Jitters and Iran Nukes Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/29). Global outrage over the latest massacre of civilians in Syria; the 2012 presidential campaign; tributes to fallen U.S. military personnel; concern over the unstable euro zone economy and its repercussions; and the Iranian nuclear weapons program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
“Gas We Can Gill-er Up” Draws Bargain Hunting Motorists. WLAC, Nashville-based Radio America syndicated talk show host Steve Gill (l) is pictured here with listener Jill (r) who took advantage of the show’s promotion with the Daily’s Shell chain to offer gas at $1.84 per gallon to the first 150 listeners to get in line at 7:00 am yesterday (5/29). Gill tells TALKERS that the $1.84 per gallon price was the national average on January 20, 2009 – the day President Obama was sworn into office.
Clear Channel Media Holdings Reports 2011 Revenue Up 5%. The entire company’s full-year revenue was $6.16 billion. For the former radio division – now known as Clear Channel Media and Entertainment – revenue for the year 2011 grew 2%. That number would have been a negative one had it not been for the acquisition of Westwood One’s Metro Traffic. During yesterday’s conference call, CFO Tom Casey indicated the company is very bullish on its iHeartRadio app. He noted it had 48 million downloads last year and stated the Pandora-like custom music feature will remain commercial free for the foreseeable future.
KTRH, Houston Talk Host Michael Berry Addresses Traffic Incident/Gay Bar Issue. Former Houston city councilman and KTRH, Houston talk host Michael Berry spent the better part of an hour on the morning leg of his talk program yesterday (2/21) addressing his alleged hit-and-run of a parked car outside a bar in Houston on January 31 – sort of. Berry did not address the actual hit-and-run issue in detail stating he couldn’t talk about that – Berry has not been charged with any crime. But he did say he was in the bar, drank a beer and used the restroom. He went on to excoriate KPRC-TV for making his patronage of a bar where some of the patrons “happen to be gay” an issue. He spoke at length against anti-gay sentiment in the conservative and religious communities and took his critics to task for rushing to judgment without the facts. Still, the Houston police are investigating to see if the officers looking into the hit-and-run complaint did a thorough job before concluding there was no reason to charge Berry.
Wisconsin Talk Host Pat Snyder to Run for State Office. WSAU, Wausau, Wisconsin talk show host Pat Snyder announces he will run for state assembly in the fall on the Republican ticket. Already one of his potential opponents is challenging Snyder’s decision to announce his intention to run and remain on the radio. Democrat Jeff Johnson tells WSAU he believes station owner Mid-West Communications is making a mistake, “I think they are opening themselves up to some liability. The case could be made very easily that they are providing an in-kind donation every time they let him on the air.” The station reports equal time rules do not allow a political candidate to work as a radio announcer within 60 days of a general election and within 45 days of a primary election. Radio station managers have said Snyder will leave the show at the end of July if he does have a primary opponent or at the end of August if he does not.
WOWO, Fort Wayne Strikes News and Weather Deal with Indiana’s News Center. Federated Media news/talk outlet WOWO, Fort Wayne announces it has entered into a partnership with Indiana’s News Center to have the operation’s meteorologists Chris Daniels, Curtis Smith and Jason Meyers do weather reports on WOWO and go live on the station with reports during severe weather situations. WOWO provides live traffic reports for INC as well as a simulcast each morning between WOWO personality Charly Butcher and INC anchors Ryan Elijah and Mary Collins. WOWO and INC will also share web stories and news reporters. WOWO operations manager Gregg Henson states, “All of our talent are now multi-platform digital journalists so it only makes sense that the WOWO and INC newsrooms would work together to generate and gather the most relevant content for our customers across all platforms. Viewers and listeners in Fort Wayne can now receive all of our content wherever they want it – radio, TV, mobile and online.”
Compass Media Marketing Client POP Radio Adds Stores. This isn’t a talk radio story but an interesting note about marketing at the point-of-purchase. Radio marketing and syndication pro Peter Kosann’s new venture, Compass Media Marketing, is handling ad sales for client POP Radio – a service that provides in-store audio and advertising for stores. POP Radio recently added the Roundy’s food store chain to up its reach to 18,465 stores. In an age when digital marketing gets so many of the headlines in business and trade publications, it’s interesting to note how popular and effective audio advertising still is for certain types of products – in this case packaged goods. Often the same product will be marketed in the home via TV or radio, in the car on terrestrial radio and again through the use of audio at the point of purchase. POP Radio notes its audience estimates are based on data conducted by Edison Research. An annual update to this data is planned for later this year. Until then, advertisers currently utilizing POP Radio will enjoy a significant bonus in their audience delivery due to the addition of the Roundy’s stores.
Red Wolf Broadcasting to Sign on New FM News/Talk Station in Connecticut. The New London Day is reporting Red Wolf Broadcasting is preparing to sign on a new FM news/talk station next week to serve the markets of New London, Connecticut and the eastern end of Long Island, New York. WJJF-FM at 94.9 is licensed to Montauk, New York. The station is bringing WXLM, Groton, Connecticut talk host Lee Elci aboard to host the AM drive show and will air programming from Talk Radio Network including Laura Ingraham and Michael Savage as well as Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher. Station owner John Fuller tells the paper they intend to deliver local content to the region. The station will be positioned as “94.9 News Now and Stimulating Talk.” In addition to hiring Elci, the station is hiring a local news staff. “We’re going to be out at town hall meetings and out at news conferences.”
The Life of WBZ, Boston Legend Dave Maynard to Be Celebrated Feb. 29. Boston radio personality Dave Maynard passed away on February 9 in Citrus Hills, Florida after a long battle with Parkinson ’s disease. His life is being celebrated Wednesday, February 29 at 11:00 am at Saint Cecilia’s Parish, 18 Belvidere Street in Boston’s Back Bay and his family is inviting the public to attend. Maynard was a long time WBZ radio and TV personality and member of the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Election, Corporate Tax Reform Plan, Iran Tensions, Rising Gas Prices, and Koran Desecration-Afghan Protests Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/21). The issues surrounding the GOP primary race and the 2012 presidential election; the clash between President Obama and congress over corporate tax reform proposals; Iran’s nuclear ambitions and its oil strategies; rising gas prices in the U.S.; and the reported Koran desecration at a U.S. military base in Afghanistan and the resulting protests were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Joe Madison and the First Lady Talk Fitness. SiriusXM talk host Joe Madison recently interviewed First Lady Michelle Obama about the second anniversary of her “Let’s Move” fitness campaign at the “Faith and Community Groups Leading the Way” event in Longwood, Florida on February 11. Mrs. Obama’s campaign to eliminate childhood obesity was the subject and the two spoke at length about the importance of physical activity. Pictured here are (from l-r): First Lady Michelle Obama, Sherry Madison and Joe Madison.
SiriusXM Delivers 2011 Revenue Increase of 7%. Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin opened the Thursday conference call with positive news about 2011 and rosy predictions for 2012. Karmazin reports the satcaster added 1.7 million net new subscribers with revenue topping $3 billion for 2011. He told analysts the company has reduced programming costs by 27% over the past three years to bring them to 10.7% of adjusted revenue. And Mel’s favorite figure – free cash flow – was also a nice one: $416 million. Karmazin says he expects free cash flow to grow to $700 million this year due in part to the restrictions on subscription prices having been lifted. He projects revenue to hit $3.3 billion in 2012 with 1.3 million new subscribers added.
Nassau Broadcasting Agrees to Undergo Chapter 7 Liquidation. It was four months ago that Nassau Broadcasting Partners convinced U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross to allow its Chapter 7 liquidation being sought by its creditors to be converted into a Chapter 11 reorganization. Now, the company wants to liquidate itself and is asking the judge to approve an auction of its 49 stations. Nassau owes more than $280 million to its senior lenders which include Goldman Sachs Lending Partners LLC, P.E. Capital LLC and Fortress Credit Opportunities. Nassau’s spoken word stations include: WARK, Hagerstown, Maryland; WTSV, Claremont, New Hampshire; WEMJ, Laconia, New Hampshire; WVPO/WPLY, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania; WEEX/WTKZ, Allentown, Pennsylvania; WSNO, Barre, Vermont; and WNHV, White River Junction, Vermont.
Dave Ramsey to Take Over Live Midday Slot on WOR, New York. The end of the nationally syndicated Lou Dobbs talk radio show is creating room for other hosts and programs across the country and in New York City at Buckley Broadcasting’s WOR, independently syndicated Dave Ramsey moves from delayed broadcast status to airing in the live 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm slot beginning February 27. WOR VP/GM Jerry Crowley states, “In these rocky economic times New Yorkers need a voice they can trust to guide them in their money decisions. We are proud to welcome the country’s top name in financial talk radio – Dave Ramsey – to our award-winning lineup.”
“Battle Line with Alan Nathan” Adds Two Hours on Lifestyle TalkRadio Network. Alan Nathan’s Main Street Radio Network-produced talk program is already distributed nationally via the Blue Star Media’s Lifestyle TalkRadio Network from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm daily. Now, with the departure of Lou Dobbs’ radio program from the network, “Battle Line” adds another two hours from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Main Street Radio Network president Jane Silk says, “Main Street is very excited with the additional two hours of ‘Battle Line’ on LTRN. Our working relationship with the staff of BTRN/LTRN is a model on how companies can work together for the good of all involved!” Business TalkRadio Network CEO Michael Metter comments, “We are thrilled to be a part of the increase in Alan’s reach. We are looking forward to bringing our affiliates the brilliance of Alan’s informed, entertaining centrist views.”
Fabulous Sports Babe Nanci Donnellan Off WHBO, Tampa Due to Health Issues. The Tampa Bay Times is reporting that Nanci Donnellan – known as the Fabulous Sports Babe – is absent from her midday sports talk show on Genesis Communications’ WHBO, Tampa due to what is believed to be health issues. The station is not commenting. Donnellan, who hosted a nationally syndicated sports talk program on ESPN Radio in the 1990s and at Sports Fan Radio Network after that – left radio for a period to battle breast cancer before returning to the air in Florida, eventually settling at WHBO. Sitting in for her is former WDAE sports reporter Whitney Johnson.
Boston Radio Community Honors Memory of WBZ Personality Dave Maynard. During a 40-year radio and TV career Dave Maynard ruled the airwaves in Boston on WBZ during the 1980s. He’s being remembered for his warm personality that made his program such a success in the market. Maynard died at his home in Citrus Hills, Florida on Wednesday at age 82. He’d suffered with Parkinson’s for the past decade. WBZ director of news and programming Peter Casey tells the Boston Globe, “He was just a genuine, honest person on the radio. There wasn’t a Dave Maynard on the air and a Dave Maynard off the air. He made a career being Dave Maynard on the air, and that was the Dave Maynard who lived next door to you.”
Bell Media Cuts 16 Positions in Ottawa Radio/TV Cluster; Afternoon Talk Host Michael Harris Among Casualties. While the Canadian economy has not been hit as hard as America’s during recent times, it appears Bell Media is feeling the pinch and the need to restructure its Ottawa operations. According to the Ottawa Citizen, among those let go in addition to CFRA afternoon host Michael Harris on the spoken word side include CFRA reporter Gord McDougall, sports CFGO – Team 1200 – staffers Jim Jerome, Phil Melanson and Mike Sutherland. Harris had been a talk host at CFRA for the past 11 years. He tells the paper the moves appear to be financial in nature and management “went out of their way to say it had nothing to do with the quality of my work.”
GOP Primary Battle the Top News/Talk Story for the Week of February 6-10. The intensifying GOP primary battle between Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum (with Ron Paul sticking it out as well) landed atop the Talkers TenTM as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week. Right behind at #2 was the 2012 presidential race combined with the Obama Super PAC story. At #3 was the Syria policy and the closure of the U.S. embassy there as a result of the intense violence. And at #4 was the foreclosure abuse settlement signed by President Obama. The Talkers TenTM contains the 10 top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
In the Belly of the Beast. WMAL-AM/FM, Washington, DC morning drive team the “Morning Majority” broadcast live from the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, DC this week. Pictured here are “Morning Majority” co-hosts Brian Wilson (l) and Mary Katherine Ham (c) interviewing CPAC organizer Al Cardenas (r) of the American Conservative Union. Also broadcasting from the two-day event were WMAL morning co-host Bryan Nehman and midday talk host Chris Plante.
WNDB, Daytona Beach Talk Host Marc Bernier Moderates Carlson-Begala Debate. The Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce packed 600 people into the Daytona Beach Ocean Center for a debate of the issues of the election season between CNN analyst and Democrat Paul Begala and Fox News Channel personality and Republican Tucker Carlson. WNDB talk show host Marc Bernier served as moderator for the event. Pictured here are (from l-r) Paul Begala, Marc Bernier and Tucker Carlson.
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.
WBZ, Boston Celebrates 90 Years on the Air Today. Yes, the building with its twin radio towers in the photo at the top of this page is the site of the original broadcast studios but you might be surprised to know it’s not in the Boston area. The CBS Radio station’s history as the first “commercial license” radio station in the country began 80 miles west in Springfield, Massachusetts at the old Westinghouse plant. Many of the nation’s oldest radio stations moved around the dial and WBZ was no exception. It broadcast at 830 on the dial when it first went on the air from this location on September 19, 1921. Read more about WBZ’s history here.
Cumulus Gives WMAL, Washington an FM Boost Today. The victim is classic rock WVRX-FM at 105.9 as WMAL will simulcast beginning at 12:00 noon today in time for Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh to be heard in the Nation’s Capital on FM. WMAL clearly has its sights set on some of the dollars crosstown competitor WTOP has been raking in on the FM band. WMAL president and general manager Jeff Boden states, “By expanding our successful brand to the FM dial, we will be a viable listening and advertising option for many more people in the Washington, DC area. There are many potential listeners who never listen on AM, and we are now making programs of wide interest available to the largest possible audience.”
George Plaster’s Status in Nashville Unknown. Nashville sports talk host George Plaster was off the air at WGFX-FM on Friday and he tells the Tennessean, “There’s been a lot of rumors about where we’re going to end up. At this point no decision has been made. I want to do not only what’s good for my group, but I want to end up doing something good for our listeners.” WGFX-FM was a Citadel station until the closing of the merger between Cumulus and Citadel. Eight years prior, Plaster sued Cumulus to get away from that company and join Citadel’s WGFX-FM. If there’s bad blood between the two parties, the question is will they be able to get over it and work together again? Plaster’s show rakes in a reported $2 million annually for WGFX. The complicating factor is the new crosstown FM sports talk station WPRT-FM “The Game,” operated by the Cromwell Group, which would no doubt love to bring Plaster over to get its new format off the ground with a popular, money-making talent. Expect some decisions to be made soon.
Bill Cunningham Debuts on Daytime TV Today. WLW, Cincinnati and Premiere Networks talk show host Bill Cunningham’s nationally syndicated eponymous TV show debuts today. Cunningham tells the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter that this is a completely different program than his radio show. Cunningham has been taping shows since late July and the content is very much the stuff of daytime TV talk shows – dysfunctional families, pot parties and other such fare. Cunningham says they’ve remade his image with spray-on tans and expensive suits but producers of the program say they want his image as a father, family man and the guy-next-door to shine through. Cunningham’s program debuts on 22 stations across the country, including in his home town of Cincinnati.
WTMM-FM, Albany Brings Bruce Jacobs in for PM Drive. Sports talk and talk radio pro Bruce Jacobs is named the new PM drive host at Townsquare Media’s Albany/Schenectady FM sports talk outlet 104.5 The Team. Jacobs has worked most recently in the Phoenix market. Jacobs begins his new program Tuesday, September 20. The Long Island native says, “After 20 years of being away, it’s so great to be home again. It’s great to be back with the most passionate, hardcore fans in the world.”
John Olsen Named PD at Sports WZZN-FM, Birmingham. Cox Media Group announces John Olsen is the program director at its new FM sports talk outlet Sports Radio 97.7 The Zone. Olsen has been with Cox since 2001 in various capacities. He says, “Thanks to Ben Reed, David DuBose, Ray Nelson and Justin Case for their vision to bring 97.3 The Zone to the air. We have a terrific, unique station that will give sports fans a true sports station.” Also at the CMG in Birmingham, programmer Justin Case is named operations manager for the cluster.
Eleanor Mondale Dies at 51. Eleanor Mondale, daughter of former vice president Walter Mondale and former WCCO, Minneapolis talk show host, passed away on Saturday at age 51 after her second bout with brain cancer. Mondale left her show on WCCO in March of 2009 after the brain cancer returned a second time. She had surgery later that year to remove the tumor and it was reported at the time that the surgery was successful. Mondale began her broadcasting career in 1989 as the entertainment reporter for WCCO-TV, Minneapolis. She went on to network television gigs but returned to Minnesota and co-hosted a radio talk show on WCCO with Susie Jones in 2006.
KYW, Philadelphia’s Jack O’Rourke Passes Away at 80. Shortly after covering the Phillies-Cardinals game Friday night, the KYW sports reporter collapsed and passed away. O’Rourke began his career with KYW in 1966. He worked with NBC Radio in New York for more than 20 years before returning to KYW.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliation Roundup. Premiere Networks’ “America Now” with Andy Dean is added to the program schedule at Cox Media Group’s KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa in the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot…..Genesis Communications Network’s “America Tonight” with Kate Delaney is now heard on WWNZ, Bangor…..Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” with George Noory is picked up by CBS Radio’s new news/talk outlet WXYT for the 1:00 am to 5:00 am timeslot…..The talk-intensive, Premiere Networks-syndicated Elvis Duran morning show adds new affiliate WMXZ-FM, Ft. Walton Beach, Florida…..The “Health Insurance Advocate” show with Cary Hall joins the lineup at KBMV-FM, West Plains, Missouri…..“Armed American Radio” with Mark Walters adds KFLO-FM, Shreveport, Louisiana; KWKC, Abilene, Texas; KBMV-FM, West Pains, Missouri; and WBFD, Bedford, Pennsylvania…..“The Rose Hollywood Report” with Shannon Rose is cleared on KRDO-AM/FM, Colorado Springs.
Cumulus-Citadel Merger Gets DOJ and FCC Approval; Shareholder Vote Takes Place Today. The merger of radio companies Citadel and Cumulus has passed federal muster as both the FCC and the Department of Justice give their approval and the creation of the new radio company rests on shareholder votes today (9/15). To make the deal happen, Cumulus is forced to put three stations in a trust. Those are: Citadel’s country WCAT-FM, Carlisle, Pennsylvania; Cumulus’ CHR WWKL-FM, Palmyra, Pennsylvania and classic rock WRSR-FM, Owosso, Michigan in the Flint market. WRSR-FM goes into the Potential Broadcasting trust and must be programmed by the trust’s operators. WCAT-FM and WWKL-FM were being moved to the Volt Radio trust and will be reassigned to the Potential trust and also must be programmed by that trust’s operators.
Bloomberg and ESPN Join in Partnership for New York Morning Sports Reports. At first blush it seems like an unlikely pairing but many of the men Bloomberg’s flagship station business news WBBR, New York reaches are sports fans as well. ESPN’s WEPN, New York will provide WBBR with live reports specifically targeted to the New York market by WEPN’s Jared Max beginning at 5:00 am on “The First Word” hosted by Ken Prewitt and “Bloomberg Surveillance” with hosts Prewitt and Tom Keene. Bloomberg Radio’s Al Mayers states, “”We’re pleased to offer our listeners in the New York City metro area with morning sports coverage by ESPN’s flagship station. In partnering with ESPN, we’re combining the best brand in business with the best brand in sports.”
“Troubleshooter” Tom Martino Files for Personal Bankruptcy Protection. Martino’s consumer advocate show is heard daily on KHOW, Denver. The filing lists assets of $1.37 million against liabilities of $78.6 million. Martino tells the Denver Post that his financial issues center on his real estate investments that have been affected by the economy. “There are so many people in this same boat. You’ve got millions of dollars in lost value and all of a sudden you can’t refinance your loans and you are just upside down. I just don’t know what I could have done.” Martino says his debt comes from taking on additional loans over the past few years to save his real estate investments and that his Troubleshooter Network, consulting business and the radio show are not affected by the bankruptcy filing.
Leslie Marshall Show Contracts with AdLarge for Sales Representation. The independently syndicated Leslie Marshall show signs a deal with AdLarge for the company to be the exclusive national marketing rep firm. AdLarge co-founder and CEO Gary Shonfeld states, “Leslie is a highly renowned pundit who knows how to engage both the left and the right. We are thrilled to have her show on our growing content platform and to represent her with the biggest national advertisers in the country.” Marshall, whose program is fed live nightly from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET, says of the new deal, “Gary has done this before and very successfully. At AdLarge, I’m not just another show in a large roster of programs. My show is given personalized attention and the AdLarge team seems to have my best interest at heart. They work hard for me.”
Bill Press Show Adds Video Component. Bill Press’ Dial Global-syndicated radio show begins a video stream today (9/15) from his Capitol Hill studios. Press tells TALKERS the video will stream live via Ustream and then key excerpts will be posted on YouTube but he’s quick to note they are still doing a radio show, not a TV show. As a credentialed Washington correspondent and a nationally syndicated columnist (Tribune), Bill Press brings a unique level of journalistic credibility to his radio show that makes it stand out from most talk shows on either the left or the right.
KIRO, Seattle Debuts New Football Show. 710 ESPN (KIRO), Bonneville’s Seattle sports talk station debuts a new live football show tonight (9/15). The new weekly show airs live tonight from Joey Restaurant in Bellevue, Washington from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm hosted by ESPN football expert John Clayton and co-hosted by former Seattle Seahawk players Dave Wyman and Mack Strong. Joining the trio on tonight’s show is current Seahawks player John Moffitt.
CBS Radio’s KDKA-FM Gets Pirates Baseball Back. That’s what the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting. After five years at Clear Channel’s FM talk WPGB, the paper says sources close to the deal indicate Pirates baseball, which aired for so many years on heritage news/talk KDKA, will come back to CBS but this time on its KDKA-FM sports outlet, “Sports Radio 93.7 The Fan.”
WBZ, Boston Prepares to Celebrate 90th Anniversary. CBS Radio’s venerable WBZ, Boston will celebrate its 90th anniversary on Monday, September 19 and will commemorate its place in broadcasting history as the first commercially licensed radio station in America. The station will air a number of 15-minute vignettes that chronicle and honor the station’s history. The station will also host a WBZ Hall of Fame induction ceremony. CBS Radio Boston SVP and market manager Mark Hannon states, “For nine decades WBZ NewsRadio has led the way in reporting historic news events on both a national and local stage, and the station has offered a forum for the community to discuss the news of the day and evaluate what it means to them. We are extremely proud of the staff’s reporting and programming over the years, as well as the station’s community outreach, and we look forward to being a positive influence in the market for many years to come.”
Early Ratings for Anderson Cooper’s Daytime Show Soft. The new, daytime TV talk show “Anderson” is not yet a week old but analysis of the early ratings is inevitable and so far the critics are not impressed. The Los Angeles Times reports the Monday premiere garnered a 1.1 household rating that put it behind the pack of such shows as “Regis & Kelly,” “Ellen,” “Dr, Oz,” and “The Talk.” But the syndicated show is expected to take time to build and Telepictures – the Warner Bros. arm syndicating the show – says the program was pre-empted in some markets and had to compete with coverage of the U.S. Open tennis tournament.
Insurgent Attack in Kabul, Obama’s Green Jobs Controversy, 2012 GOP Presidential Field and European Financial Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/14). The violent attack on American interests in Afghanistan, the investigation into the Obama Administration’s support of a solar power company, the GOP field of candidates for president in 2012 and the tenuous state of the European economy were some of the most-talked-about topics on news/talk radio yesterday.
KDKA Feeds Pittsburgh. Well, at least several thousand Pittsburghers. That’s how many residents station officials say enjoyed the 28th KDKA Spaghetti Breakfast held recently in the Steel City. Pictured here are KDKA talk host Johnna Pro (l) and traffic reporter Kathy Berggren (r) as they prepare to feed the masses. This year, the station honored the late KDKA talk personality John Cigna who is credited with starting the popular local tradition as a station promotion 28 years ago.